Thursday, September 30, 2010

How I Met David Baldacci (part two)

After getting Sue and I on the guest list to meet David Baldacci, I called my local library and begged our librarian, Alicia, to help me out.

She also had never read David Baldacci. But she had lots of his books there!

So the boys and I made a library run where I picked out two of his books, True Blue because it’s the latest and Absolute Power because it seemed to be the top of all his book lists and I don’t like to read books out of order.

These books also seem to be about 500 pages or so. When I checked the two books out I asked Alicia if she thought I could finish one that night. She looked over at my boys playing and chuckled “With your four boys? No.”

(Note here: Alicia really does love our boys)

Alicia was right, I never even cracked open the book. I was just too exhausted.

The next day I had a meeting with Sue to get our magazine done (ohhh, it’s gonna be great!) and we had Pioneer Woman dinner to make and then it was home to get snacks for the boys and then it was…WHAT TO WEAR???

I literally tried on four different outfits. Because our full length mirror broke, I stood on a chair in the dining room, in front of some funky mirror I bought at a garage sale when we first moved in, snapped photos with my blackberry and then sent them out to get feed back.

No one answered.

I found out later that they DID answer; my phone just didn’t recognize it until the NEXT day. A little late...

When Sue stopped to get me, I was panicked but she took one look at the outfit I had on and said “Yes, that one”. So I slipped on my most favorite heels, kissed my boys goodbye, had them snap this photo and away we went.

To Watermark Country Club.

I have never stepped foot in a Country Club.

If you have to visit a country club for the first time ever, I highly recommend this one. Wow.

And I’d have taken pictures for you but, really, that might seem…un-country club like. So look at the site…and then notice the floors. I think Tonka Trucks run over those floors would be so loud but I think the floors could withstand it. What do you think?

The Author Reception was all around classy. The room held about 100 to 120 people we guessed, all excited to meet David. We bought ourselves a book, I bought a book for my friends who are apparent huge David fans, had our books signed, realized we should have gotten a picture with him, took a picture with David and ate an appetizer like dinner while chatting with two ladies from Grand Rapids Magazine who were truly sweet, truly funny and truly a joy to chat with.

Then a woman (forgive me, I completely forgot her name, but she worked for WGVU) interviewed him and I was awed by what he had to say. He spoke candidly, he was very funny, a great story teller, and answered the crowds’ questions.

He stressed, “To Read is To Think. They are the same verb.” David spoke on the foundation he and his wife have created, Wish YouWell, to help the fight against illiteracy.


What really pierced to my heart, as a girl who had no idea who this man was, was him talking about writing. I have always heard that you must write every day. Not only must you write every day, you must right about 1,500 to 2,000 words every day to be considered a writer. David said that there are days he writes all day long, and there are days he doesn’t write at all. The key is, he writes what is in him to write, what story he has to tell.

I loved that. As a girl who has to get to the computer to pour out the words jumbled up in my head, I drank that in.

David told some hilarious stories too. Uproariously funny. Just some fun facts are…Mark Twain is his favorite author. He has gone boating with the first President Bush, but I think he will head Barbara’s advice and not go again. He is privy to some serious military information. When researching True Blue, he walked with a DC cop who arrested some guy and when the guy had his face down on the pavement getting cuffed he looked up at David and said, “ I love your books!” David will never ever approach you if he sees you reading one of his books because he has a rule against doing that and one time he broke that rule, offered to sign a guys book, and quickly realized he had made that rule for himself for a reason.

Great great great funny stories.

After the Author Reception, we drove the short distance to Forest Hills Fine Art Center to hear his speech on “Why Read?”

There we were given reserved parking passes, Sue and I were given reserved seats that put us in the SECOND ROW FROM THE STAGE. Then we were able to enjoy about an hour and a half speech by David that had the whole place roaring with laughter. He basically gave a quick run down of his beginning writing career (found this enthralling), a bit of his life as a lawyer and some of his adventures in travel.

When he was finished with his speech, he also took questions from the audience. Wish You Well is the book dearest his heart and the Camel Series was his favorite series he has written thus far. Shaw and Michelle are coming back.

I have no idea what any of that means that I just wrote, but fans will.

And I have a feeling that I am going to be digging into True Blue here shortly and then becoming one of David’s biggest fans.

In hindsight, I wish I had grabbed the library books I had checked out. How cool would it be to have signed David Baldacci books in our little library?

All in all, the night was a dream. It was funny. It was inspiring. It was great to meet some new people (hello Mary and Kimberly!), and it was truly enjoyable to meet someone who has written 19 best sellers, writes full novels in 6 to 8 months and still – from where I was sitting – appear to be totally humble and down to earth.

Then next morning, my good friends over at Fox 17 interviewed David. Here is that interview

Thank you ever so much to Grand Rapids Magazine for the tickets and the great conversationalist at the table.

