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, Sunday

Gardens and Family

The weekend was so busy!

Friday and Saturday was spent on errand running and yardwork. Usually I am the first one on the block to have my flower garden in. Not this year. I was the last. I don’t think I’ll do that again. The nursery near my house was completely out of flowers. We came home and loaded the kids into the van just to get them out of the house and to make the yearly pilgrimage to our usual nursery for plants. Most of the kids enjoy it. They all get to pick out several flowers for the gardens and they have fun doing it. My flower gardens are never the same color year after year. I also have what I have dubbed my “odd” garden. When the kids pick or random flowers I have no idea what to do with then so I plant them all in this one garden so they can look at their choices. It’s always colorful.

Gardens always look so sparse when the flowers are just babies. (And I did spray those weeds and yes, there is still a lot of work to do. So much work!)

In my front garden- sorry, no pictures yet- I had two daylily plants that have been getting bigger every year. I finally divided them. I dug them out and Alex and I chopped them into three or four each and spread them farther apart in the garden. Yay! Now I’ve got more foliage going on. I’ve just got to wait for the tulips to finish dying back for the year. They are taking forever and look very haggard.

Luckily, the one flowers, Alyssum, that I grow every year reseeded themselves because both nurseries were completely sold out of them.

Enough garden talk.

Sunday, Father’s Day, was pretty laid back. We took our time getting ready for church (actually I hadn’t washed Alex’s white shirt so we waited while it washed) and then finally at noon we had church. Michael gave a talk about the importance of having a father in the home leading and supporting the family. While he was talking a circus broke out. Gideon’s nose started bleeding and it was a bit of a mess. I think Michael kept talking through it all. Haha.

Later Alex made his own dinner. He had a specific meal in mind and made it. I was good and he didn’t make too big of a mess. Marinated chicken cooked on the grill and roasted vegetables and rice. I made oatmeal cookie sandwiches with marshmallow frosting. Bit of a mess because the frosting was sticky but it tasted good.

That morning I had received an email from the family history site I am a member of that said they’d found a hint for a relative. It was the 1900 United States Census. I love looking at the census records. This time was kind of the jackpot in one way but a really upsetting puzzle in another. In this particular census it had my great-great grandparents and their kids. (My dad’s dad’s mom’s parents.) The big shocker was there were two kids on there I didn’t know existed. I’ve been working on this family tree for over 20 years. Technology and indexing (connecting records to people’s name so they are searchable) is making more information available every day. If you haven’t ever indexed you should, it is fun to do.

Anyways, there were two more kids! An eleven year old boy and a one month old girl. The problem came in when that was all the information I could find. Alex and I spent a couple hours looking everywhere. Cemetery records, obituaries, and trying to find the 1890 census that the one kid would have been one year old in. Fruitless pursuit because it turns out that the 1890 census records were badly burned in a fire. The 1910 census we looked at was a sad record. The father had died and the two kids I had found, well their names aren’t listed as living with their widowed mother. The son could possibly be living elsewhere as he would have been 21, but we couldn’t find any mention of him anywhere but that one 1900 census. The baby girl would have been 10 but she was gone also. My great-great grandparents had 11 kids that we know of but only 8 made it to adulthood. It was exciting but incredibly frustrating and sad at the same time.

Before we turned in for the night Alex drew up the plans for the new window we are putting in. I need a drawing of the plans in order to get a permit. When the window guy was here I said I wanted the window to be the same size as the window in my daughters’ room. I had never measured it. Um, I should have. The window doesn’t look that big in the bedroom. It is 60 inches long! Alex drew the outline on the wall where we are putting the window and it takes up most of the wall! Its huge! I mean I am okay with it and that’s good because it is already ordered. I wanted the window for light because that room is dark and I am thinking that big window will definitely do the trick.

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Weekend Catch-up

Friday morning Noah said as he pulled the big blocks out, “I’m making a masterpiece.” He makes me laugh so often.

We had no TV on Friday. Someone took the Roku and we couldn’t watch tv without it. Not a bad thing. They still had tablets but they played games and colored on them so at least there was interaction.

