Sunday, April 17, 2011

Disturbing Postscript to the Last Post!

Those chickens! They are not worth their salt. No, they can’t be trusted at all. Unreliable. Flighty. Mike went to check on them this morning – to see how they were adjusting to their new precious eggs (as opposed to the DUDS they’d been sitting on) only to discover they’d flown the coop! Or the window well rather.

Mike had just been praising them – hinting that I could never be the mother these hens were (because when have I ever been willing to sit on my kids for 21 consecutive days? – never mind the whole carrying them inside of me as they grow larger and larger for NINE months). But who’s the good mother now?

And, actually, one of the two broody hens has half heartedly returned to her little clutch – but she doesn’t seem to be exhibiting the kind of fortitude I expect from a chicken who is serious about this hatching eggs business. The other has simply turned up her beak at these new eggs: insisting that she, for one, won’t be found raising some other hen’s little brats. Can you imagine? What foolish pride. Fine, go back to sitting on your plain old yolk and whites eggs. See if I care. Bad chicken. I now officially prefer the black hens to you – even though their front breast feathers keep going missing and I constantly avoid looking at them because they look kind of gross that way.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bacon, Movies, Gingerbread Houses, Chickens and Eggs

Here it is – 10:30 at night, and I am sitting here . . . eating (dare I even say it?) some . . . bacon. Surely this can not be good. Who on earth do I think I am? I mean, did you read what I just typed? I am eating BACON while all reasonable people are sleeping, or, at the very worst, eating a bowl of ice cream in front of the television. It doesn’t feel right, but it is, to be honest, rather tasty. Only, where will such behavior lead? It can’t possibly lead anywhere good, can it?

What else. Well, Mike is off helping a brother lift an entertainment center and then his mother download something. Before leaving, he told me that he thought we should “spend some quality time together ‘til at least one in the morning”. And that doesn’t mean anything eyebrow raising (though he did raise his eyebrows repeatedly at me when he said it); what it means is that he wants me to stay up and watch a movie with him no matter how late the hour of his return. He gets so sad when I try to tell him that if it is past 10:00 it is too late for us to begin a movie. But, it is mostly his fault because he is wholly unwilling to ever watch part of a movie. Sure I’d be willing to start one . . . and save the rest for another night, but that doesn’t sit well with Mike at all. We must press forward and see it through to the bitter (or perhaps pleasant – depending on the movie) end.

Speaking of Mike, we let Daisy have a little friend party today. At one point (several hours before the girls’ arrival), I asked Mike to come help me finish a task. I was making little gingerbread houses out of graham crackers so the girls could decorate them with jelly beans and the like (creating Easter themed ginger bread houses), but I was running late on meeting an out of town friend (who was in town) for lunch. I wanted to make sure the frosting would have plenty of time to harden and so wanted the houses done before I left. Mike came to my rescue (as he had earlier when, for the life of me, I couldn’t separate egg whites from yolks), only, here was what he said as he took over, “The problem is, if I make some and you make some, the girls will all cry over who gets the ones I made.” Smart alec. All I could do was laugh because I knew that he would never settle for making his houses as quickly and efficiently (and thus, necessarily, sloppy) as mine. Here ours are, side by side:IMG_6045Goldie did come to my defense – saying she would absolutely LOVE to choose one of the ones I made (bless her heart). But if you just pretend like they are supposed to look “snowy” – then mine totally looks better. Besides, the girls had a lovely time and nary a word was said over messy vs. nice-and-neat houses.IMG_6057_edited-1

BUT! Speak of the devil, Mike has returned! (Incidentally, I was reading a book by a Scottish author the other day and at one point, a character said, “Speak of the angels!” – that strikes me as a much kinder phrase. Why have we warped it so?) Yes though, my husband, devil that he is, has arrived, so I shall cast this blogging business aside. Besides, there are exciting things afoot. Not only is Mike going to try and persuade me to watch a movie until all hours, but he is also going to trick some of our chickens!

Two of them have gone broody! Broody I say! That means they are faithfully sitting on a little pile of eggs. Mike has so much been wanting a broody hen, but hens don’t brood much these days, it’s all bred out of most breeds. So, when it was discovered that two of our hens had confined themselves to different window wells (I told you they like it down there) to sit on clutches of eggs, well, it was all excitement around here.

Only, as we’ve discussed (don’t say we haven’t), our eggs don’t currently have chick producing potential. So, their loving little broody efforts are all for naught. Or were all for naught, but they won’t be in a few more minutes because Mike bought some fertilized eggs today and he is now about to go and steal their chickless eggs and replace them with different eggs! I know, it seems like a mean trick and you are all envisioning swapped babies in a hospital, but it is actually a nice trick. They never had any babies at all, but now they will (assuming this all works of course).

