November 25, 2011

Sneaky Holiday

Okay, I wasn't completely caught off guard. I knew it was coming. I had even purchased turkey. I had put some thought into it. Apples were in the bowl, potatoes were in the drawer, and cranberries waited in the fridge. I made sure of it. And yet, somehow, I kept thinking Thanksgiving was further away. It just sort of sneaked up on me, what with the Whooping Cough and all...

The last few days my house has been filled with words like Pertussis, quarantine, and  "Quick, wipe the baby's face before he gets snot on everything!"

That reminds me. I have a question for you. Why do babies take it as a personal insult whenever someone even thinks of wiping their noses?  Really. Any time I approach Joey with a tissue in my hand he looks at me like he has just met his arch-nemesis. "So, Mama, we met again. What weapon do you bring against me this time? Another tissue? Hah! You think you can wipe my nose? You and what army?" He's very determined.

He is also very generous. Joey was not content to keep the cough to himself. He happily shared with two of his siblings.  This made nighttime in our household downright musical. In the wee hours, as I rocked my snuffly baby boy in the living room, a symphony of coughing could be heard coming from the bedrooms upstairs. There is real talent there. I'm thinking of taking them on tour.

So much to be thankful for - doctors and medicine (even the yucky tasting kind), our new home, my husband's job, having my children all under my roof... GOD IS SO GOOD!
This Thanksgiving was our first big holiday here at Cold Anchor Farm. I can't wait for Christmas! Hopefully we won't have the plague.

November 21, 2011

Children of the Corn

Did you ever watch that movie? For the record, I am NOT, into horror movies. Nope, nope, nope. Not a fan. I tried once, but decided to forgo further attempts when I discovered watching an entire movie with your hands over your eyes leaves red marks on your face. That, and for some reason asking "What's happening now?" every ten seconds seems to annoy people.

Yeah. No more scary movies for me. Now, my hubby does watch scary movies; though he prefers the old-school, cheesy, B-movie classics, like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. As a kid he watched Children of the Corn and has never run through a cornfield since. He says they're creepy. (He says red doors are creepy, too, but that's another story...)

I rather like the cornfields that almost completely surround our farm. Never having watched a movie about evil children living in cornfields, I find them charming. Our neighbor has begun harvesting the corn in his field, but seeing we had no snow fence up to protect our long driveway from drifting snow, he offered to leave several rows of stalks along our property line. Wasn't that nice? In exchange, he wondered if we would be willing to pick the corn off the standing stalks for him.

Hey, where did my husband go? Wasn't he standing here next to me a moment ago? Cleaning the garage? Now? Fine. The kids and I would pick the corn ourselves. No problem.

And it wasn't. The corn was simple to twist off the stalks. It wasn't even the tiniest bit creepy out there.

No evil children here.

Just Mary and Brendan... fighting...
Hey! Get back to work!

That's better.

All done.

Now, inside to warm up. Maybe we'll watch a movie...

Winnie the Pooh, anyone?


November 19, 2011

Knock, Knock

Did you hear that sound?

Knock, knock.

There it goes again! Is someone knocking on a door? Yes! How exciting!

We finally have a bathroom door on our second floor bathroom! An actual, solid, can't-see-through-it door! Oh joy! Oh rapture!

When we bought our beloved old farm house this summer we knew it had a long list of unfinished projects that came with it. Ever optimistic, I was certain we would complete the top ten items within days of moving in. Hmm... Yeah... About that...

A bathroom door was pretty high on the list. Not that I am used to complete privacy in the powder room. I gave up on that idea long ago. Privacy is a foreign concept to my youngest. Even my older children, who want privacy for themselves by the way, seem baffled by the thought that mom might not want company in the bathroom.

"You want to be alone? How come?"

It is not uncommon for someone to barge in while I am soaking in the hot water and attempt a conversation through the shower curtain. My response:

"Are you bleeding? No? Is the house on fire? No? You just want to chat? Um... No. Go away." (sigh)

That was back when we lived in a house that had a bathroom door. Imagine how much privacy one gets when there is only a piece of fabric tacked up over the doorway. Well, not anymore!

