Monday, March 31, 2014

I had a bee today

I don't know if it was the caffeine from the pint of Kroger iced coffee I drank this morning or the fact that I tripped over a piece of the kids' luggage that I had been playing another game of cleaning chicken with for too long, but I got a major bee in my bonnet this morning. Major cleaning/straightening had to happen or mama's head was going to pop right off. I first made a trip to the grocery store where I procured the makings for dinner and healthy snacks for the week. I went home, prepared the roast for dinner, cleaned and cut up a bunch of celery and carrots and peeled a gajillion cuties. Done. Then I headed to the dungeon. Laundry was started. Then the dread came. Where do I start? Once the shelves started shaping up and items started going back in their places, the truth came out. Our little stockpile of cheez-its had depleted at an alarming rate and we were missing several juice boxes. Hmmm. Let's solve a mystery, shall we? Once one side of the basement was cleaned, I started on the other. The trash of used up dryer sheets and lint was starting to overflow, so I went to empty it. Hey, how about that. Did you know that juice boxes hide nicely under dryer lint? They do, but they leaked out juice from boxes that have been frozen and chopped open with an odd pair of lefty scissors from a random box of school supplies...the juice then leaked and molded into the bottom of the trash can that someone had neglected to put a new bag in after they strangely volunteered to take the trash out. All the pieces are coming together now. Not all the brood are involved in this little operation. I know exactly which ones are. Shifty little juice thieves they are. It is a flippin' miracle that we don't have a massive bug or mouse problem. I took a picture of the trash can with every intention of lputting it on here tonight. I couldn't do it...too gross. When school was out, we had a little discussion about how sticky attracts icky and it better not happen again.

At least half of the basement is clean. I can rest a little easier tonight. Yuck.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mothers of boys learn fast

As I enter into a new week, I am pausing to contemplate the many complexities that are found in the human boy. Steel yourselves, gentle readers, for some slightly crass bathroom talk may commence. I have been noticing some suspicious yellow colored drops on the rim of the tub, you know, where you rest your arms when soaking in a therapeutic manner? I immediately knew what it was even though I didn't smell it (did that once...lesson learned). My problem was, well, I did not know how it could get in that exact location. Inside the tub? Yes. On the floor beside the tub? Yes. On the top rim of the tub? Stumped. So, I asked him. We have one sleepwalking child in the house, so I really wasn't going to be surprised if he had no recollection of how it came to pass . He knew he had done it, but seemed to have trouble articulating exactly why and how it happened. I started to get annoyed. I mean, if I had accidentally made a mess on the tub, I think it would be pretty clear how it happened. "Well, Mom, you know. Well, you know it happens, well, I can't really... I just don't exactly know." At this point, I was mentally done having just folded my 75th pair of socks or underwear and I just wanted to know how to stop the yellow drops from happening again. "Son. I am tired. I just need to know...was your penis with you all day today? I mean, how do you not know what happened?". Well, as soon as I said the "P" word, that child was in a fit of laughter for the rest of the evening. I think he laughed himself to sleep. Was I wrong? Should I not hve asked that? And whilst on the subject of yellow drops, I cleaned the bathroom yesterday. Oftentimes, the notion crosses my mind that I am just going to stop cleaning and see how long it takes before the offenders get grossed out by what they find in the bathroom.  The kid can shoot a suction cup Nerf dart and stick it to a doorknob all the way across the room, but he basically just carpet bombs the right side of the toilet.  I have learned there is no point in playing a game of bathroom cleaning chicken with a 7 year old. The mom will crack first. With every spray of Clorox Clean Up, I muttered little bits of profanity under my breath. How can he not see this? I know how...he never stays still for any time longer than what it takes to go to the bathroom. He's 7.

Even with mysterious yellow drops and Tasmmanian Devil type speed, I must confess that I have a weak spot for that child. He is the most loving little guy I know. Yes, he went to his friend's birthday pool party and sat on the sprinkler to make it look like he was peeing on the entire party (I honestly don't think he realized what he was doing until everybody pointed it out and then he found it funny), but he is not intentionally rude. He cannot bear having anyone angry at him. He is a militant rule follower. He kisses his sisters goodnight and still grabs my hand when we walk through the Kroger parking lot. When we sit on the couch to watch a show, he snuggles up to my side, gives a heavy sigh and relaxes. I am so proud of the young man my little guy has become. The yellow drops can be addressed later. He'll only snuggle up to me for so much longer. I cherish every little boy second I can get...precious time. Precious time.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Shorty short short

I miss my husband and my oldest. They are retreating this weekedn with our youth group. Soccer games were cancelled this morning due to nasty, rainy weather, so I took time with the two youngers to make them help me clean. Mean mom again. After lots of cleaning and strife, we ran a few errands and I got them Frozen as a treat. They watched and I napped between laundry loads. The rest of the evening is kind of unimportant. Just miss my people and want them home. I feel out of sorts without them.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

I should know better

This has been a day of variety. I went to visit some seasoned citizens at a local assisted living home. So darn sweet, they were. One lady, as spry as could be, proudly told us she was a young 102. What a sweetheart! After visiting with them, the hub and I spent a good deal of time with our favorite kitchen designer, Kevin, and actually made final decisions and wrote a deposit check. That is forward progress, people. Write it down. Remember it. This is a big day in our family. We might have a complete kitchen someday soon.

