Saturday, July 31, 2010

Road Trip

The kids and I took a cross-country road trip this week. We started in Texas where we did a little lassoing.

Then we headed north to do some fishing in Lake Michigan.

We were hanging loose in Hawaii.

Took some time out to lay on the beach in Florida.

Finally, we headed to Alaska to escape the heat of the midwest.

What a great road trip we had! Best of all? I didn't hear, "Are we there yet?" one time!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Lack of Focus

I am putting my hands on the keyboard and letting my fingers do the talking. Come along for the ride, won't you?

My bathroom towels are disappearing. I do laundry all the time and yet when anyone opens the cabinet door, there are no towels. Where have all the towels gone?

We had my sister's baby shower this weekend. It turned out great. We had a cookie bar and lots of food. We decorated with polka dots, baby books, and alphabet cards. She received books instead of cards. The Little Miss managed to get in every picture of Aunt Susie opening the gifts. Mostly because the Little Miss was actually opening the gifts. My cousin made the cutest cake in the world. She is oh-so-talented.

It is hot. And humid. The heat index on Thursday was 105. That's degrees Fahrenheit. That means hot. And the humidity wreaks havoc on a hairdo. Just ask the Little Miss.

I have 2 full weeks of summer break left. And that makes me sick to my stomach. So let's quit talking about it.

I made Pastor Ryan's pasta carbonara last night. Oh. It is to die for. I am showing so much restraint by not reheating it for breakfast.

When you decide to go swimming and get the kids all slathered up in sunscreen, it might not be a bad idea to go ahead and put some on yourself. Just sayin'.

Consider this a formal complaint to Staples. Few things bring more joy to a teacher than 1 cent school supply deals. Then they went and added a $5.00 minimum purchase. Boo to them.

I baby-sat our cousins' babies last week. A 2 year old and a 5 month old. They were so good and my kids played with them so well. But 4 kids? I don't know how some of you do it. I texted my hubby a vasectomy reminder while they were here. But I have to admit, holding a sleeping baby does a body good.

I got my toes done last week. I love getting pedicures.

I have become more observant of people's feet lately. And I have to admit...I don't like what I see. Everyone is wearing sandals and flip-flops these days...even people who shouldn't be. My biggest pet peeve? Toenails that are too long. Have you seen these people? They aren't finger nails! They aren't meant to be long.


By the way, do not, under any circumstance, google long or ugly toenails. Trust me. Learn from my mistakes.

I usually let the kids choose something from the $1.00 section at Target on those oh-so-special trips to Target. Last week they both chose the same thing. Toys? School things? Stamps? No.
Scrub brushes to "help Mommy clean the kitchen floor." You know the floor has to be bad when your 4 and 6 year olds are willing to forgo toys for cleaning utensils.

Sunsets are one of my favorite things to photograph. The hubby spotted this beautiful sky the other night and we both ran outside in our bare feet to take pictures. Pretty, no?

If I were grading this post, I am afraid I would get a 1 in ideas and content for not having a narrow topic. There may have also been some rambling. But didn't I do a good job capitalizing the first words in my sentences?

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Good Intentions

We have an apple tree. Every summer it is completely full of small, green apples. You can barely see the tree for the apples.

Every year, I think to myself, "Self, we are going to do something with those apples this summer."

This year was no exception. The kids and I grabbed bowls, buckets, and wagons and started picking apples.

(And just so you know, I don't usually dress the kids in the same shirts. This was the last day of VBS.)

We picked gobs of small, knobby apples.

I had visions of apple pies, apple crisp, apple tarts, and applesauce.

And yet, three weeks later, what have I made?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The apples still sit. Some in the house refrigerator. Some in the garage refrigerator. And even though I am still holding on to the fantasy of actually using them, I know they will soon end up tossed out into the field to rot.

I wish someone would just peel, cook, and prepare those delicious apple treats for me.

I think I need a farm wife.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

The post in which I pretend I know what I am talking about

10 years ago, I didn't realize what all happened on a farm at different times of the year.

10 years later, I still don't.

But I like to pretend that I do.

Summer in the midwest usually means it is time to harvest wheat. Sounds simple enough, but apparently it's a very complicated process, necessitating nearly every piece of equipment on the farm.

