Monday, October 31, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Field Trip

Jackson's kindergarten class went to the pumpkin patch for their first field trip. I was trulyrelieved that he wanted me to go with him. I always went with him in preschool. I can't handle the rejection of not being wanted. Ok, I can't handle rejection at all.
It was a very uneventful trip. We did the hayride around the farm, tour of the farm equipment, play on the "educational" areas kind of day. Best of all, we were done by noon and headed back to school. Short and sweet, these teachers knew what they were doing! Of course all the kids had tons of fun and thought it was the greatest farm ever. The highlight of the day was feeding the cows pumpkins. I never knew they ate pumpkins but I guess they do and they like them.
I feel so lucky to be able to go along on Jackson's field trips with him. I can see how much it means to him. I can remember how much it meant to me to have someone go along. I hope I can be there until that sad day comes when he doesn't want me there anymore. Quick, someone tell me that day will never come.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We were walkin' in High Cotton

It was Sunday morning before church. We had planned this little photo shoot all weekend and the best time fell on Sunday morning before church. We should have known better.

We dressed the boys reluctantly as always and drove the .6 miles it takes to get to a cotton field in Alabama in the fall. We failed to account for the recent rain when we entered the field. It was too late. Much too late for each of their cute shoes and pants legs. I'm certain there is something in the bible that says, "thou shalt not go to church filthy." Ok, maybe not but I was brought up that way. Moving along.
The normal amount of bribing, yelling and hair pulling was done to make these 5 photos. There were some grinding of teeth and some threats made but somehow everyone came out smiling. It is truly a miracle sometimes to even get one good photo of 2 active boys. Active is the term I like to use when I really mean completely and totally out of control acting.

But none of that really matters. All that really matters here is we came out with dirty shoes and 5 pictures worth posting and looking like these two boys totally LOVE each other all the time and never ever make each other scream or cry.

I'd like you to believe that's true.

And tell me often so you might can convince me too.

Because most times it looks a little like THIS

And that is on a GOOD day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lame excuses for not blogging

1. The Hunger Games. I'm listening to it right this second while I type. It's pretty intriguing and not at all what I expected. It's no girly-girly book. Move over Nicholas Sparks.

2. This morning, before we even left for church, I had already had a screaming meltdown. It was in response to Lincoln's screaming meltdown because of Jackson's screaming meltdown.
As I dropped the boys off in the childcare area, I was praising God for Kids worship volunteers and I'd be lying if I didn't say it was one of the reasons we showed up today.

3. A white plastic spoon has accompanied my every move lately. It speaks volumes for the kids behavior most times but sometimes, there is nothing that can overcome the witching hour or the terrible twos. Tonight, I drug a screaming 2 year old through CVS by his limp arm and in the same evening I yelled "GET OUT of that tree" to my 5 year old in the parking lot of Michaels craft store as onlookers giggled.

4. Cincy, IKEA, Renee Wallace and Trader Joe's wine. During Jackson's fall break, we took a little drive to see my best friend and Jackson and Lincoln's future wives. The boys and I drove 5 hours to Cincinnati and were intrigued by the city on the river. We later found out, there is a possibility that we could move there. Among several other possibilities. I bought all my favorite IKEA necessities and a red rainbow of wines at Trader Joes before heading to her house for the week. We had a great time.

5. OWEN family weekend and Vanderbilt's homecoming game. It started Thursday night with the OWEN Kegs social. It continued Friday morning with a Dean's brunch and then a visit from Jason's mom. We tailgated for not one but 2 schools on Saturday as Vandy played Army which will eventually both be Jason's alma maters. Pretty impressive if I say so!

6.Smaller house=BIGGER mess. I never knew. It's totally true. I still miss my NC house.

7. New career opportunity on the horizon for me. It's still in the very early stages but if you know me it's ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for me! And no, it has nothing to do with changing diapers or singing lullabies.

8. Running, working out at the Y, eating healthy. Wait, those are those are on the list of things I have ALSO NOT been doing. Oops. Better get on that. Add to that going to bed earlier.

Maybe tomorrow I'll come up with some riveting energy and get to those 3 awaiting blogs.

Maybe I should break out those 5 hour energy drinks they were giving away at the tailgates.

Here's hoping.

Don't hold your breath.

