Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fishin' at the Crick (not creek)

I haven't blogged about Mr. Dave yet, so I'll explain briefly :) Mr. Dave works for Aaron and is a retired Navy submariner. He asked Aaron if the kids would be interested in helping him with his garden this spring/summer. I said only if I can help, too!! Come to find out, he's basically a master gardener! I've learned so much already, and it's only March! We had a warm snap in February with 80* days, so we planted spring crops early. Farmers Almanac also predicted an early spring, with Spring Equinox being March 19th this year. So we had a lot of fun getting the rows ready and planting seeds. We also got potatoes planted, which is something the kids have never done! Anyway, the kids adore Mr. Dave and I think the feeling is mutual! ;)
The other day, he asked if the kids would want to go check his trap lines at the creek and see if he caught any catfish. Of course they would! So Monday morning, we headed over to the garden and of course did some digging, weed pulling, and playing first, and then went to the creek. I've lived here for almost 15 years (WHAT?!? and that doesn't include college!) and I never knew this area was out there! It's awesome! I was really surprised at how clean the water is. Totally clear. It'll be fun to go this summer and let the kids play in the water! The kids were in heaven...

Grace sitting on a log, watching the big kids throw rocks into the water.

 Oh my goodness...this face she's started making!!! Too much.

 Sliding down the bank!

 Look how clear the water is!!

 Time to check the first trap line! And there was a fish! Anna got to pull it in.

 "Will the fish eat this??" Haha!

 I think they're all hooked on fishing now! ;)

 Second trap line had a fish, too! Isaac's turn (because Jacob was over at the other bank throwing rocks still!)...

 Pull hard, Isaac!

 It's a big 'un!!

 But it's a carp...so we didn't keep it.

 "Can I touch it? I don't know if I want to touch it...."

 "I touched it Mom!!"

 Anna was super hesitant...

 But she did it! Jacob said "NO WAY! Anna! What's it feel like?"

 Grace was totally happy to just sit in the sand!

 Checking the third trap line. No fish, though.

Grace would have sat there all day long, playing in the sand. She was NOT happy when I picked her up to leave!!!

Mr. Dave offered to clean the fish and bring it to me so we could have it for supper. I invited him to eat with us (he did all the work, after all!). I've never cooked catfish before and when he brought it over whole (tail and head off and skinned, of course), I had NO IDEA how to cut it up or filet it. My knives are not nearly sharp enough, either. So Aaron & I both tried and we finally gave up and waited for Mr. Dave to help us out! Haha!! What do you know, you can just fry it whole and it comes right off the bone! It was really good!!

The kids are ready to go fishing (and I'd much rather eat a fish from that water than the lake water!) again...now! ;) I'm excited for warm weather to come and stay so we can spend more time down there!!

Monday, March 28, 2016


I'm doing it...I'm getting into politics on my blog. Not that I ever get any comments, anyway! ;) 

A couple weeks ago, Dad (who has been very active in the Cruz campaign--he was Cruz's personal driver for about 5 weeks in Iowa and South Carolina) let me know Cruz was speaking in KC. That's not extremely close, but I figured it would be as close as he would get. Dad agreed to meet us there! I really did NOT want to be late, since I was going by myself with all the kids, so we left PLENTY early. We got there like 3 hours before the rally was to start! Ha!! The kids were AWESOME! It was at Johnson Co Community College, so the kids had fun exploring the building and climbing up and down stairs. I got interviewed (UGH!), which I'm pretty sure hit the cutting room floor (which is OK with me!!), the kids were photographed and videoed over & over...it was quite the experience! Thankfully, I brought the stroller for Grace and the kids all had books and Legos to keep them occupied as we stood in line for a couple hours. We were in the first 20 people, probably, so we got really close to the stage!

Papa came with extra bumper stickers, so Jacob & Isaac went around giving them out to people!

 They all got cool sunglasses, too! ;)

 I've been involving the kids in a lot of this election. Anna has been especially interested. It helps that Papa is deeply involved, too! Anna watched a couple of the debates (before Trump become too vulgar...thankfully she missed his nasty remarks in the first debate.) So they were all really excited to get to see Cruz and hear him speak! I got a lot of comments about how well-behaved the kids were and how great it was that I brought them to the rally. I think it helped that they were honestly excited about it, and it wasn't something I was just dragging them to!

