Monday Stuff

Weekend Snapshot(s) – On the Move

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We were a family on the move this weekend.

Saturday, the husband and I drove to Mt. Vernon for the Apple Butter Makin’ Days’ Festival. (I know my mom is probably blinking in shock over that sentence *grin*). It was a gorgeous day and I was craving apple butter. Seriously, the apple butter at the Apple Butter Makin’ Days is THE best apple butter I’ve ever tasted.

So, we drove 20 minutes and bought a jar. We did walk around and look at all the cool crafts – in fact, I bought GD’s first birthday gift, a wooden keychain with his name engraved on it – but we didn’t stay very long. The place was PACKED and it was like walking through a hive of busy, stinky (the air was thick with BO!) bees.

By the time we got back home, it was time to leave to take MK up to the high school to play with the marching band – again. Last weekend was optional and for extra credit. This week was mandatory and for a grade, so his entire band class showed up.

We (and Springfield’s entire south side) went for ice cream afterward. It was a nice, relaxing family outing and even GD loosened up by the time it was all over. (He was pretty stiff and awkward in the stadium, but I think that was largely due to the fact that we had about four HOT girls sitting behind us and he was feeling self-conscious.

I’m so THANKFUL not to be a teenager anymore. πŸ™‚ )

After Bible study Sunday, we went and had our family pictures taken at Sears. They are REALLY good, except for one thing – my hair looks hideous. Seriously. I love this cut (it’s layered all over again as opposed to just being one length), but I still haven’t quite figured out how to style it so it looks like I slept on it in the pictures. Or maybe I’m just used to having poofy 80’s hair – who knows. At any rate, I love the poses and my guys all did really great so overall, I’m pretty happy with them. I will be posting the family shot in Saturday’s Photo Hunt – stay tuned.

After we had our pictures taken, we coaxed GD into getting behind the wheel of the husband’s truck, and we took him to a parking lot to try it out.

Driving - First Time

If you look closely, you can juuust make out the whites of his knuckles. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard the boy’s heart thumping through the seat. *grin*

Other than whiplash from being jerked around so much (I was in the back seat – he has an extended cab, the husband was in the passenger seat), he didn’t do too badly.

No. He doesn’t have his permit yet. Ssh. And we have NO intentions of taking him on ANY roads, country or otherwise, but I think the husband is sort of excited about teaching GD to drive and just couldn’t hold it in any longer.

GD drove the truck for about fifteen minutes. He circled around the parking lot several times. He practiced parking and backing up (I lost about six months off my life the first time he laid on the accelerator and nearly backed into a light pole) and tried to get a grip on turning. Now granted, the truck is huge and a bit awkward to begin with, but there was no way in Hades I was allowing the boy to drive my Vibe so he sort of didn’t have a choice but to get used to it. But he did pretty well considering this was his first time getting behind the wheel.

And afterward? His eyes were SPARKLING with excitement.

Behind the Wheel - First Time

Sunday afternoon, the husband parked his truck in our backyard and proceeded to cover it with plastic.

Taping it Up 2

It was sort of hard to cover considering it was pretty windy.

Taking it Up

But after he covered it, he then spray painted the bed to cover the rust and scratches.

It looks almost brand new.

That’s what we do. We monkey-rig our belongings to mask the fact that it’s old and well used. But hey, it’s better than forking over cash, and going into debt, to buy a new one, right? πŸ˜€

Monday Stuff

Weekend Snapshot(s) – Marching Along

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We attended our first high school football game (since the husband and I were in high school that is) Friday night and we had a blast!

MK’s band class had a chance to march with the high school marching band. The kids had an option of showing up for extra credit and to my surprise, MK was ALL over it. He very eagerly wanted to join in so, join in we did.

I got a late start on Friday because I ate three (!!) donuts and felt so guilty that I forced myself to do a 40 minute Turbo Jam. By the time I got cleaned up and back from grocery shopping, it was after 5:00 and I was supposed to have MK at the stadium to meet his class at 6:05 – and we hadn’t eaten.

