Oh the joy!

Oh the joy of a cleared, if not cleaned, kitchen floor. After many, many weeks (about six) of not being able to make it across any floor in our home without working on obstacle course reflexes, I am proud to announce that not ONLY is the kitchen floor cleared, but it is swept as well. And the counters are visible AND clean. Victoria actually kissed them this afternoon (the counters not the floor) while Thad did a happy dance in the expanse of kitchen. Then they dumped all the PlayDoh in the floor and got busy messing it up again because they COULD.

This year cleaned my plow–by year I mean school year. I believe I’ve mentioned before that growing up with a mother who was also a teacher, my “year” runs from mid-August to the end of May. I recognize that each January 1st is the OFFICIAL beginning of a new year, but having become a pedagog myself, my school calendar year remains intact. As I keep digging out from under the remains of my difficult year, I realize more and more how difficult it was. . .but, like a bad dream, it seems to be fading so that I can’t actually pinpoint what made it so hard.

Now it is time to tackle summer. Each year Tony and I joke this will be the “Summer ‘O Fun.” We’ve yet to have one. He will come close this year since he will have 7 days in Boston and 11 days in Colorado participating in science/fishing/camping stuff. I, on the other hand, get a bit overwhelmed anytime I look at the calendar. This week I’m sort of “off” other than trying to make my home inhabitable again. Next week I have three days of mandatory gifted and talented workshops to attend from 8-3, and two days of VBS workdays to manage, AND Thad’s birthday party. The week after that is VBS, then end of which Tony will go crabbing for two days and I will get us ready to go to Galveston. We will be in Galveston for 5 days, then come home to get Tony ready to go to Boston and me ready to take the kids to Kid’s Kamp where I will be a Bible teacher so Thad can go since Tony won’t be home to watch him.

That is June.

July looks about the same. . .as does August. . .and then school begins again. I am still a bit overwhelmed. . .and plotting when I will be able to leave for 2 days, then 7 days, then 11 days all within the same month to go do something fun with my friends. Of course, that won’t happen. . .but one can dream.

Or I could just rent a car for a couple of days.

In the mean time, I am grateful to be able to collapse on the couch as needed–to do laundry as needed–to cook lunch AND clean up after it within the same hour–to listen to my children laugh as they play with PlayDoh on the recently swept and visible kitchen floor.

Summer.

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The New and Improved H-town Family

Papa
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The Boy
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The Girl
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Momma
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We melt in your mouth. Not in your hands. . .

(And this has made my children VERY happy. The kids made their own, and we collaborated on Tony’s INCLUDING his hiking boots AND his 5 o’clock shadow. I tried to delete the first post seeing as how I firmly believe you should only have to look at so many M&M people at once. . .four being the limit. . .but WordPress won’t let the thing go, so enjoy both versions of me. The Mediterranean place was great, by the way.)

Not bad for a Monday.

roxanne-mm2.pngIf I were an M&M, this is what I’d look like. . .stole this from Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee. And since it’s raining here for our first OFFICIAL day of summer vacation, I foresee a future for this website with my children this afternoon.

We are going to eat lunch at a Mediterranean place. Tony’s mom went through an entire “meatless meal” phase that wasn’t nearly as endearing as the one I described on Saturday–hers was complete with appetizing and non-appetizing dishes alike, lots of egg plant and spices that will fry your olfactory senses. However, Tony and I both enjoy SOME of it, and so off we go to the new Mediteranean place we found. Kids eat free on Monday, so if all mine consume is grilled chicken, it’ll be fine. Unfortunately they have no kibi, but look out grape leaves. . .here we come.

They do not serve M&Ms at Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet.

Southern Summer Cuisine

You know that commercial that used to play about “summer fruits from California–it wouldn’t be summer without ’em?” My summer was filled with fruit as well. I ate plenty of peaches (locally grown) and watermelons from our garden along with “store bought” strawberries, plums off my grandparents’ trees, and blackberries picked from our fence row. But pound for pound, summer in the south is all about vegetables. That are grown in a garden. In your back yard.

I grew up with a large garden out back of the house. It had butterbeans, purple hull peas, tomatoes, corn, onions, potatoes, watermelons, and more corn. In early May Daddy would disk up the rows, and Sissy and Hal and I would have dirt clod fights–not even kidding–with the freshly turned soil. It was cool and damp from the spring rains and smelled strong and earthy and hinted at the promise of hotter days and hoeing and weeding and picking. Both sets of grandparents had gardens as well, so I spent a fair amount of time making sure I could tell the difference between johnson grass and newly sprouted corn plants.

Gardens are hard, HARD work. They need constant attention during all hours of the day–early morning, afternoon, and evening. They need water and weeding, and earthworms, and kids whose job it is to manually tend each plant. But for all of the sweaty memories I have of gardens, I have some fond ones too–shelling peas and beans on the porch with my Granny, shucking corn in the late evening with cicadas and frogs singing from the woods and the pond, dinners (which is lunch) that consisted solely of vegetables–fresh cut creamed corn, crowder peas, sliced tomatoes, okra pickles, and corn bread followed with sliced peaches over vanilla icecream.

We have a little garden in our yard. Tony has garlic in it. We’ve also had okra and cucumbers and some cantaloupe that planted themselves after I composted the rind and seeds from one I had sliced. I even bought packets of corn to plant this year with the kids, but it didn’t get done.

The large tended gardens of my youth are a memory, but I’ll take what I can get–which is why I have a pot of butterbeans (that I bought frozen at Wal-Mart) slowcooking over a low flame right now. It’s not the same, but it’s good enough. And if you plan on making cornbread, be sure to use buttermilk. It makes the bread moist.

A Nice Day

Today was my last day of school. This year has been hard on several different levels. . .lots of ups and downs with administrators school wide, and a difficult group of kids. However, I was all packed, loaded, and signed out today by 11:15, and I was in my car leaving at 11:21. I ran a couple of errands, came home, watched a re-run of Northern Exposure, then Tony came home, and I took a nap. It was what Stephanie calls a Tsumani of a Nap. The kids are with Tony’s parents, so I didn’t have anyone building forts in the room, and though I expected to wake up of my own accord after a couple of hours, I was TOTALLY surprised to find that when I DID finally wake up, it was 6:25 p.m., and I’d fallen asleep around 2:30. Tony said he figured I needed it.

THEN, we went to a little Italian place that I had been given a gift certificate to and had a wonderfully prepared meal–fried zucchini, shrimp scampi, hot, fresh bread with olive oil, AND dessert.

THAT is/was/continues to be a nice day. Now it’s time for a movie, and despite my FOUR HOUR TSUNAMI NAP, I am looking forward to climbing back into my bed. . .after some more sleep, let the summer begin!

Daddy is ALRIGHT. If you have a “thing” about feet, skip the post.

We have an open artery and blood flow to Daddy’s foot. So we are a happy family. Actually, we were a happy family anyway, but this just makes things a lot nicer for right now. He will still have to do the amputation of the toe, but it will heal and he will be back in the boat (literally) before he knows it. Mom said his foot was warm for the first time in years. Through the blessings of God and modern medicine, Daddy is still around to enjoy his life to its fullest, and we hope it serves as an inspiration to others.

They will, hopefully, be going home on Thursday. And if you know someone with similar problems, send them to Dr. Olley at the Cardiac Institute of the South in Lafayette, Louisiana. Living in Houston, I tend to lean toward the medical center, but Dr. Olley knows his stuff. Daddy’s is not the first leg he has saved with this new procedure. He has been a huge blessing to our family.