Stories from Anne & Brooke: Fire—!



“Fire stone!”
“Fire spread!”
“What?!” my Dad and I called out in unison.
“Fire spread! Like fire that is spreading…” Michael prompted.
“Like jam?” I questioned.
My family—all except for Michael, of course—broke out in laughter as we reposed about the campfire.
We were playing a game that my Dad began. We had to come up with a word that goes along with fire, whether it was hyphenated, a compound word, or something else. We could challenge each other if we thought something didn’t exist, and the person that was wrong was instantly kicked out. First Ryan was out, and then it went on and on with my Dad, Michael, and I.
Ryan was defending Michael’s answer of “fire spread” while the remainder of us were recovering from our amusement to moi’s joke. Michael continued to explain “fire spread” when I came out with more jokes.
All were still chuckling; minus Michael.
“ ‘There’s a fire!’ ‘Where’s the toast?’ ” came out of my mouth with much laughing. “ ‘Jo!”—I continued—“get the peanut butter!’ ”
My Dad laughed so hard at the last one that he choked on his own breath!
I ended up losing respectfully to “fire kill.” Oh well, guess I’ll just wait for the next round. I wonder what word we will use next…?


Stories from Anne & Brooke: Mouse in the House!


Mouse in the House!

“Brooke!” I heard faintly in my sleep. “We’re watching TV!”
I jumped out of bed as quickly as I could and raced out of my room. “You’re watching TV?” I asked excitedly.
“What? No! I said there’s a mouse!”
“What?! Where?!”
“Behind the vase!” My older brother—Michael—was standing on the platform between flights of stairs, pointing at the vase in the corner. Our two cats were already prowling about the vase, not daring to get too close.
“Grab those plastic bins up there,” I was ordered.
I hurriedly took hold of them and cautiously took a couple steps down the stairs, but not all the way. I tossed the bins to him.
“Get some blankets too.”
My younger brother—Ryan—and I bolted to our rooms and grabbed some blankets. When we got back to the stairs, our older brother had our Dad’s cane in his hand, ready to whack the mouse.
We all positioned ourselves in strategic positions to catch the mouse: I was given the cane, standing nearby the vase; Ryan held a blanket to my left over throw on the mouse, and Michael had a plastic bin to trap the mouse with.
On Michael’s go, I was to tip the vase over, causing the mouse to come out. Then he was to drop a bin on it, and if it were trying to climb up the stairs, Ryan was supposed to throw the blanket on it.
The plan didn’t quite work, unfortunately. The mouse ended up going back behind the vase, since I only tipped it back a little bit and then let it go back into position.
We tried again, and it tried to run up the stairs. I began whacking the blanket that Ryan threw on top of it ferociously. Michael ran up the stairs and held a blanket at the top as a wall, told me to hold it there, took the cane, and gave it a few whacks himself. Still, it didn’t work. It just kept on running up the steps.
The confounded mouse came to my barrier, and climbed up my blanket! Michael was still trying to hit it, but it just was not working. I dropped the blanket in fear and ran away a good distance.
The mouse ran under a shelf, and this is what we did: we took the lids from the bins and set them up all around the base of the shelf where any opening was and duct taped them there.
My Mom happened to be gone on a cruise, and my Dad was gone at work, so we left it all there until he came home. The problem was that when he looked, the mouse was no longer there.
Happy homecoming, Mom! You’ve got a mouse in the house!

