The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Low Down on the Cows....

Today started out gray but ended up quite nice. The boys actually went swimming at Sola beach late this afternoon. We started out this morning all bundled up and in our Wellie's to go to the International School of Stavanger Middle School beach clean-up. Every fall, they adopt a beach and decide to clean it on a Saturday morning. This time it was Sande Stranden, which is about 20 minutes's drive north of here. We gathered trash for about an hour and a half and then drove to Randaberg kommune for their market day. They had music and polse and pancakes with jam. We watched a boys' tumbling group do some tricks as well. I got handed a rose and a pamphlet which I couldn't really decifer too well. A lot women were sporting these roses. Naive me, I thought that perhaps it was Mother's Day here in Norway. (I think it is in the fall, but I am not certain of the date.) I ran into a friend there who works with NATO as a civilian (he is Norwegian) and he told me that it was an political advertisement for the Socialist Party of Norway. Hmmph.
We came home and went for a very long walk, allowing both dogs to take a splash in the Hafrsfjord and to generally wear themselves out on this beautiful day. We took a turn down to Joa and Rich and I braved the huge blackberry bush on the hill on the side of the road to get what will most likely be the last of the season. Rich and I were scratched from the thorns and had purple stained fingers, but we got a good amount. It was gone by dinner. :o)
Then Rich, the kids and Kona went to the beach to go swimming (yes, was warm today but only about 60 F!) Lily even went Norwegian (as Rich put it) and stripped down to just her panties to get into the waves. That lasted until the first wave came at her, I heard. While they were at the beach, I was at the neighbor's house enjoying the peace and quiet and adult conversation. I figured this would be the best opportunity to ask about the well-endowed cow. (it's his brother's farm) For those of you that think that I have "udderly" lost my mind (sorry, couldn't resist)because I seem fixated on these cows, just hang with me for a few paragraphs so I can share some interesting information with you.
Tørres told me that for every liter of milk that a cow produces, they need to pump 500 liters of blood. (which explains the bulging veins in the udders, I am guessing) There is a cow on his brother's farm that can produce 67 liters of milk a day. (that is a LOT OF MILK!!!) If you think of an oil tanker truck or a milk truck if you have them in your area, to give you an idea of how much blood must be pumped through a cow to create milk...if you fill one of those tankers with blood, that would be how much it takes to make a mere 40 liters of milk. It's just mind boggling! And the cow that makes 67 liters of milk each day...doesn't necessarily have to be that one cow that has the large udder. Unlike other things in life, SIZE DOESN'T MATTER. :o) The cows get vitamins and minerals everyday but absolutely no hormones or antibiotics. That is illegal here. (as it should be anywhere!) If the cows would go without their vitamins and minerals for even 3-4 days, they would die. They need them to help their bodies manufacturing the milk. He said they were almost like machines. I liken the vitamins and minerals to be the oil that makes the machine work. Sometimes the udder on a cow can get so large that they put a udder sling or bra on them. I have seen them, but just haven't ever had a camera with me. (hard to believe, eh?)
Alright, I think I have most of the bovine knowledge worked out of my system. I just find it really interesting. :o)

Happy 12th Birthday Tim!

My youngest son turned 12 today. He was so excited...because he is only one year away from being a teenager! Why must they grow up so fast?
Tonight was more of a family affair. It is Oktoberfest today for the German community, so many adults are out and about tasting beer and bratwurst. He's going to have some friends over next weekend. He wanted a crumb cake for his birthday, so that is what he got...with trick candles. :o) He is drinking Eplemost...a carbonated apple juice from north of here. It is a popular drink here.
He's really growing up to be quite an impressive young man. I am very proud to call him my son.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bible Stories with a Dash of Lily Logic

So last night Lily was so excited that I was going to read from her toddler Bible. It's a chunky board book with lift-the-flaps in it. It is colorful and fun and tells about 20 popular Bible stories, from the Old Testament and the New. Rich had finished brushing her teeth and she was singing "Read to me about Jesus! Read to me about Jesus!" I am smiling...Rich is scowling. (he has decided he is no longer a church-goer, much to my dismay and disappointment) I start reading the first several stories...about creation....Noah's ark...Moses in the basket by the Nile, etc. Well, we get to the story about Moses being on one side of the Red Sea with all of his countrymen, and needing to get across. It said right in the book. "He didn't have any boats! How would they cross the sea?" Knowing how Lily's mind thinks, I paused, to see if she had an answer. She thought for awhile...then she took the book from my hands and flipped back a few pages to the story of Noah's Ark. She exclaimed, "They can just borrow Noah's!" :o) (DUH!!!)

