Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Backyard Adventures!

With the play set finished, we've been spending a lot of time in the backyard lately. They love the swings (especially the tire swing), and the big fort with the slide. It's been a train, a pirate ship, a Transformers base, a garbage truck, and a fire engine.


Yesterday we were about to have a snack. I set the strawberries and Sapphire down on the grass and went inside to get the picnic blanket. When I came back, here's what I found:

Quartz loved the strawberries, too, but he was a bit more serious about it.

I'm In a Hurry and Don't Know Why...

1. I'm thinking about titling all of my posts with old country songs. What do you think?

2. My mom has everything. Seriously, you can't buy her anything. She did say she wanted a dust buster last night, so there's an idea, but anyway, she has everything. So for her birthday/Mother's Day we gave her a dinner. Told her to invite friends, we'd cook, and they could eat.

3. We had said dinner last night, which is mostly why I haven't blogged in a few days.

The set table. Oddly, no pictures of the actual dinner as I had planned because all the serving and cooking kind of kept me occupied.
The flower arrangements THAT I MADE ALL BY MYSELF. You have no idea what a victory this was- typically I am very challenged in the art of flower arranging.

4. But, we also had to go see this darling thing that was born on Saturday. Aaaaaaah babies make me over the moon happy- especially when they aren't mine and I can just hold them and smell them and then give them back and go home and sleep all night long.



5. And lastly, this is a slow day in the family garden. Lately we've been pulling two five gallon buckets of vegetables out EVERY DAY. I've made marinara, brushchetta, salsa, pesto, pickles, squash casserole, fried okra, you name it - the harvesting has seriously cut into my blogging.



But- I've got a post in the works about OCD, boobs, dogs, and church ladies. I'm just having a problem finding a song title to go along with it.
See y'all!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ducks, Dogs, and Coaching Wisdom

Tonight G went to spend the night with a friend. This particular friend is good for him because G is generally like a piece of furniture, and his friend is really more like a firecracker. It's a weird mix, but it seems to work.

Things became weird the moment I pulled in the driveway. The dog, and by dog I mean Labrador Retriever, was taking a nap all snuggled up with a gaggle of ducks. Live ducks.

They were all sleeping together.

And the dog seemed to have absolutely no interest in eating them.

Weird.

But not nearly as weird as when the friend greeted us...

...after jumping off the roof.

The roof of a very large two story house.

So, before G got out of the car I calmly said, "Hey Buddy, can you do me a favor and try to stay away from the roof, and by away from it I mean OFF of the roof."

At that point G looked at me as though I had just asked him to don a tutu and a tiara. He thinks I'm way too overprotective.

Seriously? Keeping him off the roof is overprotective?

And as weird as I found a Labrador taking a nap snuggled up with a bunch of ducks, and a child that leaps from tall houses in a single bound - I think Coach's response when I told him about the roof leaping and my apparent overprotective and unrealistic request that G stay off the roof was the most bizarre.

He never missed a beat, he just looked at me and said, "That's terrible for the roof, they can do some serious damage up there."

Yeah, because roof damage is the problem here.

See y'all!

poisonous plant list

http://www.ontariopoisoncentre.com/ontariopoisoncentre/custom/plantSafety08.pdf

trying new foods on Lily

I have been trying to figure out how to get Lily to eat new foods, or rather, how to get me to be able to make new dishes, for Lily. She loves fruit so much, it is tempting to feed her fruits and vegetables exclusively. But I know she can't do this for long, even with the addition of pasta and cheese. I know she will become stuck in a rut and start to refuse other foods.
The fact that she is insisting upon only eating foods she can feed herself is limiting as well. Guess I need to put on my thinking cap and get creative. I know she is getting enough calories, one way or another, because she is up to 23 pounds! Reflux be darned, the girl is growing!
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/movers_and_shakers/article5201252.ece

this self-proclaimed friend of Obama is supposed to be unbiased? I am sure she wouldn't claim it, so neither should the people that read her online paper. Let's all just be honest.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A memory locked in words

I want to remember times like this: being at home too long, everybody tired but nobody napping, let's take a walk or a bike ride or race dump trucks around the block! Helmets snapped on, windows closed, door locked, stroller ready, and nobody's arguing, just running, pedalling, racing. They stop at the corner to wait for me; I'm pushing the stroller and running too, pounding stay-at-home fever into the ground with every step. A stink bug! No, a stink beetle! Let's not argue; no, don't step on it -- it never even has a chance to squirt the toddler tyrant. Well, we're off again, and baby Sapphire's kicking her legs in silent joy, and Quartz asks if he can ride ahead. Just watch out at driveways, and Onyx asks me to push him up the "steep hill". I give him a little nudge with the stroller and he does the rest, pedalling, pedalling.

I look up and the sky is so blue I could dive right in and never touch the bottom, white deep-air cloud fishes glowing all around. A roadrunner! He runs with his head down, but I run with my head high. Past the neighbor's house with the rose bushes that smell like the best parts of summer, past their red shrine I know too little about, and the fountain that appears to be another sort of shrine, with Disney figurines posed prettily around it. Past the mailman, past the house that used to be for sale; Quartz wanted to buy it when he grew up. Onyx has stopped to pick juniper berries; Quartz is hiding behind a tall juniper shaped like a greek column. "Did you know I was there?", he asks with a grin. Then he's riding again, and Onyx is too, after solemnly handing me the berries, "I picked these for you," he says.

Then there's the time we rode around the block in July monsoon rains; just a sprinkle at first, but soon it was cold and windy and Sapphire's crying and Onyx needs help up the hill and the stroller's hydroplaning, but it's still an adventure, which is what we got out of the house for in the first place.

I don't want to forget when they strapped flashlights to their dump trucks and we raced around in the crisp autumn air, my sandals slapping and Sapphire-belly slowing me but not too much. Almost every October 2008 evening when it'd start to get dark, and the boys were cranky with energy, we'd have our flashlight walks.

I can't take a picture of this sort of thing, but I want to remember it. I never believed it when people said, "They grow up so fast!", but I'm starting to think it might be true.

People just don't think for themselves anymore

A lot of people have become victims of the quick and easy access the Internet and TV offer today. Don't get me wrong, I love the Internet and TV. But they are TOOLS to be used and learned from, or be entertained by. Not followed blindly like the snakes following St. Patrick. Too many people believe everything they read or hear from these sources without checking them out for themselves. Sound bites + headlines can = misinformation.
I hope that a movement against misinformation begins soon. I don't care what other people choose to believe, as long as they have sound bases on which to ground themselves. Okay, before anyone brings up religion, that is a different story. That is based on faith. And I believe people can choose to believe whatever they want when it comes to their faith. As long as no one is trying to press their beliefs on anyone unwilling , that is.

My Review of Chicco Polly Highchair - Discovery

Toys R Us

Designed in Italy, Chicco®'s Polly Highchair in Discovery print features 7 seat height positions, 3 seat reclines, and an adjustable footrest for ease of use and your baby's comfort. The seat, with two wipeable, padded vinyl seat covers, can be reclined easily with one hand. The tray i...


Impossible to clean

Lily's mom Advance, NC 7/23/2009

 

1 5

Pros: Portable

Cons: Hard To Clean

Best Uses: At Home

Describe Yourself: First Time Parent

This highchair has too may nooks and crannies and not enough ways to come apart to keep it clean. The pad isn't washable, the straps have huge buckles that just trap food. The tray is really bulky. Instead of an extra tray cover, they should give you an extra chair pad.
I think Lily likes that the footrest extends. That's about all I can say that is positive!

lily at breakfast

: Zi6, 9012, Picture of Product, Using Product

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vanity and Divine Intervention

I'm starting to feel the pressure. My 20th high school reunion is in a mere 10 weeks, and I have to somehow transform back into my 18-year-old self. Because really, why do we go to reunions, if not to completely fabricate and embellish our lives?

I'm going to need some help.

I have a friend who really gets me, and we spend hours on the phone since she moved away talking about the really important things in life.

Just yesterday we spent well over 90 minutes weighing the pros and cons of both botox and a fractal laser treatment. She had spoken with a beauty tech and was subsequently convinced that the fractal laser was the way to go.

After our conversation, I concur.

The fractal laser facial is totally the way to go. Apparently it firms, tightens, and brightens your skin. According to the tech, it takes at least 5 years off.

I can't get her to call him back and ask if you can have the treatment done on your hind-end and the backs of your arms. But, she's in town for the weekend, and we're getting together with some other gals tonight; I figure I can break her down with a couple of glasses of wine.

I'm persistent that way.

So, once I sell a child or a kidney, I'll have the skin tautness problem solved.

Now, for the weight issue.

I could lose a few pounds.

I have a baseline, a scary weight, if you will.

How did I arrive at my scary weight?

Read and learn ladies.

A few years ago at the height of the Kenny Chesney hype, there was an article in a fitness magazine about how he stays in shape. In the article, he told all the world his weight.

I weighed more than Kenny Chesney.

It simply would not do.

So, I joined Weight Watchers, lost 20 pounds and all was well.

Since then, I've used Kenny Chesney's weight as my scary weight.

I hit my scary weight again around the first of June.

I've been flirting with diet and exercise since, telling myself I have plenty of time to lose the weight; I'll have all sorts of time to take care of it this summer; it's really not that bad, blah, blah, blah.

Denial and repression are coping mechanisms that have served me well over the years.

So, can you even imagine my horror last night as I was out for dinner with all of my in-laws and Kenny Chesney walked in?

I dare say, no you absolutely cannot imagine.

He walked his tiny waisted self right on in wearing his skin tight t-shirt and Gap Kids jeans, and I was forced to acknowledge that my scary weight was back...again.

Divine Intervention at a J. Alexanders. And believe me I know, I've had more interventions than Britney Spears.

Naturally, I put together a food plan for the day, because I just do better with a plan.

Breakfast: twigs and berries. Lunch: twigs and berries. Dinner: pork tenderloin, twigs, and berries.

I have to tell you, it's a pretty meager existence until dinner tonight.

Dinner will be served promptly at 5:00.

Not. One. Minute. Later.

I have 10 weeks to lose 20 pounds.

It's on...

Well, it'll be on right after I eat some left-over stuffed crust pizza.

Don't judge me.

It's 5:00 somewhere.

See y'all!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Because I Have...Nothing

Hey, do you want to know what I did while I had the ENTIRE weekend to myself- no kids, no husband - just me and the open road?

I painted the den for 19 hours straight, developed carpal tunnel syndrome, slept until 10:30 Sunday morning, made it out of the house to eat lunch, and came back and slept.

Does a girl know how to party or what?

Do you have any idea what 19 solid hours of taping, painting, climbing up and down ladders, squatting in corners painting behind furniture, leaning as far as gravity and physics will allow whilst standing on the very top of the ladder with a paint brush and a can of paint, and finally realizing that if you fall it will mean certain death will do to your body?

Polio sounds like a pleasing alternative.

But, it was totally worth it because as soon as the troops started to return home they all said the same thing: "It doesn't look any different."

Whatever.

It had been Driftwood Tan and now it's Ecru.

Duh.

Driftwood Tan has sage undertones while Ecru is more olive. The olive undertones make all the difference.


But that's nothing compared to what I have going on today. Today I am designing a web site for my class and writing vocabulary tests.

So, you all go right ahead- lunch with friends, sit by the pool reading fun girly books, shop 'til you drop.

I'll be sitting right here trying to write sentences with soporific and coterminous.

How about this: "This blog entry lacks transition and is coterminously soporific."

See y'all!

(LOOK THEM UP...jeez.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yes, I am talking to you!

Koa, Mongolian hunting dog. She likes chasing rabbits, squirrels, and wrestling with Daddy.

Brand new day, brand new blog

This is going to be a melange blog---a little bit of politics, current events, pet peeves, a lot of Lily, and hopefully, a generous amount of common sense. There's a huge lack of common sense everywhere, but nowhere is that as apparent as in the debacle we call government.
This blog is not intended to tear down the United States, any particular state or local governments. The basic tenets are sound--they are just being drifted from.
That being said, Lily will probably be my main focus because she IS my main focus! Lily is 12 1/2 months old and the most precious little girl ever (parental bias is assumed!). She may dip her hands into Koa's (the Mongolian hunting dog) water bowl or rearrange my spice drawer daily, but it is all wonderful!
Today we are going to Brenner's Childrens Hospital for a modified barium swallow to find out if she has reflux. Apparently, according to our pediatrician, reflux if on the rise among babies. I wonder if, like autism-related diagnoses, these have been there all along but are getting recognized more often. Or does reflux 'fit' to explain many different things, so has it become a catch-all? Either way, right now I just want Lily to be well, healthy, and happy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fashion and Fun Reads

We just had a little summer afternoon thunderstorm, which I think is totally appropriate after seeing the new Harry Potter movie. The movie was well done, and not nearly as scary as the last one. There is a surprising amount of humor in this one, and I personally fell in love with Luna Lovegood because she's just funny, and she's not afraid to wear some funky fashion (which I totally am, so I choose to live vicariously through fictional teenagers).


Please note her ensemble. In this particular scene she is Harry's "date" at a Christmas party. It was at this point in the movie that AC leaned over and said, "I'm totally getting Neme to make me this dress for Christmas."

We'll see. I don't know how appropriate pink lame' and silver ostrich feathers are for our Christmas get-togethers, but you know what they say- it's always better to err on the side of being overdressed.

Won't the pictures be nice?

Anyway, back to the thunderstorm. I don't think there's anything better in the whole world than being able to sit in a big chair with a Diet Coke and a good book when it storms. Do you? Which leads me to what I was really going to talk about- what I've been reading the last couple of weeks:


Good story, lots of twists, and who doesn't like a story that takes place in high-falutin' beach communities in New England? Especially when written by a British gal with a dry and clever wit. Love her!
Mary Kay Andrews- if you're Southern, you'll love her. If you're not, her books will explain A LOT. Great characters, southern settings dripping with humidity and magnolias, humor, decorating tips, and soooo much more. Pick up anything she's written- they're all good.


I cannot even tell you how much I love her writing. I think my all-time favorite of hers is Plantation, but oh my word, everything she's done is fabulous. This is a sequel of sorts to an earlier book, Sullivan's Island. BUT, you don't have to have ANY knowledge of that book to become fully engrossed in this one. Everything Dorothea Benton Frank has ever written has made me want to pack it all in and move to the Low Country yesterday. She is descriptive like Pat Conroy, but funny as well. AND she gets women, and family, and the South, and what happens when you mix all of that together.



I haven't started this one yet- but I can tell you that everything she's ever written is highly entertaining and smart. I love a girl with a smart wit and a gift for fleshing out characters- and Jennifer Weiner has got it. I started with Good In Bed a few years ago, and have been waiting anxiously for every book she's written since. She'll make you feel like you've known her forever-her books read like conversations with your best friend.

Now- if you're looking for heavy literary fiction- these are not the way to go. However, if you're looking for well-written books that explore women and the situations they get themselves into- these are my favorites.

So the secret is out- I love chick-lit. I do, I really do. And I'm not ashamed to say it- I can hang with you all day long reading classics and cutting edge "literature", but truthfully, when it's time to relax and enjoy a good thunderstorm in the afternoon- I'll spend it with these gals every single time.

See y'all tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tragedy...And I'm Not Talking About a Bee Gee's Song

Okay- I'm warning you- I've been without internet AGAIN...for six days, and it's been an emotional couple of weeks.

Matter of fact, I don't think I've been this upset about the goings on in the entertainment world since Peter died on Thirty Something, and I declared at the dinner table through tears that were inexplicable to my parents that "he was the first person close to me that had died."

Ummm, yeah- I have a penchant for the dramatic.

Today things are serious, and I usually don't talk about this much because it's just not edifying to anyone, and it's certainly not funny.

But, it's my blog and I'll preach if I want to. (Seriously, no more funny stuff.)

Coach and I had the weekend of the 4th to ourselves, and we decided it was a good time to celebrate our anniversary. We decided to get a room in downtown Nashville to watch the firework display, go to dinner, and pretend we were at the beach.

We were having a late lunch when we got a text message that Steve McNair had been killed. If you don't know, he was a former Titan quarterback and a well-respected member of the community.





I loved him because he was so dern tough- a Mack truck would have had trouble taking him down.

So it was both horrifying and ironic that it only took an enraged 20-year old girl to do it...permanently. And then she took her own life.

But the real tragedy was that he was found in a condominium in Nashville with a 20 year old girl who was not his wife, and now his wife and his four boys are living with the very public story of his indiscretions.

