Friday, September 14, 2012

Another first!

It's been a crazy month of firsts! First my baby goes off to kindergarten and then my eldest starts to drive. Life flies by unbelievably quickly. As scary as it is to see your child get behind the wheel of a car, I have to admit, I can not wait to have another driver in the house. It will definitely help relieve some scheduling conflicts! On september 5 Ashley was exactly 15 years 6 months it was also Tylers first day of kindergarten so I took that day off to both drive Tyler to school but also to get Ashley that precious drivers permit! Bob happened to be home for a few days from Alberta too so it worked out great. He's much braver than I am, immediately after getting that permit in her hand he let her hop behind the wheel of his truck and take the freeway home!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My baby goes to school......

Wow, can't believe it's happened already but Tyler headed off to kindergarten this year! He joined Kendra up at Paterson. He has school Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays and he absolutely LOVES it. He has to be at the bus stop by 7 every morning but never has a problem hopping out of bed in the morning to get ready. 

Paterson schools require that the students wear school uniforms. Jeans and polo shirts in multiple colors. Along with grey zip up fleece jackets for the chilly days

Getting his breakfast after arriving at school!

Lining up to be introduced along with all the other new kids for the year

I hope he continues to love school like he has the first couple of weeks!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back to School!

As always summer went way too fast. I don't love it when it's time for the kids to head back to school. I enjoy getting back into somewhat of a routine but I hate the early morning rush and long days without the kids. It's become somewhat of a tradition to take pictures of the kids by the front door but Ashley thinks she's getting way too cool for that and the last couple of years has wanted to spend the night before first day of school at a friends house so they can all get ready together. I should just take 'first day' pictures the next day and that was my plan but haven't quite gotten around to it yet. I also keep meaning to get a group picture of the kids but we always seem to run out of time. Hopefully I will get one in sometime in this first month! Tyler started Kindergarten this year,,,:( Kendra went into 2nd grade and Brandi is in 7th!

Ashley is a sophmore this year. Her day starts with drivers ed class at the school at 7am! So we drop her off at 6:55 at school, then Kendra & Tyler at the bus stop in Prosser at 7 to catch the bus up to Paterson. Then hurry home where Brandi catches the bus at 7:10  and my extra kids for the day start arriving somewhere between 7:20-7:40. The day seems to start fast & furious! As in mom's usually furious yelling at the kids to go faster! It is pretty calm here during the day. I have a wide variety of kids during the day but for the most part, a 6 month old, a 1 1/2 yr old & a 2 yr old 4 days/week. Then another 1 1/2 yr old 2 -3 days/ week. A 4 yr old 1 day a week and then on Fridays the whole gang including Kendra Tyler & Peter who don't have school on Fridays. I know it sounds really confusing. It kind of is. I write it all down in my little life planner that I used to think only nerdy people used:) But really, the days tend to be pretty calm. Then around 4 things start to pick up again a little. Last of the extras usually leaves by 4:30 at which point I head out to meet the Paterson bus in Prosser around 4:50. Pick up Brandi from practice around 5:15 and Ashley from practice around 5:30. The evenings consist of trying to get homework done in between games, dinner and the occasional meetings. Brandi has games on Mondays & Wednesdays at 5:30. And GEMS is every other Wednesday at 7. Ashley has games on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 5:30. And has been having tournaments and horse judging competitions on the weekends. Starting next week Kendra will have practice two evenings a week and games on Saturdays. If that all sounds like a big mess of confusion and chaos that's because it is. I went and bought a nice size portable cooler, some dishes and thermoses and have a power inverter to plug into the back of my car to plug a crockpot into. As ridiculous as that may sound..... Kendra & Tyler are always starving when they get off the bus! I remember feeling that way after school too! And since many days we go straight from the bus to one of thier sisters games, I figure it would make the most sense to have dinner ready and in the car staying warm rather than having them load up on snacks and junk and drive-thru food until we get back home. So we may get some strange looks when I set up their little picnic in the bleachers and they start chowing down on lasagna or soups or stuff like that but at least I won't be buying them countless bags of popcorn from concession stands!

It's always harvest time somewhere....

Way back at the beginning of this year Oxbo merged with Ploeger out of Europe. We knew this meant lots of big changes for the company. One of the changes was suddenly Oxbo was involved in the manufacturing of yet one more piece of harvest equipment. A potato harvester.

 They sold 5 of those machines into Taber Alberta. But that of course requires somebody to be able to assemble, program and support those machines and well who better than Bob? Their resident Canadian who would have no problem going across the border to work?

