Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Winter View of our Road

Carnival of Homeschooloing #57 and a link for parents

This is my first time participating in the Carnival of Homeschooling. I was amazed at the number and variety of entries! If you homeschool or are thinking of homeschooling, you should check it out, over at PalmTreePundit.

I also wanted to recommend another post to all parents. Michelle at Scribbit has an excellent post about our kids' activities! Go and read it!

Monday, January 29, 2007

In other news.....

Saturday I also received a little book, Musings of a Mediocre Gardener from Simple Katie. Thank you, Katie. I've enjoying its' simple little stories that give much to think on. I will soon be sharing more from it and passing it on, so look for that in the near future.

We've been updating our Amazon store, 100 Acre Wood Favorites. We are putting some of our favorite books, movies and music there now. Soon, I hope to add some of our favorite kitchen and educational things. If you've ever wondered what else this crazy family, who lives in the woods, wants to live underground and occasionally forages for food, is into check out our Amazon store.

The Carnival of Family Life is up at An Island Life. There is a new contest there also I hear. I am on my way to check it out!

A story in my life #5

I made the phone call.

There is a letter and some pictures! Can you believe it? I couldn't either.

The woman must have heard the thrill and unbelief in my voice. She was quick to tell me they are dated; a few years old. They didn't have my address. I am kicking myself. I knew they didn't have this address, but I thought they had my previous address. I should have kept it up better. I guess I didn't think there was a point until she was 18. Oh well, I am still thrilled!

I also asked the question, "How does this work when she turns 18?" The answer: at 18 she can petition the state to release the records. She can also contact the adoption agency for information. If I write a letter, giving my consent and interest in establishing contact, they can give her information. I will be writing a letter this week. Then I will be waiting, waiting until she is ready to find me!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I am

I am a child of Amish heritage, of tradition, hard work and community. A daughter of a son, who rebelled against those traditions, yet still carries many of their values.

I am a young girl who ran free in the fields of her grandparents' farm. Who rode ponies bareback, exploring her world, and thought maybe one day she'd be a teacher.

I am the varsity athlete, honor student and class president who rebelled. Who was trying to fill empty places with all the wrong things. Who didn't know the only One who could fill those spaces.

I am the college bound high school senior faced with a choice that would forever change her life. The birthmother who chose to place her daughter in the care of another family. Who cried and mourned that loss, but was confident it was the right choice.

I am the college student who longed to see the world, for fortune and glamour, and who decided that could not be found in teaching.

I am the college graduate who married a man five years her junior. Whose priorities changed. Who decided teaching really was more her style.

I am the mother who longs for her children to enjoy the same freedom and adventures of her childhood days, and who still longs for them herself. The mother who loves to walk in the woods, but more often finds herself changing diapers and doing laundry.

I am the woman still learning that when the focus is on Christ, everything else will fall into place. Who struggles to just be and not just do.

I am the person who dreams of a simple, more self sufficient life. Who is grateful for the hard times that have taught her many lessons, but hopes her own children learn those lessons with out the hard times.

This is my entry for the Owlhaven's writing contest. Check her site for more entries and details. Tell her you came via Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A story in my life #4

My heart is all a flutter. . . .

My head is spinning. . . .

Look at what I got in the mail today from the adoption agency.

There are a few items that our agency is holding for you at this time. In trying to get in touch with you to confirm your updated contact information, there came a point in which the most current address was unobtainable. This was the last mailing address that was found.

Please contact our office at xxx-xxx-xxxx to confirm your address and phone number for our records. This will help us to keep current with our files and to keep you and your adoptive family in contact.

What?! I am totally trying to convince myself that this is probably some routine thing. That they probably have some paperwork to send. That it means nothing.

But what if it is more? Could it be a letter from the adoptive family? Or even from M.R. herself?

It is just standard and routine right? They have not contacted me in at least ten years except for the standard agency newsletter. What could it be?! My mind has thought of a million possibilities; some wonderful, some dreadful.

Why, oh, why did this letter have to come on a Saturday, when I can't make the phone call for two days?!

Friday, January 26, 2007

From my kitchen window

A lot of my day is spent in the kitchen. I don't mind. I enjoy cooking and creating in my kitchen. Clean up is made more bearable by the two windows behind my kitchen sink. They certainly don't offer the best view of the 100 Acre Wood, but if I look beyond the drive way, beyond the vehicles and equipment, I can see the hills, the tress and some of the reasons we chose to live here. It is also one of the few times, like hanging clothes on the line, that I can accomplish a task and enjoy a stolen moment of peace and quiet.

