Friday, November 30, 2007


I have an uncle that's a hillbilly. Seriously. He lives out in the middle of nowhere on a hill. He and his wife came to Thanksgiving this year. Uncle Hillbilly is the baby brother of my mom. He's eleven years younger than my mom, the same age difference between my daughter and her baby brother. This little fact causes my mom to say things like,"Poor Ellen, I know just how she feels having to take care of her baby brother while her mom is sick and not able to cope with life."   Then I have to remind my mom that I'm quite healthy and Ellen is at school all day, not caring for anyone. Still, every time I ask Ellen to do something for her little brother when Mom is around they give each other a knowing glance that will forever bond them together as "The Oldest Children Deprived of Happiness."
Uncle Hillbilly has defeated death 8.95 times.  He's a ticking time bomb.  He's been in three horrible automobile accidents, he's had cancer in which he had a kidney removed, he's broken countless bones and he's been in the army.  Any of these incidents would have been the demise of a less stellar human being. 
His little, itty-bitty, blond headed, wife is a hoot.  Her choice of vehicle is a Harley Davidson with a side car painted bright pink.....I mean Pink Panther Pink.  She used to live in my town and is an avid auction attendee.  She told me of a town not far from here with a large Amish community that has a weekly auction.  Every Tuesday morning they auction baked goods, produce, eggs, livestock, farm equipment, quilts and apparently a lot of stuff that I should not be living without, so I'll be making that trip sometime soon, I hope.  

Now, about the puzzle.  Charles Wysocki has been my choice of puzzle art for the past several years.  I buy them at Target every winter and the puzzles I choose usually have an old town scene.  We love to have a puzzle going whenever my folks are visiting during the holidays.  It's fun for everyone to go sit, talk and put a puzzle together.  Often we find ourselves fighting over who gets to do the barn or the cute house or the horses.  Sometimes my little boy will walk off with a piece that will cause us to search the table endlessly for something that is actually wedged between the couch cushions.  My kids always want to place the last piece.  This year I had to count to three, several times before they would place their piece in to finish the gall-darn puzzle.  They were so afraid that they wouldn't get to put them in at the same time, so they kept faking to put the pieces in.  Then I had to count to ten so I wouldn't bash their heads together.  Okay, the part when I said it's fun, forget that, putting a puzzle together is an exercise in self-control.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

tossing my cookies

Monday's are my day to pick up my daughter, my son and another little boy from school. After I pick them up I take my daughter to basketball practice which is fifteen minutes from school and fifteen to twenty minutes from home. My son and the other little boy sit in the back seat and play very well together, but they're loud. Like little shrieking hyenas. They come up with little games to keep them occupied, but all the games incorporate loud shrieking and most always farting noises.

I decided to get smart so, I grabbed a bunch of leftover suckers from our Halloween stash. My thought was to let the boys eat suckers in an attempt to keep their little pie holes quiet during the long trip home. I also grabbed a bag of tortilla chips and dried cherries for myself.

I was happily enjoying my snack on my way to school. I didn't have anyone in the car to share with, which is rare, so I had the bag of tortilla chips between my legs and the bag of dried cherries on the passenger seat and I alternated between both bags happy to satiate my need for salt and sweet. Then I caught a glimpse of an old man in the lane next to me, as his car passed I could clearly see a giant wad of white gauze stuck in his left nostril. Hmm, that's not really something I want to see when I'm enjoying a snack.

I overcame my thoughts of boogers, clotting nose blood and nose hair and continued on down the road still grabbing handfuls of chips, but slowing down on the cherries, because now I was very aware of the texture of the soft slimy fruit in my mouth. I was sitting at a stoplight when a man pulled in front of me in the next lane. I was looking at his small Ford Festiva wondering if it had seats in the back when he abrupty opened his driver's side door and puked on the road. He paused a moment and let some mucus drain out of his nose then shut his door and promptly blew his nose. Oh, dear. I was paralyzed with a hand full of chips half way to my already full mouth. I slowly put the chips back in the bag, forced myself to swallow what was now a mouth full of warm, wet, corn mush and decided I wasn't very hungry and might not be for several days.

