Friday, January 28, 2011

And That's No Bull!

A few times Uncle came to take us out to feed the cows, LW decided to come with us.  Now, if you know LW, you know she has to do things her own way - the path less traveled - the hard way.

She apparently decided that she didn't need no stinkin' feeding trough.  She decided she was going to hand feed the bull.  Of course, she didn't realize at first that this whole feeding thing works much better if you actually have food.  Sorry Mr. Bull, she's really a blond.

Ahh, there now, that's better.

See Mr. Bull checking to make sure she has food.  Fool him once shame on you.. fool him twice.. well, he's no fool.  But just to be on the safe side, he decides to check her out first.  Apparently, if you're a bull, you can tell a lot about a person with a few sniffs.

After this high-level background check, he decides to go in for the kill food.

And then he slips her the tongue - the sly dog.. er.. bull.

Then a little tongue turns into a full fledged tongue grope.

This gives a whole new visual to the term "tongue lashing".

But honestly, it's the big line of drool that really made this an experience to remember.. and that's no bull!  Sorry! I couldn't help myself!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cow Feedin'

My Uncle, who is not retired and has a very nice full time job with the local school district, took us out almost every day to give his cows feed pellets.  He keeps a small herd these days just for fun.  This herd is considerably smaller than what my Grandfather used to have on the property back in the day.  But like I said, he isn't trying to make a living off of these animals, he just really enjoys them.  And so do we Uncle.. so do we!

We'd start out walking behind the house towards the big pond around dusk and the cows would know exactly what we were up to and come a runnin'.  My Uncle has 4 concrete feeding troughs where he dumps feed pellets for the cows in the winter.  This gives them extra nutrients to help get them through the winter months.

They come up all sweet and innocent, but deep down cows are ornery, fickle things.  So we had to be extra careful of The Tweedles to make sure they didn't get kicked by the cows.  Us too for that matter.  Ornery and fickle I say.  Especially bulls.

You eyeballin' me son?  
Who me? Nah.. and that's ma'am to you mister!

My Uncle would put the pellets into little buckets to make it easier for the Tweedles to carry.  He'd hand each of the Tweedles a bucket and they'd go dump the pellets into one of the four concrete troughs.


Apparently, once their buckets were emptied, that was some internal Tweedle signal to race back to Uncle to get another bucket.  I'm not sure where they picked up the idea that it was a race, but race they did.

Maybe they just missed Uncle?  Maybe they were afraid of the cows?  Although, it kinda looks like they were fleeing from The Hubs in this photo doesn't it?

Even The Old Guy got into the mix.  Although I don't think he raced.  Maybe he didn't know he was suppose to?  Or maybe he just wanted to let the Tweedles win?  Either way, I never saw him race.  Just wanted that to be clear.  The Old Guy did not race.

Despite all of our antics, the cows enjoyed the meal very much - the pigs!  And I think The Tweedles really enjoyed it too.  Every day around dinner time as soon as Uncle would show up they'd run to him asking if it was time to feed the cows.  I even think secretly the Hubs and The Old Guy had a good time.  I know I did!

You just can't make these kinds of memories in the city people... you just can't.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To The Farm - The More Things Change...

As previously mentioned, we scheduled our flight in the wee hours of Christmas morning.  We did this in part so the Tweedles would sleep through most of the flight and we hoped, our wait at the airport.  Due to some troubles with our boarding passes, which I won't get into because I'm still angry enough to spit, we almost missed our outgoing 1AM flight despite arriving at the airport 2.5 hours early.  But ultimately, we did make our flight and arrived in Dallas around Noon.  My Dad (here forth known as "The Old Guy"), picked us up at the airport and we made it to the farm a bit before 4PM.  Just in time for Christmas dinner! YUM!

I had to work the whole first week we were there, so I didn't get a chance to mingle with my visiting relatives as much as I would have liked.  This worked out well for the second week though when I was actually on vacation because I got to have a lot of downtime just with the family.

I can't possibly put into words the feeling of comfort, welcoming and warmth I get from being on the farm.  As a child from a family that moved around a lot, the farm was a constant.  I knew no matter where we moved to, the farm would always be there with grandma and grandpa and cows and cousins.  We didn't have game stations, ipods, movies or internet.  Heck, I can remember having a single rotary phone for ages and ages! 

What we did have was cousins, uncles/aunts and my grandparents.  We had our imaginations and board games.  We had fishing and swimming and plain old tramping across the property. We had chickens to chase feed and cows who had the cutest calves.  And we had an old bull we could ride on he was so tame! 

So much has changed around the farm (not just the house) since I was a kid.  This visit we had movies (netflix and dvds), laptops, tablet games (Angry Birds is soooo addictive!), computer games, and tv.  Loads of tv.  But some things didn't change.  My Uncle Keith - who btw, is the best uncle in the whole wide universe and was always the "fun" one when I was a kid - came to visit every day.  He took us all out to feed admittedly, a much smaller herd of cattle.

There was still fishing at the big pond.

There were still cousins to play with - if only for a few days.

And there was plenty of property to tramp across (this view is still only a small part of it but if you look really hard, you can see the house way in the back.)

