Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks - Part I

This Thanksgiving will be bittersweet. This year, three people who are important to members of my family won't be here. The boys will not see their biological father. They have not mentioned anything about it, but it has been on my mind. Even though the two of us have had a tumultuous relationship over the past few years, he was still their father. Mike's father won't be here to play the role of patriarch at the family Thanksgiving, always the consummate host. There will be a huge hole in the celebration. And finally, my sweet Muz is celebrating with Jesus and making sure that the Thanksgiving table in Heaven is set "just so"... But she won't be with us, and I know my mother will be so affected.

Even so, I have so much to be thankful for. I've been meaning to write about how God's hand was such a part of those few days from October 4th through the 7th. Days that could possibly only be described by someone as a nightmare. Yet there were so many glimpses of His presence, His Holy Spirit moving among us, His unexpected - and unexplained - gifts and blessing.

Yes, this will be one of Bevy's infamous Two-Parters. As we all are, I'm in the midst of preparations for tomorrow's big feast. But I am excited to be able to share those moments, those obviously Holy (and not it so obvious) moments with you. So later this weekend, I hope to give you an inspiring read.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Walking in...

When I walked in I was completely unprepared. I didn’t know what would greet me. I didn’t know how I would be affected.

When I entered the sunny apartment, the first thing I saw was the old mahogany Imperial styled chest with all the family photographs in a mix match of silver and Dollar Tree acrylic frames. Homemade cards and pictures from her great-grandchildren were in a little pile. An antique clock silently ticked.

My eyes scanned her home and saw the dichotomy of beautiful silk draperies on the living room windows beside the tacky peacock feathers displayed in a vase she bought at a garage sale. The silk print of the last Dowager Empress of China above the handmade camelback chest from Afghanistan with the “made in China” (and not in the good way!) oriental lamp on it. The exquisite Victorian mahogany and horsehair sofa she had upholstered in the most God-awful light blue striped velvet we know she got for free somewhere. The corner cabinet with all her sterling and fine china serving pieces - and the Christmas china my sister and I had thought she gave us, but later she decided she hadn't and wanted back! (Anne Stuart and I are still confused over that...) Her mink wrap and elbow length white kid leather gloves next to her seventeen million pairs of Keds in every color and pattern imaginable. The sterling silver tea service and water cooler on the small dining room table – right beside a cacophony of holiday, cocktail and party napkins she would "rescue" (not used of course) from a luncheon or event where she was a guest so she could use when WE came to visit. It was so her and I was completely unprepared… and I sobbed.

This past weekend I joined my sister, aunt and uncle, and their daughter to clean out Muz’s apartment at Still Hopes. (You may remember my post about the lovely residence.) We started the weekend with shared tears as we talked about her last days and the numerous happy memories we had. We wanted the weekend to not just be about packing up all her belongings (and sorting “Good Will” and “throw away” – there were over fifty bags!). We wanted the day to be one that honored her and what she meant to us. My dear Aunt Laura, who, at times, had a tumultuous relationship as the daughter-in-law, asked if she could lead us in prayer that the weekend would be a blessing for us all. And oh, how it was!

We told stories as we’d find old books she read to us as little children and pictures of Christmases from years ago. We laughed as we’d find old newspapers - and programs from events she’d attended in 1983. Boxes and boxes and boxes of old church bulletins… invitations… Christmas cards from people whose names we didn’t even recognize… receipts from presents she’d bought us through the years… papers and old photographs from "the war" (better known to rest of us as World War II)... drawers full of recycled Christmas bows and wrapping paper… bags and bags of packing peanuts. But that was so Muz: frugal and a product of the Great Depression. How many pieces of recycled tin foil and Ziploc bags we found in her kitchen cabinets; the jelly packets and sugar packets and ketchup packets. The woman NEVER THREW ANYTHING AWAY. You’ve heard of functioning alcoholics? Muz was a functioning hoarder. You’d never know it from the way she kept her lovely apartment!

We finished, exhausted yet blessed, Sunday afternoon. In addition to the wonderful time reminiscing with my family, we each left with some items Muz had designated especially for each one of us. I was so excited to carry the silk print and camelback chest, as well as a mahogany pie crust side table.

