Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gleaming heads and full bellies

Yikes. It's almost Christmas. And I'm just now putting up my Thanksgiving pictures!

Thanksgiving - James worked and I hung out with him pretty much all day on the base. There was a James Bond marathon on tv. I had only seen one James Bond movie once. At the end of the day I had seen three James Bond movies once. And MY James had a shaved head.

The end.

Juuuuust kidding. We drove up to Jasper the day after. A late afternoon visit with Nanny (Jim's grandmother) was pleasant. Her 30 year old refrigerator (it was a mustard yellow color...she called it "Oldie Goldie") had decided to bite the dust two days before and she was getting a new one that evening. It was a little on the humorous side watching her be sad about losing her old fridge. Humorous because I know I'll be exactly like that one day. I get so attached to things. Try as I might, I can't quite grasp my Dad's "well it's all gonna burn up one day" attitude. Of course, my Mom blames that attitude for several sentimental items she cannot find. Nanny told us how it had stopped working.... but the next morning she came into the kitchen to hear the ice maker kick-in. As the fridge deliverers wheeled it out, she told them of its desperate attempts to keep working and asked tentatively if maybe they would work on it and find someone who could use it. They seemed to be very caught up in getting it out the door and did not answer. I felt for her. In my mind, inanimate objects have feelings. They are our friends. I used to not be able to throw away a milk jug without attaching its lid to it first. After all, they had been together for so long, why tear them apart now?

Maybe this is why I love Toy Story so much. Hmm.

We arrived at the Porter household at dark to find the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother, parents, brothers, and sisters) watching Captain America on my parents new, flat-screen, 48" (or was it 52? regardless.... huge) tv! Did I mention they also got cable? I nearly fell over! Never did I ever think my childhood home would have more than the two local channels! As Alisa lamented, "Everything we stood for is being torn away!" As we hugged and hugged again, I noticed even the furniture had been rearranged for the presence of that tv. "Where will you put the Christmas tree?" I asked. Ryan laughed, "Oh, we're just going to put all our presents under the tv. And put the angel topper on top of it!" Dad rolled his eyes, "Alright! Alright! You've made your point."

For those of you who did not know, my amazing mother started chemo about nine weeks ago. She has been so strong throughout the whole ordeal and clings to God daily. My father, who openly confessed to me that the role of an optimist was not normal for him when this started, is obviously a huge encouragement to her. I'm proud of them both. I don't have room to write about all of my brothers doings. But Anna will get a blog high-five...

Little sister... you have been awesome. Mom brags about how you are cooking and cleaning like a champ. Alisa talks about how much you've grown up throughout this past year. I am proud of you.

Anyway, I told you that to explain this picture:

Yes. There were many shaved male heads in honor of Mom's own. It was pretty impressive. And sweet. And Ryan isn't really that short.

There were tractors to drive,

wagons to ride,

a football game to watch (even if it's through the window),

an off-key birthday song to sing, (my Dad came very very close to dropping the cake right after I stopped videoing),

and much

much food to be eaten.

Mom had the fantastic idea of eating our Thanksgiving feast (no rare roast beast. sorry.) in our Christmas tree barn. So, with a little extra effort, our tummies were fed in a raw-lumbered, tin-roofed, twinkled-lighted, wood-stove heated barn.

I love my family.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Last weekend, Alisa and Jeff came down to see us. We were excited. And so were they.

This is Alisa checking to make sure Jeff isn't squinting in the photo.

Some of the things we did:

Saturday am- we got up early and ate oatmeal. Head towards the airport. It was colder than I had planned on it being and I made sure everyone knew I was freaking freezing. But it was a beautiful day to go flying.

Thanks to gracious friends, we all had headsets.

Mr. Pilot headed us towards Dauphin Island shortly after take off and landed us nicely.

A walk from the airport to the ferry is 3.4 miles. Off we go. It's still cold. I'm still cold. Is anyone else cold? Why is it so cold?!

This dog had his own balcony.

