Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wishes From the Zoo

Grinch: How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!
Narrator: And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

Hoping you find "a little bit more" this season.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Grace brought home her art project on Friday.
It involved aluminum foil, a rock, glue and scrunching.
Art is all about interpretation, right?
When looking at Grace's creation, I see this...
while Grace probably imagines this....

Creative work #2

My interpretation of her work involves this sculpture of The Little Mermaid... 
Grace's interpretation also involved The Little Mermaid it.

Still counting down the days...

This year we have had more fun than usual with the advent treats.
Many tiny paper packages have been added to the treat selection.
Some notes have included cold hard cash
ranging from $1 to $20.  Luck Grant has pulled $45 dollars from the tree.
The next closest cash recipient has maybe collected $3-4 dollars.
Yes, you can ask Grant to pick your lottery numbers.
He seems to be pretty lucky.
Other notes pulled from the pile haven't been so profitable.
They have required the lucky winner to perform such feats as
name Santa's reindeer in alphabetical order
sing your favorite Christmas carol
tell one nice thing about each of your siblings
kiss the dog
It has added a new level of fun and excitement to the daily drawings!
Next year maybe I will include such treats as
clean the toilet
fold the laundry
cook dinner
No.  I didn't figure that would work very well either.
A girl can dream though.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Polar Express(ions)

Grant's homework folder contained this Friday
(which was their last day before winter break).
What does it say in his best first grade scrawl?
If I went to the North Pole to see Santa, I would ask Santa for what I wanted for Christmas.  I would want family because I would not have no one to share it with. That's why I want family.
I think that comment was enough for me for Christmas.
Who needs presents?

Grace and Grant decorating their snowman

Dad helped them make the snowman...
with his machete!
Of course.

Although the snowy snowman is melted away,
Mr. Cottony Snowman is still standing guard
over our advent tree.
The kids are anxiously counting down the days to Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Maestro No More

I have called John by the name of Maestro for many years.
He has never minded the nickname because of his love of the piano.
Times are a changin'.
Since he has learned to play this song, he will henceforth be known as
I will never be able to play this song. 
Because of the syncopation in the song, I would liken it to patting you head while rubbing your stomach.
Neither is a talent I possess.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Money Lessons

We have been talking a lot to Grace and Grant about the importance of saving and how to take care of their money.  A few days ago I gave Grace and Grant children's checkbooks.
They were checkbooks that I have kept for years.  I never found time to use them with John and Emily as I had planned. This seemed like a perfect time to give the checkbooks to Grace and Grant to reinforce our lessons on money (and make a little extra room in an office drawer).
Grace and Grant have pestered me incessantly asked me several times to show them how to write checks with their new checkbooks.  I have tried to emphasize these checks are pretend checks for children to practice with.  They have no real value.
I'm guessing that message was missed on my newly turned seven year old.
This is what he handed me tonight.
He had a change of heart about what he wanted Santa to bring him.
Now he wants another Octonauts toy (that's why it says Oct Gup F on the memo line) instead of the Hot Wheels Car Maker that SANTA already had ready to give him.  He thought by giving Santa a check, the jolly man would be able to afford a second present for Grant. 
I guess Santa isn't done shopping after all!!
Here are Grant's answer to his Star of the Week questions...

That about sums him up right now.  There isn't much I could add to that profile.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Parenting Fail

I might or might not have let a certain seven year old eat birthday cake for breakfast this morning.

Cake does contain milk, eggs and wheat.

Don't judge.

Yeah, it's been a busy couple days.  Thanks for asking.

Grant was worried and got out of bed the other night to tell dad his troubles.

The problem?

He wasn't sure when during the night he should stop being six years old and start being seven.

Wish all problems in life were that easy to solve.

Technology is an awesome thing.

Grace has mastered her multiplication and division facts while playing a computer game on the school website.

Siblings are an even awesomer thing.

Grant has mastered HIS multiplication facts while watching computer games over his sister's shoulder.

Yes, I know awesomer is not a real world.  I figured even extremely poor grammar is forgivable when compared to serving cake for breakfast.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Making Mario

Someone had a birthday today.
Someone wanted Mario for a cake.


Here you go Grandma...the finished product.
Grant said I had to put a picture on here so you could see when I got it done.

Made one for birthday today and another for his party on Sunday.
I didn't get the second one done in time to have a picture of twin Marios.
This will have to do!
Happy 7th Birthday, Grant!

I think the cakes should have been minions though.
Don't you agree?
More tomorrow about his big day...
I'm off to bed!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

You Know What?

You know what?

Emily received a promotion in ROTC.  I'm not sure what that actually means.  Though Dad was in the air force, I am about as ignorant as a person can possibly be about how a person works her way up through the various ranks.  I think Emily's promotion is different than her rank.  Ask her about it when you see her at Christmas.

You know what?