But it was earlier that day when I was cleaning out her medicine cabinet and I hit the jackpot. Of all the furniture and other inheritances we all received, this meant so much more. I found two 45-year-old bottles of merthiolate she used to put on our cuts and scrapes when we were children. She would paint that orange liquid on one and blow on it “to take the sting off”. We would wince in pain and watch the “paint” turn that awful neon pink. What on earth was she thinking? But I was so thrilled to find these bottles. I ran out of the bathroom laughing and crying. It was a memory we all shared. It was so her... so Muz.

And crazy as it sounds, when I look at those two little brown worn out bottles, I feel the clouds that have covered our lives for the past few months dissipate. I feel golden days are coming soon…

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Merry Stressmas!

Despite relegating three of our own children to 
the “Happy Holidays” frames, 
Gary felt the Allens had sent us enough family photos 
to warrant their own engraving.

OK, so I stole this from Catalog Living, but I just couldn't resist!  We're entering the middle of November and I have just now started thinking about the inevitable Christmas card photo. D*mn it...

Or maybe I should just use one of the Allens'.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Friendship Basket

We are almost a month to the day my father-in-law died (October 4) and the wreck (October 7) that will affect my family's lives forever. I am still in the midst of writing thank you notes for the outpouring of care and concern by so many friends around us. We have had more meals lovingly prepared than I could have ever imagined. Those nights we didn't have a casserole dish placed in the cooler on the back porch, we used one of the numerous gift cards we received to eat at local restaurants.

Cards and memorials are still pouring in from friends near and far, old and new.  Until you go through something so tragic, you just don't realize how much a quick note can mean.  (At least I didn't...)

S and J have also been taken care of by their friends and parents, taking them to their activities and letting them sleepover on school nights. One friend of S and his parents even made the hour and a half trip to Columbia for my grandmother's visitation.

One gesture that really touched Mike and me was a large basket we found on our back porch the night we drove back to Aiken that horrible night. It was around eleven o'clock and we had spent the past six hours shuttling ourselves between the children's emergency room with the boys and the Trauma Unit/ICU with Mama and Daddy. Mama was in emergency surgery with a neurosurgeon (no brain, but intense scalp injuries).

As we were driving that night, I received a text from my sweet friend Kiki:
"Just want you to know that Bunco girls and Sunday Class class are praying for your family. Look on your back porch when you get home - I left a basket of snacks, entertainment, etc for you to take to the hospital as you go back and forth with your mom and dad. It's from the Bunco girls. We love you and are so sorry."

And this is what we found. Both Mike and I teared up. (Ok, I cried.) We were just overwhelmed. We couldn't believe it. Kiki and another sweet friend, Tanya, had filled this huge basket to the brim with bottled water... magazines... Chapstick... snacks... Advil... pens... a notebook... gum... notecards... more snacks... tissues... travel toothbrushes... hand lotion... more snacks... and change for vending machines. These girls thought of everything!

I kept it in my car the next two weeks, replenishing my "hospital bag" every day. And every day, I thanked God for my friends and the gifts they have given me, both tangible and intangible. Now, I'm just ready to be on the giving end myself these days...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Viking in the House

This weekend was just what the doctor ordered. Lots of fun and festivities for the whole family: a family/neighborhood Halloween party Friday night, Fall Steeplechase all day Saturday, and our church's Fall Festival where we give out hundreds and hundreds of pounds of candy to families in our town. All four of us were kept extremely busy with wonderful friends whom have supported us these past few weeks with so much - including their unwavering prayers.

So many of you golden friends have messaged, emailed, commented, and Facebooked asking how we are doing. Although Mike is having to take this day by day, he wore his Viking warrior helmet at the Halloween soirée to show his strong side!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Hijack

So here it is... My sweet friend has taken over. And isn't that what good friends do when it's just more than this "Steel Magnolia" can take? Read on for a glimpse into my life these past six weeks...

