Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fair Week 2011 - Saturday

Another fair has come to a close.  I can't believe it's already over, it seems like it just started.   I always have mixed emotions as we drive away from the fairgrounds on the final night of fair week. 

On one hand I am glad it's over.  Fair week is an exhausting six days of non-stop activity.  Even the chicklets start to drag a little on the last day or two. As for myself, I could use a very looooooooong nap or two or three!

On the other hand, it is all so much fun it's sad that we have to wait a whole 'nother year for it to come around again.  The competition, the entertainment and the sheer excitement of it all make each day of fair week something to look forward to.  Having my niece and nephew here made this year's fair even more fun for all of us. 
I am pretty sure the carnival is going to be high on what my chicklets miss most.  We had bought the older kids (Boy Wonder, The Joker and Super Girl) armbands that allowed them to go on rides as often and whenever they wanted.  We sure got our money's worth there.  Those three loved the "freedom" of being able to come and go on the rides.  I liked not having to worry about whether they we having fun or not.  The Munchkin loved the rides too, but we didn't think she really needed unlimited rides as we needed to be with her whenever she went anyway.

All in all Fair Week 2011 was another fun-filled adventure that has left us anxiously anticipating next year.  Highlights of our last day included:
  • Boy Wonder competed in the Showmanship Sweepstakes along with 17 other 4H-ers representing 9 different animal projects at the fair.  He did really well for his first time and even though he didn't bring home the big trophy, we are still so proud of him.  There were approximately 1000 youth participating in the fair this year ... that puts Boy Wonder in the top 2 percent ... not too shabby!
  • The kids took advantage of their carnival armbands and managed to squeeze in a few more rides.  It was a scorcher today (well over 90 with humidity) so they waited until after dark to really hit the rides.  The Geek and I found a nice bench to sit on and people watch with the Munchkin and the Little Prince.  Ain't nothin' like people watchin' at the fair.  There are some real curious folks out there people!
  • We snuck away from the fairgrounds just for a bit to take the Joker and Super Girl on a little sightseeing tour of our neck of the woods.  They were anxious to see a little bit of the area and it was a nice air conditioned break from the heat and humidity.
  • We ended the night by watching motocross racing at "The Pit".  I didn't think I was going to enjoy it very much but I was wrong.  Unfortunately we neglected to put up lawn chairs earlier in the day, so we had to watch from the standing room only section.  The heat kinda limited how long we could watch, but we saw enough high flying dirt bikes and jolting crashes to last us a while.  Boy Wonder had a friend from church racing in one of the heats, so once we saw him (complete with a minor crash into a wall) we headed back to the poultry barn for a quick check on the chickens.  Before we knew it, it was time to gather everyone up and head home for the night.
The boys have to go back in the morning to collect the chickens and all of our other projects and ribbons.  Once that's done we can officially say good bye to Fair Week 2011.  It was a good one and we can't wait for next year!

Fair Week 2011 - Friday

My niece and nephew were disappointed to find out I had not given them nicknames on the blog. I would hate to lose my current favorite auntie status so they shall now be known as The Joker and Super Girl.  Very appropriate names since my nephew is a real hoot and there isn't a whole lot my niece isn't good at. 

I had every intention of posting pictures today, but since it is now after midnight and we have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow I have reconsidered. 

So without further ado today's highlights include: 
  • All the kids tried their had ant "Minute to Win It" games this afternoon.  There weren't any ribbons given out, but it was a fun diversion for an hour.
  • The Munchkin and Super Girl took part in the pedal tractor pull again.  The Munchkin left empty handed once again, but Super Girl managed to improve her game and came home with a "Second Place" ribbon to go along with yesterday's "Third Place".  She was disappointed she didn't get the trophy, but this has made her all the more determined to come back again next year.
  • Boy Wonder made some more contacts in preparation for tomorrow's Showmanship Sweepstakes.  He learned how to show a steer and I wish I had captured his face afterwords.  His eyes were as big as saucers and he just kept repeating, "I just walked a 1300 pound steer!".  He has now practiced showing every type of animal he will show tomorrow so he should be in good shape for the competition.  He really is blessed to have this opportunity at this age.  Most 4H-ers don't do this until they are at least 15. 
  • We enjoyed a treat we only get during fair week today.  Ginormous, warm "elephant ears" sprinkled with powdered sugar were just the thing to top off another fun day at the fair.  They were definitely a hit with our out of town guests as well.  

