Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a day!

First off let's say, I am a bad mom and take pictures of my kids while they are sleeping in awkward positions. The boy had to go to school on his off day for me to sub, so he didn't get a nap. After he got home from church this evening, he got bathed and learned to ignore the shrieks of pain(more on that in a minute)then fell asleep. Hard. I came up to start winding down for the evening and found him like this. It almost resembles a handcuffed person who decided to lay down and go to sleep. I assure you that this is not the case here. But it did warrant a loud whisper down to B to "come up and see this one!". It had been. An interesting day up to the point of the picture. I subbed at preschool today with a lively bunch. Very lively. I stayed for the afternoon as well, subbing for an ailing coworker. New p.m. Teacher is like blood in the water for sharks. They tried everything they could think of on me. One boy even tried to convince me that, when I caught him with his hand in the fishbowl trying to squeeze the fish and scare it, his teachers let him do that anytime he wants. Okay. Let me tell you, that fish was stressed. but, as God is my witness, it was alive when I left. Hopefully it's little Beta heart held out.After church, we came home in a flurry. B's car battery was ill, so he went to get it changed out. I told the kids to get bathed and get to bed. G had been complaining about her toe, saying she kicked a ball too hard in gym and had hurt it. I felt it was probably some drama from being tired at the end of the day. Then she showed it to me. Terribly ingrown. Terribly. Another "Mom feels an inch tall" moment. Now I know about ingrown toenails all too well. I don't think they are an inherited trait, but the habit of cutting them too short is. She actually had broken hers off a couple weeks ago. I sent her back in the bathroom to soak her toe in the tub for a while. I readied the tweezers and cotton, prepared to take on the surgeon role as my father has so many times. Luckily for all involved, B came back just in time for all hell to break loose. My first little shove of that cotton under her toenail produced a scream that was heard out of state. After that, I had to hold her still while B did the technical work. I think we both experienced hearing loss tonight as well as strained muscles. After he had gotten what we thought was a generous portion stuffed under her nail, he requested scissors to cut the slack off. This is what we got:
The scissors circa probably 1976 when I was in preschool...yeah I'm that old. They may even have my name written in nail polish on the other mom did that often to mark our school property. As you can I imagine, those scissors couldn't cut butter much less cotton shoved under a toenail. The cotton was kicked out or convulsed out about 4 times, but finally it was done and band-aided to the point of being an ER job. B and I then looked at each other, realizing we would never get that hour back. At least she got some relief. The evening ended up with us having to call Kroger and find out food prices on three items(not in the sales add)for S's advanced math project. I won't spend time on that, but let's just say that it sparked a lot of "after kid bedtime" conversation. It is never dull around here. If the screaming disturbed you, I sincerely apologize. If she had just let me get a needle and relieve the pressure that way, it would have all been over quickly. But you say the word needle and everybody has a loud opinion. Oh well. Fargo's on and I'm sleepy. Night all....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A list for a Tuesday

It has been one of those days. Time flew by, accomplished little but feet are up for a little bit. Now is the time to sum up my revelations for the day in a list.1. When working at preschool, it is very weird and interesting to watch my son interact with others his age...especially when he isn't aware of my attention. 2. I feel I am making my child a caffeine addict at four by giving him sips of my coffee in the mornings.3. It still takes my breath away to drop the girls off at school everyday. Time passes so quickly.4. The Target Dollar Spot should be called "Target Traffic Jam Treasure Hunt".5. When you are craving stir fry, a McD's burger just makes a person sad. 6. You can take the girl out of social work, but you can't take the social worker out of the girl.7. Coach Biest is my favorite character on Glee.8. The weirder the documentary the better...makes for better Facebook discussions.9. I come off grumpy and maybe don't smile as much as I should, but there is an evil, funny side to me that I think most people would enjoy. 10. When my daughter tells me, "My friend had her parents taken away from her...she is in foster care. What's going to happen to her?", I just want to die. I am blessed beyond measure.In this season of joy and giving, I am the absolute worst to throw a pity party for myself and get bogged down in the minutae of the secular aspects. I have been walking around with a storm cloud over my head for months, grumpy and wondering what my purpose is. What a blessing it is to have the freedom and resources to be a grump while trying to find myself and be a stay at home mom. Shame on me when there are little people who "have their parents taken away from them.". Shame on me. Am I on a holier than thou kick now? No. Never ever. Just had a shot of perspective today. I really needed one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Morning with the buds

Today was an exciting one for the boy. He went on a play date with his best buddies to Tataru's. For those of you who aren't from around these parts, Tataru's is a gymnastics complex that has an open gym playtime on certain days. Unlike other gymnastics places around, these people let the kids have the run of the gym. This is a good and bad thing. Good because you are not having to constantly keep the kids away from forbidden areas. Bad because some of the places I wish we're the picture above. The boy acted all hot stuff when he was climbing up there, but then wasn't sure he could complete the act of actually jumping off. After a tiny persuading by mom, he jumped off into the pit of foam blocks. And that was the beginning of his stunt career. Write it in your keepsake book, friends. That was also the beginning of my many near heart attacks ts morning. At least lunch at Chick Fil-A wasn't nearly as heart stopping. I did earn my mother of the year/Meanest Mommy Ever award there. After tying those blasted shoes for the third of fourth time, I told him he could not take his shoes off and play in the play area for our last five mutes there. The look on his face was of angst and anger and hurt and frustration. I felt bad, making him suffer for my lack of patience. I hope the other moms didn't think me to be a wench. I can understand if they did. One does read this blog from time to time, so I hope she doesn't think less of me. I already feel so awkward in situations with other women in my age demographic. I feel horribly embarrassed about how I look and feel I have nothing that anyone would want to spend time with. That is my problem to solve and get over. I probably come off as some antisocial serial killer mom. I want so badly to not feel that way. I want my kids to know it is fun and exciting to spend time with your friends, even when you grow up. I don't get many invitations and don't extend many for the same previously stated reasons. I just pray that as Finley has play dates and learns to form close bonds with his buddies, I will learn by his example. We can all learn so much from our children. Maybe I'll even jump off the ledge into the pit of blocks someday. Somebody better be there to snap a picture of that...

