Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Mommier-than-Thou

I've got some pretty awesome kids. My oldest, Bayberry, well...she's twelve years old and tells me everything. Everything. Good, bad, and ugly. I hear it all. I've met my goal of being approachable for her. She knows she can come to me with any issue at all, and I will help her sort through it. I'm her amnesty box. It's my goal to keep our lines of communication that way always.

Make no mistake: I'm not her Buddy. I'm Mom, and she knows it. I'm a pretty strict parent, as far as that goes, too. But she still opens up to me. Always. I love that, and I take credit for it, too. It's something I set out to do early in parenthood. I was always going to be the kind of mother a child felt she could talk to about stuff: school, friend trouble, boys, drugs, makeup, hair, religion, politics, you name it. Nothing's off-limits when it comes to talking to Mom.

And that's why I'm Mommier-than-thou.

Think you're Mommier-than-thou? Link up at Brae's blog and tell us all about it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Camera Critters

This is my first time participating in Camera Critters. I thought I'd start off with a picture I took this summer of my favorite animal: The Giraffe.

I took this picture at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Florida.

This post is linked to Camera Critters.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins

What are you doing this Black Friday? I'm vegging out at home, playing on my computer, tinkering around the house, and not going shopping.

Oh, I'm not boycotting the biggest shopping day of the season. No, I'm not celebrating Buy Nothing Day. I do need to make a quick trip to the grocery store. But I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping, so there's no point in stressing out today. I'm going to relax.

And maybe I'll put up some Christmas decorations.

For now, here's something fun to do. Friday Fill-Ins. You should play along, too. It's like Mad Libs for grown ups.

You know you want to. So go here and play along.

1. Three things I must have on my Thanksgiving table: OMG I can't think about food right now. Too much cooking yesterday. I'll go with plates, forks, and elbows. ;)

2. This morning, I woke up, stumbled downstairs, saw piles of blankets and toys scattered about the living room, and spied my daughters, a tangle of limbs and blankets, sacked out on the couch.

3. This is my last Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day in the United States for at least a few years!

4. My plan for today is to decorate the living room and front door for Christmas. I don't need to go overboard in one day, but I could see myself at least pulling out the wreath and tree today.

5. Oh, man, thankfully it's supposed to be cooling off outside soon. Enough with the hot weather in late November.

6. I think my tween is trying to perfect the art of rolling her eyes as soon as I look away.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing in front of the television, tomorrow my plans include schlepping over to my weight watchers meeting and hoping for no gain, and Sunday, I want to get totally prepared for the week ahead. Man, I'm a boring grown up!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Two Pictures of my Baby Girl

These pictures didn't come out exactly as I had planned when I was peeking through the camera at my daughter, but I played with them and sort of like how they came out.

ABCs of Thanksgiving

In alphabetical order, here are a few of the things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving. Also, some pictures from my home today.
a) Army

b) Bargains

c) Charles, my husband
Charles makes the gravy for our turkey dinner

d) Daughters. Also Diego, my precious doggy. Also, dishwashers. Mine is out of order today of all days!
Fancy was a big help with the apple crisp!

e) Enough to eat, for my whole family, every single day
Apples for my apple crisp

f) Family -- My entire family. My mother, my sisters, my grandparents, my husband, my daughters, and the entire Army family we've built up over the years.

g) Germany. We finally get to go!

h) Harry Potter

i) Icy Hot, for when the cook wakes up with a sore neck & shoulder Thanksgiving morning (true story!)

j) January. Generally the coldest month. Also my birth month.

k) Kisses

l) Lollipops. Low in Weight Watchers points. :)

m) Meals with my family

n) Nap time on a lazy afternoon.

o) Organic produce

p) Playing outside with my kids

q) Quiet time alone

r) Reading -- books, blogs, newspapers, and instruction manuals.

s) Sisters, who become friends when you grow up

t) Time. A precious gift.
A lovely whirl of pumpkin batter and flour flying everywhere!

u) United States. Though from you I shall soon depart, you will remain in my heart and I will always return.

v) Velour blankets on cold winter mornings

w) Writing -- on my blogs, especially

x) Who votes we eliminate this letter from the alphabet? Me!

y) Yesterday, because it prepares me for tomorrow.

z) Zippers. Five-button flies are a pain in the ass.

