Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Funny Bone

One of the things that makes life easier is a sense of humor.  Many times, it is hard to see the humor in a difficult situation while you are in the midst of it.  However,  if you can distance yourself from the  difficulty for a moment, many times, the objective view can be amusing.  Sometimes distance only comes with time. 

One of my goals is to cultivate a sense of humor in my children.  People who cannot laugh at themselves really take themselves too seriously.  At least, that is my oh-so-humble opinion.  :)

There are some amusing things that do not really need distance to appreciate them.  Daniel’s jokes, for instance.  The kids have, for some time, enjoyed riddles, jokes, and the terrible puns that they find on the back of Laffy Taffy.  Example:  “How do you keep a lion from charging?”   Answer: “Take away his credit cards.”  You get the idea.  A parent can only take so many lame jokes in one day, especially when you are all trapped in the cab of the truck together.

Daniel has taken this method of amusement to a whole new level.  He makes up his own jokes.  It really is funny to hear the riddles with which he treats us.  Most of his jokes have a similar theme – either something is crossing the road (what do you expect from an evangelist’s kid?) or they are jumping on top of something else.  Another point to note is that no matter what my answer is, it is always deemed correct, no matter how absurd it is.  When the other family members try to answer, their answers are always wrong (unless he has specifically directed the joke to them).  It is nothing short of blatant nepotism and favoritism.  It cracks me up!


Here are some actual jokes that he told recently.

Daniel:  “Why did the bison cross the road?”

Me:  (looking in the back seat and noticing that his shirt and tie were all askew) “Because he wanted his mama to button his shirt and put on his tie.”

Daniel:  “Yeth!” (he has a slight lisp on his s’s) “Okay, now this one is for Daddy – Why did the ice cube jump on top of the Popsicle?”

Paul:  “Hmmm… Why did the ice cube jump on top of the Popsicle?”

Daniel: “Yeth!  That’s right! Daddy got it!”  (This is where I start laughing, since Paul didn’t even attempt to answer the question and still managed to get it right.)

Daniel: “Okay, this one is for Mama.  Why did the carrot cross the road with the Popsicle (Popsicles are also a recurring theme)?”

Me:  “Um, because they were both orange.”

Daniel:  “Yeth!  Now this one is for everyone – Esther, Abigail, Josiah, Daddy, and Mama, and I can answer it if no one else knows the answer!”  Once again, I crack up at the totally crazy way he entertains us.

And on and on it goes, until we can’t take any more.  We have to limit him to about a dozen jokes, or it just gets out of control.  Like I said, you can only take so many jokes, especially when you have to make up all the answers on the fly.  But I love the fact that he is learning to appreciate humor.  It will come in handy.  Although at this point, I would still advise him to keep his day job.  :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Magnificent Creatures

Well, while we have been stranded in Sheridan, WY, we have not been without things to do.  While the truck was being repaired, we hung out at a local RV park and took in a few sights.  The city park has an enclosed area that houses a great variety of the area wildlife.   We went over to view up close some of these animals.

Prairie Dogs – these cute little guys are actually considered a pest by most of the ranchers out west.  They dig holes and have underground colonies where they multiply rapidly.  They eat crops and their holes pose a serious threat to livestock walking around on the prairie.  But – they are so cute!


Ever so curious!


Bison – These wooly beasts are enormous!   I read that in spite of their huge size, they are capable of a six foot vertical leap!  Wow!  This bison family was composed of a papa, a mama, and a baby.  The kids all said, “Awww!” and I was inclined to agree with them.


Papa Bison – the average height of a bull is about 6.5 feet at the shoulder (top of the hump).  This is one seriously big dude.


He looks rather mild, but looks can be deceiving!


Here is Mama Bison and Baby.  They like to lie in the dust to keep cool.

Elk – these magnificent creatures populate the western part of the USA, and are a coveted game species.  Elk meat is one of the best game meats available, with a mild taste and plenty of it!


This bull elk is what hunters would say, “in velvet.”  That means that his antlers are still growing and are covered with skin that delivers blood and nutrients to the antlers.  This covering resembles velvet, hence the name. Later, he will scrape off that outer covering and expose the full-grown rack.


Paul already dreams of going on an elk hunt – I think it will be hard to hold him back now!


I really think this elk was taunting my husband – notice his tongue sticking out as we watched from behind the fence.  Sort of like a “Na-na-na-na-boo-boo!  You can’t shoot me!”,  don’t you think?  :)

It really is amazing to see these magnificent creatures that God has made!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


This week we have had some unexpected things happen.  Some have been good, and some – well, not so good.  On Sunday, the church in which we were ministering gave us money for new truck tires.  This was a great blessing, since our tires have about 80,000 miles on them (they are rated for 60,000 miles), and really needed to be replaced.  We had prayed about this need, and God saw fit to answer in a miraculous way! 

