Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bulletin Doodles

For a change, our church bulletin had a huge white space in it instead of the usual bullet points with fill in the blanks.  Normally, Roxy does a Mad-Lib style rewriting of Scott's sermon notes.  Some of them are pretty funny.  Today, Roxy was inspired by "The Story of Everything," a you-tube video from Austrailia, I think.  We love that one. 

So, Roxy illustrates sin.  With a lizard instead of a snake?  Go figure.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sketchpad: Darby's Latest Project

Sometime this summer, Darby started to draw.  She has always kind of dabbled, even as a two year old.  I remember distinctly one evening in Houston when Darby was two and she started drawing page after page of people, with lots of specific features.  It seemed to be something that happened overnight.

So, the latest overnight change in my eldest daughter is drawing.  Suddenly, with no instruction outside of a couple of library books on art, we have a daughter who is filling sketch pads with her art.  And now we have the makings of a graphic novel.  I cannot wait to see what happens next with this girl.

Monday, October 17, 2011

...Go See a Man About a Horse

 My city slicker daughters have never got to have much interaction with animals of the non-stuffed variety.  So, on a particularly glorious Sunday afternoon, they accepted an invitation to feed and groom a horse.  Roxy was very excited about this, which also means she was nervous about it as well.  Darby was totally cool about it all, which means she is officially a teenager and she is beyond acting like a kid now.  Sigh.

They liked the cleaning and the grooming, and when it was time to ride, they both did a great job.  Roxy got to wear her Oklahoma State Fair cowboy hat, and that made her very happy.  She was not so confident about riding the horse, but by the time she got on the horse for the second time, she was pretty happy with what she had learned.

The best news of the day was this:  these girls do not want their own horse.  Daddy could not be more pleased.  Which also means:  they may get to go out and take care of the horse again.  It is a win-win for all.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just Enjoy the Show

Yes, she is amazing (to me.)  I could watch her all day.  And now, my house is filled with music and singing and my mothering dream has come true :)

I must apologise for the whiny quality of the volume.  This girl needs better technology to show off her voice, and we are determined to get better technology sometime soon.  And, in case you were wondering, Roxy is reading the graphic novel version of Twilight in the background.  It is Darby's book and she is fascinated with it.  Next, she will be reading the graphic novel version of The Scarlet Letter.  We are so cultured around these parts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teenage Drama Queen

I've been thinking about my teenager today.  As of today, I have a teenager.  Gulp.

I pulled out the scrapbooks to reflect on my daughter.  I decided to scan a page for this blog post, as a tribute to what 10 years can do in the life of my little teenaged girl.

Ten years ago, Darby talked just like Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables books.  Ten year ago, Darby expressed every thought in her head with shocking clarity.  Ten years ago, Darby would wake up at 4 a.m. and insist it was time to get up because she deemed it so, even though the sun would never obey her and rise.  Ten years ago, Darby was three.  It is all a blur right now.

Three was not a good year.  Lots of good moments, but a pretty tough year.

But that year is in a galaxy far, far away now.  Everything has changed.  For the better.  I am so grateful for this girl, for what God has given her, and for everything I have experienced with Darby.  Happy 13th birthday sweetheart.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Little Girls/Big Girls

The blues hit me today.  My girls are all grown up and I am merely an alarm that wakes them in the morning.  They get themselves ready, put in their contacts, fix their hair (but I sometimes intervene anyway), pack their lunches, do the dishes, clean the bathrooms and their bedrooms.  They still need me, but they are very self sufficient in many ways.  Sniff, sniff.

The blues hit me today when I looked at this photo.  Probably one of my all-time favorites.  I actually teared up.  Darby was in second grade and still refused to wear her glasses all the time.  Roxy was three and was learning how to get candy from every living human being by showing them those cute puppy-dog eyes and being impossibly sweet.  AND they let me dress them in coordinating outfits.  They were not perfect children, but they were completely, wholly unique, fascinating, and mine.  They needed me 24/7.

I thought about a recent photo we took of the girls on one of our random road trips and I thought of how I was seeing them now and how I saw my daughters way back then.

Maybe this is all just a precursor to the new reality:  I am 40 and am about to be the parent of a thirteen year old daughter whose mind goes so far beyond my expectations and whose intellect and love for words still blows me away.  She actually scares me sometimes.  And she is so beautiful too.  The other reality:  my baby will be turning 10 this year.  To this day, every photo I see of her, I see her as a baby.  My baby, who can make us laugh when she uses her sarcasm, her goofy faces, her infectious laugh.  And she is so beautiful too.

This recent photo shows me something that I had always hoped and prayed for:  my girls loving each other.  Roxy would do absolutely anything for her big sister and will go to great lengths to impress her and please her and defend her.  Darby looks out for her little sister, tolerates her better than anyone on the planet, and she is always so helpful and full of good advice for her.  Their kindness towards one another is startling.

