A Summer Symphony

Boys are different.  For your listening and viewing pleasure, I present a summer symphony, featuring Jensen and his best buddies.  Another proud parenting moment.  My son is the one in the back.

You are welcome…


The Hunted and the Hunter

Since I’ve had birds on the brain this week, I thought I’d share a little video I captured of my son.  I was taking Cailey to a birthday party, and much to her horror, the younger brothers were also invited so they could frolic at will.  Assaulting nature.

Jensen was one of the first brothers to arrive, so he found a way to keep himself occupied.  I caught the tail end of this particular stalking episode.  Featured is Jensen, the T-Rex, and an unsuspecting Sandhill Crane.

Which really, let’s just call them what they are….Pterodactyls.

I suspect this video illustrates why the dinosaurs are extinct while the Pterodactyl Sandhill Crane still roams the earth.

This T-Rex is just lucky he didn’t get his eyes pecked out.




A Bird in the Hand

Recently we traveled from Florida to the outskirts of San Antonio for a long overdue visit with my dad and step-mom.  One of the perks of visiting the grandparents, are the grandbirds.  My children adore them.  In a bid to ease their empty nest, over the years my dad and step-mom have taken on the care of various types of small birds.  They are extremely tame since they have been hand fed since bursting out of their respective eggs.

You might say that they rule the roost, as it were.  They sit at the dinner table, and eat ice cream from spoons.  Which can give them the scoots.  And they are not house broken.  Nay.  This is why I always pack a canister of clorox wipes and make liberal use of them prior to setting the table for dinner.

Cooking duties happily fall squarely on my shoulders whenever I visit, and I know that a home cooked meal is appreciated by my dad and step-mom, who are both not in great health.  A horrible by-product of getting older is that your parents get even older.  These thoughts make me wish I lived closer so that I could help them more.

Right after we arrived, my first job was to peruse the pantry, refrigerator, and outside freezer to determine what I had on hand for dining options.  My dad and step-mom are of the generation that pretty much saves every scrap of food.  Poking around in their stuffed-to-the-gills freezer is often a flash back in time.  Although nothing is dated (except for an occasional expired expiration date), there is packaging that I’m quite certain belongs to companies long since dissolved.

But because I have a deep and abiding passion for food, this process is like a trip to Disney World for me.

I began poking around in the top section of the freezer moving aside the frost bitten corndogs.  There, perched atop the ice cream bars was a nondescript brown paper bag.  I peered inside and saw something wrapped in a paper towel.  I felt of it, but decided there was not enough to it to be deemed a protein source (or even a good snacking opportunity), so I crammed it back into the small open space at the top of the freezer shelf.

Just then I hear my father’s voice waft out into the garage, “DON’T BOTHER THE BROWN PAPER BAG!” 


“There’s a dead bird in there.”  

I recoiled from the freezer.



My dad, who has never been ruffled by my hysteria calmly replied, “We can’t decide whether to have it stuffed or cremated.”

“CREMATED?  WHERE? LIKE IN THE FIRE PLACE?”  He chuckled (like I was the crazy one) and moved on.

Okay. So there was a dead bird interred in the garage freezer.  Atop the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.  Allrightythen.


I decided to plan my menu from fresh ingredients procured from the local grocery store, so I headed over to my dad’s desk for a pad of paper and pen.  I looked up to see my dad’s favorite bird, Jeffy, perched on a branch staring down at me.  Not blinking.  Ever.

Wait.  “Dad?  ISN’T JEFFY DEAD?”

“Yes, remember?  We had him stuffed.”

As opposed to flash frozen.

I forgot.  Jeffy met with an untimely death when he miscalculated the distance from the wall to the door a couple of years ago.  And so he now sits, watching over all who enter the room.


Not at all creepy.

If you’ve ever wondered why I may be a candidate for psychological study, wonder no more.  This is just a small glimpse into my upbringing.

And why I cannot ever watch Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds without running for cover screaming MY EYES, MY EYES.


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.

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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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…


My view of life from the linoleum.