Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A quiz!

Here are two scenarios.  Can you guess the trigger in each?  (Hint-they're related)

1.  It is evening, and I read something on facebook that annoys me.

2.  It is evening, and I come home to something simple, like that MJL took out the trash, and I'm so happy that I feel like singing.  I probably do actually sing something about it.

So...what do you think?

**I'm working on posting some Fair pics and stories, but still too tired and busy**  :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fair Notes

Whew!  I'm starting this post about 5 hours into having animals at the Fair, and there are lots of things I want to remember for next year...
  1. Leave Monday open for baking, then you'll have all day to get ready for the foods judging on Tuesday.
  2. Buy paper plates and ziplocs to take food in. 
  3. In a last minute emergency situation they have stalls at the fair to wash the pigs if you don't get it done before check in. 
  4. Little horns on the goats are fine and don't stress about the Vet check.
  5. Have Anna make a sign for our stalls this winter.
  6. The kids should all have boots.  They want to be in the stalls and you will worry about their toes.
  7. You want boots too.
  8. Make something like breakfast burritos early in the summer and save them.  These are late nights and early mornings and everyone is hungry.  There is no breakfast at the concession stand.
  9. MJL says she doesn't need to change before meeting with judges but you will feel bad that she is dirty.  Consider taking other clothes/shoes.  
  10. Clear dish soap to wash the animals.
  11. Remember the "Destination Cards" for showing the animals.
  12. When they order the Fair T-shirts get one for each of the kids.  They will all want one. 
  13. The little ones can all show in PeeWee division and they will want to.
  14. There is some kind of peach colored card to fill out if they want to get a ribbon for PeeWee Showmen.
  15. Get the little green cards and fill them out as soon as you can.  Having everything ready helps you sleep.
  16. Keep dry cleaner bags throughout the year for Clothing Construction entries.
  17. Do business calls ASAP after the meeting so you don't have to worry about it later.
  18. Mounting the photos is not hard.  You just need spray adhesive and the mats.  Make a jig for spacing.
  19. Save good craft/art projects from the school year.  Art needs to be framed/hangable.
  20. Get a small brush that Anna can fit in her back pocket for the swine show.  
  21. She's supposed to keep the other card in her pocket.
  22. People brush their goats too.  Consider getting a goat brush.  
  23. Katie and Jimmy both want their own crops. 
  24. Need more than one showing outfit if no time for laundry.  Have a backup idea.
  25. Extra shoes if we're going to be at the fair all day.  Boots all day = blisters.
  26. Katie is allergic to something.  It doesn't bother her too much, but her eyes get puffy and her nose runs and she sneezes.  **The kids Allegra 12 hour seems to help without side effects.**
  27. The free sno cones last for hours.  You don't have to stand in the long line at 3:00.
  28. The balloon man is amazing and will keep even Jimmy entertained for quite a while. 
  29. MJL wants to make more floor boards for all of the pens.  Don't forget to measure!
  30. Buy a chain collar for the goat.  
  31. Talk to Kari M. about the goat place north of town.
  32. You are all super tired, but if you do ONE thing like load the dishwasher or pick up each time you come home to sleep it will really help.
  33. Clearance sand toys to play with under the bleachers.
  34. PULL a stroller through deep sand.
  35. Keep a list of people you want to write thank you notes for. 
  36. Some people say that the "Spot" pigs are harder to deal with.
  37. Build a pen for the goats at our house so the animals are together and closer.
  38. The foods building has A/C!
  39. Having both cars in town is worth it.
  40. Just introduce yourself.  Everyone is nice.
  41. Check junk pile for Quonset.
  42. Livestock clean up actually starts at 7:00 AM
  43. St. Mary's has a Mass at 4:30 on Saturday-you could still get back in time for the auction meal.
  44. They line the kids up about 20 numbers ahead of where they are in the auction.
  45. Take a box or basket to gather up all of the entries.
  46. Label all of the livestock stuff.
  47. The 4H mall online has books that explain what to do for each project.
  48. Be looking for fans with v shaped bottoms for goat pens.
  49. Fix up the livestock trailer this winter.
  50. Water the plants on the front porch!
  51. Have enough staples and easy dinners for 2 recovery days. 
  52. It is exhausting but super fun.  You loved it.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Frost

I like to keep a book of poetry out (ok, in the bathroom) because it's a really nice way to squeeze something lovely and thought provoking into the day.  I've been reading Robert Frost for a while now, and I really like this one.

The Tuft of Flowers

I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.

The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the levelled scene.

But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been, -alone,

'As all must be,' I said within my heart,
'Whether they work together or apart.'

But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a 'wildered butterfly,

Seeking with memories grown dim o'er night
Some resting flower of yesterday's delight.

And once I marked his flight go round and round,
As where some flower lay withering on the ground.

And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.

I thought of questions that have no reply,
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry;

But he turned first, and led my eye to look
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,

A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.

I left my place to know them by their name,
Finding them butterfly weed when I came.

The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
By leaving them to flourish, not for us,

Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him,
But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.

The butterfly and I had lit upon,
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,

That made me hear the wakening birds around,
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,

And feel a spirit kindred to my own;
So that henceforth I worked no more alone;

But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;

And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach.

'Men work together,' I told him from the heart,
'Whether they work together or apart.'

