Monday, January 30, 2012

Fun And Mysterious Weekend

We had quite the weekend. Saturday morning James and I went to meet this lady from Craigslist to buy a bike. A like-new bike for $16!!! Saturday evening we dropped the kids off at Grammy and Chappy's while we went to a Murder Mystery Party. It was so much fun! I think we laughed more there than we have in a while. At the last minute, Jeff decided to layer three crazy shirts and mysteriously change shirts throughout the evening. (For the record, he wore his red ganster shirt, his 100% Kosher shirt, and his Colorado is for Love Hustlers shirt) Every one thought it was scripted and a few people were going nuts trying to figure out why he kept changing. We also got randomly arrested and handcuffed to a chair which was hilarious. It was a lot of fun! The kids also had fun with my parents, and got to go to a real live restaurant where people bring you food in baskets and you get to eat fries. Quite the novelty. We capped off the weekend by going to see friends last night, and I got a bonus lesson in Egg Rolls. It was quite the fun weekend, except that Jeff threw out his back on Saturday morning and could barely move most of the day. Alas, he faked his way through the party somehow and then spent a pretty much sleepless night groaning in pain. I thought I would have to tranquilize him and drag him to the ER, but he survived the night. (He won't even go to the doctor, let alone the ER) Today he is starting to feel a little better so hopefully he'll be pain-free soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On The Ranch With Jeff: Feeding The Cows And The Time I Almost Killed A Horse

When Jeff lived on the ranch, he learned to drive a stick shift the hard way. His uncle took him out in the middle of a pasture, got out and walked home. Jeff was left to figure things out. If this had happened to me, I would have sat down in the pasture and cried. Then I would have made some dandelion chains and called it a day. But I happen to think that men have a certain mechanical aptitude that I personally do not possess. Jeff figured things out that day, and it became his job to feed the cows. The ranch truck was one of those hot-wired numbers where you have to hop on your left leg three times, say a hail Mary and start 'er up. Jeff would load it up with hay and head off toward the pasture. The main difficulty with this operation was that being two places at once is not on Jeff's list of skills and capabilities. This problem was remedied by a clever trick that they had been using for years. When he reached the pasture, he would point the truck uphill, put it in gear and get out. He would hop on the back of the truck and begin tossing hay down to the cows. Each bale was bound by two wires, which had to be cut and carefully tracked. Apparently cows can eat the wire along with the hay** and as you can imagine, that doesn't go over too well with the cow's digestive system. If he ended up with an odd number of wires he would have to jump off and find it. All the while, the truck would chug its way up the pasture, oblivious to any obstacles in its way. Whenever the truck was approaching a boulder, Jeff would have to jump off the truck and reach in the window to redirect the truck. Then he would hop back up and drop some more hay. How's that for a summer job?

**Speaking of animals swallowing dangerous things...true story...when I was in high school I had a friend who had horses. Technically speaking, they were her step mom's horses. One afternoon we took them out for a ride. I still don't know if this was actually sanctioned by the step mom, or if my friend took advantage of her absence to go for a ride. Regardless, we saddled up both horses and went for a ride in the woods. We came across a creek and my friend said she was going to see if she could get her horse to jump the creek first, and then mine would follow. As I waited for her to coax her horse over, my horse was happily grazing away. My friend jumped the creek and turned around to call me across. When she saw my horse grazing, she began to spout off a multitude of words that are in no way kosher for this blog. I was flabbergasted because I had no idea why she was freaking out that the horse was grazing. As it turns out, my horse was eating star thistles which are bad. Very bad. Apparently there is the potential for the horse to die. My friend is explaining all this to me, peppered with a whole list of expletives. I felt terrible. We coaxed the horse across the creek and raced home. When we got there, my friend stuck a hose down the horses throat to wash them away (not sure if this is the preferred method...). I very vividly remember her reaching her arm down the horses throat feeling around for the thistles. She kept saying how her step mother would kill her if something happened to the horse. It was pretty tense. For the next few days I was on edge, hoping that nothing happened to the horse. Fortunately nothing did and I don't think she ever told her step mom.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hymns and a Broken Bike

James' bike broke on the way to school yesterday. The seat just cracked and eventually fell off. I can't complain. It was a hand-me-down from his buddy Noah, and he has used a lot in the two years he's had it. The tires were bald and it was getting too small. For now, James will be without his beloved wheels til we can find something suitable for him. I think he will go into withdrawals if I don't find one soon. Craigslist, here I come!

