Friday, January 30, 2009

Momma needs a project.

Wanna look at some of my fantastic photography? Okay! Here we go.....

This is the bench that sat on my porch that my cats used as a litter box. I bought this in an unfinished furniture store back in Missouri. It's a very poorly constructed piece of doo-doo that we have had to nail back together, but it works. You can't tell from this picture, but I pickled it to match my hutch. Basically it looks like a cheap pine bench. Um, because it is a cheap pine bench.

This is the little rug that sits by the door which is by the cheap pine bench. Take in the colors, we'll come back to it. What do you mean you can't see the colors. You got somethin' to say 'bout my photography? Sigh... moving on.

Bench. Rug. Wall color. Table legs. Got it all? Process it, there is a big decision coming up.

This is one of my dining room chairs. What do you think? It's got that rustic look right? One of our friends sat in this chair and watched a movie. How uncomfortable do you think he was? What kind of a host lets their company sit in this chair while she sits in the cushiony chair with her feet propped up? That would be me. The really funny thing is, that he thought he broke the chair. I didn't tell him it was already like that, I was hoping he'd offer to fix it.....after all he was sitting in it and it's broken. Right?

This is another dining room chair. I think my chairs are on their last leg, uh, except their legs are fine, so I guess they are on their last seats. Time to do something.

I also have this chair. It doesn't match the others, but I like it. I can't imagine trying to repair this one.

Okay, so now I need your help because look at this mess. Goodness.

1. Should I paint or stain the bench?
2. What color? Go back to the rug/wall/table reference.
3. Should I repair the seats with the same weave and color or go all crazy and paint the chairs seven different colors and then prop them up on stilts?
4. Rechelle, I really want to know how you would handle this.
5. Who uses broken furniture in their house all the time?
6. Who thinks I'll get this done before I die?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost without Olivia

Awhile back a person commented that I look a bit like Olivia Dunham on Fringe and I was all WHO's Olivia Dunham with fringe what?

Then Clay and I started watching Fringe and right away I agreed with the commenter. Who am I to argue? Obviously I have the smartest readers ever!Olivia and I not only look exactly alike, but we also have the exact same lives. I mean she really could be me! What with the gun slinging, abductions and serious butt kickings that I do on a daily basis. Also, we both wear long black coats. I know! She is me, I am her! Who could question the similarities?

Yesterday I picked up my new eyeglasses. They are amazing! Everything is so clear now! Unfortunately, when the fog cleared and the crisp outline of my face emerged in the mirror I didn't see Olivia anymore. Young, beautiful, smart Olivia turned into........


So I pulled my scraggly hair back and.......


I'm lost without you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tid bits

I'm so glad I don't have to stick to topics on this blog. Because uh, my brain tis scrambled.

What should I write about?

I'm too lazy to go take pictures of the bench I brought in from the porch last night. You see, my teeny tiny baby boy has out grown his cute red stool that he sits on at the table and we don't have six chairs, so I thought I'd bring in the bench and use it at the table for my two little boys. But, there is a problem. It smells like cat pee. I know. Everything I own smells like cat pee. My father HATES cats. I'm beginning to smell why.

There is a dead chicken in my front yard........again. It's the little rooster I found on the side of the road. He didn't stay in the coop with the other chickens, so it was just a matter of time. Poor little guy.

Okay, that's it. That's all I have.

What if I did an Ask April post? What the heck would you ask me? Please don't ask me about football, basketball, baseball, volleyball or anything pertaining to a ball.

Ooooh, I just read that Dooce is 5'11" tall!!! I had no idea she was that tall. She looks like a tiny pip squeak, but then again, so do I, right? RIGHT?!

Q: April, what is the first thing you notice about a person?
A: Their height.

See? I could answer questions like that. Easy peasy.

Q: April, when you were young and single what did you find was the most attractive quality in a man?
A: His height.

Q: So were you immediately attracted to your 6'5" husband?
A: Uh, er, um. No.

Q: Why the hell not?
A: Sigh. Because he was goofy looking. And I had a boyfriend. But, I did become good friends with Clay and took him to meet my sister in hopes that they would fall in love because she had a thing for red heads with green eyes.