From A Boy's Will

Another great poetry source, if you're curious, is the Poetry App from the Poetry Foundation.  (It's free)  You can "spin" and it'll match up two categories and give you poems about "love" and "youth" for example.  You can save poems you like to your favorites, and search by author or title.  It's a nice way to wait in line.  :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jimmy and Katie video

Just a little gift from heaven.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Giant Photo Project Done!

The kids had been destroying all of our albums, so 18 months ago I started putting them all into new albums, hopefully more sturdy, and all the same size.  

I moved 5,400 pictures.  

Now we have 18 albums for the last 9 years.  Not counting the baby books or 8x10 albums.  

Digital cameras are crazy.  

With this big project done, and (fingers crossed) no more graduate classes, it seems like I'll have oodles and oodles of time.  How long do you suppose that will last? ;)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Father's Day Paintings!

We got these done!  This is one of my favorite summer projects, though it also makes me a little crazy.

Anna's rendition of Anna, Daddy, and Abby going down the slides at the Big Pool.  

If Katie told me what this was, I can't remember.  

I let Jimmy use a brush this year and he was much happier.  

All three on the wall!  

This year I was inspired by this post to think a little bit more about what colors I gave the little kids, so that it doesn't just turn into a brown mess.  

Some day I want to do something like this, but I'm not quite there yet.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


At the end of the school year one of our teachers had a Jamberry Nails party and Anna and Abby and I picked out "Punchy Puff" to try.

They're vinyl nail stickers- pretty easy to put on, and they lasted on my toes almost a month before I messed with them too much and peeled them off.  

Before Fashion Revue I finally put them on Anna's fingers and toes.  It took about 30 minutes to do both, but no drying time!

Then Katie wanted in on the fun.  

Her toes are still going strong, but her fingers lasted less than a day.  She peeled them off.  

So far, from one sheet of stickers ($20 with shipping, I think), I've done my toes twice, and Anna and Katie both fingers and toes.  I think we have enough left for at least one more set of nails.  

Here's the link to my friend Jillian's Jamberry page if you're interested.  It was a fun summer thing to try!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Happy 15th anniversary to my favorite.

(TBT) 10th Anniversary Video.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Hope sustains the farmer

Something for Hope  

Robert Frost
Something for Hope

At the present rate it must come to pass
And that right soon, that the meadowsweet
And steeple bush, not good to eat,
Will have crowded out the edible grass.

Then all there is to do is wait
For maple, birch, and spruce to push
Through meadowsweet and steeple bush
And crowd them out at a similar rate.

No plow among these rocks would pay.
So busy yourself with other things
While the trees put on their wooden rings
And with long-sleeved branches hold their sway.

Then cut down the trees when limber grown,
And there’s your pristine earth all freed
From lovely blooming but wasteful weed
And ready again for the grass to own.

A cycle we’ll say of a hundred years.
Thus foresight does it and laissez-faire,
A virtue in which we all may share
Unless a government interferes.

Patience and looking away ahead,
And leaving some things to take their course.
Hope may not nourish a cow or horse,
But spes alii agricolam ‘tis said.
Source Link

That Latin at the end--spes alii agricolam = Hope sustains the farmer.

 Happy Harvest.

Monday, July 07, 2014

I know I'm pregnant but...

I know, I know, everything makes me cry these days but seriously...

Seriously!  Does this unscheduled visit not make you cry?

Friday, July 04, 2014

Kids in the Kitchen

Summer mornings around here.  June 2014

That's Katie's medicine concoction she's drinking.  I'm so glad we figured that out!  Medicine, chocolate syrup, vanilla creamer, and whole milk.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


There was much clamoring on facebook for video of my "Remarks" at the AASL awards ceremony.  There is no video, which I am thankful for.  :)  I was nervous enough!

Here's a copy of my draft.  Imagine the speech being roughly like this-a little too fast, and wobbly at the end.
Thank you, Carmela

 In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Grandpa Joe says to Charlie-“I’ve heard tell that what you imagine sometimes comes true.”

 Thank you to Penguin Random House for sponsoring this award.  In our tiny library, $5000 is more than twice my budget, and will make a huge difference to our students.

 Thank you to  AASL for creating this award. It inspired me to do a little more, to connect with teachers and students, and to reach out into the world beyond the wheat fields of Kansas.  What marvelous ripples have come from the pebble you dropped into the water!

 One of the great joys of this project was watching my students imaginations ignite.  It is not possible to read Charlie without feeling the cold, and the hunger, or seeing the magical world of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory in your minds eye.  Capturing this momentum, the students could picture a cold prison floor in the Andes, and were thrilled to be able, with their own hands, to improve the conditions for those children. 

I was surprised to see how many of our students “tried out” the blankets when they were done.  They wrapped up, they laid them on the floor to see how they would look, and they hugged them to their faces.  Imagination feeds the heart, which hungers for action.  Thank you for the opportunity to discover this with my students.

 Roald Dahl knew this, I think.  He created worlds that we all love to enter, with vivid imagery and lovely vocabulary. His books inspire us to think about justice.  How should adults treat children?   How should children treat one another?  He doesn’t dance around the issues of poverty, or violence, or neglect, but lays it out for us to look at, and invites us to consider the choices and possibilities in our own lives.

 I imagine that every time a student reads a good book, it shapes them into the people they are meant to be.  I imagine that we have the unique gift of helping them to find those books.  I imagine that every day we can change the world.  And Grandpa Joe says that what we imagine sometimes comes true.