In other news, the kids love hymns which makes me very happy! James will bring me one of my hymn books and sit with me while I sing song after song. I happen to collect hymn books, and have a real church pew in my house...from the church I grew up going to, and the church I got married in. It is my favorite piece of furniture. Anywho....back to the hymns. Sometimes James plays along with his harmonica. At night, the kids usually revolt if I don't sing them a few verses of Amazing Grace. They sing along, getting some of the words right and singing their little hearts out. Its one of my favorite things ever!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Miscellaneous

I have been suffering the affects of a pesky cold that flew right through the rest of the family and hung onto me like nobody's business. It has left me with a bit of dizzyness from having blocked up ears, and I am ready for it to be gone. Today was Jeff's first day of Applied Fluid Mechanics, so I am on my own with three cooped-up rambunctious kids. Fortunately my Mom took pity on me and had us over for a little while so that was a nice break! In other news, I have decided that it is time to have a major reckoning with my pantry and freezer. I have this strange thing about not opening anything I canned/froze til after Christmas. With the exception of jam and salsa, I try to save stuff for the dead of winter when we need something nice to eat. I really need to loosen up on that rule, because we have a ton of stuff hanging out in the garage. Don't be jealous, but I think I have about 2 gallons of frozen rhubarb left in my freezer! Oh, yeah! So, for next month's menu I guess I should incorporate all the loveliness that is in my pantry. I shall bust out all my recipes calling for rhubarb and roasted peppers, and I'll be forced to make Spiced Apple Coffee Cake. Its going to be rough, but someone's got to eat all this food!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

And A Good Time Was Had By All (Except Maybe The Chicken)

This morning we woke up to snow. It just so happened to be the perfect 'wet' snow, great for snowballs and sledding. (This was before we got a layer of ice pellets) After locating approximately 92 pieces of winter clothing and real matching pairs of gloves (!), the kids and I headed out to play. We got the sleds and headed off to the greenbelt. When we were almost there someone ran up behind us yelling. It was Jeff trying to scare us. He had thrown on his snow clothes and followed us. We had so much fun!! We had both a saucer and a toboggan at our disposal and I think we sledded in just about every configuration possible. Jeff and Tyler, Katie and James, me and Katie...you get the point. We had the hill all to ourselves and we made the most of it. Jeff accidentally performed a pretty sweet stunt. He was flying down the hill on the saucer and hit a bump. He flew up in the air, did a 360 degree flip, landed and kept going. Tyler went down solo in the toboggan and hit Katie, who fell over onto the sled and flew down with him. While Jeff and I had loads of fun sledding, it appears that we exceeded the weight limit on the saucer and it met its demise.  We decided to tempt fate and ride down together on the toboggan. It remained unscathed, but we ended up landing in a patch of brambles where I managed to cut my finger on a thorn. To add to the injury rate, James got a bloody lip and Tyler's little ankle got rubbed raw from his snow boots. Hey, we had a 40% safety rate...that's good right? We spent the rest of the day playing in the yard, and doing fun crafty projects and baking inside. Oh, and we took the chicken sledding. I think the only reason she stayed on the sled was because she was scared of the snow. I can just imagine someday when the kids are older, sitting around saying 'Remember when we took that chicken sledding...yeah, we sure did some strange things to entertain ourselves!' :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Random


