Monday, June 30, 2014

We Like to Laugh at Stupid American Tourists, Even When We Are the Stupid American Tourists, aka The Day We Walked with Royalty

When we visit tourist attractions, Bryan and I don't talk much.  For one, we are nerds and like to learn even on vacation, so we take our time and read all the plaques.  For two, we love to listen and watch the tourists around us.  They have provided us with many laughs and topics of discussion over the years.  We still quote the best ones from even 25 years ago.

The most quoted tourist came from a tour of the White House.  We were standing at an exhibit which talked about the assassination of President Kennedy.  The woman behind us, very seriously and very sadly said, "If only he was wearing a helmet."

Apparently, presidents don't need the Secret Service.  All problems would be solved if they simply wore helmets every time they leave the White House.

An example from this vacation would be the woman behind us at the Tower of London.  We were making our way through the crown jewels exhibit and stopped in front of the ordination gown worn by a king hundreds of years ago.  It was made of gorgeous gold material, studded with jewels and stitched with lots of sparkly things.  If Bryan and I would have been talking, we would have completely missed the woman behind us exclaiming, "Well, if that was mine, I'd cut it up and make a whole bunch of scarves!"

I guess that pretty material was just sitting there going to waste.  A much better use of that 400 year old bling would be Christmas scarves for all of the queen's friends.

Another example of tourists amusing us also took place in the Tower of London.  We were up on the wall around the tower, looking down into the courtyard.  There was a full set of armor set up outside the gift shop.  One part of the armor received a whole lot of attention.  I could have stood there all day watching people react to this armor.  Did I mention that when given the opportunity, we also take photos of tourists in order to laugh more later?

Lucky for you.

No reason we should laugh alone.

Some tourists were mild, simply standing and pointing.

Others were a bit more obvious.

And some were just downright crude.

But all reacted, and all made us laugh.

Which is probably why karma bit us in the butt and made us the stupid tourists later that day.

We were standing at a crosswalk waiting to have a closer look at Buckingham Palace.

This intersection to be exact.

We had just missed the walk light, so we were alone at the curb until three other people came up alongside us.  I immediately could tell one of the three was an Important Person.  He was dressed smartly, carried himself very confidently, and wore a gigantic pinky ring.  The guy most certainly was not a tourist.  Also, I was pretty sure the other man was a body guard.  There was a woman standing closest to me who was obviously with them.

Bryan said later that he first noticed the man's suit.  Apparently, Bryan has become an expert on expensive suits, and the suit this man was wearing was one of the most expensive he'd ever seen.

The light turned green, and the five of us started across the street.  I could have reached out and held hands with two of them.

Half way across, Bryan started the following 1-minute conversation:

B:  I'm pretty sure that's Prince William.
C:  You are nuts.  That is not Prince William.
B:  Yes, it is!
C:  Honey, that is not Prince William!
B:  I'm telling you, that is Prince Charles' brother.
C:  Prince William is Charles' son!  I have no idea what Charles' brother's name is, but regardless, there is no way that is a prince.  Princes don't just walk around with the tourists!  What, you think he's just walking home from the office?
B:  Honey, it is Prince William.
Just as Bryan said, "I don't know what his name is, but that is Prince Charles's brother." the guy turned into the gates.

These gates to be exact:

He gave a nod to the guards.

The guards gave a nod to him.

The guy walked right on up to the door and into Buckingham Palace.

Bryan immediately got on his phone and looked up the royal family while I quickly snapped a photo of the guy.

Recognize him?

It's this guy:

Prince Edward.

aka Earl of Wessex.

aka Prince Charles's brother.

aka NOT Prince William.

Apparently, a prince does just walk home from work sometimes.

And if Bryan wouldn't have been so adamant that it was Prince William, we could have enjoyed our moment of walking this particular prince home.

And Prince Edward wouldn't be in Buckingham Palace muttering about stupid American tourists.

So, have you ever heard a fellow tourist say something that made you shake your head and laugh?  Have you ever been the stupid tourist other tourists are laughing at?

Have a lovely day!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The First of Many Posts About Our Trip, TToT #54

I have until Cuckoo finishes a game with Bryan to get this done, so onward to the thankfuls!

1.  We made it to England to begin with.  When I got to the airport at 4:00am last Wednesday, the computer wouldn't list my flight for check-in.  I asked a teller what was going on and was told, "That flight was cancelled.  Didn't you get a notice?"  NO I DIDN'T GET A NOTICE!!!  WOULD I BE HERE IF I DID?!?!?  The panic set in, and the teller didn't do much to ease it.  Finally, he found a flight that left 15 minutes before my original one, but didn't arrive in London until an our later.  And THEN, as I waited in the terminal, a notice came over the loudspeaker.  "We regret to inform you that all flights in and out of Indy have been postponed for an undetermined amount of time.  There is a fire in the control tower, and it is being evacuated."  It was a bit of a stressful, sickening morning, but I did manage to get to England.

