Monday, October 26, 2009

Jack in Motion

A few months ago, the Flintstones car got parked helter-skelter off the back porch, and several gully-washers later, it toyed with a meterological career change. Its stint as a rain gauge gave Jack an idea.

Hmmm...that was great. Now what else?
...and CUT before you fall out backward and crack your skull open! Bathtime!


Truly, there is a hum of pregnant silence, randomly punctuated with the occasional tink and crackle of an object hitting the floor and soft baby grunts of concentrated effort. I now know the sound of a new bottle of canola oil thudding onto hardwood and the whisper-soft flutter of toilet paper being unfettered into the toilet.
This dude is a climber, too. Scary thought, that. Besides joining his toys in the drawer, he climbs onto the back of the couch and crawls back and forth. He climbs into the window seat. He even climbs in and out of his walker. He tried out a trip down the stairs while in his walker. Yes, really scary!
And he recharges soundly.

Some of the words he is saying:

STUCK!!!! I'm stuck!! I'm still stuck!!!!!
Dishstuck!! (This is stuck.)
Bompaw (Grandpa)
WHOA!!! Yook DIS!!
tractor (can't remember the pronunciation)
Mawball (Meatball, the cat)
Ah, ah, ah, ah, chaw (fake sneeze)
I did it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hat Day

Yesterday morning when I woke up and looked in the mirror, I knew it was going to be a hat day. And unfortunately, for me, though a baseball cap could disguise my bad hair, there was nothing in my closet that could compensate for the crazy day I was about to experience.

In the morning, in celebration of the beautiful weather, we picked up pecans. However, the kids were not enthused, especially Owen, who used his new toy skid steer to pick up ONE AT A TIME. We continued until our buckets were full, which happened to be right when Mrs. Stafford pulled in for Owen’s speech therapy. Walking toward the house was slow going. Helen spilled her pecans and wailed about her load being “too heaby!!” Owen was unhappy about giving up play time for working on his sounds, to say the least, and so I had to have a little talk with him elsewhere, out of Mrs. Stafford’s hearing distance. Awkward moment, I know. Meanwhile, Jack screamed so loudly about me leaving the room that Mrs. Stafford picked him up to settle him, which he didn’t buy.

During speech therapy, Mrs. Stafford called my attention to my beans that were boiling over, streaming down the cupboards and onto my just-mopped floor. Fortunately I got it cleaned up quickly and it didn’t stain this time. I switched the beans to a bigger pot and a different burner.

After lunch and rest time, I discovered that my beans had been burning on the stove. I salvaged what I could, but the bottom of the pot was covered with at least a centimeter of black crud, pock-marked with little bean imprints. I poured some water into it and let it soak, the only sane thing to do at that point in time. I put the beans back in the original pot, on the original burner.

I needed a break, so I called Jason to see what he was doing. He was digging peanuts, and bored out of his mind at his 2-1/2-acre-per-hour speed on auto steer, so he was willing to accept an Owen drop-off. Excellent!

Except that I misunderstood his directions out to the field, and I thought I could get there without driving on a road. I threw the kids in my Expedition, not bothering to strap them in or get my purse, and then I remembered that my gas tank had just hit empty. Since “freshly empty” and “appallingly empty” are two different things, I proceeded with my plans, driving very slowly over the bumpy field lane so I wouldn’t spill the coffee I had just brewed, trying to ignore the big “0 miles to empty” flashing at me. And then I approached a foreboding ditch and thought better of it, so I turned around and got stuck in some deep mud while backing into a field. And while I was waiting for my rescuer driving a big green tractor, Jack pooped, and of course, the diaper bag was hanging on its hook at home. So we sat in the smelly truck and laughed.

The on-and-off sprinkling rain that started after lunch allowed no field work other than digging peanuts. It picked up a bit, so Jason decided to quit for the day. That wasn’t so bad, for me.

After a supper of city-roasted red beans and rice, which Jason ate good naturedly, I kicked everyone out of the kitchen so I could work out my frustrations on the dishes and that nasty stockpot. And then Jack grabbed the empty juice bottle that was waiting to go out to the recyclables, because I am a good little girl and recycle plastic and cardboard, and, of course, juice dribbled all over my floor.

The tide turned while I was cleaning; Jason played hide and seek with the older kids; I made some fruit smoothies that turned out really awesome; and suddenly it was 8:00 pm, a very sacred time at our house! The kids went to bed and I got to work undisturbed on my backed-up typing.

At our house, some days are great, most are so-so, and a few are really bad. For those so-so-ish to bad days, thank goodness for hats!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Forgettable Corn Harvest

Corn harvest came in the latter part of our extremely dry summer. Fortunately, Jason and his dad hadn't planted a huge percentage of their acreage in corn, although I did hear Jason say that one acre would have been too many.

The kids were disappointed that there weren't more combine rides, but we took advantage of the few times the stars aligned, when the combine was close by, the kids weren't napping, Jason was in the field and not hauling a load to the elevator, and mama was feeling agreeable about lugging three children to a hot, sticky and dirty cornfield.

Helen was overall delighted about getting a combine ride with grandpa, although at this moment, her two-year-old female self was obviously upset about some not-so-trivial matter such as having to wear the wrong shoes or an equally horrible offense.

Owen insisted on climbing up by himself, coating his hands and clothes with a dusty black film that can only be known as combine dirt.

While the older two were getting their combine fix, little Mr. Jack had his first official tractor ride.

He was silent, for once.

Jason's guidance system frees him from the trouble of having to actually drive the tractor. To compensate for this loss, he reads magazines and watches movies while on auto-steer. After his first day of this strenuous activity, he came home to his frazzled wife, who had had a really bad day with the kids. She wasn't too excited to hear about the fascinatingly neat article he had browsed. On this day, he wasn't using the auto-steer function, because he didn't have it set up properly and was otherwise occupied with our little bundle of joy.

But the grass, or in this case, the tractor, is always greener on the other side. Here's John Deere's latest cab innovation. I had to wipe his farmer drool off the page before I took the picture.

Jack is sippin' the farming Kool-Aid.

We were pulling the grain cart, and Jim unloaded the grain from the combine while continuing to combine. Quite an impressive feat, especially with two inquisitive grandchildren in the cab!

Jack is still mesmerized.

We headed back to the semi to unload. I'm always amazed by the wide view from a tractor cab.

I think we might have another generation of farming!