Random Picture of the Day: Our Botched Tissue Paper Hot Air Balloon

  • Sleep...I need some! Tyler kicks off his blankets many times each night, and each time he whimpers and cries until I put them back on. If I don't get there quick enough, he wakes Katie up. She is not pleasant in the middle of the night, and that further wakes Tyler up. After dressing him warmly and tucking him in again before we go to bed, I just think he likes the feel of blankets over him...which is really annoying for me.
  • James is back in school today. The strike is over for now. He seemed to be happy to go back, although I know he had fun at home too.
  • The chickens have been 'boking' at each other a lot the last few mornings. Yesterday I finally went out to see what was going on, and it seemed that it was rush hour at the nesting boxes. Patience, girls! Patience! Every now and then I threaten them with the stew pot, but it doesn't seem to have an affect.
  • Having a supply of pretty brown and blue eggs makes up for the minor annoyance of bickering chickens.
  • We might actually get snow tomorrow. Aside from a small amount in October, we've got nothing so far. 
  • Jeff starts class tonight...Production Tooling! Doesn't that sound scintillating?
  • I am just about finished with a skirt which has taken actual brain power to complete, apparently brain power I am not accustomed to using. It wasn't hard, per se, but the directions were like deciphering a foreign language. I guess it is a European pattern after all. 
  • James is ordinarily a good helper, and yesterday he decided to go all out. He helped me watch the little boys at preschool, he picked and help make a recipe for the kids' snack (all his own idea), and...drumroll please....he did the dishes! Oh, yes, I could get used to that! Me thinks some lessons are in order, as he put the bowls in with lids still on, but heck...who cares! He did the dishes, and I think I might have to work that into the rotation more often. Maybe I could teach Tyler to do the laundry?! ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rainy Day

Its raining today. Still no snow, and I must say I am ready for some. The kids have been wishing for snow so they can use their new saucer. This morning our furnace died again. Thank God Jeff got it running again. The 'people' are coming out tomorrow to fix it up. We made the appointment almost three weeks ago and that's the first day they could come out! Crazy. Due to the rain, we are having a cozy day mostly at home. We made a quick run to the library for a 'few' books, and came out with a whole stack as usual. I love the library! The kids also entertained themselves this morning by wrapping themselves in blankets 'so they can't see'and sliding down the stairs. It reminded me of the time that my siblings and I got a hold of a dishwasher-sized box and took turns sending each other down the stairs in it. After a round or two, we got smart and padded the box with sleeping bags. I think we did that until we wore the box out, or maybe gave Mom a headache with all the thumping and screaming. After their escapades with the stairs, James and Tyler took turns throwing each other a ball. It was one of those rare moments where I felt like calling Norman Rockwell in...it was so picture perfect and they were getting along so nicely. I love those moments! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spontaneous Adventure


For the last few years, I have been wanting to visit the Pennsylvania Farm Show. For various reasons, we haven't been able to go. This year, I totally forgot about it until I talked to a friend who was going. Turns out there was only a few days left, so we Jeff and I decided to take the kids on Friday. He took the day off and we took our clueless but excited children on a ride to Harrisburg. We didn't tell them where we were going until the car doldrums kicked in and the kids got antsy. They were pretty excited. Apparently they are having record attendance this year, so we had to park offsite (along with a million other people) and take a bus. A bus!!!! If you are 2, 4 and 6 years old, a bus is so much fun! Jeff found he no longer fits nicely in a bus, but that's what you get when you are 6'4" tall. 


The farm show is in a HUGE indoor complex. The website boasts 6000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and two indoor arenas. We all enjoyed the Hitch and Pull show, where they had various draft horses come in and show off, mostly pulling some type of wagon. Katie was complete enthralled with the Cinderella coach, and James loved the covered wagon. The black horse on the bottom left was my favorite. It had the most beautiful and jingly harnesses on, and it had a beautiful way of running (prancing?).