Q: So did Clay fall for Rechelle when you introduced them?
A: No. The only person that did any falling was me. Clay and I were walking back to my dorm to eat dinner after watching half of a KU basketball game because I was so not interested in sports back then, uh I guess that hasn't changed. Anyway, Clay had noticed that I was bored during the game so he asked me if I wanted to leave and of course I said, "Yes, this is awful." Then he very tentatively asked, "Uh, do you want me to go with you?" I laughed and said, "Well, sure if you don't mind missing the game." We decided to cut across campus to make our walk shorter. Taking the short cut meant walking down a very steep grassy hill that was wet from the recent melted snow. I started down that hill taking tiny little steps and then it was as if I had strapped on a pair of skis. I was slipping and sliding all the while staying on my feet and screaming like someone was attacking me. Clay was at the top trying not to watch, it was painful for him. I finally ended up on my butt in a puddle of water and mud. I felt so stupid, but I was laughing because what else could I do? Then I heard Clay beside me asking if I was okay. He helped me up and then said, "Here, you better hold my hand." And that was his first slick move. He's still very proud of that moment. He had no idea that he'd spend the rest of his life watching me fall, slip, slide and best of all scream. He still holds my hand, but now he laughs at me and then imitates me everytime I fall.

Hey, I kinda like answering these questions. I guess practicing all those interviews with Katie Couric in the bathroom mirror has paid off.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sleeping Tips

Hey! Wanna know how to get a great night sleep? Here's a few things you can try:

Place your freezing cold feet in the armpits of..... your hot husband. Try not to wake him up, be prepared to have him toss you across the room.

Listen to the sweet sounds of....your four year old coughing every two minutes.

Go get the feverish/coughing child and put him in bed with you.Now you are nice and warm. In fact the four year old is emitting so much heat that your skin is melting off your body.

Be sure to place the four year old high on your pillow with his mouth right next to your ear.
Now you're able to hear him coughing up his toenails directly into your eardrum. Oh, the sweet soothing sounds of your baby coughing, you'll be asleep before you know it.

Might as well throw a cat in the mix. Put your cat on your head and tell her to please start rubbing her claws on your cheek. If that doesn't work then just ask the cat to rub her butt on your face or lie down across your neck....because the best way to go to sleep is by NOT BREATHING.

Make a deal with your wake up just as you might be nodding off between the hours of 12am and 4am to go outside, because he knows that if he goes outside and starts barking at the air and other invisible things that you will feel safe and protected and be able to go night-night.

Let me know how these work for you. If you need to borrow a kid, cat or dog I can help you with that.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thinking about coupons and colons.

I am a terrible farmer. And Clay is a terrible chicken coop builder. And we might just be having a conversation right now as I'm typing this about who's fault it is that we only have 7... no wait.. make that 6 chickens left on Coal Creek Farm. I'm thinking that if an Architect can't build a coop to keep his hens safe then we've got a problem. Clay is saying the problem is with the farmer that refuses to lock up her chickens at night because it's too blinkin' cold. But, but, but, but.....


Clay told me one of our chickens has a prolapsed colon. What is with my chickens?! They like to crap out their insides and get eaten by coyotes!

So, instead of rushing to get my chicken doctor bag, I'm sitting on the couch thinking about what I did last night.

And I'll tell you all about it right after I spoink my right back.

False alarm. I'm the one that went to the eye doctor yesterday, but obviously it is the Architect that is having trouble seeing things. All chicken colons are in their proper places.

Now, back to coupons.

As I was clicking away on all the comments last night I came across one of your links that led me to The Coupon Clippers.

This was the first sight that didn't overwhelm me. I actually found a coupon for the peanut butter we use!

Now, you need to tell me, is it dumb to buy coupons?

It was so easy to find the coupons for the name brand products I use which I'm compiling a list of those items that I can't find a better or cheaper substitute.

Now, for those of you that want to know how I manage to keep to our seven fiddy for our groceries/household supplies, these are some of my basics;

1. We try to eat everything in our house before I go get more (with the exception of all the canned fruits and veggies and the frozen meats).

2. I don't make complicated meals. We have a large variety of meals, but they don't contain a lot of ingredients. I don't serve a lot of side dishes with our meals. We eat a lot of homemade soups.

3. I pretty much shop in those outer isles. I don't buy mixes or any sort of packaged meals except mac and cheese. Eliminating high fructose corn syrup simplifies my choices.

