Sunday, January 31, 2016

Spelling Bee - Fire Cleanup

 Grant participated in the school spelling bee Friday.  He competed with thirty or so other students.  I am proud to say he made it to the final eight before being eliminated.

e - l - i - m - i - n - a - t - e - d


Sorry.  I couldn't resist.

Everyone that participated in the school spelling bee received a medal for winning in their classroom contest.  That somewhat lessened the sting of losing.  Maybe not much, but a little.

Here are the third grade class winners.

It was a very fun experience.  And I fully believe that if Grant wanted to work hard studying, he would have a pretty good chance of winning the school contest next year.  He's a great speller.  This was a good lesson for him.  He knew most of the words that were given even after he was eliminated.

As I told him, it is pure luck which word you will be given.  You have to know how to spell every word on the list if you want to win...not just most of the words on the list.

I think he believes me now.  We shall see if that makes a difference next year when he competes as a fourth grader.

We worked on the barn again this weekend.  Plus we cleaned up the burned out trailer.

 It is hard to imagine that a year ago this trailer still stood tucked among the trees.

In March 2015 it was reduced to this.

The kids living in the trailer at the time have picked up the pieces left by the fire and moved on.  We miss seeing them at the farm.

 As of this weekend, all that remains of the trailer is the frame.  David will get it cut down and taken for scrap metal soon.

It looks so much better than it did!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dance, Roll and S - P - E - L - L

 Merry Christmas, Emily!

Emily and I had a girls' day out Sunday.  We spent the day shopping and dining.  We then spent an enjoyable evening together in Cincinnati watching Dancing With The Stars Live.

This is the second year Emily has asked for show tickets for Christmas.  David took her last year due to poor weather and road conditions.  I got to go this time.

It was a lot of fun.  There was a lot of shaking and a lot of skin showing.

We enjoyed the view .  Ahem, I mean we enjoyed the talented dancing.
I don't think it's a show I want to take my ten year old daughter to see, but Emily and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We did take our ten year old daughter to a skating party last night.  We also took our nine year old son.
The school hosted their monthly skating party.

David joined us for some fun.

There were lots of friends skating and playing games.  We had a great time.  
Well, we had a great time until Grace fell down and busted her backside.
Then it wasn't so fun anymore.

She recovered.  A little bit of sympathy from her dad and an ice cream cone on the way home did much to lift her spirits...and ease her suffering.

Grant is still  s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g his way toward Friday's school spelling bee.  Each class winner gets to participate in the school bee.  He's a great speller.  He does not like to practice.  We shall see how that works for him.  I'm guessing not well.  But I could be pleasantly surprised.


S - U - R - P - R - I - S - E - D


Goodnight everyone! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dumb and Dumber

NO!  Not these two!

Not these two either! Shame on you for thinking that!


I actually meant these two....

 I took them to the vet a while back for their annual visit.
Once they realized we were at the vet, I had to drag them out of the car.  They refused to budge.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Assistant

Jet has picked a new favorite spot to hang out when I work in the office.  The old favorite spot used to be perched on my lap.  That presented challenges. He was a pretty grumpy assistant.  If I moved even slightly, he would express his disapproval with a growl or hiss.

 So initially I was very happy Jet picked a new location from which to supervise my work.

 But I must say he has become a bit of a pest.  With a flick of his tail he reorganizes the papers on my desk.  A fine talent indeed, but we do not have the same organizational priorities.
In addition, he is now using my touch screen monitor as a head rest.  Touch screens respond to even the touch of cat fur.  Great if you're a cat.  Not if you're a human trying to get real things accomplished!

Jet will be shocked when he gets fired from his job as office assistant.

I wonder if cats can draw unemployment.


 Snow Day Tea Party

Grace found my old tea sets while rummaging in the attic.
So of course we had to have a tea party with them.

 Look who joined the unemployed cat.

Tracing Pokemon - new favorite activity

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Wonderland

It's winter.  It IS a wonderland.

I wonder when it is going to stop snowing.  It has been putting down the white stuff nonstop since eight o'clock this morning.  No signs of letting up yet.

I wonder how many times I am going to have to shovel the driveway.

