Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Old Goats and New Goats

Three weeks ago David and I found the sweetest little surprise tucked into the corner of the barn.

One of our goats gave us a very late Christmas gift. Can you see her hiding beneath the fence panels?
I think I'll name her Holly.

Although this is a terrible time of year for new babies, 
she has handled the cold weather like a champion and is doing great. 

The first week or two I would find her cuddled in the straw
while the big goats made a pass through the field for food.
Now she likes to run and play even on the coldest of days with the big goats. 

 They are so sweet and cuddly when they are new! 

She's going to have to wait a few months for some new playmates.  I don't expect the other girls to give us more babies until May or June. 

 But I could be wrong of course.  I have been once or twice in my life!

Here is our buck showing off for the camera.  He's quite proud of himself. 

And he's proud of his very first offspring.  Of course, I'm excited he's a new daddy too
His success at becoming a daddy just guaranteed our ability to sell him as a breeding buck this summer if we decide to. 

THAT makes me VERY happy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Still Catching Up!

Grant's birthday....

He received several LEGO sets for birthday.

But the present that brought the biggest smile to his face was NOT a LEGO set...

Doesn't every ten year old boy need a gun for his birthday?

I learned a valuable lesson about birthday cakes and making hasty promises.

Before promising your son he can have the awesome looking ice cream cake in the cooler at Dairy Queen, you should check the prices. 

Grant saw this cake one day before his birthday and asked if he could have one.  I usually bake a cake for birthdays, so I was thrilled at the thought of not having to bake.

I was NOT THRILLED when I paid for the promised ice cream cake.  $32!  Whaaaat????

I don't think I'll be doing that again.  

The gingerbread houses were decorated and enjoyed before Christmas.  Here are Grace and Grant's creations...

 And what could be expected when kids select 'fish bait' as a gift for their dad's birthday?

It would be safe to assume the resident cats will find the wrapped fish bait 
and gnaw the package open for a free sample.

We sat around the house for a full hour one evening trying to figure out why the house smelled
 more awful than normal   

 We finally found the package of fish bait chewed open lying on the floor. 

Neither cat confessed to the crime.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Military Ball and Christmas Joy

John's military ball was held in December this school year instead of January as in years past.
Once again, he invited Emily's best friend of many years, Katie.  Katie graciously agreed to be John's date for the evening.

 I think the Christmas tree made a great backdrop for pictures. 

Emily jumped in for  picture with her best friend.

These girls have been friends (and neighbors) since they were in diapers.
It's been such a joy watching them grow up together.

John received this in recognition of four years in JROTC.
I was surprised and pleased.  He's pretty proud of what he's accomplished in four years.
I think he has reason to be proud.

And in case you wanted to know.....(though you probably don't).......

The Christmas tree is long gone from our living room,
but the memory of the tree lives on.

The cats love lying under our tree each year.  
The problems arise when the cats get up and wander around the house.

Thanks to their long fur coats, 
they spread Christmas joy in the form of  needles all through the house.  

I will spend the next three months finding random needles scattered on the floors by my tree loving cats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

That Sweet Little Face!

Oh my!  How I miss that sweet little face and that blonde blonde hair!!!
This was John at probably age three (seems like a hundred years ago).

I think this guy was the world's cutest Christmas tree cutter.


Not that I'm biased in any way.

 Here's a puzzler for you.
I know this isn't correct,
but it took me a long moment to figure out what was wrong.

I'm going to give this to John and Emily tonight.

Let's see how
 the highly-educated-super-smart-smarter-than-their-parents-even high schoolers
 do with this challenge!

 Speaking of super smart....

this is starting to sound like a big brag fest.....

(Be warned. It IS a brag fest today.)

Grant was inducted into the Junior BETA Club at his elementary school.
Yes.  So were about sixty other kids.
I know! I know!

But I get to brag once in a while, don't I?!

And while I'm bragging...
guess what early riser in the family has decided
 to start fixing his own fried eggs in the morning!

my newly hired ten year old breakfast chef
 I'm loving this newly found independence he's showing.

I'm done bragging now.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Christmas Tree and Santa

Catching up.....

spent the weekend before Christmas at the farm

It's always fun cutting snowflakes and stringing cranberries for the farm tree.

Nothing fancy.  All homemade.

And look what David captured on his camera in our house on Christmas Eve!

Grace and Grant were in awe when they saw this picture.
Isn't technology (and photoshop) a wonderful thing? 

We are enjoying a quiet weekend at home.  
The weather did not cooperate with our plans to work at the farm this weekend.
Cold rain is not conducive to checking things off the to-do list.

Schools are closed Monday, so we get one more day to snuggle in and enjoy one another's company! haha

In college news, John has been accepted to the University of Illinois as well as the University of Kentucky.  He would like to attend U of I.  

Now we wait to see what scholarships he can get.
Those Illinois folks aren't very welcoming to out-of-state students with their tuition costs!

And I don't think he can build enough Taco Bell Grandes to pay for that kind of financial need!
That's a whole lot of tacos!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Well, technically speaking....

Grant was right.
I told him to bring some cans of fruit from the basement
 for a food donation drive being done at his school. 

