Sunday, November 30, 2014

O Christmas Tree

For my birthday (and after the birthday party), we got a Christmas tree.  This seems to be developing into a tradition...  It was bitterly cold (as in, I'm not sure we got above freezing the whole day) and dark, so we found a tree quickly in an obliging Christmas tree lot.
 We got the tree inside and put up, and then put the kids to bed.

Today after church, it was time to decorate.  My mom came and visited us this afternoon, so she was able to help.

 Ta da!
I may or may not have rearranged some of the ornaments.  It seems a little silly to stack three on one branch.
The actual final product as seen by my cell phone camera.

Happy Birthday to Me.... and others

For my birthday this year, we were invited to a big November birthday bash at my in-law's.  We celebrated Annie and Maddie's birthday, father-in-law Rick's birthday, sister-in-law Blair's birthday, nephew Simon's birthday, and my birthday.  Once upon a time before all the kids got married and started having babies, Rick had the entire month of November to himself.  Now there are 6 of us, and that doesn't include my side.  November is THE month, people.  

The marshmallow throwing game from Thanksgiving had been a hit, so it was brought back.  With new marshmallows, of course.
 The pictures are in no particular order.  I just copied them from my mother-in-law's Facebook page.
 My niece Charlotte is so stinkin' cute.

 I suppose the pot holder game was a hit too.  They insisted that I (and only I) got to open my present with pot holders on my hands.  Everyone else missed out on that fun.  I know I was making some odd faces, so thanks to Kim for only posting this picture of me.
 Time for "cake-cake," which is Simon's word for birthday cake.
 We went through a lot of candles.  There were all 33 on my cake, and 26 on Blair's.  But not 65 on Rick's cake.
Simon didn't blow out his candles.  He got the stomach flu on the way down to his grandparents, and wasn't feeling great.  He spent the day wearing a couple of Grandpa's t-shirts while his clothes were being washed.  Michael ended up in some borrowed clothes for a while too.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Food, family, and fun.  That's what we did this year for Thanksgiving.  
 The kids at the kid table.  (The lucky ducks always get to be served first....)
 And the adult table.  Honestly, I warned them that I was going to take this picture.
After we thoroughly stuffed ourselves, it was time for a couple of activities.  I have managed to earn a reputation for finding fun and easy games (well deserved or not, who knows) and so Kim asked me to bring a couple.  First off was Open The Heavily Wrapped Gift Challenge.  One person tries to open a wrapped gift wearing pot holders, and the person in front of them in line rolls two dice until they get doubles.  Then they get to have a go at the present, and the next person rolls the dice.

 Nothing makes you feel quite as coordinated as wearing those silly pot holders, let me tell you.
 The recently purchased humidifier box had one of those tabs that folds into the box, and was a beast to open.
Once we got into that box, there were two more to go.
 The prize was a Ghirardelli's chocolate bar.

After that was throwing as many marshmallows into a bucket as you could in one minute.  The distance was adjusted for each.  We started with the youngest (Annie and Maddie) and worked our way to oldest.

Emma's strategy was to throw multiple marshmallows at a time.

You can see we were listening to Christmas music on the tv.
 I did an awesome job getting the marshmallows into the bucket, did I?  (I think I got 11 in.)
The arrow points to a marshmallow stuck into the corner.  I thought I should get a point for that one for style.

 Ryan isn't actually older than everyone present, but he was trash talking, and ended up the farthest away for his crazy amazing skills.  You know, just to make everything fair.  hehe
Maddie put herself as an obstacle for her dad to have to throw around.

And that was it for the entertainment.  We sat around and talked until it was time to go home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Ryan usually buys me a birthday cake from Safeway or Walmart, and this year I voted for cheesecake.  This one spoke to me while I was shopping at Costco yesterday.
I know my birthday isn't until Saturday, but well....  we ate some tonight.  It just couldn't wait any longer.  My family sang to me, and I blew out as many candles as we had.

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving....

....And we went to Walmart for a few things.  Not a turkey, though, because I think turkeys are out of my budget this year.
Pardon my asking, but how can that be a "low price" at $88 per pound?