The picture is of The Munchkin at the Princess Tea yesterday.  I didn't take this photo ... someone posted several pictures to the fair's Facebook page (that's actually my hand and camera on the right) This is not the best photo, but it'll have to do for now until I finally get around to downloading  my own.  It does a pretty good job of capturing her pure joy of being in the presence of "royalty" though, don't you think? 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fair Week 2011 - Thursday

First of all, I want to apologize for the lack of pictures this week.  By the time we get home from fair I am barely able to drag my sorry self into the house, let alone think about uploading pictures.  The Geek has been posting to Facebook almost daily so if you have access to that you've seen some of what's been going on. I am hoping that tomorrow will be a shorter day and maybe I can treat you to a few pictures of FAIR WEEK 2011 right here.  As for my poem that I entered, you may have read it before here, if not ... here's your chance now.

I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but we have had out of town guests this week.  My niece and nephew from Boston are staying with us.  They came especially for fair week.  I couldn't help but think it was a bit like the city mice coming to visit the country mice.  They have never experienced a country fair in their lives and were so excited to come and be a part of it all.  I am pretty sure they have not been disappointed since they are already contemplating what their entries in the fair will be next year. 

It has been great for my chicklets to spend so much time with their cousins.  We don't get to see them very often, maybe once a year if we are lucky.  Boy Wonder has really enjoyed being able to go "exploring" the fair with them sans parents.  They have accompanied him as he has made his rounds prepping for the Showmanship Sweepstakes and both actually look forward to doing "barn duty" with Boy Wonder --- sweeping out the entire poultry barn and making sure all birds have adequate food and water.  I had worried that they might be too "jaded" to find our little fair any fun, but I think I my worries were for naught.  I am pretty sure I can safely say they will be going home with enough good memories to last a lifetime.

Today's fair highlights include:
  • The Munchkin donned her favorite princess outfit and attended a "Princess Tea" hosted by the Fair Queen and her court.  She was in awe of the Queen's crown and vowed to one day be Fair Queen herself.  Incidentally, the Queen contest is as far from a beauty pageant as can be.  Although the girls were all cute in their own way, they are chosen based on the participation and leadership skills rather than on their good looks.  That's something this Mama Hen doesn't mind encouraging her little chickie to aspire to.
  • The Geek earned the title "Grand Champion of the Men's Over 40 Hula Hoop Competition" --- Whoo!  Truthfully he was the only competitor, but he got up on stage and gave it his best, so if you ask me that man deserves a ribbon just for bravery alone :)  The emcee of the event even managed to convince my 87 year old father to give the hula hoop a try and he wore his "Participant" ribbon with pride all day.
  • All the kiddies participated in the frog jumping contest, with Boy Wonder clinching first place honors for his age group.  The boys all headed out early this morning to a local park to catch frogs.  That alone is a memory my nephew will probably not soon forget.  They had a full bucket o' frogs when one large one manage to dislodge the bucket's lid and made it's escape ... along with all the other frogs that had been caught.  They had to start all over again, but I understand nobody complained.  Apparently boys and frog catching go together like chips and dip.
  • The Munchkin and my niece competed in the tractor pedal pull competition.  The Munchkin was hoping to repeat last year's success and take home a trophy, but sadly that didn't happen.  She didn't care and seemed just as tickled to take home her "I'm a Pedal Puller" ribbon.  My niece took home a lovely "Third Place" ribbon for her efforts.  After the race she immediately informed me she would very much like to try to better her score at tomorrow evening's competition.  The Munchkin can't wait to get back in the driver's seat again either, so I know what's on my docket for a few hours tomorrow night.
  • Today was my parent's 67th wedding anniversary.  My mother mentioned this fact to the emcee at the children's contests earlier in the day and was awarded a ribbon for "Staying Married So Long to the Same Man" --- a feat my mother says was accomplished by the fact that neither of them killed one another.  Too funny!  She wore her ribbon with pride all day too.  We celebrated by dining on fine fair food from a vendor selling broasted chicken and potatoes.  It wasn't fancy, but it was pretty tasty and I am just glad we were able to share their special day with them at the fair.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fair Week 2011 - Wednesday

One of the best parts of Fair Week is the entertainment.  Our little country fair doesn't pull in any big names, but the local talent ain't too shabby!  There really is something for everyone.  Contests and games for the kiddies (ex. most freckles, hula hoop and bike give-aways) and the adults too.  Local bands perform throughout the fair.  There's even karaoke for the brave. 

