July 26, 2013

My Friday Happy List

I have been neglecting my Friday happy lists something terrible. Poor neglected little things. But I have been happy on Fridays. Have no fear.

This week, my happy-makers are:

1. My husband is coming home. After being gone for two weeks, I am missing that guy.

2. The father of my children is coming home. They are so excited. And I am tired of being a single Mommy.

3. I did not have four kids in bed with me last night. For some reason, when Justin is gone, the kids all gravitate to my bed during the night and I wake up with knees in my back and arms across my face. Not completely restful.

4. Living near my family. Mom, Livie, and Tori took pity on my snappish, over-tired state and took the kids last night for a sleep over.

5. Things to look forward too
                   --a parade and festival on Saturday
                   --Mom's birthday on Sunday
                  --Justin's birthday Monday
                  --a thrift store day next Wednesday
                  --and last, but definitely not least, conventions starting.

Speaking of loving being near my family, here are some pictures of sheep herding. Really, sheep chasing. Owen is selling his sheep. He either had to do a lot of sheep fence building or sell the sheep and buy a few more cows. So he is opting for the cows. The sheep have been free range most of the summer and every time a car drives by and comes to a stop, he has a mini panic attack. (A case was just won in Albany where a woman hit a cow on the road, her insurance refused to pay for the damage and said it was the farmers fault. The farmer lost the case and was responsible for paying for the car. Eeek.)

I am a bit sad to see them go. No more baby lambs for the kids to pet and poke. But then I am not the one who had to go chasing them or get up to check on lambing ewes in the night.

Sheep a-runnin'

Going up the lane

Slowly following the sheep up to the corrals

Which was the wrong technique, since they found a loose bottom wire and surged off in a southernly direction

Mossy rocks while waiting for the sheep to reappear

Owen and Gilbert chasing sheep the modern way

The sheep obediently going this way

....only to turn around and go that way.

Lily explaining sheep turning strategy to Gilbert

Coyote the dog, enthusiastically chased the sheep for awhile and then with the fifth about-face, decided it was a mugs game on a hot day and sat down to await further developments. 

A teensy frog

Elsie and I were matching while we were sheep chasers. Well, we were mostly just standers who flailed arms and hollered.

Finally, after half an hour of "herding" the sheep got into the corral. 

After the sheep were finally in the corral ready for shipping, Gilbert grinned and said "Fun. Yelling!" Haha I don't think it was quite so much fun for Owen and Livie and Tori

Owen driving by the house on the way to cut a farmers field. He and Cody have been doing a bit of custom hay work, haying other people's farms. Cody just bought a baler from Wisconsin, so he was excited to try it out last night. And today. And tomorrow. They like haying. 

July 22, 2013

Return to normal

We had a lovely convention in Canada the week before last and then we came home to oodles of heat, humidity, laundry, a kitchen full of stuff (how do we have that much stuff just going to convention for four days?!?!) and a missing daddy and husband, since Justin had a job in Albany this past week. I didn't even begin to make pretensions to being virtuous enough to combat all of that at once, so life just sort of flowed around me. I kept the kids hydrated and the dishes and laundry clean and tried to make headway against the stuff once things had cooled down in the evening. In other words, I was supremely lazy. I read several books in front of the fan, read a two foot stack of books to the kids, sang a lot of songs, and generally, tried to think of any excuse for remaining semi-conscious in front of the fan. All that hard work paid off--We all survived the heat wave. And now, thanks to a much cooler weekend (we needed sweatshirts yesterday morning!!!!) the house has been neatened up and the outside no longer looks like a fiendish jungle is trying to take over. Hooray! 

I hadn't mowed in two weeks or weeded in... I think five weeks. And lots of irises and hostas needed cutting back, as well as a lupine that mistook itself for a small bush instead of a flowering plant. After all that, I got a brainwave for where to plant the hydrangea I had ordered in May. So I shifted my little rose bush (Type: the Fairy) into a spot where its miniature size was not a drawback, dug up the bleeding heart crown and placed it next to the other bleeding heart (they have an agenda to take over the front lawn each spring, so I figure, putting them next to each other will sort of cancel each other out) and popped the hydrangea in the bleeding heart's hole. Ta-da! I have probably killed them all, transplanting in the middle of summer and rather carelessly too, but still, I felt immensely clever for sorting out the where-to-put-this-hydrangea-that-I-couldn't-resist problem. And to make up for this horrid treatment, I carefully over-watered them with Miracle-Gro. Yes sir, I am an expert gardener. This outdoors ambition was spurred by a quick stop at the greenhouse the other day. Almost everything was 99 cents, except hanging baskets, which were $5.  I simply don't have it in me to resist flowers that cheap. (Yes, I clearly have flower resistance issues.) And really, my flower beds needed a little bit of a boost. Right before we left on our trip, I plopped a bunch of bedding plants in the ground, watered them and left them alone for a month and a half. Surprisingly, they weren't looking very well. I was toying with the idea of just mowing the flower beds as part of our lawn and starting fresh next year But then, there were cheap flowers. And I was once again convinced that this time, my flower beds would be the most beauteous thing that ever happened. Or at least make our house look cared for. 

