Friday, October 31, 2008

Playing Dress-up

So it's Friday and there's no better way to celebrate a Friday AND Halloween than a photoblog!!

Kady went to school today as Fancy Nancy. If you're not part of the Kindergarten/First Grade set you might not be familiar with Fancy Nancy, but friends and neighbors, if that is the case, you are missing out. Nancy Clancy is a little girl who LOVES being fancy and substitutes everyday phrases with French words, has redecorated her room and her family in one book and well, let's just say that I think the Jane O'Connor had my Kady in mind when she created Nancy.

From the tip of her momma's Band Queen tiara to the toes of her thrift store shoes, that girl is fancy.

(Bless her heart, she's got her asthma inhaler in her sparkly purse. Sparkly, yet functional!)

Does this picture make you wonder if a flying house will land on her at some point today?

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for nerds.

My little Poindexter.

He's totally playing the part, too - he snorts and pushes his glasses up and walks funny. It's dang hilarious.
I think the briefcase makes the man. I mean, boy. I mean, nerd.

Ab can't dress up now that's she in the big Middle School, but her usual wardrobe consists of skulls and barbed wire and lots of black, so she'll fit in well with the general theme of the day regardless.

This picture is the perfect shot of my children:
You've got the little diva posing for shots amidst glitter, glitz and a feather boa.
Then you have the cut-up who lives to entertain.
And finally the one who truly believes she is above it all.
I love those kids.

This is a Paul on a normal day. Actually this is him before he left for work this morning.
Pretty handsome, normal-looking guy, eh? A little on the redneck side, but otherwise normal....right?

Well, meet his alter-ego.
And, well, I guess mine, too.
He is Biker Man and I am Scarecrow Girl.
Beware evildoers. We will roar in on our Harley and scare your crows off your agriculture.

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not dead. I swear.

You know you're doing a pretty poor job at maintaining your blog when one of your favoritest blog readers asks you to post soon while you are waiting in line at Walmart.

This afternoon my BFF Tiff text me and said she was going to quit me. Don't leave me for Brokeback Mountain, Tiff!

Mrs. Coach has been strangely quiet. She must be busy at work.

Even my mom asked if everything was okay because she hadn't noticed anything new. Yes my mom. The one who apologizes to people when they say they read my blog. Yep, THAT mom.

So while I know in my heart that I should really just go ahead and write something witty and cheeky and humorous and engaging since I'm already here and have the little write-y box all open and stuff, I'm going to gracefully just ask y'all to hang in for a few more hours and hopefully by tomorrow afternoon there will be more words here for you to read. Words that will make you giggle, words that will make your nod your head, words that will make your grin like a possum eatin'.....nevermind.

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Go away

That's what I said all day long yesterday to the torrential rain that refused to quit torrenting. I was so sick of rain by day's end I could've screamed.

Yesterday Abby had a doctor's appointment for a checkup at 9:30. We pulled into the parking lot at 9:26 and it was just steadily raining. The parking lot was full, so I dropped her off at the door and told her to wait inside while I parked in the north 40. She's very sensitive about her hair lately and I, being a diva, understand that completely. I parked, walked around the van to get Nonner and lo and behold the heavens opened up and proceded to just soak my bad self. I mean, it rained harder than a cow peein' on a flat rock, people. I threw a blanket over the baby's carseat and took off across the now GIGANTIC parking lot only to quickly remember I wore my dang Crocs and Crocs are dangerous when wet.

Now, if you need help picturing this, imagine a chunky (okay, I outgrew chunky years ago, but go with me on this) woman with a carseat on her arm, purse slung over her shoulder, scooting and slipping across a parking lot in a downpour worthy of building an ark. I know I looked half drunk, but I was just doing my best not to drop Nonner or bust my own butt. And yeah, I know you're giggling. It's okay. I am, too. Now. Oh, and if you have been close enough to me you'd have also heard deliriously ecstatic squeals and giggles coming from under the blanket over the carseat. Oh yeah, that baby thought we were having the time of our lives.

I finally made it to the ramp into the building. I got under the cover as quick as I could, shot a look toward the door to make sure Abby was there and yep, she was - doubled over laughing at her mother who resembled a drowned rat. Oh and also at that point? It quit raining. No, I'm not kidding. It was heeeeelarious. I pulled the blanket off the baby - who immediately looked disappointed that our adventure was apparently over - and tried to dry my face off best I could with his blanket. I pulled the blanket from my face and saw two eyes peering back at me - it was my eye makeup. Obviously no longer on my eyes. I quickly wrung out my hair then headed into the building where Abby was quietly trying to compose herself. I shot her a dirty look as she said, "Wow, Mom. You're wet."

I slipped and slid to the check-in desk, dripping and avoiding the stares of the people around me, people who obviously brought their umbrellas with them when they ventured out that morning. I got Abby and the baby settled in the waiting room while I ducked in the bathroom to again attempt to dry myself off. A dozen paper towels later I was not much drier and getting cold. I slunked back out to the waiting room where the nurse was walking up. She looked at me and said, "Hmh. I saw it was raining. You're wet. Come on back." I love how people state the obvious.