But THEN, Bryan had to get to London three days later.  He also had some problems.  His flight left very late, thanks to "too much luggage on the plane", which prompted this text in the wee hours of Friday night in London.

"Not good.  Missed connection.  Looks like I won't get in until Sunday morning at 7:00am.  Now flying to Houston."

I almost started crying right then and there.

Good news:  He didn't have to fly through Houston.  Bad news:  He got in several hours later than he was supposed to and his luggage didn't get there at all that day.  Poor guy had to wear the same clothes he wore to work on Friday all the way until Sunday night.

But, we got there safely and at about the right time.  The hassle and headaches were forgotten as soon as we hugged at the airport.

2.  We made it back alive.  Before we left, I was afraid of the plane going down and leaving our children orphans.  While that was still a worry, it was moved farther down the fear of dying list as the vacation progressed.  First, I made it through being a passenger in a car in England traffic.  While Lizzi was a lovely driver, my American friend living in Windsor was not.  Holy cow.  Roundabouts are popping up all over Indiana, but the behemoths of England put our roundabouts to shame.  Ours are organized delights.  One might even yell "WEEEEE!" while driving around one.  Not so in England.  One is more likely to yell "MOMMY!  SAVE ME!"  as the car dodges and weaves to avoid being hit while simultaneously trying to get off the blasted thing.  But then we got to Paris.  Dying was a real, in your face possibility.  The traffic there is bonkers.  There are no lanes.  There is no rhyme or reason.  And it's not just cars one has to avoid.  There are motorcycles everywhere, and they move faster and dodgier.  I can't tell you how many times I hollered, "We're going to die!" as we crossed a street.

Our first morning out in Paris, we saw a motorcycle get run over.

This is not a parking lot.  It is the roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe.
3.  I was able to have lots of fun visiting my friend Carissa and her family.  She took me to the Royal Ascot where I got to see the queen and Prince Harry up close and personal.

The Ascot is a fancy affair.  Dresses and hats are required. 

The entrance of the royals.  I used my phone with no zoom to take it.
And the next day we headed to Windsor.  While the queen was there.  I was in the castle with her.

Windsor Castle's Used-to-be Moat

Since the queen was in residence, hosting a lunch, the changing of the guard took place in the courtyard.  We watched it from inside.  From that gigantic window right there to be exact. 

4.  I GOT TO MEET LIZZI!!!!  After almost 2 years of talking through the internet and becoming friends, we finally got to meet face-to-face.  It was so much fun!  She was a fantastic hostess.  I knew she was good when I got to her apartment, and there on my bed was a pile of candy.  M&Ms and Butterfingers to be exact.  She knows me.  :)

You can read all about our visit on her blog, but I want to point out a few other details.  First off, Lizzi can make some yummy food!  The scones (with clotted cream and strawberry jam) and the Eaton mess she made were delicious!!  I ate seconds of everything.  Her mother is a whiz with a wisk.  Lizzi and I whisked until our arms couldn't work anymore, yet the whipped cream just wouldn't set.  Her mom took over for all of about 20 seconds and had lovely, fluffy goodness.  Lizzi's hospitality skills were clearly handed down from her family, as her mom and aunt were wonderful tea hostesses.  The garden was gorgeous.  At one point, her aunt came out with a big bag of England souveniers for me to take back for my kids.  The weather was fantastic, and the company made the entire afternoon perfectly perfect in every way.

All set for the tea.

Her sister made a yummy chocolate cake.  

She took me to a great little pub called Pig in the Wall, being that I'm a pig farmer and all.  The menus were in these books.

She also took me to the ocean.  I didn't realize the ocean smelled differently in different parts of the world until that day.  The moment I stepped out of the car, I was reminded of my grandma.  She lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I hadn't been there since I was 14 years old.  England and Nova Scotia have the same smell, and it is very different from the ocean in southern USA.
Basically, our visit couldn't have been any better.  I loved every minute of the time I got to spend with her.

These photos are taking forever to download, so my time is running really short.  Gotta finish up quick...

5.  My knee held up through the entire trip.  It was swollen, and by the end of the week it was starting to really bother me, but considering the massive lengths we walked, I was very happy with how it all worked out.

6.  The weather was fantastic for my entire 10 days in Europe.  Despite all the rumors I heard about lack of sun, Vitamin D deficiency, and rain in England, we had not a drop fall on our heads.  We both actually got a bit of sunburn.  We wore shorts every day and never needed more than a light sweater in the evenings.

7.  The kids had a great time while we were gone.  They had sleepovers and movies and camp and playgrounds.  They hardly even missed us.

8.  We came home to a clean house.  Considering we had been up for 22 hours straight for the trip home, walking in to a house that needed nothing done was about the best gift I could have gotten.