When I finally arrived at school the grotesque sights I had witnessed were starting to fade so I handed out suckers and let my daughter finish off the corn chips. The suckers worked quite well, although the boys couldn't stop whacking each other with their backpacks, at least they weren't making any sound effects to accompany their actions.

I dropped my daughter off at practice and headed home. The drive was peaceful especially since I continued to pass suckers back to the boys. The van now smelled like sweet cherries and I decided I would help myself to a sucker when I witnessed the man driving the truck in front of me pull over into the turn lane quickly open his door and spit out the contents of whatever he had in his mouth. Okay. No sucker for me. Man, talk about an excellent way to control your appetite.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Have you all met my dad? He's good at a lot of things.  He retired six years ago and started bicycling all over the USA.  He never had a passion for exercise or cycling before, but he didn't want to sit around and get fat, so he started riding a bike.  He has the most awesome muscular legs.  He's 64 years old and in great shape.
He's very organized and likes things to be done certain ways.  I got my "no-tolerance for a dirty vehicle" attitude from him.  Dad is a great house guest, because he hates messes and cleans up after himself.  He also hates to loose things so he keeps all his luggage neatly stored in a corner of a bedroom.  I hardly notice he's in my house.  
He's also very frugal.  He doesn't spend money on unnecessary items.  Especially clothes.  That sweatshirt he's wearing I bought for him at least eight years ago.  I also noticed him wearing a long sleeved polo that I gave to him when I was in college.  The thing still looks new.  He has these brown leather ankle boots that he wears to church that I swear he's had since I was in grade school.  He's owned them so long that they're back in style again.  I don't know how he does it.
His choice of mop is two little boys.  He can clean the floor, exercise and play with his grandsons all while listening to a football game.  The best part?  It didn't cost him a dime.  He's a great broompa, I mean grandpa.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wham Bam Decorating

I made this year's Thanksgiving feast for my family.  I cooked, decorated and everything was almost ready when I remembered I forgot to put a center piece on the table.  So, here's what I did.

Last year I used coffee beans and forgot to blow out the candles after dinner.  We all went outside to play and thank the Lord I needed to come in for some reason. I found my house smelled like Starbucks.  I looked at the table and the glass hurricane I had used had exploded and the coffee beans were on fire.  Needless to say I only have one glass hurricane now, but that's all I really need.  

Variations on the theme; fill with jelly beans, candy corn, Hershey Kisses, etc...the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Ike the Indian says, "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Daily Scalping

We live in an old house, it was built over 100 years ago.  The foundation is composed of limestone blocks and I love everything about it.  Well, almost everything.  The basement is a bit of a headache.  Literally.  If I weren't six feet tall, the basement wouldn't be a problem.  If I didn't have to go down there to do laundry everyday and get stuff out of the freezer my life would be pure bliss. 

The problem is I whack my head every time I go down there.  I have several head wounds in different stages of healing.  The copper pipe that hangs from the floor beams is adorned with wads of blond hair and bits of flesh.  If I remember to avoid the pipes, then I catch my temple on the corner of the light fixture.  I'm not sure how much more my head can take.

Then there's the aching shoulders and back.  Since I'm wary of hitting my head I scrunch up my shoulders and stoop over the entire time I'm in the basement.  The other day I was being careful to stay stooped over as I bent down to get some chicken out of the freezer, but since I couldn't straighten my body I ended up shutting the freezer door into the side of my face.  It's not a good situation.  One of my new past times is searching my head for a scab to pick.

The upside is I can blame any stupidness I do on my head injuries.  Like yesterday with the whole Doritos-zit-dog poop thing, that was totally a side effect from one of my recent head whackings. 

Okay, I'm off to scalp my head some more, the kids need clean clothes.  The sacrifices I make for my children, they need to be noted.

ps- I'm brining a turkey.  I also brined my counter top, cabinets, floor and refrigerator.  It better be worth it Pioneer Woman.  Oh, and I couldn't find a brining bag, so first I used some weird baking bag.  It broke when I put the turkey in, the turkey slid across the counter and I caught it right before it fell on the floor.  Then I used a white trash bag.  It leaked, everywhere.  Then I used a heavy duty black lawn trash bag.  I have a turkey in a trash bag in my refrigerator and I have several head wounds that I can blame if it turns out bad.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back Porch Ponderings

It was a Monday, what can I say?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

8 things

I've been tagged by Melissa...

