Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

After Jessa's Valentine's Party at school,
this was my view of my precious babies leaving together.
My favorite view in all the world. . .

Monday, February 21, 2011

The gift of 2 birthday parties

I will admit it, when we first got two invitations to birthday parties on the same day, I was a little bothered. A whole day would be shot. David was of course going to be out of town, so I would not have any help. And they were in opposite directions. And the times were 2-4 and then 4-6. Seriously. A whole day.

The day before we went to Target and decided on the gifts that they would take. It was somewhat amusing because Jessa was going to a boy's birthday party and Spencer was going to a girl's party. Funny. After much searching and several ups and downs of every toy aisle, they both found the perfect gifts. Whew.

We all slept late Saturday morning and then I started the long process of getting everyone ready to go. At this point, I was still a little bummed. If they overlapped, it would be easier. If they were closer, it would be easier. If David were home, it would be easier. But it didn't matter what I thought, this was the way that it was.

We headed out to Jessa's friends party first. I was so tickled at how cute they all were when they first saw each other. All of these children who spend their whole weeks together in class at school were SO thrilled to see each other. So I my heart was smiling as we left my sweet girl in the midst of a loud fun party with all of her friends!

Spencer and I got back to the car. And I looked over at him and thought, now to kill some time. So I asked him, "Are you hungry?" He said he was, so I told him I would take him anywhere he wanted to go. He chose McDonald's. We headed off, just the two of us, chatting away. We had a nice late lunch together.

Now, Spencer and I spend lots of time together just the two of us during the weeks. His school is not as long as Jessa's, so we do get time alone. But this was extra nice because we did not have anything we had to do. We had no errands to run. We just had 2 free hours. Just the two of us. We were not in a hurry. We just sat and ate and talked. We played with his happy meal toy. We spun around in our fancy chairs. And then we drove around looking for snowmen. And I got to really focus on just Spencer. I even got him an ice cream at McDonald's! It was shaping up to be a special day, after all.

Then we went to pick up Jessa. She was already waiting on us. She had a wonderful time, and she was full of chatter about the party. So we booked it across town to Spencer's party. I got him all settled with his friends at his party, and now was my turn for my time with my girl. By this point, I had realized the awesomeness of this day. Sure I wasn't accomplishing anything tangible. At the end of the day, there would still be laundry that needed to be done and a dishwasher that needed to be unloaded. But as we all know, the most wonderful things in the world aren't tangible. They aren't even things at all.

I asked Jessa if she was hungry. Incredibly, even after a party with tons of food and cake, she was in fact still hungry. So I told her the same thing I had told Spencer - that I would take her anywhere that she wanted to go. She chose Burger King. So I drove to the closest Burger King and we went in and sat together.

I did not eat again - there is only so much fast food I can handle in a day. But I did sit with her while she ate. And we chatted and visited. We played with her happy meal toy and talked about where she sat at the party and what kind of cake they had. It was heavenly. While I get lots of time with just Spencer, I hardly ever get to spend time with just Jessa. We were not in a hurry. I was not tossing food back at her as we drove away from the drive in window. We were really enjoying each other. She even made me sit on the same side of the booth with her!
And just like that, it was time to pick up Spencer.
We were headed back home on a cold, dark Saturday night after a pretty cool day.
Who ever would have guessed?
A day that seemed like it was going to be a bust, spent driving all over town, rushing from one party to the next, not accomplishing anything at all. This day turned out to be one of the best days I have had in a long while. I may have purchased, wrapped, and helped deliver two presents, but on this cold winter Saturday, I got the best gift. Precious time to just enjoy my babies, one at a time. Priceless.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who doesn't like donuts?

We love donuts. We especially like chocolate covered donuts. And we consider ourselves to be quite the connoisseurs. I know I may lose friends over this, but we do not like Krispy Kremes at all. I really never have, and my family has considered disowning me several times. So perhaps I have influenced the kids. But we aren't fans of KK. We like Wal-Mart donuts pretty well, and we also like Dunkin Donuts. But our current favorites come from grocery stores around Scott. We are all about some Schnuck's. And there is a Schnuck's right near our church and Spencer's school, so picking them up from time to time is really convenient. Lots of Sundays when Daddy was still here, he would pull in and get us some after church. And the very last Sunday that he was here, he needed to go to early church because he had something else going on. We aren't too keen on early church - we like the sleep a little later. We were all exhausted after the retirement festivities, so we just couldn't make ourselves go. But when I woke up and came downstairs, there was a box of donuts from Schunck's on the counter. Yes, I stood there and cried!

So you get it, right? Donuts are a very important part of our lives.

Right before the last storm, I was in the commissary trying to get some groceries along with the rest of the world. There was no more skim milk. Well, I wanted to at least try and get skim, so I didn't buy any milk at all. I knew that I was on my way to pick up Spencer from school, so I figured I would check Schunck's and see if they had any skim.

