Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blog Tag, Photo-style

A fellow writer friend over at The Koala Bear Writer tagged me in this fun game. Here's my version...

When Annie was just the tiniest of babies, I'd take her outside and sit her on a blanket in the yard. Within seconds, she'd roll or crawl off until she she was totally surrounded by Earth. She was the only baby I've ever known to really love the feel of prickly grass or crunchy mulch, and I couldn't keep her off of it. She was coined "my dirt baby."
Late Winter/early Spring in Ohio is really not that pleasant, and this photo was taken in March when the entire outside was cold and damp and dreary. The wet and mud was just too much for me to haul the kids outside, but Annie wasn't going to give into the bad weather. At just over a year, she pushed the chair up against the back door, climbed up, and stared outside at the back yard. I had to snap a photo, it was just one of those simple moments of everyday life that are so easily forgotten, and yet so very important.
Now I'm tagging Sam, Becky, and Maureen.
The rules are:
1) Go to your photo files… Select the 6th photo folder or album.
2) Select the 6th photo in that folder/album.
3) Post that photo along with the story behind it.
4) Then challenge some blog friends to do the same!

New shoes are good for the sole and the soul

“God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.” I can’t remember when I first heard that, but it is most definitely my motto when it comes to raising kids. I have always wanted real kids, ones who aren’t afraid to go out and play in the mud, to come home with scratches and bruises, that consider jumping in puddles, and I have been blessed with such children. So actually, it’s more than my motto. It’s my excuse.
Last week I had to scrub, literally, the dirt off of my daughter’s legs. “That’s what you get when you creek walk,” she told me in her matter-of-fact way. And my baby manages to get dirt in the most peculiar places, as if when I wasn’t looking she took off all of her clothes, rolled around in the mud, and stuck a piece of mulch in her ear.
But more than anything, my son has proven to me a hundred times over, that my motto has come back to haunt me. Followers of this column recently read about his three-week underwear, and I can assure you that that is the tip of the stinky iceberg.
For all the dirt that sticks to that boy, his shoes take the brunt of it. And I, in my maternal wisdom, have learned that regardless of whether I spend $1000 or $1 on a pair of tennis shoes, he’s going to put them through the wringer, and what comes out of the wringer doesn’t much resemble shoes.
His latest pair lasted just over two months. Last week he informed me that there was a visible hole in the front and when I went to examine them I realized where that horrid smell that I thought was the dog was coming from. It was time to buy new shoes.
So off we went to the giant superstore to find the cheapest pair of sneakers I could find. Air soles? Ventilation? Special treads? All no match for this dirt-don’t-hurt-boy. It wouldn’t take long for the air soles to be filled with water, the vent holes to be filled with mud, and the special treads to be run off to bare nubs in the gravel.
Ten dollars later we were out the door with a pair shoes that might as well been made of gold. Kids get strangely excited when they get new shoes. Not five minutes from the store, he was begging from the back seat for me to cut the tags off, and after fiddling with a pocketknife while driving 65 MPH (not recommended), his shoes were on his feet.
“Mom, help me tie these,” he asked.
“Can’t, bud. Kind of need to drive the car here.”
Sister, a veteran shoe-tyer, chimes in. “I can help! I’m good at it!”
But not wanting to jeopardize the perfection of his new shoes, he had to lay down some ground rules first. “Don’t mess up the laces. And don’t touch the white parts. Are your hands clean?”
The shoes were up on her lap, and while pulling up the tongue, she had to investigate to see where the shoes were made. It’s a game lately for her, to see if she can find anything that was NOT made in China. Because he refused to take off his shoes, the two of them contorted themselves in every direction, only to find that the shoes were—surprise—made in China, all the while having one of those classic adult-like kid discussions. Such things were said: Look at these treads! Nice stitching here. China has lots of people so that’s why they make so much stuff. How did the shoes get here?
All in all, it was a good solid 10 minutes of discussion over a pair of shoes that I know isn’t going to last 10 weeks.
But, back to my motto. God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt. I’m just glad that China makes cheap shoes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Small Successes


Small Successes this week:

1. Remembering to write down my Small Successes! (I forgot last week...not very successful.)
2. Sewed the girls matching skirts which is quite an accomplishment because sewing is not something I really know how to do.
3. Had an extremely productive day today, including going shopping with three kids hyped up on donut sugar and mowing the lawn in 85 degrees!

