Friday, June 26, 2009

What would your reality show title be?

If there were a reality show about you and your family, what would the name of it be? Ro and I catch A LOT of slack for having four children. One name for our show would be Steph and Ro Plus Fo' And We Don't Want No Mo'! I want to know what would the name of your show be?

Yay! It's Friday!
S

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What were you doing 9 years ago?

The evening of May 12th, 1995 my life changed forever, although I didn't know it at the time. (You are probably telling yourself, "That wasn't 9 years ago." Just wait. I'll get there.) I was living in Waco, Texas then, and on that particular night, my friend Amie and I decided to hit the town.

Actually, I had a date. A date that I didn't want to go on. So Amie, being the good friend that she is, helped me out.

I was really dreading going out with this guy and was whining to Amie about it. She suggested a double date and knew the perfect person for her to bring along. So, I called the guy I was to go out with and asked if he would mind if we went on a double date with a friend of mine. He said no......so Amie and her friend met us at a local restaurant.

All of us ended up having a great time that night. Well, almost all of us. My "date" not so much. I think he felt threatened by Amie's friend. He kept trying to control the entire evening.....where we could sit and even who we, more specifically me, could talk to. We, of course, ignored his commands and did whatever we wanted to.

Before we knew it, the evening was over. We said our goodbyes and retreated to our respective homes.

Amie's friend's name was Roman. And when we met that night something just clicked. A couple of evenings later my phone rang......on the other end of the line, I heard Roman's nervous voice. We talked for hours that night and finally, just before we hung up, Roman worked up the courage to ask me out on our first, of many dates.

My original plan was to move back to Nebraska that May, but my meeting Roman postponed that plan for 3 more years. I eventually made the decision to move back to Nebraska and to my surprise Roman followed. I thought he would never leave Texas......you know how Texans are.

So, what were you doing on this day, nine years ago? I was getting ready to marry the man of my dreams. We had a beautiful wedding that we were fortunate enough to share many family and friends who were brave enough to make the trip to Nebraska. And we have had a beautiful marriage to which we have added 4 beautiful and amazing, children. I couldn't imagine taking this journey with anyone else other than my husband.

I love you, Roman......Happy Anniversary!

S

A Kid's Paradise

We went to the farm for Father's Day. Ro didn't mind as long as he could sit in the house and watch the US Open. The kids are always in favor of going as there is always something to do and they can get as dirty as they want and it is OK. This is great for Chi-Chi...his nickname is Pigpen...we just can't figure out what he does that gets him so dirty. But because he is a boy, he takes pride in the fact that he gets filthy from head to toe and tries to out do himself from one day to the next.

We went to the farm not only because it was Father's Day and to see Brupa, but my parents have been after us to come for about two weeks. In fact they were quite adamant! My dad (Brupa) secretly had this playhouse built for the grand kids....his granddaughters more specifically. Doesn't it look dreamy?

As we drove up the drive way and my kids caught their first glimpse of this little surprise.......they absolutely, positively could not contain their excitement. The doors of the car flew open...almost before we had come to a complete stop, and they all popped out and made a bee line for the play house.

They played and played and played. Lunch was served to them in the play house. Then they played and played some more. They even planned a night when they would camp out in the
playhouse. I think it will be Ro's job to supervise that sleepover....he doesn't know that yet.

You know, I really could have used one of these when I was a kid.


They all had a marvelous time and Oma and Brupa couldn't have picked a better setting for this little house. It is far enough from the main house, but close enough to monitor them from the kitchen window.


The playhouse sits under this beautiful canopy of two big cottonwood trees.


The front porch turned into a stage for Schmax and Mac to sing I Love Rock n Roll. Still like my version...I Love Mackie Jo. Mac on the other hand doesn't like it so much. I just had to video their performance.

video

Then Mac decided she wanted to play hide and seek in the sweet corn patch. Can you see her her little blond head among the stalks of corn?


Brupa and Uncle Benny took time out from the laziness of the day to sort cows. Not a lazy activity by the way. They probably could have used my help, but I was too busy taking pictures. Besides I hate, hate, hate it when I step in a cow pie. It's gross. It's smelly. And it is a great way to ruin a good pair of shoes!!!!
Bovine creatures creatures can be so "clique-ish". They are always hanging out in groups. Here's a bit a farm trivia.....Did you know that when cows clump together that a storm is approaching? Check it out....they are usually pretty accurate.

Then there was little guy. His mama has abandoned him so Brupa has to bottle feed him. Chi-Chi loves to help him with this little chore.


I love early summer in the country. There is nothing more beautiful.

Everything is so green, so new.

I just love the country. I love the peace, the wide open spaces, and the connection you have with the land. I love the people in my neighborhood, the people they are and what they stand for. You will never meet more honest and hardworking people.

