Friday, August 31, 2007

Nowhere is safe

Today is my first Friday off with the new schedule. Rather than begin bad habits that would be hard to break, I got up at the same time I do on the days I work. That was hard, too, because I reallllllllllly wanted to sleep more. A lot of more.

After the kids got off to school, I sat down with my coffee to watch a few minutes of the Today show before I got busy. I grabbed my sneakers because I'd like to have one day a week that my feet don't scream at me to quit standing on them continually all day long because it's just not fair that feet have that much pressure on them to perform and ya know, walk and stuff in such cute shoes.

After I put on my shoes I turned off the TV, grabbed the coffee cup and headed out here to Kollij Central where the motto is, take your pick:

All Misery, All the Time
Where Algebra is King. An evil, evil King.
t+h-i(s) = s(uc) + k - s
Your Family Supports You Even Though You Haven't Seen Them in Weeks
The Crock Pot Is Your Friend
M-O-O-N spells "Macroeconomics Ain't For Sissies"

I could go on, but I shan't. Because there really is a story here.

I ended up on the phone with The Queen of Cheese and while I was pacing my living room talking to her, I felt something in my shoe. Now, I may have enough OCD to alphabetize my canned goods, videos and books, but my shoes are a different story. I kick those puppies off in my room wherever I first stop. If it's by the dresser to take off my earrings, there the shoes will lie. If it's at the computer, well, kicky sandals live there. My shoes are a veritable explosion of sole. Now, the kids have to walk through my bedroom to go feed the animals in the morning and they are not necessarily the neatest children to walk the planet. I find dogfood in the carpet all the time. Kibbles and bits are not fun to step on in the middle of the night either, just for the record. So when I felt something rolling around in the toe of my shoe, I thought it was a kibble. Or a bit. Or maybe a cute little fish or bone shaped morsel.

I crammed the phone between my head and my shoulder and proceeded to take off my shoe. I thumped it on the ground to knock out the offending morsel and nothing came out. Now, I knew that whatever it was in my shoe was pretty big and should've rolled out onto the floor because of gravity and all that. I thumped harder. Nothing. No kibble. No bit. No dog bone.

I picked up the shoe and looked inside and

there
was
a
cricket
in
my
shoe.

A cricket. A BIG cricket.

And because my life is one big slapstick routine that rivals Jerry Lewis or Laurel and Hardy sometimes, just about the time I realized that the kibble in my shoe was not kibbel but INSECT, the cricket jumped at me. His blood-tinged fangs snapped just short of my nose as he jumped out of my shoe and at me. Now, had I not been on the phone with TQoC, I'd have screamed and likely had a heart attack, but instead I just calmly said, "Dammit. There was a cricket in my shoe," like I was commenting on the weather.

Yet my heart was beating wildly in my chest and I could feel a heart attack just right there.

So I grabbed the shoe that had moments before been filled with foot and cricket and chased his hopping ass all over my living room, all while I calmly continued my conversation with TQoC.

Kollij has taught me how to multitask. And has obviously taught me how to supress my fear of insects. Or maybe it's just the lack of sleep has dulled my ability to feel emotion. Any and all of those may apply.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bettin' on the ponies

I walked into Kady's room to tuck her in, but instead of finding my 5 year old snuggled up in her blankets and pillows awaiting a kiss and a hug, instead I found her lying on her back, feet on the wall, both hands in her mouth, trying with all her might to pull her new loose tooth.

I said, "Kady, sweetheart, that tooth isn't ready. Daddy wiggled it, I wiggled it and that tooth isn't coming out tonight. Sorry."

And like a true princess, when she heard information she didn't want to hear, she melted down and teared up. I said, "Good grief, Kady, it's not like that tooth is going to disappear after midnight. Or turn into a pumpkin like Cinderella's coach."

"But Mawwwwwwwwwwwwwm! I want. it. OUT. I want some money!!"

"Why? Why does that tooth have to come out tonight? Can't it wait until tomorrow night? The Tooth Fairy can deliver money on a Thursday just as easily as she can on a Wednesday. Wait....is your bookie trying to collect on ya? Kady, have you been betting on the ponies again?"

And then she was all giggles. Chances are (hopefully, anyway) the child has no clue what a bookie is, but the fact that I mentioned betting on ponies obviously struck her as freakin' hilarious. We spent a few moments laughing and then I had to explain what a bookie is. I'm sure my mom will be so proud.

But because I am a stressed-out, working, student parent who tries to avoid stress at home as much as possible, I succeeded: Crisis averted. Tooth forgotten. Kindergartener successfully tucked in.

I went about my business, tucking in the other two and turning out lights in the back of the house. I was heading back to the front room when I heard Kady giggle and say, "G'night, Momma. My bookie says goodnight, too."

I don't know where she gets it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A few bits

10 year old little girls are hilarious. I mean, freakin' hi-LAR-ious. I totally remember being 10 and 11 and my offspring is no different. Except she has cooler hair than I did at 11. Trust me on this one.

And she also has yet to wear twist beads, express a desire to wear twist beads or even know what twist beads are.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

She has, however, expressed a heartfelt desire to have those funky feathered-back wings like Farah Faucett used to wear.

I'm not so happy about that, but they're a far cry better than twist beads.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Today we went to church for the third - count 'em THIRD - Sunday in a row. The dang Baptists are about to win me over. In fact, not once since we've started going there have I had to supress the urge to call any of them dang Baptists. I think that says a lot for the congregation as a whole.

Today one of the deacons brought the message. It was an amazing sermon and he was a wonderful speaker, but there were several times during the message that he kind of got all kinds of fired up and hollered. Loudly. Now, this doesn't bother me. I've been a Baptist all my life and am quite used to fire and brimstone and a little hellfire and damnation from time to time. I've heard my share of shoutin' preachers in my 34 years. But my children have not. In their limited church experience they've only heard two - Easter Sunday when we went to my uncle's church and today.

I hope the speaker didn't get a complex when he looked about midway back on the right side and saw two of those adorable Hoover kids with their hands over their ears.

I kept snapping my fingers at them and telling them to stop and they would for a few minutes then he'd get wound up again and there'd go their little hands. Toward the end of the sermon Kady crawled up on my lap, laid her head on my shoulder and whispered, "Oy, I have SUCH a headache!"

=-=-====-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I text messaged in church today.

Will God spank me for that when I get to the pearly gates?

I'm just wondering.

I mean, it was because the family Abby had spent the night and had gone to church with were out of church and were kind of wanting to get on with their day without dragging my little orphan child around with them. So technically, I texted because of my child.

Do I get a pass for that?

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Abby's grades were utterly horrendous last year. Bad horrendous. Tonight we went through her first official "Friday folder" and there was ONE "C" and the rest were A's and B's. I was so ecstatic over this and told her repeatedly how proud I am of her.

She lit up. I mean, lit the heck up. She fed off that praise. Now, don't think I don't praise my child, because I do, but for some reason tonight it really made her proud to hear it from me. Not once while going through last week's papers did I feel the urge to strangle her like I did so many times last year. That felt good. It's good to know that I can spend time with my child and not continually want to beat good grades into her.

=-===-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Tonight at Wal*Mart Abby picked out some individual packets of Propel that you mix into a bottle of water. Her teacher lets them keep water bottles on their desks and they can add Crystal Light or Propel or whatever to it if they want.

She was ecstatic to discover that the bottle of water she had packed in her backpack for tomorrow was the perfect amount of water for one of those packets. Of course, I did not tell her that duh, they kind of planned it that way because they obviously have researchers and marketing geniuses and stuff.

She was sitting at the dining room table, finishing up the homework she failed to tell me about on Friday night (and Saturday night when she begged to spend the night with her BFF Gabby) when she turned around and said, "Mom?"

I said, "Yeah, babe?"

"Ya know, in the last few weeks I have really seen some cool things in my life that I just know God has had a hand in."

"Oh really? Well, like what?" I was expecting some story about a personal experience or a growth in her faith or something like that.

She picked up her water bottle and the box of Propel packets and said, "Like this. I mean, God just helped me to pick out the perfect size bottle of water."

And I just nodded and said, "Isn't God just awesome?"

"You betcha." And she went back to her homework and I walked into the living room to laugh at my precious daughter that isn't quite as annoying as she was a few weeks ago.

=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-

"OhmygoshItotallyforgottotellyou!"

"What?"

"Mr. Music Teacher rides a MOTORCYCLE!"

"Wow. Is Mr. Music Teacher old or young?"

"Old. Old, old, OLLLLLLD."

"He's old and he rides a motorcycle to school?"

"Yeah, he's like 42!"

"Ummm...your dad is 44, dear."

"Oh. My bad."

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

My mom commented today that she thinks Kady is going to grow up to be a politician. Myself being a totally non-political person, I think that will require a miracle, so I asked Mom just what made her think that.

She said, "She just has this pizzazz that I think will make her a politician."

Now, last time I watched CSpan, I noticed very little pizzazz.

I'm just sayin'.

=-=-===-=-=-=-=-=-==-

We gave a baby shower for my cousin today.

One gift was a box full of nothing but gorgeous, adorable, utterly foo-foo headbands.

My uterus gave kind of a little twinge when I saw that box full of ruffles and bows and baby brain squeezing elastic.

Then it quit.

Whew.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Today while the girls and I were baby showering, Paul took Sam fishing down at the creek where he used to fish when he was a kid.

Sam was proud that he caught four and his daddy only caught three.

If you've ever seen the movie Talladega Nights, you'll know why I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when he said, "Mom! I was all over those fish like a spider monkey!"

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Algebra still sucks.