A short story about a tall tree

I wrote this for an assignment, "a story about your childhood." Just wanted to explain the randomness of such a sweet story!

We didn't spend much money on fancy flowers or trees at the cottage. It was just a little cement block house in the woods and even though the forest was endless and the lake enormous, the land we owned was tiny.
But it was ours, and we wanted to surround it with the nature that surrounded us. Local plants, you might say, which is why one day my dad and I set out with some buckets and a shovel in search of a few saplings.
"The woods are full of them," he said.
And so we went, trudging over the hills for what seemed like hours and hours before we headed home, my dad carrying the buckets and I dragging the shovel behind me. Our hands were dirty, but we both smelled of pine sap from the load we were transplanting.
After a quick glass of iced tea, it was time to get planting, which we did without whine or fuss. We put a few pines down by the lake, a few along the driveway, and just a couple behind the cottage. With the shovel patting down the dirt on the last one, we left them be, their future up to Mother Nature and the storms that came down off the hill.
Weeks or months passed and on another trip to the cottage I noticed that one of the trees was looking rather puny, its green branches small and kind of droopy, and the entire thing tilted down hill like it had been pushed over by a thundering gust of wind. I couldn’t bear to see it like that, so with the grace of my eight-year-old hands, I righted the little pine and tucked it in. Using my best Tinker Toy skills, I collected small sticks and twigs and built a log cabin around the little tree. Round and round I worked until it was well protected for the upcoming winter, and on each returning visit I checked the construction and made any necessary repairs.
Sure enough, I fell in love with that little pine tree.
My parents sold the property when I was just old enough to take my own children there. Although they were very young, I still could barely believe they were tromping over the same ground and around the same trees that I had so many years ago.
Before we handed over the keys, I posed my children in front of my pine tree for one last photograph.
“Why do we need to stand by this giant pine tree?” the oldest asked.
“Exactly,” I answered, and snapped the photo, in awe of what a little love can do.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Three cheers (and soy lattes) for the toad!

The little toad in the fairy house poem won me some Starbucks cash.
I never knew I loved toads so much...but now I do.
Read more here and check out the rest of the Zook Book Nook blog too, she does an amazing job with it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fairy house has a new renter

Earlier this year we constructed a fairy house in the backyard. (details here) Since then we've been patiently waiting for the fairies to arrive, but apparently we've attracted other such visitors.
We think he's waiting comfortably on his bed of moss for us to use our little iron-weathered sandstone dishes to serve him a little toad tea party.
And little toadie will never know, but he's also inspired 20 little lines of verse, which I'm sure I'll tuck away for the kids someday... Thanks to Kim at the Zook Book Nook for inspiring me to write this little poem.
Wooded lot, new carpet, dishes provided
To build a fairy house, one must first
Think just like a fairy.
Things that sparkle, things that glitter,
All colors light and airy.
Make sure to add a touch of moss
For their dainty little feet.
Add flowers for some decoration
And to make the air smell sweet.
Prepare to serve your fairy guests
With tiny cups of tea,
Provide them with cups and saucers,
In natural community.
But be prepared, as fairies go,
These mysterious little creatures
Come in all shapes and sizes,
Complexions, facial features.
For when you build a fairy house
Or fairy hut or tent,
You’re welcoming the fairy world
And you never know who’ll rent.

