Friday, April 26, 2013

A Bouquet For Mom

Every summer my kids bring in bundles of wildflowers found out in the pastures and fields.

The boy is the best at arranging them. Go figure.

Have you ever seen milkweed look so pretty?

I have allergies, but I don't want to hurt their feelings or prevent them from giving from their hearts, so I endure the sniffles and headaches. They are pretty in a very country way. I really do like them. I just wish my sinuses did too.

However, we have had a late spring this year. The wildflowers are later blooming. So, imagine my surprise when Baby brings me a full bouquet of "flowers". She's holding them behind her back and says, "I brought you something, Mommy. Please don't throw it out!" And then followed it with those sad puppy eyes reserved for just such an occasion. She pulls them from behind her back.

"Tada! I'll even put them in a vase for you, Mama."

Oh dear! Flowers have never looked so much like weeds to me! Now I'm "dupped up and diffling".

Happy spring and may you, too, get flowers of love.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Am The Mother Of Cousin It

Here's the proof.

Of course, Cousin It doesn't know who Cousin It even is.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wisdom From My Dad And Sometimes My Mom

I thought I'd share some wise words I remember from my childhood. Some are from my dad and some from my mom.

"Eat your vegetables. It will grow hair on your chest." Not something girls need to aim for and not something future husbands hope for.

"Does your nose run? Do your feet smell? You must be made upside down." No comment.

One time, we were re-modeling a camper. My mom had painted some drawers and set them outside to dry. Our dog, Chuck, came along and peed on one of them. She caught him in the act and yelled, " Chuck! If you pee on those drawers again I'll cut your little wiener off!" We've never let her forget that.

"Pretty is as pretty does." This was in response to us girls talking about how cute a boy was.

We got this one every time we went somewhere. "Do what you know is right." How many times had I wished they would forget to say that so I could be naughty. Not really. Sort of.

"We all have an infinite ability for self-justification." Let that sink in.

"Just because someone else does it, doesn't make it right." Yes, but it still might be fun.

"This is no place for fun!" The funny thing about that phrase was that it was said by my mother, in a serious voice, while we were on vacation. She didn't see the irony until we burst out laughing and pointed it out to her. My poor mother. Most of us inherited my dad's sense of twisted, sarcastic humor. My mother was born without it. Unfortunately for her, sometimes it was too much for us to ignore.

"You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose." It's no wonder I'm brilliant with wisdom like that!

That's all I can think of right now. Did you grow up with any imparted wisdom from your parents? Or did you pass some on to your kids?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Drought Has Ended

In the last day or so we have had over 6 inches of rain. It literally thundered and lightninged  an entire 24 hours, non-stop. Our pond has recovered and is back up to where it should be. I'll bet the fish are glad to have more room again.

Because of all the rain, I had another adventure. What's more fun than wrestling greased pigs into tutus and leotards? Cleaning carpeting in a basement that's been flooded with muddy rain water! Good thing we went down last night and moved stuff out of the way, so I just had to clean the carpets and nothing got ruined.

Buddy was allowed inside during the storms because he has sensitive ears and it was very windy. Yes, we baby him. Today, however, he has been made to stay outside again. Like a dog. A dog who is muddy. He has taken to howling in order to be let in. Ok, I actually have been training him to howl to ask to come in, rather than just bark. I think it's funny to hear him howl. I'm weird. You should see what I make the kids do to ask to come inside.

We had an exciting event here yesterday. One of our cats, Mrs Puff, had her kittens. She had five but one died right away. The other four are doing well. She seems to be a wonderful mother. As pretty as she is, her kittens did not inherit her beauty. She had two orange tigers, an orange and white, and a black multi-colored. One of the orange ones is sooo tiny. I'm hoping it'll make it. It seems full of life, though. Here are some photos of it. The pictures can't really show you just how small it is. We have one more mama to go yet.

That's the happenings around here lately.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Animals Are Thankful

The other day I posted about our adventures in mulching around the house and yard. Now I want to show you how much the cats appreciate the new litter boxes and beds.

Don't worry. I'm only going to show you how they appreciate the beds we put in for them. I'll let your imagination show you how they use the flower beds for a litter box. You're welcome.

 Sorry about bad quality of the picture of Buddy. I had to take the photo through the screen window so he wouldn't get up when he saw me.