Matt and David wrestled the new door up the stairs. "I'll put it up this weekend" Matt said, leaning the door against the wall in the hallway. "Wouldn't you rather put it up tonight?" I asked. Apparently I asked in that "I sound like I'm requesting, but I'm really insisting" tone, because Matt gave me that look and immediately began grumbling. It sounded something like "grumble, grumble...find my tools.... mumble, mumble... drag them all the way up here... grumble, mumble... shims, level, saw..."

An hour later even Matt had to smile. There before us, in what was once a big old gap in the wall, was a beautiful new door. It closed. It opened. It had a lock!

Now I'm off to check this project off the list... then close the bathroom door and take a nice  hot bath all - by - myself.

November 18, 2011

She's Quacking Me Up

I heard someone behind me as I sat at my desk.
Mary's little hand stretched out and set something on the keyboard.
"It's a present." she whispered before tip-toeing away.

Looking down I saw this staring at me:

What would I do without her?

November 17, 2011

Where I’m From

I am from Coffee Mugs and Diaper Pins,

From Lipton Tea,

And Cheerios.

I am from the Old Farmhouse on the Rise

Where Echoes of Noisy Children Are Heard Within and Without.

I am from Apple Trees, Dandelions, and River Rocks,

Climbing Trees, Lilacs, and Sticks

Wielded Like Swords by Play-Fighting Boys.

I’m from Advent Candles

And Storytelling.

From Listening to Uncles Play Guitar in the Hayloft,

And Exploring Trinkets on Grandma Connie's Dressing Table.

I’m from the Musically Talented

And Loving.

From Go to Sleep So Santa Will Come,

And Always Say Your Prayers.

I’m From Catholic Since Birth

Seeking Holiness in the Ordinary.

I’m from Ireland, Russia, Mexico,

From Enchiladas and Potato Soup.

From Folding Newsletters With Papa,

And Singing Old Mr. Garret With Mom.

From Framed Pictures On My Walls,

And My Parent’s Home In Bakersfield

Holding Photo Albums Lovingly Compiled Showing

Where I Am From.

My Mom and Papa with their eight children - including me!

 Thanks to Lisa at Are We There Yet? for sharing this cool template!

November 15, 2011

Out With The Old...

Not long ago, we attended a Change of Command ceremony. I found parts of it quite interesting. My children? Not so much. During one of the speeches I held this whispered conversation with Alex:

Alex: Mom, how come grown-ups like stuff like this?

Me: Stuff like what?

Alex: You know - blah, blah, blah, talking. Don't you think it's boring? Why don't you look bored?

Me: (sighing a little) Lots of practice.

Alex: You mean all the grown-ups here are bored and pretending they're not? Well, when I'm a grown-up, I'm never doing anything boring. I'm going to be an exciting person all the time!

I can't wait to see how that works out for him.

The speeches may not have been very exciting for Alex, but other parts of the ceremony were. I do have to admit, seeing Matt in his dress uniform, piping aboard commanding officers gave me a thrill. We don't usually get to see him at his work. It was the whole reason we attended. The kids were all so proud of their daddy.  After the ceremony they swamped Matt, touching his uniform, running their hands over his ribbons, tugging on the intricate lanyard he had made. Joey even tried his hand at piping. Watching his youngest son slobbering all over his Boatswain's pipe, Matt grimaced a bit and took little Joseph to play with the bell instead. What a good daddy.

There was cake. The kids got to play in Matt's office. They ran around in the gym. And in the end, even Alex decided it had been time well spent.

