Monday, December 13, 2010

Music to My Ears

To all you mothers out there:  you must share my joy.  I have been feeling it recently.  In the past few days I have experienced some moments of "mom euphoria".  This happens when something you have been trying to teach, or something you only dreamed would happen, actually does happen.  In these mom-phoria moments, you must immediately post it to your blog and share with the world.

Mom-phoria #1:  I have a child that can properly AND correctly wrap Christmas presents.  AND all said presents are under the tree WITH HAND TIED BOWS ON THEM.  No gift has excessive tape either.  Hospital corners on every box.

I must pause because I have teared up a little.

Mom-phoria #2:  captured on digital image today:

This child is cleaning her room AND VACUUMING without being told to do this task.

Someone is going to have to do CPR on Scott after he sees this one.  I guess that will be me :)

I did not think I could be any prouder of either of my girls, but yet again, I am wrong.

Parenting has its privileges, and I have two of them.

I must remember these mom-phoria moments before it is time for them to do the dishes or fuss about their homework.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Something kind of remarkable happened today.

I was at home - alone - and I felt relaxed.


The past several months have been a seemingly endless barrage of responsibilities/events that have been a burden on this poor gal.  As I was contemplating my every-other-day trip to the grocery store where I prepare yet another dish for some responsibility/event, I realized that today was my only moment of peace this weekend. The revolving door of guest entertaining/church obligations/ work obligations/ necessary service events/ school obligations has left me feeling quite spent.  Overwhelmed.  Numb.

But today, for a couple of hours, I got to poke around in the basement, looking for Christmas ribbons.  There was no schedule pressing me for those few hours.  No preparations for me to make - for those few hours.  No decisions other than matching either the hounds tooth ribbon or the plaid wired ribbon with the green wrapping paper.  I did not have to decorate a classroom, a dining table, a craft project for church.  Nothing.  Nada.

I even skipped my workout today, because the obligation of getting to the Y felt like another scheduled burden.

Needless to say, my day of silence was over almost as soon as it began.  But it felt great.  And I went to the grocery store for the third time this week with a smile on my face because I felt lighter because of it.

Tomorrow, it will be back to the usual routine.  Meetings have been arranged, plans have been made, calories will be consumed in the course of all of this.  I will lose my nested feeling, I know, but now there are beautiful presents under my tree and my daughters are giddy with anticipation.  And when more guests arrive, as they always do, I will smile thinking about my next day of nesting.  Whenever that will be...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Commercial Happiness

The World of Coke beckoned to us:  come in, buy our stuff, see what it is like to be a happy American.   So we went.

It is a fun, festive place.  At Christmas, everything is decorated beautifully.  The polar bear is there for photos, and he is an awesome mascot.  Memorabilia is everywhere.  People from all over the world are there, speaking their native languages, making you feel like it's a small world after all.

The gallery of Santa paintings was probably my favorite.  Also, the Norman Rockwell paintings are good, too.  If you like Americana, you should go to Coke.

It is truly amazing how effective the marketing team at Coke really is.  They make you happy with their messages - in every country, in any language.  Their movies are clever and their product is very good.  It makes you want to buy their happiness.  And they have the cashiers to assist you with that, too.

The highlight of the tour is the tasting room.  You can taste hundreds of drinks from all around the world, owned by Coke.  My impression of the drinks is that in some countries the water must be so terrible that their crazy sodas must seem great.  Some of it is so nasty it cannot be described.  If I am ever in Djibouti, I will drink nothing.  Nothing at all.  But if there was a Coke there, I would do a happy dance.

I have now purchased a tiny bottle filled with Coke, and it is a tree ornament.  I am curious to see if the girls will leave it on the tree, or if they will sample it...the bottle is tres cute.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hello, Bacon Jam

The kids are out of school and it was a good time to explore our fair city.  It was also a good time to sit in a lot of traffic.  Funny how those two things go together.

First, we went to the World of Coke.  Everything is decorated pretty for Christmas and we had a good time.  We especially liked drinking all the weird flavors of drinks from all around the world.  However, when I am in Djibouti and Italy and Uruguay, I will especially careful about what I drink because I tasted some nasty stuff from those places.  We even drank Gingerbread Coke, the special flavor of the month.  It smelled and tasted just like it sounds, but there were no gingerbread chunks floating around in it.  Go figure.

And then, we finally found a place to eat.  Yeah! Burger.  And it is a very yummy place.  I finally got to try something I have wanted to experience:  Bacon Jam.  It is caramelized bacon in a spreadable form and it makes your food taste really, really good.  That little flavor made me very happy about the green bean bundles I am fixing for Thanksgiving, because caramelized bacon is a wonderful party in my mouth and I love it.  Also on our lunch plates:  fried pickles.  So, so good.  Yeah! Burger gets a thumbs-up from me.

