Sunday, August 31, 2008

A photographic weekend

After a busy afternoon of catching frogs yesterday, Beth convinced Faith to give her a hair and make-up makeover. A few hairclips and lipgloss applications later they were ready for photos. Dear Future Teenage Boys - These girls will never be allowed to date. We will be arranging marriages for them when they are 30.

Jack came in this morning with a bowlful of veggies from my garden. The tomatoes are finally turning red. The humongous cucumbers (about 4 inches round) were a surprise. Jack found a volunteer plant in the back of the garden with a whole bunch of them. At this size, they are too woody to eat, but those tomatoes and peppers will be on the menu tonight!

I took a break from designing last night and scrapped a couple of pages. I am hoping to make a couple more tonight, headache permitting. Perhaps some homemade pico de gallo will be a good antedote for this recurring migraine!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why I won't be Mother of the Year 2008

I picked Matt up the other night from the concert he had gone to, and he told me he had hurt his finger at practice. It looked a little swollen, but since he hadn't told his coaches about it and it didn't seem to be hurting him too much I told him to ice it and take some ibuprofin and go to bed.

The next morning it was even more swollen, so I told him I would call the doctor to make an appointment to look at it, and I would come get him from school when it was time to go. He called me at work about an hour later and said his coaches thought he had just jammed it, and that they were going to tape it up. He said don't worry about going to the doctor's since it would just need time to heal. I should have listened to my own instincts and taken him.

He woke up this morning with an extremely swollen hand, and when Jack saw it he said he thought Matt's finger was broken. He took him into the ER, and yep... one broken digit. I feel so bad. They got him all splinted up, and he will still be able to play football. The finger should be healed in about 4-6 weeks. I should stop feeling bad for not following my own intuition about taking him in for x-rays in about 4-6 years.

While they were visiting with the ER crew, I spent some time outside with the other kids. Todd kept us entertained as he rocked out on the two-stringed ukelele.

And Beth was busy with her favorite pasttime--- finding frogs.

"Let us out!! Chirp! Let us out now! Chirp,chirp, chirp!"

Why am I showing you a jelly jar with a bit of Kool-aid in it? Because Kyle has embraced country life in every aspect. The last time I went grocery shopping I bought some Blackburn jam in these pint-sized jugs. Kyle saw them when we were putting away groceries and said,"When this is empty I am cleaning it to use it as my cup!" That is exactly what he did. It isn't really Kool-aid... we drink Crystal Light to avoid the sugar and calories of Kool-aid, but the kids call it Kool-aid. Is there anything that says "country life" more than a jelly jar of kool-aid on the porch railing?
Well, maybe wild sunflowers growing in your yard do. Todd found these today and picked them for me. I have one child drinking out of mason jars, and on the other end of the spectrum is the child filling the drinking cups with flowers. And I can't be the only one who finds it funny that my very masculine boy is picking flowers while my girly-girl daughter is catching frogs. Such is life on my pumkpin farm.

So how did you spend your Saturday?

Friday, August 29, 2008


Kyle and Todd were talking about how school has been going. In the midst of talking about which girls chased them, and what grades they got on their tests, Kyle said, "It is good now that I got my guts back." Todd asked him what he meant. Kyle told him that he called me that first day of school because he was scared, and "then Mom came back to the school to give me guts again."

And Todd said, "Mom came and didn't come see me?" Kyle said "You didn't need guts right then like I did."

I guess Kyle already sees the bigger picture. And he hasn't even said I can't be in charge of his childhood photo slide at his wedding. Katherine, it brought tears to my eyes too!

I love my kids. I am so grateful for the moments like these. When I held these babies there were lots of things I wanted for them and lots of ideas I had for what our relationship should be like. But you know, I never really thought of my role as being a restorer of "guts". Don't you love the way little boys think?

Which American Accent?

When we first moved out here, my brother was teasing me and asking me when I would develop my hillbilly accent. There is a range of different accents in the area I am in, but head down south a bit and it gets very twangy. This test was right in that I speak without an accent, but I have found myself lately saying things with a bit of a drawl that never existed before. Kyle has become Ky-al. I still don't "warsh" my clothes, though, and I still eat lunch, not supper.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The South
The Northeast
The Inland North
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Calm Week

Other than Matt, who has been gone every night at practices, a concert, and attending a volleyball game (AKA flirting with the volleyball team) we have all had a quiet week.

Faith, Todd, and Beth were all promoted to the next Sunday School class on Sunday. Faith received a Bible, and they all got certificates. I can't stand that Beth isn't in the nursery anymore. I think babyhood should last a lot longer than it does!