The news and radio stations have waxed on and on about how he will be remembered. They wonder if people will remember him for being the quarterback who was involved in the Music City Miracle, the one who led the Titans back from what seemed to be an impossible situation in a Superbowl only to miss the victory by a yard, the man who spent much of his time and money in revitalizing black communities in Nashville, and trying to provide opportunities to children who otherwise would not have hope.

Or will he be remembered as a philandering husband who was killed by a young mistress?

If I had to guess, I'd say he'll be remembered for both. Because both were true. He was a man who loved his family, who attended church regularly, who worked tirelessly in the community, and was generally a very kind man.

He also had a weakness for other women- and so regardless of how the world remembers him, the important thing is, how will his family remember him?

His wife was robbed of the opportunity to ask him if he loved that girl or not. She will never get the chance to confront him about the mistress and try to make some sense of it. There will never be a time that she can explain to this girl who took so much from her, that a marriage and a family are things you build. And the construction is hard and tiresome and frustrating and joyful. A family is not something that you shop for, find the one that looks good, and then say "I think I'll have that one." You have to build your own, and have enough respect for women, and people in general, to do what is right and not take what is not yours.

She will spend a lifetime fielding questions from her boys and having to answer them with profound uncertainty and grief, because she knows that the one man they need to answer those questions is not around.


She will likely spend the rest of her days wondering just how much of her marriage was real. She'll wonder if she had lost five more pounds would it have made a difference? Or she'll wish she hadn't made such a big deal of his sloppiness. There will be a million things that she'll wonder had she done them differently might he be in the backyard throwing ball with his boys?

And she'll never get those answers.

I know. I've lived it.

And while her situation is certainly more tragic because of Steve McNair's death and the publicity of it all, the pain of marital betrayal is something that I share with far too many women today.

If I could talk to Mechelle McNair I'd tell her that it wasn't about her, and it never was. His fears and failures were so much bigger than her or their marriage.

And I'd tell her that I am positive that where ever he's spending eternity, he sees the big picture now, and if he could, he'd tell her how sorry he was.

And he'd really mean it.

And he would understand, and so would she.

I know those things to be true because I know my God- He is the Ancient of Days. He saw the whole story play out, he knows all the details, and He'll handle it better than any of us ever could. He'll bring retribution where it's needed, and He'll bring healing too.


And then I'd tell her that I'll pray tirelessly that He brings healing to her and her boys just as fast as He can.

I believe Steve McNair was a good man who made some terrible decisions. I will remember his unbelievable feats on the football field, and his camps for underprivileged children, and the stories about how he visited total strangers in the hospital, and signed jerseys for sick children, and how when I saw him in Publix he smiled and said "Hey, how ya doin" just like any old person would.

But I'll also remember the pain he left behind, because, that too is a part of who he was. As beautiful and vibrant and talented as he was, he was also flawed- just like you and just like me.

Our capability to leave a pile of rubble and dust in the aftermath of our mistakes is something that always needs to be near to us, whispering to us the warning that our actions do influence and impact the ones we love.

And so all I can do now is pray, so I'll pray that his family, in time will be, as only he could say, "much more better."

I'll miss #9.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eavesdropping on the Landaker's

First, let's get the formalities out of the way with a picture of Sapphire:

If you were eavesdropping on our family this past week, here's some things you might have heard:

Onyx says,
"I'm a pirate! I'm the Mommy Captain because I have a sword!"
"I like a kickboard better than Mom because I can swim all by myself."
"Quartz sleeps on the up bed, and I sleep on the down bed." <-- we got the boys bunk beds

Quartz says,
"The lava is as hot as the refrigerator is cold."
"Mom, count to a billion."
"Sulfurix, is that a banana? I told you to stop stealing yellow things!"

Sapphire says,
"Daada daa da da"
::big grin::

Dad says,
"What that movie needed was more Transformers, and less of that guy running around."

Mom says,
"Did you know that the first bathysphere was made out of cast iron, with windows of quartz?!"

Hmm, this post feels too short. Better post another picture of Sapphire, this time playing dress up:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Heart Smokey

The 15 Top Live Animal Mascots in College Sports have been announced.

Guess who's number 1. Yep- my boy Smokey, a 100% pure-bred Blue Tick Coonhound. This dog can howl louder than 105,000 Vol fans can yell- don't believe me? Visit Neyland in the fall.