I want to freeze this new reality and keep it forever.  Or, at least I don't want to mess it up.  Here's hoping that in another six years, I will see the same things in that picture.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Tale of Two Daughters

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  It was the first day of school.

I did not shed a single tear this year as I kicked my little chickies out of the nest.  I could only hope for the best.  This is how their stories go:

Tale #1:  Daughter woke at 6 am, full of life and happiness.  Yay!  First day of school!  Daughter already had her clothes picked out (a graphic tee with the slogan "Nerd Alert" on it.  No, I am not making this up.)  Obligatory first day of school picture is taken with her sporting a lovely peace sign-covered backpack (worn on one shoulder only this year.  She has matured.)  Was so excited to be "older" this year, in the same hall as the oldest kids.  Lots of new students in class and she is going to be friends with them, but is not sure if she will ever remember their names.  Sits by all boys - by choice?  Watch out for that one, Scott.  Surrounded by friends at lunch, has a very happy recess on brand new playground equipment, rides home with a good buddy from class and the bus driver does not yell or anything bad.  Daughter is greeted at the door by me, holding a glass bowl filled with peanut butter M&Ms.  One minute later, I am signing every possible permission slip required by the administration.  Daughter proudly shows me her homework binder that she has organized with tabs, her very first agenda, and perfect handwriting is all over it.  She immediately does her homework as I toss her M&Ms.  Then, we go do our cardio workout.  Daughter is not tired yet and cannot stop talking about her exciting day.  Evening is capped off with a brand new Adventure Time with Finn and Jake.  Life is wonderful.

Tale #2:  Daughter drags her weary body out of bed.  Could not go to sleep last night - must have been nail polish fumes in her bedroom or something like that.  The hair is pretty big this morning, so she must bind the hairy beast.  Slumps at the breakfast table.  Packs her own lunch, and I smile because she is showing some gumption now.  Dresses in her newest clothes, which includes jeans with lots of holes in them, but none in revealing places, so they pass the dress code.  Daughter wears her new Keds with the yellow laces, which reminds me of being in middle school and wearing my Keds, too.  No first day photo - she is too mature for that.  Makes a mournful face and trudges off to the bus stop.  At least the makeup looks good on her, and no breakouts :)  Comes home 30 minutes late, but it is because she chose to walk home from school.  Walked home with lots of other kids and liked it?  Yes, it's true.  Had the best possible thing happen at school:  the counselors finally put her on the correct team where she has all of the classes and actually has friends.  She is no longer a transient soul!  She is happy!  She found friends at lunch!  She is impressed with a couple of teachers!  She is excited about all of the chorus activities this year!  Wicked!  Disney!  Singing at Braves and Hawks games!  She is not in P.E.!  And she is eating peanut butter M&Ms, happily watching Psych reruns on cable!  She has not had a good first day of school in years - the drought is over, and this mom feels saturated with the good things that blessed her daughters today.  Life is wonderful.

And then we grabbed our church bulletins and got free sandwiches at Chic-Fil-A.  The End.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back to unCool School

No one in this house is really looking forward to school this year.  This is the first occurrence of this particular attitude.

Darby's definition of school:  miasma.

Roxy's definition of school:  boring.

I feel great anxiety with the beginning of each new school year.  How much will the supplies cost? (About $75, collectively.)  Do they have enough appropriate school clothes/shoes? (Yes, but we picked up a couple of things anyway.)  Are the book bags intact?  (No, we need those too.  And everything in the stores is lame, lame, lame.)  What teachers will they get this year?  (Roxy has stated she will not be going back to school if she gets a male teacher.  What's up with that?)  Are the friends from last year returning?  (In Darby's case, yet again, at least one buddy is not.  This seems to happen every year.)

As a mom, I want to love and protect these girls.  I also want them to put on their big-girl britches and be quiet and get over it.  Everything is going to be alright.  Eventually.

Look at the bright side, girls.  You are getting out of the house, away from Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, you will be bombarded with lots of interesting people and activities that will cost me lots of money, you will have a whole new world of opportunities open up to you this year. 

School will not be a miasma!  School will not be boring!  Because I said so, that's why!  Three cheers for school, everyone!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Go West

The Franks' family is finally back from their lampoon of a vacation.  We did the shopping, the touristy western photo with the grands, we hit every old time candy store west of the Mississippi, we played a lot of games and received a lot of hugs.  Scott got to be Cousin Eddie when we slept in a trailer for a week.  I read five novels, pretending that I was not married to Cousin Eddie.  And the girls did not get carsick as we took every possible twisty route through the Ozarks.  We attempted to do as much as humanly and financially possible in two weeks.  I am tired, but happy.

