Family Circus

No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys. - Doug Horton


And the Oscar goes to...

Halie took a limo ride in preparation for her self-proclaimed movie-star future. She kindly allowed other first graders from her school to accompany her on this practice run. In truth, the school had cookie-dough sales in March, and a handful of students from each grade level earned a limo ride to CiCi's Pizza. That was today, at lunchtime. The driver made sure to inform both the students and the adults in charge that this Excursion stretch limo was making its first run. Full of first graders, no less! Halie is far to the right in the light blue t-shirt that reads: 'Fabulous!' in rhinestones.

Don't. Ask. I bought several cute cheap tees at Wally World about a month ago. Yes, the tee shirt was among those I purchased.

The limo ride and the lunch at CiCi's went smoothly. At least I've heard nothing to the contrary at this point. Halie was over the moon when I picked her up from school today.
While I know that at least one of my daughters will win an Oscar one day in the future, it's too soon for me to decide which one of the three it will be. My prayer is that when making her acceptance speech, she'll remember to thank God , as well as her loving, supportive parents.

Flashback Friday!

Our family, then: Just the three of us, circa April 1999. Aside from Halie, we are more than 100 pounds lighter. Halie, now seven years old, doesn't even weigh 50 pounds yet.


Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things that Erin loves about Spring

1. My daughters play outside.

2. They bicker and I don't have to listen or referee.

3. My daughters don't physically harm each other. Much.

4. We have a gargantuan wooden playground in our backyard.

5. My daughters still have touble sharing it.

6. Yes, they tattle on each other.

7. After I've heard enough, I tell them: Unless it is broken, bleeding or on fire, I don't want to hear about it!

8. My daughters argue with each other, but if an outsider starts an arguement with one of them, the other jumps to her defense.

9. My daughters do not hesitate to say 'I love you'.

10. Neither do I!

11. I am glad that I have all girls.

12. DH loves being the King of the Castle.

13. He also says to include him in the kid count!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


New Specs!!

I got new frames today. Prescription hasn't changed much. As the optometrist gently put it, I am "at the age where the prescription won't change much, until [I'm] in need of bifocals." I digress. Did I say 'gently'? Hyperbole is not a trait that I possess. My old frames were from my days in the rehabilitation hospital. Not bad, just not funky enough for my personality. Needless to say, I won't be posting pictures with those frames. This is the first time I've posted a photo of myself on my blog, I realize. I thought about having one of my lovely daughters model the new frames. However, since my head is on the large side, I cannot expect my gigantic frames to fit on any of their tiny heads!

**UPDATE** My DH noticed a bruise on my forehead last night, so I checked out the picture. Sure enough, there it is, near my hairline! I'm not kidding when I talk about my little Rosie being a hot-tempered redhead on the inside. Two days ago, she beaned me with a toy block, and since it didn't hurt (much) I neglected to hold an ice pack on it. DUH. And yes, my forehead really is that large. What can I say? I don't like bangs!

Cherokee Princess

You may not know that between me and my DH, my daughters have enough Cherokee blood to be considered descendants.


Oh No!!

Just so you know, I've taken cues from other mommy bloggers in using symbols to represent certain le++ers simply to avoid freaky searches...

Recently, in Halie's backpack, there was a personal note sent home from school. Apparently the Drama teacher is concerned about my first-grade daughter's behavior that particular day. The note simply said that Halie had been having an argument, then she slapped another student on the arm. She left her contact information and a spot in which to sign my name, so the teacher would know that I was now aware of her concern. Halie, of course, did not willingly produce this note when she climbed into the SUV after school, nor did she give it to me when we arrived home. If I had not retrieved her lunch box from her backpack, I never would have seen the notebook paper with adult handwriting on it. Since Halie eats slowly ( like me) she and I are always the last two family members at the dinner table. I took the brief one-on-one time with my seven year old to discuss the event. Halie told me that she had chosen not to wear the shorts I had laid out for her to put on beneath her dress. As she continued, Halie also explained that one of the other students saw a glimpse of her pan+ies while in Drama. The student is a sweet, generally well-behaved girl, and Halie has spoken fondly of her up to this point. I know all of this because I AM THE ROOM MOTHER. Seems all it took was the young child saying, "Eww! I saw Halie's pan+ies!" to warrant a slap from my daughter. We talked about what she should have done (hindsight is always 20/20, eh?) and what she should do if this should happen again. No. It won't happen again. I'm sorry to say that this wasn't the first incident involving my daughter's pan+ies being seen in public. It was an improvement, though, since the last time I heard about an incident involving undergarments at school, Halie was flashing students at recess.


