Monday, November 29, 2010

As a Crow Flies

I took my three smalls with me to run errands the other day. Todd really doesn't like being in the car for very long at all. On the way home, we had the following conversation.

Todd: "Mom, why do we have to take this road to get back to town."

Me: "Because it is the only direct road we have back to our town."

Todd: "Wouldn't it be faster if you found a shortcut that takes us straight to our house instead?"

Me: "If there was a road straight from here to our house it might be faster. The shortest distance between two points is always a straight line, but we can't drive in  a straight line from here to our house."

Todd: "You could if you would make the car drive the way a crow flies."

Me: "Maybe, but even if we drove straight through on a crow's path, we would have to drive up and down over the hills and mountains between here and the house and that would probably slow us down quite a bit."

Todd: "Not if you had crow gear installed in the car so we could fly over it instead of driving."

He makes a good point.What do you think the mechanic's reaction will be when I ask him to replace my 4-wheel drive with crow gear?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy birthday, Todd!

My baby boy turned 9 today. He woke everybody up saying,"You HAVE to tell me happy birthday!" I told him, "No! You have to stay little!" Somehow, I don't think I am going to win that argument.

We usually only have small family parties, but he really wanted to invite friends to his birthday this year. Despite the short notice, he had a lot of kids show up! They aren't even all in this picture. I think we were still rounding up some who were playing football in the field. 

Todd listened to everybody sing "Happy Birthday" to him with his usual personality traits shining through. I love this kid. I really do. Sometimes I think I should have named him Isaac since it means "laughter."

Then, being the well-trained child he is, he blew out his candles slowly to make sure I got the pictures. These candles are great for that, though, because although they aren't trick candles they are difficult to blow out!

After presents, cake, goodie bags, and hotdogs, the boys all went back out to the field to play football and have some swordfights on the hill. I had fun sitting on the picnic table and cheering for the littler guys. It distracted me from thinking about Todd only having 364 days left of a single-digit age.

Happy birthday, Todd! I love you! And for the record, I still think you should stay small for a long time!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Rite of Passage

Something has been happening to Chet. His voice sounds funny. His shoulders are getting wider. And his upper lip has gotten hairy. So last night he asked Jack to teach him how to shave. Apparently the unbladed bubble bath toy razors I bought for him 12 years ago are longer sufficient.

So after showers, and in front of a very small mirror, Jack first showed him how to lather up.

Then Chet watched carefully as Jack said something about grain and rinsing the blade and a bunch of other advice that doesn't apply to me and I wasn't paying attention to. I was too busy noticing how dirty the mirror is. (This is Jack's mirror. My mirror is clean. Just so you know.)

Then Chet made me stop thinking about how big he is getting when he accidentally spread some shaving cream in his mouth.

He  got it all cleaned up, though, and was finally ready to rid himself of his fuzz.

So Jack carefully showed him how much pressure to use, how to contort his mouth to get to different whiskers, and how to avoid digesting anymore shaving cream.

So now my funny-sounding boy, with his ever-broadening shoulders, is clean-shaven and well-educated in the shaving process.
And I am feeling a little lost, wishing he was shaving with his plastic razor and bubbles again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Todd wants to be a gummy bear....

I can tell you that Todd is funny, one of the funniest people I know,  but sometimes it is easier to show you than to tell you.

He is always cracking me up.

This weekend, he and one of his friends wrote new lyrics for the song "I Wanna Be A Billionaire." Then he and another one of his friends performed it for me today.

Here it is for you to enjoy! (Todd is on the right.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our jack-0-lantern pack

I haven't had time to post about it, but we had a big fire this summer. Our storage shed and their contents were lost. Part of those contents were our holiday decorations, so our home is woefully decorated for the fall. Brandon and Jessica took care of that, though, and came home with half a pumpkin patch and some carving tools. Last night the kids set to work giving them all some faces.

Beth liked cutting the cap off of her pumpkin, but she was less than impressed with the goo-removal process.
(She thinks this is gross, but manhandles frogs and worms all the time. Strange child.)

Soon everybody was deep into the process of de-gunking the pumpkins.

Faith was the first one done scraping hers out. Please don't ask me why she has this expression on her face. She is about to become a teenager, and all kinds of weird things are happening with her lately.

Speaking of weird.... Kyle, why?

Won't do that again, will you?

Todd can't resist.... if he sees me aiming a camera at somebody and he has nothing better to do, he just has to make a Broadway slide into the shot.

Finally all the goop was disposed of, and the stenciling and carving began.

Todd wanted a werewolf, but upon completion he decided his looks like a Razorback. Woo Pig Sooie!

