Saturday, August 31, 2013

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad!

Hey, can you guess what John is doing?
I bet you will never get this one right.
I just picked up John and Emily after the first home football game of the season.


I am certain that means David and I are old.  We have kids in high school.

Everyone is off to a good start after two weeks of school.  John and Emily have figured out the routine and the routes through the halls at their new school.  The biggest complaint I have heard so far has to do with the crowded hallways and lack of time to get to lockers.  I think they both carry books for the entire day because they do not have time to get to their locker between classes.  Plus they are now in a school of almost 1800 kids.  That is a huge leap from 600 kids in their middle school. 

They are having fun and making new friends each day.  Classes seem manageable as far as homework load and curriculum.  I have heard only good things about teachers thus far too.

Are you still trying to figure this one out?
Nope.  He's not doing a graceful ballet with ladders.


Grace and Grant are doing well.  Grace is enjoying the same classmates she had the past two years.  That has made third grade an easy transition for her.  I took lunch to her today and visited with her and some of her friends for a little bit.  Of course I got the "I miss you" and "can I go home with you" lines as I left, but they were minimal compared to years past.  She is definitely growing up.

David and I both took lunch to Grant earlier in the week.  We got a few "I miss you" lines from him too, but he seems to be making the transition to full-time school kid rather quickly.  He was lining up after recess when I went to visit Grace today.  He saw me.  Of course I had to stop and say hello and give hugs.  He wanted me to stay with him, but did not fuss when I told him no.

One thing David and I have to adjust to this year is having kids in the same school, but not in the same grade.  With John and Emily, what you did for one, you automatically did for the other because they were always together.  It is different now.  Grace and Grant eat lunch an hour apart.  That is why we went to see them on separate days so we weren't sitting around between lunches.  I know most parents take that detail for granted.  It is just something we've never experienced before!

Nope....not changing lightbulbs.
Not preparing for a zombie apocalypse either.
(What is that about anyway?!)


I am getting lots done around the house now that there are not four kids following me around undoing everything just as quickly.  Amazingly, one thing still unfinished here is the deck and swingset.  Each time I think I will go stain, it looks like rain.  I even got brave and stained a bench the other day just to have the rain come pouring down about two hours later.  That does not mix well with wet stain.  If I'm lucky, I can finish before Grace and Grant are in high school!!  That is about the pace this project is moving right now.

David and I took advantage of some kid-less time Monday morning to ride horses.  It was an enjoyable morning.  Hopefully, we will get many chances to do those kinds of things now.

Here is what John was doing in the garage with a ladder and a net.
A little hummingbird flew into the garage and could not find his way out.
I know very little about hummingbirds.
I know they drink nectar and are the only bird with the ability to hover and fly backward.
I also know that for some unknown reason when a hummingbird gets trapped in the Shupe garage it will fly continuously around the ceiling never flying low enough to escape.
This has happened three times now.
And yes, two out of three ain't bad.
This little fellow survived.  He is the second one we have rescued. 
One little guy would not let us help him.  We found him dead from heat the next day on the garage floor.

No pictures of the actual rescue.  I finally put the camera down and used a broom to help.
He landed on the bristles and I carried him to the open window where he flew to freedom.
Yeah for saving the hummingbird!!!
Yeah to John for trying so hard too!
Bet you would have never guessed we are a certified
hummingbird rescue squad.
Is that certified or certifiable?!
Don't answer that.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Anyone remember this look?
When David and I looked at this house to buy, the kitchen was the only room I did not love.
See why?
The first step was to remove the wallpaper and replace the counter tops with granite.
That meant a new sink and faucet as well.

Thanks to the water damage back in January, I now have new cabinets as well.
I like the new look.
It seems more homey I guess.
My cabinet installer informed me I needed to get rid of the white appliances too.
I wonder if he is willing to pay the bill for shiny new stainless appliances?
Probably not.
White it is then!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Just sayin'

We at the zoo love you very much.
Hope your day was special.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When Does 2 + 2 = 0 ???