As the rain settled in and my roaming around the Virginia Highland area drew to a close, I was just happy to spend a day with my family and I was happy to have Bacon Jam.  It was all good.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Pictures

Here are some photos of our fun little party.  Some of our book club came, but in total almost 100 church people were a part of the event.  The race pictures are a little lacking, though, because I was laughing at everything :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Box-Car Children

Another wild and wacky church party was on our agenda Saturday.  This one was very creative, very inventive, and pretty funny.

Burnt Hickory's Corrugated Car Show was very fun.  People could make a car from a box, enter it in the show where the favorites won a trophy, and then there were the races.  Children of all ages would sit on skate boards and race their box cars to the finish.  And it was hilarious.

Some cars were incredible in their details.  Some designers dressed up to go with their cars, like Roxy.  She dressed as a hippie to go along with her VW van corrugated car.  And the best part was the racing, where everyone cheered for their favorites.

Scott and I enlisted our elementary age book club to make a vehicle, but we made a ship instead of a car.  The Dawn Treader, from the C. S. Lewis book, won a second place trophy.  Yeah, it was that good.

We could not be the Ghost Busters, though.  That car was hilarious and absolutely perfect.  Plus, they played a theme song and dressed up as Ghost Busters.  They even got their octogenarian mothers to dress up and play with them, too.  That group was the best.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Favorite Things

So, my week has been kind of cruddy due to a malfunction of my sinuses, not to mention too much to do and not enough time to do it.  Blah blah blah, heard it all before from someone else, I'm sure.

My solution for today is to remember my blessings.  My favorite things, if you will.

1.  I love eating at Panera Bread with my girls.  When it gets a little chilly outside, we go in for soup and salad, or mac and cheese for Roxy, and we sit in a relaxing, warm restaurant and enjoy a meal with no rushing to get finished, no animosity, just us girls enjoying a favorite place on a quiet evening.

2.  I love elementary school music programs.  Today I watched Roxy sing the sweetest turkey songs in a room filled with every grandparent that could attend.  Roxy got to play the xylophone on one song and she could not have been prouder, or more perfect.  And then I went back to her wonderful classroom and watched Roxy be a fabulous assistant to her teacher by taking care of all of the music selections for the class. Roxy is a responsible girl and she rocks at her job, and I think her teacher appreciates her for the same reasons I do.

3.  I love good progress reports.  Darby did a good job and I am pleased that I don't have to be a meanie and get her in line.

4.  I love lifting my daughter's spirits.  I pulled Darby out of school for an hour or so (spirit lift) so we could see Roxy's program.  Roxy was so excited that Darby got to come (spirit lift) and she got to show Darby off to all her friends, some of whom remembered Darby from when she would broadcast the news every morning in her 5th grade year.  That was two years ago, and Roxy's buddies remember her!  Wow.

5.  I love Jimmy Fallon.  I watched his show from last night before Roxy got home from school.  He makes me laugh.

6.  I love my quilt fabrics.  I have been working on it today and I am thinking I will love this quilt.

7.  I love having a day filled with my favorite things, even if I have to do it all with massive amounts of tissues and coughing and medicine.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reality Check for a Tweenager

My dear daughter, the one who always, absolutely always, has to take pictures of herself every day, is officially in the age range where you can no longer tell she is twelve.

I blame it on the Davis genes.  If you have ever been to the Davis family reunion, you would understand just how small and insignificant you are and how tall and significant the Davis' clan is.  If you are a petite, you could not be a Davis or have that gene.

Petite feet are nonexistent in this house, thanks to the Davis gene.  This girl on the left needs a 10 now.  Not to mention the Little One not pictured, who now can wear a ladies size 6.  GAAK!

All three gals in this house are in serious need of wardrobe rehab, which I can blame on the Davis Gene.  When will the growth spurts end?  Darby is larger than most adults in my small group, which is quite literally a small group when you think about it.  As far as my wardrobe rehab goes, I have issues due to the absence of Dr. Pepper and the introduction of cardovascular exercise.  I can't keep my britches on anymore and it is starting to make me a little bit nutty.  But the Davis gene will keep me looking like a fabulous plus size model, being that plus size is anything over a size 6 (and I am way over that notch but still happy with my shrinkage:)

So, as far as the reality check goes, Scott got to deal with that one tonight when a comment was made by a trainer at the local YMCA.  Darby was getting set up to work out on the machine when he asked her age, and then was surprised that she was only 12.  I would have been horrified by a comment that aged me, but this girl was slightly impressed with her ability to confuse a member of the opposite sex.

She is just a baby!  A tween age baby!  If any of those big, hairy boys at the Y try to hit on her, Scott will lock her up on the third floor of our house and park himself outside on our front steps with his new gun and a box of shells, contemplating exactly who he will shoot first and whether or not he wants to seriously maim anybody.  And I will cower inside, knowing that she is beautiful and may be getting noticed by big, hairy boys that want her phone number.  Yikes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

An Intellectual Halloween

This was the year of the book nerd.  Roxy wanted to be Nancy Drew, the girl detective.  Her purse has many compartments, containing everything a young sleuth needs to solve mysteries:  binoculars, magnifying glass, fingerprinting equipment, spare change, pad of paper and pen.  This gal is prepared.  And she was a very cute, uber-preppy detective, and hardly anyone actually knew who Nancy Drew was.  Who are these clueless people?  Don't they know anything about children's books?  Don't they know that Nancy Drew was the big thing in the 1950s?

