Thursday, February 11, 2010

three birthdays...

...and we managed to cram them all in the shortest month of the year.

The twins... four years apart!

Well okay - this is not a picture of one of my February birthday girls but rather of her beautiful daughter - Lydia... just couldn't resist posting such a cute face! Her mum is on my banner dancing with Nathaniel on the occasion of her marriage! But if I had Jenny's baby pictures on my computer... I think we would see a lot of resemblance. Same blond hair, chubby cheeks and blue eyes!

Tomorrow brings an important announcement that you will NOT want to miss. See you then and I promise you will not be disappointed. Surprised, yes, but not disappointed!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

credit card heaven

Four year old Elsa carefully adjusting a full deck of playing cards into the waist of her skirt asked Emma if she liked them. Before Emma could answer I asked Elsa if she knew what they were. "Yes", she said "they are my credit cards!"

A little taken aback I asked her if she knew what credit cards are.

"Oh yes" she said, "they help you do things - like drive."

"Well" I said, "you must be planning on doing a lot of driving then." She just grinned and patted them tenderly.

7 yr old Emma piped up and said proudly: "I KNOW what credit cards are."

"So what are they?" I asked.

"Well," she said, taking in a deep breath; "They have money on them and they help you not waste your dollars when you buy stuff..." (I wish that was so - don't you?!)

Elsa then walked out of the room admiring her wad of credit cards still tucked in her waist band.
"I just love, love, love my credit cards. I just have a TON of them!"

I hope her husband is very, very, very rich or he is going to have a very difficult life keeping her in the "style" she seems to be acquiring!!

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What's roast pork without potatoes...

or "Where can 10 lbs of Potatoes Hide?

It was four pm and time to prepare the meat if I wanted the roast pork ready for our Sunday dinner. I ambled into the kitchen where all was quiet because a friend had borrowed most of the kids and taken them back to her house. Hugo opened the roast and placed it in the roaster while I assembled the chief ingredients for the roast and side dishes.
Apples & onions - check
Spices from the spice drawer - check
corn - check, but will take the bags out of the freezer later

Here is where I ran into a problem. The 10 lb bag of potatoes was not in the pantry nor in the storage area on the other side of the pantry... A little concerned I began to retrace the path from the van to the kitchen wondering if the potatoes had been deposited somewhere along the route and forgotten before their handler could put them away. Nope, a few shoes were found along the route but nothing resembling 10 lbs of potatoes.

Retraced the route checking for deviations - had the person charged with bringing in the potatoes left them in the school room, under the dining room table or even perhaps the bathroom? All are areas along the possible paths traversed from the van to the kitchen. Nope - nary a potato to be seen. Not even a peel. Went out and scouted out the van and porch praying that with the sub zero temps we have been having of late that the potatoes had not been left in either spot.

Nada... somewhat relieved but very frustrated by this mysterious disappearance I returned to the house where the air was beginning to be perfumed by the odor of apples and onions baking in the oven. Time was running out to have these potatoes peeled and boiled in time to whip them into buttery mashed potatoes and what's pork roast without potatoes?

Now Hugo and began to search our memories... had we actually remembered to put them in the van? I had no memory of them save putting them originally in my cart. Hugo was 98 % sure he'd put them in the van. Listening to our puzzled voices Emma suddenly piped up and said "Tanny and I were trying to decide who would bring them in and HE said he would, so he picked them up - I saw him bring them inside..."

Well, that was comforting to know BUT where had he hid put them. I went to the front door and stood there while I asked myself if I were a nine year old boy, possibly distracted, where might I put the potatoes? From the front door I spied the stairs and sent Emma to check Nathaniel's bedroom. She was back in seconds dragging the 10 lb bag of spuds behind her.

Mystery solved.... dinner prep resumed. And, yes, the pork roast WAS fabulous and the potatoes even better!

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Monday, February 08, 2010

50 rules...

that the schools won't teach your kids and here are thirteen of the rules as found on Larger Family Life – a blog I discovered today via Happy Housewife.
Rule 1: Life is not fair; get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called any chance to work an opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
Rule 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.
Rule 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young, and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

(Although often attributed to Bill Gates, the above rules were written by Charles J Sykes in his book “50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School“.)

PS Larger Family Life is having a contest where you can win this book but you don’t really want to know about that now do you – because the more of you who do… the smaller chance I have of winning what sounds like a great AND funny book!

