Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Nutcracker Ballet (it was definitely nuts!)

Kaity and I headed to the Nutcracker ballet last Friday night in all of our "goin' out" finery. She had a new dress and was very excited to meet her best friend, Hannasha, her little sister, Pauline, and their mom at Chick-Fil-A before heading the performing arts center. We actually did get them to eat while playing on the jungle gym in their pretty dresses. We had seats in the balcony and luckily were the very last ones up there. (There weren't very many people in the balcony to begin with and they actually told us we could move up if we wanted to.) The girls were very, very rambunctious and didn't really understand the use of a whisper. Every time a new ballerina came on stage, they would both say "that's me!" and then begin dancing in the aisles. It was super fun but very exciting. I don't know how my mom ever did it with three little girls (although she says Kaity's not like any of us were!) Here are some of the pictures from the night. Kaity and I set on the camera on self-portrait to take most of these.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Girls Week, cont. (and an update on Boys Roadtrip 2009)

Well, the "Girls Week" has commenced nicely. Here's a short recap of what we've done so far:
  • Sunday - Princess and the Frog movie, pizza for dinner (Kaity's choice)
  • Monday - playdate at Hannasha's house
  • Tuesday - Girls Dinner Out to Outback with Nana and Kaity's best gal, Ms. Brenda
  • Wednesday - first ballet lesson, McD's for dinner (Kaity's choice)
  • Thursday - hang out at home with Nana, play with the pony
  • Friday - Nutcracker ballet with Hannasha and her mom, Chick-Fil-A for dinner
  • Saturday - Holiday with Horses with Nana
Kaity and I are enjoying being home alone. All the girls (me, Kaity, and Luna) have been sleeping in my bed and we're doing lots of girl stuff. I'll have pictures from Nutcracker and Holiday with Horses coming up.

The boys are having a great time. They made it to Amarillo in one piece and totally surprised Dora with Will being there. Here's a recap (and hopefully they come back with pictures)
  • Sunday - leave for Amarillo, stop to see the USS Alabama battleship
  • Monday - more driving, stop at the super-duper Cabela's store in Ft. Worth
  • Tuesday - hang out with Dora, visit the Amarillo Discovery Center which has farting machines and a frozen duck pond (both cool in Will's book), and dinner at the Big Texan
  • Wednesday - John and Larry visit the feedyards (I know, I know. Most people wouldn't do that on their vacation, but not in a farm family. This is one of the highlights of the trip.) and Will hung out with Dora all day
  • Thursday - John's pheasant hunting with a friend, and Larry and Will are up to no good
  • Friday - start driving back
  • Saturday - possibly stop at Opryland
  • Sunday - back home
The kids are officially on winter break starting Monday, so I'll be home with them for the next two weeks. I'm looking forward to it, but not the mess that is sure to come.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Boys Roadtrip 2009: Day #1

The Eubanks boys (Larry, John, and Will) are all on their way to Amarillo, Texas. It's a 24 hour drive and they've got an almost 7 year old, so they're having to make a few stops throughout the day. They left yesterday morning about 6:30 and made it almost to Shreveport last night. They stopped in Mobile on the way and saw the USS Alabama. Will thought it was really cool. He's really enjoying himself so far (at least that's what John told me last night). Will told me in great detail about how he's stinking up the car with all the gas he's got. And, I'm sure they're encouraging him. They're going to visit John's Nanny Dora. She knows that John and Larry are coming, but Will is surprise (just in case he didn't make it). I wish I could be there to see her reaction. She's going to spoil him greatly this week.

So, Kaity and I are having a "girls week" starting yesterday. We went to see the Princess and the Frog. It was an awesome movie with awesome music. She's headed to Hannasha's house today for a play date. And, we have more stuff planned for the rest of the week. While we miss the male half of the household, it's kinda nice to have one-on-one time with each child. Stay tuned for more adventures from the road!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chicken News

I just realized in one of my latest posts that I said all of my chickens were fine. Well, that's not entirely true anymore. The last chicken update had Sunny being attacked, but otherwise okay. So, let's continue the story from there.

The very next night after Sunny's attack, we put all of the chickens up in there chicken tractor. Headed out to feed the next morning, and something had gotten underneath the coop and killed Spike, my Rhode Island Rhode. It was really gross because whatever got it tried to pull it out and got the chicken stuck under the coop. It ate the parts it liked, but not the whole thing. Seriously gross. We think it was a fox. So, okay one down, but I still have three hens and a rooster.

The next day, Sunny started going down hill fast. She must have gotten more hurt in the attack than we realized. She wouldn't come out of the coop and wasn't eating and drinking. We had to put her down which was sad. So, okay two down, but I still have two hens and a rooster.

