Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Marriage Tool

It has come to my attention since Christmas Day that Darren and I have found a most effective marriage tool.  We purchased a Wii for the kids for Christmas.  We have had a PlayStation 2 up until this point and although I do think the Lego games are adorable, nothing can touch the place in my heart that is especially for Mario Bros.  I remember that game with fondness from my youth....mainly because it was the only game I really "got".  I understood what was going on in Mario...you have levels to complete and then move forward.  Not like the aimless wandering that goes on in some games.  Anyway, along with the Wii, I decided to purchase the *ahem* ... KIDS the game Super Mario Bros.  It will be my downfall.  No longer do I anxiously await the kids' bedtime so I can read more deeply about Cleopatra...no more wishing the TV would disappear so the kids wouldn't be consumed with desiring some PlayStation action.  No - that's not how it is at all now.  As a matter of fact, Darren and I were up until almost 1 last night playing my ...I mean the kids' ...Mario game.  :D  Which is where the marriage tool comes in.  After playing a few levels, glaring at each other, blaming each other for losing a life - or not getting the fire-spit inducing mushroom - or falling off the cliff - or whatever misfortune befell us ...  it occurred to me that Mario is an excellent tool for learning to get along in the face of adversity.  And in the moment of victory, when you've beaten Bowser and Mario and Luigi are standing in triumph and you realize that you, as a couple, beat his socks off - together - you forgive one another for all the times the other made you make a mistake and you move along ....to continuance number 25.  :D   (Well, you mostly forgive each other.....  )

Christmas Eve Adventure

When you think of Christmas Eve, what activities come to mind?  Maybe getting together with your family, going to see Christmas lights, last minute shopping......  Those are the type of things most people associate with Christmas Eve.  My husband and I... and Malachi... spent a most memorable time outside this year.  To begin the story, a few weeks ago, we purchased a used wood stove.  We had some wood cut for the fireplace but did not have enough to be able to heat the house via wood alone.  Darren decided that we should go out in our woods, find some fallen pines, cut them up, and haul them to the house on the back of his old farm truck.  He backed his truck into the woods and we got to work.  Darren cut the pines with his chainsaw and split the pieces...Malachi and I toted stacks of wood and threw them on the back of the truck.  I noticed that the truck was sitting in a rather soggy spot and asked Darren if he thought the truck would be able to come out of there once the back was weighted down.  He assured me it would.  (chuckle)  We worked for about an hour and a half and finally the truck bed was laden fully with fuel for the wood stove.  Malachi and I stand back, admire our hard work, and wait for the truck to make its way out of the woods.  Darren cranks the truck, puts it in gear and ....  hmmm.....it spins.  He tries reverse and drive, reverse and drive...rocking that truck like a child's toy....but to no avail.  (Jacob used to have a favorite book called "Rotten Luck, My Truck is Stuck"...it immediately came to mind here)  Anyway, he decides to go get the tractor and pull his truck out.  Guess who gets to sit behind the wheel of the truck and spin mud???  Yeah me!!  HaHa....  He hooks the tractor up to the truck and commences to pulling and tugging.  I'm spinning mud (which I secretly enjoy) and the tractor is pulling as hard as it can, nose up in the air.  That fact caused me some discomfort...just didn't look safe.  He assured me that the scrape blade on the back would keep him from tipping over.  I wasn't totally convinced.  The truck wasn't really moving much.  He brought out the "come along"... this was pretty much a foreign tool to me up until this point :D  He hooked one side to the truck and one to the tree and we tried again....  me hitting the gas and him cranking.   The truck was majorly stuck.  He got back on the tractor and told me to keep hitting the gas...I was spinning like a mad dog, the tires were smoking, and ....the truck was stuck.  Darren then informed me that if I floored the gas (like I was doing) and the truck suddenly achieved traction, it would lunge forward and run all over him.  Great...now I'm thinking if we do succeed, I could kill him with the victory.  Nice....  Well, to move along, the come along ended up snapping and we went in the house.....and left the truck in the muck.  Two days later, help showed up in the form of other *men* and a bigger come along.  That was AFTER Darren unloaded the wood off the truck - back into the woods.  What a lesson in futility.  I look back on the event with two viewpoints.  One being that sometimes it just seems like there's an awful lot of work involved with the life we've chosen.  I mean, good grief, we could just go in and turn on the heat and relax ...  go see some Christmas lights...read a book....sit by an aesthetically pleasing fire that doesn't heat the entire house but looks pretty ... but no, we spend all stinking day toting firewood that in the end, gets tossed back off the truck to its natural abode.  The other viewpoint is that sometimes working together bonds people.  The time spent in actively pursuing a common goal sets you side by side emotionally and mentally.  You can look back on the event and it is a shared experience...common ground...to be built upon by each new "adventure".  Plus, it makes for some good stories  :)  

Yep, we've got some wood on that truck....

