After the tragidy of Chickie, we received 35 new chicks in the mail.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
After the tragidy of Chickie, we received 35 new chicks in the mail.
We have the cutest little kitten, Lucky. S2 found him on the road one day on our way home from summer school. He could not leave it there so we brought it home...S2 cannot help but love on animals. Not bringing this kitten home was not an option.
I told the boys to leave her alone, eventually they did, until S1 came to the door cuddling Lucky. "She came down on her own like I said, huh?"I asked him smugly.
"Nope. I had to knock her out of the tree."
Literally, he knocked her out of the tree! Ah, but she seems fine now, doesn't she? But for her own safety, and the safety of my boys, I hope she stays out of the tree!
“Everyone will think I’m a big meany after your last blog,” he said.
If anyone knows my husband, they know he is not mean. Funny. And a farmer through and through.
We had friends over for a campfire a few weeks ago. They had just returned from Florida at Disney world where it was exceptionally hot. My friend’s (K.E.) hair was long and super blonde and she was bronze tan. I am still growing out my hair, I am not super blonde, just regular blonde, and there was no way I was close to tan, I was still snuggled up in long jeans and a sweatshirt to stay warm. My husband said, “now that summer is here, you really should work on a tan.”
I batted my eyes as seductively as possible and said “if you buy me a bikini, I’ll go to the beach with you………..”
“I’ll buy you a bikini,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, “And you can weed the potatoes in it.”
See, he is funny and a farmer through and through.
But after the conference this past weekend, he was a true romantic. He showed up at the hotel in his freshly washed and cleaned out pick up as a complete surprise just to pick me up.
Why waste a free night?
He drove me around the city, showing me the jobs he has been working on that I had no idea where they were; just get a photo of now and then of them. We walked the streets. He took me to a movie, a chic flick movie no less, and we went to a steak house for dinner. My husband loves to talk, but he let me talk all night long.
In the morning, we slept in. Since my parents were still keeping the boys, sleeping in was bliss. Knowing I was about to fall asleep to awaken whenever I felt like it, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, there are no words!
When we woke up, my handsome hubby made me an omelet. Now how sweet is that?
I am sending this out as a thank you to my hubby….what do you need to thank your husband or wife for?
Monday, June 29, 2009
I was searching a song for my husband, heard a crackle sound and went "oh no! water for the mac and cheese!"
A perfect day for sleeping in.
Last night my husband and I drove to get the boys at my parents, where my mom made us her famous home made pizza. Yummy! As soon as we pulled in, S4 was jumping on the car like a hyper active dog; as soon as I opened the door he fell onto my lap and hugged me as hard as his little three year old arms could. Then he let me go, just to hug me again. For the rest of the night I had to sit with him while he went poop twice, heard how the garbage can stung him (it was a bee in the garbage can that hold pig food), heard about the beach, heard about the golf cart rides, heard about everything he was sure I needed to know.
S2 was following right behind S4 and gave me a big hug and for the rest of the night he was showing me something he had done or sharing how S1 hadn’t wanted to play in the creek, hadn’t wanted to run down the paths, hadn’t wanted to do anything but play legos. He would wander out to play, only to come back and tell me something or rub my back or give me a hug.
S3 was carrying around the bow he has there and told me about all the great shots he had taken. S3 is a wanderer. He would wander in to tell me something, forget what it was, wander out to remember it and then come back to tell me.
S1 asked if he had to go home and told us about the Lego village he had built, explained how old bull dozer toys worked, informed us of all sorts of interesting facts about the car museum he had gone to with Papa and the tractors he had learned so much about this weekend.
I swear they all grew another inch and they all looked so much older in those nearly three days!
When it was time to go, S1 asked if he could stay one more night. S4 asked if he could stay there forever.
I was really hoping my parent’s house would be trashed, that my mom would look exhausted. Her house was spotless, she looked like nothing was abnormal about her weekend but she did have the suburban loaded for us to leave. And all the clothes the boys had worn that weekend were washed, dried, folded and packed.