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This afternoon was a different one. I made soup for about 90 people...okay, I exaggerate, 30. My freezer meal group has gotten its act together and we are meeting to trade foods tomorrow. I made hamburger soup. Doesn't sound exciting, but it is hearty and tasty. Great for a night like tonight. While the soup was a-cookin', Grace and I read like demons to finish our book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. She would read several pages and then look at the gorgeous drawings with me. Then I would repeat the process. Today, I did the lion's share of the reading. There was a reason for that: we wanted to go see the movie. Sarah read it a month ago and has been chomping at the bit to see it. I have a policy that we must read the book before we see the movie...a much hated policy that they always end up thanking me for. Grace and I were successful and the three girls ventured off to see "Hugo" way out west on a rainy night. The usual disappointment for character omissions and plot changes aside, the movie was visually beautiful. Everyone was just like I had pictured them in the book. Sascha Baron Cohen did not act like a perverted idiot...though that part of him does have it's place at times. What I liked the best was that G pointed out how the book and movie were different. She realized they cut a lot of exciting book parts out and combined things together. While she loved the movie, she loved the book just as much. That made the reading out loud for 2 hours today worth it. Next book up is "Wonderstruck" by the same author, Brian Selznick. The illustrations are equally, if not more, beautiful. I can't wait to snuggle up with my favorite second grader and "You read one page I'll read one page it" all the way through. Precious times....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My girl is growing up

I planned to put a clip of G riding her bike sand training wheels, but this particular app does not make that an easy task for the IT illiterate. Hopefully the bugs will be worked out of my Blog Press app soon and then this problem will be solved. Anyhoo, Iam so proud of her accomplishment. I know that I was younger when I started riding without training wheels, but I also learned in a flat Midwest neighborhood with sidewalks. Biking in our neighborhood is a bit of a suicide mission. If the hills and lack of sidewalks don't kill you, the chronic speeders will. My determined girl just got on her bike and rode around the yard until she figured it out. That's my girl! Big day for her....and for us.After that excitement, and riding around the yard 15 times, we helped S work on her sod house project for school. I am so glad that Brian made her start on it on Wednesday. Talk about gonads and strife! After S had sufficiently toothbrushed the filth out from under her nails, we surprised the kids with a movie. Brian stayed home to watch the VT/UVA game(I am a jinx) and we went to see The Muppets. As a big Frank Oz fan, I was conflicted about seeing a muppet movie that did not receive his full endorsement. Also, I am a purist and still have a hard time hearing a non-Jim Henson Kermit voice. I was wonderfully surprised! It was excellent...I think I may have loved it more than the kids. Shed some tears...I know. Winding down for the evening now. More school projects tomorrow plus church and maybe Christmas Tree shopping. Hopefully we'll find another bizarre tree farm in the sticks that I can take pictures of. We've visited some doozies. Have a nice rest of e evening....time for my bedtime.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday=Great Entertainment

After a short almost wax dummy type sleep, the hub and I woke up at our usual work week time to shop with the other crazies. Thankfully my parents were still in town to watch the trio, so we had a few hours at grown up shopping speed. Traditionally we go to Smart Toys and Books first if my husband is up for going "crazy shopping"....this year was no exception. We arrived too early at the Fountain City Panera, so we opted to hit ST&B first and then go to Panera. Risky move shopping without a coffee start, but we're rebels that way. The throngs at the store reached almost a whopping 20 in the outside line and reached an almost genial pace upon entering. A vast difference from the riot over $2 waffle makers at Wal Mart. Good grief. After having great success, we decided to head to Turkey Creek and get coffee at the Panera before going into the tween/teen hell called Justice. More on that later, maybe. When we arrived at Panera, we were delighted to see our favorite radio personalities, Marc and Kim and Frank. They get us through every morning and we love them. The hub has followed Frank since he was working on the Don and Mike Show in DC. Anyone who tells you that they don't get a little starstruck with celebrities, local or otherwise, is pretty full of crap. We both were a little struck and, yes, I embarrassed myself. I asked him for a picture. I am one of those people. Here it is:
He was very kind and talked to us for a while. Marc chimed in on Redskins talk and Kim was looking lovely and visiting with other fans. Afterwards, we hit Justice to look for boots the girls requested for Christmas....more like streetwalker boots, but I'm sure that my very controversial peach colored Chuck Taylor hightops really chapped my mother as well. We hit Belks, Finish Line with a sainted girl who worked to get the hub the best pumped up kicks, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Gander Mtn, Target, Game Stop, Woodcraft, JoAnn's(school project), Mooya's(yum) and The Public Market. We found interesting Christmas ideas there:
My brother actually has one of these. We also found this at the same place:
Happy Palmistry-giving. For $35, it is all yours. Even after sore feet and rude people and crazy traffic and spilling coffee all over my shirt forcing myself to wear a heavy jacket all day, we still had a productive and fun day together. With three little heartbeats, we rarely get to go out as a couple. We cherish it. We are so blessed to be able to have the funds to shop like we do...and we need to remember that more often. It makes us appreciate our children that much more when we get home. G learned to ride without training wheels and was so anxious for us to be home. We were anxious to be there, watch her accomplishment and put our aching feet up. What more do we really need?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks for so much

