Thursday, April 30

My achin' wrist

Work is slowly moving forward on the chicken coop. I'm now rolling my eyes AT MYSELF, yep. Making this 'cute' coop is even pushing MY limits. I promise today, never to judge sweet hubby again, when he sighs REAL loud and shakes his head as I sketch out another project on a scrap piece of paper. I deserve such reaction. I do. Fact.

Yesterday I stained the shakes, painted the interior walls/ceiling, and painted the floor.

This is the color of the walls and ceiling. Why yellow? You ask? Well, I'll give you 3 possibilities and see if you can find the answer... can you tell I have been homeschooling for almost a whole school year and now I can't help but put everything in a multiple choice format, its a known side effect of being a teacher, documented fact.

Choice 1: When chickens see the color yellow it causes them to lay more eggs.
Choice 2: Yellow helps fight chicken depression. Improves their psyche. Nothing worse than a
depressed chicken... all the mopping and sulking... everyone and everything must be
happy and mentally sound on this here farm!!
Choice 3: I went to Lowes and this was the only gallon of exterior paint on the 'mismixed' table
and it cost $5!

So which is it?? I know this is real important stuff but don't waste too much of your day contemplating my coop interior design. Truly... make a guess and then get on with your day... step away from the computer... you can do it.

Tuesday, April 28

Ms Taylor is a big sister

This is my gorgeous niece Taylor. She became a big sister today! I get to have her ALL to myself for the next few days and I am thrilled beyond explanation.

When Taylor is on the farm... well, lets just say she leaves no stone unturned, no dandelion unblown, no kitty unpetted, and no puppy unscolded. She owns her world and I love watching her conquer it!!

I must admit that I become quite possessive and vain when I am around Ms. Taylor. Mine, mine, mine... I adore this gal. And when we are out and about and I get compliments on my daughter... um, well... I say 'thank you'!!! Like I had anything to do with her beauty!! The man at Lowes this morning said that she was so very striking... again, there I was with the 'thank you', not the 'she's just borrowed' or 'this is my niece'... nope, I just say thank you... should I seek professional help?

When it is time to give Taylor back to her REAL parents, I don't cry, or cause a scene... so I'm gonna take that as a sign that I am within my rights as an aunt. Denial is a beautiful thing.

Here is Ms. Itty Bit Bella Grace. She was born this morning at 7:05am, 6lbs. 10oz., 19.5". Perfection! Looks just like her big sister did as a newby.

Taylor got her little sister a balloon and lamb at the gift shop. But truth be told, once we entered the hospital room, Taylor was none too impressed with Bella and proceeded to scout out the room. While we were there, she pushed the nurse button twice, sent her mom on a little roller coaster ride in her hospital bed, called dad on the phone, ate granmom's biscuit, and toured the hospital for treats. Again... she came, she saw, she conquered... that's Taylor!!

Hopefully the other aunts will get better photos of Bella, my camera didn't handle the bright window light too well, so this is only a teaser. Bella is our 18th niece/nephew, such a blessing!!

Monday, April 27

You know it is a great Sunday when

...the day is gorgeous and a breeze is blowing

...everything goes very smoothly at church, no surprises like missing teacher, etc

...did not go shopping for Sunday meal but hubby seems more than pleased with mexi fries and bean burritos time to lay in clover (the very high, cushey clover, because BOTH our lawnmowers are broke and it hasn't been mowed in ages) by the barn

...two baby goats are extra playful and clumsy which is always a funny combination

...neighbors invite you over for icecream and waffle cones

...conversations are hilarious and children running happily amuck

...skeeters the size of birds are unable to actually lift you up and carry you away

...fell asleep, haaaard, as soon as your head hit the pillow

...have I mentioned before how much I LOVE Sundays... I have?!

Saturday, April 25

Boys of Summer

We so love baseball season!! Ty is on a very young team this year, no wins yet, ONE tie that us parents were sure to celebrate thoroughly... but the boys are wonderful and the after game treats and baseball cards keep them 'going'.

Ty scored his very first bonafide HOMERUN today!! All Ty... all the way to the fence. This is actually saying a lot because he is a lefty. It is very tough to pitch to a lefty. Ty has been hitting great this season and now he has the coveted HR. Wonderful day at the ballpark!!! Yippeeeee!

Thursday, April 23


We do!!! And I was only about a week off of estimating their arrival, grin. We have twins, 1 boy and 1 girl. Our neighbors goat had triplets yesterday too. Both mommies and all babies are doing great.

