Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is it a laundry mat?

NOPE!, Just me and my family getting ready for the big seasonal clothes switch!! Welcome to 9ndhouse!! With 7 kids in the house we have a ton of clothes. Each kid's section by itself doesn't seem to be very many but multiply it over and over and it's a mess!! Right now it looks like a clothing store has bombed us, but the kids are soooo excited!!!

They were with me at the end of last winter when I went to the second hand store and bought several bags of "cool" clothes in the $3 bag sale. We put them away in their out of season boxes and switched them for the summer clothes. Now that the air is turning cooler the switch is upon us again. To them it's like Christmas, getting a ton of new clothes. Now, I love clothes and I love to shop. I must have given this joy to all my children because even the boys like to get new clothes and to shop.

So, for the next several days, in between school, meals, cleaning, canning and everything else that goes on around here, we will be sorting, matching, hanging, folding and putting away a mega load of laundry. It's a good thing they all enjoy doing this, their "help" helps a lot!!

There is a system to my madness, the community closet isn't the prettiest thing in the world but we built it in the laundry room. The idea was to wash, dry and put away the clothes all in the same room to make it easier and faster. The girls and the boys take turns getting dressed and for the most part all the laundry stays in one place. I usually match outfits and number them (shirt #1 goes with shorts #1) with the girl's initials and some things are by color, each girl has different colors of pajamas. This makes things simple enough even the younger children can put away clothes with no problem. AND!, no one is ever fussing over who is wearing whose clothes!! The boys of course have and assortment of jeans, pants and shirts and would never call them "outfits"!! We hang the "church" and "town" clothes and put "play" clothes and everything else in labeled baskets that act as drawers on the lower shelves. Town clothes are not as dressy as church clothes but not as plain as play clothes, by giving everything a label I can say..."We are leaving in 15 min. get clean town clothes on and get in the van!". Most of the time they will ask now, "where are we going, do we need clean play clothes or town clothes?"

NOW, the tricky part is staying motivated to keep the washers and dryers going so that all this mess stays clean!!!! Hopefully soon I can report a clean living room and laundry room again!!

photo: the kids were sorting their clothes into piles, after baby J had pulled down several piles they threw him in a box of his own!! btw- the floor is concrete and my paint didn't stick very well, we are still remodeling and maybe we can afford the tile later this fall!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Farm Life: How hard will you work for a hamburger?

"NOOOooooo", they hollered as they watched with wide eyes, "Hamburger is getting away!!". So proudly just moments before, my husband and older children had patted themselves on the back for a job well done. It was in record time they had brought up the cow and placed her in the panel pen to wait until the butcher arrived. She must have sensed this day was "special" somehow and decided since she couldn't go over, under she must go and under she went. The "hamburger" got away!

Next she wandered down by the pond, so rather begrudgingly my husband and the kids followed and soon the chase was on. With lunch in the house waiting to be fixed and laundry waiting to be folded, I just had to stay and watch. Something told me this was going to be entertaining and I wasn't disappointed. Dad (my husband) was giving directions as he walked around the left side of the pond, the kids were to walk around the right side and bring her close to him. He had a rope in his hands and the idea was to rope her around the neck and lead her back to the pen. As the kids drove her closer she spotted Dad and turned around, all the shouts to "stand still" and "don't let her through" was wasted as the brave kids tucked tails and ran. She was a gentle cow who liked her head rubbed when the breakfast grain was fed and liked to leave snotty kisses on the back of the girls' head as they walked by. Not exactly tame but not exactly wild either. She jogged a little way through the trees, around the pond and turned to look triumphantly at Dad...but he was gone. Suddenly he jumped an old fence and raced toward her swinging the rope, he had snuck his way back around the pond and the chase was on once more. Rowdy decided now was the time join in on the action, he quickly fell in line behind the cow and gave chase. For several minutes I watched and laughed as the cow followed by Rowdy, followed by Dad, followed by 4 kids ran one after the other. They were all splishing around the edge of the pond, splashing through the mud and jumped over a maze of ancient fences, fallen trees and forgotten stumps. Laughter, whoops and hollers mingled with snaps of branches, crunching leaves and water splattering filled the air around the edge of the timber and echoed back. Over and over again Dad and the kids got close enough to throw the rope, just barely missing the darting cow.