So here's eight more things that you're sitting on the edge of your seat to know about me.

1. I only think of myself as thin when viewing old photos, but when the photos were taken I didn't think I was thin.

2. I've been fat.  Especially after the births of all my boys.  

3. I'm getting more and more squeamish as the years go by.  I can't stand to see any sort of cutting or stabbing of skin and needles freak me out.  Now I can't stand to talk about a lot of dicing and tugging of skin, it makes me sort of light headed and nauseous.  I think it's linked to being poked, prodded and cut too many times during pregnancies.

4. My husband scares me all the time.  He floats into the room and says, "Hi" and I jump out of my skin and swing from the light fixture.  He says he doesn't do it on purpose, but I don't believe him.

5. I am terrible at memorizing songs, so I just make up the words and this drives my oldest two kids crazy.  They're constantly correcting me, "No Mom, it's blah, blah, blah" then I retort by making the songs really stupid which irritates them even more like Jon Bon Jovi's new song Make a Memory, I like to sing, "You wanna make a memooooory, you wanna make a scraaaaap booooo ooooh, ooook, you can sing a melodeeee, and I can take another looook".

6. I hate sports, I hate sports, I hate sports.  I'm trying to fake my way through life that I'm interested in all the sports that my kids play, but honestly I'd rather be anywhere on earth than stuck in a gymnasium for two hours watching a game.  I also hate talking about sports, shopping for sports equipment and driving my kids to practices.  There's no end to the amount of sports my kids play.  However, their father loves to 'play', he's up for a game of 'whatever' anytime-anywhere-anyhow with anyone and I appreciate his love for the game so here I am stuck in The Big Wide World of Sports for an eternity.

7.  I haven't been to a hair salon since Easters.  Whenever I think about that it reminds me of the movie Nacho Libre when the priest says, "I've had diarrhea since Easters", my family uses that line a lot. 

8. I'm excruciatingly opinionated, but not competitive.  I'm loud, but need a quiet house.  I love to see the sunrise, but hate to get out of bed.  I love to organize, but hate to make my bed.  I can't put anything away unless it's done properly, but I wad up my pajamas and throw them in a drawer.  I'm free, but I'm captive.  I'm brave, but I'm chicken.  I'm just getting started, but I'm done.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

hobbuh bee lobbuh bee

Hey, if you all love fall decorations get your behinds to the nearest Hobby Lobby.  All their fall decor is 66-80% off.  Run, go, go, get!  You can never have enough fall decorations, never-no-not-ever.

Friday, November 16, 2007

how i use my leftovers to donate to the school auction

Howdy, my name is Penelope Punkin.  I just love to get my hair done in an up-do and go out on the town.  Tonight, me and the girls is goin' to a Barn Party.  It's a big fund raiser for the youngin's school.

This here's my little sister Georgina, but we all call her Georgie.
This old gal is our Grandmother Esther.  She let us have all her old clothes and hats she didn't need so we could get all done up nice for our party.  She's stayin' in tonight, she don't like to leave the house.
These are turkeys.  They don't get to go out, but ain't they cute?  I hear some gal found these old things at an antique store.  The middle one is a candle that once sold for 35 cents.  I heard the old gal yellin' at her little ones quite harshly one day when they was goin' at that turkey with a match.  She saved that little waxy guy just in time.
Oh, no!  Please don't take a photo til we're all dressed!
See now?  Ain't we purty.  The lady who did our hair kept threatin' to glue googly eyes on us, but I declare that would just be tacky.
Here's Georgie again.  I love what she's done with that silver-green bow.
Grandma Esther swears she never thought her cast offs would leave the dusty closet and looky here what's goin' out on the town tonight!
This is our good friend Betty Lou.  Betty Lou likes big bows.  She nabbed that bow off the cornstalks outside.  She's clever like that.
Trisha is our cousin.  She likes to keep things simple and then add a curly cue just to make people think she's got more under that rind than they know.
Well, we're off, wish us luck.  I said goodbye to Grams.  I have a sneaking suspicion I won't be seeing her again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Word Game Anyone?

