Life in the Country

Taking one day at a time with kids, cattle, and farming!

Just Recovering.....

on Sunday, December 28, 2008

Once again, this year's holidays were a whirlwind!! It seems like you work and work and work and in an instant, it's over. Now it's the "let down" after Christmas, and I frankly don't like it. Although for the first time since we've been out for Christmas break, I've been able to sit down and relax a little bit. I even snuck in an afternoon nap on Friday and Saturday! And it felt really, really good! The kids had a great Christmas. I'm pretty sure they got just about everything on their list. Santa brought them a Wii and some games. They've been busy with that - trying out every game and actually (for the most part) getting along with each other while they've played the games. Jeff thought he threw out his shoulder on Christmas playing Wii Baseball with Blake. Maybe it will help us all get in shape!!! I was proud of myself when I gave Jeff his Christmas present. I have always tried to "surprise" him with something, but he always knows what it is or guesses as he's opening it. It drives me nuts! So this year I wanted to really catch him off guard... and I did! Now, I know, most wives wouldn't dream of buying their husbands what I bought mine, but please consider how very hard Jeff is to buy for. If he wants something, he buys it. He wanted this, too, but for the first time since I've known him, he didn't buy it. Are you wondering what it is??? I just bet you won't guess. In a million years you wouldn't guess an Assault Rifle??!! Well, that's what he got! And he was surprised! Of course he got me just about everything on my list (except for the stuff from Farm King which I couldn't believe he didn't get - he's very practical), and my little personal shopper Brooke did such a good job shopping!!! Jeff got me a really cool HP printer/copier and wants me to be able to print out the pictures that I take. I thought that was a really good idea - that was my "practical" gift. Then I got some pajamas (because Brooke hates my Ryner sweats), slipper socks, my perfume that I love, a new watch, a diamond necklace, and some kickass diamond earrings. He did really good! I was shocked with the jewelry, but he told me why he bought them. He said that he found out this summer how much it meant to me to get some of Mom's jewelry so he thought that if this is something Brooke could have down the road, then it's worth buying it. (Sidenote- Carrie told me to ask to see his ID.... Jeff doesn't usually say such sentimental things...)

I'm just about ready to get started on Weight Watchers. OK, I might not be ready to, but I really NEED to! I've eaten way too much!!! None of my khakis will fit next week when I have to go back to school, which I'm dreading by the way!

My sister Cathi has been sick since Christmas. High fever and just feeling rotten. Say a little prayer for the little Scooter tonight. She needs to feel better. Soon. Tomorrow is Monday and Carrie is coming. We always hang out on Mondays (when I'm not in school!) and we need Cathi to hang out with us. Get better, Sissy!

We get our other show calves on Tuesday. I'm pretty pumped to see what we are getting!

No big plans for New Year's Eve. I think we'll just hang out. Probably play the Wii and go to bed before midnight! My kids are 7 1/2 and 10 and I don't think they've ever rang in the new year at Midnight! I always tell them Happy New Year the next morning! I am just not a night person. Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's and that everyone is recovering nicely from Christmas!!


on Sunday, December 21, 2008

Right now it's -3 degrees with a wind chill of -30. What an inviting winter, huh? Well that's what you get when you live in central Illinois. The 1/2" of ice that we had Thursday night didn't help either! As of last night, Cathi and Roger didn't have power. That makes for an interesting "Flatt Christmas" that we are supposed to have this afternoon. Thank Goodness for generators! Our power did flicker at midnight and went off for just a minute. At that point I think Jeff went down to the couch to be ready in case the power did go out. We have a big generator that he is all ready to use. I know he "wants" to use it but doesn't want to "have" to use it. He even has a cute little John Deere tractor that will run it. Nothing but cute though if we have to run the dumb thing. We've been spared so far so we should be fine.

The holidays are in full swing around here! All of my shopping is done. Well, I do have to take Brooke to get something for Blake. Jeff said he will take the kids one night to get something for me. I give them a very specific list and he is good to follow it. Now that Brooke is older though she thinks of things she wants me to have. For example, last week was the kids' Polar Express Party at school. We were all able to wear pajamas, but Brooke was too embarrassed by my RYNER sweats (see previous blog about that!) and she said that I just had to wear jeans and slippers. Although she's not a big fan of my slippers either. I'm thinking slippers and matching pajamas could be under the tree for me this year. There is one gift under the tree, by the way, with no tag on it. I'm thinking that my wonderful sisters had a little bit to do with that. They are good to drop hints to Jeff. I think they even get the darn gifts and wrap them for him!!! Geesh, how much easier does that get for Jeff???

December 10th was the kids' Christmas program at school. Notice in the picture how grown up they are! Where has the time gone? They are both looking forward to Christmas. Blake is constantly looking under the tree for his presents to just Magically appear under there.

Today is Christmas with my side of the family. Hopefully we'll all be able to "slide" on over to Roger and Cathi's house. Our afternoon is going to be full of appetizers and soups, wearing our slippers, relaxing, opening gifts, and just visiting. I don't think we have all been together, just us as a family, since Dad died. It will be "different" this year, for a lack of a better word. And to think that even "Bo" (Dad's black lab) won't be with us either..... that's hard in itself as well. He was Dad's right hand man, his best friend, and though it might sound corny, he was a little bit of Dad that we had left. Bo was hit by a train on Thursday while out running around with Harley (Chase's yellow lab). The guys found him and said that is was a suffer-free death which made me feel better. Poor Bo. But just imagine how happy he was to see Dad and Mom up there in Heaven. I'm sure he was greeted with a sausage link and a bowl ice cream, maybe even a ribeye! They are all three together now, and since Bo was part-human, they are a little family again.

I better get my 50 mini-cheeseburgers finished up and put in the crockpot for today. We love to all be together, but love to all EAT even more!!!

Enjoy your cold Sunday...

Snow Day #1

on Monday, December 8, 2008

Well, I kind of cursed myself last night when I was wishing for a snow day today. I don't know why I wanted one so bad. I got several things done this weekend that I had been wanting to. My wish came true, although we were about to get teeth brushed and shoes on when I found out we didn't have school! Thank goodness Cathi called or we probably would have gone to school. They called it off late because of icy roads. I guess they sent the buses out but called them back to the bus barn due to icy roads and many accidents. I really didn't complain too much. How could I when the kids were screaming and jumping up and down. Of course none of us will be excited when we are still in school in mid-June!!

I'm wondering if there has ever been a day when teachers got to stay home but could send their own personal children to school. This is why:
Blake talks nonstop. He asks questions nonstop. He wants to be outside nonstop. He is the definition of nonstop. When we drove by the school this afternoon, one of the 3rd grade teachers was there and I told Blake maybe I could drop him off to her and they could have some private learning time. He was less than amused.

This weekend I got several things accomplished - cleaned out my closet and bagged up some of my clothes for Goodwill, cleaned out Blake's dresser and closet (you couldn't see the floor - I was afraid of what I would find in there but it turned out AOK), cleaned out Brooke's 2 dressers and her closets, bagged up her clothes that didn't fit anymore (yes, I had 4 bags to give to a single Mom that Wanda works with), delivered clothes to Goodwill, took a bunch of trash down to the dumpster at the shop, cleaned out the vanity in the upstairs bathroom, and even threw out some outdated food in my cupboard. Today I steamed Brooke's carpet, got my Christmas cards finished up and in the mailbox, cleaned out the freezer in the kitchen (Jeff was yelling "heeelllllooooo" into it when he first opened the door, he claimed he had never seen the back wall of the freezer!), and even bought our first show steer. Yes , you read right - I bought our first show steer..... since the devastating selling of the festival calves on September 6, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. Yes I remember all of the details and all of the tears that were shed on that day and for days after. Like last week when we got a flyer in the paper with the kids pictures of them with their steers. It still hurts. It still hurts bad. But..... they are now replaced... with a 760 pound, big hunk of a steer that is now residing in my barn. He's an Angus-Shorthorn crossbred who is sired by the bull Heatwave ( yes, that means nothing to you, but it does to me!) Oh, don't worry, there will be pictures. Maybe quite a few. He is so cute right now. All black with long, thick, wavy hair. Just picture him..... just picture how I will be blogging about selling him next fall. Of course John (My right hand man of a father-in-law who helps me so much during show season.... we have so much fun) and I think he's darn-near perfect!!! He will have a stall mate in about 6 weeks when we get our other festival calves. He's kind of lonely right now.

