Sunday, September 29, 2013

College Student

I think this year is a tiring one.  Doing a masters degree in one year sounds like a good idea, but then reality hits.  We haven't set an alarm on Sunday since Ryan was released from his calling teaching a Sunday School class and he no longer spends his morning preparing his lesson.  An alarm isn't really necessary, since we are awake in enough time to get ready.  

This morning when we decided to open our eyes and check out the time, it was already after 9 am.  We'd heard the kids downstairs, but as they were quiet and undemanding, we pulled the comforter up higher and rolled over for another few minutes.  Ryan looked at me, and I looked back, and we decided we were not making it to Sacrament Meeting.  Well, it might have been possible, but not without yelling and screaming, and that didn't sound like a great way to start a Sunday.

Well, now it is after church, and Ryan is back to sleep:
Being a college student, dad, husband, community member, and teacher (and part-time farmer) is wearing the poor guy out.

Another story about Ryan:

Yesterday Ryan had to stop by a house belonging to an older couple on the verge of retirement to pick something up that had been borrowed.  They are downsizing considerably, and we'd heard about their upcoming estate sale before they leave permanently in November.  I suggested to Ryan to see if they would consider doing a "preview" sale of a dresser or maybe a larger dining room table while he was there.

A half hour later, as I was in the process of making dinner, I got a call from Ryan.  We can't do early sales of the furniture, BUT there's this rototiller that we can get for a great deal ("only $350") and is that ok?

Oh sure.  Why not.  It will be so much more useful than a dresser with drawers that actually close for Emma, or a table with enough matching chairs for the family.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Back in the spring of this year, we put in irrigation in the front of our property.  All summer, Ryan has watered and killed the weeds, watered and killed the weeds.  He decided the puncture vine problem was contained well enough about two months ago, and planted pasture grass. 

Today he mowed for the 3rd time.  The grass has grown incredibly fast, and has been about knee high each time he's mowed.
And this is just one of our turkeys.  They've grown quite a lot.  Ryan had to check how the drumsticks were coming along.  If only we can keep the neighbor dogs out of our yard- we are down to two turkeys now.
Also, we counted the pumpkins in our pumpkin patch.  If we haven't double counted too many, we have somewhere in the vicinity of 60 pumpkins.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Over Labor Day weekend, we took a one night camping trip to Camp Zarahemla.  The day before our intended trip, we mentioned in passing to our friends that we were going camping, and would they like to come too?  Kyle thought it sounded like a good time, and said he would talk it over with his wife, Suzanne.

Well, at 3:30 Friday afternoon, they arrived without warning on our doorstep, ready to go.  Emma and Elizabeth weren't even done with school, and I was still in full on packing mode.  There were piles of stuff ready to be stashed into the minivan, bags partially packed, food being prepared and packed, and I was not ready for company.  

We sent them on ahead with printed directions, and we followed an hour later.  We arrived in enough time to set up our tent in the daylight hours, and get ready for the long night ahead.  We chickened out, and got fast food on the road, rather than try and cook something when we got there for dinner late.  We were able to cook s'mores, and the kids were happy about that.  

It was a long, cold night in our Great and Spacious Tent.

We did cook our breakfast on the fire in the morning, and fed some other roaming kids too.
Then it was play time.
Elizabeth made a friend.  (And I don't remember her name...)  But they thought they would be GREAT friends, since they both wear glasses.
Emma and Luci went out in a paddle boat by themselves.  5th and 6th graders are much too cool to hang out with their moms and dads.
 Annie, Maddie, and Elizabeth snuck a ride on a paddle boat with Brittney, Jane and Joe.
 Family canoe ride (minus Emma, she was still out with Luci).
 Kyle and Suzanne.
If you look at the bottom left corner of the picture above, you can see the baggie that I had around my cell phone.  I am paranoid of falling in when I am out on the water.
Then it was time to come home.  Either all the fun in the outdoors, or the lack of adequate sleep, caused three of the four kids to crash on the drive.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Someone thought with the weather cooling down, it must be Christmas time already:
 I mostly just snapped this picture to show Maddie wearing one of her many all purple outfits.  She will be very thorough in her purple outfits, even putting on purple underwear.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bugged Out

Today is a no school day, for teacher "professional development," so the kids and I have been hanging out.  Well, after lunch I was throwing the rest of the dishes in the dishwasher to do a load (ah, the joys of having everyone home all day- two loads of dishes), I picked up this pink plastic cup.  I registered a glimpse of something black and creepy inside:
So, I did the most logical thing.  I threw the cup into the sink, rather forcefully.  After a second to catch my breath and work up my courage, I took a second peek.  It was only Emma's prank ice cube.

