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a tale of two cities

  • Monday, December 22, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari

  • What a weekend! We just returned from a whirlwind trip to San Antonio to attend the 4A division 2 state championship. For those of you who have never experienced small town Texas football up-close, you're missing out on some real community team spirit.

    Jeff has been helping out as a team doc since he started residency. We lived in a small suburb of Waco named China Spring. Last year, they had a great team and went all the way to the championship 3A game. With his call schedule, Jeff was able to attend about 1/2 the games. However, he was unable to attend the championship game (Kari and the kids braved the cold to watch it) and they ended up losing to Celina.

    This year, Jeff jumped right in with Sulphur Springs. Again, Jeff was able to attend about half the games. Sulphur Springs wasn't expected to go very deep in the playoffs, but miraculously made it to the semi-final game which Jeff was able to attend. Jokingly, he told one of the physical therapists "You know, I went last year with a team to the state game and every game of theirs I attended they won. So we should win today since I'm here". And, sure enough, Sulphur Springs won in spite of the other team being picked the heavy favorite.

    Well, then the story was out and we were pretty much guilted into going to San Antonio (who wants to be labeled the doctor that jinxed another team into losing a championship!). So, we snagged Jeff's sister and brother-in-law and went down to San Antonio--and apparently half of Sulphur Springs did as well! We had a hotel on the River Walk and we wandered around the night before the game and the whole town was blue (Sulphur Springs) and purple (the opposing teams colors). Hannah almost sparked a riot when she was inspired by all the blue to yell "Go Wildcats!" A drunken group of men chimed in "Go Wildcats!" which in turn sparked an opposing "Go Broncos!" Even the next morning, the Alamo and downtown was nothing but familar faces. We couldn't go 15 minutes without running into people we knew from back home.

    To make the whole story even more interesting, there's a back story: Jeff's last year at China Spring he was joined by one of his fellow third year residents as a team doc--John Redman. John went on to join a family practice in his hometown of Dayton, TX. What's the significance? Well, the opposing team happened to be the Dayton Broncos. So, not only had John and Jeff followed the championship run of 3A China Spring, but they were facing off a year later as team docs of the opposing teams of division 4A. To add to the drama, neither Sulphur Springs nor Dayton have ever been to a championship game before. They met before the game to catch-up and take pics of the historic moment (their residency program already wants to run a story on their paring in the alumni letter).

    And did the game disappoint? Not at all--highest scoring game in Texas HS state history! Final score was 69-49 with Sulphur Springs pulling out victorious (told you Jeff had some luck thing going)! It was a tiring, but very exciting weekend. Pics to follow (as soon as the holidays are over and the home computer starts behaving again). Merry Christmas to all!

    all i want for christmas...

  • Friday, December 12, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Christmas craziness is in full swing. It seems like every night this week has been spent doing some sort of Christmas activity. The kids had a church Christmas party on Wednesday night. Jake brought home is own gift from it--his two front teeth! Kari and I aren't big fans of pulling teeth (I keep telling everyone "I'm not a dentist!") and Jake has been begging us to have his loose tooth pulled for weeks. So, this past week it has been hanging on by a thread and Kari mentioned it to one of the women up at church and she's like "Hey, I used to teach Kindergarten and I've pulled a million teeth". And a quick yank later, Jake was less one tooth. He was so excited he started wiggling and working on his other front tooth. Before the end of the party, they were both gone. So, now we get to listen to Jake try and speak. He can't say an "S" to save his life. Kari got him on video that night trying to sing "All I want for christmas..."--it's pretty funny and as soon as we find our video cable we'll post it on here for all to hear.

    Santa made a pre-Christmas visit to our house this week as well (in an SUV no less--some excuse about his reindeer being holed up at the airport). So, we shot our Christmas pic--not the greatest shot photography-wise, but the annual "kitsch-iness" still shines through. We thought about posting it now, but wanted it to be a surprise for the card. We'll post it at some point (I know, I know...we're all talk)...