To Kent District Library, thank you for this wonderful night out. For years you have sent books and movies and Cd's to me via the inner library loan. You have been in our home and enriched our lives and we have never met. I know how hard all the cuts have been on the library, and how drastically the inner library has been cut back, but you still have had an impact on our lives and I thank you for that. Thank you for doing the best you can, you do a wonderful job!

Thanks to you both, Sue and I had a night we will not ever forget. Thank you.

And to David Baldacci, I am sorry I have apparently lived under a rock and never read any of your books. Thanks for being so gracious to Sue and I. I look forward to reading every one of your books. Thank you for giving up your night and time from your family to talk and meet us West Michiganders.

The night had great impact on me, and it was a delightful time. Thank you for all the stories and laughs.

Oh, and Twitter totally rocks. Sign up and get connected with our local businesses if you aren't already! It is definitely worth it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How I Met David Baldacci (part one)

On September 24th, I was cleaning the house and making food in the kitchen when I paused to check twitter.

Now, when I check twitter it means I have just scanned the first four or five tweets, maybe I might say something back, and then I move on.

But the tweet I read was this….

grmagazine CONTEST: Win 2 tix to Tues night’s @KDLNews “A Novel Experience w/David Baldacci”. Reply w/your fave author to enter!”

So, I got to wondering who my favorite author is. And I just couldn’t decide. The question drove me insane as I went about my day.

Who is my favorite author? Who is YOUR favorite author? I just didn’t know.

I retweeted their contest and went on to the kitchen.

But I thought about the books that had influenced me, really stuck with me, and I realized at this time, I haven’t read much lately…

I blame four boys and a farm but I tell my kids they can’t make excuses.

I finally sent this tweet back… “Barbra Kingsolver just cuz the book The Poisonwood Bible truly stuck with me. Pick a FAVORITE author, don’t think I can!”

And then I tweeted... “Who is YOUR favorite author?”

And only Becca answered, Diane Chamberlain.

I never gave it much more thought.

Over the weekend, my Internet went out, the home line went down and it was Monday afternoon before someone could come out and fix it. It was also later in the day when I realized I had a twitter light blinking on my blackberry.

It read “@grmagazine Congrats to @life4boys, winner of 2 tix for tomorrownight’s @KDLNews “A Novel Experience w/David Baldacci”

Um, who? How?

I received an email confirming it and the rapid fire back and forth of emails figuring out if I wanted to go and whom I would go with and how to get the tickets began.

Thank goodness for my blackberry.

There was only one person I would really want to go to this with, Sue Cramer. So I emailed her saying “hey, want to go meet this author?”

She replied with “I have soccer practice for Lauren.”

Now, honestly, I thought she could pass up a soccer practice because I was looking this David Baldacci guy up on the internet and he appeared to be rather well known and I was beginning to think this might be a not to miss opportunity. And that maybe I live under a rock, because I had never heard of this guy before. Ever.

The Farmer’s Wife nearly strangled me through her message on Facebook. “GO SEE HIM! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW DAVID BALDACCI! I AM SWOONING OVER HERE!” Well, the message was something like that.

I had won dinner at a Country Club and tickets to a speech to see David Baldacci.

When Sue realized I wasn’t joking, she called me…

“How did you win these?”

“We should know by now, Sue, strange things happen to me.”

And then she squealed she would go and I squealed hooray and we squealed girly squeals together because we were going out on the town! Together! Minus the children we so love!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Moma Fail

I haven't had Internet for a few days and Sue and I are frantically working to bring you a huge exciting magazine that is lovely and would be wonderful if a certain someone (me) would finish her article.....

So I'm blogging instead.

It makes sense.

Today I did not wake up when my hubby did. Somehow I slept through all the alarms and him kissing me goodbye and when he did he mentioned that the bread we had just bought had gone moldy.

And I heard that and fell asleep.

And them my boys got up and made sandwiches (because they like to, I want to stress this) and they used the moldy bread. They didn't realize this until they got to school and were eating lunch and then they brought it to the lunch lady who quickly snatched it away from them and made a new sandwich for them.

Moma fail.

I'll be sending a thank you note and I am sure they'll be investigating their lunch for awhile.

So they came home and tell me this and I am mortified and then we head out to the library (more on the desperate library run next time) and came home to make dinner and all those boys were fighting and crying and pushing and yelling....they were told to clean the yard because it looks like a junk yard of their stuff and they decided to throw walnuts and huge mushrooms they found in the woods at each other instead.

The stuff I asked them to pick up, you know their toys? Like the little play pool? They hung it in a tree. I'm not kidding! I told them it looked trashy in the yard so they HUNG IT IN A TREE! I'll try to get a picture of it tomorrow for you all.

