Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I would just like to take this opportunity to complain that my daughter is STILL in school and has another week left at that. Isn't that inhumane?

Summer plans are filling up around here; we have swim lessons, our annual two-week "Tour de la South" (wherein we visit each and every relative that will house us for as long as they are willing to do so), and then we have our various and sundry VBS and Art camps sprinkled in after that.

So that gets us up to the first of August. And then there's nothing. Not one thing. Just me and three kids and 105 degree heat, day after day. Let me just warn the local Chick-Fil-A right now that we will most likely be loitering at their playground, sucking up their free super-cold air conditioning for the entire month. Get ready.

This weekend, Greg and I will be taking the kids camping, and I would like to state for the record right now that we have waited too late in the year for this and it is going to be hot and sweaty, but thankfully we will be camping next to a lake, so there will be plenty of swimming and fishing and things like that to distract us. I haven't broken the news to the kids yet that we have no intention of building a campfire because it is too stinkin hot, but that they will be roasting marshmallows over a propane stove.

And while we're on the subject of rambling, I would also like to inform the internet that I have purchased a bikini. I have no idea why I have done this, as my belly hasn't seen the light of day since, oh, 15 years and 3 children ago.

When I was 16, back when I weighed 120 pounds, I begged my mom to buy me a lovely neon pink and orange one, and then I was too embarrassed to wear it without a t-shirt over it. Looking back now, I think I looked great and I cannot believe I wasn't happy with my body. So I figured since I'll be 33 in a few weeks, and I am roughly 20 pounds heavier than I used to be, I'll be looking back on this age when I'm 65 and wonder why I didn't just love the way that I looked and wear that bikini everywhere. Like the lady in the weight loss commercial who wears her bikini and heels to the grocery store. Except I won't do that. I'll probably just wear it to the kiddie pool in my own back yard. Maybe I will add some heels just for effect.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Parents' Day

Last Thursday was Parents' Day at Tommy's gymnastics class, so he got to show off the skills he has been working on all year. And I got to take this adorable picture of him doing a chin-up:
I just love that. I really do. Look at that face. He held his chin-up for 40 seconds, schooling the rest of the class with their pitiful 17's and 21's. That's because after the first time that they practiced this skill in gymnastics, Tommy went home and showed his Daddy a ribbon for his 11 second chin-up hold, and the next day Greg came home with a chin-up bar and declared he was going to install it in Tommy's closet so he could practice. Half an hour later, I went back to Tommy's room, only to find the chin-up bar permanently affixed to his bedroom door, not his closet door, about chest high. Permanently. Bolted in.

When I asked Greg about his long-term plan for this atrocity, he simply replied that he would raise it up when Tommy gets taller, and that we could just put wood putty on the mangled door jamb. What a well thought out plan. I suppose now that Tommy has conquered a 40 second chin-up hold, I should say that it has all been worthwhile. It really is. I love all of the flipping and hanging going on in my house, I really do. I'm even getting good at doing the limbo when I go in there to put away the laundry. Everyone wins.

And now I would like to present you with gratuitous pictures of the boy flipping through the air, blurry-legged, and with his tongue sticking out.
This is Miss Liz, the super-skinny gymnastics teacher. At the end of class, they had a little Olympic medal ceremony, and everyone got a hand full of ribbons. Then we did what all Olympic champions do, we went for a Happy Meal at McDonald's.
(Happy Meal #6 out of 52, in case you were counting. Only 46 more to go!)

Friday, May 23, 2008


At the cemetery near my house, there are 3,629 flags on the lawn. In the center, there are 270 Texas flags. Thank you, thank you, thank you; 3,629 times.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Bedtime Story by Grace, Age 7

NEW! "Penny the Penguin and Lesley the Leopard"

Chapter 1: Weird Stuff
Once upon a time in Antarctica, there lived a penguin named Penny.

Then he came to this big gray thing that he did not what it was

He touch it and then...Wowie Cuzowie he was in a land(???)

Surrounding him was...brown things.

Biggg brown things with green on top. "Where am I?" Asked Penny to himself.

"Hi! My name is Lesly!" Said a yellow thing with spots on it.

Chapter 2: Getting to know Lepord.
Soon they became best friends. Lepord took him to a school!

It's too hot!

Chapter 3: Nipples
A girl came in and said, "How are y'all doing?" That made Penny say "Lepord, when will I see you?" "Later!" said Lepord.

"What about my nipples?" he yelled. "They're showing!"
"They will be fine. Bye!" yelled Lepord.

Then they became best friends. "I wonder what I still can do about my nipples, he wondered." THE END.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Few Questions For You

Have you ever taken 89 pictures of your kid on a swing? Is that weird?And have you ever altered the coloring on the pictures so that your child looks like she is glowing, and then you don't know how to alter them back? Has that ever happened to you?
Would you still read my blog if all I did was post pictures every single day?
Don't answer that last one. But here are the serious questions I have for you: What do you do with your photos once you get them on the computer? Do you use Flickr or Shutterfly or what? Where do you order prints from? How do you deal with storing your pictures long-term? Do you trust your online website with them or do you also back them up on CD? What will you do in three years when the CD is obsolete and there is a newfangled gadget taking its place? HOW CAN I LIVE MY LIFE WITHOUT NEGATIVES IN A BOX TO RELY ON????

Any advice would be appreciated.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Faux Finishing

I mentioned a week or two ago on the blog that I had been planning to repaint Grace's room forever, but couldn't decide on a color. I believe this was incorporated into a whine about how exhausted I had been feeling, and blah blah blah. The rest of that story is that about an hour after I published that lovely piece of writing, my good friend Julie showed up with a giant Diet Dr. Pepper (with cherry) from Sonic, pointed at exactly the paint chip that I liked best, gave me wonderful advice on a gift to give my daughter for her baptism, and left. She solved all of the problems I had been whining about.

Have I mentioned what a great friend Julie is? Twelve times? Okay.

So after she left, I got jazzed up on Dr. Pepper and spent the entire afternoon and evening painting while my kids sat on the bed and maintained a disproportionate level of enthusiasm over what basically amounted to watching paint dry.

Brace yourselves for the 'before' photo:That is twelve kinds of ugly, people. Lovingly sponge painted in a garish combination of gray, purple, and white by the previous owner. So 1996. It was only after I painted the walls that Grace revealed to me that she sometimes lies awake at night and sees scary faces in the paint patterns. She'll be in therapy for that, for sure.

And now, the finished product:I don't know why I didn't take the same view of the entire room, or at least try to get a wider shot. I can only say I am enthralled with the new camera and was not thinking clearly. Also I dragged out the tripod and shot in twelve different modes to see which one was best, but they all looked the same. Because I had nothing else I needed to do today.
The painting by the window was a gift from my sister Stacie, and it is from a photograph of Grace at Duke Gardens when she was 15 months old or so. It had not yet found a good home in this house, but I think it fits perfectly here now.

So lovely. Also the cross-stitch above the bed was a gift from Aunt Becky, who can cross-stitch like the wind.
Tommy was given a nice Cowboy one when he was born. Katie keeps asking about her cross-stitch, and I just tell her Aunt Becky doesn't love her.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Mothers Day to Me....

..and Happy Birthday, Happy Memorial Day, Happy Canada Day, Happy Every Other Day for a Year.

Look what FedEx dropped off today:Item #1 on the agenda: Learn to focus properly.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Texas in The The Spring

The past two months have been filled with gloriously cool open-the-windows-and-feel-the-breeze weather around here. At this point in the spring, there is an unspoken urgency in the air to get out and enjoy it, because experience has told us that in a few short weeks it will be so hot that any outside play will require being drenched with either water or sweat.

Today was the first day of air-conditioning, a sign of the sweltering months bearing down upon us. I felt the too-warm breezes of summer breathing down my neck, and became almost frantic in my desire to 'do something' outdoors, seize the day, and all of that.

I have repeatedly shooed children away from the television/computer and urged them to get out in the back yard, only to turn around and find them underfoot again. Yesterday I took a slew of neighborhood kids to the park after school, and every last one of them was whining to go home and play inside. Then today my friend came over with her boys, and we sat out on the patio to chat, only to turn around twenty minutes later and realize that all of the kids had gone inside and were playing in Tommy's room. But at least the moms got to enjoy the back yard, I suppose.

