Category Archives: Random musings and humor

Our Recent Trip – Part I

In mid-June, we headed down to southern Alabama to visit Ray’s parents.  We started the trip with a two night stay at Tim’s Ford State Park in Tennessee.  We had a beautiful campsite, within view of the lake, which the kids and I walked down to that first day.

Ray’s camping trip can be summed up as “worked on fire, slept, worked on fire, ate, worked on fire, went to pool, worked on fire…  Breakfast Sunday morning was the only time he was able to cook a “real meal.”

Because there was no fire until about ten o’clock on our first night, the kids hadn’t been able to cook s’mores.  So, here they are making s’mores for breakfast.  I figure it’s not any worse than donuts, right?

While Ray worked on the fire, the Dude learned to use a pocket knife, kids hunted for bugs, went to the playground, and Boo celebrated her new flip flops.

We headed to Mass at a lovely little church in Winchester, TN.   A quick trip to Walmart afterward turned into an hour long extravanganza – ’cause what trip to Wally World doesn’t? – and when we came out it was pouring down rain.   Questioning whether I had really closed all the windows on the tent, we headed back to the camp rather than hitting the Jack Daniels distillery.  Windows were closed.  Tent perfectly dry.  Thank you, Coleman.

We ate lunch in the tent while it rained, but were blessed with clear skies for a couple of hours, during which time we hit the pool.  We were especially excited to see Bear overcome his fears of the water and even stand in the big pool with his life vest but no death grip on my hand.  Somehow, though, the baby pool held the biggest attraction for the bigger kids.

A storm chased us from the pool, and we spent the remainder of the day and night sheltering from the rain.  Fortunately, I had brought a few board games and books along, and the Dude generously shared his iPod.

It wasn’t until Ray and I were ready to call it a night that I started to think about all the possibilities…  we were now alone in the campground – all the other campers had packed up that morning.   In my tired mind, this opened up all sorts of possibilities for bear attacks and axe murderers.  The storm added the possibility of tornadoes, lightening strikes, and trees falling on the tent.  The fact that Ray brought his hatchet to bed with him did not allay my fears.  I didn’t discover until morning that he had also tucked his pocket knife under his pillow.

By morning, the rain had cleared, leaving us with a very wet campsite to pack up.   The entertainment value of whittling and hunting for bugs had long ago been exhausted, and the kids took up the universal cry of boredom while Ray once again struggled with the fire.  I finally convinced him that we could get our coffee at Starbucks and didn’t really need the fire (little did I know that the south is incredibly devoid of Starbucks.)  We packed up the site – a job that only took about three hours.  Everyone was on edge, and it was not a pretty experience.  The crowning glory occurred when we finally got in the car, Ray turned the key, and… nothing.  The battery had died from leaving the doors open with the lights on.  While we waited for our jump to arrive, I made lemonade from lemons and took the kids on a little hike – I actually think the dead battery was God’s way of providing the hike I had been longing for but hadn’t been able to sneak in during the packing.  While it didn’t last long, it was one of the best parts of the weekend.




After a full month of post-less-ness, you’d think that we’d had a serious illness, or death in the family.  Fortunately, this is not the case.  I think the crux of the matter is that I’ve been staying up late, spending time with Ray.  When the alarm goes off at five thirty, there’s no way I’m getting up.  The good news is that my marriage is in tip-top shape.  The bad news is that my best writing time is early in the morning, so it just hasn’t been happening.

A few other things have contributed to my “post-less-ness”:

Post-less Reason #1: I have become a total bookworm.  Or perhaps I should just cut to the chase and admit that I’m a book addict.  The only way I can seem to control my addiction is to read mediocre books.  I started one of those last weekend.  Hence, this post is actually getting finished. (If you read my post, Re-Orienting, you can now see just how well I accomplished that goal.  I hang my head in shame.)