After a dramatic night at the soccer fields (a girl on S's team dislocated her kneecap and had to be driven off of the field), the boy and I had a fancy date at Firehouse Subs while G was at a retreat for her singing group. They are now blissfully sleeping while I, like an idiot, am watching "Hannibal" by myself. Then I started tweeting comments to the creepy character Dr. Abel Gideon, just for fun, and he replied. Yes, I know it is ficitional, but it creeped me out. Then all of a sudden, the dog decided to readjust her bed in her crate down the hall. I jumped about five feet in the air and made a sound that resembled a cat that had a duck on its back and someone stepped on both of them at the same time. Think on that. If you need a demonstration, I'm sure I'll be up a while freaking out about what I just watched. Brrrr.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not that kind of barbershop

As is customary in our household, about every 4-6 weeks the boy gets a haircut. I have written many times about his love, a deep brotherhood of barbershop patrons kind of love, for his barber. He would wait 4 hours to get J to cut his hair rather than wait one minute and have anyone else cut his hair. We got really lucky today. We pulled into the parking lot and I rushed the kids out of the car and into the shop...some guy pulled up and looked like he was headed in the same direction. What a wonderful sight to behold: J's chair was empty. The girls practically pushed the boy in there. It was a rare occurence to get there without a wait, so they were determined to act quickly. Our feeling was correct and the young man, who was slightly sketchy, came in right after us and stepped in another chair. Ha! We got J first, I thought. I did something I never thought I would do in his shop: I showed him a picture of a cut that I thought might be a compromise and get me out of having the boy's head buzz cut. Thumbs up. Not a huge change, but a good transitional cut for the warm weather. The guy in the other chair was asking some sporty questions, then asking my boy some questions in regards to his school. Other people in the shop were listening to the questions, answering when they felt led to respond. Because the boy had a lot of hair to chop off, the other man was done before. He paid for his cut, walked over and said to my boy's barber, "Do you know a good place to get waxed?". J and his female barber R immediately gave him names of several salons in the three block radius that would do waxing. He looked back at me and the kids, turned to J and said, "Due to parental issues, I can't discuss what kind of waxing. Do you know where I can go for that?". Parental issues? Like I would punch him in the face if he graphically described what he really wanted right there in front of my children. Okay, I might. Anyhoo, when the guy hinted about a downstairs kind of waxing, J went to his happy place. He was struck dumb with the absurdity of what just happened. The female barber started referring him to fancy salons out west, though I think she was still a bit unsure about what he was asking. He thanked them for the suggestions and left. The next thing I saw was the funniest look on poor J's face I have ever seen. "Why on earth would he think a local barbershop is going to clean up his house?". We all lost it. It did make for awkward conversation on the way home, but what child doesn't need a lesson on total body grooming. Yuck. I think a new first happened in the barbershop today. I was so glad to be there. It was the best money I have spent all month...

...and the boy LOVES his new spiky hair!
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blast from the past

It has been another crazzy day, but with some sweet things added in for fun. I went shopping today for my mom's birthday present. As I may have mentioned in the past, Mom's birthday is New Year's Day. Since it is a day when most of the population is either hungover, sleeping or lazy, her special day got forgotten a lot and she changed the day of celebration to April 1st almost 30 years ago. So I went to find her some fruit bowls to go with her new china. After asking the lady at one of the nice department stores if they had 2 fruit bowls, she seemed to have a hard time getting to the root of what I wanted. "We only have two. We'll have to order the other one." After telling her I only needed two, she again talked about ordering a third. I explained to her that she had two, my dad got her four more and my two would make the eight she wanted. "Oh you just wanted two. Yeah, I'm not really paying attention to much of what you say. Heh. Sorry." If I hadn't needed those two bowls so bad...oh well. After paying and walking past a dark sunglassed man in a fuzzy Russian hat talking to himself and smoking a foot long cigar out in the parking lot whilst leaning on a land barge of a Caddy, I decided I needed a trip out of the Twilight Zone and into happier, calmer places. So I went to Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop. I'm a pie snob, I'm not going to lie. My Granny was the pie making master! I must say that their little pie was awfully tasty. It took the edge of the fruit bowl, Russian mafioso in the parking lot experience. Pie cures most ills.

As I was searching through my pictures on the ipad, I found one of my favorite pictures of all time. Many years ago, S and G had been charged to clean up the basement. As always, the cleaning turned in to a fight. I called them up to eat a meal or something. When I went to the basement to do some laundry, the kids' easel had a clear message:

I still hee haw every time I see that. They fight like cats and dogs, but those girls love each other for sure. True story.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Can I have just one day?

It has been a long and crazy day, but nothing worse than anyone else has dealt with I'm sure. As I walked into our house around 8pm tonight, I really wanted to walk back out. Hurricane Cook hit our house and it looks like a wreck. I just need a day...just one day to get this house right. Since I work for a church, we are entering into a very busy time and there are longer days and more plans to be made at this point. Just one day to climb to the top of the folded laundry and start putting it away. Oh well. it could be so much worse. I need to be more positive and look on the sunny side.