December is proving to be another busy month. We've got lots to do in the couple weeks left of school - a Christmas program, a 2nd grade play, making gingerbread houses with Brooke's class, Classroom Christmas parties, and a few meetings that I have to go to between now and the 19th. Of course there's always the things outside of school, too - like finishing up shopping, making cookies for a cookie exchange, putting together cookie/treat trays for the farm landlords, wrapping all of the gifts and making sure everything is even and fair, and maybe even having some down time to enjoy the holidays! Is that asking too much!!!

Well it's off to bed now so we can get ready for school tomorrow. I don't think I want another snow day...... if so, I will be calling each and every one of you to see if Blake could come to visit. I love every little piece of him and every word uttered out of his mouth, but sometimes Mom needs a damn break!!!!!!!!!! Good night.

Cheetah... Cheetah... Cheetalicious!

on Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday was the big Cheetah Girls concert! If you haven't been to a concert with 20,000 screaming girls ranging in age from 6-13, you need to!! It really was a good concert, they are very talented and entertaining girls. There was never a lag in the concert. They had a group of 8 guys that danced when the girls were changing or whatnot. Cathi, Rachel, Brooke, and I all had a good time! Blake stayed "with the guys". He's kind of into "staying with the guys". Blake and Luke rode the snowmobile for most of the day, then Blake and Jeff hung out until we got home. He was down at the shop all day today, too. I have a feeling that he is going to be wanting to hang out with them on the weekends this winter. Brooke helped decorate the 4H Christmas tree today that will be on display next weekend during the Alexis Christmas Walk. She was actually the only one that helped. I told her she should receive some special high 4H honor!!!

By the way, Blake just informed me that he is going to start "being like Dad". He told me that he is only going to take showers (no baths), wear deodorant, go to bed in his own bed at night (instead of laying down with his mama), sleep only in his underwear ( he will freeze b/c his bedroom is cold), and is going to cut down on sugar (yea right) and drink more water (yea right again). He did tell me that there is one thing he's not going to do yet - drink beer. That's giving me the indication that he is going to drink beer... someday... I guess I've been forewarned!

The Diagnosis.... X 2!

on Sunday, November 30, 2008

Well I broke down and took the kids to the clinic this morning. I hesitated, but then I thought maybe they should be seen in case there is something wrong. I'd hate for it to get worse in the next 24 hours.

Brooke - is 4'10!!!! Yes, that's 4 inches shorter than me!!! She has an upper respiratory infection. Lungs sounded a little raspy but he said the majority of her problem is all of the head/nose congestion. She is on an antibiotic. Feels better than last night, but still is very stuffy!

Blake - is 4'4!! Less than a foot shorter than me - 10 inches to be exact. The nurse pretty much had me convinced that he had chicken pox. But the doctor thought different.... he said it's a bad case of impetigo (Highly contagious staff infection). He said that Blake needs to "lay low" for the next couple days and not go to school. He said that since it's spread so much in the last 24-48 hours, it's in a very contagious stage. I haven't told Blake yet that he can't go to school. He will probably get to hang out with Aunt Cathi and Aunt Carrie and maybe Jeff for a while tomorrow. I'd hate for him to infect all of his classmates. He's on an oral antibiotic and a topical ointment. Hopefully he will dry up and look lots better. If he will let me, I'll try to snap a picture when he gets home from "working on sleds" with his Dad.

There ya go, diagnoses in and treatment started..... I'll keep you updated!
PS Brooke said that there's no way Blake is going to have a girl friend with that crap all over his face! Hopefully he won't still have it when he's 15!

Weekend Update...

Hello from a snowy Alexis! We woke up to beautiful, big, white flakes of snow falling from the sky. We are even under a Winter Weather Advisory until tomorrow morning..... could it be that we could have our first snow day tomorrow??? Oh, I'm sure not, but it is wishful thinking. It could prevent me from taking a sick day... more later.

Blake made it home safe from his little weekend getaway with Dad. He had a really good time. The guys said that he talked a lot.... duh? Welcome to my world! He came home with a hat, coat, and a coat for Brooke, and he even got a sweatshirt for me! Early Christmas gifts I guess.

Speaking of Christmas, I am so happy with the amount of shopping I have done already. It kind of freaks me out actually. I'm usually finding a babysitter on the 23rd so I can get out and finish, then I come home and wrap gifts and try to hide them somewhere in the house. Not this year though, I still have a little bit to finish for a couple people and have to pick up a couple more things for the kids, but I should be able to get finished in a day. Now it's just finding "that day" to do it. Things are going to start getting pretty hectic between home and school. I have three meetings this week so I'll be glad when this week is over! I really wish I would have picked up some wrapping paper while I was out and about so I could start wrapping family gifts. This is a perfect day for that!

Speaking of snow, Brooke and Blake are playing Uno to pass the time until Jeff comes back to get Blake. He is wanting to go down to the shop to work on snowmobiles with the guys. Around here, when the first flake falls, the guys head to the shop and get their sleds ready for riding season. And Blake is just sure that he is going to get some riding in. Not quite enough snow- yet - but you never know - maybe by afternoon.

Now, speaking of "sick day", Brooke came home from Carrie's not feeling well. She had a sore throat Friday night. In fact, she just sat by me on the couch at Sam and Lilly's birthday party. That is not like her at all. She was absolutely exhausted, too. Needless to say, neither of us slept too good that night. It figures. Yesterday I offered the whole "Christmas shopping" idea, but she wanted to stay home. That didn't surprise me really, she is kind of a homebody. The kids had a babysitter last night while we went to a friend's 50th birthday party. We had just gotten to the party when Brooke called me. She was crying and said she didn't feel good. Kevin brought me home and Jeff stayed at the party for a while longer. When I got home, she was laying on the couch with red cheeks. According to the babysitter, that's what she had done all evening. She woke up this morning with a cough that started at her toes. Blake is the one that came in our room and said that Brooke was sick because she was coughing so bad. She has been coughing quite a bit this morning. She's congested in her head and chest, and when she sneezes it sounds like it would hurt sooooo bad. Now... to Blake.... last week he woke up with a little blister on his left nostril. It was teeny tiny, but he picked at it and it spread into a pretty big area on his nostril. Then he woke up with a spot above his top lip. It is pretty big now, but it has crusted over. Then it moved to the side of his mouth. Last night he had a spot on the side of his nose and now he has one down by his jaw. I am really frustrated with the way that it is spreading. I don't think it's chicken pox. He said that they hurt, but they don't itch. I am wondering if he is allergic to this little kitty we now have. I just don't know, it's only on his face. Isn't that nice? Christmas program in a week! Yikes! Glad I already took their Christmas picture. The poor guy. So that's where the "sick day" comes in..... I want them to see our regular pediatrician for all of this. I don't want to go to the Clinic and see just any doctor on call. I am wanting to wait until tomorrow I think.

Now back to this snow that is falling from the sky, Blake was outside playing in it at 7:30 and Brooke is wanting to go out for a little bit. I guess maybe the cold air will open up her airways? I told her she could go out for a little bit, I know she won't be out there for very long.

Your job today is to pray that this snow really starts falling and the winds pick up and drift the roads enough to have a snow day. Wouldn't that be cool??? Yes, it would, then I could take my kids to the doctor without having to call in to school for a sick day. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Girls Day Out

on Friday, November 28, 2008

Brooke and Rachel spent the night with Auntie Carrie last night. Last year when they stayed, they made tye-dyed shirts. Blake stayed with them last year, but obviously he didn't this year since he's up North with the guys. This year their project was making blankets. They went to Walmart this morning and got to pick out the material that they wanted. They were even nice enough to make one for Blake - even camouflage. They turned out cute. Aunt Carrie even bought her and the girls new tye-dyed hoodies to wear today. They looked great! Brooke had so much fun, but she is soooooo exhausted!!!

Cathi, Kathy, and I got lots and lots and lots of Christmas shopping today. I am just about done and am so excited about it!! Lots of good deals, especially on clothes - 20% off, 25% off, 30% off, buy one get one half off, and buy one get one free - saved lots of money! Mission accomplished....

Headed out....

