Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Most Important Day of my Life

I couldn't escape the feelings of guilt as I finished my last post and vented the frustrations of a day that had only reached 10am.

You know the guilt.

Good ol' mom guilt.

My plans and idea for the day ahead had gone to, well, crap. Laundry was at the top of the to-do list yet again. I was feeling very unimportant. Behind those guilty feelings was an overly happy (naked) 2 year old. Because of him my guilty feelings and self pity had begun to fade. I realized I was letting the minor details of a bumpy morning control the rest of my day and possibly my self worth.
As I began to think about it, this could actually be the most important day of my life. It's a pretty big statement but broken down, the details are hard to argue with.
I was responsible for dressing and feeding a 5 year old and arranging higher education trasportation for him to learn and succeed in this world.
I was in charge of entertaining and teaching values to a 2 year old that is building the foundation for a lifetime of learning and interacting with others.
I am also responsible for teaching him to use the restroom, in the appropriate place, all the time. Now if that's not a lifelong lesson we should ALL be thanking someone(MOM) for, I don't know what is!
I was then unexpectedly resposible for providing a change of clothing for my 5 year old and his accident at school. I promise you, I DID teach him the "appropriate places" lesson. It just didn't happen this time. I didn't have to leave the office to go get clothes to take to school. I just had to put on flip flops and walk out the door. I was able to get there rather quickly to be at his aid in a time of crisis. I'd say that's pretty important. He now knows 1) to not wait "too late" and 2) that I'll be there for him in his time of need.
I returned to see that Lincoln is making HUGE progress. He's not just doing #1 by himself in the potty, he's moved on to #2. Sure, it make a huge mess. It wasn't fun to clean up but he's responding to my training and learning to be independent. I get to be a big part of his independence and that is important.
All too often I live my life by WHAT is happening and not WHO is happening. These boys are growing up. Too quickly. They are learning more and more every day and because I stay home with them, much of what they learn both educational and emotional is because of me. They don't just learn from what I teach them. They are learning from the way I LIVE. So why should I not live like every single day is the most important day of my life?
As I went over the details of what I labeled a crappy day, I saw the light of day. I saw that THIS day was important and I was an important part of 2 little lives. That fact alone could make it the most important day my life. And I hope tomorrow is not any different.


I started this day with fairly high hopes for a positive day. Although Lincoln woke up only seconds into the 5 o'clock hour, he was in a pretty good mood and there was not too much pre-dawn whining. I had decided with Lincoln as an ultra early alarm clock, I was going to forgo my plans at the gym this morning and do something I rarely ever do. I was going to sit down and PLAY with Lincoln. Like really sit down and play with toys and play whatever he wanted to play. While doing this, we were also still practicing the nude potty training method. It seems to be working, he's even taking the initiative to go potty alone. We were knee deep in trains and trucks and all the other toys in the toy box when I got the call. My "emergency contact" for Jackson's school is my friend Stephanie and she says Jackson's had an accident at school and they are trying to get in touch with me. It's only 820. Crap. I had not received a call, some fluke with my long distance number. I left naked Lincoln with Jason while I gathered clothes to take to my 5 year old at school who had an accident only 15 minutes into the school day.
When I got home, I was greeted by naked Lincoln eating a snack on my bed and behind him, I see a poop stain! Really Lincoln? Crap. I guess he'd taken the initiative to poo-poo potty but he's not quite ready to the wipe himself phase yet. Bath time for Lincoln. I leave him in the bath to start the sheets in the washer and as I come back upstairs, I see he's poured out an entire container of body wash in the tub. Thanks Lincoln.
I'm not sure how long ago the solo potty trip was so I went looking for other poop stains. Where else had he wallowed?
I didn't have to look long. There by the toy box was another much larger poop stain in the carpet. Crap. Thankfully (NOT) he'd tried to clean it up with a little toilet paper. UGH. So I got some paper towels and carpet cleaner only to see that this was going to take more. I need a washcloth to clean up this mess. I go into the boys bathroom for a washcloth and see that they are all SOAKED, along with all the towels and toilet paper I keep up there. Crap. I sure hope my fancy front loading washer can keep up today! I load all the soaking linens up and haul them downstairs to the washer. The laundry (which was done yesterday) seems to have piled up yet again.
I'm going to go ahead and say, I've officially hit my Crap. limit for today.
We should all be thankful for the PG rated title. It could have been a lot worse.
That is all.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An Apple a Day

