Thursday, July 27

In for a second, Out in a flash

We arrived home from camping last night around 8pm (lots to tell!!), unpacked what we absolutely had to, crashed into bed about midnight and we're up packing to leave for NC in another hour or so. This is just a status check to say that I survived famously out the wild blue yonder. When I get back home, my status will be updated to reflect step-daughter twice over. Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, July 20

Hiatus

This is going to be interesting. We are leaving for a 5-day camping trip...my first ever experience tent camping. Hero Guy has been a die-hard backpacker for years, and after getting coerced into one backpack trip, I had my fill of lugging my 35-lbs of housekeeping stuff around like a hermit crab. Thus, the fam has never experienced camping together until last summer, when we borrowed a camper. Surprisingly we all loved it. The kids had a blast, I have to say that I actually enjoyed it since my expectations were low and Hero Guy relented and had to admit that he actually had fun at a campground community rather than being deep in the wilderness.

But I've never done the tenting thing and neither have the kiddos. We'll be gone for five days, and we're talking the real deal....the heart of the Adirondaks. We are at a state campground, so there will be toilets and running water, but we will be repacking the truck every single night with every morsel of food to keep the bears from moving in. The garbage will have to be locked in the facility's secure building by sundown and there is no 'town' to replenish supplies or grab a quick bite to eat at a local establishment.

To make things more interesting, the day we get back I'll be doing a few quick loads of laundry, repacking and we'll be heading out the following morning for North Carolina to attend my mom's wedding.

So my lovelies, I won't be posting for a few days, but I'm sure I'll have plenty of dish to scoop to you when I return. In fact, if I get desperate, I may be able to hijack my dad's computer for a blognote status check so you'll all know I survived.

A Few of My Favorite Things

I do not tend to be brand loyal, I'm definintely a gadget girl, and I love trying any new product that comes on the market. BUT I have a few tried and true items that I never substitute. I use them every day and when they are used up or out of shape, I go buy the exact same product without exception. Here's what I love and I won't replace and if I can't get it for some reason, I just go without.

1) New Living Translation Bible
2) Financial Peace money wallet
3) Carmex lip balm
4) Lavender Vanilla pillow spray
5) Mom's Plan-It calendar
6) EXTRA Polar Ice gum
7) Purex Lavender Fresh laundry detergent
8) Dixie PerfecTouch Grab 'N GO coffee travel cups
9) Avon Silicone Glove hand cream
10) Arm & Hammer PeroxiCare toothpaste

And, those are a few of my favorite things!

Wednesday, July 19

Signs of the Times

It's amazing how much a decade can change a person. I was thinking yesterday about my life ten years ago, and I hardly recognize the old me. Practically every element of my life is different than it was just a few short years ago. Here are some of the things I recognized:

1) Then I thought I didn't want to be a mother. Now I'm so happy God trusted me to be the mom of a 10-year-old boy and almost 9-year-old girl.
2) Then I was quite private and dignified about bodily functions such as using the restroom or adjusting my underwear. Now terms like "fart, wedgie and poop" are completely normal everyday language.
3) Then I was lonely a lot. Now I can't even remember the last time I was lonely.
4) Then I had a career that consumed my life and I loved it. Now I can't imagine returning to the job that required so much time and energy for something so insignificant.
5) Then I didn't have very many close friends because I worked too much and they all had kids. Now I can't even count the number of good friends that I have, most of whom I met through my childrens' school or activities.
6) Then I didn't have a church that I thrived in. Now I have a church where I get spiritually fed and and supported every time I attend. When I don't attend, several people check to make sure we're okay.
7) Then I shopped almost every day to combat boredom. Now I don't even remember what being bored felt like.
8) Then I thought PTA moms had no life. Now I just finished a two-year term as PTA president contributing to the education of mine and other people's kids.
9) Then I never bothered going to parks. Now I rarely miss a week going to a park, sitting in the sunshine, watching my kids enjoy the beautiful weather.
10) Then I was 10 pounds lighter, but I thought I was way too fat. Now I'm 10 pounds heavier, and I think I look pretty decent for a chick my age.

