Friday, July 31, 2009


If we had had the extra cash and the extra space, we may have entertained the idea of putting in a slide. But it seems the boys can get around that and improvise just fine.

And then Hero Daddy comes out...

...and has an even better plan.

Do you see anything missing from the playground?

Right, the slide.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Capture - Friends


I have friends, I really do. It's just that they are virtual friends. I mean, they're real people, people that I really know, but I mainly just chat with them on Facebook. Facebook is my answer to the adult interaction which is so sorely lacking from my life.

As often as possible, however, I do try to get together with my friends...generally under the guise of offering our children the opportunity to play together, but it's always a lovely time of adult fellowship as well.

Last week, we had a park day with two of my very favorite friends. Our kids are all buddies, so that makes it extra special. Silly me, I never got a picture of US; however, true to my norm, I did snap a lot of kid pictures. Some aren't focused very well because I didn't want to lug the Nikon around the park, but they still capture the charm, silliness, cuteness, sweetness, and loveliness of my favoritest children as well as some others to whom I am rather partial.

If our culture dictated pre-arranged marriages, this one would be a done deal.
I suspect there would be no argument from either of them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life from the Shoe, Day 3

10:33 PM
Not sure why I'm so worn out. I only put in 980 steps. How pathetic is that? My daily goal is over 6000, and I usually do above that. Must have been that nap. Or maybe it's this pitiful little pedometer. I replaced my drowned pedometer with a cheap, imitation version. Maybe it's not working right. I had high hopes for my injured pedometer because it was trying with all its might to shine its little numbers through the streaks of water; however, tonight those numbers faded away to nothing. So 980 it is. I'm ashamed.

9:45 PM
Ahhh...the sound of...nothing.

5:21 PM
OK, I'll admit it, I'm ready to lace up my shoe and close it down for awhile. Ready to get back to just 4. Four used to seem like a lot. And to some 6 is nothing. It's all relative. I'm about to round up some leftovers for my 4. My guests are doing dinner with their daddy. Last night's taco dinner actually came together quite nicely. And right on time. Of course, that could be due to the fact that my daughter was hanging over me the whole time reporting on the time. I made the mistake of telling her I intended to serve dinner at 6:00 sharp. And she's inherited the obnoxious punctuality gene that runs in this family. I can call it obnoxious because, even though it's not in my gene pool, it runs strongly through my veins.

Well, I'm being called to iron some more. Yes, if I didn't hate my iron before, I really hate it now. However, I will admit that this bucket of 8 thousand 5 hundred fusion beads was the best 10 bucks I ever spent. Otherwise, I'm not sure what would have kept these children occupied for 3 days.

3:36 PM
I have not been a very faithful live blogger today. Probably on account of the nap I just stole. Thanks be to the Beverly Hills Chihuahuas. And the fact that my student conference was very short. I had blocked out an hour for it, but who was I kidding? I guess I've forgotten what high school students are like. This particular high school student, I'm sure, was only re-doing his paper--and thus conferencing with me--because his mom said he had to.

Anyway, about all of these children. The bribe reward worked. My upstairs is clean. Now if they can just all sit quietly in a chair and read a book for the rest of the day. Right. And I am an old lady living in a shoe.

11:44 AM
Ahhhh....exhaling. It's been non-stop since we got into the car at 8:30 and headed out to meet and pick up the girls. Wait, let me back up. It's been non-stop since I made a general announcement before we got into the car: "Everyone needs to make sure he or she has gone potty before we leave." Apparently, I made the announcement to the air because we hadn't gotten far when Michael made his own announcement. Luckily, he was the only one who had shoes on and who was not still in his PJs. I was able to leave the other kids in the Publix parking lot with my guest's daddy while I took Michael in to do his business.

