Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebrating 9 years with Kippy!

September 28, 2000 at 10:53 PM, our beautiful daughter, Angelique Grace, officially joined our family. Full of energy, kind of messy and a tish-bit accident prone, we can't imagine our lives without her loving, generous, playful spirit.

Her jet-black hair didn't stay with her, but her beautiful dark, long eye lashes are the same as the day she was born. Angelique's name quickly migrated to Nipper within the first week, thanks to her three year old big sister Abby, who exclaimed, "She's just a little nipper!" the first time she held her. Nipper turned to Kipper and continued to morph into "Kippy", which has stuck with her for nearly 9 years as well.
By the time she was 2 weeks old, we had planted her tree at the farm. It is a Canadian Flowering Red Cherry.
Here she is on her first birthday, beside her tree. I have tried to take a picture of Kippy by her tree on each birthday, but as I looked back, I have regretfully missed it for a few years. Makes me feel like a bad mom... {sigh}. Kippy at age 2. Remember the accident prone comment? Before turning two she had already broken a bone in her foot. Our three-year old daughter charmed the heck out of nearly everyone she met. She continued her accident prone streak and was hospitalized for a MRSA infection in her thigh. By age 4, Kippy was very much a tom-boy. She had me patching and re-patching jeans. She also ruptured her ear drum, but thankfully didn't damage her hearing at all.
As a 5 year old, Kippy would occasionally let me curl her long hair, but mostly she ran around with a crazy, halo of messy hair. It was her running around in the house chasing her older sister that caused the next ER visit and three stitches in the back of her head.
On her 6th birthday, I broke out the camera and got back to the tradition of a picture beside her tree at the farm. Aside from having her long hair caught up in the vacuum operated by her sister, she didn't have any traumatic accidents that year.

Seven, sassy and in the first grade, she is as charming as ever, but continuely messy, bruised and disheveled. Thankfully, her only trip to the ER was to accompany her clumsy mom for X-rays after falling off a chair.
Eight year old, Kippy and her tree are both growning like crazy. Kippy got to watch her dad get stitches after he fell off a ladder and ended up in the ER. She even got to wheel him in for X-rays.

Now we are celebrating Kippy's 9th birthday and are amazed at how quickly these years have gone by. You are a beautiful, intelligent, caring girl and we are so very proud of you!

Let's also hope that your years of being accident prone are now behind you despite having two accident prone parents.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A shiny smile for Kippy

Friday aftenoon was a big day for Kippy. Her upper expanding retainer has done its job with making room on her upper pallet the past 6 months and was ready to be replaced by braces to pull her front teeth together to allow her eye-teeth to come in.
Kippy was really looking forward to getting braces, mostly because she was tired of her retainer which she said was too smelly, no matter how much she brushed it. She had 4 new brackets glued to her upper front teeth.
A special ultra violet light was used to activate the bonding agent to her teeth.
Then there was some wait time for her everything to set up.
Kippy got to choose the color of the bands that went around each of the brackets. She picked blue and purple. When I asked her why she chose those colors, she just said 'cause I wanted to. Kippy also told me, "For Christmas, I am going to have red and green!"
She will have these braces on for 6-12 months depending upon how quickly her eye teeth come in. I am confident by then she will be very tired of keeping them clean.
But for now, she is very excited about her shiny smile.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Multi-functional pooper-scooper

**WARNING** Some viewers may find the contents of this post disturbing. By SOME I really mean Lori :-).

My office egress window-well has long been a great hide-out for amphibians and reptiles. When rain is abundant, various frogs, snakes and salamanders end up finding their way in, but are not so adapt at finding their way back out. I find it very distracting to have critters bouncing into my window or creeping across the glass while I am studying my laptop screen trying to work.

