Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Spy...a guy who resembles Bill Cosby

S arrives home in an hour or so and the youngers are wanting to accompany us to church to pick her up. Sleep is a much loved and much used commodity around this house, so going out of the house after 10 is pretty much unheard of here. I hit my limit of Scooby Doo last night, so I invoked Mom Law and decided to put on a DVD of my choosing. It is one of my many goals and hopes for my children to watch, learn and appreciate classic television...before computers and all the hoity toity stuff. Seeing as how they are super fans of the Cosby Show, I felt it only appropriate to show them the 1965 classic television series, "I Spy", wtih Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. To see them in all their coolness, looking slick and hanging out in exotic locations is to watch fun TV. Since I have a big brother, I grew up watching all the spy shows we could find on VHS and late night reruns on USA and WGN. The kids have already experienced and love "The Man From U.N.C.L.E". Why not give them the gift of a pre-pudding popped Cosby? The pre-Greatest American Hero Culp? How could you not love this show? The kids are somewhat entertained, trying to make it past their bedtime. Happy viewing, kids:

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reverse "Breaking Amish" potential

Tomorrow night we will have all of our heartbeats back under one roof. This has been an interesting summer vacation for sure. Having a child who is now considered a youth adds a strange and interesting twist to the activities we have to be aware of these days. I am certainly glad for her opportunities and for the fact that she is growing up and gaining more independence all the time. Part of her choir trip this week has been spent in Pennsylvania, some exploring our nation's history(Independence Hall, etc.) and some exploring a simpler way of living(Amish Country). I know she was excited about seeing Independence Hall since she is both a history lover and a "National Treasure" lover. When I went to PA as a kid and saw the Amish and learned about their way of life, I found it quite fascinating. I remember stopping in one of their stores and sampling various exotic Amish made jellies with little spoonfuls on oyster crackers. My brother and I were loving it! Then a few years later I saw "Witness" and learned that they apparently are a great place to heal and hide wounded police detectives...and suffocate and kill crooked ones. As technology-fied as our kids are these days, I was very interested to see how S and her friends would enjoy touring Amish country. I knew she would enjoy seeing the crafts they make, the beautiful quilts, the woodwork. But I had no idea of this...until she explained:

Somehow I think they might eat a bit more variety, but they do have tasty denying that.

I'll be happy to have everyone back in one place...even if it will take 5.789503 minutes for them to get on each others' nerves. They love hard and fight hard. Keeps things interesting for sure.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Caution: Nature can be awkward

With the girls gone, the boy is craving interaction with people. Well, especially people besides me who are between the ages of 9 and 11...and are female...and are related to him by blood. I weighed several options for activities today and decided the best, and most potentially exhausting, option was to go to the zoo. So we packed up the Bean bag with water and Goldfish and made our way to the zoo. CAUTION: The following sentences may be awkward for some as they are of a stark animal reality kind of business. Not trying to be gross, but 6 year old boys point out lots of things.

We checked the events for the day and decided to head in our usual direction. It is always a fine strategy we devise when we go, because sometimes we run into large groups and have to decide whether the animal is worth seeing enough to be held up by the large group. Today we did a lot of "We'll see that on our way back through" kind of looking. That is the benefit of having a zoo pass also. We can catch it the next time around. We heard that there was free giraffe feeding for zoo members, so we headed there with great haste and conviction only to find that it was not happening. At least not at that time. The boy wanted to get on with things and go to the newer exhibit, so we hoped for a later feeding and moved on down the path. Little did I realize that we were headed right into my worst nightmare. For those of you who don't this about me, when I have a dream I can remember, it is one to remember. Like the time I dreamt that Michael Musto, former reporter for The Village Voice followed me home from Kroger and wanted to know why I wouldn't read his column(I had no access to the Village Voice at the time):

I still get a little anxious when I turn on "E" and see him talking about a particular celebrity. So when we walked into the next exhibit, I had to channel my relaxation breathing from childbirth to get through it. The dream I had involving this animal was so terrifying, I woke up screaming and in a cold sweat:

Baboons. Holy moly are they terrifying, especially when they look you dead in the eyes, walk over to the window where you are standing and proceed to unleash every bit of urine they have stored with the pressure equalled only to that of the machine we use to clean off our patio every Spring. And right at you, like if they could cut through the window and hit you with it they would. Of course, the boy thought that was hilarious. They were interesting to watch during their training session and were only slightly less terrifying as they sucked down bottles of apple juice. After we escaped, much to my relief, we found ourselves at the blue monkey pen, just in time to watch them introducing a new female to the group. Several vets, volunteers and zoo officials were all armed with hoses and fire extinguishers, ready to distract the male if he got too rough. The boy decided he wanted no part of a live performance of animal on animal violence, so he moved on quickly. And then it happened. We went to see the African Wild Dogs. Oh how I wish I had just said, "That's where the cheetahs used to be, but since the all died they haven't put anything there." But I could not lie to my child...especially with their big picture right in front of his face. So with the wild dogs, just like in the famous silly children's book, everybody poops. One of the poor dogs was having a particularly hard time passing whatever rope-like stuff it had ingested earlier. If you have ever had a dog, you know they strain and scoot and walk and strain and lather rinse repeat. In the spirit of dogdom and friendship, its companion in the exhibit was assisting the dog by biting the offending feces and pulling it out...and then having it for a snack. I WARNED YOU...NO CAUTIONED YOU!! I stood there somewhat frozen, looking at my boy and thinking, "What would Walt Disney have said about this in a documentary?" when the boy readjusted is stance, looked a little closer and said, "Well, that's odd. Never thought of doing it that way." Then he took his glasses off, cleaned them, took one more look at the situation and said, "Moving on." It took everything I had not to laugh right at him. He acted like he was about 45 during the whole process. After seeing that, seeing various animals in acts of reproduction didn't much ruffle him. He even tamed a nasty gator:

To those who are offended, I am sorry. The zoo is never dull. Ever. Just ask the hub sometime about the giant tortoises. He is scarred for life.
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

