Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Here we go!!

The USAvGER game is going to start in about a nanosecond and our family is crazy with anticipation. Our tummies are full of my first ever attempt at Shepherd's Pie. Everyone is in comfortable clothes, ready to to jump and writhe around in agony of the pressure of the game.It is a good thing that I cut my nails last night. I am not a nail chewer, but tonight may bring with it a new habit. Ny son just yelled at Rapinoe loud enough that I may have suffered hearing damage. It will be a lively evening and hopefully one of celebration. RIght now, I need to go check and make sure my ears aren't bleeding.

I believe that we will win. I sure hope we do.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

What a pleasant day

I started my morning with a workout with Dr. Pain, so that was necessarily pleasant...but it was needed for sure. While I was squatting to the dulcet tunes of Metallica, my children were readying themselves for their exciting morning: berry picking. They love, more than just about anything, to got o the Fruit and Berry Patch out in the county and pick yummy items to make into even yummier treats. Dennis Fox, the owner, wasn't there today, but he makes sure to fit a funny science/agriculture lesson in with each visit. Like during strawberry season, "Don't pick the berries with green tummies. They're too young to be away from their mamas and you'll have to sleep with them on your pillows so they won't cry." I will say that I have found a couple of less than ripe strawberries in their beds a time or two. Luckily it didn't get too messy. We managed to get around 4lbs of blackberries and 2-ish of blueberries. The blueberry area was full and they will be ready to pick tons by Friday. I imagine we will be back. After picking, the kids got a fresh fruit slush and some apple cider doughnuts. All tummies were happy. We then got home in time to have a Lithuanian college student try to sell us a book system. I thought she would never leave. I gave her some blackberries and sent her on her way.

Currently, I am sitting in a chair watching the boy at "Tactics" practice for soccer. The breeze is glorious and the sun isn't blazing. I'll take that all day long.

Have a good evening. I need to start making plans for all of these berries. Yum.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Guest post from G

Hi it's G, Mom said I could write alittle bit tonight. She was in a 90 min. meeting at work tonight and can't think too clearly. On Friday we watched the World Cup Women's Game. It was really exciting! I am a Keeper and recently went to Keeper Camp, it was super fun. I still have a lot of of bruises and scrapes. We went to church today and met our new pastor. We had tacos for dinner tonight.(S will be jealous)I helped cut up the cucumbers and tomatoes. It was really good.

Mom says I have to go to bed now. We are going berry picking tomorrow.


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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Purple icing on my foot

Today was our monthly community meal at church. After we dropped S off at church for her youth choir trip, we quickly ran to Ace Hardware for our Saturday bag of popcorn and run for project supplies. G and I then ran to church to help start cooking for the meal. We all really wished we could have Phil Dunphy's onion goggles during the chopping portion of the afternoon. Our senior pastor came in to get a glass of ice water and wondered what was wrong with all of the weepy kitchen help. Next came the seasoning of the pork loins and wrapping of the silverware. Then more wiping of eyes when we put the onions in the pans with the loins. We were a red eyed mess. Relief from onions came the sick and twisted form of a trip to Sam's to pick up to-go boxes for our dinner guests. The only true positive about that trip was free nectarine and white peach samples. Onve we got back to church, the pace of the meal prep picked up and we all got busy. As usual, I manned the dishwasher. No one usually wants that job and I don't mind it, so there I stand, soaked and sweaty. I do get a steam facial every time I open the washer, so there's the upside. A sweet lady makes cakes every month for the meal dessert...I think she considers it her mission to our dinner guests. One little issue for those of us on dish duty is the vibrant icing colors she uses. I have ruined more shirts with vibrant icing stains than I care to admit. Today I look like I have a purple tattoo on my foot when melted purple icing splashed on my foot. It may have been operator error with the spray nozzle. Maybe. Regardless, it was a successful meal and everyone left with full tummies and boxes of food for later. That's all that matters. Night all.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Lotsa laundry

I'll admit. I failed in the laundry department this week. By the time I returned home from church, it was time to redress people for practices, get lots of ice water ready and fix dinner. We had a good supply of undies, shorts and t-shirts...we were fine. Until I looked at Mount Sweatball in the hamper and I was filled with dread. I thought, "I'll just throw all the colors together. Nothing is new enough to bleed." Then I remembered that with VBS comes crafts and mess and food coloring in snacks. So every piece had to be inspected for stains and treated with my new go to stain remover, gold label Resolve. Several hours and fours lint trap clean ups later, I think I am finally caught up...or close. Bounce dryer sheets smell good, but I've had enough.