From my window, I can watch the kids playing, but I often find myself watching the birds. Last spring I watched a momma bird and her babies. This winter we put bird feeders on a small tree near the window. Our feeders are nothing fancy, but the birds don't seem to mind.

On the small tree you will find two stale bagels covered with peanut butter that Lydia and Nolan made at story time. They were covered with sunflower seeds, but one particularly greedy bird removed them all over the course of a day.

There is also a feeder made from an old milk jug. We washed it out and cut two large holes in the side. Then filled it with seed and tied it to the tree.

The final feeder is the net bag from some apples, filled with "bird cake." Making the "bird cake" was part of our science lesson one day. The recipe was on page 268 of "Further Up and Further In"

Bird Suet
2lbs lard (do not substitute shortening!)
6 cups cornmeal
3 cups wheat flour
4 cups oatmeal

Soften the lard to room temperature. Stir in the other ingredients a couple of cups at a time until the mixture is quite thick. Freeze in tuna cans or small plastic tubs.

I enjoy watching them at the feeders. There are a few varieties that come. I need to invest in a field guide to birds. I should keep it in the kitchen, then maybe I would actually learn to identify these birds. Today, I spent a little time trying to capture them with my camera. They tend to grab and go, so, I didn't get any great shots, but here are a few things I saw today from my kitchen window.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A little bit of explanation

Did you take the quiz? If you didn't and want to
Take the Quiz!
before you read any further.

Tim knows me and Mamaw and Papaw know me pretty well, but the rest of you? Well, I thought maybe you could use some explanation.

We lived on a farm until I was in the sixth grade. Living on the family farm we had lots of different animals. I had a cow named Joy, several sheep, and many rabbits as pets, but never did I have a pet chicken. (q. 6)

Occasionally, we would get together with my dad's side of the family. These gatherings were huge. Haven't I mentioned my dad grew up Amish? I have more than 60 cousins (q. 5) on his side alone. Another piece of trivia about me? I only have one first cousin on my mom's side.

I got my first job as a waitress when I was a junior in high school. I waited tables all through college. Waiting tables has always been a "fall back" job for me. I did it when Tim and I first got married and when we first moved back to our hometown. So, though I have worked in insurance, been a book keeper and a teacher, I have spent the most years as a waitress. (q. 3)

My degree is in Economics. (q. 2) The plan there was to have a broad base and go on to get a Masters in business; international business to be specific. The plan didn't happen. It wasn't until Tim and I were married that I went back to school for my teaching certificate. My certificate was for secondary social studies.

I substituted for awhile and took an 8th grade history position when Kellen was two. At the same time, we took a houseparent position with a therapeutic foster agency. (q. 7) I had both of those jobs about two years until Lydia was born and I quit both.

When I was 4 months pregnant with Lydia we went on a missions trip to an Alaskan island. After helping with a VBS and other activities in a village there, we went backpacking on another island. The trip was already planned and when I found out I was pregnant, I debated on whether I should hike or not. In the end, I decided it was something I couldn't pass on. (q. 4)

If you read the "family blogs" you probably have seen the Alaska trip referred to many times, but no one has told the whole story. I think because we are all still bitter about it. The jist of it is we had some inexperienced hikers with us who panicked. We all left via Coast Guard helicopter with only one easy days hike to go.

I love to travel. If we suddenly came into some money, travel would be the first frivolous thing I would spend it on. I love the mountains, the beach and the city. I would go everywhere! (q. 10) I went to France the summer before my senior year of high school; to Russia the summer before we got married; and to Canada many times, but never to Mexico. (q. 1)

I love a wide variety of foods also, but lasagna (q. 8) is on the top of my list. I find I order it about 90% of the time it is on the menu. Berries of any sort are my favorite fruits. We have tons of blackberries, but blueberries are the ones I would most like to eat! (q. 9)

There is some explanantion. I didn't realize I was so full of surprises!

The Homeschool Shuffle

My frustrations for your enjoyment.

As homeschoolers in West Virginia, we a required to provide the county with a year end assessment of our children's academic progress. We can choose either a standardized test or a portfolio assessment by a certified teacher.

Kellen has never had a standardized test, and frankly, I'd like to see how he compares to his peers. There are several choices, but to simplify, I can pay for a test or have him take the West Virginia test for free. I choose free.

