Sunday, July 27, 2008

Have to make this.

I am posting this here so I don't forget about it or lose track of where I saw it. All of the kids love to play chess, and this is so perfect... they can all play at once with this! I will get the pieces for this printed this week and they can keep themselves occupied with it for a while.

I have been browsing chess graphics for a kit I am working on, and I found a board version of it that I eventually want to get for Chet. Although he likes to play against the other kids, there are lots of times he enjoys jsut playing against himself. Either way, this would be a fun challenge for him.

And I happened to find this too, and thought it was pretty cool.

Here is another variant I found that I really will end up getting him. This mat will roll up and fit in the case he already has for his tournament boards, and it only costs $10. How cool is that? We are in the process of putting together an ongoing chess club in our town. This and other chess games like it would be a fun activity for the club.

I should be able to get pics of the kids up tomorrow. Matt and Faith are home in one piece. It has been a happy afternoon for all of us. We are going to Kevin and Debbie's for lunch tomorrow after church. (well later today I guess... it is late.) I guess I should drag myself to bed and get some sleep!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What's that smell?

We went to a local farmer's market/garden the other day to pick up some herb plants. I had the kids smell the basil, and got different reactions. Chet said, 'That stinks!" Kyle said, "mmmm, that smells good!" Beth said,"Let me smell it again! It does smell good!" and Todd said, "That smells like spaghetti and meatballs." Awwww.... that just warms my Food-Network-Nerd heart!

photos, photos, photos

Saturday was both a baseball day and Angel Food day. I got up at 4:30 to go to Harrison to help pick up the food. Jack took Kyle and Todd to their practice and game. Angel Food went well, and we had it all distributed by 11:00. My Beth loves to play with this Beth. She even knows how to spell her name.
This was Todd's first baseball practice, and coach told them all that he wanted them to run around the field, but to take it at a jog and not sprint. Todd pipes up and asked, "We have to run in this game??" Coach James told him he had to do what his coaches tell him to do or he will have to do push-ups. "Do you want to do push-ups?" he asked Todd. I don't think he expected Todd's answer. After a thoughtful pause he said," I could do a hundred." He would rather do 100 push-ups than run around the diamond at a slow jog. I can't wait to see what happens when he is on a team full-time.

Although my garden is a comedy of errors again this year, the flowers that Faith planted are blooming beautifully. She and Matt come home next weekend. I can't wait. I miss those two.

Among other events this last week, Chet was advanced in rank in the Court of Honor. He also received some of his merit badges. Matt is still a traveling man, so he wasn't here to receive the ones he has earned. Man... that is one good-looking kid. Pale, too skinny, and not feeling so great lately, but still gorgeous none-the-less. Once I got past crying everytime I shared the news with somebody that Todd was indeed an HLA match for him, I spent the rest of the time smiling a really big smile that doesn't begin to match the relief I feel in knowing that Chet really has a good chance of being cured of this ugly disease.
Over and over again my kids confirm a simple fact of parenting; expensive and complicated toys are not necessary. For my kids, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats a pile of brand new cardboard boxes for sheer imaginative and jolly fun.
Beth and Kyle used some of the cardboard to make phones so they could call each other. I walked out of the house and heard Beth saying, 'Brother? Can you hear me now? Helllloooooo.... James, are you here???" Apparently they use their middle names when they are playing. Or at least when they are calling each other.
Oh... let me tell you, taking the kids to somebody else's VBS was as wonderful an experience as putting one together myself. In fact, it may have been a slightly better experience for me simply because I wasn't in charge of anything other than talking to the kids one night about the food pantry our church has and the volunteer work I do with the Tuesday Night Dinner Program.

Churches and other groups really do like it when Josh and Mystery and Jack and I all bring our kids to their activities. Between their 8 and our 6 numbers can't help but get a huge boost! See..... add one Wellborn and one Anderson, and they make up 2/5 of the class.

Or add one Anderson and one Wellborn and you get 100% unpredictable hilarity. Either way you do the math, it all adds up the same...lots of kids, lots of noise, and you never know what any one of them will come up with next.
Like this. This was fantastically funny. Bug must have sensed that her parents were hiding in the back row, because she stood up during the quiet time and hollered across the mostly quiet chapel, "Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy! Come here! Come Heeerreeee!" Who knew Josh could melt into a pew so easily?