My kids and I made this last year.  I stole the idea from the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.  It's one of my favorite decorations.  The only thing I purchased prior to the project was the felt, the rest was from my sewing closet.

What I loved most about this project was that it was quick.  Quick meaning it didn't take us more than one afternoon to finish the whole thing. 

You all didn't know I was so crafty?  Well, just wait til you see what I made tonight for my kids' school auction.  Come back tomorrow and I'll show you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Name Game

Do I have to 'splain everything?

My entire family has multiple nicknames. Some of them make no sense what so ever while others have a complete history and explanation. But, maybe this will help some of you nay sayers and then you can go tell my sister to stick it in her sticker!

Ellen Elizabeth- Elly Belly- Ells Bells- Bells- Bellers. She has also been called Ennie and Ennum and Ewan by her little brothers.
She answers to all of them. She likes all of them with a slight, eensy-weensy, dissatisfaction with Ennum, which her baby brother still says instead of Ellen.

Seth- Sethy- Seph- Sephers- Bubbers...all derived from his siblings many of his oldest friends continue to call him Sethy and he is just now becoming uncomfortable with all of it.

Isaac Jesse- Ike- Ika- Ika Jesse- Ika Jo Jesse- ....originated from his cousin Jack. He answers to all of them. His baby brother is the only other person besides me that calls him Ike on a regular basis.

Levi- Deeda By- Deets- Deeters...coined by our next door neighbor's 2yo daughter. Mostly we just call him "Giant Pain In The Butt" or "Constant Source Of Irritation" or "God Why?"

Clay- Claystor- Claystorian- Clay Boy- Moron..... I know that last one just sort of slips in every once in a while and yet he still answers to it. His mother hated, with an enormous passion, that I would address a letter to Claystor. Ooooh, she did not like me messing with his name. His name is so simple and yet people have a hard time deciphering it. He is often called Clint or Glenn or Clayton and then one time Gary?????

and then there's me.....

Rechelle, is to blame. She read a book in which the main character had a weird tick about reading words backwards, sdrawkcab. So my sister starts saying and reading everything backwards. If we were driving down the road and she saw a sign that said 'Goodland exit now', she would say aloud, "Dnaldoog tixe won". She became profoundly good at it and after awhile it was less fascinating and more irritating because we never knew tahw eht lleh ehs saw gniyas.

Then one day, she was done. Except for my name, April or Lirpa. She made it sound like a disease, Lurpa. The sad thing, I answer to it every stinkin' time and if people hear me called Lirpa, then they start calling me Lirpa. It followed me to college. When my sister showed up at my dorm and called me Lirpa in front of my roommates from that day on I was Lirpa. If my sister and I are in a store she'll call out, "Lirp, let's go!" or "Look at this lovely thing Lirps" or if she's in a sweet moody, "Lirpy, let's go get coffee." I see the looks people give me. They're stunned, why would anyone name their child Lirpa? Good gawd! My father will very occasionally refer to me as Lirpy. I don't think my mother has ever used Lirpa. I've never asked anyone to call me Lirpa.

But, in all this time, no matter how much I didn't like being called Lirpa, I never asked her to stop, because she never calls me Lirpa when she's mad, irritated, disappointed or bored with me. Lirpa is her code word for saying, "You're my little sister and I love you".

So, no, I will not and cannot stop calling Ellen, Bellers, because it's more than just a nickname, it's an expression of my love for her. It's a brand I've place on my sweet girl and she carries it quite delicately as if she were being called, "Daisy Rose Petal Blossom Petunia Cupcake Sugar Pie Dumpling Head". So, go STICK IT IN YOUR STICKER!