On another note, we had a slip 'n slide injury today. When you don't have access to a decent pool, or have reached your limit with incompetent lifeguards at the Y, you set up a redneck waterpark in your backyard complete with a striped knock off of a slip 'n slide complete with three striped lanes that ripped as soon as they came out of the box from the store...and the store wouldn't take it back. The dog tried to catch streams of water as they jumped through the air. The boy drew first blood when he jumped and slid on his belly right over an errant plastic Easter egg that had somehow gotten tangled up with the slide. He looked like a wild beast had clawed him from top to bottom, but he felt no pain he said. I went back inside to contiue my conquering of the laundry mountain. Fairly quickly, I heard my name and a "Help". The boy was leaning on the patio rail, unable to put weight on his foot. He is not one to stop the fun due to pain, but he couldn't work through this one. He has been icing and resting it all afternoon. The hub can't find any protuding bones or obvious major injury. Guess we'll see what tomorrow holds.

We are currently watching the USAvCHI halftime commentary. Gimpy boy is making an argument that we should have chocolate milk more oftern since professional soccer athletes drink it in the commercials. The hub is checking the radar to see if we are indded going to get a big electrical storm this evening...and will it wait until the game is over. S is packing for her choir trip that leaves tomorrow. G is practicing soccer foot skills with a miniature ManU soccer ball in the middle of our bedroom floor. Never dull around here.

Night all. A corner kick demands my attention.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

This is the end

VBS is over and I think it went quite well. We are all exhausted, kids and volunteers alike. The snacks went well...today's was very cute. If my phone and ipad would cooperate this evening, I would put a picture up. But, alas, it is not to be. We had snowman face ice cream cups. Tonight we had the closing ceremonies and the children were able to sing their songs for their parents and show them all the work they had done during the week. G's group went off site to work with Lost Sheep Ministries, Second Harvest and Wesley House of Knoxville. They did lots of work in the community and had a great time.

I would describe more, but I have two girls who are in a dance off and need a judge. I am called to participate. Night all.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I have the feels

Day 3 of VBS is in the books and I am exhausted...but a good exhausted. Today we had campfire brownies, my favorite of all our creations this year:

The kids seemed to enjoy them except for one who told us we had "failed at snack" because the pretzels were stale. Oh well. Whatcha gonna do? Their God sightings were again exceptional and had me clearing things out of my eyes quite often. Such wisdom so young. A child really shall lead us.

After VBS and helping an excited group of 5th graders make baked spaghetti, we had about two hours home before I took my kids to see "Inside Out" at the theatre. Now all of your three faithful readers should know by now that I am a softy for sappy/sweet movies. I cry every year at the heartwarming holiday commercials. This movie was no exception. I cried at the little short that came on before it. I cried off and on during the movie. It spoke about emotions and how they all worked together in a person's head...and memories and where they go...and all the "islands" that make up one person. Having a teenager now, parts of the movie touched me in a way I can't fully explain. As one person described it, it was "funny and deep" all at the same time. I highly recommend it.

Now I must collapse. I am completely spent. Completely. Night all.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 2 in the books

Day two of VBS was less chaotic than day one, but very fun. The kids dined on yellow snowflake cookies:

The reason we had yellow snowflakes was that apparently in order to buy white icing in bulk, you have to purchase it in a 5 gallon bucket. That will be enough icing for the next three VBS's. The next lightest color was "Amaryllis", so that is what we got. Luckily not many kids in this program are familiar with Frank Zappa, so they didn't "watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow". Some thought they were sunbursts and stars. Whatever they think is fine. They used their thinking caps a lot today. When they were talking about their "God Sightings" today at snack, one girl told Pastor A that God talked to her when she got up this morning. She felt that God would look like a ghost since he had Holy Spirit in him. She was asked to draw her ideas on their poster:

I love it! See her saying "Hi God" as she wakes up? Pretty cool. I love this week as exhausting as it is. I can't wait to show you tomorrow's snack and tell you what the children have seen. They are so sweet.