The best part is that they are all attending another VBS this week. I could get used to this! Summers will never be the same again. From now on they will all be scheduled around the local churches VBS schedules. I was talking to another mom today who was bringing her kids to their 4th VBS this month. I love small town life. Between VBS-hopping and library events, the kids have so much to do! It has actually been good to get to meet and talk to some of the other church secretaries and children's program leaders as well, and the kids are enjoying getting to know each other as they all go around to the different programs. It's good for everyone involved.

We have spent as much time at the library events as possible. Where else do you get to pet dead animals on a stick?

This desert tortoise was great. It walked around with all the kids' prizes as they played Bug Bingo. I have to share this story too. The teacher asked the kids if any had ever been to the desert. Helllooooo..... Wellborn children... you were born in the desert! And I know you all remember it (except for maybe Beth) because you talk about it all the time. So the teacher asks who has been to the desert and Todd raises his hand and says "I think we drove through Arizona once." Okay... I guess I should be impressed that he knows that Arizona is a desert. Maybe he just doesn't correlate big casinos in a valley with the cacti he has heard about in school.

Now,moving on to the latest issue of our Backyard Wildlife, let me show some kind of bug I almost walked into the other day. I have no idea what this is. I don't really want to either. I find those scale things on his back deeply, deeply disturbing. Did dinosaurs interbreed with insects somewhere along the way??
Henry the freakishly long-legged garden spider (or one of his/her descendants) has returned to hunt the fertile fields of our storage shed walls. The kids love to catch grasshoppers and throw them at Henry's mercy. Henry really doesn't have much mercy. He/she/it gets them spun up into a webby sack in seconds. I personally prefer to see nature in action by watching the eagles fly overhead, or hearing the treefrogs sing at night. How did my kids come to find this particular form of nature-watching so intriguing? Ick.
Poor old decrepit Red. He is still following us all around, but his many years are beginning to take their toll. I like all of our animals, but it is really going to make me sad when this old guy leaves us.
Beagle had just woken up from a nap when I took this one of her. I think she was drifting back off to sleep as I snapped the shot.
Our grass has grown really, really, I mean really tall. It chokes the motors on our mowers, and it has been too wet to get too much mowed down in a timely matter. So Jack asked one of our neighbors to bring over his big tractor to knock it down. Carroll showed up and decided instead of just mowing it he would bring over his bigger machines and bale it as hay. It is a long process. First he brought one machine (I don't know what the different heavy machinery equipment is called.) and knocked down the hayfields. Then he got that big machine stuck inthe mud, so Jack drove him home to get a bigger machine to get it out. Then he finished knocking down the rest of the grass. After it dried on the ground for a few days, he brought over a big machine with a bunch of comb-like implements on the back and he brushed and styled all the dry grass into pretty, fluffy piles. Then he brought this machine over (I think it is called a baler... see, I am not completely clueless) and he rolled it all up into big rolls all over the property. The baler gathers it up as he drives over the piles and then literally spits the roll out of the tub-thing on the back.
Then the bales sit for a few days longer before they are bundled up by presumably another big machine (if ladies really do think tractors are sexy, than Carroll has it all over some of the young-uns around here). I don't know why the haybales have to sit there before they can be completed. Maybe they need to dry a bit more. Maybe the snakes need more time to get burrowed in nice and deep. All I know is that I am thrilled to have all the grass down, and I am going to have to find time to get pics of the kids on top of one of these before Carroll hauls them away for winter storage for his animals. Trading the hay with Carroll in exchange for the work he has done is fair because my animals won't eat hay. Neither will my kids. All of them are picky eaters. As always, there is another full week ahead of us. I will be back when I can!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


We had a really nice week, and I have lots of photos to share tomorrow. I am very excited about tomorrow afternoon. When I get off work I get to actually come home, and I don't have anywhere I have to go. Not a single thing I have to take care of. I don't even have to do housework because we scrubbed the house down today. I am coming home and getting my photos edited, telling the stories with them, and then scrapping and designing. Of course, given the nature of our hectic lives, it is entirely likely that something will come up and change all that (like we might end up at the library if there is something going on there) but for now the afternoon and evening are slated for rest and relaxation!