Then it was a rush home to get some bread made so I would have something to feed everyone for lunch and in a timely manner so that lunch would be done in time for me to take the call I am expecting from a student who needs help with a paper. And at this very moment I hear the house falling apart around me, bit by bit. First there was the blood-curdling scream from none other than my youngest son...more of a pretend, attention-getting scream upon spying my eldest son dressed head to toe in his skeleton costume. Another attention-getting ploy. Seems as if there's a lot of boy-seeking-girls'-attention stuff going on around here.

Now there is just a general sense of some serious mayhem going on in the house. I'm saving the movie for my phone call with my student, and that moment can't come soon enough. In the meantime, I am about to offer a cold, creamy bribe reward for dessert for any children who will go upstairs and clean up the Chaos from the last 3 days. You know, because the mess drives me insane we may have a house showing this weekend, who knows?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Life from the Shoe, Day 2

9:23 PM
Down to just the five of us tonight. I'm happy my sweet little guests are not sad tonight! I will be picking them up in the morning to spend another day with them. They are sweet, little girls, and I've enjoyed having them here, but, people, I'm worn out! I also really enjoyed my evening with just the kids and me. Like I said, my little guests are sweethearts, but whenever I have guests--whether they're family or friends--when they leave, I realize how perfectly my four children fit into my family. I love my kids.

4:04 PM
I may make a midnight run to Target tonight. Or at least an 8:00 run. The girls are going to spend the night at their house tonight because they miss their daddy. They may or may not come play tomorrow depending on whether or not their daddy decides to take the day off of work tomorrow. Anyway, we had a little rescue--I saved both our little guests in the pool. The kids thought it was pretty funny that I was in the pool with my clothes on. Oh, and why the run to Target? Well, turns out my pedometer isn't waterproof. I'm not ready to give up my trek down the Appalachian Trail yet.

10:35 AM
I'm pretty sure our iron hasn't seen this much action in its entire, miserable life. The children are still in their PJs because they have been steadily cranking out their beaded animal creations for me to fuse with the iron. Good thing there are over 8000 plastic bead thingys in the bucket.

And somehow I got stuck making everyone a friendship bracelet. I'll tell you a secret, though--I really don't mind. I am, in fact, rather enjoying it. I haven't made one since Jr. High, and in those days, it seems that's all we did...for a short time anyway. I remember we'd even sneak them into the classroom, pin them to our parachute pants and work on them until they would get confiscated for the day. I still have an old friendship bracelet from an old friend.

My two little guests are doing OK, though a little weepy at times, especially at those times in which they are speaking with their father on the telephone. (Note to self: Stop letting them talk to him.) But how is one to resist a little girl in blonde curls with puppy dog eyes of the bluest blues asking sweetly and politely, "Do you think I could please call my daddy?"

7:41 AM
No sign yet of anyone save my eldest son, but he's always up at the crack of dawn anyway. Plus, he was soundly snoozing last night at the very time I was trying to comfort Alex was successfully comforting two sad little girls. Hopefully today will be a fun one for everyone.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life from the Shoe, Day 1

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.

OK, so I live in a house (anyone wanna buy it?), but I am old (at least I often feel that way), and I have a lot of children for the next two days. We added two sweet, beautiful little girls to our fold last night--brought them home from volleyball and will have them here for a couple of days while their Mama is on a missions trip.

So I thought I would do something a little different today and get some live updates recorded as the day unfolds. Unlike the old lady in the shoe, I think I do know what to do. I have a lot of activities planned anyway...

10:30 PM
I have to say, one thing they didn't train me to do in college is console homesick children. Mostly because in the high school classroom, you sure hope you don't have any homesick kids. Although sometimes you wish that was what was causing the crying...and that the tears weren't yours.

Anyway, Alex stepped up in a big way. I had two very homesick little girls this evening, and Alex calmed them down by telling them stories. I think I have to admit she's better with kids than I! My idea was to let them talk to their Daddy, which just proved to make it worse. At any rate, the two girls are now settled down with Alex in the office. Well, maybe not settled down completely yet, but getting there. So much for sleeping in separate rooms AND for getting adequate sleep tonight. I hope they're able to sleep in a bit.

