Friday, October 31, 2008

coming down from the sugar high

Pretty average Halloween, although I have to say it is great to have bribery motivation to get through all our school work swiftly!

Cuter than average boys though:  Pooh disguised as a honey bee, Batman, Darth Vader and King Peter of Narnia:

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

bringing sexy back

I'll never admit to him that camo can be sexy, but truth be told...

h.e.l.l.o.

mountaintops

Yup, he hiked to the mountaintops and back home to me today.

That's my man!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

sweet as pie and tough as nails

Today our Rufus turned four years old.  We had our Aunt Mary Lou here from Atlanta to celebrate with a soccer party and we have had such a nice weekend together.

Rufus, we were so excited to find out we were expecting a third child.  We had such a great experience with two children, that we were anxious to add another to our clan.

My pregnancy with you was simple, healthy and easy.  I loved it.

Your delivery was my fastest out of three.  Contractions woke me up at about 3 a.m. on your birthday, we were heading to the hospital at about 6:30 a.m. and when we arrived, I was already nine centimeters dialated and completely effaced.

I was so excited to be so close to meeting you.

During my 13 minutes of pushing, my midwife Tina told me, "You have a blonde baby, Laurie!"

Because I was a blonde baby too, I pushed harder so I could meet you eye to eye.  Your daddy caught you and announced to the room full of people that we had a boy! 

We were so excited, we knew we were so blessed, and we were in love.

You were definitely the sweetest, most cuddly of all of our boys.  Still now, you have the ability to just mold your body to mine or your dad's and it is an awesome feeling.

You stand out in our family for being the only toe head.  But you also have a warm and affectionate personality that hasn't been matched.  As a baby, we thought you would be a life-long lover, but you have proven yourself to be a fighter as well.

You are tough in any argument, wrestling match, running race or anything that involves competition.  We sometimes just have to laugh at your determination to beat whatever comes your way.

I'm praying for you little boy.  I am asking that God would do great things through your determination and huge capacity for love.  I'm excited to see what He has planned!

We love you Rufus!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

may I introduce you to . . . the park

It's so fun to watch my 15 month old Squirt really enjoy and participate in the fun at the playground for the very first time. 

Up to this point he has merely been an observer - a sitter in his stroller or on my back while I chase his gaggle of brothers up stairs and ladders and down slides.

He's pretty cute on his first day too....

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Monday, October 20, 2008

hunting adventures volume one

I can't get my hubby to sit down long enough to write a blog-worthy summary of his hunting season thus far.

Nope, it is still not over.

But I was copied on a couple of emails to his hunting buddies that give a brief snapshot of his adventures thus far.

I don't think I can get prosecuted for plagiarism within a marriage covenant, right?

***Just a little note for those who are not familiar with any true hunters.  My husband is a lover of wildlife and a true conservationist.  He hunts legally and with integrity and we eat ALL the meat that he harvests each year.***

Here is his email:

Well it’s that time of year again.  No not football season!  Hunting season…when people of all ages and walks of life head afield to reconnect with their passion, the wild, their creator, new adventures or new friends.  Or, possibly just to unplug from the trials and tribulations of daily life like email, conference calls, falling stock prices, performance objectives and the mundane responsibilities of life. 

Whatever the reason, there is a draw to the woods and plains this time of year that is as hypnotic as it is exciting. 

My adventures afield this fall began in western Wyoming with an old friend, Brett, a new one, Jerry and my eldest son, Hunter.  We spent two days scouting prior to the mid-September opener and found some great bucks.  The opener was full of excitement with Brett shooting a heavy horned buck right at shooting light, my shooting opportunity came two hours later in the same field with a true monster buck and then Jerry shot a great old 16 inch buck with tons of character later in the afternoon. 

Our Wyoming adventure was filled with coyotes running through our campsite, an elk herd walking by our tents in the night and herds of wild horses streaming by on the wide open plains.  Enjoy the pictures and look for a full rendition of our adventure in Eastman’s Hunting Journal www.eastmans.com in the coming year.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

friends, food and healthy competition

Last weekend we had this good lookin' family over for dinner (sorry Katie, I had to steal it!).

Hubby and Tyler are hunting buddies, oh, and they also work together.  Tyler and his wife Katie have three gorgeous kids - I'll call them "Spunk," "Glitter" and "Teddy."

On the way to our house, Katie was giving them the "be well behaved, or else" lecture that we all know so well.  She said, "Now remember, best...." She was looking for the word "manners."

Glitter yelled out, "FRIENDS!!!"

Our boys love hanging out with these friends, who lovingly refer to them as their "new brothers."  The kids all spent the evening running from the living room to the basement and then up to the boys' rooms to jump off the bunk beds - young minds think alike.

After a smashing meal of "Elk Steak Parmesan" made by yours truly, we took out the game "Settlers of Catan" and although I was in the lead for a while, Tyler whooped us all in the end.

Although Squirt and Teddy went to bed, the older kids stayed up way too late with Noggin on demand... it's Comcastic!

