Sunday, August 31, 2008

reasons to smile this weekend (an incomplete list)

1} Going out for pizza with the student worship team after church today
2} Singing along to restaurant music with my friend Melissa
3} Line-dried bedsheets
4} Not having to call a repair man because Winn was able to fix the washer and dryer (that man can fix anything, I tell ya)
5} Perfect 85-degree weather
6} Walking around our little acreage and dreaming about its potential
7} Working hard all day and then kickin' back in the evening with good food and a good husband
8} King-sized bed with lots of pillows
9} Looking forward to a whole week off before my online classes start again
10} Planning a golf/shopping/dinner outing for the holiday tomorrow with some friends of ours

Saturday, August 30, 2008


We took Jonathan to live with his grandma this morning. But this time it wasn't "goodbye" but rather "see you later." The plan is for him to spend some weekends here to give his grandma a break once in a while. The three of us had a little moving party last night with pizza and a movie. Then we packed up his room, choosing a few things to keep here for when he comes to visit.

I'll have to take over his job of collecting the eggs each day. He would always say, "That's my all-time job!" And he'd run out to the chicken coop and come back in with his hands behind him and have me guess how many we got today. We're up to two a day now. I think that Nora is the only hen that isn't laying consistently yet. She'll have to start putting out or else...well, you know what happens to chickens who don't earn their keep...

Friday, August 29, 2008

the you-ness of you

I discovered this Minneapolis children's book author, Marianne Richmond, this week when I was looking for a book to get Jonathan for his birthday. I had never heard of her before this, but it turns out that she has a lot of great books. The one I chose for Jonathan was "Hooray for you! A Celebration of You-ness."

It begins with:

For quite a long time, the world saved a place.
Millions were born, yet none filled your space.

And ends with:

On the day you were born, the world grew by one
life with big purpose and much to be done.
Look in the mirror. Love who you see.
Stand tall. Smile big. Shout, "Hooray for me!"

And a sampling of lots of good tidbits in between:

Isn't it something that your wonderful face
is not like another in the whole human race?

Yes, from head to toe tip, you're truly original,
a creation-in-progress, a distinct individual.
Look the world over, and you'll never find
a duplicate of you-ness that's your one-of-a-kind!

The body you live in can jump, dance, and play
with custom-built parts to move your own way.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

recipe for a barn party

Food: pulled-pork sandwiches, potato salad, chips, watermelon, pickles
Beverages: wheelbarrow full of root beer on ice
Decor: stringed Christmas lights, fresh-cut wildflowers from our yard, blown-up photos stapled to the walls with old picture frames (which were previously dug out of the piles of hay in the barn) hanging around them Entertainment: a song written and sung by my dad, an awards ceremony (see video), smores and singing around the campfire after dark
Gifts: 30 "Home Renovation Survival Kits" full of duct tape, coffee, a screwdriver, chocolate, Tylenol, a paintbrush, and beef jerky
Preparations: two full days of scooping hay out of the hay mow, three days of pressure-washing it, hours of patching up holes in the floor and walls and building a stairway up to it

We've had so many of our friends and family help us with our farmhouse renovations that we wanted to host an appreciation dinner in their honor. It ended up being a rootin'-tootin' good time, and our big ol' hay mow was just the right place for it. After the little thank-you "ceremony" was over, we prayed over our property and sang "How Great Thou Art" (fantastic acoustics in that barn, by the way). We enjoyed it so much that we're looking for a reason to have another party. Maybe some square-dancing...

Chris, Rebecca, and Ashton

Our barn

Me, Peggy, and Jimmy

Two cool guys (my husband and my dad)

My brother, my mom, Melissa, and Tom

Sunday, August 17, 2008


We had a productive Saturday. Our friend Kevin was here to help Winn install the first of our new windows. So exciting! (Winn is on the third one this afternoon, so hopefully by winter we'll be all tight and sealed up.)

My sisters Peggy and Carrie helped me with some weeding, digging, and planting next to the goat shed. We planted some of my favorite perennials, including Russian sage, a hydrangea bush, and some native grasses. Here's a photo of our almost-finished project...

Meanwhile my dad and brother Jimmy were working on scooping hay out of the barn. There was a TON of it, and my dad must have been up there for about ten hours working on it. By about seven o'clock that evening we had a nearly empty haymow.

