Tuesday, November 13, 2018

old friends are the best friends

A little piece of home flew in to visit us last week.  My sweet friend Autumn arrived with her lavender hair and avocado print shirts.

I never know where to bring guests when they visit. Sometimes I wonder if I just don't know the good spots, but turns out there aren't many local attractions. Members of my family tend to find places I never heard of so I shouldn't have been surprised when Autumn arrived with a list of places to explore. Our first stop was billed as "one of Georgia's seven natural wonders." The website said it was a courtyard with terraces, waterfalls and "exotic flora." We arrived to find the whole place shut down and orange netting around half of it. Autumn suggested climbing over the gate but I am no breaker of the law. We looked at the swamp and strange trees instead. Annabelle was not a fan.
Autumn's next stop was a "prehistoric sand dune." The gps took us on a 20 minutes drive that looped back to right by the closed garden. The sand dune with a history dating back to the early 1800's was nothing more than a pile of dirt with a 'no trespassing' sign. I can't believe someone made a website for it. These people need to redefine their definition of interesting. 
By this point, Annabelle had had enough of sightseeing flops. She was coughing, getting a fever and saying she needed to go home. I told her we'd go to the playground since she'd been asking for weeks. Autumn put the address in the gps which proceeded to send us down a dead end dirt road. The next attempt told us to turn into a cemetery. I'll be honest. I was not my best self at this point. I had a headache and wanted to lay down but needed to give Autumn something to see, even if it was a playground. I took over the navigation and got us out of the wrong side of town. AB miraculously perked up when her feet hit the ground at the park. Funny how 45 minutes earlier she had been moaning and groaning about how she was homesick but a quick trip down the slide fixed all her problems.

That evening Autumn and I went out on the town. We poured over menus on several websites and made a list of who had the best appetizers. We made a game plan- appetizers and a drink at one restaurant than a second round of appetizers at a follow-up restaurant where we would also get dessert. In the 28 years of our friendship, it was one of our best plans and it went perfectly. We ate our weight in fried pickles and onion rings. We shared macaroni and cheese and potato skins. We talked about makeup, education and why some of our childhood friends ended up like they did. Only the most well rounded of conversations for us! We went to the next place but were too full to order more appetizers so we talked and people watched for hours. On the way home, we had to stop to put air in the tire. All the teens of the town were hanging out at the gas station. They were piled in trucks and standing around in little groups. As if the sand dune fail hadn't been proof enough that not much goes on here, those dudes sealed the deal. We were the crotchety old women wondering why the youths of small-town America weren't at home, tucked into their beds at such a late hour. We weren't crotchety old ladies when we got home at 12:30 and put line dancing tutorials on youtube and danced in the living room. We might be bad with directions but we can do the Watermelon Crawl and isn't that really more important, anyway?

Monday, November 5, 2018

I'll use the photos of AB and Grayson at their rehearsal dinner

Now that we're a few weeks from Thanksgiving it seems like time to briefly recap the end of October.

Last week we went to the fair with friends.
 AB's friend Grayson drove her around on the bumper cars. They held hands as they waited in line. When they got in their car, she put her hand on his head and tried to turn it in the direction she wanted to go. There was crashing left and right, but Annabelle was unphased. She continued to point to where she wanted to go while loudly telling him what to do. He paid no attention to her. They looked like an old married couple.  

The next night we went trick or treating with a group from church. I very much dislike halloween and would be fine if the whole thing went up in flames, but I do love seeing babies in costumes and Annabelle was very excited about dressing up.  Several of her little friends were having a get-together and the parents kindly invited us. 

Contrary to how she looks, she was not a Target employee. She dressed as Annie from The Magic Treehouse books. It was the easiest costume to put together. It doesn't look like I put any effort into it whatsoever, but I was told a dozen times that Annie wears a red shirt and jeans so that's what I got from the clearance racks at Walmart boutique.
 Grayson dressed as Annie's brother, Jack. Those two are stuck together like glue. If you think I haven't started planning their wedding you haven't been around here long enough. 
Of course, Prince George is our first choice, but in case he doesn't work out Grayson is a great substitute. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

pumpking patching round 2

Update from the weather desk- it hit 57 degrees this morning. FIFTY SEVEN. 

The locals are calling it a cold front and bundling up. I call it normal weather for October.

You'd think the cool air would mean my brain is fresh and unfried but I've completely forgotten what I was going to blog about.

I blame the lack of brain cells on Annabelle. For the last 15 nights (but who's counting?) she has woken up during the night. For most of those nights, she's sobbed and yelled and generally made a scene about going to bed because she's scared and can't stop her "bad thoughts about the Grinch and the selfish giant." We saw a Halloween figurine in Cracker Barrel and she said, "My brain is going to add that to the list of bad thoughts." After the many hours it takes for her to fall asleep, she'll wake up sobbing and scared around midnight, then 2 o'clock. Hours will pass before she'll fall asleep again. I can't sleep when she's not sleeping so I lost hours of sleep too. It's like having a newborn again. In the Army, Christopher did training where they played tapes of children crying for hours so he became immune and will sleep through most of it until I kick his legs and wake him up. It's been a beautiful time of family bonding. Things are finally headed in the right direction. We've talked to her about praying or singing when she's scared and I'll hear her doing both over the monitor to calm herself. We've figured out a routine that makes her feel safer. She finally slept through the night last night and while I'm still not fully recovered, things are looking up.

Due to the above-mentioned sleep issues, we've been sleeping in a little. We need to leave for school at 8:30 but yesterday I didn't wake up until 8:13. I flew out of bed like it was on fire. I NEVER leave the house without mascara or earrings but I didn't have time for either. I felt like I was going in public naked but desperate times call for desperate measures. We squealed into the school parking lot only 2 minutes late. I don't know if I'll be in the running for Mom of the Year because we made it, or if I'm out of the race because we were late. 

