Friday, March 29, 2013

It's the Weekend, Yo...

This is the face I feel like making right now. It's the weekend. I'm not sure why that matters to me at the moment because I will still have to work tomorrow and Sunday, but for some reason, I am ridiculously excited that it's Friday.

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Ridiculously excited, people. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Conversations with Children....

The really amazing thing about children is how accurately they see the world. I know that it may not seem like they view the world with great accuracy...seeing as how they fervently trust in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny...but really, there is something genuine about the way children absorb and relate information. Not a day goes by when I don't listen to one of my children say something and think, "Holy Cow. I have the opportunity to learn from this and to shape the way they see the world"....or...."Holy Cow. How do I explain this without causing my heart to palpitate?"....or..."Holy Cow. Did that really just come out of my child's mouth?"

My children don't look at an empty box and see garbage. Layton sees something he can make into a basketball goal. Ella sees something to pretend is a desk. Hadley sees a blank canvas waiting to be decorated. It's inspiring to give them something I would normally throw away and see what happens.

Ella recently told me that I "make rainbows" when I smile. How is that for defining a child's love for her mother? As her mother it is my job to be the calm after any storm she weathers. I have a responsibility to be her rainbow each and every day. She's knows that.

Layton told me about a friend of his at school who has a girlfriend.
Me: "Do you have a girlfriend, Layton?"
Layton: "No."
Me: "Do you want one?"
Layton: "No, I don't want them kissing my lips or putting their tongue on my tongue."
He had this exact same conversation with J a few days prior to this. I'm a little concerned.

At the dinner table each evening, we discuss every one's day. Sometimes, what the children think they learn is priceless.
Me: "What did you learn at school today?"
Layton: "We learned about the Presidents."
Me: "Which Presidents did you study?"
Layton: "Both of them. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln."
Me: "We've had a few more than just those two, son."

Ella wanted to enter a contest to win tickets to the Storybook Ball. I took her to the library to drop off her form and let her go inside by herself. She came back out in mere minutes with a big grin on her face.
Me: "Ella, you did a great job dropping off your entry for the Storybook Ball ticket giveaway!"
Ella: "It wasn't Mission Impossible."
And yes, she rolled her eyes as she said it. So I cranked up Sabotage (the Beastie Boys) as loud as possible; put on my sunglasses; rolled the windows down; held my hand up in the shape of a gun; and ran over a curb leaving the public library. Ella might be afraid to make a sarcastic comment now because I tend to react inappropriately. And childlike.

They see the world. I try my hardest to let them draw their own conclusions. They are little humans, and in my opinion, they have a right to experience life without me trying to control it. It is amazing to see what conclusions they draw on their own.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


There are things you should probably know about me. Things like...

-Sometimes I send completely inappropriate emails without that being the intent. I'm not a good digital communicator. Ones and zeroes don't always convey the inflection and attitude with which I speak.

-I am okay with never being successful. I do not have any goals to succeed at anything. Blog, job, anything. I want to do a reasonably good job and then call it a day and go to bed. I'm taking mediocrity to a whole new level.

-There are no fewer than 28 posts sitting in the draft section of this blog. I'm going to flesh them out and publish them. I keep saying that, but this time I really mean it. I am tired of knowing those posts are floating in cyber space unfinished and feeling unloved. The other thing about these 28 posts is that I am beginning to realize these 28 are probably some of the last ones I will write. For a long time this blog has been my place to record my life and the lives of my children; however, my children are not little anymore. Their lives are beginning to take a more independent shape, and I have to respect and honor that fact.

Hadley tells me what can and cannot be blog fodder. She has her own story now; it's not mine to tell. It is wrong of me to put anything about her on the Internet without her permission.
Ella has begun to read here more often as well. She does not mind being a part of my blog, but it isn't okay for me to put her story on my blog and hope that she's okay with it if she happens to read the post later.
Layton. He only knows the blog exists. He doesn't know how to navigate to it, but he does ask for his picture to be on the Internet from time to time. He is my only little turnip whose life I am still free to use for entertainment on the ole blog. I really didn't mean that as tacky as it sounds, but certainly, you understand what I am saying.
Being a mom-blogger is a temporary gig in my opinion. Children grow up, and as they do, their stories are no longer the TM of The Enabler and Her Codependents. I have reached the point that continuing to blog about everything my children do is an infringement on their privacy and personal copyright on life. I suppose I could keep blogging about all of the thoughts in my own head, but why would anyone want to read the clearly broken thoughts that dance around North of my neck? Heck, I don't even want to admit to half the thoughts I have. So, the blog is going to start slowing down. Way down. And at some point (sooner than later), there will be no more.

