Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Morning ReDo

"Don't let Sadie in," S4 warned, "Moma has had a rough time with her."

Sadie is our year old German Shepherd and I should be off the computer cleaning the carpet right now because of her.

I wasn't gonna blog today about this morning but sometimes you just want to throw out there that not every day is funny around here.

And even when it's totally not funny, it sorta kinda is.

Let me explain.

At 5:30 this morning, Hubs kissed me goodbye and headed to work. It's odd he works a Saturday and we are thankful for his job and the hours. As his unmufflered "BeAwake" rumbled out of here, I rolled over to go back to blissful sleep. It's my one and only sleep in morning of the whole week. But while I could still here the car, Sadie began to whine.

She had just been let out but apparently she felt she should not be in the kennel any longer. And she must be in the kennel because she eats and chews enough things in and around our house when we are all trying to watch her.

I finally let her outside and limped sleepily back to bed.

Where she then began to jump on all our doors and windows asking to come back in.

I covered my head with my pillow.

Then S1 came in and let me know he was going to go out hunting. I wished him luck, told him to get a big buck, and rolled over to try to go back to sleep. He put Sadie in the kennel and headed out.

Only to turn around and let me know that he just can't walk out there in the dark because he keeps thinking about that scary video he seen....last year. Last year at school a well meaning mom thought it would be all kinds of Halloween fun to show the music video "Thriller". My son has had nightmares over this...and now with all the music for every Halloween commercial (it seems) is "Thriller" he has a hard time in the night, in the dark, being alone..... My son can shoot and kill a Russian Boar, run to our defense, protect his brothers, be a little man, but this Halloween holiday is his undoing.

I'll be so thankful with Halloween is over. I truly dislike it. I try to like it, but I don't.

So, I told him to just not hunt and go back to bed.

As I planned to do.

But then Sadie started barking again. She either high pitched whines or she barks. And her bark is like Bolt...have you seen that cute movie? Yah, Sadie's BARK is WAY more powerful than Bolt's.

Then S2 came in to tell me he lost a tooth.

And S4 wanted to know if it was okay if he got something to eat because he was starving.

And S3 wanted to cuddle me.

Sadie laid her head on mine to let me know she was back in the house....she also had rolled in something. Something nasty.

I buried my head in the pillow.

Josie, our other dog, came in and licked my hand to see if I was still alive.

It was just past eight in the morning.

I gave up. I got up. I asked them if they wanted me to make them breakfast but they had all eaten breakfast. S1 figured it was light enough he could go hunting. I made an extra strong pot of coffee and took some much needed Excedrin. Then I sat down at the computer not because I wanted to, I actually HAD to fill out something on the computer.....

And that's when the boys decided they were starving.

So I asked them if I could take a shower and then I'd make them pancakes. In the shower, I had a little pity party for myself and asked God for a better rest of the day. I was feeling like I was washing the ick of the morning away and all would be sunny good times now.

That's about the same moment that S1 came in to inform that Sadie had puked all over the carpet.

More of our house is uncarpeted than carpeted.

I got out of the shower, walked over the puke to see S2 and S3 having it out with a pillow fight. They KNOW they aren't supposed to. S2 seen me first and dropped fast to the couch, sitting on the pillow with a sad "I am so busted" look on his face while S3 was still giggling "Come on! Don't give up! I'm gonna really beat you this time!"

They got sent to bed.

I sat down on my bed and wished I could just fall asleep and start the day over. Instead, I took a deep breath.

Got dressed, drank more coffee, made home made from scratch pancakes, purposefully tried to seem cheerful (er) and had a heart to heart with my pillow fighting boys.

And all seems to be getting better. Really.

I could even giggle when S4 declared, "I had to give S1 and idea in his head so he didn't have to think so long." I mean, that really is seriously silly stuff.

But I think my boys are still trying to watch out for me...they have all run outside to play together - Survivor Man is the game of the day - and keep the dogs from me.

They love me. How can I not have better day just thinking on that? So, I'm done venting, I've got four boys to enjoy having home for the whole day.

Now the dogs.....that's another story.......

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Check out (someone else's) Giveaway!

I don't offer give away's on my blog (maybe I should?) but this one is GREAT and if you loving our e-zine, you will be loving this site (which we mention in the e-zine). Check out their great give away!!!

What to do if an M&M is Crammed up Your Son's Nose

Funny I would know what to do in such a situation, isn't it?

This is how I know.

A few years ago, I was making Christmas cookies to celebrate having finally finished the annual Christmas letter that I love to write every year. It's always hard to get it out and in the mail. It's worth celebrating when I get it done.

S3 was not in school yet, and he had a fascination with picking his nose. I could not brake him of it and found it super disgusting.

S3 and S4 were desperate for cookies, that weren't anywhere near being done yet, so I sent them to the living room to watch movies and eat m&m's. Because I am a good mom like that.

The m&m's that I gave them were single packs of fourth of July colored candies. We had recently found them and since we hadn't eaten them on the fourth of July because S3 was bitten by a dog and had to be rushed to the ER to have stitches on his hand (another long story) we had never eaten them. I figured they had to still be good and hoped to have the kitchen to myself to get the cookies done so I could start dinner.

It didn't take long before S3 came crying into the kitchen, blood dripping from his nose. "You picked your nose again, didn't you?" I irritatedly grabbed a tissue, spouting out how if he was gonna pick his nose, he was gonna make it bleed and I didn't feel the least bit bad for him as he sobbed and held his nose in pain. I squeezed the tissue on his nose and immediantly jumped back.

There was something IN his nose.

