Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today my dad died.

Ten years ago today I was six months pregnant with my first child.

Ten years ago today my heart broke wider than I ever thought possible.

Ten years ago today I experienced one of my first "now I'm really a grown up " moments.

But today I don't want to dwell on the sadness or how long it took to feel normal again. I want to remember the man that I loved and the lessons he taught me.

My dad was funny, funny, funny. He was the funniest man I have ever known. He had a quick wit, coming up with nuggets of humor that one would never expect. I remember riding in the truck with him and I would admire something: the sunset, a nice paint job on a car, an interesting billboard. I would say "That's a really pretty sunset" and my dad would reply "Thanks". It never failed to make me laugh.

Once, in relating a story to me, he substituted the word "decaffeinated" for "decapitated. On purpose. So. Funny.

I loved to hear stories of his childhood, like the time he and his older brother covered my grandpa's WWII Japanese bayonets and their own shirts with ketchup and ran out of the kitchen screaming, scaring their younger sister nearly to death. Or the infamous laundry basket incident, in which my dad ended up sitting in a laundry basket, a rope tied to his dog and the other end securely fastened around my dad's neck. His older brother may or may not have been involved in helping to tie the knots, but my grandmother always stated that she knew she saved my dad's life when she quickly responded to the screams she heard coming from outside.

The best story, hands down, is the sheep story. As a teenager, my dad and his cousin were driving around the back roads of rural Utah as bored teenagers are wont to do. They came upon a few sheep that had escaped through a broken fence. Dad and his cousin promptly gave chase in the car and when they had chased one sheep until it couldn't run any further, they got out and coaxed the exhausted animal into the front seat with them. They propped it on its haunches between them in the front seat. Dad said that the sheep just calmly sat there, looking around, with its front legs resting on the dash. They drove to the local A&W and when the car hop rolled up to the window on her skates, they calmly ordered three root beers. I can't even think of this story without tears of mirth coming to my eyes.

These are stories that became family legend, lore that was told around the campfire in the summer, sitting in the family room visiting with guests, these tales were even told at his funeral. He was a funny, funny guy.

He also was the most honest person I have ever met. As a (stupid) teenager, some of my friends and I visited Burger King once and each of us left with a ball from the ball pit as a souvenir. It never crossed my mind that taking the balls was stealing, but the disappointment in my dad's eyes told me that it was.

He was an avid golfer and there was one friend in particular that he spent many hours with on the links. Occasionally they would make small bets, just a few dollars, on the outcome of the game. Dad always paid if he lost but the friend almost never did, even though he was by all counts a wealthy man. While it frustrated our family, Dad never said a word against the man. He just kept paying his share when called for and kept his mouth shut when he was treated unfairly.

He was a businessman and anyone who did business with him always came out with an honest price and good, hard work. He taught all of his children to work. Growing up, our family activities were things like cutting and splitting firewood or weeding our massive garden. Going out to eat was a rare treat and now that I'm a parent of four, I appreciate my parent's gift of a night out to eat for their brood of six.

Dad was also very tenderhearted. I remember many nights when we would watch a particularly emotional movie and Dad would suddenly notice that the wood box near the fireplace was less than full. "Going to get some wood" was code in our family for "going outside so you don't see me cry".

The first time I went skiing, it was for a church activity. It was Dad's job to drive me into the church early that morning but before we got in his truck, he took a few minutes and gave me my first skiing lesson in the garage.

I miss him every day. He was human and he had his faults. But he taught us well and he loved us. I hope that he is proud as he watches my siblings and me and sees what we have done with the lessons he taught us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Mom: Mike, your primary teacher called last night and told me that you volunteered to be in the Christmas program this evening. You'll be a wise man.

Mike: I never volunteered.

Mom: She said that you said you'd do it.

Mike: No, I didn't.

Mom: Well, I already told her that you would.

Mike: I think she has me confused with somebody else. I don't want to.

Mom: Dude. The party is in a couple of hours. You have to.

Mike: *GIANT sigh* I guess I'll do it if they can't find anybody else.

Mom: They can't find anybody else. Would you like to help me figure out a costume?

Mike: I don't want to wear a costume. Do I have to?

Mom: You don't have to but you'll be the only wise man without one.

Mike: I don't care.

Mom: Okay....... You also need to take something to carry as a gift for the baby Jesus. Maybe you could make a gold box out of Legos.

Mike: *excitedly* Okay! *runs to room to begin construction*

******

Mom: Noel, would you like to be in the pr-

Noel: YES! What do I get to be?

Mom: One of the heavenly hosts; an angel.

Noel: Do I get to wear a costume?

Mom: She said to have you wear something white.

