Monday, September 29, 2008

Will Travel, Have Laundry

8 days
7 people
Outdoor living
More stink than you could think!

(If I seem to be missing for a while, just look for me in Mt. Washmore!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Weak Moment

Ok, so I have an excuse....I really DO!!!

Uh, I uh, uhhhhh.....

Ok, I'm WEAK. WEAK! I tell my kids ALL the time, "No," "No, we won't get that." "No, I don't have money to buy that." "No, you don't need any candy." And so on and so on and so forth.

And I've said about this before...NO. Probably close to a hundred times.

But I was caught at a weak moment.....

A TERRIBLY weak moment......sigh.

And now I'm stuck.

Arg. I hate it when I'm weak.

Goodnight, Granny

4 Generations

My dear friend Renee lost her grandmother yesterday. I can't tell you how old she was, but her health had been failing for quite some time. We know because of how she lived her life that she is at peace and rest now. Seeing her again will be like seeing her after a long night's sleep--the sun will be shining and everything will be beautiful. So, until then.....goodnight Granny....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Times, They are a Changin'

We have taken our kids on many trips over the years. From the time we had just one child until now with six, we've always gone somewhere or done something that required packing. Mostly, our trips have been camping, but every now and again we've gone to visit relatives too.

Either way, I've got packing down to a science these days. It doesn't make it any less time consuming (or even chaotic at times), but it's pretty straightforward and not overly stressful. Part of the trick is to have the right stuff to pack with. If you don't have adequate luggage and the like, then you're going to be asking for a major headache really quick.

I mean, who really wants to search through 15 dinky plastic grocery bags to find what you need? That's IF they don't break on you the first day!

But I've noticed that over the years my packing methods have changed a bit. Particularly in the area of toiletries. We've never used one of those luggage style toiletry bags for some reason. I've always used something more sturdy like this...

I had a wire version of one of these. It was great for carrying your stuff to the public showers at campgrounds, and it didn't matter if it got wet. But this was ALL we used to use for holding our toiletries!

A few years later we moved up to something like this:

And this did the trick for quite a few years. It kept stuff from contaminating the clothes if they spilled, and you could carry and pack it easily. This large one held a ton of stuff, BUT.....

We now need and USE something more like this:

This little gem is the Cadillac of toiletry bags! It holds everything from toothbrushes to diaper packages to full-sized shampoo bottles! And it fits very well standing up in the back of my van--to the point where I could leave it in there and get stuff out of the drawers that way if I needed to.

And I trust that we won't be moving into anything else anytime in the near fut....


I mean, unless we had a few more indians running around here (which is all but impossible), then I doubt we'd have to invest in one of THESE any time soon:

PHEW! I'd have to get a UHaul just to bring this thing camping!

Ah....I think I like my 7-drawer cart just fine...thank you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Just KNOW Me

Like I was saying:

Remember how I was talking about how BAD I am with remembering dates? And I said that sometimes I only figure out I have an appointment BY CHANCE for the next day?

Yeah, well....

.....I one-upped myself this time.

Today I was rescheduling any appointments I have for next week while I be gone to TN. One was posted on my fridge for the 25th. Check. Rescheduled.

The other was in my purse, and I had checked on it about a month ago. I was pretty sure that it was next week sometime. Either that, or the week after. So I checked on it so I could reschedule it.

Uh, no.

The appointment was TODAY. At 10:30 am.

When did I discover this?

11:20 am.

Me=Bad with dates.

See, Mom? It's not you! Everyone gets the brunt of my can't-remember-dates-itis!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Little House in the Big Woods

This post has nothing to do with the size of my house.

Although, the title would technically apply IF this post WERE about my house. We definitely live in a little house, and behind us lies a big patch of woods.

But that's not the point.

The point IS, is that I am feeling rather pioneer-ish this evening, hence the "Laura Ingalls Wilder" inspired title.

I have decided to embark on our yearly excursion to a church sponsored campmeeting up in TN. It's not called a "campmeeting" because people go native and hang out in tents singing "Kum-By-Ya"---but rather, because we all hang out in our Sunday best and sing much more inspired things like "Amazing Grace" under one BIG tent. See the difference?

