Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To Ethan

Alright, this post is pretty much for Ethan. To prepare him for his Iowa adventure.

Some things you should know about my family (nothing personal).

Mom's Side:
My Papa is the one who needs to have the best impression of you. I am his first grandkid and he often refers to me as Rhonda. Like as in he always refers to me as Rhonda, rarely gets it right on the first try. That's not because he doesn't pay attention. It's because I remind him of her with my continuous "deal making." The way to his heart is through work. Act interested in his routine life. Offer to open gates in the morning when he does chores. I still haven't figured out what you should call him yet. See around here we don't do that Mr. First Name business.

My Grama ..will probably ask you 1400 questions. Not prying questions, but weird questions you've probably never been asked. Like "does your church have pews?" or "do you nap often?" or "I bet the sun shines a lot brighter in Arkansas, you're probably sick of all these open plains?" She might be the gentle-est person I've ever met.

My Aunt Cary's family. They're cool. I've been watching the kids all summer. My uncle might be a little taunting, but you can just give him a mean face and he'll leave you alone, trust me I've been doing it since I was 3. Be nice to Darin and he'll be your buddy, he's your best bet to get in with the kids. McKenze 12. Darin 10.

My Uncle Tom's family. In quite contrast to your Uncle Tom :) They are fun, but not affectionate it in any way. Well except for Jack, but I think the only affection you'll get from him is a smack in the face. Ben might not talk to you at all, he's 7. Don't take it personally, he doesn't talk much to anyone. Paige 10. Ben 7. Jack 3.

My Aunt Tammy's family. Her husband Kyle, is a lot like you. Super friendly and outgoing. I think you'll get along well. Juicy toot is her son. He might be shy at first, but I think he'll warm up to you. He's your ticket to being friends with Jack. Gracie 9. Gabe 5. Gillian 2.

My Dad's Side.
They're a whole nother tribe.
My Grampa. Already likes you since you always send the flowers to his house. He will tell you as many stories as questions my other grama asks you. Just listen ATTENTIVELY. Which is sometimes an issue, as your mother pointed out. Most of them are funny, so if you accidentally don't hear, just laugh at the end. Or if he's laughing, then you laugh too.

My Grama. I still haven't figured her out. Bingo is her thing. As you know, you will be joining us on tuesday for a game. Just be attentive (there's that word again!). Don't speak at Bingo, unless you are yelling Bingo. My dad might try to tease you during the game, don't get distracted. It's intense! You will probably meet a lot of old ladies that night too. Tell her you fish, she'll like you. Oh one more thing, Bingo starts at 7, but she'll be in the lincoln at 3:30, honking the horn, literally.

My Aunt Monica's family. They will try and tell you embarrassing stories about me, none of them are true! Seriously, anything about squirrels, just tune that out. They have 2 kids.

My cousin Nicole's family. Christian 13. Jeremiah 9. Glorya 7. She's nice, but will probably try and tell you things about me, which are also not true.

My cousin Zanniell's family. Heaven 13. Zedekiah 9. Zariah 7. Abiah 7. If you haven't noticed, we like IAH. I call her ZB, it might bother her, not sure. See ZB used to be her initials, now they're ZZ, I just haven't made the switch yet.

My Aunt Gina. She is awesome! She might seem like she doesn't like you at first, but then whenever you're alone with her she's totally different. She let me drive her car when I was just learning, ya know like 8 yrs old. She lives to fish. She has one son.

My cousin Luke. I don't even know what to say. Avoid! He WILL try to scare you away. He will act like he doesn't like you. He will have a mountain dew in his hand at all times. He has a son, Colton 2. And a wife, she's cool.

My aunt Tina. Bryce's family! They'll ask you a lot of questions, tell you a lot of stories. Basically good conversation. Bryce 19. Ryan 16. Brooke 12.

I think that's everyone you'll meet. I love you. I love you. I love you. See you at 10:45!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cow Whisperer

6 more days!! Until I see my wonderful boyfriend!
5 more days!! Until I see my awesome dad, mom, sister, and doggggggg!!!
11 more days!! Until I see Ethan's wonderful family!!

