Pepper and I took the kids on a quick 2 day trip to Ohio to visit with my family for the holidays. Spent time at my cousins house and saw lots of people I hadn't seen in a long time. Visited with GG and stopped by the cemetery my parents are at. Also spent lots of time hanging out at a hotel to let the kids play in the pool. Here is a picture of my sisters and I enjoying our favorite new drink!! (lemonade, sprite and cat-daddy moonshine... yummy!!!)
I've been thinking about how I spent Christmas. I watched the kids in the Church Christmas Pageant... spent the night waiting for Santa at Dad B and Dad D's.... stopped in to visit Nana and Grandpa. Kids got lots of gifts from lots of different family members and hugs and good wishes and attention for doing a great job in the church play. Nana helped me give Pepper a great surprise. I did not peek at any of my gifts or even try to guess what they were. I have had a fantastic Christmas and enjoyed all the friends and family we visited. Tomorrow we are all headed to visit more family and I realized something..... I got exactly what I needed and wanted-- and that was before I even ripped open any wrapping paper. :)
We have a rather old house. When we moved in it had been remodeled due to a fire. The carpet and the walls were white. It made the house look big and clean.... And plain.
It did not take long before we started painting. We have a bright yellow kitchen (Pepper believes all kitchens should be yellow). She found a book about specialized designs that you can do with paint. So our TV room is this cool looking textured paint that looks like dark green suede. Our hallway is this funky brown that Pepper made using different paints and brown paper grocery bags. It took awhile for me to get used to because it looks like tree bark. But I like it.
Our downstairs bathroom was all me. I saw the color combination in Pepper’s book and picked out the colors. I read how to do the design. In the book it was a cheery yellow that faded into a lime green toward the bottom of the walls. It looked like bottled sunshine in the book. It did not end up looking that way on our bathroom walls. It looked more like a clown’s dressing room!
Repainting the bathroom has been on my list of things to do since before the lime green paint dried. It kept getting put off because there were so many other things we wanted to do in the house…. Or needed to do.
Enter…. Kirby. Our loveable little puppy looked too cute to stick her in her cage while we ran out for a couple hours. I decided to put her in the bathroom so she would have more space and it was my first step toward leaving her out to roam around the house while we weren’t home. Kirby did not see getting to stay in the bathroom while we were gone as a promotion. She took down the vertical blinds, chewed up the bin we kept towels in and ripped quite violently at the shower curtain. She bent the shower rod and shredded the curtain liner.
Pepper and I spent the last couple days making some changes... I am much happier with the results this time. :)
Apparently wrestling action figures come in different sizes... I was picking up two of my boys to for speech therapy when one of them said he wanted me to see his new action figure. It was in his locker so he opened it and pulled out a giant doll from his backpack. He held it out for me to admire and the other student gaped at the gigantic figure and said, "Wow, I have that guy... in a smaller virgin." :)
Everyone had great fun making this snowman for the yard. Dill did most of the rolling but it took Dori, Pepper and I all to lift the middle snowball onto the bottom one! Everyone helped decorate him. :)
Sunday was quite a day. We started off all headed to church (except Pete who spent the night at church with his youth group) through about two inches of snow that had started falling around midnight. The roads weren’t great, but for around here, definitely not the worst we’ve seen. As I was driving I was chatting about the contract Dill and I had made so that he could have $50.00 to buy holiday gifts at his school store. The whole family was joking and laughing about how expensive it was to buy gifts when you have a large family when I suddenly hit a spot of black ice and the car started spinning out of control. I was only going about 15 mph so it really took me by surprise. We turned completely around and slammed into a mailbox on the other side of the road and slid into a ditch. We needed a snowplow to help pull us out of the ditch and then we were on the road again. The passenger side mirror was left dangling and the running board was smashed underneath the car, but no other damage was visible. (besides a very mangled mailbox!!) We got onto the expressway rather than taking the back roads to church thinking the roads would be better and slid again. We sort of teetered on the edge of the on ramp and I needed to put us in 4 wheel drive low to get us back on the road. This time, we got out on our own but I could not get the car out of 4 WD low once we got on the highway. By this point, we were already 30 minutes late for church and decided to limp back home. It was amazing how long it took us to get home when the fastest you can drive is 20 MPH. But, we made it home and everyone was safe. We missed church, but everyone in the car said they prayed a lot while we were spinning out of control and dangling on three wheels off the on ramp! We were planning to go to Pepper’s parents house for birthday celebrations but we’d had enough driving excitement for the day so we decided to postpone the visit. Spent the rest of the day cooking and playing in the snow with the kids. Tomorrow we get to call the insurance company and fix a mailbox in the frigid cold…. But no one was hurt, everyone is safe and we did make it to church to pick up Pete. (Who was having so much fun with his youth group he didn’t even notice that we weren’t there when we were supposed to be!)
