Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Last Dog Days of Summer

Why in the world is it called the last dog days of summer?

My children are enjoying the remains of summer before school begins. There has been lots of swimming, a trip to the park, Monkee watching, X-Box playing and all that good stuff. It's always to bad when the summer ends, but I'm glad it will be warm for several weeks after school begins. That means that when they kids get out of school, they can still enjoy their favorite summer-time activity, swimming. This is the last season for our huge above-ground pool. It is falling apart, the liner has many holes and really, it cost a lot to run. I will miss it when it is gone and next summer will be very different without it. Our backyard is going to get a lot bigger soon. Until the end of September, though, we will be loving the last of the pool.

My scones turned out well yesterday and they tasted great. The enrichment night was international night. Women brought food to represent Paraguay, Germany, Hawaii (not another country, but certianly another culture), the Phillipines, West Africa, and Brazil. Oh, and of course, I did Scotland. I took my photo album from when I went in 1992 and a few books I bought while I was in Scotland. I talked a bit about my amazing great-grandmother who had been born and raised there until she was about 21 and then she married a Texan called Tex, moved to Texas and saw Scotland only once more in her long life. She was an amazing lady.

Each morning we have the breakfast delima. The family likes cereal, but cereal doesn't last long in our family. It is expensive and just isn't worth the money. So, often, I make butterscotch oatmeal, mush, or pancakes. This morning, nothing sounded good to me and I didn't feel like cooking. I decided I'm going to bake tomorrow. I'm going to make pancakes and muffins and keep them in the freezer. That way I won't have to cook every morning. I don't mind usually, but some mornings..... I just can't. I've also been making my own bread and I need to make another batch tomorrow. We are running low. Everyone loves toast. Tomorrow will be a baking day and for dinner we have been invited to someone else's house to eat. Bonus! I don't have to cook or clean up after it!

Well, that is enough babbling for tonight. Speaking of babbling, my sister and I (who spend a lot of time on the phone with each other thanks to unlimited long-distance) have started "chatting" during the day. We just leave up the chat box all day and add things here and there for the other to read. It has been fun. It is almost like having her with me. The joys of the Internet!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


OK, I'm making scones, and the recipie says sixteen serving, but I only got eight small ones the size of my palm. I guess I'll be doubling the recipie. I wanted to take these to an Personal Enrichment Night at church were we will be having International food night. My Scottish scones would be my contribution. Just thought I'd share.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Abandoned Blog

I’ve not written in a long time. It isn’t that I’ve forgotten or that there have been no thoughts to discuss, but I just haven’t been able to really get on and type. (I don’t guess it matters a whole lot, since my sister is the only one who reads this. Hey Sis!) The kids always make it hard. I’ve already been up and down more times that I can keep track of while writing this. I’ve given lots of hugs and kisses, gotten up a few times to help my son with his breakfast, get him off of the chair he climbed into, gotten two cups of milk, and gotten a toy out for my princess. It takes a lot of energy to write. No, there have been many random thoughts and little energy to sit and write them out. I spent the weekend in a bad mood too. It started with a trip to the dentist – I Hate the Dentist!!!!! and the weekend ended with a long two hour “fight/argument” with my husband. Things have been eating at me for months and months and I finally blew up on Sunday. So, until yesterday, I haven’t been in the mood either. Yesterday I tried to write, but some how while I was typing, my hand hit a key that backed me out of my blog and I lost all that I had done. So, here today, I present, two other entries that would have happened had things gone better.

The Magazine of LIES

Through a strange train of thought the other day, I ended up thinking about pregnancy magazine’s views of morning sickness. NO, I don’t have morning sickness, like I said, it was a strange train of thoughts that led me to this. So, anyway, I was thinking back to when I was expecting my first and reading every magazine I could get my swelling hands on. I remember being very amused with the article about morning sickness. It would talk about nibbling crackers and such. Accompanying this article would be a picture of a woman (with very nice hair for having just woken up) who was sitting up in bed, leaning against lots of white fluffy pillows, and happily nibbling away at a Saltine cracker. The sun is streaming in through the window and next to the newly pregnant mom is a bed stand with a plate of decoratively arranged crackers.

