Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Getting around to it

I've been meaning to write about this for a week now, so I guess it's time to do it. I guess I've put it off because it's a hard subject to write about. And end prepositions with, too.

It's about parenting. Yeah, I know that's kind of what I write about on a relatively regular basis (Hush, Mrs. Coach...), but what I'm going to write about is the harder parts of parenting. The not-so-glamorous side, the tears-snot-whining side, the throw-your-hands-in-the-air, the call-your-momma-and-apologize-for-everything-you-ever-did-wrong-in-your-life side.

I have three kids. They are just about as different as night, day and a typhoon. I learned a long time ago that basing one child's behavior on what their sibling did once or twice before when they were the same age is not even remotely feasible. Just because Abby slept through the night at 5 weeks old, did not ensure that Sam would sleep through the night at the same age - in fact, I don't think he sleeps through the night still yet. Abby's the child that breaks out in mysterious rashes and has since infancy, Sam's the one that can't even sit still long enough to take a proper poop and Kady has had asthma since she was 6 months old. Abby and Sam are generally compliant, Kady thinks rules are mere suggestions. Abby doesn't cry, Sam and Kady make up for her lack of tears.

And just because I had two bad parent/teacher conferences until last week does not mean I am a bad parent. At least, that's what I'm telling myself this week. Last week I was ready to don my sackcloth and ashes and flog myself with a cat o' nine tails.

We are still in the honeymoon phase with Kady. Heck, she's in First grade and thinks school is the best thing to ever happen on earth ever and ever. She loves her teacher, loves her classmates, loves to learn, loves to ride the bus, loves loves loves school. So when her teacher told me that she's brilliant and smart and funny and caring and wonderful I just glowed. She's achieved the benchmarks, she's reading slightly above where she should be, she has neat handwriting....I mean, yeah, it was a gigantic boost to my self-esteem as a mom. I floated out of the classroom and walked all starry-eyed over to the bigger kids' building where my self-esteem was about to take a giant kick to the kneecap.

Sam is the middle-child and it drives my sister nuts when I say that, mainly because she thinks I'm giving him a complex and am probably screwing him up for the rest of his life. But really, there is something to birth-order. Being a "first", I know this all too well. (I blame being the first-born on all of my neuroses. Just ask my mom.) I have never had to worry about Sam at school because being the middle child makes him incredibly easy-going, makes him a "pleaser", makes him compliant and my gosh, he does his best to make sure everyone is happy. So I have been spoiled by his honeymoon phase that has lasted until 4th grade.

If I had been smart, I'd have remembered that 4th grade is when Abby lost her mind and we wanted to sell her to the gypsies. 4th grade was also rough for TotOne last year. 4th grade is where Abby called her teacher "dude" and wasn't even sorry for it. I should've been prepared for the moment the teacher told me that my son has trouble paying attention in class. Granted, she first told me he's a great kid, she loves him to pieces, he's a peace-maker, a great friend to everyone, etc. but when she said that he "zones out" in class A LOT, I was stunned. And she obviously saw the look on my face because she stopped and said, "You haven't heard this before?" I said, "Uh....no....this is entirely new." She immediately got a look of concern on her face.

I will be the first to admit that Sam is high-strung. He's always been a button-pusher, a switch-flipper, an I-must-touch-everything-to-see-how-it-works kind of kid. I love that about him. I have always been intrigued by his absolute need to see the world through his fingers. But when it has come to school his teachers have always assured me that he has no trouble whatsoever staying on task, paying attention and focusing. And trust me, I asked. Knowing his propensity for being a little on the hyper side, I've always made sure to keep an eye on things regarding the structure of a classroom. He's never had a problem - until now. Now, he spaces out, drifts off, goes off to Sam Land, whatever. His teacher doesn't feel at this time it's anything that remotely needs medication or anything quite so drastic, but she wants all of us to be aware of it and help him focus and stay on task.

After that conference I was not floating so much anymore. Not out of disappointment in my child - out of concern for my child. And honestly? I was disappointed in me. Because what if my assumption that he was always going to excel kept me from seeing he needed help? What if my Pollyanna attitude kept me from seeing he was having trouble? Folks, I had become quite complacent regarding my childrens' educations.

I made my way over to the Middle School to visit with Ab's teachers, especially the Social Studies teacher because mere days before it had come to my attention that my oldest daughter had a big whopping D in that class. The SS teacher was busy when I got there so I made my way to the Science room where Mr. Science Teacher told me that Abby is a great kid and he never has a bit of trouble out of her - except when it comes to turning in her work. I went to the Math room where I heard the same thing - great kid, no trouble, doesn't turn in her work. English/Reading teacher? Yeah, it was starting to sound like a broken record in every room. By the time I finally got the SS room I was ready to cry. I have always admired Abby's laid-back personality and her sense of independence, but this was ridiculous. Laid-back is one thing, irresponsible and lazy is another.

Mrs. Social Studies was sympathetic and assured me that Abby is capable of achieving far more than she is right now. She smiled at me and said, "I don't think that punishing a student for bad grades is a good thing. But I am not above bribery. Find something that she really wants and hold it over her head. It's not wrong. Trust me." For weeks Ab has repeatedly asked her daddy and me if she could have satellite TV in her room and for weeks we have adamantly resisted, but that lightbulb went off over my head and I decided that, indeed, I would bribe my oldest child. It was a scathingly brilliant idea.