    more artificial merriment

  • Saturday, December 6, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • So, our pre-lit Christmas tree has been limping along for a number of years. We got it at some unnamed after-Christmas sale at some unnamed MegaloMart. We could probably count the number of years we've had it by the number of light strands that are no longer working (one strand per year comes to approximately...2o years I think). Anyways, being the procrastinators that we are has forced us into hunting for fake trees at pre-Christmas peak prices! Needless, to say we settled for a temporary fix to put the kids' minds at ease that yes, Santa will have a fake evergreen target for his present dump at our house this year.
    Even Bomber got into the act. Speaking of Bomber, the old mutt ain't what he used to be. The bounce in his step has been replaced with arthritis. Our cold clothes closet (his usual roost of choice) has now become his nemesis and so at about 5 am every morning he comes hobbling out and tap-tap-taps across our wood floors from one side of the bed to the other looking for a place to jump up. So, his Christmas list this year includes Doggy Steps (as seen on TV!) to let his arthritic body snuggle up close to our arthritic bodies!

    snow sledding in sulphur springs...alright more like ice

  • Jeff and Kari
  • Well, at least we can alleviate some of the guilt we feel of raising in kids in a state with little to no winter to speak of--or at least cloud their fragile memories with artificial holiday merriment.

    Our little township brought in a little hill (okay, so it was a metal slope on a carney trailer of sorts) with snow (okay, so it was bags of ice that had been blown onto said slope) into the town square last night. We stood in line for 30 minutes of 30 degree weather for 3 seconds of tubing (and by tubes we mean half-inflated water park tubes bumping down the ice). Jonathan and Rachel were kinda scared going up the steps, but afterwards they were all grins and giggles.

    Excuse the photography--it doesn't do it justice (or maybe it does).

    Thanksgiving 2008--the best of times/worst of times (for bones that is)

  • Sunday, November 30, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Well, another Thanksgiving come and gone... and, unfortunately for me (Jeff)--underappreciated. This whole food/bet thing is killing me--I may actually go a whole year without pumpkin pie now! Even in my feeble efforts to pick out the healthier fare, some stuffing-eaters had the audacity to wag their fingers at me saying my meager portion of potatos already put me off the wagon. My answer to that is "Let he without pie cast the first stone (and be sure and aim for my carb-starved brain)".

    Actually, it was a pretty eventful holiday. It all started with a dichotomy of Turkey Bowls. Dad, claiming to warm-up for the Sulphur Springs game, decided to play some football with G3/G4 that morning. Long story short, something about an end zone pass and inner ear problem left Dad's collar bone snapped like a turkey wishbone and pointing over his shoulder (does this really surprise anyone?). So, he spent most of Thanksgiving in a daze of anti-inflammatories and ice packs. Meanwhile, in Sulphur Springs, I'm throwing up some numbers of a lifetime--3 touchdown receptions, 1 touchdown pass, 1 defensive interception. The play of the game was an over-the-shoulder, no-look reception from the branch president with my arms out-stretched and defender crawling up my back (uphill, in the snow, etc...) for a 30 yard TD. So, the old men trounced the young men (and, yes, I'm included in the old men now). Unfortunately, my legs still haven't fully recovered from cutting and chasing kids half my age.

    Kari and I hosted the actual dinner portion of Thanksgiving. We were planning on 11, but were delightfully surprised with 16 guests (my parents; Kari's parents; Kar's sister Steph with two of her kids; and then Brad's fam)! We brined and roasted a nice bird--albeit a little pink in some parts, nevertheless, not bad for being a little out of practice. We were sprawled out all over the kitchen/dining room and even had Jake and Jonathan eating off the floor with the dogs (alright, so we put the dogs outside)!

    Black Friday was pretty uneventful. Brad, Karrie and Milo spent the night on Thursday. We lounged until late afternoon and then drove into Dallas. Mom and Dad watched the kids while we did a little shopping. And by shopping, I mean we spent an hour at Ikea to pick up a single mirror. And then Brad and I watched our wives pick at purses for another couple of hours. But, at least it was shopping without kids (it could've been a lot worse)!

    Saturday was more of the same except throwing the kids into the shopping mix to pick out Christmas presents. I took Jake to the video game section and we played PS3. It's nice having a boy his age for those kind of necessary diversions.

    Well, it's back to the grind tomorrow... I'm sure it'd be easier to stomach if I had some pie...

    slacking author has her blog tagged by bored husband

  • Monday, November 24, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Yeah, so Kari had great expectations for this thing, but she's having a hard enough time rolling out of bed at 5:45 AM to run... meanwhile, I (the sidekick) am sitting up at work going crazy with nothing to do, but surf the net and dream of working.

