Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween sloth

The allergies are acting up today, so I decided early on that I would dress up as a Halloween sloth. I really wanted to lay here and do absolutely nothing, but I ended up going to school to take goody bags to teachers and watch the parade of book character costumes. My girls went as a Pippi Longstocking and Junie B. Jones. So very cute.

I did some laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and napping. Every year for Halloween dinner we have the same thing: pizza cups. Now, don't confuse it with "Pizza in a Cup" like from "The Jerk", but biscuits in a muffin tin with browned beef, pepperoni, bacon and pizza sauce. A little cup of pizza. We then went with our dear friends and their children for the 6th year in a row of Trick or Treating.

Several houses later, including those of two of our ministers, we arrived back home....candied up and tired. The kids are now sleepy and I am headed for that direction very soon.

I enjoy Halloween. I enjoy the creativity of costumes, the cheap scares and the fellowship it inspires. But most of all, after attending a crazy costume party with our friends, Brian and I decided to be a couple. That's what I love most about Halloween. Peace and Marty Womble, friends.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Difficult discussions

This picture really has nothing to do with anything, but I found it in the basement on the easel. I believe G did it. It looks like one of her hurried robots. But, the sentiment is somewhat apropos.

The boy was not feeling great, nor sounding great, so we were heathens and stayed home from church. While it felt good to sleep in, there is always something missing when we don't go to church. The kids have their best friends are ours. While at home this morning, we chose to get some cleaning done and help the kids ready their book character costumes for tomorrow. S had some 4H work to do for school, so we assisted in that as well. We took an afternoon jaunt to the boy's soccer party, where he received his first ever trophy. He has been holding that thing as though it is as fragile as a baby. I am so excited for him. He is so proud of himself and his team. On the way home, I received a call from someone close to me. We discussed pleasantries and then got down to business. We have a mutual friend who has gotten in some messes. It is hard to watch someone you love continuously mess up. Well, I was talking in code and synonyms so as not to have questions from the little ears in the back of the car. Thinking we were in the clear, I went on about the evening and began to work on goody bags for G's class. S had not yet had real dinner since cheeseless pizza was not an option at the soccer party. So while I set out the candy in little anal retentive rows, I could see the sideways glances from her and knew the wheels were turning. She also knows of another situation with a person she may never meet due to the decisions they have made. I won't go into detail, the inferences you make are probably accurate, but they are painful ones for our family. As parents we want to shield all the bad things from our children, but we can't. Have I given her all the details? No. She is a child and she does not need to know. But I feel an obligation to answer her questions as best I can. It saddens me to know that she may never meet someone due to their decisions. She'll never know the personality, the kindness of the individual when meeting in person. What broke my heart and warmed it at the same time was her response. She wanted to have her Christmas gift money go towards the expense incurred when communicating with this person. While I beamed with pride over this unselfish act, I was angered that it had to be in her thought pattern at all. People make mistakes and some make big ones that they, and their families, pay dearly for. As a mother, I pray that my children will make good decisions in their lives and will never have others discussing their potential demise. I just never thought, after a breakfast of pancakes and a happy soccer party with pizza, that I would be having that kind of talk with my oldest. Thank goodness she got involved in the Halloween challenge on Food Network. I hope that is what stays in her mind...but I know it won't be.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


We awoke this morning to a wet, cold day. The sun had yet to appear, but it was forecasted to make an appearance. The boy joined us to get warm and greeted us with a nice seal bark of a cough and a juicy, goopy nose. Thank goodness he was still very cheerful...for 5:50am...good grief. This is when I started really hoping that we would not have soccer games. Pooled water...36 degree temps...cruddy boy...why not go and risk getting pneumonia or a leg injury. When we got the email a bit before 8am that there would be no soccer, I let out a "Whoop whoop" that could be heard throughout the neighborhood. The girls immediately began to cry, well one was already crying due to a ripped contact lens, and the boy was handing out toilet paper(his solution for all types of injury and heartache). After having a mommy talk with the girls explaining that this was all for their safety, we soothed their broken hearts just a little with a special breakfast out to Panera. It is amazing the power of hot chocolate. Still on our quest to find iPhones and the ideal new cellular company, we ran to a new AT&T to attempt to talk with a non-nimrod. That is not nice, but if your commission depends on you selling items, and someone came in to purchase an item, you would think they would try their best to sell that item to you....instead of saying "Why would you want one of those?". Just saying. The lady was very nice and helpful and knowledgeable, so we left with lots of FOOD for thought(thanks, Don Dare). When then headed on our merry way, going home so Brain could crunch the different numbers. The kids were relieved to have lunch,. The girls had many sword battles on the Wii, the boy rested and I got in a friendly argument with our current cell company about the Android operating system. It was nice to politely vent to a friendly, well-meaning but unhelpful employee. Then I realized out of the blue, somewhat of a Quantum Leap so to speak, that we only had one pumpkin to carve and we needed to get at least one more and get a carvin'. Dear Mr. Don at Kroger informed me that there were no more at anyof their stores and "Why don't you go to Pratt's?". So I did and, $8 later, had two more pumpkins to deal with. The girls each picked their pattern of choice from this year's latest Pumpkinmasters offerings. A fairly calm activity to do with sick ones and tired parents. The kids were thrilled with their results and we were ready for them to go to bed.

As we now sit and watch the UT game and, as of right now, sorry Vols, I think about what the past two months have given us. We have had good exercise, lessons in team building, listening to coaches and being a good sport....and the pleasure of watching some excellent games. What we have missed is real together family time. Being together today, smooshed up on the couch and enjoying each other's company , I realized how much I had missed that kind of activity. We are always so busy during the week and the time is drawing to a close, though somewhat slowly, for the children to want to be with their parents in this fashion any more. S is growing up so fast, it takes my breath away to see her. So are G and the boy. Slow down, Time!

So, I know they were disappointed and cried, but I will take a good family bonding day like this over soccer anyway. And I'll cherish every single one.


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Annoying apps

I probably am not going to write much this evening. I uninstalled and reinstalled my BlogPress app in hopes of getting back a more iPad friendly way of writing this blog. Once reinstalled, everything looked good. I was so excited to write about today, especially since I had taken lots of good pictures to chronicle the goings-on. Well, as a good wife of an IT man, I have absorbed a teeny tiny speck of the computer advice he has given me. I went to save what I had written so far, which was fairly sizable with pictures and some drawings to come. Well, all of a sudden the app failed and I was staring at all 6 versions of Angry Birds my kids have uploaded. The dramatic "Nooooooooo" screamed from my mouth, followed by a quiet string of profanity. Don't judge was inspired writing(cough cough). Needless to say, I was very disturbed and annoyed and hacked and shafted. But, alas, it was all gone, just like Ralphie Parker's Christmas turkey after the Bumpus dogs got a hold of it. No barbershop photos, photos of Fin, photos of cell phone companies, no blogging with photo explanation of our oldest putting her new contact lenses in. Nothing. So, I went the old fashioned route and went though the website. So , I am now going to give you a mini rundown of our day: the boys are shorn at Jerry's, spilled coffee all over myself at Panera, changed clothes at home, went to Verizon and AT&T to see about iPhone options, argued about our current service with our current carrier, ate lunch, snuggled with boy, got G warmed up after soggy Ijam's field trip, watched my oldest show me how she puts her contacts in and succeeded in not barfing on the floor, ate pizza with the family, watched The Great Pumpkin with the kids and the the final season of "Chuck" with the kids, watched the girl take her contacts out, again without barfing and sat down on the couch to blog and listen to Keith Morrison on Dateline. Now, don't try to replicate my day for your own excitement...few can handle quite this much fun. Work up to it. Now I am secretly(not so much anymore)hoping that the last day of soccer is cancelled and the we can have an easy morning. Oh well, que sera sera. We'll deal with whatever we get. Now off to bed to watch the rest of Dateline. It is a life of excitement most can't handle. I know you are allllll jealous. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Busy day, weird stuff and fun evening

Today was an interesting day. It started off in kind of a wet and dreary way. The kids went to school and I ran errands. Then, after perusing the Lego nation at Target, I went home to clean and sort mounds of laundry. While I enjoy the break that T/Th's without kids provides, I find them to be extremely lonely. So, while sorting the laundry, I find odd programs to have on for background noise. I can't even tell you what I watched...the remote was buried under the laundry and I worked to find it by putting laundry away. After getting that done, I went to get the boy from school. We went to see his allergist, Dr. Ellenburg. We were delighted to find out that Fin is now down to yearly visits with him....hopefully never to have to progress to shots ever. Fin was delighted to show the doc and NP how his skeleton shirt glowed in the dark and could dance. It's the little things, you know? After arriving home, the kids prepared for soccer. The Brain was very disappointed to not have the stalker neighbor girl experience today. He was prepared to go to war if the acorn throwing started again. Well, we are safe for another day. I prepared for my once a year outing of the grown up kind. My "sister" and I went to eat and to a haunted tour of Blount Manson, well really the area around the mansion and downtown. It was nice to have adult conversation and grown up food and beverage and good laughs and a rainy, interesting walk downtown. We have decided to start writing material for and preparing for the haunted tour of our own neighborhood next year. Highlighting the house burnt down by an insane person, the place where the attack dog lives, the street where there is excess litter. Interesting and chilling info like that! It was a fun evening and I learned some things:

(1) scallops taste so much better whenI don't prepare them myself
(2) Ghost stories are all in the delivery
(3) I need to be better about purging items in them fridge. Apparently Sarah said her yogurt tasted weird tonight. When Brian looked at the foil tab top, it read "Aug 17". Don't judge me...they dug it out from the bowels of the fridge. Okay, bad choice of words.
(4) any sequel to "The Dancing Outlaw" has got to be entertainment gold....and full of drugs and profanity.
(5) My husband is a smart aleck for teasing me about my compromised bladder integrity(due to three children)when headed out on a haunted tour. I didn't have one accident out of fear, or for any other reason.
(6) As hard as it is, I love being a stay at home mom and really miss my kids when I am daway from them.
(7) My husband is a saint for putting up with me and I so appreciate him letting me have a break.

Tomorrow is a day full of excitement, so time to ZZzZZzZzZZzzzzzz........

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bizarro day

I am determined that I live in the bizarro world. I know I live in my own little world lots of the time, but today has been a doozy. I was accused today of always having a bad day, so I need to either stay inside forever, not tell anyone I had a bad day or just accept the bad days as the norm. Honestly, none of the options sound pleasant at all. I need a place to vent, so I will just comeuppance with a new option...I will create an imaginary friend. It seems to be the only option at this point. Anyway, this is how the day of strange went. After taking charge of Sarah's glasses at soccer last night, we woke up this morning to realize that the glasses were nowhere to be found. Oh crap! What are we going to do? I sent the girl to school "spec-less" and tore the house up looking for them. Nothing. So, after mailing a package and running a few other errands, the boy and I took a jaunt to the soccer fields. Miracles do happen because the sweet little Vera Bradley glasses were l
Nestled in the grass, covered with dew. It was a miracle. After taking the glasses to their happy girl, we went to the grocery store. Relatively normal. After putting groceries away, we met our friends at the zoo before the weather gets awful. This is when my child decided to lose his mind. I think he wanted to show off for his friend, but he broke every rule he knew. I can only hope that we will be able to have another play time with them. He had an almost 10 minute power snooze and was ready for more. We picked the sisters up and headed home to do homework before going to church activities and dinner. This is when things got interesting. G's friend has desperately wanted to "see the inside" of our house. I told her that would be fine...I just wanted to talk to her mother before I let her in. I wouldn't send my child to a strangers house before getting to know the people a bit first. For the past several days, the kids have come to our house as we were getting ready to leave. Today, we went upstairs to do homework, put laundry away and let me wash my hair. All of a sudden, there was a pounding on our door. Then kicking. Then screaming for G to come out and play. The kids went bonkers. I hissed at them to be quiet and wait until they left. I had too much to get done, as did the children, and I could not get into playdates and messing at that point. Well, they stayed and pounded and stayed and screamed for G and stayed. Then the boy decided to go downstairs and let them in since they were screaming. He thought they were hurt. After the behavior at the zoo and now trying to open the door to strangers, he was in super mega trouble. The girls continued to pound and kick and scream. Then, they started throwing acorns at the picture window. I am not sure why they thought that that, after kicking and pounding, would make a difference in whether we answered the door or not. I finally was spotted peeking out of a top floor window. I then opened the window and said we were doing homework and leaving in 10 minutes, which was all true. I then told them to have their mom call me so we could talk and make plans. This will not happen. I feel so terribly sorry for these. Girls. They need a friend and a house they can visit that is safe and stable. As much as I want to be that house for them, I have to take care of my children. It saddens me that children have
Agents that allow them to wander around and have no clue as to where they are and really not care. I just ask people to pray for these children. I worry about them.

At least we are ending the night with Modern Family. That makes things a bit more tolerable. We just found out that the stomach bug is going around Sarah's room. Let's hope we don't get it. I don't have an ample stash of ginger ale and saltines at this point.

I will do my best to have more positive posts. Guess we need to go back to Pizza Inn.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I am presently sitting on the couch watching a program on the study of the popularity of zombies. It is ironic, because I sure am feeling like one right now. Zombies are creepy and gross and, after seeing Night of the Living Dead at a friend's church lock-in, I find them very disturbing. Waking up after a 2am power nap to find a zombie eating somone's intestines, well, it does something to a person. It did something to me, especially when the next movie they played that night was Old Yeller. I think they were trying to break us down. I'm not sure why I am talking about zombies. Lacking much originality in thought tonight. It does make me think of the upcoming Halloween fun and wondering about what scary movies people like. Do you for the gore? The suspense? The jump out and scare you to death? I am a hugongoug Alfred Hitchcock fan and love suspense. Rear Window with Jimmy Stwart is my personal favorite. The creepy implied stuff is as terrifying as the chopped off limbs in the gore movies. Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark...terrifying! Fargo...The Silence of the Lambs...The Manchurian Candidate...The Omen...Rosemary's Baby...Seven...Signs, and the scariest in my opinion, Grand Canyon. Okay, that last one wasn't scary, but it was just awful and so was Blair Witch Project. What a seasickness pad of junk. Oh well, whatever your genre,enjoy it. There is something very cathartic about a good scare. I could use a good scare from a movie right now. Nothing real. I live enough real scary stuff with three kids. Maybe what I really needs a good laugh. Maybe I'll go dig out Young Frankenstein...kill two birds with one stone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Monday almost in the books

I am sitting here at dance practice. We are in the busy season now, preparing for the Fantasy of Trees...or as The Brain calls it th "Phantasm of Trees". For those people who are not familiar with this event, it is a holiday event sponsored by and benefitting our East TN Children's Hospital. Organizations of all types can get an artificial tree and decorate it with a theme. Now let's be very clear, these are not any slapped together trees with someone's day old popcorn and plastic Garfield ornaments from Big Lots. Not that there is anything wrong with that. These are in categories in terms of size, theme, organization and probably urine sample. You are given specifics on numbers of lights per branch, erc.. The reason they are so picky is that these trees are then sold and the profits are given to ETCH to buy new machines and technology for the hospital. They also have a gingerbread house competition and sale as well. There are sections to buy ornaments and decor and kitsch and crap and food and games and Santa shows up and the news is there and the sports radio show broadcasts from there and it is INSANE! While all of this selling and shopping and looking is going on, there are different groups there to entertain the masses when they collapse from the sheer madness of it all. Lots of singers and dancers and musicians. The girls have danced with their dance group there for several years. This year is no exception and the song they are using is exciting to me. I can't wait to see it. While the FOT is a bit crazy, it certainly gets me in the holiday mood. The girls always dance the evening before Thanksgiving, so when we return home the house is full of excitement and yummy smells.

Well, friends. I took a break to get a sip of fountain water and it is now three hours later. I got involved in excitement, not the good kind, outside. One of the girls in the class found out her family van window was smashed and her mother's purse was stolen as they walked in the park. It was in the matter of 30 minutes. I did not think my evening would consist of talking to a third grader about why someone would do this to her parents' car, but it did. That is a hard one to explain, but my friend, MC, and I tried our best. I did get to do something that I have never been...the Internet expert. I happened to have the iPad with me and was able to assist them in finding numbers to their banks and credit card companies so they could stop and cancel things. I was glad to help and it was interesting to see how the whole process works. I watched the police officer talk to the credit card company and struggle to control his anger at their lack of cooperation. The crime lab came and the video expert came to analyze parking lot cameras. All I have to say is, don't leave your valuables in the car....I am the guiltiest one of all. Always be an angel to someone in never know when the roles may be reversed. Now time to go to sleep and see what in the world. Tuesday is going to bring.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wellllll, poop.

I am sad to report that the BlogPress app for my iPad decided to take on bugs and croak as I was saving a healthy chunk of words this evening.  So, I deeply regret to inform you that my treatise on mullet spotting at Boo at the Zoo will not be presented tonight.  I put so much of myself and my writing ability into it, which is lacking, that I am exhausted.  Instead, I will just say that my son made an awfully cute "Clark Kent who turned into Superman but had not yet taken off his glasses" character.  S was a monarch butterfly and G was a karate expert.  I love to people watch and one can certainly hit the people watching jackpot with all the material there.  Needless to say, there were some really sad costumes and some really creative ones.  My personal favorite was a little girl who had ribbons on her shoes, in her hair and a banner wrapped around her.  She had a goody bag attached to the back of her poncho-esque shirt, which was a tablecloth.  She was a walking birthday party.  Excellent!  The kids enjoyed it all and had fun posing with the different characters.  The boy was a bit indifferent about the photo ops and just chose to concentrate on his free Krispy Kreme.  Then all of a sudden, he poked me and said, "Hold this please," handed me his doughnut, straightened himself up, wiped his mouth off and made a beeline right for Bert and Ernie.  The boy knows what he likes.  After a few more stops and the boy getting creeped out by the dancing characters from Shrek, we headed home. 

