Friday, September 30, 2011

family friday night

My Friday nights have taken a turn this fall. I love high school football, but without boys on the team, I've only made the home games. And there haven't been many of those. Tonight was another out of town game, so Lovey and I had nothing to do.

Lucy Mercer whined, whimpered, and barked her way through the night (I have no idea why a mouthful of sock causes such whining, but it always does); between the extra bright moon, a windy night and a critter invasion around 2 a.m., sleep was a bit interrupted last night. So today I've had a lack-of-sleep hangover. When I came home from school I told Jus that I needed a 30 minute nap. I woke up two hours later, still so tired that I couldn't focus my eyes for about 20 minutes.

We discussed having a fire tonight, but I decided that I needed a Liz visit. My SIL works weekends, which is great during the summer, but since going back to school I haven't seen her much. So Lovey and I picked up pizza and crashed the other Mercer's house for supper. Liz got a new washer and dryer today. She was trying to catch up on laundry. We noticed the dryer was making a strange noise. I thought that maybe something in the load was banging the dryer and making the noise. She switched loads, and still we heard the noise. She told Joey that something was wrong with the new dryer. After several minutes of conversation between the wives and the husbands, the husbands finally went to check. They had to come back and admit that we were right - something is wrong the new dryer. Suddenly, my week just got better. I love being right - hate that Liz has a brand new dryer and still has dryer issues, but I. Love. Being. Right.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

the baby brother's turn

Back in the spring, I helped my brother's girls get ready for prom and then blogged about the day. In that post, I never mentioned that there was a brother in the mix - he's the baby and at this time has no interest in prom.

But he does love football.

And I may have mentioned a time or two that I am really missing having a boy out there playing football this year. So I occasionally find myself at a 7th grade Bulldog game.

I had forgotten 7th grade football.

Where the water jug is important.

And the coaches are on the field.

Other things are new too. My boys were linemen. Watching this guy play is a new game.

Caleb is a thinker, even when he is playing ball. He's one of those kids who listens when you talk. Soaking in every word, mulling over what you've said.

He plays quarterback.  And he's doing a great job.

Watch for the hand-off.

Because this one was a score!

He's not a little boy, and he's pretty tough. But I'm thankful for BIG linemen to protect him.

 Don't see Caleb? It's because he fits behind that lineman who stopped number 72.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

this is no democracy

Last night while I ate supper, I was thinking of the millions of things that need to be done in this house. And knowing that I would have to do a marathon cleaning to even get close to getting it done. And that would mean an entire Saturday. Cleaning. Dusting. Organizing. Washing. Scrubbing. And I knew I didn't want to give up an entire Saturday to do any of that. I had to come up with a plan.

So I declared a Momma Rule.

I don't use it often. The best Momma Rule I have ever enacted is the laundry rule: everyone over the age of ten must wash, dry, fold and put away his/her own laundry. It works wonderfully. I pick up some slack during the summer and during Christmas break when I'm not working, and maybe when I know someone has had a bad week, but most of the time I'm only responsible for my own laundry. I have to admit that there have been occasional catastrophes - like the time the big boy washed and dried a black gel pen with an entire load of new spring shirts and shorts. And EVERYTHING had black ink on it. Luckily, I found a cleaner that got most of it out - and he wore the rest with a little black ink on it.

Another Momma Rule - the momma doesn't take out the garbage. And in the last few years, I rarely have. And I have to say that Baby Jus is pretty good about doing it without even being told.

I occasionally pull a single night the-one-who-cooks-doesn't-clean-the-kitchen Momma Rule. But honestly I try not to use too many. Because I'm frugal with the power, they don't question me too much when I proclaim a new rule.

So because I have a few Momma Rules to use. And because I needed a plan to get this house clean without giving up my Saturdays forever and always. Last night I walked into the living room and proclaimed, "Momma Rule. Beginning tonight, everyone is required to clean for 30 minutes each night." There are no rules about what has to be done, no schedule. Everyone gets to choose the job he/she wants to do on that particular night. The only thing that doesn't count is laundry.

I love Momma Rule.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

weekend update

I just haven't been about to get myself together lately. I sit down, pull out the computer, start to write a post, then don't. And I can't really say why. Lack of focus. Writer's block. Lazy. Who knows. I'm going to blame BORING. I haven't really felt that I had any excitement to discuss. I was in a small rut. Maybe even a bit of a self endulged pity party. But it has been a great weekend, so I'm going to catch you up.

