Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Randomness (And A Picture of The Infamous Black Jesus))

 Here is James, sitting proudly on his life-sized Lincoln Log toilet. Yes, he is a clever child. With a strange sense of humor...where did that come from!? He even put small Lincoln Logs in the toilet for realism. Nice.
 Here is Jeffrey's pile of reading. He has been working an obscene amount of hours on his Senior Design Project, designing a replacement heat exchanger for a power plant in Kentucky. His reading list includes such page turners as 'Vector Mechanics for Engineers,' and the big one on the bottom, 'Mechanical Design of Heat Exchangers' which was written by the owner and VP of his company. As we speak, he is giving his final presentation which I am sure is going swimmingly. We can't wait to have him back as a member of the family again!
 The other morning when I was out tending to the chickens, Tyler got his pants a little muddy. He told me they were dirty and I told him we would change them when we went in. He took matters into his own hands, channeling his Auntie Rachel, where he dropped his drawers and 'washed' them in the rainwater in my garden cart.
 Where's this kid's mother? He's out in a saggy diaper washing his own pants. Some people!
 Mom showed up to 'do the deed' straight from her day job as a counselor. Have you ever seen such a sassy (chicken) assassin? Mom is a counselor, and I told her she probably should keep her nighttime activities on the DL!
Here it is, the picture that has been passed around for the past 15 years or so. It may be getting a little faded by now, but He's still in the original plastic wrap. I must say it is one of the most entertaining $1 investments I have made.
  • And the rest of the randomness (also known as the longest post ever)......
  • Well, the deed has been done. Katie will probably be in therapy in 20 years. She was very sad about her chicken, and was up til after 9:30 crying on and off. Then she asked where it was. an Amazon box sitting on the dryer? (I didn't actually tell her that, but its true. I don't want any predators finding it before trash day and thinking that chicken is tasty.)  I tried to explain to her that it was sick and suffereing and might get the other chickens sick but I think all she heard was 'bla, bla, bla, we killed your favorite chicken...' James requested the feet, because we are high-class like that. If you're lucky I'll make another post about the wonder that is a chicken foot.
  • Yesterday I found two baby carrots shoved inside the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. I also found a half eaten (including half the core) apple in the bottom of my purse. That would explain the large cloud of fruit flies that's been following me around! ;)
  • Today was my day to teach preschool. Not sure who gets more excited, me or the kids. I was surfing the internet last night and found a build your own snowman craft that was too cute. I ditched the pipe cleaner/bead snowflakes and cut out felt snowman parts. I was scrounging around in the dark last night finding twigs for the arms. We also worked in the googly eyes...everything is better with googly eyes! As seems to be the norm for me, we went off our schedule in order to fit in the activities. There are just too many fun things to do, and not enough time!
  • Now this might fall into the category of TMI for those of you who don't have kids, but Tyler actually peed IN THE TOILET today. I was thrilled! While part of me wishes I had some sort of perpetual snuggly baby around forever, I would be quite happy to stop buying diapers. I have already decided that potty training will only happen when Tyler wants it to happen, so I am hoping the interest remains.

Random (Part 896.29)

  • James started back to school on Monday after 9 days off. It's sure easy to get out of a routine, but also nice to find it again.
  • Big Martha is coming along nicely. She was in lock-down for a while, but today she is back with the girls and I have been watching them closely and there seems to be no pecking. She is keeping to herself though. 
  • Chicken Dumpling is sick. Well, now she is acting fine, but yesterday she was all twisted up and could barely stand and had no balance. It has been recommended that she be 'culled,' the nice way of saying killed. She still hasn't laid any eggs and she seems like she is 'not all there' anyway, so after yesterday's episode it seems that she has serious issues. I tried to psych myself up to 'do the deed,' but Jeff failed to provide any sort of moral support (AKA 'They're your chickens, you do it!') and I didn't feel like I can do it myself yet. Thankfully, my mom is coming over later today to do the deed. Maybe if I watch it enough times I will be able to do it myself. Not that I want to, but I feel like I should be able to should the need arise. Now that you have lost your lunch, I will change the subject. (You're welcome! :)
  • Over the weekend, I had the most hilarious interchange with a neighbor. He came over to talk to Jeff and I saw him outside. I decided to go out and offer him some of the incredibly decadent 6 layer salted caramel chocolate cake I made for Thanksgiving because it really shouldn't be consumed in more than small doses. He accepted, of course. I turned around to go get some cake and I heard him say (now mind you he is in his late 60's, early 70's) "Hey, you've got great buns!" Now, we talk to this neighbor all the time and never has he said anything like this. I wasn't quite sure what in the world was going on. I turned around to see Jeff standing behind him, cracking up. I started laughing. The neighbor said "I have no idea how you get them so light and fluffy!" Well, I'll tell you, buddy, not just anyone can have buns as light and fluffy as me. Seriously though, it was then I realized that he meant the cinnamon rolls I had brought them the day before. I busted out laughing so hard I had to turn around and walk into the house. I later asked Jeff if he thought that the neighbor ever caught on to what he said, and Jeff said no, he didn't catch it. Too bad for him, because it has given us a bunch of laughs since then.
  • James informed me today that when he burps or farts and I am not there, he says 'Excuse Me' to God. That cracked me right up! I asked him if God told him 'You're excused, goof ball' and he said yes. That kid is a nut.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not Soon Forgotten: A Thanksgiving To Remember

