Taking the Scenic Route

Christmas & Birthday at the Farm

19th December 2010

Christmas & Birthday at the Farm

Although we will have my parents over on Christmas day, this is the official family celebration, including Grandma and Steve & Nora.  Since Steve & Nora won’t be there on Christmas they brought along the kid’s gifts.  They really made a huge impact with their gifts this year, and we are very thankful because we didn’t have the ability to do it ourselves.

How to drive a (almost) 5 year old crazy.  Tell her that the big box is hers, but don’t let her open it *right now*

First glance under the big box (after pulling off all of the wrapping paper and then realizing that she just had to lift it up…we are so mean)

Zane was also very pleased with his gift.  It was a building toy that Nora loved as a kid.  She helped set it up and they played with it together for a while.

Grandma and Zora talking about her jacket (the pattern)

The other thing he got was the connect four game he has been asking for the last few months.  He was quite happy.

After building with Zane, Nora (and Steve) went outside to help Zora learn to ride the bike.

Great day, great food, wonderful family.

posted in At the Farm, Autistic Life, Birthday, Christmas, Extended Family | Comments Off

26th November 2009

Thanksgiving 2009, at my parent’s farm

One of these things is not like the others….. (I found myself short one pie dish and had to get creative.)

Zane’s favorite part of the meal…CHERRY PIE!

Ms. Cutie Pie

When everybody finished dinner it was time to go outside and play with the remote control car Zane got on his 3rd birthday.  (we keep it at the farm because it is far too big for our apartment when we got it, and still too big for our place now)

Zane was making a game of trying to get it to go in between his legs and playing chicken with it.

It was a wonderful family Thanksgiving. Great food, Great conversation, Great fun.

posted in At the Farm, Extended Family, Thanksgiving, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | Comments Off

24th October 2009

Fall on the Farm

Last Saturday we went out to the farm for a few hours while Zach worked on their computer. Dad was helping one of my cousins with harvest, but Mom made it a special day for the kids.

Waiting impatiently for us to finish putting lunch on the table. Mom made a pork roast, carrots and potatoes, and, of course, her incredible Zweibach. (She makes the BEST Zweibach)

After lunch, Zane is ready to be outside.

It was like the kid’s own personal “play with big machines” day. First they convinced Grandma to take them for a ride in the new John Deere.

Then they played around with the grader. (but didn’t take this one for a spin this time)

Then the old crane. I am not sure if this even runs, but it was fun to climb on.

A fan bigger than Zane

And the evening winds down.

Wonderful, relaxing day.

posted in At the Farm, Autumn, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | 1 Comment

12th April 2009


It was a chilly, rainy, gray Easter, but we had a good holiday. We just avoid church on holidays (change in routine isn’t really worth it for us most of the time), so the Easter Dress was replaced with a pair of her older brother’s pj’s (she couldn’t decide, so she has half of the “dinosaur” pjs, and half of the “car” pjs). The weather didn’t make for a picture perfect day anyway, so somehow the less than beautiful, but comfy, pjs seem totally appropriate.

We woke up to Easter baskets left on the mantle. Both of the baskets were the same, except Zora’s had some cute hair clips (she wanted to wear all of them to Grandma’s later) and a miniature bowling set for Zane.

Zora wastes no time getting to the good stuff.

Zane playing with the little bowling set. It is the perfect size to work with his marble run stuff.

The Easter Bunny hid the eggs last night, before the rain. When we got up we were hoping that we wouldn’t have to use umbrellas to find them. It was a little soggy, but it turned into a misty drizzle for a bit, so the kids headed out and gathered the eggs. Some of them had candy, and some had little miniature animals.

We ate at the farm, with Mom, Dad, my maternal Grandma, Uncle Steve, and a family friend, Corolla. It was, as usual, very fun and relaxed. She had baked ham, a tasty potato side dish, her 7 layer salad, and lots of veggies for nibbling.

This year Target was selling these neat little “Bunny House” kits. They are like the Gingerbread houses for Christmas, but with Spring decorations. I knew Zane liked things like that, but I still underestimated his enthusiasm. The dinner dishes weren’t even totally cleared yet and he pulled it out and started putting it together.

Resident engineer helps with the chimney construction and a few decorations.

Zora and Shelby

Through most of the construction Zora was zooming around giving her new stuffed bunny a wild ride in the play shopping cart, but she did stop to make her mark on the construction.

The Bunny House complete in it’s candy glory.

Steve had the kids help him make some homemade ice cream. It made quite the impression because the next week, when Steve came up with Mom and Dad to join us for supper, when Zora heard Uncle Steve was coming, her first comment was to ask if we were making Ice Cream. lol.

Yummy Yummy Ice Cream!

Getting every last drop of the ice cream and asking for more.

And, the dreary ride home.

posted in At the Farm, Autistic Life, Easter, Extended Family, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | 1 Comment

26th September 2008

Harvest at the Farm, part 3 (end of series)

When Zach and I pulled up to the farm after work, we saw the grader going down the drive and laughed. The kids talked Grandpa into a grader ride too. We found out later that Zane had also been in the backhoe and moved a lever and some residual hydraulic pressure caused the bucket to move just a little…he was thrilled. (the backhoe was off). They had also ridden on the 4 wheeler with Grandpa a bit too. (He goes really, really slowly)

The bike is turned off here, but mom got a great picture that shows one of the interesting ways he contorts and balances on top of things.

