Friday, January 29, 2010


I have never gotten into the whole Wordless Wednesday Thing that lots of bloggers do. You are supposed to just post a photo and that's it. I can't do it. I have too many words. I am never wordless. AND almost all my posts have photos anyway, so I have never jumped into that. And lots of people have their own little ideas for special days of the week and special topics. So this is my new idea. (In the event that it is discovered that this was not my original idea, sorry. I have never heard of it, so for now, I am saying it is all mine, sound OK??)

So now every Friday I will feature a Furry Baby. Maybe it will be pictures. Maybe it will be a story. Maybe it will be both. Maybe it will be one of my furry babies (OK, mostly it will be mine. . .), or maybe it will be someone else's. Sound good?? AND I would love it if any of you who also have precious furry babies and a blog to hop on board with this idea. I think it will be fun to have at least one post every week dedicated to our sweet four-legged children. Ya with me??

Without further ado:
My first Furry Friday Feature will be
(David accused me of playing favorites. But Dunken is our first born child. Alphabetically, he is first. AND he happened to do something this week that I wanted to blog about. And that thing is what gave me this idea, so I think it is only fair.)

Ever since he was a puppy, Dunken has been such a good helper. When we were in Germany for 4 years, we had to use a laundry room in the basement of our buildings. One time, we were on the 3rd floor and one time we were on the 2nd floor. Both cases, there were a lot of stairs involved with keeping us smelling fresh and clean. And my sweet Dunken, who was 6 months old when we moved to Germany, walked with me every step of the way. He went with me to start the washer, start the dryer, and bring them upstairs. This is where he discovered that he liked warm clothes, fresh from the dryer. So most days, I would have to carry a clothes basket full of clothes AND a Westie up all those stairs.
Dunken, in Bamberg, the beginning of a tradition! I still have that clothes basket. . .
Sometimes, David helped me. I have the most precious picture I took of the two of them coming up the stairs in Germany, but I cannot find it. Rats! It was before digital, so I have a hard copy and a negative somewhere. If I ever find it, I will post it. Priceless, it is.
In Mannheim, sometimes I had to fold most of the clothes and leave him asleep until later. Same basket, weird, huh?
The funny thing about it was that even in the hot summer with no A/C when we were sweating to death, that silly dog would crawl in the basket of warm clothes and pant his head off! It was just sort of a habit. Sort of his thing. Sometimes he would race me to the top of the stairs and then get in the basket, but almost every basket of clothes I have ever washed ended up with a sweet Dunken snuggling in the warmth.
This is in Hinesville - same sweet puppy, same basket.
Even today, he still gets excited to "help" me with the warm, clean clothes.
This week, in the laundry room at Scott. I still have the other basket, I just have 2 now!
Sweet, silly Dunken!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


When you are a grandfather or in my Daddy's case, a Bay, you find yourself doing all sorts of crazy things. Bay has participated in tea parties, watched Barbie movies, colored a mean picture, been covered in hamburger buns, and many other countless things that secure his place in the Grandpa hall of fame. He is so proud of this accomplishment that he almost started a rumble. Once we were at a function and he motioned for me to come over. I did, and he leaned over and said, "Um, did you see that other guy over there? I think I am going to have to start something." I did not see anyone that looked threatening or menacing, so I looked back at him, puzzled. And he grinned a grin that only he can, and said, "He had the nerve to wear a sweatshirt that says '#1 Grandpa!' How dare he?!" I managed to hold him back, but he did keep an eye on that dude.

Yep, those are hamburger buns.

Well, the other night, Bay came over for supper. I often invite him for supper, especially when David is gone. See, I feel a little guilty if I nuke Chef Boyardee for more than like 3 nights in a row for a hot meal for the kids when David is out of town. And it is wicked hard to cook for me and them. OK, just sort of wasteful - that is a lot of effort to put forth for people who think that marshmallows are a food group. So if Bay comes, then I am not cooking just for me and the cereal gang. Anyhow, supper was finished and I was finishing up cleaning the kitchen. The kids were playing with Bay. They were having so much fun that I had to set the timer to tell them when he had to go. It was a school/work night after all. And they'd play until, well, forever.

