Sunday, May 24, 2015

No, I Wasn't Recovering from Our Rockin' 100th Week Party, TToT #101

Did anyone besides my dad notice that I haven't posted since last week?

"Where have I been?" you ask, now that you know I was missing?

Do you all remember when I was in charge of the decorations for Grandma's 90th birthday party? It seems making things complicated and tine-consuming when it should be easy and fast wasn't a one-time illness. It is a chronic disease.

Long story short, I didn't get any yard work, house work, or blog work done the entire week, but I DID make 60 of these:

And because it's a disease, I had to make them color-coded and packaged all prettily with Easter basket grass and a card that read, "I couldn't give you real bacon and eggs, so I'm giving you upcycled, plastic eggs instead,"...

in order to pass them out at a swag swap at the Ohio Catholic Women Bloggers conference I went to this weekend.

My family thought I wasn't going to get them done.

They also thought I was insane.

And wondered aloud what I would do if the ladies at the conference didn't like them.

I ignored them as I wrapped.

And wrapped.

And wrapped.

A very bad photo of Cuckoo demonstrating how NOT to wrap an egg with yarn.

But I prayed, too. As I wrapped each one, I prayed for the woman who was going to receive it.

And I got them finished with hours to spare without stressing one itty, bitty bit.

That, Dear Readers, will be my first thankful for this week.

Number 2 will most certainly be the fact that I was able to go to this conference. It was in my hometown and only cost $25, so I had to go. It was fun. It was inspiring. It was prayerful and uplifting. It was more than I ever imagined it would be.

This is the chapel at the monastery where the first night of the conference was held. It is less than a mile from the house where I grew up, but I had never stepped foot in it until Friday night. It and the grounds were as beautiful as I always thought they would be.
3. I won a shirt at the conference! (This one to be exact.) One of the lovely, wicked smart women I met at the conference just started making her own line of shirts, and she gave one away in a raffle.

4. I got to visit (and laugh, of course) with my dad, grandma, stepmom, sister, and baby niece after the conference each night.

5. My mom was not only available, but happy to take Star to his soccer tournament for us, so I could attend the conference.

6. The construction and care of porta-potties has drastically improved. (This has nothing to do with the conference, but everything to do with the soccer tournament at which I met my mom and Star.)

7. Giant asked me if I could get some plastic bags for a science experiment for school. I told him to write it (and a couple of other things) down, so I would remember. This is what I found:

Makes me smile, that boy.

8. We got to take the kids to the track on a day the drivers were practicing. (May is all about the Indy 500. The race was today.) Even if you aren't race fans, you can't help but be impressed with the speed and construction and loudness of the cars.

They are the "I", although how you could have missed that is beyond me. ;)

I cannot begin to tell you how hard it is to get a photo of a car going 220 mph with an old iPhone. Got it on the 4,392 try.

9. While I sat on the sidelines of Giant's soccer game, I received a text from Bryan, who was at Turken's baseball game, that read, "Steady rain. Cuckoo and I are under the trees, because I couldn't find an umbrella in the van."

I texted back, "Oops," with this photo:

The other two umbrellas were in the car I had driven. And he didn't even yell at me.

10. We are all home, and our family will have the whole day tomorrow to ourselves. I have no idea what we'll do, but it won't be yardwork.

So, what made you say "thank you!" this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Friday, May 15, 2015


One hundred weeks ago, I wrote:

What we look for, we will find.  If we look for the bad, we will most certainly find it.  There are bad things happening around us every day.  However, there are also good, kind, wonderful things happening at the same time.  We simply need to look for them.  When we do, our attitudes improve.  We become happier. 

It was part of my very first thankful list, and I stand by it.

Ask any one of the people who have participated in this hop regularly. Knowing we will be writing thankful lists at the end of the week forces us to look for those good things. Even when we have been at our lowest, we have looked for and found things for which to be grateful. Writing them down helped us to feel better.


What we look for, we will find.

And 100 weeks later, we have found unbelievable goodness and kindness and friendship.

It has been grand.

I will forever be grateful for the chance to be a part of this weekly endeavor.

And I'm thankful for 9 other things, too.

(The details of the PRIZES will be at the end of the post. Patience!)

2. Ya'll, I dropped my baby off for his last day of preschool. We have been a part of this preschool for the last 13 years, and I dropped the youngest one off for his last day. You can probably guess I cried. It was the teachers' fault. They started it, getting all sentimental and hugging me and getting all teary when I was trying to be strong and not crying. I am so grateful that my kids had the chance to attend this preschool with teachers who were there all 13 years.

