Saturday, September 28, 2013

Moving into Fall

Last week was a flurry of getting ready for the Ward 1950’s social. I got the skirts made, and at the dress rehearsal on Wed, I fixed all the skirts that needed finishing touches (which was easy for me, and gave poor Becca, who was in charge of a million things one less thing to think about--which is always a noble goal!) SmallDaughter crashed the rehearsal, and wanted to be with her friends (the 8-12 year old “Faith In God Girls), who were—as always-- super sweet and patient with her.

On Thursday, after I brought SmallDaughter home from riding and put her to bed, I harvested all the peppers in my garden, and got them ready, and on Friday afternoon (in the morning I went to our Fiber Arts Group meeting and ran a bazillion errands), I started watching a movie and slicing a billion pounds of peppers. I have canned gallons of jalapenos over the years, and they have never given me a problem (except that time I cut the tip of my finger off with the slicer--(*&$%@#!!!!--but that is a different story!) However, for whatever reason, THIS time, my hands really started burning. It may be because I had several varieties of peppers, or my skin is getting more sensitive with age, I don’t know. Anyway, I stopped and scrubbed them thoroughly, and tried to keep going, but the pain got too bad to continue. It continued to intensify throughout the night--I couldn’t sleep, and with my eyes closed it felt like my hands were blistered with burns, but they weren’t even red! However, they were only bearable if I kept them in cool water--I was melting a bowl of ice in under 10 minutes!

I tried every crazy thing I could find on the internet, including:
washing with:
laundry soap,
dish soap,
toothpaste (can’t recommend that one!),
ammonia (not together!),
rubbing alcohol
soaking in:
lemon juice
lemon juice followed by baking soda,
hemorrhoid cream,
urine (I was desperate by that point--it was about 3 am!),
I don’t remember what else!
Finally, after peaking in intensity around 2am, by 4:30 they had calmed enough that I was finally able to sleep. They felt better in the morning, but my hands stayed tender for several days, although I am not sure if that was from the peppers, or from all the crap I put on them!

On Saturday, I worked (slowly and exhaustedly!) on getting the rest of the peppers sliced and seeded. I finished in time to go to the Social, which turned out amazingly! SmallDaughter had a pretty great evening, because the food was hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries & potato chips! There was a photo booth with adorable props, and she walked around holding them up--cat eye glasses, bow ties, and her favorite--big lips! BigGirl had slept on, and then baby-sat in velcro curlers, so she could do authentic 50’s short curly hair (almost all of the other YW have long hair, so there were LOTS of pony tails). She also tried out the new makeup she got for her birthday from Bec (who also taught her how to apply it!). I did big Marilyn eyeliner for her, and she was truly a knock-out! Lots of people didn’t recognize her, and several gave her that “favorite” left handed compliment “You look so pretty--you don’t even look like yourself!” Her favorite was our good Bishop saying “does your Father know you look like this!?!”

It was a super fun activity, and had really good turn out. I am glad that the entertainment was videotaped, -it is pretty hard to describe the awesomeness! Some of the memorable moments included: The YW presidency doing “Splish Splash” with super cute bathtubs they cut out from cardboard and painted white, then used blue balloons as “The Wonderdog”, The Nursery and Sunbeam boys doing “Jailhouse Rock”, the little girls doing “Lollipop, the Faith in God Girls doing “Hand Jive”--and in one of the sweetest moments of the evening--SmallDaughter went out with them, and was very careful to mimic their dance moves and hand moves!!! I was not the only one crying, either! The young women did a really cute dance to “Blue Suede Shoes” and the young men were a showstopper with a lip synch medley of favorites whose highlights included LargeBoy doing a hilarious Jerry Lee Lewis at the piano for “Great Balls of Fire” (We accidentally even got the hair right!)!

My Favorite Gentleman worked all day Saturday, and then came home about 3 am on Sunday morning, and left from church at 10:30. He only came home because Bill (his usual roommate, and the guy he carpools with) was going on vacation this week, and My Favorite Gentleman was the only way he had to come back!

