Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Early Bird Gets the Doughnut

Have you ever had a morning? You know one of those mornings that can destroy your entire year in a matter of 35 minutes.

Yeah, well. We had one. Today.

It's nothing serious, just a string of minor annoyances that aligned themselves into a series of attacks that could rival D-Day.

First, there are some things you need to know to fully appreciate the chaos. I joined Weight Watchers last Thursday...again.

You also need to know that for some diet-related reason I have not been able to get my mind off Boo Mama's post on the Pumpkin Spice Latte' from Starbucks.

And because we are only virtual friends, you will not know that I am repulsed by coffee, but I am. Can't stand it. Yet the PSL (that's Boo-Mama Speak for Pumpkin Spice Latte') had me intrigued.

Actually, not intrigued- just obsessed with doughnuts.

If you didn't make the jump with me from PSL to doughnuts let me back up a bit more. A few weeks ago Coach said he'd like to try a pumpkin doughnut from Dunkin Donuts. Boo Mama's talk of PSL's helped me remember Coach wanted a pumpkin doughnut. And we're here- Boo Mama's talk of PSL's naturally made me go straight to doughnuts. Because while I do not like coffee one little bit, doughnuts are an entirely different story.

I'd consider selling a child for one.

Which partially explains why I joined Weight Watchers last week...again.

A combination of dreary cool weather, a lack of sleep, and boredom led me to spend most of yesterday dreaming about doughnuts. More specifically a Dunkin Donuts blueberry cake doughnut. Mmmmmm mmmmm mmmm.

AC and I had some time to kill yesterday while G was at soccer practice so we ran to the bank to deposit donations from co-workers for little Madelyn and her family. And in what can only be explained as divine intervention, I learned the bank was near our city's ONLY Dunkin Donuts.

One problem. No WW points left. Looks like the diet was going to dash my doughnut dreams.


I could pretend that the reason for the trip was to buy Coach some pumpkin doughnuts and let the kids choose a couple for breakfast today. I NEVER let them eat doughnuts for breakfast- this was huge.

AC's head almost popped off.

So, in we went to buy the doughnuts. 1 dozen. I got Coach 3 pumpkin doughnuts, AC picked out flavors for her and G, and I got ONE. SOLITARY. BLUEBERRY. DOUGHNUT.

Yes, Mom- just one. (she'll never believe this)

And in a move that amazed Coach and left him speechless, I refrained from eating the blueberry doughnut last night because I had reached my point limit on Weight Watchers (WW).

So, I would wait until breakfast today. I spent well over an hour planning what I would eat today in order to fit in the 7 point doughnut- precisely 1/3 of my daily allowance of calories on one doughnut.

And SOOOOOOOO worth it.

Y'all I talked about that doughnut last night until Coach had a stroke.

Now that you know more than you've ever wanted to about my battle with the bulge and Dunkin Donuts, I'll continue on with my original story.

I was up until 3:00 am. I had to finish a video for the pep assembly this morning so that I could meet the technology dude at 7:30 to get it set up. (I might have also harvested some of AC's crops on Farmville- it's brought out some serious agriculturally related OCD in me.)

We have to be up NO LATER than 6:00 am in order to make it to school on time. This morning we woke up at 6:35.

Oh sure.

Coach shot out of bed and made like Flash Gordon down the hall to ensure he had time to do his pregame sweeping & laundry schtick before he got dressed.

I ran around the bedroom chanting "It's time to eat the doughnut!"

Moments later as I was getting into the shower Coach came back in the bedroom a little dumbfounded and laughing because when he made it into the kitchen, G was sitting at the table completely dressed, bed made, room cleaned, soccer gear ready to go, eating doughnuts like he was Ward Cleaver or something.

He did not oversleep. He was up promptly at 6:00. Totally relaxed; totally into his breakfast.

Which begs the question "Why didn't he wake us up?" and then in one of the clearest moments of intuition I have ever experienced, I backed up. "You said he was in the kitchen eating doughnuts?"

And at the same time Coach and I both registered looks of pure, unadulterated terror.

I yelled down the hall, "Hey Buddy, what kind of doughnut are you eating?"

"The blueberry one." was all he said.

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" was all I could say. And I promise I had to fight back tears.

Coach immediately took cover...and then he started laughing.

My head exploded.

You will never know the levels of restraint and disclipline I achieved last night.


And apparently I'll never know the wonderment of a Dunkin Donut blueberry doughnut.

See y'all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Preview of Things to Come

I watched Marley & Me three times this past weekend.

I know, I'm a glutton for punishment, but sometimes I just need a good cry.

(Well that, and it seems that this movie might just be the Momsense family kryptonite- seriously, as soon as that dog had to take a second trip to the vet, the room cleared- Coach started dust busting, G went for a run, and AC went running off somewhere to cut large amounts of paper into confetti for the sheer fun of it. Whatever. The room cleared, and it was more than quiet; it was serene.)

That was Thursday night. I watched it Saturday morning uninterrupted, and again on Sunday afternoon which literally caused a dust busting frenzy before Coach left for Coach's meeting- I'm positive that in the entirety of human history there has never been a man more thankful for a stinky football office, a couple dozen cookies and cupcakes, and six other befuddled men than Coach.

I think I've said it before, estrogen is his arch nemesis.

It's been "iffy" here at best. I'm just off, and don't really know why. I did, however, get a good cry in on Thursday after my first movie screening which did not go unnoticed by AC. She asked what was wrong, and I debated on whether or not I should tell her the truth.

I'm not sure that even she would understand that I was crying because I'm at an impass on what to do with my hair (cut it or keep it)... and that I had left my iPod at school and therefore could not pretend that I was about to go out and run... and that I believed my pores to be hideously huge... and that I wanted to read a book, but couldn't decide which one... and that no one had sent me flowers in a really long time, and you know, sometimes flowers just make you not cry... and that I wanted to cuddle up on the couch with the dog, but all he wanted to do was play fetch... and that the kids were getting old and didn't want to go to the pumpkin patch anymore... and that Tennessee was getting ready to play Alabama and I hate losing football games that I do not play in, and therefore have no control over... and, well, you get the picture.

I was pretty sure she wouldn't understand that I was in mourning for all that was trivial and shallow.

So, I simply told her I was tired and the movie was sad. (Which technically was true)

Imagine my surprise tonight when I heard wailing from the bathroom after I asked her to brush her teeth. I went in asked her what was wrong, she told me, I comforted her, she stopped crying. No harm, no foul.

Until 3 minutes later.

When she appeared in the den with chin quivering and said "Can you come in my room? I need to talk to you."

Oh my. The kiss of death.

When I sat on her bed and asked her what was wrong she just started sobbing.

I asked her again. She shrugged her shoulders.

Then through sobbing and snubbing she managed to get out that her brain "was all crazy" and her "eyes kept crying without stopping" and then she flung her body into my lap and let loose.

It lasted 20 seconds.

Then she looked at me and asked if we could watch Marley and Me tomorrow.

And so it looks like Team Estrogen just drafted a new member. Team Testosterone is now officially outnumbered 3-2.

Game on.

See y'all!


The "irony" of life always amazes me. Last night I read this post over at Kelly's Korner. I hate reading these kinds of posts for two reasons. One, I hate endings and "the last" of anything, well of most anything. The last bout of a stomach virus or the last credit card bill are really nice "lasts," but the last trip to the pumpkin patch or the last time your kids call you "momma" before they go to the dreaded "mom" - I hate those. So posts on "lasts" are always bittersweet, and I get more nostalgic than is healthy.

Two, I hate it when someone verbalizes (or puts into print) how shakeable life is and how you never know when the last of something or somebody will shake you to your core.

So, what we know. I have trouble dealing with real life and prefer to deny its existence unless someone makes me abundantly aware of the passing of time by writing a touching blog post. Now, don't get me wrong. I ADORE Kelly and little Miss Harper. ADORE THEM. And I enjoyed the post; it's just that those types of posts make me a little sad.

I got an eerie feeling last night; mainly because I'm a little more paranoid than I should be, but I'm paranoid because usually those feelings aren't "coincidence," almost every time I get that feeling something happens.

I went to bed repeating to myself last night "I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:13-14) And I woke up calm this morning, because I was fully well ready to trust that the thing I'm really worried about would be handled. No big deal. My heart was a little lighter and I was ready for the day.

Then I got to school this morning and received an e-mail. Turns out the eerie feeling I had last night was spot on (uggh). But it wasn't anything going on in our house.

Madelyn is 3. She went to the doctor yesterday because she had a fever and some bruising. She has leukemia. We don't know the type, the stage, or anything else. All we know is it's leukemia.

I fought tears all through our meeting, talked to her uncle for a little bit, and then just went and cried.

God is the same today as he was yesterday, and he knows how this will play out.

Her parents don't, and they are not the same as they were yesterday, nor is Madelyn. That's the hard part. Yesterday was the last time that life was normal for this family. I wonder if they had any idea how very different life would look today; I'm almost sure they didn't.

The irony of it all is that Madelyn's mom, her aunt, and I are all supposed to run a half marathon in December that benefits St. Jude Hospital for children. They are a leading research hospital for leukemia in children. I'm sure her mom probably won't be able to run, because now she's a participant in a whole new marathon.