Hello, I am hijacking Bevy’s blog because I miss reading it as much as you do. I am her BFF, also named Beverly (yea, we know). Beverly and I are different in many ways – she is sweet and awesome, and speaks nicely all.of.the.time. I am snarky; talk like a sailor, and pretty much like to buck my fine southern upbringing. Actually we make a great team, and I just wanted to for warn you, because I am writing this and not Bevy.

As some of you may know, Bevy’s life had been turned upside down this summer. (a total s&^% storm!) I know she posted about her father-in-law’s brain cancer in early June. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning.

Her boys' biological father unexpectedly passed away in August. He was buried with a full military service, and I know that the boys had to be impressed and proud. It was a very nice service. I know, as I was there. S wanted his oldest friend, my son Michael, to be there with him.

A month later her father-in-law passed away from brain cancer. Bevy of course was super-girl taking care of Mike, the boys, and their losses. (She is really good at that, by the way!). But then to add to the tragedy, on their way home from the funeral, Bevy’s mother, father, grandmother and the boys were involved in a horrible car accident. She lost her grandmother, and her parents were both hurt badly; her mother the worst. The boys - by the Grace of God - were just bumped and cut up.

I made it down to Muz’s (Bevy’s grandmother, we all called her Muz- she was that kind of grandmother) funeral along with many other college friends. (The cross in the picture is from two of these dear college girls...) It was beautiful, as Muz was the perfect southern lady. She would have been very impressed with the visitation and reception, ham biscuits, finger sandwiches, cheese biscuits, and punch on one of those big pretty cut glass punch bowls. To be honest I kept looking for her there because it was an event she would not have missed. Her service was lovely. Bevy’s uncle, an Episcopal priest, gave the most wonderful homily, as did the Bishop. It really was a special day for a special lady.

Bevy’s parents are both home now and I know it will be a long road to recovery both mentally and physically for both of them. She has been back and forth helping with everything along with her sweet sister.

I know there are many more challenges they will all face, but they are one of the closest and most faithful families I have ever known.

Please keep them all in your prayers, and hopefully Bevy will get back to blogging soon, or I will have to guest write again. And I can assure you I am not nearly as uplifting and spiritual as she is.

Have a wonderful week and hug all the ones you love!!
Beverly – the other one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Blogger Alert... or Best Friend Rescues Blog From Oblivion

Today I received an email from my best friend:

"OK, so I know you have not wanted to blog b/c you don't want to keep writing about bad things, sooooo I wrote a blog for you. I know, not really my place but I know I am not the only one waiting to see you write again. I wrote all the bad stuff without going into much detail I hope, so you don't have to write it, and you can go back to your happy uplifting crap (I mean stuff : ). Oh, smile!"

She's right. I haven't posted - or even read blogs - since June 24. And for reasons that really have been too surreal and unbelievable. So she's hacking "It's a Golden Day". Thank God (and I do mean that literally) for her. I think I've said it before, but she is my rock. C*** and all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mountain Bound

You would not believe the support and kind words I have received both in blogland and the "real world". I really needed to share my feelings and concerned and am so thankful for those who validated me!

We are now looking forward to a much needed long stay in the mountains of North Carolina. It's where I've spent almost every summer of my life... Kanuga. And oh, how we are needed this time to renew our spirits and feed our senses with the smells of the mountain pines and the fellowship of my extended family. This year will be even more of a blessing to us as Mike and I have decided that our family will go a week early this year so we can attend the annual Renewal Conference, a week of Biblically (as opposed to theologically) based teaching, worship and fellowship. As I pray for this week, I know that all four of us will be blessed.

We have started packing for our journey...

The car will be crammed with everything but the kitchen sink...

And the excitement will mount with each mile...

Ah... Paradise...


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cancer doesn't leave the room...

Where does it go? The days are flying by, and in a little over a week June will be gone. It's been incredibly busy... and surreal. Never mind the educational workshops I attended for over a week, or VBS where I am working with three-year-olds! A hulking elephant named brain cancer has been lurking everywhere. My 4*th birthday came and went, as did Father's Day.

