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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Whole World Stinks

Have you had one of those days? Where, literally, everything stinks? I did today.

The farmer across the field from us is spreading manure over the fields. I think he has found the nastiest stinkiest ickiest manure he had from sitting there all winter and decided to spread it as far away from his house as he could, so it’s right next to ours. He started doing this yesterday, he finished up today. It’s a big tractor, it’s a HUGE stink.

To read the rest, check out http://www.praiseandcoffee.com/ !

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Farm Update

Drum roll please! Today is the very first for the year farm update!

This very morning, a mere half an hour ago, my handsome farmer husband ordered our first seeds. Hooray!

This is a big deal. Today is cold and windy and not feeling warm and springlike at all. But when he orders seeds it's like a vi sable conformation that spring is really on it's way. I can't wait to for the seeds to arrive!

(this was taken last fall when he hauled all the tomatoes into the house to keep them from freezing one very cold night)

He has ordered just tomatoes and peppers for the first order. Now he will be busy building a sort of greenhouse to start the seeds in - last year we used the bed of an undrived (is that a word?) pick up but we sold that so now he is going to build something more permanent since last years 'greenhouse' worked so well.

He has 8 tomato variety's arriving (equaling 1,000 seeds, last year we had 500) and 4 pepper varieties. To our farm stand customers, yes, your regular tomatoes will be here along with all the peppers you asked for last year so you could make your salsa this year!

I am thrilled and just had to share!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Family Photos

It is against my better judgement to share this story with you. However, we are now getting prank calls from friends and two of our friends have laughed so hard they couldn't speak anymore and it is always followed with "oh! put that on your blog" and I respond with "it's not funny to me yet".

So, here is my not funny to me story that happened just two days ago.

We haven't had family pictures taken since #3's clothes no longer fit #4 - it's been a while. Okay, like three years ago. I am the taking photos diva and I have pictures going out with every Christmas card and this year it dawned on me I sent two family photos out - both with me in grub clothes and no makeup (camping and farming pics) - and decided then that this was the year that all that was going to change.

So, I made the appointment. I had to find a place to get them taken and then wish that they would have some magic bulbs so I could look all summery tan instead of hibernation white. I made it for a week away, until my husband informed me he would rather do it sooner - like the very next day. And I got that appointment. Which meant I brought up in Bible study and had to call three friends to try to pull together a color scheme. We all agreed on one thing, being the only girl in the family, this time it really could be all about me. So I chose my favorite blue skirt...and wondered if there was a place that offered immediate bronzing to pull it off! But like they would really see my legs in the photos, right?

My husband buzz cuts all our boys hair except #4. I say this with all the unconditional love of a mother, our youngest has a large head. Thankfully, he has grown into it - more - but a buzz cut on him is never ever going to be an option. Ever. Over the winter this year I let my boys hair grow out, keeping around their eyes and ears and the back of their neck cleaned up with scissors. My husband believes that the boys were the greatest gift God ever gave us....and one of the greatest gifts about them is that he can buzz cut their hair and they will never have to see a stylist. So, having the boys hair long enough to look like hair is a big deal to me. I love their hair so I told them to keep their hats in the back of the suburban - the older two boys are NEVER without their camo hats - and I 'styled' their hair for them. Son #2 has the most beautiful curly hair ever. Beautiful. I never knew this when it was buzz cut and I was so glad to have it captured for the whole world (or all family members) to appreciate.

We arrived a few moments early - my husband was sure we would be late but everything was going smoothly! - and let the studio know we were there. My husband called his mom on the way there to let her know we were in the 'big cement city' as I call it and we could meet her for dinner.

And then we waited.

And we waited some more.

And then we waited longer.

My husband has no patience. He will tell you so. None. The only time he has patience is in letting his garden grow - my husband is a changed man when farming. But this was not farming. THIS was sitting in hard plastic chairs for over half an hour at our normal dinner time. Son #1 began being the 'third parent'. Son #2 was nervous his hair wouldn't look just right and began smoothing it down. #3 and #4 began rolling - I'm not exaggerating at all - back and forth across the floor. My thought was, if it keeps them quiet and they don't get dirty, it's better than them running and getting bruises.

The woman we realized we were waiting for was oohhing and aahhing over ever photo taken of her one teenage soon. She wanted them all but she could only choose a few and she took FOREVER!

At some point, we gave up making the boys stay quiet. My husband told them to go stare at the woman picking out photos, maybe that would speed her up. He didn't care if they knocked down the table with the display on it anymore, four little boys can't be cooped up that long.

