Saturday, November 29, 2008


I was reading about fruit trees this year and learned that if you want your apple trees to produce good fruit you should prune them a bit every year. I am sure there is a right way to prune an apple tree and a wrong way to prune an apple tree. I am quite certain the pictures you are about to see are exemplary of the wrong way to prune an apple tree.

I came home from the grocery store and Jack told me he had to show me what Todd and Kyle had done. Do you see all these limbs and sticks?? That was one side of my apple tree.

This is the rest of the crime scene in full. Josh and Jack were talking on the porch, and Mystery came out and asked them if they knew the boys were cutting down the tree. In just a very short period of time, they had climbed the ladder and the pallett (Todd isn't nearly as bold as Kyle in his tree-climbing approach), looped Jack's tool belt over one large limb, and were madly sawing away the branches. My poor decimated apple tree did not look like a V when I left the house. (Notice the other limbs in front of the tree?)

Rule number 360,000 I never thought I would have to make.... No Pruning the Trees Without Parental Permission and Supervision!

A Thanksgiving Feast

We survived the Turkey Day. There were a couple of hiccups in the morning. I got to the church to make everything, and realized that one of the turkeys I had started cooking the night before was terribly, horribly, gaggingly rotten. Instead of being greeted by the rich aroma of tender turkey falling off the bone, it smelled like raw sewage being slowly roasted. We dumped that bad bird, disinfected the air, and cooked bacon. I think the smell of bacon can cover anything, and make any room smell good.

Then I finished cooking the rest of the food that wouldn't give our guests food poisoning. Here are some shots of some of the dishes. This is my favorite meal of the year. Turkey, ham, creamy garlicy mashed potatoes, dressing, carrots, green bean almondine, sweet taters, and homemade gravy.......mmmmmm. We ended up with 40 people there, and it was a nice afternoon.Josh and Mystery came.
My mom kept her leg propped up, and got down to the serious task of sorting through the Black Friday ads. Thanksgiving is the only day of the year that we buy the big city newspapers. Their police reports aren't any fun to read... they are too full of real crimes and other big city schtuff.
Chet spent the whole morning ignoring everyone with his nose in his book. This is such a heart-warming sight to me. I am thankful that this boy, who spent so many years struggling to read, has come so far and now loves to read.
As soon as dinner was served, everyone began to eat and chat. Chet ate nothing but meat and bread. He is such the meatetarian. You thought they were making that up in that ad didn't you? I am pretty sure some ad guy met Chet and was inspired by his anti-veggie palette.
Then I did something strange for me. I put my camera away and just sat there chatting and visiting with everyone. We talked a lot about Black Friday sales, and I would love to tell you about some of the good deals we got, but my children read this blog and Santa doesn't want me to ruin his surprises.

(PS... Mom is now on the strongest antibiotic available. Hopefully it will make a marked improvement by tomorrow to keep her out of the hospital. She wasn't able to fly home today, so we are keeping her for another week. The plan is to get her to fall so madly in love with the mountains that she doesn't ever want to go back to Vegas. So far, the weather isn't cooperating. It is snowing, and my mom is a true-blue desert rat. Can someone come parade around as a Santa in a bathing suit to convince her it isn't that cold??? It would be much appreciated.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Change of Plans

I have been looking forward to this week. My mom was coming out to visit for the week, and I had plans to take her places and introduce her to my friends here. On Sunday I drove up to Springfield to get her, and that was the last thing to go as planned.
On Monday she came to work with me, but was not feeling well. I brought her home, and she tried to shake it off.

On Tuesday, we were supposed to get the Tuesday Night Dinners put together and then take the boys for their Scout banquet. Instead, just as I was getting ready to head to the church, I got a phone call from the school nurse. Matt attempted to catch a fly ball with his nose, and it was broken. I rushed down to the school to get him, making arrangements with my friend Debbie to get dinner taken care of, while Jack got the other kids and brought them home.