Post-less Reason #2: I’ve restarted my Arbonne business.  I finally realized that I was pretty stupid to continually complain (if only to myself) that I’m sick of being broke, without doing anything concrete about it.  I’ve tried scrimping, saving, and budgeting.  While it helped, it still didn’t magically put more money in the bank.  One day, I opened my monthly paycheck from a business I haven’t done anything with in four years, and the brick finally hit me that I was blowing off a great opportunity.  So I’m back at it.  If you want to try some really awesome skin care products, just let me know. 🙂 Better yet, if you want to learn how you too can build a business that will still pay you four years after you quit, let me know!

OK.  End of advertisement.

Post-less Reason #3: It’s spring!  I’ve been busy out in the yard: pulling weeds, trimming bushes, splitting grasses, and planting tomatoes, peppers, and a lovely little birch tree that currently stands about two feet tall.  The garden is a real time suck in the spring, but there are few places I’d rather be.


Columbine, me and Ray’s favorite flower, after our two year stint in CO. We planted one, and now have ten. Love it.

Post-less Reason #4: It’s spring!  Wait, didn’t I already say that?  Well, another thing about spring is Little League Baseball, school programs and projects, and a ramping up of volunteer responsibilities.  VBS starts a month from today, we had our first Mary’s Way planning meeting this morning, Becoming Girls wrapped up the year with a bang and we are planning for next year, and my buddy Denice and I have started a new welcoming ministry at the church.  Whew!  Sometimes I think maybe I take too much on.


Dude in his baseball attire. I do love watching baseball. I don’t love watching him take hard hits in the chest. Thanks be to God, he was OK.

It all adds up.  But, I’m doing pretty well at keeping God at the center, my marriage is healthy, my kids are well-fed and well-loved, and my friends (I think) know they can count on me when they need me.  There’s always room for improvement, and with the Spirit’s guidance I will continue on a path of growth, even if I’m taking two steps forward and one step back most of the time.  At least I’m never staying the same!


Choices and Consequences

What a morning!  If my alarm went off, I must have turned it off without registering the fact.  So I woke up half an hour late, on a day when I had a meeting scheduled immediately after school drop off.  The two school kids didn’t want to wake up, and were still in bed at 7:15 – twenty minutes before our drop dead time to be pulling out of the garage.  The Dude said that he didn’t feel well, but appeared to be suffering nothing more than a very minor sore throat.  I insisted he get up and get ready for school and proceeded to feed the rest of the kids a carb-packed breakfast of bagels.  Time was running thin, but the dog was crying from his crate, so I ran him out to potty real quick.  Boo followed me, and wound up falling smack on her face as we were running back into the house.  I carried the battered and screaming child into the house, glanced at the stairs and saw the Dude, STILL IN HIS JAMMIES.  I looked at the clock, and it read 7:35 – yes, that would be my drop dead time to be pulling out of the garage.  Boo was still screaming, the dog was racing around the kitchen looking for stray bagels to pull off the table, and Dad entered into the fray to yell at the top of his lungs, “DUDE, GET READY FOR SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!”


I wound up taking off with the three younger kids, getting Bonita to school several minutes late.  I was late to my meeting, of course.  Ray drove the Dude to school and I ran him up to the office, since my meeting was just across the parking lot.  He was forlorn, worrying over the fact that this is his third tardy, which means DETENTION.  Serving detention as a third grader is gonna… well, for lack of a better word, suck.  Its left me feeling sad and guilty, but he tries to play the “I don’t feel good” card all the time and today he is learning the hard way that our choices have consequences.

So there.  Finally.  I guess that’s the point of this post.  Choices have consequences, as we know all too well as adults.  As parents, we have a natural desire to shelter our children, but we also bear a responsibility to allow them to learn it the hard way.

Today, my baby’s learning the hard way.  And I really want to cry.