Then at dinner, we had the news on and "crossbow" was said and it was as though a radar went off over S1's head. He turned his head, high alert, to watch the news. This meant he craned his neck to an inhuman bend. At the same time, his brother at the other end of the table asked for the rice and S1 of course did not hear him. I hollered his name, he jumped knowing he was busted and tried to pass something on to S4 hoping it was correct. It was not. In his rush, he spilled his drink.

So they were told they were going to be early.

All of them.

S4 told me this was okay. Because at eight o clock the frogs come out. And there is a frog that lives in their bedroom window that they have to talk to every night. "I like frogs," he announced.

"Do you like flies?" my husband asked as he swatted the swarm that hovered over our food.

"No," he answered quickly, "I like frogs because they eat flies."

He's fast, that one.

So, to end with, I sent all the boys to bed super early tonight even if they did make me laugh a bit. And I don't feel the least bit guilty. Well, maybe a little.

But not too too bad because tomorrow I am working with Sue, we are cooking food and at night, at NIGHT we are meeting David Baldacci...whom I have never read before but I won the tickets off Twitter from Grand Rapids Magazine and Kent District Library. That, dear readers, is going to make a wonderful blog to read later this week. Now, I have an article to write and a 469 page book to read. Tonight. So I am not a dork about not knowing what he has written. Instead I'll just be that exhausted mom at a fancy country club......

(ps, sorry if you read this with all the misspellings, I was writing and talking to my husband at the same time. Another fail.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Walnut War

Often times, people ask me what it's like to have FOUR boys.

Well, it's just normal every day life to us.

Here on our farm, we are blessed (ahem) with walnut trees. Every year my husband is sure we are on a gold mine of money if we could just shuck and shell and package and sell these nasty walnuts. So we pick them up. We put them in baskets. In the spring we toss them in the outdoor wood burner we have.

These humongous trees we have in our drive way send these wonderful little hard concrete feeling balls to rain down on us. You can hear them ping the shed. They pound our roof. The torpedo towards your head. It is no joke that at times the boys have gone out to play with helmets on.

If you are truly blessed, you can get three walnuts bound together that have fallen from the tree still bound as three. These the boys bring into the house to display on my desk or throughout the house. We are truly blessed (ahem).

Or you just leave the walnuts in the yard and they make great baseballs. Or you use them as a fetching ball for the dog, and when she picks one up in her mouth you throw her another and then watch her spastic mind try to figure out what to do. That's kinda funny, in a mean sort of way. You can just leave the walnuts in your yard for the mower to find too. Then they turn into torpedo's, shot out by the whirling blades. Then they are weapons you just don't want to deal with at all....and windows in your home just don't stand a chance against them.

BUT, if you are a bunch of brothers blessed with these wonderful walnut treasures, you might do this.........

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daddy's Hands

Today is my Dad's birthday and I would be remiss not to mention it.

I am forever thankful for my Dad, forever thankful that he is here to celebrate another birthday with him, forever thankful for what he has taught me and the patience he has had with me. He is my hero and I would be totally lost without him. Every time I hear this song, I think of him so I thought I would share it with you all today.

How does a girl ever tell her dad fully how much she loves him? Because for forever I will always be his little girl...

Love you, Father dear.

Monday, September 20, 2010

We Were Broken Into...Sorta Kinda But Not Really

Last night, our house was broken into.


Well, sorta.

Kinda sorta but not bad.

We were sound asleep and never knew it happened.

Here's what we know so far......

Husband tossed the dogs out of the house last night because he thought that it's good for them to get tough and live like real dogs. Outside.

And I couldn't beg on their behalf (as I normally would do) because it was waaaaaaay past my bedtime (of nine pm). I had watched Ice Road Truckers (go Lisa! Hooray that Alex didn't get in trouble...he may have to bake that inspector a cake after all!) all cuddled on the couch with my Hubby. I, people, was blissfully asleep as soon as Swamp People showed up on the screen.

At some point in the night, Josie (our Aussie) decided she had had enough of this outdoor sleeping thing and decided to bark at the kitchen door to let us know. So she would BARK, wait for us a moment, BARK, wait again, BARK, hey, wake up, BARK BARK, wait for it, BARK. I was vaguely aware of this but not enough to even flutter open my eyes. But my husband did and got up and found....

Sadie on the couch.

Now Sadie must, I repeat and stress and repeat again, MUST sleep in her kennel every single night and she must, and I repeat and stress and repeat again, MUST stay in her kennel whenever we leave the house. Period. We would have no shoes left if she did not...not to mention anything left in our house that didn't get shredded or eaten.

He couldn't figure out how she had gotten in and Josie had not.

So he let the annoying Josie in and stumbled into the bathroom where he noticed the window.

The window looked odd.

