Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Can't Take That Away

While serving a mission in Ireland for the LDS (mormon church) we spent a lot of time, as missionaries, going from door to door or speaking to people in the streets.  Our message was always the same - it taught of Jesus Christ, His Atonement and our Heavenly Father's plan for us to return to live with Him again someday.  Sometimes we would have people who would want to argue with us or "Bible bash" in hopes to prove us wrong or confuse us of the message we were sharing.  We were taught by our leaders to never argue with them.  Sometimes it was hard because we wanted to "prove" to them that what we were saying was true.  We wanted them to feel the joy and peace that the gospel would bring into their lives.  But we were taught not to so we didn't.  We were taught to instead, bear testimony.  As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are encouraged to pray about the things we hear and learn so that we can know for ourselves that it is true.  They don't want us to blindly follow.  They want us to truly believe and be full of knowledge.  As we pray, the Holy Spirit will testify to us of the truth and our testimonies will grow.  When a person bears their testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, the spirit is always present.  A testimony is something that can never be taken from you.  That's why it was so important, standing on those doorsteps, to bear heartfelt testimony instead of arguing.  The spirit would be with us to testify too.  No one can argue with a testimony.  They may not believe you, but they can't argue with things you know to be true through prayer.  As I walked the streets of Ireland for 16 months teaching, my testimony became stronger.  No matter how many times I was spit on, had rocks, snowballs and footballs thrown at me, had obscenities yelled at me, and doors slammed in my face, they could not take my testimony from me.  Today I am faced with different challenges.  Ones maybe not so apparent as a door being slammed in my face.  Still, no matter what is thrown at me, no matter what is taken away from me, my testimony can not be taken away.  It is who I am.  It is a part of me, woven deep in my heart and soul.  It gets me through the challenges just as it did in Ireland so many years ago.  Jesus lives!  He loves us.  He has set the example for us and prepared the way for our return to our Father in Heaven.  Through His Atonement we have hope, joy and the ability to repent of our mistakes and try again.  Through the gospel of Jesus Christ I can find the strength to endure to the end, the guidance to raise my children and bring them safely home, and the knowledge that I am a child of God.

Another First

Yesterday was Zeke's first day of preschool.  He was very excited!  He seemed to have a good time.  He said he didn't learn anything.  He also said he didn't get breakfast.  Upon inquiring this morning I found out he did get breakfast!  He also said they were going to get to play outside for two minutes but it started sprinkling so they only got to play outside for one minute.  Today they got to play out longer he told me.  He got to brush his teeth with a yellow tooth brush.  He got to water color and that's about all he could come up with for the day.  Today he said his shoes accidentally fell off.  He said some boy, his name was Michael, stepped on his shoe lace and it came untied.  Then some boy, whose name was Michael, stepped on his other shoe lace and it came untied.  Then he was walking and he looked down and no shoes!  Crazy huh?  The minds of four year olds!  Anyways, he's having fun so far.  Olivia and I spend our morning at the gym and at home together.  Hopefully we will find fun things for just the two of us to do together.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Full Week

