Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What it's Like to have a Twin...

I was thinking about my twin sister this morning.
Actually, I think about her a lot.

People often ask us, "What is it like to be a twin?"

Well, honestly, I don't know what it's like to not be.
It's all I've ever known.

Here's to you Lisa.  What  a fun life we've shared together, now that we are almost 76.

This is us when we were only 16 hours old.  I love my mom too much to post the picture that was taken 24 hours prior to this.  Just imagine a cute little brown haired toothpick with a ginormous (yes, that is a word) beach ball underneath a tarp that they used to call maternity clothes back in the 70's.  
Oh, and we might have been especially cruel in that we were born in the nice toasty month of August.

By the way.   Lisa, I'm sorry your ear is still smashed because I apparently sat on it for nine months in the womb.  
Isn't it funny to think what we did in there together?
I wonder if one day you said, "Hey!  I just grew an eye!  What about you?"
And I would have replied, "No, I can't see yet,  but apparently my ears formed because I can hear you."
And then you would say, "Last one out of the womb is a rotten egg!"

Apparently when  you are a twin your mother cannot resist dressing you alike.
I think we stopped doing that around first grade.
But I do remember having TWO of every single toy we owned.

The other funny part about being a twin is you really are born learning to share.
Sharing has never been a problem for either of us.
In fact, we often laugh about how we are too nice.
We'll blame that on our "twin" condition.
By the way, this Easter I had the chicken pox.
But apparently it wasn't bad enough that it kept me from hunting eggs and going to church.

Twins obviously like to pick their noses just like any kid.
And wear panty hose.

And twins also like to make weird faces at photographers.
Lisa must be thinking "Come on you idiot.  Get this picture taken already."
I was probably thinking, "This is so boring.  Why are we dressed up on a Saturday morning when we could be watching the Smurfs?"

Here we are playing with our cocker spaniels Mork & Mindy.
I won't tell you the dirty names we came up with that year to call them instead of Mork & Mindy.  Seriously.  I don't know what was wrong with us.

As you can see, every milestone is shared together.
Birthday cakes have both of your names on them.
Christmas mornings were always spent making sure we opened our gifts at the exact same time because you often got the same thing, sometimes in a different color.
Classes in school...there we were again together, "those Masterson twins".
And graduation day...right by each other's side.

I don't really know why I felt the compulsion to post this picture other that it made me laugh out loud.  Man, who knew that Lisa was such the cute wranglin' cowgirl?
And who dressed us in these outfits anyway?
I know we grew up in Texas and all, but wow.  Just simply wow.

There are so many incredible things about being a twin.
Except for the million times that people get your names confused.
But other than that, you get double the childhood memories.
What I don't remember, Lisa does.  And vice versa.
I don't really know why God gave us each other, but I'm so glad He did.
Even though we live far apart now, rarely a day goes by without a funny text, phone call, or some way to communicate.
I love my twin.  My sister. And my best friend for life.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie...

 Springtime is like crack cocaine for my soul.
Mind you, I've never tried crack, but I hear it is highly addictive. 
That is what projects and being outdoors does for me.  Some days I really revisit my choice of Agricultural Economics as a college major and wish I had chosen horticulture or landscape architecture instead.
But oh well.  What do 18 year olds know anyhow?  Hee hee.
This springtime passion is also seriously interfering with my intention to blog.
But hey, don't blame me.  Blame mother nature and this amazing simultaneously freaky warm spring we are having.

So the other day Evie girl and I set out to do some yardwork.
I went a little psycho and had 7 yards of mulch delivered to our driveway.
It was like a big dirt mountain.  (Or the cats considered it one giant litterbox.  Thats gross.  Nevermind).
Only I forgot to tell the guy where to unload it and it made backing cars out of our garage extremely difficult for the past few weeks.
Aren't our tulips pretty?
I love things that grow back every year.

But before too long we started hearing rumbles of thunder.  The sky grew this pretty color of blue and it made me want to take a picture of it.
That way I can take it into the paint section of Lowe's someday and ask the paint man (or lady) to match it for a bedroom color.
Wouldn't that be beautiful?