Yeah, except when I told her that if she would get her grades up to B's and keep them there until Christmas break we would put satellite TV in her bedroom, she glared at me and said, "Then I don't want it." Now, I know that she did not instantly stop desiring satellite television, however, she instantly quit desiring it enough to put forth the effort to get it. That's what frustrates me more than anything about her sometimes - she is so independent and has such a strong idea in her head of what she wants and doesn't want that she borders on stubborn BUT the small bit of compliancy left in her keeps her from being as bull-headed as her father. Thank God for that. I like it that she's independent, but there are also times that trait makes me want to poke unsharpened pencils in my eyes.

I cried myself to sleep that night and even moped around the next morning before I finally quit beating myself up over the fact that my oldest child is completely satisfied with below-par work, that my middle child has attention deficit issues and that my youngest child, while seemingly perfect now, will probably pierce her lip and throw Molotov cocktails when she gets to 4th grade. This was the one parent/teacher conference that Paul hasn't attended and man, could I have used the support that night. He was so sweet to listen to me whine around, though, so that kind of made up for it. He is much more laid-back than I am (gee, wonder where Ab gets it...) but he agrees with me that we haven't been as attentive as we could have been when it comes to the kids schoolwork and grades.

Together, though, we have decided that all we can do is start from where we are now and keep on truckin', to quote those mudflaps on 18-wheelers. We can't change what's already happened, but we can re-think where we're going. I may have been lax in the past when it comes to my kids' grades, but I'm not now, by cracky. I now have access to their grades online and oh yes, I check them every day. We have not punished, berated or belittled anyone, but we have expressed to Abby our distress and yes, disappointment over her grades. I think she needs to know that we know she is capable of more. She needs to be aware that we pay attention.

When the kids get home from school they have plenty of time to finish up their homework on their own and play with their cousins for awhile, but after dinner we go over homework, talk about the day, study or maybe we just read. We are changing the way we parent. They are changing the way they see us as parents. Sam is still having attention issues, but they're getting better. He's trying harder to be aware of when he zones out and we're making an effort to praise him when he does better. Abby has brought the D up to a C and a low C up to a high one. I think Kady still secretly plots to take over the word - one Molotov cocktail at a time. She's just biding her time until 4th grade.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Many, many things

Abby rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (of course!) :-) =) :-p

(The above is what happens when I leave the laptop unattended to go tuck in her little brother and sister.) (Almost-twelve-year-olds are fun.) (Makes me re-think that later bedtime for her...)


I am so sorry that that last time I blogged it was about my hair that I don't shampoo.

That's not a real pleasant note to leave the innerweb hanging by for an entire week and a half.

But in the meantime, I got my hairs cut. I forgot to tell her to leave my bangs alone. Nothing good ever comes from letting someone else trim your bangs.

Oh and I bought some conditioner. My hair thanked me. It sent me a card and some flowers. Swear.


Did anyone notice the earth stopped spinning on Sunday? Yeah, my husband went with the kids and me to Silver Dollar City. He loathes Branson and all that is in it - or at least he used to. I only had to ask him one time if he would go and he immediately said yes. AND he was in a good mood the entire day. AND he wants a season pass of his very own for 2009. AND wants to plan a week-long vacation there. After I felt his forehead for a fever and didn't find one, I wondered if he was a pod person.

We had a blast, though. We listened to the soundtrack to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat most of the way there. Showtunes aren't my redneck's favorite (yes, really) music, but since country music makes my ears bleed, he tolerated the kids and me singing in Elvis voices and correctly reciting EVERY color in Joseph's coat - a talent that you should really admire - and then, bopping along happily to the medley remix at the end of the CD. Donnie Osmond was a really good Joseph, just for the record.

My favorite Texan, the Queen of Dirty Laundry, and I texted a good part of the way there, too. So much so that by the time we got to Branson I had very little battery left on the ol' RazrII. But I still had enough to live-Tweet from an indoor roller coaster. Because I'm dedicated like that.

(Speaking of Tweeting - if you haven't discovered Twitter yet, I am sorry. You really should.) (If you follow me I'll follow you and not in a totally creepy Fitty kind of way. Promise.) (Well, unless you're Kirk Cameron. Seeing him on the Today show yesterday totally revived the crush I had on him my entire teenhood. So Kirk, if you follow my Tweets I will SO stalk you. Don't be surprised.)


Two Sunday night ago the kids and I pulled in the driveway after a delightful lunch at my sister's to find Paul waiting at the door telling me to hurry up there was a new show on and he thought I'd like it. The show was Fringe and yes, I like it. It is bizarre and far-fetched and incredibly creepy, but I still like it.

I am worried that if I combine Fringe with LOST in my brain it will explode. Too much thinking.


Parent Teacher Conferences were last night.

For the first time in my parental life I came home and cried after meeting with my kids' teachers.

I will post about it all tomorrow (Yes, Mrs. Coach I really will) (Maybe) because it's too lengthy to get into tonight, but let's just say that I feel like an inadequate parent these days.


After weeks of hearing nothing, today I got a phone call from the production company we made a tape for awhile back. Honestly, we had all given up. Turns out, we are still in in the running!! We've been asked to make them another tape. We'll tackle that this weekend and after they edit once more it goes on to the network for a final decision.