    I know she has a list of things to blog about over the past few weeks, so I'll just wing it:

    1) Hannah made her stage debut a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who don't know, Hannah's aspiration in life right now is to be a popstar. I don't know where this idea started, but I'm blaming Miley Cyrus and the whole Disney media. Anyways, apparently each grade does a little muscial skit (on a rotating monthly basis) for the Parent-Teacher meetings. So, Hannah decides to audition for one of the lead parts. And granted, we as parents are pretty biased, but she lands one of duet parts! So, little did I know it was scheduled for Veteran's Day. But, they had this huge American propaganda-themed little musical complete with some rapping about America and Hannah's country-twanged "Living in the heart-in the heart of America". Hannah has always had this terrible stage-fright (I know... it's gonna be a tough road to popstardom)--and she looked a little shaky at first--but, she did pretty well. So, who knows what her next hit will be?

    2) Jacob is gunning to be #1 at school. So, I come home from work one day and little Jake's got some news--he's the Bowie elementary "Star Student of the Month". Apparently, only two 1st graders all year get this honor. He had his picture taken for the paper. And, they gave us a sign to stick in our front yard for the next month. Hannah's best friend across the street was also "Star Student" for her grade. So, we have dueling "Star Student" placards in our yards. Jake's gonna be scary bright too--the kid has never had less than 100% on anything--ever! Can you imagine? We're talking homework, spelling tests, math problems. The kids infallible. He's probably batting a thousand on his score card in heaven, too! Now, if only some of his perfection would spill into his sports game...

    3) Last week our garage got pillaged. I was messing around in the garage and had left my car in the driveway. I was going inside to get my keys to pull it in and Kari distracted me with something (it's always smoke and mirrors with her). So, that was the first slip up. Then Kari, actually let her OCD nightly ritual of checking every door in the house lapse (which is pretty fun to mess with... there's nothing better than waiting until she's crawled into bed and about to doze off and saying, "Did you check the back door? I don't remember you checking it?" She'll be like "Of course, I did..." and then you can just count it down 5-4-3-2... "Dang it, Jeff... why did you have to say anything" as she goes marching off to check all the doors again) and didn't check the garage door. So, it got left up all night. Which really hasn't been a big deal. In the 7 years of living in Lubbock and Waco we've had one kids scooter snagged (and it was sitting out in the middle of the driveway for half a day). But, then as the day progressed Kari started noting stuff that was missing out of her car. First, it was her purse (which kinda made me smile because I've been saying for years "Why do you leave your purse in the car?"), but then she started in on the list... my whole CD case (all 100+ grunge CDs that get pulled out every once in awhile when I like to reminesce). But, at least I still had our... awh, nuts--the iPod too? My sunglasses (I had a pair in each car because I'm too lazy to move them back and forth).

    The kicker is the teenagers (how, did I know it was teenagers? Who else would steal sunglasses, iPod, and CDs) went on a shopping spree in Fort Worth. They were spending $500 a pop at these mini-marts. So, I started calling them. I was talking to one manager and I was like, "Did someone just buy $500 of stuff at your store?" "Yeah." "Who was it?" "Some teenagers." (that's really how I know) "And you let them buy $500 of stuff on a debit card?" "They said it was their dad's" "So, out of curiousity, what'd they buy?" "Clothes and food" So, in case you're looking for another store besides WalMart to blow $500 on quality clothes and food--apparently, Mike at some Deli Mart in Ft. Worth is your man. He'll hook you up no questions asked!

    4) I think that's it for now... Kari and I have a bet going. I'm doing this terrible meal plan that is no-salt, no-sugar, (no-flavor) and it's kicking my tail. Kari's trying to lose weight to go shopping with Christy at Christmas. So, I bet her I could stick with this plan longer than she could continue to lose weight. Luckily, she reminded me of the bet last week during a moment of weakness when I was craving a sugar-fix (I had forgotten the bet and thought I was just going through some phase again). Now I'm dedicated just to do it (read: stubborn husband). Who cares about whatever health benefit it's supposed to have--I need to kick the Smith ice cream addiction and I'll stick it to her while I'm at it! So, if either one of us is grumpy over the next two months it's because she's losing sleep to exercise and I'm eating cardboard. Happy Holidays for us!

    Jeff's Creative Budgeting

  • Monday, November 17, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • So Jeff and I have been working on staying on a budget to get all those school loans paid off. OK, so it's really Jeff and I'm being drug along kicking and screaming. Well he's been working out lately and drinking some shakes and taking some vitamin supplements. Tonight I had to run to walmart and he asked me to pick up some more creatine powder. When I got home I asked him if it should go under food or misc in the budget to which he replied "Just put it under HOME SECURITY". If you know Jeff at all you know how funny this truly is.