Ashcraft sisters-in-law watching the game.
Friday night was hometown football. I do miss having my boys out there. And we haven't been going to out of town games, so Friday nights have been a bit sad this year. Our team hasn't had a great start to the year but pulled off a win this time. The weather was great for football, the team was winning, and the company was great. Poor Lovey had to cook burgers for the concession stand. He didn't enjoy the night nearly as much as I did.

Tooke sisters-in-law cheering on those hogs.
Then Saturday morning, my friend Carrie and I got up really early and headed to Little Rock to hit some yard sales. We got a few good buys. I got the buy of the day - two wicker chairs for the front porch for only $25.00. I don't like the cushion fabric so will recover those, but the chairs are great otherwise.

The Ashcrafts
We got back around 11:00, so I was able to rest just a bit before going to the neighbors' to watch the Razorbacks play. That game didn't have such a great ending, but we had a good time with friends. And the food was super. I think some of the group hung around to watch the ASU vs. UCA game. The early morning got the best of me, so Lovey and I came home.

The Mercers
We took a quick trip around the field to check on things. This calf was enjoying dinner.

And has a milk moustache to prove it.

Nothing big. Nothing fancy. Just good company. It makes for a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

no coherence here

Not that I'm normally coherent. But I wanted to give you plenty of warning. So you wouldn't get your hopes up that today would be the day.

My momma's birthday is this week. And my step-dad's birthday was Sunday, so we cooked lunch on Sunday. I made shrimp pasta. Not to brag - but it was scrumptious! My SIL Ashley brought her yummy bread. I would cook lunch every Sunday if she would bring her yummy bread.

Lovey has hogs in his hay field. And his hay field has taken a beaten already this year. It didn't need any more punishment. He set a trap last Friday. He hasn't caught a hog yet. The hogs have figured out how to dig under the trap and get the bait without actually going inside it. Lovey is not happy. And if Lovey ain't happy...well, he just isn't happy, and I sometimes laugh at him about it.

We interrupt this post to bring you breaking news....

As I type this post I hear Lovey go, "Oh." I look over and crack up. He has the dog comb that I got for Jacob - the kind to comb out the loose hairs. And he has it stuck in HIS hair.   GOOBER!

Yesterday my new glasses finally came in. I broke mine at the beginning of summer and have been wearing cheater-readers. I hate the on-off-on-off all day. Today was great to be able to look up and focus without taking glasses off. And I didn't spend half of my day looking for glasses.

Today was a long day. I leave each morning just after 7:00. I tutor from 7:30-7:55, do my literacy coach stuff until 11:15, then teach all afternoon. Most days I get home between 4:45-5:15. But tonight was parent/teacher conferences. I didn't get home until about 8:15. There was an upside though. Each year we have faculty t-shirts that we wear each Wednesday. This year we were a little late getting those ordered. They just came in last week. Our principal decided that we should wear them for the first time today/tonight. I think this should become a tradition.

I have plans to join a friend early Saturdy morning for junking - hit a few garage sales and maybe an estate sale or two. How goofy is it that I am excited about that? We'll have fun even if we don't find any great deals. But I hope to find something fantastic!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

why i can never find socks

She sneaks in from the bedroom.

Head down, refusing to look anyone in the eye.

With anything else, I can just tell her to spit it out, and she drops whatever she's chewing.

Doesn't she sort of look like that commercial where the dog has dentures? And isn't it a big mouthful? Just how many socks are in there?

TWO! The socks I wore on my walk last night. She stayed in that spot, guarding the socks for about an hour. Doesn't she look so sad that I have made her spit them out? She usually hides them. Under that pillow, beneath a blanket, between the couch cushions. But her most secretive, favorite spot - under Lovey's pillow! he-he-he!

Monday, September 12, 2011

remind me again, what month is it?

While walking on our small gravel road this evening, I found this.

I. Have. Never. seen such a Huge. Spider!

Then as I got closer to the house I saw this gorgeous moon rising over the barn.

I went in to get my camera and stepped out on the back deck to get a picture.

There was a pack of coyotes howling away from the back corner of the field.

So remind me again, what month is this? Because this would be the perfect Halloween setting.

an analogy

Jake : Lucy :: Monday : me

I try to prepare myself - face it head on.

But occasionally, I let my guard down, relax, even try to squeeze in a nap.

