Thursday, August 27, 2009

August Blooms

Everyone has recuperated well from the camping excursion, except me that is!! As I was getting ready for work Monday morning, I bent over and stood up. That was it. . . bent over and stood up. . .and found that my back no longer felt like working. I hobbled around long enough to decide it wasn't going to improve on its own. Called our friendly physical therapist at home and met her in her office before her first patient. She was able to straighten me up so walking was at least slightly more comfortable. I wandered around a little and decided to suck it up and get on with the day. Saw the chiropracter Tuesday afternoon to adjust the neck from the wakeboard accident a couple weeks ago. I stopped counting after I heard 10 vertebrae crack. So yesterday was better. . a little. And today I am moving at about 75% normal speed. I think I am on the mend. Our secretary giggled Monday afternoon and apologized for laughing at my misery and went on to say that she was just used to me shooting out of my office door like a rocket, and now I am shuffling like an OOOOLLD lady! She kept expecting to see Maxine (from crabby road cartoons) standing behind her! Needless to say, I am getting none of my yardwork done that I slated for this week. I did finally get 3 little pints of jalepeno slices canned last night--sitting at the kitchen table. I had 4 done but one broke in the water bath--never had that happen and I was ticked off about it too!!

So decided I would show off what is blooming in the garden lately! Initially I thought my little friend in the first 2 photos was a mutant grasshopper, but farmers around say that they are a species too. YUCK. I thought he might be tasty dipped in chocolate--a full meal!

We are getting ready to mulch in the area for the new flower bed on the east side of the house along the sidewalks. That is where I intend to put another preplanned garden from High Country Gardens and I have several rose bushes and some grasses that I want to move. I thought they would work in that patch as well.

The flower below is a double click cosmo that I started by throwing seeds out on the ground. I love the double petals. Think it needs to repeat here next year!
My golden rod has done very well. It came as 3 little pots from Roots and Rhizomes last spring, and has really gotten tall and bushy. I have never grown goldenrod nor have I seen pictures of it, but had read about it somewhere and thought it would be a good choice for our climate. I haven't been sorry yet!! (And contrary to popular belief, it doesn't invoke allergic responses!)

The blue mist spirea are BEAUTIFUL!! They have made a nice little hedge of periwinkle blue. What a magnet for flying creatures. There are probably 30 or more bumblebees on them at a time. As well as monarchs and other little bees and butterflies. I don't notice the scent like I used to, but love the colors!!

The Russian Garden is still just flowering its little heart out!! Will snap some more pictures next month--it is fun for me to see how much it has grown too! I got the Avena grass today to replace the one that died. So C and I stuffed it in the hole and watered it in.

Here's the Dark Knight butterfly bush that I planted this spring. I got it as a memorial from my grandfathers death last summer from the hospital. I have poured the water to it all summer and it looks like it's out of the woods till next spring. Hopefully the root system will be good enough to have some reserve!

Finally got some pictures of the butterfly week or milk weed that I started from seed this past winter. They have really taken off, and should bless us year after year now (and the monarchs! This is a host plant for them, so maybe we will see some hatch next year!) I FINALLY saw a male cardinal in my yard the other night! I have been waiting for 11 years for that to happen!! I have seen a female several different times, but never a male. The birds are easier to spot since the drastic "elm tree masacre" that took place here a couple weeks ago! The poor little things didn't know what to do or where to go!