It's weird how time changes us, mellows us, makes us richer, deeper people than we were before. Even if life isn't perfect, it's still generally very good if you stop long enough to take a peek.

Monday, July 17

Wack-A-Mole

"When life whacks you so hard your head flies off, sew it back on and keep going."~ Mary Pierce

There have been several times in my life when I felt like life had whacked me a good one. One of the first was when newly married, my adventure-seeking hunk of a husband decided electrical engineering wasn't enough of a thrill for him, and a quick tour in the Air Force would be a lot more intriguing. Being the thoughtful planner that I am, I had intentionally not married a serviceman, a traveling salesman, a professional athlete or any other person of such vocation. I wanted stability and sameness. Instead I got the opportunity for my faith to grow.

The second was when I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. I had married with the full intention of never having children and seven years into my marriage, I was still resolved. I was shocked, frightened and in total denial as the news sunk in. I gave myself a weekend to get used to the idea of having a life I never intended, and then I pulled myself together and got down to business--I ran straight to the bookstore to buy a baby name book and "What to Expect When You're Expecting". I only knew those books existed because I had recently watched the movie "Nine Months" and reading books about pregnancy was what an ignoramous supposedly did. I wanted control and predictability. Instead, I got a life richer and fuller than I had ever imagined.

The last was when I found out at the age of 30 that my parents were divorcing. The uncertainty and embarrassment was overwhelming. I couldn't imagine how life would change, what I would say to people, how I would explain it to my children. I had been self-sufficient and independent. Suddenly I was insecure and sad. It was during that time that my husband rose to the occasion and became a pillar of strength that I had never needed before. I wanted security and support. What I got was confirmation that I had married the right person and that without a doubt, we would be married 'till death do us part'.

Saturday, July 15

I Have a Dream....

Dreams come in all forms, from thoughts about how your life will turn out, to wishes about what type of car you'll drive one day to having your perfect house and so on. I would say that typically I'm not much of a dreamer. I tend to be more of a realist, certainly looking forward to things to come, but generally living practically, in the moment.

I'm noticing as I grow older though, I do seem to be developing a dream of sorts--one that would become a mission, one that would recognize a passion, one that would establish a sense of purpose. I'm finding that as I live my day to day experiences, although I'm happy and content, I'm also ready to find that sense of purpose in life, the thing that makes me jump out of bed in the morning ready to dig into the job that is custom-designed just for me.

I realize that I have a set of strengths, talents, gifts if you will. I'm at the point in my life where my children aren't quite so dependent on my help, my responsibilities aren't consuming my days quite so much and my time would be more free to focus on something I had a burning desire to do. The trick is sifting through the variety of hobbies, jobs and opportunities to find just what is cut out for me. We spend our lives trying to fit into the molds of our different roles, be it mom, employee, volunteer and we get the jobs done just because they need to be done. I'm ready to find that thing that I was really cut out for--the puzzle that has the empty spot that's exactly my shape, the hole that's waiting to be filled by nobody else but me. When I find it, I know that I'll know. It will be the type of opportunity that uses my abilities, it will be something I'll gladly spend my time on, and it will give me a sense of joy and accomplishment as I delve into it. So as I wait, I'm dreaming of finding my passion.

Friday, July 14

By the Book

Little Chic and I participated in the first meeting of our Mother Daughter book club. It was a thrill for Little Chic because she loves belonging to any type of group or team, but this was the first official 'club' she's ever joined. We had run out to our favorite Barnes & Noble the day we found out the book selection we'd be reading, and we started right in when it arrived from special order. We took turns reading aloud to one another and finished within two or three evenings. We've been waiting impatiently ever since for the book discussion date to finally come, and we were the first to show up at the doorstep of the discussion leader Thursday night.

It was pretty impressive to see a group of 8 to 11 year-olds talk intelligently about the book's themes including friendship, courage, self-doubt, insecurity, peer pressure, etc. The moms sat back and listened just interjecting enough to keep the conversation flowing, but it was really neat to see mature ideas come from such little bodies.