4. We don't eat cereal very often, this keeps our milk consumption very low. Instead my kids eat oatmeal which fills them up and uses less milk.

5. I use vinegar as my main cleaning product, but I can't live without Softscrub. I've tried, but I neeeeeeed it.

6. I bake a lot.

7. We don't buy juice or soda. We drink water with our meals and occasionally tea. We do buy soda on special occasions.

8. Apparently, I am now Amish.

I will also be getting a phone call any minute now from my sister begging me to please write more about coupons and shopping at Aldi. Because next to homeschooling, being cheap is her favorite thing in the world.

Okay, let's review for those of you that forgot what the heck this post was about.

Should I buy coupons? Do you buy coupons? To spoink or not to spoink? That is the biggest question.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's only $750

This crazy cracker cooked in her crockpot everyday for a year!

This preternatural poster writes a a daily poverty post and it's all in third person!

Okay, now let's talk about me.

What would you say if I told you I spend $750 on groceries every month. But, you haven't heard it all yet, so don't be a clickin' on the comment button ready to spout your wisdom.

That seven fiddy....I like to say fiddy, just like my son says hunerd instead of one hundred. Anyway, that seven fiddy is for every ding dang thang in my house. The animal food, the cleaning stuff....EVERYTHING.


Now, I need to know, is that impressive for a family of six humans with six cats, one dog and 8 chickens? Or not?

Do I still need to learn how to use coupons?

Could I get it down to $600? $500?

Remember, our family has done away with high fructose corn syrup with minor infractions here and there, forgive me I ate the most delicious Snickers bar yesterday and I just talked to Clay on the phone and asked if he was bringing me a surprise home, like Hot Tamales or Reisins?????? Because, I would be soooooo surprised if he brought those home and we could eat them on a plate for dinner.

Then he asked if I was just a wee bit hormonal. What gives?

Okay, so now start tah clickin' and give me the what for on the seven fiddy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You'll find me in a mushy puddle by the computer.

Look at these.

Help, I want one.

But, I don't want to carry it around for nine months, nurse it, get up in the middle of the night, or deal with one of those dang carseats.

Okay, never mind.

Looking forward to being a grandma.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ramone is actually more famous than me.

How is it possible that my little 88 year old neighbor who only goes to town two times a week is more famous than me....THE GREATEST CHICKEN DOCTOR OF ALL TIME?!
Because, that is my life. People become better, more famous and skinnier by association with me. It's true. I swear. It's no lie. There have been studies and documentaries on this fact. Also, I never exaggerate.Oh, long, luscious, wispy, straggly bangs, how I miss thee flying in my eyeballs.

I was watching our local PBS station the other day and this older, Spanish man was talking about the history of the railroad here in our town. I laughed and called out to my family, "Hey! That guy looks a lot like Ramone!" Then I turned back to watch and by golly there was RAMONE on the TV!!! The other guy was his brother. They were both being interviewed because their father, grandfather and uncle were all part of building the railroad that came through Kansas. Ramone and his family lived in the Sante Fe housing complex and when he was old enough he went to work for Sante Fe RR.

I only caught the very end of the show, but I was amazed that Ramone was sitting in front of a camera all spit shined and hatless.

I walked over to talk to Ramone while he was watering his cattle and told him I saw him on TV and could I please have an autograph? He laughed at me and asked if I saw the part where he was singing La Cucaracha. No, I didn't.

Dang it. I missed the best part.

So, there ya have it. Ramone is a television star and I am just a lowly chicken doctor.

ps. I promise I won't mention my Ugly Betty big bangs again. Unless you want me to tell you about the dream I had that involved clippers and a zig zag buzz strip through the top of my scalp.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quit yer doin'!

I've been working on a couple of posts, but I can't seem to finish them, which means I should just give up and write about whatever. And of course make a list.

1. Thank you all for the advice, tips and directions with coupons. I'm overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that I've decided my best way to save money is to stay home and not spend any money whatsoever. I do have some coupons from Target that I keep moving from one spot to another in my kitchen wondering if I'll use them. I don't like to go into Target, it's too tempting for me to look at other things.

