our best guy

We celebrated our best guy on Father’s Day with a day trip out of town. We went to the park to play in the rocky river, got lunch from Jason’s Deli and swung by Aldi. Aldi is the dream destination of fathers everywhere!
I had a small logistical problem with Christopher’s Father’s Day gift. Namely, I forgot to order one in time for a Father’s Day arrival. I actually had two problems. The second is I didn’t realize it was being shipped from a questionable source in China, therefore I may have ordered a personalized box for coronavirus for twenty-five American dollars. 

Annabelle wanted to send herself to Christopher in the mail, but the closest we could get to that was her hiding in a suitcase outside the front door. She was so excited about it she couldn’t wait until Sunday to arrive. 

Annabelle and I have Mama and Sesame sleepovers in the living room every few months. She’s been wanting to have a sleepover with Christopher for a few weeks and they finally did it last night. I told Christopher she would want to talk for a while before going to sleep and he said it would be no problem. Before she and I knew what was happening, he was snoring away. I don’t think he made it through the first story. The dude can’t handle the sleepover scene!

Our church is doing virtual VBS this year. The children’s director made huge boxes for each child with snacks, craft supplies and lessons for each day of the week. She put so much effort into it. We made a tie-dye shirt the first day and got as much dye on our hands as on the shirt. 

On one of the days, we were talking about prayer and how we can talk to God about anything. She had several cards to fill in that said “God, thank you for ______,” “God, please help my friend ______,” etc. Her answer for the card that said “God, please help me______” cracked me up. She wrote, “please help me with my disappearing act.” We did talk about praying for anything!

We also prayed that we were thankful for Dad. He snores, is unobservant and says things that make us both roll our eyes, but he’s the best dad around.

Corona Easter

Like everyone else across the world, we celebrated Easter from our couch. Quite honestly, I was not in a celebratory mood. I told Christopher on Saturday that I wanted to cancel Easter all together but that wouldn’t have been fair to AB. I knew Easter was coming but I thought it was later in the month so I hadn’t bought anything to put in Easter eggs. On Saturday a friend dropped off a plant for me, a bag of chocolates and a few little activities for Annabelle. One of the activities was a Harry Potter book with little Lego character. Before I gave her the book I took the Lego off and hid it in my purse. We put one lego piece in each of the first eggs and a chocolate egg in the others. Jesus may have saved the world but AB’s 6-year-old friend saved her easter egg gifts. I was prepared for her easter basket. I picked up some outdoor play dishes from Target that say let’s play in my mud kitchen and two magic glow in the dark pens. 
This flower cross was outside our church. Please refer back to when
I said I forgot about Easter so we did not contribute any flowers.  

I asked that everyone dress up as if we were going to church. Just because we weren’t going anywhere didn’t mean we should dress like hobos. Plus there’s only a limited number of years left where Annabelle will willingly wear smocked dresses so I need to milk it for all it’s worth. There was a small part of me that was sad the old ladies at church couldn’t see how cute she looked but we’ve all had to give up something and I can give up compliments for a few weeks longer. 
Christopher hid the eggs as usual and as usual Sesame Pie missed the most obvious ones. 
We did a video chat with several of my relatives across six states and three time zones. It was a feat of modern technology that we were all together. We had 14 different screens to keep track of and the connections were going in and out so it was a lot of talking over each other, but that made it seem like holidays back home.

Last, but certainly not least, Annabelle and I revealed the latest trick we pulled on Christopher. We’re always trying to trick him and it usually looks like Annabelle giving him room temperature coke or hiding his socks. I appreciate her enthusiasm but we needed to up the game a bit. A few weeks ago we saw a car with huge eyelashes attached to the headlights. We giggled about how funny it would be to put eyelashes on Christopher’s car and thus was born our next trick. I didn’t buy the 3d lashes because they were over $30 and we have a small trick budget. I got eyelash decals instead which did not pack the same punch but I didn’t want to waste the $8.97 I paid. I put them on last Sunday and all week AB and I had conversations about whether or not he saw them. To be fair they are very small and subtle, but I guarantee you I’d have noticed them on my car within the first 36 hours. Part of me wanted to see how many weeks we could make it but we decided to tell him on after Easter dinner.
We each stood on one side of the light and made comments like “How’s your car?” “Do you need a car wash?” He noticed right away and we could not stop laughing. “We got him, Mama! We got him!” He said. “I’ve been going to Home Depot and feeling manly all week and this whole time I had eyelashes on my car?!” 

I don’t want to repeat a quarantined Easter but pranking Christopher seems like a good tradition to keep alive.

Christmas Past

It’s been fourteen days since Christmas and I’m finally getting around to blogging about the holidays. I haven’t posted about the holidays on time for the last five years and I don’t see that changing in the years to come. 

