Bushes

Many years ago, Jenny and I took the clippers and saw to the overwhelming bushes in front of the houses on our end of Brookshire Ct. We got a rather negative reaction from a couple people in the cluster, and felt vindicated when all the bushes came back, healthier and happier.

Before

Before

Getting toward after.

Getting toward after.

In honor of that fun day all those years ago, I had a “Come To Jesus” intervention with the first of two bushes in front of our house.

Before

Before

After

After

It’s okay if they don’t come back. I much prefer being able to see our house more clearly.

Look out Spring! I’m ready for you.

Friends And Laughter

We had a new friend stay overnight last week, and I loved hearing the sounds of giggles and games going on all over the house.

We went out for pizza and frozen yogurt with a couple other families, then home to watch Frozen.

Fro yo and sprinkles makes a great night awesome!

Fro yo and sprinkles makes a great night awesome!

We took up the whole counter at the fro yo joint.

We took up the whole counter at the fro yo joint.

The next day we enjoyed the Adventure Science Center.

Ready for Body Battles!

Ready for Body Battles!

Heat camera fun.

Heat camera fun.

We love the waterways cardiac system.

We love the waterways cardiac system.

A little too reminiscent of The Poltergeist.

A little too reminiscent of The Poltergeist.

We like when our “schooler” friends have Spring Break.

Monkey Has A Plan

Monkey doesn’t care much for the combing of the hairs.

She finally decided she’d had enough of the battle between her hair and her scalp, so last week she announced she was going out back with a pair of scissors and cutting her hair.

“Okay,” I said.

“I might need to do a little touch up,” I said.

“Okay,” she said.

She stood out by the fire pit and gave herself a hair cut. And she did a fantastic job.

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The pictures look more harsh than the cut deserves. I trimmed it up around the edges, but after a wash it has curled up beautifully. She got several compliments on it at church the next day.

She continues to amaze me with her verve and drive.

Humbled

A truck pulled out in front of the children and me yesterday.

Can you believe it?! What was that truck thinking?

If you’ve driven with me, you will not be surprised to learn I honked my horn at the driver to help him learn to drive better. I have largely curtailed any cursing that I may have once incorporated into my driving regimen, thanks to the children, and I’m proud of that.

I said to the children, “Why would that truck drive like that?”

They decided to answer:

“Maybe he has somewhere important to be.”
“Maybe he’s late for work.”
“Maybe he’s late for work, and his boss is mean, and he can lose his job if he’s late.”
“Maybe he’s poor, and if he loses his job, it will be bad for his family.”

Are their reasons probable? Possibly not, but it is better to think of ideas like the children suggested rather than assume the driver is a big jerk who intentionally messed with me.

Infinitely better for my heart and soul.

Their heartfelt wisdom humbles and inspires me.

Darn it.

Lessons of Sorrow

As Yessa and I were snuggling at bedtime tonight, she had some thoughts she needed to share.

As background, of all the children, Yessa has the greatest need for multiple friends, and here in our new home, she is the one for whom the most new friends have been discovered. Each of the last three nights, our next door neighbor, who is slightly older than Yessa, has come over to play, frolic, eat s’mores, and laugh with us. I think this will be a regular occurrence, which is great. We also have several other good friends close in age to Yessa that she sees regularly.

I say this because I would have suspected Yessa to have had the easiest transition of all of us.

Ahh, the lessons our children teach us.

“Mom, when we found out we were moving to Tennessee, I was excited. I knew that Cousin M would be with us, and that made me feel better. But now that we are here, even though we love it here, and we’re having fun, I miss my friends from Virginia so much. Like Kate and Betty, I just miss them.”

It’s been over 6 months. We are all happy, but it hadn’t occurred to me that talking with the children about their feelings about the move, even now, would be a good idea. Moving creates a form of grief. Everyone grieves on her own schedule.

Luckily, we’ll be seeing Bets and Kate soon. That will bring joy and excitement…and some bittersweet sorrow at the end.

Better to feel the love and grow the heart. Another parenting lesson the children have taught me.

More good times to come soon!

More good times to come soon!

Springy Sunday

The weather here was gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous this weekend. Due to The Buster having a runny-nose induced melt down at Thena’s last night, we decided to have he and Monkey stay home from church with Buds to make sure they weren’t passing coughing germs on to any of the other kids.

By the time Yessa and I got home from church, they were feeling much, much better, which was a relief. Some church friends suggested allergies may be the true culprits, so we’ll have to investigate that.

Before the melt down, we had a fantastic time on Saturday night, though.

We loved the porch swing!

We loved the porch swing!

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Thena made a fantastic dinner, and we started to play games, but mostly we talked and drank wine and talked and laughed.

Sunday was even more gorgeous, and the crew requested a bonfire for cooking dinner. We even decided we’d like to regularly make our meals outside in the fire pit, which could be very entertaining.

Roasted hot dogs.

Roasted hot dogs.

A fire and a book...ahhh...

A fire and a book…ahhh…

Our backyard neighbors came over to share s’mores with us. It was fun to share stories with them.

Monkey told me at least three times, “I love our new home.”

That gave me the feels.

Emerald Isle Plans Solidifying

We’ve got tickets and we’ve chosen our first Ireland home.

Buds and I spent some time this weekend looking at the options for an apartment in Dublin. We’ve put in a request to stay here: The Upstairs Apartment. We’re only staying in Dublin a few days, so we wanted somewhere with a great location, and it sounds like this place fits the bill.

The cat sitter is coming to our house for a visit tomorrow, which will be another item off the to do list, and I’ve just emailed Uncle Zach to see if he’s willing to drive us to the airport in the wee hours of the morning at the end of April.

The children have been reading Irish history, and Monkey is snuggled in by me reading The Gruesome Guide to Dublin, which I’m sure will lead to some interesting suggestions for excursions.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Unexpected Gifts

We’ve learned that Hamlet is a big fan of weighlifting, which is great!

Yum, yum, yum. Tastes salty.

Yum, yum, yum. Tastes salty.

And this showed up in the mail two days ago:

Will it break our cats' brains?

Will it break our cats’ brains?

Now I can never watch The Godfather.

Now I can never watch The Godfather.

Tania saw the horse head squirrel feeder and knew, immediately, that it was what The Shoebox was missing. I’ll hang it out front by the window where the cats love to lay and watch the birds and squirrels. Future blog post to follow, I’m sure.

FYI, it really does look as much like the stuff of nightmares as the picture makes it seem. I can’t wait to stuff peanuts up its snout for the squirrels. Great choice, T!

Uncle Greg Visits

Kathy and Greg are some of our favorite-est relatives. Kathy is Buds’ mom’s sister. It was at Greg and Kathy’s house that Buds and I announced to his family that we were engaged, and their eldest was the flower girl in our wedding.

Funny story our kids love about announcing our engagement to The Gems side of the family:

I had never met Buddie’s family before. His entire family was in Wisconsin for his grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. We had to miss the party because Buds was taking pre-lims for his grad. program, but we drove up to Wisconsin from St. Louis as soon as he finished his testing, in time to spend a day or two with his family. We all stayed at Kathy and Greg’s house.

We had been engaged since March, but he wanted to tell his family in person, and this July visit was the first chance to do that. I had seen my family the weekend before and told my parents, and we wanted to let everyone know as close together as possible.

Remember, children, this was back when landlines and snail mail were the main ways to communicate. We couldn’t skype to tell everyone all at once.

We arrived late at night, and the next morning, before I even woke up, Buds invited his parents to go on a walk to tell them we were engaged. (I’m sure this wasn’t a huge shock to them since they knew of the intensity of our relationship since the onset, but I’ll bet they would have preferred to at least have met me before finding out I was going to be a family member.)

When I woke up, after a quick shower, I went outside to find everyone. Buds was gone on the walk, but his three siblings were playing basketball. I sat down on the grass to watch, and they immediately stopped their game and came over to surround me.

Z, the second in age behind Buds said, quite aggressively, “Jennie, do you know why Chris is taking a walk with our parents?!”

I was pretty taken aback by his tone and stance, but wanting to be placating said, “Is it unusual for someone to go on a walk with your parents to talk?”

“Yes,” he replied shortly. “We normally have family meetings.”

It makes me laugh to look back on it now. We were all so young. Buds and I were so much in love and so oblivious to whatever anyone else might be thinking or suspecting about our relationship.

They returned from their walk, everyone all smiles. Kathy and Greg pulled out the champaign, and we all celebrated together.

And twenty years later, I think Zach is amazing…but back then, I wasn’t totally sure.

Back to Uncle Greg’s visit…

Greg was in town for a convention. He made time to drive out to the ‘burbs to spend time with us. He went to Cousin O’s basketball game, which was great fun, then Greg took us out to dinner at Puckett’s for some BBQ. It was so great to get to visit with him.

He and Kathy remind me of Buds and me, but about 10 years ahead in the parenting game. I love learning of their children’s growth and changes. And our girls have tremendously fond memories of Cousin Liz because she gave them a boatload of barbies when we saw them last.

Buds and I have fond memories because she was the cutest flower girl ever.

The whole group.

The whole group.

Sweet Liz and The Bride

Sweet Liz and The Bride

Greg late '90's.

Greg late ’90’s.

Remove the glasses and mustache and Greg looks much the same. I love this picture for numerous reasons: Buds and I have so many fond memories of visits with Greg and Kathy, though there are too few of them; you can see our Cocker Spaniel Brandie’s black butt in the left of the photo, being followed by K & G’s puppy; and Burt The Cat is on the log by Greg. Many beloved pets all together.

Here’s to memories and laughter and family meetings.

Thanks for a wonderful visit, Greg.

Recipe and Random Blog Sites We Love

Some sites where we always find something delicous:

Chocolate Covered Katie Katie is so earnest and so kind. She graduated from college and chose to stick with her blog as her job, and I love that she shares that journey through the blog. Great recipes, beautiful life view.

The Pioneer Woman Great recipes, bubbly outlook. Many aspects of her blog appeal to me as blogger, as well as cook.

Nom Nom Paleo

Oh She Glows

And just for hoots and giggles:

The Bloggess She doesn’t have recipes, at least ones any sane human would want to make. She just has the most hilarious posts and the most long-suffering spouse, Victor. If you are ever in need of snorts of laughter–and you can ignore copious use of the F-word–then you must read the most hilarious post ever: And That’s Why You Should Learn To Pick Your Battles.

If you don’t like cursing (I’m looking at you, Babs.), don’t read the post. You’ll have less laughter in your life, but you won’t feel guilty about laughing at all the F-bombs.

Here’s what The Bloggess taught me: It is so much easier to be funny if you use curse words and talk about the negatives of things.

Prime example, Buds loves John Siracusa who blogs here. The name of the blog: Hypercritical. Criticism is funny.

Mommie2zs won’t ever be a high-curse, negativity blog. That’s not the history I’m writing for our crew, but maybe I should write a new blog under a pseudonym. That could be fun. I won’t tell any of you about it, though. I don’t want you to change your opinion of me…or maybe I do. The number of times I’ve had someone say to me, “That was funny, Ginnie!” in a shocked voice, seemingly stunned that I have a sense of humor.

I’m so funny in my head, I just need to let it out more.

Have a beautiful weekend. Laugh A LOT!

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SONY DSC