And the part that I hate is the helplessness. Aside from praying, there isn't a thing we can do. Not one stinkin' thing. I hate that. I really really hate that.

So if you would today, please pray for Madelyn. Pray that the bone marrow tests and spinal taps and all the pricks and pokes she gets today won't hurt much. Pray for a hopeful diagnosis, pray for strength and wisdom and comfort for her parents, her grandparents, and her aunts and uncles. Pray for wise and aggressive doctors. Pray for peace in the waiting, and pray for a joyful ending to this.

Finally, pray that we all "see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

See y'all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Party!

We went to McCall's pumpkin patch for the first time today, despite having lived in Albuquerque for 6 years now.  I think this is going to be our new fall activity of choice, over the State Fair or Balloon Fiesta.  It is really fun for the kids (but kind of expensive)!

They started out with a "cow" ride -- there's a little train of about 8 of these cars pulled by a riding lawnmower.  The boys love riding lawnmowers -- every time we go to the hardware store, they insist on sitting in one -- so they thought that was pretty cool.

Next the boys took a spin on these pedal go-karts.  Quartz thought this was the coolest thing ever, like NASCAR or something.  His little legs pedalled so fast, he really got going!  He was passing all the other kids on the inside, acting like he was some sort of race car driver.  Onyx took a more leisurely approach, but appeared to enjoy the go karts as well.

Next is the corn cannon.  They load some corn, husk and all, into the tube, and then when you push a button, a burst of air shoots it out.  How cool is that?!  They also had pumpkin slingshots, and a large pumpkin cannon that shot pumpkins about 20 stories high before they splatted on the ground (or, exploded, according to Quartz).  Though, it seems like kind of a waste of food . . . I guess that's what harvest festivals are all about, though -- celebrating that we have so much food we can afford to waste it by launching it into the air.  Isn't there a town in Spain with a tomato-throwing festival along similar lines?

Sapphire's favorite part was the corn bin, where they had about 9 inches of dry, large kernel corn and shovels, buckets, dump trucks, loader trucks, etc to dig with.  I buried her legs in the corn and she thought it was pretty funny.  I couldn't believe how good that corn felt, sifting through my fingers.  It's lighter weight than pea gravel, with a dry, bumpy texture, and it makes a nice "shhhhhhh" sound when you dump it out.
I don't have pictures from the giant slide (Quartz loved it; Onyx was too scared to go alone), or any of the inflatable jumping thingies, but they were very fun, too.  Sadly, we didn't make it to the corn maze or the pumpkin patch, but there's only so much you can do in three hours.  Next year!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We're Playing Your Song

Welcome to Tennessee. (Part of it, anyway)

We have three major cities, some might say four. We have our share of professional sports teams, large corporate headquarters, movie stars, musicians, elite shopping, and almost any kind of mover or shaker that you're looking for.

We truly do have it all.

I have eaten breakfast alongside Sheryl Crowe, seen Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban hanging out at Target, been to church with Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, and even Little Jimmy Dickens (if you're not from here or an Opry fan, you have no idea who I'm talking about- but by far the biggest character of them all), I've watched Reese Witherspoon try to stave off a 2 year-old meltdown in the mall, and I chatted it up with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at more than one after-school sporting event as our children competed.

Believe me, we've got ourselves some metropolitan flare if that's the kind of thing you're looking for.

But, my favorite part?

That pretty much wherever you are in Tennessee, you are about 20 minutes from scenes like this:

A farm in Adams, Tennessee with a tobacco barn in the background. The air smelled like Hickory, and it was cold, and a little bit damp. A nice day for a drive...or a visit to a haunted cave.

Tennessee tobacco drying in a barn. I cannot tell you how many of these barns we passed on our little jaunt.

And finally, another smoking barn full of tobacco; this one was once owned by George Washington and is still kept by the family.

Because we have history too. Lots and lots of history. It's about as close to heaven as you're going to get without actually entering Neyland Stadium. (ha ha).

I'd love to hear/see what you love about your home state.

See y'all!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surveillance, Part 2

Our anthropological research at the Landaker residence continues.  This week we have observed the juvenile residents using a strange dialect to communicate with each other.  The adult residents do not appear to understand this alternative vocabulary, but these words are steeped in cultural meaning to the younger residents.  Here is a partial dictionary:

shusher-nutter - noun: term of endearment/ridicule? e.g., "Hey, shusher-nutter!"
wata-bidee - interjection: used to express uncontrollable energy, e.g., "Lunchtime? Wata-bidee!"
bucka-bucka-boo - interjection: shouted in a high-pitched voice, used to get attention of adults, e.g., "Look at me!  Look at me!  Bucka-bucka-boo!"
eee-boo - interjection: usually accompanied by intense jogging or jumping in place, it expresses the desire for a hug and exercise at the same time.  