I knew the plan was to wear her down a little but I was beginning to wonder who was being wore down! Soon Dad stopped with heaving sides and just looked at me. "You could help!" he said huffing and puffing while holding his sides. "I'm not as athletic as you!" I replied from my side of the fence. I got the look, you know the one. Feeling brave I suggested he walk the cow down the fence row to the larger holding pen and try to rope her in there and got another look. From where I was standing I supervised the kids and got them to move the cow along the fence while Dad was sprawled out on a tank to catch his breath. Soon she was in the larger pen and with the help of Dad we got all the panels shut. I figured now was a good time to head back to the house and get that lunch ready, hunger had surely been worked up today!

Soon the troops all came straggling in, "Get "er in the pen?" I asked, "Yep" was the answer. Over a lunch of spaghetti and homemade bread (two starches I know!) we all laughed and retold the funny events leading to the final capture of our "hamburger". "I roped her, Mom!" my oldest boy proudly told me as he loaded his plate. "First try!" he said, I chuckled and raised my eyebrow at Dad. He smiled and nodded his head, "Yep, first try. He roped her as she ran by." My young cowboy sat up a little straighter, forked a big piece of meat out of his spaghetti and said "Yep!, I sure like hamburger!!" I had to laugh as a I told him, "That's deer meat, bud!" :-)

Photo- That's my cowboy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our School!!

We started school this year, the day after Labor Day. So far everything is going great and we are having fun. At least that's what the kids say!! They have already in just a few weeks read several books on their reading lists, written some great stories, flew through the addition flashcards and been on several wonderful field trips!

This is nap time for the pre-schoolers :-)

Us 'N friends at local conservation & audubon center

The kids found a GPS cache during the hike while hunting mushrooms and making leaf rubs.

Playing by the trail in Shoal Creek, watching the fog roll in.

Museum, it took over an hour to read and do all the activities, including observing the snakes, fish aquarium, and spiders. We had a special interest in the snakes, we were trying to identify a certain visitor to our front door last week.

The Harry S. Truman birthplace is a great field trip, the kids loved exploring this home without modern conveniences still sitting quietly in the middle of a modern town.

The kids are excited to be starting their own field guide soon, putting together their snap shots of flowers, trees and things they have found with notes written about each one. It will probably be an on-going project that may last several years. Possibly several volumes!!


She thanked the security guard in the speaker and sat back to watch the gate slowly slide away. Her heart began to tremble as she pulled the van through, her eyes sought to see through the trees to catch a glimpse of what she has seen in her mind for twenty years. Twenty years! How can it be. That she now would be bringing her children here, her own daughter the same age as she once was, in the days when she skated here. The children were excitedly shouting from the back as they spotted their Mema and Papa by the club house, but she did not hear them. She couldn't see today, only yesterdays from long ago. Sunny days when the breeze blew her long blond hair behind her as she and her cousin skated around and around, her Granddad and Grandmother proudly watching from the porch of their RV, nestled in the corner of the trailer park just above the river bluff. That trailer could be seen from the gate "yesterday", but now the saplings have grown into beautiful trees blocking her view. In a fog she greeted her mom and the man who was the only dad she ever knew, then slowly started walking down the path to "yesterday". She marveled how everything could be the same yet different. Then... could it be? the same trailer? Now with a covered porch and a well worn path to the river? Don't stand here and stare her mind told her, but it was hard to pull her eyes away. Then the river called and drew her nearer to the bluff and down to the rock beach where she had played "yesterday". Funny, the bluff was taller "yesterday". The current swept around her legs as she waded out to the middle, small fish and crawdads greeted a welcome and flittered away. She began to skip stones and smiled "Look Granddad 4 skips!". "Mom!" she heard from the path and quickly she was brought back to today. She smiled and raced the children back to the club house to help create their "yesterday" -Thank you Lord for the time we have together, thank you for the memories. Thank you most of all for giving me New Life, that I may go to You and to my loved ones who can no longer come to me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kick'n up dirt!!