We walked and talked and laughed and I froze. We arrived at the ferry just in time to jump on for a cold ride across the bay to Fort Morgan. On the way, my hair did what Beast's hair did when he became a man.
Alisa and I zipped up our jackets as far as they could be zipped, ducked into our hoodies, shoved our hands in our pockets and hunched down behind our husbands. None of the car-riding ferry goers offered us a seat inside their vehicles. They all sat, somber faced, and watched us shiver. We probably were entertaining. Alisa and I sat down to get out of some of the wind. But then....

we got hit by a wave. It came up through the deck drains and we all got pretty durn wet. Alisa and I shrieked, the boys yelped.... and then we all laughed at each other's soggy bottoms. Still no offers from the now-smiling car sitters.

I think Fort Morgan would be a gorgeous place for a wedding.

Because our bottoms were dry now and the sun was warmer the ride back was lovely. We saw a few dolphins surface and watched each others faces turn pink.

Home again home again jiggety jog!

Saturday evening - Constantine's for supper!
Saturday evening still - Alabama got a field goal. LSU got a field goal. Alabama got a field goal. LSU got a field goal.

Sunday afternoon - Settlers of Catan. If you haven't played this game, just come to our house. Jeff had not played it... so we played twice. And I won. Twice. Both times. Excuse me while I go shout it from the rooftop.

Settlers of Catan is like Risk. Only, I've never played Risk. I've never wanted to ever since my parents told me they played it when they had only been married a few weeks and it was the closest to divorce they ever came. Oh yeah, sign me up to play that! But it is similar in the "get land and resources" idea. You claim land, you earn resources (wood, ore, sheep, wheat and brick), you buy roads, and settlements and eventually cities.

Alisa and Jim should not play this game together. They are rather cutthroatish about it. And when they realize the other one is being a cutthroat as well, it just makes them be even more of a cutthroat. We laugh throughout the game, but sometimes I wonder what my husband's or my sister's blood pressure might be at any given moment.

But who cares? I won!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Well... all year long I planned on blogging on 11/11/11. I was going to tell you to make a huge, ginormous wish.

And I didn't blog.

So, no wish for you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ryan visited us

This is my brother, Ryan. He got a job in Uvalde, Texas. It started last week and on his way there, he came to see us first. It was sweet to see him. Of course, I was working and, of course, worked one of the longest days yet (because my sweet little two year old baby, who had been precious all day long, decided to vomit up her food, her medicine, her nasogastric tube, and I'm pretty sure her shoes, right at shift change) and Jim was flying late that night. So, Ryan got to face the trick-or-treaters alone. Haha!

Let me explain something: Neither Ryan nor I have ever grown up in a house that invited these little scavengers. We lived waaaay out in the country, down long, unlit driveways. If adults ever released their children down long, dark driveways, they don't anymore. They release them on subdivisions. Enter the Freeman household. Hundreds and hundreds of children descend upon our neighborhood dressed as Buzz Lightyear, witches, princesses, ninjas, lions, tigers, and bears. They walk or are driven around in golf carts or pulled on trailers pulled by four wheelers.

Jim and I knew we wouldn't be there so we had no candy. We decided to let Ryan fend for himself. (muahahaha!)
He did.

I came home to this:

Ryan had driven very slowly out of our neighborhood to a nearby Dollar General and came back with candy. Rummaging through the house he found two paper bags. In one, he put all of the candy and wrote on it: "Lots of tootsie rolls, some starbursts, barely any jolly ranchers." The other bag he had torn up and placed signs on the inside of our windows. They read, "Don't knock!" "We're tired!" "Get some candy!" "Nice costume!" I'm sure all of the adults thought we were incredibly polite. I guess I deserved that since I hung Ryan out to dry. The sign beside the bag read, "Don't be a pig unless you become one" then advised the candy-takers to read some Proverbs.

After letting me in, he looked in the bag and said, "Whoa! It worked! Nobody has knocked and half the candy is gone!" Then he gave me a big bear hug. It was good to see him.

Regarding trick-or-treaters.... really, I don't hate them. I am overwhelmed by them and in all seriousness try to avoid being at my house on Halloween night. But what I cannot stand is older kids who do it. If you are an older kid who goes trick-or-treating, I will still be your friend. But I have some advice:

Grow the heck up. If you want to dress up and take your younger brothers and sisters or cousins or neighbors trick-or-treating, be my guest. But don't be standing there with a plastic bag asking for your own candy. It's a tradition for children. And if you are responsible enough to own an iPhone and to trick-or-treat without adult supervision... you are too old.