So with the freezing rain already coming down, Spencer and I hurried in to get milk. They had plenty, so we were so happy. And then Spencer thought, hey, let's get some donuts while we are here. Good plan, son! We are about to be snowed in, we need donuts! So we grabbed 6 chocolate covered donuts and headed home.

We were cold and wet. We got to the house and I was carrying the donuts and some groceries. We walked in from the garage and the dogs were both right there, so I thought I needed to let them out before the weather got too much worse. I placed the donuts on the table - the kids table. And then I got the dogs out and kept unloading our provisions for the impending storm. I did not give another thought to the donuts that I had left on the kids table.

I was in the kitchen for a while unloading and putting everything away. I am not sure what I ran into the other room for, but that is when I made the discovery.

The donut box was on the floor.
The donut box was empty.

And Max's breath smelled suspiciously sweet.
I guess the donut thing runs in the family:
even MAX loves donuts.

And he knew that we weren't planning on sharing with him.
And they were completely unattended in a spot low enough for him to see them.
I bet he could even smell them.
Well, you can't expect him to pass up the opportunity, can you

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do we need eggs?

Like many people, I have to go to the grocery store to buy groceries. You know things that the family needs from time to time like toothpaste and toilet paper and of course, food. I try to make one trip a week to have fresh items like bread and milk and produce. There are some items that you do not have to buy every week. These are items that keep for a while and that you may not use every day. So I always take a minute to peruse the fridge and freezer and pantry to see what we might need. As I am looking around, I make a list. I do not like it when I forget things, and a list can help me with this.

Before a recent shopping trip, I opened the fridge and looked around. I thought we needed eggs. But when I looked, I saw this:

Oh, OK, so we don't need eggs. I did not take the time to pick them up. Of course, one was probably a partial, but the other one has to be full, right? I mean, who uses eggs from the newest carton before the old one is empty. So glancing, I see a full dozen and perhaps a partial. Eggs were not added to the list.

I mean, both cartons looked authentic.
Why would I doubt them?

A few days later, I was getting ready to do some baking.
My Momma taught me to set out the eggs to allow them to get to room temperature before you bake.
I opened the top carton.
I thought to myself,
Hmm, this feels really light.
But it was on top, so it was the partial one.
No worries.
I only need a couple.
Plus, there is the full carton still in the fridge, right?


Guess what I found in the carton?
Can you guess?
Any ideas?

Actually, don't even try to guess.
I am almost positive that you would never get it right.

It is a plastic monkey.
I knew that I had finished off a carton of eggs.
But my precious son, retrieved said carton, placed a monkey in it, and put it back in the fridge.
Because that is what you do if you ever find yourself with an empty egg carton and a monkey, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I think that we may be spending a little too much time at Jessa's school.
You be the judge.
Here is a picture of Spencer on Friday in the parent work room:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I know Scarlett never had a snow shovel

I think that there was some mention of the bad weather that swept the midwest week before last. You may have heard about it somewhere. And our little corner of the world got mostly ice: freezing rain, sleet, and lots of slippery sidewalks. We got a little snow at the end, but it fell on top of the layers of ice. Isn't this a pretty picture I am painting? Well, in GA, we get freezing rain and sleet, but it seems like it never hangs around too long. I am here to tell you that this ice that we were afflicted with is hanging on with its icy fingernails. It wasn't going anywhere on its own. I take that back, depending on how the sun hits your driveway or sidewalk, it was slowly melting. But not at my house.

See, our house gets the sun in the back, but not so much in the front. This is awesome for the kids because our front yard has snow longer than the other side of the street. They love it that it takes forever to melt. OK, I admit, I don't mind that part at all. Snow in the yard is pretty. But ice on the driveway, that is downright dangerous.
I tried to get the ice up a couple of times shortly after it happened. It wasn't budging. It was thick and cold and stuck. David came home and was all, "I'm going out to shovel the driveway." And 15 minutes later, he had tried the snow shovel, the pointy tip shovel, a rake, and the tiller. And none of them made a dent in the ice. So he walks into the kitchen and announces that he is heading to Lowe's to buy something, some sort of machine or tool that can get the ice off of the driveway. I laughed and told him to stand down. We could live with it a little longer.

