Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

For a week now we had been trying to set aside a block of time to carve our pumpkins for Halloween. We tried to carve them on Monday evening but lo and behold the official pumpkin carving tools were no where to be found. So yesterday, I searched high and lo for a new set of pumpkin carving tools and finally happened upon some at the Harris Teeter (very expensive I might add). So last night we were finally able to turn our plain old pumpkins into some jammin' jack-o-lanterns. Harrison was not thrilled about sticking his hands into the ooey gooey pumpkin insides but he was all about helping his dad do the carving. Holden was a willing participant in the pumpkin gut cleaning. He maybe enjoyed it a bit too much. He also liked doing the carving although several times his dad had to warn him that he was getting to close to fingers for comfort. Haley is finally at the age where she can create her own design and carve her own pumpkin. This makes it much easier on dad since now he only has to focus on the one. The jack-o-lanterns were happy about their outcome, look at the smile on their faces.

Tonight was the night of ghosts and goblins or more appropriately in our household, Power Rangers and Hippies. Holden and Harrison were Power Rangers and Haley (aka Ms. Procrastinator) ended up being a hippie. We tie died her shirt Monday evening. Of course the boys also wanted one so we ended up tye dyeing four shirts. Haley's friend Rachel was a bumblebee. Her mom made the cute outfit.

Before we went out trick or treating, our neighbors invited us over to their house for a cookout. It was a lot of fun and nice to meet some of the neighbors we had not met before. I blew my entire week of Flex points on the hot dog with chili but it was so incredibly delicious I just couldn't resist.

Our across the street neighbor started decorating his lawn for Halloween 3 weeks ago. Day after day we would come home to find some other decoration occupying space in his yard. First it was a few pumpkins, then some skeletons, then a scarecrow or two. Then came the monster inflatables and the inflatable haunted house. The porch was the last space to be decorated and I don't think he could have found room for another pumpkin. He even put a giant blow up spider on his roof. He even had music playing through speakers in his yard. This evening he dressed up like Captain Jack Sparrow to hand out treats.

Haley's friend Rachel came over to trick or treat. They just moved here from Tennessee and are leasing in a condo until their house in TN sells. So I was giving her father directions to come and pick her up and when I told him we lived across the street from the house with a million decorations he didn't really believe me. When he got here to pick her up he said that he now understood why I said that.
We had a steady stream of trick or treaters. I was the not so popular mom in our household who bought individual bags of unpopped popcorn to give out. I get so tired of telling the kids no more candy that I just thought it would be a cool idea to do something different. Most of the kids who came to the door were really excited about getting popcorn. One little girl who was about 8 said "Popcorn, that's kind of weird but thank you anyway."
I bought 80 bags thinking that would be a gracious plenty but I ran out about an hour into the whole trick or treating thing. I guess the house across the street brought quite a few more kids than usual. I started turning off the lights just before I ran out and still had a few come up to the door after I turned the lights off. I answered it the first time then I went upstairs and hid out with the lights off so no one could see me. Next year I guess I will need to get 160 bags of popcorn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homework Wars

Today is a short week for the kids and for that I am glad. For me that means no more homework until next week. No homework on Thursday and no homework on Friday.

You would think that since I am not the one doing the homework it wouldn't matter. WRONG. Here's how my afternoon goes.

ME: Harrison, lets do your homework before Holden gets home from school.
HARRISON: No, I don't want to.
ME: Well, you will be all done and can play later.
HARRISON: No, I am not doing it.
ME: Well, alright but you won't learn anything if you don't practice.

And that is how it is day in a day out with Harrison.

That however, is mild in comparison to what happens when Holden is asked to do his homework. He gets home from school at 3 :00 so we get him a snack and go to get Haley at 3:35. When we get home from picking her up, this is what happens about half the time (twice this week already).