Noel: I don't have anything white. *GIANT sigh* I guess I'll just wear this. How will everyone know I'm an angel?

Mom: They'll give you a halo to wear.

Noel: What's a halo?

Mom: One of those gold things above an angel's head.

Noel: SWEET! (running out of the room) Hey, Dad! I'm gonna be in the Christmas program and I'm going to be a host!

Mike: *rolls eyes*

******

*Upon telling Mike of her brilliant idea to make a beard using a piece of felt and a couple pieces of elastic*

Mom: *excitedly* Hey, Mike! Do you want me to make you a beard? I can do it in just a few minutes.

Mike: No.

Mom: Come on! It'll be really cool.

Mike: I don't want a beard. *stalks away*

Mom: *mutters under her breath* I guess you'll be a pre-pubescent wise man in jeans and a t-shirt, then. *glancing over at Dad* What about you? Should I make you a beard? I can make it really full and it will be completely filled in.

Dad: *shoots poison dart looks in Mom's direction*

Mom: Come on, that was funny. *reaches out to hug Dad*

Dad: Don't touch me! *stalks away*


Mom: *considers making the beard anyway because it was a really good idea*

******

*In the car on the way to the church*

Noel: Do you think I'll be on the ground or in the air?

Mom: You mean will they hang you from a rope so that it looks like you're flying?

Noel: Yeah.

Mom: I'm pretty sure you'll just stand there.

Noel: Aww! I want to be in the air.

Mom: But you'll get to wear a halo.

Noel: Oh, yeah. SWEET!

******

*Upon arrival at the church, seeing that all other wise men/shepherds are indeed wearing costumes*

Mike: I guess I'll wear a costume.

Mom: *biting tongue and holding back chastisement because it is, after all, Christmas* Let's go find your teacher and see if they have a costume for you.

Noel: *participating in rowdy and decidedly un-angelic running through the gym with the other "hosts"* When do I get my halo?

******

*The wise men arrive at the stable to pay homage to the baby Jesus. Two of the wise men carry boxes wrapped in shiny paper. The third, who has only one arm (the other being wrapped beneath the sheet that enshrouds him and is tied about his waist with a rope), carries an exquisite golden box constructed entirely of Legos. The audience doesn't realize that the box is filled with small Lego jewels and coins. The one-armed wise man clearly looks as if he'd rather be anywhere else, as is seen by his surly expression. When he catches sight of his parents in the audience who are near wetting themselves with mirth at the sight of his bound arm, a small smile cracks his stony facade. He gently places his gift at the bed of baby Jesus.*

My heart is full as I sit surrounded by people I love and who love me, celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Famous People

I was thinking today (shocker!) about how most people have a "celebrity" story. You know, they ran into Alice Cooper at 7-11 or their dad used to work with Britney Spears' dad. I'm not really a star-struck sort of person. I actually think that a lot of celebrities are really obnoxious.

Anyway, the point of this post is this: what is your celebrity experience?

Come on. Entertain me. Leave your celebrity experience in the comments. I have a tracker. I'll know you were here and if you don't share I may have to take drastic measures.

Friday, December 4, 2009

There Are No Words

Noel: Dad, is it okay for Michael to fart on me?

Dad: No.

Mike: I didn't know that.

Dad: ...seriously?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In Which I Take a Break and Procrastinate a Little, All At the Same Time

I am all sewed out, if that's really a term. I've been preparing for a three day craft show that I'm doing with my sister and all of my down time (read: time not already occupied by eating, sleeping or chasing kids) has been filled with sewing.

I really should be finishing up a couple more projects, but my body just sent the following message to my mind: "If we have to even look at one more piece of fabric in the next fifteen minutes, so help us....."

At which point the message became no longer family friendly.

Hey, does anyone else wonder why my body speaks in the plural form? Yeah, so do we.

Anyhoo, I thought that this would be a perfect time for a random list of things that I have observed, thought, or witnessed recently. Or really anything I want to write, since it's my blog and no one else has the password. Ha.