We celebrated our family Christmas the Sunday before Christmas. We went to church in the morning, swung by CVS because nothing screams festive like a three-foot long receipt and opened our gifts after lunch. I had all the gifts we were bringing on our trip separate from the gifts that still needed to be mailed separate from the gifts we would be opening that day. To me, they were organized as each group had its own wrapping paper. To the uneducated, it was a jumble of gifts and the labels on some had fallen off. Thanks to this clear as mud system, half the opening time was spent having conversations about not opening the wrong gifts. Christopher and Annabelle gave me a Downton Abby bell. I knew they had gotten it because AB kept telling me, “Mama, you’re going to love what we gave you. I can’t tell you what it is, but it starts with a B and came all the way from England. I’ve never seen anything that came from England!” Sometimes she’d go so far as to add “It goes ding ding!” 
Lucy keeps climbing up the tree so the angel is constantly crooked.

The next morning we blissfully and ignorantly set out on what was to become a horrific travel day. The plane that was supposed to leave at 6:21 in the morning wasn’t there because nobody remembered to fly it in. This is a tiny airport that only has two flights at exactly the same time every day. It’s wasn’t as if the flight was a surprise. When the plane finally arrived hours late, we were delayed waiting for flight plan and gas approval. Just as we got started taxiing down the runway, there was a thud at the front of the plane. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be experiencing a small delay. The wheels on the front of the plane fell off and maintenance will have to come look at it.” Merry Christmas, everyone! We were about to take off in a plane with wheel issues! A while later, “Ladies and gentlemen, maintenance has suggested we turn the engine off for about five minutes then turn it back on.” I’m no plane expert, but I know WITHOUT A DOUBT that turning it on and off won’t fix a wheel that fell off. The plane was towed back to the airport where we all deboarded and Delta was flooded with calls from upset customers. The people at the desk didn’t know what to do besides call in backup maintenance from an hour away. They wouldn’t give us access to our gate-checked bag so Christopher couldn’t get his keys and we couldn’t leave for lunch. We could see the spot under the plane where the bag was so I almost skipped out there and grabbed it myself. 
This whole time we were barely 20 minutes from home but we couldn’t leave the airport. Several hours later, a plane sent to rescue us appeared like an angel from the heavens. The pilots from the new plane walked in and wondered why no one was on the runway to greet them and why they didn’t hear anything from air traffic control. None of the workers at the tiny airport knew the rescue plane was coming. They were completely clueless. God bless the pilot who looked like a Hallmark actor for rescuing us. If not for him we’d still be in that tiny waiting area. 

What felt like years later, we made it to Williamsburg. Annabelle was THRILLED to be with the cousins. Ever since she listened to the Kirsten stories she’s wanted to do a Saint Lucia day celebration. Stephanie happened to find a white dress with red sash is exactly the style Saint Lucia wore. The girls went along with AB’s idea and they brought us milk and cookies. Seeing them together was one of my favorite parts of the trip. 

hopefully hindsight is 2020 and these things die in the new year

Welcome to the annual Airing of Grievances for the year 2019. Please remember this (mostly) not aimed at anyone in particular so please don’t get offended.

In no particular order:

+ The war against paper straws. I had a collection of no less than 37 different designs of paper straws. I know the good brands that stay in the correct shape and which kinds fall apart as soon as they’re put in liquid. Don’t come near me with your metal straws. If I want metal beyond silverware in my mouth I’ll go to the dentist.

+ One-way rows (aisles? lanes?) in parking lots. They’re in both Tennessee and Georgia shopping plazas and it drives me nuts. I never know which way I’m supposed to go. I want every lane to be driveable from both directions.

+ Runs for every holiday and occasion. Why? Why is this necessary? If you’re running a holiday marathon chances are you’d be running that day anyway. Why make a big deal about it and pay $40 for a run for something you could be doing for free American dollars?

+ Misuse of the words “post” and “blog.” A blog is an entire website made up of individual posts. It’s the same as chapters in a book. If you read one chapter of Moby Dick you shouldn’t say, “I read Moby Dick.” That implies that you read the whole book. In the same way, you shouldn’t say “I read a blog about candle making” when in reality the blog as a whole is not about candle making. You might be thinking, po-tay-toe po-tah-to, it doesn’t matter. If that’s how you feel, go write your own post about it. Or write a whole blog about it. This is a hill I am willing to die on.

+ Misuse of the word “whenever.” For example, “Whenever my grandpa was about to die, I went to see him.” How many times was grandpa about to die? Was this a recurring situation? If what you mean is you had one last visit with your grandfather before his passing say, “WHEN my grandfather…” The girls at work say it frequently so it could be a regional phrase, but it makes me cringe a little every time. 