So, maybe Roxy is a throwback to another generation, one where the girls dress modestly, where they think and write and serve others.  As opposed to the pop tarted girls we saw in the naughty witch costumes, the Major Flirt costumes, and all the sexy kittens that come straight out of the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog.

She won a special prize at out small group Halloween party:  Most Intellectual Costume.  Her buddy in the top photo won Most Original.  She was Orange.  She even smelled Orange because they dyed her hair with Kool-Aid, which made her a living, breathing Scratch and Sniff being.

I think my eight year old rocks.  And I hope she will share some good candy with me while I take a small sabbatical from my diet.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creepy Drama Queen

Darby decided to go goth this year for Halloween.  She is Bellatrix LeStrange, the evil witch from the Harry Potter series that kills Neville Longbottom's parents with the Cruciatis curse.  I was trying to talk her into being Hermione Granger again, since we have a great costume, but NO!  And so, the Witch went to the area wide Youth Halloween party dressed like this.  She got the second place award at the party, and she was very proud.  It did not seem to bother her one bit that she was the only girl in a witchy costume with dramatic eye makeup and a very significant Dark Mark drawn on her arm with a Sharpie.  The fact that she does not need a wig for the witchy hair is something that we just have to learn to live with, kind of like making lemonade out of lemons.  Congrats on you creepy win, Dar.  Let's hope you don't contract Sharpie poisoning from your Dark Mark-doodled arm...

Friday, October 22, 2010

She's Alive!

The intensity of this look is pure Darby - she is about to do something that is kind of scary, something she has never done before.  She is going to float the rapids on the Ocoee River.

This river is the same river where Olympic athletes competed for medals in 1996.  Darby has had a little bit of instruction from Crazy Pete, her guide.  I saw a photo of him, and he looks like a character actor from Deliverance. Darby now knows how to fall out of the raft, and she knows the most dangerous places on the river, and she is praying that she avoids all these things.

And she does.

Darby survives the float trip and the spelunking expedition, but both were very intense, very challenging ventures.  Confronting fears in a crowd of teenagers is not an easy task - you may be remembered for your less-than-best moments.  And, Darby happens to be very verbal about what her issues are - she earned the Drama Queen title on the day of her birth and she has kept it ever since.

But now, a few days later, she is quite satisfied with herself and what she conquered - as long as she does not have to see the photos of the spelunking drama.  I don't like those pics, either, Dar.  I am sharing this photo with the world because you did a brave thing and I am proud of you.  Long live the Darby Queen!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

She's Not Normal, Either

This was conference week for the Franks' fam.  Not my favorite week of the year, but it is unavoidable.

Conferences have been a little bit like one of those Dirty Santa gift exchange games.  You know there are good things floating around, and just when you think you might hear something good, you realize that your child is not perfect and the teacher is giving you something you would rather not receive:  room for improvement.  In the case of our Big One, it is always about how she can do everything but she somehow manages to not excel, completely on purpose.  In the case of our little one, it is a different story.

Since Roxy started school, there have always been areas of improvement.  Not that there's anything wrong with that...but it seems like the teacher is always slightly concerned about what is going on with her.  Scott and I feel completely the opposite about our little one - she has always been just fine and we had no concerns until the teacher started telling us what all we had to be worried about - and I would feel defensive.  Roxy is our normal child!  How can you not get that?  Teacher, you don't know issues until you have an infant reading all letters, all the time, and she doesn't even walk yet.  We had that kid, and we know what challenges are, and Roxy is not a challenge, trust me.

So this year, we have the opportunity to meet with her teacher (who happens to be fabulous) and we hear a story we have never heard before.  "Roxy is not normal."  She also mentions that Roxy is an absolute gift, and I agree, but she tells us that it is not normal for a child to want so much responsibility, to do her jobs without looking for extra attention, to do everything without having to be told to do it.  And she is nice to everyone, too.  Apparently, that is not normal either.

So, the surprise gift thing happened to us again.  We found out that Roxy is not normal, but she is a precious gift that I would never swap.  And FINALLY...she is a prolific reader.  I knew she would cave in to the family trait.  Ha Ha Roxy.  You found the Franks' family gift!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Time to Pick the Pumpkins...

 Roxy got the only child experience whilst her sister was away, being a teenager with her youth group. 

Gasp.  Choke.  Faint.

The Big One is a teenager (almost) and the Little One was alone.  No one coped well with this scenario, especially the Little One.