On Monday, I finally got the dang peppers made into pepper butter and canned, and after all that work, I scorched it, and I am not sure it is edible! I canned it anyway (hope springs eternal, and My Favorite Gentleman’s taste buds are not that picky!) Then I started peeling on the 20 lbs of carrots and 30 lbs of spuds for canning mixed veggies. On Tuesday, BigGirl went with me over to buy the supplies I needed for getting the bees ready for winter, and to pick up my spinning wheel from the repairman. He is fun and delightful (as all spinners are!) and we ended up talking to him for over 2 hours! Then we picked up a bed frame that was on Freecycle, and came home, where I continued to work on canning!

Yesterday, BigGirl helped me get mixed veggies canned and the bees taken care of. They are doing great, but I am not extracting any honey this year--I suspect we will have a long, cold winter (we had a cool, wet summer) and I want to make sure they have plenty of honey. However--their honey is very pretty! We will have one more “bee care day” next week, and that will pretty much be “it” for the year--except for building an insulation box to put around the hive next month.

We started to work on canning some of our chickens, but the meat is so tough that I just ended up putting it in the crockpot all night, so it could soften up! I suspect I will end up canning all of it, for that reason. Today, I need to continue my canning (I am waiting on the dishwasher to finish my jars), and I am harvesting all of my tomatoes. BigGirl has been harvesting my herbs--which had a hard year, since Dad had to put the scaffold up on top of them to work on the siding!

Tonight, besides the RS broadcast, our ward is having a “Super Saturday” with crafts classes and dinner. SmallDaughter is being indescribably cute lately! She has really had some good development, and is just hilarious! She is loving riding the big yellow bus. She can be in a bad mood in the morning, but as soon as she sees the bus she cheers up! School seems to be going well for her so far (she hasn’t complained, anyway!!) Thursdays are her favorite, because she gets to go riding and get “hamburger, fries and apples” from McDonalds. I am not sure which thing excites her more! BigGirl and LargeBoy are doing awesome. They are both pursuing a lot of self directed studies, which is a pretty exciting stage for a mom! The Wonderdog is as awesome as always.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Still Busy!

Things here are, of course, crazy busy, but I am really liking getting settled into a school routine. The big kids have become MUCH more self motivated and they are going great guns on subjects that have caught their interest. I have instituted a new plan for decluttering the house in tiny small bites, so I hope that I can maintain my focus and not get terribly sidetracked.

I took seven of the 8 hens I have been fattening up to get butchered (the other one made her escape and blended back into the flock , and I didn't have the energy to chase her around!). They still weren't very fat!

I was pretty bummed to find out on Friday that My Favorite Gentleman wouldn't be coming home on Saturday, because we went to the Renaissance Faire! It is about a 3 hour drive, and we took my Uncle R (the photographer) and LargeCousin with us. A good time was had by all--the big kids were all costumed, which increases the fun quotient. I had the least fun, since I was buddies with SmallDaughter in the wheelchair, and all the paths were gravel--and hilly. They have lots of fun rides, which are all human-powered, and she LOVED them--which meant every time she was not on a ride (grinning like a loon--it was heart meltingly cute!)--she was BEGGING to be on a ride! So much fun we were all exhausted!

On Sunday, I reminded a Bishopric member to announce the Summer of Service Ending Social for the next Sunday, after Church, and he asked if I would mind if it was postponed, simply because of how busy September is. I didn't mind at all (truthfully, a bit of a relief!), but I only give it 50% odds of happening at all, since October--and indeed the rest of the year--are just as busy!

Remember what we did for My Favorite Gentleman’s Birthday? (Nothing.) We did it AGAIN for our anniversary! Actually, we did do one cool thing. Each day we had an assignment of 5 things that we texted to each other ( one day it was character traits we love, the next day was things we do together, etc.). It was very fun and surprising, and really nice bonding and communicating.