9.  I said it before I left, and I'll say it again.  I'm so very grateful to still have my mom, who is healthy enough and willing to come stay with my kids.  I can trust her completely, and I know they will be well cared for.  My gratefulness only increases when I hear that a pig died while we were gone, and despite her strong dislike for even live pigs, she helped Buttercup drag the dead one out of the pen.  (I am very disappointed to hear that no one got any photos of the situation.  Very disappointed indeed.)

10.  I will forever be grateful for Bryan's wonderful attitude while traveling.  He is so much fun, and we had a fantastic anniversary trip full of laughter, good food, and new experiences.  You'll hear all about them and see lots of photos in the coming days.  :)

Alright, Friends, it is your turn.  What good things happened in your lives while I was gone?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Short Interview with a Four and a Half Year Old

I told Cuckoo that he and I were going to have a chat.  I would ask him questions, and he would answer them.  We went to sit at the table, in order to be official and all.  This is our conversation word for word.  I will throw in a few bits in italics for clarification.


What is your favorite thing to do?
Outside?? Anything I want??
Camping.  (We have never been camping.)
Why are we doing this?  Why are you writing it down?  So you don't forget?

What is your favorite food?
Spiderman cereal.
Have you ever eaten Spiderman cereal?
Then how do you know you even like it?
Because I like it.  Because it's Spiderman cereal.  'Cause...It's Spiderman...Oh.  Wait.  I know my favorite cereal.  Loops.  Loops are my favorite.  (As in Fruit Loops.  We get them on vacations.)

Are we doing it for real?
Huh?  Are we doing what for real?
Are we doing these things I'm telling you for real?
No.  I'm just asking you questions.
We're not going camping?
I don't want to do this anymore.
Too bad.

I'm leaving for England soon, and some of the bananas may get too ripe.  Will you be able to show Nana how to make banana bread while I'm gone?
How do you make it?
Put eggs in.  Oh, no!  Butter.  Put butter in and mix it.  Then put eggs in.  I don't know what is next.
It is called banana bread.
Oooohhhh.  Bananas.  Put bananas in.  Then mix it!
I don't know what to do next.

Are you excited for preschool?
Mom, I see Spiderman. (A magazine on the table had a photo of Spiderman.)
You get to go to school without me this year.
Oh.  I want to go to preschool.  I just don't want to go with you.

I don't want to do this anymore.  If we aren't doing these things for real, I'm not doing it.

And off he went.

I'll be home soon, carrying with me lots and lots of photos and stories to tell.  If you think of it, say a little prayer for my mom.  She's probably pretty tired by now.  And pray for our flight.  My biggest fear is that our plane will crash and our kids will be left orphans.  Which would mean much sadness.  For the children.  And my sister.  She'd be their legal guardian.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Turken: A Boy of Few Words and Even Fewer Opinions.

State your blog name, age, and occupation.
Turken.  6.  What's that mean?
Your job.
Got any more?

What is your favorite thing to do?
Not sing...would it be watch my favorite show?
I don't know.  Is it?
Well...I don't know if it is.

What is your favorite show?
Wild Kratts.
What is that?
Two boys who go on adventures to save animals.

What sports do you play?
Baseball and soccer.
What do you like about baseball?
I get to hit.
What about soccer?
I don't really know.

What is your favorite food thing I make for you?
Really?  Out of all the dinners and breakfast things I make for you, you choose salami?  Which I don't even make?
Oooooh.  I didn't know you meant that.  Spaghetti.
Are we done now?

No.  Do you know how to make spaghetti?
Put the flat thing on the bottom of the pan.  Put sauce on it.
Put sauce on the flat thing???  What flat thing?
The thing on the bottom of the pan.
The hot pad?
I'm lost.
That leftover thing that's in the fridge.
The leftovers!
OOOOOHHH.  The lasagna??
The flat things are noodles?
Spaghetti isn't your favorite thing?  Lasagna is?
Continue.  How does someone make lasagna?
Put the flat things in the pan.  The put cheese.  Then flat things again.  Then sauce, the flat thing, and no more cheese.
Then what?
It's done.
What about cooking it?
Put it in the oven.
How hot?  How long?
I don't know.

What is your favorite book?
Any chapter book.

What do you want to do this summer?
Go to the pool.

I'm leaving for England soon.  Will you miss me?
Do you think Nana can handle things while I'm gone?
She might be worried about you getting hurt.
How are you going to help her?
I won't really.

Why do you fight with Cukoo?
Because he fights with me first?

What would you like to say to the readers of the blog?
Nothing.  I don't really know them.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hopefully, I'm in England by the Time You Read This, TToT Week 53

I am sitting to write this post on Tuesday at 10:00 am.  Exactly 20 hours before my plane to Toronto will be taking off.

All I can think to write is, "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, WHO THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA FOR ME TO LEAVE FOR 10 WHOLE DAYS?!?!?!?!?"  10 days!  Do you know what it's like to get all of these children and a grandma and a husband prepared for me to leave for 10 days?!?!  Great googly moogly, the lists and the logistics and the packing and the everything.  This was a bad idea, People!

