Wednesday, May 30, 2012


  • We've been busy...
  • As usual...
  • Except we had a four day weekend...
  • And celebrated my birthday (Jeff took the day off!!!!!)
  • Tyler is doing swimmingly with potty training. He has even...drumroll please...been mostly dry after naps and bed. Does that even happen? Not with my other two. I could get used to this! 
  • James has two days of school and! Not the end of school, another teacher strike. Ugh! He will probably be off for two weeks, then have to go back for two weeks to finish up as if they will get anything accomplished after that. I have yet to run into anyone that is in the least bit happy. I won't go off on my soapbox about it, because I'd like my blood pressure to stay where it is, thanks. 
  • Katie sounded out the word 'Staples' on a sign the other day. That girl is going to be reading before Kindergarten I think. 
  • Today was the last day of Art Lessons and we did a little study of Piet Mondrian. The kids drew animals and filled them in using Mondian's style. 
  • And last but not least, El Pollo Gordo, AKA Fat Chicken, or Chicken Dinner, is looking plumper by the day. It won't be long now...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preschool Art Show

I think I forgot to post pictures of our preschool art show. We had it the beginning of May. I matted the kids' artwork and hung it up, along with labels of artist's name and title. I am pretty sure the kids didn't have a clue what was going on, besides being able to eat lots of food and play in the dirt. :)

James moonlighted in the show, with his scuba diver and fish painting.

Can you spot Katie's lady bug?

The kids

Me and Toothpicks

I keep seeing these cool things on Pinterest revolving around food (like marshmallows or grapes) and toothpicks. The idea is for the kids to build structures by using the food as connectors for the toothpicks. I always see it and think 'oh, how fun,' followed shortly by 'but it involves toothpicks...never mind.' See, I have this weird thing about letting my kids (or not) use toothpicks for any reason. They kind of freak me out! When I was a kid, Mom gave us bologna rolled up and held with toothpicks. We thought that was a delicacy, and happily went outside to munch on them, while simultaneously swinging all over our swing set. It seems that we didn't think through the whole scenario, and haphazardly threw our toothpicks in the grass. Do you know what's coming? Oh, yes, I dropped from the swing set and landed with a toothpick at least half way into my foot. It wasn't one of those cheesy splinter-of-a-toothpick ones, rather one of the nice smooth, sturdy ones. It hurt, and I screamed. Mom stuck her head out the window and kindly recommended I pull it out, which would have been nice had it not been lodged half way to China. Let's just say that if my memory serves me, she had to pull it out with pliers. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. Ack! Aren't you glad you read the blog today? ha! So there is my reasoning for not wanted my kids to play with toothpicks. I should probably get over it, because statistically speaking it probably won't happen again, but still...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Circus Surprise

On Saturday, we loaded the kids up in the car and told them we were going someplace for a surprise. Of course, they were making all sorts of guesses but I knew they would never figure it out. When we pulled in to the parking lot, James looked over in time to see the perfect clue: a real, live elephant! His eyes got all big and he said 'Is that a real elephant? Is this the circus?!' Perfect. The kids loved the circus. Jeff and I, not so much. It was, I imagine, a bit of a low budget circus (all things considered). They had 7 tigers, 3 elephants, and about 10 performers total. There were some really cool things, but there were several stunt 'fails' and uncooperative tigers. A lot of people left at intermission. Fortunately we had found a really good deal on tickets so it wasn't like we paid a bunch of money to see a guy fall off his horse. And really, the kids absolutely loved it and it was fun to watch their faces.

P.S. James had a little incident where he high fived the ground with his face last week. He was running along a rocky part of the green belt and tripped and fell. He managed to skin up his nose, forehead, and even UNDER his nostrils. Impressive. I even had to take some schmutz out of his nose. Of course, every one and their uncle have been asking what happened. Katie told him that he needed to tell people that he got attacked by a 'wolve-ween'. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Tyler Beast

For the last week or two, we've been having nap/bedtime issues with Tyler. He doesn't want to go to sleep, and comes up with all sorts of shenanigans to keep himself up. I am pretty sure he needs to move to the bottom bunk, which will be a whole new set of issues. The problem with the crib is that he stands on the rail to look out the window and watch his 'chickies.' Or the neighbors. Last night, when they were supposed to be getting ready for bed, we heard them all cracking up. I went to see what they were doing and they were all in the crib, staring out the window at our neighbor who was making faces at them. The neighbor told me this morning that it was hilarious, because he saw Tyler hanging from the curtain rod, and the curtain rod falling, along with Tyler, out of sight. That would explain why the curtain was down. This kid. I am pretty sure he is going to give us a run for our money. Now who wants to come over and train him to STAY in bed? And while you're at it, how about potty training? ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Pallet Fort

