Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All holiday posts have been delayed due to an uninvited visitor...

The flu!!!

Our family has been down with the Influenza flu since Friday. Camryn and I dropped first Friday afternoon and Cade followed on Monday. Thankfully our doctor called in Tamiflu for Jay when he called in Cade's so hopefully that will keep him from getting it - or at least not getting it as bad. It has been fun, fun, fun around here!! The last time I remember getting the flu like this I was Cade's age. That was 25 years ago. If I wait another 25 years to get it again that will be fine with me. 

The Tamiflu has worked wonders. I was going to try to forgo it and work through it myself. But when I saw how quickly it turned Camryn around I was sold. Even though I had almost waited to long I felt remarkably better by Monday. Almost too good because then I got a little cocky...

Jay left the den of sickness with Camryn to go get a hog house. That is its own story for another post. Cade was finally resting so I thought since I hadn't been outside since Friday I would walk to our mailbox. It was dusk so I thought the Jammie's, wild hair and no makeup wouldn't been seen by anyone. I was going straight to the box and right back in the house. That was until I was greeted by our bull standing in our front yard. Great...and our neighbors weren't home. 

Since I had on Jay's house shoes I had to run back in and change. In that time Charlie found the bull and managed to chase it across the yard. By the time I got there I was afraid Charlie was going to run him through our fence. I picked up a stick and would've beat the dog...if he wasn't so good about staying in that radius of just being outside my reach.

 Did I mention it was almost dark? And the lighting out in our shop has quit working?  That again is something for another post titled "farming on a tiny budget and even less time."  Jay can't find where the short is at. Anyway I stumbled out to where we keep the feed to get some in a bucket. Except there was no feed. The bull followed me and I could tell he wanted in but couldn't figure out how to get back. Then Charlie showed up again and the bull doged into our woods. I then had to pick around the electric fence and everything else just waiting to make me fall and break my neck to get to the bull. Then he took off again and was almost to our other neighbors house. 

It was at that moment I heard the sweetest sound in the world...our neighbors diesel truck. People who knew what to do! I picked my way back through the woods and knocked on their door. Later in the evening it dawned on me how bad and weird I looked. No wonder Heather kept a far distance from me...zebra pajama pants, sweatshirt, no makeup, nothing done to my hair. And the crazy part...I was carrying an empty bucket and a stick. I'm sure John and Heather wondered how I planned on using my arsenal on the bull. They said they'd meet me over there and I told them I was going to run in and get a coat. Yup- sick with the flu and I was chasing a bull with no coat. I turned around and walked a few steps and realized the back of my pajama pants had slipped down. I'm pretty sure John and Heather may have saw a large portion of my underwear. 

While I was in grabbing the coat I called Jay to find out if this bull was halter broke. John had asked and I couldn't remember. Of course later in the night when I was replaying the whole situation I remembered that I did know the bull was halter broke. I just couldn't recall that fact at a time when I wouldn't like so much like a bumbling fool. But none of that mattered because all of the halters were in the truck...which was somewhere between here and Lamar hauling another show piece to add to our property. But I did learn why the bull got out from Jay. And again this goes under another post of being on a low budget/no time to fix things properly/make do post- but Jay had unplugged the electric fence...so he could plug in the tank heater. The choice was water for the the bull and Bailey or keeping them in the fence. Which that all goes back to our electrical issues. 

With two more people blocking the holes the bull went in the fence very easy. It took the three of us longer to figure out how to plug in the fence. Of course my ignorance was on display when John was asking questions that I had no idea the answers to. Like where we needed to plug the fence in. We all moved around in the dark and finally got it figured out. 

I am so thankful for good neighbors. John and Heather have their house up for sale. They would like to move back to Texas. Of course we want their house to sell so they can - but boy will we miss them. They are wonderful neighbors who are always so willing to help us out. Especially me since I usually don't know what I am doing. So if you are looking for a house and want some good (although slightly crazy) neighbors have we got the place for you!  Actually it really is a nice place to live. As long as you ignore that pesky Covenant, Rules and Restrictions that comes with it. Which we all do- except I've already got my arguments laid out in case someone new moves in. We can keep animals as long as they are pets. What is more of a pet than a show cow...or a pig...or her soon to be born piglets...I'm struggling a bit with the chickens though. Chickens are just nasty and mean. Who would want to have them as pets?

