Life in the Country

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

Flag Football

on Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blake has really enjoyed playing Flag Football at the YMCA again this year. He gets to play with all of his friends and looks forward to every game! Here are a few pictures! Note: this may have been the coldest flag football season on record.


I am copying this post from several other bloggers. Thought it might be kind of fun!

Outside my window.... the sun is shining, the leaves are falling, and I'm seeing quite a few tractors moving by. Harvest is in full swing today! The weather sure hasn't been cooperating with the farmers. Also, our 2 new heifers are running and kicking their feet - enjoying the nice weather, too!

I am thinking.... about what to fix to take to the field for supper tonight, and I'm wondering if I'll have time to mow (one last time!) around the house this afternoon. Also, I'm thinking about Brooke as she's coming home from an all nighter and hoping she's not crabby!

I'm thankful for.... my family and friends. Also I'm thankful that Jeff is able to get into the field and start harvest. He's such a hard worker and I'm also very
thankful for that. Brooke and Blake are also on the top of my Thankful List!

From the kitchen.... I'm smelling the pumpkin bars that are in the oven! Mmmmmm...

I'm wearing.... my most favorite jeans and a United tshirt - usual attire for the weekend!

I'm creating..... treats to take to school tomorrow and supper to tak
e to the field. Food is the only creative part of me.

I'm going.... to get Brooke from Cathi's in a little while, to the field to deliver supper, and 4H tonight.

I'm reading... my 4th grade reading manual.

Around the house... it's rather messy right now as Blake and his friend, Evan, have been playing hard. But I'm loving how the sun is shining through the windows. And Sophie, as black as she is, is laying in the sun warming up!

One of my favorite things.... working with our show calves.

A few plans for the week... a full week of school, a volleyball game on Wednesday (UHS volleyball team is undefeated and awesome!), Erik's Senior Night football game on Friday night, and Blake's last flag football game next Saturday.

A picture to share....

We were able to see Alex & Erik before they left for Homecoming. We made them take a picture will all of the kids - Erik (holding Owen, Alex's little brother), Alex, Brooke, Rachel, Aubrey (Alex's little sister who is the same age as the girls), Blake and his friend Evan. Quite a crew!

What a weekend!!

on Monday, October 12, 2009

I ended up calling Dr. Paralikar last night when Blake's fever hit 103.8, and he told me to take him to the ER to get the Influenza A/H1N1 screening done. He told me to tell the nurse/doctor that he wanted it done on Blake. When we got to the ER, there was a big sign at the entry that said if you had any flulike symptoms (fever, coughing, etc) to get a mask. So Blake put on a mask before we even walked through the door. You can really turn some eyes when you wear a pastel yellow mask over your mouth and nose! Got to the registration desk, and Blake said, "Mom, I think I'm gonna get sick." I told him to take off his mask - thought maybe he just felt kind of smothered. As soon as I pulled that mask off, he started to throw up all over! So I grabbed one of the little vomit bags off of the wall and he proceeded to fill it..... in front of about 15 people .... as if the mask wasn't bad enough, you should have seen the looks we were getting now!

So we go into the triage room to tell them why we are there. I told the nurse that Dr. P wanted Blake to have the screening. She was very rude and told me, "That is up to the doctor to decide. We just can't give that to every person that walks in! Hmmm!" We waited for another 40 minutes before getting called back. When Blake vomited, it seemed to break his fever so he started to feel a little better.

Once we were in the back, the nurse swabbed his throat and said she bet he had strep. So we waited for the doctor to come in. He examined Blake and said "He has H1N1 - the swine flu". Oh super! He explained a lot of things to me - told me that it's not as serious as they originally anticipated, and that we have to treat the symptoms because the only medicine for H1N1 (tamiflu) really hadn't proven to work very well. So we left there with that diagnosis, a prescription for tussionex for the cough, and suppositories in case the vomiting got worse. Blake slept really well and still ran a fever of about 102.

In the meantime, I'm wondering how soon before Brooke gets it....

So I called first thing this morning to Dr. P and told him about Blake and what the er doctor had said/done. He was very upset (to say the least) that he diagnosed him without the nasal swab test. He informed me to get to the lab right away to get the test. If it came back positive for Influenza A, he would have to be out of school for a week and they would send the test further to see if it was H1N1. If it came back negative, it was probably just a virus and he could return to school after her was "fever free for 24 hours" - a pretty standard rule.

So off to the lab with Blake adorned in his little yellow mask! Needless to say, there were only 2 seats in the lab left and one lady got up so I could sit by Blake. She chose to stand rather than to sit by the masked boy! After the lab, we went to Walmart to get the tamiflu that Dr. P ordered. Welp, it was out of stock. So that meant another phone call to have it sent to Axlines. In the meantime, Wanda is calling me telling me that the combination of drugs from the er doctor was too much for a young boy and it would oversedate him (!!!!!!) so I had to talk to the pharmacist there and they called the er and ended up changing the dosage! Geesh! I had to call Axlines AGAIN and they agreed to "compound" the tamiflu for Blake since the children's liquid form isn't available yet!!!

So we finally made it home. Blake still had a fever and laid down while I waited for the doctor's office to call with the test results. A few hours later, I finally heard from them......


Oh my goodness! I am so relieved that he doesn't have it but on the other hand, I'm pissed that he was misdiagnosed, overprescribed for meds, and we ran around and around and around for nothing!! Well, i guess it wasn't "nothing".... but he does have a virus of some kind. We go back to Dr. P Wednesday morning. He is still coughing. Still running a fever. Still not himself. I sure hope he starts to feel better soon. I'm anxious to hear what Dr. P has to say on Wednesday. Hopefully he will be well on the mend by then!

In the meantime, I've got a full bottle of (expensive) Tamiflu if we need it!!