Steve’s truck was there when we pulled onto the farmstead, but he was in town dropping a load off at the grain elevator, but the kids were starving (ok, so were the adults), so we sat down to a great supper of roast, potatoes & carrots. He came in to eat after a while, then the two guys headed out to keep working, each on a different combine.

The kids goofed off for about an hour before heading home.
Zora occupied herself by giving the cat a ride in the wagon, loading the goose and goslings (garden decorations I used to play with at my grandparent’s house) in with the cat, and then trying to feed the cat.

Zane was “digging for treasure”, and specified “gold”. He made a pretty decent size hole too.

Zora checking things out and wanting to “help”

A beautiful, full day.

posted in At the Farm, Autistic Life, Autumn, Extended Family, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

26th September 2008

Harvest at the Farm, part 2

After taking a quick break, we load up to go to another field, this time the beans. The combine is a lot smaller, without the buddy seat, so only one kiddo at a time. Zane rode with his Grandpa in the combine, and Zora went with her Grandma out in the truck. This round soybeans are going to be hauled into town as the loads finish up.

This is how they always did it when I was a kid, except that when I was little, it was a combination of trucks and pick-up trucks with home-made sides that made the bed higher. They prefered the trucks because they could haul more, but I loved it when harvest was going fast enough (and the lines were slow enough) that we got to take the pick-up truck. I thought it was a lot more fun to dump the pick-up truck in the elevator because you had to drive on a lift and then they lifted up the front of the pick-up to get the grain to dump out the back (instead of the hydraulic lifts that trucks have). It was like a carnival ride to me as a kid. lol. I used to go with mom to the elevator a lot and remember that one of the best things about harvest was the bottle of cold pop we could get at the co-op, a rare treat.

Zora wanted to drive. She tried to convince Grandma to get in the passenger side. lol.

Shelby hoping for a ride.

Heading out to the field.
This is the more typical type of header on a combine to me. We didn’t grow corn when I was growing up (the new hybrids do a lot better in Kansas, the prices are better, and my Dad’s allergies are under better control so he can handle it now). This header will cut wheat, soybeans and milo/sorgum. It cuts the stalk and drops the grain into the bin and the chaff out the back.

In the foreground: Grandma and Zora. In the background: Grandpa and Zane in the combine.


Watching Grandpa head back out into the field

The famous Zane lean. He does this all the time…puts his full body weight against you.

Zora was pointing out all of the tracks made by the combine and trucks all day.

And, back to the house so I can go get Zach from work and mom can get supper ready.
During the walk back Zane was very concerned when Shelby went out into the field or off the path. He kept working to herd him back into the group to walk back to the house.

(will continue…)

posted in At the Farm, Autistic Life, Autumn, Homeschool, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | Comments Off

26th September 2008

Harvest at the Farm, part 1

The time of year where a “field trip” is actually to a field. (Split into a few posts because of length.)

Zach had to work in Mac yesterday, and it happened to coincide with the beginning of harvest for my folks, so Zach worked the morning here in town and picked us up after ST to head out to Mac, then I drove the kids to the farm.

They were cutting both soybeans and corn. The entire field isn’t ready to cut, but some parts are. (they weren’t all planted at the same time)

The corn combine has a “buddy seat” in it so that another adult can ride along. My Mom rode along this round to make sure the kids stayed safe their first ride on a combine.

Turning around at the end of the row and picking me up.

Because corn is so specialized, you can only use a corn combine for corn. The machine doesn’t cut the stalks, instead, it strips all the leaves and husks of corns off the stalk, leaving the stalk mostly in tact. Inside the machine it strips the husks off, strips the corn off the cob, and then spits the leaves, husks and corncobs back out and the corn goes into the bin.

Watching the stalks being stripped and the corn going in.

At the end of the row, the bin was full, and the semi truck driver had arrived, so we headed back to the driveway where Mom and the driver were waiting. The semi truck holds 3 loads of corn, so two grain trailers plus the corn still in the combine bins all fit into the truck. With the price of gas, it is cheaper now to hire a semi to come out rather than truck it into town yourself. (plus the hour or two it takes while waiting in line at the elevator to dump the load). The following picture is the process of emptying the trailers and combine into the semi truck. The kids stayed in the cab of the combine.

You can see the corn in the trailer as the process starts (taken from the stairs landing at the combine door)

Waiting with Grandma

The grain trailers are empty, so Dad takes the combine to empty it.

Off to take a quick break inside and get a drink.

(will continue…)

posted in At the Farm, Autumn, Extended Family, Homeschool, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | 1 Comment

9th July 2008

Out at the Farm for the Fourth!

We had a spectacular holiday.  Ironically, this was not a holiday we really celebrated much when I was growing, up, but it was a big deal to my husband.  His dad used to be the dad that bought insane quantities of fireworks and would put on a show for the entire neighborhood.  Zach’s enthusiasm has infected my family and we now gather each year that we can out at the farm and enjoy the day. 