Everyone always sets their facebook status about how awesome their dad is on Father's Day. I don't do that. My dad deserves statuses about him everyday, not just Father's Day. That's why I am writing about him today. I haven't ever met anyone that hasn't said something nice about my dad, actually I haven't met anyone that doesn't secretly wish my dad was their dad. I don't want to brag, but it's hard not to. I've never seen my dad get mad or angry. I've never heard him say a single word he shouldn't have. I've never heard him insult anyone. I've never seen him and my mom even have a disagreement. I've never even heard him raise his voice! I've only seen him do things I want to mirror in my own life. He's not an overly controlling dad, he's not controlling at all. He's always there for Ry and I, from when we were little dancing with him in the living room to "You are so Beautiful" by Bob Seger, to him gentley combing our wet hair after a bath, to never missing a single game (never complaining about going to a game either), to rocking us to sleep at night saying we'll never be too old to sit on his lap in the rocking chair, to brushing our hair Christmas Eve night while we're bawling about being an old maid at 18. He's surprisingly cool, just when you start to think he's let you down, he tells you he got your boyfriend a plane ticket to visit you. I'm going to be 55 years old and call him when I need a tire changed or another opinion or just someone to tell me to put my life in perspective. It's an amazing thing, I don't know how I got so lucky.

Now let me get my red eyes cleared so I can tell you about the past few days.

We went to the fabulous Storm Lake on Saturday. The water wasn't even iced over! We could actually get in. I was water skiing and I jumped over our wake into the clear water and then everyone on the boat starting making weird gestures to me so I looked ahead and saw these massive waves coming towards me. So I panicked, let go, and sunk down into the water. Somewhere in all that I messed up my ankle again, and am now wearing the brace. Hopefully for just a few days.

We were wading up to the beach and the water was about up to the bottom of our bellies. Apparently there was like a plateau of sand about a foot high that everyone was tripping over. But this isn't like white Florida skin purifying sand. It's like seaweedy, black, mushy, Tyson dump place sand. I decided I just couldn't make it over this plateau unless I was piggy-backed over (Ethannn!!). The only person who wasn't on the other side was my 12 year old cousin. So I hollered at her "Kenze piggy back me!" She laughed at first and then gave in and I hopped on. It was going well at first, she's pretty tall. Then just as we were stepping up onto the plateau, she loses her balance and face-plants, sending me down into the mush on my hands and knees. And that's when I decided to never make selfish plans again.

I had a very scary encounter with a herd of cattle yesterday. We got some chicken from Cargo and took it up to the cabin. Me, Grama, Grampa, Luke (my cousin), and his son Colton (2yrs old). So after we get done eating the adults are sitting at the table visiting while Colton is racing around the cabin. He pauses at the screen door for a long time, just starring up at the hill. Grama nudges me and tells me to go see what he's looking at. So I get up, peek over his shoulder and see about 50 mama cows with at least that many calves walking over the hill. I open the door and let Colton out. We walk out the gate and up to the edge of the cattle. Then I had a momentary lapse of good farmkid, good babysitter sense. One starts walking toward us so I stick out my hand and pet its nose. Then Colton starts mumbling about mamas and petting and starts wandering into the herd. I'm thinking about Ethan (still suffering from the lapse of good farmkid judgement) and start following him through herd. He's babbling like a crazy maniac so I kneel down to try and figure out what he was saying. After a few minutes I give up, look up, stand up and realize we are completely surrounded by a circle of 40 angry bellering mama cows. Umm problem. I look back down at the cabin and see Luke and Grampa standing in the yard. I quickly grab Colton's hand so it looks like I'm a decent babysitter. I honestly had no idea what to do. These cows are loud and not happy. Then all of a sudden they just start walking past us back over the hill. I grab up Colton and run back to the cabin. Grama starts hollering about how we're lucky to be alive. Grampa says he wouldn't even drive his truck through those cattle. Luke tells us there was a bull right behind me. He decided that I am definitely a cow whisperer. It's a theory, but one that I never want to experiment on again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunshine Lives

Its been a whole week since my last blog! Internet is a rare commodity around here. It's also been a whole week since the sun came out, but it finally did and we were able to go to the pool!

