Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Foliage Trip

Last Friday, in lieu of our regularly scheduled program (which was a trip to my parents' to celebrate my brother's birthday), we stayed home.

Well, we really didn't stay home. But we stayed away.

Four sets of pink eye (Salem, Gideon, Jonathan, and Eden) kept us from just about every social function last week. That meant we were spending a lot of time at home comparing shades of pink ("Would you call that salmon? Or peach? Gideon's are crimson!"). Pink eye is such a dumb thing...besides demonic eyes and sniffly noses, there's little to slow the stricken down. So they are running around the house, sneezing contagion upon whomever is within range, and whining incessantly. (In good health, there's just the running and whining.)

And I had had enough. No way was I going to spend Ethan's day off doing the usual (laundrymealslaundrymealslaundrymealslaundrymeals), but we couldn't go anywhere populated for fear of spreading this virus. (Well, honestly, I could have cared less about spreading it amongst strangers but Gideon's eyes were so demon-possessed looking there would have been no way to hide our irresponsibility.)

Ethan to the rescue! "Want to go for a drive?" he asked. And, as always, because I am always looking for a reason not to be doing laundrymealslaundrymealslaundrymealslaundrymeals, I said a hearty,


It almost rhymes.

And we took a little fall foliage drive.

I guess it's a family tradition now. This is the second year we've driven to Crabtree Falls in its autumnal splendor, and I hope we continue every year.

This is how you know you're on a good road:

  1. GPS routing is not advised.
  2. The post office meeting is at the Baptist church.
  3. The road is too bumpy to take a decent picture.
Also, the last store you pass (about 20 minutes after the one before it) is a restaurant/general store/bait stop/potty stop/place to buy gum-chocolate-wine-sharp cheese-twizzlers-local cookbooks-quilts-cast iron pans/place to gut your fish.

Y'all, it's that good. It looks like a lodge, and the restrooms are CLEAN. I want to live there.

But back to the Falls. We opted to walk to them and enjoy the beautiful crisp air.

This is how you know you're on a good trail:

There is a "MANDA DIANE WILL YOU MARRY ME?" sign on the path.

See? Everyone wanted to read the sign.

Sidenote: Ethan wants this tree for a beam - 

But back to the leaves. Everyone, hold them in front of your face! Those of you with pink eye, make sure you hold it in front of your eyes!

And then we saw some of the Falls.

But this was the view I kept watching:

You all are so gorgeous! Can I take you home with me?

Wait. I have to take you home with me?

I know, I know. But Papa will make it all better. He always does.

But goodness, I love this gang. I love that man and all our offspring.

And I sure did love getting out of the house.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Napster

I have very strong memories of napping with my mother. I must have been three, because it was before I started school at age four. Mom would climb into the bed next to me, lie on her side, throw her top leg over both of mine in some kind of wrestling hold, and brandish a wooden spoon. I knew she meant business; and I knew I was supposed to sleep whether or not I was tired.

Those memories came rushing back the other day as I dragged myself upstairs at that most groggy of times, about a half hour after lunch, to find two of my nappers giggling in their sister's top bunk. I set the four-year old back into her bed and dragged the three-year old into my bed. "You will nap with me," I said. "Lie still and be quiet. I am tired."

This is the three-year old. Perhaps I was expecting too much?

(This is a picture taken by a sibling. It always surprises me how the face angles and shapes look so different when the photographer is under 10. Is this really what they look like to each other?)

Anyway. Suffice it to say that that was the most aggravating, irritating, unproductive forty-five minute "nap" in recent memory. That child flub-bubbed my lips, fluttered my eyelashes, back-combed my eyebrows, poked my cheeks, and then ended it all by wetting two fingers and placing them at the end of my nostrils. There is nothing like the smell of slobber suffocating you to wake you from a shallow attempt at slumber.

And then it hit me: my mother's wrestling hold? The wooden spoon? Those were not to get me to sleep; those were weapons of defense! Those were not to aid my napping; they were to aid hers!

But that little three-year old will not be joining me for a nap anytime soon. Or if he does, there will be several precautionary measures taken. (But first I must procure a hockey mask.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}: Oct. 13


Well, I had a choice. I could spend the $3.99 on ten fall roses or on another bag of apples. I went for the roses.

I'm pleased with my decision. The bag of apples would not have lasted the week that the roses have, and there have been no apple skins spewed onto the floor.  Plus, the fruit flies prefer apples.


This is the Dark Hour, or The Hour after the Littles Are in Bed. We've newly instituted this time when Ben and Lily get to stay up later than the others, and so far both nights have been a success. No littles are constantly tromping around the bedroom due to Ben and Lily's reading lights being on, and I'm loving the sweetness between these two that is not always present in the light of day. The only rules are that they must leave us alone and must find something peaceable to do. They have broken Rule No. 1 (leave me alone), but that was to ask, "Are you sure there's nothing we can do to clean so that you can sit down?" so I forgave them.


This one is funny. Well, she and all 7 of her siblings. But for now I'll pick on Salem. For those of you who know Miriam (6), suffice it to say that she is Miriam to the nth degree. Miriam, but bossier. Miriam, but more of a tattle-tale. Miriam, but clingier (because, after all, her place is among the adults, right? Surely she can't be expected to hang out with children all day). She is simultaneously a mother's dream and a sibling's nightmare. By the time she's 2 1/2, I'll be out of a job.