But now, I have a few layers of icing to clean off myself. Night all.
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Monday, June 22, 2015

We survived day 1

So Everest came to East Tennessee this morning and we all survived it. The atmosphere was one of great excitement...lots of little people everywhere. My area of responsibility, the kitchen, was abuzz with stirring and scooping and pouring and piping. I must say it is like a well-oiled machine in there. We have fun and I think the children like what we give them each day. I looked at my pedometer before noon and I had already reached the 8,000 step mark. My dogs were barking a little bit, but it was a good kind of bark. We saw a lot of new faces and some we hadn't seen in a while.

After we got home, the children ate lunch and I went back to the grocery store for dinner items. When I got home, two out of the three were asleep. Learning and playing and eating and dancing takes a lot out of a body. I had a little nap myself, I'll admit. After a meal of Italian Sloppy Joes and a tossed salad with our first bell pepper from the garden, we are watching the foul riddled USAvCOL game. Let's hope that the second half is more successful than the first.

I'm going to shower off the dust of Mountain Trail Mix from today and go to bed. Night all.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Well, crap

Soooo, I had a post that was really funny. It was all about the night before VBS. I went to look up a factoid about our theme this year, went back to finish the poem(yes a poem)and it was gone. I used my limited knowledge of this blasted blogging app, but no luck. I am a little bit annoyed to say the least. Oh well. Technology. Whatcha gonna do? I will say that I have cut out more snowflakes than I thought humanly possible in an afternoon. I know those flakes will be turned into some sort of flying projectiles before the week is over. Oh well. As of right now, I am trying to forget about VBS for just a little bit and instead focus on the World Cup game on the television and the thunder booming outside.

I wish I could say that we gave the hub a great Father's Day today. It wasn't horrible, but it could've been better. He got breakfast in bed and some nice cards and gifts from the kids. The grill he wanted, and we wanted to get him, was not instantly available, so he will get that later. Since VBS is tomorrow, I had to stay late at church to get things set in my area. Hopefully we can have a bit of an addendum to his day at a later time.

Have a great night, friends. I have to deal with these crazies tomorrow.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

All the heartbeats are back

I can relax again. They are all back home and in the fold. Currently, they are all piled up on the couch with us watching the World Cup game. We are all in various states of exhaustion with G being the worst at this point. She was returned to us sweaty, hot and sun kissed from long days on the practice fields. Her hair is significantly lighter than when we left her. It looks like something that lots of ladies would spend big bucks to get out of a bottle. Her laundry has been washed and dried and is waiting to be folded once she gets a little sleep under her belt. The boy returned with a big smile and a huge stuffed owl from Raptor Camp. A week of wild animals and hiking and ziplining made me wonder whether or not he would even want to come back home. I couldn't hardly blame him if he wanted to stay away...but I'm glad he seemed excited to be home!

Tomorrow is Father's Day and not only am I extremely grateful for my father and the influence he has had in my life, but I am so very grateful for my husband and the love and care he shows our children every day. He is a wonderful father and I am so glad they have him.

I will now return to looking at the view: the soccer game and my children. Even the furry ones.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

One back, two more to come

Our oldest got back from camp today. She was doing the roughing it type of camp this year and went with a lifelong friend. She was in one piece, though scraped and bruised from a week of caving, canoeing, rock climbing and repelling(the last two being her favorites). She takes after her mother. I loved doing the rock climbing and repelling when I went there years ago. She ate every snack I brought for her on the way home. Her camp group was fed last and got the leftovers, so they didn't get a whole lot at meals. I don't know if that was part of the experience or an oversight on their planning, but either way it made her appreciate the food she gets at home. I'll take it. We have already washed her clothes, except for the caving ones which are soaking and may never come clean. I have learned, throught the years, to unpack camp bags in the garage because of the unique camp odor that wafts through the area and the extra critters that sometimes crawl into the bags in the cabins. I think even Copper appreciated that consideration, though she found S to be very exciting to smell. The girl is now showered and clean and ready to hop into bed, if she isn't already there.

Tomorrow the other two will return to the fold and we will be a family reunited. Finally.

Night all.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Guest Blog Post - World Cup

The Blogess is off in final preparation for VBS and asked me to fill in on the blog.

Youth soccer season is on summer hiatus. Skills are being developed, but at a much more schedule convenient pace. The world stage has turned to FIFA... Alleged Corruption and Women's World Cup makes headlines in the last month. I will save my view on FIFA scandals for another day.

