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.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Student of the Month

This kid got Student of the Month! Who knew, right? 

Mrs. M. said that Ed is helpful to other kids in class, he can take his reading theme tests all by himself, works ahead, and then pulls out a book to read (probably a Captain Underpants book!), he is good in math, and he has especially been good with his grammar and writing. That last part is a big improvement because the boy still doesn't always use a fork. Writing is not his strong suit. But grammar is...I teared up the first time he said, "Will and I want to do this!" and he consistently uses proper English. Joy to my heart! A fellow word nerd AND helpful to other kids? That's awesome!

During the assembly I noticed Jessie continually picking her nose. Gross.

After the awards were given, a drawing was held. The names were on paper leaves, and these leaves were earned by children who displayed positive behaviors on the play ground and in the classroom. The principal, Ms O. made these adorable Pinterest Turkeys. Oreos, Reece's PB cups, candy corn, Whoopers... so cute and crafty. She made about two dozen. Well, those lucky kids who got one were thrilled! And Will and Jessie were both drawn. That left Ed...out. And he's so sensitive about these things. It was all over when Jessie was chosen as well. I was worried about the Ed meltdown sadness that I could see coming. But guess what?!? I nearly had a heart attack, but really shouldn't be that surprised...Will gave Ed some of the pieces off his turkey! Made Ed's day. I went over to Will after I saw that and asked him why he shared, and he said, "Because Ed didn't get any."  That is huge for me. I don't care how smart a person is, or what kind of grades they get. If they aren't kind to others, it just doesn't matter. I would take a C student who is kind over a straight A mean kid all day long. 

Okay, enough about the kids. Kacy is at the middle school doing who knows what, Will shared his candy with his little brother without having to be asked (by Ed or myself...which I rarely do anyways...I hate making kid share- I have a whole theory behind this), and Jessie picked her nose the entire assembly.

Today when they come home, we are busting out the TV and watching Ernest Goes to Camp. Classic kid silliness. 

And after catching a show at the Dr. office the other day (Dog with a Blog), I am not sorry for not having TV in our house. 10 year olds dying their hair, with older brothers who play stupid, living in a million dollar home with perfect looking parents who don't seem to work...meeting up on little dates in the fifth grade... I actually thought the talking dog wasn't a problem! Oh, how I wish adults could know just how much stuff kids pick up from watching TV (or listening to music, etc.). And that goes for the writers and producers of these shows as well (although I think they get it...and use their power for base ideals!). I don't want my kids to think that stuff is normal, man. That's why I banned Caillou from our home years ago: whiny kid who gets whatever he wants... aye. And when my kids read this as they are in their teens and 20's, I hope they get it. I hope we do enough cool stuff besides watching TV that they aren't like, "But we so missed out on Nickelodeon, Mom!"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ratted Out by my Kids

Yesterday was our biannual dentist appointment. The dentist has a new way to take our x-rays...it's all digital. The images show up on a big computer screen right away, and the kids (and I) were fascinated with it! We were guessing about cavities and stuff. Well, I went last, and have had quite a bit of dental work done over the years. They kids were all "WHOA, MOM!" Maggie, the dental assistant said something about cavities and candy, and Jessie totally says, "Our mom eats a lot of chocolate." Thanks, honey! Is it that noticeable? Because I'm pretty sure I try to hide that fact so I don't have to share...

So, I'm in the chair, getting ready for the visual check and cleaning, and I look up, and see Will standing over me, totally watching everything the dentist was doing. I find this a little odd, as usually it's Ed who does that. You just haven't lived until you look up and see Ed's smiling face hovering over yours...as you are laying back flat on the dentist's chair with the spit sucker in your mouth. Anyway, the dentist gets finished and I turn to look at Will and tell him to go sit down AND IT'S ED! It was Ed the whole time. I totally, 100%, completely thought it was Will. I can't even tell my own kids apart. I felt...weird. I always get their names mixed up, but I have never looked into their faces and totally got them wrong.