The chickens! After lunch, the kids were super tired and the chickens were allllllll the way across the complex. I told Jeff we should just go, but he knew I wanted to see them so he said we should go see them. It was really cool. Now I know of two more kinds of chickens I want to get, and that I never want to raise a turkey. Those things are even bigger than I thought, and honestly they kind of scare me! The rooster on the top left was unbelievably tiny, even though you can't tell by the picture. The rooster in the bottom left was gigantic, although the picture doesn't do it justice. It was a Jersey Giant and I would not want to meet up with it in a dark alley. 


We visited the goats and sheep. I'll take one (or 6) of each, please! And a farm to go with it. The boys also loved sitting on the tractors they had everywhere. 


The food court was spectacular! Every 'council' was there promoting their own delicious food. There was the dairy council, the potato council (potato doughnuts, anyone?), the beef council, etc. After hitting up the dairy dudes for some 'toasted cheese sandwiches,' (is that what they call them in PA?) we bought the kids some whoopie pies. Whoopie pies, as far as I know are a Pennsylvania Amish thing. I don't really like them (except when I made these...oh, they were so good!!) The kids, however, loved them mainly because they are a) huge, b) sweet, and c) they each got their very own. For myself I visited my Maple Syrup peeps and bought myself a Maple Frozen Yogurt. It was so good it was ridiculous! 


Yes, we let the kids eat on the floor, the very floor where surely cows had trodden only hours before. The place was packed and there was not a table to be found anywhere. I tried to keep Tyler from putting his pie on the floor, with mixed results.


P.S. There is saran wrap under Katie's treat...just so you know :)

James was fascinated by the fact that the tire was taller than Jeff!

As you can see, we had a lot of fun. On the way out, we stopped at one last exhibit and got to talking with a Dairy guy. He was so darn interesting and we learned a lot. There was this huge yellow brush (like a bottle brush, only about 15 inches wide) on a fixture on the wall next to his dairy cow. I asked him what it was, and he said that when the cow goes up to it, it starts spinning and scratches her back and cleans her coat. He said the happier the cow, the more milk she gives. I'd say that is a very spoiled cow! He also told us that most dairies are using robots to milk now. The cows go in on their own. They have a tag that the robot recognizes, and it sends the information to the computer along with the amount of milk, time, etc.. This way they can track each individual cow and there is a lot less work involved. Who knew! And one more fascinating bit of trivia (or not) that I learned...I asked him why the show cows in the Dairy barn had such full bags. I felt sorry for them. One girl was actually icing down her cow's udders. According to the guy, they do that for show, even though its not very good on the poor mama cows. There you have it! Useful and exciting information you can use every day.

Tractor Square Dance



 

This was my favorite event of the farm show. Who ever heard of tractor square dancing! We actually got there about half way through the show, but it was still awesome. A caller calls out the moves and the tractors follow. Some of the guys had skirts hanging from their tractor seats like they were ladies dressed up for the dance. It is amazing how close they stay to one another without a collision. In the first video, you can see they formed a big 'X' for their finale. After they finished, the caller said 'Now they don't know I'm going to do this to them, but they all need to turn around and do that the other way.' They all shook their heads and then did it anyway. They all made tight little turns and faced the opposite direction in formation without crashing into each other.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Randomness Complete With Pictures!


Yesterday for Art Lessons we did life sized self portraits. I traced each kid on their paper and they went to town adding details. The only bad part about this project is what the heck do you do with a life-sized self portrait? Hide it in the garage until they forget about it? Hmm...


The boys have been wrestling more lately. The funny part is that Tyler can take James out. He just runs full force into James and tackles him.

Katie and Chappy: Cute!!

James and Chappy! Cute, Cute!

And both boys with Chappy: cute, cute, cute!

Is there anything more adorable than a boy in an earflap hat and a boy in a newsboy cap? Yes. A boy with an earflap had and a boy with a newsboy cap holding hands while swinging!