Brooke and Blake

on Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brooke and "Tank", along with Kaitlyn - the WCPBF Princess

Blake and "Cowboy", along with Kaitlyn again

Brooke 11 , Blake 8 1/2

A Fresh Start

Ok, it's been about 2 1/2 months since I've posted last. Believe it or not, I have attempted to write an entry about 7 times, but have gotten interrupted in doing so. Rather than spending time catching up on all of the things we've done in the past couple months, I've decided to start fresh. I need to write about now, not delve into all of the past activities - baseball, softball, showing cattle, swimming (or lack thereof), the state fair, doing well at the Mercer County Fair, getting Reserve Champion at the Prime Beef Festival again, watching the kids grow up (literally) way too fast. It's time to write about what's going on right now.

As I speak, Brooke just returned from spending the night at Rachel's house - still a very common event around here. I had promised the kids that they could have someone over this weekend, and that kind of fell through. Brooke had Rachel over, and Blake had Jonah. It was all great until about 7:00p.m. when Blake came into the kitchen crying over a small altercation with a Matchbox car. He doesn't cry too often in front of his friends and when I looked at the "glaze" in his eyes, I immediately knew that he was running a fever. I checked and he sure was. It was 101. I continued to let him play for a while, hoping that maybe it was a false reading. At 9:00 it was 100 so I explained to him that we'd have to take Jonah home. Brooke and Rachel decided that they better not be around him so off to meet Cathi I went. Blake has laid around most of the day. I did take him to ride with Jeff in the combine for a couple rounds when his fever broke, but he was ready to come home. When we got home, his fever was 102.4. He is still asleep and when he wakes up, I hope his fever has gone down from the 103 it was when I last took it. So Wanda went down and picked up Brooke who, for some reason, wanted to come home. She's kind of like me - she likes to sleep in her own bed.

Brooke is really enjoying 5th grade. She's recently started playing the trumpet and has to remind herself to practice everyday! Blake is really liking 3rd grade as well, and is currently playing Flag Football on weekends at the YMCA.

We have 2 new heifer calves - Sunny and Peanut. They are getting used to us as we are to them. We (by "we", I mean the kids and me) are walking them into their stalls almost every day and tying them up for a while. We've already started the process of washing and blowing and combing and repeating that process until I can do it in my sleep! Our 1st show was supposed to be next weekend but we don't feel we are quite ready yet, so we are holding off to show until the 1st weekend in December in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jeff is trying to get into the field. The corn and beans are very wet, and the rainy cold weather is sure not cooperating. The yields have been good so we are very thankful for that. He put up a new grain bin this year and is putting it to good use drying down this 30% moisture corn. He assures me it will pay for itself in a few years, and as skeptical as I was, I'm not now.

I am still adjusting to teaching at the junior high. Some days are great, and others are not. Some days I love it, and some days I hate it. Everyday I can't believe that Brooke will be there next year. I wonder to myself if she will be like these 6th grade girls that wear the football boys' jerseys on game days. Scary.

Other than that, things are pretty much the same around here. I will try to get some pictures posted of our summer for the 3 or 4 blog readers that I have!


on Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I finally got an external card reader for the laptop so I've been able to upload all of my pictures! Whew! I was having a heck of a time. Last week, Cathi and I loaded up the kids for a rather spur of the moment 2 day trip to Chicago. We try to go every summer and hit American Girl, Shedd Aquarium, Hershey's, etc. We didn't get to go last year so we made up for it and spend the night, too. We stayed in Bolingbrook because it was going to be so expensive to stay downtown. We had a great time. Here are a few pictures!
The kids standing downtown in front of the Chicago River. I hate that bridge by the way!

Standing in front of Lake Michigan. You can't see them in the picture, but there are people swimming in the Lake

The Budweiser Clydesdales were on Navy Pier when we were there. They were supposed to parade down Dock Street, but it started raining so they couldn't. They were so pretty.... and HUGE!

Blake and the Lego Man at Legoland on Michigan Avenue.

Hershey's Chocolate Store downtown Chicago.

At American Girl Store in Water Tower Place. We actually got out of there without spending too much money! Brooke's "hunger pains" were outweighing her "wants"! Lucky me!


on Friday, July 24, 2009

Blake played hardball this year for the Alexis D-Ball team in the Tri-County Hardball League. He played 2nd base and catcher. He absolutely LOVES baseball and wants to start pitching next year. We'll see about that!


Just a few shots of Brooke playing softball. She played for the United-North Henderson Minors team and played right field and left field. She enjoyed the season.

Where have I been?

I didn't realize that I hadn't updated my blog since June 11th! That was clear back at the beginning of the summer and now we are near the end. Where does the time go? I was looking forward to a relaxing summer filled with days by the pool, but that isn't how things have gone at all. And I don't really think I will have a summer like that for many, many years. The kids' activities have filled this summer with nights at the ball diamonds, in the barn, and running to and from different things. Brooke played something like 18 softball games and Blake played about 15 so the idea of "bleacher butt" really came true for us. Once you add in all of the chores with their show calves and the washing and rinsing and drying and walking...... then you know why I haven't updated very often. But we have had some fun and good times!

We made it through Mercer Co. Fair last week. I have lots of pictures but I've had trouble uploading them to this laptop. I got a new camera in June, and while I really like it, I can't get the pictures off of the SD card because the files are too big so I'm trying to figure out what to do. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. The kids did really well and I will post more about that later. Our next fair is the Knox County in August so I've still got another week to prepare for that. Going to a fair is like going on a business trip. Lots of work.

So I'll keep trying to get pictures on here, especially ones of our recent trip to Chicago. I took them with a different camera so it shouldn't be too hard to get them on here. Just bear with me!