Today I tried to call to make arrangements.

First the local school.
Mr. M: Well you can take the test, but nobody has told me about homeschoolers taking it. You need to call Mr. B at the board office to make arrangements. He is over homeschoolers.

The Board Office.
Mr. B: You need to notify the test coordinator at your local school.
Me: Well, I talked to Mr. M and he told me to call you.
Mr. B: He isn't the building test coordinator, so he wouldn't know what you need to do.
Me: (in my head) Well he is the principal, shouldn't he know to let me talk to the test coordinator in his building?! (out loud) Do you know who the test coordinator is for that building?
Mr. B: No. You probably, also, need to talk to Mr. T. He is the county test coordinator. I will transfer you.

Mr. T: We should be soon, if we haven't already, sending a letter to the homeschoolers about testing. Then you will need to notify Mr. B's secretary that you intend to take the test. She will notify Mr. M.
Me: I just talked to Mr. B who sent me to you. This is our first year doing this. I know I am early, but just wanted to be sure I don't miss any deadlines. I can just wait for the letter then?
Mr. T: Well. . . let me just send you to Mr. B's secretary so we can be sure your name gets on the list. I will transfer you.

Mr. B answered the phone.

At this point, I hung up and marked my calendar to look for the letter and check again in March!

Government bureaucracy at its' finest. Why do I homeschool? Why do I doubt I will ever go back to public school teaching? Do you really need to ask?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

So ya think ya know me? *updated*

Delilah started a quiz craze in the family. Check them out. Links are on the side bar. Delilah, Jake and Tim have one, so I felt like I needed to play too!

And you think you know me!

Kellen also has created a quiz. Check it out. Talk about embarrassing! I only got a 60% What kind of mom only gets a 60%?! In my defense, he has some pretty tricky questions there! Good luck!

Hunting for Treasure

Everyday Mommy is inviting us to hunt for hidden treasures. The treasure is well written blog posts, that are off the beaten path.

Search for well written posts in the following categories: Children & Family, Faith, Marriage, Motherhood, Homemaking, Humor, Current Events and Life.
These post can be from places you already read or from new blogs that you find.

You can nominate a post in each category. You may want to share with your readers posts you are considering. Only the three posts with the most nominations will go on to the voting round.

See all the details here. Happy Hunting!

Stuck in the woods

The snow and ice that everyone else has been dealing with has come to the 100 Acre Wood. Tim left for church this morning (he leaves before we do for worship team practice) and turned around and came home. He said it was bad on the ridge and worse off it. It has been alternately raining, snowing and sleeting all day long.

We've had a fairly lazy day playing games, eating pancakes for lunch and watching a movie. The fireplace going all the while. It is nice to have a day together doing nothing; a day to reconnect and enjoy.

It is starting to get foggy. Odd isn't it? There is snow on the ground and fog in the air, giving everything a washed out appearance. I've been waiting for a good day to take a winter view of our road to go along with the fall view and the summer view, I've posted before. I am waiting for that winter wonderland shot. The one where the tree branches are heavy with snow and all the dirt is covered white. We have had so little snow this year. I thought maybe today I would be able to get that shot, but it isn't going to happen. Instead, here is one from my back door,

and one from the front door.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A story in my life #3

In the last post, Scribbit left a comment comparing adoption to donating an organ. I understand her analogy, but it doesn't quite capture it. I've been thinking how I could explain it to you. The best way I can think of is that adoption is like a death.

I lost someone who I loved. She went to a better place.
Though I knew I wasn't ready to be a parent at the time of M.R.'s birth, the full truth of it did not hit me until Kellen was born, over nine years later. You don't realize how hard some things in life are, until you are in the situation. Marriage and parenting are two such examples. If it was hard when I was 27 and happily married, what would it have been like at 18 with no support from the birthfather and a strained relationship with my own parents?

I grieved.
The loss left a hole in my heart. It hurt. Anger, tears and numbness were all part of it. I craved the contact that came in the form of letters and pictures. I poured over every word and image over and over. At the same time, I dreaded the letters. Every new letter and picture seemed to pull the scab off the wounds.

With time and prayer, there is healing.
Eventually, I could think of M.R. without tears. There is still a pain of sorts, but it is more of an ache not real pain. It doesn't mean I've forgotten. I still think of her often. I wonder. I pray. I hope, but from a place of contentment, not pain.

There is hope we will meet again.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A story in my life #2

Why post about it and why now?