We spend every Tuesday at the church cooking a community dinner for anybody who wants to eat. It is a mission that has been growing, and last Tuesday we fed 111 people. I love when Kevin brings his guitar on Tuesdays and sings during the dinner. Faith usually sings with him, and it is good practice. Beth has been listening all along, hearing the songs in church and as Faith practices them around the house. Actually, Faith is always singing when she isn't talking.

Anyway, I digress... Beth has been learning these songs, and at 4 years old seems intent on being a part of the praise band in years to come. She sat down with Faith and Kevin the other night and sang along. All on her own. In front of a room full of people. We could hear her in the kitchen. My astonished heart was bursting with pride. This is the same little girl who has spent years hiding behind my legs. I wish I'd had my video camera!

My kids think pizza is a food group in and of its own. They really love when I make either homemade pizza or mini muffin pizzas. We went for the mini muffin version the other night. I like to buy the big pepperoni from the deli counter. It tastes better than the packaged version, I can have it cut as thin as I want it, it costs less, and one piece fits perfectly across the top of the muffin. According to Todd, these make me the "Best Pizza Cook in the Whole World." Ironic since I don't particularly like pizza myself.

I showed you some Suprise Lilies the other day, but when I came home and found all the raindrops sprinkled on them I had to take another picture. I might enter this one in the fair.

Jack has been working nights, and I am reveling in the quiet at night. After dinner, clean-up, baths, and bedtime, I have a clean and quiet house all to myself. I have been getting a lot of design work done, and even scrapped a couple of layouts. It won't last, of course. Regular football games, youth activities, and other things are starting next week. Faith is signing up for volleyball tomorrow (because we didn't have enough sports activities on our calendar) and the county fair is next week. I am thinking of entering some of my pictures into the photography contest at the fair. I need to decide which ones, though. I am looking forward to all of it, but for now I am really, really, seriously, I mean really enjoying my quiet nights at home. If anybody has yahoo messenger and wants to chat, just holler!

Both of these layouts are made using kits I designed last week. Beth is still trying to sneak frogs into the house. This one was chirping as he desperately tried to escape her clutches. Poor frog. She is the girliest tomboy I have ever met!

I am looking forward to the quiet weekend, and the kids are excited about the parade on Monday. There weren't many pictures to share this week, but that is all going to change next week. See you then!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Need another good laugh or two?

This blog ranks right up there with lolcats. I am still wiping away tears from laughing so hard at the sexual harassment cake. Enjoy!

Cake Wrecks

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Seeing Red

We looked out the back window yesterday and saw spots of red in the garden. Could it be? Is it possible my tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen? Keeping my thoughts of pico de gallo in check, we wandered out to see. The heat of the last few days seems to be working, and throughout the tomato rows there are spots of green tomatoes turning red.

These tomatoes are still green, but even if they ripen tomorrow I will not be picking them. Henry the garden spider has spun a huge web around the front of this plant, and was busy snacking on a grasshopper he had trapped in his web. These tomatoes are huge, and will be lovely when fully ripened, I am sure, but as far as I am concerned Henry can have them. I will not be weaving my hand around his web to get to them!

Fueling my pico de gallo fantasies, the roma tomato plants are heavily laden. Unfortunately, there aren't enough yet for a full bowl of heaven on a chip. The jalapenos are ready.. in fact I have enough for a couple of trays full of pepper poppers. But I am keeping some on the vine to add to my pico when the day finally comes.

I did pick some of the green tomatoes that Henry hasn't built a home on. I gave these to a friend, but am thinking of going out to get some more to try my hand at fried green tomatoes. I have never made them before, but I do love the movie. In fact, I need some comedy in my life. Does anybody want to come over to cook them with me and re-enact the food fight scene? Actually, lets do it at your house. I just mopped my floor.

Speaking of seeing red, Friday was the Meet the Tigers pep rally. We all came to eat free food and watched as Matt and the other athletes were introduced.
In the middle of the different sports teams being introduced, this year's boys track team was brought forward. This is Matt's first year in track.

After a few more introductions, the senior baseball team was brought forward. I think, but am not positive, that they need at least one more boy on the team. He knows there is that age and grade level requirement hurdle he would have to overcome, but Kyle wants them to know he would gladly fill in if they need him.

A few more teams were brought out, and then the senior football was brought forward for the grand finale. Matt is the last one in the back row.

After the rally was over, Matt told me he and his good friends wanted a "buddy pic."
They have their first jamboree on Tuesday. Good luck guys!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Are you ready for some football???

The school is having its big pep rally on Friday where all of this year's athletes are introduced. The football games begin in just a couple of weeks. There will be lots of pictures taken, and hopefully I will actually have the camcorder turned on for Matt's key game moments this year.