  • While at Walmart the other night, I left my hubby and kids in the car and zipped in to buy, what else, some fabric. I was focused on getting in and getting out but I couldn't help but notice the ruckus that was happening just down the main aisle from me. Four small children ran shrieking into the men's department and hid while an older child hid his eyes by leaning his face against his mother and began counting loudly. The words "Are you freaking kidding me?" escaped my lips just as the eyes of said mother met mine. My eyes then flitted to the woman standing next to her, who appeared to be the grandmother of the hiding children. Without breaking stride I continued on, wondering at the family values that allowed children to purposely hide in public places. My kids learned a long time ago that hiding from me in any kind of store equalled trouble. Even now that they are a little older and roll their eyes at me they still know to stay where I can see them. It made me want to coerce one of the children to come with me up to the customer service desk where I would leave them with the nice lady who would then page the mother. That'll teach her to let her kids run wild. *sigh* People.
  • My rooster crows all times of the day and night. I thought that it was supposed to be just a sunrise sort of thing. Hasn't he ever seen Rockadoodle?
  • When a toddler has a full-to-the-point-of-leaking diaper, he instinctively knows how to get maximum poop-coverage on upholstered surfaces with just a few well-placed flails of the leg or thrusts of the pelvis.
  • Toddlers are wickedly inventive little creatures which we love beyond all reason.
  • Husbands often fall into the same category as toddlers.
  • My children's father is the best toy they will ever have. There is no other toy as interactive, fun and goofy as their dad. Adam's current favorite activity is to feed his dad. I think he just likes to see his dad open up his muppet-sized mouth and gaze into the depths below.
  • I am all out of clever observations, which means it's back to the sewing machine with me and my plural body.
Right after I finish composing a letter to my husband from our pets, which begins with the salutation "Dear Alpha Male" and ends with the plea "Please take care of us while the nice lady is gone."

Those of you who think that last bit is a joke obviously don't know me at all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just Thought I'd Share With You....

...the exceptionally crappy parking job I did last week.


Check it out! That's four, count 'em, four parking spots that I'm taking up with my tank. Moe was pretty sure we'd come back to find it keyed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It Will Need Struggle Become Author

I love to write. I love to take crazy things that I see or that happen to me, put my humorous spin on them and then publish them on my blog for my friends to enjoy.

I also never want to have a real job again, you know, the kind where you have to get dressed and leave your house. But I would like to someday see my name on the 'Pay To The Order Of' line of a paycheck.

I've thought a lot lately about how I can make money while staying at home. My sewing does okay, but basically it's just a hobby that pays for itself. I rarely have any actual income from my sewing; what I charge just covers the costs of the materials. I doubt that most of my customers realize what a screaming deal they are getting.

I have thought that it would be great to have some of my writing published, but what do I want to write about? A how-to book or any sort of non-fiction is out; I don't know enough about anything to write about it. A novel just sounds tricky because I'm not so great at making up characters and plots and plot twists and drama. Don't get me wrong, I'm good at drama, just not making it up. What I am good at, however, is presenting my (I believe) unique and humorous view on life. It's not really fiction, but not always non-fiction, either.

I think a weekly humor column in a newspaper would be awesome. So tonight I Googled "publish newspaper column" and came up with a bunch of how-to articles. I skimmed through a few of them before I came to this gem.


Create Article to Newspaper

Newspaper is contains compilation of articles. There are various news articles and there are popular article too. Popular article is article to complete news or will more attractive of the newspaper to reader. Usually, popular article writes by expert author or deep investigation by reporter. Newspaper Article always short, deep, simple language and give fast solution for the hot problem today.

Almost, every newspaper and magazines has column for articles from other author. Many academician and researcher use newspaper and magazine to publish their article. The goal is to get extra money beside main salary and to get popularity of the expertise. Some research institution have rule to their researcher to publish their articles in newspaper or magazines. This is necessary as requirement to get research rank in their institution.

Same with research institution, academician in campus or university is necessary to publish their article to get academic rank. Newspaper article is popular article. This article is very fast moving of idea. One day relevant to an edition but will out of date for the next edition because not relevant with subject of the newspaper. Thus, newspaper article is one time article. After, reader read this article, they will ignore it and will attend to other subject without remember of that article.

Although that, it is very interesting to write newspaper article because it will need struggle become author of the newspaper article that publish on there. Many peoples need struggle to publish their article on newspaper. This is not easy. Often, newspaper will see who write these articles not what content of the article. More popular of author then they will more easy to publish their article. Popular author will influence to selling point to the newspaper or magazines.

Below some tips to become newspaper author or columnist:

[1] Improve your writing skill. You must train every time in writing.

[2] Keep update with information in society especially in newspaper or magazine.

[3] Know what character of the newspaper or magazines. Your article must suitable with that character.

[4] Newspaper article is short description and fast analysis of the cases. Article must content: title, problem description, analysis or solution and closing remark or conclusion.

[5] Long of article usually 4 pages with double space in formal language.

[6] Some newspaper needs academician style with high analysis and philosophies and other newspaper will receive middle style of writing.

[7] Do not send your article to other newspaper after your send to another one.

[8] Do not break author ethic especially for newspaper article. You will black list and never newspaper will publish your next article.

[9] For published article, you will receive money. It is happy as extra income for your life needs.

[10] For beginner, you should select lower class newspaper to publish your article. It is will easy to publish your article than with high-class newspaper or magazines.

