Cheer Up Sleepy Jean

z: Daddy says you don’t like the song Cheer Up Sleepy Jean
me: I don’t
z: [ hums a few bars ]
z: he says your sisters used to sing it to you cuz you are grumpy in the morning
me: yep
z: [ more singing with lyrics ]
z: why? If you’re grumpy then, cheer up sleepy jean

So enlightening to hear my daughter tell stories to me about my childhood.  I do,  I hate that song.  For many reasons.  One, I hate monkeys.  Two, I hate The Monkeys ( too perky  and profit driven ) .  Three, I don’t support any campaign by happy morning people to uplift and motivate us grumpy morning people.  I’ve always been a grumpy morning person, as well as my self-admitted grumpy youngest and grumpy eldest.  We are dragons.  We don’t greet the morning with a smile.  I would wake up in the morning as a young teen and I remember my mother telling a visitor, ” don’t talk to her.  she just grunts at you.  you won’t understand. ”

But, after that conversation with my little dragon, I started to think about their future conversations about *their* childhood.  As I’ve only done this parenting thing once and most of it loaded on the younger side of those kiddies, at no point did I think about the stories they will tell.  The parenting books, the parenting friends, the internet parenty things focus on what that child will be, will do, without a chapter on … well, when your child does this, they may talk about or blog about their life from their perspective.

My little dragon re-blogged a story about my childhood to me.  I had to read it because she was streaming live without a pause button.  Now, I’m wondering what stories my children will have when they grow older and pull stories from their life to relay comedy or tragedy or a barrier they had to emotionally overcome.  These kids … they are made of people.

and for you, I leave with this gem … I’m sure I’ve bitched about this shitty song before … but here you go again.  As a rule, with song assignments, you MUST listen all the way to the end.  It’s the way we roll here on the farm.





Baby Head

First, check out that herd!  Glorious.  Normally we are on fire warming the house because winter is coming.  … but not this year.  Too warm.  Though, I have maintained the “warm room” in case we suddenly drop below double digits.

Baby Head


A mother friend of mine ( three kids, nobel gal ) and I had an exchange.  I forgot something or stumbled and told her, “baby head”  because sometimes with so many lives to raise, you forget things.  Simple things, like the price per kilo of the beef you are selling.  And she told me this, which I hold dear to my heart, ” don’t worry, when the youngest turns six … you get your head back.” … or something like that.  WHAT?!  I get my head back?  For some reason, I thought I was supposed to get my head back when they turn three or four.  SIX?  Are you serious?


Now, I’ve had my head on pretty well, but I must admit, as my youngest turns six in a week, I’m firing on all cylinders.  WAIT!  We can do this!  and then this!  Why haven’t we done that?!  Clear as day. Only partially the way through raising people, lots of experience with the bubbles.  Now trending the tweens and teens.  … Baby Head is a thing of the past.  Now, we need to get these kiddies to be good people.

Back To School

The summer is so long, say the French. Yeah, same in America. But we love it. And today, the free fun sleep-in fun is over. Back to work. Me too.  We do a lot of work, but, I tend to grab an hour or two to blob or an hour to sleep in.    That is a thing of the past.  As of 6:00am tomorrow, we are scheduled.

So much to catch up on. So much to report.

Parental Paparazzi


Preemptive shots of my dragon.  She’s melting down because I took a photo of her on Daddy’s tractor.  I saw her having fun, thought I’d grab a moment.  and this is what I got.


Sure, she looks cute here and there, but the absolute howl at those horrible parents , okay mamaparazzi … ferget about it.  I say, ” look, lady you go be cute and we’ll have nothing to do with it.”

peer review of this blog post:

z: uuuuuh.  don’t put a photo when I’m angry … put a photo when I’m happy




Be Patient, The Tomatoes Are Coming


( photo by Lucy )

So cute and full of energy and absolutely no idea what is going on in the world other than, “WHAT’S FOR LUNCH!!!” or “CAN I HAVE A COOKIE?!?!” Those kids of ours.  I’ve always been a mother of young children, but I’m starting to feel like the lady who doesn’t worry about sleeping through the night.  Or, the lady who isn’t constantly following a waddler.  I’m not sure what to do with myself.  Well, I do actually, but it’s such a long list of hard work.  … trying to …

but they are growing old enough to run part of the fambly.  They cook.  They ( don’t ) clean.  They entertain themselves.  They tell jokes like their father.

