Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day is done...dah dah dummmmm....

This day is done...basically. Thank goodness. This has not been an awful day, just awfully emotionally stressful. I would love to go into the details, but I can't articulate much this evening. Just saying, three kids, school, drama, visitors, practices and confusion have all made my shoulders and neck tight and that facial tic return. I am now resting, feet up, trying to find the must-see TV show that holds my attention(not Whitney with its canned laughter). Prime Suspect is on in a few. Now, I am fairly vocal about the fact that the US cannot come up with a good, original script....they must rip off the BBC constantly. I have to eat a little bit of crow now and say that I loved Prime Suspect. Maria Bello is great and I love her hat.

Not a grand entry to end the day, but that's all I've got. My show's on....

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We have guests arriving, well, anytime and I have been furiously trying to clean house. Now, to paint a picture, I am not as neat as Martha Stewart but not messy enough to be on Hoarders. I find the biggest chunk of my time is spent finding wads of dog hair the size of large litters of puppies all over the downstairs. My next chunk of time, is cleaning up little boy spray. I have determined, due to evidence found, that he will be a skeet shooter rather than a target shooter. The spray pattern is large, but the aim is way off. After these two areas have been dealt with, the next chunk of time involves hair accessories. You would think that hair bands wouldn't make such a mess. Wrong. They are like flippin' tribbles. I clean up 30 of them from one spot and turn around to find 20 more falling out of a drawer. I pull out a load of laundry and find 15 that have gone for a swim and roller coaster ride in the pockets of shorts and jeans. Amazing. Like the rodents of the hair world.

All the time I am cleaning, I need music. I'm no Snow White, but I do like to whistle while I work. I find the 80's channel through the cable box is conducive to a happy cleaning environment. The problem is that with my ADHD, I am a channel flipper. As soon as I don't like the song, I must go searching for better alternatives. This causes efficiency problems in the cleaning department. The vicious cycle begins. I start looking for videos of current songs I like and then, before you know it, I got them moves like Jagger while trying to sort socks and underwear. Not a pretty picture, I know. Now we know why the kids look at me and shake their heads. "And a little child shall lead them.". Especially their crazy mother. Oh well, at least I got something done today. The house is clean and dinner is on the stove. The weekend is just around the corner...thank you, Jesus.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A decade already? Holy Moly...

Well, it is official.  My oldest turned double digits today.  My gracious, when did this happen?  She was just a baby yesterday.  On this, her decade day, I am remembering how the whole thing went down.  It was fine, but never pretty.

The day before Sarah came, the Brain and I ran errands.  I was beyond the point of nesting.  I was at the point of laying around like a beached whale...still trying not to succumb to morning-noon-night sickness, wondering what we had forgotten to get for the baby, praying that I would just miraculously go into labor and trying not to die of heartburn.  I finished a few other cooking responsibilities for the freezer and sat down to stew.  My mom arrived and we went through, for the millionth time, my hospital bag and the baby's bag.  Then the tears started.  And kept on....and on....we had dinner...they continued...we had baths...they continued...we watched the season premiere of "Friends"....they continued.  My mother, in her infinite wisdom, sat me down for a talk.  "Um, I know you are tired and scared and emotional right now.  But you have got to suck it up.  You can't change your mind about this....she's coming whether you are ready or not."  Well, I finally retired for the evening, fitfully slumbering for the next few hours until it was time to go to meet this person.  The hospital room was as nice as a room can be and I settled down in my bed in the oh so lovely hospital gown.  After the doc came in and broke my water, which was beyond weird, we settled down to a morning of watching television, going to the bathroom, fielding phone calls, going to the bathroom, walking, breathing through the contractions....lather rinse repeat.  Because an acquaintance told me that I "didn't have what it takes" to do natural childbirth, I chose to go that route.  Who did she think she was?  Walk and pee and breathe and breathe and pee and walk and hear the men in my life go, "WHOA!  Here comes a big one!".  Not helpful.  All the time, staring a hole in my focal point...a Real Lime plastic lime that my brother had given me.  It had been said in one of the pregnancy books that "During this week, your baby is the size of a small lime."  From that point on, she was known as the lime.  It is a wonder that poor plastic lime didn't burn up and melt to the cabinet with the death looks it got.  But it survived...all three.

Anyhoo, from about Days of Our Lives on, once contractions came, I had to really concentrate my way through them.  Brain, while the model husband and birthing coach, was getting a bit antsy, so he learned every possible path from our room to the cafeteria.  Dad, Mom and various others sat with me, gave me ice chips and expressed how sorry they were that it was so painful.  Finally at about 5:30 or 6pm, I got that feeling.  I was at the right amount of everything so why not start pushing.  Well, Sarah had some alternate plans.  She chose to position herself the same way she likes her eggs...sunny side up, which made it difficult.  She was also have some difficulties so they gave me oxygen.  Apparently, this was to help her because it certainly wasn't helping me.  "Um, Jennifer you've got to keep that on your face."  "It's choking me!  I can't breathe!".  "Uh, I don't think so, but just humor us and keep it on."  Finally the pushing commenced.  Holy crap!  That is not all.  Feet up on Brain's shoulder, holding on to his and the nurse's hand for dear life.  My father saying from his prime spot behind the curtain, no visuals but all the sound effects, "Baby you are doing such a good job.  Just keep on...I'm so proud of you!!".  Mom pushing my head and back up to help me in the process.  Finally the nurse said, "Um, Jennifer, um Jennifer, um JENNIFER!  You're going to break my thumb!".  Dr. B arrived just in time and then....a miracle.  Our sweet little Sarah.  So tiny and skinny with a little cry like a kitten.  She was here and she was perfect.  The next few hours are a blur.  I remember stitching and horrible back pain and watching Brain and the nurse give her a bath and McDonald's hamburgers.  The next day, while holding her, I remember crying just like "Ed" McDunnough from Raising Arizona.  "I love her so much....ahahahahah sniff sniff."  Ah, the hormone rush from a new mom.  The days that followed involved various nurses trying to teach me how to nurse, including one who(in her spare time)taught baby llamas how to nurse.  A story for another time...needless to say, she was not allowed back in our room after that night.

What a miracle...I cannot describe.  All I can say is that if I hadn't been a believer in God before, I was then.  The perfect mixture of the two of us.  One of the kindest, coolest people I have ever been blessed to know.  I'd go through every bit of that pain a million times over to repeat the result.  God Bless you Sarah.  Thank you for changing our lives forever.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My eye! My eye!!

Let's talk about eyes for a little bit.  Well, first, let me tell you a bit about me.  I consider myself to be pretty tough.  I have had two bouts of kidney stones, one requiring surgery...had three kids through natural childbirth...a bike wreck resulting in a broken leg...pleurisy.  I think I can handle pain fairly well.  I can deal with blood and cuts and stitches and wiggly teeth.  I cannot, however, deal with eyes.  They gross me out.  My beloved eye doc, Dr. Hopper, kindly deals with my phobia.  With his soft, gentle voice and manner, he man handles my head(in a nice way)and puts the drops in...all while handing me a trash can, if I might feel the need to barf.  He doesn't get frustrated when I can't decide if lens one or lens two is better.  He is a saint among men.  Why are you so eye phobic, you ask?  Well, dear reader, I will fill you in on the back story.  Here goes.

