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Archive for September, 2008

Are those footballs?

Angela at Unexpected Art has started a grand tradition aptly named “Mouth of Babes Monday!”  You post some seriously funny comment, question or observation your children have made recently.

So the other day, Joseph, my 8-year-old, was waiting in the car with his great-grandmama who has been staying with us for a few weeks.  (She is so much fun and has a winning sense of humor!)  Anyway, she relayed this story to me.

A lady got out of her late model Cadillac and headed toward our van.  Edward was apparently riveted to her movements because he asked,

“Grandmama, do you think that lady has footballs tucked up in her shirt..see there?”  Grandmama stifled a laugh and finally answered, “No, son, I don’t think those are footballs.”

He looked incredulous.  “You mean they are her…her…her bosoms???”

“Yes, Joseph, I believe they are,” she answered.

Then his mind must have raced wildly because he sort of muttered under his breath, “I sure hope I don’t ever have to get in the car with someone like her.”

I guess this is all good news???  A healthy dose of stranger danger?

Posted on 29 September '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 12 Comments.

‘No Mother’ in the ER

OK, it’s becoming a weekend plan–burgers, fries, a quick, or perhaps not so quick, trip to the ER…

As many of you know, my husband’s grandmother has been staying with us for several weeks since her daughter “went abroad” for a spell.  We honestly love having her with us.  She has made the Great Depression come alive for my children at a time I believe it is important to remember what could be for us.

She has drawn elaborate family trees for my sons and described great-great grandparents, aunts and uncles in amazing details that have brought these ancestors alive.

She actually dragged out the Easy Bake Oven and helped my children bake three miniscule Crabby Patties in it–something I hardly ever do because of the mess and the stress over portioning out these tiny treats.  (Why are they so blooming tiny???)

At 88, however, her health is decent, but a bit troubled.  Yesterday, she sort of “fell out” in a kitchen chair and I took her blood pressure only to find it was quite high.  Back to the ER for her.  6:30 on a Friday night.  You wouldn’t think it would be so…so…so…

Well, let me just paint an ER picture for you.

A thin, bespeckled, bookish boy of perhaps seven or eight is curled up in a soiled chair, his thin legs dangling over the edge. He leans gingerly over a plastic Country Crock tub, repeatedly throwing up.  He is ostensibly alone.

His grandfather (I guess?) sits nearby, ignoring him for the most part, and occasionally glancing disgustedly in his direction.  All the strength that poor dear can muster is called on to raise his head to aim correctly at the “crock.”  Several soiled towels and rags are clustered about his chair.

Each time he becomes sick the “grandfather” looks over at him and scowls.  At one point the “grandfather” gruffly, perhaps drunkenly, addressed the packed waiting room: “Anybody got a dress we can put on this boy?  This boy needs a dress!  Look at him. The pansy.”

I boiled inside.  I looked at him, made clear eye contact, and scowled angrily.  Several older ladies in the room protested sweetly, but loudly.  We looked at each other and sadly exchanged glances.  Earlier in the night, I had shared my anti-bacterial hand gel with these kind ladies.

It was all Grandmama and I could do to hold back our tears.  This poor forgotten boy sat in an ER waiting room with no one to comfort him.  I seriously thought about going over to him…just to place a calming hand on his shoulder.

Yet I was afraid of the grandfather, afraid of bringing those germs home to an elderly woman and my own children.  So I simply sat there and prayed that this child could feel an unseen hand gently rubbing his back.

Then things got worse.

His “mother” arrived in from a “smoke,” unlit cigarette in hand, three other children tagging behind and another woman, too.  They wore filthy socks and no shoes…padding all over the streaked ER floor.  It was clear that bathing was a foreign, or perhaps unavailable, concept; they clutched plastic bags of Cokes and candy.  Everyone flitted about the ER, talking loudly, ignoring their poor, wretching son/brother.