I really didn't mean to ramble on about my flower beds. So I have very few corresponding pictures. These are just some pictures of recent events. And speaking of recent events, Gilbert finally got his glasses (for a two days anyway) and Elsie is walking! Elsie is a very independent baby and didn't take her first steps to anyone. For the past month or two, she crawls around until she feels like standing and then stands up in the middle of the floor. But she wouldn't walk. Even if you put your hands out to her or held her hands. Today, she just stood up and started walking. A lot. It is a perpetual delight to the kids, who exclaim and squeal and jump up and down whenever she does it. Elsie thinks it is all a great hoot and laughs right back at them, while walking. A fabulous day for being a mother.

And in case you entertained any doubts about my level of high-classness, I would just like to warn you that there are a lot of pictures of kids running around in diapers in the following picture selection. When it is over 90 degrees, clothing is optional for the under 4 crowd around here. Yep, I am that trashy.

My yucca plant in flower

The herd at Full Circle farm

Elsie, when left to her own devices with a yogurt stick

The girls zealously dug and made ant castles complete with mud ball walls for several days. Until their holes got to be more than a foot deep and we ruined their lives by telling them to fill them in. 

Orianna started out by working on Welcome Home, Daddy cards for when Daddy came home and then quickly moved onto making Indian hats. There were a lot of paper scraps around this house.

Gilbert was supposed to be taking a nap, but he asked Lily to please come cuddle him. And Lily came to talk to him. Sweet girl.

The next day, the kids made a tent out of their bed by securing a blanket to all four posts with hair elastics. Resourcefulness.  

And Gilbert and his glasses. Still making his silly picture face.

And then Gilbert, looking semi serious. 

Just to embarrass myself, I will tell you all that I managed to lose Gilbert's glasses two days after he got them. That's right. I can't even be trusted with them for more than 48 hours. But I have a good story about losing them anyway. I arrived at Elsie's check up appointment five, that's right, FIVE hours early. Apparently the "check time" written on the calender meant to confirm time, not "check up time." (I should not ignore notes I write to myself.) I also should have just driven the half hour home and gone back at the right time, but I decided to go to some stores that I normally don't have time to get too. After two of these stores, a grocery store stop and a picnic and run in the park, we went to the library to hang out for the remaining hour or so before the appointment. After awhile, I realized Gilbert didn't have his glasses on. When I asked him, he said they were at home. Ha! I had told him a bajillion times in the first store to put his glasses back on. Why it didn't occur to me that maybe I should just hold his glasses while we were in the store, I don't know. But it didn't. They weren't in the van, which was thoroughly gone over, so we went to Elsie's check up with me racking my brain trying to pinpoint the last time I saw them on him. I was tired, and after almost an hour of waiting, for the doctor and trying to keep my three older kids from simultaneously practicing gymnastic moves on the doctors twirly, wheely, stool I realized how tired I was. And it all became terribly funny. The doctor would choose that moment to come in. And to make myself appear sane, I started babbling about the day being long and Justin gone and I lost Gilbert's glasses! while he looked at me with a nice, concerned look on his face. When I finally paused for breath, he started asking questions about my support network. Do you have anyone to help you while your husband is out of town? In other words, should I really let these sweet, innocent children leave my office in the care of a semi-hysterical woman? I impressed him with my parents living only a mile away and he seemed satisfied to leave it at that. 

I left my name and number at the stores we went to, after searching through each one, and still, no one has found them. Each person I asked suggested I get him one of those rubber things that attach to glasses to keep them on the child. I think I might get one of those things. In the mean while, we have ordered another pair. And managed to humble myself as a feather brained hysterical woman to several stores in Malone, the librarians, the glasses store, and the kids doctors. A productive  vcday, all in all. 

One of my hydrangea's. One of the 'Incredi-ball' varieties. They have huge flower heads. This one is 10 inches or so across. 

An over hot Elsie hanging out.