    We've Got Waaaayyyy Too Much Candy

  • Friday, November 14, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari

  • First of all, we finally carved our pumpkins. It's been warm and they tend to rot if you do it too early. Everyone picked their patterns and Jeff and I started scooping. Hannah actually carved hers by herself (the cat) and Jeff ended up doing most of Jacob's (the skull). Then we put them all out and Jeff took pictures. He's really good with the camera.

    Halloween came and went and we still have a huge bowl of candy. Granted it's not the best stuff that's left, but I've had four kids going through it for two weeks now. The candy actually started coming a few days before Halloween at the branch party. There is a couple in the branch that love this holiday. They have some land and they really go to town decorating. Thing's hanging from trees, lights, huge cutouts and the house is completely decorated inside too. The craziest thing was that they drained their in-ground pool and constructed a haunted pirate ship. the main mast was probably 12 feet tall. The kids had a blast looking at everything and then there was the trunk-or-treat of course. Jeff really got into it this year and created a huge painted bat to put across the back of our car. He cut the mouth out and kids had to stick their hand in to get candy. It was a hit. We did this once while in Lubbock and apparently I made him throw it away upon moving. I wont' make that mistake again. I forgot to get a picture that night so I'll have to post one later.

    On the actual big day we got the kids dressed and went over to a friends house for a party and trick-or-treating. There were several kids and we all had fun.

    Rachel went as "The blue princess" (Cinderella), Hannah was an Asian Princess,
    Jake was Ben 10 (of course) and Jonathan was Optimus Prime.
    The little pink princess was Rachel's good friend Ella.

    Jacob always has the same smile in every picture.

    See how Hannah's standing next to the cute tennis player, we're keeping an eye on that.

    The Garden

  • Jeff and Kari
  • It's been way too long since I've posted so now I'm playing catch up. I'll start with the garden. It was coming along beautifully. Everything was green and just about to start producing. I say was because all of a sudden we had a cold snap. For one, just one night it got down to freezing. Now I brought in the chicks and rabbits (not a fun task) but I didn't think about covering up the garden. I didn't even get a picture of it pre-freeze. I will say that the weather got warmer and things started to come back. We've harvested squash, zucchini, green beans, and tons of lettuce. But I'm not sure if there's enough warm weather left for everything else to make it. On an ironic note, the couple of things that do survive the cold weather, broccoli and peas, the chickens destroyed. Oh well. Anyone want to come over for some salad???

    You Just Wait...

  • Wednesday, October 29, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Sneak in a post will you? And make me the cause of your political inactivity? I've got plenty more pictures of you from your childhood and I'm not afraid to show them to the world.

    Civic duties sabotaged! Et tu, wifee...

  • Jeff and Kari
  • Yeah, so I'll sneak in a post on my wife here...

    So, all along with this election Kari keeps telling me "Oh, just tell me who to vote for... I can't keep up with this"... and who can blame her? I mean this election seems like it's been going on for years.

    So, anyways after a long day of work, then running to a pumpkin patch for some not-so candid shots, then to soccer practice, back to the hospital, then exercise and finally crash on the couch, Kari goes "Oh by the way, I went and early voted today. They say the lines here on election day are crazy long." Don't get me wrong, I was excited to see my wife rock-the-vote. A little surprised because I've never let on to whom I'd vote for (probably cuz I'm on the fence and it's not like Texas is a swing state) and so was a little relieved that my possible bad choice wouldn't be doubled by her vote.

    Then she adds "Yeah, and I didn't see your name on the voter registration list. There were a couple of Jeffreys..." I'm like "Yeah, right." I'm the one who responsibly changed my driver's license address within one week of moving to Sulphur Springs. Miss McLennan County sitting across from me wanted to wait until her braces were off so she could get a new mug shot on her license--and still hasn't changed her address. And I know I checked the voter registration box. And then she adds "Yeah, and come to think of it, your voter registration card never came in the mail'. Now, I'm thinking to myself "And you're bringing this up 7 days before the election because why?".

    And of course 7 days turns out to be a critical number (come to find out). Sure enough, after an internet search today, I find out I am registered in Waco and to get a ballot mailed to me, they have to receive a form SEVEN days before voting. So, I went through the motions of faxing and hoping they'll still mail it anyways.

