Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bake sale dilemma

This weekend is our church's annual rummage sale. It is a big fundraiser for missions and a popular event for many people in the community. The youth group is having a bake sale and lots of the moms have been charged with providing the goods to be sold. I am a product of a perfectionist baker who makes beautiful and tasty treats with little to no effort, so a little of that has rubbed off on me. Also in a bake sale situation let's be serious, everybody wants to be the person whose treats are the first to be snatched up...not the sad bag of whatevers that are given away at the end of the sale. Maybe it is just my overly sensitive ego. Probably. Either way, I have scoured Pinterest to try and find exciting treats that I can uniquely package so they will fly off the table and into the hands of people needing sustinance whilst finding their personal treasures. When putting "Church Bake Sale" into Pinterest, I had no idea the amount of baked good that were too inappropriate to put in the bake sale. One in particular blew my mind. I mean, "Church Bake Sale" brings this up:

Forgive the less than polished graphic. My stylus went missing this week. But you get the idea. I am making lots of treats that get their start in a muffin tin and are filled with lots of good stuff. Hopefully they will make someone's tummy a little less grumbly and their blood sugar the appropriate level to help them shop all day and make lots of money for missions. You can go somewhere else for the thong cookies.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tired brains and back pains

TCAP day number two is in the books and two of my three children are absolutely brain fried. The boy will have his next week. Tuesdays are always crazy, but this one was particularly crazy. The hub traveled to Nashville today to get a second opinion about his back. I wanted to go with him, but unfortunately the safety patrol meeting for G was tonight and if one of us didn't go to the meeting, no chance at safety. Since this is really her only reason for being at this point in life, the hub and I decided to divide and conquer. I ran and picked up kids and dropped them off and went to work and did lots of mom stuff. Poor B went to see the new doc. Looks like he has another even more major surgery in his future. Kind of not sure how to process all he told me. Just so sad that he has to go through this mess again. We will get him through it. Just a pain.

So now we are sitting, feet up, watching The Goldbergs. I will leave you with this...and, no, it is not my mother:

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Monday, April 28, 2014

And the thunder rolls....

As I sit in bed waiting for The Blacklist to come on, I am watching the crawl at the bottom of the screen showing a rough weather night ahead of us. The hub and I are currently taking bets to see what time we will have a little bed visitor come and and how loud of a thunder crack will it be to jolt her from her slumber. It's gonna happen. And of course on TCAP week. Why not. She may get a better night's sleep with us than in her own room with her hacking sister. Funny story. Today was not S's day. When I sent her off to school, she asked to have some cough syrup but knew it was almost gone. I knew there wasn't a full dose left so, in order to not dirty up another medicine cup, I just told her to drink it from the bottle. Yes. I am that mom. She didn't want to do it. She kept saying, "Something about this feels so wrong." I told her it was indeed something not to get in the habit of, but for today it was okay. She got to school early and sat a table, soon to be joined by a strange girl who spent the next ten minutes making fun of how she was dressed, what shoes she wore and how she fixed her hair. Then she said S was a slut dressed like she was: jeans, a t shirt, a sweatshirt, brown boots and hair in a braid. That certainly screams the "s" word to me. Great way to start things off. I told her the girl probably used the word because it was the most insulting one she knew. Then comes the funny awful part of her day. Because she hacks all the time, the hub wrote a note stating they may need to put her somewhere else to take her TCAPs so she wouldn't disrupt the other kids in the class. Trying to be considerate of the others. They agreed it might be a good idea, so where did she go? In school suspension with a kid who refused to surrender his phone for testing and another kid who had been expelled. Things got interesting in there for her...but testing day one is over. When she got in the car, she had a long face. "I had the worst day. Got made fun of, got called a nasty name, had to sit in ISS." Me: "I am so sorry, honey. That sounds awful!". S: "If I just hadn't started out the day drinking cough syrup out of the bottle...things could've been different." I started something awful. Word to this wise: Don't ever make your child drink Robitussin CF out of the bottle during standardized testing week. You'll ruin their life. Lesson learned.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The sweater is a lie!

I have talked about my television viewing preferences before, but I will again for just a minute. It seems like the things I like the most always get discontinued. My favorite lipstick from years ago, "Satin Sunburst" got discontinued. Favorite cereal? Discontinued. Favorite clothing line? You get the picture. I have had some favorite shows that were discontinued way beofre their time. My prime example is "Sports Night" with Felicity Huffman and lots of other great actors. Loved it and then POOF! It was gone. So I worry, probably more than a mother of three in East Tennessee with no influence or association to the television industry should. Yes, the senior class president my sophomore year in high school is now a well established commercial and television actor, with some movies thrown in there...but that is neither here nor there. I LOVE The Goldbergs. Love it. So much so that I have purchased the entire season on iTunes. I love the music, the memorabilia and the everything it has to offer. I worry that i have given it the kiss of death by liking it. If you have yet to see this program and are a person who grew up in the 80's, please give it a try. Then you will understand "The sweater is a lie!".

