Wild hair, cereal worhip, and other sundry tales

My friend called me this morning:

Friend (all excited-like): Well hell-OH!!! Are you OKAY???

Me (surprised): Well, yes, I’m fine, thank you. Why do you ask?

Friend: Because you haven’t blogged for like FOUR DAYS and I have no idea how you’re doing when you don’t write. I was getting all worried because I thought something might be wrong because you weren’t writing and then I have to call you to find out and—

Me: Oh goodness, I’m FINE. Truly! And I think it’s only been three days since I posted, but I’ll forgive you the slip-up ‘cause it’s real sweet of you to care. Not much is happening here. I’m plugging away at using up my freezer stuff so I don’t have any new recipes to write about and I figured that everyone is probably bored stiff of hearing about the kids so that’s why I didn’t post. I do have a new recipe in the works—

Friend: Oh no, no. When you don’t write, I worry and then I have to call you to find out what’s going on.

Okay, so that’s not the conversation verbatim—

(Excuse me, but my youngest son is hacking up something in the downstairs bedroom with a scissors. I better go check.)

(Back again. No scissors involved [like yesterday]—he was just pounding on a sheet of cardboard with a green dry erase marker and a metal dustpan.)

—but it gets the point across.

And yes, I really am fine. I have a luscious cake post I’ve working on, but since my friend didn’t say she doesn’t want to hear more about my kids, I guess she kind of might not mind hearing more about them, so…

Story One: Windy Wood
Last I wrote, my kids had just rigged up a two-sided ramp using sawhorses, boards, and sheets of plywood.

They spent the afternoon shooting down the sides on wagons, trikes, and bikes.

When it came time to clean up, my son discovered a new game: stand a sheet of plywood up on end and then let it fall to the ground with a whoosh, right beside the other kids and resulting in a vigorous gust of wind and some wild hair. I observed this new game from my spot in the brand new strawberry patch (25 Sparkle and 25 All-Star).

It didn’t take me more than two seconds to toss my baby plants and sprint to the house for the camera.

I sat on the ground beside the girls and snapped madly away while the my son hoisted and dropped the board and my husband hollered at me from the strawberry patch to put the stupid camera down and come over and help him right this very minute.

Story Two: Cereal Worship
I don’t buy cereal any more. We’ve been living on granola (I make this recipe once a week, and sometimes twice), oatmeal, pancakes, and eggs. This is a big switch for me, a former cereal addict. But it’s gotten to the point where I no longer crave the boxed bits o’ dry crispies (too much), and I’ve accustomed myself to think ahead for our morning meals.

However, we’ve eaten so much granola lately that even the kids have started to beg for mercy. So a couple weeks ago I bought one box of frosted mini wheats and everybody but Papa got one bowl before the box was empty. It wasn’t nearly enough to alleviate our granola boredom.

So yesterday I included “cereal” in my grocery list. My husband was doing the shopping and stopped at a Dollar General on the way out of town to pick it up. Three whole boxes, he got. The kids were ecstatic.

My oldest son was the first to spy the splurge. He ran leaping and yelling (and totally ignoring our orders to come back here right this minute to help bring in the groceries) upstairs to shout the good news to his sisters. Then he sat down (once again, ignoring our orders to help put away the groceries) to read the cereal boxes.


This morning’s breakfast of honey nut cheerios (mixed with granola, ‘cause I can’t help myself) was an enormous hit. It put everyone in a downright jolly mood.

Story Three: The Life of My Porch Swing
It appears that my porch swing has a life of its own. It gets tired of always facing west and likes to shake things up every now and then.

Sometimes I go outside and find it facing towards the road.

Other times I go outside and find it making out with the white bench. (I know!)

And still other times I go outside and find that it’s up and tried to leave the porch all together and that a little monkey has taken its place.

Story Four: My Niece
Yesterday evening we took care of my niece. Normally when she comes over, she disappears with the older kids and I never see her. But this time my son was mowing the yard and the roaring machine, it turned out, kind of shell-shocked the poor dear.

At first I didn’t realize there was any problem. I was in the garden and the other kids were in the yard, on the porch, running in and out of the house. But then I went to the house for something and found the little girl quietly kneeling behind the picnic table, her hands over her ears.

I took her to the other side of the porch where it was quieter, but even when the machine was on the opposite side of the house, she kept her ears covered. She didn’t seem that upset, really, just … frozen.

Eventually she made it out to the rocks in the flower garden where she played with Sweetsie for a bit. But then my son brought the mower around to the barn and shut it off.

I watched my niece watch my son as he sat on the silent mower. After a minute she called to me loudly, never once taking her eyes off the monster machine, “Jennifer! I’m scared!”

I alerted my son to the traumatized child fleeing the rock garden behind him and he came up on the porch to entertain her.

I think my niece might adore my son. Just look at that face!

He danced around and made silly so she might be happy.

He cracked her up, he did.

And then he cuddled with her on the porch bench while my husband did the finish-up mowing.

This same time, years previous: flour tortillas, chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs, the value (or not) of the workbook, asparagus-walnut salad, asparagus with lemony crème fraîche and boiled egg


  • Anonymous

    Whew, so glad you blogged, I can quit worring now. I don't mind calling you either, but . . .please don't make me panic in the future!

  • current typist

    There's no doubt your niece adores your older son. When I was her age I had a cousin his age. He was my hero. By the way, do you share blog photos? -your niece's mom

  • Mr. H.

    Such lucky kids. The ramp they are playing on reminds me of the one we use to set up on the edge of a dock and jump our bikes into the lake…oh to be young again.:)

  • Jennifer Jo

    Margo, If I remember correctly, I had my camera set to the aperture mode (the Tv was doing its own thing automatically) and the ISO speed was 400. (I have an awful time with camera shake—I'm thinking about getting a tripod…) Also, I was in continuous shooting mode so I could get a series of shots with just one press of the shutter button (one more way to cut down on camera shake).

  • Marie M.

    I could live on granola, pancakes, french toast, eggs and bacon. I'm not a cereal girl. Growing up we never had it in the house. The first time I had Frosted Flakes I was in Girl Scout camp and was shocked at how bad they tasted. I can eat them now but still would rather eat oatmeal. At my Lucky's store I can buy huge bags of cereal for $3 on sale. I think they are the same as the stuff in the boxes, minus the puzzles on the box and the "surprise toys" that are junk. Don't know if they taste the same.

    I think your children are wonderful. They play like all children did before TV and computers. Fresh air and creative fun. What could be better?

  • Margo

    those hair photos!!! amazing! were you fiddling with camera settings? do tell.

    and the photos of your niece – beautiful!

  • Mama Pea

    I often don't know of anything specific to comment on regarding your posts but I want you to know that I always enjoy them. Wait I have something to say: Love how your oldest is so nurturing and sensitive at his age. I think you and your hubby are doing a great job of raising him to be a very well-adjusted male. Seems as though there aren't a lot of those out there anymore.)

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