For the record: Ed and Will were arguing over who got to go first at the dentist (which Maggie says she's never seen before). And wouldn't you know it, it stemmed from them feeling like they knew they had a cavity...which they both did.

Score: Girls: 0, Boys: 2

A Wife Like Me

So, Ryan has been asked to give a talk to a group of single adults this spring, and the person in charge has asked him to talk about his shooting. He's not super thrilled with that, because he feels like if it's not about the tactical response for training purposes, there really isn't much to say besides, "I was shot at, I am here, no big deal."

Tina, (in charge) asked me to write a bio about Ryan so she could introduce him properly. Of course I said YES. I came home and told Ryan I was going to write his bio, and I wanted to be totally honest so I was going to say things like:

-His favorite meal is a veggie panini with a side of low fat tofu crisps.

-The years before he met his wife were dark and dreary, and he doesn't know what he would do without her.

- His favorite movie is Sleepless in Seattle, which brings a tear to his eye every time.

-His life's ambition is to own a zonkey named Herb.

Totally honest. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


When I have wet hair, I feel like this^.

Sometimes, I feel like I look like Medusa. I would love to feel like I looked an ounce like Uma Thurman...but let's be realistic here. I feel more like my hair is like this, and I walk around with my eyes glazed over in a constant state of zombie-ness. 

For the random record, I love the Uma Medusa from Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief. I also love the movie Pitch Perfect. Not appropriate for my kids (too many innuendos), but it is SO FUNNY and if I had to have a chick flick movie, this would be it. There are no guns or explosions in it...but it's still good. I love the music. And the commentary. Anyways...now I'm rambling.

Today we go to the dentist. And have scouts and activity days. And somewhere in there I will make dinner, the kids will do homework...

Oh, and Jessie got in trouble again at school yesterday. She can't read yet, nor does she have access to the Internet, so I can totally write down that I am worried about her. She has a little bit of anger issues (Where, oh where, does she get that from? Shhh...don't answer that.) Ryan said it's because she's number 4 and has to fight for everything. That may be a part of it...but Will and Ed and middle children and they seem fine. Actually, as Ryan noticed as well, Kacy and Ed have similar personalities and Will and Jessie are similar. Kacy and Ed... solid, stable, well balanced, fairly calm in demeanor. Will and Jessie... higher maintenance, easily provoked to emotional swings, sensitive... they will need a little more attention. Now, the thing to figure out is how to handle it. How can I help her? I feel like I got Will figured out (and it only took me his whole life thus far!). Jessie got in trouble yesterday for purposefully giving wrong answers, tying her shoelaces together...basically seeking attention from her teacher. Her teacher has about half the kindergarten class that is rowdy and obnoxious. I know, because I teach them music on Fridays! This leaves the good kids over on the side a bit, not getting any attention. Jessie also struggles with this same thing at home...lately getting into EVERYTHING and being "naughty" like a two year old. Literally. She's looking for attention, I suppose. I will be working out a plan to try to remedy this behavior... figure out how to show her love in a way that she understands. Of course, there is still the "You will not be allowed to behave this way" rule in our lives...but that needs to be supported by me and my actions. In her eyes, she is a nobody in a group of people, and all she wants is to be recognized. Ugh. Hard to keep that good balance!

Look What We Got!!!

Weird to be excited about a propane tank? I don't know... you tell me. Fort the last 8 years I have traversed out to civilization with little 5 or 7 gallon tanks of propane to meet our propane needs. EIGHT YEARS. Yesterday, we finally got a real tank...one that someone else will come and fill up! And, at a cheaper price! How awesome is that? I will tell you personally...it is really awesome. We are no longer buying propane like the tweakers do... $20 at a time. (It's more expensive that way...and it just stinks.) We went with Kern River Propane out of Lake Isabella. The owner is my brother's friend, which of course influenced us. But before I found out it was my brother's good friend, I really like Dwayne, the owner of the hardware store where the propane company shares the lot. I appreciate good people. (Especially after reading a local Facebook feed about people being jacked by a local tweaker in their neighborhood.)