How does my mom do that?
When we got home, I could hardly keep my eyes open. I didn’t even make my husband’s lunch. I have no idea what time the boys went to bed because they were watching a movie when I crawled into my nice clean soft bed, closed my eyes and never opened them till eight in the morning, when I heard the boys pounding down the steps. When they realized I was still sleeping, they put a movie in.
It was just a perfect morning. The boys were snuggled down with blankets watching a movie; I could imagine where each one was. The breeze was cool. I could hear my chickens clucking and the birds chirping. My cat was perched upon my back, ready to attack any mouse that may ever have a suicide mission to enter this room and come near me, and purring in the meantime.
It was all so perfect my heart nearly burst.
But I fell back asleep. I knew I was tired, but I was shocked when it was after nine.
I quickly jumped out of bed. The boys had just put in another movie.
S3 followed me into the kitchen where I was sleepily putting together a very strong pot of coffee. “Moma, would you make toaster waffles?”
Toaster waffles meant home made waffles. From scratch. I had been thinking pancakes, mix and water and whala! Pancakes!
But S3 wouldn’t give up. Oma makes him waffles…..so we made waffles. Just in case I would forget, he begins to haul out the waffle iron, the bowl and then he scootches a stool over to the counter to keep me on task.
The sound of the metal stool screeching across the linoleum brings S4 into the kitchen. He arrives like a tornado, trying to haul his wooden stool to the counter, screaming for someone to take the bottles off of it, banging the stool into the side of the counter and then asks what we are doing.
S4 is in charge of stirring, or rolling as they call it. As they help, the continue to rattle off all the fun things about Oma and Papa's house. S4 decides to help crack eggs, the egg explodes into the air and only the shell makes it into the batter. While I clean up the shells, he runs to the bathroom and gets out a rare clean bath towel to clean up the egg that is all over the counter. We continue mixing up the waffles; S4 takes a sip of his chocolate milk and immediately spits it out. “This is YUCKY!” I know it shouldn’t be, I have the same chocolate milk in my coffee! Although, I am wondering now….I look into his cup and the egg that had exploded is partly in his cup of milk.
While the waffles are cooking in the waffle maker, S4 gets bored and runs back to the movie and then runs back in to see we aren’t done yet, runs back to the movie…you get the idea.
S3 gets the first waffle and I give him a whole big, take up the whole dinner plate, waffle. His eyes get huge, he beams and walks proudly to the table to show it off. When his brother’s stay glued to Cheaper by the Dozen, he goes in to declare he is eating a huge waffle.
As I write this, everyone has a waffle at the table. Everyone who was starving, who told me how much they love waffles, hasn’t eaten more than a few bites of waffles. Instead they are all outside getting the slip and slide ready.
While writing this, I have been shot with a bow and arrow numerous times, I have a dandelion now behind my ear, someone pulled into the driveway and I had to crawl away from the door because I wasn’t fully dressed yet, S4 had to show me how sticky his hands are, S3 explained how big Chickie has gotten since he was gone. S2 choked back tears while he explained it’s not nice to use the hose to fill the chicken water when the sink is full of dishes, my husband called to ask if I was going to clean house, weed and do laundry today……..
My life back to normal. And I am loving it!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
First of all, thank you to everyone who has been stopping in to check out the blog and enjoy these stories. Thank you to all who read Only U.P. From Here and helped me as I quickly wrote and asked for feedback from all of you in just one week – it was great fun to write and I never showed it to anyone but it was worth it still. I promise, you’ll be hearing more from Jo. I have a zillion ideas now! - . Thank you to all who prayed for us to have a great time….