I was a bit nervous heading into Blake's bedroom this morning at 4:30 to wake him up to head off to Michigan. (I was up at 3:45 mind you to get ready to go shopping for Black Friday deals!) But, he was ready to get up! He did get a little upset when he came into the bathroom. He cried and said that he would miss me and I would miss him. I told him that he didn't have to go, that he could stay with me, but he said that he wanted to go with his Dad and the guys. The tears didn't last long, and he was up and dressed in no time. Teeth brushed. Hair combed. Deodorant on. Snack and 7UP in hand. Uncle Kevin was supposed to be here at 5:00 a.m. At 5:06, Blake was ranting and raving about him being late!!!! Blake wouldn't let me leave until he did so I hung around until 5:15 until they left. He was sure excited. Of course, why wouldn't he be? Uncle Kevin told him that they would buy him something at every dealership they stopped at!!!!


on Saturday, November 22, 2008

I wrote that in caps because that is how Blake says it - with so much excitement, and he stretches it out to Mi-chi-gan! Jeff goes snowmobiling every year, usually at least 3 times. The last couple years, they guys have taken off on the Friday after Thanksgiving to just go "look" at snowmobiles & stuff. Blake has always wanted to go, but when I have to tell him that "Yes, it is farther than North Henderson (6 miles away)", he always changes his mind and doesn't want to go with them.

Last night, Kevin asked Blake if he wanted to go and he couldn't contain himself before he said yes! He was/is soooooooo excited! I have explained and explained to him that he isn't going riding, just stopping at probably 50 dealerships to look at stuff. He says he still wants to go, after my "kind of trying to convince him not to go because I think he's too young and won't like to ride that far" talk.

It was absolutely hilarious to hear him talking about it with Kevin. Here are a just a few excerpts from the conversation:

Kevin: "Make sure you bring lots of Mountain Dew and skittles. We want you to be really excited about going."
Blake: "Mom, can we go to Target and get Mountain dew?"

Blake: I will bring us some extra socks, Uncle Kevin, because we might get snow in our boots and then our socks will get wet so we will need some dry ones.

Blake: Make sure we stay in a cabin with no cracks in the walls because I want to be able to sleep in my shorts.

Blake: Make sure there's a pool table and putt putt place in our hotel...or in our cabin....oh, and I hope there's a pool, too. "

Blake: When I get home I'm gonna pack. I am gonna bring 2 bookbags. One with my clothes and one with my toys. Mom, can we go now so I can go pack?

Kevin: We're gonna stop at lots of dealers and we'll get you something at every one.

I hope he remembers that he said that when Blake is asking for something at every dealership. He already thinks he is getting a new coat, boots, bibs, hat, and gloves.... Brother!

They are leaving at 4:30 am on Friday and will return on Saturday - late afternoon/early evening. Blake is sooo excited and wants me to tell everyone that I see that he is in a "different state - Mi-Chi-Gan!!!!" This oughta be interesting.....

A Busy Week

It's sure a sign that the holidays are approaching quickly when your weekly calendar fills up to the brim. I can't say that this week is as busy as weekends I've had in the past, but knowing that Thanksgiving is Thursday just makes it seem busy. The kids are excited that there is only 2 3/4 days of school this week. Blake, especially, because he has some fun things going on at school. His reading group is performing a play on Monday and Wednesday. Parents are invited on Wednesday so that oughta be fun to watch. Plus, he gets to be in the Turkey Bowl this year. This is something that they have done for the past 4 years in PE class. Wednesday will be set aside for turkey bowling all day. The kids and their classes will go to the gym throughout the day to watch their classmates "bowl" with frozen turkeys and plastic bowling pins. There are 6 kids out of each classroom and Blake was chosen this year. Brooke actually did it last year and she loved it! So Blake is sure looking forward to it this year. More to follow on another exciting thing for Blake....

I need to make a list of everything we need to get done this week.
Monday - no plans
Tuesday - Brooke and I get haircuts after school. She is still growing her bangs out and it's going to be the death of me! Then we will stop at the grocery store to get what I need to fix the Thanksgiving dishes. I am making fresh green beans, deviled eggs, and pies (pumpkin, apple, banana cream, peanut butter cream, and coconut cream. I find it just as easy to make 4 or 5 pies as 1. I will need to remind myself of that on Thursday morning.
Wednesday - Early out at school. Thank goodness! We will come home to boil eggs for deviled eggs, clean green beans, make pie crust, and make "generic" pie filling. Planning on Brooke making the pumpkin pie and I will make an apple pie.
Thursday - Up early to put green beans on (it will probably take about 20 pounds for all of us!), put deviled eggs together, and put the pies together. Everything should be make ahead of time so it shouldn't take too awful long to whip up the meringue (which hopefully turns out) and get the pies in the oven to brown. My family isn't too concerned with the way my pies "look", they only care about the "taste" and most of the time they taste way better than they look. I fight that meringue every darn year. You would think I'd give up, but I want to know how to make a beautiful tall meringue. I actually think a 12 egg meringue is the best, but Helloooooo... that would be like 3 dozen eggs ,.....only for meringue.... maybe I do need my own Banny hens out in the chicken house. No, no, don't go there. Gross. Little peckers. Ok, then off to Kevin & Kathy's about noon, may have to pull a trailer to carry all of my pies! (Grandma, I'm trying to replicate you, I know, it's not working) At the end of the day, Brooke will go home with Aunt Carrie & Uncle Larry (actually hasn't been officially invited but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that is still the plan). Blake won't go this year, just Brooke & Rachel, but he has bigger plans... more later. We will stop by the Ryner Thanksgiving late afternoon/early evening. Then it's time to go home and go to bed early to get ready for Friday!!
Friday - Up at the crack of dawn to go shopping. I think last year I was at Cathi's before 6:00 a.m. Blake will be getting up at that time too. More later. Brooke will be at Aunt Carrie's. We will shop until we drop. We have to get those early bargains! I have yet to figure out how I am going to get Brooke from Carrie when we are going to be in the Cities shopping, but that will work out somehow. Friday night we have Sam & Lilly's birthday party at 6 p.m. at their house. Last year we didn't get home until 10:00 p.m. from shopping so it will have to be cut short this year. Brooke is spending the night with Lilly that night.
Saturday - Hopefully I'll be able to sleep in a tad. I'm just sure I'll be exhausted. The only ones here should be me and Sophie. Fun. Fun. Not. Blake and Jeff should get home late afternoon. They have to be home for Brad's 50th birthday party. It starts at 7:30 and should be a good time! Babysitter that night. Not sure who!
Sunday - Recooperate! Brooke has a birthday party to go to that afternoon. Get ready for Monday and it's back to school!

Man, that doesn't seem like much of a "Thanksgiving break", does it? That made me tired just typing it!!! So this is why I'm getting my Christmas decor put up this weekend. If I don't, it might not get up! The kids will help decorate the tree. They love doing that & it's a big help to me! Hopefully we will get it all done!

Getting Started.....

on Sunday, November 16, 2008

It seems that Christmas is in the air all over the place! I saw my first Christmas commercial on tv on November 1st. It seems that it gets started earlier and earlier every year. I have actually started a couple things myself. Christmas cards are ordered via Shutterfly. This is for sure the earliest I've ever ordered cards. Usually I am the one that is mailing them out on Dec. 23rd hoping for a Dec. 26th delivery to family and friends. I actually might be able to get them out a bit earlier this year. But, if you know me at all, you know that just because I have something "in hand" doesn't mean it will get done! But I am shooting for that goal! Last night I even did a little bit of Christmas shopping. Brooke was at a sleepover and Blake had a friend over at our house so I left all the boys home and headed to town myself. That doesn't happen very often so I thought I better take advantage of the opportunity to go somewhere by myself. I wouldn't say that I have a great start at things, but at least I do have a couple things bought.

As far as Thanksgiving, I already know what I'm taking to Kevin and Kathy's. I decided that I better "practice" today by making a peanut butter cream pie. The last few meringues that I've made have weeped and ended up being about 1/2" thick. This one did weep a little bit, but not as bad as usual. It wasn't too thick, but I think doubling the recipe would help that tremendously. I am planning on taking 3 cream pies (banana, coconut, and peanut butter) but we'll have to see how it all goes. I need to talk to someone who is really good at making meringue and see if they can give me some advice as to how to help my pie problem. (By the way, as I'm typing about pies, I'm watching Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on CMT and a girl is being sent home because her body fat is 22% - maybe she'll feel better if she comes over for a piece of pie!)

