Saturday, August 31, 2013

The nightmare vermin lives on my pepper plant

After a less than impressive night's sleep, I woke with the enthusiasm of a large slug facing a trip to the salt mines. I don't know why I said that. Just felt right. So I got up. The hub, sweet man that he is, took G and the boy to the pediatrician's office for a well visit so I could breakfast with a dear friend who was in town for the game. Calm before the storm so to speak. Returning home with a happy tummy from diner food, I arrived to sad faces, angry from an xbox scuffle that ended with it being disconnected for a period of time...oh so sad. So to turn those frowns upside down, what did we do? We went to the lighting store. This 3+ year remodel is starting to finally get real and, once we took a sledge to the wall, we were committed. When our friend came yesterday to give us a drywall estimate, we realized we needed to start looking for fixtures. The hub found a lady who knew what she was talking about and, more importantly, had patience with all of the questions and the children and still asked him to come back. Well, lady, you're stuck with us now. My head was spinning with all of Teresa's information. I did not know that light had different color temperatures and we had to match all that stuff up. Who knew? I did not. The kids were clearly overwhelmed with all the excitement:

We mooked at cans and tapes and priced out lots of things that made no sense to my brain. After that overwhelming fun was done, we scooped up the kids and took them to a place of fun: the Soccer Post. The boy, who outgrows shoes on a daily basis, needed new cleats and G needed new shin guards. They kicked a few foam balls into the indoor goal and were then hungry and ready to get on with life. Of course we chose poorly and went to the grocery store along with 17,000 of our closest friends who were preparing for their football viewing snackage. We escaped quickly, just barely holding on to what sanity is left in our gourds and arrived at the ranch, the hub ready to rest and I, ready to work on consignment sale stuff. The children felt this was an invitation to veg in front of the television. They were mistaken. We made them go outside, which meant we had to go outside. Okay, whatever. I, still lacking from the cruddy night of sleep, put my head on the patio table and had a drooling 15 minute power nap until the boy woke me with bounty from the garden. Okay, I'll go pick some peppers so the boy doesn't touch them and burn his eyes. This is me being productive. I went over to the garden and noticed that one pepper plant was missing all of its top leaves and a jalapeno was sheared off. With a handful of 4 big hot peppers, I reached for a fifth pepper. Thank the good Lord in Heaven I did not touch it. I would at this point be in a straight jacket in a padded room singing nursery rhymes while I drooled all over myself. For what I found, and made the hub remove from the area, was creepy.

It is a bit out of focus and there is no frame of reference, so the hub decided to provide that frame and gross me the %&$* out all at the same time:

The thing was angry at being displaced from its jalapeno chewing, that I was concerned it would jump right into his mouth. I'm sure the neighbors were laughing because I was not being quiet in my disgust. At all. Turns out it was a Tomato Worm. In all of our years of having tomatoes and peppers and gardens, we have never had one of those.

Just know that the night sweats and shrieking in the middle of the night will be me, seeing those things all over the room. And I thought "color temperature" was the wildest thing I had seen all day.
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Dirty kids...Dirty food

It's soccer time in Tennessee, my friends. With soccer season comes practice and, seeing as how it is Friday, we found ourselves in the middle of the hub of activity: the fields. It seems that after all this time, the routine is automatic. I carry the chairs, the kids carry their packs with their equipment, the hub carries the big blue Santa bag with cones and balls and pennies and pumps. We trek from one practice to the other, like a bunch of little soccer gypsies, looking more haggard with each location. The boy is usually covered with a layer of sweat which helps the second layer of dried cut grass adhere better. Rolling around and wrestling with his friends help with the grass coverage. His glasses are askew and his exposed flesh is eaten by mosquitoes. A great visual, I know. The hub grows more hunched by the minute and all the returning parents, who are aware of his history of back problems, cringe and wince when they see him jump to avoid the ball and hold their breath until he lands safely. Usually one or more of the kids ends up crying from the combination of heat, pain and thirst. By the time our two hour stint is over, the family is sweaty, nasty, grassy, tired and hungry. We trudged back to the car, threw all of the paraphenalia into the back of the van and began the journey towards food and home. G was feeling a little down, so we decided she could choose our Friday night eating spot. The boy said, "Pick something good, but not very nice." We all started laughing a little and he said, "Well. We're all kind of nasty. Why not a delicious but nasty place to eat." Uh, dude, have you ever watched Don Dare on Food For Thought? I know he has, because we watch him every week and have to restrain ourselves from saying his catch phrase to his face when we see him at church. They chose to have tacos at Salsarita's, the hot spot to see everybody in town and they get to see you at your soccer nastiness. Oh well. And the fact that the boy is dipping his grassy fingers in his queso, well, that's a hard one to explain away when his allergist walks by and sees that. Classing it up at the 'Ritas. We know how to do Fridays.

But let me tell you this, my three dear readers. They never argue about bedtime on Fridays...ever. Soccer Friday win!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cleaning before the mess

We are having a guest over tomorrow morning to look at our downstairs bathroom. Our dusty, one wall ripped to the studs looking like a mess bathroom. So naturally, I felt the need to clean, okay, deep clean the whole house. He is not going upstairs to check our tub's cleanliness. I imagine he will not look in the girls' closet to see if they are hanging up their clothes. I also imagine he will not see if the top of the dresser is dusted underneath the boy's animals and trophies. You never cannot be too careful. After taking precautions by scrubbing the nasty upstairs for a couple of hours, I felt it best to address the downstairs where he might actually look. So wen he comes tomorrow, if he decides to watch TV, it'll be clean. If he wants to listen to 1D and color a picture, the playroom will be clean. If he wants to have a snack, the kitchen and breakfast room are cleaned. Shhhh...don't tell, but I even cleaned the kitchen sink until it got super shiny. I believe I got a little obsessive with the cleaning today. I'm sure it didn't have anything to do with the French Pressed cup of coffee my brother made me this morning. It looked pretty dark when he brought it out...or the second cup of coffee I drank in the car on the way to Target to buy a new, clean shower curtain. I decided to play this game of cleaning chicken with my family. I thought, "Surely this bathroom will get too nasty even for their tastes." I lost the game when I feared some sort of flesh eating disease might attack our children. Oh well. I've got to try new methods of motivation. Clearly that method is getting scrapped, but there could have been a cure for some sort of deadly illness in there. But I will sleep a lot better now.