In my first post on this story, I mentioned a reason why I am posting about this now. M.R. will soon be 18. My adoption story takes place before "open adoptions." I am glad it did. I am not sure that would have been healthy for any of us, but I also do not think I would have been able to say no to that at the time. Well, maybe that is too much for right now. I will save that discussion for a later time. I guess our adoption would be called semi-open. I helped pick the family, but I don't know names and never saw pictures of them. We maintained contact with letters through the adoption agency for several years.

When she turns 18, she can legally access the records. I am a little unclear on how this all works and need to contact the agency for details. I am . . .well I can't find a word that fits, happy isn't right, settled, or at peace or content (?) with the decision I made, but her adulthood brings up. . . anxiety. I really want to meet her, but I feel that I should leave it to her to make the contact. (I am not sure I can really put reasons to this feeling at this point.) What if she doesn't initiate contact, but what if she does? Does she understand the decision I made? Did she have a happy childhood? Can I handle the guilt if she didn't? I just need a place to sort it all out and maybe get a little feedback.

Another reason, I wanted to share adoption from a birthmother's point of view. I have run across so many adoption stories from adoptive parents, but none from birthmothers.

I think maybe I was also hoping to find some other birthmothers for support. With that in mind, I went searching for birthmothers. I found a few blogs. I can't read them. The ones I tried to read were angry and raw. Reading them made me sad, and of course, shattered my illusion that all birthmothers were settled with their decision. Sometimes, I am so naive!

So, here I am to tell my story and sort out my feelings. Thank you all for your support. Your comments on the first post were very touching.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Can relaxation and embarrassement coexist?

Today, I redeemed one of my Christmas gifts from Tim; a one hour massage from Hands on Healing. I've never been for a massage before. I was so excited. An hour of peace, quiet and a relaxing massage, what mom wouldn't be excited?

I am lying on a heated bed. There are heated pillows on my feet and neck. The music and lights are soft, and there is the trickle of a water fountain in the background. I am relaxed before the massage even begins.

She starts with my hand and arm. "Oh, this is sooooo nice," I am thinking. Then she is gently pulling on my arm; down toward the corner of the room, out toward the wall and then up. This is where the embarrassment comes in.

The instant my arm went up, I remembered that I didn't shave. No, I'm not talking a little stubble. I haven't shaved in a l-o-n-g time. A long time, in like, since it was warm enough to wear shorts; in like a stranger, such as the massage therapist, would probably think I normally go au naturale. I do shave, I promise. I just don't very often in the winter and this has been a longer stretch than normal. I meant to shave before I went, but I forgot.

I thought about saying something. What could I say? I wondered what she must be thinking. I imagined her going home to her family, and talking around the dinner table about their days. "You would not believe the hair on this woman's legs today," I imagined her relating the story.

The therapist, of course, was very professional, I heard no gasps or snickers as my embarrassment was revealed. In the end, I decided that there was nothing to say or to do. I just took a few deep breaths and enjoyed the massage, which was fabulous by the way. If you are in the Huntington area I would highly recommend Hands on Healing and tell her the hairy lady, um I mean Stephanie sent you!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

They love each other. . . . they really do!

Sometimes it feels like all the kids do is yell and bicker. The three oldest know just how to push each other's buttons and love to do it. Some days I feel like my head is going to explode and wonder what I will do when Vivian joins in the bickering. Then they show me that they love and even like each other. Last night was such an example.

I bribed. . . uh I mean motivated them to pick up their bedrooms and the living room. The reward; a movie. I expected to hear a lot of fighting about who made what mess, and who wasn't helping enough, but I didn't. Instead, they turned it into a game and soon the rooms were picked up.

I waited for, "We are done." but they just continued to play. Far be it for me to stop them from playing nicely together to remind them that they wanted to watch a movie. They played their game for another 1/2 hour before deciding it was time for the movie.

Just so you know this is the real world, not some perfect home, they did bicker a little about the movie. It was easily resolved and soon we were all enjoying the movie and each other's company.

For more stories about kids doing the right thing, check Pass the Torch Tuesday.

Monday, January 15, 2007

We Are Marshall

Last night Tim, Kellen and I went to see We Are Marshall. If you are not familiar with this movie, it is the true story of the 1970 Marshall University football team. The entire team, save three players and one coach, were killed in a plane crash. This is the story of the the team, University and town dealing with and recovering from the pain and loss.