This Thanksgiving could be remembered by the fun time spent with family and friends. It could be remembered by the epic dessert table, including plum torte, blueberry pie, and a six-layer salted caramel chocolate cake. Perhaps we could remember this Thanksgiving by the beautiful weather, or the multiple rounds of marshmallow gun fights. It could be remembered by those things....but it probably won't be. No, this Thanksgiving will likely go down on the record books as the year of The Great Thanksgiving Poop-tastrophy. It all started innocently enough. My brother nailed me with a marshmallow gun and I took off after him. We were chasing each other around the yard at top speed. Nate ran around the side of the house and I thought I would have him cornered. Instead, at the last minute, he decided to jump the fence. I lunged for him, he didn't quite manage to clear the fence and instead took the entire fence OUT, like pulled out of the ground out. I was laughing so hard, mid-air, and I fell to the ground still cracking up. I rolled over and realized that I had landed right in a stinking pile o' dog poo. Sorry, folks, but there's really no way to sugar coat that one. It was pretty much the grossest thing ever. There were some (un)helpful suggestions that it can't really be that bad, because after all, 'you deal with kid poo all day.' Au contraire! First of all, kid poop is removed from cute little kid butts. Yes, it stinks, but not nearly as bad as a dog's. And it doesn't come in quantities large enough to pass for elephant dung. Also, last time I checked, I don't roll in it. If Henry the dog were not so darn cute, he would have plummeted in poopularity with me. (har, har!!) After going home to bathe myself in Purell and more Purell, I returned to the festivities in fresh attire. The awesome part is that we invited some friends from our church (also from our preschool co-op). It was great. Nothing like having new guests over, then impressing them by chasing my brother all over the place and rolling in dog poo. It gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about it. Not! Note to self: Never, ever, get a dog!!!

If you don't mind a little poop humor, here are a few titles I considered for this blog post:

And They Called It Poopy Love
Scattered Thoughts About Thanksgiving
Who Dung It? A Riveting Thanksgiving Tale
A Tale of Sibling Love: So Fascinating and Heartwarming It'll Have You Hanging on Every Turd

OK, OK! I'll stop now...:) My mother has probably disowned me by now! ha! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chicken Emergency

Yesterday I was herding the chickens back into their enclosed run when I noticed that Big Martha was bleeding. She is the flightiest of our chickens, and it was a pain to catch her. When I did I found that she had a pretty big gash on the end of her back, about 1" by 2". It was really gross. I couldn't figure out what in the world could have happened. They were only out for an hour and Jeff was sitting at the kitchen table and didn't hear any squawking. I took her inside and wrapped her up in a towel so she couldn't flap her wings. She was actually pretty calm. Jeff helped me hold her while I washed out the wound and used hydrogen peroxide and neosporin. I tried to wrap it up but of course she was having none of that. After talking to my friend Linda, we think it was a skunk that attacked her from behind. We have had skunks in our neighborhood in the daytime, which according to the Animal Control people is not out of the ordinary and does not mean they are rabid. Linda said that skunks are vicious and nasty and really bad around chickens. Now Big Martha has to be on chicken lock-down because the others peck at the wound, the chicken version of kicking someone while they are down. She will have to stay caged up til she gets better. I made her a little living space which we have dubbed the 'double wide trailer,' which is two storage bins zip-tied together with an opening between them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Life And Times Of A PK

