Saturday, February 28, 2015

Boy Oh Buoyancy

The age of middle school is a busy one.  Emma has thrown herself into it wholeheartedly.  She is on the 6th grade ASB, is on the Math Team, and has been working on her science fair project for what seems like forever.  They had meetings Monday afternoons, and then as we drew closer to the local science fair, they met Mondays and Thursdays.  So when I picked her up and we were done with dinner and everything, and I got around to looking at the display board... well, it wasn't her best work.  Instead of letting her deal with the consequences of her actions in the form of not doing well at the science fair, we started over.  This is where we were at 9 pm last night. 
 We raided my scrapbooking paper, rewrote parts of her papers, printed, cut, glued, and stayed up late.  But we got it looking much, much better.
 Then we made sure her report was everything it needed to be this morning.  Emma got to go back to school for the local science fair at noon, and stayed until 4 this afternoon.  Ryan and I dropped in at about 2 o'clock to see how things were going.
We will have to wait and see how she did until the awards ceremony next week.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

4th Grade Concert

Elizabeth informed me before bed last night that she needed a train engineer costume for her concert.  I had known she had a part in the concert, and she brought home a paper a few nights ago saying that the 3rd and 4th grade concert dress had to do with careers.  There were several options on that piece of paper of career outfits, and I figured nice clothes would be fine for "business dress."  No need to worry.  Well, I was wrong.  Elizabeth was insistent that because she was part of the train crew, she needed something else.  

So I spent part of my morning and afternoon tracking down a few things.  During my morning walk, I had Chantel offer to give Elizabeth a bandana, and I got another friend to lend me a pair of suspenders.  I did not luck out finding a train engineer hat, but Elizabeth looked pretty good anyway.
 The group shot.  The rest of the girls told me they were going to photo bomb.
The concert was good.  Elizabeth did a good job with her part, and I will load the pictures from the camera later when I load all the camera pictures onto the computer.

Ok, I am finally getting around to adding those pictures.  Here is Elizabeth.  She was excited to be one of the group of "characters," meaning she got to be with the special group and not just standing with her class.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Little Lambs

We got word that there were some baby lambs we could go see at the C family's farm.  They were so cute.  The kids loved petting the two we caught.  By "we" I, of course, mean Ryan.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chinese New Year

I am afraid I am not very culturally aware.  Apparently yesterday was Chinese New Year.  Ryan came home from work and suggested we celebrate.  We celebrated at the local Chinese buffet.  The last time we went, Annie and Maddie were in diapers and I am pretty sure we vowed to never make them suffer through our presence again.  Between the mess we made, the feelings of frustration of 4 small children who didn't wish to sit still, and the big price tag we just hadn't wanted to go back until now.  The call of all you can eat shrimp and crab legs brought us back.  And boy, did we stuff ourselves.
 Honestly, I did tell them I was going to take a picture.

Ryan asked our waiter how to say "Happy New Year" in Chinese, and he kindly wrote it down for us.
I've decided there is a reason we don't frequent buffets.  I totally stuffed myself beyond stuffed to get my money's worth.  But at least everyone else did too.  We all moaned and tossed around in bed all night.  Elizabeth got up this morning and said she didn't need to eat breakfast because she was still full from last night.

Status Updates

Just logging some of the more interesting of my Facebook statuses, because it's easier than writing individually about each one.

So, Ryan isn't home and I left the kids talking to their grandma on FaceTime while I ran upstairs to use the bathroom.  One minute later I hear my mother-in-law's voice saying to, "Go ask your mom," and Maddie saying, "Ok!"  Not in a position to talk to anyone face to face and knowing how privacy minded my children are not, I yell through the door, "I can't talk right now- I'm going to the bathroom!"  I am rewarded by laughter from my mother-in-law Kim.

During dinner time last night, I had to remind the kids a couple of times that if they wanted dessert, they were going to have to finish their dinner.  After my last reminder, Annie looks at me and says, "Why do you have to be so rude?  Don't you know I'm human too?"  (Note, these are lyrics from the song, "Rude" by Magic!)

It might be a long day if you are ready to take a nap at 7 am.

Well, at least January was sickness free.  (Written February 2nd)

So, doing to one child what she was doing to her sister- a good object lesson, or bad parenting?

The checker at Winco guessed I was either a musician or an engineer based on what food I had and how it was arranged on the conveyor belt.  Um, no.  I would have guessed "Married to Michael Weston" based on how much yogurt I bought.

After watching yet another character die off, I've come to the conclusion that one does not watch MI-5 to become attached to the cast.

Is it still considered emotional eating if you have to wait two hours for the fudge to set up?  The January doldrums have set in...