This is the proud mommy, Amelia. She is very attentive and an excellent mother.

This is the boy. He is very light brown with a stripe down his back and beautiful head markings. Christian got to name him... and for those that know Christian, this name will be NO surprise...Peanut Butter (peanut for short).

And here is our little gal. Savannah named her Calli. She is white with a black stripe on her back. She is already showing diva tendencies and is quite independent.

Switching from cute goats... here is our gorgeous neighbor, J. All the neighbor kiddos are baby goat pros and we sure appreciate their help.

Later today we will be attending Tad Mattle's funeral. Please keep his family... Dan, Terri, Andrew, and Duanta... in your prayers. It is an absolutely beautiful day to remember Tad!

Wednesday, April 22

you're FIRED.... who, me?!??



I haven't been on my 'A' game for the past few days.

In my role as Chief Architect on the chicken coop, I have made a teeeeeniny flub with the measurements of the roof. OoOooPs. Hired muscles, aka hubby, is helping me take a few steps BACK so we can move forward again. So I must say it... I just MUST... I guess I do need his help, yep, there... are you happy now?!!

Second role as 'when goat will give birth predictor', also a bust! Sweet little Amelia is still preggers and though her teets look to about explode, ouch, she has no baby yet. Good news is that our neighbors two nannies are having their babies. Savannah witnessed the first births and just called me on her cellphone to tell me that she is camped out in the neighbors barn watching the newest births. Savannah digs this stuff!

But not to be too hard on myself... my other 'jobs' seem to be just fine, meaning... wife, mommy, chauffeur, maid, cook, teacher, landscaper, interior designer, furniture refinisher, furniture maker, baseball fan, bookclub hostess, RS counselor, drawer organizer, booboo fixer, toiletpaper roll changer (seems noone else is able)... must I go on... I am so very exhausted now.

And so I must RE-hire myself asap... there is an underground fence for the dogs to install!

Monday, April 20

little treasures

Saturday, April 18

Thankful for sweet moments

Last night we had a Ward Activity. It was a Cultural Night where we had members that are return missionaries set up displays of their mission locations and all their memories. It was a wonderful night and the activity was well attended. It later became very important, a sweet moment I witnessed as the activity was winding down and the last mingling of the night was finishing up. Our family was standing at Shawn's Spain table and we were with the Mattle family. It was the father's birthday yesterday, Friday, and the family was discussing their options for the rest of the evening. The Mattle's oldest son, Tad, was there with his girlfriend and wanted to make sure before heading out with her, that he would not be missing anything for his Dad's Birthday. He was told to go and enjoy the evening and that the family had time later to celebrate further.

Devastatingly, Tad was in a fatal car accident minutes later. We received the call shortly thereafter with the horrible news.

I struggled all night long with terrible heartbreak and nightmares. For some reason, I have always been so troubled at night by sad news. And yet, this only serves to strengthen my testimony that we all chose to come down to this beautiful earth, experience this wonderful life, AND that we were aware that pain and grief were part of that chosen experience.

Earlier this morning as sleep eluded me for the 4th hour, I prayed for comfort. Comfort for the Mattle family, Comfort for our sweet ward family, Comfort for my mind so I could rest and be calm. And like so many times before, my Heavenly Father blessed me. The sad images in my head were replaced with the sweet moments of time spent with this wonderful family and their son last night.

This morning I am so thankful for prayers answered. I am thankful for the knowledge I have that families are forever. The Mattles will bear the pain of this separation, but WILL be together for eternity. And I a very thankful for a ward family that can shoulder such pain together. Extremely thankful this Saturday morning!

Wednesday, April 15

the GOOD, BAD, and UGLY

I'll start with the GOOD, that is always a good place to start!

We finally have a fence along the front of our property line. I just love the classic 4-rail farm fencing. Hopefully now our visitors can actually find our entrance. Soon we will be painting the fence white since the sun is too ruthless and the fence would never stay looking this good in its natural state. So thrilled to have this part done. Eventually (I use this word ALOT), this same 4-rail fencing will be around most of our property. Except for our little path to the neighbors... I hope that will always stay wide open for kids to run back and forth with ease and of course, animals and 4wheelers too.

Here are some shots of plantings I have started near the entrance of the property. Everything seems to be coming back beautifully. This is a Bloodgood Japanese Maple.

In several locations around the land, there are wild dogwood trees. They are huge and I love how architectural they grow when they have to fend for themselves in the wild.

