You have heard of ant lions. Those bugs that build funnels in the sand and then hide at the bottom waiting for some happy little ant to blunder into their trap and become their next meal.

That was me this morning. Not the ant lion waiting to pounce but the happy little ant. Well, it was morning, so perhaps the blundering ant is more accurate.

I was just stumbling along through my morning when it was decided that Jane was too sick to go to school. That was the edge of the funnel and I didn’t even know it.  I blundered my way down into the sandpit, dragging Jane along with me to my parents to be half sick at their house while I helped with an all day plumbing project.  I spent the day thinking I should have sent her to school, watching her wilt and then thinking that I should have kept her at home to recover all while crawling around under summer cottages, removing dead raccoons and praying 100 year old plumbing would keep it’s issues to a minimum.

When the two of us returned home I was just happily cruising toward my doom without even knowing it. Jane was on an upswing, the other girls were in a good mood. Then John was really tired. And Clara threw up.  And John went to bed early with her. And then right at bed time (after a few more good vomits from Clara) a thunderstorm swung in and Jane was too scared to sleep.  And John was too busy getting up with Clara to sleep. And Ivy was sleeping until she was puking on her floor.  Which is how at 11 o’clock at night, as I was pulling old pet hair out of the steamer vacuum so that it had enough suction to get the rest of the puke out of the carpet, I realized that I was the happy little ant about to become lunch.

Cross your toes for me, I don’t think the ants make it out alive very often…

In My Element?

Perhaps you’ve noticed things haven’t been what one would call… easy, around here lately.

In addition this non-easy month has been filled with things that, thankfully, I don’t have much experience with. This of course makes them harder to handle and it feels as though all my answers now start with “I don’t know…”.

Today is the last day of a month of blogging (Applause welcome. Thank you!) and of all the things that happened this month, of all the stressors in life, blogging daily wasn’t one of them. I relished the time that I “had” to sit down and post something. I can do this. I am not the best blogger in the world, but I’m good at this. I know what I’m willing to share, and what I’m not. My writing is often missing punctuation and my pictures aren’t perfect but I’m proud to be able to share both anyway. Decisions in my blogging world have been easy. I know blogging.

Today, on this last day of daily blogging, Jane came home sick.

Super puking sick.

I went from a day of catching up on life and trying to make difficult decisions about things I’d never done, or am just learning to do, into sick kid mode. We have barf buckets, hair has been pulled into ponytails. There are extra blankets and water to sip. I’ve been running up and down the stairs emptying her bucket, tucking in her blankets and giving her water. And you know what? This might be the most relaxed afternoon I’ve had all month. I can do this. I’m not the best at mothering sick kids, but I’m good at this. I know what to do. I’m not debating if what I’m doing is the most important thing. I’m not wondering if I should be focusing my attention elsewhere. I’m doing what I need to, and I’m doing it well. Sick kids, though I never thought I’d say it, are easy.

It seems like I should now jump to the conclusion that this makes me the epitome of a mommy blogger (a phrase I have always avoided like the super puking plague). But, despite the fact that I’m relaxed and in my element while blogging and puker wrangling, that’s not it at all. Looking back at the month I am reminded that there are lots of things I’m learning. There are lots of things that are hard. And lots of things that have no good choices. I’ve spent the last month crying a boat load of tears and there was a good portion of them that were because I felt as if I didn’t know anything, that I had none of the answers.

But that’s not true, I’ve just been out of my element.  I know all sorts of things. I have lots of answers.  It’s just that this November things were really hard. When forced back into my element with a sick kid and blank computer screen I had a chance to remember… oh yes I can do these things, and a slew of others, well.

I just wish it hadn’t taken a dozen buckets of barf to remind me!

(And maybe I’m a mommy blogger too, but I’m still not ever going to own up to that.)

Never Say Never

“I’m never getting back on a plane with the kids until they are all at least eight years old!” – A vow I made in complete sincerity just after I was one of those people on a plane.

Four years ago I was the pregnant mother with the screaming two year old at the airport. The mother from the family with the seats in the back of the plane. The mother who had to carry her screaming recalcitrant two year old down the entire length of the plane. As if announcing to all the passengers- here we are- and it’s going to be ugly. And oh was it ugly. Screaming, and more screaming- and seat kicking- and that was all while we were sitting waiting (and waiting, and waiting, and waiting) for take off. Shortly after we took off, my screamer fell asleep on top of me and despite the uncomfortableness that comes with having a small child sleeping in your lap in a tiny airplane seat when you are six months pregnant with your third child while your needy first child is crowding you for attention, I left her there – because I had a serious fear of more screaming. When we emerged from the hot sweaty hell that was the airplane. I swore I was never doing that again.

Until I did.

