Category Archives: Zookeeper & the F-Troop

Zookeeper: a person employed at a zoo to attend to the animals

F-Troop: a satirical American television sitcom set at Fort Courage…heavy on character-based humor; verbal and visual gags, slapstick…

-These are the slap-stick adventures of my Fecher-troop and the spiritual journey of mawage, a new catering business, and tending to my homeschooling zoo of 12 at our own Fort Courage amidst laughter, tears, and a growing collection of pet peaves.

HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY, SETH!!

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Born February 10, 2010
8:25 am
7lb. 13 oz.
20 in. long
Happy birthday to Seth who turns seven today. Mama is having a hard time with this one, folks. The youngest of 12 kids. I was pregnant or nursing for over two decades and this lil guy isn’t a baby anymore. He was born the same year we opened our business (because we are a “special” kind of crazy) and started his life in a commercial kitchen. (Okay, he wasn’t born there but he’s spent a heck of a lot of time there…and loves it!) He is small for his age but his vocabulary is huge, although he still says “OsmOs” for “almost” and “Mousegeeowski” for Mike Wazowski. Some folks are critical of our having a large family; some are simply taken aback but all I have to say is the world is a better place because I was willing to go through labor one more time. God has huge plans for this little guy. He is an absolute delight and ready to take on the world!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SETH!! LOVE YOU BUNCHES!
What’s not shared is lost,
Michelle
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Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

Happy 21st Birthday, Benjamin!

I miss having you around, mister. I can’t believe the tot that used to spin as fast as he could in the exersaucer, believed that Santa flew around in a rocket ship throwing out presents, and coined the term “ice pickles” is 21. I’m waiting in anticipation to see what amazing things God has in store for you, young man.

I’m so proud of you and love you! Have a fantabulous day!!

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Getting there….

I catered all by myself today. I went up and down stairs about 24 times so that counts as working out, right?

So…I’ve been working on my youtube channel but have, yet, to post. Besides being exhausted in the evenings, crazy busy the rest of the time, I think I’m a tad nervous about getting those out there.  Okay, maybe more than a tad. Also, I’ve been running into technical difficulties i.e. aggravatingly slow internet. It takes HOURS to upload one video. I could go into town and use wifi but I’m away from the house enough. That’s not a good reason, to me, to have to be away from the house. SO, I think I will be taking advantage of this freak-of-nature transformation that has occurred, that being I’ve become a morning person against my will and natural selection, and arrange my routine so that I upload before 5am when our internet is unmetered and much faster.

That’s it for now. Wish me luck.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Junk Food Connoisseurs

Every once in a while, I let the kids pick out the over-priced processed forbidden fruit type of food that I was raised on.  While I grew up with a regular diet of Hostess treats, I get a kick out of asking my kids if they want Ho-Hos or Twinkies and having one ask, “What’s a Twinkie?” No, we don’t live under a rock but we do live without commercials. 😉  The kids were being especially entertaining while on one of our adventures in junk food shopping. I’m glad I decided to record “just in case.”

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

I’m Up Already

This blog has been yelling at me to sit down and include it in my morning routine. Alright already! I’m up. I’m here. I have a morning routine….when the heck did I become a morning person?! I keep giving myself excuses as to why I don’t have time to post but, truth be told, I just haven’t had it at the top of my priority list. Our family was involved with a play at the local theatre, business has picked up for our little catering business, school, nuff said. We’ve been swamped and I’ve been tired. I’m extra tired because, since opening our business, this night owl has been evolving into a morning person. I’m still getting acclimated to this thing called “moving” before the sun shines it’s face.

Unless I stay up late, I, typically, get up between 4 and 5:30. How stupid is that? If, IF, this very light sleeper has not been startled out of sleep by a five-year-old staring at me or whispering to me, “I need to go potty,” and/or the loathsome cat decides to meow incessantly and jolts me out of sleep and/or….fill in the blank….IF I’m permitted to wake up on my own, I get up around 6am. I get up, start coffee and the laundry, fold a couple loads, get dressed, Bible, blitzes and emails, oh my.  When did this happen? Part of me misses being a night owl but I am pretty zonked in the evening and am not very productive. I sat down with this post and 4:45am and realized that I *like* being up before everyone else. I’m still not completely converted…I want to go back to bed. I feel sleepy but if I lay down now, I will sleep all morning and I have to pack for my birthday get away.  I have only scrapbooked once since starting our business. I am WAY behind and need to get back to it for my family’s sake and for therapy. I’m looking forward to solitude but, by golly, I’m chugging a Rockstar and staying up late and (crosses fingers) sleeping in to my heart’s content in the morning.