Of course the kids were all excited about it. For reals. Will saw it as we were pulling up and the first words out of his mouth were, "I'm going to go ride the new horse." I just looked at him, narrowed my eyes, and said, "WHAT are you going to do?" He said he wanted to go ride on the new propane tank. I told him no way, no how, it's dangerous, etc.... even though I did the exact same thing when I was his age. Literally. We played on the propane tank all the time when I was in fourth grade. 

Maybe I'll let him, anyway.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Farewell Funeral

On Halloween morning, we gathered at Hillcrest Cemetery to say goodbye to our Grandma. The weather was perfect, and quite a few people came for someone who said "Don't have a funeral for me. No one ever comes to old people's funerals. Just do a graveside." I snapped this picture before the crowd gathered. 

In my opinion, the graveside was more of an outdoor funeral. I loved it. My other grandma's funeral was held outside (as well as my other grandpa) but that was because there were no other options out there in the country on the side of a hill. But I love being outside amongst the trees and the grass, and thought it was very fitting for my grandma. Cousin April and I spoke, and she did a great job with the eulogy. The only problem with the eulogy was that it was funny, and a very accurate accounting of my grandma's personality, which made me tear up. Which was bad, because I was speaking after her, with my memories of grandma. What was supposed to be light-hearted and humorous began with me losing control of my robotic emotions. Someone had to get me a tissue. I managed to compose myself though! And we made it through. See? I just needed a quick breakdown to let go of the pent up sadness and then it was great. I also lead the music, which was super hard, all a capella and me not singing alto. But hey, we did it! Somewhere around here I have her obituary, which I wrote. I'll have to include that in this post later.

Sure do miss this lady! She was a favorite.

Halloween 2013

This Halloween was a weird one... because during the day we went to my grandma's funeral, and then we came home and went to the church carnival. But all in all, it was a great day.

Will as a zombie. We found some facial temporary tattoo things and made him look pale. He was all about that. He hates dressing in costumes.

Our dear Jessie, the Princess Zipperface Zombie. We used eyelash glue to stick the zipper on to her face. Easy enough to remove, too. 

Kacy was Annie Oakley. It was biography day at school that day and we already had the costume (even though she missed school that day). Don't look too closely. I haven't sewn in literal years and it looks awful. 

Ed as Skull Face. He's got three skulls on his face in total, so it's a bit of an optical illusion. Pulled a cloak from the dress-up box and BAM! Easiest costume!

Ryan did all the make-up. I can barely do my own simple make-up every day.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kids! Kacy Went to Camp Keep

Good thing at least my father-in-law reads my blog... because I totally spaced writing the "stuff" that goes with these pictures, until he reminded me last night. And, I was all, "I try to blog at least once a week now." Which obviously doesn't apply this month. It's been crazy. I think it'll be crazy until the kids move out of the house...just a hunch.

Kacy went to Camp KEEP the third week of October. She loved it, of course! The kids got bored waiting for her and used this pole ^ as a merry-go-round. She left early Monday morning, and by Monday night, Ed was missing her badly. I asked him why, and he said, "Because I don't have anyone to talk to!" Apparently he and Kacy have real conversations together, whereas Ed and Will do NOT. By Tuesday night, Will and Jessie admitted they missed her, too. It was probably a longer week for us than for her.

We made her these signs, and held them up while the bus came into the driveway. Will was mortified and hid, but the three of us held them up proudly. The bus honked, and the kids on the bus thought it was cool. (See Will? Not dorky.) Kacy gathered up her stuff, and sang camp songs (complete with hand motions) ALL THE WAY HOME, which included a trip to the store for some celebratory ice cream. 30 minutes of her singing...and she smelled a little...which prompted me to ask her, "Hey, did you shower while you were there?" And her reply was priceless:

"Well, Tuesdays and Thursdays were optional shower days, but Wednesday it was mandatory. So I showered on Wednesday, and figured I would just get dirty again on the the other days."