November 14, 2011

'Til The Cows Come Home

Getting up early is one thing I have in common with our dairy farm neighbors. I keep my lights off so as not to wake my husband or children, but I always seem to rise just as the lights are coming on at the farmhouse across the road. No, I don't have to get up to milk any cows. In the early hours of the morning, or what normal people like to think of as "For crying out loud, it's still the middle of the night!", I quietly make my way into the living room and settle into my husband's reclining chair, lean against my beloved heating pad, and try to breathe through the spasms that grip my shoulders and back. It has become my routine.

I marvel at the resolute industry these farmers display. While I sit in the warmth of my living room listening to the snores drifting out of the children's bedrooms, my neighbors are pulling on their boots and trudging out to their barns to begin the day's labor. At least, that's what usually happens.

A couple mornings ago my husband, Matt, was actually up before I was. He had to head to work extra early and was just starting the coffee when I walked in. "Go look out the front window" he urged me. A surprising sight greeted my bleary eyes.

Apparently, our neighbors have rebellious cows. Through the darkness, by the glare of flashing red and blue lights I spied one sheriff's patrol car driving slowly up the road, while another was driving slowly down the road. Between them a herd of cows guiltily plodded, looking for all the world like naughty children caught with their collective hands in a cookie jar. Maybe, tired of milk, they had gone on a beer run. This is Wisconsin after all. Maybe they had snuck out to crash a party held by cows down the road. Perhaps a secret cow fight club? What ever they had been up to, they weren't talking.

The early morning round-up has been the talk of the town. It was reported in the local police blotter. My husband even heard about those naughty cows over the radio on his way in to work the next day. And to think it all happened right out my front window. I guess getting up a little early has it's advantages.

November 13, 2011

If Only I Had Known

My husband, Matt, walked through the hallway carrying little Joey in his arms. One of Matt's co-workers piped up, "Hey Boats, where'd you get the baby? Mail order?"

Mail order? I wish someone would have told me. Apparently I've been doing it wrong all these years.

November 12, 2011

There's Always Tomorrow

I had a plan. I had a list. Everything was going to go smoothly and I was going to get so much done. There is after all that moment, first thing in the morning, when the whole day stretches out before you like an empty notebook just waiting to be filled.

I had my cup of coffee in my hand and the sun was beginning to peek over the distant trees. Everything was possible. All the children's school work would be completed before lunch. Every box still stacked against the walls would be unpacked. Every stitch of clothing in the laundry would be washed, folded, and put away. The shopping would be done. The garage would be cleaned out. That Christmas program I was supposed to put together for church would be finished, never mind that I hadn't even started it yet. Where there was daylight, there was hope!

Plus, Matt was home. It would be just like that daydream where I cloned myself and got twice as much done. Just because it had never once happened that way in the 20 years I had been married to the man was no reason to doubt it now. Today would be awesome!

First I'd just check my email...

Enough of that. Time to make breakfast.

Wait. Why is there a yellow puddle on the kitchen floor? Ugh. "Where is the dog?" Well, I'll just clean that up right quick.

What a treat to have daddy with us at the breakfast table on a weekday! We should have something special. It will only take a few extra minutes. Okay, breakfast is done. What's next?

Time for everyone to get dressed. "What do you mean you have no clean shirts? What about the clothes I sent to your room yesterday?" ...sigh... "Check the dryer. No? Check your bedroom floor."

Spelling tests. Check. Math lessons. Check. Fussy baby? Check. It's a good thing he's so darn cute!

Shopping list completed. "Shall we go after lunch? What? A doctor appointment? Oh dear! I had forgotten!"

Doctor's appointment first, shopping after.

Shopping takes longer than usual. Baby Joey is now in a happy mood and smiles at everyone in the store. Everyone in turn stops to smile back and say hello to Joey. The store is crowded. That's a whole lot of folks to stop and say hello.

Before we leave town we make an oh-so-quick stop at the second-hand store. They may have snow boots for sale. "Don't worry. We'll be fast as can be. I'm only looking for snow boots!"

Now leaving the second-hand store with a bag full of children's books. "Snow boots? Oh yeah. I almost forgot. We'll try one more store..."