[11] Better, you are not making specialize in one field except you are an expert in one field.

Short article as newspaper article is very good as writing practice before you start write a book with long articles. Often, some author creates a book as newspaper articles compilation. Usually, academician and researcher conduct that to compile many their articles from newspaper.


This was written by a guy from Indonesia. I do not feign to be able to write any sort of how-to for someone in Indonesia, but here's the kicker: I don't try!

I didn't read the whole thing, it gave me a headache and made me nauseous to boot. I did, however, completely love the irony of the horrible grammar, punctuation and capitalization in an article that covers the how-to's of writing.

So. Awesome.

Well, my search ended there because I had to come here and blog about it so now I have a new plan.

  1. Continue to write witty blogs.
  2. Friends will read blogs and pass the link along to their friends.
  3. Friends of friends of friends will pass along ad nauseum
  4. *Someone* in the literary field will read my work and say, "Gadzooks! I must have this young woman on my payroll!"
  5. The person must use the word "gadzooks" or there is no deal.

Sounds doable, right?

Sounds like a lot less work for me than must train every time in writing and I would love money that is happy as extra income for your life needs.

What Happens When I Leave My Phone Unattended

When I see a book in a store that I want to buy, I take a picture of it on my phone so I can go home and find it on Amazon for a better price. The other day I was looking through the pictures on my phone for a picture of a book and found that I was not the only one who had been taking pictures.

Pretty fierce, no?


...and goofy.


... and, um, stoned?


This isn't a self-portrait, but I'm pretty sure that I know who the photographer is...


The monkey in the tree!


Classic Welly self-portraiture.


Apparently "Mom on a mower" is a fascinating subject.


Jake is pretty interesting, too.


Oh, cutie patootie Jack.


I love this picture! It's blurry, but he's shooting her. Priceless.


His attempt at being cute on purpose.


He looks a little like a demon in this one. Much more accurate.


Yeah. I can't leave my phone unattended around "adults", either.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Glad Cling Wrap Edible?

See, I need to know because I accidentally baked some into the bread that I just made.

I started my morning by telling Morgan that I was making chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles. He requested homemade bread too and I, being the wonderful, doting, sarcastic wife that I am, complied.

I read that a good way to proof dough in the oven is to turn the oven on for a couple of minutes, turn it off and then put your dough in the oven to rise. I spray a piece of cling wrap with non-stick cooking spray and then place it over my dough to make sure that it doesn't dry out.

So, I had two beautiful loaves, beautifully rising in the oven. Beautiful. My mom stopped by to drop off some of my things that she had and while we were visiting, I peeked into the oven to check on the bread. The oven felt too cool so I turned it back on, intending to stand there and turn it off after about a minute. But then my mom asked for a grocery sack and then I was loading up some tomatoes and eggs for my sister and I forgot all about turning the oven off.

I remembered when I heard the element in the oven click off because it had reached a toasty 350 degrees.

I opened the oven to find my beautiful bread covered with a beautifully browned sheen of....plastic. Yeah. I was able to peel a little bit of it off, but most of it baked right into the crust.

They really are nice looking loaves of bread. I may just "forget" to tell my family about the plastic at dinner and see if anyone notices.

It makes me wonder what sort of cooking mishaps my mother had that she served us without telling us about.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Goats Have Identity Confusion

I don't know what kind of critters they think that they are, but it's not goats.

video

Weirdos.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mas Pollos

Yup. We got more chickens.


Meet the girls. Eleven Leghorn pullets. (That's teenage chickens to the layman.)


This is Hank. He is not a purebred Leghorn; he may not even be a Leghorn at all. The transaction went like this:

Sweet Little Old Lady From Whom We Got the Chickens: Would you like a rooster, too?

Me: Sure. Is he a Leghorn?

SSLOLFWWGTC: No, he's a rooster.

Me: Oh. What breed?

SSLOLFWWGTC: Oh, he's a good old guy.

Me: How old is he?

SSLOLFWWGTC: Just a year.

I quit asking questions after that.

Does his breed look familiar to anyone? I suspect that he is a mutt.


I can't even begin to tell you how ridiculously proud of myself I am for building this nesting box/table this morning. The bottom part enclosed in white is where our new kittens will live when we get them in a week or so.


Check out the contents of the nesting boxes. Booyah!


I even installed this perch made from an old ladder.

I. Rock.

You may commence basking in my awesomeness.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Besties

This is my 100th post.

(Insert balloons and noisemakers and streamers here.)

Yay!

I've been saving this post for a little while now, letting an idea form. I was going to write a list (you know how I love lists) of one hundred random thoughts or things about me.

