Sunday, November 24, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Clinging to Summer

Even in the cold month of November
there drifts through the streets a sound that draws children from the warmth of their homes.
That sound?
The Ice Cream Man

Really, man?

We have had a massive number of stink bugs this year.  Everyone has had trouble with them.
Not sure what's up with that,
but we are more than a bit grossed out by the sheer number of the little bugs.
Poor Grace's room has been their favorite spot.  Each night we check her windows.  Usually there will be two or three clinging to the curtains or glass.  She's been a good sport about it, but I have to agree with her.  I'm ready for them to die this winter!!
In honor of her buggy summer, I bought this board game for her and Grant to play.
It is called Bugs In The Kitchen.
Who makes a game like that?
Worse, yet, who BUYS a game like that??
 Don't answer that.

Here are pictures of Grace and Grant  UNRAKING the yard.

How do you unrake a yard?
I'm glad you asked.
First, buy four hundred acres of trees.
(okay, this step is optional if you can borrow some trees from someone else who owns lots of trees)

Rake and bag roughy twenty four kitchen sized bags of leaves making sure to use all of Mom's trash bags without telling her so she doesn't have one when she needs it next time.

Convince your dad (or some other soft hearted fool) to haul the bags full of leaves back to your own house and store them until the leaves at home begin to fall.

Empty all of the kitchen bags full of leaves beneath your awesome swingset that Mom just finished staining.  Make a giant pile at the bottom of the slide.

Sprinkle a few more on the slide just for good measure (and maybe to irritate your sister a little bit too)


Awesome flip flops huh?
Grant lost his in the pile of leaves.
I pretended to be sad.
Happy Autumn!!!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bad Apples and Bad Habits

It has taken eleven years and four children, but a Shupe has finally earned a trip to the principal's office.  We have earned the Bad Apple Award.  I always anticipated this dubious award going to Emily for her chatty little mouth.  She has luckily skated by with no issues.  The recipient of today's all expense paid trip to the principal's office was

Yep, our rough and ready six year old was scuffling around with his buddy in lunch line.  The lunch lady hauled them both to the office for a "little talk" as I like to call it.  I would not have known the incident occurred except his teacher noted his behavior today as a 2 out of 4.  Usually he gets 4's on his behavior.  When questioned, Grant brushed it off as nothing until he learned I planned to ask his teacher tomorrow morning about the incident.  Then the story poured forth as he tried to stem the flow of tears. 
After a little talk we have seen the error of our ways.  He solemnly promised to keep all hands and feet to himself ad infinitum.  We shall see.  Tomorrow he plans to tell his lunch lady and the assistant principal he is sorry.  I am sure the sheer horror of doing that will be enough to motivate him to be on his best behavior  ....    at least for a few weeks. ;-)
Bad Habits.....
While talking about all things bad today, I will throw in a little good news about a little bad habit.
Grace has developed a little habit of chewing her hair.  I know this is not the end of the world.  I also know this is kinda gross.  So we are working on breaking her little habit one little quarter at a time.  I gave Grace ten dollars in quarters.  I then explained every time I caught her chewing her hair she had to give me back one of the quarters.  If I never catch her, she gets to keep the quarters...   FOREVER.  BUT if I catch her enough times I will take all of her newly acquired quarters away then she has to start paying me out of her own money when I catch her.  So far I have taken three quarters during the first two days and have not been able to catch her since.  I think she may have just earned herself $9.25 by exercising some remarkable self control.
Way to go, Grace!!
I tried this trick several years ago with Emily for another little bad habit.  It worked with Emily too, but not until we burned through the original ten dollars worth of quarters and probably another five dollars of her own money.  The pain of parting with her own money was what finally convinced her to change her ways.
Operant conditioning at its best!  Thank you B. F. Skinner!!
Goodnight all!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