Stories from Anne & Brooke: Unecessary Embarrassment


Unnecessary Embarrassment

Once upon a time, I was trapped.
How many times had it been?
Have you ever been trapped in a suddenly embarrassing moment that you could’ve gotten over, but people kept sticking it in your face and making fun of you? If so, wanna join my club? I take martial arts, and sometimes embarrassing things happen. It’s just gonna happen. There’s no avoiding ‘em.
Anyway, I was asked to demonstrate a monkey roll, which is similar to a somersault, but you are rolling from your left (or right) shoulder to your right (or left) hip. So at an angle, you are rolling forward. It took me a while to get the hang of monkey rolls, but I finally had it. But I wasn’t asked to just demonstrate a normal monkey roll. I was asked to demonstrate a forwards monkey roll, and then go straight into a backwards monkey roll.
The walls of my life crashed all about me as I heard my Sifu (teacher in Chinese) ask me to do so.
I looked around.
All eyes were on me.
I gulped down the saliva gathering in my mouth.
I took a step forward.
I saluted my teacher with a “yes sir” and rolled into the first step. And then a died inside. I couldn’t do it. I had never been able to do a backwards monkey roll before in my whole life. How was I supposed to do it under pressure?
I tried.
And I failed.
I tried again.
And failed again.
Sifu came over and began giving me a lesson in front of everyone on how to do a backwards monkey roll. Gosh. My face was beet red and tears pricked at my eyes, but I swallowed it all down. I was the only girl that day in the school, and I wasn’t going to let anyone see that I was embarrassed and wanted to cry.
The worst part though, was that backwards monkey rolls done wrong look really stupid. Yay for me!
After my teacher finished showing me, he had someone else finish demonstrating, and I tried to hide myself at the back of the group.
One boy didn’t want me to forget about it though. He started teasing me lightly about how I messed it up, but then he began saying things like, “Watch the professional do it,” referring to himself. I was fed up with him. But I knew that I couldn’t get mad at him, so I just took it all with a smile, while inside, I was balling like a baby. I had to suffer through that all night long. But I didn’t have to, because if no one had said anything—even to comfort me—I would have been fine.
Instead though, I went through the extra pain of being teased. But the lesson to learn there is self-control. With God by your side, you can get through anything.
Just like I did.

Stories from Anne & Brooke: The Debate


The Debate

Just recently, I went to a 4-H officer training camp with my brother Trevor, and my sister Grace. Towards the end of it, we had a debate. The group of forty kids or so were spilt into two “debate teams.”
My team was named Team Dolphin.
On a large screen in front of us were different categories, which our spokesperson picked from. She would pick a category and there would be questions under it. The teams would have to quickly answer the question before the other.
We were doing pretty good with eighteen points, and the other team, ten. On the last question, we decided that if we lost, we would give so many of our points to the other team, but if we won they would give us the same amount.
We decided on four points, and were about to announce it when four boys in our group yelled, “Do all of the points!”
We were all yelling, “No! No!”
Our spokesperson was yelling, “Four points! Not all!”
Dave, the boy who had the microphone, said, “Okay! All of the points!”
We—The Dolphins—threw ourselves back into our chairs and let out loud sighs.
The last question was the toughest, and we had a girl on our team who almost had it.
We lost that question, and therefore lost the debate.
It was all just fun and games, so it wasn’t a great loss.
It was kind of funny, too.

Stories from Anne & Brooke: Dinner…



My mom was out of town for nine days. Nine days, I tell you! How was I supposed to survive a whole week being the only woman in the house?! Granted, I am only fifteen, but still, I consider myself a woman. Especially since I am most likely done growing at five foot four and a half inches tall. And of course, I am off subject. Back to my point.
HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE A WHOLE NINE DAYS WITHOUT MY MOM?! I am totally calm. Not overreacting at all.
Whenever my mom leaves on a trip, I am usually put in charge of the food. Bad, bad, bad decision! I somehow mess everything up when I am in charge.
Day 1: We went out to Burgerville for lunch, and got enough to hold us over for the rest of the day, with a few snacks here and there.
Day 2: I made orange chicken! And rice. You can’t forget the rice. That was easy. Put the chicken on a pan, preheat the oven to whatever, stick the chicken in, and set the timer. The rice was a little more difficult, but my dad thankfully helped me out with that.
Day 3: Salmon and steamed green beans are my absolute favorite dinner meal. My mom left me instructions for the salmon, and my dad was again there to help me. It went pretty well until I dropped the salmon. Big no no. I was putting the pan in the oven, when it just flopped over. I stood where I was looking at it. My dad came over, saying “What did you do?” I had no idea. The salmon we were able to save. It had fallen face down on the inside part of the oven door. I just didn’t tell my brothers about the little accident.
Day 4: This meal was supposed to be fairly easy, but I had never made it before. Not even with the help of my mom, so I was completely on my own. Pasta and meatballs. Not exactly my favorite, but I was trying to pick a meal that was kinda in the middle of easy and hard. I wanted it done by five thirty, and it took about fifteen minutes to make, and just to make sure I had it all done on time, I started at five-o-clock. First, I couldn’t figure out how much four quarts was. So I asked my older brother to look it up, and he did. I was going to do two bags of pasta, but thirty-two cups of water in one pot didn’t sound like a good idea to me. I had sixteen cups of water in my pot, put it on the stove top on high, and dumped the noodles in. Here is my first error. Instead of waiting for the water to get to a rolling boil first, I just added the noodles in. Obviously it wasn’t coming to a boil and I was getting annoyed, so I looked back at the instructions. I scooped all the noodles out, dumped the water, and began refilling it at the fridge. I had to put something away real quick, and the water pouring into the pot wasn’t much yet. But still, it fell. Water splashed all over the floor, my face began growing hot, water was still pouring it of the fridge. After I had cleaned all of that up, everything went pretty well. All except for the fact the I forgot about the meatballs, so I just stuck those in the microwave.
Day 5: Fortunately my brother took over for this meal. Even though it was just mixing up a bowl of Asian salad from Costco.
Day 6: I slept in late, so when I got up at eleven thirty or noon, it was almost too late to start the dinner I wanted to make. I was doing crockpot chicken. I ended having enough time. I dumped all the ingredients into the crock pot and it began cooking! Four hours later, and it was done, along with a nice spinach salad. Now that is what I call not failing on making dinner.
Day 7: We had left-over noodles, meatballs, and green beans.
Day 8: We ate out. First, a big lunch at Burgerville, and second, we had Mexican food after seeing a movie.
Day 9: I can honestly say that I do not remember what we had for dinner.
I was the happiest person on the face of the earth when my mom came home the night of the ninth day!