This has the potential of being a very busy fall.


Kirk Cameron is beautiful.


Thank you to Lauren, a commenter who left this in my comments. That song makes me happy. So very, very happy.


David Blane is creepy. So creepy I have to leave the room when my husband insists on watching him on TV. Something about him makes me very uncomfortable.


Kathie Lee Gifford is not the way she used to be. I like Hoda Kotb, but I don't think she can reign in Kathie Lee like Regis could.


A panther screamed in our front yard the other night. For the first time in like, ever, I nearly wet the bed. I had just opened the bedroom windows when that sucker let loose with what sounded like a child screaming. I've heard them scream before where they sounded like a woman, but this was the first one that sounded like a child. The dogs barked and growled for quite awhile afterwards. We left the porch light on for them that night. Poor puppies.


I had been putting the dogs in their crate when the kids went down to catch the bus in the mornings to avoid any further pet vs. car drama. Gravy would go in easily enough, but Biscuit thought it was a delightfully hilarious game to make me chase him around the yard in my sock monkey slippers every morning. Finally the other morning I gave up and as they tore off down the driveway I put my hands on my hips and yelled, "Fine! Fine! Go! But if you get hit by a car again, don't come cryin' to me!" He literally looked over his shoulder as he ran. I think he grinned. Half an hour later I stepped out onto the front porch to let Nonner look at the trees, only to find both dogs curled up together, asleep in the carrier. I swear, they're like children. They nearly got grounded that day.


Sometimes, just every now and then, something very unexpected happens that aids tremendously in helping to restore my faith in people in general. I like when that happens.


Hour and a half long phone calls in the middle of the morning to a long-distance friend are tremendously wonderfully nice. Thanks, friend.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


It was a year ago that I wrote this post and a mere week before that, swore off shampooing my hair.

Folks, I still don't shampoo my hair.

Now, if you're new to reading this blog, please don't freak out. Please. Just go back up to that first sentence and click the link and then click the link in that post. It explains a lot.

I have sworn off shampoo and my hair thanks me. Daily.

You know, sometimes we get into a habit of doing things and then it becomes, well....a habit and we stop thinking about why we do it and just do it. So last week I was forced to stray from my habit of foregoing the shampoo and using only conditioner -- because I ran out of conditioner. Blame it on my new life-changing routine of only going to Walmart every two weeks. Blame it on the rain, Milli Vanilli. Blame it on the fact that I could've SWORN there was another bottle in the hall closet. But no matter where the blame goes, the fact remains that I was out of conditioner.

After wailing a piteous cry from the steamy shower, I forced myself to quit panicking, hollered for Abby to grab "that big tube in the closet that's white and says that word 'BIOLAGE' on it" and then.....(drum roll)...... I poured a big ol' glob of shampoo into my hand and proceded to wash it. With shampoo.

My hair cried. Just like it cries every time I go to the salon because no matter how hard I try, I can't bring myself to ask my stylist to just use conditioner. I think her brain would fall out if she tried. It is not in the nature of stylists to not use shampoo.

When the shampoo was rinsed I then glopped on some ULTRA HYDRATING BALM made by Biolage that my friend Queen Tammy gave me when she cleaned out her closet awhile back. I never used it because heck, I get plenty of conditioning without needing to ULTRA HYDRATE it as well.

Well, if there was any doubt at all that shampoo is a bad thing for my hair, the frizz that was emanating from my head that day was all the proof I needed to know that shampoo is evil. Shampoo is bad for me. Shampoo is poo.

Can you believe that a week later I am STILL out of conditioner??? Me either! I love me some big hair, but not when the big-ness comes from six inches on either side of my head being nothing but FRIZZ. Seriously. A ponytail doesn't even help because that frizz is some determined stuff and mere ponytail elastics cannot contain it. Add in a hurricane, turned tropical storm, turned a whole buncha rain dumped on Oklahoma and well....I have had better hair days in my life. Even 1991 was better for me in regards to hair and trust me when I say, that is a statement.

Rest assured that a year after having sworn off the poo that is a sham, Paul still keeps a close eye on my hair. Or should I say a close nose on it because he thinks I don't notice that when he's hugging me, he'll sniff my hair. He made me promise that if he ever said I had developed stinky hair from using only conditioner, that I would not deny or get angry, but that I would simply start washing my hair again "like normal people."

Sniff all you like.....it's clean. However, be warned that if you go sniffin' right now, you risk losing your life in the abyss that is the frizz on my head.

Friday, September 12, 2008

You're the cheese to my macaroni

Or the Gravy to my Biscuit.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Gravy --

Okay, so it's not the most traditional of dog names, but there was only one vote for "Jelly" (Kady) and one vote for "Butter" (me), so Gravy won by popular vote.

He's a Jack Russell terrier, which basically means that if you did a DNA analysis on him, the result would be that his mother is a ferret on crack and his father is methamphetamine.

Oh my gosh, I have never seen a dog with SO MUCH ENERGY!

A guy Paul knew was playing at the casino the other night and offhandedly asked, "Hey, you want a Jack Russell pup?" and of course, he took the guy up on it. He and Abby went down to the casino at 9 last night to pick him up in a torrential rainstorm.