 This is what I posted on Facebook after the rally...
Ok, here's my take from the day yesterday, for anyone who cares...I usually stay away from politics on Facebook because people can't seem to discuss it civilly and usually say things they would never say to your face. I have enough drama with a 10.5 yr old daughter at home. I don't need Facebook drama. But this is important. So here goes...
Hands down, Ted Cruz is who this country needs in the White House. Why? He is the ONLY candidate (D or R) that has PROVEN commitment to the Constitution and the freedoms for which so many have fought and died. He is the only candidate that most people on the Hill hate, which means he doesn't play the Washington political game. What he campaigns on, he follows through with-and he's proven it with his time in the Senate and as AG for Texas. He is a man of sincere faith. He is wicked smart. I met him for 30 seconds, but dad has spent 5 weeks on the road with him and has spent many hours with him-not all in front of cameras "performing" (which is the same person he is off camera, by the way). He is real, honest, trustworthy, and a man of true integrity. He's the only one with a real plan for all the issues...taxes, immigration, freedom of religion, 2nd amendment, life... Rubio has lied about the Gang of 8 Amnesty deal and continues to lie about it. I don't trust someone who can't own up to their decisions. Trump is a freak show. 6 months ago he was a Democrat funding Hillary Clinton. He funded the Gang of 8. He changes his stance on issues more than a tired toddler at lunch time! He acts like a petulant, spoiled 12 year old. Not to mention his foul mouth. Not a man of decency that should be running this great nation. Take a look at the caucuses/primaries he's won...they've been open, meaning Dem or Rep can vote (what the point of that is, I have no idea)! He's just a dishonest, tantrum-throwing bully that doesn't deserve to even be in the running for such a prestigious office. To look at the other side of the race, Hillary should be in prison, for crying out loud! And Sanders is a total socialist. News flash...socialism has never worked out very well for a country... You can't just hand out "free" stuff. SOMEBODY has to pay for it! It's not free health care--you're paying for it in taxes! It's not free college. You think all those professors and staff members are going to start working for free??? Who's paying their salaries if the students aren't paying tuition?! Think, people! Did you know that when the Puritans first landed in America, after signing the Mayflower compact (because it wasn't just Puritans on the ship...there were also "Strangers"-people coming along for the adventure...there was almost a mutiny on the ship when they missed the Hudson River as their landing spot, so they came up with the Mayflower Compact), that some people wanted to change things and make everything "community"-everyone works together for the good of all. It's not my house because I built it, it's to be shared with everyone. Well, wouldn't you know it, some people started not pulling their weight. Why work hard when I can get the same things with less work? And wouldn't you know it, that caused problems. Sound familiar?? The difference is that William Bradford was smart enough to see that it wouldn't really work very well. So he put a stop to it and went back to the Mayflower Compact. SOCIALISM DOESN'T WORK!!! So there's my very short reasoning for why the other candidates are a train wreck for this country. 
We need someone who will stand up for the Constitution. Do people even know what the Constitution is anymore? Do people even know what it says?? We need someone who will stand up for the PEOPLE...you know, the ones that elect all those in Washington...the ones for whom they're supposed to be working...
We need someone who will stand up to the Islamic terrorists that are trying to destroy us. We need someone that will STRENGTHEN our military, not weaken it. We need someone that will destroy the disastrous Iranian deal. We need someone that will repeal every bit of Obamacare (it's NOT free! Trust me...we've spent more on health insurance since the roll-out of that plan than we did for 3 deliveries combined!!). Cruz is the only one with a plan for all of that. And he's the only one I would trust to follow through on the plan. And just to be clear, Trump's "plan" for any of this...he doesn't have a plan! He just spouts off whatever comes to mind. "I've made millions of business deals. I'll take care of immigration. Easy." That's not a plan.
This election is going to be a turning point for our country, I believe. For the sake of my children's future, it's incredibly important to me that we get the right man in the White House. That's why I made the drive to Kansas City and took all 4 kids with me. Was it totally fun for them? No-they spent 8 hrs in the car yesterday. We got home at 1am. They spent hours waiting in line. But we had some really good discussions on why it's important to be involved and why it matters who we elect as president. 
PLEASE-do your own research on these candidates. Do not trust what main stream media tells you. They are not unbiased. What's the most important to you? Is it remaining true to the Constitution, a document that our founding fathers drew up and worked so hard to create? Is it keeping our freedoms for which so many have fought and died? If it is, Ted Cruz is the only candidate that can be trusted, that is tried and true at keeping his promises. And PLEASE...go vote in the caucus on Saturday (if you're in Kansas). VOTE-it's your right, your privilege, and most importantly your responsibility.