Ab's checkup went fine. The PA and I had a lovely conversation about puberty and about upcoming reproductive discussions looming on the horizon while Abby sat on the exam table and pretended we didn't exist solely to mortify her. It was good times. Fortunately as we exited the doctor's office into the main waiting area I saw The Bow Lady and immediately exclaimed "Oh I'm so glad to see someone I know so everyone won't think I normally go out like this!" I don't think anyone in the waiting room was convinced, but oh well. I at least tried to save my honor.

We came back home where I immediately stripped off my clothes and put them in the dryer. I had promised the ladies at the dentist's office some of my Snickerdoodles to Die For, so since I'd made the dough early that morning I started slinging dough onto baking stones while Abby fed Nonner. Before I knew it, it was time to leave for Tulsa. I got Nonner settled in with Mom and Paul then prepared to leave. While my clothes were dry, warm and smelling April fresh, my hair was still dampish at that point. However, that changed as soon as we made a run for the van. Soon everything was nice and wet again.

Recapping: I spent the better part of the morning soaked to the bone and then also got to spend the better part of the afternoon the same way. I was feeling like a frog. Or a fish. Or a raisin, I was so pruny. I may even be mildewed in spots.

Abby got some new hardware installed yesterday in Tulsa, the next phase in the Plan to Avoid Braces. She's got so much latex in her mouth she could double as a glove. She's got rubber bands from one canine tooth to the other and on each side a band from canine tooth to a molar. Add to that a bite opener (looks like the retainer I wore in junior high) and headgear and I'm telling you, it's domo arigato, Miss Roboto. However, it looks like she indeed will avoid braces. I also got info on an orthodontist in Tulsa who can put braces on Sam and his insurance will pay for it. I'm ecstatic and I can't even express to y'all how much.

The drive home from Tulsa was much better than the drive to - on the way there it rained hard virtually the whole way, plus it was aparently Get Every Semi Truck on the Road Day and that didn't make the drive any easier. Finally we made it home and I walked in the door to hear my mother exclaim, "Oooh! I LOVE your hair!" then she just cackled with glee. One look in the mirror totally explained her comment, however she left out the fact that what little was left of my mascara and eyeliner from earlier that morning had given up the ghost and had chosen its final resting place on my cheeks. I was just lovely, let me tell ya.

Tater was out of town for work, headed for The City, so I had all five kids and Paul was working evening shift. I fixed them some spaghetti then started running them through the showers. Tater called at 7, telling me she was sick as a dog. They had made it as far as Tulsa and Mom was on her way to pick her up. Poor thing. It's miserable to be sick, but to be sick out of town with coworkers - not the most ideal situation. By 7:30 everyone all the kids were clean and happily watching cartoons. After multiple failed attempts to get all of Ab's new hardwear and latex (that sounds like the name of a metal band) to work properly together, we gave up and she just wore the rubber bands. 8:30 and they were all five tucked in. I cleaned up the kitchen and sat down at 9 to watch the early news. The World Series nixed that so I curled up on the couch under a quilt to wait for the 10:00 news. I woke up just as our local favorite weather guy, Gary Bandy, began his forecast. After that I dragged myself to bed and didn't even hear Paul come in at 1:00 this morning.

This morning at8:00 I called the dentist to get another appointment to fix the issues and make all of her components compatible with each other, asked the receptionist to email me an excuse slip since I never can remember to get one when I'm there, called the school to tell the secretary what a ditz I am and that I would email a slip as soon as it was emailed to me and while I was on the phone with the high school, the elementary school beeped in on my phone. It was TotOne telling me she was sick and could I come get her? Bless her heart, I called the elementary back, told the receptionist I'd be there quick as I could, loaded the baby up and headed to school to pick up my sick niece.

As the day wore on she felt better and since it was little theatre practice day and they can only miss one practice, Paul dropped her off at the school on his way to work tonight. At 5:00 I went down to pick TotOne and Sam up. If you're counting, that was trip #2 to the school. We came back home and ate a quick bite of dinner, then went back to the school to drop TotTwo off at football practice at 6:00. Keeping track? Yep, trip #3. Fortunately, it's only 12 miles roundtrip. Yes, I set the odometer and checked.

The Tots' dad brought TotTwo home after practice, so in the meantime I ran the other four through the showers. I also did laundry by flashlight since the lightbulb in the utility room burned out and even though light bulbs have been on my shopping list the last four times, I haven't bought any. The kitchen is nearly clean and there are plenty of things I could be doing, but instead I'm going to finish this post then take a long, hot shower and try to forget the last two days.

Days like this make me admire that Duggar woman even more. She's always smiling and always appears to have her stuff all kinds of together. While my uterus cries any time I see her on TV and I have absolutely NO aspirations whatsoever of competing with her apparently Super Uterus by having just 15 more children, I still can't help but admire her. And wish I had as many washing machines as she does.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Show of hands - how many of y'all have stinkin' left the building and have gone on to find another funny, overworked, frazzled redneck mama? That many, huh? Well, dang.

