Winter Tree

This year, I bought my first real artificial tree! It's a pencil spruce, nice and skinny...and I thought why not have something different in the living room? So I have a WINTER tree! I collect old baby wool sweaters, and had some mittens & socks too. I also have some old ornaments from my grandparents, which are snowflakes and icicles, made out of chenille. There are white porcelain doves that I've had before we were married, that were on our 'wedding tree' at our reception. On the bottom left of this photo there is a brighter pink sweater & hat. They were Tearsa's, knitted by my aunt.

I found the tree a lot of fun.....Aaron's remarks "well, it's you." I took that as a compliment, so I won't bother with his next line! I plan on decorating it for spring, and other holidays too.
Since we had a skiff of snow last night (this month has been short on our annual snowfall) I thought I'd post a photo of the indoor snowflakes, the trail of paper snowflakes that is around the living room and down the hallway. They glitter & twirl adding much delight for the season.

Last Friday - Saturday I, along with the rest of the Filer Speech Team, went to Boise to a speech competition. From the lovely background of the above picture, I'm sure you can tell it was at a school. I just want to say that there were limited background choices and I was well aware when the picture was taken that the background would look really tacky.
The competition wasn't the funnest experience ever (speech competitions never are), but I am glad to have it over with. I gave an expository (informative) speech on apples (a little over six minutes long, and I had to do it four times! Yuck!), and I actually did better than I thought I was going to. I made it to finals, and eventually placed 5th. I'm not really sure how many expos there were, but I know there was more than thirty.
Another possible point of interest is after the final round we went to Krispy Kreme and watched their machines make donuts. A lady talked about how they were made, let us touch some dough, and then gave everyone a donut who wanted one. Since I took pictures, I thought I would mention it.

Who is this Guy?

OK, Just so you know, this will probably be the first & last time I write on this blog. Tonight I'm doing it for my own protection. Janice feels the need to tell you all about me and I don't feel the same need. Nevertheless, I will share just a few things: Family comes first! Even if they don't feel it every moment of every day, they are first. The rest of what you might learn here about me really isn't that important..
For example, Janice would have you know that I'm on the Board of Directors (President actually) for the canal company. It might sound good unless you know the company and then you realize that it is a situation where I'm kind of there by default. I'm also in the Stake Presidency (First Counselor). Now, if it were anyone but me, I would probably be impressed. However, I know myself well enough to realize that the Lord must need me to grow in some areas and this is the only way that He can make it happen. Go figure! Anyway, it is a very humbling experience and something that I'm excited about though. Hopefully, I'll grow in those areas that I need to and actually help some people along the way. We do know that there are some scriptures that teach things like: "Out of the mouths of babes," and "Weak things become strong." They make perfect sense to me! Enough for now. Someday I will break my rule and write something about feeders & 'nators & other stuff. It might be a while though, so don't hold your breath.

Life at our house this week has felt like a Three Ring Circus! A couple of the performers are Taft & Drey with their amazing peeling talents! (from satsumas- like mandarin oranges) It's been a very busy week.

Sleeping Tall

Tilmann decided to fall asleep on my bed (yes, those floral flannel sheets are a bit bold), and did so in his clothes. What humored us is that he is sleeping with his hands in his pockets! The lack of blankets is him too, he automatically kicks them off when he's hot.

Tearsa, at three years old, learning to button her sweater. Cute enough photo, odd tablecloth in background (elephant legs & trunks) But I am posting this photo of her youth, for it reminded me of another photo I took yesterday! Tearsa was dressed up, and I took a few standard poses, but oddly took this one and liked it. Notice the fence, kind of reminds you of the legged tablecloth? Same girl, 14 years later.
By the way, last week she was in a Business Professionals of America competition, which her administrative support team of four girls won first place...which means she will be going to state.

Cute Calves

The sun has been shinning, beautifully. Even if it is only 2 degrees outside! I walked down the field, where a group of cattle were being feed. I thought this calf with multiple colors was ever so lovely. The second photo is of a calf that forgot he was to be afraid of strangers. I just quietly walked up to him, as he was basking in the sunlight, and scratched under his one would to a dog. It took a minute, before he jumped and moved onward. I personally find entertainment in the cattle.

