Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's done!

Believe it or not, we completely finished the house painting project that we started last summer!! Scott painted the rafters (thank goodness, because it hurt my neck something terrible when I did the other half last summer) and I painted the south and east foundation. I'm so glad that is done and I can stop worrying about it!

It was pretty hot out again today and I think painting in the heat, upside down (when you're painting that low to the ground, you can get into some awfully weird positions!) gave me a headache. I was feeling kind of terrible for awhile. I had Scott finish the basement window wells while I sat and rested outside for awhile. We did have quite a bit of wind, so the breeze felt nice, even though it was hot. After I got inside, I decided that maybe a bath would help me feel better, then I went and laid down on my bed. I fell asleep and took a good long nap. Usually naps are a bad thing for me because it means I won't be able to fall asleep tonight. Hopefully I won't have that problem, but thankfully my headache is pretty much gone.

Yesterday Emma was begging to draw something out of the Family Fun Box so I pulled out several activities that I thought would be okay for the day. She picked one and didn't like it, so put it back and kept doing that until she found one she was okay with. Since I cherry picked them before she did, I didn't really care which one she drew out. She finally decided on "Family Game Night". She picked Monopoly Jr. We played it last night and actually had a good time! There wasn't any fighting or crying over who was winning, etc. I suppose that's because Emma won! I decided that it was actually a good game to play with them because they had to count out money and do some simple addition and subtraction. Emma can actually figure those simple math problems out! We played again tonight, but you could definitely tell Emma was tired, because she was crying when she didn't get to go first. It wasn't as much fun playing tonight, however, we played 2 games. We need to get them to sleep early tomorrow night so they won't be so tired and grouchy at school on Tuesday...............................speaking of tired and cranky, Emma just came down to the basement to see if I would lay with her awhile. It's 10pm, so it's obvious she'll be tired and cranky again tomorrow! UGH! I best go and lay with her.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday cleaning project

Nothing too exciting going on here today. It was quite warm out today with the temperature reading on the computer reaching 98 degrees! Needless to say, we had to close the windows and turn the air conditioner on. We toughed it out until after lunch time and it was getting ugly hot inside!

Ben and Emily Nuss came over today to play. They are here for the holiday weekend and the kids were excited to see them. Our neighbors are gone for the holiday weekend so it was good timing. Otherwise we would have been listening to "I'm bored" all weekend long.

When I went outside to the backyard this morning I was surprised to see that Scott had completely emptied out our storage shed. Boy was the backyard a mess for awhile! The shed was a complete disaster. We have some rodents who like to call the shed home in the winter and they had birdseed all over the place and had made a nest inside the hole of one of the cement blocks that was in the shed. They seem to feed very well all winter long on the seeds that fall from our tree out back, then they had all the birdseed on top of that, so I'm quite sure they fattened up over the winter. I'm thinking they have it so nice out there that it's preventing them from coming into the house, which I am quite thankful for! So far, knocking on wood, we have not had a mouse in the house since we've been here. Mice and me don't go well together, so that's a very good thing.
When I saw the mess Scott had created out back, of course I had to run inside to get the camera.
I neglected to get a picture of the finished project, but let me tell you, does it ever look nice! I don't think it's ever been this organized! At least not since we've lived here! There will actually be room to park the bicycles in the shed over the winter!
Many of the items that were in the shed were Scott's hunting things. We packed all of that stuff up to take to Tuttle. I LOVE TUTTLE!!! :-) It's so nice to have that place where Scott can keep all of his "stuff". He keeps it pretty well organized there too, so that is nice. And, if you know Scott, you know that organization is NOT his strong point!

Scott even managed to fill a box of decoys to get rid of!!! He took this picture so he could list it on He had it listed as free decoys for the first youth who wants them. We had our first call tonight around 8:30. About 3 minutes after Scott hung up, another call came in for them. I told Scott he better take the ad off the web-site or we would be getting tons of unnecessary phone calls. It was a 16 year old boy who came to get them. I'm glad someone will get some use out of them, and that's a dozen less decoys that will be cluttering up the shed! WOO HOO! I suppose he needs to get rid of a few before he gets a few more?!?

Bismarck's city clean-up week is the week of Sept 20. We have a pile of crap from the shed that will find it's way to the curb that week. It's a good thing to have coming up because that will make me have to set a goal to get the basement cleaned up so I can get rid of some more junk. Maybe that project will get underway tomorrow? (Yeah, I doubt it too!) We really need to use this weekend to get our house completely painted. We are still lacking the west and south foundation and half of the rafters over our patio. These are hard areas to paint which is why they still sit undone since last summer. It would feel so nice to get that project completely finished! I'm hoping the next time the house will need to be painted, Gage and Emma will be old enough to do it!! :-)

Friday, August 29, 2008


The Bismarck Public School system adopted a no tolerance to bullies rule a few years ago. I think for the most part, the bullying problem has lessened in the Northridge school district. I know of a few times in the past couple of years that Gage has mentioned some kids in his class pushing him on the playground. It didn't happen very often thank goodness.

Emma has a bully in her Kindergarten class. It is so sad to me that this is happening as early as their kindergarten year! Emma told me about this boy in her class a couple of days ago, but didn't mention that he was bothering her. One of the other Mom's I know stands around outside of the play area in the morning watching her son to make sure he isn't the victim of bullying. There have been a couple times that I've seen a couple of boys having a bit of an argument/fight along the fence, but didn't really think anything of it (I suppose because my own kids fight all the time?). Anyway, yesterday when the subject came up, I asked Emma if this boy bothers her? She said that he has taken both of his hands and has poked her with his fingers on her cheeks (her face). When I asked her if she told the teacher, or if he got in trouble, she said no. I don't know if he is bullying any of the other girls, or if Emma is being targeted specifically? As far as I've seen, she is the only kid, out of the 100 kindergarteners, with red hair. I don't know if this makes her a target, or even if anybody really notices that? Yesterday when we were picking Scott up at the airport I mentioned to Scott what Emma had said about this bully and him poking her cheeks. Scott replies, "Did you tell him to BACK OFF CLOWN?" Nice! LOL! She replied, "No Dad, we have PROCEDURES!" with a bit of attitude in her voice. She says, "First we have to ignore them, then we tell the teacher." I'm glad she's learning the procedure! I know the kids' name, but I do not yet know what he looks like. I am going to have Emma point him out to me the next time I drop her off at school, because after I dropped Gage off at school and rode my bike back past Emma's school this morning, I saw one little boy have another little boy pinned up against the fence on the playground. I looked to see if the teachers were watching, and of course at that point, no one was. I don't know if they were playing, or if this was some bullying going on, but once I find out what the little bully looks like, I will be keeping my eye on him. Hopefully this problem will be nipped in the bud soon.

We don't have any special plans for the long holiday weekend (that I am aware of anyway). I'm hoping for a nice, quiet weekend. Today after school Gage and Emma have their friends, Ben and Emily Nuss, coming over for a playdate. They moved to Minnesota a little over a year ago. I believe, and are in town for the holiday weekend. They will be excited about that when I tell them after school.

Yesterday I had a comment from someone in Alaska saying they mentioned my blog in theirs because they liked my blog music. When I went to her blog Munchkins And Music, her post said she loves visiting this list of blogs because of the great music, and my blog was in the list with my Bare Naked Ladies song "If I had a million dollars", and "Glory". She is a mom, a music lover, and a music educator. She writes music lessons, musical reviews, and posts fun musical activities and crafts to help moms teach their children to love and appreciate music. I read a few of her posts yesterday and will be adding her to my favorites list as another blog I like to read. She had some great ideas/insight into music with children, and as most of you know, Emma LOVES music!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Emma's a Star Student!

I got both bathrooms cleaned yesterday! WOO HOO! I'm not sure what I'm going to clean today? Maybe I'll work on the scrapbooking room? :-)

Emma was very excited to tell me she got a Star Student award at school yesterday!! They give out Star Student awards when the kids do good things such as respecting others, using problem solving, being polite, showing kindness, using good study skills, ignoring misbehavior, using self-control and other things deemed important by the teacher. Emma received hers for respecting others, following directions, ignoring misbehavior and using self-control!! When they get a Star Student award they get a ticket that goes into a bucket for a drawing at the end of the month for a prize. Emma has seen Gage bring them home for the past 2 years and we have made a big deal out of them by putting them on the refrigerator where everyone can see them. Last year Gage nearly covered the entire freezer part of the refrigerator with Star Student awards, so Emma was thrilled to get her first one of the year, AND she got one before Gage did! Sometimes some of the teachers aren't very diligent at giving them out, so we'll see if Gage's teacher this year gives them out.

