Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Way With Words

My daughter's teacher has a writing center set up in their classroom. She has the kids writing about anything and everything. This is right up Mary's alley. At home, she keeps a notebook all on her own that she writes in "just for fun". I'm not sure I can explain just how much I love this. The writer and word lover in me quivers with glee.

Recently her class was reading variations of the Jack and the Beanstalk stories. She came home with a paper she had written. Hers had writing on the front and the back, with a picture included. ("My story was longer than everybody else's, mom. I had to write on the back. I couldn't help it. I had a lot to say.") I'm sharing it here not only because I liked her story, but also because her idea of heaven is pretty cool.

My magical beanstalk leads to gods palace Heaven where angels sing prasies to god. it's all white and puffy and bouncy and I get to meet lots of angels and the angels have silk on and they have gold wings. Just like the gate. god gives me whatever I want. I asked him to plese let me have a doaghnot. he said yes. we played tag and then it was time to go back to earth and go to sleep and I said I'd come back and I did. for fourty months intil the plant [I believe she means "planet"] died and I had to go to the retirement home. but god still plays with me in my dreams

I'm not sure about the whole retirement home/death of Earth subplot, but all in all, I'm impressed.
Seriously. Playing tag with God? Doughnuts? I want to go to there.

I say give her a few years and she'll be out-writing me. Shoot--given the misspellings of the word "angels" that I see all over the place (twitter, I am talking to you), she'll be outdoing the general public in no time.

Way to go Mrs. F., for encouraging my daughter in her love of the written word!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Summer Feet & Soft Lips

I have my dad's feet. I mean, I don't literally have my father's feet on the bottoms of my legs. That would be...strange. I mean, I inherited dry, cracked feet from him. My mother's feet are soft and ladylike. My dad has man feet. As befits a man.

You know what doesn't befit a lady? Man feet. And I has 'em. (Thanks, dad. Why couldn't I have inherited your natural ability with numbers?) In fact, several years ago, James felt my bare feet and told me that they felt like turtles. I asked him what he meant and he said "dry and scaly." Um...thanks, son. It's not that I didn't know my feet were dry and crackly, it's just that I couldn't find anything to make them less so. They felt great after the occasional pedicure, but they would always revert back to man feet in a few short days.

Until early last winter I was waiting for some paint to be mixed up at Lowe's and something caught my eye. It was this: O'Keefe's Working Hands.

No more turtle feet!
I picked it up and thought I would try it on my hands because they often get small cracks on them in the winter. After using it for a few days, my hands were so soft and the cracks were gone, so I decided to use it on my feet. Friends, it was like a miracle! After a couple of days, my feet were soft, smooth, and not at all crackly or turtle-like in any way. I couldn't believe it. And the best part is, it only takes a little. That tub in the picture? It's my first one and it's just now empty--and that is with both Patrick and I using it. Also? There is no scent that I can detect. And I am very sensitive to scents. I have to be careful, because I find the wrong scent or too strong a scent can trigger a migraine. This has nothing, so it was great for both myself and my beloved.

My feet are soft, smooth, and ready for sandals. And now the only turtles my son talks about are the ones in the back yard.

Okay, so I inherited man feet from my dad. You know what I inherited from my mother? The need to have something on my lips at all times. I have a friend that teases my mom about putting on lipstick after she finishes eating (Hi Melinda!) and once when we were all eating together, I pulled my lipstick out too, and I thought Melinda was going to have a seizure, such was her delight in finding out that I had followed in my mother's footsteps with this.

I'm not sure why mom does it, but my reasons are twofold: 1) despite now drinking over a gallon of water a day, my lips feel dry if I don't have moisturizing lipstick or lip balm on them, and 2) the natural color of my lips is just about the same color as my skin. If I don't put something with a little color on them, I look sickly. Seriously. I have had people ask me if I feel faint or need to sit down.

 So when I found Neutrogena revitalizing lip balm, I was exited to try it. I picked out the color Sunny Berry and it was a great fit with my skin color. Plus, it has SPF 20 in it, so my lips get sun protection as well. Bonus!

Sunny Berry or deathly pale lips? Um, Sunny Berry, please!

Now when I go out somewhere, likely as not, the color on my lips is this sheer lip balm. My lips feel good and I don't have to worry about strangers calling 911 for me.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because when you find something good, you want everyone to know about it! So there. Now you know.

My lips and feet are ready for summer. And the rest of me? Well I'm working on it. :)

**I was not paid or compensated for this post in any way. Trust me, O'Keefe's and Neutrogena have no earthly idea who I am. I just like their products and thought I'd share my opinion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Truth Is...

