Wednesday, December 27, 2006


We are leaving tomorrow for South Dakota. We are spending a few post-Christmas days with my brother Clint and his wife Mary and their two great kids, Kelsey and Tristan.

Since Clint's birthday was a week ago, I decided to make some of my pineapple carrot bread that he loves and take it up to him as a post-birthday treat. But to do that, I had to enter my recipe basket. Now on the outside, my recipe basket is beautiful. It is the Longaberger recipe basket. On the inside, it's a mess. That's the way my life feels sometimes but that's another post. Some of the recipes are still on the torn out magazine page. Some are scribbled on an envelope. Some are actually just the label to the food product on which I found them. But I always figured if this way was good enough for Great Grandma Hale, it's good enough for me.

But after finding my bread recipe I decided to sort the recipes and "neaten things up a bit." That lead me to look on the web for some recipe card templates that would allow me to type the recipes in and print them out and have them all on uniform cards. But I couldn't find one I liked so I started hand writing them on 4x6 cards.

Now I am a woman possessed. And as I hand write each one, I am glad I am doing it this way. Some of the recipes in my basket are handwritten. In my grandmother's writing or in a good friend's writing. Those I will keep as they are. They are history. They are the touch of a loved one.

Some of my grandmother's are typed (she typed a lot of things - even her daily prayer list) but each of them has a handwritten note on them. Like "I use pecans" or "freeze up to 2 months." So there is that piece of her on those little faded cards.

Someday, Kayla will be looking at these cards and recognize my writing. Someday I will be looking at them and recognize her writing, as she is helping me. I will read the recipe and remember the week after Christmas, when she was 12, and she sat at the counter with me and copied recipes off of ragged magazine pages.

Ah, memories...

Monday, December 25, 2006


So here it is 6:21 on Christmas morning and my children, ages 12 and 15 are still sleeping soundly. We allowed them to open their gifts last night. I told them that since they were old enough to realize the consequences of doing so, that there'd be no gifts in the morning, then sure they could open their gifts. They also wanted me to open mine (Really) so I did. Paul, however saved his for this morning and we toyed with the idea of revenge by making the children get up at 5 this morning and sit around while Dad opened his presents. But I love sleeping in so we decided against that. But here I am up anyway. Why? Because my husband's snoring is raising the roof. Poor baby has a cold, and his normal irritating snoring has reached a level that has made me consider separate bedrooms and perhaps even bodily harm. It has made me think of the days when my babies had colds and could not sleep at night. You know, those times when they were only comfortable and able to breathe easily when held upright. So I'd sit and rock them and pat their back and wonder if the night would ever end. With Kayla, my second, it was easier. I knew that YES the night would end, and YES I would sleep again and that this phase would be over soon enough.
I am not feeling so compassionate with my sweet husband. Several times before I got out of bed, I shot him THE LOOK. Yes, he was asleep and oblivious to it, but it gave me some degree of juvenile satisfaction. It was when I started thinking about putting the pillow over his face, FOR JUST A VERY BRIEF MOMENT, that I decided to get out of bed. It is Christmas after all.

And speaking of Chrismas, we, or actually I, caved in and bought our son an XBOX 360. Even though we had said in no uncertain terms that we would not buy ONE MORE GAME SYSTEM. Here's the clincher, though. He was certain that he was going to sell his old system and games and buy games for his new system. So we decided that yes, he would sell his old system and games but he would give the money to his mother and father because the new system was more expensive then the old one. So in essence we are making him pay for part of his Christmas gift. But we think this is fair and he is old enough to understand that. Also, it is the XBOX 360 that has proven to me that a teenager's peers have more influence on him than his teachers. Every time Blake would ask for it (or shamelessly beg) he would do so beautifully in French. The trouble is Blake is taking Spanish. His friends are taking French, though. My apologies to the teachers at MFHS. For so many things....

Kayla got the digital camera she has been hoping for. She is doing a major clean up on her room and has already shot some "before" photos in anticipation of the "after." She loves to take pictures, especially when she is with her friends. She can do some pretty clever things with these pictures on the computer. She also got a really neat hair system, with a straightener/blow dryer combo. And she got a Celine Dion perfume set and several items of softball and basketball clothing from a great new catalog I discovered. And she got two pair of flannel pajama pants. It just about killed me NOT to buy the tops that matched these pants, but teens (and preteens) simply DO NOT wear matching tops with their flannel pajama pants. I think it is actually agains some slumber party fashion law or something and since it is Christmas I did not want to be responsible for that.

I remember my first Christmas with both children. I commented to my mother "I am so blessed. I get to buy firetrucks AND baby dolls..." No more fire trucks and baby dolls. But also no more staying up until midnight playing Santa...

So I guess I will start making the peanut butter pie my kids requested for Christmas. We will be having that after our taco bar for lunch, which they also requested. I know it is not a traditional Christmas meal but it is what they wanted. And who can say no to children at Christmas?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Every now and then somebody does something that I simply cannot get my mind around, no matter how hard I try. 3 years ago when a mother allowed her children to drown in a car just 20 miles up the road from us, allegedly to be rid of them so she could have a better relationship with her boyfriend, I just could not comprehend what she had done. Recently, when her trial was moved to our city, I never even considered the possibility that she might be found not guilty of murdering those three precious babies. Well, yesterday she was. Found not guilty that is. She was instead found guilty of a lesser charge of child endangerment. That means, if you or I left our toddler home alone for a couple of hours, that would result in the same punishment that this lady could be facing for ALLOWING HER THREE BABIES TO DROWN IN A LAKE. I cannot for the life of me figure out what might have lead to this verdict. Granted, I do not know all the evidence that the jury heard but in all the news reports there is one thing that seems to be consistent. This mother did not try to save her babies. I could understand if perhaps there was evidence that she had tried to save those children, then maybe you could consider a lesser charge. But that does not seem to be the case. Reports say her clothes were not even wet when authorities arrived. HER CLOTHES WERE NOT EVEN WET. She did not even TRY to save those children. You can read about this on and search for Amanda Hamm - if you can stomach it.
This was the topic on talk radio today as I drove to work. One caller made an interesting comment. I'll paraphrase:
"In our society, where a woman has a 'constitutional right' to kill her child before birth, why are we shocked that killing a child AFTER birth brings such a slight punishment? Why are we shocked that the lives of these children meant so little?"
Well, I am shocked. And I am sad. And I am tired. I am so tired of a mind set that says our children our disposable.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


It has recently been brought to my attention (not once but twice) that I am most likely a nerd. A geek. A dweeb. Perhaps even a loser.

First Nerd Confirmation.
We had been at the U of I watching our team WIN THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL GAME. Go Trojans. My mom had taped the game since it was televised so we were watching it the next night and Paul and I noticed we were shown several times in the stands. We were impressed.
Let me just say. I had come up with the PERFECT outfit for the game. Big yellow v-neck sweater over a royal blue long sleeved t-shirt, over a white turtle neck, which gave me a great combination of our team colors. Then I had on royal blue gloves, a yellow "Trojan Football" headband to keep my ears warm, and my sun glasses just happened to be blue. I did not need a jacket because the weather was perfect, which is a good thing because I hated to cover up my outfit. I mean, why ruin the look?
Now back to being shown on TV. When we pointed ourselves out to Kayla on the screen. She giggled and said "You guys have like NOBODY around you..." Then she held up a big "L" on her forehead and said "losers." UH!! She was right. There were like 5 empty spaces ON EACH SIDE OF US. I think the row behind us was empty too. I know the row in front of us was. No wonder it was so easy to spot us. We were the two people with the big "L's" on our foreheads.
Of course, we had taken 4 kids with us and much of the space around us was being taken up by blankets, back packs, sweatshirts,cameras, etc. dropped off by said kids.

Second Nerd Confirmation.
Here is our conversation last night at supper regarding Blake's wrestling meet.
Blake: It's not even a real meet, it's a "take-down" meet so you both don't have to go, especially since it's 2 hours away. And, no offense Mom, but if only one of you goes I'd rather it be Dad, especially if I don't have to ride the bus home and he can drive me home. Again, no offense, but I'd rather ride home with Dad.
(Tip to teenagers, don't start any statement with "No offense..." You will usually ended up offending.)

Me: UH!! You can't POSSIBLY think your father is a safer driver than I....!!

Later in the evening I brought this up to Paul (All in good fun, remember)

Me: Do you think Blake really thinks I'm not as safe as you when driving? Because that is ridiculous. You are more confident, perhaps, but I am more CAUTIOUS.
Paul: I think he is talking about your speed.
Me: Oh, you mean the fact that I obey the law and drive the speed limit and that I have NEVER had a ticket, therefore setting a much better example for our teenage son who will be driving IN EIGHT MONTHS??
Paul: Yeah, probably that.

Yes. I am a Nerd. But I am a cautious Nerd who knows how to dress for a football game.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Well, finally this year I did it. After Thanksgiving dinner, on our way home, I had Paul stop at the cemetery so I could look at Ivan's gravestone. This January will mark the 2nd anniversary of his death and I still had not gone out there.
There is something about seeing the name of a loved one on a headstone. Even when you are looking for it, it's like having a blast of cold air hit you in the face. First I noticed his military foot stone. Then the headstone, which already has Rena's name on it (that is almost too much to think about). Then I went around to the back of the headstone and saw the most beautiful part; a beautfiul etching of a couple square dancing. Above it were the words "BEST FRIENDS FOREVER" and below it the names of their 3 children.
Ivan and Rena used to spend their Saturday nights square dancing. As a little girl I was absolutely enthralled with the layers and layers of fabric under Rena's skirts that made up her can-cans. I was delighted when she'd twirl for me and make it stand straight out in a giant circle.
As we were leaving the cemetery, Paul pointed out another headstone and said, "Is that your uncle?" Oh my, I wasn't ready for that one.
I was only 3 when he died. He was married to my Aunt, one of my mom's
younger sisters.
It was a Sunday afternoon and we, as usual were visiting my grandmother, who was dying of cancer. I do not remember much about the day. But I remember being in the yard while everybody said goodbye to CJ and Jim and their two babies. Then I remember utter chaos and adults screaming and running all over the place...