As a youngster, I lived in Missouri for about 5 years while my father was a professor and head of the computing center at the University of MO at Columbia.  This fact really has nothing to do with the story, but I am tired and it just happened upon the page.  At the age of 3 or 4, I woke up feeling very ill.  If you want me to be quite frank, I remember throwing up in some Revereware, watching Captain Kangaroo, feverish and with my eye sealed tightly shut.  My apologies to those of you who use the copper bottomed cookware, but that is what I had.  After a chat with the pediatrician, it was decided that I needed to go to the ER for a little visit.  In there, my beloved pediatrician, Dr. Schubert, checked me out under blazing bright lights and let them give me warm blankets to calm my shivers.  Always one to try for the smile from the child, he blew up a rubber glove, drew a face with eyes, nose and a mouth.  He made sure that the one eye was red and told me it was an Indian with his head dress and a bloodshot eye.  I am 39 years old and remember that as if it were yesterday.  That and what happened next when it all went terribly wrong.  See, I have always managed to have prodigious abilities in unenviable areas of my life.  I had gargantuan kidney stones.  Great.  I had a super fast spreading staph infection moving an in an hour up my leg.  Nice.  And, I had an eye infection, the likes of which the doctor had never seen.  Lucky me.  I couldn't be a musical prodigy or a college graduate at 12...of course not.  So, I was then taken to the ophthalmologist, who tried to gather some of the goo from my eye.  When he realized that a crotch kick was in his immediate future, he chose to have me held down while he picked at my eye until he extracted a sufficient amount of yuck.  I was then given many different medications and sent home to recuperate, while my parents probably collapsed in a heap of exhaustion.  So, that probably explains not only my eye issue but also my hatred of having my arms pinned down when in a wrestling match with the kids.

I say this all for one very important reason:  I am no help to anyone in an eye crisis.  Poor, dear Sarah went to see Dr. Hopper today for her contact lens fitting appointment.  She has been waiting for them to come into his office for almost three weeks.  So, when I surprised her with a trip for her fitting, she was thrilled!!  Doc Hopper told me to stay out of the room and he would call if her needed me.  During the course of the next hour, Grace came in and out giving me updates.  "She's crying...or maybe her eyes are just watering."  "She's crying and her eyes are watering."  Finally he called me back to find her in tears.  He explained that she, as the majority did, could not get her eye lids open far enough to get the contact in.  He had gotten it in once and she took it out...but no success for her this time.  He told her to come back in a week after she had practiced opening up her lids.  I felt so helpless and pathetic, feeling sick at my stomach when being told what she needed to do.  As parents, we always want to do what ever we can to help our children.  In that moment, I realized I lacked the ability to help her.  This was a big girl she had to take on all by herself.  She was devastated and was so ashamed of herself.  The girl is way too hard on herself.  I realized at 9, she had already been braver than her mom.  Sure, I've dealt with all of these painful things in my life, but I can't stick a contact lens in there.  I'm so proud of her for trying and I know she will succeed.  Then she'll be able to see and visit me in the home.  God bless us everyone.  


Monday, September 26, 2011

I mean, come on!

I was trying to get him to do a monster face while I tickled him. You see how it worked out. He looks so wonderfully devious. And he is, but what a great kid. I just want to keep him little....but I can't wait to see what kind of guy he turns out to be. What a gift....

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Yeah, it's a two post kinda day.

I am well entrenched in my Monday routine. We are at dance. Sarah is a teacher's assistant for the first half hour with the wee ones. This involves lots of silliness and freestyle movement and play to teach the girls, and occasionally boys, how to hold their arms and legs and bodies. They learn first position and several other basic things. All of these elements combined will eventually lead to little ballerinas who look awfully cute. Sarah is there to serve as a positive example, a shoe adjuster, bathroom monitor and, well, crowd controller. It is hard to believe that almost 7 years ago Sarah was one of those little ones. That tiny little thing who looked like a little pixie in her leotard, loving every second of it. These little ones are a sight, both adorable and cute all at once. I remember when I saw Sarah's first recital, the Brain practically had to hold me back from screaming, "That's MY baby!!". Needless to say, we had at least 37 different people filming from different vantage points...editor and cinematographers included in the final credits of the "Dancer's Cut".

The next hour is Sarah's Modern/Ballet V, or something like that. They get to do much more advanced things and work on their splits and twist their hips around in ways I never could be flexible enough to attempt and wear cool costumes. Please forgive me, I forgot to mention that this is a dance program with a Christian base. They dance to Christian music and practice in our church. Now, there are much more hard core programs out there. Programs where they are terribly strict, both with technique, hours of practice and with the girl's weight. I want Sarah to enjoy herself. I want her to gain confidence and skill. Will she ever be a world class dancer? That's probably not in the cards. We have not been driling her with dance every minute of her life, immersing her in 5 to 10 hours of dance, at least, a week. She spends an hour and a half every week in dance. If she chooses to be a dance instructor as she desires at this point, more power to her. I can do a mean Electric Slide, YMCA, Chicken know, your basic wedding reception essentials. I can shake my bon bon without the use of liquid courage.

I can only hope that if she continues to have a passion for dance, she'll take it as far as she desires...regardless of how people might try to discourage her. I have many regrets about letting people's words influence the choices I made for my future. The art teacher who told me I had "no artistic talent"...the friend's father who told me I'd never make it as a lawyer because he saw that I didn't have what it takes. Who knows what I could have been if I had followed my heart and not listened to people who knew little about me? I am a mother with a lovely family. I am happy and love my current job. But do I have dreams and a few regrets? Absolutely. I'd be a liar if I said no. I want my children to know they can be just about anything they want to be....they just may have to work 5 million times as hard to achieve it. But I'll be their biggest cheerleader when they achieve their goal.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rub a dub dub...some kids and corn in a tub

Today we went for our traditional trip to the Oakes Farm for a lively romp through the corn maze. Every year it gets better and this year was no exception. They have what they call the "Back 40", with lots of entertainment to more than sufficiently wear your child out and leave them looking like Pig Pen from Peanuts with a little cloud of dust in their wake. As evidenced by the picture above, one of the favorite events was burying each other in a tub of corn. All five were in there, but I forgot to get their parents' permission, so I won't put their pictures up. We went with our dear friends who we have "corn mazed" with for many years. Pre-children, we would go as couples to a different maze when the craze was starting to be popular. This was the time when going at night was an option and not the cause for future therapy sessions. My friend and I played Harry Potter shouting "Lumos" all over to try and find our way around while our husbands just shook their heads. Haunted corn mazes are fun and creepy...until you have children. Then, the dynamic of going changes drastically. When Sarah came along, we didn't let her cramp our corn maze style. We just strapped her in the backpack and went on the night hunt. All was fine....UNTIL. We had failed to read the fine print that this was HAUNTED maze night. While still fun, my friend and I were not only pregnant but Sarah was there. We learned lots of things that night. One, teenagers getting minimum wage to scare people in a maze take their jobs very seriously. Two, pregnant women drinking warm beverages, having compromised bladders and getting scared every 5 to 10 minutes is not a great plan. Three, having a 2 year old strapped to your back in said maze and having enthusiastic teens in Gilly suits jumping out with knives is the stuff therapy and serial killers are made of. After the last 15 year old boy jumped in Sarah's face, Brain got more than a bit annoyed and we were given the fast track out of the maze.

We survived this year, though there was a fair amount of whining about going in the second part of the maze. Eagle scout husband of mine was determined to reach all checkpoints and have us out of there in record time...which he did. The kids each got a pumpkin sipper drink and some precious rocks to take I can suck them up in the vacuum later. My friend and I plan to go back together and do the haunted maze sans children. Just am not ready to have extra little people sleeping with us for the next month.

Simple, fun times are what we need in our busy lives. Simple, fun times are what we got....that and dried corn in the boy's underwear.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

It is fall...why am I sunburnt?

Yes, we had soccer again today. One win, one loss. I had to be ugly to a couple of my children due to general bad attitude-ness. Making up words again. The Hokies won, so the Brain is happy. The kids played outside most of the afternoon, so they were happy.