It starts out with this beautiful, golden wheat. You know those "amber waves of grain" we sing about?

This is it.

Shortly after it looks like this, it's time for the combine to harvest the top part, the actual wheat.

Once harvested, you are left with this

and this.

The straw then needs to be mowed

and raked.

Once the straw has been raked, it will be left in tidy little rows, perfect for baling.

Then the fun really begins. It's time to bale.

You definitely need a Dodge pickup.

Well, I guess you need 2 Dodge pickups.

Or, um, well, 3 Dodge pickups?

Okay, 4. You need 4 Dodge pickups.

And you'll definitely need a few of these.

The straw can either be baled into big round bales with this guy

or square bales with this. And to be honest, I don't understand why they are called square bales, when they are actually rectangular. But that's just my inner dork coming out.

The "square" baler stacks the bales into a neat little pile and dumps the entire pile into the field.

Then a skid loader comes along to pick up the pile (one layer at a time) stacking it on the wagons.

Once the wagons are full, a gaggle of sweaty guys start loading them into the barn.

And just when you think the job is done, when the last bale is out of the field, out comes the tractor and seed drill to double crop beans in the same field.

Which is about the time I head back into the air conditioning for a cold drink. Taking pictures of all this work is exhausting.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Windy City

Hubby and I had such a wonderful time in Chicago. I even left my laptop behind to enjoy every second with my hubby as we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. I know!

My brother-in-law's sister (does that make her my sister-in-law?) got us a great deal on a very expensive hotel. It was still pricey, but we decided to splurge for our 10 year anniversary. But as it turns out, the hotel turned out to be quite inexpensive after all. As we checked in at the hotel, the lady said, "Oh, it looks like your room, taxes, and parking have been paid for. Happy Anniversary, Love Mom and Dad."

Cue the tears.

My parents had already given us $200 for dinner at this restaurant. And then they called and went through quite a process to also pay for our hotel stay.

I mentioned I am spoiled here. And um, yeah. I am spoiled.

The hotel was amazing. Floor to ceiling windows. Lots of personal touches. Trump's name on everything. The coolest part was the tv within the bathroom mirror. Crazy. We had slippers at our bedside each night, along with a bottle of Trump water on the nightstands. The Bose stereo was on light jazz each night when we returned to the room. A special plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a chocolate oyster were delivered to our room the first night, along with an anniversary card.

We tried to see as much as we could in a couple short days. We did tons of walking, rode a double decker tour bus, and took a couple cabs...or taxis. Is there a difference? All over the city, people kept talking about how amazing the weather was for Chicago in July. The meteorologist said the 3 days we were there were of the top ten days of the year. We were so grateful for the beautiful weather!

We went to the John Hancock Building. On the 94th floor, you could see for miles...such an incredible view.

We also went to the Sears Tower. (By the way, I don't care how much business the Willis company brought to the city or how much money they will always be the Sears Tower.)

The elevator in the Sears tower is some kind of fast. It has a screen that compares the height to various things around the world. In a matter of seconds, we were as tall as the Statue of Liberty and climbing and you couldn't even tell the elevator was moving!

The Ledge is fairly new to the Sears Tower. It is a glass box 1,353 feet up that you can step onto and lean against.

Photo courtesy of

Hell to the no.

My knees got weak and I broke out in cold sweats as we neared The Ledge. My heart was racing and I had an uncontrollable urge to grab everyone off the Ledge to save their lives. Especially the little girl JUMPING on the glass. NO! All I could picture was me falling through the air, arms and legs flailing as I plummet to my death onto the concrete below.

So, no. I did not step on the Ledge.

We also went to Navy Pier. I loved it! We rode the ferris wheel, got hot cinnamon roasted pecans, had a wonderful lunch at an outdoor cafe, saw the beautiful water, boats, and seagulls. I even had a raspberry vodka snow cone. By the way, raspberry vodka snow cones are my new favorite snow cone.

On our last day, we were both pretty anxious to get home and see the kids. This was the longest we had ever been away from them...and it was long enough. The kids, however, had a great time being spoiled by Aunt Susie and didn't even notice we were gone...although the Little Miss did tell Susie that she "didn't remember what her house looked like."

We had such an amazing time in Chicago and hope to go back again soon!

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