Dad’s slogan deserves a hot handmade card

Every good dad has a tagline, or some phrase he can call his own even if he doesn’t know it. These slogans are said frequently and with such vigor that they inevitably become part of that person.
My Grandfather must have told me 5,000 times to “eat slow and eat a lot.” In fact he’s still telling me, and I’m still eating more than my fair share, at a reasonable pace. My father’s catchphrase was a little less instructive. He must have told me 5,000,000 times that I was “letting out the BTU’s.”
Whether it was door or a window in the house or the car, if it was open and it wasn’t a balmy 70 degrees outside I was loudly informed that I was “letting out the BTU’s!”
“Do you know what a BTU is?” he’d impatiently ask.
“Nope,” I’d answer, thinking that if I switched the letters around a little it’d be rather funny to be letting them out.
“British Thermal Unit,” he’d remind me, as if it was a shocker that I didn’t know. “It’s a unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. Got it?”
“Sure, dad,” I’d say under rolling eyes, as if a seven year-old girl really cared about a pound of water or had any concept of what one degree was. All I knew was that it was either hot enough or cold enough to warrant some good outdoor playtime, and I really didn’t care if I left the door open a little too long.
The temperature of our home and car was always very important to my father. He is very particular about the thermostat mostly because he hates to sweat, and it seems his body is programmed to start sweating profusely at 67 degrees.
My mother, however, is a lover of heat and all things warm, and has a special fondness for the smell of summer. I’m sure it’s probably a male vs. female thing and not unique to my family because ingenious inventions have arisen out of the constant “cold vs. hot” battle. Temperature zones and seat heaters in new cars are very clever, and flannel pajamas designed with springy colors work well for the freezing wife in summer.
Growing up my mom had a great way of dealing with my dad’s insistence on the air conditioning that practically had icicles on the mantle in July. We had very specific instructions. Not two minutes after his Mercury left the driveway, we’d run around the house, flinging open every door and window, letting in the hot summer air, so thick you could almost sit on it.
To stay cool we played in the sprinkler, drank our weight in Kool-Aid, and enjoyed the occasional frozen treat. We were free to run in and out of the house as we pleased, slamming screen doors and yelling through windows…until 3:30. It was then time to shut things up and crank on the A/C.
Most of the time it worked quite well, but I’m sure my dad always wondered why the utility bill was so high. Occasionally he’d come home for lunch or surprisingly early and find, to his great dismay, a warm summer breeze wafting through his house.
There was no “hi honey, I’m home!” There was no “Daddy’s home!” There was simply, “you’re letting out the BTU’s!” which was really not a true statement because the BTU’s had been turned off since he left the house at 7:15AM.
Now I’ve got my own house, and while my husband doesn’t have quite the sweating potential as my father, I still find myself dreading to turn on the air conditioning. I’d much rather hear the hum of a fan and not wear flannel PJs.
But that doesn’t mean that valuable lesson hasn’t been engrained in my head. That’s why this year for Father’s Day my dad is getting a handmade card. The front will look exactly like a door, or maybe a window. And when he opens the card, it’ll simply say “Happy Father’s Day! You’re letting out the BTU’s.” and well, he’ll just have to close it before anything gets out.

What's your dad's slogan? I'd love to hear about it! And happy Father's Day to deserving dads everywhere!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blog is the new blah: Adding images

You know, like when Seinfeld made "yadda yadda yadda" famous in the early 90's, and then somehow that transformed into "blah blah blah" which snuck its way it everyone's daily vocabulary.
Now we're nearing the twenty-teens (?) and I find myself saying "blog blog blog" more than the old standby. And not so much as in the meaning of "yadda yadda yadda" but more about the fact that blogging, a term so absolutely foreign just a few years ago, is such a part of my life.
I get up. I think about blogging.
I lay in bed at night. I think about what I'll blog about tomorrow (should I actually get the chance to sit and write.)

I spend my day with camera in hand, hoping to snap a couple of decent shots to include my blog, although since losing a photo card in my good camera I'm forced to use the freebie we got from the credit card company last year and my pictures don't come out like those beautiful shots I see on other blogs. Mine come out more like this:
And then I stumble upon one of those mama blogs where every day they seem like they dress their children in handmade clothes made of vintage pillow cases with beautiful patterns and then they peacefully go out in the garden and pick fresh peas to eat for lunch, then the kids-- without complaining-- shell all of the peas and then-- without complaining-- eat them for lunch. After that, they snuggle up with a non-Spongebob book and nap under a down comforter, only to wake up and craft something that would put Martha Stewart to shame.

You know, aliens.