All by myselfffff...and it is too quiet

So with the girls gone, we thought we would do some more boy centric activities in their absence. He wanted to play xbox. He played xbox, but with his dad because that thing makes me crazy queasy and I don't want my boy having childhood memories of vomit soaked Lego Indiana Jones. Those aren't good for anybody. He got to change seats at the kitchen table and watch superheroes while he ate his sandwich. The kid dreams big. We didn't want an afternoon of video games, but were not relishing the thought of sticky playgrounds. So we drove around and did some Sunday driving and looking at things. During that time, the hub and I decided that he would take the boy to a Smokies baseball game. I, sadly enough, would have to say behind. I actually love baseball games, but had been given clear instructions by the powers that be that I needed to be at the Church Council meeting this evening. I did not want to find out the result of defying this order, so I stayed home. So the boys left to watch the game. I sat through a meeting. Afterwards, I got a sandwich and went home. I ate the sandwich and then kind of sat and stared at the wall. There are lots of things to do, but what do I do. I sent a few tweets out. Texted with S and spoke with G. The quiet was unsettling. I know most people relish in it and I am sure I will someday. But my body couldn't really relax until I heard the door slam and two little boy feet running down the hall. Since his arrival home he has flipped his body somehow, soaked the bathroom post shower and has hit his head on the footstool while hanging up a towel. That takes talent. That's my boy and I'll take his ruckus over silence any time.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Yapping fo the heck of it

My oldest left today on her first ever youth choir trip. She was so excited she could hardly stand herself. I know that she was excited about singing and traveling and being with her friends, but I think she was even more excited about arm knitting. Arm knitting, you say? Yep. One of the rising senior girls announced that they would be learning to "arm knit" on the bus if anyone wanted to learn. They had to bring two skeins of thick yarn and be ready to have fun. Well, crafty kid here couldn't wait and was also concerned that two of her friends had left early and had not heard the announcement. SO we bought extra at JoAnn's yesterday...luckily it was on clearance and didn't bring on heart palpitations when viewing the price. We agreed that her friends would choose their favorite colors first and S would take what was left. She wisely chose three different colors she could live with and we hurried home. Flash forward to this afternoon. I went in the choir room to wait with other parents who were seeing their children off on the adventure. The three girls were carrying their ziplocs full of yarn, ready to get on the bus and begin their lesson. Maybe 90 minutes after they left, she texted that she and her friend B had finished their first scarves. Really? Me: Did you really use bothe thigs of yarn? Um, that was kind of fast. S: Yes. I can't wait for winter to wear this. I love it! So, friends and family, if you wonder what the little package under the tree is from my oldest, just remember: arm knitting.

In the absence of his sisters, the boy is somewhat lost for activities to do. He talked a big game, running around the church lawn as the bus left pounding his chest and yellig "FREEDOM!!!". After he wore his father out playing Lego Batman on the XBox, he decided to lay on me for a little bit and watch the Turtleman. Then we played with Uncle Mike's childhood Hot Wheels. The whole time these activities were happening, he talked. Constantly. And I did not see him take a breath. It was impressive and a great test as to the strength of our patience. We got in the car to go for a drive, talked. In the parking lot, talked. While I was on the phone, talked. During his dessert, talked. All through his shower, talked. I honestly think the freedom he announced to the world could best be described as freedom to speak. Not freedom of speech, but to actually speak. With two big sisters he gets words in, but not that many. Let me tell you, cats and kittens, he is making up for lost time. Our ears are tired...but he was sleeping happily as soon as his head hit the pillow. Nice. Talked himself to sleep. Whatever it takes, people.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Trees down and almost Philly bound

Today we woke up to a beautiful sunny day. We haven't had so many of those this summer and my mood brightened at the sight of it. I then remembered that the tree guys were coming to help rid our yard of some insurance nightmares. I had saved out a little mad money to take the kids to Panera, thinking we had plenty of time before our guys came. We opened the garage door to find three men in orange vests, tanned skin and very white smiles waiting for us. I took one of them around back and showed him the two trees, draped in pink marking tape thanks to the hub. There was a bit of a language barrier, but after a bit of pointing and sign language we had an understanding about which trees were to go and where the chipper could stay. Sweet men for sure. Still feeling a bit nervous with the communication issues, I flew like the wind to Panera to get breakfast to go. We arrived home in time to watch the whole preparation of the first tree. After the first crank of the chainsaw, the kids lost their nerve and had to go to a different room. I watched with great interest:

Didn't want them to think I was a total weirdo, so that was as good a picture as I could get.

S is getting ready for her very first choir tour as a middle schooler. She is beyond excited. After a few stops, they will be going to Philly and Amish country and lots of exciting places. I could only hope she could see some Amish guys who look like Alexander Godunov or Viggo Mortensen...but then we don't want a "Witness" situation while she's in a bathroom at the Independence Hall tourist center. Sorry, went a little 1985 film on you all. She's been plenty of places without us, but this will be the farthest she's ever gone without a family member. I know she'll be fine. I'm a nervous mom.

On a completely different note, if you will, please keep my cousin and his wife in your prayers. No sign of infection yet, but the fear is still there. We are so very thankful things weren't worse. So very thankful.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Oh no, avocado

So, I think there are seasons with everything. With hobbies, with television shows, even with friendships sometimes. Tonight, I've determined that my season has come and gone with...avocados. When S went through her "significant health event", she had to be on a low fat diet. When we met with the GI doc's nutritionist, she said she could have some foods that had good fats in them, like avocados. My child was beyond thriled because this meant she could have guacamole. The kid loves that stuff. So we went to Salsarita's immediately after the appointment and purchased what seemed like a vat of the stuff. I restrained myself and only had a little. Pretty darn tasty. Fast forward to Sunday. We decided, since our tomatoes were coming in, that we would have BLT's for dinner. I mean, bacon makes most things better, right? Even if it is veggie bacon or tofubacon or faux bacon. Strolling around Kroger's produce section, I saw avocados. You know, that sounds good...bacon and tomato and avocado and spinach(that's our "L"). So I got a few and tried it. Wonderful...just wonderful. We fried enough bacon that we were able to have leftovers for the next day. Just as succulent the next day. So tonight I decided to have another one to accompany my not so nutritious chicken tender dinosaurs. I can't hardly talk about it now. My stomach has been in knots and I have been on the verge of spewing since about 6pm. While I know it is very likely the chicken tenders, I think the mixture of the two was a less than wise choice. Kind of like the time my Granny decided to mix melon balls of various types with Dunkin Donut Munchkins. You think, healthy with the not so healthy. She was sick all night. So I think that in the Byrd's alternate lyrics for "Turn, Turn, Turn" they probably say: A time for hot dogs a time for slaw. A time for eggs but not for egg nog...a time for av-o-ca-dos...a time to refrain from guacamole...". McGuinn and Crosby might have liked that version. My untapped talent.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Worried but grateful