Today I was talking with some peeps from church and I discovered that I was talking to a former pastor. We got on the subject of being a 'PK' (Pastor's Kid) and the interesting shenanigans that PK's get involved in. It got me thinking about some amusing times, so here are a few things I remember, in no particular order:
  • When my brother tried to use the 'I didn't bring my Bible because we don't have Bibles in our house' excuse (There was also the 'There was lots of traffic on the way to church and that's why I was late' excuse.) 
  • The time my brother tied my dress to the chair. When we stood up to sing my dress ripped (fortunately not too much).
  • Playing hangman on the back of the bulletin with my Mom during Dad's sermons
  • Drawing people in the middle of church (the backs of their heads) and making Mom guess who it was
  • I once drew a detailed portrait of Evora Rippy, complete with her yellow polka-dotted polyester blouse, polyester pants, and ever-present corset (Yes, that was her real name)
  • Moving all the chairs to the side of the sanctuary and bring our boombox down. My friend Kim tried to teach me to line dance late at night in the church sanctuary.
  • During my childhood years, I believe I folded and stuffed approximately 16, 482 bulletins, give or take.
  • When we lived in California, we figured out that we could break in to the church nursery window, climb through, and run down the hall to disarm the alarm before it went off. (Side Note: The secret code was the reference to one of Mom's favorite verses)
  • We could do a mean impression of Dave Epps or Mel Dietz praying.
  • I once found a portrait of a black Jesus with dreadlocks and light shining down from heaven on him. It was so amusing, and I bought it just so I could sneak into my Dad's office before the Sunday morning prayer meeting and hang it up. It was awesome, and black Jesus has been circulating back and forth ever since.
  • Once, at the pastors' conference we went to every year, my brother, myself and a few fellow PK rebels bought magnetic nose rings on the boardwalk. We waited til all the pastors and their families were gathered in the dining hall for lunch, and we sauntered in to see what reaction I got. I think we raised a few eyebrows, but if I remember correctly my parents weren't fooled. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Argh, Matey!

I think Tyler might be on the verge of re-discovering that he can climb out of his crib. I say 're-discovered' because a while back he figured it out but I think he forgot or gave up after he had fallen on his head a few times. Now, he can climb out or stand up on the crib rail to look out the window. This can't be good. Any of you who know the mini-beast know that he is, uh...energetic? Translated: the kid is nuts. I can only imagine that teaching him that he has to actually stay in his bed for naps and bedtime is going to require the patience of a monk. Just last night, he decided to chuck his beans off his plate because he didn't want them. I told him to pick them up and put them back on his plate. I got a loud 'NO!!!!' I told him he either needed to pick up his beans, or sit in timeout til he was ready. It went on for 45 minutes. Seriously. He wasn't crying or screaming, just stubbornly refusing to pick up even one bean. He just sat there. Finally, he nonchalantly went over the table and picked up the beans and.....ate them!!! Recently a friend of mine watched him along with the other preschool siblings, and I always have to ask how he did. She said he was a little rough and had to take some time outs, but that he was so pleasant. Yes! That's how he operates. He can be such a stinker, but so darn sweet too. All that said, the imminent transition from crib to bed has me a little leery. Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll forget again that he knows how to escape his crib. Ha!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

*Public Service Announcement*

James has lost his first tooth!! He is so excited it is hilarious. He came running out of his room last night holding it in the air and jumping up and down. You'd think he won the lottery. He called Chappy to tell him the good news, then we told him he actually needed to sleep at some point. Now he is working on wiggling another one loose. It is hanging on, but just barely. I'll post pictures of the new gap as soon as I can get a decent picture of him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Everyday Pictures

James has been back into blocks lately. Here is one creation he was particularly proud of. He benevolently flashed me one of his nicest expressions, as you can see.

We had our friends Jenni and Danny over on Sunday, and our girls loved playing together. They got dressed up as princesses and some sheer curtains so they could get married. The groom? Joann's little brother, Armando. He was not interested in the proceedings.

Leaves at Grammy and Chappy's house (everything is more fun at their house!)

Can you handle the deliciousness?!