And at this particular campmeeting (as opposed to perhaps some others), I like to take the experience one step further and play snail for the week---ie: take my camper. So, it turns out to be a mixed endevour for me: half "Oregon Trail", half Appalacian Trail.

And tonight, especially, I am really feeling a pioneer woman's pain.

In order to get ready to spend an entire week away from my Little House, I have to plan and pack. Pack and plan. Pray I don't forget anything. It's a fairly complex, yet methodical, routine of deciding what to take, how to take it, and what I'll use it for. In general, we take the entire House---minus the sink, of course.

So today, whilst perusing the vast recesses of the laundry pile, I determined that my children are really getting into the pioneering spirit themselves. The boys, especially. For as I examined their once fine finery, I have noticed (much to my chagrin) that finally the finery isn't so fine.

In modern terms, their pants have holes in them!

And thankfully, the pants I am referring to are NOT their super fine finery (ie: church clothes), or they'd REALLY be sitting in a hornet's nest right now. No, the pants I am pioneering over are their "play pants."

And here is the dilemna:

Who really cares if PLAY clothes have holes in them? I mean, isn't that part of the package? Don't we almost buy the stuff WITH holes in them and just care less much of the time? Anything worth playing in is worth ruining, is my sons' motto. They aren't allowed to step foot off the property with them anyhow, so who cares a flying fig if they're rubbed up on the knees and the pockets are hanging off?

Well, I certainly don't.

Except, of course, when said "play pants" venture OUTSIDE of the property lines and make their grand debut in the world of Sunday Best.

Which brings me to my pioneering woes. In order for me to feel comfortable allowing Lewis and Clark to wear something appropriate to play in whilst we are roughing it up in TN, I need to make their pants look all nice and new-ish again.

Oh! The agony!

Fix PLAY PANTS?!?? What is wrong with this picture people?!?

Because you know it's generally just an embarrassment thing. I don't like my kids to look unkept because it's a reflection on me. Which, in all fairness, they DON'T look unkept in any circumstance outside of tree forts and mud puddles here at the house. But to be out in public with ratty play clothes is just mortifying. Straight up horrifying.

So I did what all good pioneer mothers do: I stitched up them holes with a needle and thread. By HAND!! People--this is archaic!!

AND I felt utterly stupid for doing it.

Especially since I know they will tear them out as soon as we get there.

Like I said: agony, mortification, and pioneering spirit all rolled up into one evening. Stay tuned---there's more packing to be had....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tell It Like It Is

Caleb was not allowed to do something he really wanted to do the other day. So he loafed all over the couch and he moaned and groaned a blue streak and then popped out this little gem:


Well, son? Don't be mincing words or anything!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Torch

I forgot for the first half of the day, until I read Jeni's post.

That's just WRONG.

I didn't mean to. In fact, there are MANY days that I forget the date in general. Just ask my Mom about birthdays. For all my organizational prowess, dates simply elude me no matter what I do.

It probably has to do with homeschooling and being a stay-at-home Mom. We don't really NEED to know the date and time, because they mostly don't matter. Every so many days I check to see if I have an appointment or something coming up, but it's not unusual for me to find out the day before BY CHANCE.

Anyhow, I digress....


Today is 9-11, and it's something I never want to forget. That was a very heartwrenching and uncertain time.

Seeing all those people die.....jumping from 100 stories up....
Watching the buildings fall....
Imagining the people in the planes....little children.....
Wondering if the attack was coming HERE (we have an arsenal close by... a good target in war)....
Wondering where my friends and relatives were, who live close to NY....

I never want to forget those memories, and I want my kids to see the pictures and watch the video and feel the heartache we all felt that day.

So they won't forget either.

Sometimes, we need to pass on these things that we know. These bad things. It will give our kids the sense of patriotism they need to uphold everything this country stands for. America was founded because of hardship, and she's strong because of it too. If we as a nation run away from trouble and hide, then we will crumble. We're only here, and the strongest nation in the WORLD, because we've fought for what we want and met our enemies on our terms. When we give that up, we give up our entire heritage and the fabric of ourselves.