I am not a summer person, other than for its "break" benefits. I care not for the heat, being in a bathing suit in public or mosquitoes. Fall is my favorite time of the year...deep fall. I like flannel shirts and the need for hooded sweatshirts. The smell of bonfires and the crunch of leaves make me happy. Even though it is officially fall, I am still sporting my "Soccer Saturday Two Face" burn. The kids still played in bare feet, until they wanted to go in the woods. Had to draw the line there since there have been snakes and other unmentionables spotted back there. The heat was a bummer, but it did not dampen the spirits of the children. They play until they are about to drop, then find the neighbor kids at the fence and play some more. Even though they played soccer all morning, they still managed muster up enough strength for a sister on sister grudge match. This was their ref:

Jack, our yard gnome, is a fair ref. He's incredibly frustrating to argue with...not much of a talker. Spectators were hard to come by as our next door neighbors were in baseball land all day. Their dog, Chloe,

was more than happy to bark all..afternoon..long to protest the rulings of the official. No number of hickory nuts, sticks or milk bones thrown in her direction dampened her enthusiasm. Our dog on the other hand:

Less than impressed. Being the elder stateswoman of the neighborhood animals, you really have to pull out the big guns to impress her. She's seen a lot in her almost 14 years.

After the game, the kids were summoned to the fence by their buddies. They had fun making "Tennessee Clay Cakes" and concoctions with pea gravel and crushed up berries. Fin, I believe, came in a good pound of blood selflessly given up to the mosquitoes. After a good deal of play, the kids were called in for baths and dinner and a show. It turned out to be a bit difficult for Fin, who had crushed Monkey Grass berries all over his arms. He looked like someone had beaten him until he bruised fuchsia. When I went out to clean up a few lingering toys and tools, I found one of my favorite things: child yard art.

Always fun to find their creations. I called this one "Nutty Leaf Collage for Fall". Fingers crossed that the raccoons don't mess it up during the night.

Well, Fall is here and hopefully soon the temperature will reflect the season. Until then, we'll take chilly mornings, playful afternoons and snuggly nights full of exhausted children. Doesn't get much better.

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A little grammatical note

I know that I can be queen of the run-on sentence and the .... when writing this blog. It is stream of consciousness ranting for the large part, so I can get away with it. What I cannot stand, though, is reading spelling errors. This iPad autocorrect is going to be the death of me or the accelerating factor in my ongoing insanity problem. I have noticed that it corrects and puts in what it thinks is appropriate. That makes me nuts. I can turn it off and did for a while, but found that I missed it. How sick is that? So, if you see spelling errors, know that it is autocorrect sneaking crap in there. Stupid computer is smarter than me....

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Friday, September 23, 2011

A quick note...

I made these today. Sorry for the lack of staging in the picture. I know that if I placed them on plate to make them look Martha Stewarty, they would be eaten by an urchin before I got the camera back. Not the prettiest looking ones, but the kids had no complaints. This is proof that I still do get to bake every once in a while. Just wanted to share. This reminds me I need to buy more milk....

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Notes on a Friday

So, I have heard from one of my two readers that maybe my posts are becoming self-absorbed and whiney. Well. Okay. Sorry about that. I will try to be better.

Sarah scored her first goal tonight. Now, to be honest, they played a young team with not a whole lot of experience, but they had quite a goalie. She had two other attempts, but the third she powered in to the corner. Just lovely. Especially since 20 minutes before, she had the ball booted right into her chin. Her coach, who I really like, kept yelling, "Get up! You're okay!". So she did...but was running after the ball and crying. Brian was officiating the game, so he had to be neutral. She ran for a while, crying and getting more and more angry at the fact she couldn't stop crying. Finally,they called her out. What made me know she was with the right coach was this: she ran out, her coach got down, looked at her face, got right in there and talked to her. Then he stood up, hugged her and gave her a kiss on the head. He knew that her daddy was working the game and that she needed a Dad's approach not a coach at that point. I appreciate that more than he'll ever know.

The whole soccer experience, up to this point, has been absolutely wonderful. She has gained so much confidence. She has found a new group of girls who she is excited to see...and who seem excited to see her as well. I know we may not always get great coaches. But, if she can't have her dad as a coach, I am sure am glad she had the experience she did.

Next time I will they to find a subject that does not involve soccer or my children or myself. Since tomorrow we have 2 soccer games that are played by 2 of our children, let's hope that something funny and exciting happens.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Girl gots sum'n to prove

What sparks a competitive nature? Are some of us born with it? I am only competitive with the following things: Trivial Pursuit, Innertube water polo, cooking, movie and music trivia and Virginia Tech sports. I'm sure there are more, but I have squelched these feelings in order to protect friendships. For some reason, Grace has become beyond fiercely competitive. Her siblings have their moments. Sarah's? Board games, cards and puzzles. Finley's? Punch buggy spotting and foot races. Grace, however, is competitive about everything. I don't know if it comes from being a bit of a tomboy or from being the middle child. Who am I kidding? It's the latter. With a big sister who has done every girl thing already and a little brother who gets to do all the new boy stuff, Grace is woefully overlooked and forgotten by most. And what a shame. But, does she take it lying down? Heck no. If a boy runs fast, she flies past him. If someone draws a cool picture, she will work to draw a cooler one. The look of determination on her face is funny but almost scary at times. I really look forward to seeing how she uses this competitiveness in her adulthood. While it can work to her benefit, it also can work to her detriment. When you are used to winning, the fall is that much greater. When you have a tender heart, it gets broken that much quicker. Grace feels she has something to prove to outsiders(and a few uncouth acquaintances), who know her siblings. She feels she must demonstrate how she measures up in terms of academics, athletics and extracurriculars. But to those of us who know and love her, when we get that crushing hug...the pounding high five...the gorgeous smile with piercing eyes...she doesn't have to prove a thing.

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Not helping my cause...

I made a new purchase today that may make some people in my life unhappy. I can understand, sort of. I am a 39 year old woman...sigh. I am old. I know. I get it. I don't feel old or feel like I need to change who I am because of my age. As much as I have been encouraged to, I refuse to shop at Bon Worth or any derivative thereof. I do not like dresses. I do like those flossy, flowy hippy girl skirts. I have worn Doc Martins with a dress that was forced upon me. And, I will never stop wearing these:

Why gray? Why not sequined and sparkly and loud? Um, have we met? Gray and blue are my favorite colors. An Old Navy tshirt and baggy jeans is my uniform in comfort. My, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "Golden Boy". Although I use "Gray Girl", but you understand. My favorite line in "My Many Colored Days" is, "Gray day. Everything is gray. I watch but nothing moves today.". I like to observe but not be observed. I like to hide in the background. Makes me sound kind of creepy and antisocial. Don't mean it that way. I don't mean women should be seen and not heard...I just hate to be the center of attention. I think my family believes that in my attempts to blend in, I stick out even more. I guess they want me to best the best I can be. I appreciate it, I really do. But, just to let everybody know, there's nothing that makes me feel better than a good haircut, a new tshirt and a pair of "clunky" shoes. I know...I'm not 13 or a boy.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sooo excited!!

Do you know these people?  If not, you really should get to know them...immediately.  My favorite comedy on television returns this evening and I cannot wait.  Wednesdays are usually a fairly stressful day in our house.  We have limited time to get homework done and have to spend the evening at church for dinner and activities.  My dear son, sweet boy that he is, chooses this day every week to show how funny he thinks he is to everybody he sees.  He launches himself off of stair  steps, tries to break one pastor's hand giving her five and another's by trying to body slam an affectionate way, of course.  Now, to be honest, I am hard on my children and their behavior.  They really are good kids.  But, with so many elderly people tottering around the gum with their trays of food, I am just sure he is going to start a domino effect of broken hips when he hits one with his chair.  Then we will have to move.  So, you can imagine that by the time the kidlets are in bed, dreaming of the weekend when they are allowed to watch TV, I am parked on the sectional...ready.  I need the catharsis.  I need to laugh so hard I cry.  Every week, Modern Family delivers.  This week is no exception.  Another parent told me he saw me do an "arm grab" during dinner.  Guilty.  It was either that, or dump Trix yogurt and pizza pieces on our neighbor and local funeral director.  Yeah, that wouldn't have been good.  Although, it would have been a Modern Family moment in some way or another.    