But, the moment my rear hits the seat, I will be just fine.  I'm going on vacation in Europe!!!  Who cares if a kid misses a soccer practice? NO ONE!  Is it really a big deal if I forgot to stock the pantry with peanut butter?  NO! My mom is capable of going to the store.  Will the children be scarred for life if they watch TV or play video games for 5 days straight?  Probably!

It's time to get my head out of the panic it is trying to fall into and get excited.

I have way too many things for which to be thankful to be focusing on the panic.

1.  I am thankful that the physical therapy worked it's magic.  I will be able to walk and have fun despite the traumatized knee. (I know, I've listed this every week for weeks now.  It's a super big deal!)

2.  I am thankful for my responsible kids.  I can leave them without too much worry about things going on here at home.  They will help my mom take care of the little boys.  They will take care of the animals and do laundry and help with the cooking and cleaning.  They will listen to my mom and not cause her the least bit of grief.

3.  I am thankful for helpful friends.  A good friend will be taking Turken to his baseball game on Thursday so Bryan can stay at work until normal time and get the last minute things done before he joins me in England.

4.  I am thankful to have the chance to meet up with friends in England.  Not only does Bryan NOT hold a grudge, he encouraged me to go early to have some fun with my friends.  I will be spending 2 nights with a friend whose family moved there for a few years for her husband's job.  We will be getting all fancied up to attend the Royal Ascot.  I'll get to see the queen.  And then, I'll be spending one night with our TToT creator Lizzi.  Her mom and aunt are hosting a tea for me, and her sister will be making "the best chocolate cake in the world".  We are going to have so much fun!

5.  I am thankful that I checked the weather forecast for London before I packed.  I was set to pack nothing but shorts and short sleeved shirts.  I mean, it's been 80+ here for weeks, and London isn't that much farther north.  Fortunately, I did a quick check, then called my friend in England to double check.  Yeah.  She has yet to wear a pair of shorts.  Change of plans! Jeans, sweaters, and a jacket are now on the list.

6.  I am thankful for Bryan's planning.  He has gotten the paperwork and passports all set, made all reservations, and looked into the best way to do things while over there.  He bought us London passes, which means free public transportation and free admittance to 55 different places in and around London.  Included in the 55 places are popular tours, like Windsor Castle, but also obscure little places, like Ben Franklin's house.  We're going to have so much fun, and I didn't have to do any of the planning for it!

7.  I am thankful for the couple who watches our animals.  My mom is not a fan of taking care of the animals and she has to have the kids at camp early each morning, so I asked our farm sitters to come in the mornings.  She is rarely unavailable, and I appreciate her willingness to help when I call at the last minute.

8.  I am beyond thankful for my mom.  I am thankful she is healthy.  I am thankful that she is willing to come take care of my kids for an entire week.  I am thankful for her personality and attitude, which practically guaranties my kids a fun week without us.  My mom was a fantastic mom while I grew up.  She raised us to be fun, easy-going, responsible and kind.  I learned so much about being a good mom from her.  I am thrilled that my kids have the opportunity to know her and learn from her and enjoy her company.

9.  I am thankful for my decision 27 years ago to join the high school swim team.  Back then, I never would have guessed that one of the boys doing synchronized warm-up laps would end up being my husband.

10.  Thankful doesn't even come close to expressing my feelings for that boy I met on the swim team.  Next week we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  It is just plain shocking to me.  I still see us as that goofy, nerdy couple we were in high school.  Sure, there are 6 kids and a farm and an old house and jobs and responsibilities circling us, but in our little nucleus, we're the same.  I am going to have fun leaving that circle of chaos behind in order to simply enjoy my dear husband's company for an entire week.

(I've written a couple other posts about Bryan and me.  One with lots of pictures from the last 20 years and the other about our wedding day.  It has lots of photos, too.  Feel free to peruse.)

Alrighty folks.  Time for you to link up and tell us all about the good things from your week!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Be Prepared, Prepared, Prepared. It's the Motto of the Scouts. TToT week 52

First off, I want to apologize to all of you who left such lovely and funny comments last week.  I read them all, but I just never had time to respond.  And I didn't have time to make it through the links.  I may not get to reply again this week, but I will have time to read and comment on yours, seeing as how...

I'm in Kansas City for a regional soccer tournament Buttercup's team unexpectedly made it to.  There is a stupid rule which says the teams can't play more than one game each day, so we are stuck there for up to 4 days.  I'll have plenty of time to read in the hotel after Cuckoo goes to bed.

Oh, and I'm meeting Dyanne while I'm there.

I know you're jealous.  We'll be posting on Instagram to throw it in your faces.

Because I had to write this 4 days before it goes live, some of these thankfuls are going to be assumptions.  I'll let you know which is which.