Well, I officially finished my first full week of workouts.  It was interesting to say the least.  Most of my soreness had worn off by Monday so I started the week pretty fresh.  Monday was upper body.  I made a few adjustments, no problem.  I was certainly tired by the end of the workout and it felt good.  Tuesday I was sore in the upper body but that didn't affect my lower body workout.  I added lunges to my workout this time.  My legs were pretty shakey by the end, but I was still able to walk.  During the night, I remembered waking up and trying to roll over and wondering where that intense pain and lack of strength was coming from in my legs.  Then I remembered the lunges.  It was easier to roll over 9 months pregnant than it was at that point in time.  Wednesday brought on the upper body again.  Now along with the upper body I also do cardio.  Each day I start out doing 20 minutes on the treadmill to warm up.  On upper body days, I end my workout with a 30 minutes stint on the treadmill doing a mix of walking and running.  Well, my legs hurt so bad I had a hard time stepping on and off the treadmill, let alone, walking while I was on it!  I did manage to get through my workout.  My arms were sore, my run shorter and my walk a little slower, but I made it and felt proud.  Then we headed to the park for a picnic followed by a trip to the zoo.  I think my chlidren could tell I was in pain.  They kept dropping things on the ground.  I had to mentally psyche myself up to bend over and pick things up for them.  My body was just not wanting to move!  Everything hurt.  I thought I was going to die.  Then they want me to push them on the swings!  Are you kidding?  No, they weren't.  I pushed them, but had a hard time doing the whole underdog thing.  It was a long, slow moving day for me.  Thursday brought about lower body again.  I was concerned.  I still couldn't move, but I had to try.  I made it through my workout and was able to do the entire thing.  Then I walked very slowly around the track for 20 minutes and then went swimming, to the park and ran errands.  I was prepared for the worst.  Surprisingly though, the pain started to subside.  I could still walk by the end of the day!  When I rolled over in bed it was more like 4 months pregnant.  I felt great!  This morning I headed out feeling much better.  I could even climb into my car without wincing and having to fall into my seat.  I did my warmup, my upper body strength training and then the treadmill.  I ran the farthest today than I had all week.  Now I am home and feeling great because I survived!  I did all my workouts, went to the park three times, the zoo once, swimming 3 times and did errands when needed.  I even cleaned the house and did laundry (which is donwstairs in the basement, a verty hard task when legs don't work!).  I have also stuck to my eating plans.  My new favorite is something that I never thought I would ever eat, much less like - peanunt butter and banana on bread!  I like peanut butter and bananas, but I had always refused to try them on bread.  Yuck!  Well, I discovered a new bread.  It's sandwich thins.  They are 100 calories and have 4 grams of fiber.  They are whole grain, and really yummy!  I use them for all my sandwiches now.  I have found, as I focus more on protiens and carbs and trying to get the righ balance, that I do feel better.  I eat less, I crave less and I am not as tired.  Hopefully this will continue to be the case.  I want to be able to enjoy life and all that it has to offer.  I haven't been able to do that lately because of how run down I was feeling.  Anyways, I have survived and it has given me motivation to carry on and energy to enjoy the things around me!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Enjoying the Outdoors

This week we have had beautiful weather so Zeke, Olivia and I have been trying to take advantage of it.  Yesterday after we had finsihed swimming, we went to the park and had a picnic and played for a while.  Today we skipped the swimming and met friends at the park by the zoo.  We had another picnic, played and then went to the zoo.  It was a fun afternoon and a beautiful day outside, sunny and in the upper 70's with a slight breeze.  I could do this year round!  Tomorrow will be another fun day.  We will go swimming again and then go back to the park for a picnic and playtime.  We gotta enjoy it while we can, soon we will be in the middle of another South Dakota winter!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mustin' Bustin"

Saturday McCrossans hosted their annual rodeo.  It was HOT outside, but we still managed to have fun.  We had quite a few exciting moments.  Zeke caused the first bit of excitement when he fell off the bleachers.  The kids were playing on them and somehow Zeke fell through (he was at the top) and hit his stomach on one of the crossbars underneath and then landed on his face on the ground.  He cried pretty hard.  Then he layed down and fell asleep.  He slept for quite awhile.  He was pouring sweat and his face was all flushed.  I was quite worried at first but then he finally woke up and started playing again.  The second cause for excitement was the mutton bustin' or "mustin' bustin'" as Zeke calls it.  Zane, Dillon and Zeke all participated.  Zane was first.  He did good and got off smiling this time instead of crying.  Zeke was next.  About the time he went out of the shoot he let go of the sheep.  Michael was srtill holding on to him so he kind of pulled Zeke off so he wouldn't hit the ground so hard.  Now Zeke tells everyone that he didn't get to ride the sheep very far because Daddy pulled him off backwards.  Dillon was last and rode the longest of the three.  He had a great time too.  His buddy, Cody, whose one of the boys here, was out there to give him high fives.  Unfortunately I didn't get great pictures, but we had great fun!  Our last bit of excitement came right ofter the mutton bustin'.  I had left the girls in charge of Olivia while I went to the other side of the arena with the boys.  When I came back, Olivia was no where to be found.  I ran up to the top of the hill so I could see more and then I saw this little red thing (she had on a red dress) crawling under the fence back where the bull riders were.  I took off running and the girls quickly followed.  Luckily she was still in safe territory.  There was a little walk way that she had crawled into that separated her from the bulls.  The rest of the night passed by with no heart pumping action (at least not by me).  The boys are already talking about next year's rodeo and the opportunity to mutton bust.  Olivia also has plans of riding the sheep.  We'll see what next year brings.
The boys watching the bulls

