Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bikes and My Crazy Kids

I took Katie and Tyler for a bike ride today. They wanted to go farther than we usually go, and by my estimate we went about 2.5 miles. I think they are worn out! As they rode, I observed Tyler trying to jump his bike, ride with no hands, ride with his feet out to the sides, and run full speed into and off of curbs. And he isn't even out of training wheels yet! I don't think it will be long, though. He has great balance and I am guessing those training wheels will be unnecessary very soon.

In other news, last night I was helping James with his homework. He had an assignment where he had to write interesting sentences using each of his spelling words. James had his funny pants on last night and he wrote the following sentence: I find my (blank) to be crazy. He looked at me with his big toothy grin and wrote 'Mom' in the blank. Oh, that boy! Another sentence was 'I only wash my hair once a year.' His final sentence was 'A firefly has a light on his butt' and he drew a picture to illustrate. He whipped out this little picture and declared wryly 'it's the best I can do'. Now, the kid knows how to draw. I don't have any problem recognizing the things he draws, but this firefly, well, it looked like a hot dog with wings. When I told him that, he dissolved into a fit of giggles so strong he was rolling around laughing, which made me dissolve into a fit of giggles and it was pretty awesome. This morning he declared his love for homework and said he was going to ask for extra homework to bring home. I'm hoping it isn't extra math homework!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yard To Table

Have you ever heard of 'Farm to Table' dinners? Its a trend to have fancy dinners right at a farm, with...duh...food that was grown/raised there. These things are sort of high-brow and the type of thing I imagine you see on the pages of Martha Stewart. I jokingly told a friend recently that I should have a Yard to Table party this summer. Of course, we decided that we should actually plan and execute (ha, ha!) the party...complete with chicken pot pies made with one of my older hens, and garden accoutrements. Hopefully my garden produces or we'll be eating onion grass and dandelions! Really, I am thinking it is going to be quite tasty: a chicken, fresh eggs, lots of veggies and who knows what else we'll conjure up...right in my elegant and classy back yard. If nothing else, it will be completely hilarious.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Like a Squirrel

We met someone at Tyler Park yesterday for a playdate and there was a guy there with his granddaughter. He had brought a picnic lunch for the two of them, and Tyler decided to make himself right at home with them. His latest thing is to go up to everybody and declare 'My name is Tyler and I free!' as he holds up this three little fingers. He sat there at their picnic table, chattering away, but I could tell what he was eying up....the food. I went over to shoo him away before he asked, but it was too late. The grandpa said that he had plenty and didn't mind sharing, but I had to warn him. I told him that Tyler is like a squirrel, and if he fed him, he would stay around. Forever. And he would have, but I was able to coax him away after he mooched a few chips and some M&M's from them. Sheesh! You'ld think I never feed him or something. Earlier, when the little girl we were with had eaten her sandwich, she was going to throw the crusts to the birds. They got dropped, picked up again, and distributed amongst the kids to throw in the field. And as he was walking that way, I believe I saw Tyler lean over and take a bit of his bit of crust. Yep. He is a just like a squirrel.

In other news, James keeps calling Tyler a 'Scallion' which I think is a misinterpretation of the word 'Scallywag'. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The "Surprise"

Earlier this week, James asked me if he could pilfer two boards I had set aside for a project. (Incidentally, I pilfered the boards from someone's trash...are you proud, Mom?) At first, I told him no. I could tell he was really disappointed and I asked him what he wanted them for, thinking I could maybe find something else. He said he couldn't tell me what he was making, because it was a surprise. I figured that I was probably never going to get around to the project anyway, and told him he could have them. About 12 seconds later, he brought another board to me and asked me to cut it exactly where he had marked. Then he instructed me to use the cut length to measure off another section. At some point as he was passing out meticulous instructions, I looked up at him and questioned him as to what exactly he was building having me build. It was then that he admitted that the 'surprise' was that he was making me a raised garden bed frame, except that he needed my help to make it. Then he added, 'it's a great idea, isn't it!?' Yes, indeed it is. It was very sweet of him to think of it, and he had every detail planned out about how to measure, cut and assemble it. Now I have a nifty little frame to plant my lettuce in!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finished!!!!!! Did I Mention I'm Done?!

I finally finished my painting. This is the sole product of my 10 week painting class. I blame it on painting all those tiny little stones. 

Note To Self: Photographing something behind glass is not advisable

Stones! Stones! More stinkin' stones!