I took Matt to the ER, where we spent a couple of hours making sure he was only as insane as he was before the baseball attacked him. With his wild mane and the newly crooked nose, as well as the hilariously (now) entertaining method he used to get it broken, the doctor couldn't help but laugh when he was taking care of him. We were all three laughing actually. Fortunately, he isn't in much pain at all, and although the nose is broken, all of the surrounding facial bones are still intact. I don't think Kyle is ever going to let Matt live this down. "Dude... why did you try to catch it that way????"
They did perform a CT on him, but wouldn't let me take pictures of the screen this time. If you have never seen scans of your child's body parts, let me tell you... it is weird. It is like seeing a digital dissection taking place.
Then we waited, and waited, and waited a bit longer for the results. Matt was bored so he started taking pictures of me. I was chewing on a cough drop in this one, thus the weird expression. I have had a really nasty bronchial infection I have been fighting this last week, which is throwing another monkey wrench in my plans.
Then he wanted some of both of us. The other night I dyed my hair dark red again to cover up the grey, but my family seems intent on finding ways to grey it even faster.
When I got home from the ER with Matt, my mom showed me her leg, which has become quite red and swollen alarmingly quickly. I would like to say she is just trying to get attention, but unfortunately it is getting fairly serious. So today I called and made her an appointment at the only doctor who was available right before Thanksgiving.
He drew lines on her leg (they go all the way up her leg) to see where the red is. He wanted to hospitalize her today to get an intravaneous antibiotic going, but she convinced them to give her a shot and start some oral ABs until Friday. I will take her back in on Friday, and hopefully the infection will be clearing up. If not, we will be spending the day I took off to spend with her in the hospital together. Not what we had planned at all! But Iwant her well, so if that is what we must do, then that is what we will do.
Now, if you think that red skin on her leg was scary, you should have seen this dog as we were coming home. I have never seen a naked pink dog before. And while it looks quite sad, it is incredibly ugly as well. I did try to call him over, but he was tucked his tail (I think it has a tail) between his naked legs and ran. I kid you not, I got parked at Walmart and the guy who was driving behind me pulled up to ask me what that ugly thing was. I couldn't tell him. All I knew was it was a dog, but is he supposed to be so naked and pink??
You know, I am tired. I have spent too much time in the truck and medical facilities in the last 24 hours. I am going to do something tomorrow I never get to do anymore. I am sleeping until at least 7:30. 7:45 if I am feeling really rebellious. Then I am going to make sure Matt is propped in his chair, and Mom has her leg propped on her couch, and I am going to the church to cook a really big community Thanksgiving dinner. But I am not setting that into stone too much since we all know now what happens if I really try to make plans. God laughs. A lot.

PS... Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Baa Baa Sheep Cows

I do get a kick out of our hamburger neighbors. Beyond their normal mooing and grazing escapades, sometimes they do something new that gets my attention. They are becoming more accepting of my camera. Here are three of them looking at me. I think it is the bright red hair that has them so mesmerized.

This cow is the real topic of this story, though. I have seen her sometimes, but never when I have my camera available. Until I saw her nibbling on my weeds, I never knew there were cows with curly heads. She is always standing off from the herd, which has led me to wonder if she is a loner because of her curls. It looks like her mom fell madly in love with a sheep, and their two worlds combined, but mountain cows probably aren't as politically correct as city cows, and she was shunned.
I admit that I really know very little (well, nothing really) about the genetic make-up of cows. I know they come in chocolate, buttermilk, and cinnamon colors. I know they taste good broiled. I know they like to eat the grass in my garden. But I don't know if curly-haired sheep-cows are an anomoly, and up until yesterday, she was the only one I have ever seen.
But as I was taking her picture, this curly-headed cow came over. I was astounded in many ways. Cows don't generally ask to have their pictures taken this way. Apparently, she needed to be noticed. As hard as it is to be an albino curly-headed sheep-cow....
it must really be hard to be the blacksheep-cow of the family.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I found this in this week's police report. I love reading those reports!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Got Pumpkin?