I am planning on getting my Christmas stuff up next weekend. The weekend after Thanksgiving will be way too busy with more shopping and birthday parties. You better get shopping, too!

Dirty Dancing

on Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well, today Cathi had a well-deserved day off in which she traveled to Chicago with some girl friends to see the production of "Dirty Dancing" at the Cadillac Theater. Roger brought Rachel to our house at 6:45 a.m. so she could go to school with us, then she came home with us after school until Roger got off of work. I think the kids (and Rachel) would be just fine with her coming to our house before school every day. First of all, they were up and ready about 1/2 hour earlier than they have been all year. Secondly, they were done with breakfast and brushing their teeth by 7:30, where I'm usually yelling at them to get done at 7:47 so we can leave at 7:48! It's usually quite a stressful time. Thirdly, they played before school and had a lot of fun together. Unusual, too. Lastly, we were at school at 7:40 am. In fact, a couple people asked me what I was doing there so early.... we're usually walking in as the 8:00 bell rings. All of our students gather in the gym before school and sit with their classes. The kids headed to the gym, but then came back to my room saying "WE are the only ones in there!"

I held off on texting Cathi all day. I always talk to her during my travels to the high school everyday. Today I didn't have anyone to talk to!! I wanted to call her to see where they were eating at, but I didn't. I held back.... until about 5:30 tonight. I texted her. I had to. I wanted to know what she thought. Her exact words in her reply text were "OMG! I am going to lose weight and start dancing. It was awesome!"

Lucky her. Why can't they tell me about these get-aways before the day before the trip. Hint, maybe there's a reason why they didn't tell me...... sniff...sniff....

Pain in the *&@#!!!!

Yes, this is my plant.... with Drake in it... yes, it's dead.... I had to get rid of it tonight. I don't know much about cats , and I sure don't understand why they like plants so much. He knocks it over, plants with the leaves, and then plays with the dirt. What is fun about that? I mean seriously.

Our newest addition....

on Sunday, November 9, 2008

Meet Drake. He's a little tom kitty that Brooke and Blake found in the barn at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I thought I had the kids convinced to leave him in Grandma and Grandpa's basement, but Blake asked his dad if we could take him home. Jeff didn't feel the burning of my piercing eyes through the back of his head and said "yeah, he can stay in the basement until he's old enough to go outside". Could he honestly not feel me staring at him with my "you better not say yes" eyes. As much as I really am not a cat-lover, he sure is cute. Well I thought he was a lot cuter until he got into my plants. Now I have a half-dead plant. (it was really half dead before but now I can blame it on someone other than myself!) Drake likes to play with Sophie, but I have to tell Sophie to be more gently. She plays with him, then turns around to me with a cat-hair mustache. She tends to get a little rough and bite him, but he has quickly learned to hold his own

Yummy! Yummy!

I absolutely, positively LOVE caramel apples. I'm a frequent visitor of any story that sells homemade caramel apples, especially Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory around the holidays. I think they are such a great treat. I have always wanted to make my own, but haven't been able to find a recipe that I really like. I like the caramel to stay soft and chewy, not get hard as a rock! Well, I think I found the right recipe, and I am so excited! I used Blake as my "taste tester" since he has such a sweet tooth. He thought they were really good, too! Brooke was even able to eat some of an apple with her braces on. Soft, chewy, melting in your mouth...... We are taking them to a weiner roast this afternoon, and I'm anxious to see if anyone else thinks they're any good!

In case you want the recipe, here it is!!!

Homemade Caramel Apples
1 c. real butter (not margarine)
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. karo syrup
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
2 t. vanilla
12 apples
wooden sticks

Clean apples. Insert a stick into each one. Set aside. In a heavy sauce pan, melt butter, brown sugar, syrup, and milk together. Bring to a boil over low to medium heat. Do not heat too quickly. Stir constantly, 25-30 minutes. Boil together until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Coat each apple with caramel. Set caramel apples on buttered wax paper to cool.

*Thanks, Tricia, for the post about this recipe!

Always something....

on Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why can't we have a normal week around here??!! The kids have been sick off and on for the past few weeks, and now.... yes, I have it. I am sooo congested. When I talk, I feel like I'm talking from a 6 foot deep hole. Everything echoes. Nothing has any taste(unfortunatley that doesn't stop me from eating). All I do is blow my nose. I went to bed last night with vicks on the bottom of my feet, on my chest, under my nose (which was absolutely burning because my skin was so chapped - now I know how Blake felt last week), and even had a diffuser by my bed that was spitting out some menthol stuff. You would think I would be clear as a bell today... but I'm NOT! Jeff couldn't figure out what the smell was in the bedroom last night. Hmmm, I couldn't smell anything! Today is better but I am still stuffed up. One more question - how is it possible that your nose can run if it's so darn stuffed up?

Ok, Last One

on Sunday, November 2, 2008

I like this picture, too, of the kids with Pepper. She didn't really want to cooperate either.

I LUV this one, too!

Gettin' Some Air!

Blake's favorite, favorite trick. He absolutely, positively loves to jump the north driveway. Aunt Cathi caught him in action!

I ^Heart^ Them!

Are they the cutest ever or what? I absolutely love this picture. I think it's the red background. Taken at Aunt Cathi's by Aunt Cathi.

Cathi came out with her new camera today and practiced her photography skills on the kids! I'm sure that Brooke and Blake were by far her toughest subjects! They didn't really want to cooperate!

Quite a Crew!

I took Brooke, Blake, and Rachel trick or treating. We had so much fun... and they got soooo much candy! We started by going to a few family/friend's houses and then went into Alexis for 2 hours. Brooke was a nurse and looked so natural at it. Rachel was a funny old woman, and Blake was a scary werewolf! It was such a fun night. I think it's more fun now that they are older!

Brooke the Baker

Brooke has been really into making pumpkin pies. I think she has made between 6 and 8 this fall! She's to the point that she does all the work herself. She made 2 for Jeff's birthday, (he loves pumpkin pie) and he said that they were great! Maybe she'll start making supper!

Carving Pumpkins

Better late than never!!! We finally carved pumpkins.... just 2 nights before Halloween. The kids did all the work themselves this year!

I Lost It.....

on Monday, October 27, 2008

sniff, sniff, sniff.... Yep, I lost it.... I officially lost "Mother of the Year" - again! I keep losing it, then I earn it back, now I've lost it again. Let me give you just a little recap of where our day went bad, then horrible.....

1. Woke Blake up at 6:50 - after he slept continually for over 12 hours! He complained of not feeling good. I told him he'd be better once he ate. He was really stuffy and I had heard him coughing in the night. Tried to get him to get up and around and told him I'd call the doctor for a late afternoon appointment (figuring he had pneumonia - more on that later).

2. In the meantime, Brooke was getting very mad because the black "comfy" pants that I got her yesterday are way too long and I won't let her wear them.

3. I'm continuing to yell at Blake to get up out of bed. He's still complaining and now getting teary. By this time, it's after 7 a.m. so I tell him I can't call for a sub. He's even more mad. Brooke is getting madder because she doesn't know what to wear to school.

4. I try calling Carrie (who didn't have her phone up loud enough!) to see if she could sit with Blake while I took Brooke to school and got my lesson plans there. No answer. Blake is stuck going to school with me. He's pissed. So now it's 7:30 and I call my principal to tell him to get me a sub, apologizing for the late notice.

5. Brooke and Blake continue to get ready for school. Blake is blowing his nose 100 times. Brooke just looked mad at the world.

6. 7:55 am - walking out the door and my principal called to tell me I have a parent waiting to see me. I have 5 minutes to get to school.

7. Parent waiting for me in the office. Brooke starts complaining of a sore throat and starts crying. I quietly yell at her about complaining all the time and try to get her to join her class. Basically pushed her down the hallway as I walked into the office. Blake is waiting for me in the car, didn't think my meeting would take but a minute. I left it running and is watching a movie. Yep, Brooke still crying.

8. 8:20 - tell my parent that my son is in the car so I go check on him. He's content. Brooke is now in the office - red eyed, teary, complaining of not feeling good.