As an aside. Let me just say my mom is the 2nd of 6 kids. She and her two sisters were 7, 9, and 11 when their mom finally had a boy. They sometimes to this day call him "Prince Lloyd" Anyway, those four kids were 5, 12, 14, and 16 when their mother had twins - a boy and a girl - Larry and Loretta. When Larry and Loretta were 12 they moved in with us and my mom raised them like our siblings, but that is a whole other story.

What I remember most about that day is standing frozen and watching while my grandpa carried my aunt Loretta, his 11-year-old daughter, across the yard like a limp rag doll. Her head was hanging backward, she was unconcious and her face was covered in blood. Luckily she ended up being ok.
My aunt and uncle had decided to take Loretta home with them for the day. CJ was 8 months pregnant, their daughter was 2 and their son was 1. As they were pulling out of the driveway, a speeding police car with no sirens or lights ran into the driver's side and smashed the car. Remember this was 1970 - It is safe to assume the babies were not in car seats and the others were not in seat belts. My aunt's husband Jim died 2 days later. The policeman was off duty and was in a hurry to get home. My aunt was left a widow - 8 months pregnant, a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old to raise.
Thus began CJ's trip to Hell and back.
I think I can write about this because I've sat in church and listened to her give her testimony of God's grace and how he saved her from Satan's grip. This is the story she tells.
CJ freely admits to being a Hippy. A Real Live Hippy. She admits to getting caught up in drugs and not caring where she spent the night, or who was watching her 3 babies. She admits to falling for the wrong man and marrying another hippy who was a smooth talker and charismatic but sinful to his very core.
At one point my mom and Rena took her children. Yes, they walked in and took them away from their mother - for their own safety - for 6 weeks until she could pull herself together. My mom had the middle one - he was 18 months old and had started calling my parents mommy and daddy. When CJ came to get him, they had to pry him out of my mom's arms, everyone sobbing. My mom told her at that moment. "Never again. If you bring him back - he is mine for good." The same for the oldest and the youngest, who Rena was caring for.
CJ got herself cleaned up eventually. She became a Christian.
Ironically, people wanted to avoid her after that for awhile because she was so "on fire" with her new faith, she tried to convert everybody she saw, every minute she was with them. We've all been around somebody like that...
Now, though I can't be with her much because she lives out west, I know CJ is a person who just exudes peace. Just being with her - you can feel her peace. You can feel the joy and contentment she has in her life. She has an AURA of joy and contentment around her. She truly knows Grace. She knows, in her words "what it's like to be wretched and then made pure again..." She is not so "in your face" with her faith now, but she is thrilled to tell the Story. The Story of Jesus opening His arms to her after she had been the worst kind of sinner.
I do not envy someobody like CJ who has been to the depths of sin like that. But I do think they truly know the meaning of Grace. We all are given Grace beyond what we deserve, but how many of us truly OWN it? How many of us truly KNOW to the depths of our hearts what a gift it is?

Monday, November 20, 2006


When it is time for mid-term grades, we do not want to see a letter from the school in our mailbox. Because at midterm, the school sends a letter if your child has a D or an F in any class.
Well, today when I came home from work - for my usual 12 minute break to grab a protein bar and go to the bathroom before heading off to do carpool - I got the mail and noticed an envelope from the school. Well Crap! That's what I said (I know,Kayla, that was crude...sorry)
When I opened it, however, I could tell by the folded letter, that it didn't look like a grade report (yes, we've seen one before)So I assumed I had forgotten to get a health form in for Blake's wrestling season or something like that.
But no. It was a summary of Kayla's grades from her science teacher, Mrs. C. Just a note to let us know how VERY GOOD Kayla is doing in class and how much she enjoys having her. Of course, I wasn't surprised about the grade. We can access the grades on line and we pretty much know that Kayla averages high 90% in most classes and even over 100% in some of her classes.
But, how nice of Mrs. C to take the time to send a positive note. Don't we all love to hear great things about our kids? Kudos to teachers!!

Back to that carpool thing. Last week, on the day it was raining sideways all day, I put 50 miles on the van doing carpool - ALL IN THREE HOURS. FIFTY MILES!! And I never got further than 10 miles from home. I could have been at a really nice mall in 50 miles. That is a long way to drive to get nowhere.


We spent Friday evening visiting with Dad and Marilyn and my grandmother at the hotel. Kayla took a friend and swam in the pool after we had dinner in their little sports bar - great onion straws. Kayla and Hannah sat at their own table and were so grown up and polite (I listened while they ordered)
We had a great visit with everybody and I hated for the evening to end.
We had hoped to get back on Saturday evening but our day was crazy busy:
We left the house at 9:30 a.m. to drive an hour for Kayla's basketball game. Then left her game and headed straight for the varsity football game, of which we missed the first quarter. As an aside, I will say that, since we were moving from one game to the next with no stopping point, I dressed in my turtle neck and sweater and wore long underwear under my jeans - all to the basketball game. While this proved not to be warm enough at the football game. I WAS ROASTING HOT at the basketball game. It left me a little grumpy.
Anyway,as we arrived at the football field I threw on my winter boots, heavy coat, head band, scarf and gloves and we got out for the football game and watched our boys win 35-0 and earn a trip to the University of Illinois to play for the championship. Yeah Trojans.
Then we went home and got ready for a little party that Blake was having - one that was planned before we knew grandpa Ron was coming to town. I did get to visit with the mother of one of his friends, one of my favorite people. I could tell she was just as exhausted as I was as we sat and talked, waiting for our boys' party to end.

I had called and left a message with Dad and Marilyn that we would not make it to the hotel and reminded them that we'd be by in the morning.
So we skipped church and planned to spend some time with them Sunday morning. When I called to let them know we were on our way, they said they were just turning in their room keys and leaving. My first thought: We skipped church. I could have listened to Larry preach today.
This is typical behavior of Dad over the years and I have resigned myself to it. I didn't think I was upset but realized later in the day that I had been in a foul mood
all day. So I finally said to Paul "I guess I'm just a little disappointed that I told them several times we'd like to come back Sunday morning and they left before seeing us." Some old habits will never be broken I guess.
There have been times I have struggled with this terrible thought process "What kind of person must I be if even my own dad doesn't want to spend time with me." The logical side of me KNOWS that is ridiculous but the little girl in me continues to wonder....

Friday, November 17, 2006


Remember Cubbie? Blake's best friend, 6'3 - 250 pounds? Well, Cubbie was spending the night a couple weeks ago (not last week, cause Blake was at his house, of course)
And Blake and his two wrestling team mates were trying to "teach" Cubbie some wrestling holds.
I came down to the basement and found Cody trying to pin Cubbie on the floor. Cubbie could have been reading a magazine as bored as he looked. I heard Cody say something like "...Dude, I can't even get my leg around your thigh..." Then I hear Blake say "I wanna take Cubbie." So I had to stay and watch.
So they basically start out standing and facing each other with their hands on each other's shoulders. In most matches, each opponent would be putting forth equal effort to move the other. Here, however, Cubbie was standing perfectly, effortlessly still while Blake was pushing with all his might. Picture a 5 year old trying to move a Buick. And then the funniest thing happened.
In one quick, seamless move, Cubbie reached behind Blake, grabbed him behind the knees and behind the shoulders, cradled him for a brief second like a baby and then laid him flat to the carpet. I am pretty sure I heard a big "WHOOSH!" Kayla and I laughed so hard, I thought I would be lying flat on the carpet. (I was only sorry Paul couldn't see it, since Blake starts a wrestling match with him every night and Paul told me one night as he hobbled to bed "This wrestling is killing me." )
Then Drew and Cody, the other wrestlers, jump up, ignoring Blake on the floor, and yell "... Dude, I wanna try Cubbie again." So Cubbie was lying on the floor again when I left and I said "Cubbie, are they using you as their wrestling Dummy?" And he says "Don't worry Mrs. Woolard, I don't feel a thing."
Ahhh. Boys.
I grew up with this kind of chaos. My two older brothers had countless friends over and were always into some sort of adventure or fight. It's been fun to see the different phases Blake goes through with his buddies and remember my brothers doing the same things with each other and their buddies. My brothers' "adventures" left me well prepared to handle a house full of boys.
Thanks Terry and Clint. Who would have thought you putting SLIME in my hair, or you BURYING MY BARBIE DOLL IN THE BACK YARD would turn into a good thing...?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I have seen two or three blogs that do "The Thursday Thirteen," so I thought I'd give it a shot. The trouble is, I can't decide what to list......

Some of my thoughts have been:
1. 13 reasons I am a "bad" mother
2. 13 reasons time is going way too quickly
3. 13 reasons it is good to be in this phase of life
4. 13 products I would highly suggest for your use
5. 13 reasons Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday
6. 13 reasons EVERYBODY should love my son
7. 13 reasons EVERYBODY should love my daughter
8. 13 reasons I am sure I married the sweetest man on earth
9. 13 reasons I miss my role as a "stay-at-home" mom
10. 13 battles I have chosen NOT to fight as a mother
11. 13 things I ABSOLUTELY PRAY my children learn before they leave the nest
12. 13 things I pray for/about every day
13. 13 things that make me laught out loud

So when I decide what to list, I will try next week. Anybody care to guess what next week's list will be...?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Dad and Marilyn are coming over this weekend. They are staying in the Holiday Inn, which is probably best because my guest room is upstairs and Marilyn has a broken foot...can't wait to see them, but I'm surprised they are making the trip.