Heifer Breeding

Aaron & his father, Tommy, have been working the last couple of weeks with artificially breeding the heifers by our house. This is the first year that they haven't worked with AI with ALL the cattle, meaning the cows too. But Tommy has had a few surgeries on his shoulder, and still has this year they are letting the bulls out. (who let the bulls out?)
Aaron holding the dirty heifer's tail, to keep it from hitting his father, while he works with breeding the heifer. The heifers are pinned in the corral next to our house. Each year we keep about 200 heifers for cattle replacements. I am always humored to see the 'king of the hill'.

This is our cat Peanut Butter. He is over by the small part of the water trough, taking a drink. The water troughs have had some problems this last week, due to the temperature near 0 degrees. Aaron has been working with breaking ice, notice in the following photo the thick chunks of ice on the ground. (the cement form is the trough)

This is my niece Gwen, who grew up down the road from us....who was lucky enough to marry a good man who is a farmer. The whole page was posting an article about them! I did cut off the bottom of the article, so you could see their photo better. The large headline below said "I've worked with my dad all my life- I hope some day I'll be working with my kids." (remark from Greg). I know how much it means to Aaron to be able to have our oldest boys help with the sprinklers and variety of projects on the farm....and how it will be good to have them more involved some day. One of the other lines in the article says: "It's how I grew up- I can't think of a better way to live than on a farm, working with my family." Way to go Greg & Gwen! Great photos & a positive article!

Yesterday Taft & Drey went skiing with their cousin Carrie (sister to Gwen, see above article) up to Pomerelle. (Magic Mountain, which is where they went a couple weeks ago is closer & costs less) Anyhow it is about a 90 min. drive, and cost Taft $19.00 for the day, but for Drey $30.00 for the day to ski...due to their height difference! (& age) Drey by the way has grown leaps & bonds this year, and is taller than his dad! Report on the day was that it was cold -5. Their favorite runs here are: Yahoo!...which has bumps which make one cry out "YaHoo!" and Punch Bowl...which is steep, and has lots of powder snow in it.

It's great that their cousin loves to ski and wants their companionship! She drives our car & everyone has a great day...except for those two younger boys who think they need to go too!

January 11th, Thursday we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary! But first we had to make it through the day!

Tearsa called a bit after 8:00 in the morning, I was grateful that I gave her my cell phone that morning! She was taking Taft to school (Tearsa & Drey didn't have school that day) on her way to work, and two miles before Filer, they ran out of gas. Sure they knew they were low on gas, but one does think they can make it to the next gas station. Anyhow I was in the bath, with junk on my hair, so I tell her to call dad. He's outside anyway (it's been cold here, 3 degrees isn't a way to start a day, from the bath with wet hair!) I call and double check making sure he got her phone call, and sink deeper in the tub.

Meanwhile it's been 25 minutes, I'm dressed and moving, and in walks Aaron. Now I know it hasn't been enough time to get to Tearsa and back, so it only means he hasn't left yet. He's looking for his wallet, since there isn't any gas in the tank here at the house to bring her, so he's headed to Hollister to buy gas. I call up Tearsa's boss to let him know she is late due to running out of gas (I didn't think she had his number) and he says, we'll go get her, we're closer, and have a gas can ready. I call back Aaron to let him know (thank goodness for cell phones) and ask why he detained.

They are A.I. breeding heifers here at the house, so Aaron & his dad (Tommy) were out watching them. A couple of the heifers (that's the name of a cow before she's had a calf) start on the run, and one of them slips, hits her head, and is laying in the manger (not a cosy place for cows to sleep, but a place where they eat from). They think she's dead! Tommy is trying to find a knife sharp enough to cut her throat.....while yelling at Aaron, "have her eyes glossed over yet?". I gathered that is the last sign. Anyhow, there are cables next to the manger, kind of working as a fence, and Aaron & Tommy are trying to get this heifer out of the manger and out of the way as they are trying to save her meat! But her eyes haven't glossed over.....and they don't have a sharp enough knife! All of a sudden the heifer comes back to life! I'm sure she's feeling lucky....with some kind of headache! O.K. all this happens after Tearsa had called.

p.s. By the way, a cow got out on Saturday, and was hit out front of our house by a pickup. Aaron said the cow was hit in the nose, and went off running, but the pickups front fender & light was damaged...darn I missed the action!

