Blood & Guts

I’m almost afraid to jinx it, but I’m proud to say that I’ve nearly gotten Emme successfully through her first year of high school.  With little to no trauma.  At least on my part.

I was able to outsource Science to our beloved weekly Co-op.  I don’t do Junior or Senior High Science.   Or really even elementary Science.

I am seriously blessed as a homeschool mom to be part of a Co-op that meets once weekly.  My girls have been able to take those classes that I’ve felt I’m inadequate to teach well (Science, Literature, Foreign Language, Art, and History).  (For the record, I did teach them all to read, so KUDOS TO ME. )  The tutors are outstanding and this group meets all of our academic, social, and dissecting needs.

Emme has been taking Apologia Biology from a very gifted and wonderful tutor.  She has a heart for  teaching and for her students.  And speaking of heart, her classes are well known for the dissection component of Science labs.  I really have no idea where she gets this stuff, but she comes in weekly with coolers loaded with all manner of fun dissecting options.

I only know that I’m going to do my best to remain on her good side.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of carting some of Emme’s teenaged girlfriends home from Co-op.  I’m often privy to some lively conversations.  This day did not disappoint.  It seems that the Anatomy class had been dissecting pig’s hearts (plural) in the church kitchen.  I will attest to this as I accidentally wandered through the kitchen earlier in the day and witnessed the aftermath of the gruesome crime scene.  The stainless steel kitchen island was still covered in blood.  I made a hasty retreat, and hoped that the pastor wasn’t in the mood to come in to make a sandwich.

Emme and her girlfriends had to enter the kitchen area to wash off their paint brushes after their art class.  “I looked down and there was a bucket of BLOOD on the floor,” I overheard between squeals as they relived their afternoon discovery.  I should note that all gag reflexes were fully operational.

If only their discussions of BOYS were littered with the same disdain.

And then it happened.  Emme’s Biology tutor announced an upcoming frog dissection.  The dissections had at this point been relocated to the great outdoors.  I happened to be loitering on campus and was able to stroll by every so often.  Emme was as green as her frog.  Kind of a putty green.

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That’s my daughter in the red bandana.  Please take note of her expression as her tutor describes the frog’s entrails.  The photograph is slightly blurred because the photographer may or may not have been stifling a giggle.

It’s those little parenting moments that make it all worth while.

I’m considering putting her into Anatomy class next year.  I’m really hoping that her tutor can produce a cadaver.  Just the thought of that will be enough to get me through the entire homeschooling year.

DeeDeeSig

Bride of Chucky

I stumbled out of my room this morning to find Emme (age 15) asleep on the couch in the Family Room.  My coffee making escapades caused her to stir.  I assumed she wasn’t feeling well, as this was Monday, which means ANOTHER HOMESCHOOL WEEK HAS BEGUN, and she is a well known hypochondriac when it comes to school work.  Alas, no, she reported that a bad dream had caused her to move out of her cozy warm bed to relocate to the ice cold leather sofa.

As the day wore on, I discovered that the cause of her bad dreams was her sister’s American Girl (knock-offs) dolls which still sit perched high atop the armoire in their room.  It seems that a certain blonde doll attacked an unsuspecting Emme in her dreams.  It was one of those dreams where the villain in question is walking all zombie-like, and you are running at break-neck speed and yet you can’t get away…

After a particularly trying day of homeschooling (as most Mondays are), it was at long last time for lights out.  I had to coax Emme off the comforts of the couch with assurances that a good nights sleep in her own comfy bed was what she needed.

This is what greeted her when she crawled into bed.

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I know.  It’s probably wrong.  But parenting paybacks are best served tepid.  With a side of paranoia.

DeeDeeSig

Beached

I should be embarrassed to admit it, but we’re enjoying higher than normal temperatures here in sunny Florida, on this the last week of the year.  I prefer cooler temperatures, as the comfort of my stretchypants and oversized sweatshirts hide a multitude of holiday sins.  But since we had friends visiting from up north, we really had no choice but to head to the beach.

My beach attire consists of a black rash guard, men’s board shorts, and oversized sunglasses, to help me remain incognito.  I may or may not have threatened my girlfriends to make certain they cropped me out of any group shots today.

I only wish there had been photographic evidence of the following scenario.