I finished loading the dishwasher, and went to check on them. Oh my. Jessa explained to me that Bay was a "Camaflougasaurus" (this term must have stemmed from his still being in uniform). He was a scary beast that they were apparently tracking and hunting in some fashion. They were quite the hunting party, too. They had backpacks packed with supplies (later I found that they were full of pringles and fruit roll ups), weapons (pop guns, umbrellas, and bats), and vehicles (saucer sleds). He was vicious when they wanted him to be, and he retreated when he was told. That's the thing about my kids. They really are easy to play with if you are good at taking directions. I mean it, they even tell you what to say and when. Best not to try and improvise, though. They know best. And Bay is really good at taking directions!

Well, I think that I could explain this to death and you may never really "get it." So how about I show you some pictures I captured of the expedition tracking the rare and illusive Camaflougasarus.

Sometimes it is hard to get a good picture of this creature - it moves really fast!

Note the cap gun aimed upward from the boots of the beast.

Jessa is shielding herself while Spencer fires with his ladybug umbrella weapon.

They are both on the offensive now - Spencer had to bring out the big guns, I mean bat.

Be afraid, be very afraid!

Spencer is wearing a rain coat as protection, from what I am not sure. Maybe the creature spits?

Jessa has put her gun away. Maybe the creature is subdued?

Ah, yes, he is back in his lair. The threat has passed. For now.

So anyway.

I am thinking his #1 Grandpa thing is in the bag.

I am going to head over and order his shirt now.

What you won't do for your grandchildren. . .

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1 family = 5 computers?

Momma and Daddy gave me my first laptop when I graduated from college (age 21). I was immediately in love. I like that I can do computer stuff anywhere. That all my info can come with me everywhere. I have my cute little external hard drive for all the data that I must have (aka PICTURES) with me at all times. And I have my computer on and connected at all times. I google things obsessively. The other night at supper Daddy asked a question about Colt McCoy's injury during the BCS Championship. Even though we were at the supper table, my computer was right behind me so I could grab it and google away. Within moments we were watching video clips and reading commentary about how this injury will affect his future career. I love that. I say on a daily basis that I do not know how we survived before. I have maps, recipes, cute status updates, crafts, you name it. It is all contained within this rectangle full of chips and wires and a bunch of other stuff that I do not understand.
Now David, he's a computer nut. He has built tons of computers. Some for himself, some for others. He spent an afternoon last week at the home of his boss trying to help his wife get a new computer up and running. He will return later to hook up their wireless network. He is good at fixing them and tinkering with them. He reads computer magazines for pleasure. He is the type of person that you would call a computer nerd except we all love him and need him and depend on him so much that we would not dare insult him. He is the family IT guy. I affectionately call him Nick Burns and he is always shouting "MOVE!" (Props, to SNL fans who get that without clicking on the link. . .) And besides my current laptop, he has a PC that he built and continues to upgrade, and a laptop that he takes with him on deployments. He also has a work computer, but he can only use it for official stuff. The government is not keen on its employees posting to Youtube or playing Mafia Wars - I cannot imagine why. . . (In case you are keeping score, that is 3 working computers that we own.) We are on a wireless network AND even have a wireless printer thing so we can all send to the same printer. (I LOVE that so much! I can even print from my bedroom upstairs to the printer in the kitchen!! I am so high tech!)

Two Christmases ago, we got the kiddos one of those Fisher Price Computer thingys. They could go to approved websites using the cool plastic figures. They enjoyed it a lot. David even hooked up a screen to the hard drive from an old laptop with a busted screen, so they had their very own computer. (We are now at 4 computers.) Of course, he built them a table to keep it on, too. It was a hit!

But they rapidly outgrew it. Their knowledge and needs were more sophisticated than the Fisher Price could handle. So we started just letting them use the computer without the Fisher Price thing hooked up. That worked for a while. See, at first, Jessa was the only one who could use the mouse, etc., so Spencer did whatever she wanted and was purely a spectator. THEN, he figured out he could do it WITHOUT her. This caused trouble because they did not want to share. And really it was hard to ask them to. They wanted to do wildly different things, and the only time of day that was "Computer time," life was no fun for me to try and ref. So Spencer stuck with the old laptop and Jessa, well, she wanted MINE.