I finally got the Christmas trees finished.  I had to do a little adjustment to the job my very short elves did on the living room tree.  It is now equally decorated on the top and bottom halves.  I do find it troubling that having a tree half decorated did not bother me in the least.

You know what?

I think during my blogcation I failed to mention that we spent Thanksgiving with family in Illinois.  Thank you to everyone for making the weekend memorable.  Thanks too for hosting and putting so much work into making the weekend special.  We enjoyed our time together with family.

You know what?

Grant is star of the week this week.  That job comes with all of the usual recognition and responsibilities such as line leader, all-about-me bulletin board person, provider of show-and-tell items, treat passer-outer, pledge leader, flag holder, etc.  He takes these duties very seriously.  Since his actual birthday is on a school day, I am taking cupcakes in to his class tomorrow during lunch.  Wish me luck.  Those kids are serious about their sugar.  You show up with treats, and you have instantly made twenty-five best friends for life.

You know what?

Someone cannot form a complete thought right now without prefacing it with the phrase 'you know what?'.  Can you guess who it might be?

Good guess.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Home-A-Rama (Zoo Style)

Construction began on the Shupe gingerbread village during our many days off from school.
I think more candy was consumed than used on the houses, but isn't that part of the fun?

Hard at work




His has the minimalist look since he came home at the very end and there were few building materials left to use.

Gingerbread Village
Grace was begging to eat hers before I ever got a picture of them.
I'm not a fan of gingerbread myself, but that girl loves the stuff!

 Grace and Grant playing outside on one of our snowdays

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why Does It Feel Like Saturday?

I have had too many Fridays and Saturdays lately.
The kids were in school only two days the week of Thanksgiving. That left them home five days before returning to school.  Those five days (in my mind) went something along the order of
We then had school for a whopping four days before being out of school this past Friday for snow and ice.
They went back to school on Monday only to be out again Tuesday due to weather.
Let's see....that makes a total of eleven Friday/Saturday/Sundays in the past three weeks.
You know the biggest problem with this situation?
That means my poor brain has to deal with another Monday each time I have sent them back to school!!  Totally not liking that little detail.
AND to add to my displeasure we have not received the automated notice on either snow day as we should have.  That means two days of getting up at dawn's early light for absolutely no reason.
This does not make mother or children very happy.
Newsworthy news to share
Our former babysitter and former neighbor gave birth this past Friday (the real Friday) to her second child.  I can hardly believe the young lady that I have watched grow from a ponytailed, braces wearing adolescent to a young adult is now a mother herself.
Emily is now the age Jessica was when she babysat for us.
Time does fly.
Grace and Grant decorated our Christmas tree.
(in case you didn't figure that one out already)
For some unknown reason they started pairing boy ornaments (designated as green) and girl ornaments (red, of course) together saying they were married.

This little game went well until they ran out of "boys".
Their little brains were stumped for a minute or two before solving their problem by allowing same sex marriages (my words not theirs).

They are obviously a product of their time.
We did not get into the politics of the matter.  I smiled and congratulated their problem solving abilities and sent them to bed before passing legislation forbidding the marriage of same sex ornaments.

Call me old fashioned.
Remington has a new favorite place to lounge.
Look at the worry on his face.  He wouldn't even look at me.

He was so afraid he was in trouble.

He has progressed from laying only his head on the beanbag to now curling his entire one hundred plus pound body onto it.
He has learned his contortionist skills from the best...

Goodnight to you all!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

One Thousand

That is the number of times I have posted on this blog.
I can't believe I have stuck with this for four years.
I can't believe anyone has stuck with us and still reads this after four years of our insanity.

In honor of hitting the big one thousand milestone,
I thought I would post some of the most read entries from the first year.
Wow the kids have changed.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Herd's And The Bees' Update

Sorry for the pitiful pun. 
It has been a long snowy weekend with many energetic kids stuck inside.
David finally had to start feeding the cows this week due to the snow and freezing rain.
They were very appreciative of the free meal.
This is a new and unusual sight.
David has been offering a bucket of grain to the cows when he checks them.

It has taken a while, but he has won them over a few at a time.
Now when the cows see David, instead of running away from him, they are running toward him hoping for a treat.

Buddy the Bull

In spite of the bitter cold the past few days, David managed to catch the bees flying when he checked on them last week.  That's pretty good for December.  They have been flying regularly until this recent cold snap.  I'm optimistic all four hives can make it through the rest of winter with no trouble.

The horses also received some much appreciated hay.
We moved them all to the second pasture a few weeks back.
They have the pasture all to themselves since the cows are in the back pasture and the goats are gone.
We didn't get rid of the goats.
They went to find a male suitor. We will bring them home in another week or two.
By April we should have a new crop of kids to raise. 
(four legged kids, not two legged)
We should most likely have six kids, but could possibly end up with nine or ten.
Between new goats and new calves, it will be a busy spring on the Shupe farm!
If you are looking for something to do, come help!!
Extra hands are always appreciated!