Poor fella was soaked to the bone by the time they got home. (Now, had I been the chauffer, he'd have ridden on my lap, but Paul thought pet taxi in the bed of the pickup was adequate.) I assumed the shaking was a result of being rained on for the 25 minute ride home, but turns out the shaking was just all of the energy this dog generates.

He spent the night in the Dog Condo Paul built for Biscuit when he was a teeny puppy and wow, was he not happy about that. We let him out this morning and he promptly tackled Biscuit, tried to eat three kittens, but not once did he try to eat my pants, so he totally got points for that.

Mamacita, the resident kitten machine adult cat, loathes him with the white hot passion of a thousand fiery suns.
All of the sudden, Biscuit seems incredibly low-key.
But he has such an amazing personality and he's awesome with the kids. He may be blazing a trail around and around and around and around and around and around a tree in the yard, but the second he hears Kady hollering for him he comes running and I swear if I could understand puppy he'd be saying, "WhatcanIdoforyoucutesmallhuman?Huh?Huh?Huh?Huh?" More than once this evening I saw Kady carrying him around the yard like a baby and he was eating that up with a spoon.
Biscuit has exerted his authority over the new puppy and Gravy totally respects it now. It took Biscuit biting his ears a few times, but he's a smart one, that Gravy.

I didn't take any more pictures today of the two dogs together, but this is one I took a week ago, the day poor ol' Biscuit was hit.
He sure loves that boy.
It's so mutual.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


So wanna see what I did today? I mean, after I got dinner for tonight completed oh, by 11:30am? You do? Oh goodie!

Abby has a locker for the first time this year. She has pictures she would like to hang in it, so before school started we valiantly looked for some skull magnets to decorate her locker. Oh you can find skull shirts, hair clips, tights, socks, bracelets and even underwear, but no magnets.

So today I made some. My bathroom needs to be cleaned and there is some serious dust on the furniture, but instead I made magnets. I have my priorities totally in order.

Here's what you need:

1. Ancient hot glue gun. I think this thing was unearthed in some Dead Sea ruins.

Seriously, I've had it since high school.

Yeah. How many high schoolers do you know that have their own hot glue gun?

I used it to make my own "I'm a nerd" banners.

2. Sheet of self-adhesive magnet.

The self-adhesive part isn't all that necessary, but I don't think they make it any other way.

3. Scissors.

If you click this picture and blow it up real nice and big you'll see that one of my children has recently used my scissors to cut open their popsicle. They're also rusty from repeated rinsing of popsicle juice, a step they obviously forgot this time.

4. Sleeping cute baby.

This isn't absolutely integral to the project itself, but if you have a cute baby in the house (although I doubt you have one as cute as this one) it helps if that cute baby is sleeping -- simply because I don't recommend using the hot glue gun while holding cute babies. Or ugly babies. Heck, let's just say any babies and call it good.

5. An assortment of iron-on patches.

We got these all in a pack at Walmart* for under $6, I think.

Now, here's what you do:

First trace around the patch so you know what size magnet piece you need. Trim as needed.

And because it's a magnet, the little slivers will stick to your scissors and drive you batty.

Dude, I really need new scissors....

Next, hot glue the back of the patch.

I don't recommend holding the patch in your hand while doing this. Hot glue burns like a sonofagun. Sadly, I learned this from experience and even sadder, it took more than once.

Slap the cut-out magnet piece on the back of the patch, right on the dollop of hot glue.

Hmm...next time I find myself with nothing to do on a rainy Thursday, instead of making magnets I think I'll do something about those scratches on my dining room table

The hot glue doesn't take long to cool, so as soon as they're cool enough that they're not sliding around, spreading molten glue all over your table, fingertips and every other surface in your home, it's a good idea to try them out to make sure they'll hold things up.

Papa would be so proud that his picture was held up momentarly by pink pirate skull magnets

Here's the motley crew, hanging proudly on my fridge that is covered in fingerprints.

But if I had cleaned the fingerprints off the fridge I wouldn't have time to hot glue little pink skulls to little pieces of magnet. Again, I have my priorities totally in order.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A domesticated animal

Me. I'm the domesticated animal. I am positively and absolutely domesticated and happy as a pig in mud. Now, Larry the Cable Guy would say: happy as an Ethiopian at a Krispy Kreme. But not me, I'm just happy as a pig in mud because Ethiopian jokes are so non-PC. And totally 1980's. I love me some 80's, but wow.....where am I going with this?

Oh yeah.

Anyway, folks, guess what I did today. Just guess! I got up, got the kids off to school, rocked Nonner for awhile (but he's sicky and frankly couldn't breathe unless he was propped up in his carseat so we didn't rock long) then I ironed. I ironed. Dudes, I flippin' LOVE to iron. There's something insanely cathartic about ironing for me. I literally ironed all morning and was happy doing it. Well, I ironed all morning, but I punctuated it with random Twittering and trying to figure out why I had phantom, rogue tech-Tweets going out to my followers. In my defense, Mrs. Coach's Tweets were messed up, too. However, Kellyology had a theory - It was those Bavarians or Swedes or Russians or whoever they are that are trying to smash protons 13 miles underground. Yeah. Worldwide proton stampeding. Or something.

Biscuit is doing great. In fact, this morning he was halfway down the driveway, following the kids, before I had to make the kids come back so he'd come back. Bless his heart, he loves those kids. As soon as he got back up to the house I patted him on the head, he sighed at me, then flopped down under the van, looking pitiful. He really wanted to be in on the action.