At some point I was seated comfortably in my beach/camping chair chatting with friends.  Suddenly I notice beach goers (including adults from our group) begin to rush towards a very deathly-still body lying prone at the water’s edge.

I stood up.  IT’S OKAY.  HE’S NOT DEAD.  HE DOES THIS ALL THE TIME.

The unmoving figure must have noticed that the sun was suddenly blocked by ALL THE CONCERNED CITIZENS.  He opened his eyes and looked up.  He offered an explanation of sorts, “I wanted the Seagulls to think I was a washed up fish!”

This is how he likes to observe nature up close and personal.

And age me far beyond my middle-aged years.

If you’ll recall, on a prior camping trip he was discovered lying in the road.  When asked what in the world he was doing playing dead in the middle of the roadway, he explained that he wanted to see if the circling Vultures would be fooled so he could see what they look like at close range.

Boys are different.

I have no doubt that Jensen will enter into the field of Zoology in some capacity in his adulthood.  It’s just too bad that the Discovery Channel has already filmed an episode of a man in a “snake proof” suit being swallowed alive by an Anaconda.  We will be banning the Discovery Channel for a while now, as we don’t need to give the boy any ideas.

DeeDeeSig

Life is a Beach

Over our Christmas break, we went to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park.  Really.  Someone ought to tell Fiddledaddy to lighten up and have more fun…

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Sleepy Hollow alert

Fiddledaddy has been a busy little bee this Fall, in his attempt to hunt and gather food for our little family.  He appeared in a couple of television shows, Sleepy Hollow and Resurrection.  Both of which scare the pee-pee out of me, but I’ve become addicted to them while doing research (use of air quotes) for Fiddledaddy’s upcoming episodes.

Which were fantastic.  By the way.  Only I forgot to toot a horn announcing them in advance.  I would make a horrible publicist.

Alas I just discovered that his Sleepy Hollow episode will air tonight (Monday).  So toot-toot.  He plays the dad of a missing little girl.  Can’t tell you what happens.

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(Is it wrong that I watch Sleepy Hollow through my fingers while curled up in a tight ball on the couch?)

DeeDeeSig

The day my son broke Wal-Mart

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I have a Sunday morning ritual that serves me well.  I drop my two teenaged daughters off at church early on Sunday morning so they can attend their own Youth service and be present for their respective volunteer duties.  Then I head to Wal-Mart to hunt and gather the weeks groceries.  (And before you begin, after the shopping trip, I dash home, drop the groceries, grab Fiddledaddy and son, and head back to church in time for the 2nd service.)

This has several benefits.  A) Most importantly, I employ the “divide and conquer” mode of warding off the inevitable stress of Sunday morning getting-ready-for-church drama.  The two teenagers get their drama out of the way by SEVEN PLUS CHANGE A.M.  Then we are generally gone before Fiddledaddy and Junior even stir.  B)  AWESOME PARKING SPACES can be found early at Wal-Mart and NO CROWDS, and C) having the teenagers serving as volunteers alleviates most of the guilt I might feel since I no longer serve in the children’s ministry.

(And for the record, I now serve on the Design Committee.  Which is why words have been scarce in this neck of the woods over the last few weeks.  What with Christmas sets and decorations to be made for the church.  And further for the record, I don’t so much design, as execute, what the Design Committee envisions.  So in essence, I’m on the Execution Team at church.  I like this term far better.)

(I will expound on our latest project later in the week.  When I’m quite certain that what I actually executed, you know, actually works. But it involved painting and power tools.  Two of my favorite things.)

Anyhoo.  On this particular Sunday morning, I needed to take young Jensen with me to Wal-Mart.  I avoid this scenario whenever possible because, well, if you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that if some disaster occurs at a public outing, Jensen is usually present.

Besides, I do love grocery shopping alone.  Just me, my coupons, my color-coordinated shopping list (arranged by aisle), and my neurosis.  Do not judge me.

Jensen is a rather high-maintenance, high octane, high energy sort of boy.  Wal-Mart provides SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES for inappropriate.  And he’s fast now.  Really fast.

We made it through this particular shopping experience without too much peril.  He was perturbed that I wouldn’t allow him to purchase a vat of fine point markers, and in giving me a hard time, I may or may not have grounded him until Jesus returns.  But, we were about to make our exit unscathed.