Last week, Lincoln and I snuck away without Jackson (he was in school) to go to the apple orchard. My MOMS club here in Nashville had set up a farm tour about an hour away. I was pretty excited to spend some alone time with Lincoln and not have my attention diverted by my little kindergartner. I'm certain Lincoln enjoyed the time spent on only him!

We arrived at the farm under less than desirable conditions. I knew it was rainy and prepared by donning the rain boots but when we left Nashville, it was only slightly chilly. When we arrived, the wind had picked up and it was downright COLD. It was great for putting us int he fall spirit but blankets were not on the packing list and we were going on a hayride.

First we spent a little time discussing good ol' Johnny Apple Seed. We colored his picture and giggled about the pot he wore on his head. Did you know legends have it that in an effort to conserve his shoes, he went barefoot in the summers? There is also a legend that he was bitten by a snake and it wasn't able to bit through his tough foot skin. They may be tall tales but they are sure fun to imagine.

The sweet lady at the farm went to her house and brought back a large stack of blankets for us to use on our frigid hayride. Lincoln really enjoyed this part. All wrapped up in mommy's lap, we were pulled by a tractor through the fields and got a glimpse of the cows! We all know how much Lincoln adores COWS! We learned about the different kinds of apples they grow and saw a few of the local bee hives.

Back at the apple store, we started an apple craft. We color at home and occasionally play with play doh but Lincoln is still a little young for organized crafts. Besides, Lincoln has his own way of doing things, he doesn't like to be told how to do it. I'm afraid this may not be a result of age but more of a personality flaw trait. We were making a pig out of a little green apple. We used gumdrops for legs and a nose, fruit roll up triangles for ears, cloves for eyes and nostrils and the pigs tail was to be the stem of the apple. As we tried to replicate it, Lincoln decided that one of the feet NEEDED to go on the top of the apple, then the eyes needed to be adjusted a bit. You can see below how it went over when I tried to explain to him to do it correctly. He was might proud when I finally let him do it his way. Maybe it was a mutant pig.

Next, the farmer showed us the old fashioned way to make apple cider with a hand crank and a bushel of bruised apples. It was cool to see how it chopped the apples coarsely then the simple machine pressed the juice out the bottom into a bucket. It smelled heavenly and it tasted even better. Clear, store bought apple juice has nothing on freshly made cider. It was sweet and good. Lincoln ended up asking for several more cups of it and he got it, using his "sweet face!"
While most of the good apples are picked as they ripen to deter birds and pests, there were a few to be picked off the tree. Lincoln took the liberty to pick them, good or bad. We explained to him that those were bad apples and he toted 3 of them back to the lady at the store, all along the way he chanted "bad bapple" to them. Yeah, Lincoln knows a thing or two about bad apples. Some days, I'd say he is one himself. But not this day, he was too darn cute!

