Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Kitchen Finale

Here it is.  The very last time I will mention my new kitchen.  If you have not had a tour of my old kitchen, go do that now.  Click here.  I'm not even kidding.  You are about to view one fancy kitchen, and it kinda embarrasses me that we have something so nice.  You need to see part of what we used to have.  Lucky for you, I didn't even talk about the mold under the kitchen sink from the endless leaks or the vinyl tiles coming up on the floor or the kids shivering because the windows and door leaked cold air all winter long.  So go.  Then come back to see the reveal.

Ooohhh!  Are you so excited?  As I've mentioned, it is fancy-schmancy.  However, it is mine, so there are still a few redneck touches.  Keep your eyes peeled and see if you can spot them.

You walk in the front door, go down the hall, and enter the dining room.  Your eyes go directly to the kitchen and the Harvest Gold glow emanating from it.

Do your eyes go directly to that cute little ice cream parlor table and chairs I got at the antique mall? 

It's the perfect place for the kids to enjoy a little after-school snack by the window.

(I'm still looking for a table cloth for it.  Or something to soften it up a bit.)

I can't tell you how happy I am with the woodwork.  The man who worked on this house is a genius.  He spent five minutes in my house, with no paper or pencil, then went out and replicated them.  Fourteen pieces of wood around this one window.  He cut the wood for 2 windows and four doorways one day, then assembled them all the next.  A genius, I say.

Oh, did you notice the rug? is my new favorite place to shop.  Nowhere else could I find the perfect 4' round rug for under $100.

Or did you notice the island?

That ginormous piece of lovely that I had no idea could even fit in my kitchen? 

I spent hours looking high and low for unique stools that weren't $300, wouldn't wear out or tip over from use by six active children, and tied in with the farm.  Lo and behold, I found tractor seat stools at Shades of Light on-line.

I know.  There aren't any cushions.  No cushions for my children to rip or stain.  They are surprisingly comfortable.  (And the redneck touch of leaving the cardboard on the feet of the stools to prevent scratches on the floor?  Haven't gotten the felt stuff yet.)

Back to the island.  On the opposite side of the stools are six huge drawers.  I can fit all my everyday pots and pans, all of my 9x13 pans and other Corning Ware, dish towels, every spatula, spoon, opener, slicer, and other odd utensil I could need, favorite...

the Tupperware/tin foil/baggie/food storage drawer.  All organized and in one place.

The kids and I have spent lots of time at this island.  Breakfast every morning, of course.  But the baking with them has been so wonderful.  We've been making a lot of banana bread.

(You noticed the light?  Another Overstock purchase.)

The kids stand/sit on the far side, while I stand on the busy side.

Behind me, the sink.

With a window that opens.

To the left, the stove.  With a nifty spice drawer.

To the left of the stove, the gizmo cupboard.   Some people would use this space as a lazy Susan.  (How many of you have a sister named Susan and used to taunt her with the lazy Susan reference?  (My hand is currently raised.))

I have chosen to leave it as one huge cupboard.  Finally, a home for all of the "We could have used the stove/oven, but why when we can use this great big space-sucker intended for this one and only task" gadgets we have acquired over the years.  Really, a cupcake maker? 

The "Rustic Alder" cupboards continue on the top, with a corner glass door for displaying pretties.

I only have one pretty.  A lovely glass bowl/plate a friend gave me for my 40th birthday.  The other two shelves are noticeably lacking pretty at the moment.

Back to standing at the island, to my right is the fridge.

We realized that the fridge doors open about 150 degrees, so we needed to get the fridge away from the wall in order to open the crisper drawers.  Thus, the added apothecary drawers and wine rack.  Pity, I know.

Remember the pantry I had?  And the window to nowhere?  Now lovely, uber-useful spaces.

The new pantry...

with the added bonus of handles too tall for little hands to reach.

And where the window used to be, same pantry on the bottom, but on the top, a "message center".   A spot with doors that close for my calendar, school papers, pens, scissors, batteries, coupons, and sundry other items.  Did I mention that it has doors?  That close?

And then, the room that has changed my life.  Remember the old kitchen, and the door that everyone drug mud and animal poo through?  It's gone, and instead we have....


In it you will find the soccer bags, boots, shoes, cleats, coats, box of hats/gloves/scarves, water bottles, and school backpacks for each child in each of their own "cubbies".   You will also find our old kitchen table, which is now the craft/project table.

No more Play-do crumbs in my kitchen, baby!  Or sand.  Or glue.  Or crayons.  Or paint.  Or markers.  It's all used in the mud room, which has a vinyl floor.  An awesome vinyl floor.  Vinyl has come a long, long way.

There is also a large utility sink to clean it all.  And to fill the animal waterers in the winter.  And for the kids to wash their hands before entering the main part of the house.

And see that curtain that runs along the top of the cubbies?  The 13-foot curtain I made without a sewing machine? 

Yeah, ironed that Stitch-witch stuff to hem it, then duct taped it to the top.

Hellooooo Redneck!

Anyway, under that curtain are the miscellaneous items I don't use that often.  Canning supplies.  Extra water bottles.  Dish drying rack.  And lots of empty space to fill later.

The room has changed my life, people.  Everything in those cubbies used to be scattered throughout the front entryway, the kitchen, and their bedrooms.  The insanity and filth were everywhere.  No longer.  I am at peace when I enter my home.

Do I love my kitchen and mud room?

Let's just say that after everyone has gone to bed, and I'm alone with my thoughts, one might walk into the kitchen to find this...

Yes, I love my kitchen and mud room.

 For those of you still reading, thank you for putting up with the gushing. 

The kitchen will never be mentioned as "the new kitchen" again.

If it is ever mentioned at all.

And you're all welcome to come have a meal with us anytime!

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm Busy. Original, No?

Yesterday I actually thought about putting a helmet on, so that when my head exploded, the helmet would reduce the amount of mess my loved ones would have to clean up.

It has been a long week ya'll.  And it's only Wednesday.

It has been a perfect storm of activities and Hubby working late and me working extra at the preschool.  Things like...

Boy Scout meeting on Tuesday, and oh yeah, they're building belated gingerbread houses to complete their engineering badge and Phoenix is the patrol leader so we have to bring the candy and other ingredients.

Catholic Schools Week all week, with a different theme each day, and we were told at the end of last week what each day would be.  Catholic schools through the decades day about did me in.  We had 15 minutes to walk through Goodwill to try and find some 70s or 80s garb for three kids, none of whom knew what 70s or 80s garb looked like, but were thoroughly not happy that I wasn't looking hard enough to find them something specific.  Studded white pants and jacket, you want?  Shocking that Goodwill doesn't have such things on hand. 

Science Fair due on Friday.  For two different children.  I often wonder what evil monster came up with the science fair.  At our school it has always been a pain in the keester, but at least it was pass/fail and not that big of a deal.  Starting last year, it became a huge deal with a huge grade attached to it.  For both science and language arts.  I am a parent who will not do her child's homework for him, including big projects.   However, there are some things that the child can't do, so I must.  Take and print photos.  Schedule at least 30 people with certain eye colors to file through our home and take an eye test in our upstairs bathroom, which means said upstairs bathroom and the trail to it need to be mostly clean at all times.  A display board must be purchased.  Help deciphering web sites must be given.  Teaching the terms and ideas in the research must be done.  

Volleyball game on Tuesday.  Where I have the following conversation with the dad of one of Buttercup's teammates:

Him: So, are you stay at home or work outside?

Me:  I'm at home with the three and four year olds still.

Him:  You have two young kids?

Me:  Yes.

Him:  You haven't figured out how that happens yet?

It took everything I had not to punch him in the nose.  Of all the comments people make about me and my large family, that one is a leader in comments that annoy me the most.  And this was the wrong week to say it to me.  The. wrong. week.