I wonder why I am actually shoveling the driveway since all of our vehicles are four wheel drive.

I wonder how many more snow days we will use before Mother Nature releases her grip on the thermometer so roads can melt and clear.

 I wonder how many movies we can watch before our brains turn to mush.

I wonder how much food teenage boys can consume before the actually feel full. 

I wonder if teenage girls ever get tired of thinking about clothes, jewelry and nail polish.

I wonder where my sweet ten year old girl disappeared to and who this hormonal wreck is that has taken her place.

I wonder how long Grant will delight in teasing his now hormonal ten year old sister until she cries.

I wonder if I should be enjoying these long snowy days more than I actually am.

I wonder if I should feel guilty for not enjoying these long snowy days.

I wonder if anyone cares that I am not enjoying these long snowy days.

Honestly, it has been a pretty quiet week by zoo standards.  We have been home a lot, and it has been crazy loud and messy here.  But that is still a pleasant change from the normal rush of running people around to their various activities.

John's military ball fell victim to inclement weather.  It was supposed to be this Saturday but has now been rescheduled for March 5.  Grace had her first quick recall match canceled Wednesday.  There were a few doctor appointments and other things also on the schedule that were canceled.  So the upside of all the snow is that we got to stay home and spend some time together.  Always a good thing.

We've watched movies, made cookies, popped popcorn and played video games way more than is probably good for us.  Who really cares, right?  We don't.  It's been fun.  I'm just ready to get back to life and a real schedule come Monday morning.  PLEASE!!!

Have a good weekend.  Stay warm.  Stay safe.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Voices In My Head

Grace - "Don't worry about the Mouse-mobile smelling bad.  I sprayed perfume in it to cover the smell."
Me -  "Thanks, Grace.  That was nice of you."

The Voice In My Head - "I'll try to control my gag reflex as your Agave Papaya Sunset Body Spray mingles with the mouse urine smell.  How many bottles did you spray in here?"

John - he gets into the car... Emily was driving home from school... "Can I have two seatbelts??"

Me -  "Now John.  You know your sister is a good driver.  Leave her alone!"

The Voice In My Head - "But, son, she only scares me half to death.  Your driving  puts me into full cardiac arrest.

Local News Person - "School will be closed again tomorrow.  Stay inside and stay safe."

Grant - "Awesome!!!  No school again tomorrow! What are we going to do?"

Me -  "How about we bake some cookies.  Then we can play games and watch a movie while eating popcorn.  Maybe we can go play in the snow and build another snowman!"

The Voice In My Head - "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!  Not again!!!!!!!!"

Grace - " I love you mom.  You're my best friend."

Me -  "Thanks, Grace.  I love you too."

The Voice In My Head - "Someday I'm gonna miss this."

Someday I AM going to miss this.  Until then, I just wish it would STOP SNOWING and school would reopen.  I. am. going. crazy.  Ten kids here at once today playing, running in and out of the house and having fun.

Plus the appliance repairman that I am now friends with because he has fixed my "new" dishwasher so many times.  That thing needs a good swift kick in the water pipes.  The repairman even considered staying long enough to share the chicken pot pie I was baking for lunch.  He decided he had already visited too long.  We don't say good-bye anymore....instead I say "see you next time".

Plus I had two different plumbers in today looking at my too-new-to-be causing-so-much-trouble- water heater.  It too needs a good swift kick in the water pipes.  I think we have that problem solved.  Fingers crossed!!

I am now going to my room.  Partly to escape the chaos I call home this week.  Mostly to tackle the mountain of laundry that sits neglected on my bedroom floor.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


What a wonderful expression of respect and love for the Kenneth Cunningham family today!  I am very proud to be from such a wonderful, supportive community.  Prayers for the family as they lay a hero to rest in Southern Illinois where he belongs.

Pray for all that serve and their families waiting for them to come home safely.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Because sometimes size DOES matter....
  Hey, we're all adults here.

We said good-bye to this gentle giant last year.  Doc was a really sweet horse, but he was just 
David was the only one that rode him.  I rode him one time and decided I needed to be a lot closer to the ground when riding a horse.

Because bigger isn't always better....