I might even write a blog post while I’m there! Will wonders never cease?!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

My M.O.P.S Days are Over

My last day as a Mother of a PreSchooler was Monday. I haven’t attended a MOPS meeting in several years but, if we still had a group in our area, I could still be attending. I have been the mother of a baby and/or toddlers since 1988. It’s not complicated math; that’s 27 years.  Almost 30 years of mothering babies and toddlers. Now that I just put those words in print, I’m flabbergasted! Time flies, they say, when you’re having fun. Time flies faster with each child added to the family. My head is spinning! I cried a few times Tuesday as I saw my baby boy grin from ear to ear each time we referred to his being 5, now. Yesterday, he was playing the GeoSafari and exclaimed, “I’m FIVE, now, and this is so easy for me!” Ha! He’s loving being a big boy.

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In the meantime, I was feeling so very sad. Bittersweet was the mood of the day. I’m sentimental. I cherish the memories with my kiddos. It didn’t help at all that I went looking for baby pics to post but most of them were lost when my laptop AND my backup external crashed right about the same time. Most of my Seth baby pics are gone. That’s a tad heart-wrenching to this Katy Kodak. But I did find some, thank you, Facebook….

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It was a blessing to babysit my newest grandbaby and her big sister the same day Seth turned 5. I got my baby fix. 🙂

But, alas, it’s a new season and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Unlike most tales of terror about “the baby of the family,” our younger kids are the best behaved ones of the bunch. Seth is one of the most, obedient, sweet-natured, self-controlled youngins I’ve ever met. His big brother, Isaiah, too. They still act like children and throw the occasional fit but they have been well-trained by mom, dad and a team of well-trained siblings. We’ve learned a “few” things having so many like “learn from your mistakes.” It seems like common sense but common sense is sparse these days. We’ve been learning the whole 27 years and we’re still learning. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, I’m here to tell ya, you don’t. There’s always somebody you can learn  from. On the other hand, to those young moms who have 6 month old and a 2 1/2 half-year old and want to share their wisdom with me, shut up. Close your mouth and listen for a change. We all know them. They’ve read the latest books on parenting and are enthusiastic, zealous and, yes, I was one of them at one time, usually wrong. Not about everything but a lot. I realized early on that I didn’t know what I was doing and sought out moms with older kids that I saw as well-trained, happy, well-behaved, etc. and started taking notes. I wouldn’t trust an expert that wrote a book unless you’ve seen how their kids turned out…as young adults. Okay, my two cents….end of rant. Back to the birthday boy and being a mommy of many….

I have some regrets but I will NEVER regret having so many children.  As I posted on FB on Seth’s birthday, “People say they can’t imagine having so many kids.We can’t imagine life without Seth.”  Is it hard work? Heck yea. Anything worthwhile is hard work and there is nothing more worthwhile than children.  And, oh. my. wurd, do we have fun together…

So…my youngest is five…I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. We’re having a Minecraft Birthday Bash Sunday but we celebrate the “official” day with a menu planned by the birthday child and they get out of chores for the day. Seth chose donuts for breakfast, something we don’t eat a lot.

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The sugar buzz helped him get through a grueling day of unlimited Minecraft time. We had his Pizza Rolls and other health food while watching a movie then he opened his cards and a gift I picked up at the local children’s consignment shop, Cradle and All. I’d like to take a moment and pat myself of the back for spotting said gift. I looked it up on Amazon. I need you click on that link so you can see how much that piece of plastic costs new! $12.50, baby. Thank you very much.

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Yes, it’s another piece of furniture to take up space but Seth loves Batman and he was delighted. He’s still delighted; he told me today how much he “weally likes the Batman toy I got him.”  So much fun!

And so begins, yet another, NEW season of life. Every time I turn around, I get hit upside the head with a new season! My babies are growing but there are still babies and toddlers in the house! And the grandbabies are so much fun!

Happy Birthday, little man!

Me: "Why are you holding your fist up?" Seth: "I'm Batman getting ready to punch somebody."  Yep...that cute face with the Minion hat is SO intimidating! LOL!

Me: “Why are you holding your fist up?”
Seth: “I’m Batman getting ready to punch somebody.”
Yep…that cute face with the Minion hat is SO intimidating! LOL!

 

 

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Do I Hear 5?

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After a big housecleaning day yesterday and 4 consecutive nights of inadequate rest, sleeping in a bit this morning was a welcome change. The lack of scheduled events today (for a change) prompted my husband to welcome the morning with a breakfast date for the two of us at Cracker Barrel (nomnom). I don’t usually eat much for breakfast so it wasn’t difficult for me to stuff myself. I’m usually in too big of a hurry for such gluttony. I rather enjoyed it.
To continue with the theme of spontaneity, I asked The Man if we could take a peek at the auction for the Gennett Mansion. Every city has its historic buildings that hold within their walls some of the legacy of that city. For Richmond, the Gennett Mansion is one of those buildings. Richmond is the birthplace of recorded jazz via Gennett Records and so we have The Gennett Mansion. And a beautiful house it is! I have delivered food there before but today, I was able to explore and gawk and wonder what it would have been like to live in such a place and then, who could resist imagining the movie CLUE being filmed here? It has a conservatory, for crying out loud!
I love auctions. I usually hit the restaurant auctions which draws the foodie professionals. This auction had artwork, antiques, furniture, catering equipment & supplies, kitchen goodies, tons of china, flatware, glassware and linens, holiday decorations (especially Christmas), decorative pieces, books, a boy’s bike and even a high chair. SO, combine the variety of items to bid on, the landmark location and the fairly pleasant fall weather and the auction drew a great plethora of hopeful bidders. Some bidders didn’t need hope or luck; they just had money. You dealers know who you are. o.O My favorite part of events like this; meeting friendly, amazing people. Yep, that happened today. Richmond is home to some pretty dang, interesting people.
I don’t score as much as I usually do but I did bring home:

1 brass, steampunkish candle stand $15
2 cross castle-worthy cross candle holders (my living room has been evolving into a castle room of sorts so I
needed these) $7.50
Christmas stocking holders (accompanied by other Christmas goodies but the holders are what we wanted) $4
Stemware & dessert glasses $3
Sherlock Holmes set $15

Not bad. Tag on my Goodwill triumph of a Castle-worthy couch and loveseat that I secured this week and I’m feeling quite pleased with myself and my house is much prettier especially after cleaning all day yesterday! The attainment of pretty couches to replace our dilapidated hand me downs (which we have been grateful for but we wore them out!) prompted us to reclaim the living room. Our whole house has been a wreck since our laundry room leak several months ago so it is refreshing to have a sanctuary, a room uncluttered and pretty. Now, if we can just get the rest of the house done…..
Anyone want to clean it? I’m taking bids.
What’s not shared is lost,
Michelle

She said “I do”

 

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess that lived in a castle with her brothers and sisters and as she grew, she would daydream with her sisters about the man she would someday marry and they would talk up a storm about wedding plans and what kind of man each of them would marry. Okay, so this princess and the castle lacked servants so she had to help her siblings with the chores.

My oldest four girls washed a great deal of dishes together and would use those times to sing with favorite soundtracks, rock bands, dance tunes and the occasionally,  Sharon, Lois & Bram to relive childhood memories. The singing (and dancing) alternated with the brainstorming sessions and discussions on what defined a prince charming. I remember thinking those times were precious but had a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of seeing my daughters walk down the aisle.  They’re my little girls, for crying out loud! This past Sunday, I watched my eldest daughter, Lenae, walk down the aisle and lose the name, “Fecher.” I’m still having  a hard time wrapping my brain around it. She’s my second daughter to be married. I don’t feel old enough for this to be happening! It doesn’t seem that long ago that I walked down the aisle wearing the same veil Lenae wore six days ago. This is my little girl…she’s not little anymore….

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She doesn’t belong to me anymore and that’s okay. This is part of what all the effort was for, Heaven and the Lord being the biggest part. From the time she was born, I prayed for the man she would marry. I also, selfishly, pray that my children will marry someone that lives nearby so we can see each other without a road trip. So far, so good.

I am so grateful to God for my family and the precious memories that were made at Anthony and Lenae’s wedding. It was a beautiful day.

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It was also an emotional day!

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Our whole gang! And we’re just getting started on the grandbabies!

_DSC0303My princesses. I won’t lie; I miss the days they were all home. This phase is fun, too, but I miss them all together. Feeling sappy….

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The creep that stole my daughter’s heart. Just kidding, Anthony. We love ya!

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The girlies of this shindig…

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….and the gents.

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Emotional me with emotional daddy
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A sophisticated bunch….or are they?….

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….yea…they are classy.

Just a couple more…

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Sweetness!

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Rosemarie would like everyone to know that this is a happy day

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Here’s to a beautiful couple! God bless your precious family!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

 

Normalcy

Normalcy may never return. Life was crazy before but the insanity that comes from children becoming adults, having a big family, owning a business that is scraping by, a marriage that isn’t picture-perfect* compounded with health issues is oppressive. I’m sure my perspective would be greatly improved if I weren’t neglecting my spiritual walk a.k.a. my relationship with Jesus. I would love to blame my lack of blogging on the fact that, yet another, of my computers crashed a few months ago and is irreparable, BUT God saw fit to provide us with another laptop (a later post of God’s provision) so I’m gonna have to come clean and say I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve literally been waiting until we get our act together and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. (I’ve also been waiting on spare time…a laughable prospect). Yea, so, that’s not any time soon and the “holy nudges” to “get back to it” have increased in their nagginess so here I am.

“I don’t know where to begin” is a phrase folks use when attempting to introduce the start of a tale. Well, my blogging tale began long ago in 2003 on Homeschool Blogger (my earlier posts are long gone) so I’m just going to say “I don’t know where to middle.” We have been on a ridiculous roller coaster ride that sometimes seems to spiral endlessly downward then swoops up a steep incline then plateaus barely long enough for us to catch our breath. I’m not sure I will try to “catch up” here but I know our family enjoys many adventures, experiences trials a.k.a. “growth opportunities,” playing in the kitchen conjuring up scrumptious recipes and edible works of art, has great taste in music, has a house in such a state that I will have DIY and organization projects to provide an endless supply of post material and does too many weird things to not share. In other words, whether I post retroactively or not, my life is way too entertaining and educational to not write about; the good, the bad and the ugly, it makes life…interesting.

SO…if you’re still there, I’m still here. I’ve posted several times about not posting so at least that’s consistent. I will try to do better and provide some variety. I really do have a ton of recipes to share so once I find a recipe plug-in I’m happy with, I will get right on that.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

*(I’ll expound on that later but no worries, we are not going separate ways – we’re just flawed people still learning to live with each others’ flaws…and if that doesn’t work, we’ve made a bargain to kill each other because that’s easier on the kids to deal with than divorce).

How To Not Blog

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If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably forgotten that you were doing so as I haven’t posted in eons. I have come close to giving up many times and just deactivate the account. BUT, there is something very motivational about investing dough in having my own domain. Also…I REALLY love to write.  However, being an inactive blogger, I can now offer my expertise on how to overcome the need to write and, maybe, even lose interest in writing:

  1. Never read any other blogs. There are so many gifted bloggers out there, you may receive encouragement or inspiration to write from them so, whatever you do, don’t read other blogs.
  2. Don’t read books. Duh. For the same reason listed above. Readers are leaders and leaders tend to WRITE STUFF DOWN! Spare yourself. The solution for the temptation to read is to keep a to-do list so huge that you’re constantly exhausted and fall asleep every time you start to read…anything. I’ve made a habit of this and it really works!
  3. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT read the Bible. Being that it changes you, convicts you and confounds you, it will compel you to write stuff that may benefit others…or just really annoy others which will also a boost your enjoyment of blogging.
  4. Avoid contact with your children and do your best to not enjoy their company. Especially if they have changed your life for the better, are beautiful people, are geniuses, are adorable, and/or are hilarious.
  5. Do not become a foodie. The thing about foodies is that they not only enjoy food but they enjoy the effect food has on everyone else. That is why they have this compulsion to take 23 photos with commentary of the one recipe they have to share with the world because they know that the world will not be the same until at least 28% of the world’s population have tried, what they know is, the best recipe for Macaroni and Cheese.
  6. Write off writing. This is a problem if you homeschool or teach writing in any capacity because there is something contagious about writing assignments. Just reading a kid’s book report can cause an irritating itch to write something. Writing a thank you card or even a tweet has been known to trigger an irrational urge to write more. Sometimes, 140 characters are not enough. Writing anything is like practice and practice makes…well, you know. And whatever you do, DON’T read about writing! You’ll just be shooting yourself in the foot.
  7. Don’t make memories with family or friends. They are precious and you’ll want to preserve them by keeping photos and journaling.  Celebrating any type of birthday or holiday would fall under this category. 
  8. Turn off the radio and get rid of your I-pod. I call music “the rhythm of the soul.” It touches places within us in a way nothing else can. Of course, that would be counter-productive for one trying to shake the addiction to writing as listening to music will bring to light things from within that will move you and move others should you feel constrained to write about the things that move you. Music has access to our love, anger, sadness, joy, dance, courage, fear, betrayals, loyalties and worship that absolutely nothing else has. You know what else happens if you listen to music? You develop favoritism for types of music and the artists that God has endowed with this aggravating gift then you attend a concert or two which creates and appetite for more and a devotion and desire to show your support and an unexplainable need to take way too many photos at said concerts then you find out other fans (as well as the artists) love concert and gathering pics so you feel obligated to get them posted so others can enjoy them and, well, you can see how this can be a problem.
  9. Don’t own a business. Being a business owner just offers way too much material for writing. You meet so many interesting and amazing people, you have a plethora of problems, and have way too many adventures. You don’t need this in your life if you’re trying to stop writing.
  10. Don’t be clever. Creative people come up with all kinds of DIY projects, home improvements ideas, organization tips, etc. It’s really hard to not share ideas that someone else could use. You take a pic of some brainchild you come up with, the next thing you know, you’re posting it on Facebook and someone asks how you made it which encourages a how-to blog post and the next thing you know, it’s all over Pinterest which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and you are encouraged to post again. Subdue the urge to be artsy fartsy. There are plenty of other people out there with…shudder..ideas.
  11. Lose the camera. Just don’t get into photography. I’ve already addressed this in other areas but you’ve seen the blogs and websites. People who take pictures can’t just leave them there on the memory card. What’s not shared is lost, remember? So just stop taking pictures. Nuff said.
  12. I mentioned being tired before but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being overcommitted and exhausted. It helps if you don’t have a regular routine that includes time to write. If you simply hope that when you sit down at the end of the day, you can jot down a few words to post before your eyes clamp shut, then you have a great formula for successful avoidance of blogging.
  13. Procrastinate. This is THE sure-fire method for making sure writing doesn’t happen. It’s self-explanatory. Acquire this skill if you lack it.

I have some of the items on this list down-pat. I have too much to do; my to-do list is never done. I get up early and stay up late. I’m always tired. Oh, and I DO have the spiritual gift of procrastination.  I know there are things I need to change so I can stop writing; I need to sell the business but that event alone, should it occur, would still provide writing fodder. We should have never started it in the first place. It’s made life way too interesting. I either need to put the kids up for adoption or hunker down for the years to come but, darn it, I have grandkids. Maybe I should just become a hermit. But then boredom might be a issue. Bored people look for something to do and the mind might wander to then thought may occur that I could write about where my mind wandered.  Then there’s the food…darn it, I love food. I love cooking food and eating food.

I’m in such a quandary! This writing thing is a pesky problem.  Any suggestions are appreciated. This time-consuming addiction has got to stop.

My name is Michelle and I haven’t blogged since…. October 16, 2013.

This one doesn’t count, right?