Parent-teacher conferences at preschool.  While I don't have to attend the conferences of all the kids, I need to be the teacher while the teacher has the conferences.  Get there early, take care of the room by myself for three hours, then come and do it again the next day, except with the other class which is full of kids I don't know all that well. 

8th grade retreat.  On Tuesday, Phoenix didn't have to go to school until 9, then got out a full hour after the other kids.   So I spent the hour taking the other kids to Target to look for non-existent uniform pants, seeing as how they all have outgrown theirs.  Plus, the next day is dress-up day at school, but girls aren't allowed to wear skirts or dresses, and dear Buttercup doesn't have dress pants, so we have to find those in the 15 minutes I've allotted to shopping.

Oh, and I had a few kids to feed and nurture and love on.

It just goes on and on and on these last few days.

Girl drama at school.

Get-together for 8th grade boys at Skyzone.

Soccer practice.

The old lock on the door gets locked accidentally, so we have to run through the mud and and rain to get to the back door every time we leave the house until I have 5 minutes to take the door apart and fix it.

The light in the playroom, completely out of the blue, flickers and sends sparks showering down on the boys and the fuseball table.

On and on I say.

And Hubby is swamped at work.  He had to work late last night.  Really late.  10:30 late.

Just yesterday, I was in the car long enough to drive to Kentucky, visit with my mom, and drive back.  Except I didn't drive to Kentucky.  I simply drove up and down the same stretch of road over and over and over again.

I so wanted to be angry with Hubby.  I so wanted to be the martyr and just go off on him when he got home.  I wanted to blame him for my exhaustion and my exploding head and the dishes I didn't get done and the laundry filling every laundry basket.  I wanted to tell him he was being a lousy parent, leaving me to deal with absolutely everything around here.

I really, really wanted him to be the bad guy.

Unfortunately for my mood, I just couldn't.

He works late maybe 5 times a year.

He doesn't travel, ever.

And I know he would much rather be here helping me and the kids than at work mediating other people's problems. 

There is no one to be mad at.

It is just simply a relatively short patch of time in which everything is coming together at the same time to create a ridiculous amount of things to do.  We will live through it.  We will be fine.  We can even have some laughs.  But it is wearing me out. 

The white flag is in my pocket.

The last straw is dangling.

The fat lady is warming up her vocal chords.

Somebody better warn that volleyball dad to not say something really stupid like, "Don't you have a TV in your house?"  He will get punched in the nose for that one.

I hate to end on a sour note, so I will end with a funny story or two from Turken's conference.

The teacher takes each child out of the room and tests him on colors, letters, numbers, shapes, and a variety of other things.  She told Turken that she wanted him to count, starting with one, and keep going until she told him to stop.  With a completely straight face and dead serious tone, he did what she said.


She was laughing so hard on the inside that she couldn't stop him until he said "one" at least twenty times.  In 15 years, she had never had a kid do that before.

She also had to tell me that when the kids are taken to the gym to play, it becomes very obvious he has lots of brothers.  One day, after he tackled the 4th kid without ever being tackled himself, she told him that he was playing too rough.  He looked at her with complete confusion and said, "But we're playing football."

Here's to a calmer tomorrow!

Have a lovely day!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Listicles - My Forgotten Dreams

Let's just hop on into our Monday Listicles topic this week, shall we?

10 9 Things I Thought as a Child I Would Do/Be:
(I worked all 14 brain cells that the children have let me keep.  I can only come up with nine.)

1.  For sure and for certain, I was going to be a Publisher's Clearinghouse Million Dollar Sweepstakes winner.  They were going to show up at my door with the balloons and the microphone in my face and the big check that would change my life.  I pictured myself yelling and screaming and making a right scene, so they would show it on TV every year.  There was no purchase necessary, so I filled out every entry form that came into our house.  Update:  Yeah, it didn't happen.  I'm guessing my mom never actually mailed my entry forms.  Otherwise, I'd be sitting in my mansion right next to those Beverly Hillbillies right about now.

2. I was going to run in the Olympics. When I was a kid, we played tag at recess all the time. Even the boys couldn't catch me. In gym class, we would have races, and only one boy could beat me.   In 6th grade, we had to draw a picture of what we were going to be when we grew up. I drew a picture of myself running for the United StatesOnce in 7th grade I was finally old enough to run on a track team.  Turns out, I was pretty fast.  Update: I was fast enough to run on a scholarship in college. I was not even close to fast enough to run in the Olympics.

3.  I was going to work with Jacques Cousteau.  I have always been fascinated by sea creatures.  They are just beautiful and so mysterious to me.  I was going to get a job working with the king of all marine biologists in order to see these animals up close and personal.  In my mind, the fact that I was scared of sharks even in the 12 foot deep end of a pool and had no intentions of actually scuba diving ever in my life did not preclude me from getting said job.  Update:  Unfortunately, dear Jacques passed away before I could realize my dream.  On our honeymoon in 1994 (three years before Jacques died) I tried my hand at snorkeling.  Let's just say that if Jacques could have seen me, he would have been very disappointed in his new hire.

4.  I was also going to be a famous artist.  Do you remember the art contest forms that would come in the mail or be stuffed in magazines?  You would have to draw a picture of a turtle usually, and send it in for serious official artists to critique.  I totally drew my turtle and mailed it in.  Several weeks (or months.  I don't know exactly.) later, I got word.  I HAD POTENTIAL!!!  I was invited to participate in some through-the-mail drawing lessons!  I was on the verge of hitting it big.  Until, once again, my parents stomped on my dream.  They informed me that the lessons were a scam, and that I most certainly was not going to pay for drawing lessons through the mail.  Update:  I never took drawing lessons.  Turns out, I didn't need to.  I draw quite well without them, and have talent enough to draw anything to a degree that a small child can at least recognize what I am trying to draw.

4.  From the time I was in 2nd grade I wanted to be a teacher.  It never varied.  I could do lots of things on the side, but leading a classroom full of kids was where I wanted to be.  Update:  It is the one thing I actually accomplished.  And I love it.

5.  I was going to be Jewish.  Or at least the best Catholic fake Jew I could be.  Our neighbors were Jewish, and I spent a whole lot of time babysitting their children.  I frequently spent time at their house even when I wasn't babysitting, as the mom was just a fun, interesting lady.   She taught me Hebrew, she let me participate in their Jewish traditions, she took me to the local Jewish Community Center.  Plus, they always had Jello Fudgepops in the freezer.  I loved those things.  If it meant being Jewish to have them, by golly I was going to be Jewish. Update:  I'm not Jewish.

6.  I always wanted to have a whole mess of kids, but never did I want to give birth.  I told everyone that there were plenty of kids in this world who needed a home, and I would give it to them.  12 of them in fact.  No need for me to go through the pain of childbirth if I didn't have to.  Update:  Gave birth six times.  Hubby doesn't agree on my idea of birthing six and adopting six.  The birthed six have about done him in.

7.  I must have wanted to be an old lady.  I did old lady things way before my time.  At the age of 12 or so I took a Jazzercise class with a whole room full of old women.  I took the sign language class at the library, and I was the only person there under the age of 40.  I took a basket weaving class for crying out loud.  I don't know if the class took place in an actual nursing home, but I was most certainly the only one in the class without grey hair and wrinkled hands.  Update:   I have finally reached my goal.  I am old.