Another man sat down next to the tiny boy, his arm bound tightly.  A family member sat nearby.  Suddenly the troubled man started up, ripped off his bandage, and blood spurted all over the chairs, the small boy, the floor.  Mayhem ensued.  Nurses were called; the man removed.

The poor, sick boy was jerked out of his chair by his mother who dragged him over to the only other available chair–two chairs down from us.  His sister waved the dirty rags all about the ER, dancing to her own, hidden song, while germs peppered the air and the sick tried to avoid being hit.

Maintenance came in to remove all the soiled chairs, replacing them with nothing.  People stood or leaned against walls.

My mind churned.  The nurse said we had at least a three-hour wait to see a doctor, and with the blood pressure issue settled, she wasn’t sure what could be done for Grandmama.

A worried father rushed in with his four-year-old daughter, her hand tightly bound in clean, white towels.  Her tawny curls spilled down his back as he spoke to her in concerned, hushed whispers.  Her grandmother rushed in, sat next to me, and explained that the poor girl’s finger had been severed.

Nervously they waited.  And waited.  And protested.  And waited.  We prayed, and waited.  Why wasn’t she rushed back to surgery?  Why did a child have to wait like this?

I learned so many things during this night.  Many of you are probably nodding your heads and saying what a sheltered life I have led.  You would be right.

I also am so thankful God didn’t put this scenario before me when Sue was getting her chin stitched just three short weeks ago; he spared her three-year-old mind these troubling images, for which I am exceedingly glad. He did, however, allow me to glimpse into this world yesterday for several specific reasons that I realize now, and several more yet to come.

So often as I sat in that waiting room I thought of Kia’s fascinating posts of late regarding being a “good mother.”

Please do not think I am criticizing or judging this mother and grandfather.  I have no idea what their life circumstances have been.  I don’t know the pain they have faced, or the fires they have trudged through.  I do know that little boy needed comfort and love, and there was nobody there to give it.

And that broke me in a certain strange way.

It reminded me of friends who either have or are in the process of adopting babies from orphanages all over the world.  You see, I have tangentially understand these dear friends’ desires to adopt; yet until this night when I saw a child so needy, I never truly understood their fervor and drive.

Because if someone would have allowed me to scoop up this little boy in my already-burdened arms and take him home forever, I would have done it.

I would have signed the papers right then and there.

Posted on 27 September '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 29 Comments.

GF/CF Friday: Purely Decadent Dairy Free Ice Cream

Please head on over the Hello Kittie Mama’s Bon Bon Gazette for more GF/CF Friday Reviews!

Finally, finally, finally, eureka! Someone has done it!  A great-tasting, fairly-priced dairy and gluten-free ice cream novelty with enviable flavor and creamy texture!

We have tried so many different dairy-free ice cream substitutes with Edward, our 6-year-old who has been on the GF/CF diet for 8 months; he flatly rejected them all.  Until the arrival of this jewel!  It actually has chunks of gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough!  Feel the love:

The only down-side is Edward’s out-right obsession with the flavor and creamy goodness.  For instance today, I rounded the corner in the kitchen to find this:

My local Publix has even had this confectionary miracle on sale!

Buy, buy, buy!

Posted on 26 September '08 by , under GF/CF Diet/Food Reviews. 13 Comments.

Wordless Wednesday: PMS

This is how I feel today:

Posted on 24 September '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 24 Comments.

Mouths of Babes Monday

Angela from Unexpected Art had this creative idea to post funny things your children have said.  This fits right in line for so much of what has been going on in my life because 1) My children say funny/shocking things every day, and 2) My Internet service has been sketchy at best so I don’t have much time to post anything before it crashes again.

(Coincidentally if I don’t respond to your comments or questions, this is why!)

So the other day, Sue, who recently turned 3, was tucked neatly and safely in her Britax car seat in the back of the van.  She’s usually fairly quiet back there, which is understandable given the mahem and messes her brothers generally create.