Cranking up the old come along

Rotten Luck, My Truck is Stuck


Nibble, nibble little mouse....

We have never got around to making a gingerbread house.  That all changed this year.  I bought a kit at Wal-Mart,  and figured I'd step back and let the kids do the majority of the work/fun.  Malachi squeezed the icing out on the roof and the party began....for Isaac anyway :)  The more icing and candy that appeared, the faster his little fingers worked.  He had a toothpick and swiped the icing off the roof as quickly as they could smooth it down.  I found it all immensely entertaining.  They were trying to work together to get it accomplished, Isaac was eating as fast as he could, they were trying to get the candy on the house before it was all eaten (all the while wanting a bite for themselves), and Isaac pouting because he was made to stop licking icing off the roof.  It turned out beautiful!  Sarah even added a dancing gingerbread girl she had made a couple of nights before.

Working Together

Isaac's Contribution - A Finger Swipe - Yummy!

Almost Finished

No More Icing??

Why Can't I Have Any More???

The Finished Product - Complete with Dancing Gingerbread Girl  :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

To the Doctor ...and again....and again.....

The last few weeks have been so busy.  
It all began when I took Isaac for his scheduled immunizations.  While there (of course I had all four children with me), it was brought to my attention that Malachi and Jacob were missing a few updated shots.  Nice....  So, I figured I'd get them all a seasonal flu shot and schedule a visit for the boys.  Unbeknownst to me, if you don't bring your child in for a couple of years, their file gets placed in storage and they are no longer in the system.   The nurse came back and everyone was all tense and ready to get the needle.   She then informs me that Malachi is no longer a patient there and I'll have to bring him back as a new patient to even get the flu vaccine.  Bummer.  Everyone but him got the shot.  Sooooo, I make Malachi and Jacob a well check visit appointment.  I bring Malachi back on the scheduled day ...again, I have all four children with me.  I suspected that Sarah had pink eye and wanted to get it confirmed and get a prescription.  We all go in and Malachi is tense, but ready to finally get his shots.  The nurse asks if he is having any problems....I say "No, just a sore throat"  ...she says, "Let me check him for strep to be sure."  The test comes back positive.  He has strep.  NO shots...again.  Poor guy.  They work Sarah in as we are sitting there  (so I can be charged for two visits instead of one, of course....I mean how hard would it be to just look at her eyes and call me in a prescription????....but, whatever....)  Anyway, she had double pink eye.  So, we left and went to Wal-Mart to get antibiotics filled.  That was on a Thursday.  Saturday morning, Isaac woke up and started screaming and holding his right ear.  So, knowing I could do nothing for that except Tylenol, I made him an appointment.  Good thing too, because he was diagnosed with both and ear infection and strep throat.  Oh goody, more antibiotics.  So, he gets started on his as Malachi and Sarah are continuing theirs.  Meanwhile, Jacob and Sarah are coughing repeatedly at night.  I tried vapor rub on the bottoms of their feet, cough syrup, and the vaporizer.  Guess which one helped??  None.  Okay, in the midst of this, my little Isaac who had been attempting to use the potty was no longer doing so...the antibiotics were messing with his system.  He now had diarrhea..  imagine my excitement.  I went through an entire tube of Balmex...with him screaming all the while.  Finally, a friend suggested Butt Paste. I thought it was helping after the first application.  I was sadly mistaken.  Ended up taking him back to the doctor to confirm what I already figured...he had a yeast infection.  Another prescription ~ yeah!  I asked her while I was there if I couldn't just use an over the counter yeast medication in the future.  That turned out to be helpful information.  I went through the yeast prescription and had to buy some over the counter to totally eradicate his infection.  Finally, we are through that whole ordeal....no strep, no pink eye, no antibiotics, no yeast infection....whew!  :)  You would think my story ends - Happily Ever After - here, wouldn't you?  It was not to be so.  I took Malachi back for his second visit to get the elusive shots.  He is once again, ready but tense.  We arrive...(they actually did me a favor and scheduled Malachi and Jacob's appointments on the same day and the same time....had to have Darren to meet me in case they went in different rooms...which they didn't ....which makes me believe I should've received a discount...but anyway....)  They both have their check-up and have their eyes and ears checked and settle in to wait for the nurse to come back and give the shots.  During this time, Darren leaves to go back to work.  I'm waiting with the boys and Sarah and the nurse arrives.  The boys decide that Malachi can go first.  He sits up on the table and mentally prepares.  He ends up getting the flu mist and two shots.  I help him down and notice his eyes start rolling around and he's groaning.  He starts slumping to the floor and my panic begins to set in.  (Okay, I have to tell you that as his head is going in circles and his eyes are rolling it looked like one of those cartoons where the character gets thumped with something and he groans and his head and eyes do exaggerated rolls and you see the stars swirling above their noggin...I had a fleeting thought that he was being funny....this all happened in a matter of seconds tho...his actions, my thoughts, his slumping....)  At any rate, he falls on the floor unmoving...I'm freaking.   Then he abruptly sits up and says, "I gotta get my shots"....as we are both trying to lie him back down, he goes limp, then gets stiff, his eyes roll back and he is looking like he's having a seizure.  Okay, I really freaked...the nurse didn't seem to be doing a whole lot better....I was saying over and over..."maybe you should go get someone"...  finally, he seems to limber up a bit and go into the pass out stage again.  She gets a chair and puts his feet up and he seems to be coming around.  At this point, she gets a doctor.  He comes in and Malachi is finally coming around.  Says that happens sometimes...not often mind you...but sometimes.  He said I needed to remember that in the future when he has shots.  (Like I could possibly forget to mention that)  At this moment, I realized I had lost visual on my other three children.  Jacob was huddled in a corner in a panic - remember, he is supposed to get his shots next...poor guy.  Sarah was hiding in terror out in the hall.  Isaac was hovering over Malachi saying "better now!"  in a more demanding than concerned voice.  The nurse put Malachi in a chair and sent for crackers and coke.  He sat there a few seconds and nearly passed out again....back on the floor with propped up feet he went.  Finally, he had to get back on the table and after checking his pulse and blood pressure, he was pronounced okay and it was time for Jacob's shots.  Can you imagine the poor child's terror???  He just watched his older, in control brother, get shots, pass out and have a seizure.  He panicked.  I felt so sorry for him.  He was holding onto me for dear life, all signs of "I"m all grown up and don't need my mommy" pretense shed.    He fingers clenched my arms in desperation...tears poured down his nine year old face and I could feel his fear.  They gave him his two shots and thank the good Lord in heaven his were uneventful.  I've never been so glad to leave the doctor's office.   Whew....my heart rate just accelerated in merely retelling the story.  Malachi is supposed to go back now that he has turned 11 and get his Tetanus and Meningitis.....  none of us are looking forward to it.......

