Daily Life

I’m Off to the Fair

The County Fair is next week. Ours is pretty small compared to some but it is still the highlight of the season. Even though we rarely enter anything into it we still like to go and see the talents and skills of those who do enter.

This year I was a little more on top of my game. Yes, we should have been working on stuff all year long for this event but at least I warned the kids a few weeks ago that if they had anything they wanted to enter that they better get it ready. Michael has some artwork that he has spent countless hours on. He touched it up and we printed it off. Oh my goodness that kid has got some talent. That and he spends countless hours on it. I used to do the same at his age. So did Alex. That is one thing that we wish we spent more time on is art.

Benjamin had some pictures that he had worked on as well so I printed one off so he can enter as well. I took a pretty cool picture the other day of one of my cats in the strawberry patch and the composition and all that was spot on. Unfortunately I took it with my inferior camera. The pixels are low and it isn’t the best quality. Had I gone for my camera I would have missed the moment. I’ll enter it anyways. No harm in trying.

I got up early this morning to make some sweet rolls to enter as well. I entered them several years ago but I have improved since then and again, why not give it a try. My great grandmother was really in to the fair. She was pretty amazing. After her funeral her kids divided up her fair ribbons. Shoe boxes full of them and a lot of them were Grand Champion and Sweepstakes at the state level. She obviously knew what she was doing. I will probably never get to that level, but I guess I have years ahead to keep trying.

Also this year our garden has been good. My family loves cabbage- even the kids. We planted lots of cabbage this year and three of them are huge. I picked the third largest one for dinner a couple nights ago and it weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces. I only used half of it for dinner and we still had a few leftovers. The others are bigger so I think I will probably enter those two into the fair and see what comes of it.

We are lucky where we are and that our community is so small. We haven’t got Covid-19 in our community and the fair is being conducted as normal. My sister’s fair is bare bones. Her kids have steers they have been raising and all the circus that goes along with steers and the fair has been cut down to just a few quick showings. It is sad how this year has cut out so much fun. We have had fun in others ways, but the normal things we look forward to have changed so drastically or disappeared that it is quite a sad thing to behold. So I am going to enjoy our small little county fair this year.

So wish us luck.

Daily Life

Missing

Last night and this morning were stressful. There is a holiday around here where we celebrate our pioneer heritage and some celebrate with fireworks. I didn’t use fireworks and never saw any but we sure heard them. For over two hours. Boom! Boom! Boom! I am half deaf and didn’t know they were going on until later.

After prayer we sent the kids to bed and the dog wasn’t sleeping where she normally does. We’d left her out back to go do her thing. We looked all over inside the house. Called outside. Walked around the neighborhood. Drove around the neighborhood. She was nowhere to be found. I told the kids she’d probably be home by morning.

I was wrong.

I had gotten up several times in the night to check and see if she was outside the front door. She wasn’t. I prayed and worried myself sick. At just before six as the sun was about to peek over the horizon I got up and dressed and got Michael up and had him come with me to drive around and look for our dog. No sign of her. We figured the fireworks scared her away. We always put her in the house during fireworks. This year all the festivities were canceled due to covid so I didn’t think about it.

When we came home from the first drive of looking I put a notice out on Facebook about what happened and a picture. A friend suggested I call the police. I did. They didn’t have her but would let me know if she was brought in.

I was restless and teary the whole morning. I had done all I could. It was a waiting game now. I sat at the table making rolls and Benjamin came up behind me and gave me a hug. He said it would all be okay and that she would be home soon. It was so sweet of him and I really hoped for the kids’ sake that it was true.

A few hours later a friend commented on my post that a woman on another Facebook page had found my dog. Yes! My stomach had been clenched tight for hours and it finally relaxed. The woman called me and we confirmed that it was indeed Skylar, my dog. I kept crying but this time tears of gratitude and happiness. We went and picked up Skylar. The people who found her said they found her in the back corner of their yard just shaking. She had managed to get herself over a mile away through lots of fields to where she ended up. When we got to her and saw her we were so happy. She jumped in the van right away. The kids were petting her and talking to her. Lauren and I were crying. I think the dog was relieved, too. She doesn’t do well when we’re gone and to be lost probably put her over the edge. She stuck closer to me than usual the rest of the day.