But after the events of this past weekend, I think there is more to his rise to the top than a good howl and dashing good looks. This dog has skills.





Let me explain...

This is my garden on July 1- that would be Wednesday of last week. Do you see the corn in the center? Right next to the green beans?


I grew that corn. Well, technically I guess God grew it with the help of photosynthesis and pollenation and all that jazz, but I helped.


Now you're thinking- "What's the deal with the corn? Why is she so excited about corn? And seriously, what's with all the pictures...of corn?"

The reason it is such a big deal is because everyone who has had a vegetable garden has told me it's nearly impossible to grow corn- the weather isn't right, there are insidious worms that kill it before it ever forms the silks, blah, blah, blah.

And clearly, I proved them wrong. I just bought a packet of seeds, stuck them in the ground, watered them, and grew corn. No big deal.

Until...

We found the corn massacred Sunday morning when we arrived home after staying the night in a hotel downtown so we could watch the fireworks and "get away" for our anniversary.

Seething with anger, I told Coach that I had changed my mind about his goal to want to kill a deer with a bow and arrow- I told him to go right ahead...Make. My. Day.

Meanwhile, I plotted to take out a mother rabbit AND her babies with the pellet gun I got Coach for Christmas.

Obviously, mercy is not one of my spiritual gifts. Ironically, hospitality is.


Well, lucky for Bambi and Mama Rabbit that the neighbor came over and looked at the carnage. After we all commented on how it looked like a bunch of somethings came in and played tackle football in my corn, the neighbor said he thought it might be raccoons.

The next day, some "experts" in the coaching office confirmed raccoons.



"Because", they said, "if it were rabbits or deer, the corn would just be nibbled on, not trampled over or peeled back."




And certainly not completely devoured as our corn was. Every. Single. Ear

Which led to the conversation I had with Coach about how we needed to get a Coon hound, because it is clearly a necessity as he could howl and rip those treacherous little devils to shreds.

It also led to a discussion- really just a lecture from Coach- on how racoons are very aggressive and dangerous rodents, and that Coon hounds don't come out of the womb knowing how to fight racoons- they had to be taught, and who did I think was going to train this dog to fight racoons, because "we both know it ain't gonna be you sister," and how he would have to endure me crying while said imaginary Coon hound was being trained out back in the bloodsport of racoon hunting.

Needless to say Coach is about as keen on the idea of a third dog as my mom is about Cyndi Lauper's wardrobe, but I ask you, how can you argue with a dog that garners all sorts of respect from the sporting world?

You really can't.

All I'm saying is you don't become the number one live animal mascot in college sports without kicking some serious coon tail.

And I've got a few in my back yard playing fast and loose with my Peaches and Cream sweet corn.

So, come on Smokey- Bring It! Go Vols.

Amen.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

God Bless the USA...And Lee Greenwood

Happy 4th of July! And you ask why there is a picture of the gates of Heaven below? I promise- it'll all come together for you in a minute...

These are, in fact, the gates of Heaven. I can hardly wait to meet up with Jesus in the great stadium in the sky so we can hang out together waving orange and white pom-poms singing "Rocky Top" together. Just you wait and see.

Until then - let's stick to the story. It was here during the 1991 football season that Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the USA" during halftime of the Tennessee vs. Ole Miss football game. The same year that I was developing a great dislike for Andy Kelly, and would later that season mourn the loss of Johnny Majors while the Vols began a new era under Phil Fulmer, the Great Pumpkin.

Okay, so back to the halftime performance. We were in the middle of Desert Storm and patriotism was at an all-time high. Naturally, Lee Greenwood enjoyed a surge of popularity for both his song "God Bless the USA" and his impeccable fashion sense.


The Pride of the Southland Band marched onto the field, played "America the Beautiful,"and then Lee Greenwood walked to the middle of the field and sang his song, fireworks exploded over the river, fighter jets flew over in formation, Smoky howled on the sidelines, and as the song was coming to a close, an eagle soared down and circled the stadium and its 103,000+ fans, and then landed on Mr. Greenwood's shoulder. Neyland Stadium erupted in cheers; it was awe-inspiring.

And Lee Greenwood, like a Phoenix, resurrected himself in song. Again.



...Thus this very clever ensemble.