Our fall projects are quickly beginning! J ordered an outdoor wood furnace that will heat the house in the winter and minimize our usage of propane. It came last Friday after we left to camp. The guys mixed and poured the cement base tonight. I suppose he will work on that this weekend. Next my greenhouse showed up today! YEAH!! We need to unwrap and inspect packages this weekend to make sure everything looks okay! The little outdoor furnace will also hook into the greenhouse to heat it. And since the furnace needs water to circulate inside, J is going to run a line to the greehouse too, so watering will be a snap! So, sounds like a lot of work coming up. Too bad my back hurts so much! Hope it is better in a few weeks so I can gather limestone to haul out from mom and dad's. I am hoping to change the western Kansas topography enough that we will be able to enjoy that eastern Kansas rain!!
The kids survived another week of school. D is TIRED!! and GROUCHY! T loves football and his first game will be next week already! G still loves junior high and seems to be thriving in his school work! C still has better things to do than to pee on the potty. Well, that's our lives in a nutshell. Hoping for a cooler, quiet weekend around here!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Annual Lake Trip

We made it back from the BIG camping excursion this evening!! We had a great time, as always! We discuss every year just how many years we have been going down there, and every year, we are never sure--it just seems like a looooong time. So, I did a little research through my scrapbooks and found that the first time we ever went to Canton Lake was in 1997-and Tray and Kayla went with us. Tristan was the only little guy then! I even giggled when I read my journaling--there were a few things that we learned on our first-ever camping trip--
1.) Nights get cold--bring sweatshirts (we have every year since then, and I don't think we have ever NOT needed them--at least for a little while!)
2.) You should bring your own firewood--sticks and leaves you pick up off the ground don't burn very long!! Kayla--do you remember as well as I do, running around and picking up all the wood pieces we could find?? HAHA! Now all of us bring some chopped wood to use!

And this lesson was our first on lake restroom etiquette
3.) If you send your husbands out to fish all morning, you should send lots of bottles because they don't come back to camp to pee. YUCK! You should have seen our faces when they told us where the TRUE fisherman do their business--I've never felt the same about hanging out in lake water again!

Oh the things we have learned since then! We still camp the old fashioned way--using tents and dutch ovens and cast iron skillets to cook in! But our camp fires now look a little bit like this
You may notice the odd green and blue tinge to the fire--Lane brings a copper pipe and stuffs an old garden hose in it and puts it in the bottom of the burning wood-it burns the most beautiful blue, purple, green, pink and yellow flames you have ever seen. We got a kick out of Tray last night, because he hadn't seen this trick before. Finally when the guys told him the secret, he admitted that he was mighty relieved that he wasn't seeing things caused from the effects of his drink!
We have continued going to the lake about once every summer since then. Tray and Kayla have missed only a few trips down. In 2000, after I started working at the hospital we invited Lane and Cindy to go with us. They also enjoy a love of camping. They have been going down with us every summer since then. It is Cindy and I's routine to compare our call schedule in June and come up with a weekend to get away.
Here's part of their family above. Maggi (left) is a senior this year. Marci (who was in the pink chair behind Cindy) just got married to Rob (in the shades) in May and Harli is on the right. He and Grant were just 2 when they went the first time! Lane is quite a food conisseur--so we always eat pretty well. This time he brought some tuna, which we grilled Friday night--YUM! We have eaten shrimp and scallops before on our trips too! No same-ole, same-ole camp food for us--that just isn't ANY fun!! This year he fixed chili and cornbread--the evening was cool--and it was delicious.
A few years ago, Tray's brother Ty and his family came down with us too. They were able to make it again this year. So in all we ended up with 11 adults (I count Maggi as an adult because she will be 18 in a couple months!!) and 10 kids. Brecken was the littlest-(Tray and Kayla's) at 5 months! Devin enjoyed playing with her. Kayla is his 1st grade teacher! I don't know if he has called her by her first name yet or not--but I wouldn't be surprised if it slipped out a time or two!
Each family was in charge of a meal--and it is fun to watch each couple work together to get everyone fed! The guys cook as much as the gals do on our trips! We ate tacos, pork chili and two flavors of corn bread, biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, chicken fried steaks, and grilled tuna and sausages--oh yeah--as well as jalepeno poppers (fresh and grilled to perfection) and peach cobblers in the dutch oven!
Fish you ask?? We don't ever seem to catch fish-so we don't eat it anymore. I believe we stopped counting on fish for a meal, the year Kayla and I had to go into the little grocery store and buy stuff for sandwiches. We periodically get to eat fish on our trip--but we NEVER plan for it! This year the boys caught a handful of minnows, which somehow got thrown into the brush next to OUR tent-whew! powerful scent that sushi had!
We enjoyed a lot of time relaxing in the lawn chairs. The kids (the big ones too) tubed, skiied, and tried out the wakeboard. Even the 2 six year olds got up on the wakeboards!

