Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obligatory Christmas Pics

I feel obligated to take certain Christmas photos - one of the kids in front of the tree, one of all the cousins on the couch.  Unfortunately for me, I have missed the big moment of my children finding the Santa gifts for years now.  If only Roxy would not rise at 5 am to go and inspect everything, I would get to snap a shot of her delighted smile.  But since she was 2, the year I found her playing with her new kitchen, I have not actually gotten live footage of the illusive, glorious moment.  This is odd, because Roxy generally obeys me.  But not when it comes to presents :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Got You, My Pretty

It finally happened - I got a beautiful cobalt blue enamel coated cast-iron dutch oven.  I predict that all my meat will roast perfectly from now on, thanks to this baby.  I will no longer drool over Le Creuset cookware, because mine is the best color of blue and cost $100 less than theirs.  Thanks for the Christmas money, Garret and Sheila.  My money went to a good place.

I took my daughters to Macy's where we bought Little Blue.  I showed them my Holy Grail - the Kitchen Aid stand mixer in cobalt blue - and told them that every girl deserves the right to dream.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Strong Enough to Be My Man

We have had a busy, sometimes trying week.  With lots of travel and traffic, toss in a blizzard, and dealing with all the emotions of seeing ones you love, the girls and I are exhausted.  But Scott is the one who deals with it all so well.  This week he:

1.  Drove a lot when we asked him to - even on very bad roads that were dangerous.

2.  Shoveled my parents' driveway multiple times in the blizzard and after the blizzard.

3.  Shoveled driveways of total strangers.

4.  Extended our OK stay a day because I was so anxious about travelling on icy roads.

5.  Overpacked our little trunk with all of the girls' Christmas treasures.  He didn't even overreact when Roxy told him at 6:30 am that she wanted to take home an empty box (it is a cute box :))

6.  Got us home at 10:45 and carried all our stuff upstairs while I unpacked the girls, found the nightly necessities, and turned up the heat around the house.

7.  He even bought me a book I wanted - and it was a surprise!  I didn't even pick it out or order it online for him to gift to me.

Being the only man in a house with three women is a tough job, and Scott is just the man to do it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas

Merry Christmas from the frozen land of Oklahoma.  Who knew that 14 inches of snow would blow in!  It is keeping us from some friends and family, though, and that makes it hard on my girls who crave time with the ones they love.  The good thing is that Scottie will be ready to push them around on the sled today, after he shovels pounds and piles of snow.  He really does love that sort of thing.  Weirdo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oklahoma Christmas Observed

Happy Festivus!  I have found my last gift and celebrated with some pizza from the Wedge.  Now I am merry and bright.

Driving around Oklahoma today and yesterday has provoked a few thoughts:

1.  I will never know Atlanta like I know Oklahoma.  I still remember where everything is, the shortcuts to take, where four different Best Buys are (and I had to go to two of them today), and you can actually get in to the places where you like to eat.  If I had to figure out how to get from one Best Buy to the other, it would take over an hour due to Atlanta traffic.

2.  Oklahoma looks like it has been blanketed in camo.  I am definitely used to seeing year-round green, thanks to massive amounts of rain in Georgia.  We need some snow here to brighten up this year's landscape.  And I am no longer used to flat, straight roads.  It feels kind of weird to me now.

3.  I miss having cheap movies.  I took Dar and a friend to the movies yesterday afternoon for $11.  You can't make that happen in Georgia.

4.There's no place like home, there's no place like home.  I'm glad I'm not in Kansas today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Franks' Literary Legacy

It's Christmas break and I have loaded the girls up with lots of reading material.  Today marks a new milestone, equivalent to a lunar moon landing, in the Franks' household:  Roxy is reading her first novel.

I do not recall Darby's first novel - it came very early and out of my control and my immediate reaction was, "You read what?  And when?"  Which explains a lot about Darby.  The reading spirit moves her in ways that cannot be understood or predicted.  She has always possessed a depth of knowledge and interest that she has never allowed to surface.  Finding out what Darby knows is serendipity - a happy and shocking accident.  Just this morning, while reading my daily quotes that come up on my google homepage, she immediately recognized a passage by Ray Bradbury, whom she informed me wrote Fahrenheit 451.  And she remembers all the details of said novel, even though she read it five months ago.  Did I know she had already read that iconic novel?  Hmm.  Maybe I did, but it just bleeds into the two novels a week she consumes like a man dying in a desert.

Roxy is different.  Roxy is led to books by her parents, her teachers, her advisors.  She does what she is coached to do, not by the act of a whimsical spirit to whom Darby responds.  Roxy is cautious about not reading something that she thinks will not appeal to her.  Her favorite writer is Mo Willems and she loves the Baby Mouse graphic novels - all cute, sweet books with animals that act like people.  Just like Roxy - the person who acts like a cute, sweet animal.

But today, Decemer the 19th, Roxy is reading The Boxcar Children.  She wants to read this book because she plays Boxcar Children with her cousin and her sister in the overstuffed garage.  She wants to read a book that does not feature animals.  She wants a real book with chapters.  And she has plowed through 50 pages in a very short time.

