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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A band of angels comin' after me; comin' for to carry me home.

I had just returned from track practice with the kids.  It was 5:15 and they were at the kitchen table starting their homework.  My 92-year-old father-in-law (we call him Grampa) was complaining to me that his wrist hurt.

I took a look at the wrist and it looked  red and a little swollen.  A quick check of my email confirmed that he had called my brother-in-law and complained to him about the pain.

My husband was out of town so I sent the  kids to my mom's house and put Grampa in the car.  I wanted to make sure his wrist wasn't fractured so we headed to Urgent Care.

On the way, along a road that I had traveled many times, I caught my breath.

The sky was a dark, silvery blue. The sun was shining in front of the clouds, if that makes any sense, and cast a beautiful glow on the budding trees and the new grass in the fields.  Every shade of green imaginable was illuminated in front of the backdrop of the dark sky.

Words can't even begin to describe how beautiful this sight was.  I felt like I was seeing God.

A few seconds later, I rounded a curve.  The scenery changed and once more, things looked exactly as they normally did on this road I had taken many times before.

We got to the Urgent Care, filled out paperwork and saw the doctor.

Luckily there was no break in the wrist.  Perhaps his arthritis had flared up.  Or, perhaps, Grampa sprained it somehow. Tylenol was all he needed.

We headed back to the car.  It was dark and a light rain began to fall as the wind picked up.

I turned the car toward home and decided to see what was on the radio.

The song that had been playing was interrupted by a loud signal and words warning of thunderstorms, heavy lightning, and high winds.  Do not get in your car.  Do not try to travel until the storms have passed. Stay inside your homes, the weather-service announcer cautioned.

I'm sure we will be fine, I thought.  It's just a little rain.   I do hate driving at night in the rain but I'm sure we will be fine.

The winds continued to pick up.  The lightening was striking around us and the rain poured down.

I lowered my speed to 20 because I couldn't see anything in front of me.

The rain continued to pound the car.

I asked God to get us home safely and was immediately at peace.

Even though I had never driven through a storm that bad, I was at  peace.  It no longer felt like I was driving.  It felt  like my car was being carried through the storm.

Just like when Elijah prayed for God to open his servant's eyes so that the servant could see the army of God's angels surrounding them and protecting them, I could sense these same angels surrounding my car.

We made it home safely.  I knew we would.

Once back home, Grampa began to proclaim to anyone that would listen that I should get an award for best driver.  I just chuckled.

I knew who really should get that award.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm boring that way.

Dan arrived safe and sound on Friday night and life is happily back to normal for now.

The kid's track meet was cancelled due to a storm that was supposed to come but never did.

Sarah is having problems with her two BFFs at school.  Why can't three little girls be friends all at the same time?  My experience with little girls is that they can only operate in even numbers.   She seems to be listening to my advice and is handling the situation very well. 

Peter is obsessed with saving his money to buy a PlayStation.  We already have a Wii so I told him he was on his own.  He wants a PlayStation because "the games are better than on the Wii".  I'll have to take his word for it because I don't play computer games.

Unless you count Words With Friends.  I am enjoying this game immensely.  I am telling myself that it's good for my brain.  That makes me feel better about playing it when I should be cleaning something.

Dan planted the garden this weekend.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that it takes.  He has planted tomatoes, green beans, peppers, cucumbers, beets, watermelon and pumpkins.   We have had success with all of those except the watermelon and pumpkins.  Maybe this year will be our year for those!  He has also planted corn.  We've never tried that before.  I hope we can get some fresh ears.

And that's where we are.  Nothing exciting but that is exactly how I like it.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. There is a local dance studio that does summer dance sessions. The summer session is pay by the week so you pay when you go, not by the month AND there is no recital!  I thought this would be perfect.  I told Sarah about it and told her it would be her birthday present.

She was thrilled but after a few other conversations about it, she was mad to learn that there would be NO recital.  (To me this is the best part because the recital is where they really get you - costumes, tickets, pictures, flowers, etc.)  And then apparently I insulted her further when I re-explained this was going to be part of her birthday present. 

Apparently her friends who are currently taking dance are preparing for their spring recital and I guess Sarah's getting a little jealous.

2.  The kids have their first track meet this weekend.  I'm a little nervous but I know they will do great. And that's what's great about this sport - it's like swimming - if you don't win, you can still work hard to improve on your personal time the next week.  They both say they hate doing it.  I guess I'm a mean mom but it's so good for them. Plus they will be stronger and better prepared for swim season which is right around the corner.

  Sarah told me I should "check with my kids before signing them up for things".  Whatever.

3.  Dan has been in Ireland all week and he returns home tonight.  Life is so much better when Daddy is home.

4.  I have been playing Words With Friends on my new phone.  I am really horrible at it but I love it.  It is basically Scrabble and you play against people you know or the game will assign you an opponent.  If any of you want to play me (and most likely be assured of a victory) let me know your name and we will start a game!

5.  I don't know what's wrong with me but I have not been able to get into this season of American Idol.  I really like Phillip Phillips and I think HeeJun Han is a hoot but other than that, pfffffttt!  I don't even watch the show.  I've just been going to YouTube the next morning and checking out the performances of a few of the singers.  Could it be that after 11 seasons, I'm finally bored?

6.  Did I mention that I dropped my subscription to People Magazine?  I used to love People but for the last 6 months or so, every time I open it up and flip through the pages I am usually thinking things like, "Who is this person?", "Why do I care about that person?,  "Do I really  need to see another picture of this person in a bikini?"

I finally decided that it wasn't worth the outrageous expense of a yearlong subscription to a weekly magazine just to do a quick flip through, a loud "pfffffftttt" after reading about yet another madly in-love couple from the Bachelor that didn't make it because of their differences, and then toss it out.  (Well, actually I haven't been tossing them out, I have been donating them to the waiting room of my BFF's Vet Clinic.  So there's that at least. But still.)

7.  Well, I guess this house isn't going to clean itself so I better get to it.  We've had the windows open for the last couple of weeks enjoying the warm weather and now my house is covered in pollen. It's rather disgusting but I've just been going with it.  The greenish yellow hue on everything is very springy and fits right in with my decor!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Did you put on your deodorant?

Last night, as I leaned in to give my shirtless 9-year-old a quick hug, my head jerked back. The smell of body odor hit me in the nose like a well-placed boxer's punch.

Doing what I do best, I googled "when do boys need deodorant" because 9 seems a little young to me.  Of course, the correct answer should be "whenever they start to stink",  but the more polite article I found stated that boys hit puberty between the ages of 9 - 14 and they should start wearing it then when they start to sweat.

This morning I made him put on some of his father's Speed Stick before he went to school.  He seemed excited to be wearing it.  But of course, I'm thinking that it's just one more thing to remember to remind him:

Did you brush your teeth?
Do you have on clean underwear?
Did you put on your deodorant?

The way time is moving, I'll be asking him if he remembered to pack his toothbrush, underwear and deodorant before he heads out the door to college.

 sniff sniff*

*Double entendre anyone?

Monday, March 19, 2012

I guess it's never too soon to start thinking about college.

On Friday I got to help out with Sarah's 2nd grade class St. Patrick's Day party. 

The craft was making origami shamrocks.  I was zero help with that. The whole time I was thinking, I'm supposed to fold which side where?  Huh, what?  This craft is far too advanced for second graders.

But the second graders did a great job with the craft.  Apparently it was just far too advanced for me.

My  kids were obsessed with St. Patrick's day this year - Sarah especially wanted to make sure she had something green to wear.

On Friday night she searched her closet and found nothing green.  I guess that's what happens when your favorite color is pink and you reject all other clothes colors and have a mother who doesn't want to spend money on a holiday-themed shirt that will be worn ONCE. 

So, she took matters into her own hands and this is what she was wearing on Saturday morning:

I think she looks like she was dressed by mischievous leprechauns.  We enjoyed her outfit all day until it was time to go to Peter's Boy Scout Blue and Gold ceremony.  I made her change for that because while it is adorable for 2-year-olds to go out of the house in Halloween costumes, pajamas or the like - it's not so cute on 7 1/2-year-olds.

Three generation of Boy Scouts:

Receiving his Bear Award:

On Sunday after church, Sarah had a Sacramental Prep class for her First Communion and so Peter and I headed to track practice without her.  She came home begging and pleading for me to let her take dance class. 

Dance class is one of those things I never wanted her to be involved in.  The time, the expense, the costumes, the recitals - it all just seems like too much.

When I told her I didn't think so, she retorted with, "Don't you want me to be well-rounded?  This will look good on my college applications!"  


Friday, March 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

It's Friday and I for one am glad. The weeks just feel like they are getting longer and longer.

1.  And speaking of long - the kids have track practice twice a week for an hour and forty-five minutes each.  That's a long time!  Especially for the Tuesday practice which is right after school.  The kids are complaining that it's too much and for once, I think I might agree with them.  Our first meet is next weekend and I'm excited to see how it goes.

2.  When I went out for my run this morning, the clouds in the sky looked like blue and pink cotton candy so I ran back inside to get a picture:

Pretty, huh?  Every morning I am amazed at how different each sunrise looks.  Every morning.  Like I think God would be satisfied just giving me the same old show over and over again.  Nope.  It's different every morning. 

3.  And speaking of God - this was in our church bulletin last Sunday:

If God had a refrigerator, he'd have your picture on it!

I thought that was cool because everyone knows that you put pictures of the people you love the most on your refrigerator.

4.  And speaking of God's refrigerator.  I think if God had a refrigerator, it would be very similar to this one:
 Because I know that if I ever got a new refrigerator, it would be very similar to this one. 

5.  I got my hair trimmed and colored last week and my stylist decided to curl it for me just for fun.  I thought it turned out really cute:
Please forgive the bad lighting and chopped off head.  I took ten pictures and this was by far the best.  I guess I'm not destined to be a big-time blogger because I haven't mastered the art of photographing myself in a mirror yet.

Sarah loved the curls and wanted me to do the same to her hair.  Peter asked me if it would go back the other way and Dan asked "what did you do to your hair?".  I'm with Sarah - I like the look.  Sorry boys!  However, I don't have a curling iron and I'm too lazy to spend an extra 15 minutes on my hair each day.  I like the idea of doing this for special occasions though.

6.  We finally finished our taxes!  It always feels good to have that chore done.

7.  I am really enjoying my new phone.  I'm trying out different apps that people have recommended to me.  So far my favorites are Words With Friends (although I am terrible!) and Sound Hound (it will tell you the name and artist of any song it hears playing on the radio!) and Grocery iQ (no more paper and pencil grocery lists for me!)

Do you guys have any favorite apps I should check out?

Have a great weekend and be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to check out more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I can't hear you! Lalalalalalalala.

I ordered a book called The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made to help me talk to Peter and Sarah about the wonderful way babies are made.

I chose this book because according to the review it presents the material in a Christian way.  The book is "set against the backdrop of God's creation and our role in it."  It includes "large-print rhyming text that is designed to be read aloud to kids 3 to 8 and it contains in-depth, appropriate information in smaller print for kids older than 8."

The book arrived yesterday and I began casually flipping through it. The illustrations reminded me of beautiful illustrations you might find in any classic children's book - babies, sunflowers, animals of all types.

And then I flipped to the page with a classically-drawn and beautifully-illustrated woman on top of a classically-drawn and beautifully-illustrated man under the bed covers.

My heart started pounding and I immediately slammed the book closed.

I can't do this.  I can't do this.  I can't do this.

I hid the book on a high shelf and did not even read one single word of the book.

I mentioned the book to my husband later in the evening and asked if he wanted to see it. He put his fingers in his ears, closed his eyes and started saying, "Lalalalalalalala...I can't hear you...lalalalalalalalala."

According to my husband, his parents never had "the talk" with him.  He says had to learn about it on the mean streets of Wellesley. If you've ever been to there, you'll know there isn't a mean street within a 10-mile radius.

I want Peter and Sarah to hear this from me and not their friends, the internet or the Disney channel so I guess at some point I'm going to have to have "the talk" with them.

I pulled the book down off the shelf this morning and flipped to the page that got me flustered yesterday.  It presented the information very nicely and in a way that probably wouldn't make you blush too profusely.

The book is written in a way so that I could give it to Peter and let him read it and come find me when he's done so that I can answer any questions.

That is, if he can find my hiding spot!

Monday, March 12, 2012

All I needed was some bread. And some cream puffs.

Sunday afternoon, after track practice, we took a back way home and decided to stop at Food Lion.  I just needed to pick up a loaf of bread and a few others items so Dan and the kids stayed in the car.

I quickly grabbed my loaf of bread, some cream puffs and some whipped cream and headed to the checkout.  I was paying my bill when I heard "Security Check in aisle 6.  Security Check in aisle 6."

I glanced over to aisle 6 because I know that typically "security check" means "shoplifter".  I thought it was odd that the announcement said "aisle 6"  and as I was wondering how the heck they knew it was aisle 6. Was Big Brother watching me while I picked up my bread? And my cream puffs.

About that time, I realized that "aisle 6" was code for "register 6" because a manager came running over to register 6 and said "are you sure?" to the cashier. She calmly said yes while continuing to check out her customer.

I quickly finished my transaction and headed to the parking lot just in time to see the manager confronting a large woman in a minivan.  He held a  heavy looking black purse and she yelled, "You've got the bag now let me go!  What more do you want?"

Um, I think he wants you at the sheriff's office being booked for shoplifting but I could be wrong.

She slammed the door and the manager barely got his hands and body out of the way of the car.

The manager yelled to another employee, "Did you get the license plate number?"  The employee held up his phone and I am assuming that meant that yes, he got a picture of it.

The manager and another employee meanwhile had gone around to the back of the car to look at the license plate for themselves.  The shoplifter started her car, threw it in reverse and gunned the motor.

The manager and the other person started yelling profanities at her because she was basically trying to run them over!  They started to push on her car because they didn't have enough time to move out of the way. I am assuming pushing on the minivan was a reflex more than anything because who thinks they can push a moving minivan?!

My eyes were as big as saucers at this point and I'm thinking "Get out of the way!  Get out of the way!"

They were finally able to move out of the way and she zoomed out of the parking lot leaving the manager holding her black bag of stolen goods and his cell phone - which he was furiously dialing.

As she pulled away, I noticed that her license plate was bent on both sides.  I'm not sure if the men were trying to pull her car back towards them as she was driving away by using the license plate or if they were just trying to rip it off.

The windows were down in our car so the kids and Dan witnessed the whole thing unfold. The kids found it very fascinating and were very excited when I got back to the car. 

As I was getting into the car with my bread, and my cream puffs, a woman who was loading her groceries - Kari was her name because she had a large binder with "Kari's Coupons" written across the front of it - said, "I didn't think things like this happened around here."

Oh, Kari.  What a sheltered life you lead. 

I was just glad I didn't get run over by that minivan. All I wanted was a loaf of bread.

And some cream puffs.

Friday, March 9, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

1.  We have absolutely nothing to do and no where to be tomorrow.  I am sleeping in and the rest of the people around here better do the same! Remind me to remind them of that tonight at bedtime.

2.  Even though we have nothing on Saturday, we do have track practice on Sunday afternoon.  I have volunteered to help the coach which basically means, I make sure all the kids are lining up where they are supposed to be lining up and that they are doing what the coach is telling them to do.  There are 15 kindergarteners on the track team.  It's like herding cats, y'all.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

3.  The track coach is originally from Trinidad and she went to Texas A&M on a full track scholarship.  I've never seen her run, but I've seen her kindergarten son run. This boy is fast.  I saw him almost outrun one of the other male volunteers.  I think beating this kindergartener almost sent this man into cardiac arrest.  Afterwards, I heard the man say, "There was no way I was letting him beat me!"  Um, yeah.

4.  I am going today to drop off my 11-year-old Oreck vacuum because it is running.  I'm hoping they can fix it because the thought of spending money on a new vacuum is disheartening.  I want to spend my money on something fun -like a new phone!

5.  And wouldn't you know...the Oreck store is right beside the Sprint store.  I've been contemplating getting a new phone for quiet sometime now.  I have never even texted before so the thought of getting a phone with internet capability is very exciting to me.  My husband is not as excited.  "How much is all of this going to cost me?" he asked glumly at breakfast.

6.  So I started naming of ways we are saving money now.  Like I am cutting his hair now so that he doesn't have to go to the barber.  And now that Peter only goes to get allergy shots every other week, I am saving on Dunkin Donuts costs as well as on allergy shot costs.  Dan told me I sounded like the government and that I should be telling him ways we are bringing in money and not ways we are cutting costs.  At that point, I told him he better hurry up and get to work.

7.  And speaking of Dan - he made it back safe and sound from Austria and will be home for a week before he has to head out to Ireland, or France, or somewhere fancy that isn't here.  But I can't complain I guess. Someone has to work so that I can get a new phone.

Happy Weekend everyone!  For more Quick Takes, head over to Conversion Diary where Jen has had a smart phone for years and actually pays for hers herself.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gonna grab my spoon now!

Dan's in Austria this week on a business trip.  He ignored me when I raised my hand and begged, "Please take me! Take me!"  so here I sit, at my computer eating a tasty lunch of rice, which I managed to cook without exploding. 

When Dan is out of town, I don't do a lot of cooking.  I give the kids mac and cheese or corn dogs or nuggets or Hot Pockets or something by Chef Boyardee.  You get my drift...basicallyanything I can heat up in the microwave.

Not cooking while Dan is traveling is my treat to myself while he is gone.  I mean, I should get something while he's globetrotting and I'm sitting in the pick-up line at school, dealing with homework hassles, shuttling the kids back and for between sports and music practices, and handling bath time.  Right?

But now that my father-in-law is living with us, this poses a problem.  Grampa (as we refer to him) does not want a Hot Pocket, nuggets or anything on a stick.  And really, can you blame him?

Monday night he and I had left over spaghetti, fresh Texas toast and fresh salad.  It was good but Grampa likes his dessert.  And since I'm not a very good cook and always feel like my meals leave something to be desired, I try to have dessert several times a week for him.  And when I'm feeding him leftovers, I especially try to have dessert for him. This night, we had a Key Lime pie.  It was delicious and the best part it was one of those frozen ones from a box. He ate every bit and seemed to enjoy it.

He liked his dinner and dessert and I didn't have to do anything but heat up leftovers and thaw a frozen pie.  It was a win-win.

On Tuesday, my mom brought over homemade vegetable soup which I knew Grampa would love but what was I going to do for dessert?  On the way to track practice I swung into Aldi's hoping to pick up another frozen pie.

But the only pies available had nuts (Peter's allergic) or chocolate (Sarah gave that up for Lent.  And can I say - she has been miserable without her old friend chocolate.)

What to do, what to do?  And then I saw them sitting innocently enough beside the frozen pies.

Cream puffs! 

After enjoying his bowl of homemade soup for dinner, I got dessert ready.  I didn't like the thought of tossing the cream puffs on a plate and calling it a day.  They looked a liked naked and a little lonely rolling around on the plate.

So I stacked them up and grabbed the chocolate sauce from the fridge. I did a fancy drizzle and then presented the plate to Grampa.

His face lit up and he began to dig into the cream puffs.  After eating another plate of them, he declared himself done but not before heading to the silverware drawer to get a spoon so he could scoop up all of the chocolate syrup.

My quick and easy dessert was a success!

Guess what we are having for dessert again tonight?

Oh, and since I thought this post needed a picture, guess what I had after eating my bowl of rice?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In which I burn up the Google with my search for a book that comes with a human to do this for me.

In the car, on the ride home from school the other day, my 9-year-old son asked me if it was legal for two boys or two girls to get married.

I told him that it was legal in some states. 

He then asked me how two men would get a baby.  I nervously told him they would have to adopt a baby if they wanted one because you need a man and a woman to make a baby.  Sweat began to pop up on my brow because I could sense where this conversation was headed.

"Well, boys and girls can sit beside each other at school and not get a baby so how do a man and a woman make one?"

"Ummm,errrrr,ummm,well, um, let's talk about that at home when we have more time," was my feeble reply.

Left field, y'all.  That's where this came from.

So I'm left wondering if perhaps he has heard something at school, on tv, on the computer, that has made him think about boys and girls sitting beside one another and no babies appearing and thus questioning how they are actually made.

But I can't really spend too much time wondering because it's only a matter of time before he asks me again and I won't be able to "ummmm and errrrr" my way out of it.

Excuse me while I google "books for sweaty mom to use to help her explain where babies come from to her baby."

I'm not ready for this. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

So close. Yet so far away.

With only three minutes left in the game, Sarah's team was only down by 2 points.

They might actually be able to win, I thought to myself.  And it was right at that time that the other team finally found their stride and started to pull away.

The Pink Panthers lost in the end, but as Sarah's coach said on her Facebook page, "I'll take good attitudes, good sportsmanship and fun over a win any day."  I think that says it all.

Sarah's still deciding if she'll play basketball next year or whether she will cheer, but I think she'll choose basketball.  As much as she likes cartwheels,  I think she knows where the real action is. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

They might be giants.

This past Saturday, Sarah played her last regular season basketball game.

And they were playing the team of giants that creamed them in her very first regular season basketball game.

This other team is tall.  And their coach yells - a lot.  And their parents yell - a lot. (And unfortunately, not words of encouragement.) These girls are serious about their basketball.

And they were undefeated.

Sarah's team played hard.  They put a lot of pressure on The Giants and The Giants started to crumble.  Shots they normally made were missed.  Passes they normally made were dropped.

Our girls continued to play hard and the other team continued to crack.

The Giants' coach yelled louder.  The parents yelled louder.  The Giants themselves didn't understand what was happening.  They had never had another team defend them so well all season. 

Even though Sarah's team was behind the whole time and even though they never caught up, it was the best game of the entire season.

And even though we lost, it still felt like a victory.


Sarah's team won their first tournament game on Tuesday night and get to play in the championship game on Saturday.  And guess who they get to play?

Who knew 2nd grade girls basketball could be so exciting??

Getting her medal at the end of season pizza party.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What a tangled web we weave...

Sarah was taking a bath when I heard, "Mom!  Come quick!  It hurts!"

I ran up the stairs to discover that Sarah had taken a comb and somehow managed to "weave" it through her hair.

I took one look at this and my stomach dropped.  How am I going to get this out with out shaving a 4 inch bold spot into her head?  I had just gotten a new pair of clippers and did not want Sarah to be the first one I used them on!

I did what any right-minded woman would do.  I consulted my husband.  He took one look at it, shook his head, and said, "I have no idea what to do."

So I did what I should have done in the first place.  I called my mom.  She immediately came running over.  (It is very, very nice to live right next door to your mother.)

She calmly assessed the situation and got to work.  But after spending 5 minutes working to remove the comb and only loosening a few strands, she said, "We need to cut this comb out.  Ask Dan to get some tools."

So Dan brought up several tools and he ended up cutting parts of the comb out of her hair, unweaving parts of the hair, cutting more of the comb, unweaving more of the hair.

Wash, rinse, repeat, and repeat, and repeat.... 

The whole process took about 45 minutes.  But I think I can thankfully say, not a hair was lost!

Sarah, of course, wasn't as grateful as we were.  She didn't realize how close she came to going to school with a black comb in her hair for the next 6 months and then getting bangs.

She complained that I wasn't kind enough to her during the whole ordeal.

I tried to explain the concept of making your bed and laying in it but that just went right over the top of her comb.

If you know Sarah in real life, please do not mention this to her. She would probably be mad at me for posting this. She really is 7 going on 13. And I can already hear her when she's 15 saying, "Remember that time you posted about that comb on your blog? You have ruined my life Mother!" (Because when she is yelling at me in my imagination, she always call me Mother.)