But the pictures turned out cute anyway...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby Steps, Giant Leaps

My oldest has been taking baby steps into adulthood since the moment she was seventeen months old and decided to rise up and walk.  These days, it feels like I am earning more stretch marks as I watch her mature and change into something I have never had before - an almost teenage adolescent.

Change is exciting.  I don't happen to do exciting very well - just ask Roxy, because she says we have the most boring house EVER.  And Darby is pretty much facing it all, head-on, ready to go.  This is a slight shift for her, because there have been numerous occasions where she has dug in her heels and refused to acknowledge any change or growth required of her.

But her changes now are of great interest to her.  New, mature clothes.  Huge-but-beautiful feet.  Skin care.  Hair care.  Text messages that she wants to keep private.  Deep thoughts about deep subjects.  Activities that take her away from this home and away from her unqualified mother.  I am definitely feeling more stretch marks, every day.  Who knew that I was the one doing all the stretching?  Who knew that I was the one that needed to adapt?

And now, my baby is wanting to redefine herself.  And these are more like giant leaps to me.  She is now a reader.  Now she wants to dance in a studio where she will wear tarted-up spandex.  Now, she wants to join a club for the gifted kids that try to solve hypothetical problems in competition venues.  This kid?  The one who still acts like a wiener dog?  

This momma cannot take on those stretch marks right now.  No way, no how.  I am just trying to survive the big kid, who will soon share my shoe size, if she is that unfortunate...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Less-Than-Deep Thoughts

Today was a thoughtful day for me.  I was around people who were having a less-than-best day, and I thought about what might be provoking them.  The children I taught were certainly having their less-than-best day, and I thought about the parents that need to take care of them and teach them a thing or two since I was getting nowhere with them.  Sitting at home, reflecting on this day, I had these less-than-deep thoughts:

1.  I wish I had HBO.  I want to watch the Bruce documentary tonight about one of my top five favorite albums, Darkness of the Edge of Town.

2.  I love fall weather, especially here in Georgia.  I want to go someplace pretty without a less-than-patient individual getting peeved about traffic and wrong turns.  I want to enjoy the great weather without some less-than-adult person complaining about how boring we are.

3.  I would like to be able to cook a wonderful meal that everyone would like and would meet my dietary requirements.  I feel judged by my plate now if it has anything that is rich in flavor, because it mocks me with its caloric content.  And I don't like the mocking part.

4.  The basement.reorg is a disaster right now.  It is mocking me as well.  Maybe this is the weekend to subdue the clutter and dust and embrace the higher level that my husband subscribes to - the everything- contained-or-thrown-in-a-trash-container concept.  I am less-than-proficient at containment.

5.  Darby's hair needs a new high dollar treatment.  This less-than-cheap need is a burden on my bank account.

6.  Roxy is bored...again.  I feel mocked by this less-than-accurate depiction of all the members of this house.  I refuse to be a jukebox of events for an eight year old.  I wish we lived next door to the Duggars, because surely one of them could play with her and be entertaining.  It's not my fault that she is bored with the puzzles from the Sunday paper, cuz they suit me just fine.

7.  Chipotle should build a location in my neck of the woods.  I would be loyal.

8.  Laundry is almost done.  Now if only I could sort through all the less-than-perfect clothes that are too small for the girls, and the less-than-perfect clothes that are too big for me.  I am less-than-proficient at containment, like I mentioned earlier, so boxing up this stuff makes my mind wander.

9.  I wonder if I have enough leftover taco meat for a less-than-healthy recipe for our dinner tonight.  That would be great.

10.  Maybe I need to go to a movie tomorrow.  Just me, myself, and I.  Time for an escape that includes peace and quiet, surround sound, and less-than-healthy popcorn.  Maybe...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Brainy Beauty and the Brainy Beasts

My Saturday was spent being a brainy mom.  I do not drive my children around to non-stop soccer games, no, I drive my beautiful daughter to an academic contest.  And, she rocked.

Darby, who is not into joining or competing in anything, is on an academic bowl team.  This did give me pause.  I know what it is like when trying to get Darby to perform up to her potential - she balks.  But, because of the care and consideration of a beloved teacher, she agreed to be on the academic team.  Ten boys and two girls.  Darby does not seem to mind this so much, and apparently she does have some competitive bones in her body.  Her school performed so well - they go to the regionals this winter, so we will have lots of opportunities to funnel more knowledge into her until then.

After witnessing the academic bowl this weekend, I have a new appreciation for mathletes.  You would not believe how hard the math questions were, and they have to be answered in a couple of seconds.  There was this one genius that seemed to always get them right, unfortunately he was representing a school from the other side of the county.  Darby's team did very well, but I don't think they have Rain Man in their group.

