Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today's Randomness

I took Pearl on a walk and met my favorite neighbors. They are originally from England. Anyway, while I was chatting with them (and, FYI, I am fairly anti-social. But I don't mind talking to them at all, so it was a pleasant experience), they happened to mention that last year was a bad health year for them. Her sister comes from England every year to visit for the summer, and this last summer she had a stroke. Air-lifted her to Bakersfield. That helicopter ride cost $17,000.00. And then she went back to England and the doctors there said (at first) she never had a stroke. The neighbors are not impressed with their homeland's health care system. (They've been in our valley as long as I've been alive- 30 something years!). Her sister, the one with that had the stroke, is mostly fine. I've met her- she was impressed that I understood her accent and language. She had called the wagon I was toting my kids around in a "pram," and because I like to read British novels, I knew exactly what she was talking about. A quirk about me, that's all.

While I was chatting with these neighbors, another guy stopped by. He and his wife own a bunch of cows and are well known in the valley. It was the first time I had met him, but Ryan knows him. His son lost his dog out here and they were looking for it. Anyway, turns out the wife met cousin Jimmy at Henley's yesterday. I felt like busting into song: "It's a small world, afterall!" But I didn't because that would be weird, and that song just gets stuck in people's heads, and that just wouldn't be nice.

Sunday morning while I was getting dressed for church (read: I was in PJ's and had one eye made up), I heard a guy's voice say, "Hello? Anybody home?" And I thought, "I'm gonna kill him!" Thinking it was a certain neighbor that has walked through my house before when I wasn't home. I go out of the bathroom to where he was, and it wasn't him! It was some other random man. I already had my annoyed face on, so it wasn't hard to make my voice sound like I might secretly be a vicious cereal killer of men who come into my house uninvited. "Can I help you?" I say. I would like to imagine that I came across all mean and scary and cross, but I'm pretty sure I probably just had my annoyed mom face on. Like the worst I would do is ground him or something. He quickly explained he was from the house over yonder (I know where yonder is), and he just wanted to let me know about the bear he had the last three days who he saw headed in our direction that morning. Lucky for him, I happen to know that Ryan knows who he is and where he lives (he's the caretaker of the house over yonder), and that I know bears are around. Otherwise, I would've had to stab him in the eye with my eye shadow applicator.I told the kids about the bear. Jessie is all paranoid about the bear now.

We really need to get our house all finished on the outside so it doesn't look so construction-like. (Among other reasons. Like so I can move in.) People just feel like they can walk right in! Really people, my laundry in in there. Underwear makes it all personal, so it's more than just a construction site! I also need fences and gates, STAT!

Tomorrow is the big Egg Hunt at school. And then, VACATION!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kid Stuff

*Yesterday while I was cooking dinner, Will informed me that the next time we have a "special occasion," we should use SpongeBob macaroni instead of the just the plain kind.  (We had steak, mac n' cheese, and grilled asparagus and leeks for dinner last night.)

*Jessie saw a loud Harley yesterday and informed me that's what she's going to drive when she gets a husband. It'll be a three seater, so they can ride it with her dog. Then she decided it'll be a six seater so that her four kids can ride it, too. The dog will sit on her lap.

*While driving home we saw a cowboy and his two dogs rounding up cattle. Jessie said, "You can do that? You can ride your horse AND bring your dogs? I'm so going to do that. And, when I go to Cowgirl Lessons, my kids are going to come to your house and have a sleep over. Is that okay?"

*Last night, Jessie fell asleep looking at a horse magazine, picking out her dream horse.

*Jessie went to the ear doctor yesterday. The antibiotics did not clear up the fluid behind her right ear (where the tube fell out) and not only that, but her left ear is now blocked. She has a 30% hearing loss right now, which is temporary (thank goodness!). We will be scheduling another surgery for tubes plus a removal of her adnoids. I ran into my sister Kendra yesterday at Winco and she said her #1 child B had the same thing, and the second time they took out his adnoids and he hasn't had problem since. Crossing my fingers this works- I'm slightly paranoid because my youngest sister Karen has had ear problems all her life, is deaf in one ear, and had to go to speech. Luckily Jessie's speech seems fine so far, normal for a 4 year old. But if she were to stagnate in her speech pattern right now, she would sound funny as an 8 year old.

*Went running with Pearl yesterday. She is better than any gym. Ryan was so gracious and breathed on me the last two weeks and now I have a sinus headache and sore throat like he had. I'm not happy about that. Good thing about it is the headache only hurts if my head gets lower than my heart. Back to Pearl: my goal is to move more. She makes me move more. It's a win-win situation! She is slowing down on her "bite the heck out of hands and feet phase." I will be glad when she is done teething! She will be a great dog and companion in a year. She still goes everywhere with me. On the "I'm a horrible dieter and exerciser" front, I take one step at a time. Right now I'm trying to remember to nourish my body and not feed my face. That's all I'm committing to until I get it.