A first on this trip was animals in posession. Usually the only animals we had were our own children. We decided that Missy had been such a good little dog since we got her that she wouldn't be a problem at the lake. She got along great! Rob and Marci had their little dog Levi and Cindy had their new 10 week old puppy Leroy. Poor Cami--trying to keep their names straight. We heard "No Leroy" a lot!

At one point Grant even put Cami on Missy's leash, because she was moving so fast trying to see everything! She wasn't impressed. And in the next picture she was instructing someone to take it OFF!

Canton also has a beautiful sandy beach that the kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. So we usually take some by boat and some by land and all meet up over there eventually. We can boat right up to edge, so we usually swap riders and skiiers around there!
Even Brecken enjoyed the cold water!

It is always such a fun, relaxed get away. The kids will never forget those weekend trips down to Lake Canton!!
And the memories for us "Old folks" just get better every year!! Thanks for a fun trip crew!! Can't wait for next summer!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Week in Review

Well, the kids survived the first 3 days of school last week. It is sure going to be strange to have them home on Fridays! But maybe it will be ok when I am also home on Fridays, after they find my replacement at work.

T started football yesterday, and reportedly it went well. There are a certain few kids on his team that he is praying he won't have to practice against. Sounds like his school projects and assignments are getting tougher this year. The papers and projects I've heard about so far seem very interesting. Last night he called his great grandma and interviewed her for an English assignment. She shared some cool things about her youth with him. T and a friend of his sang at church last Sunday for special music. They did really well--you could hear them both. Neither of them looked up from the music until the last note (they had been messin around during practice and held the last note for as long as they possibly had a breath-so when it came down to it, they didn't know when to quit and have it sound right). As they sung the last note, they both looked up at the same time and looked at me (having to turn their heads clear to the left and look across the church) to find out when to stop singing--consequently, everyone else turned to look at me too, to see what stupid expressions I could make! HA! Each time they perform, they get a little more comfortable--I hope all my kids grow up to enjoy using their voices to bless people!

G is having no problems with the junior high switch. He is ready for basketball (cause they can't play FB in 6th grade) and was sure that they were starting practice yesterday too! Poor guy! The kids and I made a shopping trip to Wichita Saturday--so G got some new practice shorts and spent some of his earnings on a duffle bag for practice. Both the boys passed their hunter safety test last week, and want to apply for a deer license. Their dad also took them out for a Sunday drive--literally--they both got to practice their driving skills EEEK. It seems weird to look out my window and see them driving the tractor or the pickup through the driveway. Yes, Grandma Vickie, they are being safe!

D seems very grown up this week, coming home with homework. He had to bring snacks and water bottles to 1st grade this week for the next 2 weeks. I am really glad that there are snacks available for the little guys--what a long afternoon! The older boys have also stashed some granola bars in their lockers too--they don't even eat lunch till 1:00! D also has show and tell every week-his day is Monday. This week he brought the super cool shades he bought last weekend. He perches them on top of his head like I do when they aren't on my face-it makes me laugh every time.

C adjusted well to the boys being gone. We are still working on potty training. I bought some princess panties last week and let her wear them for a little while the other morning. She will sit and sit on the potty--talking, singing, and messing around--but wont' potty anymore (she would do it earlier) but will immediately go in her diaper as soon as you put it on--in fact, yesterday at Becky's she peed on the floor before she could get her diaper back on. So we have backed off a little. I am SO ready to be done with diapers!

