please pray for the Gulf Coast

Three years almost to the day we are once again watching the weather channel and praying. It's hard to believe that the people of the Gulf Coast, New Orleans and St. Charles have to face this again so soon. I can't imagine what it must be like to have to pack up stuff and pray you will have somewhere to return to.

On a happy note, my house is full of cousins which makes up for the lack of one young woman upstairs. We'll make this evacuation into a fun mini-vacation.


OK, I know, you are sick of it...

college... big deal heard it all.

politics... BORING... stop talking.

cute kids...mine are the cutest everybody has cute kids.

So it's back to regular old blogging.

I had a bunch of ideas. They are gone. Lost in the myriad points on my to-do list. Because of said list, I am trying to be more organized so that I can get it all done. This week, I went grocery shopping with a purpose thanks to Saving Dinner.

I made it to Thursday going exactly by the plan. Of course, I got the usual criticisms. "Ugh, I hate ___" or "Why do you always have to cook new stuff? I hate new recipes." My favorite? "I'm not eating that... I'll have Ramen."
Then, the insult extraordinaire to my perfect meal planning -- STUPID Domino's pizza night. Ugh.

I really don't like Domino's. And this once a month pizza night is extortion in my opinion. Yes, I know it is an easy fundraiser for schools. I am the queen of fundraising and pta's. But I want to scream every time I see that silly sticker on the front of a shirt after school. "Mom, but I HAVE to.. they said so on Explorervision, it's for the school!"

Guess what?

I caved. My perfect, nutritious meal #5 did not make it to the table.

They ate Domino's, I ate cheese and crackers.

Roll with the punches should be my new motto.


This is not a political blog. I don't have time for that, besides you have to think too much. And remember what I said about Claire being totally B&W -- and me not so B&W? This trait does not suit political bloggers. It is no fun to argue discuss politics with someone who continually says, "I see your point, however..."

Despite my tough exterior I really just want everyone to like me.

Tonight, something hit me the wrong way. It is no secret that I am a happy Catholic. Born, bred and raised that way. Being Catholic is who I am, part of me.
Tonight, I had enough. I had enough of people using prayer and small group e-mail lists to push a political agenda, posting blindly. Hey, if you have that strong of an opinion about something that you want to send it some 250 people, SIGN YOUR NAME! If I feel passionately about something you are damn sure going to know how I feel.

So I did something I don't always do, I replied back -- not reply all-- too passive aggressive for that one. But I called the person on the anonymous nature of post. I should have asked why that particular forum was used. As grandma used to say, "Hindsight is 20/20".

And for the record, for those few people who may feel obligated to comment.
I am PRO-LIFE, all life, from conception to NATURAL DEATH. And unfortunately this basic Christian tenant tenent does not exist in either party.


this is how you do it--pack for college that is...

Another photo essay, since the last one was so easy was so well received!

Step One: Freak out. Talk on the phone alot. Pretend that you aren't leaving TOMORROW! Give your mom a silly look when she suggests you get off the phone and actually pack something.

Step Two: Create college central in the middle of the living room. Freak out. Tell your mom you have too much stuff yet not enough stuff (Has my fence sitting rubbed off on her?) Remind those detail-oriented, observant friends that the Fisher Price Castle is not going to college with her, it just lives in the living room for some reason.

Step Three: Shove crap your most important possessions into every nook and cranny in Poppy's borrowed car. Who needs a rear view anyway?

Step Four: Despite the rain and crowds of people, get excited that the dude in line in front of you has his priorities straight...the surfboard and bike are ready to go.

Step Five: Did we say not enough stuff? How about too much stuff? Is there a cable connection? OMG, I can't find the cable connection. Wait, there's no TIVO in college? Store the tv under the bed for now...

Step Six: Pose for a picture with brothers, and Johnny. He made it to college too!

Step seven: Kiss everyone goodbye, shed a few tears. Laugh at mom's face trying not to cry. Miss Daniel's sobs because he went around the corner so she wouldn't see. Think the goodbyes are over....everything is OK, then realize she has stuff in the car still. Organize ANOTHER goodbye, this one a little harder. Text her 10 minutes later, she is in the library, on Facebook.