The kids think that I don’t like the dog. I really do and I hope they realize it now. She is with me pretty much all day and though I sometimes need a break, I do care about her.

When we got home we said prayers of gratitude. Gratitude that she was returned to us so quickly. Gratitude that she was alive and unharmed. Gratitude for the help of others in finding her.

I really hope she never goes missing again. She will definitely be inside on all firework holidays and days surrounding them from now on.

Daily Life

Finally Feels Like Summer

I got a lot done today. A lot of cleaning and laundry and decluttering. Granted a lot of the clutter left the house only to make it to the garage. I’ll get to it eventually. I always do. I got the lawn watered and the last of the flowers planted.

I did not want to exercise this morning. I’d slept in -not on purpose- and felt like I would not get the day accomplished if I took time out to exercise.

Excuses.

I exercised anyways.

And I got so much done. I’m glad I didn’t give in to the excuses.

In working so hard all day by the time four o’clock came around I decided to take a timeout. I sat and watched Noah ride his bike everywhere. Then I decided to join him. I grabbed my scooter and Noah and I rode around the block. Skylar came with us which was a good thing because she needed a run. I enjoyed the time with Noah. He’s a tough kid. He crashed his bike twice, got up, dusted himself off and got back on his bike and kept riding. He did stop once to see if his knee was bleeding. It wasn’t.

Later, after dinner, Alex suggested we go play basketball. I ran with the idea and calmed all the kids and we went to the park. We jumped rope, played on the playground set and played basketball. Evangeline had never seen such a thing. She was running all over with a big smile on her face giggling and clapping the whole time. She loved it. Lauren was shy at first and said she didn’t know how to play. I told her to just get in there and she managed to make a basket on her first try.

Afterwards we were all hot and sweating. The kids all ran home to get into the pool to cool off. I’l never understand why they all have to shout and scream when they are all literally the feet from each other.

It was a good day. It finally feels like summer. We (I) got a lot done and I got to play with my kids. At the end of the day Alex found me sitting in a chair by the raspberry bushes. I was watching all the honey bees busily flying from flower to flower in the setting sun. It might seem a little bit of a crazy thing to do but after a long and full day it was nice to just sit and mindlessly watch the bees.

I’ll leave you tonight with a picture of Luna. She was sleeping so funny that I had to take a picture.

Daily Life

Last Day of (Elementary) School

I got a late start this morning because my stomach was bothering me. Never fun.

It is finally warm enough to walk without a jacket and the dog was up early barking at the backyard. The neighbor’s yorkie was running around my chicken coops. I headed out and there was nothing I could do but wait for my dog to chase it out, which she did. They get along just fine but Skylar is protective of everything. I fed the chicks and cats and took off on my walk. One of the cats came, too. I am sure I looked ridiculous walking around the track with a cat following me. She followed the entire half mile before I was done being followed and went home. She followed me home. Actually, I followed her. Weird cat.

School assignment deadlines are on Friday. Lauren had one class’ worksheets to finish and turn in. There was lots of drama. So much drama. It seems the kids all pitch a fit until they realize I really will sit next to them all day long so they might as well buckle down and get it done. She did. All done and turned in with a minute to spare before the school was done for the day and locked up.

It wore me out though having to sit there and listen to her chattering and reading out loud and thinking out loud for 2 hours. But she is officially dinne with elementary school. It is off to junior high for her next year. And then another starts elementary school. They are growing up so fast! I’ll worry about all that in a few months. I’m going to enjoy the summer.

But, after dealing with the last few weeks and months I’ve decided I just can’t do homeschool unless it is my only option. I could get organized, I could get the curriculum all set to go, but some of my kids and I clash. One child takes instruction from others great but from me it is a battle and always has been. She has to do it herself. So I am realizing it just won’t work. I can be a support and cheerleader and help that way.

With the weather warmed up finally I need to get the summer clothes out of storage, store the winter clothes and take stock of what I need to buy. But first the garage needs to be cleaned so i can get to the boxes. I have this dream of taking everything out of the garage, cobbled shelves, scavenged cupboards, etc., everything! And starting over with a nice organized garage system. I can tell you that will not be happening anytime soon. But I can dream!