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I don't know what to do with this...

Forgive my snapshot from my Facebook account, but I must discuss the current situation in my neighbor's front yard. A few summers ago, we came home from a little weekend trip to find this in his front yard. Now before people call me a judgmental wench or the equivalent, please know that I like my neighbor. He's had a hard life and has overcome quite a bit. When I was pregnant with the boy, he lost everything in a house fire...most likely started by a mentally ill person, but alas that is another story for another day. Anyhoo, he rebuilt, freed himself from a tough situation, semi-retired from his job and brought in a dumpster to clean all the trash accumulated in his garage. He has a tidy home, keeps his grass cut, walks his dog in the park at 11pm with a little pistol in his pocket AND has quite unique tastes in lawn decor. I don't know about you, but I have never read in my History classes about cowboy adorned hound dog settlers driving the Conestoga wagons west...pulled by a team of pigs. I did sleep in class a few times so I may have missed something. Needless to say, this display caused quite a stir in the neighborhood and on social networking sites. There are various variations on this display: little squatty cherubic girls with umbrellas and big ceramic dalmations who wear UT tshirts now and then. He threw out plastic lamb and swan planters in said dumpster. His loss was our gain and has given us many hours of pranking fun.

We were growing rather tired of the current yard arrangement. Then, he decided to get ready for the month and half long Halloween season. This is what we found yesterday:

Now, if this is hard to see, you are welcome to go the mobile uploads section of my FB page and see it closer. It is a crystal ball that soaks up the sun and glows at night. Reading the ball is a giant Barbie head...the kind one puts make up on when they are a little girl. In addition, there are mannequin arms to help Barbie Make-Up Head read the fortune. Today, Barbie Make-Up Head Fortune Teller is a Vol fan, shaking her pom poms for the neighborhood. I thought at first maybe I was the only jerk in the neighborhood who felt this was a picture worthy situation. Apparently several parents picking her children up at the private school were drawn to it's allure as well. Many people have stopped for photo ops.

Now, this post probably does nothing but make me look evil and mean. I don't want to be thought of that way at all. The man has guts and passion. He finally has a house he is proud of and takes pride in keeping his lawn well tended....decorating it in a way he finds beautiful. God bless him for his guts and creativity. It may not be my taste, but I certainly admire his courage. And who doesn't think that pigs pulling a wagon is cool? I mean, come on.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Taboo talk

This morning, three friends, an expert and I sat down at church to talk about sex. Now, don't get all crazy...not lurid, creepy talk. We talked about discussing changes in your daughter's body while teaching them what the Bible says about this subject. I realize I have at least 2 members of the opposite sex who read this blog and have daughters, so you have my apologies for the terms I may use...but you will be faced with this sooner than you think. The three of us went in with one idea, find a way to talk about bras and hairs in weird places and monthly visitors. We left, eyes opened wide, with knowledge that we were shocked to have. Shocked that certain acts of a sexual nature are most prevalently used in middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL! I was shocked and sickened at what my girls have to face in their future. I have had the talk with Sarah. It was awkward and strange. I misplaced the book my mom read to me, "Did The Sun Shine When I was Born?". So, instead of reading it to Sarah, I had a pad of paper and had to wing it. After asking her what she had heard of the baby making process on the playground, what I heard made me realize how important this talk really was. I thought about the girls, and boys, who have no one to tell them of this time in their lives. No one to help them navigate through the awkward, scary moment of puberty and beyond. So, I drew pictures and answered questions, enduring her looks of shock and confusion. It was difficult. But after our meeting today, I was made to realize how important my role is in how my daughters will treat sex and their bodies. If I make this subject uncomfortable and myself unaccesible, I am losing precious ground and time that could be used to prevent several things: teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, just to name a few. I realized that God gave women as a gift to Adam and that we should teach them to treat their bodies like the gift that they are. I realized that there are small windows of opportunity at every age to discuss these issues, windows that are only open for brief periods of time. I need to take every chance I can to let my girls ask questions. Cliche' but true, knowledge is power. The more they know, the less likely they are to get into situations out of ignorance.

Long-winded story to say this. I am sure there will be some mothers who have a no holds barred approach....tell them everything you need to tell filter. Then, there are going to be some mothers who are absolutely appalled at the thought of this subject being taught by anyone other than parents...and at a church! For me, there may be certain subjects I don't completely agree with her assessment of, but there again will be dialogue I can have with my girls. I want them to cherish themselves and their bodies. To know they are with it and worth waiting for...and to know that they need never compromise for anyone. God has the ultimate design for their lives and if they take care of themselves and listen to him, they can never go wrong. Just my 72 cents.

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Is it Friday yet?

This is the perfect song and video to describe my day.  I could complain, but I forget how good I have it.  Great children and a hardworking, caring, loving husband.  I am in a writing dry spell, but don't fear dear reader(s).  I am confident that one of the kids will do something funny anytime.  I just hope I am there to chronicle it!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I have little to say this evening as it has been a highly academic day here at the ranch.  Writing autobiographies and doing strange math problems all afternoon and evening has left me mentally spent.  Coupled with overactive allergies/cold and Mucinex D, I am left in a whirling dizzy state in which I have no sense of humor with people but every commercial I see is funny.  How is that for weird?  Needless to say, I laughed my head off at this commercial.  Mayhem is my favorite current commercial character since Sonic got rid of their guys.  Now, if we are talking all-time favorite commercials, this has to be in my top five:
Gotta love 'em.  If you have to watch a commercial, at least make it entertaining and smart.  I was always just fascinated with how fast he talked and that everyone in the commercial seemed so bored, but I thought it was so funny.  And, just to end on a sentimental note:
Loved my Mean Joe.  They don't make commercials like they used to.  Just a lot of fluff and crap.  Oh least we can watch the god ones on youTube!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Football, football, football

I am a fair weather football fan. I guess that is what you call it. Maybe a nervous fan or, a la "Spies Like Us," an "I can't take the pressure" football fan. I believe that bad luck comes right out of my body, through the TV and into the stadium where my guys are playing. If I start watching, the Hokies start screwing up. I'm a pacer and, ultimately, an avoider. Don't know if that is a real word...maybe another ism to put in the book. My boys won today...go Hokies! It is always better when we get a win, although we have been Hokie fans since the 2-8-1 season. You really had to love 'em then. I am not great with lots of the intricacies and that is okay. Acknowledging my powers to change the course of the game for the worse, I flee to another television and watch a movie or show that would not be high on Brain's list. It's a win win situation. What I find most entertaining is the drama or stoicism from the coaches. Spurrier's visored head crying the whole game. Kiffin's peeking out from behind his Denny's menu. Joe Pa's sweater and those glasses, pacing back and forth. Jimmy Johnson's hair...need I say more?

When Football Saturday rolls around again, I'll watch for maybe 30 seconds and then retreat to watch my favorite documentary on Donkey Kong champions. Don't be too jealous.

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Mini rant

Today was yet another soccer Saturday. We were so excited to see my aunt and uncle at the boy's game. He came into his own a bit more and really did much better. The team was a bit more of a challenge than last week's opponent, but he did great...and was so excited to have someone other than his silly sisters and parents there. I know that staying at the ballpark all morning was not a possibility for them, and they plan to watch G play next week, so I was grateful for their presence during game one. Sarah had a bye, so we had a two game day today. Grace, I must say, had her best game ever. She came into her own, ran like a demon and scored multiple goals. Now, I am so grateful to the other parents on the team and their words of encouragement for her. They are so good to make her feel good about her accomplishments. But it made me sad that she didn't have any extra spectators that weren't her boring siblings and parents. Nobody there to specifically see her. Nobody got to see that look of pride on her face, that sense of "finally I'm the one who gets talked about." It was Gracie, not big sister who everybody says is sweet and smart. Or, little brother who everyone says is so funny and cute with his glasses. It was all Gracie, shining like the cool kid she is...and they missed it. And as a proud parent, my heart breaks for her....because she noticed.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Well that was cool....

