Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

We have not actually trick or treated in years.  We've been going to our church's fall festival (which is essentially the same thing - dress up in a costume, get candy) but now that we've moved, we decided to just stay home and hand out candy.

The kids, of course, decided to dress up and prowl around the neighborhood.  Ben and Emily are past the age of candy begging, but they still like to dress up.

I like to think they take after their mother.

 Ben went as Slender Man.  Google it if you don't know who that is.  I don't have time to tell you everything you need to know, people!

 Katie went as a lemonade stand.  The "lemonade" was actually jello so that it wouldn't slosh everywhere.

 Emily was a fortune telling machine.  She even had little slips of paper with fortunes on them that she would hand out in exchange for candy since she couldn't actually trick or treat for candy.

There's always a way of getting around the system.

Rigger stood in the door all evening and scared people who came to our house.  We told them he was a chihuahua and that he was just dressed as a mastiff for Halloween.  One kid asked me, "How did you even get him in that costume?"

 Aren't they cute?

 Ben's mask was entertaining in that it squished his features around a good bit. 
Especially his nose. 

 He liked making faces while wearing it.

 Emily actually rigged her crystal ball to glow with a green light.
She's uber talented when it comes to costumes.

Katie scored the biggest treat of the night when someone gave her this giant family sized Symphony bar.  There's a rich family around here somewhere, we must get to know them.

I love seeing all the fun costumes of the kids that come to the door.  The little ones are always the cutest.  My favorite tonight was a little three year old girl in a pink princess costume who walked up and bellowed, "Trick or Treat!"  I held out a chocolate candy bar and she said, "NOPE."  So I picked up a sour taffy and she said, "NOPE".  Then she just pushed my hand out of the way and started rooting through the bowl of candy.  "Do you have any lollipops?"  I was laughing so hard I could barely tell her, "I'm sorry, I don't".  She kept rooting around in the bowl, "Where are your lollipops?"

If it had been an older child I would have just sent her away and told her to try another house before my dog ate her, but she was just so cute!  Another little boy in that same age range warned Kerry that he was going to burn his face off if he didn't put the top back on our pumpkin.  

Halloween is all about the cutie pies!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

That Day Has Arrived

We went out to eat this morning, just Kerry, the girls, and me.  We picked a cute little breakfast restaurant that we had heard good things about.

It took about fifteen minutes to get a table, apparently people like to eat out on Saturday mornings; who knew?  So by the time we were seated, we had already perused the menu and we ordered right away.  Our waiter was a friendly, chatty type with an emo haircut.  Usually when they are really friendly and joke around with us, I think they are aiming for a good tip.  Well, I know they are trying to get a good tip.  I've done my time waitressing; I know what I know.

He checked on us a lot.  He asked how the food looked, then came back to find out how it tasted.  He asked if we needed refills three or four times.  Usually I can't find the waiter when I need him, especially when the restaurant is packed.  Katie and Emily had each gotten a lemonade (for breakfast!) and refills weren't free so I had limited them to one each.  When the waiter asked if they wanted more, I told him they didn't need any more sugar and they would just stick to water.  He came back and chatted about how they didn't even have heating lamps in the kitchen because all the food had to be served fresh off the stove.  He talked about the coffee.  He brought extra napkins.  I thought he was really nice but it was getting difficult to eat while he was talking.  I didn't want to be rude, but my food was getting cold.

But then, the waiter started telling us about his biceps.  Which goes a little beyond friendly banter if you ask me.  He told us how he'd never worked out a day in his life but he had really good biceps because the trays he had to carry out were really heavy.   When he mentioned biceps, Kerry and I were on to him.  He wasn't telling us about his biceps (which none of us could see by the way - especially with my hunky husband with his huge biceps sitting right there for comparison) to get a bigger tip, he was trying to impress my daughter.

Thankfully she was oblivious.  She was far more interested in her french toast than in his puny biceps.  She totally didn't catch on until Kerry and I were talking about it on the way home.  "What??" she gasped.  "I missed it!"

