Thursday, August 30, 2012

Birthday Bash: Numero Dos

Ever since Tyler's birthday in July, he has been asking 'When are you gonna make my birthday?' It didn't take me too long to figure out that what he meant to say is 'When are you gonna make me another birthday cake?' He asks me every day, sometimes many times a day. Apparently the cake I made him for his actual birthday only left him wanting more. I was hoping to put him off til the kids' birthdays in September but I finally figured why not make the kid another cake? So, we did. Tyler loves to help cook. Almost every morning, he crawls into my bed and puts his little face in mine, where I open my sleepy eyes to hear 'Get me something to eat! Can we make pan-pakies?' The boy loves his pan-pakies, and he loves helping make them. He was also set on making his cake, so he sat on the counter and assisted in all manner of licking spoons, measuring cups and bowls. That's a tough job, but someone has to do it. We made the cake, decorated it with a gold (plastic) coin donated by Katie, and a few candles. Tyler wanted 'fire' on his cake, so he got it. He also requested we sing happy birthday to him, which we did in true Cheyney style. If you've never heard that,'re missing out. Loud. Off key. Improvisational melodies (or not). Did I mention LOUD? It's awesome. And Tyler blew out his candles, and we had cake. It was quite fun and random, and I think we might have to have a faux birthday party every now and then just for kicks.

The End Of Summer

I'm sad to say that the summer is coming to an end. It has gone by so fast, and I don't really feel like we've done anything terribly exciting. I guess a non-eventful summer is a good thing. This week, James rigged up a pretty clever boat out of a small storage bin, a dowel stick, and a sail. He even tied a tether to it, which he attached to a bracelet so it wouldn't sail away.

Of course, we had to take it on a maiden voyage. It sailed quite nicely, despite the Pocket Sized Dictator running around brandishing half a tree. 

There were little minnows and crawdads. I am sad to say that my once ninja-like catching skills are dusty from misuse. I did catch two crawdads though. The little tiny ones that hurt like crazy when they pinch you. Tyler found out for himself what it feels like. 

The boat sailed quite nicely until James tripped and ripped off the sail. 

But the boat was repairable, and of course there was more to do at the creek. They even pretended to like each other so I could take a picture! :) 

P.S. Yesterday we got the 'yellow postcard' in the mail, which has the location of James' bus stop and more importantly....his teacher's name. A few weeks ago, James had told me he met one of the three 1st grade teachers last year and really liked her. He really hoped he got her. Well, guess what?! He did! There was a grin from ear to ear when I told him which made me very happy too. His friend Kayla from church is also in his class. Since I have no experience with the teachers at his school, all I can do is go on is her web page through the school. And if that is any indication of her teaching skills, she is on the ball! James' Kindergarten teacher has only the most basic of information up. His first grade teacher has well over a dozen different pages up, including pictures from all the fun activities she did with her class last year. I am excited to see how it goes!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Miscellaneous Shenanigans

Here are a few of the latest shenanigans around here:

  • Jeff recently got a smart phone. We now amuse ourselves by asking her all sorts of random questions. She gets an attitude sometimes and it is really funny. Here is a bit from the Q & A: Are you single? I don't answer questions about marital status. Do you have siblings? I guess that's always a possibility. Are you magic? No comment, Jeff. Can you sing me Happy Birthday? Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy over the love of you. I'm not sure. Let me search the internet for 'I'm half crazy over the love of you.' 
  • Jeff recently created an Instagram account. We both thought it was a photo editing program. Jeff accidentally hacked some girl's Instagram account because she was using our email address. We now the proud owners of an account filled with pictures of legs, food, reciepts and other minutia. Oh, and a load of obligatory photos of girl showing off photographing herself in the bathroom mirror. You know the ones: hip to one side. Short shorts. Freshy coifed hair. Camera phone in hand. And a caption referring to how hard said person is going to party 2nite. lol. Despite all attempts to contact her, I think she thinks we are scamming her and instead continues to try and reset the password. When will she figure out that the password reset emails come to us? Who knows!
  • Last night while James was getting a haircut, Tyler accidentally knocked one of the clipper attachments in the toilet. Then, thinking he was helping, he flushed. I took one for the team and plunged my arm into hopper but couldn't catch it in time. Now our toilet is flushing slowly. Not good. On the bright side, the conversation with Tyler went like this: Tyler, you can't flush things down the toilet. But we need to get it, Mom! No, we can't get it. It is gone. No, we need to break that open and get it. (referring to the back of the toilet) No, it's not in there. The water goes out of the house and under the ground. (Then Tyler went to bed....and first thing this morning...) We need to go dig it up in the backyard. Let's go get it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chicken Woes

