Monday, April 7, 2014

What's On My Mind? Thanks For Asking, FB.

I just went to check my Facebook on my cellular device. I clicked the button to make a status update and saw where Facebook was asking what was on my mind. I took a few seconds to let that sink in and then I started to really start typing what was on my mind. Then, I realized there was a LOT I was going to say...so...why not do a blog post of randomness instead? On this mornings radio show (kxoofm.com and click on my name to listen-shameless plug over) I made reference to what goes on in my head and I called it a "cornucopia of weirdness" and later wished I would have called it "cornucopia of crazy" because that describes my brain a little better some times. So. Much. Going. On. In. There. All the time.

Anywho-to answer Facebook's question-here's what's been going on in there. After I left the radio station this morning, I stopped and got myself a little chef salad. I ate what I could, and since I was driving it was no easy task. I was on my way to work and starving so I just did what I had to do. I was almost to work and decided to get the taste of boiled eggs and ranch off my breath (you are welcome, people I work with) and grabbed my tiny bottle of mouth wash out of my purse. I took a swig but got a little more of a swig than I was wanting to get. It was too much mouthwash to swallow. I began frantically searching for an empty cup or something I could spit the mouthwash in. I mean, my car looks like a mini-dump right now and there was SURELY something I could use, right? Wrong. The only thing I saw was a big pile of unused napkins I had grabbed when I paid for my salad. I thought, "Oh, there's a lot of napkins there so I will just spit in those napkins and be done." Sometimes in life, things just don't work out the way you planned. This was one of those times. Next thing I knew I had used mouthwash all over my face, running down the inside of my shirt, and all over my lap. So...there's that. 

There was a commercial on tv for some kind of new medicine. The name of the medicine (I don't remember what it was) had like four letters in it so the jingle writers thought it would be clever to have the people in the commercial spell out the name of the product. To start it out, the person would say something like "My name is L-I-S-A and I have C-O-P-D". Then, at the end, they would spell out the name of the medicine. Kind of like, "I take O-L-E-O to help." Or something like that. Yes, I know oleo is pretty much butter, but it was the only thing that I feel like substituting in the place of the forgotten product right now, so deal with it. Please. So, I was watching this commercial, and I am not going to lie, I was incredibly disappointed that by the end of it there was not a little guy with a turban pop up that said, "My name is V-A-M-S-I-K-R-I-S-H-N-A and I have C-O-P-D". That would have been genius in advertising. I bet I would remember the name of the medicine it was selling right now if they would have done that. There is a slight possibility I missed my calling in life.

OH MY GOSH! I am watching a rerun of "Law & Order" and it is RATCHET. I looked at the info for this episode and it is FREAKING 24 YEARS OLD! WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!

I'm pretty sure my husband has hidden the only wii remote in the house that has working batteries in it. I can't seem to find it anywhere. Why would he hide it, you ask? Because I used to LOVE to watch the show "Drop Dead Diva" (big sisters everywhere unite!) but I only watched a couple of seasons of it. Turns out, this is the last season it will be on the air so I started watching it again only to realize there is SO much I missed in the previous two seasons. (Grayson knows that Jane is Deb! I need to see this happen!) This started my old love affair with Netflix during the day. Let's just say in a matter of a couple of days last week I was able to catch up on a season and a half. OK. Maybe it took me about a week or so to catch up, but still. My sweet husband has every reason to hide the wii remote from me right now. I think he did.

I'm hungry and I am going to eat fish sticks for lunch.

Wait. I probably shouldn't tell you the thought that's on my mind right now.

Maybe I should just wrap this up now.

Good-bye. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Do What You Need To Do

Right now, I'm sitting here with a heart so full I about can't stand it. This week has reminded me how blessed I am to have the family I do. I couldn't ask for a better husband than the one I have. He may not care anything about taking me to the symphony, and he may track mud all through the house or forget where the dirty clothes hamper is all the time. But, he recognizes the need I have to be my own person and take opportunities for myself so that I can not lose who I am in the process of my life. A lot of women aren't that fortunate. He puts up with my shenanigans and all the crazy things I want to do and I never, ever hear any flak from him no matter how behind on laundry I am or how often I'm gone doing something for me and he is fending for himself and the kids. My kids are complete and total troopers and are willing to just go with the flow because they know I run myself ragged for them when I need to. My parents work and have a life of their own, but are so willing to step in when needed to help me out and I can keep my sanity in tact. I don't know very many women who would be able to leave town for six whole days and be able to leave their four kids at home during the busiest time of the year for their husband and leave knowing that everything was ok. 