Things that really happened for which I'm thankful:

1.  Soccer season ended.  We finished the season with our home tournament, and three of the four kids' teams ended with the winning trophy.  It was a long weekend, but it was fun.  It was the last club game Phoenix will ever play, and I was kinda surprised to find myself sad for it to end. 

2.  Tryouts for next year's club teams for Giant and Star are over.  Remember Star's coach I didn't agree with? After tryouts I was finally able to tell him what I thought of him.  It felt wonderful.  

3.  I have met some good friends through the kids' soccer teams.  They have added much fun to my life.
4.  I have been able to get a couple posts written for while I'm gone next week.  Teaser:  I interviewed some kids.  Four and six year olds don't really understand "interview".

5.  I was able to take the photos for our newest priest and actually get them downloaded onto my computer.  It was a gorgeous Mass and a fun reception afterwards.  My knee held out, despite the constant walking and crouching.     

6.  I am thankful for the friend who loaned me the camera equipment to take the aforementioned photos.  My camera is getting old, and one of my lenses is broken. 

Things for which I predict I'll be thankful:

7.  I got the camera back to my friend in the same number of pieces in which I found it.

8.  I remembered to take everything on the trip, but more importantly, Buttercup remembered everything she needed for the game.

9.  Cuckoo behaved beautifully while we were there.

10.  I met Dyanne and we talked and laughed and had soooo much fun for hours and hours and promised to be friends forever and ever and did a little pinky swear.  (We would have done the prick your finger and exchange blood thing of yesteryear, but that's just gross.  And unnecessarily painful.)

Alrighty.  There's my ten.  It is your turn, but I won't have the linky thing here today.  I had to get this ready waaaay before Lizzi put the code together.

Go here to link your thankful post!

If you don't blog, I'd love to hear about the things that made you smile this week.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Am Being Tested, But I Will Not Crack!

So, it would seem by our credit card charges, that Buttercup and Cuckoo and I are already on our trip to Kansas City.  Someone spent $105 at a grocery store in Illinois yesterday (Tuesday) using our credit card number.  The card company called us to see if it was us.  It was not.  Our card number has been stolen.

Do you know what happens when a person's credit card has been stolen?  I do.  It happens to us approximately once a year.  The credit card company closes the account and sends a new card.  Normally, it doesn't bother us much, seeing as how we don't use it all that often.  Unfortunately, we are not in a normal situation.

The day after our account is closed (today), I am renting a car and driving to Kansas, where I will be staying 3-4 nights in a hotel.  Basically, a day when I will be wanting to use my credit card quite a bit.  But I can't.  Because we don't have one.

Yes, I have a debit card to use.  And I have the money in the account to cover the spending.  Too bad the rental car place and the hotel can't trust me and will require a credit check in order to do so.  I do have the choice to carry hundreds of dollars in cash to pay for the hotel, but the way our luck is running lately, you know I'd get mugged somewhere in Podunk, Missouri, and be up a creek without a credit card.

Prepare for a quick change of topic without a segue...

I love hearing people talk when they are losing their voices.  That cracked quality, with the squeaks and breaks make me laugh.  I always wanted to lose my voice like that.

Well, I don't anymore.

Three days ago, I started coughing for no reason I can tell.  I never got a stuffy nose.  I've never had allergies.  I just started coughing.  And then on Monday afternoon, my voice started to go.  Horribly.

No one could understand half of what I said.  To illustrate:

At work, Bryan's phone is connected to his email.  Whenever someone leaves a voicemail, his computer will translate it and put it in an email for him.  I called on Tuesday to ask him if he had emailed the guy who I had backed into in the parking lot.  This is what the translator emailed to him...

 Voice Mail Preview:
Hey I was just calling to see if you her email tried paging I completely forgot about it but it's prod you on that if you have any bye bye.

It has been ridiculous.  My mom laughs at me when I call her.  Buttercup says, "You sound awful" every time I try to speak.  Normally, it would be a nuisance, seeing as how it's really hard to call for a child who is upstairs.  It's really a nuisance when I'm trying to have a serious chat with a certain 4 year old about his naughty behavior.  It's a big problem when I have to discuss England plans with my friend who will be picking me up from the airport.

Have you ever seen the "Quick Change" people?  They do a lot of pro basketball half time shows and they've been on America's Got Talent.  I change topics faster than they change gowns.

Soccer mayhem has been at an all-time high this week.  Tryouts were Monday night, and things got shaken up.    Many texts and phone calls were had.  Decisions were made.  One coach was finally told off.  And it all happened while I was playing Settlers of Catan with the boys.  (I normally don't have my phone with me when I'm home, but decisions had to be made within the hour.) I was seriously distracted and lost the game.

Last topic change, I promise.

The nice lady from my surgeon's office called.  My surgery had to be moved.  I'm now going under on July 8 instead of 1st.  That means I will only have 10 days to recover before we leave for vacation.  Sure, my dad will be happy, since I can now bring the kids for his 4th of July party, but I will be useless on vacation.