Tater called our county commissioner yesterday and he was so upset over the whole situation that he said that in spite of his limited budget he would put a bus stop sign at our driveway. Score! She also called the school and spoke to the person in charge of the buses. The bus usually picks up our kids, goes on past our house, turns around in the neighbors drive and goes back out to the highway. We have asked him to turn around, THEN pick up the kids, but he just doesn't seem to grasp why we ask. So after explaining the speeding on our road and our concern for the kids' safety, the bus lady rode the bus route tonight, checked out the situation and agreed that there was no reason for the kids to cross both lanes to get on and off the bus. In the morning, they will be picked up right at the driveway, curbside service. Now to get a county deputy out here to monitor the speeders in the morning....that call's going to be mine since I got friends in low places. I mean, I got friends. Somewhere. I swear. Today I intermittently watched the cars go by out here. I was absolutely stupefied at how fast the UPS truck went by! Dudes....it's not the freakin' Autobahn, it's a county dirt road. Yeesh.

I have cooked dinner EVERY NIGHT now for two weeks now. My husband thinks he's accidently stumbled into the wrong house, but he doesn't want to say anything because he's afraid he'll get sent back to his real wife. Today I made a cake. It was just a yellow cake mix with homemade chocolate frosting, but you'd have thought I'd gotten the Ace of Cakes to come over and whip something up in my little bitty kitchen. A wonderful lurker to my blog alerted me that Pioneer Woman has picky-family-friendly recipes on her site, so I, being the only Oklahoman alive that doesn't read her blog regularly (I swear I'm a true Okie. Swear it.) moseyed (Mosied?) (Yeah, mosied) over there and spent Monday morning salivating on my keyboard. (Eh, it was time for a new one anyway.) Tonight I made her Crash Hot Potatoes to go with the BBQ chicken sandwiches I made. (with homemade BBQ sauce) (I know! It IS amazing!) YUM. Paul, who never gives feedback on meals, said he loved them. I personally am going to try making them with butter next time instead of olive oil because I think I'm Paula Deen's lovechild and I love me some buttah, y'all. They were good, but I'm going to experiment with them anyway.

The kids are doing great in school. Sam is totally immersed in science this year. Every day he asks me how to split an atom and every day I tell him I don't know. I swear he thinks I sit around all day just researching atomic energy. I cannot wait to tell him that some foreign dudes smashed up a bunch of protons or something today. He'll be elated. Kady is loving first grade. She comes home every night telling me about which boy chased her that day. Hey, at first she was chasing them. I explained to her that mommas don't like it when girls chase their boys. Of course, she doesn't know that that'll be like 10 years from now, but we'll just keep that our little secret. So now she insists the boys chase her. I don't know what I'm going to do with that child. Abby is doing amazing in math this year. She loves her math teacher and all math anxiety is gone. She and I sat on the couch last week working through some problems involving exponents and other number-y nonsense. It only took a phone call to Pops and then a phone call to my step-sister, the former math teacher, before we finally understood what we were doing. She bombed a test in Science and cried tears and tears over it. I had heard this teacher was notoriously tough on tests and tried to emphasize to her the need to study like she'd never studied before, but she obviously thought I was an adult and therefore knew nothing. She got a whopping 64% on it. I felt so sorry for her that I cried, too. "No one cries alone in my presence," said Truvy in Steel Magolias, and I hold to that as well.

I hope that this has satisfied Mrs. Coach's insatiable desire to read my blog. If only the rest of the world was as eager as she is. I'd be famous and skinny.......okay..... just famous.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Buttermilk Biscuit

Okay, so he's really not made of buttermilk, but you know, buttermilk biscuits really are the best.

Biscuit's fine, though, and thank you to everyone for your heartfelt emails, texts, tweets and comments. Yesterday was obviously a rough day for him, but we kept a close eye on him. Considering how sore I'm sure he was, he still made it to the front porch to check on Nonner when he heard him cry once. The rest of the day he pretty much laid on the carport and whimpered a lot. Family members who are pet owners and avid pet lovers said that baby aspirin was okay to give a puppy, but considering we weren't sure at that point about internal bleeding, we decided not to go that route.

I know that some of you - heck, maybe many of you - would've had him to the vet within minutes, but well, when you're having trouble paying the electric bill, you kind of have to weigh having electricity against a $300+ vet bill. We opted for power. You might not agree, but you don't have to. We did what we felt was best. We love our puppy, but we also like to keep our kids fed and stuff. It's kind of one of those things we agreed to when we had kids.

Our normally wound-up pup was so incredibly low-key yesterday and that worried me, but when the kids got home from school he immediately started wagging his tail. That right there was when I knew he was gonna be okay. The bond between boy and dog is a strong one (remember Sounder, Old Yeller, Old Dan and Little Ann?) and Sam dropped his backpack as soon as he reached the yard, sat right down on the sidewalk and patted his legs for Biscuit. Biscuit slowly climbed into his lap, sighed and laid his head down. Those two are tight. Of course, through my tears I found my camera and snapped some pics, but you'll have to wait for those because I'm on the desktop tonight and the laptop is the one with the cool little slot for the SD card.

