Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crazy Days

Kaitlyn loves to spread her dishes and play food all over the living room. This is right before our last post-placement with her social worker so they hadn't yet found their "natural" home yet.
Kenton taught Jamison to use the lathe in the shop. He loved it and is contemplating a BIG project that he wants to make using the lathe. Lots of snowy days have meant that the kids have been playing outside a lot. Snowballs for snowmen keep getting bigger. I think they finally gave up on fighting gravity and rolled this one on down the hill. :P

I've been really concentrating on moving...and catching up with homeschool, just in time to get behind during the chaos of moving and remodeling. The cabinets and sink are ordered(You'd think the local lumberyard would partner with a marriage counselor and give you like two free sessions or so with every purchase of a complete kitchen.) Some of the cabinets in my current kitchen are emptied(of course, immediately after packing those boxes I remembered something I JUST HAD TO MAKE that required one of those packed things) and a couple of dining room things have been moved upstairs. Tomorrow is the big day.
The kids are excited, I'm tired, crabby, and stressed, and Kenton just takes it all in a stride. My homeschool review is scheduled for Thursday which means taking EVERYTHING we've used since the beginning of the year. I have a bedwetter so I need to remember the plastic sheet. (Why is it that pullups only work about 75 % of the time?) Kaitlyn has been extra clingy and has spent a lot of the last several days following me around wanting to be held. I KNOW that nothing here is critical so I do try to stop and pick her up and hold her but I wish she had held off for a few days.
We move tomorrow(and probably Tuesday and Thursday), Wednesday we're going to Pittsburgh to the children's museum to celebrate(or choose the pc term of your choice) Kaitlyn's Gotcha(Yep, choose the pc term of your choice) Day, Thursday I have a homeschool review and my parents arrive to stay with us at my in-law's(who are currently in Florida - Maybe I should join THEM) house. Sounds like an exhausting week...but I am excited, too! :)
Well, that's it for now. The kids and Kenton are getting ready to launch a rocket out in the yard using the car battery. I guess I'll enjoy it from the warmth of the house. :P

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Farmer in the Dell

Ever wondered what tickles a farmer's funny bone?

Political Science for Dummies


You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.


You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.


You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.


You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.


You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.


You have two cows.
Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the
other, and then pours the milk down the drain.


You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one. You
force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised
when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating
you have downsized and are reducing expenses. Your stock goes up.


You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.


You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and
produce twenty times the milk. They learn to travel on unbelievably
crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.


You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give
excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour. Unfortunately
they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.


You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.


You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.


You have all the cows in Afghanistan , which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives
to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.

Monday, January 17, 2011


It was a busy Monday.

I don't always get my hair combed as early as I should.

After an evening trip to Wallyworld where I saw several people I knew and stopped at a friend's to pick up something, I discovered...


and yesterday wasn't all that great of a hairday either, definitely not worth prolonging overnight and into the next day. . . especially since I had a headache last night and slept with a washcloth on my forehead pushing my bangs up.

I also wasn't wearing any makeup...

I combed IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR both girls' hair, made sure everyone had on "going away" pants (well, I did miss that Davis was wearing barn jeans), everyone had on appropriate winter garb, I remembered my cell phone and grocery list. The car was not on empty. I remembered to pay the gymnastics bill for Megan.

SEE! I'm not a total loser!


From this I have learned several things:
1. Personal hygiene should start being a greater priority.
3. I must not look all that much better when I do bother. . .

Maybe #1 is really not worth worrying about.


The Time has Come....

to remodel our kitchen. It's a big farmhouse kitchen that was last remodeled sometime in the fifties. Well, that's my guess anyway. The (still working) stove was purchased in 1959. The oven's a little hot and one burner no longer works, but it sure beats most of the junky appliances currently on the market. Anyone else have a working appliance that's fifty-some years old? I'll be really sad (yeah, right!) to part with all this loveliness.
Since there's crawlspace underneath and no insulation in the walls it's a very cold place in the winter. It will need to be gutted.
The miserable crawlspace is currently home to wild cats. Nice. Although, it has cut down on the rodent and reptile problems. We are planning to pull up the floor, pull out the joists, fill it with gravel, and put radiant heat in a concrete slab. There's crawl space under the dining room so we're going to fix it as well.
The big push for the current timing is that Kenton pulled out this part of the foundation with a broom. That stuff on the ground was what came out. The foundation(at least on this wall) is non-existent.
Seventeen and a half years of marriage, dairy farming, six years of infertility, four kids - our marriage can take remodeling, right? The ride ought to be interesting.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fun in the Snow

It didn't show up too well in the picture, but this is an ice throne for four decorated with icicles. Too much Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?Davis digging in the ditch for some reason.
The empress on her throne eating icicles and watching her minions work.
The architect and designer
Hard at work
They usually think they need the reward of hot chocolate for this much fun. :D

Friday, January 7, 2011

Homeschool Survival 101 for the Inept

After singing the homeschooling blues and seriously contemplating something dire for all involved I went back to what I know about the basics. I tried praying about it(you know, that thing Christians are supposed to do that's roughly the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest on your knees through 105 degree heat covered with fire ants--just kidding!) or facing jail time for the consequences of giving in to violence.