I just can't say enough about why Cruz is the right one for our country. And since Dad has the inside track, he did some texting and we got to meet Cruz!!! The kids were BEYOND EXCITED!!! Jacob was downright giddy! But before this picture happened...oh man. That's a story in and of itself!! 
So the rally started over 30 minutes late (Dad said Cruz is often late because he won't tell people no...he's willing to stop and talk/take pictures with anyone that asks, until his people basically force him out of the place!). By the set up of the theatre, it didn't look like there would be a "meet & greet" after the speech. So Dad texted one the head guys on the campaign to find out if there would be any chance for us to meet him. Cruz had an interview with Fox right after the rally, so I really didn't think it would happen. I'd told the kids that we might not get to meet him, because I didn't want them to be disappointed if we couldn't. So Dad had texted "Mr. B"...all I knew what that he was texting someone...he didn't tell me anything about the conversation. I didn't see any possible way for us to meet him because the seats went all the way up to the stage. As Cruz was winding down his speech, Dad just said, "Get ready." I had no idea what he was doing...I assumed we would exit the theatre and catch Cruz outside somewhere. Grace & I were in the outside seat, with Anna next to me, then Papa, then the boys. As soon as Cruz was done, Dad said, "Follow me!" Well, I didn't think there was anywhere to go but out to the isle and up to the exit! So Anna and Isaac took off up the isle immediately (I'm still not sure how Isaac got out there! haha). I'm starting to leave and hear Dad say "Stop!" By the time I realized he wanted us to go the OTHER way, Anna & Isaac were almost to the end of the isle. Remember...we were at the very front of the theatre! I hollered at them and thought Anna heard me because she looked back, but she must not have seen me because she kept going. Thankfully she kept ahold of Isaac because there were over 2,500 people streaming out of that place!!! I lost them!!! I panicked and ran after them. Thankfully, they stayed at the doors. I had to push my way thru to get to them. Of course, everyone is hoping to catch Cruz on his way out, but he wasn't coming out that way. So we had all the volunteers yelling at people to clear the doorway, "He's not coming this way! You have to move!!" Dad called me and said "GET DOWN HERE! YOU'RE GOING TO MISS HIM!!" I'm thinking, "How on earth am I going to make it back down there?!" So I just grabbed the kids (I'm so glad Dad took Grace before I went to chase Anna & Isaac!!) and started pushing my way against the flow of 2,000+ people and kept saying, "My other 2 kids are still in there! I've got to get to my other kids!" I got a LOT of dirty looks, but I made it 4 rows from Dad and he was ALMOST to where Cruz was standing. He said "GET DOWN HERE!" And I'm thinking...oh man, we're going to have to crawl over these seats. There's no other way to get there quickly enough! So we did!! I basically threw Isaac over the first row, shoved Anna over, and climbed over myself. Anna lost a boot and I just yelled, "LEAVE IT! Keep going!!!" HA!!! We made it JUST as Dad was talking to Cruz. Someone told Cruz, "This is Cecil!" and Cruz looked at him and remembered him. So he handed Grace over (who was SO TIRED) and we squeezed in for a picture. We shook his hand, I thanked him and he said, "No, thank YOU." He asked Jacob what his name was (which Jacob thought was so awesome and Anna was jealous. haha!), we snapped a picture, and Cruz was swept away by his people. SO CRAZY!!! 

This was probably a once in a lifetime experience for all of us. I don't know that we will ever get the opportunity to meet another presidential candidate (hopefully President!!). It was a powerful experience for the kids, especially Jacob and Anna. We had a lot of really great conversations there, and especially on the way home, about government and why it matters and why they should care and why we should all be involved and informed! 

Fun at the Ranch

This was a few weeks ago. We went even further into the middle of nowhere ;) and the kids & I went exploring. Isaac stayed with Aaron, Anna went off with Sadie, and Jacob, Grace, & I explored an old cemetery which really seems to be in the middle of nowhere.

It was pretty windy, but once we got down off the top of the hill, it wasn't too bad.

 Whoopsie! Almost lost her balance!

 It was fascinating to read the dates on the tombstones. It was also a good lesson in history--seeing how many children and babies there were and correlating them with known epidemics, and also just talking about how in the 1800s the knowledge and medical equipment just wasn't what it is now to prevent a lot of those types of deaths. 

The earliest death we found was on this tombstone. It was of a mother and baby girl, died in 1850, only a few months apart.

 Back at the ranch, Grace & Adilynn had a lot of fun (contrary to their faces here!) riding in Adilynn's new wagon!

 Isaac helping the men with the wood! He thought he was pretty big stuff!!

It was a WINDY weekend, but the kids didn't seem to mind too much being out in it! Always fun at Nate & Joy's!