Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Going for Gold

This past weekend while I was in Pensacola, Andy kept William and Catherine. Notice I only mentioned two children because the smallest and neediest one was at Mimi and Papa's. And notice I also didn't call it babysitting because it's not babysitting when they are your own's called parenting. But I digress.

Andy made a "joke" to some friends wanting to know when he was getting his medal and it just made me laugh. Because...I mean....I don't wonder when I'm getting my medal. But then again, in all fairness, it's not his usual job. If someone asked me to handle all the computers at the hospital for a day or two, I might be looking for a reward of some sort as well.

So yesterday afternoon the kids and I were settling in to read some books and William plopped down on the beanbag next to me. Catherine wanted to sit on the other side of me but there wasn't another beanbag. But there was a little stuffed chair in the corner of the room, so she decided she would bring the chair over to sit next to me. I watched her walk over, attempt to pick up the chair and struggle with it a little. Then....out of nowhere and completely unsolicited....William jumped up, ran over to her and said "Here, Cafrin, let me help you." And he took the chair from her and set it down next to me so his sister would have somewhere to sit. I couldn't help but smile, knowing that he really does listen to me when I try to teach him how to have compassion, be kind, be a gentleman.

And that, my friends, is my medal.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shut De Door...Keep Out De Devil

I had a wonderful weekend. Once it finally got going. I was a little worried though. Because up until Friday afternoon when it started I wasn't sure it was even going to happen.

See, I had plans to attend the Extraordinary Women conference in Pensacola. Not that I'm such an extraordinary woman, but one can always dream. Actually, it's a lot like the Women of Faith conferences, with inspirational speakers and singers and I was looking to be inspired. I was needing to be inspired. Desperately.

But last Thursday on my way home from the gym at 6am I thought I ran over a cat. Actually (and before you call PETA) the cat ran into ME. I was sitting at a stop sign and just as I pulled forward a cat came from nowhere and ran under my car. I never saw it again and frankly had an overwhelming fear as I continued driving that the cat was going to suddenly crawl from under the car and plaster itself on my window like Cujo. I was skeered. But it never happened and I made it home. Where I faced another of my greatest fears.

Catherine came running out of Stuart's room yelling "Stuie is awake and he has poo poo all in his bed." Ugh. I walked in to find that his lovely blue bedding was now brown and blue. Luckily those colors are quite fashionable so I considered leaving it alone. But I stripped and bleached him and his bedding and thought I was done with all my bad karma for the day. But no.

William had been sick all week, and by that afternoon Stuart had what William had. So as I was immersed in snotty noses and whining babies, Catherine decided to see how many DVD's she could stuff into the DVD player. I caught her as she was close to breaking what must have been the world record. At that point the poor DVD player would neither open nor close and was just groaning loudly. Nice.

So I get everyone fed, bathed and Stuart in bed so I could go meet some friends at a play that we'd planned long before the all the cat/poop/snot/DVD episodes, so I quickly dressed and jumped in my van. As I pulled out of the driveway I noticed a crazy sound coming from under the van. I drove a little further trying to determine if it sounded like it was going "Meow, meow." But it was a sound I'd never heard. So I turned around, pulled back into the driveway and saw I had a flat tire. Either I'd run over a nail, or Catjo had some sharp claws. Either way, I wasn't going anywhere.

All that to say that by Friday I was convinced it was all a sign I didn't need to be trying to go out of town. But then I realized it was a sign that I needed to go more than anything. I decided it was the "devil trying to steal my joy." I laughingly told that to my friend Amy who was going to the conference with me and she reminded me of a funny story that happened a while back where a woman thought Amy and her friend had stolen her place in line at a store. The woman yelled at her "You ain't gon steal MY just go ahead and take yo blessing."

So that's what I did. I went ahead and took my blessing. And blessed I was indeed. Renewed. Refreshed. Rehydrated. Re-energized.

And ready to face whatever else the devil throws my way.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is ~ his good, perfect and pleasing will. Romans 12:2

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Whole Year. Today.

