5.22.2017

Just a Monday...

I've been lousy about taking pictures since we got back from our trip over a month ago... so I decided to go all in and try to document our whole day in an effort to get back in the habit. Nothing super extraordinarily happened - just your average Monday - but just in case you were wondering here is what we did today.

5:30am - Wake up. Just kidding. But do wake up enough to go pee and kiss Blake goodbye as he goes off to run - up a mountain - for fun - on a Monday morning - before the suns even up... Because he is crazy!

6:30am - Really wake up - totally thrilled that for the first time in months Luna has slept all night. Read my scriptures and scroll my phone until Perry comes in at 7 - on the dot - like every morning since before the dawn of man.

7am - Head upstairs with Perry. Find some breakfast. Fred Meyers had a sale on their cool-box-brand cereals and my kids have been in heaven having something to stare at as they eat their cereal.

7:15am - Luna arrives on the scene and immediately begins a war over the cereal box. Reason #135 to buy the off-brand.  

7:30am - Fielding, Perry, and Luna have been breakfasted so I find the morning toy for the day. Every day I pull out something the kids can destroy the living room with while I get my morning tasks done - today was the playhouse and the play food. It bought me 20 minutes.

7:45am - Paisley loses a tooth while flossing (I take no credit for this healthy habit - I didn't start flossing regularly until after college).  I immediately put a reminder in my phone because the tooth fairy is out of practice.

8am - I scramble to get lunches made, encourage piano practicing, start laundry, straiten up bedrooms, get all the little people clothed, find my gym attire, pack my bag, etc...

 8:35am - Girls scramble out the door to make the bus just in time and I survey the damage. It will all have to wait for later... I make the call for them to all get their shoes on and in the car.

 9am - Start to load kids in the car (20 minutes after I first made the suggestion - I could write an entire blog post about the intricacies of getting a 2, 4, and 6 year-old into a vehicle properly shoe-d, fed, and bathroom-ed but I will spare you the pain).  Once they are all properly restrained, I take this moment to literally run around the yard freeing the chickens, checking their food, feeding the pigs, and mentally taking note of the 50 things that we should probably get done in the yard.

9:20am - Hit the gym. Enjoy a run, some weights, a swim, and the luxury of showering without an audience. Then off to get groceries.

Fielding maned the list.

And Luna the ice cream! Tillamook is 2/$5 at Fred Meyers - I highly recommend you go buy some!

11:30am - Back home before the ice cream melts and get the kids set up with lunch. Cheesy butterflies led to cheesy smiles.

12pm - Kids color, eat, smash crackers, spill water, and destroy another room before it is time to head out to get Fielding on his bus.

12:15 - Head out for the bus. The ditch is running so it makes the wait enjoyable...

...Until Luna decides to go wading in during the half-a-second that I was distracted signing Fielding's permission slip. Rarely a day goes by that she doesn't need an outfit change before naptime.

12:30pm - Back in and Perry immediatly asks to watch a show. He has to clean up the play food in the living room and this buys me a good 30 minutes. He is the worst cleaner - I am working on it but he would just prefer to lay on the floor and roll around so I let him do that. I get Luna all settled down for her nap and eventually offer to help him out. We get the living room cleaned up and he gets to have his favorite part of the day.

1pm - I get cleaning. I know you aren't supposed to clean during naptime but if I didn't clean during naptime we would be living in something akin to a landfill. Kitchen wiped down, swept, and mopped. I usually don't mop on Mondays but our pig party threw off my routine and my feet were beginning to stick so it was time.

Moping with a cold is not fun... I mop on my hands and knees which is a prime position for snot to flow. I have been fighting a cold for over a week and am so tired of it.


1:30pm - Next up laundry. Laundry is a beast on Monday because I take one day off - Sunday - which follows Saturday and everyone knows that at least 5 loads of laundry are generated on any given weekend around here. So I fold and fold and fold while listening to This American Life and complying with Perry's demands for food/different show "because I am scared" (sometimes even Little Einsteins can scare him - the boy has a faint heart).

2:30 - Luna is up and the show has lost it's magical powers so we head to the kitchen to make after-school snack. Rice Krispy treats because I found two half-used bags of almost-dead marshmallows while cleaning. Side note - Luna dressed herself in Cosie's tank after nap before coming upstairs.

 3pm - Find Luna some real clothes and load up the library bag to head to Perry's favorite destination. Get new books, shows, and CD's while Perry plays MagnaTiles/computer and Luna defiles the water dispenser.