There appear to be many more strange words whose meaning we have not yet ascertained.  We will continue to observe and report our findings here.

Witchy Woman

We've been on fall break since Wednesday. We had grand plans of camping and hiking and looking at fall foliage.

Mother Nature had other plans. We haven't seen this much rain since the days of Noah.

Needless to say, it rained and has been unseasonably cold for much of the break, which necessitated a change of plans.

On Friday I planned a trip to Adams, Tennessee. You know who lived in Adams?

The Bell Witch.

She is the most widely reported and written about paranormal "entity" in the United States. Her haunting of the Bell family in the early 1800's has been local legend ever since. You can read more about her here.

I cannot tell you how many slumber parties included 2:00 am trips into closets and powder rooms all over the county for each and every one of us to turn the lights off, turn around in circles three times reciting the words "I don't believe in the Bell Witch" all the while wondering if we'd wake up the next morning with a hideous cut across our faces. Which, of course, insured that no one was going to sleep for the rest of the night, because if the threat of having your bra frozen or having toothpaste put up your nostrils wasn't enough, the thought of being disfigured by a poltergeist surely was.

I didn't sleep on the weekends for the better part of 1984.

Good times.

Anyway, last year our children devastated us with the news that they were too old to go to the pumpkin patch. The pumpkin patch that I took them to EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. since 1997. Did I say every year? Without fail? Through rain, heat waves, illnesses, and cold fronts? Every stinkin' year.

Traditions are my thing. So, you can imagine how I reacted to the news. DISTRAUGHT. And maybe a bit angry that they hadn't projected the year before that they would mature exactly enough over the coming 12 months to render them too old for the pumpkin patch last year. No warning, no hoopla, just a chorus of "NO! We don't want to go to the pumpkin patch- it's for babies!"


So, this year?

Coach & I turned it up a notch.

They think pumpkin patches are for babies? Hah! We'll show them. They think they are too old for corn mazes and bean bag games that teach the fruits of the spirit huh? Well, we'll hike them into the bowels of a witch's cave and have them praying for the day they were looking forward to hayrides and corn mazes.

Because at our house? We don't mess around.

So, off we went. Our first family witch-hunt. Definitely a camera-worthy event.

I think I've told you before I'm terrified of caves.


But, I took one for the team. So we walked...

Into a cave.

A cave that is directly beneath an Choctaw Indian Burial Mound.

A cave under a burial mound on the Bell property.

The Bell family that was terrorized by a witch.


Aside from my inability to breathe as soon as we entered the cave, all was going fine. We went into the front room of the cave, saw the tombs where Native Americans had been laid to rest, learned about the history of the cave, the history of the Bell family, and various superfluous geological information.

Then we walked through the smallest passage I've voluntarily passed through since I was an unknowing participant in my own birth. Let it be noted though, that I did it under much protest, the walk into the cave, not my own birthing, although my mother might tell you differently.

When we entered the second room, the room where all the "paranormal activity" that had been recorded over the years had taken place, we saw the coolest rock formation. Water from an underground spring runs over it continuously which makes it red and shiny. It looked like a human heart.

So I took a picture of it to use in my Creative Writing class because it was very Edgar Allan Poe-ish. I figured it would be a good journal starter for a ghost story activity.

The heart rock. Cool huh? I know. But, I used my flash and it was too bright and didn't really catch the eeriness of the colors and the sheen. So I turned off the flash. I didn't move, there was no change of position, or angle or anything else. And I got the picture below.

Cool huh? Much more ominous and creepy without the artificial light. Except...

Do you notice anything odd about the picture?

Like, the fact that it has some sort of demon face on it? I know. I KNOW.

Here is a side-by-side comparison. I can make out all the differences in the pictures EXCEPT for the demon face. Creepy isn't it?

Well, not as creepy as this:

Well, not this. (Although his mood on Friday was enough to inspire a horror movie.) I was trying to take a picture of him smiling. So after this silly face, I told him to smile. And he did. Again, I didn't change anything on the camera, nor did I change position. I took the picture below approximately 1/2 second after the silly one above.

Again, I have no idea. If you look closely you can see G on the right side of the picture. BUT, if you look on the left around the lights that have appeared, you will see another face.

Oh sure.

Now, I'm sure there is a perfectly good explanation for all of this. Like, oh I don't know... WE SAW THE BELL WITCH.

Or some sort of easily explained photographic phenomena that I'm sure the Nikon guy at the camera store will figure out for me.

So, to recap: the trip that was meant to scare the kids into wanting to go back to the pumpkin patch for hayrides and cider-did NOT.

Instead, they had so much fun they want to go every year. "You know, like a tradition Mom, you love traditions." said the little one.

And, I have the best pictures EVER for ghost story writing project.

And, lastly? At least 5 more years of hiking through a cave (of which I'm terrified) to hear about a witch and some Native American spirits (of which I used to laugh about, but now have a healthy fear), all in the name of tradition.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Can I get another vacation??

Last week we went to Pigeon Forge, Tn for 5 days! It was a long drive, but the kids did great, falling asleep at separate times, but enjoying watching DVD's the whole way there and back. They only got a little antzy towards the end of the 8.5 hour drives :).

We didn't get in until 7pm on Wednesday, so we just got to the cabin (mom, steph, and matt were already there), set the kids up where they would be sleeping and relaxed a little bit. Our room had a jetted tub in the room - separate from the bathroom with a normal shower/tub combo.

Thursday, we spent the day shopping at the outlet, and lunch there as well. I could not believe how sore I was when we were done. It did not seem like that long out, but I guess pushing two kids in the double stroller all day, and all the walking we did, my calves were so sore.

The next day we went to DollyWood, as if my legs didn't hurt already. We took the kids to ride some of the rides there size, Kaitlyn rode her 1st "roller-coaster." I was able to ride the elephant ride with her so daddy could ride with Tyler. We decided to go watch the 50's-60's show, and poor Kaitlyn was asking the whole time to go back and ride more. If I had to do it over again, I would have skipped the show and taken her to ride more. Show was ok, but I could have done without seeing it. Would have rather let her have all the fun she could in 1 day. We ate at "Aunt Grannie's Kitchen" in the park after the show. Good home-cooked southern food on buffet....mmmmmm. At the end of our meal, it started raining. Poor Kaitlyn started crying, I almost started crying, because I was sad that she wouldn't get to ride more. We decided to stick it out and wait for it to stop. It let up enough to take them to the carousel and ride. We walked back through the other rides and found a "car" ride that they could "drive" on a track that would not let them off track. We both road passenger, each with one kid. I wanted to let them ride so much more, but we were so tired by then.

Saturday was Kaitlyn's 4th birthday. Mom and I went out to get her present and cake and lunch, and traffic was RIDICULOUS!!! It took 30 minutes just to get 3-4 lights down the street, and the lights are very close together. Pigeon Forge must be a tourist place, because it was INSANE!

We finally made it back to the cabin (4 hours later), and open presents, had cake and dinner, and just did nothing the rest of the day. We left on Sunday and drove home. It was nice to be back at home in our own bed, and the kids in their own rooms. Tyler was in the pack and play in our room the whole time.......

Now, back to work. This week has been busy busy, but went by so fast. I have so much to do everyday, and never seem to have enough time to do it. This week was a little different, but boss was here for training, so we were able to spend some time together. We laughed a lot (mostly @ me), so that keep things less stressful.

OH so glad tomorrow is friday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Momsense vs. the Volcano

We're having a big week around here- BIG week.

We won two HUGE football games the last couple of weeks. You might have remembered my football pant story.

There were no bets made on our homecoming game. Secretly, I really thought we'd lose again. I hate to say that, but our sidelines look like a M.A.S.H. unit, and we have 14 year-old boys on the field playing linebacker and those other positions that require massive size and brute strength, and I don't know about you, but my experience with freshmen boys has been that massive size and brute strength are exactly the two things they don't have. Overabundance of ego and energy- yes; brute strength and massive size- no way.

But they did it.


David beat Goliath and shocked the fool out of the mid-state football community.

Add to all the football excitement that I also had to finish grading essays comparing the flood stories in Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh (just sent you into a fit of post traumatic high school stress didn't I?) without my head exploding.

It was cool though- I learned a lot. For instance, did you know that Adam's wife's name was Ida? And apparently somewhere in the Genesis narrative Abraham was married to Tarzan's ex- Jane?

Yes, I'm serious. By the time I was close to finishing I was seriously expecting to read about Noah hanging ten with a gorilla and catching a big one during the flood.

Add to all of that this little gem- G. tried out for the middle school soccer team. Try-outs have lasted a week. We find out today who makes the team.

G is a perfectionist with obsessive compulsive tendencies.

Recipe for disaster. Enough said.

And the icing? AC announced this morning that she was going to be a volcanologist.

Yes, I am absolutely serious, as was she. She made this life-altering decision after making a volcano at school out of a Yoplait yogurt cup and some plaster of paris. They're "exploding them" at 11:00 today.

Do you think that an aspiring volcanologist needs to know at the age of 9 that the term she's looking for is "erupt?"

And I wonder if she understands that a volcanologist actually has to go outside to work- in the heat and dirt. For that matter, I wonder if she understands that volcanologists actually have to work. I'm thinking she doesn't.