I had to smile when he plunked a dozen cans on my kitchen counter
 including a few cans of tomatoes.

I did not correct him.  I'm sure he was not concerned with the 'seed bearing plant ovary' discussion I could have sprung on him.  Instead, I thanked him and exchanged his cans of tomatoes for other fruits.

I'll save the fruit versus vegetable debate for another day.
And probably another boy.  I don't see that ever being a great concern of Grant's.

 You've been there.  When a person decides to bring fact or clarity to a topic you would otherwise leave well enough alone.

I have come to associate the phrase "technically speaking" with the launching of a discussion about why I am currently wrong in my thinking.  This stems from sharing a home with teenagers who know they are not only smarter than their parents, but amazingly brilliant beyond their years.

Not.  Kidding.  There.

 And just for fun....

here is the aquarium Grant built for the LEGO house he and Grace built.  Not bad.  There's an orange LEGO inside the aquarium to represent his fish.

After Christmas and in spite of loud objections from Grace and Grant,  I condemned the LEGO house to the wrecking ball.  The house was torn down to make way for new creations and more exercising of their imaginations.

I don't miss the LEGO house.  And I'm not a bit sorry either. 

Don't judge.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Egg

Of course I am posting totally random pictures since I've not shared anything the past month.
Let's see what I can find on our camera to share today...

Here's Grant.

 Ten years old.  
Romantic extraordinaire.  
Still in love with the same sweet girl, T. T., after three years.
Obsessed with Pokemon and video games.
Very organized.  Polite.  Except to his sisters.
Hater of science lab.  Lover of math.
Pickiest eater I've ever had the privilege of feeding.

And now....
currently obsessed with fried eggs.

But it hasn't always been so.

One morning at the farm I decided I was no longer serving my picky crew their usual scrambled eggs.
They could either eat a fried egg or wait until lunch.
Sweet of me, I know.

 AFTER everyone stopped grumbling about no scrambled eggs, 
they declared fried eggs not only safe for human consumption but actually good!  Yeah!!

 Did I mention my kids are picky eaters?

And incredibly spoiled too!

But I love them.
Spoiled, picky and all.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


What's been going on at the zoo?

A lot!

Grant celebrated a very quiet birthday on December 13th.  He is now in double digits!  By now, Mom and Dad have collectively celebrated 55 birthdays with our four kids.  We are pretty much burned out on birthday parties in any form.

So....Grant invited a friend over for pizza and a sleepover.  Yes.  Only one friend.  It was awesome.

And I didn't even need my usual dose of Tylenol at the end of a birthday celebration.  Sweet.

For his actual birthday, Grant was supposed to perform in a winter concert with his fourth grade class at school.  He didn't think that sounded like a fun way to spend the evening after being at school all day.
So we skipped the concert and took the family out to eat instead.  Grant, being the birthday boy, picked the restaurant.

His choice?  Zaxby's.  He seriously loves him some fried chicken.

Our ECO Christmas party was December 10.  We had a great time with twenty or so guests celebrating the holiday season.  I think everyone enjoyed the evening.  A pool tournament always leads to lots of fun and laughter as the competition gets pretty serious between some of the guests.

Preparing to put presents under the tree.
The piles don't look very large.  Perhaps they've been bad this year?!

Christmas morning was a pretty quiet affair at our house.  Gifts were exchanged, and everyone got a chance to enjoy their new things before we headed to visit with extended family.

Grace received yet another American Girl doll, Leah, and Grant got a LEGO set from Santa.  I wonder how many more years Santa will be expected to deliver gifts to our house.  I was surprised he made the rounds this year.



John and Emily received many UK gifts in preparation for college next fall....in addition to the many books and DVDs that satisfied their current tastes in media.

We stopped for the day to visit family in West Salem.  Everyone spent the afternoon trying to figure out Perplexus puzzles.  Lots of laughs and fun together as we celebrated a new and very different kind of Simms Christmas.

We then headed on to Carrollton to visit with David's family for a few days.  We enjoyed the chance to visit and catch up with how everyone is doing.  Life is so busy.  It doesn't seem like we get to see one another nearly enough in a year.

We helped David celebrate his 50th birthday.  I made sure the day was filled with kindness and love.  (That is to ensure he doesn't repay me for any shenanigans when I hit the half century mark.)

New Year's was spent playing games and watching movies with the kids.  We helped Bill Murray pondered what there really is about Bob and went on a quest for the holy grail with Monte Python.

Most of us managed to stay awake to watch the ball drop in Time Square before heading to bed.

After one last day home for winter break, the kids headed back to school Tuesday and Wednesday.  YES!!

The return-to-school-so-life-can-get-back-to-normal celebration was cut short by an unexpected snow day on Thursday.  Once again we were all home playing games and watching movies together.

I can't complain.  These days together won't last forever.  Someday I can once again have a perfectly clean house and a schedule that is all my own.

Until then, I will embrace the mess, noise, chaos and furr (SO MUCH PET HAIR!!!!!) that comes from being a zookeeper.

(the cats LOVE hiding under the tree)

Sorry for the length of the post.  I'll get back to normal now and keep this up to date!!

I hope.