Sunday, December 11, 2011

‘Tis the season for the annual holiday update!

Family Picture 2011
20011 has been a relatively quiet year for the Burson clan.
Gracie is 7 and in 2nd grade now.  She enjoys karate, dancing, singing, soccer, 4H, and anything else she can get involved in!  She’s a good student who works hard and is achieving everything she should at her age.  She’s also a good helper around the house and in the yard. She has enthusiasm in everything she does and is a good friend and encouragement to those around her.

Ian will be 6 in just 19 days!  He’s also an active kid and enjoys 4H, soccer, and baseball.  He’s a very studious kindergartener and will actually be starting some 1st grade work after the holidays.  He is a sweet sensitive boy who has found his sense of humor and keeps us laughing with his comedic timing and sarcasm.
James is about to begin his 9th year with his company.  He was invited into a leadership program there this year which was a great learning experience and should look nice on his resume.  He’s been working hard to expand his career in this rather tough market.  When not at his day job James has put in hours upon hours of work in our yard making improvements and doing fence work and removing trees in order to meet the needs of the people and creatures who live here.

I have been home again this year, serving as teacher and facilitator here at Burson Academy.  Kids and animals keep me busy!  Our little zoo now contains 2 donkeys, 11 chickens, 3 dogs, 3 cats and 2 fish.  I have recently decided to start taking on dogs for overnight boarding as well.  I am also still volunteering as a local group leader for Attachment Parenting International.  And of course I manage to get roped into almost everything the kids are involved in, it’s plenty to keep me busy!

So that’s us, in a nut shell.  There’s other stuff to read about what actually went on this year if you feel like perusing this blog or clicking over to my home school blog.  I’ve been a pretty negligent blogger this year though and most of what goes on ends up on facebook!

We wish you all very Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

We have a good marriage and I’m not afraid to say it!!

Today is our anniversary.  9 years since we promised to love each other through thick and thin.  I have to admit that these 9 years have passed super fast.  And they have been good years.  The best ones of my life actually.

We have a good marriage. I wish I knew exactly why so I could pass on the secret.  The funny thing is that a lot of people would have thought we probably wouldn't have a good marriage.  We got married fast.  Like super fast.  Like less than 3 months after our first date.  For a lot of people that would create a lot of problems.  Also, I come from a pretty dysfunctional family, divorced parents who were apparently miserable for years before they finally ended it.  An ugly divorce with lots of lines drawn in the sand.  Not exactly the best example of how to have good relationships.  Also, James had never even had a girl friend before.  Yep.  Newbie to the whole relationship thing and he was a husband in less than 90 days.  To top it off I have struggled with a lot of resentment from the role religious beliefs played in my life until my mid-20’s.   A lot of issues that could have created a lot of strife.

Despite those things we have a really good marriage.  And honestly we've never even had a rough patch.  There has never been a day when we've wanted to call it quits.  Never had an argument that got out of hand.  I think we've fallen asleep still in disagreement twice in 9 years and it was smoothed out the next day.  Although there are a million little things that go into each and every relationship I think there are a few things that have really helped keep things working for us.

The first thing that has made a lot of difference is actually a set of circumstances that were entirely out of our control but made a huge impact on us.  It started 2 days after we got back from Vegas.  My dog was hit by a car and we had to make the decision to let her go that night because her injuries were catastrophic.  The next week James lost his job when the doors of his company closed without any warning during his lunch break.   A couple months later his grandmother passed away.   One of my uncles who had young kids passed away when Gracie was 3 months old.  3 years into our marriage one of my friends who was also married with kids the exact same age as ours was tragically killed in a car accident.  Her death was followed by an uncles 2 months later and then a step-cousin and her baby were murdered just 3 months after that.   There was a lot of tragedy and less than ideal circumstances in the first 3 years of our marriage.  For us these tragic situations only further cemented our need for and dependence on each other.  We went to each other for comfort and strength.  Every one of those situations made us stronger.