Chet had some kind of screaming face, but it fell off right after he stood up. It is now precariously balanced on the tips of its teeth. He is the only that actually modeled his pumkpin carving.

Kyle made his own pattern.
Beth's took a while to get done. I missed getting shots of Jessica, Brandon, and Faith with their creations.

In the end, though, Beth had a cute pumpkin.

We took them all out on the porch and lit up the night with them.

Then the best thing happened.... Brandon cleaned up all the mess, leaving nary a seed nor glop of goop behind.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quality Mother-Daughter Time

My mom is here visiting us this week. At her request, we have kept our schedule light. We have only dragged her to 3 football games, 1 volleyball tournament, an Emmaus event, a couple of trips (or three or four) to the store, and to church so far. We have even fed her occasionally.

She told me while she was here she wanted to take me out to get a pedicure and manicure, so yesterday we were running some errands when she saw a nail salon and seized upon the moment of opportunity. I still had my camera with me since the kids participated in the See You At The Pole event, so I took a few shots.

It wasn't easy getting us both into the viewfinder when we were a couple of feet apart in massage chairs, but we finally got it done. (I am going to insert a PSA here. If your mom takes you to get a pedicure, don't wear a dress and open-toed wedge sandals. One can ruin your freshly painted toes and the other can make things uncomfortable for you and the nail technician. Thank goodness they keep towels in salons.)

Then the technicians got to work. I have never had a pedicure before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew the hot water would feel good on my extremely swollen feet. I didn't think of how ticklish my feet are, though, until Jaydon started buffing them. I tried to hold still, I really did, but occasionally he would hit a spot that made me jump and then he would look at me the way the anesthesiologist who was poking my ticklish spine did when I was having Kyle. (Which made me laugh more as I heard, "Mrs. Wellborn, if you really want this epidural you HAVE to sit still!" running through my head.)

Mom is a better customer than I am, given that she isn't ticklish at all.  She also didn't jump when they pulled our feet out of the warm water and suddenly dumped a very cold liquid on them.  I am sorry, Jaydon, I truly didn't mean to splash water all over your face when that happened!

In the end, I had ten very swollen piggies that were cut down and painted pink, and then adorned with flowers that Jaydon painted to match my tattoo. (Please excuse the picture of my ugly feet. I do try to keep it family-friendly around here and refrain from posting gruesome photos, but this one slipped in somehow.)

Thank you, Mom... it was a fun afternoon!

Tonight I have been thinking about what I can do the next time Mom comes to create another quality bonding experience, and I have found the answer. If we are going to let strangers color our body parts, we may as well make it a lasting memory, so I am taking Mom in to get a tattoo. I even designed one for her tonight that we can have wrapped around her ankle.  (Don't tell her, it is a surprise!)

After seeing it all typed out, though, it does look a little long.

I better shorten the "Jennifer" to "Jenn."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Coconut Experience

A few weeks ago Todd  asked me to buy a coconut for him. Somewhere along the line he had read about drinking coconut milk from the coconut, and decided he wanted to try it. In fact, he even asked me to make sure it had "fresh milk" in it.

How does one ensure a coconut is fresh? I truly don't know, so I offered to go on a tropical vacation and pick him one straight from a tree. To my deep consternation, he didn't want me to do that. It would take too long.

So I went to Walmart and found my monkey a coconut. Then he had to wait three days due to back-to-back football games to try it. When we got home from his Saturday game, he immediately got his coconut out of the fridge and got Jack to drill it open for him.

Then he found a straw, and with every ounce of pent-up anticipation in his little frame, he took a deep drink of his coconut milk.

The verdict?

He wasn't impressed. So Beth tried it...

and wasn't impressed.

So Kyle tried it... and wasn't impressed.

This has me thinking I really should go on a tropical vacation and bring home a coconut with fresh milk to see if we might get better results.  I would make that kind of sacrifice for my children because I am a vacation-starved loving mom that way.

Don't worry about the rest of the coconut going to waste, though. After his initial disappointment, Todd perked right up. "Mom!" he said, "If you can find me some long grass to make a hulu skirt out of, I can turn this into a coconut bra and do the hulu dance for Halloween!"

On second thought, maybe I better stay home and make sure my boy isn't going out in public wearing a coconut bra.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Extortion in Church

As we sat in church yesterday, I noticed Kyle and Beth passing notes. When they went up to the front for the children's sermon, I read the notes and discovered a hot bed of extortion and conspiracy.

I suppose it started out innocently enough. Kyle wanted some more paper to draw on, but he wasn't asking for it very nicely.