Frankly, I'm shocked Mrs. Coach hasn't emailed, texted or called gently, yet firmly, reminding me to post. Of course, I was in her office yesterday and I think she could see by the look on my un-makeup'ed face that a blog reminder might not have been a wise move on her part. However, my BFF Tiff texted me yesterday telling me she was downright upset that there hadn't been a post in over a week. I appeased her with a sneak preview and sent her on her merry way, with the promise of a post soon. a pathetic attempt to keep the few of you who remain for running from the hills as well, I'll recap.

Last Monday Nonner and I laid on the couch and watched TV pretty much all day. Had I known what this week was going to be like, I'd have felt a lot less guilty about it at the time. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the heck out of it, but I kept saying, "Gosh, I should go do something!" Yeah, today I'm just wishing I could not do something.

Tuesday I actually accomplished a few things, but still didn't venture out of the house. So when I got ready to head to the school on Wednesday for the geography bee that my son was in, it was the first time I had driven my car in a week.

My van is a '99 which means it doesn't have those fancy schmancy anchor doohickeys for carseat bases like Paul's truck does. Putting Nonner's carseat base in the van takes an act of Congress, prayer and holding your tongue juuuuuuust right. I also have to use a locking clip on the seatbelt because the middle seats don't have locking seatbelts. It's a production to go somewhere, so I really have to plan ahead on days we go places.

Wednesday, however, was an incredibly rainy day and I put the base in, put the baby in at the very last minute because I was hoping all morning the rain would stop. I made it to the school with just enough time to get in and settled before the bee started. I got the baby out (it had finally stopped raining by that time) and was leaning back into the van to get my purse when I heard hissing. No, not like rattlesnake gonna bite my leg off hissing but there is a hole in my tire hissing. I grumbled, whined and I'm pretty sure I even stomped my foot, then pulled out my phone and called Paul who gave me the advice "Well, ya better get to Walmart and get it fixed before it goes all the way flat." I came this close to screaming in his ear but intead, through gritted teeth, explained that there was no way in heck I was missing that geography bee because, bless his heart, Sam had been so nervous about it - so nervous that he woke himself up one night reciting the names and capitols of states. I wasn't missing something that important to him. So Paul's next gem of advice was, "Hmh. Well, guess ya better get back home and get the truck before it goes all the way flat." Grr.

I pretty much broke laws galore going back home, said a thank you to God for the fact that Paul's truck has those nifty anchor doohhickeys, buckled Nonner back up and broke a few more laws on the way back to the school. I was only 30 minutes late, but Sam's face LIT UP when he saw me come in, so all was well. Sam rocked that geography bee, by the way. TotOne's 5th grade class actually won, but still Sam's class put forth some great effort. And I now know lots more about elementary geography than I did before.

Thursday morning I got Paul up for work, went back to sleep then didn't even wake up again until 9, THEN laid on the couch in and out of consciousnes until noon. YES! NOON! I was kind of embarrassed when I looked at the clock and saw the time. The kids were out of school for Fall Break, Nonner wasn't here because of Fall Break and I took advantage of the fact that my kids are great kids who behave and don't have knife fights and gang wars while I'm off in Dreamland dreaming of my Mother of the Year award.

That afternoon we cleaned out toyboxes, closets, under beds, and anywhere else there might be a demonic Polly Pocket hiding. I am not kidding, people, Polly Pocket is a tramp and a floosy and she's rude and disrespectful and not to mention she's always leaving her microscopic shoes ALL OVER MY HOUSE. Polly had to give up her jumbo jet and deeeeelux cruise ship as part of the plea bargain agreement that she can stay in my house as long as she gets her act together and stops leaving her squishy, sticky clothes everywhere. My mother will be none too happy that the jet and ship are going away a mere year after she bought them, but all I can say is "I'm sorry, Mom. I've priced them each for $15 in the garage sale. I'll gladly give you the money if you'll promise to never, ever, ever, EVER buy my youngest child a Polly Pocket again." I have also made the vow to ban Polly Pocket and have signed it in my own blood and the blood of Polly Pocket.

Saturday we dropped the kids off at Mom's at 2:00pm and headed to Montana Mike's, the only steakhouse in town, to meet up with some of Paul's friends from the casino. The parking lot smelled like soured water and the inside didn't smell much better. I asked anyone else if they smelled it, but the only other one was Tater and evidently no one else thought our sense of smell was important and they didn't want to leave. The two of us sat there sniffing periodically and making comments to anyone (read: pretty much no one) who would listen that the place smelled like butt.

Tater ordered the shrimp which was supposed to have cajun seasoning on it. It didn't so she asked the waitress if she could just get some on the side to dip it in. She was down to the last shrimp (of course - stories like this always happen on the last bite) picked up her thing of cajun seasoning and found a wee little bug just tromping away happily in her spices. Needless to say, she got her meal free. Mom and Pops went last week and had to send their silverware back FOUR TIMES until they got clean ones. We shan't be eating there anymore, ever again, forever. You probably shouldn't either, unless you're just a gambler and think a hospital stay for salmonella sounds like good times. Ick.