Well another Thanksgiving Day has come and almost gone. We started very early with a dog anxious for entertainment at 3am, a boy who woke up with some night issues at 4am and then a dog who decided she wanted breakfast at 5am. Tom turkey went into the oven at about 8am and then the flurry began. Cooking, last minute cleaning, putting away laundry and more cleaning. While cooking, my mom and I cleaned out the knife drawer and I happened upon this:
This was my Granny's knife. She probably peeled a couple of dump trucks full of peaches and apples with it, prying the pits out and scaring me to death that she was going to cut a finger off. You can see by the shape that she sharpened the fire out of it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Thanksgiving is so different without her and I miss her terribly. But, as all years go, when old traditions end, new ones begin. We had a new guest at our table this year. Long explanation short, my brother's girlfriend's son's friend from Nigeria had nowhere to go for the holiday. So, for his first Thanksgiving ever, he spent it with us. Talk about baptism by fire. What a gift he was! His parents run an orphanage and he told us of his life in Africa and had lots of questions about different goings on during this holiday season. We played a great game of Apples to Apples and he waxed us all! He taught the girls some soccer foot skills after dinner. He sampled every meal offering politely and enjoyed most everything. He taught the kids little games that he plays with all his siblings.
We are so grateful to Drew for bringing his friend to dinner and are so blessed by the time spent together with all who gathered in out home today. I hope you were truly blessed during your holiday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Almost time....

Today has seen a flurry of activity at the ranch. Cooking and more cooking and construction on a sod house for school and pie deconstruction and reconstruction and dancing at the Fantasy(Phantasm)of Trees. Very busy day, but very productive. I learned a valuable and sad lesson today about pie crusts. I was so happy to make my Granny's pie crust ahead of time and have it chilling in the fridge, ready for yummy pie construction. Before there was Alton Brown and Good Eats, there was Granny and awesome mountain woman food with no written recipes. There was also no rule of chilling your dough before you rolled it out....a detail I totally overlooked in 2011. Once the dough came to a decent temp, 3 hours later, it turned into an epic fail. Rolling it and transferring it became an exercise in futility. Needless to say, that dough was scrapped and mr Aunt Erma's pie crust recipe was made and used immediately. We made a pecan pie AND my very first lemon meringue pie from scratch. Alton Brown's name and recipes are being used a lot over the holidays, but the man is very good. He knows his stuff. Here is a not so flattering picture for you:
On this, the eve of Thanksgiving Day, I hope that you tell one person tomorrow how thankful you are for them. It may really mean more to them than you would ever know. Enjoy your meal, but remember those who have nothing. Play a couple good games and relax and enjoy yourself. Life is a gift. Remember that...I sure need to. Love to all of you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One day closer...

Got the house cleaned, more food prep completed. Went to Panera and had lunch. While there, I saw a friend I thought I would never see again. The holiday season is full of wonders. Left lunch no longer hungry and with a new phone number in my address book. Tomorrow, the girls dance at the phantasm and show off all of their hard work. Excited for them and ready to see friends and relatives and eat some "turkey lurkey" as my grandmother used to call it. Have fun in your holiday prep and think of those grieving and lonely and hungry. We are all so blessed!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The race is on!

The race to gobble 'till you wobble is on. I am having the meal at my house this year. A bit intimidating, but my family is very forgiving. They are also extra great cooks. The boy and I dropped the sisters off at school and headed for an early morning trip to the Kroger. We got most everything we needed and still managed to keep our sanity. I did hear sad news that one of our ladies at the deli/bakery is in bad shape after complications from a congestive heart failure procedure. People make fun of me sometimes for being so close to my Kroger friends. I'm not really sure why. They are people just like me, work 10 times as hard as I do, and still take time to hug my kids, give them a cookie and ask me how my day has been. So, I asking for prayers for Alycia who has decorated a lot of cakes for me through the years.

After shopping, we returned home and put away all of our loot. I have been nursing an ill tummy since the crud went through our house, so I really needed a tiny nap. Little sons make excellent snuggle buddies...he watched Sesame Street and I the back of my eyelids. After a period of sloth, I chunked up bread for stuffing, cut all of the stuff up for the stuffing, made cornbread, made pie crusts, did 3 loads of laundry, fed the boy, played some Scrabble, cleaned the living room, picked up the girls, fed them early dinner, took them to dance, went to staff meeting, cleaned some more and had the willies scared out of me doing more laundry. Yes I am tired, so I am off my game. When pulling out wet clothes to put into the dryer, some wet thing fell on my foot and under the dryer. Our basement sometimes has jumpy bugs, so I was sure I had been targeted. Um, I was wrong. This is what my chicken self squealed at:

I put it inside my ring to show you how small it was. Almost creepier than a bug. Well, almost.