Please say a little prayer for my baby cousin. He has had some troubles and has been admitted to the hospital. Such a young little guy, burning a fever and has bad diapers and lots of pain. Such a helpless feeling for his mom and dad. We'll just hope he wakes tomorrow feeling like a new guy. Night all.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Who knew?

Today has been a long day. Sorry to be Debby Downer, but this whole week has kind of bitten it. I'm disheartened at the state of so many things going on with people and organizations in my life. I really would like to buy a piece of land, set up a family complex, move a church and school on there and be done with it. I covet your prayers as I navigate through the many obstacles in the way.

Today we took G to an appointment. I will discuss all of this on a future date, but just know we went to an appointment. As we walked into the lobby of the building, I looked at the board to see what other practitioners or businesses were in the building. Who knew that we had stepped into a very important place:

We couldn't find it in there, but who knew? We found that very exciting. But then, well, it doesn't take much.

It's late and the Robertson are on trying to find Godwin a hot tub. After that, I plan to watch another episode of "Broadchurch". Oh how I wish I hadn't gotten started on that. Oh well. Night all.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yoplait me some Stevie

Sitting here watching "Holmes on Homes"(who I LOVE) and just realized I forgot to eat dinner tonight. Not that Mike Holmes has anything to do with meals. Just the way I'm tracking tonight. I did, however, go to the store and purchase 24 individual Yoplait Lite containers(flavors in multiples of three). I guess for my crazy coupon kid I was adding to the fridge stockpile. I find that I now go through the store and do the exact thing I have grumped at my children for on multiple occasions. I took coupons from the little electronic things on the shelves to take to S. I may have gotten more than one for Starbucks K-Cups...just may have. I don't know whether to be proud or concerned, but I know that the coupons will be received with great joy and excitement from my child. Isn't she supposed to be reading Tiger Beat, using Lip Smackers lip gloss and writing notes with "LYLAS" to her friends? Not that I'm complaining, good grief.

It has been a downer day at the ranch. The hub is experiencing severe back trouble again and faces a long road of non-surgical attempts to give him relief. It is very disheartening to travel down a familiar yet rocky road of raised hopes and devastating disappointments. Luckily we had no extracurriculars for the evening, so we could all be together as a family and take care of daddy together. I dried G's hair for her while S talked to us. We all talked about our days and sang Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" about a million times. Then we all laid on the bed and read "Superfudge" together. The kids belly laughed and it was a beautiful sound. The hub got tickled reading the Fudge lines. Who cares if they've read it before...sometimes we need to go back to the classics.

Quality family time. Cures all ills.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Losing teeth and splitting your seat

Today was not a great day. At all. I was still angry from last night. We have some family issues weighing heavily on our minds. I went to talk to the Kindergarten parents at the BooHoo breakfast this morning, which is very cute. I stunk up the place with my lack of public speaking comfort. Sorry there, parents. Then I went searching around town for the book S needs for band. One store said they had it and when I arrived, it wasn't. Finally I found it, but it was at the least favorite store of our favorite drum instructor. She warned me about them and I have avoided them, but today's adventure left me no choice. After I purchased the book, I left feeling a bit more positive about the day. As I got into my car, I caught something sharp and ripped the seat out of my pants. So much for that feeling. Driving home, I just prayed that I would not hit any speed traps or get in any wrecks. Walking some sort of line with the breeze blowing, well, you know. That kind of capped it for me. I went home and took a nap.

At pick up time, after hearing the people at Entertainment Weekly Radio talk a little bit about Miley Cyrus(good grief), I happily picked up two sweet little faces. The exitement was palpable and when I asked what was up, this is what I saw:

The first tooth, GONE!! I am not ready for this season of life. The last things on him that are called "baby". The Tooth Fairy comes tonight. I hope she has some cash. The next tooth will probably come out tomorrow. I need to get to sewing a tooth pillow STAT.

Here's hoping for a better day and a better attitude tomorrow. I'm done.
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Where did Sunday go?

Since I was awakened from my slumber this morning by the blasted alarm, I have been home 90 minutes. Sorry, but that kind of sucks. I am tuckered out. Oh goes on. I spent some time with some super cute little people who hugged me and messed with my hair and laughed when I acted like a shark while we were eating goldfish. They are the reason I can stand days like these. I stood with some crazy girls while they sang and danced and made up cheers and "wheeled and dealed" in the competitive world of bake sales located outside of Kroger. They sat on the concrete barriers, played leapfrog on the concrete barriers, looked cute and used their manners and got lots of nice donations...all with looks of pure joy. They are the reason I can stand days like this. I sat in a room with a group of beautiful people, all with hearts for children and concern for their spiritual futures. We laughed, grumped, planned, brainstormed, maybe shed a few tears and made some exciting plans. They are the reason I can stand days like this. I walk in the door to a husband cleaning rusty preschool scissors so I don't have to buy new ones...a son who grabbed my finger and shoved it in his mouth to feel his two first loose teeth...a daughter clipping and organizing coupons to build a stockpile so we can save money...a daughter who was so proud she learned a new magic trick sticking golf tees through a half dollar piece. They are the reason I can stand days like this. I'm so grateful for days like this to give me perspective. But, I'll just go ahead and say it, I can certainly gain perspective on happy rainbow days too. Just sayin'...