Waking up on Tuesday morning I headed out to take Kirby outside, as usual. I flipped on the back porch light and through the kitchen window I could see the body of a rather large animal lying there on the porch. We sometimes get wildlife on our porch, like raccoons or opossums, but this one was strange. The first thing I found strange was that it did not move when the porch went from pitch black to bright lights in the blink of an eye. The second strange thing was that it appeared headless and not breathing.
“Ewww.” Was my first thought.
Then I realized that it was not headless. It had a soup can where its head should have been! Our recycling box is on our back porch and apparently someone (but no one in the family has claimed responsibility) put the can in the bin without washing it out. This animal found the can, with probably a morsel of chicken left on the bottom and stuck its head in to get to the treasure. From the looks of the animal at this point, that did not go well.
I did what anyone would have done in my situation…. Ran and got Pepper. We zipped around and got something to cover our arms and hunted for gloves (we found a total of one…. Amazing in a family of 12 hands!!) We put the dog back in her cage and headed out to the animal. It was not breathing very much and I have no idea how long it had been stuck in the can. Pepper reached out and gave the can a slight tug. It did not move. I gave it a slightly stronger tug… still no movement. Pepper ran in and grabbed a can opener. (The pop bottle opening kind) and brought it out to make an air hole in the can and to help break the suction.
The problem with the new fangled cans that soup is put in today is that while the “pop top” feature is great, the bottom of the can is rounded and had no lip for the can opener to connect to. I took the can opener from Pepper and put a small hole in the side of the can (being extra careful not to cause any further brain damage). That was all it took, suddenly a very stunned (and I’d like to think grateful) cat came into view. It shot off our porch and into the darkness in a blur.
Saw a great shirt that said “Chlorine…. Breakfast of Champions”
Speaking of shirts, the kids on Dori’s swim team designed a state shirt with each of the girls names on the back. While we waiting in line at Burger King, a man tapped Macy on the shoulder and said, “I hate to be a bother Miss…. But I have never heard of any of the bands on the back of your shirt.”
It's been a long four years. Dori tried and tried but the required times for making the state time just were slightly beyond her reach. She was the most improved as a freshmen, improved her speed even more as a sophomore, really, really close as a junior.... and finally... at the last meet of her senior year, the absolute last chance to qualify, she did it!
She had to swim the 500.... which is 20 laps of the pool in 5 minutes 45 seconds or less. For a long time she really struggled to break the 6 minute mark, then to "make state"..... she did it today. 5:38.
Everyone cheered, lots of people ran down from the stands to hug her, she cried and couldn't stop smiling. People took pictures of her and the next race was delayed because so many people swarmed the deck to congratulate her. I think it will be something she will always remember. I am so glad to have been there..... and very, very proud that she tried so hard and never gave up. :)
Lots of people have thoughts about the name of my blog. Apparently they give a great deal of thought to cookies and bacon. Here are a few of my favorites…… *************** Bacon can be cooked by convection too but it is just more common to use the radiant heat common in stovetop cooking. Bacon cooked in the oven is actually very good whereas cookies on the stove top is not usually successful
Mark *************** I bake my bacon. 375 for 15 minutes. That way I don't get grease splatter.
David *************** First, baking and cooking are totally different methods. Cookies and Bacon are also different. Cookies is a baked product by use of oven(Dry heat) Bacon is meat product and it requires a high amount of heat to seal the outer surface and retain the fat and the juices inside by means of dry heat and thus also to cook till the core of the meat. but cookies require only to be cooked to an extent that it gives a short crust effect. if cooked further it will melt the fat .
Chef M. ************** I just think it would sound funny to bake your bacon and cook your cookies versus the reverse. It's now after midnight my brain is officially fried, baked or no tonight it's actually pressure cooked along with a bunch of green beans.