Just in case you were wondering.

But I have discovered that the people that read my blog are some of the most amazing, helpful and truly sympathetic people on the planet.

Pat yourself on the back now.

Y'all rawk.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Algebra Crisis Humor

After one week of classes and only my second week of working every day, I've realized my schedule must now change.

Instead of working four hours every day, I am now going to work five hours three days a week and four on one, thus forcing me to give up one hour a week, but dude, I am doing everything in my power not to cry daily. This will now give me all day on Friday to be my house alone, alone, alone and I will not answer the phone or eat and peeing is to be done only in an emergency. If you need to get in touch with me you will have to do it through email because I will literally be planted at my desk for the entire day.

I am just the type person that I need long stretches of time to concentrate and focus on something rather than just study a few minutes here, do a few questions there and so on. I am so high maintenance I should be put out of my misery.

Fortunately my supervisor is a doll and had no problem with the proposed schedule change. She also, like everyone else on the planet, expressed her deepest sympathy. Why Algebra is even allow to exist is beyond me - no one likes it, everyone sympathizes when they hear that someone is having to do it. That right there to me says that this is how we should fight the next war. Put away the dirty bombs, guns and tanks. Just give them Algebra problems. They'll surrender. Trust me.

------------------------------------

Yesterday, as I mentioned in my previous post, Paul and I went to the school for the monthly assembly. Of course, they've only been in school two weeks, but I guess they felt they needed to get one in for August. Anyway, 5th grade gets to host the first assembly because they are the oldest and the top dawgs, y'all. Abby got to wear an Indian outfit and they all sang Oklahoma and even added hand motions. The hand jive, Okie style.

After the 5th grade entertainment, the princpal then announced the "Star Students" for the month two weeks. Kady and Sam both got it for their classrooms. The fact that they've only been in school for two weeks and have already managed to suck up to their teachers enough to get an award, says a lot about those two. Abby, however, hasn't gotten Star Student since 2nd grade because when Abby turned 9 Abby became a non-conformist and refuses to suck up to anyone. (Well, unless it's me and I'm trying to decide if she can go hang out with her new BFF Gabby, then she is the most model child you've ever seen.) But as far as school goes, Abby just doesn't give enough of a crap about it to suck up. You either like her or you don't and she's going to roll her eyes at you either way, so like, whatever.

When I got Kady from her teacher after the assembly, she again told me how much she's enjoying having Kady in her room this year. She also said, "And humor! This child has real ability to convey humor! That is very rare for this age and she cracks us up because she can deliver a joke better than most adults." And I could not help but just absolutely glow at that comment because as winner of Best Humor Blog in Oklahoma 2006, well, I can't help but think that Kady comes by it naturally.








(Yes, that is a gratuitous plug for Okie Blogger 2007 nominations which are going on NOW.)

(Get over it. I can plug if I want to. It's my blog and I'm having a mid-life existential collegiate crisis, ya know.)

Well, so much for that

Thursday I spent an assload of time on the algebra course website working problem after problem and filling in page after page after page of letters and numbers and lots of angry scribbles from where I'd gotten stuck. Yet, I felt like I might have learned something and put my exhausted brain to bed.

Friday I had to work and it was a really, really hectic day at work. I got there early in hopes of getting off early because Paul had the day off and we wanted to have lunch together before we had to go to the school to see Abby be an Indian princess at the monthly assembly, but instead, while already running a hair late on a transport, I got cut off by a train that decided to STOP on the tracks in front of me and sat there for, kid you not, 15 minutes, which made me want to curse a lot and kick something, but I had a van full of adorable, impressionable children and while it's okay to screw up my own kids, I don't think the government would appreciate me screwing up someone else's (big breath) ............ then because the weather was horrendous and stormy and windy and rainy I knew the satellite internet would take a dive and I'd be rendered frustrated beyond belief, so since we hadn't gotten to have lunch together, Paul and I decided to go out last night which meant that around 10:30 this morning was the first time I had gotten to check the website about my classes and this has to be the world's longest and most annoying runon sentence ever. Awesome me. Some book editor is going to love me someday.

And upon logging on this morning I discovered an email from my Algebra instructor who informed me that the course code she had given us in the handout was for the spring semester and was therefore, NOT VALID. After pulling out about 8 handfuls of hair and screaming to the heavens in anguish and emotional pain, I read further into the email.

And I quote: "According to the report, you haven't got too far in to the course, so it will not be a waste of time if it will let you log in to the correct semester."

And while I'm sure she just meant, "Honey, you've only had your password for a day, so you probably only had a few minutes or so to work on the assessment and some problems," but I assumed she knew I had toiled and labored and whined and whimpered and kicked my desk and broke two pencils in OVER SIX HOURS of work and was instead saying, "Well, you're such a dumbass, it won't matter that you have to redo all that work because, honey, you need help. And a short bus."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

M-O-O-N spells "algebra is stupid"

I got my password to my algebra course around 3:15 today, spent about 15 minutes getting the download all downloadedy and stuff and within about 30 seconds of taking the "evaluation" felt like I was going to have a total meltdown. I didn't know ANYTHING on that screen! I realize I haven't done algebra since I was oh....15, but still you'd think something in the back of my brain would kick in. Oh, but no, 'twas not the case.

It is now nearly 11:10pm and I am finally stopping for the night only because my brain hurts, my feet are swollen and tomorrow is my long day.

It only took me about 3 hours into the course to start actually understanding what I'm doing.

I have to say that as overwhelming as it was at first, doing it with this program is THE way to do it. I work at my own pace (started out turtley and worked up to snailish) and it gives me LOTS of chances.

Now we'll see if I remember a single thing tomorrow.

Oh yeah, haven't read the first 2 chapters in my computer class, nor have I written 8 points about being an American or something like that for my AmerLit class. Ugh, and tomorrow night is my first Macro class.

I'm thinking junior college dropout isn't a bad title to drag around the rest of my life......

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Put on your Okie pants


It's that time again!


It's time for the 2007 Okie Blogger Awards!


I must use lots of exclamation points when I talk about this!


If you're an Okie and have an Oklahoma blog that you've updated in the last 60 days, then you, my friend, are capable of nominating! Take a moment or two to nominate your favorite Okie bloggers. You don't have to nominate in every category, a blog can be nominated in more than one category, it's good for the environment - and good for you, too! Four out of five dentists would nominate Okie blogs to their patients who read blogs. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $100. Do go nominate your favorite Okie blogs. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. Just nominate. Git r done.


Oh yeah, I'm full of 'em tonight. Or full of it tonight. Either way, nominations are open until September 8th.

Why I love my friend Tammy so much

"I'm tellin' you, this job might be a good thing. In the last two weeks I've lost four pounds!"

"Really?"

"Yeah, I don't have time to eat anymore! I work through the noon hour and by the time I get home and get busy, I look up and it's time to make dinner! I go most days without eating anything until dinnertime. I know it won't last, I'll eventually make time to eat, but who knew I'd lose four pounds just by working?"

"Well, let me just say - I can tell."

"Huh?"

"Just in talking to you on the phone here, I can tell. I can tell that you've lost four pounds and girl, you look good!"

"Have I told you lately just how much I love you?"

Monday, August 20, 2007

My first day of school didn't involve a nap

Today was the first day of classes and nowhere on my schedule was time for a nap with my pink towels. Kollij isn't near as much fun as Kindergarten. I also didn't get to color a whole boatload of color sheets about the letter L.

Last Wednesday as soon as I left work I went straight to the college campus. First stop, the business office to make sure my FinAid was in order, then downstairs to campus police to get my parking sticker (which is still in my purse...must remember to get that out....) and then allllll the way across campus to the bookstore. Now, keep in mind that last Wednesday was I think the hottest day in history. It was about 106 with a heat index of 451.3. And I was wearing a light tan shirt.

Now, I am normally not a sweater. Not a sweater as in something wool your gramma knits, but I mean, I just don't really sweat a lot. I just don't. But when it is THAT hot outside, everyone sweats. I don't care who you are, how much of a diva you are or how awesome you think you are in your shorty shorts with your belly button hanging out and your tramp stamp showing right above your buttcrack, sweetie, you sweat.

Just as I got in the line for FinAid and scholarships, something went wrong with the checkout computers and the gal had to go fix it. Now, I have worked with electronics and I know that when you are the busiest and the most harried, that is precisely when things will break down, screw up and cause you to want to gouge your eyes out with unsharpened pencils. Well, I started sweating while I waited in that line and this is where the light tan shirt comes into play.

I sweat right through my shirt and suddenly became the fat, sweaty, old lady in the midst of all of those annoying, perky 18 year olds. I had never wanted a fan so badly in my life. The gal behind me commented on it being a tad warm in the building and I nodded in agreement. She looked me up and down and said, "Uhm, yeah. You've kind of like, sweated through your shirt there, doll." Great. Thanks for noticing and pointing it out. I wasn't quite uncomfortable enough. You're a gem, there sweetie.

Finally the computer quit being posessed and I got my scholarship paper and my FinAid paper and headed to the book line. The kid behind the counter did NOT want to be there, did not want to wait on the sweaty old lady and made sure I knew his disdain for working there, living life and waiting on sweaty old non-traditional students. He handed me my Macro book, my Computers book and my the Algebra packet (supposedly) containing my $120 password. I said, "Where's my Lit book?" He sighed dramatically (I'm betting he's a Theatre major) and said, "There is no book for Lit." Now, maybe it's just me, but HELLO, it's LITERATURE. It kind of seems like there should be, oh I dunno, a BOOK FOR THAT. No, he insisted there wasn't. I questioned him again and he assured me there was no book and I'd have to find out when I logged onto the website on Monday just why there was no book.