One of the things that I swore to myself when I got married and I have been 99% successful in is not being critical of James to anyone.  I am just shocked at what some people will say about their partner.  Open criticism, even in jest, can lead to really hurt feelings and resentment.  I decided right from the start that if I had a problem I would talk to James about it.  Not talk about him to whoever I felt would listen.  He has made the same determination for himself.  This isn’t to say that we are without faults, not at all.  This isn’t to say we don’t seek advice from other people, because we do.  Or, at least I do!  But we both work really really hard to not blame the other person and to see our own faults in situations and to fix it, not blame shift it.   Addressing the problem instead of complaining about it to someone else has really worked for us. 

We have also made ourselves and our kids a priority.  Pretty much THE priority actually.  We worked really hard to keep drama out of our relationship at the beginning and when we had babies and I think that was very beneficial.  We kept ourselves surrounded with supportive family and friends and let the rest fall to the sidelines and in some cases out of our lives entirely.  We like each other and our kids and we made it habit that we protect our little team of 4.  This isn’t to say that we don’t have friends, I love hanging with my girlfriends and James needs his time with the guys.  In general though, if we can choose to do something together or as a family we do.  We choose to keep it a top priority.  Family time is sweet.  Kids are only little for so long.  And as we learned early in our marriage, you aren’t guaranteed it will all be here tomorrow.  So we appreciate and protect our time together.

There are a lot of little things too.  We were each on our own and really ready to settle down when we did.   Attachment parenting has really helped both of us be better people and has helped us in a lot of our relationships, not just with our kids.   Telling each other we love each other (and the kids) every single day, many times a day.  Not using affection, or the lack thereof, to manipulate.  Working together towards goals.  Enjoying the intellect and insight of each other.  Never lying.  Watching a movie the other person wants to watch.  Letting them pick the restaurant.  Going to bed together every night, never letting the couch be an option for anyone.   Kissing good bye.  Kissing hello.  Hugging. 

I’m so thankful for what we have, I see people struggling with their relationships every day and I really wish I could help in some way.  Maybe my thoughts will be an inspiration so someone about to take the plunge or someone who needs a fresh outlook.   I wish everyone could just be happy.  Contentment is a good thing.

So those are my words of wisdom for today!  I am so thankful for James and the influence he’s had on me and for what we have built together.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  I know that as long as we keep doing what we have been it will all be good, no matter the circumstances.

I love you honey! 

And for anyone who’d like I’d love if you’d leave a comment about what has worked for you in your marriage or long term relationship.  There’s always room for improvement, right?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Molly's nose, one year after being bitten by that spider.

 I just received an e-mail from someone going through a spider bite with their dog who wanted to see pictures of Molly now, so here you go, just took these 5 minutes ago.


You can see here that the hair on top of her nose is not as thick as it should be, some permanent damage was done, but in general I think she looks pretty good considering what she looked like at the worst!
For the posts on what happened to Molly you can look in my archives from October 2010, what happened and how it all managed to heal is detailed there with photos that are not for the faint of heart. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicks and Ducks

I ordered 4 chicks a few months ago, set to arrive all feathered and healthy at 6 weeks old.  I’m so glad I planned to get them since the 3 chickens we had met a quick and untimely end at the hand of a coyote.  The chicks arrived a couple weeks after the unfortunate incident.  They are cute and were hand raised and I cannot wait to start getting eggs again.  Anyway, after they arrived I decided that I wanted to have ducks too, so after a search I found week old ducklings.  I didn’t really want to do the baby duckling thing but they were the only ones I could find at the time so I took them.  It’s amazing how fast they have grown.  It’s also amazing how much we have learned about raising baby birds.  FYI, ducks are messy and smelly.  But they are also really comical and soft and cute which kind of makes up for the smell.

Anyway, without any further delay, here’s our little flock.  The chickens are all hens, they will start laying around the end of August.  We don’t know what the ducks are yet, I won’t be able to tell them apart until their feathers are completely in without violating their privacy and I’m not gonna do that! Smile

All 4 of the chickens. The 2 red hens are Rusty and Rojo, they are hard to tell apart but Rusty has a little more white on her head, I think she’s on the left in the photo.  They are both red sex link chickens and will lay brown eggs.  The white and brown chicken in the middle is Buttercup and the gray chicken in the back right is Robin. They are both Easter Egger chickens and will lay green or blue eggs, time will tell!


Robin and Rojo.  You can see why I call her Robin, I think she looks so much like one!


Robin and Buttercup (and Jubilee in the background).