For a while now, James has been collecting bits and pieces of lumber. He would beg, borrow or steal anything he could get his hands on to build his fort. After a few months of trash picking and remnant scavenging, he had amassed quite a collection. Everyday he would build a fort, varied slightly from the day before. It began to look as though a band of roving lawn gnomes had taken up residence in our yard, living in shelters cobbled together with feed bags and 2 by 4 scraps. I began to think about other ways of satisfying his desire for a fort, but without the hillbilly effect. Since everyone else is making stuff out of pallets, I figured...why shouldn't I?! Finding pallets proved to be more difficult than I anticipated, as apparently those suckers are a commodity that can be sold back to the recycling people. After trolling craigslist for a while, I found some pallets nearby...and they were actually still available! Woo! I arranged a pick up time and off I went. (Jeff kept the kids at home) Now, here's a little tidbit for you: there is a shortage of trailer parks in these here parts. You almost never see them. Well, whaddayaknow? It was in a trailer park. In the middle of nowhere. Tidbit Numero Dos: In these here parts, the middle of nowhere means at least 8 minutes away from Walmart. So, I pull into unknown trailer park in the middle of 'nowhere,' and find the trailer (a nicely maintained double wide on a street of singles). In the driveway was parked a minivan and I thought, 'Oh, good, must be a family...less chance of ax murderer...' because after all, it is craigslist and that does make me a little nervous. So I approached the door and a lady comes out. Shortly after follows her husband (I assume). They had tattoos and facial piercings and all the trappings of a fairly serious Goth couple, minus the combat boots. I also didn't notice any safety pins on clothing or earlobes. Bonus? Hmmm. So I went around the house with them, and found them to be the most pleasant and chipper freaks I have had the pleasure of speaking with. It was almost like someone took Mr. Rodgers and put him in a  Black Sabbath shirt and pierced his eyebrows. They told me that they had picked up the pallets last year from a church that had been selling pumpkins. Goth couple got them to use in their elaborate haunted house on Halloween. (Thus the fake blood, she explained.) They wanted to keep them but their landlord said they needed to go. I only took six, and as they were helping me load them up I told them what I was going to do with them. They were so thrilled that a little kid would be using them to build a fort. And so we inherited 6 fake-blood spattered pallets for our own. Thank you, friendly Goth couple! Also, thank you for not being ax murderers. And now, since you are all wondering when I am going to S-H-U-T U-P and show you pictures of the darn fort already, here it is:

I am not sure we lost the hillbilly effect, but with a little paint it will look as prim as a white picket fence! (or so I tell myself...)

And guess who lost a tooth last week?! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lovely Weekend

We had a fun Mother's Day weekend. Saturday we spent pretty much the whole day outside. The kids played and the chickens roamed mostly free while I built a pallet fort and Jeff performed surgery on our tree. We have three beautiful Japanese maples in our yard, and one of them has a disease which led to cankers and apparently if you don't remove the affected branches than the whole tree can die. Hopefully it helps. And the pallet fort? For a while now, I have been looking for pallets and finally found some to build a fort. I will post pictures and story tomorrow.
  Today we drank the Bible Fellowship Kool Aid as I like to say, and joined our church.** It's about time, since we've been going there for a year and a half. After church, Jeff surprised me by getting hoagies (Italian hoagies from the best establishment-of-questionable-cleanliness around!) and taking us to Core Creek to picnic and play. It was quite nice. The kids made sure to tell me Happy Mother's Day about a hundred times, and I loved hearing it each time! :) Katie was determined to buy me a plant with her money, so I took her out so she could tell me to 'turn around and not look' while she carefully selected the most beautiful flower. It happened to be a Begonia. On the way out, she decided that she was also going to take me to ice cream. She is always saying she wants to take me, and while I would ordinarily try to talk her out of it I am learning that she loves to give and gets a lot of enjoyment from it. So we went. And the whole time, she kept looking at me with this big ol' grin on her face, saying things like 'You're the best Mom ever!' and 'I love you so much! This is so special!' How sweet is that?! I'll take it! She also made me about a dozen cards, and a few 'craft kits' which involved stuffing blank cards and envelopes into a paper lunch bag. Oh, and James wrote me a note in Sunday School which read: I love you because you make great cookies. :)

**Funny story, after we were introduced in the second service, one of the pastors shook our hands and told Jeff to 'come again when he couldn't stay so long.' Now, this is the Pastor who is always fiddling with his microphone, and as it turns out....his mic was on! Ha, ha! I am not sure if many people caught what he said but it was funny none the less. 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Several Orders Of Business