Everyone is now tucked into bed and I'll soon slide beneath the covers,too. What of my grand plans? What of my list? Well, there's always tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. I'll grab that list and and get to work. I'll start at the top and check everything off as I go. I know I can do it. I'll have all day. I just know tomorrow's gonna be awesome!

November 9, 2011

First Snow

It's still coming down, only the flakes are larger now. This morning as I let the dogs back in I stepped out on to the porch for a moment to watch tiny white specks mingle with the drizzle that was falling. The world was so quiet, all sound muffled except for a very soft shoosh-ing sound as the rain/snow made contact with the ground. The rain gradually gave way to a full snow storm which covered everything in sight with a thick layer of heavy, wet flakes.

I know I will have to deal with icy roads, snow shovels, sopping wet boots and gloves that leave cold puddles on my floors. There will be cutting wind, frozen noses, and childrens' jackets shed and left in a pile rather than hung on the hooks provided. I know all that comes with white weather. We have lived with it for a few years now.

I know these things, but do not allow my thoughts to linger in their company. Those thoughts are pushed aside and quickly replaced by a sudden desire for hot chocolate and Christmas music. The world has been clothed in brilliant white and looks so fresh and new. The old tree in our front yard has been embraced by snow on one side only - leaving it's dark trunk exposed on the other. It is so very beautiful.

I anticipate a cozy morning of snuggling under blankets on the couch, reading aloud to my children the new book I have been saving, a quiet, sleepy day of looking out our windows at the sparkling wonderland that surrounds us, while being enveloped by the toasty warmth of our new home...

Then the children wake. I hear excited voices and loud thumping on the stairs. Like a crash of rhinos they rush into the living room. For a brief moment five little faces are pressed against the windows surveying the scene outside. Remind me to wash those windows later. As quickly as the room filled it was emptied again. Children in pajamas and bare feet were now outside dancing around in the wet, white stuff. They weren't quiet about it either. Oh my goodness! What will our new neighbors think? So much for my cozy, peaceful day.

We are not ready for cold weather, much less snow. Snow pants, boots, scarves and mittens were still packed away in moving boxes. Had they been packed neatly and clearly labeled making them easy to find? Of course not. We live in a new place, but I am the same old me. The search was on. Baby Joey has not been well and decided that I should spend my morning holding him in my arms. This left the chore of locating snow clothes and boots to my older children. They did a pretty good job. In short order children were decked out in snow pants that almost fit, mismatched gloves, and  an assortment of boots that I was reassured would keep toes warm until I could buy new ones.

Anytime there was a break in lessons the children slipped outside where they made trails, huge snowballs that got bigger and bigger as they were rolled down-hill, snow angels, and a sign, in cursive no less, that said UFOs land here.

The children eventually came in with happy, frozen faces where they were tucked into blankets on the couch, given mugs of hot chocolate, and were read to from a new book saved for just such an occasion. There is a pile of wet boots and jackets on the floor by the door begging to be picked up. And I am feeling sleepy and content in the toasty warmth of my new home, peering out the window at the sparkly wonderland that surrounds me.

November 7, 2011

Cheery Joe

Baby Joey loves his Cheerios!
Oh the joy of it! Oh the enthusiasm! Oh the happy family doggy!

Wishful Thinking

Six-year-old Mary has informed me that sometimes she just needs a little solitude. Yes, she said "solitude".
In this house?
Good luck with that, Sweetheart.

Back to Blogging

I'm baaack!

It feels so good to be blogging again after a three year break. There have been a few changes for our family since then. When I ended my Muddy Bathwater blog in 2008 we still lived in our tiny house in the woods and thoughts of a new baby in the family were not even on the horizon. Now, enjoying the morning sun pouring itself over the sills of my farmhouse living room, nursing my snugly baby boy, I am feeling blessed beyond measure.

Of course, some things will never change. We are still noisy. We are still busy. My family is still filled with crazy people, and I still enjoy every one of them.

I'm so glad you stopped by!