Saturday, January 31, 2009

Panic on the Farm

Being that I can't keep a secret for the life of me and I love to talk ... I have to tattle on myself about today's happenings.

Late this morning I was putting dishes away in the kitchen and I kept hearing this weird cracking noise.  It was consistent and baffling and loud enough that I could track it down.  It came from within my pantry ... and from within the circuit breaker box.

Instant panic rose up in me, and all I could think about was saving my children.  Every thing and every scenario of my emergency plan played out in my head as I called Von on the phone and told him the circuit breaker box was cracking and sizzling.  I saw in my head that my house could explode or burn down before I could get my kids out ... the fear almost paralyzed me, but I knew their innocent lives were in my hands and I could keep myself together.

He was vaccinating cows at one of the barns down the road, and I was alone in the house with three four year old's.  They weren't dressed, and didn't have shoes on and it was snowy and icy outside and I knew I could not carry all three of them out of the house by myself.

I could hear him becoming short of breath as he was running to his truck to come home.  He'd told me to stay by the box and watch what happened.  No, I couldn't smell heat, and no, I didn't see fire ... and yes, it was still making that noise.  In the end, I couldn't just stand by that box.

The panic in my voice was evident to these little kids as I ordered them to get their boots on, and in between running to get their coats, and watching the breaker box ... they did what I told them to do.  They stood in a line at the back door, flattened against the wall and waited for the emergency that I was telling them was happening.  They didn't cry ... they just stood there with big eyes and were ready to run.

Within a couple of minutes of my phone call, Von came home.  As he listened to the box, I could the see the fear in his eyes ... when suddenly he said to me, "listen and tell me if it stops" ... then he went outside.  Within seconds, the noise stopped ... then started again.

As he came back through the door, all the fear that I had previously seen was gone from his face.

Then he said to me ....  "that noise is coming from the icicles that are melting off the gutter".

Then I said, "I knew that! I was just practicing my emergency evacuation plan .... and you passed!"

Well .... I really didn't say that ... but I did give a sick little laugh before I almost passed out  .... and told the kids that the coast was clear!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow and Ice

Yesterday was the first day I was out and about after a cruel Snow and Ice Storm pelted the mid-west. We got layers of snow and ice, then about 8 - 10 inches of Snow on top. Yes, it was beautiful, but the destruction it bought with it was pretty cruel.

I worked yesterday, and as I drove through the city I shot a few pictures through the windshield of my car. Trees were broken and down in most every yard I passed.

Limb and power lines were still falling ... but that was only what people could see on the outside. Countless people and families are still without electricity.

What most of us with electricity and shelter don't know or think about, is the many people that are in hotels or shelters ... and some of those people are severely disabled. Severely disabled and sharing a room with three or four others in their same situation, along with their caregivers.

It was very eye opening to me ... and even though I do a drug exchange monthly in group homes, seeing these young adults outside of their comfort zone, and outside of what is their normal left me very shaken. It was very hard ... both for them and me, and they have my prayers.

Yes, the ice and snow on the trees are beautiful ... but what's behind the scene is unknown unless you're living it.

I stood in the lobby of a very well known hotel yesterday as a thin worn out woman came in and ask for a room for her eighty-nine year old Father. She had come from Madisonville, KY to Evansville in hopes of finding a warm room to take care of her Father. They told her there were no rooms available and they were suggesting she drive as far away as Terre Haute, Indiana.

When I saw the tears and the defeat in her eyes, I had to step forward. I ask the Manager that was talking to her if it would be possible to bunk up some of the employees and their children that were staying there. I told her that my sister was a Chef at the Hilton Inn across the street and I knew that in order to keep the hotel running they were providing rooms for their staff and that the parents and kids were in separate rooms. I ask her if they were doing the same thing and if they could give this woman a room. I also said that if she could not or would not, I would call my sister across the street and ask her to give up her room and bunk with her teenage son.

What I really wanted to say was that I would love to call the TV station and ask them to ask the Hotel to give the woman and man a room ... but that was just the thought that crossed my mind. For a second or two, I felt like I was in a stand-off with that manager and she was waiting to see if I was going to back down. I couldn't ... it just isn't in me.