A Whole Different Ballgame

We're Commodores now! This was our first opportunity to attend a Vandy game. I've been near Vanderbilt all my life and had never been to a game. It was pretty exciting to just hold the student tickets. The student tickets that consisted of a sticker on the back of our ID cards. The student tickets that costs a total of $25. That covers the entire season. No waiting in lines, no up at midnight trying to purchase online and no seniority. Even my little children were awarded the season tickets as students. Yeah, big difference from Auburn's season ticket regiment.
It was exciting nonetheless. My parents were visiting and didn't have tickets yet. We had a good intuition that they could get them game day, at the game for somewhat of a steal. Jason was tailgating with an Alabama Alumni association for the conflicting Alabama game so we met him really close to game time. Parking was a small obstacle because outside of the Owen graduate territory, we don't know our way around campus very well. We drove through campus refusing to PAY for parking at a game we knew tickets would be less. Our little campus tour took us right through fraternity row. Jackson was mesmerized by all the college co-eds and their illicit partying habits. As game time was upon us, they had made their decent to the stadium leaving behind all their underage paraphernalia. Jackson addressed me by saying, "Look, Mom, they are having a LITTERING party!" Laughter spread throughout the car as I commended him on noticing how terribly they had left their yards. This green, newly converted recycling mommy was utterly proud. It's working! My littering is the worst form of carelessness is making an impression on my 5 year old that even intelligent college students had failed to retain. Here's hoping it's still a strong virtue in 15 years. Better yet, here's hoping he's WAY too intelligent to join a fraternity, unless it's one of those elite doctoral fraternities.

We made it to the stadium and began to contemplate tickets for my parents. I made a quick call to Jason to try and locate tickets as none were for sale so near the campus. As I hung up, a nice man approaches and asks how many I need. I explained that we only needed 2, the rest of us were students. He handed over 2 tickets FREE! Seriously folks, this is NOT truly SEC football, those tickets don't actually come FREE. Only then do we learn that the student access entrance was on the other side of the stadium. The stadium it's self isn't that big but it's directly attached to the baseball field and we all know that Vanderbilt's baseball team carries the University in sports so it was a significant hike. We were kindly picked up by the campus concierge in a limo of a golf cart and transported to the student gate in style. Lincoln was riding Ergo and he thought he had the best seat in the house. I'm certain it was the highlight of his night. We met Jason at the gate and headed inside.

As we got a little snack (dinner) Jackson stated that he'd prefer to just "hang out by the bathrooms." Apparently he had learned quickly that the real fun was in eating and drinking, the game was just a little boring to a 5 year old. Mom, Dad, Jackson, Lincoln, Jason and I made our way through the student section complete with a young couple completely passed out on one another. We found not just seats but rows and rows of empty seats and took ours. They were still decent seats I might add. I mentioned this was quite a different ballgame, right? The boys were able to run freely among the 3 rows that we claimed for our dinner spread of stadium hot dogs and soda. With Nana and her bag of snacks, I think the boys actually enjoyed themselves. A few of Jason's fellow graduate students were seated near us. One of them had a lovely girlfriend that is a Kindergarten teacher in the Metro schools. She took to Jackson and Jackson took to her as well. It made Jason proud that he knows a cute girl when he sees one. I think the boyfriend might have felt a little threatened at one time. After halftime, Lincoln was getting a little weary and Mom and Dad left to take them home but it was a fun first experience as Vanderbilt won their second consecutive game in a number of years. So far they have been able to continue the winning streak. It has strong potential to come to a screeching halt as they play Clemson this weekend but I think they finally have a record they can be proud of. In football anyway.
I am pretty sure it's a myth but we've been hearing that the student cheer for their normally loosing football team is:
"That's alright, that's Ok,
You're gonna work for US one day."
It's fitting. Lots of smart folks go to Vandy.
And for now, we're proud to call ourselves Commodores!

Go 'Dores!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Legend in the Making

I firmly believe my husband Jason thinks it is moments like this our children were BORN for. He very well may have been more proud in this experience than any other in Jackson's entire life.
Jackson finally came "of age" in the deFoor/Eggler family to deem himself worthy of a coveted ticket to an Alabama game. We took him to the season opener for his first experience at Bryant Denny Stadium. Jason felt it was a sure win for the team and nobody wants to see their team lose for the first time. { I would like to add this wasn't technically Jackson's first game. I was nearly 8 months pregnant with him when we last graced Jordan-Hare with our presence. Being that Auburn is my alma mater, it was fitting. War Eagle!}

Since Jason is such an avid Alabama fan, I've learned that this marriage works best if I am an amicable fan, at least until the Iron bowl. Jason has managed, despite my best efforts when he was deployed, to brainwash BOTH children into THOSE fans. You know, those overbearing, obnoxious fans. We're working on appropriate team spirit, it's a good quality.