I painted this from a local watercolor artist's painting of a local school house. Did that even make sense?? The schoolhouse has 8 sides to maximize daylight and keep students close to the wood stove in the center. And did I mention it was made out of a zillion little tiny stones? Actually, I had a harder time painting the sky and all the stupid bushes in the background. I feel some pent up hostility toward the shrubbery. 

You can see through the windows to the windows on the opposite side of the building, which was a bit of a pain and required a brush the size of a pencil lead. Now that I am done, I need to keep the momentum going. I just need to decide what to paint next.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Guess What We Got Today?!


And I figured out what to do with my empty feed bags:

Bird Baths

The kids recently made these little bird baths. I saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it was cute. It is an overturned flower pot with a saucer on top. I let the kids paint them, then I sprayed them with varnish. We also made a really cute mosaic step stone, and we will be using our new projects to decorate Katie's flower garden. The kids are all dying to plant stuff in the garden and so far we have put out lettuce, broccoli and 3 kinds of kale. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oooh, The Mystery....

I just had to post this because, well, it's hilarious and very strange. Last night we went to bed as usual. We both slept soundly until the alarm went off. When I woke up, I realized there was an antler in our bed. An antler?!?! I have absolutely no idea how said antler got from the bookshelf into our bed, let alone snuggled in between us. One of us must have been sleep walking last night, and of course neither of us remember a thing. My money is on Jeff, since he has a history of getting up and doing odd things in his sleep. He thinks it was me, and the truth is...we'll never know. When James came in, we were talking about the difference in the way people count a 'rack' of antlers. In Colorado, if a buck has 5 points on each side, you say "I got a 5-pointer". Here in PA, they count both sides, so they would say they got a 10-pointer. Imagine our surprise the first time we heard someone shoot a 12-point buck! As James listened to our conversation, his wheels were turning. He said 'But our antlers aren't from a deer! They are from a rabbit!' It was pretty much awesome, because I realized then that he actually believed me when I told him the antler was from a Jackalope!

The antler I have is a little bitty 2 pointer, and when I found it I joked that it was from a Jackalope which is a mythical/imaginary/legendary creature of the west: the jack rabbit-antelope! I think the closest thing to it around here would be the Jersey Devil.  I had to set James straight, although it might have been amusing to keep that one going for a while. And here is a nifty little piece of trivia for you that I found while looking up antlers: shed antlers are best found in late winter, because if left on the ground for long, small animals feed on them for the calcium they contain. Very interested, as Grandma Heppner would say!


Here is a random childhood memory for y'all:

When I was a kid, a family in our church owned a cabin up on the Grand Mesa. They would let our family use the cabin for summer trips. The cabin had no indoor plumbing and there was an outhouse up in the woods. I remember walking up the path to the outhouse in the mornings. The cool, damp smell of the forest, bird songs and chipmunks rustling in the grass, and the squish of snails under my feet. Yes, the squish of snails under my feet. If we forgot to watch our step, we were pretty much guaranteed to step on a snail or two. I suppose it wasn't any worse than the giant banana slugs we had in California. Eew!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


We had Hatchery today and as can be expected, we had a lot of fun. The kids got to see a real vulture egg that one of the farmers found. Katie said it had purplish speckles on it and it was bigger than a chicken egg. Pretty nifty! Can't say I've ever seen one. They also got to go check out the kitchen garden and of course, visit all the animals. One of their 'jobs' every week is to check on the baby chicks and look for signs that there might be a boy in the midst. So far, I don't think they have seen any rooster-like behavior, but the jury is still out. Meanwhile, I got my new assignment today....sewing an historically accurate costume for one of the ladies there. The time period that the farm is working from is roughly 1900. The lady I am sewing for has worked there for 25 years, and has worn out three costumes. I had fun talking 'shop' with the costume lady: french seams, pleats, tucks, bias, oh my!! I shall keep you posted on the outcome.

In other news, the weather here has been crazy. The last two days were in the upper 80's. Tomorrow the temps will drop and we are supposed to get rain all day. For the last three days, I took the kids to the creek to play. I caught myself developing a nervous twitch thinking about the nasty stuff in the creek, mainly because there is a mysterious heating oil leak that ends up in the creek, along with miscellaneous ceiling fan parts, broken glass and a rusty bike or two. Sounds pretty awesome, right? It really isn't horrible, but certainly not the crystal clean waters I grew up swimming in. OK, so maybe I grew up swimming in a cow pond. And a cow tank. So yeah, maybe I should just kick that nervous twitch and go with it. If swimming in a giant bovine toilet didn't kill me, then I think my kids will survive a dip in sparkling L-town waters.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

More Easter Pictures

The news around this here blog seems to be always a day late, and a dollar short which is probably the reason that I have approximately 2.7 blog readers. Ha!! :) 

The kids playing with Auntie Rachel's quint set. My sister has/had what seems to be every single toy she ever had, carefully packed away in my parents' attic. Since they are moving, Rachel decided to bequeath some of her treasures to the kids. In return, I have been quietly making other things 'disappear' to keep the level of kid paraphernalia at a manageable level. They have played with the quint set a LOT!! It is 5 little bitty dolls, and an ice cream shop and convertible car...which turns into a recliner. Woo! They think that is just the berries. 