I love to make things, but I'm not all that great at it. I have a real passion for things homemade, which is good because the things I usually make are pretty mediocre. But still, these blogs are beautiful and I pull out the little camera. Occasionally I can whip out something as cool as this:
But more than likely I will a)never make anything like this again, b)not be able to blog about it without saying things like "you take the little hook thingy and stick it through some hole, not sure which one, and..." And besides, most of the stuff I end up making turns out more like this:

And really, who wants to see that?
Then there's the occasional inspiration, just waiting for a photo to be taken and the blog should write itself, although I find myself uploading it and wondering, "just what can I say about this? And who would want to read it? And really, why was I so excited to photograph a dead mole in the backyard, let alone run out to check if it was eaten by a nighttime critter every morning?"
But still, I try. If anything, blogging needs to be about the blogger, regardless of her crafting prowess, her photography skills, or whether she finds excitment in dead varmints. For this mama, it's all of the above, and anything I can accomplish with a kid on my lap and one off each arm (current situation), while the garden overgrows and the sewing machine collects dust, is good enough for me.
Yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah, blog, blog, blog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The dirt-lover/book-lover comes out: book review

Just had to share some of these excellent books that I am reading or re-reading this summer.

Another good Tom Brown Jr. book just arrived in the mail. I've already let the dishes stack up a little too much for reading this book. Not only does he show you the practical side of nature with children, but the first part of the book talks about teaching awareness in the environment, about how to break down the barriers put up by society so that you can truly be aware of all that is around you. Important stuff!

Scratching the Woodchuck is a re-read. David Kline ranks as one of the best authors I know-- anyone who can give you a complicated image or thought without the use of a thesaurus is tops in my book.

I should add "science-lover" to the blog title too. This book is excellent!!! It is supposed to be for ages 8-12, but I found that my 5 and 7 year old can get them with appropriate clues and hints. The names used are a little weird (what happened to Bob and Sue and Mike and Mary?) but the mysteries are very well done. I wanted to keep this book in my giant mom purse and pull it out when we need to fill some time, but ended up reading about half of it around the fire a couple of weeks back and only had to stop because the sun was down and the fire was out.
The list goes on, but you know what they say: So many books, so little time.
And I like to add: So few bookshelf space.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The indisputable boy and a new species

I should really pay more attention to the laundry, but the truth is that I try to ignore it as much as possible. In fact, I do my hardest to think about anything but the laundry while I am washing and folding. Sometimes I talk on the phone or listen to music, other times I just blankly stare into space and think about anything that doesn’t involve stain removers and popsicles.

So it came as no surprise to me that I completely overlooked the fact that I had not washed, dried, folded, or put away any underwear for my son for quite some time. And for as many hugs as I get from my five-year-old, I can’t believe the odor didn’t tip me off before he spilled his secret.

Our family is fortunate to have a place to go to unwind and get away from it all. A small cabin in the woods, with a pond and acres upon acres dirt and forest to run in. We spent every weekend of my entire childhood in the wilderness of central Ohio, and the rolling foothills of the Appalachians hold a special place in my heart.

Nowadays, with t-ball and school and community functions, we rarely get the chance to pack up the cooler with hotdogs for the assumed campfire and head to the woods. Very rarely. So rarely that it becomes a monumental event for my children, who think that the gravel driveway is practically paved with gold because they can a) get as dirty as they want without having to take a bath, b) drink juice because the water smells like wild animal, and c) stay up late and jump on the bed.

Pretty much heaven when you’re five.

We purposely cleared our calendar last weekend so that we could finally get away to the family getaway and the buzz around the house was buzzing for days.

“How many more hours?”

“Can we pack yet?”

“Can I sit in the car and wait even though we’re not leaving until tomorrow?”

It makes me feel good as a mother to know that what little time we spend down there fills my children with so much joy, just as it filled me with joy when I was their age. I used to absolutely love our weekends in the woods.

But I didn’t love them so much as to not maintain my hygiene.

It was the day before we left for our little trip and my son, who already had a backpacked crammed with his flashlight, rope, and other apparent essentials, turns to me and tells that he loves the getaway so much that he had been wearing the same underwear since we were last there “to remember it.”

I quickly did the calendar math. “But that was three weeks ago!” I exclaimed. “I have given you baths; don’t you put on clean clothes?”