Well, I logged onto the website this afternoon and whaddaya know.....I need a BOOK for the class. I even called the bookstore to double check and yep, I need a BOOK for the class. And then, when I tried to log onto the algebra class, the $120 temporary password is missing from my packet.

Tomorrow's only supposed to be 95', but I'm definitely not wearing a light colored shirt. I'm also hoping I'll wake up skinny with no gray hair and heck, while I'm dreaming, maybe I'll be a cheerleader, too.

Wisdom at the dinner table

This morning I took the kids to school because I had to hand-deliver Kady's inhaler along with secret government documents and a stool sample from everyone in the household. Okay, so maybe it was just a note from her doctor and a note from me, but I felt like I was appearing for the Spanish Inquistition. Darn that asthma.

I kind of knew what was on the schedule at work and it mostly involved further developing the meaningful relationship I have with the copy machine, so I decided to wear my humongous chunk flip-flops that aren't all that comfortable, but so durn cute. Along with the cute sandals I wore white capris. I *heart* my white capris. They're comfortable and Paul actually complimented me once when I had them on, so I wear them every chance I get.

I got both girls ready for school (Thank God for that boy - that flat top haircut is the best thing since sliced bread, along with a wardrobe consisting entirely of jeanshorts and t-shirts), got myself ready and we headed for the school, coffee mug and inhaler in hand. I poured the coffee just before we walked out the door, knowing it would be drinkable by the time I headed for work.

I delivered the children, the notes and the inhaler, then got back in the van to go to work. I was mere feet onto the highway when I went for that first drink of coffee and poured half the mug down the front of me. Apparently the lid wasn't screwed on all the way and well, it leaked. Hey, at least it wasn't scalding hot or tonight I'd be minus one breast and a thigh, kind of like a bucket from KFC at a church picnic.

Fortunately I was running way early for work and had time to go back home and change and the rest of the morning went off without a hitch, even if I didn't get to wear my chunky sandals. I still looked kickin' in my sparkly black flip-flops that Cousin Stacey sent me awhile back.

At the dinner table tonight I was telling my woeful tale. When I finished, just as Paul was opening his mouth to, more than likely, make a smartass remark, Kady said, "And dat's why you shouldn't drink and drive!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The first day of school - only 4 days later

Okay, so I have really good excuses.

See, Wednesday night, the first actual day of school was Part I of the So You Think You Can Dance season finale and I was way busy with that. Plus, I was pretty busy after that, rocking my little girl to sleep.

And then Thursday was Part II of the finale and I had to maintain my station in the recliner to make double sure that my girl Sabra won. It's a good thing she did, too, because I was gonna whup someone if she hadn't.

And then Friday night....well, Friday night was the world premiere of High School Musical 2 and the kids and I had a date with Tater and the tots because we don't get Disney on our "family friendly" programming package with DishNetwork, go figure. Then after HSM2, of course, we hung around for Phineas and Ferb and the almighty, most wonderfullest, amazingest teenager we all know and love, HANNAH MONTANA!! I *heart* Hannah Montana.

Then last night I got really busy removing staples in a huge pile of papers that needed to be shredded. It seems that somewhere around 1997, the same year we got a credit card, we used our good credit to buy a stapler and I found it absolutely imperative that I staple every stinkin' piece of paper that I filed for the next five years. Somewhere around 2002 the stapling stopped. Note that was also when I had a third child who was a toddler. Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, so now it's Sunday and I am now ready to post about the kids's first day of school.




Here's my little Kindergartener - she was up before 5am. Talk about ready for school!







Abby showing off her patented snarl that seems to be part of the 5th grade package. I don't remember buying attitude when I picked up the three boxes of Kleenex and notebook paper.






The big, bad schoolbus.

But I didn't cry here.

Nope. I was strong here.







Sam having milk for breakfast. The didn't have the kind of cereal he liked and heaven forbid he branch out and *gasp* try something new. Fortunately, he had eaten at home in anticipation of them not having "anything good."




Up to this point, I did good. I hadn't shed one single tear all morning. Heck, I didn't have time - getting Paul off to work, the girls ready for school and me ready for work was time-consuming and I didn't have time to think much less cry. But once the bell rang and we left the cafeteria...






There she sat at her spot at her table with her name on it and a color paper just waiting to be colored and her very own name on her very own nametag and a chair with books and a whole class full of kids and I was snapping pictures right and left and doing okay..... until she put down her crayon, walked over to me, hugged me around the hips, looked up at me, waved and said, "Okay, bye now."




That's when the tears started. I knew that was her way of saying, "Okay, Mom. I'm cool here. Now, you go out and do your own thing because I have this Kindergarten thing licked." A mom I had talked to the day before saw the tears threatening to spill and said, "You're okay. You're doing good. Just take a deep breath." I took a deep breath and walked out into the hall at the exact moment Queen Tammy was walking out of the other Kindergarten classroom and she saw me melting down. She grabbed me and hugged me and I cried on her shoulder. I didn't realize it, but she was moving me toward the door while I cried and she managed to get me outside without me clawing the door or throwing myself into the cubbies and insisting that I stay for the day. I cried all the way to my car, but managed to get myself calmed down pretty quickly after that. By the time I got to work I was fine and stayed incredibly busy the entire day, so I didn't have time to sit and worry if she was okay. I knew she was anyway.


Mom and Uncle David came out to the house to meet the bus with me. Mom was kind of hurt that Abby was snarly and hateful, but I assured her that was just how Abby gets when she's overwhelmed. At least I hope that's why she was snarly and hateful and this isn't going to become a real habit. I'd hate to have to kill her before she reached Middle School.


Of course, Mom got the most information out of Kady who was more than ecstatic to tell us about her day. Mom asked if she'd had rest time and Kady nodded her head vigorously and said, "Oh yes! I used my pink towels!" Mom asked, "Did you just rest or did you sleep?" Kady replied, "Oh, I sleeped! And when Mrs. Reece turned on the light, I still sleeped and when I finally waked up, everyone was staring at me!"



And there are my little chickadees running in the 104' heat toward the grape kool-ade and Teddy Grahams that were awaiting them inside the air conditioning.

Because I am still the coolest adult they know.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A perfect way to end the day

All of the tears I shed this morning and the fact that I missed her so incredibly all day long disappeared as I rocked my baby girl to sleep tonight.

She doesn't fit in the crook of one arm anymore - she's a far cry from the just over 6 pounds she was when she was a newborn and we marveled at how a person could be so tiny. Tonight she was all arms and legs as she curled up in my lap. Her little toes with chipped purple polish on her nails rubbed against my leg as I rocked her and her woobie was wrapped around one hand. I realized as she was sprawled across me and the chair that her shiny turquoise monkey pajamas that were once her big sister's are getting too small. I knew she was growing, but when did she get this big?

Even though she was sound asleep, sleeping the exhausted sleep of a 5 year old after her first day of Kindergarten, she was still hiccupping after a complete and total meltdown from stubbing her toe not once but twice in a matter of about three minutes. Her newly bobbed hair was messy and in her face and as I smoothed it back I noticed just how many freckles she has after a summer of swimming. Everyone says she looks like me now, but all I see when I look at her is the adorable, self-assured little big girl who only recently dropped the title of "Kady Princess" and is now simply "Kady. Wif a D."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Da hizzouse is openizzle

I'm much better at redneckspeak, which involves words like "purty" and "agin" and "y'ontoo," so I may have hizzouse and openizzle wrong, but I tried.

Tonight was Open House at the kids' school.

We saw Sam's teacher first. She seems oh so very young, but I really like her. Sam picked out a desk and I made sure it was nowhere this little boy that I have absolutely nothing against personally, but I know how the two of them are when they are together. Then lo and behold, Sam saw him on the hall and the kid had picked out a desk next to Sam. I'm hoping she'll remember I mentioned the fact I think that's a baaaaaad idea.

Next we saw Ab's teacher. She seems like she's really going to get these kids ready for middle school (gasp!) and she seems like she's really going to teach them some valuable organizational skillz. And Abby needs a lot of those. A lot. 5th grade does a lot of community service and they have a lot of opportunities, depending on what they are interested in. The most exciting news was that her class got Kady's class for Book Buddies, meaning Abby's class will get to read to Kady's class once a week. They were both really excited.

Then it was off to Kindergarten and you will all be happy to know that I didn't shed one tear tonight. Yay me. Jill and Chandler were already in the classroom by the time we got there and Jill, Paul and I visited with The Most Wonderful Kindergarten Teacher By Default If We Can't Have Cousin Courtney. I'm telling you, this woman is amazing. Kady was pretty aloof and after briefly checking out the room, finding her cubby and effectively pretending that none of us existed, she busied herself with reading the books that were stuffed in the pouch on the back of her chair. She plays aloof very well and as Tater said when she was a baby, you have never been ignored until you've been ignored by Kady.