So Bob headed up there around the end of July. He took the camp trailer with him and is staying at a campground in Taber (if you can really call a gravel parking lot behind a hotel a campground) but his options were pretty limited! He gets really really sick of staying in hotel rooms and thought the camper would be a better option.
The plan was that he would be up there for the arrival of the first machines, get them assembled and all dialed in and then another guy from Pasco would go up and relieve him for a couple of weeks and they would switch back and forth.
Several days after he had already been up there way too long the day finally came where he cleaned up the camper, loaded up some stuff and was anxiously awaiting his replacement. Should have know better by now. Yep. His replacement was denied entrance at the border. Guess who that leaves? The guy with the canadian birth certificate who can't be hassled!
In August he came home on a Friday, left Monday at 3am. So he was home a total of 3 days in the month of August.
Then comes September. He made it home early Saturday morning of labor day weekend and left again during the night Tuesday. When he left that Tuesday night he said he would be coming home on Friday for 4 or 5 days. hmmmm I was highly skeptical that this would actually happen since the last time he came home for a weekend everything up there went to $#%%! He assured me that he would be home, he had to be because he was bringing Steve home(a guy from Pasco who was catching a ride with him) I said, "nope. Steve will end up just catching a flight home"    Man I hate that when I'm right. As it stands right now he has no idea when he'll be home next. But harvest can't last forever! Sooner or later they'll get a good freeze up there and it'll be done. And since this is Alberta we're talking about, the freeze will probably happen sooner rather than later.
One day when he called and things weren't going so well here, I let him know very clearly exactly how I was feeling about this whole situation. And I think I probably wasn't very nice about it. Apparently he called New York and let the bosses know exactly how crabby his wife was getting  because about 20 minutes later I was told that when this is over we have an all expenses paid weekend away. Not to sound like an ungrateful brat but really? Sorry if I don't do cartwheels and handsprings. Going to take more than a weekend folks! All I know is that when this is finally over we're going on a vacation. According to the kids it will be a "FAMILY" vacation. Don't know where or when exactly but we're going!  Or maybe it should be a mommy vacation.......hmmmm...think I might be on to something there!

Labor day parade

Ashley's FFA teacher, Denine Trump, called her one day, a week or two before labor day and asked her if she thought her dad might have something they could use in the parade. In the past the FFA class has always just piled into the back of one of the pickups but this year she was hoping to be able to do something different. Well it just so happened to be that we had this big truck of some sort sitting here in our driveway for the past month! - Oxbo tends to leave random pieces of equipment parked in our yard through-out the year because we have room and we're kin of a central location-
So Bob was able to come home from Alberta about 3:00 that Saturday morning and that day they started working on the truck. It's a spreader truck of some sort so they had to build a false floor for the kids to sit on. He was really good about making sure the kids were involved in the work. He had Ashley & Jenna cutting all the boards to brace in for a floor. Then they screwed a bunch of sheets of plywood on top of the braces and we crossed our fingers hoping it would hold them all so they wouldn't end up in the bottom of the 'V' of the box!
In typical Bob style he decided it would not be complete without a kick butt stereo system. So he spent some hours out there wiring stuff and I scoured the internet for "appropriate" country/farm music to put on the ipod. Out in his shop he has the stereo system we got way back in the 90's when the speakers used to be 3ft tall, so he mounted those on to the back of the truck, wired them into some sort of inverter system, and I really don't know how but after a trip to radio shack for some adapters managed to get it working so that the ipod could be plugged in and playing at waaaay more decibels than was really necessary.
We brought it down to the school where a few more kids from FFA worked on loading some hay bales into it and adding some decorations.

Monday morning we had to be at the school at 7:30 to be judged and to hurry up and wait in line for the parade which didn't start until 10. They were hoping to at least place in the parade this year since they never have in the past and as we're sitting there waiting Bob & I decided to walk around and talk to some other people and check out some other entries when suddenly we hear a whole lot of cheering and yelling coming from the truck. Not only did they 'place' they got FIRST!! Bob happened to have a pack of zip-ties behind the seat - ok who am I kidding. He didn't "happen to have" he never leaves home with-out at least one pack of zip-ties! - so he strapped that trophy to the top of the truck and we were ready to hit the road!
It was a very fun weekend. Made for a long busy day but the response the kids got from the 'fans' was well worth it!  We had never gone to the labor day parade so we didn't realize how HUGE it was. I had bought 5 large bags of candy which I thought would be plenty but we ran out long before the end of the route. Lesson learned for next year. Much to Ashleys dismay we allowed Kendra & Tyler to ride along in the truck with the FFA kids...(only because the teacher said they could:) and it was definitely a great time for them too.
One other small hicup, besides running out of candy, was a fuse issue. As we got started the kids cranked the stereo in the back and it kept blowing fuses! This truck isn't the easiest thing to drive through city streets so as Bob is trying to pay attention to that I'm frantically combing through the manual, ripping various fuses out of the dash trying to figure out which ones we really can do without just to keep the speakers running. After all, without the music you lose the whole effect!;) Finally we figured out that if the kids in the back would just lower the volume about 2 decibels the fuse would stop blowing. So I tried to sort of climb out the window to yell instructions back at them. Thankfully we had all those glitches worked out by the end of the first block and it was smooth sailing from there!