I have already told you haw addicted to googling I am, right? Well, I was bummed when every time I needed to google something important like who is the voice of Mermaid Man on Spongebob, my computer was already engaged with another equally important pursuit like redecorating Polly Pocket's Dream House. What's a girl to do?

Well, last summer my sweet mother mentioned in passing that she and Daddy would love to get the kids their own computers for Christmas. At first, I was appalled! What?! My (at the time) 5 and 3 year olds do not need their own computer! When I was 5, no one even knew what a lap top was! And a mouse, well, it was a pesky pest that sent Momma, Lucas, and Me to a hotel until Daddy could produce a carcass. They are way too young!

This summer, during the move, they were sometimes easy to occupy while I unpacked. . .
Yet, as Christmas was fast approaching, I was becoming more frustrated when I needed my computer, but my daughter was already on it. I mean, I was way behind on my online shopping! Something had to give, so I called Momma and asked if she and Daddy were still thinking of Netbooks for the kiddos. She was thrilled and chastised me for making fun of her to start with. Oh well!

So this year, for Christmas, my 6 year old daughter was given her first computer. A precious Netbook in pink.
And my 3 year old (at the time) son was given his first computer. A handsome Netbook in blue.
So thanks to a very generous May and Bay, Jessa and Spencer are now computer owners (11 years and 14 years before their dear old mother). And we are now a 5 (working) computer family. Welcome to the 21st century! We are like the Jetsons or something, huh?

P.S. Please do not call DFACS, their computers are still kept in the family room where we can monitor them - no worries about them hold up in their rooms being cyberstalked or cyberbullied or any other horrible cyber crime.
P.S.S. I kept saying "working computers" because we have lots of old computers and computer parts around here that don't work anymore!! And important distinction!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The outfit

So you are pregnant. You know how it is, you are shopping for baby stuff for months. And you always want that perfect, precious outfit to dress your baby in to bring him or her home from the hospital. Right? If it is a girl, you want something precious and pink. If it is a boy, something beautiful and blue.
When we brought Jessa home, she wore this:
Gotta love this hospital shots. . .
When I brought Spencer home, he wore this:
It was the same photographer that did Jessa's, but Spencer could not keep his eyes open.

Now most of the time, your baby does wear at least a few hand me downs from friends or family. But for this outfit, this special outfit, the one you will always treasure and remember, you want it to be new and special to your child, or at least I did. . .

Jessa had that. Spencer, bless him, did not. OK, I bought it new. I got him something warm since he was due in January. It was so soft and from Carter's. (I LOVE Carter's!) But just before his ultra early arrival, Momma and I washed all of his clothes and blankets to get ready. And one day my sweet, 2 year old Jessa walked out wearing this:
OK. I just noticed that this is a different NB outfit. We bought a couple and decided on the one with the football. I know she tried them all on, but this is the only picture I could find. . . Please do not let this detail take away from the overall nuttiness of this story, OK??
Oh yeah, it is a NB outfit!
Not even 0-3.
He did not seem to mind that it was pre-worn, though!
Well, of course, I saved that sweet outfit.
And the other day, my silly children were playing.
Jessa was the mom and Spencer was her baby boy.
They walked into the kitchen, and I thought I would croak:

Basically I am telling you three things.
1. Some outfits never go out of style.
2. And don't worry about spending a lot of money on an outfit you think they will wear only once. You never know how much use they will get out of it - even 4 years later. . .
3. Jessa and Spencer will wear anything.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

nature or nurture

My babies. Oh how I love them. Oh how they make me laugh.

David gets extra tickled at them these days because he is gone so much. So the really silly and funny things they do or say are new to him. He is constantly amazed by the sheer madness. They really are funny and so much fun. (Am I biased? Maybe. . .)

The other night, while I was cooking supper, Spencer started playing in the cabinets with pans. He had out some muffin pans, some cake pans, and some measuring spoons. He was making one heck of a dinner, let me tell you. So I am busy, and we are chatting off and on (because he is NEVER not talking), and I look over and I see this:
He really is a bright child, even if this picture does not immediately make you think that.

And then there were these:

The tube pan is clean, that is just Pam residue, I promise. . .

Bless him. He can make his own fun.