Emma had a birthday party to go to yesterday after school. It was at the Optimist Park on N. 16th St. I didn't ask directions because I thought I knew where it was. Well, apparently I didn't! My cell phone actually came in handy yesterday because I had to call Tara, Evelynn's Mom, and ask her where the park was. It was a nice park and nicely hidden! :-) Emma had a good time, but she was very worried about Gage getting to do something fun. She said she remembered when she went to her friend's (Emily Nuss) birthday party (which was a couple of years ago now) Scott took Gage to the new Harry Potter film that was in theaters at the time. I told her not to worry about what Gage did and have a fun time at the party. He just went over to the neighbors house to play but I asked him to please not tell Emma because I just wasn't in the mood to listen to her whine and complain about it. Thankfully he kept it a secret.

I had Emma asleep before 7:30 last night and that was a relief. Gage usually isn't much trouble at bedtime, but last night he was complaining of a stuffed up nose. I gave him 2 Triminic strips that dissolve in your mouth (whoever invented those was a genius!) to help. He came back upstairs 5 minutes later saying they weren't working. I told him to please just give them a chance to work. I laid with him a few minutes and then left when he started getting drowsy. It sure is much easier in the mornings when they get to sleep at a decent time. However, it sure doesn't help with moon watching! Scott's Dad sent me a link to a web-site that has moon phases and that will surely help us out. I woke up this morning about 5 and had to go to the bathroom, so I thought I'd check to see if I could see the moon. I couldn't find it out the kitchen or bathroom windows. I didn't feel like going outside since it was quite cool out this morning. The web-site will help alot. Thanks Grandpa!

We pick Scott up at the airport around 4 this afternoon, then Gage has soccer at 6-7p and then we have a going away party/get-together for a DU employee at our friend Steve and Laura's house. Unfortunately that is going to get the kids to bed later than I want, but at least Scott will be here to help with baths and stories, which will make it go a little faster.

The weather has felt like fall yesterday and today! I love it! I love fall and winter. I'm always ready for them to come. I even turned off the air conditioner yesterday and opened all of the windows. I'm hoping we won't have to turn it back on until it's time to start up the furnace! :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Since I started my blog, I have been into reading other people's blogs as well. I have several of them bookmarked and I check them daily to see what's happening in their lives. I know that's weird, but I enjoy it. I'm kind of like a blog stalker I guess? Anyway, one of the blogs that I am faithful about reading, Jessica Turner's, has posted about entering a contest for Southwest Airlines. She is in need of votes. Click here to vote for her to be the next Southwest Airlines Blog-O-Spondent. I wonder how many people there are that I don't know that are reading about me and my family on my blog?

I totally screwed up yesterday. Emma's first gymnastics class was last night and we missed it!!! I wasn't even aware that we missed it until later last night when my friend, Kara, called me. Her daughter, Jadyn, is also signed up for the same day and time. When she told me my heart just sunk. It is very rare that we miss something like that because of an error or negligence on my part. I thought the class started after the Labor Day weekend. As soon as Kara mentioned gymnastics class I went right upstairs to look at my calender because I didn't remember seeing it on there. Well, it wasn't. I pulled out the sheet that I picked up when I signed Emma up, and for whatever reason I had written down that gymnastics started on August 28, which would make our first Tuesday class on Sept 2. UGH! I have no idea where I got that information, but it said right on the other side of the paper that classes started this week. I feel horrible about it. I told Emma about it this morning and she was a little bummed, but mostly she was speechless. LOL! (I guess I'd rather have her speechless than chewing me out!) We had a PTO and Open House meeting at Gage and Emma's school last night, so we were planning on going to that. Her gymnastics class started at 5, which is the time that my friend Sherry and I set up to go eat supper at Subway before going to the meeting at the school. So, while we were sitting at Subway eating supper, we should have been at gymnastics class. Darn it anyway!

This morning was our first morning of having Ethan and Kasey here to walk to school with us because their Mom's (another Kara) nursing classes started earlier than the kids' school day. She dropped them off here at 7:30, so I set my alarm about 15 minutes earlier so I could get myself up and ready before I got the kids up. My goal was to have Gage and Emma ready before they arrived so there would be less chaos. We were ready when they arrived, so I was thankful about that. They did pretty good. There was some door slamming and a little fighting going on (mostly between Gage and Emma), which is not something I like to have going on first thing in the morning, but hopefully that won't be an ongoing problem. Gage and Emma enjoyed having them walk to school with us. We were supposed to bring them home with us after school today too, but Kara thought she gets out of class at lunch time and can pick them up herself. She told me she would call and let me know for sure one way or the other.

Emma has a birthday party after school today from 3:30-5pm. It was an invitation from a girl from church that Emma enjoys playing with, so she should have a fun time at that.

Yesterday I spent my quiet and peaceful day (after riding my bike) trying to clean things up around the house. I pulled some weeds outside, then went in for lunch and proceeded to tackle the kids' rooms. When Emma went into her room after school she said, "Who vacuumed my floor?" It's pretty bad when she notices that, especially when the carpet in her room is the type that doesn't show vacuum marks! She had all kinds of crap on her floor, mostly feathers from her boas and little pieces of paper. I was glad to get their rooms straightened up, and it was nice that we weren't home long enough yesterday for them to mess them up before bedtime, so they are still in pretty decent condition this morning. Today I'm going to tackle the bathrooms! YIPPEEE!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All the way up!

If you can believe it, I made it all the way up the hill on the Tom O loop without having to stop and walk my bike up. I made it up BOTH hills actually! I think it had more to do with me figuring out the proper gear to be in versus me just being completely fit (LOL!), however, it still took quite a bit of determination to do it AND I had the wind working against me! I hadn't decided until I dropped Gage off if I was going to actually ride my bike around or not. I just hate exercising unless it's something fun like playing volleyball or softball. I could even get into tennis, I think, after playing it on the Wii. But when it comes to just plain exercising, I hate it. I've never had that "runner's high" that I've heard people talking about. It would have to be something really fantastic for me to want to attempt to achieve it.

Another bonus for the day was that Scott was up early enough this morning to get a picture of the waning moon for Gage to observe. In case you don't know the terms, waning means the moon is getting smaller and waxing means the moon is getting bigger or coming back. (I didn't know that before Gage brought his homework home). Scott was able to get this picture at 6:30 this morning. Thanks Scott!

Today is yellow day in Emma's classroom. Last Friday was red day, yesterday was blue day and today is yellow day. Emma's teacher sends home a note each day asking that the kids wear the color for the day while they learn about that specific color and do fun things like a scavenger hunt. She brings home worksheets that she's completed at school for each color every day. I think she said tomorrow is green. Green might be a challenge. I know she has her green "Catch the Reading Bug" t-shirt that she won at the library this summer, but it is way too big for her to wear to school. I'll have to look through her closet to see what I can find. If nothing else, I can raid Gage's drawer like I did for the red day. Red clothes clash with red hair so she doesn't have many red things in her wardrobe.

That's all I have for now. I thought it might be wise of me to blog this morning versus tonight after we get home from the Open House/PTO meeting at school, then get baths, stories and bed since Scott is gone.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I love school!

If you would like to check out Scott "Steffans" click here. This is his little video that I was searching for the other day and couldn't find. He's beginning to be a local celebrity! HA HA!

What a nice and quiet day I had today! I love school!

Instead of riding my bike around the Tom O'Leary path, I went to Biolife to donate plasma and make a little money while I was at it. It went much better this time around.............I did not have any near-death experiences! I also got an extra $10 because my friend, Amy Walker, is now going to Biolife on occasion and filled out a card saying I referred her! Thanks Amy!

The kids weren't happy after school today when the neighbors came over to ask them if they could come over and swim in their pool with them. Emma begged and begged and BEGGED, but I couldn't give in. She lost her friend privileges for today because yesterday she promised she wouldn't throw a fit when it was time to come home from their house, even if she was only able to stay for a few minutes because we had to run out to my friend Kara's house to pick up some sweet corn they picked for us at her Dad's farm near Minot. Her fit was on a much lower scale than Gage's (thank goodness!), but she had one nonetheless, so she lost her friend privileges. I don't have to tell you why Gage lost his. I had initially told him that he was not playing with friends all week, but I changed it to just today. That's more of a punishment on myself than anyone else! It's also really hard for me to let one go and not the other, so it worked out in my best interest to have them both home this afternoon, grounded from friends. It wasn't any fun, however!