I was in search of kitty ears on Halloween, and on the way into Walmart I found a bin of pumpkins for .98 each. The top of the bin was full of smaller pumpkins, and upon closer inspection I realized there were some nice big ones at the bottom of the box. Being vertically challenged, I did what any mother in search of the best deal available would do. I hoisted the strongest of my available off-spring into the box, where he lifted the big pumpkins out to me. Six pumpkins in one over-loaded cart later, we found the ears and went about the rest of the day.
I wanted the pumpkins for making my own pumpkin puree. With it being over a dollar a can, it is much more economical and better tasting to make my own. I had to wait until we had a free day, though, so last Saturday the kids helped carve up the pumpkins. Then I roasted all the pieces in the oven until they were soft.

Six large pumpkins make a LOT of puree. I wasn't expecting this much. I ended up bagging the puree into freezer bags in two -cup increments, totalling 50 bags. I can make two pies or cakes per bag. There are a lot of pumpkin pies, breads, cakes, muffins, cookies, etc in our future. A lot.
I started baking right away with a yummy pumpkin sheet cake. (I don't like whiskey or raisins, so I replaced them with crushed walnuts and cream cheese frosting.)
And while it cooled, I supervised Faith making cream cheese frosting. I would like to show you the final pictures, but they aren't available. That cake got frosted, and the kids ate it before I could take a picture. In fact, they ate it for dinner.
However, before you let yourself be shocked that I let my children eat a cake for dinner, just ask yourself if your children have ever eaten doughnuts for a meal. I figure that between the fresh pumpkin (veggie), the yogurt substituted for oil (dairy), and the nuts I baked into the cake (protein), they had a fairly balanced meal. It was certainly more healthful than fried dough with lard-based frosting, or deep-fried processed chicken parts! And it was incredibly delicious. Pumpkin... it's what's for dinner. Sometimes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eleven! Already?

Happy birthday, dear Faith! Happy birthday, dear Faith! Happy birthdaaaaaayyyyy...darling, dramatic, smart, beautiful daughhhhhhh-------terrrrr... Happy birthday to you!! We luv ya!!!

Faith got home from school today and we sang to her, ate cupcakes, and gave her her gifts. Faith wants to thank Papa and Leigh for the card and money, which arrived here right before she did, and she wants to thank Miss Nina for the jigsaw puzzles, and she would like to thank Hollywood for releasing the Twilight movie today. That was a really nice thing to do for her birthday! (I wanted to take her to the Third Day concert instead, but us all not feeling well made sitting in a theater vs standing at a concert a better idea.)

When the little party was over, Chet and Faith and I bundled up and headed to Harrison to catch the 5:25 viewing. I was right in guessing there might be seats available before everyone was off work. We got there at 5:20, there were about ten seats left, and the next two showings were already sold out.

We all enjoyed the movie. It is rare that I like a movie better than the book, but this is one of those rare moments. While I found the written humor in book form to be corny, it was brought out well in the movie and we all laughed a lot. There are details lost in the movie, of course, but in some ways it is a good thing simply because I don't like the underlying theme of the books. (A young girl who has never experienced any kind of adult life giving up her entire human future for her boyfriend.... uggghhhhh.....I just don't find it romantic at all.) It has been a good opportunity to have some really good conversations with both Chet and Faith as we have read the books, though, and they both really liked the movie. I had a great night with them....

and Faith said it was "the best birthday ever." Not bad for a birthday night out where all three of us were not feeling up to speed at all! Happy Birthday, Faithers! Feel better soon. To make up for missing Third Day, we are going to go see Casting Crowns and Natalie Grant in a couple of weeks. Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The State Play-Offs

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." Les Brown

I really do not like the end of this quote. Its inaccuracy bugs me. You would have to really overshoot the moon to land amongst the stars. If you don't make it to the moon, you really just kind of float aimlessly outside of the atmosphere unless there is something to bring you back to Earth.