After the dinner that shouldn't have been, we ran to Tater's to set the TiVo for SNL, all emptied our bladders in avoidance of the portapotties at the concert then headed out to the Big Fancy Casino for the much-anticpated by pretty much everyone but me Brooks & Dunn concert. I may have mentioned a time or twenty that I don't really care for country music and B&D are waaaaayyyyyyyy down the list of Artists I Would Listen to if I Absolutely Needed My Ears to Bleed in Order to Save My Life or the Life of One of My Children. I'd rather listen to Hank Williams Sr. really.

So why did we drop $90 on tickets to this concert? Oh I'm so glad you asked. See, I was still working at DHS when Paul called me one day and asked if I wanted to go see B&D in concert. I replied, "Want to? No. But if you want to go I'll go." He seemed awfully excited and bought the tickets like, the next day. As we were standing in line waiting for the gates to open before the concert he said something about not being that excited about seeing B&D. I gave him a funny look and said, "What do you mean 'not excited'?" He said, "Dear, I bought these tickets because I thought you liked them." I said, "Hon, I only wanted to come because you seemed so excited." He grinned and said, "I was excited because I was doing something for you." Yeah, it sounds all sweet until you stop and think that we dropped $90 on tickets to a concert that neither of us wanted to go to all because we don't communicate that well. We rock.

The concert was scheduled for May 30th but a few days before the 30th it was postponed due to illness in the band or something. The oringnal show was to be Kellie Pickler (can't STAND) and Rodney Atkins (he's funnish to look at, but that's as far as it goes), but since the concert was postponed to October the opening acts changed to Chasing Dixie (couldn't even find them on Google), Darius Rucker (sans Hootie and the Blowfish, now turned country) and Miami native, Keith Anderson. I got excited about Darius and Keith since I have nearly worn through my copy of Cracked Rear View because Darius Rucker's voice is what all of my personal angels in heaven are going to sound like and also because while I look at Keith every day because his poster is on my daughter's wall I have never gotten to see him in concert and he's a Miami boy and he's just dang easy on the eyes.

SisterJ met us out there and we all picked our spot not too close, not too far, hit the beverage tent and got Paul some free samples of chewin' tobacco, then settled in to wait. Then Tater's phone rang - her friend had an extra VIP pass and did Tater want it? Heck yeah, she wanted it! She got to get close enough to be spit on. Woot. The first act was a trio of screaming pretty girls that didn't impress me at all. Keith was next and let me just say that when he sang "I Still Miss You" I knew he was singin' to his momma who passed away this last year and I got a little teary. Darius Rucker doesn't dance like a country boy, but dude is kickin' country in the tail. I was so insanely impressed it's ridiculous. By the time B&D came out I was tired, cold and heck, after Keith and Darius, everything else paled. Oh and to drag the concert out further they decided to throw in a few extra songs since they'd had to postpone. How gracious. The first song they encored with was "My Maria" which is one of those songs that makes my spine detach itself from the rest of my skeleton and curl up like a little fried shrimp and whip around on the floor and get all dusty and dirty. It was at that point we decided to head on out and beat the crowd.

And please no hate comments about the concert. Unless Ronnie Dunn is your daddy and Kix Brooks is your second cousin twice removed, just read it from a humorist's point of view and go about your business. If those guys are your kin I'll apologize. Otherwise, just know that yes, I'm aware my redneck card could be pulled at any time over my near-loathing of country music and NASCAR, but we won't get into NASCAR right now.

Sunday was pretty uneventful except for the ongoing church tension that makes me wanna switch denominations, counties, even states. I hate tension. It makes me tense.

Yesterday I met the Bow Lady in town to pick up our new batch of bows, which includes two oh so adorable camouflage clippies, a Halloween bow and several in the school colors. I also went to see Mrs. Coach - briefly, though. (I apologize for being not very sociable, my friend. I could say that I was embarrassed that I didn't have on any makeup, but I'll just go ahead and be honest and say all I wanted to do was just come back home and cry. It was definitely an overpass night.)

Folks, Tater and I are getting ready for the mack daddy of garage sales this weekend. I'm here to tell ya, the kids are starting to worry we're going to stick a .25 sticker on them. And occasionally, amidst the flurry of pricing, sorting and yelling at the kids, we'll look at each other and say, "You know that none of this is coming back into the house, right? NONE." I mean it. I don't care if it might sell in the next garage...oh heck NO, if I have my way about it, there will be no more garage sales because I am never buying another toy or useless piece of clutter for the rest of my life. When we're all 90 and all of my blue-haired friends are collecting china kitties and ceramic pigs and doilies, I will just be sitting there in my lift chair, watching the Outdoor Channel, breathing. That's all I want to do when I'm old - breathe. Because then when I die, my kids don't have to sort through it or anything. See? I'm thinking ahead. I figure that by not collecting things my kids will be grateful that they don't have to do anything more than just bury my wrinkled butt and therefore they will overlook my crankiness. Because I plan on being plenty cranky.