But today I feel inspired to write about a different topic: my very best friend in the whole entire world. (After my husband, of course.) Fear not. This, too, shall take the form of a list.

  • She encourages my Coca Cola addiction.
  • She understands when there are days when the lives of my children hang in the balance of good behavior and anti-depressants.
  • She doesn't murder her children in a fit of motherly rage because she knows that that would set a precedent too hard not to follow.
  • I once brought home a book for my kids entitled "The Day My Parents Ruined My Life" and she dryly commented "I'm pretty sure it would be hard for me to pick just one day."
  • When life kicks her in the face and then rubs mud into it, she puts on her big girl panties and deals with it.
  • She knows God and loves him.
  • She babysits for me. A lot.
  • She loves my children.
  • She has fridge rights.
  • She hangs out with me when I sew.
  • She has seen me in my undies and didn't laugh.
  • Her pet name for me is Biz-natch.
  • She inappropriately invades my personal space because even though I have a huge personal bubble, she know that she's the only one who can do that and make me laugh.
  • We could spend hours waxing eloquent about Gerard Butler's various attributes.
  • She makes fun of me when I mispronounce words.
  • She makes fun of me when I do pretty much anything.
  • I can share my deepest, darkest secrets with her and she will still love me.
  • We will later laugh about my deepest, darkest secrets.
  • She helps me understand who I am and what I'm doing.
  • She believes in me.
  • She encourages my chocolate addiction.
  • She doesn't wait for me to answer her knock. She knocks and then waltzes right in. That waltz always makes me happy inside.
  • She knows that I'm a sucker for all kinds of animals and knows the right time to be supportive and the right time to call me an animal retard.
  • She is writing a book and I think that is awesome.
I love her. I really do.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Little Help, Please

I have a dilemma. I've been thinking about his for quite some time now, and I'll admit, I'm at my wits' end.

My daughter refuses to clean her room, and, if ever it does get clean, it is messy again within hours. What's a mom to do?

A friend and I talked about this the other day and discussed how it seems like such a ridiculous thing to waste hours and hours arguing about. I remember many occasions as a child that my mother and I argued about the state of my room. I remember purposely dragging my feet because I didn't want to clean my room.

Now I'm the mom and I'm not ashamed to say that these room-cleaning arguments are kicking my trash!

If I encourage Noel to clean her room and keep it this way, there are some positive side effects.
  • A clean room = less broken and lost toys.
  • A sense of pride and accomplishment.
  • She learns good stewardship.
  • The seeds of good housekeeping (handy for when she's a grown-up with her own house) are planted.
  • Less funky odor emanating from her room. (Seriously.)
  • She learns that it's important to obey your parents, even when you don't agree with them.
  • She learns that some things in life are no fun and that 's it's best to dive in and be done with them.
  • Things are easier to find, there are less already-running-late instances of "Where is my other shoe?"
  • She learns responsibility.
I can't think of many negative aspects of the argument of her keeping her room clean, but here are the few I can think of.
  • It's her room, if she wants to live like a slob so be it.
  • All of the arguing is killing me.
What would you do? Really. I need some feedback here, because I don't know how much longer I can keep this up.

Thanks in advance, bloggy friends.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Berry Pickers

On the way home from church Sunday, Mike said something that reminded what a boy's boy he is.

There is an elk ranch on the way to our house, and some of the bulls are getting some really impressive antlers.

As we drove by, I commented on the huge rack of the bull closest to the road.

Mike asked me what I meant when I said rack. I answered by putting my fingers above my head and wiggling them and saying "His antlers. They're huge!" Then I laughed at myself for wiggling my fingers. I said "Wouldn't it be funny if they could really wiggle their antlers like that?"

Mike was immediately intrigued. "Yeah, and then they could reach out with their antlers and strangle their enemies!"

I laughed and said "That is so like you, to find the weapons-related angle to any subject we talk about."

He was silent for a minute then responded with this zinger:

"Well, I guess they could use them to pick berries."

Isn't that a great mental image?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Miss You

Once again, I find myself without a home computer. Morgan has a laptop that I'm able to use but it feels weird to me and I haven't yet learned how to upload pictures onto it.

I miss blogging. Blogging makes me happy.

I have got to get a new desktop.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Kids Are Awesome

When we moved into this house last summer, there was an overabundance of cats running around the place so we had to, um, take care of some of them. At first, I didn't want Mike and Noel to watch Morgan shoot, I mean, take care of the cats because they're pretty tender-hearted when it comes to animals. It turned out that they had kind of a morbid fascination with watching the animals get shot and then subsequently die. There was one in particular that didn't die quickly. It flopped around for a bit before Morgan had to finish it off.