Yes, I have no life and watch too much television on my ipad in the car whilst waiting in the pick up line. I'll own that.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

We are the world

We do weird things to pass the time here at the ranch. Since S has been sick and on all kinds of weird inhalers and snorty sprays, she has had nervous hyper times and painful times where she needs to pass the time somehow...mostly during breathing treatments. Today has been a full day: conference at church, a make up soccer game, Bowling for Kids' Sake, transporting kids to birthday parties, cleaning house and taking care of the sick and crippled. So tonight, whilst I was trying to wash the funk of the day out of my hair, S decided she needed a primer on the 1985 classic "We Are the World". She wanted to know who all the people were. She said, "I'll wait until you get finished washing your hair." "No need. Just hold the ipad close and I can tell you." I think she thought I was being a bit boastful and waited for me to trip up. HA! Denied pre-teen in my house. I got every one and was even three artists ahead of the song all while rinsing Aussie Volume out of my scrubby head. You see, naive daughter of mine, I had a copy of this on my turntable:

...and I wore that sucker out. Wore it out. If you get me on a good day when I am not too terribly self conscious, I might even sing it for you...doing impressions of the artists as I sing. Just saying, but I do a mean Huey Lewis. Jenny out. (drops mic and struts out of the room)....(comes back in and picks the mic up so the dog won't chew it up)
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Soggy pups and tug o war lumps

The hub was off for his 9/80 day today, so we took advantage of the school day to have a little breakfast together and visit Jerry's Barbershop so the hub could be shorn. As always, the barbershop was a hub of activity and entertainment. Smack talk ensued and a Seinfeld-esque barber to barber foot race challenge was issued. We were really hoping to see a parking lot beat down the woud result in one of the two wearing a tutu for the day but, alas, it was not to be. Maybe one day...we'll be there front row...with snacks. After our follicly charged entertainment was over, we decided to take the pup to the dog park. There were no dogs about, so her interest in being there was quite low. We really needed to wear her out, so our relief was immense when another dog came to visit. His people were driving cross country from California to the Poconos to see their grandchildren and discovered the park. The two dogs frolicked and played a bit before the new friend decided to go play in the water. Copper had never gone swimming SO we decided this would be the day to try it while the kids were away. Good call. The first time the other dog went in, she whined a little and watched. No swimming. THe second time the dog went in after his stick, Copper's curiosity got the best of her and the jumped right in. And went under. And was under there...and under there...and under there...and under there...until B and I started to go towards the edge and then all of a sudden a face came out of the water. A freaked out face that swam like the wind back to us. No more dives in the water for her. She would wait by the side, maybe her feet in the water, and wait for her friend to come out with his stick, take it out of his mouth and run off. Afterwards, she got her second bath and now is soft and smells like oatmeal and honey.

This evening we went to see G and her tug o war team in the Elite Meet County Track meet. It was quite the spectacle for sure and she was very excited. Extremely. She and her buddies tugged their hardest, winning their first match, but outtugged in many others. They came in 6th out of 8th. She was disappointed until they made it clear that they were 6th out of 51 schools. That took the sting out of it a bit. I was so very proud of G and all of her friends on the team. They cheered hard for the other teams as they had their turns; they shook hands of the other teams and coplimented them on their matches. They were such good sports. Such good kids and good representatives of their school. Winners all the way around.

I now shall collapse in an exhausted heap. Sleep well, dear three readers.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Musings from the waiting room

I had to take the coughing kid to see the pediatrician today. We have grown weary of the hacking that sounds like she is a carton a day smoker. She is tired of half losing her lunch from coughing. I get that. They were a bit flummoxed at the office as to what exactly was causing the swelling in her sinuses, but there was no doubt the she was pretty much jacked up in there. So we were sent to what we might as well cal our second home, Children's Hospital, for xrays of the chest and sinuses. On our way there, we stopped for lunch at Cook Out, S's request. She enjoyed her burger and fries. Then she had a major coughing attack and lost her lunch in Cook Out bag. Never dull in the car. She kept saying, "Mom. I'll take the bag to the trash can. I suggest you not look in there." I'm not sure why she thought I would want to look at it, but I certainly appreciated the warning. Children's was hopping as usual and we had plenty of time to people watch. As always, I was led to question whether I am a bit of a germaphobe or others just aren't so bothered when their babies drop their crackers on the floor of the waiting room and they let them eat them anyway. I try not to stare, but I want to say, "Lady? Where you daughter dropped her Gerber Puffs that you picked up and fed her was once a child sitting with a pink kidney shaped dish, face a lovely unnatural clor of green." But I just sit and surf Pinterest on the free wifi instead. As we moved to the radiology department, we had to wait a bit for a chair to open up. Soon enough we sat down next to either a father/daughter combo or a gentleman with a child bride. There was inappropriate affection for at least one of those relationships. I encouraged Sarah to concentrate on her ipad Monopoly game and not be disturbed that the male in this duo was yelling at the Nick Jr. show playing on the television. The creepy little character girl was talking to her unicorn friend about mustaches and how they grow of all things. This man was arguing the accuracy of the information given in the program, like loudly so that they could hear him in the specialists' offices in the medical building. Yes, never dull at the hospital. Grateful for the expertise and service there, but never dull.