Whoo Hoo!

on Thursday, June 11, 2009

SEE THIS??? DO YOU REALLY SEE IT??? Brooke and Blake are getting along! Oh my goodness! Or OMG as Brooke would say!! They are swimming, laughing, and playing together. It's a great sight to see. They spend a lot of time fighting and I love to see them get along!

June, July, and August

I've decided that I should have named the kids' 3 calves June, July, and August since they are what I mainly do during those 3 months!!! We've started our daily routine again this summer. Jeff does chores and ties up the 3 calves about 6:30 in the morning. Then I go out about 9:30 and wash/rinse all three of them, tying them back up under the fans. You can see in the pictures that they really do have a pretty good life in the summer. They are tied up in the barn where it's nice and cool and are under huge black "turbo" fans that move a lot of air! They stay nice and cool and have water/feed in front of them all day long. Our first show is 2 weeks from Saturday and we have lots to do to get ready. In fact, Tank (Brooke's steer) is going to have a date with Dorothy the Donkey this weekend. We will tie him to her for a day and hopefully he will learn very quickly that he only moves when she moves. In return, he will move when Brooke wants him to in the show ring. Jewels, the heifer, might become friends with Dorothy, too. By the way, we are pretty sure that Jewels is "expecting" - we will preg check her in about a week and know if she is carrying another little critter for us!

A Taste of Summer

Well, we are ending our first "official" week of summer vacation. What a week we've had! Full of softball and baseball games, working with calves, having friends over, volleyball camp, and being on the run. This is just the beginning of what we have in store for us for the next 2 1/2 months!!! Just thought I'd share some of my favorite things about summer.

1. I love to walk up to the back of the house and see the pretty flowers. My lilies are blooming right now and my pots of flowers actually still look pretty good. It helps when I can rely on the rain and not have to water them. They usually don't look so good at the first of July when it's so hot that I don't want to get out there and water them!

2. This is my favorite little yard ornament. It was given to me by all of my teacher friends in memory of Dad. It's perfect for him - a boy on a tractor with his dog.

3. Another thing that I love to see in the summer is beach towels hanging on the deck! It's kind of a weird thing to actually "want" extra things on the deck, but I do! It's just a sign that it's officially summer, the pool is open, and the kids are swimming!

Brooke at 10 1/2 Years Old

on Friday, May 15, 2009

I've really noticed a difference in Brooke in the last couple months. She is changing all the time and turning into quite the little lady.

*She loves 4th grade. She doesn't want to miss school and really enjoys her teachers. She has quite the group of girl friends and is very social.

*She is exactly 3 inches shorter than me.

*She is starting to really like to read. It seems that her nose is always in a book. This is great because she hasn't always liked to read. Right now, she's into the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

*She still loves to play Barbies. And house. And with her American Girl dolls. And school. She has a very creative imagination. I am forever asking her who she is talking to me and she looks at me and rolls her eyes.

*She will be starting softball practice soon. She seems to like most sports. She played basketball this winter and has intentions of playing sports in school, just as soon as she's old enough.

*She is my "right hand". She is good to help me with whatever I ask of her. And if I'm having a bad day, she seems to kick it in gear and do more around here to make it easier for me.

*She is very thoughtful.

*She is not fond of storms. She wakes up at the first clap of thunder and wants me to tuck her back in. She turns up her CD player to try to drown out the sounds.

*She loves her calves and talks to them like they are her babies.

*She is a lot like her Dad. She picks up after herself and gets mad when Blake doesn't do the same. She likes her things "just so". And there's nothing she likes more than a good supper. She gets that from her Mom and Dad.

*Did I mention that she is only 3 inches taller than me????? And wears a size 8 1/2 shoe in women's. Yep. For sure.

*She is starting to "bake" by herself. A couple weekends ago, she made me stay outside while she made a cake by herself. And it was yummy, too. So add pumpkin pie and cake to her list.

She's a great little gal and I'm sure glad she's ours!

Can I Just Tell You.....

what a week we have had around here! Geesh, I am so glad that it's Friday, and I'm only hoping for a quiet, not-much-to-do weekend. We only have 2 1/2 weeks of school left, which right now might as well be eternity. I'd say that I'm ready more than the kids are. Brooke really is "in" to school right now, she has really come to love school and just hates to miss. Blake will tell you that he "hates" school but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Although this week he hasn't been there much! Here's just a brief recap of what has gone on-

last Wednesday(May 6th)- Brooke's teacher called me at the high school about 2:30 in the afternoon to tell me that Brooke had a terrible rash on her arms. It was really, really red and itchy and her teacher never calls me at the high school so I figured it must be bad. I was on my way to the vet in Roseville after school (to get a "cedar" for our heifer to bring her into heat- I'm learning a lot about this AI stuff) so I called Wanda. She got Brooke and headed to the Alexis Clinic where I met them. The doctor there said it was a reaction to the sun, plus she said she needed to have the wax flushed out of Brooke's left year. After 6 syringes of warm water flushed down her ear, we left!

Monday (this week) - I took the afternoon off to take Blake to get his cast off. The fracture had healed nicely and he was released back to normal activity - which was good since he hadn't really stopped normal activity! So we picked up Brooke and headed home. Jeff called at 7:10 and said that we needed to move trucks around from field to field. That lasted until 8:35 p.m. That's way late for us to start homework and showers so we started our week off with the kids getting to bed at 9:30. If you know me, I am very anal about getting the kids to bed on time on weeknights. Needless to say, not the way I wanted to start my week. While we were moving around trucks, Brooke was complaining about her arms really bothering her and the rash looked just horrible so Wanda (who was helping move from field to field) said she would take the day off to take Brooke to the doctor since I had meetings at school all week.

Tuesday - Brooke went to the doctor and he said that her rash was Fifths Disease. However, once it reaches the "rash stage" it's not contagious anymore. He said that she was fine to return to school which she did. We just have to let the virus run its course. Also, he looked at her ear and said it was just fine. Of course - she had just had 6 syringes of water pumped into it!! Duh. Blake had his first baseball game that night. They lost 13-20 but that was actually pretty good since it was 3-20 in the start of the 5th inning.