On the first day of school!!
Two kids headed off to high school
(very early in the morning)

plus two more kids headed off to elementary school
equals zero kids home with me during the day.
This fellow marched up the hill far ahead of David, Grace and me.
He seemed ready to take on the world

I think there were a few butterflies as he waited patiently for the bus to arrive.
and I know Grace was more than a little nervous to start a new school year.

but overall, everyone seemed to have a great first
(and second)
day of school.
No tears!!
(from me)
(and the kids didn't cry either!)
Here are the high schoolers making their way home at the end of Day 1.
And how better to celebrate the start of school
than cupcakes decorated with sprinkles!
It has been pretty quiet at home I must admit.
Though I am enjoying the reprieve right now,
 I am sure the long quiet days will get lonely.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone
I know a little better each year the meaning of that statement.
I feel a little piece of my heart goes out the door with them each day.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


He's large.....
and in charge.
Meet Mr. Bull....the new suitor for our cows.

It took him about two minutes to find his new ladies and start giving orders.
Just like a man.
Took grace and grant to see Smurfs 2 today.
It was a smurftastic movie though I am about smurfed out on the cheesy one liners.
That makes three kid movies we have seen this summer.
Monsters University
Despicable Me 2
Smurfs 2
We have not seen Planes yet.
I cannot believe there are so many big kid movies out at once.
Kinda making me rethink my one-movie-a-summer rule.
Went out to see the new bull tonight and cook a hot dog one last time before school starts Tuesday.
Ronnie has two new puppies we got to love on as well.
Home and to bed.....getting ready for the 5:30 AM alarms starting this week.
Two days and counting!!!
Okay, I tried to edit this from my iPad.
Big Mistake!!!
Sorry if it is hard to read.  I can't edit it!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to school test

canine refers to dogs

bovine relates to cows
equine refers to horses

what in the world
should we say

when referring to all things goat?

Caprine, of course.
I had to own a goat before I knew the answer to that one.
I told you we bought goats.
I hope they turn out to be a benefit to the Shupe operation
and not just one furry, smelly pain in the butt.
They have no names.
Thank goodness, right?
All three are nanny goats.
We really aren't becoming goat farmers.
We are hoping they help control weeds in the pastures.
Four days to go!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Horse Play

David out with Grace. She was riding Juliet. 
Emily out with me on a ride.
Romeo is her favorite horse to ride.
Yeah, I know....the name thing again.
Yes, we have horses named Romeo and Juliet.


Grace and Grant headed to the barn to ride.
First they had to take a detour to see Ronnie's puppy.

This is Ronnie's dog named Socks.
He is a pet, unlike Ronnie's coon dogs which he raises to sell.
I think Socks has been around the farm almost as long as Ronnie has.
The kids like to play with him.
He likes to pee on their legs.
Not kidding about that one.

Tossing rocks into a bucket will suffice for fun when there is nothing better to do.

When the bucket got boring, he started trying to toss rocks between the boards of the shed.

Ready to ride...
Whinny got to do the honors this time.

Five days to go!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just Another Day In Paradise

Lots of flower picking at the farm this summer.
Sometimes I don't know what we are picking....
Sometimes I do...
Either way, they are fun for the kids to pick and arrange while we are there.


Grant prefers his Lego's to flowers.
This was a pattern he and Grace put together one afternoon.