Do you remember the Coral Bark trees I planted last fall in the circular drive island? Only one survived. These can be real tricky for me to keep alive. So I decided to move this lone survivor to a different location and it seems real happy here. The bark is an amazing color and the leaves stay this chartreuse color.

And I'll finish with my Ginkgo trees I also planted in the fall. They seem to be adapting well. I love these for their leaf shape and their fall color... shocking yellow!!

Sadly, this brings me to the BAD part of the post. We were robbed! Thankfully it was just our old Barn and not our home. So far we have only noticed the chainsaw missing. We usually have everything locked inside the stalls but we got relaxed and we are now regretting it. I can't even tell you how much my sweetheart loved his chainsaw. We use if for everything!!!

And what makes the loss of the chainsaw so BAD... is the following UGLY. We had quite a bit of damage during the recent storms.

During a storm this winter, at this same location, we lost a huge cedar that almost took out our silo. These trees are very compromised as they have grown up around some old equipment. There were a total of 4 cedars in this location, one already gone, another fell, another going very crooked, and I think we will just go ahead and cut the remaining cedar before it falls onto something we would rather NOT be flattened. But for now, this work will have to wait until we can budget another chainsaw. The kids are getting very tired of me reminding them to stay away from the fallen trees EVERYTIME they exit the front door, but I worry.

I can't end a post on such a downer, so we have more good news. It seems one of our goats is due to have a baby/babies in less than 48 hours. We adore Amelia and pray all goes well for her and her little ones. Savannah is so nervous and excited, she has hoped for this since we lost our baby goat Madi this winter. I'll keep you posted. I am now officially stepping away from this novel of a post!

Monday, April 13

I feel His love

I know that my Savior lives. I know that he loves me and showed that intense love so many years ago. I love imagining what my heart will feel when He comes again and I can embrace Him.

Our Easter weekend was one full of family time and a little excitement thrown in for good measure. We had a nasty storm blow through that left us piles of hail. This is the first time Ty has seen hail and he was amazed. He grabbed him a stash and it is currently in our freezer now... for what future purpose? No idea but he checks on his 'frozen balls' often to make sure they are doing OK.

In his excitement, he grabbed the closest shoes he could find. They happened to be his big brothers shoes... I feared that he would break an ankle as he ran around, but all bones were fine afterward, whew!

The HIT in the Easter baskets were kites. We actually have the wide open spaces to fly these and the kids were ecstatic. Ty told everyone at church that he got a Transformer kite.

But as it turned out... there was not much breeze out and even the kids Hero, aka Dad, got exhausted running and running to keep them up. So the next windy day... you KNOW what the Callahan gang will be out doing.

Savannah was the best pilot! She got her kite to stay up for the longest. Out of all my kids she definitely has the most 'stick to ITness'. Her kite makes me laugh. She is so tough to buy for. She is a classic tomboy, no pink, no frills... so the typical kites for girls with sparkles and tinkerbell would have caused revolt. Thankfully she thought the frog was great and the long leg as a kite tail was so funny.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. And once again I testify that I know that my Redeemer lives, I truly KNOW this and realize the blessing that this knowledge is.

Wednesday, April 8

can't. shake. the. feeling...

Have you ever had that eerie feeling that someone OR something is watching you? I have been struggling with this feeling for the past couple days. Seems to hit me the hardest while I stand here, in my family room.

Quite haunting. I prefer my normal feelings of being secluded out here in the sticks.

W.. Wh.. What is that?! Could this be a clue to my feelings of being stalked?

Well, hello spongebob! What are you doing on my ceiling? We're you innocently abandoned at my nephews birthday bash on Friday? Now that I know it is YOUR eyeballs watching me I feel much better. My son is begging me to let him shoot his BB gun in your general direction and I shall do my best to keep him preoccupied... but no promises.

I've been in quite a silly mood today... must be the rise in temperatures that has me in such high spirits. Must admit that our production level at school was below par though. Because we all know the fact of: silly mom = silly kids. So I promise to set a much better example starting tomorrow, promise.

Tuesday, April 7

Opening Day

Saturday was Baseball Opening Day. Such a fun time, we love baseball!! Ty was about to bust with excitement, and the fact that his dad is his coach this year... makes it even better.