Wednesday - Blake had to be at the oral surgeon at 8:00 a.m. to have a baby molar taken out. We found out a couple weeks ago that it was infected and since we know from previous experiences that novacaine doesn't work on infected teeth, I opted to have the oral surgeon put him to sleep so he wouldn't know a thing! He did pretty well. Didn't freak out too much when they told him they would put him to sleep, but he was very nervous. As was his mother.... he came out of the anesthesia pretty goofy, but at least he made it! There was a lot of infection so they put him on Amoxicillin (which the dentist didn't - kinda makes me mad) three times a day. He didn't feel good at all so I stayed home with him all day. When he was "under" he became pretty aggressive and fought the doctor so the nurse said that alone would wear him out. He rested most of the day and about 3:00 pm got his energy back!

Thursday - When I went to wake Blake up to get ready for school, he said to me "I must be really tired cuz this one eye doesn't want to open" and when he rolled over to me, there it was.... a giant, red, swollen right eye! I didn't know at that point if it was the infection from the tooth that moved to his eye or if it was pink eye. So off to call Nanny Cathi (Aunt Cathi) to see if he could go with her for the day so he could go to the doctor. She was nice enough to meet me with him and off they went to the doctor.... yep, Pinkeye. He got $65 drops and they started to work right away. So another day at home for Blake.

Friday - TODAY!! YEAH! Everyone made it through the day with no problems. Other than the fact that it rained all night and all day and we have like huge ponds of water in our yard, it was a pretty normal day. Blake had his field trip to the Geology Museum and Blackhawk State Park and then off to Happy Joe's to make pizzas for their lunch. He had a really good time. We have so much rain, it's sad. The fields and creeks are absolutely flooded. Some of the roads even have water over them. What does that mean for this farmwife? It means a suicidal farmer of a husband who I think I will try to avoid this weekend.

So after 4 trips to some kind of doctor, 2 prescriptions, 4 diagnoses, and about $500, the week is over...finally.

Now it's time to move our attention to our heifer. I never imagined that I would be studying a cow to see if she's in heat... and that doesn't mean looking her "good" end if you know what I mean.... but I am. I am out checking her "other end" to see if she's ready to be bred. That should start tomorrow. I'm sure you probably won't want to read a post about bovine artificial insemination, but guess what? ----------------You probably will!!!

Mud anyone?

on Sunday, April 26, 2009

Today turned out to a beautiful day. It was sunny, warm, and breezy. Just perfect. Brooke went to the YMCA to Open Swim with Rachel and even got a yummy DQ treat afterwards. Luke came up and took Blake four wheeling. Yes, Blake has a cast and went riding, but he didn't drive, just rode with Luke. Kaitlyn even came out and went for a while. They were so muddy when they got home! Jeff mowed the yard and I'm enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass! A great way to end the weekend. Now back to school tomorrow!

Bad Blogger

I am a bad blogger. Sometimes I wonder why I started this blog since I am not very good at updating. It's been pretty quiet around here actually. Blake is doing really well with his cast. Tomorrow marks 2 weeks so we are halfway through. He has it signed by all of his friends and family. It sure doesn't slow him down. The only thing he hasn't done with it on is ride the 4 wheeler. In fact he hasn't even asked to ride it. Thank goodness. He does everything else though, even straps his ball glove around it and plays all-time catcher in baseball practice. He gets the cast off on May 11 which is the week of the first baseball game. Blake is still doing really well in 2nd grade. It's hard to believe that we winding down and next year he will be in 3rd grade. I also think he has grown about 2" recently. The top of his head hits the bottom of my chin so when he stands close he's a pretty good headrest.

Speaking of tall, Brooke is 3" shorter than me, wears the same size of shoes than me, and I just bought her 2 tshirts at American Eagle yesterday. She'll be wearing the same things as high school girls, but that is what fits! She is growing so fast. I know that she'll be having another growth spurt soon and will be the same height as me in no time! She is also still doing well in 4th grade. She has a big week ahead of her with 5 tests, a spring music concert, a young author's celebration, and I'm sure something else will come up! She hasn't started softball practice yet, but I'm sure within a week or 2, she will be practicing, too! Between Brooke and Blake we will probably have a game about every night of the week. I hope there aren't too many nights on which they both have games.

Jeff is waiting to get planting. We went through the same thing last year - too much rain. He did get about 100 acres of corn planted last Thursday before the rain started. It's been raining and raining and it's supposed to keep raining. That makes for a pretty crabby farmer. He farms about 2100 acres so it takes a while to get them all planted and after May 10, it starts affecting yields.

So we are heading into a busy week. With all of Brooke's tests, the Spring music concert which is Monday night, the Young Author's Celebration which is Thursday night (both Brooke and Blake are getting awards for that), I don't know when I'm going to find time to keep reading my Twilight series. I might just have to stay on the couch all day and finish the 2nd book. I didn't know I was such a fast reader! I got through Twilight (1st book) in about 3 nights and now I'm halfway through New Moon (2nd book). They aren't even my type of storyline so I can't believe I'm so into reading them! All the teachers at school were talking about them so I figured I better read them so I can be in on the discussions! Heaven forbid I'm left out! I've even got Cathi into reading them. I've gotta finish New Moon so I can hand it over to her. She's about done with the first book. Speaking of that, I better get breakfast cleaned up so I can go read!