Marshall University is in Huntington, West Virginia, the nearest city to us, about 20 minutes away. This story is very personal to the people of this area. People we have talked to say that the movie accurately portrays the events. Yes, it is a football movie, but I would say the story is more about the heart: the heart of a school, a town and a team. The setting just happens to be football. Ladies, you will need your tissues, and guys you might want to sneak a few in too!

We are relatively new to the area and outsiders to the story. If you want to see true fans, come to Huntington. Marshall is everywhere. You can hardly find a store that doesn't carry Marshall gear. It is very common to see cars painted in Marshall green and white, lawn flags proudly displayed and on game days the whole town turns green. I didn't understand it before, now I do.

On a personal note, it was so cool to see familiar landmarks on the big screen. There were also references to places we have lived and frequented; Ashland, Akron, and Wooster. One little annoyance from the movie, they mispronounced Wooster, but you wouldn't know that unless you are from Wayne County, Ohio.

The critics have not given this movie great reviews, but I really enjoyed it and other yahoo viewers have rated it a B. I would not say it is a must see, unless you live in the Huntington area, but it is a very good movie. If you don't make it to see it on the big screen, make sure that you rent it. It is a story that is well worth watching.

Go Herd!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A story in my life

There is a story in my life. One I don't talk much about. It isn't exactly a deep, dark secret, but it is very personal. I will talk about it, if the subject comes up. I am not likely to bring the subject up though.

It is a story whose main events happened about 18 years ago, but the story is with me daily. There may be more events in the future. As this story approaches its' anniversary, it has been on my mind a lot. I've felt like posting about it, yet I hesitate. I hesitate, mostly, because some of my readers know me personally, and I am not sure how many of them know this story in my life. If you know me, but do not know this story, I apologize for telling it to you in this format.

This is the story of a girl I know only as M.R. A girl I remember as a baby, but who is actually turning 18 in May. She is my daughter, biologically. I said my goodbyes in a hospital room that May of 1989. She went to live with a family I chose.

Though I received pictures those first few years, I still picture her as a newborn. I can not picture what she looks like now. I can barely believe that she is now the same age as I was when she was born. It seems like yesterday. It seems like another life time.

I'm not sure how much or what I will post here about this story. I just know that it is on my mind and writing about it helps me sort out the thoughts and feelings. So, I guess this post will serve as an introduction for those who don't know about this story in my life and M.R.

I am so hesitant to post this. I actually wrote this 12/29/06, but am just now posting it. Not like me to be shy!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Lydia is Five!

Happy Birthday Lydia!

Today my Lydia, Girly Girl, Little Mama, or Pokey, as she is known around here, turns five. She is such a sweet little girl. I love to watch her play with her babies. She colors pictures for the whole family on a daily basis. She dances in her own interpretive style and has a hard time talking with out jumping up and down. She loves to dress up and often reminds me to wear earrings and make-up to go places.

Her name means Womanly and the spiritual connotation is Beautiful Light. A name couldn't be more appropriate. She is all girl, not in a prissy sort of way, but in a confident, beautiful and capable way. Everywhere she goes she brings smiles to peoples faces. She keeps us laughing here too, as I have posted many times!

Here are a few pictures of her over the years.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It will always be an adventure

I am always posting you the funny stories about our kids. And yes, there are a lot of them. Sometimes I wonder what life will be like after the kids are gone? Will it be quiet? Will I find that nice or lonely? Will life be calm? Will it be boring? And then I remember who I am married to.

Life will always be an adventure with Tim! If you haven't already check his series on the reasons he is weird, do so, and then you will understand why I will always be entertained, even after the kids leave!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Snotty

Nolan and Vivian both have colds with low grade fevers. Nolan has been sleeping in our room (on the floor) for a few days now. Vivian just started with her cold.

The Good
They both are sleeping alot.

The Bad
They both are incredibly grumpy when awake.

The Snotty
Do you really need an explanation?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


For more visit Wordless Wednesday.

I guess that is part of homesteading

We have three rabbits: Scotty, Peter and Cha Cha. Scotty is a White New Zealand. Although they are large rabbits bred for meat, he started as Delilah's pet and we have had him now for about five years, I think. He is still a pet.

When we moved here, the plan was to get Scotty a mate and use the offspring for meat. We needed another hutch to do this. In the fall I called on an ad for rabbits. We ended up with Peter, a black rabbit (not sure about the breed), and Cha Cha, a Lion Head. Neither of these fit the plan, but they had a nice hutch and quite a few supplies at a price we couldn't pass on.