Two days later, the chickens are out during the day ranging and eating bugs. When I get home that afternoon, Speedy is gone. No sign of her. No feathers. No nothing. We're pretty sure a hawk or the young bald eagle that's been hanging around got her.

So, now I'm down to one hen, Big Foot, and Colonel, the rooster. Colonel is very sad that his harem is gone and he doesn't have anyone left to boss around. Big Foot sticks pretty close to Colonel, but isn't the most consistent layer. Hopefully I can get more chicks in the spring.

So, now I'm down to barely any chickens, but we still got a problem. John's been noticing a raccoon coming up on the porch and stealing our dog food. I think the coon has also been one of the chicken predators. My theory is when we're out of dog food in our free feeder, the coon was killing my chickens. The coon kept getting braver and braver. Just coming up and eating dog food fairly early in the evening even though it could see us sitting there watching tv. It took several tries, but we finally caught it. And, the thing was HUGE! My guess is that it weighed more than Kaity - probably close to 30 pounds. We thought about relocating it, but then decided we would humanely dispose (exact terminology from the extension document) of it. I haven't had anymore chicken problems!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pretty Picture

A Day in the Life of Tebow

"Mom, quit taking my picture!"

"I have serious work to do"

"Please mom!"

"I got to pay attention! The cows might move and I might need to bark."

"Fine, I'll just ignore you."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Cookie Time

Last year, we got together with our friend, Cathy, to bake and decorate cookies. It was so much fun that we decided to do it again this year. Both of our schedules are crazy busy, so we picked a time that we knew we wouldn't be doing anything else - the SEC game. The guys were able to watch the game and we could see it from the kitchen thanks to Chad's big screen TV. The game was some what a disappointment, but the cookies were not!

Kaity is the next Martha Stewart in training. She's got excellent cookie dough rolling out skills.

The boys watching the game and eating chili.

Her decorating skills might need some more work. She really liked sprinkles.

Will got busy creating frosting marshmallow decorations.

Some of our finished cookies. The were really, really sweet with an abundance of frosting and sprinkles.

We've got our annual 4-H cookie bake-off this weekend. It promises to be fun and sweet!

Very Late Thanksgiving Post

I'm sorry for the absenteeism from the blog lately. As usual, it's been crazy around here. Thanksgiving came and went, holiday shopping started, more than usual deadlines at work, and kid stuff in between. Here's a quick recap of our Thanksgiving.

John's been doing a lot of hunting this year. He's had "bad juju" (his words, not mine) for the most part, but he did get a duck right before Thanksgiving. We thought about eating it, but then decided we needed several more to make a meal. He was really pretty.

We had three Thanksgivings this year, so I'll chronicle each.

Thanksgiving #1: Melrose

We headed out to Melrose the Saturday before Thanksgiving for the Eckhardt-Smolek celebration. But, first we hit Alachua for the kids' soccer tournament. We've had issues with the coach all year with not playing all the players. And, unfortunately, this day was no different. She kept the most athletic players in for the entire first game and Will and Kaity both played very little. The second game, we lost one of our better players and Will was put in for the second half. She kept saying how good he was doing, but he's been doing that good all year. He just never got to play. Kaity didn't get to play at all in the second game. I realized later that she was treating my two kids as one unit and only putting one Eubanks in at a time. It was a very frustrating season and we'll definitely reconsider soccer in the future if she's coaching. Will had a great time with the sport, but I don't think it's Kaity's calling. The practices were mostly in the evening and she slept through a LOT of them. I would have liked to have seen more encouragement with the younger kids, but maybe next year with a different coach, things will be better.

So, from there, we ended up at Melrose. Will and John spent quite a bit of time fishing unsuccessfully. Will is a pretty good fisherman. Very patient and got quite a good cast.

Luke was building some sort of catapult thing and Kaity "helped" with that some.

I didn't get any pictures of dinner, but it was good and plenty of food was eaten by all.

Thanksgiving #2: Micanopy

MACS does a founder's day lunch every year the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It's a big deal with a potluck and program. Will and Kaity had been talking about it for weeks. We made hams for both their classes and Will has declared it the best ham ever. The program was good, but long. Kaity and her class sang some Mayflower song. She's in the purple and pink striped shirt in the middle.

Will's class sang some stuff too, but mostly he just goofed off.

Thanksgiving #3: The Farm

I didn't take any pictures all day of the Thanksgiving at the farm. There were a lot of people there. I made deviled eggs with the last of my fresh eggs, corn pudding, and pumpkin pies. We did give away Dixie, the stray dog, to a nice family so she had a very good Thanksgiving.