The 1st of ..... I hope not many!

on Monday, April 13, 2009

We had a little mishap this weekend. After 5 years of riding 4 wheelers and many flips and tumbles, Blake hurt himself. The kids were riding last Thursday afternoon when Blake made a turn and lost control of his 4 wheeler. Some how he hit the side of Jeff's machine shed. Not sure how, but he did, and it threw him off - right over the handlebars onto the driveway. Brooke brought him in and he was crying, holding his wrist. His hand and knuckles were scraped up pretty good and already starting to bruise. He had a scrape on his right cheek and said that he hit it on the tire (yes, he had a helmet on). Not sure how he managed that. He cried and cried and we iced and iced the bad spots. He actually cried himself to sleep. When he woke up later he said that he felt better. So off to El Rancherito we went. Priorities, right???? The next morning he came downstairs at 6:30 and showed Jeff who said "It's just a bruise, don't go rushing him to the er". So .... I didn't. We wrapped it in an ace bandage but he still favored it all day. He favored it on Saturday, too, and after he fell asleep on the way home from town, I proceeded to pull him up by his left hand. Big mistake. He started crying and said that it hurt really bad. We headed back to town to Prompt Care for xrays. Yep, a green stick fracture across his left radius. Boy I felt like a jerk. I should have taken him Thursday! So they splinted it and we went to the orthopedic dr. this morning. They put a cast on it, and Blake was excited to pick "red" as his color of his cast. He will have it on for 4 weeks. Then once it's removed, he'll spend a week doing exercises to regain strength and his range of motion. He's certainly NOT upset about having his cast! He keeps a Sharpie marker in his pocket at all times! He's so anxious to go back to school tomorrow to have his friends sign it. He had to go the ENT doctor today, too, to see about having his adnoids/tonsils out because he is a "snorer". He thought for sure that doctor would want to sign it. I talked him out of that! He does not have to get anything taken out of his body and I am so thankful for that. We will keep an eye on how many more times he gets strep throat and we might have to revisit this again in a year or so. Hope not! So here are a few pics of the casting process. Guess what? Baseball practice starts Wednesday!


on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I made it. I survived many things during the past few days and now I am done. DONE. DONE. Should be a walk in the park from here on out. We survived 2 birthday parties for Blake - one for his friends and one with family. Both were a lot of fun. Watching 7 and 8 year olds skate is too funny. I'm sure that a lot of them left with some bruised bottoms!

I also survived my IEPs, which are my yearly progress meetings for each of my students that require A LOT of paperwork! Each one is 7-10 pages long, depending on the student. This is about the most stressful day of my school year, so the thought of having it behind me is relieving!

I had a couple doctor appointments yesterday and I survived that, too. Granted I don't know anything yet, that's one more thing that is crossed off my list! I had a chest xray from about 10 days ago that came back "abnormal". (found this out on Friday at 3:30) What abnormal means I'm not sure, but there were some spots on it that they are concerned about. It could be scarring from Pneumonia (which I've never been diagnosed with), calcium deposits, or even something else. I'm sure it's nothing, but they sent me for a CT scan yesterday morning. I don't have any results yet, but should by tomorrow.

My friend Carrie gave birth to a little boy Sunday night, March 22nd. His name is Kellen Ryan. He weighed 8 lbs. 15 oz. and was 21 inches long. Both mom and baby are doing well. He sure is adorable. I'll post pictures as soon as I have permission from his mama! I got to see him and hold him yesterday...... between doctor's appointments!! That sure was a bright spot in my day!

Wish Brooke and Blake luck for tomorrow! Brooke has a science vocab test tomorrow, with a chapter test on Thursday. Blake has a science test tomorrow over all the parts of the body, the organs, what the organs do, and LOTS of other stuff that I didn't think 2nd graders would have to know!!

I'll post more pictures later... I'm ready for bed!


on Monday, March 23, 2009

If you are not an avid reader of MckMama, you should be. She is such a neat Blogger and has a beautiful family. Her little "mckMiracle" as she calls him, Stellan, is fighting a rare heart condition. Read about her here and pray for her family.

Blake Jeffrey Ryner, Age 8 (almost)

on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blake is turning 8 in two days. If he hasn't seen you to tell you that, I'm letting you know via blogworld. Because if he did see you, he would be certainly sure to tell you! Just thought I'd tell you what he's up to now that he is 8 (almost!).

*He has been talking about and planning his 8th birthday since March 21st of last year. He has come up with so many ideas for a birthday party including taking a bunch of friends to Chicago, taking a bunch of friends to Fun City, having a "race" party here at our house in which all of his friends could bring their dirt bikes or four wheelers and race each other, having a sleep over with a bunch of boys, and having a skating party. He is soooooo excited about his birthday!

*We resorted to a skating party at the Roller Rink on Saturday afternoon. Followed by our family party which will be at Happy Joe's at 6. We have several kids in the family and Happy Joes seems to be a favorite spot for all of them.

*Blake's new kick is having a strawberry shake every night, usually before bed. He likes to use the magic bullet for a yummy homemade treat. He also has really been liking granola and yogurt. His favorite flavor is strawberry orange sunrise and he eats granola in it. It's kind of a kick we are all on, but a good one for Mr. Sweet Tooth.

*Yes, Blake still has a major sweet tooth. Anything with sugar is by far his favorite food. Fruit snacks, skittles, gummy worms, sprees, runts, some squirty sweet tart stuff that comes in a tube that weighs about 1/2 pound, and starburst. The chewier and sweeter, the better! His favorite entrees right now are anything out of the Kid Cuisine blue box line, cheeseburgers, chips and dip, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. He washes all of this down with Mt. Dew, Squirt, Hawaiian Punch, Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, or Coke. You have to take his drink away from him at dinner because he will "drink" his supper if you'd let him. He does like apples and grapes on the "healthy" side of things. Total junk food junkie. I know. Bad parenting.

*He loves baseball and is so excited to be playing hard ball in Alexis this summer. I think their games start in mid-May. Oh boy!

*He loves, loves, loves, loves, loves his 4 wheeler. No shock to anyone! And loves doing burn outs in our newly gravelled driveway even more!