My husband advised me to turn in myself, but since my bed is full of laundry--AGAIN--well...if you need me, I'll be folding laundry--AGAIN.

8:48 PM
Ah, the sound of loud, stomping footsteps above. The tribe is heading in the right direction, getting ready for bed. Ordinarily, my children are getting ready for bed an hour ago, but I decided to be lenient tonight, especially because an hour ago, one of our little guests asked, "Can we go outside now?" It's funny how different every family is. I am very protective of my time-after-the-children-bed-down because it's my only Me Time, and tonight I have a lot to do...laundry to fold, a class syllabus to create for Monday's meeting, a paper to review for a conference, and a house to clean up a little. I won't spend too much time cleaning because it will just get undone tomorrow. Right now it looks like a bead factory threw up on my dining room table. Not the kind of mess I enjoy cleaning up. Since the children made it, they shall clean it up. But I'll let them create a few more masterpieces first.

Dinner was an ordeal tonight. Not anyone's fault but my own. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm in awe of all of those women who, daily, put on a spread for their families. I suppose I'm in awe of my husband as well for doing just that; I guess I've grown accustomed to it (ie: take it for granted). When Mark travels, I normally just do something simple...translation: mac & cheese or cereal for dinner ("Kids, guess what? We get to have breakfast for dinner! How cool is that?!) But these kids eat much healthier (translation: their mom is not lazy), so I've been trying to get full meals cranked out for them. Tonight was lasagna and zucchini. Everything was delicious, but it was an hour late getting to the table. So I guess the skills are there; my timing's just way off.

I found out tonight I will have to do a couple more of these Complete Meals because the two girls will be spending one more night with us. Not complaining, just racking my brain for another meal to throw on the menu. And some more activities to plan because they tore right through the friendship bracelet kit. Perhaps I should have them compile a list of friends (many friends) for whom to make a bracelet.

Well, I've spared them an extra half hour. Lights out at 9:30, and all must retire to his/her own room. We aren't doing the go-upstairs-every-5-minutes-to-tell-them-to-be-quiet routine tonight. Although climbing stairs ups my step count on the pedometer, and since I didn't have time to work out today...

4:10 PM
Did the Play-Doh thing. Still picking pieces of it out of the carpet and scraping it off the tile. Then we went o Wal-Mart by request of 4 little girls who wanted to make friendship bracelets. Not that I'm spoiling them or anything, but I can't deny them something that has the word "friendship" in it. And, while I could have sorted through and untangled mounds of embroidery thread left over from finished and unfinished cross stitch projects, I'm all for convenience, so a kit it was.

After I was asked by the kind man in the pet department (on account of the fact that we had to go see the fish), "Are they ALL yours?", Alex said, "I KNEW someone would ask us that." Incidentally, the fish man said he was a little puzzled about how the two blonde ones fit in.

And now we are swimming. I use the term "we" loosely since, in fact, I have assumed my Lifeguard position from the patio table. Which sits in the shade under the patio fan. It also gives me a good vantage point for photographing our two visitors. I've already posted some pictures on Facebook. I like the make sure the parents know their children are still alive and kicking. Audrey is co-lifeguarding. Today she prefers coloring over swimming. She's also grumpy. Not a surprise since she didn't get enough sleep last night. Tonight she sleeps in her own bed.

12:33 PM
Lunch is almost ready. Hot dogs cookin', broccoli steamin'. Yeah, I said broccoli. No, I don't have a kid who will eat it, but these little angels I'm caring for eat anything, especially healthy things. Maybe they'll rub off on my kids!

11:49 AM
So the kids are watching a movie now. Yes, I'm using the big screen as a babysitter. You have a problem with that? It's just that I need to make lunch. And clean up. And do laundry. And clean up. Also, my houseplant decided to vomit sap all over the windowsill and carpet. Apparently it's been doing this for awhile and I hadn't noticed. Because I've been such a good housekeeper and all. So there is an inch of sticky to clean from the windowsill and scrub from the carpet. The plant has been banished to the Out-of-Doors.

