Friday, July 30, 2010

New morning routine. Established.

Last night, Bunty and Buddy arrived from Dallas.

Bunty had a board meeting so couldn't come up until yesterday and Buddy was his driving companion.  Buddy is Nanny and Bunty's Lab.

He tips in at about 125 and rode the whole way in the front seat.  With a pillow.  And with his charm and personality, he got Bunty out of a ticket on the way.

This morning, I took Buddy down the driveway and the town below looked like this.

It was beautiful and about 60 degrees.

Then, we came in and Trey and I were introduced to Buddy's morning routine.  Nanny and Bunty drink their coffee and about half way through their cups, Buddy comes over and waits patiently for his turn.

And then, he gets his morning cup of Joe.

When he starts reading the morning paper, we might be in trouble.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Up on the mountain.

The kids are going crazy being outside on vacation.  They can't believe how cool it is and how relaxing a little soak in the hot tub is right before bed.

They're not sure they'll ever be able to sleep again without one.

I'm willing to bet they can.

We ventured to the top of the mountain this afternoon where I realized two things...

1.  My deathly-afraidment of heights is exacerbated when my children are involved.  Watching them on the ski lift in front of me, swinging in the breeze, with nothing between them and the wildflower be-speckeled ground but a metal bar gave me the willies.

2. My sunscreen is for lightweights who live at sea level.

All that being said, we had a great hike and made it to the peak where we almost lost Sadie to a terrible fall straight off the side of the mountain.

I was so horrified that she was going to fall to her death, I stopped to capture it forever on film.

I know, we're dorks.  But, it's little things like these that keep children entertained while their parents are desperately trying to catch their breath.

Monday, July 26, 2010

On the road again.

Dear Diary,
Well, it's that time of year again. The time when our family gets to hit the road for vacation.
This year, thanks to Nanny and Bunty, we're headed to Crested Butte to stay in the cool mountain air for a whole week.
It's possible they've forgotten the noise my children are capable of.

Or the smell of Darius' basketball shoes.
Whatever the cause for their critical lapse in judgement, there's no turning back now. We've been on the road since 5 a.m.

We got off a little late because both girls have fever - a little nugget I may leave out of the "checkin' in" conversation with Nanny.
Oh, Diary, I kid. I'll have to tell her so she can pick up some chicken noodle soup at the Walmart in Gunnison.
Kid. There's a word that starts with K for the Alphabet Game we've been playing for 2.7 hours.
My friend, Gini, called at 5:15 to chat. She was all awake and busy and the sun wasn't even up yet.  I think there's something seriously wrong there.

We just drove through Memphis, TX so it was obviously time for the "Oops, guys!  I must've made a wrong turn somewhere. We're in Tennessee!" joke that Trey makes every year. 

It never gets old. 

The other conversation that apparently never gets old is this one... 

"Baby, do you think we REALLY need to give the kids Dramamine?"

"Trey. Are you kidding?"

"No. I really don't think they need it."

So, this year, I didn't hand out the 'sleepy candy' per my husband's request. We lasted 3.4 hours and then, through tears, he was begging me to hand it out. 


Let's just say, boys + the excitement of vacation + 16 hours in a church van + sugar = mayhem.  

Told ya.

Diary, I'm so glad I have you to record sweet memories like these. 

Oh, and I can't forget the beautiful sound of laughter tinkling from my precious girls as they lean into one another, splitting earphones, while they watch, and quote much of, Nacho Libre. 

"...and then I will become the greatest fighter that ever lived. And I will come back and make soup."

That's all for now!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waterparks aren't for sissies.

So, I've had a little blogging vacay and now, find myself sitting in a plastic lounge chair at a waterpark with my kids.

Last week, a coupon ran with half-price tickets and unlimited drink refills so I snatched it up. Surely, there is enough Diet Coke in this world to get me through a day at the waterpark.

My kids barely slept last night, they were so excited.

If I'm honest, I may have silently prayed for rain but to the delight of the children, it's a perfectly sunny day  temperature: 102.

