Saturday, June 30, 2012

My daughter won't leave the dance floor

Tonight the girls and I went to our second wedding of the summer. It was a lovely and simple ceremony, beautiful music, grateful families...medically dangerous heat. I guess she can always mark her wedding day as the day Knoxville set a new heat record at 105. Mazel Tov! Lauryn looked beautiful and beaming next to her new husband. Her sister, my sweet friend Kaiti, looked gorgeous as her maid of honor. The girls were appropriately excited to see the big girls they love.

The reception was at The Foundry, which is a place I've never gotten to go before. My two, although still exhausted from camp, were thrilled to see a dance floor. G practiced her sprinkler move all during the meal, which caused me several gaspy moments for fear of the water glasses. Finally, when the floor was officially opened for all to dance, my children flew like bats out of hell from the table. I sat quietly, allowing them to further wear themselves out, until the familiar bars of the Electric Slide started. I fulfilled my obligation of showing my less than fancy footwork and began the arduous task of getting the girls to stop dancing. S's feet were hurting, so she wasn't too hard to convince. G, on the other hand, had ants in her pants and just had to dance. The big girls remarked that they saw moves from her they had never seen before. I'm not sure how to take that, so I just won't think about it. Ignorance is bliss. By the time I gave enough of an evil eye for her to leave, she was reduced to a sweaty mess. The perils of being a wedding dancer.

We have been so fortunate to have such nice "Big Girls" to be good influences on our girls: Christina earlier this month and now Lauryn. It is such a blessing to be a witness to this exciting milestone in their lives. Just next time, I'll slip some Sir Mix A Lot on the playlist and bring a bigger purse to store all of our shoes in. Baby got sore feet...

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Friday, June 29, 2012

They're ba-aaack

I went to "The Woods" and picked up the girls today. They were hot, tired, thirsty and dirty. Dusty dirty. I was truly shocked when they chatted the whole way home. Last year I distinctly remember G saying, "Um, I'm sorry, but can we not talk anymore so I can take a nap? Thanks.". And we did just that. I have done quite a bit of laundry, with quite a bit left to go. G read me the story of the birth of John the Baptist and explained that she understands how the Bible works now. Sleeping bags that should be airing out are probably having the stench baked in out on the 102 degree patio. The girls are now slumbering in the comfort of their clean, A/C'ed like a meat locker bedrooms. All our heartbeats are at home again. The hub and I can rest easier. Let's hope they can, too.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blueberries, burn and buttermilk

It has been a blur of a day. The boy woke up at 8am, which was shocking, and was dressed and whisked away with a Cliff bar breakfast to the Fruit and Berry Patch. We had not been picking this summer and a bounty of blueberries are out there to be put into some bellies. I skipped picking all last summer....just a but gun shy. For those not aware of my infinite stupidity, I will condense the story down and explain it in full another time. Granddaughter of a WVA farm girl knew better but went berry picking in Chaco sandals, unknowingly got bitten, developed fast growing infection and wound up in hospital for 4 nights. So, last summer I bought the berries in the grocery store. We picked blueberries, got fresh apple cherry slushes and felt like we accomplished something.

We then battled the heat in the best way we knew: we went to the pool. For a long time. Of course I didn't spread the sunscreen as perfectly as I thought, so the boy has pinked up shoulders and a very pink nose. I feel horrible, but the blue goo has been applied and he is slumbering deeply. He drank half the pool, so I wouldn't be surprised if he floats away in his sleep.

In between swimming and sleep, we trekked out in the record setting heat...again not too bright on my part. As a reward the boy scored some Lemon Buttermilk ice cream from Cruze Farms and I picked up some of their wonderful buttermilk for post camp pancakes when the girls get home.

All in all a lovely, scorching day. On a different note, please pray for my pregnant friend who found out the sex of her baby today. There are some issues to be further investigated. With a scary past history, she needs prayers for peace of mind and the baby needs prayers for health and safety. Thanks, my dear three readers. You are the best!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My heart worries a bit

Today was camp drop off number two. G was so excited last night, she couldn't sleep. After a long day of waiting, we finally left on our almost hour journey.

When will we get there? This trip is taking so long...I wish I had a friend going with me. That's okay, I'll make new ones. Make sure you park in this lot, Mom. This is where they want you to park. I know, I've been here before. Take a breath, sweetie, just take a breath. Walking walking walking. Get to registration and I hear my name. My heart lifts and G's face beams at the discovery of a familiar face. Odds are good they'll be together, I think to myself. We make the trek back to the lot to get our luggage. We missed the golf cart luggage transport service, so we lug the bags up the long rocky hill to her lodge. As we approach I hear her breathing a little heavier, sweaty hand in mine, nervous with anticipation. On the porch stand four girls, arm in arm, having picture time together. Camp time with your besties! Smile! We climb the steps to the porch, sidling past the photo session, heading to see where she'll lay her head. We look around the common room and check out her new digs. She was in a different lodge last year and she wanted to tell me the differences. Heading back to her room, we meet the counselors and she goes to pick a bunk. My heart sinks a bit when I see the four besties in her room with one bunk left. She looks so young, so nervous. You have the best bunk of all, I whisper, on the bottom right next to the A/C vent. When it gets so hot,you'll be the coolest. Bonus! Looking at those big blue eyes and that freckled nose, I can't read her emotions. But I can read mine. I kiss and hug her a million times, tell her I love her, walk out and don't look back. My one relief is that the familiar faces are just across the common room in the boys' rooms. I make the lonely trek back to the car, my stomach sick with worry. Will they let her into their group? Will she make friends? Will the counselors help her? I can't worry anymore. She's there and I am here. She'll make it through life. She's much stronger than I give her credit for. I can't wait for Friday. To squeeze that sweet frame, kiss those freckled cheeks, to look into those beautiful blue eyes. She'll be fine. I'm the one who needs to get a grip.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting ready for send off number two

G goes to camp tomorrow. I've been getting the last minute things today in between work and other errands. She is very excited and anxious to see her sister, even if it will only be at meal times. I loved camp and am so glad my girls do. The boy is jealous but anxiously awaiting having his parents all to himself. He has big plans for that day and a half, friends. BIG plans.