These tickets are a pretty big deal. At $50+ a game and everyone has to have a ticket, you must really be committed to be awarded a ticket. Jasons aunt and uncle have 6 (yes, 6) season tickets and every year, we are gifted a few of them. Lucky for Jackson, they felt he was old enough to be the recipient of one this year.
He was pretty pumped up about the game, he wanted to wear his Jersey but the morning of the game, I was informed that I packed the wrong one. He wanted to wear the one with Mark Ingram's number on it. Excuuuse me. This kid is a little obsessed with Mark Ingram. Last year, he told his dad for his 6th birthday, he wanted to meet Mark Ingram. You better get on that, Jason!
It was a morning game which kinda kills the whole tailgating aspect. Nobody wants bacon and eggs at a tailgate but no one also wants burgers and chips for breakfast! The tailgating would have to wait until after the game. We parked in our old faithful parking spot but the hike to the stadium is about a mile. I'd be lying if I said Jackson didn't complain a little. I'd also be lying if I say I didn't complain...A LOT. I'm only going to say this once but it was HOT, like Africa HOT. I was melting into simple syrup as we hoofed it to the stadium(Have I mentioned I'm made of pure sugar?). We were all pretty happy to see the stadium coming into view. We watched Jackson closely to see what his first reaction was. It was "Hey, there's Nick Saban!" True, it was his oversized statue.
The real moment came when we finally got to the gate and he handed his ticket to the guard, then he got a glimpse of the field through the tunnel. Do you remember your first glimpse of "the tunnel"? It tugged at the heart strings just a little because down here, football is a BIG deal. Your first game is a BIG deal and your first encounter with 92,000 people is a BIG deal. I stood back and watched Jason proudly parade his first born son through the spiral at the stadium and up to our seats. It was a definite bonding moment, for both of them. With a quick stop for stadium drinks, we were seated for kick-off. Jackson enjoyed the first few minutes, then he became preoccupied with the soda which we usually don't allow. It wasn't mid way through the first quarter and there it was. "I've got to go to the bathroom." Ok, I'll take him, everyone else was too engrossed in the game. Back at our seats, I inquired if the stadium was as big as he thought it would be. Fully expecting him to say it was bigger. He said "Nah, I thought it was going to touch the SKY, so it's not that big." I guess we set the expectations a little too high. We continued to down the sodas and water our of sheer necessity. Did I mention it was HOT? (Oops!) Jackson had polished off the soda and was down to sucking on the ice. Sure, his hands were clean, NOT! I had even taken some of the ice to rub on my scalding legs. I'm telling you, this heat was oppressive and there was little breeze during the first half. I was sweating profusely and sweating just isn't cute.

At least 6 minutes had passed and Jackson needed to go to the bathroom, again. Jason took him this time. This same mantra went on for the entire 1st half of the game. We eventually made him wait it out. He then learned the term "football minutes." You know, when there is only 4 minutes left until half time but about 20 minutes pass before that actually comes. Yes, football minutes. Jackson thoroughly enjoyed the half time show. He was particularly fond of the flag girls. I guess those swirly flags can be a bit mesmerizing.
After half time, Jason broke out the big guns. He gave Jackson a bag of sour patch kids to devour. He ate most of the bag. It was nearing the end of the 3rd quarter and you guessed it. Bathroom time. This time, he went with Aunt Linda and he really hit the jackpot. He came back with face tattoos AND dippin dots. Lucky for us, this got him through the rest of the game, fully sugared up! The game ended in a win and we trekked it back to the car with the slight relief of clouds and a breeze (thank you, Jesus!).
In deFoor/Eggler family tradition we waited out the crowd at our favorite Mexican establishment. After we were all full and tired, we made the trip home. I think only the driver remained awake in the car, thank goodness!
Later that evening, we had managed to party so much that Jackson woke up sick. A combination of sucking ice with dirty hands, getting a little too hot and WAY too much sugar, he was sick several times through the night but woke up the next day all better. I guess you could call it a game day hangover, with sugar instead of booze.

*A special thanks to Aunt Linda and Uncle Ron for making sure everyone stays fully decked out in Alabama gear!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It Never Gets Easier

I was on track to write a delayed post on football, football and more football. It's coming but I couldn't ignore the pit in my stomach long enough to write that.
The feeling stems from a lifelong bond I made with the families of the soldiers that Jason served alongside. Those bonds will never be broken. Sure, we've "separated" from the Army. Others have moved away but when you go through an event like that with someone, it bonds you for life. It's triumph and tragedy and it is a year of your life. One that passes ever so slowly while you are living in it. These bonds were formed over meetings, dinners and holiday parties. Each held with the knowledge that something was missing. That's why we were all there. We endured 12 months of lonely nights, weeks of little to no communication and a fear that never subsides.

It has been 18 months since Jason returned and it still feels like yesterday. Those feelings of relief and thanksgiving for his safety and presence here with us still overwhelm me. As I sit here ever thankful, my heart wrenches for many of the families that endured those 12 months with us. They are spending today saying goodbye...Again.
They have just gotten used to a full dinner table, a monthly date night and daddy tucking them in. It comes all too quickly and IT NEVER GETS EASIER.
There is no one to fill that hole when they are gone. Deployment isn't easy. Many of these families have endured 3-4 and possibly even 5 combat tours.
They are veterans but it doesn't make them better at handling it.
It's different every time.
And it's always very lonely.
As I go to bed tonight, I'm saying a special prayer for the ones who will be sleeping in a bed alone.
For in their loneliness, I know very well that I can sleep in peace knowing their loved one is protecting ME.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Your sacrifices are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hap Happens

Hap is the Kindergarten class mascot at Harpeth Valley Elementary where Jackson attends. Every 21 days, he gets to spend the night with us. It is a "flat stanley" concept where we write about the adventures he takes with us in a notebook to be read to the class. Hap comes equipped with his adventure book, a large clear backpack where he lives and a small red backpack with his lunch money in it.
The day Hap came home with Jackson, we had to check out early. Our adventures started with a trip to Vanderbilt's campus to have student ID's made for the boys for season sports tickets. Yes, we even get our kids tickets to the football games in the south. It is similar to religion, it just takes place on Saturdays. Jackson took his job of being Hap's guardian very seriously. Hap rode on Jackson's shoulder as we traipsed through campus, Me an overgrown college wannabe and my 5 and 2 year old and a stuffed dog. We were really a sight. All you moms out there know what it's like to have your ducklings following you ANYWHERE. Things like "come on, guys!", "stay with me!", "keep your hands to your self", "don't make me break out the spoon" were all things that were heard by all the cute college co-eds as we made our way to the student center to have our ID's made. It was extremely HOT and when we finally did arrive, I needed a bathroom, a drink of water and a little rest. Wrangling wild boars children on a college campus can really take it out of ya!
Of course, Hap (and the kids) were a hit in the ID office. Lincoln had a bit of a problem following directions and Jackson had to spend a little time in the "don't take your hand off my stroller" position but the ID's turned out great and Hap got to pose in the photo with Jackson. The way we see it, that entitles him to season tickets to any Commodores football game that we attend.
Through many threats, we made it back to the Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop where I had promised bribes to all law abiding participants. Thrifty mama had bought a groupon several months ago in anticipation of just such a need. The ice cream was well deserved in the heat and I needed to sit down again. Jackson and Hap had the Chunky Monkey and Lincoln had some type of vanilla to reduce the chance of a sure fire sticky mess becoming a brown sticky mess. Jackson made sure to offer some of his beloved ice cream to his little companion. As we sat, we talked about how to write about our adventure with little Hap. We had it worded perfectly. We had even taught him to say "Go 'dores!".
I realized that we had chosen to leave campus at the absolute WORST time of the day so we took a side street that led to an inner city park to hang out and wait for the rush hour to pass. We spent the next hour at Fannie Mae Dees, better known as Dragon Park. It is a community park that was built around a mosaic dragon. Did I mention it was HOT? Jackson and Hap climbed all over the sizzling dragon and Lincoln tried his best to follow suit. After I was sure I had melted into a caramelized pile of sugar, we set out for home. Dinner was consumed as Hap watched. I think we offered him some but he prefers dog food. We tried to give him some of Roxy's fancy new "grain free" food but he thought that it smelled funny (he's right). Hap supervised Jackson's bubble bath and got to witness our super cool yard sale find bubble machine. Jackson and Hap picked out our 2 bedtime stories and we sat down and discussed the final details of Hap's adventure story for his class tomorrow. After prayers were said, I was going to put Hap in his backpack so he didn't get left behind for school the next day and Jackson insisted that Hap must sleep with him in his bed. It was a sleep-over after all. Our next plan is to take Hap to his very first Vanderbilt football game so he can practice his "Go 'dores!" chant. He does, after all, have a season ticket!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