I hope this week brings everyone happiness and joy and maybe one good mullet spotting as well.  Party in the back and business in the front....what more can a person ask for?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pink ribbon soccer Saturday

Today was again another long, LONG day at the fields de futbol. The season is almost over and, while I know we'll miss it, we will be giving a big sigh of relief. But today was more than just soccer Saturday. It was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Knoxville. Our church had the honor of being the the first church in the Knoxville area to be a sponsor of this race and I am so proud. Two of my aunts and dear friends are survivors of this heinous disease. I have had the honor of walking in the several race in the past. Because of our schedule today, I had no way to go and make sure the kids got where they needed to be while B coached and ref'ed. We did the Sleep for the Cure instead. I will say that I missed being downtown very much. What a wonderful event of strength, courage and hope. To see all of the survivors...those walking for people currently battling....those walking in memory of those lost. Soccer Saturday won out this year in terms of scheduling, but my heart was with the race. So for Aunt Karen, Aunt Lauren, Ashley, Bronwyn, Jennifer, Jackie, Susan, Katrina, Anne Marie, Lucia, Susan, Mrs. C and all the women, and men, who have been personally touched by this, know that you are in my prayers and that I stand in awe of your strength, compassion and example.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

A day with another "Last time we'll do this" activity

Every fall the ECM program at our church takes a jaunt to the Fruit and Berry Patch to have Fall fun. We go on a tractor ride, pick a pumpkin, feed some goats, go through a little corn maze and get a plastic pumpkin sipper full of cider and coloring book. We have been doing this ever since S was probably 3. Today was the final time the boy can go with this group. It is a hard pill to swallow knowing that he will be hitting the big K next year. I remember carrying him in the Snugli while trying to take pictures of the other two and still keep a shred of sanity. Now he's a big boy, with a fauxhawk, walking with his buddy in the pumpkin patch not needing mom anymore. Before I have a complete mental breakdown, let me get some pictures in here.

He has never been a fan of getting his picture made, but this is the best I could do without getting a the smile with an underbite like a cartoon character. He picked his pumpkin based on stem length, of course, and quickly moved on to his favorite part:

He got brave this year and did some serious goat feeding. I finally had to cut him off for fear of(1)making a goat sick or (2)being left by the tractor. After a walk through the corn maze where I managed to creep out a friend traumatized by "Children of the Corn" flashbacks by going, "Ch-Ch-Ch Ha ha ha" over and over, we arrived back to the sweetest of endings for the boy:

He loves him some cider...drained it in no time at all. Let's hope he does not experience any digestive issues as a result. Well, after we paid for our morning and some fresh fried fruit pies, F said goodbye to his new friend and we were on our way.

I am grateful to Dennis Fox at the Fruit and Berry Patch for providing us years of sweet memories with my children. God has blessed me with the privilege of being a mom to three wonderful children and, though the growing up is painful, I wouldn't trade a second of it.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

A good idea...apparently everyone else had it as well

Cold, rainy days lend themselves well to three things: pajamas, movies and soup. As previously stated, I do not like rain. It throws my day off, my mood off, my oomph off. Thank the good Lord for Panera. I had to be at school early this morning to help with G's class, so I skipped the most important meal of the day. When I got an extra chill taking the fifth trip outside to the recycle bin, I felt a sudden urge for soup. Now mind you, I just had spent a good half hour peeling potatoes for soup tonight, but I longed for some that I hadn't had to make or clean up from the construction process. So, feeling almost giddy at the thought of lunch out, I headed out in the trusty Sequoia to find my elusive soup, feeling somewhat cocky about my very original idea. Someday I will finally find a clue and realize the obvious. Today was not one of those days. My first clue should have been the line of cars waiting to even get in the parking lot, but I foolishly thought that Arby's must be having a great deal on potato cakes or something. Once I got in the parking lot, the plot thickened. You see, people lost all sense once in the perpetual ring of parking lot. Fighting for parking places, dagger looks for parking place thieves, one random couple making out in the middle of the mayhem, dagger looks at them and the one random monster truck that had not judged how little it pulled into its space. Its trailer hitch out so far that it caused a bottleneck and more drama to ensue. If I hadn't been so desperate for my soup, this whole situation would have been popcorn and lawn chair spectator worthy. Desperate for soup....that sounds sad and, oh, a bit melodramatic. Let's say instead that I was really looking forward to the soup and the much needed warmth it would bring me today. After finally somewhat taking my life into my own hands, I secured a parking spot and wrapped up in my scarf to brave the elements. Once inside, I stood behind two very talkative ladies who had also encountered our amorous parking lot friends. After hearing a rant that consisted of the line, "I mean if you're making out, at least put your bagel and your cell phone down," I knew I had to do something. Upon hearing this, I couldn't help myself, sidled up beside her and said, "Stop talking about me like that", which caused a chain reaction of a dropped purse, coffee exploding out of her friend's mouth and nose and both of them crying and having trouble breathing from laughing so hard. After concluding that one half of the amorous couple worked at Panera, the chatty girls plotted their attack on the employee. I got my soup, sammich and iced green tea and headed for a table.

I know that people think I make this stuff up, but weirdness begets weirdness. I guess I just attract it. I still cannot understand why I continue to see people making out at Panera or why people would want to engage in that activity there. Whatever floats their boats, I guess. Bagels and besos. Anyhoo, I got my soup and it was good and I will probably make that mistake again on another yucky day....unless I meet up with the Soup Nazi. Then it will be, "You come back...1 year!".

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In a rainy day fog...

I love cool and cold weather.  I love snow and briskness and campfire smell.  What I do not care for is rain.  I know it is essential for things to grow and sustenance and the like, but I deplore rainy days...except when praying for a cancelled soccer practice.  I get loopy, so forgive me for whatever YouTube clips make it in here.

I love this man dearly.  He may be an acquired taste, but I find his music wonderful.
He has a way with words and is also devilishly funny.  So, when a friend of mine put this next clip up on FB the other day, I loved Mr. Costello even more:
How could you not love this?  I know I may get flack from the hardcore Sesame Streeters, but I am not an Elmo fan.  He is a prime example of arrested development....that may be mean, but he gets on my last nerve.  However, Elvis Costello has accomplished what most can't- he made Elmo tolerable.  Now, I have had a fun time seeing what other celebrity musicians have done to get on "The Street".  REM for example:
I mean, come on.  How about this one:
Okay, as you can plainly see, I have extreme writer's block and loopy disease from being stuck inside all day.  I can't complain.  Things can always be worse and snuggling with my boy is certainly a great way to go.  Let's hope that tomorrow brings more material and clarity.  But for this evening, I apologize for a musical muppet heavy entry.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Build an ark? Nah, a Gulfstream.

After tonight's first entry, I felt the need to bring a little levity back to the evening. I subbed at my preschool job today in one of the two year old classes. They were a cute little class with challenges, as they all are. I always find it funny the toy combinations that they make. Dressing up as a chef and using the magnifying glass to investigate dinosaurs. Serving me a hot steaming plate of Tonka truck. Rocking a plastic porcupine wrapped in a blanket, while desperately trying to feed it a plastic egg. All these things happened with my little friends today. But, the best by far was this:

Mr. And Mrs. Noah, with their friend Jane, flying to an undisclosed destination. What I love the most is that Mrs. Noah is flying the plane. You rock on, Mrs. N! Maybe this is post flood and hitting land. Maybe they are checking out the flood damage. Who knows, but I love it!

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I'm trying to stop...

Let me start off by saying, I appreciate all 3 of you who read this little blog. I enjoy writing about my crazy family and strange people at restaurants. I love it when I actually get to make people laugh. I never intended this to be the "Bully Rant Blog". But, I am drowning in a sea of rage and don't know where to look for a life preserver. Have I made her too much of a goody goody? Have I emphasized manners and not saying the Lord's name in vain and keeping a clean mouth too much? Is it the kiss of death to be liked by adults at your educational institution? It kind of sucks when you realize that, in trying to teach your child to be a good kid, you've screwed them over when it comes to peer relationships. Am I saying I'm such a great parent? Heck no! My child is being purposely excluded by the females in her grade and whispered about in front of her face. I feel that I have a hand in making her a big bullseye. When I, or any other adult, come to her aid, things just get worse. She would never say anything for fear of hurting feelings, but I know from her body language and reaction, that the relief from the rescuing adult is merely temporary when she knows what is coming later. I ask her what she wants done and she says she can handle herself...and that she'll let me know when it gets too much. Should I trust her? Should I step in and risk making it worse? I just don't know. All I know is that I covet your prayers for clarity and strength during this time. And prayers for her to get her through this.

