Life in the Country

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

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!