But as I continued fixing supper, I was chucking about him to myself. And then I remembered some old pictures of Jessa that I wanted to find. I had to look through tons and tons of old pictures because I was not sure where they were. But I knew they were somewhere. Looking through old pictures is ALWAYS fun, though.

Well, I found them.
Note the date.
She was not even 2 yet!

So my question is this:
Were my children born nuts or did I make them that way?
Nature vs. Nurture, a question for the ages.

Oh well! Whatever the case, I love them, and they make me laugh every single day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A few more Christmas stories

OK. I am trying to get all caught up in life, and of course my dear blog. As previously billed, here are the last few Christmas Stories that I want to record for posterity.

I have ALWAYS wanted mistletoe for my house. My Momma and Mimi both have these cool (plastic) mistletoe balls with a red ribbon that hang in a specified place in their houses every year. Mom's is in the foyer so when people enter, BAM! Pucker Up! Mimi's hangs in the arch way that divides her living room and dining room. Perfect for Christmas Eve Kisses when we are all gathered there each December 24th.
Even after 30+ years of marriage, they cannot resist the power of the Christmas Kiss!
So this year, I was determined to find my own mistletoe. OK, if I wanted real mistletoe, Daddy could have shot me some down out of a tree. But I really wanted plastic to be reused again and again. So after years of looking in stores, I finally took it the Internet. I ordered a precious ball of mistletoe, my dream decoration for like $4. In fact, the UPS shipping cost MORE than the item. But still for about $10, I finally had it. And it was all mine!

The fan was the perfect place to hang it. Right in the middle of the room, plus it is too dang cold to actually need a fan!!
My kids. Well, they. loved. it. Like 10 times a day, they would holler from the den, "Oh. Mommy! I am under the mistletoe!" So cute. And even though many times it was horribly inconvenient, I would always drop what I was doing and run in there for my special kiss! The time is coming when Mommy kisses are no longer desired. I also caught them kissing under it many times. It was a total hit. And it really did make all my decorations perfect. David would accuse me of wanting it "just because Momma and Mimi had it." And he may be right. I mean, isn't Christmas about traditions?
Melts my heart. . .
This year is the first year that the kids really shopped. I have been just signing their names to things before. Jessa's school had a "Secret Santa Shop" in December so that kids could shop for their families. It was a PTO thing, so I actually helped with the whole thing. Daddy came to help the kids shop and hang out with them while I wrapped. The High School Beta Club even had teenagers there to serve as "secret shoppers" if the kids wanted to shop for their parents and they did not have a Bay handy! I gave them money, but poor Bay had to supplement. A lot. They were mad generous! And when we got home, they wrapped everything themselves. SO PRECIOUS. OK, and frustrating. Jessa is not the most patient person. She is a perfectionist and got upset if it did not work just the way she wanted.
They were so proud. Spencer got me a necklace that said "Mom". It is really pretty, and it even has a fake diamond! And Jessa got me an angel figurine that lights up with a fancy neon LED light. They got presents for other people, too. David got a pen from Spencer that said #1 Dad. And he notices when David is using it, too! Jessa got Bay a stuffed mouse thingy. Oh and Spencer got Momma some fancy jewelry. Jessa even picked out a lovely ring for her teacher! They really were thoughtful. . .
I also let each of them pick something for the other one during shopping trips when I only had one of them with me. This was pretty easy since they both had sicknesses off and on. . . He picked her out a Barbie Aqua Doodle type book thing. She picked him out a set of Sponge Bob Matchbox cars. The sweetest part about it all is that they each wanted to wrap what they bought for the other one. So I set them up and they both did a good job.

The first presents under our tree this year were so special because they were for my babies FROM my babies.
This is the first year that the kids seemed interested in Christmas Cards. They each picked out some to give to their friends. I thought this was a cute idea. I even got Candy Canes to attach to each card. They had class lists and were excited to tackle this task.