4:30pm - Make it home just as the bus rolls up. Girls grab piano bags and a Rice Krispy treat to eat on our way to piano lessons. Paisley acted so "teenager-y" when I snapped this picture. "Oh mom - please don't." As she covered her face with her hands. She has never turned from the camera so this new development has officially freaked me out.

5pm - While the girls do piano - the littles and I hit up a new park that we saw in a new housing development.

I don't know if we will be going back - it wasn't Luna proof.

And this going to the park during piano is a normal occurrence and every time without fail a certain child informs me they need to poop 5 minutes in. No matter that I told him to go before hand and to "push extra hard" - it is one of those maddening things that only a mom of small children could understand.

5:30pm - Home to make dinner. Like loading small children into a van - I will spare you the details but we survived once more, dad gloriously walked in the door with the girls from piano, and we all enjoyed a yummy meal.

6:30pm - Dinner cleaned up and Dad sitting down to help Fielding with his Family Home Evening lesson while I do a bit more laundry.

 7pm - Family Home Evening time. Fielding gave a lesson on showing love and Cosette chose cookies and ice cream for treat.

7:30pm - Kids wrote cards to those they love while eating their treat.

7:30pm - Mom can't handle the messiness any longer... even if it is a cute mess. Get everyone and everything cleaned up one last time and sit to read some books on the couch with the littles while Blake and the older girls head out to get the farm chores done.

8pm - Boys make an escape outside to have dad read them a chapter out of their chapter book that they read with him each night and I take advantage of the quiet house to put Luna to bed. Finally go out to bring them and the girls in - do last minute bedtime routine stuff, get the boys in bed, and the girls reading quietly in their room.

8:30pm - Sit down to blog it all out as I am interrupted multiple times with kiddo questions, homework help requests, and a drippy nose begging for a tissue.

10:20pm - Finish her up and follow my hubby to bed.

5.15.2017

Going whole hog...

(Disclaimer: Shelby from high school and other animal loving readers - a whole pig, although treated with the upmost respect during it's life, is harmed in the making of this blog post. You may want to skip this one.)

Blake and I are party people. We have thrown parties for just about every holiday - major (Christmas/Back to School) to minor (Pi Day/Guy Fawkes Day). Give us a reason and we will have a party. It is something we enjoy and a way to successfully kick us into gear to clean up the yard, finish a project, or attempt something new. This past weekend we threw the mother of all parties and decided to roast a pig... the whole thing... buried in a pit.


This was no small feat especially since we were also doing our own slaughtering. It took weeks of research and days of fretting. The night before I don't think I slept more than a few hours I was so nervous... about the pig and the crazy spastic weather we are having.


We decided success or fail, it would be an adventure and since the party was in honor of our most adventurous friends, The Cox's and their upcoming move, it would be worth the risk.

The timeline went something like this:

Previous Saturday - Dig a hole. A really big hole. Nothing solidifies a marriage more than going out and digging a pit together... it should be some sort of couples therapy. Then let your kids play in it. And then put the 3 snakes you find in the wood pile in it. It is all good fun.

Friday 7pm - Blake and his fellow partner in crime slaughter, de-hair, and gut the pig. This took place in our backyard - hanging from the swing set. My job was to keep all the children happily occupied inside so they did not ask where Dad was. In respect to our pig and anyone reading this with small children in the room - no pictures.

Saturday 5:30am - Blake heads out to start the fire in the pit.

7am - Cyndi heads out to help prep and wrap the pig. We stuffed it with veggies for moisture and flavor then wrapped it in foil, burlap, and chicken wire. The weather is gloriously promising.

9am - Pig goes in the pit. Cyndi runs kid to soccer game while Blake buries it up. The weather is lousy.

11am - Our remote thermometer is registering a steady increase in heat. Blake and I are freaking out - IT IS WORKING! And the weather is fantastic!

2pm - Temperature is slowing down. It is not quite rising at the speed we need for the 5pm party time. And storms are rolling in.

3pm - We know the pig won't be done in time. We admit defeat and haul the grill down by the pit so that we can finish the meat up on there once we pull it out. Weather nice again.

4:45pm - Blake uncovers the pit. Weather bad again.

5pm - Unwrap the pig. Weather nice again.

5:15pm - Temp the pig - it is done just not done-done. It won't shred which means Blake and Cyndi get to work hacking the thing apart to get some meat chopped for the steady stream of guests that are quickly filling up our yard. Weather is good but this is where things got crazy.