The fabric of a star-spangled banner that through fire, bombs, and rubble is still standing and flying strong. We can't forget that. We can't give it up. They need to know.

Pass it on, dear readers, pass it on.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Something Smells Like Fire"

This is what my 9-yr-old, responsible, oldest son said to me late this afternoon as I was doing some stuff in my room.

And sure enough, there WAS a burning type smell in the main part of the house---and a haze in the air when I came in the living room to see what he was talking about.

My first thought was: Get out of the house. Get the kids out of the house!

My second thought was: Now, THIS doesn't smell like smoke, or fire. It smells like burning....plastic. Get the fire extinguisher!

After getting said extinguisher, I promptly checked every corner of the house for the culprit.

Stove? Cold.
Laundry? No smell.
Bedrooms? No smell either.
Wii station? Nothing.

No matter where I went, I couldn't pinpoint the smell OR the location. I just knew that the main part of the house (living room, kitchen, dining room) was very stinky, and the rooms with doors were not.

So I called Chris. He had no clue what to do since he couldn't smell it himself.
Then I called Denna, who's husband works for the local FD. She said to call 911.
So I called 911. And begged them to not make a big deal out of my funky smell, but "could you please just send someone over to find the problem?" I wasn't interested in having a slew of trucks and volunteer firefighters charging to my little residence all decked out for a 4 alarm blaze--when there was only a suspicious smell.

Come to find out, my neighbor up the street is with the FD here and she responded first in her little sedan.

I can handle this kind of response!

She was very nice and came into the house and could smell my problem--but she didn't know what it was either.

So they sent in the big guys. Sigh....

Thankfully, it didn't turn out to be a freak show like I worried about. Just a couple of nice guys sniffin' around my domain with their fancy smelling equipment. In fact, one of the fire trucks was driven by a close family friend. Phew.

Come to find out, the problem was an old computer monitor that had decided to have a bought of "spontaneous monitor combustion." Everybody who's anybody agreed that the smell was coming from the monitor and that it was cooking itself on the inside.

Thus, the melting plastic smell.

And that, my dear readers, is my little slice of excitement for the day.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Bandwagon Broke

So, no, I didn't fall off of it Liz!

I'm still actively trying to lose weight, in case you're wondering. However, this past summer has been a killer for me to try to stick to anything. For 3 months, I did mostly nothing.

But the good news is that I didn't put it back on.

The month of May was just plain nutso. We have our annual Vacation Bible School at the end of May (when all the kids get out of school around here), so the entire month I'm running like a chicken with my head cut off. I appear to eat, sleep, and breathe VBS. As much as I try to plan ahead, there always seems to be some glitches that last month of preparing. And as the designated "Project Leader" for the 10-12 year olds, the glitches have dire consequences at times.

Eating in May is always an afterthought.

Then June brought some more VBS (we work into the first full week of June), and a surprise trip to Florida for 10 days. This present from some close friends was given to me 3 days after VBS ended, and 5 days before I had to leave. I barely had the chance to touch down from May before I had to take off in June. My trip was AWESOME, but I totally didn't worry about what I ate when I was at someone else's house!

Then July started up, and I was going to "buckle down" and rev up my diet again. And I did. But unfortunately, on July 9th a close family friend passed away suddenly. That man was like a grandfather to my children and it was a very hard time. We spent a lot of time mourning with this "Alabama family," and food was always an afterthought. We just picked on whatever was close by---usually things brought over by church family. Even when I was cooking myself, I was just doing whatever I could throw together. I was walking in a dream state a lot of the time.

By the time I started feeling somewhat normal again, I was working hard to put together a bridal shower for another close family friend. This time, it was a young lady who we have "adopted" as our own. Chris and I have called her "our oldest daughter" for years. She would come stay at our house for her parent's out-of-town trips, and we just clicked when she was with us. Just another part of the crew. We love her like she truly is ours, and I wanted to put as much as humanly possible into her shower. It was a labor of love for me because with Chris in school, there wasn't much else I could give her. Again, food was a second thought. If it was close by and edible, I probably ate it. Especially if I didn't have to cook it.