I wish I could remember what Darby's first novel was.  I bet Darby might remember, although she was probably 4 or 5 when she read it.  But for my little Roxy, I have the picture to mark the occasion.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Buddies

My daughter has a buddy from church to whom she is very attached.  They have the same hair and the same temperment and they are like magnets.  Some people think they are sisters, but they have just never seen Roxy attached to her actual sister.  It is kind of like they are related - they get along no matter what, with that tolerance and love that you have for those that are your kind.

At the church Christmas party, Roxy and Marissa got their hair styled like Whooville girls from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  They were attached like magnets the whole night.  Roxy has been blessed with an ability to connect with friends and love them without conditions - just what you would always want in a buddy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How to Pile On Holiday Stress - Middle School Style

The key to stressing out a middle school child during the holidays is to actually start on it months in advance.  The Power (as I will refer to the powers of middle school manipulation) has perfected its recipe:

1.  Take away all free time from the preteen child.  Require two hours of homework each night.

2.  Take away all sunlight and vitamin D from the preteen child.  School hours should be scheduled so they leave home at 8:30 and return at 5:00 due to bus routes.  They will soon look as pale as the entire cast of Twilight.

3.  Overfill the school with students.  It will become a dog-eat-dog world in the cafeteria where those 15 minutes of freedom are filled with long waits in a stinky food line and nowhere to sit for the remaining three minutes you get for lunch.

4.  Schedule 9 transitions in the school day.  The child will no longer be able to tell time due to the constant ringing of the bells.  And then, shuffle hundreds of students through the halls nine times a day that are 130% filled to capacity.

5.  Simmer for 5 months.  Sprinkle in tests, quizzes, group assignments with complete strangers, and one maniacal teacher that accepts only green ballpoint ink pen, just for fun.

6.  Now is when the fun begins.  Pile the Mondays on - stress from the teachers' expectations for projects, reports, essays, and rough drafts that get reviewed, critiqued, marked up again, etc.  Require holiday concerts but don't allow any actual holiday music.  Add in extra quizzes the last week of school so you have to turn in two projects one day, three quizzzes the next, and forget your expandable file at home that includes your hall passes that allow you to go to the restroom when you are desperate.  Add in physical education where the last week of school requires you to perform all the physical tasks learned all year, including rope climbing and chin ups and sprint drills, which must be completed in the 9th period of the day, not to mention changing into gym clothes in an overpacked locker room because the 100 extra students in the sixth grade had to go somewhere.

7.  Merry Christmas!  Let's hope this year is a great one because all the life and joy have been sucked out of you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Final Resting Place - Savannah Style

One of the things we experienced in Savannah is a somewhat unusual fixation with death.  Tons of people died there, primarily having lost their lives in tragic ways, so the ghost stories abound.  There is also a history of voodoo there and belief in spirits going back to the days of the pirates, the military, the slaves, etc.  I have never been a believer in ghosts, but all the freaky stories from Savannah make for a pretty entertaining tour.

There are spirits that supposedly haunt the Bonaventure Cemetary, a 600 acre cemetary covered with live oak trees dripping Spanish Moss.  This cemetary is incredibly old and striking.  I wanted to go to the cemetary, and because my family chose to indulge me, they did too.

The tributes made for the dead at this cemetary are incredible - works of art meant to be visited.  I am used to a world where very little is done to remember the dead, but that does not appear to be the case at Bonaventure.  I would have spent more time there if I could - it was really cool.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pretty Town, Pretty Squares

Probably my main reason to visit Savannah was because it is so pretty and so Southern and so quirky.  There is more history there than we could possibly get into, especially with our kids tagging along, but they were good sports for one day while we soaked up the culture that is Savannah.

The trolley tour was very convenient and very informative.  We walked through so many parks!  I would love to have one of those beautiful parks outside my front door.  And the building are really incredibly restored, as well as incredibly old.  We only allowed one day for the tour of the historic areas, but we needed more time.

We did manage to find the time to recreate a Forrest Gump moment.  When Forrest is sitting on a park bench, telling his life story to random strangers, he is actually in Chippewa Square.  It is gorgeous, but with me behind the camera it is not as picturesque as it actually is.  My sister and I even found white feathers on the ground, so we went to Forrest's Square and let them blow away, just like in the movie.  Oh yeah, stupid is as stupid does.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Beach Babes

We enjoyed a fall trip to Tybee Island, GA.  I wish I had more time there - I feel really relaxed and unplugged just spending time on the beach.  And, my girls positively love it.  They went in the water, too, which was polar bear cold on Thanksgiving but much nicer the next day in the afternoon heat.  We saw porpoises and collected shells and dug in the sand - and the temperature never reached 70.  Remember this, Scottie.  Your girls need the beach!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving at the Franks' house was a Wednesday event.  The food was good and I have really enjoyed all my leftovers.  On Thursday, we initiated my sister to the Waffle House.  Yes, it was as bad as it sounds.  And it was freezing in there.  But hey, we were on a road trip and sometimes Waffle House is the only thing that will do.

I will choose to remember the great meal served by moi, not the grease pit hostessed by a hollering gal with pink hair.   And this also marks the first time I got a picture of both girls with their glasses on - how clonish is that!