Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Project 365: Week 16

Watching a lady bug on the front steps. I'm surprised she let it get this close to her!
Camera Roll-1379

....And it's spring again! You can see the snow melted off, but the trees have yet to pop out their spring green.

Back to winter. Again.

Sabbath preparations in the kitchen with the girls.

Spent an amazing two hours at the Music House Museum taking a tour with a local homeschool group. The guide was great with the kids and spent time showing them how to play various instruments, as well as explaining the history of music, how vibration makes sound and how it is amplified. We watched a silent movie, accompanied by the opera house organ, and the kids all found the slapstick humor hilarious!

A little bit of sunshine and suddenly he's going without a shirt. Snacking on carrots and ranch after school.


So excited for a good weather day to get out and enjoy the bike riding they've missed all winter!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring Tea Parties and Things My Kids Say

A conversation at the lunch table:


Joshua: "I haven't met the girl I'm going to marry yet."
Me: "No? It's possible you've already met her and you don't know it yet."
Emmy: "I'm going to marry Landon and live with Joshua on their cowboy ranch."
Elayna: "And I'm going to marry Roan." (giggles)
Me: "What about Lily, Joshua? Since the girls plan to marry her brothers?"
Joshua: "Lily's too old for me, Mom! She's THIRTEEN."
Me: "How about.."
Joshua: "No! I'm not going to marry Elliana either!"
Me: "Okay! Well, what about Gracie?"
Joshua: "Gracie doesn't believe the same things we do. I can't marry her."
Elayna: "I'm going to marry LEVI!"
Emmy: "You CAN'T marry your COUSIN, Elayna!"
Me: "What about Bri or Devon? or Lexi? You remember Lexi, right?"
Joshua: "No. I have no idea who you're talking about. Well, I remember them a little bit, but I don't know       them well enough to marry any of them. I just haven't MET the girl I'm going to marry, mom!"
Me: "You never know, son. A lot of things can change in 15 years."
Elayna: "Okay. I'll marry Landon."
Emmy: "NO! YOU are going to marry ROAN because I'M going to marry LANDON."
Me: "Oh-Kay then!"

Fly Friends:

It was a little too quiet upstairs the other day, so I headed up to check out what was going on. In Emmy's room I found two little girls with flies crawling on their hands. I asked them what they were doing. "Rescuing flies.", Emmy replied. Rescuing flies from the window sills of our old, old farmhouse has been a passion of hers since she was a tot. God gave her a heart for ALL His critters, what can I say? 
"Okay, go let them outside, then. And wash your hands."
"They can't fly, so they'd DIE if they went outside mom! That's why we're feeding them."
"What exactly are you feeding them?"
Grabbing their little hands, I quickly scanned for new wounds. (That WOULD be right up Emmy's alley. She's tough as nails when she wants to be!) Infinitely relieved to not find any fresh blood, *cringe* they were marched downstairs to set their friends free...outside. Of course, they washed their hands after, but immediately went outside to find more germs to replace those ones.
Emmy came in later with her first WORMS of the season.



I collected books as a child. I didn't collect worms, rocks, stamps, tree branches, or any of the other weird and not-so-weird things kids sometimes collect. Just books. I was a constant reader. Books were my friends. Books make excellent companions when all you have is brothers to torture you.  Maybe that's why Joshua loves books.
At any rate, my oldest daughter did NOT take after me in that area. 
One morning when she woke up, she came downstairs and, in the early morning light of almost-sunrise, she found the *ahem* tip of Oddball's torn ear, which had fallen off sometime in the night. She came running to me in the kitchen with it, proudly holding it up for me to see. 
"Mom! Mom! I found Oddball's EAR! Look at this! It's all fuzzy and cool and I'm going to KEEP it! I'm going to keep it somewhere safe and the next time an ear falls off I'm going to keep that one, too! I'm going to have a DEAD EAR COLLECTION, MOM!"
And with that she ran off to show her siblings her treasured new possession. 



Spiders are a fact of life here. I've mostly gotten used to it. I have my moments of being terrorized by one in the shower (WHY do they prefer their victims naked and helpless?) but usually I kill them and don't lose any sleep over it. Emmy, in her bug-loving little heart, doesn't scream when she sees one, though she'd rather not rescue a spider like she does all of his creepy friends.

Evelyn, however, does not share her sister's love of creepy crawlies. She screams for Emmy to come rescue her when she sees a ladybug.

Emmy always comes to the rescue.

A few weeks ago as I stood at the stove in the kitchen making breakfast, I heard a blood-curdling scream from the living room.  I ran, thinking the worst had happened and that someone had fallen onto the wood stove. The screams increased in volume and intensity in the few short seconds it took my adrenaline-pumping body to get to the scene of mass....confusion?