We celebrated by inviting Mike's parents over for fried chicken and all the fixings. What with the cards and gifts, it would seem to be an ordinary Father's Day. But this year wasn't. Usually my father-in-law is looking around our home for something to do: an air filter to change, help the boys with the lawn mower, check some gadget or another. But this year he didn't. Usually our summertime meals with my in-laws involve him grilling hamburgers and steaks. But this year he didn't. Usually he is asking the boys about what they've been up too. But this year he didn't.

This year he walked in slowly with his cane and sat down carefully. His usual quick smile appeared tired. I don't think he said more than twenty-five words the entire visit due to the expressive aphasia that was caused by the cancerous tumor. I could see how it pains my mother-in-law. She puts up such a brave and strong front, carrying the conversations and going on... because what else can you do? What else can you do when the man you have spent forty-five years of your life with is battling Gioblastoma Multiforme (Stage IV) cancer?

What do you do? What do I do? What do I do when I have researched this brain cancer on numerous websites and they all say the same thing? (And what they say is just heart wrenching.) What do I do when my husband has NOT? What do I do when he is in denial (either by choice of not finding out more - or just by choice in and of itself)? Have he and his mother talked about what could happen in twelve to eighteen months? (They don't talk as much as my family does.)

I try to talk and open the door for conversation with her. And although I feel her strong shell is slowly cracking, I'm not sure she will confide in me. But that's ok. She and Mike's aunts are very close and I know they are there for her. But Mike and I don't talk about it in any depth at all. We just don't. And I guess I just have to honor that. Hello, elephant in the room...

So that's where I am... with a big ol' elephant in the room named brain cancer and he won't go away.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gravatt Bars... YUM!

This week has been rather quiet at Casa Bevy. S was on a mission trip and came home Tuesday afternoon. (Pics to come later!) J is at camp all week. It's the Episcopal Diocesan camp, and guess what? It's only 30 minutes from our house! How's that for convenience?

Of course in this day and age, I have been hooked to the internet all week looking for posted photos on the camps website. What is wrong with us? Why can't we let our kids go for ONE WEEK without the need?

Anyway, you can see he is doing great...

Of course I do miss him. I asked S if he did, and you can guess what he said. Ah, brotherly love. So when J comes home on Sunday, I plan to have a taste of camp waiting for him: Gravatt Bars! Camp Gravatt has been making these ever since I was a camper in the late 70s and a Junior Counselor in the 80s. They are incredibly easy to make and melt in your mouth. I swear!

Here is the recipe. You won't be disappointed!

Gravatt Bars

2 sticks butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix first three ingredients.
Fold into a 9 x 13 glass pan.  (If you want them thicker, then go for a 9 x 9!)
Melt chocolate chips and pour over mixture.
Refrigerate for about three hours or until it "sets".
Take out and let it "thaw" for about thirty minutes so that it is easy to cut into squares.

Enjoy! I know J will... Oh who am I kidding?  I definitely will!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What Makes Me Pretty...

Today I must remember...
That beautiful curve says...
And Mike, the love of my life, has always told me...
And you are too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thankful for Today

Yes, it's still brain cancer. Yes, we are all still tired. Yes, my sweet father-in-law is still in a lot of pain. And yes, there is a long road ahead.

But we know God is so good. Mike's father is recovering amazingly well. He was released from ICU in less than 24 hours. The expressive aphasia that was so prevalent prior to surgery seemed almost nonexistent. He was able to (with assistance from the nurses and PT) stand, sit in a chair, and go to the bathroom. This was yesterday! The day after a four hour brain surgery!

Now we know he will have much to overcome. And so much work ahead. Speech therapy. Physical therapy. Chemotherapy. Radiation. He will have some successes and some set backs.

But I know that this would not have been possible without the prayers of hundreds of people all over the country. A friend on FB posted on my wall: "What a great cloud of witnesses you have around you...." I know that the only reason my FIL is doing so well is because of the immense amount of prayer that has been lifted up for him - and by so many of YOU. I am a true believer! I don't mess around! :)

I probably won't post much more. But I couldn't let today pass without a bit of happy news in this story. You needed to know... because you were part of the story. And I am thankful for today...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Martha has broken...

It was what we expected, but wouldn't admit. It was what we knew secretly in our hearts, but wouldn't listen to. Brain cancer.