I just hope they don't get too used to it. When the plants come up, the animals are out!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Hose, A Hanger, And Lots Of Water

Let's suppose that a certain farm wife told her farm husband that it was warm enough outside at night to be able to turn on the water out in their barn. This would allow the farm family to use the toilet and sink out there so they wouldn't have to run to the house all the time. It would also allow them to clean a very winter-messy shop and prepare for an upcoming garage sale. The farm wife likes things in her garage sales to be clean and sparkly as much as possible when she sells them.

Anyway, the farm wife's farm husband finally gives in and turns on the water to the barn. After all, the animal waters have not frozen in many weeks. He turns it on and we work out there a whole day, scrubbing, cleaning, organizing. No issues with the water.

The next day, the farm wife goes out to the other barn to measure some stuff and finds no tape measure. She heads to the shop in the other barn to get a tape measure. She opens the door. She hears a great noise. (great= loud, not super awesome, oh-happy-day) She looks. Oh no! There is an inch of water in the bathroom and surrounding rooms. She rushes to the bathroom where the water shut off valve is located and shuts off the gushing, spraying geyser. Now what?

There are boxes on the floor full of garage sale stuff. Move those. There is an antique buffet that the farm family is using for a sink base in the bathroom. Thankfully, they have yet to install the sink, so the oldest of the farm kids helps the farm wife move it out of the bathroom and to a dry place. They get the wet/dry vac and clean up the mess. They enlist the help of the other farm kids and move all the garage sale stuff into the main (and dry) area of the shop. Crisis cleaned and cleared.

Now this sore farm wife returns to the house with the carpet vac she used to finish drying the shop floor. She decides to scrub out the dirty water container since it stinks. She fills it in the sink, empties it, and waits for the sink to drain. She waits and she waits. The sink doesn't drain. Now what?

Go find the only wire hanger in the house and straighten the hook. Use pliers to make a small hook at the end. Fish out a sucker stick and a bit of gunk out of the drain. Fill sink with water. Wait for it to drain. She waits and she waits. Again. The sink still doesn't drain. She uses her hand to create suction like a toilet plunger. It works a little. She repeats the process. It helps a bit more. She realizes her hand is just too small to cover the drain completely. She looks around and grabs the sink drain stopper. She uses it the same way as she uses a toilet plunger. It works! The sink drains quickly.

She does it a few more times to make sure the drain is cleared up. Crisis two for the day has been handled.

The farm wife goes outside and measures what she needed to measure first thing that morning. She is quite glad the the farm husband didn't have a tape measure in the barn. It meant more work, but it saved money and a bigger disaster. And it saved a work-weary husband from a mess later.

The farm wife apologizes that she didn't take before and after pictures for you. She was distracted. She hopes your day is a bit better.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Boy Turns 11

Every day for the last month or so, The Boy has had a daily countdown to his birthday. 

As we got closer, I began to tell him that I couldn't have an 11 year old boy and he'd have to stay 10. I'd also tell him we were skipping his birthday this year, there was no April 12 in 2013, and he just had a birthday last year so he couldn't have one this year. None of this worked. He would just smile or laugh, call me a name, and go on his merry way.

His sisters started planning the party they would throw him. They colored placemats, name plates, and worked on drawing a donkey for pin the tail on the donkey. Sissy even decided to read fortunes. I'm not sure where she got this, but it has provided me with much laughter as I eavesdrop on her "fortunes".

This last one cracks me up.

And now I have an 11 year old boy! This is so not fair. First, Sissy decides to turn 12 and now The Boy gets older. Who's next, Baby? It's not gonna happen. I have to keep one of them little and sweet forever. She's quick, but still small enough that if I can catch her unaware, I can wrangle her to the ground, tie her up, and force her to stay my little baby forever. That's my plan. Don't anyone tell her. She sneaky and smarter than me, she doesn't need your help!

Back to The Boy. And his birthday. First thing this morning, he got up and his sisters ran at him yelling, "Happy birthday!" The three of them jumped excitedly around the living room. Then, Baby insisted on giving him her present. Oh the joy!

First, the card.

Then, the gifts.

Next, Sissy's card.

Finally, the hug.

I had to print out a donkey, since they couldn't figure out how to draw one. We thought this one was hilarious.

Sissy decided The boy needed a crown. "Boy, you need a crown, so I'm going to need your head."

Do you want to know how to get your house clean quickly? Tell three excited children that they can't decorate for a birthday party until the house is clean. They clean with energy and fervor and excitement. Maybe we should have parties everyday!

The Boy just wanted a plain cake, but we knew we were getting him a truck and trailer, so I added a little embellishment to the cake. Sissy wanted to try using the piping bag, so she did quite a bit of the green. Baby tried a few "plants" but found it a bit difficult for her little hands.