After school, I again sent the kids into the back yard. After a suspiciously long time without hearing any arguing, I went to the 'clubhouse' out back, certain that I was going to find them playing some elaborate treasure hunt game. Nope. They had gone inside and were parked in front of the computer feeding someone's Webkinz who was 89% hungry.

It was at that point that I went into the back yard with the intention of attempting the impossible: pushing the kids on the swing until they were tired of it. Please understand this has never happened before. I wasn't even sure if it was possible. It wasn't. We played out there until I had to beg off to go fix dinner, then right after dinner I had to promise to take them bike riding just so I wouldn't have to push them on the swing any more.

Greg and I took them down to the school parking lot, and there we stayed until sunset. We had a great time. Gracie rode her bike by herself for the first time. All of a sudden, she can turn and stop and start without screaming in terror or needing any help from me (thank you Jesus). So I was finally able to sit and watch the bike riding, while the kids got red-faced and sweaty like all good American children should do.

My second favorite moment was Tommy's comment to me on the way home: "Mom, it seems like we've been living outside all day!"

My very favorite moment: 3 children, wet-haired and smelling like soap, so exhausted they fell immediately asleep.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Goodbye, My Love.

My dear,

We've always had a wonderful relationship, you and me. You've been there for me through all of the fun times over the last four years. You were there for the birth of my last baby.
You've attended every birthday party, every Christmas morning, every holiday, outing, and memorable event.
You even went on vacations with me. You were by my side when I hiked up mountains. You got heavy toward the end, but I loved you anyway. I just wanted to see the pictures you would give to me. You didn't disappoint.
You made me look like a tourist, and I didn't even care. You've been my most prized possession. I forgave you when your batteries died on Christmas Eve. I hope you have forgiven me for dropping you on the street in Philadelphia when I climbed out of a horse carriage. Overall, I'd say we've been good together. There's only one problem between you and me. The film. It's just not working for me any more. I need something better. I need my readers to see things as they happen, not two weeks later. I need clarity and megapixels. I hope you understand.

That's why I've ordered something new. Please understand this isn't meant to hurt you. Yes, I will be taking your lens to use for the new camera, but I hope you won't take it personally. I think it would be best if you were gone when the new one arrives. I think you're going to go live up in the closet now, especially since I can't get very much money for you on Craigslist. Maybe someday I will take you back out again, to show the kids how things worked in the olden days.

Until then, thanks for the memories.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Too Tired for Titles

I've had five full days of complete exhaustion (again) and I'm thinking of looking up the last time I whined about exhaustion on the blog so I can establish a pattern to tell the doctor, but I'm too tired.

In other exciting news, I've purchased painting supplies and have nearly committed to a color to paint my daughter's bedroom, which has been hideous for the entire three years we've lived here. Not hideous like it needs retouching, hideous like it's purple and gray and white sponge-painted. Really hideous. It's faux-finishing gone terribly wrong. I don't know how we have lived with it all this time. And I have let my house guests sleep in there! Faux-pas!

So yeah, seeing that it took me 3 years to get moving on it, and Grace got new bed linens for Christmas along with a promise of new paint, I'd say it's about time for the faux to go. My plan was to knock it out while Greg is out of town this week, but given my current energy level, it doesn't look promising at this point.

I have some happy news to report: Grace is getting baptized on Sunday. She's been asking about it for a while, and we took her through a class at church to make sure she fully understands what it means. Her last class was tonight, and now she is scheduled to get dunked this weekend. I'm happy for her and she is totally thrilled.

I'm trying to think of something special to do for her for the occasion. Our families live too far away to come to her baptism, and I am trying to decide if I could throw a little party together with friends or maybe just go out to eat afterwards and let her pick the restaurant. Also, I need your suggestions on what would be a nice gift for her. She has a charm bracelet from when she was a bridesmaid at her Grammy's wedding, but all of the baptism charms I've seen online have been for babies. She just got a Bible for her birthday, so that's out. If you have any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.

The kiddos

The kiddos

Kidney Peril Updates
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