This afternoon I went to check on the chickens and noticed that our boss chicken looked quite......dead. I didn't really expect that and stared at her for a few seconds before determining that in fact, yes, she was dead. I am not really sure what happened. She looked fine this morning, but it was clear when I picked her up that she had checked out a few hours ago. There are no markings on her, and no unusual signs, so I assume she died of natural chicken causes, whatever that means. James was out with me, and I told him that Pippy died. He was sad, then said matter of factly 'well, it happens.' That's my boy. I made Katie stay inside because she was the one I thought would have a hard time with it. Instead, it was Tyler. He is upset that Pippy is dead and wants to get 'another Pippy.' He didn't want me to throw her in the trash can. Which, by the way...what is the etiquette regarding that? I don't exactly have room to bury them on ye olde homestead, so I have determined that in the trash they go. I did bag her up so that hopefully the trash men don't get a start when they see a big, fat dead chicken flying into the trash truck. I suppose they see lots of things, but it always makes me know, for all the bodies I have to dispose of. Because just a few months ago, I had to shovel a huge possum off the road and throw it away. Nothing like a hairy snout-nosed beast in the clutches of rigor mortis to ruin your outlook on life. (P.S. Did you know rigor mortis is two words? Who knew!) But I digress. The end of the story is when I realized Tyler was MIA and found him outside trying to open the trash bag and retrieve Pippy. Poor guy. Even though Pippy weighed a ton, he loved to carry her around. Now I guess I will have to keep the trash cans under lock down until trash day, not only to keep animals out...but to prevent Tyler from trying to resurrect poor Pippy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fun Times! (Finally...I'm Blogging!)

We were quite busy over the end of last week and the weekend. On Thursday, I took the kids to the Grange Fair and we had a lot of fun. They ate their first cotton candy, with mixed results. Katie didn't like it, and the boys ate it but I don't think it will be a favorite. The best moment came when Jeff got home from work, and Tyler excitedly ran up to him and proclaimed "Mommy bought us rotten candy!" While I was still giggling about that, Jeff replied that cotton candy was gross, because it is 'like eating a sweater.' And that pretty much made my day. The fair was lovely, as usual. I showed excellent restraint by only taking about 15 photos of the antique tractors. Katie is turning out to be a chip off the old block. She saw one she liked, and declared it 'go-geous!' Tyler wanted to drive them all. James really wanted to see the pig races, and he got his wish. Our pig never won, but it was entertaining regardless. I fell in love with a pretty milk cow and have now added that to my farm wish list. The farmer was so nice and let us sit in the straw with her and pet her for quite a while. He even held her tail so she wouldn't swat us!

Huge! And beautiful of a pair of percherons (I think...)

Ain't it purdy?

Katie not so thrilled with the cotton candy...'it has too much sugar in it' Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

Tyler ate cotton candy like it was his job.

Pig Races

My super-d-duper fan I got...I don't know why, but this fan cracks me up every time I see it.
On Friday, we dropped the two younger gremlins off at Grammy and Chappy's and headed off to Virginia with James. Tyler couldn't wait to go to G and C's and in fact, climbed up on the play kitchen and yelled at the clock to 'hurry up and move your hand so we can go to "ginia" because he couldn't wait to have a 'feep over'. The car ride down was...glorious....what can I say? No fighting, nobody said they had to pee, only a smiling gap-toothed boy who occasionally complained not being able to run in the car. In other words, it was the perfect car ride, if there is such a thing. We arrived at Rachel and Phil's abode and hung out playing Connect (probably spelling that totally wrong). I would like to say that I showed off my video game prowess but the truth is, James kicked my butt. And Jeff's. Funny thing is, I think he has played video games a grand total of once in his life. Saturday morning, Jeff and Phil ran together and then Rachel and I went on a run. It was so much fun! Afterward, we went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum which was totally, completely amazing! We got to see and stand under the actual Discovery Space Shuttle, as well as see a ton of other planes. It was so cool. I will post pictures of it as soon as I can get them off Jeff's fancy new smart phone. Until then, here is a picture of James and Uncle Phil chilling with Henry. :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

The State of the Garden

Attack of the Giant Pattypans!