“I put on clean clothes, but keep the same undies,” he grinned.

After a little lecturing and even more eye-rolling, he agreed to change his underwear which were the first pair his hamper had seen in weeks. I washed them straight away, in fear that if I didn’t they would get up and haunt me in the middle of the night. Scary stuff.

But even scarier is how that, while telling this story to friends, so many mothers have gone through the same thing. Being a female without any brothers, I was a little shocked to know that this sort of behavior is nothing new when it comes to boys. My own husband, I hear, never washed his practice jersey throughout his senior basketball career. The stories poured in of lucky shirts, favorite shorts, socks so odiferous that they had indeed become rock hard because the sweat and dirt had combined with the cotton fibers to metamorphose into a creature so nearly real that it virtually deserved its own genus and species classification.

Boyus stinkifus.

There’s just no stopping it. Boys will be boys.

And mothers will do laundry.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Small Successes

FaithButtonThis week's Small Successes

1. I didn't shoot my mouth off at the Doc's when he was running over an hour behind, even with all three kids running around the examination room.
2. I stood up for myself and my beliefs and made my family promise at least one family dinner each week.
3. I remembered the great joy I feel when I watch a young child hold a pinecone, a stone, a stick, a snakeskin, a feather. Not to mention laughing at a pignut hickory shell.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nightmare on Craft Street-- my future pledge

"COME OOOON!" I said, in a completely audible tone, on purpose and for all those in earshot of me, including my three kids, the neighbor girl, and everyone else in the checkout lane.
Everyone, that is, except the cashier whose brain had rung one too many paint bottles.
I have a love/hate relationship with the mega craft store. I love it because I can always find a bargain (who doesn't love a cheap flowerpot?) and am always in need of a few dozen extra paint brushes because I forgot to clean them and the entire lot of them turned to stone. I also love to walk down the aisle with all of the foamie crafts and laugh at the people stocking their cart with the stuff because while it's an easy sell, it's just awful smelly stuff that takes up too much room in your cupboards. Not to mention the aisles upon aisles of scrapbooking materials (see previous post here) and the stickers that cost more than a spare kidney.
Are you starting to sense the frustration that starts to simmer from within while shopping for my own wooden and floral treasures?
Yeah, so when I get to the only available check-out lane and the woman in front of me is buying--and I kid you not-- about 60 tiny bottles of puffy paint, it only got worse.
One by one.
Ring by ring.
Ding by ding.
"Oh wait, this one doesn't have a UPC. I'll have to look it up."
And on and on it went while my two older children and the neighbor girl got lost in a sea of colored pencils and Webkinz and my 18 month old poked herself with the wooden dowel rod I was attempting to purchase.
And bad went to fire-shooting-out-of-my-nose worse when Pokey the cashier realized she knew Ms. Puffy Paint, and the ring by ring, ding by ding got even slower while they chatted about so-and-so and this-and-that.
This is about when my outbursts began. I actually turned to the woman behind me and told her that I suffer from some sort of check-out curse, where I only choose the slowest possible lanes and that she should do herself a favor and find another lane unless she wants to spend her next birthday listening to my kids ask for every single available Webkinz.

Can anyone tell me why it is that people are so oblivious to desperate mothers? It was pretty obvious I wasn't having the easiest time there, trying to control four kids in a sea of scalloped scissors. Especially in this store, where the customers are 99% women (and 1% men sitting on the bench by the door), and I'm sure a good percentage of those women were mothers, and that 100% of those mothers stood in a line in a store and could have used a little help at some point in their lives.
But they must have forgotten, kind of like how I have forgotten just how bad labor and c-sections hurt, but yet I went ahead and did it again. And again.
This is why I'm taking a pledge. I am hereby promising to help any over-worked, under-paid mother whenever I can. Whether it's letting her cut in line or putting her cart back. Maybe it's only a friendly smile, but I don't want to be like Pokey and Ms. Puffy Paint and chat about church last week while the woman behind me is visibly sweating and her infant tugs on her legs so hard that her underwear is showing.
Really. Really.
I will not let the happen, should I get the fine opportunity to have a free hand to help. I'm vowing to give that tired mom that free hand, unless, of course, she's got a cartload of foamies or overpriced stickers.
Then I'll just laugh and buy myself a new bottle of puffy paint.