It's been 16 years since that performance. Phil Fulmer has come and gone. I forgave Andy Kelly after an impressive win at Notre Dame, then fell head over heels in love with Heath Shuler, Peyton Manning, and Tee Martin, and I even learned to tolerate the Clausens. They were formative years for me.

And Mr. Greenwood? Well, he married again, had a child later in life, and as irony would have it, that child attends the school where we teach and the kids are in school.

It was there he became one of AC's victims.

He was bringing in cookies for a choral performance at school. An entire basket full of enormous cookies decorated like basketballs. AC, never one to miss out on a cookie, approached him to see the cookies and they struck up a conversation.

LG: Would you like a cookie?

AC: Yes, thank you.

LG: Are you singing tonight?

AC: No, my brother is. But I like to sing. I like to sing a lot.

LG: Oh yeah? I like to sing too. Matter of fact, that's my job.

AC: Are you famous?

LG: Ummmm. Well, yes I guess you could say I'm famous.

AC: What are the names of some of your songs?

LG: Ever heard "God Bless the USA"?

AC: Nope. What's your name?

LG: Lee Greenwood.

AC: Never heard of ya'

Oh yes she did. But that wasn't nearly as bad as the time she told Faith Hill at a football game that Coach said "She was starting to wear a bit."

Or when she told Albert Haynesworth at the very same football game that she had no idea you could be that fat and play football as she proceeded to sit in his lap and get his autograph. I have to tell you, I've seen him almost take a man's head off for less. (Seriously).

So, y'all come on by; she'll be serving Humble Pie all weekend long.

Happy 4th and God Bless the USA!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Here's Your Sign

As an English teacher, I am always fascinated with misspellings, puns, and other fun language tricks.

For instance, a gal I teach with has a picture of a church billboard in her room that reads: "Come meat Jesus."

I'm thinking Jesus would not appreciate being "meated" - I'm just saying.

I also enjoy some complicated and ambiguous road signs:



And a good motivational word every once in a while is also appreciated and helpful:




But my favorite so far is the quote on the church sign that sits across from our neighborhood. This is the current message of the week:



Now, I ask you- what are we to do with this?

Are things really so bad that churches are going to start relying on Jedi wisdom?

Or, could it be that they just want us to know that Yoda is a Presbyterian?

May the Force be with you.







Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary Baby, Got You On My Mind

Three years ago today, Coach and I were doing this...

and immediately we got this...
And it has been one really impressive ride so far. We have had thousands of hilariously good times, but we've also had to dig deep to fight some really big battles for our family.
When we met with the pastor that married us for the first time and told him our story of how we met, our background, the children, etc. He looked at both of us and asked us what on earth made us think we'd make it?

I appreciate a man who is not afraid to be blunt...most of the time.

We told him we had absolutely no idea, but that we had prayed about it and both were sure that this was what we were supposed to do.

He smiled and said, "Correct answer. Let's get you married."
Scott Roley, a great man of God who is doing some fabulous racial reconciliation work in downtown Franklin married us on July 1, 2006- the only thing better would have been if God Himself had done it, but given that we'd all have turned to ashes- Scott worked out great.

One of my very favorite pictures from the day. I found them sitting here and the photographer got this shot right before I yelled at them for wrinkling their dresses.

Also an impromptu shot of the girls doing what they always do...except when they're arguing, and then they're usually still hanging onto one another, only their grip is just a little tighter and their teeth are usually clenched, but this day they laughed and cajoled.
The cake, oh the cake. It was a citrus poppy seed cake with a lemon glaze topped with sour cream icing. My best friend that I've literally known since I was born was my matron of honor, and her mother made this cake. You just cannot imagine the deliciousness.
We married at sunset, not because of the lighting, but because of the heat. We needed daylight for the ceremony, but darkness for survival- it worked out perfectly.


So here we are 3 years later no worse for the wear, and having more fun than we can stand on most days. (Good thing you didn't see us yesterday- we cleaned out the garage- we were NOT having more fun than we could stand then)

We're going to celebrate officially this weekend, which I'm sure will end in some sort of hilarity- it always does. Our first anniversary celebration ended with me in the emergency room in the middle of the night with two ruptured discs in my neck after riding roller coasters in Atlanta all day - remind me sometime, I'll have to tell you about it.

Until then- see y'all!