Jim's coworker's story -
He opened his door to find a group of teenagers standing there with little plastic pumpkins. They didn't even have on costumes.
Coworker - "Oh, how cool! You're out getting candy because your little brother or sister were too sick to come out tonight!"
Kid - "What are you talkin' about, man?"
Coworker - "What I'm talkin' about is that you're too old for this crap. Now get out of here!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday afternoon labor

It's so nice to have friends who live in the country who have things like pecan trees. Do you say pee'-kan or pi-kahn'? Don't worry, I won't make fun of you either way. I'll just think you're silly if you say pee'-kan.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

becoming one

Jim and I just had the same idea....

Me - "Well, great minds DO think alike!"
Jim - "And we do too!"

I guess I could call him a name but he insulted himself, too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First Any Verse Harry

My goodness. A year ago, this past Sunday, I vowed that only death would part me from James. The first year made a whooshing sound as it passed by me. I cannot believe I have been a wife through all four seasons. The delight of this year is for a writer more capable than I and I will leave it at that.

In honor of the anniversary, Jim and I went to The Grand Hotel in Fairhope. Initially, I wanted to get a little further away from home. But then I realized that if Alabama has a place that is as wonderful as this place is supposed to be, and that we may no longer be in Alabama next summer, we should go for it. So we did. And we are glad.

Driving through Fairhope, we discovered a sidewalk arts and crafts show. So we stopped, strolled, and discovered everything was too expensive. I had a close encounter with a Marilyn Monroe moment, thanks to the wind making friends with my skirt, and we found this polite trash receptacle, contradicting everything your mothers have ever told you.

Onto the Grand, where we were greeted at the gate by a smiling older gentleman named Jim. He learned it was our first anniversary and SANG us a verse from a love song of his generation. His voice was shaky on the lower notes, but strong and true for the majority. It was a pleasant beginning.

This was our room. Isn't it beautiful? And spacious? And soothing?

This is our view. The wind was just enough to make the boats creak on their moorings. Don't you love coastal sounds?

At the recommendation of a friend, we went to the Fly Creek Cafe. It was attached to a marina, with beat-up wood flooring and open ceilings where the naked lightbulbs hung. The fans were whirring and the wind was sashaying through the open windows. We were asked if we wanted to eat indoors or out and Jim said out. We were told it would be an extra $10 per person because of the live band. So, Jim said in. She walked us over to one of the open windows that was right next to the band area. I could have shot a spitball and hit the lead guitarist. "This is great," said Jim, as we munched away. "We don't have to clap if we don't want to!" He wore one of his hats that he got on our Chicago trip. This was two seconds after his "I'm so cool" face. It had become his "I wish you were in this picture with me because it's getting awkward" face. It's also his "I don't look old enough to even be married" face.

The sunset was stupendous out our open window and we weren't charged $20 extra to see it.

We went back to the hotel and walked the perimeter. And the diameter and the radius. But NOT the whole area. It is covered with huge oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss, swings everywhere, and hammocks tucked under the great branches. See the hammock?

There was a huge pool with waterfalls and a slide. The sign read, "No holding breath games." There was also an adult pool with a hot tub. The sign read that no one under 21 years of age was aloud. Personally, I thought it was a nice touch. I love kids and don't mind sharing a pool with them, but some people want to sunbathe without children. So, a pool for both types of people. This is the adult pool. It sounds rather scandalous.

The next morning, we got up early and went outside for reading, coffee and watching the sky get brighter and brighter.

Oh, the weather was absolutely perfect!! We had brought our bikes so we biked to Fairhope. The diner was closed.... so we walked around until we found another one. By now, it was about 10:30. Jim ordered the Julwin Sampler which consisted of, Ahem: 2 Eggs cooked the way you want them, sausage, bacon, AND ham, grits or hashbrowns, toast or biscuit, and two pancakes. He ate all of it.

Back to the hotel, where I discovered that Napoleon Bonaparte had come into our room and arranged our robes.

The nerve of that guy.

Then to the adult pool and then... SAILING! The Grand has kayaks and Hobie Cats available for guests. Look up Hobie Cats. They are a blast! All Jim had to do was say he knew how to sail, sign a waiver, and we were allowed to take it out by ourselves! He told me not to take the camera and he was right. We were soaked!