All the little kids slept in that morning so I cleaned and then didn’t know what to do with myself. Then while the kids ate breakfast I mopped the floor. Why not, I couldn’t leave the area with the baby in the high chair.

I’ve started to mop the floor with hot water and vinegar. It stinks but I think it cleans better than the other cleaners I’ve bought. The kids don’t like to come into the kitchen when I’m mopping because of the smell but that’s not a bad thing because they dont make tracks on the wet floor. It has been nice for the kids to have clean feet because the floor is clean.

Benjamin and his friend got to work after school. It had snowed in the morning so they went door to door asking to shovel. They made some money and are eagerly waiting for the next snow storm. I watched them shovel a neighbor’s driveway and it was so cute seeing them doing that.

Michael made the movie suggestion for the evening. The Music Man. He is in the spring musical and had never seen it before. It was fun to see him watch it and he knew all the songs and said his lines along with the character he plays.

We unfortunately started the movie late and lost out on sleep. I didn’t even watch the whole thing. Then on Saturday night we were at a cousin’s birthday party and the kids were so busy playing that they didn’t eat. Well they did eat candy and cupcakes. So Alex made them some pupusas (I suggested pancakes because they are faster but whatever). That took forever and we watched Sister Act 2. We’d finished the first one earlier. So we were up late again.

We made it on time for church today. We had to get up at 7 but I guess if that’s what it takes. Noah wasn’t happy. I said he got to go to his new class again. “I don’t want to go. It’s boring.” The silly kid. He liked it anyways.

After lunch we worked with the kids on their goals. They had no idea what kind of goals to make. We’ll be working on those for awhile.

Then Alex and I took along nap. I feel like it is a waste of time but man I needed it.

Earlier today I got an email about a possible hint for my family history. It was a census from 1881. It looks like a match but what really got me excited is that if it is correct then I found a family member that we didn’t know about! I’m excited. Plus there are a couple more clues that could lead me farther back in the family. I’ve been stuck on this one line for years. Wish me luck.

I’ve got to get up and get everybody ready early tomorrow because we have some dentist appointments in the morning. Fun, fun, fun. Okay, not really. But one can’t have fun all the time.

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Gearing up for the Holidays

Last night Elizabeth came up to me and asked if Santa is real. I asked her what she thought. She thought for a second and then said, “If he’s not real then you’re wasting a lot of money.” That girl is hilarious.

Today was just a usual day for the most part. Cleaning and cooking. I get bored sometimes. Today was a sometime. So I went to the garage and pulled out both Christmas trees. One for upstairs in the front room and one for downstairs in the basement family room. I put my favorite one downstairs. The one upstairs spins and the lights have options. Just so you know, I didn’t buy either tree. The pre-lit one was given to my in-laws when they lived here with us. The second (my favorite one) someone was getting rid of it for free on Facebook and so I went and picked it up. Both trees are bigger than my tiny tree (6 ft) we had for years. I’m not above hand-me-down. It saves me a ton of money.

Last night I went to the local family history library. It really is fun. Well, more of a challenging puzzle, a mystery to figure out. I sat down again today to see if I could figure out who went where and find some records. (I realized I was wasting so much time scrolling through social media so I thought I’d try my hand at something else.) I found a bunch of names. I started working on my grandpa’s uncle’s line. I got a lot done. Took me a couple hours but I think I’m improving.

My family has been watching Naruto. It’s an anime cartoon. They are all so into the story line. Me, not so much. I’m glad they all enjoy it together- that’s a good thing. I need some series to watch. I have kind of high standards so the usual go-to’s for a lot of people I won’t watch. I’m having trouble finding something.

Today I tried to record the baby walking. She would walk across the room but the second I get the camera out and ready she takes only two steps and falls down. It is ridiculous. She apparently doesn’t want to be recorded. Even when she doesn’t know I’m recording.

We were asked to sing in church next month, my whole family. I don’t know if I want to say yes or not. I can see it being a struggle getting some of the kids to cooperate. My voice has been not so good sometimes lately. And we’d have to learn it in Spanish. I only know two songs in Spanish and one of them is just the first line or two of Silent Night. I should just say no but it would be a good opportunity to get us out of our comfort zone and possibly make fools of ourselves. We’ll see what happens.