The World Cup is on around the house. We have enjoyed rooting for US Women's team and following the story line. G has gotten so excited and can't contain her enthusiasm especially when the women score. She has written out her own roster attempting to keep up with the US Women's players on the field. We watch and identify Goal Keeping mistakes and interpret rules. The Women have made it out of the group stage. Four more Wins to the World Cup. Go USA Women's Soccer Team!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

And she's off...

We dropped G off for her camp this afternoon. SInce there is a lot of extensive construction going on around campus, it was a complete fiasco trying to get to the dorm, but we finally made it. She and her friend P arrived at about the same time and were completely excited about being together. I must say that it felt so much better about leaving her this time. She has already called twice. The first time to me was to let me know that the first seesion was over. "I skinned my elbow and am burning up, but WE'RE HAVING A GREAT TIME!!!!". So glad to know it, kid. She the called to tell us that the second session went great and she was having a great time. We had a little talk about how we missed her and wanted to hear all about her time, BUT she was fine to call once a day. That was plenty. They have seen several people they have competed against in the past years and some of the coaches recognized her from last year. I am excited for her. Pray for her safety, please. The heat and being a keeper could bring on lots of hurts. I want it to be a great time.

Night all.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Eve of camp...again

G leaves for keeper camp tomorrow. She is beyond excited, because this year she knows what to expect and is going with a friend and sister keeper. I am certainly excited for her, but the mom in me is a little nervous. We have had temps in he 90's this week and they are only to get higher as the week goes on, I hear. I know these people know what they are doing and are professional athletic trainers for a university, but I fear they are all going to drop in that heat. Last time, they had a table full of iced down waters and Gatorades and i imagine the same will be out this time. Here at the ranch, we will be empty nesters for almost two days. It will be quite strange for me. The quiet is deafening for me and I miss their voices and faces.

It is halftime for the USAvNGA game. Grabbing a quick shower. Night all.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Snack fatigue

My poor 10 year old was a trooper today for sure.  It is that time again here in our fair part of the city:  VBS prep.  Today we traveled around the county to price items for our VBS that will be taking place next week.  Between doing comparison shopping, calculating portions and purchase amounts for 400 people, schlepping 5 metric tons of lemonade powder and desperately trying to keep chocolate chips from melting on a 97 degree day...we are a little bit done.  I was very fortunate to get our cookie dough donated thanks to a wonderful church member and am working very hard to get our ice cream deeply discounted(we hope).  It is Bible school blitz time and everyone is in prep mode and good stewards of our money mode.  I know more about ice cream cups than I ever realized there was to know.  Way more, but very educational.  I have been able to get name brand cereal at store brand prices.  I am very grateful for the patience and generosity of Kroger and Sam's employees as I have asked some utterly ridiculous questions.  Just like those people who are leading Bible Memory Verse or crafts or music, I am serious about my role next week.  I want the kids to remember that we had compass cookies that help lead the way just like God helps lead our way.  I want them to enjoy their refueling time and at the same time talk about their "God sightings" with their friends.  Let's hope it is a meaningful week for all involved and that we have enough snacks to keep the participants going all morning.

Night all!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Crazy dogs

After church and transporting the oldest to camp and more church this evening, the dog was feeling a little neglected. I get it. She had spent a fair amount of time in her crate and needed some wearing out. So her cousin dog came over to play. He's a husky of some sort and has loads more stamina and speed than Copper does. They ran and frolicked and growled and drank and panted and ran and smell and went to the bathroom and flopped down on the grass. Currently, I think Copper is wiped out on the floor next to her cushion. Wonderful.

A side note: the girl was delivered safely to her shelter of wood and screen. She was ready for us to go so she could get the camping party started. I did embarrass her by smelling her head one more time before I left her. She was appropriately mortified and I loved it. I can't wait to hear all about her week. She'll have a blast I know.

Going to get a shower and wash sweat and mosquito crud off for the night. Night all.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Camp eve

I am so glad I was a terrible mom and forced my child to pack early. We are not scrambling tonight for last minute bug spray or shower shoes. The camper is currently trying to decide if she will have time to send notes home or if they will be too busy. I believe she will be too busy and want her to not worry about it. I love a good note home from camp and they are usually quite short and humorous, but that needs to not be at the top of her list. Once we get home from delivering her, we will commence to packing the 10 year old for her half week at keeper camp. The biggest idea with her is to pack cool things and lots of supplies for hydration. The temps are supposed to be bad next week and 8-10 hours of training without shade is going to be a lot.