No book club is complete without some snacks and energetic jumping on the trampoline (the girls, not the moms) so we put the brains to rest and got the blood flowing with a little jaw flapping and springboarding after the book talk.

Our next book is The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis and we'll have to let you know how well we like that one when we're finished.

Wednesday, July 12

Fast Friends

I just can't seem to help myself. I'm a die-hard list girl, calendar keeper, scheduler of activities--I think I was born to be a concierge. I just can't seem to let the days of summer laze along without knowing what is supposed to be happening. Even if we aren't running ourselves ragged with outside activities, I'll resort to lists like "bathroom cleaning day" or "mopping floor day". Today was "Friend Day" the weekly event that we have in summer among all the other scheduled activities I make a regular practice like "Library Day" and "Park Day".

It is always enlightening to have somebody else's kids in your house. You never know what type of impression your house will make on them, and they are sure to let you know whether you live in a hovel or a mansion compared to their own abode. Today Little Chic had "Best Friend Forever" from school and Brainy boy invited "Cool Kid" from church.

BFF walks in and comments that our living room is her very favorite room. The vaulted knotty pine ceiling and beams running through apparently made an impression. Little Chic asked her if she'd like to pet a real bird. Well, BFF is going to operate the animal rescue shelter that Little Chic is going to serve as vet when they are grown, so being a natural animal lover, BFF thought petting a bird sounded grand. Imagine her horror when Little Chic leads her over to the wall where there is mounted none other than a full-sized wild turkey that Hero Guy shot during hunting season. BFF quickly withdrew her acceptance to pet the bird and commented that seeing it really made her feel really sad. Little Chic reassured her that it's actually very good that people shoot wild turkeys because then there are too many of them, and they begin to starve and kill themselves. BFF did admit that putting the turkeys out of their misery was indeed better than forcing them to commit suicide, but it still made her feel sad.

As they were retreating to Little Chic's room to play, I heard BFF explain, "My mom told me to be very polite. So if your mom makes something, I'm supposed to say that it's very delicious and that she is an excellent cook." Needless to say, Little Chic and BFF did their own snack fixing for the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 11

Reading Rainbow

This is the scene beside my bed. The mess is a little embarrassing, but the point is that I always have lots of books sitting in that spot because I love to read, especially before falling asleep. I've read at least part of each one pictured this week, plus others that are sitting other places (neatly stacked of course).

Today was the first of our weekly summer treks to the local library. One thing I can say for myself is that I have passed down a genetic love of books and reading to my children, an obsession that I received from my own dad. Since my kids were crawling, I've been taking them to the library, and they would beg to visit Barnes & Noble long before they ever knew that Toys R Us existed. Luckily we have a very family friendly library in town with its own kids room separated off from the adult area, stocked with toys for the babies, coloring supplies for the toddlers, besides the regular library goods.

Brainy Boy and I have always been habitual readers, taking 20-30 minutes each night before falling alseep to read something. If we don't have a good book at hand, we've been known to resort to a magazine or newspaper flier. I've been worried about Little Chic, though, as she loves being read to, but she doesn't appear to be a recreational reader on her own. She reads well and does what she needs for school, but she isn't one to curl up with a book--it's just not active enough for her.

This trip was exciting, though. I generally have to put a limit on Brainy Boy's books (like "only 10 for this week") and have to require a number from Little Chic (like "at least five"). This time, rather than ferreting out all the picture books of kitties, Little Chic went to the librarian on her own, asked for a mystery, a book on cats and a few other topics, and came home with five chapter books of her own choosing. By the time we'd left the library and gotten home, she was on chapter two of the first book she opened and she was reading sections aloud to me.

I also grabbed a couple for me to read aloud to her, one being the next requirement for our Mother/Daughter book club. Although Little Chic doesn't do a lot of reading, it had the word 'club' in it so she didn't have to think twice about joining. We'll be reading The Horse and His Boy for the book club, and then I chose Stories About Cats by James Herriot since Little Chic aspires to be a vet and she is obsessed with cats at this stage in her life.