So, we raced to McDonald’s (ick) and the kids stuffed crap down their throats while I squinted at a map and tried to get us to our destination. They were supposed to meet at a skate park across the street from the stadium – I didn’t even know there WAS a skate park!

After dropping him off, GD and I met up with the husband and we walked to the entrance. It was going to cost us $4.00 a piece to get in, but I remembered I had paid an athletic fee when we ordered GD’s name tag (because I was hoping we would get around to attending some games), so he was able to get into the game for free (bonus!). We got comfortable (or as comfortable as we could be given the rock hard seats – must remember to buy stadium cushions!) and had a good time watching the dance girls and the cheerleaders warm up and do some cheers while we waited for the marching band to arrive.

(I think GD really enjoyed that part. *wink*)

Then, the high school marching band marched onto the field. I actually got a lump in my throat watching MK marching right along with them. It was also really impressive to see the high school kids in their fancy marching uniforms.

Out on the field

They lined up and played the high school fight song along with the Star Spangled Banner.

Experiencing Being with a Big Band

If you look closely, you can see MK playing his saxophone (follow the arrow). His classmates were all dressed in their band shirts and black slacks – I thought they looked quite smart.

After they finished playing and were walking off the field, the boy on MK’s left slapped him on the back and told him he did a good job. I thought that was so sweet! And I bet that meant a lot to MK, too.

The band filed into the bleachers and the game started.

Within two minutes of the game starting, the opposing team ran a 75 yard touchdown.

And that set the precedent for the first half of the game. By halftime? We were down THREE TOUCHDOWNS. It was not a pretty sight. And not a very good introduction to GD’s first football game, but it didn’t matter. It was still fun to get caught up in the crowd and cheer for our team. In fact, GD was pretty stiff and awkward at first, but he soon relaxed and I could tell, he was actually enjoying himself – I’m so glad we did this.

The hubs snuck down to the bleachers to find MK during a time out and took a picture of MK and his best bud:

Best Buddies

I think MK looks so stiff because it was pretty chillly and he was freezing.

We stayed to watch the half-time show:

HS Marching Band

And WOW! The band was amazing! They stepped, marched and danced their way into all sorts of configurations all while the flag girls danced in between them. It was quite impressive.

Afterward, I asked MK if he was excited about participating in marching band.

“NO WAY!” he said.

I was disappointed. He didn’t think he would be able to keep track of all the moves as well as play and I’m sure it was HARD to do both! But I was a little disappointed as I was quite looking forward to him wearing one of those fancy-smancy uniforms.

Oh well. Maybe he’ll change his mind before next year.


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Monday Stuff

Weekend Snapshot – Caught in a Web

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Pulling Down Cobwebs

Our house is one huge spiderweb!

The husband walked around the house Saturday and swept all of the webs and half-eaten insects off our house. Not to mention, the HUGE spiders with the HUGE bellies that were busy sucking the brains out of said insects.

We pulled down quite a few pod-looking things, too. I’m guessing they were baby spider sacks? I have no desire to find out for sure.

Seriously, it was nasty. Some of the webs extended from the top of our gutter all the way down to the ground! It was like something out of the Munsters’ TV show.

I guess the spiders are gorging themselves on insects before winter sets in? I’m not exactly hip on the whole spider-cycle thing.

All I know is – they are gone now.

At least until next weekend.


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Monday Stuff

Weekend Snapshot – Camp Food

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Making Us Wraps in the Camper

My husband, making us turkey/spinach wraps and chicken soup in our camper.

When the accounting gig wears thin, he could always be a chef. He can cook some seriously AWESOME stuff – he just eyeballs it and rarely uses a recipe.

I’m completely useless in that department.


Life, Monday Stuff

Weekend Snapshot: Going to the Fair

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Between going to our county fair and camping in Branson in 100 degree weather, it’s been a busy, and sweat-drenched weekend.

I’ll talk about our camping trip tomorrow, but for now, I’d like to focus on the fair.

Our county fair has fallen the last week of July since, forever I was a kid. You know as a kid, you didn’t keep track of time – things happened when they happened – hence the reason time moved slowly back then, who kept track of minutes or days?