2. I went to the Family Promise Network training on Saturday. The director of the program is an amazing young woman. I learned that most of the guests in the program have never been homeless, we should never, ever, ever use the word homeless when referring to the guests in the program and the BIG, BIG thing we were taught was to treat all the people in the program with dignity. I'm looking forward to helping when my church is host again, or maybe I won't have to help because there will be no need. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

3. I cleaned out my mudroom today. It's really just a closet, but it did have a lot of mud in it and cat pee and animal food and one broken dvd player.

4. I've decided I have that seasonal disorder thing. When it gets too cold and cloudy, I shut down, can't move, don't want to do anything, find everything boring and can't organize my life. I wonder if I could get one of those lights and strap it to my face? Or my butt?

5. I was washing dishes and talking to Clay yesterday and after multiple attempts to make me stop talking, Levi said, "Mom! Quit yer doin'!" I think I'll start saying that to people when I want them to stop. Quit yer doin'!

6. I spoke to the pig farmer yesterday and he has new baby pigs!! So, Coal Creek will have little piglets soon and very soon.

7. Remember when I used to do pottery? sniff sniff.....sigh. Someday, I'll get back to it.

8. Remember when I had a nanny, a cook, a housekeeper and a tutor for my children? Yeah, me neither.

9. What do you all do to get yourself motivated in the winter?

10. This post is exhausting, I need to go lie down and ignore myself.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A place to lay your head.

We live in a town rich with culture and diversity. We have lots of art and tons of music and then there is the organic food and every sport imaginable, except hockey. We have a lake and a river. We have every food you ever wanted to eat and several markets that cater to the ethnic tastes.

The people are diverse too. We have millionaires, famous poets, famous basketball players, musicians, artists, professors, farmers, ranchers and of course there is me and the architect.

This town is like a little metropolitan fondue pot. Which means it has some of the metropolitan problems as well. Drugs, gangs, crime and the heartbreaking one...homelessness.

Some of the homeless are vagrants, some are panhandlers, some are drunks, some are mentally ill and some are families.

Our town does a good job of helping the homeless. We have a kitchen where they can sit down and eat a warm meal and there is a shelter they can go to get some sleep. But, there wasn't a place for families that had fallen on hard times to go with their children and feel safe.

That's why a group of good people got together and formed The Family Promise Network.

This week my church is the host for the guests in Family Promise. Which means our church has converted classrooms into bedrooms. The people arrive after 5pm and are picked up early in the morning to be taken to the center or school or jobs. One of the secretaries told me she hasn't noticed they are staying in the church at all.

Yesterday, I made muffins for the folks staying at the church. As I dropped the muffins off in the kitchen I looked around and saw that at the end of one of the tables was a highchair.

A baby is homeless.

I walked back into the hall and noticed a paper that had been taped over the regular classroom sign. The paper had the name of a woman and under her name were the names of her three children.

A single mom and her three children are homeless.

I didn't get to meet any of the people that are staying there this week, so I don't have a face in my head, just the thought of a baby and a single mom and her kids not having a home.

When I got home I had all kinds of questions. Questions that didn't have answers.

What do they do if the children get sick?
What do they do on the weekends?
What if one of the adults get sick?
Where do they store their belongings?
Do they have any belongings?
How do they get were they need to go?
Why is this happening?
How can I fix this?

I don't know the circumstances that brought these families to the point of being homeless. I can assume that it's a combination of many things that would make me angry and break my heart.

I'm relieved that they have a safe place to go at night. I'm thankful that people are willing to give of their time to serve these people and help them right their situation.

Saturday I am hoping that Clay and I will be able to attend a training session that will allow us to spend time with the families next time they stay at our church. I would much rather have a face and name in my head than that empty high chair.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dinga Long Dave Ringa Long Ramsey

Here's my envelope system, which I am still getting used to. My problem is if I run out of money in one category I borrow from another and that's a big NO NO. It also means we have to continue to tweak our budget. We've been working on a monthly budget for about ten months and it is constantly changing. I don't know if we will ever get it perfect.

How's the debt snowballing going for April? Uhhhhhhhhhh, it sucks the big donkey wads man.

Dave's wisdom is to first get current with any of your debtors, then start piling up cash in an emergency fund. He recommends for a family to set aside $1000 because that amount should cover just about any unexpected expense.