But back to the original story. John and Heather left and I headed back to the house. I was beginning to realize I wasn't nearly as ready to be out as I had thought. The cold air had set my lungs on fire and I was exhausted. I headed in. When Jay got home a little later the first question he asked me was "where is the mail?" 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Us

Wednesday was our 14th Anniversary. In some ways it seems like we've been married for longer, in other ways it seems shorter. But the way we celebrated out 14th year we be one of the most memorable ones.

FCS sold their old building in Springfield earlier in the week. We still have some furniture there that was put up for sale to the employees. Jay brought the kids with him Wednesday to meet me at work. We headed over to the old office to look at some things for the school.

 I was trying to walk ahead of Jay to turn on lights. Cade was bringing up the rear and was supposed to be watching Camryn. I already had an anxiety moment when I remembered the vaults in that office and warned Cade about not letting her go in there. I guess I already had a sort if premonition. I could see the door getting shut somehow.

We made it all through the upstairs and then headed for the basement.  We made it through most of the rooms before the incident happened.  I had all the lights on so I went back upstairs to look for something another employee was supposed to have left for me.  Jay was making decisions and Cade was terrorizing Camryn in that brotherly love sort of way.  From the upstairs I heard Cade scream his full out panic mode scream.  I though he said something about wasp, but I didn't hear any crying so I didn't think it would be too bad.  A few seconds went by and I heard Cade scream again.  I figured I'd better go check it out.  As I got to the bottom of the stairs Cade went running by me in full out hyperventilating freak out mess mode.  He had been playing with Camryn and he had tried to scare her by putting her in a dark room and shutting the door so he could open it and say "roar".  Except the door locked.  Camryn was stuck in a pitch black room with the door shut.  By the time I got there Jay had a credit card out and was trying to maneuver the door open.  He tried a couple of times and it didn't work.  The door was heavy and solid and the hinges were on the inside.  I didn't know what we were going to do. 

Even Jay was a little concerned.  I heard him say "we are going to get you baby."  He tried a couple of times and then said we were going to have to call someone.  Cade was an absolute mess.  He acted like we were just going to leave her in there and go out to eat or something.  Cade and I ran back upstairs to look through some keys to see if we could find one that might work for that office.  Finally we heard Jay tell us he got it.  Whew.  I was afraid I was going to be paying FCS for a door that the fire department had to break down.  Later on Jay said he didn't know who he needed to call first.  The fire department for Camryn or the ambulance for Cade.  There was no more door shutting the rest of the night!  But I've laughed over how you could tell Camryn doesn't have my gnentics.  Cade was a wreck but Camryn didn't even shed a tear. 

After that debacle we went to eat at Hu Hot.  It was not busy when we got there.  Cade and I got our food first and all of a sudden people came out of the woodwork.  I think it took us 20 minutes to go through the line.  By the time we got back to the table Jay's salad was gone, along with the plate and Camryn thought I had left her.  Jay went to get his food and he was gone for even longer than I was.  When he got back I had dealt with a complete meltdown over Camryn's chicken and noodles being mixed together and had ate both my food and my salad.  As soon as Jay sat down Camryn disappeared under the table.  I stuck my head under it to see what she was doing.  She told me she was pooping in there.  Jay got to eat while Camryn hid under the table and pooped.  As soon as she was done there was no waiting - I had to change her.  We left the boys at the table and went to Macys to change and get a last minute gift.  So much for eating a meal together on our anniversary.  

After the mall we went to look at a Christmas display in downtown Springfield.  We stopped at a gas station first because Cade needed a drink.  There was a man standing outside that completely freaked Cade out.  The man spoke to Cade as he was getting back in the van and Cade froze and did nothing but stare at him.  I think it is safe to say visiting the square is out of our comfort zone.  I'm sure the person who spoke to Cade could see that written all over our T&C mini van and did it on purpose.  I'm sure he's still laughing about the freaked out kid.  By the time we found this light display which according to our local news station is supposed to rival "a New York city window" we were all on edge.  Then the window was not what I had hoped it would be.  It was rather disappointing.  We made a second go around the square so we could look at it one more time and I slowed down.  An SUV came whirling around the corner and honked at me for going slow.  The light ahead of me was red so they weren't going anywhere anyway.  I threw my hands up in the air and pointed to the red light.  Jay said he felt like he was going to need his gun.  I really wanted to throw my mini van in park and tell the woman to Bring. It. On.  Of course I didn't but I really wanted to. 