But I always knew when the fair was getting close because my mom would barricade herself in her sewing room finishing up last minute projects she had entered into the fair. And when the fair actually arrived, she would spend most of her time in the kitchen, baking pies, cookies, breads and all sorts of sweet confections that we (me, my sister and brother) were allowed to finish up or consume (I LOVED it when mom made baking mistakes – we were allowed to eat her mistakes).

I have a lot of fond memories of the fair as a child: rides, snow cones, funnel cakes, greasy corndogs, the duck pond, grab bags and of course, the creepy men who ran the carnival games that no one ever won.

I don’t remember going to the fair a lot when I was a young adult. I went a few times with friends and we rode the more “sophisticated” rides (i.e. the rides that roll your stomach over and turn your face a lovely shade of green). But for the most part, I don’t think I went very often in the time period after high school and before kids.

Then, the boys came along and I was obligated to take them to the fair. I spent the majority of my time making sure they kept cool, got to see the sights, ride a few kiddie rides and pet the zoo animals. In essence, I was too distracted to really ENJOY the fair myself.

Then the boys got a little older and we all had fun riding rides together. I took a Dramamine and I was able to handle the heat and the dizzy rides.

Now, we’re at the stage where my boys are teenagers and hanging around with mom? Ain’t that cool anymore. In fact, it’s downright unacceptable. I try not to take it personally (I fail), and I understand their need to do their own thing (most of the time), but you know how it is – I’m MOM, I can’t just LET THEM GO COMPLETELY. I don’t have it in me. So, we try and find a happy medium – the boys stay with me, but always about ten paces behind so it doesn’t really LOOK like they’re with me. If you don’t have teenagers, you don’t know what I’m talking about – just wait, your turn is coming.

The same can be said about the fair. For the past few years, it’s been me, my mom, my nephews and my boys. My mom and I led the pack of boys around by their noses and dutifully stood by while they rode rides. My mom can’t really take the heat too well anymore, so we would usually find a patch of shade and vigorously fan ourselves until the boys were ready to move on to something else.

It’s been fun, but the older mom and I get, the less we’re willing to do that whole “stand by and watch” thing anymore.

So, this year, my mom suggested that we drop the boys off at the fair and we would go shopping. Keep in mind, the “boys” are now 18, 16, 13, and 12. Plenty old enough to walk around an enclosed area and choose to do what they wanted to do for a few hours.

When my mom first suggested this, I was all like, “WHAT?! ARE YOU CRAZY?!” But then I stopped to think about what she was suggesting. On the one hand, I want them to be independent of us, to make their own decisions, to live with their own mistakes, and yet on the other hand, I can’t allow them to get into a situation where they CAN do these things.

I’m creating a catch-22 situation for my boys. Something, correction, someONE, has to give in.

So, I reluctantly agreed to her suggestion. I talked to the boys. I told them to make a game plan. For example, what were they going to do if someone got separated (I hesitated to say “lost,” I didn’t want to freak them OR me out). I asked them what they were going to do if one of the aggressive carnival guys approached them. I asked them what they would do if this happened, or this happened … etc. etc. I think I made them more nervous by bringing up these things.

When I told the boys what we were proposing, they were initially nervous about being left on their own. But I could tell, they were also excited. This was, after all, a first for all of us – a taste of independence both them from me, and me from them.

I made sure GD had his cell phone. I made sure both boys had plenty of money. And when it came time to drop them off at the fair, I steeled myself to not freak out and act like it was no big deal.

They were a bit hesitant to walk away when the time came, but they soon fell into a pattern only kids can fall into (oblivious to the world around them and only focused on having fun together) and my mom and I drove off.

I wouldn’t exactly say I was nervous, but I was apprehensive. What would they do? Where would they go? Would they be able to handle anything that might happen?

My mom and I ended up eating lunch at McAllister’s, being physically comfortable and enjoying a long chat (as opposed to snippets of yelled conversation above the fair noise and sweating off several meals).

And when it was close to the time we agreed to meet the boys, we arrived at the designated spot.

Only, the boys weren’t there.

But I didn’t panic. In fact, I took that to be a good sign – they were having so much fun that time slipped away from them and they didn’t realize the time.