My little helper measures the flour.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Queen's Meme: Thanksgiving Edition

I'm having fun playing along with memes this week. Here's another Thanksgiving-themed one:

{If you knew this would be the last Thanksgiving holiday with your family, what would you do differently?}

I wouldn't cook. I would savor each moment. I'd make a point to spend time individually with each of them. I'd make a point of laughing. And I'd do something to make a memory with each member of my family.

{What is your favorite Thanksgiving dinner dish?}

This corn pudding recipe. It's delicious. It's my own creation. I highly recommend you try it.

{Why did John Smith fall in love with Pocahontas? Was it her beauty or her bravery?}

Neither. It was her scantily-clad, muscular body and her exotic appearance after being stuck on a ship with very pale, very sickly, very prudish pilgrims.

{Fill in the blank: Over the river and through the woods to ________________ 's blog we go.}

Haniela's. Eye candy. Food porn. Worthy of a trip over a river and through the woods. Barefoot, even.

{What is a cornucopia?A. A foot ailment  B. Freud's hidden coping strategy  C. a Enuch with a very large vocabulary D. third cousin of Onomatopoeia}

It's what you do when you're plagued by foot problems but still want to run a 5k. You have a corn, you cope. Eee-uh.

{Find a word that rhymes with Thanksgiving}

No, thank you. I actually tried white pages to see if there was a Hank Skiving. Did you know that skiving is the process in which you split strips of leather? I learn something useless new every day!

{Do you have any holiday traditions you'd like to share with us?}

We do NOT dress in fancy clothes. We do NOT use fancy dishes. We cook only what we love. We eat. A lot. And we usually put up our tree that night. After we're good and stuffed. Our tradition is to keep Thanksgiving pleasant for everyone, including the cook. And that's me. So I like it that way.

This post is linked to The Queen's Meme.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera

Friday was my daughter's birthday party. I made strawberry cupcakes and frosted some with chocolate frosting and others with buttercream. I love the way cupcakes photograph. Here they are, straight out of the camera:

This post is linked to SOOC Sunday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunday Stealing

Cheers to all of us thieves!

I don't love long posts, but this one sounded like fun to do. If you make it to the end, you rock. =)

{What was the last thing you put in your mouth?}

Diet Coke. Icy cold Diet Coke.

{How late did you stay up last night and why?}

Way too late. I think I fell asleep around one a.m. Yesterday was my daughter's birthday party-- a slumber party. We had ten kids, ranging in age from six to fourteen, all squealing with delight for hours last night. In fact, for most of the hours last night.

 {If you could move somewhere else, would you?}

Most definitely. In a heart beat. I am so done with this duty station.

{Have you ever been kissed under fireworks?}

Is it bad that I don't remember? I mean, I think so. Probably. I'm almost sure of it, actually.

{Do you believe ex’s can be friends?}

No. I don't think it's a good idea. Too much baggage.

{When was the last time you cried really hard?}

Uh... a few months after we moved to Georgia. I had a really hard time adjusting and cried frequently.

{What items could you not go without during the day?}

My computer. My cell phone. Caffeine.

{Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?}

My grandfather, last summer.

{How do you feel about your life right now?}

Excited about the future. Sort of treading water until recently, but looking forward to moving to Germany next summer!

{If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?}

A whole bunch of messages that I just leave in there instead of deleting. Sort of like my email inbox. And my desk drawer.

{Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?}

Yes. I don't use drugs.

{Has anyone ever called you perfect before?}

<chuckle> If anyone ever has, I've forgotten. It wouldn't stick in my mind because it's not a truth.

{Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m.: who do you want it to be?}

If someone is knocking on my second-story window at 2 a.m., it damn well better be the fire department or they're gonna get knocked off their ladder.

{Do you think too much or too little?}

Far too much. I over-plan and over-think everything. Always.