Last night Ryan and I were sitting on the couch after putting the kids to bed, and watching Netflix.  We were even snuggled under a blanket.  After a while Ryan looked at me and asked if I had switched shampoo.

I said no.

Had I switched conditioner, or body wash, or something?

Still no.

So, Ryan started sniffing me.  First my hair, then my clothes, my arm pits....  Everything.  It wasn't what he was looking for.  Then he turned and sniffed the couch.


I still don't know what exactly Ryan was smelling, because the couch didn't smell weird to me.  But last night the couch must have had a distinct odor to Ryan.  Even though we've had the couch for a year, and shouldn't smell strange.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Being Thankful

It seems to be a tradition of ours that for one Family Home Evening during the month of November, we write some of the things we are thankful for on some paper leaves.  This year I had the kids cut out their own leaves, and everyone wrote their own.  A couple of kindergartners needed some help with spelling, but not bad, eh?
Some of the things we are thankful for are: our limbs, cats, food, phones, teachers, lights, sisters, school, money, homework (that was Ryan), family, pigs, hospitals, egg nog, and dishwashers.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


We actually have quite a lot of paper here at home.  In spite of this fact, I find writing on the strangest of surfaces.
There's this story we like to tell guests.  Once upon a time, Emma learned how to write her name.  The little darling was about 4-years-old.  One day she found a Sharpie and scrawled her name in bold letters across Elizabeth's naked chest.  Then she proceeded to tell me how Elizabeth had done it to herself, but being the smart parent that I am, I knew it had really been Emma's doing.

I think someone was trying to throw me off the scent.  Those twins of mine are pretty smart cookies.  It's a shame it doesn't actually look like Emma's handwriting.


Today after church we were scrambling to find food for our hungry stomachs.  The kids were going for the left-overs stacked in the fridge.  Maddie and Elizabeth decided to have some pizza from last night.  Emma asked if she could have stuffing and gravy for lunch.  I laughed, and told her, "Sure.  But that's not a complete meal."

Emma looked aghast.  "But Mom.  Stuffing and gravy are two of the major food groups!"

I shook my head.  "No.  If stuffing and gravy are major food groups, then you've missed chocolate."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Facebook Statuses To Save

This morning's duties included finish coloring Annie's picture while she ate breakfast so she could take it for show and tell, and dragging all the blankets off Elizabeth's bed to motivate her to get up. Happy Friday!

"No, I am not going to let you read that new book I promised. You ate my chocolate truffles, so that makes us even." Christ-like parenting here, folks.

I could have used Gandolf's help today. I needed someone to say, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS into the living room while the paint is still wet."

There is nothing quite as "fun" as chasing escapee chickens back into the coop. Through rows of corn. And the neighbor's yard.

It makes me quite happy to see a mouse in the clutches of our cat.

After a day of sore throats, fever, rash, doctor visits, and sad kids, we ended the evening with antibiotics and Return of the Jedi. Here's hoping for a healthier tomorrow.

Since Ryan is doing his Administrator Internship this year, he gets the opportunity to "substitute" as a principal at other schools for experience. Yesterday he was at Annie and Maddie's school, and they came home from school yesterday full of "My dad was my principal at my school today!" and, "Daddy went down the slide at recess!" and, "I saw Daddy at lunch!" It was really cute.

As today is a teacher in-service day, we have friends over. It's cracking me up to listen to them all compare naughty students in their classes. This is a conversation that kindergarteners, elementary, and middle schoolers can all participate. Apparently if your name is Isaiah, you are predisposed for mischief.

Yesterday's quotable- "I was drawing a picture of mommy, but it didn't turn out. So I made it into a picture of daddy."

You really do have to teach your kids EVERYTHING. Tonight's lesson- we don't share used band-aids.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Turkey Preview

A few weeks ago, we had 14 turkeys alive and well.  Ryan sold four of the turkey chicks to someone at school, still leaving us with 10.  That's not even bothering to count our chickens.  I've been telling Ryan that we should reduce our poultry population, and today, he finally had time to do it.
 Catching turkeys is hard work.
 After the birds were butchered, they were scalded in a trash can full of hot water.
Because we are classy like that, yo.  I helped take the feathers off.  