Unless you have the hiccups, then you should hold your breath.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Classy Train

A few weeks ago, (amazing how time slips away) we finally went to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens here in Belle Meade. I've been wanting to go since we moved here but I knew on certain days they offered FREE admission and being the thrifty mama that I am, Free was better than paid admission any day. It's also been oppressively hot this summer and paid outdoor activities were at a minimum. Well, the weather AND the price was right and we were headed to see the Trains! exhibit I've been hearing about. The clothing choices were meticulously planned (yes, Jason's too). We did early church service and planned to be first in line to be able to still squeeze in a nap (for Lincoln of course ha!) before our community group meeting that evening. Lunch was on the horizon, even though it was only 1045. It'd be a shame to go hungry while browsing the beauty of the gardens. I planned to pack a cute and appropriate picnic lunch but wardrobe malfunctions prevented me from following through. Our next choice was Sunday fried chicken but KFC was our only option and no one jumped at that one. Along the way, our next foodie opportunity was Krystals. Why not? We rolled up and placed a large order for several mini square grease burgers on steamed buns with tiny little onions and a speck of mustard. Mmmmm! Nobody at this high class artsy museum was going to out class us. We were bringin' the Krystals!
With the tiny little stink bombs stuffed under the stroller, we first had to stop and see the Trains! It was pretty hard to miss and we'd been pumping up (bribing) the boys with it all day. How else do you think I got them into those clothes and producing those smiles. It ain't easy. I must say the trains were impressive. Captivating actually. I could have stood there more than an hour and watched them zoom around those tracks. The children were thrilled. The trains are miniature replicas of actual train lines that run around the US. There was also a Thomas train that was a pretty big hit with most of the kids. It was an elaborate display, complete with miniature trees and greenery and scaling bridges and walkways. Under one of the bridges, there was a little window where you could look in on a little "house" type train depot. If you watched long enough you'd see our favorite train, the "Ladybug train" speed to a stop in her house, pause and then take off again. She was more like a trolley being the only train on her track but it was painted red with black dots and it was always a squeal to spot the lady bug coming. She was definitely our favorite!
We had spent more time than anticipated there at the trains and our lunch was calling. We found a spot near the water gardens and among all the sophisticated mommies eating cheese and hummus, we broke out our yummy mystery burgers complete with processed cheese and ate to our hearts content. It was a little bit liberating to blatantly go against the status quo and feed our kids such filth. As long as we don't do it very regularly, or at least not every meal.
After lunch, we strolled the rest of the gardens and enjoyed the views. Jason and I especially loved the herb garden to see all the herbs we cook with growing in a garden. We discussed the dreamers possibility of having a restaurant and growing all of our own herbs for cooking.
That nap was soon eluding all of us and we departed and vowed to NOT wait for the next free admission day before we returned. Besides, we have to visit our Lady bug again before she departs the gardens in December.

How CUTE is she?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


All the things I'm to afraid to admit out loud in public. Spilling my guts here for your reading pleasure or mockery, whichever you see fit.