It's going too fast.
Someone tell me how to stop the clock. Or at least slow it down.
Just a little.
Happy Birthday, Stuart
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Calling June Cleaver

My friend Molly sent me these darling little note cards a while back and they really could be snapshots from my daily life....admiring my anniversary gift toaster while doting husband looks on adoringly, thoughtfully planning my weekly menus, basting my pot roast whilst getting nary a wrinkle in my linen apron, stocking the refrigerator ~ high heels, pearls and all. I guess my artistic juices were still flowing from yesterday's project so today I decided to decoupage (incidentally, the word for the day) a bland TV tray that's been sitting in the corner for years just waiting to be decorated.

It was either do this or laundry. Clean underwear is highly overrated anyway.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Heart Art

I'm not an artist.  That's not a news bulletin to anyone who knows me well.  I'm not even very creative.  I want to be, if that counts for anything.  But I'm really not.  At all.

But I saw these little flower pots and paints the other day and thought what fun it would be to let the kids design their own pots and then plant some seeds and watch them grow.  So I found a couple of raggedy little paint brushes in the bottom of a drawer, spread out the paints on the patio, and told the kids to go for it.

But William wanted me to paint a T-Rex on his and Catherine, of course, wanted Dora on hers.  I didn't want to let them down.  So I did my best.  That's what counts, right?

They were waaaaaaaaay impressed.  Are you?


Let me just say, in my defense, I might as well have been painting with a horse tail.  Those brushes were rough on Dora's eyes.  And mouth. And hair.  And shirt.  Whatever you do don't enlarge these pictures and look at the details.  Just admire my art from afar.

And I made the mistake of letting William tell me how to spell "Rex."  I might have overcorrected a little.

Some more pictures from the session.  By the way....cute painted picnic table ~ Goodwill $10.


This is ok, isn't it?


They really were excited.  On the inside.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The Last One

We celebrated Stuart's first birthday yesterday, even though he doesn't turn "1" until Thursday. It was bittersweet. Our last First Birthday for our last baby. The first birthday is always such a celebration. A celebration of moving from babyhood to toddlerhood. A chance to look back over the year and marvel at all the milestones. To give thanks for that precious gift. And to remember all those times you sat curled in the fetal position in the corner of the kitchen rocking back and forth chanting "I will survive" and realize that you did, in fact, survive. Quite an accomplishment, no?

I had originally planned to bake a cute train know....decorated with oreos for wheels, piled full of candy and animal crackers and chugging over some Kit Kat tracks. I looked and looked at pictures and had it all planned. Then started getting sick the end of the week and wimped out. Instead I made cupcakes with blue frosting for the kids,to stain their clothes real good. And I also made a lemon filled cake with cream cheese icing....those are supposed to be polka dots but my Ziploc pastry bag exploded. Just use your imagination.



I looked and looked to find a toy that we didn't already have. You see, by the time the third child comes along you start telling people to just give him empty bags and boxes for gifts because (a) you already have everything and (b) that's all they want to play with anyway. But I found this little up and down "roller coaster" that all of the kids are loving playing with. I hope they never tire of it because it's about 1/4 mile long and has taken over my living room.



Nothing like having your brother and sister spit all over your cupcake before you get to dig in.


Undeterred by the spittage. This boy loves to eat.



And I just love this boy.


And we're done.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Little Boys and Beach Toys

I took William to the beach last week just for the day to meet one of his best little friends who was staying there for spring break.  It was a rare occasion where it was just me and William.  I realized how nice it was (a) to have one on one time with just one child, and that I need to do it more often and (b) to travel with a child who can potty (not in pants) without assistance and doesn't need to drink from a sippy cup.  Ahhhh....independence. 

William and friend had the time of their lives, running all over the beach, chasing each other, running from the waves, laughing, yelling at the top of their lungs with no one telling them to use "inside voices" and building sand castles. 

That is, until a grown woman came over and stole their buckets and shovels.

Well, she didn't steal them exactly.  She asked first.  The boys had left their toys with us to go play in the water and this woman walks over and asks if she could "borrow" the shovels and buckets.  Thinking she had a child who, sadly, didn't have anything to play with, I said "sure."  She then picked up the toys, walked about a half mile away, and started playing in the sand.  Herself.  All alone.  A 30+ year old grown adult woman.  PLAYING IN THE SAND.