Right now, I'm sitting in my cousins living room over 2,000 miles away from my own home. My cousin is off working the "hoot owl" or night shift in the coal mines a little over an hour away. I'm sitting here smiling listening to his son, Cole (get it? Coal mines. Cole. hehe) as he's in his room talking to his friends on his headset. It wasn't an easy thing for me to get here, but I had an overwhelming sense that I just needed to do it. In four more days, Cole will be sworn in to the United States Army. He is the oldest child and only son of my first cousin Eric and his wife Angie. Eric has become not just my cousin, but my brother. The last few years we have formed an incredible bond that I thought I would never have with any one else after my cousin  (on the other side of my family), Daniel died almost 5 years ago. I grew up with Daniel, and we were like peas and carrots. Always so close, always together, always loving each other. Even as our lives took different paths. For almost 5 years I have grieved over him and I have grieved over having a bond with someone so strong that not even death could break it. God has really shown me how He will restore what has been stolen from you. I won't ever be able to replace Daniel, but I have been able to love enough to form a relationship with someone else that is just as strong. Eric is not just my cousin. He's the male version of me. He is like an extension of myself. He is my brother. His children have become like little siblings or nieces and nephew to me. This is a big change in their lives, and it only seemed fitting that I be here in the middle of it as well. 

A few months ago, we were making plans for Cole to come live with us for a while. Where he lives in West Virginia, there are no jobs other than the coal mines or teaching school. My family here has been in the coal mines for over 100 years in some form or fashion and it seems there have been several in the last generations that have wanted better for their sons than to be crawling on their hands and knees for hours on end, working one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet with both their lungs and skin covered in black dust. My grandma made my Dad promise he wouldn't follow in his father's footsteps and that's why my Dad finally had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave the mountains he loved. Dad joined the army and eventually met my Mom in Oklahoma. After they were married, they came back and Dad tried to live here and support his family outside of the mines, but it just couldn't be done. Over 40 years later, not much has changed where that's concerned. Cole was wanting to find something else to do, somewhere else to go, something that his amazingly brilliant mind could be challenged and his desire for adventure could be fulfilled. He thought moving west sounded like the ideal plan, but eventually he couldn't ignore what his heart has been telling him to do for years...the army. He had tried several times before, but promised he would finish college and he put off taking the big step in signing paperwork. As smart as he is, the professional student thing just wasn't for him and he took the plunge and called a recruiter for the last time. He was told boys from his area don't generally test very high, but his scores were so impressive he sailed through it. He feels he is doing what just comes naturally for him to do. Remembering what it's like to try and figure your way around this world, I can respect that. Thinking forward to how I would feel if that was the decision one of my baby boys were to make, I look at it differently. It's a bittersweet thing for me. 

Cole Lester is the kind of man every Momma prays her boy grows to be. I can sit and talk with him and in less than 10 minutes, my face hurts from laughing. Today, I belly laughed in a way that I haven't done since last August when I saw him last. He is always thinking of a plan, always has a way figured out to do something extraordinary, always has an insanely funny story to tell, always has a smile on his face, and almost always has food in his hand. See? That last part must be hereditary. Without a doubt, he will figure out a way to be successful with whatever it is he wants to do in life. I'm blessed to know him and love him and I'm excited for this new chapter to his life story he is beginning to write. It just seemed right for me to be here, even if someone thinks it wrong that I left my family to fend for themselves for a few days. I'm here to support Cole in his decision and here to love on my brother and his wife as parents. I have been thinking about flying out ever since Cole told us he was joining. I finally put the thought out of my mind because it just seemed like a wild idea, but a few weeks ago, Eric posted something on Facebook (he doesn't post very often) and it said something to the effect of how important family was, and you always need to be there for each other, tell them how you love them, and support one another. That sealed the deal for me. I knew I needed to try. I asked Brent what he thought about it and while I knew how it would be a huge inconvenience to him, he didn't balk at all. He understood and he knew why. I'm thankful to be here right now. I'm thankful to be here to send off one of my most favorite people ever. 

Right now, I'm sitting here imagining what kind of a world this would be if we had more young men like Cole. I know for sure it would be a lot happier of a place. 