ARGGGGHHH! So many things wrong with this picture! We won’t even get into the fluffy, white pillows (I don’t have any, do you?) or the sun streaming into the room (most of us are up before the sun), but I do wish to address some other things that we see in this lovely photograph. Let’s look at the mom-to-be, she is looking awfully good for having morning sickness. Most women have a greenish tint to them. Our photo mom is sitting quietly in bed eating her cracker. This is obviously her first baby or else she would be surrounded by children who are bouncing on the bed, making her already queasy stomach feel worse. Those children would be fighting over or eating her other crackers, getting crumbs everywhere and she would be thinking how she had better take the sheets off the bed and shake them out before the crumbs start to attract other visitors. And let us look at that plate of crackers on her bed stand. Who put them there? If she did, she did it the night before. I’m sorry, but I would be worried about roaches, ants or the crackers going stale overnight. Did her husband bring the crackers then? No, that couldn’t be, if she had asked him to bring her crackers, he wouldn’t have arranged them on a pretty, floral plate. He would have brought the bag of crackers in and the top of the bag would be twisted shut.

Yes, that picture has always annoyed me, and yet, I’ll bet if you picked up a pregnancy magazine in a doctor’s office, that same article with the same picture will still be there. Let’s ignore the unrealistic photo and forget too that most women have never found nibbling crackers to help them with their morning sickness. Most of them spend a great amount of time bowing before the porcelain throne anyway thinking, those stupid crackers just make me throw up again.

Oh well, anything to sooth those first time moms as they journey through the crazy time known as pregnancy, because the rest of us well seasoned moms know to skip the article and just wait for the trimester to pass.

Summer with the Monkees

Since 1987, when the Monkee’s were having their big 20th anniversary come back, I’ve been a Monkees fan. When I was in the 5th grade, I wrote a poem about my favorite TV show. I would tape their shows on my VCR and I ended up having two video tapes with about 4-5 hours of Monkee shows on them. Every summer I would celebrate having no school by watching my Monkee tapes – over and over and over. My siblings got into it too and we had great fun. My parents just tolerated it. It wasn’t summer without the Monkees.

Fast forward many years and now my four kids and I love watching the shows. I got the two seasons on DVD. So, this summer, we have had many a Monkee marathon. My kids and I love Peter’s silliness, I love Mike’s dry wit, Micky’s crazy antics and Davy is just funny, cutie Davy and all is great with that. I still find the shows so entertaining and funny. With so much awful stuff on TV and “family shows” that make me turn red to watch, I find the Monkees to be so refreshing. So, the tradition continues, summer ain’t over until you’ve watched the Monkees.

(got the picture off the Internet, Wikipedia)

Monday, August 20, 2007

more random happenings

As the day has progressed, I've thought of more things and my kids have reminded me of some things too.

In the earlier post about Jenny Jenna, I mentioned how at Jenny Jenna's house, there would be trick-or-treating. My three year old daughter has not given up on the idea. She has been talking about Halloween and trick-or-treating ever since. Last night she was very upset and almost histerical about we were not going trick-or-treating. She found in one of my drawers, a Halloween bow, for hair. At the stores, the Halloween and fall exhibits are up. Even though it is still more than two months away, Halloween is every where and my daughter doesn't understand time. She is currently working on her Halloween drawings.

My youngest son seems to be in the halloween spirit too. At least the decorating part is. This afternoon, he got hold of a blue marker that his sister left out. (Thank goodness they are non-toxic) He drew all over his hands and legs, ate it of course and has blue on his lips, and then he went crazy. While I was cross stitching, something I love to do and don't get to enough, the little marker fiend drew all over several brand new books that great-gran sent to them today. He drew on a wooden alphabet puzzle and he also drew on the carpet and on the sofa. He decorated himself and my house.

My youngest is 21 months old (I think, I quit counting after they reach 18 months and are old enough to go to nursery at church). He can be quite the mess maker - Blue Hand, Weilder of the Marker of Mess, the Terror of the House.

I love to cross stitch, but when things like this happen, I don't get around to it often.

Would you?

forgotten thoughts

I had thought of a good topic earlier today but was unable to sit down and write, and now I've forgotten what it was!

Don't you hate it when that happens? I've actually had many random ideas floating about today. I'll see if I can remember some of those and they might spark a memory.

In a past post I talked about blogs I've seen by women who live the kind of life I would love. They live on farms, make their own soaps, raise their own chickens and so on. I was on another blog recently and this amazing lady has seven children, they raise sheep, a llama, and a goat or two. With the wool from their sheep, she makes the most amazing wool dolls. They look like Beatrix Potter characters - bunnies with violins and such. With the oil that comes off the wool from their sheep and llama they make their own lotion. They make goat cheese. She makes their own plates with her pottery and kiln. There is a huge garden that provides them with a large amount of their food. In short, it looks like an incredible life. A life very few Americans currently live. I read her blog and look at her photos and my heart sighs, I wish I could live like that. Then, I have to take a reality check. The lady who is the mother of this family was raised in a similar way. I was raised in a large city that is a suburb to a huge city. I have had absolutly no experience with livestock. I wouldn't know what to do with it. Things like making dolls, and making soap could be learned, but it is also something I've never done. Another big reallity check for me is the garden, I don't like veggies. Why would I want to raise an enormous garden of plants I don't like?