Back to Fairhope for sushi at Master Joe's. My first experience with sushi as a full meal. It was very good. Chopsticks are hard. Then I was a baby and allowed my husband's UNselfishness to get on my nerves. I nearly ruined the evening. Heaven will be wonderful, won't it? No sin. I cannot even imagine the freedom of that.

For our last morning we got up and ate breakfast there, at the Grand, at the recommendation of another friend. To quote her, "It's expensive, but it's worth it." List anything you can think of for breakfast and it was there on the buffet. Grits, eggs, pancakes, waffles, sausage gravy, biscuits, three different types of toast, eight kinds of fruits, yogurt honey, four different types of jellies, conecuh sausage, bacon, ham, personalized omelets, cheese danish, cereal, oatmeal, carrot muffins, pineapple cake, and the list continues. The row of polished silver domes gleamed and we did our best to give them credit over a crosssword puzzle.

The watermelons were carved like this. Yikes, no?

It was such a precious weekend. And I still can't believe it has already been a year.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I must have blinked

Today I turned twenty-six.

Twenty-six? Wow.
And it was a wonderful day. The weather was truly Octoberish, thank you God! And Jim spoiled me. Breakfast, bike trails, lunch outside, hammock time, chocolate fudge pie with homemade ice cream, Pride and Prejudice and a smashing hat. I love him.

My Dad on the phone: "Hey! Happy birthday! ... ... Well, I got that out of the way, now what do we talk about?"
My mom's card was true to form - sweet enough to make me tear up with an "adjustment" of the card's cover character's outfit (to be more modest).

To my in-law parents, I did not wear a bucket on my head. Sorry. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

big and little kids

Ever since I started working on a pediatric unit people keep asking me, "Do you like taking care of all those babies?" Which I do! I totally do! But, I keep explaining to them that the pediatric unit takes children all the way up to eighteen years. We also take care of the "just a few dayers" too. The NICU is for the baby babies. But if a baby goes home from the NICU and has to come back one day later, they come back to the PICU. Going home is the dividing line.

Anyway, my point is we have big and little kids.
Yesterday, I was taking care of an 18 day old preemie. My coworker was taking care of a 13 year old who produces massive poops. Yes, I'm blogging about poop. I'm a nurse and it's a part of my job description, so, I'm sorry if it bothers you. Seth walked over to weigh the diaper he had just changed. He looked at the number and called over to me, "I think he just pooped out something the size of your little guy!"

Needless to say, yes, I like taking care of the little babies. It's just one small wipe for mankind.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An auspicious wedding

Okay, I tried to start this blog as if it hasn't been seven weeks since my last post. I couldn't do it. So, I am very sorry I haven't touched this in so long. Our lives haven't been boring, we've just been taking internet hiatuses. I don't even know if that's how you spell that.

So....moving on.

Labor Day weekend, Jim and I took a flying (double meaning - it was fast and we took a plane) trip to Chicago for Victor and Sneha's wedding. Sneha's family is from India and Victor had told us that the entire country was coming for the event. The church wedding was Friday night and the Indian wedding was Saturday afternoon.

We arrived Friday afternoon and took a cab to the Sheraton. Our friend and neighbor, Nate, was with us. It was 18.6 miles from the O'Hare airport to the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago. That cab ride took us a hour and 50 minutes. We were crammed into the the backseat with the air conditioning barely making it through the open pane of the dividing glass panel. Bumper to bumper traffic is an understatement. I closed my eyes and pretended I was somewhere else. Jim read every billboard, bumper sticker and graffiti signage he could clamp his eyes on. Nate tried to read. It was miserable. And then it cost us fifty dollars.

After inhaling a burger and fries, we dashed up to our rooms to get ready. Well, I was dashing, as I need more time. Jim flopped onto the bed.

A bus was provided for those of us who were at the hotel. The bus driver nearly drove into the walkway of the church. But, thanks to good brakes (which resulted in a couple of face plants into the seats in front of us) he managed to avoid that mark on his driving record. The wedding was in a beautiful Lutheran church, with wooden beams and glass walls. It was lovely.