I ask you, wouldn't this sight be a little distracting for you? Especially after watching the frogs try so hard to crawl up the window only to fall back down. Pretty soon, I find myself cheering them on. Come on, little froggie - you can do it! But mostly, I get annoyed by them sporadically bouncing into the window... thump, thump.... thump.
For several years, I have had Kippy capture these critters and release them back into the wild (wild: meaning the garden, 'cause critters are good 'skeeter-eaters.) Kippy has routinely been getting frogs out using a little toy rake to coax them into a sand pail. Sometimes, said frogs get to stay in the sand pail for a while to be temporary pets before being released.

On Sunday, I casually mentioned to Kippy that there were quite a few frogs that needed to be removed from my window well.

ME: Kippy, can you get the frogs out of the window? There are two salamanders as well, but don't touch them.

KIPPY: Why not?

ME: Because they have a caustic substance on their skin to protect them that you don't want to get on your skin.
Kippy went outside and was gone for a while and then came back into the house and announced that she found a new use for the Bella's pooper-scooper...

turns out it is great for retrieving salamanders so you don't have to touch them.

KIPPY: I thought I killed one of the salamanders.

ME: Really?

KIPPY: Yup, I thought I had poked out one of its eyes because I picked it up by its head in the scooper. But it was ok when I let it out.

ME: Good to know.

I am happy that Kippy can think outside of the box once in a while.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kelley Farm Recap

We engaged in some physical labor this past Labor Day at the Historic Oliver H. Kelley Farm near Elk River, MN. This historic farm allows visitors to participate and understand how a 1860's farm operated. It was a hands on experience and gave us all a glimpse of the difficult manual work involved in operating and living on a farm. From gardening, canning, cooking and doing laundry to threshing, gathering eggs and watering the livestock... the girls got involved in it all. I have never seen my kids so willingly to do hard labor!

We were able to experience the farm with the Hubert and Ness families, which added to the fun as it gave the 8 kids a shared experience to talk about.
Abby was working on manually threshing barley with the flail. Her efforts were a bit half-hearted...
so Steve had to step in and show how to really get it done. All I can say hot, sweaty-man... yummy! Oh, is that an over-share? So sorry! NOT.
Here is Steve helping to pull more bundles of oats over to the horse-powered threshing machine.

Actually it was a two-horse powered threshing machine. The horses plodded along on a wooden treadmill to power the threshing machine. It was a loud, dusty, itchy, manual process. This little boy reminded me of my nephew as he doesn't like loud noises either.
Kippy helped to catch the oats in a pan and then
dump it into the grain sack.

Together, Abby and Kami helped move the resulting oat straw from the back of the threshing machine into a stack.
The oat straw was not only used for bedding for the livestock, but it was also used to re-stuff one of the mattresses.
The kids got involved with picking golden grape tomatoes destined for ketchup and also made stuffed mango pickles, which were sort of like cucumbers and something I had never seen before. Abby spent time cutting up vegetables and making a meat pie. The smells coming from the wooden stove in the kitchen were wonderful, but I was very distracted by the number of flies coming in from the open windows. A lemon meringue pie doesn't look as appealing with 15 flies crawling all over it!
One of the highlights of the afternoon, was doing laundry. A giant kettle of hot water was carried from the kitchen outside into the wash tub, which had borax flakes and lye added to it.
The kids scrubbed and scrubbed to try to clean up some dish towels and a table cloth. It didn't take long for arms to get tired, but there were a lot of willing helpers.

After washing, then came the manual wringing out of the cloth 2-3 times, rinsing in bluing water and then more wringing.
If it wasn't clean enough it had to go back into the tub for more scrubbing until they had done the job satisfactorily. I was surprised at how hard Kippy worked at washing the laundry because she is generally my little Pigpen. I am thinking I need to have that kid scrubbing on our floors now!

Oliver Kelley was the founder of the first successful national farming organization, the Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the Grange. The Kelley Farm is recognized as "The birthplace of organized agriculture in America."
I am so grateful for modern conveniences like electricity, central air, window screens, washers, & dryers. I can also say it made me appreciate the grocery store the most of all!!

As we were leaving, we got to see an artist who was doing a rendering of a harvest scene.
It was a great day and one we won't soon forget.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009