Christmas Movie Game

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for some). I’m not a Scrooge but Christmas was my favorite time when I was a kid. Then as I grew older, Halloween became my favorite. I still like Halloween but Christmas is making its way to the forefront again because I have a son who absolutely loves Christmas. Maybe because of the decorations. Maybe because of the candy. Maybe because of the movies. Maybe because of the allure. Mostly because of the presents.

Speaking of movies, I decided last year to box up all the Christmas movies because I was tired of watching Elf or the Grinch a blue million times in July. Nothing wrong with watching those movies in July but when Levi gets on his kick, he could watch a movie twenty times in a week. TWENTY TIMES!!!!! So I decided I’m not gonna let that happen again.

So while pulling out the Christmas decor, I decided this year we would do something a bit different. We have been collecting  Christmas movies for a while and when we came across a neat game to play with the youngun, we decided to try it this year.

Basically you wrap all your movies like Christmas presents. You child gets to pick a movie when he wants to but only one a day. If he doesn’t like the movie he picked and unwrapped, he has to wait till the next day to pick another one. There are many variants to the game but this is how we’re gonna play it. Sometimes, he may like the movie so much that he’ll watch a dozen times before picking another one. He could also pick a movie he doesn’t like and end up watching one he’s already picked. So it can last a month easily.

It doesn’t take that much preparation. I wrapped fifteen movies in a few minutes. That’s because I don’t care how the wrapping looked plus I used leftover wrapping paper that would normally get disposed of. It also gives the kid something like a present to open all month. It’s fun and it creates mystery and surprise.

What are some Christmas games you like to play during the month?

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14 years… and counting!

IMG_6590One could write books full of words that can express the depth and breadth of love for another. I couldn’t begin to describe the feelings I have for Carrie nor would I think she could for her feelings toward me. Yes I do assume but I think I am at liberty to do so.

Today, we celebrate fourteen years of being married to one another (and seventeen years knowing one another). There have been some serious ups and some serious downs. We have gone through quite a bit in our limited marital experience.

We aspire to be married, holding hands on the porch swing when our great-grand kids come over. They will ask how we ever made it so long without divorcing in such a twisted upside down world  which I expect to be the norm by that day. We will hope to answer with two answers.

  1. Divorce was and is never an option
  2. Grace and forgiveness

We met on a church youth group meeting. Fell in love. Pursued one another under the skepticism of her parents and our church leadership. I asked her father for her hand in marriage blacking out afterwards. We married in her front yard with my best friend officiating. Honeymooned on a cruise in the Caribbean. Learned one another for eight years. Brought Levi into this world. Our marriage in a nutshell.

For our fourteenth, we decided to go see Cirque Du Soleil and spend some quality time together. We went to downtown Nashville and walked Broadway and boy has it changed. That place has gotten crazy and not in a good way. Drunks and crowdedness consume the joy. It smells bad and the way some people act when they know what happens there will stay there is inconceivable.

In any case, we enjoyed spending time with one another and watching the craziness ensue. Time, I believe, is far greater than any material item that can be given. Although she did give me a hamburger patty maker and I gave her a bottle of wine. Hey, it’s the small stuff.

Nobody really gave us a chance and here we are. Here’s to fourteen and many more.

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Mowing the Yard (Old School)

Son: Daddy, can I mow the yard?

Daddy: No son, you’re too little.

Son: Daddy, can I mow the yard?

Daddy: You can help push (or ride)

Son: Daddy, can I mow the yard?

Daddy: Yes!

Son: Dad, I don’t want to help mow the yard

Daddy: That’s ok.

Son: Why do I always have to mow the yard, Dad?

Dad: Because you’re growing up and need to learn responsibilities, Son.

Son: I’m tired of mowing the yard, Dad. I’m not gonna do it.

Dad: Get out there and mow the yard or you’re getting the belt!!!!

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img_6455Every son has had this conversation in some form or fashion with their dad. I did and every one of my friends did. And although this post has nothing to do with getting Levi out to mow the yard with me it has everything to do with how I used to mow the yard and the tradition carried on (even if for one mowing) at our piece of Heaven on Earth.

I remember living in Cornersville when I was young and asking Dad if I could mow the yard. He wouldn’t let me because I was too small. Over time the more he wanted me to help mow the yard, the more I did not want to mow the yard because as I got older and stronger I got wiser to the hot and miserable job.

We never owned a riding lawnmower. Most people I knew, including us, did not have the money to afford one. In them days it was like owning a zero-turn today. Not everyone could afford one but they sure looked nice when you saw one as you careened you neck to watch as you drove by. We had a push mower that generated power from the legs and arms and with such a small deck, any yard of size took many, many, many passes to get it cut.