Oh, wait.  One more.  I just caught a glimpse in the mirror and reminded me.

I have been in desperate need of a haircut for weeks now.  Last night, I had an hour to kill between dropping two kids off at different locations and decided to just go to Great Clips real quick.  I've been there many, many times and even if it isn't the best haircut, it's something I can work with.  It's pretty hard to mess up curly hair.  The curls (or a straight iron) cover plenty of mistakes.  Not so this time.  Without even asking me how short I wanted it, she just started hacking away at my hair.  She never once checked to see that she was cutting evenly on both sides.  I didn't have a whole lot of choices at that point, so I soldiered on.  I knew I was in trouble when I asked her to straighten the bangs for me with her hair dryer.  They had curled at a funky angle, and I had places to go after the cut.  She couldn't do it.  And not completely because she didn't know how.  The worst haircut I have ever had.  Hands down.

There is no working with it.  It's too short to work with.  Just in time to meet two of my best blogging friends.

Basically, Dyanne will think I'm going incognito.  My hair is a disaster and my voice is indecipherable.  Just in case this blind meet-up doesn't go as well as planned, she won't ever be able to pick me out of a crowd.

OK, enough complaining about all that's going wrong around here.  There are still good things happening!

Come back over the weekend to see.  I've already written my Ten Things of Thankful list.

I'm going to make it, no matter what gets thrown at me.

Everyone now please pause to knock on some wood.

And say many prayers that no other calamities befall us.

I'd appreciate it.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Monkey Wrenches Ain't Gonna Ruin My Fun, TToT Week 51

Sakes alive, Readers o' mine.  Things are heating up around here. I'm at 12 days until my flight to England.   So many things to do.  Gigantic monkey wrenches are getting thrown at me, but I will not be discouraged! The biggest thing to throw me is that Buttercup's soccer team very unexpectedly made it through the state championships.  We found this out on Sunday of last week, and the tournament runs from Thursday through Saturday of the coming week in a city 8 hours away.  I will be taking her, since Bryan can't take off work for it, and will return with a mere 72 hours before I leave for my trip across the pond.  This gorilla-sized monkey wrench is causing just a few millionish problems.  However, this is the TToT.  I will find the good from this week if it takes every ounce of the limited energy I have left!

1.  I never realized how much time therapy takes.  Have mercy.  Between the one and a half to two hours I'm gone in the morning to actually go to therapy, I have to spend over an hour icing my knee each day, plus doing exercises at home.  Usually I leave before most of the kids are even awake.  Basically, they are taking care of themselves many mornings this summer.  It is not the ideal situation.  But!  But, the therapy is working like a charm.  I am walking.  (I know!  I mentioned this last week, but ya'll have no idea how worried I have been about this bum knee messing up our dream trip.)

2.  I haven't been able to do much around the house, and the kids have picked up a lot of slack.  To help, I've hired cleaning ladies.  They've been here twice. It makes me so happy to come home to clean bathrooms and a clean kitchen.  The kids might be almost as happy.

3.  Buttercup has been getting into the bad habit of only leaving her room to eat or go to soccer.  When she does emerge, she complains that she is oh so tired.  Yeah, that happens to a person who doesn't leave her bed all day.  I told her she had to go outside and get some fresh air.  She asked, "Can I mow?"  Uh, let me think about that for .00008 seconds...Heck ya!  She mowed for 4 hours straight and got almost the entire property done.  Love that girl.

4.  Our soccer club has its home tournament this weekend, so all 4 big kids will play in it.  That means anywhere between 12 and 16 games in 48 hours.  Fortunately, the schedules lined up so that we will actually have time to relax at home, go to Turken's baseball game, and I can go to my book club friend's brother's ordination into the priesthood.

5.  With the home tournament comes work hours for the parents.  For each team, a parent has to work two 2-3 hour shifts.  That would mean up to 24 hours of volunteer hours in the same 48 hours the games are being played. Three of the team managers told us, "You are only taking one shift, and you get to pick which one you want."  On Phoenix's team, we are blessed to know some of the most generous people on the planet.  Without talking to us, they contacted the team manager and told him they were taking an extra shift so we wouldn't have to do any.

6.  Two of the kids' dentist appointments happen to fall on the Thursday I will be with Buttercup at her soccer tournament.  We were in the office for 2 other appointments this week, and I had to reschedule those, as well as the appointments I cancelled on that most miserable Monday four weeks ago.  When the receptionist asked when I'd like to come in, I thought for a few minutes.  "Well, I leave on the 18th.  When I get back, I will have one weekday to scramble and get ready for surgery.  It's scheduled for the 1st.  And then I'm not able to do anything for 2 weeks.  Then we go on vacation."  I answered, how about August 15? But, alas, school will be starting before then.  I guess we have to do it before I leave.