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bake sales and meatloaf tales

It's the start of fundraising time in Tennessee. School coupon books will be coming soon and catalogs full of kind of overpriced and underused crud will soon be sent home. Just call me Jennineezer Scrooge. Anyhoo, tomorrow is the first bake sale of the season. The soccer team needs to pay for the fields and refs. And who can refuse cute little middle school soccer players with treats? These are sales that I can deal with because (1)I like to bake and (2)$1 for some treat that will provide a snack for your kids is a deal. I usually make my cookies from scratch. Not a snob, just how I like to do it. But my crazy coupon kid had some, what I've decided to call "newsprint cash", and got me a hard to turn down good deal on Nestle' break and bake cookies. I cut the dough up and attempted to make them into unique and more sellable shapes. Meh. Nothing fantastic looking. One piece of cookie dough I cut into even had a chunk of butter that had not mixed into the dough correctly. It looked interesting after baking...kind of like it had a little accident:

Poor little funny, incontinent cookie. Just in case you are wondering if I phoned the whole bake sale in with premade dough, uh, no. I also made Salted Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats. My evil friend, J, gave me the recipe. I feel I didn't do them justice, but they sound fancy. As we often say around this house, "That'll do, pig. That'll do." "Babe" movie reference probably lost on 99% my readers. Sorry.

After baking and cleaning and laundry-ing all day, the family headed to church to help with the Open Door meal that serves people of our community. My brother and his wife were going after a call for help had been put out. We felt we couldn't leave them in a pickle. The kids were elated. Interesting fact is this: my kids fight cleaning tooth and nail at our house, but they absolutely LOVE working in the church kitchen. Of course it helps that Richard, our friend who is in charge of the meal and getting people to work it, is a true saint among men. The kids always like to help serve the diners and run the industrial dish washer and partake of the wonderfully pellet-y and crunchy church ice. I love cooking with others and talking with the dinner guests. Although I really wanted to relax in the afternoon and be a slug, as usual I never regret having shown up to the meal. People are so happy for the food. Richard prepared his wife's famous meatloaf and people kept popping their heads in the kitchen door to see if it was indeed what they smelled. One man, who came back for his third plate, said, "May I have some more meatloaf please? I just can't quit that stuff!". How can you refuse?

The kitchens of the world got good use today, I'm sure. Some were used for family meals, some for preparing items to help raise funds. And some provided a good hearty meal and friendly conversation to hungry tummies and empty hearts. And we all left way or another.
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Friday, August 23, 2013

I am a horrible person

Today has been a busy day. I helped with open house at preschool, which is never dull. I have been working off and on for them for 14 years, only really stopping when I was too great with child to walk or too busy nursing to be out among the living. I am currently on the sub list, but mostly just hang around because I can't quit it. It's a sisterhood of love. So I got to talk to excited little faces, tell weepy mothers facing leaving those faces for the first time that they are doing a good thing AAAANND alphabetize. I would catch myself singing not so quietly to myself the "Alphabet Song", only to look up and see moms slowly backing away from the crazy lady with the pen and binder. Don't worry, moms, I very occasionally sub. I work for the church mostly...wait, that probably worries them more. After a day of being on my feet and being peppy and showing some extra restraint for some who make things difficult, I left to go pick up the kids. I'm actually proud that I didn't fall into a drooling coma in the pickup line, only to be rudely awakened by an angry mom in a minivan laying on her horn. "SOUTH TO DROP OFF, MORON!!!!", a favorite line from "Mr. Mom", kept ringing in my ears:

I made it through the Friday pick up line without incident and managed to get a decent parking place across from middle school. I managed to avoid, yet again, the dreaded spot on the street where all the other moms cringe as they watch the poor sucker of a car get victimized by an oak tree sending a strong message in the form of machine gun acorns. After passing the time away waiting in the car with my friend, D, and her son and my children body slamming each other in the back of her van, we parted ways and escaped with children in the car right before the monsoons came. This was when you could hear lots of soccer moms everywhere go, "Keep it up. Do a Phil Collins and I "wish it would rain down..." for the next, oh, whatever period of time it take for them to determine that the fields are too soggy and they close the whole operation down for the day. Do my kids need to practice? Yes. Did I pay for them to play? Yes. Am I an awful person because now little soccer loving boys and girls might miss out on a positive and healthy bonding experience with other children and I don't feel too bad about it? Guilty. I'll tell you something else that you can just put in your file of "Jenny's Evil-File #17". When I got the text saying the fields were closed, I yelled down to the kids that they were off the hook for the night, kicked my cruddy soccer Chacos off, got the ipad, put my feet up and watched Mr. Rogers videos on youtube until the hub got home...and then he joined me. No lie. I love Mr. Rogers, but I digress. Go ahead. Condemn me. I deserve it, but it was a beautiful evening in our not a soccer ball was used. And it was a good feeling...a very good feeling.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Scheduling with JT

This has been one of those weeks. For a twenty hour job, I think I've worked about two weeks worth so far and I still have Friday to go. Oh well. It has allowed me to avoid plaster dust and "unearthed old house" smell AND forget about a load of laundry in the washer for over 24 hours. Going to take more than one rewash and Borax to take that smell out, friends. A lot things just happened to pop up today that required extra attention. Our MOPS group started back up for the school year, so I had to go play with some of the little people playing next door to my office. So I had some leftover work to be done and I felt compelled to take advantage of soccer practice night number 2 of 3 to come back to work and do a bit of paperwork. We had childcare tonight, so some of the staff had little ones just a few doors down the hall. All together on the same in numbers. I had brought along my trusty ipad to provide me with some background music while I waded through papers. Mistake number 1. Mistake number two came when I thought my door was closed...and I played "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake and "Bet on it" sung by Troy from High School Musical 2. And I sang...a little louder than I thought. I guess I provided entertainment to the college students working while the kids were entertained by the train table and puzzles. Mistake #3? Being on Twitter so I can be openly mocked. I deserved every tweet. But I was the coolest 41 year old office singer in the building...even if I was the only one. Sorry you missed it, my three dear readers. Perhaps another time.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I am not a creep...

