Monthly Archives: July 2013

Five on Friday

It’s a gorgeous day in North Carolina and that’s not a sentence I would expect to type as July comes to an end.  All the summer lovers are bummed about the rain and cloudy days at the beach but I, for one, am not complaining at all because I don’t particularly care for blazing hot heat because the lack of exercise since I came back from Oklahoma weeks ago hasn’t done anything for bare legs.

Bring on the woolen slacks.

We are winding down our summer at Casa de Carpool.  The boys go back to school on Monday (already?!?) so we’ve been trying to cram a lot of fun into these last few days of track out.  What have we done?


1.  We dodged thunderclouds long enough to have fun at the pool.

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The boys enjoy swimming more when they have friends to dunk and splash.  I planned a few pool parties in recent days which were a lot of fun.  The kids are into playing Chicken and poor Tommy has come face to face with the realization that the down side to having the broadest shoulders is being relegated to low man on the three-high totem pole.

2.  We’ve done a little homeschooling.  You know, just to stay fresh for the classroom.

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3.  We visited our friendly neighborhood Farmer’s Market.

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Okay, maybe that activity wasn’t so much for the boys as it was for me.  But they’ll be grateful when it comes time for winter minestrone or peach butter on breakfast toast. Or cardboard or shoe leather.

4.  We stimulated the economy.

I was feeling a little crazy and housebound on Monday so we loaded up and drove to Concord Mills near Charlotte to spend the afternoon and knock out our back-to-school shopping. We managed to get a few items crossed off the list (thank you, Champs, for carrying size 15 tennis shoes) and the kids enjoyed playing around at Bass Pro Outdoor World.

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Tommy and JJ spent an inordinate amount of time looking at things that blow other things to smithereens. Meanwhile, Travis occupied himself with an ADORABLE puppy that was in the store being trained as a companion guide and by taking selfies.

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I will spare you the 8,000 other ones that reside on my camera roll.

Not to be outdone, I had fun with my friends Willie, Phil, Si, and Jase. Who needs a beard when you have enough humidity hair to fill the frame?

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5. We made a plan come together.

About three months ago, I got an email from fellow blogger and on-line friend Kay telling me that she was going to be in NC for a conference and could we somehow manage to make it happen for us to meet.  I jumped at the chance to see her.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Kay’s writing or been on the receiving end of her kind words, get thee over to her blog and she will speak peace and encouragement into your heart. Craig was out of town for a conference so my friend Angie stepped in to help with childcare so I could drive to Charlotte to have dinner with Kay.

She’d had A DAY of delayed planes, trains, and automobiles getting to her hotel (which they switched three times on her) and how she managed to look fabulous and unruffled in her red dress I will never know.  And even though we’d never met in person, I felt as though I’d known her all my life.  She is as kind, gentle, peace-filled, warm, and loving in person as she is on-line and that is such a testament to her character.

We had a funny conversation about our dinner location when she started out by letting me know she knew I liked a lot of ethnic-y foods but that she might not necessarily be my girl on that adventure.  We settled on ethnic American-Italian and went to Carrabba’s (hello, panna cotta!) and had a great time filling each other in on all the non-bloggy details of our lives.

Our time was unfortunately limited since I had to drive back to Raleigh and she had to attend an evening event and in the rush we almost forgot to take a picture and you’d think that at a conference full of bloggers that we could find someone to snap the shutter but no one was around in the parking lot so I did and yours truly once again did a stellar job of making sure the backdrop scenery was beautiful and artsy.

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Family, food, and friends.

Yes, it has been a great summer.

Have a nice day.

4th of July. Alternative title: Let’s see how many blurry pictures I can cram into one post

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Somebody woke up rarin’ to go the morning of the 4th and who can blame him?  In our family, the 4th of July means GAME ON and Travis didn’t want to miss a single minute of it.

I, too, was ready. I’d seen some a red/white/blue tie dye t-shirt project on Pinterest and decided that it would be the perfect for the boys to wear since they are now fourteen and get really excited about their mother dressing them identically so with a quick trip to Walmart for supplies, Project Patriotic was underway.

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Up to this point, the process went as smoothly and stress-free as dealing with massive quantities of permanently-staining liquid in your mother’s house with white floors and a white sink can go.

And then we washed the shirts.

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And one of my kids who shall remain nameless but we can all tell who it is refused to wear lilac to the gathering so it wasn’t quite the picture perfect project I’d envisioned but, hey, at least the boys have another story they can tell their kids one day.

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The whole family converged at my brother’s house.  My nephew and his wife (remember they got married last year?) were there with a few of their friends and my other nephew brought his darling girlfriend so we had a house FULL of people but it was so much fun visiting, splashing in the pool, playing horseshoes, fishing, driving the golf cart (otherwise known as surviving JJ’s first attempt at steering something other than a bumper car), and eating, eating, eating.