Not much to report. We had our first staff luncheon with our new senior pastor. Lacking a babysitter, I had to bring the kids. They became a united front over my "birthday" sundae:

Nothing brings about world peace like free ice cream. After being allowed to dine with the grown ups, the kids and I went to the eye doctor's office to pick up these:

She got her wish. Let's see how fun they are a month from now. She does look awful cute, I must say.

Well, have a good evening everybody. I'm going to finish my weekly date with my favorite crab fishermen. Then off to complete the packing. Yawn....

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Saving money is going to kill me

We are in the beginning stages of a kitchen remodel. We were given a number on Saturday that didn't stop my heart, but knocked me into a state of reality that is still sinking in. Trying to think of ways to save even pennies dominates my thoughts right now, so I decided to pick up the coupon binder again and get serious. I have already determined that I do not possess the patience or time to be on a TLC show, so I'm taking some of the pressure off. As one coupon guru said, "Saving money is important, but my time is valuable also. If couponing makes me neglect or take time away from my family, then it is just not worth it.". Amen, sister. Forty years of deodorant and toothbrushes for life are not worth a divorce. So in order to get into the coupon mood, I clipped them the whole time the kids were in the pool. Wayne the lifeguard laughed at me, but mama gots to pay for the Y membership...and that extra deep drawer cabinet for my stock pot. You want to see the current state of our family room? Here you go:

Now if I can just decide whether to organize by category, alphabetically, aisle, store vs manufacturer...etc etc. All I know is, I'd better get on the ball before the dog comes in here in a spiteful mood. They will getting picked up out of the yard with a shovel and a stick. Yuck.
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Awkward meal out...again

First off, let me put out a disclaimer: I am in no way making fun of or light of people with differences or disabilities. As with many friends of ours, they have said one cannot predict what happens in the womb, at birth or as a result of life's circumstances. With that, here is our story for today.

Camp check in was this afternoon for S, so we packed up her stuff and headed to one of our favorite places in the world. This is the first year she has gone without a friend from church in her cabin, so it was a bit daunting for all of us. On the way there and on the way back home(an hour each way), the boy talked the whole time. If I hadn't given birth to him, I'd swear he was an alien who took breaths through his eyes. He loves to talk. This can get exhausting very quickly. Very quickly. Because I had spent the majority of my time packing, I had not prepared a dinner meal for us. The kids, thrilled with this knowledge, happily accompanied us to a restaurant. The whole time we were being seated, ordering our drinks and waiting for our drinks the boy talked. And talked. And talked. He wanted us to play Truth or Dare and we obliged. Then he said, "Ooh. Ask me truth or dare!". The hub asked, he said "Dare" and it was on. B said, "I dare you to not talk for five minutes.". Both G and I snickered, because we knew it was close to impossible. He gave it a great try. When he got desperate to communicate, he wildly gestured...moving his fingers in strange patterns and trying to mouth words. Being in a booth in the back, the boy and I had the view of the restaurant while the others had the view of the televisions. The hub and G got up to make a trip to the restrooms. I kept watching the boy, smile on my face, finding him very funny as he gestured wildly so as not to fail the dare. Then, it happened. Have you ever felt like someone was staring at you only to find you were correct? I looked up to survey the restaurant and saw a family staring back at us, somewhat annoyed. I wasn't sure the reason for the attitude until they went back to sign language. My head dropped and there was a tug on my sleeve. The boy was gesturing again, trying to get his point across. I told him to start talking, please start talking. He wouldn't because I didn't issue the dare. The people kept staring at me, dagger looks galore. When B returned, I sent him a text to stop the dare because we were getting the stink eye. Finally, he started talking again and the people stopped staring so much. Way to go, parents of the year! We had a talk in the car about being sensitive and never making fun of people with differences. I know the boy wasn't making fun, but we needed to have a talk anyway. Just another stupid experience out in public. Sigh.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tough lessons

Technology is both a blessing and a curse. I am so grateful to have this handy iPad. It makes writing these little musing that much easier and portable. My children are thankful for their iPod Touches, for they help to pass the hours in the waiting rooms and on car trips. They have Kindle apps so they can have books at the ready. How could it be a curse? Sometimes I feel that they turn to quickly towards the technology instead of occupying themselves with good old crayons and paper. Ninety percent of their fights originate from the iPods, which causes me to curse. While all of this is fairly common for a lot of kids, we recently found out what a good learning tool the iPod is. One of the girls went recently for some time with a friend. Before she left, she ran back inside for a minute. I was tired enough that I didn't question her motives. She had grabbed her 'pod without discussing it with us. This was not an accident. Our policy is that your things are your responsibility and it will be so sad if it gets broken...whether by your hand or another's. Accidental or on purpose, too bad. While she was off somewhere else, smaller hands took hold to play with it and it was accidentally dropped. This is how it fared:

Not too good. The hands that dropped it were heartbroken and more than sufficiently remorseful and the parent even went out and purchased another to have upon the girl's return. She was fine with this outcome, but the smile turned back into a frown when my husband would not accept the generous gift. Sure it wasn't her fault, but she took it without discussion. Many tears and gnashing of teeth were to follow, but the hub did not budge. Luckily for her, the Apple Store has refurbed iPods that can be obtained for a reduced price. While we paid, initially, for the replacement, her cash payment and sweat equity is ours for quite a while, as is her brother's who was one part of the little hands. AND, with complaints about any extra chores come additional dollars to pay off.

