Lately my life reminds me of that book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, it’s just one thing after another after another. So, admittedly, I stole the mouse story and made it my own. It goes something like this:
If you give a mom a paintbrush, she’s going to want to paint her bedroom. You’ll have to go with her to Lowes so she can buy two gallons of color and a gallon of glossy enamel.
She’ll settle on a warm shade of gray and bright white gloss and she’ll break out her coupon for $5 off a gallon of Olympic. If she has a coupon for the paint, she’ll want to use her savings to add some decorative moldings.
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When I was 9 years old I remember going to our beach house with my grandfather. It was a special place- built by my Great Grandfather. He called it a fishing shack- a place to spend the day out on the bay on a boat named “The Finnegan Jethro” stringing together enough fish for a feast. (I just realized I’ve always wanted to know where that name came from, and the person I would most like to ask is no longer here). It was a bit musty with paint peeling from the boards that fastened together a two room cabin- but that simple little house could somehow sleep 40 people. Fancy furnishings of the 1960s scattered here and there showed that my grandmother had once tried to put her upper-class decorating spin on the place, and hence the shack was transformed into “the beach house”. Still, it was decorated with little people made out of seashells and googly eyes and strings of coke tabs folded into chains to hold back curtains and hang plants. I can picture my great-grandmother gluing those funny little eyes on her seashell finds of the day.
There’s a story in here somewhere that I really wanted to tell, but the more I type about my great-grandparents (Daddy ‘O and Mama Jimmie) and my grandparents (Softy and Robbie Doll), the more I’m overwhelmed by memories of just how special these people were and how lucky I was to be raised in such a family of jokesters, fishermen, poker players, magicians and fancy decorators.
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This is Texas, so the weather doesn’t exactly scream “Fall”. It’s still as hot as August but there are clues all around that it should be the season of changing colors. Most of those clues are up and down the aisles of Wal-Mart. It started with the pumpkins that replaced the watermelons at the front door. Then there were orange and red decorations on the end-caps. I noticed Halloween candy starting to fill up displays. Great, is it already time to start planning costumes and hayrides? Surely not… Read the rest of this entry
My little grandbaby has a cold. She’s a year and a half, and I can count on one hand the number of times she’s had a cold, that’s pretty lucky if you ask me. I had the kind of babies whose eardrums sometimes ruptured, babies who needed emergency surgery, babies who maxed our their prescription coverage on a regular basis. I thank God every day for this blessing of a granddaughter who is bright and beautiful and healthy.
My oldest kids used to miss school quite a bit. They caught every bug that went around. And of course they milked it for nursing by mommy. One year all three of them had mono at the same time. That was fun. Then our four little ones were placed in our home. At first I thought we’d never see the end of the doctor’s office. The nurse practitioner assured me we’d adjust. “You’re all carrying different sets of germs. You’re getting each other sick. Eventually you’ll all mesh into one big set of germs and everyone will be just fine!” I can’t believe how much I was looking forward to becoming one giant ball of germs.
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I did it! I survived the summer! I know, some of you moms are weeping in your Frosted Flakes this morning as your little ones made their first journeys to kindergarten. Some of you are just sad that summer and all your extra time together has come to an end. I have been both of you, but today I’m the mom I never thought I’d be. I’m the mom that shouted “Hallelujah” at the Silence of the Zoo!
Don’t get me wrong, I love lazy days and lemonade and picnics by the pool, but with these kids at home, the grocery bill is somewhere around $500 a week, and I think a whopping $50 of that is just toilet paper, so YES! Enjoy them Tigerland. I will pick them up at 3pm. Read the rest of this entry
Seventeen years ago I was a young mama full of enthusiasm. We had just moved into our house and I absolutely hated it. It was so small, so bland but the landlord offered to sell it for a rock-bottom price and I had HGTV so we started making it our own for our little family. We had a bubbly little girl, a bundle-of-joy baby boy, and a black Labrador retriever that was never meant to be our dog and she’d just had a litter of puppies.
We weren’t going to keep any of them. I swore it up and down as my little Dyl Pickle toddled through the hallway saying “puppy” for the first time. Then Blondie started getting attached to the runt. “But Mama, this one is so tiny…..” Read the rest of this entry
Ok, before I say anything else, let’s start with where the heck have I been? According to Facebook and it’s built-in guilt-trip providing insights, my followers are wondering why I haven’t been posting! The answer is far too simple I’m afraid. It’s summertime.
I have to admit this has been one of the better summers I’ve had in a while. No, we didn’t get to go on vacation. We haven’t seen anything fabulous or fantastic or amazing. We’ve seen a few cousins, hit a few family gatherings, but mostly, we’ve tried to find as many swimming holes that meet our criteria, which happens to be within an hour drive, free, and fun. So far I think we have about 5 different ones we’ve frequented.
I wish I could tell you it’s been all water holes and jars full of lightening bugs and capturing memories with my Rebel Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday I took most of my crew to my niece’s graduation. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said they grow up too fast I could almost afford to feed this crew! All the way to the graduation I warned them that we have to be quiet and still- that’s a bit of a challenge for these kids. I expected to have to repeat myself at least 3 times. We had only been seated a few minutes when someone was pulling on my sleeve.
“Mom, mom, moooooooom?!” I glared over at my little Diva, who promptly tattled “They’re talking!” I looked past her at 3 silent brothers, and lowered my eyebrows quizzically. “Not them, THEM!” She pointed behind us at a group of people who seemed to have a case of the giggles. The kind of giggles that might be happening on “That 70s Show”… Read the rest of this entry
So apparently my husband had no idea that we give out teacher appreciation gifts! I’m not sure how he missed that. We’ve had kids in school for the past 16 years now. I used to do a Christmas gift, maybe a little something for their birthdays- but add that to the pile of “things I did when I had a few kids!” Now, I run a zoo, so it’s just once a year that I sit down and try to show my appreciation for the people who spend almost as much time with my kids as I do- and if you know my kids, you know these amazing people deserve some appreciation! Daddy should have realized that even if there wasn’t a tradition of teacher appreciation already in place, there would need to be some kind of recognition for the people who help tame our circus!
This year I thought it would be fun to make some edible arrangements. Every single time that commercial comes on, KK asks me if we can order one of those. I looked once- I was going to surprise her, and when I saw the price, let’s just say that fell off my to-do list. I thought “surely they couldn’t be that hard…”
My little ZooCrew was so excited to open the fridge this morning and see the creations they got to give their teachers! One teacher even emailed me a pic of her enjoying it!
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A few months ago we were out of groceries. Again. Hey, these kids will eat you out of house and home. Literally. I used to cook those 3 course country kitchen kind of dinners every day- back when I had 3 kids. Now, I try to cook gigantic batches of food 3 times a week and hope they carry us through. (Thank goodness for pizza night.)
I used to like grocery shopping, but that too has changed over the years. I blame Wal-mart, but I’ll complain about that some other day. Needless to say, I’ve become a master at avoiding the store. So, I’m known for throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot and calling it dinner. Surprisingly those are my kids’ favorite nights! They don’t want fancy, they want hearty. Especially if I forget the “whole grain” stuff… Read the rest of this entry