9. 8:40 - Excuse myself from the meeting telling them that Blake is still in the car. Notice that there is no sub in my room. Nice. Won't even tell you what I said about that.

10. Take off from school with both kids. Cathi had called me a few times so I called her back. She said that she and Carrie would meet me to get the kids so I could go back to school. Off to meet them going about 75 mph. Nice. Good thing there weren't any cops.

11. Back to school to take care of everyone else's kids and not mine. Feel really guilty about that, but I know that being with Aunt Carrie and Aunt Cathi is really better than being with me. Make a doctor's appt. for the kids for 1:30 so I only have to take the afternoon off. No high school today, but I got that covered.

12. Finish my morning and leave at noon to get the kids and get them to the doctor.

The saga continues.....

So, by now, I've pretty much figured out that I've for sure lost "Mother of the Year". Brooke is pretty much so mad at me that she won't talk to me. That makes me feel good. I just get so worked up in the "heat of the moment" that I can't think straight. Then I end of yelling at my kids, accusing them of basically "faking" sick. Then I threaten them with having Dr. P do every test known to man-kind to get this "sickness" figured out for once and for all. No wonder I have gray hair, am overweight, and get headaches. What the heck????

So now we are off to the doctor. I've pretty much got the kids scared to death that they are going to undergo minor surgery to get them checked out......

Dr. comes in the room and checks out Brooke first. Basic conversation:

Dr. : "Does she complain of her ears hurting?"

Mom: "No, she's never said that. Just says that her throat hurts and her stomach is always upset."

Dr.: "She has a very bad.... horrible ear infection in her right ear."

Mom: ( I didn't say anything at this point, thinking I'm the suckiest and bitchiest mom alive)

Dr. : "When they are this age and they get an earache, a lot of times they don't complain of ear pain, they just feel rotten."

Mom: "Yep, she does."

Dr: "She has a right not to feel good."

I'm sinking in my chair at this point. Next is Blake.

Dr: "Blake the Great has bronchitis. No pneumonia... yet. I need to see them back in a week."

Do I need to say more? That's how our Monday went. Hell, tomorrow has to better, doesn't it???

Kids & their social lives!!

on Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brooke is 10, Blake is 7 1/2, and they have more going on in one weekend than I would ever think of! It all started Friday night when a group of 17 of us went to the opening show of High School Musical 3. The show was sold out but we managed to all sit within 2 rows of each other. It was a lot of fun. Of course the majority of the group was 9-10 year old girls, but there were 3 little brothers that were there, too - including Blake. It was actually a ton of fun! The movie was a cross between Grease, Footloose, Flashdance, and of course things related to HSM!

Saturday - Blake had a flag football game at noon. They lost.... again. They sure have a lot of fun playing and that's what's important. After that, both of the kids had a skating birthday party for girls (sisters) in their classes. It was from 1:30-3:30. Brooke took off after that party to go to another one - a sleepover for her friend Shaniah at Fun City in Burlington! Can't imagine what all went on there! Blake and I went to Galesburg and finally found his Halloween costume. It's only a week away you know! Tried to get Blake in bed early last night so he'd be ready for today, but that didn't happen.

Today - Blake was up at 6:30 and on the road at 7:30 with his friend Jonah (and his family) to Geneseo to the last 4 wheeler race of the season. I wasn't able to go since I had to fix lunch for Jeff and wait for Brooke to get home. He got 5th (out of 5!), but again he will tell you that it's all about having fun. They all get trophies, and that's all that seems to matter to him. He doesn't care what place he gets! Fine with me! He got home a little after 4:00. Kind of a cold, blustery day to be outside all day. I guess it was even sleeting during the race. Kind of glad I wasn't there! (Don't tell him though....) I picked up Brooke about 1:00 this afternoon from Cathi's. She sure had fun, but sure is tired! She's been asleep for about 20 minutes , since about 8:10. That's really early for her. I told her she might want to go to sleep, within 3 minutes she was out!

By the way, Blake has been asleep since 6:15 tonight. Slept through supper. Must have had a hard day! Good thing he had an early bath. This means he'll probably be up around 5 in the morning!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, one more thing - for those of you wondering.... Christmas is 59 days away!!!!!!

We Didn't Lose Rachel!!!

on Thursday, October 23, 2008

For those of you who read the comments on my blog last night, disregard some of what my lovely sister said!! Cathi, we did NOT lose Rachel in Target. As I recall, Jeff and the girls were in the toy section. Jeff wandered over to the next aisle, and as the girls looked around, Jeff wasn't there. Did they freak?? YES! They did! I could hear screaming kids from across the store and thought to myself "Oh, some poor, poor children got separated from their parents!" But, no, as I looked up, I saw Brooke and Rachel running, no sprinting rather, across the Target store!!! I believer Rachel was screaming "Aunt Chrissi, Uncle Jeff lost us!!!!!!!!" Then there was Jeff, trailing about 15 steps behind them with a really weird look on his face!! Yeah, we didn't "lose" her!!!

On a lighter note, the kids got picked up from After School safe and sound tonight by Grandma Wanda!! Brooke insisted I call her after school to remind her so I sent her a quick text!! Everyone got where they needed to be!!


on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not much going on here at the Ryners, but it doesn't seem like we've really had any "free time". I'm wondering how Blake will sleep tonight. I don't know how many more times the kid can blow his nose! He's all congested, yet his nose runs nonstop. He sneezes, blows his nose, coughs, blows his nose, complains of a sore throat, blows again, complains of a headache, and blows again. I put some Vicks under his nose and you would have thought I used gasoline. He started screaming at the top of his lungs!! I guess Vicks burns if you put it on chapped skin. Oops, there goes Mom of the Year... again. Speaking of that... real quick... their Grandma lost Grandma of the Year tonight when she forgot to pick them up from the After School Program. I had class and got to them at 5:59 p.m.! They were okay. I figured Brooke had cried in fear she'd have to be there the rest of her life, but she hadn't. (Sorry, Wanda, I couldn't help but mention it! They forgive you, just don't forget them tomorrow night!)

Jeff is busy in the field so I really feel like a single mom, but I don't think single moms have a large man slip into their bed everynight between 10:30 and midnight, starting to snore before his head hits the darn pillow! Ok, maybe some single moms do, I don't know! I think he falls asleep taking a shower. The other night I heard a god-awful noise as he was getting out, I thought he was falling through the wall or floor! That's the night I think he was snoring before he even laid down in bed. He's been in a relatively good mood through all of harvest. Today he did have some break downs and he's not home yet so I'm not sure how he'll be when he gets here. But considering that we really don't talk, I probably won't even know. He's in bed way after me and up way before me and out the door.

I came upon yet another blog! I was so excited to see that one of my friends from college is a newly found blogger friend! Check her out here. She's a teacher and has 3 kids and has the same chaotic life as all of us! That is one more blog that I have to check on a nightly basis!!

We have a very busy next few days - mentoring class, premiere of High School Musical 3 at the movie theater, a flag football game, open house, a skating birthday party, an overnight bday party at Fun City for Brooke, a weiner roast, a 4 wheeler race we are probably going to have to skip, and a hunt for Halloween costumes! Then, it will be Monday again. Ugghhh!

I know, I know, I haven't posted any pics lately, but I'm too cold to go out to take some of my favorite patio! Until next time...

My 2 FAVORITES are back!!!

on Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's quite chilly today.... 55, breezy, and a cold rain is falling from the sky. So what did I do when I got home after school? I went right up to my room, got out my favorite little step ladder, put it in my closet, and pulled out my favorite.... my very favorite.... my so worn-out they are conformed only to my body favorite... gray sweats. Yes, they are officially 20 years old now. Jeff's mom made them for him when we were in 8th grade (circa 1988). They are the most beautiful shade of gray, with black block capital letters going down the left leg that spell RYNER. Ahhh, are you picturing them in your head yet??? (Mindy, I bet Aaron knows what ones I'm talking about!) I'm not so sure how I ended up with them. I think his mom handed them over to me one day shortly after we were married... ya know, when the m-i-l gives you all of your husband's stuff that she doesn't want anymore.... and you don't want either... prom glasses, sports articles (ok, those are kinda cool now that we are old), baseball cars (like millions of them in 3 ring binders!).... you all know what I'm talking about. Well, I think these phenomenal gray pants were in there, too. Jeff just about choked tonight when he saw me in them for the first time this season. I know he was thinking that his wife is just crazy-hot (term coined by fav fellow blogger Karen) sitting on the bar stool in these crazy-hot sweats with her gray sweatshirt that she got on her honeymoon 12 years ago... that spells ASPEN across the chest! Well, you can really only see "SPE". Sad but true. I really think Jeff was a little choked up!