Maddie is so excited to give her teacher a Christmas present that she took the initiative to get a gift bag all by herself.  She brought it to me saying home much Ms. P likes pink, so she was going to love this bag.  It was a Victoria's Secret bag.  Um....

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Today when the kids got off the bus, Annie had her hands in her coat pockets.  I didn't think much about it until Maddie said Annie's hand were messy while we were walking to the house.  I gave her a funny look, and Annie took her hands out of her pockets.  They were blue.  And by blue, I mean really, really blue.
 I asked her what happened to her hands.  She informed me that her teacher did that to her hands.  "Like for a project?" I inquired.  She nodded.  So I asked how come her hands didn't get washed before she came home?

"There wasn't time."

That does not sound like her teacher.  Her teacher is a stickler for clean, organized, and following the rules.

While I was scrubbing Annie's hands with dish soap (hand soap was not doing justice to this mess) and a wash cloth, I was pressing her for more details about this supposed art project.  Maddie came in and said that Annie colored her hands on the bus.  Annie vehemently denied this.

Evidence in Annie's backpack corroborated Maddie's story.  That's when Annie knew the truth was out, felt embarrassed and cried.  Since the marker was not particularly washable, Annie's hands were blue all evening, and she was really touchy about any mention of the episode.  She was quite upset with me for sharing the above picture with her grandparents.

On the upside, Maddie is the only one of my kids to regularly give me love notes.  I love them.
"I love you cos (because) you are nis (nice) and you are cid (kind) you are o so nis (nice)."

Monday, February 16, 2015

President's Day

A big shout out thanks to our neighbor for letting Ryan feed his farmer habit this morning.  (aka Ryan borrowed the tractor this morning for some major rototilling.)
 It was a gorgeous day.  We got a lot done outside.  Emma spent the day at the middle school working on her science fair board with the science fair club, but the rest of us spent the day outside.  We trimmed raspberries, planted garlic, burned yard waste, got the chickens and turkeys moved, and generally cleaned up the yard.  Ryan's bees were happy and flying around.  We saw some coming back to the hive with pollen.  Yes, pollen.  I couldn't believe it at first either.  It's February for crying out loud.  But I was wearing a short sleeved shirt, and sneezing a bunch, so spring must be on its way.

There was an amazingly beautiful sunset tonight too.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Yesterday was our school district's snow make up day, and since our last snow was a dusting in November, we had no missed school to make up.  Ryan and I stayed in bed at the request of the children until they had made us breakfast.  This was their Valentine's gift to us.
 Ryan did homework in the morning, then we had lunch and left for Walla Walla to visit some friends.  We had a nice visit, and didn't get home until 11 pm.  It was a 4 day weekend, and we had no major plans, so bring on the late night!

Well, we were slow moving getting going yesterday morning.  I think Ryan and two of the kids had their clothes on for the day, and our major accomplishment of the morning was eating breakfast.  Breakfast dishes were still on the table and the day before's lunch dishes hadn't made it into the dishwasher yet.  The house was crazy.  So, naturally, my in-laws knocked on our front door bearing gifts.

 They didn't stay long, and the kids were super excited for their donuts and chocolate milk second breakfast.

Ryan left as soon as his parents did to help our neighbor pick up his tractor from a neighboring town.  It's a slow journey in a tractor.  I took the kids to the store to pick up the rest of the supplies for Emma's science fair project.

I had big plans for a nice dinner.  My plans had ideas of their own.  Like the heart shaped cake:
 Yes, I greased and floured the pan.  I ran a knife around the edges.  And this still happened.  What can I say?  I'm just talented.

We spent the afternoon working on Emma's buoyancy project, and making a big watery mess.  Ryan did....  his homework.  Can I just say I feel so done with his continuing education?  I know we are on the homestretch and all that, but good grief.

We had orange chicken for dinner, and I decided that strawberry daiquiris would be enough of a treat.   Daiquiris don't stick to pans.  I figured it was a safe bet.  This is the first time we've made them, and it was thankfully a success.

After we put the kids to bed, we went to a friend's house for a couple's game night.  (Having our own babysitter is wonderful!)  We played Telestrations, and had a great time.  And, stayed up way too late again.  What's the use of a long weekend without doing something crazy?

Thursday, February 12, 2015


I regularly kill indoor flowers.  When Ryan buys me flowers, he often buys the kinds that are still living.  I suppose even when I forget to water the plants he buys, they still do last longer than cut flowers.  They sit in the kitchen window and although I spend quite a lot of time in the kitchen, I still manage to forget about them.  Then I smuggle the crispy remains outside while Ryan is at work.  I suppose we should all take a moment to be thankful I'm not the same with my kids. I suppose it would be difficult to forget to feed and water my kids.  We can't get more than a couple of hours without, "I'm hungry, Mom!  Mom!  Mom!  Mom!Mom!Mom!Mom!"