I'd like to say I'll post again before next week, but after the garage sale this weekend I may take some time to practice up for when I'm old and just breathe for a few days.

We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, if you've made it this far, leave a comment telling me how much money you've ever made from a single garage/yard sale. I'm just curious.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Draw Muh

Those of you who know me in real life know that I hate confrontation. I avoid confrontation as much as I possibly can whenever I can. Yet this weekend it seems that the universe is doing its best to throw confrontation all up in my grill. I don't like it.

I won't go into details here because one involves my daughter and the other involves my church, but suffice it to say that I have spent the better part of the weekend with my guts in a knot - or my nuts in a got, as I told my mom last night. I really am not much of a worrier - except when it comes to my family. Both instances involve my family and I have been in a flit.


Let me just say that sometimes it's realllllllllly hard to take the high road. There are so many times it's hard to be the adult in a situation where no one else is acting like one.

The Phanton Smell is still lingering in my house. I threatened to go to the Super8 the other night, threatened rather vehemently through sobs, snot and tears. Paul and I got out there last night and pulled out furniture, shined flashlights into any and every place that might possibly look inviting to a mouse at death's door. Cousin Chad was out here visiting after he finished hunting and he went up in the attic for us. I was sincerely hoping he'd find a gigantic rotting critter, but he found nothing.

When I called Mom, asking for any advice on what to do, the first question she asked was, "Uhm...Kristin....did Paul kill Dog-Hitting Neighbor's Husband and hide him in your bedroom?" I personally thought that was hilarious, especially since Dog-Hitting Neighbor's Husband actually confronted my husband and threatened to sue us. (Yeah, he threatened to sue us because his wife hit our dog with her car. Evidently it made sense to him when he hollered it at my husband across the yard. We, however, laughed. Much.) But no, Dog-Hitting Neighbor and her husband are still flying down our road every morning like clockwork, so it's neither of them stinking up my house.
Paul and I have slept in the living room five nights now. I told him one more night and I was getting the couch - I'm tired of sleeping in the shape of an "L" in the big chair every night. More than anything, though, I miss my office. Thank God for the laptop.

Abby's sleepover Friday night went great. She's got a great group of friends and there was no fighting, fussing or side-taking like last year. We were asolutely grateful. Last year was awful.

We took them to the corn maze and spent about 3 hours getting lost, sliding down the hill slides, going on a hay ride and picking out pumpkins. The long side of the maze is supposed to take 30 minutes. It took us nearly 45. The short side is supposed to take 10. It took us 20. But the girls had a blast and TotOne scared me so bad once that I tinkled a little. Every one of the girls that went thanked Paul and I for taking them. We were stunned and way impressed. They've got some good parents, those girls. And they're just good girls.

When we got back here to the house I turned them loose with paint, glitter, hot glue, pipe cleaners and yarn and for nearly 2 hours those girls decorated their pumpkins like there was no tomorrow. After that was an hour and a half of Wii and then they watched Hairspray. When the movie ended at 3:20 I decided that this ol' gal could go no further. They all crashed as soon as they got still and settled down.

I got up the next morning with Paul, got him off to work and then frustratingly discovered I couldn't go back to sleep even though my body was crying. So I took a shower, cleaned up the pumpkin-painting mess and started some laundry. Slumber parties aren't as fun as I remember them being as a kid.

TotTwo played football Saturday night. We played Mrs. Coach's school. Abby was twenty kinds of frustrated trying to find Mrs. Coach across the field. As I sent a text message asking where she was and telling her to wave, Mom - who had been reading over my shoulder - said, "You know, years ago if we wanted to visit a friend from a neighboring school we just walked over there...." Point made. I still didn't walk over there, though.

As we were leaving the field I saw a long-time blog-reader, Lisa, who I actually met a few years ago when she checked me out at Walmart . She was standing with two other women and she also knows Mom and Tater. We were all standing there talking and as I turned to say something to one of my kids I heard her say, "Yeah, that's her!" Turns out it was MarshaMarshaMarsha who comments here frequently. It is always such an awesome thing to meet y'all in real life. It's a very surreal feeling, but entirely awesome.

Yesterday we went back to the corn maze, with the church this time. All three kids had a great time and Paul and I got to spend the day sitting on benches with our church family, watching the kids of the church play and have fun. Some of these kids are pretty poor and come from some pretty sad family situations. I love watching them get to act like kids.

We left earlier than the rest of the church did because, frankly, we were all flat worn out. One can only handle the corn maze and all the festivities involved therein so many times in a weekend before hitting a brick wall of exhaustion.

The van, which has been sitting un-driven since last Wednesday, went to the shop today.

Instead of needing a new $2500 transmission, it only needed two sensors which thankfully cost $135.

Praise God. Because we don't have $2500.