Friday, February 28, 2014

#sorrynotsorry

Ok. We all know I don't run. Also, the bottom of these shoes remind me of crocs and that is weird. On top of that I don't have ANYTHING that matches these shoes. They were on sale and were cheap. So...#sorrynotsorry #hashtaginablog


"Oh, The Places You Will Go!"

The title of this blog seems to be the theme for our family right now. The key word being "GO".  I go (where ever) all the time and my body and brain have been s-l-o-w-i-n-g down and my calendar has not. I am really trying to reassess what is important and what is not in our lives. I have a ton going on the next few weeks, but I can say that a part of that is going to be doing something HUGE just for me. I can reveal more about that in a few days. This thing I am doing for my own sanity is good for me, but it will be tough on my family for me to be gone. I'm thankful to have my husband and parents who are so willing to try to help when they can. I just have a TON of "prep work" to do before my "thing for me" and my body and brain are not feeling it. I tend to thrive on procrastination so I hope and pray that I will kick my tail in to gear and get some of this stuff done. It will do me no good to be feeling guilty for leaving things undone. That won't be saving my sanity much. Anywho...not wanting to be a Debbie Downer. I just need to clear my mind to get the things done that need to be done so I can go clear my mind. Clear as mud?

Here are some of our most recent happenings around our casa: (Oh, and beware, I'm not in the mood to line up pictures and text and do all the formatting that needs to be done. So...just roll with whatever I put on there. Also, for some of you who follow me on Facebook, some of these pictures aren't new to you. Deal with that too, please.)

 THIS GIRL. Oh, this girl. She is zany, crazy, smart, takes her little time, and is in that weird place of trying to figure out who she is and what she is about. She is soft-hearted and compassionate and loves to work hard. I can't believe she will be a whole 12 years old in a few weeks.


 So...last August, Ashlee found a tiny orphaned kitty in a scrap metal pile at school. It was almost dead and she brought it home and I bottle fed it. I had never had luck with a bottle fed kitty before survive very long. That dang cat is still around, and has taken over the house. He is a grey, glob of a mess. At Christmas, the kids got an inside bunny. He uses the bathroom in the cat box and just hops around the house where ever he feels like going. He loves to hide in my closet or under my bed and will come out to visit a few times a day. He and the cat are BFF's and it's weird. They nap together and chase each other top speed around the house. Our dog had died, and a raccoon came and ate ALL of my birds. Chicken lady has no more chickens. So, for Valentine's Day, Brent and I got puppies for each other. They are mutts and they were free. Now, they are sleeping in the barn at night and have to hang outside during the day. That doesn't stop them from trying to run in the house every time the door opens. It's weird to watch goats and puppies race across the yard to see who can beat each other in the house. Brent's is the black and white one and his name is Doc. Mine is the....what ever colored one and his name is Badger, or Honey Badger, or HB. He just doesn't care about much of anything.

 Last weekend, I took two of my kids and a couple of other kids from our 4-H horse Judging team to Stillwater, OK for the Oklahoma State University Horse Judging Clinic. We all know I am not much of a morning person. I had to get up at like 4 AM. It was torture. We had a shaky start making the nearly 4 hour drive, but we got there and were only 20 minutes late. I had a car full of really terrific kids and another Mom that I can now consider a friend...although I'm pretty sure I made her a little crazy with my rambling on and letting her know about everything in the world that makes me mad at the moment. Ugh. Sometimes I'm insufferable. Anyway, the little girl in the green 4H jacket is my Callee. Tack was there too, and I took a bunch of pictures of him down on the floor and even posted one on Facebook. Until he saw the picture and said, "Uh...Mom...that's not even me. That's some other kid." So. I'm not posting the picture's of Tack that really aren't of Tack.

 This past Monday was our county Stock Show. It's always and kicks off a really busy time of the year for us. We hauled the goats in and the girls gave them a bath. The water is warm, which is good, but goats aren't usually keen on "spa day". Stupid goats.
 After their bath, they get a blow out. They don't usually like that too much either. Then, the ag teacher is gracious enough to clip their hair for everyone because if the girls or I did it, we would probably clip designs or words in the side of the goats. They also get their horns trimmed and polished and their hooves trimmed. So fun.
 Sometimes they get upset when they are getting worked on so you have to go preoccupy them a little bit. I promise Callee isn't really kissing the goat. I don't think.