Unltimately we were told in a later phone call that S has cysts in her sinus cavity. These can kind of mess with breathing and invite sinus infections. So we are now waiting for an appointment to see one of our favorite specialists on the list, the ENT. He dealt with her broken nose and the boy's adenoids. There may be, depending on his assessment, removal of said cysts at another time. We have not shared this with her. If he feels the need to do the procedure, he can explain it. Until then, we'll hope she stops coughing so much and can get a bit more comfortable...and won't lose her lunch anymore.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Modern Family Therapy

It has been a run of the mill day. A school meeting made my stomach sick, but then they all do. I did laundry, tried to make arrangements for next week and school and work and the hub's trip to Nashvegas for a second opinion on his back and tutoring and soccer. Nothing any other mom isn't dealing with. I really crave another Pizza Inn bizarre experience, but not necessarily by having to go there. I will have to talk to my brother and remember some more strange family stories. I've barely scratched the surface.

Anyhoo, in light of the events of the week, I am in need of some Modern Family therapy. The hub and I are getting ready to watch a new episode. It never fails to pep me up a bit. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll just look at this picture:

Baby gorillas. How can you not smile?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Heavy hearted day

It is on days like this that I realize how very precious life is and how I need to remember that. My G's former teacher, and still loved by our family, lost her husband to a tragic and freak accident on Saturday. Theirs was the sweetest of love stories. People talk about soul mates and I always kind of shrug my shoulders and laugh it off. But I must admit that these two were soul mates in the truest sense of the word. She lit up when she spoke about was lovely. They were married when G was in her class. The kids were so excited. I just pray that memories of their short time together will provide some comfort to her broken heart and that we can be of some help to her when she is ready to receive.

Prayers to Maria and her family...

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Monday, April 21, 2014

In stray sock purgatory

On this Eater Monday, I have gone from the moutaintop of celebration to depths of purgatory for people living in a house with other people: sock purgatory. With the break has come outside play and lots of wardrobe changes for most of the residents of our home. I selfishly wanted to spend time with the kids doing fun stuff and neglected my one to two loads per day. This neglect resulted in my largest laundry basket being full to overflowing with socks, underwear and unmentionables. So I lived in the land of laundry. Every once in a while a child would come upstairs and ask if I was okay. "Where are you in there, mom?"..."Down on the floor. Behind the pile of pants and tshirts." I gave them the task of sorting their own socks and underwear. Seeing the amount to sort, their faces fell like children who lost their puppy, broke their favorite toy AND got their dessert taken away all at the same time. It took them a long time...and then I threw the hub's items as well. They earned a banana popsicle and a run at the dog park for that.

In the end, all were happy and benefitted from the efforts. I'll take it.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Glorious Easter Day

What a beautiful Easter Day we had today! We couldn't have asked for a lovlier day.

We sat with family in a wonderful church service, had a relatively calm morning for having scads of children and then enjoyed a yummy lunch and family time in the afternoon. Our nephew and his wife and our adopted nephew, Abraham, from Nigeria made the day complete. He had never had homemeade ice cream, which we felt was a crime. So as part of his Easter desserts, he had his favorite: vanilla ice cream. There was lots of football and monkey6 in the middle and a fair amount of this:

Some sort of rolling ball game that the boy, G and Abraham are obsessed with these days. Heck, they were outside getting fresh air. I couldn't complain.

The kids are tucked into their beds, sleeping off a day of family, food, fun and celebrating the miracle and blessing of Easter. So thankful for this day.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

No brain left...nada

Today was a four game day, which was fun and exhausting and annoying. We had hoped to go to a friend's family Easter egg hunt, but were not able to go and enjoy due to late games and the drama that goes with them. Sad faces all around. So instead we watched four games, 2 wins and 2 losses, walked like dirty, sunscreened nomads back to our car and headed for home. Two of the three kids were scrubbed clean and settled down by 4:15, while the third braved the grocery store with me and watched a can of creamed corn fall from the cart on to my Chacoed foot. I had a moment in the veggie aisle as people waited impatiently for their cans of green beans. S kept saying, "Ooh. That's going to turn black, Mom. Ooh." I don't doubt that she is correct. May even have an outline of Del Monte in my foot. It'll be an interesting story. The tile/flooring lady came today as well, measuring and looking at our horribly messed up house and gave me hope that we may see the other side of this remodel. She and Copper made friends and I really think Copper wanted to leave with her. Maybe next time. Currently, the hub is trying to get comfortable on the couch and I am about to go cut up a pound cake for Easter dessert tomorrow. I need to check to ice cream goo and see if it is cooling down nicely for making homemade ice cream tomorrow. Our adopted Nigerian nephew, Abraham, is in for Easter and he has never had homemade ice cream. I think that is a crime in some countries. We will remedy that tomorrow.