First of all, why do I dread giving my children baths? I mean, isn't spraying them off occasionally with the garden hose good enough? It is dirt season around here, as my freshly mopped floor can attest. (Note: it no longer looks freshly mopped) The kids are quite happy to spend hours a day digging in various sanctioned portions of the yard, and I am mostly happy to oblige. If it keeps them entertained, I'm all for it! But I must confess that if I could harvest the dirt that is clinging to my children right now, as they nap, I could probably start a cabbage patch or something. They are pretty filthy. I even sent them to church yesterday, covered in clean presentable clothing over their dirt streaked legs. Today is the day! Bathe them, I must! It's just that bath time leaves me with muddy footprints on the bathroom floor, which also happens to look like a small tsunami hit it. After which, the children will promptly find a way to besmirch themselves again. Sigh....

Secondly, not to keep harping on this...but TODAY is Jeff's LAST DAY of school EVER!!! After years of people asking 'is he finished yet?' I can finally say yes, he is! I also feel that I should have some sort of honorary degree in Mechanical Engineering for all the years of having him in school. :) The ironic part is, he is getting a degree in something he has been doing for years.

Third, and also Jeff-related. He told me this story the other night and I laughed so hard I cried. He went into the office of his germ-fearing coworker, and had the following one-sided conversation: 'Hey, Dwayne,** have you seen those new scented cakes in the urinals? I really like them. The only thing is, they really bother me when they aren't centered.' (his coworker stares at him) 'Thing is, they are really slippery. I don't know if it's algae growing on them or what, but they are hard to get a hold of.' At that point, his coworker was stunned and stammering his response. I am really thinking I should pin a disclaimer to Jeff's shirt everyday: Warning! Don't take me seriously!

**Name Changed**

Friday, May 04, 2012

Public Service Announcement

We are officially counting down the days, hours and minutes til......Jeff finishes school....FOREVER! (or, as people like to say, until he gets his Master's Degree...which usually gets the 'heck no!' look from Jeff, and groans from the rest of us at the thought of him being back in school again.) It still hasn't really sunk in, but his last class is Monday. Woo!!!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Which One Is Dinner? And Other Randomness

 Which one of these does not belong? It may be hard to tell, but there are 7 chickens in the box. Three light brown ones, three dark ones, and Fatty.

Here's a better shot of Chicken Dinner next to her hatch mates. You can kind of see how she has no feathers under her wings. Does that mean she'll be easier to pluck? Hmmm, perhaps I shouldn't be counting my eggs before they're hatched...har, har!!! Seriously though, is she just 'big for her age,' or do we have a meat bird on our hands??

And if you made it past my corny chicken jokes, here is a picture of Katie in my wedding dress. She has been wanting to try it on for a long time.

It was a little big...

But she felt like a princess!

James took his chickies out for a little fresh air and get-acquainted session (through the fence) with the older chickens. 

And if you've made it all the way to the end, here's a bonus for you! Close up shot of my toe thumbs. Dad told me that they accidentally put toes on my hands. My sister-in-law actually learned in cosmetology school that it is called Club Thumbs...a real 'condition'! So far, I have not been able to collect any government funds or even get a special parking spot for my condition. Bummer. Anyway, the real point of this picture is to say that not only are we getting eggs straight from the backyard, but I pulled my first turnip! It was delicious!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


  • James wrote me a note today. It says: Mom, I luv uow. I wil hlp uow in the cithcin. Pretty much the best note ever! (Mom, I love you. I will help you in the kitchen.)
  • Saturday we are having an Art Show with our preschool co-op peeps. I am matting the kids' artwork so it all looks nice and fancy. Should be fun! 
  • I went to Walmart last night when Jeff got home from work. I kept singing in my head 'These are the people...of Waaaaalmart, who save money, live well, only at Walmart.' (Un?)fortunately I didn't spot anybody particularly worthy of THE PEOPLE OF WALMART site. 
  • El Pollo Gordo is looking meatier every day. The sunny side (get it?? ha, ha!) of the situation is that I have learned that I don't want to raise meat chickens. Even though we only have one, I am constantly refilling the feeder. It just sits there and eats and eats and eats. It doesn't even like to stand up much anymore. I really should take a picture and show y'all how big Chicken Dinner is in comparison to its buddies. I can't imagine how big it would be if we had it on special feed. Eek!
  • Jeff's last class is next Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Que the music: School's out for the summer! School's out for-EVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (enough with the explanation points already! Can you tell I am excited?)