 Then, the goat owner gets to get gussied up as well. Callee would rather her hair be left alone. Ashlee and I decided she had to have her hair done to look nice when she showed in the ring. Callee wasn't so sure about it. Ashlee was apparently REALLY happy about it.

 Ashlee is driving. Like, really, really driving. She has been obsessive about washing and vaccumming and cleaning out her car. At home, she is the biggest pig in the house. Her car, on the other hand...don't mess with it. Here she is at Wal Mart where she actually stood there for 40 minutes smelling car fresheners just so she could pick the "right one". She wears me out.

 If you haven't been living under a rock, then you have heard of Uncle Si on the hit show "Duck Dynasty". I have a red headed, blue eyed 6 year old version of Uncle Si. I asked Jake why he took his shoes off and what in the world was he doing? He answered with, "Hey, Jack. I'm just making life easy. That's all.". He is so crazy. So crazy.

 This is Tack. He is being Tack. There's not much else to say about him. He's just...Tack.

 Ashlee really believes with her whole heart that our rabbit likes to do yoga. Here she is doing bunny stretches with him last night. He just hung out and let her stretch and bend him in all sorts of ways. Then she put him down, and he just hopped away like nothing had ever happened.

I put this on Facebook, but I need to share it everywhere. Jacob showed this to me this morning. It's a robot on the left, and some random person/thing on the right. I love this robot and I absolutely LOVE the way his brain works.

Tonight, we will be going to see my MeMaw and then going to see our high school girls play in the championship game of the area finals in basketball. I love basketball. A lot. Tomorrow, we have more stock showin' to do, so hang tight for pictures from that. It's a full weekend and I better get going full steam ahead!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Am Ending My Love Affair.....

It has been about 6 months since I updated this blog. Six stinking months. Sometimes I feel like I put a lot on Facebook, so why do I want to come over here and update the blog and it be the same information about my daily life? Who really cares enough about my life to read that much about it? Lately, I have been feeling more of an inclination to really WRITE. Things are so busy, so hectic. I get so burned out so fast and...that was a lot of "so"'s. It's time to try and realign myself and do what I need to do to be the best me that I can be. It's time to stop concentrating on the fact that it's been 9 months or more since I even had my hair trimmed or I go through spells of looking like I have myself somewhat together to not caring about going around looking like someone off of the "People of Walmart" page. There have been several people that I respect that have been talking to me about the power of my words. I need to start letting them out more. I love Facebook. Like, I would marry it kind of love it. I'm addicted to it. It sucks my time and energy. I think that I pour so much of myself in to other people (hello, kids. I'm talking to you) that I look for something quick and cheap that I can have for myself and I use Facebook for that. I've noticed its become less about connecting with people and more about sharing and liking "stuff". I turned to Facebook because I longed for real, live, adult, human interaction that I don't get very much of out here in the sticks. I have made some incredible friendships with people I went to high school with almost 20 years ago that I was never close with back then. I have kept in touch with the few that I WAS close to back then. I have gotten to know families in my own community better and it's created a bond that I cherish, even though I may not get to spend much time with those people. It's also let me get to know people better from the town we moved from in Texas. My experience there would have been a lot better if I would have known some of you then.

That being said, I need to find something to fill myself back up that is not a quick and cheap fix. I ain't quick and cheap...at least not anymore. (Insert a haha here). I will absolutely still Facebook, because I want to be able to keep up with other people. I can't do that if I just stick to blogging. I'm just going to start being filled up with things of substance. Writing and creating do that for me. It's just hard to fit it all in on top of everything else I have to do. That means it's time to cut out what I don't have to do. My love affair with Facebook is one of those things. I have a lot to write about the happenings of the last 24 hours, but right now I have to swig down another cup of coffee, pick up the living room before the producers of "Hoarders" comes knocking on the door, get dressed, and start running like a chicken with it's head cut off. Peace out.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Some Things I L-O-V-E

What a busy summer it's been! I can't believe that school has already started up for our bunch. I also can't believe that I have a junior in high school. Every time we get a piece of mail from a college trying to recruit her (which is about once a week), I die a little bit more inside. I'm not sure if the slow, painful death is because my oldest is fixing to go off to college or because I'm thinking of how much money college is going to cost. Oy. We haven't been swimming but maybe 3 times all summer. We usually go to the little lake down the road from the house, but last year we got covered in leeches so the kids didn't beg to go there like usual. We also usually go swim at Mr. Turley's house. He's the owner of the ranch, and he normally lives in Dallas but has a home here in Oklahoma on the Turley Ranch. He was here for most of the summer, so we weren't able to swim there either. Then, there's the public pool in town and the kids would always ask to go...but they would wait until we were driving by it on our way to somewhere else and we wouldn't have time. The fact that it was 115* most of the summer also played a factor, but it's cooling down (I say cooling down, but that really just means its 95*) so it's more bearable to be outside. 

