Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life in Iowa

In my last entry, I mentioned that upon returning to Iowa, I’ve stopped to smell the flowers. I’ve also been playing with my pets, watching birds, observing the tempestuous weather and getting lots of sleep. Sigh. I’ve been staying up a bit late and sleeping a bit late. You see, I have to take antihistamines here, which get me a bit wired. Also, my dad stays up a bit late watching TV, and I tend to stay up until he goes to bed. (Of course he naps off and on while we watch…) Sunday I even took a long lap! I’ll have to fix my sleep patterns once I get a summer job.

It hasn’t all been sleeping in until 8 and smelling lilacs. I’ve also been helping Mom with the house chores and helping Dad with the farm chores.

I actually like helping with farm work. It’s smelly and sometimes gross (especially when manure is involved), but I like being outside; having a concrete, immediately achievable task; doing physical work; and just helping my dad. Also, when we chore we go to Unkie and Helen’s house so I occasionally get to see them or Karla, Karen, Connor and Hannah. I haven’t seen Lynn yet, but the vacation is young.

So far, I’ve picked up buckets full of rocks, helped dad take down pens, scooped manure, built new pens, and helped with daily chores. For the daily chores, I mainly fill five-gallon buckets with water or grain and deliver them to various sheep. I occasionally move a bale of hay from one place to another. My parents’ eating habits are more decadent than mine, but through the magic of farm work, I’ve lost three pounds!

I’ve also been spending time with family and friends of the family. Saturday, a little boy named Bryce had his birthday. Brice and his siblings, Jordan, Jenna and Jayden, have adopted Mom and Dad as extra grandparents (much as I did with Unkie and Helen). Those kids are ten pounds of cute in an eight-pound bag. Brice’s party featured a clown, which…wow, I…yeah. That is a tough job. Before we knew it, it was time to go, because we were going to Newton to see J.B., Erika, Brooke and Courtney. I’d really missed my brother and sister-in-law, and I love getting play with my smart, cute nieces.

The visit started with crying, as Brooke had just finished her nap and Courtney’s nap had been shorter than usual. Also, Courtney is shy with people she doesn’t remember (me) and guys (Dad). I used my usual strategy. Basically, I sit on the floor and start playing with toys. Brooke started giggling at my antics and eventually joined me on the floor. Then I read her a story. A bit later, Mom and Brooke and Courtney were in the playroom. Mom and Brooke were lions, and Courtney was using her kitchen set to cook lion chow. I joined in as a lion, and we had a good time. Mom had to go take a Tylenol, as all the crawling was hard on her knees.

Then we went out for dinner at pizza ranch. Brooke wanted me to ride in the van with her, and I was honored to be invited. Courtney is very independent, and climbed into her seat on her own. I buckled her in, but it looked like she wanted to do that on her own, too. We all sang along to the Mr. Stinkyfeet CD, which is quite catchy. At the pizza ranch, Courtney spent most of the dinner turned around in her seat, watching people fill their glasses with soda…I mean pop. “Wow, she’s a people watcher! Is she always like this in public?” I asked. J.B. laughed and admitted that he didn’t know because they don’t take the girls out often. Heh. Well, the girls were very well-behaved. Then we went back to their house, played a little bit longer and then helped get the girls ready for bed. I was helping Brooke put on her pjs, but she got all giggly and wiggly. I had to have her stop and take a deep breath. My nieces are too cute!

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