Time to get people to bed so they will be pleasant for church tomorrow. Night all.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Camp prep

Tis the season for camps and our house in deep in the midst of camp prep. Since all of our children are like the equivalent of crack to mosquitoes, we are stocking up on every possible type of repellant from natural to Deet. We have various and sundry sun protection sprays and creams. The children are finding lots of old Bible school tshirts that will be perfect for caving and hiking and climbing and generally getting gross. One child requires clothes specific for kayaking while another requires clothes for being on a soccer field all day. The other needed a backpack and information to record notes aout raptors. I am just trying to make sure everybody's clothes get in the right bag to the right camp. You can't do much with keeper gloves in a canoe. Just saying.

Time for a packing break to watch the USWNT play Sweden. Here's hoping for a big "W". Night all..

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Another short post

It has been a long day that started fairly early. The hub and I left the house in the dark to go to Lake Junaluska, NC for our associate pastor's ordination. It was so nice to see her reach this goal and she looked so very happy. It was nie to see several people from home including my friend who sand at our wedding 19 years ago. 19 years?!?!?! Can you believe it? It was nice to see them all. It was also nice to see the scenery up there. The mountains never get old:

The hub and I didn't stay for the luncheon afterwards, because I wanted to get back home to the children. Yes, today was my birthday and I wanted to be with them. I don't need much of anything anymore, but hugs and cuddles from my three are a necessity. The boy picked up a harmonica during a lunch trip to Cracker Barrel, so he entertained us for a large part of the afternoon. Then the girls had to go to soccer try outs and marching band practice for a few hours, so I worked a little on camp packing and checking the garden. We feasted on my favorite, lemon pound cake, and I received some very thoughtful gifts and even more thoughtful cards. The boy incorporated his gift into his card. Genius I thought:

I mean Reeses and duct tape and little individual floppy notes on the side. Pretty nice. I am a blessed woman.

Night all. I am tired.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Short post after a long day

It is late and I need desperately to get to bed soon. The two youngers went to day camp at Camp Wesley Woods today. They had a great time, but came home exhausted. The oldest and I took the dog for an appointment to get a bath since we can't bathe her without have her go into crocodile mode and do a death roll in the back yard. Water dog who hates water, that's what we got at the animal shelter. Tonight I was in an Bible School meeting while the two olders went to ice cream night at youth. No, they did not eat ice cream. Instead they threw ice cream toppings at each other and blew showers of it out of pool noodles aimed at their friends. Needless to say, when I left our meeting room to use the facilities, the whole hallway smelled like dirty kids dipped in chocolate. Not as good as it sounds, my friends. Tomorrow we travel for the morning to Lake Junaluska to see our associate pastor be ordained as an elder in the Methodist church. I have known her since she was baking in her mom's belly, so it is exciting to be a part of this milestone in her life.

Night all. I'm tuckered.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Always comes back to a Seinfeld episode...

Tonight we took the youngers to soccer practice. On Tuesdays, they have palyer development for people who have signed up for the summer program. This just involves lots of foot skills and 3v3 games and allows the kids to get more touches on the ball. G is in a strange category at this time. She and a couple of friends are good enough to hold their own with the big kids, but will not be playing with them in the fall due to age, so they try to keep them separated at practices. That way the youngers don't get pummeled to death and the olders don't feel they have to go easy at their practice. Tonight there were about 5 kids in her position, so one of the coaches sent them over to be with the u10 and u9 kids. For G who, not towering by any means, is a bit taller than some of the other girls her age. So being on the field with these younger kids made her look like an Amazon which was quite funny. Her skills and size made it pretty easy to just dribble through and score with little effort. She certainly wasn't being ugly about it, just a matter of age and ability. The hub and I got tickled, because we immediately thought of a Seinfeld episode. In our house, almost everything can be linked back to a Seinfeld episode. Soup for dinner? The Soup Nazi. A favorite t-shirt is on its last leg? "Golden boy is slowly dying..." Someone didn't replace the toilet paper in the bathroom? "Not a square to spare..." So naturally there was an episode where Kramer was in a karate class. This clip should speak for itself. Night all.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Family TV night

The US Women's National Team is currently playing and tied with Australia at this particular moment. We are huddled around the idiot box(as one of my relatives calls it)screaming at the television in the spirit of America...or something like that. G is such a bundle of nerves she has twisted up her body in a contorted bundle while watching her girls. We all have our favorites and the girls and I like to comment on hairstyles as well. I'm enjoying the blonde that Abby Wambach put in her hair. She keeps getting her head on that ball. It's going to go in soon we hope.