Robin and Buttercup again, with Jubilee getting curious!


The ducks, Quacky and Peeper.  Quacky is quite a bit bigger than Peeper but it’s hard to tell in the photo.  They are both a lot bigger than the chickens which is funny since they were so much smaller when they first arrived.  Ducks grow fast!  They are both getting their feathers now and losing their cute yellow baby fluff.  They are Pekin ducks and, assuming either of them is female, they will lay white eggs.  If one or both are boys they will be yard ducks, we won’t be eating these guys!


I don’t know which one this is but isn’t it cute?


Ducks and chicks together.


Quacky and Peeper.


Practicing diving.


Ducky swimming time!


Enjoying the pool.


And a picture of Jack (formerly Trinket, Ian renamed her), because I don’t want to ignore the donkeys!  They were mowing my lawn for me today, lol!


Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday Five!

My sister does this on her blog.  I have no idea if I'm doing it right or linking up right but I'm gonna try anyway.

1.  I swear.  A lot.  I think I was saving it up all the years I was in christian school and baptist church.  It's still trying to level itself out in my vocabulary. 

2.  I let dishes pile up for days at times.  I really need a dishwasher.  And a maid.

3.  James and I never fight.  Or almost never anyway.  I think I got all my anger out in my twenties.  I'm to tired to fight anyone anymore.  I do still have opinions, I'm just better about sharing them.

4.  I love to travel.  Anywhere anytime if I can make it happen I do.

5.  I wanted 6 kids before I had any.  Now I'm pretty sure if I had any more than 2 I would lose my ever-loving mind.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Waiting sucks!

If you are in charge of hiring in your position at work here's some advice from someone who is trying to ever so patiently wait on a potentially life changing work opportunity for James.

Don't do an interview the day before you are out of town and unavailable for 2 weeks.  Not providing this information until the end of the interview was somewhat cruel.

Do contact the person you interviewed once you are back in your office.  Not contacting them after the time you told them you would be unavailable is crazy making.

Do respond to them when they send you a follow up to make sure you haven't forgotten about them.

Don't say you will bring them to the office the week you return if you won't.

Remember any response is ok.  Really.  The market is in the crapper right now.  If the answer is no then do the person the kindness of letting them know so they can get on with their lives.  If you are just behind but still intend to move forward in the process then let them know that also.  A quick note will suffice.  Just enough to help maintain hope and sanity.

I truly feel like I am going nuts here.  This guy cold contacted James, they had a great interview, and then the guy told James he wouldn't be able to contact him til this week.  He said he would though, and that he wanted to move forward and bring James to the office to meet a couple other people.  It was all good!  And now nothing.  The interview was 3 weeks ago tomorrow.  The job would be awesome, it's where we want to move and it's full of only good things career wise for James.  It's in an area full of liberal home schoolers which is what I am craving.   I'm trying not to lose hope but it's hard after so many days.  We want this so badly.  But more now I just want an answer.  James has been applying for jobs for 11 months now without so much as a phone call back.  This really seemed like the reason nothing so far has worked out.  And I really don't know how to finish this post other than to say I am so frustrated and having such a hard time not obsessively thinking about all of this. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In which I would like a redo on the hour between Noon and 1.

Holy crap.  And Melissa, again, I'm so sorry.

So Gracie is going to do a solo for her 4H fine arts competition (except it's not really a competition for her age group) in March.  We picked a song from Music Together because it is short, simple, and really very beautiful.  It's called May All Children.  Anyway, I needed an accompaniment track for the performance and couldn't find one anywhere.  After looking and asking around I was reminded that I know someone who teaches Music Together and plays guitar and could probably do it for me.  So I contacted Melissa and arranged to meet her today at her studio at 12:15. 

It should have been as simple as that.  Really.

So we arrived on time, Melissa finished her class and we sat down to get started.  I didn't want to impose much on her so I was hoping we could do it very quickly.  Asked the kids on the way there to please please be quiet when she was playing so we could quickly be finished and go home.  In retrospect I should have insisted they just sit in the foyer.  But they sat in the room and Ian was wearing swishy track pants so every time he moved there was a noise and then he had to breath deep and sigh and then, well, you get the point.  He was being distracting.   Melissa played once, wasn't sure it was right and wanted to do it again.  I kept shooting looks at Ian, he kept swishing, although quietly, he wasn't the frozen statue I had asked him to be.  Anyway, I think what we got will be fine, I'll know for sure once James gets it on a CD.

