Bug-a-boo

We have been without computer access since last Wed. or Thurs. when a computer virus/bug/thingy jumped up and bit us despite the spyware and firewalls and anti-virus stuffage we have in spades. So you missed my post about buying this t-shirt for my husband, ’cause while I was writing it in my head on the way home, I suddenly realized I had nowhere to put it. Alas, the moment has passed–but the shirt. . .well, the shirt is forever.

As I have made PERFECTLY CLEAR, I am not a Texan. I married one and gave birth to two and find it a lovely place to live. Despite the fact that I have seen some state pride go a bit TOO FAR, I also completely understand the hubris and chest-pounding that goes along with being a Texan. Therefore, I find the shirt hilarious and so totally appropriate for my wonderful husband.

And tomorrow I leave to go to Not Texas–although the people I plan to see there are either transplanted native Texans OR have lived in Texas at some point in their lives. I am going ALONE, and I am very happy about that. I love my family dearly, but just like so long ago when I thought that a trip in a car with a cd player was LIKE a vacation. . .well, this is the same–though it’s REALLY a vacation. Hoorah! I’ll catch up with all of you next week.

Come on over to my house.

Summer is in full swing here. I have driven the kids both Hither and Yon. We saw “Toy Story 3” on Friday, and it was EXCELLENT (though there were a few more questionably “veiled” references in the pre-movie short than I cared to see). We have cooked a lot and cleaned some and gotten sweaty and tired and gone to bed with chlorine from our friend’s pool still in our hair, but if you want to come over–we’d love to have you.


Turn right at this patch of wildflowers. We THINK these are the wildflower seeds we threw out here a couple of years ago. There are some flowers in this mix that we’ve not seen anywhere else so far. Anyway, we’re the first driveway down on the right.


Welcome to our driveway flower bed. We did absolutely NOTHING to make it thus. The Indian Blanket sprouted and grew all on its own, though Tony used his mighty fine carpentry skills to make our address sign.


Now this is what I call a cat nap. Buttercup’s head hangeth over, and Penny seems to have found her sister’s hind-end makes a mighty fine pillow.


Legos on a Sunday afternoon. . .we always spread a blanket or quilt to keep the pieces from getting lost in the carpet. Here Thad is building his Star Wars X-Wing Fighter courtesy of MawMaw.


One day this week, Victoria came and requested that I bring my camera to the kitchen. The cups were in the dishwasher “IN RAINBOW ORDER, MOMMA!!!!” As it turns out, I had put them there–it was accidental–but it thrilled The Girl to no end.


Thursday morning after breakfast. This table is a microcosm of our home at large. Hmmm. . .you might not want to come over after all.


The Boy working on thank-you notes. It took awhile, but the process moved significantly faster when his sister and I very nearly left to go swimming without him.


She went to a girls’ youth group sleep-over last night. Something tells me that she stayed up late. Are her legs a mile long or what??? I guess I COULD have cropped out the Cheerio (Thad had a little snack on the couch earlier), but I’m keepin’ it real.


Bless her heart, but she was worn slap out. She slept for nearly three hours. Then she helped her Daddy wash the kittens.

Speaking of kittens. They are looking less and less like kittens and more and more like cats. Poppy has developed a cattitude, while Penny LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to be held and scratched and purrs like a little motorcycle all the while.

Here is Poppy looking all full of herself with her built-in eyeliner.

Penny striking her Cleopatra pose.

Buttercup and Penny stretched out in the sun–you can see how long they are getting.

But I think there might be a little bit of kitten left in ’em yet.

That’s pretty much June so far. Hope yours has been as fun as ours.

Just like flying

Freedom.

When I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of it. Not that I needed or wanted much. I was more than content to be tied to Momma’s apron strings–in fact, she’d have cut me loose a lot sooner if I had let her. Daddy always said he’d spend his old-age rocking on my front porch. My world revolved around home and church and grandparents and school. Everything except school was within a five mile radius.

When I was 13, my sister extended that radius by beginning her freshman year of college. She went to a small, private Christian university in Montgomery, Alabama. Montgomery is, by far, not the LARGEST state capitol, but it was much larger than where we grew up. It was also very, very far away. I remember going with Momma to see Sissy that spring–there was a variety show of sorts in which my sister played a can of Spam–and our first night there she and her friends decided to take us “flying.”

