Thursday, November 25, 2010

Get Out! Get In! No...Get OUT!

When I was a kid....well more like a teenager and on into college...Thanksgivings in my house went something like this...

Let me see if I can paint a picture for you.

My mom would have a list a mile long of things to cook and bake and things to be done.  Chopping of vegetables, shredding of cheeses, crushing of nuts (read that how you will)....I know you know the scene.  Mom would have several pots going at once, the turkey in the oven and a pile of ingredients on the counter with a slew of recipes slung across the kitchen.

I'd be sitting there watching the Macy's parade, drinking my coffee and she'd yell "GET IN HERE AND HELP ME!  I NEED SOME HELP!"

So I'd come running.  And I'd start chopping.  Shredding.  Or Crushing.  And she'd start yelling "YOU'RE MAKING A MESS....THAT'S NOT HOW YOU DO IT!"  Then, inevitably.....


So I'd leave.  But not before warming up my coffee and grabbing a magazine on the way out.

And I'd sit for about three minutes before I'd hear again....


So I'd schlep back in and get a new set of instructions.

"Oh good grief.  What are you doing to those nuts?  I've never seen anyone treat pecans like that.  My pie will be a wreck.  I'll do it myself.  JUST GET OUT!  I'll crush my own nuts."


Sweet memories.

I'm getting all verklempt just thinking about it.

I'm back home this year but I helped out a WHOLE LOT by taking my three kids away from the house yesterday so Mom could get everything done.  It was my major contribution to this year's feast!

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving is filled with good food, sweet family and finely crushed nuts!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Do Hog Scalders and Owl Pellets Have In Common?

Both played an important role in our second day of madness and mayhem in the mountains!

Best to recap the day in pictures.....

First we headed over to Mountain City, Ga to the Foxfire museum and heritage center.   We started out hiking up a trail to visit some pre-civil war cabins.

Apparently we weren't very subtle.   Because these people here came up about the same time we did and set out on the same tour as us....but they took off down a different trail quickly and we never saw them again.

Their loss.  Because they could have seen how a hog scalder really works.  We had the perfect candidate to re-enact the scene for us at the first cabin.

[caption id="attachment_2354" align="alignnone" width="199" caption="Stuart standing in a hog scalder. He ain't skeered."][/caption]

Next we found the chapel.  A place for peaceful, quiet reflection.

Isn't it sweet?  Doesn't it seem to invite quiet meditation?  Only problem was, it had a bell.  With a long rope.  And six kids who couldn't get enough of the sound.

We also found a garden.  And promptly trampled through it.  It's probably been around since @1820.  And will never be the same again....

So then it was time to leave.  We started out down the trail and this was our view looking down.  See that little one all the way down there.... ??  Yes, he is doing exactly what it looks like he's doing.

We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.

And as if that wasn't all enough excitement for us....

We came home and dissected owl pellets.

AKA, owl poop....owl vomit.  Doesn't really matter which end of the owl it came from.  All that matters is that we dug through it to see what the owl ate.

All in a day's work.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Deliverance: Revisited


Julie graciously invited me and my boys to her father's cabin for a week.  A week of what?



Nope on both counts.  We were to bring all six of our kids.  The plan was to do some "school" and have a week long field trip...and visit with each other after not seeing each other since law school graduation in 2002.  However.....

I should've known when Julie told me that this "cabin chalet" wouldn't show up on GPS, I was in trouble.  I also had some inkling we were "done for" when Julie also told me we would be in the location where the movie, Deliverance, was filmed some many years ago.  She also told me that if I needed her "help up the mountain" to call her....if I still had cell phone reception.


I survived the trip to the cabin, despite two kids puking in the back of the van and one screaming.

Julie and I have big plans for this week.

Today was DAY ONE.  I had this big plan for all of us to do some "homeschoolin'" out at Unicoi State Park.   I found out that the kids could go on a nature field trip while on a hike through the woods, learn something...and get an official badge courtesy of the National Parks.

Not everyone was in the mood to hike.

However, we managed to earn some very cool Junior Ranger badges and meet a very nice forest ranger named Smith.  Of course, we ended the day with a trip to the grocery store for more Little Debbie Snack Cakes because Julie feeds her kids all organic food and Dollar General for some cap guns because we don't have enough mayhem.

On the agenda for tonight?  Roasting hot dogs over an open flame (Lord, please watch over us 'cause we're insane) and making S'mores (more nutritious food) before putting all of the children in bed by 7:00... no that's too early....7:30 p.m.


I'll quickly recap the day from my perspective:

5:00 am wake-up call from four boys playing "war" upstairs.

Breakfast of champions:  pop-tarts and capri suns.

Unicoi State Park excursion....let's just say there was so much madness around us that we didn't even notice the random kid in the red jacket who joined our group.  Six kids?  Seven kids?  Whatever.

[caption id="attachment_2341" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Whose kid is this????"][/caption]

Induction into the Jr. Ranger program....

We asked the Ranger....or the Power Ranger as the kids kept calling take a picture with all of us.  He promptly left and went into counseling.

Oh...did I mention he gave the kids snake skins?


The best part of the day though....while Kim went into the grocery store I sat in the car watching the two van fulls of  (thank you Lord) napping children.  I looked up to find the Starbucks worker standing at the window delivering me a latte.  Compliments of the other half of Mommy, Esq.

What a friend.

What a week.  And it's only been one day!


Location:  middle of nowhere, N.Ga. mtns.   The Mommies, Esq. are together again...after eight long years.  The last time we saw each other we were each 20 lbs., two minivans and three kids lighter.  

Some numbers from the past 24 hrs include:

Six children under seven in one small cabin.

One child with strep throat.

Two children with car sickness puking all the way from TN to GA.  

Five boys playing war at 5 am this morning.

Two dear friends chatting over a glass (or two or five) of wine until into the night.

It's loud.  It's crazy.  It's madness and mayhem.

It's wonderful.