-I have an unhealthy obsession with office supplies. I could smell Scotch tape and Post its all day long. Don't even try to tell me that you have never smelled a fresh roll of tape.

-Layton has needed new tennis shoes for quite some time. I haven't bought any. I keep forgetting. Whoopsie Daisy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Swim Team...Popping Tags...

-Earlier this week I bought socks for my children because they didn't have any clean ones. That's right. I was so busy between work and trying to get everyone everywhere they needed to be that I had not even washed enough laundry for the week. That is pure klass. Feel free to learn from this confession. Don't bother washing your sock; buy new ones.

-By the way, I didn't even buy nice socks. I bought the dollar store special. Seriously, you probably didn't think I could stoop to this low of a level. This isn't even scratching the surface of the "low-ness" I  can reach. What? You want an example?

-I have dreamed about two of my coworkers this week. The first dream involved the precious gal whose office is next to mine. Seriously people, she is so quiet and kind that I hardly know she's there. In contrast, I dreamed that she broke her toe and turned into a total diva. She came to work in a hospital bed and demanded that we all roll her up and down the hall every time she needed something. I woke myself up laughing hysterically because it was just that ridiculous. Truth is, she probably wouldn't even mention a broken toe in real life. In my dream she was the J-Lo of broken toes.

The second dream is so strange. That isn't even the right way to phrase it. Let me just break it down....J and I invited a coworker (but not his wife) to come over for dinner. When he got there, he peed on my carpet to assert his dominance and held us captive. For weeks. Complete with a trip to a skeezy motel in Huntsville. I kept telling J that someone at work would notice that we were gone; it is tax season after all. It seems that in dream land no one at the office thought the disappearing act was odd. I think I'm working too much because that was a seriously messed up dream. This particular coworker is soooo nice, and my cryptic subconscious turned him into a sick-o! I couldn't even make eye contact with him after that dream.

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-The newest obsession at our house is the thrift store. Mainly because Layton wanted the song, and I got it for him not realizing there was a radio version and a real version. Hadley was mighty disappointed in me and pointed out that "every cuss word ever is used in the first 10 seconds." Not my best parenting moment. The littles were dying to go to a thrift store, so I put $20 in my pocket and took them. We popped a tag.

-People seem so surprised that I don't respond immediately to text messages or emails these days. Um, hello? It's tax season. The policy at work is for us to put in a minimum of 55 hours a week. A minimum of 55 hours. Do the mental math. I have three children that have to be fed, clothed, taken to and from school every day, homework, etc. When you add in sleeping, showering, bathroom visits and eating, I am operating in the red when it comes to time. Internet friends, I love you, but I probably will not reply in a timely fashion. Sorry.

-An acquaintance from years ago met Ella the other night. This lady told Ella how cute she is...Ella replied, "I know, right?" My eyes grew to the size of dinner plates. My face flushed. I wanted to climb under a table. At least Ella has enormous confidence, right?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Across from Me...

Just across the way, I see them.

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They haven't seen much of me lately though. I have been working long hours.

I am looking forward to a few days of rest and relaxation.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Walk Away...

Internet, be warned. I am crabby this week. It is the week of corporate deadline, and to be honest I am not weathering it well. If you see me and I look rather psychotic, just walk away. Save yourself from whatever sarcastic remark is about to escape my mouth.

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On another note there are practically no posts left in my "scheduled" section of the blog. Forgive the silence. I will get something finished soon. :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ella in Triplicate...

My little Ella. She's a lot of fun. She asks lots of questions. In particular, she often asks me, "What would you do if I were a twin, and you had two Ellas?" I look at her and smile.

I tell her that I would get twice the hugs and cuddles. On the inside I am not quite as calm about it. Two Ellas? I'm not sure I'd be able to keep up with two.

When she asks me what I would do if she were a triplet, I tell her that three Ellas would be so much fun.
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Ella in triplicate? Yes, that would be cuddly, but I'm still not sure I could keep up with all that energy and curiosity. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Woot Woot...

It's FRIDAY!!!!! The weekend is here!!!!!!!!!!

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Get your best Ella face going; it's time to relax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The BEST Chili

I mentioned my dear friends Shannon and Kim had a booth at the Chili Challenge. I had tasted their chili before this day and knew that it was deeeeeee-lish. Their booth was super cute too! I was so impressed.

I had to get a picture of Kim and Shannon. They were dressed alike. I tried to convince Shannon to dress up as Honey Boo Boo like she did for Halloween. :) That was a negative, Ghost Rider. 

Guess what! They won both the judges' choice and the people's choice!!! Like I is really good chili. The hard part for me was keeping my mouth shut. I was on the judge's committee this year and counted the votes (not by myself, there were three of us), so I knew they had won hours before the results were announced. No lie. I ran. I knew that I would be overpowered by the urge to tell them they won, so I ran to the other end of the facility to pick up a Boston butt from another fundraiser going on the same day. 
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I was so excited for and proud of Kim and Shannon. Maybe they'll let me stand in the booth with them next year!!



One of my favorite events every year is the Hospice Chili Challenge. It's an annual event, and this year was the 25th anniversary. If I had to estimate, I would guess that I have been at 15 of the 25. I went to several as a teenager and was part of the entertainment. Does anyone have video of me dancing? If so, I will pay whatever it takes to keep that tape from seeing the light of day. Grace might be my middle name, but....I digress. I attended several more as a young adult just for fun and to taste the chili and to socialize with folks I know. Then, my dad got sick, and the months leading up to his death changed the way I viewed terminal illness. Hospice was there for him those last weeks. That was the first time in my life that I actually understood what Hospice does for a terminally ill patient and their family. I knew what services Hospice provided, but I didn't understand what Hospice provided. That might not make sense to some. Knowing and understanding seem synonymous. Maybe a better metaphor would be childbirth. You know going into it that it's going to hurt like hell, but you don't really understand what that pain is going to feel like. Does that make sense? For me, it was that same type of ignorance where hospice care was concerned. I was young and naive and had not yet absorbed the entire concept of what Hospice was going to do for my dying father.

I make a point to attend and help with the Chili Challenge every year now. I don't serve on the steering committee or raise thousands of dollars, but I do contribute in the ways that I can. Helping raise funds for this worthy cause is the least I can do to honor the service that Hospice did for my father.

On to some of the fun stuff.....

The booths are always adorable, and a winner is selected for best booth each year. This booth belonged to my besties Shannon and Kim. (More on that in the next post.)

I had to congratulate Mitchell for being sneaky and clever. He was so adorable with his Eagle Chili booth! I really thought he would win the popular vote based entirely on the fact that he is A-dorbs. Like I said, clever. 

Woot, woot! There's my sistah, Lori! I thought the peppers around the sign were a super cute touch! 

Ahh, the Singles. I loved their booth covered in an old, tin roof. 

Hello, ladies. :) The boots and hats were a nice touch for Sara and Tracy's booth.

I did not taste this particular chili....I was scared to have both ends smokin'. Ha!
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The Chili Challenge is always crowded and fun. I better see you there next year!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Oink...Say What?...

Layton spent some time with a baby pig recently. I'm being serious. We went to the Storybook Ball. It's a fundraiser for our local library. I know that a lot of people think the library is obsolete. I definitely don't use the library as much as I did when I was younger, but my children are big fans of the public library. We go on a regular basis for books and videos.
At the Storybook Ball groups could purchase tables and decorate them with book themes. I didn't think about buying a table. Ella won two tickets at school, and I bought two more in order to take Hadley and Layton along for the evening. Big mistake, A-Ro, big mistake.

Well, this one group had decorated their tables like Charlotte's Web.

Complete with a Wilbur.

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When we got back to our open seating table, Layton asked, "Why do we have to sit at the ugly table?"

I should have brought a pig.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Zen & Tonic...

I am in need of some zen. As is common this time of year, there is more on my to be done list than is feasible.

--I have no fewer than 11 voice mails that I have yet to deal with or give the caller a reply. I will get around to it. Eventually. I'm running about a day and half behind these days. That's the way tax season sometimes gets. If you have left me a message, have no fear; I will call you back with 48 hours. :)

--I drove the truck to work one day. It was a rainy day. As in, downpour. Raining cats and dogs. Thundering. And as luck would have wasn't raining when I arrived a started a short time later...and when I got ready to go meet someone for lunch, I realized that the driver's side windshield wiper doesn't work. It moves. It just doesn't touch the windshield, so nothing ever gets wiped. I ever so elegantly leaned my upper body across the console to the passenger's side so as to see out. I guess it's a good thing that the truck is just our extra vehicle.