She did, however, comment on the outfit of the volcanologist that was pictured in her book. She wanted to make sure that not all volcanologists had to wear pleated khaki pants, because in her words, "they make you look like a kangaroo."

And because of that comment, I really think she's more suited for a job as a consultant for Big Mama's Fashion Friday blogs.

See y'all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Dear Friend,

My heart is breaking for you right now. I know the pain you're feeling, but I also know that part of the reason it is so painful is that it is isolating. Nobody can make this one better, not even the one who caused it. Once the leaving is done, hurt that is so profound it really cannot be described becomes your new reality. This is one club membership I wish we didn't share.

I know there are no words that will take the sting out of this one. BUT- I will tell you this- you will feel better. You will.

You are not forgotten. You are not abandoned. You know a love that never fails you. Hold on to that for now. Surrender to that love.

For now keep this:

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken."
Psalm 34:17-20

"I am still confident of this;
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."

Psalm 27:13,14

Hang on girlie- there's always Hope and Love- it's there. Have faith and wait on it.

I'm here if you need me.

Siesta at the Fiesta

On Thursday I saw the special shapes hot air balloons in the morning, and they boys were really interested, so we decided we would go see them up close on Thursday night.  The boys loved the bus from the park-and-ride, and Wes loved the bratwurst.  There was a cool NASA tent with an F-15 cockpit, and then we visited the art tent.  Our favorite was the exhibit of butterflies, beetles, and other bugs.  Sapphire slept for the first part, then woke up in time to eat some curly fries before the balloons started to glow.

Some nice people next to us gave us some extra glow sticks, which was fun.  The balloons looked really neat at night, especially when they all turned on their burners together.  We headed home before the fireworks (everyone was tired and antsy), but saw Friday's fireworks from our house.  I don't think we need to go every year, but it was fun to go this year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Look Who's Wearing the Pants Now

Two years ago Coach and I went to see the Tennessee vs. Arkansas game in Knoxville. A friend we teach with gave us his tickets...on the eigth row.



We were so close we could listen to the players talking; we could see facial expressions; we could hear the force of a wolloping hit.

Awe-inspiring I tell you.

We were so close that I paid particular attention to the football pants. I made a comment- actually it was really more of a diatribe- on how football pants made EVERYONE look good- even the big guys.

And by big, I mean globular.

It was then that I became CONVINCED, faithfully convinced, that the football pant cut was the answer to all women's pant fashion ills. No more worrying about rise and cut and pocket location- turns out the answer was right in front of us all along- the football pant.

Because I'm telling you- those boys looked good, darned good.


And that's the backstory.

Now for the rest of the story...

Our high school football team is struggling a bit this year. There are many reasons- we lost 12 starting seniors, we are riddled with injury, we are VERY young, and we've moved into a league of play where the other teams are nationally ranked on a regular basis. This year we've played in stadiums with sky boxes, played on $1 million+ turf fields, played against teams with NFL coaches- I'm talking SERIOUS competition.

And our little team of average-sized student athletes keep plugging along, and to date they have a 3-4 record which is not terrible, but we had become used to winning.

When you're used to winning, losing ain't pretty.

Anyway, two weeks ago we got thumped by my alma mater. 48-6. Yep, thumped. And, it could have been MUCH worse.

So, last week we played another team that was just as talented. They were ranked in the top five nationally sometime recently if I'm not mistaken (which is possible and probably even likely).

It was their homecoming. It was going to be ugly.

On Wednesday of last week one of the senior football players said something about wearing the yellow football pants for the game.

The cursed yellow pants. Seriously, they have lost games against opponents who are the equivalent of the Bad News Bears while wearing the yellow pants. They are CURSED.

So the "No Yellow Pants" campaign began. And I was successful. They wore blue. But not before I told the aforementioned senior that if they beat MBA on Friday night, I'd wear the yellow pants to school. Because....HELLO......we were going to get killed.

It was the safest bet I'd ever made.

We won the game.

We dominated the game.

And today, a 38 year-old woman who has no business wearing tight spandex pants is teaching teenagers in tight spandex pants.

Goldenrod, shiny, tight, spandex pants. I look like Tweety Bird from the waist down.

Well, if Tweety Bird has cellulite.

And just FYI- my earlier statement regarding football pants being the solution to the "do these pants make my butt look big?" dilemma-- well,

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Apparently it's all the weight-lifting and running and tackling and manly football-y things that the football players do that makes them look good in the pants.


You have no idea-- NO IDEA-- how difficult it is to make an appropriate shoe choice for an ensemble that features shiny yellow football pants.

And NO- there will be no pictures. Except for the one or three dozen that the yearbook sponsor took to be published and printed in 1200 yearbooks.

