In which I feed my kids fast food twice in one day

Saturday, 7 AM– Get self and 4 kids up.  The kids had two Missoula Children’s Theater performances that day, but before their 10AM drop-off we had a few things to do.

8AM — Arrive at Bountiful Baskets pickup site and wait in line for 20 minutes to get my fruit and veggie basket, which that day also included 8 lbs of lovely strawberries.  Most of the kids sat in the van and waited since it was COLD in line, but my 10yo daughter snuggled with me and chatted while we waited.

8:30 AM — Hit McDonalds for breakfast with the kids, a fact which disturbed one very health-conscious son.  Gave him a banana from the Bountiful Basket.

8:45 — Stop at Winco to buy a lunch for same health-conscious son who’d sadly forgotten the lunch he’d packed for the day.

9AM — Drive to the next town to pick up dog from the vet.  She’d scared me the day before by acting very ill, and had spent the night at the vet getting a barium swallow and x-rays.  They hadn’t managed to figure out what distressed her, but said she’d probably eaten something that she shouldn’t have.  Grand total: $280.

9:30 AM– Stop at Walmart and Walgreens so kids could hunt for a specific candy bar that they knew the Missoula Children’s Theater piano player enjoyed.  He’s volunteered with Missoula for many years, and knows many of our kids now.  We weren’t successful finding the ‘right’ kind of candy bar–Idaho Spuds are apparently getting hard to find–so the kids substituted some other candy bar, and got one for each of the Missoula directors too.

9:45– Drop Missoula kids off, and the dog and I continue on home.

10:10– Arrive at home, where I make a cheesy hash brown casserole and a jello.  We were preparing to have John’s family over to our house on Sunday after church for a late- Easter celebration.  The two teens who hadn’t wanted to do Missoula this year helped me set up tables and figure out how to seat 27 people.  We ended up fitting 19 at two big tables strung together in the dining room, and 8 kids upstairs in the family room.

12:00 John and the two teens leave to go to a friend’s dairy to pick up five newborn calves.  For quite a few years we’ve raised calves for beef, but we’ve always bought them when they were at least a couple months old.  This year my dad finally managed to talk us into getting bottle babies.  He thought it would be a fun project for the kids, and a good way to make the cow project a little more affordable.  After much discussion we decided to get five calves.  Two will go to my dad’s pasture to raise once they’re big enough.  Two will be for us to raise.  And the final calf will be for our teen sons to sell.  Since they are the ones officially in charge of this calf project, they’ll get to keep the cash from the fifth calf as their pay.

1:10– Just as I am ready to leave to watch the first performance of the Missoula play (it’s Blackbeard this year ), John and the kids drive up with the calves.  I peek into the trailer to see much tiny adorableness.  Jersey calves have got to be the cutest cows on earth.  They weighed maybe 50 pounds each and had all been born within the past few days.Calves

1:20– John and the two teenagers start getting the calves unloaded and I leave to go to the first showing of the play.  When I’m almost there, I realize I’m really hungry, and stop at Fred Meyers for some sushi, some of which I gobble down before running in to meet my parents and sit down for the show.  Erika, Israel and 1yo Ranger also attended.

2:00– Time for Blackbeard! Here are our girls hamming it up.  Our 15 year old son was one of the assistant directors backstage, something he really enjoys.  The kids all did a good job and I was proud of them.


3:30 PM– After the first play we had less than two hours before we had to be back for the 6PM show.  The kids and I ran to exchange a shirt at JCPenneys and then at 4:00 headed for Pizza Hut where we’d arranged to meet John and the other kids for an early dinner before we all went to the second show.  John and the teenagers who’d helped with the calves showed us pictures they’d taken, and our 15yo daughter told us all their names.

The actors had to be back at the Civic Center at 5, so after I dropped them off, I ran to Fred Meyers once again, this time hunting for something fun and affordable to use as a table runner down the center of our Easter table tomorrow.  I ended up with pansies and a roll of bright orange floral contact paper.  I decided to combine that with yellow candles, clearanced Easter candy  (an unexpected plus of our late Easter celebration) some bright tangerines, and orange and red sweet peppers that we’d gotten in our Bountiful Basket that day.  Eclectic but fun.

6:00 — The evening play was attended by the rest of the kids’ adult siblings, as well as cousins and their other grandma.  A good time was had by all. Afterwards our college-age sons, who have many fond memories of being in Missoula plays themselves, helped take down the set and stuff it into the little red truck, then did a little dancing on the empty stage with their little sisters.  Obviously all that homeschooling made them shy and self-conscious. 😉  Such fun that our little girls have big brothers to play with!

Little sisters and big brothers

 8PM– When we were done visiting with friends and family after the play, we headed home to see if the new calves had settled down enough to be interested in food.  At one point there were 9 of us all crammed into a 12×9 foot space in the barn along with 5 calves.  The calves didn’t seem too adept at eating from bottles and we certainly weren’t good at feeding them.  But by the end of an hour or so, we’d managed to get most of the milk into the calves.  We all trooped inside to shower and change out of mucked-up clothes.

Josh feeding one baby


Zeytuna, John and me all feeding calves

 10PM– Since I didn’t want to be setting tables after church tomorrow, the bigger girls and I laid everything out while John read the little girls bedtime stories, and the teenage boys helped with a few other last-minute cleanups.  At last everything was all set up for our party.  The day was done. (Whew.)  I’ll share pictures from our Easter party and more of our baby calves soon!


  1. Goodness, what an amazing day – and weekend! It’s a good thing that God gives you so much energy every day!

  2. whew is right! I love those kind of days with my kiddos, and always sleep so well after wards!

  3. Missoula Children’s Theatre! We did that every year when I was growing up and loved it. It’s such a wonderful program. I’ve often wondered if it was still going. I’m so pleased to know that it is!

    Your new “additions” are adorable! I’m going to be eagerly watching and learning as you write about the process of raising them — for now, I’m living vicariously through you, but someday, I hope… 🙂

  4. Are the calves orphans? Seems like they would do better starting off with their mommy’s milk, just like human babies!

    • Hi Shannon, I’m sure they would do better on their momma’s milk, but we got these little bull calves from a dairy, where (as is typical) they don’t just leave the babies to nurse. Seems sad, doesn’t it?