Nothing much else got done. The kids had fun and Evangeline made messes because that’s what a one year old does.

I had made bread earlier in the day and it was fantastic. Softest bread! It made for really good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It all got eaten so I’ve got to make more. I wish I had an outdoor oven though because without an air conditioner the house gets so hot.

The kids’ elementary school had a drive by parade tonight. The teachers all stood lined up in front of the school and the students would be in the cars and drive by. My van is a fishbowl and I noticed the teachers laughing. We looked back and the kids were all smashing their faces against the windows. That would look funny. It was a fun way to say goodbye for the year.

After we got home from the parade Alex sat down to watch Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is one of his favorites. I watched for a bit but left to do something that needed doing. Of course I got distracted and ended up folding laundry. Then Noah asked me to go outside and sit on the hammocks with him. Sure thing. I went outside, watered the garden and then asked Noah which one he wanted to sit on. He told me he would sit on one and I would sit on another. Okay. If that’s how he wants it. He eventually did end up sitting next to me.

Bedtime went smoothly but Gideon woke us up crying about growing pains. I really wish he would grow ot of their has been going on for years. At least they are less frequent now. I got up (at 1:30 a.m. mind you) to help him. As I walked him to the stairs I looked into the basement and saw another kid walk by. I’m going to have to take away all the electronics. Apparently some of them are staying up way too late.

Daily Life

Long Weekend

It was Memorial Day weekend and we used it but I didn’t have much fun. It was a lot of work. It was raining on Friday and Saturday all day both days until it finally cleared out Saturday night. Sunday was very slow, I even got a nap in. Monday I managed to sleep in until 7.We did a bit of yardwork- I weeded an insane amount but 1-inch weeds are tedious to pull.But the bare ground looks good. (No picture of just dirt- sorry.)Alex worked in the house on the rainy days finishing the closet we wanted built. We have decided that when we do the remodel that we are hiring drywallers. We can do it but we are so slow at it. This closet that we built will be nice though. It will not be some awkward empty room. The kids are still deciding who gets the room. I want none of them to have it. Guest room, folks!We have two cats and zero mice. We wondered where the mice went. Did the cats eat them? We never saw proof, we just guessed. On Sunday morning I found proof. Yellow feathers in the garage. Mostly eaten bird carcass. Apparently they take care of mice and birds. I’m sad about the bird part. I love birds. But the cats are good hunters so I’ll take the occasional bird casualty if it means no mice.We watched a few movies over the weekend. The kids enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog. They said it was one big commercial for various companies. Kind of lame. Alex and I watched the new Emma adaptation. Other than one maybe two quick scenes-that were entirely unnecessary- we loved it. It was quirky but well done. I’d buy it and watch it again.Monday afternoon we had a picnic in our backyard. The grill was out of propane and so was the town. Alex started a fire in the fire pit and we cooked the meat that way. We set up all the hammocks (I’ve collected 3 over the years) and all the kids had fun swinging in them. It was a fun night topped off by watching Jurassic Park. Our friends stopped by for a bit and it was good to see them. It was weird having people knock on the door again. After almost three months of not having anyone over it throws a body off. The kids loved it.Earlier a neighbor also stopped by to drop off a bunch of rhubarb stalks. The kids were excited. My friend made a rhubarb crisp for us one year and my kids loved it. So do I. I will have to make it for them soon. I chopped the stalks up and put them in the freezer for later. I have a rhubarb plant but it isn’t nearly as big as my neighbors’ plants are. I guess I need to find a sunnier spot?It was a pretty productive weekend. Now maybe we can relax a bit now that summer and warmer weather is here. Maybe. There is a giant project looming. The kitchen. Oh well, work is a good thing. We’ll make time to play.

Daily Life

Keeping Busy

Boy am I beat. I just kept going all day today. And yesterday, come to think of it. There’s no middle ground. Go go go or sit and veg. I sat down and wrote out a list and we knocked out 90% of it today. I finished painting the baseboards in the living room and cleaned the room up. Mopped it all under all the furniture even. Then the boys mowed the lawn. I organized the toys and I didn’t have the kids help me. They had a chance and I did show them the garbage bag. I threw a couple of broken and miscellaneous toys away. They will never know.