The kids wanted to make individual pizzas, so I got it all ready and let them go at it.

The candles are blown out.

 Now, we did get him other presents but every picture I took had so much movement that you may get motion sickness just looking at it.

Happy Birthday, Boy! Now, NO MORE!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Math Question

Baby comes up to me and asks, "Mom, I have one thousand dollars and another five hundred. How much do I have?"

Excitement rises in me. Somehow my Baby has come into riches. My kids have always gotten complete strangers to give them money wherever they go. Because of this, I'm hoping Baby has finally found a rich old man who decided to give my kids all his money before he dies.

I look around for The Boy and Sissy, hoping they both had also met this rich, old man and had loads of cash. I spot them both on the living room floor.

Playing Monopoly.

My dreams die.

The end.

Except they caught me taking the picture of them. They were worried I was taking a photo of them fighting. I told them I was only taking a picture of them playing the game. I was focused on writing my blog post and heard Baby say to one of the kids, " You're a troll." Hmmmm, I must have missed something good.

On a non-related and somewhat related note, Sissy was asked to tell me what change I would have gotten for a twenty if my bill was sixteen dollars. After answering incorrectly, and being shown up by both of her siblings, she replied, " It's summer break. I don't have to know math!" Her math teacher sucks and should be fired!

Yep, we only have to know things during the school year. That's going to be my attitude this summer, too. "Mom, what's for supper?"

"It's summertime. I don't know anything."

My summer just got great!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Another Day Outside

The kids and I were outside by 8 this morning. We had work to do. The area next to the front porch was next on our list. The rain is staying up north of us until this evening, so I want to get as much done as possible. 

We brought up our landscape edging bricks and laid them out. The porch drains toward this area, so I dug a small trench to allow the water to escape out to the yard. Then, we filled it all in with mulch except the trench.

We have front steps that we never use. See the tulips planted in front of them. In the past, I incorporated the steps into the landscaping, but this year I wanted them to look more like an entryway to our home. I curved the bricks to meet up with the steps.

Next, we worked on the area on the other side of the steps. We laid out our bricks and filled it in with mulch and moved my little bench to the area. Not much grows here because it's shady and the soil has been rather compacted. There also used to be bushes here. We pulled those out a couple of years ago and I've been working on amending the soil. Now I have a few hostas and other shade-loving plants in here, but it still needs more. I usually forget what all I have planted, so I'll wait until things come up more to see where I need to fill in.

After that, we were out of mulch. We laid out the rest of the bricks we had across the front of the house. I'm short and need to buy more for along the north side, when I go in to get more mulch.

Finally, we took up bricks from the area on the east side of the garage. The bricks had been buried over the years of chicken baths in the dirt there. This is one sad flower bed! I may put in another flower box like by the front porch. Or I may just use the landscape bricks here, too. I'm not sure, yet. While working in this area the other day, the kids found a bat. He's been there for at least the last three days. I told the girls they could poke him gently today to see if he was alive. He squawked at us and spread his wings. Yep, he's alive! You should have seen how fast Sissy ran after poking it and seeing it move! Now the kids want to build a bat house. We'll see. It may be a good project for a rainy day.

Things are a bit muddy, so the shoes have to come off before we enter the house. At least until the mud dries enough to be shook off.

I called the store and their mulch truck just came in. We went to town and got 40 more bags of mulch and 75 landscape edgers. We drove home and got right to work. After a brief supper, we were back at it. By the end of the day, we had all the flower beds completely done. Whew! We used 103 bags of mulch! Sissy's hands and mine are raw and sore, but we did it.

I'm torn. I don't want it to rain because I have so much to do yet, but I do want it to rain so I can rest my weary body.

I can't believe how helpful the kids have been! My old body would never have been able to do all that by myself. Well maybe. If I took the entire summer! Sissy is especially helpful at picking up and carrying things. The Boy tries to get out of as  much of the hard work as possible. Unless he can look like a macho, strong man doing it. Baby tries her best, but is still too little to carry most of the heavier stuff. She was so proud when she lifted and carried her first bag of mulch. She cheered and jumped up and down insisting I cheer, too. She does, however, sing for us while we work. And she tells the other two when their brick isn't quite right. I have really enjoyed working with my kids these last few days. That's not something I say very often. I usually prefer to be alone when I work.

Now I just have to wait for all my beautiful plants to emerge so the beds don't look so bare.