5:30-8:30 - It is a blur. I didn't take a single picture. There was about 100 people here. At one point another storm rolled in and it poured. At least 80 of those people were in our shop. We asked people to bring sides and desserts to share - we just forgot that if they were also bringing their 5 kids with them (Dang Mormons!) and that their side or dessert would be shared with their family and that was about it. The food was not what I hoped it to be - from the pig that our nice friends were desperately trying to help Blake grill and me shred to the random ice cream I kept pulling from my freezer to make do for dessert. It was crazy - chickens and a billion kids running everywhere and at some point me asking Blake, "Are you okay with kids in the pig pen?" It was wild - I was incapable of coherent conversation with anyone because the whole thing all felt out of control. And because I was desperately trying to make bite-sized pieces of meat for 100 people - it was like our normal dinner times just multiplied 20 fold. The whole endeavor felt a bit red-necked versus the fun Hawaiian luau that I was going for. At one point I do remember looking up and seeing about 60 kids all smiling as they swung and played tetherball and chased chickens and spun themselves into oblivion on the tire swing - so I can safely say that the majority of our guests enjoyed themselves!

And we learned a lot. Blake wants to do it again now that "he could perfect it." Hotter fire for longer duration and smaller pig. And the next time I would not set a time... I would say come on this evening and at some point we will enjoy some pulled pork but that really would have decreased the stress if we weren't fighting a clock. It was by far the craziest party we have ever thrown and half way through I realized why so many people on their tutorials talked about the importance of beer on the day of the feast - I don't think that this is a feat that can be fully enjoyed sober.

So for us non-drinkers - I think roasting a whole pig will always have an edge of crazy to it.

9pm - We had the Cox's help us roll our non-working truck back into the shop (just to solidify our red-neck status for good) and said our farewells. I will seriously miss their family! We put the kids down and snuck out for half-priced shakes at Sonic. There might not be any alcohol in them but Chocolate Oreo definitely took the edge off.

5.12.2017

Limits...

I am not good with flowers... under my care they tend to die. This is insanely frustrating because it isn't like I am not trying. I water them, I give them plant food, I rotate their pots... but they are just a creation too fragile for my clumsy hands.

Every Spring, the flowers at the entrance of the grocery store beckon to me. They want me to take them home and add wonderful splashes of color to my yard. Every year there are high hopes and expectations that this might just be the year that I get it right. But it never is... no matter how much I read about the plant and then lovingly tend to it according to those specifications each day... at some point they shrivel and die. This is infuriating to me because like I said before I am putting in the effort. And it is even more frustrating as I watch my husband put seed after seed into the ground and they produce tomato jungles and endless squash.

I wish I could grow beautiful flowers... just like I wish I could sing beautiful songs. It is a talent that I feel is within me - that there is a part of my soul that is capable of these things but that my awkward physical body stands in the way. When I look at my last failed attempt of marigolds in my planters - I think of how limited my physical self is.

The physical Cyndi runs slow and dances awkwardly. She is 100% incapable of knitting, skipping rocks, or drawing a strait line. Sleep depravation makes her cranky, as well as hunger, a messy house, and children bickering. She rushes too much, loses her patience too easily, and thinks of just-the-right-thing-to-say too slowly. She feels music within her but can't make it come out in words or on an instrument or with the flow of her body.  She struggles sitting still or studying any topic at a higher level of thinking. She is constantly distracted and lacks the courage to take risks. And she is really lousy at giving hugs.

Sometimes (usually on Mondays) I feel very capable.

But today... Friday... I feel very limited.

5.09.2017

School Stuff...

I have no less than 12 flyers on my fridge telling me all the fun we will have these last 3 weeks of school. Don't these teachers know that I am in charge of a whole summer full of fun and that I wouldn't mind if we continued as business as usual for this last push - you know do school stuff instead of party, party, party. No - I don't want to come to 3 different field days, 2 different Mother's Day celebrations, the school carnival, the school picnic, 2 music programs, and 3 separate award assemblies. I get stressed out every time I look at my fridge because I know my kids are counting on me being there which means babysitting arrangements and trips to Wal-Mart for nasty store-bought cupcakes are in order. Aghhhh!!!

Besides the above mentioned activities, we also did Art Gallery Night. My favorite school sponsored event.

Watched the school play directed by Paisley's phenomenal teacher:

Paisley had her music program:

And Fielding brought home this gem of homework:

I love school and am really, really, really, really, really sad that it is coming to an end.