Kady asked why he was moving so slowly. Abby patted her on the shoulder and said, "Sis, you don't remember it, but after daddy was hit by that car, back when you were a baby, he moved pretty slow for a few days, too." Well put, Ab.

Biscuit slept through the night last night, crawling into Jake's old barrel to sleep, something he has never done. I guess he never wanted to infringe up on Jake's territory, even though they never met, but ya know, desperate times call for desperate measures and he sought the refuge of the old blue barrel. This morning, first thing, I went out to check on him and bless his little puppy heart, those first few moves after being still all night were rough, but he stretched and made his way to me. I patted his head, praised him for being so brave and his happy tail-wagging once again assured me he was going to be okay. In fact, after he worked out the first-morning stiffness he didn't even limp.

We drove around last night looking for the car and after travelling the whole mile section we concluded there was no other white hatchback other than the presumed perpetrator (which sounds very CSI, doesn't it?). While we're redneck, we don't do vigilante justice and our neighbor is completely safe so don't worry about having to take up a collection to bail us out of jail. However, first thing Monday morning I'm putting in a call to my county commissioner to see about having a bus stop sign posted between our house and the neighbor's house to the east, since we both have kids that ride the bus. I'm also going to double check the rural road speed limit and see about getting a speed limit sign, too. Heck, I'll call whoever I have to to see to it that people on our road just slow the heck down and pay attention.

While it is sad that Biscuit got hit, the issue foremost in my mind is my children. Those kids get on and off that bus five days a week. Many of the neighbors have complained about the speeds that some people drive down our road. While there are only two houses with kids on our particular mile, there are more further up. I have nearly been hit head-on twice by neighbors (yes, neighbors - I know what they drive) who were flying around the curve below our house, right down the middle of the road. In fact, one neighbor has even followed those people home to personally remind them that even county roads have speed limits, bless his cantankerous old heart. Thankfully, our driveway is 1/10 of a mile and the kids can't go further than halfway down on their bikes when they play, so I don't have to worry about them other than bus time where the road is concerned, but really, the simple fact is, people drive too fast out here and it needs to stop. Wow, that was a long, ugly sentence. I hope it made sense.

I'm just glad our puppy's okay and my kids are okay. It was bad, but when you think about what could've happened ..... well, I just don't like to do that. So I won't.

Friday, September 05, 2008

When Diva Gets Angry-- Really, Really Angry...

This morning started off relatively normal - I braided Kady's hair, flat-ironed Ab's, made sure everyone was medicated, brushed, shoed and backpacked. Cousin Courtney arrived with Tots One and Two, then came in with Nonner and sat down to visit for a few minutes as I sent the kids down to the end of the driveway to catch the bus. Kisses and hugs and calls to "Have a good day!" and then the house was free of kid-noise, other than the grunts and noises of the most precious two-month on the planet. We visited for awhile, then it was time for her to go. I hadn't realized how foggy it was until I saw Courtney driving down the driveway and saw her truck quickly almost disappear. I hate foggy mornings because I watch the kids until the bus comes and if I can't see them I worry. However, usually foggy mornings are quiet mornings and I could hear them.

Then, as I stood on the porch bouncing Nonner, I realized that the sounds I was hearing were bawls, squalls and general crying from my youngest child. Now, you've probably gleaned from previous posts that Kady is a drama queen deluxe. She cries at the drop of a hat and even though Tater has told her repeatedly that you're only alotted so many tears in your life and she really should save some for you know, like when her children are born and stuff like that, she still cries a lot. I immediately figured someone had hurt her overly-sensitive feelings or maybe she'd fallen and had hurt her knee. Then I heard someone holler "Biscuit!" and then my thoughts turned to cursing that puppy because evidently he had knocked her over, tried to eat her capris (because he is convinced that all pants are food) or had engaged her in a friendly game of before-school tug-o-backpack.

When my phone rang, I automatically knew it was Courtney and that she was going to tell me Kady needed a bandaid or that her pants were covered in muddy pawprints and could I run her down a clean pair? I mean, I knew that was it. Until her reply to my hello was, "Biscuit's been hit." All the times I had called him a stupid dog for chewing on everything from the lawnmower wires and flipflops to the kittens I immediately felt awful for doing. I asked, "...is he alive?" She confirmed that he was, but then quickly added, "The kids are really upset." I could hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth and was expecting someone to holler for sackcloth and ashes, so I said, "Just send them back up to the house. I'll just take them to school and I'll send Paul down to take care of the dog." I heard her telling the kids to head back to the house and then when they were out of earshot, between driveway and house, we talked. She said she'd tried to move him but he'd growled and she didn't want to get bit, something I totally didn't blame her for. But as the bus approached, he got up and walked out of the road. She waved the bus on and kept an eye on Biscuit while Paul put on clothes. By then the kids were up here and all five of them were crying, so I hung up the phone with her and proceeded to hug and soothe mine and Tater's kids.

The fact that Biscuit had moved himself out of the road was reassuring to me and I tried to pass that on to the kids. As soon as they saw my hope they instantly got angry, Abby especially. She's nearly 12 and virtually perpetually angry anyway, but oh man, was she mad this morning. Eventually, trying to filter five separate accounts of the accident, we gleaned that the car was a white hatchback and was driving very fast, so fast that Abby had made the kids move back as she saw it approaching and that while Biscuit had been in the road, he wasn't in the middle of the road, he had been sniffing something in the ditch. The car clipped him and threw him into the air. All while the kids watched. Then Ab added angrily, "And Mom, they didn't even hit the brakes! They just flew on by!"