We had a new addition to our family last week. As I made rounds the other weekend, the patient I was seeing asked if we needed a dog--to which I ALWAYS respond with a quick and emphatic NO! This time, I wavered in my response--so she kept talking--about what a cute little dog she had that loves kids. She is considering nursing home placement soon and they won't let her keep it. So I ended up taking it home last Wed (telling her I would keep it while she was gone) while she makes one final trip out of town to visit relatives. J absolutely veto'd it immediately. The kids ABSOLUTELY loved her immediately, and J wasn't far behind. I would be surprised if we have to give her back next week, but we may! She is a little Chihuhaua dog. She is a little over 1 year old. She threw up on my dining room floor the first afternoon because she was scared spitless, but hasn't had any other floor messes of any kind! She is very sweet, and loves the boys, not so much Cami though--she is too loud--but she tolerates her. Her name is Missy--it's funny to listen to C babble about her--she will have a sentence full of words you can't decipher except for Mis-hy.

Isn't she cute!?

J has been busy in his shop as ususal and is putting the final touches on his Model A that he is refurbishing. Hopefully a coat of paint will cover it soon. I have a list of honey-do's that have been overlooked this summer as he has been working on this car in most of his off time.

Well, that is mostly our lives lately. We are headed to the lake this weekend with several truckloads of buddies. I told J last night that I am going to get on that wakeboard first thing Friday and attempt a 180 turn again and hopefully slam my head into the lake hard enough to jack my neck back in the postition it was in last week before I did that!! And they make it look so EASY on TV! I meet with the hospital board on Thursday to discuss details of my resignation with them and work on new contract stuff. Praying that it goes well for all of us. We are enjoying a beautiful soft, slow rain last night and today--hoping for some more tonight.

Things are certainly looking more alive with the cooler temps! We lost 2 apple trees and the grass plant from my Russian garden--they already plan to reship the grass and I am hoping the tree company will warranty the two apples as well! I put in my last big orders for plantings around the house and yard today. My plants, trees and shrub budget will be my first luxury to go by the wayside when my work is part time. J and I decided (after months of discussion and thinking) to order a hobby greenhouse. So I will plan on growing tomatoes and other veggies in the winter and then starting all my flowers from seed from now on! It will be a fun hobby for me and I hope to get the kids enjoying it also--I will just enjoy a warm, humid place to enjoy growing things in the DEAD of winter!! Hope everyone is enjoying cooler weather!! It's nearly fall, HOORAY!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to School!

So today was THE day! Time to head back to the school for the 2009-2010 year! I am usually ready for school to start, if for nothing other than a little more schedule. The boys were mostly ready. This year we start a four day school week. I am not sure how it will work out, I don't think anyone is REALLY sure at this point. The moral of that story is that school will run from 8-4 pm from Mon thru Thurs. Fridays off from school, but they will still have optional practices (meaning they are not mandatory--since they will not pick up rural kids, just a shuttle from one town to the next) and of course all high school Friday night games will be continued.
Today, they got out at 1:00. Tomorrow will be the first full day. The boys get on the bus at 7:30. They were ready to roll this morning--mom even fixed breakfast today (usually it is cereal or pancakes/french toast sticks that the Schwans man has delivered) Dev was REALLY ready. Last night when I put him to bed he said "Mom, I'm so excited for tomorrow that I can HARDLY stand it!" I always like to hear that! He started 1st grade today and my good friend Kayla is his teacher. The best part of his day was playing outside with the preschoolers, who we had to remind him, are now kindergardeners!!

We had to take our 1st day of school pictures! It always amazes me how much they change from the first day to the last day. Here they are looking for the bus!
Grant was pretty pumped up when he got home too! The 6th grade here is considered part of middle school, so he got to change classes. He didn't think he was late to any! His comment "I was SO ready to get to junior high, now we get to eat the salad bar with lunch!" Appreciate the simple things!