I did not experience the luxury of riding while cutting the yard till Carrie and I were married for a few years. We bought a used one from a friend and not too long after we bought it I had to weld the deck back up. We had a lot of issues with it to the extent that when we moved from our house, I left it sitting in the back yard. I was tired of tinkering on that piece of junk.

When we moved to where we are now, we inherited another riding lawn mower that has quite some age on it. It also has been through the ringer and I’ve put some money and work into it as well.

Unfortunately, I believe it has met its end because yesterday, while I was mowing, I heard it make a tremendous clanking sound as if metal was being pushed through a meat grinder and smoke bellowed out of the engine compartment. Now it won’t start.

Needless to say, I had to finish the yard off with the push mower. What normally takes about an hour to mow took roughly three. I spent the time pushing, wiping sweat away, and thinking back on days gone by when I used to spend pushing the mower as a kid. I remembered I used to make $20 mowing the neighbor’s yard. I remembered that big ole hill behind my mom’s house that I used to loathe. I remembered the ground hornets my dad ran over that chased him around the house.

So many memories.

Granddad

I thought about how Carrie’s granddad used to mow this yard. The push mowers were much heavier then.  Houses didn’t have air-conditioning then. Men didn’t wear shorts then. In the sweltering summer heat, her granddad had to do what was necessary to make this place look presentable.

I had no room to groan and complain. especially after I had just taught on worshiping through the pain at church. Who was I to teach and then turn my back on my teaching? Who was I to spurn tradition in a moment of displeasure?

So I worshiped. I pushed the mower. I Got R Dun!

(Now to figure out what to do so I don’t have to do that anymore!)

 

 

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Ducks Down On The Farm

Green Acres is the place to be.
Farm livin’ is the life for me.
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

Both of us growing up in the country in farm-type settings (Carrie living more of a farm life than I did), it was inevitable we would wind up one day living a pseudo-farm life ourselves. And here we are with the garden and the ducks and the brother’s cows and chickens and the hay and the barn and tractors and… ALLERGIES. It all goes together, right?

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How about DUCKS? We have more now because they lay eggs and eggs actually hatch. Our neighbor had a slew of ducks (is that the proper term for a multitude of ducks). Either case, last year we went down and caught eight. Carrie wanted six. I think we miscounted among the flurry of catching them and throwing them in a mobile dog house for transportation.

Since then we have lost four of them; their disappearance being chalked up to coyotes, cows and unsolved mysteries. One just recently died but not before laying nine eggs. When I found her in the barn lot possibly stomped by a cow, I grabbed her eggs and put them under another duck who had thirteen of her own.

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They have since hatched with the exception of the nine. The momma didn’t set on those long enough. Ten of the thirteen hatched eggs have survived and while we were out of town in St. Louis, our family came over to put them in the milk barn so they may possibly live.

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The first batch of eggs that were hatched earlier this year all died. We think possibly because momma took them to the pond where they may have drowned due to them not having the down feathers needed to stay afloat when they tire of swimming. I initially thought it was a turtle in the pond since I saw one last winter but quite honestly, I don’t know. They are gone so we made more of a concerted effort to save these.

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We still have another duck with eggs to hatch so we are waiting on them. However, we have ten little baby ducklings wattling around the barn. Momma will not come in to be with them. She just sits outside hollering for them and they chirp back.

We built a little pen outside of the barn to give them some fresh air and since it is all new to them, they have a hard time taking advantage of the outside. I sat them out and they grouped together and laid down chirping for mom and nibbling on the green grass. I let them stay out for a little bit before putting them back. In the mean time, little did I know that a nest of wasps were waiting for their moment to dive down on me and attack. Four of them got their way with me before I ran away tearing my shirt off while my overalls fell around my knees. Thankfully, no one came driving by.

Farm living is the life for me. I still question that a little but I enjoy it nonetheless.

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In Search of Our Father’s Garden, We Found Our Own.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

We are almost at the end of our gardening season for this year. Every morning (before school started) I (Kevin) would make a pot of coffee and walk out to the garden where I would assess the overnight growth, give an attempt at an immeasurable thanks for God’s provision and enjoy some prayerful moments with Him as I strode through the garden.

The garden has for the most part been splendid this year. Lack of rain caused us some concern in June so we grabbed the irrigation pipe and pumped water from the pond down to the garden to keep it watered while the skies remained dry.

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The sunflowers turned out better than we ever thought they would. When I sewed them I was unsure how they would turn out since I just threw seeds down. I did not think they would grow with such intensity. Harvesting the seeds will be something for us to learn how and at this point it looks as if the birds have beat us to many of them.

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The first row of corn seemed rather helpless. Although it turned out, they weren’t the best of ears but will do. The potatoes looked good at first until the bugs came to town. I sprayed those and were able to knock a dent in their fortune. Thankfully later in July, we received a few days of rain that gave the thirsty weeds something to quaff.

