Thursday, April 30, 2009

Small Successes - 15

1) I finally got everything arranged so I could go get my hair cut. Meaning appointment made at a real salon, and childcare arranged for at the same time! And the big success in this is that I cut off 12 inches of hair and sent it to Locks of Love. If you want to see the before and after shots, go here.

2) After the first big storm on Sunday, I let the kids go out barefoot to splash in the new stream in our backyard. And I went out barefoot too! To see pics and video, go here. And I dealt with all the soggy, muddy clothes on Monday with not a complaint.

3) I figured out how to light the pilot light on the gas water heater. Well, I called Dan first to let him know in case anything blew up. And I checked to make sure we had propane coming into the house first (checked the oven). And I smelled everything carefully to make sure there were no gas leaks before I tried to light it. When you are used to having your husband do those things, it is a big deal! After all, using a butane lighter to light your gas-run water heater could be risky. What was my motivation? I didn't want to take a cold shower. :)

Go to Faith and Family Live to read more Small Successes!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


A resealable pack of batteries is a great idea.

Unless the pack only contains one battery.

Random Fact About Hair

Do you know how long the longest hair on record is?


Well, I'll tell you since I discovered that fact on the back of my shampoo bottle.

18 feet, 5.5 inches!

Can you imagine? That must have been heavy! Not to mention all the logistical problems. Only button-up shirts allowed. Carrying your hair around in a basket. My arms are getting tired just thinking about trying to brush it. And the massive tangles. Ouch!

And you know, that hair must have taken a whole bottle of shampoo to wash it. Of course, it probably didn't get washed much. If ever. Now, there's an icky thought. Right now I'm imagining all the things you could have found in that hair. Are you?

Easter 2009 - Part 3

Since we were out of town on Easter, we had our own little Easter basket morning a couple of days later. It was during the Easter Octave after all. The kids were very excited to get to eat candy before breakfast! Here are Anne and Dominic:
Catherine and Joseph:

So, how much can we eat, Mom?

It was funny to watch each kid with their Easter basket and how they ate their candy. All of the kids went for the chocolate first and the jelly beans were the last items left. The older kids would just dig in and eat them one by one. Joseph however, was a different story. He loved to unwrap as many foil covered candies as he could until I took his basket away, and then he would take a couple of bites out of each one. When he was done, he was done, and the wreckage was left where it lay:
Note the little girl hands waiting to eat the leftovers as soon as Mommy was done taking the picture. (Shudder)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

If You Are At The Dinner Table

If you are at the dinner table and your son says,

"I want one of those black things!"

You know you didn't do a very good job grilling the hamburgers.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wild Weather Weekend

Saturday, for the most part was a lovely day outside. The kids were out a lot and Dan mowed all afternoon. However, as I was grilling the hamburgers and brats, it started to sprinkle off and on. When we were ready to eat, I flagged down Dan and he put the lawnmower away and came inside. Just in time, because as soon as he came in, it started pouring down rain.

That night was uneventful for us, but little did we know that there was a confirmed tornado in our county on Saturday night. Thank goodness it was on the other side of the county. Here is a link to a picture of it, which is pretty impressive. They called it an "elephant trunk" tornado. It did a little damage, but there were no injuries.

Sunday morning we got up and went to church. It was very cloudy out and it sprinkled here and there, but not much. We came home, ate lunch, and then Dan and the kids went outside for a while. While they were napping Dan left to stop by his brother's house and then go to Lowe's for a few things. We knew there were some storms around the state and that there was one set to hit us in a while, but it didn't seem like much. The TV stations were focused on the more severe weather to our north and east.

About 45-60 minutes after Dan left, it started thunder storming and I casually flipped on the TV and computer to monitor it. The kids woke up early and I popped some popcorn for a snack. Joseph was getting scared because of the thunder and I decided to take the popcorn party downstairs for a movie. As I put the DVD in, the lights went out. Talk about chaos ensuing, with 4 little kids in a dark basement! We went upstairs, with Joseph clinging tighter to me than a koala bear, to get a flashlight and boy, was it wild outside. Thunder, lightning, driving rain. I had the kids sit at the top of the stairs where it was light. As I found the flashlight, Dan called, said he was on his way home, that the tornado siren was sounding, and that he could barely see on the road. Yikes! I hurried the kids back to the basement and they were scared to be in the dark. We said some prayers and asked our guardian angels to watch over us and our house and keep us all safe. Then the lights teased us by coming back on for a minute. As the phone rang, they went out again. Dan finally got home and had to go shut the door to the big shed and then come in and manually open the garage door to get the mini-van inside. I couldn't do much as the kids were freaked out by all the wild weather and the dark. We just hunkered down in the basement.