    But, here I sit... castrated of my civic duties (you think I'm gonna drive 3 hours to vote) by my own helpmate... 6 days before voting. Well, at least I can spend the next 4 years stating "Well, I never voted for so-so"!

    Nothin' Like Hay Down Your Pants

  • Tuesday, October 28, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • In a last minute decision we took the kids to the local pumpkin patch. It's only open until 6 so Jeff took off work a little early and away we went. It took about 15 minutes to get there but it was really cute. I guess it's used quite a bit for school field trips. There are different stations to play at and several places set up to take pictures.

    The kids favorite part was a large maze made out of hay, and here's where the hay down my pants comes in. Hannah had been here the week before with her class so she made a bee-line for the maze and the others followed. By the time we all got there she had climbed on top of the hay (over my head but not Jeff's) and was following the maze that way. Jacob decided that looked cool so he joined her. Jeff, Jonathan, and Rachel head to the middle of the maze and (I'm not sure who thought it would be a good idea) I climbed on top to take pictures.

    Everything was great until it was time to get down. I try to half slide, half jump down and end up with a backside covered in hay which somehow makes its way down my pants. Have you ever had hay in your pants? Really not that pleasant. I don't know where that saying "take a roll in the hay" came from, but who would do that? At least the pictures came out good.

    Before leaving the maze Hannah and Jacob have to jump every gap in the bales.They did pretty good until they tried to jump over the entrance. It's at least 3 feet and neither one makes it and they both end up sliding down the hay and landing bottom first.

    They all then take turns climbing up a hay tower, and roping hay bulls. The only complaining (mostly from Jacob) came because I wanted to take pictures of everything and they just wanted to play. At the end they all got to pick out a pumpkin to carve. It's been so warm here we've had to wait until the last minute so the pumpkins don't rot.

    Jeff is a much better photographer than I am. He takes all the cool shots.

    He Did It!!!!!!!

  • Sunday, October 26, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • So Jacob's been playing ball for about 5 weeks now and although he has hit a few foul balls, he's never actually hit the ball in play. Until now! He hit it and ran. Now he didn't make it all the way to first base without getting out but his hit got a run in. I was so happy for him I teared up. So did my friend sitting next to me. And Jeff jumped up to go congratulate him in the dugout. But even all of our excitement was nothing compared to the dugout. His entire team was cheering him and congratulating him. The coach said it made his season. You'd of thought he just won the world series.

    While that was definitely the best thing of the week, we had a pretty fun week in general. Jonathan's team won their soccer game again this weekend, 5-2. Jeff's really done a great job and the kids play very well. The season's almost over but I think Jeff's planning on coaching again next season so hopefully they'll be able to pick up right where they left off.

    As some of you know Jeff had a short stint as a child model once upon a time. (From what I understand he was paid to take some pictures in some guys basement.) Well on Wednesday he got back to his roots and took us with him. The hospital has a monthly magazine and they are spotlighting the new doctors in town and their families. They asked him to write an article on childhood obesity and wanted to take pictures of him with his family cooking in the kitchen. Everything in the media is so fabricated these days. Now if they wanted a picture of him getting out an ice cream scoop to fix his nightly nine-o-clock snack, that I could get on board with. But cutting up vegetables with Hannah (the cover), I can't really support. Oh well, I get to be on the inside with all the kids.

    I'm guessing this was an action shot. How cute was he!!!!!!!

    Jonathan Nugget (part 2)

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari

  • We are having a family picture taken tomorrow and we were discussing what we were going to wear. It will be a winter theme and Hannah was whining because I wouldn't let her wear a coat. Well she keeps whining and I finally say that I am not going to let her be in the picture and I would get the little girl across the street (Emma) to play Hannah in the picture. Jonathan, without missing a beat says...

    "Emma will have to learn to whine alot like Hannah"

    Rachel (AKA "The Princess")

  • Jeff and Kari
  • And boy oh boy is she. This was a particularly fussy week for Rachel. Each morning after she dressed I was assaulted by much whining claiming... "My hair is UUUGGGLLLYYY, you have to fix it, make it pretty. Mind you she only actually goes places twice a week. If I run out of time and she has to get into the car without her hair done, I am treated to this chant over and over again until it can be remedied. In addition to her hair being perfect, she has decided she needs the perfect outfit and matching accessories everyday. She is especially fond four bracelets that she even sleeps and bathes in. She has also developed a new found love of bows. This pink one is her favorite.