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In the end, one little Rufus didn't make it and this is what we found:

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I am so sick of the same old recipes with our elk steaks and this one turned out so yummy that I thought I would post it for you to enjoy.  You can substitute regular beef cube steaks, just ignore the "pounding with a mallet" part.  I served it over spaghetti and with a big salad.

Elk Steak Parmesan
3 TB flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 eggs
2 TB water
1/3 c. crushed saltine crackers
2/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. basil
3 TB vegetable oil
4 4 oz. steaks
1 1/4 c. canned tomato sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
2 1/4 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
4 slices mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use mallet to pound the crap out of tenderize the meat.
P1030031 In shallow dish, stir together the flour, salt and pepper.
In separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and water with a fork.
In a third bowl or shallow dish, mix together the cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese and basil.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Dredge the beaten steaks in the seasoned flour, dip into the egg mixture and coat with the cracker crumb mixture.
Place them in the skillet and fry just until browned on each side.
Arrange steaks in a single layer in a greased casserole dish.
Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the spaghetti sauce, sugar, 1/4 tsp. oregano and garlic powder.
Spoon over steaks when the 25 minutes are up.
Top each steak with mozzarella cheese and remaining parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle remaining oregano over the top.
Bake for five minutes or until the cheese is melted and sauce is hot!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

my brown thumb

I am not a gardener.  My sweet mother in-law is a master gardener who can turn any brown space colorful and blooming.  She loves to dig in the dirt and once every couple of years, she comes out west and revives my yard from the dead.

Seeing that neither my husband nor I carry her green-gene, I have one, lone house plant.

It was looking a little sickly at the onset of summer, so I took it outside for some sunshine and regular moisture from the sprinkler system.

But I forgot to bring it in when the snow arrived.

Hence, I may be on trial for murder:

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Ouch!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

sneaky, sneaky!

I was cleaning up for some friends to come over for a playdate yesterday and found something unusual sticking out from under the back side of the couch.

I reached under and pulled this out....

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Someone's been very naughty!!!  I think his name is Rufus!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

say what?

P1020563 Rufus has had a couple very funny quotes lately.  We're thinking about having his hearing checked.

Yoda in Star Wars:  "Don't point your weapon at me, I mean you no harm!"

Rufus:  "Don't put your weapon on me, I know him!"

Weeks later, we heard this one.

Daddy to me:  "I don't really like Pinot Noir."

Rufus:  "I wike to pee in the water.  I wike to pee in the stream!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

wax 'em up!

When you live in a ski town, this is what October can bring!  When the leaves haven't even fallen from the trees yet, we know we aren't in full blown winter yet.... but it is coming soon!

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Jack went out first thing in the morning and then begged to come right back in - he forgot about what the white stuff is like!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

for you mom!

I've had requests from my mom a devoted reader for more pictures.  Apparently I've gotten a little word happy, so I thought I'd go on a fast and just show the grandparents and aunties what they really want.

The boys finished soccer, and these are a couple of Sauce's last game:
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We went to the zoo and it was the first time that Squirt really enjoyed looking at the animals.
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Sauce picked a hunting cake for his birthday (go figure).
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Here is our not-so-little Squirt.  He's running around, saying new words and is an oh-so-happy boy!  Come and see him Grandma!
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

on to greener pastures

This summer I won a contest and was awarded a blog makeover by Ruby & Roja Design.  With a fresh start, I took into consideration that a few people have mentioned over the past year that they can't remember my blog address.

To make it easier to find me, I have moved my blog to it's right location.

Can you guess?

www.inaworldsurroundedbymen.blogspot.com

Meet me there for more boy adventures!

fresh clean start!

Oh, sometimes it is hard to leave the past behind!

This past summer I won a contest and was awarded a blog makeover from Ruby & Roja Design. After picking and editing graphics, going back and forth on colors and basically Christy rocking it out of the park where design is concerned - here it is! Let me introduce you to the new and improved home of testosterone overload!

If this is your first time here, let me introduce you to the crew (they have been given new blog names to protect their undercover work):

wyo antelope025 Hunter: He is our eldest son and an intellectual, independent, inventive seven year old. He loves to hunt with his dad and is a great friend.

IMG_0360Sauce: Our six year old sports fanatic. This is the boy who is constantly running and jumping or throwing a ball. He has a million dollar smile and is constantly looking for someone to play a game of soccer, baseball or basketball with.

P1020958Rufus: He will be four in a couple of weeks. This one is as sweet as pie, but tough as nails in a challenge. He works hard to keep up with his big brothers!

P1020922Squirt: Our latest addition to our crew. At just over a year old, Squirt is adored by all his brothers, except when he's getting into their stuff. He has a mouth full of teeth and an appetite to match. We hear new words and see new skills every day.

P1010704My Man is a passionate hunter and skier that masquerades as a sales manager during the week (we are way into undercover work here). He swept me off my feet 12 years ago and we haven't looked back. Our life is full of noise and laughter (and lots of messes).