Challenging.  That is the first word I think of when we try to plan to see our family in the summer.  Two families, thousands of miles apart and away from us, makes for some complicated, logistical strategy.  Not to mention that you are trying to hook up with as many family members as possible.  Mission accomplished.

Nostalgic.  That is what it feel as I make dozens of phone calls to meet up with everyone from our previous lives.  It kind of feels like we have lived multiple lives sometimes, because everywhere we have planted our roots, for whatever length of time, feels like a former life now.  The rolodex of names we must scroll through when we attend church in MT, OK, etc. is like playing a trivia game.  What was the name of your first cousin's second child, whom you have not seen in years?  That one is tough.  But, the family reunion was so enjoyable, and we loved seeing everyone all together with their little ones in tow.

Comforting.  The comfort we feel being around people who love us without conditions is the greatest reward.  Our family, the closest of our old friends - we love and miss them all.  I do not understand why God has chosen to scatter my family so often and so far, but I do feel that appreciating every moment of our time with family is the most important part of our summer.

So, now it is back to church and the final few weeks of summer.  I hope I can revive my tan, get through Mount Laundry, and find all of the chargers for all of our electronics.  Life is sweet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Big One

i had the Big One on Monday - I faced down the 4-0 and am still alive.  So, how did I celebrate?  I worked Camp Hickory at church.  But I did get to remember some lovely moments from my "Say Goodbye to My 30s" cruise.  The ship was wonderful, but I did miss my fam after a while.  My husband made this trip possible for me so I could have something I have always wanted - a real vacation!  It was great to get away and enjoy lots of pampering and meet lots of people from all around the world.  And getting a real breakfast every morning that I did not prepare was priceless.  And the flirty, Italian maitre d' was fun, too.

I watched about a dozen movies on the ship and lounged on the decks and was thoroughly entertained without having to lift a finger.  (But I did lift my feet - I stuck to the stairs on the trip.  It helps justify the evening desserts and the pastry cafe.)

I went to Maine and enjoyed a truly beautiful part of the country I had never seen before.

I ate my very own lobster in Maine.  I ate a lot of seafood on this trip and I saved enough calories so that I only gained two pounds total.  I did pretty good.  I have already knocked off those two pounds since then.

I went to Boston and roamed around that large, crazy city.  It was pretty cool, but noticeably dirty, too.

I went to Rhode Island and toured some ridiculous historic mansions and soaked up the yachting culture of the tiny state.  Profane wealth is kind of interesting to me.  Then I at ice cream filled with chocolate covered potato chips and it was perfect.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's Been a While

 Not only did I take a blog vacation, I went to Mom camp.  On a cruise ship.  In Canada.  And New England. 

Best Mom Camp Ever.

Unlike most bloggers I know, I have absolutely no photography gifts, so you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.  And honestly, I am not sure how to capture the true beauty of Prince Edward Island.  It was a cold and windy day, too, and 3,100 of my closest cruising friends descended on the little island waiting for our big excursion - the Anne of Green Gables estate.  That place was perfect and had the biggest hostas I have ever seen, since the climate there is ideal for picturesque gardens.  I can see why the author loved it so much and was so inspired by it.  And nothing smelled like fish out there in the country, as opposed to everywhere else we visited in Canada.  But I do love fish and ate lots of it, and brought home lots of Roots Canada shirts for the whole fam.  This was a fun day at Mom Camp.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


 We took some random shots on a short road trip to Talking Rock, Georgia.  Tiny but charming town with stores I liked and a picturesque park with the perfect stream running through it - and some train tracks plus and old train.  The schoolhouse museum was cute, too.  I wonder how there ended up being so many charming towns in North Georgia.  Follow this up with some good southern barbecue, and my day was complete and happy.  Thanks, babe :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Target Equation

We just got back from a trip to Target.  I went into the store, knowing that I needed some specific items.  Let me set this up like a formula:  put the things you know on one side of the equal sign, then solve for what you do not know on the other side (this is the variable.)

The things I know:

1.  I will need to buy multiple hair products for all of our multiple hairs.
2.  I will get sucked in to the book section, because for some reason the Target marketing team knows how to appeal to my Mom demographic.  (i.e. a picture of a woman/child from behind, standing on a sandy beach, with a subtitle about strength to move on after tragedy/perseverance in starting her life over/finding a long lost love/discovering a new purpose in life.)  You get the picture, right?
3.  Roxy will be bound and determined to spend all if not most of her allowance.  On mindless plastic crap.
4.  I will talk Roxy out of the plastic crap, then she will move on to the DS game section where she inevitably finds just what she wanted.  Sigh.
5.  Darby will have to visit the rest room.
6.  I will have to send Roxy with Darby so that Darby returns from the restroom, where they will find me reading book jackets in the book section of Target.
7.  Darby will get lost anyway, typically in the make-up section.
8.  Roxy will see someone she knows from school.
9.  I will see someone I know from church.
10.  There will be at least four items in the cart that I had no idea I was going to purchase.