8.  I was going to be a computer programmer.  When I was in 7th grade, our school got its first computer, and it was put in my classroom.  They changed out the wood door to the room and replaced it with a metal security door.  That's how big of a deal that computer was at the time.  I gave up having friends and became the computer geek on the spot.  I wrote all sorts of programs and saved them to my floppy disk.  I could make the screen go from green to blue to yellow to a picture of an American flag.  Totally impressive stuff.  I loved working with that computer, and thought for sure it was going to be a big part of my life.  In high school, I was still hopeful.  I took a computer class and wrote more programs.  I even made my own phone book of sorts.  Can we say "big leagues"?  Update:  I am the least computer savvy person that you know.  Not that long ago, I completely disgusted my sister when she said, "I'll Google it." and I said, "What's a google?" 

9.  I was going to be pet-free for my entire life.  We had a whole string of pets when I was a kid.  Countless dogs, a cat, gerbils, a bird, even a duck for a while.  Through it all, I learned that I don't like animals.  Especially dogs.  They scared the pants off me.  I even thought about telling my future children that I was allergic to animals in order to not have to fight that battle.  Update:  I fell in love with a house that happened to come with chickens.  I now have lots of animals.  Including two dogs.  I don't hate them.  Except when they eat my chickens or tear up our car.  At those times, I don't really like them all that much.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I'm a Touch Annoyed With Myself Lately

You know what annoys me?

After visiting with friends and playing volleyball for over an hour, going to the bathroom and finding that I have a (what seems like) 5 inch hair sticking straight out from my chin.  And I don't have an emergency pair of tweezers in my sweat pants pocket.

Is it a Miracle-gro hair or did I really miss that hair every single day for two weeks in my "find the rogue hair growth" morning routine?

And how many people saw it but chose not to tell me?

You know what else annoys me?

When a person points to someone and says, "Who is that?" and I know the person at whom she is pointing, but I cannot for the life of me remember her name.  No joke, this just happened last week.  I knew that her name had the letter C and she has three daughters. The girls are in college, 8th grade, and 6th grade.  She has a company that does voice-overs for ads and such.  Her husband is an administrator at a local high school.  She was good friends with a good friend of mine.  I know every daggum thing about her except her ever-lovin' name.

Until 30 minutes later.

Out of nowhere, in the middle of a basketball game, it comes to me.

Do I simply bank that info for a later time when I can tell the original person who asked?

Of course not.

I pull a Turrets move and just yell out "Smith!"  (Smith is not her real last name, but it would be pretty rude of me to use her last name on the blog when I don't even use mine.)

Everyone within a 5 foot radius turns to look at me, and I have to sheepishly smile and say, "I remembered her name.  Someone asked who she was.  I finally remembered.  So sorry.  Look!  A fast break!"

Perhaps you'll notice that I said her name had a C in it.  "Smith" does not have a C in it.  (Neither does her real last name.)

So I sit, dumbfounded that my brain led me so far astray to let me be so sure that there was a C in the name.

Until 30 minutes later.

When I once again blurt out the answer that has been riiiiiiight there, but unreachable all night.  "Cathy!"  (Cathy is not the real first name.  You know the drill by now.)

People look.  People don't even ask.  They know I've lost my mind, so they simply turn back to what they were doing.

Cathy is not her name.  It is her daughter's name. 

But once I get the Cathy part, the floodgates open and I remember.

Finally, I remember her name.

But by then, my friend who originally asked me, "Who is that?" has moved on.

She has moved on to a conversation with someone who can actually have a conversation in less than an hour and with less commotion. 

Yeah, that really annoys me.

You know what else annoys me?

When the UPS guy drops off my new rug for the kitchen, and as he hands it to me, he starts to say something. 

Do I wait for him to actually finish his thought before I respond?

Of course not.

My brain assumes he's going to say "Have a nice weekend."

But then he doesn't say, "Have a nice weekend."  He says, "Hope you enjoy the rug."

Unfortunately, my brain isn't as fast as my mouth, so I respond to the first, assumed question and say, "You, too!"

Then there's that awkward moment where we both realize I wasn't really listening when he spoke. 

And he most certainly won't be enjoying the rug.

Hate it when that happens.

Please tell me something that you do that annoys you.

Or tell me something that I do that annoys you.

Either way. 

Have a lovely day!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Better Late Than Never. Right?

I have been so, so bad about acknowledging the lovely ladies who have nominated me for awards.  In fact, I can only remember one.  And Stephanie nominated me yesterday, so that's two.  I know there is at least one more that someone has given me, but I have been all through my comments and cannot for the life of me find it.  If it was you, I am so sorry.  My brain doesn't work on all cylinders.  Actually, I think I have approximately 5 brain cells bouncing around trying to do the work of 5 billion.  They are a little tired.  And slow.  Don't ask me to name my kids kind of slow.

These ladies were so nice to think of me, and there I sat, not following through.  So, today, I will finally get on it.

Back on December 6 (I know!  I'm horrible!  No need to beat a dead horse.) the very talented Isobel Morrell from Coldham Cuddlies nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award.  Isobel is the sweetest lady and has been living quite an interesting life.  She has been making toys for somewhere around 50 years and now has an Etsy shop to sell them. 

And yesterday, Stephanie from Mommy, for Real nominated me, too!  Not only is she a funny blogger, she is one of the best commenters in blogland. 

Each of these ladies has given me a list of questions to answer. 

First, from Isobel:

(1) Got your Christmas cards done yet?  Yeah, seeing as she nominated me in December, this is a very relevant question.  It is only because I am a slacker that it sounds like an odd question.  But to answer, yes, I do have my 2012 cards done.  Haven't started the 2013 one yet.  Can we say procrastinator?

(2) What do you hate most in life?  I really don't like it when people intentionally hurt others.

(3) Now the opposite - the best thing for you?  My husband.  I know so many moms would say their kids, but I see my job as to guide them to be independent beings.  My husband and I will be living together for the rest of our lives.  He is done being an independent being.  And I couldn't be happier about it.  I'd appreciate it if you don't ask him how he feels.  :)

(4) Dogs, Cats or Another Animal?  Being a fake farmer, you'd think I would be an animal lover.  Not so.  Because I'm a fake.  I mean, I am fine with them, but if I'm going to have an animal, it will serve a specific purpose.  No pets at this house.

(5) Favourite Carol?  Once again, seems out of place at the end of January.  My fault.  I love Christmas music in general, and have a hard time picking one.  I do, however, have a favorite song that the kids sing at the Christmas concert most years.  "Must Be Santa".

(6) Apart from Walmart, where do you shop?  Meijer.  That's it.  It has the best produce section on Indy's southside.

(7) Your favourite food?  Anything I don't have to cook would be my first thought.  I just like food in general.  Anything except sweet potatoes, peas, or anything really spicy.

(8) Favourite colour?  It has always been blue, but as I age, I am beginning to like a lot more variety.  Like the Harvest Gold in my new kitchen.  (which is done done.  I will be posting a final kitchen roundup hopefully this weekend.)

(9) New Year’s resolution yet?  Nope.  Never make them.

(10) Christmas this year: home or away?  We have gone back to our hometown every single year except one.  Always will.

(11) New Year wish?  That everyone, me included, learns to be a little more respectful towards others.

And now for Stephanie's questions.  They will probably be a touch more current, seeing as how she gave them to me yesterday. 

1. Are you superstitious?  Not really, but I don't go out of my way to walk under ladders, break any mirrors, or let a black cat cross my path.

2. What is your favorite part of the day?  In the morning, I love, love, love it when the little boys cuddle up in my lap to ease into their day.  Until they start arguing about who has more room on my lap and complaining that they are hungry.  My second favorite part is after everyone is in bed and I can have some peace and quiet by myself for a bit.

3.  Name something you are really good at.  Procrastinating.  (See #1 in Isobel's questions.  Or the fact that I am just now getting to her questions.  That's a big clue, right there.)  And getting people to laugh.   

4.  Name something you are really bad at.  Keeping my mouth shut.  

5.  How much sleep do you need at night to get through your day?   Seven is a good number.  Eight is fabulous, but it rarely happens.