With all the hunts and eggs and soccer aside, I look forward to worship and songs and celebrating the miracle of our risen Jesus. It is such a powerful day and one of my favorite services with all the wonderful hymns. I hope your Easter Sunday will be one of joy and excitement and family and faith. "He arose, he arose, hallelujah Christ arose!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Egg-stra egg-citing

The kids were out today for the start of Easter break. I'll take it. They live the to sleep in, watch TV and have a special breakfast out...good stuff. We did have to do some unfun things like go to the store and clean our rooms, but the work makes the fun that much better. After a less than ideal trip to the dog park in which S was completely taken down and out by two sprinting dogs, we determined that the kids need to stay on the bench when the dogs are running so fast. One bruised back and scraped arm later:

...I think she may go into the fetal position if she ever goes there again. A half rabid hound of hell named Fitz terrorized all the dogs at the park today. He was supposed to be in the little dog area, but of course his owner said, "In his head he's a big dog." he's delusional as well. S tried her absolute best not to cry out of her pain and embarrassment. I told her to go ahead. It was a brutal fall. To make up for it, and the fear that the other two kids experienced at the dog park, there were Sonic slushes and egg decorating for the victims. I tried Alton Brown's method for oven hard cooked eggs. I hate boiling them because they rattle around and get all cracked. This was interesting:

I was very pleased and surprised with the results:

The decorated eggs will be good for pickling or egg salad here in a few days. But for today, they were palettes for the family. Armed with Paas Paints and the Williams-Sonoma chalkboard painted egg kit, the kids got to work on their masterpieces.

Forgive the dust mop and old school baby gate in the background. A shedding dog who likes to try and eat my cook books makes both necessary.

A pretty decent day for the kids I think considering dog park trauma and being made to clean on a day off. Tomorrow is another soccer Saturday. let's hope no trauma is to be found there. For the love of everything...
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The diagonals started today

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring tall grass when working together with super weed and seed that the landscaper put on our lawn not too long ago. My sweet and kind husband hired a lanscaper friend to do the first mow/weed/mulch of the Spring a few weeks ago and it was wonderful. Since then, with every rain the grass has thickened and become for luxurious with every rain. He accomplished in one treatment what blasted Scott's failed to do in a whole summer. When going barefoot, it feels like walking on soft velvet. Last year's lawn, in spite of my every effort(and they were considerable), made you feel compelled to check the bottoms of your feet to see if they were bleeding. Today was the day that I had to bring the trusty Honda out of its hibernation and jerk it back to life by its string. It resisted, but after receiving a drink of gasoline, it sputtered and coughed back to life. The dog was going quackerdog inside...she had never heard the mower before. Because I am a creature of habit and OCD to boot, I carefully mowed our front rectangularish lawn with diagonals. Gots to have the diagonals. Our neighbor who is a funny guy drove by and said, "I see the diagonals are must be Spring!". Okay, so I am predictable, but the lawn looks lovely all green and thick. It just had its weekly haircut and spa treatment. And I learned the fastest way in the world to fill up my sinus cavity in less than two hours: run the mower into a spread of bushes on accident and watch a large puff of yellow poof out and then flutter down like evil fairy dust. I actually sneezed out yellow dust this afternoon. Classy. Living the East Tennessee dream.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sudafeding it

In our fair state, as is always the case, a few people have to ruin things for everybody else. Since I have fallen prey to the "Pollen Vortex", I have been searching for the most effective elixir to restore me to my clear headed self. Medications and I have a weird relationship. I take the minimum dosage required and my body reacts like I have consumed half the bottle. Makes the medicine go far, that's for sure. Yesterday I felt my head filling up with goo- every nook and cranny occupied by evil pollen sludge. I took my Curious George meds once again, very much pleased with their results, except that I woke this morning to solidified sludge in my head and a voice that rivaled a mixture of Harvey Fierstein and Peter Brady when his voice changed. The children had a field day with my new sound, asking me to say different words or sing different songs only to collapse in hysterics at the results. Admitting defeat, I made a painful purchase this morning. Mucinex-D...Mucinex with Sudafed in it. In our state, you have to do everything short of a full body cavity search to purchase the stuff. "Ma'am? You just need to give me your license...and check yes to agree...and sign the line...and let me see your license again to scan it." Me, smiling: "Do you need a urine sample too?". She sent a smirk to show she was not amused. Too many dingy houses and run down mobile homes that double as meth labs ruining it for the rest of us. I took the recommended dosage and began my day. A couple of hours at the office felt like I was walking through a bottle of hair gel...gloopy and slow. Why people need to cook it into something else is beyond me. I barely made it through the day in a coherent manner. Now that it is wearing off, I can feel my head slowly filling up again. I think I may have to wear a mask to mow the lawn tomorrow. Mucinex-D won't cut it. The automatic nose sucker at the hospital will be in my future. Let's hope it moves out over night, otherwise you will see me mowing the lawn in an expressionless fog tomorrow. Bring a lawn chair and some popcorn. It might be entertaining.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weird, weird day