This is the thing I don't know:

x=how much my grand total will be.  (There is no telling what it is when you are buying make-up, that's for sure.)
y=how much time we will waste in this store
So the equation looks like this:


Based on tonight's trip (and every other night's trip, in all honesty), the answer for x is always around $80, including the DS game purchased by Roxy.

As far as y goes, it's usually about an hour.  But I do love this hour with my girls, in my quiet and not-at-all creepy Target.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Lady in the House

I am sharing this with the world, much to Scott's chagrin.

There is another lady in the house.

There are already three lovely ladies here, but Scott went out and got another one.

Scott refuses to name her, so I have taken that task upon myself.  Her name is Manda Lin.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that Scott is learning to play an instrument.  And it is a normal instrument, unlike some of the crazy ones he has looked into lately.  If you don't know what a crazy instrument is, you apparently don't troll YouTube often enough.

So, now my husband is learning how to play this great instrument.  He better learn some Avett Brothers, cuz that would make Momma really happy, too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hip to be Square

Scott and I hosted a class party on Sunday - a Four Square picnic and tournament.  We used washable sidewalk paint to make the four square grids, set out a bunch of orange cones to block off our parking lot, and let everyone play.

Most adults did not know how to play four square.  That did not prevent the adults from immediately getting competitive, though.  We started a bracket for a competition and had an overall winner of our Quatro Cup.  It is an enormous trophy with a giant ball on it (reminiscent of a tumor), spray painted by my lovely daughter Darby.  It was a fun evening with lots of kids enjoying just being together, playing four square, then kick ball, then pushing each other around in big wheel bikes.  We found that the best and easiest party could be made by simply painting the pavement and letting the kids run around.  Who knew?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hen and Chicks

Something interesting about this photo:  Roxy's nametag.  She labels herself "Roxy the Alien."  I don't know why.  It just needs to be documented since she thinks she is from another planet, or another country or whatever.  She labels herself as different and has no problem telling the world about it.  I kind of like that.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Hubs

My hubs was in Montana this week and accidentally ended up in a photo.  Believe me, it could not have been on purpose because he avoids cameras like they are the plague.

I see various things when I see this photo.  I see my hubs, or my husband.  I see the father of my girls.  I see 16 years of marriage.

But I am posting it because I see gray hair.  I am graying as well, and I am happy to have a hubs that is graying with me.  This rare photo is the first in my recollection where the gray is obvious to the casual observer.  My gray hair is obvious to the professional hair stylist, the makeup artist at the Clinique counter who looks at you under those horrific lights that show every hair and pore magnified 1000 percent, and my gray hair is obvious to those who choose to observe me closely in a mirror.  But the photo of my gray hair does not exist (yet.)  I know it will, and I hope that when I post it, it will only bring a smile to the faces that gaze upon it, like the smile I have on mine when I see his gray hair.  Be proud of your gray, babe.  You are my silver lining :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Can you keep a secret?  Do you guard every minute detail?  The concept of keeping a secret triggers different emotions in people.  With my three year olds at preschool, tell them that they are making a secret present for their momma, and tell them not to tell their momma about the present, and watch the look on their faces.  They don't know how they feel about it.  Some of them love it - they know something momma does not know.  Some of them are already thinking about what they want for a snack and have forgotten that they are actually creating a work of art as a gift for momma.  Some of them are confused as to why they should not tell their momma that they painted some darn cute strawberry pots for their momma.  Why keep a secret?

Roxy is very conflicted about secrets.  She knows that she should keep the secret, because some surprises are good surprises.  Presents are good surprises.  But, keeping secrets goes against her true core - her undying devotion and faithfulness to those she loves.  She cannot reconcile the guilt she feels over hiding a feeling or emotion from someone she trusts with every fiber of her being.  When she commits a sin that is completely out of her character, it eats her up to the point where there is withdrawal, sobbing, and private confession to her momma because she cannot bear to think about disappointing the perfect people in her life (Scott and Darby.)  I am so glad she will confess to me.  I listen and I comfort and I tell her that she must tell Darby and daddy because she can never keep secrets from them and that they love her very much, no matter what the sin.

And keeping something wonderful, something to celebrate from me, well, she feels a polarizing conflict.  Roxy will tell you, "I know something that is a secret, so don't look in my bag or you will find it."  And then she will whisper to Darby, right in front of your face, because keeping a secret from her momma is so hard, she needs fortification from her sister to keep the secret while she makes eye contact with me.

I predict that I will find out what is hidden in that bag first thing in the morning.  Six a.m.  Before I have a chance to go to the bathroom or put on my glasses, or even wake up for that matter.  It is going to kill her to keep this secret until morning.

I recently spilled a secret without realizing it.  It was my husband's secret, and now his sister is bothered that there was a small but happy secret kept from her.  Because of this spilling, my husband is not happy with me.  And his brother is not happy with him because Scott kept the secret from his sister and she found out about it.  Did I mention it was a happy secret?  Somehow this has happened to become a not-so-happy event and it is all my fault.  Great.  In a sarcastic font with a frowny face.

I guess I should not be trusted with secrets.  Roxy, too.  We are not cut out for this business.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Let's Talk About Dar

What can I say about her?  She is an enigma, wrapped up in a conundrum, sprouting lots of tangled corkscrews and perplexing vocabulary words.  I would include a photo, but because the computer is from a region far, far south from here I have no current photos anymore.  Sigh.

Watching her sing a sweet solo with her girls' choir tonight, I found myself wrapped up in a conundrum of an enigma.  How did we get this far?  How did she learn to sing so well?  Where did she get the ability to make speeches in public, like she showed us on Wednesday night?  I have no clue and no contribution to these gifts, other than I picked out that cute top she was wearing.

The marvelous girl can impress me sometimes.  I would like to take credit for something in her brain, but she does that work herself.  At the academic bowl on Saturday, she was able to spout off all sorts of knowledge - correctly- and she came up with lots of things I did not know.  How does this happen?  Doesn't she know that I have to have control over every aspect of her life, from her clothing to her corkscrews to her knowledge of trivia and literature and poetry and presidents and art and continents?

But Darby's head is all her own.  I'm thankful right now that she lets me pick out a top for her every once in a while.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Walking Dead

The Franks' household is turning into the walking dead.  Something unexplained and evil is gripping us during our sleeping hours.  And I don't like it.  Not one little bit.

I can't even begin to explain Darby's strange dreams this week.  The poor girl is in middle school and gets enough daily drama without having to deal with her nightly dramas in her dreams.

My dreams have been real winners, too.  Nightmares and/or bizarre dreams have been plaguing me this week.  I go from being robbed and running for my life to having a date with Jimmy Fallon where he is everything but his usual adorable self.  And then I have the nightmare about getting those hideous toenails that are thick and yellow and performing surgery on myself, only to find that underneath it all my toenails are really dill pickles, the round kind you get at Chic-Fil-A.

Scott has not been getting any sleep, either.  This is because of the poltergeist in our home.  In the middle of the night, our lamps mysteriously turn themselves on, one at a time.  Just the bedside lamps, but still very freaky.  He turns one off, only to have the other lamp turn itself on.  He turns the second lamp off, then the first lamp turns itself on.  This has happened two nights in a row, at the same time each night.  When he finally dozes off, he dreams about being on a public transit bus, riding aimlessly around Atlanta, where some weird guy is snoring and Scott can't fall asleep. 

And now it seems some strange being has possessed the vacuum cleaner, the camera, the computer, and the refridgerator.  All of these things are on the fritz - at the same time as the lamps.  I smell a conspiracy.

Due to these strange events and our significant lack of sleep this week, I have decided that we are more than qualified for an audition with "The Walking Dead."  I love to see the Atlanta locations on that show.  And we could use a few extra bucks.  Going to the Zombie School here in town is not even necessary for us - we are already in good form, black eye circles and all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Cutting costs is a way of life.  I am not as avid as "The Cheapest Family in America," but I am very attuned to every cost cutting measure I can find.

Because of this, I find myself to be perfect fodder for the marketing geniuses in this world.  "They" know me.  "They" know what I like and where I shop.  "They" find me on Facebook.  "They" send me $10 bonuses in the mail.  "They" tell me that everything in the store will be 30% off - for a 24 hour period.

"They" are very persuasive.  They know just how to get me.

I find myself considering how I can get over to Chipotle, my favorite place for cheap Mexican food, so this great coupon does not go to waste.  I find myself joyful over the fact that I got a $20 off coupon, and $10 store credit, and a double points coupon - all for DSW.  "They" know how I like to stack my coupons.  And now, I have discovered a price war going on here in Georgia over carpeting and installation.  "They" are tempting me with free installation, cheap carpet, and free take down/set up of furniture.  And my carpet is bad.  Tres, tres pas magnifique.

I do have some limits to this persuasion, though.  I am not an extreme couponer, as seen on TV.  Coupons for under 25 cents do not get clipped in this house.  Some of the ads do not tempt me at all.  And when the computer tries to tell me to listen to some of its musical selections for me, I cannot hit that dislike button fast enough when Matchbox Twenty comes on.  How does the Ryan Adams channel sync up with Matchbox Twenty anyway?  Ugh.