When they would start reading a question that I knew that Darby would know, I would get so anxious for her.  I want her to buzz in every time, but she is a little more cautious than that.  Thankfully, she did get the opportunity to score some points in language arts.  That little chapter she read in the second grade kicked off her success, and since no one else knew it, she accumulated 20 more points.  But the ones she missed!  AAARGH!  These students could use me on their team when it comes to the miscellaneous trivia questions.  Based on what happened on Saturday, I am glad I hung a U. S. map in her room in the first grade, I am glad I invested in good, quality literature, and I am glad we read history books out loud on our road trip to Oklahoma, because she used all of these resources for the academic team questions.  Darby, you rock.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Literature Experiment: Darby Franks

Roxy recently finished this book that I have in my personal home library. The handing down of books in my house is big business, and since Roxy is following the path I paved of reading 1 book every 3 days, I have a lot of recommendations for her. I got an idea from the book that I tried out on my third period class. We are possibly the loudest class in the school, in the loudest period of the day--lunchtime. Not second even to Connections classes (which are like elementary school specials), nobody in my third period even knows how to shut up. Not that I hate them, I have more friends there than any other period. But the skill of being quiet is something all people should know, and all teachers appreciate greatly, of course. My teacher had her doubts when I told her, but she gave me the thumbs-up. I walked up to the class to propose my idea and list the terms and conditions. As soon as I said "Hey, if we don't talk the entire class--" EVERYONE BURST OUT LAUGHING GIGGLING BELLOWING WITH LAUGHTER.True story. It went on like, a minute and a half, straight from a movie. Every single person that was sitting in a desk was doubled over screaming their lungs out. I expected this, so don't assume I went crying back to my desk. Once I said things like "girls vs. guys" and "cupcakes for the winning team" I got their attention. We followed the terms pretty closely: no talking to friends, whispering to friends, or giggling with friends. In fact, no talking at all, unless the teacher calls on you. We had a lead right away: in the first 30 minutes of class, the guys had two points up. That is just sad, people. At lunch, one girl I know well, Jessica, hated me temporarily because I "took her words away." She is one of the noisiest people in class. Bunmi said that it was rigged, but when I asked him how, he couldn't give an example. He was probably just being a sore loser. The Girls won!! I asked if anyone would do it again, and like, 5 people said yes out of the entire class. Oh, well. I got to be a leader, even just for one class. But if I could have pushed it further, I would have done exactly what the kids in the book did: continued it for three weeks and driven all the teachers to madness. Ah, the opportunities...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Here are my precious daughters, looking spiffy on a Sunday.  The week away from school was wonderful and they were happy and rested and looking forward to getting back to Cognitive Abilities Testing.  Yeah right.

On Sunday, we had a meal with some church friends who are just getting to know my daughters.  They could not believe that these girls were so trendy, wanting to wear these stylish clothes.  And, they could not believe how brave they are about wearing hats.  Both girls love their fedoras.

How do you explain quiet, mostly shy girls?  Darby, in particular, is a self-conscious and quiet drama queen.  Her Daddy tagged her with that nickname in the hospital on the day of her birth.  She has no problem with public speaking and being noticed, but she is also very private and sometimes distant because of her 'cognitive abilities'. Wearing a very noticeable hat suits her enigma.  Roxy is our Rock Star.  She is quiet in public and irritates the tar out of me because she refuses to speak up whenever necessary.  But, she can totally emote into something of a show-off when she has an audience and gets wound up, striking funny poses and wearing funky clothes.  The funk suits her, as does her rockin' name.

I blame the je ne sais quoi of my daughters on their whole look.  With the unconventional hair - Curls Gone Wild - people seem to think they should be a certain way, but then they are truly shy in outer personality, and then they surprise you with the personality that doesn't seem to fit either their look or their mien.  So go figure - I don't know what it is, but both are suited perfectly well to each other and to me :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Road Rules

We just completed a great road trip back from Oklahoma, which is way too many miles for this momma to drive, but it is what it is.  This was probably the best trip ever, as far as travelling goes.  No drama for the momma, happy girls that got along and swam and pulled their weight, and lots of visiting with family and friends that left us feeling blessed.  Since I have now perfected the 15 hour road trip, I have a list of rules that I will try to always follow:

1.  Take the trip in two days.  This gal can't drive that long trip in one day.
2.  Stay at a hotel/inn that is better than the bottom of the barrel.  It costs more, but it is worth the good night's sleep.  And, the bedding is better, the towels are better, the breakfast is better, and the HD TV is a treat for me, considering I will never have one of those new-fangled gadgets.
3.  Quit driving by 7 p.m.  You can relax with the hotel paper while your girls swim in the indoor pool.
4.  Avoid fast food whenever possible, except when you see Taco Bueno.  We don't have those in my area, and they have always been a favorite of this family.
5.  Make one meal ice cream.  Lunch or dinner doesn't matter because everyone is happy, and you can follow it up with something healthy to make up for it.
6.  Have a book for out-loud reading in the car.  Make Darby read it to you.  We had more conversations this trip about all sorts of things, spurred by this book that is a comprehensive history of the world.  Loved it.
7.  When the little one wants to bring lots of stuffed animals, just let her.  She is a happier camper with them, no question.
8.  Pack at least 25 disks, and cover every genre of music you have listened to since high school.  It is amazing how many lyrics you will never forget.
9.  Bring all of you Loony Tunes disks.  They can even make me laugh up in the front seat, and I can't see a thing.
10.  Do not put strict limits on screen time when making a big road trip.  It will be okay if Roxy watches all four of the Benji movies in one day - she has nothing better to do, anyway.  And, she will still read her book, draw and color, play electronic games, etc.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The United Friends of Roxy's Room

Roxy and her team of "besties" are back!