After a successful sleep night(my Curious Greorge prediction came true), I got up a bit groggy but rested. I got the three musketeers to school with relative ease and returned home for a tiny little cat nap before going to work. This was a rare Tuesday when I did not have a staff meeting, so my schedule was a little more flexible. When I finally went to work, Murphy's law went into effect and the monsoons arrived. Blowing wind and chilly rain and I can't find my umbrella. Oh well. My office was somewhat warm and I went to work on some paperwork and organizing that was long overdue. Now remember, yesterday we were out in the yard playing fetch with the dog, the kids in shorts and tshirts. I heard the screeching of tires, so I looked out my window in the church's "historic district" to find that there was snow coming down from the sky. Yes, Wisconsin Family, you may insert your chuckles here. If the Pollen Vortex wasn't odd enough, the snow certainly was. I danced down the hall to tthe office humming "Let It Snow" while coworkers snarled and said, "Heaven forbid" under their breath. I like to mess with their heads from time to time. I attended a midday Holy Week service and had a nice warm and comforting lunch afterwards. Just a pleasant, but oddly weathered, Tuesday. The youngers got in the car with few stories of their day, so we sang a few songs and took a broken shoe to the repairman to get fixed. Then S called, sounding quite winded and alarmed, and asked me to come get her because her teachers were worried and wanted her to come home. Great. Luckily it was only five minutes to dismissal, so I got my spot and waited for her to come out. Then what to my wandering eyes did appear, but S and her math/homeroom teacher walking to the car. This was a shocker for several reasons. It did alarm me a bit more knowing he walked her out due to his concern with her condition. I am grateful for his care during this weird event. I think she gave him a scare. Every time I think she is almost completely back from her health crisis of a year ago, something else bizarre pops up. I know she panics, not wanting to travel down this road yet another time.

Oh well. For now all three are resting. I am watching The Godfather II and the hub is doing work. I pray for the restored health of our oldest and the continued health of the others. It's never dull around here.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Attack of the POLLEN VORTEX

I don't know if anyone else out there has seasonal allergies and sinus crud, but if you don' are one lucky somebody. If you live here in East Tennessee, it is almost unavoidable I hate to say. I had a full, full day yesterday that started with a 7:15 arrival to work and ended with a church council meeting that ended at 8pm-ish. From about my 4pm on, I felt the tiny tickle in my throat grow from a mere annoyance to an inevitable problem in 10 minute increments of yuck. Upon my arrival home, I was scrambling to find Mucinex and Sovreign Silver and Flonase and Echinacea. This morning we woke to hear of the scourge of the "Pollen Vortex" and my sinus cavity was screaming curses at its mention. After the morning coughing concluded, the boy asked whether I had bruised a lung and if it was possible to cough one out. I am still convinced that I have had a few coughs that knocked one loose. The neti pot did not yield the usually gory and gross results that it often does, so when the Neti pot is ineffective, the "Vortex" wins. Tonight I got some liquid Tylenol or "Wal-enol" from Walgreens to hopefully do some work and allow me to sleep a little bit better than the wake up every 30 minutes I did last night. Those waking times did allow me to think about the load of laundry I forgot about that was souring in the washer, walk around and check the breathing of all family members, trip on a random old school make up case in the middle of the girls' floor and lay back down and cuss the old school make up case that should have not been in the middle of their floor. One of those kinds of nights is more than enough, so I welcome some sleep which will hopefully welcome some sinus healing powers. Either that or my renditions of Janis Joplin and Ray LaMontagne songs will be closer to their style with my gargled with glass kind of rasp. My neighbors on the work hall will kindly shut their doors a little faster when I start to sing I am sure. Oh well. Off to take my elixir. Fingers crossed that it works. If you need a mental image, just thing of Curious George when he got into the bottle of ether:

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lots of cans to fill the tummy

It is Palm Sunday today on the Christian calendar and with it comes lots of cans. As I have spoken about in the past, our church does Kids' Can for Christ during the Lenten season. They collect food items for the Ftn City Ministry Center all during Lent. They are placed in a makeshift "tomb" in our narthex. Palm Sunday afternoon the cans are sorted, counted and taken to the ministry center to feed hungry people in our community. A door is placed on the tomb so that people coming for Holy Week services can see that it is sealed. On Easter morning, the door is off to reveal an empty tomb. The children enjoy helping with the process for sure. Yes, some of the kids find it fun to hide in the tomb from their grown ups or throw their cans in or out of it. What're you going to do? Nothing.

Learning to give to others is so very important and I am so glad that our children get to experience this each year. We are so fortunate to have food on our plates and in our tummies; we forget sometimes that there are people in our own back yard who have nothing. So I'll put up with a yearly search to find two or three "missing" children hiding in the Narthex cardboard tomb in order to see the miracle of Easter fill our hearts and community tummies once again.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

She came in like a wrecking ball...have mercy...