  • I blow money on all kinds of flashy, light up sparkly glow in the dark things for my kids. Yeah, sure, for my kids. I'm a sucker for glow sticks and light sabers alike. I'm even down for those glitter batons at the dollar store. The boys haven't bought into one yet. I may have to break down and get one just for me.
  • I have convinced my children that any beverage I don't want to share with them is a "mommy drink." Probably not necessarily a good thing. I can see it now, a McDonald's fruit smoothie for school pick up. To one of Jackson's teachers, "No, I can't have any of that drink, it's a mommy drink! It might give the wrong impression but sometimes, it's nice to not have to share.
  • I'm having MAJOR anxiety about Jackson loosing his first tooth. He doesn't even have a loose one or talk about it much. I know it's happening to kindergartners everywhere but I'm just not ready for it. It's just the beginning of "the awkward years" and I'm not ready for those either. Besides, there are always photos to be taken. First up, there's Christmas cards. And no, I don't want him to be asking for his two front teeth this Christmas, or any Christmas for that matter. I'm just going to place my head in the sand until it's necessary to face my fears.
  • Some days my very first thought before getting out of bed to start the daily grind is "can I possible squeeze in a nap somewhere today?" It rarely EVER happens but it's that one simple thought and the hope it brings that gets me up out of bed and downstairs to the sweet aroma of my pre-programmed coffee. It's that same coffee that gets me through the disappointment of knowing there will be NO time for that fleeting nap I envisioned just moments earlier. Here's to YOU Mr. Coffee maker.
  • I just had to witness Jackson choose his school outfit for tomorrow. It is spirit week and tomorrow it tacky day. I'm going to admit that I had a REALLY hard time choosing his tacky outfit and an even harder time watching the ease of him putting it together. He has all the right ideas, mismatched socks, mismatched crocs, pastel plaid shorts, a bold stripped polo button up and a red undershirt. We probably won't even bother fixing his hair. He was thrilled with himself. I was disgusted. He made it look so easy. I have no doubts about his masculinity but how could I produce such a tacky minded offspring. It must be a trait Jason possess.
  • I finally tried the Salted Caramel Mocha today from Starbucks. I have been hearing for weeks that it is utterly life changing. I have pretty high coffee standards at my house. We drink the good stuff, with the good stuff in it. If my morning cup is going to be full, it's going to have calories and be worth every single sip. Some of my current favorites are Seattle's best coffee #3 with Almond Joy creamer or dark chocolate raspberry creamer. I'm telling you it's a high bar I've set. So while I completely enjoyed this "mommy drink" of $4.00 coffee this afternoon while the kids are screaming and fighting in the back seat, I think my morning cup of caloric happiness is just as pleasing and not nearly as pricey. I may be alone in my thoughts here because I hear of people budgeting in their holiday coffee obsession and I don't knock it. I just think I'll stick to my coffee and my creamer and blow my $4.00 on something glittery, flashy or glow in the dark!



At a recent Vandy game, we had to drive through Fraternity row very close to game time. The yards at the houses were quite a mess. I guess some things don't vary even if you do go to a fancy private school. As we drove by, Jackson was gawking and he said "Look, mom! They are having a Littering Party!" Score one for the green lesson. Score two for the distaste of fraternities at an early age. Now to ensure he doesn't get picked on should he become a hippy.

Our neighbors are Iraqi natives. They have 4 American born children and 2 of the girls go to school with Jackson. He LOVES those girls and they love him too. I think he enjoys riding the bus because of them. One day, they were at our house on a rare occasion because their mother had a doctors appointment. We didn't know how long they were staying but we had planned to go to a park. I asked the oldest girl to call her mother and make sure it was ok if they went with us. I would have called her but there is a significant language barrier when we are in person that might not be overcome on the phone as easily. Treske, the oldest girl, spoke to her mother in their native language. They both understand it, but Treske speaks it as well. Jackson listened intently, he wanted them to come with us to the park badly. When she got off the phone, both girls translated the Kurdish conversation into a YES! Jackson looked at her and said with a shocked tone "WHAT kind of English was THAT?"
Poor boy. I do my best to bring him culture and that is how he thanks me.

After a recent round of "No you can't have candy, no not any gum either, it's almost dinner time," Jackson announced to me, "I'm going to let my kids have whatever they want. I'll let them eat all the candy they ask for. I'm going to be the best dad in the world." I'm sure you will son, but for now, I'm playing boss and I say NO Candy!

We had dinner at a local pizza place last week with friends. It's a VERY small scale Chuck E. Cheese type place. More like just a bunch of old arcade games in the back with an air hockey table. Most of the games were over my kids head and I was far to cheap to keep feeding them quarters to play games less entertaining than my phone or computer have to offer. We were there to eat anyway. Jackson had fun watching the other kids play their parents hard earned quarters in return for countless bouncy balls. I was trying to have an adult conversation with my friend Mari. Jackson pulled me to the back where the games were and pointed to an old, bland looking change machine. He adamantly said, "I wanna play THAT game, those kids keep winning MONEY from it!" Ah, to be nieve again.

Nashville is a great city. There are very few "bad parts of town" to be found but being that it is a large city there are still some. We found ourselves there by accident one day. I was concentrating on getting us out, for safety. Jackson asks me, "Mom, are we in the gecko?" Yep, that's a good way to put it. We were in the "gecko" and I got us out of there, asap. Where do they get these things?

We are seriously working on manners. Especially table manners. Even little Lincoln burps loudly and then says " Scuse me, mom-mom." We've been talking about just NOT burping, or suppressing the sound instead of bellowing it. We also discuss the same courtesy when passing gas. Sometimes, it can't be helped. Sometimes it can, and should. It isn't nice to draw attention to it but it is nice to excuse yourself. Jackson told me after school recently: "Mom, even when I say excuse me when I fart at school, the kids still laugh at me." He was serious. I laughed hysterically. I tried but I guess you never grow out of some things.