After thinking through possible scenarios, here is what we have best pieced together (I didn't read every Nancy Drew book I came upon to not solve this mystery).

At some point in the night, Sadie decided a kennel is more wonderful than the open air night. Since her jumping the height of our doors was not getting her any attention and somehow she could not open the kitchen door like she has been, she noticed the bathroom window.

Husband had been charging a garden tractor battery and since we have no outdoor outlets he had plugged the battery charger into the bathroom electric plug and propped the window up (that does not stay up on it's own) with charger. However, he forgot about all this when he went to bed.

Because Sadie sort of looks like a walking skeleton even though she is one now...and I assure you all, she eats very very very well, she just can't stop running and chasing and jumping and running and chasing and jumping and then running some more, she figured she could get in that window.

And she did.

But we aren't sure exactly how she pulled it off without trapping her bony long lanky body in the window because while the blinds are totally torn to shreds and the window is now slammed shut, the battery charger that had the window propped open is lying on the deck below.

Once Sadie girl finagled and wrestled her way into the house, she needed some pampering.

So she curled up on the couch and went blissfully asleep.

Until Josie realized she was still outside and Sadie was inside and had to bark and ruin everything for Sadie.

I don't think Hubby is leaving Sadie outside for the night again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Gave Birth to You Why??

Family Dinners.

They are one of the key parts of family time. I learn more about my boys days and how they think during family dinners than most any other time.

Yes, wonderful bonding times they are.

Which is why I attempt to make good meals. I mean, if you have to eat it you might as well make it good. I have never figured out how to make food look pretty, I appreciate pretty food but when I know that my super big eater husband and always starving sons are going to pretty much inhale it, I just try to make it taste as good as I can.

Saturday I worked in the kitchen from nine am until five thirty pm. I took one break, to run to the store for some ingredients (and I forgot ONE KEY INGREDIENT and my hubby ran to the store to get it for sweet, yes? Well, this is also the same man who brought in a bunch of tomatoes for me to can once I "chop chop"ed on getting all the cooking done. But he does have his super sweet moments too.....) but otherwise I made French toast for breakfast, chili and from scratch corn bread for dinner (and when I say chili, I mean I peeled every tomato in that chili) and stew for Sunday. A brand new stew recipe that says it would take all of 35 minutes to whip up. Yah, RIGHT. If you had all those ingredients canned or frozen maybe! Good night! I spent HOURS peeling and cutting. However, the smells are wonderful wafting through out the house. Also in this long day I made cookies for the boys and a cake for after dinner. Oh, and I have all the breakfast ingredients ready to go for the crock pot oatmeal I'm trying for the first time.

I was feeling pretty Pioneer Womanishly.

Until my corn bread turned out runny. And the boys informed me that they like tomatoes, but they just don't like them in my chili.

I stayed calm.

Until Husband informs the boys that we are having DELICIOUS STEW after church tomorrow. He is all excited to eat this yummy food because most of the stuff we grew. And he loves stew.

"Really?" S1 asked excited, "Where are we going for dinner?"

Yes, he really said that.

I looked at him as though he was not my own, this oldest child I have given birth to and cared for and FEED for ELEVEN years......

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

He never caught the tone in my voice, the snickering of his father or the glare in my eye. "Well if it's super delicious stew, are we going somewhere for dinner?"

My dear Husband couldn't stand it anymore, being the patient man that he is. He slapped his hand good naturedly on the table and said "No, Son, your Moma has been making it All. Day. Long!"

"Ohhhhhhh"....S1 was beginning to realize his grave mistake, and that his every meal came from the one and only Moma he has who is giving him a "choose your words wisely, boy" look.

"Oh," he continues, "Oh, I am sure it will be good because Moma, you are a really good cook."

He was layering it on thick. He was giggling and begging all at the same time.

His brothers even caught on.

"Yah, Moma", S4 continued, "You are the goodest cook. I just don't like this chili cuz of the chili but your cookin is good."

Phew, glad that is all cleared up.

I think they will gladly devour the crock pot oatmeal breakfast I am making for the first time tonight for tomorrow when they wake up in the morning.

I think even if I burn this stew and make the buttermilk biscuits out to be charcoal (honest, it could happen.), they will say it is the best dinner ever.

As they should after this full day in the kitchen!

Well, maybe they can tell me it's bad if they follow it with a kiss on the cheek, some hugs and no complaining while they clear the table and do the dishes.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Farmer's Wife

Today is my dear friends birthday and since I cannot bring her over coffee, because I can not bake her a peanut butter chocolate cake, because her gift may be slightly more than a little late...

Because it's my blog.....

I get to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FARMER'S WIFE (my dear dear dear friend).

I'm not sure when I started following her blog, but I do know I'd didn't even mark that I did because I didn't know if she might be crazy (which she is, in a good way). Then I read a post that was talking about how she checks to see where her readers are from and got all freaked out and decided if she was going to know I was reading it I might as well say hello.