Everything seemed to happen quickly and it was a fast-moving storm, so soon it had passed us by. Our time in the basement was only 30-40 minutes. Later we found out that there were rotating clouds, which triggered the tornado siren, but no actual tornado sighting. When we looked out there was water everywhere! Huge puddles, and in the backyard was a stream, just like when we had our big snow melt so fast. It was still cloudy and sprinkling, but no longer wild. So I let the kids play in the water. Here they are splashing through the stream in the backyard:
Joseph is up to his knees in this shot:

Talk about some soggy kids:

How fun is this?
Below are 3 video clips taken on our digital camera. Each one is only about 20-30 seconds long.
It was just so funny to watch the kids playing in all that water. Of course, today I am washing a lot of laundry, but that's okay.

As the kids played outside, the electricity was still out and we could hear the neighbors' generator going. Dan hung up the rain gauge and did a few things around the yard. After about a half-hour, the electricity came back on and it was good timing because it was getting close to dinner time. I turned on the oven to heat up the leftover bierocks. Then the kids came in because they were getting cold. I have never seen such a soggy, muddy, dirty bunch of kids in my life! They immediately got tossed into the bathtub and then got to eat dinner in their pajamas, which was of course exciting.
Meanwhile we were keeping tabs on the next storm system coming our way. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch. We got the kids downstairs watching that movie they didn't get to see earlier (Here Comes Peter Cottontail). Then we watched the storm approach. Here is the backyard, where just a few hours earlier, a stream was flowing. And look at that wall cloud! It was enormous and threatening and moving fast!

Another view of the storm:

Joseph and Mommy watch the approaching storm:

Not long after this the rain started. It poured and it poured and it poured. Thunder, lightning, rain, rain, rain. We watched the local station's continuous coverage of the storm all evening. You know when they cut out the regular programming to show the weather, you had better pay attention. Finally, it seemed to get less severe and we were able to go to bed. The electricity went out one more time briefly, so we woke up to blinking clocks everywhere. Dan went out and checked things and there doesn't appear to be any damage. The rain gauge had 4.8 inches in it, and that was just from the second storm. We estimate we got a good 6 inches of rain or more!

What a wild and crazy time. I plan to get better prepared for the next storm that comes our way. After all, this is tornado season. One thing that I discovered is that Glade flameless candles are great to have for your kids' rooms, or anywhere, when the lights go out. They look like candles, but are battery operated and they smell nice, too. So no worry about the kids knocking over the candles and setting things on fire.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Big Chop!

Here is the before shot:
12 inches! (It's going to Locks of Love.)

Catherine is fascinated with Mommy's fat braid of hair:

It's been a loooonnng time since my hair has been this short.

The new hairdo:
By the way, this is a good way to freak out your husband! He did know I was going to do it, but that was sure a big change.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yesterday was my birthday, so we invited our friends over for a visit. Here are the kids:
The kids made me a birthday cake and here they are decorating it, with jellybeans. I think we went through a whole bag. Every square inch was covered and what didn't fit on the cake disappeared into a few little mouths.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Small Successes - 14

1) I finally drove the 40 minutes to get to the monthly Catholic Homeschool preschool playgroup. And I was well rewarded. I met some very nice women and there were lots of kids for mine to play with. At a new playground, nonetheless, at least to them. It was especially nice to go to something where you meet new people and you don't have to answer questions about your "large" family. In fact, it was refreshing to hear not one comment of Are they all yours? and You've sure got your hands full. We will definitely be going back again.

2) Dan and I finally made it out on a date! Which we've been going to do since our anniversary back in February. On Sunday late afternoon/early evening we dropped the kids off at Dan's brother's house, which left them in charge of 9 children. Woo-hoo! Thank you!
We went to the Bonefish Grill, which was excellent. Definitely somewhere we would never take the kids. And what was the occasion for our date? My birthday, which is today! Which brings me to:

3) I helped the kids make me a birthday cake. When they wake up from their naps, we are going to frost it and I will let them decorate it with jelly beans.

Go to Faith and Family Live for more Small Successes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A New One At The Store

Last night at the grocery store, as the cashier was scanning the 5# of grapes and 6# of bananas I had among my purchases, he asked, "So, are you making a fruit salad?" Implied was that I must be making one for a big party or something.

"No, I have 4 little kids."

"Wow, I've never seen somebody buy that many bananas before!"

Great News!

My mom's surgery for breast cancer went well and the path report came back and it was good! Margins were all clear and it was indeed a DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ), which if you have to have a breast cancer, is the kind you want to have.