*So excited for Spring Break/easter Vacation! Not sure what we are going to do yet. I know we will stay home, but we want to hike a bit. I'm going to take the kids to see my grandma one evening- and take her some Chow Mein from the Chinese Restaurant up here. AND, Ryan and I are going to go on a date! I know- it's shocking. We are going to shoot over to the desert and go see Hunger Games and eat lunch or dinner, depending on his schedule. (KRW- seen it yet? Wanna meet?)

*Kacy is reading the Harry Potter books. She loves them! Ed is reading whatever he can- he's got a goal to learn to tie his shoes over Spring Break.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Confessions from "Mom of the Year"

Surely I deserve the mom of the year award for this one.

Not really.

Will takes his lunch from home to school. He tends not to eat much of it. Usually he'll eat just the crackers or chips, with maybe a bite taken out of his sandwich. He told me on Tuesday that he traded his crackers for a Rice Krispy Treat. I said, "Thank-you for being honest. Please don't trade food anymore." (Thinking he ate his fruit and sandwich.)

Well, the next morning when I opened up his lunchbox to refill it, the Rice Krispy treat wrapper was in there. So were his orange slices and an entire uneaten sandwich.

I was M-A-D. The kids is skinny, and he comes home from school famished! (Because he's not eating!)

So, I do the only thing I know. I threaten. I threaten to come down to the school and eat lunch with him. I tell him I will bring a bib, and a knife and fork, and I'll feed him myself and talk baby talk. Like, "Here little Willie, take this iddy-biddy bite of your sandwich so you can gwow big and stwong..." I also named names to call attention to this activity. I threw out a few of the other boys' names in his class saying, "I'll even go, 'Hey Seth, hey Matthew! Look at Will, poor wittle boy can't eat his wittle sandwich so his mommy had to come down and feed him."  I said this in my most evil, squinty-eyed, scrunched up nose kind of way, with that low hiss of a voice I reserve for times when my sentences begin with "So help me if I have to pull this car over..."  Will was mortified at the idea, and he even started to cry. I told him all of this would happen either "today or tomorrow." (I'm scary!)

Later that day I showed up at the school. For lunch!

Jessie and I sat at the table where the home lunch kids sit. Ed came in first, and was awestruck. Kacy came in and was THRILLED that I was there and wants me to come back again. She told me, "Will didn't think you would come. He told me at the bus stop, 'Mom's not really going to come.'" Ha ha ha! She was giggling. She's a little evil, too.

Will's class came in last. He saw me, he was mortified, and he had THAT LOOK on his face. The look is one of "Holy Crap. I wish I could melt into the ground and disappear forever." I asked him to sit by me, and I watched him eat his lunch. While he ate, we all chatted around the table.

I told him "Don't think I won't come down here. Next time the bib is coming with me."

Then I gave him a hug and told him to go play and have fun.

Gotta love my kids. All of them. They take turns being crazy, and I appreciate the rotation they seem to be on. I don't know what I would do if they all had drama on the same day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


As of the end of Spring break (I still think it needs to be called Easter Vacation, as it moves with Easter Sunday...anyway), the bus will no longer come anywhere near my house.

So begins the driving and the schedule.

Hoping the two positives I see outweigh the negatives! Wish us luck...for the next 13 years.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Conversation with Jessie

On the way to the store this morning Jessie and I have the following conversation:

"Hey Mom, you know those rectangle popcycle things in plastic that are in the freezer? What are those called?"

"Freezer pops?"

"Ya. Well, the other day I kinda take-ted one without permission, and you didn't know it. And I used a knife to open it. And, I didn't kill myself! Isn't that so awesome?"


"Mom, I said, isn't that so awesome I didn't kill myself with a knife?"

I am going to have to lock stuff up. Up high.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pearl at 8 weeks