Beth responded with a terse "no", wherein Kyle proceeded with his extortion tactics.

This apparently did not sit well with Beth, who threatened to blow the whole thing wide open with an ill-timed screaming match.

She even drew a picture to let Kyle know how this would not be pretty.

Thank goodness the Children's Sermon began when it did. Who knows how far they would have taken this!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Betsy McCall

 One of my favorite memories of my childhood was playing with paperdolls at my gramma's house. She would get them out of the McCall's magazine, and I spent hours cutting them out, gluing the dolls to the chipboard from cereal boxes for strength, and dressing them up in all their outfits. Gramma even had a special box she let me keep the dolls in.

Over the years, I have found variations of paperdolls that I was able to let my girls play with, but none of them were as nostalgic or as wonderful as my own Betsy McCall dolls.When Gramma died, I asked if I could have the box of paperdolls. Papa would have let me, but the box is nowhere to be found.

Today I found a site that made me smile all the way down to my toes. Betsy McCall printables. They are all there. Betsy from the 50's all the way to Betsy in the 90's... including "my" 70's Betsy.

I think I am going to print and cut some out to create a collage for my scrapbook room. I might even fill up a box with them just to pull out and reminisce over sometimes. I might even let my girls play with them. Or better yet, they can fill up their own boxes of Betsy dolls.

It's the little things that make life great, isn't it?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Doppelganger... almost

I don't have pictures with me right now, but if you put the women in my family in a room full of unrelated people and then asked a stranger to pick out which of us was related, the stranger would have no problem figuring it out. My mom and her sisters, while different in many ways have facial structures that clearly define their relationship. My aunts' daughters look like their mothers as much as I look like mine. My mom came to visit a few months ago, and she walked into church before I did and people who had never seen or met her knew exactly who she had to be by looking at her.

I spent my whole life assuming my daughters would look like me as well. It just seemed obvious to me. Boy, was I wrong. Except for Chet, who is the spitting image of my brother, my kids look like their dad and grandparents. They have their dad's ears, his curly hair, his height, his long feet, his father's eyes.  Kyle, with the exception of my green eyes and freckled nose, looks exactly like Jack. Faith doesn't look just like Jack, but she doesn't look like me either. (When she was little, she told people we adopted her from a family in the North Pole. I like to tease her and tell her she looks like her polar bear cousins.)

As a baby, Beth looked like another cookie-cutter version of her dad. But something has happened as she is growing. She is starting to look like, dare I say it... me. Oh she still has those ears her dad has imposed on his kids, and she has my mom's brown eyes (although they show the signs of turning green like mine did), but she has my nose. She has those lines around my mouth. Her hair is the same color mine was at her age. She is  starting to grow some of my freckles, and she even has the same cowlicks I do. And those cheekbones, those cheekbones that I associate with the women in my family, they are mine.

They are my mom's cheekbones. And my aunts'. And my gramma's. And my great-gramma's.

And for some reason, that really struck me when I saw this picture Faith took of Beth and I the other night. It makes me wonder about unanswerable things, such as how many generations in my matriarchal line previously have passed those cheekbones to their daughters'.

I think the frog-obsession come's from Jack's side, though. I can't take the credit for everything!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

She'll never be a farmgirl.

To date, my daughter has lived less than half of her life in a city, and the rest in the mountaintop country. She has learned many farming and agriculture terms out here, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have all sunk in. Sometimes the call of the city is just too strong to override a countrified education.

Occasionally we wake up to the escaped horses grazing on our front property. As long as the escapee isn't  MY horse, this is a fine and pleasant way to wake up. I love watching them ramble around.

So does Beth. "Look, Mommy," she called and pointed. "They brought their calves with them!"

While she may be a renowned herpetologist when it comes to frogs, I think it is apparent that her equestrian vocabulary needs a little work.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cleaning Up The Yard

Today we did some clean-up in our front yard. With our engine blown on the Expedition, and the damage to the green car when Jack and Mom took it sledding in the snow, we had some ugly yard ornaments. In fact, we were teetering badly on becoming a Jeff Foxworthy redneck joke.

So we called the salvage yard, and once they arrived they loaded up the Expedition.

Then we had to sign the titles over.

Next it was time to load up the green car.  This little car was such a good car. It made dozens of cross-country trips, and only ever asked for oil and gas in return. I was so sad to see it go.

After the green car was safely buckled for its ride to town, I bid my final adieus.

And then the towtruck drove off with the last major physical vestiges of our life in Vegas.

Who knew sprucing up your front yard could cause homesickness?

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