"Mommy, why does God allow bad things to happen?"

No, I haven't been asked yet but I'm already trying to prepare a response. It's only a matter of time. It's one of those inevitable questions and I'm sure it's coming. I'm trying to figure out how you explain such tragedy without invoking fear, describe such loss without becoming callus. How can you possibly describe the impact of HISTORY in the making. An event that changed the lives of everyone in America in some way or another. It didn't just change the present generation, it also changed all future generations to come. I don't have the answer. No one does. It's God's plan. We were not called to understand it, just to believe in Him. Faith is never tested more strongly than in the face of despair.
The fact is : We don't get to choose how we die but we DO get to choose how we LIVE.
I think that will be my answer when the day finally comes.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Everyone remembers. We will never forget.

My kids will only read about the events of that day in a history lesson. They were not even considered yet but it has still sculpted their little lives in a major way.

I was at Auburn University. I lived with Kim Knowles in a small 2 bedroom trailer(it was our last year). I was engaged to Jason. He was already living at Fort Rucker for AVN training. I was getting ready for a statistics class. I LOVED the Today show. That was back in the Katie Couric days and she was is my news anchor hero! I awoke to the coverage of the first plane that hit the twin towers but I was standing there watching live as the second plane hit. That is the moment I realized that this was no accident. This was a verified act of terrorism.


On US soil.

I woke up Kim (and Scott) and thought they should check out the news. Then I thought of Jason. Yeah, my fiance and his roomates might need to know about this. Things, BIG things were about to happen in their world. They needed to know. I called and woke them up.
Statistics classes were cancelled. Good thing. All I wanted was to see Jason, to be with him. I can honestly say that as I watched the coverage and the events that transpired, I had no idea of the impact it would have on our lives. I knew something would happen but I was naive, in college and getting married. I had NO idea that it would lead to him spending a total of 3 years away from his family in the pursuit of justice.