{Do you believe in fairy tales?}

No. Do you normally climb long blonde braids into tall, doorless castle towers? How about kissing dead chicks to wake them up? No? How about reassembling broken eggs? Me neither.

{Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?}

Yes. Back in the day. Now, I don't use CDs.

{What’s the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated?}

I was 18 and dating a 29 year old. And come to find out, I was far more mature than him.

{Have you ever been on a blind date?)


{Do you have any friends that you’ve known for 10 years or more?}

Nope. Either they get tired of me, or I get tired of them. I change too much to keep the same people around me for that long. The only exception is my dear sweet husband who can handle all of my changes.

{Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?}

Mr. St. Laurent in sixth grade. And he wasn't even cute. But there you have it.

{What song do you want played at your funeral?}

I'm Walkin' on Sunshine

{Would you tell your parents if you were gay?}

Eventually. I think I would have an inner struggle for a while. I would be afraid to disappoint my mother. But eventually, I would need to. And I would feel better afterword. So I think. I'm not in that position, so I can just speculate. I think it would be hard.

{What would your last meal be before getting executed?}

I've always wondered how people can eat at a time like that. I lose my appetite when I'm stressed out. If I was told that people were going to kill me in a little while and then told to eat something, I would be physically unable. I would rather spend my last moments with family or outdoors. Food would be the last thing on my mind. I think.

{Do you walk around the house naked?}

No. I keep my windows open, not my drawers.

{What do you do as soon as you walk in the house?}

Say hi to anyone home. Kisses. Hugs.

{Who is the person you can count on the most?}

My husband.

{What is your favorite Holiday?}

Toss up between Thanksgiving and Fourth of July.

{Would you ever get plastic surgery?}

Hell yes. Tummy tuck. Boob lift. Liposuction.

{Have you ever caught a fish?}

Yes. Poor little things. I no longer fish. I don't eat fish. I can't justify impaling them on hooks for my entertainment.

{What is the first thing you notice about people?}

Their teeth.

{What is the farthest you’ve been from home?}

Home is where my family is. So I'm never far from home.

{How did you meet your spouse or significant other (or most recent one)?}

Long story. Frat party. Drunken stairs falling. I like to say that he fell for me at first sight. :)

{Where was the last place you drove (other than home/school/work)?}

I drove my daughter to Justice to spend some of her birthday money this afternoon.

This post is linked to Sunday Stealing. Embrace your inner thief and play along.

Happy Birthday Bayberry

Dear Bayberry,

On this day, twelve years ago, you entered the world, kicking and screaming and making sure everyone knew you had arrived. You've been making grand entrances ever since.

You were almost ten pounds, and almost 22 inches of absolute confidence. You knew what you wanted from the beginning, and you've never been shy about asking.  

It's been such an honor to be your mother. It's been a crazy ride. Sometimes, it's all I can do to hold on as tight as my fingers will allow and fly along with you. Other times, we coast quietly. There's never been a dull moment, though!

I'm so proud of the lovely young woman you're becoming. You're beautiful, energetic, loving, kind, smart, funny, and full of good ideas. I'm proud of the hard work you're putting into your school work. Your goal of straight As on your report card is great! You're doing so well in band. I look forward to your concerts and seeing you progress further.

We've celebrated twelve birthdays with you. As I look ahead, I wonder what the next twelve will bring. I'm looking forward to seeing you grow into yourself -- into the life in store for you. Enjoy your year -- it's the last year before you're a real teenager!

I love you very much, Bayberry. Always remember that. And like it or not, you will always be my baby.

All my love,


Friday, November 19, 2010

I Got Great News Yesterday!

the view out my back door at 7 a.m.

Two years ago, I learned that we would be moving to Georgia. While I was excited for a new adventure, I was sad, too. We had developed a life in Colorado -- a life I loved. I had friends there. I was comfortable there. I knew all about my city. We'd lived there for five years. That's a long time to be in one place when you're an Army family!

It was a sad day when moving day arrived. Many a tear was shed.

I spilled enough tears over the following three months to fill a kiddie pool.

I stayed in a perpetual state of sadness.

I wasn't making new friends here. People weren't as warm and open as they were in Colorado.