In spite of all this, I didn't really gain any significant weight. I mostly fluctuated within 5 pounds. It must have been all the stress and go-go-go.


As of August, I was back on the trail. I was in the wedding for aforementioned "oldest daughter," and the last thing I wanted was to look like a beached whale next to her on stage. So I lost my next 5 pounds the month of August, in time for the wedding on the 29th.

I'm going strong again now. I took off last week, to take a much needed breather, but today I'm working to get another 5 off for September. I'm finding that I'm having a hard time with exercizing, however. The kids started school again in July, and their video school has taken over my Wii spot. By the time they're done doing school for the day, I'm already showered and not very excited about working up a sweat. I guess I'm going to have to work out something that works with this new schedule.

And hopefully, by the end of September, I should be halfway to my goal. It doesn't seem as though I'll make my goal by New Year's like I had hoped, but I'm ok with that.

Sometimes, life throws cherry pies in your face. And I dare say, your best bet is to lick off the filling and keep your face to the wind.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

New Guinea

With Chris back in school full-time, and at a new job full-time, and studying full-time, and class on Saturdays....

...well, you get the picture...

there just isn't enough time to get some things done around the house. No big deal, really, but it CAN create some issues. Like when the grass is so high you can't find the car, or get the mail, and you lose your youngest child...

...well, you get the picture.

So, we've had some things fall short around here, and it appears that some new tenets have moved in as a result:

From what I've read, guineas are what these are. I had no idea that anyone around here was raising them. There SOUNDS to be a small farm somewhere on my road, but some of the houses are set back, and I can't see the properties too well. People will raise guineas to keep their insect population down, and Alabama has her fair share of those, so guineas are a good choice in farm fowl. They pretty much take care of themselves as well, so, low maintenance.

And from what I hear, they make pretty yummy eggs and a decent Sunday roast.

But these are obviously not OURS, so hunting season has not started. They're just free range birds that thought my "range" was free. And with that, they are eating a whole "range" of bugs that have taken residence in my tall grass.

Hey, guys, have at the bugs....I'm not complaining!

We've kinda enjoyed watching them too.

(But, MAN! can they create a racket when Cooper gets too close!)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Great Find

Went yard sale-ing today. Didn't do too bad considering it was sprinkling early this morning. And the weird thing is that I didn't find too many sales in general, but the ones I caught were really good for me. I was especially psyched about a deep cast iron skillet (with lid!) that I found at an estate sale.

The person who died was 101 years old.

They KNEW how to use this thing, I tell ya!

I've been wanting one for quite some time, seeing as how I'm now a Southern gal. I've seen all kinds of stuff cooked in cast iron, and anything I've tried has been especially good. Now I just have to figure out how to recreate that.

Thank God for Google.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

...And I Think I May Like McCain Too

Because I seriously wasn't into him too much before last night. I mean, he just has never seemed like a strong Republican candidate in any way. And really, he may NOT be still.

However, I learned a few things about the man last night that makes me feel a little bit better about him.

1. He has hard core governing experience.
2. He's fought in wars. We're in a war. He'll know how to handle it (ie: defer to the Generals and Admirals and let them do their job!).
3. He's not interested in recreating Vietnam. In other words, he's not going to just "back out" of stabilizing the Middle East and allow our young men to have died in vain.
4. He knows how to keep his chin up (and ours) during difficult times. Any man who CHOOSES to stay in captivity for the sake of his fellow soldiers, is willing to go the distance for the rest of us.
5. He adopted an orphan in his 50's. One with serious medical issues. That's a very honorable thing in my book.

And last but not least, he's the pro-life candidate. What that's worth with his previous stances, I'm not sure, but he now says he's pro-life. Obama won't say that.

And really, that's what it comes down to for me. No matter what, I was going to vote for McCain if he said he would uphold pro-life principles. Even if I didn't like anything else at all. If he was pro-choice like Obama, I was not going to vote at all.

But he says he's pro-life. That's all I really care about.

Obama's for killing babies, and McCain's not? OK, then, McCain it is.