Today I am grateful. Worried but grateful. We got a call from my aunt today about her oldest son, my 1st cousin. He and his family live on the water. What a wonderful experience to have growing up, enjoying such a wonderful environment. Yesterday evening they went out in their boat. The details are unclear, but there was an accident. The kids are physically okay, but I'm sure will have some worries and fears from the experience. My cousin and his wife are currently in the hospital having received severe lacerations from the boat's prop. She will hopefully be discharged tomorrow, but will have to be with family in a home with few stairs. He will be in the hospital a bit longer as his wounds have not been closed yet and the fear of infection is great. My aunt and uncle are steeped in worry, not sure what they should do. I think they fear they'll be in the way, but I know they just want to see everybody's faces in person and know for themselves that they are okay. Distance and time can be evil and give the mind opportunity to think of all the what ifs. Evil what ifs.

I ask for prayers for all of them, for no infection, little pain and swift healing of the bodies and the minds. I pray we know how best to help them from afar. Thanks.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wasabi with you?

So today was the day. The hub turned 40. He wanted nothing to do with this day. I understand the feeling. I was there last year. Unfortunately for him, I took to the Twitter and made sure his friends were informed and ready to help give him well wishes. I also told his best friend at work who was sure to snatch a wheelchair from the company nurse to assist him during his walk today. See, these are the kinds of people I am glad to have around. Another friend sent a thoughtful text concerned that he may not be able to coach soccer anymore having now graduated from the U39 division. These are the things we have to worry about now. :0)

He chose, after consulting with our fire phobic G, to go to Wasabi and have dinner and a show with lots of fire and steam. Unfortunately for us, we got the "chef" who simply showed up to work today...and that was it. He didn't try to catch anything in his hat, only threw a few rice balls and had no gag ketchup bottles. A shame really. Our table company was a little more exciting. Maybe eccentric might be a better term. The people who were seated next to the boy were a father daughter combo. She wore her headphones the entire time and wrote in her journal. The chef would throw the veggies on the flattop, she would observe and then write furiously. Then she would eat a bite with her chopsticks, have her father refill her shrimp sauce cup for, no joke, the tenth time, and then furiously write again. And maybe draw a picture. Finally the boy, having just learned the word but pronouncing it incorrectly, said, "Maybe she's recording this meal for 'prosterity'". I managed not to blow fried rice everywhere and maintained a level of composure that I was even impressed with. Finally, the bulk of our table was gone and I was trying to label the to go boxes, get my purse together and guide G through the flaming tables of culinary death before she curled up into the fetal position. We were quickly replaced with what looked like half of the Vol football team, ready to get their hibachi on.

The hub then opened his presents and homemade cards, ate a horrible chocolate pound cake experiment of a birthday cake. Note to self, stick with the tried and true recipes and don't venture out on a big day, like today. He was kind and ate it, but it was awful. I am not a real chocolate fan anyway, so I am my worst critic. But it was gag ack barf. He is now lounging and flipping between various channels of sports. The life of the birthday boy...what a gift he is to me and to this family. Love that man...he is our rock.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Mother? Can we have chocolate cake?

Preparations have been underway this weekend and especially today for the hub's birthday tomorrow. It is going to be the big 4-0...but don't tell anybody. Oh who am I kidding? He's going to need all of our help to get through this one. I think he's dreading it as much as I did last year. The girls have wrapped his presents, the kids have made some surprises. I just hate that he has to work tomorrow. He has made a request of chocolate cake. I can't think of cake without Bill Cosby, especially when I pull it out of the oven. The kids slithered into the kitchen, doe eyed and angelic, saw me making the icing and immediately started making promises and deals. The phone rang, which I personally think they orchestrated, and when I returned there were Cupie doll looks all around with little bits of chocolate on mouth corners, cheeks and noses. Not too slick, I must say. Luckily for the hub I am not really much of a chocolate person and only view it as a vehicle that takes me to the peanut butter. He need not worry about snacking from me.

Besides always being able to remember the Prince of Cambridge's birthday for the rest of his life(HAHA See his rant about that on Twitter), I hope that his adventure into his forties will be better than he ever thought possible. He's a quiet one, but so very funny and just an all around nice guy. Tweet him a "Happy Day" or text him a "Time for your Geritol?" tomorrow. He'll need the laugh.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Give it up, let it go, throw it down

Just prepare yourselves.  Sister Jenny is starting her Sunday evening sermon...pitiful as it is.  Moses is one of my favorite people in the Bible....right after Samson.  I learned a children's song about Samson when I was little and it has always been a story that stuck with me.  Weakness caused by a bad haircut...most ladies can relate.  But I love Moses.  I love his imperfection and his style.  And as people growing up in modern times, we have many faces to think about when we talk about him, whether we think of the "Ten Commandments" Charlton Heston Moses or the "Prince of Egypt" chiseled and angular cartoon Moses.  Cecil B. DeMille or DreamWorks...take your pick.  Today in church we talked about how Moses got a talking to by his father in law, Jethro.  Moses learned how to delegate, select other like minded people to work with the people and to let go of some things.  The fact we can't do it all and do it effectively without cost to us personally is a book all of us could take a page from and learn quickly.  It is so easy to do and so costly when done. 