Now, we live in the country and well, dogs get hit (Jude), meet their maker when they bite their owner (Max), get snakebit (Little Dog), run away to find a girlfriend because oops, we kind of forgot to get him neutered (Jake) and that's just a way of life. We aren't dog fanatics, but at the same time we are relatively responsible dog owners and even when they use kittens as chew toys (Biscuit), we still kind of like them. And the kids love them unconditionally, kitten chew toys aside. But the fact that some jerkface:

a) drove fast down my dirt road
b) drove fast down my dirt road on a foggy morning
c) drove fast down my dirt road on a foggy morning AT BUS TIME
d) did all of the above, hit our dog IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN and didn't even stop

...well......I'm angry. Really, really angry.

We have several notoriously fast-driving neighbors and one of those drives a white car. We don't particularly get along with these neighbors anyway, so Paul drove to her place of work and confronted her. Did I agree with this? No, not at all, but he's a big boy and I'm not the boss of him. Well, most of the time. Anyway, she denied hitting Biscuit, said she was clocked in by 7:30 and that she's an avid animal lover and would never do such a horrid thing. However, since Paul has connections at her place of work, he had a manager check the clock and she didn't clock in until 7:59. Now, whether it was her that hit Biscuit or not, we don't know, but rest assured that this evening we're all going on a little drive. I guarantee you that the kids will be able to pick the car right out of someone's driveway.

It's noon now and Biscuit has made the 1/10th of a mile trek from road to house. At first he wouldn't let either of us near him and crawled under the van to hide, but now he's up here on the porch. He's very shaky and extremely lethargic, but considering he's usually going 900mph running around us, chewing our pants and trying to lick our ears, I'm sure the contrast is more pronounced. I would imagine he's a little sore and frankly, probably feels like he's been hit by a car. I've been emailing Kady's teacher all morning with updates. Kady's been so upset she had to use her inhaler, which her asthma was already threatening to flare up anyway, but then add some doggie stress and well, it's no wonder. Bless her heart.

Ah, country living.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Gustav-y Thursday

This is my first week as a stay-at-home mom again, just doin' my stay-at-home mom thing.

I am so happy.

Sam came in the kitchen the other night and said, "Mom! What's that smell??" I said, "I don't know, what do you smell?" He sniffed and said, "I'm not sure but I think it's FOOD. It's been awhile, but yeah, I think that's what it is."

He's so precious. Takes after his father, that boy.


Okay, so I'm watching the Today show this morning when I hear that New Kids on the Block will be performing. So...I finish up my chores in the kitchen so I can be free to check this out. Now, I'm not a former NKotB fan like my little sister was (the girl literally wallpapered her room with posters from magazines - no kidding, ask my mom) but I'm still curious. Or at least, I was.

Don't get me wrong, the guys have talent. They can sing and they can dance. But they are trying way too hard to be a boy band. They aren't boys anymore - they're men. Plain and simple. They need to be dancing the foxtrot and wearing orthopedic shoes, for cryin' out loud! Not doing choreographed dances like other boy bands who are actually comprised of BOYS.

They seem to have a pretty rabid following once again, so I guess it's working for them, but to this 35 year old mom, it seems just kinda sad.


I just baked banana bread.

Next I'm going to iron the curtains I just washed.

Hold me. I'm scaring myself.


Does anyone know of any good websites for easy, family-friendly menus and recipes? I have a notoriously picky family who won't eat strange things like, oh.....anything with a vegetable in it or anything that a vegetable might've ever come in contact with. (Or anything that ends in a preposition.) And it 's not just my children - my husband is picky, too. It's frustrating as all get out.

Our usuals are: spaghetti, hamburgers, chicken in any form - nuggets, strips, fries, patties, pork chops, chili, hot dogs. They won't even eat soup. I heart soup! I love to make a big pot of soup or stew and eat it for every meal for several days. I also love meatloaf - they hate it. Chicken or beef and noodles? They refuse to even look at it. Okay, as if you needed any more evidence as to their weirdness - NOT ONE of my chidlren even likes mashed potatoes. Yeah.

So if you know of a good site with eatable food for picky families or if you personally have a proven recipe.....PLEASE SEND IT ALONG. You can comment or email me (theredneckdiva [at] gmail) and I will love you forever. I'll name a kitten after you or something.


I used to watch Regis and Kathie Lee all the time, before Kelly Rippa came along and made it Regis and Kelly (duh), but Kathie Lee on Today....nope, not workin' for me.


While the speech and the woman herself are inspiring, it's going to take more than a pit bull analogy to make me wear lipstick.


We went through winter clothes last night to see what still fits or doesn't fit from last year. It was a toss-up as to which article caused the most laughter - the overalls that Ab put on that hit right about mid-shin or the pajama pants on Sam that uhm....defined a couple of things.


I watch DIY Network all afternoon now that I'm home. Well, let me rephrase that - the TV is on DIY all afternoon, but I'm not glued to it or anything. You know, just in case Paul or one of his friends happen to read this post....

Anyway, I have decided that I am going to paint every inch of panelling in this house. The 70's are gone and so should be all the panelling.