*He loves his big cousins Erik, Luke, and Chase. Does it really matter that they are 17, 20, and 23??

*He is really into Hot Wheels. He must have 150 cars and knows the make/model of each one. When we are at Target, he knows exactly which ones he has and does NOT have! They're only $1, Mom! I'll pay you back! Famous last words.

*He loves the After School Program. He wants to go everyday. It works out good because his friends are there to play with and .... Brooke and I can run errands and get groceries on our own.

*Speaking of, Blake HATES shopping and running errands. Unless he can buy candy or a hot wheel, then he's all for it.... for a minute.... until he gets his treat.... then he's done.

*Blake despise homework. It's a battle everynight. He does very well in school though and loves school despite telling you he hates it.

*Blake talks. All the time. All day long. All night long. All of the 2 minute drive to school. All through supper. From the time he opens his eyes in the morning until the very second his big blue eyes close at night.

*Don't tell anyone......but Blake will play Barbies with Brooke forever. He is so funny to listen to when they are playing. He will kill me someday for posting this.

*Blake wears cowboy boots just about everywhere. Even if they don't technically go with his outfit, he wears them. If his jeans are "boot cut" (which he looks at every morning he's getting dressed), he wears his boots instead of tennis shoes. But for his birthday he asked for "skateboarding" tennis shoes like Erik's. I don't get it - skateboarder or farm boy??

*Blake is a total boy! He loves his sister (he'll hate me for this too) and always tells her that right before he goes to sleep. I think as he is dozing off his soft side comes out. He gets pretty upset if she doesn't reciprocate so he might say it a couple times until she says it back ....just to get him to stop talking!

Happy Birthday, Blake "BJ" Ryner! We love you bunches.... even though you talk our ears off!! Have a wonderful Friday!


Blake's 1st Race

While we were getting soaked in Tipton, Blake and Luke headed to Sandy Oaks for the first WFO Promotions ATV Race of the season. A little or a lot of rain - neither of them affect Blake. He loves mud and the more he can ride in it, the better! He thought the race was a blast, but I'm not sure that Luke thought it was so much fun since the weather was so crappy. He got 5th and got a trophy so he was a happy little guy. Of course I've heard play by play of that day about 15 times so I feel like I was there. I felt bad that I wasn't, but I told him this was the only race that conflicted with showing. I'll be there next time cheering him on!

Our Soggy Weekend in Tipton

Well I guess I've slacked off since telling you all that we were going to have a busy, wet weekend a couple weekends ago. We did end up going to Tipton and it was awful. Well, it was good experience, but the weather and conditions were terrible. There was so much mud and standing water that everyone was getting stuck. Trucks and livestock trailers, plus cars, were stuck all over the place. Luckily we got out while the gettin' was good! We learned quickly that none of us have the stamina for these far away, long day shows. Brooke and Rachel did not sleep well at all that night. It was storming and neither of them do well with storms. So by 4:00, which was really 3:00 with the time change, they were up for the day. I laid in bed until a little before 5 and we were out the driveway at 5:58 a.m. Long, wet, raining, dark drive to the show. There were lots of die-hard cattle people there, and we were right in the midst of it all. Brooke didn't show until 11:00 a.m. and was supposed to show her steer around 2:00, but at 1:30 we called it a day and headed home. She was afraid to show her steer because she felt like she hadn't worked with him enough so I told Jeff to head home. It was a long, quiet ride home because Jeff was upset that she didn't show her heifer too well. She actually did a fine job, but didn't place well because her heifer was outweighed again. After everything, I learned that pouring rain + cattle show = MISERY. Lesson learned.

Getting ready to take off

on Saturday, March 7, 2009

We should all be in bed now, but Jeff is the only one who is. Luke, Rachel, Blake, and Brooke are playing Wii, and don't sound too ready for bed! Brooke, Rachel, Jeff, and I will be getting up very early (me at 5 a.m. , that's really 4 a.m.!) and will be heading out by 6:00 am at the latest. We're heading off to Tipton, Iowa in the pouring rain to a muddy mess at the Cedar County Fairgrounds for a March Madness Cattle Show. Oh boy! As bad as I'm wanting to go, I really am a fair weather farmer deep in my heart! I don't like washing and fitting calves in the rain or cold or snow.... the inside comfort of my barn makes it more appealing than out in the weather like we will be tomorrow! It will be a long day for sure. Rachel is going with us so Brooke has someone to "hang" with. Brooke will be showing Jewels, the heifer with the bad hock, and Tank, her steer (formerly known as Coal and Buff... we can't decide what to name him, but he is as big as a tank!).

While we are there, Luke is taking Blake to the first 4 wheeler race of the weekend, at Sandy Oaks in Keithsburg. It will be a muddy mess there, too, but they never cancel. I tried and tried to convince him to go with us but he really wants to race. I think this is the only time that the two conflict with each other so I guess it's okay. Cowboy, his steer, won't like being home alone though. Poor thing.

Hopefully I'll be able to update with how we did late tomorrow night. Wish us luck and pray that it stops raining! Ugghh....


on Friday, March 6, 2009

It's 9:08 on a Friday night and I'm ready to go to bed. Pretty pathetic. Brooke is spending the night with Rachel, and Blake has a friend over to spend the night, too. I wish I could say it was quiet around here. It's far from quiet though. Blake + friend = LOUD! He was bummed when I told him that the girls were staying here tonight.... they love to torture them! Darn.

This past week was ISAT testing at school. It is so exhausting. The tests are so hard for my students, and we all get so frustrated. Of course I don't think they try near as hard as they should. I know Brooke has been tired at night, too, because of the 4th grade tests. She voiced her opinion several times that the tests were "stupid" and "hard" and "stupid" and "hard". Thank goodness Blake isn't old enough to take them, I suppose he'll just make designs on the answer sheets with the answer dots.