So as a mom who does insane things, I sniffed the kleenex.

And smelled........chocolate.

It didn't take me too long to figure out what had happened.

Cuz I am a mom to this boy who had been bitten by a dog, attacked by a chicken, scared for the wound he gained stealing chocolate...who was fascinated by what could come out of his nose. I knew he wondered what he could shove up his nose and just had........

But m&m's are the candy that "melts in your mouth, not in your hand" as their tag line so it should melt in your nose, right?

Just to be sure....I called my pediatricians office. And when Nurse Sherrie, who knows us so very well and I love her for that, called me back, she could hardly hold it together. "He did WHAT?" she giggled.

But because the chocolate was so slowly dripping from his nose, we were told to go to the ER just to get it flushed out.

Imagine their reaction as I filled out the paper work.

The ER doctor came in, checked his nose and pulled me aside. "Because of the hard candy coating on the outside, he may have cut the inside of his nose. We will be as careful as we can, but it may need more care because cuts would lead to infection." Then she got a little quieter. "I am not going to be nice to him. I don't ever want you to have to deal with this again. So if you are okay with that, we will proceed."

I agreed.

And it was awful to watch, I must admit. Here the kid is, sitting in a hospital bed, chocolate dripping from his nose, tears in his eyes, licking the chocolate snot as it hits his lip.


They had to flush the nostril with water and keep the stream coming until they were sure there was no more chocolate. They then veiwed his nose to make sure it looked uncut, which it did, they gave him a very strict talking to and sent us on our way.

He has never ever picked his nose agian.

And he is not overly fond of m&m's.

As I threw together a dinner and baked cookies late into the night, I couldn't help but think "this would have been a great story for the Christmas letter".

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Opossum on the Door Step

This morning, as I was headed out the door while drinking my second cup of coffee in my pink camo Biggby travel mug (thanks, Mel and Sue!), I stopped.

Because my boys, running like wild children out the door, yelled....


Wouldn't you stop?

S4 came back into the house, patted my arm and said "Don't look, Moma, it's a huge one. We will see if it's dead for you."

That's sweet of my boys, running off to be brave for their weakling mother. And I, being the damsel in distress, let them.

I was 99 percent sure it was dead.

It was. Smashed flat as a pancake. Which means the dog had run to the middle of the road to retrieve her trophy gift for us.

Lucky us.

S4 held my hand so I could miss stepping on the giant thing, which I found sweet as well. However, when I got home, it was me who had to pick the nasty thing up (I used a rake) and carried it to our outdoor wood burner. On the way there I thought of saving that stiff rotting tail for Becca...but even I am not that much of a tomboy to cut the thing off and send it on it's way to Arizona. Instead, I tossed it in the wood burner...more BTU's for heat.

Then I let the dog out...and noticed the jar.

The mason jar with the lid on it that holds captive the biggest spider I have ever seen. Ever. And the thing is alive, on my dining room table because the boys think it's cool.

I do not.

I decided to curl my hair today (hello, I think I needed extra girlyness at this point!) and while I did, Sadie must have decided the awful decaying opossum left a bad taste in her mouth because she ate the other half of the delicious pumpkin bread I had baked the night before...scarfed it all down.

I put her in the kennel. I didn't feel the least bit bad about it.

I am hoping to wake to a DEAD spider and no other dead animals on my way out the door tomorrow.....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blog Swap - Meet Becca!

Becca is one of my most dearest blogging can read how we met today over on HER blog, we are a regular blog swap today. :) She has a lot going on with Max Moms and if you teach, you want to check into it. But other than that, Becca and I keep each other sane day after day and I am blessed to have her as a friend.


(That’s what ya’ll say ‘round these mid-western parts, raaaaaight?)

I’m Becca from Our Crazy Boys.

Denise and I thought it would be a great idea to guest post on each other’s blogs for a day.

“Blog swap,” if you will.

(It’s nothing like “Wife Swap,” I promise).

I’ve been singing this in my head all day:

Oh give me a hooommeeee

Where the buffalo roaaammmm…

because I knew I would be sitting down to write this post tonight.

And when I think of Denise, I think of… the country.

And farms.

And tractors.

And walnuts.

And boys.

You know, I have two boys.

And one of those boys? He’s actually like two boys.

But still. I can’t imagine having four boys AND a husband.


When I see things like this:

and this...

and this in my house....

the only thing that keeps me sane is knowing that Denise is dealing with double.

I’m a talker, and I’ll apologize now for that. I probably should have started off by telling you a little about myself.

I was born and raised in a very small town in upstate New York. For some crazy (insane) reason, I decided to join the Air Force right after graduation.


Did I mention that I failed PE class every year I was in high school?

And that basic training required just a little bit of physical activity?

Anyway, I met my husband while we were both stationed in Louisiana, then we moved to Japan for a year and had Michael, our ten year-old.

Quiet, shy, well-behaved Michael.

Michael was such a sweet kid that we wanted to have another one.

So we moved to Arizona and had Jack.

Not so quiet, completely outspoken, not very well-behaved Jack.

Do you know that saying, “You don’t know Jack?” It hit the nail on the head.

So I took action.

Anytime I felt like I wanted to lock myself in the linen closet and cry, I would blog.

I blogged about Jack getting banned from using the bathroom without supervision.

I blogged about Jack getting those little capsule sponges taken away. Forever.

And I blogged about the time Jack’s preschool class killed their class pet.

I felt better.

Less stressed, you could say.

I learned to pick up my camera and laugh rather than yell.

I didn’t leave Michael out of it, though. His posts are just… different.