We generally set aside Tuesday evenings for library day, as it's open until 9pm and Tuesdays are Hero Guy's Fire Department Training night. We'll probably stop for ice cream on the way home too, since we did it tonight and habits like that aren't easily broken at our house. Oh, yeah - if you bump into us at the grocery store on the way home, you'll need to watch out for us. We'll all have our heads buried in one of the new books we've checked out and we won't be watching where we're going. It's really not all that hard to steer a shopping cart while your nose is in the page. We tried it tonight and it worked just fine. We only ran up on a couple of Achille's tendons.

Monday, July 10

Visiting Me


"Once in a while you have to take a break and visit yourself ." - Audrey Giorgi

I always considered myself a "people person". Being a loner-type was not an attractive quality to me. I thought that my happiest environment was to be surrounded by a multitude of friends or family or even people I didn't know--any living body would do, every waking moment of the day. I eagerly accepted party invitations, would show up at events even if I didn't know another soul and would quickly mingle with the crowd and make new acquaintances. I felt that I needed human interaction pretty much on a constant basis.

Once I had kids, I began to crave something different. Quiet, solitude and time outs became a staple of my daily time diet. Days where I had constant company, sweet little voices waking me up in the morning, accompanying me to the toilet, helping me grab the mail, contributing to my telephone conversations, clicking the "Reply" button over my shoulder while I checked email, rifling through the colored fliers before I had a chance to glance through the newspaper began to take a toll on me. I found that if I didn't have at least one short segment of time to be totally alone, even if it was just a trip down to the gas station to grab an extra gallon of milk, I'd get ugly.

In reflecting on this change of personality preference, I think I found the explanation. I made the comment once to Hero Guy that he took his free time for granted--a quiet lunch eaten at his desk, a 10-minute ride to work twice a day in which he was totally alone, an opportunity to use the bathroom without an audience. He looked at me as if I were crazy, stating that he eats his lunch at his desk when he is totally overwhelmed, they really don't have Take Your Child To Work option at his office, and he certainly isn't going to invite his boss along on his bathroom breaks. It's the perfect example of not appreciating things until we don't have them. I realized that when I loved being around people all the time, I also had more than enough alone time and then some to spare.

But I know too, that these days are numbered. Way too soon, I'll be back in the mode of wanting to be sociable all the time, looking for lunch dates, always chatting on the phone - but that will just be the symptom of the problem. I'll be missing those little people who think that I'm the life of the party.


Sunday, July 9

Busy Beaver

Summer life is about to get interesting. We have a myriad of personalities living at this address, and I'm getting stretched from stem to stern in an effort to keep the world harmonious. Little Chic is an on-the-go kind of girl, needing some type of project, activity or schedule to look forward to in order to avoid the depths of despair induced by boredom. Brainy Boy is the quintessential homebody, having the dream of staying home absolutely every day, not leaving the house (or at least the yard) for any reason whatsoever, and going to bed at night without ever setting foot off the property lines. I am somewhere in the middle, going a bit stir crazy without some variety, but needing some time at home base to keep life organized and running like a fine-tuned instrument.

In an attempt to keep things as balanced as possible, I've lined up a variety of free or low-cost activities for Little Chic. Brainy Boy won't have to enroll in any summer camps or team sports, but he will have to endure the ride(s) to and fro in order to deliver and retrieve Little Chic to the various activities. One dilemma is that for some reason, many of those free/low-cost activities we've selected run on the same weeks, giving some weeks 2 or 3 lovely choices and leaving other weeks with nothing to do. In pure Little Chic fashion, choice is not in her vocabulary--she wants to do all of them since one does seem to end before the next one begins.

For instance, tomorrow, we can arrive at softball camp at 10am, leave at noon for a bite to eat and some errands before running to soccer camp which goes from 3-6 each day. Ditto for Tuesday, but throw in a haircut for Brainy Boy and myself. Wednesday tells the same story, but add in a 10:30 appointment, a 12:30 playdate and a 6:30 parenting class. Thursday brings a long-awaited Mother/Daughter book club at 7pm and Friday hails with a 9:30 appointment (which can be paused for the 10:00 delivery to softball). The only saving grace is that Friday concludes with a monthly girls dinner out for Yours Truely.