"I don't care if you smile, but I'm getting a picture of my youngest child's last day of preschool whether you like it or not." Bet you can't guess that he chose "not". This is the best one. :/

3. I've been so, so busy lately my mind has been nothing but logistics. I was afraid I had lost my ability to laugh. And then I had a conversation with a friend on Facebook. It started innocently enough, and then my inability to make an emoji led to the funniest thing I had seen in a long, long time. Tears were streaming down my face. I was having a hard time breathing I was laughing so hard. It was awesome.

4. I am no longer the crazy egg lady. Word has gotten out, and there is a line of people who consistently purchase eggs from us. There is plenty of room in our fridge for milk and other things besides eggs. (This may change once summer break hits. I won't be seeing these customers at pick-up all summer long. We'll see just how dedicated they are.) :)

5. Phoenix finished out the volleyball season on a good note. And with that, one more thing is checked off our activity list.

This was early in the season.

6. A couple of months ago, a friend in my Catholic Bloggers group put out an announcement that she was organizing a conference for the Ohio region. I didn't think too much about it until she said the venue was going to be almost directly across the street from where I grew up (and where my dad still lives). Well, that just sealed the deal; I have to go! It's next week, and I'm so excited.

7. For years, the tradition for Mother's Day is for the kids to clean out and plant some flowers in the front flower beds for me. Thanks to a little suggestion that there be a bit more supervision and planning, I now have two hydrangea bushes front and center and some other flowers scattered around. It looks so nice.

Fun fact: Hydrangea blooms change color depending on the soil in which they are planted. So, while these flowers are blue now, they could become pink!
8. I know I've said this before, but our music teacher is just plain awesome. She gets kids to beg to sing in front of a crowd. She pulls the talent out of the kids no one would have guessed had it in them. And then she puts together mini-musicals (about 20 minutes each) for each grade to perform. Turken and my goddaughter performed in each of their musicals this week, and they were as fun as always.

9. I spend a whole lot of time on the sidelines of games. The experience can go many ways, depending on the parents sitting there with me. I am happy to say, all of the teams this year have fun, laid-back parents. The kids have mentioned several times over this season that they can hear me laughing while they play. (I have a loud laugh, much to their chagrin.)

10. There has been some discussions among bloggers about their "voice" and how they write. One common suggestion is to know your readership and write like you are talking to one of them. I pondered that advice for a while during my many drives this week. I am happy to say that when I picture my readership, it is full of a giant variety of people. Different ages, different religions, different phases of life. You all bring your experiences with you, and it has been a pleasure to get to know you and all of your different perspectives. Thank you for sticking around and encouraging me and my family each and every week.

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for...


Everyone who links up this week will get her (or his!) name put into a hat. Lizzi will pick out 10 names and assign one to each of the co-hosts. Each winner will receive a box (in the real mail!) full of 10 things. All different, all personal. Just because we appreciate all of you being here.

Lizzi even made a fancy badge for the occasion.

So what are you waiting for? Get your thankful on and link up!

And then have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Did You Know?

Because Dyanne will be so sad and worried that I don't like her if I don't...

Four names people call me other than my real name:

Mom: at least 18 hundred thousand times each and every day, mostly thanks to Cuckoo
(Aunt) Crissy: Until I moved out and got married, I went by Crissy. Relatives still use that moniker.
Tiner: (pronounced Teener, as in Chris-teener) Bryan, and now the kids when they are trying to be funny
Maureen: A woman at church cannot for the life of her keep me and the real Maureen straight.

Four jobs I've had:

Waitress at Frisch's Big Boy
Cake decorator at Kroger (grocery store)
Auditor for True-Green Chemlawn (That sounds way more important than it was.)
5th grade teacher

Four movies I would/have watched more than once

Shawshank Redemption
The Jerk
National Lampoons (pick one) Vacation
Sound of Music

Four books I would recommend:

(These are the last four books I have read and liked. If you want recommendations of my favorite books, I wrote about them back in February. Go here.)

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Girl on the Mountain by Carol Ervin
Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

Four places I have lived:

Canton, Ohio
Little Rock, Arkansas
Bloomington, Indiana

Four places I have been:

In no particular order or preference, because only picking four is hard enough.

Acadia National Park, Maine
New Orleans, Louisiana
Hilton Head, South Carolina
London, England

Four places I would rather be right now:

Only because I've never been there

Grand Canyon

Four things I don't eat:

sweet potatoes

Four of my favorite foods:

This is next to impossible. I love food. Almost any food (Did you read the answers just above this?)