Wednesday Whippets – A 7 QT Post

  1. It’s been a busy few weeks around our household, caused largely by Bonita’s musical debut.  As I knew she would, she has enjoyed every moment of rehearsals and performances, though she was a bit thrown at Friday night’s performance.  Much of her singing and dancing is done in the aisle.  Proud Mama thought she had chosen the perfect seat.  Unfortunately, I was one row in front of her.  Poor thing tried to half turn to me, her #1 fan, and half turn toward the rest of the audience.  Fortunately, I was able to get the perfect seat in the second act, and she performed beautifully when the confusion was removed.
  2. The Dude has kept us busy as well, playing basketball in two separate leagues. Despite his diminutive height, he was a key player on both teams and had great seasons with both.  Next up, Little League Baseball and yet another basketball team.  I do wonder why we do this to ourselves, but they have so much fun and it keeps them off of electronic devices for a few hours without any fuss.
  3. In other Dude news, His Coolness got new glasses: He only takes them off to sleep and to cuddle…
  4. Bear turned 5 a few weeks ago.  His birthday list became a great source of both amusement and frustration, as he continuously came to me saying, “Oh, Mommy, and I want…” completing the sentence with yet another train-related item.  In a rare moment of ingenuity, I turned this to my favor and started writing several things down in dashed letters, telling him that, until he traced them, they weren’t on the list.  He hates handwriting, so this was an excellent opportunity!  I also had him sound a few of the words out, as you may be able to guess:
  5. Bonita had a birthday recently as well, turning seven.  Sadly, her rehearsal schedule was so hectic at the time that we had to postpone any major celebrations till March.  However, we did manage to achieve a little “wow” factor…
  6. Of course, Boo has continued to wreak havoc any time she’s left alone for more than two minutes.  In the past few weeks, she’s cut her hair, had petroleum jelly a quarter inch thick on her hands, unrolled a full roll of toilet paper mostly into the toilet (the toilet already had something in there, if you know what I mean), and decided to create a new bedroom by emptying the books from the armoire in the living room.
  7. Lastly, I got me some new glasses too.  What’dya think?(Yes, I am goofy enough to take a picture of myself trying on eye glasses so I can get a “third person” view.)

Bess’ed Mudder?

This afternoon I asked Boo if she wanted to go play at her friend’s house tomorrow.  Her response:

Boo: Me?

Me: Yes, you.

Boo: And Bear?

Me: Yes, Bear too.

Boo: And Bess’ed Mudder?

Me (a little taken aback): Well, you can always bring the Blessed Mother with you. (meaning, in your heart, of course!)

Boo: (pointing at Marian statuette on my desk)  I bing her?

From here proceeded a lengthy exchange, during which Boo lovingly held the statuette as it became clear that she really had every intention of bringing Mary with her.  I wonder what these Protestant friends would make of Boo showing up at their door with a statue of Mary?


Back pain and sick kids sent my self-discipline flying out the window.  To be expected, I suppose, but now I’m struggling to refresh the vigor and excitement I was feeling a week ago.

Having done very little for the past few days, today’s to-do list quickly outgrew its allocated space.  And then, instead of finishing the project I’d already started – reorganizing the big closet in the laundry room – I started a new project – organizing nine years’ worth of photos.

I stopped myself just in time to leave a huge pile of Snapfish and Lifetouch envelopes scattered all over the dining room table.  I took a look at my to-do list and got a few things done… and now find myself again wandering from one task to the next with no real direction.  A moment ago, I even caught myself staring at the grime on my wedding ring.

The good news is that writing a blog post is on my list of “dires” for the day, since I haven’t been so hot about posting these last couple of weeks.  So I can sit here and write about my lack of direction and actually be able to cross something off of my list when I’m done.

If I can focus for long enough to finish, edit, and actually post this puppy.

Maybe I should just stop here?

No, I’d really like to say something meaningful.  I’m just not sure what.

Maybe I should share that I recognized (or remembered) another flaw in myself over the last few days.  Pain makes me irritable and short tempered.  My poor children must feel like they’re living with Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde (I’m sure I’ve mispelled at least one of those, but if I go look it up I’ll get distracted again so please just accept the fact that I’ve never read the book and don’t know the spelling.).