I thought I should actually scrap some of his photos from last year before I start filling the harddrive with new ones. Now, if you don't live here, you may not know that Matt isn't really known as "Matt" in school, or even around town. When we arrived here two years ago, he was the third Matt on the team. In an effort to keep them sorted out, his coaches starting calling my Matt "Vegas" since we had just completed our exodus from that infamous desert. The name has stuck. All the kids call him Vegas, the coaches call him Vegas, and his friends ask me about Vegas when he isn't around. In fact, I have twice in the last two months been recognized as "Vegas' mom." I don't mind at all, and I think it is actually pretty cool when the announcer calls his play and announces his name as "Vegas Wellborn."

This year he will have a new jersey number ... the one I think he will keep for the rest of his high school career. He is also playing a new position. Tight end. I can't wait for the games to start. I will be there cheering and shooting from the sidelines. It will be easy to spot me. I will be the one in the shirt that says "Vegas" on the back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The first day of school.

Yesterday began our new school year routine, and for the most part it went well. I started the morning by having the kids all dress like twins so I could take a picture. Although the kids are staged, the dog is not. Sammy saw us coming and jumped on the bench to see what his herd of children were up to. I couldn't cajole or threaten him off that bench, and I do not have the brute force necessary to move such a stubborn beast, so in the end I capitulated and let him remain in the picture. As soon as I was done snapping away, Matt raced off to change his clothes. What is wrong with going to school in the same shirt your Jr. High brother is wearing??

I would have taken pictures of Matt in his first-day-of-school clothes, but he never gave me a chance. As soon as I pulled up to the drop off spot he bolted. Zoom. He was gone. He didn't even give me a chance to walk him to class and take his picture with his teachers. Don't high school kids do that anymore? Surely I was a perfectly docile child who let my mother do things like that!

Unlike their incorrigible brother, Faith and Chet are still perfectly willing to wave and say good-bye as they leave the car. Apparently hugs and kisses are out of the question at this stage of their lives. Why? I always kissed my mom good-bye in front of all my friends. I am sure of it.

These two still love me entirely. I got neck hugs and cheek kisses as well as a "Bye Mom! I love you!" as they poured out of the truck and headed confidently in the direction of their education. With a serious case of mixed emotions, I rejoiced that Beth still has two more weeks before I have to start dropping her off at school in the mornings and headed to work.

Kyle's confidence dissolved as soon as he hit the classroom. He has come so far, but is still a fundamentally shy boy who likes to be surrounded by the people he knows and mostly loves. He left his backpack in the classroom, returned to the lunchroom, and borrowed a server's cellphone to call me. I answered my phone and heard, "Mom... I am scared and I need you to come get me and take me home." He had no specific fears, he was simply overwhelmed. I asked him if he had eaten yet, and he said no. I told him to grab some breakfast, and I was on my way to walk him to class. All he heard was "I am on my way."

Beth and I arrived at the lunchroom, where he was sitting so desolately by himself on the bench closest to the door, and he sprang to his feet and said, "Let me go get my stuff and I will be ready to go." We had a back and forth conversation about what he was scared of, how he had to go to school, and in which he found all sorts of reasons to ask to go to work with me instead of attending school. In the midst of my gallant effort of being a compassionate mother, I paused to snap this picture.

Although it was blurry, and this child understands that blurry is usually bad, he wouldn't let me retake it. Hmph. Apparently it got his attention, though, and after a little more discussion about child labor laws, the joy of learning, and photography attempts, I think I might have mentioned that if he didn't go to school I could go to jail. Suddenly he decided to dry his eyes, and offered to show me how to get to his class.

We came to a staircase, about ten feet from his door, and he came to the conclusion that he didn't really want me to walk him all the way to his room. The risk of being seen by his friends outweighed his worry of being alone, but it didn't prevent him from volunteering a quick hug and another kiss before he said goodbye and headed off timidly in the direction of his education.

Do you think someday he will see the bigger story? That he will remember that he called for his mother in a moment of deep worry and she came. That he will understand that he can't skip out just because he is afraid? That he will know I always do what I think is best for him, even if he doesn't like my decisions? That being the child of an amateur photographer means he should never ever ever let me choreograph his childhood slideshow for his wedding because I have a wealth of perectly imperfect pictures of moments like these to share with the world?

The events of the morning wore Beth out. After I got off work, she crashed on the couch. Does this look like a comfy way to sleep to you? Who folds up like a pretzel for a nap?

This year has brought a new change; a monumental moment for the younger kids. They are all riding the bus home this year. I enjoyed the quiet afternoon at home with my sleepy pre-schooler, and headed outside to enjoy the rest of the quiet time before the bus lumbered down the road to bring my kidlets home.