I ask that you all keep my cousin in your prayers. She had a hiking accident Saturday and horribly injured her foot. A surgery and several screws later, she is down for a while. And it is her driving foot. She's a mom of 5 and just, as Carly Simon would say, "Hasn't got time for the pain..." I need not complain. it could always be worse. So, instead, I will dream about learning how to knit so I can use this book:

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Are those children or zombies in the backseat?

I am a mean and horrible mother, but as my friend Judy told me once, "Mean mommas make good children." I sure hope so. After a weekend of sleepovers and swimming opportunities and soccer and washing lots of dishes at Community Meal, the children were dragging. Dragging in such a way that I, Cruella DaMom, made them go to bed at 8:00...I have some nerve. The boy didn't put up any kind of a fight. Just a heavy sigh, a removal of his little glasses, the grabbing of Mikey the Monkey and he was out. The girls were at the point of such exhaustion that they were angry for the lights to go out. They had been stripped of all electronics, not out of punishment, but to lessen the temptation to stay awake. I caught one under the covers making rubber band bracelets by flashlight. Busted and ticked off, she finally caved and commenced to almost drooly sleep in a matter of maybe two minutes. The 6am wake up was cruel and unusual punishment for all of us, except for the hub who gets up at 5:30 every morning and was probably laughing under his beard at our haggard appearances. The wake up call had to be repeated several times and they finally rolled out of the bed with loud groans and long faces. The boy, at one point, had everything but his shoes on backwards. One of the girls took almost 10 minutes to tie her shoes. They ate, fed the dog, stared at their feet. Even the dog was a bit loopy. She sat next to the heater, head propped on S's shoe with a look of "Don't touch me woke me up". They loaded up in the car, well two of them did. I honestly think G fell asleep standing up with her hand on the door latch. Her big sister said, "Mom! G is still outside the car!". Our ride to drop the youngers off was silent and I was convinced I had maybe still left G outside the car. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw three blank faces, hungover in a sense from a Spring Break disrupted sleep pattern. The zombies from the Spring Break Dead were in my backseat...sans the creepy moaning sounds and rotting flesh.

They returned home with lots and LOTS of news from school and their friends, though still very tired. I aimed for an 8pm bedtime tonight, but only the boy got close: 8:15. He's a sleeper, that one. The hub had to give a "Turn the light off and stop making bracelets or scrapbooking or couponing" or whatever they were doing kind of warning. Lather rinse repeat...we'll go through it all again tomorrow. I'm one grateful mean mom.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday, sunday...

It's been a busy day and I am tired, but there are plenty of other moms who are as well. After a busy day working with the children, I went home to an empty house. Empty of humans. The crazy dog was there with mounds of laundry to be dealt with quickly. I don't mind laundry except for the socks and underwear. I hate sorting socks and underwear, though they give me the perfect and justifiable excuse to watch television to cut the monotony. Afterwards, I went to a missions meeting at church. Being the ADHD girl that I am, it is beyond torture to sit in a meeting of any length. I must say, though, that I am proud of my brother. He had a passion for our church to participate in a Stop Hunger Now Event. The thought of, in the course of 2 two hour shifts, we could bag enough rice/veggies/nutrients to feed 20,000 meals. To take a big bite, pardon the pun, out of the hunger epidemic in this world. I am so excited that our church will be participating. Bag some ricey stuff, fill boxes and then track your food to the country who will benefit. How cool is that? Because I have no shame, I will happily put the link to the event on here. While it is to be held at our church, it is not a Methodist event. Come and help no matter what your religion. If you are not affiliated with any religion, please come. No alarms will sound...just a bunch of people united together to end poverty. It is within our grasp. Here is the link:

Feel free to visit the link and watch the videos. They are pretty cool. Thanks and have a great evening!
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Soccer washer woman mom am I

Soccer Saturday numero dos and still injury free. S did not have a game today because, unlike the North Knox area in which we live, the girls out west don't play soccer on Spring Break. So, she just reffed games all day. G and the boy both had victories and each scored(the boy score twice). G should be sore tomorrow. She did a lot of diving to save goals...a lot of diving. I did a lot of nail biting myself.

After we cleaned ourselves up and took several layers of sweat and dust and grass and sunscreen off of our bodies, we sat down to relax for a wee bit. Uncle Mike came over and got S and me and we went to help with the Open Door Community Meal. My sweet daughter and I, along with Aunt Deb, ran the dishwasher and cleaned and dried everything down to the ice tongs. We found out that chivalry is dead when it comes to kitchen work and that most people over the age of about 75 decided to opt out of anything after serving the meal to the guests and themselves. It's okay. They've earned that right I suppose. One lady did manage to get ugly with my child when she offered to help them put items away. Luckily I kept my jewelry on and nothing got ugly.

My oldest and I are now snuggled up watching National Treasure. A lovely end to a lovely day. I'll take it!