Wild and wacky Wednesdays are back for a while and tonight did not disappoint. As usual, the boy loses a little bit of his mind when we walk in the church and I lose a whole lot of mine. The last straw came when he licked a big finger full of ketchup and mustard, got it all over his mouth and then wiped his face on his front of the pastor. Nice. We made it through. I saw some rather frazzled choir directors, but everyone came out alive.

The hub and I went to an appointment today to learn some things and give some information in order to give the best opportunities to our children. The people had just moved into their office suite, which was pretty nicely decorated with a hint of strange smell. Maybe eau du cigarette smokers, but ones who only smoke outside but have it on their clothes when they walk back in. Meh. Our meeting went well and we feel positive. All of this will be a post for another time. But as we left the office and re-entered the lobby, we noticed a rather off putting painting, especially for a building holding offices dealing with families and children. It seemed a bit, um, well you decide:

Sorry. I didn't get it. The hub didn't get it. But you can get it, apparently, for only $1500.00. I think I'll pass. I'll get you the number if you're interested.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

He's gonna get me in a HEAP of trouble

Today was a Tuesday. With every Tuesday comes a staff meeting. I have discussed these before. I have discussed ad nauseam about my inability to sit still for very long and act like a normal, professional person. I do it, but it is a total challenge. Anyone who knows me well would laugh if they heard the words "professional" and "Jenny" in the same sentence. Not that I am not responsible and capable...just that I am kind of a big, spazzy, geeky goof. I own that. All that being said, I had been very well behaved and poised...well, as poised as one of the ballerina hippos in "Fantasia" can be, but I was. Talk began on the topic of the annual chili cookoff that benefits our beloved conference summer camp. Last year, my friend PJ and I had a table and did alright. We got the People's Choice Award for her Chicken chili and an honorable mention for some Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche icing. Not too shabby for a first time. A few years ago we attended the cookoff, sitting with friends. I think I have described this process and even this story in previous posts. Each table has a number and has cups with that number written on it. Samples are given out and then votes are cast by stuffing your favorite chili's jar full of cash. There have been several exotic chilis sampled through the years: white chili and green chili and caribbean chili and chuck wagon chili just to name a few. Some have awakened new favorites and some have put to rest curiosities about flavor combinations. And then there was #7. Chili #7 that tasted like a combination of cumin and tomato and beef and char and onion and potting soil and little bit of lawnmower clippings that had been composting for a few days. Apparently container numero uno had been a fan favorite, but the second batch had been left unattended for a bit too long. A little aside for a moment now. I have burnt and ruined my fair share of foods either by inattention, incorrectly reading the recipe or refusal to follow the recipe. Okay so back to the story. My friend and coworker, R, and I got tickled about the unique flavor and violently animated reactions of those who sampled #7. After a long, stressful day the reactions just became funnier and funnier. So flash forward to today's meeting...chili cookoff date set. My phone buzzes and the text "#7" comes on the screen. I look up and his face looks down. "I can't look at you", I text, "I will get kicked out of here". The joke that is so old now most people don't find it funny anymore. But we will be old and gray and senile and sitting on the bus on our way to the early bird special. We'll look at each other, trying to remember a name or reason for their familiar face. And then at the same time, we wil say, "7", laugh hysterically, fall off our Hoverrounds and get grumped at by our children. Oh, chili #7...I can't quit you.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Coffee fueled cleaning

Every few months or so, I hit my limit with the standards my family has when it comes to cleaning. This is the beef that moms have all of the world. I'm sure that a mom in some country on the other side of the world is grumping about their child's room condition...that is if they are out of bed right now. I never was good at time zone calculation and the date line and all that. Guess the hub will add that to his list of skills on his "Subjects I help my kids with in school" section on his resume. It gets bigger every year...mine gets smaller. Anyhoo, I hit the wall last night when I found the aftermath of F4 tornados in every room of our house, but I was too tired to start anything at that point. A new day arrived and, sleepy though I was, I readied my mind to make a new plan for cleaning...and for the fighting that comes with cleaning. I dropped the kids off, got back home and sat down for a minute to formulate a plan. Forty minutes later I woke up just in time to see Vincent D'Onofrio's Thor-esque golden locks from "Adventures In Babysitting" and cursed my sleepy self. I put a hurt on some coffee and headed to Target 'feined up and ready to go. When I returned, I was ready to go. My initial cleaning technique was to take all the offending items and put them in the middle of the floor. That infuriates them, so I made sure the pile was substantial. I put little white boards up in each of their high traffic areas and wrote instructions on them like "Put things away in their correct places" and "Little pieces of trash go in the trash can" and "Hug your mother". Thought I'd see if they still would since I knew they's be upset. I then set up their new commission system, informing them they would be charged 50c for every cleaning request and $1 for every fight, instigated or retaliated. Every charge went in the "Mom and Dad" bin for a movie night fund for us. We have $2 so far...made it 10 minutes after the rules were explained and we had fisticuffs. So sad. BUT, their rooms are clean and so is the playroom. We had a pleasant evening and got some good and funny reading done. I'll take that any day and will be happy if we never get to go on a movie date night financed by penalty payments. Stay tuned....