Anyway...I love this picture.  Obviously taken prior to the theft.


Friday, April 18, 2008

The Spa

So you know Andy has been sick all week, and I've had some weird semblance of sickness. Just enough to make me feel rotten, but not enough (unfortunately) to be hospitalized for a couple of days, with meals brought to me and nightly turn down service.

The other night, at the height of Andy's malaise, I suppose he had the great idea that a soak in our nice big tub was just what the Dr. ordered. Except he decided to do it right after dinner. Which is when the three small ones get their baths. So I got all the kids stripped down and started to run their bath water and discovered that, unless they were to be the newest members of the polar bear club, they probably would not appreciate the frigid bath which was the result of all the hot water having been recently used up.

I hollered downstairs and asked Andy if he'd been running hot water and he hollered back "Yeah, a little."

I walked downstairs to find him in a huge tub of toasty bubbles, reading his new ESPN magazine. "Bad timing, buddy. Here ya go." And I slid the first and youngest of three children into his bubble bath. There went his spa experience.

Stuart took about a 15 second bath, Andy had a 20 second one and then William and Catherine were left to swim laps in the tub. I sent Andy back into his oasis with the kids' goggles, some floaties, and flippers and told him he was on lifeguard duty.

If he'd only waited a little longer...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Somebody Shoot Me Now

I have a husband home sick today. Thus, I have four children needing attention. The walls of this tiny home are closing in on me. I have turned into the old woman. In the shoe. So many children....well, you know.

Did someone say spring break? Please.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring "Break"

Well we're just a few hours into spring break and already I'm wondering how we're going to fill our days this week. It's not that I don't want all of my children here with me all day, every day. If that was our routine I'd be fine. I'd be used to it. Because we'd have a different routine than the one we have now, which is that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays it's an even playing field at least in the mornings, and I'm not outnumbered 3:1. Like I am this week.

So I thought about getting something together for us to do this arts & crafts....or learning activities....or field trips. But then I thought....NAH....I'll just do something I want to do like, say, recover the cornice boards in my bedroom while the kids fight with each other, tear up the house, and run around in their pajamas all day eating Cheez-its a box at a time.

I love my room now. Which is a good thing because we're all going to be living in it since the rest of my house was destroyed earlier by unsupervised children.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rules, Schmules

My husband just sent me this email that he thinks is brilliant.  Some knight penned this in a stroke of genius one day and sent it to a buddy and it's been forwarded now like a trimillion times.  And just ended up in my mailbox.  I think it's been around forever and probably was sent to me before.  By my husband.  Who loves to write at the top of the email "So true.  SO TRUE!"  But now I have a blog.  And I'm posting it here for all of you to see in case you've missed it.

Girls, I'll be taking comments with your suggestions for our own set of rules that I'll compile and post here first.  Let's call them "The Mom Rules."

So here it is:  The Man Rules­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Please note.. These are all numbered '1' ON PURPOSE! 
1.   Men are NOT mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You're a big girl.  If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down..
You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.                  1. Sunday sports.  It's like the full moon
Or the changing of the tide.  Let it be.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
1. 'Yes' and 'No' are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it.
That's what we do.  Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are.  Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one
1. You can either ask us to do something.  Or tell us how you want it done.  Not both.  If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color...Pumpkin is also a fruit.  We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched.  We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' we will act like nothing's wrong.  We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to,
Expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere,  absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball.  Or golf.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. Thank you for reading this.
                        Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;
                        But did you know men really don't mind that?  It's like camping.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Return of Sybil

We thought she had left us for good. She certainly overstayed her welcome. But alas, she is back. With a vengeance.

Yesterday as Andy was leaving for work I ran out after him and hollered "HEY!!...You forgot something!"

He patted his pants pockets for his wallet and held his keys up and said, "What?"

"HER," I said, and I pulled her out the door by the arm as she was kicking, screaming, wailing and weeping.