6.  If you could have any job, what would it be?  On a book club trip, one of my friends asked this question, but added "and not fail" to it.  I surprised everyone when I said I would be a stand-up comedian.  I do enjoy making people laugh.  That's hard work, though, coming up with all those funny things to say.  I would also love to be in plays.  I took "Acting for the Non-Major" in college and loved every minute of it.  And of course, I'm all drama all the time working and playing with kids.  Acting would be such fun.

7.  If you could go on vacation anywhere for free, where would you go?  I would go around the world (not in 80 days), stopping whenever the mood struck.

8.  What is your favorite thing about blogging?  Besides the fact that it keeps me in the "Dad's Favorite Child" spot, I love that I am actually making friends all over the world.  I so enjoy getting new perspectives and laughing along with people.   

9.  What is your least favorite thing about blogging?  Those seconds right before I push the "publish" button, I doubt myself and wonder if anyone will find it interesting or funny or whatever it is I hope them to feel. 

10.  What is your favorite movie?  The Jerk, with Steve Martin, is of course my favorite comedy, but Shawshank Redemption was one fine flick.

11.  What is your worst habit? I am all over my kids about brushing their teeth every single morning and evening, but when I am up late (which is too often) I am so tired that I don't bother to brush my own.  (I think I need to change my answer to #9.  My least favorite thing about blogging is that I have a tendency to say things that really should be kept private.)

As with all awards, I am supposed to nominate some more blogs and come up with more questions.  I didn't get my 7 hours of sleep last night, so I'm not functioning well enough to do that. 

I really just wanted to acknowledge Isobel, Stephanie, and award-giver #3, and thank them for thinking of me.   They came up with some good questions, too, so I enjoyed answering them.

Have a lovely day!

FTSF When I Was Younger, I Tried...

everything I could.  I took diving lessons.  I took baton lessons.  (Although I ended up hating that.  I clearly remember the day I decided I wasn't going anymore.  It took my mom and two other adults to forcibly put me in the car. (I was a touch stubborn back then.))  I took an aerobics class.  If it was offered, I took it.

The one class that sticks out in my mind the most was the time I took sign language classes at the library.  While I learned and still remember how to say the alphabet, french fries, "my name is", and various other random words, the biggest lesson I learned in the class was that my parents have secrets. 

One day in the middle of our lesson, the instructor told us about a couple in which both the husband and wife were deaf.  They had their grandson over for a visit and had gone somewhere.  After arriving home, they went to bed.  All three died overnight because the car was never turned off and fumes filled the house.  It was a very tragic story, and it stuck with me.

On the way home, I told my mom about the family.  She didn't say anything for a while.  It was almost like she was debating something in her head.  And then she said, "That was our house.  We bought it after the couple died."

My response, "Are you kidding me??? I lived in a house where people died and you didn't tell me??"  Yes, a self-centered response.  I was 12 or so.  All 12 year olds are self-centered to some degree.  Cut me some slack.

She went on, "Well, we lived in a house where the lights flashed when the doorbell rang.  There were lots of clues that a deaf family lived there."

I had zero recollection of lights flashing.

We lived in that house from the time I was 4 or so until I was in the first grade.  I don't remember anything unusual about it.  Except that there were horribly mean dogs across the street.   Dogs that would tear after us if they got loose.  Dogs that my policeman father actually shot at when they came after us.  The dogs I remember.

The flashing lights I do not.  I'm guessing that with the mean dogs across the street, very few people actually rang the doorbell.

Regardless, flashing lights may be a clue that deaf people lived there.  They are not a clue that three people died a tragic death.

She is so lucky that we no longer lived in that house.

This incident made me realize that my parents had secrets and stories that I knew nothing about.  Over the years I have learned of many, many more.  Usually in crowded, embarrassing situations where I look like an idiot.  Remind me to tell you of the shells from Canada.  Or our pet duck's demise.  

So many secrets...

Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday. 

Finish the Sentence Friday
Now tell me, what did you try when you were younger?
Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Great Unveiling - I Have a Badge!

You know how I said we would not live in fear but look for the good in people?  Have I got some good to share with you!!!

I have an email account specifically for this here blog.  I get maybe one or two emails a day that aren't spam.  Two days ago, I got one from Christine, from The Aums, that said,

Just wanted to say thank you for visiting my blog when you do and leaving comments. I really appreciate it.
I think the answer is no but wanted to double check whether you/your blog is on twitter or has a facebook page. Just wondering if there are other place to follow you.
So, I've been making blog buttons/badges/whatever they're called lately, and I made one for you (attached). It's nothing fancy, just something that you can put in your sidebar for others to grab and it's great for pinterest if anyone (like me) wants to pin your blog. I know this is randomly out of the blue so...if you'd like it, I can give you the code you'll need to install it. If you sort of like it but have a suggestion to make it better (I just tried to stick with your blog theme) I'm all ears. Or if you're like what they heck do I need that for, that's okay too. Just let me know.
Can you even believe that???
First of all, the fact that she wanted to pin something made me smile.  Can't imagine what it would be.  I know it isn't for my crafting abilities! 
Secondly, she didn't make fun of me or get on my case about not having a button.  I can totally see myself doing such a thing if I had any clue how to make a badge/button and my friend did not.
Nope, she went the super-kind and generous route and just made one for me! 
I know for a fact that she didn't make it because she was bored and had nothing to do.  No, making this badge means she had to lock herself in the bathroom for a bit. 
Once again, I am just astounded by the kindness of people.  Christine and I have never met in person, but here she is being so helpful as to see a need and do something about it without being asked.  (She didn't even ask for anything in return!  Although if I'm missing out on some blogging courtesy that I am clueless about, please tell me!)
What have we learned from this?
1.  I am not the only one who knows I am clueless about computers.
2.  Buttons are cool.
3.  Christine is about the nicest person I know.
So, have a look-see at my new badge there in the side bar.  Oooh and aaaahh for a few seconds, then click on Christine's badge right below mine. It will take you to Christine's blog.  Read her blog.  You will laugh.  You will think.  You will follow her.
Got it?
Git to gittin'!
Have a lovely day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Listicles - The Closets Come Open. I Wish.

Stasha has chosen our Listicle topic to be 10 Things in Your Closet.

I have some good news and some bad news.

First, the good news.  I don't have any skeletons in my closet.

The bad news is, I don't have skeletons in my closet because I DON'T HAVE A CLOSET!

Our house was built in 1866.  Would normally be a good excuse, as most houses didn't have closets back then.  Alas, the builders were forward thinkers, and each of the original rooms has at least 2 closets.

Our bedroom was added on in the 1990s, and the family in possession of the house at that time had more of an "I don't care if it's practical or even proper" attitude.  So, Hubby and I are left without a closet.  We do have a wardrobe that houses a few of the things that we wear regularly.  Basically, a few pairs of Hubby's work pants and shirts, and a few blouses and jackets for me.

Today, I give you 10 Groups of Things That Would Be in My Closet Instead of Scattered About My Room.

1.  The Drying Rack.  (We're starting out small.  Don't want to appall you right out of the gate.)

Right now it simply hangs out against our wardrobe.  I suppose I could get a towel that goes with the decor of our bedroom, but honestly, the decor is awful.  You'll see glimpses of it in future photos.  It was chosen by the previous owners.  The ones who thought a closet was too much trouble.

2.  The million or so bags of the duffel, backpack, and beach variety.

The bags seem to multiply rather rapidly.  Perhaps the dark, private ambiance they have under the bed has something to do with it.

3.  My robe.

Draped over the bedpost isn't exactly attractive.  (Can you see even more bags worming their way out from under the bed?  Multiplying, I tell you?!?!)