And since it started pouring cats and dogs and I was thinking about paint,
I decided to drive to Lowe's and get some paint for these rocking chairs.
About four years ago my sweet friend Mary Kay and I were garage sale-ing.
Or sailing.  Or saling.  Isn't that a verb?
We found these bad boys for a dollar each.
You know what they man's trash....blah blah blah.

After giving them a bit of a sanding, Evie and I set to work.
Like any good type A mom who wants something done the right way but doesn't want to hurt their kid's feelings...I had her work on the "boxes" in order to practice swirly patterns that we might need for the rocking chairs.
Is that lying?
Or creativity?
Sometimes it's a fine line, I suppose.

I'm so glad during our painting that Mouse and Picky Picky didn't stress out over the storms or the paint fumes while they cuddled up next to Grace's barn shoes.

Ta da!
Why did I wait four years to paint these chairs?

The funny part was when we went to put them next to our front door, I realized the columns and front door could use a fresh coat of paint.
I think I painted anything that stood still that day.
I got so carried away I almost forgot to pick up Grace from school.
(I've done that before.  It is not a good thing).

That day totally reminded me of the children's book, if you give a mouse a cookie.
Because you know if you do, then he'll want a glass of milk to go with it.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Stuff Evie says...

So if you ever are around our littlest, you know that stuff just flies out of her mouth.
Mostly random.
Sometimes insightful.
Occasionally profound.
Often hilarious.

Here she is passed out in the car.
What I love about "youngest" kids is that they can nap anywhere.
The car.
The dinner table.
The floor.
While waiting during at game of hide and seek.
In bleachers.
At movies.
Through entire weddings.

And here she is wearing her older sister's flower girl dress.
To her kindergarten screening.
I'm glad to see that Evie is already taking her education very seriously by making a good first impression.

Here's just a couple of "Evie-isms" from the past couple of weeks.

"Mom, my heart is beeping and beeping and I can feel it in my chest".

"Do we need to get some of that dilly dally before we leave the house?"

"I got to use my finger to get this one.  A tissue won't reach it".

"My barbie girls are all naked in the hot tub cause they got none husbands".

"I got a bad choke on that carrot".

"Pinching makes me sad".

"I'm going to wear this dress with pockets in it because some days I just don't feel like showing my hands."

"I will be as haved as I can be Mom." (after being told to behave)

"I hurt my knee bad.  But nothing a little chocolate and marshmallows won't fix".

"Mom, just LOOK at my dirty feet.  This is gonna warm your heart".

"How does God get all strong and mighty if He never eats?"

"See those little dots up there? I think they're more than just dots".

"Mom, after breakfast can you get some matches for me?"


Friday, March 16, 2012

My cat offerings...

So every morning for the last week, when I walk out of our front door to let Tally out in the morning, we find a new offering on our doorstep.

Apparently our cats are taking this spring thing seriously with the explosion of all of the critters coming out of hibernation.

Disclaimer:  If you are easily grossed out, stop reading.
I kind of have a weird obsession with gross things.

We have found every morning an assortment of moles, mice parts and snakes. 
Today's special was another baby snake.

Why do cats do this?
Do they want me to be proud of them and blog about it?

And who hates cats anyway?

Not us.

They are for one, pretty great little hunters.
No need for expensive mole or mouse traps.
Just some cat food and whatever store and whichever is on sale.

Secondly, they really do take care of themselves.
Some people call this aloofness.
I prefer to consider them really good boundary setters.

And finally,
unless you are allergic or something like that,
they really are "homey".
Not "homely".  "Homey".
Nothing makes me feel like home more than walking outside and finding Mouse, Snowball, Azrael, or Picky Picky curled up in a corner somewhere.

Most importantly, our girls LOVE them.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Field Trials, Derby Pie and "Pooh"

Remember a while back I posted a picture of the adorable miracle puppy that found its way into a loving new home?

We got to go to Louisville this weekend to see the puppies.
Here is Potter (aka "Pooh").
Pooh is the mama.
I just hurt looking at her.
Are there support bras with 8 cups for dogs?