Saturday am - Jim, to my utter delight, mentioned that he would like to wear a hat to the wedding. I didn't know he liked hats!! This also meant we had to go shopping, which is another reason to be delighted!! So, off we went, walking through downtown Chicago. We walked through Millenium Park and saw an outside yoga session. Did I mention I forgot my camera? Hundreds of people laying in a field doing yoga! We walked to Dunkin' Donuts (after the taxi price, we weren't feeling like spending money) and watched the public go by. Three things I remember:
1) A woman walked by with high narrow wedged heels. Heels that catch sidewalk cracks very easily and often. Right in front of Dunkin' Donuts. She managed not to fall by waving her arms wildly in the air. She then passed on out of sight. Seven minutes later, she was on the other side of the street, shopping bag in hand. She stopped on the corner and pulled out her new pair of flip-flops. She yanked off her wedges and dropped them into the garbage can. With her new flip flops, she walked off, ready for the day.
2) A woman carrying a baby. And also carrying her baby stroller.
3) How utterly wonderful it was to walk around with my husband, knowing he was enjoying it as much as I was. We joked and talked and made decisions, and laughed some more. Delightful.

Saturday pm. I set a record for getting ready for a wedding. I mean, shower, hair, makeup, dressing.... I told Jim that the next time I made us late to remember this.

This was our schedule-
3:30-4:30 - Baraat
4:30-6:00 Wedding Ceremony
6:00-7:30 Cocktail Reception
7:30-12:00 Dinner and Dance
12:01 - Pass Out in My Bed

The baraat is the bridegroom's wedding procession before the ceremony. There was a drummer there, drumming along to loud, pulsing Indian music. There were rented turbans which all of the guys put on. So, I wore my husband's new hat as the bedazzled turban became his headgear. Victor walked down a red carpet and mounted a small set of stairs as a decked out horse was walked up to him. Mind you, it took about a half hour to get to this point. With continuous dancing. He climbed on and we danced in front of the horse in front of the Sheraton. We followed the drummer into the hotel, up the escalator and into the foyer of the ballroom, still dancing. Some of the Indian dance moves we learned looked like twisting in lightbulbs with both hands while jumping on one foot. Or, you can twirl pasta out of your hand into the air. We learned these... from YouTube of course! The horse stayed outside. Dance and dance and clap and clap. Again. And again.

Wedding ceremony - The program, thankfully, fully explained what each section meant. The man officiating it, though he would chant in the Sanskrit language, would stop and explain everything in English as well. With his accent, he was hilarious. Italics are the program. Quotations are the... officiate.
"Welcome to the auspicious Marriage Ceremony of Sneha and Victor!" Auspicious? Okaaay?

Vadhu Aagman (Arrival of the Bride) - The bride and groom stand facing each other separated by the cloth screen, symbolizing their separate identies. "Most of the time, the groom hasn't seen the bride. We pretend that Victor hasn't seen the Sneha. He doesn't know what's behind door three!" .... later, while struggling to hold up the cloth screen and prevent Victor from looking at Sneha, "You are too tall! This is too short!.... No! No! Don't look!"

During one point, the wrong music was clicked on and for a few seconds we had the crazy bollywood music from the baraat. When it was quickly shut down the little man on the stage said, "Now, back to our melodious ceremony."

Vivah Hom - Victor was responsible for lighting a fire. "You remember the song, 'C'mon Baby Light My Fire?' So, he will light her fire. I mean! He will light THE fire!"

Often in the middle of his chants he would say something in English. It would sound like this: "Amangalsutraaaaaa bandhannnn, anandasukhasaptapadeeeee.... oooh, excuse me for spitting!.... Kaan Pline n annngiiiii Parikramasaptapadiiii...... no, no you have to do the water first ......Prajapalannnn rituuuuuaaaaaacharannnnn.... wipes! We need some wipes!......Swaaagattganeshpujjuaaaaa kanyadaaaaaan!"

But the highlight? They served ice cream in the middle of the ceremony! I mean, if you're going to have a hour and a half ceremony you probably should, but seriously? I saw the family on the front row being served something and I just assumed it was a part of the ceremony... but then little glass bowls of a rasberry sorbet with mango candy was passed down. And that was what everybody talked about! It was hilarious. During cocktail hour the start-up conversations pretty much went like this - "Wow. That was really long!" "Yeah, but the ice cream made it worth it!"
"So, what did you think?" " I think I'm going to serve ice cream at my wedding!"
"You know what I was wondering?" What?" "How did the tradition of serving ice cream during the ceremony NOT get passed down into American culture?"

It was fun. It was also convenient to be only an elevator ride away from your room. Go upstairs, rest for a few minutes, then go back downstairs. We ate, drank, danced and were merry. And as my schedule said, we collapsed into bed at midnight.