Thank you for all of the prayers!

Heard In The Car

The other day, when approaching a stop sign, we heard this:

Catherine: S-T-O-P, Stop!

Dominic: S-O-Toe-P, Stop!

Anne: S-Toe-P, Stop!

Joseph: O-P, Top!

Hee, hee.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Easter 2009 - Part 2

When you are trying to get a picture with all 12 of your grandchildren, and the oldest one is not quite 8, you can expect a little chaos:

Let's see, do we have everyone? Nope, only 11. Who's missing?

Oh, there's Thomas, protesting on the floor:

And when it takes too long for the toddler crowd, one tries to escape (that's Joseph):

Hey, not too bad, except there's a kid standing on the arm of Grandma's couch! Oh, that's Dominic. No, we don't let him do that at home. Nope. Never.
I think this is as good as it's going to get. Happy Easter!
Let's see: one almost 8 yr. old, one 6 yr. old, one 5 yr. old, one almost 4 yr. old, two 3 yr. olds, two 2 yr. olds, one 22 mo. old, one 17 mon. old, one 10 mo. old, and one 4 mo. old. Whew!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter 2009 - Part 1

For Easter weekend we were able to go up to my parents' house, as were all of my siblings and their families. I got to meet my little nephew, Matthew. Isn't he cute? A little too close-up of me, but hey, when you've got an adorable baby as an accessory, nobody looks at you anyway.
My mom was brave enough to let the grand kids staying at her house color Easter eggs on Holy Saturday. Only one egg got dropped on the floor, courtesy of Joseph, and no permanent dye stains were found on anything important. (I should check with my mom for verification on that one!) The kids loved it!
Easter Sunday the kids were dressed in their finest. Here are the twins, with a "normal" smile from Dominic actually caught on camera.
This picture of Joseph is just so cute, I could eat him up. Isn't he the little man?
And the whole family poses for a picture. This was even taken after Easter Sunday Mass, which was extremely packed. We got there 20 minutes early and barely got a seat. Our family of 6 somehow squished into one kneeler-length of pew, which would normally be for 2 adults. Let's just say, we got a little hot at that Mass! And squirmy. And for some reason Joseph decided to talk, a lot, during much of the Mass. It would have near impossible to take him out, so we had to tolerate it (as did the people around us, oops). At least he wasn't crying.
Then it was time for the big Easter egg hunt. My dad got a kick out of hiding all the Ester eggs and then all 12 grand kids were let loose to find them! The ones that could walk, that is.

Dominic finds another one!
The girls are on the hunt:
Daddy helps Joseph open his eggs. He seems surprised to find that there is candy in them.
Oh, yeah, we've got to sample the loot!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Notice to Old Man Winter

Now that I have washed, dried, and put away all of the winter coats, snowpants, hats, mittens, and scarves, you are not welcome to show your face again until next winter.

A New Blog and A New Baby

Dan has decided that I have taken over our blog too much (heh, heh, heh), so he has started his own blog, Haus of Brungardt. Check it out! Now I don't have to feel guilty anymore for being behind on blogging about some of the garden stuff he's been doing.

Other news:

Dan is now a great-uncle! His niece just this week had a baby boy named Michael Joseph. So, potentially, if we are blessed with more children, his great-nephew will be older than some of his children. Congratulations to April and Kerry, proud mama and papa!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Heard At Lunch Today

Catherine: "Mommy, can I have some more cauliflower, please?"

Have you ever heard that at your house?

Yeah, she also gets excited when she sees broccoli and baked potatoes.

Time For Action!

I am sure all of you have heard about our Kansas governor, Sebelius, being nominated by Obama to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. Most of you probably also know that she has been buddies with the infamous late-term abortionist, Tiller, who is Kansas' greatest thorn. She has accepted money from him for her campaigns, has had him to dinner at the governors' mansion, and I know has made things easier for him to do the evil that he does. She has vetoed every pro-life piece of legislation that has made its way to her desk (except for the recent Women's Right to Know, which allows women the right to see the sonogram that the abortion center does, among other things. I know she just signed this for political gain, i.e. not to seem so pro-abortion now that she has been nominated for this position.) It is a disgrace to Kansas to have these two in our state.

As much as I would love to get Sebelius out of Kansas, this position that Obama has nominated her for is not good. She has got to be one of the most pro-abortion politicians out there. All the while claiming to be "pro-woman." And claiming to be Catholic, which is even more disgraceful.