  • And now for the random drivel news:
  • I have a headache. I think it has something to do with the fact that Tyler screamed at the top of his lungs almost the whole way home from preschool. It was awesome. For whatever reason, the last two weeks he has been having issues leaving preschool and it gets ugly. I actually rolled the windows down hoping that it would help with the sound. Katie was upset and wailing loudly, and I wanted to stop the car and run for my life. (Is that terrible to say?)
  • I'm not going to mention any names or anything, but the people who bring their kids here (starts with an S, ends with a chwartz)  for art lessons really need to take more pictures of their beautiful, adorable, prodigy, gorgeous, genius children, because when they come here they beg me incessantly  to take pictures of them! ;0)
  • We still haven't got 'official' word for when the strike will be over. Geez! How long does it take to figure out. There was a news article today that said the strike will be over on the 20th, so we'll see if that's accurate. 
  • Jeff starts class next week! (Not sure that is an exclamation of excitement or terror..ha!) After this semester he'll be done. Happy dance!!
And one more thing? Did you know that chickens have such luxuriously fluffy butts?  Don't say I never taught you anything! 






Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Change In Routine

Now that we are not spending our mornings getting James to and fro from school, I have to come up with a new rhythm for our days. This morning we ate breakfast, watched a cartoon, played with playdough, painted huge paintings, cleaned up the resulting mess, and played in the living room. And then it was 9 o'clock. I think I need to come up with a list of adventures and rainy day projects to do. There has yet to be an announcement as to how long the strike will last, so I have no idea how long James will be home. The funny thing is that last week when I dropped James off at school, I was thinking about how I missed having him at home and the adventures we can go on when he is. (All you mothers with school kids can laugh at me now! :) I guess I got my wish!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Trespassing: A Tale From The Franch


I was perusing ye old Franch files and found a few stories I forgot to post. Here is one:

 It was like a scene right out of a movie. I’ll do my best here to paint an adequate picture for you. It all started back at the farm. We spent all summer fixing up Jeff’s old Chevy pick-up. When Jeff had no farm work to do, we’d pull the truck up outside the shop and work. Sometimes we’d work at his Mom’s house too. The truck had significant rust damage, and let’s just say we used way more Bondo and duct tape than is recommended to restore the thing back to its original beauty. It was that summer that I earned the title of ‘Bondo Queen.’ I would do the Bondo and Jeff did the sanding. Anyway, after a summer of fixing up the truck, we had it painted. It sure turned out purdy. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Jeff was a poor college student commuting to and from school almost an hour each way, he decided to sell the truck and get something more fuel efficient. After all the work we had put into that truck, we decided to take it for one last hoo-rah. After all, that truck had gone on many a four-wheeling trip and had always served Jeff well. We decided to head out on Highway 6 &50, past Mack, and see where it went. We had never been much past the highly-esteemed Colorado Club. (Also known as the last stop on the edge of the edge, a seedy bar that attracted some really, shall we say, ‘interesting’ characters) To give you an idea of where we were, Mack is a town where there is all of 30 or so Post Office boxes. It is on the edge of the valley and consists of some very nice people and some very strange people. Like nudists, meth-heads, and other random assorted oddballs. West of Mack, well, there is a whole lot of nothing. It is only about 6 miles from the Utah border, in the desert. So, we headed off on the highway toward Utah. The highway pretty much disintegrated before our very eyes. The asphalt became more crumbly and patchy, and it was clear that the road was not frequently traveled or maintained. Somewhere around the Utah line, we decided to turn South. We just steered off the road onto BLM land and decided to see what was out there. We drove for several miles and of course, didn’t see a soul or any sign of civilization. Oddly enough, we ended up on some sort of ridge looking down on Rabbit Valley and the main interstate. There was no quick way to get down there, and as we soon realized, it was impossible. We decided to head back in the general direction we came, knowing we would eventually run into the highway. However! As it always seems to work, a fence appeared out of nowhere. A fence that stretched as far as we could see. I have no idea why or how we did not see it coming in, or how we got around it. Knowing we did not have enough gas left for a wild goose chase, we looked to find somewhere to pass through. We managed to find a gate in the barbed wire fence. Hanging at lengths along the fence were rusty old ‘No Trespassing’ signs, serving to ward off hooligans like us. Hanging on the gate was an even larger ‘No Trespassing’ sign, riddled with a few bullet holes seemingly put there for added emphasis. We decided we had no choice but to take our chances and head into whatever lay before us. I hopped out, opened the gate and closed it after the truck. We drove for quite a way before we saw what appeared to be the scene from a movie, off in the distance. There were a few rusty old trailers circled ‘round. There was your standard assortment of dilapidated old cars, surely housing the likes of raccoons, jackrabbits and other wildlife. There were rusty oil drums, broken tractor parts, and various ‘hey-I-might-use-that-someday’ odds and ends strewn about. I quickly told Jeff to slow down so we didn’t stir up too much dust. Nothin’ like trespassing on someone’s land and then stirring up a fit of dust to boot. So, we slowed to a crawl. That gave us time to spot them: three crusty old badgers sitting around in lawn chairs smoking and shooting the breeze. There may have been a can or six of beer sitting out. Clearly, they were sitting outside waiting for a UFO to fly over or something. Instead, they see a trail of dust in the distance, and a old but shiny green pick-up with two young whippersnappers driving up. My concern at this point was that they would take a shoot out one of our tires or something, just for sport and because we were trespassing. I was worried that since they clearly chose to live way beyond civilization, they would also feel beyond civilization's rules. And who wouldn’t want to have a little fun with two scared teenagers dumb enough to get lost and end up on private property with a near-empty gas tank? Jeff and I quickly debated the merits of stopping to explain ourselves vs. driving right past them. It became clear that we were the first human beings that had ventured into them-thar-parts in quite a while, as evidenced by their long stares. Every so often one of them would lean over and spit in the dirt. It really was like a movie, in slow motion. They didn’t take their eyes off of us, or we off them. We crept along, trying not to stir up dust, and decided that the best course of action would be to skip the pleasantries and head for the hills. So we did. We had to pass fairly close to these gents, and as soon as we were well enough past them, we sped up and high-tailed it for the highway. Fortunately, it wasn’t too much longer til we got to the road, and we managed to get to the ‘Last Chance Gas Station’ to fill up before we ran out of gas. That was close!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Strike

Our school district teachers are officially on strike. We are waiting to hear how long they will be allowed to strike before coming back to work. I am not happy with the whole thing. I'll save you from my soap box, but if you are curious you can go here and view a slideshow about it.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

OTRW Jeff

When Jeff first started working at his current job, his coworkers were fascinated with his 'former life' in Colorado. All the stuff that seemed so normal to us was, apparently, very interesting. What?! You haven't skated around a dead steer with your honey? Oh. Back to my story. Jeff's coworkers loved to hear his stories, both of the farm he worked on in high school, and of his Uncle's ranch in Gateway, Colorado. They began to refer to these impromptu story times as 'On The Ranch With Jeff,' or OTRW Jeff for short. I have written about quite a few of our mutual tales from the farm (here), but not much about the ranch. My goal is to pester him  politely ask him to rehash the stories for me so I can record them for posterity. First, some background:

Jeff's Uncle lived and worked on a ranch in Gateway, Colorado, that had been in his family for several generations. Gateway is (was?*) a tiny little community so small that every graduate received a handmade quilt upon their graduation. (There were usually only one or two graduates, maybe three.) The ranch was 1500 acres, situated in a valley and running up to the mountain top. They had about 325 head of cattle. Jeff spent several months living and working on the ranch. He lived with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin Amber.