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And then it was time for the big show.  My brothers, like most boys I know, have a great love for blowing things up and the 4th of July (and Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, and a Tuesday) is tailor-made for indulging their penchant. We set up camp on the driveway and with the open prairie and inky black sky as a backdrop, Paul and Jonathan took over and patiently managed the horde of kids wanting a turn.

photo (216) photo (215) photo (214) photo (213)And, fortunately, we only had two minor mishaps with an errant firecracker appropriately called the Zipper that zoomed its way toward innocent bystanders but, really, what’s a holiday without a pack of frozen peas nursing a burn and we laughed and oohed and aahed and told stories and remembered and sprayed bug spray and fellowshipped, and, friends, that’s what life and family is all about.  I drove the boys back home in the late, late, hours hearing their murmurs of “I wish every day could be like this” and after getting them in bed, my head hit the pillow with a contented sigh.

Tired body, happy, happy soul.

Have a nice day.

Monday Musings

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We got back from our trip last Wednesday afternoon and it took a couple of days to decompress and reenter the real world, the one where Mom’s chicken salad doesn’t magically appear on the table and where family isn’t just down the road.  Yes, re-entry is always a little hard but I’ve learned to give myself a little extra emotional room to mourn, ponder, and mope. After an appropriate amount of time or when the kids say “Mom, we’ve eaten cereal for three days”  the sun starts to peek through the clouds and I get my bearings and life gets back to normal at Casa de Carpool.

We have two weeks left of our summer vacation before we begin 8th grade.  You don’t know how happy I am to type the number 8 because lemme’ tell you it was TOUCH AND GO whether we’d be moving on at the end of the year but the boys were on the receiving end of a whole lotta’ grace from the school system and I think we’ve all learned our lesson about how important it is to actually turn in the homework that Mom helped you do so that you get a grade for all her hard work and hopefully next year will be much better.

Please, please, please, let it be better. I can’t afford more frequent trips to the hairdresser to cover the gray.

Speaking of trips, I need to talk about ours to Oklahoma. When last we spoke, I was in a hotel room in Little Rock getting ready to meet my college roommate, Suzanne, in the morning for breakfast.  She did not get the memo that she was to arrive exhausted, wearing a t-shirt and no makeup.

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She is ridiculously beautiful (inside and out) and has not changed a bit since college and I would hate her except that I love her as a sister and she has daughters that I’m trying to acquire in an arranged marriage or two.

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Suzanne’s friendship is a treasure not only because of our shared memories of happy times at OBU but also because of her steadfastness during the many months when we were estranged through every fault of my own.  She  exhibited much love and forgiveness as we worked through misunderstandings and apologies and, today, we are all the stronger for it.

After an all-too-brief time together, it was time to get back in the car and finish the drive to Mom and Dad’s house.  We took our time, enjoying the scenery in Western Arkansas, calling the Hogs when we passed the exit for the U of A, stopping for cheeseburgers, crinkle fries, and a limeade at the Braum’s drive-through in Sallisaw, and swimming for an hour at my brother’s house before pulling into Duncan just in time to collapse at the table for (210)photo (211)photo (212)IMG_8191

And I was oh, so happy to be home and I would tell you all about it except that I have to go to my hair appointment because see above re gray so it will need to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime (and it feels so good to type it),

Have a nice day.



Monday musings

Hello from a hotel room in Little Rock. I’m on my way to Oklahoma to spend the 4th of July with family. The trip has been somewhat uneventful except for the part where I almost got run off the road this afternoon by someone who didn’t check their blind spot before veering into the left lane. Fortunately, the shoulder was wide and I had a little wiggle room but it was nerve wracking to say the least. On the bright side, after that happened I didn’t have to stop for coffee to keep me awake.

Girlfriend was ALERT for the rest of the afternoon.

We made it to Little Rock around 6:00 and ate dinner at a nearby Popeye’s (healthy, healthy) and after the requisite hour so the kids wouldn’t get stomach cramps and drown and really so Mom could stretch out on the bed after sitting for 11 hours we got in the hotel pool (hot tub for me) for a good bit of time. I find that splashing around helps them go right to sleep when we get back to the room for bedtime and it’s especially good for Travis because he sleeps with me when we’re traveling and anything that knocks him out cold and keeps him from tossing, turning, kicking me in the back, sticking me in the ribs, etc, is fantastic in my book.

Tomorrow morning I’m meeting my college roommate for breakfast before continuing on our way. We’ll stop for a little bit at my brother’s house and let the kids swim and play with their cousins for a couple of hours before the final leg home. I’ll be ready to get there.

I hope your day was equally delightful.

Have a nice day.