+ Sammie/breakie/nappie/etc. This is a repeat from a few years ago but I still hear these abbreviations which means people aren’t paying attention. Please, please, please for the love everything do not say those words. Erika said, “Let’s make you girls a sammie” and I almost had to disown her which is a real shame because she’s a great sister in law.

+ Twerking. I am not going to elaborate. 

+ Talking on speakerphone in public. My scientific research has proven that this irritating trend is on the rise and I don’t understand it. First, we don’t all need to hear what your dad is saying on the other end as we try on shoes at Walmart. Second, it doesn’t free up your hands because you still have to hold the phone. Have I ever been interested in both sides of a conversation I’ve overheard? Yes. Does that mean I appreciate the extra noise added to already noisy shopping experiences? No.

angel tree

I only had one idea for our theme three this year- angles. I hadn’t been trying to think of a theme but it came to me after the miscarriage. 

I bought overpriced costume wings from the party store and spray painted them a light tan. Christopher made the halo out of gold wire. I wanted to turn the tree itself into an angel instead of putting on angel ornaments.

I think it’s one of the prettiest theme trees we’ve done. 

it was one of THOSE days

I had perfectly timed out plans yesterday afternoon. We would go to the dentist at 3:15, come home an hour later and I’d do my blog before supper.

The best laid plans crumble into the dust.

We didn’t see the dentist until after we had waited for over an hour. When I finally got to the room I sat in the chair waiting for another 45 minutes. Christopher and AB got their cleanings but the dentist said I “wasn’t on the right schedule” for cleaning. I’m not sure how telling the receptionist ”I’d like to schedule a cleaning” was translated to “let’s put her down for the dentist will look at her teeth for 60 seconds” but it did. The exam room had a tv so I learned that wine and vegetables are the new wine and cheese and that Zac Efron has a fitness app so it wasn’t all a waste. (Kidding. It was a waste of time.) I got home almost 4 hours after I left and never a blog post was written.

Speaking of plans crumbling to the dust, Easter was NOT successful. Someone should have sent me this message when I got out of bed.


It’s wasn’t that I got out on the wrong side of the bed. It was more like the wrong side of the world. Let’s go with wrong side of the universe. It was beyond world.

First of all, the dress I was wearing and feeling pretty good about made AB say, “I can’t tell if you’re wearing pajamas or not.” There’s a reason she isn’t in charge of her wardrobe. I went to get the milk out of the refrigerator and a can of coke burst open on the floor. The cats could not believe their good fortune and licked it up like nobody’s business.

I wore the pajama dress to church because I didn’t have anything else ironed. I didn’t realize I had forgotten to put my little shorts underneath until Annabelle stuck her arm all the way up to my underwear in front of a crowd. Obviously we need to find a new church but we don’t love this one anyway so it’s not too much of a hardship.

Less than 5 minutes into the service I started crying and had to go sit in the car. Christopher went back in to get Dad and Annabelle so we could leave. I hated that they had to miss church because I couldn’t hold myself together. 

We were having company for dinner so I decided to make bread. I’ve made this recipe several times before with no issues. I put it in the oven right on time but soon smelled burning plastic. I had accidentally used parchment paper that can’t get hotter than 400*. The oven was at 450*. The parchment paper melted to the bottom and sides of the bread and the kitchen smelled like plastic. Shortly after that a towel got stuck under a pan on the stove and started to burn. The lightbulb in the bathroom went out. The air conditioning wasn’t working. Linus escaped the house three times. I’ve blocked the other bad things from my mind. Literally everything I touched burnt, broke or stopped working.

We had a nice dinner and games with our friends. For a few hours things went well. It was our first meal at the farmhouse table Christopher made us. I love it so much. I started campaigning for him to take up woodworking seven years ago so I could have a new table and he finally got around to it. Dreams do come true if you bug your spouse long enough! We still had the old table and chairs in the kitchen along with the new so we could have sat a small army of 18 guests.

I thought I was past the worst the day could offer but oh no! Once again I was mistaken. As I was moving blankets to get in bed, I saw a mouse. A MOUSE IN MY BED. It was a baby but still. A MOUSE IN MY BED. I seldom get truly mad, but I was mad. I marched out to the living room holding the blanket with the mouse and demanded that we move. I’ve had frogs in the bathroom, lizards under my beloved hutch, giant cockroaches in every room and now a mouse in my bedroom. It was too much. A BRIDGE TOO FAR. I seriously considered leaving my family at home and getting a hotel room but with my luck all the hotels would have been full.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. May your Reeses cups been sweet and your house free of rodents.