She's a tough girl and can get right back up after being taken out by a boy. She can handle these creeps. I just don't give her enough credit. She's small but mighty.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

The story of my life...

I miss the Far Side. I miss it so very much. "The real reason dinosaurs are extinct" was always one of my very favorites.

I mean, the man is a genius. We have laughed over and enjoyed every book and calendar that he has ever come out with. I often find myself describing little old ladies as one who looks like she walked out of the Far Side. My personal favorite of his is this:

When the Brain starts talking computers to me, he looks at me and says, "Blah blah Ginger, I know.". It is so true. We all have Blah Blah Ginger moments...I just seem to have more than most. I just felt the need to spread a little Gary Larson love this evening. I sure wish he'd start drawing again...
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When is a stomach ache just a stomach ache?

My child got in the car today at pick up complaining of a stomach ache. I watched her as she watched a group of girls walk away, seeing the hurt look on her face, and as she turned back to me she turned on a fake smile. That may have been my perception or it may have been fact. Either way, it is a hard thing for me to see. As a mother, I analyze every twitch, grin, sigh, headache, tummy ache...wondering if there is meaning behind it. Did I see hurt in her face? Or was she just still nursing her sore ankle from this morning. I know that some of the girls made plans and talked about their time together in front of her. That must sting a little. I know that as an adult when I hear friends talk about the dates they've had with each other, I feel a twinge of hurt. Why am I not good enough to be invited? Is there something wrong with me? Is it because of the way I look? I know all these things run through my mind and I have several more years of coping experience than she does. But then, when have I as a mother gone too far in my analysis of her situation? Just like the quote said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes a stomach ache might just be a stomach ache. She may just be a bit under the weather. I need to learn to ask the essentials and drop it. The more I dwell on it, the worse it will be. I only pray that when the time is right, that she will feel comfortable telling me the hurts and the joys that are in her heart. I want to experience these with her, walk with her during the tough times and jump for joy during happy times.

I just hope that we make it through with our sanity in tact.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

I fell prey to the scare tactics

It has been a typical Sunday here at the ranch. Church, grocery store, the boy had a nap, the Brain and I watched the latest episode of Modern Family, went to visit a friend, bought some overpriced cupcakes for the kids' dessert, worked and played out in the yard, put copious amounts of laundry away, had baths and are now watching reruns. The kids groan with great volume when we have to go to the grocery store after church. They are ready to get home and get into their comfy clothes. We usually need some milk or a few fixins for dinner, so we get it over with. Today was a special trip. I am ashamed to say I have listened to the scare reports on the news. Just like the people who buy French toast ingredients(eggs, milk, bread)when it snows, I fell for the "the price is going to skyrocket due to poor weather and crops). This is what I did:

Yes, I have a problem. I am turning into a peanut butter hoarder. I am so sorry for those who dislike it or have nut allergies in their homes. We are fortunate that seasonal and sulfa allergies are the only ones in our home. Because I am my grandmother's granddaughter, I have been conditioned to believe that the holidays are not complete without peanut butter balls and peanut butter fudge. The threat of exorbitant PB prices forced me to start my stockpile. I know, I understand if you need to revoke my friend card.

After we returned home and everyone was napping or playing, the hubby and I watched Modern Family. Now, if you have never watched this show, I must emphasize again that it is the funniest show on television....tied with Big Bang Theory. Every time I think it can't get any funnier, it proves me wrong. All I can say is I really could have used Depends undergarments adoring this particular show. Those writers are geniuses.

After nap time, we went on a little jaunt to return some tools to our Uncle Bill. We had intended to go the day before, but while on our way got sidetracked. Anyhow, we went to see him today to return implements of destruction he so graciously loaned us. The kids love going there to see all the neat gadgets and cars they have there. He recently sold his BIG truck that hauls his CAT equipment and bought a Nissan NV big box van for his contracting work. The kids were

They had to check it out. You gotta love a new vehicle to play in. We just have nothing this exciting at our house.

Well, the day is over for the most part. Fall Break is over and the usual grind starts back tomorrow. These beautiful days go way too quickly, but we enjoy every minute that we can. We are so blessed. I will just leave you with this one thing:

No reason, really, just thought he looked so cute. Kind of Dylan-esque for the preschool crowd. Night all!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another one in the books

Well yet another soccer Saturday has come and almost gone. I find them very draining, but so exciting when I see the progress that all three of them have made. The boy has clicked and turned into a little scoring machine. G was on the money and scored several and tended the goal with great gusto. S showed heart in both goal and as mid and forward. This was a gorgeous day, perfect for working and playing outside. My father pointed out that we had a yard for making memories. "These days are ones they'll never forget. Playing all day and digging for treasure." Nothing like having a dirty little boy bring you a little dish with two worms in it named Bob and Brian. We accomplished a big thing in my book...we got a car in the garage today. Woo hoo. We are so exciting.

The kids are worn out. And when I say worn out, I mean draaaammmmaaa. The sisters got in a cat fight over a dirty look. Finley told us he wasn't getting into it. Then hugs, kisses, crying and I love you's followed. Then crying followed after I informed them they would have to wash AND dry their hair. Then it stopped. Then crying started when the Alchemy game on one iPod was cleared out as they had approached 100 created elements. When this happened and the boy almost hit his head after falling asleep sitting up, we heard the imaginary timer ding and decided the kids were officially done. Before this last sequence of drama, this is what I found:

G was sitting with her daddy, so I didn't get her this round. The calm before the storm.

On days like this, when they play so hard on the field and act so grown up, the melt downs(which really are few and far between) remind me that they are still little. Even the oldest at 10 is still a little me. They still crave hugs, wiped tears and, well, a break. I want to get annoyed with them during these times. I have to remember that they are still children who are growing and need rest. They get irrational when they are overtired. These days are going by too quickly and I want to savor every second. God richly blessed us with three beautiful children and I am so thankful. Days like these make me even more thankful...and tired.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Lesson learned

Very tired tonight, so not much to say. Today was shed painting day and because of the recent rain, it was going to be early afternoon before paining would begin. My mom and I took the girls shopping for some boots and badly needed fall clothing. Mistake. Don't take two very opinionated girls shopping after they have had sleepovers with friends and relatives. This is the stuff that starts a Dateline story. Then after shopping, why not have them help to paint the shed? Now, to their credit, they all worked hard according to their age and attention span. But, from dropping Cool Whip dishes full of paint to painting their hands to watching their dad kill a mouse, it was all too much excitement...which was then topped off by soccer practice. Activity overload...and I'm not talking about the kids.

Well, now is the time to settle down. Have the Sleep Number set to 90, watching appropriate. Hopefully I will more exciting things to share tomorrow. We do have three soccer games to watch. You never know what's going to go down.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

They are finished...

Well, after a successful, and uneventful, hosting of a slumber party, I have finished my job of invitations. Slumber party first, I have discovered that upper elementary school girls are funny little creatures. They want so badly to be grown up, using big words, wearing grown up clothes, doing each other's hair. But then when I went to check on them and found them all snuggled together with blankets and stuffed animals, they looked so preschoolers again. I learned that Wasabi is definitely a place you have to warn first timers about. Luckily after the first table fireball, and the fact that the Sake was flowing on the other end of our table, the girls had a great time. I was the only trained human in our group to catch a rice ball(no comments on that please) and the joy on my daughter's face made all the hubbub this week worth it. She is growing up too fast and it breaks. My heart, but I am so glad she has such good friends to help her get through it.

After the last friend had been safely delivered to the embrace of her Mother's arms and not in our crazy house, I set to finish the invitations. It has been since the boy was 2 that I have done some invitations. I used to do them more often, but found it hard to nurse and write at the same time. I was given the honor to jointly help with the invitations this time. The MIL is doing half and I am doing half. No pressure there at all! Calligraphy has always been a fun challenge for me. It forces me to sit still and focus myself. When first learning, it helped improve my handwriting grades in elementary school. I did my own wedding invitations and those of several around here. I am honored to be doing the invitations for my dear family friends. I have known this girl since she was in her mommy's tummy. To top it all off, she was our flower girl many years ago. I just hope the family knows what a jewel she is. What a beauty!!!!!!!! What a wonderful woman she and grown up to be.

So proud of the wonderful woman she is and is becoming. I am so honored to be helping and so excited to take part!

The Invitations are done and I am so glad. I am slumber party exhausted and am going to bed. Night all!