Here she is! This is Pearl, our 8 week old (this Wednesday) Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), also commonly called a Queensland Heeler or Blue Heeler. Whatever you want to call her, I love her. She is so good. She is still a puppy, and I need to remember that. For example, she had one night where she was WOUND UP and nipping and chewing... and she bite into an already sore and chewed up hand and I pushed her away. She came back at me growling and snarling and chomping for more. I thought, "Oh NO! Here is that aggressive Heeler attitude I've read so much about." I pinned her down, told her no, and it was over with in about 5 seconds. She hasn't done it since, and she knows "No." Awesome. She was feisty the other night again, and Ryan reminded me that it is just puppy play. ACD's are really mouthy dogs anyway, and I'm not used to that. Our German Shorthairs were not like that at all, and George the Great Pyrenees isn't at all interested in using his mouth, unless it is to eat. So, this whole chewing and nipping thing is new to me. I don't like it. But, I have a plan, have been following that plan, and I see success already. I'll be glad in a year from now when everything is rock solid, but for now, here are my thoughts so far: 
  • Did I say I love this puppy? She came home at 6 weeks, which is young. Apparently, 7-8 weeks is the norm, so puppies learn bite inhibition. Since we are her new litter, she is learning it from us. And honestly, she mostly just chews on me. She really loves the kids, and tends not to nip them (much). I figure it's because I took the place of her mom. The first week and a half was all about loving her, and getting her used to the new surroundings, people, and places. A couple of day ago we started real puppy stuff.
  • I put a collar on her the first day, gradually building up time. I take it off of her at night while she's in her crate. She loves her crate. She took to it the first day. I leave the door open during the day and that is her refuge. She stays in it all night with no problems. (Oh how happy I am that we only had a couple of rough nights. So happy.) I've also had a light weight leash on her. We live in the country with no yard or fences for miles. I don't want to lose her in the bushes, so the leash is on when I take her out to go potty. Her job is to grow up and be my running buddy. We are easing into this with short walks on the leash.
  • Two or three times a day I spend about 5 minutes "training" her. She is technically always in training, since she is in the house and the car with me, but we do official obedience training with little bits of cheddar cheese. This is how I taught her her name. I would say "Pearl" and wait until she made eye contact. Then I would give her a little teeny bit of cheese. It took a day. She also knows "sit," and is learning "down." She learns very quickly. 
  • Bite inhibition: she is learning to have a soft mouth. My hands and ankles can't survive if she doesn't. I am happy to report that she is learning! For the first week I thought, "What the heck? It's like I brought Jaws home!" I don't expect a perfect puppy right away, and the fact that I can see progress already is so encouraging. I grew up with yard dogs, and who knows? Maybe they could have been smart, too if they had been worked with. Having kids has helped me a lot in my patience and desire to train. If she chomps on my skin anywhere, or my clothes, I "yelp" like a dog (sometimes not hard to do! OUCH!) and she stops. It's taken a couple of days, but today she did her thing, I yelped, stared at her, and she came back to my hand and licked it. See? Progress.
  • People either LOVE or HATE her breed. I've met more people who love them, probably because of where I live. (Country, cowboys, western stuff, mountains, cows, horses...). My goal with Pearl is to have her so well mannered that you don't know she is there unless I want her to show you she is. I am her "mom" and that is the first step. I have read tons, and tons, and TONS of training information, because this breed (like all breeds) has some negative characteristics (namely smart, which is a double edged sword, tenacious, and mouthy, all great characteristics of a cow dog). Training George as best as I could at the time (his negatives: he's huge, stubborn, and an independent thinker) was good practice. I think if you do your homework and know what to expect, you won't be caught off guard and have a "horrible" dog experience. That's what I've learned, anyway.
  • We wake up in the morning, and she eats while the kids get dressed for school. She has begun to lose interest in nipping the kids feet while they are getting dressed...too bad. There goes my entertainment! Just kidding. They leave, then we (Pearl and myself) go feed the cats and take a walk. Either very short around the big house, or longer (3/4 miles, our short track) if she's extra jazzed. Then she naps for a couple of hours. She has two speeds, and is getting a third: her first speeds are 90MPH or asleep. She is growing into a hanging out speed, where she is happy to chew on a toy by my feet. 
  • The next four weeks should be fun: the progress! 
  • I will mention this now, as it is animal related: I can not wait to get goats and chickens! Just can't wait. Maybe this fall. I'm crossing my fingers!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jessie!

Jessie is FOUR! We sure do love our sassy princess!

Jessie at 4:

Loves "open faced mayonaise sandwiches." Her idea, not mine. Loves chips. And circus peanuts. And ketchup. Her food tastes are a lot like my grandma M. Here is an interview with her:

What is your favorite food?: open faced mayonaise sandwich, chicken nuggets, and french fries.
Favorite candy?: Circus peanuts.
Favorite drink?: Juice
Favorite colors: pink, black, and blue.
What do you like to do for fun?: swing
What do you think about: Kacy?: She likes to push me on the swing.
                                     Will?: He's stupid. (Me: What? Why would you say that? That's so mean.)   I  mean that he likes to push me on the swing, too. And he's so kind.
                                      Ed?: That he likes to...when we try to trap a stink bug, he let is goes. And when we try to kill it, it keeps on being alive. Now ask what do you think about you?

What do you think about Mom?: Hmmm... that I love her. That she likes to push me on the swing, too.

What do you think about Dad?: I love him. He likes to swing with me one time at the park.

Do you have a favorite TV show?: Yes. Ask me what it is. 
what is your favorite TV show? Fairy Hollow Games and Dora. (Dora is weird, because actually she prefers to watch Batman Beyond and Super Hero Squad if given a choice.)

Jessie is our poor, somewhat neglected child. This school year, she's been all alone because the other three are all at school. She doesn't mind a bit. She stays in the trailer and watches cartoons with snacks in a baggie and juice in her mug if Ryan and I are working on the house. She prefers it that way. She's not a total marshmallow, though. She is pretty smart, and like a youngest child, loves attention and being the star of the show. She says some of the funniest things sometimes, and she is very literal. She had a doosey of a year being three, and her attitude is improving! Yay me!

She had tubes put in her ears in August, and Saturday I noticed the one in her worst ear fell out. It's still in her ear canal. Not cool! It's only been six months! She goes in to the Dr. next week. Crossing fingers there is no big damage- she was sick a couple of weeks ago and had a really high fever and fluid coming from her ear (like always pre-tubes). She got the bad ear thing from my fam. Bummer!