(And please pardon the poor writing style. I'm still exhausted and in the "just the facts, ma'am" mode.)

Yesterday was probably the most emotionally draining day I have ever had. Mike and I didn't get home until after 11:00. We had been at the hospital for twelve hours. His father went in for surgery at 3:30 and came out about four hours later. The waiting was exhausting. My sweet mother-in-law couldn't eat. She had her hand on her cell phone waiting for the updates that would come every hour.

His wonderful neurosurgeon finally came out with the news that we cognitively were expecting. But you are never prepared. They took out 2/3 of a malignant tumor. They couldn't take out any more as it was too close to the "motor strip" of the brain. The cancer has spread down the temporal lobe. The good news is that it is primary to the brain and will not metastasize to other parts of the body. They are very optimistic that that can treat it with chemotherapy and radiation. We will know more in the next 48 hours and then more in a few weeks. He is now in ICU and will be for the next 24-48 hours.

Last night while we were waiting in the IVU waiting room, I finally cried. I finally broke. I hadn't since we found out about the tumor on Wednesday. I don't cry. Especially during crisis. That's because I am a "Martha". No, not Martha Stewart. Martha from the Bible. If you remember when Jesus visited the home of sisters, Mary and Martha, it was Martha who was constantly doing. She was the one taking care and making sure things were done - all the time. That was me this week: asking the doctor questions, writing down and clarifying everything he said, emailing reports to family and friends, Facebooking to request prayers - and organizing where S And J would be during all of this. And finally, being there for Mike. But that's how I cope - and that was the role I was needed to play.

We have received Facebook posts, emails and phone calls telling us how prayers have been lifted on our behalf and asking how/if we need anything. We have been overwhelmed with this outpouring. Of course we still do not understand why this is happening.

My 12 year old's observation makes me realize that, even in these times, we must keep a childlike faith: when I tried to explain the seriousness of the situation to him the night before last, he responded, "Yes, it is bad. There are always going to be horrible things that happen in our lives. BUT GOD ALWAYS MAKES SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN FROM IT, AND HE WILL THIS TIME TOO."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Please, I Need You, Sweet Friends...

This is not the post I was planning on writing. Thursday was the boy's last day of school; mine was Friday. I had found all these cute photos from pinterest and tumbler. I was going to write about the excitement of SUMMERTIME. However, this is how we are feeling right now.
We are reaching and pleading for your prayers.

Yesterday, a mass was found on my father-in-law's brain. It's on the left frontal lobe. For the past few weeks, he has had a continuous headache, some days pretty unbearable. However, he never complained. We didn't know. We all - even the boys - began noticing that he was not himself: very quiet, a bit depressed, slow to tasks, etc. But again, we had no idea of the pain. On Tuesday, my mother-in-law took him to the doctor where the ugly truth began to reveal itself. And as the location of the tumor affects the personality and all the other symptoms we noticed, it all started to make sense.

He was admitted to the hospital on Thursday. The surgery is on Monday. Only then will we know if the tumor is benign or cancerous.

Please pray... We know God is completely in control, but we still covet your prayers. My sweet friend, Aundrea, sent me this:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Thank you, sweet friends...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Run Like the Wind

Today was J's Awards Day celebration. I love this day. Not just for him, but for my own fourth grade class as well. Remember "Charles" from Kindness and Thankfulness? Well, he earned the Academic Spirit Award. It goes to the student who made the most gains for the year. Of course I took his picture just like a proud teacher!

J also was called a few times :) He was on the Principal's Honor Roll (all As for the year) and won the Social Studies (South Carolina History) Award for his class. Being a history nerd myself, I was very excited and proud of my future historian!

But J was most impressed with his other award. He's shown here with our administrative secretary, Mrs. Sides, who handed out the awards and certificates. In his hand is the one for most laps run for our elementary school's track team. Our principal called him up as he ran farther than any third, fourth, or fifth grader. (Remember he is in third grade!)

For the past few months, over two hundred students convened on our school's track twice a week and ran "cross country" for twenty to twenty-five minutes. Every time they completed a lap, they received a rubber band around their wrist to keep track of the number they ran. Some would sprint a few minutes and then pant a few, then sprint, then pant. Others were obviously doing it because their mom wanted them to. Some little girls used the time to leisurely jog or walk with their friends and chat about Justin Beiber - or whatever elementary girls talk about!