Do you think we are mean? No disrespect, but it doesn't matter. She snuck it and it was broken. She'll think about that every time we have her scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush, after her brother has cleaned the toilet. It does hurt to exact punishment and consequences on them, but I'd rather teach her now.

Now it is off to finish camp packing. Our bed is the staging area:

I need to get going so we can sleep tonight. I'll be dreaming of Ziplocs.
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Friday, June 22, 2012

My kid is pretty sharp

Today has been full of blah and boring tasks. The girls are going to camp, so with that comes packing...and lots of it. I know that I have no right to complain about anything. I have healthy children, my husband has a job and we have a cool house to live in on these hot summer days. But I hate packing. Oh well. As my friend Ralph says, "It is what it is.". The packing needs to be done and it is getting done. Trips to Target were made to get last minute toiletries and trips to the doctor were made for last minute immunizations. That Hep A had to be tended to, much to the chagrin of S.

The day passed quickly. Dinner came and went. Then, the Just Dance 2 competition with the girl. I was doing alright until the Sugar Hill Gang's "Apache". Holy moly am I going to be sore tomorrow. Anyway, let me get to the point of this post.

Growing up, I had long hair. I mean long, super duper thick, auburn hair that I wore in two pigtails with ribbons everyday. My mom can braid faster than anyone I know, but she never could French braid. After cutting it and wearing it short all through high school, I decided to grow it out. By the end of my freshman year at college, it was long enough to pull up into neat hairstyles. My mom's dear friend, Mrs. Eyvonne Crowder(may she rest in peace), spent several hours with me teaching me how to French braid. First I practiced on her daughter and then was sent on my way to practice on my own. Oh my. Let's flash forward to today for just a second. In the mail came American Girl Magazine, which is always devoured with great gusto by my girls. This edition had a how-to on different types of braids. S set forth to teach herself how to do this on her own, hoping that she could do her own braids at camp. How sweet, I thought, but boy is she going to be frustrated. I don't think I will ever learn. This is how our experiences in learning differed:

She was doing remarkably well. I was very impressed. Flashback to me at 19 and I began to hang my head:

I had so much hair that luckily my insane attempts at braiding didn't effect the look, even with fistfuls coming out. Not my proudest moment. But I learned. I threw some profanities around, but I learned.

I must brag and show you her second attempt of the evening. Pretty good, I must say, and NO screaming.

Remind me never to underestimate the power of her determination. Cool girl, she is.
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

VBS is can I relax?

We had Vacation Bible School at church this week. As in years past, I was the crazy snack lady again. it ended today and while I love doing it, thank goodness it is over. I am exhausted. Our theme was "Operation Overboard" and was decorated with a lot of sea life and water. Fun stuff and fun snacks to discover. The first day is always a snck mix. It is easy because it makes a lot and we have leftovers for those with certain food allergies. We are peanut free, but some have more extensive allergies that require some creative thinking. Tuesday was a decorated cookie. We made them look like aquarium bowls:

Icing is always a hit for the kids one day and a jolt for the moms the next day when they drop some green stuff into the toilet. Gotta love those food dyes. Wednesday was our, well my, favorite day. We had sushi rolls and chopsticks for our utensils:

As my friend A said, no VBS is complete without creative use of a Rice Krispie Treat. With JuJu fish and a sliced up Froot by the Foot, they we're about the cutest things ever. And pretty tasty, too. Today is the traditional ice cream day, but we couldn't do just a plain cup. So we sprinkled a little bit of green and blue sugar on top to look like water. Sunning in the water was a gummy bear in his gummy saver Innertube. I did have someone ask me if the sprinkled sugar was sand. I had to admit I had never seen greenish blue sand. Anyhoo, this was today's treat...not the greatest picture:

The kids enjoyed them for the most part. There are a few every day who don't like it, but you can't please everybody.

I am glad I had another year in the kitchen. My children and I need a break from each other and this is a way to do that. I enjoy figuring out strange and fun snacks to make. I enjoy working with friends and laughing. It was a nice week...but I am glad it is over for the year. Time for bed.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ice cream or ice head?

My oldest is sleeping over at a friend's house tonight, so we felt like an ice cream treat was in order for the two left behind. While we usually go to the local and trendy frozen yogurt place, true ice cream felt appropriate in the sweltering heat. The kids got cotton candy ice cream in a cup, the hub got a milkshake and I got a scoop in a cone. Not really important to the story, but I just thought it might add interest. And yes, mine contained peanut butter. We received our treats and found seats so we could eat and people watch. For a super hot day, there weren't that many people there. But then "the couple" showed up. Quality not quantity, my friends. A couple showed up and, frankly, they did not look like they went together. We all have seen couples before that don't match up...that's not a bad thing, just a fact. The man, dressed in cargo shorts and a golf shirt, looked like he was a salesman for a window and siding company, taking clients out to eat at TGI Fridays and driving a Jeep Wrangler. His wife/girlfriend, whatever she was, had SHORT jean shorts and a tight tank top. A small aside, this was a trip where I truly felt out of olace as the most dressed adult female at the shop. Everyone else was fairly scantily clad. Not sure of what kind of action they thought they would find at an ice cream shop, but apparently I missed a memo. Her hair was very yellow and her skin was an exquisite likeness to a well used and close to retirement horse saddle, darkened and weathered from many rides...and not that's not "what she said.". From the side she appeared to have undergone some enhancements and from the front, she looked crazy. I know this all sounds mean and I don't mean it. It was just bizarre. She got a huge cone full of some very green ice cream and attacked it. That cone had to be trembling in fear. Never seen anything like it. I turned to see if my spouse or children were watching and they were. I did the "Don't stare" look at them and they averted their eyes. Her man was busy clicking pictures of the cone and sending it to everybody in his address book. His frozen treat was soon ready: a banana split in a bowl bigger than his woman's head. She got up, careful not to disturb his texting, picked up his split and set it in her lap. Switching the cone to her non dominant hand, she took the spoon and took several mouthfuls of it until he was ready to eat. Going back to her cone, she ate it and used her mouth in the same manner as a dog who had just been given a big spoonful of peanut butter: mouth opening wide, tongue flapping, a little bit of a distressed look on her face. And all the while, she could not stop moving. Legs bopping up and down, fingers tapping, neck and head moving all over. If not for the absence of rotted teeth and facial sores, I would bet she was on meth. Still not sure. When we got in the car, G asked, "Why did that lady eat her food like she was chewing gum?". You see? I am not the only one who sees this stuff.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I needs me a nanny