Pardon me while I almost lose it. Chicken poop is so gross. And so were the spiders that were living under the trash can. (And I know, I know, I'm wearing a stupid scrunchy. But I didn't know my picture was going to be taken! Just look at the boots.)

For more photos of everyday life, visit


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Around here

I took this picture last Sunday morning for two reasons, really.

The first was that this is the only view of mountains we have at our house. This is absolutely ridiculous: if you walk 1/2 minute up the road, you see that we are in the midst of many mountains and multiple ranges;  but because of the "lay of the land," so to speak, you can see only a molehill of a mountain from our actual house. This causes me to say in wonder, almost every time we go anywhere (store? church? dump?): "Where we live is gorgeous."

The second reason was to document that I was actually up at sunrise. I don't care that the days are getting shorter and sunrise is happening later; that is still a rare occurrence at our house. We are not people who deem ourselves worthy of deciding to get up before the sun has decided to do so. And I'm not sorry.

The other monumental thing to happen this past week, besides me getting up early one day, was the chicken coop getting cleaned.

Chicken coop prior to clean-out
Those of you who have never cleaned a coop may not realize that it is a larger task than it first seems. The method we use requires that you only deep clean it once or twice a year. And that is a good thing, because it's a big deal. You take all the bedding (and poop) out, scrub everything, spray everything, let everything dry, and then put fresh bedding in.

Or you have Ethan do it.

Since Ethan had solved the dishwasher dilemma (in which, I should point out, the drain hose had come unattached -- that is, it had been attached and then unattached itself due to a faulty clamp), he was free to tackle other home projects. (Well, you know what I mean by "free." He has eight kids and a wife to helpfully advise from the sidelines.)

Some of the advice, actually, was superfluous and set to other work.

Ethan called to tell me he was coming home to clean the coop after a quick stop at Tractor Supply. "Anything you need?" he asked.

"Boots!" I said. "If we're cleaning the coop, I definitely need coop-cleaning boots!"

And he got me some.

And, as it turns out, they also work rather well as watching-the-coop-get-cleaned boots.

(But in the interest of dull disclosure...erm, FULL disclosure, I will admit that I spent a turn mucking out the coop. Until I found the mask too humid and the shovel too heavy and the spider webs too sticky and my BOOTS were getting dirty!!)

In all honesty, it wasn't as gross as I thought it was going to be. Especially not from my view on the lawn chair outside of the coop. In fact, the grossest part of the whole ordeal was the strange spiders that unraveled themselves from their little cocoon-like nests under the trash can. That was disgusting, and I may have shrieked and hollered, "Get the bug spray! Get the bug spray! Get the bug spray! Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!" a few more times than necessary. Then again, is there such thing as overkill when it comes to spiders?

See those reddish brown blobs in the white stuff? Those are spiders. Big spiders. They are all about to unravel their long legs and come scattering about. Cue the "Jaws" music. And get the bug spray!!!

So now that the coop has been cleaned and the dishwasher has been fixed, our ("our," of course, being the Royal "Our," which means I watch while Ethan does) attention turns to other projects. Pulling up the rest of the kitchen subfloor. When to take the A/C units out? Putting away the summer clothing (OK, this one is all mine). Getting the desk moved to upstairs. Deciding what to do with the sitting room and living room floors. Deciding when to move the youngest twins over to the "Boy" and "Girl" rooms.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it! How am I going to feel when I have to supervise it?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}: Oct. 6


FUNNY (chasing escapee chickens):

How to ride a trike, according to Gideon (above): put on Eden's crocs and then sit on stoop behind seat. This allows your feet to reach the ground. Grab the handlebars, start scooting feverishly, and be sure to check frequently to ensure owner of trike does not see you stealing trike AGAIN.

And then? All I have left is REAL.

This is the pile of shoes (and pair of pants) that are NOT going back into the shoe bench. Also? I finally found my good tweezers! (What were they doing in there?)

This is the dishwasher that we got after the old dishwasher died. It died-died. Then we put this one in, and my dishes were clean and sparkling! And then they weren't. And then there was water all over the floor, and under it. And then Ethan fixed-fixed the dishwasher (oops, unattached drain hose) and then started ripping out the floor.

And? There was wood under the floor! It's in need of work and TLC, but this tongue-in-groove wood was such a delightful sight under the gross linoleum and subfloor. The planks are 6", and Ethan is quickly removing the linoleum et al. during his time off work.

It only took us a year and a half of living here to find out there was wood under there! I know it's rough, but I love it. There's history in them thar woods. We will clean them up and call upon our local wood experts (Jason? Dad?) for advice. It drives Ethan crazy that the old floor is not *all up* yet, but I'm fine with it. Restoration mess is exciting. The scattered summer clothing all over my floor and wet towels thrown all over the bathroom? Not so much (but aren't you glad I spared you from pictures of THAT?)!

And for this last picture, I feel I owe some explaining. Yesterday a lady from church took Lily, Mimi, and Edee out for pizza. The others were sad and jealous. So, in a fit of temporary I'm-a-fun-mom-yes-I-am insanity, I gave the homebound kids "temporary tattoos" via a dry-erase marker.

And today, Gideon displayed his own artwork:

(And despite all photographic evidence to the contrary, we DO usually wear pants around here.)

For more photos of everyday life, visit


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool