Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I get pretty emotional around the holidays. (Shut up, Josh, I know "around the holidays" isn't the only time I am teary.) I love the sentiment and the specialness and memory making. I love buying presents and watching people open them--to me it's like saying, "I know you and I love you and I bought you this because it made me think of you!" Even gift cards can seem personal when you know it brings that person joy.

I also love the real meaning of Christmas. The whole Jesus thing gets me. Bo and Sascha were little babies their first Christmases and I found myself staring at them all the time wondering how Mary felt. I used to think she must have felt sad because He was going to have to die on the cross, but then I remembered that at the time, they all thought the Messiah was going to come and save them from Rome and tyranny and reign as a king, not live a lowly life and then die for their sins. Can you even imagine what it was like to look down at your baby and KNOW HE WAS GOD?! I mean, I used to look down at my babies and just get overwhelmed with joy and love and responsibility. My stomach would get all fluttery because I had so many feelings. But Mary had God. Wow.

I get teary, too, wondering what Christmas eve was like for God the Father and Jesus. When Granny died, I started thinking about how short (in the grand scheme of time) our earthly separation would be before I got to see her again in heaven and hang out for eternity. It didn't really lessen my pain any. Or when Josh traveled for weeks at a time a few years ago, even though we could talk by phone or skype, I missed his actual presence. I know time is different for God the Father (you know a day is like a minute or an hour or whatever), BUT He was sending His SON to earth for over 30 years to be tempted and tried and hated and eventually killed after taking on all of our sins.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Traditions, smells, family, great food, memories, music, lights, candles, laughter . . . but mostly, that sweet baby who chose to come to us because we were literally lost without Him. He gave up a throne and a host of angels and hanging out with God to spend hard time here JUST FOR US. Because He loves us. Because we need Him and He thinks we are worth it.

That's the gift I most enjoy each year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sicko Kidos

I am crossing my fingers and toes and knocking on wood that Caroline and Tru can avoid (will avoid) whatever little bug attacked Bo and Sascha last week.

Tuesday, I picked Bo up from school around 11 and he was crying. His teacher said she didn't think he felt good and that he had fallen asleep in the reading center and complained of being cold. By the time I got him home and set up in our "sick spot" (aka, the couch bed down in the playroom), his temperature was 102 and it stayed there until sometime overnight when it broke and stayed gone. He was pitiful and lethargic and didn't move except to go to the bathroom. He was so polite though, saying, "No fanks," when I would offer him food or drink. I finally got some medicine down him around 10. Wednesday, we stayed home (so sad that he missed his school Christmas party) and he was slow but better.

Sometime that morning, Sascha handed me an empty bowl and said, "Yum! More crackers please! Those were dood!" I thought and thought, trying to remember giving her a bowl of crackers. I realized with some impending doom that she had been snacking on Bo's food--his half-eaten, germ-covered crackers. We often say that Sascha is too mean to get sick (love her so much), so I had kind of forgotten about her self-exposure until Saturday morning when she was whiny and slow and refused a donut and then barfed her milk everywhere. We cleaned her up (and the floor) and got her settled on the couch where she pretty much stayed for 2 days. Her little bug was harder on her and longer lasting even though her fever wasn't as high (it was a constant 100.2 for 48 hours or so). Bless her heart. Mischievous, energetic, constantly on the go kids seem so much sicker when they are sick. And, God love her, she was more worried about how close she came to throwing up on the Christmas tree then she was about how she felt at the moment.

Today, everyone is pretty ok. I will admit that I am kissing foreheads a little more frequently to secretly check for fevers. My Christmas wish is for the rest of us to stay well and enjoy this break. But here's a word to the wise: milk + feverish belly = fountain of yuck.

Friday, December 16, 2011

O my Christmas!

Well, the holiday season has kicked off! There have been parties for hosting (well, attending) and marshmallows for toasting (or floating in hot chocolate) and some really cute boys caroling us while they tossed toilet paper all over our front yard.

Thankfully, I am not feeling overwhelmed by our level of activity this year; if anything, the holidays are providing a break from our usually crazy schedule. Golf is over for the season and dance is about to have a 2 week hiatus before competition season kicks off. I think I am done shopping and I think I came in close to (maybe even under) budget.

It is a magical year. All the kids are into it, especially Sascha, who is very adorably into Christmas--she loves to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and may be slightly obsessed with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". (But only if you define obsession by 3-4 viewings a day.)

(Not that I let my kids watch that much tv.)

(And what is my apparent obsession with parenthesis?)

My mom and my aunt and I celebrated my aunt's birthday today with a pedicure and lunch and then did some shopping together. We always have fun together; in fact, probably my favorite thing about the 3 of us being together is that we get the giggles. Today was no exception--even picking out toenail polish had us laughing. In the end, just in case you care, we all chose holiday themed colors--mine was/is Very Merry Cherry.

On a blond note, I am not sure what my system for addressing Christmas cards was this season, but somehow I missed several. There is almost a pattern to it. I addressed them the same weekend that the Hogs lost to LSU, so perhaps, in my grief, I was unable to see straight. If you haven't gotten one from us and you usually do, hang on, round 2 is coming! (And if you get two, just know I really, really didn't want to leave you out and couldn't remember if I had. Have some Christmas compassion on me and maybe a bless her heart or two.)

The kids are finally out of school and I have tried to keep our schedule next week somewhere between not boring but still relaxing. I have a few craft projects planned--go ahead and laugh if you know me--and a few places to go. Mostly, however, I plan for us to stay in our warm pj's as long as possible each day.

Have a holly, jolly weekend!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Confession: we are part of the unspirited masses who buy an artificial tree and use it for years and years. Partially out of practicality and partially because for many years we have had a young child with asthma or allergy issues that made a live tree risky.

But those days appear to be over (or lessening enough to try a live one).

In years past, we have used ribbon and cheap Target balls to decorate the tree. If you read this on a regular basis, you have probably already guessed there are 2 reasons for this--Sascha and Bo. They are curious and stubborn and putting up ornaments that matter and might get broken seemed unfair to all of us. I have always loved how the tree looked and the ease of not getting upset when I heard a crash and "uh-oh". This year, I decided to try a more fun and festive version (and also one that didn't involved glass since Sascha broke 2 of the surviving balls from last year before I even got all of the boxes out of the storage room). I bought beaded garland and glittery ornaments and we set to decorating the tree the Sunday we got back from Polar Express (after Josh added working lights to the prelit tree since the prelit ones won't light).

It was a disaster.

The whole thing was all wrong. Kids were crying; Josh was irritated with the crying kids and may have threatened to do it without one of two of them. That made me sad so the whole merriment and magic was sort of gone.

And . . . well, the picture in my head and the actual tree were, um, vastly different. It. Was. Tacky.


So the next day, I took off the beads and put up last year's ribbon.


I had lost my Christmas mojo. This year I have struggled to get things decorated just so and it has thrown off my Christmas spirit.

So, last week I sent Josh back down to the depths of the house and asked him to bring back the big red box. I opened it up and sights and smells from my childhood overwhelmed me. I took off the ribbon and the glittery ornaments and Target balls and redecorated it by myself as I listened to the classic Christmas music on cable. It was wonderful. I carefully selected sturdy and (probably) unbreakable ornaments from Granny's stash; there were some tears and some nostalgic smiles, but mostly, somehow, it lifted my spirits. Like magic, I felt warmth and happiness and the feelings of the season I normally experience. The tree is finally beautiful and meaningful and just right.

Oh. And christened by Tate.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I got nothin

Really that's not true. I got lots of stuff brewing in my brain, on my to do list, jumping up and down demanding my attention . . .

But word wise, I got nothin because I can't decide which direction to go.

So how about this. I will finish catching up on laundry and cleaning. Make a master to do list with my daily ones on post it notes. Meal plan for the week. Try to enjoy the fact that for the last year EVER I have more than one kid at home (this has not happened since the only full year that Caroline lived as an only child). And maybe tomorrow or Wednesday I will have something witty or deep to say.

Or better yet, witty AND deep.

Or more likely, I will get just enough done and something funny might happen that I remember to post.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why I might be heading to the nut house

(although that might kill me . . . really . . . since I recently discovered that I have developed an allergy to nuts--especially almonds--which makes me sad because I love nuts--I mean look who I married--hahahaha. But seriously, like I am epi-pen carrying allergic to nuts now. Who knew you could go from nut lover to nut victim?)

But that is not the point of this post. The point is to apologize for skipping 2 days and give you a taste of day to day life here.

* Sascha has changed what she wants from Santa DAILY. MULTIPLE TIMES DAILY! From Bo's school to her babysitter's yesterday it changed 4 times--"Foofa, no . . .  Yo Gabba Gabba toys, no . . .  Smurfette, no . . . Papa Smurf . . . "

* The following statements have been said this week at our house (some repeatedly)
     - "Bo, you cannot hang a bungee cord from the top cabinet and swing from it!"
     - "Bo, please do not put the bungee cord around your neck!"
(I know, I know, why does he even have access to a bungee cord?!)
     - "Sascha, please do not choke your brother!"
     - "Only Mommy can stand on the top of the chair to put the star on!"
     - "Bo, please do not pick your nose and eat the boogers."
(Sorry, but I am nothing if not honest about our life!)
     - "Sascha, please tell me that is mud and not poo poo on your clothes!"
(It was mud. Sigh of relief!)
Have a sane weekend . . . I know we are going to try to.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Unless someone is breathing peanut butter breath on me.

(I'm looking at you, Josh. Do you want me to die?! Don't answer that.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Show and tell

Well . . . deposit another $100 into my kids' "future therapy fund" . . .

Bo has show and tell on Tuesdays. I haven't remembered the last 2 weeks. (In my defense, Tru and Caroline always had it on Thursdays AND they were both very on top of show and tell AND it had to use the letter of the week so for some reason it was easier to remember.)

Anyway, when I picked him up today, I asked how his day had been.

Bo: "It was good."

Me: (with panicked realization.)"BO! I'm SO SORRY! I forgot about show and tell."

Bo: "Yeah. Der was no show and tell in my back pack."

Me: "I know, buddy, I'm so sorry! What did you do?"

Bo: "Der was no show and tell in my back pack so I showed dem my fingers and knees."

I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

And maybe I did.

And then I put a reminder in my phone for Tuesday mornings.

And then I went overboard praising his creativity.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Polar Express

Friday afternoon, Josh and I loaded up the kids and went with my parents to Branson, Mo to ride the Polar Express. It was magical for the kids and precious to watch.

We stopped in Harrison for dinner and surprised them with their annual matching Christmas pj's and then drove on to the train depot. They didn't know for sure (although smarty pants Caroline guessed) where we were going until we walked into the the depot with all of the souvenirs.

As soon as they knew, though, you would have thought they had been waiting for years. The anticipation and 45 minute wait for our train almost killed them (or maybe that was me that almost killed them when they wouldn't stop asking, "HOW MUCH LONGER?!").

Here are the kids sitting at the station

I really was as excited as they were . . . randomly in the last month, both Bo and Tru have said they wished they could ride a train! I almost exploded from not telling them that their first train ride would be the Polar Express to the North Pole AND they would see Santa!!!!

The ride was great--hot chocolate, Christmas carols, we saw the elves working at the North Pole, the conductor came by and clicked our tickets, even the hobo made an appearance!

But, of course, the BEST part was when Santa came and we could all hear our jingle bells because OF COURSE WE ALL BELIEVE!!!

Sascha is not nearly as afraid of him as she should be (since she is usually really close to being on the naughty list)--she tackled him with a hug and then we snapped this great picture with all of them and Santa!

The rest of the weekend was also great (minus our Georgia Bulldogs getting torn up by LSU in the SEC championship). We took the kids to sit in Santa's lap and tell him what they wanted (he was too busy Friday night). This proved to be challenging for the girls--Caroline is afraid to ask for what she really wants because she has a perfect record and thinks this year she may not get her big gift and Sascha was very disappointed that you only get to go through the line once and laid down on the floor by the Santa station and threw a big ole fit . . . so much for you better not cry and pout and stuff.

It was a weekend I will treasure, especially since our kids are getting older so fast! I love this time of year even more as a mom than I did before kids . . . the smells, the lights, the music, the magic of it all . . . (insert happy sigh here).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Writer's block

I could fill you in on the mundane details of our life . . . allergy tests, strep swabs, errand running, blah, blah, blah.

But I want you to come back and read again and do you really want to know every snotty detail of our life?

I could recount for you the experience that one of my children (who shall remain nameless out of consideration) and I had at the ped's office. Let me just say that kids are a lot stronger than they look and extremely inventive when it comes to finding ways to avoid a strep swab. I could have won wrestling awards for the holds I attempted and the nurse should get an award for her bravery in the face of certain injury. After several attempts, threats, cries, etc, we got a good swab that came back negative.

I then resorted to a brilliant/evil genius/mean/low/desperate moment of mothering to ascertain whether or not said child was truly sick. I "tricked" the doctor into threatening blood work if he/she wasn't feeling better in a day or so.

Josh and I had dinner with his boss last night, so I cannot say for sure exactly when he/she perked up, but y'all, it's a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! THE CHILD IS TOTALLY FINE THIS MORNING!

In his/her defense, I do believe that he/she didn't feel great, but I question the level of malaise that he/she portrayed (somewhat convincingly too.)

On a totally unrelated note, our Elf on a Shelf, Jingle, appears to have gotten lazy this year. At least twice in the last week, he has been in the same place as the day before. It's like Sascha has given him tips on hiding. Hopefully he will get his act together soon.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bangs vs. Botox

Not too long ago I looked in the mirror and realized that my face was getting . . . well, a little older looking. Which I guess is normal since I am not a Cullen (or in any other vampire family) and aging as all mortals do.

I'm not saying it's time for a face lift or anything, but let's just say I look concerned even when I am not.

So, I marched myself up to Sephora and did what I had managed to put off for a while--I looked into skin care lines that, gulp, dealt with wrinkles (not just large pores and zits, as previously needed).

And after a couple of weeks, I did see some improvement. But I was getting my hair did last week and after sitting in front of the big mirror for an extended period of time getting it colored loved on, I realized it was time to take another step in dealing with the lines. I figured I had 2 options to mask the years of life on my forehead:
     #1- Botox (which Josh balks at because it costs money and squirts poison into my body . . . poison, ha! like Diet Mountain Dew is organic, buddy!)
     #2- Bangs (which were convenient and rolled up into the cost of my appointment and poison free)

I know you are on pins and needles wondering what I choose, so without further delay . . . I went with option #2 (I guess I had a 3rd option . . . ignore them, but that is as unlikely as Josh bringing me a gift certificate home today for Botox). And I would love to show you my bangs (because they are some of my better sets (?) of bangs), but pictures and my blog are in another argument and not speaking.

So the moral of this post is: bangs are cheaper than Botox and hide wrinkles very well.

The end.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Have you ever had something stewing inside of you that you couldn't let go of. Even worse, something that you couldn't let go of but couldn't put your finger on either?

It's torture.

A little over a month ago this happened to me. I read an amazing book. I was doing a great Bible Study and all of the sudden, I couldn't sleep. Something was brewing and I didn't know what. I felt like I was supposed to do something and I couldn't figure out what it was. I would lay awake at night saying, "What, God? What is it?" And eventually, after a few restless nights and days, it was more like, "PLEASE TELL ME!! ANYTHING!! I WILL DO IT!! ANYTHING!!"

And then it happened. No voice from heaven. No divine email. (How cool would those be?) Just a thought that could not have been my own.

An idea.

Which became a dream.

That I decided to go for.

And do you know what followed? Peace. Calm. Quiet in my brain. Sleep.

I had my answer. And it was amazing. And it wasn't packing up to move to Africa with Katie Davis and help her with the orphans (yet, haha). It wasn't anything drastic or hard or terrible.

Actually, it was a wash of relief. A giddy answer--not just to the thing that kept me awake, but to other things that weighed on my mind and heart.

And I'm excited. I have a dream and I might get to realize it.

It could implode on me. It might not work out or last long. But I don't care. Because all that's being asked of me right now is to take one step.

So here it is . . . jump on over (if you are so inclined) Gifts From Granny

And ps, happy birthday, Granny. I miss you and I love you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

woo. pig. sooie. (pleeeeeeeease)

i am as nervous as if i was playing the dadburn game myself.

today the #3 arkansas razorbacks take on the #1 lsu tigers.

i am giddy and nauseous.

never, since the 1969 game between arkansas and texas, has so much been riding on 4 quarters of football for our little piggies.

we plan to watch it with my parents and aunt and uncle and cousins, but we are all sooooo superstitious that if the game seems to head south, we will all run for our respective homes and sit in our usual seats in an effort to help those hogs demolish the tigers.

oh my gosh. i cannot wait for the game, and yet, i fear it's commencement.

can we all pause a moment for a piggie prayer?


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to just pay attention on all the things that you have instead of what you want." - Caroline Bass

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

unsolved mysteries

just trying to solve a few mysteries around here, like . . .

* why do i always weigh about 5 pounds more at the doctor's office? i even take off my shoes. my scale at home is the same as the one at the gym, but every doctor's office has me weighing more. and that's the one that gets written down. so i feel like i "officially" weigh what it says. i kid you not, one day i may show up for a 7:30 appointment in spandex shorts and a sports bra to get a better weight written down on my chart.

* where do the socks go? i have moved the washer and the dryer and stuck the vacuum attachment down the dryer thing to suck out any that might have gotten sucked in. i cannot figure out how i wash can wash a pair of socks but only dry one.

* why do my kids sleep later than usual on days we have places to go but wake up early on the days when we could all actually sleep in?

* why won't sascha keep her shoes on? (insert arkansas joke here)

* (this one was posed to me yesterday at the salon and i probably won't do anything to actually solve it) what color is my hair really?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hey, Kroger lady, I'm looking at you!

I wish I had gotten the email or news flash or text message reminder that yesterday was the official shopping day for Thanksgiving at our local Kroger because OH. MY. GOSH. I would NOT have gone had I know that every Tom, Dick, and Harry would be there with their respective spouses and 2 oldest children and at least 1 senior citizen from their family. Good grief the madness--and I was only shopping for the first 3 days of our week. 

(I prefer to do my holiday food shopping closer to the event when I can fully enjoy the panic of not being able to immediately locate all my ingredients and bemoan the idea of driving all over town to find them and then when I stumble across the last can or bag of something saying loudly "OH, THANK YOU, GOD!!" Shopping ahead. Pshaw.)

Anyway, somehow I managed to get almost all of what we needed while only hitting 3 or 4 other carts and only cussing a few times under my breath and only silently judging a handful of my co-shoppers. I was just about to breathe a sigh of relief as the last bag was loaded onto my cart when my checker, the lady who had just touched every piece of food I labored to purchase, announced to the bagger that she would not be going to see her aunt this week because she (the lady who touched my food) was not feeling well and would hate to risk getting her sick.

My family and the other 263 people she checked out, not so much worried about us, I guess. But, Aunt Cleo, no. worries. You will not be exposed to whatever plague she has.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I am TWI-ing hard to stay awake

Well, this may be the end of it for some of you. I am about to share a piece of my life that may send you running, but if this blog is to be a place where I feel free to be me . . .

Yesterday, I hired a babysitter (until Josh could get home around 5) and met 10 friends at the movie theatre.

Hang on. There is SO MUCH MORE.

I met them there a little after 3 in the afternoon.

I ate dinner there with said friends.

I got home from the movie theatre a little before 3 in the morning.

That's right. I spent 12 hours with my darling friends reliving the first 3 Twilight movies and joyfully, perhaps slightly tearfully, reveling in Breaking Dawn (part 1).

And, ya'll, it was the best. night.

Let's just cover the basics:
1) 10 friends (0 children)
3) popcorn, sweedish fish, yogurt covered raisins, and Chik-Fil-A
4) FREE REFILLS OF DIET COKE IN MY SOUVENIR CUP (which became very important about 4 hours into the marathon!!)
5) 10 friends (0 children)
6) 10 hours of Edward, Jacob and Bella
7) 10 hours of the whole Cullen clan and Charlie Swan
8) Twilight
9) New Moon
10) Eclispse

Do I even need to keep on or are you already dying of jealousy?

I have to admit that I am oddly sad that the event is over . . . kind of like the day after prom . . . tired, great memories, but what is there to look forward to now? (I know, I know, Thanksgiving, Christmas, yadda, yadda, yadda.)

I have great pics to show you, but the computer has decided it is not going to let me share them, so check out my facebook page instead to see them.

Ok, I'm going to ingest some more caffeine to try to stay awake after getting 3 1/2 hours of sleep, listen to the song A Thousand Nights (again), check the movie times to see when I can see it again and try to set up a countdown calendar for Breaking Dawn (part 2), due out November 16, 2012.  - sooooo happy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meeting Michelle Duggar, aka Caroline dies and goes to heaven!

Caroline cracks me up! She is a LOVER of reality television. We have some shows that we watch together--Say Yes to the Dress, What Not to Wear, and 19 Kids and Counting (soon to be 20 Kids and Counting). We enjoy laughing and commenting and just hanging out together.

Recently, the Duggars (19 Kids and Counting) has been her favorite. She watches them over and over again and knows them all by name. At first, I will admit, I was unsure about this crazy family. Were they giving Arkansans a bad name? Could they really be that nice? Was it any kind of healthy to have a gajillion kids? But, because they spent so much time here when their youngest, Josie, was born 3 months early, we ended up having a few friends/acquaintances in common. These people all went on and on about how normal and kind and fun and sweet and, well, normal the Duggars are. And in the end, unless I want them chiming in on how many kids they think I should have, I guess I should leave it between them and God when they stop reproducing. They are debt free and raising successful and well mannered kids. I think sometimes my disdain for them came more from my insecurities about struggling to raise my four when they seem to embrace and thrive with the chaos of their 19.

Whatever your views, my sweet Caroline looks up to those wholesome girls and given the direction that Miley Cyrus' life is heading, I am happy for some role models and tv shows that I can leave the room while she's watching and not have to worry about her getting sassy or wanting to make out with a boy when she's 9. So when I heard that Michelle (the matriarch of the Duggar family) was going to be speaking to a group of women at our church, I knew that I would have to check Caroline out of school and let her come listen.

She. Was. Thrilled!! We got to meet Janna (oldest girl) and Josie (youngest girl for now) and when the brunch was over . . . .

I mean, could Caroline be smiling any bigger?!

Michelle was every bit as sweet as she seems on TV and there was no entourage with her like Kate Gosselin insisted on. She had some great tips on parenting and not losing your patience. (Too bad Caroline was there and can hold me accountable! Ha!)

Anyway . . . look for us on the next season of 20 Kids and Counting because TLC was there filming and you never know, we might be on!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weddings and Whirlwinds

Wow. I. Am. Tired.

And happy.

And really tired.

Let me back up to last Sunday when I flew back from San Jose. Did I mention that I flew back alone? I didn't think so. You know how I am superstitious about stuff like mentioning that we are out of town or that I am here alone with the 4 kids. So, now, let me tell you the real stories of last week and explain why I haven't posted since Tuesday.

Josh had a week's worth of training in San Diego immediately following our weekend jaunt to the Bay Area. So I flew back half way across the country alone to start my week as a temporary single mom of 4. (Can I be honest and say minus the inconvenience it would have caused my parents who were keeping our kids, a missed flight in Phoenix resulting in a night alone there would NOT have hurt my feelings.) But, alas, all flights were made and I got back around 8 pm Sunday night. Thanks to the time change and the time zone change, sleep and I were not friends Sunday night and my week got off to a groggy start.

Groggy this week was no good because, and I will type this in a manner that I hope conveys the madness and non-stopness (yes, I know that is not technically a word) of our week, it consisted of . . .
catch up from weekend, laundry, babysitter, cooking class, luncheon, drop off at dance, thunderstorm that freaks out kids, pick up from dance, Bible Study, find outfit, take Tate to board, dance, golf, and meanwhile PACK, PACK, PACK, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, make lists, check lists, give Sascha medicine for the cough that will NOT stop and also will NOT let either her or myself sleep, load car, check lists again, shower (I did do that more than once), wake kids up at the crack of dawn, load kids, leave for Nashville at 5:30 in the morning because . . .


As is (apparently) the tradition, Josh's out of town training requires him to fly into whatever city his sibling is getting married in and allows me the opportunity to pack for all of us and get us there.

But I like a challenge. I do. I like looking at a week like last week when there was barely enough time to even make a list, much less accomplish it, and, in the words of Larry the Cable Guy, "get 'er done."

Wednesday morning, with our car loaded up with 2 flower girls, 2 ring bearers, a friend, and enough luggage to make a Kardashian blush, we headed east for the long anticipated wedding of Josh's brother.

Here we are at Chik-Fil-A on the Nashville side of Memphis around 8:30 in the morning.

Let's just say, when we left, everyone at CFA was more awake. (And Sascha was sitting with me.)

We got to Nashvegas around 11:30 and I showed the kids some of my favorite spots on the way to meet Maggie's grandparents at Belmont. After we successfully passed her off to Mama Gail and Daddy Ron, I continued my little tour of Nashville with commentary and memories and excitement until a chorus of little voices in the backseat begged for food. So I did what any tired mom with 4 kids would do in a city full of delicious and unique lunch spots . . . I drove through Sonic.

We headed out to our hotel to unload our stuff and as we pulled into the little drive through, I remembered that I had a CAR FULL OF KIDS AND LUGGAGE AND NO OTHER ADULT.

So I checked in, grabbed a luggage cart, and sang my usual girl power song . . . "I'm Every Woman"

And somehow, thank the Lord, all our stuff made it on one cart, nothing fell, and no children were lost in the process.

Now the fun could begin. We saw my cousins in Franklin and their 3 kids and then headed downtown to eat some dinner at The Wildhorse Salon

Here's the groom with a cute little guy I may or may have not mentioned being absolutely gaga for . . . my sweet wittle nephew John Tyler.

The rest of the weekend was fast and furious and fun! (Except poor Josh flying all night--literally--to get to Nashville at 8:30 in the morning and then being on a conference call til 3) I saw a college friend, Jill, for exactly 8 minutes and we concluded that we look exactly like we did 16 years ago (I would add that I have fewer eyebrows . . . I went through a muppet stage my freshman year). We rehearsed, we ate, we teared up, we laughed and before we knew it, it was time for the real deal Saturday morning.

The wedding was so sweet and beautiful. I decided Rustic Elegance best summed it up. It was outside at a farm and the views were amazing. Her colors were purple with splashes of orange and green and it was all gorgeous and fall themed.

Of course, I was overcome by the cuteness of our 4 little wedding partiers, but also I was terrified that Sascha might ruin the whole event. She sort-of refused to rehearse Friday night and may or may not have wailed for a while afterwards. To say she was a diva is to put it mildly, but prayer works and with the help of Map and Backpack from Dora, our little flower girl went to find Aunt Megan. We actually did our own mini-episode of Dora right there at Legacy Farms . . . fountains, aisle, Aunt Megan (all while looking at the map that came with her backpack), say it with me, "fountains, aisle, Aunt Megan!" And holy smokes, it worked! She walked past the fountain, down the aisle, and ran to Aunt Megan.

(Then she threw her basket at Aunt Megan and ran to Grandpa. But that is neither here nor there.)

Sara and Jase, congratulations! We love you both and hope you have a very long, very happy marriage! Welcome to the Bass fam, Sara, we are a crazy bunch, but we laugh a lot.

Adorable and well-behaved ring bearers

 the beautiful (non-diva) flower girl

The boys with their new AUNT SARA!

 Dora/Sascha checking out her pack-pack

 Aunt Megan and Sascha

 I just love this pic. The grounds were beautiful and Sascha ran all over them during the reception.

Until she collapsed from exhaustion on the floor

Did I mention the cutest baby in the world was there? He yuvs his Aunt Rachel.

We zoomed home yesterday so Caroline could make it to ballet and I could make it to my girls' study. The weekend was a whirlwind, but it was great to see family, especially some of Josh's aunts and uncles and cousins that we don't see enough. My parents were amazingly kind and helpful and drove down Friday to attend the festivities and be our backup for Bo and Sascha. I am so thankful for that. Today, I am washing load upon load of laundry and thankful that Josh is home and that Grandpa solved Sashca's sleeping dilemma (apparently, it helps if the cough medicine you give her at bedtime is NOT a stimulant!).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things observed from the air

I don't fly much. (Unless you count what I do going down Rahling or Dorado Beach when we are running late.)

Anyway, I don't fly much, so I was struck by several things on the 6 flights I was on this weekend.

1) The mountains are as amazingly beautiful and majestic when you are looking down on them as seeing them from ground level. They kind of took my breath away. And I love the desert mountains--so different from the tree covered ones I'm used to. Here is a shot I took from the window of the plane. I was such a nerd oohing and ahhing and snapping pics with my phone. You would think I don't get out much . . . oh yeah, I don't

2) I believe that flight attendants have very different personalities than those we used to ascribe to them. At least the 12 I had over the course of my flying did. Most seemed to be a cross between a strict librarian and aspiring stand-up comic. (Not that they were all able to pull off the latter.) One of them had me sweating. Another 2 reminded me of my kids because they would race through their stuff to try and be the first one making announcements. And not like they were being silly about it, they really and truly were trying to beat each other to the old fashioned phone to talk first. That amused me.

3) TSA agents enjoy their power. I think day one of training is all about maintaining the scowl while you scan the license and boarding pass and then compare the ticket holder's face to his/her ID. It was almost comical . . . like they were hoping to be promoted to Buckingham Palace Guard. I'm all for being thorough, but seriously, a smile isn't going to soften our national security.

4) There is a series of emotions that I observed passengers going through from check-in to boarding and it goes something like this:
     - excitement- we're here! it's trip time!!
     - mild anxiety- will we get checked in on time? do they have our reservations? do i have my id? does my bag weigh too much?
     - relief and impending dread- (sigh) got our boarding passes, got our luggage in (hope it makes it), now I have to pump myself up to quickly undress and hope all my liquids are in the right containers and pray that there is no overly friendly patter-downer working today
     - panic- shoes off, cell phone in, jacket off, belt off, laptop out, purse sideways, bag on, lipstick out, jewelry off, walk through, don't hold up the line, don't make it beep, get redressed in .4 seconds
     - irritation/relief- finally through security, but where the heck is my gate and do I have time for a snack and a magazine? and will I ever cool off from that safety routine/fiasco? and I cannot wait to take a nap on the plane, that was like a marathon
     - restlessness and fear/hope- wait, wait, wait, wait, line up, wait (Dear Lord, please don't make me sit next to that person . . . or that one) wait, board, find seat, find place for overhead storage, try to gracefully sit down, covert observation of neighbors, get over disappointment/start practicing holding your breath, try and get comfortable

5) For all the work and stuffed fears of crashing, it is SO WORTH getting to go places. And so fun to people watch. (And so interesting to wonder if you are being people watched. Josh pointed that out.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Do you know the way to San Jose (lalalalalalala)

Can you name that movie? My Best Friends Wedding . . . the two "classy" cousins from Nashville sing that line?

I was singing it off and on all weekend because . . . Josh and I enjoyed a WONDERFUL weekend in the Bay Area of California. (I also serenaded him with other Bay related songs all weekend. I'm not sure he enjoyed it as much as I did, but they made me giggle.)

Here we are our first night there

I wish we looked like we were having fun . . . hahaha

We were a bit on the frigid side; one, because it was cold and the wind coming off the bay made it really cold, and two, because we were watching these jokers surf in the FREEZING COLD Pacific Ocean and just the thought of it made us shudder

The waves were INCREDIBLE! Seriously. That man in the picture is standing up and the wave is TOWERING over him as he surfs. It's crazy and beautiful and exciting and, well, mainly it's crazy!

Before dinner (yummy, healthy, delicious, fresh seafood dinner), we got to see these cute little buddies.

In actuality, they are neither cute or little, but they are so ugly and loud and smelly that they manage to pull off adorable. I am in love with sea lions. They heft themselves up onto the docks and snuggle up to each other to stay warm and sleep. They fuss at each other, too. And they reminded me a little bit of my own crew of wild animals when they have croup with their barky yelps.

We hit some San Fran hot spots on Saturday

 Alcatraz and China Town (not pictured)

The Golden Gate Bridge (a major accomplishment for a bridge-a-phobic)

The Full House house (hey, I'm a child of the 80's, it's a hotspot)

But, the REAL highlight of the trip was getting to hang out with our very missed friends, the Lundys

We got to spend Friday night as couples and caught up on life and laughed a lot. Like, my stomach hurt and I almost spit my drink out twice kind of laughing. Tim and Lea are dear friends that we met almost 10 years ago. We have walked through so much together and have birthed a small litter of kids between the 2 couples. They are precious people who mean so much to Josh and I. In August, they loaded their family up and moved to California to bless a whole 'nother slew of people. We are all very jealous and sad that they aren't here, but so proud of them. It was such a treat to be with them for an entire weekend and so bittersweet to spend all of Saturday with their kids as well. 3 sets of our kids are very close in age, especially Kent and Tru, who are just a few days apart and the best of friends. I felt guilty getting to see him without Tru.

It was an AMAZING weekend and with each flight closer to home, I grieved the loss of them a little more. I guess we will just have to go back and visit again soon. Darn.

My sweet parents kept our kids all weekend. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! When I got home, I was bombarded by hugs and a welcome home sign, clean clothes and bathed kids. Not a bad way to end a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Let's face it, 35 is young. I mean, maybe to someone who is 16 it sounds ancient, but really, 35 is young. Not even mid-life (Lord willing). It is older than 30 and 25 though, and while we are facing things, I might as well own up to a few things that being older brings . . . a few lines on my face, a slower metabolism, less energy (really, how did any of us survive college on that little sleep and awful food?), phrases that I never thought I would use ("I can't understand that music and it is too loud!"), no one asks for my driver's license anymore (excuse me, you should!), kids that I babysat from birth are getting married, I know someone who knows someone who is a grandma at my age (do the math, it's possible), and I could go on and on.

I feel so grateful, though, for the 35 years I have had, for the blessings I am overwhelmed with, for the support and love I receive when the blessings are struggles. So, here, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, are 35 things I am thankful for.

1. Josh
2. My kids (I did debate cheating and using 4 spots.)
3. My parents
4. Josh's parents
5. The rest of our family . . . siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, the whole kit and kaboodle
6. Our home--when it's messy, when it's clean, when it's loud, when we are sleeping
7. A hot shower or warm bath
8. Diet Dr. Pepper
9. God's grace
10. A new awareness of how freakin' good we have it
11. Sleep (any amount of it I can get)
12. Reading
13. Writing
14. 'Rithmetic . . . ok, I'm not really thankful for arithmetic, but it reminded me of a song growing up
15. My AMAZING FRIENDS . . . all specific answers to prayers and fun, fun gifts
16. Getting to watch my kids grow up into the humans God created them to be
17. America--c'mon y'all, no place is perfect, but we have it pretty dang good here
18. Our church
19. Traveling
20. Thyroid medicine
21. Diet Coke
22. The fact that Josh and I like the same shows and movie and aren't ashamed to plant ourselves on the couch and enjoy them
23. Exercise
24. The smell of coffee (even though I don't like the taste of it)
25. Jesus
26. Laughter
27. Memories
28. 33 years with Granny
29. Tater-tot (our somewhat neglected, but totally adored dog)
30. Purses and shoes
31. The beach
32. Feeling God's pleasure
33. Faith
34. Hope
35. Love

There are so many more, but for now, I think 35 is a pretty good number.

(Sidebar, I am not thankful that while I was typing this, Bo found my leftover birthday cake and raked his precious little hand through the icing. UGH.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just a quick one

I'll be back soon with a birthday and halloween recap. (hopefully with pics since Josh has cleared up some space on our computer!!)

but for today, i have two quick things for you . . .

first of all . . . jessica simpson and kim kardashian leave me speechless. according to one website, jessica has been "hiding" her pregnancy while waiting for some magazine or entertainment source to pay her to announce that she is prego. that poor baby. looks like jess is taking a play from the joe simpson parenting book on how to make money off your kid. and then 72 days?! let's break that down monetarily . . . $10 million wedding divided by 72 days = $138,888.89/day. who knew anything could be more outlandish than that wedding?!?!?!?!

and in the REAL world, please click this link and vote for Josh's elementary school. his mom is still a teacher there and it would be so cool if they won the Glee save the music contest. voting ends on november 7th!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Saturday will mark the 1 year anniversary of Flying Years. That sounds like an excellent reason to eat cake and treat myself to a pedicure. I mean, it's hard work recording our memories and airing my opinions.

In all seriousness, though, I am so glad I started blogging. Sometimes, when I am in a sad, infuriating, sweet, or hilarious moment, I find myself mentally composing a post about it. Lucky for all of you (and some local businesses), I don't always get them typed and sent out to the world wide web, but there is something therapeutic about putting words to the events in life. (At least for me.)

I suppose if I was clever, I would set some bloggy goals for the next year. Or if I was egotistical enough, I would let all 3 of you vote on your favorite post. I am neither (or too proud to be open about the ego), so . . . thanks for reading and encouraging me to keep writing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bozer Dozer

Happy Birthday, Bo! I can't believe that you are already five years old! You bring such joy to this family. You are the happiest kid--so content and so loving and such an encourager. One of my favorite things about you is your love of costumes; I ALWAYS hoped to have at least one kid who would want to dress up no matter where we were going. I get such thrills from taking Batman grocery shopping or dropping Spiderman off at speech therapy. I cannot tell you what it does to my heart that you would rather lay and bed and cuddle with me than watch TV or play with your toys. I am so thankful for the special relationship you and Sascha have--you take such good care of her (when y'all aren't beating each other up). You are such a hard worker and you love to have one on one time. You are still the pickiest eater I have ever seen, but hey, cheese is healthy, right? We have seen such improvement in your tummy over the last year and your speech is getting better and better thanks to your time with Mrs. Lauren. You are a delight and such a very special part of this family. I love you more than you can even imagine, and you have a GREAT imagination! Thanks for loving me back--you make my heart melt. Happy, happy birthday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sweetness and savings

Tomorrow is Bo's 5th birthday. (Although, because he celebrated it at school on Thursday, he is convinced he is already 5 and if you try to correct him, he says, "But I have the crown!" This adorable red construction paper crown with a glitter 5 on it made by his teachers now carries more credibility with him than his own birth certificate.)

Anyway, I digress. For the last several weeks, he has kept the same birthday wish list:
1) a pretend turtle like Hendrix (his cousin)
2) black Batman with a black cape (because Tate ate his old one)
3) a Team Umi Zoomi t-shirt (which they don't make ANYWHERE)
4) bunk the beds

I love his simplicity and consistency.

Saturday, we bunked the beds and he climbed in and went to sleep while the rest of us were upstairs.



too excited to wait

Then, yesterday, with a little direction from Aunt Linda about where I could find the turtle, I set out to do some speed shopping. I had just about an hour to get it all done.

First stop--Toys-R-Us . . . they had ONE turtle left, buried in the wrong bin, but this determined Mommy looked in all of them . . . $3.23

Next--Kohl's . . . black Batman WITH 2 batarangs and a motorcycle (also hidden in the back of the shelf) . . . $6.49

Finally--Target . . . Iron-on transfer paper, a white t-shirt, and (what the heck) some Spider-Man gloves as a surprise . . . $18.02

Since I'm not charging for the time it will take me to make his Team Umi Zoomi shirt using the iron-on paper, this precious little booger's grand birthday total (with an extra present thrown in) was $27.74 and I knocked it out in less than an hour.

And he will be happier tomorrow than any other kid would be over an X-Box.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Note to self

Here is a little tip I plan to take to heart . . .

Wait until the end of the day to post such sentimental drivel . . . ok, maybe that's a little strong, but my ooey-gooey love fest with the kids ended at approximately 5:06 when Sascha refused to obey for the next 1.5 hours while in a very public place and then my 2 older kids spent from 7:30-8:30 fixated on the ONE THING that wasn't fabulous about their afternoon and evening. (For Caroline, it was NOT being allowed to make her brother and his friend watch what she wanted to when she was supposed to be leaving them alone in the first place. Tru had a meltdown over my request that he shower. Personal hygiene is viewed as abuse to 7 year old boys.)

Still love them. Still had a great week. Still think it was due to the prayers. Still gonna wait til the end of the day next time.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snuggles all around

Josh has been out of town this week and usually this means by the end of his travels, I am worn out and ready for a little break. Some alone time, if you will, where NO ONE IS TOUCHING ME.

This week, however, I have prayed for patience and a real enjoyment of my kids even if I am tired. And what do ya know? It's been working! 

Last night I let Caroline sleep with me and she wanted to go to sleep cuddled up next to me, holding my hand. I melted. (Unusual for me--I am more of a "let's stay on our side of the bed" kind of girl by the end of the day. Sweet, I know) I kept thinking that these days of her wanting to snuggle with me and tell me everything are surely getting shorter. We laid in my bed for 2 hours awake giggling, watching TV, and talking. I would love to freeze her right now--old enough to hang out with, young enough that she still wants to hang out with me.

This morning, Bo and Sascha were so content to burrow under a blanket with me and watch Dora. No fighting, no squirming, just cuddles and hugs and a few giggles. My heart felt so full. I know that's cheesy, but some days with 4 kids leave my heart less than full. (Probably my fault and not theirs, but that's just the truth.) I almost cried when Bo insisted on carrying his birthday cupcakes into school all by himself because he "is sooo strong, Mommy!" And I didn't even mind that Sascha's ear ache and cough led me to cancel her time with our sitter so we could stay home. She just wanted me to hold her. How can I pass that up? In a couple of years she'll be in school and I will find myself with a disturbing amount of alone time. 

Sweet Tru has a field trip tomorrow. In the past, I couldn't go with him on field trips because he flipped out when they were over and I left. He's grown up a lot and I feel comfortable going and leaving. They are going to see Rock and Roll Cinderella and the parent ticket cost $10. I don't know how Tru knew that, but when I told him I was chaperoning his class, he threw his arms around me and said, "MOMMY! THANK YOU FOR PAYING $10 MORE SO YOU CAN BE WITH ME!" I hadn't thought twice about it, but at that moment, I would have paid 10x that amount for all it meant to him.

My babies are sweet and I am so thankful that as we near the end of our time alone, we can just look forward to seeing Daddy--as opposed to "Oh, thank goodness he is home because Mommy was about to LOSE it!"

Now this little yummy is tapping my shoulder for some attention and I am going to give it to her

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A few facts

#1- I am officially dissolving Mommy Monday . . . if I have a mommy topic, I will address it no matter what the weekday, but feeling like I needed to come up with something mommy related was creating mild anxiety for me starting Sunday afternoon. (Draw your own conclusions about how I put too much importance on self-imposed topics for 20-something people who may or may not even read it or care.)

#2- Bo informed me Monday that you can only have a cough when you are "yittle". I wish that someone had told me that last February when I coughed til I puked at a wedding.

#3- Tru likes to play the "try and hold it all day" game with himself at school. Apparently, this is where you don't use the bathroom all day and then on the way home nearly come out of your skin trying not to pee your pants, hoping that Mommy doesn't hit too many bumps or take too long turning the alarm off when you get there.

#4- Last week, Bo had to sit in time out at school. When I asked him why, he said he didn't know, but that it was NOT because he hit Jenna. (Sorry, Ronnie. We are working on the whole not hitting girls thing.)

#5- Sascha played at a friends house last week and told me while she was there (and I quote):
"I tried (cried), Mollie Tate tried (cried). We tried todedder (cried together). Den Mrs. Amy make me feel better. I know Mrs. Amy. She my udder best friend. You my best friend, too, Mommy."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh, Sascha

The following conversation occurred between Sascha and I today after I found fresh "tattoos" on her arms and feet:

Me: Sascha, bring Mommy the marker you are using to write on yourself.

Sascha: Don't want to.

Me: Sascha Jane, bring Mommy the marker or you will get a spank for disobeying.

Sascha: Awwww right. (turns and walks a few steps, then comes back) Can't get marter.

Me: Why not?

Sascha: Cause it gone. It flied away.

Me: Sash, markers can't fly.

Sascha: Yeah, they can. It went outside and flied away.

FYI, creative lying gets you in a little less trouble around here. Not much, but a little.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brain Overdrive

My brain is feeling a lot like my computer . . . maxed out with information and out of space to store anything new. I'm fairly certain that I have contracted a severe case of adult onset ADD.

For example . . . this morning I was asking Josh how to delete some things from the computer so I can add pictures and have more than one internet window open without my computer freaking out and force quitting applications. Anyway, I needed to get the power cord for the computer (which was in our bedroom). I walked into our bedroom and noticed that the bed I started making 3 times was still unfinished, walked past the bag from our trip where the power cord was and went to the bathroom, walked past the bag again and went back towards the kitchen when I remembered the whole trip had been about getting the cord.

Sigh. I can't tell you how often I start unloading the dishwasher only to remember I need to move clothes to the dryer only to realize that the dog needs to go out and get distracted by something on my desk and an hour later walk back into the kitchen to a half empty dishwasher.

All of that was to say that I didn't think I had enough brain space to put together a post, but felt bad being MIA 3 days this week.

Obviously, I can still ramble.

We are enjoying a bit of a break from school. Hopefully, next week I will have the ability to form complete thoughts and sentences again.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ironies of my life

*I hate bees and wasps and all bugs with stingers. I just trapped one in my blinds and then killed him with counter cleaner . . . and felt really bad about it. Bet he wouldn't have felt bad about stinging me or the Shash.

*Why is it when you are needing to dig around in your purse or throw something back to your kids while the light is red, it is the shortest light ever, but when you have someone who needs to use the bathroom or feels sick or are running late, you get stuck at every red light and are the LAST of the light sequences to turn green?

*I can't stay awake on the couch and can't fall asleep in the bed.

*The thing I most meant to wash is the one thing that doesn't make it to the machine.

Anyone else? It's not that I'm having a bad day at all--it's just for whatever reason, I am more aware of these little ironies today. Oh Alanis, how right you were . . .

Come to think of it, there was rain on my wedding day, hmmm....maybe that should have tipped me off.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just love my boogers

We are (no surprise) on repeat issues here at Casa Bass . . . instilling new chore/responsibility/expectations and taking care of legitimately sick kiddos leaves me drawing a blank on a new mommy monday topic. So instead, here are a few thoughts, observations, and moments from this morning:

Bo and Sascha have great imaginations. They can play with anything, anywhere. Right now, they are playing either Ni Hao Kai Lan or Yo Gabba Gabba with their food. And eating the characters. Sascha just said, "Oh no, Rintoo just went into Shasha's mouf!"

Tru and Sascha both woke up croupy/coughy/snotty. Tru has been an excellent snuggler, and unlike faking sick Tru, is extremely low maintenance.

Sascha just ran all out (naked) to the bathroom to go peepee and wiped out (think Carrie on the Little House on the Prairie intro). I heard thud thud thud splat and then saw her little blond head pop up "I otay! I otay!!"

Bo is walking around with his muscley Spiderman costume under his clothes. He looks freakishly built. Like that little weight lifting kid that made all the talk show rounds a few years back.

I am caught in this wonderfully bittersweet world with Caroline where she is growing up and I am enjoying it despite my sadness that she is growing up. Little things like her saying, "I mean, Mommy, I tell you EVERYTHING!" melt me and give me a little grace for when she rolls her eyes and acts like a teenager. Or looking over on the occasional ride to school when I let her sit up front and thinking how fun it keeps getting even though I grieve the very idea of the day when I am car seatless.

Today, my productivity around the house is a little slower thanks to the sweet little people and I am not minding it a bit because they are precious and the moments are fleeting.

At least I feel that way right now. Check in with me around 6:30 when we are all anxiously awaiting Josh/Daddy and dinner and I am counting down til baths and bed.

I'll still love them, but I will love the idea of them even more while they sleep. Which must be how we wake up the next morning with clean slates.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Customer Service

I don't know if it's just me, but as I am getting older, I seem to expect more from people at restaurants and stores. Maybe it's the effort to drag my kids places or the literal cost it takes to go alone, but when I am in a place that says it offers a service of some sort, I would like to receive it.

Last night, I loaded up the burb with my four kids and a buddy of Tru's and we drove to Little Caesar's for a couple of Hot N Ready pizzas. We pulled up to the drive through window and sat there for several minutes before anyone even walked by the window. Dude walked by and looked at me but kept going. Then, a minute or so later, he walked back by and looked at me like he was kind of annoyed I was still there. I heard shouting inside and a minute or so more passed before another guy walked by. Pause. Wait. Wait. Wait. And there he went again, also put out to see me still sitting there.