ME: Holden, let's do your homework.
HOLDEN: (GRUNTING) No, I don't want to.
ME: Let's see, would you like to do your math or spelling first?
HOLDEN: (Getting ever more agitated) No, No, Nothing. I don't want to do anything.
ME: Well, that isn't an option.
HOLDEN: (STOMPING HIS FEET AND GRUNTING) I hate homework. I can't do it. I don't want to do it.
ME: I am not listening to this (which obviously I am)
HOLDEN: (FLAILING ON THE FLOOR AND GRUNTING) I can't do it. It's too hard. I hate homework.
ME: (Sometimes said in a calm voice, other times in a not so calm voice)Okay, fine. You win, don't do it.

Eventually he will calm down and come do his homework. By then, he has usually wasted 30 minutes pitching a fit. I try to explain that if he had just sat down and done his homework to begin with he would be done. That just doesn't seem to register on him. And it is very frustrating for me. Some days I want to strangle him because I have a million other things to do and it isn't fair that I sit there for 30 minutes asking him to do something he knows he will eventually have to do. Most days though, my heart just aches for him because deep down I know that more often than not, the real reason he pitches these fits is because he has a hard time writing and spelling.

I have spent many hours trying to figure out how to change his attitude about homework. I keep thinking that somehow, I will find the thing that helps avoid these fits. I realize that I cannot control how he acts. If he wants to pitch a fit and waste time, then it's his time to waste. If he chooses not to do his homework, well then he can explain that to his teacher.

That is all easier said than done. I want to make it better. To understand and share in his pain. I want him to finally "get it". I keep hoping and praying that things will come easier to him. I keep searching for that one thing that will make it click or that one reason that it hasn't. Because after all I am his mom and that's just what moms do. They sit beside their kids and hold their hands and give them love and support even when they really feel like tearing out their hair or running away from home (at least temporarily).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I started Weight Watchers again last week and managed to take off 4 pounds. It is the only diet I have ever been successful on. I think it has more to do with a lifestyle change than anything. I am more conscious of what I eat and how much I eat. I am not saying that it is easy. With three kids it certainly would be easier to drive by Sonic and pick up a burger than to cook a healthy meal at home.

Tonight for example was CiCi's Pizza night for Harrison's school. I actually dislike CiCi's because the pizza to me is just one step above frozen. But, the kids seem to like it and so does their dad. So I figured it might be a losing battle when Harrison came home with that large CiCi's sticker stuck to his shirt. He started early trying to wear me down. First he said all of his friends were going to be there. Then he tried the "I love pizza so much" angle. When nothing seemed to be working, he got his brother in on the begging. I finally had enough of their ploy and put my foot down and said that we couldn't go because I was on a diet to which Harrison responded "So don't eat. You can live without dinner but you can't live without water." I guess he figured I could sit and watch him eat with my glass of water.

And I might have won that battle except for it ended up being four against one. David came home from work and was sitting on the sofa half dozing when all of a sudden his eyes pop open and he announces that he thought pizza would be good. Who could win when the odds were stacked against them? So tonight we went to CiCi's. I guess I will have a salad with that glass of water.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Turning 40

Last week as I was pouring some cereal for one of the kids, I started reading the back of the box. Now if you know me, you will know that I do not like mornings. So it was totally unusual for me to even have my eyes open enough to see the back of the box much less read and process the information printed on it. Anyhow, it was a list of things to do before you turned 18. It listed things that kids might do as they grow older (except for the whole bungee jump one, not sure what mother in her right mind would let their child do that).

So the wheels started turning and I thought it would be cool to make a list of 40 things I wanted to do before I turned 40. But then it dawned on me that in just over two months, I would be 40. UGH! So I changed my list to 40 things I want to do the year I turn 40. Here they are:

  1. Wear a size 6 again
  2. Run a 5K
  3. Start my own business
  4. Learn to hem a pair of pants (I am ashmed to admit I never have)
  5. Organize my photos on the computer to include dates and tags so that I can search for them rather than going through picture after picture to find one of say Holden and Harrison at the park.
  6. Get my scrapbook pages current
  7. Put all of my completed scrapbook pages in an album
  8. Get published in a scrapbook magazine
  9. Learn to do an intermediate Sudoku puzzle without cheating
  10. Read the newspaper or watch the news at least four times a week (I have no clue what's going on these days)
  11. Buy clothes that fit my body (flab and all) rather than hide it
  12. Do more arts and crafts projects with my kids
  13. Finish my home improvement projects
  14. Wake up early before the kids and do my bible study
  15. Label and organize everything in my attic
  16. Renew an old friendship
  17. Volunteer somewhere (other than school which I already do)
  18. Read the entire Harry Potter Series from beginning to end
  19. Get a tattoo (okay so I won't actually do that but it still sounds cool)
  20. Go to the World's Longest Yard Sale
  21. Bike the rail line in West Virginia
  22. Learn to paint with watercolors
  23. Send birthday cards to my friends and relatives
  24. Learn to invest money
  25. Get a new diamond for my 15th anniversary (hint, hint David)
  26. Take a photography class
  27. Smile more
  28. Laugh more
  29. Stress less
  30. Have date nights with my hubby
  31. Take a trip in the Fall to Vermont for my 15th anniversary and stay in a B&B
  32. Wear jewelry (I forget to put it on)
  33. Read the The Purpose Driven Life
  34. Go to church regularly (even when what I really want to do is sleep in)
  35. Spend more time with my family
  36. Make dessert twice a week
  37. Have date nights with my children (one at a time)
  38. Have more get togethers with friends
  39. Be more organized
  40. Plan weekly meals so we eat out less

Pumpkin Patch

For the past couple of years I have been taking my kids to Walmart or Harris Teeter to get a pumpkin. I know, it isn't a pumpkin patch. But they all come from the same place, right? Besides, it is much cheaper to buy one from the store.

But this year I was shamed into taking my kids to the pumpkin patch. One of the moms at preschool was working at the church pumpkin patch where Harrison goes to school. She asked me if we were coming to get a pumpkin. I just couldn't tell her I shopped at the grocery store for mine. GASP! So, I said I would come when all the kids could come with me.

Today was the first opportunity that we have had to all go and pick out a pumpkin. So David, the kids and I piled into the minivan and headed across town to find the perfect pumpkin. To keep the peace in our household, we allow each child to pick one small pumpkin to put Mr. Pumpkin Head parts on (yes, it's like Mr. Potato Head just with a pumpkin) and together they pick one large pumpkin to carve.

About 20 minutes into the whole pumpkin picking escapade I remembered the real reason why I do not like to take my children to the pumpkin patch. They cannot make up their minds. One pumpkin is too fat, one is too tall, one has bumps on it, one doesn't have a stem and stems are a must. They pick up and poke and turn over every pumpkin they can reach until finally we blow the whistle and tell them times up.

We headed up to the checkout with our four pumpkins. The man at the register was apparently trying to be funny because he had the nerve to suggest that since we had five people in our family we needed one more pumpkin. Yeah, just what we need - another half an hour searching the patch for one more perfect pumpkin. No four will be fine thank you.

An hour later and $25 poorer, we headed home. Maybe next year we can get away with the Harris Teeter pumpkins.

What is the black stuff in your hair?

Sometimes you just really have to wonder what goes through a child's mind. Tonight, David and I were downstairs staining the desk in my scrapbook room when Holden comes running down the stairs at top speed laughing. That should have been a warning that something had happened. Holden is the slightly devilish instigator while his brother is the willing cohort. Harrison is usually the one that gets caught all the while Holden is standing in the background smiling smugly or giggling.

So back to tonight. Holden runs into the room with Harrison trailing not far behind. When I look up much to my horror I see this huge mass of black clumped in Harrison's hair. My first thought is gum. But then gum isn't black. Finally it dawns on me that he has mashed slime in his hair. Slime that came in a barrel and is supposed to look like oil. The slime that was his sister's prize for selling some stuff for school. Black slime in blond hair. Not good.

While trying not to completely lose it, I asked why he had decided to put it in his hair. His first response was that Holden "threw it" in his hair. Apparently he decided by looking at my face that telling the truth might be a better alternative. So it came out that he wanted to have a mohawk. Why he chose to put slime in his hair to obtain one is far beyond adult comprehension. Apparently in the mind of a child, when you add something slimy to your hair it can do amazing things.

