Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is That All?

Today Ray made a few birthday requests.

"Mom, for my July 10 birthday I want to go golfing, and watch a baseball game and go with everyone I know, camping and have fireworks. And I want a tractor cake and rhubarb cake. And I want to play hike, hike, hut."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pure Summer

It's been pure summer around here lately. The thermometer reads 98 on the North side of the house. Monday's laundry day has continued into Tuesday laundry day; when I open the door to carry out the wet clothes the heat slaps me in the face. But I do love the heat and it takes every bit of restriction I have to keep me from heading out to weed the garden during the hottest part of the day. That'll have to wait until later this evening, but then it's the mosquitoes. I don't know what's worse the threat of sunburn and dehydration or West Nile carrying mosquitoes.

The girls are at the stable today working with horses, hopefully staying hydrated. The boys are attending VBS at an area church this week. That meant this morning I had about 2 hours with just Little J. Very nice, yes, very nice. I snapped a few pictures yesterday of our day. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Sunday Mass
White Wine
Grilled Chicken
Homemade Bread
Ice Cream

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Just Because He's So Cute

Little J is 10 months old. Super smiley and lots of giggles, too. He especially loves to be outside. I transfer him from stroller, to blanket on the grass, to backpack, to pack 'n play, to Ergo (another backpack), to sling all day long. He helps out hanging laundry, weeding the garden, painting fence posts, planting flowers, watering chickens...just about anything we do he does and loves it. He's still a finger and thumb sucker. We're working on getting him to want to play with toys and not just look at them. He doesn't like pacifiers, just his fingers. And it's kinda hard for him to play with toys when his fingers are jammed in his mouth. He does have a favorite rattle/chew toy and passed it from one hand to the other. I was thrilled. All the baby milestones are so exciting with him. For all the people who say the excitement of parenting wears off by the 3rd or 4th child, just have a 5th and you'll be cheering and clapping all the time.

The Circle of Life

Some sad news here at the farm. The 2nd batch of kittens never made it. We're not quite sure what happened, but last week Wednesday we noticed right away in the morning that Fireball had her kittens. Of course the kids followed her around trying to find the kittens, but they were never found. Fireball never went into hiding throughout the day either. That would be the normal thing for a nursing mama cat. She just walked around meowing sadly and laid under the truck for a good portion of the day. But after a few days of moping she decided to take matters into her own paws and jumped in by Diamond's kittens and started nursing them. I don't know if this is somewhat normal, but it sure is sweet. Diamond and Fireball take turns nursing and cleaning the kittens. "Losing" the 2nd batch of kittens was a difficult blessing, if you know what I mean.

More sad news at the farm. Yesterday we woke up to find that something, most likely a fox, had come in the night and ran off with 9 of our 12 laying chicks. Feathers were everywhere. Tears were flowing. Adults were revamping the chick housing to avoid another mishap. Lou, who is our tender hearted animal lover, still kept a good perspective on things. After counting the broiler chickens, "1, 2, 3, 4, ........24, 25", she blurted out, "Good, all the meat birds are still here. I really have a taste for fried chicken."

The girls found this while swimming in the reservoir. None of know what it is. Lot's of guesses flying around though. Maybe a fish swim bladder, innards of an egg of some sort, intestine material. It's shaped perfectly like a heart, which immediately made me think of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, being June and all. If any of you readers know what this might be please leave a note in the combox.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Computer Guy

Yay!! I finally entered the world of portable computing.

The typical evening(after the 4 older kids are in bed) includes DH in his recliner reading and me in my chair nursing Little J until he falls asleep. Somehow the act of me nursing Little J puts DH to sleep, too. Then I make my way to the computer, which is in another room, and read blogs, check out Cathswap, respond to emails, and add hundreds of free sewing and quilting patterns to my favorites folder. DH wakes up and moseys out by me wondering why I left him again. Then I explain that after he fell asleep, but not before, is when I came out to the computer. He feels lonely and neglected; I feel uninteresting enough to keep him awake and so the nights go. A while back he suggested I get a laptop so I can compute in his sleepy presence. Maybe all the funny things you all say will help keep him awake. We'll see.