Back at the bucking shoots waiting for the mutton bustin' to start

Zane after his ride

Zeke out with Michael and the clown

Dillon giving high fives

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First Day of School

Thursday was the kids first day of school.  They were so excited!  I'm not sure what time Zane got up, but when I my alarm went off at 6:15 and I went out into the hallway he came running out of his room all dressed and ready to go.  I asked him how long he had been up and he said a long time.  Crazy boy!  The Backpack Fairy did come which was exciting to everyone, except Michael.  She left nothing for him.  They all had a great day at school.  Hopefully that will last for a while, it's so mcuh easier to wake them up in the morning when they are excited about it!  While they were at school, Zeke, Olivia and I went to the gym. They played in the kids zone and went to an exercise/tumbling class for "little tikes" while I exercised.  Then we went swimming.  They were so tired from getting up early that they both fell alseep on the way home from the gym and didn't wake up for several hours.  I enjoyed the quiet time :)  Here are some pictures of the kids first day.  Dillon looks like he may be in pain.  He really was excited to go, he just isn't sure how to smile in pictures.  You kind of have to catch him off guard to get a really good smile.  He's cute no matter what his expression though!
Little Princess with her Backpack Fairy treats

Zeke checking out his bag

Dillon ready for first grade.  Smile!

Zane, my 2nd grade toothless wonder :)

Makenna - 3rd grade dance queen

4th grader Maddi, my forever tomboy

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Black Friday on Saturday Morning

The gym we belong to offers swim lessons for free with your gym memebership.  They do them four times a year.  The registration is on a Saturday morning at 7:30.  The slots fill up pretty fast so you have to get there early in order to get your kids in.  I'm at a disadvantage - I have 6 I have to try to get in.  So this morning I got up at 6:10 so I could get to the gym by 6:30.  It was extremely foggy outside and I missed my turn on the way there but I made it.  There were, however, many people who made it there before me.  It looked like the front of a store on Black Friday or a movie theater with one of those sell out movies.  People were in camp chairs lined up, they had books they were reading and coffee mugs to keep them awake and warm.  And pople kept coming.  They lined up down the sidewalk and out into the parking lot.  At 7am the gym opened so they let us in.  We filed down the hallway where we had to sign up and waited for another 30 minutes for them to get everything set up.  Then they started letting us in 10 at a time.  Once those ten had signed up for what they wanted and left the room, they let the next ten in.  It was very orderly and moved very quickly.  That's what set Swim Saturday apart from Black Friday, there was no pushing and shoving, no fighting and I don't think anyone got trampled.  No one had maps of the gym to see the fastest way to get to the sign up room.  There were no walkie talkies and casing out the joint.  There were schedules and lists for which classes you wanted, but no one parked their cars in a certain direction for a fast get away to the next thing.  It was kind of crazy though to see so many people out so early, waiting for so long, just to sign their kids up for swim lessons.  I waited for about 1 1/2 hours.  There were others who waited a lot longer.  I have expereinced Black Friday at Walmart voing never to do it again.  No deal is worth that!  I will however do this again, it was a much more pleasant experience and I got all the kids in at the times I wanted!  Yay me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Was Able to Walk Out

In continuation from my entry yesterday - my fear of needing a wheelchair and a driver, I am happy to say that I was able to walk out of the building today!  I worked out my lower body today and I was still able to walk.  It felt great (the walking out part, not the lifting)!  I certainly felt the "burn" during the process and that feels good in a torturous kind of way.  I even tried some new things and left with more ideas for next time.  After the weights I managed to get 30 minutes on the eliptical and take the kids shopping after the while thing was over.  It's a good thing my legs are still working because my arms are still boycotting.  I still have to type with my toes.  The shaking has stopped from yesterday, but now the soreness has set in.  I forgot how many muscles I have, or didn't have, in my arms.  I almost had to have Olivia and Zeke push the cart in the store today.  Those things are heavy!  I did make them carry the 3 gallons of milk to the car, after all I had to try to carry my purse and the keys, two other heavy things.  Just kidding, I carried the keys, my purse and the 3 gallons of milk (I'm sure it was because of my bulging muscles I had built from yesterday's workout).  Olivia carried the receipt.  Seriously though, it does feel good.  I am doing something I have not done in years and I am facing some of my insecurities along the way, like working out next to the bikini model in her sports bra and shorty-shorts or the big muscley serious men who can't seem to stop looking in the mirror at themselves in between sets.  It was a relief to exercise part of the time with the senior citizen exercise class.  I can WAY out do them!  They were actually kind of fun to watch.  It lightened my spirit as I did another set of leg extensions.  I even am proud of my stench as I finish my workout.  I don't know if any of you have watched Mulan or not, but you know when she is getting ready to go bathe and Mushoo (sp?) says something about liking the frito smell?  That is exactly the smell I am proud of!  I know it sounds maybe a little off and slightly gross, but it's true.  I also like the soreness.  It makes me feel like I have done something, and I can use it as an excuse when I don't want to do something.  "Michael, can you wipe Olivia's bum?  I'm too sore!"  It's good all the way around.  Now I get two days for my muscles to recover and then we'll see what a full week of this stuff does to me!  I'll keep you posted.  Until next time...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Typing with my Toes