So ... thank you to the Drury Inn in Evansville, Indiana for doing the right thing. Even though I'm a nobody ... I'm proud of you, and I slept better last night knowing that an old man was warm and being taken care of.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Playing Possum

If it wasn't for the grin on their faces ... I would have believed that they really were asleep.

Their newest most favorite treasure today is a BOX. They both sat there for so long that I truly thought for a few seconds that they really were asleep. But they weren't ... just playing Possum!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snowy Play Day

Today was the first time my children have ever played in the snow.  Yes, I know they're four years old and I should have let them at least had a taste of snow, but I was so anal about them getting sick that we bypassed all the snow and hibernated in the past three years.  But today was the day .... and it was wonderful.  They had so much fun and now we can't wait to do this again tomorrow!

The four-wheeler wouldn't start so guess who pulled them around, up and down and all over?!  I think he had just as much fun as these kiddo's.  Not once did they complain and want to go in the house.
I think this is one of the biggest snows we've had in years and years.  All our neighbors were without electricity ... except us.  Thank you God ... it would have been a hard day!   ... and since all our neighbors are all Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, they ventured down here ... some for Spaghetti and some to play in the snow!

Laura (cousin and Meg's BFF) taught them about icicles before they had a "ice sword" fight which included kicking up snow and having a blast!  Thank you Laura ... you made their day fun.
If it wasn't for all the layers of ice I think they might have sunk in the snow.  No snowballs or snowmen this time around ... the snow was like powder ... just lots of it!

I just had to get a close up of each one of the kids.  I love seeing the sparkle in their eyes. This is Jay.
This is Sam.  He had a hard time getting this bundled up ... he just didn't quite get the "layer up" thing.  But in the end, he did it.  

.... and Meg.  She would have stayed out all day!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dear Littles - Chapter Fourteen

Dear Littles,

Today has been a wild day .... we're pretty much snowed and iced in, and you're having the wildest time taking advantage of it, and tomorrow is going to be worse. Lots more snow .. and lots of freezing rain. Someday when you're all grown and the winter ice and snow comes ... think of me and how much I really hated snow and ice. Think of hot chocolate and warm blankets and the snuggles and books and all the hugs we've had today and remember the days of being little. If I could only stop time and keep us all like we are today ... I would do it in a heartbeat. I treasure every minute I have with you, and I thank God every time the thought of you crosses my mind.

Today I had plans of bundling you up and going out to build a snowman, but your Dad said that the snow wouldn't stick. Sam, no matter what either one of us says ... you always have it all figured out, and you immediately told us that we "could use glue, and glue the snow together." When we laughed at you ... you said the glue would make it turn into "icing." Sam, your brain is always in high gear and always clicking. I love that about you!

Old farmhouses are always cold ... and in the winter, our floors are no exception. I can't keep socks on you no matter how hard I try, and your little feet are like icicles. I bet we've gone through at least a dozen pair of socks today. So I took advantage of those cute little feet and pulled out my camera.

One thing I've never noticed ... and I thought I knew everything about you ... is that your pinky toes are all the same. They all turn in and tuck under your other toes. I had to laugh because your Dad's little toes are exactly the same. You all have little crooked Siekman toes. All six of those little pinky toes!

The highlight of my today is right now ... as I sit here and type this letter to you I can hear you in the living room playing "Church." I peeked around the corner at you and I saw the cutest thing. Jay, you and Sam are standing on the end of the couch holding books, and Meg, you are standing facing them with a book open in your hand. Of course I grabbed my little voice recorder, and somewhere in all the yelling, I could make out the tune of "You've Got the Whole World In Your Hands." How true that is. (When I figure how to make a link out of the .mp3 on my desktop, I'll add it here.)

I love you so much.


Back by Popular Demand

Here you go .... after quite a few emails that wanted to know why Meg wasn't in the picture ... here they are!  The Creepy Eyed Kids! (I can't wait until this phase is over ... :)

Creepy Eyes

Two certain little boys were hamming it up this evening for my camera.  They ran circles around me singing, "creepy eyes ... creepy eyes ... we love you Mom!"  Well, I love you too creepy eyed little boys!

It looks like I'm going to have a snow day tomorrow with these little creepy eyed boys and their creepy eyed sister.  We're getting pelted with freezing rain pellets and the snow is starting! 