We have quite a bit going on this week and Scott leaves tomorrow and will be gone for a couple of days for work. There is a PTO meeting along with a Parent Open House at school tomorrow evening that we need to go to, so we're going to meet my friend, Sherry and her kids, for supper at Subway, then go to the meeting at school while the kids play together on the playground. We will have Ethan and Kasey (the kids I'll be picking up at school) before and after school on Wednesday, and Emma also has a birthday party on Wednesday. Gage has soccer on Thursday and there is a going-away party that we are invited to on Thursday. And there is yet another get-together on Friday that I'm not sure if we'll be able to make it to. Whew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it all!

On Friday, Gage brought home his first homework. It is a worksheet on the moon for science class. They are supposed to go outside every evening around the same time to observe the moon in it's different phases, and record the days that it is waning and waxing, the new moon, the full moon, etc. The homework assignment is due near the end of September. I have issues already with this homework assignment. I do understand they can't do it at school since they go to school in the daytime. However, my ultimate goal is to have the kids in bed around 7 pm and it is still daylight at that time here in North Dakota this time of the year! I've been stressing about this assignment. I don't want to DO the homework for him, but I also don't want him staying up late to record the moon phases. Here's the real kicker..........even I wasn't able to stay up late enough to see the moon the past few nights! I have no idea what time we are able to see it, but I was up until 12:30 Saturday night trying to get a picture of it for Gage to see. I went to bed to read for awhile and then check again and I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer (thank goodness these Olympic games are over!). Same thing happened on Sunday night. I asked Emma's teacher about it this morning because she has a son in 2nd grade as well and she said they had problems with that with her older son too, when he did it in 2nd grade. I think it's great to study the moon in science class, but maybe they should do it at a different time of the year when the moon is at a different place in the sky, where we can actually see it at a decent time of day!?!?! She told me they had to just "wing it", which is what I guess we'll be doing. She said they saw the moon in the morning a few times and recorded what they saw then. That is what we'll have to do, because I'm not keeping Gage up until wee hours of the morning to look at the moon! Man, I just can't wait until he starts bringing home math homework! (Hopefully 2nd grade math isn't beyond my abilities!?)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"My kids aren't going to act like that!"

I'm sure the title of this entry already has Mom, Dad and Jari Jo laughing their butts off! I vividly remember saying it and I am regretfully eating my own words. I was a stupid teenager when I made that comment and I had no idea of what I was talking about. Let me just say this, "You told me so!" :-)

This morning before church Scott looked up to see what times the movie Clone Wars was showing in the theater. Since Gage has pretty much mastered tying his shoes, it was time for us to follow through with our promise. The first show was at 12:20 pm and we decided that would be the one we would go see. After church we ate lunch and then went to the theater. On our way there, Gage started throwing a fit saying he didn't want Emma to go to the movie, or me for that matter. He wanted to have just him and Dad go. Obviously he is starving for some "alone time" with Dad. We told Gage that we were all going and that was that. He continued to throw a fit. I personally don't care much for Star Wars, so I thought that maybe if the Kitt Kittredge American Girl movie was still showing, that maybe Emma and I could go to that. It is no longer in the theaters here, so that idea was out. As we got inside the theater, I saw that the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth was still showing. I've heard that it is a good movie, so I asked Emma if she would want to go to that movie with me. She didn't. I think she knew how much Gage wanted her NOT to go to Clone Wars, which made her want to go to it even more. She was not going to go to any movie but Clone Wars, and with the fit Gage was throwing, I didn't want to go to the movie with them. I bought 1 ticket to Journey to the Center of the Earth and 3 tickets to Clone Wars. Gage in the meantime is completely out of control, throwing one of the biggest fits I have seen. We would have turned around and left if we hadn't already bought the tickets. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have refunded our $25 (or maybe they would have just to get us out of there?) Anyway, I asked the kids what they wanted from the snack counter and Emma happily pointed out the kids' combo pack. Gage wasn't at the counter, so I just ordered Emma's and then figured I could get the rest of our items when Gage figured out what he wanted. He was so mad about Emma coming to the movie that he looked like his head was about to explode. Despite this, Scott and I (amazingly) stayed relatively calm. I'm sure that was mostly because we were in a public place and I'm quite certain every eye in the place was watching us. When I was trying to figure out what Gage wanted, he finally blurted out he wanted an extra-large popcorn and a slushie. I really wasn't wanting to buy the slushie, but I also didn't want to fight with him any longer, so we ordered a large popcorn and a slushie for Gage (I figured he and Scott would share the popcorn during the movie), drinks for Scott and I and a popcorn for myself. We attempt to proceed onto the theater while Gage continues to throw a huge fit. As we're walking down the hallway to our theaters he is throwing such a tantrum that I am nearly about to throw my pop and popcorn and kick ass (sorry for the language, but man I was SO FRUSTRATED!) When we finally get to the theaters (mine was right next door to theirs) with a big smile and my 3-D glasses falling onto my face from atop my head, I say to Scott, "See ya, wouldn't want to be ya!" He laughed. I really enjoyed my movie. I was kind of glad Emma chose not to go with me because I think she would have gotten scared during a couple parts of the movie when the characters were being attacked by fish with great big teeth that were flying through the air, and in 3-D, it was a bit scary, and also with the big T-Rex that was chasing them through the center of the earth. I thoroughly enjoyed my movie and was sad when it ended. My movie ended before theirs did, so I sat out in the lobby and waited for them. When they came out, everyone was thankfully in decent moods. Scott said he had to drag Gage out of the theater before the movie started to straighten him up because he was ticked off that he got a large popcorn and a slushie. He said he wanted the kids' combo pack like Emma's. WHAT?????? UGH! Later on in the afternoon, when we were trying to talk to Gage about his terrible behavior he says to me, "Mom, next time please don't buy me a slushie at the movies." I said, "Gage, that is what you asked for, so that is what I bought you." He replies, "I didn't really think you would buy it." Exactly what I thought.

Thankfully, Gage is showing remorse and every time I bring the subject up he starts to cry, especially when I ask him what he would have done if his teacher had been in the theater and saw him acting like that. I know that typically when this kind of behavior happens with Gage, it is because he is over tired. Which is why I have to be very diligent at getting them to bed by 7pm during the school year. AND, let me tell you, when fall/winter comes and it starts getting dark at 4:30, I may have to move the bedtime up to 5:30 just to keep my sanity!

I know you guys enjoyed this post (Mom, Dad and Jari Jo), and the only reason I decided to post about it was because I just knew it would make your eating my words! :-) (They sure don't taste very good!)

Rescue the Duck Factory Forever

Check out this video link for some vital information from Ducks Unlimited and Scott. Scott is moving into stardom and I think that bright yellow shirt is certainly going to get people's attention! :-)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinic - Bismarck, ND

This morning the kids and I got up bright and early to get ready to go to the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinic that Scott was in charge of at the DU office. They were a bit wild this morning and I wasn't sure we were going to last long, but they did finally calm down a bit once it got started.

Gage and Emma - The Future of Waterfowling

Everyone who attended this free clinic (it was for kids 17 and under) got a free t-shirt that said "I am the Future of Waterfowling". The ND Game and Fish Dept. gave DU a grant to put on this event. They had 4 different stations set up that Scott and a few other DU employees were in charge of and they gave talks about decoys, duck calling, retrievers and gear. Scott was in charge of the decoy department......big surprise there!

Here is Scott giving his spiel about decoys. The kids seemed to enjoy listening to what he had to say, but most importantly, I learned that it isn't necessary to have 1 million decoys in your spread and it doesn't really matter if you have the best looking ones that are on the market today. Scott may regret adding that statement to his monologue.

Scott also had his Finisher blind set up for the kids to see and they really enjoyed getting inside of it and popping out pretending to shoot ducks. This blind very much resembles the body bag that I roasted in last weekend.

Here is Gage "popping out" of the finisher blind.

Emma taking a little snooze in the blind.