And BAM! Monday sneaks up on me!

Coming out of nowhere,

grabbing me by the throat,

holding me down.

Sometimes I think I have broken its hold,

but if I'm not careful, it comes back,

And bites me in the butt.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

pre-dawn ramblings

Why is it that on Sunday morning my eyes pop open at 4 a.m., and I can't go back to sleep for anything; and tomorrow morning when the alarm chirps at 5:30, I won't be able to focus my eyes enough to get out of bed for at least 15 minutes? Drives. Me. Insane.

On a much more serious note - 9/11/2011. Has it really been 10 years? Has it only been 10 years? At times it seems like only yesterday. Watching news footage of that day can immediately bring back the fear and sorrow and longing to collect my family and hold them close. I can't imagine what it will be like for those families who will visit the NYC WTC memorial today. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Last night Brooke and I took a small contagion of our youth group to Warren for an outdoor concert. It was a quickly planned trip. We saw the band Two Empty Chairs at a youth conference last winter, and when we saw a poster advertising a concert, wanted to go hear them again. Many of the kids had previous plans, but we had enough to remind me that I have missed spending time with them each week. Tonight we officially start back to UMY, and I am excited - it's going to be a great year.

I am writing in my usual position. Squished to one side of the chair because Lucy Mercer has to have the other. And Jacob can't quite figure out where his spot is. As of this moment he is sleeping on the ottoman. I can't move, or he thinks I want him in the already crowded chair. He frequently "helps" me type. Which explains the two keys currently missing on this keyboard.

Yesterday as I was vacuuming, I decided to stop and order a part for my Dyson. The bottom plate needs to be replaced. The tiny wheels stopped rolling and have worn down so that now it sometimes sits too close to the floor and can't get enough air do its job. I've been meaning to order a new part for some time now but only think about it when I am using the vacuum. Anyway, Lovey came in just as I was finding the Dyson website. I asked him to look on the machine and tell me the model. Well one thing led to another, several parts were removed from the vacuum, and when nothing else would just pop off, Lovey went for tools. About an hour later, I just decided to proceed without him. The vacuum is back together, the floors have been cleaned, and I still haven't ordered a new plate with tiny wheels. But I do have some advice for you: if it's been a while (or maybe never) since you've cleaned the undercarriage of your vacuum, and you can't be exactly sure what someone else might have sucked up with it - don't look, just go buy a new vacuum.

Friday, September 9, 2011

that's how he rolls

Tonight is the first home football game of the season - I'm excited. I love hometown Friday night high school football. Our school colors are black and white, and tonight the cheerleaders have planned a "black out" night - everyone wears black t-shirts to the game. So when Baby Jus came in from work, I asked him if he had his black t-shirt ready. He answered, "Yes, and I may need you to give me some cash."

After I glared at him for a few minutes, he explained that he had put gas in his truck the day before and used the last of his cash. (We don't have a bank or an ATM where we live - you have to drive to town for fancy stuff like that.) We were discussing how he should have written a check for his gas and kept his cash for the weekend. Then I asked him if he had put his most recent paycheck in the bank.

He was explaining how much he had deposited and how much he had kept, when I interrupted, "Have you called the bank about your ATM card?" (He lost his wallet a few weeks back and had to get a new card; the new one came with the wrong name)

"Yes, yes I did! I actually went in the bank to deposit my check and told the lady that she had put the wrong name on my card."

He just opened his account this summer, and I was so proud to know that he was being responsible and taking care of his own business. "Well, look at you being all grown-up and stuff!"

His answer:

"Yeah, I put on my good overalls and went in to see her. I didn't get all dressed up. I just put on my good overalls. That's how I roll."

Reasons why this cracks me up:

1.  He apparently believes that one pair of overalls is better than another - and he may be right.

2.  When he went in the bank in those good overalls, he probably didn't stick out at all. As a matter of fact, he might have had on better overalls than another customer doing his/her banking.

3. He thought about it enough to know that I would not be happy if he went in looking like a ragamuffin but assumed that overalls were classy enough to make me happy. And I guess it does - cause that's how I roll.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

why i don't watch horror movies

“One need not be a chamber to be haunted, One need not be a house. The brain has corridors surpassing material place”. -Emily Dickinson

Never one for horror movies or books that chill the reader to the core and interrupt sleep, I much prefer to spend my money on entertainment which lets me escape my ghosts and avoid my nightmares. As a child I was terrified by the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz. Now Harry Potter keeps me peering between fingers. Castle and an hour of who's getting voted off tonight is the most suspense I care to witness.