Someone "got" me good.  But I didn't scream, and the kids don't know.  I am hesitant to admit it.  The girls keep trying to "trick" me, and if they knew they were successful, it will happen again and again and again...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Test Time

Last year at MSP time (that's WA state's standardized test taken every year starting in 3rd grade), Emma was nervous.  She lost sleep.  She was experiencing test anxiety.  As she was then only in 4th grade, Ryan and I told her this test wasn't even important- just more of a gauge of how her teachers are doing.  (Test anxiety in a 10 year old?  Not cool.  Not cool at all.  It's not as if this is the SAT or anything.  And it goes on for days.  Geez.)

Anyway, once the test was done, Emma came home saying she'd gotten all the questions right in the math section.  We told her great, and we were glad she'd tried her best.

Her MSP scores came home yesterday.  As it turns out, she was right.
 100% down the line.

Then the other side of the paper explained her scores to us.
Emma's score was 575 out of 575, "which is passing."  Ya think?  Wouldn't you think a perfect score would warrant something better than "passing"?  As in- oh. my. freaking. gosh.  That's amazing!!!!  Who does that?

Also, where did she get her math smarts?  I feel I am better in the "language arts" and I think Ryan is more of a "science" kind of guy, so....  math?  Who is going to help her with that?  Although according to this chart, she doesn't have a lot of room for improvement or growth.  Huh.  Now what?

(She did very well all the way around, in her reading and writing.  But perfect?  I am blown away.)

Ryan called a couple of people last night.  First, was the math coach at the high school.  He has never heard of a perfect score before.  Then Ryan called Emma's teacher from last year, who was given a copy of Emma's scores too.  She said likely it wasn't an error.  Emma IS very smart.

Wow.  Seriously, wow.  That girl.  She blows me away.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Last night for dessert, Maddie requested graham crackers and Nutella.  In my effort to teach my children how to be independent and self-sufficient, I helped Maddie get what she couldn't reach (namely the container of Nutella, for reasons best understood by parents of children with a sweet tooth), and let her make her own dessert.  Usually I supervise activities like this, but I was paged by another child to come help with something.  Elizabeth was still at the table eating her dessert (pumpkin bread), so I asked her to make sure Maddie didn't eat all of the Nutella.  I marched up the stairs thinking, "Look at my great parenting skills.  Maddie is perfecting her fine motor skills and is taking care of her own needs, and Elizabeth gets the chance to be the responsible sister which is good for her."

Two minutes later, I returned to find Elizabeth and Maddie dipping their fingers in the Nutella, licking, and (probably by this time) deca-dipping.

Parenting is such a humbling experience.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Elizabeth has been struggling with her allergies lately.  Every morning she complains, "Mom, I can't breathe!" followed by some kind of ultra-stuffy nose inhale attempt.  And every evening at bedtime, she rubs her face and says, "My nose is so stuffy!"  After a few weeks of this, and attempts on my part to alleviate the problem with Clariten, Benedryl, and decongestants, I bit the bullet and made an appointment with the doctor.  So this morning after dropping Emma and the twins off at their various schools, we took a trip to the doctor's office.

Can I just say that going to the doctor's is so much nicer than it used to be?  The front staff seems on top of things (although I swear I have to fill out paperwork every time I go in), and the wait time is more than acceptable, making a trip last 40 minutes instead of 90-120 minutes.  Oh, and you don't have to make appointments weeks in advance.  Thank heavens they finally got their act together.

We saw Dr. W today.  He had a half-face model to help explain what's going on inside her head with those allergies.  He started his little explanation speech to Elizabeth with, "Heavenly Father made your nose this way," pointing to whatever the part of the nasal passage he was referring to.  He explained why allergies are so much harder on kids than adults most of the time, but I had to laugh.  I assume he doesn't explain like that to all his patients, but when your doctor is a member of the bishopric at church, well.... I guess that gives us special treatment.  It was a cross between a science and a Sunday School lesson.