Today I am having to type with my toes.  Why you ask?  Well, I have decided to take on a new challenge.  Weight lifting.  Today was my first day.  I did upper body.  I finsihed lifting over 3 hours ago, but my arms are still weak and shakey (although very huge and muscley at the same time) so I can not control my fingers enough to type.  Therefore I am having to use my toes, another new challenge I guess.  Please forgive me for any misspellings.  My toes don't reach the keys as well as my fingers do!  Now, some might say I am crazy for doing this (myself being first to say it) but I have my reasons.  After much searching, pondering, reading and blood work, I have decided that this might be the answer I need.  When my last bloodwork came back clear, I was quite frustrated and slightly confused as to what to do next.  So I started searching foods (not eating, searching) and tried to find other ways that I could heal my broken down body.  I also started searching exercises and different things that could help me there.  Along with that I did some soul searching and decided that there was more I could do and that I needed to start doing it.  Weight lifting was one of the key things to help me.  It builds muscle (you should see my bulging arms after just one workout :) haha).  It also helps to increase energy (I think that comes after the feeling returns to all the body parts).  And believe it or not, wearing one of those skimpy bikinis actually helps you lift more weights!  Just kidding!  So after reading, planning, and talking to one of my weightlifting brothers, I started.  I was kind of nervous, I always stuck to machines in the past, they were safe and that's where the other "softer" people exercised.  Today though, I ventured over to the free weights and lifted right alongside one of those bikini wearing women!  It felt good, despite the pain and shakey movements.  I was quite proud of myself.  Tomorrow I get to go back and do the lower body.  I hope the gym has wheelchairs to take me to my car when I am done.  In the meantime, I have to figure out how to make supper with my arms still shaking.  I can't make anything with presice measurements, that could be disasterous!  I'm not even sure a bowl of cereal would work because I have to be able to pour milk into a little bity bowl.  Maybe I could learn to cook with my toes too! Another challenge on my list...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

School Busses

Okay, the kids talked me into it today.  We made our annual school busses out of Twinkies, Lifesavers and M&M's.  Always fun for the kids and you gotta love the sugar running through their already pumped up veins!  Here are a few pictures:

Back to School FHE

Every year, on the Monday before the first day of school, we do a back to school lesson for Family Home Evening with the kids.  I usually write a silly poem:

Park your bikes in the garage, pick up all your toys
Put away your swimming suits, come on girls and boys!
School's about to start again, your first day is coming fast!
Gather up your school supplies, it's gonna be a blast.
Write your name on all your stuff with a black Sharpie pen
Lay out clothes, grab a snack, let the school routine begin!
Hurry up, go take a bath, now it's earlier to bed and even earlier to rise
You don't want to have a tired body and sleepy little eyes.
Your teachers and your friends await, it's been so long it seems,
Since you were all together running, playing, learning things.
So sharpen up your pencils, tie your shoes, be on your way!
Have a super, duper good time and enjoy your first school day!

And then we talk about things that they might be nervous about or things they are excited about.  We talk about our school routines and what will be expected there.  We also talk about being a good example to others, being kind and helpful and trying to be like Jesus.  We try to help them understand how they can live Jesus' example with those they meet at school.  We talk about choices they will face and how to make good choices and not bad.  We talk about the consequences, good and bad, that come from the choices we make.  We help them understand that we are there to help them and if they ever need anything or have any questions or doubts about things, they can come to us.  We end the evening with treats, of course!  Their favorite treat is making school busses out of twinkies and other candies.  This year we were busy and I was lazy so we bought the pilsbury school bus refrigerated cookies and had those.  The kids still enjoyed them.  They will of course face challenges out there in their elementary school world, but hopefully they will be able to remember the things that they have been taught and know where to go when they need help and direction.  Have a great school year kids!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Doctor Results

Well, I finally got a call from the doctor's office yesterday.  All my lab work came back fine.  They said there was no endocrine reason for my fatigue and other symptoms.  I asked if they had suggestions of where to go now or what to do and they said no.  I must say, it was a blow.  I cried out of pure frustration.  But I'm done now.  I guess this is my lot in life right now and I will have to learn to deal with it.  I will search and find a way through it all.  So today begins a new day.  I will take it one step (or nap) at a time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Backpack Fairy