Friday the elementary school sent home notes, one from the principal and one from the county health department, informing us that there have been five confirmed cases of chicken pox in the elementary and one confirmed case of staph infection. That's just the elementary. There are at least two cases of the pox in the high school.

Oh goody.

Today, one of the girls that came to the sleepover, went home with the chicken pox. When Abby got out of the shower she came up the hall with a strange look on her face. She raised her shirt and said, "Mom? Is it?" She has four bumps on her belly and side. They aren't blisters, so I called Mom to find out if the pox start out as blisters or bumps that turn into blisters. She said they can do both or either. Abby says they itch like crazy. Of course they do.

I never thought I'd say this, but I hope she got fleas from picking up the dogs or cat.

Please, Lord, let it be fleas. Paul and I have tickets to see Brooks & Dunn, Darius Rucker, Keith Anderson and Chasing Dixie this weekend at the Big Fancy Casino. Gosh...that sounded pretty selfish, didn't it? Well, I'm sure Paul won't mind staying here with her while SisterJ, Tater and I go to the concert....right?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Make make make make a caaa-aaake.

After reading the title, if you are now humming the pancake song I love you and want to be your BFF Jill and braid your hair and talk about boys with you. If you aren't humming the pancake song I will share it with you now: The Pancake Song. Let me know when you're humming along.

Anyway, that diversion out of the way, this is what I did one rainy afternoon this week - I decided to make a checkerboard cake.

(Stew, look! I have met and befriended horizontal rule! eHarmony has nothin' on you, my friend. We're getting along fabulously and plan on buying a home together soon.)

I decided to use two cake mixes, a devil's food and a white one tinted pink.

(We also had French bread with dinner that night.)

Then I prepared the pans and the special, magical, plastic doohicky that transforms any cake mix into checkerboardy goodness.

Nonner helped. He finds me vastly entertaining whislt I bake.

(Bumbo seat - best baby invention ever.)

Mmmm....cake batter.

Here are the three pans, ready to go in the oven.

Bull's eye!

Here they are out of the oven.

Paul said they looked like boobs.

Since I used two cake mixes, I had enough of each left over to make swirly cupcakes. But only 7 swirly ones and one plain pink one. I ate the pink one first so it didn't feel left out any longer than it had to.

And four days later, this is all that remains of the checkerboard cake. I could've sworn I took a picture of the completed cake, but I can't find it on the laptop anywhere.

I guess it's a good thing my family is still noshing on the forty-leven cupcakes I made on Wednesday, otherwise there wouldn't even be a piece of this cake left.

I should probably throw it out now. It growled at me when I took the cover off.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I laughed, I cried, I cussed

Yesterday started out normal enough. As I flipped on the coffee pot I turned on the oven. Shortly after the kids got on the bus I started the Marathon O' Cupcakes. Nonner and I happily baked all morning. Okay, Nonner just sat in his Bumbo Seat and cooed, drooled and chewed on his hands while I did all the baking, but he promises to be better next time and do his part.

By noon I had six dozen cupcakes baked and ready for frosting. At 12:30 I left to pick the kids up from school for their eye doctor appointments. As we rounded the curve, nearly to the city limits, my van did the little shuck and jive it's been doing lately and the check engine light came on. I called Paul and he said to try shifting manually if it did it again, keep an eye on the temperature gauge and to call if I broke down. The eye appointments went fine - no one needed glasses or a new prescription. We left the clinic and went straight to Sonic where I hit the call button at exactly 2:00 and ushered in Happy Hour properly. Since it was Abby's birthday and all, I ordered a Route 44 instead of my usual large sweet tea because that's how I celebrate giving birth - gigantic sweetened beverages. I popped the straw in and pulled out of the stall. As I got ready to pull out onto the street I put a piece of Texas toast in my mouth, then hit a bump and spilled all 44 ounces of sweet tea into my floorboard. And through a mouth full of toasted bread I said the f-word.

I have done so good keeping my mouth cleaned up lately. I slip occasionally, but it's usually a d*mn or hell, NOT The Ultimate Cuss Word. The kids didn't say a word and I hoped they just didn't hear through the bread sticking out of my face. Their gasps told me that bread is not an adequate cuss word filter. I pulled into the next parking lot and Abby and I cleaned up the mess while I grumbled about being stupid and not making sure I had clicked the cup holder shut and various other self-degrading comments. We quickly ran out of napkins and Abby said excitedly, "OOh! We have an Icky Kit!!" I got it as a freebie and have had that Icky Kit in my glove compartment of every car I've owned over the last 7 years. No, I'm not kidding. I've never used it because, for one thing, it's just so awesome to even own something called an Icky Kit and for another, I guess we've never had a situation icky enough to merit breaking out the Icky Kit. However, now that I've actually USED the kit, I will be ordering another one because the "super-absorbent" towel that's in the kit is actually super-absorbent. I was astounded at how much icky that sucker soaked up. I'd wring it out and go at the absorbing again and it never ripped or quit absorbing. And just how many times did I say "icky" and some form of "absorb" in this paragraph? Bonus points if you count.