Unfortunately Harrison did not think about how this mohawk making slime was going to come out of his hair. So as he was sitting in the bathtub, tears streaming down his face, while I combed the slime out of his hair, he turned to me and said "I don't think this was such a good idea". You think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yesterday David and I celebrated our 14th year Anniversary. It seems like only yesterday, I was busily planning a wedding. Then almost overnight, the wedding was here and gone. In the past 14 years we have:

  • moved 6 times
  • Had three children
  • Owned 5 pets (7 if you count the hermit crabs)
  • Taken vacations to big cities, small towns and several in between
  • Celebrated 10 and 20 year high school reunions
  • Owned 6 cars
  • Started 5 jobs between the two of us
  • been broke, been not so broke (never wealthy, still hoping)
  • changed hairstyles (thankfully I lost the BIG hair from the 80's)
  • Gained weight, lost weight, then gained it back
  • Cried a little, laughed alot

Our 14 years together have been good ones. There were days when things were rocky but there have been many more that were not. During the last 14 years, we have learned:

  • that a successful marriage requires you to fall in love with each other many times
  • to celebrate our differences
  • be strong in our faith for each other
  • that a happy home is one filled with love
  • that kind words heal wounds
  • No matter what, we are in it together

I am looking forward to traveling together down the road of life, celebrating each new day with the one I love.

In closing, here are some Thoughts on Marriage:

The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they're too old to do it.
-- Ann Bancroft
Any husband who says. "My wife and I are completely equal partners" is talking about either a law firm or a hand of bridge.
-- Bill Cosby
A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong
-- Milton Berle
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
-- George Burns
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
-- Phyllis Diller
The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.
-- Henny Youngman
People are always asking couples whose marriages have endured at least a quarter of a century for their secret for success. Actually, it is no secret at all. I am a forgiving woman. Long ago, I forgave my husband for not being Paul Newman.
-- Erma Bombeck
When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking.
-- Elaine Boosler

Monday, October 15, 2007

Home Again

I got back yesterday from a four day weekend trip with my sorority sisters. Every year in October, we rent a house on the Isle of Palms for four days. It seemed like a real vacation when I was living in Charlotte but now it feels sort of odd to be staying five miles from my house. It was a lot of fun though.

There were 24 of us all crammed into a huge house second row from the beach. Oddly enough I didn't even set foot on the beach. I picked up two of my closest friends from college (pictured here with me- Leah is on the left and Tamara is in the middle) at the airport on Thursday and we headed over to Vickerey's on Shem Creek to meet some of the other girls for lunch. When we got there I asked the (very young) hostess if there were a group of young ladies there. When she looked at me kind of funny, I had to clarify that I meant young like me not her. We spent the afternoon hanging out and catching up all of the past year's happenings. Friday a few of us went and got pedicures and then spent the entire day shopping. Saturday, one of the girls planned we had a game like The Amazing Race. We drew names from hats and split into teams. We had five challenges and the loser of each challenge got eliminated. I am not in the best shape of my life (to say the least) but I ran 2 miles (yes, I slowed down some) to reach the Observation deck first in Challenge number 2. And I also helped to propel a paddle boat around the lake to come in first in that challenge as well. I am proud to say that my group WON every challenge and the final competition! I was afraid that I was going to be really sore on Sunday but I felt pretty good.

David and the kids went camping out this weekend at the Boy Scout Camp on Wadamalaw Island. They had a great time and want to go again (maybe I'll be busy that weekend?). My idea of roughing it is staying at a Motel 6. I need running water and toilets that flush.
This morning Haley and I both woke up feeling kind of bad so she stayed home from school. I had to do laundry and clean regardless. By this afternoon we were both feeling a bit better. Tonight, we had to run a few errands while David was at a meeting so we stopped by Chick-Fil-A for dinner. Harrison got out of the car and ran over to the pond. He started yelling that he could see the "ducklets". Wonder if they are any relation to "chicklets"?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tonight I came across a new website called If you are ever in the market to buy anything handmade (and even if you aren't) you should check this site out.