It was better than watching every minute and showing up before it was time to meet because they were too nervous to HAVE a good time, right?

We sat for a while and watched this dude while we waited for them to show up:

robot man2, originally uploaded by PaceGuy.

He was completely covered in silver and until he moved, I thought he was a statue. He moved with robotic precision and I happened to capture him bent over and giving this little guy a slow high five.

My mom and I bought ourselves lemonade and attended her cheese ball judging contest (she placed third out of seven – not bad!). After the judging was over, I went back to the place the boys were to meet us at – they were there, looking flushed, hot, happy and very animated – they had a blast.

They ate lunch, they rode rides and they even played one of those creepy carnival games and won not one, but two Sonic plushie toys. Though they didn’t exactly gush all the details (they’re boys after all), we could tell, they truly had a great time.

They once again fell into a comfortable ten-paces-behind-us routine while me and mom walked around and looked at the exhibits.

I thought this dress, made entirely out of duct tape, was especially impressive:

duct tape dress, originally uploaded by PaceGuy.

(In fact, every exhibit you see in this picture was made from duct tape – pretty impressive, yes?)

Going to the fair this year marked a monumental moment in our lives. It was a turning point for me (allowing the boys to go out on their own) and for the boys (to be responsible for their own actions). I’m quite certain this is the beginning of their independence.

Thanks mom, GREAT suggestion. πŸ™‚

Monday Stuff

Weekend Snapshot(s) – Crafty Husband

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We had a really nice, looong weekend. We didn’t do that much, but aren’t those the best sorts of weekends? When you just sort of do whatever you feel like doing?

The hubs and I went grocery shopping – I always spend way more when the hubs is with me. He doesn’t go shopping with me very often, but when he does, he’s like a kid who can’t keep his grubby paws off the pretty, shiny new packages.

Him: “OH! Look at this! We need this.”

Me: “No we don’t. You WANT that. There’s a difference.”

He pouts (which I might add, is pretty cute) before he bounces back and picks up the next item.

Him: “We probably need one of these.”

Me: “We probably don’t.” And I put the item back.

And before I know it? We’re in no-man’s land – the aisle with the calculators. You know the aisle, I’m sure. The one where nearly half of the shelf is filled to capacity with every conceivable calculator ranging from the tiny hand-helds to the lap-sized and in every color (and then some) of the rainbow. (I’m finally catching onto the man because you see, he likes to distract me with all of the other grabbing and pleading so I’m not paying attention to what section of the store we’re heading until? It’s too late. We’re surrounded by calculators. *grumbles* Clever man …)

My husband is an certified public accountant. A darn GOOD accountant. Though he’s the first to admit that it’s a semi-boring job and he can’t wait to retire, blahblahblah, he secretly loves what he does because it challenges his brain cells and he just has a KNACK for shuffling money around (I still don’t quite know how he managed to pay our house off). So, when we get within a five aisle radius of calculators, I have to sprint to the automotive section, hunt down a crowbar and pull his butt away from all the pretty number buttons before it gets ugly.

Him: “We could use a calculator.”

Me: “No we couldn’t.”

Him: “But this one has big buttons and you KNOW how I can’t see anymore.’

Well, that’s true but,

Me: “So wear your glasses more often.” (I’m such a killjoy).

He goes off and pouts and I feel like a mean mommy – again. Hey! Wait a minute here … I passed those mean mommy years … wait, that’s not entirely true. The mean mommy years are still here, only mommy has had to change her tactics because the boys are teenagers now and have different demands/needs/wants and …

Good lord, where was I?

Oh yeah, back to our weekend… (Sorry. I do that in real life too. How annoying, right?)

SOOOO, after the hubs and I went shopping, and picked up some dinner (Chinese – a family favorite), it was time to pack up our fireworks and head out to my in-laws’ house (we go out there because they live out in the boonies they enjoy sharing our firecrackers with us). Only, on the way there, we (well I really, since I was driving and the guys didn’t have a choice but to ride along – bwhahaha) made an unplanned trip to the fireworks tent. For you see, we had already gone once, and in fact, spent $50 on crap loud, pretty crackers. But I talked the hubs out of buying this one thing called Big Bang, er, Big Bangers, or something like that. Anyway, he was pretty bummed out about it, but honestly, spending $20 on something that could potentially burst our eardrums didn’t sound like a good deal to me. (See? I’ve got this mean mommy/wife thing down to a SCIENCE I tell ya!)

