Springtime Mornings ~ The Campers

Last night I met with three of my friends to plan our upcoming camping trip. Four middle-aged women with a camper and a boat, going into the wilderness for a three-day weekend. "Wilderness" made be stretching it a bit, but when you leave home for more than 24 hours and don't plan on bringing your curling iron, you're allowed to embellish a smidge. Makes it sound more like an adventure than what it will likely turn into...72 hours of sitting in the air-conditioned camper, eating junk food and laughing. Oh and we might fish a little.

So get ready wilderness! Here we come!


The Graduate: Old Reliable

I'm a terrible mother.

Well, okay, that may be overstating it just a bit but I haven't been the mother that I thought I was going to be when we started our family back in 1990.

I'm just saying, as my children get closer and closer to adulthood, my lack of mommy skills has become more and more obvious.

Interrogation-room-bright-light-shining-into-the-face obvious.

Things like...

In elementary school, the girls knew all the words to 'Sir Duke' by Stevie Wonder because I played 'Songs in the Key of Life' every morning on the way to school. Then one of them wanted to sing it for the end-of-year talent show. And I let her.

When 'Apollo 13' came out I really wanted to see it, but the girls wanted to see 'Babe' instead so I told them Tom Hanks was a Muppet.

C'mon, have you seen his hair?

One late night, while grazing in the pantry, I came across the box of Little Debbie cakes one of girls was supposed to take for snack the following day and ate half the box.

Okay three-fourths of the box.

Anyway, since it was late and I didn't want to go out to the store, the next day I sent the big box of raisins that had been in the pantry forever.

I know, I know...awful parenting.

But the girls weren't the only victims of my mothering mayhem. Nope, the Graduate got his fair share too. And now as we get closer to his graduation, another one of my parenting plunders has come to light.

The boy has no baby pictures.

Now just to set the scene, he is our youngest child and when he was born, he was the third baby we were blessed with in 4 years. 3 babies in 4 years. And my mother lived 8 hours away.

So taking pictures was not a priority for me. Making sure everyone was dressed by noon was a priority. And knowing all the words to 'Sir Duke'. But pictures, notsomuch.

He did have pictures taken in the hospital and I think there were a few the first week or two when we had help taking care of everyone. But after that, the Funsaver didn't get clicked a whole lot. The next time there was a picture taken of the Graduate, he was five months old, sitting in his bouncy seat on the kitchen table, next to his sister's birthday cake. And the cake was in the center of the picture.

I know, I know...awful parenting.

But now the lack of pictures has become very apparent. Why now? Well, with graduation comes pictures for the slide show at church, pictures for the Senior Breakfast, pictures for the yearbook, pictures for the newspaper, pictures, pictures, pictures.

And all we seem to have is Old Reliable.

Old Reliable is the go-to picture we have been using the last few weeks. It's a really cute picture but tonight as the Graduate was filling out his biography sheet for the church slide show, he said, "We aren't going to use that picture again, are we?"

And all I knew to say was, "Well we could use that picture from your sister's birthday party!"

I know, I know...

 but Old Reliable is really cute...


Springtime Mornings ~ A Beautiful May Wedding

This evening we're attending a wedding, and it's the first one we've been to since our oldest daughter got married in January. (You can read all about that wonderful, magical, never-want-to-see-the-inside-of-another-bridal-store time right here at The Mother of the Bride Chronicles )

And I have to tell you, it's a lot more fun going as a guest. A lot more.

Last night, as the guest, I slept pretty well, didn't have to get up to go the bathroom, and got almost 8 hours of sleep.As the mother of the bride, the night before the wedding I got about 47 minutes of sleep and I think I slept in the same clothes I wore to the rehearsal dinner.

This morning, as the guest, I woke up, had a cup of coffee, took my time getting ready for work. On the morning of the wedding, as the mother, I bolted straight up in bed, panic-stricken and thought, "I forgot to by pink M&Ms for the sweet table!"

At lunchtime today, as the guest, I went into town and bought a new skirt to wear to the wedding. As the mother of the bride, at lunchtime the day of the wedding I was laying on the floor of the bride's room, trying to squeeze into my girdle.

Right now, about 4 hours from the wedding, I'm relaxed, sitting in a recliner, and writing this post. About 4 hours before our daughter's wedding, I was breathing into a paper bag.

Yep, I'd have to say, being the guest of the mother of the bride is a whole lot more fun.


The Graduate: The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

Tonight was the opening night on the graduate's last play in high school. One more milestone to pass as he comes down the final stretch.

From Schroeder to Snow White's father, The King, to Mr. Zuckerman to Huckleberry Finn...the graduate has played a lot of interesting characters. And tonight in his final role in the play "Annie", he took the stage as Drake, the butler. And as Lt. Ward. And as Man #3 during the New York street scene.

At least he didn't get cast as Sandy.


Springtime Mornings ~ I'm Dreaming Of A Green Garden

It's that time of year when the farmers market sets up every Saturday morning at our local park. And usually, each time I walk past the booths with their baskets of home grown vegetables, my green thumb envy begins to rear its ugly head. Those thoughts begin to run through my head..."oooh, I wish we had a garden, wouldn't it be great if we had *fill in the blank* to eat, it can't be that much work"....It's sad really.