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Poor old Dennis

As Spring Break draws to a close, the beautiful weather has gotten "beautifuller". Tempting as it is to let the boy play his new Legos Avengers video game, we chose to take the dog to the dog park. The first trip came and went without much excitement. Based on the mass exodus of pets and owners upon the arrival of two dock-eared intimidators, we got out of there as quickly as we could. They were mounting everything that wasn't attached to the ground and desperately trying to show their very unneutered dominance. The boy started asking questions, but luckily the dog was barking loud enough that he soon lost interest in trying to carry on a conversation. As we were leaving, we saw several high school ball players arriving, so we decided to go home, hydrate, pack a picnic dinner and go back for the baseball game for a bit before soccer practice. A flurry of excitement and activity ensued before we left, but they were excited for the change in the norm and the possibility of viewing a sporting event of any kind. Copper is always up for a trip to the dog park. She is a super fan of that place. I have learned that some growling, barking and teeth showing is part of the whole canine play process, but my children are freaked out about it. When we entered the park for trip number two, not a dog to be found. Okay, just let her sniff and run. It is all good. Then a very talkative, very super New York lady came with her dog...Dennis. Poor ole' Dennis. She stood and told us exactly every dynamic of the dog park and how it worked. She compared the dogs play biting each other with their gums like "your grandpa gumming his corn on the cob with the few teeth he has left". The kids looked at each other puzzled since both of their grandfathers have their teeth in tact for effectively eating corn on the cob. Another dog, Tiger the German Shepherd, came in for a visit. He had been injured at the dog park several weeks ago with a sprain, so Dennis's mother made it clear that she would communicate to Dennis that he needed to lay off Tiger's right front leg. Communicate? Really? Every time those two guys got to playing with each other, mom of Dennis kept yelling, in her best not so nasal Fran Drescher, "Dennis? BOO BOO!!! Dennis? BOO BOO!!!". Apparently that is how she communicated to him the other dog was hurt. My children retreated to seperate corners of the park, trying with little success to not laugh at poor Dennis and his situation. After a while, I could take no more and we retreated to the ball game. We could still hear, "Dennis? BOO BOO!!" from quite a distance away. Poor old Dennis.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Uneasy in the unknown

As is every Spring Breaker's dream, we made our every few months trek to the allergist's office to try and figure out if they have chiseled away anymore mess to get to what has made our oldest have such weird health issues and reactions. Anyone who sees any kind of specialist knows, the word "specialist" really means 2hour+ wait. Luckily we came armed with ipads and books and my phone to try and keep people occupied during the wait. We really didn't need any of it out in the waiting room. A lady and her 9 year old daughter shared their piercing and tattooing history with the whole waiting room at top volume. Even though the child was too young for conventional tattooing, the artists not working on her mother gave her Sharpie sleeve work every time she went in to wait. They did share that the 9 year old had lots of piercings and not all in her ears. Luckily S was called back and we didn't have time to sit and think exactly where a child would be pierced other than ears. No answers were found this round, but the two youngers documented their feelings about sitting there all morning:

The boy is crazy, but I felt his pain. I just couldn't visually demonstrate it as he did. After escaping the office and getting lunch, we changed clothes and headed to the dog park to wear out, well, everybody. It worked and we got to see the agile jumping and footwork of a beautiful border collie mix that practically flew when she went after her frisbee. I hope Copper was taking notes.

The kids are all worn out and in bed. The girls are probably in bed together watching something on Netflix. The boy? Wiped I am sure. I am finishing up to get ready and watch Scandal. I don't plan on sleeping for a while. Night, Gladiators. Have a good sleep.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lucky number 7

Well it has happened again. My son has turned another year older...and I don't like it. Seven years ago, this sweet little ball of joy came into our lives. His delivery was a pretty darn trying one. I swear there were probably fingernail marks where he tried to stay in his nice little cave. The doctor was in no real hurry. He'd check every once in a while and then he and my "concerned" husband went back to their viewing of a glassblowing documentary on the Discovery channel. When he finally arrived, sunny side up, he was just perfect! Our Spring Break baby. For his birthday, we went to a new to us safari park, Circle G Ranch. He took a buddy and we went on our way to see a water buffalo, zebras, camels, various deer/antelope/goat like creatures and lots of pot bellied pigs. We all learned lots of facts, fed food pellets to the animals and got to pet some creatures. This one followed us everywhere:

Post safari we went to, wait for it, the Pizza Inn. Birthday boy gets his birthday meal wish. Before anyone jumps all over me, just know that I am a Christian and I am well into the Lenten season and the journey to the cross. This is one of the most soul searching and meaningful times of the year. That being said, I was taken by surprise when I saw this display on top of the salad bar:

Not usually the place I would usually expect to see a crown of thorns, but there it was. It never hurts to be reminded even in the oddest of places.

