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My State of Being

My girls are taking a Speech/Debate class at our homeschool co-op.  Speech covers the first semester, and Debate will be the second semester.  Our English/Lit/Speech tutor is amazing and is one of the main reasons I signed Emme up for this co-op 3 years ago when it looked like our Classical Conversations class was going to disband.  At the open house for the Co-op, I met this enthusiastic Literature-centric educator, who not only got Emme excited about classes, but had me thinking I should go back to school.

(I didn’t.  But I thought about it.)

Emme is an avid reader/writer who has blossomed under this tutor.  Both girls (and Jensen) are all taking English/Literature classes with her, and we threw in Speech/Debate for high school credit for my Emme (who is now a Sophomore…sob…sob).  Cailey jumped on the speech/debate band wagon for grins and I’m certain this decision will come back to haunt me.  Cailey can argue with a brick wall and win.  Should she ever become an attorney, opposing counsel will be begging to be locked up, just to escape her mad-pit-bull take-no-prisoners attitude.

(I often say that this skill will serve her well in adulthood, but it’s going to kill me in menopause.)  So do I really want her to hone this ability?

So.  Speech class has been a breeze for Emme  who can pull together an essay on anything without breaking a sweat.  For Cailey, it is like you are asking her to pluck out an eye with a spoon should she have to compose something.  How they share DNA, I’ll never know.

Anyhoo.  Recently they had an assignment to write and read aloud an essay about something that is close to their heart.  Over the course of a Wednesday afternoon I saw Emme furiously typing her speech.  She rarely shows them to me, and I only see them after the grading as I’m filing them in her portfolio.

The next day after class, Cailey came home and told me that Emme’s speech made everyone cry.  Even Emme.  A heaving sobbing ugly cry.  I turned to her, “What did you write about?”

She said, “Your battle with Lyme disease.”

Uh-oh.  Knowing her penchant for All The Drama, I asked her, “We’re not going to start getting casseroles are we?”  

She let me read her paper.  I got teary.  I really had forgotten how frightening my illness, diagnosis, and subsequent 18 months of treatment was on my sweet girl.  As well as on my entire family.

I think sometimes, it’s like childbirth.  As time goes by, we do forget the pain.  But I don’t think my husband, or my children, will ever forget what we went through 5 years ago.

I’ve been able to manage my symptoms by keeping my immune system strong.  I’ve had to clean up my diet (so let’s not talk about my trip to Cracker Barrel Friday night), avoid stress (Hello? Have you met my 3 children?  That I HOMESCHOOL?), and maintain a positive attitude (coffee plays a major role in this department, so disregard the whole clean up my diet idea first thing in the morning).  I haven’t been on antibiotics in a few years, and really only take a few supplements.  That beats the heck out of the 60 to 70 pills a day that I had to take during treatment.  It’s something that I’ll have to watch all of my life, but it’s manageable.

I’m pretty spry.  I’m not sure if I can run, because I never run on purpose.  But I bet I can.  If chased.  I still deal with joint inflammation, but am hoping to get control of that as I’m researching what triggers this.

One tremendous positive about my Lyme journey is that because I had been so outspoken (some might call it over-sharing) about what I was going through, others (even people who are near and dear to my heart) were able to get a correct diagnosis and treatment.  And I will never again take my health for granted.

And that’s my state of being.  Grateful.


Super Mom, in my mind

Every once in a while I have a flash of brilliance.  I’m having to go back a ways, but I thought I’d share the rare moment when under duress, I executed a really really good idea.

Our church hosts Trunk or Treat on Halloween each year.  Usually I host and decorate a trunk.  I found this to be especially useful after my kids were old enough to wander around the event with their friends.  If I host a trunk, I get to pretty much stay in one spot.  All The Wandering does not appeal to me.

I did have a poignant moment this year when I realized that 5 years ago, I had to attend Trunk or Treat with my children, while I sat in a wheel chair.

Not so this year.  I’m not doing handsprings, but I’m fairly spry.

My teenagers had aspirations of dressing up as princesses and decorating our trunk to match.  The day prior to the event, I realized that while they were going to look stunning, no thought had been given to the actual trunk.  I also knew that a gaggle of their friends would also be there and I’d likely only catch glimpses of them as they sashayed to and fro.

In other words, I’d be sitting in my lonely camping chair with a naked trunk.

I took matters into my own hands.  I fired my decorators and hired myself.  On the day of Trunk or Treat, I wriggled into my SuperMan t-shirt (replete with red cape), put my hair in rollers, slipped on yellow rubber gloves, and went as SUPER MOM.

The trunk was a snap.  I rolled out an area rug, dusted off the ironing board to use as a table, filled a wash tub to hold the candy, threw the laundry baskets filled with laundry onto the pavement, strung a clothesline across the back of the van and hung some towels with clothespins.