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Morning Offering

found in Conversations With God

"May the whole of our day, our prayer and our work take their strength from you and always begin with you O Lord, and may all that we have begun through you reach a happy conclusion."

A Lenten activity I am planning on doing this year. Only thing left to decide is whether we will do it only on Friday or throughout all of Lent... (Thank you M.T. for sharing this with me!)

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

another great post...

... if I must say so myself! Ever thought of an onion as an inspiration? Well, apparently Mothering Sunshine has. Click here to read all about it.

(And no, I have not had time to edit and post the graduation pictures. Hopefully soon!)

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Saturday, February 06, 2010


Mothering Sunshine and company is suffering from cabin fever and asking for Boredom Busters. To help her out click here and leave a comment with your favorites things to do on a rainy day when you are 18 months old and tired of all your toys and even mummy is getting a bit... umm stir crazy with cabin fever! Read more!

what is it...

...about babies feet that cause us to kiss them and eat them all up?
They are just so irresistible, are they not?

(Photo credit: This image was found here.) Read more!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Can I go to bed yet???

or : A break down of my day and it's not one yet...

1) try to secure my seat belt this morning by inserting my car keys into the receptor for the seat buckle
(good point - I did not break the receptor or whatever it's called)

2) Realizing my error I reach back and to grab seat belt and put it on... and then immediately reach back to try to put it on a second time...

3) Got ready to back up by shifting gear and looking backwards, Lift foot from brake peddle and pause before applying gas as van typically backs up a bit by itself once in reverse. Van does not do so. Check emergency brake (with foot still lightly resting on gas peddle)
Yup - emergency break already released. Seriously confused I look at gear - I'm in drive and about 3 feet from a store window. I'll leave the possibilities I narrowly avoided to your imagination.

4) Get home from dropping Hugo off at work and checked email discovering:
a) bank account overdrawn and pay cheque NOT deposited????
b) ezfile is rejecting my tax return because someone in the tax department has spelled our last name wrong for two of the children...

5) while following Turbo tax's directions to remedy situation I receive phone call from Hugo - paycheque is lost in cyber space and new ETA is NEXT TUESDAY! Any other week this would not have been a problem as I typically have a cushion in my checking and $$$ in my savings... this week I had zip due to the expences of our trip to Kentucky! Was planning to rebuffer every thing this pay period....

6) Mozilla crashes and as I attempt to open my picture folder - multiple software programs open simultaniously. Lose my temper big time and work very hard not to yell at kids for something they have not done. Tell little ones it's better to stay away from mummy as possible as I'm very upset and liable to yell at them for absolutely nothing. They listen and leave the room... quickly.

7) Trying to ressurect the day I go to grocery store to buy a few groceries and forget a few essentials even while thinking about their necessity.

8) Pay for groceries and leave store calling a friend to gripe about my miserable day. Look for my cell phone while talking on it - with intention of unlocking van with it. Don't know about you - but my cell phone does NOT actually unlock my van. (Maybe some day ... but not yet!)

9) Fish out keys in pouring rain, unlock van and throw keys onto drivers seat. While still griping to sympathetic friend, load the meagre load of groceries and put wallet on front passenger seat, hit the auto lock and close van door and head (still in poring rain and -1 c temps) over to drivers side of van and grab door handle...

10) reread # 9 if you haven't yet realized my current problem.

11) Tell my friend about the new problem facing me. She offers (good friend that she is) to come out in freezing rain to get spare key from kids and bring it to me.

12) Think about buying coffee to keep warm and remember wallet is in van

13) call kids to tell them to get spare key from my dresser.... they don't answer. Send them text threatening to cancel their phone line and I get a return call within seconds.

14) Friend pulls up in front of store and tells me she has my van key BUT is holding it hostage... unless I let her buy me a coffee... Given my options how could I refuse? We each get a hot mocha and chat in parking lot for forever. Someone who was looking into a mess up with some scheduled payments calls me with some good news about them and I feel like - "okay hot mocha AND good news: my day is getting better".

15) Get home, kids put away groceries and laugh with me over the stupid things I have done all day.

16) Check my email.... ezfile has refused my return AGAIN... Turbo tax wants me to refile... I ask "helpful Tina" in the chat box what I should do - only to realize I am talking to a computer and not a real person. Decide to print and mail my return and just accept the incredible delay that means....