Yet another soccer Saturday in the books, dear three readers. Because our oldest is still coughing like a maniac, she was confined to the house and not in the pollinated allergy air that is thick at this time in East Tennessee. No black and white ball for her. Rest, a warm puppy and movies were on her agenda today. The youngers had two very intense and action packed games. The boy ran and kicked and threw like a champ. This was without a doubt the most physical game he had played and I honestly thought one of the opposing coaches would stroke out on the field he was yelling so loud. Um, they are 8 and under. Just saying. My poor boy had that super red face and exhaustion that comes from fighting a good fight and coming out victorious. A post-game juice box was not cutting it. After watching a friend play her game, the family made the walk to the other end of the complex to watch G play her game. I truly tink there should be some sort of dispensary for Xanax for moms at the fields. My nerves are shot before the game even starts. G is a physical player. Not a dirty player, but a physical one. In goal, she throws herself at the ball, dives for it, sacrifices her body when she has to do so. To see her run right at someone with the ball, grab it and cover her head in time for them to fall on top of her and roll is just too much. One of those falls would be enough for me. More than enough. Today she had a collision that went bad and scared me as they always do. This time her coaches had to assist her off the field. Luckily one is a physical therapist and he more than gets his practice on my child alone. She is like a Mack truck wrecking ball running for that ball, but with grace. I thoroughly love seeing her face out there on the field...just not after she has gotten a mouthful of dirt from saving a goal.

I do not envy the sore leg she will have for a few days, but I do envy her natural athletic ability and competitive nature. But next time, can I give her a few layers of bubble wrap first?

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Friday, April 11, 2014

What is your favorite remedy?

My oldest was also our healthiest for a very long time. The occasional cold and stomach virus that a nice friend shared here or there, but that was it. Then came the whole mono event of a year ago. That kind of shot her record. After she finally got better, she has been okay, but now she has a blasted sinus infection that has gone rogue on us. We learned about "broncospasms" at the pediatrician's office today. After that little 2 hour visit, and a 45 minute visit to Walgreens, I returned home with a grocery bag full of meds. Good grief. But with all those things, nothing can get her to stop coughing. Those spasms just will not calm down. Honey? Not working. Vapo Rub on the feet? Not working. Delsym? Not working. She sounds like she should be locked away in a TB ward. We have been given enough "strong" cough syrup to get us through one night. This concerns me. So, I am hoping for some home remedies. My Granny always claimed to have a secret bottle of whiskey somewhere in the house that she would take a spoonful of if she had a cough. Somehow I think that would be frowned upon by authority kinds of people. But I need a home remedy. My friend A has given me one to try and I am currently mixing it up. This kid needs some help.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poor pup got Garmin'ed

So, friends, our family has been on a journey since the end of December. A journey to tame this crazy dog of ours. She is the sweetest dog in the world when you can catch her and she isn't using your hand as a chew a playful way. From the eating of everything that isn't nailed down, to the finding her standing on top of our kitchen table, to chewing through three leashes, a dog bowl and her special walking harness, she has made her mark. But as we all remember, the straw that broke the camel's back was when our sweet chocolate Copper girl jumped the fence and decided to visit the neighbors through their dog door and into their bed. Twice. Yes. That is what put me over the edge. We considered every cost effective possibility, talked to many people about increasing the height of our fence, electrifying our fence(which we cannot do in the city) and putting armed guards at the fence to keep her in. None of these seemed to be practical or affordable for what we needed. So after meeting some very chatty and opinionated pet owners at the dog park, I learned that the new wave of the dog future is the "E Collar". When I googled the aforementioned term, I got more information than I ever thought possible. After much research and muddling through the guilt of the use of the device, I presented my research to the hub. He decided that we should search locally for the collar. No luck for our preferred brand. Then this week, after she chewed up her bed, a checkout line cookbook and halfway through another leash all in the course of a half hour and then took off running so fast that the leash jerked and made my arm 2 inches longer, I hit my limit. I texted in all caps, so my sweet husband knew I was serious, "I AM DONE AND CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS CRAZY DOG". Within 90 seconds, I received this text, "The Garmin collar will be here Thursday". God bless him.

My little friend in the little boxy brown truck rapped on our door and brought the box today. I was intimidated right off when I had to read the directions just to plug it up and charge it. I had to start the warnings and threats from the moment the kids got in the car. "You do not touch not play with do not want to hurt her and fry her neck." With that, S and I left to go to the store and the hub decided to try it out on this lovely evening. In the middle of JoAnn's aisle of owl printed fat quarters, I received this text message, "Collar works". As we returned home, the two time escapee and bed invader was not gonna go near that once tempting corner. It was a flipping miracle. She was able to run and frolic and get that energy out...but she avoided that evil fence.

Judge us if you must, but if trial number one is any indicator as to how effective this collar is going to be, we might just all make it with our sanity in tact. Welllll...that may be pushing it a bit. My sanity was never completely in tact to start.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tug o' war heroes

Today was the track meet for all of the schools included in the East section of our fair city/county. There were several schools represented which was nice, because we got to see friends we normally only get to see at soccer or church. Kind of like a family reunion day. G was over the moon excited about the day, popping up out of bed like a she had been shocked awake. After I got her to school, I packed a bag with sunscreen, water and some snacks and headed to the high school for the big event. It was a great venue...lots of room and clean and nice. The first events to be called were the sack race, the 800m race and the tug of war. Well my child, my mini me, has been a devout student of the art of tug of war since she realized that people actually pull on ends of a rope in hopes of pulling each other down. It is her absolute favorite thing at field day, track meets, picnics. So imagine her absolute joy and excitement when they won 1st place in the fourth grade division. First out of at least eight schools. That team was over the moon...just thrilled! I was so excited for her.

