Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fair Announcement

All my children were together on Friday. We have all been here all week, but with the busyness of everything we were hardly ever in the same place at the same time. 
 My momm and my mother in law were helping with food, laundry, driving, cleaning, and watching the littles. So when we were at the fair, we weren't necessarily all together. Add to that, Sean went on a Tuna Fishing Charter so he wasn't even there for 2 1/2 days.
 I had a great idea to get all my children with their Grandmas.  Just to keep it straight I gave them all birth order numbers. My momm said, "Wait, You and Sean need to get in here with your children."
 I said, "OK, but wait! I need to add another number if I'm in the picture."
Maybe not the best way to announce the arrival of baby #8, but I did not know who to tell when. Because when you tell the children it goes viral.
 2 minutes after we told the children and grandmas some fellow 4H moms came out and congratulated us! I asked how they knew so quickly and they said that their son was watching and texted them!
 When someone asked Ian if he knew why I was holding #8 He said, "Yes, It's because Mama is younger than me!"
 Taylor's excitement was so fun! I think everyone else was in shock! Aaron was grinning ear to ear and told EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON he knew. It went something like this:
Aaron skipping up to Jake, "My mom is having a baby!" Turn and leave to go tell the next person.
 We are thrilled, I fell so blessed to have the privilege of being pregnant again.
God is so good.

Monday, August 12, 2013

North West Washington Fair Day 1

Our first day at the fair proved to be a success! We started with Poultry Vet checks, since I got the time wrong and they wouldn't accept the birds yesterday. 
We headed out this morning with what was supposed to be 12 birds in the BRV (Big Red Van). I looked around and did a mental check as we were leaving the driveway and asked Erik where his show chicken was. 
Aaron's livestock Check In
He got extremely frustrated with me as I had already sent him back inside for his Country Partners T shirt, then again for his water bottle. He replied, "Do I have to get everything?" Yep Buddy, you need a show bird in order to show a bird.
Erik's Livestock Check In
 We made it, passed vet check did weigh in and headed to the Dairy Barn. The boys were doing Start to Finish, where they take a calf that has never been worked with before and do everything working as a team and show the calf at the end. They get judged on how well they work together and how well their calf does.
Half way through I got about 6 calls and texts saying that they were calling for my boys to show poultry. I had talked to the judges and ran over to make sure it was still going to work. Thankfully we worked it out and they gave me a 15 minute warning. I went and got the boys and somehow Erik got Clear Kote on his arm, which was burning and itching, so we found WD40, and nail polish remover and got it off, changed, headed over to poultry. Did fit and show, got 2nd place and ran back to finish Start to Finish where they got 3rd overall.
Ian loved these tires!
During lunch, Ruby opened her container and spilled the entire contents all over the ground. Of course, it was major drama with lots of tears but we managed.
Geaba helped us locate some of our projects that we entered, we can't wait to find the rest. We brought the girls home and bathed them, read to them and put them in bed. Sean and Grandma stayed at the fair with the boys and Taylor so they could finish their barn duty.
My prize winning beans
I was pleasantly surprised that most of my entries won first premium, with the exception of my zucchini muffins that got 3rd. But I couldn't find my green beans. I looked everywhere and finally found them in the Best of Fair Display cabinet. Yep, I feel sorta like Almonzo Wilder and his prize winning pumpkin. My beans. I grew them, picked them, snapped them, then canned them.
I love this boy
Aaron is so easy going. He has the most tender heart and a love for small children. He is compassionate, funny, and pretty laid back. He is much like a large puppy who doesn't know how much space he takes up  but since he is so kind, you don't really mind that he is taking up so much space. Just keep him fed. This was his outfit for the day, with the exception of showing, and he liked it.
I like the life my children are living.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Big Hill"

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am really a big picture kinda girl. I love to go do things and often plan without a whole lot of though behind the details. 
Calvin, Ian, Erik, Aaron, Ruby
It was a gorgeous day, and I really wanted to go for a hike, but did not want to drive too far. I looked up some local hikes and found one not too far away. It was called Big Hill. In my mind 'Big Hill' means that a hill, not a mountain. It was also rated 4 star. To me, 4 star is a fabulous hotel. Something beautiful and to be desired. Apparently the star rating for hiking is a bit different than for hotels. A 4 star hike means DIFFICULTY. 