First deep sigh of the evening. I'll be able to have the biggest sigh when my girls return from a pajama-ed visit to Froyoz with their friend.

Tonight our church had a fun night for the fifth graders of our church. A chance to come and socialize with their friends and shepherds and parents, eat pizza and roller skate. It started out just as you would expect a middle school dance to begin: girls at one table and boys at another. They ate their pizza and discuseed events at their different schools. The boys at our table discussed how cool or uncool skating actually was and their personal skating prowess. One started sounding a bit like one of my favorite characters, Napoleon Dynamite, by announcing his skating prowess....the best in the fifth grade. Brain had fun listening to them and playing with the younger siblings running around. THEN the fun began. About a gajilon glow bracelets were thrown out on the table and the kidsattacked them like zombies jumping on a freshly crippled victim. With necklaces and bracelets assembled, they then made pom poms to tie on their skates. The boys not so much, but the girls took great pains to make theirs faboo. After a chaotic and tangled few moments of skate fitting, they were off. The boys trying their best to knock each other down and throw a light stick loop around another's head like some giant rodeo on wheels. The girls were holding hands with those who couldn't skate too well, trying to visit with those hugging the walls. When all of a sudden, one of the girls took a pretty nasty fall....nastier than the 500 others that had already occurred. Tears came quickly and it all got serious. Sarah was concerned for her "BFFE- Best Friend For Eternity" and everyone huddled around her. Eagle scout Brain came out and started working with her while others fetched ice. The dad was called and she started to calm down and smile a bit. What I saw next warmed my heart. Here where the genders had been divided only minutes before, avoiding each other not in ugly ways...just in 5 th grade ways, came together for the sake of one of their own. Every time they made the loop back around to their injured friend, boy and girl alike would ask her if she was okay. They would stop and tell her the joke they had made up for her during the last loop. The boys would have extra dramatic crashes right in front of her to make her laugh. Some would take a longer break to give her a hug or rest by her side and chat.

I don't talk about my Christianity enough. I hesitate from cowardice and the lack of what to say to people who have had negative experiences with church in the past. Or, to some mere acquaintances who are vehemently atheist and just want to argue and belittle anything I have to say, I clam up due to insecurities about my ability to defend my beliefs. Ultimately, all these excuses are hollow. I love my church, I love being a Christian and I love God. Why did I suddenly get all theological after discussing a skate party? Well, I'll tell you. Even though all these kids have known each other since birth or toddlerhood, it still needs to be stated that they are boys and girls at the age when they separate from each other. But on this night, all they saw was their sister in need. They responded as all Christians should, without question...without thought about who the person was to them 10 minutes before. They rushed to her side, giving her help and love and encouragement. They loved her through her embarrassment and showed her how we all should act. People can discount church, Christianity, God....all that stuff. But if the kindness and concern I witnessed tonight is any bit of what my children are learning from church(and I know it is), then that makes me even more grateful. God bless the fifth graders who showed me the way tonight.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

I am in a musical mood this evening.  Now, some people may immediately be turned off by the image of the most awesome Barry Gibb on the screen.  I guess in some far, far corner of my mind I can partially understand that.  One might be jealous of his generous pearly whites or his thick feathered locks.  But if we are being honest, the brothers Gibb have had quite an influence on many musicians and have written hundreds of hits for big name people.  This particular song is one of my absolute favorites, not just for the words, but because Maurice kills it with that great falsetto that only Tiny Tim could rival.  My brother Mike and I grew up in a very musical household.  We danced through many a room listening to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack on the turntable or Gordon Lightfoot on the reel to reel.  I give my parents all the credit for giving us very eclectic musical taste and the freedom to explore other types of music....even if they didn't find it appealing.  There was a heated discussion between my father and I about whether Men at Work's "Helpless Automaton" was trash or art....but I digress. When we were in need of punishment, removing our music was a big one.  Now, my love for the Gibbs was not isolated to Barry, Robin and Maurice.  I, as an impressionable 5-7year old, loved this man deeply:

Mike and I had a 70's mix tape from K-Tel we listened to on road trips called "The Music Machine", which featured a robot that strongly resembled the Robot from Lost in Space..."Danger Will Robinson!".  It featured the aforementioned Mr.Gibb, may he rest in peace.  Why, here it is!
We were pretty groovy kids, I'm not gonna lie.  This album had songs from Kiss, Alice Cooper, ABBA, Elton John and Kenny Rogers...just to name a few and make you jealous.  We loved our current music dearly, but then Dad would put on something else that would get us going just as crazy.  What could it be?
That's right.  Broadway!  My Fair Lady, The Man of La Mancha, Oklahoma, etc.  Yeah, now you know why I am so cool.  (Cough cough) 

So, now you have a wee glimpse into my childhood and what makes me tick.  This probably explains a whole lot.  Go ahead and make a comment...I can't blame you. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hodgepodge of a day

I have a bit of writer's block today. Not sure why. The day sure has been full of strange and random events to write about. But as I look back on my older posts, I fear that I may come off as too complainy(my new word creation for today) or self-absorbed. Not wanting that tag attached to my collar, I have tried to think of what to say. I got nothin. So, I go to my fallback: the kids.

Got a call from school today at 10:37. That is never good. Since most communication from them is in the form of an email, I rarely get calls except for the dreaded one...the sick call. Gracie wasn't feeling well. Funny tummy caused by, she thought, soccer practice the night before. Now, this was not out of the realm of possibility. She practices with Sarah's team on Tuesdays, so the coaches are a little more hardcore. She and Sarah and the other girls ran wind sprints. Lots of wind sprints. Now, even in my cross country and soccer days, I would feel like crap the day after punishing practices. I digress. I asked her to hold on until I got there for lunch. Upon arrival, I saw a face like this exiting the gym...

I show this picture because of the less than thrilled it is so darn cute. She looked so pitiful. Well, we went to eat lunch and I finally, with Mrs. Ripley's blessing and suggestion, I took her home. And a miracle happened. She was fine. So, as I suspected, the tummy ache was an emotional tummy ache relieved once exiting school. After some prodding by me and later by the Brain, she said she was having friend trouble on the playground. After a pre-bedtime snuggle and girl talk, she and I agreed to both try to make a new friend. I have a feeling she will have 5 before I can find one. How can she fail with her excellent Mr. T impression?

That is all I can think of tonight, unless you all want me to go into my son's bathroom humor. Nah. Too tired and one bit of wrong wording may get really embarrassing.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reflections on a Tuesday evening

Is it wrong that this is all I want to be dealing with this evening? There are some days that I need the evening to be as mindless as humanly possible. My life is no better or worse than anyone else's. I have no reason to complain. It has just been a Tuesday...a No Nap Tuesday. I do have a few musings and then on to the Flipping Out Reunion. Priorities, right?

I have found today that the Soccer Mom crowd is hard to break into these days. I have always been a bit of weirdo, no comments, and I always will. I do find it hurtful that because I am not a typical looking mom I get the side eye from some of these ladies.

I have found that there are hours of fun to be found for a 4 year old in the middle of a bunch of choir robes. Especially when your mom is looking for you and has become frantic in your absence. He had great fun until Mom ruined everything.

I have found that my ability to accurately grocery shop is greatly diminished when my children are at school. I have developed razor thin focus in the midst of chaos. When the kids aren't with me, I am lost. People say I will get over that, but I'm not so sure.

And finally, I have found that not only do I tend to dress like a teenage boy, I have the humor of one as well. I watched a movie today while putting laundry away and, well, I had to sit down and take a laughing breather. I needed it.

Jeff, Jenni, Zoila and the gang are dishing right now so...until tomorrow.

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Ummm, bad idea...