Sure enough, when last weekend came, the temperatures were a little higher and we had some sun. Lots of folks spent Saturday afternoon working on the ice. I did not. I served as the chauffer for my children to attend several social engagements. But in my neighborhood, lots of husbands are deployed, which means that all the wives are out clearing driveways - making me look BAD! So I made up my mind, last Sunday after church: Dana vs. the ice.
This is before from the front porch:
It really was starting to melt in some areas. I think it was close to 40 degrees on Sunday afternoon. But the areas closest to the house, the places were sun never shines, Oh. My. Goodness. The ice was still inches thick in some spots.
It was 1:30. I decided I would work on the ice until 3. I told myself that this was all the time that I had to devote to this project.
Then 3 o'clock came. I had barely made a dent. OK, OK, I can keep at it until 4. The whole time I am picturing Scarlett hacking at ice built up on the driveway at Tara. I am a lovely Southern Bell, I am not cut out for ice removal. To a GA girl like me, the only reason you would ever need this much ice would be for a cooler for a tailgate party or a big wash tub full of cold Cokes on a hot summer day. I mean, really.
I did have some moral support throughout the day, though.
Their support was sort of patchy - several times, they would get cold go in, warm up, watch some TV, and then head back out. They are true fair weather supporters, but oh so sweet!
Then it was 4 o'clock. I was watching all of my neighbors head off with covered dishes to Super Bowl parties. And here I was, still hacking at the ice. By this point, I was in some pain. My hands were red and raw, and I knew how sore I was going to be.
GA peaches are too delicate for this!
At the very end of the day, my awesome neighbor came home and offered to let me borrow her shovel. The handle said it was a transfer shovel. And it was just what I needed. It had a flat part on the front that was better for getting up under the ice. David's shovel would have been great to dig a hole, but not ice. (And by the end of the day, well, let's just say it may no longer be able to properly dig a hole.) Plus the longer handle was easier on my aching back.
Yay for generous neighbors with perfect tools!
The tools in my arsenal:
BUT, I persevered. I did it. The driveway was mostly free of ice. I took a picture of my watch when I had to head in to do some other things like feed my babies. What a long day!
AND no more ice has come. The ice all around is starting to melt. It was 62 degrees today! My blisters are almost healed. Most of my muscles have recovered. And y'all, I really think that Scarlett would have been so proud, don't you?

Friday, February 11, 2011

If you give a puppy a day alone. . .

We have one of these:

Well, and of course, one of these, too:
And so we have one of these:
Quite a handy thing to have around, don't you think?
So when I have to be at Jessa's school literally all day, I don't worry so much about these:

all because I have this:
What I didn't think about was that in the backyard,
which is accessed by this:

we also have several of these:

Which means that if you leave this:

all alone, all day long. . .
Chances are you might end up with a lot of this:

all over the house, like this:

Lucky for her, I kind of love her.

And hey, I am not at a loss for something to do this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Drinking milk before bed with bunny ears.
Why with bunny ears, you ask?
Nope, I don't know why.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Army = Tents

My kids are pretty up on the whole military thing. They know lots of lingo. They know what to do at 5:00 when they are outside and Retreat sounds.
They know how to sit still and be quiet at ceremonies.
They are used to things like uniforms and ID cards and deployments and moving.
They are pretty awesome Army Brats, if you asked me.

They do understand some things in more simple terms. When David is deployed, I tell them that he is protecting us and other people from bad guys. They don't need to know much more than that. And when he was at JRTC and would be gone for weeks at a time in the field for rotations, they thought it was pretty funny that he slept in his truck. They would laugh and laugh about that little detail. And every time an airplane flies overhead these days, they assume that Daddy is on it. It confuses people who know that he is not a pilot and not even in the air force. But he does do quite a bit of flying in his current assignment. And he is gone. A lot. Some months, he is gone 20 or more days. He stops by occasionally to unpack, do laundry, and repack. We are always glad when he passes through, but we are also pretty used to this new normal of TONS of TDY.

In fact, I may have already posted this, but I was asking Jessa some questions about some things they were talking about in Social Studies. I brought up Washington D.C. and asked her who lived there. Of course, I was fishing for "the President." But when I asked her, she thought for a minute and said, "Uh, Daddy?" I got so tickled. He does spend quite a lot of time there! I guess she is paying attention.

So this week we had some weather up this way. You may have heard a little something about it. Well, David and his traveling peeps took off on Monday morning for a day trip. This trip quickly turned into a 3 day ordeal. As David put it, they were "snowed out." The weather was not too bad in D.C. Planes were able to land and take off. But Scott AFB was closed. And Lambert International Airport in St. Louis was cancelling flights left and right. So they were not stuck because THEY had bad weather, they were stuck because WE had bad weather.

The kids both missed 2 days of school. We got tons more ice than we did snow. I mean like inches of ice. The dogs were slipping and sliding all over the backyard. I was all stocked up and prepared for a few days at home, though. We were fine and enjoying our icy vacation, but we were all bummed that David was stuck and missing all the fun.

Monday night, when we found out that school was cancelled, Jessa wanted to call David to tell him. So I was sort of listening to her side of the conversation.
Jess: Daddy! I have 2 good newses for you.
Jess: Yep. Want to hear them?
Jess: Well, number one is that I finally learned how to blow a bubble with bubble gum.
Jess: Yep, I did!
Jess: And the number two good news is that there is no school tomorrow!"
Jess: So do you have to stay there?
Jess: Well how is your tent? Are you warm enough?
I thought I would cry I was laughing so hard, picturing David all set up in a tent in Washington! I guess to Jessa if you are gone somewhere on an Army trip then you HAVE to sleep in a tent. Bless her sweet heart! She was worried he'd be cold camping out on TDY.