My first thoughts of the events were this MUST be an accident. My second thought was this was NO accident. As the time went on, I feared how many other planes would crash. How many lives would be lost? I remember hoping that the people in the buildings could get out. Surely they could get out. I couldn't believe my eyes as the first tower fell. It was gut wrenching and that sinking feeling came over me that the second one would soon follow. It didn't take long. It was over before the days end but it was long from over. I cried for the people. I cried for the families. I cried for the WAR we didn't ask to start. Yes, everyone's life changed in some way.
For us, it meant a future of long distance love while fighting terrorism on the front lines. Jason, like so many of his brothers and sisters in the military didn't choose to serve a country at war. This war chose them. He was already dedicated to service. This day only made it clear what they would be doing. Not once did he complain or regret his service decision. SO many lives were lost that day. The loss is still breathtaking. We will never fully get over it. But because of the events that took place that day, so many more heroes stepped up to the plate to protect us. SO many more lives have been saved.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Random rants and raves for a Rainy Night

As I lay in bed at my Parents house with the waves of rain from the tropical storm pounding us, I finally have the time and energy(thanks Nana!) to blog a few random thoughts from our life lately. I'm still too lazy to number them and come up with a more clever title. This will have to do for now.

-I finally have a running partner. After a too long running hiatus, I have finally found someone I can drag out of bed before the sunrise for a morning run a few days a week. Stephanie and I run on Tuesday's and Thursday mornings near and around her house. She has more access to less crowded roads. We are up to 3-5ish miles depending on the time we have. I'm happy to be putting in some miles again and even more happy to be doing it in ever cooler weather!

-I recently made a coupon shopping trip to Harris Teeter. I love shopping there, it's always so clean, calm and pleasant. I was strolling along the frozen food isle in my workout gear when I felt a sudden heat wave. At first I figured it was the back air from the extreme freezers but then I felt it again from overhead. I backed the cart up and walked through it again and as I looked up, I realize the HEAT is on (mind you it is over 100 outside!). As I checked out, he asked me if I found everything ok and I couldn't help but mention that it was strange that the heat was on in the freezer isle. He said, "yeah, it's heated. " We had some costumers complain that it was too cold in the freezer section so it's now heated for your shopping comfort! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

-Jason has been non-stop in school work and meetings and such. He seems really content with his schooling choice and has been impressed with some of the companies that recruit directly out of Owen's business program. At a recent career fair, some of the companies that made appearances were Nike, Mattel, Cracker Barrel, Amazon, and Exxon Mobil. Some gave a way pens and highlighters but a few were really one-uping the competition. Jason came home with a car carrier truck and 2 race cars from hotwheels by Mattel and he also walked in with a signed copy of a Wynona Judd album. She's not my favorite artist by a long shot but this CD is pretty good. I guess that's a perk of Nashville!

-On a Saturday afternoon, I attended a cupcake decorating class with some of the other wives of Owen Graduate School students. It was really fun.The place was called Sparkle cupcake company and the walls were adorned with sparkle paint! OH, how I need a girl!! We sat around and drank wine while learning the technique to decorating fancy cupcakes. Here are some of my results.

-Dad was visiting midweek and we went to the first place he lived when he worked here in Nashville. It was an apartment complex near Bellevue. We pulled in and saw the geese. I just wanted Lincoln to take a look at them but they were so aggressive that I had to feed them. All I had was my go-to box of cheeze-its and we couldn't hand them out fast enough. It was great FREE fun, as long as you kept your hand out of their reach!

-There used to be a large mall about a mile from my house in our community. The economy didn't keep this large mall afloat and it closed several years ago. Pretty creepy to see such a big building with large parking lots completely empty but alas there is ONE store still occupying it. Sears of all places. I'm not sure why Sears has been able to stay in business but a full 2 story Sears store sits in the mall where every other store has been closed for years. We don't shop Sears very often but they do Land's End returns there and we've done it a few times. We also go in there frequently on hot days and participate in one of our favorite FREE FUN activities. We ride up and down the escalators. It's tons of fun for the kids to ride up and down and it's much cheaper than a trip to see the giant mouse. Throw in a little frozen pizza and we could make a party out of the escalators at Sears!