So when we were done I was somewhat frustrated with him but it was over and we were hungry and headed out.  When Ian shut Melissa's office door.  After he locked it.  And all her stuff was inside.

Momentary panic led to me trying to open it with a card which was funny since I had just taught Gracie how to do that yesterday when she was talking about being a detective.  No dice on this door though.  So phase 2, I tried to pick the lock which resulted in a paperclip becoming lodged in the lock.  I'm feeling like a real jerk at this point.

Phase 3 involved me going to the car to get a screwdriver and crowbar.

I popped the hinges off the door but it still wouldn't move because of the hinge design.  While we were trying to wiggle it out Gracie suggested kicking the door.  I told her it wouldn't work because the door opened the other way.  About 10 seconds later she came up between me and Melissa and gave the door a huge kick. 

*Internal Dialogue Moment*  Shit. I just want to die.  Why won't my children listen to me?  Why are they so naughty? Why did I ever think I could handle 6 kids?  Why the hell is she kicking the door when I said no?  Why do I home school again?   ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I told Gracie to sit down and then with a little prying we got the door off and the paper clip unlodged and the door unlocked and everything out and the door hung back on and closing properly.  We left and I was shaking and frustrated and embarrassed and annoyed and asked Ian why in the world he locked and shut the door and then he told me Delaney did it.  Delaney is the horrible neighbor child we had many run ins with at our condo.  We haven't seen her since the day we left in July.  How do you even argue when kid states something that is so undeniably untrue as a cold hard fact?  He had already apologized a few times for the whole thing so I have no idea why when I asked him what his motivation was he decided to go with the impossible. 

So yeah.  I'd like to have a redo on the hour between Noon and 1, but since I can't I think I'll just have a drink and make sure this is documented so the kids know why I'm in the loony bin when I snap and those nice young men in their clean white coats come and take me away.

*Bonus points to you if you like the song I just referenced*

Disorganized thoughts and random facts:

~Maggie has decided that she is a car chaser.  Whenever she hears someone coming up the road she runs to the gate and then runs along our fence to the corner of the property with them.  Then as they keep driving she barks out something that seems to be saying "That's right, and stay out!".

~The donkeys have adjusted well.  They bray when we come out to feed them now and don't get spooked by the dogs or running children.  They are really cute.  I'm excited to start some training when the weather gets a bit warmer.

~My house is perpetually dirty.

~There is a huge ice flow from the top of our yard that goes down the hill to near the playset.  It's our own little glacier and I almost killed myself on it yesterday.

~I love my new smart phone.

~Gracie says that Molly's breath smells like dog food and rats.

~Speaking of Molly, I think she's going to have permanently funny hair growth on her nose.  It's kind of spiky and patchy, not that you can tell unless you really look.  I'm so glad that's the worst that came out of the bad scary spider bite situation.
~School is going really well for us right now and that's all I'm going to say so I don't jinx it.

~James was accepted into a leadership training course at work.  He had to apply, apparently there were a lot of applicants, and he was one of 8 to get in.  I'm so proud of him and I hope this helps his career along even more.

~I've come to realize having so many pets is going to put a serious crimp in my love of travel.  I'm not sure how that's all going to work out.  I really need to find a neighbor or someone nearby that wants to trade animal care for vacations.  We've done that with the dogs, I wonder if we can find something similar for the chickens and donkeys.  Cause I really can't justify $1000  in animal care for a weeks vacation.  Yes, it's that much.

~Ian has really long hair right now and has been called a girl multiple times by people in public.  And all I can think is really?  He's wearing a shirt with footballs on it, track pants, and fireman boots.  Girl?  Really?

~Social stereotypes annoy me.

~I have heartburn.


Monday, February 21, 2011

A very productive weekend.

I stayed home Saturday while James took the kids for a visit with his parents.  I was able to knock out a lot of projects and clean up the main living areas of the house and watch a movie, all in peace and quite.  It was so nice and very needed.

Yesterday we relaxed and then renewed our Costco membership.  It was crazy insane there, now I remember why I never shop there on the weekends.