Chris Davies and Matt Shappell put on the duck calling seminar. Chris makes Feather Duster duck and goose calls. His motto is "Lip it and Rip it!" :-) Chris competes in duck calling competitions as well. The kids REALLY enjoyed this station. They got to make ALOT of noise and didn't get scolded for it! Gage was pretty excited as he learned how to do the feeding chuckle, that mallards do, with his call. Chris' daughter, Madyson, gave the feeding chuckle demonstration to our group and she is VERY good! I guess Gage was determined to not let a girl out call him..................................he's going to have to do alot more practicing to even compete with her!

Here's Gage learning how to blow his call. Emma handed me her call at one point because she was upset that she couldn't make the same sounds that the other kids were doing. I decided to give it a try. The trick to the mallard feeding chuckle is to say "Tugga, tugga tugga" into the call in rapid succession. I can't do "tugga tugga tugga" but I replaced it with "Here kitty kitty kitty" and got nearly the same effect!

Gage and Emma "Lipping it and Ripping It".

Gage enjoyed hanging out with Madyson at the hunting clinic (She's 7 years old too). Here they are listening to Greg Johnson give a talk about hunting gear.

Emma mostly enjoys petting Greg's yellow lab, Amos McCoy. When Greg let Amos out of the truck he headed right over to Greg's finisher blind, hiked his leg and peed on it. I thought that was pretty funny. (My thoughts exactly Amos!)

Gage testing out the goose flag. This is the same type of flag that Joe had last weekend on our first-ever goose hunt.

Emma gives it a try as well.
The other station, about retrievers, was put on by Brie's sister, Nel, and her master Johann. Unfortunately I was so engrossed in his speech that I forgot to take pictures. Nel did a great job and I was amazed at how well she behaved around all of the kids. As I was standing there watching I was thinking it was a good thing that Scott and Brie weren't in charge of the retriever station because I'm sure she would have been enjoying all of the attention a little too much, and we would have gotten tired of hearing Scott yell, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO BRRRRRIIIIIIEEEEEE!" :-)
After the stations everyone went back inside for prize drawings. Everyone left a winner, but one lucky kid, went home with a brand new youth-sized Finisher blind!! Boy was he excited! There was a Bismarck Tribune reporter there taking pictures, so maybe all of you local blog readers can check the event out in the paper tomorrow morning? Gage and Emma both won little camouflaged hunting bags and Gage won another duck call (we need more of those like we need more holes in our heads). They also received camo baseball caps, white Avery skull caps (for hunting in the snow), and posters along with their free t-shirts. From all of the talking I overheard, it seemed to be a big success and I believe several of the fathers that were there with their kids would have enjoyed an adult hunting clinic as well. Another big thing that the kids were able to do while they were there was to sign up to have a mentor (hunters from the DU office) hunt with them during the youth waterfowl season, which is Sept. 20-21. Scott tells me not many signed up for that, but what an opportunity for these kids who otherwise would not get to experience duck hunting!
Here's a picture of Brynn Afton, Emma, Gage and Madyson Davies collecting all of their prizes after a fun morning of learning about Scott's passion.................hunting.
While I was standing there, taking this picture, the Bismarck Tribune reporter was next to me trying to get a picture of Madyson sitting there in her t-shirt, camo hat and she also had a duck call lanyard hanging around her neck. I think she was a bit annoyed that this guy was taking her picture, as she didn't really want to look at him. He then asked her if she could put the duck call in her mouth and pretend to blow it so he could get a picture. She put it up to her mouth and as soon as he snapped the picture she dropped the call. He kind of chuckled and asked her if she could do it again, and she did the same thing. I tried helping him out by telling Maddy to hold the call there for a few seconds so he could get a picture. I'm not sure if he got any good ones, but he did finally ask her to smile and pushed her cap up off of her face a little and took another picture. Later I heard Chris (Maddy's Dad) say Maddy's ear was hurting from an ear infection, so I think she may have been more annoyed because she wasn't feeling well versus her giving him "attitude." :-)
Overall, I'd say the kids had a pretty good morning. I think Gage was a little annoyed with Scott because when Scott was asking the kids if they could identify the ducks that he had projected up on the screen, Scott had to finally tell Gage he couldn't answer anymore because he needed to give the other kids a chance. I know Scott was bursting with pride, however.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Great first days

Gage and Emma both had a great first day of school. It was really nice, the difference I see with how Emma replays her day for me and how Gage does. I like using our walks (it's a little tougher on bikes) to and from school as a way to talk and find out things about his day. He can never remember what happens during the day which is totally amazing to me, considering the memory this kid has. Emma on the other hand, can give me a play-by-play of her day. She was very excited about having pepperoni pizza, green beans and a fruit for lunch. Her telling me different things about her day may have gotten Gage to speak up a bit so he wasn't left out, so that could be a good thing. Unfortunately Emma has a terribly behaved girl in her class. She was into everything and even got yelled at once. Mrs. Just doesn't yell, so I'm sure she must have been at the end of her rope. That is such a shame. Both for the teacher and for the students. It bothers me when there are disruptive kids and you know that they are taking up more of the teacher's time, which is taking away learning time for the others. Hopefully it was more of a first day thing, but I doubt it.

Gage had his first soccer practice last night. He was worn out from all of the running. It's been a few years since he's been in soccer, so I'm sure he's forgotten about how much running you have to do. He is not an aggressive player though, and it drives me nuts when he's just standing back waiting for someone to kick it to him. That's never going to happen! He just doesn't like to get in there and fight for the ball. I mostly want him to find a sport that he really likes and then we'll pursue it. I also want him to learn that it's important to keep active.

Speaking of active, I attempted, again today, to ride around the Tom O'Leery loop. Unfortunately I had to walk up the same 2 hills today. I need to figure my gear shifting out so that I can pedal down the hills to help me up the next ones. Not to mention there's a wind advisory out today and it wasn't helping me any. However, I can't even use that as an excuse. It's just going to take a while to get the muscles in my legs and hips strong enough to make it up those darn hills!

I didn't get any scrapbooking done yesterday, but I did attempt to get things organized. I've just been piling things on the table all summer long and it was a mess. I still need to get a bunch more organizing done before I can actually scrapbook. I have 2 huge piles of pictures that I've had printed up that need to get categorized in my power sort box. At least they are printed though! I still have to go back and print pictures from our Medora trip up until current. I have taken several hundred photos this summer and it will take me FOREVER to get them all scrapbooked, not to mention I'm 2 years behind already! I'll get to plugging away though and hopefully get myself done with the year 2006. Actually, I need to finish Gage 1st grade year and Emma's Jr. K year before I get into finishing 2006. I'm finding that I'm forgetting some of the details that I want to journal, so I need to keep their school albums up-to-date.

I wanted to include a video clip from last nights news but I have spent entirely too much time trying to find it on their website. Scott was on the news last night talking about the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinic they have going on tomorrow at Ducks Unlimited. Of course Gage and Emma are registered and a parent has to be with them, and since Scott will be working the decoy station, I will have to also go to be with the kids. So, that's what I'll be doing tomorrow, learning about hunting. Sounds like a great time huh? I'll tell you one thing, it's 100% better than baking in a body bag out in the middle of a wheat field!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I did it!

Yeah, I did it! I actually dropped both kids off at school and DID NOT have any major breakdowns! I did tear up a bit when I hugged Emma to tell her good-bye and have a good day, but that was it! I was very proud of myself. I think actually I was so preoccupied with trying to get the pictures I wanted AND trying to get Gage to school on time, that I didn't have a chance for a breakdown.

I wasn't exactly sure how the morning was going to go, but it went very smooth. The kids were easy to get up this morning, they ate their breakfast, brushed their teeth and got dressed without any problems. They were ready to go before 8 am! We had to wait a little while to go since school doesn't start until 8:30.

The breakfast of champions.............Rice Krispies and half a peach.

Emma's breakfast for champions consisted of a whole grain waffle with just butter and the other half of Gage's peach.

I'm quite sure that the cat on the table is grossing most people out, but Grus (rhymes with Bruce) can't stand it when there is cereal on the table. He is just waiting for Gage to get distracted and leave the table so he can drink the milk from his bowl before he gets back. Sorry Grusy, it's not going to happen today!