I'm not sure when we started emailing, but every bit of "don't share personal information with strangers" warning lights were going off in my head. But I'm glad we chatted away anyhow...because her family is such an integral part of our family and we have never even met yet.

We find times to chat on the phone. We fire emails back and forth. We have sent mini novels back and forth. We can get long conversations going on facebook.

I'm not sure how boring my life was before my dear friend and her family, but I sure know our lives would be empty without them.

One day, Farmer's Wife, I hope we celebrate our birthdays together. But until then, know you are very very very very loved by every one of us. Thank you for your friendship.

And for the good coffee.

Here is the blog post I recall reading and realizing we were dear friends, perhaps sisters separated, kindred spirits.....

The Ten Commandments of Coffee (according to me...)

Here is the post that makes me giggle right now because my house is being bombarded with flies this week and I keep thinking of this one....

A Deep Meaningful Post for Your Contemplation

But all her posts are wonderful. Her Husband is the best and the boys may possibly think of him in Hero Status. And her kids, oh my. Oh my, oh my. I get to experience the fun of having a daughter through her posts and her pictures...the boy, I understand boys.

Check out her blog because You. Will. Love. Her. Tell her Happy Birthday, make her day grand.

Love you, my dear friend....

Friday, September 17, 2010

We Have Survived Friday Morning

But just barely....

Last night my hubby asked me to watch the Apprentice with him. We haven't watched the Apprentice in years and years but since Red Green wasn't on he got to channel surfing and found it. We have not seen each other since Sunday night, seriously, we have just crossed paths so I really wanted to cuddle with him and watch it but I had gotten up at 3:30, I'm fighting a cold and I could only listen to the end of it...I could not keep my eyes open. And he teased me. Imagine that....but he is bringing home Papa Murphy's so he is already forgiven and I am thinking he is the sweetest hubby ever - still.

But to sum it all up, I went to bed at eleven.

My alarm went off at 3:30 am to get my little nephew.

I made lunches, breakfast, coffee...and then I took a 45 minute nap so I could get up at 5:30 and realize that I had my days wrong so a wrong blog post posted this morning (sorry, it'll be readable tomorrow)...

...cleaned dog puke (she ate the chicken scraps, apparently dogs can't digest potato peels (sorry if you were eating breakfast) )...

... broke up a fight over who got to sit in the front of the heater vent...

...referred a football game...

...giggled at Fox 17's morning news, they were super funny today...

...tried to console a crying son who didn't do his homework like he was supposed to and was no scared to go to school...

...calmed a son (or attempted to) who is so excited to go get his hunting license today he will hardly be able to concentrate on school work...

...stopped a fight on the way to school during Buck Howdy's happy music... all the kids to their classes...

...remembered to bring S3's lunch box home that he had forgotten at school...

...locked S4 in his locker like he wanted to and did indeed let him back out and then drove home.

To make more coffee.

And eat some of the Pioneer Woman's sugar cookies.

I may actually have to take up exercise thanks to her great recipes.

All that to say.....

I. Am. So. Thankful. It's. Friday.

And now I am going to clean up the Pops cereal Jr has just crushed into the floor and then mixed his oatmeal in them as I wrote this. The price I pay to blog....

Have a great night home with your families tonight, I know we will. And be sure to check back tomorrow, I have a special birthday post for a fellow blogger....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We Are Gonna Starve

Tonight, as dinner was cooking, I told the older two boys to clear the table and the younger two to pick up the living room. The table was still strewn with papers and dishes from this morning and the syrup container from our breakfast of pancakes. The boys brought home the newest brochures of things for them to sell for the school and they were strewn from hither to yon.

Dinner was nearly done. I needed coffee, desperately. And I was not in a mood to be toyed with. The boys had spent the whole afternoon watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (because I have found them to be exhausted come Thursday, but Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Really? I'd take a hunting show over that!) and when I said "move", I expected them to "move".

They didn't.

By this time Daddy was home and Daddy seen the boys not moving on their chores and Daddy and Moma heard when S3 stepped on the matchbox car on the messy living room and fell to the ground crying and holding his foot.

S4 was mumbling at him and playing with his beloved car, making sure it was still in tact when Moma stormed in.

Oh, I stormed.

And I promptly sent them up to bed, to stay on their beds and not come down until I said so.

Mean Moma.

Daddy couldn't resist, he had to hear what they were saying.

And then he gave me a play by play. S4 began blaming S3 for stepping on his car and getting them in this mess. "You shoulda not cried" he explained.

S3 bemoaned the fact that his foot hurt.

S4 began to sniffle. "Now we won't get to eat dinner. And I am hungry. We are gonna starve and then I'll DIE!" He began to wail.