DH and I accompanied Mom to Sam's this morning, planning to pick up those groceries we run out of frequently. Mom is a business owner, and as a perk, she gets a special shopping time before the store opens to the public each Saturday. Less than five minutes in the store, I started to see why I've heard folks call it the '200 dollar store'. Not a large selection of items, but if you need a lot of one or two things - you came to the right place! We bought what our home is always low on: frozen fruits and veggies. We also purchased 4.5 pounds of Parmesan Cheese (we like it on everything). We also found some vitamins that we have a tough time finding (flax seed oil). We wandered through every aisle in that humongous store, following Mom, who shopped as well. DH pointed out the Professional Espresso Machine, before I pointed out the price on the shelf: $400. I picked up some undershirts for DH, but skipped the 5 gallon jars of pickles. Also, who needs Sharpies, in packages of 24 colors, in BULK? Not my household. I thought pooptastrophes were the worst, until I started thinking of the permanent marker being used on the canvas of our humble home and all of its contents. I silently pray that no parent purchases those.

My own mother once repeated something she heard my grandmother say: " I look forward to having enough money to afford the 'Economy Size'."

Well said, Grandma!


Helping Hands

Okay. My daughters really just loved to ride on one of the ATVs as one of the adults drove out to the various pastures to complete chores. Maybe they should be called 'Ride-along Rumps' instead of 'Helping Hands'. They are great cheerleaders, and they stay out of the way for the most part.

They rode out with Gramps to take feed to the steers. ( the feed is in the white buckets in the back of the ATV)
They rode with Grams to check on the new calves.
(That's Rosie, hanging onto a grip in front of Grams) Another time. they rode with me, following Gramps on the tractor carrying hay to the separate pastures, the next day, they rode with DH to one of the ponds to use their new fishing poles. Catie was allowed to sit in front and control the throttle on the Arctic Cat while DH steered, and tells me she made her father 'scream like a little girl'! Gramps allowed Halie to sit in front of him on the Honda Rubicon. Gramps tells me that while Halie kept her speed consistent, it was consistently slow, and she nearly drove off the gravel road more than once! We all had a great time. Stories of our morning at the river to come later!


Moove Over!

If you are Vegetarian, or Vegan, or a PETA activist, you'll want to skip this post. Come to think of it, you should really skip my blog altogether. God loves you. God loves me. Period. If you're a Meatatarian like me, and you don't mind PG-13 anatomy lessons about cattle, read on! Click on any picture to make it bigger!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. We pet the meat that's in our freezer. Grams and Gramps have been raising cattle on their farm since before I was born. When the great-grandchildren turn five, each once gets to choose a calf, name it, and when the calf is sold a year or two later, the money goes into a college fund for them. There are now 13 great-grandchildren! Halie, at five years old, chose a steer and named him Freckles. Catie has a steer as well, named Prince, who's still on the farm. During our visit this month, Catie got to see how gigantic Prince is now, and I snapped some pictures of him as well:

Being Spring, it's the time for new calves to be born as well. There were four newborns when we arrived Saturday evening, and three more before we left on Wednesday. While Grams and Gramps tagged the new calves and gave them the necessary shots, all of my girls got to pet and play with the new calves. The girls also took it upon themselves to name these tiny beasts, according to their coloring:
The picture with Rosie holding the calf's tail was the last born before we headed home. She was born to a 'heifer', which means she was the first calf born from that mother. Now, the birth mother is called a 'cow'. When male calves are born, they are called 'bulls'. ( Men, hang on to your Family Jewels) They are soon 'banded' - a small restrictive band is placed around their scrotum. As the bulls grow, the band stops the circulation to the testicles, causing them to dry up and fall off. Those 'bulls' are now called 'steers'. My daughters listened intently, and didn't even flinch! I loved how simply Grams and Gramps explained everything. Very matter-of-fact in every detail. After the petting zoo and the anatomy lesson, my daughters accompanied Grams on a Honda ride to take feed out to the cattle. I'll post pictures and a story about that later!

Happy Birthday My Seester !!

My younger sister, Kelly, turns the big 3-0 today! Please visit her wonderful blog, Zhook, and let her know that I sent you to wish her Happy Birthday.


On the Seventh Day, He Rested.

It was Sunday, in Kansas, which is part of Tornado Alley. Grams and Gramps' house/farm have never been touched by a tornado. That Sunday afternoon, the news showed tornado warnings for the counties all around us. Not for the county where Grams and Gramps live! DH went out to observe the clouds and captured some stunning pictures:

We experienced only rain from that entire system, and it wasn't enough to keep us away from our activities! You'll hear about the fun in my next post!