Now is your chance to voice to your senators how you feel about her nomination. Go here to the Americans United for Life Action website and your can plug in your information and they will email your letter to your senators. You can even use a letter they already have written. I just did it and it was so easy. Took only a few minutes! So go, now!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Meal

3 pounds of polish sausage cut into big chunks - check!

2 cans of sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (makes it a little less pungent) - check!

All thrown in the crock pot - check!

Crock pot turned on low - check!

All I have to do now is fry (or bake) a few potatoes and make a side salad, and presto, dinner is ready. Can you get much easier than that! (Of course, it'll be Easter candy for dessert.)

Dan, if you read this before you come home, prepare for the feast!

Mom, when you read this, yes, I do like sauerkraut now. Just like a good, mostly-German girl should!

They Can Dance!

One day the kids were eating vanilla wafers and they starting doing this little routine where they would shove a whole wafer in their mouths and then do this crazy little dance, so here it is.

Oh, and you get to see an injury in action at the end.

Palm Sunday Weekend

Yeah, you can see I have some catching up to do!

The Saturday afternoon of that weekend I got to go to a Homeschool Open House put on by the local Catholic Homeschool group. There were a few speakers, a panel of parents, and lots of browsing through various curriculum brought by the members. The nice thing is that it was free to attend. I got a lot of useful information, met some nice people, and saw a few that I already knew. But best of all, I was by myself for almost 5 hours, so that was a nice little break!

Catherine will be ready for kindergarten in the fall, so I am planning to start with her then. Of course, I'll have to do something for the twins, too, because I know they will want to do "school" as well. And Joseph. I'll have to plan things to keep him busy.

Anyway, when I got home from the open house, Dan's mom and two of his brothers were there for an overnight visit. Then his other brother came with his family for dinner. However, I did not have to do much, as the guys did all the grilling/cooking. I just made dessert. And cleaned up. So I had it made on Saturday!

Here is a picture of all the little kids at their own table. Our carpet in the living room is light-colored so Dan wisely put down a drop cloth. Boy, was it messy! By the way, Catherine has a thing now about not wanting to look at the camera for a picture. And a picture of Dan's cute little nephew, Baby Aloysius.
Then there was the obligatory ride around the property: Of course, once the kids spotted me, they all had to stand up:

That night is when I prepared the Overnight Coffee Cake I mentioned a few posts ago. I doubled the recipe and left a note for Dan's mom asking her to put it in the oven in the morning. I had never been able to make this for breakfast before because I don't get up early enough before the kids. But, Dan's mom and brother get up early every day, so they were able to get it in the oven and then we awoke to the smell of baking coffee cake. Mmmm! It was good. There was only one little piece left.
On Palm Sunday, after Mass, we were invited to Dan's sister's for lunch (dinner, really). So I got off easy the whole weekend! The kids enjoyed seeing all of their cousins all weekend.
And that is the end of that story. Now I am only a week and a half behind!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today Is Surgery Day

Today my mom is having surgery for her breast cancer. Please pray that all goes well and that the results are very favorable.

Also, yesterday she found out that they saw a solitary pulmonary nodule on her chest x-ray. While it is unlikely that it is related to the breast cancer, it still could potentially be a primary lung cancer. So please pray that it is benign.

Thank you!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Small Successes - 12

1. I cut hair one morning. Lots of hair. All four of the kids! And no one cried.

2. I took the kids to the library for storytime yesterday. And the playground. And we even had a picnic at the playground!

3. I finally made the Overnight Coffee Cake I've been wanting to try. (Only because Dan's mom and brother were here. They always get up early, so they were able to get it into the oven in enough time before breakfast. So I only get half the credit!)

Go to Faith and Family Live to read more small successes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Talking to the Hat

One day I was watching the kids playing outside from the window. They were running to and fro, doing all kinds of fun things, like playing with sticks and dirt. It was a very windy day and a little chilly, so they all had hoods or hats on. Pretty soon I heard someone at the back door and as I went to help him in, I could hear Dominic talking. As I opened the door, he said, "Why do you keep doing this to me?" And he threw his hat on the floor and went back outside.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Horse's Tale

This is a wild and crazy story, but it also has a sad ending, so if you don't like sad endings, don't read on.

Thursday night we all went to bed, peacefully sleeping away. Suddenly, Dan and I both woke up with a start, and then realized we were hearing the last bit of the doorbell ringing. Jumping out of bed, we look a quick look at the clock. 3:30! As in AM! Who was ringing our doorbell at 3:30 in the morning? Dan quietly made his way along the hall, trying to peek around the corner without the person outside seeing him. I was a safe distance behind and ready to dash back to our room for the phone and call 911. (I know, our phone is cordless, I should have carried it with me.)