We never did find Scotty a mate and decided to wait until spring. In the meantime, Scotty had the old hutch and Peter and Cha Cha were in the hutch they came in. This hutch was split separating the two. It has a metal roof which was screwed on. We took out the screws because it made it easier to clean out the hutch.

This was all working well, until about a month ago. There was a huge windstorm. It blew down our canopy, moved our chicken coop and . . . the roof off the double rabbit hutch. When we found them, Cha Cha had hopped on her box and over to Peter's side. We weren't sure how long the had been together, and were hoping that hadn't done what rabbits do best. She is a very small rabbit and though he is not large, he is quite a bit larger than she is. We weren't planning for them to breed.

The kids mainly take care of the rabbits. With the holidays, I had kind of forgotten about the incident of possible indiscretion. Yesterday, the kids needed some help with the rabbits. When I went out I noticed Cha Cha was missing fur on her haunches. Then I saw that she had been lining her box. Oh no! This is what they do before giving birth. I didn't look closely, but didn't see any babies.

This afternoon I went out to check on her, and when I opened the door, I could see one baby, out of the nest, dead. I went to the back of the hutch where the boxes are and saw another out of the nest. I carefully looked into the nest and found two more, also dead. Our first (although unplanned) litter and all were dead.

Even though we did not want these rabbits to breed, I am disappointed that none survived. I am not sure what I could have done different for them, but I feel like I failed because I forgot that they were even a possibility. I want to know what went wrong so it doesn't happen again. Maybe Cha Cha isn't a good mother? Maybe it was just the mix of the two rabbits that was the problem? It hasn't been that cold, so I don't think that was the problem. I know that losing animals comes with the territory, but I find this case frustrating!

The only thing I can do now, I guess, is prevent them from mating again. Today I switched Scotty and Cha Cha. So now Cha Cha is in the single cage and Scotty and Peter are in the double (separated.) There are logs on the roof to hold it down and Tim and I talked about securing the metal to a piece of board. Our other hutch is like this only using shingles instead of metal roofing. This allows access through the roof, but is heavy enough to not blow off.

Of course, today while I was switching and cleaning, I got called away by one of the kids. When I came back I saw that, apparently, I had not secured them well enough and Peter and Cha Cha were again cohabiting. I was only gone for a few minutes and I am hoping that she would not be able to breed again yet, but I will be watching more closely this time. I wrote it on the calendar.

Oh, the learning, the ups and the downs of raising animals. This is homesteading, I guess.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Random Updates and What Not

Well we have finished Christmas. The Miller's got together this past weekend. Complete with Seafood Stew and all. Delilah posted some more of the details of the weekend if you want to know. It was one for the memory books!

We are trying to get back into the "normal" routine around here. (If there is such a thing around the 100 Acre Wood!) Tim has been at his new job about a month now. With the holidays and all, I don't think we have really posted too much about the new job. Basically, he is doing the same thing, but for different company. The base pay is about the same, but because most of the commissions for his job are generated in the fall, he took quite a pay cut. It should get made up in the fall. His Ebay sales are helping to make up the difference.

Some things are different about the new job. They do a lot more retail business so Tim spends a lot more time in the store, which he doesn't mind, but he lost a lot of the time flexibility he had before, including the month of June! :( On the flip side, they provide a company vehicle. That will save a lot of wear and tear on his car. It will also lower our insurance. We are considering selling his car and putting the money toward a different family vehicle.

Vivian of course, is the kid that is changing the most. It seems like she does something new everyday. She has gotten very vocal, especially in the high chair. She is starting to sign " more" and "all done. " Her mouth seems suddenly full of teeth; three on the bottom and four on top.

Nolan is still all boy and loves trucks and being outside. He amazes is me with how much he seems to just pick up. He has known his colors for some time and seems to be getting numbers and counting now too. The other day, he had watched two Dora episodes. He came in the kitchen and asked to watch more. I told him, "No, you have already watched two." Without hesitation, he responds, "I want watch three!" I didn't know he could count.

Lydia will be turning five on Friday. I will post more about what she is up to then.