This orchid has defied the odds, and continues to live even though I've had it for a year or so.  In fact, it's grown a couple of leaves, and is now blooming!  
I posted a picture of it on Instagram, and I had someone ask me how I got it to bloom.

Ignore it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

100 Days Smarter

Kindergarten is the best.  Annie and Maddie tell me they know everything already, which has been mostly true.  Their reading is coming along nicely, and Annie did so well reading her talk in Primary on Sunday.  We went over her talk several times Saturday evening, and once Sunday morning (I of course forgetting to write the thing until Saturday after dinner....).  The twins read me those little paper books they bring home from school, and they have a great attention span for read aloud books.  We've finished Old Yeller, a junior version of The Secret Garden, and we are now into The Magician's Nephew from the Narnia series.  We usually have an audio book of one kind or another playing in the car, and they are always asking for it to be turn on when we are in the car.  There is no shortage of words being spoken around here.  Seriously.

Last night Annie and Maddie brought home a little note from the school saying for the 100th day of school, the kids could dress up like they were 100 years old.  As I was not given a lot of time to come up with something, the girls were sent to school with "shawls" and buns in their hair.
 Annie has her shoes on, and Maddie hadn't gotten that far in her school preparations.  There isn't that much of a height difference between the two.
 This is their "old lady" faces.
I guess being 100 days smarter does funny things to your face.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bed Time

Annie and Maddie haven't really used their bunk beds.  I don't think anyone has slept on the top bunk in ages.  Maddie kept a box of her preschool books up on the top bunk, and there were toys and other junk up there.  Annie and Maddie are still kind of wild sleepers, and we found them in some odd positions, like this one with Annie using Maddie's bum for a pillow.
I had this idea.  We could trade some of the beds in our house.  We could bring up the full sized bed that was in the guest room (I think one person has used it in the last year), and Annie and Maddie could use that.  I just had to convince Ryan.  I mean, I would have done it myself while Ryan was gone, but those bunk beds are horribly heavy, and someone or something would get hurt in the process.  Ryan said he would help when he got home.

Well, this is what we saw of Ryan:
 We got up at 9:30 am, had breakfast, and then Ryan crashed on the couch.  He got up for lunch, afterwards went upstairs to check his phone, and no one heard from him again for a couple of hours.  He did manage to stay awake long enough to come with us to the bread and soup social at the church in the evening.

After the social, Ryan helped me take down the bunk beds and bring up our old double bed.
Annie and Maddie were stoked.  The love their "new" bed.  We might as well embrace their need for closeness.  It hasn't changed as long as they've been out of their cribs.

Wake Up Call

{Cell phone ringtone plays}

Before I even know what I am doing, I have my cell phone up to my ear and I'm croaking out, "Hello?"  It's dark, it feels like the middle of the night, and I had been asleep up until a few seconds ago.

It's Ryan.  "Can you let me in, please?"

"Uh, where's your key?"  I am totally confused.

"It's inside with my truck key.  I didn't take it with me."

"Uh, ok.  Be right there."  Click.

I checked the time.  It's after 1:30 am in the morning.  The last I'd heard from Ryan, they were finally taking off from Portland to the Pasco airport.  The plane was running rather late.  But it seems he had finally made it home.  I stumbled out of bed, down the stairs, around corners and finally to the front door.  There he is.  His tired face is a welcome sight.  I registered that he was inside, and I turned around to make it back to my warm bed as quickly as possible.

Wait.  I haven't really seen him in days.  I mean, does Face Time really count?  I missed him.  I should hug him.

So I did.

Then I made a bee line for my bed.

I expected Ryan to be following me to bed in short order.  But first he visited the downstairs bathroom, and then he came upstairs to shower.

I was confused again.  Did something happen on the plane?  Why did he need to shower?  I thought he was dead tired from his 22 hour day.

When he finally got to bed, he complemented me on my new necklace holder (so I could finally stop hanging them from the door knob in the bathroom), and conked out.

I, on the other hand, was quite awake by this time.  Hi, honey, so glad you finally made it home.  Well, at least I had someone to snuggle up to while lying awake in bed.

I'll take it.

(For the record, Ryan said he was just wanting to rinse off after his long day.  Nothing bad happened en route.)

Friday, February 6, 2015

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

As a celebration that we made it to the end of the school week, I took the girls to the high school for their latest play.  They've put on another musical, this one about Charlie Brown.  (Who knew Charlie Brown was a musical?)  