At the time I remember thinking, what if this is a trick, like on one of those crime shows? Then I saw Dan flip on the outside light and open the door. As I listened I heard a man's voice say, "Yeah, I've got this injured horse across the street and I wondered if it was yours." What?! At 3:30 in the morning you've "found" an injured horse? What kind of story is this? What I couldn't see, and Dan already knew, is that it was a policeman at our door. After a bit of conversation, yes, the people before us had horses, no, our two neighbors don't have horses either, he left, saying he was going to check down the road. (And probably give more people heart attacks, too!)

It took a while but we finally went back to sleep and when we woke up in the morning, sure enough, there across the street, in an unfenced field belonging to one of our neighbors, was a horse. An injured horse. It happened to be a Friday and a day off for Dan, so he was outside much of the day, getting things done, like planting those apple trees that had arrived during the snowstorm.

All day long, people kept stopping to talk to Dan about the horse. First it was some people in a truck asking whose horse it was and if they could have it. Then the owners of the horse came by and it turned out that a family with 7 kids had moved in on the street south of ours last fall and they had one horse. Somehow the horse had gotten loose and escaped during the night, and broke its leg. This particular house we can see from our house during the winter when the leaves are gone. The poor teen/tween girls of the family were with the horse for a while, comforting him.

A while later, Dan saw the owner come back and then a truck pull up. It was obviously the vet and he had come to put the horse down. Poor horse! So all the rest of the day there was this dead horse laying on the side of the road. In the afternoon, I came out to throw some stuff on the compost pile and as I was headed back to the house, I heard an airplane. It was getting louder and I looked up and there was a little plane not far from us and to me it looked like it was about to crash! I said, "Dan, look, that plane is going to crash!" He said he thought they were just looking at the horse. Then the plane got really low and he thought it might crash too, but it didn't. Weird!

Then, the sheriff stopped by to talk to Dan. Yes, the sheriff! He said he had been getting a lot of calls about a dead horse. Evidently Dan must have been the only person around who was outside, because everyone kept coming to talk to him. So Dan told him the whole story.

As I type this, that dead horse is still out there, on the side of the road. At least someone covered it with a blue tarp, although with the strong winds we have been having, it is only mostly covered. I am not sure what happens to the horse now. Hopefully someone takes it away soon.

At least it is not summertime and HOT. That could have made it very unpleasant around here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Frozen In Time

Okay, you can probably tell we haven't had much snow this past winter. I promise, this is the last post on our snowstorm! I just had to put on these pictures of all the ice and icicles. Look at this little tree. It was bent to the ground and the wind was blowing strong. As I got closer I could hear an eerie sound. The wind was scraping the icy branches across the icy ground. Like glass on glass. I don't know if you can see it, but there were some long icicles (>1foot) hanging from the mailbox. This tree is all decked out in ice jewels and if you look closely at the house behind, you can see that each row of siding has its own set of icicles.
The swing set was all crazy. Icicles from every surface. Even the swings, which were swinging wildly in the wind, had many icicles hanging from them.
The pergola on the deck was really impressive, looking like some medieval torture chamber, with all of the icicles lined up in perfect rows.
Catherine was worried about the flowers, encased in ice and covered with snow.
The blooming trees were also ice-encrusted and the blooms were frozen in time. Alas, after the thaw, it looks like spring never started, as we lost the leaves and blooms from the trees. I guess we have to start over again.
What a strange spectacle seeing all the green locked away in an icy prison.
It was all fun while it happened, but hopefully we are done with that for this year. Time for the real Spring to emerge!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Big Thaw

On Sunday, the temperature started climbing a bit and the sun came out, so we had to get out that afternoon and play before the 7 inches of snow all melted. Dan tied the sled to the back of the lawn mower and gave the kids rides up and down the driveway. He tried to go through the yard but got stuck. They thought it was fun, though. The poor flowers are trying to recover.
What is this? A stream running through our backyard that has never been there before! It was flowing. It had a current. It was wild to see. This shot is in the backyard.
Is that a sled or a boat? And look, there are actually two streams converging into one. I walked through some of it and in places in was a foot deep.
Following the stream down to the hill. The stream kept going down from here and wound around the hill to the pond.
Joseph gets a turn sledding on what is left of the snow.
The leaning snowman of Brungardt:
Later in the day, his head fell off, so Dan rearranged his face and arms. Then a while later, his middle fell off, so Dan turned him into a one ball snow alien. Then by Monday morning, almost all of the snow was gone and the poor snowman was reduced to this:
And we were left with sogginess and mud everywhere!