Kellen still has his nose in a book most of the time. He loves to be Papaw's helper and according to Papaw he his actually very helpful on the various projects around here. He really seems to have grown up in the last few months. He is at a very enjoyable stage. You can have a good conversation with him and for the most part he is cooperative and respectful. He still wants to over load my brain with all the facts he learns, but I think that is just Kellen! :)

There are some random updates on the family. I need to get back to the laundry.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Yesterday morning, I was at the computer posting Wednesday memes. (WFMW & WW) I was enjoying a very rare moment of quiet. Tim had already left for work. The only kid up was Nolan and he was content playing Flexiblocks in the living room.

I was just putting my link on Mr. Linky when CRASH! I hesitated just a moment. It was not followed by any crying. Ok, so Nolan didn't get hurt, but what in the world did he do? I pulled myself away from the computer and went to the living room.

There Nolan sat, still playing, nothing amiss. "Nolan," I said, "what happened?" He sweetly looks at me, "I dunno." "Did you hear that?" I asked. "Uh huh." he answered and went back to playing. So, if Nolan didn't do it, and everyone else is still in bed, what in the world happened?

I could not see anything wrong in the living room. I went in our bedroom and this is what I saw:
It is not real clear from the picture, but I could tell that something had hit the window from the outside. Whatever it was hit the screen and broke the outside pane. The inside pane was still intact.

I looked out the window. I couldn't see anything. Returning back to the living room, I opened the sliding glass door and there lay a large bird on its back with its neck at a very strange angle. This bird was at least five feet from the aforementioned window. Instead of being straight back from the window, as I would expect, it was at about 45 degrees. Still haven't figured that out.

When I first saw it, it was still moving a little. I called Papaw. I wasn't sure what it was, but assumed it was some sort of bird of prey because of its size. I told Papaw it was a falcon. (Learning to id birds is on my to do list!) I thought maybe we should call the game warden or something. He said he would be over, after he finished breakfast.

I decided to go out for a closer look. This is the view of the window from the outside:

The bird was dead when I got there. I flipped it over with a stick. If you are a birder, I am sure that this picture will make it completely obvious that I know nothing about birds.

I picked it up by the feet and headed to Papaw's. He met me about half way. Mamaw came out too to see what we had. Papaw said he was pretty sure it was a grouse. Something in my mind connected grouse with a hunting season. Those of you have been reading for awhile, and know of our wild foods hobby will not be surprised by my question, "Can we eat it?"

A quick online check confirmed that it was indeed, a grouse and yes, you can eat it. I have never butchered foul before. Papaw agreed to cut off the head and Mamaw agreed to teach me the rest. She actually ended up doing almost all of it while I was cleaning up the broken glass. I helped with the very end of the plucking and she made me scoop out the insides.

Here come the pictures of cleaning the bird. I am warning you now, so stop reading if you don't want to see the butchered bird.

Here Mamaw is scalding it in boiling water.
The scalding makes it easier to pluck.

Here Nolan is trying to help. He is trying to cut off the foot with a spoon! *grin*

With this picture we were trying to show how much this bird was just feathers. Notice the wing on the top with all the feathers compared to the wing on the bottom that has been plucked.

What we ended up with was a bird larger than a Cornish hen, but smaller than a chicken. Since this was obviously not enough meat for everyone, we decided to stew it and make soup. Mamaw did the honors and we all enjoyed grouse noodle soup for dinner.

The taste was not gamey at all. The flavor was more like turkey than chicken. The meat was a little tough, but not terrible. Who would have guessed that the crash I heard would lead to a wild food dinner? Only in the 100 Acre Wood.

If you are new around these parts and would like to see more about the foraging and wild foods we have eaten please click here or here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


She has pink on under all the boy looking outerwear, I promise! *grin*

For more Wordless Wednesday click here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Translation Please!

It can be quite challenging sometimes to figure out what you toddler or preschooler is trying to tell you. They know what they are trying to say, but finding and pronouncing the correct word doesn't always happen. I remember Kellen and Lydia would (and sometimes still do) make up words when they weren't quite sure.

Nolan is doing something different. When he doesn't know the word for the object he wants he always says, something that sounds like, "comesom!" We have tried to figure out what "comesom!" means with no luck.

At first we thought maybe he was trying to say "something." Kellen thought maybe it was "handsome" because Nolan was learning that word around the same time "comesom!" started. If you suggest those words he simply replies, "No, comesom!"

So, what is "comesom?" I don't know if he is trying to say a real word, but I do know that it means, "What is that called?" If you tell him the name of the object he is pointing to, he will repeat the object's name and continue the conversation. If you try to figure out what "comesome?" is you will both end up frustrated.