If it's live action you want, it's there too.  The fairgrounds has a large outdoor arena called "The Pit".  This area is a favorite for most of the fair-goers and host a different event every evening at 7 o'clock.  There's tractor and truck pulls, mud drags, two kinds of demolition derbies and motocross.  Because it's such a big draw, you have to be sure to set up your lawn chairs by ten in the morning or you might be in the very crowded standing room only section. 

I tend to steer clear of "The Pit" because it's just a bit too crowded and L-O-U-D for my tastes.  The Geek and the chicklets love it though, so I find something else to do for a few hours.  I did make an exception on Monday for the rodeo.  I've always wanted to see one live and I wasn't disappointed.

Today's fair highlights:

  • The Munchkin won the longest hair contest at a whopping 30-inches!!  In the past, they divided the kids by age groups.  This year they did them all together and the competition was "fierce".  She managed to hold on to her first place title by a mere 2 inches.
  • My pictures did very well in the Adult Open competition.  Both photographs received blue ribbons for quality.  My portrait of the Little Prince was chosen "Best of Class" ... whoo hoo!!!
  • My entry into the creative writing competition got top honors as well.  I'll be bringing home a second "Best of Class" ribbon.  Not too bad for my first year, eh?
  • Boy Wonder continued his quest for Showmanship knowledge.  One of the girls in our 4H club won the showmanship competition for goats so Boy Wonder picked her brain for a while.  Then it was on to the llama tent to learn the finer points of llama showmanship.  Top tip?  How to avoid being spit on. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fair Week 2011 - Tuesday

Another busy day at the fair.  We headed out to the fairgrounds bright and early so that Boy Wonder could take care of his chickens before he had his interview with the photography judge.  The Munchkin and I made our way to where she would be showing her photos, but once there found out we were almost an hour early.  There were a few people starting to line up so we got in line and it was a good thing.  As it turns out there were well over 100 little ones participating in the Clover Sprouts projects!

By the way, I apologize if yesterday's blog post was a little "discombobulated" for lack of a better term.  I kept falling asleep while I typed it and occasionally awoke to find pure gibberish on my screen, like "Boy Wonder brought home 2nd Place in Poultry and sheets." Wha??? I even hit "Publish Post" in my sleep and just didn't have the energy to go back and double check it.  It isn't too bad, but now that you know you can kinda tell I was off my game.  Too funny! 

Well, I know you are on the edge of your seats for today's fair report so here goes...

  • The Munchkin's photos were given high praise and each received a lovely neon green Clover Sprouts ribbon.  It's really not much of a real competition, but more of a just getting experience so that when they move on to "real" 4H they have an idea of how the whole fair/interview process works
  • Boy Wonder's photographs also received high praise from his judge. He was told that his portrait (of the Munchkin) was the best the judge had seen so far.  His landscape (a lighthouse), animal (a baby chick) and collages were also given very high marks.  With such strong compliments, it was disappointing to find out that none of his photos received any trophies.  It's hard to encourage your child to accept defeat graciously when you feel they've been "robbed", but we gave it our best.  My biggest fear was that he might be discouraged from trying again in the future, but despite his disappointment, he says he'd try again.
  • Boy Wonder has begun his "crash course" in Showmanship Sweepstakes preparation.  Today he work with a couple of boys who shared their knowledge of Sheep Showmanship.  It's so cool to see these kids work together and freely share information with one another.
  • Tram rides--the fair has a tractor-pulled tram that takes people all over the fairgrounds.  Riding on it is one of our favorite parts of fair.  Especially after 4, when the horse-drawn trams come into operation.  There's not alot for the Little Prince to do quite yet at fair, but the horse-drawn trams definitely top his list right now.
We also had our share of fair food ... love those elephant ears... and looked at lots of animals today.  The Munchkin has a soft spot for horses so she and I took a trip through the horse barns.  Several 4H-ers let her pet their horses and she was in h-e-a-v-e-n.  She has begun her campaign to convince her daddy she must have one in earnest, but so far he isn't budging :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fair Week 2011 - Monday