Do not be the least bit surprised if I drive into the blood and guts of Atlanta on Friday with my Chipotle coupon in hand, after a stop at DSW.  I just can't be persuaded to let some good deals fly away...

Friday, February 25, 2011


I am firmly entrenched in reality right now.  The reality of my terrible sinuses.  The reality of Mount Laundry, that I must climb, yet again.  The reality that life is not a cruise.

This old woman has accomplished many firsts with this cruise.  And I am proud.

-first trip to Florida
-first cruise
-first time in another country other than the USA
-first time eating lobster
-first time eating Baked Alaska
-first time in a casino (I watched people feed money into the machines.  Was not impressed.)
-first time in a karaoke bar (I watched people sing.  Was somewhat impressed.  But no singing for me - they had no classic Linda Ronstadt tunes, so I took a pass.)
-first time in a dance club (sat on a couch and watched people dance.  Was impressed by the people that actually knew how to dance.  Photo of me holding a Bible was taken this night.  I was a saint.)

My favorite things included a facial (I haven't had one in 10 years), fine dining, lounge chairs and pool boys, and lots of time with lots of nice women from church.  I look forward to getting to go to an island again, putting my feet in the sand, and listening to the sounds and breathing the air.  But for now, I will battle my pollen-charged allergies and just remember the complete relaxation of sleeping on the ocean and lounging on the beach.

Yeah, it was great.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to Reality

Reality is sometimes a cruel and unusual punishment.  I managed to escape my family for a few days and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  But now, it's time to get back.  No more pool boys bringing me drinks.  No more sunning on the deck, reading a paperback novel.  No more meals prepared for me that are way beyond my budget and nowhere near my coupon stack.  No more marvelling at the different colors of blue that I could see in the ocean.

Back to the real world.  Guess I can marvel at the colors of blue that get created by my toilet bowl cleaner...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Come Sail Away

I bought the Dramamine.

I tried on every outfit in my closet and threw them all in the suitcase.

I spent longer than two seconds shaving my legs and painting my toenails.  In February, no less.

I am about to boldly go where this momma has never gone before.  A sandy vacation.  With midnight buffets.

Sorry you couldn't come babe.  Just picture me lolling around in a hammock, cuz that is my agenda.

Nassau Paradise Island beach

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Raining Men

Scott and I exchanged a strange look with each other when we heard Roxy sing "It's Raining Men", which she has learned from a Wii game.  How are you supposed to feel about an eight year old singing about all the men?

The Franks fam cannot escape this theme this week.  It seems to be raining men.  And Scott does not like it.  Not one little bit.

It all started when Roxy was at lunch one day and a boy in her class asked if she was going to the school 80s party.  She said that she was going, and then he asked if she would like to dance with him.  And she said yes.

Roxy did not know that she would need to get her father's permission to dance with a cute blond boy with a third grade Bieber haircut.  

Roxy is so innocent.  And this boy is so sweet.  And Scott is ticked off.  Veiled threats were made.  This girl/boy relationship is based on lunchroom proximity and a love of Harry Potter books, but that does not matter to Scott.

So we get to the 80s party and there he is, wearing an 80s concert tshirt, denim jacket, and Chuck Taylors.  Roxy, wearing her paint splattered ruffle skirt, fingerless gloves, and Scrunchied pony tail - to the side- looks adorable in her Chuck Taylors, too.  I fumble in my purse, making sure I have my camera.

Roxy hooks up with the girl pack, and they circle the boys.  Kind of like something you would see on Animal Planet, waiting for someone to make the first move.

Roxy goes up and talks to him, but no dice.  A few minutes later she grabs him and he runs around with those girls, but still no dance.  Then she goes up to him later and gives him a high five, but yet again, he has not broken the ice and asked her to dance.

In the car on the way home, Roxy says that she had a good time, but how come the boy wouldn't dance with her?  I tell her that boys are very shy and that he is still her friend even though he was not ready to dance.  Roxy decides that she is kind of mad at him anyway.

Scott has a huge laugh at the boy's expense and feels like his telepathic powers controlled the entire situation.

How naive, young master Scott.

Two days later, Roxy brings home a phone number of a different boy from her class that she wants to contact about a "play date" where they can bond over Scribblenauts.  I ask how she got his number and she tells me that she gave him her phone number first so that they can help each other out on their game.  I then find out that she thinks this boy is even cuter than the other one and has thought so since the first day of school when she noticed him.  And can they have a play date tomorrow?

Roxy is so innocent.  She does not know that she needs her father's permission to give her phone number to a boy.

Currently, there have been no phone calls or play dates.  I am curious about the valentines Roxy will be sending these boys.  I just found out that she feels that both boys are "even" in how much she likes them.