I guess, I'll just have to read her blog and wish I could live her life, knowing full well, I would never survive.

I do plan, however, to have a garden next year. Not a big one, but I do want to try a few things. Like I said, I don't like much in the way of veggies, but there are a few. I hope next year to grow carrots, pumpkin, squash, cucumbers, and watermelon (not a veggie, I know). My husband does love vegetables and he will probably want to grow more than my small selection. So, next year, I will take one step towards that ideal life.

Another random thought I was having today was all about digital cameras. Aren't they great? I love mine. It isn't top of the line, just the basic camera, but that is all I need. I love I can take 8 pictures of the same thing, trying to get that perfect picture and not have to worry or feel guilty about wasting film. That is nice when you have moving kids. A few weeks ago, I saw a comic strip, Baby Blues, if you know that one. The father was talking to his wife, "My mother took two rolls of film each year for our family. That covered birthdays and Christmas." The next picture pans back to show him sitting at the kitchen table with his wife and two kids. He says, "Now, we take 180 pictures at breakfast alone." And the kids each have a digital camera and are furiously clicking away taking pictures of each other.

I let my kids have the camera one evening and let them take as many pictures as they wanted to of anything they wanted to. The results were interesting. There were several pictures of the raw meat I had in a pan on the stove that was just starting to cook. There were pictures of the computer screen. Their were pictures of each other and one of dad. (It is funny to see what dad looks like from the height of a seven year old). There were pictures of their bedroom walls, pictures of the stairs, and so many other strange things. Many were out of focus as they were taken to quickly or while moving. Still, it was interesting to see life from their view. They often ask if they can do it again. I haven't let them yet, but I will sometime. They will never understand the point and click and crank the film to the next position. They will never really know what film is. It is kind of like vinyl records or phones with a rotating dial and attached to the wall with a cord.

Yes sir, I like the digital age.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Non Toxic

When I was a teen, I noticed products started advertising they were non-toxic. Maybe that bit of information was always there and I just didn't notice until I was a teenager. Either way, it was then that I saw the non-toxic information on the packages. I always joked, "Oh good, it's non-toxic, we can eat it." I would laugh to myself and wonder why it mattered. Who was going to eat a marker anyway, right?

Fast forward 10+ years and lets look at my youngest child today. His lips, hands, and forehead bear the marks of a light green marker. He first put it in his mouth (he has destroyed several markers this way, biting off the tips) and took it out only when I pulled it out. He went back to his paper and then tried drawing on his hands. "No," I said, "don't write on your hands, only on the paper". He goes back to the paper, but only for half a moment. He raises his marker over his head and very casually brings it down over his blond hair onto his forehead. At that point, the marker got taken away.

I'm so glad those markers are non-toxic and my youngest can eat them without worry.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Adventures of Jenny Jenna

My sweet little three year old has an imaginary friend named Jenny Jenna. She is called Jenny Jenna, just like Mary-Anne is called by both names. Jenny Jenna showed up about six months ago and since has ruled the life of my daughter. So often we hear, “Jenny Jenna said…..” or “Jenny Jenna has ….” And you know, Jenny Jenna has everything that my daughter wants. Jenny Jenna has dictated what my daughter does, what she wears and how we fix her hair. My daughter has fallen into peer-pressure of her own imagination.
When Jenny Jenna arrived in my daughter’s life, it was quite harmless. It was the name she gave to one of her little dolls. Then Jenny Jenna took on a life of her own. She lived a couple of blocks down the street, near the school the older brothers attend. Frequently she would ask me to take her to Jenny Jenna’s house. My three year old didn’t understand that we couldn’t go to Jenny Jenna’s house because she really didn’t have one and we couldn’t just knock on anyone’s door. So, I told her she needs to invite Jenny Jenna over to our house to play. Many times my daughter would run to the door to see if Jenny Jenna arrived, but be disappointed that she was never there when the door was opened. She really seemed to think Jenny Jenna was coming over.
Jenny Jenna’s home has since changed locations several times. Right now she lives in Texas, but it is just down the road a bit according to my daughter. (We live on the east coast and it is a 21 hour drive away from Texas, I know, I just drove it, but that is another story for another time.) Jenny Jenna’s age keeps changing too. Tonight, I was informed that Jenny Jenna is six, and getting ready to drive. Her car is being painted pink by Jenny Jenna herself. Apparently, Jenny Jenna doesn’t like white cars. My daughter then asked me if we could paint our white van pink. No, I said, Dad wouldn’t like a pink van.
Tonight has been a night full of Jenny Jenna stories. My daughter told me she was going trick-or-treating tonight because that is what Jenny Jenna is doing at her house. It is August, by the way. Also tonight I heard about Jenny Jenna’s great computer game playing prowess.
In the past Jenny Jenna has told my daughter what to wear and how to fix her hair. “Jenny Jenna said I can’t wear that dress.” I am sometimes told when I pick out the clothes for the day. My daughter has her own taste in clothes and she changes her clothes often, like three to five times a day. Now, I’m not sure if that is Jenny Jenna’s influence or just my daughter’s personal taste. One day I was fixing my daughter’s beautiful long, blond hair. I wanted to braid it and make it look so cute. While I’m braiding, I’m told Jenny Jenna doesn’t like my daughter’s hair braided. She fought me and fought me.
I said, “Jenny Jenna may not like braids, but I love the way your hair looks in a braid.”
“But Jenny Jenna doesn’t like my hair braided.”
“I’m your mother, and I want to braid your hair.” I put the braid in and put at twisty at the end of the hair. Minutes later the twisty is gone and the braid has fallen out. “Jenny Jenna said I can’t have my hair braided.”
Jenny Jenna won.
So, the adventures with Jenny Jenna continue. I can’t count the number of times we hear about Jenny Jenna each day. It is constant and often amusing. I’m glad my daughter has an active imagination. She is smart and creative. I just wish Jenny Jenna would come around to play and then my daughter could to talk to Jenny Jenna instead of telling me what she is up to and what she has in her house.
My biggest worry with Jenny Jenna, is that even though she is imaginary, she seems to rule my daughter’s life. I just hope that when real friends are around, my daughter won’t be so easily influenced. I think that Jenny Jenna is just a way of a three year old venting her opinions and wishes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