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Short post after a long day

Sundays are usually long days for me. Since I work at a church, that tends to be the case. I also had three hours worth of afternoon/evening meetings and worked to try to put my kitchen back together. I did take a power 15 minute nap while Restaurant Impossible played and G gave me yet another manicure. I could get used to those I think. The has a bee in his bonnet, well, wherever guys get a bee since they don't wear bonnets. He did more bathroom demo today. While I was desperately struggling to stay awake in meetings, he was whomping down tile and making great progress. Eat your heart out PBS Saturday afternoon!

I wish I had some great insight or humorous story, but I have hit a dry spot. I think I will go to bed and hope for weird things to happen tomorrow. Weird good things. One can only hope....

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

This old killing us

Our oldest came home around 7am from a lock in at church and was exhausted. Big duh statement. The rest of the morning and early afternoon, we walked the fine line of how long to let her sleep before it messed up her chances of sleeping tonight. We reached the point during the afternoon that we knew she needed to be up, but she couldn't do it. Enter in Bob Vila, no, Norm Abram or Tom Silva. Bob Vila did more hosting and Bob and Tom did the real work. Armed with a Sawz All and a Dremel on steroids...and a couple big hammers and chisel things, we went to work on trying to remove the lovely yellow tile in our downstairs bathroom:

After twenty minutes of beating and chiseling and power tooling, this was all we had accomplished:

This was not good. At all. The upside was that S was wide awake and not too pleased. Oh well. We tried for another chunk of time and realized we were either going to have to rethink our strategy or start checking the yellow pages for tile guys. We then went around to the pantry that is also in a state of construction and started swinging a surveyor's sledge hammer on the other side. After the week I had, visualization of guilty parties and the strong arms of myself and the hub produced this:

After several hours of whacking plaster and mesh, knocking dust out of my hair and sweeping up crud, we had about 3/4 of one wall done. At least we got that done. I do have one request: if you happen to see me tomorrow and I need to reach something on a high shelf or get the lid off of something, please help me. My arms kind of hurt a lot right now. I imagine they will be worthless tomorrow. Feel free to laugh. It will be entertaining. I'm going to take my ibuprofen now. Night all.
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Friday, August 16, 2013

My stupid red headed temper...

Please forgive me, three readers, for my rant of last night. I want my children to learn to fight their own battles and work issues by using their own noggins. That being said, I have no room for nor tolerance for mean girls. I will never find that crap acceptable.

Moving on, I am currently having a very relaxing manicure given to me by my sweet 9 year old. Second only to having someone mess with my hair, having my hand massaged will turn me to a pool of warm, sleepy goo in about 3 minutes. It makes watching Disney Channel on a Friday night almost tolerable. My oldest is preparing herself for her first youth lock in. We made her get all her homework done tonight since I know darn well she will be worthless tomorrow. Laser tag until 1am and then general shenanigans until the 7am pick up time. Her return home will involve a bath and bed and the rest of the family will get out of her way. She is currently picking out the best outfit to wear for laser tag...right now she resembles a blonde haired goth girl. All black. The boy is in the Friday night stupor at the end of a long school week. Superheroes meet Phineas and Ferb. Utopia for sure.

I am trying my best to saty awake until the hub deposits her at the drop off point. Tomorrow we start to remove bathroom tile in earnest. S may not get much sleep. Hopefully the sounds of Dremels and Sawzalls lull her to sleep. Here's hoping....

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

If you can't say anything nice...

I'm heartbroken tonight. I need to just not be on here saying a whole lot today. Friends and family having major health issues that cannot be helped by anything I do. I want answers and solutions that make them feel better and make us all happy. My youngest daughter learning already that a long time friendship of hers is essentially over because of the location of her house is not in the popular girl neighborhood. Trying to give a friend a hug and being pushed away in front of lots of people...humiliating. And it is Thursday of the first week of school. I had such high hopes for this year. But school is already proving to be colossal disappointment it was last year. My head is not clear, nor are my eyes. I need to get some perspective. I am full of bile and anger right now. I'm going to bed.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It started with a fight....

History has proven that the first week of school is a grumpy one. Even though I try to wean them off of 8am and up wake up time the week before school starts, it still is pretty painful to have that 6am wake up call. By the time they get homework done, get through soccer practice, dance, church activities, etc, the kids' attitudes are ripe and the yawns are continuous. I can't blame the one who sets her alarm app on the iphone so I can power nap in the pick up line. One of the aides at school woke me up today. I had three minutes left! Anyhoo, I made it clear to the girls that their room would be clean or they would take a tardy. You would have thought I told them clean your room or they would be thrown in the lion exhibit at the zoo. They were horrified. So the cleaning commenced...and so did the fighting. Arguments over what girl was in charge of what part of the room. Voices were raised, the boy came in and crawled in my lap...buried his head. I chose to ignore them and go about the routine. It was what it was. They went to school and came home over it. There were still some arguments, but we just rolled with it. I honestly didn't have the energy to deal with it today. When I got home from Wednesday night activity at church, this is what I found:

Apparently the boy got over his fear of his sisters' loud voices and snuggled up to relax for the evening. Never get tired of these sweet sights.