We topped our evening off by the all exciting trip to Wal-Mart.  While we were there Camryn turned into Buddy the Elf and decided to best way to spread Christmas cheer was to sing loudly for all to hear.  She sang Jingle Bells through the entire store.  We did get a lot of smiles so I guess it worked.  Of course all the attention wasn't completely wanted by me but it was super cute. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Traditions and Such

I decided this year I wanted to be better about establishing some set holiday traditions. I'm usually hit or miss each year. Things get busy and then it is Christmas and we haven't done anything that I had hoped to do. I wanted to be better about making a list and trying to fit a few family fun things in each day. Jay told me I live in a Hallmark Channel bubble.

I don't know if other people who blog aren't always truthful or maybe they don't have the wild monkeys I have because it has been a circus. It also doesn't help that Cade is too old to care and Camryn is too young to care. That pretty much leaves me. Jay is supportive but he also wouldn't do the nights activity if I wasn't around. 

I've really wanted to make sure we were focusing on God each night along with a quick fun activity. Especially since Camryn can sing every word of Jingle Bells at ear splitting pitches but doesn't know a singe word to Away in A Manger.   I downloaded this file from etsy and printed them at Staples on cardstock- hoping it would last several holidays. Then a piece of double stick tape got caught on one and ripped it. So much for that. I hung them up across our door frame because I hoped that me looking at them every night during dinner would help me remember. 

I decided to introduce them and our activities at our Welcome Back Joe Elf on the Shelf breakfast. Hanging them ended up being a disaster. Camryn got in my ribbon drawer and strung 500 yards of ribbon all over the house. After we ate I did dishes. Jay and Cade rolled ribbon. We didn't start our activities until the 6th so we had to catch up. Camryn lost interest and was running around. I was screaming to be heard. Awesome. 

Activity #1. I bought window markers thinking it would be a lot of fun. How Camryn wrote on the frame with us standing there I will never know. Now I have a permanent reminder of this idea.  On the window frame. 

Activity #2-Read a Christmas story. I ended up reading a book to myself while she ran around singing Jingle Bells. Cade laid on the floor looking pained. 

Activity #3- Bake Reindeer Cookies. The package came with 2 dozen. The plan was to bake 12 that day and bake. 12 more later on. Camryn woke up from a nap in a foul mood asking for reindeer cookies, which were already gone. We had to bake the other dozen so now I'm short an activity. 

Activity #4-was making hot cocoa. Camryn wanted to jump ahead and color a Christmas picture. We all sat around coloring pictures and drinking coca. It was fun until Camryn chewed the ends off of 3 crayons.

Activity #5- Go to a Christmas party. That one was easy.

Activity #6-Didn't happen. Jay was gone and I needed to finish a Christmas present project. We went in to what I call Emergency Status mode. We do whatever we can to keep Camryn happy. We were supposed to paint ornaments. Not happening without backup. Instead Camryn wanted to color. Great. She "colored" while I did dishes. It turns out she didn't actually color- she bit the tips off of 3 brand new markers. I was bent over picking marker tips off the floor. I also found a chewed up olive and several M&M's. I bought White Chocolate Peppermint ones at Target last week. They are pretty tasty, but Camryn doesn't like them. Of course that doesn't stop her from trying to eat them and then spitting them out. I got her mess cleaned up and went back to my dishes. Then I looked at my kitchen floor. One of the marker tips was stuck to my sock. I had made several steps. If it was still the 30 days of Thankfulness on Facebook I would've had to have posted. Even though I didn't participate I would've told the world how happy I was that Crayola markers are washable since I had blue streaks all over my new tile.

And that was the end of our Advent/Christmas Activities.