Whole set-up was decorated in less than 10 minutes.


And then the fun began.  As the children filed past, I gave them candy and then yelled at them to remember to brush their teeth and BE NICE TO THEIR MOM.  I didn’t get to do much sitting, but I had a fantastic time.

Super Mom will likely make a return appearance next year.  But with BIGGER AND BETTER props.  I want to bring a barkalounger and work in a toilet brush somehow.  I may even serve wine to fellow harried moms.  Oh wait.  Church event.  Nevermind.

Who says Halloween is for kids.


Mange in the Manger

Just when I thought it was safe to be a wise man, this greeted me as I stumbled in to make the morning coffee.


Mary is going to be begging Joseph to check into a Motel 6.


Decking the Walls

For the first time in the history of, well, me, I have all of our Christmas decorations up AND IT’S STILL NOVEMBER.  Generally the deed trails on long into December, and I’m tripping over decorations boxes for weeks.

Not so anymore.  I spent one dedicated day to putting the tree up, with the help of two reluctant elves who were grounded and had nothing better to do.  I also decided to simplify.  I’m not putting the Christmas village up this year.

Jensen nearly had a heart attack at this intel, because he looks forward to the dinosaurs overtaking the village and dining on hapless villagers.


I did set him loose on the manger, but I drew the line at giving him the baby Jesus (who makes a surprise appearance on Christmas morning).  The dinosaurs destroyed the manger, and wise men were scattered near and far.  I pried two baby sheep out of a T-Rex’s jaws and declared the manger off limits.  It now sits atop the kitchen counter where I can gaze upon it as I slave over dinner.

But something is amiss, I fear.


The biggest time saver this year is the application of the outdoor lighting.  No more climbing up precarious ladders.  We have discovered the joys of “laser lighting.”  Recently one of our camping  friends brought this to light up the forest.  Spectacular.  Hardly any of the camping boys lost the use of their eyes when staring into the laser beam.

Behold, the front of our house.  Okay, this is not really our house.  But it’s what it would look like.  If the yard were well kept.  And it belonged in a magazine.

And the Starshower Laser Light is portable.  I can move it to the backyard during bonfires.  Or to freak out the wildlife in the nature preserve.  It’s  available at Walmart for right around $40.  WORTH IT.

Fiddledaddy was quizzed by a neighbor who was concerned by the number of electrical outlets needed.  ONLY ONE, MR. GRISWOLD.

Now on to the Christmas shopping.

Which I haven’t even started.

Baby steps.


Clean as a Whistle

(In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote this today thinking it might be inappropriate for Thanksgiving.  But I think I’ve reached the age wherein I’m totally okay with All The Inappropriate.  And besides, it may be a slight step up from past Thanksgiving posts that I’ve re-posted.  And with that, I will bid you a  Happy Thanksgiving!)

My elderly father-in-law recently went through rehab after a fall.  Fiddledaddy’s siblings all set about the task of doing what they can to make him as comfortable as possible while living at home.  He is a stubborn New Yorker who transplanted to Florida in the 1960’s with his bride and 4 children.  In that home, two more children were added and a lifetime of memories were made.

It is understandable that he wants to live out his days in that sweet house.

One of the more globe-trotting of the siblings purchased and installed a bidet in PopPop’s bathroom.  To make that area of his life a little easier.  Enough said.  And if you are unsure of what a bidet is, just let Dr. Mercola explain what our European cousins already know.

At first there was a good deal of chatter among the siblings, but one by one they all filtered over to PopPop’s house for a close-up inspection of the bidet.  Most scoffed, “It’s all well and good until one of the great grandchildren use it as a drinking fountain.”  I just hope I’m there for that.

Fiddledaddy went nearly immediately to Amazon.com and purchased a bidet for our Master Bath.

At first I was dubious.  Change is hard, after all.  But I’m nothing if not adventurous.  But let me just give you a word of warning:  keep the dial set to “low” for beginners.  I do not need to elaborate.  I’ve heard stories of fancy bidets that warm the water and then offer a gentle blow dry.  I say nay.  To the basic bidet model, I give a hearty WOOHOO.

Sing with me, in the key of C, “Sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you.”

Then he purchased a bidet for the kid’s bathroom.  Hoping above all hopes to cut down on the amount of toilet paper my son blows through.  I’m certain that many forests have been felled needlessly.

The girls pretend it doesn’t exist.  Jensen thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread.  Until a certain sister sets it to “girl mode” just to mess with him.