There was still tea in the floorboard when I pulled out, but I was running short on time because I had to get back to the school to pick up Abby's friend and Tots One and Two. The kids were quiet because the blue streak was still lingering in the air and apparently it makes it hard to speak. Finally I broke the silence with "Hey, guys, I apologize for saying the f-word earlier. I shouldn't have said that and I really am sorry I said it in front of y'all." Sam said, "It's okay, Mom. You were upset." Abby patted my leg and said, "No big." But Kady......ohhhhhh my precious Kady.....she said, "Well, while you're apologizing you might as well apologize for calling yourself the a-word with a hat on." And the blue streak was miraculously gone because my laughter chased it right out. And yes, when I finished laughing I did apologize for calling myself an as*hat.

And when the transmission started going toward the light of the Great Beyond while we were out on the highway I made sure to call my van the really bad words only in my head. I tried to call Paul, who had earlier told me to just mash the gas pedal to the floor when it acted like it didn't want to shift because heck, if we're going to blow a transmission we might as well blow it good. However, Paul was obviously doing something work-ish because he didn't answer. I called Mom next and asked if Pops knew much about cars. Her reply was, "Where are you?" I guess in true maternal fashion she envisioned us in a ditch. I would've. I told her how the van sounded and she calmly said, "Pull over and I'll come get you," but I could hear the anxiety in her voice. (See, I get my over-reactiveness from her...bless our hearts) I calmly explained (read: borderline hyperventilated) that I was on my way to the school to pick up three more kids and therefore her little Prius hybrid was not a viable mode of transportation that that juncture. She said, "Hon, it's your transmission. You can't make it to the school! Now slow down, pull over to the shoulder, put on your flashers and GET HOME." Funny, but the van really liked it when I slowed down to 20mph. It sounded much happier than the wound-up whine it had been doing at 45.

After leaving the almost-dead van at the house, switching the baby's carseat over to the truck, picking up the extra kids and making it back home without getting pulled over for having WAY too many children in the truck, I got the kids all adequately snacked (Yes, Virginia, there is nutrition in Froot By the Foot), printed out notes that had to be handed out at church last night, got dinner out of the oven, started frosting the gaggle of cupcakes and fought back the overwhelmed feeling lurking in the back of my throat (Yep, all those times you thought it was post-nasal drip it was really overwhelmed-ness).

By the time church was over I was near tears and just wanted to go to bed and wake up skinny, out of debt and the owner of a van with a clean bill of health. However, instead I checked homework folders, herded two tweens to the showers, tucked in the two younger kids, cleaned the kitchen, checked my email and as I entered my bedroom to put on my pajamas I was smacked in the face by the overpowering stench of dead mouse. And that was it. I managed to save the bawling for after the kids were in bed, but as soon as I got everyone settled I sat down on my couch and cried. For a long time.

Paul got a flashlight and valiantly tried to find the decomposing rodent, but I'm sure it's in the wall. However, I did have him check the closet just to make sure the yellow jackets hadn't decided to make a come-back. (When that whole fiasco occured we thought the original smell was dead mouse, so naturally I'm leary.) The closet was free of gigantic, buzzing hives, so I hugged him and thanked him for checking then crawled into bed and turned on the TV, advice my favorite Texan gave me. She said to not obsess, but to turn on the TV and stop thinking. I heart her. I woke up when Paul came to bed, took the remote out of my hand and kissed my face. He curled up next to me and rubbed my back. I heart him, too.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Dozen

Dear Abby,

Today you are 12 years old. Every year when I sit down to write your birthday letter I marvel at how quickly the time has gone and this year is no different. When you were a baby I could not believe how quickly you were growing and would sit and cry every month when I’d look back at the previous month’s pictures (because you are the first and we actually took pictures of you on a regular basis, unlike your poor sister who doesn’t even have a page of her baby book filled out, but really this is all about you so never mind…), but now you’re 12 and again I am marveling at how quickly time is passing.

When school started this year and I was sending you off to the big, bad Middle School I made the comment about how in a mere six years you would be starting your Senior year. You laughed and said, “But Mom, that’s FOREVER from now!” and I shook my head and said, “No, Ab. Look at how fast the last 11 have gone.” You rolled your eyes (I swear if they make eye-rolling an Olympic event you and your sister will take the gold and silver) and said, “Whatever” but trust me it has flown.

You are an amazing kid, Ab. You are smart and funny and have made sarcasm an art form, but at the same time you are respectful and polite and truly care about others. You have made being a tween look easy. I remember the angst I went through at your age and honestly, was dreading this age with you for that very reason. I have to continually remind myself that you are more like your daddy and therefore take life in stride. THANK GOD. You are your own person, you have the most amazing self-esteem I have ever seen and you love yourself. If you can keep these things up throughout your entire life, girl, you have it made. I admire the fact that you are not swayed by the crowd, the “norm” means nothing to you and you do what makes you happy because well….it makes you happy. I love that about you. That and the fact that I now there is someone in the family that loves scary movies as much as I do.