We traded Doc off and brought home this sweet little gelding.  I think he has been named Hershey.  Since he is considered a chocolate color, I think that's a pretty good name.
  The second place name is Dakota.  I can live with either one.

 Hershey/Dakota was bought to replace Juliet.  She was the horse Grace and Grant rode.  She is the one that we lost a few months ago. This little horse seems equally calm and steady.  He should do a great job filling in the gap left by Juliet.  I hope the kids enjoy riding him for many years to come!

Because snowman trees are all we can have at Christmas trees allowed.

Because fifth grade girls are just like that.....
Grace and her classmates putting on an impromptu performance at lunch

Because nine year olds think it is quite natural for Bionicle robots to catch a ride on a horse.

 Because all families sort their animal crackers by species and gender...don't they?!

Because Triominos has become a favorite game at the zoo...

Because sometimes reading has sweet rewards....
REALLY sweet rewards, like a GiGi's Cupcake for reading ten books.

Because Grace has struck up quite a friendship with this sweet girl this year....

 Because it was dead....I took a picture.  Had it been alive, I would have been half way across the pasture in the time it took me to snap this picture.

Because I'm cleaning pictures off my camera....can you tell??  Hope you are staying warm.

We aren't!!!  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Guard Dogs


had the dogs in a frenzy this week.

 Our faithful guard dogs alerted me to an intruder in the back yard. 
They were begging to be released.  Wanting to tear the offender limb from limb.

The offending party seemed unphased by their hystronics.

 Soon the game of taunting the dogs grew old.  Off she ambled to find another more peaceful yard. 

 Good dogs.  Now go lie down and be quiet.

One goat sold today.  The tiny little goat found a new home as a pet.  Tom and Janet were very excited to add her to their ever increasing farm yard family.  They purchased two goats from us last year and were looking to expand their herd again.  We enjoyed seeing the goats we sold them last year.  Oh my, how they have grown!

We have been busy today.  We went to early church this morning.  David and I then took off for the farm.  I pruned the orchard while he fed livestock. Grace has a friend from school over today.  John took his Sunday School class to see the new Star Wars movie.  Emily spent the afternoon napping. (I'm jealous!)  David is enjoying watching the Steelers play on television, and I am getting things caught up. It has been a very pleasant day.

Bonus points are being awarded to no one in particular for schools being closed tomorrow.  No 5:30 alarm in the morning. (Yeah!)

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Thank you grandparents for a nice visit today. We enjoyed the time together. 

Seeing all of you was a bonus in addition to the driving hours we accumulated on the trip. Only eleventy billion more miles to go before my teenagers have logged their requisite sixty hours needed to be fully licensed drivers. I have callouses in strangely unexpected places from many miles logged in the copilot seat. 

The price we pay as parents. 

Grant won his class spelling bee. He ironically won when he correctly spelled m-u-s-s-e-d.  A word he not only spells, but he lives as well. Grant is the poster child of "mussed".  From his mismatched socks to his baggy shorts and ratty shirts, he LIVES mussed. 

Congratulations Grant. 

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I have learned a thing or two during my sixteen year stint as a parent.

Here in no particular order are a few of my more stellar parenting insights.

- Multitasking is a basic survival skill for all mothers.  It become something of a game when it involves being on hold simultaneously on a cell phone and land line.  It's a bit like playing the lottery trying to guess on which phone you will hear a live person first.

 - The length of time it takes to assemble a toy is inversely proportional to the time a child will spend playing with it.

An hour to assemble - Five minutes playing with it

- A dog has infinitely more patience than a mother.  Remington has been licking the marrow from this bone for almost a year.  In that amount of time, I would have gone certifiably insane trying to accomplish such a simple task.

- Laundry will NEVER fold itself.

 - When kids are deprived of electronics long enough, they get creative.
One stick, one sock, catnip and bells made for a lot of kitty fun

 Example #2 of creative boredom

- Little girls grow up way too fast.

- Barbequed turtle for dinner is a guaranteed way to save on groceries. Given the minimal amount eaten last night, I should get approximately 279 meals from one cooker of meat.  Yum.

- A teenager's phone is fully charged and in their hand at all times.  Unless their mother is trying to call them.

- Big girls never outgrow their love of animals...especially very tiny animals.