We pointed out that even after we had said no refills, he had handed her a to-go cup with another lemonade in it as were leaving.  He didn't bring Katie one.  Just Emily.  Kerry told her to check and see if he'd written his phone number on it.

So.  The day has arrived.  Boys are hitting on my daughter.  In front of me.  More importantly, in front of her rather intimidating father.  That took some guts.  Some emo-haired, puny-bicep guts.

But, not to worry, we have a plan.

We feel that if Kerry shoots just one, word will get out and we won't have to worry about any others.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


We were thrilled recently to score tickets to a Casting Crowns concert.  I had hoped to find a concert around Christmas so it could be a gift for the kids.  But, there happened to be only one close enough for us to get to is and it was this month.  It was on a Thursday night and it was a three hour drive but Kerry and I talked about it and decided it would be worth it.  Casting Crowns is Emily's favorite Christian band and we knew she would be beside herself over it.  Plus she caught me looking at concert dates so I couldn't hide it after that.

Not only did we get to see Casting Crowns, but there were two great opening acts!  Kerrie Roberts, who sings "No Matter What" and "Outcast" came out first and treated us to four or five songs.

Then, out came Kristian Stanfill who is from Georgia like us which means we probably know somebody who knows somebody who knows his mama and daddy.  That's how it works back home, we are all connected somewhere.

We were having a blast.  There was a lot of humor and joking in the show, not just singing.

But our favorite part, of course, was hearing Casting Crowns sing!

They sang all of their hits.   Emily knew every song by heart.

She really got her Holy, Holy, Holy on.

When I think of being in heaven and worshipping at the throne of God, I never imagine that I'm holding a hymnal and singing softly so no one else can hear that I can't really carry a tune.  I imagine everyone singing with joy and praise and truly worshipping.  

Worship.  Not just singing.

And when I can stand in a crowd of people with their hands up and everyone singing praises to God, (not to the band) it's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Liquid Love

I was drying my hair in my bathroom when Emily materialized next to me with a huge grin on her face.

"Mama, you know how Rigger drools?"

"Yes, I believe I'm acquainted with that."

"And you know how when he he shakes his head, the drool can just fly through the air?"


"And you know how Katie just got out of the shower and her hair was all clean?"


Katie was showered with liquid love.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

At The Circus

The Greatest Show on Earth really is the greatest show on earth.

We went to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus this week.

 What a show!

From the very opening act, we were mesmerized.  The parade at the beginning involved elephants, dogs, horses, dragons on segways, motorcycles, clowns, trapeze artists, acrobats and dancers all moving in different directions.  I don't know how they kept from colliding.   

I have to say, from the time the kids were born I have found that usually when something is advertised as "fun for the whole family", it usually isn't.  Things are always geared toward one age group or the other.  Either the adults or the kids are bored.  

But not at this circus.

We all were enthralled from the beginning.  I can't tell you the number of times we laughed, gasped, and applauded.  There are thrills, chills, and giggles galore.

My favorite thing is always the elephants.  I don't know why.  

One of the elephants started pooping, right out there in front of everybody, and a worker had to run out with a giant blue bucket and catch it all.  Then he had to clean up everything he had missed before he arrived with the bucket.  

I told my kids, "See, if you plan to run away and join the circus that could be your job."

The only downside was the cost.  Katie paid $8 for this box of cold popcorn.  And I thought movie prices were steep!

Well, no, there was another downside.  PETA was demonstrating outside about how circuses are cruel to animals.  I had to threaten Ben to keep him from trying to antagonize them.  PETA probably would not have approved of my methods, but I didn't want to get in a fight with the protestors.

The most jaw-dropping act was the last one.  They had a giant steel mesh ball and a man on a motorcycle drove around inside of it.  It looked like a very small ball and I noticed that it seemed cramped even with the one motorcycle in it.  They kept adding people on motorcycles though until they had eight in there!  Truly spectacular!

Monday, October 15, 2012

PB&J On Cardboard

Katie is taking a speech class.  That girl does know how to talk and she wants to be a lawyer, so speech is a good step in that direction.

This week she had to do a demonstrative speech and she chose "How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich" as her speech topic.