No joke. I can't come up with anything. I think, "Oh, chocolate, but I like cheesecake and snickerdoodles and Butterfingers, too!" I think, "ham and bean soup! but I really like potato soup and tortilla soup and tomato soup, too." Seriously, I can't narrow it down at all.

Four television shows I watch:

(When I get the chance)

The Middle
The Goldbergs
19 Kids and Counting

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:

Phoenix getting his driver's license
Lizzi coming to visit
Our annual vacation with our friends
Catholic blogging conference next week!

Four things I'm always saying:

Brush your teeth!
Where is...?
Have fun!
Love you.

Now, I'm supposed to tag four people who might want to join in the fun. I have no idea if these people will want to join in, but I want you to meet them. They are newer friends of mine, and I'm still in the getting to know them phase.

Theresa, at Ordinary Lovely

Stacey at Stacey's Mothering Moments

Rita at Open Window at the Catholic Review

Glen at Glen's Life (voted least likely to do this, seeing as how he only writes once or twice a month if we're lucky)

If you weren't named and would like to do this, by all means, give it a go. I'll enjoy reading what you have to say. I'd really like to see if you can come up with four favorite foods.

So, were you surprised by any of my answers?

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

T Is for Tattling, or How I Stop My Kids from Doing that Annoying Whine-Scream to Get Their Siblings in Trouble

Siblings love to get siblings in trouble.

It's a thing.

For kids with brothers and sisters, it seems like half of childhood is spent either getting a sibling in trouble or trying to stay out of the trouble a sibling is trying to get him into.

Tattling can become a major part of a parent's day.

But it doesn't have to be.

A little note before we continue: There is a fine line when dealing with tattling. The difference is their intent. Is the child trying to get someone else in trouble, or is he actually worried about the sibling's welfare? I want the kids to come talk to me when one of their siblings is doing something harmful, but at the same time, I don't want them to come talk to me when a sibling is just being naughty. Someday, these children of mine will one day be in charge of my well-being. I need to make sure that they know how to be a team, so I don't languish in my adult diaper while they bicker over the best course of action. They are a team, and they need to act like it. Tattling is a sure-fire way to break up that team. If there is a legitimate worry, I stop and deal with it immediately. Otherwise...

As far as I can tell, tattling occurs for one of two reasons.

1. A fight has broken out, and one child lost said fight. In an effort to get some pride back, he hustles himself down to mom to let her know that he has been grievously injured by another.

2. A child is jealous of his sibling who did something he shouldn't be doing. Instead of joining in for fear of getting into trouble, the jealous child runs to tell, because the situation just isn't fair.

I assess the situation and then deal with it accordingly. Simply stated, I shut that tattling nonsense down by making sure the child sees no benefit or reward whatsoever.

Situation #1: A child comes to tell me how horribly he was treated by a sibling.


Me: Yes, I heard. There was quite a scuffle going on upstairs. If you want to tell me what your brother did to you, you must first tell me what bad choices you made.

Child: BUT MOM, HE

Me: Ah, ah. I will not listen to your complaints about him until you tell me how you contributed to the fight. A fight is a two person deal. You and your brother both made some poor choices, and you need to tell me what you did first.

Child: BUT

Me: No.


Me: What did you do, and what could you have done to make the situation better instead of worse?

No child wants to rehash his own bad choices. This only has to happen once or twice before a child realizes it is a bad idea to come tell me about his brother's poor behavior. And if it takes more than once or twice, so be it. He is at least being made to stop and think about how he will handle things in the future.

Situation #2: A child is jealous of a rule-breaker.

I have a few comebacks for this situation, depending on the child, the offense, and my mood.

The conversation can go one of many ways.


Me: What do you think I should do about that?

Child: Take his iPod away.

Me: How do you think he's going to feel about that?

Child: He will be mad.

Me: At whom?

Child: You.

Me: But don't you think he will be even more mad at you? What do you think will happen the next time you are doing something you shouldn't?

Child: But Mom!

Me: I'm thinking he will be the first one to tell on you.

Child: Yes, but

Me: For your sake, I'm not going to do anything to him. We'll just pretend this conversation never took place, so you and your brother can still be friends.



Me: Wow. I wish you wouldn't have told me that. Now I can't do anything about it. If I go stop him, I'll just be encouraging you to tell me the next time you see someone doing something he shouldn't. And since you're only supposed to tell me when someone is hurting himself, another person, or property, I don't want to encourage you to tell me about other things.