Anyway, goodnight!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear Spring, Please Come to Stay

Spring? Oh spring, won’t you come? I know I’ve said I don’t mind winter and snow; that I shake my head at all the cry babies complaining about it all through the season, but I really have maybe never been so very anxious for the cold to leave! We are in mid April and we haven’t had more than a small smattering of warm days. Last Saturday I went for a run and spent the whole time with wind plastering snow into my face and eyes. April! Must you?

Anyway, the other day we were all headed out the door to run some errands. I was a bit behind the kids, and when I came out the door, they were playing in the bed of the truck and forcing Abe to run them about in our red wagon. It was still a bit cold, but there was sun, and their colors looked like spring, so, before leaving I had to capture a few moments of sunshine. Their faces in these pictures are exactly what it seems like our lives would be if spring would just come to stay! I even had to quickly use one of the pics to change out my blog header. I liked the other picture (of Goldie and Daisy in red winter coats), but it felt so . . . wintery. I feel like I need to defy winter, or, at least, let spring know that we are eager to greet it!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doodles Turns NINE!

This is an odd thing. I am certain it was only a few months ago that I was blogging about Abe turning nine. I remember the day so well – it was snowing like crazy, Christmas music was playing, we made candy trains, my first blog book came in the mail. How can Abe have already had a tenth birthday since then? How can I already be typing about a different child having a ninth birthday? I guess the fact that Abe and Daisy aren’t much over a year apart means that it truly wasn’t that long ago that it was Abe turning nine. Still. Strange. Time goes awfully fast.

Anyway, since I remembered Abe’s ninth birthday so well, I thought I’d do a similar blog post for Daisy’s – meaning a lovely little photo recap of the birthday child over the years. (Somehow the nice round number of ten seems like a more fitting birthday number for such a review of years. Nevertheless, nine it is);

Daisy Sharon

New little baby:









more 4




and more 6


more 7



And . . . NINE!!


She wanted her hair extra cute for her birthday. I think we succeeded.

Also, here are a few of the birthday signs that were strewn about the kitchen for her this morning:

First off, this one of Abe’s I thought was rather clever. While the lines aren’t broken apart at each rhyme, please note that it is a poem:


Is that too hard to read? Just in case, here is the poem:

Dear Daisy,

All day you have fun with your family and mother.

So how ‘bout instead get up and make a breakfast for your brother.

You’re not convinced? Hey it might be fun

to give me presents and cake

and a cool new pet snake!

Still unconvinced? Bummer.

Now I’ll have to wait for Goldie’s birthday in summer.

And, here is one of my signs. I love that my kids are old enough for us to have our own little inside jokes. Once, when Daisy was first learning to spell, she turned a notebook into a book of songs (written by herself). One song was a lovely song about “Moon Cake.” None of us know what moon cake might have been, but she spelled cake: c-a-k. We had a little laugh when Abe asked, “What’s moon cak?” Daisy got very defensive, but then realized her mistake and giggled about it. Ever since then, moon cak comes up out of the blue. A few weeks ago Abe wrote a story where the characters were trying to get to the moon for some tasty moon cak, and well, I am sure Daisy quite appreciated my lovely little birthday sign song composed in her honor this morning:


Lastly, these signs are among my favorite. Goldie made them. They were titled “First” and “Next.” They didn’t make a bit of sense to me until Goldie happily explained them to all of us this morning. First – Abe is throwing Daisy on a paper airplane he made (and a big one at that). Next – Daisy is experiencing the unfortunate consequences of letting your brother send you on a giant paper airplane ride. Why these are birthday signs is uncertain, but what is certain is that they are AWESOME!


Anyway, off to get going on birthday cakes and the like. Happy birthday to my little daughter!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stereotyping and Voldemort

Speaking of little Goldums:


Her joking with Anna about our baby – saying, I think it’s going to be an elephant. No? You don’t think that could be right. Hm. I was sure it was that. Maybe a guinea pig? – made me think of the mischievous little smile she gets when she is about to tell me something she feels is rather clever.

Last night we had a little Family Home Evening lesson on stereotyping. I probably wouldn’t have used the word, “stereotyping” necessarily, but I’d overheard a few remarks by kids from their school recently that made me cringe a bit, and I thought it was a good time to make my kids aware of the need to be careful in how we group people or throw out terms that might be hurtful. Abe’s fourth grade class had recently been discussing the meaning of the word “stereotype” so I thought that might be a good way to start – by asking Abe to explain what that word meant to the girls.