A brief overview:

*I got to spend the entire day with my kids and my niece and nephew and they were absolutely precious all day. Today was awesome - they swam, we hit Dollar Tree for lots of incredibly cheap-ass junk that none of them really needed, but I once again proved that I am the coolest adult they know, we got frozen custard and sang a lot of SpongeBob in the van while we ran our errands.
*Sam got his cast off and the x-ray shows his arm to be completely healed! He has to take it easy for the next week, but after that, he's good to go. Praise the Lord! No football this year and he was pretty disappointed, but after I explained that it would be better to take it easy now and build up his arm strength for basketball he was less disappointed. And took back the statement "You never let me do ANYthing!"
*All of their incredibly expensive school supplies are stowed safely in their classrooms, Sam's in the only Lane Bryant sack. I tried to get him to use a Disney World or Wal*Mart sack, but he wanted that dang Lane Bryant sack. For all he knows, Lane Bryant is a NBA player, NASCAR driver or astronaut.
*I'm still borderline miffed that Sam didn't get his indian school supplies even though the girls did. I mean, I understand why, it was explained to me, but I'm still almost miffed. I can't help it the Cherokees are running a year out on getting cards issued.
*Kady's supply fee has been paid by her father so that's ten more bucks I have to blow on sweet tea at McDonald's this week.
*Abby was so nervous at Open House she nearly chewed the ribbon off of the front of her blouse. And we didn't see *Chance* and I didn't get to embarrass her to death by saying, "Chance and Abby sittin' in a tree..."
*Clothes are laid out for tomorrow - Sam realllllly wanted to wear a black shirt, but I talked him into something lighter and not so apt to make him spontaneously combust. Abby is wearing her new shoes and is so stoked about that she could literally wear rags tomorrow as long as she can wear those stupid new shoes. Which are girl shoes, I should add, so yay for that. Kady, of course, picked out a dress. And a feather boa.
*The first batch of papers and forms are signed and in Sam's backpack. My hand is sore from having to sign my name so many times and I have two more kids to go.
*I have bitten my bottom lip until it's sore because I have so many things on my mind.
*I need to write a note to call Kady's doctor to get an inhaler for her to keep at school.
*Water bottles are in the fridge, chilling in anticipation of the hot bus ride at 7:15. Yes, it really will already be hot at 7:15. Have I mentioned I hate summer?
*I have checked the batteries and put in an empty memory card in the camera. There will be much photographic evidence of tomorrow morning's events.
*I have my own back-to-school paperwork set out and ready to go so I can go get my student ID, parking permit and books tomorrow after work. Thank the Lord for that book scholarship this semester!
*I need to go to sleep and get plenty of rest so I can bawl my freakin' head off tomorrow.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Little bit of this, little bit of that

Today when I walked through my front door after work it was 1:49PM and 103.6 degrees outside. The heat index was somewhere around 451.2' F which is why all of the McDonald's and Sonic sacks in my van were on fire. Btw, if you haven't read the book Fahrenheit 451, you should. Seriously. One of the best books ever.

Because of this insane hellish heat, my cursed fat foot looks like someone has pumped it up with a bicycle pump. It's not pretty, it's not comfortable and I want winter. And snow.

I wore my leather flipflops to work today and that was not pretty. I wanted to wear my sneaks, but they didn't go with my capris that are actually Bermuda shorts, but I can wear them as capris because I have freakishly short legs and wow, I'm painting such a picture of myself, it's a good thing I'm not single.

Anyway, to summarize: foot fat, want winter, sandals ugly.

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I finally got around to rearranging Ab's room yesterday and in the process, gave her my old CD boombox. Do they still call 'em boomboxes? Anyway, the child has the mack daddy of karaoke machines, but it doesn't have a radio and she really wanted a radio.

So now she spends every waking moment listening to the radio. She gives me a weather report on the half hour and knows our local news better than the anchors.

I think it's absolutely adorable how happy a radio has made my child. I remember when I got my first "jambox" back in the 80's......ah memories.

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We went to church yesterday and no one was struck by lightning. It was actually wonderful. Like church is supposed to be. Here's how wonderful it was - we even went to eat with some of them after the service.

I didn't call anyone a dang Baptist, I didn't cuss once and no one judged my foot tattoo.

These are like no other Baptists I've ever known. I kind of like them.

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Mom and I took the kids to see Hairspray Friday night. Still the most awesome movie ever. I looked for the soundtrack at Wal*Mart and they are out and have been out for a week. The need for this soundtrack may warrant a trip across the state line. I need it that badly.

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My husband is redeeming himself for buying me a car I can't drive and in the last two evenings he has: hung up a bulletin/dry erase board in the entryway, hung up a shelf with five little pegs for the five little children that will get off the bus at my house every day, hung up the Diva bulletin board that Cousin Stacey got me for my birthday, mounted my new mega super surge protector to the wall by my computer desk so I can plug the laptop into an outlet that doesn't leave the cord strung across the office where I invariably trip over it, removed a horrifically ugly hanging lamp that came with the house and I have hated for 6 years and it seems he has forgiven me for making fun of his 80's car.

I love it when I get things done. There's just this air of done-ness about it.

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Sam's cast comes off tomorrow. Send good thoughts his way that the x-ray shows his arm healed and that he won't have to get it re-cast. There will be gnashing of teeth, wailing, whining and more than a few tears. Sam will probably be upset, too.

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Tomorrow night is Open House at the kids' school. The tears will begin falling from my face around 5 tomorrow night and will not stop until, oh...... let's see, she graduates in 2020......

No one at work could believe it when I said I'd be at work that day. I have to - otherwise I will sit here at home and cry and worry and worry and cry and worry.

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Work is going fabulously. I love it. Love it.

Today was busy and hectic and more than one time during the morning two or more people asked me to do something at the same time. It's nice to be needed and all, but it was crazy. The other aide position is now open and I hope they hire someone soon. There is too much for one person to do in four hours a day. Still, I love the work and can't wait to really get into things now that I'll be there every day.

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Got confirmation of my Financial Aid. Kollij is a go once more. Yay.

I thought I was ready, but now I'm getting nervous. Not near as nervous as I was last semester, but still nervous.

Today one of the caseworkers - who is the mother of a guy I graduated high school with - asked me how I liked doing all of my classes online. I told her I loved it and she asked if I felt like I was missing out on something. I shook my head no. She said, "Oh, I just loved the camaraderie and the questions and the interacting with people in the classroom." I said, "Okay, I've kind of changed since you knew me back when I was in high school. I don't like people now. The fewer I have to interact with, the better." It was hilarious because she just wasn't sure if I was serious or not.

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Come on now, sing it with me, everyone! Oh yes we need a little Christmas, right this very minute....

I hate summer.

A night on the town ain't what it used to be

We went out with The Cousins Saturday night. There were supposed to be two more cousins with us but they're all getting ready for this new baby they're incubatin' and seem to think finishing their house is more important than hanging out with the kinfolk. I remember those days, the nesting and the excitement. They're so young and cute and I'm so old and jaded.

When we were all kids, teenagers actually, Cousins Courtney and Benn came into the family and because we lived next door to each other we hung out together a lot. We played board games, we jumped on the trampoline (Well, they did, I believed myself to be above such shenanigans) and when I had gas in the car, we went on what we called Cousinly Bonding expeditions. Sometimes it was nothing more than driving around, sometimes we went to the park to act like juvenile dorks, and all the time it was fun and wonderful and I *heart* my cousins.

Now, Paul and I are the old fogies of The Cousins, him being 44 and me being 34. Actually I think Chad is 34, too, but he acts way younger than me. Having kids will age a woman. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, dinner was great, we stayed at the restaurant for over 2 hours, visiting and laughing and catching up. The band we were going to see didn't start till 9 so we went to Buffalo Run to kill some time. Courtney and Chad announced they were going home and we begged, pleaded and all but grovelled that they go with us to the bar. They relented, but said they had to go home to switch cars. Tater had to go see a man about a horse in the casino, so Paul and I headed for the bar.

This bar is a real high class place and by "high class" I mean, this place is a dive. It was flooded and just recently reopened. And it is apparent that they didn't want to displace the gazillion mosquitoes that have taken up residence INSIDE the bar. We waited in the parking lot for the others to show up because I just knew that I was going to feel fat the second I stepped through the door. Man, was I right. Most of the time I am comfortable with who I am, but not in a crowd of drunk, rowdy single people. Then I am just the old married lady who has let herself go. When we picked up the kids at Mom's I said, "If I ever, God forbid, find myself single I will rot inside my house rather than go out and do the bar scene." And I mean that. I am strong, but I aint' that strong.

The gal taking money at the door looked stoned out of her mind. There were about 10 people inside the place when we got there, so we had our pick of tables and Tater got us one right up the band's hoohahs. Now, normally this would be a good thing, except this meant that all the people sitting behind us got to just see my gigantic booty hanging uncomfortably off of my barstool all night long. Also, my legs are just the wrong length to sit comfortably on a barstool. They don't perch well on the lowest rung because my legs are a bit too short, but I'm too chunky to perch them up on the higher rung. So I instead let my legs dangle. Which in turn made my feet swell.

See? I'm old. Some friends of Tater's showed up later and Kara leaned over and asked if I was having fun. I shouted back, "Not really. My pacemaker is acting up, I've had to turn my hearing aid down twice, my feet are swelling and these varicose veins will be the death of me yet!" She nearly fell off her barstool laughing at my old self. She's all of like 20. She thinks I'm funny and I think she'll someday be old like me and I think that's funny.

It's no secret that I am quite fond of curse words, the f-bomb in particular. I like me some good expletives, but I guess I was just feeling particularly out-of-touch Saturday night. When the chorus of one song said something about waiting for a ride in a bar on a hill and something about how he "crashed her effing car" and walked away from that piece of sh*t or something like that, I guess I was making a face because Cousin Courtney shouted over the din of drunk people singing, "Priceless! The look on your face is PRICELESS!" I may have looked a bit puckered.

The music was so loud, as were the drunks surrounding us, so most conversation was yelled at the other person, unless you wanted to lean your head down so they could shout a little quieter instead. Or you resorted to hand signs. Tater was trying to tell me something and I couldn't make anything out, I didn't understand a thing she was trying to get across, so I did the only sign I could think of at the time - Jesus. Kara nearly fell off her barstool again. So did Tater. I did the sign for Jesus all over the table, then made the sign of the cross for good measure, then bid them all a good night.