Now... on to my next favorite thing... I'm going downstairs to drink a cup of HOT apple cider (favorite thing #2) in my gray RYNER sweats (favorite thing #1)!!!! I know you're all crazy-jealous!

Still Here!!!

We're still alive and kickin'! Thought maybe we wouldn't be after the last week or so, but we have survived! The kids are much better. They felt better last Thursday (after they went to the doctor on Wed. and she said they had to stay home due to strep - why did she have to say that in front of them? I didn't have a chance of taking them back to school!) and have definitely made up for their "down time"!

Just to catch you up on our goings-on!
1. Jeff has been busy in the field. Things are going really well (knock on wood!) and yields are really good, too. We have taken a few meals to them. Brooke has rode in the tractor/auger wagon, Blake and me in the combine, and Blake has even made a couple trips to the river in the semi with Grandpa. It rained today, so Jeff did have a break, but he thought he'd be able to get back into the corn tomorrow afternoon.

2. I guess I had a touch of strep, too. Monday was the worst day for me. I was glad we didn't have school. Carrie, Cathi, and I went down to Kevin and Kathy's to help decorate the inside of the house and to help put things away. I don't know why I went, I didn't help. Most of the time I sat at the kitchen table with my head down on it. Cathi even said I snored. Guess I wasn't feeling too hot, but the kids were playing with Rachel, so why go home and try to entertain them when they were just fine there???

3. Brooke was the winner of the monthly drawing at the orthodontist's office. She won a $50 to the mall! Fun!

4. By the way, I wish that I could just "tell" everyone I was sick over the weekend. But, no, they know just by looking at the cold sores that are lining my top lip. Yesterday was horrible!! They were in that "blistering, oh my gosh, my face is going to crack" stage. I could literally feel them growing. Of course when I got up yesterday morning and could feel the platypus-type look on my face, I asked Jeff if my top lip was swollen. Instead of saying "No, Chris, you can hardly tell", he said "Jesus, what the hell?" Is that any indication of how bad it was? I felt so stupid going to school, but I did. Just got some turned-up lips from the little kids. Oh well.

5. My patio is done! Concrete is finally down! It looks great, and I was going to take some pics but I forgot. So I will and I'll get them posted soon! We've already used my much wanted fire pit a couple times. Nothing like a weiner over a fire!! It's been fun, and I'm anxious to use it again this weekend. Still have a bottle of wine in the fridge waiting to be drank by the fire.

6. I fixed 45..... yes, 45.... chicken enchiladas last Sunday night. I always make them for Jeff for his birthday. I was a few days late, but it's still the thought that counts, right? We had a little help eating them.... Chase, Joel and Jenn, Jake.... but we still had a 9 x 13 left. Chase and Jeff both enjoyed the leftovers!

7. My friend Dena had a little baby girl last Friday morning. Her name is Zella Walker! They live in Winchester, IL. Sure wish they lived closer!

8. We went to one of my teacher friend's house on Sunday to pick pumpkins and gourds. They have a rather large patch and were nice enough to let us come up and pick some. The kids had fun picking their own pumpkins. They look beautiful next to the mums on my new patio!!! Remember, I'll get pics taken soon!

Until next time...

So much for sleeping it off!

on Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I was really hoping that the kids would feel a lot better this afternoon after taking naps. When Blake woke up, he immediately started crying because his throat hurt so bad and he had such a bad headache. I took his temp and it had gone up to 101.7. Brooke then came downstairs and started whimpering that she didn't feel good either. So off to the Clinic we went. I called them first and they said that they weren't too busy so I figured we better get in there before everyone else did! I thought Blake was going to fall asleep on the little medical bed or whatever it's called before the doctor came in. The kids were both running 100 degree temps in the office. She took one look in Blake's throat and said "Wow. That's nasty. Mom, his throat looks reeealllly bad". Oh super! Then went Brooke and her exact words were "Mom, her throat doesn't look much better than brother's!" I made the mistake of saying that my throat had kind of been sore today, too, so she looked in mine and said mine "didn't look great". So the kids both have strep and have to be out of school another day - at least. She wrote them prescriptions and wanted to write me one, but I told her I have amoxicillin here so I could take it. She recommended that Jeff get started on it, too, since strep usually will run rampid through the whole family. Then off to get the medicine. Blake told me in the parking lot of the Clinic that he thought he was going to throw up. How fun. He tried, but didn't. We headed to the pharmacy. As I was getting the prescriptions out of my purse, he stepped out of the car and proceeded to throw up all over the parking lot. The poor kid. I didn't think he was going to be able to stop. Nothing like a crying kid throwing up all over the parking lot, and we were parked right in front of the sliding doors that go into Axline's! I tell ya! That is just my luck. Blake has hardly eaten all day, and he's not eating much of his supper either. Brooke ate a little for supper, but not as much as she normally would.

So we are planning on another day at home tomorrow! I am sure hoping that they start feeling better. This is the pits!

Home Sweet Home

At least that's where I am today! Although I don't know how "sweet" it is. It will probably need disinfected after being home today. Blake is just about asleep on the couch. He is running a fever of 100 and has a sore throat. He sure doesn't feel good. I am thinking my thermometer isn't too accurate, he sure feels a lot warmer. Brooke is home with us, too. If I'm going to stay home with one kid, why not stay home with 2 right? I think that's what she is thinking! She's complaining of a sore throat, too, is coughing and blowing her nose. I thought I would be proactive and get them into the doctor in case there is something a little more serious coming on. But, everyone in the country must be sick, because I can't get them into the doctor until tomorrow afternoon. Our pediatrician is "out of the country" for 3 weeks and we can see one of his partners tomorrow afternoon. We can get into the Clinic here in town in early afternoon as well. I'm hoping that they will feel a lot better tomorrow, but I'm a little worried about Blake. Last time I waited to take him to the doctor for what I thought was just allergies, ended up pneumonia! He didn't cough or anything to make me think that he had that. Boy did I feel like a bad mom! And that was just about a year ago. You never know, huh?

Well they poured half of my concrete today. Trying to keep Pepper out of it was kind of a challenge this morning, so she is inside today. On all other days she'd want to be in here, but today she wants to be outside. I can just imagine paw prints all over it. They told me that in 3 or 4 hours she wouldn't be able to hurt it. Maybe she can nap this afternoon with Blake. All it would take would be one little invitation to getting on the couch and she'd be up there in a heartbeat! It does sound like a good idea. For me though, not Pepper!

Today is Jeff's birthday. He is now halfway to 40 like me.... no, not 20, 35! We planned on going out tonight for supper, but now that is out of the question. I put in a roast and will make french dips. The kids and I went to Farm King last night to look for something to get him. He is absolutely the hardest person ever to buy for. He's a farmer. When he needs something, he buys it. I wouldn't be able to afford anything he actually "wanted" anyway so he's getting a Carhartt sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt, socks, gloves, and a gift certificate. I thought I could at least make him a pumpkin pie or a peanut butter cream pie, but no, I can't. I don't have all of the stuff I need. Figures.

Today is also Roger's birthday (sis Cathi's husband). Not sure how old he is, but older than us I know. I'm sure Cathi is home right now whipping up some lovely, delectable birthday dessert, and some outrageously delicious supper to go along with it. Maybe I could share with her? Better give her a call and tell her to double her recipes!

I better go check on my patients. It's awfully quiet downstairs. I'm hoping they are both asleep. Chances aren't too good of that. We'll see. Maybe I could just take a nap. They won't mind, will they?

Prayers Please....

on Monday, October 6, 2008

One more thing.... While you are all saying your prayers, include my friends Jackie and Mark in those prayers. They are such brave, good people, and are having to undergo what no one should have to undergo. Just mention their names in your prayers, please. I always do, and I really feel that the power of prayer is like no other. Thank you.