One of our morning routines is to do Emma's hair. She's needing a haircut despite getting a trim a month ago. If you remember, Scott took Emma and Gage to get haircuts while we were in Fargo shopping at the mall. He was very nervous about taking Emma because he knew if he was in charge I would end up being mad because they chopped her hair off. The lady didn't actually take off enough, so we'll have to get it cut again before school picture time. We're growing Emma's bangs out so it's at an annoying point because I can't keep her bangs tight enough in the braids for all day, so we've been styling it a bit different for the past few months.

Look at this determined young man trying to get the shoe tying down pat! He's doing very good with it. The INCENTIVE (Emily's Dad says it's an incentive, not bribery............I like that word much better!) of getting a Star Wars lego set and going to see Clone Wars is working very well! It was funny yesterday when I talked to my sister Kysa on the phone. Colton is in the same boat as Gage in the shoe-tying department, so she told him his "incentive" would be the remote control car he's been wanting. He wanted to learn RIGHT NOW! When Kysa told him that Gage is learning to tie his shoes too, Colton got a very surprised look on his face and replied in complete shock, "What? Gage doesn't know how to tie his shoes and he's going into 5th grade?" LOL!

Gage's first day of 2nd grade. I always take this same picture each year and I enjoy seeing how tall they get each year by seeing where they stand in relation to the siding on the house. I included his picture from last year next so you can see how much he's grown!

First day of 1st grade 2007-2008

Emma's first day of Kindergarten 2008-2009. Wow, I think she's about the same height as Gage was last year at this time! I wish I could line these photos up side-by-side on here so you could see the difference a little easier.

Emma's first day of Jr. Kindergarten 2007-2008. Wow! Emma has grown ALOT over the past year!

I know I am biased, but these are 2 good-looking kids! :-) Don't they resemble their mother? HA HA!

Gage 7 years old - 2nd Grade

Emma 5 years old - Kindergarten

Off to school we go! They didn't have the bike rack at school yet, so hopefully they'll get one soon. Another kid we know, who lives just one block east of us, rode his bike too, so there is a need for the bike rack.

I almost forgot to take these pictures of the kids on their bikes, so we had to stop half way down the block for pictures. Gage is like, "C'mon already Mom!"

Welcome to Northridge Kindergarten Center!

I dropped Emma off at school first since she's on our way to Northridge. Shannon suggested I do the opposite so in case I breakdown, I could just go home from there instead of then having to take Gage to school. That was a good idea, however, I'm glad I did it this way because there were SO MANY kids all over the place at Northridge that it would have been very chaotic trying to get Emma through all of that on her bicycle. Above Emma's backpack is a cubby for their blanket and stuffed animal. There was a note in Emma's papers saying they would have a rest period right after the lunch recess. Emma hasn't "rested" like this in about 3 years, so I'll be interested to hear how it goes. When we talked about it she was like, "What will I do Mom?" I told her that rest time means you lay down and rest quietly. This could be the most difficult thing she has to do today!

I took Emma upstairs to her classroom for a few pictures. Mrs. Just said she could either play quietly with blocks until the bell rang, and then the kids would have to go back outside to line up again, or she could go out and play on the playground. Emma wanted to go back outside to the playground, so that's what we did.

My little girl is growing up!

She saw a couple of girls that went to Jr. Kindergarten with her last year out on the playground, Kaylee and Makenzie.

Gage and I were off to his school. There were kids EVERYWHERE! It was a bit confusing about where they were to line up, but I'm sure they'll all have it figured out by tomorrow. Gage found his 2 friends, Ethan and Reynold, who are both in his class. This is Ethan's first year at Northridge, so I'm sure he was glad to see a familiar face when Gage and I arrived. He looked a little lost and confused (who wouldn't in this big bunch of kids!?).

Ethan, Gage and Reynold on their way into the school.

I'm so thankful my kids are so eager for school. I'm also very thankful that they aren't scared of new things and are eager to go off on their own. I would be a mess if they were scared and clinging to me and not wanting me to leave.

Have a great day Gage! what? What am I going to do with myself all day? I rode my bike back home to drop my camera off and then decided today was as good a day as any to get started on some sort of exercise routine. I decided I was going to ride my bike to the YMCA and ride around the Tom O'Leery path which is about 2.4 miles. I was wondering to myself, "Hmmm, I wonder how many times I should make the loop?" I hopped on my bike and headed for the path. After I got to the Y and started along the path I was trying to figure out my gears because it's been set in a gear that when I get going too fast, my pedaling is out of control because there is no resistance. I finally get the gear set in what I think is the right position and away I go. I have walked around this path many, many times and thought that it would be much easier on the bicycle, so thought I should go around at least twice. HA HA! Yeah, right! I got to the first hill and had to change my gears back into the previous position to get up the hill. Then going down, I had to change gears back because my pedaling was out of control. I was also huffing and puffing quite a bit. That was a tough hill. However, that was nothing compared to the next one. I do get out of breath walking these hills, and when I'm walking with a friend, it is hard for me to do alot of talking up the hills because I'm so out of shape. Okay, so here I go, starting up the next hill. I absolutely couldn't make it! My legs were like Jell-O and I couldn't even stand up on the pedals to use my weight to pedal my fat butt up the hill! I had to stop and walk my bike up the hill. On the way up an older lady coming down from the opposite direction said, "Aren't these hills tough?" As I'm panting with my face as red as a beet, I can barely reply, "Yeah, this sucks!" LOL! As I'm walking my bike and nearly to the top of the hill, I met my friend Kara. She and another friend were walking in the opposite direction. (Maybe I should have ridden the other direction? I'm not sure if it would be easier that way or not?) We chatted a second or two and compared drop-offs of kids to their first day of school. I was a bit embarrassed that I had to walk my bike up the hill, but there's no way I could have made it. I hop (well, actually hop isn't quite the word, maybe it was more like drag myself) back onto my bike and slowly trek along. Once again I had to walk up another hill. I decided right then and there that I was not going to make more than one lap. My new goal was to just make it around one time without having to walk my bike up the hills. YIKES! I was very glad to make it home, rubber-legs and all. It was fun logging those minutes into the Wii Fit and I did a few of the aerobics exercises on it as well.
Three hours have passed since I dropped the kids off. I'm excited about not having to make lunch for anyone but myself. I've got 3 1/2 hours until I pick the kids up and I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do. I think I am going to try to get my scrapbook stuff organized and take up scrapbooking full time! :-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Twas the night before school.............

Things are looking good! I was able to get Emma in bed and she was asleep before 7:30 tonight. She's been quite a bear lately at bedtime (she blames it on the movie, The Sandlot, that we watched on our campout in the Fargo Redhawks stadium, because of the mean dog that doesn't let the kids retrieve their baseballs that they hit over the fence). I think that's just an excuse. Gage on the other hand, was having difficulties falling asleep. He said he was too excited about the first day of school and couldn't fall asleep. I laid in bed with him for a few minutes and told him to try counting sheep. He says, "Yeah, except there are no sheep to count Mom!" He said he would count Clone troopers. Whatever works buddy!

Scott left for Grand Forks today for work, so I was able to completely focus on getting supper ready early, baths done early and to bed early. I'm praying for a smooth morning. I keep envisioning sleeping through the alarm clock and missing the first day entirely.

We had a fairly quiet day. Emma had a dentist appointment this morning and she has NO CAVITIES!!! YEAH EMMA! We returned a bunch of books to the library. After lunch the kids who will be coming home from school with us a couple days a week came over for a play date, and then after they left the neighbor kids came over for an hour or so. Now that I type that all out, it wasn't really THAT quiet of a day!

We've got everything laid out for the morning so there won't be any arguing with Emma about what to wear. We had issues with that quite frequently last year. I'm hoping that we can lay clothes out for the next morning every day so that we don't have those problems first thing in the morning.

Now, I just have to keep my emotions under control. I talked to Emma about that tonight and told her I would probably cry, but it wasn't for any reason except that I'm going to miss her being at home with me during the days. I'll let you know how the day goes tomorrow and post some pictures. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Open House

Today was Gage and Emma's open house at school. We had a big fight/major meltdown before we even left the house because I thought it would be a great time to start learning how to tie shoes. Great idea! Gage has always had either slip on or velcro shoes since starting school. That is a bad plan. Because of this, he hasn't learned how to tie his shoes. Despite getting a couple of great pairs of hand-me-down shoes from Gage's buddy, Grant, not too long ago, I thought it might be more wise to get Gage a pair of tennis shoes that tie for school. He picked out the ones he wanted and was very excited about having new shoes. (He honestly hasn't had many new pairs of shoes because we are so fortunate to get such great hand-me-downs). I thought it would be easier for him if I had him sit beside Emma and me and have him do what I was doing. He has very little patience when it comes to me teaching him things. And, I hate to admit, I have very little patience when it comes to me teaching him things. When he gets mad and frustrated, then so do I, and the only place we have to go from there is downhill. We went to the bottom of the hill today. I should have postponed the shoe tying until later, AFTER we had met with Gage and Emma's teachers. We were both able to "shake it off" before we got to the school thankfully. (It doesn't help that I'm PMSing a bit!)