Sammy and Beagle enjoyed following me around the yard.

Aren't these gorgeous? They have sprung up all over my yard, and in several places around town. I think Roberta told me they are called Surprise Lilies. They are indeed a lovely surprise.

The dogs and I also spotted this itsy bitsy teeny weeny spider webby heebie jeebie. For perspective, this is piece of that small wheat-like stuff that grows in the grass. The spider web is really very tiny. Moments like these always remind me of the Conan movie that had man-sized spiders that haunted my dreams for months to come. I am and will forever be grateful that spiders don't grow that big. If they can do this to a blade of grass, can you imagine what would happen to us if we were on their menu?
Poor old Red. He looks sad, doesn't he? He really isn't, though. Can you guess what is wrong with him? It has nothing to do with being old, or having his kids gone all day again, or even because he is napping. No... this dog, who doesn't flinch when cars are driving right at him and eats fireworks and turns them on his people is absolutely, positively terrified of the camera. He always has been. That is why I have no pictures of him sitting, or looking at me. Even with my long lens on, he somehow knows when the camera is aimed at him and he turns away. See how his ears perked up when he heard the lens click? He was gone a moment later. I never got to reframe the shot and try again. I never do. Scaredy dog.

At last, the bus pulled up and my kids came bouncing home. They had lots to tell me about their first day, and everybody said they had a good time and loved it. Even my reluctant Kyle had glowing reports about the rest of his day.

I have one issue with the first day of school. Just one. p-a-p-e-r-w-o-r-k It should be against the law to have to fill out that many forms. By hand. Ugh. Five kids in school multiplied by six to ten different forms per kid equals a really big hand cramp. And the sad thing is that I am not done filling out forms yet. It all seems so archaic to me in my digital world! I have never missed the copy and paste commands more in my life than I do on the the first day of school!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ready? Set? Get back to school!

We kept our last week of summer as busy as the rest of it was. Along with library movie day, Chet's pottery class, Matt's football practices, and band practice, we have been cooking a lot. We went grocery shopping last weekend and loaded the cupboards with our favorites. One of the dishes I made this week was yummy enchiladas. I chopped a couple of cans of olives up to top them with, and the treasure trove of waiting olive slices was soon discovered by an admiring fan. She must have made off with a good half can full before she was caught!

Thursday night was Open House at all the schools for the kids and parents to meet the teachers. I got home from pottery just in time to grab everyone and run to the school.

Apparently some of my kids need a refresher course in crosswalk safety.

Todd has the world's best teacher this year. Ms. C has been Kyle's teacher for two years, and we all adore her. She is worried she will spend the year calling Todd "Kyle." I told her not to worry about it... we do it all the time. Kyle said he wants to walk Todd to class so he has an excuse to give Ms. C a hug. (aawww) Todd is highly offended by that idea. "I don't need to be walked to my class! I'm not a baby!", he isn't.

Kyle is happy because he has a class with some of his friends. Dear Mrs Y... I promise I will try to comb his hair for school. Those curls are just soooo unruly!

Faith is especially happy because all but one of her five best friends are in her class.... which means Mrs. W has a gaggle of gigglers on her hands. She had Chet last year, and asked Faith if she is as good of a student as Chet is. Why yes, she is... however she isn't nearly as quiet as he is.
Chet gets to have Mrs. G as his homeroom teacher this year, and that makes me really happy.I knew her outside of school, but we didn't know each other's names. Our daughters played soccer together. We arrived and I said "Oh... it's Emily's mom!" as she recognized me as Faith's mom. That is a pretty common syndrome of motherhood isn't it? Somehow our identity becomes So-and-So's Mom.
We didn't get to meet Matt's teachers because somebody spilled coffee on his schedule and they hadn't been reprinted yet. Do funny weird random things like this only happen to us? He won't know where he is going until Monday morning.

That night a big storm was working its way towards town. These clouds and the ones in their wake brought rain all night long. All through the next day there were bouts of "The Notebook" type of rain. I love that kind of rain.

Chet was a very, very, VERY happy guy yesterday when he finally got to go on a campout with the scouts. His best friend Tyler and Matt are also with him. Please excuse the look of the photo. Apparently my noise filter went a little happy with the gaussian blur and gave my masculine scouts an eerily dreamy glow... lol. They are canoeing this weekend. Heaven help me, but I am a nervous wreck over it!

Monday will be the first day back to school. Tomorrow I need to finish filling out the mountain of paperwork the teachers sent home, and sorting school supplies into the appropriate backpacks. It is time to seriously get ready for everything the beginning of the school year brings.... football, soccer, and cheerleading. It is official. Our lives revolve around the sports schedules now!

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