Because we did! S.C., J.R. and I had a total blast. (as if the initials of my friends isn’t enough to make you giggle…) It was our very first Writer’s Conference, and I am pretty sure it was apparent to all there. Before we had left I had made jam from two flats of strawberries (no, we are out of strawberries here on the farm, they all went underwater), put together a portfolio of some stories from here on the blog (school mornings and family pictures) and other writings I have done in the past (did you all know I used to write on a news paper (and miss it!) as well as church news letters and I send in essays for contests…which I have never won!) and, of course, the story you have been reading here. I also watched my cute adorable little nephew (whom I’ll be calling Jr here on the blog, the one who I visited when I was nearly arrested, you will recall) which meant I was up at 4:15 in the morning to greet him. We also finished summer school this week, it was crazy week to be gone – but when you live on a farm with four boys, EVERY week is crazy!
On Thursday night, the boys were off to my parents. I was awake til one putting together the portfolios just in case anyone wanted to read what I had written and racing around doing laundry. My husband needed towels and clothes to wear and I needed ‘business casual’ clothes to wear to the conference. I have no idea what business casual means – it means different things to different groups, really – but figured it meant dresses. On Friday morning at seven sharp, S.C. was there to drive us to the conference where we met J.R.
Good gracious, the things we learned! I spent most of the time with Dennis Hensley, who taught on Fiction writing. I have oodles of notes. And my rough draft that you all have been reading would mean nothing to him or anyone else of importance…except to me who loves it and to you who like it too!
S.C. and J.R. listened to Chip MacGregor most of the time. They have oodles of notes. In a week the three of us will be getting together to share all our notes.
Then Ann Byle arrived to the conference. She ended up being probably the one I learned the most from. She was excellent, and informed all of us that if you write you don’t have a clean house. Which is good and freeing to know, as if I could ever have a clean house since I live on a farm, my husband farms our farm, we have four boys, we have a dog and three cats and S3’s chickie has been eating breakfast with us. My house is already never clean, but now that I am a regular writer too, the house is just doomed. That’s why we have a home….not a house.
My mind is bulging with information. It will take me forever to process it all. But I already have plans to attend another writer’s conference this fall and between now and then I am going to attempt to send out some magazine articles to different family magazines.
On a personal note, this is the first time since I was pregnant with S2 that I was gone to a hotel with just girls. We giggled and snickered and laughed til we cried. We stayed up late, we fixed our make up, we wore dressy clothes, we went for nacho run at 10:30, we drank tons of coffee. We had a blast.
I am so thankful for these two friends of mine.
Probably the thing I have learned the most from this conference was that I write because I have to, it is in my heart, words flow thru my veins. If not a single person ever read a word I wrote, I still would write. While it is my dream to be published, as in a fictional novel(s) as well as funny stories of life, that is not why I write. If these writings here have brought you joy, if they have encouraged you to laugh at yourself, if they have caused you to pause and realize the blessings of children and family and husband, if you realize God has a sense of humor and loves us dearly, more than we love our children and families and husband…then I am a success. And besides all that, all my boys will one day appreciate all these stories….because I am their moma and they have to!
So, that is how the conference went. I will now go back to just writing about the boys for all of you who need good laughs. Stay tuned for Father’s Day story (S4 spilled the beans), adventures with the new slip and slide, the further adventures of Chickie and S3 and much much more.
Thank you all for your prayers, they were answered abundantly.
One more thing, of the stories you have read here so far, which ones are your favorites? I thought I would start looking at those first for future magazine articles.
Everyone have a great Sunday!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It went way better than I ever imagined it going. My hubby used to own a farm market; he grew up selling on one of the busiest farm markets in the area. This market was just laid back, easy going, fun.
In fact, I was so sad when we didn’t have enough asparagus to sell the next week.
The following week I got to go…by myself with all the boys. Now just think on that. Me, four boys, asparagus and strawberries to sell. I promised the boys a fishing trip and McDonald’s if they went. They did, we did great. I was so worried about when they would have to go pee; we have to cross the road to get to a bathroom. But the boys did great. I could rave and rave about them, they did that well. It made this moma’s heart swell with pride.
It was a lot of fun too because I got to meet a fellow blogger, VS. It was so fun to meet her! I was thrilled she came down to visit us; it seemed odd to meet someone you think you know so well for the very first time. But it sure meant the world to me that she came to visit…next time I’ll have to hide a quart of our super sweet strawberries for her!