It was a very difficult time for me.

Every phone call to a Colorado friend would inevitably include the following sentence:

"I hate Georgia."

I hated everything about it, too.

The humidity.
The wimpy winter.
The way people talk.
The lack of the stores I wanted to shop at.
The bugs.

Ever since we got here, we've been trying to leave here. We planned for Army Man to reenlist and get Germany put in his contract, so that we could move. We set our sights on the day that would happen.

That day arrived. Army Man went to the reenlistment people.

They told him no. No, we couldn't move to Germany. No, the Army needed him in Georgia.

It was another very sad day.

But it sort of brought me some closure. I knew we were stuck here, so it was time to make the most of it.

And something amazing happened.

I gained a peace about living here that I thought I'd never experience.

I was finally okay calling this place home.

I had fought it for 17 months. But finally, it was okay. I was home.

Now, I'll never be able to say that I'll miss this place once we're gone, but I no longer feel bitter animosity towards it, either.

Funny thing happened after that. The very next day, as a matter of fact.

The Army told my husband we could go to Germany.

That's right! We're going to Grafenwoehr, Germany next September!

So I learned my lesson. Let go of the resentment and embrace the change. Be okay where you are. Only then can you move on.

Germany, here I come...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday's Top Ten

The top ten things I'm thankful for:

#1: My husband. He's amazing. Supportive, devoted, hard-working, loving, caring, kind, calm, positive, easy-going. I could go on for thousands of words. He's the perfect man for me. I'm so blessed to have him.

#2: My beautiful, smart, funny, loving, sweet, innocent, courageous, sharing, caring, amazing daughters. I'm proud they call me Mom.

#3: My mother. My closest friend. I'm thankful for her.

#4: My doggy. His name is Diego but he goes by many nicknames. Lil Cheech is my favorite.

#5: My country. How lucky am I to call the United States home? I'm thankful I'm a US citizen.

#6: My home. I love my house. It's a good size. It's pretty. And it feels cozy inside.

#7: My daughters' teachers. We got some really great ones this year and they are truly helping them grow into wonderful little learners. I am especially thankful for my youngest daughter's teacher. She's amazing in more ways than just teaching ways.

#8: Our current financial state. Neither rich nor poor, we always have enough to pay the bills, keep our children in activities and nice clothes, put on a good Christmas and good birthday parties, eat well, and take care of ourselves. We've had many years of struggling. Now, we are finally leveled off and are doing okay. I'm thankful for that.

#9: My ability to cook great meals for my family. I seem to have become a very good cook. I'm thankful for that ability. I know not everyone has it. I love to cook. I love the way it brings people together. I am thankful that I can nourish family and friends with my talent.

#10: Cable television. Okay, I'm sure there are more important things to be thankful for this year, but I do love my TV time. Sometimes, all a girl needs is a screen to state at numbly and some entertaining shows to watch. I'm so glad I have cable and can veg out in front of the tube on a regular basis. I do believe it keeps me sane.

This post is linked to Thursday's Top Ten.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Love the Smell of Fallen Leaves

Crisp and fragrant.

I took my daughter to a nearby park to take some pictures. She's turning twelve this weekend and I like to take birthday portraits of my kids each year. Since the local foliage is at it's autumn peak right now, and she and I have been sick & cooped up in the house, we decided we needed some fresh air. So, we headed outdoors to snap some photos. Here are a few I took today:

The birthday girl

These pictures were taken at Flat Rock Park in Columbus, Georgia. There are stone walls, stone steps, bubbling brooks, miles and miles of trails, a pond, and lots of room to play.

Preteens. They're at a fun and frightful age, huh? My girl here, she's so full of life and light and so moody, all at once. There's no telling which side you're going to see. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. She's such a neat kid. Creative and smart and beautiful and sensitive.

This one's my favorite.

Look at that golden color! Gorgeous!

Yours truly. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

It's Beginning to Look (a little) Like Christmas

In an effort to help myself get into the holiday spirit, I've begun listening to Christmas carols. I also bought myself a small poinsettia. I think it's helping.

This post is linked to Ruby Tuesday.