For those of you who have been to our house, you know we have a kitchen that has been torn up for two years. We started the process, ripped layer upon layer of flooring up. We leveled the floor, put new subfloor and underlayment down and then drip...drip...drip...drip...the upstairs bathroom decided to leak into the kitchen. So we then had to halt the kitchen remodel, gut the bathroom and fix it. All the while, the kitchen stays in a state of limbo. Uneven countertops, flooring covered with brown paper until the final layer is decided upon, too many things to mention. The best find was behind the backsplashish part of the counter...a wadded up newspaper advertising the release of a blockbuster new movie called "The Empire Strikes Back". We had quite of a chuckle at that find...after we almost cried at the condition of the wall when the two separated.

The tripping over paper covering and losing pieces of paper through the uneven countertops and the unattractive view of the oven guts where we removed UGLY faux wood paneling finally got to me. I then got to the hub, for we have picked up the remodeling right where we left off. Friday we went to Dixie Kitchens and met with Kevin the kitchen guy. I know we were probably a scary prospect coming in with two of the three children. He took our drawings, listened to our sad story of kitchen woes and asked us what we wanted and liked. He came out today, after I shut the kids and dog in the family room, and measured, looked at the weird, nooky anomalies in our kitchen, complimented me on the black accents in our breakfast room and told me it would break his heart if we painted our wood paneling. The man is wonderful and a saint to deal with someone as ignorant as me. Not insulting myself. I have no eye for design. After his visit I was brimming with joy...I was almost hopeful. This man knows his stuff. Then.....we went to a home improvement store. The sweet little man we gave our drawings to had finished a plan for us. So we went into the store at 7pm, three tired kids in toe, with an iPad and hopeful hearts. The watching of "Duck Dynasty" on iTunes held the attention of one. The boy spent the next hour and a half gathering every pamphlet, brochure and Formica chip in the store. He has decided to remodel his room and was getting ideas. Apparently it will be a bedroom /kitchen. The other one opened every door and drawer in every kitchen display. She made a mental note of all the cabinets, pulls and extras to tell us what we need. According to the specs she has given us, our kitchen will only cost about $100,000 with all the extras, not including labor. She wants only the best for her family. I got about 17 phone calls, which normally I don't that many in a week. Every time I would get up and walk away, the kids would scatter. I can't blame was torture.

Pray for us as we make decisions. These trips to do kitchen recon are going to send us all to padded rooms with rec time in our pj's. I just want to bake bread without tripping over something or having all the pans fall on top of my head from a makeshift storage place. All of these things without a massive therapy bill for the children. Is that too much to ask?

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Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm kind of tired

Today was day one of VBS at our church. Day one is usually mass chaos or at least quite a bit of chaos. Being the crazy snack lady, I am right in the middle of the fray getting allergy lists, classroom counts from my kitchen workers, among other things. I love to work in the kitchen and it is a popular place, but it is absolutely exhausting.

After VBS, we had to make a mad dash to swim lessons where we saw the strangest haircut on a kid that I have ever seen. I wish I could describe it, but I am at a loss. Kind of a sideways mullet, well no. Like one of those entertainer people who dresses half as a woman and half as a man, with the hair to match. Really short in one side and really long on the other....but on a sixth grader. Wha? That was a hard one to explain the boy, along with a lot of "Don't say that out loud...wait until we get in the car!". Still trying to wrap my head around that 'do.

I have been in a cleaning frenzy this afternoon. We have a kitchen designer coming tomorrow to sketch out our kitchen and give us some ideas. I'm a little intimidated by what he will think of our already torn up kitchen. Oh well. Too late now. If you are sitting in your kitchen listening to your scanner and a call comes up about a designer passing out in a kitchen from sheer shock and exhaustion, hopefully there won't be a spectacle going on over at our house. But I'm not feeling too confident.

Let's rest up and get ready to make rice krispie sushi rolls tomorrow. I know you're impressed.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!

I sure hope everyone has had lovely Father's Day today. I think my husband did. He was gently jolted from his slumber by children bearing breakfast in bed and handmade cards and gifts. Tradition in our house, disturbing for others. After breakfast and some "pile the whole family in the bed" time, we commenced to getting ready for the day.

Because of lots of reasons, I have not seen the cousins on my Dad's side of the family for several years now. Nothing bad happened, just life. It has been a source of great sadness and failure for me and one that I hoped to rectify. Today I was able to get my wish. We saw my cousin John and his wife, two boys and a friend today. The kids got along so well and had a great time. The boy was in Heaven getting to play with all those big boys. It was funny to see how much he looked like his cousins, amazing. My heart was happy to have new cousins for the kids to play with and restored relationship with my cousin.

We are now home, the kids are in bed readying for VBS and Iam blogging and snoozing. The hub is playing the boy's DS and waiting for some sort of decent program. All is well....