Even the little ones helped. Here is my nephew Joel hauling sticks to the brush pile in the "trunk" of his ride... :)

Friday, August 15, 2008


Our friend John came over the other day and helped Winn finish moving the mammoth tree (which was at least 60 years old, judging by the rings in the trunk) that had fallen on the barn. He brought his skidloader over and made quick work of that tree and some other limbs that had fallen down around the property. He also leveled out some ground for us and moved a few stumps. Sajak likes nothing better than to sit by a pile of sticks and have a chew-fest, so he was enjoying the fruits of their labor. Needless to say, we have plenty of firewood for a while. Thanks, John!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kitchen evolution.

My in-laws were here for a visit last week. Winn's dad, mom, sister Kendra, and her three kids. The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed a few meals out on the deck. Kendra used our wildflowers to create some lovely bouquets for the tables. Jonathan was glad to have Paxton and the twins, Stone and Hannah, around for some company. Sajak is a faithful playmate, but you can only do so much with a kanine companion. I helped the kids set up the tent in the yard to play in. I don't know why everything is so much more fun inside a tent, but it just is.

Gary helped Winn finish installing our kitchen drawers and cabinet doors and shelves while here. I'm happy to report that except for a few odds and ends (valance and mosaic above the sink, potfiller and hood above the stove, tile backsplash, and some trimwork), our kitchen is finally finished! I have been enjoying having everything out of boxes and on the cupboard shelves at my disposal. Last night I made some banana bread and didn't have to dig around in twenty different boxes to find the cinnamon or the right measuring cup.

I can't believe it's already Thursday. We had overnight guests last night who were here for Mayo appointments. Today I have an afternoon job in town and some homework to do. Tomorrow my sister and her two kids are coming from Iowa for a visit. Caitlyn is the same age as Jonathan, and they always play really well together; so he's pretty excited, and every day he announces how many more days are left until her arrival. This morning he's downstairs building a fort in the living room "for when Cate comes."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not just any roost.

Our hens are laying! Or at least one of them is. We've been consistently getting an egg a day for the past several days. Jonathan has taken it upon himself to be the official egg collector. They started laying earlier than we expected, so we didn't have any roosts built for them yet. True to form, Winn couldn't build just any box. No, not for the likes of our chickens. It had to be a fancy roost with a snazzy hinge on the back that opens up from the outside wall where we can gather the eggs without even having to enter the coop. Check it out...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mayo Children's Hospital.

When the calls and emails started coming in (after my last post) wondering who was in the hospital, I decided I better start there with my updates...

After two nights at Mayo, Jonathan is back home. On Sunday morning we noticed that he was really tired but thought it was just due to being worn out from playing with the twins who had been visiting for three days. But after putting him down for a nap that afternoon, we noticed that his breathing sounded rough and his heart rate was pretty fast. We took him to the ER where they found that he was in the early stages of pneumonia, exacerbated by his asthma (which we didn't even know that he had). So several doses of Albuterol, an intravenous stream of antibiotics, and several liters of oxygen later, he's back home and doing well.

By the end of his stay, he was a pro at wearing an oxygen mask and getting IVs (his first one fell out the second day and they had to try twice to get the second one in). He was very brave and even watched the needle go in. The
children's hospital at Mayo was wonderful, and we really appreciated all the doctors and staff, especially his primary nurse Julia. There was so much for him to do while he was there that he didn't want to leave. They're equipped with movies, video games that they'll wheel into your room, music therapists that will come by and offer to play guitar and sing, and organized activities in a room filled with toys and games. Jonathan had a grand time ordering his own breakfast over the phone on Monday morning. Winn let him call in the order by himself, and a half-hour later in came a tray heaped full of eggs, sausage, bacon, sliced oranges, grapes, fresh strawberries, cereal, milk, juice, and more. He got quite accustomed to being waited on hand and foot, and he thought that having a bed that moves up and down with the push of a button was pretty cool.

But in the car on his way home today I asked him what his favorite part about being in the hospital was, and he said "going home." And when we got home, he gave Sajak a big hug and said "you're my best dog ever." Then he ran to check the chicken coop to see if Edith, Nora, and Gibbs had been busy laying eggs while he was gone, and sure enough, there was a perfect brown egg waiting in the roost for him.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Updates coming soon.

A night at the hospital, a visit from the in-laws, three fresh chicken eggs, a trip to Iowa to finish cabinet doors and drawers, new much to write about, so little time.