I've talked about this song before, I think.  Makes me get teary every time.  The beginning because it is rather silly and the end because it cuts to the quick of what is important.  When I was in high school, our youth choir sang this song by Ken Medema.  He is kind of one of my musical heroes.  Blind from birth, he is an amazing pianist and composer.  I remember snickering, along with my choir friends, about some of the words at the beginning of his song, "Moses".  It seemed a bit dated, well, in the super modern late 1980's, cough cough.  But when we got to the end of the song, it is a message that has stayed with me for 25 years.  Please listen to the whole thing, if you can.  If for no other reason, marvel at his mad piano skills. 
When I think of the things in my life that have me paralyzed with fear or worry or lack of confidence in my own skills, I try to remember: "Give it up, let it go, throw it down."  Gets me every time.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back off, Tupperware

The kids and I spent a lovely two plus hours at the "Southern Women's Expo" show at the Expo Center today. S's middle school soccer team was selling candy and water to raise funds for their team. Well, today they only got to sell candy. Apparently they were undercutting the Expo center's water sales, charging $1.50 less, so they were forbidden to peddle the H2O today. Now, they let some ladies with a frozen margarita machine deal those out, but poor little soccer waifs were shifty and could only sell candy. Whatever. They made some $$. I look upon these opportunities as prime people watching time. There were some very interesting vendors around us, including ladies from a chiropractor's office who ate their way through the expo while offering free massages to strangers. The lady two booths down was selling combination flashlight/taser lipsticks. Every time a man walked by her booth, she zapped the taser at him. Needless to say, she did not make too many sales to the gentleman population on our watch. There were lots of kind of tacky wreath makers and nut sellers, along with lots of jewelry peddlers and scarf people. There was the required Tervis Tumbler salesman. We tried our best to find a new Hokie tumbler for the hub, but we have pretty much bought every VT style this guy offers. They had a mustache tumbler that was very tempting, but we resisted. We walked by the Tupperware booth which was hard to resist simply bacause of that darn shape sorter for toddlers that they have made since 1972. I always want to play with the blasted thing. The guy, who apparently sells with his mom, was quite enthusiastic about his product line. He did not respect the personal bubble of the customer at all. He had to explain every single product I picked up. Dude, sometimes a bowl is just a bowl.

Awaiting my daughter's return from her first trip to the lake with a friend. Yes, we are the worst parents ever. Our children have never been to the lake. Oh well. They don't seem too scarred.

Time to go play Candy Crush and lose at level 65 for the 5th week in a row. Nice.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Heartbeats are home...Disney Channel back on

All the kids are safely home under one roof, thank goodness. They are all a bit grungy and tired and stinky and very emotional, either because of exhaustion or the moving experiences they had. After unpacking the various dirty clothes and duffle bags, I have determined that my youngest XX(as the hub and I refer to the girls since they have not had a whole lot of genetics in school yet) needs to have a lesson in how to properly pack wet and muddy clothes to go home. I will tell you this, they don't go stuffed together in the bottom of an LL Bean backpack...even if it is a vintage one. What I discovered in the bottom of that piece of luggage may be the key to several different life saving vaccines. Woof! I have all of the laundry cleaned and folded but the sheets and the luggage. The kids are showered, pajamioed, fed and watching "Teen Beach Movie" on the Disney Channel. Apparently it is a conglomeration of Beach Blanket Bingo, Back to the Future and West Side Story. I don't honestly think I can take watching it to the end. But the kids are home and I'll suffer through Disney oddness if they are snuggled up next to me. I will be surprised if G makes it through the whole thing. Her head is resting heavily on my shoulder, her breathing deep and even. I may be piggy backing her upstairs here soon.

All the heartbeats are home...I'm one happy mom.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

A short life fiercely lived...

Today a wonderfully large group of people came together to celebrate the life of sweet baby Drew Ballinger. No one will ever know how many people knew of his story, but by the size of the crowd, I can only imagine that each person there represented at least 30 people who couldn't be there, although I feel I am totally underestimating. From the heartbreaking video montages and photos to the moving tribute from one of his NICU nurses, you didn't have to know much about the situation to understand the impact. The boy and I sat with one of his beloved teachers. He sat so still, a picture of good manners and not because I read the riot act before we got there. After an appropriate amount of time, I let him take one of the children's papers where he drew a picture of the Ballinger family, including Drew and his very prominent belly button, holding hands under a rainbow. He felt this picture was one that gave him comfort and wanted to share it with them. After the service I went downstairs with some of the other Children's Ministry people where we invited the children to come down, have a snack supper of dinosaur chicken nuggets, fruit and Oreos, and participate in some activities to help them pray for and remember the family and Drew. Once they were picked up, we took our place in line for the receiving of friends. The boy took his job very seriously, stuck out his hand and introduced himself to every family member, even the ones who already know him well. I cannot imagine how tired they must have been, but they stayed until every visitor had been received and every last hug had been squeezed.

My girls return home tomorrow from their mission trip and camp experiences of the week. After the service and the pictures and the time with the family, it is almost painful to think about waiting a few more hours to have them home in my arms. I will not take time with them for granted and I will try to take every possible opportunity to tell them I love them. A fitting tribute to a warrior who fiercely fought to live and now lives restored in a heavenly body. Heartbreakingly beautiful.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nice to be back home again....

I woke up this morning with a thick head full of goo and a fog from Tylenol sinus nighttime liquid. At least I slept. A novelty for me. I left the Ville of Knox and headed for the Port of Kings to pick up the boy. He had a mini vacation away and I went to fetch him. i hadn't been home in a while, so it was a nice day retreat from the real world that has been this week. I walked with the boy and my dad back to the garden. The boy got to his chores of harvesting the day's bounty:

Gots to love some cukes...and tomatoes...and green peppers...and hot peppers...and okra. Mmmmmmm. I stood in the backyard and looked at a sight that brings me comfort every time I see it:

Back of the house, but it is home. We couldn't stay out all that long seeing as how the devil came up to visit and exhaled one hellish day. The metal bowl I was holding with all of the garden's treasures was quickly turning into something akin to what the blackmith beats to death on the anvil. Red hot and painful. The boy is like a lizard doesn't really care about the heat, but the rest of us were dying. So we lured him in with the promise of games from 1979:

We're vintage up in the K-Port. That's how we roll. "Well you can run yourself ragged...well you can run run run run run!". After playing and some time in the sprinkler, it was time to take our leave and go home by way of the Bass Pro Shops. Shhhh....the hub's big 4-0 is coming up on Tuesday, so we had to do some shopping. Whilst in the megashop, I got a call from the oldest. She sounded tired and discouraged. Apparently, after asking numerous over age 50 sales clerks to interpret the dress code for her trip and give their blessings on what they felt was appropriate, she was told to change her shorts this morning due to them being inappropriate. For the strict rule follower, this was humiliation that could only be topped by the fact that she has only one more pair of shorts that are unlike the frowned upon pair. So she will have to wear the same shorts three days in a row. I don't know who told her to change...probably one of the organization's people. Kind of hard for me to fix that one from here. Luckily one of the mom chaperones said she would pick an acceptable outfit out for her tomorrow. Not embarrassing at all. Hard to have a 5 year old's waist with an 11 year old's legs. There are no stores for that. Anyhoo, I'll get over it. The boy and I finished our work at the Pro Shop and got home safely. We took a trip out to our garden to see what had ripened up. We have enough to make a small batch of salsa and a small sampling of beans:

The boy is safely tucked into bed, the hub is probably watching something involving a ball or a peloton. I'll stick to Iron Man and Candy Crush level 65...which I have been battling for almost a month. Nice.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sinus issues now? Really?