Remember her song, Scottie.  It's raining men.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Southern Cultural Enrichment

Magazines are a weakness for me.  I do not care for electronic media, because sometimes the sum of the whole is greater than its parts.  Same things with albums:  you lose the point when you do not hear the whole concept of the artist, so buying individual songs defeats the message.

This is a magazine that I love and the whole magazine is greater than its parts, every single issue.  I just love it when a favorite band shows up on a favorite magazine.  And it is even better when there are lots of banjo bands in the magazine.

If you like the South and its food and its history, take a look at this magazine.  Makes you want to drive on an old road and look for the small town treasures...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hello, I Am ISTJ

Have you ever been confronted with the limitations of your personality?  Maybe "limitations" is not the best choice of word, but today, it definitely felt like a limitation.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to do a self-evaluation in the form of a Meyers-Briggs test.  Took one before I married my husband, and I took one after some major events went down (in the form of unemployment, sale of a home, parenthood, relocation to an unknown city 1000 miles away).  I had another test compiled for my husband and myself that provided much insight into the way our relationship works together and how our needs can be met when comparing the needs and personality of my husband.  I happen to love these test things, not because I am into psychology, but because it has a way of helping you remember how you are wired and what works for you.

In the beginning, I was an ENTJ (extrovert, intuitive, thinking, judging).  Because I am a constantly evolving mom, my label has changed.  I blame mommadom on switching from intuitive (N) to sensing (S).  Also, my role as preacher's wife and my marriage to an introvert has provided me with the insight that I am no longer an E (extrovert) but an I (introvert).  Once I earned an F (feeling) instead of T (thinking), but that was probably an anomaly or just a very hormonal day for me.  The funny thing about these tests is my husband's results:  they have not changed one little bit.  He is a hardcore INTJ, as far on the scale of each of those categories as possible.  My scores reside largely in the grayer areas.  It actually angered me the second time we had the analysis processed, because I could not figure out how on earth he could not change, and I was a statistical mess based on the way I was scored.  Hence, the anomaly/hormonal day.

As a parent, I am conscious of raising my girls to be flexible, forgiving, unafraid to try new things, ready for growth and development and knowledge.  Wouldn't it be great if I could remind myself of these things as well?  In my years on this earth, it never ceases to amaze me how i get myself into situations where I just shouldn't be, where I am so out of my element that I cannot remember the things I am trying to model to my girls.  I simply mess it all up, and because of the J (judging) part of me, I put my foot in my mouth.  In public, I should remain an I (introvert) and keep the E (extrovert) under wraps for my own good.  Good idea in theory, but very difficult to practice.

So the next time I have to work with the world, out there, or the next time I am trying to find some form of employment and am trying to impress a boss with my attributes (not limitations), I think I will print off a new name tag with this information:

ISTJ Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

Disclaimer:  Scott does not agree that I try to make everything orderly and organized.  Comparatively, he is definitely the organizer and orderly one and I am the loose, unscheduled one.  I like to think it is my mission in life to give him something to organize :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Save the Date

In the mail today was a save the date card for a very happy and joyful upcoming day.  I am looking forward to this date, because it gives me a very definitive answer.

It is the date that I am officially "old."  Again.

Older than I knew I was, older than I felt, older than I want anyone else to know I am.

These moments creep up on you sometimes.  I felt it the other day when Roxy purchased a pair of fingerless gloves, Madonna-style circa 1983.  I remember watching MTV, seeing all the wannabes dressed like her.  My eight year old daughter has this accessory that makes me feel old.  I felt old this morning when I went into Darby's room, searching for something to wear that is hers.  You DEFINITELY feel old when you have a daughter that can supply you with clothing/accessories.  I remember watching kids I would babysit graduate from high school.  That was a very strange feeling.  Also, going to their wedding showers.  That is a weird event as well.

Now, my flower girl is getting married.  She was so little when I got married, in a beautiful white dress and ringlets.

This spurs another "senior" moment of oldness in my mind.  I will go comfort myself by pulling gray hairs out of my scalp and eating dinner at 4:30 tonight.  Sigh.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Unplanned Staycation

 It came like a thief in the night.  Soundless...then shock and awe.  We had so much snow in one hour, then we got more, and more, then came the ice.  And we still have snow.  Everywhere.

Roads are passable now in most places.  We missed a whole week of school and had to deal with food shortages at stores and restaurants (and homes by the end of the week.)  People slipping on the ice filled emergency rooms, because they just had to get out and get their mail after not having mail service for three days.