I got the kitchen floors all mopped while Alex was building a closet. Later when I was supposed to be watching a movie I was working on my planner and when I started getting antsy I got up and deep cleaned my bathroom. Like took the toilet seat off and scrubbed it deep clean. It was after nine at night and I was cleaning.

But it was a good day aside from the cleaning. When i was about to wash the door to paint it Noah came running up with what I thought was a mouse in his hand. It was a baby bird!

It is a sandpiper. So cute. It ran away as soon as we put it in a safer place. It could run but not fly yet. I hope it is okay.

Later Noah gave me another gift. We play this game where he puts something in a box and gives it to me and I act so surprised. Well he brought me a box and I opened it and it was a real surprise- an old container of worms for fishing. I told him what it was and he was grossed out. I hope he continues to play the game with me but just not with worms.

Elizabeth had a rough kind of day. She licked an ice cube and her tongue stuck. She had no experience with that and ripped her tongue away. Some of it was left on the ice cube. Her tongue was bleeding and she was screaming. I guarantee she won’t be doing that again. I felt bad for the poor dear.

I am tired now and whether or not the kids want to go to bed they have to.

Daily Life

Monday and Tuesday

I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: I am not good at this school from home thing. Rumors are that school in the fall will be a continuation of the same. Please no.

Both days I spent hours upon hours working with each child individually. One subject at a time we finished all their work for the year. We are almost done. A few more subjects, a few more tears, a few more threats, a few more meltdowns. That’s all. We can handle it. Right? We have to. My sister told her kids that summer school will be open so they better get their work done so they don’t have to go. We are all getting desperate.

On Monday I had a bunch of energy. I even managed to get the kids to help me weed the dandelions from the front yard. We got several buckets filled. We have about a fifth of the front yard to go. They didn’t mind the work for the most part.

We stayed busy all both monday and Tuesday with school, weeding, cleaning and of course the kids played. I am tired at the end of the day. It is a good thing.

So I have to laugh. My neighbors are all retired and apparently keeping tabs on what’s going on is what they like to do. Saturday Alex and I went on a morning walk and we were stopped by one neighbor who was looking at another neighbor’s yard. A sprinkling system was being put in and he had no qualms about inspecting it. As he finished showing us the spectacle he said we better get to our two mile walk. Shows how close he watches, I usually only walk a mile. Haha.

Then yesterday as I was weeding another neighbor came over to talk. We talked about weeds but then before he left he asked how far I walk every morning. I told him as much as I have time for. See, nothing gets past these people but it can be a good thing. Nothing gets by them so I get the extra eyes on my house and kids.

Tonight though we had a bit of a tragedy with the chicks. Turns out the big chickens are bullies of the worst kind. We had a chick die. Lauren discovered it and it was hers that died. Poor thing. There were tears shed. It is unfortunate. Alex spent two hours building a separate yard and shelter for the little chicks to stay in until they can better defend themselves- get bigger. It is upsetting to put time effort and money into something only to have it die. I feel bad every time we lose one.

Today Lauren made a toy for the cats. That’s all well and good but she insisted the cat be in her room while she made it. I told her it was a bad idea but let her make her own choices. She is allergic to cats; most animals, actually. She paid for it tonight. Itchy eyes and all that comes with it. Now we have to wash everything in her room tomorrow. I don’t think she’ll make that choice again.

Tomorrow I have to take Elizabeth to the dentist. She’s been worried and crying all week. We’ll see how she does. I’ll give an update tomorrow. Until then though, I’ve got to get some sleep.

Daily Life

God Loves Marshmallows

We went to bed early last night so I didn’t take time to write.

Yesterday though, I got an early start. It was below freezing and I was waiting for it to warm up before I went on a walk. I got up and started folding laundry and it dawned on me that I could do my workout first and then go on a walk. It’s weird how routines get us in a rut and other ideas take a while to be heard. So I started a load of laundry and then did my workout and walk. I am incredibly sore this morning. I don’t mind the muscle aches from actually doing something. The muscle aches/tiredness from not doing anything is way worse in my mind. Mostly because one ache is from doing something hard and accomplishing something and the other is from avoiding doing something hard.