After a meal of pizza that did not involve OCD patrons or violent customers of any type, we went home for present opening and cake eating. The boy was very excited and grateful for each gift, playing with each one throughout the evening. His Avengers cookie cake was a big hit, setting us all to hanging from the ceilings with the icing's sugar content:

He is now resting comfortably, a newly turned 7 year old exhausted from a day of excitement. What a super kid he is growing up to be. It breaks my heart to realize how quickly he's grown, but I don't regret a single second spent with this coolest of kids. What a gift he is...
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hell indeed has frozen over

The kids got home today. I was so happy to see their faces, but the transition back into the real world after being in shangri-la is always a tough one for them. The hub and I did enjoy having some time to do grown up stuff and practical things that turn into torturous events for kids 18 and under. Today I went to my happy place when thrown in the middle of 5,000,000,000,000 different flooring samples. I think our guy realized we needed to end our session and give brains a rest when I sat down on their nice old repurposed church pew, rubbed my eyes and ran my hands through my hair. We actually found some possibilities, but must wait for our kitchen guy to come back into the office. Sooooo, we headed back to the car and made our way to the next destination: the Apple Store...again. Our computer has been in its death throes for quite a while now and we needed to make a decision. The hub has built our PCs as long as I can remember, so this was a big step. We saw lots of our friends from yesterday's phone experience and they were friendly and interested as to why we were back. I even saw an old friend from my childhood who works there now. He looked very important and I never got to speak to him. Not sure if he was purposely trying to ignore me and honestly didn't remember...maybe somewhere in the middle. Oh well. Our guy, Coleman, was excellent and a Jack of all trades. He had the patience of Job as did my husband. In the end, he was making the decision for the children or that's what we decided to say. He will never be 100% Apple, but a large step was taken today. The kids are thrilled for sure.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Sandy beds, sinks and Shaved Apple heads

With the kids gone for a day or so, the hub and I stayed up late watching shows we knew they wouldn't like. Because of this we went to bed late and conked out fast seeing as how we are lightweighs when it comes to late bedtimes. Poor guy, the hub was so sleepy. He started sawing some major logs...and I was a bad person. I kept poking him and pushing him and kicking him...guilt got the best of me and I got up. The boy's bed was close, so I crawled in there for some sleep and to not pop the husband in the side anymore. I pulled down the sheets, crawled in and basically landed in a mini sandbox. How that child could sleep in that and where it came from I do not know. Regardless, it was less than comfortable and I look forward for a sleep redo tonight. We decided to do as much kitchen remodel stuff while the kids were gone as we could, so we headed to the kitchen store. While the lighting lady was wonderful and plied us with freshly baked cookies from a $10,000 oven, the sink lady was like the drill seargant of kitchen sales. She intimidated me to death and I sure hope she got home from work in time to watch Dancing With the Stars, because that is the only human thing she expressed interest in during our conversation. I think she might be a robot. After this encounter, we decided to head to the Apple Store for more abuse. Suprisingly enough, we were pleasantly surprised. We were met by extremely friendly people who were obviously very bored and craving conversation while we waited for the hub's phone to restore. We had many conversations about odd things with our new best friend Matt:

At that particular moment, he was demonstrating to all of us how to freeze like a statue on command. We were all impressed. He also introduced us to the growing in popularity "Pixar Theory" which states that all the Pixar films are related. Google it and watch the 12 minute youtube clip explaining it...then go to the Apple Store and talk with Matt about it. Mind. Blown.

Here's hoping to better sleep tonight. The kidlets return tomorrow and I hope to have a more restful night upon their return. The boy's 7th birthday is coming up on Wednesday and I, well, I don't want to talk about it. It is all just going too fast. My little baby is growing up. I said I don't want to talk about it. I'll just mull the Pixar Theory over as I try to sleep. Night all.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

I love a good war movie

The hub and I are loners for a couple of days, so we are trying to get some not so kid friendly things done and get some viewing done of movies and shows that the kids wouldn't necessarily like. I want to see The Monuments Men. Not only does it have an interesting cast, but it is a good fight against the Nazis movie. Maybe it is because I am a tomboy, maybe because I have a big brother, but I love a good and well cast fight against the Nazis/bad guys war movie. Maybe I like them a little too much. I can remember sitting next to my brother, decked out in our Army surplus store fatigues or military coats and hats, settling down to watch The Dirty Dozen or The Great Escape or Kelly's Heroes. I must admit that I ordered the DVD of Stalag 17 for S for Christmas this year. We haven't watched it yet, but Spring Break is here. It's gonna happen. William Holden is the best.

Does my latest movie request get the best critiques? No. Is it getting 5 out of 5 stars? Nope. But it is based on a true story about brave men who went to save and preserve the beauty created by artists purely for us to freely enjoy and appreciate. The men who preserved what Hitler wanted so desperately to enjoy. I'm ready to watch...then I'll binge watch True Detective before the kids come home and things turn all Disney/Nick and angsty teen viewing. But we will watch the POW's in Stalag 17. Oh yes, we will.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Soccer and graduation...whew!

We had a glorious day for the first day of Spring soccer season. I even managed to dress appropriately and not allow my children to get completely scorched in the sun. I consider this a successful day. The girls each ame away with a win and the boy's team just played each other since the other team had, as they say, "The Strep". G got injured a bit as she tangled with another player and landed with a pretty sickening thud on the ground. S clonked up her knee as she tangled with another as well. But it is all good...they both walked away although G took a bit longer.

