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.


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.


January 26, 2015


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.


December 30, 2014

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…


December 26, 2014

What’s wrong with this picture?


Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the village
The creatures were stirring
and beginning their pillage…

With this heartwarming image seared into your retinas, I’d like to wish you and yours:

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

God bless you, my friends!


December 24, 2014

The day my son broke Wal-Mart


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…


December 1, 2014

Camp Cailey

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


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.


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.


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.


November 4, 2014