I blogged about eight year-old Michael climbing a mountain.

I blogged about Michael getting ringworm from wrestling and a welt from his Mom.

I blogged about the wonderful lunches we have now that I work at his school.

Now, I have a place in my little corner of the internet where my memories are stored.

A place that in 20 years, the boys can go to and read about all the fun they had as kids, and how much their parents love the heck out of them.

A place where people can comment, and we can connect. I have new friends that I met through my blog. Amazing friends. I consider Denise one.

A place where my Mom and Dad (still in New York) can go and keep with their grandsons. And if you have around my blog for a week or two, you’ll get to know my Mom. The kids call her Grandma Teetsie, and the “regulars” go look for her comments before they even read my posts. She’s kind of hilarious.

And most importantly, I have my sanity.

Because those moments? The ones where I question my ability to raise kids?

I know that other Moms have them.

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that I sent Denise a lizard tail (from what is perhaps my favorite post of all time). I know that she’s going to mention it on my blog.

She’ll complain about it a little, and that’s ok.

But I feel that it’s my duty to tell you, her loyal readers, that she asked me to send her boys a rattlesnake rattle. Like, a real one. From a dead rattlesnake.

So, I laugh at her when she brings up the lizard tail.

You should, too.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Have Been Tagged - Eight Things You Wanted to Know

So, Kristine tagged me.

Only because it's Kristine will I answer......

Where do you dream of traveling one day and why?
Does the world count? Like, here are the highlights....I'd like to see the Netherlands when all the tulips are in bloom. Germany's black Forrest (and then I could visit my cousin Maria). France, because it's romantic. Australia, because it's cool. England and Scotland and Ireland because of the history. Everywhere Nicholas Sparks went with Micah in Three Weeks with My Brother because I loved that book. Oh, and the whole United States and Alaska...You know, just a quick trip.

What do you like to do for fun?
I like to camp. I don't like to get ready to camp, I don't like to unpack from camping, but I love camping itself. And beach days. But because it's getting close to winter, I have to say indoor activities like playing cards (especially against Jake cuz we can get pretty competitive), reading a good book and family movie/game night (which we don't do nearly enough).

And I like to write. Obviously. And I'll think of a million other things to fun to do and wish I'd put those here instead of this, I'm sure. :)

What type of music do you prefer?
I like everything, except scream-o (thanks for that word Kristine!) and rap. Country, alternative, classic, blues, jazz...if it sounds good I like it. In the suburban we have country or Christian pandora is extreme.

What movies or tv shows do you prefer?
Hub and I LOVE 24. We haven't seen the last season yet so don't tell us about it. We get them on dvd and watch a trillion of them in a row. Right now we are watching Apprentice, Ice Road Truckers most Dangerous Roads, American Pickers. My most favorite movies I have recently seen are Julie and Julia and Australia...we don't watch many movies (which is a bummer)>

What frustrates you and why?
Jake said "Is wasting time in front of the computer one of them?" Haha. House work frustrates me, because you work on it all day long and when Hubs walks through the door, it looks like I didn't do a's ALWAYS there to do. Sigh.

What is your favorite food and dessert?
I usually lean towards noodle dishes or bread dishes. Love me some good bread! Dessert...cheesecake sounds good tonight!

What is your favorite color?
I lean towards browns. I like turquoise and silver in jewelry.

Do you prefer warmer or cooler weather?
WARM!!!!!!!!!! I am a TOTAL summer girl! Fall is pretty, but summer is my favorite. Bare feet every day!

Ending with a funny story.
Tonight, S3 pulled S4's hair and S4 decided it was worthy of being tattled on.
To the big guy, Daddy.
"Daddy, he pulled my hair - hard."
His response? "Well, we should cut your hair then."
S4's response? "No, my hair is fine. Cut his hand off, that's what he pulled it with."
Ahhh, brotherly love.

Jr Discovers How to Make FIre

Jr has been adorable lately, figuring out new things all the time. He totally cracks me up. Says words all the time. For instance....

"Don't eat that, it's nasty."

Jr, "Nasty".

"That's right, now throw it in the garbage."

Jr, "Bye-bye."

He cracks me up.

He also is extremely intelligent. Very much. I am always impressed with what he figures out.

Except today.

He was in the kitchen, eating an apple. I smelled a bit of smoke, but because we have a wood stove I didn't think too much of it....

Until the smoke got super bad.

All the sudden.

Very quickly.

Apparently, Jr has figured out how to use our toaster.

He had just pulled all our school notes off the wall so I had set them on the toaster to put back up later when he left for home...

And at some point, when he was eating his apple and sitting on his little stool, he pushed the toaster to "toast".

When I would check on him, he was sitting there, happy as a lark, eating an apple.


The toaster...IS MELTED!

We needed a new toaster anyhow, I suppose.

The crazy thing? Jr thought it was funny and S4, he never even noticed the smoke alarm, the smoke...nothing.

Coffee...I am looking for more coffee....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Terribly Good Morning and Hub's Be Awake

I hadn't written about a school morning run in a while and I thought since this one went so terribly good I would share with you.

Terribly good being specifically chosen words.

I stayed up way too late last night watching the Goonies.

Because I love that movie and Hubs had never seen it. It's a classic, I love it, and I let S1 watch it till they found the ship and then sent him to bed. Not because I am cruel, but because we don't own the movie and they were gonna stretch that last part over half an hour or longer so to bed he went.

Hubs had to be to work a bit early this morning and here's the thing...he has a Buick. That we call the Be Awake. This is why.....