17) Printer prints two pages of my return and decides its going to Tahiti for a vacation and will not print the rest of my return. (By now I'm feeling someone in cyber space is holding my return HOSTAGE... but unlike my good friend is not willing to buy ME a coffee for its release!)

18) Its only 1 pm.... and I am dreading the rest of the day. Seriously considering going back to bed and calling it a day before I do something else stupid.... or something else goes wrong!

UPDATE was finally able to convince printer that it could indeed print while in Tahiti. But only if I sent it one page at a time....

Final Tally: Murphy's law 15 Christi 3

(looking for Lawyer to sue pants off of Mr Murphy for pain and suffering as well as financial damages!)
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Formal Pictures from the dinner...

Close up of Miguel, in the middle, in the back row.

First Platoon... can you find Miguel?

By this time Hugo and I have been up since 6:30 Tuesday morning and it was now about 8:30 pm Wednesday. The same more or less applied to all the kids as they had not rested very well in the van.

(Remember that you can click on the photos and they will open up in a seperate tab or window allowing you to see them in a larger format and see more detail.)

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Relaxing with Miguel at the dinner

Miguel and Emma shortly after we arrived at the dinner.

Listening to Miguel's stories...

Hugo and Miguel talking about the last days before graduating.

Miguel and I talking about his future orders and training while he eats!
(Best pic of us together... sadly he is swallowing so as to answer me)

Meltdown... one of a few during the evening.
It had been a very long day for the poor baby.
But she did enjoy most of the evening - between her meltdowns.

Chatting with a fellow graduate.

Bethany Rose

Ashley and Anna with Anna's twin shadow... Elsa

Emma and Ashley

Elsa Marie Bernadette

Cardsharks in the Leaders Club!

Tomorrow - pictures from the graduation!

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Happy to be out of her carseat!

Playing some tunes on her portable radio

Notices the camera...

and waves off the paparazzi ...

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How teenagers appease a cranky baby...

...while both parents are in the Leader's Club trying to learn when, where and if we can see Miguel...

Feed her chocolate covered cookies - one per hand thank you very much!

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Breakfast on the Road continued (And Cecilia's mystery gift is revealed)

Jennie had piping hot coffee ready and before we knew it there were coffee cups on the table and sugar and milk ready for our use. Several of our children were ready for another meal snack after the meager healthy meal that had recently been consumed so we had brought in with us a basket filled with homemade cininamon rolls and peanut butter cookies. A few of the childen from each family enjoyed helpings of both.

While Jennie, Hugo and I swaped farming stories and I plied Jennie with oodles of question about their future farming plans the kids visited. Bethany and Delany hit it off really well and there were several brunnet heads flashing by and more than once I caught myself almost calling one of Jennie's girls by Emma's name as Emma could have easily been one of her brood; most of whom had Jenny's gentle features clearly stamped on thier faces. There was little doubt they were her daughters!

Hugo was very tired and, I could tell, impatient to get back on the road as he hoped the hotel, still an hour away, might allow us to check in early. As we stood to gather up our crew I noticed a rather large smudge of brown on the floor. Cecilia was beside it. It looked like it could possibly have come off of a person's shoe - if they had recently stepped in a cow pie. Near by was a small print of the same colour - close in size and shape of Cecilia's foot. Inside I groaned. Oh, please let that be melted chocolate and not a gift from Cecilia's diaper. Closer inspection of her diaper revealed the answer. Blshing inwardly I apologized and several people jumped into action as we tracked down Cecilia's previous journeys, wiping up as we went along. While people wiped under Jennie's directions, I quickly wrestled Cecilia to the ground and placed a clean diaper on the offending culprit. Jennie was an absolute angel about it! All I can say about it all is... "I was soooo embarrassed!"

Jennie gave us directions on how to get to Louisville and we waved goodbye and after cramming helping the kids back into the van (snatching wet and muddy shoes off of people's feet as they entered in vain hopes of keeping mud off the pillows and blankets) we waved good bye to Jennie and the kids and headed back down the long drive. I wanted to get my own picture of Maybelle and Daisy but was not quic enough! Ahh well, I'll just have to depend on the inner pictures of my memories. If anyone is heading through Kentucky near Fort Knox be sure to look up the Coopers and, if Maybelle isn't nursing a calf you just might get fresh cream with your coffee! Read more!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Breakfast on the Road