We switched Sesame to a new school at the beginning of the month. There were many conversations about whether to leave her where she was or switch her. The school she was at was very into desk work and the school across the street was more play based which I like. She'll have 13+ years ahead of her for deskwork. I want her to learn through play while she can. Had I toured both of them at the beginning of the year I would have picked the new school, but I was so afraid of hurting the original teacher's feelings. I liked them as people but I didn't like the curriculum. I felt like a traitor leaving for a school within eyesight of the first school. 

Short story unnecessarily long, we went on a field trip with the new school on Tuesday. It was to a pumpkin patch and AB kept repeating that she was glad we went to a pumpkin patch the Saturday before so she was able to "practice pumpkining and know what to do." I drove us but the children coming from school on the bus were supposed to arrive at 9:30. They were 20 minutes late which made me feel so much better about my 2-minute tardiness. 
There's not a colored tree to be seen in our neck of the woods but there are pumpkins of every shade. Annabelle interrupted the man giving a speech on the lifecycle of pumpkins to say that she doesn't like to eat the inside of pumpkins, only the seeds. The strings are too gross. But she likes the seeds. We cooked them with butter and cooked them in the oven and then Mom ate some. But the inside is yucky.
 Another day, another goat to feed. 
Maybe if she had a goat to snuggle with she'd go back to being a good sleeper. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

pumpkin patching

Never met a goat she didn't love.
Notice AB's hand on my shoulder. She has to be touching me at all times.
Two of my favorite things- a bunny and my baby.

You'll be shocked to learn that the white pumpkin with carefully placed silver glitter was not made by Christopher.
I know everyone had him pegged as a glitzy guy.

Friday, October 19, 2018

home sweet (little) home

The day has finally come.

It's time for Annabelle to get her own home and move on out. She's mooched off us long enough.
"Ya talkin' 'bout me?"
Christopher found plans and bought the wood for her new abode. It sat in our living room for several weeks due to weather. I felt like we had moved into the lumber department at Home Depot.
I won't lie- I had serious doubts about his ability to build something with any kind of structural integrity. It's not that I didn't have any faith in him, but I really didn't have faith in him.
Color me surprised when it started to come together.
Then tragedy hit. The floor fell apart when we moved it onto the cement blocks. I tried to be helpful by removing the bent nails and reassembling the floor using the screw gun. I had never used a screw gun before and probably won't use one again. I couldn't get the screws further in than halfway. I was not strong enough. All those exercises I've been doing have been in vain! 
After many days of cutting, nailing, painting and MUCH MUCH sweating the house is nearly complete. I still need to retouch some paint on the inside and decorate a little more, but for a starter home it's darling. 
I had visions of decorating with fabric and pompom garlands but I let Annabelle have a say in decor. She chose a safety theme. That was nowhere near my top 15 ideas but it's her house. It looks a little sparse so I'm going to look for a little table and chairs at thrift shops. Maybe I'll fill a plastic firefighter helmet with water and fill in with flowers as a centerpiece. 
Yesterday we pretended it was a Dunkin Donuts. Annabelle loves their "hashfries" (hashbrowns) so I made some out of felt. 
I'm glad her new home isn't too far away. I just hope she'll be a good neighbor.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

my hurricane experience in great detail, weather or not you want to read about it


We're alive and came out on the other side of the hurricane only slightly worse for the wear.

We knew the storm would hit sometime Wednesday so I spent most of Tuesday preparing and debating whether to evacuate or not. If I didn't have Annabelle to worry about I would have stayed without much thought, but they were predicting the power would be out for days and that can be miserable with a 4-year-old. Had the powers that be announced we needed to evacuate it would have helped. It was being in the middle and having to decide for myself that I didn't like. I'm a rule follower and like being pointed in the right direction. You say evacuate and I ask how far. I was worried leaving would make me a wimpy northerner. I was worried staying would make me irresponsible. After several phone calls with my mother in law and more texts with my advisory group, we ended up staying. Immediately after making the decision I second guessed it and yes, it is very exhausting to me in my head.  

I did all the laundry in the house, filled up the tubs, cleared out the closet to use as a tornado shelter and got out every candle we owned. I stocked up on nonperishables and water bottles. Christopher did the same and brought home more food than we eat in three weeks. We still have so many packages of lunch meat and loaves of bread we could feed the county for months. Most important, we had hurricane chips and chocolates to see us through. We were as prepared as we could be.
Watching the storm roll in with a snack in hand.
It started raining around supper time. By the time 8 o'clock rolled around the wind was howling and things were banging around. I HATED that it happened at night. Not only did I want to see what was being damaged, I wanted to fully experience my first hurricane. I could see nothing but darkness. The power kept going in and out so we lit all our scented candles and the house smelled like the little perfume stores at the mall. When the power went out for good we went to bad. At that time Annabelle decided it was too scary in her room so we brought her mattress into our room. She had the beginnings of a cold so she sniffled and snuffled all night. Christopher snored all night. I was as fresh as a drowned mouse the next morning.

We had some siding off and branches in the yard but we didn't have one bit of real damage. We were so very fortunate. The neighbor's side yard and our backyard are the same piece of land and they had several trees down as well as a few broken windows. All around us homes and cars are damaged and wires are down. It will take some people months to recover. We prepared to be without power for days but ours came back on within 20 hours. Several friends didn't get power back until yesterday. I think God went easy on us because we've already had a tough year.
Due to our status as one of the only families in our friend group with power, we issued an open invitation for anyone to come to take showers. On Sunday we went to church and helped serve dinner. Not many people showed up but I'm glad we tried to help. 

All in all, we had some siding down, some branches to clean up and a few extra wrinkles and gray hairs from stress.