Which means, small group is back in session.  Our home, being the preacher's house, is clean and ready to rumble.  The August hiatus and all the summer entertaining are over and we are back in business with our dedicated families returning for Season 3.  And, we have added FIVE families.

Which means, the house may be breaking, the carpet may be on its last legs, and the kids are all right.  At least, they will be all right until I find out that they are bouncing on the furniture again, and in that case there will be a kid who is NOT all right.

Which means, it's time for my Captain of Rule Following to lay down the law.  This year, she recruited her "besties" to set up the laws with her and sign it like a Constitution.

I am very proud of them.  I love a united front that is all about order and respect.  This is necessary when five year old girls are in the mix :)

Let's hope that the adults have a great year studying and the kids work out all the issues democratically.  And the seventh graders girls do a great job with the babies.  And the seventh grade boys don't hack into our wireless Internet code.  And that lone five year old boy does not make everyone too crazy.  And let's hope Roxy and the Besties are B.F. F.s forever - united by their own, self- governed, pink Pottery Barn-ish room.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Banjo Heroes

   Scott and I had the awesome opportunity to see the Avett Brothers last night in this beautiful part of Atlanta where the money is old, the houses are big, and everyone behaves very well, even when drinking their "beverages".

I was able to talk Scott into going to this show because they feature a banjo in all of their songs.  They also use the cello, string bass, and about every other percussive instrument under the sun, which makes the show even better and the music even richer.  I like them for numerous reasons, but mostly because they are good ol' Carolina boys that have created their own music and sound and work so hard to make sure that everyone has a good time.  And, all of the songs are singable - you can understand all the words, except when they rap like rapid fire.  Yes, they rap while strumming the fire out of the banjo and other acoustic instruments.  And the entire crowd of mostly twenty-something preppy hipsters wearing their hemp necklaces, cargo shorts, and Jason Mraz hats just bounces along, singing every single word to every single song.  It was so fun.

The opening act was so good, too. Brandi Carlile opened and she was very good, very authentic, and enjoyed every minute of being in front of a huge crowd.  When she started on the Johnny Cash songs, they all worked really, really well.  And she is a girl, which could have been disastrous.  We really liked her.  She uses the cello in all her songs, too, so she gets bonus points on my rating scale.

Whenever we go to a concert filled with people acting like adults, using clean language, and respecting all the other people there, we know we have got the right music and the right crowd.  I will go back for the Avett Brothers - they make you love them and their music.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seventh Grade Ephemera

I found many more interesting things in the basement this weekend.  The good news is:  I found my glass salad bowls in a very small box stored with old financial documents.  Go figure.

Then,  I found this in another box.

This is a drawing of me in the seventh grade.  I was 12 years old and had just gotten glasses.  A word of advice to current/future parents out there:  get your kid in glasses BEFORE junior high hits, puberty hits, and self-conscious anxiety take over a girl's life.  In the seventh grade, I had never felt lower and more down on myself than ever.  Entering junior high was tough for me.

But...there was one boy that liked me, and I did not know about it.  He drew this picture of me from memory and I managed to find out about it from his cousin, who was a friend.  Was I ever kind to this boy?  I don't really recall.  He was curious about me being a Christian because he did not believe in religion or God or anything so spiritually-based.  I was such a good girl - no bad language or bad behavior.  Nothing bad at all.  I did not know what to do about getting this picture and processing the feelings that came with it.  My mom salvaged this picture from me, afraid that I would destroy it.  My mom was a smart cookie, because a 12 year old that hates her glasses could wreck this piece of homemade ephemera.

Finding this picture made me empathize with my oldest child, Darby.  She is in the seventh grade now.  Does she feel as down about herself as I did that year?  Is there some boy drawing her picture from memory that she does not know about?  Will she regret her hairstyle, like I regret my very 80s hair in this drawing?  I hope my daughter feels more confident at 12 than I did.  I hope she can recognize the honor of having a boy like her, because I do not think I recognized it very well.  Maybe it was because he did not believe in God - that was a definite turn-off in my books back then as well as now.

My husband has been teasing me about this picture for a couple of days now.  I would like to point out:  no one drew him when he was 12.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Personal Unholiday

If I lived in the central timezone, or at least a state in the general vicinity of Oklahoma, I would be enjoying my family, my extended family, and my extended family once removed.  But, alas, there is no family reunion for me (again) this year and I am attempting to cope.

Ho Hum.

I rented a movie.  That was okay.

I went to the Square and saw lots and lots of art on a spectacular day.  Weather was great, art was fun, then it was over.