His car is an old 80's Buick. He is especially fond of this car. The door seals do not seal, there is rust all over the lower portion of the door and you can, truly, be rained on or snowed in on with these doors.


The single most prominent feature of his beloved Buick is the noise.

Long ago, the muffler fell off. Now, he believes this makes it sound "bad" in a good way. He thinks it has more power. The boys think it sounds cool, like a Dukes General Lee. They call it Daddy's Race Car. They love the Buick.

I can, I exaggerate not at all, hear him a mile away.

It also works well for an alarm clock. As soon as he fires up the Buick, which we call the Be Awake because when he voice texts me that he is headed home the Droid hears Buick as Be Awake and the name fits so perfectly we just call it that, you can literally hear feet hit the floor.

And then you can look to the ceiling above and follow them as they stumble through the clothes and toy scattered room. Then you hear them trip down the steps and the slap of their hands on the paneling as they feel their way down, because his eyes will be nearly sealed tight with sleep. S2 will then burst into the too blindingly bright dining room to see his Daddy.

Right behind him will be S4, who wakes up talking and happy. His eyes may not be open but he will be saying full sentences as he arrives down the steps, like "Daddy, today is yellow day and I go to school and Moma already picked out my clothes. Are you going to work? Can you get me a bowl? I need cereal. And a spoon. And milk. And a HUG! And a KISS!"

Hubs always starts the Be Awake first, then hurries back in to catch these two boys in his arms for hugs and kisses before he leaves.

Sometimes, S2 will set his alarm for some early time, like 5:30 AM just to spend more time with his Daddy.

Our morning starts this way five days a week, always the same.

Hubby thinks I am being lazy laying in bed listening to it all. But in truth, I love to hear it, even if it is too early for the boys to be awake.

And I am lazy in the mornings.

But this morning I tried really hard to have at least my hair DRY and SOME make up on before I left to take the boys to school. It's not that I don't mind running errands make up less with wet hair, but, sheesh, sometimes a girl wants to look sorta nice.

And I pulled it off.

But in the process, the three youngest went outside to play IN THE DARK and then came in crying because they were bumping into things...shocker. Because they were over tired. And because I let them go outside so I could "fancy up".

S1 was moping around and I realized he had stayed up too late. And he was mad at me...because I had pulled all the clothes they hadn't folded out into the middle of their room and now he felt overwhelmed by the pile...more so because a friend was coming over. Today. After school.

We left on time, only to realize Sadie was loose. In the house. Where she would, certainly, eat all our garbage, our couch, our table, find a way to open the fridge....

And I couldn't back the suburban up because I could not see out the back foggy window.

Tensions were....strained.

As I flipped through the radio I wondered what the boys would remember about me as they grew with their kids? Would they remember a frantic shrill Moma in the morning? A Mom who scanned the radio constantly and never ever settled on one station for long (I'm notorious for "searching" the best song, all the time).

There was complete silence in the suburban. Sleepiness, irritation, anxiety, was all there.

And then I struck on one of my most favorite songs.

And I cranked it. I sang loud. I did body sways. I used my eyes to convey words to the song.

I had fun.

We were pulled into school with me jiving away.

I seen S3 feeling it. But S1 and S4 just silently got out of the suburban and waited patiently for me to finish singing. S3 would not look at me.


So then I turned into caring Mom. I got to the root of what was bugging S1...he needed to know the ending of the movie. He needed me to know he tries to clean his room. I told him I'd help with the room and then he and I were barely walking into school, me explaining in great detail how they load up with jewels, walk the plank, the ship is free, the hero has jewels in the marble bag to save the day.

He smiled for the first time all day.


Dropped S3 off, and chatted with the teachers about acorn squash. Because we have deep conversations like that in the morning.

Took S2 to his class, where he was thrilled to hear we were having hot dogs. He gave me a huge hug, not caring one bit we were in front of his class.

S1's eyes lit up when I asked his friend if he was okay with chocolate chip cookies.

S3 and S4 held my hands while we walked to class. They both told me they would miss me and that they liked holding my hand.

They both gave me kisses and hugs goodbye.

I returned alone to the suburban, contemplating the morning.

I think I learned two things.

My boys can be bribed with food.

And that even on rough mornings, those boys know I love them more than anything.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Breathe Writer's Conference Re-Cap

Last year, Sue called me up one day and said "Hey, lets got to a Writer's Conference."

And so we did.

It was there we met Ann who said "You really should go to Breathe with the guild and I this fall."

And so we did.

And we returned again this year.

Ahhhhhhh, there is nothing like walking into a room full of people and hugging the friends you have made over the past year.

Because, these ladies...Ann, Lorilee and Alison...have indeed become dear friends.

My husband always asks me what a Writer's Conference is like.

Um, how do you answer that?

Because, I don't know if you know this or not....but I'm not a published writer. I am a blogger. And if no one ever read this blog, I would have to write anyhow. I love to write. I have to get the words in my head typed on the screen or scribbled in a notebook. And there are a few story ideas jumbling around up there among the 'to do' list and all the laundry I have to fold and dinners I have to make.

The bestest part of a writer's conference (yes, I know I wrote 'bestest'. It's so the Guild knows I have to hang out with them more so they can correct all these mistakes I make. ;) ) is being around a bunch of writers.

But the friends you make there you "get" because they understand what its like to desire to make your writing better. Stronger.

The highlight teacher this year for me was Jo Kadlecek. If I could drop all I am and drive to Massachusetts and become a student in her classes, I would. Honest. This woman was phenominal and I cannot wait to read what she has written. If you do not look her up, you will be sorely missing out. She also introduced me to Flannery O'Conner whom I had never heard of, but will be becoming a student of. She made me excited to write, and her ideas on character writing have me dreaming up great story scenes......