Okay, I know I have been talking about this for a while now.  It is actually a big deal at our house.  My kids LOVE the Backpack Fairy.  She helps calm nerves and adds to the excitement of the day.  The first year she came, it was while the kids were at their first day of school.  When they got home, there on the table was a package from the Backpack Fairy.  This is what she wrote:

It’s time for school to start again
Our summer days have come to an end
With school comes friends and books to carry
And a special thing called the Backpack Fairy
She little and cute with wings of gold
Where she lives, no one’s ever been told
She has hair that shimmers in the sunlight
And in the dark she glows like a night light
She wears a little white dress with matching shoes
And she carries a backpack just like you
She comes to your house while you are away
And brings special prizes to celebrate your first day
So give your mom a kiss and a hug and sit down in your chair
The Backpack Fairy came here today and left lots of treats to share!

There was a package filled with afterschool treats and glitter all over the table.  The kids were so excited!  Then halfway through the school year we moved.  The kids were going to leave their beloved school and friends and start over at a new school.  Emotions were high and it was a tough time.  The Backpack Fairy decided that the kids might need an extra visit from her since they were having to go through all this change.  The morning of their first day at the new school, they woke to find that she had come and left more goodies.  She also got them each a new shirt to wear on their first day.  This is what she said:

I usually come just once a year to celebrate your day
But this year I have come again to encourage you on your way.
For I heard that you just moved and to a new school you’ll go
So I brought something special to each of you, just so you will know
That you will have a wonderful day attending this new school.
You’ll love your teacher and make lots of friends because you’re all so cool.
So open the bag, look inside, and then off to school you go
I’ll be back next year (and hopefully there won’t be snow!)

Have a great day!
Love, the Backpack Fairy

That helped ease their anxiety and add some excitement to their day.  Last year she came again.  This time she came during the night so when the kids woke up they found she had been there once again.  Their was glitter everywhere and they each had their own bag filled with their favorite treats.  She also, once again, left a note.

It’s that time of year again,
Summer is drawing near an end.
Today you start your first day of school,
New teachers, new friends, won’t that be cool?
So to help you as you go on your way
I’ve come to celebrate your special day.
The Backpack Fairy, that’s me alright!
I snuck in your house in the middle of the night
And left you each a special bag with treats
Because I think you’re all so neat!
So open them quick, and then get on your way!
You don’t want to be late on your very first day!
Put on your new clothes and comb your hair,
Then brush your teeth and say your prayer.
Now off to school and have no fear –
When you get home, Mom will be right here!
Then you can eat the treats I left for you
While you tell her all about your first day of school!

This year she'll come again.  She'll have some school supplies, treats and a few fun things.  The kids are already talking about her.  This is the note she will leave them this time:

Long summer days are slowing growing shorter,
Soon leaves will begin to change.
Time for backpacks and pencils and school bus rides.
Time for sweaters and frosty window panes.
New adventures await as the school year begins -
New teachers, new friends, new things to see.
But to start it all off with a great big bang
Is a visit from me - the Backpack Fairy!
That's right, it's that time of year again
I wouldn't forget a day like today!
I brought treats and goodies just for you
And well wishes for your big day.
So hurry along, don't be late!
Soon the school bus will arrive.
Get dressed, eat up, get your bag by the door,
Settle in and enjoy the drive.
Excitement awaits behind school doors
Where your mind will grow big and your body tall.
And waiting at home with a smile and a hug
Will be mommy wanting to hear about it all!
While you tell her all about your day,
All the fun and adventures you thought were so neat
Don't forget about the goodies I brought for you
Sit down, relax and have a treat!

Hope you have a great first day of school!
Love, the Backpack Fairy

They all still believe!  It is so much fun to do this with them and she always remembers the little kids who are not in school yet..  Simple things make the best memories.  It helps them get over their nerves and be excited.  One thing I have learned over the years from being a mom and not having much money is to make the everyday things fun.  I don't have the ability to go out and buy my kids all the things they want and wish for so I try to make the simple things big. They have to go to school, so why not make the first day a big, exciting day?  These little things grow into traditions that are loved and cherished and that the kids look forward to year after year.  It makes me feel good too.  I can't give them all I want, but I can do these things for them.  They will remember the Backpack Fairy far longer than they will remember the toy I got them from the store.

What Are You Doing Under There?

This morning when I went to wake up Olivia and the boys (she sleeps in their room in her princess castle which is actually just a bunkbed).  When I turned on the light, this is what I saw:

Olivia was fast asleep with her blanket underneath Zeke's bed.  I tried to find out why she was under there.  Her first repsonse was that her baby punched her and pushed her out of bed.