Ryan gave the younger three girls a biology lesson while he was removing the guts.  This is as close as I could get.  I have yet to faint at the sight of blood and guts, but I've gotten so I can't see anything and my ears ring.  I'm getting better.  I only get trembly and shaky now.

Yesterday, I cooked up one of the 4 turkeys for dinner.  It looks awfully skinny compared to the birds we buy at the store for Thanksgiving.

But it tasted delicious, and it gave me an excuse to make stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce.  Yum.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I've wanted to paint the inside of our house for a while.  The current paint on the walls is a flat finish, and that stuff does not wash.  I can scrub the paint off the walls before the sticky fingerprints and other messes come off.  Talk about frustrating.  I picked up some of those paint sample cards, and I left them tucked under pictures and left on the wall for a couple of weeks to decide what colors we liked best.  Modest Silver was the winner, and I went to Lowes and bought two gallons.

It was not grey, like I thought it would be.  

It was purple.

Well, it was purple for about 75% of the day.  In the early morning light, it was a lovely shade of light gray like I thought it should be.  But by afternoon, and especially in the evening when we turned on the lights, it was totally purple.  We left it on the walls all weekend, hoping it would fade or cure better, but no luck.

When we compared the walls and the paint in the can to to sample card, the paint was more purple than it should have been.  I was pretty mad.  All that work.....

Monday, we went back to Lowes.  Lowes was gracious, after awhile, and refunded us our money.  We looked at all of their greys, and with this new undertone revelation of ours, we decided they didn't have a single grey without a major undertone.  So, we went back to the beige-y standby, this one called Vanilla Steam.  It's much better.  We also grabbed some paint for the front door, and some white for baseboard touch ups.

So, our walls are well-coated in semi-gloss paint.  The front room and kitchen have been painted (and it washes!!!!), and I am working up the courage to do the family room and the kids hallway.  In the meantime, I painted the front door:
This is what it looked like, with me on my knees in some old and ugly sweats, when our neighbor Dan dropped by to borrow some eggs.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Dresses

I've noticed how rough it is on siblings when it is someone else's birthday.  To keep the tears to a minimum, I usually find something small for the others.  This year, at Annie and Maddie's birthday I threw that all out the window.  The girls all got new Christmas dresses, and they all wore their new dresses to church today.
This picture also gives a sneak peak at a project I started on.  I started painting!  More on that soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Farm Life

I don't much care for seeing mice around here.  I know we live in the country, and I know rodents are a fact of life.  I just don't like seeing evidence of their existence.  However, seeing one of our two cats doing their duty pleases me.

So, today I saw that Merlin had caught a mouse, and was slowly torturing it to death.  Along came momma turkey and her 7 turkey chicks.  (The turkey chicks were born a couple of months ago and have been wandering our yard ever since.  This is the first batch set by the momma turkey, and not incubated by Ryan.)  Merlin and Emrys have a healthy respect for momma turkey, and when Merlin saw them come around, she dropped her mouse and ran away.  I was just about ready to give Ryan a piece of my mind about his darn turkeys keeping my cats from doing their job, when two of the turkey chicks resumed torturing the mouse to death.  One turkey would peck at the mouse, pick it up by the tail, and then run around the driveway being chased by another turkey who wanted his turn.

It was kind of interesting to watch.

In the end, the dead mouse was left on the driveway.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Annie and Maddie turn 6

Something happened over night.  Suddenly my two 5-year-olds became 6-year-olds.  Annie and Maddie have been counting down for the past month or so.  They knew that Halloween was coming, and that their birthdays are "three days after Halloween."  They told everyone.  We had lots of opportunities for math.  "What's 7 days plus three more days?"

The girls went to school very excited for their birthdays.  Our district does not allow home baked goods, so they took Oreos to school to share.  

As it turns out, Annie's teacher totally forgot Annie's birthday.  Annie was very perturbed over this.  It was all she could talk about when she got home for a while.  (We had to wait until Dad got home before opening presents.)

Luckily, the girls got some birthday wishes over the phone while they were waiting.
Present time!

 Annie and Maddie were quite excited over their Elsa and Anna dolls.

After a dinner of crepes, it was cake time.

 I think Annie and Maddie were attempting to mimic their cupcake smash from birthday numero uno.
Happy birthday, my girlies.