See y'all!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Saturday in the South

So y'all know we love football in the South. It's true; it's the golden calf of the modern age.

I cannot think of anything better than a crisp, bright Saturday spent in Neyland Stadium with 107,000 fellow crusaders all waiting to see who will come forth victorious.

And, the great thing about SEC football is this: no matter what school you attend- you've got some good old-fashioned football traditions.

And y'all- down here we hang our hat on tradition and religion.

We just do.

So, in an effort to try to explain the obsession I thought I'd post part of an e-mail I received today on SEC football.

Planning for the fall football season in the South is radically different than up North. For those who are planning a football trip South, here are some helpful hints.

Women's Accessories:
NORTH: Chap Stick in back pocket and a $20 bill in the front pocket
SOUTH: Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, waterproof mascara, and a fifth of bourbon. Money not necessary - that's what dates are for.

Stadium Size:
NORTH: College football stadiums hold 20,000 people.
SOUTH: High school football stadiums hold 20,000 people.

NORTH: Expect their daughters to understand Sylvia Plath.
SOUTH: Expect their daughters to understand pass interference.

Campus Decor:
NORTH: Statues of founding fathers
SOUTH: Statues of Heisman trophy winners

Homecoming Queen:
NORTH: Also a physics major
SOUTH: Also Miss America

NORTH: Rudy Giuliani
SOUTH: Archie, Peyton & Eli Manning

Getting Tickets:
NORTH: 5 days before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus.
SOUTH: 5 months before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus, make a large financial contribution and put name on a waiting list for tickets.

NORTH: An hour before game time, the University opens the campus for game parking.
SOUTH: RVs sporting their school flags begin arriving on Wednesday for the weekend festivities. The really faithful arrive on Tuesday.

Game Day:
NORTH: A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.
SOUTH: Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting "Game Day Live" to get on camera and wave to the idiots up north who wonder why "Game Day Live" is never Broadcast from their campus.

NORTH: Raw meat on a grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.
SOUTH: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance from the Dave Matthews Band, who come over during breaks and ask for a hit off bottle of bourbon.

Getting to the Stadium:
NORTH: You ask "Where's the stadium?" When you find it, you walk right in.
SOUTH: When you're near it, you'll hear it.. On game day it is the state's third largest city.

NORTH: Drinks served in a paper cup, filled to the top with soda.
SOUTH: Drinks served in a plastic cup, with the home team's mascot on it, filled less than half way with soda, to ensure enough room for bourbon.

When National Anthem is Played:
NORTH : Stands are less than half full, and less than half of them stand up.
SOUTH: 100,000 fans, all standing, sing along in perfect four-part harmony.

The Smell in the Air After the First Score:
NORTH: Nothing changes.
SOUTH: Fireworks, with a touch of bourbon.

NORTH: Neutral and paid.
SOUTH: Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.

After the Game:
NORTH: The stadium is empty long before the game ends.
SOUTH: Another rack of ribs goes on the smoker, while somebody goes to the nearest package store for more bourbon, and planning begins for next week's game.

Yep- that about says it all- it is a glorious thing.

See y'all!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Random Monday-ness

I haven't had the time to have a complete thought in about a week now, much less a string of coherent complete thoughts that will turn themselves into witty bloggy banter, but I figure the best way to get going is to start bantering or badgering...

we'll see how it goes.

1. I consider it a victory reminiscent of the US Hockey win in 1980 that I didn't kill the boy today. We're approximately 17 days into official teen-dom and it's, well...., it's not looking good for either of us. By 7:15 this morning I was seething and he was on his way to the homeless shelter for ..... EVER. We're better now- he's been exiled to his room for the next 5 years sans phone, television, and computer.

2. Yesterday was a perfectly lazy day. It was rainy, cold, and dreary. The perfect day to stay on the couch and watch movies and read books. So, we went to a soccer the rain...that NONE of our children were playing in. Nope- we went to the Vanderbilt vs. Georgia women's soccer game to see one of my graduated track girls play. She's a freshman at Georgia and a soccer prodigy. And even though it was freezing and wet we had fun, AND they won- so all is well.

3. Then I came home and played on Facebook because I have stacks of essays to grade, and I enjoy the added pressure of having to grade them in the wee hours of the morning. Anyway, another of my graduated track girls is at Clemson. She went on a rowing scholarship. She updated her status last night to say she was almost sure she would never need geography in her chosen field of study. I replied back and told her you never know when the exports of Djbouti would prove to be information that she absolutely had to have. Her reply? She was really only there to learn about carats and diamonds.

Mmmmm. mmmmm. mmmmm. Do girls even still do that? Well, I know they still do that, but really, are we still admitting that we do that? So, I replied back to her and told her she needed to educate herself and buy her own diamonds and carats. Then I told her that while I do love men and boys, they were so much more enjoyable if you don't have to depend on them for anything.