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

I wish I had read this at 5

I am a reader and have been since I was a young pup. The pleasure of getting lost in a book is a rarity these days, but I indulge whenever possible. Also, I have always been a fan of suspense and scary. I voraciously read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson and any other similar book in college. I guess after having to read heavy psychological research for my major or Shakespeare and Dickens for my minor, simple but fun was what I needed. These days bring with them a plethora of books that satisfy one's need for the classics, a good dose of history and a scare to wake you up. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", "Abraham Lincoln: Zombie Hunter" and "Unholy Night" have taken weird classic creepiness to a whole new place. I mean, how could Jane Austen and zombies not go together like peanut butter and chocolate?

Well, my friends, I have found the book today that would have changed the direction of my life at five...if only I had found it then. The fam and I went to the insane close out store Ollie's today and found a children's book close out. Being a lover of children's literature, I was as excited as the kids were to see what they had. "Madeline" and generic books, all good, but not very satisfying. Then a gasp rose up from G and she said, "Oh, Mom! This book was written for you!". I was curious to see what this important literature was. Here you go:

Oh. My. Good. Grief. The world stopped turning, the sound left Ollie's. I had found my prize for the day. If you are wondering, "Jenny, is it really as good as it looks?", I can tell you, brothers and sisters, that it is excellent. I have a couple examples to show you.

Jane is innocently playing dress up and house with the vampire as her baby. A couple pages later, after Dick reveals himself as vampire's father, Jane's beloved vampire baby turns into a bat and flies away...leaving the siblings flummoxed as to the supernatural anomaly they had just witnessed.

Dick has obviously become used to Vampire as tame, moving him aside in the closet so as to complete his chores. The sad thing that we all know: just like with wild animals, when vampires get used to humans they become more familiar and more dangerous. Please, Dick and Jane, be so careful. Vampires don't mean to drain you of your lifeblood, but if you keep dressing him up and letting Spot bark at him, your story will not end well. I love this book. Love. Love. Love the book, Jane. Love the book, Dick. Love the book, Vampire.
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Injections and Neti pots and cabinets, oh my!

Jam packed day today, folks. The hub received injection número tres today at the KOC Surgery center. Something happened today that has never happened at a doctor's office before: the doc was ahead of schedule and was screaming for patients to work on. We were there a good fifteen minutes early and he was taken back before his arrival time. Unheard of as far as I know! He went back, the usual steps again and I sat out at the "wireless bar" area. It was unfortunate that my seat was directly under the tv blaring Bieber on the Today Show. Fortunately for me, I had started the process of downloading "DuckDynasty" season 1 on iTunes. Jase, Willie, Phil, Si and the crowd entertained me throughout the procedure. That and Jack McBrayer and Triumph the Insult Dog's trip to "The Weiner's Circle" in Chicago. Since it is my blog, I laughed so hard, I lost my mind. It is not for the easily offended. I laughed so hard I cried, which made my nose run, which made me get the Neti pot and try and take advantage of the forward progress with my congestion. Meh. Not much progress.

We also spent a good chunk of time with kitchen designer, Kevin, today. He was obviously a little unsure of the children, but quickly found out that they are pretty well behaved. By the time we left, a hour and 15 minutes later, my head was swimming with cabinet color and style choices. Grains and knots and glaze and stains. Too overwhelming.

Lastly, Nick Wallenda wire walks over Niagra Falls tonight. Let's pray for his safety and hope we are discussing his dramatic and triumphant finish tomorrow. It'll be a nailbiter for sure!!!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Short, but...short

I am so congested and tired at this point, I have no energy to put two words together. Okay, obviously I do, but not without great effort. My kids were troopers today. Shirt shopping and emergency nuisance banking(long story another day), so they had to be extra good and patient and quiet. I painted the remaining trim piece in our bathroom and did some laundry. Excitement galore. I will tell you about my evening another time. My picture has not come down from the cloud yet.

Please say a prayer for the hub. He goes in for his third injection tomorrow. I am just praying that this will be the one. He has got to get better and this is our only hope for a few months. I may blog from the waiting room tomorrow when I have had some sleep. As for now, I will commence to slumbering....

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Well I'm an idiot

Lots of strange things went on today that are way too hard to explain. One of the highlights of the day was getting to use my new Keurig coffee maker this morning. My Tervis tumbler was filled with French Vanilla to the oohs, ahs and delight of my children. Uh, yum and yay for a little caffeine pick me up.

I had to go to my favorite store, Williams-Sonoma, to get a gift. My children had just come from being at the pool for lessons and play. They were ravenous as we all are after spending time in the pool. I should have known better than to proceed. Once they found out our destination the cry of "Free Samples" came from the backseat. What sad faces they had when we arrived to find an empty platter. As hard a they tried to be good, the shiny treasures and ultra expensive appliances were too much to resist. I looked to find the boy demonstrating how his buddy's dad squirted whipped cream right in his mouth using the $30 stainless whipped cream dispenser. He was disappointed it was empty. They then spotted what appeared to be free samples, only to find that they were seconds away from taking a mouthful of various dry rubs for barbecuing. Maybe I should have let them try some. Lesson learned. I know they were bothering me more than they were bothering anyone else, but their movements were very covert, but I'm so on to them. The store had their rude staff in today, so the lady practically ripped the box from my hand when she saw I was carrying it. "Are you actually going to buy that?". Um, well, that's up for debate right about now. I was rushed through checkout, snapped at when giving them my email address. They at least were kind enough to offer the kids a sample of ice cream. When I declined a sample after explaining that my cold had robbed me of my sense of taste, she turned her back on me with a "Whatever.". The kids pulled a sample recipe card from every single display and I didn't grump at them at all. I don't care too much for retail attitude. I quickly thought of going to the Apple Store, but as hungry and tired as they were, I knew better. They are good children. Sometimes I forget they are children and expect them to be adults. My mistake. I must make a confession here and now. As the mother of a little boy, I have sometimes had a moment of weakness. After being at the pool, my son uses the bathroom like he has taken in a quarter of it. We often have the discussion of you do NOT drink the pool water. He hasn't grasped the concept yet. So when we arrived at the mall, he was in bad shape bladder wise. The hopping in place began inside the car and running in place began on the asphalt. I opened both doors to shield him and let him go. I know I created a biohazard in the parking lot, but I was honestly shocked. I started counting, it took so long. If it was a half gallon, would not be shocked at all. Will he hate me some day if he ever reads this? Probably, but it's out there. Just add it to his therapy bill.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Growing excitement

