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Monday, September 19, 2011


I have a love-hate relationship with autumn.  Or fall.  Whatever your preference in vocabulary makes me no difference. We don't use the term autumn around these parts.  It sounds so formal.  I think of it as an Eastern United States word instead of a West Texas southern word.  It's a "pretty" word--one that I can imagine using if I lived in Vermont where the leaves blanket the road like a beautiful patchwork quilt.  Our leaves are brown unless you are one of the few and far fortunate ones harboring an oak tree.  Around here we don't rake the leaves into a pile. We don't have to. You won't find any leave laden country roads either.  First, we hardly have any trees to speak of.  Secondly, the leaves we do have just turn brown and the wind blows them off to unknown parts of the world.  The leaves I have blowing around in my yard are from Tucumari, NM. Western Oklahoma gets my leaves...

 I LOVE the cooler air.  I love being able to go outside and not sweat. I love not having to put on a double dose of deodorant because the little dab from the morning hours doesn't quite cut it after your body temperatures reaches the melting point. I love the fact that the cooler breezes really act as an air conditioning unit instead of a miserable furnace blast in 100 degree heat. I love knowing that winter will soon be on its way and the flies will die.  I love not having to mow as often (although this year our mowing effects have been minuscule due to our extreme drought, so really, that point is moot.) I've never really been a summer lover.  I don't like to garden; I've tried the whole flower garden thing too.  I found no pleasure in watering it every day and picking those pesky little weeds from it.  Half of the time I found I couldn't differentiate between the baby plant and a weed any way. I cannot relate to those of you who live to tend to your gardens every year.   Any thing green outside my house is due largely impart to my oldest daughter.  She reminds me to water things. I thought I would enjoy the gardening lifestyle.  I was brought up on it.  My mother had huge vegetable gardens and huge flower beds.  So did my grandmother. I figured it had to be encrusted in my DNA. I'm here to tell you that the whole green thumb thing is known to skip a generation.  When we bought our first house, I made Doug plow up the entire side of one fence so I could have a flower garden.  Three years later my tribute to the Audubon Society and the such had been whittled to a 2 x 3 foot square area.  By year five I was scattering wild flower seeds and calling it good.  I hate having dirt under my fingernails.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate it.  And I'm one of these who can count on one hand how many professional manicures I've had in my life time.  I'm not a foo-foo girl, so I don't know where that trait comes from.  Anyway... fall brings football. I love high school football games--the sounds of the band, the math teacher turned Friday night announcer...maybe it's because my husband is an ex high school football coach... I love not having to turn on neither my home's air conditioning or heater and thus saving muchas dollars.  I love homemade applesauce.

Then on the other hand...

Autumn (aka fall) brings the flies indoors.  They know that winter is coming--that they will soon meet their demise with the first hard freeze and they are anxiously trying to avoid the death trap by nesting in my house.  I have killed 13 of them so far this morning.  I hate flies.  Our cat Mickey starts "beefing up" for the winter.  He is such a lush.  He starts putting on weight in September and keeps his Garfield physique throughout the winter.  Around May he starts slimming down and turns back into a lean, mean tomcatin' machine.

Fall also means critters are coming out.  Soon our evening air will be filled with the aromatic skunk.  I've never seen one out here, but you know they've been around.  Utterly disgusting.  And let us not forget the tarantulas.  My girls play with them. I act like think these oversized, hairy arachnids are cool, but they are not.  I wrote about my girls playing with them here

Fall also means the end of summer and hours of playing outside for my children.  That equates to a little peace and quiet for Mom.  I am so thankful that they like playing outside.  Freezing winter temps will put an end to that.  I'm not sure how Andrei is going to handle that.  He loves to go outside.  About 11:00 every day he is asking for his shoes and pointing to the back door.  If he doesn't stay out long enough to suit him, he breaks down into a temper tantrum upon entering the house.  Our winters will challenge all that he holds near and dear.  Pray for me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

High Waters

We have rain!! Beautiful, cool, rain!  It started last night on our way home from church and rained all night long.  So far we have had 1/2" inch. I know that is minuscule compared to what some of you get, but that is a big hallelujah when you've had about 2 inches total rain for the year!!! I couldn't drag myself out of bed this morning. My alarm went off at 5:30, and I heard the rain pitter patter on our porch's tin roof, and I just couldn't roll out. I just couldn't.  I tried.  Really.  I did roll over and shut off my alarm though. I made it that far.  Would you agree that there isn't anything better than listening to rain and snoozing?  It's gotta be one of my top ten gifts from God.  I know I could be happy in Seattle.