I am still on my eating plan which is cutting out sugar and a lot of the addicting carbohydrates. It’s going well. I am now down 9 pounds and 22 days in. That is a success because anyone who has lost weight knows what a struggle it can be. I still feel kind of iffy sometimes. I am not hungry but I just don’t feel all that great and I don’t know whether to attribute it to the food I am eating or what because even before I changed my diet I didn’t feel all that good which is why I changed my eating. Well, whatever I am doing is working so I guess I’ll keep going. The trick is to realize that food is fuel and not use food for entertainment, an emotional crutch, something to do when you are bored, etc. That is a hard thing to do when I’ve been doing it my entire life. But, I will allow myself some leeway when it comes to Pie Week, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day, because, come on. The trouble comes in when you over do it. Moderation folks.

Well, I guess that is about all I have to say for now. Until tomorrow.

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Christmas Prep and a Walker

Yesterday Michael said his friend asked when I put my Christmas decorations up. He replied, “When she feels like it.” “Fair enough,” she said.

I usually put them all up the Sunday before Thanksgiving and take them down new year’s day. This year I’m tempted to start earlier. Like today.

Every year since I’ve had kids the tree starts out decked out and pretty. By the end it looks straggly and skiwampus because the kids have “rearranged” the decorations. They are halfway up the tree because the youngest can’t keep their hands off. It makes me tired and want to take the tree down Christmas day but I leave it for the kids.

This year I have an idea. I’m going to have it be simple. The lights are my favorite part anyway so I’m just going to completely cover the tree in lights and a star and call it good. Simple.

This morning I was awakened in the midst of a weird dream. It turned out to be two cats purring in my ear. Alex said he left them in the laundry room. I don’t know who let them loose into the house. Annoying.

So I got up and made a breakfast of strawberry pancakes. I just mixed some frozen sliced strawberries into the batter and cooked them. So good. I had a bite and it tasted like strawberry jam in the pancake but without the sugar. The kids liked them so I can make them again sometime.

The rest of the day after I quick cleaned the house (while the baby was sleeping) was kind of boring. I wanted to do stuff but if I got up and moved around then Evangeline would cry. Some days are like that. Luckily not all of them are.

I did get some things accomplished– Christmas shopping. I bought a few things online that I saw on the YouTube videos that my kids watch. It looked cute and fun and I looked and it was on sale! I also made a spreadsheet of what I buy for who for Christmas and how much it cost. That should make it easier to keep track. When you have to get presents for a minimum of 10 people it can get confusing and I hate getting close to Christmas and realizing I have gotten a bunch for one person (who is easy to shop for) and not much for another person (who is harder to shop for).

Oh, and I had these Halloween cupcake liners and toppers sitting in my closet for years! I always forgot to pull them out and use them. The other day there was Halloween frosting and cake mix at the store on clearance and I bought them. So today Noah helped me make cupcakes for an after school snack. That kid is so funny. His mannerisms crack me up. Like last night he was blocking the way I was trying to go. He asked what the password was. “Let me by or else.” I said in a mock serious tone. “Yep, that’s the password!” he said cheerfully as he moved and let me pass.

Tonight was activity night. I had to drop two people off at 6 p.m. and pick one person up at 7 and then drop one off at 7. Benjamin’s activity was at 7 and it was doing family history. He wanted me to come which was great because I had some stuff I wanted to look up. He found some people on our family tree that need more information found and I did the same on a different family line. I think it was a productive evening.

Oh, and we have ourselves a walker!!! Evangeline just turned 11 months two days ago and she’s been testing the waters for about a week. She was good with one leg walking but that just made her go in circles. I would see her take a step or so out of the corner of my eye but every time I went to take a video she would just keep falling. Tonight she managed to walk. She is still unsteady but she can walk! I’ll have to take a video tomorrow. She is my youngest walker. All the rest were closer to a year old if I remember right. So fun. She only really crawled for about a week. The rest of the time she moved around on her head. My last little baby is now a walker. It’s kind of sad. I’m happy for her growing up but once they start walking they are off. She’s attached enough to me that I think I still have time with her.