Lorilee Craker did a terrific job teaching us about Book Proposals. This has been a huge unknown to me and she broke it down and made it do-able for all of us. I can't wait for her newest book to come deals with money secrets of the Amish.

Alison Hodgson gave a speech Friday night that had us all in tears. The trials she has gone through as their house was deliberately set on fire....well, you just can't put that into words (even at a Writer's Conference).

Hugh Cook was our special speaker, the guest of honor. Because he spoke Dutch, I asked him what a "hon-yock" is (because that is what my husband was called as a child). He didn't know. The woman serving us snacks, water and coffee all day long said it meant "Trouble Maker". Which makes total sense. I have not ever read Hugh's work...Sadie the dog ate the book. Literally.

Emily Downs did a super quick moving class on how to be published in a magazine. She is an adorable girl who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her and her husband's first son. I hope we get to meet up with this coffee loving gal sometime soon!

Probably the funniest class Sue and I took was on screenplay writing.

Let me explain.

For Praise and Coffee Night in December, Sue and I are writing a comedy skit for the women. She thought we should take the class to see what we could learn. So we did. And it was how to get your screen play PUBLISHED. I was certain, that at any second, Ted would KNOW I had no idea what he was talking about, that I was totally feigning any knowledge what so ever and would call on me....he did a great job, never called on us, and he gave us lots of info. I just didn't have any interest in screen play writing. I was so thankful when the class was over.......Ted Kluck, I am sorry. I hope you have an awesome screen play career.

The end of the day Saturday was the Writer's Panel, where you can ask them all what ever it is you would like to ask all the speakers from the conference. It's always informative and light hearted. Afterwards, we ended with a devotional.

The most unforgettable person of the whole conference was a woman named Kim. I do believe she and I and Sue will all be having coffee sometime soon and will no doubt become good friends. She was trapped in the Ukraine for eleven months and 13 days with her newly adopted four year old son before she had to flee for their lives. When did this happen? Years ago? Oh no, she just got home this spring.


Her family was sitting here in the states, her husband, her daughter....not able to do a thing.........

I can not grasp my mind around it.

The highlight of the weekend was the girl time. It just is. It's getting together with a bunch of friends, it's Sue and I watching chick flicks and talking into the wee hours of the morning, it's complimenting some friend on her outfit, or heels, or boots, or's bonding. It's fun.

I strongly suggest you come on out next year to Breathe Writer's Conference.

And I returned home to, well, to be totally honest, there is a dead mouse somewhere in my house and I can't find it, my boys were all sick with the flu, my husband was sick, everyone was starving and I was late as the lone person in my family to run to church the next morning to teach Sunday school....but I returned home renewed and refreshed and excited to write. And write well. And write lots.

Stay tuned.........

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Country Girl Learns How To Curl Her Hair

...we think. We hope.

As I mentioned in the last post, I just have been informed that I need to grow up and learn to use a curling iron by my stylist. I trust my stylist. I mean, you should really trust your stylist completely.

I have straight hair. Straight. V E R Y S T R A I G H T H A I R. Straw has nothing on me.

I tried to curl my hair the day after Darcy the stylist did. It looked Daisy Duke-ish on one side and flat on the other side and crimped all over. So I wore it in a pony tail. And I had to admit, just having taken the time to attempt to curl my hair made my pony tail look ultra stylish. I decided to keep trying....

But the next morning, Sue and I were headed to a Writer's Conference (more on that later) so I went for my safe straight hair because, as Sue explained about herself, "I was born with a curling iron in my hand", and she assured me she would teach me and I would be a pro in no time.

I wasn't too sure.

About me, not about her.

It was ever so much fun hugging all our long lost buddies (Ann, Lorilee and Alison) when we arrived at the conference and, being girls, our hair styles came up and there was some discussion if my hair would even hold a curl.

But the next morning Sue was determined to have me conquer the curling iron.

She decided to see how I was curling my hair, so she had me basically pretend she wasn't there and just go to curling. I took the curling iron up in my hand, tried to get it to connect with my hair (hey, it's a trick if you aren't used to looking in the mirror and getting it to connect where you need to!) and began to curl.

Sue nearly screamed. She couldn't get me to drop that curling iron fast enough. Horror was written all over her face.

I thought I had burned my hair right off. Except I hadn't had my curling iron on my hair for any time at all. I had only begun to twist my hair up.

"You really DON'T know how to curl your hair!" she gasped.

I didn't.

I learned.

You need to curl your hair fluidly. Never against the holder thingy. And you have to use hairspray that literally works like glue. And you never want "fish tails" like I was giving my hair.

Sue expertly curled my hair, checking off helpful curling and styling tips as she did.

I love girly time. In a house full of boys, I just drink it up. And apparently I was in desperate need of it.

The next day, home alone with all my boys, I decided to attempt it again. I had to consciously think what I was doing....I had to concentrate fully. S4 came into the bathroom (we only have the one bathroom) and his jaw dropped open.

he asked incredulously.
"Why are you pulling your hair like that?"

I tried to explain.

It didn't work.

But I did curl it. I had Jake take a photo of me and send it to Sue. She told me it was "darling". Honestly, I need more girl time because her calling it "darling" just made me feel "darling". I don't use the word "darling" nearly enough.

And Hubs is a huge fan of the new look. It took me a full 2o minutes I figured.