Not your average Thursday morning...

Here is that well-endowed cow again...I was right next to her this time..

Here she is compared to another milking cow. (FF versus B cup)

Bessy chewing her cud...

Kona's point of view of the ladies...

some roses that are still looking so beautiful even though it is more fall than summer anymore here...
While I was talking with the cows down at a nearby farm that I walk by every morning, Rich called me. He forgot something and wanted me to drop it by his office. He mentioned it was the 61st birthday of the Air Force today. Kinda cool. They had a cake with the highest and lowest ranking AF members cutting it together. It was pretty nice.
However, that is not why this is not just your average Thursday morning...I AM AN AUNT AGAIN! My sister, Pam, had little Micah (they think that's the name he'll have) during the wee hours of Thursday morning in the States. Their last name starts with a P, so her husband is looking for a good "V" middle name so his initials could be MVP. Sigh...LOL. His older sisters are probably just now finding out. He was two weeks early but I think his mom was certainly ready for his appearance! Yay! I am sad about one thing...I don't know when I am going to get a chance to meet my nephew! Hopefully she'll take a lot of pictures! I am so happy that both Pam and Micah are doing well! I thank God for His blessings!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Her first prosthetic helper

Rich stayed up late last night working on an idea to help Lily steer a little bit better on her bicycle and tricycle. He had been helping her make "farting noises" with a cup from her little kitchen and got the idea to attach it to her bike so she could steer. It worked really well! She didn't have to lean over so far and that helped her look up and look where she is going versus leaning forward and looking down at her feet pedaling (which doesn't help with directions either!). She was pretty pleased with herself!

Joe's growing up...

Joe is going to be 14 years old in November. He is just growing up so fast, I can't keep up with it all! Tim is just starting his stretching out....I know the next two years will bring huge changes with both boys. Tim is already yodeling whenever he talks and his voice is now lower more often than not.
Joe is looking eye to eye with Christmas he may surpass him. Yikes!
Now I look a fright in these pictures as I had been working out and then cleaning most of the day...then out throwing the football with Tim afterschool. I am in the picture to show you how tall Joe is now. One of the pictures was taken by Lily!

Cheyenne and Kona

Some people are asking for some updates on our puppy, Kona, who is now 6 months old. I didn't want to leave out our other dog, Cheyenne, a red and white Siberian husky that is 10 1/2 years old.

A full moon...

I tried to take a few pictures of the full moon the other night....then tried to get a shot of the three swords with the full moon. The full moon lasted 24 hours as the boys had hat day (a fundraiser - they had to pay 5 NOK to wear their hats in school). Joe's hat was from Barcelona....he got it at the soccer game there last fall. It has a "spikey tail" that goes down his back. Lily looks adorable in it. Tim got his hat in Venice last fall.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random shots

Okay, is this udder abnormally large or is it just me?

I mean really...this cow is a bit better endowed than the others!

Lily loving our walk to see all the lifestock!

Here's the head of the group...she was not thrilled that I had a yapping little puppy with me.

For anyone that has ever breastfed a child...can you say OUCH????

Ah...the cows that keep trying to drink milk from other cows get these big plastic clip-on noserings. They poke the udder of the milking cow and she won't let them suckle. They are used to wean the calves and also for the lesbian cows. (a direct quote from my Norwegian neighbor when I asked about them...even adult females love a good swig of milk now and then I guess)

Rich picking blackberries nearby our house..
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These still need a week or so to ripen...

These are the cows, getting all lined up to go and be milked. They line up at the right time every day (twice a day) and evidently the smartest one is the lead and is always in front. It is just kind of bizarre to watch...
I have been quite busy with various projects over the last two weeks. I feel like I am not sure if I am coming or going half of the time. However, I wanted to post some of these random pictures I took over the last week. Nothing important, just stuff I want to share.

Lacrosse Tournament

Last weekend there was a Norwegian lacrosse tournament held here in Stavanger. The boys got to play and Rich actually suited up as well. They played two games and had a great time practicing shooting against the Norwegian national team goalie (a young college-aged kid from Bergen). Joe actually was the first person to score on him. Tim and Rich also did as well, in the second game. They were pretty proud of themselves. We have an American friend here with NATO that spearheads the sport here in Norway. He is the Norwegian national team coach and is the guy who is teaching the boys to play. They are really enjoying themselves. They all slept well that night!