I ate Colombian food.  I liked most of it and I liked all of the sauces.  That was okay.

I proceeded to clean the basement.  The Pit of Despair has been trying the patience of my husband these days.  I must return to the basement (again), but some progress has been made.  That is okay.

I caved in and broke a diet rule and had ice cream.  I never have ice cream anymore, but the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle-sized hole in my stomach needed to be filled.

I looked at Roxy's baby photos and cried.

I am now on a path of self-sabotage.  Ice cream and baby photos are making me weak.  What else can I do to fill the family reunion hole in my weekend?

Roxy's solution:  The American Girl Store.  Yep.  When all else fails, spend money in egregious ways so the guilt of overspending consumes the guilt of missing the fam.

Now, I'm off to work out twice as hard so as to counter balance the ice cream and baby pictures I might encounter again today...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Diss'd in the Malibu

I have been seeing my old car in numerous places these days.  The Malibu Chevelle is making a comeback!

I have seen it featured in all the advertising of the show, Memphis Beat,  That show has been on cable this summer so often, and his car is also the original color of my old car.  It is also in the movie, The Other Guys.  I've even seen it on the streets of the Atlanta area.

Every time I see it, I have to smile.  It was the car on which I learned to drive. No power steering, practically no air, regular gasoline, it could easily seat six ( which would happen once I was in college.)  I never wanted to drive it to school because these guys would look at it, and they were not the guys I felt comfortable looking at, much less joining in their conversation.  But once I went to college, it became a thing of character for me.

It built my character on a regular basis.  I broke down in the car all over the place.  It once stopped running due to extreme cold, leaving me stranded out in rural Oklahoma where the block froze on it and it ruined all the houseplants I was "babysitting" over Christmas break.  It was never a thing of beauty until we had it painted I-ROC blue, which is my favorite cobalt-type color, and then the guys remembered the girl in that old car.  I would get phone numbers left on the car, from guys that noticed me in it and wanted me to call them.  I would get notes about how they loved my car.  They probably wanted to buy it, but it made me feel appreciated anyway.

So now, I find myself sentimental about my old car and my 20 year old self and all the friends I drove around in the car.  Those were the days...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And a 1, and a 2

So, my girl is a big 1-2.  Twelve years ago, after great anticipation, we brought the little thing home today and reality set in - what on God's green earth were we going to do with her?  She had already had a showdown with her daddy on day one, where she gave him the stink eye at 2 a.m. and wailed her lungs off (and I lay passed out from birth exhaustion and heard not a word.)  And, she had a massive amount of unmanageable curls and she was a night owl who slept significantly less than every infant mentioned in every doctor's publication, birthing book, and parenting magazine.

We soon discovered that yes, some things you learn about your child on day one will last a lifetime, or at least through year 12 and beyond.  Scott and I soon learned that this girl would amaze us, leave us baffled and speechless, and think far, far deeper thoughts and have far, far greater understanding of numerous subjects than we could even imagine.  And she is so photogenic, she rules every photo she is in.

But as for the curly hair, it is still unmanageable, but with massive amounts of money, even straight hair is possible...for a day...Happy birthday to my amazing daughter.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Perks of Dog Ownership

Roxy was emotionally ready to take the dog back, but when we refused to keep the kennel for her to play in, I was worried about her losing it.  On the other hand, I was not emotionally ready to continually find my daughter camped out in the dog's kennel.  So glad to have moved on.  Now, if only she would not act like a dog...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Say Hello/Goodbye to the Dog

Introducing our newly departed family pet - Biscuits Johanson, a rescue Shih Tzu that was fully potty trained, not a picky eater, took little naps at your feet, loved to walk, practically never barked, loved to play ball, never shed a hair, and fulfilled Roxy's dreams of owning a dog.

For about a week, I should say.

The dog was a good dog, would stay in his kennel when needed, and absolutely loved our Alpha Male, Scott.  Scott would have preferred a less prissy-type dog, but oh well.  Roxy chose Biscuits, the entire family approved, but after three days Roxy just could not cope with having a dog in the house.  This dog is a true companion and loved having people around, but suddenly the role of owner because a little difficult for the Rock Star.  It was her dog, her responsibility, but her fears and sensory issues won out in the battle of Child versus Dog.  Roxy did not like the dog rubbing against her legs, she didn't know how to react when the dog got excited, and she never got comfortable picking up the dog and grooming the dog.  Too much fear.