To me, there really is no better place to be than living in the country and I am so glad that I can share this life with my children.


They will be better people for it.

S

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Music

Not that I have a lot of people who check out my blog, but I'd like to think that I have a few that check us out from time to time. To keep you entertained while reading about our latest happenings, I have posted a play list for your listening pleasure. However, I feel like I need to explain this list as my musical taste is quite different from that of most people. So here it is.......

Music. I LOVE music! I am the one at the stoplight jammin' in my seat, singing at the top of my lungs, and the car is visibly vibrating due to the volume of the music. Unfortunately, that is about the extent of my musical abilities. My dad and brother are blessed with the natural musical talent. They are both fantastic singers. While neither one of them can read a note of music, they can hear a song on the radio, pick up their guitar, and play it through perfectly! Me.....I don't sing (at least when there are others within ear shot) and I have to practice a song on the piano a million times before it sounds remotely familiar.

Now to my play list choices.....

My first choice is Marie Lavaue by Bobby Bare. When I was little my dad used to sing this song all the time. He would come in from a long day of work and we would beg him sing it for us. I love those songs that are half sung, half spoken as someone is telling you a story. (I know, that is what most songs are, a story, but this is a little different.)

Then there is Thank God, I'm A Country Boy! by John Denver. First of all, I love John Denver. Secondly, when I was about 5, my dad got a new tractor that had a CAB.....at the time, the fact that it had a cab was a big deal. (One day I'll tell you about the combine we had that had a horn. Hours of entertainment I tell ya! We led such simple lives!) It had air conditioning, which was awesome, and my brother and I were able to ride with him because it was all enclosed and we wouldn't fall out! But most importantly, it had an 8-track tape player. Whoo-hoo! We thought we were so "up town"....or maybe I should say "up country". John Denver was the first 8 track tape we bought to break in that 8-track player, and Thank God...was the song that was playing on my very first ride. Just brings back happy times.

The other tape we bought was Kenny Rogers and my favorite song on that tape was Lucille. "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille....With four hundred children and a crop in the field." Dad would laugh hysterically when I sang that......it's really not four hundred children, but four HUNGRY children.
Hee! Hee! I was so cute back then.

Put Another Log On The Fire.....that's a tricky one. It is sung by Tompall Glaser and he was a member of The Outlaws which consisted of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. I used to love this song and thought it was the silliest song I had ever heard as I couldn't believe that any woman would let anyone treat them that way. Listening to the lyrics now....not so silly...but still like the song.

There is a little town close to where I grew up. Every January, or maybe it's February (could even be March....hey, it's been 20+ years since I've been there) anyway, they have a small festival called "The Quack Off!" What they do is ice over the tennis court in town and you can "rent" a duck and race it down this icy tennis court. As silly as it sounds, it really does draw quite the crowd. In conjunction with "The Quack Off!", members of the community would put together a mock Hee-Haw show.....and let me tell you it was absolutely HILARIOUS! My dad's band was the house band for the show and would do special features in between the skits. One of the special features was Dueling Banjos performed by my brother and dad. Except, in their case, it was "Dueling Guitars".

Just a couple more I promise......

Back in his band days.....one song my dad was known for was The Auctioneer by Leroy Van Dyke. I remember Dad working and working on this song until he got it just right. It was my favorite song he sang at the time and still request it whenever his band mates get together.

I had to include Fat Bottom Girls by Queen but put the Hayseed Dixie version in on my play list to stick with the theme. Even though Fat Bottom Girls is not a country song and Queen was so not a country band......my boys know every word of that song! Our friend, Rick, asked Ro one day, "Do you know your kids (this was back when we only had two) know the words to Fat Bottom Girls? That's kind of cool!" They also know Bohemian Rhapsody.....we all shake our heads wildly through that crazy part in the middle (imagine sitting next to that picture at a stoplight)....well, all of us except Ro....he's a little too reserved for that kind of behavior.

You can't go wrong with any song by Roger Miller. He was so versatile...... Johnny Cash is one of the "great ones" and I chose A Boy Named Sue because Shel Silverstein wrote it. If you know anything about Shel....he is a famous children's poet.....funny, funny, funny!

Did you make it all the way through this post without falling asleep? zzzzzzzz

And finally...Happy Trails by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. My grandma had a beautiful upright piano and my brother and I would sit on the end of the bench while she played and we would sing like we had never sung before. The most requested song by us was Happy Trails. We spent hours sitting on that bench with her and singing along while her fingers flew up and down the keys. I really miss her.

To most of you, the mere mention of the word "country" would send you running as fast as your legs would carry you in the other direction. However, to me, these songs bring back a simpler time and take me back to the country roads of Otoe county, sitting next to my dad in his red Ford pick up truck, windows down, summer breeze blowing through my hair, and the radio turned up.

Good times.....