Stories from Anne & Brooke: Ghost in the Graveyard…?


Ghost in the Graveyard…?

Every so often, my grandfather will take a few of us kids to Pennsylvania to plant flowers around graves of our relatives.
One year, my younger sister Grace and I decided to go with him on his upcoming trip. Our brother had told us that there was a tomb at the cemetery, and we wanted to see it.
So, we went with our grandfather and planted flowers around the graves. After we were done, we told our grandfather of how we wanted to see the tomb. He pointed to the top of a hill where we could see part of the tomb He told us he would drive around to the other side, and we could meet him there after we saw it.
Grace and I were very excited as we trudged up the hill with our camera and flashlight
When we finally reached the tomb, we were rather scared. Five cement steps led down to the tomb door.
Slowly, we descended them, and I began a video on my camera.
Cautiously, we walked to the metal door and looked in.
At the left there was a shelf… a coffin laid on that shelf.
That alone freaked us out.
All of a sudden, we heard a rustling sound within the tomb!
I exclaimed, “Grace? What was that?!”
Without a word, she took off up the steps, screaming as loudly as she could!
This startled me, because I wasn’t expecting her to do so. I took off running after her and we both ran down the hill and jumped into our grandfather’s car.
We never knew what that noise was.
I convinced Grace that it was a rodent of some sort, but sometimes I wonder…
How did it get in a sealed tomb with only a small broken window?
The sound we heard was made by something large…
Something too large to fit through a broken window…
Was it a rodent at all?

Stories from Anne & Brooke: Hysterics



I am not the type that suddenly has hysterics or an emotional breakdown, but there are times when sometimes I am just not my self at all.
I take biology from a woman who teaches home-schooled kids with a christian curriculum. I go every Tuesday with eight other students. I sit in the front row every week—to the right of the left end desk, where one of my friends sits. Two of my other friends sit in the two chairs to my right. Then three boys sit behind me, and two girls sit in the third row toward the back.
We were beginning to study invertebrates and vertebrates. Our teacher was talking about one of the creatures and writing things on the white board.
I was taking notes and had kind of blanked on what my teacher was saying. She was in the middle of a sentence, and the word “gut” brought my mind back to reality (here comes the strange part, because there always has to be a strange part in every story). For some odd reason, the word “gut” sounded funny in the tired state that I was in. And you know what I did? I broke out laughing, of course! Everyone looked sideways at me, probably wondering what was wrong with me. I tried to apologize, but I couldn’t stop laughing!
I could hear the boys snickering behind me, and then my friends were chuckling. That just made my laughing continue. The hilarious part is that our teacher didn’t stop her lesson, she just continued right on, rolling her eyes at me every once in a while. I was laughing so hard, and my teacher kept feeding me every time she used the word “gut”. My eyes began tearing, and I buried my head on my desk, with my arms wrapped around my head, laughing and crying at the same time. No matter how much I tried, I could not stop!
After a while, everyone else had quieted down, but I was still having my hysterical meltdown. Finally, I began to quiet down, and wiped the tears from my eyes. Some of the boys laughed lightly while I was wiping my face.
I have to admit, it was pretty funny. Fortunately, I wasn’t embarrassed. I apologized to my teacher, and she chuckled. Guess I just added a little amusement to everyone’s day. 🙂