They spent a lot of time. They got all set up. I had to help Spencer a little more than Jessa, but they did a lot of it themselves. Spencer and I were set up on the coffee table. Quite an operation.
I am pretty sure this is called "Hardly Working." Note the marker covered hands.
He finished more quickly - I was allowed to help him, and his class is much smaller.
One of his cards - close-up
All of his cards - ready to go! He drew them all pictures. So cute!
Jessa, on the other hand was on the floor by the tree with her lap board. She was very focused and determined. She was making lots of progress. I went over to check on her. She had a stack of cards all nicely sealed. Many had pictures on the outside that she has drawn. I looked over them and realized that not one of them had a name on the outside. She wrote "Dear ____" on the inside and then nothing on the outside. Oops. AND she was not doing them in order, so I could not even begin to guess which card was for which child.

I had to get out tools:
Unseal the card.

Check the name.

Reseal the card.

Sit with her until she wrote the name from the inside on the outside.

She took it all very seriously and the night she did her cards, I left her up. Seriously, she was not going to bed until they were all finished. So Spencer was already in the bed, and I got all my end of the evening stuff done. And I left me sweet girl downstairs, sitting by the Christmas tree, listening to Christmas CDs, and thoughtfully addressing a Christmas card to every child in her class (27!).
The actual holiday of Christmas may have been a post-surgical, drug-induced blur, but I have some really awesome memories of preparing for Christmas this year. . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Class Grandma

OK. So Spencer's school is really big on parent volunteers. They like to have a Mom in the room all the time. So there is a sign up calendar outside of the room so we can sign up for the days we want. And in October, I asked them to put up the schedule up for January. See, I wanted to sign up as close as possible to his actual birthday. I wanted to bring a birthday snack. His school is extra picky about snacks. They are crazy worried about allergies and the building is a tree nut free zone. No cupcakes or candy are allowed. So for birthdays they suggest fresh fruit. And it has to be prepared in their kitchen to avoid cross contamination. I digress. The point is I was the class mommy for Spencer's class on January 4, and I got to celebrate with fruit. (Boy it takes me a long time to get to the point - maybe David is onto something -hee-hee!)

So the night before January 4 was of course January 3, Spencer's actual birthday. After we got home from his special supper at Red Robin (his request), I reminded him that the next morning, on his first day back from break, I was going to be the Class Mommy. And my sweet boy, who I know was simply thrilled that his old Momma was going to be at school with him asked me a question, "Mom?" I said, "Yes, buddy?" And he said, "Can May come to my school, too and be the Class Grandma?" I smiled and told him that I did not think that May could because she would be preparing to go home since she was leaving on Tuesday. He stuck out his bottom lip. I agreed to let him call May and ask her. It was his birthday, after all.

(Phone rings.)
May - Hello?!
Spencer - May?
May - Yes, Spencer.
Spencer - May, will you come to my school tomorrow and be the Class Grandma?
May - (with NO hesitation) Of course I will, Spencer.
(He smiled and handed me the phone.)
Me - We'll pick you up at 8:40. I'm sorry!

May told me later that she really wanted to sleep a little later to rest up and pack for her 9 hour drive the next day. But she also realized that he may never invite her to do that again. And when your precious newly 4 year old grandson calls you and asks you to be his Class Grandma, you don't say NO!

This was a hoot! Spencer was extra shy because the 2 of us were there, but he eventually warmed up. And I think May had a great time. And I am not sure, but she may be the first Class Grandma ever! And if not the first, for sure the BEST, right??
AND his teacher told us as we were leaving that she could not have done it without BOTH of us. There was some sponge painting that got out of control. They were painting a big box to make it into an igloo (in December, it was a stable. In January, it will be an igloo. Gotta change with the seasons) The bottoms of shoes were covered in paint, so we had to wipe every shoe. There were streaks of white paint in the hair of several. There were hands to be washed, the floor to be cleaned, we needed all the help we could get! We laughed because the kids would not have to tell their parents that they painted - they could tell just by looking at them!
Check out the "igloo" in the background. Note the white paint, well, everywhere.
The best part was ice skating indoors. It was way too cold to go outside, so we pretended to ice skate with our mittens and hats and paper plates on our feet! Too fun! And a great way to burn some energy and get some exercise.
Check out May - skating it up!
All in all, it was a great day. Well, everyday that I get to spend with my boy is a good day. And also having a classy, Class Grandma, well, that's just icing on the cake!
Note the healthy fruit birthday snack.
And, yep, he's 4!