I've had a stressful day. Everything is relative, so it was less stressful than an infinite number of things, but a lot more stressful than most normal stressful days. Clear as mud, right? Towards the end of a rather tense discussion, I noticed that my head felt similar to that of a full sack of glue with nerves and all that stuff that was getting beaten repeatedly with a bat. I sadly turned down an offer for lunch, staggered to my car and made my way home. After changing into grub clothes and attempting to do a little more straightening, I decided I would set the alarm on my phone and close my eyes for 15 minutes. 90 minutes later I awoke disoriented with that blasted gremlin still beating me with the bat. It is not Spring. Why am I getting sinus crap now? Oh well. Life goes on and I have it pretty good.

I ask again for your prayers for Thursday as the Ballinger family prepares for the funeral to remember their sweet warrior baby Drew. I pray that they draw strength from that very long and very emotional day and that every visitor brings comfort and healing with their words and presence.

I'm off to take some Tylenol Sinus nighttime something. If you hear any snoring....well, I guess it probably is me.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

I want a do over...and my babies

Today I woke up with quiet. It was alarming. I turned over, thinking the boy had crawled in with me. Nope. When I wiped the sleep out of my eyes , I remembered they were all doing important stuff. So I got up and readied myself for the day. Then I started the process of cleaning up the girls' room and readying it for their return. The boy's room will be next, but I need to rehydrate first. Their closet is a sauna. I worked on the bathroom as well, nearly gassing myself to death with Mr. Clean fumes. Good gosh. For someone so clean, he is awfully toxic. Luckily the hub didn't have to come home and find me having sadly succumbed to the fluorescent green fumes.

I also learned that today was not the day for me to send any texts or emails or make any phone calls or answer any. I sent an email to the wrong person, called the wrong person and had a conversation via text that didn't go too well. After the last phone call, I just put my head in my hands and cried. I'm not trying to get symphy, empathy or any other type of "-thy"...I just hit my limit. I'm worried about lots of things and lots of people and lots of situations. Pray for Leanne and Mike and Nate and the Ballinger and Wise families. I just feel so heavy for them. So very heavy. Thursday is the funeral...please pray them through that day and right on through every day after that for a long time.

S called us this evening to check in on day one of her mission trip. She is having a good time and was very tired. She sorted clothes and did some other things. They were on their way to a scavenger hunt. I so hope that her experience will light a fire under her for a lifelong love of mission work.

Bedtime is coming and I am ready. Tomorrow is going to be a hellish day, I fear.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mom tummy

My girls left this afternoon. Well. one left and one was taken somewhere and left...wait, that sounds bad. S left for her mission trip today and we dropped G off for her third year in a row at camp. I know they will be fine. They are with people I trust or at a place I trust. But even though I trust their "handlers", I still get "Mom Tummy". Do you know what that is? When your child gives you that "I'm excited but I am really nervous and my tummy is sick and I'm going to not look like I'm nervous about having another 'severe health crisis' while in front of my friends and strangers" kind of face and then you tummy lurches and you have to resist the urge to run and scoop them up and wrap them in bubble wrap. Or you get to camp and because you registered two weeks prior, the college student can't find your child's name on their list and then it is on another list and then you get her to her assigned cabin and they are not expecting her and make you concerned that she might fall through a crack and be left in the woods and forgotten and then you feel your tummy lurch and feel the urge to go running for the bath house. She's fine though. The hub emailed about the snafu and received a very prompt and apologetic message back saying everything was fine and she was expected there and they just checked on her and she was playing with her new friends. Then the mom tummy gets a little break.

I am so proud of both of them and I miss them already. What am I going to do with all my free time, people have asked? Well, I am going to do some deep cleaning and prepare for my sweet heartbeats to return...and maybe watch the channel of my choosing once. Living the dream, friends.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Twas the night before camp

My G turned the big 9 nine today. I can't believe it. Seems like yesterday this sweet pink little bundle of pure love came to into our lives. She was the happiest little girl I've ever seen. We have been so very fortunate to have her in our lives and I cherish every second with her.

We woke her up with breakfast in bed, had a magic show party, went to a housewarming party for a little bit, visited family and enjoyed a tasty birthday drive in dinner with a beloved friend, no, adopted family member. My feet are close to falling off. I don't want to see anymore cake or snacks or bright colored candies for a while. I did not eat these things, but I have seen them more than I cared to this last week. Tonight I am finishing up my notes to put in the girls' bags. S leaves on her first middle school mission trip, her first time away since her "significant health incident". That is a bit unnerving to me as her mother. G leaves for her first full week at camp. She was ready the last two years, but the camp has their rules. A week is a long time, but she is soooo very ready. She needs some time in the woods to be with God and nature. I am so excited for her. Let's just hope that they both have wonderful experiences. I'm sure they will.

Well, pleasant dreams and goodnight to all. Send some Happy Birthday wishes to my sweet girl:

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Trying to understand people

I have been running about on several errands today, you know, mom stuff. This week has been a busy one with meetings for work and outside interests, kid appointments and squeezed in fun time. Whilst among the English this week, I have made some observations. Believe me, I am not perfect by any means. I just have some questions.