Iced tea with Crystal Light and a deck of cards

My grandmother passed away this week. It is less of a tragedy because she really hasn't been herself in quite a long time. Time and age had eaten away at her mind and her body so much that she was barely recognizable, and she certainly couldn't recognize anyone.
But that's not how I want to remember Grandma.
Grandma always had two things: a pitcher of tea in the fridge and a deck of cards nearby. She was a ferocious card player in her day, and if I close my eyes and think of her, the first thing I see is her sitting at the end of the table, a TV tray to her side holding an ash tray with a smoldering cigarette and a card shuffler. She'd be drinking either a cup of coffee or a glass of her special tea, which was nothing more than Lipton tea bags and crystal light lemonade. It was her specialty.
She had a curio cabinet in her house. Gold, and shaped like a hexagon or something. In the bottom is where she kept crayons and old coloring books for me, although I'm pretty sure I always wanted to play cards with the grownups. When I was old enough, we used to play Spite and Malice. Even older, it was Dealer's Choice, and you had to bring your own three nickels. I always chose to play Thirty-One.
She also had the back den set up like an office, with a coffee table for a desk. She kept stacks and stacks of papers, all mysteriously organized, and on the wall hung a picture of a Native American child somewhere in Arizona that she donated to. She loved Arizona.
She used White Rain shampoo and called spoons "poons" for some reason that I never understood, but still use to this day.
She made nutrolls and zucchini bread and always wore turquoise jewelry. In fact, she was always well-dressed and well-kept, even in old age, and that's one lesson I have learned from her.
Thinking back, I suppose I've learned more than one: Look good, make tea, and how to win at Thirty-One.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pay no attention to the mother behind the camera (aka anti-scrapbooker)

Among my closest friends I am known as the anti-scrapbooker. I am anti-fancy paper and anti-glue dots and anti-scalloped scissors. I like to pretend it’s because I don’t have the time to spend crafting each and every photograph into a memorable work of art, but actually it’s because I really stink at cutting and gluing so much that I don’t even know how I passed kindergarten.
Not only that, but I am also a very disorganized person so much that my so-called desk has morphed into Mt. Paperandjunk and my computer has been officially kicked to the kitchen counter. So you can just imagine what my family photos are like. Our family photos, all thirty seven thousand of them, exist either on cameras, computers, haphazardly jammed in photo albums, or in a series of shoeboxes that I have so specifically labeled “2000-2005, plus a little 1999.”
Put this scenario up against some of my friends, who travel to special stores to buy supplies for special weekends away when all they do is put together lovely books of precious family photos. They create masterpieces out of nothing, making their children seem like superstars being photographed by the Paparazzi while all I have to show is a few outdated shots from my wallet.
“Here’s my daughter’s first Christmas. She’s almost eight now, so she’s changed a little.”
The truth is, according to, scrapbooking is more popular than golf. One in four households contains a golfer, but one in three has a scrapbooker, which means that the odds of someone scrapbooking about golf are pretty slim and also that I am really way behind in the times.
But all of my bad habits don’t stop me from wanting to be something I’m not: a mother who can someday pass onto her children a photographic masterpiece, despite the fact that she really wants to keep it for herself. So I set off to my latest set of prints, conveniently located in the mid-range of Mt. Paperandjunk so no oxygen was required. They were there, in about seven envelopes, spilling out all in one general region which made the excavation tolerable. Armed with even the most simple of photo albums and a permanent marker for labeling (a girl who can’t cut a straight line has to start somewhere), I started to look at my photos in a different way:
Great scenery of our vacation to visit the family.
There are the kids on the beach! How cute!
There’s the house…the dog…the backyard…some weird flowers I found in the woods…my husband…school programs…another shot of the dog…
And absolutely not one single photo of myself. Not even a thumb mistakenly put over the lens. And looking back, I can visualize myself toting the camera in my purse, snapping frequently hoping for that odd moment that the children looked adorable with the light just right and the smile just so. I can see myself gathering people together for a shot of this or that, and unless you count the rare occasion when someone else shared their photos of me with me, I can’t remember any real pictures being taken with my camera of myself.
And these are the memories I am going to preserve for future generations—a lovely book of photos of children in every situation and outfit they own, and pay no attention to the mother behind the camera.
There is, however, a new sheriff in the tiny town of Mt. Paperandjunk. And this sheriff wants to find her way into some printed memories, so she’s sharing her new set of rules on How To Take Family Photographs:
Make the dad carry the camera.
Learn to use the self-timer sufficiently enough so that you don’t have dozens of shots of yourself sprinting into a smiling toddler.
Enlist the use of your long arms by turning the camera around and grabbing a few of those unattractive self-portraits.
When all else fails, purchase a photograph manipulation program for your computer and while you’re adding yourself in, make sure to airbrush the wrinkles and thin up that waistline. My oh my, how your scrapbooking friends will be jealous.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The old gray mare likes campfires. And bacon.