The following weekend, mom came up to play with the pony with us. We had a great time doing that and, of course, I didn't take any pictures. Annie is super pretty in the cart. We're really enjoying having her.

Overall, a very nice Thanksgiving break. Now, I'm ready for Christmas break!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My Mom Officially Acquired "Coolest Grandma Ever" Status

When kids (especially girls) are little, the only thing they want for birthdays or Christmas is a pony. Well Grandma Eckhardt has officially done it! She got the kids (and me and herself) a pony named Annie. Annie is a super gentle and sweet girl that rides and drives (that part is for mom and me). She arrived yesterday while the kids were at school. When we drove in the driveway, Kaity started yelling "I see her! I see her!" Good thing I had the child lock on the door or she would have opened while going down the driveway. Then, she couldn't get the door open once we stopped and she started yelling "I'm so excited! Hurry up!" Finally, we got the door open and they headed over.

Terrible picture of everyone, but here they are Annie, Will, and Kaity.

Kaity really liked combing her mane.

One of the first lessons, brushing in the right direction.

Will and the red-eyed pony.

Another first lesson - leading: which side to stand on and how to hold the rope.

She's very dainty and feminine, but a little on the rotund side. And, she has the cutest hooves. Mom is coming up this weekend to help me hook her up to the cart.

Other Animal News
I thought we had a chicken massacre at 4:30 this morning. They started raising a ruckus and I ran out there in my underwear, rubber boots and flash light. I was so tired the night before that I hadn't put them up. When I got out there, only Sunny and Big Foot were anywhere to be seen. And, Sunny had obviously had some kind of assault. She had feathers sticking out everywhere. There wasn't anything I could do, so I went back inside. I was pretty sad cause the girls had just started laying and Colonel has such an impressive personality. I was afraid they had become an opossum snack. About 5:15 I heard the squawking again and headed back out there. Speedy almost gave me a heart attack when I tripped over her (she's okay), but Sunny couldn't get up onto the fence. I think she hurt her foot. I lifted her over the fence and again went back inside - this time to take a shower since I knew I wasn't going back to sleep. Went back out at 6:45 (once it got light) and there were ALL of my chickens. So, when the opossum tried to grab Sunny, everyone must've scattered. They are all fine except Sunny maybe experiencing some shock. She may have some wounds also, but I couldn't catch her this morning to see. Hopefully, she's still alive when I get home and not died of PTSD (which is possible with a chicken).


Halloween was a blast. The kids had multiple parties and candy-acquiring events. They kicked it off Thursday night with a Trunk-or-Treat event with Nana and Papa. Friday morning was the party at school. No scary costumes so Will's "true" costume was replaced with the karate kid getup. Here he is with two of his best friends, Spiderman (Chance) and Peter Parker (Dalton).

Kaity was a princess bride. We recycled the flower girl dress after I got the chocolate stains out (6 hours of oxyclean soaking!). I mean, what else do you do with a flower girl dress once the wedding is over?

Here's the pre-k class. They were so adorable. I helped with them most of the day since 1st grade had plenty of help. Amazingly enough, 1st grade was very, very well-behaved all day. They were awesome.

Friday night, we headed to Alachua for Main Street Trick-or-Treating and some Conestoga's with Dalton's family. This time, Will got to wear his skeleton costume. I had bought face paint for when he wasn't wearing his hood, but nosiree, he wanted nothing to do with it. Kaity however is dressed as a ghost princess bride. And, guess who got to haul his ax around most of the night? (Hint: not me!) It was fun, but was super duper crowded in Alachua. We could hardly move around and I was worried about losing kids. But, it was fun getting to go out with another family.

Oh, and I went as a fairy. I wore this to school that morning also.

Saturday, we headed over to Dalton's house first to watch the first half of the UF/UGA game. It was a venison BBQ event and the food was awesome! At half time, we left and went to a birthday party for Leigh. She's the sister of Will's good friend, Coy. They live in a pretty small house and there were probably 25 kids and 15 adults in it. Luckily, the game was on, so John got to finish watching it. From there, the party loaded up and went to Chance's house (another of Will's friends) which was the base for trick-or-treating in Micanopy. We started with probably 15 kids and several adults. Kaity made it to about 3 houses before she was done and we headed back to Chance's house to help hand out candy. It was a good thing to - they went up by the cemetery, over to Seminary, down Seminary and back up Cholokka. It would have been quite the walk for her.

I went as a "bad" fairy and Kaity changed costumes to a kitty ballerina.

They're already talking about what they are going to be next year, so I guess I better get started on those costumes!

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