1. I have to admit, when without pockets and a purse, I have occasionally taken to sticking my cell phone inside my shirt in an undergarment. TMI? probably, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Today I saw a young lady carrying a purse, wearing a halter top and shorts with her cell phone (one of those Galaxy ones that look slighty smaller than an ipad mini) stuck right in the haltery-bra top positioned in such a way that the young man checking her items out messed up the order about five times. Maybe that was the intended purpose. Again, no judgement. Just confusion.

2. Did people not listen in American History when they were talking about the Declaration of Independence? If I had to hear someone say, "Put your John Henry on this copy..." one more time, I was going to have my head pop off. John Henry was a steel driving man. John Hancock had the huge signature and the life insurance/mutual fund company to identify him.

3. Last rant for the evening. I go on the Twitter. Yes, friends, I do. I enjoy it as a safe way to check on your favorite celebrities and keep up with what the kids are doing these days. But, for the love people, if I have to see someone Tweet ot text "prolly" for "probably" one more time, my faith in the grammar of today's youth will seriously be in question. I even received it in an email from a highly educated person. My head almost popped off.

Yes, I am so perfect. I say "libel" instead of "liable". I totally related to about 1/3 of what Joey on "Friends" meant when he messed terms up...mostly because I had done it myself. People are funny and isn't that what makes our world so interesting?

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

He's "gibbon" me a headache

My feet and legs are aching. I am dragging like a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of a shoe. I did, however, end up taking 10,134 steps today, according to my pedometer. Mowing the lawn and walking the zoo will do that to a person. I took the kids to the zoo today to get outside for a while. This bright yellow round thing was appearing in the sky and we needed to get out and remember what it was all about. It wasn't very busy there which was a blessing, so the kids didn't have to fight to see the popular animals. We did have a near miss situation during the "Animals In Action" show when the scarlet macaw or parrot or whatever it was flew from its little box and clipped the back of G's head with its wing. We'll work it out in the therapy later...she'll be okay. We also watched the always animated and very loud gibbons. The boy loves to run and chase them from window to window:

The boy "Whoop whoop whooooppped" the whole way home. That is so enjoyable...kind of like when we leave camp and they sing the same camp songs all the way home. Sigh.

I was able to get all but one fifth of the forest cut before the mower ran out of gas and the flash monsoon started. That didn't stop middle school soccer drills, though. As the first venture back into the world of competitive physical sports, S did okay. She was a sweaty, exhausted and muddy mess but enjoyed a lovely homecoming with her teammates.

Hollywood Game Night is on now and I am strangely enthralled with watching Matthew Perry's annoyance at Martin Short's transformation into a Robin Williams-esque attention hog. Yes, I over think the dumbest things. Night.
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

That fowl never had a chance...

This morning was a lot of running and scrambling and refereeing. The kids were tired and extra grumpy with each other. Normally I can handle it, or I guess I just go to my happy place, but today I had a shorter fuse. Porbably didn't help that it was senior citizen'd discount day there and we had some near misses with some seasoned citizens in the produce department with a boy who had ants in his pants and just had to dance. There is no malice behind their actions...just no use of the "noodle" when acting. This afternoon we had a nice suprise of friends dropping in for a visit. The kids ran and played with reckless abandon and the grown ups chatted about family drama and cried about losing dogs. Then the rain came in sheets. Yep. We party like the Golden Girls around here. Thank YOU for being a friend. Sarah's percussion teacher came for her weekly visit and again didn't run screaming from our crazy house. We all think she's a rock star. Dinner tonight consisted of stir fry and riveting conversation about watching filmstrips in social studies class. Of course, we had to explain what a filmstrip was, which led to what a cassette tape was, which led to feelings of doom and fear about the loss of a whole era of multimedia history. At least they do know what records are...they've listened to those at my parents and seen them framed and hanging in my brother's house.

After dinner, we took a trip to Froyoz to get the kids a little treat and drove around for a few minutes. We saw our beloved retired Pastor Jim and his wife, who had the unfortunate job of showing us that we were indeed murderers:

Just a topper for the day...bird murderers. Sorry friends. Sorry. Thank you for being a friend....
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The dog's a no show

I am very tired and at the end of a very long day. Tuesdays are always work days and staff meeting. I felt so bad having my kids in child care, not that it is bad...just not with their friends and all that. So when I friend called and asked if I would like to meet at the park and play late afternoon after work, my mother's guilt kicked in and I agreed. So eager was I to give the kids something fun to do, I totally forgot that S had an allergist appointment today. This was one of those appointments that we really kind of needed to have what with all the recent events of the past few months. Yeah. Way to go there, idiot. Oh well. I shall call and grovel tomorrow. I may even cry. I feel like doing it now.

This evening I took S and a friend to church to help our youth director do a mission project for some elementary schoolers. A UT sports historian was coming to speak at a church wide event and the school's mascot dog was coming for a photo op with the kids. After the photo op, the kids were to go for the mission project. Well, sad news. The dog was a no show. Details are sketchy, but I know there were some pretty sad faces and ticked off adults. So we had to fill some extra time by playing various mutations of Red Light, Green Light and cheer kids on in their attempts to dig to China in the sand. One got very close, either that or she hit the original black plastic put there in 1983. Either way, good show!

I'm off to bed now, I guess. Missing appointments and blue tick hounds has left me frustrated and sleepy. Thank goodness tomorrow is another day...

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Dinner games to the rescue

"Monday, Monday...". Still a very somber mood at this house. S had her last meeting with her homebound teacher today. It was bittersweet, quite honestly. She hasn't had much of a summer with classes, but she has enjoyed learning from her teacher much more than she anticipated. He's a straight up nice guy and we wish him the best. After he took his leave, we went out to run several errands that were apparently very close to the rack or bamboo chutes under the nails for my three. Middle school soccer practice is beginning and, darndest thing, S outgrew her cleats...and shin guards...and she grew in to a new headgear. Since the middle school queen of concussions is starting up practice again, she gets a "Full 90" to protect her noggin. Most people say the concussion cut off is 4. Um, mine has had two and better not have any more. Sure, she may get some taunts from her teammates or opponents. Oh well. It is better than drinking her meals out of a straw for the rest of her life while giving everybody a blank stare. Not gonna happen on my watch. G got early birthday presents of a new goalie jersey and goalie gloves. Mom needs to get a Xanax drip for her gift....anyone? Anyone?