"Uh-uh, I don't think so," and he sped away as he mouthed "Good Luck."

So this morning I tried again.

"Hey, guess what today is? It's TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK Day. Lucky you!"

"Nice try."

Sigh. I may be sending up smoke signals later if it becomes too unbearable. Someone rescue me, please.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Going Bananas

This is going to be quick because I have a lot of work to do. See, we eat a lot of bananas in this house. The kids each eat at least one a day and Andy and I put them in our smoothies every morning. At 69 cents a pound, it adds up. And since Andy threw the "b" word at me a couple of months ago (budget) I've been trying to keep the grocery bill under control. Not an easy thing to do these days. Groceries are crazy expensive! Anyway, I digress. Back to the bananas.

So I ran into the store this morning to pick up a few things and noticed that they had these HUGE bags of ripe bananas on clearance for $1.50 a bag. HUGE bags. At least 30 in each bag. I bought all that they had.

Six dollars later I left the store with enough bananas to keep Curious George and his entire extended family full for weeks. WEEKS. Luckily I have a freezer. Many of them will be frozen to go in our shakes. Some will go into banana bread. For dinner we're having banana sticks, french fried bananas and banana casserole. And for dessert - you guessed it - banana pudding.

I gotta get crackin' on doing something with all this ripe fruit before the flies carry us away. If anyone has any other yummy banana recipes send 'em on over.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Not So Simple Life

I had a terrible experience the other night with the cable company. First of all, let me just say that, if I had it my way, we would have one small black and white television in the house, sans cable, with a lovely little set of rabbit ears sitting right on top. But SEC football just doesn't cut it on a 10 inch screen, or so I'm told. So we not only have a TV in the den, we have one in our bedroom. And we have cable or satellite or something all space age complete with DVR so you can record what you want to watch and watch when you want to. And I admit I've become a little spoiled by the DVR.

One of my guilty pleasures is watching the Today show every morning while I have my coffee. But sometimes that just doesn't work out. So I record it. And watch it at 9 pm if I have to. Crazy I know. But it's kind of like recording a big game, or American Idol, and not wanting to know what happened until you can see it yourself. I'm like that with the news. I don't want to know what happened until Ann Curry tells me.

So I grabbed the remote the other day in our room and pressed the power button and nothing happened. It turned on the TV, and it lit up, but the cable didn't come on. So I called customer service. After pressing 5, 3#, 8903, 1u789dyu8n3jiydu8uwhu38hdq&*#%%^&!^&*!, I finally got someone on the line. I told him the TV was coming on with the remote but not the cable.

"Ok, ma'am. We'll work through this together. Now, just to confirm, you do have the television remote in your hand, correct?"

He's kidding, right? I waited a moment and then said, "Oh wow. Oh geez. Now I see what the problem is. I'm so glad I called. Mmmm. How embarrassing. Ha, ha, ha. Silly me. I've been trying to use the HAIRDRYER to turn on the TV!"

Whatever. After two dropped calls and a million instructions later to re-program every receiver and TV in the house, he finally made a brilliant call and determined that the remote was bad.

Ya think???

They are sending us another one. I really miss the good ole simple days. You never had to call customer service to figure out how to move those rabbit ears around!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

She Trusts Me

My cousin over at The Garden Sage sent me this little package a few weeks ago, and must have the utmost confidence that I won't murder her cute little plants. She actually sent me four (no, Kim, I haven't killed the other one) but #4 is in a separate planter. I actually took this picture about a month ago and I'm happy to say all are alive and well!

Just wanted to show how cute they are (can't really tell about the little hen and chicks in the middle) and tell you what a great gift this makes! Instead of buying flowers that will surely die, you can send someone a package with a few little plants that, with proper love and care, will last a long time. Mothers Day is coming up. I think a few of these little darlings, along with a spa gift certificate, a year's maid service and something shiny and sparkly for the ears would make an excellent gift!
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Friday, April 04, 2008

Queen of the Loo

Look what I found at Target the other day.  It's bathroom cleaner that is supposed to make you feel like royalty.  It's aromatherapy for you while you scrub the toilet!  What could be more fabulous?