I asked the kids to smile for the picture.  Annie was the only hold out on me.

Ryan was on one of his lay-overs at the end of the play, so the kids were able to say goodnight to Ryan on the way home.  Only a few hours to go!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Home Alone

I hate it when bad things happen when Ryan isn't around.  I mean, I really, really hate it.  I think that is one of the things that bothers me the most about Ryan being out of town.  I can probably handle more things than I give myself credit for, but the unexpected leaves me flustered.  

So, of course, the unexpected happened this week.

Tuesday morning I got a call from a guy from AmeriGas.  We sold our giant propane tank (which we didn't use after the installation of our heat pump two years ago) finally, and some dude with a truck was here to pick it up and take it to the new owner.  I was asked if it was ok to park by the tank (yep), if the bees were going to get him (nope, no killer bees at our house, and it's cold), and if he was going to run over any septic system by driving over there (no septic there, should be fine).  

5 minutes later he called back saying there was water gushing out of the ground.

Crap.  Crap.  Crap.  What on earth.....?

I called Ryan.  And then called again.  The second call in a row is our distress signal, and he got back to me.  I told him about the truck ("You never said anything about not driving over there!!!") and what on earth was I going to do about this problem?  I had to shut off the well, and there was no way in heck I was going without water until Saturday when he could be home to fix our problem.  I don't know enough about plumbing to fix this alone.  (Well, in hindsight, I probably could have done it ok.)
 The culprit truck, and the hole where the water was gushing out of the ground in the lower left hand corner.  I needed photographic evidence for my discussion with Ryan.

Ryan called Doug B, and Doug called me.  Then Doug came over and helped me with my water problem.  I sprayed him in the face when I went inside to turn the water back on so he could see where the water was spewing from.  He tried to get even by lying on the ground next to the hole when I came back outside.  Good thing I know him, and am married to Ryan.  It didn't scare me at all.  It made me laugh.
We no longer have water out to the frost free in the front garden, but after an hour and a half of drying time, I had water again in the house.  The funny thing is, the pipe that broke was underneath another pipe that Ryan had to fix a year or so ago.  I don't know what is up with those pipes right there.

I am so thankful for the wonderful people in our ward.  Doug was such a life saver.

So, Monday Elizabeth was sick, and I had to start her on her nebulizer so she could breathe easier.  That Albuterol sets her going.  She goes crazy.

Tuesday was the broken pipe fun.

Wednesday was just a rough, rough time.  I ended up yelling like a crazy maniac.

This morning was off to a very rocky start.  Emma didn't want to get up, and was in bed until 6:49 (cutting it awfully close to bus pick up time), Elizabeth didn't get her homework done until after the twins had left to walk down to the bus, and Maddie forgot her glasses.  I am hoping/praying/knocking on wood/wishing that tonight goes a bit smoother.

So, I fortified myself against a rough evening:

Bathroom Update

Ryan is gone this week.  I mean really gone.  He flew to Washington DC for a conference, and should be back sometime during the wee hours of Saturday morning.  I needed a project to keep my life interesting during my week of single parenting.  I chose the downstairs bathroom for my attack, and didn't mention it to Ryan.  In fact, I was in the planning stages of it while Ryan was still home.  I ordered gel stain online, and was pleased when it arrived last Friday.  The finish was en route, and I hoped it would arrive before I needed it.

So, this is the before picture.
Honey oak everywhere.  There was a small burn mark on the wood trim around the left side of the bathroom mirror that I was excited to cover up.  (The burn mark pre-dates our purchase of the house, I would just like to say.)

Monday morning, Elizabeth decided to get a fever and a cough.  She didn't really move much for most of the day.  But I didn't let a little thing like that stand in the way.  I taped up the bathroom.
 And went to work.
 It wasn't hugely pretty after round one, but by Wednesday it was looking respectable.
After the second coat of gel stain, I told Ryan about what I was doing to the bathroom.  It was good enough to show off during a Face Time conversation Tuesday evening.  He laughed, and said it looked good.  (I had been slightly worried that he wouldn't be keen on me doing a major change like that without consulting him.)

I was a total cheater, and left the doors on the vanity while I was staining.

I'm not done with the bathroom yet.  I want to paint the walls blue.  I also would love to switch out the light fixture above the mirror, and replace the Pergo wood floors with something less worrisome around water.  I figured I should at least wait for Ryan's input for those things.  I will probably paint sooner rather than later, but the others will likely wait until we are done paying off student loans.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Annie was mad at me today, and rearranged the bookcase out of spite.
If only all the kids' madness was this cute.