Tonight I went to visit the Ballingers, Baby Drew's parents. They were doing as well as could be expected. I tried my best not to cry like some fool when they were holding it together. They remind me so much of some other friends of mine who experienced a very similar and devastating loss. Both such strong pictures of faith. If I could just have a grain of what they all have.... After returning home, we ate dinner and once again played a dinner game. "Pass the Pepper" was modified a bit, but asked the person holding the pepper to recount their strangest/weirdest experience. Grocery store stories of people getting drunk and removing their prothetic legs at parties, little old men on street corners with ventriloquist dummies lip synching to screaming evangelists, naked children post diaper blowout getting sprayed off at gas stations while their parents pumped gas and angry bridesmaids getting pulled out of the wedding car by their ankles while screaming obscenities were just a few stories that were shared. We laughed until we were choking. Probably not the best game to play while eating, but it brought the spirits back up in the house. Laughter is definitely good for the soul....

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

I'll understand it better by and by...

I don't claim to be an expert on anything, quite the opposite really. I go to church every Sunday and would even if I didn't have a job there. I certainly don't claim to know and understand everything about God and how He runs the universe. I question Him a lot...more than I should, but that is what makes me a human, I guess. So when I got the text this morning at 2:48 that Baby Drew suffered no more and had gone to claim his new heavenly body, I rolled over, laying there for a long time and trying to understand how something like this could have happened. That sweet faced little warrior who inspired so many of us with his strength and determination. His precious family has been so strong, so beyond faithful. I hang my head in shame for all the bellyaching I do for insignificant and stupid things. This family praised God in the midst of the storm and for things I found above and beyond my human understanding.

As you go to bed tonight, I ask that you say a prayer for the Ballinger family. They are going to need lots of love and support. I am also saying a prayer of praise for baby Drew. In his short life, he touched the lives of so many. Heaven's a little bit more joyful today with him there....

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Heavy hearted

It has been a cruddy day here today.  Rain and rain and more rain.   I'm frankly surprised that we haven't floated away, our house a big boat floating through the neighborhood.  The morning consisted of some unwanted shopping, looking for cheap clothes to get the kids for camp and a mission trip.  This task did nothing to help the mood.  But frankly, I can't really complain about anything that has happened today or any day.  For those of you who follow this blog, I know you have heard me speak of Baby Drew and the struggles he and his family have faced in the past several months.  His poor heart has taken a turn for the worse, irreversable even.  He and his entire family have shown such faith and grace in the face of such worry and sadness.  I feel inadequate to speak for them, so I will put the link to their Caring Bridge site and ask that you read their words:

There is one last thing I would like to say.  I have several friends who have been faithful prayer warriors, silently grieving with this family during this time of sheer hell.  These friends have experienced similar loss, having to suffer heartbreak and agony with the loss of a child.  I know that with every update, every turn of the roller coaster, their hearts break and old wounds that never completely healed become raw again.  I pray that all who have scars on their hearts, whether brand new cuts or those healing over for several years, can feel the energy and power of the love from those of us who love them.  

Night all...and send some extra prayers up for those whose hearts are breaking open...and those still feeling the scars that may lighten but never, ever leave. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rainy screens and snare drum whisper screams

While today was pretty dry in the midst of all kinds of recent precipitation, we woke up to window screens full of rain and distorted views. Since we are now rendered defenseless without our resident canine alarm, we are subject to the alarm of our poor, neglected neighbor dog. She has a scary bark and uses it both expertly and frequently, much to the neighborhood's chagrin. So one can imagine that when her bark starts in an almost rabid frenzy, we run to the window to see who or what kerfuffle is happening out in the street. With rainy screens, it is pretty much a vain attempt to see what might be going down in the hood, so we take to the phone...kind of like this:

Luckily for us, the source activating the dog alarm was simply a man in a NASCAR hat walking around with his little tiny dog. An unlikely threat. After calming the three worry warts of the ranch, we dined on a very unexciting breakfast and headed to the music store to pick up the newest baby in our little family. Of course, the neverending construction on the Henley Street bridge turned our trip into a long and harrowing treasure hunt, one that ended with us turning around in a thrift shop parking lot, which prompted us all to start singing the highly entertaining and inappropriate "I'm gonna pop some tags only got $20 in my pocket...". No, I do not let them hear the real version. Give me some credit. We finally got to the store to find our treasure which I ended up paying for, sooooo, I guess it is not really accurate to call it a treasure hunt. Semantics, I guess. Anyway, we got home with this little beauty:

S, her teacher, her dad and I have been waiting a long time for this little beauty. As soon as we walked in the door that thing was out and making noise throughout the house. Paradiddles and flams were being practiced with great gusto. Each time they stopped, a loud "Shhhh" came from the other room. She would do some more flams and "SHHhhhh" and then a few more paradiddles and "SHHHHHHH!!!!". "Stop whisper screaming at me in there!", she said with great annoyance. Tune it out or get over it kids. I learned that growing up with a percussionist for a brother.

Not much else to say friends. I live in a live action Far Side comic with whisper screamers. The excitement never ends.
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Picnics, puddles and puke

As I write this evening, "The Music Man" is concluding on TCM with fireworks cracking outside. I'm contemplating giving G a tiny bit of Benadryl. This is her least favorite night of the year. We had a nice and uneventful day. I did a fair amount of cooking in prepartion for the holiday picnic we traditionally attend. We decided to make homemade oreo ice cream which is a family favorite. I also decided to try a new recipe which is always risky when taking it to a public event. The spinach balls were tastier than I anticipated:

That recipe might be a keeper. i also took some pepper jelly along for good measure. Trying things out on friends and family...they'll be honest.

We went to Uncle Bill and Aunt Carol's armed with excited children, camp chairs and food. We were all a little wary about the weather, but it stayed dry for a bit. My partner in crime was feeling under the weather and was not there...I missed her. The amount of food was impressive as always and our bellies were full. After dinner, the children used their radar and found every puddle imaginable. They ran and splashed until they were a hot mess. My son, who I have mentioned in the past has no full gauge, ate a bit too much, downed a bottle and a half of water, rough housed with his cousin and walkdaround the corner out of view and puked. Great way to end a party. That's how we roll.