Me: If only you wouldn't have told me. I could have found him myself. THEN he would have gotten in some serious trouble. Bummer.



Me: Why are you telling me?

Child: Because you told him to do it and he isn't!

Me: But why are you telling me? Do you think I won't figure it out myself?

Child: Yes, but, or no, but but...but

Me: I really don't see why you are putting yourself in the middle of this situation. What does it say about you that you feel the need to get your brother in trouble?



Regardless of my response to the tattler, I must in no way, shape or form allow him to think I am giving his tales any of my time or attention. It will only encourage him to tattle more in the future. That path will only cause more division between him and his siblings, and we can't have that.

Now, does this mean that the child who was doing something he shouldn't never answers for his crimes?

Heck no!

(Well, it depends on the crime, if it was even a crime to begin with.)

Long after the tattler has left and after the rule-breaker has broken the rule, I have a little chat with the offender. I let him know that I know, so he knows that I know, without letting him know how I know. Kids don't like chats like this, so that is half the punishment right there. If the offense is bad enough, more action will be taken, but never, ever will the tattler know about it.

Peace shall reign.

So help me and my future senile, aged, diapered self.

How do you/did you deal with your kids' tattling?

This post was supposed to be part of the A-Z Challenge, but I dropped out before I got to T. 

Have a lovely day!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lots of Photos for TToT Week 99. NINETY-NINE! That's Only One Away from 100!

The countdowns have begun.

3 more days of preschool.

9 more days of high school.

10 more days of 8th grade.

13 more days of elementary/middle school.

We're all just a tad over the top excited for summer break to get here.

And there is one more exciting countdown to mention...

1 more week until this here Ten Things of Thankful blog hop hits 100 weeks!!

I cannot even believe it has been that long since Lizzi approached me about hosting with her. We never would have guessed it would last this long. (I mean, we hoped, but you never can tell with this sort of thing.)

You must come back next week. And if you are a blogger, you must get your list ready. To celebrate, there will be contests! With prizes! Loads of fun and special badges and stuff only Lizzi knows. (She's keeping some things a secret even from us co-hosts.)

Until then, I have some things that made me smile this past week.

1. Blooming irises

Right on time. Every year each child in the school brings in a flower to decorate the church for May Crowning. I have never one time remembered to purchase flowers the night before, so every year the kids are outside in the flower bed snipping off some irises.

 Low morning light + Bryan anxious to leave = blurry photo

It may have felt like spring took a long time to get here, but according to the irises, it was right on time.

2. More school tradition: After Mass, the 8th graders are dismissed for the day. The entire class and their parents go out to lunch together. It was such a nice way to spend a day, even if Star and all the other kids chose to sit at tables away from their parents. (We knew it would happen, seeing as how the same thing happened when Phoenix and Buttercup were 8th graders.)

3. My entire life, I have never been a napper. Even after I had kids, I wasn't all that good at napping. Recently, though, I have mastered it. I don't know if it's age or what, but when I don't get a good night's sleep, I can take a 10 minute power nap right in the midst of the chaos that is our house. Took a couple this week. It amazes me how quickly I can fall asleep and how much those 10 minutes refresh me.

4. We have had the most perfect weather this week. It was even warm enough to get the sprinkler out this afternoon.

The chickens are j-e-a-l-o-u-s.

5. Our maple tree is making helicopters for the first time ever.

6. Technology is amazing. I was able to surprise a special someone with a phone call (using WhatsApp) from across the big pond for her birthday. Sure, the phone call was a lot like long distance calls from days of old, where the connection is bad and the delay is real, but it was a live, international, free call that she wasn't expecting.

7. It's so nice to live in the country, where no one cares what our yard looks like.

8. Each year the 7th grade teachers host an Etiquette Lunch for the kids in 7th grade. The kids get all dolled up and have a lesson in table manners and place settings. The boys and girls are paired up, so they can practice manners such as pulling out a chair for a lady, standing when she leaves the table, and walking the girl on his arm as they make their way to the dance floor. A couple from church then teaches a little dance lesson. Giant had a great time.

9. Turken is loving baseball. He's doing well (18/18 for the season so far!) and learning a lot. We are especially thankful that he was not injured before the game on Tuesday. As they were warming up, the coach was hitting fly balls for the boys to catch. Turken lost it in the sun, and the ball thunked right on the top of his head. We heard it in the stands. He kept going, bending over to pick up the ball, tears running down his little face. I made him come out for a thorough look-over, but he was anxious to get back. I'm happy to say, he is just fine. In fact, the next day, when Bryan asked him how his head felt, he replied, "I would forget that it even happened if people stopped asking me about it."