We've decided after having three car repairs and a furnace blow out in a span of two months that $1000 is not enough for our family. However, we were still able to get through all that muck before and during Christmas without using a credit card. DING!

As we recover from the loss of the emergency fund we are also dealing with this awful economy. Many of our hopes of getting things paid off quickly with funds that we had hoped would be coming in right now are being pushed back until......well, that's a good question.

I have to say as much as it sucks not to have any fun right now, I'm so very grateful that we got ourselves on this plan over ten months ago. Getting the news that bonuses wouldn't be what we thought and salary increases will be pushed back several months was not pleasant, but it also wasn't crushing.

Onward and upward we go, pushing through this economic turmoil. We're taking advantage of the lower interest rates and I'm hoping that someone will come hold my hand and teach me how to use coupons, I just don't get it for several reasons.

1. I'm not a name brand person, so collecting coupons for products I never use seems weird.
2. I don't subscribe to the paper, so buying a paper just to cut coupons seems wasteful.
3. I hate to print stuff out from my computer, it means docking it and pressing buttons and that's really hard. Did you say that in a high pitched whine?
4. I don't like to go to multiple stores to get all my stuff, which is why Wally World and I are still having our little weekly fling.
5. I don't get sales fliers, I just don't get them. I never have.

See? I would need some serious hand holding to make the coupon thing happen. Can I just stick to Aldi and Wally to get those beautiful low low prices?


I could get me a cow and then I would never have to go to the store again, because can't you make just about anything from milk?

No, you say? Oh ye of little cow faith.

Changing the subject because I used suck in my post. My daughter and her friends will not say the words crap or suck, because they are BAD words. I think it's very sweet. Instead they say cwap but they do not say swuck or wuck or whatever it is they would say, thank goodness.

When I'm having a conversation with Ellen I try to say suck and crap as often as possible just for shock value. The whole time she's yelling MOM! YOU MEAN CWAP, CWAP! Then I say something about how I think she is going to need some serious speech thawapy and how bad that is going to SUCK!

Brothers and Cousins

Ellen is the lone girl in our family. She has three siblings and four cousins, all boys. She's also the oldest of the pack.

She has always been respected as The One Who All Must Follow. She is especially loved by Drew, the cousin clutching her knee to make certain she doesn't flee the scene without him and Calder, the cousin she's pummeling who calls her nearly everyday to get 'advice'.

When these two little blond headed boys were born, she decided having more brothers was okay, because she knew what boys were like and she fought with me over who the baby loved more, me or her.

Sometimes when they get hurt they cry for Ellen, instead of me.

Of course, they irritate her too and she doesn't get much alone time.

Because, whatever she does the boys want to do too.

Likewise, whatever the boys are doing, Ellen will be there giving instruction and orchestrating her boys in all manners of fun and chaos.

It's a bit like Snow White and the seven dwarfs, except at some point Snow White will probably be the smallest of them all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Remember summer?

The glorious sunsets and balmy evenings.

The kids playing outside.

Fellowshipping outside.

Kids playing outside.

Eating on the porch.

Raising the pigs.

The kids playing outside.

The flower pots I habitually forgot to water.

The kids playing outside.

Summer, come back. I'm ready for flip flops, open doors, shorts, trips to the creek, gardening, pigs, new chicks, the sound of the mower, fresh cut hay and HEAT.

Photos courtesy of Mrs. Mama.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

North and South - Falling

North and South beat a three column blog.

I have exhausted my brain trying to convert this little blog to three columns. I was able to successfully convert a test blog and skipped over to change this one with absolutely no success whatsoever! But,I do know how to discombobulate the entire side bar so severely that no human would recognize this place as a blog.

That being said, I gave up and took Leila's advice to watch North and South with my daughter and the rest of my afternoon was spent in romantic turmoil and bliss.

I am now forever devoted to Mr. Thornton and I will spend the rest of my days helping him ensure the future of the cotton mill.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Don't feed it popcorn.

Clay volunteered to record stats for the girls basketball team this year. The coach gave gave him a computer program that he uses during the game. According to Clay, the program is a bit cumbersome, like moving an Army tank through a corn maze.

This is where I come in the picture.

I sit by Clay and tell him which girls are checking in and out of the game so he can click on their names quickly and get back to recording the game. It's good for me to have something to do during the game because,

Me + Sports = Miserable.