Big brother came to the rescue here. "No", S3 informed him, "We won't starve for three days. We can go three days without food. A big kid on the playground told me so it has to be true!"

S4 wasn't buying it. "But I am hungry and I will starve THIS DAY!" He then began bemoaning the fact that it was all his brothers fault that he was going to starve and die.

He is such a positive little fellow.

There was more discussion and it wasn't long before they realized they needed water more than food so S3 was brave and came sneaking down the steps.

And I, oh yes blog readers, with a very firm voice and straight face, told him to get back up those steps and not come down again, they didn't need water.

And then I might have maybe giggled as they were sure their fate was doomed.

Now, keep in mind, while this is going on the table is getting set by the older two boys in lightning time. The entire time the two little guys were upstairs was - at the most - 15 minutes.

But they were going to starve, they were sure.

Daddy did a good job of setting them straight, informing them they need to listen to their Moma and then they sulked down the steps where a barely holding the giggles in Moma was given a soulful apology, given kisses on the cheek and they sat silently waiting for their dinner.

After dinner they were able to dine on Sugar Cookies. And now they are watching a John Deere movie on how to grow food - just in case, you know.

School Morning Ramblings.....

Because there are soooo many things I have to share with you and because I could write for a whole day if only I had a whole day to write, I bring to you, the condensed version of our school mornings.......

Today we are getting rain. Much rain. But when it was time to take the boys to school, I had them dressed ready for the weather. I even had on my big rain/barn boots...a bit overkill I think because by the time we got to school it was dry and when I got home it was a bit sunnish outside. S1 kept asking me if I was SURE it would rain all day. I assured him it would. It wasn't until I was home that I realized why he was so concerned on the weather....had it been nice today I am sure he would have been begging to stay home for opening day of early doe season.

Many more hunting post to write this year, I am sure.

His teacher is digging into more new favorite authors for him since he has pretty much read all of Gary Paulsen's books (I am taking all suggestions for the boy). He has been able to show off some of his summer pictures and the ones of the boar head on our living room wall. I am very thankful for his new teacher.

S2 is "adjusting" to school. He has a great teacher who is very involved in the rodeo it seems. He did some digging and brought home the football coaches phone number one day last week, just in case we thought we should call him of course. We didn't, maybe next year. His locker is filled with pictures and it makes no sense as to what they are. There are pictures of cats that were kittens when they were alive and well many moons ago. Ducks. Snakes. An odd combination that sums up his life so far. He has lost a lot of friends to other schools this year and I think his teacher is working hard to make sure he realizes school is still fun.

S3....oh my. He's forgotten his glasses twice now. He has gotten a "note home" twice as well. He loves school and does not mind that he has to go at all. Always a bit scattered in thinking and loving to a fault, he has had the hardest time getting into the swing of things and yet he is also the one who is easy going about it all and looks forward to school. His teacher is taking it all sweetly...thank goodness. And bless her!

S4 has me walk down with him every single morning to check on his classroom. For days all he could do is peek in. We now have met the teacher and said hello, which was good because his brothers were coming home saying they had met her and he had not yet and he was sure that she wasn't really going to teach and the classroom would disappear. It hasn't. We have checked all the lockers and he climbs in one every morning and has me shut the door on him and then search to find him. I have told him he can't do this when school starts because his teacher might not find it as funny as we do.

I'm not sure what the teachers DO think of us. I guess it doesn't matter but sometimes I wonder as we come down the hallway, all big booted and chatting away and telling each other goodbye by giving the evenings menu and them reminding me to check the stand and look for hunting licenses and etc.

S4 has the hardest time with it all. He keeps asking when the "good ole days" will be back. I was confused by this until Saturday when he beamed all day (even with the rain and not being able to play outside for the second Saturday in a row) and declared that the "good ole days have returned!" On the last week of the month he starts school. I cannot tell you how much that will pain me.

Funny story to end this rambling post with. The boys seem to think that now that school is in session they no longer have to set and clear the table or mow the lawn or any other such chores that they have. The lawn was soooooo long so I pulled S4 onto my lap and mowed it on the new to us Wheel Horse. (Keep in mind, with the boys around I haven't mowed the lawn all on my own in about two years or so.)

The reaction it caused.

I heard the shock in my husband's voice. "You knew how to start it?" Um....yup.

The boys got off the bus. My mom and niece were here, Jr was visiting for a few hours and all they could ask me about is why I had the garden tractor out and how did I know to mow the lawn. I finished the lawn up later in the day and I seen S1 keeping a close eye on me, sure I would run it into a tree or something girlish like that.

Moma's driving tractors. What has the world come to with them not around the farm to keep it all in control?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Must Read for Moms of Boys (guest blog)

Do you have boys you are raising? Then you need to read this post. And don't you dare be drinking coffee because you will, I guarantee you, spit it out.