5.07.2017

Waking up...

(This is a weird story... I was on drugs. But it happened and it was such a crazy/powerful experience that one, such as I, who is an over-sharer-of-experiences, just has to share. And just maybe some anesthesiologist somewhere is reading this and might have a wee bit more sympathy for the depressed/angry/immovable patient he is forced to come back to check on.)

I don't do medicine. At age 15, I swore it off when my mom gave me some NyQuil for a bad cold. I laid in bed for the next 6 hours completely whacked out. I went to sleep but it was this awful I-am-still-half-awake-sleep that left me dreaming psycho dreams and fully waking up every 20 minutes. This and numerous other bad medicine experiences (the worst being the painkillers they gave me when I was hospitalized for a kidney infection while pregnant with Paisley) have left me cautious of most drugs.

Because of this, when they told me that they would be using "some great drugs" to put me to sleep to perform the D&C, I was immediately petrified of the side effects. I remember telling Blake that I was afraid I was going to wake up puking... if only that was the case... puking would have been 100 times better than what actually happened.

After the procedure, my first moment of coming to was opening my eyes to bright lights and slowly looking over to see an extremely overweight man with awful-Donald-Trump-colored-hair. I hated him instantly and ferociously. He said something to me but I loathed the very space he took up in my curtain-partitioned room so I didn't listen.  I turned back over and let the black take me back in. 

My next moment of coming to was my curtain was open and striding towards me was an angel in the brightest yellow shirt on the face of the planet. I instantly liked everything about this person of light and somewhere in my mind three thoughts clicked - that is Blake, you are married to him, and that shirt could serve as flares for incoming airplanes. That was enough work and I closed my eyes once more.

The next time I awoke, the awful nurse who my mean/crazy brain was calling fat (I am sorry but my brain fixated on his weight during this event so that is who he become to me - Fat Nurse. Part of the madness during these moments was how much I hated someone solely based on their physical appearance) was asking if I wanted to drink something.  

Drinking seemed insurmountable... so did moving... breathing... and living. I turned to Blake and said, "I don't want to be here. I want it to be black again. Can you make it black again?" He shook his head no and stroked my head - he said it was okay, that I was waking up in the surgery center, and that I didn't really mean what I was saying. By the look in his eye, I knew I was crazy and I hated that. Somehow I could distantly remember every stupid YouTube video of people after the dentist acting crazy and I felt intense pity that anyone videoed them in such a vulnerable state. There was nothing funny about this - I was crazy and I couldn't fix it. I had told Blake previous to going under that he was under no circumstance allowed to pull out the camera. I closed my eyes wanting it to be black but the black wouldn't come back.

I knew everything that I was doing... and I knew that everything I was doing was crazy. I had my normal brain still in me and it was whispering soothing thoughts and trying to make me see sense. But there was this crazy brain and it had taken over and it controlled my physical body. Everything I said and did and ultimately felt came from crazy brain. I felt suicidal. I did not want to live. If I had been capable of getting a lethal dose of anything at that moment I would have taken it. The only thing I could do with my body is move my head back and forth, dart my glared eyes at all the suspicious stuff in the room (AKA everything), and speak. I could not convince my body to move even though the nurse is asking me over and over if I would like to get dressed.

The nurse doesn't know me so I turn to the person who does, Blake, and tell him all the horrible things that my crazy brain is telling my mouth to speak: "I can't get dressed. I can't go home. I can't be a mom. I want to die. I can't be here anymore. Is this real? I don't like it here. Why can't it be black again." And on repeat again and again, in a hiss of a tone, "I DON'T LIKE HIM." Him being Fat Nurse, of course.

I don't know how long this went on. It felt eternal. I was weepy and depressed and totally pissed at Blake who kept shoving a straw from a can of apple juice into my mouth. He felt he needed to flush my system so he pushed and pushed for me to drink as I said awful things like, "I hate you. I hate apple juice. I hate this." as I pretended to drink. The nurse moved onto offering me food - crackers or cookies - and I retorted that I wanted a hamburger. He said that this wasn't possible so I turned away  and decided I was done talking to him for good. Didn't he see that I was crazy and that a hamburger might just fix this.

At this point, it clicked that I wasn't alone in this room. I could hear all the other patients coming to from being under and they were all acting so insanely normal. Drinking, eating, and putting on their clothes. They were doing what my nurse wanted me to do but what was completely incapable for me to do. I felt like a failure. That I was no good at this and that my normal brain was lost forever. This was all very frightening because I could still access my normal brain but it was just trapped behind a crazy brain. I remember feeling sympathy for every mentally ill person who has ever lived. I understood them and every crazy thing they had ever done... their brain was broken and now mine was too - I was no longer a safe person to be around.

