One in a Millennium

While I would pay to see it, I don’t suppose that my brother was prancing around the house this morning in his undies blasting “Sweet Sixteen” by Hilary Duff.

As the oldest sister, and the only one with a blog, I felt it was my duty to commemorate this monumental occasion of birthday #16 for my dear baby bro. Also, because I think that he is so great, I want to share some pieces of my brother with all of you.

Clarence is the baby of the family and the only boy. He has three older sisters. I don’t know what could be so bad about that! ūüėČ I was 11 when Clarence was born and I remember praying to God that he was boy because I was sick of my sisters. *Sorry girls, I was ready for a change.* So, my prayers were answered….

Clarence was the Bennett County Millennium Baby sixteen years ago… ( don’t worry folks, he is the only one getting older) I remember he was so beautiful. He had dark hair and these eyes that were so bright when he was just a teeny baby. We, his sisters, loved him instantly. I take that back… Carli wanted nothing to do with him for a very long time. But for the most part, he was our little doll baby. And then… he started to show some personality…

  • ¬†When he started to talk, the answer to any question was “no”. And not just any “no”, but the kind where his face would scrunch up and his eyes would narrow and it was almost a growl. No meant yes, and no meant no and good luck trying to figure out which is which because if you got it wrong… he would growl louder and his little fists would clench up. It really was the cutest thing. BUT DO NOT LAUGH at the funny baby! It would make his blood boil.
  • When any of us sisters would push him over the edge, which I admit, was sometimes kind of fun to do (see the first point) he would scowl at us and growl “I’m not your brother anymore.” Poor baby, the only thing that made picking on you that much fun was the fact that you are indeed our brother forever and there is nothing you can do about it.

Ok, so this scowling and growling thing… Imagine this face! And then try not to laugh….almost impossible.

Clarence pout
I just want to kiss those sweet cheeks!
  • Sometimes he would play this game called “Catch the Mouse”. Basically he would just zip his little hands all other your face, arms, and hands while saying “Catch the mouse! Catch the mouse!” I don’t know where or how it started but we still do it sometimes for a giggle.
  • When he was ‘sippy cup age’, as soon as he was done with this cup, no matter where we were, (public, church, home, store) he would just zing his cup as hard and fast and as far as he could. “I’m sure there are still milk platters on his ceiling from when he would do that in his crib.”- Mom. Also, you didn’t want to intercept one of those with your face. No one should ever leave church with a black eye, but I know I did at least once.
  • Whenever my mom and I or my sisters and I are talking on the phone or together somewhere and we hear a screaming kid, we say “Clarence”. And we all laugh because know what that means and we send our silent sympathies to that parent, even though we don’t know them.
  • I remember so clearly the time that mom took us out to the hayfield to take a Christmas card picture. The sun was shining but it was also November, so it was cold and windy. I think we all thought we should be able to get out of the car, snap about 10 pictures, get back in the car and go home. About 790 pictures later we all want to kill Clarence. But we did end up with ONE picture we could use.

    haybale pic
    Still not perfect but 791 pictures would have ended in blood.
  • When we would go to the grocery store, we were usually allowed to get ONE thing. It took Clarence a long time to figure out that he had to let the cashier scan the item. It was fight every time for awhile. After they would scan it though, he wanted it in his OWN sack. I think that every worker in the grocery store eventually figured out that the whole world would remain more peaceful if they played along with that game.
  • He went through this phase where the ONLY things he was interested in eating were ramen noodles, corn dogs, and pizza. In fact, one year he asked for a pizza and corn dog decorated cake for this birthday. It happened.
  • ¬†A few years ago, Megan and I were teasing him about cutting his fingernails or else we were going to paint them. He didn’t cut them. We painted ONE fingernail BRIGHT PINK. We feared for our life that day. I remember sitting in the suburban on our way to grandma’s house and Megan and I were laughing about something that didn’t have anything to do with the fingernail and Clarence flew over the back seat and screamed “How would you like it if I punched you in the face right now?!?!” … Dad had to stop and readjust all of us…

I have a few more stories to tell, but for the sake of the length of this page I am going to attempt to wrap this up.

We can tease¬†that Clarence was the family “oops baby”, but he isn’t. There is no such thing. God knew exactly what he was doing when he gifted us with Clarence. He is here to make us laugh, stretch and grow us, and challenge us. In only 16 years, Clarence has grown to be many years ahead of his time. He understands kindness and friendship.¬†He has rebuilt a classic car independently,he excels academically, and strives to stay involved among his peers. We are proud of him.

I am proud of him. Even though I want to kick him in the knee caps sometimes, there isn’t anyone I look forward to seeing at home more than him. The tackle hugs that I get every time are priceless, even though they hurt sometimes.

I was the first girl he ever wanted to marry and sometimes he would accidentally call me mom.  He will always be my baby brother.


Happy 16th Birthday, Clarence!



How to Break the News to Your Baby’s 64 Siblings

It has been so fun to be pregnant! No, really. I mean, I really hate not being in control of my own body, but I have felt awesome the entire time! My husband and I have been trying to make this baby for two and a half years and we have had a blast telling all of our friends and family the great news. I was most looking forward to sharing the¬†¬†news with my family at school. Telling my teacher friends has been really easy, but telling my kids has been a little more challenging. I told my closest friends when I was almost 12 weeks, but I waited and told my kiddos when I was 16 weeks. (Wasn’t ‘facebook official’ until 18 weeks) I wanted to share my news with the kids I love as soon as I found out!¬†That was a secret keeping challenge!