Probably will be a multiple posting day for me. I am here at church, way early, to pick up the boy. People often ask me why I arrive so early everywhere, especially preschool- my "day of freedom". Well, multiple reasons. For one, I grew up in a family where we were considered late if we were 10 minutes early. Some things from your childhood carry over, some do not. Ironing jeans? No. Arriving early? Yes. Some places you need to be early for the sake of your own sanity, preschool being one of them. Bunches of moms and dads fighting for limited parking so they can travel the shortest distance with their groggy child and 30 lbs of diaper bags and lunch boxes...yeah, I get here early. And, frankly, sometimes I arrive early for a mental health break or to escape housework. I love to people watch while listening to The Shadow on XM Radio Classics...makes me feel very "noir-ish"...whatever that means. Mostly, and my friends think I'm crazy, I just can't wait anymore to see that little guy's face. The fact that, even though he so easily leaves me in the morning, he is so excited to see me in the afternoon. Puffs up this mama's ego and makes me feel like I'm doing an okay job. That is until we remember he hasn't had a nap all day. But that is another chapter for another day...or maybe later on this evening.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The last year of preschool...sniff sniff.

Tonight was the Parent meeting at Fin's preschool. We have had a child in some class or another there since 2002. I can't believe this will be the last year. He got our dream teachers, the ones who had the girls and taught them more than we thought humanly possible in the course of a year. This is one shot of his room, where they will have group time.

This is where he may be cooking up some make-believe delicacies or taking care of some babies if they are having a bad day. He is good at that. If you've never read or heard the song version of "William's Doll" by Charlotte Zolotow, check it out. Always a good reminder of why it isn't a big deal for boys to play with dolls.

Some people think preschool is a bad idea, that the parents should be the only teachers until the age of Kindergarten. I judging....just disagree. I am with my boy all day long. We shop together, clean together, eat together and, yes TMI, are in the bathroom together. Moms don't get privacy. I need a little break, but he does more than I. He needs to learn to be away from me, play with other little guys and gals and gain some mad academic skills before he goes to big school. And, if nothing else, he needs to go say some of the things he says at home so people will finally believe that I am not making this stuff up.

Ultimately what breaks my heart, and makes it swell all at the same time, is that there is not one glance back when he enters his preschool room. He goes in with his Thor folder, ready to learn, play some crazy games with the Hot Wheels and maybe, if he's lucky, get to be line leader. But then again, isn't that kind of what we all hope for?

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Coolest Gracie...EVER!

This girl knows how to party. Take Dad's 3D glasses from Cars 2, punch the lenses out and you have the most fun toy ever. She is pretty darn cute, even if she does look a bit stoned....which better NEVER happen.

This girl and I can lock horns in the worst way. She can make me angrier than anyone and make me laugh harder as well. Maybe it is because she is basically a mini me. Tomboy and sensitive, creative and crazy, she is a ray of sunshine in an oft times dreary world. What a trooper, especially being the middle child, who often gets the shaft in the shadow of a big sister who has already done everything first and a brother who is, well, a boy. If you ever have the chance to spend time with her, your life and funny bone will be the better for it.

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My thoughts on this anniversary

With the weight that this day holds, I debated today(while blowing off the driveway)whether to even comment.  So many talking heads, so many prolific authors, historians, etc all weighing in on 9/11.  Well, here's my 2cents....or $20.  Like it or lump it.

On September 11, 2001, I was great with child.  GREAT.  In fact, I was 17 days away from having our first child.  The waddle walk was in full effect and my day consisted of walking from one point to another and having a bit of a rest.  This day was no different and I had settled onto the couch with our dog for an hour or so of A Baby Story.  Yeah, I said it.  The show on TLC that I think is designed to make pregnant moms freak out with weird births and other ideas you would never think of while having a baby.  Sufficiently freaked out for the day, I switched over to the ultimate "ignorance is bliss show", Regis and Kelly.  They were looking awfully sober, for them, and saying something about a plane crash and other odd occurrences.  I then flipped to one of the major news channels to read the crawl....and there it was.  My best college friend called, shaken that she could not get in touch with her sister who was living in NYC at the time.  Then we heard the Pentagon had been hit.  Then I started to panic.  Brian's father worked within view of the Pentagon.  Was he okay?  My friend and I rang off, agreeing to check back in as info was gathered.  I commence to calling the Brain, who was in a bunker somewhere at work and had no clue of what was going on.  Realizing the gravity of the situation, he rang off, checked out of work and spent the drive home trying to get in touch with his mom and dad.  I sat in horror watching another plane crash into the other tower and then both come crashing down.  Luckily for us, Brian's dad was fine and was trying to get home in the mass chaos and panic.

The rest of the afternoon turned into a no blinking, total absorption in television time.  Brian, as always, took to the internet.  I called my parents.  My mom was at my Granny's for her caretaking time and was trying to keep her as busy and occupied as possible.  Hearing the crack in my father's voice was wounding.  "Dad, what kind of world is this?  I can't bear the thought of bringing a baby here.  I just want her to be safe."  "Jennifer, your little girl is going to be just fine.  What this world needs more than anything is hope.  That little girl is bringing with her the hopes of a whole new era...these babies are going to bring that hope we so desperately need."  well, hormonal and scared and HUGE, I cried for the next hour at least.We kept the TV on all night and I would catch up on the latest developments during bathroom breaks...which were many.  The next day my mom and I attended the prayer service at church, followed by pancakes at Granny's.  The days ahead became so heavy and while I felt I needed to feel that wight along with everyone else, it became too much.  I resorted to watching Nickelodeon or numerous DVDs to escape.

In the days and weeks to come, there were numerous stories of bravery from emergency personnel and civilians alike...many benefit drives...and a baby.  A sweet, squirmy ray of hope that made me realize the sun would come up again and that life would go on.  In one of the concerts, John Ondrasik from Five for Fighting sang "Superman".  Now, I know that they are top 40 and I have lots of music particular friends, but it really spoke to me.  These men and women risked their lives to save people they didn't know.  One man was out of the tower and went back in to help a woman in a wheelchair, ultimately losing his life but showing his Superman character to his child forever. 

I hope that I can somehow show my children how ordinary heroes are the ones who keep us they go to work, help their kids with homework, coach little soccer teams, go to church and pay bills just like anybody else.  And, they expect nothing in return.  When 95% of this entry was fluff and boring...okay 99%, I just want one thing to resonate.  Honor the everyday people who sacrifice for us everyday.  They were the heroes on 9/11/2001 and they are still the heroes today.     

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ahhh, I can put my feet up....

I would have pictures of the other children in their soccer finery, but they would not stay still long enough for me to capture that moment. Fin is wearing my cousin Eric's jersey from circa 19...mumble cough cough grumble. Actually, I'm not sure but probably the 70's. He looked awfully cute, but quickly shed it in its fragile state for his new #42 jersey. He had a fine showing, for someone who had never played before, but didn't score a goal. He didn't seem too bothered and I hope it stays that way for a while.

Grace and her super buddy played with valiant effort. They are the crowning jewels on the team, if I may say so myself. They played an all boys team that had lots of experience, therefore making it hard for a young team to have many breaks. They played hard and are growing so in their is a thing of beauty to watch. I just hate that I can't record every bit of the girls as they banter and give secret hand signals to each other. Such sweet memories...

Sarah had her first game in the bigger leagues...and her first since Kindergarten. Needless to say, we were anxious. And then, she was put in goal. Oh sweet mercy, please don't let my little pixie of a daughter get killed by a wild goal shot. Luckily for her and us, she was only one very wide shot on her watch. There was a break after which she was put in as center forward. Not sure why Coach Blair did that, but he is wiser than I. She had an assist with the second goal and held her own quite nicely. She was quite winded and started to run out of gas, but he kept her in and pushed her hard. We won.