We've been here now 3.5 hours with no signs of slowing down.  We've raced down slides 147 times and floated in a lazy river that would be much lazier with about 30% less people and a frozen margarita with salt.

Along with that idea, I've got a few more for the general waterpark suggestion box.

1.  When you're choosing your straw vendor, you might want to rethink the whole "whistle straw" thing. I can't tell if my kids are trying to get my attention or the lifeguard is correcting me for yelling, "IN YOUR FACE!" to the kid I beat in the last race.

2. Perhaps you should prohibit the use of tank tops and boxer shorts as acceptable swimwear. On girls, especially who may never have actually tried on the outfit soaking wet to check it's transparency. 

3. Remind your gentlemen patrons... Just because your swimwear FEELS like underwear, you are NOT in the privacy of your home and we can SEE you constantly rearranging your junk. 

4. And finally, if you park your family next to another family, AND you had the forthought to pack large, yummy-looking sub sandwiches for your crew, it's only polite to share your bounty with the other family whose mother thought her four children could get by solely on sunshine and free drink refills. 

With whistle straws.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One more.

This is the text exchange with one of the girls in the community I'm closest with.  We had it yesterday.

"Mrs. Hill, what's that building next to Mercy Street?"

"Well, there's two storage barns and then the new Charter School is being built on the corner."

"No, the other one.  We had a lady come to school one day and tell us they could do sonograms and stuff."


"Oh, you mean Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center?"


"Baby, they're amazing.  Do you want to go talk to them?  I'm happy to take you anytime."

"My little sister is pregnant.  She wants to have a sonogram to find out how far along she is."

The little sister is 14.  She'll be a Sophomore in high school.  She's smart as a whip but has been making decision after decision that was leading her to this point with certainty for a while.

"Ok, let me call and make an appt.  What did your mom and dad say?"

"They're real upset."


"I'm gonna be an AUNT!!!"

Yes.  Yes, you are.

I don't know why this still surprises me - babies having babies and other babies being excited about being aunts and uncles before they know how to drive.  But, I do remember being 14 and thinking there were no consequences for the things I was doing, the direction I was heading.  Then, in college, as a Christian, I remember reading this verse written on the back of a local Christian Fraternity's date-party sweatshirt.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

It was the first time I'd ever heard the verse but I've never forgotten it.  It's a beautiful promise of the One who spins the world for His purposes and glory.  Now, 24 years later, I see the grace the Lord lavished upon me long before I knew Him.  I'm praying that same grace upon the kids in our community again today.

And that they would stop having sex.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A lesson for the entrepenuer.

Our house has been pretty full this summer with basketball playin' teenage boys.  Darius and his friends tend to hang out here when they're not on the court somewhere.  I've encouraged multiple daily showers as subtly as possible with phrases like, "Soap is your friend", and "Do you know what smell girls love the most?  Soap."

Sometimes, they take the hint, sometimes I light candles.

My favorite is this one by Voluspa.

The scent is Baltic Amber and it's fabulous.  It kinda makes me wish I'd invented it - a little the same way I wish I'd invented kooky pens, and rubber bands shaped like animals/dinosaurs/sea creatures that kids could wear around their wrists until they cut off the circulation and turned their fingers purple. 

Speaking purely from experience.

Anyway, usually, the candle can cut through the worst stinky boy smell but the other day, Baltic Amber met his match.  The boys are almost constantly eating from turkey sandwiches to chocolate cake and, the other day, one of the boys' friends was making some microwave popcorn.  It would have been all fine and good if he hadn't also been playing a video game and set the timer for about 7 minutes. 

It doesn't take 7 minutes to make microwave popcorn.  It actually takes about a minute and 40 seconds so, when Jamie finally remembered his snack, it was flaming and had filled my house with smoke and a smell the likes of which my Baltic Amber candle couldn't conquer if I'd burned a zillion of them all night long.

My clothes even smell.  So does the dog.

