End of May Dump

I have well over six hundred edited pictures from the month of May.  That's not over the top is it?  I guess it's just been a busy month or something.  Or maybe it's because I take pictures of things like a bag of raisins and tennies in the grass.  Either way.  It could be seen as a tad ridiculous.  

This past week has been one pile of random.  So, sit back and enjoy what I refer to as a picture dump and a brain dump.  It's both.   

Sister Pister's BFFs graduated.  That made me feel old.  Knowing that Sister Pister will be graduating next year makes me want to freeze time.  

One of my cousin's graduated on that same day.  My grandma tried to not smile the first time I took this picture.  I told her I wouldn't stand for that and then she gave me this cute grin.  And the cake caught my eye.  I do love me some party details. 

Another cousin graduated later in the week.  Her mom, which would be my aunt, and I are soul sisters.  She makes me feel not weird because she cares about things like the icing being the same distance from the edge of the cookie all the way around.  She also tells me it is important I find someone who is not a schlumpadinka because that will never work and my uncle tells me that he is a "list do-er" and that's what I need to find.  I'm glad they are both looking out for my future marriage that doesn't exist yet.   

Stella turned three and her mom Brittany, who is also my soul sister, planned a fun pony party.  When you walked in, you had to pick two names out of little cups to write on a name tag.  This became your pony name for the evening.  A perfect pop of theme.  "Baby Sprinkles" {otherwise known as Harper} is Stella's little sister and she is one of the cutest babies I've ever seen.  Seriously. 

At the pony party, I fell mildly in love with the Doritos bag because it was vintage.  I told Brittany I was slightly obsessed with the look of it and she completely agreed.  A twirl and a foot stomp for having friends that get you.  

It is the end of May and we are still wearing sweatshirts and stocking caps in the middle of the afternoon.  Awesome.  That didn't stop the littles from wanting to ride horse though.  

Easy Rider is truly a farm boy, complete with a pliers on his belt.  He and I played a quick game of "let me try and take a picture of your booty because it's so cute with your hat and your pliers."  He won with his dimpled devilish juice grin.    

Firecracker takes after me in the wearing appropriate shoes department.  She wasn't feeling them at all. 

Although, I actually was wearing appropriate foot wear.  I didn't want the inside of my jeans to get all muddy from my nasty farm boots so my overall fashion statement was quite fabulous.  I also would like to state for the record that I was not wearing any jewelry.  None.

My sister is pretty.  And she loves that horse.  More than she loves me probably but I'm not bitter.

While at the farm, I went on a three headed, four-wheeled, wild moose chase.  It wasn't scary at all.  You should ride on a four-wheeler with two teenagers sometime while hanging off one side.    

When I say we went on a wild moose chase, I mean it.  This moose is living at the farm.  I guess she likes it there.  Maybe Momma Debi is making her homemade bread.  That seems to draw a crowd.  

The moose is not really scared of us either.  I jumped off the four-wheeler and was able to creep fairly close to her before she darted back into the trees.  It's odd for there to be random moose at the farm; I don't ever remember seeing them around when I was growing up.  Apparently we are not only turning into Seattle as far as wetness goes, we are also becoming the great wilderness.  Mountains are going to sprout up next fall.     

That moose held my attention for quite awhile, until I turned around and realized the sky and the sun that was trying to make an appearance were creating a slice of beautiful.  Then I was all about that.  

So Beaner and I took Buckshot's pickup to do some driving around.  I figured after the four-wheeler ride in which he was the driver, he owed me.  But I was not surprised when I saw him chasing us down the road.  Teenage boys and their pickups.  I'll never understand that kind of love. 

I moved the seat and messed with the sound system just to really throw him off.  I think now, after two days, he might be over it.  I'll have to call the farm later this afternoon to check.  

Like I said, it's the end of May and it's weird here.  Seeding should be coming to an end right now and some fields should even be starting to show lined up rows of green, but instead all we have is water, water, and more water alongside mud, mud, and more mud.  Well, maybe with a side of duck here and there.  Uffda.  And so not normal.   

What is normal though, is the beauty of North Dakota.  I have seen that same gravel road my whole life and that same wooden post and that same grass, but it still gets me.  It helped that Sister Pister had created a perfect horse-shoe path down the side of the road and it helped that the sky was just this side of marvelous, but still.  It's so freaking beautiful here.  It really is.  Wet and all.  

Stealing the teenage boy's pickup was worth it.

So that was my random last week of May.

Today is technically my first day of summer vacation and I woke up at 6:30 in the AM instead of 4:30 which was refreshing.  Then I drank coffee, edited pictures, went for a run, grocery shopped, made a trip to Target, and by the time I was done with that business, it was still only 11:30.  Since it is once again rainy and cold, I think the rest of the day will be used for cleaning and laundry so that when it gets nice later in the week, I can be out with the sun on my face.

I've also decided that since it's been six and a half hours of vacation so far and I might already be feeling a bit antsy, I think I need to get a summer job.  This is the first summer of my teaching career where I haven't worked at the farm or been in grad school or writing my thesis...so there is a chance I will drive myself a little nutso with seven days of freedom every week.  If you have any fabulous ideas for a part-time fun job, shoot them my way.


More of an Idea

A few days ago, I put this as my fb status...

Here's a recipe for you. Buy one bag of raisins. Cut the top off the bag. Fold the flap over nice and snug. Set the bag flap down in the freezer. Take it out after it has had time to get nice and chilly. Pour some frozen raisins in a bowl and eat them. They will make you say yum. Just call me Julia Child.

I'm telling you frozen raisins just might be my new favorite thing.  I forgot to add to the directions to put the bag back in the freezer right away so you don't eat the whole thing. 