It is a lot of fun to sit there and chat with those around us. We are all there for the same reason….and we sit there chatting about the way to put salt on asparagus and how much sap it takes to make they maple syrup and how to make tea from herbs. It’s a blast! And me thinking it’s a blast just goes to show you how ‘farmer’ we really are over here.
I will try to keep ya’ll updated on the market front. It depends on what we have as to how often we can go. Later in the year I am sure we will be there every weekend but right now we just aren’t too sure, all depends on weather and what we can harvest…if we have enough we will so be there! I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on it.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Well, check out these photos of S4.
I told you the boy doesn’t mind getting dirty or mud puddles. Did you think I was misleading you?
We got this big rainstorm late this afternoon and the boys just had a blast running through the mud. Here they all are lined up for a photo…..
But I had to get their backsides too. Here they are…as they are explaining to hubby all the fun they had…..
They wanted to come in, but my husband sent them right back out. This is what the door looked like….
They had to be sprayed down with the hose. S4 ‘didn’t love’ being sprayed with the hose so I carried him in to put him in the tub. Here is the tub when he was done (I’m not too sure how clean he got).
But here is his smiling face when he was done. I guess he looks clean.
Now, the boys laundry, their shoes, the house, the bathroom, the floors…those are far from clean.
These were just too great of photos to not share with ya’ll. Hope you enjoyed them!
Summer school is like a cruel joke, I think. All year you survive for summer and it just seems wrong to then go show back up to school. And it’s odd to be there.
But for all of you out there, it provides lots of new stories of trips to school…
You know, one day when my kids are grown, I am sure I will just be some boring blonde that no one will want to read about anymore. Until that day ever arrives, I hope to keep you laughing…and letting you all know that you are not insane, there are others just as crazy as you out there!
To start our morning, we overslept.
One of the boys, I’m sure, got to playing with my alarm clock and set it at the wrong time. I have no idea how long it was like that, I haven’t had to use it for two weeks now…two blissful weeks.
So, when I let the dog out in the morning (my back up alarm clock), I seen the alarm clock said five so I snuggled down into my warm bed and felt the cold touch my nose and heard the rain on the window and went blissfully back to sleep for an hour.
I awoke to my back up cell phone alarm. Ending. The sound of the alarm ending woke me up. It takes an hour for it to turn itself off. We had one hour before school BEGAN and it was an all out hustle to get ready then. I had to take a shower because we had canned all day the day before and used up all the hot water so I my whole self was screaming “shower!”. When I was done, I had to holler to the boys to wake up. And then holler again. And then again. And then I had to run up the stairs to holler right in their rooms. And then right over their beds. S4 woke up crying, “You scare me! Is it snowing?”
Snowing? In June? Yup, summer school just messes with you that way.
So we really scrambled to get out the door on time. I had S4 in his Lightening Jammies AND his Lightening shoes so we should have no problems at all. I told the other three I would make them breakfast when we got home and I made instant oatmeal for S2. When it was time to go, I found S2, S3 and S4 all huddled under an umbrella looking in the sand box for S2’s shoes. We were so not prepared for the day!
We made it to school, thru the dirt road detour with ten minutes to spare. Hooray! We had made it without a hitch (sorta). We headed out of the heated suburban (it was that cold out! No wonder S4 thought it was snowing!) into the rain for the school door.
Honestly, it was hardly raining. Like, I wasn’t even worried my mascara would run. But S1 (who owns the umbrella), S3 and S4 were all huddled under the umbrella to school.
I would like to say here that all three of these boys run and jump in mud puddles regularly. They stick their heads under the hanging baskets of flowers on my porch when I am watering them. They wade in water with their jeans on. They spray each other with the hose. If there is a only one puddle in a whole parking lot or driveway, my boys find it. But on this day, they are huddled under an umbrella.