Today we cleaned up outside.  The weather has been so nice and a lot of the snow has melted so we raked up a lot of the mess and I looked for eggs since one of the chickens seems to be laying them in the yard instead of in the chicken run.  After our 2 hour outdoor clean up we had lunch and then went inside for lunch.  After lunch we spent another 2 hours cleaning up the basement.  We got the playroom and school room cleaned from top to bottom.  We rearranged furniture and I am happy with how things look now.  I scored 2 bookshelves on Freecycle this past week and we needed them so badly.  The school room looks much more organized now and the other shelf is in our living room with kids books that were freaking everywhere in their bedroom because they were totally overflowing the shelf in there.

I also ordered 3 more chickens today.  They will be coming when they are 6 weeks old since I just cannot do chicks, we don't have what we would need to keep them safe with the cats and such.  At 6 weeks they can live outside so we are purchasing them from someone who will raise them til then.  We are getting another green egg layer and 2 brown egg layers.  I'm contemplating doing the chicken thing on a much larger scale.  That's probably a decision that shouldn't be made til we own this place, but the idea of raising chickens and selling egg shares is on my mind.

Anyway it was a good weekend.  My whole body is sore from all the raking but it was worth it.  We still have a lot more to do before things start growing in the spring but it's a start! 

Now I need to start planning a garden.  I have no idea where to start, no one has ever done a garden here from what I can tell, there is not a bed or garden area anywhere.   I'm wondering if it might be too much to do this year, maybe I should just stick to buying at the farmers market and worry about it next year.  Maybe it's another thing I should worry about once we own this place. 

So many things to think about.  I can't wait for spring!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Donkeys Are Here!!!

We adopted Jubilee (more spotted) and Trinket (mostly white) this week!  They came from Longhopes Donkey Rescue which is about 45 minutes from our house.  They are mini spotted donkeys.  We plan to use them for fun mostly, we will be working with them so the kids can ride them and we'd like to see if we can train them to pull a cart too.  I'm so excited!!  Here's some pictures of them adjusting to their new home and some of our other barnyard creatures as well!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

First off, one of my goals for this year is to update this thing more and not do so many catch up posts.

That said, this is a catch up post! With LOTS of pictures.  Sorry.

So, 2010 ended with the last of gymnastics.  The kids have loved their class and their coach so much.  We actually start again this week.  They thought about switching to Karate (Ian) and Dance (Gracie) but then decided to stay with gymnastics.  I’m glad because their coordination has really improved since they started in September and they like it and they are sweaty and exhausted at the end of every class, so it’s a win win!

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We had Christmas of course.  James and my dad pulled off the surprise of the year and my dad walked in with James from work on Thursday evening.  It took me the rest of the night to recover from the shock!  We had a great visit, it was so nice for him to see the kids for the holidays and he got to help build the HUGE doll house he had gotten for Gracie.

IMG_2895 IMG_2944 IMG_2950 IMG_2937 IMG_2884 IMG_2912 IMG_2909 IMG_2887   IMG_2936 IMG_2939 IMG_2932 IMG_2906

Then on Sunday we had James parents and brother and soon to be sister in law down for Christmas 2.0.  Later in the day my sister and her family came for a visit.  I have like 4 blurry pictures from the day, none of which are worth posting so we will just have to remember it with our brains!

Thursday the 30th was Ian’s birthday.  We opened presents the second he woke up and I was feeling sick and forgot to grab the camera again.  *smacks head*  Oh well, at least I managed a couple with his cake in the evening.  I can’t believe my baby is 5.  Time goes so fast!!!

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New Years Eve we wore pj’s all day long, sat around and relaxed and then enjoyed a MythBusters marathon in the late afternoon. 

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Which brings us to today.  Another lazy day.  I’m still fighting some sort of crud.  We had a bunch of deer in the yard today, I took pictures and posted them on facebook here.  I’ve spent the most of the last two days laying around.  I really hope I feel better tomorrow, we have Ian’s birthday party at Pump It Up tomorrow afternoon.  We made a quick run to Wally World and I bought a bunch of drugs to help me get through it! 

So that brings us up to speed.  Good bye to 2010.  It was a pretty good year all things considered.  Looking forward to seeing what 2011  brings!