summer fun and setting the story straight

I have sat down to type 4 times now. My kids are working against me. Actually, it is mostly my youngest making this difficult. I have been so scatter-brained lately and very busy. It has been a social week and I really don't enjoy being so social. On Tuesday was book club. Luckily for me, it wasn't at my house, like the book club meetings normally are. On Thursday was lunch bunch. These use to be at different ladies homes, but because it is summer and I have a pool in my back yard, all the lunch bunches are at my home. A little get together that should last two hours usually turns into four hours. Then, on Friday, we had a big pool party/BBQ. We had 14 people, not including our family of six and two couples didn't show up. My husband plays in the pool all evening with the kids while I chat with our guest. It was nice, but I'm partied out.

I have also been spending the time since coming back from my trip, putting things away that I brought back with me. For instance, my trombone. Where do I put my trombone? I played it in the high school marching band. It can't go in the garage or attic, but I can't find a home for it either. I've been going through a million photos and programs and other memorbilia from my childhood, putting it into photo albums and scrapbook pages. After about 30 pages, I quit for now. I'll go back to it later.

We have four weeks of summer left. I think I'm actually one of the few parents who don't want school to start. We have fun during the summer and while the house is extra noisy and there are a lot more fights to break up, I like having the kids all home. We have fun and the schedule is free.

My sister wrote a post that was much to kind for me last week. Sisters are so wonderful. I feel bad my daughter has three brothers and no sister. Friends come and go, kids grow up, but your sister is always your sister and I'm grateful for mine. Just to set the record straight, though, I didn't try and sell her. My friend, Lizzie, did try. Have you ever seen the comic strip, One Big Happy? If so, you know little Ruthie is often selling her good art by the road for 10 cents. Well, my friend Lizzie and I would try this too, selling our art in front of my house. Well, one day Lizzie got the idea we should sell my sister. She was, after all, a small child and annoying as small children often are. I didn't really want to sell my sister, but I didn't have the nerve to tell my friend no. Finally I told her that my parents would be really upset if we sold my sister and I told her we better not do it. So, really, I didn't try to sell her.

Have you ever seen the poem by Shel Silversten? One sister for sale, one sister for sale, one crying and spying young sister for sale!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Home again

Several weeks have passed since I blogged last. I was traveling. I did something totally crazy - I drove my four small children from Virginia to Texas and back again. To get there we went through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and then Louisiana before reaching Texas. On the way home we went though Arkansas, Missiouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Both drives were really beautiful. I enjoyed driving through South Carolina, West Virginia and then western Virginia. I had never seen the Appalachian mountains before. It was beautiful. Not at all like the Rocky's, which is what I was expecting to see. I knew the Appalachian's were not nearly as tall, but I didn't expect the trees and the beautiful valleys that I passed through. I was such a treat. I hope to go back there some day. I would love to make that drive in late September or October.

Well, I must get dinner started. There was so much going on and coming up. Be sure you will hear more random thoughts in the future.