10:41 AM
Finally got that shower in. And not for lack of trying before this late hour. Wasn't the 6 kids that kept me, however, it was the phone calls. I rarely get phone calls from anyone besides my husband. I'm not a big fan of the phone. Love email and Facebook but not the phone. Probably those years of telemarketing in college. Not the mention the fact that whenever I get on the phone 4 little people (in this case, 6 little people) either begin killing each other or suddenly have dire need of something. Anyway, business phone calls (listen to me sounding all professional-like): set up a phone conference to go over a paper with one of my Write4Homeschool students and set up a teacher planning meeting for my Writing Workshop at Bright Futures Academy.

Seems as though this meeting shall take place at the same time as I had planned to conduct my first day of school here at the Homefront Academy. But I'm nothing if I'm not flexible. OK, maybe I'm nothing. I'm working on it. And, after all, one of the great benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility it affords, right? So no sweat. We'll work with it. I'm excited about the meeting. I'm back down to teaching just the high schoolers, no middle schoolers, which makes me happy...smaller group, and I love high schoolers.

And back to my shoe...I think the interest in paper dolls has waned. I have yet to go into the kitchen to survey the damage, but I hear the Wii, so I'm fairly certain all of those poor flat dollies have been abandoned, lying in their beds of scraps.

9:24 AM
Breakfast - Check (fruit and homemade waffles).
Breakfast clean-up - Check.

Shower - Nope, not yet. Generally I try to get in and out of the shower before the husband leaves. You know, so I look more like a fairy princess than the Wicked Witch of the East, but this morning I'm afraid I was erring more on the side of the WWE than the fairy princess.

In a moment, I will be getting the next activity ready for them. My girls have been into paper dolls lately, and hopefully the other two girls will share the enthusiasm. When I told Audrey what I was getting ready to do, she said, "You have to print the clothes out from!" Actually, I print them out from Making Friends, but what a different childhood my children are living from mine where the World Wide Web could have only been the product of a nightmare about very large spiders.

7:30 AM

I was awakened at the unearthly hour of 7:15 by loud thumps from the room above mine. Someone using the theater chairs in the media room/office as a jungle gym. That someone being my eldest daughter who was the last to go to sleep last night. All 4 girls began in the same room, but then she began to complain that the "little ones" were keeping her awake. We moved her into the office where a mattress still remains from the kids' movie night the other night. So why in the world was she not sleeping at 7:15? Not that 7:15 is really that unheard of; it's just that it's been a lazy summer of sleeping in until 9:00 (me) while the children fend for themselves at breakfast. In other words, 7:15 is really just an unearthly hour to me.

Right now the "babies" are still sleeping, and the older 4 are playing "Risk". I don't think a one of them actually knows how to play "Risk", but at least they are being quiet. Nothing worse than grumpy babies, so let them sleep!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dear Crazies: Why Don't You ALL Just Stop By?

We seem to attract the very best of the best out there. Remember the Whack-O Homebuyer who was upset we didn't fix the pothole just because she made mere mention of it? Well, you actually never heard the full story on her. We later found out she had asked our realtor about our reasons for moving. The realtor's answer was, "They're outgrowing the house." Apparently, in her discussion with one of our neighbors, it was casually mentioned that I was with child when we moved in (GREAT with child at the time, in fact). So her incredulous response to our realtor was, "Well, I heard the lady was pregnant when they moved in. Wouldn't they then have known BEFORE they moved in that they would outgrow the house?"



So yesterday I get this email from this "prospective buyer." In it, he "asked" the following questions:

On google earth, you are quite a distance from the lake, though you say, "walking distance to the lake", Do you have a community dock or other easement for access?