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pickled Peppers

We picked Banana, Jalapenos and Chili Peppers all the way into November! We thought we'd pickle some with onions and garlic.  Usually, I can't eat Jalapenos canned because they are just too hot.  These are really good though!  Well, the Jalapenos are...I haven't got up the nerve to try a Chili Pepper.  I figure I'll mainly use those for chili and salsa.  They are so pretty in the jar....love the homey look.

We also hung some Chili Peppers up to dry.  Adds a nice fiesta flair, don't cha think???  :)

Who Needs a Toy Box...

...when you wear a onesie?  Isaac has taken to stuffing his shirt with all his toys.  It's too funny.

Stuffing the shirt....

Look at all these treasures you hide in your shirt!!  :)  This the actual toys, crayons, and letters he had stuffed in his shirt!  LOL!

The Axe Murderer

Would like to thank my husband for this display of holiday cheer.  He borrowed an axe from the boys' Lego collection and not only cut the tree down but his snowman friend as well....sigh.  Sarah and I live in a house of deranged testosterone.

You Might Be A Redneck If....

You hook two ladders together with a couple o' sticks and make one big ole one....

The Rope

"If I can just hook this here rope to this here tractor, that ladder won't go anywhere!"  LOL!!!

The Contraption...

I must admit, I felt like Sanford saying, "This is the big one Elizabeth" when I saw him up there.  Good grief...But it worked and the barn boards went up safely. 

Barn Completion!!

Wow!!  The outside of the barn is completed...except for the doors.  Man, it's so darn cool.  I love it.  Darren did a superb job if I do say so myself.  :)  I will proceed to post pics of him in the process of putting the boards at the top....which is 20' up...which is longer than any ladder we have.  Very interesting contraption he put together to accomplish his goal...interesting and dangerous!!

Co-King of the Barnyard

One of the two renegade roaming roosters.  I think he looks rather majestic perched atop his lookout. Love his impressive tail feathers...

Double Yolked...

You know those plump hens I was telling you about?  I sold the poor things short...well, at least one of them.  I went into the pen and lo and behold, there was an egg!  Color me a surprised farm girl!!  It was pretty big too!  I figure maybe that had to do something with why they never lay...a behemoth egg like that could cause damage...LOL.  Anyway, we brought it in and marveled over it and took a picture of it beside a normal large egg.  When I fried it for supper, we discovered that it was double yolked. 
The rest of the story is that all those chickens are now gone.  I will spare you the details.  We have several in the freezer and the rest....well, that's another story for another day.  We still have our laying hens, banty chickens, and a couple of renegade roosters roaming the yard.  And I'm good with that....