The football team wasn't expected to go very far this year. Nobody thought they would win all but one game in their conference. Nobody thought they would go all the way to the state playoffs. But the boys didn't bother to listen to what "Nobody" thought. They slaughtered their way through their competition. They fought their way to the top. They shot for the moon, and last Friday the moon came out to watch them compete in the state play-offs.

It was a very cold night, and the game started later than normal. I knew Matt wouldn't play until the end of the game, so I kept the kids home in the house to stay warm. About halfway through the game we bundled up and made our way to the field.

I found Matt and the rest of the boys who weren't playing watching the game intensely. They were already losing 21-0 when we got there, but they still had a fight left in them.
I don't know why it touches me so much when the boys go their knees when a teammate is down. It does, though. It really does.
The Tigers got the ball back, and began powering down the field one down at a time.
They were determined to not walk away with a zero on their side of the board.
So they just kept moving down the field,
while their teammates followed them down the sidelines.
After several downs and tackles
(hey guys, incoming "ouch!") They finally made a touchdown, and picked up the extra point kicking the field goal.
At this point I went to take some pictures of the band for Crytal (not married to Nathan), and that was when Matt was sent in to play for about 30 seconds.
I didn't have time to even get my camera focused on him before he as brought back out and the game was called.
They didn't win the state play-offs, but the really important thing is that they made it to state against all the odds. You played a great season, guys.
I took the last shot of the coaches talking to the team after the game. (Matt told me when they got back to the field house, his coach officially "fired" them all for year.)
Then I watched my boy walk off the field for the last time this year. It was sad to see them disappointed, but I personally feel disappointment can be a great motivator. They shot for the moon, landed on their feet, and "Nobody" would be wise to not underestimate them next year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nature Walk

I went on a nature walk with Beth's class the other day. Things like this are one of my favorite parts of being a mom. I love how little kids see the world around them.
We started out at the school, where the kids all held onto a loop on a long leash to keep them together. I could have used one of those when I had 5 walking children under the age of 8.
This cat saw us coming and came running out to say hello. Enthralled with this friendly kitty, the kids made it a point to say hello to all the kitties and doggies they saw along the way.
Their teachers asked them questions about how the leaves got on the ground and other natural phenomonon to pique their collective interests.
Then a little boy noticed "the bee's holes" in the tree and the kids all chatted about the bees that must live there a little bit.
I think that might have disturbed the squirrel who has been filling the tree with his winter nuts.
We walked on...
and noticed that somebody feels the speed limits should be increased.
The kids kept seeing the "eagles"(hawks) that were circling overhead in quest of a tasty morning snack. Maybe that is why the squirrel was clinging to that branch and trying to stay uncharacteristically still. (We do have lots of bald eagles around, though.. they just don't come to town to hunt.)
The kids also enjoyed the water tower, but their favorite site to see was... of all things... the water meter covers. I should have taken a picture, but Beth wanted me to hold her hand at that point. They kept pointing the covers out every time we walked by one.
We saw some November roses blooming on a porch.
And then they all stopped to have their picture taken with the big Christmas tree.
We rounded the corner, and Beth showed everybody the church. I noticed somebody was heading towards the office, so I gave Beth a kiss good-bye and the group walked the remaining half-block back to the school. Here is a good example of why we participated in the sidewalk-building program. The town really needs some on at least some of the streets to give the kids a safer place to walk.
I picked Beth up a couple of hours later to come home, and as we passed our neighbor's pasture it became clear that she had really grabbed onto the concept of looking at the animals closely. "Look, Mommy!" she piped up, "That cow has a freckle butt! Take a picture of its freckle butt , Mommy!"
And I just couldn't take a picture of the freckled-butt cow without sharing it with you. Your life is complete now, isn't it?

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