Emma's classroom at Corpus Christi is very nice. We got to see her teacher, Mrs. Just. We already know her because Gage had her his Kindergarten year. The school is very nice. It will be completely shut off to the church and there will only be one way to enter the school for safety reasons. They have a neat little library area and they have a nice collection of books underway. Our very dear friend, Juanita Hocking, is going to be one of the librarians at Northridge this year and will be back and forth between Northridge and Corpus Christi. The kids and I are very excited about that! Welcome Mrs. Hocking! As we were leaving Corpus Christi to walk up the hill to Northridge, I was wondering where we will be able to park Emma's bicycle because there were no bike racks that I could see. On our way back home after seeing Gage's classroom I stopped back through to ask them and the principal just happened to be the one there for me to ask. He hadn't even thought of bike racks and didn't realize there would be any Kindergarteners riding their bikes to school. He was thankful for my question and made a call to someone about getting bike racks right there on the spot!

Gage's classroom is very nice as well. We weren't familiar with his teacher, Mrs. Smith. I guess Gage did have her a little bit this summer at Camp Edventure, so he does know her from that. Her room is very nice. She appears to have the "less is more" philosophy, which I like. Some of the teachers get so much crap in their rooms I don't even know how the kids can focus. There's one Kindergarten teacher in particular that definitely has issues with that. I'm thankful we don't have that room. I didn't even think to sneak a peek into her room when we were there, to see if all of the things she keeps in her room made the transfer with her from Northridge. I'll have to check it out next time I get the chance.

I am already worried about how I'm going to be in 2 places at one time on Thursday. They initally mentioned staggering the start times between the 2 schools so that parents who had kids in both facilities would have time to get each child to school without being late, but they didn't follow through with that idea. On a typical day I don't think we'll have a whole lot to worry about, but you know me and pictures. I want to get all of those "first day" shots and I can't be at both places at the same time to do that AND Scott is going to be out of town. I'm sure this is just a silly thing to worry about, but I don't want either Gage or Emma to think that I think one is more important that the other because I have pictures of one and not the other. Any ideas from my fellow anal mothers/scrapbookers? Not to mention, I am going to be a complete basket case. I already know it because I nearly broke down in tears when we went into Emma's classroom today. I had to take several deep breaths to fight off the tears, and even then they were welling up, but thankfully none dropped. This is not a great time for PMS. However, I don't think it really matters if I am having PMS or not. I just have a hard time with these sort of things. Even last year, with Gage going to first grade, I had problems. It was his first year of going all day, every day, so I had a good excuse. I just hate good-byes. I've never been good at them. I always cry when I say good-bye to my parents when we leave. It's just too hard and it makes me sad. Even though I am overjoyed about Emma starting school full-time this year, it just makes me sad because they are growing up too fast. (Sorry Mom, I know this is probably going to make you sad and cry because I get this from you!) :-) So, I may need some major therapy by 8:30 Thursday morning.

On our walk home from the open house, Gage was begging to go to the new Clone Wars movie. It's a new animated Star Wars movie that is out in theaters. Unfortunately one of his friends came up to him at school and said, "Guess what Gage? I'm going to Clone Wars tonight!" UGH! Why do kids do that? I made it a point to ask Gage on our walk home from school how that felt. I am always telling them not to be telling others about things they get or activities they get to do because it comes across as bragging. I know many times it's just that the kids are excited and want to share the excitement with their friends, but in my eyes, all that does is hurt feelings. I am always stressing that to my kids, and I'm hoping when these incidents happen they realize why it's better not to do that to their friends. However, this was a great bargaining tool. Gage has agreed that he will really try hard to learn how to tie his shoes and not give me such a big fit about it. Scott told him that we would take him to Dairy Queen if he would learn to tie his shoes, but I scratched that idea and told him he could get a new Star Wars Lego set if he will learn to tie his shoes without throwing tantrums and we could go see the new movie. (This will work way better than ice cream!) Since we finished lunch, he has been carrying around a "How to Tie Your Shoes" book that I bought a couple of years ago and wearing his new shoes and has been determined to figure this shoe-tying thing out! Bribery is such a wonderful thing. Aren't I such a great mother? (Emma just came downstairs here with a notepad and pencil and has been checking off each time Gage ties his shoes.........apparently the bribery is working with her as well!? SCORE!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The day after

Despite laying on my back in the middle of a wheat field in a body bag with a bar beneath my back for approximately 4 hours, I'm doing pretty good today. :-) If you would like to get Joe's take on the goose hunting adventure, click here. Joe is a part of Avery's Youth Pro Sport team (whatever the heck that means!) Oh, I also need to make a correction.............Scott was reading my blog and laughed when he saw I said they unloaded their rifles. That would be shotguns that they were using, not rifles. I do know the difference between the two, however, the heat must have gone to my head? :-) I got these pictures off of Joe's message board of yesterday's massacre.

The goose decoys looked very real! It was quite amazing at how life-like they were!

These are also the goose decoys.

Joe, Scott and Nick each with their 5 bird limit. I enjoyed watching Joe and Nick perfectly arrange the dead geese for this picture.

I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that when the kids and I were leaving the wheat field after the hunt was over, they were going on and on about how "this was the best day ever!" WHATEVER! I don't know how that could be the best day ever with all of the complaining they were doing! I'm glad that was their final thought on the adventure though...............I didn't share that same opinion, however.

Not too much happened today. I got the kids registered for the first session of fall swimming lessons. Gage says swimming is his number one sport, followed by baseball. Maybe he'll be the next Michael Phelps? Yeah, I doubt it too. I also registered Emma for gymnastics. She has been begging me for over a year to sign her up for gymnastics again, so I thought we would give it another shot now that she's a little older. Her friend, Jadyn, will be in the class with her, so that should be fun. I'm not sure why I keep feeling like I need to get these guys signed up for everything? I'm going to soon be regretting the fact that they have something to do nearly every night of the week. Someday I will learn. I also had planned to have Emma give hockey a try and I also want to get her signed up for piano lessons. There aren't enough days in the week for all of this stuff we have going on. Maybe we'll end up skipping the hockey thing? We'll see.

Tomorrow we have Gage and Emma's Open Houses at school. Emma's starts at 11 am with Gage's to follow. I am anxious to see how the Corpus Christi site is looking. They finally installed playground equipment and a fence around the yard about a week and a half ago and Emma is very excited that they have all new stuff.

I can't wait for these Olympics to end. I am already back in the swing of staying up until 2 am watching the late night coverage. I have really enjoyed watching them this year. I told Scott tonight to remind me when I'm standing up there on the Olympic podium, receiving my gold medal, NOT to try and sing the Star Spangled Banner. He said he would definitely remind me of that. LOL! I would really like to see the USA softball team play and I think there might be some coverage tonight on the late night coverage? They are quite awesome and they are saying this is the last Olympics that softball and baseball will be included. That's kind of a bummer. I guess it won't be softball that I'll be accepting an Olympic gold medal for! :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A goose hunt we will not soon forget

I was a little reluctant to go to Tuttle this weekend. Scott took the afternoon off of work on Friday (I sure wish I had known he was going to do that, as we had a play date scheduled and didn't get to spend that time at home with him) and he brought some groceries home to take to Tuttle. When I was putting them away, I noticed there were 3 packages of brats (about 18 brats in all), and I thought to myself, there's no way we can eat that many brats........Scott must have company coming to Tuttle? When I asked him about it, he had a smirk on his face that told me all I needed to know. Yes, we had some guests coming. Scott told me there were a couple of guys who had invited him to go goose hunting with them near Tuttle. I wasn't too thrilled to hear that, because I didn't want to end up spending our whole day Saturday alone with the kids, like I do every other day of the week, in Tuttle. Scott assured me it would only be a couple of hours. Yeah, right............I've been around long enough to know what those couple of hours turn out to be! I was going to back out from going, but Scott had arranged for him, Gage and Emma to go fishing, and this was going to earn Gage a Master Angler's patch for Cub Scouts. So, we went to Tuttle.