There is a Geisha temple on a road we travel frequently. It is elaborate with golden roofs and waterfalls outside the large gates. It's a sight and Jackson is mesmerized by it every time we drive by. The first few times, he'd ask if someone LIVES there? or Is that a hotel? We talked about it being a church but they don't worship the same god that we worship. It's not an easy concept to explain to a 5 year old in discovery mode. Thankfully, I may have been in my teens before knowing there was anything else. On our latest pass of the temple, Jackson told me, "Mom, I wish that church worshiped the same God that we worship so we could go to church there." Again, to be so nieve.

Last week, I made a pretty great pot roast. It was an adapted PW recipe. I decided not to cook the potatoes in the roast but instead to mix white and sweet potatoes and roast them in olive oil and rosemary. I love the flavor of rosemary but the woody stems it produces can be a bit annoying. I can handle it for the love of flavor but Jason doesn't care for it much. My cousin was here eating with us, Jason was at school. The boys were actually eating dinner for once and Jackson said, " Mom, these potatoes are pretty good but they have something like dad's toenails on them!"
Ewww. I don't get grossed out very easily. That about did it for me. No more fresh rosemary stems. Nothing and I mean nothing at the dinner table should allude to dad's toenails. Gross.

Monday, October 3, 2011

School is for the birds!

Only the coolest mom in the world would take the most beautiful day since school started and check her baby out of school to visit the zoo!

That's me, coolest mom in the world. Or at least I like to think so.

Last Thursday, the weather was better than it's been since school started. We may have just entered the "it's tolerable" portion of summer. It's almost fall. Even though it doesn't feel like it most days, we are getting there. On this random fair weathered Thursday, I put Lincoln down for an early nap and when he woke, we checked Jackson out of school for am impromptu zoo visit. We are members of the zoo but haven't visited ALL summer. When the weather is that hot, the animals prefer us to stay home in the air conditioning so that they can do the same. We gladly obliged them and expected to visit with the "tolerable" temperatures approaching.

We love having a zoo membership! It's so nice to be able to go to the zoo and not rush or feel the need to "see everything". We might only get around to a few exhibits but it's no stress, we'll be back again soon. This trip, we decided to take the road less taken. The one NOT the direction of the famed monkeys. It turned out for the best. We entered the Lorikeet feeding exhibit just to look at the birds. Jackson immediately started asking did I have any money. I usually just say no but feeding the birds looked like fun and they did look hungry. I had him go get the money and we bought a cup of the silly bird nectar. Jackson took it in and those birds were more like vultures. About 6 of them flocked to his arm, head and arms to get the cup. He was a little freaked out by it and just before he dropped the cup and ran, I grabbed it from him. As soon as I did, the little friends that were attacking my 5 year old turned on me. I wasn't scared of the birds but I can see how Jackson might have been. I held out my arm and 4 of them fought over the little $1 cup of nectar we bought. We did end up buying another after the boys decided it was fun to feed the birds. I probably enjoyed this more than they did. I could have stayed longer, and thus spent more money!
Next we walked over to the house for which the zoo is named. It's called Grassmere and it was a really beautiful home place. It also had farm animals which we all know how thrilled Lincoln was at the sight of them. Cows! At the zoo, how thrilling. But it really was for Lincoln, oh, how he loves cows! We also visited the family graveyard at Jackson's request. He likes graveyards and wants to know how everyone in them died. I have strange kids, with strange preferences. Most kids are whining over the carousel or train, mine whine when we leave the cows and the graveyard. Whatever.
We then spend a few minutes at the zoo's playground. It would be worth the cost of the membership just to play on this playground. It's really cool. Jackson spent his time climbing a rope climb that went over the water while Lincoln and I did belly flops in the toddler bounce area. We had to head home. The traffic was going to be significant already. But there was little fuss for our departure. We'll be back sooner than later. We belong to the zoo!

I claimed this was like Jason and I. Just two little lovebirds, picking the lice off one another.
Yep, that's us.

My little Lincoln. Born to be a farmer. Luckily, we've got an IN with John Deere!
School is for the birds! We're calling this zoo trip, progressive education. Or we could call it quality time with mommy. Either way, we're calling it a GOOD idea.