This evening Von was explaining the ice and snow to the kids and I heard him tell them that the roads were getting salt on them .... and Sam said, "will they put Pepper on them too?"  Man, you just gotta love all these little things they say and hang onto to every little word ... some day all these little things will be all grown up and our house will only echo in all these great memories ... and it's happening so quickly.  It seems like yesterday that they were just learning to talk.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


This morning in church Jay leaned over and whispered in my ear.  He had a really shy look on his face and he was getting ready to say something that he thought was a bad word.

He said to me (talking about the minister), "He said a bad word."

Me:  what did he say?
Jay:  he said .... "substitute."

I was baffled and said, "that isn't a bad word."

Then Jay said, "yes it is ... he said "toot" in church."

Awww, I least I know he was listening!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Kitchen .... Again

Here's the computer drawings of the kitchen ... Yes, I gave up the range hood! It was either that or the legs to the island like thingy since the 4 legs alone cost as much as that gorgeous wood range chimney. A girl just can't always have it all you know!

So ... here's what I want to know. I'm thinking I'm wanting a stainless steel counter top on that thing. What do you think? Since my appliances will be stainless, I thought it would make a great work area and would go great with the stove and fridge. I'm also doing the back wall in a designed copper which will match the the long counter top. I'm thinking it will help lighten it all up a bit since there is a run of cabinets across that fifteen foot wall and they wrap around both ends.

Here's another angle. Oh, by the way ... I did away with that half pantry and opened it all the way up ... so I can display my Fiestaware Dishes. I love those things in all their bright colors! The dining room walls are going to be Robin Egg Blue and accented with Chocolate and Burnt Red! That should match all that Fiestaware! The only other change here will be the corner wall cabinet will have a glass door. Aren't computer programs amazing? It looks so realistic!

... and here's the opposite end. Again, I love the cabinets with no doors the best. I have until Monday to decide whether or not to add some stacked drawers small spice drawers under them all the way down to the countertop. What do you think?

These pictures make the cabinets look a bit like Oak ... but ours will be Cherry with a Spicy like Sunset stain. Love it! Like I've said before, my kitchen is galley ... long and skinny. Like 75 inches wide skinny! I think I've accounted for every single little bitty inch of space in there.

I bet Dawn at Lowe's would like to wring my neck as many times as I've been in there changing up things .. but let me tell you, she's awesome! That woman is a miracle worker. The funny thing is, it was all I could do to sit there beside her and watch her work her magic. If you know me ... I would have loved to have grabbed that mouse and started clicking away! She'd have been booting me right out the door!

So can you picture it? All those Fiesta dishes in all those cubby holes and a Robin Egg Blue room? I'm not sure yet what little bit of wall space I'll have in the kitchen, what color it will be .... I'm thinking maybe a light Pistachio or a Burnt Red?

Help ... I need opinions! Oh ... and MM needs to take a chill pill!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kitchen Remodel: in for the long haul

Here's a picture of the cabinets I've chosen for my 'new' kitchen. 

Everything has been worked out for me to utilize every little bitty square inch of space that I have.  Along the back wall, it will look just like the picture ... but the Island will look different.  Half as small on the back side, and the legged side will wrap around a short wall with cabinets above it and come out into my dining room.  So, really it will be a island/hutch/bar/cabinet/hiding place/storage kind of thingy!  Not getting the picture, eh???  Me either ... really!  But that's what the designer man came up with and I love it!

I went for a farmhouse look in the cabinets and I love the legs on the Island, but the REAL reason I choose these cabinets is that I LOVE the range hood/light.  Of course mine will be against the wall and will be centered in the kitchen, and I absolutely LOVE the chimney of little drawers.  I figured I'd skimp on other things such as not getting a tile floor and getting Laminate counters instead of ROCK!  Oh, and some of my wall cabinets will have glass doors.  I couldn't skimp on that either.

This has been a long time coming for me.  MM and I are as different as night and day ... when I say that, I mean total opposites like trying to force magnets together that are turned backwards!  But he's coming around ... slowly and with a bit of force.  He could literally live out of a paper sack and be happy.  I can't.  But I can be happy out here if I have him and a new kitchen.  :)

Honestly, we need a new kitchen.  It's the only room in the house he had not redone.  It has the original cabinets that aren't 'mouse' proof and have no backs, and that I can't live with.  The rest of the house is good, nothing that a good color change won't fix ... and a new decor!