Boy Wonder (as I have mentioned before) raises chickens.  Once a year these chickens get a chance to redeem themselves by bringing home a ribbon or trophy from the local county 4H fair.  Boy Wonder, in addition to showing chickens, also participates in the photography competition and has done very well in past years.
This year marks the first year the Munchkin can compete as a Clover Sprout.  She has chosen to show photographs as well.  It's also the first year I decided to throw my hat in the ring too.  I have entered two photographs and a poem in the adult division.
Fair Week is a very tiring fun week with very little down time.  I may not be able to do a lot of blog writing, but I will try to provide updates on our fair activities for the week.  If this is of no interest to you, rest assured I will return to my regular, overwhelmingly fascinating blog posts next week :)

Monday - July 25th
  • Boy Wonder brought home 2nd place in Poultry Showmanship for his class (Junior Division, ages 12-15)
  • One of Boy Wonder's chickens received best in it's class -- kinda a big deal.
  • Boy Wonder's Showmanship score earned him a place in Showmanship Sweepstakes, a competition on Saturday where he will have to show each of the animal types at fair (ex. poultry, diary cattle, swine, etc)

What's ahead this week:
Just some of what's ahead this Fair Week 2011
  • Mama Hen's pictures and Poem get judged by Wednesday 6.
  • Boy Wonder and the Munchkin compete in Photography (not against each other)
  • And lots of other fun times brought to you by fair.

Keep posted or if you'd rather not ... I'll see you back here net week.

Have a good week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Problem With Cute Kids

I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful.
Author Unknown

I have been blessed with cute chicklets.  My brood -- especially the younger ones -- love hamming it up for the camera. And because they are so gosh darn cute, I am usually happy to oblige.  While this might not seem like a bad thing, it does pose some problems for this Mama Hen.

Like the fact that my new camera can hold nearly 2000 pictures at a time and I have filled up the card more than once.  No big deal if I could force myself to delete some, but how can I hit the delete button and banish even one of these beauties to the "trash pile"? 

It's also a big distraction. I often find myself avoiding things that need to be done around the house (especially laundry!) just so I can capture the fleeting moments of childhood.  I mean dirty socks don't stand a chance against this guy!

We do not remember days; we remember moments.
Cesare Pavese

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eating Crow

When you realize you've made a mistake, make amends immediately.  It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.
Dan Heist

The warm weather has taken it's toll all around me.  My flower garden is a sad tangle of dirt and shriveling plants.  My lawn is turning brown and the barn cats are hiding in some cool dark corner of the barn.  But the worst casualty of the heat and humidity has been the tempers of the human residents here on the farm.

Everyone seems to be on edge.  Seemingly innocuous statements are getting taken the wrong way.  Snide remarks are commonplace and simple comments are getting blown all out of proportion.  I'd like to say I haven't been a part of it, but sadly I have not been at my best.  I've heard the words coming out of my mouth and I cringed.  I know I shouldn't have said them, but somehow I justified them by thinking I was just responding to the harsh words that had been spoken to me.  I knew I should be the "bigger person" and stop the nonsense, but I just couldn't seem to let it go.  I was weak.

To be honest, I didn't like who I was becoming.   I asked God to help me change, but I wasn't really making a real attempt to do anything on my own.  I knew I'd have to start with saying I'm sorry, and I just couldn't make myself do that. As you may have guessed, however, God wasn't going to let me off that easy. 

Yesterday I received a daily devotion/inspirational email in my inbox.  It was about letting go of past hurts.  It said that God calls us to release our need to control things ... to love unconditionally (and here was the kicker) and to forgive freely.  As I read those words, I could almost feel something start to change within me.  It was as if the chains on my heart that had been preventing me from "eating crow" began to be released. 

I can't lie, it wasn't easy but eventually I told the one I'd hurt that I was sorry.  I swallowed my pride and humbled myself.   I did it without expecting an apology in return (even though I was blessed to get one).  I did it freely and most importantly I did it without excuses.   

Never ruin an apology with an excuse.
Kimberly Johnson

Thank you, God for not letting me off easy. Once again I am humbled by Your blessing.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Blinked

How did it happen?