Tomorrow brings more cooking and arrival of people. Here we go!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We've entered a new realm

Yesterday the hubby, with the girls by his side, went to the Verizon store to see about getting a third phone for our house. Yes, a third phone. I am all about keeping my kids as much in the stone age as possible, but these days we can't keep them safe and do that so much. Both girls are starting to go to slumber parties and school trips and we need to know they're safe. One of the girls had the chance to go to a slumber party, but couldn't, and came home the following Monday with wild stories about what went on at said slumber party. Thinking we knew the family where this took place, it gave us pause to consider we may not know some of their friend's parents as much as we thought. The thought of my child being stuck in a nightmare and not able to contact us immediately to be rescued is horrifying to think about. Even though it will be primarily used by S, G will have access to it as well. I have mixed feelings about this whole situation. One of my major pet peeves is to see little teeny boppers glued to their phones, texting constantly. I get annoyed seeing young kids walking the halls at church during Sunday School time on their phones. I think kids need to be playing and coloring pictures rather than be sitting and talking on a phone all the time. This is why we have a pretty extensive list of rules forming for this little beauty. Oh, by the way, let me introduce you to the source of my angst and the bargaining chip to keep my girls on their best behavior:

Ultimately, I hope that I don't have to take it away. I hope it is used responsibly. No big deal, it won't bother me one bit to take it away. As a mom I have a bit more peace of mind knowing that if sticky situations arise, my girls can call us. One of the best things my parents always said was, "We don't have any problem being the bad guys. Put it on us....that is fine.". I feel the same way. If it makes a creepy situation better by making us look like the ogre parents, that is fine. I don't care to be a mean parent if my kids are safe. Just how it is.

So, if you see my girls texting at inappropriate times or talking when they shouldn't be, call them out on it. If you receive a call from them for help, know that you are trusted person in their lives and we feel safe having you come to their aid. Just know if you hear gnashing of teeth and strife, someone has broken one of the "Cell Phone Golden Rules" and has lost the phone for the both of them. You heard me right. Mean moms make good kids.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Leaves, lots of leaves...

Today we fought the fight against leaves. Lot and lots of leaves. I can't complain too much. I love trees and the shade they bring, the lovely rustling sounds they make and the character they add to the well as all of the important scientific significance they hold. At our last house, we longed for more trees. It was a brand new house with one lone Bradford pear in the front-kind of sad. New houses have their place, but this one lacked much needed character. Anyhoo, we have lots and lots of trees on our property and these trees have a lot of droppings. We set about our business in the back yard, ready to move the masses of leaves to the front yard and give our dog better boundaries in which to relieve herself. We had moved 2/3 of the back leaves with the tarp and our trusty tool when tragedy struck. The muffler flew off of our ancient, but trusty, Giant Vac. Our beloved neighbor, may he rest in peace, owned the Giant Vac for years. He served the neighbors in many ways, but in the fall he took care of the leaves in all of our front yards. When his health got the best of him, my husband and I were charged with the Giant Vac duties. A few years ago, he died at 93 or 94....we're not sure which and we got the Giant Vac with the request that we continue the neighborhood leaf removal. What is this coveted contraption, you ask? Why is it so popular? Here it is:

You will notice the newly added masking tape that replaced the duct and surgical tape from years gone by. Our dear neighbor, Bill, helped Brian put a makeshift muffler on until the new $14 comes in next week.

It is not the blower that is the true star of the story, but how it brings us together as neighbors. When Red, our neighbor, died, he left his estate to the Tennessee Baptist Association. We were concerned that as his estate was auctioned off, the blower would be sold to someone who wouldn't use it to help others. So, I asked the guy I charge if we could buy it before the public auction. As neighbors, we wanted to continue Red's legacy of helping each other. The kind man let us have it for a nominal fee. Now, we blow our yard and the next door neighbors' as well. Bill and his wife, who live two doors up,do their yard, and their across the street neighbors. We then take the blower to different relatives, etc.. Red's legacy of helping lives on...his example was an inspiration to us all and our lives were better just knowing him.

Do I love blowing leaves? Not really,but the satisfaction of having a clean yard and neighbors with happy yards makes it worth it. And that Giant Vac is like a flippin' jet engine....awesome.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Things I have learned recently...

Yesterday was quite a day. S had two performances of her choir program on songs of Tennessee. It always gets me misty to see my children in a production, no matter how big or small. To see my daughter dance the Tennessee Waltz, get dumped by her choir boyfriend and dance by herself on the stage got the tears started. To finish it up with "Coat of Many Colors" being sung so sweetly by a girl who lives that song everyday, was a holy event. No melodrama here...just absolute fact. I feel that God places moments in our lives to put all things into perspective. That was one of those times.

After the emotional choir program, I went for a lovely evening with friends to see Breaking Dawn Part 1. Am I a "Twihard"? No. I enjoyed the books for the fact that they were a simple, easy read. No thought was needed, just pure entertainment value. With three children, I don't have time to read anything that requires great thought. If it doesn't get my attention in the first chapter, more than likely it is going back on the shelf. But with this being the 4th movie, my friends and I have a ritual for these movies. We got to eat, then go to Starbucks to get a caffeine fix(to make the midnight showing) and then go wait for the movie to start. This is where we take pictures of each other, competitively people watch and participate in contests to win Team Edward/Jacob posters. Yes it is juvenile, but we have the best time. We laugh at the corny acting and awkward moments. It is a precious time out with girlfriends that is enjoyable. What is never enjoyable, is the Vampire hangover we have the next day. Because it is a midnight showing, we usually don't get home until 3 or 3:30 in the morning. When the kids have to get up at 6am to get ready for school, compounded by the hubby being out of town, it has been a rough day.

Today I have looked desperately for an adoption gift for my now official cousin. Logan Kayin is now a forever member of our family and there is a major shindig to celebrate this event tomorrow. I hate to buy just to buy. I want to find something meaningful and sweet. Yeah, not a hot heaping bowl of success in that department today.

This has been a busy week, but I have learned some valuable things:

1. We may get frustrated, but I think Brian and I have done a pretty good job with our kids and haven't messed them up too much.

2. I am not the person you want picking out hairbows.

3. As much as I enjoy a girls' night out, I find time with my family extremely satisfying and much like breathing...I can't be without it very long.