Good thing the little stinker is so cute! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lowly Worm

Tyler really likes Richard Scarry books, with a particular interest in Lowly Worm and Huckle (cat). I decided to make him a stuffed Lowly and Huckle for Christmas. Lowly is made from felt with some sort of electrical wiring inside of him, courtesy of Jeff. The wire makes him completely pose-able! Wee! I finished off his hat with a feather I scrounged from the chicken coop. You can check out the gory details on my craft blog, in case you have the random urge to create a stuffed worm yourself. :)

In other news, Jeff called today to tell me he was cruising through the ghetto near Temple University (bad neighborhood) when he saw two white horses tied up in an abandoned lot between row houses, grazing on the weeds. How weird is that?!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Every Cowboy Needs a Horse (An Ode To Patty, The Stickhorse)

James and Patty
Since James has been a very wee lad, he has been into everything cowboy/farm/horse. He was about 18 months old when he found a pair of cowboy boots in the closet. They were hand-me-downs from my 6 year old nephew. He didn't care that they were way too big. He insisted on wearing them every day, until  his Auntie bought him a pair that actually fit. He has since gone through many pairs of boots, two pairs of chaps, a plethora of Wranglers and Western shirts. Never has he strayed from his interests. In fact, he thinks dinosaurs and Super Heroes are boring and 'dumb'. When he was about two, I found a stick horse at a yard sale for about a buck. It had already been loved, but it was still in nice shape. Little did I know that my $1 stick horse would be used and loved for another 4 good years. 'Patty,' as she was called (from Laura Ingalls) has been through a lot. She has been left in the yard, fought over by visiting friends, and suffered more than her fair share of injuries. It is always tricky when we have friends over, because to James, Patty is not a toy. She is his horse. He don't take too kindly to someone wanting to ride his horse. Usually Patty ended up being put away til the company left. For quite some time, James would tether her to the end of his bed, in her 'pasture', and leave her grass to eat when he went to bed. He would stop at the creek when we took a walk to 'water' her. He would pick her 'hay' (grass) in the yard. He turned the playhouse into his stable. Patty was well loved, and (usually) well taken care of. In an unfortunate turn of events, Patty recently found herself in need of a transplant. You see, her stick was battered, bent and sticking out of the fabric. I performed the surgery and gave her a new implant. It worked, for a while. Over time, the implant started coming out again. Around the same time, Patty's harness broke and her insides started coming outside. Her battery pack was hanging forlornly out of a seam. While technically I probably could have fixed her, it was more effort than I cared to expend on poor Patty. James, however, was not happy about the lack of a horse. He needed a horse, and stat!! I headed to the Devil's Lair, also known as Toys R Us. (I hate that place!!) I found a box o' stick horses, and picked through until I found one that I thought was semi-decent. (Why does everything have to be made of plastic and break in 3 days?!) I was hoping that James could except this replacement for his beloved Patty. I was a little skeptical. It was sure not love at first sight. He looked at her, turned her around, and was kind of indifferent. I talked her up, and he eventually came around. He took her out in the yard for a gallop. She threw him off. He declared her 'faster than Patty.' Now, he and the new stick horse are in the 'getting to know you' stage. He says he has to get used to her. You know, they have to learn to work together, the man and his horse. Since Saturday, James and the new horse have had barrel races, bucking rides, and time in the barn. Yesterday, he declared that she is a he, and his name is Little Red. Phew! He has accepted the new stick horse as his own. Sorry, Patty. I will put your disemboweled carcass to rest in James' memory box, right next to the tiny cowboy boots and mini-Wranglers.

P.S. We are watching Sid the Science Kid's show about recycling, and they showed what looked disturbingly like a bottle of Crown Royal in the glass recycling bin. Why???

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Change O' Plans

Despite having lots of plans for the week, we are all hanging out at home still in our jammies. The kids all have a cold, nothing really bad, but James and Katie have pink eye. I am pretty sure Tyler is working on a case of his own, so I am also giving him the drops. Our nice doctor prescribed drops that I could use for all the kids. Giving eye drops to three kids is something special, I tell ya! It involves pinning down flailing arms and legs, prying open eyelids and trying to make a single drop of medicine go in their actual eye. My copay for one teeny, tiny bottle was $35 so each drop probably costs me about $2. Ha!  Despite their sickness, they are quite active and in need of entertainment. My goals for today involve keeping them alive, possibly entertained, making some bread, a nap-time skype date, and finishing a bendable Lowly Worm doll for Tyler's Christmas present. (How's that for a random craft to make!) We'll see how it goes...

