Friday, November 28, 2008

Girls! (do do do doo do doooo)

This Is Ella's Best Friend

Her best bud. Her girl. Her amiga. Since Ella has been old enough to bash around with someone she has been bashing around with Cristal. They are cousins and can not be separated when around each other. I am so glad she has a cousin to pal around with and I hope they remain fast friends for a long time. I had a cousin like this too, Abby. (Well, she isn't dead so I guess I have a cousin like this.) Though other cousins would intermittently added in the mix with our close pal status we were pretty thick when we were together.

1991. I was 11 she 10. Look how cute were were.
(no band-aids Ab, I promised)

I have incredibly fond memories of summer trips upstate NY were they lived. My weird Uncle Ray and sweet Aunt Kathy would host our group when we ventured up there. NY was so nice because it was a welcome retreat from the sticky heat of NC in the summer. I could visit NY and actually need a sweater in the evenings. Best of all.... they had REAL grass and Abby!!

I started visiting this side of the family around the fun age of nine I guess. Old enough to have a little freedom to roam and young enough not to worry about most things and still be able to run. You know, like a kid runs, free and silly and wild. We would play in the orchard they lived on, exploring the barn and picking fresh cherries from a neighboring farm to be baked into pies.

We likely alienated a few cousins now that I think about it. Inadvertently (sorry if we did guys!). I don't remember ever intentionally doing that but a "secret language" is exclusive in nature. To the annoyance and chagrin of adults within earshot and anyone who did not speak our language we would ramble off in "gibberish" for hours at a time. Yes, it is a real "secret language" and we communicated quite adeptly with it. Yup. Annoying I know. It was effective in warding off adults and little brothers though.

Some of our antics:
  • Staying up way too late. All the time.
  • Making up weird names for all the family. Like Auntie Olive. Weird kids.
  • Begging money off the adults for hours and leading a troop of mangy kids down to the corner store for way too much candy.
  • Deciding we would start our own business selling small decorative pillows stuffed with the down of cat-tails we stripped for hours (aka 1/2 an hour) Till we got bored.
  • Smashing rotten eggs we found in the barn.
  • Apple wars with the other cousins - her siblings. Apples HURT!
  • Singing "Girls"(do do do doo do doooo!) by the Beastie Boys over and over again. Or anything by Beastie Boys really. (We won't discuss some of the more embarrassing music).
Later on our antics developed and we were accused, sequestered, and questioned by a professional police officer (my father) and all parental figures on our participation with a certain pot smoking cousin at a family reunion. (He shall remain unnamed as he was never proven guilty.) (I don't think.) I am still slightly bitter as this girl still never has smoked pot. Though we were admittedly guilty of smoking cigarettes. Pot head cousin getting us in trouble. Hey, whats family for right?

2001. 10 Years later. Still cute.

We have since gotten married, both acquiring weird last names and between the two of us have five kids pretty close in age. Wow. So strange. We have kids. I still look back on the times spent with her with great fondness. I was able to escape stresses of my weird childhood with her and just be young and silly. She is included in some of my most pleasant childhood memories and I am so thankful for those times. Thathaganks Athagabathagail! Miss you and love you girl!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nothing Says Thanksgiving Like.....

A Citation!!!!

Yep. On the busiest driving day of the year I was waiting at the light to merge onto the highway when I noticed a police car behind me. Like a good mommy I point it out to Ella and wave so he will see and acknowledge her little hand waiving at him. She is always completely devastated when they don't see her to wave back. She had indeed procured a nice wave and a couple smiles from the police men. I smiled thinking it is good that she likes them as many kids are taught quite another opinion of police officers.

I pull out and turn left merging onto the highway thinking nothing of the car behind me. It was a successful merge despite the hoards of cars on the road. I check my rear view mirror as I settle in and WHAT!!?? You have GOT to be kidding me. Blue Lights?

A little history here... I have been pulled over on many occasions in my driving career. I think it averages to about one a year. I have always deserved it. I was a notoriously bad speeder before I had the kids. 60 meant at least 65, usually whatever kept me ahead of the masses. Gotcha. Bad girl. After i had the kids I slowed way down and have been doing very well. Alex gets the tickets in the house now. But what did I do this time? Did I forget to signal into oncoming traffic?

The age old question is asked... Do you know why I pulled you over? "You liked my "Saxapahawlic" bumper sticker and wanted to know where you could get one??" I mean what do you say to that question? Do criminals all of a sudden spill under the pressure and admit they are wanted in 14 states? Really? I showed no signs of my annoyance and I was hoping he would let me off with a warning for having a slightly expired registration.


But I can pay my ticket or go have my day in court. Sigh. You know what really annoys me?? The expired registration falls into the same category as Drunk Driving! It is highlighted in RED because apparently not paying the government their dues on time is more dangerous than running a stop sign, red light, or not buckling your child into a car seat. Those ones are your run of the mill black citations, my citation is RED.

So anyways. My point is drive carefully this weekend, pay those taxes and fees and the most important lesson to be learned here.... your kids being cute is no shortcut to just a warning ticket!