Last Christmas my Grandpa approached us with an incredibly generous gift. A Florida vacation to visit him and my Granny there in the early spring. His offer involved super nice things like a flight and a rental car and even letting us stay in their condo. But, and I checked, it didn’t come with the offer of a nanny to fly with our kids. I internally cringed at the thought of flying and said yes anyway.

And that is how I found myself headed up the stairs to wake up the girls (ages 3, 5, and 8) and head to the airport to break my vow from four years earlier.

I was prepared.

I had plans. I had been given advice. I was armed with new coloring books and tiny toys and snacks and kids who are experts at long car rides.

I was ready.

And then I went to wake up Jane.

The three year old.

The wildcard in all my fears for the flight.

And, while her sisters had bounced out of bed in excitement, she didn’t want to wake up.  Uh-oh.

When I did get her up she promptly re-fell asleep on the couch. Uh- oh.Jane sleeping on couch

That’s right, I was about to get on a plane with three kids, two of whom were under my randomly assigned age requirement and one of those was sick.

“But”, I mentally reassured myself, “she’s just tired sick. I can carry her. John can herd the others, manage the tickets and we’ll be fine.”

And that’s what we did.

Then, as we were standing at the front of the line for the security check, she said it: “I think I’m gonna throw up.”

Not fine.

Just like that, we were gone from the line. I was holding her over a garbage can, John had disappeared looking for barf bags and a very nice woman was trying to convince me it was going to be fine. The garbage can was unnecessary. John came back- with bags. We re-herded the other two, got ourselves back in line and just after showing ID’s she said it again…

“Right this way Ma’m”

Jane and I were ushered through a security check point faster than I thought possible and directed to the nearest garbage can on the other side. Fortunately, it was yet another false alarm.

So we waited, in various states of health, excitement and dread, for our flight to board.Jane sleeps on airport floor

And while boarding went smoothly, I’m afraid Jane didn’t take in much of her first airplane ride.Jane's first airplane ride

Of course, we didn’t have a direct flight. We had to change planes with a bit of a layover because the only thing more fun than flying with small kids is herding little naive country children through large metropolitan airports trying not to lose them in the crowd.

Clara whistled while she wandered her way through the airports so at least we could hear her...

Clara whistled while she wandered her way through the airports so at least we could hear her…

Safely at our new gate, all in one piece and with some lunch beside, Jane perked up. Had a bit to drink. Had a bit to eat. Announced that she was gonna throw up and promptly did so all over the carpet at gate C21.

Not fine.

Interesting things of note:

-Some strangers will supply copious amounts of napkins, quickly and without being asked.

-Some strangers will affect not to notice the pile of vomit by their feet.

-No one will relocate to a different spot.

-Puking always makes kids feel better.

-And, despite the fact that she slept most of the rest of the way, I still really don’t like flying with kids.



 (Not to worry, by the next morning Jane was her usual cheerful non-puking self and we had a wonderful vacation… Except for the turbulent flight home where she looked at me and said, “My belly hurts!”)


Motherhood, A Frighteningly Forgetful State

In my experience when you become a mother, especially after you have become a mother three times over, you forget things.

And by things, I mean everything.

I forget to eat breakfast.

Each time I leave the house I forget my wallet, my sunglasses or my car keys.

Sometimes I forget all three.

Last week I had to jump out of the truck and go back to the house for my forgotten jacket. It was 3° … Fahrenheit.

I have found that it is annoying to forget kids shoes when you go to the grocery store but a serious inconvenience to forget your own.

I discovered that not only is it both annoying and a serious inconvenience, it is also embarrassing and possibly unsafe, to forget your kids snow gear when you travel north for the holidays.

I forget meals and dishes, laundry in the washing machine and to take my contacts out. I forget to call people, cut the low hanging branch over the sidewalk, find a dustpan for the garage, clean out the truck and which kids is named what. I forget to paint my toes, where I left my shoes, what I did with my tea and to sign Ivy’s schoolwork.

To date I haven’t yet forgotten that I have children but at the rate I’m going I figure it’s only a matter of time. Preparing for the worst I have come up with a test in case I ever become confused on the subject.

It’s very simple, if you are a mother and can’t remember if you have kids or where they might be, take a nap.

That’s right, find a blanket, lay down on a couch in front of a fire and fall asleep. attempted couch nap

Guaranteed reminder of your current motherhood status.

And yes, Clara was just about a sick and she looks, I was just as tired as I appear and Jane was being just as mischievous as her smile makes her out to be!


Happy Third Birthday Jane!

It’s hard to be the birthday girl when you are sick.DSCN8185-(2sm)

It’s even harder when the rest of your family is sick, getting sick, or just getting over it.Jane birthday cake

But thanks to grocery store cake and an emergency taco dinner delivery by Grandma Mary we got plenty of smiles from the birthday girl before everyone’s early bedtime arrived.Jane third birthday

Happy third birthday Jane!