And then we had this picture taken (yes, same shirt as before. Hubby REALLY likes this shirt on me.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Moma May Look Pretty, but She Sure Felt Like She Failed

How's that for a title?

We have been down with the flu this week. It hit us all the sudden and it hit us HARD. Yuck.

Yesterday, I laid in bed and could hardly move. S4 laid in front of the heater vent all day and wailed that he would surely die because he would never be able to eat, drink, play football or talk normally again. S1 was thrilled that a whole day marathon of Swamp People was on the History Channel. All. Day. Marathon. Of. Swamp. People.

But today the boys assured me they were well enough for school and I woke up feeling human again too (coffee greatly helped this human feeling along). So....I made plans to pick S4 up from school early and told S1 that I would check on him too and if he wanted to go home at eleven, too, he could.

S4 was mad when I arrived to pick him up. He had been hoping to eat the school's hot lunch, he wanted to stay with his school buddies, he felt fine, no one else had to leave...I bribed him with a cheeseburger. I did. I said, "I'll take you to McDonald's if you leave now...."

So he did.

He then informed me that when he grows up he would like to be a cowboy first and work in a cheeseburger shop after that. Such high hopes!

I checked on S1, he seemed fine. Our school is in the midst of MEAP tests (and I just have to say, purely from a mothers heart, I detest MEAP test time).

I felt all must be perfectly fine when 1:30 rolled around, and I went in to get my hair trimmed for the first time in....well, we figured about three months. How does that happen? How do you just "forget" to care for yourself?


But Darcy does wondrous things with my hair and I am so trying to grow it out and I pointed out to her some model with hair I love...and she informed me it was time for me to learn to curl my hair and if I master it now, I will love it when it gets even longer. It'll give me a bit of oomph.

It sounded wonderful, she made it look wonderful. I haven't used a curling iron since..........a long long long time ago.

I am not sure my hair will ever look like this again......
It was tons of fun chatting away in the beauty salon and I said my goodbyes, had enough time to go to the grocery story before the boys got home from school, feeling pretty and cute when I noticed the blinking light on my cell phone.

It was the school.

S1 was sick. Could I come get him?

He had sat there for one full hour, waiting for me to come get him.

I drove over the speed limit to get him.

I gave him the biggest hug. I apologized profusely. He told me it was okay and "Hey, your hair looks really nice, Moma."

I love that boy!

Since the day was 15 minutes from ending, I decided to take all the boys home. They were thrilled, well, except for S1 who wrapped up in a blanket on the couch and pulled his hat over his eyes. My poor boy.

Ug, Moma fail today........thank goodness they still like me. And that they like spaghetti because I didn't get to the store to get the buttermilk to make the Pioneer Woman's fried chicken. Again.

Another day, another try (and a new talent to perfect...the curling iron).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Surrounded by Turkeys

On our way into school today, I was scanning the radio for some good song all five of us could sing along too. Usually I am the one to point out sites on the sides of the road, but today it was S1...

"Hey, there were a ton of turkeys in that field back there," he announced calmly.

Three boys cranked their heads back to the field we were passing just as fast as they could. But we had passed the line of woods and couldn't see them.

"Really? You REALLY seen turkeys?" S4 grilled him.

"I really did," he answered.

The three younger boys began firing questions at him and recounting stories of when they had seen turkeys in our field, the neighbors yard, the camp ground we stayed at, etc.

"Do you see lots of turkeys?" S4 asked S1.

"I see them all the time. I'm surrounded by turkeys," he answered sarcastically.

It took everything in me not to burst out laughing. The insult was lost on the boys as they were trying to figure out how it was their big brother seen turkeys all the time and they didn't.

And then this song came on and it took us the rest of the way to school, and this is one of our favorite songs so all ended happily.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Meeting of Powerhouse Bloggers

Friday night, after a fun Thursday night Praise and Coffee night, Sue Cramer invited a bunch of us out to the house to meet Mel Mashburn who was in for a few days from South Florida.

And here is the gut honest truth, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go.

I was sooooooo very tired. Okay, exhausted. Sort of in a funk. Friday nights are our family lazy nights and I felt bad leaving the boys behind. Hubby and I were on edge, not fighting, per se, but not our favorite people either - you know what I mean?

We were all tired.

But I knew I would regret not going. I knew I wanted to be there and would kick myself if I didn't go. And hubs gave me a big hug, laid a big kiss on me and told me to just go and have fun.

I love that man.

So I baked up some cookies and arrived an hour late to Sue's house where I have spent countless hours over the years.

I knew Jaime, she's a sweetie. I have met Kristine, she spoke at the last Praise and Coffee. I knew Mel, obviously, she is Sue's right hand woman in so many ways. I didn't know the other two women at all.

And here is more gut honest truth, I didn't think I belonged there. Of course, I am jumping into their conversation and so you have that sort of feeling lost moment, I was with women I have huge respect for and two more I didn't know, I don't usually do well meeting new people....

And then there's the whole thought process of "I am so sleepy. Did I put the cookie dough away? Will the boys have fun? Does Sue have more coffee? Oh look, apple crisp, I have been so craving that this week! I think I'll just make another pot of coffee. Really, what am I doing here?"

In high sunshine times of day, stressful moment, happy times, angry confrontations, simply eating ketchup, etc, (anything that brings any sort of strong emotion or taste) my neck and chest turn red and blotchy. It's a curse. It wish I could figure out how to NOT have it happen. THAT thought ran through my head too "Oh, I hope I don't look red and blotchy....."

The night was not looking good for me. And it probably wasn't looking good ON me either.