At this point, I still hadn't moved on the bed. I had only drunk a few swallows of juice. And my nurse was getting impatient. I knew I was in trouble when the anesthesiologist came back. It registered that this wasn't normal protocol and that he must of heard that I was crazy. I hoped he had another great drug that could fix this. The first thing he asks is "How are you doing?". I decide to be honest and say, "I just feel so sad." He is short and says, "That is understandable with what you just went through." And I know I said that wrong thing. 

He thinks I am sad about the baby. I have yet to feel anything on that - no, I am sad because I am crazy and the only person besides me that understands that fact is Blake. So I turn from him and hiss to Blake, "I DON'T LIKE HIM." This doesn't do me any favors and he begins to talk over me to Blake, "I have being doing this for 20 years and never had a reaction like this. She has no medicine left in her. She is just sad about what happened and you need to help her get dressed and out of here and maybe she will do better away from the reminders of what just happened." 

I AM LIVID!!! This guy is a professional and I am having a total mental fallout because of the drugs he squirted into my IV and he thinks that I am just sad about the baby. This has nothing to do with the baby - my mind is broken and you are doctor - FIX ME!!! I want to yell this but crazy brain has decided to try and confirm what this jerk just told my husband by forcing me to do nothing but lay there and sob.

Gratefully he leaves and something clicks - I don't want to be here - in order to leave I must get dressed. It takes a monumental effort on my normal brain's part to convince my body to move but finally it happens. I move and my nurse breathes a sigh of relief, "Geez, finally... get this girl out of here so I can move on." I force myself to find a way to get dressed - my mind is completely cloudy and full of dark thoughts but I know my ticket out of here so I am doing what is expected of me. Eventually, I am loaded into a wheelchair and then into my van and all I can think is, "They've released a crazy person - don't they know I should be locked up." My normal brain is functioning enough to tell Blake that he CANNOT leave me alone. That thought has not crossed his mind because out of the three people tending to me, he is the only one who recognizes that something is seriously wrong.

I get home. I lay on the couch for at least 2 hours thinking every awful dark thought I could think. Eventually, the kids come and then visitors and then dinner.  Slowly but surely crazy brain begins to quiet down. I regain the will to live. Then eat. Then truly mourn just what happened.

5.03.2017

Farm Living...

Spring is here in all its glory... on the occasion that the wind stops then we are outside.

The piggies are too stinky this year so in June we will have to give up raising hogs for a bit. The harsh winter and rainy spring just saturated their pen too much. We can't get it to dry up or for the smell to dissipate. We have a not-so-happy neighbor with a sensitive nose so before he called the cops we agreed that this would be our last batch. We are thinking maybe goats or sheep for our next animal adventure.

Perry is into floating things down our ditch and since this is frowned upon and we are trying VERY HARD to be good neighbors, we often walk to the pond by our house where he can float sticks to his hearts content.

Luna likes the trees there and says on repeat, "Climb, climb, climb." This girl doesn't possess an ounce of fear.

Our "true loves" bloomed!

Lots of walks and lots of dirty bums.

Birdie is back this year making massive nests in our grill - like always.


We have a not so friendly fox that has been visiting us each morning this week. This was this morning and it is eating the leftover marshmallows from the birthday party.

Unfortunately, he took out half our flock in the course of a few minutes on Sunday and Monday. The chickens are now being cooped up until our hunter friend can come trap the fox and relocate her to a less "small children play here" area.


My kids and water - there is an undying love for it. Perry gets soaked daily.

And Luna almost hourly. This girl is the dirtiest little farm girl around. She is always filthy and bruised and scratched. She is the toughest two year old I have ever met and loves her free-range lifestyle.

 Until she took it a little too far today... I was out back picking up sticks (hundreds of sticks fall from our trees nightly - ugh) when she started screaming. I couldn't find her or where the screams were coming from. Finally, Perry said, "She is in the coop!" And sure enough there she was - completely freaking out the chickens. She had climbed up the run and by the time I made it over was at the windows sobbing, "Bite - bite - bite." Our chickens have never bit before but maybe since their personal space was so invaded they attacked. I don't think she will repeat this performance. Luckily, I had just cleaned out the coop yesterday or this story would have been 10 times grosser.