We bought Blake a new mattress and it was delivered today. It is sooo much thicker than his old one. His old one was from mom and dad's house, was probably 30 years old, and weighed probably 200 pounds. It was hard as a rock and Blake complained of his back hurting, so we broke down and got him a better one. A nice pillow top.... maybe he'll sleep in tomorrow. Of course, last weekend he slept in until 11:00 one day.

Chores are still consuming a lot of my time. Jeff is wondering why I don't pay even half the attention to him that I pay to my (I mean the kids') calves. Brooke's heifer, Jewels, is being treated for an inflamed hock so I've been keeping a very close eye on here. This could make or break her as far as showing. She doesn't have a natural stride and is very stiff in her walk in her back left leg. The vet (who comes 3 x a week to give her a shot directly into her vein...cha ching! I hear the vet bills piling up!) thought she was doing better today. I sure hope so. She is so sweet and we are so attached to her, looking forward to having a successful showing season with her. Say a little prayer that she will recuperate quickly and be back to her old self.

Speaking of chores, this weekend poses another busy one for us. Tomorrow I have to wash/rinse all 3 calves, which should take about 4 hours by the time I'm all said and done. We have to get the trailer packed up for a show on Sunday, too. Brooke is showing in a March Madness Beef Blowout show in Tipton, Iowa on Sunday. We could go tomorrow, too, but I really need one day at home this weekend to get some things done. While we are in Tipton, Blake will be racing 4 wheelers at Sandy Oaks. Luke is taking him. This is the first race of the season, and Blake is thinking that he's going to go to all of them. Of course I don't understand why he would want to do that instead of show calves, but we gave him the choice, and he made it.... despite his mom's recommendations!

Wish us all luck!


on Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some of the things I blog about are strictly for future reference for myself. I hope I enjoy looking back at these blogs in years to come and remember. Like right now for instance, I love doing chores. Chores, for me, consist of about 1 1/2 hours every night. I am in charge of taking the 3 calves, one by one, into the chute and either rinsing, washing, or just blowing the dirt out of their hair. Depending on how dirty they get while being tied up, means how much work I have to do. Jeff is in charge of feeding and scooping poop. And, the kids are becoming really good at walking their calves in and out of the barn and hosing off the mats that the calves lay on. You can't imagine how much poop we see in one day!! It's funny that this is what I love to do. When I see or talk to people that I know from long ago, they have a hard time believing that I love working with our calves. Thinking back though, I have a hard time believing that I love working with our calves! At the shows, it drives me crazy to see the "show moms" as they call themselves, all dolled up with bedazzled shirts with their fancy family's show cattle logo or a studded out outline of a steer, with their jeweled belts, fancy Fatbaby Lariat boots (that are clean nonetheless), their hair all fancied up with perfect makeup - SITTING or just WALKING around..... just looking pretty! I don't understand why they don't HELP! I bet I am on of a handful of moms that actually do any of the work with the calves. I know people don't like to sit by me at the shows since I am the one with crappy boots on, jeans with manure on them, dirty hands, messy hair, and sometimes a little smear of dirt on my face. But you know what? I don't care. I do this for my kids. By the way, sometimes I wonder if they love it as much as I do. (I know, Cathi..... I know what you are going to say... they don't) But, sadly, this is just about the only thing that all 4 of us enjoy doing together. We've got many, many more years of this, so I just hope I can look back at this very day and enjoy it as much 12 years down the road as I do now. My house may not be clean. There may not be a great supper every night. The laundry may not be done. My vacuum may not move for a few days. But, by golly, I've got clean calves and I LOVE them!!!

Beef Expo Pictures

Here are just a few pictures of last weekend. I wish I could have taken some better ones. Photography is just not my thing.

Illinois Beef Expo

Last weekend was a big weekend for us. We took the kids and their calves to Springfield to the 2009 Illinois Beef Expo. It is held at the state fairgrounds, and it was our first time down there. This is a much bigger show than what we've ever showed at so we were all a little bit nervous.... okay, maybe me more than anyone. Brooke took her heifer, Jewels, and Blake took his steer, Cowboy (previously known as JT). Brooke's steer was dehorned that same week so we left him at home to recuperate for a few days by himself. By the way, I don't think he really liked being home alone!

There ended up being about 800 calves there - coming from all over the state of Illinois and ranging in price from $500 (Blake's steer was probably the cheapest there!) all the way well into the 10's of thousands.... like maybe $20,000 for some! Whoa. I can't imagine having something worth that much money, especially a show calf. But some people really get into it. It was like being in an old town village - brick paved streets, lined with old brick buildings full of calves and their showmen. There was constant action and tons and tons of people. We learned a lot and it was a great experience.

Our days started at 6:00 am and ended at 9:00 pm so it was an exhausted weekend for sure. The kids always found time to hit the pool for a few minutes at a time. I don't think they've fully recuperated yet. At least I haven't!

Brooke showed Saturday night. Jewels looked so great. They had her fitted so nicely and of course I thought she looked the best! Brooke had a major meltdown before entering the ring. She cried and cried and cried and cried. She didn't want to show and was refusing to even go into the ring. There were several nice young ladies that were talking to her, trying to convince her that she would be fine. The problem was that Brooke was the first to enter the ring in her class. There were 9 heifers, and hers was the lightest so that meant she had to lead the pack. That posed a big problem for poor Brooke. It would be like leading an animal into a ring the size of a basketball court with 5,000 people watching - that's 10,000 eyes all on you and your animal. Needless to say, I had to walk away and let everyone else calm her down. I definitely make her more nervous. But... she did it! She walked into that show ring and did her best. Jewels definitely felt Brooke's nerves so she wasn't cooperating too well. There were 2 heifers in her class that got away from their handlers so that made Brooke even more nervous. Brooke placed 8th out of 9. I don't have many good pictures, it was very dark in the arena and I couldn't seem to get a good picture to save my soul.