On this particular day, however, they were quietly absorbed in connecting multiple fast food straws together in order to make an extra-long spitball shooter.

So loud and clear her tiny voice rings:

“If God has all that “powah” and all, Mommy, does he really need Jesus?”


There is so much key theology in that simple question.

I just laughed, looked up at God and prayed something like “Ok, another child who is going to ask questions like this.  All righty, then, I’m game!”

I never thought so much about the Mystery of the Trinity until I had children.

That says a lot.

Posted on 23 September '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 14 Comments.

Neopet Disdain

I am not happy with the Burger King establishment.  Not happy at all.

Last week when we went for our weekly BK play date with neighbors, we did purchase BK Kids meals in hopes of procuring these much-touted Neopets.  We received said Neopets, complete with a rinky-rickety “box home” and a supposed “special code” that allows Internet play.  Here’s the home of the lovely “Grundo,” who, thanks to amazingly-progressive toy technology, is able to “move his antennae and arms!”

We frolicked happily in the Burger King wood chips with our Neopet dinosaurs and aliens that were surprisingly quiet and simple.  Everyone was happy.  I waxed poetic over my children’s ability to actually play imaginatively with creatures that don’t shoot a projectile, scream an incomprehensible saying or render a tattoo.

Happiness flew out the window, however, once we loaded everyone into the van.  Sprites were overturned and ketchup-smeared hands soiled Britax car seats.

“Where’s my Neopet’s super-secret code?”  Edward asked, suspiciously.

“Maybe it’s on the box,” Joseph offered.  We scan the box madly.  No code on the box anywhere.

In the meantime, Sue is screaming in her car seat because she just wants.to.hold.the.Neopet.box.  She cares not a whit about any secret code.

“My Neopet will not be web-enabled without a secret code!  He’s not even web-enabled!  I can’t take this!”  Edward warns from the back set.

“OK, let me figure this out,” I promise, always the peacemaker.  I drive the van over to the front door and pop out to peruse a poster advertising these creatures.  The poster alludes to a “code” on the BK Kids bag.

Great. Our bag is deep in the depths of some ketchup-encrusted cess-pool of a waste can.  Even I won’t stoop to digging it out.

I return to the van with the heroic promise that I will buy yet another BK Kid’s meal just so we can have the “delightful” bag.  (Insert other words in the spot where I typed “delightful” but thought a different word.)

I cruise up to the drivethru, order a meal for me (since I didn’t eat) and thrill to receiving the happy bag.  The drive-thru worker, a youngish teen, hands me the bag.

I put the car in park and peruse the bag, scanning desperately for the “secret code” as the youngsters in the back screel desperately, “Where’s the code?  What about the web-enabled code? Do you see the code?” Blah blah blah. I’m a fairly quick read.  I SEE NO CODE.

I unroll my window, lock eyes with the teen, and ask cooly, “Where’s the code, dude?”

“Code?”  He replies, looking bored.  “What code are you talking about?”

“The Neopet code!  The code that allows Neopet Internet play!  The whole raison d’etre behind the BK Kid’s meal!” I’m losing my patience.

“Code?  I don’t know nothin’ about no code.”

“Well,” I reply cooly, “The poster on your FRONT DOOR says the code is on the BK Kid’s bag.  I see no such code.”  The youth snatches the BK Kids meal bag from me and begins to scan it.  “I don’t see a code.  Wait, we did have bags with a code a few days ago.  Don’t have any more of those bags now.”

“This won’t work!”  I slowly begin to raise my voice, “You can’t play on the Internet without a code. I need a code and I NEED IT NOW.”

“Lady,” he drawls, the sweat popping on his slightly furred upper lip, “They don’t pay me enough to keep up this this kind of stuff.  I do not know. That’s all I can tell you.”

I thought about calling for a manager, but when I looked through the drive-thru window at said manager, I decided it just was not worth it.

We enjoyed a fun-filled week with our simple, non-web-enabled pets as they frolicked in the sun, played hide-and-seek and shared our meals.