C is givinng Tristan a kiss goodbye--poor little girl, she didn't have any idea that something out of her ordinary was going on! His first two comments were "This year if we talk to our neighbors in Mrs. J's class we get detention" (he sounded quite concerned about that!) and secondly he reported in a grouchy voice that they ACTUALLY had to do work ALREADY today!! Poor guy!
So they came home and visited for a little bit over cookie dough brownies and milk before I sent them back outside to pick up limbs. Unlike Dana's limbs (that probably got blown down in the storm it sounded like hit your place yesterday) ours were cut purposely by a tree trimmer that we have been waiting on. Jeremy is tired of hauling limbs off from the old elm trees after each wind or ice storm, so we have a guy that started last night trimming them up. We're hoping to go play at the lake later this afternoon--so it is not ALL work!!

Football practice starts next Monday for T. Both the boys are taking a hunter safety class this week. We found out about it late last week, and it is not very convienent with school starting, but they were needing to take it ! They had class last night and one more class Thursday night. Saturday we hope to go to Wichita and do some bulk grocery shopping, hit some sales for winter clothes, and stop by the nursery to check out their trees. We have been adding a few trees each year so that we can eventually get rid of the elm trees. We are about done with the tree and shrub planting, so that is great. I am dying for one of those ariel photographers to come by with a picture--the last one we got was the summer we moved in to this house--the guy felt sorry for us I think, cause he practically gave us the photo when we declined his pricy offer. I would love to see all the changes from the sky!

Poor little C!! She was watching them get on the bus this morning and it quickly became evident that they were leaving and she was NOT! I got tears in my eyes just watching her! She covered up her little nose with both hands and just CRIED! She is SO melodramatic. 30 seconds later she was over it when I told her we were going to get the stroller and go for a walk. She'll be glad to see them when she wakes up! But she also enjoyed playing outside, swinging, going down the slide, jumping on the trampoline--and even eating her popsicle without anyone bothering her! Appreciate the simple things!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Up a Creek

Yesterday started with a real kick when I discovered that there was a blue crayon in someone's pocket. The way I discovered that was because everything in my light colors laundry load had evidence of blue crayon on it. I love google--I ran right to my computer and typed in (I kid you not!!) "just ruined entire load of laundry with crayon." Would you believe that there were plenty of idiots that have done the same thing! I LOVE technology. So after reading all the advice and potions--I made my own--concocted it right in my own washing machine. 1 big scoop laundry detergent, 1 BIG scoop oxy clean, poured in roughly a cup of vinegar, dumped in 1/4 of can of Comet, and threw in some leftover Hoover deep stain remover for carpet. Put the entire load back in the washer and agitated it on the longest cycle. Can you believe that only a couple things have blue crayon on them still?? I couldn't-but it worked. Only ended up ruining a few items--like C's little white bloomers that have her name on the butt--she wears them under her dresses. :-(

Here's a nicer "up a creek" story! I did have some cute pictures from our trip to the creek with Granny on Sunday afternoon. Granny takes the boys to the creek several times a year.

D was catching a minnow out of the bucket
Their protocol is to walk up the creek and catch minnows and look for rocks in the sandy spots. So we all went with her Sunday. C was less than impressed with the walking through the creek part. She thought the minnows were interesting though. The boys LOVE doing that. They obviously have a system down, because they were all business as soon as we got there.