Leave 'em laughing, I always say. Well, that's what I say when I'm not complaining about my gout, heartburn and bunions.

'Cause you're motorin'

One evening last week, Paul went to visit his brother to see about a tractor (which is not the same as seeing a man about a horse) and in the course of that visit, Paul traded his little truck for a car.

Now, here is the icing on the Come to Jesus cake - He bought the car "for me." Read on and you'll understand why "for me" is in quotes.

It is quite well known that my van is dying a slow and painful death. She's been a good van and I still love her, but I know her days are numbered and then when God calls her home, the Astro will be no more. We speak quite often about selling the boat, the little truck and the Astro so we can get a newer van that I can drive without having a laying on of hands before I leave the driveway. In fact, Paul is so serious about this that he has, after 2 years of me griping at him, finally replaced the rotten spots in the deck of the boat and as soon as Mamacita moves her kittens out of the boat, it's ready to sell. Or sail. Har.

Anyway, he came in from his brother's and said, "Hey, guess what! I traded that little truck for you a new car!" Okay, strike one, bucko - I have made it amply clear that I must have a van. Not only because we have three children and one back seat is not enough for three children, but also because I have a niece and nephew that I like to take places as well and Tater wouldn't appreciate it if they had to ride in the trunk. Plus, if Mom has all three kids, she takes my van so she can go places with them. So I held my tongue (Not literally. That's kind of gross.) and said, "Oh, wow. What kind of car?" He was grinnin' like a possum when he replied, "A Cavalier!"

My first car was a Cavalier. A gold 1986 Chevy Cavalier. A small car, the Cavalier. My gold car was a good car in her time, but didn't they stop manufacturing the Cavalier like, oh a century ago? Or at least 1986? That's what I thought, but nope, turns out they were still making them in 1989.

So I said, "Well, hmh. A Cavalier, eh? Interesting." It wasn't really interesting, but I was trying to be nice. It was obvious he was proud.

"Oh yeah, it's a pretty little car." Of course, he didn't say "pretty," he said, "purty." His redneckspeak is normally endearing, but it wasn't that night for some reason. And I know darn good and well that his idea of "purty" and my idea of "pretty" are two very different things.

Then, proudly he said, "It gets great gas mileage. Yeah, and it's a standard, too!"

That was when I nearly broke my jaw because I was gritting my teeth so hard. I didn't say anything at first. Just stood there with a dish towel in my hand, staring at him in disbelief.

"A standard? Paul, uhm....I can't drive a standard. And you know that."

"You can't? I thought you drove my little Toyota back when we were first married. Didn't you?"

"Uhm, yeah, if you'll think real hard, you'll also remember that the ONE TIME I drove it in town I killed it in the middle of a busy intersection and when I finally got it going again I drove it straight home and told you I'd never drive it again. And I didn't."

"Oh. Well, then I guess I'll drive your car then."

So I threw the dishtowel at him and said, "You didn't buy that car for me and honey, that's really okay that you didn't buy the car for me. But you didn't have to pretend that you bought it for me. It's okay that you selfishly bought a car for yourself when you know that I NEED A NEW VAN WAY MORE THAN YOU NEED A STUPID CAR!" I was having a total, pure, unadulterated, certifiable selfish moment.

I refused to go out and even look at it because I was pretty miffed. But ya know, I got over it. We haven't argued in a long time and I certainly wasn't going to let a stupid car cause us to have a big ugly fight.

Then Saturday night we had plans to go out with Tater, Cousin Courtney and Chad for dinner. When we go out we almost always take the big truck because he doesn't like driving the Astro and I don't like driving at night. But I walked outside in my white capris to find the kids standing beside the new car while their daddy put the boosters in the backseat.

Things didn't start out good when Sam said, "Daddy, how do I get in?" For some reason that really teed Paul off. I explained that not once in their lives had they gotten into the backseat of a two-door car. They didn't know the seats lean forward, but once I showed them they thought it was awesome. So then they all three piled in that incredibly small backseat to find that two boosters and a third child don't fit so comfortably and then there was whining and tattling and complaining. So Paul got more peeved.

Then when I kind of fell/folded myself into the front seat I got dust all over the back of my white capris and had the audacity to say, "Dangit! My white pants!" That when he got really mad. So I bit my lip to keep from laughing at him acting like such a jerk and we were all quiet until at least the end of the driveway and then I began teasing him in earnest.

I mean, I really let him have it. I ribbed him about his new "pimpmobile," I said, "The 80's called - they want their car back," I asked him if he'd go back home so I could tease my bangs up higher and spray on another coat of Aqua Net, I asked when he was going to grow a mullet and start wearing tight leg jeans, I asked if he wanted a large bird or something painted on the hood for his Christmas present this year.....I mean, I was ruthless. He didn't say much. And I just kept on.

But it was when I asked, "What year is this car?" that things started getting ugly. He said it was a '98. I said, "No....it can't be. My van is a '98 and the interior is sleeker. The corners are more rounded. No, this car is from the 80's for sure." He was positive it was a '98 and told me to get the title out of the glove box to prove it.

Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 - 19EIGHTY freakin'NINE. My husband is dyslexic. And lost in the 80's.

I laughed so hard I thought I was going to have a stroke. I laughed because he was SO mad that I would dare to insinuate he had traded a '98 Dodge Dakota pickup for an '89 Cavalier Z24 and got the raw end of a deal. How dare I question the fact that his brother essentially uhm....you know.

Then he said he'd go home in his 80's car and I could walk. And to be honest, it was hot and I wasn't up for it. So I shut my mouth.

When everyone got to the restaurant for dinner the comment was made that they'd been driving around for 20 minutes because they didn't see our truck or van in the parking lot and I was trying to give everyone the high sign to ixnay on the arcay because he was issedpay at his ifeway. You know, the wife with big bangs and Night Ranger in the cassette player.

Cap'n Neurotic's Movie Watcher Survey, Part 1

Since Cap'n Neurotic is sporting a cast on his finger, typing is nil to none down his way,but because he's always thinking ahead, he made up a movie survey before his surgery. Feel free to do it, too and visit Cap'n while you're at it, okay?

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1. Where do you like to sit at the theater? Front row, back row, or in between?With stadium style theaters usually the first row of the second section of seats if for no other reason than to put my feet up on the bar there. This was actually Cap'n's answer and I kept it. But I'll add that by sitting on that front row the kids can sit in those two or three seats all by themselves between the floor seats and the stadium seats. They think that is the awesomest.

2. Foreign language films – subtitles, dubbed, or not at all?
Funny, I have never in my life watched a foreign film until these last few months when I watched Pan's Labyrinth and Apocalypto within a few days of each other and the subtitles didn't bother me, but I wouldn't want to do it regularly or anything.

3. Favorite movie watching snack food?
Popcorn - it's all about the popcorn. If I'm too broke for theater popcorn, I'll snag some Junior Mints at Wal*Mart for .33 beforehand and hide 'em in my "movie purse."

4. What thing will turn you off of a movie almost immediately?
If Jackie Chan is in it or if it stars a current or former WWE star. Those two elements are the kiss of death for me.

5. Movie you’re most upset you paid full price for?
RV and The Simpsons Movie - both were utterly ridiculous wastes of film and I lost IQ points by seeing them.

6. Movie you didn’t have to pay full price for, but which was still a complete and total waste of your time?I wanna know how people are getting into the movie for less than full price!

7. Movie you loathe with the fiery white hot passion of a thousand suns?Borat

8. What was your first R rated movie?
I don't have the slightest idea. That was eons ago. I remember once at a slumber party, my mom let us rent a Chippendales video and Eddie Murphy Raw, so maybe those were my firsts.

9. What movie did you go to see the most times at the theater?
Probably Footloose

10. Most overrated movie?
There are a bunch, I'm sure, but none are coming to me right now.

11. Most underrated movie?
Napoleon Dynamite - I mean, yeah, it has a following, but it is movie genius and there are just so many out there that haven't experienced the magic that is Nappy D.

12. Movie that you always get sucked into when it comes on TV no matter how many times you’ve seen it?10 Things I Hate About You - if it is on, I cannot keep myself from watching it.

13. What special features do you usually watch on DVDs?
Outtakes, bloopers and if I'm incredibly bored, the behind-the-scenes stuff

14. Widescreen or pan-and-scan?
Not a clue. I just grab something on the shelf and whatever it is, I watch it.

15. Most disappointing film sequel/prequel?
Saw II and III
16. Biggest pleasant surprise?
As funny as this is going to sound, Taladega Nights. I was fully expecting it to suck.

17. Whose taste in movies is closest to your own?
Tater. We share a brain.

18. Whose taste in movies is furthest from your own?
Queen Tammy

19. Movie adapted from a book: do you read book or watch movie first?
Always, always, ALWAYS read the book first. Especially if Stephen King has had anything to do with either.

20. Movie you’re almost ashamed to admit you like?
Larry the Cable Guy, Health Inspector

21. Biggest tearjerker?
There are five movies that nearly kill me - Steel Magnolias, My Life, Penny Serenade, The Bridges of Madison County and The Notebook. I need an IV to rehydrate me after I've watched any of these.

22. Scariest movie?
To this day, I still haven't made it all of the way through Sixth Sense. I get as far as the tent scene and I'm nearly crying because I'm so freaked the hell out. And please don't laugh, but The Blair Witch Project scared the piss outta me.