So, there I am sitting by my husband on the front row next to the clock dude and the other stats person doing my little duty by leaning close to Clay and listing off the girls coming in and out of the game.

Ellen and Casey in, Becky and Kaley out.
Kirsten in for Tayler.

Hannah in for Brittany.

During half time Clay requested a soda and some popcorn because the man can't go more than a couple hours without something to eat. Unfortunately, he can't really eat or drink during the game because his hands are tied to the computer entering all the plays. But, I can eat and drink just as much as I please.

Do any of you have trouble after you eat popcorn? Just wondering.

I try to stay away from popcorn, far, far away. But, if it's next to me, I eat it. No, I inhale it. I think that's why I have a problem. I eat it so fast I don't allow any of the puffed air to escape until, um, er, uh, after I eat it.

When Clay passed his bag of popcorn to me I started cramming it in my mouth as fast as I could. After a few minutes I leaned over to Clay and said, "Wow, I can already feel this popcorn workin' on my stomach, gimme your soda".

Becky and Anna in, Ellen and Kirsten out.

Gulping soda, cramming popcorn.

Tayler in for Hannah.

More popcorn, more soda.

Ellen and Anna in for Becky and Kirsten.

then it happened....

I performed the loudest Barney Belch in the history of Barney Belches. It was amazing that the refs didn't mistake it for the buzzer.

In the future, for the sake of those around you, let's try to remember;

Please don't feed it popcorn.

Friday, January 09, 2009

One of those hangy down things.

Life just keeps gettin' better for me.I've found a new love for hair spray. I haven't owned a bottle of hairspray for years. The last bottle I had dried up, seriously.
However, with the recent bang debacle I had to go buy some new hairspray and it took me forever to pick one out, because who knew there could be so many levels of holding power coming out of a can?
Of course I picked the cheapest and so now I'm Mrs. Stiff Bangs! But, DANG! That stuff is really amazing. Why did I ever stop using it? Please give me more. It's like, like, like, my new drug of choice. Hairrrrrrrrsrpaaaaaaaay, mmmmmmmmmm.
I took the above photos before the BIG BETTY BANG DEBACLE, because I thought I would look so cute AFTER my haircut. hahahahahahahahahahar! GAH!!!!

Oh, and today my daughter got in the van and said, "Huh. You're starting to get one of those things."

What things?

"One of those hangy down things."

She was referring to my NECK SKIN!!!!!

Pardon me, while I go shrivel up in a corner. Oh wait! Never mind, seems I'm shriveling up just fine! GAH!

That's it from here. Now go line up everyone you know and give them a big hug and kiss from me!

Mrs. Turkey Neck Big Bangs Squeaky Bra

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Cheap Cheap Bok Bok

Is it time for another installment of how April and Clay are now the cheapest people in the world because they are bent on getting out of debt forever and ever amen? Why, yes!

Remember when I told you that I wasn't going to buy any new clothes for myself until April, which is the month, not me, I am April, but I'm talking about the month, which I was named after because that's when I was born. Confused? Run-on sentence much?

My mom gave me some money for Christmas to go buy some clothes. In particular she wanted me to go buy some new bras because the day I decided I wasn't going to buy any new clothes until my birthday one of my bras self destructed right off my body, it was strange, but I was determined not to buy anything no matter what. So I've been dealing with a dark brown bra that I can't wear under light colored clothing, a bra that squeaks every time I move my arms or flex my pectoral muscles and a weird tank top bra that stretches in all different directions making me pull and tug at myself the entire time I'm wearing it.

I was so excited I was going to get some new clothes! The day after Christmas I grabbed my very reluctant shopper of a daughter and hit the stores. I ended up spending most of the money on my daughter because the poor dear needed some new clothes too, and she can't bring herself to pick out clothes by herself, it's a very painful and unpleasant experience to shop with her. After I took care of her, I managed to buy a new pair of jeans and a couple of sweaters for myself. No bras. When my mom found out what I got she said, "Where are the bras?" and I said, "Mom, nobody sees my bras, but I do have one that people can hear."

I was so happy that I had two decent pairs of jeans to wear and do you know what happened the day after I bought my new jeans? DO YOU! I ripped a big hole in the knee of my older pair. So, really I didn't gain any new jeans I just replaced the pair that died.