While you are sometimes (okay, most of the time) angry with your siblings, there’s a kindness in you that few see because you do it so quietly. Like last year when you gave Nicole your Valentines because you knew she didn’t have any. And when Nicole got hold of our cell phone number last week, even though she’s a hard person to like, you answered the phone and talked to her because you know she just wants to be liked by someone, anyone. While the rest of the girls in your class are scared of her because she’s rough, tough and mean you have realized that she really just wants to be accepted, she just doesn’t know how. You don’t belittle her or avoid her; you are kind when others aren’t. Please don’t ever lose that sense of compassion. So many people never had it to begin with and if they did, they’ve abandoned it.

You are beautiful, my Abby. When I see guys giving you a second look as we walk down the mall, my first instinct is to grab them by the ear and ask them if their momma knows they’re eyeballin’ girls like that, but then I remember that my goal is not to embarrass you to death, but to protect you so I just put my arm around you and say loudly, “Oh my sweet TWELVE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER, aren’t we having fun shopping today?” and then glare at the hormonal males passing by. I promise I won’t do that forever, but you’ve still got a few years of it, so be prepared. Never compromise your morals. I did. It wasn’t worth it. You are bound by some ancient teenage rule to not listen to your parents, and I understand that, but trust me on that one. And also remember that I’ve SO been there, done that and you won’t be able to pull one over on me. Really.

Not only do I love watching you grow into a well-adjusted adult person I am also loving the fact that I see you grow as a Christian every day. Some days are harder than others for you, but my gosh, some days are harder for me, too. I love it when you have an “ah-ha” moment where you totally get the fact that God blesses the heck out of you continually. As a parent, nothing could make me happier knowing that you and I are going to do serious shopping together in the malls of Heaven someday. Fortunately, your daddy and brother are going to be fishing in the lakes of Heaven and won’t be sitting on benches sighing dramatically and man-whining. See? Sometimes it’s hard being a Christian, but the rewards are going to be awesome!

I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years. They may not mean much to you now, but there will come a time that you’ll think back to your birthday letters and go “Oh THAT’S what she was talking about!”

1. Don’t wear underwear that’s too small just because you don’t want to go up a
size. Really, your hiney should be comfortable and no one sees that tag anyway.
Or at least, they shouldn’t.

2. Buy gap insurance. Trust me on this one.

3. Please don’t ever beg a guy to go out with you/not break up with you.
Begging is one thing you will always look back on with embarrassment.

4. Go to college when you’re young. Yeah, you might be tired of school when you
graduate high school, but trying to go back when you are in your 30’s and have
three kids is much harder than when you’re 18. You should know that – I think I
scarred you kids for life.

5. Republican or Democrat, know the facts. Do your homework. Heck, watch a debate or two. But just know what you’re talking about.

6. Babies really do turn out okay if their grandma gives them ice cream at 2 months old. Chill out, put away the parenting books and enjoy your babies before you turn around twice and they aren’t babies. I actually got this advice from my momma. She turned out to be pretty smart. Who knew.

7. Jobs are important, money is essential, but do what makes you happy. Period. Always.

Like I said, you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about now, but someday you will. In the meantime, know I love you and I’m proud of you.

Happy birthday, Abby-girl.


Friday, October 03, 2008


'Tis the season for slippers!

The Christmas after Abby was born, a friend gave me these lovely authentic bunny slippers. I heart these slippers and have for nigh upon 12 years now. They went with me to the hospital when I had Sam and again when I had Kady. However, Mom wouldn't allow me to wear them when I had Kady because, as she said, "they're just embarrassing." Not because they're bunnies but because they were so worn the heck out. And that was nearly 7 years ago! The worn-out-edness of them is even more pronounced today. But I still heart them.

(Yes, my toenails are painted black.)

However, being all grownup what with the fact that I watched a Vice-presidential debate for the first time last night, I also know that the bunnies....they will not last forever. There will come a time when they have to hop off to the big bunny slipper field in the sky to be chased by little stuffed dogs that have since moved on.

So a few weeks ago I bought these:

Because if I am watching political debates and discussing the correct pronunciation of the word "nuclear" with my husband very heatedly, the least I can do is wear these. You keep things in the proper perspective.

(NOTE: I got the sock monkey slippers at Target.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Well duh

Yesterday morning I got the kids up and then stumbled up front to find coffee, crack or an electric generator to make me feel more human and less like the cranky, allergic fiend I had become.

Kady has a bunk bed and I usually lay her clothes up on her top bunk when I wake her up so she doesn't spend more time climbing up and down the ladder than she does getting ready for school. After she finishes groaning about not wanting to get up, she gets dressed and makes her bed before her feet ever hit the floor. I don't oversee this process because inevitably she ends up crying if I try to help.

About 20 minutes after she woke up she finally emerged from her room. From over the rim of my coffee cup I saw her and said, "Well, aren't you just cute" and went back to drinking the nectar of life. She didn't even miss a beat. She flipped her hair over one shoulder and said, "You're just figuring that out?"

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...