My maternal Grandma was there for the fun, although she stayed inside (doesn’t handle heat well).  We decided to eat inside, but had a great BBQ meal.  Outside, the guys lit a few daytime fireworks, went exploring, and took very slow rides on the 4-wheeler.  I mostly hung out with Grandma until she was too tired to socialize and headed home, but the kids had a ball outside.

When the sun began to set, we headed out to go to the Inman Fireworks in the City Pasture. (yeah, you know it is a small town when the city has a pasture.  lol).  We turned the corner in the pasture only to discover it empty (well, except for the other cars that came expecting to see fireworks and were clustered at the enterances trying to decide what to do too.)  After a call to my Dad’s sister, we found out the location of the fireworks in McPherson, and headed there. 

We ended up watching the fireworks from the parking lot of the church my Grandparents (and multiple other relatives) attended through my childhood.  The show was very good, better than the Inman show would have been, with the bonus of not doging other people’s fireworks.  It also was calm and non-chaotic, unlike the Wichita fireworks.  A very enjoyable end to the day.


Riding with Grandpa


posted in 4th of July, At the Farm, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | Comments Off

24th March 2008

Easter Day and a miracle just for us.

Although the day started ENTIRELY too early,  (the kids were up before 5am…ugh) the day was really good.  We went out to my home church for the service.  It was a fun, interactive service and the kids both did well enough that we were able to stay in the pews (about 5 rows back) the whole time (until the little ones were dismissed for the sermon after the children’s story).  My dad did tech for the service (pretty normal) and my mom was in the praise choir, so she was up and down a lot as they performed. 

One rather amusing hitch was when the pastor called for the children’s story.  What he meant was children’s choir.  (the children’s story was to follow the choir) but he said “story”, so I picked up Zora to take her to the front, and sent Zane on ahead.  About the time Zane clears the pew and is headed up front, I catch the eye of my mom (standing with the praise choir up front) who is motioning me to sit down.  I was sort of confused, but went back to my spot assuming that maybe the story was too “old” for Zora.  (which was not the normal routine for children’s story, but oh well).  A moment later I realized that it wasn’t children’s story, but choir, and Zane got shuffled in with the other kids standing in the front of the church, front and center.  Zach and I both had the realization of what was happening at the same moment, but were in the middle of the pew and just sort of looked at eachother in shock and “what the heck do we do now?” look on our faces.  As my mouth stood open, in a semi panic, the choir began to sing.  Zane, instead of freaking out or melting down, started smiling the biggest smile and looking around at the kids surrounding him.  By the third verse he was (sorta) singing along.  Amazing.  Our own little Easter miracle.

We went to the farm for Easter dinner.  Grandma (mom’s mom) and Steve and Joy joined us.  It was a fun afternoon.  The kids got another basket filled with goodies from Grandma & Grandpa, and played on the farm until they were so worn out they fell asleep in their tracks.  At that point, we scooped them up and took them home.  A very nice day.

The photos and 3 videos

  (I didn’t start taking pictures until after changing them out of their Easter clothes, so I will need to dress them up again to get some pictures of their Easter cuteness)

As the grownups finish eating, the kids find their way to the piano.  (next to the dining table)

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And a video of them playing: 



The highlight of the day for Zane…Grandpa showing him how to work the backhoe.

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A video of him taking the controls: 



Zora spending time with Grandma while Grandpa and Zane are going for a walk.

The cat (Barnum, our old cat) was curled up in the planter and Zora kept bringing things to her.  (the white planter was the only thing there before Zora started moving things)

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A video of Zora discovering the eggs have treats in them: 


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Grandpa & Zane return, Zora shoots out to meet them.

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Zora snags Zane’s basket when he sets it down.

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Zora shows me that she can drive too.  (the truck was not running, btw)

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The kids help Grandma put birdseed into the feeders.

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Hope your Easter was as joyful as ours!


posted in At the Farm, Autistic Life, Church, Easter, Extended Family, Music, The Kids | Comments Off

26th February 2008

Taking the Mercury for her first Check-up

As we were driving out to the farm we realized that we haven’t been there in almost a year because of the car.  Zane was totally excited when we got there.  He remembered it well.  Zora, on the other hand, seemed a bit amazed that Grandma and Grandpa were there.  I don’t think she realized that they “lived” anyplace, she just knew that they came to our house.  lol.  Both really enjoyed the squishy ground and exploring the farm. 

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Dad and my brother Steve gave the new vehicle a good check, changed the oil, and made some minor repairs.

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Zora was totally captivated by the cats and chased them around in glee.

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She was suprised and happy to see Grandma come home from work.

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And finally, the short video of Zora trying to coax the cat out of the house. 


It was a great day.  We are excited that we have the ability to go out there more often now.


posted in At the Farm, Cars, Extended Family, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | 1 Comment

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 5 months, and 2 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 5 months, and 6 days old
  • Random Quote

  • Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has a purpose.
    There are no mistakes,
    no coincidences,
    all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
    — Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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