Your asking price is pretty steep being that in the photos I do not see even a family room, only two tiny den areas.

I have former listing info, the pool is not much larger than a jacuzzi. Does it serve both purposes?

Your street looks worse than that of a third world country, it's horrific!
Does your property owners have plans on refinishing it?

It was my husband's opinion that we not even respond to this; however, I'm nothing if not a person of my word, and by allowing prospective buyers to contact us, that, to me, is as much as committing to provide excellent service by way of a response.

So this is what I wrote (and this is what I was wishing I could write):

Hi Matt,

Thank you for your inquiry about the property listed at ____ Drive in ___________ (Why in the world are you taking up my time and yours to send this "inquiry" which serves only to insult us rather than to ask any valid questions. It's not like we charge admission; your drive-by was free, so it's not like your insults serve to elicit a refund or anything.In fact, if you had come by a couple of weeks ago, I would have even offered you FREE BBQ. Of course, you would have probably just insulted my husband's cooking. Furthermore, have you heard that the housing market stinks? Knowing this, you should also realize that there are TONS of homes to look at, probably even many that are a better deal than ours. MOVE ON!!).

Here are answers to your questions (responses appear in ALL CAPS):

Message: On google earth, you are quite a distance from the lake, though you say, "walking distance to the lake", Do you have a community dock or other easement for access? WE ARE APPROXIMATELY 1/2-1 MILE FROM _________ MARINA (website of marina here) (Based on your "question" about our road, I know for a fact you did a drive-by, so your Google Earth view of our house is really null and void. You were here. You saw the lake across the street. You saw the sign for the marina. You asked this question only because you were being "smart" about our wording in our description. And, by the way, if you can't walk a mile, well...).

Your asking price is pretty steep being that in the photos I do not see even a family room, only two tiny den areas. OUR HOME DOES NOT FEATURE ANY "DENS". THERE ARE TWO SIZABLE LIVING AREAS. IN ADDITION, THERE IS A GIGANTIC MEDIA ROOM AND BONUS ROOM (This "question" left me speechless. Since we, in fact, have two living rooms, both of modest size and one with 20ft. ceilings, I just couldn't think of much else to think.).

I have former listing info, the pool is not much larger than a jacuzzi. Does it serve both purposes? THE POOL IS NOT LARGE, BUT IT WAS NOT OUR INTENTION TO BUILD AN OVER-SIZED POOL. WE WENT FOR AN AESTHETICALLY PLEASING POOL AS WELL AS ONE THAT WOULD SERVE ANY FAMILY NICELY. THE POOL IS HEATED AND HEATS QUICKLY BECAUSE IT IS A SMALLER POOL. SO, YES, I SUPPOSE IT COULD SERVE AS A JACUZZI, THOUGH YOU WOULD HAVE TO SUPPLY YOUR OWN BUBBLES (...though you would have to supply your own bubbles. OK, so I did say what I was thinking here. I considered adding a smily, but his message was in plain text, and I didn't feel a colon, dash, close parentheses would be as effective as an actual smily.).

Your street looks worse than that of a third world country, it's horrific!

Again, thank you for your inquiry. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask (Honestly, I really don't want to ever hear from you again unless you come bearing apologies for your rude message.).

Sincerely (or not),

(P.S. I will not invite you back to see our house in person because I would not want to chance dealing with someone like you at a closing.

P.P.S. I do need to pass on my appreciation for the blog fodder because I like to be able to file things under "Hissy Fit".

P.P.P.S. Do we chalk this up to your hissy fit or mine?)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Capture - Black & White

In My Arms
by Plumb

Your baby blues, so full of wonder

Your curly cues, your contagious smile
And as I watch you start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight.

Story books full of fairy tales
Of kings and queens

And the bluest skies

My heart is torn just in knowing
You'll someday see the truth from lies

Knowing clouds will rage

And storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms.

Rains will pour down

Waves will crash around

But you will be safe in my arms.