We are almost back to our normal routine, except today is a holiday for MLK.  So please enjoy our photos:  the suspension bridge marble roller coaster is a true work of engineering, patience, and it is pretty fun, too.  Scott's work of engineering is his snow fort, where he led his poor little lamb daughters to the slaughter as they ducked inside and got pummeled by his snowballs.  The finished fort was four feet tall, with one side at five feet tall, and it had a tunnel entrance.  Scott spent hours on that thing!  Apparently, Darby has not read "The Art of War" by Tzu.  She could not fight back against Scott's attack.  But we had a huge laugh at Scott's expense when he tried to incorporate the zip line into his attack - and broke it and fell on his back.  It really was funny.  But now we have to fix the thing...

Roxy found little hills for sledding, or I should say gliding.  The inflatable snow mobile was just right for her.  Even Scott and I took it out for a spin, and I slid into the bushes because I am a nerd that way.

Sometimes being cooped up together is a good thing.  In this case, it was great.  Can't wait for the next Snowpocalypse.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hibernation Day

You have to love it when lots of snow dumps on your town and you have to miss school on Monday.  And Tuesday.  Possibly Wednesday, too.  The 5+ inches I received will probably stick around for a while.  Sure is pretty, though :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ick Day

It is officially a new year, which means the workout centers are absolutely overloaded.

Renewed focus on health and weight loss kind of grosses me out.

I find myself surrounded by people that are not quite what I expect at a place where you have to pay to attend.  As I was working out, I noticed a number of non-athletes, like myself, who have a tendency to wear old college t-shirts and other misshapen items from the bottom drawer of the dresser.  For the most part, that is acceptable to me.  And then I see Grandpa Elmo.  He is a grandpa, for sure, adorned in an enormous red shirt with Elmo's face on it.  He has red shorts, too.  And a red bandanna, Bret Michaels style, on his head.  I do not know if his grandchild dressed him, but I suppose that could happen.  Then, there is the man that likes to do lunges on the stairs while I train.  When he groaning penetrates the sound from my ear buds, I have to notice that he is contorting himself in a quite unhealthy way.  And then there is the guy who like to walk on the treadmill, steeply inclined, but he does it backwards while tossing around a yo-yo.

And these are just a few of the examples I remember during my work out.

As I leave, I find the sweatiest man ever.  Sitting on upholstered furniture.  Reading a magazine.  There is not a dry spot on him.  Anywhere.  Even the top of his head is wet.  And it is not raining.  And I notice beside him is his towel.  Which he has neglected to use.  Anywhere.  Anywhere on his body.

It is for this reason that I am glad we will be having the snow-pocalypse of the century and I will be unable to go work out.  I need some space from these people, especially the sweaty one.  And I will never sit down on any furniture there.  Ever.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Ideal Husband

Roxy is postulating about her ideal husband.  Lately, she wants to make a lot of decisions about her future and this is apparently one of those important decisions.

She is eight, by the way.

Right now, she thinks her husband should be tall with dark hair.  He should wear contacts, too.  And he should be sporty, because she does not want someone who is fat.

Roxy is considering what her husband should do.  She thinks it is okay if he is a good preacher, but she is not too sure she wants to be married to a preacher.  She thinks it would be great if he could fix things, but then he would be fat.

It is at this point in the conversation that we, the parents, get confused.  What's wrong with being married to a preacher?  And what is this fixation with fat men?  And how come a preacher can't fix things around the house?  I sometimes have the same question in my head, but let's not dwell on that last one...

So all you eight year old little men out there - Roxy's sizing up her prospects.  I certainly hope you have visual impairments, a prominent stature, and that none of you are fat :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

..and Now a Word From Roxy...

Roxy is my planner.  She is up, always up, on all the details.  She cleans her room on Saturday night, knowing I may let her bring a friend home from church and she wants to show she is prepared.  She remembers everything, it seems.  She remembered the leftover candy from the gingerbread house built on the last day of school 2010, and that bag is sitting in her school desk and she cannot wait to get it.  And she has got the week planned out, right down to the number of times she needs to practice basketball before her first game.

Roxy just kind of rocks that way - and I love it.

Roxy is also becoming a planner of her future.  Over the Christmas break, she has been very thoughtful about some very specific details of her life:  what kind of man she should marry, when she should get married, what color hair he should have, what he should do for his hobbies and his career, what kind of car she will drive, what kind of car she will drive when she has children, what kind of job she will have, what kind of kids she will have, etc.  You get the gist of this, don't you?

And she thinks about all of these things in her spare time.  More precisely, she thinks about these things during commercial breaks.

Roxy plans how she will spend her time during her favorite TV shows.  She is always doing something - drawing, coloring, pretending to be a dog, playing with stuffed animals, building a blanket fort - during the show, then she thinks during the commercials.

Scott and I are fascinated with her priorities, with her planning skills, and with her purposeful use of commercial breaks.

Tune in next time to hear about how she sizes up men, which she thought about during an Adventure time! commercial break...