--Everyone in my office is sick or recovering from being sick. It isn't pretty. The second floor is a musical chorus of coughs, sneezes, and hoarse voices.

--I had a bad day last week. I had a rotten day. It was my own fault too. I allowed it to happen to me. After thinking it over and reflecting, I realized that all I had to do was say something marginally different, and I could have changed the trajectory of that whole day. Instead, I allowed one insignificant comment to wreck my day. I will tell myself to float on the water from now on. If you don't know the float on the water story, consider yourself lucky.

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--On the bright side, I am employed! YEA!! I am so grateful to have a job in these times of uncertainty.

--My little children are finally starting to get well. At last. The rounds of snot and pediatrician visits were getting old. I should not have admitted that. One will get strep throat immediately to spite my joy. :)

--I am looking forward to the weekend in a crazy way! It looks like we are going to have faboosh weather!!

--On the meal plan this week....Friday is listed as "Mommy's Choice." That means I get to decide what's for dinner, and my family has to deal with complaints allowed. Woohoo! Good weather and getting a meal that I choose without listening to littles complain...I am overly excited about this!!!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


This is a totally crappy picture. Sorry. BUT. It has snowed here more than one day in the last month. Nothing stuck to the ground, but it was still beautiful.

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I'm not a fan of cold weather to be honest. It's pretty and all, but I prefer things slightly warmer. :) I seriously don't know how those of you who live in the northern states with all that snow. I would probably go into shock...or die from high cholesterol after consuming french toast all day every day because I cleaned the stores out of milk, eggs, and bread. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Backseat View...

I'm not entirely sure how it's possible. Every day this little man reels me in more and more. When I was pregnant with this little fellow, I loved him. When he was born, I loved him. When the house was dark and quiet in the wee hours of the morning, I loved him. Actually, those moments are some of my most favorite memories with Layton. Bless him; he didn't really get much alone time with me or J. That's the plight of the third child, so when he would cry out in the middle of the night, I treasured rocking him and spending time with just my boy baby. Oh, how I love this boy.

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Maybe it isn't this way for all mothers, but for me the love grows deeper every day. Just when I think there is no way that I could love more, the world completes another rotation, and my heart is bigger. The feel of his skin when he rubs his face against mine causes my heart to grow. The smell of his curls when he snuggles up next to me causes my heart to grow. The sound of his voice greeting me after school forces my heart to swell. Some times I think my heart might actually burst when I squeeze him tight, but no, my heart doesn't burst. It continues to grow each and every day.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Did I Mention?...

Just go ahead and agree with me. Nothing tastes as good as a coke in a glass bottle. :)

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Childhood Memory and Grown Up Fun...

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite places was my uncle's store. I loved the way U.G. White smelled, and I loved the way that I felt when I had the chance to visit the store. Hubie (Uncle David's father) would greet me with a big hug and kiss. I will never forget that. Hubie and David were always there. I mean, ALWAYS. There was a classic coke vending machine. You know the kind...with the door that you had to open and the bottle opener on the outside. Nothing tastes as good as a coke in a glass bottle, and Hubie gave me many quarters over the years just to see the look on my face after that first swig of ice cold cola. Because the store happened to be on the Christmas parade route, we spent many cold nights inside waiting for the noise, lights, and shine to come our way. I loved the store. I love it still.

Several years ago, David sold the store and retired. The new owners have kept U.G. White much the same, and every time I walk in the door, I instantly feel like the 8 year old version of myself. The familiar creak of the hardwood floors, the nostalgia of the cash register, the sound of keys being made, the train in the display window, the Radio Flyer wagons and trikes...this place is a childhood sanctuary to me.

The store now has clothing and camping gear upstairs. My little family likes to eat at Luvici's next door and then meander through the store shopping.

We did that not too long ago. (Yes, that's J with a full on man beard.)
...And, we were pleasantly surprised to hear live music! As it turns out, these lovely gentlemen come to the store once a month or so and play.
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We stayed far longer than intended and enjoyed the music and company. What started out as a quick trip to grab dinner one Saturday night turned into a night of music, shopping, and all out joy.

I might not have received a huge hug and kiss when I walked in, but I still love the way the store smells and the way it makes me feel.