Who wants to ride a broom when they have a 5.5 horse power motor to jet them around the room!! I'm referring to my new vacuum cleaner!! I am soooo excited, and the kids are too. I worked hard (had a garage sale), saved my money (from Sat. to Sun.) and bought it all by myself (Michael had to carry it out for me after he paid the balance :-) )!! Life is good. Now is about the time where you begin to wonder what in the world is the matter with me.

Well, I'm sure if you think back to a time when you replaced that "thing"! You know the one, that thing that you had to use because it was all you had. The one you or your husband had to duct tape, glue and wire back together so many times materials alone holding it together added up to $100! Maybe it was your fridge, or the washing machine? Stove?, VACUUM!! Now your getting the picture. Old Red the upright was still making a lot of noise and pretense but wasn't inhaling anything if ya know what I mean, so I was down to the Rainbow (R2D2's cousin). The one my mother in law gave me, it is a great vacuum but has seen better days. The holding pan for the water (yes, water) had been replaced with the bottom of an old green bucket. The latches are held together with duct tape, cuts and bruises all down the cord wrapped in black bandages while tools fell off the worn out tool belt as you pulled it across the floor leaving scratches where the fourth wheel was supposed to be. It still inhales with great force but since the floor attachment ran away from home a couple years ago, trying to sweep up a house the size of mine with a cracked 1-1/2 inch tube just wasn't cutting it! Not to mention that the hose was 2' too short to reach the ceiling or fans so me AND Rainbow had to climb the step ladder. Not good.

So, now that you remember that "thing" you also remember the excitement and fireworks that went on the day you got to replace it! Ok, maybe not fireworks but close to it, right? Well, I had decided I needed to get a new vacuum. Something with power! Something BIG!! Something...like... Granddad!! Granddad is my new, blue 3' tall shop vac, industrial model! He glides through the house on his mega wheels, dragging an extra long and thick cord, proudly displaying a convenient tool caddy and swinging a grand 2-1/2" nose, I mean hose, long enough to evict any spider lurking over my head. The 12 inch floor attachment threatens to pull up tile if ya don't move along quickly, and he doesn't *require* any water but will drink up if need be. I think we're going to get along great!!

Now having shared my happy moment with you, I'm going to go take advantage of the excitement the kids are showing for Granddad. Tap into some of that energy and get some cleaning done. Can you say, Home Ec class? :-)
Photo: My four oldest kids with Granddad!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Do you feel a draft?

I've been spending way too much time on the computer lately! :-) Finding new blogs about other people and topics that interest me has been a new passion. Researching, reading, exploring, AND... writing. Here on this blog as well as my comments on other blogs. Suddenly I feel exposed!!
It is a totally new feeling I am experiencing. For the last almost 13 years that I have been married my life has had what I thought was a wide circle of people influence. But did you know that with the click of a few buttons I can discuss say....anything!, with someone in another state! Another country even!! Shocking isn't it! I knew you'd be surprised.

Blog rush, is what I call it. It always seems to come in a rush but for me the emotion attached to it isn't always the same. For instance, after commenting on a blog of someone telling a tragic story I feel the overwhelming urge to cry, to reach to that person and let them know I really do care, I really did pray. Sometimes that heavy burden for them can last way longer that just that moment. Of course when I read a funny tale of a mom who has scrambled through out the day to stay on top of things just to end up under the laundry, I can't help but giggle and smile my smiliest while firing off what I hope is a quirky statement that with luck will reflect my face. And who wouldn't see a little fire during the times of mommy bashing during hot debates, spiteful creatures we are when the world doesn't see it our way. Rrruuush!

Ups and downs, that seems to be life. Mountains and valleys. Hills and hollows. I would assume it to be human nature to second guess yourself to a certain degree, while a bold certainty is screaming from the back somewhere "You Go Girl!, Ya Know It!!" Then there it is again...with the push of a return key. My words... locked in stone thrown out into the great abyss of Internet to be read by anyone who chances by. Did I come across too strong? Did that sound stupid? Feel my laughter? See my smile? Will they understand? Can they see my heart?...I feel a draft :-)

I'm just rattling, what do you think? Ya feel it too?
Picture: Baby J in his big sister's doll bed, definitely feeling a draft!!