4.  My shoes.

I do have a shoe hanger on the back of our bedroom door, but it ain't enough.  First of all, I can't keep boots in it.  Second of all, there isn't enough room.  You can only put one heel in each slot.  So, I get to trip over my shoes as I enter our room.

5.  Old computer paraphernalia.

For some reason, it is a rule here at the coop that we can't just get rid of old computers.  They are tucked into closets all around the house.  This one is in our bedroom, right outside the bathroom, just waiting for it's chance at a permanent home in a closet.

6.  My sweaters.

Have you heard me mention that it gets rather chilly here in Indiana?  I must wear sweaters, but they take up a whole lot of room.  So, into boxes under the bed they go.

7.   Future Christmas store gifts.

Our church sponsors a Christmas store each year.  All year long I am on the lookout for things on super-clearance that would be good for the store.  Unfortunately, there is no closet in which to house these awesome deals, so wedged between the wardrobe and the wall they go.

8.  But where are my fancy frocks, you ask?  Surely those are not stuffed into a ball under your dresser?  No, they aren't under the dresser, and don't call me Shirley.  (Catch that??? Movie quote from last week's list.)  Fancy frocks and other articles that must go on a hangar.

From my room, go across the landing, down three steps, up 5 steps, across the other landing and into the little boys' room.  I get the approximately 8 inches of closet space that Hubby's suits don't take up.

9. My hot tub.

OK, so we don't have a hot tub.  But I would love to have on in my closet.  And yes, I would get one that, when I sit in it, makes me look like I'm being made into wine.

10.  And while we're dreaming, might as well add this.

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Heavens to Betsy

Heavens. to. Betsy.

Why, you may or probably won't ask, do I keep saying that?

I'll tell you why (anyway).

"Heavens to Betsy...

...this is not a house in which a person should have to endure a broken bone."  The kids keep stomping on Hubby's still swollen, black, and blue foot.  When they are in bed and he and I are relaxing on the couch and the foot is propped up on a pillow, I continuously bump him with my elbow as I type.

...there is a reason I did not become a nurse!"  We've seen this in my less than stellar care of Hubby and his foot.  I proved it after Giant had a nose-to-head collision with an opposing player during their basketball game on Friday night.  He seems to have broken his nose.  (no blood, bit of swelling, but it looks flatter than it used to be)  This morning when I asked if it still hurt, he said, "Only when I touch it or scrunch it up."  My response, "Well, then don't touch it or scrunch it up." 

Moving on.

...will somebody, anybody, please get Taylor Swift out of my head?"  The next person who sings her song (yes, I'm talking to you dear Hubby) will be in serous trouble, trouble, trouble.

...we have finally moved into the 21st century!"  Wireless and unlimited data have entered the coop!  And I haven't seen the whites of the boys' eyes since it was installed yesterday.  Limits begin Monday night.

...Phoenix's feet better keep growing!"  I was told by a lovely friend that Dick's had a huge table of cleats on super clearance.  I headed right on over.  There was one, and only one, pair of cleats that I thought might fit Phoenix.  A size 14.  They were normally $220, and I could get them for $55.  I bought them with one hand and crossed my fingers with the other.  He tried them on tonight, and they are half a size too big.  After all of the money I've plunked down buying bigger and bigger shoes for that boy, his feet darn well have the decency to grow another half an inch so he can wear these at some point. 

...boys' hair grows too stinkin' fast!"   Turken's double crown is forever sticking up, but I find it hilarious and don't see the need to cut it.  Giant's hair is hanging in his eyes, but he likes it that way, so I'm not in a hurry to cut it.  Cuckoo has been constantly brushing the hair off his forehead and telling me, "I need a haircut."  It may be time.

...Hubby is no longer allowed to put conditions on games!"  The kids got a new game for Christmas (Ticket to Ride), and it's a good one.  We all sat down to play it, then Hubby said, "Whoever wins gets to sit and relax.  Whoever gets second cleans the basement for 5 minutes.  Third gets 10 minutes of cleaning, and last gets 15 minutes."  I lost.  Everyone has done their time.  I have had better things to do, and have really just ignored it, hoping everyone would forget about it.  (I do enough cleaning around here, for crying out loud!)  Unfortunately, we have one child who must be part elephant.  Every single night, as I close the door and wish the little boys goodnight, I hear the usual from Turken, "Good-bye!  Sleep well!  Don't talk!  Don't get out of bed!"  (Yes, he tells us these things every night.  Like I would want to talk or get out of bed.)  Now, though, he adds a quick, "Don't forget to clean the basement for 15 minutes!"  It was funny the first time.

...who had the bright idea of building an indoor soccer field at our club?"  Soccer used to run for two clear and cut seasons.  Now that we have an indoor facility, not so much.  Soccer practice starts tomorrow.  Yeah.  January 21.  And I highly doubt Phoenix's feet will grow half an inch by then. is COLD in this house!"  We had a couple of warmer (40s) sunny days, but the wind started to howl yesterday.  I like the sound of howling wind, but I don't like the feel of it.  Howling wind finds every single crack in every single 150 year old window in the house.  Howling wind means I freeze my tail off.

...what the heck is wrong with Phoenix???"  Four times in the last 4 days, his left middle finger has gone completely white.  Like no circulation is getting to his finger.  During such episodes, he says it feels numb.  Each episode lasts about 15 minutes.  Weird.  I thought it may be because he was cold, but it has never happened in our house.

...what is it with the snorting?"  When Giant was little, he had ticks.  For a month or so, he did this blinking thing all day long.  Then he moved to clearing his throat.  Each month or so, there was something different.  Eventually, they went away.  Turken has now begun some ticking.  He keeps snorting.  It's just a bit on this side of annoying.  Although, now that I think about it, his other tick is patting his ears.  Huh. bad of a mom will our doctor think I am when I make an appointment for a child who may have broken his nose four days ago, a child who has lost circulation for no clear reason four times, and a child who may have been living with a double ear infection for over a week?"  And then show up with a bunch of ragamuffins who can't see through all of the hair in their faces?  Probably should make that appointment before Phoenix tears a tendon in his knee from wearing shoes that are too big for him.  Otherwise, I will be in serious trouble, trouble, trouble.

Shame on me.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Peril of Enjoying Your Mother's Company

The kids did not wear my mom out.

She did not fall asleep at 8:00.

In fact, she kept me up until almost 2:00am with all her yappin'. 

OK, I did a bit of the yappin' too.

So, no awesome post today.

I am linking up with Kate's Finish the Sentence Friday hop, though, since I already have a post written. 

The sentence to finish this week:

The last time I went on vacation, I...

Remember, I took Buttercup to Atlanta and we stumbled upon the set of the new Hunger Games movie?

Don't remember?  Go here.

Finish the Sentence Friday

Have a lovely day!

I'm going to go have a lie down.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Funny Teens and Such

So, Hubby broke his foot.

Despite the vehement protestations of "I have never broken a bone in my life.  It's not broken."

He managed to hold off a full 12 hours after the volleyball incident that caused aforementioned break before admitting that he may have been mistaken.

It took every ounce of self-control I had during those 12 hours to not make fun of him.  I knew if I said one word, he would be all "You are the one that made me join the volleyball league in the first place.  I wanted to stay home and watch TV and cuddle on the couch with my wife."  I could see it in his eyes, so I said nary a word.

Fortunately, I have children who pay attention and are beginning to get a sense of humor just like ours.  They've got my back.

Referring to an incident two years ago in which Hubby tore a ligament in his finger (which required a cast, voice-recognition software at work, and me taking over his dish-washing chores) while taking his socks off...

I'll give you a second to reread that sentence, because I knowit is quite the run-on and it is hard to believe he did such a thing.