Right now I’m loosely following the diet I used previously to lose 25 lbs. The scale is going down again and it is a very good thing. My mom and some of my siblings are following the eating plan as well. I have one sister who has to follow it because she is allergic to so many things.

Anyways, after my workout I got ready for the day and got a lot done. It made up for all the days this week that were less than productive. The laundry got washed and put away, dishes done and the kitchen cleaned up. I then sat and made kids do some schoolwork. We may be behind in some subjects but all the kids have finished all their math assignments early. They are done with math for the year. Yay! Now to catch up on all the reading.

So yesterday the chicks turned six weeks old. They have all their big girl feathers. Time to go out into the real world. Poor dears. The real world is harsh- especially if you are the new chicks. Literally.

Pecking order is a real thing. See the big Red Hen? She’s the boss. Those poor little chicks are going to be put in their place. They can’t do anything without her permission or she’ll peck them. Ouch. So the newbies just cower in the corner. The chicks had their own boss. She’s a brave one but she will have to reign in her pride or she might fight it out eventually to be the boss. Time will tell. Either way, they survived their first night outside in the coop.

Yesterday Lauren was playing with Evangeline in my room while I was folding more clothes. They were just being silly when I heard a new voice chime in “I got you!” Clear as a bell and unmistakable. Evangeline talked. She said “thank you” clearly at dinner as well. I asked her to say other words and she did. Of course she wouldn’t say a word when I had the camera on recording her. But she talked! 17 months old next week. All but one of my kids started talking at this age. It is so cute but I love it because I don’t have to guess what is wrong or what they need anymore, they can tell me. It is a happy thing but I get a little sad to because all my babies are growing up. I registered Lauren for junior high yesterday. Like I said, happy but sad.

The other day Noah came up to me and said, “God likes eating marshmallows.” He spoke it with such authority that I don’t doubt it’s true. He is a funny kid. He was asking me to help him get his bike out of the garage the other day and I told him just I would in a few minutes. “What does in a few minutes mean?”, he asked. I love that him and Elizabeth hear a word and instead of guessing or assuming what something means, they ask. It is so cute to watch them learn.

Well, the sun is racing across the morning sky. I need to get the day going. Lots of stuff planned. We’ll see how much I actually get to.

Daily Life

Saturday Stuff

One thing we have been doing around here is gardening. Alex planted the cold crops: cabbage, radish, broccoli, etc. So many radishes. They are easy to grow so why not. These radishes are special because they came from a radish we planted last year and harvested the seeds from. That’s the first time we’ve done that.

We cleaned and cleaned today. Well, I did. Does it look like it? Not really. Kids are really messy. Mine are anyways.

Today was also haircut day. Alex cut the boys hair, I cut bangs for Lauren and then I cut Alex’s hair. It had been awhile so all the kids look so different now. Except Benjamin because he won’t let us touch his hair. Fine by me. Not a hill I’m willing to die on. Alex on the other hand went all the way with the haircut. Really short and he shaved off his beard. He looks 10 years younger and unrecognizable to our youngest daughter. She was scared of him all day. I had to change all the diapers, hold her, do everything for her that he would normally help with on Saturday because she wouldn’t let him near her. Eventually she let him hold her but she wouldn’t look at him. I’m glad I got it on video.

The chicken is still alive, if you were interested to know. Alex gave her another warm bath and she calmly sat in it. Hopefully she heals quickly.

I had Alex go for a walk with me this morning. I am sure onlookers thought it was the weirdest looking walk. We would be together then half a length apart, fast then slow and also dodging the dog in between because she couldn’t figure out who to walk next to. I prefer to walk by myself I decided. I can talk to my sister on the phone or listen to music or podcasts and go at my own pace for as long as I want. But I will never say no to walking with my best friend (Alex) even if the pace is a bit erratic.