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Random funny things found that remind me of other funny things

Today I went upstairs to get the dirty clothes basket. I had pulled my back a little bit, so I lifted my arms up to stretch my back. This scenario may seem innocent enough, but we have this light fixture. This evil light fixture. I'll tell that story in a minute, but first let me tell you what I saw when I looked up at said light fixture:

Yes, that is paint on the fixture and honestly I don't know if we did that when we were painting or if it was from the previous homeowners. That has absolutely nothing to do with the story. If you look a little closer in the upper middle part of the picture, this is what you see:

My son's latest obsession...sticky goo hands that you can thwack on the wall and it sticks there until you pull it off or it falls off. Our dentist's office gives these out as goodies when the kids are finished with their cleanings. I always look at the fixture with disdain, but this time a snicker and smile came instead. It looked just like an alien frog was crawling through from another dimension.

Why would a grown woman with children hate a light fixture? Has it gone out of style? Is it the wrong color? No! It bites and I will tell you how. Don't think less of me for my lack of grace. It was early in May 2006 and I only had 2 children. S had finished napping and was watching a show and G was napping. I had finished mowing the lawn and was rather gamey. I needed to get a shower before we went to church for the last Wednesday night activities of the year. Walking upstairs, I could hear G starting to stir so I knew time was of the essence. I went to take the grass and gasoline stained shirt I had off, hands over my head and, all of a sudden, blinding pain in my middle and index fingers on my right hand. I grab it and squeeze, look up and see blood drip off of the light fixture. Now, this light fixture was an accident waiting to happen. Basically made up of a rectangular sheet of tin, bent into the shape of a circle with a flat piece of glass laying to cover the bulbs. Sounds boring enough, except that the edge of this tin was razor sharp. It sliced right through those grass stained fingers like a hot knife through butter. I knew I needed to look at my injury to see how bad it was, but needed to put on the front of everything's okay in front of S. After rinsing the first layer of blood off, I realized it was pretty bad and so, in the throes of gushing blood, what did I think to do? Exactly right...try to take a bath so I didn't have to go dirty to the doctor's office. Honestly, what is wrong with me? I left a nice trail of blood across the bathroom floor and got in the tub, but not before I wrapped it tightly in a wet washcloth. It is not easy to scrub grass stain off with one hand, but it had to be done. I then realized that poor little S had gotten a washcloth and was wiping the blood trail off the floor. Well, after somehow getting myself washed and cleaned and dressed, I tried to think of who to call. I put the Brain in reserve since he works in OR. I called several people whose lines were busy or did not answer. So again, I did something less than bright. I called my friend Philip who was my personal trainer and told him I would not be making my appointment the next day. His response was more than appropriate. "Why are you calling me instead of getting you a#% to the doctor? Do you need me to take you...I'll need to cancel some appointments.". I was still under the illusion that it may not be that bad, so I declined his offer, took a little more deserved chastising and then rang off. I then called the person I should have called all of my best friends who used to be a vet tech and is not bothered with gore. She said she'd be right over. I parked myself on the front porch with S beside me and Grace in her lap. What a picture, she came up the street, pulling the wagon with her daughter, G's age, and her trusty first aid kit. "Well, let's see it.". As I showed her she concluded that, yes indeed, I needed to go to the doctor. The Brain was then called and informed and then relatives were contacted to take the kids so we could headi down to the doc's office.

Now, I have a nice doctor. I love him very much, but he was not taking calls since it was the after hours clinic's turn to take calls. When I got there, I found out I would get to see my favorite doc of all time. After he looked at it then looked at me over his glasses and then repeated this process, he said, "What on earth were you doing?". "Well, I was getting ready to have a shower after mowing the lawn and we have low ceilings upstairs and I hit our avocado green light fixture circa 1967.". All of a sudden he burst into hysterical laughter, which then turned into snickers and finally he had enough control to say, "You said 'circa'!". And then we all started laughing again. Well, needless to say, I left there with one finger glued and one finger stitched up. Ouch. When I went back a few weeks later, I took him a picture of the light fixture and wrote "circa 1967" underneath. More laughter followed and the announcement that he may have to put the picture and story in his book on weird medical stories. How appropriate!

Why did I tell this story, I don't know. I knocked those fingers the other day. They will always have nerve damage and still feel weird. I just hope that the lone hand next to the light fixture did not come from a creature who suffered a similar fate. My favorite doc is no longer with the practice, so the experience just wouldn't be the same.

Watch your digits and you old light fixtures and take this as a cautionary tale, friends. Don't be a story in your doctor's book. That can never be good.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Last words for the evening

Cleaned bathrooms...vacuumed...washed clothes...dried clothes...folded clothes...changed sheets...dusted...turned on TV to watch Conan...noticed he's growing his beard back. Nice.

I helped at the school today handing out little toy frogs for prizes. If you sell items or give donations in $5 increments, you get a little toy frog on a keychain. They have twenty styles and each style, judging by the way the kids act, is to die for. I took some pics to show you what the rioting in the lunchroom is all about.

Batman's trusty other sidekick, Robin the tadpole. It is almost too exciting.

Spiderman frog. Who knew that the super Spidey sense was really a frog bitten by a radioactive spider? Turns the superhero world upside down!

This was obviously popular with my children. I wonder if he calls it soccer or futbol? Believe it or not, I heard two boys have a discussion about this today.

Last but not least, the military frog. Notice the metal hat and the camouflage belly...because green is not camo enough.

Do these look like something that would drive a child crazy? Well, it does. I just hope the school will benefit. The frogs are already driving us crazy and I feel many frogs will be banned by teachers tomorrow. Way too exciting.

Forgive this nonsense...I have been breathing Scrubving Bubbles all evening. I will be better tomorrow...Fall Break will have started. Thank goodness!

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I want to be friends with that kid!

I love to look at children's interpretations of anything...especially drawn interpretations. My brother gave me a website, a few years ago, that had famous artists/illustrators who reimagined children's drawings. It was the best thing ever! I also enjoy the characters and objects that they feel are important to always put in their pictures. My oldest used to make "heart people". This is made up of a heart with a face and arms and legs coming out of the sides and bottoms. Honestly, they used to creep me out a bit, but when they popped up everywhere I got used to them. G liked sprinkling aliens throughout her landscapes. They frolicked with dogs and snakes and lived in trees. Fin likes robots. The more sections and hardware, the better. He also draws a mean Plankton from Sponge Bob, so go ahead and let the criticisms fly. I know research say SB rots the brain and we always have to follow what research says. But his version is awfully cute. So, having just mentioned robots, I feel it is the opportune time to show you my new favorite thing. In the upper hall way of our children's wing at church, the kids made a mural about Jonah and the whale. Actually, it was more whale-centric with a smattering of underwater sea life. Very colorful and cute. I took a picture of it.

I thought it was quite eye catching, the waves churning above with great gusto....the octopus trying its best to not get eaten. And then, I noticed something. In the second wave trough from the right, I saw something that I could not identify. Was it a flying fish? A red seagull in the throes of fighting with its prey? A Biblical airplane taking the whole scene in? I scooted in for a closer look and what I saw made my day.

Now, I don't know about you, but I did not realize that God had created robots at that point in our history. And diving robots, nonetheless. Is that the coolest or what? I want to shake that child's hand and say, "Rock on!". Maybe he was sent to observe and help extract Jonah from the whale's belly...the c-clamp hands certainly would be helpful. I am not trying to be sacrilegious at all, but one must wonder what the thought process was in this whole scenario. Whatever it was, it is fascinating!!! I can't wait to see what happens next....

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Monday, October 10, 2011


It has been a busy day and I can't even tell you what happened...just a blur. This evening has been comprised of addressing, addressing and hey maybe some addressing of wedding invitations for a dear friend of mine. I hope she finds them to be acceptable. I enjoy doing them, but I always end up with one thing that takes the fun out of it after a while:

Sorry, that is not my best work. I was trying to wake my pen up after a few idle hours. Tomorrow is going to be just as busy. Hopefully it will be a more noteworthy day. No Pizza Inn experiences. I did have a flashback when I used a Purell wipe on my cart at Kroger this morning. My son has decided to fill all down time with singing in a made up language. That is fun trying to concentrate on, well, anything when there is NO quiet time.