I did scrap these pictures of Daniel after dinner tonight. Jessica came a few weeks ago to help with the Tuesday Night Dinner, and then she and Tony and Daniel came to Kyle's game. He would smile and coo EXCEPT for when the camera was on him. The next time he and my camera meet I will have to get some photos of his chunky little legs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

VBS pics

I don't know what happened to my pictures, but somewhere between editing and uploading they got pretty blurry and grainy looking. I think next time I use this slideshow format I will save them in a larger dpi. Here they are! We had a really good time. If you ever need to be the director for a VBS, I really recommend this particular VBS pack. I absolutely loved the message of service that the kids learned in God's Big Backyard!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pony Panic

My friend, Katherine, has started a color challenge on her blog, which gives me a good reason to find some creativity again. This week the color is brown. I took these pictures yesterday, and figured instead of just showing them and telling you the story, I would scrap them. This young pony ran out of his fence, and then started panicking. Kyle loved being able to help one of the neighbors get him back inside!

Monday, July 14, 2008

This Just In

My phone just rang, and it was Martha calling to tell me that it looks like Todd does indeed match Chet. I am beyond words right now. I will post more later when I have a better handle on my emotions. Thank you for all the prayers.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ready for a new week!

It was fun, and I will gladly do it again next year, but WOOOHOOOOO!!!! VBS is over! I think it was a success. We had 64 kids altogether, and several of the kids participated in our program today. Along with being fun, there were parts that were pretty touching too. This was a great, exhaustive experience! I don't have anymore pictures to share from that tonight, because frankly, I am tired of looking at them after editing them for the program today.

Chet has been feeling up and down this week, and missed a couple of nights, but last night when I asked if he was going he gave a resounding, "Yes!" It would have been nice if it was VBS itself that had him so excited, but alas, he is a boy driven by his stomach. We were having a block-party style BBQ as part of our VBS, and he felt the call of cheeseburgers and the desire for the nutritious benefits (surely some exist) of a plateful of nachos AND Doritos. Efforts to convince him that corn in the form of Doritos or nacho chips does NOT count as a vegetable haven't been particularly successful.

After everything was all cleaned up and put away, my friend Crystal invited me to go to Eureka Springs with her and some friends for her birthday. She picked me up, but we didn't make it to the main road in town. We knew the rain was coming down heavily, and knew the roads had lots of water, but when we hit town and had streetlights we could really see the rivers the roadways had become. We decided it wasn't safe to try to make it up the hills in her little car, so we floated back to my house instead. She called her hubby Nathan, he met us at the house, and theeeennnn

the four of us played the best game ever invented. If you haven't played Cranium Wow you are missing out. We only played one round since we all had to be at the church this morning to run the program.
Jack went out this afternoon and pulled a lot of the weeds that were trying to choke my garden. He also pulled out my cucumber plants (and left the pumpkin plants) but I am coping with that. A few cucumbers is an easy enough sacrifice to make when it means I didn't have to pull the weeds myself. The pumpkin plants have invaded every part of my garden now.
Here is one of my pumpkin pepper plants. The white flower will be a jalepeno when it grows up, the yellow flowers will be pumpkins.
Here are my pumpkin lettuce plants. No flowers yet, but vining tendrils are everywhere.
Here are by pumpkin Big Boy tomatoes.
And here is a jumbo pumkin plant ....
preparing to hybrid itself with my broccoli. Such is life as a pumpkin farmer.
There were creepies and crawlies out there too. This pretty little flutterfly was visiting my punpkin carrot plants.
And this thing... well, I don't know what it is. I leave them alone when I come across them because they are mean-looking. They also have bright red on them, and in jungles that generally means something is poisonous. The weeds are tall enough to be jungle, so the Law of the Jungle applies here.
Oh grasshappers....they are everywhere. I have no idea what to do to get rid of them. Someday I should read up on this whole gardening thing because I am willing to bet there are a few tips out there somewhere that tell me how to keep the 6-legged creepies away. (I bet there are some good ideas for managing unruly punpkins too.)

And if one at a time isn't bad enough, you should see the villages the grasshoppers are setting up on my corn. I think there should be immigration laws that apply to this kind of squatting. If the Law of the Jungle applies, shouldn't the law of the land be applicable as well??