I think this picture tells the true story.

Leapsters are always fun to play in the dark!  What a crazy little girl!

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's Almost Backpack Fairy Time!

I can't believe it is that time of year again.  Less than a week until the first day of school.  Everyone but Zane is excited.  Zane wants to go work in the barn instead of go to school.  He was quite sad when Michael told him that wasn't going to happen.  Dillon likes school, but given the option I think he would choose the barn too as long as he could drive the horses while he was there.  The first day of school also means a visit from the backpack fairy.  The kids have already been talking about her.  What will she bring this year?  Unfortunately, the backpack fairy has had a long summer and is out of ideas and steam.  Hopefully she can gather enough up to get this one last thing done before school starts.  Probem is, she still has to make two batches of fried pies, go to three eye appointments, get papers filled out at the dentist and then mailed to school, make a trip to Brookings, go to back to school night for 4 children, write a poem to leave with the prizes and actually go somewhere and get the prizes.  All this has to be done around the normal things of laundry, cooking supper, taking the kids swimming, cleaning, grocery shopping, church stuff, and a husband's ridiculously busy work schedule.  The backpack fairy is trying to avoid caffeine and too much sugar which makes the afternoon slumps a little slumpier and the need for a nap a little greater! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Yesterday we showed at the Sioux Empire Fair.  It was extremely hot.  The temp was in the 90's with the heat index at 100 with high humidity.  We were all in jeans and boots and had to put on long sleeved shirts to show.  I have never sweated so much in my life.  Everything was wet and I had sweat running in places that I didn't know could sweat.  It was crazy!  Thank goodness for coolers filled with ice water and gatorade!  Anyways, the shows went great.  Maddi was the first to go.  She had five in her class showing.  Three of them were ladies that had the professionally bred horses and all that crap.  The other was Josie and she was driving Peanut.  Makenna had spent the summer training him so he did great.  Maddi ended up in fifth place but she didn't care.  It was only her second time to drive.  She did a great job and is excited to keep working with Sonyador and getting her ready for next year.

Michael was next up.  He drove a team of drafts in the men's division.  There were four in his class.  He got second.  He drove Bob and Denny. 

I was last up.  I drove in the women's class with two other women.  They have both been driving for years and that was only my second time to drive the team I had.  I have only driven a team maybe four times so it was all new to me.  I got third out of the three.  I drove Prince and William.  I had to drive in the big show wagon.  It is really high up and I was kind of nervous, but it was a lot of fun.  Maybe sometime I will have enough time that I can actually practice driving and learn more.  I really enjoy it. 

If you wonder why there are usually two people on the wagon it is for safety measures, especially when the kids are driving.  If the horses start acting crazy or it looks like there is going to be a wreck, then the person not driving can jump down off the wagon and get up to the horses heads to help get them back under control, or if help is needed with the reins they can help there too.  Like last night, there were several times that help was needed makingsome tight turns in the arena, so the other person (usually a more experienced driver) grabbed the reins to help.  It's good and I always feel more safe when Michael is up there with me.  Over all it was a good night.  We ended the night with a trip to Wendy's for supper (at 10pm).  Then home to our lovely air conditioned house and a nice warm bath!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Tonight I will be showing in the fair.  I'm quite excited except for the fact that it is near 100 degrees outside with high humidity and I will have to wear jeans and boots.  For htose of you who know me, I don't wear socks, let alone boots, between the months of March and November.  It's too hot!  Anyways, along with that I have to wear a long sleeve, button up western type shirt.  Problem is, I don't own one.  Michael has tons but there is a size issue.  His size is small and mine is not.  I can get them on and button them, but when I breath out, the buttons pop!  So, I had to go get one.  Now, I have not bought any article of clothing that costs over $20 in probably the last 10 years.  Having a lot of children and a little bit of income kind of puts a damper on the shopping and spending sprees.  If it costs over $20 I feel guilty and can't bring myself to buy it.  That can be a good thing, unless you're trying to buy a western shirt.  For some reason they don't start pricing those in the $20 range.  Sometimes it doesn't even start until in the $40's.  I have seen some plain looking western shirts for $80!  Who buys those?  Why would you buy those?  Well, last night I went looking, hoping to find a clearance rack.  Unfortunately, at this time of year it's the short sleeved shirts that are on sale.  I needed a long sleeved shirt.  So I sucked in all the air I could hold and bought a shirt at full price for $34.98.  I thought I was going to die!  I felt so guilty!  I would not have had a problem purchasing it for Michael (except for the fact that it was kind of girly looking and buttoned up on the wrong side), but for me?  I don't spend that kind of money on me.  Well, I couldn't find anything cheaper so I got it.  Its really cute.  It's pink, red, brown and white.  I like those colors.
It has cute little diamond snaps with front pockets and three snaps on the cuff.