Well, as my friends on church staff say, LTD...LTD.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Went into hostile territory and survived

After a long but blessing-filled morning at Children's Sunday church day, we came home to hyper children with big ideas. These ideas were all over the place. TV all day...a movie at the theatre...third trip to the corn maze...go karts in Pigeon Forge...Disneyworld. We compromised and took them to the Lady Vol soccer game. Those of you who know us have probably laughed out loud right now. Strangers in a strange land....Hokies in Vol territory. This was not our first outing to one of their games. We have enjoyed several and have determined it is one of the best secrets out there. Today kids got in free, got a hot dog and drink free and had the opportunity to attend a soccer clinic run by the Lady Vols themselves. We had an extra bonus that friends showed up and attended the clinic. The girls experienced some new things today. Enthusiastic fans without shirts and painted chests. G pointed this out to her friend who said, "People are SO weird.". The boy decided it was fun to cheer, though we had to nip the made up cheers after a while. The straw that broke the mama's back went a little something like this: Go go go go...ho ho ho ho...go ho go ho go ho gooooo HO! Of course he was innocent in it all, but the overly talkative student behind us stopped talking long enough to point out the rudeness of it, while he laughed at the same time. After hot-dogs and drinks and pretzels and missed opportunities to win tshirts, pizzas and merlot, yes wine at a soccer game, the kids went to see the victorious LadyVols and learn some new skills. God bless my boy. He had a good time and did well on his different skill stations, but he was on a different planet from the rest of us today. Between that and overly tired and less than observant Lady Vol leaders, we lost him three times. This is hard to do on a big field with large empty patches. Luckily, he just was kicking his ball around and got farther away than intended. At the conclusion of the clinic, they took a group pic with kids, players and parents. Brian managed to get in the picture with his bright VPI hat on. We looked it up later and they did not airbrush him out. Nice! We are fortunate that we have such a great place to take our children for first hand exposure to the sport they love so much and taught by their heroes. Grace and Sarah saw their personal local soccer hero, #3, Tori Bailey. I think the girls are close to being her same height, but boy can that girl fly.

Well, not a super exciting post, but a recap of the day. Now to go continue calligraphy for wedding invitations. Nice and calm after an exciting day. Go ho go ho goooooo HO!!!

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I am trying to keep myself from falling back to sleep. My alarm clock is officially dead and it is Children's Sunday at church, so I need to stay awake to ensure their 8am call time. To do this, I am writing and watching the Cosby Show marathon. Currently the episode about the Gordon Gartrelle shirt is of my personal favorites. "No 14 year old boy should have a $95 shirt unless he is on stage with his 4 brothers.".

I wanted to clear up one piece of info I've gotten a few questions on recently. Imam married to a wonderful guy who is named Brian. We have been together since 1992...that's a long time. Everyone has some sort of nickname for their spouse or significant other. Some are nauseating and some are funny and some are just practical. Mine for Brian came from a typo, but is very appropriate. When you switch the letters in some names, they turn to nonsense. When you switch letters in his name, you get "Brain". Several places have misspelled it, which causes us a little chuckle. Well, it stuck. The other reason I call him that is because he is a "Brain". Sure I am a proud wife, but I cannot deny the facts. He is one of the sharper knives in the drawer and he amazes me every day with what he can accomplish.

My apologies to my husband for this nickname. Love you... :)

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Smile! You're on Pizza Inn Camera!

Well folks, after a six hour run at the soccer fields today, the family returned home tired and grungy. Three games, three wins, three children who scored goals. After washing off several layers of grit, the girls were sent off to a birthday party for the evening and the boys and I settled in to watch the Hokies. After a wonderful, nail biter of a game, we realized that it was 7pm and we had not fed the Fin. The Brain was hungry enough to eat the shamalamadingdong out of something, so we headed to his choice for the evening: Pizza Inn. Now, for those who have never had the "pleasure", the Inn is a buffet pizza place. Is it haute cuisine? No. Is it hot cuisine? Mercifully, yes. We arrived, got our table, got our food and commenced to dining. The restaurant was not very busy, but then the Vols were on and this is Knoxville. A few older people and some couples, all glued to the one station showing on the 10 televisions. So, to help illustrate the scene, I have used nothing but the best materials to make a diagram:

We were located at table #1. There was a woman and her son/daughter, not sure which and that person left leaving the mother by herself. They were at table #3. About 10 minutes before the conclusion of our meal, an older couple came in to dine. She was somewhat delicate looking, with a cane and he, in the story I made up in my mind, was a part time farmer in his best Saturday night blue jeans. Go ahead and say it....I have no life, I know. They were "seated" at table #2. The reason I used " "is the reason I began to observe these people. They stood, waiting for their server, and gave their drink requests. The man then took off behind me, I assume to the salad bar or pizza trough of evil. The woman opened her purse and started pulling out an individually packaged Purell wipe. Carefully and ritualistically unfolding it, she went about the process of wiping down her chair and that of her husband and the bottom of her purse. This took one wipe, after which she carefully folded it back up and put it back in the packaging. She then placed her newly cleaned purse in the chair and opened a new wipe. This one went towards the cleaning of the the napkin dispenser and the tabletop underneath it. The next one went to the cleaning of the salt and pepper shakers and the patch of table underneath them. Each wipe was then placed back in its packaging and placed in a pile next to the napkin dispenser. The next one was used to clean the rest of the tabletop. After this fourth wipe ritual, I also started watching the lady at table #3, who sat there with mouth agape, mesmerized by what she was witnessing. Every once in a while she would look around to see if anyone else was witnessing this. Now, we all know the restaurant business can be dirty. Those poor servers do not get paid of fraction of what they are due and they clean with what they are given. I could understand all of this until she sat down. At this point wipe numbers five and six were used to make sure the entire underside of the table was clean. Not sure what that was about, but I was hooked. Let me take a brief second to say that I am in no way making fun of OCD or those who suffer from it. As part of my studies, I had to read and do lots of research on this disorder and I understand what a terrible burden it is. That being said, I was confused, fascinated and amused all at the same time. Now back to the story. After she used wipe #7 as a post cleaning hand wash, her husband delivered to her two plates, two forks and two knives. Upon inspection, one of the knives failed and he was sent back for another. She then took a napkin out, unfolded it, refolded it to her specifications and placed it one the table. She repeated it again and then placed a fork and a knife on top and a fork on the other. Once an acceptable knife was found, her husband placed on the correct napkin. The wife, with a look of exasperation, reached over and turned the knife around in the proper direction. The husband went to get his plate of food, as did she, comfortable in the fact that the table was properly sanitized and set. Meanwhile, table 3 lady was still trying to find the Candid Camera, thinking these people had to be a plant. I couldn't look at her or it would have been all over and I would be going to hell for laughing at this person. Brain got up to pay the check and the wife began to adjust the napkins in proximity to the plates in relation to the napkin holder. This all had to be just perfect. She then got a napkin, unfolded it, refolded it to her liking, used her fingernail to make a tiny slit. She used this slit as a makeshift buttonhole bib, hooking it on to the button of her blouse, then carefully unfolding to maximize coverage. She then settled in to eat her little bowl of spaghetti. Her husband reached for the salt shaker, which is unnecessary in the house of sodium, and used copius amounts on his salad. Then, the unthinkable happened. He put the salt shaker back down where it had been. Well, that flew all over her. This started the unwrapping of wipe #7 or 8....I've lost count. She had to wipe the salt shaker all over again, place it directly in the center between the two of them. This process repeated with the pepper. By this time, the Brain returned and we were ready to go. Table 3 lady had, at this point, lost all sense of decorum and was staring, mouth open, at the couple...only pausing to look away long enough to get the straw in her mouth and taste her beverage. I was in the state of silent, crying laughter and needed to escape immediately. Who knew that we would get dinner and a show? Poor Fin and Brain missed out. I am sad. It was the best dinner theatre ever.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Nothing smells better than freshly cut grass

As I sit here at soccer practice looking at this large expanse of freshly mown grass, I am thinking about smells...among other things. I love the smell and the look of freshly mown grass. Growing up, my parents were very particular about several things and their lawn was no exception. They felt, and I agree to a point, that one's lawn reflected the pride one took in their home. Even after my grandmother was unable to do any yard work due to her health and age, her yard was her pride and joy. Having beautiful flowers and perfectly trimmed grass made her happy. When the yard became an inch too long, it drove her crazy. I am much the same way, although with the addition of children, I have had to live with it long sometimes. Drives me crazy, but I do it. Today, I mowed after a long period mowing. I know. I'm a real wordsmith. This is what it looked like before mowing:

Weedy and sad. So, I went to our newly built shed and pulled out my faithful and trusty companion. He is old and probably on his last spring/summer/fall stint:

Herman Honda and I have been through a lot. I was afraid that today he was truly dead. No longer with the power of self-propulsion, he has been making a whir-whir-whir-whir sound, slowly hypnotizing me into a landscaping stupor. But this morning, not even a sputter. Whispering a few @$/&?!'s to myself, I thought of what to do. I added gas. I turned some knobs back and forth, all to no avail. So, I went to my go to miracle aerosol product, the starter fluid. My gracious is that a lifesaver. So, he roared to life and started making beautiful diagonals in the grass. Some people are just plain parallel or perpendicular lines in relation to the house. I am a diagonal girl. I even believe I have influenced my creative yard art neighbor, for he has now adopted this method of mowing. I felt a rush of relief as the last swipes were done, but it was short lived. Because, what comes next is the bane of my very existence. The landscaping implement that I have a love/hate relationship with:

Blasted weedeater. I hate it but it is a necessary evil to the anal retentive homeowner. I got the edging and trimming done to the best of my abilities. I think I do a pretty good job, considering I do it all through gritted teeth, cursing the whole time. It looked awfully pretty, I think.