On a different note, I am asking for prayers for my Uncle. He was at Vandy today. They have found some tumors near in his neck and back area and a cyst near his spine. Initial thoughts were that they weren't cancerous, but tests are being done tomorrow to find out if they are malignant or not. There are lots of vessels and nerves wrapped up in all of this and he is having a hard time. I am just asking for you to pray that it is not malignant. He has suffered with health problems for so long. I just hope that there are not malignancies and the surgery to remove them will bring great relief to him. He does so much for so many. We are all so worried. I thank you for your prayers.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lots 'o lessons day

Be careful what you wish just might get it. Why do the kids have to argue so much during the summer? Maybe the routine of school will stop some of that. Yeah, uh, yeah. My oldest has decided that she hates school. In all of her years, even during the heavy bully times, she has never asked to not go to school. Great. Then G had a math test that she was disappointed about, then I had to teach the boy a valuable and painful lesson at the grocery store(thank God for Mrs. Mary for her kind and loving way with him). And then I got home to the smell of death in the garage. Happy Tuesday, everybody. Ants were found in a closet where a pile of Jolly Rancher wrappers mysteriously appeared. I got accidentally elbowed in my bad jaw, janking it up was my fault. I started the tickling.

BUT....the boy learned a lesson. My oldest learned that smiling disarms the meanest person...G practiced her fractions while cooking...the hub found yet another darn dead mouse(curse you, woodsy backyard)...the kids learned sneaking candy brings creepy crawlies just like their mom and dad said(amazing how that works)...I learned that the evening can end on a high note when you get all the kids belly laughing when reading them a funny book. Belly laughing, that is, until I told them to clean their rooms. Oh was good up until then. Tomorrow's a new start.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

'Twas the "First Day of School" Day

'Twas the "First Day of School" day and like I did say, "Marc and Kim" woke me up in a radio way. The sleep in my eyes was heavy indeed and I stumbled around like an old tumbleweed. The boy got up quickly, his hair was a mess...he's such a darn cutie I have to confess. The girls had less pep which was not a surprise, so I turned on the light to force open their eyes. The new clothes went on, pumped up kicks tied up tight. The brushes came out to get hairdos just right. Their feet were quite heavy trudging down all the stairs and they took their seats gladly with dark, sleepy glares. Traditional cinnamon roll breakfast they ate while GMA schooled us on the union's current state. The Nikon came out from their mom, the film nazi, while the kids flipped and flopped like they were avoiding paparazzi. We got in the car and we drove to school 1, quickly remembering the whole drop off "fun". The boy needed escorting to his first grade room, while sweet G kissed me quickly and was off with a boom. "Okay!", I said sadly, "That's that. Now let's skedaddle." And we crossed to our car in a "Frogger-esque" battle. Middle school was next and nothing had changed except there were faculty neatly arranged. They stood in like clothing to show us the way and waved frantically at the parents going in the wrong way(how dare they do such a thing). It made me feel better to drop her today, she was older and showed some 6th graders the way. I drove away not knowing how to react on this "First Day of School" day, now that is a fact. So I just drove to Target, got a new throw for the sofa and left out of Starbucks with a white chocolate mocha. Ole'.

Poetry slam over for awhile. Everybody snap your applause.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Twas the night before school...

Twas the night before school and all through the house, the kids were relaxing. Me? Searching for a blouse(that looked good with a pair of jean shorts but that didn't rhyme). Socks and shoes were picked out and ready for them to walk into school all confident and steady. The children were wrestled, body slammed in their beds, in hopes early rising would be with clear heads. The hub in his plaid shorts and I in some grubs, hoped sleep would come quickly, but no alarm clock flubs. When out in the hall there arose a kerfuffle..."I just need to potty," the boy sounded, muffled. "Let me turn on the light", I stumbled around. It was 2:32, no more z's to be found. I laid there and tossed. Would it be a good year? A seventh , fourth and first grader...right, nothing to fear. Would she like her new team? Would he learn his coins? Would she be rejected by a group that she joins? I realized life was not in my control. This revelation made me toss, turn and then roll. The next thing I knew, Marc and Kim blasted loud and I knew came my job to awaken the crowd. The groans could be heard from homes round the block, but they popped out of bed like they'd had a big shock....

To be continued...good luck on the first day of school moms and dads!

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Groggy soggy

I have been in a fog most of the day. My dear dentist gave me soemthing to try and relax my jaw and give me some relief. While it did little to help me sleep during the night, it helped me to be in a fog most of the day. I got up, made the bed and got dressed. I attempted to eat some cereal, but winced the whole time. Mistake number one came when I chose to sit down on the couch. The hub left to go get his Pythagoras on again at the soccer fields. I put my head back for a second to rest my neck for a second. The next thing I knew, I was waking up 2 hours later as he walked back in the door. I stumbled through the RV show, in and out of campers trying not to fall down the little steps that pull out. I really wanted to crawl into the king sized bed and snooze to the big screen in the $300,000 motor home, but I feel that would have been frowned upon. NO RV's purchased today, but lots were tried out.

After a feast of homemade pizza pockets, the kids and I are watching Duck Dynasty. The hub is conked out in bed. We are an exciting bunch. Living the dream.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Channeling my inner Patti LaBelle

I have found as I have gotten older I have a harder time making friends. I know those few who may read this blog to get information for nefarious reasons are saying, "Gee...that's a big surprise..." whilst dripping with sarcasm. Aging has brought with it weight gain, hits to self esteem, betrayal, heartbreak...nothing out of the ordinary for lots of people. These various things have caused me to retreat and guard myself. Not a great thing. Being straight out of a Simon and Garfunkel song is not good for me nor is it a good thing to model for my children. Walking into tonight's open house at school was a nauseating experience for me. I felt very alone. We don't live in any of the big feeder neighborhoods, so we don't have the benefit of seeing the masses on breaks. This summer was an atypical one, lacking in much social interaction since we were often at home for home bound instruction and unable to leave. Excuses, excuses. I really do have several lovely friends close by, so I have no excuses. "I am a rock...I am an island...". The feeling this evening was awful and it was of my own making. I am going to be like Ms. LaBelle and try to have a "New attitude."