Did I mention I had 5 HUNGRY kids in the back seat?

So, really, I'm not sure my standards are too high--I mean, honestly, a mere acknowledgement would have made me pretty happy. A "someone will be right with you, ma'am" would have gone a loooong way. But, no. So we drove off and I ordered Dominoes from my phone and it got to the house a few minutes after we did for just a few dollars more than the little cheapers would have cost.

Then there were the ever so helpful (sarcasm intended) Home Depot associates in Little Rock. I went to look at some carpet samples for an area rug I want made. When I got home, Josh had a couple of questions about the process. So he called the store. The associate in flooring who answered didn't know the answers and wasn't interested in asking anyone else in the department. This was clear by the way he kept saying, "Pffff, yeah, I don't know."

Josh called the North Little Rock store and got a guy who answered all his questions and gave him the name and number of a place that could do the things Home Depot could not.

I called back tonight to make sure they had the carpet in stock and that it would still be on sale tomorrow and when I didn't hear the lady answer at first, I was met with a "HELLLLLLOOOOO? CAN I HELP YOU?"

Yeah. It didn't sound like she wanted to help me. It sounded like she wanted to smack me.

Once they finally picked up in flooring, the associate I think told me (her words were short and sweet, but not so much sweet) that they didn't have it anymore and it was on clearance and gone.

I called North Little Rock and got another adorable and kind and helpful person who went to check and answered all my questions.

So the moral of the story is get your pizza from Domino's, your supplies from the North Little Rock Home Depot, and don't hurt my feelings or I'll blog about you!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What day is it?

My week has run together . . . maybe it's because I haven't slept enough this week to distinguish between days, but I can't remember when I posted last and was thinking that it had been several days, but no, it was day before yesterday.

I can hardly believe it. But I looked back and double checked it. Less than 48 hours ago I posted my last entry.

In that time, we have been busy, busy people! By 9:00 this morning, I was so impressed with all I had done, I almost called it a day. Alas, the children in my life were not on board with that game plan, so I kept going.

Part of our business and tiredness also stems from this gal:


That's right! Caroline and I loaded up and went to see Taylor Swift in concert. She was well worth every penny we paid to be there, too. That girl puts on quite a show and changed more than a Kardashian bride. The sets were amazing and fun and she seems adorable and as down to earth as you can be when you have over 13,500 people screaming your name at concerts all over the world.

My original post (written in my head at the concert) was much more enthusiastic and wordy. My tired, 2 days later thoughts, however, are that I adored the time with my girl and would drive somewhere in the semi-close vicinity (think Dallas, Nashville, etc) to see this concert again. Loved, loved, loved her.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nana/Mom/Becky

Today is my mom's birthday! This picture was taken on Caroline's 7th birthday (I think) doing one of the things Mom and I love doing together--getting a pedicure!

Happy Birthday, Mom (Nana/Becky) . . . You are by far one of the MOST SELFLESS people I know. You would give everything you have away and no one would ever be the wiser. You sacrificed so much for me and never asked for a thank you or expected anything in return. You were the best carpool mom, too--snacks and parks and always the first car to fill up for field trips. I remember sitting in the car eating lunch with you in elementary school and everyone was so jealous. Then sitting in your car eating breakfast before junior high while you prayed over me and gave me a pep talk. I don't remember much from those years, but I DO remember that. Then, of course, our famous Wendy's breakfasts in high school. Hey, they may have driven me crazy, but they worked!

Our home was always warm and well kept and welcoming. There were homemade cookies, cut up fruits and veggies, fresh bread and hot meals (breakfast and dinner). I never ran out of clean underwear or matched socks. The towels were folded and fresh and the floors spic and span. As a mom and house wife, I am more and more amazed by these feats. Especially since I never remember SEEING you do them.

I can list almost every birthday party from age 3-18 because you made me feel so special and loved.

You read Proverbs to me while I ate breakfast, prayed for me while I was at school (and out at night too) and held me to standards that were important even when I didn't understand them.

You say I am who I am in spite of you . . . I say it's because of you!

You care for others well, put yourself last, and are a defender of truth (and Tru, haha, and Bo).

The Bass family is pretty darn fond of you! Happy Birthday! We love you. I love you!

"Her children stand up and bless her. Her husband praises her: 'There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!' Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." - Proverbs 31:28-31

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mommy Monday--Playing sick or fo real?

Caroline is quite dramatic. This has its benefits--it's part of why she enjoys dance so much and why she is pretty darn good at it. It makes her laugh harder at things. Her love of drama comes with a love of the arts and she sat in awe and complete happiness last year when we went to see Wicked.

But, with the drama comes the D-RAMA FOR YOUR MAMA. The stubbed toe that requires ice and a 2 hour limp. The fake (yet tearfully productive) cry that I can spot a mile away. And the requirement for me to walk a fine line between sending a sick girl to school (because I didn't believe her) or letting a well girl stay home "sick" and feel like a fool when she is doing pirouettes by 10 a.m.

In kindergarten, Caroline became BFFs with the nurse because she "needed" to go so often. After a fundraising event where Josh met the nurse and learned just how frequent (and unnecessary) her visits were, we spent a week or so telling her the story of the little boy who cried wolf over and over again, explaining that one day she was going to really be sick and we wouldn't believe her. NOT KIDDING, a week later, Caroline "didn't feel good" and we called bull. I was pregnant with Sascha and so so so so so  sick. Josh had agreed to work from home that morning to let me spend a little longer in bed. He took Caroline to school despite her protests, and as he walked back in the house, the nurse called to let us know Caroline had barfed all over the place. Whoops. Turned out she had the flu and slept for 26 straight hours. It was a great lesson to refer back to, though. (And I was slightly scarred by the whole event. How did I miss that as her mother?! The guilt goblin had a field day with me.)

Today, Caroline (who has been on anitbiotics since Friday afternoon for a potential case of strep--rapid test was negative, but Doc thought it looked streppy and wanted to get a jump on it in case the longer culture came back positive) tried to pull every heart string I own. She cried, she claimed her tummy felt sick, like she could totally throw up or gag (she had eaten 2 yogurts and some grits, I knew she wasn't really nauseous), she said her head hurt and her throat hurt. Yada, yada, yada. Even if the test came back positive, she's no longer contagious and she isn't running fever, and I know she perks up when she wants to, I just think that she wanted a personal day.

Now I am not above taking a day off of school because you need a break. I get that and we do that. But, today was not a day when I felt she should get to. I let her sleep in and go an hour or so late, but I made her go. You would have thought that she was going to the guillotine . . . her fake cry, the dramatic sobs, the faux sick shuffle. Emotionally, I was ping ponging between sympathy and guilt and frustration and annoyance. I hugged her and she asked if the Tylenol would settle her stomach. I said not really then offered her the rest of my Sonic Diet Coke from earlier this morning.

A spark in her eyes and a hint of a smile.

Then, her daddy let her sit in the front seat for the ride to school and as they backed out of the driveway she was all smiles and big waves. Her troubles forgotten, her illness on the mend thanks to some Diet Coke and the front seat.

(The Diet Coke part I get. I really, really do.)

What are your sickly standards?

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's all about the pee pee

So . . . we bathe Bo and Sascha together because, well, we care about saving water. Or maybe we are just lazy like that, whatever. Anyway, they are naked together for a short time each night.  I'm not gonna lie, Sascha has definitely noticed Bo's "extra", um, shall we say, appendage? But, in true form, Bo has never noticed her lack of one.

Until last night.

The dynamic duo were sitting there amongst the bubbles and water playing Dinos and Dora when Sascha said, "OW!" about something. Bo was concerned about her hurting and it must have been high up her leg near the aforementioned area because when he decided to go in for a look, he gasped, "OH NO!! OH, SHASHA!! I SO SORRY ABOUT YOUR BOOBOO!!"

Well, now I was a bit concerned about this booboo, so I asked where it was and this is what I got:


And with every bit of restraint I could muster (because Bo is very sensitive about being laughed at), I explained that having a pee pee or NOT having a pee pee is what tells us if we are a boy or a girl.