Yes, I am pretty OCD about the lawn, but it sure makes for pretty place to set the house. Now if I could just get a bit more OCD about the basement.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Break...why can't you be now?

Just like at the end of the school year or the week before Christmas break, children around this here ranch are starting to get the Fall Break crazies. I know I am getting them. Actually, I'm getting the pre-Fall Break "clutzies". I did a long FB status on it today, but I'll give the details.

Today I worked my few hours a month job subbing in a classroom with little nippers. They were very cute and well-behaved, considering their ages and amount of time in school this year. I gave a child enzymes for a medical condition for the first time today. I read a story and got a little crazy. I had a little one tell me that their sibling had an "ear confection" and was sick. All these things were very cute, but I needed to skedaddle out of there, get some lunch and do some prep work for the evening madness. I stopped by Arby's, it's good mood food, and drove home to enjoy my roast beef sammich and Sierra Mist. With a little whistle and step, I walked into the house to find an off-putting smell and a nice juicy mound of goo in the floor. Our dog, a sweet 13 year old lab, is reaching the twilight portion of her life. She experiences more issues these days, bless her heart. Once I discovered the scene of the steaming heap, so to speak, I immediately let the dog outside. Assessing the amount of stuff to clean up, I started into the kitchen to gather cleaning implements. While walking, I was sliding my hand along the countertop. Now for those of you who don't know us, we are in the long, slow process of remodeling our kitchen.. The countertop is lower in some places since it is going to be replaced. Our Jenn-Air stove sits a little higher than the level of the counter, providing a wonderful opportunity to catch a finger...which is exactly what happened. Once I felt pain, I pulled my pinky out to find a crimson line quickly forming on top. But, because I am tough(cough cough), I pressed on. Gathering up cleaner, estimating the number of paper towels, counting out the Kroger bags...I was a machine of focus and efficiency. I turned around, ready to take on the mess and get to my delicious lunch. If only it had been that easy. The Brain has taken up at least 4 layers of flooring up, replacing it with new sub flooring and pretty underlayment. In order to protect this pretty stuff, we have put layers of brown floor paper down and secured it with super duper masking tape. Well, some of the masking tape came up and and stuck my shoe which then stuck to the rag rug causing me to lose my footing....propelling me into space and into the wall. Good move. Once I recovered from the idiocy of what had just occurred, I started back into the breakfast room to continue on my cleaning mission. My newest shoes are a little large, as I left room for warm winter socks. I tripped up on my own two big feet, landing uncomfortably close to the object of this whole story: the steaming pile. While I said a few choice words, I started the cleaning process, growing increasingly worried about our dog's health. There was blood in there. Oh no! Then, I just happened to catch a glance at what once was a crimson line and was now a dripping bloody mess. After finishing the whole cleaning process, finally, I washed my hands with great precision and devotion. The once piping hot bag of Arby's was not lukewarm and the enjoyment was gone. Maybe this is why I should make a sandwich at home. It is certainly why I need Fall Break....NOW!!!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm tapped out

it has been a day. Nothing majorly bad or good. Just a day. It seems like Wednesdays are the days when my children get crazy. It really happens when we walk through the church doors at 4:55pm to take Sarah to handbells. Then the others, who I love dearly, lose their minds. They are excited to eat dinner at church and see their friends. But they get crazy. Because of this fact, I have nothing of substance to say. I am saddened to hear of the death of Steve Jobs. Our family was one of the first in the neighborhood to have an Apple II+. We had to put a cassette tape in to run programs. We played Lemonade Stand for hours. Then we got a disk drive, then a paddle to play games. My brother would come home with bootleg games on disks that he got at school. I had my Apple IIC until my senior year of college, when they finally stopped making printer cartridges. I was lost when I had to start using Brian's PC. People usually fall on one side of the fence or the other. Brain and I have always said we were in a mixed marriage....he was the PC guy and I the Apple girl. Our girls have iPods and their school uses Apple products...and I am writing this on an iPad. Whether or not you were a fan, you have to give it to the guy for all the innovations he had a hand in. His genius will be missed, but I am grateful for the contributions he made to my childhood. I'll never be able to hear "Oregon Trail" without thinking of him...

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Never thought it was true until I became one...

I spoke to a dear friend today about something that falls in the huge mish mash of "Parenting". You know, everyday I talk to God about two things. One, I thank Him for blessing me with these precious heartbeats that share my DNA. Two, I also ask Him to help me get through this parenting thing and to let my grown-ups know how much I appreciate what they went through with me. Okay, three things...we all know I suck at math. Anyway, I had no idea that the hard parenting was so hard. Not long ago, we had an incident that required us to pretty harshly discipline two of our children. Initially I was furious. How many times does this have to happen? How many chances do I give them to take advantage? Then came the lecture. I come from a family that loves to lecture. I remember as a child just praying for an immediate spanking or grounding just to get on with things. Looking back on it, my parents were geniuses!! The torture of sitting and listening and explaining the whole situation was hell...and they hadn't even given a punishment yet. They got very creative with their punishments. When I stole gum from the store, my dad made me go back, apologize and the take a trip to the jail where "little girls who steal gum go". Yeah, I still remember that. When my parents dealt out any kind of punishment, they always said, "This hurts me more than it does you.". As a youngster I thought that was a load of crap. As a parent, I so understand what they meant. I remember when Bishop Swanson spoke at our church on this subject. He said, "What parent would delight in exacting punishment on their child?". And he explained about how when we sin, God takes no delight in the consequences related to our decisions, but He does delight in forgiving us when we ask for it. That really stuck with me. When I have to give out punishments bigger than a time out, it makes me nauseous. Even in my anger, it breaks my heart to see the looks of pain on their faces. Forgiveness is what we all seek or wish to give. When we do tell them they are forgiven, the looks on their faces and the relief in my heart is a wonderful feeling, even if the punishment has yet to be fulfilled. It scares me to know that as they grow, the misdeeds may become more complex and the punishments more painful. But the knowledge that forgiveness is there brings some comfort.

So, for any of you non-parents out there, don't judge parents at punishment time. The agony of causing misery and upset in the very being you helped create is harder than we ever anticipate....and one that we never take lightly. But when our children know that we love them and their slate is wiped clean, just like God wipes ours, it makes that pain worth it.

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Don't pity me for eating alone...

I am currently sitting in the midst of the Panera lunch crowd. By myself. This is the deal: I have found that one gets a wide variety of looks when eating alone. Often, there is the "Aw, poor thing has to eat by herself", "I wonder if someone's going to join her. We'd really like that table if she just going to eat alone.". Also the "I could never eat by myself. How pathetic does that look?". But, what I love the most, is the look from other moms(and dads)who come in with their children and look at me with the look of envy. Now let me be clear, I love to go out to eat with others. I love breaking bread, conversing with others and relaxing around a table that I did not have to set...or cook the food to go on it. But on Tuesdays or Thursdays, that time is mine. All children are at school and the schedule is mine to make. I do envy girls I know who make lunch and shopping plans and those kind of reindeer games. But, I rarely get the call. This is fine because I am not an endurance shopper and I am a bit of an introvert. I find it hard to call and make plans when the possibility of rejection looms in the background. Wow...I sound like quite a catch as a lunch date. Panera seems like the obvious place to eat by yourself. Lots of people with their laptops, catching up emails or paperwork over a bagel, a bowl of soup or a cup of coffee. The chances of having a technology free meal seem rather slim. The reason I sometimes like to eat by myself is best chronicled in the book, "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, " or as many people know it cinematically: A Christmas Story. He said, "My mother had not had a hot meal for herself in over 15 years...". I really can appreciate that statement. This lunch is my one meal during the week this is not interrupted by requests for drinks, extra condiments, gagging from meal choice disapproval...all those things that take you away from your meal and leave it to turn sadly lukewarm upon my return.

Before I get flack as the worst mom ever, please step back. I love my family. I love eating with them, teaching the children proper manners and laughing at the boy when he somehow gets spaghetti sauce in his eyebrows. I find that the family table provides valuable time for us to hear the events of the school day and solve any problems that might be disrupting their lives. I love playing dinner games and laughing at the results. I just need one meal alone to remember that.

My meal is coming to a close and that is fine. Now comes the waiting game before I pick the boy up...and I can't wait.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Ever had one of those days?