Eight years ago, when I came here ... to this farm, I had a great vision of how and what I would do to this house ... then life happened.  His parents death, miscarriages, triplets and a long rough road getting them to this stage ... but now, life is easy again and my vision is rearing it's head.  I'm getting sublimal messages that wake me up in the middle of the night with little messages and images of flooring, appliances, paint colors and faucets!  It's time.

I'll keep you posted .... and I'll let you know if MM doesn't recover from this project.  If not, I guess we won't be moving on to ripping out the west side of the staircase and making the hallway and stairway just one big opening!  If I was betting ... it's not in the cards anytime in the near future.  Oh well ... I can dream, eh?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Feeling Lucky

This evening as I was driving home from work I witnessed a pretty bad wreck.  I was on the interstate and out of the corner of my eye ... in just a split second ... I saw a white car coming over the median airborn towards me.  In just that split second I was slamming on my brakes, not even thinking of what was behind me.  The little red pickup truck that was beside me, was in front of me just enough that the white car hit it head on.  70mph.  Immediately upon impact, both cars started spinning, and I drove straight between them as they twirled into the ditch onto opposite sides of the interstate.  Debris was flying and landing on my car, and I was driving through broken pieces of headlights and windows. 

I immediately came to a stop and ran back to help, and the man in the car that came to a stop beside me caught up with me, and told me that he was a off duty police man.  As we ran I told him that I was a nurse and ask him what he wanted me to do.  I went to the white car while he ran over to the red pickup truck.

The young man in the car was very dazed and in pain, but completely oriented and awake.  He is very lucky.  I stayed with him as other police officers arrived and gave them my report as they radioed the medics that were coming in a ambulance.  He had no visible injuries, but felt like his chest was crushing and had a excruciating back and neck pain, and his fingers were tingling.  He was able to tell me that two years ago he had broken his neck in a diving accident.  I held his head against the backrest to stabilize it with one hand while holding his hand with my free hand.  He was moving everything, but breathing shallow.  His heartrate was stable and he didn't appear to be going into shock.  Most likely he'd slammed against the steering wheel since he was still upright in his car.  His seat beats had sheared with the impact.  How he stayed in that car could only have been God's gift to him.  His windows were gone.

As the medics arrived and started working with him, I wished him the best and walked away.  I think every emotion I had came out as I got back into my car.  I had come so close to being the other victim, instead of the woman that he'll remember as the one that held his head and hand and prayed for him when he had a wreck on I-164.

He had told me that his wife was pregnant and this is his first child.  He ask me to call his Mother.  I silently prayed for him and told him that he was a very lucky young guy.  I think I'll always remember that look on his face when he ask if he was going to be okay.  He had the face of every Mother's son ... and the face of every young child's Father.  I saw my own children in his face as I thought about how in a split second of time, how life can change.  How fleeting life really is ... and how we don't know what our tomorrow's will bring.

I thought about how I was just driving carefully along and how in just a brief second of time, I was spared from being in the accident, and if I had been ... would I have lived or been okay.  Would I have been as lucky as this young man ... or would my children have lost their Mother. 

As far as I know everyone will be okay.  The driver of the red pickup truck and his child was lucky too.  They walked away.  Shook up ... but very lucky.  As I drove away from the crash site I could see all the flashing lights in my rearview mirror ... and I called his Mother on my cell phone and gently told her that Matt had been in a wreck ... but was very lucky and appears to be okay.  That is probably the best news that she could ever get.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chicken Frying Fool

All the kids were here last night ... and I was ordered to fry chicken. Lots of greasy fried chicken! We had a Happy Birthday Everyone" party since it's pretty rare to get everyone together these days. As it ended up all of my kiddo's ended up here and all the grandkids except Carter. He's a little snotty right now and was with his Mama. Today's Carter's birthday as well.

Today is Jared's birthday. He's twenty-four now. Unbelievable in my eyes. He was my baby until my little babies came along ... now he's my big baby! Last month Joey and Mariah had birthdays and Elissa's was in October! Juli and Josh will have to wait for the Summer "Everyones Birthday Party!"