Tearsa continues the 'day dreamin day' by going to the orthodontist in the afternoon. She had braces, left now with a retainer....which was mis-shaped by being her her pants pocket which was stepped on. Our hopes is that the retainer can just be reformed, she has the plaster mold of her mouth. But not the case....and $150.00 later she has a sparkling new retainer.

Aaron & I did make it out for dinner that night, our favorite place, Chinese food....which afterwards I went with him to a meeting....but at least it wasn't too long. We also stopped off at the store for a new toilet seat & scraper for the stove top. As we are leaving the hardware store, he asked which anniversary gift is mine, and which is his...he got the toilet seat. I did get roses from him earlier in the week! But it was a day...but not the kind one day dreams about!

Saturday was the last day of the Trap Shoots, which are held in Hollister as a fund raiser for the boy scouts.

Drey won 5 of the shoots he was in, even with the nasty wind.

Two kid shoots, he was able to shoot 5 out of 5 clay birds. The buddy shoot with an adult, the kid shoots first, he shot 9 out of the buddy only had to shoot & hit once. Then he did a buddy shoot as an adult, with an adult, and backed up his buddy who missed twice. This round they even had a shoot off. He also did an Annie Oakley, which is an elimination game, and won without going out once.

By the way, his buddy, or adult wasn't his dad, but someone that they just met at the shoot. Taft will often help with loading and releasing the clay birds. Here is a photo with all his pork prizes...and is he happy!

"Looking for a place to rest, she laid comfortably on a bed of needles, that had fallen over the years from the over head pine trees"

Our Christmas Tree was one that Aaron & the boys went up to the south hills to find. These strappin' men brought home a pine tree, ready to decorate. But Aaron first gave the warning that the tree is dry, and might not last too long.(we've had a few years of drought) Fine. First Drey puts up lights, and the boys decorate it to their hearts desire. Next thing I find, Tearsa has un-decorated it, putting the lights on her way, and with some help of the brothers, redecorate the tree. She has also decided that the tree needed ball ornaments, and spent time each week shopping thrift stores to buy them.

I found what my part in the tree was, that being- taking it down. No one wanted to help. I finally gave up, and decided to just do it...the tree was dead and dying anyway, so it isn't glowing with that Christmas spirit. Actually when the lights were turned on, since the inter core of the tree was pretty brown anyway, it did look like it glowed, an optical effect with only green tips on the limbs.

Things were fine, until I got to the removal of the lights. Tearsa did a professional job of stringing the lights....she went winding around the branch, all the way up the limb and all the way down...and then wound a few times around the trunk before she went on to the next limb. 800 lights were on this tree, which is equivalent to about 6 miles of unwinding cord. I wouldn't have bothered, but these were new lights I had just bought this year! It wasn't long into this workout that the screws on the base didn't like the way I was handing the branches, and thus the tree fell over. And the needles, softness isn't how I would describe them, since they were scratching my forearms, but they were falling! The fresh scent of pine filled the air too, perhaps from the pitch that was covering my hands?

Tavin & Tilmann had come down during the later part of the activity (the others were in town)
& make some k'nex equipment to help clear out the fallen needles on the carpet. By the time we gathered them up, with the help of a broom we had a 1/2 garbage bag full of pine needles. Yes, we could have made a soft bed to lay comfortable down upon.