I would write more, but I can't really concentrate. This family is insane...but they sure are entertaining.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Swimming Pool Etiquette for 2015

I love to swim as much as the next person. After my chores were done in the summertime, my brother and I would walk to our local American Legion Pool and swim for the afternoon. On rare occasions, my mom sent us with some extra cash to get some junky something at the snack bar. Sometimes I would sneak money and get something. One time, after my mother had forbidden it, I snuck and got a candy bar. A friend ratted me out when my mom came to pick me up...after I had lied and told her I hadn't eaten anything there. That was a nice summer spanking I received later when my father arrived home. And the last spanking I ever got also. Anyway, I digress. I took the kids to the pool today...they needed to be worn out. I haven't seen the lifeguard blow his whistle that much ever. All of his whistling was aimed at one particular DAD who decided to turn beast mode on half the kids in the pool. I think all of the kids were related to him in some way or another, but it didn't make any difference to the lifeguard or me(or half a dozen other parents watching). Listen, my dad played hard with us in the pool, dunking us every once in a while, giving us a good splash here and there, grabbing us and tossing us...much to our great delight. This dad, or whoever he was, grabbed the children by the ankle. He was the size of a slightly smaller Andre the Giant, so the kids were powerless against him. He would get a good hold on them and then rapid fire splash gallons of water their faces with out stopping. The kids were choking and gasping until the lifeguard blew the whistle for him to stop. He then continued his grip and pulled the child on out in the 8 foot area where he could swim and they could not and threaten to leave them there to drown. I was texting a running commentary to the hub who was home working on our tomato blight problem. Can't talk about that right now. I'm too upset to talk about my sick tomatoes. The man would return to shallow waters grabbing pool noodles from unsuspecting children and chucking them into the deep end where the kids could not get them, only to then grab another child and repeat the process. The hub asked if he needed to come down to the Y, but I cautioned him that if the gentleman touched one of mine he would pull back a stump. I told them to stay as far away from him and scream "HELP" and "STRANGER" until i could get to them if it got to that point. Upon leaving, I made sure to express my opinion about the situation which was met with a yawn and a greatly underwhelmed attitude. Dads? Don't be that guy. Have fun with your kids but don't act like a hyped up Frances from Pee Wee's Big Adventure when he's playing in his swimming pool sized bathtub like a human Godzilla...or a mom will come at you like PeeWee. Think about it.

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Safari day

We needed to get out of the house today and really just didn't want to do soccer or yard work, so we decided to go on a safari. S stayed home this time. She needed to be a vegetable and catch up on some sleep from the mission trip week, so we loaded up the two youngers and headed on to Bybee, TN to the Briarwood Ranch and Safari Park. I have talked about this place before, though not for a while. The interesting thing is that within an hour and some change from our house there are two pretty nifty safari parks to visit. Probably more, but the others seem a little sketchy and maybe more in need of a visit from animal cruelty agencies. Briarwood is our personal favorite and we think of it as a special treat every so often. Everyone is very friendly and ready to answer your questions about the different animals they have. If they don't know the answer, they will find someone who does. The boy was especially excited as he had wanted to see animals in some capacity today. Because it is a special occasion kind of deal, we also pay the extra $5 per person to ride the wagon pulled by the tractor. That way our car doesn't get destroyed and we have knowledge of the animals driving us around the park. My favorites are always the bison and they did not disappoint today. They had a sweet little baby that tagged along while its parents snacked on feed:

They had a very rare white bison there also. It was being a bit of a bully, so I didn't get very good pictures. I kind of feared dropping my phone in the feed and then that long blue tongue it has would just slurp it right up. The llamas loved the boy. They also had a new baby that had just been born on Tuesday. It amazes me how quickly they grow into what just looks like a miniature version of the adults. It got a bit afraid a few times and retreated to nurse on mom for a while, but it sure was a cute little thing and peppy. The mom liked the boy a whole lot, but liked his feed bucket more:

It was a good day and a fun time as always. I highly recommend their experience.