I don't understand the obsession with horror and suspense in books and movies. LIFE is scary enough for me.

I can torture myself with the what-if's of growing up, raising a family, growing old.

Crave a little terror? I just sit down with this month's bills and last month's bank statement. If that's not scary enough, I watch the news and then browse my retirement accounts.

Want to be so scared I can't sleep? I try calling or texting my boys on a Friday or Saturday night and wait on their response.

If I want to spend a few hours with pulse pounding, sitting on the edge of my seat, I take a scan of those questionable moles popping up all over my body.  Not suspenseful enough? Waiting for mammogram results can almost send me into cardiac arrest. Oh, why did I have to go THERE? Is that chest pain a heart attack or indigestion? Is this just a tension headache or a growing brain tumor?

And almost everyday I come home to a true who-dunit. That can leave me guessing for hours.

Don't judge me because I stick with romantic comedy, Pixar and Disney. Sometimes I need to get out of my head - escape my haunted chamber.  


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

you just can't complain on days like this

My morning was a bit of a blur - a productive blur, but still a blur. You can read a bit about it here.

Then my afternoon classes came in. Just as the students were settling in, the office called for  all seventh graders to go for school pictures. Picture day is always a bit crazy.

Then my creative writing class came in. Yesterday was such a beautiful day, and we took advantage of it. The girls came in and asked to take class outside. I simply asked that they pay attention to their surrounds and incorporate it into their writing through imagery. So today they read their products. I heard poems, stories, and the best "it's not really anything - I just rambled" that I've ever heard. Those girls inspire me every day.

During seventh period, I got the phone call. The one I had been dreading all day. The one I had avoided.
A few weeks ago brother called, Daddy would be having a biopsy on September 7. The doctors had found a spot on his lungs, and it had gotten bigger. So today, I was glad to be busy. Glad to have the distractions. But the call eventually came.

The procedure was over. The CAT scan was long. Daddy was getting discouraged and nervous. They kept him in the machine for what seemed like such a long time. He was feeling claustrophobic. He was imagining the absolute worst. Finally, the scan ended. And the doctor came in for a conference. They had checked and re-checked.



God is good ALL THE TIME! Who can complain on days like this?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

my friend and my cousin

If you are a parent, then you've felt it - that moment of pride. That moment when you wonder,"Where did that come from?"

I told you before; I call him Baby Jus, but he's no baby. He's almost 19 and a BIG boy. But he's my baby. And sometimes he just makes me so proud to be his momma.

He's got a cousin that idolizes him.

Eli has no idea that there is a 10 year difference in his age and Jus's .

He is always so excited to see Jus ("my friend and my cousin"), and Jus always makes time for him.

And even though it may not look like it here, he is very careful not to be too rough.

This doesn't mean he isn't a little rough.

But Eli always come back for more.

He can't get enough of his big cousin.

Monday, September 5, 2011

a photo shoot

Well technically it was a Labor Day cookout with family and friends. But I never have pictures of me. I'm always behind the camera. Or on the rare occasion that Lovey picks up the camera, I quickly decide that the pics are horrible and delete them. And there are very few pics of me.

So today while we were sitting outside enjoying a beautiful day, I handed him the camera and let him click away. With just a little coaching.

The back lighting on this one was bad. He took several; this was the only one I could lighten enough to work.

It was a very blustery day. Not good for hair, but I'm not deleting.

This is my favorite. If I was really good with photoshop, I would give me a new background.

He was being a goofball. Wish the glasses weren't screwing with the hair. But not deleting.

If I was good with photoshop...I would do a full body lipo of this pic.

Not too good - not too bad.

Late in the day, my friend Carrie took this one. She was clicking away with her camera and noticed the light was doing that wonderful thing that it does in the late evening. So she grabbed my camera and shot a few of me.

And the light WAS just right.

Why do we find it so hard to look at pictures of us? I think moms are usually guilty of this. One day our kids will look through the pictures and wonder where the mom pics are.  Now my kids will wonder why I only wore this shirt.

Isn't it time for you to have a photo shoot?

A disclosure statement:

When Lovey was being such a goofball, here's the picture he was taking. He didn't chop my head off by accident, that was purposeful framing.

See why I delete most of his pictures? Goofball.