She practiced during the week and even made PB&Js for everyone in her class.

Then, the day of the speech, she came running up to me just before speech class, "Did we bring the bread??"  

She had packed everything but the bread.  Hard to demonstrate how to make the perfect PB&J without bread.

Thinking quickly, Katie ran over to the arts and crafts class and asked the teacher, "Do you have any pieces of cardboard about this size?"  She held up her hands to indicate how big.

"Sure!"  The teacher grabbed two pieces of cardboard and cut them to the requested size.

"Thanks!" Katie  told her, "I forgot bread for my sandwich."

"'re not going to eat these are you?"

Katie thought that was hilarious.
In the end, her speech teacher told her she was very creative to come up with a solution to the missing bread.  Katie said the best parts of her speech were ad-libbed about the missing bread and she got a lot of laughs!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Pride and Joy of Illinois

Transitioning from Hawaii to Illinois has been one of the most difficult things I've ever done.  Hawaii is just so beautiful and the weather is always wonderful.  It's a culture shock to move to a place where there really isn't much to do aside from shiver and watch the corn grow.

But I've been telling the kids for years, every move is about attitude.  You can move to a new state and tell yourself you don't want to be there and hate it every minute.  

You are still going to be living there and hating it won't make the time go any faster.

  When we lived in Alaska, I knew people that loathed it.  They couldn't wait to get orders to go somewhere else.  Meanwhile, we took our family to dog sled rides, ice carving festivals, outhouse races, salmon bakes, sledding, a riverboat cruise, train rides, a day cruise to a glacier where we saw killer whales jump out of the water and we watched the Northern Lights every time they were visible.

When we lived in Hawaii, I knew people that had island fever and they couldn't wait to leave and get back to the mainland.  Meanwhile we took the kids skiing, scuba diving, surfing, hiking, boating, climbing, camping, watched sperm whales jump out of the ocean, met Johnny Depp, met Duff Goldman, and saw a rainbow almost every day.

When we lived in Kansas.....well, we went to the mall a lot.  Kansas wasn't my favorite place. But we made good friends.  And it was a really nice mall.

When we got orders to move to North Carolina, I was really unhappy about it.  I didn't want to move there.  It was at the very very very bottom of my list of places I wanted to go.  But I ended up loving it.  I met my best friends there and the kids were involved in martial arts, swimming, and horseback riding.  I was sad when we left.

So  we are now trying to find the joy in Illinois.  We found the City Museum, but that was in Missouri.

But now, we can leave Hawaii behind with happy hearts.  So long beaches!  So long mountains!  So long beautiful weather, amazing sunsets, and daily rainbows!

Illinois has the world's largest bottle of ketchup!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Call Your Momma!

Ben had an exciting new experience last week.  He got a new roommate.  One of his old roommates decided to trade rooms with another student, Vern.  So Vern moved in.  Everybody's happy.

Then at two in the morning of Vern's first week, their dorm room door burst open and two police officers and the Resident Assistant of the dorm walked in.  "Where's VERN!?"

I don't know about you, but my first thought would have been, "My new roommate must be a druggie!  They are about to tear my room apart looking for drugs and I might be implicated!"

Actually, my first thought would have been, "Mmmph?  Wralla moomee bah."  I don't function so well at that time of day unless one of my kids has just said, "I think I'm going to throw up" in which case I can wake up startlingly fast and move like the wind.

Fortunately in this case the news was not any illegal activity.  The issue was that Vern had neglected to call his Momma and let her know he had arrived safely back at college.  She, clearly fearing the worst, had called the state police to track down her son.  I think that possibly the room change had thrown her off his scent because surely she tried other avenues to find him first.

The Resident Assistant told Vern, "I don't care if you have to call your mother every hour, you make sure you don't let this happen again."

Now, the mother's reaction may seem excessive.  Her son was not missing for long, no one had contacted her to say he'd been in an accident, and college students do tend to forget that they have family once they are back in the dorms.  But she actually was quite smart in her approach because I can guarantee you one thing:

Vern will never forget to call his momma again.