Sorry no post today. Migraine today.


The First Day

I picked seven from more than 200 pictures, if you'd like to see the rest before I post them, click on my Flickr link on the right towards the bottom. Click on any picture to enlarge.

We spent the actual first day driving to Kansas at a leisurely pace, and arrived about sundown, so these pictures are from the second day on the farm. The time came to put hay out for the cattle, separated on three different pastures. The hay barn is about 100 yards behind the house, and across each wide entrance an electric 'fence' is stretched.

DH pointed the wire out to Rosie, saying "No touch." Proving that the stubborn spirit has not skipped a generation in either of our families, Rosie nodded and repeated DH's words "Nah tah!". She spoke the words as she reached for the wire. She giggled in defiance until she connected
with the current, then her face contorted into a painful expression. Then she cried a little. It did not cause her any injury - low voltage - and DH and I thought Rosie had learned her lesson. We were wrong. Rosie grabbed that same wire twice more!

Meanwhile, the older girls climbed on the massive stacks of hay bales, and passionately made it 'rain' hay on us as we stood below. Soon, Rosie joined in and I snapped some great pictures!


Road Trip

Otherwise titled 'How We Spent Spring Break'

On Saturday morning, after breakfast, we packed up my SUV and hit the road. Our plan? To make it to the family farm in Kansas. What's normally an eight hour trip (traveling at Mach2) is hard on the girls, and especially tough on my ears. It might be called Vacation by most, but I've come to consider it 'Work On Wheels'. I'm doing all the things I do at home everyday, in a different location. Luckily Grams and Gramps have great-grandkids around frequently, and do not leave valuable objects with easy reach of toddlers. Yep, you heard me correctly: my daughters have GREAT-GRANDPARENTS, who still care for 560+ acres of farm land and nearly 100 head of cattle. More on that later...

Our daughters tolerated the road trip well, considering we stopped several times to 'potty and play'. DH was driving, and had burned a CD just for the trip. We were all rocking out to The Newsboys and Falling Up. Halie sang as loud as possible, Catie played 'air guitar', while Rosie kicked her legs like a NYC Rockette.
The License Plate Alphabet Game didn't make it past 'H', but mooing at the cows was far more entertaining for the girls. As we passed each pasture, Rosie stared as if deep in thought. DH said, "Each field must appear to be a blank canvas, and all the
paint she could ever use right at hand!"
We made it all the way to Oklahoma before we hit any kind of traffic, and only then heard several versions of "Are we there yet?" "We are we now, Dad?" DH told them "We're in Traffic, Oklahoma." A short time later, the three lanes condensed to one lane, and we heard that same question. This time, DH answered, "Construction, Oklahoma."

The highway took us on a tour of sorts through many small towns. I noticed that there was always a WalMart. I used to consider them a sign of civilization, but now I'm wondering if WalMart is like The Borg.

I took hundreds of pictures, and I will share them with future posts, along with the rest of the stories of our family vacation. Another story tomorrow!


Another Blogthing...

Your Values Profile


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You value honesty highly.
You're unflinchingly honest, even when it's not easy.
For you, integrity is very important - in yourself and others.
People may not always like what you say, but they know they can trust it.


You value generosity highly.
So much so that you often put your own needs last.
There's nothing wrong with having a caring heart...
But you may want to rethink your "open wallet" policy.


You value humility highly.
You have the self-confidence to be happy with who you are.
And you don't need to seek praise to make yourself feel better.
You're very modest, and you keep the drama factor low.


You value tolerance a fair amount.
You are open to new cultures, beliefs, and ideas.
You have very few prejudices that you're aware of.
And while you are tolerant, you do stand true to what you believe.


Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Erin

1. My birth name: Erin Colleen.

2. Erin means Ireland or 'Irish'.

3. Colleen means Lass or 'Girl'.

4. I like St. Patrick's day. My Dad is 'Patrick'.

5. I wear green occasionally, but not on that day.

6. I dare somebody to pinch me!

7. With my bright red hair, fair skin and freckles,

8. Who would be brave enough to actually do that?

9. Each of my daughters possesses a unique shade of red

10. On the inside!

11. Noone dares to pinch them either.

12. I do not need an excuse to drink beer.

13. My blood type is ABaileys+

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Crushing News for Parents...

Please, please - say a prayer for this couple (say several). You can do as I have done, post a link to their page on your own blog.

Spring Break!

Next week is Spring Break. Our family will be taking advantage of the previous and subsequent weekends to enjoy our family vacation together. While my DH considers it 'vacation' to be away from work and visit with various family members, I don't consider it one at all. Taking all three daughters on a road trip to the family farm in Kansas is, in my own words, 'Work on Wheels'.