Because I walked in thinking I didn't belong. My blog is all about our farming life here. It's not a ministry...though if it DOES minister, HOORAY. I write because all day there are words and sentences bouncing in my head,moments I want to capture before I forget entirely. I am a better mom on the days I get to blog. If none of you ever read this, I would still be typing away. that you do write it makes it more fun. Thank you.

But this is what happened......

I was encouraged.

I met Ginger, whom I have no idea who she was but I think we are going to become good friends. This woman not only brought the apple crisp (super yummy, thank you!), she shared her heart and I wondered where she had been all my life. This woman's heart is beautiful.

I met Jennifer. I had no idea I actually KNOW Jennifer from facebook and twitter. But I didn't put it all together until she had left. What a bummer! This girl is someone I have tweeted with and thought she totally rocked not knowing I was friends with her on facebook and not having a clue she blogged. Ug, what a moment lost! Jennifer, apparently my brain is way fried. So sorry I didn't make the connection at all! (oh, and GO STATE!)

Kristine has a discerning spirit and I was sure at some point she was going to turn and see right through me to the "you don't feel you belong" heart I struggle with. But she didn't. She's amazing. Once upon a time I was leering of her, now I wonder how anyone could think that. Her ministry touches many.

Jaime writes devotional blogs from inspirational music. A true gift. She has had a very rough week, and yet she sat there being as sweet as she always is. I have known Jaime since she and I and Sue went to our very first every writers conference. I feel because of that we have a special bond.

Then there is Mel. Good gracious, she is Dory and that makes me love her more! I have a feeling that Mel can look at someone, have them analyzed and figure out how to help them be better in .5 seconds. In a good way. I have gotten to know her through Sue, and ladies, this woman is as real as any one of us and funny as a hoot and she connects with people online I have seen connect people. Wow. I hope she makes it up her again very soon, I'll even kidnap her to take her to Starbucks, I know where there is one a mere twenty minutes away.

Sue, well, you all know Sue if you follow this blog at all. She is a natural born leader, a visionary, a woman with a heart that strives to please God. I am honored to work with her on Praise and Coffee, blessed to have her as my bestest writing buddy and grateful in ways I could never put in words for her friends ship.

So when I read this tweet...
@karen_hammons - @Mels_World @praiseandcoffee @zaankali @kristinemac @life4boys @gingerbehrens What a powerhouse group of women to be with!! Awesome!

...I thought to myself "If they consider me part of this "powerhouse group", I am more than honored and ever so humbled."

Thank you, ladies, for a wonderful night and for loving on the over tired mom who arrived heavy burdened but left gleefully light.

So gleeful, it turns out that I nearly drove off Sue's driveway checking to see what I was tagged in on facebook and then I was instantly mortified that Sue's husband would have seen me (and never let me live it down) so I put the phone down and cranked the stereo. I looked for anything I could sing to, and I came across THIS song. I hit every high note (I didn't say it sounded good, I just said I hit them...). But I had to sing the song with my nose plugged because someone had hit a skunk (I barely missed hitting two possums and one raccoon in my 11:30 drive home) and I did manage to not run over the skunk but I did drive with my fingers pinching my nostrils shut.

Plugging your nose and singing at the top of your lungs. Even I knew how funny I had to sound and started to giggle.

I blame Sue in part, for not giving me the caffeinated coffee I needed that brought me to this silly moment. But it sure was a fun way to end the night.

Friday, October 8, 2010

We Nearly Died in a Corn Maze

On Tuesday, I took the two youngest to the best Apple Orchard I know (okay, it's the only Apple Orchard I know, but the donuts make it the BEST). Gull Meadow Farms puts together a great destination spot and it is very well known in the area. Ever since I was little my parents have taken us there for donuts and apples. Never pumpkins because, I know this will shock you all, we have always had our own.

If making the drive over to Gull Meadow Farms, here are some tips you might want to know....

*For $7.50 you get to do everything...wagon ride, kids play area, corn maze. (if you haven't clicked on the link yet, you want to just to see this maze,)

*For $1.00, you get to play for unlimited amount of time in the kids play area (this is what we did). However, the slide, the zip line, the hay bale climb, the pillow jump, the garden tractor train, etc...all this is closed until four pm. You do not have an option, either, to take a wagon ride through the farm. I did not know this when we arrived and honestly, it really disappointed me.

We could go through the corn maze but I'm not sure if this will surprise you at all, but I am "directionally challenged".

I get lost everywhere.

Except when we are camping, oddly enough. I always can figure out our way there.

But anywhere else, well, that's a whole other story. It could be a whole other BLOG in and of itself. "The Many Ways to Get Lost" or something like that.

So I was very thankful when the woman told me there was a kids corn maze in the kids play area. I figured this would be perfect because I am pretty sure had I taken my boys into the gigantic corn maze, they would have to send the energizer bunny of search parties in after us.

The boys had a ton of fun with the hand water pump duck race, we played this the most. They found the outhouses and foot pump sinks way cool. Seeing all the apple tress was impressive. But the corn maze that was really fence stakes, was the ultimate in fun.

It was a lot of walking but it was impossible to get lost and pretty cut and dry. You walk in here, you follow in one direction, you walk out over here.

Unless you are us, apparently.

The boys thought it would be fun to race each other and beat Moma and have her eat their dust and all that. They squealed with laughter as they took off. But S3 just got new shoes out of a bag of freebies someone (thankfully) gave us and they seemed to have super running powers because he would run way far ahead of S4. S4 would then hang his head and cry. Sob really. This would put S4 even further behind, which would then confuse him, so then he would try to run back where he started from, which made him even further behind.....