I was becoming mortified by it all and still trying to talk peacefully. "We have nothing else planned, no where else to go..."

And then he reminded me of the dinner plans we had made on the way in.

So, we made it in to get our photos taken 45 minutes after we got there. Had we known it would have taken this long, we could have gotten our eldest new school shoes. He's outgrown his and it's one of those things you really need him to be there for and never have him with when you are near shoes. And then we would have been busy instead of doing nothing but thinking how long they were taking.

And this is the happy family that the photographer has to work with.

The photographer gets us all in place and Son#3 is sitting on my lap. The photographer says "look at my pickle nose!" and he begins to laugh. I mean, seriously all out laugh. "She said pickle nose!" and he cannot stop laughing. Imagine a bad case of the giggles, but way worse. He cannot stop laughing. I feel my husband tense beside me. I now realize that Son#3 is way over tired from two days of preschool and hard play outside and I know this is going to get ugly fast. I get right in Son#3's face and say 'okay, stop now!' in a forceful voice.

The photographer does not say 'pickle nose' for the rest of the session.

We get a few - like three - pictures and she has us all line up. I try to catch a glimpse of myself in the teeny tiny mirror they have in there. I see stress screaming from my eyes. And I have to check, when feeling any type of emotion what so ever, I get all red and blotchy looking. Some call it hives, some call it redneck, I call it the curse. If I eat anything spicy - like ketchup - I get red and blotchy. If I am out and about and think "I hope I don't get all red", I will. If I laugh too hard, if I watch an intense movie, if I am extremely excited and gleefully or really mad, I get red. If I am in a high stress situation, you guessed it. Expecting such a situation (and not wanting the whole world to be witness of my embarrassing trait), I had prepared by lots of makeup, because, as I said before, there was no tanning or tanning lights in the studio. And now I was thankful for the for thought to wear the makeup.

The next pose was me, on the floor, for all the world (okay, extended family and friends) to see my hibernation white legs. My husband sits next to me and son#3 lays between us with the three other boys surrounding us. We get one picture and Son#3 decides to get up...but he's not supposed to and when we get him to lay back down, he starts to cry. I have to kiss him and then go back to smiling happily.

When we get up for the next round of pictures, this time of just the boys, Son#3 decides he wants to ride on one of the toys there and we have to get him back with the rest of the gang so my husband gives him a gentle push with his boot on his butt.

This is what I would call the meltdown.

Son#3 begins wailing "my Daddy kicked me in the butt!" This takes MAJOR work to calm him down. Once he is done wailing, he begins laughing. Suddenly he has the best smile of the group. The photographer tells #4 he is a tough guy and needs to cross his arms; he takes this seriously and does not smile. He is tough. #1 decides this is a great time to pour on the charm, in a bunch of crazy looking (none appropriate for the photo) faces; my husband tells him to knock it off and smile. #2, sensing the stress, smiles in this huge frozen smile that is as fake as can be but he is staring straight ahead without blinking at the camera his hair completely flat and then huge wings at his ears.

The photographer looks to my husband and I and asks us if we would like our picture taken. "No, we're good" my husband states, "we have a lot of pictures of us together." He is right, I do agree, I don't want to remember this day but I am sure it came off a lot differently than that to the photographer.

When we go back to view our photos and purchase them, my husband loves how they have turned out. He had an eye for such things, the lighting and position and can glance at it and instantly know if we should keep or discard it. He is amazing at this. He tells me to chop chop in ordering how many I need and heads off to call his mom to tell her we will be leaving shortly.

In less time than the woman before us took to just pick out her pictures, we had taken photos, chosen them, paid and moved on out of the studio and were sitting in the restaurant across the street.

Ahh, the making of family memories.

Why someone can't just snap photos of us in every day life...like today when all six of us were outside playing soccer and laughing and having a great time.

I suppose that's why we have more soccer family memories than every three years family photos memories.

And that is the story everyone told me to post.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In Honor Of Spring.........

In honor of spring, our three year old spent a good portion of the morning watching Bob the Builder Christmas. My husband updated his countdown to the first day of winter (just to tease me...I start a countdown for spring as soon as New Years Day arrives!)