The truth is, I am not feeling very inspired to do much lately. Even writing here is hard because I just feel as if I have nothing to say and why should I inflict myself upon people by writing something that isn't worth reading?

The truth is, I have been feeling so uncreative lately that just walking through a craft store yesterday made me angry because I looked at all the stuff and thought, "Ugh!"

The truth is, I love working out. AFTER I have worked out. Because the truth is, I don't like it at all beforehand.

The truth is, I've been working out for almost a month now and I'm not seeing much of a difference. Oh, a pound here or there and a few inches, but the truth is, as hard as I've been working, I feel like I should see a bigger difference than I am.

The truth is, I'm tracking every damn calorie that goes in my mouth.

The truth is, I really like the website that I'm using to do it. (

The truth is, it's a lot harder to eat back all my exercise calories in a healthy way.

The truth is, what I really want to do, is cram about 8 Oreos in my mouth and be done with it.

The truth is, I feel like all I do these days is work out, do laundry, and clean up after slovenly children.

The truth is, I haven't cleaned out my garden yet and I'm going to need to do it soon.

The truth is, Little League has started and while I enjoy watching the games, I don't enjoy watching practice.

The truth is, that when my beloved is out of town and can't take Sean to practice, I have to. And the truth is, I sit in the van, all anti-social like, and read while practice is going on.

The truth is, I love it.

The truth is, I still help Mary get dressed in the mornings. She's seven and has been quite capable of dressing herself for years.

The truth is, she's a little lazy about waking on time and I'm a bit of a control freak and don't trust her fashion choices. Although considering most of her wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts, I'm not really sure how she can mess things up.

The truth is, I foresee my helping her dress herself until she's 40. And then she'll have to help me.

The truth is, the passenger side van door has been non-functioning for over a year.

The truth is, if my beloved had to drive the van everyday it would already be fixed.

The truth is, I am TIRED of asking my beloved to have it fixed and so I suffer along in martyred silence.

Okay, the truth is, I suffer along in martyred muttering under my breath.

The truth is, I need to paint the living room, but I'm so worn out after working out most days, that the idea of painting the living room makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and hum soothing songs to myself.

The truth is, I love watching Tilly stretch out in a sun patch and listening to her snore.

The truth is, I could really go for some of my mom's potato salad today. And trust me, I have enough calories left today that I could have plenty.

The truth is, I watched "War Horse" over the weekend with my beloved and James and had a big ol' ugly cry during a very climactic scene. Seriously. Bad. I just don't do that in movies. Patrick gave me a quizzical look and asked if I was going to be all right. I had to pull myself together before having a full blown McConnaughay fit.

The truth is, I love eating salads, I just don't enjoy making them.

The truth is, I don't drink Diet Coke anymore. (I know, right?!?!) I now drink so much water that I have to pee all the time. (You're welcome.)

The truth is, I'm sure that this is better for me, but sometimes I miss the ritual of my morning Diet Coke, even though I don't even crave them anymore.

The truth is, I have now started talking about bathroom habits, and that is just wrong on so many levels. So the truth is, I'm going to stop now and go cook some turkey bacon.

And the truth is, I'll want to eat seven slices, but after killing myself this morning at the Y, the truth is, I'll only eat one.

What are some of your truths? Feel free to share!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter! (A Week Late!)

I am a day late and a dollar short. Or, um, 7 days late and lots of dollars short. I am always short on dollars. I have teenagers, you know. They have some sort of sixth sense where extra dollars--or any dollars, for that matter--are concerned and so if I have a dollar, it soon belongs to someone else. Le sigh.

Anyway! Easter! A week ago! Big fun! Lots of pictures! Let's get started! Enough with the exclamation points already!

This is my youngest nephew, Tommy. When you tell him he is handsome, he will tell you, "No. I cute."

This boy loves M&M's. Especially the blue ones. Do not ask him to share them. He will tell you, "No. I eating ALL of dees." Yep. That's pretty much how I feel about M&M's, too.

The younger kids dyed eggs. I'm not sure what Mike was saying, but I'm scared. 

There were several games of catch.

The under 13's that still get to hunt for eggs. It was Jill's last year. Don't worry, Jill. Next year you can hide someone's eggs in impossible to get to places just like your siblings hide yours. 
Sometimes eggs hide in plain sight.

I'm not really sure why he's grumpy. It's not like his eggs were hidden in dirt and stagnant water in a flower pot. Oh wait. Yes they were.