We also had an unexpected side trip – to Montana.  It seems hard to believe, but it is one of the few states we have not visited in our travels.  Another is Hawaii, but I’m not holding my breath for making it there this summer! :)  We were just a few miles away, so we drove into the great state of Montana and had lunch there!  This was the first sign we saw after entering the state.


That’s what I call a great sign!


Gotta love the name of this guy – wonder how he got that moniker?  Perhaps indigestion?

We also stopped at the Little Bighorn Museum where George Armstrong Custer met his famous end.  It was a blistering hot day, and as the ranger explained the battle, I could see the tragedy unfolding in my mind.  Abigail, after listening to the story, asked this question: “So, who were the bad guys?”  Let this quote from the memorial wall answer the question.



It is obvious from these quotes that the Indians were only protecting their homes, lands, and freedoms.  The white men were definitely the aggressors and therefore, the “bad guys.”  It was a great opportunity to explain the principles of freedom and the need for its preservation.


Monument to all the fallen soldiers, buried in this mass grave on the top of the hill.


This is where the battle took place, with each white marker representing where a US Cavalry soldier fell.


White markers were placed for the fallen soldiers, and red ones for the fallen Indians.

After our short field trip, we headed back through Wyoming with the plan of heading toward Yellowstone National Park for a few days with our family.  The country is beautiful out here.


However, while driving through the mountains, we had another unexpected event.  Our truck overheated.  Several times.


Cooling down – with the benefit of a magnificent view!


And again…

We ended up turning around and heading back to Sheridan, WY in hopes that we can figure out why the truck is overheating and hopefully fix it (at minimal cost).  In the meantime, our mini-vacation has to be postponed.  We are hoping that we will still have time to go after getting the truck fixed, but right now , all is rather uncertain. 


Here is the scenic overview where we turned around.

I also managed to get some pictures of the kids as they played on the side of the road. They were having a great time, even though we were having truck issues.


Diggin’ in the dirt


Canadian goldenrod


Trying to call for help


Studying the Prairie Field Guide


Love these little guys!


I kinda like these gals, too!  :)


Everybody say, “Cheese and pickles!”

I guess the moral of this story is that unexpected things will happen.  When they are good things, praise the Lord, and when they are not-so-wonderful things, praise the Lord, and enjoy the everyday blessings that He gives us.  I am so thankful for my family, and also for the Lord’s protection and provision. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Growth Spurt

It would seem that all my kids are growing this summer.  Very quickly growing.  Every time I turn around, somebody’s skirt or pants are too short or too tight.  Shirts are getting snug, shoes are wearing out, and socks – well, let’s not even go there!  By my calculations, I have bought (since April, this does not count the ten pair they each received at Christmas) at least 24 pair of socks for the girls alone, and yet I hear on a weekly, if not daily basis, “I don’t have any socks that match!”  I won’t say what my response to this statement is, but it usually involves a lecture on responsibility, economics, and mathematical probability, along with a threat of reviving medieval torture.

I have spent a good deal of time sewing this year, mostly for my girls.  I did make several pair of easy-peasy pants for Daniel (we’re talking a one-piece pattern that takes about an hour tops to make) before we left MS.  I had fabric to make another pair, but left the pattern sitting on my sewing table.  Grrr!  I hate when I have a brain cramp like that!  I have found that the easiest thing in the world to make is a tiered skirt.  You don’t even need a pattern!  And they are so fun and cute – my girls love them!

Here are the directions:

Measure around the hips at the widest part.  Add six inches to this measurement.  (I usually just use the whole width of fabric (42-45”), even though it is more than the measurement requires for either of my girls.  It all depends on how full you want the skirt to be.

Each successive tier is longer than the last, so that it can be gathered.  For a moderately full skirt, each layer should be 1.5x the width of the previous layer.  For a very full skirt, each successive layer should be 2x as wide as the previous one.  Here’s what I mean.

Hip measurement: 30”

Top tier width: 36”

Second tier width: 54” for moderately full, 72” for very full

Third tier: 81” for moderately full, 108” for very full.

I usually simplify by just cutting one width across, then using two widths for the second layer, and four for the third.  That way I don’t have to do so much math.  :)

The length of each tier can be figured by determining the finished length of the skirt, adding a few inches for seam allowances, elastic pocket, and hem, and dividing the total by three. 