After we arrived home from the hospital and told the children of the broken foot diagnosis, Buttercup looked at Hubby and said, "Well, at least this injury is legitimate."


The children were recently given a little speech about personal hygiene.  How I shouldn't have to track them down to make sure they are showering/brushing teeth/using deodorant/all other ways to keep themselves from being smelly, disgusting embarrassments.

This morning, during our breakfast prayer time, I said, in part, the following prayer:

Please be with all those who are pregnant or wishing to be.  Keep them and their babies healthy through the birth.
Help us to see ways we can be blessings to others, and give us the courage to be the people you want us to be.
Thank you for our healthy bodies.  Help us to remember to respect them and care for them.

Afterwards I said with a smirk, "Did you notice I put in a bit about God helping you all?"

Phoenix replied, "Don't worry.  I'm not pregnant."


This has absolutely nothing to do with teenagers.  It's not even funny, but it can lead to something funny.

Every week, Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine has a "Caption That" photo contest.  She posts a photo of someone doing something silly or looking ridiculous, and then readers submit funny captions for it.  Her husband chooses a winner.

Last week she asked for some photos to use, so I sent her some.  Today, she is using mine.  Click over to see the photo and submit your own caption.


No funny teens here either.  This is more of the "and such".  My mom is coming for a "see the kitchen, and oh, yeah, the grandkids" visit for a few days, so don't be expecting much posting.  Unless we wear her out and she falls asleep at 8:00.  Always a possibility.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Listicle Day! - Movie Quotes

This week's Monday Listicles topic is a fun one.  (But aren't they all?)  Today, we are to discuss 10 Movie Quotes.   Or Movie Scenes.  Or Movie Something.  I'm a bit hesitant to link this week, not because I don't have anything to say, but because I'm worried you will now think less of me.  I know how much you appreciate my mature, intelligent posts.  This one is going to show you what an immature nerd I really am.

Oh well.

Here goes.

10 Movie Lines I Quote on a Regular Basis

10.  "This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy."  Clark Griswald, National Lampoon's Vacation.  Every time I find myself having to do something ridiculous.  Like hiking a river bed with five boys.

9.  "ESPN The Ocho"  the announcer in Dodgeball.  Whenever Hubby or the boys are watching some ESPN spin-off channel, I start with the Ocho.  If you are a fan of Jason Bateman, you need to watch this movie.  Hilarious.

8.  "Surely you can't be serious."  Ted Striker, then "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley." Rumack, from Airplane.  My mom and I say this, each with our own part, just about every time we talk on the phone.

7.  (singing.  Always while singing) "What do you do with a problem like Maria?"  Reverend Mother from Sound of Music.  (Finally a mature movie)  I sing this every time a child is having a bad day.  Or hour. 

6.  "Dear Lord baby Jesus..."  Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.  This movie made me laugh so hard.  And the scene around the dinner table, praying to baby Jesus made me pee my pants.  Whenever I say a prayer to myself to help me through a difficult moment, I always start with this.

5.  "Look kids, Big Ben."  Clark Griswald in National Lampoon's European Vacation.  It seems we Americans are jumping on the European bandwagon and putting in roundabouts instead of four-way stops.  Every. Single. Time. we go around a roundabout, I say it.  My poor children, who haven't seen the movie, have no idea why I say it. 

4.  "Talk to me, Goose."  Meverick in Top Gun.  When I want someone to talk to me.  Duh.

3.  "Merely a flesh wound."  Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.   Every single time somone in my house gets a scrape or cut that bleeds.  Every single time.

I could have done the entire list from one movie.  I, as well as most of my extended family, knows every line of The Jerk starring Steve Martin.  I can't narrow down to two quotes, so here is a quick list of quotes I use all the time.  Or at least think in my head in proper situations.

"I was born a poor, black child."
"Stay away from the cans!"
"That's all I need.  This chair and this thermos...That's all I need...and this ashtray"
"I have a special purpose!"
"The first day seemed like two...  The third day was just a day."
"The new phone book's here!  The new phone book's here!  I'm somebody now!"
(singing) "I'm picking out a Thermos for you, not and ordinary Thermos will do, but the very best Thermos I can find..."
"Take a chance and win some crap!"
"I don't wanna puke!"

OK, enough.  Just watch the movie.  Not with me, though.  I'll annoy the tar out of you, laughing and quoting before every line.

You can tell alot about a person from the type of movies she quotes.  I hope you can still be my friend.

Have a lovely day!

Update:  Oh my word, I am reading other people's lists and I am rolling over the quotes I forgot to add. 
"You're killing me, Smalls"
"One time, at band camp..."
"Build it and they will come."
Run, Forrest, run!"
So many more.

Get on over to Stasha's and get to reading.  You will be amazed at how much of your daily conversations come from movies.

Now git!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Springlike Goodness

We've had our blizzard-like snow.

We've played in it.

We've dug our cars out of it.

Time for spring now, right?

For two days we have been able to forget about the two months of winter hibernation on the horizon.

It has been a glorious 60 degrees.

With a wind chill of fantastically lovely.

(I'm guessing only my readers above the Mason-Dixon line and this side of the pond understand what that last sentence means.)

We've been outside in short-sleeves, ya'll!

Giant worked on his tennis swing.

Star and Turken have been getting in a whole mess of football.


A lot of snow has melted in the warm weather, which has left lots of mud.

Little boy filthy knees make me so happy.

(As do little boys trying their best to pose for a photo of their own creation.)

The weather and the boys playing in it made me so happy and full of energy, I actually began cleaning out the chicken coop.

Four very full wheelbarrow loads of chicken coop bedding is now nicely raked over the garden.

Spreading chicken compost really makes us yearn for spring and fresh fruit and veggies.

So of course we pulled out the waist-high stack of gardening catalogues that have been mailed to us in the last two weeks.

Green beans, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, garlic, potatoes, onions, lettuce, and spinach. 

Yes, please!

We know that this bit of warm weather won't last.  We will wake up on Monday to 15 degree frigidness. 

But until then, we are going to enjoy the reprieve.

In a most unbecoming way.

And yes, that spot on his forehead is the same tattoo he received two days after Christmas.  They're taking a touch long to go away.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quick Takes

Jen from Conversion Diary, barely out of the hospital from a double pulmonary embolism, has managed to put some quick takes together.  Surely I can.

************ 1 ***********

So my last post was all about how I won't live in fear, nor will I let my kids. 

Apparently, we have reason to be scared of things much closer to home.

Cuckoo was sitting on my lap as I read him a story.  When I turned the page, I poked him in the eye.  with the page of the book.  He immediately started screaming and crying.  Tears streaming down his face, unable to open his eye, he managed to yell, "I don't want you to read that book NEVER!"  and "You hurt me!  I don't want you to hurt me NEVER!"

It went on for a good long time, to the point I was beginning to worry that I actually gave him a paper cut on his eyeball. 


After about ten minutes, I was able to distract him.

He calmed down when I offered to finish reading the same book.

He agreed after a few, "Don't hold the book so close"s.  And with each page turn an, "I don't want you to hurt me NEVER!"

****************** 2 ******************

Another important PSA:  A store that has the AT&T logo on it probably isn't an actual AT&T store.  We found out the hard way when buying Phoenix his Christmas present phone.  Look for the tiny print on the storefront.  If it says "authorized provider" walk away.  Go to a store where the employees are wearing blue sweaters.

******************* 3 *************

Really, if you can, avoid AT&T stores, too.  They are starting to really annoy me.  Again.

**************** 4 ***************

After our latest 40 minute debacle in AT&T with Cuckoo and Turken at my side, I told the boys that since they were so good in the store, they could play on the mall's merry-go-round and other mechanical riding things.    I have never, ever put money in these things, as it costs $1 for one ride.  The kids have always been quite content to sit on them and push buttons.