To recap:  I have a total of 4 and a half weekdays before I leave.  In that time I will have 4 therapy sessions, 5 dentist appointments, and 1 orthodontist appointment.
Oh, but the thankful?  That we have wonderful dental people who will not only work with our ridiculousness, but will do so with smiles on their faces.

7.  I wrote some fun posts this week.  First, on Monday, Clark asked me to write a post for his blog, The Wakefield Doctrine.  Of course, he wanted it two days later.  I did it, and it was fun.  If you would like to read it, go here.  And I wrote a quick takes yesterday that made me laugh.  Mostly when I made Phoenix take photos of me in my van.

8.  While in England, my friend and I are going to the Royal Ascot.  It's a fancy horse race with the queen.  I don't have trouble knowing what is and is't appropriate at fancy affairs in the US, but I was a bit intimidated to have to buy a dress for a fancy English affair.  Thankfully, I know someone who lives in England.  I took some photos of me in some dresses, sent them to her, and she was able to tell me if it was appropriate.  (It was.  Thank heavens.  Shopping time is limited.)  Also, after much searching, because fancy flats are really, really hard to find, I found some.  And my friend found a hat for me.  I am set for my fancy horse race with the queen.  (You will see photos of it all put together when I'm actually in England.  I'll post things on Instagram until I get back and can put some on the blog.)

9 and 10.  The next one is so big I'm counting it as two.  You know that soccer tournament I'm going to with Buttercup?  It happens to be in Kansas City.  Kansas City happens to be a mere 2 hours away from a fellow TToT host I'm quite fond of.  That host happens to be free while I'm in Kansas City.  In fact, when I told her where and when I would be traveling, she said, "I would swim through a shark-infested ocean, climb a snowy mountain, and crawl through a football field of spiders to meet you!"  Or something like that.

Anyway, on Friday, this whole stupid soccer trip will be worth it, 'cause I get to meet Dyanne!!!

To recap:  In one week's time, I will get to meet two TToT hosts in the flesh.  I've been friends with these ladies for well over a year now, and I get to meet them both exactly 7 days apart.

I'm so excited!!!

And now it's your turn.  What good is coming from the monkey wrenches thrown in your path this week?

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

My Could Have Been Great Idea, Tales of the Children, and Lots of Photos, 7QT

Am I really going to post 3 days in a row?

Yes.  Yes I am.

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

"If you want your kids to go outside and play, go outside with them," They say.  So, I went out with the boys today.  I played catch (with a real baseball and mitts) with the little boys while the big boys played basketball.  At one point, Turken missed the ball I threw and was thunked (no joke.  That is exactly the sound it made.) on the chin.  There were many tears and much wailing. Moments later, the ball I threw ricocheted off of Cuckoo's mitt and hit him in the eye.  Even more tears and much louder wailing.  The eye is now swollen and black and blue.

I'm pretty sure the kids want me to stop listening to "They".

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

Have you noticed that ALL motorcyclists on the road wave to each other in a specific way?  They have that I'm too cool to get excited and wave for real, so I'm just going to put my hand down in a subtle "Hey Bro."

And then I have their own wave for each other, too.  The suave hand on the steering wheel one-finger wave and head nod.  I know this not because farmers wave to my fake farmer self, but because of that video made by farmers.

THEN  I thought...Moms with 12-passenger vans should have a wave.  Something that says, "I see you!  I feel your headache!  I understand your poor gas mileage!"  But what wave could we do?  Perhaps...

The "I'd love to chat but we have a situation in the back seat" wave...

 Or the "Hi!  I am always so enthusiastic to finally find someone with a large family who won't give me odd looks or ask me rude questions about my family size!" wave.

I think this one is self-explanatory...

I was all into picking one and blasting it all over the internet in order for us to join forces until I realized one important fact.

We moms of 6+ kids aren't the only ones who drive these behemoths.

It would only be a matter of time before I did the chosen wave to someone driving the church van.  Or worse...the airport shuttle bus.

Maybe a wave isn't such a good idea.

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

This is our peanut butter jar.

I'll give you one guess as to why it doesn't have a lid.
Someone licked it.

I'll give you one guess as to who that person was.

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

Seems Phoenix listens to "They", too.  They say "If you've got it, flaunt it!"

Bright red shoes on the size 13 feet?  Check.

Skinny pants on the horribly skinny, super long legs?  Double check.

(Those pants are size 29x34.)

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

I am well aware that I have a high standard of doing things around here that no one can seem to reach.  For example, no one in my family can correctly load a dishwasher.  Or iron a pair of pants.  Or fold a sheet.  I get it and I'm ok with it.

However (You knew a "but" was coming, didn't you?  Thought I'd throw in a "however" to keep you on your toes.) there is one thing that has pushed me over the edge.  For the love of all that is holy, how hard is it to properly wrap a loaf of banana bread?!?!?

Even in this horribly blurry photo a person can see the gaping holes allowing air in.  It's like the child who wrapped it is trying dry out this delicious loaf of bread.  Even when I'm the one who originally wraps it, you should see the disaster I am left with if a child actually cuts a piece and rewraps it.  I am convinced they have contests to see who can cut the bread and rewrap the loaf using only his teeth.  Or a hook hand.