I am proud of Fin, happy and proud. I am proud of Gracie, fast and powerful. I am proud of Sarah, small but mighty. It was a good day.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

All Soccer's Eve

Tonight is the last night before Saturday soccer games officially start. With three children playing soccer this fall season, our Saturdays are pretty much spelled out for the next 8 weeks. Now, I have ever been fiercely competitive about much....Trivial Pursuit and Innertube Water Polo....that's all. My husband is equally as competitive about most things, although he did make a man almost cry over a game of Monopoly. Just saying, it is always the quiet ones. Up until now, I have only watched Gracie play ball. When she played her first game, something awakened in her that was amazing to watch. She turned from our rough and tumble girl into an athlete. Motivated and ready to score. As much as I wanted everyone to be happy and all the little ones to enjoy their game, I took much pleasure from every goal she scored. This summer, all three participated in the Challenger program where pretty and handsome young adults from the UK hopped the pond to educate the yanks on football, foot skills and different nations that are big in the football world. Fin had his cute little camp with Owain, the Welsh version of Owen. The girls had their camp in the evenings for 3 hours, ending each session with mini World Cup games. Whenever Wales(my girls)got up to play, I felt this strange sensation in my stomach. I realized after day 2, it was the gut check of competitiveness hitting me. I got so into those games, I realized I was in for it come September. And I am. To be clear, I am NOT one of THOSE parents. I don't scream at the other team's kids, yell at the ref and get in a verbal confrontation with my child and the other coach in front of God and everybody. I look forward to the games. I do spend a fair amount of time with my eyes covered. Just like with Virginia Tech football, I can't take the pressure. I have seen my girls' confidence shoot up exponentially since having coaches, the hubby being one, who build the girls up. They teach them skills, work them hard, play them hard and love them hard. Even if the kids all lose tomorrow, I will be sad yes, but I will be proud of their hard work. Of the devotion to their team. The looks of sheer exhilaration and joy while running full tilt down the field. Yes, folks, it is football time in Tennessee...but in our family it is soccer time. And we can't wait!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just another day in paradise

I took the kidlets to all of their places of education this morning and headed back to the ranch to start hacking away at the to-do list. I set the tv to one of the music channels and set to work. I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which my girls will go to not clean up. They will stuff things in nooks and crannies for hours when it would take 5 minutes to put it away correctly. This picture only partially represents their closet, which looked like this past tornado season. I don't know about other parents, but I like to screw with mine a little bit. Hide things that they were specifically told to take care of while they're gone and then ask them to go get it for some strange reason. The looks of panic after searching for a while give me a bit of glee. Is that wrong? Oh well. I love my children desperately, but I feel it builds character to make them sweat every once in a while. My parents did it to us all the time and I turned out all right...just a few facial tics.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who is funny to you?

I come from a family of funny people....funny, sarcastic people. My poor husband certainly had a baptism by fire when he was first introduced to our clan. He has learned, through years of practice, that in order to survive life with me and my people, you gotta give as good as you get. I remember my parents letting us listen to their many Bill Cosby albums when we were little. Listening to him talk like an overly concussed football player trying to sell razors sent us over the edge every time. Listening to Tommy and Dicky Smothers sing and argue....and sing. Stan Freberg's skits, Bob Newhart and his button down mind, Jonathan Winters and my personal favorite, Bob and Ray. All these people contributed to my warped mind and sense of humor. My brother can make me laugh harder than just about any adult I know. He is so quick. My mind reels at how he can come up with responses so fast. And he is the funniest person in my kids' world as well.

My children are a great source of humor for me. I'd like to think we helped contribute to that. Sarah's prayer when she was 4, "Dear Lord, Thank you for the chicken tenders that Kroger made and Mommy bought," and the fact that she called her prized whoopee cushion from Mr. Gatti's a "weeping pillow" because she couldn't remember the name. Gracie's constant Mr. T impersonations that are dead on and her physical comedy rivals that of Chevy Chase...Molly Shannon. And Fin, who has diarrhea of the mouth basically all the time. He told his cousin today that his soccer games would be harder than most kids because he would be "playing against other people". Uh, okay. And, as boy bathroom humor goes, he told me his hands were so cold, "I don't want go potty and touch my penis. My hands are so cold they might freeze it and it'll break off.". Hahahahaha!!! Anyway, whatever gives you a good gut laugh, embrace it. I truly believe people who laugh often live longer. And if that is true, my family will have me living until I am 300!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I miss Granny on days like this.

Today I had everything planned out. Drop the kids off, do my tiny little half hour a week job, drop the boy off, go to the grocery, get some Starbucks, sit and relax for an hour, get my hair cut, pick the kids up, go to choir, fix dinner, get the kids to bed and then crash. Pretty specific, right? Yeah, that didn't happen. I received a call to sub, which is my job title at the preschool, so I went and spent a few hours with some cute, squirmy 2 year olds. Then, I did get in the grocery and haircut stops. I picked up children and saw interactions that upset me and a choir practice that was full of frustration for many. A few years ago, after a day like today, I would call my Granny and give her the high and low points and then have her impart some of her mountain wisdom. While on the phone with her, I was usually sewing or stuffing some creature that she had patiently taught me how to make. She and I could work out the world's problems over a bunny or a bear. Hands weakened by age and illness still taught me so many some things that seemed so big weren't nearly as devastating as they seemed a few hours before...all over a bag of poly-fil and some bunny carcasses. Even though we lost her, after a long life, she still continues to teach me today. I am so honored to be a granddaughter. And on days when things don't go right and the world seems less than ideal, I can start working on a creature and feel the comfort of my Granny looking down, telling stuff a bunny and get my frustrations out while making some beautiful. Thanks and I love you, Granny.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Rainin' Again...

Well, we finally got the rain that we so desperately need and what is everyone doing?  Crying foul.  Disrupted football games, Labor Day plans, stir crazy children.  Personally, I have never been a fan of rain, except for its practical purposes.  Karen Carpenter knew what she was talking about...rainy days and Mondays.  I have had more than my fill of children's programming today.  I have found that one must either embrace the Nickelodeon and Disney Channels or let them drive you slowly mad.  I have found a personal hero on my children's favorite show, iCarly.  Gibby is about the coolest kid ever, even though nobody thinks he is.  He could care less about what others think, dances with his shirt off and has a brother named Guppy.  Why am I writing about all of this?  Because I have not left the house today.  I caught myself up on laundry.  No major cooking could be done without traveling out into the monsoon.  All home improvement projects in progress were outside.  I could not escape to Panera in hopes of running into one of about 20 people I know every time I go.  So, sloth it was.  Two naps and too many hours of television later, here I am with nothing witty or relevant to write about.  The idiot box really does zap one's super powers.  Hopefully tomorrow will bring a bit more material. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm tellin' ya what...

This boy is about the funniest little person I know. I thought, when I found out I was having a little boy, that it would be a piece of cake. I'd been a preschool teacher for some time and a social worker before that. No problem. My other two children are second girl being dubbed "the Disney princess who could body slam you if necessary.". She is our athlete, pure muscle and competitive as the Pope is Catholic. She loves to scrap and wrestle and get down and dirty. This precious girl made me think a boy would be no problem. What's wrong with me? When the bundle of boy arrived, sunny side up, his entry into this world should have been a clue. Where the girls see a couch, he sees a stunt trampoline. Where I see a chair, he sees a launching pad into the great wide open. Rocks become cars rolling over the open road of the yard. A large dish towel serves as the bulletproof outfit for his latest superhero creation. Bodily functions are hysterical and saying the words to describe bodily functions are even better. As a lifelong tomboy, I have really enjoyed having this guy around. Love my girls, but I've never been a fancy type. My father expresses his feelings that he loves the boy so much he'd "abduct him". Funny. But for all the rough and tumble boy stuff, he is the best little guy I know. After recently receiving his first Bible at church, he has become quite the theologian. "People say the stories in this book are fake, but they are NOT!". He loves the story of Samson as much or more than any Richard Scarry book offered to him. While I am excited when he scores a goal or draws the perfect dinosaur, this makes me a proud mom. He can be the coolest guy around, but if he isn't right with the man upstairs thennnnn.....not good. I am so blessed to have Ironsuperbatspiderman with a big dose of Jesus in his heart.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

What the what?