And then I spent the rest of the night worrying that I sounded like Gloria Steinem. When what I really just needed to tell her was of course she'll never need geography later on. Because....helloooooo...GPS. It is 2009, your phone and an internet connection is enough to run the planet.

4. Today was the first day of Homecoming week at school, and we were allowed to wear sweats. It's really the only reason I got out of bed. It's funny, yoga pants can solve many of the world's ills- I'm totally convinced.

5. I'm so tired I fell asleep sitting at a traffic light today. I'm pretty sure that's not good.

6. So, I came home and made chili and then went on to make homemade pumpkin bread, because, well it keeps me from doing the grading. And the pumpkin bread makes the house smell all autumny and stuff which reminds me that we've only got 81 days until Christmas.

That's right folks- 81 days. I don't even know what to say about that.

7. We have to go camping for fall break. I like the idea of camping; the reality not so much. I'm pretty convinced Coach has absolutely no idea what this little excursion is going to entail. He has an uncanny ability to romanticize the debacle that is our lives. Oh well, maybe there will be some sort of emergency room trip involving a racoon and a pack of coyotes or something which would be kind of cool and would give me something to write about- who knows. With us the possibilities are endless.

8. So, enough of this. You want the pumpkin bread recipe?

Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
1 cup oil (I use applesauce- makes it soooo moist)
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
4 eggs
2/3 cup water

Mix together. Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350 for an hour. Makes 2 loaves.

See y'all!

Onyx Onyx Bo Bonics Banana Fana Fo Phonics!

I talk a lot about Sapphire and Quartz on here, so here's a post just for Onyx.  :-)

Onyx's new mad word is "random".  "Please put your dishes away, Onyx."  "Random!  You're so random, mom!".  He likes to play police-pirates and monster-pirates.  But, as he says, "I'm a good monster.  I fight bad guys."  He also says, "When I see a ghost, I will shoot it with a tranquilizer dart and then eat it up."  Sometimes he plays with his friend Rock, who is "just pretend".  Quartz thinks this is great fun and tries to tell Onyx what Rock is doing now, but Onyx will have none of that.

When he's mad that he can't do something, he will say angrily that he is not going to do that next time, like, "If I can't have more bacon right now, then the next time we have bacon, I'm not going to eat it!"  That'll show mom!  He likes to play games like Mousetrap and Uno, and his favorite chores are putting outgoing mail in the mailbox and sorting silverware.

Sunday, October 4, 2009 we come!!!

WOW! Last week was CRAZY!!!!! The director of our center put in her resignation, and on Tuesday they went a head and let her go. We have a manager (our center is "three-tiered" - Director- resigned, Manager - new, and Operations - ME!!). Anyway, as I was saying, we have a manager, but she has only been on the job for 1 month, so she doesn't really know much yet. Nothing against her, she's just new and still learning.

SO, It's just me and her! Luckily, I have been there a year, so I know what's going on and how things go, but we have been changing a lot of things recently too.....eeekkk!!!! Needless to say, last week was very hectic and stressful. I was really looking forward to the weekend of NO WORK......Do you think that happened???? NOPE! Yesterday they did a Nation-wide ALL CALL for people to come into work and help out. Both the manager and I were calling and scheduling people all day long. Thankfully that can be done remotely, and I didn't have to go into the office.

This next week I only have to work 2 days before we leave for vacation. I am sure the manager would love it if I decided to stay, but we have already made the reservations and everything, so no backing out! I can't wait though!! There is no internet access at the cabin we will be staying at, so even if I wanted to work while on vacation, I CAN'T!!! Yippie. Good news though, my boss will be available to help her, as well as her people too.

SO, Vacation, here we come. Hopefully it will be somewhat relaxing. The kids are coming with us, this will be our 1st "family" vacation. My sister and her husband, and my mom will be coming as well.....what fun right?!?!?!? :)

We will be going to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and will have a cabin up in the mountains for all of us to stay. We get there on Wednesday and will probably just relax from the 8-9 hour drive. Thursday we are planning on going shopping - as much as the two pregnant women and the kids can handle. Friday, we are headed to DollyWood. My sister and I just realized that we will not be able to ride any of our favorite rides - no pregnant women allowed! We will probably spend a good portion of the day there, eat at "Aunt Grannie's Kitchen", and get some "Dolly Dresses." Saturday, the plan is to veg and watch football. The boys will love that. We may venture out and do something, we at least have to get a cake for Kaitlyn's Birthday. Hard to believe she will be 4!!!!! Sunday, we are headed back home! I really wish it could be longer, but I need to save as much time as I can for when the new little one comes.