My dear friend Becca from Our Crazy Boys posted these old blogs on her blog today...truly great.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sisterchicks Stumble Upon our Farm Stand

Today, as I was sitting on my couch, with my eyes nearly closed, waiting for Jr to fall asleep against me and listening to S4 explain the deep importance of the different match box cars lined on his leg, the phone rang.

I jolted up to get it in hopes to not startle a very much not sleeping now Jr. I seen it wasn't my hubby so I headed back to the couch.

So there is my confession...I don't usually answer my phone. Unless you are my hubby. And there are only one of those out there...

But then the phone rang again. The same odd number I hadn't recognized from before. So I answered it.

There was much chattering on the other end.

"Hello?" I finally dared to ask when there seemed to be a lull.

"Oh, yes, um, hello. Is this Full Circle Farm?" an older woman asked.

"Yes, it is." Totally thinking this is a nut case already.

"I'm looking for your farm. Do you have your name on it?"

"No, we have an arrow board with a broken arrow on it. The sign says zucchini and squash on it."

"Oh, well, I am down at the post office here and I have talked with the post man and he doesn't know where you are. Someone in line said that it is the Dykstra farm? Are you the Dykstra's?"

"Yes. Bob should know us."

"Is Bob the bald man at the post office?"

"Yes, we know Bob. He knows us." I snickered, because really, Bob is that great. And I could hear the other woman asking Bob if he knew a Dykstra...

"Oh, well, my friend and I are going to head up to see you then. We were just out for a drive and wanted to visit you...I seen your farm on Sue Cramer's facebook. I know you from that."

Well, any friend of Sue's is a friend of mine so I gave her the super simple directions. And then got off the phone giggling to myself that this was going to be a memorable stand visit. Sadly, due to the bad growing year, we didn't have much of a display but I kept an eye out for her anyhow.

I watched out for her as my sister in law arrived. I watched for her as I set the table for the pineapple, ham and onion my sister in law spoiled me with today for lunch. I watched for her as we were finishing lunch and finally heard Josie bark.

And there they were.

I had to meet them. How could I not?

These sweet, older, totally stylish women had seen on Sue's face book wall that she had plugged a farm that had a facebook page (us). I'm not even sure if they knew Sue personally. They had driven a solid half hour for sure just to arrive on our road.

Where they missed our house.

And met the worlds greatest post office clerk.

And then got lost again. So then they stopped my wonderful sweet mail lady and got directions.

But then they realized they were out of gas so they had to find a gas station.

And then they stopped into the stand to buy half a box of tomatoes and some winter squash.

And chat, of course. And let me know that Bob DOES know me. But he does not know our farm name. I am guessing Bob at the Post Office knows our farm name now.

They would have bought everything of S2's though. They knew he was saving to reach $100 dollars in farm sales this summer and just couldn't wait to help him get there. But poor S2 didn't have anything out to sell this week. School does that to a farming boy.

The ladies explained that they just love to drive and they got lost a lot but then they just have the grandest of times. They can't wait to come back for pumpkins.

True sisterchicks, those two. They totally made my day. (And I bet Bob's too.)

And I am certain that one day, that'll be me too. (my husband is rolling his eyes, because he knows this is soooo true)

(this post is dedicated to The Farmer's Wife who want to meet Bob, and asks about him regularly)

The Pioneer Woman

Because I find her hilarious and touching and inspirational and I am sure if we sat for coffee we would chat the whole day away...and need a regular coffee date once a week.


Here is her post on Blogging for all my blogging friends. I thought I'd share it if you missed it, and because, frankly, I wanted to have it saved on my blog so I didn't loose it.

It's a quick read...but good!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Come Get Some Praise and Coffee!!!!

Sue asked me to write her an article and I was all happy about it. She gave me the idea too "Write about your date night!" Hooray! Wonderful idea!

Then writer's block hit. HARD.

And then Hubs worried I hadn't had a good time and while I did think about saying "well, you could take me on another date so I could get some more ideas...." I didn't. Cuz my birthday date was great.

Please hop on over to Praise and Coffee and read my post on marriage today.


Monday, September 6, 2010

The Day Before School Starts Blues

In just three hours from now I will be tucking my youngest two into bed, kissing their sun kissed foreheads and hoping they actually fall asleep and don't need numerous drinks and pees. And I will shuffle into the kitchen, give last minute instructions to my oldest two boys as they take their showers and get their backpacks around and I begin making their lunches. Lunches for three boys and my husband...and in about a month I will be making lunches for four boys and my husband.

And in the morning, I plan to wake early. I'll make them all a big breakfast. I'll wake them up early because it will take us a bit to figure out all we need to take to school, to dig out S3's glasses and make sure we go over how to NOT loose them or break them. We'll take lots of pictures that I'll post on facebook and probably post up here.