23. Obscure movie you love but which almost nobody else knows of?
I'm pretty mainstream in my movies.

24. What’s the biggest factor in making you decide if you want to pay to see a movie in the theater or wait for the DVD?
There are just some movies that you can tell they are gonna be "renters." I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is one current movie out now that I will not pay theater price to see, but I'm sure we'll rent it. Taladega Nights was a "renter," too, but turns out, I liked it. You never know, but I'm usually pretty sure what's gonna be worth $7.75 and what's not.

25. What do most of your favorite movies have in common?
Laugh-out-loud BWAH! moments, utter stupidity, lots of the f-word.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Come to Jesus and get some cake

It is no secret among those who know me in real life, that I enjoy some precious alone time occasionally. Those of you who know me best know that I love my kids with the ferocity of an Ethiopian in a Krispy Kreme, but there are times when I am simply mommied out. I have stayed at home for the last 12 years and sometimes those walls close in and I have to escape.

Summer time is the perfect time for me to get a few moments in here and there because of VBS. Oh yes, I love me some Vacation Bible School. Oh no, I don't attend. I just send the kids. I have become one of those parents. I deliver my kids then drive off to cavort wildly, wreak havoc on mankind and sometimes take a nap.

Usually they make three VBS sessions during the course of the summer, but this year they missed out on going to the one at Mrs. Coach's church, so up until this week they had only gone to one. Mom teasingly commented several times on my lack of effort in finding VBS respite this year. She said I had become a slacker on the VBS circuit and people were talking. She's so funny sometimes.

Most VBS's are in the evenings these days because most parents who volunteer also work, but there is one church in town that still does morning VBS. My kids have gone there for four years and it is a church we actually were members of years ago. I really do like this church; it's not too bad for a Baptist church. And above all, they are friendly people. I know a lot of the members and walking through the doors is like coming home.

So if there was a Baptist church I would consider attending again at this point in my life, it would be this church. I'm working on it. The fear that lightning would strike me if I were to walk through the doors on a Sunday is holding me back. I was there last night and there wasn't even a slight electrical surge, so I'm thinking things might be okay.

Wednesday Mom picked them up after VBS and brought them home to me because I had indulged in over 24 hours of mommy time thanks to my angelic mother. I fixed the kids lunch and then in an attempt to re-introduce Kady to this theory called "nap," I made the kids lie down for awhile. Of course, Kady wailed and gnashed her teeth and pouted and whined and there were many tears before she completely passed out mere seconds after I left her room. Sam was pouting because he is so eight and in the third grade and how DARE I make him take a nap like a baby. How dare I, indeed. I told him he didn't have to sleep, he could just read a book and rest and be quiet, but then he got angrier because I suggested he actually read. A book. Did you get that? I suggested that my child READ A BOOK. Next thing you know I'll be forcing him to mainline cocaine because I am just that kind of mother.

I went into Ab's room to turn on her fan and kiss her on the forehead like I always do because she has already informed me that if there is sleeping involved for the rest of her life, I am required to tuck her in. Her husband is going to love me for that one. She looked up from her Beverly Cleary book as I kissed her, then I turned to leave. She quietly said, "Mom?" I turned and said, "What, angel?" She got this shy little grin on her face as she said, "I, uh, have something to tell you." I said, "Alright. Shoot."

"Today.....I took Jesus into my heart. Mom, I got saved!"

And instantly I, the meanest, cold-heartedest, naptime-forcing dang Baptist mother in the universe began crying. And squealing. And hugging. And I was utterly overjoyed that my daughter had invited Christ into her heart. All the squealing drew curious Sam from his pouting fit to find out why there was joy somewhere in the house and he wasn't involved. I said, "Bubby! Your sister took Jesus into her heart! Isn't that great?" And because Sam is the middle child and will forever have issues because of the spot he got stuck with, sandwiched between two sisters, he got angry again because "Well, I want to be saved, too. Why can't I be saved? If Abby got saved then I want to be saved because that is only fair."

Do you see why I need some me time every now and then? Sibling rivalry will be the death of me yet. My headstone will say,

"Here lies our darling mother, who loved me best.
No she didn't, she loved me best.
Nuh uh, everyone knows I was her favorite."


So I explained to him that salvation wasn't something you just do because you want to keep up with the Joneses and he crossed his arms and asked what the Joneses had to do with his sister getting to do something that he didn't get to do. Many, many words and sighs later, he had the concept down. Sort of. It resurfaces every now and then still, though. And when it resurfaces, I bang my head on hard things.

Last night was the VBS program. I invited Mom and Tater to come out here afterwards for dinner. At the church, Tater asked what we were having. I listed everything I had made and at the end of the list was "chocolate cake." She said, "Ooh, chocolate cake? What did we do to deserve a homemade chocolate cake?" I said, "It's for Abby." And with a grin I added, "It's her 'Come to Jesus cake.'" Mom was listening and when I said "Come to Jesus cake" she leaned over and quietly said, "You do know where you are, right? You're in a church and Jesus can hear you!" I said, "Mom, He can hear me when I'm not in a church, too, and frankly, I like to think that He's happy I made a cake in His honor." Then Mom mumbled something about not sitting close to me because she didn't to get hit by the impending lightning bolt.

After dinner, when we cut the cake, Sam got mad because I hadn't made him a Come to Jesus cake and that's when I called the Baptist Children's Home because I think they need three more little Baptists to come stay with them.

The power of 800


Constant Reader, you are now reading history here at Redneck Diva. This is my 800th post. Since I continually forget my bloggiversary every dang year, I guess I'll have a party to celebrate my 800th post.

Let's get jiggy wit' it!


Come on in to my redneck gatherin' place and see what's goin' on. While it's not a double-wide trailer, the pink bathtub in the field does lend a bit of redneck flair, don'tcha think? And this is no UnParty like Hillbilly Mom has been known to throw (not that there's anything wrong with that) - it's a real live party! AND, I'm serving Come to Jesus cake (see next post). Now, don't you feel special?

Yep, it's a fancy schmancy soiree here tonight. I'm wearin' my camouflage capris and so far no one has inquired about my "life partner" (read the last paragraph of that post to understand) or the fact that I might like women (I like women, some of my best friends are women) (I also like using parenthesis) (A lot) but I figure someone will question my sexual orientation before the night's over. The waitress will probably flirt with me, like the one at Montana Mike's steakhouse a few months back. Yep, the camouflage capris are quite the misleading conversation starter about who I like to spend quality time with. And end prepositions with.

Anyway, aside from wearing my camo capris, I'm also wearing my Miss RSJS sash and tiara. Ooh, I can't forget the scepter! Gotta go dig that out of Kady's toybox.... I had to dust my tiara; it's been awhile since I've worn it, too. Gosh, that seems like an eternity ago, winning the contest that pitted me against some really wonderfully talented female bloggers. Oh wow, it was two years ago...

Sam's here in his lime green cast, Abby's here as well, in her camouflage, too, (like mother, like daughter) and sporting a commemorative Technicolor Childfoot. Heh, her foot's okay, she just likes to hobble around and say to the guests, "Hey, remember the time my mom tried to get a splinter out of my foot and we ended up spending 3 hours in urgent care while we were on vacation?" Kady's sporting her new fish-face polka dot shoes and not much else. It's a good thing I draped a tablecloth over the pole in my bedroom, otherwise momma's little pole dancer would for sure be the entertainment.

Some of my best blogfriends are here, too. Heck, I'm their favorite redneck diva, so they better be here!

Even though she is the worst blogger EVER in the updating department, my little sister Tater is here. (Believe it or not, she actually wrote a post a few weeks ago. I know, I know, I was amazed, too. Send her some love in the comment section and maybe she'll be better about updating. Don't hold your breath, but we can all hope.) I was going to have a band come in as entertainment, but since I haven't gotten my first paycheck from my new job yet, Tater and I are going to clog for y'all instead. Yep, grab the camera, it's bound to be entertaining. Keep an ambulance on stand-by -I haven't done this in awhile.

Mrs. Coach just arrived and she's pulling behind her a big flatbed dolly full of FREE CHEESE. I'm glad she decided to take a vacation from her job at Hillmomba as Ambassador of Cheese and come hang with us. She's cool like that. I can always count on her and her cheese.

A party isn't a party and an UnParty isn't a party either without Hillbilly Mom! That hillbilly and her lady mullet can bring on da funk. Not, that kind of funk - I'm certain the woman bathes. No, I mean the dancin' kind of funk. Which, now that I think about it, isn't really funk as much as it is interpretive hillbilly dancing to the tune of Dolly Parton and The Transcontinental Hillbilly Railroad or whatever that group is she listens to ad nauseum. Siberian Clogger Orchestra? Foggy Mountain Inbreds? Oh, what IS that group she listens to? Anyhoo, she pulled herself out of Poolio and her free hairwad hottub to be here today. What a friend. Oh, and look! She brought Crashy and Desky! Wonder where Gamey is.....probably with Paul Deen eating lobster in her front yard. Hey, go ask her. I don't know where she came up with that one.

Stewed Hamm just arrived with Cazzie. Guess he picked her up at the airport. They're reminiscing about our Big Blogger days (see May 2006 posts) over there in the corner. I think they're both still jealous that I was picked by Big Blogger to get kicked out but not really, only to make a glamorous come-back and then get kicked out for real. I need to make my way over there and make sure Hamm doesn't get Caz all wound up. She's been a bit tense lately, bless her heart. I don't want to have to call 9-1-1 in Australia for her. I bet their response time would be lengthy.