Wow! God really came through...AGAIN! Why, oh why, do I forget something so basic? I prayed anyway. I just didn't include the thing that was currently at the Mt. Everest top of my irritation list. The last few days have gone better. My kids (and I) are temporarily safe from maternal violence.
I've also discovered that the biggest source of my homeschooling troubles is math programs and Jamison's spelling. J's spelling is still worth the aggravation, I think. But math! How hard is it to come up with a math program that covers the basics and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I think math facts are important and kids should have instant recall of them. That means drilling! At least it does for Jamison. He doesn't need to fritter away time every day on all these fillers. The program that I liked best for him is difficult to find in stock! What's up with that? I think I've reached the point where attending a (GULP! Deep breath....) curriculum fair is helpful. (But I draw the line at owning a goat or nursing a baby. Cows give us enough milk and bottle feeding rocks!)

Megan and Davis like to fight, I mean, play Memory. I think they each picked up some desperation techniques from Grandpa Bender. :P

Davis with his new lego tractor and wagon.

Megan found an Ariel costume(Isn't it lovely?) in a stash of hand-me-downs. The dress-up parade continues at our house.

Things to cheer about:
  • I put away the Christmas stuff finally. Only two more weeks of discovering odds-n-ends that I missed and we will be finished. :P
  • I put the newly varnished doors back on an ice box that was given to me.
  • I talked to multiple people about things regarding our remodeling project and made some decisions.
  • I gave my repaired living room walls the bottom coat of paint. (More on that later)
Things are looking up.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January Blues

Stained glass projects thanks to my Auntie Sandy. The kids loved them.Legoland goes to the barn.
The farmers in the dell needed a milking system for their cows. I had to appreciate the ingenuity. It's sure a whole lot cheaper than the one their dad is contemplating.
I think Kaitlyn was trying to hide her "prize" from her siblings. Good to the last drop? :D
Davis and Kaitlyn continue to bond. Their relationship has formed more slowly than any other. The other night they slept on the floor in Davis' room together. Megan was worried that Davis was trying to "take her away." I don't think she was totally consoled by my explanation.
I hate January. The fun holiday season is over and pretty much the only thing to look forward to is....well, I'm sure there's something if I just have enough time to think of it. Let's see there's finishing homeschool for the year(Um, no. Maybe we'll all survive but keep 911 on speed dial just in case), more snow( yeah, I love parking out at the barn so I don't get stuck with the van), hearing my kids discuss whose b-day is next for the next six months(One of which is mine. That fun ended at thirty.), spring field work (yes, I learn to admire full-time single mothers), gardening and know, all these things to look forward to are not bringing me up. Let's just leave it with I hate January.
I'm not all that happy with myself. For one thing, we are back at school. I am currently hating homeschool. Every day has become a major attitude challenge for me. It takes too long, I'm crabby, my house is a wreck, I sometimes seriously question the I.Q. of the children involved, I'm not getting paid to be nice, professional, and positive, etc. The one good thing is that I'm fairly confidant everyone is on target level-wise. It's a toss up whether I'm doing more good giving the kids more time with their dad or doing more harm ruining them with time with their crabby, negative mother. Much as I currently abhor doing it at home, I HATE the thought of sending them off to school and doing homework when they get home. The question is which is the greater evil?

The good news is that it looks like we are going to remodel our kitchen this winter. My current cooking palace leaves a little to be desired. I will say that now that wild cats have taken up residence in the crawl space I am experiencing fewer troubles with rodents. However, the dead possum last summer trapped below was a little revolting. One foundation beam was sawdust Kenton swept out on Saturday. Ever wonder what's holding these old houses up? While I'm thrilled to be getting a new kitchen I'm a little stressed trying to pick things out and try to coordinate an enormous remodeling job. The whole thing ought to be interesting and hopefully not too stressful on our marriage.

Well, I guess I should go contemplate (notice I'm only going to think about it) doing something about the Christmas decorations still up, the ten or so Christmas cards that didn't make it out the door on time, the disaster that remains spread all over the house from our trip to Minnesota, the stupid schoolbooks lying in wait to attack my guilty conscience, etc.

I hate January. . . come on, February!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

with Christmas pictures. I've always been a little off. :)

I've wanted my girls to have matching dresses since I was a little girl. (If my parents had given me a sister closer in age this particular desire probably could have been fulfilled three decades ago.) I bought fabric and pattern and dove enthusiastically into the project. It did not go well. I bet I made at least five of these...but I only have two to show for it. Ergo, that dream has been fulfilled not to be repeated. We were able to spend Christmas in Minnesota with my family. It's been four years since we were all together for Christmas. My brother Steve was home from Mississippi.
My sister Kim, husband Joe, and son Logan.
My brother Jeff, wife Mandy, and their kids Jaycie and Tyler.
Mom did some sewing of her own. She made the girls matching sweatshirt jackets and the boys got matching John Deere coats. That's my mom with them. :D
Aren't these ice trees great? Dad cut them out of lake ice with a chain saw. (Yes, this is the same guy who once offered to do any remodeling in my house that I long as it could be done with a chain saw.) A little water helped smooth off the edges. They were beautiful at night with a light behind them.
A highlight for the kids was riding on sleds behind the snowmobile and four-wheeler. As we heard on Minnesota public radio, the weather was a "balmy 12-16 degrees" while we were there. :D

We had some Christmas here at home before we left. Jamison enjoyed his rocket. I won't bore you with the great pictures of sky I took trying to catch it going up and coming back down.
More legos! Must have subsidized by a podiatrist.
We brought Chinese dolls back from China. Believe it or not, it was hard to find Chinese looking dolls in China.
We had a really special Christmas. I hope you all did as well. :D