Enough of the pity party. Sorry. It was just bad. So here are the robot or robot themed pictures that the youngers and I did on my paint app. I thought they were quite lovely:

G's was a female robot alien. I liked the shading and obvious alien head.

G requested a superhero fighting a laser beam shooting robot. It'll do.

The boy went for a robot alien next to a tree. I get it. I though they did a good job seeing as how they were drawing with their fingers on a screen.

Again, forgive the pity party. I'll try to bring back the pep tomorrow. Sorry.
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tired and lacking words

Roller coaster day number, oh heck, I don't know. The youngers found out their teachers today. We are very pleased. G is reunited again with one of her favorite friends, the Batman to her Poison Ivy. His dad and I went to high school together and he's a cool kid. The boy has a new to our school teacher, but he is very excited to help gently break her in and help her out. S has discovered more friends who are on her team at school and continues to gradually unclench.

We are entering into stressful, busy times. I pray I can keep a sense of humor and a positive attitude for my husband and children. Time is slipping trhough my fingertips and my heart breaks to think that just yesterday they were babies. I am determined to find the joy in every situation, no matter what it is. It passes too quickly to do otherwise.

We've bee missing our dog an extra lot recently. My brother sent this to me and I'll just end on it:

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Schedules are out and I need nerve meds

I was shaken from my slumber by the hub who said, "The schedules are out. She's on A team. The printout is on the counter." My heart sank. This was not the way I wanted to wake up. While I am sure the teachers on her team are fine, she really wanted the other one. Two of the teachers attend our church and we really enjoy them. S also has a great deal of anxiety after missing the last month and a half of school due to her "significant health episode" or whatever they call it today. I told the boy schedules were out and so, naturally, he felt the need to go wake her up and tell her. She was immediately awake and stressed, wanting to know. I told her and her face fell. WIthin an hour and a half, she found out three of her good friends were not on her team. More hand wringing and pacing. She then found out her friend B would be with her. She softened significantly. For the next 15 hours, she jumped at every ding her d@$% electronics made, coming to report, "Friend X is on B team." The hub came home, changed his clothes, sucked down some tiny dinner and fled to line the soccer fields...I almost cried. The youngers got in a kerfuffle over who was getting the extra odd box of pencils and who was going to label their school supplies. Sorry 6 year old will not have control of the Sharpie in the living room. My friends and I kept checking "Parent Portal" trying to decipher what class was attached to what period. I truly believe that the "Nick Burns-Company Computer Guys" for our school system are laughing as they see how we try to figure out things for our kids. I have clenched my jaw so much all the motrin in the world could help the pain. So, to share my feelings on this day, I decided to write a limerick:

The schedules came out on the "Portal",
Which strikes fear in all us mere mortals.
Texts, emails and calls
From the cell phones and all,
Make me want to shove them up one's nose hole.

Jenny out.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two birthday lunch

As I sit here, my jaw is popping and my ear feels like I have the worst earache ever. This TMJ business, or whatever it is, it's excruciating. Anyhoo, life goes on. Today was an exciting day in the life of work. It was staff luncheon day. Since we had a busy summer what with getting a new pastor and another one moving on to another appointment, we didn't have our June or July staff luncheons. I know, earth shattering stuff, but people do enjoy their free birthday lunch. So we went today to celebrate June, July and August birthdays. At the restaurant, our first clue that things might be amiss was that we had one older, somewhat scatterbrained and frail, waitress for 15+ people. Before you start making images of me to burn in effigy, let me get something straight: I have the utmost respect for wait staff. I think they have a rough job that wears on their body, doesn't pay much money and is full of jerks. I know it is said that in the South before you say something negative you say, "Bless their heart". Bless her heart, but she was in over her head. Between not getting our food, constanly telling us not to confuse her and keeping us there for two and a half hours, we were all done. Not even Thnksgiving dinner takes that long. Luckily our new pastor took one for the team, or at least for me, and played with my kids the whole time. Sugar packet football is the new best game ever. I sure hope our waitress can soak her feet tonight. She was strung awfully tight.

I ask for prayers on the eve of middle school team assignments. We were supposed to find out today, but that got postponed. I just pray that S gets the team she needs and all these kids get the right teachers for their situations. It is hard, as a parent, to let your child go and grow up. The youngers will find out Thursday. I'm just always.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Bye bye, GI

This morning, with three kids in toe, I drove to Children's Hospital. None of us were really happy to be there, especially when we had to get up early the last week of Summer vacation. Oh well. We need to get back in the early swing of things anyway. S kind of proudly led the way for her brother and sister to see exactly where she had spent a significant portion of her Spring. We headed up to level 5 and went to see the GI doc. I had put the others on alert to use their best manners and behavior in this office. They were concerned that I had somehow tricked them into going into a surprise attack visit for them. Paranoid kids. We were in and out in a more than reasonable amount of time, with the doc telling S that this would be her last visit to his office for this particular malady. She and I both got a little choked up, I must admit. While many people aren't huge fans of his, we loved this doctor. The time he took with her to explain everything that went wrong with her body, the love he showed her and the caution he took with her. Some may say he over tested or over appointmented with her, but after seeing how deathly ill she was, I was grateful. He hugged her and told her he loved her and was so glad to see her better. And then he was gone...but not before he added one last panel of bloodwork to be taken. She again handled it better than anyone her age should have to. Afterwards, noticing her leg had started to look angry again, we ended up having to see the pediatrician this afternoon. She's taking another stab at a solution. We'll see if this one works. Her poor leg serves as a constant reminder of the whole ordeal she wants behind her. It still gets stares at the pool and questions from her friends. She wants to not stand out. Here's hoping the closing of the GI chapter is the start of that.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Not a 24 pack to be found...