Here is Sue sharing orange juice with her Neopet:

Fast-forward to today.  We meet our neighbors at BK.  They are eating, but we are having leftovers.  My sweet friend purchases two BK Kid’s meals for her children.  While the children play, she carefully lays out their meals on the hamburger wrapper, two brimming ketchup cups per child, the fries sprinkled beautifully next to the burgers.

It’s BK plating at it’s best.  Even I am getting hungry for BK fare.

She calls her children over to eat, and they rush over.  The three-year-old smiles sweetly as she takes her seat and daintily begins to dip a crispy fry.   The eight-year-old, however, scowls and begins to scan the table in a frenzied manner.

“Mom, mom,” he asks breathlessly, “Where’s the bag?  The BK bag??”

I sense his looming panic and I realize what’s about to transpire.

“Sweetie,” my friend explains patiently, “I threw it away when I got your food out.”

“THREW IT AWAY?  WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU THREW IT AWAY!  It’s got the Neopet code on it!  The code that allows Internet play!  I’ve got to have that bag, Mom!”

Thus, the Neopet frenzy has driven yet another usually mild-mannered, well-behaved eight-year-old into a raving lunatic.  Here is the coveted code:

Thankfully, we were able to retrieve the discarded bag, my children convinced me to buy just one BK meal so we, too, could finally taste the freedom of a Neopet Code, and we all returned home happy and excited to finally have truly web-enabled pets.

Fast-forward to this evening:

Edward slowly shuffles in, his face pale and wan, “Mommy, I feel like I’m going to pass out.”  I immediately run to his aid because with his hypoglycemia and all, he is a trifle prone to falling out.

“What is it buddy?  How do you feel?”  I ask, concerned.  “So very, very sad, Mommy.  My Neopet…he’s…he’s…dying.”

Apparently these “pets” do not subsist very long without their web-enabled food.  You’d think they would at least hang on for a few hours after the BK Kid’s meal purchase, however.

Gracious heavens alive!  Haven’t we been through enough?

Posted on 20 September '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 26 Comments.

I Graciously Accept

Entrecard Rocks!  (See, I can be cool.)  But seriously I have met so many new friends through Entrecard and one of them is KiKi at Kiki’s Corner.   To make things even grander, Kiki granted me this kind award this week!

Here are the instructions for the following Brillante Weblog Premio award recipients:

1. Place the logo on your blog.
2. Link to the person who awarded you.
3. You can nominate up to 5 blogs.
4. You can then add their links to your blog.
5. Leave a message in the comment section to each nominee on their blog.

So my five are:

Lindy Lou

Brain Foggles

Seeker’s Rattlings

Best Homeschool Place

Unexpected Art

Also, a new Entrecard friend, Juliana at Juliana’s Site and Picturing of Life bestowed upon me yet another fine award:

I love these blogs and I’m pleased as punch to pass this award on! All they need to do is to leave the following message on their post when they pass the award on to their chosen eight blogger buddies.

“These blogs are exceedingly charming.  These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.  They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement.  Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.  Please give more attention to these writers!  Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

My choices are:

Outnumbered Two to One

Crazy Jugs

Pancakes Gone Awry

Good Enough Mama

Good Fountain

Oh Fer Cryin’ Out Loud

Walking by Faith

3 Running in Circles

Not to be forgotten, Tara at Tara’s View of the World, gave me this lovey award a few weeks ago.

I’m passing it on to:

The Domestic Engineer’s Union

Make up your own rules on this one!

Posted on 19 September '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 8 Comments.

Wordless Wednesday: What Does This Hat Say?

My dearest friend from high school and college went on a blind date with this fellow lately.  One blind date.  It went reasonably well.  He left for a two-week vacation and when he returned, he gave her this faux-distressed “cap” and a skimpy, see-through, purple and gold “swim-suit” cover up.  At least we think that’s what it is.

It’s been so many years since I’ve been a part of the dating world, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of all this.