Noel once complained that Morgan took Mike cat hunting but she didn't get to go, so he said that he thought that she liked cats and wouldn't like to watch them get shot.

She replied that she liked tame cats, not wild cats. When he asked how she could tell the difference between tame cats and wild cats, she replied, "When you shoot wild cats, they flop all over, like this" and demonstrated full-body flopping.

Now we like to joke that if you need to figure out if an animal is wild or tame, you just shoot it.

We left a few cats alive for mouse control. One of the cats was a cute little Siamese. Her leg had been shot and eventually fell off, so we call her Lucky or Stumpy. The irony of the whole situation is that now, a year later, Stumpy is the only surviving cat. The rest have been picked off by various predators.

~

Mike has been shooting random objects around our yard lately with the BB gun. A couple of days ago he told me about a wasp nest that he shot. As an afterthought, he added that it was next to a window in the garage and that he had accidentally shot the window and broken some of the glass. When he saw the look on my face he asked, "Is shooting glass bad?"

In his defense, the window was already broken and I think that he assumed that since it was already broken there was no harm in breaking it more. This prompted me to review with him what is okay to shoot and what he should avoid shooting. Since we rent a house on a cattle feed lot, there are a lot of things that are no-nos. Don't shoot windows, buildings or tractors. Don't shoot near windows, buildings or tractors. Don't shoot the cows. Don't shoot any piece of farm equipment.

This led to questions of "What can I shoot?"

I finally ended the talk with a cautionary "Just don't shoot anything that belongs to Joe or Kerry."

After a moment of silence, Mike said "Well, who does Stumpy belong to?"

What a goober. He wasn't planning on shooting the cat, he assured me. He just wondered who she belonged to.

~

In the vein of shooting things, I was inside the other day when I heard a shriek of "dragonflies!" from outside. Mike came in and asked me to come outside with him. Sure enough, there were dragonflies everywhere, and they were huge.

Mike's reaction?

"You could shoot those with a BB gun!"

He is such a boy's boy.

~

I generally do not buy snack cakes because I think that they are garbage. My mom bought some Ding Dongs and sent them home with me because, and I quote, if she kept them she would be "as big as a cow."

I brought them home and put them on the counter. Some time later, Noel came out of her room to ask her dad if she could have a doofus.

"A what?"

"You know, a doofus."

It took him a few minutes to understand that she meant a Ding Dong. She knew it was one of those term-of-endearment words that I am always calling my kids.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Riddle


What are yellow...


...and pink...


...and pink and yellow...


...and blue and yellow...


...and apparently taste appalling to goats?


Four o' clocks and bush morning glories.

Next year I will buy seeds in bulk.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guess What!

Either someone stole my social security number or someone at a golf course in Boise transposed some numbers.

I vote for number two.

Today I have spent literally hours on the phone with the nice people at the Social Security office, the nice people at the Department of Health and Welfare and Troy, the friendly second or third in command (depending on who is working that day) at the above-mentioned golf course.

I miss my life.

So far, everyone seems to think that it is just a typographical error but I won't know for sure until I speak with the owner of the golf course and who knows when that will happen because, well, he owns a golf course. He comes and goes as he pleases.

*please call soon, please call soon, please call soon*

Actually, a very small part of me hopes that someone stole my identity and then tried to get credit using that number.

HA! The joke is on you!

In addition, several thousand dollars of wages have gone into my social security retirement account thanks to this situation. Right now, I'm printing out six twenty-plus credit reports. We haven't checked them since we filed our bankruptcy two years ago because we figured (with just cause) that if anyone wanted to steal our identities, they could have them.

*sigh* Now I need my social security number back so I can get a loan to pay for all the ink and paper that printing these credit reports is requiring.

Chikins Are Stoopid

This post is belated because we were without a computer for a while and have just remedied that situation. It's actually a few posts combined into one, so get comfy.

One evening several weeks ago, we had just said good-bye to Emily and her kids and were getting all of our kids rounded up and into the house to begin preparing for bed. I walked down by the pond to set a sprinkler when I heard Adam scream. Those of you who are parents know that your children have different screams. This was not the scream of a toddler who was mad because someone had stolen his favorite toy; this was the scream of a toddler who believed that his own death was imminent.

I started running back up to the house, calling his name the whole time. As I got nearer, I could hear that he was screaming "Daddy! Help!" over and over. I couldn't imagine what had happened but all my mommy senses were on high alert.

I rounded the corner of the house to find Adam trapped in the yard cart by our rooster, Foghorn. For some reason, Foghorn had decided several weeks previously that he didn't like Adam. He was friendly enough to the rest of the family but I had seen him chase Adam several times before. Morgan and I tried to always make sure that Adam was never alone with Foghorn, which was easy enough because Adam couldn't open the gate to the coop and Foghorn rarely flew out of the coop, not to mention that we don't make a habit of leaving Adam outside alone.