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Seeing Impaired

I have one sibling, Rechelle who is 18 months older than me.  She has many, many talents.  So many that it's impossible for me to list them all here without making her sound like a super human.  Unfortunately, she also has some problems.   She has horrendous eyesight.  If she's not wearing her contacts and can't find her glassed then she's rendered completely handicapped.  Sadly, I think her eyesight is getting worse.  It seems she can no longer see doors and depth perception may be a thing of her past.  

Join me now as I walk you through a reenactment of her latest mishap.

Rechelle pulled up to the back of my house to retrieve her sons after a lovely afternoon of shopping.  Ethan, her second son, stood at the back door shielded from the cold night wind waving hello to his mother.  Now, it was dark and the lights were illuminating from inside the house causing a clear view into our house, but still, to the average sighted person well, basically to any normal human being that lives inside a house and finds leaving doors open to the night inefficient to their heating bill, it is obvious that we have a storm door.

But, for my sister and the entire community of seeing impaired people, there is no door on my back stoop.  So, she exited her van and walked briskly across the concrete patio to get out of the cold Kansas wind.  Lalalalalala, life is sweet, she was so happy, so blissful, lalalalalala.
"Hi boys!"  She said entering the house .
Ah, but she was not to enter the house.  Just at that very moment, a force field was placed between the house and the outdoors.  What could it be?  Dear Lord!  She smacked against the door so hard that it sounded like my kids had slammed a ball against the  door.  "WHAT WAS THAT?"  I yelled, ready to pounce on any of my nephews or children that were interrupting my blogging bliss.
My daughter, Ellen, saw her aunt bounce off the storm door and then instead of going to see if she could help, she came to the office and holding back her laughter said, "Um, Mom?  Aunt Rechelle just ran into the door". 

She ricocheted off the door and then since there is nowhere to go but down, well, she went down.
"I'm going to break something!"  "God help me!"  

She landed face down on the patio.  Smack!
Poor, poor, blind woman. 
The kittens ran to give her CPR and lick her flesh wounds.
She got up, assessed the damage and thankfully nothing was broken.  As she walked slowly and  sorely towards the stoop, this time she reached for the knob that opens my back door.  She gingerly made her way to my couch and sat stone faced while we peppered her with questions. Biting our cheeks trying desperately not to laugh, "Are, are phbt, are you hurt?  Ddddid  phhh, did you not, there's a door, mmmph, ha, a door, did you not see the door?  Haha, How did you fall?  Sorry, you're right, it's not funny, mmph, phblt, excuse me I need to got into the other room for a bit, I feel a sudden need to uh, um, well, ha, ahem, haha, ahem-ahem, hahahahahahahahahah, sorry, sorry, I know it's not funny, sorry."

A few days later I cleaned a perfect face print off my back door. 

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Coming to a Blog near You!

April Showers is proud to introduce Ellen, this generations greatest new character actress to portray her aunt, Rechelle ,in the tragedy only known to a few people as "Woman With NO Brain"

Rechelle, as portrayed by Ellen, shows true courage in the face of evil.
Ellen has been professionally trained at the Academy of Doofus D. Dropus in falling, screaming, and flailing techniques. Her peers have already nominated her for this year's Academy Award in the category of "most realistic portrayal of ignoramus".

Stay tuned for the entire blog broadcast right here on April Showers.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bob the Apple

Let's bob for apples, shall we?
Ike, you go first.
Seth, wanna give it try?  C'mon get your head in there, don't be shy.
Atta girl!  Way to dunk that head!
Honey,  I only have four apples, put it back and let the kids play....yes, I see you got an apple, now put it back.
Double dunkin'
This kid.  This kid right here, I love him.  He can't take a bath without a towel within reach to wipe away a drip of water from his face, but when it comes to bobbing for apples, he's hard core.  He tried so dang hard to get that apple.  He was coughing and sputtering, risking his life to get one of his teeny-tiny baby teeth hooked into the waxy flesh of one Gala apple.  He was not giving in to the fear, he would not cry "UNCLE!"  He wanted that apple, he was not stopping until he got it.
With one glorious nip, one tiny puncture, he nabbed that apple.  He was so happy that he started to squeal and promptly dropped that apple right back to its watery birth.

pumpkins on a porch