As I was telling Kayla our plans with Grandpa this weekend, and the latest BAD news we received from his doctors. She asked "Is he going to live?" And I had to say "We don't know." I hate that. I am SO BAD at not knowing what lies ahead. I fail terribly at the task to "be still and know..." meaning wait and have faith. All of my prayers lately end with a question mark. I do not actually ask questions, but the Lord sees that my heart is one big question mark. "will You let him live?" "Will this be a second chance for our family?" "huh, huh, will it.? Will you give me what I want...?" I know I am being taught to WAIT....

Blake has finally given up his wrestling diet, at least until his body fat test comes back. I will be surprised if he has more than 6% (yes, I love him anyway). I was so thankful this morning when he ate 7 pancakes. I mean really, at 5'10" and 140, what is there to worry about...? Crazy kids. Kayla, (because I know you read this) if you get the crazy notion to diet, I will make you wear "mom" jeans for a month....You are beautiful and have a darling figure.

I ordered Kayla's Christmas dance dress last night. It is called a "50's strapless A-line" Disclaimer: She knows we will have to find a shrug for it. She has accepted the fact that she cannot wear strapless, spaghetti straps or halters without a covering and, praise God, there is never any struggle about it anymore. The dress is a gorgeous burgundy taffeta and is tea length. I think a black velvet or lace shrug will be darling and she will wear her black sparkly ballerina flats (which she wore last week to Sarah W.'s party with her NEW denim skirt and leggings - cute - and the denim skirt was EIGHT DOLLARS)We found the dress on line and, with shipping, paid 55.99. Daddy was thrilled; after he reminded her "you will have to wear something to cover your shoulders all evening." Her response "I KNOW, DAAAAAAD"
As an aside, 4 years ago, we had 2 weeks notice that she would be a flower girl. So I googled "flower girl dresses" and found a perfect one for very little. I did the same last night with "party dresses." Guess where we'll look for prom dresses?

Things are hitting an interesting pitch at work. I enjoy my job, but have realized I have not missed the office politics and petty sniping that occurs.

Our football team plays in the semi finals game this weekend. Here at home. As of Monday night, so I hear, 20 blankets had been taped to the bleachers to mark people's spots. If we win Saturday, we will play at the University of Illinois for the championship - the day after Thanksgiving. Guess who will drive a van full of kids????? GO TROJANS

We spent Sunday evening with our new friend Benjamin. He will be 2 in December. He is from London and has the sweetest British accent. A week before they moved over here, his mommy found out she was expecting...twins. They are our neighbors and his daddy works with Paul. Since his daddy was traveling, we brought him over for a few hours so mummy could rest. What a delight!!!! He loves our Little Tykes Mountain Train set that was Blake's. Every now and then he'd look at me and say "mummy?" And I'd say "we'll see mummy soon." And he'd say "mummy take a nap." or "mummy lie on sofa." Mummy is VERY TIRED. Benjamin will be staying with us when mummy goes in to deliver the babies - both girls.

Supposedly Blake will not need a ride to wrestling in 15 days. That is when Robbie gets his license and will drive Blake, according to Blake. When Paul and I both said we weren't so sure about that, you would have though we were beating him with a chair. Should we let Blake ride with a boy who has had his license for a matter of hours? He would be the only passneger since our law states there can only be one non family member in the car with a new driver. We are encouraging him to hitch a ride with an older boy who we know and has actually had his license a year or two. I have a feeling I am entering a whole new realm of fear.

That's it I guess.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


So Today is Veteran's Day. Television will be full of old war movies; they've already started. I cannot watch a war movie without thinking of my grandfathers. They were both veterans of World War II. And if you're reading this, you will get to learn a little about them.

My grandpa Meadows (my dad's dad) landed on the beaches of Normandy on the second day (D-2, I think he called it). He spent the majority of his time in Germany. He was wounded - shot in the wrist during one battle. He spent several days stuck behind enemy lines, hiding out with a group of fellow soldiers. He told us once that one of the soldiers wanted to surrender and the others, grandpa included, had to fight him to keep him from running out and giving up their hiding spot. They threatened to shoot him themselves if he risked the lives of the rest of the group. He actually fought hand to hand combat with the Germans. He was that close to the enemy. When they finally were reunited with their company, he was able to write my grandma a letter. Part of it reads "... I got to eat today. I had 3 hamburgers. That is a lot for a little guy like me..." My grandpa was so little, he lived his whole life with the nickname "PeeWee." In another letter he wrote "...there are times I am so scared, I shake as though I am freezing to death. I hate this. But I am here so that little Ronnie will never have to do this..." Ronnie is my dad. He was 10 days old when Grandpa left for war. Also, included in the letters Grandpa sent back to Grandma, is the picture he had carried with him during his tour of duty. It is of Grandma and her friend in two piece bathings suits. Go Grandma!!!
Grandpa Meadows spent his post-war years working as a street superintendent in his little home town. We knew, as young children, when there was a blizzard, Grandpa would be out clearing the streets; sometimes working all night. That's what winters in Illinois are like. We always tried to look really close at the drivers when we saw a snow plow, hoping to catch a glimpse of Grandpa. When you're 5 or 6 years old, driving a snow plow in a blizzard seems heroic. Now I know he WAS heroic.

My Grandpa Johnson (my mom's dad) was a fighting Sea-Bee. He spent the war in the Phillipines. My mom was 18 months old before he met her. This grandpa left his family a great legacy. He kept a journal starting before he left for the war, up until the time he just could not manage to write anymore (around age 80). There are not a lot of entries during the war, because he was too busy fighting for his life, I guess. But just to see the journals with the dates on the spines and knowing those were from the times he was at war, is amazing to us. One entry, as he is on the troop ship heading for the Phillipines, reads "...I am too sick to die." I guess the sea sickness was excruciating and it was just like Grandpa Johnson to sum it up as briefly as he could. Grandpa Johnson returned from the war and started working in the plant at the same company where my husband works today. He worked there for 40 years as a welder before he retired. Back to the journals. Grandpa's entries during the post war years were very brief. They covered, basically, 3 things: the temperature outside, the number of fish he caught (and what lake he had fished at) and who he had visited with that day. If a grandchild happened to be born that day, he would enter it. We all got such a kick out of finding "our entry". On February 6, 1967, his journal reads "Irene had her fourth today. A girl. Heidi Irene." See, nice and brief. There are 19 entries for grand chiildren's births and 21 entries for great-granchildren's births in those journals, which after his death were divided amongst his 6 children.

My father-in-law was a medic in Korea and Vietnam. I cannot write much about his experience because, like many veterans of these eras, he does not speak of it much. But I sometimes try to imagine the horror he saw. He has seen firsthand the atrocities human beings can inflict on each other. He recently told my son something while they were watching a war movie together. He said "Blake, I fought in two wars and I saw a lot of things. Let me tell you, soldiers did not cuss as much as these movies want to make you think we did. We did not let every other word out of our mouth be the f-word or any other cuss word. I don't like that they portray us like that." Interesting. And although he is a Christian now, he wasn't when he was a young soldier.
Paul's dad served 19+ years in the Air Force before he died of cancer, when Paul was four. My brother recently retired after 21 years in the army, earning a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice while he served. So everywhere we turn, we have ties to the military.

Soon after one of my Grandpa Meadows' funeral (both of them had full military rites) we let Blake watch SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Before we started it, I said this to him "Please remember, Blake, that this war was real. Both of your great-grandfathers fought this war, one of them where this movie is set. As bad as these scenes will be, it was much worse for your great-grandfathers and all of their fellow soldiers. Please do not allow this or any movie to glorify war for you. Remember the stories you have heard recently about your great-grandfathers and their sacrifices, their utter fear and pain. Remember that any one of these young soldiers depicted here could have been my grandfather, the father of your grandpa Ron." And I think he got it, at least as much as a boy that age could.

Thank you for reading. And now, I'm going to send my father-in-law and my brother a note and tell them Thank You.

Friday, November 10, 2006


To clear something up from my previous post. Kayla had some friends over last weekend after our high school football team won another round in the playoff series. Actually, they beat a team that had never had more than 14 points scored against them all year. We won 54-0. But I digress.
We called Kayla's little get together a "Fifth Quarter" party. We had cookies, cocoa, kettle corn, and smore's. And giggling. Lots of giggling. Since there has been a problem with some girls in this class - blabbing to others when they are going to a party to which some weren't invited, I put on the bottom of each invitation "This is a very small get together, so please keep your lips together about it." Subtle enough?
Paul and I were high school sweethearts. After every home basketball or football game, we usually went to "Fifth Quarter." The Methodist church in town opened their teen room each of those Friday nights and invited all the high-schoolers to play ping pong and pool, eat pizza and drink soda. The parents from the church took turns supervising us. It was wonderful. We had a blast and our parents knew we were doing something safe.
We had been telling Kayla about Fifth Quarter and kept saying she could host one of her own. We realized a couple weeks ago, that our football season could soon be over, so we quickly threw one together for last week.
Between giggles, the girls commented on wanting to "do this every week." Before I could stop the words, I had said "Well, we will not be driving to the game but all of you are sure welcome to come here again for the fifth quarter party next week." And there it was. I had forgotten to keep my lips together about another very small get together.
But it was fun. They take no supervision, really. We just have to take the pictures they request. Lots of pictures.
Oh, and a smore tip my friend Rita passed on: Instead of Hershey's chocolate, use a Reese's peanut butter cup.... YUMMMEEEEE!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Kayla just finished a basketball game against one of the team's toughest rivals. Early in the season this team walked all over us. The score was like "a whole lot" to "very little" at that first game. Some defeats are harder than others. This team is very rough and shows very poor sportsmanship.
Tonight we lost again, but only by one point. Our girls surprised them and it was a terrific game. There is no shame in a defeat when they play that well.
Kayla's boyfriend happened to be there watching again and got to see her make a fantastic shot. His name is Blake. His middle name starts with an A and his last name starts with a W - just like our Blake. He shook Paul's hand when they met and he seems like a nice young man.
Our Blake, however, seems a little concerned. Last week, on our way to a school function, he said "Mom, did you know Kayla has a new boyfriend?" "Yes, I did." "Well, do you know anything about him?" "As a matter of fact, his name is Blake (middle name, last name) meaning he has the same initials as yours. They have sat beside each other for a couple of years because they both have "W" names. Oh, and he's letting his hair grow long." "Well," said Blake, "I think I need to check him out."
Later that night I heard Blake asking Kayla if "this kid plays football." Then when he heard Kayla ask if she could join a group of kids at someone's house to watch a movie, Blake chimed in with "Will there be parental supervision? What about this Blake kid? What are his parents like? Are they Democrats or Republicans?" Kayla just giggled. (For those of you who don't know, my Blake has been a Republican since 3rd grade. He LOVES politics and I usually ask him to fill me in on all the candidates before I vote. REALLY. Perhaps I need to post about that tomorrow. Our friends used to call him Alex P. Keaton and when he was in the 1st grade he told me he wanted Peter Jennings' job) Oh, also right about the same time Blake was questioning Kayla, my brother called. He happens to work for an agency that falls under the Department of Homeland Security, so he was more than happy to let Kayla know that he would be running finger prints on this kid and doing a thorough investigation of him. It is good to know she's got a big brother and a couple of uncles helping us look out for our girl.
But anyway, back to the game. Tonight was "8th Grade Night," a time to honor the 8th grade players and their parents, and since Kayla is in 7th grade she got to present a gift and make a poster for an 8th grader she has known since baby days. They sat in cradle roll Bible class together. They attend church camp together. We have pictures of them hugging and playing as pre-schoolers; two big bows colliding on their heads. They actually went through a pre-teen snit last year where they weren't so friendly but that has passed and they are back to a sweet friendship that I hope lasts through high school and beyond. How many friends do you have that you've known since the day you were born? It's a rare treasure.
And then to end our evening, we got to listen to two of the first grade classes sing "The Star Spangled Banner." It was beautiful. Those kids sang it as perfectly as any kids could, and of course got a standing ovation.
And now we are home and I am bracing myself for the weekend.
Here is Kayla's schedule:
Friday: 13th birthday party for Sarah W - it's a dance (and she simply must have a new denim skirt for it. Unless I'm willing to let her wear her old one, which I'm not because it's too short.)
Saturday: Ride 110 miles to the Football game with Hannah - we're in the play offs after all. Then back here for cookies and cocoa again with her friends. Yes, somehow I found myself saying "you girls are welcome to come back next week to do this again." You cannot put toothpaste back in the tube....
Sunday(evening): a double 13th birthday party for Samantha and Moriah; this one a hayride and weiner roast.
And guess what. I have not bought ONE gift yet for a 13-year-old girl.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I just read my previous post and noticed a typo. My last line reads " have to factor in the jog thing..." I meant to type JOB thing. Those who know me well surely understandI have nothing whatsover to do with the JOG thing. I like what a friend said when I told him my husband runs everyday at 5:15: "how does he get somebody to chase him so early in the morning?" That about sums up what it would take me to get into the jog thing.


We have a new poster hanging up at work. A poster which, according to word from above (meaning corporate office),MUST hang where customers can see it. You would not believe the big to-do that went into hanging this poster. Mainly because it is tacky. It does not fit with the decor of the office. It does not match the cherry wood desks and soft watercolor paintings. But it MUST be hung. I am the lucky one. It is right beside my desk. This is it:


Earn your first dollar by your labors. Get up early, work late. Get up early and do it again. Keep doing it, even after the dollars start adding up. Smile at challenges. Curse at idleness. Be true to your dream. Don't stop until you achieve it. Then dream another dream. And work to acheieve that. Pass on your values. Not just your assets. Give your family a better life. And the world a better life too. Leave no statues. Leave signs of significance. Working wealth wears no uniform and meets in no club. But you know who you are. We would like to say one thing. Welcome.

(Now,the words alone are very nice. It is the look of the poster that is tacky.)

But I copied the words because some of them are very important.
Earn your money by your OWN labors. Work hard. Do not be discouraged. Do not be lazy. Perservere. Work through challenges. Set goals. And more goals.

PASS ON YOUR VALUES. NOT JUST YOUR ASSETS. I love that. I don't know how many nights i've lain awake wondering if my children will be the wonderful Christian adults I've hoped and worked for them to be. How often have I prayed that I will be the kind of Christian mother that will lead them to Heaven one day? EVERY NIGHT. I have never once wondered if I will be leaving them enough money when I die, or if they will have huge bank accounts as adults.
GIVE YOUR FAMILY A BETTER LIFE. AND THE WORLD A BETTER LIFE TOO. Our family is doing just fine. But what are we doing for the world? HMMMM.

Now as for working late day after day. I do not agree with CHOOSING to work late because it will get you the better office or the nicer car. I believe in working late because that is what your profession calls you do to - doctor, farmer... and many other jobs, I'm sure. I believe in working late to put food on the table and keep your children in shoes. I do not believe in working late to make a million dollars that will sit in a portfolio and be passed on to your children, so they can add another million and pass it on to their children, so that in 4 generations there are millions of dollars growing on paper and doing nothing to "Give the World a Better Life Too."

And just on a personal note. That part about getting up early. I am fundamentally opposed to that most of the time. There are very few reasons, in my opinion to get up early. And they are
1. A baby in the house
2. Somebody setting a tray of breakfast on your bed
3. A big shopping trip
4. Remembering there is a snickers bar left from the halloween stash and you have to get it before your husband.
Yes, yes, you gotta factor in the jog thing and school. But that doesn't mean I like it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Here is Blake before the homecoming dance>

And Kayla in Grandpa's sweet ride.


When Blake was in 5th grade he wore a sleeveless t-shirt (a muscle shirt?) to school. I didn't really like the look but in an un-airconditioned building, you kind of go for comfort. Anyway, he came home and said, "Mom, I'm wearing this kind of shirt alot." Then he made a muscle with one arm and tapped it with his finger and said "The ladies like these guns!!." Of course he said it in a schmoozey kind of voice. At age 10, of course, his guns were pretty much pea shooters, but he didn't seem to care. Also, in 1st grade he told me that "the girls like me because I make them laugh. Oh and I'm attractive too." There is absolutely no self esteem problems with this kid. A year ago, I found a t-shirt that had an outline of a body-builder on it and it said WELCOME TO THE GUN SHOW. Remembering Blake's fine physique, I bought it for him.
A few nights ago, while Paul was in London, Blake came into our bedroom to "fill me in on the plans for the rest of the week." He was in flannel pants and no shirt. I couldn't help but think of him as a little boy flexing his muscles. But now, he really has some guns!! I was thinking "Holy Smokes. He really does have some guns now. So this is what a year of wrestling, football, and weightlifting has done to my little boy. Wait! Wait! Where is my pudgy little boy that loved his green tractor and couldn't walk to the car without dragging one finger through the dirt to take some with him?"
Every now and then, my mom comments on how thin Blake is. Of course it is usually when she sees him in his football uniform. (Perhaps I need to wear football pants if they make one look too thin) And I always remind her that for breakfast he eats 4 waffles or 6 pancakes and 2 big glasses of milk. He orders potatoes AND french fries when we eat out. He eats a whole 14 inch pizza alone. He is just so active. I feel like I need to reassure her that I AM feeding my child. So when she was here the other night, I really wanted to make Blake strip his shirt off so she could see that he is not too thin, that he has muscle. Just not ONE BIT OF FAT (the little stinker) But I didn't. Instead I let her sit back and enjoy the show of Blake and his friends eating the pie she brought them. Blake called her a few days ago and said he was craving her pumpkin pie. Well, Grandma baked a couple pies and Kayla's favorite cake and drove up to deliver them. Grandma was in shock when Blake and his three friends cut the first pie into FOUR pieces and then each devoured their 1/4 of a pie in under 4 bites. Then they cut the 2nd pie and started on it. She said she didn't know why she was in shock, she raised 2 boys and her oldest grandson used to eat a big mac in 3 bites. Some sights just never cease to amaze us.
Then Kayla got home and ate about 3 bites of her cake and moved on. This is the child that has passed up a brownie for yogurt. One time at Christmas, her piano teacher gave her a bag of candy and an apple. She came running out of the house yelling "mommy, she gave me an apple!!!" Of course, I was thinking "great, can I have your chocolate!"

Monday, October 23, 2006


To go on another guilt trip. I just called into work to tell them I won't be in today. My daughter was up all night being sick to her stomach. I was going to go on in because I would leave at 10 and my husband would come home at noon until I returned at 2. But she was apprehensive about being alone even for two hours. And I don't blame her. She said if it was just a big nasty cold, she wouldn't mind, but with throwing up....again I don't blame her. I, personally, turn into a GREAT BIG BABY when I am throwing up. Which may be happening soon because I am feeling queasy. But I am trying to tell myself that I am paranoid, or overtired.
Anyway, I am still fairly new at this job thing, so calling in to take the day off makes me nervous. I feel terribly guilty. Even though I just answer the phones, they get real jumpy when I'm not there because the ringing phone bothers them, although there are days it doesn't even ring that much. Acutally they went about 10 years without a receptionist before they hired me part time, so I would think it'd be no big deal. I just keep telling myself, I must put my family first, and they knew they were hiring a mother when they hired me so this just can't be helped.
Anyway, it is days like this that I really regret taking the job. The job has been good for me in many ways. It is an ideal situation for my family and it was practically handed to me on a silver platter, so I shouldn't even question whether it's right for me. But, to be honest, I don't HAVE to work. When our kids were little, and we lived pay check to pay check, I was determined to stay home and raise them, and we have no regrets. But THAT was when the extra little pay check would have come in handy. I guess I kind of look at this as making up for what I didn't do then. But I'm not working to put food on the table. I know we are blessed by the fact that I don't have to work to keep my kids in shoes. Although I have said that my paycheck is quite handy these days because high school is QUITE expensive, but that's another blog.
So I am doing a lot of second guessing these days. Of course having my kids sick makes me wonder if I've done the right thing by returning to work.
And also my father is seriously ill and I would love to be over there more. In two weeks, we will know if he can have surgery or if they will continue with chemo and add radiation. Either way, his need for help is going to increase dramatically, and it has become clear that I am probably the one that will be most able (and willing?) to go over there for long periods of time. Will I know if I'm supposed to quit my job? Will I feel comfortable just asking for an extended leave? I know for certain I will feel guilty taking time off because I won't be giving 100 percent to my job, but again, my family must come first. I pray daily about this. I pray that I will see what is the right thing for me to do. Any suggestions?

Monday, October 16, 2006


Dear Blake and Kayla,
As you become young adults, I am sure you have tuned in to enough adult conversations to pick up on some of the issues I've had with my parents. Perhaps you have picked up on the painful childhood I had. I have never seen the need to share my painful past, but I will never lie to you. I might, perhaps, put off answering questions until I think you are old enough to see the whole picture.
Because of my childhood, I hope to model two things to you as you choose your paths in life.
First, I hope to model a life of forgiveness. I am not perfect at this, but I have learned a lot in my nearly 40 years on earth. Sometimes you will have a heavy load to carry as you face adulthood. Forgiveness lightens that load. Learn now to forgive the small things and it will be easier to forgive the larger things later on.

Second, I hope to model a life of "no excuses." A bad break early in life is not an excuse to behave badly later in life. Hopefully, your dad and I will spare you from any of these bad breaks, but we can't predict what life has in store for us. If you have a setback, mourn or grieve or get angry; but then pick yourself up and learn from it, and move on. Use that setback to make your life better and to improve the lives of others.

And now, I promise you two things.
I promise you that, as long as we are on this earth together, your dad and I will be partners. Before we got married, we looked at each other and promised that divorce was not an option. You can always count on us being a unit. When you choose one, you choose the other. Together we will raise you. Together we will discipline you. Together we will rejoice over your successes. Together we will watch you make mistakes. Together we will decide when to lift you up and carry you and when to let you pick yourself up and brush yourself off. Together we will lay awake at night and watch the clock when you start to date. Together we will mark each milestone in your life - graduation, college, marriage, new babies. Each of you has caught us kissing in the kitchen and dancing in the dining room. I promise that you will have many memories like that. It is our job to be partners for you. It is your job, at this young stage in life, to take for granted the fact that we will always be there as a unit. Because we will.

I promise you that, no matter what, I will never choose to be removed from your life. From the day you were born, I knew it was my job to raise you and let you go out into the world. But even when that day comes, I will never remove myself from your life. I will watch you go off to college. I will watch you make a home and family with your spouse. But I will be there. There will be disagreements, but none will ever be bad enough to make me turn my back on you. As long as I am on this earth, I will love the sound of your voice. I will crave the sound of your laughter and I will look forward to every bit of news you are willing to share with me. As long as I am on this earth, I will hurt when you hurt, and I will enjoy what you enjoy.

This I promise you.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I'm home. Paul picked me up on Wednesday. Kayla took the day off school to make the drive with him.

I have a really cool dad, I guess. He drives (when he's healthy) a 2005 red Mustang GT (with black leather interior). We drive a 2006 Toyota Sienna mini van that seats 8 (and although I only gave birth to 2 kids the seats are usually full - another math puzzle). Dad and Marilyn quickly realized how easy our van was for them to get in and out of, he with his sore back and she with her crutches. So Paul offered to leave the van with us and he'd rent a car to drive home. "No," Dad said. "Drive the mustang." Yay, Paul.
So Paul got to spend the week with the red baby. And the kids got to ride to school and all their activities in style. But alas, the joy ended when we came home, and Dad could not be persuaded to let us leave him the mini van "for his own good, you know" and we would drive the mustang "just to help them out." They'll be sorry. They'll miss that van. I know they will.

Anyway, Dad and Marilyn were very easy patients. They have a very set routine but they were very easy going and flexible about it. They are funny and positive. They are fiercely protective of each other. For example, Dad said he had questions for the doctor but did not want Marilyn to hear them because they would make her sad. And anytime Dad said he was craving something (since he has very little appetite), Marilyn got her purse out and handed me money so I could rush out and buy it before the craving passed. They are very much in love and so devoted to each other. They touched each other's hands during a conversation or would reach over and rub each other's shoulder. They've been married for 25 years, and I could see that they were truly best friends and truly enjoyed their marriage.

Now, I know this is all very normal stuff for those of you who grew up in a normal home. But this was the first time I had seen one of my parents in a loving, happy relationship. I loved witnessing it. Do I wish I had been exposed to this all of my life? Yes. Do I wish that it was my mother instead of my step mother with whom Dad shared this? Yes. Do I feel a great sense of relief that Dad has this special woman by his side during this difficult time? Yes. I am relieved they have each other, and I told them that we would be there to take care of Marilyn too, as the years passed. I do wish we could convince them to move back here, but they are set up with a great medical team now and they couldn't possibly move at this point anyway.

Now, about their routine.
They get up at 3:45. Yes, that is 3:45. IN THE MORNING. That would be 2:45 my time. Dad has always been an early riser and even though he isn't working now, the habit remains. So they get up at about the time I would have been feeding a newborn baby years ago. Then they have their coffe and watch Fox News for a couple of hours. Then they take their naps (only since they have both become sick/injured). Then they are ready for lunch at 11:00. Then more Fox News and napping. After lunch is when I had my daily "battle" with Marilyn to let me do her housework. She is one energetic woman. She has always worked out daily and she has the sleekest arms and legs I've seen on a woman, regardless of age. I think that is why she is adjusting to crutches easily. It is absolutely driving her crazy to be helpless. Their kitchen chairs have wheels on them, so she would simply push herself with her good foot, and do what chores she could. I did take Dad to the office one day so he could pick up some work to do at home. Anyway, after afternoon rest time - at about 3:30, we headed to Damon's. Damon's has been part of their evening routine for years. At Damon's Marilyn would have 2 glasses of white wine (she only had one when I wasn't driving. So that second was a treat) and Dad would have 2 beers, and I would have one diet Pepsi and they'd visit with all their friends, who were also very nice and funny. And then I'd drive them home and fix them supper. Then by 7:30, they'd both be exhausted and ready for bed. They slept in the family room on the couch and love seat because it was simply easier for them. I got their bedroom and bathroom. So after settling them in, I had the evening to watch tv, or read. Yep, it was a fairly easy job. Except for seeing how OLD my dad looks. And how slowly he walks. And how sad and scared they both are, despite their efforts to remain upbeat.
In case any of you are wondering. NO, I did not get up at 3:45. I rarely slept at all, though, because I woke up at the slightest sound from them through the night, especially if I heard Marilyn's crutches moving down the hall. I was so worried one of them would fall or something. It was a fall that started this whole thing, after all. But once I heard them getting their coffee at 3:45 IN THE MORNING, I slept pretty good for a couple hours because I knew they had made it through the night and the routine would begin again. I told them it was like taking care of a couple of babies. Feed them, keep them happy for a couple hours, then put them down for a nap again. And boy was it hard to leave, but there are still things that need to be done at home. Our lives seem to carry on, crisis or not.
I miss them. I know I won't be able to go back for awhile because I can't leave work. Well, until his surgery. Isn't it ironic, that I've started working after 15 years, and a parent becomes seriously ill? I am praying for guidance in that area of my life. Paul may go over for a few days, though, as he can easily work away from the office. Now, isn't that a sweet man? Willing to go take care of his sick father-in-law for a few days.

Interestingly, my sister can't go because she has "so many issues to deal with" and she doesn't want to leave her children. EXCUSE ME??? We all have issues, and it wasn't pleasant for me to leave my children, and to ask for a week off from work, and miss Kayla's ball game and to go days without sleep....But so far I have kept my mouth shut and tried to keep the peace.

The next time I post, I am going to ask this question: Why are some people trying to convince me to hold a grudge?

Monday, October 09, 2006


I am posting from my dad's house where both of my patients are resting. This experience of caring for them will make for lots of blog material.

This is for Jen3 who has asked for the whole story of the homecoming fiasco experienced by my son. Please be patient.

First a little background. We live in a town of about 2000 people (that's two thousand). We are in a consolidated school district with a town of about 1000 people (that's one thousand). That town is 7 miles up the highway. In the ten years we've been here, our school district has never been ranked below number 2 in state testing for our region, so even the consolidation is little bother for the fantastic schools we think we have. Our town is basically connected to a town of about 80,000. It has several public schools and one private Catholic high school (St. T) This school is our ARCH RIVAL in sports. It is a rivalry that seems to have reached animosity - at least when you are speaking to teenagers (and some parents, actually.)

Blake's friend Taylor was dating a girl from St. T. Seems she already had her dress for OUR homecoming,when Taylor broke up with her. So she asked Blake to take her to HIS OWN dance, even though she attends a different school. Boys being boys, Taylor didn't care a bit, other than to say "let Blake deal with the headache." I should have seen the red flag.

So she tells Blake her dress is green and he tells me his tie has to match her dress so I ask "what color green? Pine green? Sage green? Lime green? John Deere green?" He doesn't know but he'll ask her. She responds by saying she has a tie she wants him to wear, which I thought sounded a little controlling, but what do I know?