And seriously, a light bulb went off for him. He is well known around these parts (no pun intended) for confusing pronouns. At any given moment, I could be a he or a she and Bo a him or her. He threw them around like they were interchangeable. But, last night, Bo literally got a clear picture of why we chose Sascha to be called a she and why we insist that he is, well, a he.

It's all about the pee pee folks. (Or lack there of.)

I can only hope he doesn't go to school next week asking to see if his friends have one or not to help clue them in on their gender. Never a dull moment around here, y'all. And people (I'm talking to you GAP lady) think the life of a stay at home mom is boring. Shoot. I haven't been bored in almost 10 years.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dear lady at the park

I took Bo and Sascha to the park yesterday. Every time I pull into the parking lot, Bo gasps as if we have entered Disney World and says, "Oh, Shasha, yook--we are back at the Maumelle City Park! Thank you, thank you, Mommy!!"

(Actually, we are always at Marlow Manor park, but whatever.)

We have been 5 or 6 times over the last few weeks and managed to find ourselves totally alone the first 3, mostly alone the 4th (one little boy who swang the whole time), and completely NOT ALONE the last 2 . . . like . . . playgroup central for one and Grandmas' treats the next.

Now I am a reasonable and rational (mostly) person and have no ownership in the park (at all since it's not even our neighborhood's park), but I do believe that there are a few common courtesies to be followed. I think they can best be summed up by the following: It is not your responsibility to ensure that my kids have fun at the playground. It would be nice, however, if you did not make it NOT FUN for them to be there.

That's right, inappropriately dressed grandma, I'm looking at you. (And shoot, CG members, I may have, probably was judging too.)

If you cannot let your sweet granddaughter actually play on the relatively safe equipment without calling her over to evaluate the pros and cons of each time up the "rock wall" to the slide, then DON'T COME!! Each gasp and "OH NO NO NO!!" and "I just CAN'T DO THIS if she does that!" and "That is NOT how you climb or slide or walk over the bridge" and "Don't play over there because there are kids already there!" made ME miserable. I can only imagine how that sweet girl felt. In the end, we left. I could not handle her.

(Or the thought of one of my kiddos contributing to the delinquency of grandbaby's play.)

So, thanks. We left early. We got home early. We (and by we, I mean they) made more of a mess. I am still undecided on my cleaning delegations, so I got to clean more.

Plus, I had set apart that time to read a little. But I was too busy watching you panic to read.

And it is a really. good. book.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mommy Monday part deux

Ok . . . I'm putting it out to the blog nation . . . I need your help!

I like when my house is neat and clean and clutter free and ready for drop in visitors. When I lived by myself, the toilet stayed clean, I vacuumed every day, dishes were never laying around . . . then I got married and a couple of things changed. It's not just that Josh is less concerned with cleanliness than I am (although that is true), it's also that I had a hard time asking him to do something that I felt was my job and I was torn between hanging out with him (because I am also a social person who enjoys the same sort of television programs that he does) or cleaning. Then we started adding children to the mix . . . sweet, adorable little tornadoes of messy terror. Fatigue, parenting, wanting to chill with my hubby at night, not wanting to be the mean mom that made them pick up all the time and not enjoy playing, allowing myself to believe that they were not old enough to have those responsibilities, and the belief that all the responsibility lies with me and what I have now are kids who are in no sort of cleanliness routine. They are supposed to make their beds and bring their dishes to the sink. They will clean up when told to (but oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth), but I am not (at this moment) raising kids who contribute to the up keep of our home because they know that it is expected of them. They do it more out of fear of crazy mommy when things get to a point that I start talking in a voice that only dogs can understand. I honestly believe that they wish they could hide when they hear me say, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!"

Now a few disclaimers--I have an unrealistic standard for myself that I don't attain even when my house looks nice. I am always annoyed by the closet or drawer or office or magazine pile that no one else sees. I function on a pass/fail system and I don't know that I have ever sat down and passed myself. Usually when I sit down it is in complete defeat and despair. I just want to give up.

I realize that my kids are capable of MUCH more than I expect from them and I am curious what you all require of your kids. Maybe I am not expecting enough of myself and I should be able to keep it all up. Do you guys have a system? Is it reward based or consequence based or just you WILL do it based? I want my kids--including my boys--to know HOW to clean up after themselves. I want them to be prepared individuals as they enter adulthood. What trips me up is guilt and perfection: guilt that I am asking something of them that might be my job and might interrupt their lollipop and sunshine world and also the realization that they won't do it like I would. (Although, if I am overwhelmed and shut down, their version beats mine.)

So there you go. Mommy Monday topic #1.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Haley Hammock

Josh is from a small town in South Georgia. It's one of those towns that shows up in southern literature--a square with little shops and cafes, large, beautiful homes on a tree-lined Main Street, generations of families still living there--where everybody knows everybody and the grandmas grew up with the grandmas and raised the moms and dads together who raised their kids together who are now grown ups and having kids of their own together.

Josh's parents have been friends with Janet and Kenny since high school . . . they played football together, went to ABAC together, stayed friends after they married, they've vacationed together and their 3 kids each lined up well age wise--Josh and Jacob, Jase and Gabe, Megan and Jodi Beth. Now, only in the perfect worlds we imagine in our heads at play groups do all 3 sets of kids stay best friends forever and ever amen, but the Hammocks and the Basses are important to each other.

As we grow up, we discover that it's more about stage of life than chronological age when it comes to who your friends are. Megan and Jodi Beth have stayed close, and now, all these years later, Megan and (husband) Will, Jodi and (her husband)Will, and even the older brother, Jacob and (wife) Haley have found themselves in a Sunday School class together, bonding and growing as grown ups, and, as the trend would have it, even raising some kids together.

You may remember my doll baby, sweet, perfect lover bug nephew, John Tyler

Well, a week ago, his little girlfriend was born

Kate Hammock also has an older sister, Grace, who is 4.

Everything seemed fine and the Hammocks went home a family of 4. Sunday night, however, Haley (the mom) started complaining of a headache. And it got worse and worse and then she started having seizures. Jacob called 911 and after some time in the local ER, she was transported to a larger hospital in a nearby town. They found bleeding on her brain and the prognosis was unknown.

5 days later, Haley is still in a coma. The bleeding has stopped and the blood is very slowly being absorbed back into her body. Because of where it was, they could not operate to relieve the pressure or drain the blood.

As a mom, my heart aches for her family . . . for her infant who needs her mommy, for her 4 year old who is trying to process Mama being so sick, for Jacob who has kept such a faithful and strong vigil by her side. As a sister, my heart aches for Megan . . . she is scared and sad for her friends and she is missing her friend. I'm sure she imagined them sharing "war stories"--how many times were you up, what color is the poop today, etc not waiting for updates on her struggle for life. Jacob and Haley and their friends and family have been in my prayers constantly. 

My mother-in-law posted the following on her Facebook has blown me away to see Jacob's trust in God:
Please keep Jacob and Haley and the rest of the family in your prayers. They have been up over 48 hours and they are worn out. They are broken hearted and they hurt..but they know that the Great Healer is on their side. I heard Jacob pray one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard. He grabbed his Mama and said this with his head bent down in her neck. "Didn't Jesus say that wherever two or more of you are gathered, I'll be there?? And if two or more of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask for, my Father in Heaven will do it for you ??? Well, there are 2 or more of us gathered here and I am claiming this for Haley....Dear Lord I know she is yours and I will love You no matter what happens. But please answer our prayers and let her get well....she's got 2 little girls who need her here......and I need her...."  Please pray for this sweet family. Pray that the bleeding won't come back and that her body absorbs the blood quickly so that there will be no more damage.

In the midst of all of the sadness, the Hammock family welcomed another life into the world. Gabe's wife had a little girl. I cannot imagine the swing of emotions that they must all be and the struggle for life consuming their thoughts and prayers.....celebrating while grieving and hoping and begging.

All we can do is pray. For the strength of the Hammock and Croft (Haley's maiden name) families. For the little girls who call her Mama. For their friends. For Haley's complete and total healing. It's not impossible.

There is a prayer chain on Facebook and a website if you want to follow her story. Please lift up these families when you think about it--I imagine His angels of comfort and mercy covering them with the prayers of so many.