4. I have found that family treats family worse than they treat friends. I'll never get that concept.

5. Holding a baby never gets old, always lowers my blood pressure and breaks my heart just a little bit.

6. Sometimes people with a good story and show are pretty hollow inside.

7. Little kids, not matter how strong and resilient they seem, crave the simple acts of pure love, attention and a good, intentional hug.

8. I am Team Charlie first and Team Edward a close second.

9. Accidentally poking you child in the eye makes you feel like a steaming heap that you pick up in a stable floor.

10. There is nothing more cleansing than a good hard cry or a long, exhausting laugh.

Food for thought...thanks Don Dare.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creeped out

I'm sitting here watching American Horror Story and wondering why. It is so creepy and scary, but I cannot turn the channel. It doesn't help that I am on the floor and lack the motivation to get up. Who is a ghost and who isn't? I need to watch it from the beginning so I know what is going on. Oh well. If you see me Facebooking at 2am, it is my fault and the fault of this show.

That being said, tomorrow is my oldest's last school musical performance as an elementary schooler. Sniff, sniff. She is so excited and can't wait for Showtime. We can't either. Last year's offering is going to be hard to top, but I know this one will be great. After the performance, I will be going with a group of friends for our lapse in sanity midnight viewing of Breaking Dawn Part 1. We all drink Starbucks, giggle and make comments about the handsome and pretty young vampire-werewolf creatures who look sullen and can't live without each other. Is it Oscar worthy? Absolutely not. The entertainment value makes up for it.

Now it is time for bed, again. But before I go, let me leave you with this:

Love the robot pictures. They never get old....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To the dark side we go

Tonight we left our cell phone company of over a decade. We had reached our limit of patience with them. Their lack of innovation and their refusal to move into the 21st century drove us to look elsewhere. So off to the Apple Store we went, this evening, after Brian reserved two iPhone 4s phones last night. The kids dealt well with the wait, especially since they had not consumed their evening meal at that point. The boy sat on the floor under the set up table and played "Cupcakes" on the iPad, while the girls tried out every single Mac in the place. They picked out a total of about 30 different phone covers for me, including several Kate Spade designs. Obviously my children don't know me at all. I picked a nice, plain black one since the mosaic-ish lue and teal one was "not functional and just for looks" according to our employee helper. Since getting home, we have been playing with Siri a bit. Not the AYSO soccer coach as S asked, but the little lady in the phone who answers questions for you. Maybe she can get me some good Thanksgiving recipes.

Oh well. Time to go up and watch the last of my beloved Barry on Storage Wars before I conk out for the night, I hope. See you all tomorrow...hopefully with a good Pizza Inn-esque tale.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kind of eerie

My girls have never been big doll kids. They played with them some, but we're not obsessed. Last year, they finally got American Girl dolls. Why? They had asked for a while and I was truly out of Christmas ideas. We chose to get the dolls that resemble them rather than the ones with some sort of historical significance. Just seemed easier that way. Then someone wouldn't fight over who got the better historical period and crap like that. Well, I went in their room to do a bit of straightening and this is what I saw:

Is that not creepy? It looks exactly like the two of them...except their sleeping positions are reversed. Just a little funny for the evening. I have got to go to bed. Thanksgiving prep is starting tomorrow when the last one gets to school. Miles to go before we can eat turkey. Oh yeah...gotta buy one of those tomorrow.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Celebrity cyber fan

I am not a celebrity "whore" at all. I don't stalk them or spend all of my money to get as close to them as I can at all times. That being said, I find it exciting, thrilling even, when I get a tiny acknowledgement from a celebrity....big or small. When I was in high school, two friends and I went to Hills department store to catch a glimpse of Charles Shaughnessy, who played Shane Donovan on Days of Our Lives. We stood in line with lots of others, got an autographed picture and a handshake. I even got a "Hello, Love!", which carried me on cloud 9 right out of the store. He later appeared on another one of my favorite shows, The Nanny, as Mr. Sheffield. Yes, ladies, that's right.

So, in the time of Twitter and Facebook, celebrities are much more accessible. Even though they may have millions of followers, you have a chance of being the one tweet or post that catches their eye that day. When it was S's birthday a few months ago, I was determined to get a celebrity to tweet her a birthday message. Why? I don't know. I had seen other people have success with it, so I decided to give it a try. Look who responded...and not with a retweet:

Yes, the Ace of Cakes himself. Let me tell you, his cred went way up with me after that. Nice. So before that happened, I had been tweeting to Alton Brown of Good Eats for a while. No response and much frustration. There was no need to have any really. With 40,000 followers what did I expect? Well, tonight was my night. He seems to like movies references and trivia, so I got him when I mentioned him in the same tweet with The Shining.

Did he speak to me directly? In my own deluded way, I think he did. He saw my tweet and responded. Why does this mean so much if celebrity whore I am not? Well, sometimes I feel like I am invisible and without much to say. It made me feel identified and validated. How sad is that? Not too sad, I don't think. Pick a famous person you really enjoy. Would it give you a bit of a thrill to have them respond to you? Yeah, I thought so. So, I'll revel in my little victory for this evening. Next celebrity on my list? Weird Al. I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


At midnight, Friday going into Saturday, Brian heard it before I did. The smell hit you first and then you saw a poor little guy covered in yuck. It was on his clothes, all in his hair, coming out his nose. After giving him the trash can, he got sick one more time and then was done. When we got him into the bathtub, he was like a new man. After the night before with his tummy full of gas, the getting sick was a relief. Brian took over stripping the bed duty, I was gagging too much from the smell. I don't do vomit well. Once he took his place on the sick mattress, he was peppy. Our challenge for the day was to keep him calm and away from his sisters. He amused himself with movies and Batman:

He is much better this evening. We pray we don't get another wake up call from S tonight. Prayers are coveted that she can avoid this plague. Bedtime for us now....hoping and praying for a boring night!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hi de ho

Not much again this evening. G went back to school after a sick day. I went to Tinsel and Treasure, sponsored by the Junior League. It is a craft and gift fair full of holiday and other gifts, although I have never really understood what the Junior League is exactly. I found a couple things, nothing too exciting(except for our niece which is pretty cute). The Tervis Tumbler people weren't there,so I couldn't get gifts I had planned on. Oh well. I did get a few checked off the list. The best part of the whole shopping experience was that I got to shop by myself. Brian dropped me off and went to do some things with the boy and pickup the girls. When I finished shopping, I went outside to wait for the family and decided to snap some pictures whole I waited. This one was my favorite:

The enduring symbol of Knoxville and the World's Fair...even featured on The Simpsons. I think it is a pretty cool thing, the Sunsphere. S, not so much. She got separated from the rest of the family in an elevator there. This has warped her feelings on tall monuments and elevators. Understandable. Thankfully when she got off at the next stop, two floors up, a mom who S said "sounded like Harry Potter" helped her find Brian. Oh well. We all have our therapy moments.

Leaf raking and leaf blowing took up the rest of the afternoon. Then Brainand S went off to her soccer awards party at Gatti's, while the other two and I stayed home. Meanwhile, one of my dearest friends sent me a picture of the cake she made for her daughter's birthday. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love this:

Uh, sock monkeys are super cool! Wish I could do that...just lovely. Anyhoo, Brian and S returned home from the party with her prized trophy. She kind of wished her name was on it, but was still very tickled!

This was the name of their team because, indeed, they could not make up their minds on a team name. It made an amusing little pre-game cheer for sure. She was pleased and is certainly looking forward to next season(and the break in between seasons).

Thanks, dear readers, for enduring the nauseating minutiae of my life. This has become almost a journal of my mental-ness, so to speak. It is enjoyable and has turned into a nice way to end my evening. Hi de ho, friends. Have a nice rest of the evening....what's left of it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gag ack barf

Today was one of those days that make moms feel crappy in multiple ways. My G claimed that her stomach hurt when she coughed or sneezed. I chalked it up to drainage, seeing as how we live in the #1 worst city in America for that. Yay #1. So, I made her eat some cereal before I gave her some Mucinex. She is not a fan of the bubble gum flavor and was holding it in her mouth. After making her swallow it for her own good, the phone rang. My boss asked if I could sub in a different class than originally planned. After firming up the plans, I rang off and began to pack my lunch for a longer than expected day. This is when G threw up in the trash can. Well thinking it was just overreaction to not liking the meds, I grumped but decided not to send her to school...not wanting her to be THAT kid who threw up in 2nd grade. We took S to school for safety duty as I chastised G for being dramatic. Well, as soon as we got home, she went to the bathroom and coughed for a while. Still not convinced it was real, I had her lug her grocery bag lined trash can in the car and take the oy to school. No sooner than we pulled out of the driveway, she started getting sick again. Mother of the year. By 10am she was done and requesting food. We took it slow the rest of the day. Jello and saltines and toast and ginger ale. She handled it all well and went to bed in her own room. Not on the sick bed that we place in our room:

Yes, there are Wiggles sheets from long ago and a Sesame Street sleeping bag from even longer ago. It lays in our floor and stays there until the last person is through the crud. I am praying that she is the only one. It usually happens in the middle of the night, so only time will tell. The boys has already been up with severe growing pains, so who knows. Hopefully a very uneventful night ahead.

The only interesting thing of the evening was when I went to Kroger for my tummy run: ginger ale, Gatorade, saltines, oyster crackers and bananas. I saw a mom, dad and their teenage son. We kept running into each other every few aisles or so. Their son thought it was cool to walk around the whole store with his hands in his basketball shorts. First I thought it was a fluke, but then it became clear it was not stopping. I so badly wanted to ask questions but I resisted. You always see strange things when you go to the store.

Hope all of you have a good night and praying we have an uneventful one....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All the heartbeats are home

S and the Brain are home and very tired. From what they are saying and what the pictures show, it looks like they had a great time. S insisted on going to crch tonight for Wednesday night activities. Against my better judgement, I allowed her to go. By the time we got home, shuffling her steps and slurring her speech from her exhaustion. She is conked out now...I think she was asleep before her head it the pillow.

While at church tonight, we had a funny incident with our friend. Lots of you who know me, know that I have a weird sense of humor. It ranges from dry humor, physical comedy and, yes, some bathroom humor even. I just love funny stuff. So, excuse me if you are offended by body part humor, but here comes some. We were all standing in a group, visiting as we went to pickup our kids from their rooms. One parent had ordered items from the GS Candy and Nut sales. The person yelled down the hall at our male friend and said, "Hey! (Insert name) has your nuts!". Our friend, taken off guard by the statement said in a half laugh/half statement, "She does?". The parent went back in the room with the kids and our friend, still processing the nut statement, collapsed in an empty room doubled over in laughter with my husband laughing just as hard. Good old bathroom, body part humor. I know it is more of a location had to be there. But, to see two grown men reduced to pools of laughing goo did made my heart happy.

I found the blog of a friend of a friend today. It put a lot into perspective for me. It is written by a mom who has a husband with an inoperable brain stem tumor. They have recently discovered two more aggressive tumors and are currently at Duke to see what the next steps are after they biopsy the two new tumors. I was so touched by her story and my heart breaks for this family. Pray for this family and their journey. There are no words...