The rooster was in the only opening of the high-walled cart with his wings spread wide Karate Kid-style and he was jumping in the air and slashing at Adam with his claws. Adam was huddled in the back of the cart, with literally no escape. As soon as he saw me, he reached his arms out and jumped from the cart. As I caught him, he wrapped both his legs and arms around my neck and began heaving great sobs of relief. I tried to pull him away from me to check for injuries, but he held fast. I considered wringing Foghorn's neck then and there or at least punting him across the yard, but he had taken off as soon as he saw me round the corner of the house.

I ran in the house, calling for Morgan. I found him in the bathroom, where he was, uh, occupied and told him what had happened. I didn't realize that Adam could say Foghorn's name, but as I related the events to Morgan, Adam clung even tighter to me and cried "Coghorn, no! Coghorn, no!"

Mike, who was just stepping out of the shower, heard the whole thing. His eyes grew wide and he said "Does that mean we have to kill Foghorn?"

Morgan nodded and said "I'm going to do it tonight."

Michael began to cry and ran out of the room.

Adam finally loosened his grip enough that I could look at him. He had two slashes on his neck, one below each ear. They weren't deep enough to even be bleeding, really. I was surprised that he didn't have greater injuries, given the amount of time the rooster had him cornered.

Adrenaline was still pumping through my body and I was unable to hold still. I decided to go outside and put the ducks into the coop for the night. I had noticed them in the yard when I was carrying Adam into the house. I tried to leave Adam with Morgan, but he cried and reached for me. I figured that a distraction would be good for him, too, so I asked him if he wanted to help me catch the ducks. Foghorn's attitude toward Adam was infuriating in part because Adam loved all of our birds so much. He would sit by the wading pool in the laundry room for hours and play with them when they were still just chicks. When we finished the coop and put them outside, he loved to feed them. I was so glad to see that he had no fear of the birds. Fear of animals is something that is hard to overcome and with as many pets as we have, I want all of my children to be responsible around animals but not afraid. Adam was officially now terrified of at least one of our birds, and it probably wouldn't take much for him to fear the others.

As soon as we walked out the door, Foghorn caught sight of Adam and puffed up his chest and let out a crow. Adam clung again to me, screaming "No, Coghorn!" and didn't calm down until I set him safely on top of the dog house. Just as I was herding the ducks into the coop, Mike and Noel came out of the door, both crying.

"Is Dad really going to kill Foghorn?" "I don't want him to kill Foghorn!" "How is he going to do it?" "Foghorn is my pet!"

I tried to calm Mike and Noel by repeating what the chicken had done to their brother. I explained that it was likely to happen again and that we couldn't have an animal around that would attack someone. I asked them if they loved the chicken more than they loved their brother, to which they tearfully responded "no".

Just as everyone started to breathe normally again, the door opened and out came Morgan. Fire blazed in his eyes. Not only was he a man with a purpose, he was an angry man with a purpose. The kids could sense their father's mood and immediately burst into tears.

Morgan strode purposefully down the path to the coop as Mike and Noel dissolved into puddles of tears. Adam was clinging to my neck again, crying.

"Stop!" I yelled, surprising everyone, including myself. "Morgan, please wait. He's their pet. You can kill him, but let them say goodbye."

He obliged, but I could tell that he wouldn't wait long. I watched Mike and Noel hug and stroke Foghorn for just a few seconds before I could tell that Morgan was done waiting. I sent Mike and Noel back into the house, telling them that I didn't want them to see what was going to happen. I didn't want to see it either, so I held Adam tightly and ran around the house, babbling to him about how we were going to set the sprinkler. I didn't want Adam to hear anything, but honestly, I didn't want to hear it either.

Adam and I took care of the sprinkler, watched the fish in the pond for a while and then played on the swings until I felt that it was safe to find Morgan.

The deed was done, the body disposed of.

Over the next few days, the two remaining roosters seemed confused as they fell into their new roles as alpha and second in command.

A few weeks passed, and Adam never said anything about Foghorn again. He still loved to play with the ducks and the other chickens. I think he realized that the threat only came from one chicken, and that chicken was no longer around.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Mike and Noel were playing outside one afternoon. Mike decided that he would put the ducks into the chicken coop as it looked like there was a storm coming. When he opened the gate, all of the chickens (there were eight) came out and the ducks went in. Mike tried to get the chickens back in but couldn't do it on his own. He asked Noel for help but she didn't want to help. He told her that if she didn't help that Spanky would kill them. She still wouldn't help. Mike gave up and came inside, where he watched TV with Morgan and me and the little boys. He never said anything about the chickens.