He did a good job, and even gave them an example of people assuming all Russians were bad during The Cold War. Because we had several Russian neighbors up in WA, we were able to talk about how ridiculous and unfair it would be for someone to say, “Russians are bad.” We were then able to move that on gently into areas that I thought they really did need to be aware of in their tiny spheres here.

Anyway, it was cute, and we had a good little discussion that covered a fairly broad range – from different races, to religions, to Daisy bringing up the“dumb blondes” stereotype, to . . . Goldie’s cleverness:

During some of the lesson she had seemed a little disturbed. It might have been a bit old for her, and she didn’t seem to like the idea that anyone would judge someone based on any one attribute. Near the end, I said, “Goldie, does that make any sense?”

She raised her eyebrows and said, “It makes TOO MUCH sense!” As if she were saying, “Yes, I understand all too well the foibles of man and am horrified at the clear wrongness of it.” Then she got a little twinkle in her eye and said, “I know a good one, Mom. It wouldn’t be fair for people to think that all the people in the world named Voldemort are bad.”

The kids all had a good laugh as they agreed, and our lesson came to an end.

Little Recordings

When we get together with Mike’s family, it is our little niece Anna who the young girls all flock to.


She is very adored and such a good sport about endlessly entertaining all the young girls in the family. The other day, she recorded these small tidbits from her time spent with the little girls at a family gathering. I loved that she jotted these moments involving Penny and Goldie down. I had to record them here.

But first, the subjects. Penny:


And, Goldie (with the hat she so desperately needed me to buy her over our snow filled “spring” break):


And now, Anna’s notes:

My favorite moments of the family get together on Sunday:

1. (Me talking to Goldie)Me: "Gold, It's not nice to eat cousins." (Don't ask.)
‎2. (Me talking to Goldie)Me: "What's your mom having?" (that was after discussing how excited Goldie is to have a new sibling) Goldie: "An elephant." Me: "You're so silly!" Goldie: "Hmmmmm. A Boy elephant." Me: "I don't think that sounds right." Goldie (looking genuinely confused for a second) : "Oh...Is it a guinea pig?"
‎3. (Claire talking to Penny) Claire: "Penny, will you be my prince and carry me away to your tower and love me and be nice to me and marry me?" Penny: ... *Panicks for a second, then looks down at her feet, pretending she isn't there, and slowly sidesteps away*

I have a little notebook on my nightstand table where I often record fun, sweet, or funny things my kids have said. Of course, I forget far too frequently, but I love having those tiny moments that would otherwise be forgotten written down. My kids love to go through the book, or scroll along my blog, looking for bits off things they may have said. So, thanks Anna, for giving me these!

Oh yes, this also made me think of something else I’ve loved of late. It is that Daisy and Goldie have begun following my habit. Every now and then I will open the notebook and discover some small thing recorded in large six year old scrawl: something Jesse said that Goldie deemed funny and worth keeping. The other day, I found a little scratch paper in Daisy’s writing with various recordings of things Penny had told her. There is something doubly charming in these recordings – something that makes me happy beyond the record itself; it is imagining the tiny recorder enjoying the moment and scrawling it down.

I suppose you should be here too, Daisy, for your good little notes!



Monday, April 11, 2011

Awards Ceremonies . . . and Sisters

After 48 years, and at age 80, my dad is finally retiring from his well loved career as an English professor at our local university. The end of spring semester will see him bidding farewell to the campus he knows and loves so well.

While this was unrelated to retiring, a month ago, we were invited to attend a luncheon honoring my dad with a fairly prestigious award. Quite a few of my family members managed to be there for the occasion, as well as  numerous other faculty and staff members. Mike’s dad also spent his career teaching at the same university (in the business department), and he and Gayle (Mike’s mom) came to the event.

Here they are with my parents:


And here is my dad – listening to the kind reDSCN1364marks given him by Dean Hughes as an introduction.

On a side note: My dad is completely deaf in one ear -- the unfortunate side effect of a kick he received in the ear during a karate sparring episode years ago. It damaged the nerve and could not be repaired. Sadly, he has also lost a lot of hearing in his “good” ear – thus necessitating the use of a hearing aid. My mom called me the morning of the luncheon to say that my dad had left her a sweet note before leaving for work that morning asking her if she would say a few prayers for him that he would be able to clearly hear the things that were said at the awards ceremony. I don’t know why exactly but it made me cry and cry. I love my dad so much. He truly NEVER complains about anything and handles things with total humility. This small request touched me so much. I was crying and frantically calling siblings telling them to pray their little hearts out that dad could just be allowed to hear well during this ceremony. Megan and I even said a prayer together over our cell phones as we talked.