Until two kids jumped in the fire truck and their mother PUT MONEY IN THE MACHINE! 

Cuckoo's and Turken's heads snapped up in unison the second the music started playing.  Both of their faces said, "They move?!?!?!?"  They were in such shock that they didn't do anything but stare. 

Until the fire truck stopped its gyrating and the girls hopped on the school bus and their mother put MONEY IN THAT MACHINE, TOO!!! 

That's when it got ugly. 

The boys snapped out of their shock and started bombarding me with questions.  "Can we make it go?"  "Why doesn't ours move?"  "Why don't our buttons make sounds?"  Before I could answer, as I was about to suggest they go back to the nice, quiet merry-go-round, the girls moved to the ambulance, and their mother, of course put money in, at the exact same time that some grandparents put their precious on the merry-go-round and put money in that machine.

The boys' heads started spinning, torn between the flashy machines and giving me the stink eye.

What could I do?

Nothing but snatch the boys up and drag them out.   

And curse those money-wasteing, over-indulging, ruiners of our good, cheap fun.

******************** 5 ****************

Discussion with Turken yesterday:

Turken:  When Phoenix is the dad, who will be the mom?

Me:  I don't know.  Any ideas?

T:  You.

M:  Won't be me.  It will be someone more his age.

T:  Will he be my dad and she be my mom?

M:  No.  I will always be your mom and Dad will always be your dad.

T:  You'll be alive?

Seems even he knows I'm old.

It went on and on, through questions of where everyone will live, if we will see each other every day, how many kids everyone will have, who will cook, and more.

I didn't think Cuckoo was listening until he asked two questions.  The only two things he wanted to know about being an adult were:

1.  Will I get snacks?

2.  Will I have a wallet?

*************** 6 ***************** 

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine, has started a new link-up called Finish the Sentence Friday.  The sentence for the week is

One of the most embarrassing things I ever did was...

I was going to do this link-up this week.  But after wracking my brain for days on end, I realized that I do not get embarrassed.

You'd think that I would be embarrassed after I left our son at home by mistake. Twice. but I wasn't.

Perhaps the time I rode a pig backwards when I was supposed to be helping the farmers load them onto the truck.  I wasn't.

Or when I got my rear end on the big screen at a Colt's game.  Nope.

Even in high school when, during my individual basketball test in gym class in front of the entire class, I did a major trip and fall and slide, I couldn't do anything but laugh.  Not embarrassed in the slightest.

There was one time that I was embarrassed for a second.  A woman yelled at me to sit down at a Purdue football game because she had "a cripple back here trying to see!"  I was embarrassed at first, thinking I had broken some football spectator protocol, but then realized, "Did she just say she has a cripple with her?"  Poor cripple.  She's not exactly the best spokesperson.

I once avoided major embarrassment when at a wedding I went to the bathroom and came out of the stall with my dress caught all up in my hose.  Thank the Lord above a little girl was in the bathroom, too, and was brave enough to tell me about it. 

So, since I don't get embarrassed, I couldn't exactly tell of the time I was most embarrassed.  I can't link up.  But I have read a bunch of other people's stories.  Some funny, funny stuff out there. 

**************** 7 ***********

Had the takes, but not the quick.  So sorry.

Have a lovely day! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

We Will Not Live in Fear

My kids learned a new phrase at school today:  Red Alert. 

At each class change, they had to learn the "safe zones" in their rooms.

My kids actually practiced a new procedure in case someone comes into their school and starts shooting.

That is just a bit on the disturbing side, and I'm torn as to how I feel about it.

If we only listen to the news, we have to assume the world is being overrun by crazy, evil people hell-bent on destroying us.

I am not going to deny that there are some dangerous people out there.

And I'm not going to shelter my kids from that fact.

They lock the doors when they are home alone.

They aren't allowed to go to the mall unsupervised.

They aren't to take the proverbial candy from the stranger.

Whenever they go on a bike ride, they go in pairs.

There are creeps, and I want my children to trust their built-in "creep" radars.

But I am not going to scare my children.

They will talk to strangers all over town in order to learn what is appropriate and what is not.  If they never talk to strangers, they won't know what is normal behavior and what is something to avoid.  They won't be able to learn what "creepy" feels like.  (There is one person in particular who works at a local grocery store.  He creeps me out.  I pay attention to that feeling and discuss it with my kids.)

Yes, they are and will be aware of the danger in the world.

However, I am going to make damn sure they know of all the good, kind people everywhere they go.

They are going to know that the people wanting to help us and be kind to us far outnumber the people wanting to do us harm.  People like...

- the worker who sees a newly lost tooth in a baggy on our kitchen counter and leaves a dollar, just to make a child smile.

- the volunteer coaches who give up so much time to help my kids have fun while becoming better players.

- the kind folks at the grocery store who chat and high five the kids to help the trip be less tedious.

- the moms from school who see my child waiting for me and ask if she needs a ride, a phone to borrow, or just a person with whom to wait.

- the dentist who goes out of his way to acquire teeth from the oral surgeon for my middle schooler doing a science fair project on tooth decay.

- the neighbor who plows our driveway without being asked and without expectations of being repaid.

- the restaurant hostess who takes my kids back to the kitchen to refill their milks and gives them candy canes off the Christmas tree.

- the people who run ahead to hold a door open for us.

- the mom of a student in my class who noticed Cuckoo in the room with me, so made up an extra treat bag on her son's birthday.

- the teacher who goes out of his way to write a note to me explaining something my child did to make the teacher proud.

- the dads who give up a weekend to take a bunch of scouts camping.

- the people who compliment Cuckoo on his tattoos and Turken on his mustache and make them feel like rock stars

- the couple who comes to take care of our animals and farm when we go out of town and while here fixes any fence or window or toilet they know needs fixing.

- the soccer parents who intentionally bring toys and snacks for the little boys to the games.

The list is endless.  And I want my kids to know it.

Because here's the thing.  If someone is hell-bent on hurting one of us, there isn't a whole lot we can do about it.  We can be aware and have discussions about it, but why live in fear of something that probably won't happen that we can't control anyway? 

I would much rather spend my time focusing on the wonderfully caring, generous, kind people sharing this earth with me. 

And I want my children to do the same. 

What are some of the nice things people have done for you lately?

Have a lovely day!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Listicles - Basically, I Resolve to Remain Lazy and Annoying

With all of the resolutions people are making for the new year, I find it hilarious that our Monday Listicles topic is 10 Things I Have No Intention of Changing.   I'm in!

I will not be changing:

1. my habit of wearing my pajamas and only my pajamas every moment that I am at home.   Don't worry, that's where it will end.  I fully intend to wear clothes every time I leave the house.

2. my inclination to ignore the laundry couch.  I will do laundry all the live-long day.  And then dump the clean clothes onto the couch, where they will stay until I (or more likely the kids are forced to) fold and distribute them to their rightful owners.  It works for me, and thus I will not fold each load as it comes out of the dryer.

3.  my expectations I have for the kids to perfectly clean their rooms, make their beds and put away every single thing they touch throughout the day.  And I fully expect that they have no intention of doing such things.

4.  my perfect eyesight.  People keep telling me that their vision was fine until they hit their 40s.  I will not be buying 20 pairs of eighty-cent, colorful-to-make-them-look-cool reading glasses to leave all over the house, in my purse, in my pocket, and on top of my head. 

5.  my teeth count.  Completely random, but I have no intention of getting any teeth pulled.  I won't even say things that allude to it, like "I'd rather have a tooth pulled than ..."