So, I am the one pair of decent jeans- squeaky-bra-lady with the big bad bangs. I tell ya, this whole debt reduction thing is like eating a big honkin' slice of humble pie every ding dang day!

You really must take the time to hear and see these two things.

Many, many, many years ago on a Christmas Eve morning Clay and I awoke to our radio alarm clock which was and is always set to the local NPR station. The voice that woke us up that particular morning was that of an older man. His voice was low and smooth with a slight country twang. Instead of rolling over and punching the snooze button for just ten more minutes of sleep, Clay and I were instantly mesmerized by the the man's story and we lay quietly on our sides smiling into each other's faces with the delight of being awake in the quiet morning and having the sweet moment of hearing this story. That was at least 12 years ago.

Now, every year around Christmas we search for John Henry Faulk's Christmas Story to play for our children. It's more delightful every year. I hope you can take the time to read it, or listen to it even though Christmas has passed. I will forever call candy canes, stripedy candy.

My next recommendation is that every person on the face of the planet must go right now and watch all four episodes of Wives and Daughters. If you've already had the privilege of partaking in this beautiful work, then go watch it again. During my recent barf fest I laid in bed and took in the wonderfulness of this period piece. It was so incredibly sweet and honorable and well, it was just perfect. Please put it on your must watch list today, this instant.

That's it for now, I really need to get my butt moving today and catch up on laundry and educate that very cute 1st grader of mine.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

You smell a little like barf.

I lovingly dedicate this post to my sister, Rechelle, who can't stand to talk about anything that involves excretions from the human body.

Did you know she had one of her 'episodes' at my house on Christmas day when her husband accidentally grabbed her arm hurting a cut she had on her wrist from dropping a glass bowl? I thought she was going to faint fifty different times, but instead she just did a lot of high pitched wailing and low pitched moaning and by no means would let any of us, including the doctor, look at her cut.

Oh, wait! I forgot, before I get into my bodily fluids post, I have to tell you how guilty I feel for NOT sending out Christmas cards this year. I thought putting up that little poll on my side bar would reassure me that there are TONS of people that don't send out cards, but NOOOOOOO you all had to tell me that YES you are sending out cards and now I feel like a big looo-hooo-hooo-zer!


Do you think it's sorta funny that I just assume you all know what a chicken tractor is? Here's the low down, it's a portable cage that you put on your lawn so the chickens can free range on the grass and bugs in a confined area. Here's a bunch of different designs, I like the A-framed shape the best.

Now, lets talk about barf.

Sunday night my belly started feeling a little icky. I said to Clay right before we shut off the lights, "Wow, we haven't had anybody puking all winter." Clay in his wise tone said, "Winter ain't over yet" and with his next breath he was snoring, leaving me to toss and turn.

Clay falls asleep incredibly fast and he's very hard to wake up, unless a child falls out of a bed, then he flies out of bed ready to rescue the hurt child. I don't know what it is about the thud of a little body on the floor that springs him out of bed, but calling his name from the bathroom between hurls of vomit....forgetaboutit. I know this, because I've experienced it MORE THAN ONCE during our marriage.

At some point in the middle of the night I felt the urgency to get my rear to the bathroom and Lord in Heaven there was a lot of 'stuff' coming out of both ends of me. After the fountains of puke and poop ceased to spring forth their uh, er, liquids, I felt right as rain. In fact, I bobbed downstairs and let the dog out, took a slug of milk (because I couldn't find any Tums to get the battery acid taste out of my mouth) and I went back to bed happy and relieved that whole business was done.

That's when Clay woke up and asked if I was okay. And I thought I was, so I answered, "Yes. I feel much better, so much better." And we both went back to sleep.

Then the second episode hit me. It must have been pretty close to Clay's alarm going off because this time he was awake. I will spare you the details. You're welcome. I just want you to know it's very nice to have someone put a cool towel on your head and clean up after your sick self and not say a word about how gross you are.

In sickness and in health, thanks sweetheart.

Anyway, I spent all day sprawled in my bed wondering when my stomach might like to right itself and my sweet Clay stayed home to watch our two littles. At one point Clay came into our room and said, "Hon, can I draw you a bath or would you like to take a shower? Cuz, uh, it smells a little like barf in here."