-Also while Dad was here, we stopped by the Belle Meade mansion. I've been wanting to stop by but we decided today wasn't the day tour the home. Lincoln was tired and old houses just aren't his thing. We did walk down to the creek below the house. It is a neat little creek that runs throughout belle Meade. Many of the streets in belle Meade actually cross this creek and you drive though it to the other side! It's always been cool to me that you can drive across the water over the road. The creek made a cool little play area and I have plans in the near future to bring both boys back for a little romp in the creek and hopefully a few pictures in the lush background as well. It was the perfect picture spot!

-After Jackson headed off to school, Lincoln insisted on playing play-doh. I got it down and gave him the blue and green colors. I was careful to make sure he didn't mix the colors up. Who wants a bunch of mixed up playdoh? Sure, I'm a little OCD about it but it keeps the colors pretty! Bored of those colors, the next color up in the wheel was brown. I got out the brown play-doh and placed it on his tray.
He squeezed it and then dropped it and said "Ewwww, mom, Poop!"
If you look closely at the photo, you might actually have to wonder??? Luckily it was just play-doh or I guess you could say play-do do!

-Last weekend, we attended the world's 7th largest flea market. It's in Nashville every 4th weekend of the month. It is truly a sight to behold. We're talking 7 inside buildings and numerous outdoor venues as well. It's interesting and really fun! You never know what you'll see there. Most of what we like to look at is the old/antique neat stuff and the things we know we could make better for a great price. The outdoor vendors are usually better for bargaining with. I'm in the market for a twin bed for Lincoln but I'm in no hurry either. These are a few of the things we saw at the flea market.

-Cute kid
Who in the world is that cute kid at the lunch room table?

You think it's Jackson, don't you?

It's not.
This is a child in his class, Logan.
Last week, Jackson specifically said, "Mom, don't fix my hair like that anymore. Ms. Pilkinton (teacher) always calls me Logan."
When I got to eat lunch with him, I didn't have to ask which one Logan was. I could see it too. It seems to have fooled everyone, including Jason!
No wonder Ms. Pilikinton calls them the same name.
I guess it's true, everyone has a twin!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tennessee Mudpies

These ain't your mama's mud pies.

These are NOT Mississippi mudpies.

These are also NOT Miss Minnie's mud pies (shout out to all that read The Help!)

This is the solution to a Saturday so HOT that there is nothing you can possibly do outdoors that does not include water. Lots of it. In a constant stream with a little water on the side to drink.
Folks, it's been a HOT Tennessee summer. Afternoon temps are regularly reaching the hundred maker and beyond. This was my solution to 1) water the front yard and plants 2) keep the boys out of the kitchen so I could clean it 3) show them some good ol' fashioned FUN!

I didn't have to show them much, they took my ideas and ran with it. If you'd like to have similar fun, you're going to need: A sprinkler, an umbrella, an oil pan(unused!) or similar device, some play cups, spoons and plates, some potting soil (because digging the TN dirt is virtually impossible), mulch, grass, etc. Pretty much anything else you can think of to add to this "witches brew." Oh and 2 boys with a passion for getting dirty!

Jackson was sold on the idea when I told him about my sister and I making mudpies when we were young. The truth was, I was about 5 and Tracie was about 2 and I took her down to the mud hole in the yard and started covering her with mud. When I realized that this little move was going to get me in big trouble, I decided my only choice was to also cover myself in mud. I am certain that the water hose was used in cleaning us off after that little stunt. I'm not sure but I don't think my Adam and Eve philosophy worked out very well. I am pretty sure I was still in trouble. It might have been worth it.
{This was the only photo I could locate of the great mud-capade but I think somewhere along the way I missed my calling of body painting, or mud wrestling.}

This was one of the most fun Stay at home Saturday's we've had in a while. It beats the heck out of sub-par cartoons these days and it kept us pretty cool (and dirty!) I can't begin to tell you how many times I was offered a cup or plate of their special pie. I will just stick to the cheeze-its, but thanks!