Saturday afternoon Scott started talking about going hunting with these two guys. I asked him who they were and he said Joe and his friend Nick. Apparently Joe and Nick had been scouting around Tuttle the past several days getting ready for the early Canada goose season which opened August 15. Scott's plan was to go out hunting with them for a couple of hours and then invite them back to our house in Tuttle for brats. I asked him if Gage and Emma could go with him. He didn't think it would be a good idea because it was so hot out. In my eyes, that was an excuse not to take them. Then, I asked about all of us going. He thought that would probably be okay. Soon after that Scott got a text message from Joe saying they would be at our place in less than 15 minutes. I was shocked when they arrived to see that Joe and Nick are high schoolers! I was quite impressed with Joe's rig. He was driving a nice Chevy truck and a very nice trailer for hauling decoys. Scott asked them if they minded if the kids and I tagged along. I'm not sure if they were too interested in that, but what could they say?

On the drive to the hunting spot, I informed Gage that he should not expect to be driving that nice of a truck when he's in high school! He wanted to know why. I told him, "Because your Dad doesn't even have a truck that nice!" The spot was about 2 1/2 miles outside of Tuttle, in a field of wheat stubble. I have never been goose hunting before, so I had no idea what to expect.

It started out with Joe and Nick unloading all of the decoys. He had ALOT of decoys, and I think Scott was envious! This kid has more decoys than Scott, if you can believe that? Scott started working on the blinds. They each had a "Finisher blind". They had Scott putting wheat stubble into the straps on the blind to make them blend in while they set up the decoys. The kids were helping by gathering up the straw while Scott stuffed it into the straps on the blind (I wish I had a picture, but I left my camera at the house in Tuttle). It was very hot outside and I could see that Gage was quickly losing steam. I had been sitting in the truck watching, then decided I better help. We had 3 blinds covered in straw and then I started asking questions, such as, "Where will the kids and I be?" "How long is this going to take?" etc, etc. I asked Scott if the kids could be in the blind as well. The blinds aren't really big enough for Scott to have the kids in it with him, and then Joe said they had more blinds if we wanted to set up in blinds. Scott got out 2 more blinds and we stuffed them with wheat stubble. I was sweating my butt off, not to mention I was out there with shorts and flip-flops on and my legs were getting scratched up terribly by the stubble. Gage and Emma were getting pretty scratched up as well. They had their crocs on as well as shorts. We weren't dressed for hunting. Like I said, I have never done this before, so I had no idea what to expect. So, as I'm studying this situation, I'm trying to figure it out. There are now 3 blinds up in the middle of all of the decoys, and now 2 more blinds a ways behind them. Hmmm.........let me math isn't adding up correctly. Joe, Nick, Scott, Gage, Emma and myself...................that equals 6 people...........we now have 5 blinds ready. I asked Scott about this. I said, "Are Gage and Emma going to be in a blind together?" Scott replies, "Well, no, I thought they could each be in one of these blinds." Stacy replies with a puzzled look on her face, "Uh, where am I going to be?" Scott says, "Well, I thought you would be in the truck? Do you want a blind?" I reply, "Do you think I am out here sweating my butt (I used a different word) off collecting straw to fill these blinds and then sit in the truck?" Scott went over to Joe's truck and got another blind. (I don't know any adults that could set up 3 extra people in blinds, let alone a high schooler!) Anyway, we started filling another blind with straw. I was nearly dying of heat exhaustion and had to take a rest on the tailgate while Scott and the other 2 filled the blind with straw. We had a cooler filled with ice (mostly melted) and several bottles of Powerade and water and I had to continually get after Emma as she was drinking it all. It would have been okay if she was just drinking it, but she was filling the little cap with the drink (spilling most of it) then drinking it out of the cap. I told her we were going to be out there for awhile, and please don't drink all of the liquid before we really need it! We got out to the wheat field around 2:30 or 2:45 I believe. It is now nearly 4 pm and the place is set up. Scott and Joe drove their vehicles back to the road and then everyone got into their blinds. I remember a few years ago when Scott got his first Finisher blind. I remember how excited he was and he would get in and out of it, then in it again and lay their and pop up out of it pretending to annihilate the ducks. I vividly remember him talking about how "comfortable" it was. Here I am, laying out in the middle of a wheat field, in 90 degree temps, in a body bag that's one of the most UNCOMFORTABLE things I have ever laid in. There was a bar (part of the frame) that ran right across my lower back that I knew was going to end up causing major back pain. Gage and Emma were each in a blind on either side of me. Scott, Joe and Nick were placed about 50 yards in front of us, up on top of the little hill we were on. It's nearing 4:30. The goal was to be set up and ready before 5. We were doing pretty good, I thought. Now, we just wait for the geese to come in. Well, we waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more. The kids were driving me insane. Here's how the conversation goes:

Gage: "I'm hot Mom."
Mom: "So am I Gage!"
Gage: "Mom, when are the geese going to come?"
Mom: "Gage, I have no idea. Remember, I have never done this before either."
Emma: "Mom, I'm bored, can we go home?"
Mom: "Emma, I did not just nearly kill myself to help Dad get this all set up for us to leave before any geese have come in. We are not going anywhere."
Gage: "There are never going to be any geese, can we just go home?"

Okay, you get the picture. This went on, and on, and on, and on. We had perfect seats for watching all that the guys were doing. Before Joe had taken his truck back to the road, I watched him fill his blind with many different things. He had a cooler, a bag which looked like it housed a very big camera, a tripod, a big container of water, etc. He also had several different hats to choose from. Both Nick and Joe had on camo hats that blended right in with the field we were in. As Scott got back from taking his truck to the road, Joe says to Scott, "Hey man, you want to use one of these hats? They blend in really good." Scott said he had his own. Joe replies "Are you sure? This one blends in really good." Scott says, "That's okay, I have one of my own." Scott pulls out his hat, which was a bit more drab than the one he was offered, but it seemed to work fine. Now, as we're laying here, cooking, in these blinds, I am watching the guys up front. They are eating Doritos and granola bars, shooting the breeze with jugs of COLD water. I didn't really feel like eating anyway, I was much too hot. Thankfully the kids didn't notice right away.

My body, from waist down, was completely drenched in sweat. My legs were so wet with sweat I could hardly stand it. I made a HUGE mistake in thinking we should come. However, I am NOT quitting. We are going to lay out here and cook in these blinds until the birds come, or the sun goes down, whichever happens first.

Scott came back to check on us a few different times. Once the kids saw them eating Doritos, they suddenly were starving to death. Scott brought them a handful of chips. I have never heard so much complaining and belly aching in my life. I was just as miserable as they were and I begged them both to PLEASE JUST BE QUIET! At one point I mentioned to Scott, if nothing else, this would prove to be good birth control for these high school boys.

FINALLY, I started to hear some geese off in the distance. It took quite awhile, but finally there was some excitement up front and they start hollering for us to pull our covers over our blinds. The covers of these blinds were a large-holed, mesh-like material. As I pulled my cover over me, I now become covered in pieces of straw and wheat that have fallen through the mesh. This, mixed with sweat..............well, let me just say it's a bad combination! Anyway, the geese are coming. We are all hidden in our blinds waiting. I was still able to see fairly well, and could see Joe waving a flag-like thing that was supposed to resemble a goose landing in the field and he and Nick were blowing away on their goose calls. I'm trying to help the kids out by giving a play-by-play commentary on what was happening, as quietly as I could, as not to scare the geese away. They flew around us and were on their way continuing in the same direction, but then they turned around and started coming back. I kept telling the kids, "Are you watching? The geese are coming, they're turning around and they are coming back!" The suddenly the guys popped up out of their blinds into sitting positions and unloaded their rifles. Earlier I had asked Scott what their limits of geese were, and they could kill 5 each. They killed 10! Unfortunately there was one that got hit in the wing and was just wounded and was running through the field. One of them chased it down (which was quite amusing to watch) and then wrung it's neck. Nice. The kids were pretty excited and Emma wanted to see one up close so they brought one back for the kids to check out. Me, I was just thankful they killed 10! I'm thinking, "THANK GOD! They should only need one more flock of birds to come in and we would be done!" Yeah, well, it took FOREVER and a day for the next flock to come. In the meantime, I'm doing all I can to keep the kids under control. We were doing some math................"Gage, there are 3 guys and they can kill 5 geese each. How many geese can they kill". We were having spelling lessons and anything I could think of to keep these guys quiet. Again, the negativity starts in. "There are never going to be any geese." "Let's just go back to Tuttle." "Mom, I'm hot." I started praying for more geese to come and FAST!