She will be OK.
We will be OK.

I just won't tell her to read this just yet. Very cool Robert...



I am here, I am just crazy busy right now. Too much to do, not enough time to get it all done.

I am a duck.


A Woman

Eighteen years ago I became a mother.

We became parents.

A beautiful 9 lb 4 oz beauty arrived and turned our world upside down.

This should be the only naked picture of her ever to be seen over the world wide web. She'll kill me I know, but since she never reads my blog, I think I am OK.

Eighteen years ago I walked around the hospital corridors doing my pelvic thrusts in the hallway during contractions to the sounds of my sisters laughing at how I looked like a really friendly cow.

Two things that got me through my DRUG FREE labor were the promise of a piece of oreo cheesecake my sister snagged from work and my husband's jokes--not funny at the time, but quite hilarious now. The best one? After I decided to quit just before pushing, his encouragement was to tell me how silly I would look at the grocery store with a head between my legs. I didn't laugh, but the doctor and nurses did.

Oh wait, this post isn't about me.... really....

Did I say she turned my world upside down? Did you read that as a negative? Our world flipped in the best way possible.

I learned to see the world through a child's eyes. Where imaginary friends Julie and Jordan could earn a seat at the table, and in the car, and on the bus. Where a white bear named Johnny, bald from hugs, would earn a place of honor in the family and would help ease the pain of a younger brother... and another ..... and another.

I would learn from her what it means to be kind, and to put others first. I would learn what it means to see things as black or white -- I have always been a fence sitter, a waffler. I would learn that my goal to raise a girl with mind of her own and strong sense of self would sometimes come back to bite me in the ass. I may have appeared angry at the time, but inside I was secretly proud.

I would learn from her the importance of books in a child's life. I would listen as she and her friends truly mourned the end of the Harry Potter series as the end of their childhood. To them, that came last summer, to me it comes next Friday.

Eighteen years ago I held my sweet daughter for the first time and cried tears of joy. Tonight, I will sneak in her room and look at her peacefuly sleeping, Johnny Bear still keeping watch, and cry tears of joy again.

What an amazing WOMAN she has become. Look out world, here she comes.


She likes me!

My friend Sara over at A Shower of Roses just gave me my first Blog award!

Kick Ass Blogger Award

If anyone kicks ass it is Sara. She has to with 6 kids-- homeschool, carpool, lessons, church... Thanks Sara.

Now to pass on the favor here are a few gals I think Kick Ass too:
1. T over at Anesthesioboist a true renaissance woman -- medicine, music, dance, mothering she's got it all!
2. Bridget over at Up the Irish a pretty cool chica, bossed around by the responsible one for most of her life-- she learned to kick ass at a young age
3. Colleen over at Sweaty Princess this is a kick ass blog because she has such a great title... do me a favor, DO NOT GOOGLE her blog title...it's not pretty and the NetNanny would have a field day. She also learned at an early age to kick ass thanks to yours truly
4. Julie over at JulienAndy who after Wednesday's post about John Cusak, I have decided she must be a sister by a different mother...also check out her post on the KROFTT SUPERSHOW bring back memories for anyone else?
5. Finally Carmen over at Mom to the Screaming Masses because she continually amazes me, work, kids, writing writing writing. She is probably too big for this one, but I had to credit the chica who got me hooked on blogging in the first place


Walk of Shame

So today I got to do the walk of shame.

I know, it is all in my head.

Today's walk of shame was the "return the football gear" walk. You know, when your son decides not to play after the first practice you can't just show up and drop off the equipment with the board presidents. Presidents you say? We are talking some ORGANIZED youth sports here. NOOOO you have to walk down and across the practice field to a pod way in the back to return it. In order to get a refund, you gotta walk the walk.