I'm being pushed, People.  Pushed into the vat of crazy.

*************** 6 **********

Don't expect much from me this weekend.  It is our home soccer tournament in which all 4 of our kids are playing.  Plus, we have to work volunteer shifts.  12 games, 10 hours of working.  All in less than 48 hours.

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

In the midst of all of these soccer shenanigans, I will be taking a break to attend the ordination of a new priest.  His mom and I were in a church group together, his sister and I were in a Moms group together, his other sister and I are in my current book club together, and his nephew and Phoenix have gone to school and played soccer together for years.   Oh, and I took his senior pictures when he graduated from high school.  I'll be taking photos during his first mass as a priest and during the reception afterwards.  I am so happy and proud of this man for choosing to listen to God's call and enter the priesthood.  He will be a great pastor.

I'm late to the party, but feel free to head over to Jen's to read some more Quick Takes!

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Good, The Bad, the Repercussions of the Monday from H-E-double hockey sticks

Remember a month ago when I had that awful Monday which took me three days to explain?  (If not, go herehere, and here for the stories.)  I have some updates for you.

The Van:
Both the van's anti-lock brake system and the sensors on the back to alert me of any objects behind the gigantic 12-passenger I drive were ripped apart by the dogs and fixed by the car people.  Since then, both fixes have been tested with different degrees of success.

A person pulled out in front of me, and I slammed on the brakes.  Anti-lock system?  Check.

On a rainy evening, I backed out of a parking space.  The sensors did alert me to the fact that an object was behind the van.  Unfortunately, the alert didn't come until I had already hit that object.  The object happened to be another vehicle.  The blasted thing never showed up in any of the three mirrors.  Did I mention it was raining when this happened?  Kinda hard to leave a note on the windshield in the rain.  So, I grabbed a plastic bag from the van (I had bought something at the store to which this parking lot belonged.), a piece of his taillight off the ground, and a note I had written with my number on it.  The bag and its contents were then put on the windshield.  Two whole days later I got a call from the owner.  I wasn't home, so he left a message.  He sounds reasonable, so this should work out fine.  Although, I can't say the same about the dealership who "fixed" my van.  We'll see.

1.  Shattered taillight and bulbs.
2.  Ugly dent.
3.  One of the 4 sensors that isn't working in a helpful way.

The Knee:

I had my appointment with the surgeon, and we will be good to go when I get back from England.  I am increasingly astounded by how much I can do in such a short time. I'm doing squats and leg presses with actual weights.  I can ride the stationary bike (no resistance yet) for as long as I want.  I'm walking without a limp and I'm not even wearing a brace.  I've even been able to go up and down stairs already.  (I will say that while I can do all of these things, some of them still come with some real pain.)

The surgeon said the time to schedule the surgery is when I'm at a point where I'm wondering why I'm having surgery at all.  Almost there.  My leg extension is at 1 degree and when I bend my leg I can get it to 128 degrees.  135 is my goal.  (Those boring sentences were mainly for Zoe and those who have had knee problems in the past.  Sorry to those of you who don't fall into those categories.)

I'm told that after surgery, I need to prepare to do absolutely nothing for 2 weeks.  While I will be able to walk and get around after that, it will be up to 10 months before I'm cleared to play sports or any other rigorous activity.  Like chasing escaped pigs.

The Pigs:

Ah, the poor pigs.  I am the main caretaker of the pigs.  I am the only person in the family who pays close enough attention to them to know if something isn't quite right.  With this injury, there was no way I was going to be able to get down to the barn without causing myself lots of pain and anguish until just a few days ago.  Things most certainly weren't good.

The littlest pig didn't look like he'd gained a pound since we got him.  There was evidence of diarrhea in the barn.  It didn't seem as if they were eating all that much.

I told Bryan that they were in trouble and would need another shot. (It should have been done a few days after the first, but with my injury, that didn't happen.  I kept getting reports that they were doing better, everyone was eating and drinking, and thought all was well.) I was smart enough to know that I couldn't be in there to help.  There was just too much chance that one would plow into my bad knee.  Over the next two days, Bryan and the big kids were never home together before dark.  A delay of two days was too much for the littlest pig.  Phoenix came up from feeding them yesterday to tell me it had died.

I guess the only positive out of this entire thing is that, thanks to my knee, I didn't have to do the disposing of the dead pig.

It was only about 40-50 pounds, so Phoenix decided he was just going to drag it out to the back field.  Being so tall, that hurt his back, so I enlisted Giant to help carry it by grabbing on to a leg.

His only comment:

"I'm holding hands with a dead pig."

Yup.  Pretty much.

And THAT is the last post I will do about the awful Monday that was.

Unless, of course, something else happens.

How likely is that?

Have a lovely day!