Blake showed Sunday afternoon. Was he nervous???? NO. Not at all. In fact, he was pretty cocky about the whole thing.... until he walked into the ring. He actually did fine. It was funny to hear the crowd as he walked in. I could hear lots of "Ahhh, look at that little guy" and "Oh my he's so little". They were right. He was the youngest one there showing. In fact, I bet Brooke and Blake were the 2 youngest showmen there. There were a couple young boys, but I'm betting they were at least 11. Everyone in Blake's class were in high school. You can show until you're 21. He ended up letting go of Cowboy once he got spooked by the steer beside him. The steer drug his showmen across the ring and once Cowboy pulled on Blake, he just let go! He placed 4th out of 5.

The big highlight of the weekend was Blake getting stuck in a bucket! Zack tried to pick him up and we literally could not get that bucket off of Blake's butt! It was hilarious! I could have cried because of laughing, but I'm glad I didn't - my tears would have frozen!

All in all, we had a lot of fun! And it was a great experience for all of us! I'll post some pictures in a little bit - but it's time do chores! I'll be back.....

A Big Thank You

on Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yesterday Carrie and Larry came up with a surprise for John and Wanda. Larry had made this "Ryner" cedar log for them as a thank you for everything they've done for our family. Wanda went to a lot of work to make quilts for all of us, and they are so good to let Larry and his cronies come up to the pond to fish. One of Larry's buds always says it's the best little fishing pond around! John and Wanda were also very supportive when Mom and Dad passed away. They were friends with Mom and Dad for decades, so all of the Ryner kids grew up with the Flatt kids. I bet they didn't suspect that two of the would ever marry each other! I think they were really surprised about the log. I guess they were just talking about one the other day. It's beautiful and it's going to look really good when Wanda gets some of her beautiful flowers planted around it! Thanks again, John and Wanda. We love you!

Happy Anniversary

on Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today would have been Dad and Mom's 52nd wedding anniversary. I've been thinking of them a lot lately. It's amazing how much you can miss someone. When I don't feel good, Mom is the first person I want to call, and I've found myself wanting to call her so she can tell me to take some tums so I would feel better. The other night when I talked to Cathi, they were getting ready to go to Roseville to eat catfish and I about asked her if Dad was going with them. Some days it seems as if they are still here, and other days it seems like they've been gone for a long time. Wanda made all of us a quilt out of Dad's bibs and some of Mom's old shirts. I need to get a picture of it on here. It is so neat. I've found myself using it a lot lately!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. I'm sure they are celebrating together in Heaven. I love you.

(Also happy anniversary to Kevin and Kathy yesterday!)


I really haven't posted in a long time. Geesh, I wonder what my problem has been. Gee, could it be that I've been sick since January 20th???? I tell ya, I am so tired of being sick and tired, I could just scream! So a few people (no names mentioned Cathi, Jackie, & Keely) have reminded me to update my blog. I really don't have much to tell, but I will highlight a few things.

1. Not sure this is a highlight, but as I type - Blake is chewing his toenails. I know - GROSS! But, what a talented, flexible young boy. Don't ya think?

2. Jeff had a good time on his snowmobiling trip to Wyoming. They returned home safely. I'm sure he was wishing he could have stayed longer because he returned home to one sick wife. I started getting sick on January 20th.... and I can't say I'm over it yet. I had a double ear infection, sinus infection, and bronchitis. Yuck!

3. Brooke and Blake got straight A's on their report cards a couple weeks ago. Hurray!

4. We had a fun time at the Watsons' Super Bowl Party last weekend. Our family is really taking a liking to Lisa and Kamden (Cody's girlfriend and her daughter). That little Kamden is so cute, and Lisa is sure sweet. We love having them around. We had lots of yummy snacks at the party, too. That's strictly why I go to those types of things - the food.

5. Speaking of #4, Blake went with Uncle Kevin to a farm toy show this morning in Roseville. They bought a Johnny Tractor book for Kamden and Blake read it to her this afternoon.

6. We bought a heifer for Brooke last weekend. She is a beauty! Brooke is going to show her at the Illinois Beef Expo in a couple weeks in Springfield. I, of course, am terribly excited about starting to show so soon! We will be there February 20-22nd. The kids will also be showing the last weekend in March at the WIU Hoof-n-Horn show in Roseville.

7. Yesterday was a beautiful day ------ 60 degrees!! We took advantage of the nice weather for sure. The kids played outside. I washed Brooke's heifer and blew her out to perfection. Then I washed the 2 steers for the first time. They were pretty cooperative.

8. Jeff has been working in the barn all weekend. He built a room in there that will be a "wash room" for me to use to wash the calves in during the cold weather. It will be heated, and if we ever want to put in a cooler, it will be already set up for that.

A Few Other Things -

9. Please keep my brother Kevin in your thoughts and prayers. He is having surgery on the 18th for a torn rotator cuff (spelling not so sure?). He will have several weeks of recovery and therapy. I can't imagine him being a very "patient" patient!

10. Please keep our friend Jackie in your prayers, too. She will be starting a new chemo drug soon.

11. Also keep my friend Carrie in your thoughts as she will become a 1st time Mommy in about 6 weeks!

Sorry no pictures this time. I've been slacking off in that department, too! Till next time....

Watching the Radar Runs!

on Sunday, January 18, 2009

Here is Blake laying on the lake... looks like he's really into watching the races, huh? He actually was. This was just one of the times he was being weird. Imagine that!
Miss Rachel watching.

Brooke watching.

The kids watching intently as their Daddy raced down the lake!! Yes, that is Cody and Lisa in the background. I couldn't get a picture of just them without it looking obvious that I was taking a picture of just them!!!