Can I get a Crayola? A Crayola, anyone? We decided, once again, to brave tax-free weekend and buy the school supplies needed for apparently, by the look of our cart, 75 children. We went to the school supply spot at Target and quickly realized that our powers of self control would truly be put to the test when we saw a fire marshall's nightmare: 75 people in the space of a modest master bedroom. We saw a large contingency from church and all made a vow not to judge each other for the angry faces and voices we might use fighting over the last pack of "Classic Color Markers" or for the venemous words used when deciding if "Jumbo glue sticks" on the supply list is the same as "Giant" on the Elmer's package. I had one woman give me a dirty look when I read the item "3 packages of sugar free gum" off one of the lists. Lady: "What kind of school requires you to bring gum?". Me: "Um, I think they use it as a reward instead of sugary gum or candy." Her: "Well honey, my incentive for being good was not to get a beating." Me: "Um, yes ma'am. But if they do that in school today, they'll get arrested. I'm just going to get the gum." Tax-free day is not the time to get in a conversation about the demise of schoolchildren and their behaviors as determined by gum. Just find me some Extra Bubblemint and the ellusive 24 pack of crayons so I can get the heck out of this death trap. We fled school supplies, picked up wet wipes and ziploc bags(extras to make teachers happy), headed to be checked out by our friend Houston(really our friend) and headed to Office Depot. Target was fresh out of the yellow and purple folders required on two lists and we had to find those blasted crayons. I would have settled for store brand or eve, gasp, Rose Art brand. I just wanted the &^%$ crayons. When we got to the OD, we found their shelves to be stripped of crayons as well. Okay, friends. That tears it. When they go on sale, I'm stockpiling up on those things. This shortage will not stand. Oh WAIT! A very helpful employee showed us to a Crayola display, placed in not so plain sight in the stationary department by the not so subtle, life sized display of One Direction. What was I thinking? Of course they were there and just enough, thank The Lord Almighty!

Next comes the fun task of labeling it all. I will take pictures of the before and after...complete with me in my new straight jacket.

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tax-free nerve meds, too?

In our fair state, this Friday through Sunday is tax-free weekend...a time when everyone and their brother swarms to their local mall or Best Buy to buy items supposedly used to go back to school: clothes, shoes, school supplies, mondo calculators and 72 inch televisions. With the in-laws in town on a rather activity-free weekend, we were searching for things to do with them. The zoo was too much walking for them and nothing else sounded appealing, so we went shopping. To the mall. On tax free weekend. With 5,000 of our best friends. While we were successful, it came at the cost of our sanity I think. The kids dealt with it in their own way...a dollar a pop: massage chairs. I was on edge of holding it together until it was agreed that we would go to Build A Bear. That's when the scales were tipped and it took everything not to be reduced to a drooling blob of human scrunched in the fetal position near the stuffing machine. The kids are now set for school's start with shoes and clothes. But we still haven't bought school supplies. That comes finish off the rest of my sanity. Tax-free Xanax? Yes, please!

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Oh the hu-vanity!!!!

It's remodel time here at the ranch, friends. We all knew it was coming. Heck, our kitchen has been half done for a few years, but the hub couldn't help that he blew out his back and had major surgery. But history seems to be repeating itself once again and a bathroom crisis is interrupting the progress on the kitchen remodel. Last week as I stood in front of the washer in the basement, there was a Chinese water torture kind of situation going on down there. The source was found in the main floor bathroom. Nice to know that the leak in the basement didn't start until the base of the cheap vanity was so saturated it could hold no more. So brown, rusty water dripped down on my head or straight onto the clean clothes. Running a fan in said bathroom, after the leak was fixed, did only good on the surface, but the fear of a lurking moldy nightmare remains. This forced us to do one of the activities that children love during the summer, almost as much as a summer reading list: we went vanity shopping at Lowes/Home Depot. We understand that once the vanity is moved in the slightest the situation goes directly from curiosity to full on biohazard yellow tile removing hell. The need to have pieces parts in place is vital. I'm sure the entirety of our city and county heard the collective whine-groan coming from the mouths of the offspring, but we needed to look and had a short time to do it. The in laws were arriving in a few hours, so time was of the essence. I have discussed at length many times before now that I have no eye for design. Going into this with frustration and having children full of frustration made this an excellent experience. I broke up a few scraps and sent them to their sitting on a chair in wallpaper, one chose to sit on a display toilet and this one:

We had a great time. One for the family scrapbook, friends.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

They wonder why I clench

I went to see my favorite dentist yesterday. My jaw has reached nuclear pain level and I could not put off seeking help any longer. I actually booked the appointment last week, but could not be seen until yesterday. I should have known that it might get serious when the hygienist/assistant brought in this:

Um, I guess I am going to get schooled on my face. Mark came in and started asking questions about my face. Where does it hurt? Can I press here and it is okay? Hold your mouth this way and let me press here...does that hurt? I think the tears pouring from my eyes gave him some ideas for sure. He made me a little device to try to reprogram my jaw into the right position. It is always impressive to lay in the chair and watch the dentist use fire to fashion a device for your mouth. Here it is:

It is tiny enough to fit in front of my front teeth, just enough to keep the top and bottom from touching. For such a little thing, it has caused some major pain. The next fix is a major piece of orthodontic mess with plastic and metal and it looks very horrifying. So I am trying to make this little piece of plastic work. The girls heard my jaw pop across the room, so I hope that means the storm before the calm. Yipes.

I am sitting and watching the conclusion of middle school soccer practice. My realization is that I have really lost the stomach for watching my child play at all. Just too anxiety producing. So I will just surf and write and pin things and ignore unless I hear the screams for "MRS. COOOOK!!!!!". Then I'll pay better attention.

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