Neither was she.  So we are seeking your opinion.

What do these gifts mean?

Posted on 17 September '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 25 Comments.

Another ER Adventure

The day began beautifully!  First I pre-made my coffee the night before, which always results in that grand coffee smell wafting into my bedroom, gently waking me from my cough medicine-induced stupor.  (I’ve had a bit of a cold lately.)  Then I stepped outside to find actual brisk, Fall air in place of the murky, humid mornings we have had here for the past six weeks.

You know that very first day when the light falls just a bit differently and there is something in the air slightly incomprehensible but varied enough that you know seasons are changing?  That day was today.  Every year I take note of that seasonal change and try to embrace it.

The joy continued as the Perfume Stalker offered to take Sue to Pre-School, which automatically adds at least 45 minutes to our homeschool day.  The boys eagerly grabbed their Spelling workbooks and began trying to “work ahead”–a little known concept in this novice homeschooling house.

The day was unfolding perfectly before me.  We had nowhere to be until football practice at 6 pm–a day of freedom to fit in some extras like playing board games, collecting fall leaves and making gluten-free brownies.  Doesn’t it all sound so glorious?

Hold on.

And then the phone call.  It’s the Perfume Stalker, aka Ashley: “Well, you aren’t going to believe this, but Sue threw up in my car.  Again.”  See this is the second time she’s thrown up in this friend’s car in the past few weeks.  It’s a bit strange because she is not sick, and unlike the Town & Country, the Perfume Stalker’s Suburban is frighteningly clean, so it’s not like there is some lingering, bad smell…unless clean is bad?

And as I’m rushing out the door to rescue Sue, H’s grandmother, who is 88 and staying with us for three weeks while H’s parents are out of the country, hobbles into the kitchen, doubled over in pain.  “I’m so very, very sorry but I think I need to go to the hospital.”  (This sweet woman may be 88, but she looks 68 and behaves like a 48-year-old, so to see her in this shape was shocking and concerning!)

Get ready, set GO!  (Sung to the tune of the William Tell Overture.)

“Call the husband, text the husband, get out of that meeting now!   Get every single bottle of medicine that she takes all around.  Pack the clothes and the food for the hospital.  And DON’T forget….to feed the neighbor’s dog!”

(I was honestly trying to fit in something about reminding H this was the last day to sell the Boston Butts tickets for Joseph’s football team, but I couldn’t make the syllables work.)

About the time we are ready to head out the door to the ER, Ashley arrives with a vomit-dribbled Sue.  She looks slightly peaked, but announces a keen desire for “toast.”  I quickly swab her off, brush her teeth, and arrange her in my bed with a “towel shield” and Sesame Street.

H arrives soon, sad to be missing yet another enthralling team-building event at his company.  I provide him with a quick homeschool plan for the day, and we’re off to the ER.  This time, however, I know my way around!  I proudly waltz through secret back doors, greet receptionists by name, and am heartened when we have the same nurse we had two weeks ago.

Seven ER hours later (which translates to 14 real-time hours), we have learned that thankfully, H’s grandmother does not have an intestinal blockage. She is slightly dehydrated, has slow sodium and is possibly lactose-intolerant.  We leave with new medicines, marching orders, new diet plans and a renewed confidence in our abilities to add even more medications to her ever-expanding medication spreadsheet chart.

I arrive home to find that H has outdone himself as the 41-year-old-stay-at-home-homeschool-dad-rare bookselling-laundress.  He’s taken all three children to the post office where Edward loudly read the “Prohibited Items” poster for a lunch-time postal crowd, regaling them with questions about whether or not handguns were the same thing as “pistols” and wondering aloud if any of the patrons were actually packing a gun.

And he’s churned through laundry using an excessive amount perhaps a teensy bit too much homeade laundry powder.

Thankfully we caught this before the laundry room flooded.

All in all, it’s been a a full day, but a good day.

(Thanks, God.)