Then I will drive the ten miles to school, we will search the radio for fun music to sing along to, we'll arrive with a sea of other parents dropping kids off at school and I will begin to feel that lump in my throat.

My feet will suddenly feel encased in cement.

And I will cling to pudgy little fingers as they jump up and down and yell hello to good buddies. I will not say much as I wave a hello here and there, I will not embarrass my boys with my tears (I hope) and fight the crowds of kids and parents dropping them all off at the same time. The noise will be deafening, it will sound hallow in my ears because one by one I will say goodbye and drop one by one child off at their classrooms. And then I will leave them behind with teachers I like, in a school I find endearing, with a staff I trust for seven hours.

I will take S4's hand in mine, as he will no doubt be crying and asking me a million questions and talking non stop and I will try to not think about how in a few short weeks I will be dropping my baby off at the school too.

And then I will get in the suburban, wait for S4 to be buckled, and cry silently all the way home.

Because even on the day that they are on my very last nerve and they have been sent to bed and I am sitting on the bed wondering if maybe my boys are driving me crazy, even on those days, I am thankful to have all my boys home. Home where I know all about them and get asked a million times a day if they can have something to eat and hear them squeal with laughter on the swing set or build a town in the sand box and get in a fight with each other and show me what they grew in their garden and hear their endless chatter....

And I'll come home to a silent house where S4 will need to watch some TV to forget that his brothers are gone from him all day long and count down the days till his is big enough to finally go to school with them.

It's gonna be a rough week for me. We'll get in the rhythm of school, we will all adjust, I'll have lots of funny stories for you all but I will miss them until summer comes around again.

Friday, September 3, 2010

An old (famous) post...Family Photos

I was hanging pictures today in our living room, the last family photos we had taken that are much much too old now. I have been not putting them up in plain view for a while now because of the memory behind them. So I thought I would repost that story from when I first began blogging.


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 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.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Holes in My Ears???

I was walking through the house, late, putting on hoop earring because, by golly, sometimes a girl just wants some hoops in her ears.

Usually I put earrings in while looking in the mirror. But this day I was walking from point A to point B as S4 stood in the doorway chattering away to me but his words came out slower and slower until he just stopped.

Since S4 sleep talks and wakes up talking - authoritatively - I was surprised he paused.

"How do you do that?" he asked shocked.


He wanted to know how I put earrings in my ears.

"Oh, well, I have these holes in my ears and so the earring just go in the holes and hang from my ears," I explained.

He looked flabbergasted. Then horror spread over his face and he creaked out "Do I have holes in MY ears?"

I bent down and carefully studied both his ear lobes. "Nope, I don't see any holes," I assured him.

"Phew, that's good!" he replied, relieved.

And then he walked away from me as though I were some sort of alien with weird growths in my ears.

I could just hear him thinking "Girls are Crazy....."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Phone Man's Memorable Stop of the Day

So I am typing this furiously fast so that you can read it because don't you all just WAIT for a new post from me ALL day long????? I'm kidding.


I am canning tomatoes and salsa today. I am sick of the smell of tomatoes and it's only my third day canning. I will now never paint my kitchen which S4 sings "Never Say Never Whatever You Do" so now that annoying song is stuck in your head too.

I am in my oldest jeans. I have on my hubby's t-shirt that I sleep in. I did not shower this morning because I want to mop my floors today so I am waiting for the tomatoes to be done so I can mop the floors so I can shower (see, I have a plan to the look of not planning). I have on my oldest, most stained apron. It used to be yellow. It is now sorta kinda yellow and lots of many other colors....none of them attractive. I am, of course, bare foot.

The house smells of cooked tomatoes and salsa.

And this is when the wonderful phone company decided to come check our lines. Seriously, they are wonderful. They hooked us up with high speed (and our world changed) and they are a wonderful local company I cannot talk highly enough of. But they had to come check out our line because it was giving us fits and so the man who called (and I didn't answer because if you aren't my husband, I don't answer the phone in the middle of stirring and cutting and filling while canning) arrived at our door.

Sadie jumped up on the door and barked like the ferocious German Shepherd she looks to be...although she's not. Josie, our Australian Shepherd was barking so meanly that the man was HIDING behind his truck. Two dressed boys, one shirtless but jean pant clad boy missing two upper teeth and one bottom tooth, and a chocolate smeared faced boy ran to the door. They hauled the dogs off. Before the man could make it to the door, he had to stop to see the ribbon snake, the tadpoles and the two bull frogs and admire that "yes, this is a great looking habitat".

He finally arrived at the door where I hollered from the kitchen sink "oh, just come on in! Holler if you need anything!"

Seriously, could we be more country? I think not. Will he remember his stop here? Most definitely.

Welcome to our daily life.