How did this..

become this?

Today I became the mama of a teenager  Yikes!  I guess that's what happens when you blink ;)    When I had Boy Wonder I had fantasies about what being a mother was going to be like.  It didn't take long to realize that the life I dreamed of and the life I got were not one in the same.  Thank You God!  Parenting a child like my boy may not have been exactly the path I envisioned, but it's the one I have been blessed with.  I am so thankful God has given me this handsome, complex, intelligent, and absolutely awesome child to love. 

Boy Wonder,
I am proud of you and the man you are becoming.  Your faith in God is a light to others.  Your unique view on the world refreshes me.  You are gifted in so many ways, I can only imagine what God has in store for you.  I pray that He will bless you today and always. You're my best!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm Melting!

It is so hot here on the farm...I am starting to fear Boy Wonder's chickens are going to be fried if this heat wave doesn't end soon! According to the weatherman (who is no longer one of my favorite people) high temps are going to be around at least another week. Yikes!  I am a delicate flower and cannot take this kind of serious heat and humidity.  Okay, okay .. so delicate may be stretching it a bit ... I'm more of a hardy mum ... but still this hot weather is kickin' me in the patootie nonetheless!
With no break in sight, we decided to load up the chickies in the family truckster this past weekend and go for a ride in air conditioned comfort.  We ended up in a small harbor town that was having a soap box derby race. 

What a hoot! It was open to all ages with the oldest competitor being in his seventies.  We had a blast cheering on our favorites.  No surprise here ... The Geek and Boy Wonder are already planning their entries for next year.  The Munchkin has even requested her own vehicle with the following specs: it must be pink or red and it must sparkle. A girl's gotta have sparkle don'cha know!
After a few hours at the races, we continued on our trek.  The weather was picture perfect beach weather so we found a local beach and staked our claim for a few hours.

If I ever strike it rich I am soooooo buying a secluded place on some beach.  The crowds I can do without, but there's something about my toes in the sand and the sound of the waves that soothes my inner beast.
It was with much whining and protesting  --- I just couldn't help myself :) --- that we headed for home.  It was one of those perfectly perfect summer days you just want to bottle up and save for the dead of winter.

But all good things must come to an end so we headed home ... sun kissed and sleepy with a bucketful of memories to last us until our next big adventure.

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
Russel Baker

Friday, July 15, 2011

I've Been Thinking

ruminate:  to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly

Way back around the first of the year I came across several blogs where people had posted about their "one word" --- a word they had selected as sort of focus for the year ahead.  Words like "grow" or "hope" or "embrace" showed up often.  I thought the whole concept sounded like a neat idea, but I just couldn't settle on a word.  Having just recently lost my sister and experiencing somewhat of a health crisis myself, I wanted nothing more than to pick the word  "hibernate".  The thought of growing, hoping or embracing seemed like far more than I was capable of.  I thought I'd try doing it sometime, but maybe not at this point in my life.  Eventually, however, the word "ruminate" revealed itself to me and it has unofficially become my touchstone for 2011. 

Now halfway through the year, I can say I have done my far share of ruminating these past six and a half months.  I have thought and thought until my thinker was sore.  What have I thought about you might ask? Well, let me enlighten you ...

I've thought about life and death. 

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
Mark Twain

Losing someone close to me has had a significant impact on how I think about the uncertainty of life.  It has driven home how fragile life really is and the inevitability of death in a way I never experienced prior to this.  We only have so many trips around the sun and it's never a given that tomorrow will be ours to explore.

I've thought long and hard about my faith. 

Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God.
Carter Lindberg

I've given more thought about what I believe and why my faith is important to me.  I've thought about what I can do to strengthen my faith and make it even more of a priority in my life.  And I've thought about the importance of sharing my faith with others so that they too may be drawn closer to God.

And most recently I've been thinking about change. 

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.
Pauline R. Kezer

My sister's death caused me to reevaluate where I am in my life and where I'm going versus where I'd like to be.  It has really pushed me to seriously think about making significant changes in my day to day living in order to move ahead.  Essentially revisiting that age old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" or at the very least "What do you want to try next?"