    Speaking of Rachel's hair. The other night Jeff and I were sitting on the couch and she came to sit with us. Jeff makes a causal comment about how her hair has gotten pretty long and it might be time for a hair cut. The next morning she comes down after brushing her teeth with a new section of bangs. In disbelief I asked her if she had cut her hair. She replied "Yes, daddy said it was getting long". Can we really blame her that much? All in all she didn't do that much damage. It looks kind of like she has those side swept bangs. It could have been much worse. Don't most kids cut much closer to the scalp?

    She really didn't want to have her picture taken with messed up hair.

    The brightest spot in Rachel's week was that her picture was in the paper. Mind you it wasn't on the first page like Jonathan, he was learning how to wash his hands and all. She was in the center of page 11, before sports. What, you might ask could have put yet another one of my kids in the local paper? Why we went to the library for story time of course!

    Little Nuggets Of Wisdom From Jonathan

  • Sunday, October 19, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari

  • 1: I was pretending to be dead....Jonathan says

    "You're not really dead mom or you'd have X's for eyes."

    2: We're sitting at the baseball game and a foul ball goes over the fence and into the
    stands...Jonathan says

    "That's why everyone should bring a glove."

    3: I jokingly (in a mad tone) say to Jonathan that I thought he'd promised not to get any
    bigger. In a very serious (just as mad tone) Jonathan says

    "I've been trying."

    Can't argue with that logic. On a side note Jonathan's team won their soccer game this week 6-5.

    Happy Birthday

  • Jeff and Kari
  • Jacob turned seven today! I can't believe it. I remember when he was a chubby little baby content and quiet as can be sitting in his bouncer. Now he's this loud, rambunctious, always wrestling with his brother, and constantly wanting to eat, boy.

    I feel like we've been celebrating Jacob's birthday for days. On Friday my parents came up to bring me some much needed Ben 10 party supplies that could only be found in Dallas (THANKS SO MUCH) and took us out to dinner for Jake's birthday. We got to go to my favorite diner (MMMM fried egg on a burger) and he got to pick all the songs on the juke box and got ice cream. The next morning was the party. It was a Ben 10 theme and I think he had a pretty good time.

    We had an alien training course, a pin the alien on the watch game, and of course they all took home stink-fly eggs as a prize. Then grandma and grandpa came up for the soccer and baseball game. Then they took us out to Chilis to celebrate. We finally made it home and had even more cake and ice cream. Now it's Sunday and his actual birthday. This afternoon it was time once again for cake and presents. I must say, his Ben 10 toy collection is well stocked.

    I probably should mention the lovely color of Jake's left eye. That would be his first baseball injury sustained last Tuesday and slowly turning a nice shade of green. Way to be a boy!

    She gets Her Dance Moves From Jeff (or Elaine)

  • Jeff and Kari
  • Hannah has tried soccer and swimming and gymnastics and now were on to dance. If you knew me in high school, this was my thing. I'm not sure if it's going to be hers. Her goal in life right now is to be a "pop star". Thanks alot Hannah Montana. She is taking piano and can sing pretty well, so now she's working on the moves. We'll see how this all pans out. She tried out last week for a solo in the third grade musical. She's pretty confident she going to get, but didn't we all think we were great at that age? The primary program at church is next weekend and she is definitely the loudest, and as primary chorister I appreciate it. Maybe one day you can all say you knew her when. At least she doesn't mind having her picture taken, she actually asks for it daily.

    On a side note: Is it wrong of me to covet my own daughters body. She walks around in these skinny jeans with her hair all straight and all I can think is man I wish I could wear that.

    The Oldest First.

  • Jeff and Kari
  • Well it's been too long since I've posted so I'm just going to go child by child. Jeff's first. He's really pretty boring. I will say that his garden is coming along fabulously. We've got too much lettuce to eat and in a few weeks we're going to be up to our ears in squash. I would like to say it's mostly do to the compost.

    Sports Anyone?

  • Monday, October 6, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Well, Fall is here and so starts soccer and fall ball. We started to sign up both boys for soccer but Jacob insisted that he wanted to play baseball and nothing else. So now I am not only a soccer mom but a baseball mom. Apparently here in the town of Sulphur Springs that is the sport of choice anyway.