While she was in the throes of celebrating and being part of her team, she did grant me 30 seconds to take her picture close up...nice to be able to document this happy occasion at least a little bit:

A fun but exhausting day. It is nice to see that happy smile. Love that kid!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Can they survive?

The caterpillars that we order every year for our biology lesson and Easter butterfly release at church have emerged from their chrysalis homes early. Waaaayyy early. They went from large pepper flake size to broken Cheeto size to bundled tightly in the homes to beautiful butterflies, like early last week. It is exciting. The preschool children who passed our offices have enjoyed watching the beautiful bugs dine on orange slices and flutter around their netted home. The down side to all this is that they only live about 10 days. So they emerged from their homes on March 30 and need to live intul April 20. Hmmm. I can even do that scary math problem. Easter morning is about life after death and the ultimate sacrifice that was made for us all. The butterflies on Easter morning may teach us about the circle of life and how God's timing is perdect. It may also provide several people with specimens to add to their dead bug collection...but let's hope not. Miracles happen every day. I just can't help hearing African drums and singing and baby Simba being thrust up into the air as "The Circle of Life" plays...and little butterlies laying in the bottom of the netty house they stay in. But we're going to hope for yet another Easter miracle. "'s the cirrrrrcle...the cirrrcccle of liiiiffeee!". I'm an awful human being.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

One of those....

Ever had a day where there is just too much tough stuff rattling around in your brain that you shut down? You hide in your den and, when you go to the mailbox, you pray no one talks to you because you have no words? Uh, yeah me neither.

Time for bed.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Egg hunts and balls and cups

Today was a beautiful and glorious day. The beautiful pink streaked sky greeted us all this morning:

It was a welcome sight since we were having an Easter Egg hunt at church today for the little guys and gals at church. We had people stake out the park across the street and caution tape off sections for them to hunt. Hundreds of eggs were put out by helpful brothers and sisters. I even found an egg I didn't know, but shouldn't have been surprised, existed:

Nothing like NASCAR eggs...go Jimmie Johnson. Most everyone found lots of eggs and it was a lovely day. I'm relieved for it to be over, but it was a lovely day.

The rest of the afternoon was a bit of a blur. The hub took G to her magic lesson. That kid tickles me to death. She learned how to do the cup and ball magic trick today. Mr. Ed helped her put it to music and choreograph it that way. She did it for us this proud of herself. A rough youtube clip can be found. She is not in her official magician's outfit and she's doing the trick on top of a shoe organizer box, but she does a great job.

I am so grateful for beautiful days to help us worship and remember. I am so grateful for teachers and mentors who love my children and work to teach them and build their confidence.

Now I am grateful for Select Comfort and the 85 setting that will help me go to sleep soon. Night all.
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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Thug soccer

Today we traveled to the exciting county of Claiborne to play some thug soccer. I know it takes all kinds to make the world go round, but honestly. S's team got up there to end up playing on a field too small for their abilities. When our coaches told the people, they called our head coach a name that my children really should not have heard. But then, the girls we played have had a tendency to use colorful language that makes me do a double take. They scream at people and have been known to punch other girls from other teams in the stomach. Their team parents have picked fights in the parking lot. So anything less than that is really kind of a pleasant surprise. The girls won the game which wasn't surprising to us, but the opposing team was so taken aback and shocked that they lost, their coaches wouldn't even shake our coaches' hands. The hub shook it off, considering the source, and began readying himself for the next game to play. G huddled under a blanket since the temperature was a good 15 degrees cooler there and blustery. The boy sat in the mud and sculpted things out of mud. Riveting stuff.

After a day of activity, the hub's back could take no more excitement, so any plans were kind of on hold. He and the boy stayed home and I tok the girls to church to hear a visiting youth bell choir from Michigan. So very polished and professional. We were impressed.

Currently, I have my feet up while the hub is watching the basketball game. My eyes are growing heavy and my face is burning from the sun and windburn during thug soccer. I'm glad no one was severely injured and you always hate to see someone so overcome in defeat. But I was not sorry to win. Those girls earned it...and managed to not dip their toes into thug soccer. Proud of them.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Bizarro pet store evening