Posted on 16 September '08 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Faith is the Evidence. 14 Comments.

Quirkiness Abounds

People out there must truly think me quirky since I’ve been tagged twice in the past few days for this outstanding meme about Quirkiness.  Now that I peruse my posts, I do discuss quirkiness a lot, and even describe myself as quirky in my “About” page.  So I was absolutely thrilled to be tagged by three great bloggy buddies, Bonnie Sayers from Autism Family and Elle and Stacy from Blue Monkey Butt.

I’ve written about quirks before so initially I feared I would have exhausted all possibilities.  Alas, this is not the case.  I have to stop at six quirks, and honestly I’ve found that a tad limiting.

Quirks from the Quirky:

1.  None of my children embraced a pacifier.  I did buy those pricey “so-much-like-the-breast” pacifiers for the nursing infant, and I tried the ones that smell like vanilla.  By the time Sue, my third, came around, I felt excited buying pink pacifiers for the first time, but she simply spit those pink beauties across the room.  She named them “buppy” when she turned one and liked to carry them around in tiny purses.  Here’s the quirk.  I still carry two buppies in my purse at all times.  I have some odd sense of security in knowing that if I am faced with a wailing infant at any point in the day, I can adroitly whip one of these “pacis” out of my purse.  Like I’m some Mary Poppins of pacifiers?  Or maybe it’s part of my refusal to let go of my children’s babyhood and face the unlikelihood that, at 41, I will have another baby?  I don’t know.  But it does seem a little quirky.

OK, I mean I really would rinse it off before I gave it to the wailing infant.

2.  One of my ears is approximately 1/4 inch lower than the other one.  It’s not all that noticeable but H does mention it still when he is trying to be encouraging about my appearance.

3.  I still style my hair with hot rollers and I have had the same hair style (with or without bangs) since 1985.  Yes, I have tried a flat iron.  I even received an incredibly nice flat iron for Mother’s Day.  Occasionally, I have the time to use it.  Yet after 23 years of whipping hot rollers in and out of my hair, I’ve perfected a winning technique.  I can execute this style in about 45 seconds.  I came into my marriage with the same set of hot rollers I “carried” to college.  I used those same hot rollers up until four years ago when my oldest son (who was four at the time) suggested new hot rollers as a Mother’s Day gift.  H was more than happy to accompany him to Target to procure a new set.  I love them still!

4.  I have had the same glasses since 1995.  They are eerily similar to Hello Kittie Mama’s.  (Not a knock on this fashion maven.  The style was “in” during the mid 1990s and came back recently.)  I like to embrace a style and just keep going with it as it meanders in and out of actual popularity.

5. Some of my fondest childhood memories involved spending Saturday nights with my grandmother, who lived in a small stone cottage she built with my grandfather.  She could tell stories about each stone, where they found it, and why she chose it for the house.  She died in 1994 of Alzheimer’s, but she left me many things that I cherish.  One of these is a small, pressed glass juice glass.  I can only drink orange juice out of this glass.  When I do, I am instantly transported back to her tiny kitchen which smelled of oatmeal and sassafrass tea.

6.  I become so engrossed when reading novels that I must eat the same foods the characters eat.  If I am reading about Geisha, I am scrambling for bowls of jasmine rice and chopsticks.  When involved in a novel about the old South, I yearn for country ham, biscuits, grits and beans.  After 14 years of marriage, H has learned this about me.  Lately I’ve been reading a book about pirates with the boys.  And yes, I’m on the hunt for some hardtack and brine.

The rules for this Meme are:

1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged bloggers letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Whom should I tag?

1.  Andrea Cook at Crazy Jugs

2.  Helene at Two Sets of Twins

3.  Jamey at Walking by Faith

4.  Tracey at Cheese and Whine

5.  Molly at The Girl in the Middle

6.  Carla at Somebody Needs a Nap

Have a quirky time!

Posted on 14 September '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 22 Comments.