We finally left the house around 9:30 pm and realized as we maneuvered towards the highway that Ashley did not have her ID as she had left her wallet in her parents' car the last time she had gone out with them. So we quickly deviated from the printed driving directions and headed for a nearby town to meet her father and get her wallet. No id - no admission to the base! We were so grateful that we realized this when we did or it would have been a catastrophe.We prayed a decade of Rosary to help Cecilia settle in her carseat and I also gave her some teething tablets to help calm her as she was very agitated due to her ear infection and teething! Thankfully the nurse practitioner had prescribed a decongestant for her to help combat the pressure we expected her to feel in her ears as we hit the quickly changing altitudes through the Appalachians in West Virgina. Sadly she did wake as we hit that area and screamed while pathetically stretching her arms out to me; signing that she wanted me to pick her up. We had to stop for a while to help calm her. Once she was calmer we headed back onto the highway again, and when we hit Kentucky pulled into a truck stop and parked in what felt like full sunlight. Hugo laid down on the bed that was made up behind the front seats to try and get an hour or two of rest. Unfortunately all of the children woke and there was almost constant murmuring as they tried to rearrange themselves and get comfortable. Cecilia cuddled gratefully in my arms - ecstatic to be free of her car seat. I sat in the front passenger seat with my coat over her and tried to sleep... with little success. After an hour of this constant fidgeting, Hugo gave up and before hitting the highway again we stopped by MacDonalds and grabbed some coffees. A few hours later we drove into the daybreak and sighed in relief. Kids were now fully awake so I passed out the yogurts, muffins and juice boxes.

We reached the base at about 8:30 am only to learn that Miguel would not be available to his family until after 4 pm. (They were preparing for graduation and going through the various stages of it!) We could not check into the hotel until 3 pm.... By now Hugo and I were pretty desperate for another caffeine fix.

Jennie had emailed me a few times and told me to call her once we were at Fort Knox so I did.

"Hi Jennie! We are here! We are in desperate need of some coffee so do you know of a coffee shop or can we swing by for one at your place?" Her warm laugh filled my ear as she explained that she does not go out for coffee so the only solution she could offer was coffee at her place. She gave wonderfully detailed directions that were so easy to follow! Little did I know she was having serious back pain and she also hid it well while we were there! We enjoyed meeting Daisy and Maybelle but only Maybelle greeted us as soon as we parked. It was a cold day and soft wisps of breath blew from her soft black nose while some of us rubbed it. Her calf remained lazily curled up in her warm pile of hay watching curiously as we greeted her mama.

Once the whole crew had disembarked from our now very disordered vehicle, with the occasional pillow or toy tumbling out, we headed over towards the back door of the house. It was a good guess as to which door to approach because it opened before we were all across the wide driveway. There in real life was Jenny holding Thomas and the other children gathered behind peering at the rest of us. There was some to be expected shyness on both sides but Jenny greeted us like old lost friends and we immediately felt at home in a way we would never have felt in a coffee shop!

More later...

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Monday, February 01, 2010

We interrupt the previsously scheduled posts to...

bring you an update from the front!

Both sides dug in while peace aids desperately tried to get the stalled peace talks jump started.

Determined to make the best of the current conditions (loads of snow and sun in the enemies' eyes) a first shot was fired at about 1:15 pm EST

Return fire was immediately volleyed into the opposites' camp!

Both enemy camps continued fire until Peace Negotiator,
Tanny Paul, unleashed his secret weapon.

the Mega Snow Ball

After a demonstration of its lobbying capabilities a truce was called and it was determined that no casualties had occurred and fun had been had by all!

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Stay Tuned This Week...

... as I will be posting pictures through out the week.. shamelessly blackmailing into you coming back daily for another little peek at our quick but pack filled jaunt into Kentucky. There will be peeks into what it is like to travel with a van load of kids while we breakfast on the road, peeks into the Leaders club at Fort Knox, juicy details about our visit with the Coopers and just what little gift did Cecilia leave them? Then we will share pictures of the actual graduation of of the 5-15 Calvary Squadron E troop of January 2010. This ceremony was entertaining and inspiring - if only we could share our videos of it. If you ever have the opportunity to attend such a graduation - don't miss it.

So stay tuned and be entertained in the days to come this week! (Yes, I know, I am shameless! But, as a busy mum I really need to draw these pictures out so as to keep up with my kids busy schedule, countless doctor appointments, dentist appointments whilst squeezing in a few hours of schooling and still have something new for you to look at each day this week!!)

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