S

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Camouflage

Tonight Chi-Chi found the dental floss and helped himself to some. Actually he helped himself to more than some......almost half the roll! Just as I was about to ask him what he was up to.....he said, "Mom, I'm just camouflaging my teeth!"

I couldn't help but laugh.

S

Friday, June 12, 2009

Go, Chi-Chi! Go!

This guy accomplished something this week that he has been waiting ever so patiently for over a year to do.


We took his training wheels off and he just took off! I wish you all could have seen the smile on his face. It literally stretched from ear to ear. He was just bursting at the seams! Unfortunately, and unbelievably, I didn't have my camera with me. Truth be told it was kind of hard to help him balance, run behind him, and hold Q-T all at the same time!!!!! I think adding a camera into the mix would have been a little too much......

Dew has been cruising around on two wheels for the last year. Chi-Chi tried so desperately to do the same last year, but his balance just wasn't there. Let me tell you it broke Chi-Chi's little heart when those training wheels went back on his bike. He's so tired of being the "little brother" even though he is almost just as big a Dew.

Anyway, here he is........zippin' up and down the sidewalk.


Look at the focus. The concentration. The drive. All the while, I am jumping up and down shouting, "Go Chi-Chi! Go! You are doing it!" (I think my excitement got the better of me as some of the neighbors came out to see what was going on. Ooops!)


This is what he usually looks like when he is riding his bike. Bike is heading in one direction and Chi-Chi's head looking in the other direction. Drives me crazy!!!! Because he is usually in front of me on the trail looking every which way but directly in front of him and constantly stops without warning. "Mom, did you see that cardinal?" or "Mom, did you see that critter?" or he just stops to talk.


Every now and then, he would stop and flip his bike over, and turn the pedals with his hands just to watch the wheels turn. It must be a boy thing, because I remember my brother doing the same thing when he was little. Do you remember doing that Uncle Benny?


Here's another shot where he is looking DOWN instead of in front of him. YIKES! Look straight ahead, Chi-Chi! Look straight ahead! You're giving your mom a heart attack!

He eventually gets everything in sync.


He had gotten so good and so fast, that after a while it was hard for me to get him in the frame.

And there he goes!

Chi-Chi, I am so proud of you! You hard work and determination paid off.

Zoom! Zoom!
S

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Facebook

I have resisted having anything to do with Facebook for the longest time. Well, this week I caved....and I must say I am absolutely LOVIN' it. I have connected with people I haven't seen or spoke with in years! Guess that is the whole point of Facebook, isn't it?!

I am now "friends" with Helen, a friend from junior high. I used to sit next to her in Mr. Novak's Civics class. Helen, I must say you haven't changed a bit.

I am also now "friends" with Amie. She is the reason my husband and I met. Amie, you look great, too. Actually better than great! You may have to hook me up with some MK....so I can be a hottie, too.

There's T who has always looked fabulous and still does. I'm guessing T's last time in Nebraska was when she came to be in our wedding. The weather was horrible that wkend...tornadoes, sirens, taking cover!

And there's Marnie. We had several classes together at UNL and she lived in the apartment building next to mine. We were pretty good friends in college. I moved to TX shortly after her wedding and we lost touch. She did give me a call about 10 years ago after seeing my engagement announcement in the paper and then she moved. Let me know that next time you are going to be in town Marnie!!!! It will be fun to catch up!

Today, I became "friends" with TK.....the lone guy out of my small group of Facebook friends. We were friends throughout high school and college. He was such a bad influence on me. Not really......he actually saved my sorry self a couple of times....but I will not share any of those stories until after my kids are grown....and by then, I will be too old to remember that crazy time in my life. I do remember that gray car you had with the alarm that always beeped twice....."Hello, Tom!" it would say.

For those of you that have become my "friends" on Facebook and have checked me out.....you'll notice I didn't post a pic of myself. The years haven't been as kind to me as they have been to all of you. I am much more comfortable BEHIND the camera than in front of it.

It has been so much fun the last couple of days discovering where life has taken everyone and what they are doing. I am looking forward to making more connections with friends from the past.

S

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A New Friday Night Tradition

Friday evening was absolutely perfect. After a relatively hot and humid day, all the heat and humidity seemed to magically disappear after 6 pm. Better weather couldn't have been custom ordered. So...we packed everything up and took it to the park for a picnic.

The kids were so excited they could hardly stand themselves! They wanted to ride their bikes to the park, but after working all day, I didn't have it in me....and I wonder why I can't lose any weight....you actually have to put forth some effort but that is a whole other blog topic.

By the time we got to the park, the kids were starving. Not quite sure why as they had been grazing all day long. We had turkey subway sandwiches....nope didn't make them.....picked them up at the HyVee, Cool Ranch Doritos because we are so cool (Hee! Hee!), grapes, root beer, and raspberry tea.