Here is one of Pooh's adorable babies.  
And my adorable baby.
Oh wait.  She's nine.
I bet she doesn't like me calling her a baby anymore.

And here is the miracle puppy named "Victory".
Pooh in all of her amazing awesomeness (along with her owner Holly),
adopted Victory when she was 5 days old into her family.

Wook at dat wittle face.
(I wish you could smell the puppy breath here).
I know I'm weird but I LOVE puppy breath.
Is there a candle in this flavor?
I would buy them.

Here is Victory and her brother or sister.
(I am bad at knowing these things but our friend Holly could tell me in ONE single instant which puppy that is).  Not me.  They were all red.  And cute.

We actually went to Louisville because there was a Field Trial in Elizabethtown this weekend.  
What is a field trial?
Well, let me give you the "Field Trials for Idiots" version. (the idiot would often be me...but I'm learning).

*Field trials are events for hunting dogs
*The dogs run all over gi-normous pastures looking for birds.
(Because wild bird populations in America are sparse, the birds are planted by often, cute little old guys in orange vests.)
*Judges are on horseback and watch the dogs run and there are all kinds of rules they have to follow
*So like the olympics, much, much training occurs between the dog and their owner before the trial.

This is my new friend Amy.  She won first place in the puppy division.

And this is our friend Peggy.  I like Peggy.
She won with her dog named Zero.
This made her very, very happy.

And here is our dog Ruby.
Ruby finished her field championship this weekend.
Kind of a big deal in dog world.

Standing in the red shirt is Holly.
Same Holly that is awesome, kind, and Pooh's owner.
Holly is quite the dog mom.
Holly was the "scout" for Ruby when Caleb finished her.

In the black shirt is Art.
Art is what we call just "good people".
Art's the kind of guy you want to bottle up and sell in a novelty shop.
He is also our friend and I can't remember if he was judging and that is why I had him stand in the picture or I just thought he was cute.
Or both.

And our girls, the ribbon holders.

We didn't just work all of the time.
We got to go out one evening in Louisville and of course,
we ordered the "Hot Brown" and "Derby Pie".
I love Louisville.  And Kentucky.
One of the best places on earth I think.

Tally got to go too.
Tally isn't a fancy hunting dog.
Sleeping and chasing tennis balls are what she does best.
So Tally stays in the truck most of the weekend.
It is important business you know, guarding a vehicle.

Here are my cuties all ready to go out and watch the field trial.
Trip and Bobby (the horses) got quite a workout.
Don't feel too bad for them though.
Most of their days are spent eating grass and rolling in the dirt.

We are tired, but our cups are full.
That is what a weekend outdoors with animals and good people will do to you.
If you want to know more about field trials, ask someone like Art, Holly, Amy, Peggy or Caleb.  
But don't let them fool you. 
It's about the dogs all right.
Because these people are really passionate about their animals.
And it is so cool to see the dogs do what their Creator created them to do.
But its really about so much more.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Family Day at the Farm

Sunday, we decided to load up and drive to the farm in Centralia for the day.  There is so much work to be done there, but ironically, we find "rest" doing it. 

At some point in the near future we need to replace the roof and gutters and the windstorm no doubt will expedite our plans...   
Apparently it was quite windy last week in mid-Missouri!

See this bathroom?  I got to spend quite a bit of time in here that afternoon.
Evie and I tackled "project door knob" while the other two rode the horses and trained dogs.
If you've ever assembled knobs on doors,
you might recall that it is important NOT to shut the door before assembly is finished.
This was my first time playing Bob-the-Builder in this department but lately I am all into trying new things in the name of construction because of this complex I have developed called "I-have-a-masters-degree-but-my-home-improvement-skills-suck".

I learned all about what not to do.
Before I knew it, the door was half assembled, and I was locked inside and Evie was out.  
So first, I panicked.  Then I realized I had my iphone with me so I took pictures since I want to repaint in there anyway.  Then I listened to my four year old  explain to me, "Mom, you better find a way out of this bathroom or Daddy is going to fire you."
So I did what every mother would do and I wedged my screwdriver in the door and broke the knob so I could get out.  
Please don't judge me.

