Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Weekend in Photos

Daddy carving the turkey.
Giving Thanks

Sledding for the first time ever at the Christmas Festival. This is the most snow we have seen since we moved to Texas...and it came from a refrigerated truck.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random Thoughts from a Scattered Brain

This week, the interior of my car has been doused with vomit and turkey broth, on separate occasions. Time to trade it in, I think.

My parents have decided to drive out here for Thanksgiving (YAY!)

Many many Southern dishes are in sitting in my fridge right now, waiting to be cooked tomorrow. Later on, I'm going to make a big pitcher of sweet tea.

My accent gets thicker when I cook for Thanksgivin', y'all. I like to say things like yonder and cornbread dressin'. And not pronounce g's. It reminds me of my Grandma.

After they leave here, my parents are driving to Cincinnati to close on their house. Their new house. In Cincinnati.

Cincinnati is not Southern, but then again neither is Texas.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We have to go back, Kate...we have to go BAAAAAACK!

I found this on the ABC website today....who's ready for January 21?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


My sweet Gracie brought home a book yesterday from school that was written for middle-school age boys. There's no bad language in the book, or even anything risque, but I told her I had concerns about her reading books that were written for older kids. Mainly, from what I saw, it deals with the theme of popularity, or more specifically, unpopularity, and has some forbidden-but-not-vulgar words like 'moron' and 'jerk'; words she has never used, but certainly not words I would encourage. The subject of popularity is unavoidable in the life of a child, but my child specifically doesn't see people in that way yet, and I guess I'm just anxious to preserve these years of innocence before the pre-teen years descend. I may be overreacting about the book; one friend of mine said it was fine.

There are quite a few words that my kids know that they are not allowed to use, but they're not mainstream vulgar words, they're words like 'stupid', 'hate', and 'butt'. I know plenty of people whose children use them, but I don't let mine.

The funny thing is, they substitute code words for them that are worse than the actual words themselves.

For instance, if I hear Katie tattling, "Oooooh, she said the S-word!", I know that she means 'stupid', but the lady in line behind me at the grocery store might automatically assume she means something worse. Same goes with "He called me the b-word!" Nice.

I'm thankful that they haven't yet latched on to the word 'fart', otherwise we might have an 'F-word' declaration in the grocery store...that's never good.

And now a completely different story that is halfway related:

Last night, in the kitchen, I was asking Tommy about school, and he reported that his friend Z had gotten in BIG trouble because he said a bad word to the teacher. He also reported that he didn't know the word, but that it started with a B and it made the teacher really mad.

I'm sure it did.

About this time, Grace piped up and declared that she knew three curse words.

Me: Really? What are they?

Her: Stupid, and idiot, and a boy at school told me one that's really bad and it starts with a 'D'. Do you know what it is, Mama?

Me: (knowingly) I think I do.

Her: Well, it doesn't make sense, because the word also means something else.

Me: Oh, yes, it's a homonym, isn't it.

Her: Well, it's just weird, because, I mean, we eat at that restaurant a lot with the same name.

Me: (searching memory for dam-related restaurant names)

Me: (coming up blank)

Her: You know, Mom, Dickey's Barbeque?

Me: Oh Good Lord.

Monday, November 10, 2008

In Which I Lower My Standards

Normally I like to throw fun birthday parties. I like to spend time planning a theme, planning games, making the crafts, doing the whole shebang. I don't spend much money on parties, but I don't mind spending my time on them to make them fun. You may remember a few of them. It's what I do. It makes up for my other shortcomings, like my inability to make an even part for pigtails.

So this weekend was the designated date for Grace's 8th birthday party, and she decreed that she wanted an overnight backyard campout with her Brownie troop. At first I was a little disappointed, because the campout thing has been done before, many times, and we even had a camping themed party two years ago, complete with a cake topped with a graham cracker tent and pretzel stick campfire with candy corn flames. Cute, right?

It was a bit of a relief that I didn't have to come up with anything, just set up the tent and feed them pizza and cake and s'mores, and leave them to their own devices. So I planned nothing. Not one thing. Didn't go to the party store, didn't think of any games, didn't even buy paper plates. This is not like me at all.

But then the day of the party came, and Gracie got sick. She has perfect timing with her viruses, and this one managed to knock her out of not only the party, but a school field trip and storybook character dress-up day at school. She was devastated, and I felt terrible for her.