Okra

The okra has been hearty and the tomatoes have really put out in comparison to last year. Of course this year I added some peat moss to them so that may have been one reason for the multiplicity. However, I did have some trouble with pests of what I thought to be the furry four-legged kind getting into the tomatoes just as they were ripening. I put out a live trap but I did not catch anything. I fenced around the tomatoes but still something was alluding the fencing. After spending some time sitting and watching I was shocked to learn my nemesis was the good ole mockingbird. After successfully scaring them away, they decided it wasn’t worth the trouble so they haven’t been back.

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The cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and cow peas are doing great aside from the weeds that have begun to take over since we have been unable to get in there and get some work done.

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So, the garden has been practically a success this year and we are still reaping the harvest from it. It is a lot of work and at times the work is worth it when you walk out to the garden, cut off your food and walk back to the kitchen and cook it up. A little bit of sweat goes a long way at the dinner table plus there is the joy of working with God to plant and water and watch Him do His thing by bringing the growth.

When I was young, my dad attempted to have a garden. With us kids, it was nearly impossible. We simply would not help or if we did we complained about it the whole time. So he decided to forego the garden. It was a lot of work for a third grader picking up rocks. That was pretty much all he would let me do. What kid wants to pick up rocks so the squeaky wheel got the grease and I was allowed to go back to the house.

Now I understand the importance, the joy and the hard work. It is worth it!

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Aye Matey, We Be Treasure Hunting

As a school teacher, I get the privilege to stay home with Levi during the summer. However, along with that privilege comes the job of entertainment liaison. In other words, I had to keep him busy and entertained or he would drive me crazy moaning he was bored. By the end of the last school year, I had been looking into doing some geocaching. Maybe you have never heard of geocaching. So a quick look at the geocaching website gives us this definition: 

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

In other words, somebody decided to hide something somewhere that is legally accessible and entered the coordinates into a GPS, shared is on the Geocache website and voila, you can go try to find it and see what they hid.

Translation: hunting treasure for a 5-year-old.

Levi is infatuated with pirates thanks to Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean. He found the allure of treasure hunting to be something he was definitely down for. So Carrie made a Jolly Roger (pirate flag), Levi donned the eye patch and grabbed my compass. I jammed the flag into the spare tire wheel in the back of my truck and off we went to look for buried treasure (small tokens from a quarter machine in a store or a piece of paper to write you alias).

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We first headed off to the Park in Cornersville where we both actually learned how this whole game worked. I learned that the directions are sometimes wonky and he learned it is pretty boring unless you actually find something (but don’t get to keep it unless you have something to replace it with). After a few minutes and some curious onlookers (called muggles) we found the box we were looking for.

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In it Levi found a small matchbox car and so I left a dollar in the box, signed our alias (Triprolo and PirateKid), recorded our find on Geocache.com, put the box back and we were off for more treasure.

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The next place led us to Mooresville Hwy where there was literally nowhere to park except for a busy highway and  someone’s drive. So I parked at the end of the drive and walked in the direction according to our GPS and after a few minutes we were able to find our next “buried treasure.” It was a medicine bottle with a piece of paper to sign. Levi didn’t like that at all. We signed away and put it back and took off for our next concordance.

The GPS led us to Milky Way Farms where we searched and searched at the gate to no avail. We had no luck finding our treasure. By this time Levi was getting crazy hot and bored so we gave up the hunt and instead went on a hunt for air-conditioning and chicken nuggets at McDonalds.

And that ladies and gents was how we pirated our way around Cornersville (and Lynnville). I know I posted the pics on Facebook back when we did it and I am just now getting around to writing about it. However, we never went back for more treasure hunting. Levi wasn’t that excited about it after he realized it wasn’t what he thought it would be. But hey, the memories are there and there is way more booty to be found out in them thar hills of Tennessee.

So we be going again. Until then, Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrggh!!!!

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Corn Out Our Ears

The garden is in full swing. However the rain or lack thereof has caused a damper on it. We have offset our planting rows of corn so that different rows will be coming in at different times. The first couple of rows have given us plenty of corn but mostly lacking in health. We had quite a dry spell in May and June. We tried watering but to no avail. Most of the corn we have received on this picking are small and the kernels are white with a little yellow coloring. We attempted to eat a few ears the other night but they hardly had any taste with the exception of the butter, salt and pepper we gently applied.

We culled out most of the useless immature ears. We kept those that gave any inkling that they may have a taste. We have four more rows coming in so hopefully we’ll get a better picking. The rains have surely picked up and in the last week we have gotten roughly 4 inches of rain. That’s not counting the water we poured on it from the pond.

We are doing our best to learn gardening. Some of the lessons have been quite beneficial and some of them have been disheartening. It sure makes you trust in the providence of God and His ability to give abundantly or His decision to hold back. Either case, He is worthy of worship and it is in Him we trust for our sustainability.

-Kevin

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