Castles, they might crumble

Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Because I will always
Always love you.

Note: The ocean shot was pulled from the archives because, well...there aren't too many beaches in these parts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hidden Talents

Today I discovered my oldest three children can cry on command. On command as in sign them up to star in the next movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book. I found this out in the car on the way to the bank to get my Jury Duty excuse notarized. Alex suddenly announced, "I can make myself cry. I'll just think of the saddest thing in the world."

Me: "Oooo-kay. What's the saddest thing in the world?"

Alex: "Dead puppies."

Me: "Oooo-kay."

She bowed her head for a minute and then, her voice all shaky, says, "See?" Sure enough. Tears streaming down her little cheeks. I was a little stunned and said so.

Then: "We can do it too," say two voices from the way back.

Me: "Yeah, right!"

Alex: "No, Mom, it's true. Jacob's the one who did it first."

So I look in the rearview mirror and there is Jacob staring back at me with big tears welling up in his blue eyes. Michael's tears were hidden behind his glasses, which I requested he remove so I could be witness to this very unusual phenomenon.

Unfortunately, the three of them refuse to allow me to photograph this special talent, so there is just my word. But, really, it's quite amazing.

Lord, please wash the stars out of their eyes with their fake tears because I don't dream Hollywood when I see their futures. Please?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Unplanned Summons

We were at Wal-Mart today, and I spied a display of calendars and planners. I quickly selected a wall calendar and then began thumbing through the planners. Their covers were so delightful, the whimsical patterns and crisp colors soothing in a way. And as I turned the light pages, there they were--the empty squares, squares that needed to be planned and then filled in.
Alex stood beside me, flipping through the planners as well. "Mom, can I get a planner?" she asked.

"Why do you need a planner?"

"To plan things." (duh!)

"What kind of things will you plan?"

"I don't know. Things."

A girl after my own heart.

We purchased no planners, but I quickly had my calendar hanging gracefully on the wall beside my desk, its hungry squares inviting me to fill them up with plans, appointments, special dates. I marked our first school day in ink without hesitation and then found the date a week later. Unfortunately, I was only able to pencil in my first day of Writing Workshop at Bright Futures Academy.

It's not that I'm unsure of the date. It's just that when we checked the mail today, there it was. An official postcard stamped with a waving American flag across the front, encouraging--no, demanding--I perform my civic duty. A Jury Summons. For August 10. The day before I'm expected in my classroom downtown.

This day in court? It was neither inked nor penciled in, so how can it be happening? I'm crossing my fingers that the powers that be will excuse me on account of the fact that I'm responsible for 4 human beings whom the same powers that be have deemed too young to be at home alone all day. That and the fact that the official postcard with the American flag specifically says in big, red letters, "Do not bring children."

Already I'm rehearsing my phone call to the county seat on Monday. Do I lead with "I homeschool my kids...." Probably not. I have this irrational fear that if I mention the H word, DFCS will have a school bus waiting to take my children off to public school on August 10. I say irrational only because my husband says it's irrational. In my mind, I know it's a completely legitimate concern.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what God is teaching me through this. I'm pretty sure I already laid plans and all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Laundry, Milkshakes, and Aliens is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Yesterday was Laundry Day. After the clothes were all washed--and strewn about my bed--I considered what a gift it would it would be to TravelDaddy if he came home and didn't have to clear a place to sleep between laundry-fresh underwear and shirts contend with piles of unprocessed laundry. So I folded all of the clothes. I put away all of the clothes.

All in one day.

It was a momentous occasion. There may have been some singing and dancing to mark the accomplishment.

* * * * * * * * * *
We drove by Chick-fil-A the other day, and apparently they're running some sort of milkshake promotion because the entrance is nearly blocked by signs depicting the creamy sweet treats in life size.

"Can we have a milkshake, Mom? Plleeeeaaaase?" they all asked in unison.

"Why would I spend all that money on milkshakes," I replied, "when I can make you one at home..."