A friend of ours visited us when we first started this farm.  She took one look and said, “oh!  I remember that.  Glad I’m not there.heh. heh.”  She said it with joy.  Her kids are all grown up and moved on and part of society.  She meant, it was great, but wouldn’t want to do it all again right now.  Hard work.   It is.  It’s hard work.  It’s rewarding work.  Always challenging.  Never bored.

So, Spring soon,  the tomatoes are coming.  Can’t wait!



Hot Bowl Of Food: Cowboy Casserole


Resident teen and ex-British Public School Girl was given Brent’s favorite cookbook of the year, “School Dinners.”

She picked Cowboy Casserole.  Dominated by baked beans, this sausage-y, potato, tomato, onion sludge faired well in the Curtis household.


Seeing as the Hot Bowl of Food was edible, the head chef has authorised future trials with teen cook and School Dinners book.



Le Menu


I found an old chalkboard.  Wrote out today’s menu.  Minty asks me everyday and every hour what’s for breakfast/lunch/gouter/dinner?  So I posted it on the found chalkboard.

What’s “gouter,” you ask?  ( pronounced “goo-tay”).  It’s a 4pm snack they do here in France.  Usually it’s a bit of bread with some chocolate of some description or yogurt or apple sauce.  I can never remember how to spell it, so I call it “G-tay.”

Zelie saw the menu, saw that Snicker bar was for gouter and wasn’t impressed.  You see lunch was up next.  She wanted gouter now.  “No,” I say, “lunch first.”  Then, she erased the menu.  Except for gouter.  Checkmate.

Brats Like Me


Give a kid a camera and she takes some interesting photos.  How did we manage to get four obnoxious kids?  Must be carried on the Y chromosome.  The kids are managing their summer boredom by making videos, figuring out the self-timer, taking pictures and generally making a mess.  Though, they would call their work “games” and “projects.”

It’s not easy raising these monsters, but hopefully they will be capable adults.

Practical Life: Eggs Pierced With A Sharp Needle Gently Chucked in Rapidly Boiling Water

As much as I would love to plan an activity for the children,  I mostly ignore and unblock.  I feel like I was raised this way.   I feel like I was mostly left to myself, encouraged and unblocked.  Thank you, Mom!  And look how I turned out.  Crazy farmer’s wife herding cattle, selling beef, raising four kids with my husband in France.  Not so bad, really.  Or should I have been a banker?  I don’t know.  But I do know that three minutes and fifty-four seconds of Bruno Mars and my three-year-old dancing in the kitchen … sorry … jumping in the kitchen will support the non-banker option.  OOO!

DSC_3301Lucy pierced the blunt side of the egg with a super, sharp needle.  After, she gently lowered the beauties with a slotted spoon in boiling water.  There they rest for six minutes.  This was “goûter.”   A snack before dinner.  Her idea.  I helped a bit with the needle, but not that much because my thumb is swollen from a knife puncture trying to recover a kite in a little tin box that wasn’t there.

And on to the Zélie bounce …

On Train Tables


I’ve tried through a few Curtis children to get this train table up-and-running. I’ve had more success with this table as a laundry inbox, a special toy collection service or a little-crawly-crawly-bub-away sanctuary. After four kids, I’ve finally acquiesced. This train table ain’t big enough for the both of us. The child’s imagination and the track available to them. Why have I constrained them to a 32 X 48 inch rectangle? Maybe Pottery Barn was at fault. Maybe I thought that kids could construct train tracks in little rectangles. The truth is, kids construct train tracks ad hoc. When you pull track after track out of the bin, it could be round or it could be straight. Who knows? But you stick it in because all Brio train tracks fit together in perfect harmony. The track unfolds as you creatively put it together. When you hit the edge of the train table, you give up. It’s no longer fun laying out track for your amazing train adventure. You’ve hit the edge of the train table.  Lay out your track on the floor and the only limitation is yourself.  With tons of space and tons of track, you feel the need, even as an eight-year-old, to make a plan.  And that plan has a chance of success with the space that you’ve provided for it.  The best place to build a train track is on the ground.  Maybe even outside.  You need a lot of space to lay it out.  Then evaluate.  Then adjust.  You need space to live.  You need space to build train tracks.