So we buy Blake his dress pants and shirt and a new belt and I wait around for the tie. Friday night (dance on Saturday) - still no tie. I ask Blake when we are getting that tie so I can make sure it is pressed, etc. Turns out we had to go pick up the tie Saturday morning, because evidently we didn't have enough to do on top of Kayla's basketball tournament, picking up a corsage, pressing clothes, arranging transportation, etc. etc.

Let me back up. On Thursday (two days before the dance) Blake called me from the after school festivities and said "Mom, she just called and said she doesn't want to go to the dance. Can you cancel the flower?" Sure. I think he was relieved. Then he called back 45 minutes later and I felt so bad for him because he said "Mom, now she's called and said she does want to go to the dance with me." Well, I didn't say what I wanted to say, but enough is enough. So I said "Blake you do NOT have to take her to the dance. If you do not want to take this girl, you have my permission to call her back and tell her that you are not going to be strung along by her. She can't play this kind of game with you." Please keep in mind, Blake did not know this girl very well, he thought he was just escorting her to the dance so she could be with her friends who had been invited. She is not the type of girl he has normally chosen to "date."

So, on the evening of the dance, we are all to meet at the pond across from our house for pictures. Blake and his date had their picture taken by her mother and before I could get in position to take one, she said "now Ryan, one with you." Then,
"Alex, one with you." And on it went. So I just said "I'd like one of Blake and his date, please." Though, actually I didn't.

THEN. We all load up to take the kids to Red Lobster and BLAKE'S DATE DIDN'T WANT TO RIDE WITH HIM. And neither did Alex's date. Then after eating, Blake and his date and 2 other couples were supposed to be driven to the dance by my husband. Paul said he got there and one of the girls said "Oh, my mom is taking all the girls." So the girls piled in one van and the boys piled in the other.

Later that evening, all the boys spent the night at our house. That is when Taylor said "next year, no dates. Too much drama."

My theory, and the other mothers agreed, is that these girls simply used the boys to get into the homecoming dance of a rival school. Think of the drama they created by saying they got to go to this dance. Think of how they probably stirred things up with the boys from their own school. And honestly, I am disappointed that our boys did not decide to take girls from their own school, so I do not hold Blake blameless in this mess. I think he has learned a lesson. It was very hard for me to watch all of this unfold, but I was afraid the more I protested, the more tempting it might be for him to not only escort her to the dance but to keep having contact with her. Teenagers are like that, you know.

And guess what. At dinner the other night, Blake asked "Mom, Dad, would I be allowed to attend St. T's homecoming dance.?"
My response: "Not only NO, but NO WAY!!!"

Also, I do know that these girls are just kids and they may very well turn out to be very sweet young women. I do not mean to speak badly of kids. Because they are just
And now, a quick question.

I am nearing 40. And that is fine with me. I am accepting the hot flashes and the creaking my joints do. I am accepting the higher maintence costs in general that come with middle age. I am accepting that I am in a phase of life where I am raising teenagers AND caring for aging, ill parents. But why, oh why if I am on the threshold of middle age, am I still getting pimples?

Friday, October 06, 2006


Me 6 years ago at Blake's little basketball games: "Paul you need to tell him not to be so aggressive. Is he supposed to try to take the ball right out of the other players' hands?

Me Wednesday night at Kayla's basketball game (which by the way we won 31-2):

Me last night at Blake's football game: "FACE MASKING!!!!!!!!!" (I mean, really, if I could see it, anybody could....)



There's that old saying "when it rains it pours..." yada, yada, yada.

My dad had his first chemo treatment on Monday. My step mom broke her foot on Wednesday. He cannot get off the couch. She cannot walk.
They called yesterday to ask if I could come for a few days. I have used the time since then to find temporary homes for my kids and make arrangements at work. So after Kayla's basketball game tomorrow morning, Paul will drive me to Indiana and come home on Sunday. Then he will come back and get me....well, whenever they can manage or one of my siblings can relieve me or when Marilyn can get a walking cast put on her foot.

I cannot express the emotions swirling in my head. I have 2 brothers and 1 sister and, of the four of us, I have had the most distant relationship with my dad. There are a number of reasons for that, I guess. But suffice it to say, I have had less contact with him than the other three. There is no animosity or resentment on either part. But there is, I think, that uncomfortable feeling for each of us, that tells us there should have been more. Regret maybe?
So when they called and asked ME to come and help. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I just wanted to say "ME? You've chosen ME? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
First, Dad and Marilyn are very independent and private people. I know how humbling it had to be for them to call and say "We can't do this. Can you please come and help us?" Especially given our history. Second, (and I don't want this to sound pompous) but I thought maybe, just maybe, in our rare contact with each other, something of me has shone through to him. Something of me (and my husband) has shown him that yes, we will come running when he calls. Something of me has said that the past does not matter. And I am so thankful that God has let me show whatever quality that is. We are in a phase of life now where he needs my help and I am able to give it. I am blessed to have a job that I can leave. I am blessed to be surrounded by families that will take my children in on short notice and I know they will be happy and comfortable. I am blessed to have a husband that will say "of course, we'll come" and then start making phone calls to arrange things so I don't have to worry about all the details.
Now, I just have to tell my mom. She is coming around, but I know it will be a difficult conversation. In our last conversation about this I simply said that I am doing these things for my dad for a variety of reasons but, as a mother, she should understand my main reason. And that is: my children are watching me. As in every situation, they are watching to see how I handle this. And I will not let them see me turn my back on a parent who needs my help, regardless of the past.

And on a humorous note; as I left work today my boss asked me to call in with the numbers at which I could be reached. I told him of course I would. But I wanted to say " really have no idea how little I do around here, do you?" He was afraid somebody might call looking for me. I have no idea who that would be. The only people who call me at work are my husband and my children and they will know where I am. All I do at work, basically is answer the phone. But let me tell you, some of these men go into a panic when that phone is unattended. One day when I was leaving and the other assistant was out, the phone rang. One of the brokers actually looked at it and raised up his hands and said "I don't know how to pick up." I guess I perform a valuable service after all.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


A few weeks ago, I started thinking that blogging was a waste of my time. I started blogging for 3 reasons:
1. I love words. I love to express myself in written form.
2. My daughter reads it and I had hoped that someday both of my kids would view it as a legacy.
3. My husband travels a lot. When my kids were babies, I'd sometimes go days without speaking to another adult. Blogging has been a good way to use up my quota of words, especially when Paul is out of town.
Now though, I think it might be a little silly for me to spend my time putting my words to paper (so to speak)for, well...none of the world to see. I REALLY appreciate the 3 of you who have read and commented, but I am no Erma Bombeck (loved her) and perhaps my thoughts are best left un-typed.
However; just as there are times when I simply can't keep my mouth shut about something, I'm sure there will be times where I can't keep my fingers still and will just have to let my view be known. As for the legacy for my kids - I can always do that on a Word Document and print it out for them.
But before I go, I have one last request.
The news on my dad is not nearly as good as we had hoped. His cancer is inoperable. The doctors have said his lung capacity is too low for them to consider surgery. He has been prounounced "incurable." Yet, they are planning to start chemotherapy and radiation. I don't understand that. Does this mean there IS hope, or are they just giving him more time? I have many questions.
So please pray for him and for my step mother. And please pray for my siblings and me as we try to care for him from a distance, and as we try to manage this whole thing without angering our mother. Also, please pray for my mom, that she will finally see that when we give love to somebody else, we are not taking it away from her.



I've been a terribly indulgent dog-owner and I am now changing the rules on her. I did not want to spend my child rearing years yelling at the dog "Get Down, Get Down..."while I was yelling at my children "Get Down, Get Down..."
Now, though, I realize my mistake. Well, I realized it a long time ago, but you know how it is? So I went out and bought a dog bed (another one). The first dog bed I bought was quickly taken over by our 24 pound cat. So I placed new the dog bed by her favorite love seat and I stood the cushions to the love seat on end so she couldn't climb up there. Then I got a piece of cheese and had my daughter hold the cheese. My plan: have Cookie get on the bed and every time she got on the bed, Kayla could hand her a bite of cheese. Cookie wouldn't get on the bed. I even rubbed the bed all over her to get her smell on it. Then I put it back down and pointed to it and said "get on the bed, Cookie... get on the bed Cookie, geeeeet on the bed Cookie." Her ears stood straight out sideways from her head and she looked at me as if to say "but the loveseat is my bed." Then I dragged her onto the bed and held her squirming body down and said to Kayla in a panic "give her the cheese, give her the cheese!" Then Cookie jumped off the bed with her cheese and ran in circles around the coffee table and stopped and cocked her head at the bed with her ears sticking out sideways from her head again. We reapeated this until one slice of cheese was gone. Then I sat on the dog bed and called her to me. She came over and stopped a mere centimeter from the bed. I dragged her on to the bed and gave her more cheese. Then she started the circles again and I was exhausted and sweating. Then the cat came in and I threw him out of the room and gave up.
But when I went upstairs last night, SHE WAS ON THE BED.
This morning, she was by the front door, but you gotta look at the small victories.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