On another animal related note, happy Triple Crown Winner after 37 years day! It was neat to watch and I have been a Bob Baffert fan for a long time. Not sure why...guess it is his confidence, training record and that shock of ultra white hair. Whatever it is, it was neat to watch history being made after so long.

Night all.
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Friday, June 5, 2015

She's baaa-aacck

My oldest returned from her week long mission trip today. Though a little weary and ready for her own bed, she had a very good time and reaped the physical and spiritual benefits of manual labor in the name of God. She showed me her many calluses from moving mulch around with a wheelbarrow and her poison ivy that she treated with Dawn dish detergent. I guess it does more than take grease...WHOOSH...out of your way. Sorry I had to do it. Side note, I sadly impressed my children today with the ability to sing the whole Big Red chewing gum jingle. Sorry about that. Anyway.... She is currently negotiating a deal to weed our flower beds and mulch them to try and earn some cash. The latest offer was for ten cents a weed. WIth the current state of our side flower bed and S's sketchy weed counting, we will have to dip into her college savings to pay her. The dog and the siblings were happy to see her and they waited an amazing four hours to start ribbing her and attempt to get under her skin. I'd call that a record.

We are going to leave soon to go see the boy at his last night of twilight Cub Scout camp. His group will be performing a Star Wars themed skit at their bonfire. It should be quite entertaining. He is beyond excited and will probably go through a period of mourning when it is over.

Night all.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

I have dishpan hands, no wait, dishpan cookies

So while I was sititng in our opthalmologist's office with the boy this morning, I couldn't stop thinking about a recipe I had pinned on Pinterest. Yes, I indulge in the obsession of Pinterest, but my interest ebbs and flows like my interest in CrossFit or Uggs...so mostly dormant with occasionalinspired searches that send me on wild goose chases that take me to some strange places inhabited by some dark pinner people. Anyway, I felt the need to bake these strange cookies I pinned and was struck with it in the middle of the boy's 12th reading of the eye chart. Unfortunate timing, because we had some other business out in the western part of the county, but we got home soon enough after an inspired trip to the grocery store. The kids and I sat down for a nice lunch and I had a much cherished cuddle for a bit with my G until she became too squirmy and I felt the call of the kitchen. Oh, Jenny of little reading comprehension, I should have believed what the recipe said and what it was called. Never one who has been good with math or spatial relations, I got out the trusty Kitchenaid to start creaming ingredients together. I quickly realized that when the recipe is for "Dishpan Cookies" that you really do need a dishpan. As space quickly became an issue, I sent G down in the basement for my big pan that I mix my Thanksgiving dressing in every year. Me: "Hurry! The flour is not mixing but gradually moving up the side of the bowl...we are at mixcon 5!" G: "Um, Mom, what? I mean, what are you saying? Do you just want a bowl?" Sigh. Me: "Yes. I just don't want want to start and stop the mixer. The flour is high enough that if I turn it off and start it again, we will all be floured and ready to be fried." G: "Sorry, but you could have just told me to get a bowl...not bakecon and all that." Me: "Well..it was 'mixcon' but whatever...thanks." Insert any number of deserved eye rolls here. I'll own them all. Anyhoo, the cookies turned out huge and chewy and tasty and very odd in texture. Corn flakes don't bake up quite how you think they might. Yes, I said cornflakes. And oatmeal. And lots of other good and bad for you stuff. The neighbors will be getting some doorstep treats tomorrow.

My oldest comes home tomorrow from her NC mission trip. It will be wonderful to have all of our heartbeats in the house again. They fight and bicker and pick at each other, but they love each other. And that is sweeter than any cookie I could ever bake.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Jenny's My Name...Embarrassing My Children Is My Game

As I have discussed in previous posts, I am slightly obsessed with all things ukulele. I have three and look someday to procure a fourth. I lack a Concert pitched one and feel the need, though there is no need, for one to complete my quartet. I have no affiliation with any ukulele group or teacher...no plans to make a career of making a living playing(although that would be fun)...no plans to take my show on the road. What I do have is a desire to learn how to play my favorite songs on one of the ukuleles and use that newfound knowledge to spark a love of the song with the kids. BUT, what usually happens is that I receive looks from my children akin to those that one would give if they saw another human with a third eye or a second head. Or the look one would get if they were watching me play at the farmer's market's peak time whilst wearing my underwear. I would be annoyed with their reaction if it wasn't so absolutely hysterical. We got home from the swimming pool today and I sent the kids to get showered and de-chlorined. I took a few minutes to myself to rock out with my tenor uke and play "Time for me to fly" by REO Speedwagon. My eyes were closed, I was kind of nodding my head back and forth..."Time for me to fly...I've got to set myself free...." and I look up to see two faces, mouths hanging open, looking at me like I had an extra limb.