So sensible. I guess.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Random Happenings

Jessie and I goofing off with the camera on my laptop. Dorks!

Yes...I still exist. Besides the fact that there is very little photographic evidence to the contrary, I am still among the living! That is what my grandma would always say, "I was beginning to wonder if you were still among the living..." if I hadn't seen her or called her every now and then. (Okay, at least weekly!) 

Things that are happening: I am being super productive today. (Be impressed.) I sang a duet while playing the piano at a funeral on Saturday, and I DIDN'T DIE. I sang with friend Mindi, and she has a really good voice, so I knew if I flubbed it she would totally carry the song through. But I managed to do it, didn't sound horrible, and actually did a decent job at the piano. It was an easy song, for sure. "I Need Thee Every Hour" is really the only song I can play and sing alto for at the same time. Otherwise, I can play, or sing alto, but not really both. I'm going to practice that, though. Now that I have the house to myself a few days of the week, I can warble my melodious tunes and no one is here to hear me! Perfect.

I am up to my eyeballs in laundry, like always.

Jessie tried to poison Ed yesterday. She sprayed CLR on his toothbrush. He didn't know, until he started to brush his teeth and said it tasted really funny. He also go the involuntary body shiver thing from the taste. I did the quick glance around, saw the CLR on the counter and just KNEW it would be Jessie. She has been getting into EVERYTHING lately. She admitted it right away. I told her it was poison, and could kill Ed. I made her sit on her bed, and Ed starts to freak out a little. "Kill me? Gosh Jessie, what are trying to do, KILL ME OR SOMETHING?" Then he goes over to Will and tells him, "Jessie tried to KILL ME!" 

I boiled all the toothbrushes.

My music curriculum project is still moving forward slowly. I have to think of a name for it though. Among other things, lol. Tons to do, and this is pretty low on the list. But, still moving forward.

I'm eating healthy! Only some candy, and not a ton. Only one or two sodas, not four. Progress, baby. Progress.

Music class is going well. Kids are tone deaf, man. They sing okay with the piano, but merciful heavens, a capella is awful! That's okay. They are young. And don't get a lot of exposure to singing. They'll improve over time, right?

Did I say anything about report cards coming out? Three of the four kids have straight A's, at and above grade level. One doesn't. That one HATES school. Really? I'm learning how to deal/cope (me) and encourage/force (him). 

Primary stuff is settling down a little. That's nice. I've never been a president before, always a counselor or secretary. I'm a great helper. And I think I like that better! Because now I'm responsible for everything. Like, ultimately, I'm responsible. It's a little weighty. I hope I don't fail. I will do my best. But still!

My car is a piece of hooptie junk. Still gets me where I need to go. Uncomfortable, but so trusty and reliable, with a million miles on it already. (Okay...five years and 165,000. Maybe not technically a million.)

My favorite time of the day is dinnertime. Not the cooking part, and not the cleaning part. But the eating part. Ryan works days and we have a table and chairs and we all EAT TOGETHER. And the things the kids say...it's awesome. Our table is old, donated and painted on. Our chairs are old folding chairs. It doesn't even matter! (But we will be building a table soon!)

Ryan is putting up window trim and it looks amazing. It's nice to finish up some unfinished things on the house.

When everything else is wacky, my family is constant (consistently wacky?) and that's what matters most. 

Having attended two funerals in two days for two women who died in their 90's, I have been pondering what I hope my eulogy says about me. What have I contributed to my family? To my communities (church, school, town?) Have I done anything worthwhile? I hope so. Much to be done, right? 

The holidays are approaching. YAY! I'm looking forward to them this year. (This is the lie I tell myself, hoping it all comes true. Simplifying things and lowering expectations has helped a ton in the last few years...letting go of the "perfect Christmas gift" guilt.)