This is all she wrote. Still hoping for that next Pizza Inn story. I know it is just waiting to be discovered.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I am very boring these days

Today has been another so so day. I have no stories to rival the Pizza Innexperience and fear I never will. The Brain has sent several pics from The Woods and reports that the kids are having a good time. Again, I feel so grateful for such a wonderful guy to have as the father of my children. I hope they know how blessed they are.

I was looking at some pictures I had taken over the last few months and got myself cracked up when I discovered what a true geek I am. My brother and I were big trading card kids. We were in it for the gum, to be quite least when it came to most of the sports cards. This one was my personal favorite:

I have always loved Terry and the Steelers...even being married to a Redskins fan. We had lots of Mike Schmidt baseball cards and lots of Pittsburgh Penguins cards. Maybe having West Virginia relatives who lived near Pitt had something to do with that. The cards I got most excited about were the ones that came from movies and television. These are really going to date me, so watch out.

Oooh ooh ooh, Mr. Kot-ter,I know how old she is! I remember going to see the night showing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture with my dad, uncle and cousins. I slept through lots of it, only waking up long enough to see Rachel Ward's bald head. She still looked awfully pretty. Then I found these:

Star Wars, Welcome Back Kotter and Jaws 2. Does it get any better? I didn't even pull put the Indiana Jones or the ET cards...never mind the other two original Star Wars movies. Who knew I was so cool? I know, I know. I never cease to shock and amaze. Sorry. I almost got that onto the page without laughing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So blessed

My husband and our eldest are at "The Woods", as the kids are calling it these days. I am so glad that Brian went and I am so blessed to have a husband willing to take time off to spend this time with his daughter. A veteran Boy Scout, he has no problem camping or doing outdoor stuff and he loves to teach others about all that. I am also thankful for technology. He has been tweeting all afternoon and sending me pictures to keep me updated. Several concerned moms have texted me over the course of the day and have been happily informed of group's adventures. They will be tired for sure!

My adventures were the usual. Laundry, picking up kids from school, dinner and driving to dance. The boy was a trooper while G practiced her dance for the "Phantasm" of Trees. This is what he spent the evening doing:

My little artist. He had a good time with me, the iPad and Ms. Christina in the church hallway. It is the little things, you know?

Now the kids are asleep and I am sitting on the couch. As soon as the dog empties her bladder, I'm a-goin' to sleep. Curse you Daylight Savings Time or what ever it is called. My body clock is way off.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Another entry on my "Little Blog"

I am frustrated. I'm a frustrated cook...a frustrated artist...a frustrated career woman, or lack thereof. Listening to other people and taking their opinions as the gospel truth is my method of decision making. I always wanted to be an artist. My seventh grade art teacher didn't like my rendering of the Hushpuppies brand Bassett hound and so she told me , "You have no artistic talent and this should be your last art class.". And it was. I participated in the mock trial program, where I was told I had great promise. I wanted to be a lawyer and was going to major in pre-law. Then a friend whose dad was a lawyer said, "You'll never make it as a lawyer. You think too much and are too soft. Choose something else.". So I did. Why did I do these things? Why did I take the opinions and words of others so seriously? I don't know, but I could kick myself for that. So, when I have had three different people randomly ask me the question, "Oh, are you still writing on your little blog?" that "you are 39 but I choose to talk to you like you are 3 and have issues" kind of tone, I tend to get a little annoyed. I know I am not a great writer. The News Sentinel-Metro Pulse-New Yorker people have not been knocking on my door or burning up my telephone lines. I am aware of this. This blog is for me to get out frustrations, post pictures for our far away relatives and just share funny things with whoever chooses to read it. I know I must come off as a whiney, compliment seeking, needy complainer. Sorry. But to make fun of me because I just want to write about stuff kind of stings a bit.

Now that being said, I must share with you a couple of pictures. The boy is becoming more independent every day, so much so that it breaks my heart. Getting ready for church is no exception. He is very interested in buttoning his shirt by himself. The phrase "I don't need any help" is used 20 times a day. This is what the Brain found when he went to check on the boy's progress:

Looks pretty good, right? Yeah, until he turned around and then we saw.....the rest of the story. Here ya go:

This caused little spells of uncontrollable laughter that sent us out of the room so as not to hurt his feelings. But of course, we had to take pictures. See, no one would believe our strange stories if I didn't have this "little blog" to chronicle it all. LTD, friends. LTD.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Well we're done...for now.

Listen. Can you hear it? Listen really hard. If you do, I'll bet you can hear the giant sigh of relief from the Brain and myself...the sigh that we finally have our Saturdays back. Well, at least we have them back for a little bit. I'm not completely rejoicing. I don't have to tell anyone that I enjoy the excitement of soccer Saturday, the enthusiasm of my children, the cheering all around you, the thrill of a close game. It just will be so nice to sleep in until, gasp...could it be possible, 7am. Sarah's team saw their only defeat of the year against and excellent, though very stacked, team. At the end, the coaches decided to let the girls take penalty kicks so that those who had yet to score a goal could have one more chance. Our team destroyed them that way. A hollow victory, but we'll take it. Grace's team came ready to play, but the other team did not show. Their coach decided to have a scrimmage against the parents. This turned out to be a good time and a fun way to end their season. Before going to the games, we went to our church for the holiday bazaar. Lots of goodies to be had...the kids chose S'mores trail mix. It all looked very tasty. We did pick up a Christmas present for someone. Not saying who-oooooo!!!