It was bound to happen. S4 tripped over S1’s feet and fell on the soaking wet sidewalk, drenching his Lightening McQueen jammies. Not ANY jammies, his LIGHTENING jammies.
Then the flood gates of tears began and I found out that the front doors of the school echo much more than the side doors (that we go in during the regular school year) of the school do.
S4 wailed all the way down the hallway. Two women, who I didn’t recognize, began to speculate that it was just too early for the little guy to be out and about.
We arrived rather announcedly to the class room where S2 was happy to be away from us, and continued back to the suburban where they all tried, again, to huddle under the umbrella. I am calculating in my head the cost of umbrellas down at Family Dollar vs. the headache I know I have over the wailing by the times of rain we are to be getting this week. Umbrellas would be a very wise investment.
So that was our first day of summer school.
It must get better than this!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Chickie’s full name was Flyer and she was S3’s pet chicken.
Chickie sat upon S3’s shoulder as he walked around the yard; I believe it was because she knew the long drop to the ground because she was well acquainted with dropping to the ground. S3 firmly believed that the more he tossing Chickie into the air, she would surely learn to fly. Recently, I was sitting on the kitchen deck/walk way reading a magazine and KATHUMP, something too big hit my head and down at my feet was S3’s chicken. “Did you see that, Moma?” he asked excitedly, “Chickie FLEW to see you!”
Chickie did not look too happy. But she didn’t look too dazed either.
S3 carried Chickie around the house, out in the yard, gave her dump truck rides in his Tonka truck, kept her in the crook of his arm when he did chores and he thought it totally unfair that Chickie could not sleep with him in bed.
How does a chicken loved so much die, you might ask?
Well, chickens can’t swim.
S3 knows that now because he tossed Chickie over the chicken coop fence into Mr. Goose and Miss Goosey’s swimming pool because he was sure that Chickie would like to swim, and of course Chickie was tossed over because that is how she would learn to fly and she landed in the pool and he ran for the door for dinner and when he went out to get her the next morning he found her drowned.
It really was sad. The older two boys fished her out and we put her in a plastic grocery bag, it wouldn’t be right to just leave her on the ground.
S3 was devastated. He was screaming “Chickie!” and wondering if the Goose’s had pushed her in the pool. But then he was sure I would take him to the local farm store to get a new chicken; which I won’t do because we have 35 new baby chickens due to arrive in two weeks. And one baby chick isn’t going to survive on its own very easily. Also, if I have one I know he will convince me he can sleep with it, I’m sure. When I said no new chicken right now, he wanted a turkey. You have to admit that is pretty creative of him!
Because we had friends over when we discovered Chickie ( of course, we could never have a ‘normal’ visit with someone, it always has to be dramatic somehow), we waited to the next day to have the funeral. S1 carried the shovel, S2 carried Chickie in the bag and then thought it was cool how he could whip Chickie in circles and S3 began to worry this would make Chickie deader than she was so he had to stop. I held S3’s hand as we walked to our pet cemetery. S4 wanted to stay in and watch CARS, again.
We have a pet cemetery. We have lost quite a few pets over the years. We have a dog, two goats, a rabbit, a salamander, a baby bird and now a chicken buried there. We dug the hole, marked it with a stick and rock then we all held hands and I prayed a prayer, thanking God that we had a chance to have Chickie for this short time and that we were thankful that God makes lots more chickens so S3 could have a new pet soon, etc. When we were done we all went back to the house for ice cream. No more tears.
It was quite the day. And just so you don’t worry, S3 is all excited about the new chicks delivery and how he can pick ANY chicken he wants and no one else can. When you are the middle child getting the hand me downs, getting first dibs is a pretty big deal. He makes sure all his brothers remember this too.
I’ll keep you updated!
Here they are, strawberries! Oh, they are so yummy! I thought maybe I was just being prejudice about them, but everyone who tries them suddenly has their eyes fly open and they look at me and shockingly say “these are really really good!” So, it’s not just me, these strawberries are that good.