The next morning, we walked 20 minutes to the train, paid $2.25, and rode 45 minutes to the airport. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I've been in this house for nine months. The whole time I've been promising myself that I would eventually clean out that bedroom. When wifehood hit, this house saw a flurry of unpacking, rearranging, softening, coloring, and organizing (well, I thought I was organizing... turns out I was just losing everything: Two months after decluttering and Jim goes, "Have you seen the little black cord that I use to keep in the corner? In the pile of cords?" Oopsie. Oh...yeah. The cord. I put it in a much more organized place. I just can't remember where that place is at the moment.). At least, most of the house. One room was so chaotic I just couldn't bring myself to fix it. In fact, I added to its turmoil by throwing some of my own stuff in there. I'd do it later, I said. For now... just don't open that door!

Well, we have company coming this weekend and we're going to need it. Yesterday we pushed open the door and groaned.

Now granted, this picture was taken after some of the
boxes had already vomited their contents onto the floor.
My stuff had already been sorted through, thrown out and repacked. So... it was all HIS. Oh, the stuff we found! Report cards from first grade up, newspaper clippings listing his name on the honor roll from first grade up, tapes with songs he had recorded from the radio (I just dated my generation), computer games, and several Lego models, complete with all parts. There was a remote control car, a rocket, and multiple baseballs, tennis balls, a go-cart helmet, a baseball helmet, a motorcycle helmet and a pilot's helmet. A bag full of ski gear and a bag filled with boy scout uniforms. Photo albums by the droves, math medals, a box full of random shoes, walkie talkies that still worked, a walkman, a discman, and a tie with soccer balls on it. A wind-up monkey. I am not even kidding. Welcome home banners. Congratulation banners. High school graduation cards and programs. Pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, and rubber bands by the pound. Homework and floppy discs (which we threw away, just so you know). I could continue, but I'll stop. Oh, wait. The plastic eagle Auburn hat and the sombrero. How could I forget those?

For your enjoyment, here is a picture of Jim wearing the sombrero AND the eagle headgear, with his highly stylish Christmas sweatshirt (those are tigers wearing Santa hats, folks), clutching his remote control convertible and wearing a pair of random shoes. Beside him is his wife with an Airman hat, ski goggles, and math medals (three medals, mind you! Don't challenge her... I mean, her husband's number skills) around her neck. She is ready for anything in her military boots. Together they have good communication, thanks to those walkie talkies.

But probably the most enjoyable moments were finding some of Jim's book reports from elementary school. I think the word limit for them was twenty. I think he should ditch flying an airplane and become a writer.... but I might be a little biased.

1) "Woof the Seeing Eye Dog" by Denae Dobson - Woof had been doing things he wasn't supposed to. Woof led a blind lady whose dog was sick. It taught Woof a lesson not to be bad.
I'm confused. Did he lead her in front of a car?

2) "The Fire Engine Book" by Jesse Younger - This book is about a fire engine. There was a fire. They got the fire out.
The end. Sheesh. Who writes these dumb books?

3) "Truck" by Donald Crews - This book is about trucks.
Little Jimmy had mastered the art of stating the obvious. He was trying to help his teacher at least notice the obvious.

4) "The Never Sink Nine Slugger Mike" by Gibbs Davis - This book was about baseball. It was about two boys. They were friends. Their names were Mike and Walter. They thought they weren't friends. But at the end they were friends.
Phew! I'm glad that's settled!

5) "Lions and Tigers" by Elizabeth Kaufman - This books is about tigers and lions. It told how heavy they are. They like to play. Lions like to climb and tigers like to swim.
Jim - Pretty clever, huh? Switching it from "lions and tigers" to "tigers and lions."

6) "How Honu the Turtle Got His Shell" by Casey A. McGuire-Turcotte - The story was about a turtle. He had a friend named Mahi-Mahi. He was a dolphin.
Apparently, how Honu got his shell wasn't that important.

7) "The Haunted Forest" by G. Warren Schloat, Jr. - This book is about a boy named Andy. He met a basketball tree. He met lots of other trees.
A basketball tree?