Others, like J, took it VERY seriously. He wanted me to volunteer at his station. At every lap, he would jog/run up to me for his water bottle, take a little sip, grab a rubber band and take off again. His legs are so long and his stride was perfect. Not being athletic at all, except for tennis, I honestly don't know where he gets it. Even when he complained of the heat, he wouldn't stop. He kept his pace and ran an average of ten laps (two miles) every day. Oh how I wish I had that stamina - or even desire to run like that!

At every five mile increment, the PE coach gave the students a rubber band with the mile printed on it. Five Mile... mosts kids got this one. Ten Mile... A few more got this one. Fifteen Mile... Most of the fifth grade athletes got this one. And the one he is most proud of, Twenty Mile!

So proud as only three students in the whole school made it to twenty!

And yes, he wants me to start running with him. Ugh...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Just Her Persona

...has left the building. No, I'm not talking about Elvis. I'm talking about the Emporess of the media, Oprah. This week the waves have been all atwitter with her last show. Blogs have been written. Facebook postings have been updated. I even have one friend who wrote as her FB statusthat she got all misty-eyed watching the last episode. All of America is deeply saddened they won't be able to watch her - daily.

OK, almost of America. (Deep breath and getting ready for the vegetable throwing). Because I am not. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate her. I don't even dislike her. I really do admire her. This woman has overcome so much in her life. Poverty and abuse I can not even imagine. How she rose above it with grace and determination is the story that inspires us all.

In addition, she has given back... and so freely. Whether it be founding a girls' school in Africa or her "Oprah's Favorite Things" shows. This woman is a giver. And passionate at that!

So what is my issue? What is it that bothers me? What makes me an "Oprah Scrooge"?

I think it is what Oprah - or her persona - has become. Oprah suggests a book and it immediately becomes a bestseller. Oprah endorses a candidate and the world follows her lead. Oprah decides "meat is murder" (Remember the Texas beef debacle?) and it becomes national news - for weeks. Watch out if Oprah disagrees or passionately condemns you... You can hang it up in the eyes of public opinion. Even her new cable network's letters spell OWN. That seems a bit egocentric of her people in my book. (I know they stand for Oprah Winfrey Network, but come on.) I'm now waiting for the gospel according to Oprah to come out. I'm sure it will top the charts. I find it bizarre and a little frightening.

But perhaps all of the hoopla is our fault, not hers. And I feel that we do this to so many famous people. We put them on pedestals. We listen to everything they say. (And if we don't... well then we should!) We bestow on them the power to create and influence the many decisions we as Americans make - whether they are accountable or not. We build them up to be almost God-like. We blind ourselves to the fact that in the whole scheme of life, they are just like us.

And so I'm sorry Oprah. But I think she, herself, just may agree... At least a little.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

If the Rug Fits

MWF ISO a rug that fits!

Please help me out here. For the past four years, I have been aching for an oriental rug for the foyer. Our beautiful, yet naked foyer... Sigh. This anniversary, Mike has offered one as an anniversary gift! Mouth drops! Whoo Hoo! Score!

The only problem is that our foyer has odd dimensions: 12' x 7'8". Very difficult to find a rug that would appear to work. However, I'm thinking that an 8' x 5' just might. Today, I lay the few newspapers we had and beach towels down in said dimensions to get a feel. I think I'm ok with it, but need some more feedback. The picture is taken from the living room where you can see the edge of the rug in there.

What do you think? Could it work?

Thanks for your expertise and thoughts!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've Struck Out...

It's 8:34 and I have escaped... to the tub. Probably too much information, but I have filled the tub to the rim with Thymes Eucalyptus bubble bath and my glass to the rim with my Crystal Lite Cosmo.

I have escaped. Not from my husband. Not from my children. Not from the kitchen that more than likely needs to be cleaned. I am escaping from baseball season. We are in the beginning of the playoffs...