No Really

We've been good, Santa.
Grace and Grant went to talk to the jolly old man in the red suit today at the mall.  We were multi-tasking since John and Emily were meeting classmates there to work on a school project.
After the usual assurances of being good and always being kind, Grace asked Santa to bring her an American Girl Doll.  Grant gave the same assurances of angelic behavior all year in exchange for a hoped for Hot Wheels toy. 
We'll see if they convinced the big red guy of the good performances this past year.
And yes, it was the same Santa as years past.  See?
  He is such a wonderful Santa.
 I hope he carries on for a few more years until the
our two youngest can no longer hear the sweet sound of the Christmas Bell.
'At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.'
The Polar Express

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Case #002 - The Case of the Missing Tassel

For almost ten years, there has been an unsolved mystery in this house.
John and Emily graduated kindergarten almost ten years ago.
Their cute little graduation gear included tassels that they were allowed to keep.
By the end of summer one tassel was lost.
No one knew what happened to it.
No one would admit to losing their tassel.
As was their nature at the time, John and Emily did the only thing they knew to do in such a situation.
They argued
about who should keep the one remaining tassel.
Mother had enough.
I did the only thing I knew to do in such a situation.
I lied to my kids.
I hid the other tassel and told them it had gotten lost.
Peace was once again restored to the zoo.
Well, at least until they found something new to fight about.
But I digress.
Fast forward to today.
You will never guess what I found while cleaning out the safe in the storage room.
Well, probably you can guess.
The tassel!!
For ten years it has been hiding in a coin box where little hands long ago put it.
Mystery of the missing tassel solved.
So now I have reunited the junior graduates with their tassels, the one recently found and the one I have had hidden in my dresser for the past ten years.
Each time I would run across the tassel, I would wonder once more what had become of the other one.  Now we know.
I am certain I will sleep better at night with this knowledge.
Case #002 - The Case of the Missing Tassel
Case #003 - How Does She Do That??
Some mysteries may never be solved!
I have no idea how she folds herself into such tiny places.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Unsolved Mysteries - Case #001

Crime Scene:
Back Deck of Residence
Victim appears to be white male of corn husk origin
Cause of Death - beheading

Two suspects were taken into custody for questioning.

Based on eyewitness testimony and the accused's own accounts
I believe we have found the guilty party.
Can you guess who the guilty party is?
Remington at the scene of the crime.....
this would be MEG cowering behind the chair.
Mr. Scarecrow met an untimely death at the hands of my killer dog while locked on the deck the other day.  I guess that is what I get for locking them on the deck while I went to the farm.
We loved you like our own, Mr. Scarecrow!!
Rest in peace!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Black Eyes - Braces - Beautiful Fall Day - Veterans Day

Braces Girl
We find out tomorrow when she has her first official appointment.
She is actually excited since her best friend got braces this summer.
Two in braces at the same time

Black eye boy
His eye got a bit to friendly with a little girl's head on the playground.
It is obvious from the damage inflicted that her head is much harder than his!
It looks pretty good now.  He did it Monday of last week so it is starting to fade some. 
 Double Ouch


Jefferson Memorial Forest

family hike

I guess one would question why we went to a park to walk when we have all kinds of trees to look at on the farm.

The answer would be that we were in town.
No one wanted to drive the hour to the farm to go hiking.
Jefferson Memorial Forest is a 6200 (not a typo) acre park in the middle of Louisville with more than fifty miles of trails.
This is a shot of downtown Louisville from the trail we hiked.

half way point

Kids were home from school today in honor of our veterans.
We enjoyed the pretty weather and worked in the yard.
More importantly we talked about what this day really means other than a day out of school.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Black Eye and Braces

Two different kids.

Want to guess who?

Going to bed tonight.  Pictures and the answers tomorrow (I hope).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Baby G

Our case worker came to the house yesterday to do our home study.
It was the final step in the foster license renewal process.
 The renewal, though time consuming, was nothing when compared to the initial process of becoming a licensed foster family.
WOW!  Those people want to know everything
including which way we roll the toiletpaper.  (under - for the record)
Speaking of fostering,
our case worker sent us a new picture of Baby G.
Remember this little guy?

He came to us the first of May and stayed through the beginning of summer vacation.
He was a cute little guy.

And he still is from the looks of things....

six months old
Thanks for the picture, Margaret!!

farm photo dump