Jill's egg. Her brother climbed the tree to put it there. Fortunately, her sibs helped her get it down.

See? I wasn't kidding. But what's a little soil on your jellybeans?

Her egg was hidden in the glove. It took a very frustrating game of  "Hot/Cold" and about 5 minutes for her to finally find it. 

Candy makes him do a happy dance. I totally get this.
The pinata rope was tangled. Just how many grandchildren does it take to detangle it? (Answer: In the end, one. Jack climbed out to the end of a very skinny branch while his grandmother covered her eyes and fixed it.)

Tommy takes a whack at the pinata.

Mary hits it like she's picturing a face on it. Probably her Uncle Jon's. ;)

Mike brought it down.

At most parties, you expect someone to put a lampshade on their head. We like to be a little different in our family.

I have no idea what they are talking about, but I could write about a million captions for this picture. If you want to write your own caption, leave it in the comments. I could write a whole 'nother post based solely on this picture.

They clean up well. Even if they are a little squinty-eyed in the sunlight. 
Whew! That feels like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I just know that all y'all out there in the innernets were wondering where all my Easter pictures were. I could feel the questions. Or something.

I'm hoping to get more than one post out this week. That would be something, wouldn't it? We'll see, though. I meet with my personal trainer today. Tomorrow I may wish for someone to push me off a ledge.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Break Day--Oh What Does It Matter?

Um. Sorry. I left you hanging last week with the whole "gee I hope none of the animals escape from their cages while we're at the zoo" thing. Obviously, if any escaped, they were the non-human eating kind. Our trip to the zoo was dramatically undramatic. In fact, I have only one picture from the day.

Here it is.

It is the kids, plus Maggie's beau, finishing their lunches in the van. I figured that it would be far cheaper to feed the eating machines that are my sons--not to mention healthier for all of us--if I packed us a picnic. And, since it happened to be Community Day at the zoo (Nope. Didn't know it was community day 'til we got there. Yep. My prowess at researching our trips is unmatched.) (Not really.) and everybody plus their children, grandchildren, grandparents, grandparents' friends, long lost aunties, and their dogs (Not really.) were there, we decided eating in the van would be the best choice.

Maggie's boyfriend came with us because he thought it would be fun: a) because he hadn't been to the zoo in quite a while, and b) he thinks our family is fun to hang with. Apparently the kid thinks that trying to view animals through heads and unwashed armpits and listening to various members of my family complain of the heat (it was 84 degrees. In April.) and of their bumps and bruises from the previous day's traumatic bike accident is fun because he said he had a good time. He must really be trying to get on my good side.

It's going to be some time before I head back to the zoo, is what I'm saying.

So that was Day 2.

On Day 3, I took the two youngest children to the doctor where Mary was diagnosed with Strep and Sean's complaints about his heel pain for the last month was diagnosed as Sever's Disease. No worries. It's nothing serious. Nothing that a little stretching, rest, and ice won't help. But boy, oh boy! Putting a name to it? Made my boy seriously happy. He particularly enjoyed saying things like "See? I told you there was something wrong!" and "Wow, mom. Way to go. Thanks for getting me in after a month! Now I have a disease!"

Have you ever wanted to dip your child in ketchup and eat him? No? neither.

Day 4 involved things like laundry (me), changing the oil in the lawn mower (beloved), packing for 5 (me), packing for one (beloved), nearly forgetting to take the dog to the kennel (me), and going out to eat (all of us) because the children insisted that it was vacation, after all. Who am I to argue with such amazing logic?

Day 5-7 was spent traveling to Illinois, smooching various adorable nieces and nephews, eating heaps of delicious food, hunting eggs, hitting a pinata, sipping wine, visiting friends, going to church, and driving back to Indy.

My first day with the kids back in school? I went grocery shopping among other things. *cough*laundry*cough* I had to hit the market, because after a week of all of us at home for almost every meal, the pantry looked as if the locusts had descended.

Tomorrow I hope to finish the laundry. HAHAHAHAHA!!! Yeah, right. The laundry is never finished. And, if I can peel myself away from "Mad Men" on Netflix, I might even clean off the counter tops to see if I remember what color they actually are.

In short, it was a good week. While our trips to attractions around town were a bust, it was fun to have everybody home for a bit.

And this week will be even better because they'll all be gone.

I'm joking!

Sort of.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Break Day 1

It's Spring Break around here and since we aren't in Tahoe skiing as we thought we would be, we had to scramble to come up with some things to do around town. A sort of Stay-cation, if you will. (And for those of you who were really looking forward to hearing stories of Shevel Knievel on the slopes, I apologize. Instead you get us here in Indy. But! We had some excitement. Keep reading.)