Scott and I kept our commitment to her and we got her a dog.  We were good dutiful parents.  And now, Biscuits is happily back a resident of the "Hotel for Dogs" in Atlanta.  And we got a refund.  Whew!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Cousin Photo

It was almost like a mirage - all the cousins, together, for approximately 10 seconds.  Too bad we can't figure out how to get them looking all the same direction.  We did not have any bribes/currency with us, which explains the lack of focus issue.  Sigh.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Strange Statue

There is a beautiful yet strange statue that stands in Chattanooga, TN.  When I saw it a few weeks ago, I remembered that I always found it funny - the statue looks like it needs to go to the bathroom.  So, because we were celebrating my birthday, I managed to talk my daughters into standing beside it for a photo.  They know that I love statues and can get very fixated on taking photos of them, with them imitating the statue's pose.  This thing I have with statues - beautiful yet strange as well.  Based on the attached photo, this may be the last time a statue photo takes place - ever again.  Poor me :(

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Mountaintop Experience

...that is, the Montana experience.  This is why I did not post for a couple of weeks - I was too busy breathing the thin, cool Montana air.  I spent a couple of hours laying on a huge flat boulder, resting by a crystal clear lake, looking at the huge Montana sky, listening to my daughters catch a bunch of brook trout, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.  I read seven novels over the course of two weeks.  I walked twice a day through a small town.  I saw three movies.  I saw the prettiest parts of Yellowstone, plus lots of wild animals.  I rested.  I hiked.  I thought I was going to die, hiking back from that fishing trip, but I didn't.  I gained no weight.  I shopped my absolute, number one favorite downtown Main Street AND my husband came with me.  He bought me polenta with the luscious sauce and asparagus for my date night meal.  I saw a lot of cowboy boots, snow, baby piglets, Harleys, and wildflowers.  I was not a preacher's wife for two weeks.

Mission accomplished.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Say Hello to the School Girls

No angst this morning, just two pretty girls with lots of hopes and dreams.  Roxy came home with hopes and dreams intact.  But Darby, well, we'll see how middle school treated her...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adios, Kitty.

Her time has come to be a ward of the animal shelter.  The tiny kitten that adopted our family is no longer a Franks.  After feeding the cat for a couple of weeks, we determined that a stray kitty is not a good fit for out family.  Everything we had been told led us to believe that a cat would be independent, would prowl, would be curious.  But not this precious one - she was a lap dog with no will to do anything but beg for us to come out and see her.  There was not enough attention for this little kitty, who kept right by the window all day and all night.  And we were sure that this cat would be a domestic nightmare, so inside would not do.  Roxy so desperately wants a dog, and she was the one who wanted us to call the Animal Cops to rescue this kitty, so the delivery was made yesterday.  Roxy returned very emotional, having seen all the dogs at the shelter and being entirely freaked out about the number of large pit bulls there.  Will the dog be a part of her near future?  We'll see.  Scott is going to take Roxy to the pet store today (her tears softened him up quite a bit!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mother's Helper

My oldest daughter has had a little adventure in babysitting this week.  Darby is very, very taken with babies and loves to hold them.  Mind you, she did not feel this way when she was three and had an actual baby sister, but I am thrilled for the reversal of opinion.  Yesterday, as a mother's helper, she was the entertaining child care director for some children from church with whom we have spent lots of time.  Darby got to feed the baby, play with the baby, rock the baby, help out the other little kids, and then came The Big Event in the baby's diaper.

Darby's actual experience with diapers is limited, but she has the basics down.  There is no instruction on how to change a colossal load when the baby is very, very squirmy and restless during diaper changing time.  The mother, who was meeting some people in another part of the building at this very moment, could not be there for the Big Event, but boy, she sure heard about it from her other children.

Darby had two child helpers, so she starts to change the baby when all three of them discovered that the baby had numerous tactical maneuvers they had never seen.  Darby hands the baby a toy to occupy him during changing time, which he promptly plunges into his Big Event.  And now the three girls discover that the baby has advanced tactical maneuvers they have never seen before.  Out of the blue, Darby realizes that there is a sink right next to her and gets the baby into the sink where they proceed to wash the Big Event off of all the baby parts and big girls parts and all other parts sacrificed in this mission.  And the mother, having been alerted of the def con 1 level Big Event, comes back to see her baby enjoying his impromptu bath in a foul, malodorous room.

Darby survived the Big Event, no one was hurt in the mission, and she was so excited to collect a payday for the biggest poopy diaper she had never seen before.  Good job, Dar.  You have never really lived until a baby has defeated you, humiliated you, and then made you smile right afterward.  I am glad you had this parenting lesson - thank you Lord for baby wipes!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lake...Big Lake

We spent the day on the lake and the whole family had a good time.  Darby and Roxy got to go tubing, and it was fun for both of them, although we were going slow enough for old ladies pushing walkers to pass us.  But thankfully, this experience wiped out the previous disastrous experience Darby had with the youth group earlier this summer.  What a relief.

Probably our favorite thing to do was swim in the lake and tour around, checking out all the boats and beaches.  Scott attempted to wake board, but I had to make an executive decision to refrain from posting the photos.  I love you too much, babe.  There is no photo that can truly show the pain and suffering he is feeling today in his back, in his wrist, in his other sore body parts.  Wake boarding is not like riding a bike - you can actually forget how to do it.

For me, it was good to spend the day with family and friends.  That was just what I needed this past weekend.  God is good.