It's amazing to me how things change, and how much they stay the same.  I still have the same feelings about the farm as when I was a kid.  I still feel happier and more relaxed there than anywhere else, even my own home.  And yet, the place is so changed from when I was a kid.  I can only hope that my kids (ALL of my kids, even the big ones) find at least some measure of the joy from the farm that I have.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Twas the Morning Before Christmas..

This Christmas was a little different from other years in that our plans were to travel early Christmas morning to the farm.  When I say early, I mean our flight out left at around 1AM.  That's right.  1AM Christmas morning! 

Let me back up just a bit.  My point is, in order to accommodate our own Christmas morning rituals and gift opening to avoid having to ship everything to the farm and then subsequently, have to ship it all back, we had our "Christmas" morning on the morning of Christmas Eve.  LW slept over that night which always makes me unusually happy.  Although to protect my evil-stepmom rep, I'll deny that to my dying breath.

Having my whole family under the same roof at the same time is a rarity these days, and likely to become more so as LW exits college and enters the real world, and GG exits high school and enters college.  Wait.. wait.. it's all going too fast.. someone stop this train!!!  LW had work Christmas Eve day so she slept over to allow us enough time to open gifts, appropriately oooh and ahhh over what we each got and just enjoy being a family for a few hours.

The morning started out EARLY.  Bug and Bunny came racing into our room at the crack of 6:30.  The sun was barely up.  Knowing the time limit we were on, we allowed them to "wake us up" instead of grumbling to them about it being too early and sending them back to their room to play until a more reasonable hour, which is what we usually do.  Instead, we wickedly sent them to wake their sisters.  There's nothing like two squealing little kids jumping on their older siblings to start the day out right.  Well, the day started out right for us at any rate.

The Hubs started some much needed coffee and I made a miserable cup of decaf for myself. (Have I mentioned I can't have caffeine?  Have I mentioned how sad and miserable that makes me?)  And even with a steady stream of caffeinated coffee at their disposal, some of us were more awake than others.

Then The Hubs played "Santa" and passed out gifts a little at a time to each of us.  Notably, the Bug and Bunny had WAY more gifts than the rest of us.  Like every year we try to budget the same amount for gifts for each child, but while Bug and Bunny usually end up getting more gifts they typically get less money overall spent on them. Some of this is due to my amazing discount shopping skillz.  But mostly it's because LW and GG are old enough to want the truly expensive stuff. 

This meant that when the wrapping paper settled, the piles around the little kids...

was a considerably larger than the piles surrounding each of the older girls..

The Tweedles made out like bandits.

From Sand Toys to movies (Lion King II)...

To Dora The Explorer Pals Dolls (if you look closely, please notice that I accidentally left the sales price tag on $3 and some change thank you very much!)...

To dragons that move and make noise!

The older girls each got a few little gifts from us along with the homemade gifts from their siblings.  For their "BIG" gift this year, GG got this lovely camera to replace the one that got stolen from school last year.

It's a Fuji Fine pix 14 Megapixel digital camera.  Not too shabby.

And LW got this lovely image imparting her gift.

It reads:
Archery Bow
because when the apocolypse comes,
you'll need to be prepared.

I may have mentioned our family's preoccupation with archery a few times on here.  Now LW will have her very own bow which hopefully will improve her scores now that she's not using the worn out ones they lend.  And the whole apocalypse thing has turned into a bit of an inside family thing.  I'll explain that someday.. maybe.. 

The Hubs got this amazing Whiskey Stone Set 
They're suppose to make your drinks cold like ice, but without watering down your drink like ice would.  And the glasses are pretty neat-o too.

But I do believe I got the very best gift of all.

The Hubs reads my blog after all!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gifts - Little Kid Style Part 2

Welcome back to part two of the Little Kid Christmas Gifting Saga.  I wanted to make sure Bunny didn't feel left out giving all those sparkly glitter initials to his sisters, so Bunny made one for him too.  For her sisters though, she needed something special.  Something girly.  Something only sisters would understand.

I headed back over to Design Mom for my second idea : Homemade Bubble Bath!

What I used:
  • Glass Container with Lid  (Michael's)
  • Generic Clear Shampoo - 1 Cup (Rite Aid)
  • Food Coloring - 2-3 Drops
  • Wyndmere Joyful Spirit Essential Oil - 5-10 Drops (Whole Foods)
  • Vitamin E Oil - 2 caps full (Trader Joe's)
Let me just take a moment and talk about the Wyndmere Joyful Spirit Essential Oils I got from Whole Foods.

This is a wonderful blend of Orange, Maychang, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot and Vtiver. Now, I'm not an aroma expert and have no idea what most of those are, but wow does it smell heavenly!  Just the right touch of girly and Bunny agreed when we picked it out.

This was not only a fun, creative project for Bunny, but it also incorporated some counting as she measured out the required ingredients.  Once all the ingredients were added, Bunny stirred it all up (her favorite part) and chose a color for each sister.  GG got orange and LW got a teal color.  Bunny got to decide how many drops to add and make whatever colors she wanted.  They turned out fantastic.