Monday, September 01, 2008

It's been nice working here

It's nearly 11 am on Labor Day and I've eaten a waffle, loaded the dishwasher, started a load of laundry and read seven blogs. Now it's time to get down to business and post something. I'm sure Mrs. Coach is lying on her living room floor, curled up in the fetal position due to my lack of posting and for that I apologize, my friend. Let me make it up to you by taking you to the Elk's Lodge next weekend. Wear your pink dress.


Last Monday I got to finally start teaching the Kindergarten class that had been left in my care. The first seven days had been spent controlling the crowd and crying, so imagine my delight at routine and schedule. You know the OCD in me requires it. Anyway, the morning had gone well and at lunch time I checked my phone to find two new voicemails and two missed calls from a number I didn't recognize. I listened to them, discovering my oldest daughter's voice telling me her coach had pulled her out of gym because her ankle was swollen and hurting and could she have some Motrin. I immediately called the school to tell the secretary that yes, Motrin was fine and had she seen the ankle and was it bad? She said, yeah, it looked bad.

Now, let me tattle on myself right here, right now: Abby twisted her ankle at church camp. Yes, the camp of churching that was held IN JUNE. She twisted it pretty bad and it swelled up like a poisoned pup, so we iced it, elevated it and heck, it was the day before we left camp, so I didn't take her to the nurse. It eventually got better and I kind of....you know....forgot about it.

After talking to the school secretary I called the PA's office to glean some advice because advice is all I wanted because it was just a swollen ankle, right? Wrong. I asked the nurse what I needed to do - elevate? heat? cold? Her answer: Make an appointment because it sounds broken. I made an appointment for early the next morning in hopes that my mom could take her, then called my mom to see if she could take her. Thankfully, she could.

I dropped Ab off at Mom's the next morning before school, with a note giving my mom permission to oversee the visit and any x-rays that might be needed. I called her at 10 on my first break to get the scoop. He had x-rayed it, manipulated it, poked on it, asked a boatload of questions and after seeing the x-ray declared it to be possibly broken, but he wanted the radiologist to look it over before he declared it so. He couldn't tell if he was seeing the growth plate or a fracture. He wrapped her ankle, wrote her a note to stay out of school the rest of day(partly to elevate the foot, partly because she was so upset she had given herself a raging case of diarrhea, bless her heart) and to stay out of PE until further notice, then said he'd call our house and leave a message after the radiologist gave the word, probably on Thursday.

I spent the rest of the day kicking myself in the gut for having let my daughter walk around on a possibly broken foot for oh, let's see....TWO MONTHS. I am going to have to build a display case for all of my Mother of the Year awards.

Turns out, the phone call on Thursday informed me that Abby only had a severe sprain. Never though I'd be relieved to hear she'd only severely sprained her foot. She sprained it at camp and then re-sprained it doing the stair climber in gym. She has to keep it wrapped until it quits hurting and keep it wrapped in gym forever, as far as I'm concerned. The coach has already given her a hard time over it (and not in a good-natured kind of way) and she had to stand her ground and respectfully tell him to call her daddy if he didn't believe her. Funny, he quit bugging her. Daddies rock.

So to recap - send my Mother of the Year award to my home address, please. Thank you very much.


Turns out, I didn't loathe Kindergarten as much when the classroom size was down to a more manageable number and I could actually, you know, teach them things. I still didn't like it, but it got to where I didn't cry every day, so that was progress.

There are three little boys in that class that are what I would consider out-of-the-ordinary behavior problems. Two of those boys hate each other guts, which only adds to the problem what with the biting and the gut-punching they inflict upon each other. Cousin Courtney is going to take that class over, get through to those three boys and manage just fine because she has a gift, a blessing, a desire to teach Kindergarten, but to me they were boils on my backside. The longer I was in the room the more I figured out about them and if I had like, ya know, training and education and whatnot, I could've handled them better, but most of the time I just ignored the minor stuff and didn't react until they threatened harm to themselves or others. Hey, give me a break before you judge me.

And I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God loves me because the worst one was absent on Friday. I at least ended the week without raising my voice, crying or sending someone to the office.

In a nutshell - I'm glad it's over.


Friday night we went to TotTwo's first football game.

Man, I'm glad my boy plays basketball. I'm a nervous wreck the entire time my nephew is out there getting dogpiled.


Saturday night the kids and I went to a family reunion with Mom and Pops. It's Pops' kids' family, so I pretty much knew Mom, Pops, my sister, my stepsisters and one aunt. But it was a nice, relaxing break. Sunday was a continuation of the reunion and Paul went with us this time. When we got home we all had to strip in the foyer, throw our tick-infested clothes directly into the washer and then de-bug our bodies. Apparently, our son is a tick magnet - we found more on him than anyone. Bleh. One is too many to find on any body.


I am so glad that y'all hung around during these two weeks of no posting and dead air space. Y'all are the most understanding readers ever. Thanks. Again.

Tater's main squeeze is out of town for the next week and she SWEARS we're going to "yakketyblog" as she calls it. I won't hold my breath and neither should you because she's promised yakketyblogging with me before and it's never come to fruition. BUT if it happens, won't we all be pleasantly surprised.

Paul says I'm going to be a lady of leisure now that I'm staying at home again, but he obviously forgets that two month old babies require a lot of rocking and snuggling. Kiki is in the house once more. Huzzah.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...