Coffee just ain't cutting it anymore.
I remember, back in my so-called youth, that I was shoot a couple of cups o' joe when I needed to be fresh, to be alert. To take a test, to drive somewhere new. It was an excellent drug of choice.
And now I might as well be pouring it on my toes becuase it just doesn't work anymore.
This all became a sad realization when the call came in from the groomer that I had missed the appointment that I myself scheduled for the dog today. A second "aww, snap" went off in the old noggin because I remembered then that I had also forgotten a vet appointment earlier the week for the dog to get the shots that could allow her to go to the groomer.
Two appointments, completely forgotten.
Granted, I have had a rough week with my fair share of obstacles, but still. Two appointments? I am slipping. Slipping like a kid in mid-July on a long piece of plastic that has a hose running down it.
So tonight, instead of doing things I should be doing, the kids and I sat down to read a great book (review coming soon--stay tuned) and cook a little late night snack over the fire. We had stopped earlier at the store and bought Jiffy Pop, and the kids were elated because it looked nothing like popcorn should, and like every kid does, they thought was going to explode when I cooked it. While one kid ate the popcorn, the other brought out the marshmallows. And soon enough I brough out the bacon.
I admit I didn't eat this growing up, but I regret all of those years without this tasty treat.

(s'mores ain't got nothing on these babies!)
Simply string some bacon on the end of a cooking stick and cook it hot on the fire. We're not toasting marshmallows here, we're roasting bacon. As the fat starts to render off, grab a piece of bread and start dabbing the bacon, soaking up the grease.
When the bacon is fully cooked, eat the bread and bacon together.
Smokey deliciousness, no matter how you look at it.

It is simple dishes like this that keep me from being a vegetarian.
It is the forgetfulness that keeps me from giving up coffee, even if it doesn't work that great. It still goes quite well with bacon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Relay for Life "performance"

"Campfire Karrie," er, me, is scheduled to play at the Orrville Relay for Life event in the Kids Camp on Friday, June 12.
Calling all children with a fierce love of I've Been Working on the Railroad and anyone who can spit out Jenny Jenkins' "foldy-roldy-tildy-toldy-seek-a-double-use-a-cause-a-roll-a-find-me" (or however you spell such gobbledygook.)
See the official entertainment schedule for exact times, or just veer off the track when you hear me strum a C chord.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A haiku for you

Everyone loves a good haiku, right? Here's the thought for the evening which really seems to wrap up my running-but-feels-like-i-got-nothing-done day.

Fast-paced life got you?
Running on the old treadmill
Just get off and walk

Monday, June 1, 2009

Note to self...

If your kid begs for a bowl of cereal at night and then eats it in the family room where he knows he's not supposed to do, and then if that kid dumps the bowl of cereal (milk and 5,000 Rice Krispies) on your good rocking chair, and then if your daughter tries to make things better by running for the Dustbuster which won't work on the soggy mess, it's best not to:
1. Yell
2. Grab the Dustbuster
3. Throw the Dustbuster across the room in anger so that it breaks open and spills its entire contents all over the rest of the floor

I have learned this the hard way, and now know that I should have:
1. Taken 500 deep breaths
2. Gotten out the big vacuum
3. Prepared for the trip to the dry cleaners

But hindsight is always 20/20, right?

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