Today's high is predicted to be 55.  Two weeks ago we were nearly 100 after a record summer of 50+ days over 100 degree heat.   Due to this overnight "fluke" temperature, I haven't yet gotten down the kids' next size fall and winter clothes from the attic.  They all had to wear jeans in their closet that were left over from this early spring.  They are prepared should our disparaged and water ravished grounds become so overly saturated that flooding will shortly ensue...
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry setting a new standard in jean attire this season.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Conversations with Doug

Buckle yourself down. Riveting...simply riveting...

(1)  Our conversation last Saturday as Doug was frying his eggs:
DOUG (as I'm walking into the kitchen):  Smell that green stuff.
ME:  What?
DOUG:  Would you smell that green stuff in the fridge?
ME:  What green stuff?
DOUG:  That salsa stuff.
ME:  You're talking about that green verde salsa that's been in the fridge since the beginning of summer?
DOUG:  I guess so.  See if it smells funny to you.
ME:  No.
Allow me to interrupt this tantilizing conversation for a little background.  Doug is constantly telling me he has a wonderful sniffer.  He can smell things that I simply cannot.  I admit that.  He has this super sensitive nose.  Annsley has it too.  He is continually asking "you cannot smell that????"  No, Dear, don't smell a thing...He can smell Andrei's dirty diaper the minute he walks in the door...he can smell a match that was lit three weeks ago...he can smell a feedlot from 100 miles away...I'm telling you has has a serious nose on the end of his face!  So, since he has this super smeller and I don't, I'm constantly amazed that he is asking me to smell things for him--whether it be his shoes, his shorts, or something out of the fridge.  In case you're wondering, the answer to his pleading is always "NO!" I'm thinking, if he's asking me to smell it, it must be bad, and if I can smell it, it means it's really, really bad. He's just using me for validation...
ME:  You didn't eat any of it did you? 
DOUG:  Yeah, I poured it on my eggs yesterday, but my stomach felt a little funny afterwards.
ME:  It's been opened for over 3 months in the fridge. 
DOUG:  It had white stuff on the top. Here, look...
ME:  (not looking) No thank you.  That's called mold.  M-O-L-D.  You shouldn't eat that. You actually ate that???
ANNSLEY:  Mom, Dad eats tortillas with mold on them. 
ME:  I know.  Don't let him feed that to you.
ANNSLEY:  Oh I don't.  It's gross. He tried, but I said NO WAY!
DOUG:  If you get it hot enough, it won't hurt you...

(2) I announced to Doug Andrei's new word for the day:
ME: Andrei said car today!
DOUG: He said car????
ME: Yes. He walked to Annsley's jeep, said "car" and got in.
DOUG: He really said car???
ME: Well, it was more like c-a-a-a. He sound like he's from Minnesota or something. You know, the East.
DOUG: Well, he really is from the East--way East...

(3) Doug's comment about roast and mashed potatoes:
ME:  Here, give Andrei a bite of those mashed potatoes.
ANDREI:  Uhmmmmm.  (Then he makes the sign for more.)
DOUG:  Looking at the roast left on Andrei's tray.  You like that?  This food reminds you of the old country doesn't it?? Yeah, those mashed potatoes too??
(Doug found out before we left Krasnoyarsk that the country Andrei's birth mother was from ate a lot of lamb.  Anytime we're eating meat that Doug doesn't care for (aka: roast) he looks at Andrei and makes some comment about it being from the "old country."  Quite frankly, I can't understand the connection between the food and the native country.  It just reminds me of two very old immigrants talking about the good old days....)

I know, you're thinking, "it can't get more astounding than that."  What can I say...conversation at it's best.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

English Verbage??

My daughter Annsley has always been verbal.  She had something like 100 words in her vocabulary before she was two. Really, I don't know how many she had--could have been 50--could have been 200--I didn't actually count, but it was a lot.  She clearly articulated; we've always been able to understand her quite well from the beginning.  Now, in her ripe age of 7, she is moving on to literary conventions...