Devin INSISTED that we get a picture "up close!" YUCK

Well, there's our haul--not too many minnows this time, but enough to pour into my pitcher pump water feature. But I found quite a number of fossilized shells! And we had a great time enjoying nature!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vacation Notes: Day 3

Well, we made it to our final day. 3 days sure went quickly! By Sunday, everyone was getting tired and grouchy. The babies weren't sleeping too well. C had a big bed in our condo, which she fell out of every night. The first night I thought that T was knocking her out of bed, but Sat night she fell out all by herself. Of course, naps were short and bedtimes were late. Sunday morning found everyone just hanging out. We walked down to the marina to take some family pictures. We are getting pretty good at working the tripod and camera timers. This was the first time that I used the timer on my camera--thanks Brendan for figuring it out! The trick is trying to get everyone to look in the same direction and smile at the right time. Mom took family pictures during the weekend and I haven't even seen those yet. She is to be emailing them to me. The families on the left (above) are my brothers, and my sister's family is on the end right.

We tried to get a picture of the granddaughters by themselves, but C was not cooperating. In fact the first pictures that I took had her laying on the ground having a fit and Haley and Taryn were wondering what the heck was the matter with her. So we put mamas in the picture with them.

Trying to get the boys picture taken was much harder than the girls. They were busy--no one would look at me (and it was sunny, so it hurt their eyes to look) This was the best picture I could get. left to right: Devin, Braedon, Colton, Tristan, Kadon, Grant and Teegan (in Grant's lap)
We bought my folks a huge collaged picture frame for their anniversary a few years ago. The same year that we took everyone and went to a huge cabin in Oklahoma for a long weekend. Mom put in pictures from our trip and so we were taking some different group pictures to change out this year. We have 5 more grandkids since the last vacation 3 years ago. Can you spell P-R-O-L-I-F-I-C?? That's what we are! Some of us on purpose, some of us NOT--right Tina??
Right photo-Kristi (my sis), Tina, Dad, Me, and Steph

back row: Nick, Brendan (my brothers) and Jeremy; front row: Chris and mom

I discovered that Branson traffic SUCKS! My breakfast was scheduled for Mon morning and my plan was to splurge on Panera bagels and pastries. So I headed out about 45 minutes before lunch, thinking I'd grab the goodies and get right back--WRONG. I averaged about 5 mph when I hit the city, then couldn't find Panera (I drove right by it). Traffic home wasn't so bad--but it took me 1 1/2 hours from start to finish! They were the best pastries EVER!

The boys and their families headed for home after lunch Sunday and the rest of us went back to SDC for the afternoon. Everyone was in bed early that night! Monday morning we all headed back for home. It is always so fun to go on a trip--but I think the best part, truly, is getting home again!

I have been on vacation this week, except for family planning clinic Thurs. We got D moved upstairs with T. That is always such a good feeling to me to get something organized. And they certainly are better organized now than they were. School supplies are purchased and ready to be put in bags. We start on the 11th! My big purchase this week was a Wii. We got that on the way home from vacation. We have been enjoying it so far. The best part was making our Mii's (these are little dudes AND dudettes that you create with all kinds of face shapes, hairstyles, eyes and mouth shapes and colors) I think mine turned out very cute-with big blinky eyes! But J's is the most hilarious. We made him bald (cause he is) with his blue eyes and little goatee. The boys laughed so hard to see that little bald bobblehead. These little Mii's are what you see on the screen anytime you are playing. So J and I played the first night after we set it up (the kids were in bed!) and I do not feel bad saying that I was sore the next day from not stretching before I started! It is easy to get into the action. I hate to bowl in real life because I STINK!--but I ROCKED on the Wii. It comes with a sports game that includes tennis, bowling, golf, baseball, and boxing--what a cool concept! Right now it is working REALLY well for attitude training on my children--it hurts when they don't get to play-so they are trying harder to get along and be good!
J is off to the races this weekend. We are celebrating the town's 125th birthday so there are TONS of things going on here. I sang a solo in the variety show Friday night and Saturday we will be hitting the parade, park games, free swimming, and BBQ supper. Our theater is showing Ice Age 3-D, so we are hoping to get to that also! Sunday--church and REST! We'll need it! Haven't run the air conditioner for 3 days now--hoping for some rain--not just the usual sprinkle. Dreading the hot weather coming next week! Be safe!