After the games, we rushed home to wash the field off of our nasty selves and readied the house for Copper's last obedience class. This was the biggie...graduation. She had to perform several tricks and commands to Aunt Julie's approval. She passed them all. After her exam, she was presented with her diploma and a graduation cake:

The cake was made of peanut butter, banana, cream cheese and nuts. Needless to say, she inhaled it in three gulps, one from each of the children. She will now move on to the next course and we can't wait. We love Aunt Julie and her dog wisdom. I think she enjoys our family and, most importantly, Copper the escape artist. How could you not? Crazy, crazy dog.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring soccer's eve

As of 3:30EST, it is officially Spring Break here in our fair city. Thank goodness. Even though we have more than our fair share of snow days, well snow and rain days, it has been a rough second semester for our family. I know lots of friends are feeling the same. While I would selfishly like to have a leisurely morning of sipping coffee, watching some reruns and hanging out in a worn out A&W root beer tshirt, I will be taking the dewey grassy walk to the soccer fields to watch the first games of the season. The boy's game has already been turned into a practice match. The strep virus knocked out the majority of the opposing team. At least they'll have the break to heal. The girls are pumped up and ready to go to soccer battle. G got some new blue and green polka dotted socks today, the new official socks for the newly named "Thunderbolts". S's team tends to stay with the traditional black socks. I don't know if they will give themselves a name or know middle school girls. We have loaded up on sunscreen and bottled water, checked the soccer chairs and the sizes of cleats and shin guards. I am trying to plan my wardrobe in a responsible way so as to not suffer whatever the temperature or have to use one of my poor children as a child sized hot water bottle. As long as we can have an injury free season, I don't care about anything else. Winning is nice, but not when your child is sitting on the sidelines injured and watching it happen.

For now, I will watch my weekly dose of Hannibal and hope that I can sleep without messed up dreams. No guarantees there. Oh well. I have Spring Break to catch up on lost z's...and dream about severed ears and Hannibal the cannibal. Yuck.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Frozen healthy school activity

It was Walkathon day at G and F's school this afternoon. I was not really in the mood to go...busy day, substandard night's sleep, etc, but I went because I could not bear the thought of upsetting this face:

To be honest, G told me she didn't care if I attended or not. The boy tried to act like he didn't care, but I knew he probably did. Even though he barely talked to me as is the elementary school boy way, he held my hand the whole time. I ate that up of course.

After the Walkathon was over, I took the kids home early. Not much else was going on and most people have mentally checked out for Spring Break anyway. We picked up some salad makings, picked big sister up and went home. And then it happened. The dog made a prison break again. This time she jumped two fences in order to get in the neighbor's house. I was impressed and horrified all at once. She retired to her crate fairly early this evening. I think her adventure wore her out. Either that or she knew she'd better get in there for her own safety. She is insane. Really.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The bugs are here!

Each year the children's ministry program at church orders caterpillars and goo to put in little cups and grow butterflies for release on Easter morning. Last year, my boss was gone on a family trip and I had to do the applesauce-oatmeal smelling goo in the cups and transfer the tiny squirming bugs into their cups...with no directions as to how to do it. This year she was in town and had a Sunday School class of kids to help her. Since Sunday, they have grown by leaps and bounds, some even have already settled to the top of the cups and have begun the chrysalis building process. My children have already decided to name them, all 30 of them. But then, um, so have 20 other kids have well. Butterflies with an identity crisis, twitching after being called 17 different names.

I always look forward to the excitement of Easter morning, for multiple reasons, but the butterflies put the icing on the cake. Little squirmy black things the size of a poppy seed that grow into beautiful, fragile butterflies. Just one of the many miracles God gives us at Easter. So neat to see.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Long and lean and I don't like it

My son, the boy, is a mess. A mess in the best way possible. He got in the car today, excited to discuss the fact he learned today that there were exactly 31 bathrooms in the White House. Instead of commenting on that being a large number or wondering if how much square footage they had in the actual structure, he took a different tack. "Well, Mom. If President Obama has a taco night go bad over there, they'll have plenty of bathrooms for people to use." Who says that kind of thing? Uh, my son...and I loved every bit of it. While G was at her singing group practice, several moms and kids went on the church playground to enjoy this glorious day and breathe in some of the lovely fresh air. I noticed how he moved when he played. He has become long and lanky, a lean and mean first grade machine. Not an ounce of baby fat on that body as evidenced by the fact that he had to constantly pull his pants up. Like every 45 seconds. I don't think a belt would really help him, because it would be cinched so tight he would have a major crisis if he had taco night with the Obamas. I know I can't keep him small forever, but I want to in so many ways. It melts my heart into my very soul when he still grabs my hand as we walk down the street...or runs up to me with the heavenly odor of sweaty little boy(that has not yet changed to the hellish odor of stenchy older boy)and gives me a kiss and a quick hug before he runs back to climb into the playhouse. I live for these moments...draw energy from them. What a gift all my children are and what a gift that spectacled little sweaty ball of fun is every day of my life. Even though it breaks my heart to see him grow up so fast, I can't wait to see what he is going to do in this world. I sure hope it involves taco night at the White House.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Time change rage

I don't know which time change messes me up more, falling back or springing forward. Right now, springing forward is about to mess us all up. My son, who really only cries if he get hurt, broke down this morning when a sister told him he was sitting in the chair she called shotgun on first. I got homw from taking the kids to school and realized even the dog had not weathered the early morning wake up call well. She curled up in a ball on the forbidden bench...I was so tired, I just left her alone. It seemed cruel to make her get up. She kind of sighed and gave me a "Thanks for leaving me alone" look. People in the grocery store and at work looked a bit foggy, just trying to get through the morning. Maybe it was just me, but the line to Starbucks looked extra long. I fell asleep in the pickup line again, what's new. My friend A made sure to wake me up in time. As we drove out of the school parking lot, we saw several moms and dads sawing some major logs in their cars. It was great.