I think I like knowing your family doctor.  (Unless it's MY doctor, for those OB/GYN appointments.  That's a whole 'nother thing.)

The verdict is no allergy testing right now.  Unless we are planning on removing the allergen (and it is likely outside allergens bothering Elizabeth), testing won't really change the course of action.  We've got a steriod prescription for a couple of days to get the swelling down (it's pretty bad), and a nasal inhaled prescription to try, in addition to switching from Claritin to Zyrtec, and enjoying the benefits of Benedryl at night until she's more comfortable.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's For Dinner

This is what I picked from the garden today, and what I based dinner around.  I only picked what I thought I could fit into a meal.  I think I still have enough tomatoes out there to feed our whole ward at church.  
How many more ways can I come up with to cook all the vegetables from our garden?  Pasta, stir fry, side dishes, casseroles, baked, boiled, and frozen, and I still have some going to waste.  My opinion (voice of reason?) doesn't seem to matter with the dear husband in the late spring; he plants and plants and plants.  On the bright side, it's saved us a bunch of money on groceries this summer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What She Wore Wednesday

Emma helped Annie come up with her costume.  I think it was a Snow White dress, with a black skirt over the dress, and then her special "Corner Blankie" (that's the name of the twins' matching blankets that they love) wrapped around and through, like a cape.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I brought Annie and Maddie with me to Ryan's classroom today to help work on Ryan's new display board for the upcoming fair.  Even though it was Ryan's plan period, there were students and another teacher in Ryan's classroom.  Annie and Maddie weren't so sure about all the people, so they found a good spot to hide under Ryan's desk.
They got to watch a movie while I helped out, cuddled up with Ryan's coat.

Peeping Toms

While I was bathing Annie and Maddie, a couple of curious faces peeked in at us.
It would appear the turkeys can fly up to our roof now, and watch us in the bathroom.  Nice.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Picking Pears

Our friends found this you pick place for pears.  We got them for .30 cents a pound.  
The orchard was owned by this Norwegian fellow.  He took the kids for a ride in his tractor when we were done picking.  
I know it what the picture looks like, but he is wearing a pair of shorts.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Catching Up

This is just going to be a mash-up of pictures I've taken lately, and a blurb about them.  As I am pretty far behind in posting, this is just going to be the fastest means of catching up.

Elizabeth gave me a make-over after school today.  Have you ever seen that you tube video of the rubber bands and the exploding watermelon?  Well, I had about 10 headbands around my head, and was starting to feel like that watermelon.  Ryan thought I was worthy of a photo though.
Annie and me on a Sunday afternoon.
 Annie and Maddie being silly at bath time.
The fall wreath I made this week.  The ready-made wreaths were like $40 at Michaels, and I figured I could make something decent for much cheaper.  I don't know if I am happy with it yet, but it's up.
 Remember all those onions I wrote about a while ago?  Well, they have been sitting around, and Walla Walla onions do not store well.  They have started to go bad, so I cut up a whole lot of onions, and cried.  If anyone had come by, it would have looked like we had received some very bad news.  Anyone walking through the kitchen was teary eyed.  I got out the dehydrator, and made the whole house reek of onions.  But at the end of it, I had saved the onions from certain death.  I feel pretty good about my homemade, home grown dehydrated onions.
 It was a rough couple of days to be a bird at our house.  Sunday morning a neighbor's dog took a very big bite out of one of our turkeys, and Ryan had to put him down.  Fearing for our other birds, I left the chickens locked up in their coop until we could fix the hole in our fence.  On Tuesday evening, the fence was fixed, and we let out the chickens.  I guess the rooster was miffed at being locked up for so long, and had to assert his manly-ness.  Within 2 minutes of being let loose, he attacked Annie and gave her a big scrape through her pants.  The rooster tried to attack Elizabeth too, and so... this was what was left after Ryan got to the rooster.
 Our garden is going CRAZY.  There's no way I can keep up with it.  This is the bucket of tomatoes I picked one afternoon.
 So I cut up almost all of those tomatoes, onions (this was before dehydrating all those other ones), some peppers, and some jalapenos, and let them simmer on the stove until I had a really big batch of salsa.  (This picture does not do it justice, as it is a REALLY big pot.)
I wuss-ed out on canning the salsa, though.  I ended up putting it in quart sized baggies and freezing it.

Whew.  I think this is it for tonight.