For BigGirl’s 17th birthday, she made cupcakes to share with the Seminary Class, and with the Young Women at church (since her birthday was on a Wed, when they have an activity). SmallDaughter had a Dr. apt. which went well. BigGirl is going to have a Halloween party in Oct. instead of a Birthday party, so our celebrations were pretty low key. She asked for (and received) a full set of Harry Potter, and she also got a super cute Totoro poster. There are a couple of other gifts, but some of them haven’t arrived yet! On Thursday, it was the VIP open house for the newly remodeled Library, which I had to miss (even though I do count as a VIP, since I am a Trustee!) because it was at the same time as SmallDaughter’S FIRST SESSION OF HORSE RIDING THERAPY! And there was MUCH rejoicing! She has been asking to ride her horsies since the day the last session ended!

Friday was absolutely crazy. We had seminary (5:15 to 6:05) then got SmallDaughter dressed and on the bus, and the boys out the door to school (6:30 is--but the bus was a bit early !!!@#%!)--but we got it done! LargeBoy hopped in the shower, and we were on the road by 8 for his 8:30 apt at the Orthopedic Doctor, where Doctor pronounced that his arm is healing well--barring any stupidity! We zoomed back home, where I took a 20 minute power nap so I wouldn't fall asleep while driving, did a bit of housework, and at 11:30, drove BACK up North, picked up SmallDaughter from school and took her over to the Children’s Hospital to see her Neurologist (1 hour, 24 min, according to Google maps, but actually slower because of the muchisimas road construction). We were a bit early, so she got to see all the things she loves at the Hospital, and then we went to meet her new neurologist (as her old neurologist just got married and moved to TX). SmallDaughter loves the weighing, measuring, taking vital stats part--she is VERY good at that routine. Then they showed us to our exam room, and she played with the toys BUT, it took him over 45 minutes to get to us, and she was pretty out of patience! Then we had to go to the lab for bloodwork--and she was SUPER good. She still doesn't like it, and she stiffens up like a plank, but she didn't cry!

We finally left at about 5:43, and I realized I would not be able to make it home, put SmallDaughter to bed, then turn around and go 45 minutes back up the same road for my VERY important beekeeping class. So, I just gave her her meds on time and took her to the meeting with me. That made us a tiny bit early, so I was able to stop at a Farmers Market, and get some yummy fruit. The meeting was excellent--it was the class on how to prepare the hive for winter, LOTS of good info. We came home and I got SmallDaughter into bed (she did NOT sleep through the meeting, as I had hoped she would!), and I took a quick shower and My Favorite Gentleman got home at midnight. BigGirl’s friend (and my seminary student) came over for a birthday sleepover, but I barely saw her! I had terrible insomnia, and couldn't sleep until around 2:30, which was particularly bad since I had to get up at 5:30 and go to the big City for Seminary Inservice. Fortunately, another Sister from the Ward was just called as one of the 2 teachers for the other Seminary Class, and so we rode together and she drove! It was really excellent, and I felt (as I always do!) uplifted and inspired.

I made it safely home and took a nap, and then BigGirl’s new friend who has just moved in, and who is a TOTAL kindred spirit! came over. Her 5 year old sister was totally enchanted by the chicks (which are getting big, but aren't ugly yet), and all the kitties! My Favorite Gentleman took the whole group of us out to the Mexican Restaurant, which was really fun. Afterwards, we rented a movie, and had a family movie night while I worked on sewing the girls circle skirts for the ‘50’s social that the YW are putting on this weekend. It is shaping up to be quite the blowout!

Church was very good--My Favorite Gentleman said the Opening Prayer in Sac. Mtg, but had to leave during the 1st talk (just like usual). The speakers were excellent and I really got a lot out of it. SmallDaughter fell asleep, and slept all through Sunday School on the bench! Her helper sat with her, so he got to go to Adult Sunday School! We found out at about 9 am that the Primary Sacrament Meeting that we have been practicing for--that we were planning to have on Sep. 29th, can’t be then, because it is Fast Sunday--and more importantly FAST AND TESTIMONY MEETING (because of General Conference), so we were kind of scrambling, because our plans changed so suddenly! None of the teachers had lessons prepared because we had planned to be practicing in the Chapel the whole time! We have rescheduled the program to November, and we just ran through it anyway!

We have had several beautiful babies welcomed into the family, and I am feeling particularly blessed!