Then animals have grown a lot this summer and have all done surprisingly well despite the heat. I know they have really enjoyed the rain we've been getting the last month. We have been in a horrible drought the last few years and everything has been so dead, brown, and crispy. All of a sudden, it started raining out here and it's green again. I started letting the goats and birds out all the time, not even shutting them up at night. That way if I didn't get down to the barn early in the morning to let them out, they wouldn't get too hot from being cooped up inside with no breeze. The rain has brought relief, and all the animals are pretty much foraging for food. Apparently, Oklahoma stays in a grasshopper plague in the summers, because there are millions of them EVERYWHERE. When I would leave the house and then come home, as soon as I parked the car in the driveway, the chickens were eating the bugs in the grill of the car. I know of many people nearby who have had a tick infestation, but thanks to my guinea pea fowl named Burnie, I have not seen one tick all summer. We also haven't had any mosquito's either. He/She is noisy but comes in handy. The goats are getting fat on the grass, I've only had to mow twice all summer long even though the rain has made the grass come up fast. Everyone seems to be fat and happy. Including me. Here are some pictures I took around the yard today. It was perfect outside. I'm not sure what the temp was, but it was so beautiful. The sage is blooming, the breeze so still, but it was cool outside anyway. As I was walking around outside, I kept wishing I could just bring a bunch of people that I love and let them come over right then and experience that moment of country tranquility with me, because I knew they would love it as much as I did. 


 We have some swallows that have made a nest in the chicken coop side of the barn. There have already been one nest of eggs hatch this summer and they have grown up and moved on, and now there are some more in there. You can't see them because their parents are very crafty and lined the nest with duck down and chicken feathers. 

 About a month ago, the same week we started getting all the rain, the chickens stopped laying eggs. I was so distraught, because disease can cause them to stop and they can suddenly die even though they show no other symptoms. I love my chickens so much and I love eating their delicious eggs for breakfast. I was almost in tears when I had to go buy store bought eggs. Nasty. Store bought eggs don't even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as fresh eggs laid by chickens who add an extra dose of love to every egg. Yeah..I'm weird...I know. But love makes the eggs better. Well, I have great news. I'm getting eggs again. Most of them have been laid in the flower box instead of in their nesting boxes in the coop, but as long as I can find them, I'm good. I also have 6 Red Star pullets (not old enough to lay yet) and at least one of them has started to lay the most beautiful dark red/brown eggs~ just the last two days! 

 I love this stupid bird. Every time I go get in the car, she runs/waddles to the car and literally tries to get in with me. I have threatened my teenager and my husband that I am going to buy chicken diapers and she was going to start going to town with me. Other women have a lap dog. I want to have a lap chicken. I don't know who is more mortified at the thought: the 16 yr old daughter or the husband. The other 3 little kids think it's a grand idea. So do I.

 If you look closely in the middle of the hill is a large white tail doe. She stood there for a long time and watched me as I watched her. She didn't care too much that she was practically in my yard. 


 Oh, Burnie. Such a weird looking creature with vivid colors. I think Burnie is a he instead of a she. I also think he is what is called a lavender guinea because of the purple tint to his feathers around his neck. His face is like a bluish-white and he has royal purple under his chin. His waddle hanging down on either side of his beak is a bright and deep red. You are supposed to be able to tell males and females apart by their call and their helmet, which is the weird thing on the top of his head. His call is an ear drum piercing CHIT CHIT CHIT CHIT CHIT CHIT but the girls are also supposed to make a two-syllable sound that sounds like "buckwheat". I don't know what that sounds like. He also makes a very low and gentle tweeting noise that sounds sweet. But Burnie isn't very sweet. He's the bully of the barn yard. He is in everyone's business, and if you are not in the spot he thinks you ought to be in at the time he thinks you ought to be there, he will run at you and basically roll you up in a ball and roll you across the yard. Well...he does this to the other birds. Not to people. He is obnoxious and loud but he went after the UPS man the other day and made him haul tail back to his truck. You don't need a guard dog with a guinea around. 

 We saw a huge spider web with a huge hole in the middle. We looked inside the hole, and sure enough...there was a huge spider. *shudder*

 I love this picture. The lighting is not the best, but I love that chicken and I love that wooden fence. You put the two of them together and..yep...love....

 I also love this scene

 ....and I love this smell.....

 .....and I love this boy......

 Just one more picture of the sunset and the tree....

The crazy baby goats must be part mountain goat...the climb up on everything. So far, our car has been spared....the riding lawn mower? Not so much.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Whew!





Oh my goshness! What a crazy last few weeks it has been. I just noticed I hadn't updated either blog in about 2 weeks and for a while I was doing almost one a day! I'm slacking! I have a lot of pictures to share of the Hammer Happenings from the last few weeks. I shared a few of them on Facebook, but I know there are several of you out in reading land who are not on Facebook with me, so I will just post them again. For those of you who have seen some of these before, then...deal with it, I guess. Here we go. 


One of the best things that happened around here is that Goatilocks FINALLY had her babies. It was two weeks ago yesterday, which happened to be her exact due date. Ashlee and I had left earlier that day for the State FFA Convention in Oklahoma City, and we had given very stern instructions to Goati to NOT have those babies until we came back. That evening, Brent and the kids got home and the kids went to the barn to check on the animals and feed before it got dark. Tack saw two little tiny gooey blobs in the dirt in the outside pen and started screaming for Brent. Then Tack started crying because he was so excited that the babies were here. Callee ran down to the barn and saw there was one baby that was so much tinier than the other one and it was having a hard time. Goati had cleaned off the bigger baby but wasn't paying much attention to the tiny one. I understand that can be normal for a first time Momma with twins. She was confused and wasn't sure what to do with both of them. Callee started clearing the placenta off the baby with her bare hands because she knew it was having a hard time breathing. Then she found the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck so she got it unwound and dried the baby off with a towel. Miss Callee saved that baby, so we decided that one is hers and she will be showing her in livestock shows in the fall. The other one did pretty well and that one will belong to Ashlee. Both of the babies were does, so the girls decided to name them "Lucy Lou and Ethel Grace" aka Lucy and Ethel. I think that those names fit them perfectly. Just little balls of sweet,. funny mischief. 
 This is Lucy after she was born. I was glad she was able to nurse even though she was the size of a yorkie puppy.
 Here is Lucy at about a week old. She likes to sleep, and she thought Ashlee's crazy, fuzzy pajama pants were the cat's meow. 
 Tack is playing baseball for the first time this year. He usually gets to be the catcher one game and they also put him on second base and he bats on the other game. He has a natural athletic ability that he did not get from me. At all. His P.E. teacher told me he was amazing at basketball as well. Jake is playing non-competitive t-ball, but right now we are just doing practices twice a week and games will start in a few weeks.
 I had the chance to go walk/hike out at the Washita Battle Site again. I love doing that in the early morning before it gets hot outside. This spot struck me as odd. It is the place where hundreds of horses were killed by Gen. Custer's soldiers to debilitate the remaining Cheyenne tribe. There is new, green grass growing underneath, but on the surface, there is still so much death and ugliness from the other plants. It just struck me as symbolic, I guess, so...there it is. 
 I went in to the chicken coop to feed the other day. When I went in, I noticed the ducks and chickens were all huddled together. That was weird because usually they segregate themselves. I walked over to the nesting boxes to see if I had any eggs. And I came nose to nose with this.....
 I saw nose-to-nose because I was down in the alley way next to where you see the panel to the left of the box and snake. I was literally 2 inches away from the face of that snake. I almost passed out. I saw it was a bull snake, but the bull snake was full of my eggs. And the bull snake was freaking huge. I wanted him gone. Now I know why the birds were all huddled together. 
 He finally slithered out of the nesting box and I cornered him. I haven't been that scared of something in a long time. He looked to be as long as I was so I did what any rational woman would do and I called my husband. He was on a trencher digging junk up at work and wasn't about to stop and come rescue me. He just told me to whack it in the head with a shovel, stun it, pick it up, carry it outside, and chop its head off. Uhh...hell no. I did try to whack it in the head and all I did was anger it. I didn't even come close to having the strength to kill that thing. For an hour, I threw bricks at it, whacked it with a shovel, I even got the rake and tried to hack it to death. He was striking at me and his reach was far enough for his body to travel up the length of the shovel handle. After over an hour and I'm almost in tears, the snake is wanting to eat my soul, and the animals are freaking out at all the racket, I finally called my dad. Dad has one of the biggest fears of snakes I have ever seen, but he didn't hesitate to offer to come kill it. He drove about 10 miles one way and it took him about 5 minutes to do what I had been trying over an hour to do. When Dad whacked him with a shovel, he started throwing up (the snake, not Dad) and he was throwing up all the eggs he had eaten out of the nesting box. I was glad to see Dad chop his nasty head off and throw it in the bushes. The snake was as tall as I am. I am 5'4. I'm glad he is dead. 
 We have barn swallows that made a nest in the chicken coop and they are using the ducks feathers and down to line the babies nest with. I thought that was cute. 
 Lots of awards assemblies and whatnot going on since we have only 2 days of school left. Tack was recognized last week as reaching 100 math objectives. I thought it super appropriate that he chose to wear the chicken hat to celebrate. The kids that reach special goals for math and reading get to wear crazy hats to "Bear Beginnings" which is the morning program for the elementary. Since our school is so small, the whole elementary goes in to the front lobby of the elementary school every morning and they say the pledge, the state pledge, sing the national and state anthems, have a moment of silence, they have a creed that they say that is darling affirmations of who they are and what kind of compassionate character they all posses, and they recognize birthdays and special accomplishments of all the students. Whoever thought of Bear Beginnings is a super human. 
 Ashlee had her FFA banquet last week. She tried out for an officer role and wound up being elected as the reporter. She gets to be the admin for their Facebook page, write articles for the local paper on all things ag/FFA related for her chapter, and is held in high esteem because she was selected to office. FFA around here is not anything like it was where I grew up. It is taken VERY seriously, there are strict guidelines that must be met, and a ton of opportunities to those who will take them. This picture is blurry because my Dad took it with my phone, but here is Brento Beans and I with Baby Ashlee. 
 The kids didn't have school last Friday, but Ashlee was running the sound board for the school musical and they had practice. So, after dropping her off, I took the other chitlins' to the local cafe to eat breakfast. We visited and had a great time eating our food, until the "Price Is Right" came on, and this is what we did until it was time to go. Nice. 
 After Tack's baseball games that night, we went to eat at the chinese buffet. Brent was working so he missed the games, but he had to go in to town to run an errand for work and was still there when we got done with games, so we went to celebrate. Callee decided to try a steamed clam. She was NOT a fan. At all. As sister was spitting hers out in to her napkin, my fearless Jacob said, "Here...let me try it!" So he grabbed it off her plate and told me, "I'm not afraid to try ANYTHING!" Yeah, kid.... unfortunately, I know this already. 
 He smells it......."If it smells good, that must mean it tastes good!"
 He takes a BIG bite!
 At first, he tried telling me it was good. But after quickly spitting it out in to his napkin and making this face here, I knew he wasn't a fan of it either. 
 Apparently, holding your tongue on ice cream helps take the taste of the steamed clam away. 
 I spent Saturday night and part of my Mother's Day Sunday with this group of crazies. This is the cast and crew of the Cheyenne High School musical department who participated in the play "Rock Around The Block". We don't have a lot of fine arts programs like bigger schools do, so all of this has to be worked on outside of school with kids who have no acting/drama/singing experience and they always pull it off. I helped to the make up and I loved getting to spend Mother's Day with my extended babies. 
 So...this was on my front porch behind my front door and quickly ran in to my mud boots that I wear to feed animals right after I took this picture. This time of year, these critters are all over the place. Won't be long, and the scorpions will be coming around as well. Yay.
 Ashlee was recognized last night at the athletic banquet for being the school mascot this last year. She wore this large, awkward bear costume and head that was so hot and heavy it would make her have nose bleeds, pass out, and a few times throw up. She won't be doing the mascot next year. :)
 Today was the Pre-K parent program. Jake wanted his hair spiked in a mohawk and he took the singing of songs VERY seriously. They all did a great job. 

And last, but not least...I just took a picture of the communal gathering when I let the birds out a little bit ago. Brent's dog killed one of my big chickens as well as my little rooster and hen that I got when they were chicks and they were only a few months old. The dog has been on a very long leash under a tree in the yard with plenty of food and water until we can take him to the dog trainers next week. I'm sad about the chicken eating dog, and I don't want to talk about it anymore. At least not now.