No blood. No burns. No gnarled bones sticking out of skin.

Just two screaming girls with tears streaming down their faces. Evelyn stood on her chair at the table, Emmy stood about 2 ft away, a look of absolute horror accompanying her shrieks.

"What happened?! What IS it?!" I yelled over the din.

"A SPIDER!!" Emmy screamed, her eyes glued to her baby sister.


"A SPIDER is ON her!!!", Emmy yelled, then burst into absolute sobs and dashed to the couch where she flung herself face down and cried.

Turning to a hysterical Evelyn, I grabbed her before she convulsed herself onto the floor. Setting her down, I quickly ran my hands through her hair and over her face, then stripped her and inspected her thoroughly.

No spider.

I searched through her clothing.

No spider.

She continued to scream and cry and say "Spider, spider.", so I continued to look.

No spider.

"Emmy, are you sure there was a spider on her?" I finally asked.

"Yes! It was on her arm!", came the muffled wail from the couch.

A shudder ran through Evelyn as she held out her arm and looked it over.

Still no spider.

Clearing the area around us on the floor, I knelt down beside Evelyn and inspected the floor for suspicious movement.

Staring intently, hardly moving, for several seconds, a tiny movement finally caught my eye a few inches from Evelyn's feet. Watching it for several seconds more, a saw a wispy 8-legged fairy no larger than the size of Evelyn's pinky fingernail discombobulatedly turn in circles.

Poor thing.

Poor tiny, tiny, doomed thing.

I pointed it out to Evelyn, who screamed again in response and clung to me as I reluctantly squished it. I mean, I think I squished it. I never could find what would be the itty-bitty remains.

Many kisses and reassurances and some burnt pancakes later, peace was restored to the house hold.

To make Evelyn panic: give her a bug. Or put a spider on her.

To make Emmy panic: Get someone else panicked.


Check back with me in 10 years about how this is going when I have daughters aged 17, 15, and 12.

Should be fun!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: True Stories We Made Up

Lck Publishing recently came out with their first book: True Stories We Made Up, a collaboration by first time authors Michael Johnson, David Beebe II, and Chris Johnson.

I was thrilled when I heard this book was in the works. I've known the Johnson brothers for many years, and though our paths haven't crossed since high school in reality, we've been able to be reacquainted through the social media explosion in our thirties. Sure, I already knew Michael had a knack for writing and a talent for artwork, but what I didn't know pre-twitter was that Chris has a killer sense of humor. How else would he find his tweets being displayed across billboards in Oklahoma while simultaneously growing an epic beard? And by "killer" sense of humor I meant "lady-killer". 

So, about the book. Each chapter is a short story written by one of the three authors and contains more than a little braggadocio as they recount the epic, mostly carefree days of grade school. That's right, grade school. Elementary education. As in, from toddlerhood through velcro shoes, then on to celebrating the freedom of napless days and summer vacations that weren't spent working or worrying. Or driving, for that matter.

Most people, including myself, don't usually think of the Glory Days of youth as being the preteen years. Most of my reminiscing is spent reliving the college years, to be honest. And yet, as I read the stories I found myself looking back into the coffers of those golden, innocent memories of childhood with a new appreciation. Maybe those were the glory days after all! When "complicated" was a spelling word to memorize before the test on Wednesday. When strategy meant figuring out how to trade your carton of milk for someone's maple bar without getting caught by the teacher. When everything was still possible. Even the Olympics.

Camera Roll-1220

Anyway, I found myself laughing often, particularly when reading "The Queen's English", "Two in the Bush", and "Blanket Monster". My husband wondered what was going on and I had to remind myself that sleeping children are the only children conducive to quiet mommy-time reading.

I cringed (and laughed) as I read "Mark of the Beast", but I have to appreciate the honest and straightforward way each author has incorporated the conservative Christian atmosphere of their childhood lives into these stories. They are humorous, without being crass. Honest without being apologetic, and heart warming without being sappy. 

I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of a second installment in this series, and, of course, of seeing the horizons expand for these new authors in the years to come.

True Stories We Made Up is available for purchase here at Amazon in paperback - $14.99 (currently on sale for $11.45) or for Kindle for just $8.99.

You can find Lck Publishing on facebook or Twitter

To follow the authors on Twitter:
Michael Johnson:  @TheMichaelDJ
Dave Beebe II: @TheDaveHimself
Chris Johnson: @TheChalls

Interested in winning your own copy? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Once again, to be sure this is understood: Lck Publishing is in no way affiliated with this giveaway, nor are the authors of the book: Michael Johnson, Chris Johnson, or Dave Beebe II. I received this book as my own personal property and my opinions are entirely my own. I received no compensation for the review or for the second copy that I will give to one lucky reader. Thank You. All questions and concerned must be referred to me.