It turned into a mess.

Because, while S4 was only a row or so away from me, I couldn't actually get him. And whenever S3 tried to run to get him, S4 would run to meet him and they would end up further apart and S4 would cry harder.

However, when we would finally all meet, there would be great rejoicing. Huge hugs. As if this was the first meeting among brothers and their mother in years.

When we were leaving, I asked the boys if they had had a good time, a good day. I was concerned they may have not. S3 emphatically told me it was the best trip EVER and he had the best time.

S4 began to whimper a bit in the back. "Except for the part where we were lost in the corn maze and we could have DIED."

"Yah, yah, other than that part," agreed S3. "But the corn maze was the best part."

"Except when you lost me," S4 quipped from the back seat.

"But we found you," S3 pointed out.

"But we could have starved and been lost forever and died," S4 reminded him.

"Yah," S3 nodded in agreement, "but we didn't so it was fun."

I leave you with this video, taken after about the 5th lost experience. Prepare your ears.....

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Family Dinner Conversations

Just the title should tell you this post will be...interesting.

This weekend, the boys borrowed the movie Garfield from our neighbors. They had never seen this movie before and were completely enthralled with it. I did not watch it, but being the wonderful mother I am I did let them watch it two or three or so times so I could finish the book I was reading. Yes, I am that kind of mother.

All day Sunday the boys were talking in lines of the movie. They would spout out some weird something and I would wonder what I missed and the other with would answer with something else that made no sense to me and then another would laugh and say how great that was....and then I would realize it was the movie they were quoting.

Well, somehow this got S1 talking about a Garfield comic he had read recently that mentioned Jon wanting to write a love letter to his girlfriend and he was going to describe her as his favorite foods.

That's all it took.

The boys love lasagna, hot dogs, pancakes, pizza, etc.

Just imagine.

They were attempting to put it all together in some beautiful sort of poetry to impress a girl.

There were many shrieks of laughter.

I need not worry about them getting a girlfriend any time soon.

Thank goodness.

Then my husband turned to me, cleared his throat dramatically and began with "Your lips are red like ripe tomatoes......"

In the words of Lucy from Peanuts, "Good Grief!"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Walnut Baseball

This weekend, as I was just getting out of the shower to face the day, S4 came up to me, baseball glove in hand and said "Hey, Moma, wanna hit some balls with me?"

Now, S4 has THREE brothers, all older and much, much, much more athletic than me. He has a Daddy who is home and he is much, much, much more athletic than me. Let me stress this again...nearly anyone, anywhere, at anytime is much, much, much more athletic than me!

But I digress.

I told him I wasn't very good at baseball. "I know," he agreed solemnly, "That's why I'll only pitch you the easy ones."

Great vote of confidence from my four year old there!

I told him I had to finish getting dressed (literally was still in my bath towel) and then I slowly got around to putting in my contacts and a little mascara so I didn't look too frightful when my husband came in from the field in need of more coffee. Honestly, I was secretly hoping S4 would forget.

But he didn't. He followed me around, glove in hand. He even asked S3 to stand behind me and catch all the balls I missed.

Now my confidence was soaring.

But then I thought, hey, why not? Why not just try to hit a few?

I purposefully chose not to remember how I pitched him balls on Thursday and he got onto me for not throwing them at his bat.

So I bundled up and headed out. S4 was gleeful to say the least. He told me where to stand, how to stand and how to handle the big plastic black bat. Then he ran around the yard gathering balls up to throw at me.

By balls I mean walnuts.


You have seen our Walnut War. (And just so you know, S1 decided that he was going to have him against all his brothers, it really wasn't a gang up on the big brother sort of thing.) You know how we are, uh, blessed with these walnuts.

At our farm, fall is baseball season because we have an unlimited supply of baseballs.

S4 gathered up a huge pile and he started tossing them at me. I may have let a few surprised "eeks" as they came flying for me, but imagine S4's surprise when I hit one.

Yes, I hit a walnut being thrown at me with a big plastic black bat.

And then I hit another. S2, our most athletic child, came jogging out of the field where his garden is and his jaw nearly hit the ground. "Moma?" he asked. "YOU hit that walnut? I thought it was Daddy!"

S4 also could not believe it and it wasn't long before instead of me getting any to sort of hit, I was getting hit by the walnuts.

Walnuts can hurt, I found out. I don't know why the boys like those wars so much.

But all in all, it was fun. It was great seeing their reaction. I hit some pretty far! I missed a ton of them but considering I NEVER hit a ball, I hit walnuts rather well, I'd say!

So, hey, maybe you should get out there and try to play with your kiddos. I think you'll surprise yourself and them with some hidden talents you both didn't know you possessed.

I leave you with this video. Just to prove to you that we are surrounded by walnuts. Alas, I wish I had the video of me hitting the walnuts, but I was sort of too busy to video it. Here is S4 (with help from Jr) explaining how to throw a spit ball. Seriously.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Magazine has Arrived!!!!

Sue and I have often thought how cool would it be to make our own magazine? One that connected all of the Praise and Coffee's around, well, the world now. We drank POTS of french press coffee, we sketched things out in one subject notebooks and thought about it more as we folded newsletters.

Sue loves fonts, to play with colors and design. She flourishes with that sort of thing. Every once in awhile, she will look at me and say "you got that, right?" and I stare at the photo shop or the web design jargon and give her a blank look. But I have to admit, I may not get all the techy things but I sure do enjoy it.

So, here it is. Our Very First Magazine. I hope you enjoy it, we loved putting it together for you all.