We skipped church today. We were not out of town. We did not over sleep. Nobody is sick. We just skipped. There I said it. And it felt good to sleep in a little. It feels good to look forward to a quiet day with the family. Even though our church is 40 miles away, we are usually not daunted by the drive, but after the hectic weekend we've had, we were eager to stay close to home and have a leisurely day doing, well, probably nothing. Although I do have a stack of clothes on my bedroom floor. I was in the middle of cleaning out my closet when I finally went to bed at 2 a.m. (more on that later)
3 years ago at our former congregation we would have been racked with guilt if we missed church for no "good" reason. We didn't necessarily have a desire to be there, but it was a good place to get a healthy dose of guilt from the pulpit and also from all the older members who would ask when they saw you next "and where were you last week?" REALLY. That was probably what kept our attendance regular for the last year we were there.
Now, though, it is the opposite. We have a tremendous desire to be part of worship services and we do not feel like we are being judged on the rare occasion we miss. Nor do we feel like we owe an explanation. You know sometimes, somebody will say "I missed you last week..." and there is the question hanging in the air: "Where were you?" Now it is just more of a "I'm glad to see you" attitude. No judgment. No guilt. No explanation needed. So I may actually miss church a little more now that we drive 40 miles, but I feel closer to God, and more spiritually fed, then I have in a long time.
I was cleaning out my closet at 2 in the morning because my son had a group of boys spend the night after the dance. He also had about 4 girls over until 1. Let me tell you something. This was not a pleasant evening. We told the girls we were taking them home at 1 (because they all said they had to be home between 1 and 1:30, which I think is a little late but I'm not their mother) so while the girls were here, Paul and I had to take turns going to the basement every ten minutes to make sure the kids knew we would be going to the basement every ten minutes to monitor them. I didn't even try to be discreet. I started just stopping at the bottom of the steps, looking around and going back up.
So anyway, at 12:50 I went downstairs and said "ladies, in 10 minutes Mr Woolard will be taking you home. Do any boys want to go home?" One did. So at 1:00 the boy (they call him Chili) was waiting in our living room to go home. No girls. So I called down the steps "girls, it's time to go" One of them makes a call on her cell phone. 5 minutes later, "girls. we need to get going." They ignore me again. So I tried my old family attention getter. I flipped the light on and off really fast several times. And I hear a voice say "we gotta go." 10 minutes later one girl comes up and tells us that instead of all of the girls going to one place they were going to two different places. I am not happy. Still missing 3 girls. I finally say "girls, you have to come up now. Your parents are expecting you." Up they come. So Paul takes the girls and Chili home. He has to make a huge circle to two different homes for the girls and then take Chili home last because he does not want to be alone in a car with teenage girls at 1:30 in the morning. Poor Chili, but it was the smart way to do it.
So then I headed to the basement to talk to the boys and ask Blake if he had a good time "No, I'm never going to another dance again." And then Taylor chimes in "from now on we are just having a get together like this, no dance, and no girls either. There's too much drama with these girls." I wanted to say "oh my sweet innocent boys, you have no idea. This is just the beginning." But I will post later on why these boys had such a terrible time. And you can decide if I'm just a mom who babies my boy or if THESE GIRLS WERE RUDE TO THEM ALL EVENING.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Back before I had children, I worked at a long term care facility for the mentally ill residents. I was in charge of care plans and admissions for 127 mentally ill individuals. Mostly schzophrenic. I great stories at the end of each day to share with Paul.
There was the lady who, every day of my first two weeks, fired me. And she was a different person each time. Martha Washington. General Eisenhower. Ronald Reagan. I knew who she was each day because she'd say "you're fired. And I'm Martha Washington so I have the authority."
There was the man who sat in my office and talked all day. His conversations went something like this "popcorn, got a washtub full of popcorn. Does the doctor want popcorn. is the doctor sick haha the doctor needs a doctor. tennis shoes, do you have red tennis shoes...hey Heidi, got any shoestrings. livin' on a shoestring, haha. " Sometimes this man would drink so much water that he'd wash the psychotropic drugs out of his system. Then he'd get...well, amorous. He was about 75 and bald and the few teeth he had were yellow and he'd get right in my face with his amorous self and say "kiss me Heidi (kissy noises) come on give me a kiss. MAKE LOVE TO ME BABY." And I'd say the same thing. "you know that is inappropriate and if you can't stay in your chair and be nice you'll have to leave my office." And sometimes I'd tell him he was being a dirty old man and he'd laugh.
Then there was the little old 80 year old lady who just sat in my office and ate hard candy and laughed. Just laughed. Every now and then she'd cry and that made me sad. But usually she just rocked and laughed and sucked on her candy.
Then there was the lady who one day was on a rant looking for "that Heidi" but nobody knew why. Every time she asked where " that *!@#$^%$ Heidi" was, people would act ignorant. She even asked me to my face where that "that little (expletive) Heidi" was and I said I sure didn't know but that I'd let Heidi know she was looking for her. Then the storm passed and I didn't have a hit out on me anymore and the lady was as sweet as could be.
Many many stories.

And it all came back today when I answered the phone at work "Smith Barney, this is Heidi, may I help you." And there was a stream of nonsense words from a man talking a mile a minute, obviously paranoid about his investments from 10 years ago. He wanted me to call GM and McDonald's and find out why he had not seen a return. He was calling from a pay phone. He remembered the name of his broker from 10 years ago. Evidentally he had called last week too and was wanting the number for the SEC so he could file a complaint. I think I will hear from him frequently and I think I have found some ways to calm him down. I really hope he is under the care of a professional, but who knows.

I always thought it was interesting that I have a Bachelors in Social Work and I am working at a brokerage firm. I guess you never know. Or as my grandma would say "who'd have thunk it?"

Thursday, September 14, 2006


There are a few movies which, no matter how many times I watch them, are still fascinating to me. Apollo 13 and Remember the Titans are two such movies. I think it's because each time I watch them, I am reminded of the "behind the scenes" heroes.

In Apollo 13, we see the engineers at NASA working frantically to bring our astronauts home. They are given an impossible task. They are asked to make a square peg fit into a round hole, and they do it. And yet, it is the astronauts that are considered the heroes. Don't get me wrong; those astronauts are definitely heroes. They were working in a dire situation to save each other and themselves. They stretched their expertise and training beyond limits to come home. But most Americans don't know the names of the engineers. I know I wouldn't recognize any.

And then there's Remember the Titans. First let me say that 5 years ago, if anybody had told me I'd be one to use a sports analogy, I'd have said they were out of their tree. But I am in a phase of life (as is every phase of parenting) where you love what your children love. Many scenes in this movie give me chills. I love the scene where the coach takes them on a 3 a.m. run to the civil war cemetery. When they finally arrive at the cemetery and listen to his speech, they finally get it. The team finally starts coming together. I also love the end where they are playing the championship game. In football it seems to me (in my limited understanding of the game) that there are 2 players who get most of the credit. Of course, there is the quarterback. And then there is the running back. Every Saturday during the fall, people are reading about the number of yards passed by a quarterback and the number of yards run by the runnning back to score in the game the night before. And these gifted young men deserve the credit. But what about the young men "on the line" making their jobs easier? What about the young men whose job it is to stop anybody in their way so the running back can score or the quarterback can pass? Do you supposed it's difficult for any of these young men to do such a good job and watch somebody else get credit? At the end of Remember the Titans, we see the final touchdown play. We see the young man running for a touchdown; but in front of him is another young man knocking down anybody who gets in his way. It is the job of the man in front to make a path for the man with the ball, the man who will score and get the credit. Last time I watched this movie (just last weekend) I watched that scene and thought of...well, Life. How nice, I thought, to have somebody running ahead of me through life to knock down anything and anybody that tries to stop me from achieving my goal. And then I was ashamed. Because I have that. I have that in our Lord. And unfortunately, I sometimes fail to give credit where credit is due.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


September 11, 2001 will be our generation's "where were you when?" moment.
Paul and I were nearing the end of the building process of our house. We had an appointment that day to meet at the house with the "tile guy" so we could decide on the tile for our jacuzzi tub. I saw the first plane attack on tv before I left. I called my sister and told her to turn on her tv. We watched together as the second plane hit. I remember saying "Rena, we're under attack." Strangely my first thought was that an American had done this. Remember Timothy McVeigh?
I felt so shallow and nearly ashamed leaving the tv to take care of a such a mundane task as choosing bathroom tiles. I told Paul I couldn't believe that our country was under attack and here I am walking in to our brand new home to decide what tiles will go around my tub. I wondered what kind of person I must be to carry on with life like that.
My brother was already scheduled to fly to Egypt 3 weeks later for military training with the Egyptian Army. We were very frightened for him and hoped he would not have to go. He went. We could not reach him on 9/11 but his wife said he was fine. He worked nearly 24 hours a day on the army base that week securing it. It was chilling to hear later the details of what they had to do to make sure their base was secure. I realized then that bases all over our country - all over the world - were going through the same thing; working frantically to secure themselves and ready their troops for what might come next. The base at which he was stationed was the main supplier of heavy arms. "Tank Row" is several miles of tanks parked side by side on each side of the road - just waiting until they are needed. My sister in law said it was surreal to watch those tanks be moved. Each time she went on base, there were fewer tanks there. When we visited several months later, tank row was nearly empty. The tanks that were left were being painted - changed from green camouflage to desert camouflage. It was a sight that answered many questions about what the future held for us.
My brother was not deployed to Afghanistan or to Iraq. His company was. The young men he trained were sent over. His wife said it was hard on him. Of course he did not want to go to war, but these "boys" who were half his age, these boys who were only 3 0r 4 years older than my son is now, were going.
I am VERY proud of our military. Both my grandfathers fought in WW II (their stories were heart wrenching) my dad was in the Army, and my brother served 21 years in the Army. My father-in-law(Paul's step dad) was a medic in Korea and Vietnam and
Paul's dad served nearly 20 years in the Air Force before he died. I am proud of any man or woman who will put themselves in a situation to have to do what our military is doing now, with very little pay and sometimes very little praise. And I am just selfish enough to be thankful for these sons and daughters who CHOOSE to serve so that my son or daughter will not HAVE to serve.
So to every service member, every police officer, every fire fighter...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

NOT THAT THERE'S ANY THING WRONG WITH THAT... dad is doing better. His surgery to cement the vertabrae went well, he is walking a little bit. He is not eating, though. His biopsy results will be back next week and we are still waiting to see when we will drive over.
I am hoping this will be the catalyst to a better relationship with him.
My son is a jock. No doubt about it. He loves his sports - football and wrestling being the top two. Grades have not been a priority for him, and I simply cannot comprehend that. There are days I just want to bang my head on the counter top while we discuss this issue. But he might be changing his attitude. I attribute this change in large part to his best friend's older brother. Cubbie's brother is a senior and a star football player. He is also a TOP student who is getting offers for academic scholarships as well as athletic. Oh and Cubbie's brother is Blake's transportation to all things football, which give Blake lots of time with him. We give him gas money and he drives Blake to and from practices and camps. It is worth every penny. This young man is not only a great student and a great athlete; he is a very respectful young man - just a great kid. I think he has been a tremedous influence on Blake by letting Blake see what diligence in the academic field will do for him.