For some of you, it is soccer. Others, it is lacrosse. And it's not that we don't love our children - or even the sport itself. Every year, I can't wait for the season to begin. But now we are TIRED. We are tired of the driving back and forth and back and forth and back and forth to practices and games and practices and games... And you know what I'm talking about. It's at least four nights a week.

If you could see my color-coded calendar, you would see that S (green) and J (yellow) are all over the place. My color (pink) and family events (blue) are so sparse one might wonder if we even exist.

Now, I know that I am complaining. And your calendar, I'm sure, looks the same way. We have only one sport per child andI feel our lives are so scheduled. But I really want to be able to do is just go on a walk with my family around the neighborhood. I want to have a sit down dinner with a meal that didn't come out of a stir fry or skillet pasta bag. I want my husband and me to watch the boys throw the ball to each other and do tricks on their skateboards in the cul-de-sac. I want nothing to do. And not just for me, but for my family. Am I so wrong?

Maybe I could get credit if I just bought one of these for the backyard?

Friday, May 13, 2011

So I Think I Can Dance

I am definitely a white girl. I used to think I had pretty good rhythm. In my younger years, I loved to go dancing with my friends. In the mid 90s, there was this awesome bar in Five Points called Nightworks. They played seventies music, and we had the most fun dancing to "Rubberband Man", "The Piña Colada Song", and all those cool ABBA tunes. We felt so retro... (It was also there that I was introduced to that poison called Goldschlager, but that's another story.) Oh how we loved that place!

Fast forward to 2011. I have taken a few Zumba classes and feel so ridiculous. I obviously have gotten "whiter" with age. My hips don't gyrate as they should. So I stick with my treadmill and my trainer, a twenty-two year old who calls me ma'am and tells me all about his college escapades. (Those stories are the main reason I work-out. They are oh so entertaining!)

But I still love to dance. So I resign myself to my kitchen. I have made the best evah "mixed tape" of 90s tunes and one-hit wonders of the day... Pearl Jam, Sponge, Marcy Playground, Live, Spacehog, The Verve, Blind Melon, The Breeders, Smash Mouth, Sister Hazel, Blues Traveler, The Mighty Bosstones - to name a few. (You may not recognize some of the bands, but I promise you'd know the songs in a heartbeat!)

I hook my iPad up to the Bose radio... fix myself a cocktail... and crank it up. What therapy! And this is...

Of course it embarrasses and confuses S and J, but that makes it all the more fun!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Most Favorite Poem... Ever

My Mom is the Best
by J

My mother is good.
My mother is nice.
Whenever I am with her everything is alright.
I love my mom more than anything.
She is as sweet as a lollipop.
She is as smart as an owl.
She is my favorite person on earth.
She is My Mom!

And yes, when he crawled in my bed this morning
and read this to me,
I did tear up...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Recipes Our Mothers Love

This is the week I dread: the week before standardized testing. It's the week we cram and review all we have taught the past year. In a word: stress. But this year I decided that we needed a little diversion, and being the week before Mother's Day, we had a wonderful opportunity to work on our gift.

The past few years, I have culminated a poetry unit with the children writing a multi-stanza poem honoring their mother. It always gets rave reviews, but this year I was inspired by Lindsey at All Things Bright and Beautiful. Lindsey is a first year teacher and blogged about her students creating a class recipe book. I told her I loved the idea and that I was going to "steal" it... And so I did! For Mother's Day!

The children all brought recipes from home, telling their moms that they needed one for a math project on measurement. (Well, they were telling the truth in a round-about way!) They loved the secret and the surprise they had in store for their moms. The day the recipes were due, they literally stormed my desk with "Look! Look! Look at my recipe!" They later rewrote the directions in paragraph form, using sequencing and transition words (i.e. first, next, then, meanwhile, last, etc.) so as to cover state Language arts standards. We also discussed units of measurement - Go math standards! (And don't you know I used the paragraph as a writing grade?!)

They had such fun typing their recipes out, illustrating the pages, and sharing them with the class. And what great recipes! After making 25 copies (You know I had to have one!), I passed them out to the kids. I think they turned out too cute!

Of course I had to add my own recipe Golden Day Banana Bread...

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!