Tilmann's birthday celebration at the school, started off with making masks of Junie B. Jones. Junie B. is book series that his teacher has been reading to the class. So she read, while they colored & cut. I thought I would include a photo with the masks, and one without....notice those cheerful smiles! (honest they liked this project, but someone had said, "hey with a mask we don't even have to smile"...and so they still aren't smiling.) Then they paired up, and played 'war' card games, which is a favorite of Tilmann's. Afterwards, they went fishing for their treats, and a wind-up toy. Tilmann loved helping with the fishing pole.
This all sounds so simple and easy, but I had just spent almost an hour (they stayed in from recess to spend more time with me) with Tavin's forth grade class, as a room mother. The last day of school was canceled, due to snow & I was to be their Christmas room mother. Those original room mother plans had changed (who wants to make a Christmas craft after the holidays and we already ate the treats) so instead we played cards. I decided kids don't play card games any more (I played lots with my grandmother & brothers) so I'm teaching them games, like Crazy 8, War & we even played Spoons. But it was more difficult than planned, lots of these kids had no clue what a spade or a club was (spade would often be used as a heart, since they sort of look alike!) and there was plenty of noise! They each got to take home a deck of cards (bought some jumbo decks at Target on clearance for .25) and a paper with how to play those games, in case they forgot the rules. I soon remembered after that short time that I never wanted to be a teacher! P.S. this is a small school with less than 80 students, celebrations can still happen.

Just in case you might be wondering about all the meaningful tasks in the life of Janice, I thought I'd mention the spice cupboard. It's clean, it shines, and the spices are even in alphabetical order! (Yes, I also have a lot of sprinkles.) This took hours to complete, over a period of a few days! But to me, this looks like a work of I'm posting a photo. Now if I could only get more motivated on cooking those meals!

Protect Thy Ears

This is a photo of Tavin, who oddly enough wasn't sure if it was himself or his younger brother. Anyhow during Christmas break, early hours of the night, he awakes his mama crying about his ear. Yes, we know it's an ear infection. When we are at the doctor's office, I ask about the other ear, "It has some scar tissue, from when he's had tubes or other ear problems". I reply, "No, this one hasn't had tubes, and rarely has had ear troubles. Could it be a small stone in his ear?" I'm sure by this point the doctor is wondering how much sleep I've lost in the night, but I go on. "Two days ago, his brothers were playing (in the house- and throwing them at their siblings!!!) with those pops, or pop its- those things you can throw at a sidewalk and have them snap. One was thrown at his ear, and he was sure there was a rock from it that went in his ear. His father looked and couldn't find anything, and decided it was the loud noise that bothered him." Sure enough there was a rock in his ear, instead of scar tissue. The doctor worked with a small tube and squirt water in his ear, while having him lay on his side, the nurse trying to collect the drainage, which meant the carpet became wet. After a few tries, there it was, his rock. The doctor was thrilled, never has he had one ear infected & a foreign object in the other! (it's the little things that can make a day) We are hoping Tavin will stick to 'protecting thy ears'.

This is Tilmann, taken on his birthday. Perhaps you might notice in the first photo the rather large (at least the size of a silver dollar) spot which has no hair? Let me tell you a story. Aaron is cutting the boys hair with the electric clippers. It's Tilmann's turn, while Aaron is working, Tilmann brushes up his hand next to his ear...which hits the electric clippers... which the spacer flys off... and scalps him a good hole. Yes, accidents happen, but Tilmann was devastated, "but dad, tomorrow is my birthday". Sure the ideas are flowing...."we could shave it all off" (on a kid this age, it would look like cancer treatments) or "we could do a hole on the other side, and it could be where you had horns". (who wants to look like they were de-horned? Obviously we live on a cattle farm for this thought to pop into their heads). But instead we look at the practical idea in the matter....gluing the hair back on! Honest, I used a tacky glue, afraid if I used super glue, we might not get the 'old' hair off, when the 'new' grew back in, and just worked with it. Sure it wasn't perfect, I couldn't lay all the hairs in the right direction, but it was an improvement! (take another look at the 'before & after photos) But when you're a boy of 7, your day isn't full of quietly sitting, so some of it falls off as the day wears on. I'm not sure how many days I'll be gluing...I guess till I run out of 'spare hair'. I'm sure hoping his hair will be growing fast! Days can be interesting at our household! Sure this is way funny, but right now it certainly isn't to poor Tilmann. P.S. His father felt really bad.

Happy New Year!

By the way, I fixed the settings so everyone should now be able to leave comments.