Monday, November 07, 2011

A Space Of His Own

In the past several months, James has been getting more and more frustrated at the lack of his own space. The kind of space where he could set things up just the way he wanted without his younger siblings trashing it. Since we don't have a lot of space, I thought there was just no remedy for the situation. It dawned on me one day that I could probably use the space under my stairs. I moved the stuff that was in there up into Katie's closet, and we turned the closet under the stairs into an 'office' for James. He loves it! He has a library that he has carefully arranged and labeled. Each book has a number on it that corresponds with the shelf that it belongs on. We are allowed to check out books. He will also make recommendations on what he thinks we would like to read. He has also carefully decorated his mini-man-cave with his favorite memorabilia: cap guns, his drawings, and his firetruck turned eraser holder. Having this space seems to be a big boost for him. If he is having a rough time, he will often disappear into his office to do a little 'work' and have a little time to himself.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

One Of Our Favorite Places

On Saturday, Jeff had a lot of school work to do. It involved equations so crazy they include Greek symbols and require multiple pages just to house one equation. My brain hurts just thinking about it. He needed a little peace and quiet, so I loaded up the kids and hauled them off on an adventure. We first went to the feed store, you pick up a 50 pound bag of layer feed. I love the feed store and I'm glad I have an excuse to go there. It is one of those crammed-to-the-gills-with-stuff places where the people are actually friendly. After scoring ourselves some chicken pellets, we went to the Covered Bridge. It was a busy day, and we spotted lots of horses, which of course made James' day. I also took along a picture frame to play around taking the kids' pictures. I am so out of practice with photography, but I am not going to worry about it. Tyler made sure to get as close as possible to every drop-off he could find, just to give me a heart attack, I'm sure. The kids loved to run in the wide open spaces and play in the tall grass. Of course, it made me wish for the milltionth time that we had ourselves a big piece of land somewhere.

Friday, November 04, 2011

As Usual: Pictures I Should Have Posted Last Week

Katie playing outside early in our October snow storm. Notice that she is wearing footie pajamas, rubber boots, and Tyler's coat. I REFUSE to dig out the winter gear already!

James the Cowboy (or the Gold Miner..ha, ha!) at his Halloween Parade. This is the view he gave me when he walked past. Nice...

Look! He took his finger out of his nose long enough to give me a courtesy smile.
(As usual I am posting pictures way past the time of their actual relevance. Oi! Better late than never.)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Tyler Has Chicken ESP

Yesterday I heard that Tyler had woken from his nap. I went in there to get him and he quickly climbed up on the railing of his crib and stuck his face through the curtains. He kept pointing and saying something, over and over. I realized he was saying 'chicky outside, Mom, chicky outside.' I had let them out into their bigger (but fenced in) area, so I just nodded my head in agreement and got him off the crib rail. As soon as I put him down he went running for the backdoor, again saying 'chicky outside, Mom!!!!!!!' I followed him out to see what he would do and he made a beeline for my garden and went around the corner. There was Pippy, who had apparently flown over the fence in search of greener pastures. I have no idea if he heard her from his room or if he saw her out the window, but he just knew that she was out. He scooped her right up to put her back with the others. I think he may have a future career someday as a chicken whisperer. I hear there is a high demand for those these days. :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

'School' Day for Katie

 Last week was my week to teach our little preschool group, and I used it as an excuse to do as many fun crafts as possible! Are you surprised? We made leaf prints in model magic clay, painted jack-o-lantern candle jars, and painted backgrounds for their silhouettes. We also read two really fun books, Harold and the Purple Crayon and Are You My Mother?. It was quite a lot of fun!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Where's My Vacation?

This weekend was crazy. Friday night we took the kids to a hockey game in Trenton, NJ. Jeff's coworker gave us tickets to go. We parked in a shady parking lot in the shadow on the NJ prison. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy. The kids found it highly amusing every time the players would crash into the walls or each other. We left half way through the hockey game when the kids started to get tired. On Saturday, we had snow. In October. Yikes! Sunday was pretty much uneventful (if I remember correctly...its all blurring together now). Oh, yes, I did sew an entire western shirt for James. Then, Halloween. Yes. James went as a cowboy (surprise!), Katie as a princess (again...surprise!!) and Tyler went as....himself. Until, that is, I recruited Jeff to strong-arm him into a cute pumpkin costume. It was actually pretty funny to see a spitting mad little munchkin running around screaming in a pumpkin costume. He finally got over it when we waved a tootsie roll in front of him. We took the kids to a few neighbors to trick-or-treat then came home and went to bed. And that's when it started. Tyler cried and screamed pretty much the whole night. I don't know if he got any sleep, which means I didn't either. I have no idea if it was candy-overload, too much excitement, something scary, or what. All I know is that now, I need a vacation. Somewhere where I can sleep uninterrupted for a whole night.