Just in case it's confusing, I decided to add pictures to this fabulous recipe.  Although my friend Wade, who I have known since before I was born, commented on that status telling me, "That's not a recipe, that's an idea.  Silly Amelia."  So maybe I should call it an idea.  But I told him that anything that requires two items in a kitchen constitutes a recipe in my world.  This takes a scissor and a freezer.  Two items.  And if you are wondering why he called me Amelia, that's a long story from high school and I kind of enjoy that the nickname has stuck around for, oh you know...ten years!  

Have I mentioned that my ten year high school reunion is this year?  Talk about feeling like I'm crossing over into the land of big time adult.  Oh boy.  I do know that it will be fun to all get together and pretend to be seventeen again.  I'm excited for that part. 

Anyways, I'm off topic.  

So first you buy a bag of raisins.  I like this kind but you do whatever floats your boat.  Or sinks your dingy.  You make the choice. 

Then, you take a scissor and cut the top off.  I could not figure out how to hold the camera, the bag, and the scissor while taking a picture but you get the idea.  As if I think you would actually need a visual to help you cut the top off a bag of raisins.  

Open the freezer.  

Fold over the flap nice and tight.  Like smush down all the raisins because the more they clump together when they freeze, the better.  And then place it in the freezer along side the frozen rice and veggies and blue ice pack. 

Let them get nice and chilly and clumpy togethery for several hours and then pour some in a bowl, go sit on your living room floor, and read your latest book club book.  Make sure you are wearing your favorite sweat pants.  

Frozen raisins.  They will make you say yum. 

Did I really take pictures of all of that?  Please know I'm aware of just how weird I am.  No need to tell me. 



Happy birthday to the guy who taught me how to tell a good story!  Because even though Dad-o's eyes are closed and I was using my zoom lens, I can just tell that he is mid-story.  Leaned back in his chair, hand up to his chin.   

He's got his story telling stance going on.  I would bet that a few minutes after this, both hands were down on his legs and he was leaned forward and he was laughing hard.  Shoulder shaking, red faced laughing without taking a breath for a long while.  He is known for that. 

Yes, Dad-o can tell a story.  And he can accomplish a goal.  I get that from him too.  

Happy birthday Dad-o! 


School's Out

Today was the last day of school for the chicken wings.  Because I teach on a military base, there is a constant ebb and flow of kids.  I could write a book on how much I admire the children and families and people who serve our country, but that's for another day.  Seriously though, they sacrifice like you would not believe and I had no clue, none at all, until I was around that life every day.  Anyway, today I said goodbye to the chicken wings I have had under my care for the past year and many of them I won't see again.  They are leaving.  Moving once more.  And next fall there will be a whole new flow into our school. 

Can I tell you that it rips my heart out to hug those little shoulders and see their tears and hear them say, "I'll miss you more."  Rips.my.heart.out.  Because I won't get to see them go to middle school and I won't get to read their names in the paper when they play sports in high school and I won't get to know that in the graduating class are a handful of kids I taught fourth grade.  No, teaching on a military base takes that follow through away.  But it provides so much more than it takes so I keep staying there.   

It provides me with "seeing" the world through my students eyes as they have literally lived all around this world of ours and it allows me to witness the most accepting children as they know all too well what it feels like to be different and what it feels like to be the "new kid."  They grab new people and wrap them up quickly in deep friendships because they know their time together is fleeting.  And what amazes me the most is that they aren't afraid to love their friends, knowing they will be separated and hurt at the end.  Which makes me think of myself and my struggles with letting people in.  I can learn a lot from my students in that area.  They simply dive in. 

So today was the last day for this year's chicken wings and it was bittersweet like it always is.  Watching those feet walk down the hallway knowing I won't see them walk back towards us next year is rough, but understanding they are moving on to their next big adventure with an open mind and heart is inspiring.



In It

As I sat there in that hard vinyl hospital chair, my legs crossed propped up on the end of the bed, dangling a flowered wedge sandal from one foot, holding an hours old baby all wrapped up and tucked warmly in my one arm while my other arm was waving and swinging all around adding to my latest rendition of story, I had one of those catch your breath moments.

The ah-ha of so this is life.   

Friends I went through the awkward hairstyles of middle school and the learning lessons of high school and the spreading wings in college with...became parents...for the third time.  

Wasn't it just yesterday that Danae and I were smearing mud masks on our faces and wearing Z-Cavaricci jeans?  Now she is a mom and has that self-less love we could once only talk about.  Seeing her in all her mama glory is surreal.  One of those moments our thirteen year old selves could only imagine and dream about.    

Wasn't it just yesterday that Blake and I were sitting in the living room waiting for Danae to get ready, talking about the latest college ridiculousness?  Now he sits and listens to me tell my latest dating stories and offers in some very welcomed "man perspective."  Which I appreciate.  And need.  Because I sure can get riled up.   

All of this running through my head while I held their newest baby girl.  Knowing that deep down, I am meant to be a part of her existence.  

To be another person in her life who loves her and is silly with her and guides her and accepts her and teaches her and mostly just someone who loves her.

So just like the swish of the magic cape being pulled to reveal the rabbit, our lives have indeed started.  Really started.  The parts where we are truly in charge of our destinies, and in their case, the well being of their children as well.  We have become the decision makers, the bill payers, the schedulers, and the ones who get to decide when to forget all that and throw the plan out the window to instead simply do something off the beaten path and laugh.  

This is life.  I'm in it.  The real part.  And I always keep thinking and wondering, am I doing everything possible and experiencing what I should and letting what is supposed to happen...happen?  Am I having the breath taken out of me or I am merely passing through?  

I guess I can't be sure, but I do know that last night when looking into that little smushed face and feeling true excitement for friends I love like family, I think the magic cape was doing it's thing.  I was where I was supposed to be.