Why, oh why, did I say that? A simple "No" would have sufficed. (I may have done well to correct their "Can" to "May" also. Because I'm helpful like that.) Since then, it's been, "Mom, when are you gonna make us milkshakes?" "Mom, today are you gonna make us those milkshakes?"

Well, the day finally came. Yesterday I made them milkshakes. Which they we drank through licorice straws. Because I'm a cool mom like that.

* * * * * * * * * *

Incidentally, the licorice is left over from Mama's Magic Bag, which accompanied us to the movies on Tuesday.

* * * * * * * * * *

We sipped our milkshakes yesterday through licorice straws as I conducted my first Write Share. As you know, I've been doing a lot of reading lately, brushing up on my teaching writing skills. Besides the Writing Workshop I'll be teaching downtown, I've also mentioned I want to institute a little WW in my own homeschool academy. (WW stands for Writing Workshop, not to be confused with World War, although there are a few of those in my house every now and then.) I served a dose of it yesterday (Writing Workshop, not World War).

The night before, I printed out a bunch of handwriting pages from Donna Young and stapled them together like books. The next morning, the inevitable question came: "What are we doing today?" I handed them the books and said, "Guess what? You get to write your own books today!"

They all did pretty well. The older three wrote stories about their Webkinz. Apparently, they have been telling stories every night in bed which they are acting out with their Webkinz by the light of the moon--or a flashlight as it were. The Princess wrote and "read" a riveting story about aliens. It went like this:

One time there was 3 little aliens, and they were up really high in the gray room in the stadium. Then they go to the next room and the next room and the next room and the next room. They did all the stuff that was all in the rooms. They did coloring on paper in there and dancing in there. They had dinner in the other gray room and played games in the next and painted in the next. Now it's over.

"What is the title of your story, Audrey?" I asked.

"The Aliens are Lost," she replied.

"Lost?" I inquired, puzzled. "Where were they lost? I didn't hear that in your story."

"Oh...They got lost in the baseball stadium and then they found the other stadium. Now it's over."

The Stadium

* * * * * * * * * *

I've been schlepping around a big ol' spiral journal for the last couple of days. I'm going to require my Writing Workshop students to keep Writing Notebooks, so I thought I should practice what I preach and actually carry my own around. You know, since I'm living the Writing Life and all. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I can't/don't write without a laptop staring me in the face. Usually when my bloggy voice is narrating in my head, I just pull out one of a gazillion hotel notepads and jot my thoughts on it with one of a gazillion hotel pens. (God bless the Marriott and all of its offspring!)

My eldest daughter is somewhat the same. I have in fact purchased several writing journals for her, but they just end up stuffed under her bed. I know this for a fact because last week we did a purge in her room, and I discovered them all along with many other "things". But that's another story. Anyway, since she can't keep track of a Writing Notebook, she also jots things on whatever paper-type product is around. Here are some of the random thoughts that were swirling around her writing brain during our trip to Kentucky:

(These first few were triggered by the saying at the top of the hotel notepad: Leave a trail of genius.):

to: Thoose who need it
Leave a trail of those who need it. So rest your head in a good bed. To be the one to leave the trail of genius.

Rember it's hard to tell the dumb from the genius. So be cautios when chosing. Even those who look dumb may not be. Never judge a book by it's cover. Evreything is not what it seems. Be very careful through life. Those who may seem good might be bad.

Genius is in the heart and mind. Thoose who seek it may find it.

The soul and heart mind are powerful. So use them in the way that is good to evreyone.

1% smarts + 99% insperation = genius

The voice can hurt more than you think. So don't hurt people with your bad words. Encourage people with your words. It can make someone's day brighter.

If someone hates you do not hate them back. Tough (Though) you are sometimes wanting to give into the hatred. Resist the tempting push it away. Love your enmies pray for them at all cost.