We wouldn't trade it for anything!

where I was

For over a year of blog history, click here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

oh me of little faith...

P1020928I think I've mentioned that we've had a rough start to our first year of homeschooling through a virtual charter school.

My second grader tested into the third grade level in language arts, but thinks he should be exempt from anything work-related in that category.

Okie dokie. We'll see how that flies in high school.

P1020930 Because words were not adequate to describe the tears, whining and yelling, tempers, stomping and slamming of doors - I neglected to write about it.

My dear friend from college has been doing the same curriculum in another state for a year now and she constantly encouraged me to be patient.

It will get better.

When I turned a teary eye and angry heavy heart to the seasoned homeschooling moms in my life, they reminded me that the beginning of the school year is a transition for the entire family.

They were right. They were all right.

This week, we have finally hit our stride - and with happy hearts. We have been blowing through school stuff and finishing before lunchtime, leaving us with the afternoon for fun and crazy boy antics.

I'm so grateful. The boys are working at their own paces. They are sometimes skipping the unnecessary work that they already know and passing the assessments in order to move on to the next lesson. Other times they are spending a couple of extra days to learn and master the material.

That's what I love about homeschooling right now.

Reflecting on all of this, I realize that I have this habit of losing hope in the midst of trying seasons of parenting.

Sleep training.

Potty training.

Ridding tantrums.

Manners.

Eating what is served.

Honoring elders.

Treating each other like they want to be treated.

I could go on, but I think you can get it. In the moment, I think we'll never get to the other side of the trial. The behavior will never change. I try to make a million excuses for my boys. But I tell you what...

Perseverance is key.

All that consistent parenting that "they" talk about... it works.

When I get to the other side of these seemingly insurmountable challenges, I look back and see that time and perseverance are the keys to training behavior and attitudes.

Now if I can only remember this for the next test.

And by the way, I take such comfort in the fact that God never gives up on me!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

enter: perspective

Dear Teenage Babysitter who drives a nicer car than I do,

I want to take an opportunity to give you a few clues about the real way to a mother's heart.

It is not relaxing for me to go out with my beloved for the evening and come home to dirty dishes in the sink, food dried and plastered to the counter, and your half-full Starbucks cup left on my coffee table.

Yes, I'm glad that my children were alive and well when I got home, I understand that is the most important part. But considering I had them all in their pajamas before I left and they were only awake for an hour after I left, I think you could have found time to clean up the crumbs, pan and plates from the frozen pizza that you made for yourself.

Would it have been too much to ask for you to put a couple of cereal bowls in the dishwasher?

Someday you'll understand what it is like to be a mom who is cleaning up messes all day long. You'll realize what a treat you could have given me by just cleaning up a little bit around here.

And I'm sure you'll also see why I'd rather stay home and watch a Redbox movie with my hubby than to bribe pay you to stay with them for a few hours so I can spend some time with other adults.

Only to come home and be forced to clean up after you in addition to my children.

Again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the battered heart

I know why I love the newborn and baby stage the very best.

I don't have to let go and I can protect at every turn.

Tonight we watched our older boys play a pickup game of football at a park with a group of thugs other boys of similar ages. We were all there for Rufus's soccer game and the older boys regularly play around at the park until the game is over.

After struggling to be included in the football game, the boys were just happy to be able to play.

Kenyon was watching from afar, and thank goodness.

I didn't even know he ran off until another mom came over to me and asked, "Is everything O.K. over there?"

I had no idea what was going on. I saw Kenyon talking to the entire group of about ten boys and then walk swiftly back to our blanket on the sidelines.

It turned out that Kenyon saw that a play had finished and then one boy started yelling at Hunter and pushed him hard twice. Kenyon simply gave them all a general speech about being kind and not pushing each other, not singling any one boy out.

The mom who asked me what was up happened to be the mom of the boy who pushed our son. She went over to see what happened and the demon her son proceeded to lie to her about what happened.

Long story short - she believed him over my husband who saw it (and had no reason to lie).

Regardless, Hunter endured and didn't quit. He went back to the game and played with a happy heart.

Before bed tonight, we had a long talk with Hunter, who seems to put any boy, particularly the ones who don't give him the time of day, up on a pedestal. We talked to him about not letting other kids push him around or yell at him when he doesn't catch the ball (which was the real story).

We encouraged him to be strong and be smart about who he picks as friends.

That is the only part of homeschooling that I really struggle with - and particularly with our eldest. There are so many great things about homeschooling that are right for our boys this year.

But, he is desperate for a good, close friend that he can be silly with and have a lot in common with. I think that's why he will follow any kid right off a cliff and get pushed around without fighting back.

At the same time, I refuse to put him in the middle of a group of these bullies who think they can run over anything in their path (including their own parents).

I just want the opportunity for him to meet and build consistent relationships with the right kids - kids that will treat him as well as he treats others. He's not perfect, but never in a million years would he have treated any boy like he was treated today.

Life is hard enough without being knocked around when your only seven.

I don't think that's too much to ask.

About Me

My photo
Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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