Oh well! Have a safe holiday guys!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is Your Sroller Screwing Up Your Kid?

Just when you thought you had covered all your bases on NOT screwing up your kid another "study" comes out. Oh yea, another "your kid is going to be screwed up study."

How Terrible Your Stroller Really Is

All I can say is GOOD GRIEF how much time are these kids spending in the stroller???? I am thinking if these kids are spending enough time in the stroller to stunt them, the stroller is not the root of the problem.

Listen.. Hear That? It Is The Ocean Calling


Have I mentioned I get to go to the beach next week?

You see.... my Dad is a disabled Vet so we get to go to these military vacation places for so cheap! So for the third Thanksgiving in a row we will all be renting a house down at Fort Fisher, NC. My Mom & Dad, 2 of my sisters (10 & 22) and our crew. We have a great time and just kick back. I hope to get A LOT of photos this year. Really I hope I can just take people out on the beach one by one and take a million photos of them.

The first year we thought we would be smart, relax and be on vacation. We also thought maybe we would do something new and yummy for Thanksgiving. Instead of turkey and all the trimmings we made Lasagna! Two actually, one with veggies and white sauce and one traditional. The boys were good sports but apparently that would not be happening two years in a row. We went traditional last year. Which meant they were in charge of dishes. I love this tradition - women cook men clean.

Anyways, I am getting excited. Only five days to go!

What traditions do you have for the holidays? Started any new traditions?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reasons My Hair Is Prematurely Grey: #391

I could place THE coolest toy in the middle of my living room floor. Sure, the kids would play with for a few minutes but you know what would make it EXPONENTIALLY more interesting?

If I tried, Heaven Forbid, to CLEAN IT UP. THEN oh my goodness everything in the toy box becomes world alteringly cool!

Of course. Maybe I should put vegetables away in the toy box? Think THEN they would be interested?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All I Want for Christmas....

What is on my Christmas list this year? Well, I could tell you so many things I would love to have, most of them revolving around cameras, but this year I asked for something different.

This year I asked Santa and my relatives on my Mom's side of the family to donate to my charity of choice this year instead of sending gifts for me. I am hoping to spur a little giving and social conscious for Christmas. I am probably getting a little old for Santa I guess. Naaaaaa!!!!! He would be totally on board though. He is all about giving!

My charity of choice? Their State's Food Bank! This year people are going to be hungry. What better gift than food to fill a child's stomach! Go out there and pick yours!

Monday, November 17, 2008

One Nice Calm Night

It has been a little overwhelming as of late. I look forward to getting older with Alex and being able to look back on all of this and say "we made it and we were the better for it".

Your Order Please?

I would like a sweet tea with lite ice
A hamburger kids meal with apples and a chocolate milk
A chicken nugget kids meal with apples and a white milk
And a nice boring weekend please.
Just some average - no accidents, funerals or hospital visits - weekend please.
That will be all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sparkly Backgrounds

So I got a new camera - a new to me camera - that I am very excited about. Thank you Melanie! I have been able to take some nice photos of people. This was something my other camera, bless it's heart, was not very adept at. I could make it do many things it was not meant to do but portraits were not one of the things I could make happen. This one zooms enough that I can get photos of my kids at school without them feeling the camera on them. I have also been able to get a little of that happy blurred sparkly light that make the portraits about 1000 times better. Happy girl.

(That photo isn't good because she turned right then but look at the happy blurry background. I am excited about that.)

I have a lot to figure out on this camera. But we are getting there.



The next two aren't even retouched - not even a little! So exciting.

See the sparkly light?

Hansom Boy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Some Perspective

Some Perspective

Doggie ER

** Updated Update: She is home. She is at about 60-70% I would say. Poor baby.

I spent about 6 hours last night in the doggie ER. Ughh. My poor baby. Turns out she was most likely hit by a car although getting kicked by a cow was mentioned also. No external trauma but internal bleeding, and possibly bloat. She would have died last night had I not brought her in when I did and I didn't even know she had been hit - or had some sort of blunt force trauma.

I spent almost the entire time in tears wondering what I had missed or what happened. Mom guilt. Turns out I did good. If your dog (or kid) ever turns down a treat, go with your instincts.

I could go into the details but I don't really want to. For those of you who earned your medical degrees from "ER" & "Grey's Anatomy" the words "we want to go ahead and have her prepped because shes looking like she might crash" were used. Crash is never a good word to hear. I am guessing they did not have to do surgery last night because I received no call last night letting me know she went into bloat but they are not "open" right now as they are an after hours ER. They said no news was good news though.

Now, in order to get her back I need to come up with an obscene amount of money today from somewhere. Amazing how many people need money out of me right now. Really. Blood from a rock I'm tellin you. She is totally worth it of course - no question. Poor baby.

Please keep Darby in your thoughts today that she recovers well and has no more complications. Thank you!

