Friday, September 24, 2010

What? Is that weird or something?

Do you ever have those moments when you realize that your version of normal is actually the very opposite of that? Like when you're at a restaurant and order "juice-wawa" for the baby without even realizing that yours is the only family on earth that calls it that? I had one of those moments recently. I have them a lot, actually, and it usually happens when we have an "outside" person come over to our house. Let me explain.

In anticipation of actually having a regular date night with my husband, I invited someone up to our house to meet the kids, in hopes that she can become a regular babysitter for us. I've known this girl for a long time, know her family, and think she is great. I was super excited for the boys to meet her and even cleaned the house in the morning in preparation for her visit. (I didn't want the usual mess to scare her off or make her think I'm some sort of crazy mom who can't keep her house clean (even though I totally am)). So, she arrived, the boys were thrilled to meet another adult willing to talk to them and build legos, and we soon decided to give her the tour of the farm. That is where we went wrong, because we were about to encounter a whole lot of "normal" that, it seems, is really only normal for us.

The first stop, of course, was the chickens. As we walked to the coop, Moses told her all about raising them from chicks, shoveling their poop out into the pasture, and the fact that our puppy had recently killed one and now maybe he is a "bird dog" but we hope not, because if he is we will have to get rid of him... I was barely registering his flow of (completely normal) conversation, because I had noticed that the chickens were not in their semi-enclosed coop area. This is unusual, especially in warmer weather because they like to stay in the shade close to their water. Moses and I immediately went into chicken-protection mode and scooted out around the corner to the pasture, with our future babysitter and Titus in tow. As soon as we did this we were faced with the devastated remains of one of my Buff Brahmas, which was completely covered in wasps.

Everyone gasped, and Moses and I ran forward to get a better view of what had happened. (It occurs to me at this point that I am glad we actually did gasp in horror, since up here on the farm we often stumble upon your run-of-the-mill dead animal. The usual response is to roll one's eyes, grab the nearest shovel or long stick, and hoist the thing into the garbage can. Or, in a lazier moment, just call one of the dogs over and hope he gobbles it up. If it had been anything other than one of our prized chickens, the poor babysitter would have thought we were downright inhuman.) Upon further inspection, we noticed that only the leg was left of our once beautiful chicken. Moses and I both started jabbering at each other at once: "Only the leg! Another Buff Brahma! Those are the nicest ones! Oh man, dad's going to be so mad at Bentley! I don't want Bentley to be a bird dog - I love him! Maybe it wasn't him - maybe a possum got it! Where are the other ones? What if something ate them too? I can't believe this - where is the rest of it?!" and so on. As Moses and I set off through the pasture in search of the rest of the dead chicken, I had a brief moment of clarity and realized "maybe this isn't normal." I looked back at the future babysitter and confirmed: no, this is not normal. One glimpse at the look on her face told me that not everyone goes running around their backyard looking for chicken carcasses with their young children in tow. Maybe not everyone has even seen living chicken, let alone the severed leg of a dead one. This poor girl had obviously not, though she put on a very brave face and helped us round up the rest of the chickens, who were unharmed.

After we returned to the house, I tried to make some boring yet comforting conversation with her, asking her such things as "how are you liking school," and "how are your brothers doing," but the dead-chicken experience was kind of still looming over us. She miraculously agreed to come back the next day to babysit the kids while Brett and I went out, and I apologized for the "weird afternoon." She was very forgiving and said something like "well, sometimes these things happen," which was very nice of her. Things like this don't EVER happen to most people. As she got into her car I couldn't help saying "this is actually a pretty normal afternoon for us," which didn't seem to make things any better. I had a momentary uncomfortable feeling as I watched her car disappear down the driveway ... things are crazy up here, aren't they? But then I heard Moses calling for help - a hummingbird had gotten into the house and he needed help getting it out. I snapped out of it, ran into the house, and returned to my regular old, normal life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

God bless this mess:

... or maybe send someone to clean it up. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Custom Patchwork Quilt

Here is the quilt top of a custom order I've been working on. The customer chose such bright and fun prints! I'm having tons of fun working on this and another gender-neutral one. I'll post more pictures as I finish these up. Today I hope to sew on the sashing and baste them (fingers crossed on that - Moses has soccer practice this evening and I'm still not organized enough to keep that from throwing off the whole rest of the day.)

I'm loving the orange-purple combination here. Pretty sweet. Happy Monday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kid Painting

A long time ago I bought a large canvas and some paints, with plans to have Moses paint a picture to decorate his room. He decided that he wanted to paint a picture of a truck, and I set about non-artistically drawing a (terrible) picture of a truck on the canvas and helping him "paint inside the lines"... You can see where this is going. It was not fun for either of us, and the end result was boring and ugly. Fortunately, in this area I can admit my type-A limitations, so I called in an expert: Aunt Cindy.