Now that I am working at the high school, this was even less appealing as the high school practice was just letting out as the "feeder practice" was starting. I got to walk by two teams I knew well. Regardless, I took a deep breath and ventured into the testosterone. Normally this would be quite a privlege, as parents are not allowed on the grass or "in the zone". Not today. Though I did get a nice view. No, you lecherous old women, get your mind out of the gutter, a nice view of coaching styles.

Walking through the smell of sweat, the sound of pads hitting, the occasional curse actually made me sad. Because I love football. And I won't be an insider anymore. But then I remembered that I AM NOT AN 11 YEAR OLD BOY, and that I am not the one playing.

I have mentioned my struggle with pushing a sport before. When does a gentle push to continue become a rabidly obsessed sports parent? When do you encourage and when do you step back? As I watch the Olympics and look at these athletes who have dedicated their lives to their sport- with great success, I wonder when did the passion begin? Was it truly the child's or was it the parents'?

I decided to step back with my electric boy. This has been a crazy summer and I decided to listen to him. He didn't want to spend all fall in the car going from one practice to the next, and be sore and bruised on top of worrying about middle school. I threatened making him take the walk of shame with me, mom of the year I know, but you know I wouldn't really make him. So I did it alone, one crazy suburban mom.

I never fit in.


the last night of summer

Ah, the house is settling. Tonight they are finally quiet. It is the end of summer. The heads are hanging, excuses are running, feet are pounding upstairs--one more kiss, one more drink of water... a 15 year old boy is rushing last minute poetry assignments, "annotating" to the sound of Rowdy Gaines commenting on tonight's Olympics. A soon to be college girl is upstairs in her room hiding from it all. Most likely VERY HAPPY that this annual ritual is finally behind her, but knowing her, probably a little nostalgic as well. This was a child that got excited about the back to school run. According to her, "There's nothing like the smell of fresh notebook paper."

Normally this would be an exciting night for the responsible one. Sleep would come easily in anticipation of the FIRST morning. Rushing them off to the bus, and then into the house to coffee and paper. The year would loom before me full of possibilities. This would be the year I would finish scraping all the popcorn ceilings (yea right), or this would be the year I would re-panel the basement (again... yea right!) I would set goals and dream. And life would happen. And with the joy of that life, that list would not...

So this year we are trying something different. Since I know in my heart that "list" of things I would do with "all my free time" was always a pipe dream, I am letting it go. Tonight is an exciting night for the responsible one in a different way. One where I find myself facing a new challenge in the morning. Still rushing them off to the bus, still taking the famous mailbox picture, but then rushing myself off to schoolwork. Where I will do alot of things I have been doing for the past 18 years, just for someone else. And I think I have been pretty good at it so far, and it might be nice to get a check at the end of the week.



Tonight is the night. It begins. Important enough to have an hour and a half "stressful discussion" on how to properly connect the TIVO to the new digital cable box -- not a fun discussion after work. But, it's done, it works and let the TIVOing begin!

I love the Olympics. I really do.

It all began in '84. My best friend's dad had tickets to most of the swimming events. We were swimmers and lived for the pool. I think he bought those tickets so far in advance because he thought she might be there in the pool. As the summer approached and in a moment of TRUE GENEROSITY, her dad decided that he didn't want to go... Lord knows why...but he offered the trip to me. Talk about cool. Now mind you I was the oldest and talking my parents into letting me go to LA for a week was difficult. "It is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity!" "Something like this will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN in my lifetime!" (Cough cough)

I used them all. Now before you think they sent us off innocent and naive, cough cough, we both reminded our parents that we had just finished our freshman year of college and were quite almost self-sufficient.
It worked.

We were off. Off to LA. Two suburban, southern girls ready to face the world. Hoping to meet Olympic athletes and movie stars. Tales of the week are a blog post unto themselves. It truly was a once in a lifetime thing, because when would I ever be able to experience something up close like this again?

A few years later we would all cheer to hear that the 1996 Olympics would be held in "THE CITY OF ATLANTA". I would get to experience it again! Not as much as my Olympic giving friend who would dance in the opening ceremonies. No, I would be back in the suburbs this time, pregnant with # 3, my electric boy. But experience it I did. The world was here and it was COOL.