Since Jared and Elissa didn't make it home for actual Christmas last week, we celebrated that too last night. The kids had a ball opening presents again. I can now say that Christmas is officially over for this year!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy "Birth" day Trace

Isn't this a beautiful new family?! Little Trace Cooper P. was born right at noon today. What a lunch hour treat I got! I think I'm in love with this little guy and I even got a tiny little snuggle in when I sat my camera down for a bit.

Have I even told you all that I think I love birth photography better than anything on this earth. It's so nice to photograph fat full term little babies that get to room in with Mom and Dad and don't have a NICU stay. This is the way it's supposed to be!

Way to go Mom and Dad! You did good ... he's Beauty-Full!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year ~ 2009

Happy New Year Everyone!

I am sitting here all alone enjoying the peace and quiet and knowing that my littles are all tucked up in their beds sound asleep. I kind of miss the excitement of bringing in the New Year, but for this year, I think I'm enjoying knowing that everyone here is asleep.

Bring on the New Year with health and wealth and good times!

On a another note, I just talked to all my big kiddo's as well to wish them a Happy New Year! Here's the run down:

Josh - I believe my oldest son is at a party. He thinks it will help ease the loneliness and heartache that he's had lately with the breakup of his family. Mama doesn't believe in parties! They only get you in trouble. He has partial custody of Luke and it's been trying times the last few months or so to get through all the battle and bitterness that breakups can cause. He doesn't get Carter as much as he'd like, but as Carter gets older I'm praying that everything falls into place, for both Josh and Amy. So Happy New Year Josh ... Mama loves you even if I did get the big brush off just a few minutes ago when the bells were ringing! I understand ... I'm just your Mother! I have this feeling in my soul that Josh is in for some very big changes in his life and that he is on the verge of a very radical soul cleansing with God as his Pilot. My prayer and wish for Josh in this new year: Hope, Happiness and Trust in God.

Juli/Derek - Juli and Derek spent the evening with a few friends and all the kids. It sounds like they spent New Years Eve entertaining little folks! Juli said they played Wii and watched movies! It's been a good year for Juli. She married Derek this past August and not only did she find a wonderful husband ... she gained a beautiful little boyfriend named Landen. She's also been busy in school finishing her degree to become a Engineer. You go Juli! Derek works for a Coal Mine and can you just imagine being 6'6" and working underground!? That guy needs to go back and finish his Architect degree. One semester to go and he'll be done. I'm going to have to have a talk with that boy! My prayer and wish for Juli in this new year: Joy and Faith

Joey/Mariah - Joey called me at exactly midnight on the dot a little bit ago and I could barely hear him yelling at me. For the past three days, this kid has been out in Kansas City, MO with 16,000 other young adults at IHOP (International House of Prayer) at Mike Bickel's 'One Thing 2008' conference. Joey's words to me after telling me Happy New Year was, "Mom ... just listen to this! The concrete floor is shaking. There is over 16,000 people in this building praising and worshiping God at the same time. It's an eruption Mom!" How lucky am I that he chose to call his Mom to listen to it. Joey's dream is do an internship at IHOP for three months after graduating from St. Louis Christian College next year. Joey and Mariah will be getting married July 18th of this year and we have a lot of wedding planning to do. My prayer and wish for Joey in this new year is: Peace and continued love for God.

Jared/Elissa - They spent the evening in a more quiet manner with some friends. My kind of evening! They're settling into the "old married folks" routine. I like it that way ... I don't have to worry about them being out on the roads! Elissa has two years to go in Optometry school and they'll be moving back home. If all goes well, Jared will teach around home and Elissa will start a practice. I miss them so much. But I'll be seeing my Mississippi kids here this Saturday to celebrate Christmas and Jared's birthday. I promised that kid of mine some homemade fried Chicken ... now I've gotta keep my promise and follow through! It doesn't seem like they've been married for a year and a half. I'm still waiting for them to walk through the door like they did a lot while they were still in college. How does a Mom let her baby grow up?! My prayer and wish for Jared in this new year is: Strength and Love.

As a Mom to seven kids I think my prayer and wish for myself this coming year is all of the above. I'm praying for Hope, Faith, Love, Happiness, Strength, Joy, Peace, Trust and for my kitchen to be finished!

Do you have prayers and wishes for your kids and yourself? ... and may you all be blessed and have a wonderful New Year!