Also: One of those options for entries is for "liking" my own Riverains Photography facebook page! Why? Because it's my giveaway and I can. And us starving artists got to stick together, right guys? ;)

Project 365: Week 15

"Chicks Dig Scars". You bet they do, tough guy! 

Sunday afternoon playing with LEGOs on the rug by the fire.

Last fall Colby finally got the longhorn headache rack for his truck that he's wanted for years...and this spring I finally got a picture of it! This was custom made by our friend Luke Merrit. Luke also custom built our indestructible, personalized "J" log rack that sits on our hearth.

"Why are you looking at me instead of letting me out?!" Tucker and his non stop wiggles is a surprisingly more difficult target for picture taking than a toddler.

A cold return to winter weather with freezing rain covering the world with a sheet of ice, a warm bowl of potato soup and sourdough toast was just the thing.


Just a snapshot of the crazy critter we call Twert. This is how he sleeps, and this is what his tongue looks like all the time. You just can't usually see it when he's upright; his furry overbite conceals a myriad of oddness.


A tiny taste of spring weather had the kids jumping for joy. The light rain falling didn't keep them indoors, and the barn held wonders and adventures anew. be this young and full of hopeful anticipation again...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

365 Project: Week 14

Watched over by Petrie the Pterodactyl on his graham cracker tower, the kids grudgingly get back to their school work.

Dusk. So mild, a little spring scent to the air. Too bad that didn't last!

Someone fell asleep in the car with gum in her mouth, then hid the gum stuck in her hair from me until it was nice and gummed in and hard. After an hour or two of softening it and working it out with olive oil slathered on, she was finally ready for a second bath to get nice and clean. She really didn't want a haircut but I was thisclose!!

Saying goodbye to Reb as we get ready to head home. Evelyn is the only one of my kids who has lived at our farm without any horses around. Yet she's very interested in them and has no fear at all! She loves her Breyers, was over the moon when we had the Sleigh Ride at Christmas, and when Reb wandered away from the fence she marched out after him saying, "I go get him!" until Auntie Raini rescued her. Reb wouldn't hurt a fly (unless it looked like a dog) but having a little caution around a big critter is still necessary, little one!


Riding bikes together in the cold Indiana sunshine. Of course, the day we left it returned to a happy, warm 70 degrees. And we drove home to....more snow.

At the playground, which was really cool and full of neat stuff you don't often see at playgrounds: a barrel roll, a big rock to climb on, and this four-tire twirling swing. This was my first attempt at trying some "panning" shots. Kind of fun and different!

After some time at the library the day before, the kids were enjoying their new books and some not-so-quiet reading time. Both of these boys are intense information-sharers. So about every 30 seconds one of them piped up with something they needed to read or point out to the other! It was so nice to be able to watch them together.

Another one from April 1 - because one of the best parts of Spring Break was being able to go enjoy some time girl time with my best friend! We shopped, went to bookstores, sat lazily and sipped coffee, and enjoyed some great food. Not a moment (or bite) of this was taken for granted!
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Saturday, April 06, 2013

Project 365: Week 13

The biggest reason there was no picture on Sunday? (aka my excuse and I'm stickin' to it.) The kids and I were driving to Indiana! Breakfast with cousin Levi to kick off Spring Break on Monday morning was a joy!

Happy Easter!
The first (and hopefully only) day of this Project 365 in which not a single picture was taken.

Watching the deer in the field at dusk.

It was an amazing day. First we went to watch the release of a rehabilitated Cooper's Hawk. Then on our way home we saw a Bald Eagle perched in a tree by the side of the road. When we stopped he took off, but flew low overhead, circling above the road as we slowly inched along the shoulder following him. Then a pair of hawks burst above the treeline and pestering the Eagle to leave their home alone. Quite the show was put on by the raptors - a very special treat for my little bird watchers as they are studying Flying Creatures of the 5th Day in school!

Sharing some reading time together on the couch.

You can hardly see him, but the black panther is, actually, centrally located in this shot! He's snuggling up with Emmy on the couch for a morning nap after a night of prowling through the barn.

Still feeling a little low, Elayna was falling asleep while doing schoolwork so I sent her to lie down on the couch. A few minutes later I found this. Poor girl had been holding on to a lingering cough and tiredness. Some sunshine and playing in the fresh air has her back to new now, though!


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