Quiet Time

As I am posting, Brooke and Blake are laying here beside me.... in my bed.... fast asleep. Whew! It's about time. They have absolutely, positively worn me out tonight! For some reason, Brooke was in a very talkative mood tonight. She couldn't tell me enough about her day nor tell me fast enough. Blake even made the comment that she had said more than him tonight. Now that's a change! They are so peaceful when they are sleeping. My little Blake is sleeping with his mouth wide open, making an "almost snoring" sound. Brooke has her arms wrapped up around her face, with Sophie laying right beside her. Too cute.

Amidst the nonstop talking of Brooke tonight, there was some crabbiness.... from me... and Jeff. Jeff is still not in as I speak. He is trying to get a field of beans cut before it rains tomorrow. So he is filling the semis and auger wagon before coming home. Then he has to move all of the equipment back to the farm to the sheds so if it does rain (which it will... I'll get to that in a second) the beans won't get wet. Chase and John are helping drive the semis this year. Chase just got his CDL a month or so ago so Jeff is glad to have another person around to drive the semi. That saves John a little from jumping from truck to truck, hauling to the elevator. Well, Chase hasn't really adjusted to "farm time" yet. He called me at 7:35 tonight, "Just Starving" so I took him a little bit of supper to get him by until they are done. The last I knew, Jeff hadn't stepped out of the combine for 8 hours. I offered to take him some ham balls for supper (talking to him through his crabbiness), but those aren't too easy to eat while you are driving the combine so he opted to wait until he gets home. His dinner is waiting for him in the microwave. Mmmmmm!

Now, why do I think it will rain? Oh, it will rain tomorrow. Dang it! My patio was supposed to be poured today, but it wasn't! Again, not on Chrissi's time schedule, guys! So they are supposed to be here at 8 am tomorrow with the cement trucks. Can they pour in the rain, you might ask? NO! NO they CANNOT! It is supposed to rain all day which means then we will be pushed back to Wednesday, then I suppose something will come up that day and then we will be pushed back again. Before you know it, we will be eating Christmas dinner on that damn patio! So that's the tune to my crabbiness! I am very impatient. I admit that, but come on. This whole project could have been done in 3 days, 3 weeks ago! And it's still not done. Jeff gets so mad at me because I get so mad about it, but he doesn't have to keep 2 kids out of the dirt, 2 dogs out of the dirt, and the dirt out of the house!! It's not as easy as he thinks!

Well now I am going to try to get rid of these crabbies and enjoy the peace and quiet around here... until Jeff comes home and I have to heat up his supper. I should have 5 or 6 minutes of it.... no, never mind, I think I see truck lights reflecting off the shed...he's home.. Peace and quiet no more.....

And the Survey says....

on Sunday, October 5, 2008

Just lifted this little questionnaire off of another blog. Thought it would be fun to do with the kids. Feel free to copy and paste onto your blog.
1. What is something mom always says to you?

Brooke- No.
Blake - Please.

2. What makes mom happy?
Brooke- when we are in good moods
Blake- being nice

3. What makes mom sad?
Brooke- fighting
Blake- fighting

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Brooke- By laughing with me
Blake- saying funny things

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Brooke- short
Blake - nice

6. What is her favorite thing to do?
Brooke- decorating the house
Blake- go shopping

7. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Brooke- clean the house
Blake- go shopping

8. What is your mom really good at?
Brooke - making hashbrowns
Blake -teaching

9. What is your mom not very good at?
Brooke- running
Blake- getting things done when we have friends over

10. What does your mom do for her job?
Brooke - mentor
Blake - teach

11. What is your mom's favorite food?
Brooke- salad
Blake - spaghetti

12. What makes you proud of your mom?
Brooke- She's a good cook.
Blake- She's a good teacher.

13. What do you and your mom do together?
Brooke - Watch tv
Blake - Go to parties.

14. How are you and your mom the same?
Brooke - We look like each other.
Blake - We love each other.

15. How are you and your mom different?
Brooke - We have different insurance. I go to St. Mary's and she goes to Cottage.
Blake - We don't look alike

16. How do you know your mom loves you?
Brooke - When she says "I love you, Brooke Ryner"
Blake - She says "I love you, Blake"

17. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?

Brooke - Applebee's
Blake - the mall


Just thought this picture was cute. This is Blake and his friend Evan. They play on the same flag football team. Evan was over yesterday to play.

Our New Favorite Breakfast!

Thanks to my friend, Mindy, we have a new favorite breakfast around here! My kids are pancake fanatics so I thought I would take Mindy's advice and try "pumpkin pancakes". I did a recipe search for them since I didn't have a couple of the ingredients that her recipe called for. She became a fan of them at IHOP. I wasn't too sure of them as I was pouring this orange batter onto the griddle. I gave Brooke hers first and when I saw her eyes light up and a big smile upon her face when she took her first bite, I knew they must be pretty good! Blake is a very picky eater, but he liked them, too! I thought they were wonderful. Jeff is going to be mad if he finds out I made them because he is such a pumpkin freak! I thought I'd share my recipe with you. You really need to try them! Another great fall recipe!

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 3/4 c. bisquick
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. pumpkin

Mix well and pour onto hot sprayed griddle. Brown on both sides. Serve hot.



on Saturday, October 4, 2008

Yep, that's what we are tonight. Pooped. Blake had a flag football game this morning at 8:00 am which means he has to be there at 7:30 am. I know I must have asked him 10 times if he was sure
he had to be to this game 1/2 hour early. Needless to say, he did. Darn was it cold! So we didn't get to sleep in this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

Brooke and her friend Claire spent the night at Grandma Wanda's last night so they didn't have to go to the 8:00 game. I thought that was a great idea - they'd get to sleep in. Well, Wanda woke up at 5:00 am and they were in the other room watching tv. She did make them go back upstairs and go back to sleep. Brooke said they woke up at 8:36. That sounds like a much better time. So Brooke and Claire played today. She's in the bathtub right now, I'm afraid she's going to fall asleep in there! She's pooped.

Blake played last night with his friend Evan. He really wanted him to spend the night, but we didn't think that was too good of an idea since they both had to play football at 8 am this morning. Evan left about 9:30 and I'm sure that Blake was asleep before their van got to Alexis. He then got up at 6:45 this morning. He's pooped.

Now for Jeff and I.... we're just pooped. I can't say I did too much today to wear myself out, but I sure feel like I did. Maybe it was just having extra bodies around. Jeff has picked 120 acres of beans and 38 acres of corn. The crops just aren't dry enough, but he really thinks he needs to start picking. He said he'll still be in the field in mid-November. Fun times. I'm not sure if he will pick tomorrow, but now I have to start thinking of meals to take to them in the evenings and on weekends. I really enjoy doing that, but I guess I just haven't given it too much thought this year. I need to get on the ball and think about what I can get tomorrow at the store.

Tomorrow we're off to town to look for a fire pit for my patio. I am soooooo excited about having a patio and having a fire pit. I don't know why I want one so bad, but I do. I think it will be fun to be able to sit out there and roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Although the rate we're going, we'll be sitting out there in our stockin' hats, gloves, and winter coats. Oh well!

Two of My Girls!

on Friday, October 3, 2008

Pepper and her friend, Brooke! Just a casual shot! Ha! Brooke really wants to be in every picture I take. Isn't she cute? Oh, Pepper too?!

Some Recent Pics!

Just thought I'd show you some of the things going on around here.....

I just love Fall and love decorating for it! This is my new wreath that my friends Emily, Maggie, & Carrie gave me for my birthday. Isn't it awesome! I just love it. I think it looks awesome on my front door! Welcome Fall!

Ok, so I bought myself a little gift recently. I am an avid reader of Lisa Leonard's blog. She is a really cool mom and even cooler jewelry designer. My friend Mindy has a really great necklace with her kids' names on it so I decided I needed one! Lisa hand pounds them so each one is just personalized for you. Too cool!

We have a little project going on here. It was suppose to be done by now, but contractors are never on the same time frame as me! We re-roofed two small sheds, one by the house/pool and one that we call the "chicken house" where the kids park their bikes and fourwheelers. I have been wanting a patio .... somewhere, didn't care where.... that I could use for a space with some outside furniture and fire pit. I finally convinced Jeff that I needed one, so we start pouring concrete Monday morning. The forms are set. The patio itself is going to be pretty big, but it's in a spot where the yard is low and it's not much good for anything. The other spot is going to be behind the chicken house and will be 25'x25'. The kids can have a basketball hoop there and Blake will be able to ride his skateboard. By the way, farm boys aren't as good on skateboards as they think! Don't tell him that though! He's always wanting me to take him to Knoxville to the Skate Park over there. Whatever! You're a farm kid, remember!! So here are a few "before" pictures. I'll post "after" ones at the beginning of the week. Pray for NO rain on Monday!!