And my personal favorite...
8) "Curious George Gets a Medal" by H.A. Rey - Some people asked Curious George to test a rocket. He did it. And he got a medal.
This is ridiculous. I'm going to read The Count of Monte Cristo.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

patience is a virtue... just not hers

Jim just reminded me of this quote from Alisa, sister-dear.

Sunday we were at the Woodley family reunion. The FINAL announcement (hahaha! That's just a little inside joke. You see, the announcement woman is never ever done making announcements. Everyone is happily putting some south in their mouth, talking, and laughing and in the background you can hear her attempting to tell everyone to make sure you sign the book, to raise your hand to vote on something, to make sure you take your dishes home... etc.) was to let the people with younger children and the slower, much older people go first in the food line.

That was at 12:01.
At 12:03...

Alisa - Okay. Let's go get in line! I'm hungry!
Jim - We're supposed to wait!
Alisa - The old people have had their chance! Let's go!

Monday, July 18, 2011

snowball fighting sock monkeys

You know it's time to do the laundry when your husband is wearing his Christmas boxers.

Sorry, babe.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

1) ... ... ...

I just found this as a draft in my blog archives.

It was from November 2008.

It's Thanksgiving! And you know what that means... another list!
I am thankful for


It's rather funny. Or sad. I can't decide. I am of the opinion that I was called away from the computer and never allowed to finish it. I am not of the opinion that I sat there in silence, trying to be thankful for just one thing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

words now

Well, you've seen the pictures of the Creeper. Now for some memories.

It was wonderful. Seriously. It had been about ten years since we had last been to our well-beloved bike trail with the Meeks. Families change a lot in ten years, let me tell you.

1) Anna grew up. From the six year old who really didn't help at all to Mom's right hand sixteen year-old woman.
2) Jeff was the old son-in-law with three years of wife-experience
3) Jason and Jim were the newbies at 11 and 7 months.
4) Mom and Dad only have two more years of homeschooling left
5) Mr. Steve and Mrs. Debbie had been done for about 6 years
6) I realized that Anna isn't just my little sister anymore. She's my friend.
7) The boys (Ryan, Caleb, Asa and Jon) are now desired company. They like to sit around a fire and talk
8) We've all grown up. And whether I like it or not I wouldn't miss it for the world

Somethings don't change:

1) The word camping causes all males to forget how to use their razors
2) We still love four-square. As silly of a game as it looks, we are all secretly out for blood.
3) Dad and Uncle Greg's ongoing fight over how to build a fire. They nearly caught the campground on fire one morning. Ask them for the story.
4) Mom and Mrs. Debbie's organization skills still blow my mind. I kept a running list of things I forgot.
5) Satan is always wandering to and fro seeking whom he may devour. The constant fight is exhausting... but the small daily victories make it worth it.

Memorable moments:

1) When the rain came - I wish I had had a video camera set up. We were all gathered around the table and the fire, eating Alisa's delicious minestrone soup and listening to the rumble of thunder overhead and the wind....?.... in the trees. Wind? I think that's rain. No, it's wind, look at the trees bowing down. No, it's rain and it's getting louder. Here it comes. You know, I think you're right. It does sound like rain. I know I'm right! There it is!! AUGH!
And everyone ran for their life as if they were the Wicked Witch of the West. It happened in a matter of seconds. Everyone standing calmly around debating philosophical issues -blink- everyone running towards their personal shelter, chair in one hand, bowl of soup in the other. I was blessed to be in my own campsite, just a few feet from our stretched-out tarp. I laughed heartily at the hastily scattered folk.

2) Jeff's vast wife-experience - Another rain incident. Once again, we were standing around a campfire roasting smores. For some people, roasting a perfect marshmallow is a work of art. Alisa's art was nearing perfection when the rain came through the woods around us. We were a little more prepared for it this time. A few ran, but others just tucked themselves deeper into their ponchos and umbrellas shot out of nowhere. Alisa, seeing the swelling golden mass on her stick was afraid to move as the raindrops tickled her face. "Jeff! Quick! Bring me a graham cracker with chocolate! It's going to fall off!" Jeff, just feeling the wet himself, jumped to his feet, grabbed his chair, and took off.... towards his campsite. "I'll see you in the truck, honey!" he called. Alisa watched his retreating back in disbelief, her hair sticking to her face from the rain. I grabbed a graham with some chocolate and handed it to her. As she smooshed down the marshmallow she muttered, "He can sleep in that truck, too."