The cart was loaded to the gills, and after I checked out, I asked him to commandeer the cart while I fished my keys out from the black hole also known as my purse.  He took off like a race horse out of the gate.  With the fully loaded cart before him.  I yelled (yes, I yelled in Wal-Mart) at him to stop running, as I envisioned an elderly patron rounding the corner just as he were to crash into him/her.  He stopped at the corner, turned to look at me as I hurried my pace to take over the driving duties.  Then he hunkered down, turned the corner, and made a mad dash toward the exit.

This is when everything seemed to move in slow motion.  He was aimed at the closed automatic exit doors.  Doors that I know from experience do not spring open in the heat of the moment.  I yelled (again), and to his credit, he did try to stop.  And he failed.  He crashed right into the sliding automatic doors, still in the closed position, knocking them completely off the track.  For just a moment, I was glad that I did not have wine in the cart.

A rather horrified 9 year old looked back at his ashen mother.  A mother, who did consider for a moment, exiting through the fully intact entrance doors and pretending not to know the child who just broke Wal-Mart.

He apologized a good million times, and I made him march himself back into Wal-Mart to tell an employee what had just transpired.  She smiled, like it happened all the time.  I was rather hoping for security to be dispatched.  The security that carries an actual GUN.  But I don’t think we have anything like that at our Wal-Mart.  Pity.

On the bright side, I think we’ve come a long way since Wal-Mart trips of old.  At least this time I didn’t make the news…

DeeDeeSig

Camp Cailey

To put things in perspective, this is how Cailey looked when I began this blog.

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She was five.  I closed many of my older posts because my blog was rather bloated with ALL THE WORDS.  But some of my favorite posts about Cailey included her penchant for exacting revenge on unsuspected siblings with the use of boogers.  I remember the early years when she took a shine to a particular boy who only liked to wear one shoe.  A concerned Emme confided in me, “Mom, why does she like him, he PICKS HIS NOSE.”  I thought, well, at least they share an interest.

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated that little pistol’s THIRTEENTH birthday.  Since 13 is a momentous occasion, I threw all caution to the wind and agreed to host a birthday party.  Since we’re on a budget, I knew it had to be a creative birthday party.

Between my 3 children, I can count on one hand the number of birthday parties that I’ve thrown.  I’ve gotten away with LET’S GO TO DISNEY WORLD for nearly all of their birthdays.  Which is a wonderful treat.  But I knew that Cailey’s heart’s desire was to celebrate with her sweet posse of giggly girlfriends.  And she is truly blessed with a gang of adorable fellow teens and tweens.

I sold her on the idea of Camp Cailey because I thought it would be fun (and NOT EXPENSIVE) to set up the camping equipment in our postage stamp sized back yard.  Cailey helped to organize camp-style backyard games such as Musical Camping Chairs, Paint a Pet Rock, and general story telling and much frivolity.

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Because I overestimated what needed to be done and underestimated the time it would take to get everything ready, about 30 minutes before the girls were to arrive I suffered a near-fatal mental breakdown.  I wish I were kidding.  My girlfriend, Andrea, texted me at that moment to see if there was anything I needed.  I replied, “I’m in over my head.  Help.”  She texted back, “I’m on my way.”  And in that moment I knew everything was going to be okay.

And it was.

The party was scheduled from 4 until 9 that evening.  Because I’m insane.  I finally did the math, and that was FIVE HOURS OF PARTY.  There was nothing to worry about, as the time was filled with festive eating of Ants on a Log, Chili Dogs, Chips, and what have you.  After dark we put a movie on in the tent (on our old TV with a VCR) and the girls huddled up with blankets and watched a princess movie.  Afterwards, a camp fire was lit and s’mores were consumed.

As moms and dads arrived to take their campers home, a friend of mine remarked, “Wow, your yard looks great!”  (You would laugh if you knew of our yard-keeping inabilities.)  I said, “Yes, in the dark and if you squint, it’s not bad!”

Cailey had the best birthday party ever, spent with precious friends.

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It is hard for me to believe that my baby girl is a tall and lanky teenager now.  We can only hope that when the right time comes, she’ll be attracted to a young Godly man who wears both shoes.  And perhaps one who keeps his fingers out of his nose.

I am so going to owe her a hundred dollars for this post.

DeeDeeSig

My view of life from the linoleum.