So tonight, I will be sitting on my butt, TIVO remote in hand, ready to watch the world AGAIN. This time the games are a little farther away. I will happily sit with Sean and watch rowing -- though nothing is more exciting than watching rowing, except for maybe Olympic Paint Drying. But I love my boy, so sit there I will. Ready to watch the world again. To let my mind wander back to the carefree days of '84 when we had a rented gold convertible Camaro (good southern girls ya know), a pocket full of tickets and hearts full of dreams.


love thursday

A twist on Love Thursday...

Donny Osmond, my first love.

I would spin this 45 for ever on my little record player, or hide from my sisters and stare at his picture -- under the table in the dining room.

I was going to marry him.

I don't know what happened.

Maybe it was Davy Jones, or Leif Garrett. Soon Donny was forgotten. That 45 and most importantly, THAT picture sifted to the bottom of my toy box, probably sold in a garage sale. Then, my daughter discovered Mulan...

I don't care what you say.

I still think he's cute.


The Farkle Family

Everyone is smiling....everyone is happy...hold your breath...

How to take a beach picture --a photo essay

Step one: Decide that it is TOO FAR and TOO SANDY to walk to the beach to take a beach picture, scout around the house to find the best spot, rearrange HEAVY deck furniture to make sure you have the best look...this is essential when there are 8 photographers in the house...

Step two: Coerce all the small children to take off their bathing suits and get clean. Order pizza, let them smell pizza and tell them they can't eat it until after they have taken 50 pictures and remind them they have to smile and look happy!

Step three: Coerce the dads that they have to do step two as well, even if they whine "don't wanna..."

Step four: Arrange the grandparents in the center, for they are always in the center of our lives (and bank-rolling most of the week allows them that privlege)Comfort the littlest cousin who fell down in the chaos. Make sure he feels love, but remind him stuffed lambies are not allowed in the picture. Comfort him some more. Change your mind and leave lambie in, notice he smiles in all the pictures

Step five: Quick shove the rest of the kids around Mumma and Poppy. Take at least 30 pictures (thank you creator of digital cameras!) Yell, giggle, dance and look like idiots to make them smile. Secretly be happy that they do not have cameras to shoot back at you (thank you for bad cell coverage that kept the teens cameras in the backpack)

Step six: Realize OH CRAP, all the kids are clean and in the picture. Maybe we ought to throw ourselves in there as well. Thank the high heavens that your sister actually read the manual that came with her camera and has an art degree in photography and knows how to work the timer. Nobody wants to go next door and ask the Latvians to take our picture.

Step seven: As the oldest, the responsible one, post the one group picture that you look the best in, even if everyone else looks goofy, because you can, "IT's MY BLOG"


Visitors from afar

So thanks to modern technology, we can call IRAQ by dialing a Virginia phone number. We have been very lucky to be able to talk to Uncle Lobbie (or daddy for Trish)a few times this week. We even made cookies for him today. Talk about too many cooks... EVERYONE has an opinion on the best way to make peanut butter cookies. [Apparently chocolate does not make the trip to Iraq well-- something about that 118* heat...] So we have called Rob and he has been able to check out pictures of the week off this blog. So say hi to Rob if so inclined... I have ANOTHER game of Charades for Kids to join in on...

"Rain rain go away...."

rainy days

So, what do you do when it is rainy? Do you do crafts? Watch a movie? Bake cookies? Done all that and still don't know what to do?
Follow the advice of some random guy on the beach and take the kids "into town" and visit the Appalachicola River Estuary Preserve. Guaranteed to be a fun day! Whale skeletons, stuffed bears, turtles, fish, honeybees...what could be better?

Top it off with some icecream, yummy. We skipped the Appalach Chocolate Oysters this time though... FOR REAL... chocolate covered OYSTERS... even the preggo one in our group couldn't stand it!

What says beach fun more than kids charades?