I'm not sure of the details of what happened next, but Noel forgot that the chickens were out. She also forgot that our dog is a blood-thirsty chicken killer and she let him outside. She didn't witness what happened, but she was the one who found the carnage. She came running in the house screaming "all of the chickens are dead!" We ran outside to find bodies and feathers everywhere, with Spanky sitting in the middle of it all, goofy dog grin plastered all across his furry face.

We gathered up the bodies which were spread across the yard, counting as we went, hoping that maybe he didn't get them all. We had six bodies. That meant that two were missing. Morgan and Michael began to search, while Noel buried her head in my stomach and cried "It's all my fault!"

I took her inside the house and let the boys stay outside and deal with the dirty work. A few minutes later, an elated Michael burst through the door with a live chicken in his arms.

Apparently she had found her way into the garage and remained hidden there until Mike found her. We decided to call her Lucky, for obvious reasons. Emily called her the "Anne Frank of chickens." We never found the other chicken. I figure he killed it out in the tall weeds where we couldn't find it.

So, we were left with four ducks: two mallards and two pekins and one non-laying chicken. The only reason we bought birds in the first place was for chicken eggs; the ducks were just an afterthought.

Last week, our two pekin ducks disappeared during the day. It wasn't Spanky, he never showed any interest in the ducks. I saw them sleeping the night before and Morgan saw them in the morning as he headed for work. That evening we noticed that the mallards were around but not the pekins. A closer search turned up feathers but no ducks.

Something took my freaking ducks in broad daylight! I think the mallards survived because they can fly a little, which the pekins couldn't and they spend a lot of time swimming in the pond while the pekins stayed in the yard.

Then, today, I swear I am not making this up, Lucky's luck ran out. She flew out of the coop and Spanky got her.

We bought a total of 31 birds, 27 of which were chickens. What do we have left? Two stinking ducks.

In my last effort at bird optimism this year, I am attempting to hatch (in an incubator) four duck eggs and four chicken eggs which I collected before the birds died.

Two ducks. *sigh*

Birthday Bliss

For my actual birthday, Moe and I went out with Joe and Em to Texas Roadhouse and then on to see All About Steve. It was super fun. What follows is a picture-mentary of the evening.


Besties waiting for the hubbies.


We're both making weird faces. Next picture, please.


Lots of snuggling went on between these two. I guess they forgot that it was my birthday. Ahem.


At the Roadhouse. Mmmmm.


Umm, some random picture of someone's food. I didn't take this. It was just on my camera.


I was being a carrot walrus, but the carrots started to fall out. Moe is making his "muppet" face.


Aww.


Jacob, the very best server ever. Ever. Don't argue.


Me laughing at Jacob and his cronies who danced in the tiny space right at our table and irritated all other surrounding tables. Emily may or may not have put some ones in his apron pockets.


What romantic date is complete without a time-killing trip to DI?


Not pictured is the totally rockin' storm door we got for $15. Shaw!


Um, Joe, who are those weirdos racing around the Walmart parking lot?


Oh, our spouses. Right.

Happy birthday to me!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hello Again

Dear Lurkers, Stalkers, and General Cyberspace Community,

I've been gone for a while, although I'm sure this is not news to anyone. I know that there are some of you who check for a blog update more than the required three times per day.

Dry those tears, sweet ones. I'm back.

I've missed you. I thought of you when my dog killed all but one of my chickens. I though of you when my eleven month old started to walk. I though of you when my toddler learned to open doors. I thought of you when I decided that I should start a band made up entirely of mothers, and the song titles would be things like "My Life Changed Forever the Day You Learned to Open Doors" and "Take That Out of Your Mouth!" I thought of you when I was bored, lonely and sad.

Let the word vomit commence.

Friday, August 28, 2009

No More Chickens

My dog killed all of my chickens but one.

The carnage was unbelievable.

I'll blog more when I get my computer back.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bizarre-o World

Today we took a trip to Bizzare-o World, where everything was the opposite of what I've come to expect.


The goats enjoyed a refreshing drink from the pool...


...while Noel and Adam swam in the goats' trough.


The ducks also sampled the cool water from the pool...


...as Jack came to inspect what fun was to be had in the trough.


The ducks used the pool for its actual intended use...


...as the lure of the trough grew too strong for Mike to resist.


Mike willingly shared a popsicle...


...and brotherly peace reigned supreme.


Humperdink enjoyed a few licks of the popsicle.


Jack walked on all fours.


A cute walrus splashed in the trough...


...and Adam was naked.


It's good to know that some things never change.

(Mad props to me for only one of my kids being naked!)