Cindy is a real artist - some day when I have wall space I want to buy everything she has ever painted. She is also great at hanging out with kids, so when she showed up with her bag of paint brushes, the entire truck painting experience was transformed.

Moses had a blast painting the sky, splattering rain drops, mixing colors, even playing tic-tac-toe while waiting for parts of the painting to dry. Cindy did a great job of guiding Moses without stifling his creative spirit. She explained to him that when painting it is really easy to paint over the best parts, so she encouraged him to take his time and stop painting when things looked good.

It was so much fun to watch the two of them create something so beautiful. I love how Cindy's painting and Moses' painting blend together seamlessly. It is definitely a truck, but definitely a truck that a kid painted. It is hanging in the boys' room which is still in transition. When I get things finished I'll show you pictures of how the painting looks on the wall (don't hold your breath, though. I'm a very slow decorator!) Thanks Aunt Cindy - we LOVE our painting!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

IKEA, yes!

It's a long story, really... It all started when we decided to re-pipe our house. This meant that Brett needed to drill holes through the back of the pantry where we keep literally ALL of our things that aren't clothes. All of that stuff would have to be taken out. This made us think that perhaps we could use more closet space, which reminded us that we have bunk beds that could set up in Moses' bedroom, which would allow us to put both boys in the same bedroom and turn Titus' current "room" back into a closet. This necessitated rearranging all the furniture in Moses' room, which meant taking down all of the cute decorations I had finally hung up. This resulted in an ugly bedroom. And THAT resulted in today's trip to IKEA.

I never knew how much I love this store. Normally I would wait for Brett to be home before going on such an involved excursion, but today I felt desperate to decorate, so it was just the kids and me. And we had FUN! The atmosphere is totally laid back and family friendly and there are plenty of couches and beds for the kids to "try out" without fear of employees giving you the evil eye. In the kids' area, which is where we spent most of our time, there is a slide set up and tons of little things for the kids to play with while mommy shops. Then there is the amazing restaurant - my kids each ate their weight in Swedish Meatballs and I think I spent something like $6. Hopefully we'll get all the new fun stuff into the room soon so I can show you some pictures. Thanks IKEA!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Here Comes Trouble

See the crazy one, the one biting his brother's foot? That guy has been cracking us all up lately. His favorite new word is "too." He sticks it at the end of pretty much any sentence, and it usually makes sense, in a weird way. There are the often-heard "I wanna dee-dee dah-dah too," (I want a quesadilla too) and "I wanna det dowwwn too." And then the more original "NO BAHN-TEE! DO DAT TOO!" (No, Bentley! Do that too!) But the other day we heard his best use of the word "too" to date. Pointing at his older brother, who was on time out, he said "Bebe in tubbah," and I said, "Yes, Moses is in trouble." (Even though he can pronounce Moses' name, he insists on calling him bebe, with a French accent to boot. Moses hates it, but the rest of us hope he does it forever.) He thought for a second, put his little hand on his hip, and said "I wanna det in tubbah too." Somehow I don't think that's going to be a problem for him.

Monday, September 6, 2010

RIP Roosters

Or, as my brother put it "Take that, Black Australorps!" These were the 6 meanest roosters I've ever known, and we've had quite a few. When we noticed that they were regularly terrorizing the smaller hens, we decided their number was up. Last Saturday we butchered all 6 of my black Australorp roosters, who, it turns out, are not "docile and easy to handle," as the chicken catalog claimed. But they are delicious - we ate two of them last night (yes, two. They were scrawny little guys.) Two more went home with friends, and the last two are wrapped in freezer paper waiting for next week's dinner.

Right now there is a huge vat of rooster stock simmering on the stove - my first attempt. I'll let you know how it turns out this winter when we start having soup again.

I've saved all the gruesome pictures of the slaughtering for myself and the select few people I know won't judge me for eating animals that I raised from babyhood. I do have this for you, though: Moses catching the first rooster we butchered. I stayed a close distance away, which is why the picture is a bit hard to make out. He just marched right in there, grabbed one of those mean birds by the tail, and hoisted it up onto his shoulder (a totally unnecessary act of showmanship, but we were impressed nonetheless). Moses has a few battle wounds from the rooster's beak and claws as it literally fought for its life, but he seems pretty proud of them.

So now my kids have experienced the full cycle and know where their food comes from. I like that they have done this and consider themselves "farm boys." What about you - would you ever let your kids butcher a live chicken?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Keeping Cool

School may be back in session, but that doesn't mean summer is over!

(This was my best purchase of the year by far - a $4 slip-n-slide from Target that has sprinklers on it. Awesome!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


The please-finish-me pile is growing smaller, and the shop is being restocked. Go check it out!