6.  the love for my kitchen and mud room.  Come on, it's been at least a week since I've mentioned it.  And I just ordered the counter stools yesterday, so we're almost done.  I've lost one follower, probably because of my kitchen gushing, but I'm going to risk the loss of more and have one more kitchen post as soon as the stools get here.  (And if you make one joke like Hubby has been doing non-stop for the last 2 days, asking if I ordered a "stool sample" and other such nonsense, I cannot be your friend anymore.  One immature adult is all I can handle at the moment.)

7.  my apparently loud laugh.  I always knew I was an all-in laugher.  I like to laugh, and I do so heartily.  However, I didn't know how loud it was until the kids let me know that while they don't hear the horrible yelling many of the parents do on the sidelines, they can always hear my laughter.  Basically, they were accusing me of never watching the game, but instead talking and laughing with other parents, as they could hear me from the far side of the (very large) soccer field.  I told them the reason they can hear me is they love me so much and are in tune with my moods so fully, that they can hear me even when I whisper.  They didn't buy it, but I don't care.  I'm going to laugh my full head off, even louder than before, just to show them how bad it could be for them.

8.  my exercise regimen.  I don't have one, and I don't foresee that changing anytime soon.

9.  my hugging and kissing of the children.  When they are little like Cuckoo and Turken, the hugging and the cuddling and the kissing are normally welcomed by the children.  As they get older, they find the hugging and kissing to be less good and more torture.  Unfortunately for the teens, it is so much fun to love on them for the embarrassment factor alone.  Buttercup tried to avoid the "peace" kiss at mass yesterday.  This morning, I showed her what would happen the next time she tried to do that.  I don't foresee it being a problem again.   Some may say it is cruel to force public lovin' on a teen.  I say it is payback for every single public tantrum, fight, and other embarrassing misbehavior they pulled in their past lives as toddlers. 

10.  my rule on Buttercup never baking by herself again.  I was so proud of myself, letting her bake some cookies in my spotless new kitchen (oops, I mentioned it again.  Sorry.) knowing full well that she is, bar none, the messiest baker this side of the sun.  I didn't even hover over her, giving her tips on how to keep things tidy.  When she finished, and I entered the kitchen, I didn't even lose my composure when I found cookie batter splattered on the floor, cupboards, stove top, and the top of the stove VENT.  I even gave here another chance yesterday when a friend was over.  This morning I found a whole bunch of cookie batter crumbs INSIDE the drawer of spatulas and such.  So she is done.  Forever.

What, pray tell, are you resolving to remain unchanged in 2013?

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Slice of Heaven, Part One, Unless I Never Write a Part 2

Long, long ago, before kids, before wrinkles, before serious responsibility took over our lives, Hubby and I lived a dream life.  For seven months, we were paid to live in Bermuda. I often think of those days as I dig us out of a foot of snow.

I have mentioned our Bermuda residency a couple of times in comments and such, and each time I am asked if I have ever written about the experience.  I haven't, not because I didn't love living there, but because I wouldn't even know where to start.  I've decided that it doesn't matter where, I just need to start.  I'll make it some sort of series that I throw onto the blog whenever the mood strikes.

The only thing that frustrates me is I don't have beautiful photos to show you.  We lived there an eon of years ago.  I had not even thought of a photography business then, and I certainly didn't have a good camera.  And, there was no such thing as digital cameras.  Everything was film, so I had no idea what kind of shots I was actually getting.  I will post photos, but don't expect to drool with jealousy over them.

In February 1995, Hubby was working as a computer programmer and was sent to Bermuda to write code for a bank there.  Bermuda is very protective of work permits, so I was unable to get a paying job.  After a month or so, I found a daycare and offered my services as a volunteer.  It was one of the best things I did.  I really got to see how the locals lived while working there.

It was quite a shock to the system, moving from the gigantic America, where a person could spend his entire life traveling the country and never have to visit the same place twice, to a country that is only one mile wide and 25 miles long.  For seven months, I loved it.  I don't think I could have lived there much longer, though.  I started to feel a tad bit trapped.

Remember, ONE mile wide.  One.  My current driveway is almost half a mile long. 

Because of the size of the island, travel is also quite different from home.  Only full-time residents are allowed to own a car, an itty-bitty little car, and each household was limited to one.  Everyone else had to ride scooters.  Not motorcycles.  Scooters.

This is our actual scooter, but not actually me.  We flew Hubby's mom out for Mother's Day, and he was trying to get her comfortable with the scooter before we headed out onto real roads.

The speed limit for the entire island was 25kph.  (That's kilometers for my American friends.  We also bought litres of gas and drove on the left side of the road.)  No freeways on this little island.

Hubby and I had one scooter.  I would drive him to work in the morning, go do whatever I was doing that day, then pick him up in the afternoon.  (Not night.  Those Bermudians are a laid-back lot, and he never, ever worked past 4:30.  Frequently, everyone cut out at 3:30 and hit the bar below the offices for a beer or two.)

Hubby's desk was actually butted-up against that top middle window.  When he looked up, he looked directly outside.  He and his coworkers would be found under one of those green umbrellas at least two afternoons a week.

See the cars?  That's as big as they got.

Right behind the (pathetic) photographer is the dock where the cruise ships docked.  Hubby always had a good time watching all of the tourists disembark.  Watching them all rent and ride scooters for the first time in their lives was beyond comical.

And while we're talking Hubby's job, we'll discuss business attire in Bermuda.  I'm sure most of you know what I mean when I say "Bermuda shorts".  They are tailored shorts that fall just above the knee.  In Bermuda, that is what men wear to work.  And they don't go with boring colors of brown or black.  Grown, rich, businessmen wear pastel pink, blue, green, and yellow shorts.  While the look of these men heading to work in colorful shorts took us back a bit, what really made us smile was what these men wore with there shorts. 

Everyone wears knee-high socks the same color as his Bermuda shorts. 

Yup, pastel pink shorts with pastel pink socks.

With a white shirt, suit jacket, tie, and dress shoes.

Hubby didn't jump right on that bandwagon.  He wore his usual suits for at least three weeks.  But the teasing and peer pressure finally got to him, and he caved.


He couldn't bring himself to wear the pastel, but he did wear the shorts.

And sweet mama, he wore knee-high socks.

Good look, no?

This photo was taken inside our little studio apartment.  There aren't high-rise complexes.  Instead, many of the full-time residents have apartments attached to their houses to generate some extra income.  See that sliding-door behind Hubby?  It leads out to a patio, which, if you took the 5 steps down to the other patio, you could jump into the ocean. 

See the window next to Hubby?  You can see the ocean beyond the bushes.  Cruise ships go past that window before heading around the bend to dock in Hamilton (the capitol) in front of Hubby's office.

The red dot is Hamilton, approximately.  The pink dot is where we lived, approximately.  Can you see the dark line in the green circle?  The darker the blue, the deeper the water.  That line is a channel that was dug specifically for ships, including cruise ships, to get to Hamilton.

We'll end today's installment with one of my favorite Bermuda traditions.  Our time there included the days of Lent and Easter.   On Good Friday, every business on the island closed its doors, and just about every person on the island went to the beaches.  They weren't there to swim, but to fly kites. 

The story goes, a teacher was trying to explain Jesus' Ascension to his students.  To demonstrate, he took them to the beach and flew a kite.  It caught on, and has become a purely Bermudian festival.

While common kites that we Americans are used to are flown, the sky is predominantly filled with specific kites the Bermudians make.  Tissue paper is a popular material, and they are normally hexagonal in shape.  There is a small "bunch" in the center that creates a humming sound when in the air.

We spent hours sitting on a cliff (that one in the photo below, actually), watching and listening to the gorgeous kites back dropped by the beautiful blue sea and sky.  Every Good Friday since, I have thought of the Bermudians and their fantastic tradition and wished I could be there experiencing it with them. 


Have a lovely day!