And because old friends are the best, Cap'n Neurotic hitched a ride up here to celebrate with us! No, he's not flipping you off - that's a cast on his finger. Don't make a big deal about it, he has newly acquired karate skillz and I wouldn't want to piss off a karate dude in a finger cast.

Sam and Anna hitchiked from Cali to be here. Shhh, don't call attention to the gladiator shoes on Sam's feet. They get Anna 27 kinds of riled and we don't want the Queen of Annaland riled. Trust me. She'd likely get Sam's box knife and a bottle of tequila and well, Fitty wouldn't have much to work with when he got here to murder us all because we're bloggers and that's what Fitty does - murders bloggers, then hack us up and stuff us in 55-gallon drums. Just ask my mom. Anyway, I have every intention of getting Anna off to myself here after awhile so we can discuss LOST because we are the shit and we can do that if we want.

Brian trekked across the barren, hot wasteland that is Oklahoma to party with us. He brought all the fixins for appletinis, too! What a friend.

And what party is complete without GoingLikeSixty? Well, NONE! Because he is the mack daddy of partiers. AND HE BROUGHT M&M's!! He alliterates, drinks beer, eats M&M's with a vigor that only rivals mine, likes dogs, and did I mention he likes M&M's? Man, he is here to party hardy today - his wife is on a S.E.X. trip so he's rarin' to go. He's recovered from his drunken blogging a few days ago and uh oh, it seems he has discovered Sam's gladiator shoes -I better go warn him about Anna.

I'm so glad you came to my party! It's all fun and games until Fitty shows up, so get busy!



HAPPY 800 TO ME!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sometimes nothing catchy makes itself available

I will be so dang glad when things get busier.

Yes, you read that right. I'll be glad when things get busier.

Right now I'm only working two days a week. For two days a week, I get up at an unholy hour 6:00 and I get dressed and put on makeup and Chi my hair and wear a bra, but the remaining five days I am a slug. A bum. A saggy-breasted, well-rested, tv addict.

I am the kind of person who needs continuity, routine, organization. Right now I just don't have much of that because I don't have to. Starting next week, I have to because the kids start school. And I'm glad. Week after that I have to even more because my school will be back in session again.

Strangely, I am really looking forward to this semester and I cannot figure out why. I have Algebra (which still kind of makes me wish I had a prescription for Xanax) and Macroeconomics (a subject which I am still unsure as to what it actually is...anyone care to clear that up for me?) and I'm working 20 hours at one job and 5 at another (whoo, five, I'll try not to pull something), plus I still have a husband and three kids to take care of. Yet, I'm excited??? I'm nuts.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

It occured to me

While talking about Sam's broken arm a few days ago it occured to me that the highly esteemed position of First in the Family to Break a Bone does not go to my son.



It goes to my eldest daughter, Abby. The one that has been described more than once as Bambi the first time he tried to walk on the frozen pond. Or a newborn colt. She's alllllll legs and doesn't quite to know what to do with them sometimes. Plus, she's related to me and got the clumsy gene.



She broke her nose in first grade when she fell off the monkey bars and broke her fall with her face. That was not fun.





It looks like a picture they take of orphan children needing a home.



Her nose doesn't look too bad in the picture, but trust me it got wider and both her eyes were black for a few days.





I made her smile so she wouldn't look so abused.

For the record, the fall didn't knock out the tooth.













Then last year she broke her toe when she was walking along innocently and a metal folding chair jumped out and grabbed her baby toe and snapped that sucker.



I didn't take pictures of that. Not like the pictures I took of the Amazing Technicolor Childfoot.

















So, not to take away too much of Sam's thunder, I just felt I needed to give credit to the clutz where credit was due. I mean, he was the first one with the cast and a trip to the ER, but she still broke two bones before he did.

They're all special in their own way. Special and accident prone.

School Shopping Reclaimed Pussy Hairspray Sister

Friday the kids and I went to Joplin for the big, much-advertised NO SALES TAX WEEKEND. Was that fun? Laws, no. M-O-O-N spells "NO SALES TAX WEEKEND brings out the crazies, the crankies and the horrible drivers." We hit Rangeline, the big main street in Joplin, and for miles I could see nothing but cars and cars and cars. And I just had this gut feeling that virtually everyone in those cars was in a bad mood. Turns out, I was right. That was a weekday - I can't imagine what shopping was like yesterday. Laws.

I had bought Abby some shoes a few weeks ago and apparently her feet have grown this summer. We exchanged them for a whopping size 4 1/2 girls. Next stop: Women's shoes. This seems like a big deal and early to me, but in truth, she has the smallest feet in her class. Last year, most of those 4th grade girls were wearing women's sizes 6 and up. Eegad, what large feet you have, women of tomorrow! Not sure about the boys and frankly, I don't want to go there.

Sam got some generic Payless brand Airwalk look-alike high-top Cons. You know, those things we wore back in the late 80's, early 90's. I had a yellow pair that was almost the color of calf scours, Tater had pink I think. Anyway, Abby bought a pair of low-top look-alikes in the boy section early in the summer, so now her brother decided he needed a pair. She told him that he absolutely COULD NOT get the same shoes as she had, even though they are boy shoes. His are black with dragons on the sides. Abby picked out a pair of girl shoes on NO SALES TAX WEEKEND, though. She tends to lean toward the butchier side in clothing and shoes these days, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I was silently pleased that she picked out some utterly adorable Mary Janes. Kady makes up for any lack of femininity in Abby, what with her wearing polka-dotted high-heels with everything these days, but still I like it when Abby looks like a girl occasionally.

The girls got new backpacks at Penney's because they were all half off. Kady's is Disney Princess and Abby's is camouflage. Of course.

We went to Lane Bryant when our mall shopping was finished. I got some new jeans because at work we get to wear jeans on Fridays and eventually I will start working on Fridays and I want to be ready when that time comes. And thanks to the fact that Lane Bryant is continually working to raise the self-esteem of fat women everywhere, they have changed their sizing on jeans. I now, for the first time in my life, wear a size 6. Of course, that is only in jeans from Lane Bryant, but I take victory where I can and my victory lies in my size 6 LB jeans right now. And boy howdy, they are comfortable. I just might concede that they are most comfortable than any jeans I have ever owned. I think it's because the tag says "6."

Yesterday Abby and I finally started tackling her bedroom. I cleaned Kady and Sam's back weeks before the garage sale, but Abby's is a task not to be approached lightly or without proper rest the night before. And something for my nerves. That child is a packrat, a slob, a hoarder and in some ways, a goblin because of the way she cannot let go of anything. I'm not talking toys, dolls or books, I'm talking gum wrappers, rubberbands and lids, lots of lids. Why lids? Ya got me. I'm stumped. Why the child feels she must save little scraps of paper and lids off of water bottles, I will never ever understand. I am probably stifling her creativity and she'll probably end up in therapy because of it, but I am bound and determined to break her of this awful obsession. She's a goblin, I say.

It's interesting, her room right now. She is literally caught between little girl and big girl. While she loves her lip gloss and clothes and posters of Hannah Montana and Zack Efron, she also is still quite in love with her Cabbage Patch Dolls and Littlest Pet Shop. I will gladly put up with the two sides of her because I'm not ready to see the little girl go just yet. She's constantly struggling with it, but fortunately the little girl is still winning a battle or two here and there.

We're finishing her room today, along with rearranging it and putting up her canopy, which can double as mosquito netting. If you live anywhere near here, you totally know what I'm talking about. That flood bred some scary-ass mutant mosquitoes, I'm tellin' ya.

The big plan yesterday was that a group of us girls were going to go to dinner and then to see Hairspray. The original group was five (would've been six had Cousin Courtney not been AWOL. (Btw, call me, Cousin!)) but then it was down to four. Then three. Then one. Obviously we scrapped the plans. Then Tater and I decided we'd go ahead and take advantage of Paul's good humor and offer to watch the kids. When we told him we weren't going, he said he'd work on the boat (you know, the one that meows), but then decided it was too hot and said we might as well go because he was staying in the house anyway and he might as well hang out with the kids. Sometimes he just does stuff like that and I remember why I love him so dang much.

So we got around and headed out, me in my new size 6 (heehee) jeans and adorable orange chunk-heel sandals that only match one shirt so I wear that shirt a lot to justify the buying of the shoes, and Tater in her "I'm lookin' for a man" shirt. (That's what her ex calls it. If my ex called one of my shirts that, I'd be sure to wear it around him as much as possible, just to make a point. But that's me.) We giggled and girl-talked all the way to Joplin. While I was originally disappointed that the GNO didn't work out, I ultimately am so glad it worked out the way it did. I have missed my Tater. I made her a mix CD for her birthday with nothing but 80's and 90's songs that had some meaning for us - clogging songs, NKOTB songs, Duran Duran, Debbie Gibson and Guns n' Roses to name a few - so we listened to it and just talked.

We ate dinner at Garfield's and had planned on shopping until the movie started, but neither of us really had enough money to shop AND go to the movie so we went to two movies. (Probably cost us more than shopping would have, to be honest) The first one we saw was the The Simpsons Movie and while I'm a fan of the Simpsons, I hated this movie. Hated it. It was dumb and stupid and I didn't like it.. Tater was just upset that so many kids were in the theater, because it was definitely not a kid-friendly movie. The series isn't kid-friendly, so why would the movie be kid-friendly?