For all my yawning and yapping about the time change, what a glorious sight it was today: children playing outside, running and wearing themselves out. The dog wore herself out. Their lungs got filled with fresh air...their hearts got pumping and their legs got running. Enjoying God's beautiful creation...the wonderful gift of springing forward. Sleep is overrated. Watching your kids enjoy nature? Priceless.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's all Greek and magic to me

My oldest went to services at the Greek Orthodox Church today. It was another church visit to learn about different religions and how hers is similar or different. I wish I could have gone with her, but church days are my work days so not this time. Please let me say that I am in no way insulting this particular religion, just sharing about her visit. I think she really did not like the fact that she had to stand so much, that she felt like an observer rather than a guest and a less than. Every church has their different practices and rules and she understands that. Her ultimate comment was, "I'd rather go back to synangogue if I couldn't go to our church. They felt I was good enough to eat with and talk with and worship with. That means a lot." Enough said.

Because my husband with doing his soccer job, I had the pleasure of taking G to her magic lesson with Mr. Ed. I'm telling you what, friends. That man is the best. She practiced her rope trick and learned a card trick and how to shuffle the deck in different ways. I, of course, cannot give you any information about what she learned other than to see she is one lucky girl. Talk about getting to learn from a master. He has patented tricks, makes tricks for and is friends with major hardcore magicians. Just when we think we know every cool thing he does, we find yet another. But of all the cool things he does, the most magical is that he makes my daughter feel special and successful and cool....and that is the most wonderful gift anyone could give her right now. We are so grateful for our magical afternoons with Mr. Ed. He has no idea what powerful work he does each Sunday on the fragile self esteem of such a cool kid.

I must go now and watch the episode of Hannibal I missed and creep myself out for the evening. Always a good move. Night all.

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

My brain hurts from so much learning

We had day two of our LEAD Kids conference today. Again our speaker, Dr. Leanne Hadley, blew us away with her words. She spoke to us as equals and validated the importance of children's ministry and those who are passionate about being involved with it. She taught us how to provide sacred spaces for children to learn, to grow, to heal and to meet with God. I feel so blessed and honored to be charged with such a weighty responsibility. I also feel so honored to have spent some time with Dr. Hadley today. As my brain recovers, I will share with you more about our time with her.

After the conference convened and we had sufficiently cleaned up the aftermath of a two day conference, I returned home to a puppy full of kisses and a husband in the throes of soccer season work. The children had gone to do a Project Serve activity with their aunt and uncle and then to dinner. I miss them and can't wait for them to get home. I haven't really seen much of them since Friday morning. That is too long. They will arrival shortly in a whirlwind of activity I am sure. But for now, I am going to lay down and think about what I learned today. My brain needs to work it out so I can sleep. Springing forward is going to hurt tomorrow.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Full day, full heart

I am composing this on my iPhone.  My iPad is on the kitchen counter downstairs and I am too exhausted to go down there and get it.  After a long meeting this morning and then at church for day one of a Children's Ministry conference, I am emotionally full and exhausted.  The choir that G participates in sang as part of our evening worship.  I truly believe the group was blown away by their talent.  i was so proud of all of them.  Our keynote speaker, Dr. Leanne Hadley, spoke on grief in children and how to provide a sacred space for children to grieve and heal and become new.  I was absolutely captivated by her message.  Hopefully I can articulate it better tomorrow, but for now just know that I am full and exhausted.  I must be at church by 7:15 tomorrow, so bedtime must come now.   Sleep tight!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blue suede dancing day

I am kind of tired today. Spending a gross amount of time folding, sorting and putting away laundry, did I mention gross amount, was not what I had planned for my Thursday. A bagel, cup of joe and a good book whilst sitting in Panera or on my couch sounded really nice, but alas it was not to be. You know how socks disappear in the laundry? Well, I think all the missing socks of the world reunited, melded into tshirts and invaded our home. Honestly, and I overuse this term, but tshirts multiply like tribbles in my girls' room. They are like the flippin' Hydra. I throw one out and two come back in its place. Anyhoo, after I completed the laundry task, I went to school to see the first of two performances of the school chior performance. G sang a verse of "Blue Suede Shoes" and danced like only she can dance. I love all my children, but there is something about the way that kid moves her body that is so hysterical. The faces she makes are just the icing on the cake. A blank, but serious, stare on her face while doing the helicopter with her friends. Just a pure joy to watch. It was a fun show with lots of fun dancing, singing and even scooter riding by Elvis. What more could you want?

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pain, suffering, and renewal

Guest post by the dear hub...

So, I am sure the blogmistress has probably hit on the chronicle of my back pain, the stresses it puts on the family and the day to day status my back seems to take. I know it and I sure wish there was an "Easy" pill to make this back pain all go away. Trust me, I spend my days in "prevent defense" trying to ensure I don't make my back worst or cause aggrevation. I have done a good job since November's steriod injection to keep may back "tolerable" and myself functional. So, here is my pain speak for "How is your back doing?" is the following:

OK- I am functional, but not pain free. I can tolerate the episodes of pain.
Not good - I am functional, some persistent pain, but the show must go on.
Bad - I am mentally searching for a "happy place" to mask moderate pain. I will likely sneak away when the pain makes me angry and lay down.
(I don't want to talk about it) - I am present, but the pain is significant. If I wince in pain, or sit or stand to relieve the pain, please don't think I am angry at you.