It is generally accepted that one should not make any major life changes while one is going through the acute stages of grief.  There's a lot of sense to that.  Your mind is muddled, you're adrift and you really are incapable of making a sane decision.  But now over a half of a year out from my loss,  the fog is lifting and my head is starting to clear.  I can begin to seriously think ... ruminate if you will ... about what my next chapter will be. 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
Mark Twain

I know life never goes according to plan.  I have become a master at "winging it", but I am becoming acutely aware of the fact that I am not getting any younger and a "game plan' of sorts might not be such a bad idea.  A sort of road map to help me get from here to where I want to be.  If there's one thing all this ruminating has taught me, it's that it's time for this Mama Hen to do something.  I haven't quite figured it out what "it" is yet, but that's okay ... I'm on my way :)

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some Days

"The story of a mother's life: Trapped between a scream and a hug."
Cathy Guisewite

Some days I really love being a stay at home mom. 

Some days I don't.

Some days I manage to get through the day without ever having to raise my voice. 

Some days I don't.

Some days I do the things a Godly mother should do. 

Some days I don't.

Some days I feel like I am blessed beyond measure. 

Some days I don't.

This was one of the "I don't" days.

My older chicklets are bickering with each other nonstop, the Little Prince is really embracing the whole "Terrible Twos" thing right now and the Geek is away on a business trip so I am completely on my own. 

I woke up this morning and Boy Wonder greeted me with a snarl. Apparently I am somehow responsible for that fact that the bike he left out in the rain now has brakes that have seized up.   In no time, he and the Munchkin were at each other's throats.  Not to be outdone in the screaming department, the Little Prince decided it was the ideal time for a tantrum.  Perfect, just perfect.

It wasn't long before this Mama Hen lost her cool.  I raised my voice and I raised it loud.  Feeling anything but blessed, I counted the hours until nap time.  It couldn't get here soon enough.

I know tomorrow probably will be a better day.  My kiddos will probably quibble, but I just might be able to keep my own frustration in check.  Maybe God will give me the strength to be the kind of mother I wish I could always be. I'm sure I'll count my blessings as I often do and I'll feel blessed beyond measure.

But today, I don't.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Geeks Rule!

Got a crazy day ahead of me, but I just wanted to take the time and wish y'all a Happy "Embrace Your Inner Geekiness" Day!  It's the day to celebrate your inner (or in my case ... most of the time... outer) dorkiness.   It's a fact, nerdiness reigns here on the farm.  The Geek and Boy Wonder contribute the most, but I do alright ... I mean I do have an engineering degree afterall :) 

"There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don’t."
Author Unknown

If you read that first quote and the words "African or European?" come to mind you are most definitely on the geek squad!  If you don't get those quotes, then you aren't a geek, but that's okay I love ya' anyway :)  Let me explain it for you non-geeks ...  the first is from the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" -- a movie geeks all over the world can quote verbatim.  Don't try too hard to understand it's a geek thing.  As for the second quote, "10" is binary for "2".. get it now?  

I guess if you aren't a geek (or even if you are), you could embrace the ones that are in your life today.  Give 'em a big ol' hug and let 'em know you think they're awesome.  I mean seriously, where would this world be if it weren't for the geeks?  Probably sitting in a cave somewhere still waiting for someone to invent the wheel :)

So join me in standing tall and proudly letting the world know it's okay to be a nerd.  In fact it's more than okay ... it's downright cool!

"The drummer must march to his own beat in order for the crowd to follow any music at all."
Author Unknown

Geeks Rule!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pie Heaven

Fall is my favorite season, but Summer ain't too shabby either.  Ninety-plus degree temperatures with nasty humidity like we've had lately, I could do without thank you very much.  She redeems herself nicely though, with a plethora of fresh veggies and fruits --- the taste of which you just can't get any other time of the year. 

Tomatoes fresh out of the garden ... to die for! 

Fresh cool cucumber salad ... the best!

But by far my favorite summer time treat (and my brood's too if the rate at which they are consuming them is any indication) are fresh strawberries.  Sadly the season is winding down, but we are still finding enough to enjoy the occasional homemade shortcake and our favorite .. Simply Scrumptious Strawberry Pie.