Sharing a secret like this is hard when you teach middle school. I have 64 students but I see them in 7 separate hours. Since I teach Language Arts and we journal, this was the journal prompt for that day!

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The journal entries for that day were HILARIOUS! They were so excited! But, then they had to contain their excitement for the rest of the day because they didn’t want to spoil the secret for the rest of the middle school students. They are good secret keepers. We got through the whole school day without one ruined surprise!

Every day after this was spent with, “Is it a boy or a girl? When will you know? Are you going to find out?”. At the time, I could only answer one of those questions. Yes, we were going to find out. Say what you want, but I am way too Type A to wait until delivery to find out the gender. Since 20 weeks landed us right in the middle of Christmas Vacation, I opted to wait until the first week of January to have “The Ultrasound”.

Fast Forward through an entire week of ABSOLUTELY OBNOXIOUS questioning from 64 kids! They even resorted to making cakes and trying to bribe the answer from me! My kids are animals.

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But, I did tell them and of course they had to work for it a little bit. Here’s the story:

“Last week at inservice, Mr. Superintendent and Mrs. Principal decided that we need to start looking at ways to strengthen our spelling skills in grades 3-8. So, in order to do this, we needed to gather some baseline data in order to know where to begin. We are going to have a spelling “test” of 15 words that range from 3rd grade to 8th grade. This won’t be graded but it’s important that you do your very best so that we have a better idea of what we need to teach you. Ok, number your page 1-15. The first word is…”

The spelling test went on all the way through 15 words.

“Now, before I come around and pick this up, please go back and circle the word that you wrote for #9.”

*insert confused looks*

“What if I told you that story about needing information for teaching spelling was just a story and that I am actually telling you the gender of this baby?”

*insert awesome reactions of happiness and ‘what the heck did you just make us do, Ms. Story?*


Its a girl! 

I think that overall, all 64 of my kids were very happy with the news. The only exception being a group of boys who I think were genuinely disappointed. They REALLY wanted a football player in the worst way. 

Ray and I are so thankful and blessed to be on the path to parenthood and want to thank all of our friends and family for continuing to be so supportive and praying for us! God is good! ‚̧



A Fast 20 of 2015!

Alright…. Ray and I had 7 minutes to list off the highlights of 2015. Here they are!

  1. Exactly a year ago, we started 2015 in Martin celebrating the New Year with my family.

2. Ray started a  new job with Butte County Equipment. He was really excited to start and he still loves it!

3.  We celebrated our 4th Wedding Anniversary! Ray set up a real proposal with a great upgraded wedding ring. New Ring

4. I finished my first full Cheer and Dance season at the end of March with a recital. It seemed like a never ending season but it was worth it. Cheer and Dance 201415

5. My cheer team and I were featured at a  WoLakota Project Learning Lab in Mission, SD for our work with the McLaughlin High School cheer team. Learning Lab

6. I had the honor of being interviewed by the South Dakota Dept. of Education for a  Special Edition Magazine celebrating South Dakota Teachers.

7. Our area had lots of rain in the early summer which led to Ray having a very busy summer at work.

8. I started running and training to run with my Mom. We ran in the Billy Mills 2nd Annual Half Marathon. One of the greatest moments of my life. billy mills

9. I taught Kindergarten through 5th grade at  summer school June and July. Summerschool

10. My Best Friend Brittney came to South Dakota for the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally!


11. Before school started, Ray and I ¬†took a last minute vacation to Billings, MT and Cody, WY ¬†where Ray says, and I quote, “I knocked you up.” Oh, dear.¬†microv

12. We took Bethany to a Shania Twain Concert! Whoo! IMG_5470

13. We  went to Salt Lake City to visit Carli and watch her in the marching band! IMG_5649

14. Ray and I found out we are finally going to have a baby!

My mom loves this picture. So this is for her. 

15. My mom and I went on a “Announce the Baby” Tour to tell all of the siblings, family, and close friends.

16. Ray and I spent Thanksgiving in Cheyenne, WY with Ray’s family. We thoroughly enjoyed our niece and nephew for a few days.¬†IMG_5940

17. We stopped in Kimball, NE on our way home from Cheyenne for a day to see Grandma and Grandpa Story!

18. Spent Christmas with my family! Tradition Christmas Eve with Grandma Winter ( I believe we get the Dirtiest Christmas Eve Award every year) Christmas Day with my Mom, Dad, and All of the Sibs at home! Saturday after Christmas with the rowdy Schneider Crew and watching the Nebraska Huskers get a win to finish off the football season. IMG_6153

19. Christmas Night my whole family got to witness my Sister and Best Friend, Megan, get engaged to Christian! Welcome, Christian! You have bought yourself a permanent ticket on the Crazy Train!IMG_6187

20. Ray and I are cozied up on the couch, faced with a stack of movies and yummy snacks. We are ready to ring in 2016 feeling blessed with the health and happiness of our families, and of course being completely in love with eachother. ‚̧

Happy New Year from the Big Crow Family!