Gather, pin, and sew the tiers together.  Add elastic and turn under the hem, and Voila!  Ready to wear!

Okay – if you have any clue about sewing, you probably got all that.  If not, you may still have a few questions.  it really is so simple, and once you figure it out, you can whip out skirts like crazy!  Although I will say that if you are making the 2x gathered version, it is a long, long way around that hem!


Here is my latest creation – a 2x skirt for Abigail.  I love the citrus print – so bright and summery!

I made this skirt in 9” tiers.  You can make all the tiers the same length, like this one, or you can make them graduated, like 8-9-10”.  I have even made some that are 8-12-4”.  These have just a small ruffle around the bottom.  You can use all the same fabric, or do each tier in a different coordinating fabric.  Lace, trim, and special stitches can fancy it up, or you can leave it plain.  The possibilities are endless!

Do you have an easy pattern for a favorite project?

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Mama Moment

The other day, as I was busy in the church building, my youngest child, Daniel, kept interrupting my work to tattle, complain, and in general, inform me of all the perceived evils of his short life.

I listened the first several times, expressed my sympathy (not very sincerely, I am afraid) and tried to finish my work.  The interruptions continued, and actually increased in number to the point that I knew I would never finish what I was working on unless they stopped altogether.  It takes time for this mama’s brain to refocus once the train of thought gets derailed… several times.

In desperation, I told him that he was too tired to handle life, and that he needed to go back to the trailer and lie down on my bed.  I would be over in a little while.  Sniffling, he obeyed, and I breathed a sigh of relief when peace reigned supreme.

About twenty minutes later, I had finished what I was working on, and went back over to the trailer.  I cleaned up the kitchen, then moved on to the bedroom where I had a towering mountain of laundry to fold.  I noticed that the pillows had been rearranged, but chalked it up to the busy munchkins who live in our home.  Then I noticed this:


Two little feet sticking out from underneath the pillows.  My eyes nearly bugged out of my head!  I had totally forgotten about Daniel!  Ever been there?  Sure enough, he had come back, laid down on the bed, and fallen fast asleep.


Apparently he had piled the pillows on top of himself to keep warm (the AC is right over our bed) and would have been totally invisible except for those two little feet sticking out at the bottom! :)


Upon closer inspection, I could just barely see his head sticking out near the top of the bed.  He slept like a little turtle for hours!  He must have been exhausted!  And the best part was, when he woke up, he was his usual, happy little self again.  Love this little guy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Once Upon A Time…

…there was a young family.  They were visiting a far-off city when they found the most wonderful park.  All their favorite storybook characters were there – the three pigs, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, Captain Hook, Bambi, Dr. Seuss, Raggedy Ann & Andy, and a host of other friends.  Can you imagine what their day was like?  Probably not, so I will just let you look at the pictures!


Welcome to Storybook Island!


You will have a wonderful time!


Whoops!  There goes Humpty Dumpty!


Fire trucks and trains


Smiles and slides


I do believe I see the wolf about to hop down the chimney!


And there he is!!!!  :)


Captain Daniel, steering the pirate ship


Argh, matey!  That pirate looks scary, but his parrot looks pretty happy!  :)


Riding Eeyore – somehow reminds me of Guatemala! HA!


Josiah and Piglet – BFF (just kidding)


And who doesn’t love Raggedy Ann?


Raggedy Dan and Esty!  This one cracks me up!


One of our family favorites – the Cat in the Hat (this backdrop looks strangely like my house at times)


Riding on Aladdin’s flying carpet


Snow White at the house of the seven gables, no – wait – the Seven Dwarfs


Riding Perdita from the 101 Dalmations


In Gepetto’s workshop


Somewhere over the rainbow – is a leprechaun and a pot of gold.


Peter Pumpkin-Eater’s House


And there he kept her very well.


Run, run, as fast as you can!


Ride that buffalo!


Everyone could use some ice cream on a hot day – this one’s mine!


My daring husband – sticking his head in the lion’s mouth (to get a drink)


And don’t forget – only YOU can prevent forest fires!


There was an old(well, middle-aged) woman who lived in a shoe,

It was such a bad picture, she didn’t know what to do….

So she just put it on her blog anyway.


Jungle fun


A little merry-go-round fun, and lots of laughter

There are tons of pictures from this little afternoon trip, and even more characters and activities than I have mentioned.  What a delightful place to spend with the family.  Best of all, there is no admission fee, just a donation box!  The kids have already asked if we can go back.  And here I thought they would all live happily ever after!


The End