Popcorn Rules!

to: those who need help
Pay attion to nature and nature will pay attion to you. To help the outdoors is to help the human race. So help and protect it for the good of you and your loved one's.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

10 Things I've Learned this Week and You Capture - Shapes

1. This week I learned that I am no Giada De Laurentiis. Well, unless the item on the menu contains flour or chocolate, preferably both, which would make it a dessert, which is my favorite thing on the menu. Alex requested barbecue chicken pizza, which contains flour, and it turned out beautifully. Michael requested brownies, which contain flour AND chocolate, and they turned out beautifully. The coleslaw which Giada featured on Everyday Italian, and which contains neither flour NOR chocolate? It turned out not so beautifully.

2. I learned that coleslaw is expensive to make, especially when the fancy schmancy recipe calls for three different kinds of cabbage.

3. But I also learned that honesty can pay off. The poor, young girl at the register rang up my Napa cabbage as regular cabbage. When I saw the measly $.99 charge for "cabbage", I pointed it out. She looked over her rolly price thingy for a couple of minutes, glancing at the head of Napa cabbage every so often. "What kind of cabbage did you say it was?" she asked a couple of times. Finally, with the line of customers waiting behind me growing, she passed the culprit cabbage on down and said, "I'll just give it to you." Of course I got it for $.99 either way, but at least I preserved my integrity.

4. At the grocery store, I also learned that being kind to strangers can make you laugh. An elderly gentleman in an electric chair (as in the grocery store version of a wheelchair, NOT the kind that you find in prison after you've had your last meal) was already waiting at the deli when I walked up to order turkey. "How are you?" I asked. He said he was fine and then, gesturing toward my Iced Grande Green Shaken Tea, asked me where I had purchased it. I pointed toward the in-store Starbucks.

"What is it, like Coke or something?" he asked.

"No, it's tea," I responded.


"Iced tea. Like sweet tea!" I said more loudly.


I was just getting ready to yell, "NO. SWEET TEA!!!!" loud enough for all patrons to hear when the deli lady handed him his sandwich. Saved by the sandwich.

5. Upon returning home, I learned that every food processor is not alike, and mine is definitely not like Giada's. Hers delicately shredded the cabbage into light, springy, beautiful strips. Mine shredded the cabbage into mush. I ended up packing up 4 uncooperative children and making a special trip to Publix just to purchase some already-shredded-cabbage-in-a-bag after trashing my mush. (See #2 for additional lessons learned here.)

6. Also on the home front, I learned that my attemps to train the children to get dressed in the morning without being asked are futile when I do not put away the laundry. With two laundry days' worth of laundry piled on my bed or hanging out of laundry baskets, they are forced to come consult me in the morning anyway.

7. If laundry is a dreaded chore, ironing is even lower on the list. I learned just how much I hate ironing when I was reading an alphabet book to Audrey. We got to the letter "I", and I pointed to an iron. "What is that, Audrey?" I questioned.

"'s's that thing you rub on shirts!"

I can't fault the girl for her ignorance; she has probably only seen me use the iron a couple times in her little life. How is she supposed to know what it is?

8. School will start again in a little less than 3 weeks. Until then, we try to fill up our days with fun activities like the pool. Today I learned that I can serve as Lifeguard just as efficiently from the patio table as from inside the chaos pool. This way, they can have some splashing fun while I scheme plan things to do in the 2009-10 Homeschool Year and in my Writing Workshop in the 'hood.

9. Of course, I learned already know that keeping my distance from the pool activity is yet another way in which I am not a fun mom. Maybe I'll learn my lesson and jump in the pool tomorrow.

10. And finally, I learned that it is probably more interesting to my few readers for me to include words with my You Capture photos. Because when the theme is Shapes, well, pictures of brownies, laundry, an iron, and a food processor just can't stand alone. Even considering my fabulous, professional-like photographs. (By the way, I got this "Lessons Learned" idea from From Inmates to Playdates. Visit her. She's funny.)