Son #3 had to bring a sign of spring into his preschool classroom and so we picked one flower from the one clump of crocuses in front of our house. Squirrels apparently waged war on my crocus bulbs over the winter and there were many casualties, but, this one had just bloomed the day before so #3 and I went out and carefully plucked one bloom. He was so sad because it was closed up so tight - it was 20 degrees out! - but we put it in a little drinking cup with LOTS of sealing plastic wrap and sent him on his way to school with Daddy. When I picked him up from school later that day, he ran over to me and he was so excited he was stuttering over all his words and nearly yelling telling me how, just when the class got to look at all the signs of spring his friends brought in, his little yellow crocuses opened up and bloomed. His teacher nodded and smiled "It was very cool."

I had to thank God for that extra special gift to my little boy that day in preschool.

When we got home I let him keep the flower on the shelf by his bed. He has checked it many times! It's going to make him cry when we have to throw it out, but I have already found another little flower coming up that he can have next. And, it IS the first day of spring, there are a lot more flowers to come!

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Spring!

It's spring! It's spring! It's spring! It's spring!
Hooray!
God did what He promises and brought spring back!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Well, gang, I still don't have this whole blog thing figured out - I thought I did and I am quite obviously blogging but this is how it went this morning had you been listening in at my house "wait, I DO exist!" "No! I DO have a blog!" "Wait wait wait - it is ME!" then I'd call my husband "HONEY! HELP!" and he'd look and say " I have no idea", which didn't help. At all, really. But I am here - hooray! But just in case you don't here anything from me for awhile, you will know I'm having 'issues' over here.

And now, on to the story of the day..................

Today is St. Patrick's day. So, at some point, I will dig out my Gone With The Wind book as well as my Scarlett book to read about the holiday. I have a few marked passages I have to check out to read, it's my St. Patrick's Day tradition. I am, in very teeny tiny small part, Irish. I like to think I would do well if I were to ever visit Ireland. They have no snakes and they walk around barefoot and keep a bucket of water by the door to wash off their feet before coming in (at least according to the Scarlett O'Hara book) and I could be all about that. But, since I am mostly Dutch and my husband is as Dutch as Dutch can be, I'll probably never see Ireland but may get to see a cool documentary on the Netherlands. :)

I regress...

Anyhow, today is also one of my dearest friends birthday. Her husband surprised her, got her the day off and is taking her out for a day of pampering at a spa and lunch and so on and so on. She told me how surprised she was as she was about to walk out the door with her husband and I was all like "awwwww, that is the sweetest ever!"

So, I am telling my husband this as he is looking through seed catalogs (I'll blog more on farm things soon, I know you all want to hear how the asparagus is doing) and he says "I got you a massage once and you never used it."

Can anyone feel my instant anger? Oh, I was mad! Wondering why I had ever given him my cute little Happy Saint Patrick's Day card and all that. I quietly went off to wash dishes because I had too many for the dishwasher and the dishwasher has a few problems right now so I can't really over use it and we have a TON of dirty dishes (we ran out of spoons, I am stirring my coffee with a fork this morning) and that gave me a bit of time to think.

Drat that new Bible study I just started! Wouldn't you know that we were talking about how we handle conflict and so on and I had to learn a verse about being honest and so on because I am the whole 'not say anything til I explode' type person just to avoid conflict and my verse is in Ephesians about being honest. I really began to wrestle with this, badly. But there is no better time to put to practice what I am learning than the present so I poured my husband some coffee (silently, not obviously so he knew I was working in the kitchen) with is favorite yummy mix (Hills Brothers Cappuccino Double Mocha mix, you can find it right next to the cans of coffee and it is SO yummy! He calls it 'special coffee') - I stirred his with a knife it was such a big cup - and I set it (not slammed, so it spilled coffee on his work) in front of him. I sat next to him and listened to him explain the different kinds of squash we would be growing and waited for him to finish so I could say "that really hurt my feelings when you said that about the massage."

He didn't know what to say so I used that to my advantage. "You got me that massage when I was pregnant for #3 and they didn't have a pregnancy massage there and after I had him they wouldn't let me bring him and he was so little to leave behind so I went and got the pedicure instead and Mom sat out in the van with him in case he cried and I had to leave suddenly and I really loved the idea and if you remember I was really really excited, it's not like I just threw it to the side and I DID use the certificate."

"Well, that was a long time ago and that's fine, I'm over it."

"Obviously not."

So we chatted it through and got it all resolved, rather quickly and totally peaceably and now I don't have to give him a cold shoulder today and just enjoy the whole day with him, which is good, because it's going to be nearly seventy so we will be working outside all day as soon as I finally finish those dishes which I'll do as soon as I am done blogging and our youngest gets out of the tub (but he is crying that the tub is so boring that he can't pick up his toys) and our #3 leaves brother #2 - who is home sick with an ear infection and THAT is a great story I hope to write about later today - alone so he can do his homework. And I am thankful for the lesson I learned and applied from Bible study.