And it has little embriodered flowers and stuff on it to make it look girly (although those mens shirts can be quite questionable with their feminie qualities).

I brought it home and tried it on for Michael to see.  He thought it looked nice.  It does, but I can't get past the guilt.  He says it's okay.  I'm not sure.  I'm afraid to wear it.  What if it gets dirty or ruined?  I could never replace it.  So my mind goes...Hopefully I will have moved past it a little bit by tonight so I can focus on driving and not on my shirt! 

Streaking Material

This morning I had to take Zeke to the doctor to get a physical for preschool.  Part of the physical is to check his "weenie" as the doctor stated and his backside.  Zeke wasn't too sure of the whole process and I wasn't too sure about the doctor using the word "weenie".  Is that a medical term they learn in school?  Anyways, Zeke was laying on the little table and as he lifted Zeke's legs up to check his bottom, much to my horror, he had an unwiped bum!  "There's some streaking material!"  the doctor said.  I was SO embarrassed!  Zeke sometimes likes to try wiping his bum on his own so he doesn't tell me when he needs  help in the bathroom.  Unfortunately, this morning was one of those times and it wasn't discovered until then.  At the end of the appointment the doctor told me that besides the "stinky butt", another medical term I think, he looked great.  Once again, so embarrassed.  I think it's time to look for a new doctor...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Turn

After hauling kids around to fairs over the last few months, it is now my turn to drive.  I get to drive at the Sioux Empire Fair tomorrow night.  My horses will be Prince and William.  As of right now I have only driven that particular team once.  I will get another chance tomorrow morning as long as Zeke's doctors appointment doesn't last too long.  This morning I couldn't drive because of the rain.  This afternoon I couldn't because I was babysitting.  This evening I couldn't because I needed to take Makenna out for some one on one time.  Anyways, it will be fun.  I enjoyed it last year when I drove a single draft with the cart.  This year will be a little different with the team and wagon, but I like to do it.  Hopefully some one will be able to get pictures so I can post them on here.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Achievement Days

Saturday we had Achievement Days for 4-H.  It was a really hot, busy day but a good one.  We were all at the fair grounds by 8am.  The little kids immediately found some dirt that they could play in with their cars and tractors.  The day started with showmanship.  Makenna showed Peanut, the same horse she used for the other shows. 

Maddi showed Sadler. 

It was the first time for both Maddi and Sadler.  Maddi was nervous and Sadler wasn't sure what was going on.  He didn't do too great, but Maddi did everything right.  When he got out of line (which was often), she turned him around and put him back where he was supposed to be.  Peanut sat there like a champ and did what he knew he was supposed to do.  Maddi got a red ribbon which brought tears to her eyes (in fact she started crying in the arena and Michael had to go out and help her).  Part of the tears came from frustration with Sadler, part came from disappointment.  She settled down quickly though. 

 Makenna got a blue ribbon and Reserve Grand Champion.  She was very excited.  Her prize was a duffle bag.  After that we had a few hours before they had to drive so we waited around in the hot sun drinking water and getting the horses ready to drive.  Maddi drove Sonyador.  She belongs to some friends and has been driving for several years.  Maddi started working with her on Monday so they were still getting to know each other but they did good together.  Maddi got a purple ribbon and Reserve Grand Champion.  She was so excited!  That made up for the red ribbon earlier.  She also got a duffle bag. 

Makenna drove Peanut.  They did awesome too.  Makenna got a purple ribbon and Grand Champion.  Her prize was a camp chair.  She picked a yellow one. 

The other kids from the ranch also did good.  We walked away with ribbons of all colors and several other Reserve Champions and Grand Champions.  It was all done by 2:30 so we loaded up and went to Godfather's Pizza for lunch.  Then home to shower and sit in the air condidtioned house!  That night I got the girls a cake to celebrate their day.