Of course, now that it's WAY past Christmas and New Years, and we're back from our vacation to the farm already, GG has tried hers.  She said it smelled incredible and was a wonderful bubble bath.  And coming from our very own Glamour Girl, you know it's true!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gifts - Little Kid Style! Part 1

I know we're done with Christmas and the New Year and my vacation, but I wanted to back up a little bit to before Christmas since that's when I started slacking off.

So, Christmas.  I wanted Bunny and Bug to be able to give gifts to each other and their older sisters this year to help pull them into the spirit of Christmas, but I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg doing it.  So I put on my thinking cap, scoured the internet and came across a handy dandy website called  Designer Mom. Apparently, every year, the Designer Mom's family has a tradition of the siblings giving homemade gifts to each other instead of purchasing gifts.  Not only is it a great idea, but it's a money saver, and as you know, in this economy, we pinch every penny we can!

Since Bug is only 3, finding creative homemade gifts that are appropriate for this age was a little difficult.  I finally decided on a glitter initials idea from the Designer Mom site. 

What you need:
  • Wooden Initials (I found mine at Micheal's)
  • Plain Elmer's White Glue
  • Foam Paint Brush (also gotten at Micheal's)
  • Glitter -various colors
  • Plastic Bag/Newspapers

The glitter was the hardest for me to find.  I'm sure Micheal's had some, but I was looking around the holiday season and they were either out or I was just looking in all the wrong places.  Thankfully, I found some in our old arts tubs from when GG and LW were little. 

After laying down a plastic bag (I didn't have any newspaper) I ran a bead of glue along the back of the wooden initial then I sat with Bug as he diligently got glue everywhere painted the glue.  I went over his glue job to spread it out and make sure it was all over evenly. 

Then the fun part.  I handed him a little container of glue and let him sprinkle away.  It was hard for him at first to get the glitter to come out and it certainly didn't come out evenly, so be prepared for a mess, but  man did he have fun.  He shook and shook and shook some more until there was glitter all over the first wooden initial. 

All up, I don't think it took more than 30-45 minutes to make all three glitter initials - time includes set up and clean up.  He had a lot of fun, and he was SO happy to have gifts under the tree that HE made himself. 

When his sister's opened their gifts from him he was squealing so loud about how he made them.  He was so proud!  And it was a nice little gift his sister's could really enjoy.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, January 10, 2011

1920's Speakeasy Sweet 16

Ahh.. GG's 1920's Speakeasy Sweet 16 party.  You didn't think I'd ever get to it did you? You doubted, admit it.  I know you did!

The days leading up to the party were a flurry of activity on all sides.  We spent half of our time finding the last bits and pieces to complete outfits (including an absolutely adorable hat for Bug), and half of our time scrounging up the last of the decorations and party stuff like chairs/tables, punch bowls etc, and the other half of our time setting everything up and getting ready for the shindig.  And if you noticed there were three halves in all of that, you have an inkling of how overwhelmed we were trying to get it all done!

Let me just stop here a moment and say it was amazing.  GG's mom made an amazing pyramid tiramisu cake and a bunch of fancy hor d'oeuvres.  And the dress.  Oh my!  I almost forgot you all hadn't seen it yet!  Here is my beautiful GG in her amazing dress!  She rocked that dress didn't she?

We made mocktails and had plastic champagne glasses for everyone to drink them out of.  GG created her own music playlist which included a mix of old style 20's songs.  The back yard was cleaned up, decked out and lit up with white Christmas lights to create the mood.  Almost everyone dressed up and it didn't rain.  Thank goodness it didn't rain!

Thankfully, GG's mom, step-dad and baby sister were able to make it out from Alabama.  GG was beaming from ear to ear to have her mom be there for her party.  She's in the above photo laughing at GG's attempts to cut up that great big beautiful cake!

GG's night was filled with friends (her own and family friend's from both sides!), family and a lot of fun.  She was beautiful...

She danced..

 She was glamorous..(in a duck face sort of way)

Later in the evening I think she might have been possessed... I swear they were mocktails!!

 She even got to dance with her daddy - which admittedly made me a bit weepy.

I'm finding it a little hard to believe that the cute and precocious little 5 year old I met 11 years ago, has turned into this amazing young woman.  When did this happen?  Where was I that I missed her growing up so fast?  And geez..don't I sound old?  Wait, scratch that.  I am not old!  Honestly, the best part of the night was that we were all one family.  No his or hers, no step and bio.  We were all able to put it all aside for one night to give GG a night she won't forget.  And you can see that in her eyes can't you?  Real, honest to goodness happiness.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Preview - Farm Fun

I've been remiss in my blogging responsibilities.  I freely admit it.  I know in my last blog I promised to do better, and then I didn't.  The thing is, with everything that was going on for the holidays I just couldn't find the time, and then once I was actually on vacation, I just couldn't bring myself to do more than check my email.  Being at the farm has that effect on people.  No really.  You should try it sometime!

Now that I'm back in reality again, I have gobs of stuff to share with y'all. So while I'm unpacking, grocery shopping and generally putting my life back together before Monday's work day hits me, please enjoy this sneak peak of the fun time we all had at the farm over the last two weeks.

Seriously.. Thoughts?