Comics have been read a lot this summer. 


Outside, berry picking break. Yeah, that is how long our grass was. It rippled beautifully in the wind though. 

Elsie and Gilbert sharing a black raspberry

The wind was strong. 

Lily was terribly impressed with Elsie standing near the Cheerios box that for some reason had found it's way out to the living room. So I had to come take a picture. 

She is such a good little mother to Elsie. 

The storm blowing in

Six o'clock at night, dark, dark.

The street lights even came on for the storm

And after some ferocious rain and wind, it blew over. And we went outside to see how the world looked. Lily and Gilbert found a frying pan of water. This frying pan was bought before realizing it had holes in the bottom. So now the kids just use it in sand adventures.

Who wouldn't want to go wading in a frying pan?


Gilbert loves to follow his sisters around

A little moth

Elsie touching the hydrangea

Orianna and Lily being Hansel and Gretel

Except they threw clumps of grass instead of breadcrumbs. Charming.

Gilbert is fascinated by the hose.

And a blue sky evening and moon. It is amazing how quickly storms can blow through. This one brought some blessedly cool weather, dropping 21 degrees in half an hour or so. 

The beautiful after storm sunset

And a bad picture of some of my flower beds. It isn't amazing, but it at least looks controlled. Which is a vast improvement.

July 10, 2013

A Day in Colorado

Not to overwhelm you with pictures, but these pictures all did occur on the same day. It was a good day. 

And a lot of these pictures are courtesy of Geoff and Jocelyn. But I am not going to go through and label each one. But know they took a lot of the nice ones. 

Columbine by the back step. A good way to start the day.

Picnic breakfast under the tree. This looks idyllic, but actually the kids were hooting and hollering around in the house and I didn't want to wake everyone, so after telling them 10 times to be quiet, I gave up and decided to picnic. 

The kids loved the rose bushes. They had a secret hiding spot back behind the rose bushes. 

Orianna put up signs for their secret spot. One said "No smoking" one said "No kissing." At least we got the important things clear. 

Shucking corn

Poppa showing Aislyn how to do it

Proud Lily

Sunshine-y Orianna

Loy helping Gilbert

Love this picture. 

Elsie being goofy

And Aislyn had to do it too


Loyzer girl and her puppies


Larissa and Orianna

Brylan and Gilbert

Rissy helping Gilbert. 

We had a birthday day, with birthday presents for everyone from Poppa and Dawna and Jerad and Mandy

Orianna got a new cowgirl hat. So terribly pleased.

Elsie laughing at Fido

Brylan telling something or asking something. He even involves his foot. What a kid!

Aunt Jocelyn imparting knowledge

Elsie June-a

Orianna took some pictures. This one is sort of cool. 

And this one is very nice

A roping dummy 

Gilbert was tuckered out

Moving cows to the corral

Love this picture of Mick and Justin

Then we all walked up to the corrals to watch them brand and innoculate the two late calves

Sweet girl

Roping the calf

Got him!

He was hard to throw. It took Justin and Jerad to do it.

The watching crew

Little cowgirl



Justin holding the next calf

It looks dead, but it isn't. 



I know, I took a lot of pictures of Orianna this day. She was cute in her new hat!

Those Cotten boys

Elsie feet


That's my cowboy

Grinning Lily

Love this picture

Jocelyn and Geoff

Justin having a cowboy moment

Mandy and Jerad waiting

Geoff and Aislyn

Mick yakking on the phone

On the way down from the corrals

Cowgirl shadow

Fence and grass

Grandma Dawna letting Brylan drive

Larissa and Orianna pushed Elsie home

Roses on the table

Bringing the horses home

Love this

Letting the horses eat, unsaddled

A watusi cattle. And no, I don't know how to spell it. 

They have huge horns. Their necks must be all muscle.

The horn base is gigantic.

Then Poppa took the kids for horse rides.


Jerad and Aislyn

Poppa admiring his grand-daughter. 



Aislyn's foot. Isn't this an awesome picture? I know Jocelyn took this one. 

Comparing hats

Jerad and Elsie. 

A very tired little cowboy was roused out of bed to come see the horse riding. 

Isn't he cute?

Love this!

Then Jerad took Mandy on a ride and had her wave at us all too. 

Mandy's Fido

Kids in sunlight. Cooking up a play for us

It was a variation of Hansel and Gretel. 

Gilbert and Aislyn had no scripted part. They were the comic relief

Mandy danced with Fido during intermission. 

Birthday cake for Orianna and Elsie

Elsie all caked out.