BUT, moving on to the ceremony . . . and to a much lighter side of things: being with my sisters can be . . . such trouble. Here I am, sitting at the luncheon with Amy and Megan:


At some point, as someone was speaking very seriously. I don’t recall who, probably the president of the university. Megan began giggling quietly and reaching for the used silverware off of our luncheon plates. Amy was looking at the speaker, listening attentively like she should be – oblivious to Megan’s antics. I was trying my best, but finding it very difficult as Megan proceeded to carefully wrap the silverware in a fancy cloth napkin and slide it gently into Amy’s purse.

How is one to be mature and act appropriately when a sister is whispering how hilarious it will be when Amy gets to her car, reaches for her keys, and realizes she must return to the luncheon to give back the silverware she has nearly stolen?

Sadly, for Megan, Amy opened her purse for some gum soon after and, shaking her head and mumbling, “you nerd” to Megan, put the silverware back.

How can these sisters of mine be crying and praying with me one minute, and turning me into a giggling totally irresponsible teenager the next? They are trouble. Somehow I still like them.

But, it truly was a nice ceremony, and, as ever, I was very proud to be known as GTA’s daughter. I really admire and love him incredibly.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Little Baby Is A . . .



That’s right, my strong womanly intuition has proven itself, once again . . . not very strong. The little baby we are soon to be having is the little boy kind of baby.

This will introduce us to a whole new world – a world of little rough and tumble trouble making boys growing up together. Yes we have two boys, but they are eight years apart, and then there are just sisters sisters sisters everywhere else you look. What will we do with two closely spaced boy children? I hardly know what to make of it.

Oh, and name, you ask? No. No name. Little man is as nameless as any tiny baby has ever been. Abe we knew quickly; our girls we couldn’t decide ‘til the hospital, but it wasn’t for lack of a name – it was for not being able to choose which of many cute names; and Jesse, we didn’t decide until he was born, but I kind of always knew he would be Jesse. This fella though? There doesn’t seem to be any name in all of creation that could possibly be right. It makes me sad. I’d like to name our little son.

Anyway, that’s alright about my surety that this was a girl being wrong. Sometimes it is fun to think you know what present you are about to open – only to open it and find a totally different gift.

Little man, I’m sure that, once I am holding you in my arms, I will think how preposterous it was that I could have ever thought you should be anything else but exactly perfectly you.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Today I am practicing with Windows Live Writer. When I googled my blogger problems, several sources mentioned this free software that publishes to any blog. I don’t like to learn new things though. So, we’ll see.

There is nothing to read here. I really am truly experimenting.

Let’s try bullets:

  • Bullets are fun
  • Bullets are cool
  • Bullets make lists

Fun With Kids

Ooh, that was done by simply clicking a paragraph header. Interesting.

So, kids are so great and so fun. Here are some kids right here:


Would you look at that? It didn’t really seem to “load.” It just put it there the minute I clicked the photo. And it let me add that goofy photo border and change the photo to black and white right here.

Fun With Whatever

Whatever can be fun too!

Snakes in a forest

I don’t know who did this. Abe? And what if I want to have these words closer to my pictures? Is that possible? By the by, it just let me size these photos by clicking the size or dragging the corners of the image . . . or messing with numbers that I don’t understand, right as I put them on and it is all laid out in my blogger format already.

But what about this? (A different header here). Can I add a  youtube something?

A little song I like.

Holy Smokes! I’ve never known how to put videos on from the internet. (Or even if you are supposed to), but that was a piece of cake! I just pasted the link. Two seconds! Maybe ONE second.

And, you must admit that this is cool. Oh, and this. and this!

But what would you think if I did this? Would you approve?

But why does it skip a space every time I press enter? Just being helpful for paragraph breaks? Is that what?

Alright. A new font. A new font color and, a new font size (size 14 to be exact). I’ll add a few more photos to see if I can click a bunch at the same time:


And can one have words to the side? Yes. It would appear so. Oh, remember when I just had these ones all little? No? Well, I do.

Hmm. Well. Interesting experimenting so far. Not sure if I will use this permanently. Friend Jana told me some crazy html type talk that I think I can follow to make my posts work right in the blogger editor, but maybe I’ll start to like this. We’ll see. This was pretty easy . . . but NEW, and you know how new scares the bejeebers out of me!

P.S. Jana, did you see?? I justified!

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