Katie's twirly swirly Easter dress. 

Complete with a heart cutout in the back. I will now be sewing these in my sleep, since I have made at least 5 in the last few weeks. 

Decorating Easter Eggs...fun! I was tempted to just hard boil our chicken eggs and call it a day, but that just wouldn't be any fun, so we bought 'store eggs' and dyed them.

What is the picture about?? I am not sure what is going on with Katie, but it's funny.

Working together

No surprise, but Katie stayed longer than the boys, carefully crafting her eggs.

+And Olive..my bro and sis-in-law's dog. She is a Bassador...Bassett + Lab. I love this picture because you can see her perfect ballet toes, which is fitting since Nikia is a ballerina.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Katie and Auntie Rachel

The Artist!

I have been meaning to post this drawing that Katie made a few weeks ago. It is probably my favorite she has ever drawn! The elephants are so detailed, and I love the humor of it. There are two tiny worms popping out of the ground in front of them, causing the elephants to jump up in the air. She drew their wrinkles, raggedy ears, tusks, toenails and motion/sound lines coming from their trunks. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013


Yesterday I happened to notice that perched on the neighbor's shed roof was really long board. A board that had previously taken up residence in our yard. I realized that Tyler had climbed onto the compost bin and somehow put it up there. I say somehow because the board is about 3 times taller than him. I told him that he couldn't put stuff on the neighbor's shed. After a brief discussion in which we cleared up who owned the shed (Tyler thought we did), he asked me if they had chickens in their shed. I told him no, and he looked at me and asked 'But where do they get their eggs???'

Friday, April 05, 2013

Big T

To make a long story mostly short, Tyler has some bumps on his skin. They are pretty nasty. Jeff calls them 'diseased.' They do not bother him, are common in kids and take a long time to go away but are not normally treated. Tyler's 'bump-is', as he calls them, or 'barnacles' as I call them, have been there for over a year and were getting worse. So we had to have them treated. He hates the doctor. He refuses to comply with anything. The medicine doesn't hurt, but he kicks and screams and calls the doctor an 'idiot' over and over. It's pretty much my crowning moment as a mother. Or not. We have been in three times, and for the last two the doctor has brought in reinforcements. I am thinking a straight jacket might be nice. This time, in the midst of pinning him down, he bit down on the back of my arm really, really, really hard. So hard, in fact, that four days later each individual tooth mark is still visible, and the whole thing is surrounded by a big bruise. The day after, I showed him the bruise and told him how much it hurt. He tipped his little head to look at the bruise and said 'It's a beautiful color, Mom.' 

P.S. At the end of our last appointment, the doctor asked if Tyler was like this all the time. I said if you mean does he kick and scream and yell all the time, then no, I would be in the nut house by now. He is a strong willed kid with a temper and I can't exactly say I know what to do with him some days, but he is not completely crazy. I think she was worried he might need some baby Prozac or something. 

Monday, April 01, 2013


This Easter we had almost the whole family together for several days. The bad news is that everyone was up because my sister and her husband are moving to Texas. Please excuse me while I go have another cry. We did have a lot of fun while they were here. On Sunday, we all went to church together. It was the first time in who knows when that all three of us kids were in church with the 'rents. It was like a flashback, except there were spouses and kids thrown in and Dad wasn't preaching. I jokingly told Nate that I wasn't sitting next to him so he couldn't tie my dress to the chair. Back in the day, he tied  my dress to the chair, so when I stood up my dress ripped. Those pastor's kids are something else! ;) Rachel told me that she put  Phil in between us so I wouldn't put a nickle down her pants like I did in the old days. Sheesh! Like I would do that again! OK, maybe I would...if I had remembered. I am forgetting things in my advanced age. Alas, we tried to keep the shenanigans to a minimum, except for Phil who kept things entertaining. My mom is speaking at the next Women's Breakfast about 'Loving Difficult People.' I pointed it out, and told Phil she was basing her speech on him. He thought for a second, crossed out 'loving' and changed it to 'Raising Difficult People'. Childhood Church Shenanigans notwithstanding, I have no idea what he means by that!