I love my children. I really do. Today has been one of those days that i just need to get a hotel room and stay away from my children. We have these days with friends and spouses. The days when they turn their head the wrong way and get on your last nerve. Well, today is that day with my children. I feel like the worst mother ever, but they are driving me crazy. I am currently at dance class, as I am every Monday at this time. Both of my daughters dance, but one is having a hard time focusing today. I understand this dilemma, as I have a similar problem all the time. Today it is inattention multiplied by 1000. It is affecting her performance and that makes me CRAZY!

As parents we want the best for our children. I have never claimed to be a perfectionist. I am a joke with most people, the slob that makes everyone feel better about themselves. While that has become my claim to fame, I don't want it for my children. I want them to feel confident in their activities and accomplishments. Maybe that is why I am so hard on them...because I don't. I have never truly felt comfortable in my own skin, my own abilities, my own place on this planet. When I see them goofing off, I grump. When they aren't getting the steps right, I grump. They are 7 and 10(and 4 but not dancing). They are still children and I need to remember that. I just want them to grow up into confident adults.

So when I get annoyed, Lord help me to take a step back and remember they are children and are still learning to make their way. When they get annoyed with my pushing, Lord, help them to know it is out of love and determination to help them be the best they can be. Then hopefully we'll all be better off.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

She's a star collector...

I am very interested in the things people collect. There are some really interesting and really strange collections out there. Matchbooks, stamps, coins...these are the usual, normal collections. Now, what do you think I collect? Chuck Taylors? Gray tshirts? Dust? Wellllll, if you've been in my basement you might think I collect too much. One footstep away from "Hoarders". Not too far off, but in all honestly lots of the basement stuff is not ours. It is in residence for others until they are ready for it. Another discussion for another time. I have had different collections in my time. When I was younger, it was bunny rabbits. They could be ceramic, glass, wood, clay, whatever. As I got older, those didn't seem so cool. I then got into movie posters. My mother should have bought stock in the Stick Tack corporation. I had posters from every Alfred Hitchcock movie, every Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Harrison Ford film. Those things were plastered on every available inch of wall space in my room. In college it was CDs. I bought them, subscribed to the "Get 10 CDs for a penny" clubs, traded them with friends. I have always had a great love for many types of music, so maybe these were more of an investment. When the Brain and I were first married, we used to go to a lot of auctions. My parents used to take us to auctions when we were little. I have always loved the process. Watching the different signals, the auctioneer and his little minions. A dear friend of ours got involved in going and started buying antique Mason Jars. He became an expert on said jars, buying them from people across the country. He began giving me little jars here and there. Some that were very valuable and some that were antique but very common. A few years ago I sold most of them except the very valuable ones. My one remaining collection remains. It contains several of these:

I know. Not what you'd expect. I love a beautiful oil lamp. I am a plain Jane kind of girl, so I don't really care for the big ones that have colorful glass in them. I think about a time when the great minds wrote by lamplight. Where beautiful sewing and handwork was done in the evenings by a lamp. I don't know...none of those things might have happened. Just what I like to think about when I find a new one.

I remember my father telling me a story about a mattress company in North Carolina that asked people to collect their belly button lint so they could stuff their product. He's a teaser, but yuck if it were true. I found out that a man at our church has one of the largest beer stein collections in the world and is looking to seek it to an Australian collector. What we collect says a lot about us...tells a lot about us. I collect lamps...what does that say about me? Not sure, but I do not like a dark, dingy room. What does your collection say about you?

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Lazy day at the ranch

After the craziness of this weekend, we are currently in a state of sloth...or observing the Sabbath. That sounds better. We did talk about the Ten Commandments in church today. Keeping the Sabbath holy was one of them and one that I have a hard time remembering to follow. Even on Sundays, we still seem to run like crazy people, thinking we are still being observant by being with family. Now, let me fess up and be clear, we didn't spend the day in prayer and biblical study. We didn't restrict our walking, fast or read special passages. We rested. We were still and enjoyed the glorious day. Because of this, we had quality time normally absent in these busy days. I snuggled with my daughter, watched the boy build this monumental creation:

We napped a little bit, we scrapped a little bit. We played my new favorite game, one of Sarah's birthday presents...Apples to Apples. I won't go into details, but we laughed all afternoon.

Thanks, God and Moses, for getting those tablets and telling us a thing or two about how we need to live our lives. And, no, I am not being flippant. I am being truthful and real. Reread those 10 rules sometime. You feel so much better following them.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thank goodness it's bedtime

I have had quite a weekend so far. Yesterday was chronicled in the previously written "Whew! Almost didn't make it.". Today was yet another chapter in the exciting novel titled "Soccer Saturday". Fin really turned on the "pepper" today, scoring goals and actually taking an aggressive stance. All the boys did well. We played a team that really was odd. Two out of every three of their players cried the whole time on the field and one mom spanked her son in the middle of the field after he missed a kick. Sorry to use this term, but it was "white trash" behavior at its best. That is not nice, I know, but way to be a motivator. Public humiliation will do it. Grace scored a goal and Sarah prevented all attempts at the goal, but one, on her watch. Brian watched and ref'ed and coached a goalie. I watched and packed up chairs and handed out snack and walked to a game and watched and took pictures and walked back to the other game and took a picture. After the whole shebang was over and we listened to S's coach have a heated discussion with the ref about "pigeonholing", we traveled home. Grace cleaned up and the two of us ventured to a birthday party. Mother of the year here did not anticipate an outdoor party, so we had no coats. Needless to say, after playing outside and bobbing for apples, we were chilled to the bone. The evening has been eating out with the outlaws, watching the Hokies forget about offense, feeding some sweet dogs and watching disc 1 season 1 of "Evening Shade". Because of all the excitement today, I have found a few items necessary to take the edge off:

Neutrogena for the wind burnt cheeks. Dermoplast for skinned goalie knees and bug bites. Burt's Bees for the chapped lips. Arnica gel for the knot on the head which came from a Duck Duck Goose game turned contact sport. What else are boys going to do?

After today, I am exhausted. I still love soccer and crisp, fall days. But after a weekend like this, I will take full advantage of our Sabbath. A Sunday nap sounds heavenly right now....right after a good night's sleep.

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Whew! Almost didn't make it...

Getting this one in right under the wire. It has been one of those days, but I was determined to post tonight on this, the last day of September. We have had a whirlwind of a day, which is only leading into another whirlwind of a day tomorrow. The outlaws are visiting and so things are always a little crazy. They arrived wanting to do something with the boy as his sisters were in school. So, off on another jaunt to the corn maze we went. Afterwards, we went home for a few minutes and then they were off to get the girls. I stayed home to finish wrapping presents that were needed at birthday parties this weekend. Once the girls got home, the insanity didn't just turned up a couple notches. Homework was completed, a soccer uniform was put on, meals were eaten, hair was braided and brushed. Everyone got in their prospective cars and went where they needed to go. I dropped one child off at a birthday party and then went back to watch the practice game at the fields. My girl was goalie, so I did a lot of pacing. A whole lot. I left before it was over, thank goodness, because I cannot take the pressure. Retrieved the other from the party, got home and had post-game snacks, baths and then bedtime. What could, or should, have been a relaxing evening turned into one of stress and frustration. G's best buddy in her class has his birthday party tomorrow. Because I am a psycho, I have been full of stress about what to get him and my child is no help. So, I went to my mom's book of tricks and decided to give him some bucks. BUT, not in the traditional way. I decided we were going to fold them in cool, hip shapes. I found a website that showed step by step instructions on how to fold bills to look like the Enterprise or Tie Fighters. I wanted to get my science fiction moneygami on, so we started. Holy cats. Not easy. Brain tried for an hour to fold the Enterprise. I tried to fold a bat, that had 1/8 of the steps and couldn't do it. So, he did the Tie Fighter:

I then found one that was a star, so you used 5 ones and connected them. I couldn't accomplish the connecting, so Brain did that...poor guy. This is what it looked like:

I thought it turned out pretty cool. So then, the Brain came up with one more gem:

The money boat. Pretty cute. So, then I had to think about how I would neatly display everything together. I was punchy from lack of sleep the night before...and, no, I had not been drinking. I wanted to go to bed and have the gift wrapped, so this is what I came up with:

The Tie Fighters of the "Death Money Stars" fighting Luke Skywalker in his lesser known boat. Who knew the rebels were sailing across the galaxy? All wrapped up in robot paper, this is ready and I hope he likes it. Honestly, I am so tired, I'll be okay if he sorta likes it. Now all G has to do is finish her card and put it on. Zingo!

Now it is off to beddy-bye for me. Big day of soccer and parties and a stressful Hokie-Tiger grudge match. Nothing like a night game at Lane Stadium on a crisp, or cold, fall night. Ahhhhh.....Heaven.
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