They ate like there was no tomorrow. Look at "The Law" shoveling it in.


We picked a table by the lake and "The Law" couldn't take her eyes off of it. There was so much going on......fishing, people biking, hiking, and boating.


Chi-Chi was a little groggy. No nap for the day, and he fell asleep right before we left for the park......he was not in the best of moods when we first arrived.


This kid, on the other hand, was completely in his element. You can tell because he is actually showing teeth when he smiles. He never smiles like this.....NEVER!



The lake was beautiful. It was relatively calm and the sun just shimmered on the surface of the water.

After we finished eating we headed to the park........there were so many kids! I am so glad that Ro and I were both there to help each other keep track of all of our kids....or as my friend Kim says my "hundred kids". All I have to say is, "Kim....one more! One more is all you need and then we'll be tied! Go for it! Everyone need four kids!" I am not biased or anything, but having four kids really is wonderful!


Dew loves to swing and loves to show off. Here is doing his famous, "Look, Mom! No hands!" move. This was right before he fell out of the swing because he wasn't hanging on. (Just kidding, he didn't fall out....he jumped out instead. Almost knocked me over!)


"The Law" loves to drive. I asked her where she was going and, of course, she was driving to Brupa's. I know you can't tell by the picture, but her beloved flip-flops are on the wrong feet. She, of course, refused to switch them around.


Q-T was "jus' a swangin' " and loved every minute of it. She was quite enthralled with the little boy that was swinging next to her. Probably wishing that she was swinging as high as he was.


Look at how her face lights up when she sees her mama!

Ro took the boys exploring.


They saw a kayaker.


This sailboat looked like so much fun.



Then there was this guy. I am not sure what he was in, but he saw me with my camera and kept turning the other way. I finally snapped him. His contraption was quite interesting. I do think he was a bit annoyed with my attempts to get his picture and am surprised he didn't shoot me the bird here.
The boys built these well constructed mounds in the sand.
Chi-Chi is proudly admiring his. Dew's is in the foreground.

Not to be out done...Dew also wanted a picture with his mound of sand. Wait! I am being corrected. It is not JUST a mound of sand.......it is a volcano. See how the top is caved in. Boy, its tough when they start reading......nothing is sacred!

Dew's a good speller, too. Gone are the days when we could spell out what we didn't want them to know.....M-O-V-I-E, Z-O-O, M-C-D-O-N-A-L-D-S. He always ruins the surprise.


"The Law" is taking it all in and asking, "What are they building those mounds in the sand, Mommy?"


She is concentrating really hard. Look at that furrowed brow.


On the way back to the car, the boys spotted these. Daisies are my favorite flower......they are so delicate, light, and airy.

Our evening was capped off with a trip to the ice cream shoppe around the corner from our house. "I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream!" There were resounding yays and whoo-hoos from those in our group. They live to go to the ice cream shoppe! Yes, we live a pretty sheltered life.




After we all had devoured our ice cream (which I didn't not NEED!)........ Dew, Chi-Chi, "The Law" and I walked home.
"The Law" is always checking to see if I'm coming. Chi-Chi could care less and is always in a hurry where ever he goes.

A perfect end to a perfect night!

S

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Life

We have this tree outside our front door. It makes a perfect little Christmas tree and we load it up with lights each December and you can see the glow for miles. OK, maybe not miles, but at least down the block.

As we were leaving one day, we saw something in the tree that caught our eye.

It was this.

Yes, my lights were still on the tree. They were red so we left them up for Valentine's Day, and at the time of this photo.....they were still up.

Anyway, we found three little eggs tucked away in the nest....which was so meticulously woven. Robin's eggs are so beautiful. For days we checked on the progress of the eggs.

Then one day we notice the eggs had hatched.

It wasn't long and the little birds had feathers. The middle guy was always hungry. Every time we checked on him, he had his mouth open waiting for his mama to bring him his supper.


Then he would see me with my camera and immediately close his mouth. I would go in the house and watch them through the window and his little mouth would be open again.

The nest is now empty. They flew away about two weeks ago, but it sure was fun and such an amazing learning experience to watch the whole process. The kids absolutely loved it and would spend hours with their little faces pressed to the window observing their progress giving us play by play announcements, "MMOOOOMMM, one of the birds just moved a feather!" "The mama bird is watching me watch them!" (Again, what is it with boys and the "play by plays" on EVERYTHING????) We did stand on the front porch from time to time, but the mama bird was a little protective and I wanted to avoid an attack of the birds if at all possible.

I love Spring. I love to watch everything turn green, see the leaves unfold, and feel the breeze turn warmer. I never tire of the new life that comes each year.....the wonders of nature never cease to amaze me.

Hope your spring was just as magical and that you have a wonderful summer!
S