After feeling like we lost IQ points for having sat through an hour and a half of cartoon stupidity, we went to Hairspray and let me say that if there had been a spot level enough and cleared out enough for me to have danced, I'd have danced through the entire thing. At the risk of being struck by lightning for saying this, it's better than Grease. I didn't think such a thought would ever be in my head, but yeah, it's better. And what I think impressed me the most is that when Tracey Turnblad wore a sleeveless dress (not once but TWICE) in the movie, they did not make an attempt to cover up her flabby arms. I found that refreshing. She is a large-size girl, she is beautiful and she is talented and she wore a sleeveless dress on the big screen. Yay! It was real. I like real. And I love John Travolta in drag.

Today the kids are taking turns driving Sam's remote control Dodge Ram through the house and over my toes repeatedly. I am catching up on laundry and then Abby and I are tackling her goblin lair. Paul is working on the boat that still meows.

Oh by the way, my feline surrogacy is over. No, Flicka isn't in the great big litterbox in the sky. Nope, she's part of why the boat is still meowing. Friday night I was nearly beside myself because she wasn't eating, she hadn't pooped and I wasn't keen on doing what the internet said I needed to do to make that happen and I was so afraid we were going to lose her and oh wow, the guilt I'd have felt for that one. So I took her outside and held that momma cat down until Flicka finally found her way to a kitty titty and after a few low growls at me and the kitten, Mamacita started licking that kitten and relaxed and commenced to purring. I stood out there, swatting mosquitoes and getting a little misty over the whole scene. When Flicka was done eating, Mamacita stood up, picked her up by the neck and took her out to the boat. Paul was sitting at the picnic table watching the whole scene. He stood up and said, "Kristin! I don't WANT her to take it back to the boat!" I put my hands on my hips and said, "Look, I have bottle fed that kitten for two days. If she is taking her back to the boat, let her. She'll wean 'em in three weeks and you can sell the boat then. Now hush. You're ruining the moment." Let me just take this opportunity to publicy thank Aunt Janet and Cousin Stacey for their offers of help and advice during the kitten fiasco. Family rocks.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

So, who's throwing me a shower?

I am so tired and frustrated, I hear the echoes of her cries even though she is sound asleep in her bed, I smell of formula and she peed on my shorts awhile ago.

I feel like I am reliving Abby's first few days of life.






If anyone has any advice on how to best care for an abandoned kitten, please, for the love of all things good and not meowing in this world, email me: theredneckdiva (at) gmail.

We got her to suck awhile ago, but she only took half an ounce. I feel like that is just not enough. Granted, she's super teeny tiny, but everything I've read online said she should take more than that at a time. She also didn't really take the nipple of her own volition. It took much coaxing and prying to get it in her mouth and when she finally started sucking the kids cheered so loud I jumped and the nipple came out, thus ending that little moment of bliss.

I thought being a momma was hard, but being a cat appears to be much more difficult.

Why I'm not a cat person

Our utterly brilliant and completely devoid of maternal instinct momma cat, Mamacita, recently moved her five kittens from their safe little nest in a stack of tires to....

the hull of our boat.

Paul didn't realize it until he started cleaning it the other day and heard his boat meowing at him. He has found a tractor that he wants and the tractor owner is willing to trade for the boat. I'm pretty sure the guy just wants the boat, not a litter of kittens.

Now, please don't sic the ASPCA on us, but stuck the garden hose in a vent and um....we tried to float the kittens out. It worked. Sort of. Two floated out, but the other three remained encased in fiberglass. Paul put the kittens on the carport, hoping Mamacita would take them all and re-hide them.

Oh, but no.....she just took the two back and stuck 'em back in the boat. So last night, we attempted to float them out again. What we ended up with was one wet, scared kitten, a boat that still meows.....

And a momma cat that refuses to take her little refugee. And now......well, now I have listened to her squall for the last 24 hours. Thanks to the wonder of YouTube, you, too, can hear hear squall for a little over one minute.



I have called neighbors all day, trying to find someone with a litter of kittens about the same age and hopefully a momma that will take our little Flicka. No luck so far . The vet said we could try to feed her catfood mush, but given her age he didn't think she'd eat it. She didn't. So Tater is coming over after work with some kitten milk replacer and a teeny tiny bottle. This kitten has all but molested me today, trying to suck on my earlobes, chin and the crook of my elbow.

I feel so sorry for her, but am I really sure I want to bottle feed a kitten every two hours for the next three weeks? That's like breastfeeding all over again. Well, minus the breasts. I didn't do that whole getting up every two hours very well with my human children and I'm pretty sure I'd have animosity toward that furry, squalling kitten who will never give me grandchildren.

If the remaining kittens die in that hull, we'll have a heck of a time selling a boat that smells of dead kitten. And I'm pretty sure we'll go to hell for this whole mess.

La Quinta - Spanish for "Take a vacation where you can get one."

After yakking my guts and innards up all Friday night, Saturday morning I felt human enough to traipse off across Missouri with my husband and kids. It's so rare that we can convince Paul to go anywhere with us that I hated to let a measly virus ruin the trip, so by golly we went. I took two Benadryl before we left to quell the nausea, ate Maalox, sipped Coke and read about Harry Potter the whole way.

We got into Springfield around 4:30, found a room at a La Quinta (Spanish for "freakin' awesome motel - and so friendly!) then went to the Wonders of Wildlife museum at Bass Pro Shop.




It's no window snake, that's for sure.

Freaks, my children. Climbing all over large fiberglass snakes like that. Freaks, I say.













This is the net bridge that reduced Kady to tears. She was stuck right in the middle of that thing, shrieking like a banshee, scared out of her mind. We were trying to coax her through, telling her that if she'd get out she wouldn't be scared anymore, but obviously that thought never occured to her and she continued shrieking.














Do you know how many pictures I took trying to get that dang river otter?

A lot.

However, in every dang picture I took, the waistband of Kady's underwear was shining brightly. She is SO her daddy.







Ah, nothing like fake fishing. With a broken arm.














After the museum, we went to dinner at Ryan's Steakhouse, not my favorite place to eat. It's so large and buffet-y and I just feel like I'm one cow in a stampeding herd of hungry, redneck cows trying to fight my way to the trough. Mmmm. After dinner we went to Bass Pro to walk off our buffet meal from hell. Then we went back to the La Quinta (Spanish for "I just spent $46 on stupid redneck shirts for my husband. What was I thinking?")


My boys hanging out after all that shopping. Bless their hearts, those two.


La Quinta - Spanish for "Quit dragging me all over town, woman. I'd rather just lie here with my spit cup watching Jumanji with the kids."






Sunday morning we were forced to check out of the La Quinta (Spanish for "I must get out of here now because I'm not used to not having a recliner to sit my butt in.") before 10 because Paul was pacing like a dang mountain lion at a wildlife museum. Not much opens before noon on a Sunday, but we managed to find a flea market where Abby bought yet more Babysitter's Club books, Sam found Matilda and Muppet Treasure Island on VHS and the girls and I hit the jackpot on large, dangly, sparkly earrings which we now cannot find. (La Quinta - Spanish for "I think my husband accidently threw away my new large, dangly, sparkly earrings.")

We hit the mall and were the first ones through the door at Build a Bear Workshop. Sam left with Bobo the Monkey Pirate, Abby left with Miley wearing a High School Musical t-shirt and a kicky new jean skirt and Kady left with Hannah sporting a TinkerBell ensemble. I've had to put a moratorium on buildling any more critters. The clothes are expensive enough for six of 'em.

We managed to kill enough time there that we got to the Discovery Center exactly when it opened and were the first ones through the door there, too.

I *heart* the Discovery Center.

We had visited the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center when we went to Mississippi in 2004 and fell in love with the idea of a museum just for kids. We had no idea there was one as close as Springfield.




Abby and Sam dug for dinosaur bones as soon as we got there. The place was so clean and neat and within 5 minutes of us walking in, my children had managed to unearth a dinosaur and fling fake dirt pretty much everywhere.










Shocking!












Even more shocking!













I could not resist playing with the "pixel wall."

Tater said I should be ashamed for making my kids turn all those blocks to yellow just so I could write my name in large, pixelized graffiti.









This is from an exhibit called "The Bacteria Cafeteria" which was enough to make my OCD kick into overdrive and I literally made the entire family GermX their hands right there on the spot.

This litle girl in the picture had Streptococcus.

Shudder.




Poor little dummy had a broken leg.

The dummy, not my son.

The dummy, by the way, had a heartbeat. That was creepy.

Took us forever to drag the kids away from playing doctor. They'd have stayed there with that dummy all day if we hadn't lured them away with puppets.




Pooh and the dinosaur were saving the town from the evil fabric praying mantis.













Paul had quite a bit of fun shopping in Kady's Market, though he'd never admit it.











It took us nearly as long to drag them away from the TV studio as it did from playing with that dummy.

They did some amazing reporting about a bank robber who punched "a dude" in the jaw. While their style may be raw and unpolished, they were still cute as all get out.







Isn't that awesome?? They look like real reporters! Well, although I've never seen a reporter with a broken arm on camera....











I had to drag Kady away from her grocery store to come pose for this shot. She kept saying, "But I don't WANNA do da wevver, Momma!"
















At this exhibit, they made airplanes and then...



















... launched them to see how far they'd fly.

That kept the four of them busy for 30 minutes.






























See what happens when you break your arm in this family? We make you run the hamster wheel.

'At'll learn 'im.






I think they were building dams. Not sure. I'd been playing with the thermal camera and pulleys for half an hour.

When we left the Discovery Center we went to Incredible Pizza for some incredible pizza. Duh. That successfully wore them the rest of the way out and they were quiet the whole ride home, sitting in the backseat in little exhausated dazes.

Ah, vacation.

Liberating Plankton, part 1

So I'm 45. I haven't dyed or bleached my hair in years and have fully embraced being silver-haired. I have wrinkles - more so now th...