And it really does work, I must say.  Why, earlier today as I was scrubbing away all the....well, you know....I swear I heard strains of "There she is....Miss America....."  I turned to wave to my adoring fans and saw that my toilet brush had turned into a Waterford scepter.

Simply fabulous.  The best $4.99 I've spent in a long time.



Thursday, April 03, 2008

Good Things

Some new things I've tried recently:

1. Tuna Cranberry Salad

Ok here's the thing. When I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago I had some of the tuna salad that Harry's Market (Whole Foods) sells. It was soooooo good. So I came home craving it, but since we don't have a Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods here, I had to make my own. Here's the recipe I found and I've been making it every day now for three weeks and am not tired of it yet.

Sorry, I don't's just all by taste.

White albacore tuna
Mayo (enough to mix it well...I'd say maybe two tbsp. for a small can? But I'm not a huge mayo fan)
Dill Weed ( taste...but I probably put a couple of tsp. in it)
Dried cranberries

Mix it all up and enjoy! It's good on crackers or even just by the spoonful.

2. Homemade pizzas

Well, not completely homemade because I'm not about to attempt throwing dough around my kitchen. But I buy the premade crusts that come 2 to a pack and make one for the kids and one for us. My kids only eat pepperoni so making theirs is easy. I use turkey pepperoni to make it a little healthier.

I made this one the other night for me and Andy and it was great.

Spread a layer of pesto sauce on the crust.
Top with shrimp (I like the already cooked frozen shrimp but if you use raw shrimp obviously boil or saute first)
Green onions
Artichoke hearts
Layer of smoked provolone cheese (I use the slices)
Grated mozzarella cheese

Bake until cheese is done and then broil for just long enough to brown the cheese a little.

3. Key Lime Pie

My all time favorite dessert is Key Lime Pie but since I'm trying to get in shape so I can outpace the Golden Girls, I found this low fat and light recipe and made it last weekend and I swear I couldn't tell the difference. I actually made my own crust because I have this darling Key Lime pie plate I bought about 10 years at Williams Sonoma and I wanted to be able to see the limes as we sliced into it. This is the first time I've made a pie in it. It only took me 10 years.

It's the little (strange) things that excite me lately.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Excuse Me While I Step Up On My Soapbox

Did you hear about the eight and nine year old kids in Georgia who planned to kill their teacher? Yeah. They planned to stab her, while the windows were covered so no one could see, and then dispose of her body and clean up the mess. It was just a clever little plan. By eight and nine-year-olds.

This is so wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to start. Let's start at home though. I ask you, where are the parents? And what are they doing? Here's what they aren't doing. They aren't talking to their kids. They don't know who their kids are hanging out with and they probably don't know those kids' parents. Did the parents look in the backpacks? Ever? I taught school once upon a time and I can assure you, an English or History notebook can read like a juicy novel. Foul language and everything. A murderous plot like the one put into motion here didn't happen in secret. It was discussed on the phone, on the internet, or passed along in notes. Just waiting to be discovered. By a nosey parent.

And did you see that these kids may or may not even be expelled? How would you like your third grader sitting next to little Charlie Manson? The fact that it's even up for debate is unbelievable. Expel them. Put them in a special school. Send them to counseling. Along with the parents. And that's just a start.

Call me crazy, but I remember a time not so long ago when kids feared their teachers and parents. Now it's the other way around. Parents are so afraid that their kids might not like them (gasp!) or that their self-esteem will suffer if they are punished. They don't want to snoop because they might invade the kids' privacy. Here's a news bulletin: kids should have NO expectation of privacy if the roof over their head is funded by you.

Things like this just should not be. Before long, we won't have any teachers left to teach our kids. They'll be retired, or murdered by gangs of preschoolers....and there will be no one to replace them.

Come on, parents! Snoop, talk to your kids, talk to your kids' teachers, know your kids' friends, snoop some more, dole out consequences for bad behavior, support the teachers and principals when they do the same, and just for good measure, snoop again.

Criminy. I'm going to end up homeschooling. I can see it coming....