Eventually we stopped for a lunch break. My silly peanut butter eating kids.  Tally was waiting not-so-patiently for any crumbs that may have fallen.
That's her job you know...

Speaking of Tally, she was so excited to get to go on the day trip with the working dogs that this is how she spent most of her day.  
She already stunk on the way there (she sits in the backseat of the truck behind the girls) and this only intensified the problem.

But fortunately Grace found other uses for her...

And at the end of the afternoon, Evie found her turn on Bobby.
I still can't quite figure out if Bobby is exceptionally tall or if Evie is just still that little.

And for those of you who know us, our family tends to travel in packs.  Of dogs.  Not cigarettes.
Here are Wendell, Lindy, Ruby and Briar all staked out and enjoying the outdoors.  Our cousin dog Tick also came but he was so excited that I walked over to take his picture he jumped out of the frame as soon as I clicked. (See that blur on the right side)?

One of the jobs Sunday was raking and cleaning out the abundance of perennial beds.  We started a burn pile and this is my helper putting out the fire before we left.
You might also take note that she was simultaneously singing "Drink a little drink, smoke a little smoke" while she was working.  I have heard that work does go faster if you sing while doing it.

Before we packed up for the night the sunset was so incredible I made my family stop for a picture, which will hopefully be the first of  many days and weekends like this.  Thank you God.
P.S. Tally was none too happy to cooperate for the picture.  She was trying to jump in the pond for one last swim...

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Uncle Lady

Do you know who the Uncle Lady is?

Several summers ago the Uncle Lady arrived in our home after this video.
Our girls were then obsessed with the Uncle Lady.

We never really knew who the Uncle Lady was or where he or she lived.

Until we went to Fantastic Caverns.

We had picked up Grace from Kanakuk camps in June and had the entire day to explore in the Branson area.  It was blazing hot outside.  Like 95 degrees and a thousand percent humidity. The kind of hot where you have underwear sweat and if you're like me, your thighs tend to rub together and stick if you made a poor wardrobe choice. After seeing a billboard (or if you ever drive along I-44 you know that there is NO shortage of atrocious billboards in Missouri) we came up with the idea to go to Fantastic Caverns. Billboards all around Branson tease you.  These caves are a "cool 60 degrees year round!" and apparently "America's ONLY drive through cave!"  We just had to go.

Actually if I'm remembering correctly, I was the one who felt like our family needed this experience.  My husband was not so convinced.  He kept saying things like, "Honey, I'm afraid you have hyped this up to much.  The cave can't possibly fulfill the expectations you have."

I kept replying, "But the name even says FANTASTIC.  How could it NOT be?"

(Apparently I tend to over-hype things just a tad...)

But oh sweet Jesus, how wrong he was.  It was freaking FANTASTIC!!!!

So after you pay your several hundred dollars (kidding...)
to enter the caves with your family,  you load up on this big, gaudy red wagon with about 25 new cave-exploring "friends" driven by a guy that kind of looked like Santa.  

Santa then drives you in and out of the cave, which takes about an hour.  He also tells you every so often to duck your head as not to be hit by a stalag-tite. (Those are the pointy claws on the cave ceiling that will kill you or seriously poke your eye out if you aren't paying attention).
Then you will learn all kinds of fascinating history behind the caves while you are riding in your giant red wagon.

My girls were fascinated at the fantastic-ness.  So was I.  

At the end of the tour you finally come out of the cave and into the daylight for a little cave Q and A.

Grace, our oldest eager-beaver child promptly raised her hand and wanted to know how many miles long the cave was.  Pretty intelligent question to which the man replied 6 miles long.

A couple of more questions here and there.

Meanwhile, ol Evie, not to be outdone by her older sister, then raised her hand and looked him square in the eye.  She said, "Are you the Uncle Lady?"

He said, "Excuse me?" (annoyed).

She then said in her loudest and slowest Superfudge-like way, "I SAID.

There was really nothing more to say after that.  Enough Fantastic Caverns for one summer.