Where the heck have I been?

on Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gosh, if I could just remember what I've been doing that has stood in the way of my blogging? I am just not very good at this. I don't remember to update, then when I do, I'm in bed and don't want to get up to do it. Yes, Cathi (my dear older sister who is a blog-stalker but doesn't have a blog herself? what the heck?) has been reminding me daily to update. If I could only get the gumption to do it when she reminds me. She's the type of blog-reader that expects every blogger to just sit and blog all day long, along with snapping pictures and posting them, too. Well, you can see that I don't have any pictures this time either! There are a few things I want to take snaps of so I promise that I will do that this weekend!

My last week has mainly consisted of apples, apples, and more apples! Last Sunday we went to Carrie and Larry's to make cider. Yes, Cathi, I did go there to MAKE cider, not just to sit and watch, but how many people can you have around a cider press? Anyway, we made 23 gallons of cider out of red delicious apples! And boy was it good! I also had Carrie pick me up a bushel of apples (honeycrisp/empire) from this little orchard outside Burlington. The little old man has an orchard as a hobby and sells all of his apples for 30 cents a pound! Even honeycrisp! Yes, I bought 5 honeycrisp at the store for a mere $8.46! For 5 apples!!! I couldn't believe that this man sells them for 30 cents a pound! Bargain!

So.... Monday night was applesauce, Tuesday was apple crisp, took a break Wednesday night, and tonight I made an apple pie and 2 more apple crisps! They are so yummy, and it makes the house smell sooooo good while they are all baking!

At least it is finally fall. I just love baking in the fall - apple recipes, pumpkin recipes, chili - you name it, I like to make it! And I have some great new recipes to try thanks to my friend Mindy who put some recipes on her blog! There is this awesome little potato recipe that I've just been dying to try! Speaking of fall, it has finally cooled off in the Midwest so yesterday morning I decided to open up the house before school to air this place out! Needless to say, when I got home at 5:00 yesterday, it was 54 degrees in here! Yikes! It was a bit chilly. I think we were all aired out though!

Jeff started harvest yesterday. He is starting with beans, but isn't sure where he will go next as our crops just aren't quite dry enough for his liking. Blake rode in the combine tonight for a couple hours. I found out everything that I didn't know about farming when I picked him up! So I will be busy now on the weekends making meals to take to the field. I really like doing that, and Jeff's mom helps me out a lot. I should say that she is good at preparing the meals, and I help her out!

We are finally getting around to our "concrete" project. I will take some pictures and post more about that later. Yes, Cathi, I promise that I will. Until next time.... hopefully a little sooner than later!

A Relaxing Afternoon?

on Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Well, it's our 4th week of school and I already had to bring someone (won't mention HER name, but it starts with a "B" and she recently got braces...) home this afternoon. This certain someone had to go to the orthodontist yesterday to get her wires changed, spring traded out for a brace, and her braces tightened. Thanks to Grandma Wanda, she got to and from her appointment in Rock Island. While I on the other hand.... well I had to get the gray taken out of my hair and a haircut. Please remember I am 95% gray as my stylist calls to my attention frequently. Plus, Blake had flag football practice until 5:00 and we had Open House at school last night from 6:30-8:00. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, her mouth hurts. It hurts really bad. She won't even say much, other than "but Mom it really hurts and I can't even eat or talk". That's a true indicator of how bad they hurt. So we got home about 1:00, with a weiner dog that was so excited because she just loves when we come home earlier than expected, and I fixed her some tomato soup, gave her an adult tylenol (she was on the max dose of children's and it doesn't cut it anymore), and put her in bed. She's watching tv, I'm hoping she will fall asleep.

But.... what did I have to do anyway? Well, I was really wanting to vaccuum, clean up the back porch (looked like white trash lived here), pick up the kitchen, and catch up on some laundry. So at least maybe I can get caught up on those things before the 3 hours of 4th grade homework we will have! Blake is going to the After School Program so he won't want to come home until 4:30 or so anyway. I should get lots done!

Speaking of that young man... Blake.... if you know him, you know that he likes to tell stories. He once told his kindergarten teacher at milk break that him and his dad get drunk while they work on snowmobiles in the garage, also told the librarian that his dad can't read, and that his Mom drinks a bottle of wine every night. Yeah, most of that isn't true. So far he's only stretched the truth a couple times in 2nd grade. He did tell his student teacher that he is going to be a Nascar driver and when he wins, his Pit Crew is going to come out onto the track and spray beer and wine all over him. He did tell her that he would do that when he was "legally able". Pretty sure those were his exact words! Also told Mrs. Boone, his reading teacher, that his Dad could shoot a bear with his elephant gun " 'cuz if it'll kill a elephant, it'll surely kill a bear"! Maybe I should go look in the gun cabinet .... last I knew we didn't have an elephant gun !!! For Pete's Sake! I'm sure there will be more Blake stories to come.

One more thing, I am totally a "Blog Stalker" of this awesome mom, scrapbooker, and photographer. She lives in Oregon and my dream would be to one day meet her, along with her awesome husband Josh (who is too cute), their handsome young son Ross, son Coley, and daughter "Yannie". Ok, her name is Annie, but they call her Yannie and so do I! You HAVE TO CHECK HER OUT! Her name is Karen Russell and she is way cool. The thing is, I think she is probably younger than me! Why can't I be cool????


on Sunday, September 14, 2008

I came upon this blog a couple months ago while I was reading Keely's blog. I've been reading it daily since. It's about a little girl named Annabelle that was diagnosed with severe Spina Bifida while she was in utero. She wasn't expected to live more than a couple hours and now she is thriving with the help of many doctors and prayers. She is a couple months old. Her story is so inspiring. Her dad is great at posting updates and keeping everyone informed of her progress. Please keep little Annabelle and her family in your prayers.

What we've learned around here....

During the past couple weeks, we've learned a lot. Here are a few of the things that have enlightened us!

1. Rain is never-ending. We cannot believe that it is STILL raining here. So far we have over 6 1/2 inches of rain. There is water everywhere. Our rural gravel roads are covered with water in some spots. The creeks are out of their banks. And .... I don't like having to take the dog out while carrying an umbrella1

2. It really does hurt when you fall on the gym floor mouth first. Just ask Blake! He has a swollen upper lip and it's scabbed over in the middle. (He wouldn't let me take a picture). He fell in PE and landed on his mouth on the gym floor. Yep, that really hurts.

3. When your 10 year old daughter wants to go shopping and says she wants to go to Hollister and Abercrombie, say no. That's not what I did. We headed to the Cities last night and got some new clothes for Brooke. She had birthday money so she did help pay for them. When we got home, the majority of our things were for her. She is so like her Mother!

4. After you've been out in the pouring rain, your shoes are wet and when you come in the house and step on linoleum, it's slick. Ask Brooke about that one. She has fallen right on her butt about 3 times on the back porch!

5. It feels really good to have all of the clean clothes put away and clean sheets on the beds. Ask me! That's what I did Friday night and yesterday. Our bedroom is clean, there is nothing on the floor and it feels great! (Cathi, you will know how this feels as soon as you get your front closet cleaned and put back together!)

6. When it rains 6 1/2 inches, you are bound to have water in your basement. But check that out before the Dish Network guy comes to your house to upgrade your equipment. I was so embarrassed that he had to walk through 4" of water in the back room of our basement.

7. Blake loves flag football. Just started practicing last week. His first game was rained out yesterday. Can't they play with floaties on?

8. You know it's rained a lot when the inflatable rings blow out of your pool and are really "floating" in your yard!!! And don't send your kids out to get the rings. They got caught in a downpour and were absolutely, positively soaked to the bone!!!

If there is anything else we've learned, I'll keep you up to date.

Better Late than Never!

Ok, so I'm about 3 1/2 weeks late, but here is a picture of the kids on the first day of school. Brooke is now in 4th grade and Blake is in 2nd. They are still loving school. 4th grade homework is about to kill me though!!!