I don’t know, maybe it goes back to his toilet obsession of long ago.  But the kids spends a lot of time in the bathroom.  A LOT OF TIME.  We know he’s still alive in there only because of the constant singing, and occasional roaring.  We’re hoping the installation of the bidet lessens his time in the bathroom.  Hope springs eternal.  However, I fear it could have the opposite effect.

But Houston, we have a problem.

Fiddledaddy is so proud of his bidet installations, he has forbid anyone in the house from ever using the toilet as a receptacle for vomit.

Think about that for a moment.

It’s not like, once you feel the urge to let loose, you have a lot of time to think about, hmmmm, what shall I use instead?

The sink?  The floor?  My hands?


Since Jensen is still dealing with nausea from his ear infection, I had to tap into my inner-Pinterest and gave him a 6 gallon paint bucket lined with a large black trash bag.  It has a wide open mouth to collect deposits and would be a snap to clean up by wrapping it closed  and applying the lid when the deed is done.  Thusly ensuring freshness.  I think it will work, that is, if he actually HITS the opening.

It’s a conundrum that I will need to ponder prior to flu season.  I’m guessing that if Fiddledaddy is the first to succumb to the flu, all bidet bets will be off.

In the meanwhile, I promise not to discuss vomit for a very very long time.  Pinky swear.

Bidet stories, I’m sure, will be fair game.  Any other bidet converts?


Eruptor, The Vomiting Dinosaur

Jensen had been complaining of ear pain and nausea.  The ear pain went away, but the nausea continued.  It’s hard to know when to take him seriously, because of all 3 children, he is the most prone to DRAMA FOR THE SAKE OF DRAMA.

And if you knew the other two children, you’d be all WHOA WOMAN, and then you’d offer me an afternoon cocktail.

Anyhoo.  One fateful evening, Jensen alerted his father that he needed to throw up.  He goes to his father because everyone knows that mommy + vomit = mommy driving quickly away in the van.  Alone.

Fiddledaddy had Jensen sitting on the side of the bathtub poised over the toilet.  A fateful mistake.  As I quickly passed the bathroom, I thought to myself, “he needs to have the kid’s head down in the toilet.”  Of course I said nothing because I know better than to give unsolicited advice when it comes to matters of vomit.

And then I heard it.  Followed by “JENSEN!….AIM.”  Another round, and then another, “DUDE!…AIM.”  There was fear in Fiddledaddy’s voice.  As the girls procured Viva extra strength paper towels, vinyl gloves, and a large garbage bag, I busied myself in the garage concocting a strong solution of bleach and water with a few drops of Orange Essential Oil for those of us with heightened olfactory senses.

As I dared to enter the house with mop and bucket in hand, a pale Fiddledaddy caught me up to speed.

DinoEvidently, as the boy was sitting on the edge of the tub, he reared his head BACK (in true dinosaur form) and let loose with a week’s worth of groceries, all while roaring and shaking his head back and forth.  And then he repeated the performance.

Very little actually made it into the toilet.

We are going to have to re-paint.  Or maybe move.

Even though this was an isolated episode, he still continued to complain of nausea.  I suspected an inner ear infection.  A trip to Urgent Care confirmed my suspicions.  His complaints have lessened after a round of antibiotics.


On Friday we were treated to a fantastic Revolutionary War guest speaker at a small co-op we attend on Fridays.  About mid-way through, Jensen came up to me in a small voice, “Mom, do you think it would be okay if I throw up in Mrs. Brandon’s house?”  This after a snack of Patriotic Parfait (red jell-o, white cool whip, and blueberries).

I thought it best if we made a hasty retreat.  Good co-ops and wonderful friends are hard to come by.

I’m happy to report that no vomit entered the fray.

NOW you’re in the mood to cook for Thanksgiving.

You’re welcome…


A Flash in the Pan

When I lived in Los Angeles, I had a full set of cast iron cookware that I had procured from an estate sale.  It’s not that I was all that adept at cooking, but I loved the vintage look and feel of all-iron skillet ware.

And since I was single and living alone in Los Angeles, I justified the purchase as double usage cookware/weaponry.

It was fortunate that I never broke a toe.

After I married, I lugged the set of iron cookware with me, wherein it began to get some real use as I attempted to keep another person fed and alive.  I loved that set.

Alas, when we moved from California to Florida, every pound counted, so the cast iron cookware had to go.

I’ve dearly missed it, especially this time of year when I have cornbread on my mind.

Imagine my delight when Walmart began carrying The Pioneer Woman’s dishes and cookware.  So this last weekend I happily threw this into my cart.


Her brightly colored display makes me smile every time I pass it in the store.  I’ve been a fan since she first started blogging.  I want to take whatever vitamins she takes to have THAT MUCH ENERGY.

Let the Thanksgiving cooking begin.


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…