Opening Day means lots of fun activities. They had lots of play equipment for the kids, and tons of naughty, yummy food for the adults.
Christian has 'aged out' for this league, so he stepped in as one of Shawn's assistant Coaches and also keeps the team stats/books. I feel the need to share a secret with you... I have a HUGE crush on Ty's coach. Cute, cute, cute. One of his smallest/youngest players got a great hit during the game and Shawn went bonkers so happy for him. The cubs didn't win their season opener but the boys got snacks AND baseball cards so all was well.

And where was my daughter... she has been bitten by a vampire. After seeing the Twilight movie last week, she has had her nose stuck in the series ever since. She found a shady tree and yelled a whoohoo every once in a while for little bro, but we all know that it wasn't Ty on her mind... it was dear Edward, snicker!!

Thursday, April 2

Naked Egg?! Scandalous!!

Here's another experiment you've GOT to try. It is meant to show the strength of membranes... but that sounds boring... so I call it the Naked Egg Eggs-periment, laughter!

What you need:
*Clear jar or glass with a wide mouth (to fit the egg inside)
*Lid or cover for the jar/glass
*Raw egg
*Clear vinegar

Place the egg in a jar and fill with enough vinegar to completely cover the egg. Notice the bubbles on the egg. Cover the jar and allow it to react for three to five days, watching for changes in the appearance and number of bubbles on the egg. When the shell is dissolved, rinse carefully under water in the palm of your hand and look at and feel what is left.

What Happened?
The outer shell of the egg is made of calcium carbonate. Vinegar reacts with calcium carbonate to produce carbon dioxide, which is the gas in the bubbles that form on the surface of the egg (like the bubbles in soda pop). As the vinegar dissolves the outer shell, the cell membrane (rubbery layer that surrounds the inside of the egg) is exposed. The membrane lets water in, but does not react to the acid from the vinegar. The yolk and egg white (albumen) stay safe inside the membrane. You now have a 'naked' egg.

Additional experiment:
Put the 'naked' egg in water for one day. How does the size and shape change.

This is amazing, goooey, gross FUN!! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 1

Little bit by little bit...

We are moving forward with some big goals for 2009. I keep telling my family that as long as we are moving in a forward pace, no matter how slow that pace can sometimes be... it is still better than falling backwards... deep, I know!! So here are a few of our most recent leaps!! This is the before photo of the area next to our old barn. We currently have the animals at this barn but eventually they will be moved to the back of the property and this entire area will be fruit and vegetable garden space.

Tah Dah! We have 8 of our raised beds constructed, filled with soil, and a few already planted. These beds measure 4' x 12', so we have quite a bit of space for now. When the animals are moved, that whole space will be planted also, but not this year. I want a pumpkin patch for kiddos to come and get pumpkins each year, so fun! Please Note that there ARE 2 donkeys that are being naughty and snooping in the beds. We will eventually have a fence around this space too... but who knows when that will get on the 'to do' list, so for now we just have to shew all unwanted animals out of the garden space, grrrrr.
We have several burnpile areas on the property. But there is one burnpile that we primarily camp around and we kept dumping firewood around. It was an awful mess. So we sunk some poles and tree trunks in the ground and hope to keep the firewood at least a little organized. I had the kids stack the current wood in our 'racks' and I think they did a great job! I think it is actually pretty... Savannah says I am crazy, while that may be so, I think wood is gorgeous!

Anyone up for a coop raising?! We have started the chicken coop. Don't look too close... this is my first building project and I am the chief architect. I've researched what chickens need and have hopefully covered all the major points. And as always... cute and whimsical, are ever on the top of my list. Christian quickly pointed out to me that the roof lines were uneven... dear, dear, boy... don't you see the genius in the asymmetrical? I'll keep the boy, even though he makes pointless observations, simply because he reminds me of a Mark Twain character, can you guess which one?! He is filthy from head to toe, barefoot, and pants rolled up... see the resemblance?

Here we have it 'skinned'. Shawn has done a great job being the muscles of this job and letting me have some creative license. He was none too thrilled with the detail of the arched door (simply because it will be tougher to do) but I reassured him that it was a necessity! It ties into the arches on the house, specifically the carriage house and house garage doors that face the coop. ONES coop must coordinate with the human living structures, right?, RIGHT!! So the door will be arched... and the front window will have shutters too. Why? Cause it will be cute dear husband, cute, cute, CUTE!!! Next task, to finish the roof. Then I need to wait till next paycheck and I will start the cedar shingles, keeping them raw and fabulous. Just wait, you won't be able to contain the ooohs and aaaahs at this precious structure when it is done. Of course that will be until the chickens get ahold of it and poop all over it... but for the split second it is prestine, I will be happy!!