The is the spider my kids were unwilling to kill because they were grossed out by it.
Instead they opted to put one of my glass dishes over it.
What a lovely thing to find when I came in from the garden.
Thanks, kids!!
This was another lovely discovery...
That is Remington on top of the picnic table trying to drink the last of someone's forgotten lemonade from dinner.
Bad dog!!
Just another day in paradise.
Six days to go!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Here is a sample of what we are still pulling from the garden the past few weeks.  We picked all of this right before we went camping. 
Other than just the enjoyment of taking pictures of vegetables that remain still instead of kids that are always moving, I like to take pictures of what we've grown each year to record how we are doing with the whole gardening thing.
This year has been a good year for us.  We even have a decent apple crop coming on.
There are lots of peaches, but not too many good ones.  They have some sort of peach scab on them.
Guess we'll try again next year with peaches!
The pumpkin might be a little early, but we knew it would not last until Halloween so we decided to enjoy it now.
David picked beans yesterday when he was down there and said all of them are loaded with blooms again.  Anyone want beans?
Overall, the garden has been a fun andsomewhat productive learning project
for both adults and kids.
We learn a little more and get a little better each year
but I have to say....
Thank God For Kroger!!!
Emily has been busy the last few weeks of summer.
She is doing a lot of babysitting and raking in the big bucks.
Talk to her if you need a cash advance.
I think she had four jobs lined up for this week alone.
Here is a picture the neighbor lady took with some of the girls who live on our street.
They are a really sweet bunch.
These are some of the girls Emily watches.
Whenever we have a chance, we head for the pool.
The kids don't stay long with daytime temperatures hovering around 75 degrees lately.
Poor Grace seems to suffer the most.
She spends much of her pool time huddled under three or four towels on my lap
trying to warm up after the first hour of swimming.
Grant could swim all day.
I would say he is part fish, but I believe the correct comparison would be to say he is part manatee.
It just seems more fitting as I watch him lounge around in and under the water.
Sometimes I have to double check if he is okay because he can stay underwater for so long...
like a manatee!!
Today I took Grace and Grant to get a "back-to-school" haircut from a kids' salon.
It used to be a treat for John and Emily to get their hair cut there once a year. I thought I would give the two little ones the same fun.
We also went to the local kids' gym to use some free passes before the end of summer.
The kids got to do open gym for a couple hours.  John even tagged along and worked on his flips on the trampolines and vaults in the big kid gym.
Grace had fun showing me what she learned in gymnastics last year and Grant just had fun!
Counting down to the beginning of school.....
7 days to go!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rutledge Falls,Tennessee

It has been a busy few weeks for the Shupe family.  I thought life would slow down once baseball finished.  Instead the Shupe family bus just sort of careened through the intersection of chaos and bedlam and found ourselves smack in the midst of kitchen remodeling. 

I emptied the kitchen as John was finishing his baseball tournament.  We left for the farm the morning after his last game.  Kitchen guys arrived to refinish my kitchen cabinets while we were away.  What was supposed to take one week ended up taking two weeks plus several extra trips the following two weeks to get things right.  They are still working out a few issues, but most of it is now finished.

We have finished most of the gardening for the year.  Beans are still blooming, but I am threatening to mow them off.  I am tired of picking beans!!  Carrots and onions are dug.  Cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli and cauliflower are still going.  Corn and peas are finished.  I put some corn in the freezer.

The week we returned was spent cleaning out the sawdust and cleaning off everything that came out of the kitchen before it went back into the kitchen.  Not fun.

Interspersed with the cleaning and sorting were several trips to the pool. The water has been SO COLD!!  The kids are loving the pool.  I am not.

In addition to kitchens and gardens and pools, we have been acquiring school supplies and uniforms for all four scholars.  John and Emily are now registered for high school.  We have been to school for orientation and tours two different times.  They have lockers assigned and stocked ready for the first day.  Grace and Grant have also registered and seen their classrooms for the new year.  We are ready.

So what else have we been up to?  A lot, actually.  We made a trip to Illinois to see family.  We celebrated Snickers' one year birthday.  We are awaiting the arrival of baby ducklings that our momma duck is sitting on faithfully.  We added goats to the zoo.  We are preparing for the arrival of a bull to see to the needs of many lonely cows.

See?  Busy, I tell you!

Anyway.  I have neglected blogging.  No excuses. 

Here are the latest pictures from this weekend.  We took the camper to Manchester, Tennessee, for the weekend.  It was a beautiful area.  We hung out at the campground and at a waterfall nearby.  Here are a few shots from the waterfall.

The falls were located on private property, but the owners allow access to the public.
I am so glad they do.  It is a beautiful place.

While we were there, many people came and went.  Most were hiking or swimming, but some were even doing photo shoots in the water along the stream.

A few brave souls climbed the falls.
If you look closely, John is in a green shirt standing at the center of the falls.

I did not seem him doing it, but David took a picture of John climbing to the top of the falls.  I was too busy helping Grace across the stream and falling down on the slippery rocks.
Here is one of John almost at the top.


 Hopefully, I can catch up on blogging as summer vacation winds down this week.  More pictures and stories about our summer adventures coming soon.