We decided that we would spend our first day at Connor Prairie, a wonderful living history museum just down the road from us. After finally rousting the last rackmonster from their bed and feeding the masses their lunch, we loaded into Blanca (Our van. Yes. We name things. We are, um, unconventional. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.) and headed down the road. As we went along, we tried to explain to Mary some of the things she would see. She hadn't been there since she was in a stroller and couldn't remember it. Once we arrived we noticed the parking lot was nearly empty.

"Must be all the people gone on Spring Break," I mused.

"YEAH!" Maggie retorted. "Everybody but us is somewhere warm and getting a tan."

In my motherly wisdom, which makes appearances now and then, I let that slide.

"Geez, I hope it's not closed," I said. "I didn't check."

Guess what?!

Did you guess that Connor Prairie is closed on Mondays? You did? You are much better at this game than me.

I apologized and my beloved joked that he was going to have to get all Clark Griswold up on that place. He suggested we hit a sporting goods store so that he might purchase a BB gun and we could gain entry that way, certain that there would be a John Candy-like security guard.

I reminded him that there are no roller coasters in Connor Prairie, so it probably wasn't worth a felony arrest record.

We pondered for a bit about what to do since we didn't want to go back home. We decided we'd head downtown to the Canal since it was a beautiful day.

Once there, we saw other people out on rented bikes, bike/surreys, and paddle boats. Having paddle boated there before, we opted to get a bike/surrey. Unfortunately, all of the 6 person surreys were out, so we divided up and the boys took a recumbent-type bike while the girls took a two person surrey. Both bikes had spots for passengers--for the boys, it was a basket on the back of the bike, for us, it was on the front. Which was perfect, as it allowed Mary to be a front-seat driver and and "oh no you're headed for the water" alarmist. It was her calling. She was a true genius at it.

I should mention first that I worked out this morning. And my friends, I worked hard. I left it all at the gym. And our surrey? It was kind of heavy. And not geared. And we spent a good deal of time going up hill. Or at least that's what it felt like to my legs.

Before we got on our surrey bike, one of the bike rental guys (that's an official title) gave Maggie and I instructions on how to operate the brake and made certain to tell us to take it easy on corners--not to go too fast around them and to go wide. I noticed that the boys (including my beloved) were already gone.

We found them awhile later in the middle of the pedestrian bridge spanning the White River. They asked why we were so slow and I told them that our bike was heavier. And also that they should feel free to jump in the river. We started to race a bit and then my legs gave out, so we watched them as they cruised on.

As we were starting to make our turn at the far end of the bridge, we saw the boys' bike ahead of us. They were going much too fast and cornering much too close and then suddenly there was a crash and their bike was on its side.

I braked our bike, Maggie jumped out and ran to their bike just as they were climbing out. They were banged and bruised up, but not badly hurt. (Although my beloved's big toe looks pretty gross.) Fortunately there were no missing teeth or broken bones. Just some bruised egos to go along with their bruised bodies.

We rode for another 20 minutes or so, by which point I was doing all the pedaling because Maggie's ankle was twisted when she ran to the boys' bike. My quads? They are not speaking to me tonight.

All-in-all, today was rather a bust. Tomorrow we are headed to the zoo. Hopefully it will be a better day. And I'm praying that all the animals stay in their cages.

Here, look! Photos! I did not include a picture of Patrick's gross toe. You're welcome.

My favorite sculpture. It's called The Tent. It's two-sided like a simple tent. The middle is shiny. All of the colored blocks move in the wind. 
Sculptures along the White River pedestrian bridge.
I love this. Seriously. I think I could find several color palettes for my house on this thing.

The NCAA museum. No, we didn't visit. With our luck, it would've been closed.
Miss Mary Rose, navigator extraordinaire. You follow her directions or suffer the consequences.

The boys on their bike--pre-crash.
A view along part of the canal.
The ride is over. Sean was not ready to smile after the terror of the crash. ( He might be a little dramatic. I have no idea where he gets that from.)
My view. Except when we were down by the canal. And then my view was of Mary's face telling me I was too close to the water.

He spent a ridiculous amount of time seeing how far he could jump from things.
Can you tell he's ready to leave?

She saw her brother jumping from things and would not be outdone.

They were pretending to be a statue.

Gratuitous skyline shot!

You know what happens when there has been a traumatic bike crash? Ice cream for everyone!!

Hmm..Maybe I am hoping for some escaped animals tomorrow. I could probably get out of cooking dinner...