DH's paternal grandparents (our daughters' great-grandparents) own a very large farm in SE Kansas, and have lots of cattle to pet before it's in our freezer at Christmas each year. And they take care of it all. The have enormous planting and harvesting machines, a front-end loader, a tractor or two, as well as a hay baler. Plus the massive trucks to take the crops to town. The girls call them what all the great-grandchildren call them: Grams and Gramps. I call them sweet blessings! They run the farm and always leave their door open for any family that wants to come and visit - at any time. They have lots of great-grandchildren, so they are used to keeping valuables out of reach, and if something gets broken, it's not the end of the world. I can only remember my paternal grandfather, so I have come to love DH's grandparents like they are my own.

Normally, I'd feel a small bit of anxiety about having all three daughters in the car for 8+ hours. DH tells me that our 'vacation' is going to be simple: We won't be in a hurry to do anything. We'll leave Saturday morning, after breakfast, and take our time on the drive to Kansas. He says we'll stop to eat and play at a park or two to let the girls 'get the silly out'. He also bought special fishing poles, so he girls can fish while we're there (from Big Lots, thankyouverymuch), and we're going to head home early, so we're not rushed to unpack. Do you see why I call him 'Prince Charming'?

We've talked about games to play on the road that will hold our daughters' interest. They are seven and five, so I need a lot of ideas. I am asking you for any ideas that have kept your own kiddos occupied on the road. Thank you in advance for your help. Like I said, we'll be leaving tomorrow morning after breakfast, and I'll be back to blogging as soon as we're back! Lots of good pictures to share as well...


Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Erin

1. My daughters eat waffles or cereal for breakfast on school days.

2. They can fix it for themselves (or for each other).

3. My daughters usually let me prepare breakfast anyway.

4. We have a gargantuan wooden playground in our backyard.

5. My daughters would still rather go to the park.

6. Yes, I'm a natural redhead.

7. Just not this red!

8. Yes, they are real. No, I won't tell you HOW big!

9. The result of three babies in four years, I should be proud.

10. Yes, I know what causes babies.

11. I finally found an OB who was able to explain the process to me.

12. He gladly put a stop to it for me.

13. Yes, I have my hands full, but my life is full as well!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Lala's World

2. Shasher's Life

3. Mommy of 4

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Why? Why? Why?

I found a way to stop the 'Why?' in its tracks. I simply begin giving abstract answers.
For example, one weekend, I made waffles. Silly me! Somewhat like me trying to take all three daughters to WalMart to grocery shop when I'm pressed for time.

Halie: "Why do waffles have lots of little squares?"

me:"Because the waffle iron presses them into the batter as it cooks."

Catie:"Does it hurt the waffle batter?"

me: "No."

Halie: "Does the waffle iron get mad when you take away its breakfast?"

me: "Peanut Butter."

Puzzled looks exchanged across the table

Catie: "Don't you think it's getting tired of working so hard and never getting to enjoy a waffle?

me: "Marshmallows."

An exasperated sigh from both girls

Halie: "Do you think waffles have all those squares to hold the syrup?"

me: "Chocolate."

The long-awaited silence...


Catie & Halie: "Yummy, Mom! Those sound like good toppings for our waffles!"



My Blog Makeover

My sweet mommybloggerfriend, Jenny Bee designed the new format with very little input from me. Such a gift! Amazing isn't it? What an intelligent, hard-working, html-minded momma. I'd like to grow up to be as wise as my friend! In the right sidebar you'll see a credit and a link to Jenny Bee. Please stop by her blog for a visit, and tell her that you like what she did for me! Thank you again, my friend.

Sorry. I thought I had posted this this morning before I left for Bible Study @ 8AM. I just realized that it was not on my page, and it's 12:30PM.


Weekend at Chez Family Circus

For future reference: Halie goes to school two miles away from home, within walking distance to Grandma, who teaches Catie's preschool class. Halie's aunt lives less than a mile from there. Lemme break it down for ya: DH and I live 2 miles away from his parents, who live three houses down the street from Halie's elementary school, which is less than a mile away from the aunt in this story. Got that? The whole Famn Damily in the same city. Pretty simple, eh? Okay. Here we go:

Friday afternoon, I picked Halie up from school and Catie up from preschool like any other Friday for the last six months. I had not even pulled out of the driveway when the two girls commenced the perpetual bickering that seems to permeate their very existence. I turned up the music said nothing, since I knew that Halie would be leaving to spend the night with her aunt at 6:30PM. My two oldest daughters continually argued about things that my sister and I never fought about (mostly because we never thought of fighting over who got what fork for dinner). Halie's aunt picked her up, and they were set to have a great time. Early Saturday, I got a call from Grandma about Halie spending the night Saturday night with her and Grandpa. Halie was due to come home Saturday after lunch, which she did. I was fine with letting Halie spend another night away from home, so I quickly unpacked and repacked Halie's overnight bag with clean clothes. Grandma and Grandpa came by to pick Halie up before dinner Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening, DH and I got a call from the aunt who explained that Halie had taken some things from her home without asking permission. Not only that: Halie told lie after lie to try to get away with it. I'm honestly not surprised or embarrassed by any reports that I get about Halie's behavior from teachers (at school or at church), but I don't like hearing them from family. ( I know from experience that what children do in public is NOT necessarily a reflection of how they are parented). Granted, every member of my family and DH's love my daughters as much as we do. That makes it even more uncomfortable.
So, later Saturday night, DH moved the beds in Catie and Rosie's room, turning them back into the bunk beds they were originally designed to be. Halie has a daybed in her own room, and when she wants privacy (read: when I separate Halie from her sisters), she goes in and closes the door. As of Friday afternoon, Catie still had to have Halie's permission to be in that room. Rosie is just not allowed, period. DH and I have no problem with those guidelines.
So, when Halie came home Sunday and saw the bunk beds restored - she went in and took over like it was her own room. I saw what was happening, and asked Halie if she had Catie's permission to be in her sisters' room. She said (of course) "No." She also added, "Catie doesn't need to have my permission to go into my bedroom!" To which I responded, "Oh! So when did you decide that? Was it TODAY after you saw your sisters' room?" Halie sheepishly answered "Yes."
I am grateful that my daughters' circadian rythyms urge them to fall asleep about 8PM. Bedtime is 7:30 on school nights.
What a weekend!
I hope yours was more relaxing.


She's done it again.

My seven year old daughter has never shied away from performing her own dental work - sans Novocaine. This one makes tooth extraction number four.

My first grader brings home a folder each day with a Behavior Log for the teacher to note any behavior that's out of line. The notes in my daughter's Home Folder recently said that Princess was 'playing in the bathroom'. When I asked Princess about this, she proudly showed me a gap in her smile, then produced a clean and shiny tooth. It seems that Princess asked to use the restroom in the middle of a lesson in class. When she made her request, she was (of course) doing the 'Pee-Pee Dance'. The teacher excused my daughter and sent her to the restroom. Princess went to the bathroom to look into the mirror as she pulled her own tooth! My seven year old is spending the night with her aunt tonight, but as soon as I can snap some pictures, I'll post them!


How Smart are You?

I've got a quick and easy Mensa quiz. Check it out.


Thank you, AGAIN!

Never underestimate the power of transparency. I'm not talking about an overhead projector. No, I'm not talking about Saran Wrap. Or wearing it. Years ago, I learned that being honest about my own life made other people feel that they could do the same. Honesty has brought about a 'transparency' in my life, and I find that it makes people either really want to be near me or they want to be as far away from me as humanly possible. Women naturally want to paint the prettiest, most successful portrait of motherhood. Honestly, motherhood has a dark side, and not many are willing to share it. I know you can tell by my previous posts that I shy away from N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I am glad to have folks I now refer to as mommybloggerfriends (yep. alloneword.), even if not all of them are female. There is no support like the one fellow parents can offer. I was blessed to read all the encouragement and offers of prayer in the comments on my post about the opportunity to speak. I walked away from the experience later that evening with a new appreciation for telling my story. My virtual arms reach out to hug you all at once! You have my gratitude, my mommybloggerfriends.

Who would believe it?

Who'd believe that my five pound, miniature daughter would grow into the beautiful leggy seven year old she is today?
The black and white photo is one that I took just after she was born in 1998, the color photo was taken on the first day of school in August 2005.

My Princess has lost pulled another tooth. The Tooth Fairy visited her last night and left two dollars and fifty cents. When she came running into the kitchen this morning, my generous seven year old handed a dollar to her sister, Sweet Pea. *sigh* I may not get a paycheck for all that I do, but it's moments like these that tell me that I ought to be making six figures.


Erin: 31, Emcee. Witty redhead, handy with a whip.

DH: 30, Strong Man. Comedian, defender of virtue.

Halie: 7, Chimpanzee. Pulls teeth, loves bananas.

Catie: 5, Leaping Lemur. Gentle and cuddly, loves grapes.

Rosie: 2, Cappuccin. Flings poo, loves carrots.

Back To School In