Me: Do you want to sing with me? You've heard this song enough
Them: Um, do you know any Sam Smith? Imagine Dragons?
Me: Nope. I know some Mavericks and Elvis and Bruce Springsteen.
G: Do you know "Thunder Road"?
Me: I'm in the process of learning that one. Not quite there yet.
Them: When you learn that one, we'll revisit the subject.
Me: That's awfully big of you. Thanks.

I think that it is in the parent handbook to embarrass your children with a few crazy things here and there. Keeps them on their toes and always understanding that their parents have a level of crazy they don't ever want to test. I kid, a little bit. I don't seek to constantly embarrass my children, but if they make it an issue to the point of being obnoxious, you better believe I will seek out every outlet.

I've played a lot today and my fingertips are sore. Time for bed and no more typing for the day. Night all.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ready to get started

I have had it with our basement. What was once a refuge for me and the hub with our workshop/craft room areas down there, has now become the place where what I call "guilt deposits" live. Very generous friends and relatives give us items that they no longer can house in their abodes and our basement has turned into a hoarder's paradise. My relaxation place has ceased to exist. I am to the point now of getting a professional to come in and help me get it out. While I would love to have a yard sale and make some extra money, it will just postpone getting it out of our house. I am perfectly happy to take it to KARM's thrift store. It not only helps them raise money, but it also helps our church. Their new program allows your church to get points every time someone donates in their name. Then, at certain points during the year, they will give gift cards to our church to distribute to people who come into our office in need. But ir needs to happen. I need my happy place back where I can sew and create and watch movies that no one else wants to see. That may be my month of June project.

We have not heard from the oldest today. I know they must all be tired and I certainly hope they are having fun. The hub and I are currently sitting at soccer practice. G is playing with a whole bunch of older kids, but seems to be holding her own. The boy is at day two of Twilight Camp. He had his shoes and backpack on 2.5hours before it was time to go. I think he enjoyed it, don't you?

Have a great evening and don't let your basement get cluttered up like ours is. Please.

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Monday, June 1, 2015


This has been quite the eventful Monday. S left this morning to go on a mission trip with the youth group. She was very excited and a little nervous. She certainly is like her Nana and has a heart for missions for sure. My prayer for all of them is that they can have a transformative experience while sharing God's love with those who are broken and hurting. Getting that many youth in a place can be tricky with hormones and feelings and nerves and close quarters. I also pray they will grow closer as a youth group and as individual friends. After dropping her off at church, the boy and I got Italian meatloaf ingredients and came home to cook. He has been very nervous the last couple days about his impending well child visit and check about his ongoing stomach problems. I made the dumb mistake of telling him that he would probably be getting a finger prick...but probably not a shot. Should I have let it be a surprise? A don't know. After the constant questions and analysis of how the process of finger pricking goes down, I was regretting telling him at all. His appointment went fine as did the finger prick. We are now in the decision making process of restricting his diet and monitoring his tummy troubles that way or have blood tests done for food allergy issues. The doc doesn't feel that any of the major tummy issues(colitis, Crohn's)are the problem at this time. Something is going on, so we will be working to figure that out. After seeing the doc, he came home and collapsed on the couch with his frozen ice cream lemonade treat for being a good patient. I sat with him for a minute and noticed he was conked out. Relief had set in and he could finally relax. He snoozed for a while and then ate some dinner. He had to fuel up for Cub Scout Twilight camp. I dropped him off in the middle of chaos. I wanted to throw up...he looked a little nervous, but jumped right in. I got back in time to get the house ready for G to return from DC. They arrived home and she was a worn out puppy dog, but definitely chatty about her trip. After she was fed and showered, we piled in the car and picked the boy up at camp. Chaos was still all around, but he was smiling and excited about going again tomorrow.

I'm ready for all of our kids to be together again under one roof. Guess that'll be a while. Night all.

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