Tonight I did the funnest thing I have done all week. I took my kids to somebody else's VBS and left them there. hahahahahah..... life is so rewarding sometimes!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Making it through VBS

Oh man... I am tired. But we have had a good time, and most everything has gone smoothly. Tomorrow is the last day, and then tomorrow night we are having a huge BBQ. Sunday the kids have their program during the services... and theeennnnn...... VBS is over for a year!! Here are a few shots of my kids (and Tyler and Talon) from the last couple of nights. I am missing Matt and Faith... a lot!

We have spent most of our days at the church getting ready each day, but yesterday I made sure we were there for Chet's pottery class. He learned how to grind off hard spots on his fired pieces, and then we started glazing.

We ran out of time to get all of the pieces glazed. We will finish them up next week.
Sherry sent Chet home with a block of clay, and he spent today forming them into chess pieces. I don't have those pictures uploaded to my computer yet.

I should be back on Sunday sometime with more photos. Tomorrow is full of baseball, VBS, BBQ,and then I am going to my friend Crystal's birthday party. Sleep is optional.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Who's bright idea was this?

Who decided I should be in charge of the Children's Ministry, and therefore in charge of Vacation Bible School??? I don't know, but somehow that is what came to be. And it starts tomorrow. Tomorrow. I think everything is ready. I hope and pray everything is ready. Tomorrow is the big litmus test... I never even heard of VBS until last year,so I keep wondering if I can really pull this off. It is a good thing I have a great committee and volunteers to make it all go well! I invite you to come experience it for yourself... :0) It all starts at 5:30 tomorrow night, and we will be feeding the masses, playing games, getting to know our guest speakers, making crafts,singing songs,and most importantly, learning to serve Jesus by serving others. I will probably not be online much for the next few days. Wish us all luck and come join us if you are in the area!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bang goes the 4th

We had a quiet 4th. We were supposed to go a friend's house for another friend's surprise party, but I haven't been feeling great. I have a headache that just will not leave me alone. We decided to stay home and watch the fireworks show from our front porch. We didn't BBQ this year, just roasted some chicken and taters, but I did make a tray of deviled eggs and these yummies.

Josh and Mystery stopped by and had a box of fireworks that we went out and started lighting on our basketball slab. Poor old Red. He has always loved chasing water and lights, and fireworks just drive him into a state of absolute bouncy glee. Well, he wouldn't leave the fireworks alone, and kept trying to catch them in his mouth the way he catches water from the hose. This particular firework shot big balls up out of the fountain randomly, and Red grabbed hold of it just as one went off in his mouth. He is okay, but he dropped the firework and it landed on its side and it was still blowing those balls out. Suddenly, we were all being shot at and running for our lives while Red rolled around on the ground trying to cool his mouth. If I had videotaped it I would have shown you the video. I am sure we all looked quite comical fleeing the fountain-turned-roman-candle-ambush.
After that firework got done gunning for us, we finished the rest of the fireworks and let the kids light their sparklers. Red couldn't completely tear himself away from those tantalizing firedrops, but he didn't eat anymore and aim them at us.

A full week

We had several other misc things this last week. Kyle's had two baseball parties, one for his regular season team and one for his all-star team. Here he is being presented with a trophy from his all-star coaches.

I took the three younger kids to the library today. They have different activities every afternoon, and we go as often as we can. Today they were learning about butterflies, and then Beth and Todd got their library cards. Todd took off to find books before I could take his picture! Wednesday was flight day for Matt and Faith. Faith is in Vegas getting spoiled and Matt is wandering the West coast, family hopping between California, Oregon, and Vegas.
On the way home from the airport I took this picture through my dirty windshield of our lake. You may have heard the news about the floods in MO, and while most our area hasn't had the devastation they have had, all of our lakes are reaching record highs. The tourist season for this lake has really suffered because all of the beaches are underwater. Can you see how the water level is up on the trees?

My garden... sigh... it is in a sad state of affairs. My lettuce is doing okay.
And at first glance the tomatoes seem to be doing well. However, tomatoes don't vine around their cages like this. Do you know what does vine like that? Go ahead and guess. Yep... pumpkins vine like that. I give up. I concede to my agriculture fate. It has become painstakingly clear to me that I am meant to be a pumpkin farmer. I am very good at growing them, and I don't even try! If you are craving pumpkin pie or want to carve a pumpkin for an anniversary or birthday next month, you know where to find me and my pumpkin patch!

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