She has begun experimenting with the English language in rather creative ways this last week--and I can't credit "school" with it as we haven't even approached the subject.  Similes have begun to flow out of her mouth.  They don't always make sense, but I'm thinking we may have a national best selling author on our hands if she keeps it up! :)

Example #1:  "That was smarter than a cow on a bell."  (I know, it kinda makes you crinkle up your forehead thinking about it, but it was her first one recorded to date...)

Example #2:  "Mom, you are meaner than a crocodile on ice."  (She said this to me when I dished out some terrible injustice to her the other morning.  And, I have to hand it to her, while I've never seen a crocodile on ice and what he'd be doing on it in the first place has me scratching my own head, I do believe that a swampy, hot natured creature would be a bit miffed to find his behind on a subzero hunk of ice. We then had a moment about being respectful and making sure we exemplify Ephesians 4:29.)

The last of Annsley's latest funnys involves powdered chocolate.  I'm not a fan; they have too much sugar; I dread driving the grocery cart down the coffee aisle because they inveritably spy the Nestle Quick and beg--I mean BEG- for me to get some for them.  I refuse.  Last week I relented.  I decided to use chocolate milk as an incentive for staying in bed once we turn out the lights.  (I blame the sharing of a room and bunk beds as this was never an issue before.) We've had one heck of a time with them, one at a time, tattling on what the other one is doing--or Kennedi coming out just to show us her muscles--.  So, I bought Ovaltine the other night and promised the girls if they stayed in their room and didn't talk, they could have chocolate milk in the morning for breakfast.  They were just giddy.  Then Annsley asked if I bought Quick.  I told her I found something better with less sugar (even less sugar than Quick's 25% less sugar package).  It's called Ovaltine, and  "you will l-o-o-o-v-e it!! It's been around for a long time.  It's so much healthier for you.  And I went into my prepared spill because I knew in their little minds that Quick was "where it was at."  As Annsley walked out of the kitchen, I heard her mumble, "With a name like Ovaltine, it can't be any good."  I have no idea where that came from. 

 I would like to add that when the morning came, Ovaltine was served, and by George, they both liked it.  (Even despite the fact that I put only 1/2 of the recommended 2 scoops in their milk,) I've been amazed since then at how something as easy as chocolate milk gets those girls to concede to their weary parents' wishes. 21 days to make it a habit...right?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Time Out!

I made the decision this week to close our adoption blog--for the most part anyway.  I'll just be updating photos and majorly important info from now on.  I had known for a while what I would be doing it, but I just didn't know when, and it affected me more than I realized.  It was like I was leaving behind something that I had identified myself with for the last year and half.  I had toyed with the idea of keeping both blogs up and running, but that was pure fantasy on my part.  The logistics of deciding what snippet of info to post where was just too annoying and draining, so I knew I had to ditch something.  The adoption is over; I formed that blog specifically for that purpose, and now that it is finished, it is time to move on to concentrating on our entire family.  Maybe I'll be more inspired to write more often here.  I'll certainly have more material to work with! :)

We use a number of discipline tactics around here.  Some work better on different children.  Time out is especially effective with Kennedi--Annsley, not at all.  That girl could stay in a corner by herself all day long without blinking.  Lately, we have been utilizing time out A LOT with Kennedi in an attempt to curb certain behaviors.  It has made an obvious impression on Andrei...

Yesterday, Kennedi was throwing up and was hugging the trash can on the couch. (Yes, vomit made it back around our house this week...) Oh, and by the way, last night when I went in to kiss Kennedi good night, she said to me, "Mom! My tummy isn't cramping anymore.  God put His hands on my tummy!"  I LOVE my girls' faith in their Jesus!!

 Back to the story...  Andrei was very interested in that plastic bag.  I firmly took him by the hand, walked him away, and said, "No touch.  Leave Kennedi alone."  When I released his little hand, he looked at me and with a very solemn look on his face, he walked to the corner and put himself in time out.   He would look at me after about 15 seconds, take a step away, and then go back to the corner with his head hanging. (Mind you, time out has never been used on him!) It was a priceless photo opp!
He stayed here for nearly 30 seconds on his own!
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