Dilemma #1 - Choosing--do we choose 1 activity and not the others? If so, what penalty to put on the complaints of boredom? And do I really want Little Chic 'helping' me with all my chores that I could buzz through alone if she were at all the activities? And they are practically FREE.

Dilemma #2 - Convincing Brainy Boy that transporting Little Chic back and forth does indeed constitute "staying home." What difference does it make if you read lying on the couch or sitting in the van?

Dilemma #3 - Not becoming the unpaid "Activities Director" filling up absolutely every moment of every day of everybody else's exisitence in order for the world to be an okay place. But busy means tired at the end of the day. And that means early bedtime. Or maybe just lots of whining.

Saturday, July 8

Blogging Chicks Carnival

See Me Here on Sunday!

Little Fish in the Big Pond


Little Chic is a team-type girl. If you can play it, join it, sign up for it or compete in it, Little Chic is the first participant. Today Little Chic played her first soccer tournament. She has been playing recreational soccer since she was four, but due to our steadfast determination not to drag the family all over creation, we've declined opportunities to play competitively at this point. Since recreational leagues don't generally participate in tournaments, this was a new experience.

Little Chic is used to being on the best team in her current league. She has had the same coach for four years, he plays competitively himself and is the varsity coach for our high school team. The consistent coaching combined with playing with the same teammates every season has turned her team into one with decent skills for their ages and experience. As a result, Little Chic's team generally wins their games easily. However playing against traveling teams, even with players of the same age, is a whole different level of competition. In her words today "we got crushed." She seemed to take it all in stride, other than the fact that Hero Guy had trouble not heckling from the sidelines. Despite the close bond between she and he, Little Chic has very little tolerance for 'dad-style' coaching. Shouts of "hustle", "push up" and "get moving" meet with scowls, protests and responses like "DAD, I AM TRYING" and him returning "You're not trying hard enough." I, on the other hand, realize that dad's motivation tactics are an irritant for Little Chic, so I attempt to direct him into encouraging her (like ignoring the mistakes and only pointing out the good plays) rather than criticizing. Then I begin trying to unruffle the feathers sticking up on the back of Little Chic's neck. My efforts don't work on either of them. Hero Guy thinks I'm not being blunt enough and Little Chic realizes I'm covering up for Dad.

It's a good lesson in balance. If you're familiar with James Dobson from Focus on the Family, he makes the point that God creates kids to need the firmness of Dad's manner combined with the nurturing of Mom's and that's what creates kids that are balanced and emotionally healthy. It's a good exercise in faith, working on my own relationship with the kids and letting Hero Guy interact in his own dad-ish way, trusting that God is keeping tabs on the situation and guiding both of us to be the kind of parents He made us to be.

Friday, July 7

Daddy's Girl

I witnessed an amazing thing last night. Little Chic was invited to sing at our annual church family camp which is about a 45-minute drive from our church. That's a big undertaking for an 8-1/2 year old girl, but being the aspiring American Idol that she is, it is also right down her alley. She has looked forward to it for weeks now, and she drove us all nuts rehearsing her rendition of Amazing Grace with the performance track about a gazillion times since Sunday. As yesterday approached, her nerves set in a bit, but excitement was still the dominant emotion that exuded from her.

For some reason, Little Chic had her heart set on Hero Guy making the show even though we'd all seen it performed at church and a school Talent Show already. Because of logistics of getting us all to the destination on time, I took Brainy Boy and Little Chic myself and Hero Guy drove directly from work. To complicate matters, Hero Guy needed to leave directly after the 3- minute performance to drive 45 minutes back to work for a meeting.

As we arrived, I saw Little Chic become increasingly agitated, nervous and generally unsettled. She had only a slight care about when she would sing, which microphone she would use, whether people would be looking at her. Her major upset was that her dad had not arrived yet and that he was going to 'miss her song, for sure.' As the time grew closer and Hero Guy still had not arrived, I began distracting her with comments about how well she was going to do, how blessed people would be by hearing her sing about God and how she would feel a sense of satisfaction at being able to sing in front of a couple hundred people. She was nearing tears at one point, thinking she might not want to perform after all, when she realized that Hero Guy had gotten there.