You will come across things that are absurd like the doggy poop bag? They come in a variety of colors. You cold have one to match every outfit you own! Who would have thought there would be a need for that when a grocery bag would do the trick?

Oh and while you are walking your dog toting that doggy poop bag, your fine canine friend would look sporty in his bandanna. If blue isn't your dog's favorite color, then you are in luck because you can choose from a variety of colors as well.

Or maybe you like monkey's and have always wished you had a "cheeky" monkey to pin to your bag, lapel, anything else that you can think of? They've got that too. (Isn't he cute? Kind of reminds me of my own little monkey Harrison).

Or if monkey's aren't your thing and you are more into fruit, then maybe you'd like some cherries. Crocheted cherries that is. They come in a variety of colors. And sell for only $2.50 for 5. What a bargain. Just don't try to eat them.

But maybe you don't like all that handcrafted stuff. Then you are in luck because you can buy food too! There is a variety of homemade delicacies to choose from. On tonight's menu is homemade pomegranate jelly for all those late night cravings. And look how cute the packaging is.

But seriously, you should check out this website. There are some really cool things on there. It is now at the top of my favorites list. Watch out wallet.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Nut Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

I will have to be the first to admit that my mind never stops working. For years it drove David nuts but I think he has finally gotten use to the fact that I can and will be thinking of ten things at any one time. Especially at night when I am laying in bed. There's just something about being in the dark and quiet that lets my mind think of all those things I couldn't think of during the day.

I will be just about to doze off and something will pop into my head that I just need to ask David about. So I will shake him (lightly of course) and ask him that ever so important question like "Did you remember to turn off the sprinklers because you know its been raining" or "What do you think about painting the family room red".

I have thought about keeping a notebook beside my bed so that I can write down all those things that run through my mind, but somehow that just seems like more work than it's worth. So I just take the easy way and ask while it's on my mind. Which I am sure sometimes really annoys David. Especially when he is already asleep.

Tonight, we put the kids to bed and were sitting in the bonus room watching some television when we heard this little voice from the other end of the house calling "mom". The boys had been in bed for about 45 minutes so I figured it was probably Harrison wanting something to drink because he was coughing. David went to check on him and came back shaking his head. I asked what was wrong and he said that Harrison just wanted to make sure someone had picked up the sandwich he left outside in the garage.

See, the nut doesn't fall far from the tree.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Don't you just hate it when your kids are right?

We have an awesome backyard. It isn't very large but it has some beautiful hydrangeas, lots of ivy and plenty of shade from the huge oak trees. There is a horseshoe pit and a nice swing to sit on (when the mosquitoes aren't swarming you). I haven't been outside much because 1) it has been too hot until recently and 2) the last time I was out there, I almost stepped on a snake (which David swears was a lizard but as I told him "Lizards skitter, snakes slither and this was definitely a slither").

The previous owners of our house had two large golden retrievers so they built a fence around a small area near the back of the house off of the garage and filled it with mulch. I didn't think we would need to utilize this area because 1) Sullivan is treated like a human 2) He thinks he is human and 3) He stays indoors more than he stays outdoors. Well, he use to stay indoors a lot more until he decided to chew up the blinds on the windows by the door. He was being left in the big yard until 1) he started pooping in the grass and 2) he started digging holes the size of a small car. So now when Sullivan goes outdoors he is confined to the small yard. Since it is filled with mulch, when he digs a hole, we just fill it back in. Cleaning up is easier because you can actually see it and the kids don't have to worry about stepping in anything they might not want on their shoe. Which when they do leads to a lot of screaming and dancing around as if they stepped into a pit of coals. And it always entails me having to clean up the mess.

Being confined to the "dog" area isn't such a bad deal because even though he can't get on the screened porch like he could when he was in the big yard, he does have access to the garage though the dog door. Only, there is a small problem. We don't leave the dog door open because 1) unwanted creatures might visit us 2) Sullivan might chew up something in the garage that would hurt him and 3) when we opened the garage door he would take off down the street at full speed.