I know, I know, narrow sighted in some people's mind. There's more issues, true. But really, when you look at it that way: One's FOR murder, and one's AGAINST, then there's just no other issue on the table.

And God help me to never be in the situation, but yes, I would DIE before I have an abortion. So, yeah, even if it comes down to it, the woman's life is not as important in my mind. I don't think it justifies killing another human being. It doesn't to God, and it doesn't to me.

Call me a religious fanatic if you wish, but hey if "religious fanatics" are the only ones that have morals and a conscious on this issue, then I'm the biggest fanatic/Jesus Freak you know.

Because I'm just not going to say murdering an unborn child is ok, in any case. And I won't vote for someone who can't see that.

But the other little tidbits were nice to hear as well......

Sarah Plain and Tall

Next VP?

Move over Hilary, here comes someone better!

I'm pretty excited about Sarah Palin for GOP VP. Here's a few reasons why:

-She's a woman. Enough said.
-She has a family that she takes care of. A husband and 5 kids in fact.
-She decided to continue a pregnancy even when she knew the child had Down Syndrome. Talk about living what we preach.
-She's from Alaska--the state that will rid us of our energy crisis.
-She's from Alaska--not DC.
-She's smalltown. Not Georgetown. And she's the common man.
-She's not afraid to fight corruption.
-She's not interested in the perks of government, but the JOB of government (check out her creds)

She reminds me of Condoleeza Rice, a woman I wish would've run for the office. She's tough, has integrity, isn't afraid of being a woman and mother (check out the skirt instead of the "Hillary pant suits"), and can spit fire with the best of the boys.

I'm just waiting for the showdown with Joe Biden. I'll be rooting for her.

And so far, I think she'll make a great VP.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Of Mice and Men

We had a really nice day on Labor Day. Chris had the day off, and we took the kids to the park. The park there has lots of different conglomerations of climbing spaces: stairs, ramps, bridges, and the like. This park also seems to fit a guy like Chris (who is 5'3" at BEST) just fine. It has incorporated all kinds of "mouse holes" for the kids to sneak through and squeeze through and generally get lost in. Chris is mouse-size, so he played with the kids for the longest time, just running in and out of the various small spots and up and down the obstacles while they chased him.

Unfortunately, about 15 minutes after leaving the park, we discovered that Chris' cell phone that he keeps on his belt had fallen off. It wasn't in the car so we hightailed it back to the park. On the way there, I got a call on MY cell phone. Apparently someone had found the phone!

Unfortunately, they weren't wiling to give it back.

So they decided to steal Chris' phone.

If you've ever seen Chris with his cell phone, it is like a mini computer that he uses for MANY things. It has the Bible on it, he takes notes with it, keeps track of important things, and of course, takes pictures and makes calls with it.

There were some awesome pictures of the kids on that phone :(

Sometimes, people have no clue that when they're being selfish, they are REALLY taking advantage of someone else. It doesn't just affect other people a LITTLE. It affects them A LOT.

We cannot replace Chris' phone. At least, not in that capacity. I feel violated.


On a brighter side, there WAS a nice man at the park who tried to help me locate the offending party. Strangely enough, he recognized me from a completely different place (not from when we were at the park). The first thing he said when he saw me was: "Where's your little girl?" At this, I started looking around wondering who he was speaking to. Apparently, he WAS talking to me, and recognized me as the mom of Michaela. "Don't you have a daughter with long braids?"

"Uh, I know you?"

Come to find out, last week, when I had to take Michaela to the ER for something (thankfully, nothing serious), this man was there with his 11-year-old son. They both got a good look at Michaela (who's hair is undeniably memorable), and his son told his father, "Dad, she is the PRETTIEST girl I've ever seen!"

I guess he got a good enough look at us to pick me out in a completely different location entirely, and he felt confident enough to ask about her. He ended up helping me look around the playground that day (I was by myself at that point), and even stood near when I thought the people who had our phone was close by. That was a really weird experience.

...and it's weird to think that people say we should cut Michaela's hair. That would be like cutting off her whole head! Everyone knows who she is because of it! :)

Anyhow....that was Labor day. The good and the bad.