(**Update: Yea I called and got an update. She is still stable and ate some food which is good but apparently she is not out of the woods yet) (I don't think I will ever be getting another dog. This is too hard)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Blow" The Boy Factor

So Nate had this great thing he started around 14 months old or so. He would blow his nose. I don't know if all kids can blow their noses at 14 months old but I know Ella sure didn't. We would have to hold Ella down and use the nose sucker on her, something I am sure she will be traumatized by and I will surely hear about later on after she has spent thousands on psychologists. It was almost as traumatizing for me I assure you. It was this or severe sinus infections.

After years of that when Nate blew his nose the first time I was sure it was God smiling down on me and showing me a little love. What else could it possibly be?

We went on like this for a while and I hid this fact from other moms because I was sure sharing this little tidbit was just the stuff that would make other moms hate me. "Yea your kid can read at 2 but my kid can blow his nose thoroughly without trauma!" Take that Stepford Mom.

So now he will let no tissue near his nose. Of course. Because he is my child and as predetermined by DNA he must make things difficult. The recent allergy season had just about beaten me down. He was one of those kids with the dried snot under his nose. So gross but a slight runny nose was not worth the battle. Nose clogging booger damns however needed to be addressed. I mean come on kid. You can't breath!!

So I started holding him down and basically just picking his nose. Again. Not fun and he will surely be able to get a good referral to Ella's shrink when he grows up.

But then I discovered something. A little something I call "The Boy Factor". Apparently it works a little something like this: nose + gross = interesting.

I discovered it like this.... He had this awful clog all day and couldn't breath. You know, had to stop drinking and eating in order to take a breath, snoring etc. Well, I got the thing out with only a little trauma and had it on my finger showing it to him saying "Look SEE!!! Look at that Yuck yuck yucky nose!!!" and he was all "Duuuuuude! That was in my Nose man!! COOOOL!!"

Turns out he is totally fine with me getting the yuckies out of his nose as long as I will show him the goods afterward so he can go "Ewww Yuck Yucky!!". That ladies and gentlemen, is "The Boy Factor!" This is that part where it turns out God was just setting me up for the punchline after all.

Yes, I know I am paving the way to a nose picker. I am working on that but right now we are just trying to clean the nose any way we can. Also while I was writing this..... he went and got a tissue and blew his nose. Of course. Boys.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tis the Season....

Materialism anyone?

So it is that time of year again. That time of year where we all go out and look for the hot toy and then punch anyone who tries to get it first. That time where we stand in line after line with cranky people and play who can be rudest to the check out clerk. Where we go fight others to see who can ignore making eye contact with who and cut in front of who for parking spaces the fastest. Yay!! Right?? No?? That isn't what the season is about?

Fabulous. Glad you all knew that. Of course you did!

But did you notice that it is getting colder outside? Did you remember to donate your child's winter coat from last year yet? Have you decided what group(s) you will donate food to this year? Have you talked to your child about who they would like to buy gifts for this year? What about volunteering or volunteering as a family?

I hope you remembered all that too.

This is going to be an especially hard Christmas for many people. I encourage you to go find someone. While I think the The Angel Tree thing is great (where you go pick a name off the tree to buy for) I think doing a little research and finding someone is even better. Ask at your child's school. Contact a women's shelter to see if any kids will need gifts. Pay attention to the world around you. Look for needs. Did you hear about someone who just lost a job?

Anyways, I guess I am just saying be a participant not just an observer this year!! I think Ella and I are going to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. I remember last year how excited she got to donate to the bell ringers and MAN would she be good at ringing(oh hush, you can wear ear plugs) And how much would she rake in as a bell ringer?!! Cute little kid ringing? Chaching!

Be involved! Find something that is close to you and get involved. Locally. We need local this year badly! Thank you!!

Ella thought this post needed a little livening up. So she found a Santa hat and struck a pose...

There's your Christmas Ham.

p.s. This started off as a post about the new camera I am now using (free) and turned into a sermon on getting involved. Go figure.

Our Veteran's Day

(Look at how hazy it was yesterday! Yuck! Smoggy. Nastiness)

Yesterday the kids and I went to go celebrate Veteran's day with two special Vets. My Dad and a friend who might as well be family. We went to their cabin in the Mt. Airy area of NC. It was a cool, crisp day so we decided to take a walk around their property. We crunched these leaves under our feet, kicked and threw them in the air and just had a great fall day.

Did you thank a Veteran?



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Off the Beaten Path

Back in Oct for my sister's birthday we took a little drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway. These are some of the photos I took that afternoon.






Monday, November 10, 2008

I Heart Rural America

I love Saxapahaw, where I live. Just got a new bumpersticer. Saxapahawlic. Sometimes on the way home or just driving around I have to stop and take pictures. Today was one of those days. Ella thinks little of me stopping to jump out to take a Cow's portrait now or to photograph farm equipment. She just knows now. It is Mommy's art.

This cow was totally aloof. I figured she would be modeling for me. You know, because she is a hairy-fashion-model-cow. Not like the normal black & whites in this area. I was wrong. She would have nothing to do with me.