Lately Blake's interests seem to be expanding to include more of a...well, down home, bubba kind of thing. He has developed a love for country music. He is now interested in Nascar and even bought a Nascar cap. And today - when we bought his school shoes...he bought cowboy boots.
Cowboy boots. Black leather with the stitching up the side and everything. He says he will now need some more jeans. I asked if he would want a different kind of shirts. I wouldn't put Nike t-shirts with cowboy boots and jeans, so I thought we'd pick up a dressier look - you know, something with a collar (gasp.) No. He just wants jeans. With his cowboy boots and Nike t-shirts. Not that there's anything wrong with that...I'm just sayin'.

Monday, September 04, 2006


I realized the other day that I spend much of my life apologizing; I'm sorry I'm not a size 5 anymore, I'm sorry I'm not a better housekeeper, I'm sorry I can't be at that family dinner, I'm sorry I have to miss your event to go to your sibling's, I'm sorry I can't get dinner on the table when we are on the go from 3 til 9 most evenings, I'm sorry I am missing another church function, I'm sorry I'm choosing a family outing over a church outing, I'm sorry I can't do that class party or supervise that field trip, I'm sorry if I've put you out in any way at all. And so it goes. Forever it seems.

Of course these apologies are in my mind only and I'm sure nobody else is giving as much thought to these issues as I am. Simply put, I feel guilt too easily. I want to please people and I feel terrible anxiety when I think I've let somebody down or have not made the decision they expected me to make. I don't know how many times I have done something I didn't want to do, just so I didn't disappoint somebody or because it seemed the more accepted choice. I'm not talking about letting myself slip into immoral behavior, or feeling resentful about helping somebody in need. I'm talking about simply not living up. I'm talking about not being assertive enough to simply say, "No thank you. I have something else I need/want to do." Or "Actually, I just don't feel I can take that on right now." I know that this all boils down to lack of self esteem - the fear that I am allowing people to think I don't have my priorities straight, even when I know in my heart I do.
When I do make a decision I think will be unpopular, I feel like I have to spend several minutes justifying it, "Well, I really want to. I'm torn about it. But I have this, and this, and this, and well...honestly I think this other thing is just as important.....I'm REALLY SORRY if I've let you down, I really hate to think I've disappointed you."
Much of this is my personality; but some of it is this BUSY phase of life I am in. Do other moms who are in this phase of life struggle with this same guilt? Do they get sucked into the pit of guilt because they can't do everything and please everybody? Do they feel guilty for choosing to forego many other things so they can be with family because they know all too well how fleeting this time is? Do they wonder if others are criticizing their choices?
I simply want to get to the point in my life where I make a choice and stand firm, where I accept myself as I am and feel confident that others do too, where I don't feel the need to apologize or justify.

And I'm really sorry if this has offended any of you.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Summer is over - and I am not really disappointed about that because I LOVE AUTUMN.
This is how I know Summer is over:
1. I was alone in the house last night because Paul and the kids were at the Friday night football game. I had said I was going to go more this year but then the thought of a night alone in the house became too tempting.
2. My sinuses are a little bothersome in the mornings
3. The mornings and evenings are cool - love it!
4. We had our last shaved ice on Sunday evening. We had gotten into the routine this summer of going out to get shaveed ice on Sunday evenings. It was our way of being sure at least Kayla would hop in the jeep with us and spend 30 minutes connecting before the week began. Last weekend, Blake went too. And we noticed the hut was closing for the summer later that evening. So we ordered our last 4 (we even got MEDIUMS) - pina' colada for mom, rootbeer float for dad, rock-n-roll for Kayla and candy apple for Blake. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
There are five children sleeping my house at the moment. I gave birth to two children. This is a common mathematical puzzle in our house. But I love it. I knew each of the kids was going to have a friend over last night. So when Blake walked in with an extra I just had to tease said extra; "Uh, Taylor, no offense....but why are you here?" He wasn't even flustered. He just smiled and said. "Blake already got the ok from Mr. Woolard."
So anyway after 20 minutes of these FIVE kids being here and all of them talking NON STOP and laughing I quietly asked Paul "Did you shoot caffeine straight into their veins?" I mean every kid was talking at once and they all seemed to be able to answer the others. How is this done?
Anyway, one of Blake's VERY BEST friends is different from Blake in many ways. His name is Jordan but his nickname - from kindergarten days - is Cubbie. (Cubbie spent the night last night too - his parents call me his second mom) Cubbie is 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds (Quite understandable considering is dad is 6'6"). Blake is 5'10 and 140 pounds. Blake and Cubbie play side by side on the line in football and that is where their physical differences are really noticeable. First, their size - quite obvious. Second, Cubbie is bi-racial. So his dark brown arms are quite the contrast to my son's pale, freckled, red-head complexion-type arms. Cubbie is quiet and shy and quite gentle ( His mom told me that the coaches tell him "Cubbie you are the biggest thing on the field, you gotta get TOUGH") Blake is more outgoing and boisterous. They each have a great sense of humor, though. And boys can tease and "rag" on each other without a problem. They showed me a picture last night from their game this week. Cubbie is standing with his arms out in a gesture of exasperation. Blake goes "Dude, that's when you were yelling at me for missing those blocks." Cubbie say "Well, you were missing everything on that play - you couldn't do a thing." They cracked up. AMAZING. Girls would be mad 3 days later. Girls would be trying to get each other out of the carpool (over my dead body) But not boys. These boys were cracking up about how they yelled and screamed at each other through the game. But at the final buzzer - no more yelling or screaming... just more laughing at each other and themselves. It probably helped that they won again, but anyway...
But I wonder how many adults could learn something from teenage boys. You know, if someone says something that offends you, just laugh it off. If someone criticizes you or leaves you out - just laughingly say "um...that kind of bothered me" Or "DUDE... that was lame." Whatever it takes to let us move on. I know I need to be reminded of that quite often.

Friday, September 01, 2006


That's what Paul said to me the other day when I told him what I had bought at the store on the way home from work:
ingredients for homemade chicken noodle soup and NIGHT CRAWLERS.
It's not the homemade soup that impressed him; it was the night crawlers. I have made a few trips to purchase night crawlers for Blake.
This time he needed two tubs. I segregate the nightcrawlers in my cart - placing them in a far corner and making sure no other item touches them. Then I double bag them. Then when placing them in the van I hold the bag as far away from my body as I can and place them in the corner of the "stow-n-go" well and drive home fearing that the nightcrawler tub will pop open. They ARE alive you know. In fact, the label says "our night crawlers will catch fish or die trying." Then I carry all the other groceries in (except cases of water and soda, which Blake has to carry in for me) except the night crawlers because Blake knows once they hit our drive way he must take custody of them.
I just noticed a tub of night crawlers in the fridge. This is not ok. See, Blake has a dorm fridge in his room (he bought it with paper route money) that he uses for his gatorade and his allotment of soda for himself and his buddies. He is also supposed to use it for night crawlers.
Did you know a night crawler tub is the same size as a sour cream tub, or a cottage cheese tub, or a large margarine tub? Can you imagine the ramifications of a "tub" mistake.....

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Well, Kayla made the basketball team. She is sore and tired but very excited. Honestly their practice schedule is more intense than the football players.
Anyway, one of the girls in our carpool didn't make the team, but has decided to be manager. It seems to have worked out for her because she had said if she played basketball she wouldn't be able to see her Dad until November (her parents are divorced) So she is trying to see the positive in this. Her mom admitted she was probably more disappointed than the daughter. I told her I was sorry for her disappointment, and I am but I'll be honest. In my head I was thinking "ok, that's one less person in our carpool. This rotation is not going to be easy." I have been given the task of setting up a carpool schedule. We are down to 3 girls in our carpool for an average of 7 trips a week (5 after school pick-ups, a Saturday drop off, and a Saturday pick-up). I even called a couple other moms today to see if they'd like to join our carpool. "Well, thanks, but I'm already in one," was the standard response. One mom is not going to be happy. She is one that was pushing for 7 or 8 girls in the car just so we'd have fewer trips each week. So I've decided my options are:
1. buy a 15-passenger van by Saturday
2. Move to Maora by Saturday
3. offer to drive every trip myself to avoid making somebody mad
4. do my best to come up with a reasonable schedule and hope that the other parents catch on to our mantra..."this is the phase of life we're goes all too quickly anyway so just relax and make the best of it."

On another note. My daughter commented today about how stinky the van was when the football players piled in after practice. I just had to let her know that these young ladies were not exactly smelling like a trip through Bath-n-Body Works when they get in the car after practice now. I started to feel panic moving in this evening as I thought "what if the smell is permanent in my van? What if it smells like sweaty locker room mixed with cucumber melon mixed with gatorade...FOREVER? What if it really smells like this ALWAYS but I only NOTICE it when I'm driving 17 kids around?"OK 3 or 4 kids but it sounds...and smells like 17. The other night I had an almost uncontrollable urge, as I was driving 65 mph on the highway, with 4 smelly kids in the van, to roll my window down and stick my head out and inhale sweet, fresh, midwest farm air. Oh sweet relief when we finally make it home and the kids trudge in the house, drop their bags on the floor and utter the sweetest words of the day..."I'll be in the shower."