I’ve Been Looking Like This…

For the last week I’ve mostly looked like this:DSCN0780-(2sm)

Well, less fur,shorter snout, but same general position.

Two varieties of antibiotics later and I am hoping that soon I’ll be back to my normal blogging self.

Until then I shall leave you with a bathroom conversation with Clara.

Clara:” MOOOM!!!!! MOOOMMMM!!! MOM!! MOM!! MOM!!”

Me (go into bathroom to find Clara on toilet): “Yes?”

Clara: “People don’t eat bugs – cause they yucky.”

Me: “Yes….”

Clara: “…..”

Me: “???”

We Fought the Law… And the Law Won.

Murphy’s Law that is.

Our bird hunting trip to Kansas didn’t go quite as planned…

The weather in Kansas before our trip was in the 50’s, the weather since we’ve been home is in the 30’s. While we were there – highs in the teens with below zero windchills.

The prairie dogs of Prairie Dog State Park did not come out to play.DSCN0240-(3sm)


Tyler and Sarah head out to lay on the frozen goose poop so they can watch the geese laugh at them as they fly over.

The reservoir froze over the night before the boats got there and the duck/goose hunters laid on the ice and watched the birds fly just out of range.

Kids don’t last long outside in temperatures like that. And our plans to explore the park turned into plans to explore the local library.


We knew that the drought conditions this year meant that pheasant numbers were down. We figured we could make up for that with the ducks, geese (so much for that plan) quail, prairie chicken, and turkey.

Well, I saw two prairie chicken from the truck once and quite a few coveys of quail were unearthed but Murphy really got me in the turkey hunting.

The first day there John who went out hunting with Tyler and his girlfriend Sarah first was very, very nicely able to pick up my hunting license for me. But he didn’t buy me a turkey tag. Bemused but unconcerned I figured I’d buy one next time I was in town. First time I got out Tyler, Sarah and I ran into a giant flock of turkeys and I followed (admittedly somewhat grumpily) as they bailed out of the truck with the dogs. Turkeys flew everywhere, shots were fired, I watched Tyler’s dog (incidentally named Turkey) retrieve a turkey and my dog try to eat a turkey (sorry Sarah, he probably thought it was a really big chicken).

It was exciting!

I went and picked up my tag that night. The only other time I saw turkeys they were running away – safely beyond the Private Property sign. IMG_20121227_142444-(2sm)

Then there was the virus. I don’t think it was the nasty virus that took out an unbelievable number of my family members after Christmas, but something got Clara.  Shethrew up in the truck on the ride down, came down with an all night screamer of an earache mid-trip and still (now with the help of antibiotics) is working on recovering.DSCN0270-(sm)

Below zero temperatures, sick kid, camper – bad combo – dam that Murphy.

And then there were the other things, like when John lost the antenna of my shock collar and then a few days later I accidentally broke his in half. Sarah forgot her shotgun at home. I got sick on the way home and we had a much longer stay at a hotel in Nebraska than we bargained for.

But even though Murphy came out securely on top it wasn’t a bad trip.

Jane was a happy camper and liked working on her dog training.DSCN0261-(2sm)

Ivy and I were able to get out hunting together one afternoon and she quickly turned into an expert pheasant tracker in the snow.

Everyone enjoyed hunting with their dogs. (Especially me!)DSCN0225-(2sm)

And now that I’m home I must say, even a disaster of a hunting trip is better than unpacking the mounds and mounds of stuff that are coming out of our vehicles since we’ve been home!


Yup, disaster of a trip an all I’m already trying to figure out how we can do it again, if we can just figure out a way to beat Murphy…

Ordinary Day

This is Jane

Now take away the backpack.

Add two pigtails.

Add one snotty noise, and a bunch of tears.

Then add the faint odor of baby puke, and one doozey of a fever.

Now you have a good picture of what Jane is like tonight and why my blogging hopes of book reviews, stories about sheep on the loose,the truck and the new chickens have all come to naught.

I leave you with a few words of Great Big Sea’s Ordinary Day:

“…It’s a double edged knife, but there’s always tomorrow…”
“…At the end of the day, you’ve just got to say
It’s all right.”


Good News… Bad news…

It’s the second day of being home alone with the kids while John is at work.

The good news is everyone is still alive.

The bad news is that two of the three kids seem to have the flu and the third is now complaining too.

The good news is that they are all currently sleeping.

The bad news is it’s not going to last much longer.

The good news is I have a Diet Coke and a Milky Way bar.

The bad news is it doesn’t have caffeine in it… or whiskey.

Through the keyhole.