The verdict is in: chicken poop makes fine fertilizer. So, maybe that fact has already been established but I am beginning to fear going into my garden each day. I dropped the ball on a few things this year, not planting some varieties that I normally do. Other things I tried hard to improve on: I planted things farther apart, because I have the bad habit of squeezing in 'one more tomato plant.' I ruthlessly pulled out 99% of the volunteers (sniff, sniff) that I normally have a hard time pulling. Yet despite the additional room, things became a jungle very quickly. The little pumpkins James planted have now taken over the garden and into the front yard. The one volunteer squash near the chicken coop that I left out of curiosity has turned into a massive beast. It is a butternut by the way, and there are quite a few big squash ripening as we speak. Glad I left it there! All the excess foliage does make for a difficult time harvesting stuff, and those darn squash grow to be the size of flying saucers overnight! I shouldn't complain though, we've been eating lots of good food and passing some on to friends and neighbors. I have yet to start leaving squash in people's unattended cars, but it might come to that...

P.S. I think we are around 160 pounds so far. I might crack 300 this year!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Of Course...

Jeff came home and told me that he had taken the time to calculate the probability of his passing the Professional Engineering test. Before he could go any further, I asked him if he had used either MathCAD or Excel to do it. Why, yes, of course he had. Excel is his second language, and he used it to calculate his potential score on the test. He went on to explain how determined the probability of each subject by using the number of answers available on the multiple choice, as well as the degree to which he knows each subject matter. Confused yet? It made my head spin just trying to follow along with all the figures he was throwing around and I am pretty sure the whole thing only took him 5 minutes. Sadly, he didn't go as far as to make a PowerPoint about it. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


  • Did you ever try googling your name before? Or the names of your relatives? Well, let me tell you. There is an Australian body builder that shares by name. She looks something like a female Aaaarnold. I don't. And when you google your relatives? Well, maybe you shouldn't. You never know what you'll find. Oddly enough, we found out Jeff's brother is part of a lawsuit against his parole officer. Who knew! You can also look up your relatives in who have spent time in the slammer via the department of corrections. Mug shots, height, weight, charges...they have it all! So next time you are looking for the perfect Christmas card picture.....
  • There is less than a month til school starts. Waa! What happened to summer?
  • I got to hold a 7 day old baby yesterday. She was delicious and I didn't want to give her back. I am now praying fervently that one or both of my siblings will have an 'accident' that results in a baby. ;) C'mon guys! I promise I'll make the baby piles of beautiful clothes and monogrammed burp clothes, and....just think! You might even end up with a kid that has my thumbs, and that alone is reason to have a kid! 
  • This summer I have been doing an informal art lessons on Thursdays. Last week, we did tie dye! I will admit I was ridiculously excited to try it again, and I am now the proud owner of my very own tie dyed shirt. (Patchouli not included) Everyone's shirts turned out very nice, leading me to believe that it is hard to mess up tie dying which is a good thing when working with little kids.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Saturday, August 04, 2012

Random Info About Eggs

Much to my surprise two of our new chickens started laying this past week. They are Golden Sex Links and apparently they are early layers. Did you know that when chickens start laying they sometimes lay weird eggs while their body is 'working out the kinks' in the whole egg laying business? She laid two double-yolkers in a row, something our other chickens never did. Also, we got two rubber eggs today. One is from one of our older hens who seems to have problems with that, and the other one has to be from one of the newbies. A rubber egg has a soft, squishy shell. They are pretty weird to hold. Usually they have a very thin layer of shell and so it looks like a brown egg, only when you pick it up it feels like a water balloon. They are pretty gross. I will admit, I used the rubber egg for baking cookies today and it didn't kill us! I couldn't crack it though. I had to cut it open with scissors. Who wants cookies?!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Our First TV

As I previously mentioned, our first TV was from a hotel that was getting rid of stuff. I feel that I should write about it here to immortalize the story of it, if only so our children can someday look back upon it and laugh. We got this free TV, and since we were newly weds who owned two camp chairs and a hideous couch, we took it. This TV was, shall we say, special. Quirky, if you will. You could get a good twenty minutes out of it before there were any signs of trouble. After the twenty minute time period, the screen would begin to go fuzzy, like static. At this point, we would have to turn it off and let it cool down for 5 minutes. The problem was, after a certain point, it got to be watch 5 minutes, turn it off for 5. Good thing we have never watched a lot of TV. For some reason, we decided to have some friends over to watch the Sixth Sense. Now, I do NOT do creepy movies. Ever. I don't know how I got wrangled into this one, but I did. So we were all sitting around watching the movie and 20 minutes in, sure enough, the TV demanded a break. Around the time the movie got really intense, it was in 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off mode. Awesome! At least it broke up the scary parts for me. I mean, when there is a creepy kid saying 'I see....' **insert 5 minute break** '....dead....' **more static** '....people...' it kind of loses its edge. It's a wonder anyone stayed friends with us after that. Having them over to sit in camp chairs and watch creepy movies in fits and starts...we're classy that way.   :)