    Jonathan is playing soccer and seems to be enjoying it. Jeff is his coach and I even helped out at the first practice. Can you imagine that?!? They're a bunch of cute little 5 year olds who have way too much energy. Energy they don't always want to spend actually playing soccer. At our first game it was pretty hot so we brought a bunch of rags soaked in cool water to put on their heads or necks or whatever to keep cool. That in itself turned into a fun game. Then of course there are the smashed cups that used to hold water. But all in all it's fun for everyone.

    Jacob is playing baseball for the first time ever. As in he has never played t-ball or anything. I'm surprised they let us move here. Baseball is a pretty big thing around here. I heard a rumor that some parents even hire personal coaches for their kids. Goodness know I'm way to cheep for that. So we get Jake a bat and glove and send him to his first practice. They put him somewhere in the infield give him a ball and have him throw it. They quickly realize this might not be the right place. They start working with him on batting and throwing and he's coming along quite nicely. If nothing else he's got that little quirk baseball players are known for down pat (see pic below).

    I will say one thing, the coaches of any children's team have definitely learned the art of patience. Jacob's coaches are quick to praise and always encouraging. And Jeff has been more positive in the face of turmoil than I have ever seen him. Thanks for all you do guys!!!

    Another Year Older

  • Wednesday, September 24, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • It was my birthday today, again. When will it end?!? I haven't quite grasp hold of the whole "The Thirties are the new Twenties" concept yet. I was not this tired and wrinkly in my twenties. Oh well, until I'm ready to go under the knife I guess I'll deal with it. I had a great birthday. I got to go out to eat for lunch and dinner. Nothing like good greasy food to make you feel better, until you get home that is. If you're ever in town you gotta go by the Broadway Diner and try the Stagecoach Burger. It's your basic large, greasy, bacon cheeseburger but with one extra topping...a fried egg. You read that right, a fried egg. Nothin' Better. After dinner we came home played outside with the neighbors and then had cake. Mmmmmm....cake. Now I may have to be rolled to bed, but it was all worth it. I'll worry about my cholesterol tomorrow.

    Where did the camera come from?

    Top Ten Ways You Know You're In A Small Town

  • Jeff and Kari
  • 10: You can't take more than two bites of your lunch at the local sandwich shop without someone
    stopping to say hi.

    9: You can't complain about a neighbor to a random person without them knowing them
    personally (open mouth, insert foot).

    8: The crime report each day consists of four people being detained for being under the
    influence, one is always from Arkansas.

    7: You need a family tree mapped out for the local church.

    6: There are only 3 food stands at the county fair, and no fried twinkies.

    5: Everyone you see on Monday, wonders why they didn't see you at the Stew Cook-Off on

    4: You don't have to worry about traffic on Friday night because everyone, I mean everyone
    (including myself) is at the high school football game. (By the way, ESPN covered one of our
    games on Sept 11th and I was on TV)

    3: The ONLY place in town to buy socks and underwear is Wal-Mart.

    2: Every gas station in town is named Joe-Bob's and I actually know Joe Bob, (really I do, he's
    super nice).

    1: Your son makes the front page of the local newspaper for learning to wash his hands.

    Jonathan's class had some high schoolers come in to teach proper hand washing techniques and the paper was there to take pictures. Apparently this was the biggest thing going on that day so it made the front page. That's him in the bottom left corner with the dark shirt. When I picked him up from school and told him there was a picture of him on the front of the newspaper his only response was "AGAIN". We've already been in the paper for Jeff's grand opening and evidently the fame of it all is getting to Jonathan. When will those paps leave him alone.

    All kidding aside, we really love it here and encourage all of you to move. life.

  • Tuesday, September 9, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Well, we had our first farm fatality yesterday. Jacob's chicken, Nugget, got sick last week. He kept falling asleep standing up and bobbing his head around. Then he started getting "foamy eyes". Then he started making weird noises in his sleep. So Jeff reads up on chicken illnesses and everything says just kill it. Well, neither Jeff nor I could do it so I head to the local feed store to pick up some OTC general antibiotics. We isolate the bird and give him meds for a few days but it just didn't seem to be working. Yesterday morning, before school, Hannah and Rachel go out to check on the animals and Rachel comes back in yelling "the chick is dead, the chick is dead". Yep, it was. So after I get everyone to school I get a trash bag, scoop up the chicken, put it in the trash (don't worry trash day was today), and I'm done. But wait, I'm not. Jeff calls to say we should probably take a picture of the bird with the date so we can get a replacement. Did I mention I had already thrown it away. You guessed it, I exhumed the body, and boy was it stiff. I started to post the picture but thought it might be too much. Luckily the kids took it well. We told them "that's farm livin".
    So.... You were a good bird Nugget, Thanks for the memories.