“When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmmmm, boy.”
Jack Handy

I don't know if there'll be pie in heaven ... seems like there ought to be if you ask me.  I do know that eating a slice of this sweet creation, however, is pretty darn close to heaven on earth!  Make one today, you won't be sorry you did :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Little Vintage Goodness

I was driving through town yesterday when I saw something that made my heart race and my palms sweat.  It was a handwritten sign with my favorite two words (next to "ice" + "cream") scrawled on it with black magic marker ...
I know I need more stuff like I need a hole in my head, but I had to stop ... I just had to!  I mean what's a card carrying, old stuff-loving, Mama Hen suppose to do?  Pass up an opportunity for the chance to procure some vintage-y goodness? I think not.

I'm so glad I stopped,  'cuz look what had my name written all over it...
That reminds me, I forgot to mention the intruder we had in the farmhouse last week.  One of Boy Wonder's chickens somehow got in the backdoor while we were heading out for the day.  How we didn't see it remains a mystery, but several hours later we came home to a house that had had a crazed chicken locked inside all day ... not good folks, not good at all!  There was chicken ...ahem...doo doo all over my kitchen floor, but even worse ... the bugger made it's way into the dining room and broke one of my favorite pieces of milk glass and a bunch of antique Christmas ornaments... grrr!  I was one very unhappy Mama Hen, let me tell ya!

The Geek insisted our "new" trailer needed this bad boy. 
Gosh, I love that man ... he loves old things as much I do.  Good thing too, 'cuz neither one of us is getting any younger :)

"An archeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her."
Agatha Christie

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You Can Quote Me On This

"Words matter always ... in all ways."
Joseph Heywood

I love reading quotes.  I don't know why exactly, but there is something about them that draws me to them like a moth to a flame.  I love their ability to shrink down into a sentence or two, a book's worth of wisdom. 

"Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification."
Martin H. Fischer

Quotes have the power to change me.

"Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!"
Allison Gappa Bottke

To make me stop and see that my so-so day is really a great one. 

"Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it." 
William Feather
 To make me smile or laugh just when I need it most. 

"A great name for a new country song: If I'd Shot You Sooner, I'd Be Out of Jail by Now."
Author Unknown

They give me confidence to meet the challenges life hands me. 

"If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." 
Vincent Van Gogh
They bring me comfort and solace in knowing I am not the only one who thinks/feels/sees life the way I do. 

"It's annoying to be disapproved of by people who know only half the story - especially when you're not sure which half they know." 
Robert Brault

I am not a quote snob by any means.  I like serious, thought provoking and enlightening quotes just as much as the off-the-wall and funny ones.

"Never take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway."
Author Unknown

Where I satisfy my addiction for quotes is as varied as the quotes themselves ... 

"The world breaks us all. Afterward, some are stronger at the broken places."
 Ernest Hemingway- Farewell To Arms
"Sometimes you have to step outside of the person you've been, and remember the person you were meant to be, the person you wanted to be, the person you are."
One Tree Hill

"There's no place like home."
Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) in The Wizard of Oz

and song lyrics are some of my favorite sources.

"Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." 
Garth Brooks

But the internet is by far my biggest enabler. 

"The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their validity."
Abraham Lincoln ( source:  Modern Hepburn )

As of late, I have been able to feed my need for words on "Pinterest" --- a very dangerous place for a word junkie like myself. 

 'Tis So Sweet

I can (and have) get lost on there for hours!  Just this morning the Munchkin said, "Oh no, you are on your computer again, now I'll never get breakfast!" Hmmm! Maybe there's a twelve step program for word-a-holics.  I don't know, but I sure love the Serenity Prayer... 

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Reinhold Niebuhr


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Grandparent's Love

I didn't have a grandparent in my life growing up.  Two of them had died long before I was born and one died shortly after.  My mother's father lived far away and wasn't really ever a part of my life either.  I was always jealous of the other kids talking about their grandmas and grandpas.  I know this is why I want my brood to know their grandparents.  I am always looking for ways to make their relationship stronger, but I never force things.  With my folks living right with us, opportunities are always presenting really is a blessing beyond measure if you ask me.

My father has never been an overly affectionate man.  He's one of those quiet people that just sits back and takes in all that's going on around him.  In his younger days, he would show his love by doing ... fixing, repairing and building things for those he loved.  Now that he's older he can no longer do those things and I am sure that hurts him.