I don't think we will get cookies made or watch Frozen or everyone agree on one Christmas movie and all of us sit down to watch it.  The house is back to being a disaster after our live Nativity Sunday night.  I don't know what it is about our church Christmas parties but they destroy my house.  Laundry is piled up, work is crazy and I feel like I'm getting bronchitis.  Also the end of the table we normally eat on was covered with junk from the church party so we all had to switch places.  So much for me being able to see the Advent cards.  I was on the opposite end of our table with my back to them.  I guess chaos is our version of a good old fashioned Shepherd family Christmas.  On the bright side - at least none of our family members will park an RV in our front yard.  But if they did at least we have a brand new septic tank for them to use if their S*****r is full.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

Santa's Wonderland

We hit Bass Pro Wednesday night- before this round of bad weather hit. Cade had an ear infection and Camryn had a cough. Both kids had been to the doctor that day but we went anyway. We are troopers!  Actually they really weren't to sick and we knew the earlier the better to get our free picture with Santa. They are learning to be tough I guess!

I had never been to Bass Pro at Christmas. If you live by one you should take advantage of this. We were pretty fortunate and only had to wait about 30 minutes. There were lots of things to do while we (or I mean Jay waited) in line. 

They had a small carousel, train set, remote cars, shooting range and crafts and activities to keep the kids occupied. And did I mention it was free?  That nice word anytime of year, but even better in December. But beyond the no-cost of this event I think it is great that Bass Pro gives back.  We all know they make plenty of money throughout the year so it is nice to see them do this for their customers and probably some who aren't (like us).  Ok- Jay does get his knife sharpened every time we are there...$3 a pop!!  We are big spenders. 

So while we waited we...

Rode the carousel 769 times and gave
forced smiles in every picture. 

Shot a gun with Bubba's help. 

Talked to a reindeer with a forced smile and pose. 

Snacked on popcorn to keep up our stamina. 

And took advantage of their wonderful scenes for a Christmas card shot...which was an epic fail. 

This last one ended with her on her
hands and knees sobbing. Have I mentioned she is dramatic? That was the second time that evening that happened. The first time was when I had 2 cones of popcorn, a coke, my purse, her coat and her hand and Cade had ran off. She decided she wanted to ride the carousel. I told her we could AFTER we walked this stuff to dad in line. She threw herself down in the floor. I was contemplating how to handle this when a worker (who looked like he was 12 but probably was 16 ) asked me if there was a problem. I told him there wasn't she was just throwing a temper tantrum. The boy works in Santa's Wonderland- wouldn't you think he had seen this no less than 10 times a day?  He eyed me suspiciously until I could get her up without spilling the popcorn. I wasn't sure If he had never seen a tantrum or what. I actually got the feeling he was making sure Camryn belonged with me, which I appreciate. Surely he will learn though parents will set their kids up for failure frequently (like waiting in line at dinner time) this holiday all in the name of a free santa picture. If not he had better get used to it!  It is a temper tantrum haven. But all worth it for a free one of these...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving...a week later !

We had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. Being off of work for those two extra days is always a highlight for me. This year we spent Thanksgiving in Fayetteville with Jay's family. Here are my two turkeys...and is that not the turdiest little grin on Camryn's face?  She has certainly lived up to that grin the last few days. More on that later ...

Here is a full length of her dress I took a few days earlier. She has been full of it for days. Days!! Smocking AND a holiday theme. Does it get any better??

Here is the family picture. You'd never know it from the creepy looks on the adults faces but there was only one camera. Jay and I look like there were 10 and we couldn't decide where to focus. For once it wasn't the kids making a bad picture it was us!

Before we headed home we walked around the Fayetteville Square. It is a really neat place to go during Christmas. The lights are beautiful!
Camryn thought everything was "sparkly."

I don't know if you can see her shirt but it is one of my favorites. I bought her several shirts on sale after Christmas so she didn't need anymore...but when I saw it I had to have it. It is a sheep with reindeer antlers and it says "Fleece Navidad."  If you have the Fowler sense of humor you will love it. 

Another family picture attempt. Cade and Jay look good. Camryn and I look pained. She was fussy and that was the best hold I could get on her. Of course most of us would be cranky if someone held us like that afternThanksgivig dinner. 

And that brings us to the highlight of the whole day. Jay on a camel. 

His helmet was so tiny it made everyone laugh when he put it on. Camryn's was so big it fell off and looked like it was choking her. But regardless she had a fun time. So did Jay and so did the rest of us laughing from the sideline.