Got any lesson you should be applying to your day? I'm telling you, I am thankful I applied mine to the day...I think my day is going to seem blessed (with peace and joy) because of it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hang in there with me!

You know, years ago, my high school teacher told me in typing class (yes, typing. Not keyboarding) that typing was not really my strong point. She passed me only because I kept trying. Later, I had to take computers and I have no idea how I passed that either...I think only because I showed effort and that I was truly a blond who just "couldn't get it".



So, here I am with a blog. On face book. Just got a blackberry. Giving my Mom pointers on the computer (scary, I know).



And the whole point in telling you this is that...my e-mail has to change and that changes my beloved blog so while I am restructuring and getting things settled, hang in there with me til my all knowledgeable computer helpers, Randy(http://http://www.lessonsfromtony.blogspot.com/) and Sue (http://www.praiseandcoffee.com/) get me all fixed up over here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where is my Birthday?


Our youngest turned three this month. Now, it’s hard to describe to a three year old that it’s his birthday and hip hip hooray. I put up a Happy Birthday banner above his chair at the table so he could see it when he came down for breakfast. All he knew about his day is everyone was singing one of his favorite songs and he wanted a Bob the Builder cake at some point. As we were taking his older brothers to school that morning, our birthday boy asked us all a question not one of us could answer….

Where is my birthday?

To read the rest (and you don't want to miss it!), check out Sue's great blog at http://praiseandcoffee.blogspot.com/2009/03/march-winner-and-life-with-4-boys.html

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring is 17 Days Away!

While Michigan temps plummet, I just wanted to remind everyone it is 17 days til spring. And today, I heard song birds out my window.

Spring always does come back to us! It's one of God's great gifts! :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday evenings

Usually on Sunday evenings, we have chips and cheese. Tonight we had leftover taco stuffing's because of a much too large meal Friday night. It's funny, the boys HAVE to have something with salsa on Sunday night. We must have cinnamon rolls in the morning and salsa at night, no matter what. Funny how they plan their week on these two meals.


Lately the boys have had an infatuation with our photo albums. I buy regular slip in photo albums and then just jot a note beside them. I am about a year behind and have been just sorting the photos and sliding them in without writing in them yet. Just the same, the boys are constantly being found in front of our heater vent, staring at photo albums. DS3 has realized he has grown into some familiar clothes his brothers have worn and that has made for some interesting style decisions lately - the other day it was six degrees in the morning and he was wearing summer sandals and a summer shirt cuz his guys had worn them and they fit him now.


The most fun is hearing DS4. He can't figure out where he is in most of the photos. He sees photos of DS2 and claims it's him and tries to convince us that it is him and when we try to tell him he wasn't a baby yet he just looks at us like "hello! I have ALWAYS been here!"


DS1 and 2 keep looking at the photos and telling their younger brothers stories they are sure they have forgotten..."OH! Remember this! This is the day you got mad and threw your boot out in the lake and Moma had to catch it with the fishing net before the turtles got it!"







(acutual photos of the incident...is that turtle not huge? I took these with a disposable camera!)



And even my husband and I get caught up in looking at them when I keep taking care of the photo albums. It seems like just yesterday that DS1 was DS4's age and now DS1 is nearly as tall as me! I knew that this time in my life would go quickly....but it is going SO quickly.



So, from this mom who is thankful for the tons of photos I have taken
(those who know me are rolling their eyes right now because they know how many that is), take some photos of your kids...and be sure to make some memories with them. I've heard before "the problem with life is that it is so
daily".
I get caught up in that too....PLAN on making memories
with your kids before they don't want to make memories anymore. And I do
mean PLAN...or you never will do it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Prince and Princess Night

I haven't too much to say on this....it's just I wanted to show off the photo of my family as we were off to the Prince and Princess themed dinner at our church that the Word of Life Teen Youth Group put on. It was so much fun to dress up! Jake wore his only tie..a gag gift..Ds1 is the Prince of Hunting, Ds2 is the Prince of Hockey and Ds3 and Ds4 are dressed in whatever Moma put them in! :) All the boys had Burger King crowns, and the four boys wore fly swatters that had been 'turned' to swords. It was a LOT of fun! Enjoy the photo!