It was the weirdest thing. I've never seen such an instant change of attitude and demeanor ever in my life. I suppose that is one of the opportunities of parenthood - getting to see every range of human emotion in the most elementary, childlike form without filter, inhibition or self-consciousness. It was such a chance for me to see the real evidence of a girl having a dad who is just exactly what God intended him to be--the most central figure of power and comfort in the life of a child. Little Chic went instantly from insecure, nervous little girl to chatterbox explaining to dad exactly where she would stand, how she had to keep the mic pointed away from the speakers and how she was going to walk down to Kids Church after she changed out of her fancy dress first. There was no nervousness once Hero Guy got there, only excitement. I could've been a little insulted since I was the one that supervised the practice, got her there, did all the coaching, but honestly, I was so glad to be married to a guy who loves our girl like that...and she has no doubt about it.

What A Dad Will Do For His Daughter
by Cheryl D'Aprix

What a Dad will do for his daughter is rock his sick baby girl until the sun peeks through the darkness letting him know the night of worry is over.

He will take her small hand in his and walk slowly as she takes her firstwalk to the ice cream shop to share a cone full of heaven on earth.

He will sip from the tiny tea cup she has set in front of him and in harmony with the stuffed animals carefully placed in their seats he will sing the praises of her great hospitality.

He will sit through dance recitals and fashion shows where he is the only audience and will clap with the enthusiasm of a thousand people.

He will take her fishing and play soccer, and introduce her to the world outside as if just experiencing it for the first time himself. Perhaps he is.

He will sit with her through sweat and tears over homework that was supposed to be turned in the day before and he'll smile as they finish, seeing her relief.

He will place a firm hand on the shoulder of the young man that comes to take her to the school dance silently letting him know where he stands and what he expects.

He will watch with overflowing pride as his young lady accepts her high school diploma and will silently pray to God to calm his fears and get him throughout the day.

He will be full of conversation and more than happy to listen when she calls home now and then.
Even when the game of the year is on.

He will gently fold her arm around his and with all the courage and faith he can hold onto he will stroll down the aisle, giving her hand but keeping her youth.

He will be the first one in the maternity ward, at the nursery window, carefully inspecting the activities of his new family member. Another part of her, another part of him.

He will reassure her as time rages on and the signs of his old age start to frighten her.

He will caress her hand with a passion to which she has never felt as he whispers his last wishes to her.

He will come to her heart for all her life as she sees his manner in herself or his features in her children.

He will live in the smiles that grace her face as she remembers the things he did for her.

Wednesday, July 5

Paradise Found

My July 4th evening ended with a 9pm call from a girlfriend suggesting that on Wednesday, we take the kids to a beautiful county park nearby.

I readily accepted her offer and we headed there around 11am to enjoy the sandy beach and small lake (or big pond, whichever way you want to look at it). The weather was fantastically perfect, and it was a little eerie realizing that less than 10 miles away FEMA is visiting the flood zones created by the storm last week. We dragged ourselves out of the park at 4pm to make it home in time for Little Chic's soccer practice.

On a funny side note, while there, I was snapping pictures left and right, attempting to properly document our first calm summer day since school has been out. I was standing by the lifeguard chair when I heard a teenage voice asking "Excuse me, but how much did you pay for that Canon body?" My mind started whirling in confusion, thinking, "My 40-something husband thinks I look pretty good, I do work out and I've lost 6 pounds to get ready for the big wedding but I certainly wouldn't have a body that anybody considers picture perfect, especially not a teenage female lifeguard." Luckily, I just said "Excuse me?" rather than putting my foot in my mouth and she clarified her question--She apparently is a camera buff who would like a digital Canon camera to use with the lenses for her 35mm Canon and she mistook my Fuji for a Canon. Bummer that I'd had my hopes up there for a second.