So, the moral to the story, and my takeaway was this.  Coming up with the next big thing is not as easy as it looks but sometimes, there are some obvious product ideas to avoid.  For instance, I think I'd shy away from the burnt popcorn scented candle.

Probably wouldn't be my biggest seller.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You put your lick on it.

Our 8 year old, Graham, has some serious idiosyncrasies.

I had to look that one up twice to make sure I was spelling it correctly. I am. Trust me.

You just looked it up, didn't you?

Anyway, one of the things he, um, strongly dislikes, is if you take a bite of something he's eating - especially if you use his fork/spoon/straw because, obviously, you put your lick on it. He's often asking when handed a bowl of something, "Did you put your lick on it?" Which we always reply, "No.", because we don't want to have to re-prepare the dish making sure it is 'lick-less'.

I'm telling you this as a stupid segue into what will now become my most educational post ever. I'm actually thinking of turning this blog into a resource for homeschooling moms, scientists, or Harvard professors so, your reactions to this post will either confirm or deny my new found call.

Are you ready? Hang onto your hats - which, if your weather has been anything like ours, are large brimmed and SPF 8 billion.

Several years ago, Trey told me the story of the Nature Studies Teacher at West Dallas Community School who had all her students on a nature hike one day when they came to a cluster of Daddy Long Leg spiders.

She gently plucked one down, held it out for the curious kids to see, and then to their disgust, licked the back of the spider.

"It tastes kind of like licorice!" She exclaimed.

The kids were falling out all over the place.  "That's NASTY!"  "SO NASTY"  "AW, THAT'S SO WRONG!"  But, minutes later, all these little inner-city kids were hunting down their own daddy long leg spiders and licking them too, squealing, "It really does taste!  That's so CRAZY!"

I've always loved that story because I love nature studies and watching children being wowed by God's creation.  That being said, while we were at the ranch this weekend, we found cluster after cluster of Daddy Long Legs and I felt prompted to have our own nature studies class right by the pool.

I caught one, closed my eyes, and licked it.  Weird.  Kinda like black licorice or peppermint.  Kinda numbed my tongue a little.  You know you're gonna try it.

For the next fifteen minutes, 12 people - four over the age of 29 - were catching creepy crawly things and licking them to test my theory.  Graham had to make sure he was catching spiders that no one else had 'put their lick on'.  By the end of the morning, that was no easy task.

Later, Trey asked me, "Now, where did you hear that story?"

"I thought YOU told me!"

"Nope, never heard it before."

"Oh.  My bad."

Footnote: Daddy Long Legs, or Harvestmen, are, in fact, arachnids but not actually spiders.  They have only one body section and two eyes, not eight, which makes it much easier to lick their backs without actually touching your tongue to their eyeballs.  Shudder.

They are also not poisonous.

Y'all have a great weekend!

*No daddy long legs were harmed in the execution of this experiment.

**Except for the one Sadie licked because, for the love of Pete, look how she's holding it.

This one may have lost a leg or two.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, U.S.A.!

Well, I'm back, and I've missed you.  Although the legality of fireworks in West Dallas doesn't really prevent people from going crazy and shooting giant ones off their front porches into the wee hours of the morning, it was nice to spend the Fourth of July in the country with friends at their ranch where the firework stands are aplenty and they're totally legal.

Sadie was all over the sparklers...

...and about five minutes in, we decided we could have only bought those and everyone would have been just as happy.  Even the teenage girls that were with us.

But our friend, Wes, would have none of it.  He bought some biggies and my favorite pics were of the kids scrambling to get back right after lighting them.

Part of their fear was maybe attributed by us four adults constantly screaming, "DON'T PUT YOUR FACE OVER IT!!!   


And responding to, "Does anyone have a punk?" with, "Yes, I have four.  Pick one." really never got old for me.

We had a fantastic weekend, it was great seeing the kids again.  More about their camp laundry later because I'm trying to keep this post upbeat.

Hope you had a terrific holiday and enjoyed the celebration as much as we did.

Ears plugged, and all.