Okay where was I going with this story. Oh yes. Tuesday night after dinner, we took the family to the Kohl's Grand Opening. David was in need of some work clothes, I needed some shirts and Haley just wanted to look for some fall clothes. As we got ready to leave, David took the dog outside. Holden (who is supposed to be the dog's owner but the dog is confused and thinks I own it) told his father adamantly that he should leave Sullivan indoors because it might rain. David stated adamantly that the dog would be fine, it wasn't going to rain.

Apparently Holden knew something that his father did not because as we were leaving Kohl's it began to rain and rain and rain. As we were turning into our neighborhood and driving through puddles the size of Lake Michigan, David realized that he had left Sullivan outdoors with no way to get out of the rain.

When we opened the door to let Sullivan into the garage, we were greeted by a soaking wet dog who was very happy to see us. Now, I am not pointing fingers but being that it wasn't my fault the dog got wet, I went on inside to get the kids ready for bed and left the dirty work to David. So instead of leaving Sullivan in the garage to dry, David got brilliant idea to dry the dog's hair with the hair dryer. Sullivan was not amused by this but he didn't have much choice since David had the death grip on his collar. Now I am sure that David did not find this as amusing as I did but he was a good sport and let me take his picture.

All I can say is you've gotta hate it when the kids are right.
I haven't been writing in my blog lately. Not because I don't want to but because I have been very busy. This past Friday, we closed on our house in Charlotte. Thankfully we no longer have two mortgage payments. It was a very stressful time for us because of many reasons, including the fact that our realtor was horrible (and that is being nice), but at last it is over.

When we bought our house in Charleston, our intention was to finish the third floor for a scrapbook room and office for David. Since we are already into October, we have decided to go ahead and finish doing all of our other projects first and start on the addition next spring. This means that I am having to rework some of our current space. The bonus room was serving as the scrapbook room/office/playroom. We have a nice room off of the kitchen that I had set-up for the kids to use as a study/arts and crafts room. I have now kicked them out and am redoing it to use as a temporary scrapbook room.

I always have such grand ideas and thankfully I have a husband who can and will help me with my projects. We hung the wall cabinets last weekend. I also bought two birch doors which he cut down for the desktops. The desk is L-shaped and will have three stations. I can use them now for my computer, my sewing machine and a stamp/scrapbook space. When I am finished with the space it will provide a work area for each of my children.

We ran into a small glitch when the table legs I wanted to use (repurposed from a table I had) were too short in relation to the base cabinet. So we ordered some new table legs from Osborne Wood Products in Georgia on Monday afternoon. And I got them delivered today. Talk about awesome customer service! And the legs are exactly what I wanted. Since the room is right off of the kitchen, my vision was to have the room look like it had built in furniture rather than a hodgepodge of desks and cabinets. David is building shelves with beadboard paneling behind it to go in between the wall shelves. And I am going to hang some free hanging shelves above the side desk. The desktop will be stained and the cabinets will be painted willow white and then I will apply a glaze to give it that aged look. I hope that we get this project finished soon because right now the entire contents of the study room are in my family room. I can't bring them up to the playroom until I move out the scrapbook stuff. Hopefully we can get it done this weekend in between popcorn sales for Cub Scouts and a birthday party for my niece and nephew.

On another note, I went and talked to the owner of our local scrapbook store about teaching some classes. I figured that would be a good way to make a little extra cash, get a discount on my scrapbook stuff and meet some people. Anyhow, I had to come up with some ideas for November and December classes. I presented those to her today and she loved my ideas. So over the next week I have to make the actual projects from the sketches I came up with so she will have something to display in her store. This is really exciting for me and I am looking forward to teaching others.

So soon I will have a scrapbook space of my own so that I can work on some new projects. Even thought the room is small and it will be a tight squeeze for all my stuff, I am looking forward to having it downstairs near the hub of family activity. Maybe I can even sneak in a layout or two between homework and dinner.