I've decided that we'll be making this 20 minute trek once a week, both for the beautiful surroundings and for the hopes of scoring some actual compliments by teenagers trying to entertain themselves while they sit by the hour watching other people's kids pretend the sharks are coming in.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy Independence Day

I took this pic last week at Little Chic's Girl Scout trip to Darien Lake during the laser light show. I don't consider myself politically savvy or anything, but I am a die-hard patriot. If you have problems with our country and the way the government does things, my suggestion for you today is to find a nice military person and thank them for defending your right to state your views out loud without getting arrested. It'll seriously help your attitude.

In any event, today's celebrations are not so exciting. I plan on recovering from the massive work I did yesterday helping Hero Guy unpack the doo-dads from his camping trip. You'll remember my groaning last week about doing so much to help him get prepared for said trip, of course. And a side note, is that I competely unpacked all my own stuff from my trek to the amusement park with Little Chic. On his behalf, I will admit that he was saving people from floodwaters while I worked on my own.

At this moment, Hero Guy and Little Chic are showing off the newest member of the Fire Dept. family, their pride and joy, the ladder truck. Little Chic is certainly pelting children on the head with various peices of candy as she attempts to distribute goodies to the watching masses while her dad creeps the truck down the street with a look of glowing pride on his face. Brainy Boy and I originally planned to go along but the parade was in jeopardy due to rain this morning, and by the time it was declared "ON" it would've been too much hassle to ready everyone and get out the door in time.

So happy July 4th, love your country, and if you don't, I know a good moving company I can recommend!

Monday, July 3

Bonfires

Just another reason I love living where I do. I can make a bonfire (well, Hero Guy does it for me) and make S'mores any ole time I want. And I don't even worry about the field catching on fire because 1) It's been a flood zone around here lately and 2) I live with a real-live fireman who would probably relish the opportunity to put out yet another fire (as long as it isn't too serious).

Brainy Boy succeeded in blistering his lip with the metal prong of the marshmallow stick. It seems during our many sessions of the roasting activity we still haven't trained our offspring to safely remove molten sugar from metal sticks with something other than their mouths. Brainy Boy is immensely interested to know firsthand whether sticking one's tongue on a metal flagpole in the wintertime will indeed attach the tongue permanently to the pole (he actually asked me today if I'd ever done it myself). Since I have forbidden him to experiment with the ice/pole thing, he instead figures the scalding marshmallow is the next closest way to scientifically discover the accuracy of the theory.

Sunday, July 2

Carnival #4

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If you're not sure what a "Carnival" is, it's a group of bloggers who all submit a post and they get published together in one spot. The Blogging Chicks does a carnival every Sunday. It's an easy way to find some good blogs that you might not normally come across. I don't always submit an entry, but I did this week, so you'll see my name listed in there somewhere.

Saturday, July 1

Stuffitis

I was midly guilt-ridden today as I returned the babysitter home after she had spent the night at our house. Driving down the streets of our little town, the sidewalks were littered with carpets, furniture, toys, appliances--anything that stands within waist-height of an adult. These things all had to be discarded by their owners because of the massive flooding taking place on the east coast, some of which hit our nook of the world. The guilt wasn't due to me having my belongings preserved, but more for my lack of affection and connection to the things I own. I'm feeling a bit convicted that I need to appreciate the things that are sitting in their respective places from the dishes clean in my cabinets to the carpets that aren't swollen with sewage-contaminated mud. As I surveyed the mess around town, I reflected on how heartbroken I'd be if I had to discard my son's beloved Star Wars battleships or my daughter's collection of stuffed kitties that I routinely complain about littering the floor.

Not only to the daily tools like couches and refrigerators get ruined in an event like this, but precious items like baby momentos, family pictures and wedding keepsakes. I had only a small ceiling leak that annoyed me upon my return home on Wednesday. Above is Hero Guy on one of the 40 air boat rescues he's made in the last 4 days, getting stranded people out of their homes, some of which were flooded to the ceilings of their first stories. Some of these people are enduring the third house flood in as many years--and I was irritated about that yellow spot on my ceiling. Shame on me!