Where am I on the pain scale? Prior to Friday, the last 3.5 months I have averaged "OK." Friday was the first practice of the season, and I am a committed dad and continue to coach soccer. Sunday I was at the "Bad" point and today, I am at the "Not good." I am now at a cross roads: Do I give up coaching soccer and other activities? Or do I live life and expect more pain and possible surgery sooner rather than later? This is the line of questions I ask myself as I yo-yo through the pain cycle and associated suffering.

Tonight, we attended Ash Wednesday services. S was a little upset as there is a lady who attends church that suffers from some form of mental illness. She sat in the pew rocking back and forth talking to herself. S has struggled with typical middle school issues, and had a bout with mono in 2013. I leaned other and whispered: Everyone is fighting their own tough fight. Some fights are more visible than others. Be Kind.

Pain has taught me patience, kindness, and empathy. There are times when I would trade pains with others, but tonight i realize that this is part of my journey through life. If you are suffering, you are not alone. I pray that you find renewal, freedom from suffering, and a new beginning.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pancakes everywhere

Today is Shrove Tuesday and, as is tradition, we had a pancake supper at church with a family Lent event after. I always find people and their pancake eating habits quite fascinating. Maybe not their eating habits as much as their pancake preparation habits quite interesting. There were many pancake toppings to be added depending on your tastes: strawberry, blueberry, syrup, butter, bananas Foster and whipped cream and then sausage links as well. Some people had their toppings on the side, forming a pool in which they dunked chunks of pancake. I always, per my mother's instructions, always took a portion of butter on my plate and then took from that butter to take care of all the pancakes once I got to the table. Some people buttered both sides of their pancakes right there before getting toppings. Then there was the drown my pancakes in one particular topping or stack one pancake, one topping, next pancake, next topping lather rinse repeat. I found my son roliing his sausage link in his pancake. Cheaper than buying a box of Jimmy Dean's version.

As much as I love pancakes, that is not what this night was about. It was a preparation for Lent, a time to learn about the season. I'm grateful for this time of reflection and preparation for Easter...and the pancakes didn't hurt either.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

I am piling on and feeling evil

I am a bad person, but I am one of those people who has had a bit of a field day with John Travolta's major slipup with Idina Menzel's name pronunciation on the Oscars last night. I shouldn't be enjoying it as much as I am...but I am. There are hundreds of theories going around today about what in the world must have happened. He had a mini "episode" of some sort to the name was phonetically written out on the teleprompter and he forgot his glasses. Whatever the reason, he has throngs of little girls thrusting their frozen fists up in the air, cursing his major awards show faux pas. As I was checking "the Twitter" this evening, I found a handy widget called "Travolify My Name". You put your name in and in gives you John's creative version. Instead of Jenny Cook, my name is "Joey Cloirk". Some of the names I put in there had us crying they were so funny.

Yes, I am a horrible person for mocking Travolta along with lots of my fellow Oscar viewers. I hope he has a sense of humor and does something humorous in reaction to the "feedback". My husband "Blair " and I will ask for forgiveness in our amusement.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Jenny's Super Bowl Is On

The Oscars are on tonight and I have no focus in the writing department. I have not missed an Oscar show since the 4th grade, I think. Even when I haven't gotten to see many of the nominees, I love it. The dresses and tuxes and presenters and singers and tributes. All of it. I even sacrificed, friends, and took a nap today so I wouldn't fall asleep before the final name was read. I'm a giver...I am.

Today has been a pretty stressful day and I am a distracted mess. Please forgive the brevity of the post. I'm just tapped out. I hope you have a good evening. Night all!

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Outside is the right side

It was yet another glorious day in East Tennessee. The hub took two children and went to line the soccer fields this morning. Since Pythagoras and I are not the greatest of pals, I chose to take S to get a new pair of "character heels" for her dance recital performance. Not sure why they call them that, but she did look like quite the character trying to walk in them...something akin to a tightrope walker in a full force gale. She'll get used to them I hope. Anything is better than her mother. I'd trip on a painted crack in the floor.

"Aunt Julie" came to work with our crazy canine this afternoon. She took a good look at the backyard and tried to figure out how to prevent another dog escape/home invasion incident. Still trying to work out that problem. That dog is a good egg, but she's crazy. We decided to finish the wearing out process by going to the dog park. We were prepared to go in and meet lots of dogs on this fine day until we heard a bad noise. Apparently the hounds of hell had descended upon the park and had decided to get in a fight after a chihuahua started it. Owners were screaming and sticking their hands in the middle of the melee, cursing their dogs and the other owners. That is when we did our best about face and walked away. The dog got to walk and watch a soccer tournament instead.

A good day was had by all. We are tired and yucky, but satisfied and ready to relax. I bought a little sign today that perfectly describes days like this:

Have a lovely evening, everybody.
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