 We are so proud of them and their hard work.  They are proud of themselves too.  Maddi will show again for the county fair on Wednesday and then we will be done until next summer!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wide Awake

Have you ever had one of those nights (or ridiculously early mornings) when you wake up and just lay there? I had one of those tonight (or should I say this morning). At first my mind just slowly wanders around and then it starts racing faster and faster. All these thoughts start running around in my head. Some are welcome and I try to stop and focus on them more. Some are very unwanted and I try to sing a primary song to get rid of them. When that doesn't work I just stick my fingers in my ears and start singing "lalala, I'm not listening! I can't hear you!". Unfortunately Michael doesn't appreciate that approach as it awakens him from a nice sleep and he looks over at me wondering what in the heck I am doing and if he should seek professional help for me! I eventually just have to get out of bed and call it a night. So this morning here I sit in the living room, blogging on my itouch waiting for the sun to come up so the day can officially start (I feel bad making too much noise when it's still dark outside. I also feel guilty eating breakfast when it's still dark outside. I don't want to be on some TV show being the lady who gained 500 lbs because she started eating at 3:00 in the morning, but I AM STARVING!). Anyways, if you have ever had one of these nights/mornings, I am very sorry, but please know you are not alone AND if you are starving too let me know. I wouldn't feel as guilty eating breakfast in the middle of the night if I knew some one else was eating it with me!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Big Few Days

This has been a busy week, but today and tomorrow will especially be busy.  Tomorrow is Achievement day for 4-H.  Makenna will be showing Peanut again in showmanship and driving.  Maddi will be showing Sadler in showmanship and hopefully driving Sonyador.  The little girl who usually drives her wants to drive the big drafts.  We'll see what happens.  I hope Maddi gets to because she has put a lot of time into practicing this week and the other little girl hasn't been to the barn at all since state.  Anyways, this morning the girls practiced while I took the little kids to do errands.  This afternoon we had some friends come over to play and then we headed up to the barn to wash horses.  We also helped load wagons and take them to the fair grounds.  I did a food run for supper.  Then we finished up at the barn and came home to wash ourselves and the kids.  Now it is off to bed and up again by 6am.  It will be a big day tomorrow so hopefully we'll get a good night sleep tonight!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Little Boy is Growing Up

Zeke, my little baby boy, will soon be crossing over to becoming a big school boy.  I thought it might be good to get him into a preschool a few days a week this year.  He has always been kind of a mama's boy and I was worried that when all day, every day kindergarten came around it would be too much for him.  After much searching, many phone calls, and a little bit of paper work, I found a preschool for him about fifteen minutes away in the next school district.  I assumed it was only a couple days a week.  It's four.  He's only four.  I know some of my others have done it, but I'm not sure how I feel sending him off for four days a week.  He's only gone in the mornings, so it's not that he would be too overwhelmed by it all.  I think it just means that he won't be my baby anymore!  Now, I realize in reality Olivia is the baby of the family, but she is very independent.  She is actually the princess of the family not the baby.  A very strong willed, take control kind of princess.  She doesn't need me near as much as Zeke.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not one of those send my kids off to school and sit at home holding their blankies while I cry kind of person.   I actually love school and watching my kids ride away in the school bus.  It's good for them and it's good for me.  With Zeke it has just happened faster than I expected.  I have been through a lot with Zeke.  I have watched him sick and weak in the hospital.  I have tried to calm him when he woke at night with his nightmares.  I have dealt with emotions unknown to most and fears overwhelmingly close to reality.  I love all my children, but Zeke has a different hold on me and while I am glad to see him grow up and develop, it puts me on edge with what the future holds.  Anyways, Zeke is excited to say the least.  I allowed him to sleep with his new school shoes last night. That was always one of our exciting back to school rituals - we slept with our new shoes.  Michael took some of the fun out of it and wouldn't let him wear them, but he put them at the foot of his bed and he and they slept peacefully all night.  It will be an exciting and different year, but I guess every year is!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fun With Cousins

Sunday afternoon my brother Sam and his family stopped by.  They are moving to Denver and we were lucky enough to have them spend a day at our house on their way through.  The kids had a ton of fun playing.  They played on everything we have here to play on!  He has five kids ages 9 to almost one so they got along great with my six kids.  Four of his kids are boys so Maddi and my boys loved that!  Makenna was in heaven because his daughter loves the same kind of girly things that she loves - hair, make up, singing and dancing.  Olivia followed them around part of the time and then spent the other part playing dolls with their 3 year old boy. 

Sam gave me and Maddi a few quick guitar lessons - Thank you Sam, and the girls had a great time singing all the Taylor Swift songs while he played.

I enjoyed visiting with Janiel (and Sam too). We were sad to see them go so soon but we're glad they will liv a little closer to us now. Before they left Monday afternoon we all went to Culvers for lunch. All the kids except the baby sat in one booth. They had a great time and we got several looks and comments about the high number of kids we brought in there! Then we gave hugs and off they went. I'm sure there will be plans in the not too far off future for another get together!