My dear husband asked me why on earth I chose this particular name for a blog.  I thought long and hard about what to call it.  Should I draw from my school background and put the word "Hokie" in it?  Should I draw from my likes...sewing creatures, Uncle John's Bathroom Readers and an intense love for James Garner in "Murphy's Romance"?  Should I draw from my dislikes...mimes, El Caminos and Kim Cattrall?  Eh, none of the above.  I draw from what I see every day.  My son discovering that gas is funny, calling it "bowel gas" is even funnier and calling it a "BG" is especially funny to Uncle Mike.  Oh, what the remaining brothers Gibb must thing of the blasphemous words that come from our humble abode.  My middle child, our second and completely different from the first daughter who is obsessed with monkeys, talking like Mr. T and dancing like one of the ladies from Young MC's "Bust a Move" video.  And our first daughter, who has strange ideas when matching clothes(orange shirt and red shorts), thinks the school's meatloaf is the best food she's ever eaten(not much of a testimony to my cooking prowess) and who loves her dog so much that she lays on the floor, nose to nose with our 13 year old Lab and kisses her on the lips....after she's been in the woods feasting on the delicacies that, well, one can only find in the woods.  That is true love.  When I made the statement or command, I should say, for the 17,000th time one day, it hit me.  Why not make that the title of a blog?  It seems to fit and match the long, weird , wacky and wonderful event that is my everyday life.  I hear blogs are passe' at this point, but I am not writing it for others.  If they read it and find enjoyment, great.  I write it so that I can read it back and know that I was not dreaming. The hilarity was real and mine to cherish. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's that time again

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Well, friends and neighbors, I am officially a football widow for the weekend. After a hellish week, my sweet husband has taken to the road with my father for the first Virginia Tech game of the season. After the initial shock and sadness, the kids resigned themselves to the fact that Daddy can't be a superhero all the time and must refuel by means of, as our oldest used to say, "Go Hokies ball!!!!". So, off to Blacksburg he goes. Living as a stranger in a strange land, I often dread this time of the year. People bleed orange here and not the orange we are accustomed to seeing. Whatever team one roots for, I find that my school spirit and pride rises exponentially come September. We have been fans since the day where we had an excuse not to be. We have a great love for our dear coach, Frank Beamer. And, unfortunately, we have a common bond of tragedy that pulls us all together in support of the Hokie Nation. The Vols here in Knoxville have a great, almost rabid feeling towards their least that's what the Hokie thinks. I wonder what a Vol transplanted in Blacksburg might think of our enthusiasm....probably the same thing. Either way, Saturdays won't be the same for a while. Amidst the crackling fall leaves, touchdown fireworks can be heard. While going to Kroger for chili makings, we can find gator shaped loaves of bread. And while I long for the sound of the skipper crew firing off the canon after touchdowns or the Hokie Bird crowd diving, the feeling is just the same. That time of year where common people band together to celebrate a mutual love of the game. To eat and fellowship and cuss and scream at the tv and drink too much and engage in witty banter with friendly rivals. Yes, it is football time in Tennessee, but this Hokie is proud of her boys and may enjoy the season more than she might care to admit....just don't tell anybody.

Oh no you didn't....

There are few things that make my face look like this, but it looks like this right now.  I have no need, use or want of bullies.  Especially girl bullies.  I have raised my girls to be respectful towards peers and adults alike.  Use your ma'ams and sirs.  Don't talk about people behind their backs.  All of these after school specials and psychology books talk about the surface stuff on dealing with bullies.  What most fail to address is the seductive nature of bullies.  Why is a person who is so obviously scary so attractive?  Let's drop the good kid and let the bad one tell us what to do...we cannot think for ourselves...we are robots to serve the bully and will not step out of her line.  As a mother of the "bullied", I find myself every afternoon with aching hands, realizing that I am gripping the steering wheel with superhuman strength just to brace myself for that afternoon's bully report.  Has she been active today?  Or is it a good day and she was either out sick or too tired to bother with my child?  Now, I realize mine needs to stand up for herself.  She needs to tell the girl to cut that crap out and call out her friends who turn into faceless people walking into the meat grinder.  Maybe she is a goody-goody.  Maybe the boys like her because she isn't weird and plays with them, rather than act all giddy and tell them they are gross.  Today I had to go upstairs and call my mother and cry, all under the pretense of changing my clothes.  After several crying spells and multiple reapplications of makeup, I am determined to have a good, LONG weekend.  Free of this girl and all the girls who my daughter so desperately wants to be friends with.  I want to tell her this builds character.  I want to tell her she is the better person for being a good friend.  I want to tell her all the wonderful things grown ups say about her.  Ultimately, none of that matters when she is in the throes of this.  All I can do is hold her, sweep her hair out of her eyes, express my undying love and admiration for how well she is handling things, wipe her tears and pray that it stops before it damages her forever....   

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Just so everyone knows, I am not typically going to be a multi entry a day kind of a girl. This is new and I have had a crappy-ish week which breeds lots of entries and run-on sentences. After watching tonight's The Office rerun, I realized my passionate, undying love for James Spader. Robert California is my newest favorite character on tv. I have always enjoyed Mr. Spader, whether as the smarmy Steff in Pretty in Pink to Mr. Grey in Secretary(yeah I said it)to the wonderful Alan Shore in Boston Legal. The jerk you love to hate and love to love. I have no need or time for any new shows in my current line up, but I look forward to the mind control powers of Mr. California this fall. He and Cam from Modern family complete me...or at least my evenings while folding laundry.

She's growing up too fast....

Well, we had soccer practice #2 of the 3 tonight.  Forget about cruising the mall like in years past, go to the soccer fields.  You will see everyone there.  Be on your best behavior.  You may see your preacher, your child's teacher, your neighbors...your barber.  Whilst watching my husband coach his little band of scamps, my oldest daughter was watching a group of friends from school playing soccer on the next field over.  At first, the glances were quick and infrequent.  Then, when our son and his friend decided to play with these friends....BOYS...her concern for his well-being became all encompassing.  Now, she is a good girl, a great girl.  Never has she once had a boyfriend, or expressed any interest in boys.  I know it is coming, hopefully later rather than sooner.  While the average onlooker would not see anything out of the ordinary, I observed the beginnings of my little girl growing up into a young woman.  She subtle tossing of the ponytail, the laugh that is just a little different from any others.  She is now making her brother write a thank you note to her friends for playing with him at the fields.  All in an attempt to be able to talk with them more tomorrow.  I know that she is nowhere near dating or any of the other unspeakables at this point, but what I saw tonight took my breath away.  I saw a little girl come home from school, put her backpack away and eat her animal crackers.  What I saw tonight was a young lady, who has grown up into a beautiful creature that her dad and I had a part in creating.  What a beautiful gift and an unspeakable heartache all at the same time when I realize what she is becoming.  Sigh....  

My new endeavor

I had a blog a few years ago...trying to prove to the husband that I could do something computer related all by my lonesome.  Wellllll....I snuck and had my brother help me put some pictures up, only after popping a "g" and a "t" key off in frustration.  This time around I hope to be a bit more self-sufficient.  My brother is extremely busy and probably wouldn't appreciate a ugly crying sister call in the middle of teaching a class. People say I need to write a book, but I don't have the attention span.  I refuse to go back on focusing drugs, so little bursts of me will have to suffice.  Honestly, I am not sure what people find humorous in my writing.  Everyday occurrences are all I know at this point, so that is what I write about.  Hopefully I can give you a smile and perhaps some food for thought.