We watched the 2019 version of Nancy Drew. I loved it. It was cute and Lauren now wants to read the books. Yay! My mom has a lot of the books so we can borrow them maybe when all things are back to normal-ish.

I had to stay up late Saturday night. I forgot to make bread for the sacrament on Sunday. We quickly made a batch and have to stay up to bake it. At least we can sleep in.

Elizabeth had a breakout of eczema this week. None of my kids have ever had it so I knew it had to be an allergic reaction. It couldn’t be from washing her hands because that would effect both hands. I was talking to my mom and she said I should give her vitamins. Light bulb moment! The only thing that had changed was that we’d started giving the kids a new vitamin this week. It had to be it. She has to be allergic to something in the vitamins. So I explained that we were going to do an experiment and see if it makes a difference. She has been off from them for 2 days now and her hand is healing, the rash is going away. I will not be buying that brand again.

That is what we’ve been up to. Im looking forward to a relaxing Sunday.

Daily Life

What a Day

I got up this morning (Friday) and I went for a walk. I took the dog with me this time and she is enjoyed it. Since I got her the new harness and retractable leash she is so much better behaved. She stays right next to me and ignores everything that would normally distract her. As we were walking to the high school track one of the cats was following us. She followed us all the way to the neighbor’s fence where I picked her up to carry her past the neighbor’s dogs. I put her down on the gravel at the playground by the track and she just stood there and meowed at me. I gave in and started walking home. The cat led the way. Every few meters or so she would stop and turn around to make sure I was following her. We made it back to the house and I fed her and her sister in the garage and she let me go on my walk. Such a silly cat.

When Alex got home around noon I had him help me with the school stuff. We had all the kids in the “classroom” and we both supervised two kids each and another child used the computer in the basement. She is the only one I trust to keep at her work without supervision. It took hours but they got a lot done. I am proud of Benjamin because even though he hated it he begrudgingly did it and he got all of his assignments done except the book report that is due next week. He’s all caught up now.

The day before when we went to check on the chickens we noticed one wasn’t acting right. We did some research and got the bird into the “hot tub”. It was just a bin with warm water and Epsom salt. We soaked her bum because she looks to have one of two conditions and neither are good. She looks miserable. We’ll give her a good soak twice a day and hopefully that clears it up. Poor thing.

In the mail the parts to repair the broken couch came. I had planned on doing it myself but Alex did most of it. He replaced the springs. I will do the fabric covering next. But we can comfortably sit on it again! If I catch the kids jumping on it they will be in trouble.

While Alex and I were taking the staples out to fix the couch Noah came and stood next to me and started messing with my hair. This is fairly normal for the kids to do. My hair is over two feet long. After a minute or so I turned to look at him and he had scissors in his hands and was about to cut my hair! Three/four year olds are adorable but they are also terrors! I’m so glad I turned around before he did any major damage. He said he got a few hairs cut. You really have to keep a close eye on kids because you never know what will go on in their heads.

When I’d ordered the parts to the couch (three weeks ago) I also ordered one of my favorite movies, “Babe“, the pig movie. It is such a cute, fun movie. It came yesterday (I’d intended it for Easter but delivery being what it is nowadays) so we sat as a family and watched it while we fixed the couch.

I had made the peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s kisses on them for the movie night. The kids ate them okay but it always annoys me when the just lick the chocolate off them and leave a soggy cookie. Evangeline was sitting on my lap watching the movie and getting cookie crumbs all over me. She finally paid attention to the movie and noticed the animals were talking. She is one so it was fun to see her amazement as she pointed and giggled at the tv.

Today is Saturday and other than the usual cleaning we haven’t got much planned. Yesterday I asked the kids if they wanted to go on a drive. The fourteen year old nodded his head enthusiastically. I said if we went to the store he couldn’t go in. He said that’s fine, he just wants to go somewhere- anywhere. He’s tired of being cooped up. When a teenage boy who never wants to go anywhere wants to go somewhere you know he’s getting fed up. He even went out and played with the cat. He gave the dog a bath yesterday too to get out of homework- hahaha!

So we’ll see what happens today. Oh yeah, we’d planned on doing haircuts. Not my favorite but Alex said he’d do all but his own. That he’ll leave to me.