I have no idea how this whole story would have changed if it had been just the 2 kids in blinds, and me sitting in the truck a half a mile away. I'm sure it would have ended much sooner than it did.

Finally, we have more geese coming in. From up in front we hear, "They're coming! Cover up! Cover up!" False alarm. Then, once again. "They're coming! Cover up! Cover up!" We have a big flock of geese come in, but instead of coming back over the top of us. They land down the hill a ways. Nice. More waiting. Joe tried to go down near where they were and get them back up, but nothing happened. Finally, the last flock came in. Well, there were more flocks, but the last flock that we needed. They killed 5 geese. THANK THE LORD! We were finally able to get out of the blinds and they had one goose that sailed off into a patch of wheat that was left unharvested (I have no idea why?) and they had to go looking for it. Joe and Nick were quick to say, "We're never going to find it." "This stuff is really thick, we're never going to find it." They were wanting to get set back up for one more goose, but Scott finally found it! THANK THE LORD. While they were down searching for this goose, another flock came in and 2 of them landed right in the decoys. This was while I was standing right next to our blinds, about 50 yards away. These things were so stupid! I was very shocked that they landed when I was standing right there! Apparently the geese are stupid when the season opens, but as they get shot at over and over, they smarten up and it is more difficult to get them to come into the decoys. I was never so glad to see geese die in my life! I was so grateful that I didn't sweat to death in that body bag out in the middle of a wheat field. The kids and I left in the truck while the guys arranged their geese on the blinds for pictures. Joe whipped out his camera and tripod to get some pictures. If I happen to see one, I will post it on my blog. The kids and I got back to the house around 8 or 8:30. Six hours out in the middle of a wheat field in 90 degree temps was a little too much for me, not to mention the kids!

The brats were good. The kids were loving having Joe and Nick at the Tuttle house while Scott cooked supper. When I could get a word in edgewise, I learned that these 2 boys will be seniors at St. Mary's high school this year, one plays soccer, the other plays football and they start school Monday morning. I guess that was their last "hurrah" of the summer. They were thrilled.

I think I have experienced my first AND LAST goose hunting adventure. When we got home, Scott says, "Stacy, I think I'll need your help having Gage and Emma with me on the duck opener." I just laughed at him and said, "Yeah, I'll bet you will!"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weekend at Tuttle

We had a busy day today. We went to the Heritage Center this morning to meet Kara, Jadyn and Kya for story time (sorry we were late Kara!), then after lunch we went over to Shannon's house so Gage and Grant could have a play date before school starts next week. The summer is quickly coming to an end and we're ready for school to start.

We had a fun evening at the park at a DU family picnic this evening. They had a fun scavenger hunt that I almost beat Scott at! It was a duck identification scavenger hunt, so I would have really enjoyed beating him! :-)

We're headed for Tuttle for the weekend. We'll probably need to borrow someone's tractor and baler to bale the yard.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

Emma LOVES macaroni and cheese. Anytime we go somewhere to eat, if they have macaroni and cheese on the menu, that's what she orders. In my opinion, that's such a waste. Why would you order macaroni and cheese when you can get it at home? While we were in Colorado, she ordered Mac 'n cheese at one of the restaurants and she got a bowl of it for $5!! No kidding! It wasn't even the entire box! They are making huge profits on that kids' meal! I try not to have boxes of mac 'n cheese in the house at all times. If I do, that's what Emma wants to eat EVERY DAY! On Monday we had to get some groceries and Emma asked, before we even got to the store, if she could get some mac 'n cheese. I told her that she could if she behaved. I had to give her a couple of reminders (threats) while we were shopping that if she didn't cool it, she wasn't going to get what she wanted. It worked for a few minutes and then I would have to repeat the reminder (threat) again. We finally got to the checkout and she started acting up again. I warned (threatened) her that it wasn't too late to put the boxes back on the shelf. She straightened right up. Well, until they were paid for and in the bags, that is. I had to stop at the bank branch which is right inside the grocery store and she was carrying on like a crazy child. Gage could see that I was getting really upset, and he stopped his craziness and apologized for acting up. By the time we got to the car Emma was in big trouble. I told her that she was NOT going to get mac 'n cheese for lunch. She was very upset by this and started to cry. I did not make mac 'n cheese for lunch on Monday.

Tuesday rolls around, and again, I am using the mac 'n cheese as a reward for good behavior. Again, we do not have macaroni and cheese for lunch.

Wednesday arrives. We go to swimming lessons and while we are in the family locker room after their lessons, Emma and Gage start getting crazy again, getting on my last nerve. I told them if they didn't straighten up, there would not be any mac 'n cheese again today. We were out of milk, so we had to run by the store before going home, so in case they behaved, I would need the milk to make lunch. When we get to the store, Gage says he wants to stay in the car. I rolled the windows down a ways and locked the doors while Emma and I ran quickly into the store, got a gallon of milk and then went back out to the car. I asked Gage if he was just tired, or what, as to why he wanted to stay in the car. He said, "I wanted to have macaroni and cheese for lunch." I reply, "Gage, you mean you couldn't behave for just the short amount of time that we were going to be in the store?" Gage says, "Mom, I just didn't want to take any chances!" LOL! Needless to say, I couldn't not make macaroni and cheese for lunch yesterday. It worked for good behavior again today. I have 2 more boxes in the pantry, so I can be guaranteed at least 2 more days of good behavior before we need to buy more.

These olympics are so exhausting! You'd think I was competing in them with as tired as I am! If I didn't have to stay up until 2 am each night to get the olympics watched, and my blog entry posted, I would be in much better shape. (The Wii might have a little to do with the exhaustion?!?) Today I did some aerobics on the Wii Fit and one of the aerobic exercises is the hula hoop. I'm much better at virtual hula hooping than I am the real thing. Gage and Emma were getting really ticked at it because they are better at the real deal. It's quite hilarious to watch them do it.

Oh, I almost forgot. I am going to have to watch my posts in the future. Today, at lunch time, Gage comes upstairs for his macaroni and cheese lunch (I did serve some healthy things as well) and tells me, "Mom, you are a good blog writer!" I looked at him and said, "What?" He told me that he was downstairs on the computer reading my blog. LOL! He has apparently figured out I have it bookmarked and he is now a faithful reader of my blog. I asked him if he wanted to start his own and he looks at me in surprise and says, "You mean I can do that? You'll have to get me my own digital camera Mom!" LOL! I assured him that he could use the pictures I have on my camera. So, who knows, you might have to bookmark another blog in the near future! :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Wii

Today we have been experimenting with the Wii. I got up earlier than usual, just after Scott left for work and set up my Wii Fit system. The thing said I was a fat couch potato! Nice huh? It was pretty interesting how the balance board works and I think it will be a neat tool for shaping up. Even though it said I was fat and lazy, it said my Wii Fit age is 31, and I am still salvagable.

We had to go to Best Buy tonight to get another remote for the Wii because it's more fun to be able to play with someone else. Gage and I played a couple games of tennis until it was bedtime for the kids, then it was Scott's and my turn. As soon as I turned it on, Emma yells from her bed, "Hey, you better not be playing the Wii!" Scott and I were having fun playing tennis. Let me tell you, it could be mighty dangerous walking through the living room while we are playing. We're going to have to move out all of the furniture so no one gets hurt! LOL! After several times of beating the pants off of Scott, he started figuring it out a little more and was a little more competition for me. :-) After playing the tennis, he wanted to see the Wii Fit, so I set him up with a Mii (a computer image of Scott). I have never laughed so hard in my life. I was crying from laughing so hard when Scott was doing the balancing games and his Wii Fit age was 55!!!! LOL! I may be fat, but at least I'm only 31!!! I wanted so bad to get my camera and take some video, but I couldn't stop laughing long enough to go get it.

Who needs the olympics? We have our own olympics going on in the living room! I'm definitely sore from all of the tennis playing and it does work up a sweat.