I ran a 5k with Kenze on saturday. I got first place for my age bracket (19-29) and she got 2nd for hers (12-18). She did awesome! She helps me understand what parenting will be like. I mean I remember changing her diapers. In fact, there's dirty proof of that on the carpet at our old church's library (haha sorry mom). And now she's running beside me, miles at a time, telling me about her boyfriend. It's like everytime I look at her, I still see that little baby. Gah I feel like such a pansy girl!

Another big adventure was that my grandfather CHOSE to go into town with us. I tried to talk him out of it (shopping is much more fun with a grandma ;) ) but he insisted. So we dropped grandma off at the doctor and then we went.......ATV SHOPPING! Yes, that's right. After how many years of trying to convince him to add another to his collection, he finally gave in. We went and looked at those Gator things, his exact words were "Thats the stupidest thing I've ever seen Brandy, you're the only one who could drive it, and you don't even live here, the mothers would never let the grandkids come over again!" And that's a bad thing? ...I'm just teasing. I love being mobbed, followed, and robbed of any privacy by small children. As you're probably guessing, we walked away empty handed. But I haven't given up!!

One thing I am concerned about, at least a little bit, is how Jack is going to react to Ethan. You see, they both think that they're my boyfriend. When my dad was little he wanted to marry his oldest sister, so at first Jack's infatuation was cute, but now I'm really worried! He is under the impression that he has bigger muscles than Ethan and walks around talking about how he's going to beat Ethan up because I'm his girlfriend. He's 3 I might add. He'll run up to me and jump/hug my legs, then lift his arms up so I'll pick him up, then in his high pitched lispy kid voice he'll say "Are you hungry for a squeeze?" then hug me as tight as he can and say "I'm your boyfriend!" He'll be in for a shock when he sees Ethan's manly muscles!! :)

So there's a story around these parts that took place in 1886. Apparently two German immigrants moved to Iowa with the dream of being farmers, imagine that. They never had any kids so they had to hire people to do work. Well one day the man went to the bank and took out all his money, and the next day they found him and his wife murdered. The farmhand who was living with them was no where to be found, and of course the money was gone. Weeeell these kind folks are buried up at a little cemetery in the middle of no where. One day an old lady was placing flowers on the grave and oh my goodness the face of the murderer had appeared on the stone. So everyone from all over Iowa, including professional grave-looker-atters, came to observe. And sure enough, the face was showing up due to reactions with atomospheric conditions. ...Yeahhhh right. My Grandpa told me this story. Then he took me and Grandma to the actual grave. I must say there definitely was some atomospheric reaction taking place; however, I was expecting a portrait. Not quite the case. There were some lines where if you kinda tilted your head, squinted your eyes, spun around three times on a full moon night you might be able to see something something resembling long hair, but nothing worthy of being published in a book. Which the story actually is published in a book called Haunted Heartland.

The trip to the cemetery wasnt completely disappointing. On the way back we drove by some guy's house that looked like a junk yard. There was so much junk, old cars, tractors, big pieces of metal. So I'm looking at all this junk as we're driving by and I notice in the corner under a tree...are you ready for it?? Rylee, pay attention! In the corner under a tree I saw THE OLD SUBURBAN! The brown one. Ohh the memories came flooding back, I almost jumped out of the car and ran to it, hugging it, thanking it for safely teaching me how to drive. Grandpa wouldnt stop the car because apparently the guy that lives there likes to talk. But I'm thinking, Rylee, it'll be a night adventure, maybe with a big dog and a .22

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lawn Mower

So McKenze just walked around my laptop, sort of inspector-like, and asked if it really had my name encrusted in diamonds. She was completely serious, I'm like "Kenze who the heck told you that?" She couldn't remember, I'm thinking it might have been a Papa joke. Oh Dad, do those ever get old?