Wait, a minute. I take back that part about not saying how gross you are. Oh, and I forgot that after I was done puking he said something like, "Gah, you look terrible, your face is totally white!" I saw myself in the mirror and it was pretty scary, I even had raccoon eye from my mascara being smeared...but only on one eye which made me look like the evil raccoon eyed pale face lady. Lovely.

I didn't want to stink up the whole house so I went to the bathroom, took one look at the shower and went right back to bed because at that moment I didn't have enough energy to get my clothes off much less stand for more than a minute. Barf smell, shmarf smell is what I say.

Later in the evening I was feeling better and decided I needed to get myself washed. Clay came into the bathroom, I looked at him and sheepishly asked, "Gah, it stinks in here. Is it the bathroom...........or me?" You know you have a relationship built on trust and honesty when your spouse replies, "It's you. You smell a little like barf" and then he said, "That would be a great title for a blog post!"

Just what I was thinkin'.

Gosh, I love that man.

ps. #2 on my 2009 list. Done. Although after I start thinking food is not my enemy I will rectify that loss.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Inside and Outside the Farmhouse

We've lived on Coal Creek Farm for fifteen months. Within the first week of moving in I started ripping off the wallpaper in the dining room. Clay begged me not to start a project, but I just couldn't stand that wallpaper, it was too dark and gloomy and it didn't match anything we owned, it had to go.

This is a photo I took during the open house. We put a contract on the house, the same day we saw it. My poor kids were in shock, they thought we had lost our minds. Then I reminded them that we had been looking for a house for over two years. I think they thought we'd spend the rest of their lives going to open houses.

I just showed these old photos to two of my children and they asked what they were. I said, "That's our dining room" and they said, "Oh. No it's not".

As I ripped off the paper there was one area over the pass through between the kitchen and dining room that started to crumble and then a whole bunch of termites started to fall out of the wall. It was so gross. You can read the whole dining room saga here. Also, I was trying very hard not to learn how to set the date on my camera, so for about a month or more all my pictures have the date 01/08/2005 on them even though it was 2008. Guess what? I learned how to set the date. Now if I could just learn how to program my cell phone.

We lived with that hole in the wall for quite a few months while we were trying to decide just how to patch the darn thing. Then one day we both decided we'd just get the job done.

I spent several days sanding, patching, sanding, patching, sanding... you get the idea. And then I painted that darn room three different colors before I finally got to one I liked.

While I procrastinated the work in the dining room I got a bug in my britches to paint the kitchen.
I painted right over the wallpaper since it wasn't peeling or ripped. It was so much easier and I got the whole thing done in one night.

You can see more photos of the kitchen here and here. I wonder when I'm going to be able to get rid of those weird X tiles? They used to drive me crazy, but I've been here long enough that their not bothering me as much. I have a feeling they're going to be there for a very, very long time.

Moving outside the farmhouse. This is a photo I took before we bought the house. This was the lean-to or shed that housed a bunch of lumber that the previous owners left. We had thought about making it into a chicken coop.

Here you can see the shed in the background and Levi trying out the swing we hung with one of the tires we found in the shed.

It's a good thing we didn't have anything precious stored in the shed because it was blown to bits during a storm. The entire windy story can been seen here.

Clay had to use his truck to drag the big pieces of the shed out of the field and then we started sorting through the mess.

We used some of the lumber to build our garden beds.

And build the pig pen.

My favorite use of the broken shed was when my son took it upon himself to build this masterpiece.

It's a fort that he can hide behind when playing air soft gun wars with his friends. Isn't it lovely?

We also used a bunch of the lumber to build a chicken coop and patch the roof of the barn. I know why farmers never throw anything away now, because you just never know when you might need a piece of lumber or scrap of metal to make a patch or build a pen.

I don't know about you, but going through all these photos and seeing the green grass and garden are sure making me ache for summer.

I'm starting to think a lot about a chicken tractor. I was reading about meat chickens. Do any of you chicken people have opinions on raising Cornish Cross meat birds? I have mixed feeling about those birds. I'd sure love to hear if any of you have raised some. Clay told me he doesn't think he can make a decent chicken tractor out of the remaining lumber from the shed, but I be he can squeeze out a few more raised beds.