I love a garden. There is nothing more satisfying than taking seeds or seedlings and growing them into tasty delights for the dinner table. When the hub and I were first married, we lived in a little house on big parcel of land. We grew a large garden and had the best fun harvesting the bounty. I called my more than thrilled grandmother and got canning advice. We put up all kinds of tomatoes and hot pepper jelly. We made zucchini bread, we dried hot peppers for chili and we enjoyed refreshing cukes and squash for dinner. When we moved to Knoxville, our first house did not have a yard that would support a garden. We mourned the loss of our own fresh veggies and couldn't wait for the day when we had a more appropriate yard. In our current house, we again struggled to find a good spot for planting. We have lots of woods and we needed to do some figuring to fit a garden in somewhere. This year we did it! We now have two square beds and one rectangle garden bed with room for an additional bed when we get time. I have planted an herb garden, a pepper garden, a mixed tomato/cuke/pepper garden and two 5 gallon drums with zucchini and yellow squash. Exciting, right?

Today I went out for my daily check of any progress. This, to the delight of my children and myself, is what I found:

The boy's addiction: baby tomatoes.

Jalapeño peppers. I have also planted cayennes as well.

These are carrot ball seedlings. We found a strange type of carrot that grows into a one inch ball. The kids are the most excited about these.

As the granddaughter of a West Virginia farm girl, I find such satisfaction in the growing, harvesting and canning of fresh produce. It feels like such an accomplishment. So if I put up copious amounts of fresh produce, forgive me. I am just so excited and feel like my Granny is smiling down. It's a good feeling.
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Well bye-bye 30's

It has happened. Sigh. I haven't dealt with it well, I'll admit it. This, among other things, didn't help:

Thankfully, I do not look like this...yet. I did get a thoughtfully filled bag brimming with items useful for my station in life: Efferdent, liners in case of accidents, castor oil in case of back ups. I know you're saying, "Nice haul, Jenny. Nice haul.". What can I say? I've got connections. I baked some bread, got lots of nice calls and texts, took the kids to swimming lessons, watched Iron Man 2, had tasty dinner with my wonderful husband and children and had a nice long talk with my oldest friend, Sarah.

I did not go gentle into this fortieth year. While I am blessed beyond measure, I must admit that I am not what I thought I would be at 40. I thought I would be financially more helpful to the household. I thought I would be 100lbs lighter and playing in a field hockey league for grown ups, when my water polo and soccer careers finally went south. I thought I would have a freezer stocked with perfectly catalogued meals at the ready for any occasion, surprise guest or emergency meal for a friend in need. I thought I would be the premiere steam punk sock puppet artist to the rich and famous like the Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson. I thought that my dream of meeting both Weird Al and Gene Hackman(not necessarily at the same time)would have come true. But, alas, none of these have come to fruition. What I do have is this: a wonderful husband who loves me for me, three of the kindest and most caring children I only thought existed in dreams, friends who challenge and torture me each day, family who helps me weather all of life's storms and a God who made it all possible. Watch out I come.
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Emotional day...#5,478

Sheesh. That's all I know to say. It started off innocently enough, until we went to church. Wait, that sounds wrong. Being a Methodist, we have the blessing and curse of itinerant ministers. Let me explain that before you think me more of weirdo than usual. While some churches get one minister who stays until they are ready to retire or make a change, our church moves their pastors around every handful of years. While this can in some cases be a good thing if the fit of congregation and minister is not a beneficial one, it often feels like a curse. Our beloved senior pastor of ten years, Jim W., preached his last sermon as our minister today before he retires and rides through the countryside with his lovely bride. As a child, I enjoyed many of our ministers but never understood why my parents cried when ours left....always in June around my birthday. As an adult who has a husband and children...who has lived a life and experienced the greatest highs and the lowest lows, I now know the meaning of the tears I saw my parents shed. Pastor Jim has come to the hospital and baptized two of our children. He comforted us during the heartbreak of miscarriage and the death of grandparents. He has jumped up and down in the middle of a sea of preschoolers with my son and taken a full body blow from G trying to wrestle him. He visited me in the hospital after I stupidly wore sandals to pick berries and got a spider bite and staph and strep, a four day stay and "Popeye Leg", as my brother called it. He has answered tough theological questions from the children that we have, sometimes lazily, suggested he could answer better. In a nutshell, he's been a busy man over the last 10 years. And that is just with our craziness.

When he ended his sermon, I don't think there was a dry eye in the sanctuary. Whether it be merely teary or the major ugly cry, we were all moved. Thank you, Jim, for your service and devotion for so many years. God spoke to us through you so many times and we are so grateful. Enjoy your time with Judy and the family. We will miss you but look forward to stalking your home for Cheetos at Halloween. Keep safe and pedal away.

Oh yeah. These are my last couple of hours in my 30's and I've shed a few tears about that as well. More on that later.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lovely evening for a wedding

Today we made a trip to Lowe's for a Kid's Workshop. I am not ashamed to take advantage of any opportunity for my child to make something for free AND hone her hand tool skills. Some parents have a tendency to make it more of a "Parent's Workshop and Yelling Session", pounding their two year old's ego by criticizing the way they hold a hammer or incorrectly use wood glue. I do like to have my kids learn the correct way to use a tool, but when the tool weighs more than their arm? Come on.