You would never know he was having fun. He never, ever smiles during a game. Serious stuff, baseball is.

Foul ball!

10. Out of the blue, a song came to my head yesterday. I haven't heard it in a long, long time. As in years. In trying to find the version I have in my head, I found the background to it. Wow. This isn't the version I was looking for, but the story. wow. I still really like the song. It's comforting, but do not play this song if you are already emotionally unstable and trying to avoid ugly crying.

So, that's it for me for this week. What happiness would you like to share?


Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What the Heck, Birds?




It seems the objects in the mirrors are not only closer, but vastly dumber than they appear.

Birds are beating the literal crap out of themselves.

On the sides of our cars.

Country living, Folks.

Good old country freaking living.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

10 Photos You Wouldn't Have Seen Otherwise

Lisa, from The Golden Spoons, hosts a Tuesday Ten linkup, and this week they are celebrating National Photo Month. The theme for today's list is The Last 10 Photos from Your Phone. And we are to give explanations when appropriate.

I will not give you the last 10 photos, because they would all be very similar. I never take just one. I must take at least 5 of each scene. Instead, I will include one photo from each of the last 10 things I photographed.

********** ONE **************

I am thrilled to bits that my two oldest are gainfully, albeit sporadically, employed. Monday night, they were the line refs for the same game. That's Buttercup over there under the arrow.

********** TWO ***********

Bryan and I were able to go to an event at the Speedway on Saturday night. The only pictures I took with my camera were of the view from the 7th floor of the pagoda. Can you see the city there in the middle? The full moon and city were much prettier than this photo.

************* THREE **********

On Friday night, I was at one of Buttercup's soccer games. Right next to the parking lot, a gigantic helicopter was getting ready to take off. I thought the little boys would like to see a picture of one. The sun was shining directly at me, so I couldn't see the screen on my phone. I was completely guessing as to what I was focusing on. It wasn't until just now, when I downloaded these photos to my computer, that I realized how pretty the sky was at that moment. Can you even see the blasted helicopter?

*********** FOUR ***********

Apparently, I've got a thing for sky shots. I was taking a walk around the fields during Turken's baseball practice, and noticed the moon in the beautiful sky. It was even better when I saw it through the blooms of the tree.

Once again, the objects in photos are prettier in real life.

************* FIVE **********

When out in the yard last week, we were shocked to find asparagus growing in the garden. We planted it three or four years ago, but asparagus requires a different way of growing, and we apparently aren't good with picky plants. We basically haven't touched it in those three or four years. I guess this just proves that God's creations have a really strong instinct to live and are terribly adaptable. Bryan broke it off and brought the asparagus in. Every time I opened the fridge, I was smacked in the face by an asparagus spear. (It was delicious, by the way. And there is now more in the same spot, smacking me once again.)

***************** SIX ***********

I was thinking about writing a post about food that is good to take for kids who have little time between school and practice. It's a chicken Caesar wrap. I chose not to write it, because, well, I just told you all you needed to know in two sentences.

*************  SEVEN **************

Our school has a tradition that after the first show night, the cast of the middle school musical all go to Steak-n-Shake. It makes for a late night, made even later by the child who eats very, very slowly.

*************  EIGHT ***********

The elementary/middle school kids got Friday off of school. It was a snow make-up day that we never needed to use. (You folks in the south have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?) We spent some time at the nearby church, playing basketball and kickball.

************** NINE **************

Out of the blue, Cuckoo asked, "What is making that shadow on the wall?" (He was not talking about the shadow of me taking a photo of the shadow.) Very good question! We went on a hunt. A long hunt. Almost 10 minutes later, one of the kids figured it out.

************** TEN ************

That would be a picture Turken made in art class months and months ago. It was ripped about 2 months ago. I don't know why it's still there. I guess it just became one of those things we're so used to seeing that we don't even register its existence anymore. Well, it was such a sunny day, this paper made a shadow about 40 yards away; down a hall, through the dining room, through the kitchen and onto the back wall of the kitchen.

And there you have it. I have over 2,000 photos on my camera. Most of it is stuff like this. Post ideas and bad photos of pretty things.

How about you? What are the last pictures you took with your phone?

The Golden Spoons

Have a lovely day!