The rest of the afternoon was spent getting S ready for her 5th grade trip. She has been away from home before, so I am not worried about that. It is a bit daunting that she is not going to be with friends at church camp, not ecology camp...though the same place. It is funny how the company can make you feel so differently about an experience at the same place. Luckily, my super awesome husband is going as a chaperone. That makes me feel a bit better. Thanks also to his very understanding boss who realizes the need to share these experiences with your children. I think it is really neat he is going. In her last year of elementary school, Sarah will get to share this unique experience with him and I am so happy.

Well, I am going to see if I can carefully sneak the remote out of Brain's sleepy hand and switch from football to a movie. I know there's a giant sucking sound from the shock of that last statement, but I can take but so much athletic spectatoring on soccer Saturday. I need something amusing or mysterious. Soooo, I am going to watch The Thing. I know...I know.....

Friday, November 4, 2011

I got nothin'

I am tired and have absolutely nothing of substance to say. So, I'll share this instead.

Have a good night and tell me if you have any thoughts on what that is.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not much going

Because I continue to have a cough and a voice resembling a carton a day smoker, I have been somewhat slothy today. I did get some sewing done, finally. I have been slacking on my creatures recently, so I finished some who have been in limbo for a while.

G's end of the the season soccer party was this evening at the epitome of cacophony, Mr. Gatti's. While I am relieved to haveour Saturdays back, I am sad to see the season go. I love to watch our children play. They take such pleasure in the practice and competition. I do think they will take a little pleasure in sleeping in a bit on Saturdays...I know I will.

Please forgive my lack of content recently. I am in a bit of a dry spell at this point. Mr. Gatti's held high hopes for me, but it failed to deliver. Well we do have another crack at it next Friday when S has her soccer party. Let's hope the PizzaInn couple find their way there for a change. It'll be great!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chili cook off revelation

Tonight was the annual Chili Cook Off Hoedown at church to benefit Wesley Woods. Sunday school classes or circles or other district churches contribute their chili and compete for a trophy, based on the monetary donations put in their jar. There are also different desserts that are in competition as well. Each recipe is assigned a number and that number is written on little foam 1/2 cup samples. You walk around, get a sample, try it and then move on to the next type. Some people have cornbread to accompany theirs, oyster crackers, Fritos and sour cream. It turns into a fun evening, discussing which chili you like best, like least and which one you are unsure of what is actually in it. This year, after last year, was full of great expectations....but not for the reasons you might think. Last year was the year of #7. Let me tell you the quickish version of the story.

We were sitting at the table with our friend Ralph and his lovely family. He had a bit of a head start on the sampling, so the kids and I got started(Brian hadn't arrived yet). We tasted a few, enjoyed some tasty cornbread, but hadn't yet found our favorite. Ralph asked us if we had tried #7 yet. "I think it is my favorite so far. You really need to try it!". So, S and I went to the #7 table and got our samples to try. I notice Ralph seemed very interested in our opinions about this particular one. That should have been my first clue, but I was off my game. After my first spoonful and seeing the look on his face, I knew I had been set up. This particular sample possessed the taste of cumin, ground beef, tomato and, um, potting soil. The urge to spit it out was almost uncontrollable. Every new person who joined our table was immediately initiated into the tablehood by having #7 recommended to them. For a year now, every time the number seven has been spoken or shown in fingers, we have cracked up. So our expectations for this night have been great.

I am sad to say that there was no clear competitor for dethroning last year's organic and earthy champion. There was a close one, but no one who had the pepper to dethrone anyone. Now please don't think I am a jerk. People have worked very hard on their chili. I am no Iron Chef. I have the palate of three year old. Chili is not even one of my favorite things to eat, so who am I to cast judgement or aspersions on another. I am not. Ultimately, they made money for Wesley Woods, an absolute gem of a camp where my children go every summer. I do so enjoy the company of the people I sit with every year at the cook off. I really needed a laugh tonight and I got plenty. And, let's point out the obvious, I have not submitted a chili for sampling and judgement. Next year maybe I need to do it. Who's the chicken? Bahgawk!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Should I read my age like I should act my age?

I love books. I love to read. I especially love Children's books. When I say Children's books, I mean two types in particular. I love a good picture book. Rich drawings, bright colors and strange creatures that accompany neat little stories. The other type I love is the literature that is classified as being for "Ages 9 and up". This includes the Harry Potter series, The Benedict Society books and my newest favorite author, Brian SelznIck. He is a Caldecott winner and brilliant man. The book I am currently watching and reading is this:

It is one of the most beautifully presented books I have ever seen. Sarah finished it, found out thatis was going to be a movie and said,"I would pay my own money to see that movie. That book was amazing!". It is about half and half text to gorgeous pencil drawings. My brother gave S another book of Selznick's, "Wonderstruck". She is reading it now. Again, gorgeous pictures that need to be studied and appreciated to understand the story. Lovely.

This begs the question, do you have to read your age? Obviously most people don't think so as evidenced by the Harry Potter behemoth. Books have always been a part of my life. In college, I had several books going at once. I had a "before class book", a "before bed book" and a "Brian book" in his room so I could read while he was studying or playing volleyball. They were either Stephen King, John Grisham or James Patterson....with occasional books that I had to read for my English minor...oops. I have found that after I had children, I didn't have as much of a stomach for serial killer crime novels as I once did. For some reason, I gravitated to this "Ages 9 and up" category. Who knew?

On a completely different note, Brian and I had the opportunity for a mini date night tonight. My aunt and uncle watched the kids while we went to Oak Ridge to see him graduate from the Leadership Oak Ridge program. It has been ten months of hard work, unpaid hard work, in addition to his regular job. It is a positive check on both his resume' and the reputation of his work. I am blessed to have such a hard working husband and so proud of his accomplishment.

Tomorrow I will hopefully have funny news. I will try very hard to find some!