But I started feeling guilty. Poor hubs. He works hard for his money, why shouldn’t the man be allowed to buy his big bang firecrackers? So, I drove us back to the fireworks tent so we could buy them. The hubs half-heartedly objected, but I could tell, he really wanted to buy them, so buy them we did.

And I have to admit, they were the best ones in the lot. Not only did they go off with one of those supersonic BOOMS, they exploded into HUGE flowers of sparks and colors and we all enjoyed them, a lot. Big Bangers is on our list of must-haves next year, fer shore.

Saturday, the hubs spent the majority of the day under our house. For some strange reason, no matter how many fans the hubs puts under there, or how many vents he opens, or creates (more on that later), we can’t seem to get rid of the water under our house. It’s not like a lake under there, but there is definitely more water under there now than there was at the beginning of the summer. Granted, we’ve had a pretty wet summer thus far, but given our precautions to the contrary, we can’t seem to get rid of the standing water.

And we all know standing water is not a good idea. It attracts mosquitoes. It gets moldy and that’s not exactly good for us that have allergies. It causes rot … well, you get the general idea. So the hubs has been on a mission (and he loves missions – i.e. challenges) to dry out the crawl space.

He spent a good portion of the day digging out a 3-foot hole so he could put in a sump pump. He figures, he can dig trenches to the sump pump and the sump pump will do the rest of the work. (Our property is on a slope and we get a lot of run-off from our neighbors).

And though the sump pump will indeed help, it won’t dry out the remaining moisture. So what does my GENIUS husband do? (And no, I’m not being sarcastic, this man is truly creative and can monkey-rig anything), he buys an industrial-sized fan, and rigs it in the doorway of our crawl space.

Crawl Space Ventilation

And it works. He lit a punk, leftover from our fireworks, and held it up to the vent at the front of the house to see if it was sucking air into the crawl space.

The smoke did not lie, air was indeed being sucked into the crawl space. DAMN he’s good. So now hopefully, our crawl space will dry out and to be perfectly honest? Our house already smells better (it smelled so musty before).

But the crawl space isn’t the only ingenuous thing my husband came up with (well, actually, there are hundreds of things he’s done around the house to make our lives easier/more efficient, but ya’ll have lives and I don’t want to take up any of your precious time so … you’ll just have to trust me on this).

Now that we’re in the thick of summer, and the boys are home all day long, we’ve been having an issue. Not a serious issue, mind you, but definitely an issue. It’s annoying, it’s cluttering and it drives me batty.

We have a glass issue.

I don’t know how it happens? But I’m doing a dishwasher load of glasses nearly every day. The boys, (when they come out of their rooms for bathroom breaks and to eat – teenage boys DO NOT miss meals), forget what glass they had been using so … get another glass out of the cabinet. This not-knowing-which-glass-is-mine dilemma means I have glasses strewn ALL OVER the counter every single day.

And it’s not just the boys, the hubs is sort of bad about doing that himself. Me? I use the same cup all day long, every day. *cough*

So, not one to turn a challenge down, the husband comes up with a solution to my glass problem:

Cup Labeling

Clothespins. In addition to being handy in hanging up wet clothes AND serving as chip clips, now we have labeled our clothespins with our names and clip them onto our glasses whenever we’re not using them (because I have discovered, much to my boys’ amusement, that trying to drink anything from a glass with a clothespin? Simply DOES NOT WORK. I have the red bumps around my eyes and cheeks to prove it. And you only THOUGHT I was a dork. HA! Oh ye of little faith).

Isn’t this clever? Now? I only have HALF a dishwasher load of glasses to do every OTHER day. Now, if we could only think of someway to make the boys remember to CLIP their glasses when they’re done.

*sigh* It never ends.