After completely short circuiting my brain with kitchen cabinet options at Lowe's(my Mom's Workshop), we felt it necessary to give the dog a spa treatment...complete with mani-pedi, shedding and a bath:

She was not overly impressed, but was about 10 pounds lighter after all that hair was gone.

We quickly cleaned up and went to see the beautiful wedding of our friend, Christina. What a beautiful ceremony and a bride who looked like a princess! The reception was a hopping place with wonderful food, a lavender lemonade that I need to get the recipe for and a photo booth. We all had a great time being silly and sending our love to the happy couple. The bride tore it up on the dance floor and so did lots of others. S was almost ready to break it down, but I think she got a little self conscious. Before you even ask, I did not display my super dance moves this evening. But let me be clear, I may be a big girl but I can bust a move when necessary....just not when Mucinex-D is impairing my balance.

Many years of happiness to the happy couple. It was a lovely evening and we were honored and blessed to be there.

Time for bed and some heavy allergy meds, with dreams of lavender lemonade and princesses dancing in my head.
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Friday, June 8, 2012

We are party animals...

Because I have impaired breathing and sinuses that are making my teeth feel like Mike Tyson punched them, we have not had a very exciting day. I mowed, which was a bit stupid. I took Mucinex-D, so the "D" was making me think I could do anything....oh so not true. After cleaning up from mowing, I took a nap under my favorite blue blanket and woke up unsure of where I was. We took a girl swimming and then went to Wasabi for my early birthday dinner. The younger two are not super fans of that place, so we took advantage of their absence to go. Always fun but I wish I could have tasted the food. S enjoyed herself, so that's good enough for me. She and I are now snuggled up ready to watch part one of the Deathly Hallows.

My happy news to report is that S has no cavities. We saw our beloved dentist, Dr. Mark, and we're pleased with a happy tooth report.

So blessed to have a good friend and dentist all in one. He's a keeper! With that said, I'll make sure she brushes her teeth after the movie. Night all...
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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Queen of Blah

I have little to say this evening. I can breathe out of only one nostril, which makes everything a little off. I am feeling the need to do something productive, but I don't know what. I have an overwhelming feeling of dread that I cannot shake. I am in need of divine intervention when it comes to planning for and creating VBS snacks. And I feel terribly lonely. As I have said before, Summer is a strange time for me. While I hate getting the kids up so early and homework and stress and blah blah blah during the school year, I have regular interaction with other adults. In the Summer months, we have fewer demands on us and more freedom to have fun. But there are fewer opportunities for me to chat with the over 10 crowd. Lots of time to think and stew and become paranoid about what makes me a reject in the friend material bin. Low, low times.

On that note, I am accessing Netflix and watching the documentary "Being Elmo". Duck Dynasty is not on tonight. My loss. Debbie Downer...out.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Storage Wars for now...Duck Dynasty for dessert

While I am cleaning and atraightening and packing various containers away, I must have some entertaining background noise. We all know my mad and undying love for the boys over at Duck Commander on Duck Dynasty. We have watched every episode on demand more times than I can count, have purchased some episodes on iTunes and watched every clip I can find on YouTube. I admit I have a more exciting life than most. This evening Storage Wars has been playing back to back episodes. I find this show entertaining and would love to spend the day with Barry Weiss. What drives me crazy is when "The Gambler" puts the statement "dollar bill" after every estimated worth. "The 7 armed vintage Johnson rod there? It's worth at least a 56 dollar bill!". "Those Home a interior paintings? They're a 36 dollar bill all day long.". The hub and I have been to many an auction and have heard many an auctioneer say all kinds of funny things. Larry Linkous in Virginia had a little sing songy ending to each lot: "This oil lamp is going going gone for a 42 dollar biiii-iilll!". Love me an auction, but I like to know what I am buying. That's why I couldn't do storage lockers. Too many unknowns. Waaaay to many.

Enough of Storage Wars. My guys at Duck Dynasty are on. I gots to go....

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Melancholy day

I miss my Granny today. Well I miss her every day, but today has been particularly sad...for no real particular reason. I guess that's not completely true. We went to the grocery store and while in the juice section, I saw this:

My grandmother was a creature of habit. She loved her routine, thrived because of it. Every morning she got up, went to the kitchen and turned on her hot tea pot, headed to the bathroom where she took her meds, got dressed, had half a banana(for her potassium) and then headed to her chair. It was there where she put her hearing aids in, put her nitro patch on and got settled. At that point, either my aunt or mom or uncle or myself would bring her some nicely sweetened hot Lipton tea, a freshly toasted and buttered piece of Old Mill Sweet French bread and a cup of Orange Peach Mango juice. It used to be that we had trouble finding that particular type of juice. That type of bread was only baked on certain days, so my aunt ordered it ahead of time. Looking in her extra freezer in the garage, it looked like a breakfast stockpile. Rows of bread on the shelves and the door stocked neatly with frozen juice. The big treat for the grandchildren was to come at breakfast time and share some toast, tea and juice with Granny. She enjoyed her breakfast routine, but enjoyed sharing time with the little ones even more.

I hadn't seen that juice in a while. We don't drink a lot of juice at our house, so it is kind of off my radar. But I spotted it and my heart just burned. My grandmother was the first to be called with any kind of news. She delivered it to the rest of the family, proud in the knowledge that she knew the info first. When we went shopping, we went to her house first to have "Show and Tell" and let her see the fruits of our labors. In the lonely Summer months, I would take the kids over to play in the sprinkler while she watched out the window. She passed away 3 years ago this coming July and it still feels like yesterday.