Anyway, at the last possible minute on Saturday, I decided she was well enough for a party, but not well enough for a sleepover, so I called her friends and invited them over just for a regular party. A party for which I had nothing prepared.

I spent the afternoon tossing up some randomly-colored leftover streamers, baking a nondescript cake, and buying some blue nail polish at the grocery store. When the guests arrived, they did some artwork from a giant coloring book I had hidden away for a rainy day, got their nails painted, played a few improvised games, and chowed down on some junk food and cake.

That was it. No pinata, no goody bags, no commercial products whatsoever. My budget for this party was the $2 that I spent on nail polish. And they loved it. I'm like the MacGuyver of birthdays.

My photos turned out a little iffy, but here are a few:

The Coloring in the Floor.

I like this one, even though it is trippy. They were playing freeze dance, and it looks like Katie won.

Of course we did have a little scavenger hunt...for some s'more's trail mix. (Lame prize, I know.) But it provided 15 minutes of running around and screaming, essential to any good party.
Spooky turkey is a family joke that would take far too long for me to explain here.

"Aha! S'more's Trail mix! In a grocery bag! I think we've been ripped off!"
And there's my happy girl, probably wishing for two front teeth.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Autumn in the Suburbs

My sister Wendy has been posting gorgeous photos on her blog from her neighborhood nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and today she asked me how the fall colors were doing down here in Texas.

Autumn doesn't really exist here in Texas, it's just a myth. The trees stay green for months and months, and then suddenly the leaves turn colors and drop all in one day. You have to be careful not to miss it.

So today I'm going to give you a tour of MY neighborhood. Katie and I are going to go to the park.
Proper headgear required.

Here is the lone surviving tree in my front yard. Notice the four or five yellow leaves. If I stand on my tippy-toes, I can see that pretty little red tree over the wall. Ooooooh. Ahhhh. Now we're going to head down the street. Don't speed!

This plum tree was bursting with color yesterday morning, but when I came back today, there were only a few leaves still clinging to the branches.

This is the soccer and baseball field next to our park. Notice the lovely yellowish-green trees and still-very-green grass. Also notice our lovely tornado siren on the left. I'll bet Wendy doesn't have one of those.

That siren has gone off only one time since I've lived here, and let me tell you that sound struck fear in my heart. I'm really glad I don't live in one of those houses right underneath it, or I might have wet my bed.

Now we have arrived at the playground. Can you see Katie?
Katie: Wanna play, Neighborhood Kid?
Neighborhood Kid: Why are you still wearing that helmet? Not cool.

Here is another random tree:And here is another random tangent: See that PVC pipe cage in the lower left corner? It's covered in chicken wire and encloses an orange tree. It drives me nuts with curiosity. I want to pound on this guy's door and ask: WHY? Why do you do this? Why don't you just go buy your oranges at Kroger and live your life, man, LIVE YOUR LIFE!

But I haven't. Yet.

So that's about all of the colors we'll probably get to see around here. Texas seemed strange to me when I first moved here, because it's really flat and the trees seem really short. I was accustomed to hills and tall pines. I love it now, though. Landmarks here are visible from miles away. I love being able to see the city skyline when I'm out and about.

The most beautiful thing about living here, by far, is the sheer volume of sky that is visible. It just surrounds me and swallows me up. I feel like I could reach out and touch it. So that's a beautiful day in my neighborhood. You should come by sometime.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Shouts out

To the man in my neighborhood who came running out with a live chainsaw when we walked up his front sidewalk: Hey there. Way to chase that princess down the street.

To another neighbor who left out three bowls on his porch with instructions to take one thing from each bowl: I don't know if I'm impressed or disturbed that one of the bowls was filled with worms. The dark lighting was a nice touch, too.

To the locksmith who showed up in an unmarked car to let me back into my house on Halloween: Thanks for being concerned about whether or not I was a robber. I was thinking the same thing about you. And after what you charged me, I'm pretty sure I was right.

To my reader in McCool Junction, Nebraska: You live in an awesomely named town, Mystery Person.

To my son's soccer coaches, who braved the formidable task of herding a bunch of kindergarteners around the field each week: Thank you. Tommy has learned so much from you. He loves the medal you gave him, and has yet to take it off.

To Tommy, who learned to ride his bike without training wheels this weekend: YAY!!!!Nice soccer medal!

The kiddos

The kiddos

Kidney Peril Updates
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