My mother has a green thumb. She can grow just about anything. I've seen her take a stick out of the yard, plunk it into a plastic milk jug she cut in half and 3 weeks later she's got a fully bloomed plant with rainbow colored flowers. She's that good.

I did not inherit that particular gift.
Varicose veins, yes. Green thumb, no.

My green thumb envy usually manifests itself by dragging my poor husband into the garden center at our hardware store. It's there where I convince him that "this year will be different!" and begin buying plants with names like "Better Boy" and "Admiral" and "Yellow Ebenezer". How can you possibly mess up with a tomato plant called "Better Boy"? It just screams success.

It's possible.

Over the years I've had small gardens, big gardens, raised-bed gardens, and drywall bucket gardens. Gardens with cow manure, chicken manure, and worm manure (I even attempted to raise my own worms that spring...I got maggots). Gardens that I have over-watered, under-fertilized, and never weeded. Gardens with strings, bells, sprinklers, fences, posts, and cages.

And every year, they all turn out the same. Like the scary house in a Stephen King novel.

Horrifying tales of brown, twisted plants. Fungus covered vegetables. Ugly black bugs. Smelly dirt (how that's possible I don't know but one year the dirt smelled). And some withered, skinny old man, standing in the middle of the garden, waiting in the dark to scare some innocent youngsters (that would be the scarecrow I bought at the craft store a few Octobers ago, with the hopes of scaring away rabbits...now I just put him by the mailbox at Halloween).

But my green thumb envy has kinda ebbed this spring for some reason. I've been to the farmers market a few times and I made it through the garden center without buying a single plant last week. But who knows, maybe this year, we'll put in a fall garden....oooh, I know! what about our own pumpkin patch...

A Favorite Picture

The Graduate...counting down the days
photo by Jon Fletcher


The Graduate: Class Ring Round-up

It's the first of May and around our house we're getting ready for our final high school graduation. The last of our kiddos is graduating in a few short weeks (with such a bad case of senioritus I considered calling his pediatrician to see if there was a cream we could apply) and I thought I would share all the wonderful events and tearful moments over the next month. Oh...and the funny ones too.

The actual start date for the graduate's SENIOR YEAR is the last month of the junior year. That's where it all begins. Your child is close to finishing up their school year, everything is going along smoothly and then a month before the final bell rings they suddenly bring home this glossy, slick piece of paper, unofficially declaring your child is headed into their SENIOR YEAR. And what's on that piece of paper?

An order form for The Ring.

No, not that ring.

It's the class ring. That must-have piece of jewelry, destined to lie in state at the bottom of almost every jewelry box in America, never to be seen again 6 months after graduation.

I once tried to pawn mine in the late 80's.

Used to be, you didn't have any options where you could buy your class ring, but in the last decade or so, the big box stores have caught the vision of the needs of seniors everywhere and have made available class rings in their jewelry departments. Along side backpacks and notebook paper, there they are, rows of class rings to pick from. One stop shopping!

I got a hold of my future husband's class ring when we began dating in high school. Tied some yarn around the band and worn it on my ring finger for about 20 minutes. When my hand started to turn purple (due to the jumbo-size ball of yarn I used to size it), I decided the next logical choice was to put it on a chain and wear it around my neck.That solution lasted about 15 minutes. My biology teacher made me take the chain off because it kept hitting the girl next to me. Each time I turned around to talk to my best friend, who was sitting two seats behind me, the ring swung out like a wrecking ball, smacking the other girl on the head. But Mr. Franklin did save me from a lifetime of neck and shoulder pain.

That ring was ginormous.

Nowadays, class rings are more trendy, hip, stylish. Real diamonds. Real gold. Real bling. They don't look much like the traditional class rings of yore. Like way back in nineteen hundred and eighty three. In those days, the girl rings looked like copies of the boy rings that had been shrunk in the dryer.

Today's rings look more like something Lindsey Lohan might be accused of shoplifting.

So when that glossy flyer appeared on our kitchen table last May, I asked the graduate, "so what kind of ring do you want to get?" Anticipating the worse, which is never the case with this kiddo, he looked down at the order form and said, "Naw, I think I'll pass on the ring." And then he walked into the living room and turned on the computer. And that was the end of the class ring discussion.

"Man," I thought, "this senior year, we are gonna get off cheap!!! Yeessss!!"

Ha. Ha. Ha.
Foolish woman.

I still have my class ring, and my husband's, along with my mother's class ring from 1958. All sitting together for eternity, in the bottom of my jewelry box. Mother's ring is very nice, with it's petite diamond chip centered in black onyx.

Pretty. Classy. Unpawnable.

Gospel Renaissance in a Megachurch – Pastors I Admire: Steve Benninger

Gospel Renaissance in a Megachurch – Pastors I Admire: Steve Benninger

A simple shopping story...

Her cart was dripping. The grocery cart she was pushing around the produce section of the big box store I had just entered was drippin...