And in conclusion, to use an overused slang, "'Murica". Enough said.
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting mocked while slushing

Soggy day number, uh, oh I'm losing count. After getting class over, I took the budding extreme couponers to Kroger and shopped for a few items. Imagine their delight when we saved $6.55 on our order from coupons they clipped. It was quite amusing. After unloading the groceries, the kids ate lunch(no coupons for those items). I caved and ventured out in the pouring rain to the theatre to watch Despicable Me 2. Apparently every other mother in Knox County had the same exact idea. We managed to get to tickets and popcorn and even seats together. As with the first one, it was very amusing and the kids loved it. We dropped by to see my sweet sister from another mister and drop some church materials off to her. She's taking one for the team and helping teach kids using her beautiful voice. I owe her!

I dropped by to see my friend who is convalescing after a recent major surgery. She needed the healing power of a cherry limeade slush. Never underestimate the power of a Sonic Route 44. We discussed my afternoon at the movies and experiences at the movies in the past. Conversation drifted to sneaking outside food into the movies. She said she had taken candy and a big sweet tea in her purse to the movies and even said a parent had taken a leftover piece of pizza from the food court to the movies...and was asked to leave the theatre to finish it. I was the target of great mockery when it was disocvered that my mom used to bring ziploc bags of cut up celery sticks and carrots in her purse. I'm afraid this little nugget of info will follow me for a long time. Who knew contraband movie relish was so scandalous? Not this girl. I left there with a handful of coupons that will thrill my new thrifty children. Whatever it takes to make the kids happy...within reason.

I am now going to sleep so I can be ready cook and to protect sweet G from the horrors of fireworks. Nothing says celebrate the birth of our nation like ear protection and bendryl whilst buried in her bed. Nice.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Don't swim in the might get wet

These rainy summer days are about to make me check into a mental health facility. When you are trying to be reasonable with your money, the best solution is to sit home and read, play a game or watch the tube. Luckily before the rain came, my sweet friend A invited us to come swimming in the family pool. After having to suffer the apparent indignity of being in childcare(where they had fun) while I was in a meeting, the invitation was music to their ears. The boy had an open invitation to do cannonballs, an invitation I was happy to revoke if necessary. S had one of her oldest and dearest friends to play with and G had a little person to play with and mother AND they got to have funfetti cookie and coke. I mean, come on, dream afternoon. They also got to swim in the mddle of a downpour. So, naturally, their return to our house was met with a definite feeling of malaise, which is always a thrill as a mother. The rain continued to fall and the games and reading grew boring. I even dropped off for a bit of time, intensely checking my eyelids for holes. When I awoke, I found the trio hungry for popcorn and riveted to an "Extreme Couponing" marathon. While I was getting the popper from the basement, the little elves got to work. They found my binder, my scissors and other implements and did this:

They have now decided to become children who are extreme couponers. They cut out 264 coupons and were starting to file them. They have made plans to get on coupon websites and buy extra Sunday papers. When the hub suggested a trip to Froyoz for "Triple Punch Tuesday", they happily reported they had a coupon for that. More power to them. I am happy to help them out. ALthough I know they want to save money, I think their ultimate goal is to be featured on the show. Sadly, I think they will have to build a fairly substantial stockpile worth at least $16,000 to even be considered in the running. And I can only use so many cake mixes and boxes of Rice A Roni.

I'll keep everyone abreast of their progress. This should be interesting...
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Saved by the Drummer Girl and the blessings of a pooch

Today marks one week ago that we lost our beloved Cosby. I know probably three of my five readers have hit their dead dog story limit, but it is still a raw nerve for us at the ranch. Not to sound all New Agey, but the energy she added to the house helped balance the rest of us out. So my oldest got extra teary and contemplative today when she looked at the calendar and realized she had survived 7 days without her furry sister. Between dropping brother off at his class and running to work with me so I could send some emails, the girls hit their limit with each other. The emotional meter was running hot and we needed Enter in my secret shame. WIth the iTunes credit I had, I purchased the most recent Justin Timberlake album. Those who know me are recoiling in shock right now. A staunch listener of The Who, Talking Heads and Jim Croce(among a few others in those musical veins), JT is not in my genre. I love him, though. There aren't many who are better hosting SNL. He has a lovely look about him and an undeniable talent. So I downloaded it and the kids and I had a dance party, with one song that is very nice and free of any language unbecoming a12 and under dance party. Seeing their mom do the "Bernie" brought some smiles and some disbelief. Oh well. After lunch, I readied the youngers for quiet time while S's drum lesson was going on. Stupidly I thought that using a potato peeler would be safe enough for them and they would help me prep for dinner. I went to fold laundry and was knocked back into reality as it was announced the boy had cut himself with the peeler. As we often do when something hurts, we shake it, thinking that this action will make the pain go away. When I got upstairs, the hallway looked like the aftermath of a 80's Stephen King novel. Then I stupidly and casually mentioned "stitches" which sent him into hysterics. I honestly wonder what people think of us. After his finger was doctored and the lesson was over, G insisted that our percussion teacher, SC, watch her interpretive dance to our recently acquired JT album. Oh good grief. I fear this may be the last lesson that occurs at our house. SC was more than a good sport about it. G kept saying over and over, "This is the best day ever! SC is awesome!". She was awesome to be an audience, even if it was captive in the "you cannot leave until we have danced to every one of our favorite top 40 songs" kind of way. Big sister sat there looking horrified and amused all at the same time. With the fear of impending storms as indicated by lots of yellow and orange on the Weather Channel app, SC escaped the nut house and found safety in her car. Sorry, Drummer Girl, but thanks for saving their afternoon. I owe you.

After a dinner of dishes I have made for years and none of them turned out, S started feeling very sad and needed to let a few tears flow. She had accidently and instinctively gone to feed the dog. Insert sad face here. So we went to have some dog therapy at my brother and sister in law's house. They have two super sweet dogs and the kids love them. They received enough kisses and love to tide them over for bit. Maggie the momma dog even gave the boy her blessings:

On a day that shaped up to be a dud, we were so fortunate to have people and pups soothe the kids' sad hearts and give them some love,laughs and attention. I am so grateful for these special blessings. And I promise, SC, that every lesson will not require you to view a dance party. They haven't pulled out the guitars and recorders yet. You just tell me how much to write the check for.....
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