I’m not sure how much there will actually be. Last year we only picked a few at a time, to get a handful at any time was a rarity. Last night, Hubby and the boys picked four quarts so we are much further along than last year.
Tonight I made our first strawberry shortcake. Ahhhhhh, summer has arrived!
I keep telling my hubby that this was a brilliant idea to plant strawberries. He tells me I won’t be thinking that when they are all ripe at the same time and I have to get my butt out there to pick them. But I can enjoy them now as the boys run them into the house for me.
The other night my hubby and I were walking his fields, looking over the great garden he has gotten started and he was giving me a lay out of the field and we were just enjoying the quiet of no kids for a few minutes. We don’t date, we stroll the garden.......
As we were strolling along, we were grabbing strawberries to munch on. We picked a few and ate them as we walked along and then we went back to pick some more.
And I have absolutely no idea at all why this thought popped into my head. Ever have moments like that? But years ago, at the church we were attending, our dear Pastor had gone to Israel to visit. He took I have no idea how many photos but he set them up in this really cool way and talked us thru the trip on a Wednesday night. He talked about how this was the land that was ‘flowing with milk and honey’ and then he showed us some desolate looking spot. THIS was what the promised land looked like? And then he explained how God supplied them with just what they needed, how the shepherds moved their sheep around to find the green grass and so forth and so on.
And as I was ‘grazing’ strawberries with my husband and suddenly realized I had had my fill of them (I have no idea how many we ate, my fingers were red, that’s all I know) I thought of that. My husband and I had gone out there and not thought there were many berries and here we were both full. And it just made me think how God really does supply just what we need (example: manna in the wilderness in Old Testament times. Example: getting an unexpected check just at the very moment you needed it for some minor (that feels major) emergency) in the moment we need it. He never leaves us lacking.
The message we heard on Sunday talked about thinking about what God has done for you. To think about, does God have the right to say He is God and give us a way to live? What’s His ‘track record?’, does it prove He is indeed trustworthy? Can God say to you “Do this because I told you to….and I love you so much I’ll explain it for you (the Bible).” The pastor encouraged us to look at what God has done in my life, my families life, and assured his congregation that we would be amazed.
If God cares so greatly for us, why don’t we obey Him? Trust Him?
Something I thought of as I was picking strawberries, one of those literally sweet gifts of God, on a garden date with my Hubby and just thought I would share with you all.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
This week I took the boys fishing.
I don’t like fish. I don’t like worms. I don’t like bugs. I can’t eat fish, it makes me sick. I do not take fish off the hook. But, when the weather is nice and I am sure to get some sun for a tan, I do take the boys fishing.
First though, I had to stop to get a fishing license. I have faithfully bought a fishing license for two years in a row now. This is big time stuff. When I walk in, they must think I am slightly crazy. Four boys, me and fishing. Yah, I would find us crazy too! But the local hardware knows us well and the gun and bait shop we now stop at somewhat regularly is always extra patient with all my questions and helps us out a lot.
Monday, June 1, 2009
When we were checking out of the library…that’s me getting books for my mom, cd’s for me, books for S3 and S4, getting S1’s books from his library card and getting a new card for S2 who lost his...I was doing my best to ‘shush’ them. We are supposed to be quiet in our library, as I am sure is true in yours, and we never are. Like ever. Everyone who works there seems to know my name. I know no one by their first name but one of them, only because she has a name tag usually. My husband is sure they all know S4 by his first name too.
We are standing at the counter when S4 declares, “Moma, I love you!” It’s as though he has decided to declare this for the first time and says it with all sorts of gusto.
“Yes, thank you, I love you too. SHHHHHHHHH!”
“Moma?” he bursts forth louder, “I think you are cute!”
Now, what do you say to that?
When I am headed back to the vehicle, I realize that S4 is very much barefoot (his shoes were left behind in the vehicle, we did have them with us) and S3 has on one blue croc and one black barn boot. Technically, when I said ‘grab your shoes’ I did not specify that they needed to match.
Yup, just another truly perfect day in paradise wearing a truly perfect shirt.