Or perhaps I should write about the power of offering up our pain for special prayer intentions – when we actually remember to do that instead of just whining and moaning that it hurts and we can’t do anything.

Certainly I should be thinking about how God offers me this pain as a much needed opportunity to grow.

I could write about how sweet my kids are when mama’s in pain.  The Dude has given me countless spontaneous hugs over the last few days, and Boo came to me twice and said, “Mommy, your back hurt?  I kiss it.”  She then proceeded to kiss my belly.

But I’m not going to write about any of those things because I waited too long to sit down at my desk, and must go get the kids from the bus stop in a few minutes.

The good news is that – thank God – the kids are healthy again and my back is at least 97%.  Is it perverse that I am kind of wishing I could have the pain back so that I can handle it better this time?


photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Humor for a Down Day – a 7 QT Post

The Dude and Bonita both came down with the flu last night.  Meanwhile, I’m immobilized by a back injury sustained by foolishly picking up nine year old Dude to dance with him on Friday night.

So it seems like a good time for some humor.  Kids (well, healthy ones, at least) are always ripe with humor.

  1. Boo (2) and Bear (4) enjoyed several spoonfuls of their favorite treat, Nutella.  I took one look at them and said, “Wow, what messy faces!”  Boo piped up, “I wan see!  I wan see my messy faces!”  A trip to the bathroom to look in the mirror was required.  For several days after, every time she walked into the bathroom she would pull the stool to the sink to look in the mirror.  “I wan see my faces!!”

    Bear’s Messy Face. He refused to have his photo taken with Boo, and insists on making scary faces for every photo. Silly boy.


Boo’s “messy faces”

2. The Dude writes some great thank you letters.  Last year, after his first communion, he wrote, “Dear Aunt Marilyn, Thank you for the money.  I could really use some.”  This year, after his birthday party, he wrote:

Ah, sibling love.

3.) Ray was tucking Bear into bed one night.

Ray: I need a hug.
Bear: I gave one to Mommy.
Ray: But I need a hug.
Bear: I don’t have any hugs.
Ray: But Mommy just gave you a hug.
Bear: I gave it to Mommy.
Ray: I know.  I’ll give you a hug and then you’ll have one to give to me.
Ray: OK.  Now I need a hug.
Bear: But I don’t have any.

4.) Boo really enjoyed having our priest for dinner for the first time a few months back.  For several weeks afterward, when he walked into Mass, she would exclaim, “Faddah!  Faddah!  HI, FADDAH!”  and then await his response. Imagine her disappointment when he managed to successfully ignore her.

5.) Boo’s favorite bedtime book is “Goodnight, Moon.”  One evening, she picked up our children’s saints book and started leafing through it.  Seeing all the pictures of saints adorned in robes, she assumed they must all be priests.  As she flipped each page, she waved and said, “Nigh, nigh, Faddah!  Nigh, nigh, Faddah!”

6.) Her favorite perch is the porcelain throne.  Whether she really needs to sit there for long or not, she often asks for a book and will hang out for fifteen to twenty minutes.  Each time I open the door, I’m greeted with “Pwivacy!  Pwivacy, Mommy!  I need pwivacy!”  Of course, the moment she’s done, she starts screaming as though I’ve been terribly negligent in leaving her in there alone for so long.  Mind you, when Mommy would like a little privacy, she will have no part of it.  Instead, she offers to get the “twola pala” (her very screwed up version of toilet paper) and enjoys narrating exactly what she thinks is going on.

7.) Last but not least, a word of caution to those limited in crafting ability.  Be careful what you make, and how you label it.  When the kids were decorating gourdes I thought mine looked like an expectant mother.  Without realizing the consequences of such a label, I declared her the Blessed Mother.  Now, I feel guilty throwing her away.  But let’s face it.   This gourde does not do the Blessed Mother justice.