3) Asa's correction - My little brother gave me a needed kick in the pants. There were hurt feelings, expectations weren't being met, and a few grumpy faces. I voiced a snide remark, hidden in a "righteous attitude." Asa called me out privately. With a few simple words he told me that I was the one adding to the problem, that I knew what I was saying was wrong and to not say it again. I was ashamed. It's always embarrassing when someone younger than you puts you in your place and you know they're right. By the grace of God, I reacted humbly and apologized quickly. Thank you, Asa.

4) Bus driver's wisdom - We shuttled up to the top of the mountain to ride down it. Um... I mean, we shuttled DOWN the mountain and then rode up it! Yeah. Because, well, you know that only sissies coast down a mountain. Anyway, our driver was answering Jeff's question regarding the frequency of droughts. "Well, we've been getting a lot of rain this year. We do get droughts a good bit. Well, we haven't had one in the last five years or so. We've had lots of rain so... no drought. Now, when it stops raining that's when we have a drought."

5)Slugs - Our campsite was infested with them. We learned that slugs love: Pringles, other dead slugs, and our flip flops. Every morning there would be 2-4 gray blobs on our flip flops. Jim even hung them off of our tent and they still found them, the silver trails of ooze showing us their path up our tent. So one night I sprinkled a ring of salt around our shoes. Take that, you little cannibals! The next morning we gazed in disbelief: Apparently, salt doesn't deter them. It was like the would hit the first few grains of it, realize they were starting to melt, and crawl through the rest of it, like a soldier in the mud. When a slug melts, it turns orange. They would continue to crawl and melt all the way to our flip flops. There they would die, apparently at peace that they had accomplished their goal. So instead of easily flick-offable alive slugs, we had orange, gooey trails of leftover slugs. It was lovely.

And the list would continue. But I'm going to bed. Good night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

soft expired peaks

Pioneer Woman posted a recipe a few weeks ago that I have been wanting to try ever since. Last week I finally had all of the ingredients and the appropriate time. So, I commenced to making Strawberry Pound Cake with Basil Whipped Cream. Yums, right?

So, I rounded up the typical ingredients and correct equipment. I creamed the sugar and butter,

then convinced the strawberries to go for a whirly-ride.

They didn't even say thank you.

I added the flour,

the (now) disgruntled strawberries,

and whipped it into a beautiful fluffy pink batter. And my left hand is seriously handicapped. I needed it to work the mixer so I could take pictures with my right. Would you believe that Lefty barely knew how to use an electric mixer? It was like, "Whoa man! Why you make me be doin' all this work?"

After pouring the batter into a bread pan and into the oven to bake, go out into your lovely, dew-kissed, weed-free garden and pick some fresh basil. If you don't have such a garden, it's okay. I don't either. If you don't have a garden period, come to my house and get all the basil you want. Seriously.

Ah. Now the whipping cream. I love whipping the cream. I love it the way it forms "soft peaks." So, I started whipping. I whipped and I whipped and I whipped. After 25 minutes, I googled "how long does it take whipping cream to whip," and was told by the masses that the longest it should take was 10 minutes. And that was with a hand mixer. So, I continued to electrically whip for another 10 minutes. Thus I had whipped for 35 minutes and this is what I was looking at. Not to mention that, by now, it was all over me, the counter, the flour and sugar containers, and the mail lying on the counter.

So, I yanked open the fridge and glared at the whipping cream. It said, "Don't blame me! You're the idiot who didn't check the expiration date!"
Yes. May 4th. And it was, very much, no bones about it, June 3rd. It didn't smell or anything to clue me in. It just didn't whip. Curse you, whipping cream. My husband reminded me that this was not a big deal and that we would get a free one from Winn Dixie. Which we did.

Ah. Whipping cream that hasn't expired. I love whipping cream that hasn't expired.

Look at those soft peaks. And that lazy left hand that can't even hold the glass bowl upright. And the weird yellow lighting.

Stir in the chopped basil and remember to look up the definition for pontification.

Oh, by the way, the cake finished while I was whipping for nothing.

I will be perfectly honest and say this: It was kind of weird. All together it was good.... but the whipping cream by itself was strange and the cake by itself was plain. Now, the strawberries by themselves were fantastic! But, God made those, so duh. Jim said he liked it and I believed him... but we didn't go back for seconds.