This little university had a curfew (as did the one I attended). The decision to go “flying” was made somewhat close to curfew, none-the-less, we all crammed into a car (I remember being on someone’s lap) and headed to downtown Montgomery. It was late by my standards, probably 9:30/10:00–early spring–cold–wind was blowing. We parked near the capitol on one of the wide, well-lit, empty streets then took full advantage of them. I remember running willy-nilly with my big sister and her friends–comporting myself in a manner I’d here-to-fore never been allowed to behave in public. And no one was telling me to stop. Not even Momma. In fact, I was being ENCOURAGED to do so. This madcap hilarity was the standard–the norm–and I was not only included but welcomed.

We dashed up the steps of the capitol building where I stood on the exact spot Jefferson Davis became the one and only President of the Confederacy. I peered through the locked doors of the rotunda vestibule and saw the well-worn steps of the then 132 year old antebellum staircases. Even at the tender age of 13, I distinctly remember thinking about how many shoes had gone up and down those stairs to wear them so, and that many of those shoes had been on the feet of famous (and I now know infamous) people.

Secondary to the capitol building, however, was the opportunity to “fly.” A few blocks over, there were some square pillars encased in mirrors, so that if you stood with the corner of the pillar in the center of your body then raised one arm and one leg, it appeared to those who were watching just like you were flapping your wings and flying. It was hilarious to watch. Everyone–even Momma–had a turn. Then we crammed back into the car and high-tailed it back to campus to make curfew. We may or may not have stopped at Hardees on the way.

On that ride back to the dorm I experienced something for the first time in my young, small, sheltered life. More than the hilarity of the situation, more than the overwhelming thoughts of history I had knocking around in my brain, more than the amazement that my sister was ALLOWING me to go somewhere with her, more than the feeling of being included by her friends, more than the fact that my mother was letting me stay out THIS LATE in a town THIS BIG and was also WITH US (she was, at the time, one year older than I am now), more than any of that was the overwhelming sense of freedom.

It was wreckless abandon. It was heady and intoxicating and on the very verge of chaotic. Never mind that there was an adult mother with us who was closely monitoring the situation (I was in shock and awe that she had not turned us around and sent us back to the dorm). To me it seemed as though all caution had been thrown to the gusty spring winds of downtown Montgomery, and I thrilled in it.

I remember the cold. I remember the dark. I remember the cramped car. I remember the song that was on the radio (Always Something There to Remind Me by Naked Eyes). I remember the unfamiliar scent of the dorm room and the feel of someone else’s sheets on my face when I climbed into bed that night. But what I remember most was that being my first taste of what was in store. It was the first time I saw that there was a bigger world out there–one that was ripe with possibility just for me.

It was my introduction to radical freedom.

And it was just like flying.

I Blinked

Seventeen years ago TODAY, I looked like this.

Nine years ago YESTERDAY, I looked like this.

Seriously. There was 10 1/2 pounds of baby boy in there.

And as I’ve often said, 10 1/2 pounds of baby is HUGE, but 10 1/2 pounds of human, is TINY.

You don’t have to know either this man, or this baby for this photo to pull at your heartstrings. . .at least a little.

(And in all seriousness, as sweet as this photo is, this man was probably thinking, “How long will I get to sleep tonight? We have AT LEAST 3 more years of uncertain sleep. Where is his mother?”)

Last year for a single digit birthday. “UNLESS I live to be REALLY old and hit TRIPLE digits,” Thad informed me today.

Don’t even get me STARTED on this one. Riddle me this. How is my baby girl big enough to hold another baby girl?
WHILE looking all lady-like!

And even though I KNOW he looks like this. . .

. . .and is prone to do things like this. . .

. . .when he does this. . .

. . .I SEE this.

And when he does this. . .

. . .heaven help me, but I still see this.

The problem IS that I blinked.

Summer Fun

At the end of summer, 2004 I was headed back to the classroom after three years at home, so Tony declared it the “Summer ‘O Fun.” It was anything BUT fun. MAJOR church trauma drama. . .rained for literally two months. . .it was so NOT fun. So each summer since, we have said with much hope (and a trace of sarcasm), “Maybe THIS will be the Summer ‘O Fun.”