I love watching him with my chicklets.  He is much more affectionate with them than he ever was with me, but he's still hesitant.

It was so sweet watching him chatting with the Little Prince yesterday.  Several times I watched him as he reached out and stroked the little guy's hair or cheek. 

The love of a grandfather for his grandson was so evident.

 I will treasure these photos always.

Grandparents and grandchildren,
Together they create a chain of love
Linking the past,
With the future.
The chain may lengthen,
But it will never part.
Author Unknown

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fear Less

Last night as I lay in bed, I starting thinking about things going on in my life and my mind started to wander.  This is nothing new for me.  I often lose myself in thought.  It's like my secret escape.  I go down "What if" Street ... I linger a bit at "Would Coulda Shoulda" Road  and I peek inside the houses along "I Wonder" Way.  It's all pretty harmless and I don't allow myself to get too caught up in it all. 

But last night was different.

It got a bit darker on the "streets" I was wandering down.  I began to think about how fast time seems to be going lately and how much I wish I could slow it all down sometimes.  I thought about the Munchkin being five and thought how quickly five to forty five really is and then I thought about how fast my forty-five will be eighty-five and then I started to panic.

"What If" Street was no longer a happy place filled with possibilities.  It became a scary place filled with unfulfilled dreams.  "What if" I never get to do all the things I dream of doing, just like my sister didn't.  "What if" I never get the chance to create all the things I dream of creating.  "What if " I don't have what I need to get through tomorrow ... and the day after that ... and the day after that ... and so on.  "What if" my tomorrow never comes?

Yeah, it got really frightening and I began to feel like I couldn't catch my breath.  I felt so lost and alone.  To say I was scared would be an understatement.   I sent up a weak little prayer for help and wondered if anyone heard me.

He did. 

God heard my cry and swooped in and took me out of that dark and ominous place and brought me back to the light.  I recently read (so sorry I don't remember where so I can't give proper credit where it's due) that God gives us grace for today.  Tomorrow He'll give us grace for tomorrow and so on.  In other words, we don't have to worry about our tomorrows ...  rest assured God will take care of those too... instead, we can just focus on today and be confident that His grace will be sufficient.

That is such a freeing thought to me and it's what got me off the dark streets of panic last evening and back on "Living in the Moment" Lane ... a much better place to be.

"Do not be afraid of tomorrow; for God is already there."
Author Unknown

Saturday, July 2, 2011

God Bless America!

My brood and I wish you and yours a safe and
Happy 4th of July!

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."
Erma Bombeck

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pomp and Circumtance

When the Geek and I started out on this home school gig, one of the things I "worried" about was my chicklets missing things like dances, award nights and graduation.  I  see now that opportunities for those things all still exist, I just needed to know where to look.  Sometimes, as it turns out, I have to look to myself to provide those things.  Yesterday was one of those times.

The Munchkin just finished up her first "official" year of school and a celebration was in order.  I had no choice but to channel my inner Martha and get my creative mojo on.  I think it's safe to say I pulled off one awesome Kindergarten Graduation. 

The guest list was small, but the joy was HUGE.

There was some pomp...

there was some laughter...

Especially when my little chickie surprised me by thanking me with the song M-O-T-H-E-R.  She and Grandma had secretly been working on it for a few weeks and let me tell ya' it was precious! Just in case you don't know it, here's the lyrics so y'all can see why I was such a crybaby...

"M" is for the million things she taught me
"O" means only that she's growing old
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me
"H" is for her heart of purest gold
"E" is for her eyes with love-light shining
"R" means right and right she'll always be
Put them all together they spell MOTHER,
a word that means the world to me!

Yep, the shindig had all the hallmarks of a true celebration. Wish you coulda been here ... dinner was delish

To top it all off, Boy Wonder put together a special rocket launch for his baby sis to celebrate "blasting off to first grade" ... seriously, is that rocket too cute or what? The pencil shape was perfect for the occasion.

I am so proud of you Munchkin! I pray you remember some of the things we told you like always let God be your compass and try and be the ONE thing that makes a difference in someone's life everyday.  God has great plans for you Baby Girl, I know it.  I am so blessed to be your Mama and have a front row seat and see it all come to life.  I Love You forever to the moon and back!

"I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known."
Author Unknown

And without further ado, I present you the Graduating Class of 2023...