    Lesson Learned

  • Tuesday, September 2, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari

  • Don't you just hate it when your kids are smarter than you. Well, it happened to me this morning. We've been getting the after effects of the hurricane and therefore alot of rain. Last night Jeff and I had to put tarps over the bunnies and chickens to keep them somewhat dry. This morning Jacob offered to go out before school and check on everything. He comes back in a minute later and says the hurricane opened Sundae's cage and he was gone. I start freaking out and spend the next 10 minutes searching our small backyard to no avail. I come back in and announce that the bunny is gone forever. The kids are sad and asking what to do. I say "nothing he's gone and we're not going to find him". They're still upset so I half-heartedly say "maybe you should all say a prayer to find him". So my four kids gather together in the dining room and Hannah says a prayer on behalf of them all. I, being the terrible mother I am, am trying to finish up packing lunches. After the prayer, everyone gets up to finish getting ready for school. Not 30 seconds later, our neighbor rings the doorbell and says our bunny is out front. I'm lucky my kids have such faith.

    It's all about the poop!

  • Monday, September 1, 2008
  • Jeff and Kari
  • TRUE STORY: Two women in the neighborhood are out taking a walk around our block. The first woman turns to the second and says "Have you noticed it smells more like cows around here lately?" The second woman says "Yeah, it's that new family on the block, the Smiths."

    Unfortunately she's telling the truth.

    We finally got all the beds made and placed in the ground. Now it's time to fill them with dirt, no wait I mean poop, and lots of it. Being that this is one of the dairy capitals of the world there is a surplus of cow waste that you can get pre-mixed with chicken waste and other such fillers. Apparently it makes really good compost and therefore a great garden mix, according to Jeff. So we borrow my dad's truck and I'm off to the land of stink. By this I mean a long tunnel with piles of different kinds of animal waste along each side. The very sweet old farmer says he's got a nice mix for me and we head to a pile in the middle. He gets in is mini bull-dozer thing and gets a big scoop to drop in the bed of my truck. I immediately see all this steam coming from the pile and then the smell hits me. Rachel says "that's some stinky poop mom". So true Rachel, so true. Well we make it home OK bringing with us countless numbers of flies. It just sits in the back till Jeff gets home and then we start a-shoveling. This is sooooo not what I thought it meant to be a doctor's wife. I not really that much of a snob but come on I'm shoveling manure. After we're done we've got three of the six beds filled and I've got to go back. The next day I head back and get another load and bring it home and start filling beds on my own. When Jeff gets home we mix in a few other non-offensive things and we're done. I must admit they look really nice. This really dark dirt in contrast with the new wood and the green grass. Luckily the house next door is empty because our whole back yard smells like a pasture. Oh well, at least I'm done with the poop part.

    But wait, my lovely husband has more plans. Who keeps giving him these farm books????

    You know what would make great fertilizer for the future garden. Rabbit POOP! You heard me, rabbits. My next task is to go to Canton and get rabbit cages and then go to Tyler to pick up rabbits on Friday. "We'll just rotate their cages around every so often and it'll be great for the garden" he says. OK fine. Friday morning I talk to him before I leave and he slips in "get one cage for the rabbits and one for the chickens". WAIT, WHAT?!? Now we're getting chickens. "That was always the plan" he says. Whatever.

    So now we have 2 rabbits, Carmel (all brown) and Sundae (white with brown spots). Get it... Carmel Sundae! And, 4 chickens Leggs (white), Midnight (black), Nuggett and no name (white and black Bramas). If you have any good chicken names floating around I'm open to suggestions.

    All the new animals are a big hit. Jake's the bravest, He reaches right in and grabs the chickens and he's the official feeder of all the animals. We did have one close call the first day we had them. We didn't have a very good shade system set up and Jake went out to check on everything and one of the rabbits was drooling and not moving much so we had to bring it in and get it cooled off. Now before you call PETA we fixed the problem and all animals are doing fine. The chickens spend their time pecking in the grass for bugs and the rabbits are getting plenty of treats.

    So just in case your keeping track.....
    That makes 1 dog, 2 tortoises (coming shortly-our last ones died), 4 snakes, 2 rabbits, 4 chickens, and thousands of flies. We could probably charge admission by now.
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