I mowed for the first time ever on friday. Yes, it was a rider, but still! You should see the size of this yard, it takes four hours!! It was a Papa-Brandy bonding experience. First he taught me how to drive it, then he walked me around the entire yard pointing out all of the dangerous wires. Basically if you hit a "dangerous wire" the whole farm could explode, but everything else is fair game. I finished the four hour yard in about two, and I would say it looked 10x better than Ethan's last haircut. I had just parked by the garage and dusted myself off, a job well done. When here comes Papa "You mind if I jump on there and get the places you missed in the very far corners that no one can see even if they drive all the way to the machine shed?" Seriously? Ok maybe he didn't actually say that last part, but that is definitely what he meant. Some things will never change.

As some of you know, I have about 9 cousins under the age of 12. They recently discovered the joys of talking to Ethan on the phone. At first it was cute. They love him, talk about how awesome and funny he is. Great, he's fitting in already. But now it's like, I'll sneak off to talk on the phone with him, and one of them will find me, announce to the others, and then there will be a line of bug-eyed kids waiting to talk to him. Then by the time the phone gets back to me, he'll have to go.

They all have this running fantasy too. They see me run by their house every morning. Well one morning they decided to meet me at the end of the lane and run back to Grandmas with me. It's about a mile. So they take off like wild Indians yelling back "Why are you so slow?!" But by the time we get to the cemetery they are huffing and puffing. And I blaze past them screaming "Suckers!" Ha, not really, but I wanted to. So we walked the rest of the way. But not too bad for a 7, 9, and 10 year old.

One thing I've noticed since I've been here is how much my Grandparents are still in love with each other, even after 45+ and 55+ years together. It's amazing, sincerely amazing. Even though Grandma gets her feathers ruffled when Grandpa takes 17 detours on the way home from a restaurant to tell 20 different stories with each land mark. Even though Grandma is silently saddened by all of the hours my Papa spends working on the farm. They still send each other sweet looks. Kind of like "We've been through a lot of crap, but I love you more today than I did the day I married you." They take care of each other. I would say between them and my parents I have perfect role models.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cosmic Brownies

What month is it anyway? It was in the lower 60s here yesterday. I'm talking jeans and jackets (naturally I only brought shorts and tshirts). I'm so freezing I'm about to pull out the winter gear.

One improvement I have made on my life since I've been here is, not sweating the small stuff. Hellooo story of my life. Tuesday we went to the pool. Both my little cousins have significant others that they meet at the pool. Before we left they were like "Brandy, what are you going to do?" Sit and think about Ethan. That can be dangerous, so I sorted through Nancy Drew, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Hannah Montana, and 1980s romance novels before I found "Simple Steps to not Sweating the Small Stuff" or something to that effect. I figured that would be most benficial. It basically just talked about everything I already know but effectively ignore. For example, when you have an anxious thought before you fall asleep like "I have to make that phone call tomorrow" if you allow it, the thought can spiral into whirlwind of other thoughts concerning your to-do-list tomorrow. Then you end up losing precious hours of sleep because you're stuck in your own hurricane. I don't really struggle with the sleep thing, but I am a pretty intense whirlwind maker. Especially when it comes to Ethan. Needless to say, he was happy I picked that book over the 80s romance novels.

Another thing I've learned is the amount of naughtiness that goes on when Mom is outside mowing. You play wrestling, hit each other with sticks, eat all the junk food you can find, watch shows you otherwise wouldn't be allowed to watch, and call each other mean names. I witnessed all of this yesterday. And being the big ornery cousin that I am, I did nothing to stop the occurence. I fed the fire by reaching the Cosmic Brownies for Jack because he wasn't tall enough. I let him eat a whole one instead of a half (because mom was outside mowing) and then he threw up. Ok learned my lesson, follow the rules, even when mom is outside mowing.