Friday we went on a birthday/computer shopping date and ate lunch at my second favorite restaurant, Christian's Bistro. The chef worked with Emeril at one time. I had Chicken Mole; spicy Spanish rice, fresh peppers, real chicken (no nugget shaped morsels), lots of pepper. I didn't buy a laptop; I was so overwhelmed. Sunday was my birthday. Monday, I bought a laptop after some intense researching.

Today, the computer guy came to help me with all the techy stuff that frustrates me, but excites him. He showed up and, like I expected, knew just what to do. He walked me through it just in case. Just in case what? I said to him. Well, my work is warrantied 30 days and just in case something happens after that you'll know what to do. I promptly asked him to write down his email just in case. The real fun was watching him interact with the two kids who were home. Lee had out an arsenal of dart guns which the computer guy thought to be better than anything he'd seen in a while. They talked darts, pump action and ballistics. They threw around words like double barrel, double trigger, bi-pod and semi-auto. They connected, this 10 year old and 20 something guy. They talked about large ice cream cones and wildlife and snapping turtles. And I just listened. They had so much in common. Was it the same gender? Was it just luck? Maybe it's that at 37, I'm just another adult to both of them. Happy Birthday to me!

The computer guy liked Little J, too. He smiled and cooed at him while he lay, singing, on the floor next to us. Little J put on quite a concert today. Nice Job!

Kittens and More

Diamond had her kittens June 3. Six of them. Aren't they cute? We have Romeo, Juliette, Becky, Midnight, Starbright and Snowflake. Their eyes haven't opened yet and some of them still have their umbilical cord stump. The kids can't get enough of them and let me tell you a nursing mama cat sure drinks plenty of water. We can't keep the dish full. And just today Fireball had her kittens. We haven't found them yet. Our guess is somewhere in the warehouse attic. She's been pretty tricky so far, leading us astray. Pictures to come as soon as we locate them.

Little J had physical therapy today. Due to schedule conflicts it was his first in 4 weeks. We're working very hard at getting him to sit on his own. He'll put up with us for about 5 minutes and then he stiff legs it. He tightens up his hips, arches his back and locks his knees, making sitting nearly impossible. We try to distract him with all sorts of new toys from the bag. Blinking lights, singing rattles, jingling balls. All of them work for a minute until he recognizes just what we are trying to get him to do, sit with his back somewhat straight. The physical therapist encouraged me to not get frustrated or angry with him, but to keep trying in new rooms or even outside or in the bathtube. I told her I haven't even entertained the thought of frustration or anger yet. Actually, I find it quite comical. He looks at me with this "you can't make me" look. Or sometimes even a "you really think I'm gonna fall for that new toy trick again". He seems to have me all figured out. But I don't give up that easy. Today's plan is to wait for the sun to come out and then sit outside in the grass with a metal bowl and a few acorns. I'm sure I'll trick him into sitting (and liking it) this time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Love Rhubarb

Do you?

How about oatmeal? How about brown sugar?
I've been making a lot of this Crumb-Topped Rhubarb lately. It's a recipe from Taste of Home.
Crumb-Topped Rhubarb
3 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. salt
Combine above ingredients in mixing bowl and dump into a greased 8x8 pan.
6 T. flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. oatmeal
6 T. butter, slightly softened
Combine first 3 ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Baking Notes:
*I always double and put in 9x13 pan.
*I always use more rhubarb than 6 cups. I can't say exactly how much, just whatever I have cut up. No more than 8 cups, though.
*I've used a mix of butter and shortening once because my butter was frozen and I didn't want to wait for it to thaw. It tasted just fine.
*Quick or old-fashioned oats work fine.
Gotta go! The kids are all screaming that Diamond is skinny. What that means is she had her kittens this morning. Pictures will come soon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All I Can Say Is....

Grace made this cake last week just after finishing her last few pages of work. Everyone has since finished, except for a couple of spelling lessons. They'll finish those up in June. Come fall I will officially have a 6th, 5th and 2nd grader and kindergarten student. Bring it on!

4 Down, 1 to Go

I have another 2-wheel bicyclist.