And now on to the story (sorry...this post is getting out of hand!) Jeff had a new wrist-rocket style sling shot that he was dying to try out. He had found a handful of nuts (as in nuts and bolts) that fit quite nicely in his slingshot. He and his cousin were standing around outside the farm house while the chickens milled about. He saw a white chicken along the ditch bank and decided to take a shot at it. He hit what he was aiming for, and the chicken fell into the ditch. Jeff saw the mortified look on his cousins face and knew that he was in trouble. He was sure the chicken was dead. He ran to the ditch and reached in to grab the chicken. At the moment he reached in that chicken came to, flapping like crazy. It came flying out and scared Jeff half to death. I'm not sure who was more relieved in the end, Jeff or the chicken!


*I think Gateway has grown considerable since we moved, and for certain it has become much for commercialized. The owner of the Discovery channel decided he liked the area and began buying out everyone in sight. He said he wanted to keep the natural character of the place, then proceeded to build a big resort, a huge mansion complete with helicopter pad, and a car museum, among other things. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Garden


I will admit that by the end of September I pretty much had my fill of gardening for the year. I even slacked off in my obsessive habit of weighing everything. My best guess is that we got about 250 pounds of veggies last year. I still have a little parsley and rosemary growing which has been nice. Yet after only a few months of non-gardening, and with the arrival of the seed catalogs, I am going nuts! I want to go out and dig in the dirt and plant seeds and then pick baskets full of food. This winter I am planning on researching cold season plants and growing techniques so I can extend the season. (And I make fun of Jeff for reading books on Thermodyamics and Mechanics of Solids!) Maybe this year will  be the year I actually build a cold frame...we'll see. For now, I will have to be content perusing my seed catalogs and planning away. I asked Jeff what he would think if I turned our front yard into either an orchard or vegetable garden and all I got was an eye roll. I don't think its going to work. I need more space. Hmmm....maybe the neighbor's yard?! :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Let's Not Repeat That

Last night I woke to the sound of our carbon monoxide detector beeping. I smelled oil and the furnace was misbehaving. It was 3:50ish in the morning. I woke Jeff up who promptly shut off the furnace and got to work. I moved the kids upstairs into Katie's room which we have been keeping unheated (she sleeps downstairs right now). It was reaaaaally cold, but mostly free of fumes. We ran the whole house fan, which helped with the fumes but pulled cold air in from outside. Alas, I'd rather be cold than the alternative. I am very thankful right now for carbon monoxide detectors and glad that the furnace is running again too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

After spending the last few weeks basking in the glow of Christmas cheer, I am forced to admit that the party is over. Grandma went home yesterday. James started back to school today. Jeff is back to work. We really enjoyed having family around and checking fun things off our Christmas to-do list. We even made Jesus a birthday cake, albeit a few days after the traditional day. It was quite amusing...Katie helped me with the cake, and she did the frosting and sprinkles. When we were admiring her work, James came in and asked if he could have a piece. I told him yes. Katie looked up at me and said 'But I thought we made it for God?!' James fired back with some comment to the affect that God wasn't going to actually eat the cake, and that he didn't like cake anyway, he liked fish. :) Other fun highlights of our Christmas festivities include:

  • Playing tiddlywinks with Grandma (that game is way harder than it looks!)
  • The whole family reuniting in a little Rhythm Band awesomeness (a tradition from our childhood...Grandma and Grandpa made instruments for all the grandkids and we would play Jesus Loves Me and others with our home-made instruments)
  • Finally having someone to play Bananagrams with! Oh, how I love Bananagrams. Jeff, however, does not. 
  • The girls (Mom, Grandma, Nikia and I) going galavanting through the countryside to New Hope and a few other places. It was awesome!
  • Baking, baking, baking! And eating, eating, eating!
  • Did I mention eating? And Dad made omelets. Omelets! That pretty much means I was in butter-dripping bliss. 
In other random news, Jeff just might be able to double up this semester and take two classes, which would hopefully mean he would graduate!!!! We are praying that everything will fall into place for this, because it would be so nice for him to be done. (Remind me I said that in a couple weeks when he has classes two nights a week and homework all the other days, OK? Thanks!)