Last summer, I decided to take the bull by the horns summer by the swingset, and MAKE it the Summer ‘O Fun. And it WAS. We did only ONE THING differently than we normally do.

We kept a list.

Victoria LOVES lists and charts and sorting and ordering (if you’ve not noticed), so I had her make a chart entitled “Summer Fun.” Everytime we did a “fun” activity we added it to the chart, then each additional time we put a tally mark.

We had things like:
snowcones (buy a snowcone maker from WalMart or Target AND some snowcone syrup. . .you will be THE mom-diggity.)
watching movies at home (we have a subscription to Netflix–but no cable)
play board games
play computer games
play in sprinklers
go swimming
ride bikes
build with Legos (this is a non-stop activity for Thad, obviously)
Coloring
popping popcorn
sleep overs with friends
Church camp
Camping in the house
going out to eat
going to see a movie at the theater
go to the library
Sleepovers at grandparents’ house
Sleepovers at Aunt and Uncle’s house
Birthday parties (we ALL have summer birthdays)
going to the beach

We even put church potlucks and VBS on the list. . .why not? None of them were out of the ordinary, but I was determined that when summer came to an end, we would not look back and think there was no FUN or that we hadn’t done “anything.” We have LOADS of fun every single, stinkin’ day. And a chart to prove it!

(click photo to make is UBER huge)

More Fun with Paper and Dollar Store Stuff

So. I LOVE to create something pretty. In fact, it is not just a LOVE of mine but a NEED–like breathing deeply. Too long without some creativity and I begin to twitch and sway like a caged parrot. I like to take little bits of nothing and turn them into something. I like to MAKE THINGS–and my media choices can vary from paper to fabric to crayons to words.

This particular year (and when I say “this year” I MEAN “this (school) year”–raised by a school teacher, became a school teacher, married a school teacher, summer is on its own time continuum separate and apart from regular time–just sayin’) has been one that stole my milk money, then ate my lunch, then kicked me in the teeth and rubbed my nose in the dirt while my lip bled and my stomach growled. And it WHISTLED a happy tune while doing it. There may have also been some salt thrown in the wound, but I was unconscious by that time so I don’t remember. It wasn’t all school. . .it was LOTS ‘O THINGS. . .a mountain of things that had been collecting and fell atop me, but they fell within the parameters of this (school) year.

Therefore, I have hit the ground running–both to make the most of this particular span of time AND to get as far away from this past (school) year as possible. Thus, all of the cutting and pasting and painting and papering and CREATING and such. I am going to cut and paste my way to a happy, fulfilling summer. I have sharp, little scissors, and I’m not afraid to use them. Just watch me!!!!

Yesterday:

Round bulletin board--dollar store


Regular spray paint


Magical Plastic Fusion spray paint


Some regular spray paint. Some super huge intials cut from scrapbook paper. Some empty space on the wall by the kitchen.


VOILA! One for each child to tack things upon. I might be able to see my fridge again.


Dollar store frame. . .AGAIN. And it's WOOD. Evidently no one else sees the potential of these.


An exacto knife with which to cut, a glue stick and some scrapbook paper with which to hide my lousy cutting of the matte, a nice font on the computer, and a pleasantly surprised yoga instructor this afternoon. Hi, Donna!


I have some other ideas for this frame as a gift and plans to make another run to the dollar store for more.

But this is my favorite so far. . .because it’s just so ME. . .and it involved LOTS of cutting and MUCHO pasting. Yet ANOTHER dollar store frame–it is also PLASTIC and was sort of a gold/silvery/bronzish antiqued thing. MORE Magical Plastic Fusion paint (in white) and hey Presto, a girly frame. The cutouts were from a package of scrapbooking paper I got at Target in their dollar bin. One page in particular, had several of the flowers and the larger bird in the corner. . .so I have been snipping and cutting, and tonight I have this one done. I will do at least one more heavy on the butterflies. Couldn’t quite get the color right as I took the photo at night, so I give you one with flash, and one without.

Without flash: For the craft room. This makes me HAPPY!!!!


With flash: The actual color lands somewhere in the middle of the two.

Snip, snip.