As much as I miss her, I am so grateful for the gift she was to me. My life is richer having been raised with her influence. What a Granny.....
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Monday, June 4, 2012

She's baaa-aaaaack

My safety patrol is back from her DC adventure. She is tired, sore and full of stories. What a homecoming they had! Since I did not go to drop her off, I had no idea the scope of what was going on over there at the mall(that's where everyone gathered to leave and depart). The parking lot was jammed full of anxious grown ups, waiting for their children to return. Some had huge bunches of balloons, some had posters. I felt like a crappy parent, for I had neither balloons nor posters. Then the helicopter came flying into the mall airspace, signaling that the buses were entering the vicinity. Next the sirens were heard in the distance and the caravan arrived. First several police vehicles came towards us, then the long stream of buses...31 I think. Happy faces waving from every window, screaming parents and siblings. Then they came pouring out of the buses with their AAA hats on, looking exhausted and happy. I had to hold G and the boy back, fearing we would lose them in the crowd. The love fest commenced and it was sweet to see. We picked up her picture on the Capitol steps, said our goodbyes and got the heck out of there. We've heard several stories, started her load of laundry and gotten her into bed. I can't wait to hear more. This trip was really such a wonderful experience. She said, "I missed you all, but I felt so responsible. It was a really nice feeling.". That makes it all worth it right there.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

One more night...

We, here at the ranch, are walking around a bit disjointed. The mood isn't quite as energized as it normally tends to be. Heck, the boy is so off kilter, he's gotten a bit delirious:

Before you inquire about our plywood and carpet runner decor, just know he was in the basement. When you have the decorating flair, you just have way to teach it. **Cough cough**. Anyhoo, we're all a bit off, even more than usual. Just like a clock needs all its cogs and gears to keep time, our family needs all of its heartbeats together to feel complete. I know I talk about how the kids are at each other all the time, but they are equally as despondent when one is gone. And while I get so angry at them when they fight, my heart just swells when I see the love they really do have for each other. As a stay at home mom, I have my identity wrapped up in my children. That can be good and bad. When one is gone, I really feel a sense of loss...a hollow feeling of emptiness. Tomorrow all the heartbeats will be back under one roof. I honestly am unsure as to whether I will even sleep tonight, I'm so excited.

We just had our nightly chat with S. Because they were a bit off schedule today, they got into their rooms late which meant shorter talking time due to lights out. They have to get all packed up and ready for bed in less than a half hour's time. The report was as follows:
1. 6.2 miles of walking
2. It snowed at Mt. did.
3. A girl lost her iPod, but Capitol security found it and returned it to her.
4. That "Duncan Guy" was nice...our representative, John Duncan, Jr..
5. The tape on all of the doors of our school's kids, the tape to see if anyone has been out causing trouble, had been ripped off. The teacher went to hotel security to look at the films. Hardcore. Somehow I think bad things are in store for the culprits.
6. Last, but not at all least, everyone is still getting along and she has not lost her iPod.

I'm sure we have just the tip of the iceberg in terms of information. I cannot wait to hear the rest...
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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Looking for fun things to do

Because S is on her DC trip, we have felt the need to provide some enjoyable activities to fill those fight free hours for G and the boy. Yesterday, in between monsoons, I took them to see The Avengers for a second time. Yes. I did it. And it was just as enjoyable during round two. That was some fun.

This morning we slept in and then decided to go have a bagel at Panera. After sitting next to a table of the most clueless, arrogant dinkwads who had no filter, we left with a wide-eyed G who is still owed a 7 year old's version of what a misogynist is. Nice. To make up for this unfortunate turn at breakfast, we traveled to our favorite Home Depot to see Bob the builder at the Kid's Workshop. I knew it was going to be an interesting time when this greeted us in the parking lot:

I love the smell of El Camino in the's like, like, um, not victory. The kids had fun building their organizers and showing off their hammer wielding skills.

We got to see toothless couples pushing each other on lumber carts yelling, "Where's the return desk? I got me a dud!". Yes, we had lots of lessons about not pointing and staring today. After getting our soil, compost and pepper plants, we headed home to have lunch and do some yard stuff. I mowed my diagonals and then put the peppers in the ground. The kids were chomping at the bit for another "fun" activity, so what could be more fun than vacuuming out Daddy's car? The cheers that went up made us realize that our children have set their standards very low for fun...which makes us feel less than great in the cool parents department.

The boy got into his work. His size really worked to our advantage. G stepped it up as well. She is a beast with that industrial vacuum!

We got the last remnants of Spring Soccer 2012 out of there...thank goodness.

After a frustrating trip to the grocery store where everything that wasn't hanging from the ceiling was touched by the kids, we were ready to head to check out. We were having trouble making a decision in the ice cream section. Luckily, Captain America in his civvies helped us out:

The kids are now in bed with visions of wood glue, industrial vacs and creepy bagel patrons dancing in their heads. We talked to S who informed us she had walked 8.4 miles today, watched an orangutan's poop fall from the sky(but did not find it picture worthy) and got bad leg cramp walking at Arlington. What more does a parent need to have in life than these things? I think nothing.
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Friday, June 1, 2012

She's off

We got up at 4:30 this morning and got her up at 4:45. Putting contacts in at that time is apparently difficult, but she muddled through. After she got dressed, I did her hair for bus travel and required hat wearing:

Not too bad for a half asleep mommy. She gently woke her siblings up and gave them hugs and kisses before going downstairs for her breakfast. Almost too nervous to eat, she choked down some homemade bread and juice...constantly checking the time and fretting about punctuality. Then, after prayers and bigs hugs, she was gone. Ready to embark on her great adventure. We decided I would stay home with the youngers and the hub would take her then go on to work. After several texted pictures of her with friends or on the bus, they left out in an enormous caravan.

We have monitored Twitter, getting reports and pictures of all the red-shirted kids eating lunch at the rest stop. We've been a bit nervous after hearing of funnel cloud reports on the Beltway, but have to pray she's in good hands. We anxiously await the text saying she is in her room and we can call for her first update. We'll let you know how the adventure is progressing.
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