Erik eating sardines and pickles for lunch
 I guess that is common knowledge among hikers, I just missed that memo.
 I invited a friend with 4 children to go with me, on the hottest day of the year, to Big Hill and off we went. I was even more thankful for our Ergo as the hike proved to be too strenuous for Liberty. Ruby was able to hitch a ride on some of the boys some of the time.
Some of my girls
 Taylor really is a get her done kind of girl and doesn't waste time getting there. Her and a couple of the older children said they would wait 'up ahead'.
Ian was constantly looking for photo opportunities. and is the "protector of the littles". It's pretty funny to hike with children. I just keep plodding along where they run ahead, stop, wait, lag behind, climb a rock, climb a tree, slide down a hill, and run ahead.

Aaron, Ian, and Calvin
 Going straight up hill with a 30+ pound girl on your back does make your calves shake and burn, in case you wondered. We kept going up and up and up. Finally all the food we brought was gone, all the water was gone, all the little kid energy was gone, and the big kids were gone.
I waited in this small patch of shade while my friend went up ahead to find the older children. We waited a long time, a very, very long time.
Liberty and Ruby in the only shade we could find. 

I don't think we will have that problem again. We discovered that it was a 5 mile round trip hike with a 2,500 foot elevation gain. That's 1,000 feet per mile! On our way home we crossed a bridge and spotted a perfect swimming hole. I quickly pulled over and we all jumped in! Incredibly cold but refreshing. We missed the Personal Fitness meeting for Scouts, however, I think we got it covered. 
Shockingly, the children all begged to do it again! When clarified, I realized it was the swimming part that they wanted, thankfully, not the hiking part. 
We have returned to our swimming hole many times this summer. Now it's one of my favorite happy places.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Time To Make A Little Noise

The blog has been super quiet for 3 months! I know because I was reminded by a friend. It's not that nothing is happening, it's that I don't even know where to start when I get so behind. My goal is to make a little more noise here, so at least I know what we have been doing. 
Erik leading our 4H club in the Lynden Parade
 We are in full swing Fair Mode. This is the last week to get things turned in prior to the fair, the last week to get the animals ready, have them make weight, clean clip and groom them. We have to get the labels made for all our still life exhibits, and finish up the last minute decorations.
One girl in our rabbit division just found out she is deathly allergic to rabbits. Her mom was in charge of the rabbit barn decorations. Now, I am in charge of the rabbit barn decorations! What?! You never noticed decorations in the barns!? That's OK, I hadn't either.
Next time you wander through the animal barns at the fair, take a look. A lot of time, effort and creativity goes into those decorations.
Liberty, Ruby and Willie (formerly known as Lilly)
 We feel like 4H provides our children with some wonderful opportunities and life lessons. We recently participated in one of the local parades and brought several of our animals to be on the float or walk alongside the float.
Taylor had to be there early to decorate and I really did not want to spend more time than I had to, so I agreed to bring her lamb to the parade. I mean, How hard can it be? She gave me his halter and a Rubbermaid tote to put him in in the BRV. In theory this should work. I put him in the tote along with 5 of my other children and he promptly stood up and cleared the tote completely when he pooped all over the van. When we arrived in Lynden the closest place we could find to park was 6 blocks from the float. What Taylor forgot to tell me was that David, her lamb, had never walked with a halter before. He just follows her around. Think Mary and her little lamb. He doesn't follow me. We had 2 rabbits  a lamb, 5 children and 6 blocks. I proceeded to pick him up, which many people walking by thought was "so cute"! He looks little but must weigh at least 75 pounds. Then he pooped on me. I had to cross 4 streets keeping track of my children, not dropping the lamb, and trying to keep Liberty from grabbing the part of my skirt with lamb poop on it. I wasn't having fun yet. I also drove by what looked to be a promising garage sale but opted not to stop because I didn't think we would have time.
Princess' mug shot for her Dairy Certification
When we finally arrived my arms were shaking and I was really looking forward to putting the kids on the float and going to watch the parade with my friends. Our 4H leader had a different idea. I was supposed to ride on the float to keep my kids safe. *sigh* put on a happy face and wave. I can do that. It was discovered that the tractor pulling our float wouldn't start, so they jump started it and could not turn it off for fear it would die again. I had the joy of sitting for 45 minutes waiting for our turn in the parade, breathing tractor exhaust, with lamb poop on me and children eating way too many lollipops (I think they were supposed to throw them).
When my mom commented that I must really like parades,  I could only laugh and say that I do it for my children.