As I have shared with my three readers recently, our new dog is crazy. Loveable, but crazy. Our trainer has been great and we are planning to continue with her when we save up for another set of classes. What she can't train out completely is the stubborn crazy that comes with her. So, as much as we hate it, we are looking into training collars. Yes, for those of you who are asking, many of these collars deliver a shock. Some have the option to deliver a static correction, a vibrating correction or a beepy correction. I hate the thought of a shock collar, but there need to be consequences to jumping over the fence and getting a neighbor out of bed. Consequences besides your human carrying you up the hill, cursing bitterly under their breath until they deposit your carcass inside the house. Soooo, we looked online and in the pet store close to our house. Nothing impressive. So then we took a trip to PetSmart, the mecca for dog supplies and apparently the hub for dog meet ups on a Friday night. I was surprised as to how busy it was in there. A puppy class in the back corner, little birds cheeping in the front, two dogs having an unfriendly introduction near the cash registers. I was looking at the signs trying to find the aisle for training collars and saw this:

Really? Poison's "Talk DIrty to Me" Bret Michaels has dipped his bandanna'ed head into the dog toy game? Oh yes he has. Forget collars, friends, he had stuffed electric guitars and rockin' sock monkeys and this:

The rock n roll hand pull toy. Never mind the girl's glasses. That is what 200 tickets from a consolation trip to Mr. Gattis gets you. More on that story later. Regardless, she can pull the look off. Between looking at the kittens, watching a bloodhound with some sort of badge on pee in every aisle and tapping on the hamster's cage glass, the boy had a full evening of fun. What a boring family we are. We had no success finding the right collar there or in the hunting section at Gander Mountain, so we will be ordering a Garmin one online. Until that arrives, Copper will have to be on the leash to go out in the yard and wait to run a little longer. She will still find her way to be disobedient and look cute doing it...darn cute thing.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Holy thunderstorm, Batman

I had a little wake up call this morning around 4am...the hammer of Thor apparently smacking down upon the land with powerful fury. The hub was already awake, having a disrupted sleep from the happy juice they gave him for his injection. I was awaiting the sound of a pocket door slamming open and a 9 year old storm hater leaping to our bed in a single bound. Nothing. So while I tried to slow my heart back down to sleeping level again, the storm raged on until a scared girl arrived about 10 minutes later. I was actually impressed she had slept through as much as she had. The thunder and lightening were relentless and we laid in the bed wondering, as we do with every major monsoony-like storm, whether the basement was flooding or if the puppy was afraid. You know, normal homeowner parent kind of thoughts. G moved her oven-like self over to be right up on top of me, snoozing peacefully having found refuge from the storm.

I can remember those days myself, running down the hall to my parents' room when the sound of rain on the skylights went from a soothing and hypnotic pitter patter to a machine gun-esque hammering. The thunder that seemed to crack right in the middle of your chest and nothing but hugs from your parents would make it go away. I can still feel my body calming down as I think about the smell of their pillows, the light breathing of my mother and funny snore of my father, the parental barrier that protected me from all harms...and thunder. It is a special honor, although exhausting, to be that comfort like my parents were for me. While the lack of sleep found me dragging this afternoon, I would do it all again tonight. But I really hope it will stay dry. We all need a rest.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Now we wait...

The hub received injection number 5 today. He went in and named me his responsible adult, which is really funny, and walked through the door for his date with the big old needle. Throughout the process, the round beeper that could also be found at your local Outback Steakhouse gives you the play by play:

That was when he gave me a kiss and limped his way to the door. I sat and read my new book, answered texts inquiring about the procedure and watched the different people milling about the absolutely FRIGID waiting area. The dueling tvs played Kelly and Michael, Hoda and Kathie Lee and Bethenny. They were up against Fox News and CNN. A cacophony of programming to keep us all entertained. Then this:

While that is his first name, he does not go by it. He couldn't get the nurses to call him by the name he uses. Sometimes he has one who has a sense of humor and will put "Go Hokies" or something else on there so I'll know he is okay. After another chunk of time and book reading and watching an old man scaring a sweet little puffy haired 2 year old, I was instructed to go to recovery(I couldn't get a picture of that direction). The nurse informed me he was in the restroom, made me sign papers, again, that I was his responsible adult and wouldn't allow him to drive for 24 hours. He is a brave man to let me sign. I pulled the car around, picked him up, got him a bagel and coffee at Panera and then took him home to get comfy. The doc did tell him that this will probably be his life for the forseeable injection every 4-6 months until his back blows out. Not really what he wanted to hear. Pretty upsetting stuff.

I know that he will persevere. He has been so very strong for so long. It was a sweet picture to walk in and see him sitting on the couch with the kids snuggled up with him. All is right with the world...bad back and all.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Here we go again...again

Tomorrow is yet another step in the journey of the hub's back problems. We make our way for his fifth steroid injection in his back. After he had his surgery in November 2012, we really hoped that it would be the beginning of the end of all this horrible pain and mess. Unfortunately, we were incorrect. He has been a rock through this whole ordeal, quietly going throughout all of the normal activities, wincing and limping and crookedly walking. But still, he coaches soccer, continues to build things for our house as I ask, throws the football with G and F, runs soccer drills with S in the front yard. I know someday he will be able to do all those things pain free or almost pain free. I just wish he could get that permanent relief soon.

Say a little prayer for him tonight or tomorrow. We just want a clear path for how to get him better. He's a trooper, but he needs a break.

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