Joan ************** Well, to cook..it has to do something with a frying pan. To bake, it has to do something with an oven. Blame the person who invented the word 'bacon' and 'cookie'.
Dee ************** another one of the mysteries of life. somebody made this stuff up so we could sit and ponder it.
Donnie ************** Here are a few other things for them to ponder…
*Why do people recite in a play, but play in a recital? * Where is the egg in eggplant, the ham in hamburger? *Where are the apple and pine in pineapple? *Why do we have noses that run and feet that smell? *Why do you park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?
Kids had a great time trick or treating. Macy already headed out to go to a Halloween party.... she left before I could get a picture of her in her great "Fly" costume. She made a gorgeous bug. Here is our Mime.... his sign says "Trick or treat" on one side and "Thank you" on the other. Our Vampire... with real clip on fangs and our poor hunter..... shot by a friend with very poor aim!! We walked all over town gathering goodies and the parents all enjoyed "checking" the treats for damaged goods. (Reese's peanut butter cups are most often of concern by the grown-ups in our house!) :)
Dori had her final high school home swim meet. It was senior night so we all got introduced and Dori got to announce her personal quote "A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you today just the way you are"
Future plan is to go to to college to become a speech language pathologist and favorite moment was Arts and Crafts gone bad (apparently swimmers are not good artists and have many mishaps with glitter!)
The whole family all got to stand with her. What a great looking group, huh?!! :)
A pastor named Louie Crew came to visit our church a few weeks ago. This is an amazing and interesting guy. First of all he is a gay man that grew up as a southern Baptist and converted to Episcopalian, which is not that unusual. He has been partnered with the same man for 37 years, that’s pretty rare these days for any kind of partnership. The man he is partnered to is African American. And he grew up in Alabama in a time when inter-racial anything was frowned upon. All together, that makes him very unique in my eyes.
He is the first gay man I have ever heard say that he did not know if being an openly gay man was the right choice in God’s eyes. There was no way he was going to knock on the pearly gates and say, “Let me in God, I was a proud gay man and you know I was right to be so.” He said he will knock on that big, heavenly door and say, “Please God…. Be merciful.”
He also talked about visiting his Father in the hospital just before he died. His father was lying in the bed and Louie took his hand. Louie knew that his father was not happy about the gay issue and even less happy about the inter-racial relationship. He said, “Dad, I am sorry I was never the son you hoped I’d be.” His father sat up in bed with a sudden burst of energy and said, “Son, you are exactly who I want you to be and I love you very much.” Louie looked out at the audience and said, “…and that is just my earthly father, think of what my heavenly father will say!”
When Pepper and I had our picture taken with Louie he handed me his card and asked if I would send him a copy of the picture to his email. I did the next day and he sent me back a message, “How kind of you to send me this copy! I am flattered to be with you in it. I thoroughly enjoyed my time this weekend. Joy! Louie”
What a nice guy. I am glad I got a chance to meet him. ☺
While standing out waiting for Dill's bus this morning, he asked "Can you be artistic and still be good at Math, Reading and talking?"
Knowing Dill is very good at all three of those things and that his big brother has been doing lots of sketches for his art class lately, I thought he was asking me if I thought he was good at art too. I said, "Of course, you are very creative! I think you are great at Art!!"
He looked at me strangely and said, "There's a boy in my class that is really good at Math, he can read and he can talk... even though he sometimes uses the wrong words. My teacher says he is artistic anyway."
"Oh! You mean AUtistic!" I say, the dim light over my head getting a little brighter.
He looks at me frustrated as he heads out toward his waiting bus and says, "That's what I said Mom. How old are people when they can't hear correctly?"
A couple weekends ago Pete and I both took the Hunter's Safety Class. It was actually very informative and interesting. I learned a lot. We learned about the history of hunting, how firearms work, how to track and stalk, how to climb into a tree stand.... just to name a few things. Another thing I learned is that kids do not learn how to take notes (at least not before 7th grade) I watched Pete and other kids that sat around me and even when the instructors gave BLATANT hints like "THIS will be on the test!!" the kids did not write down what was said or highlight it in their book. I took it upon myself as a side mission to show Pete how to listen for things that were important to know from the lecture material. The other kids that sat around us started paying attention too.... and I must have done well. Everyone passed the final..... 98% or better!
I really enjoyed getting to spend the whole weekend with Just Pete. One on one time with any of the kids seems to be a rare thing in our family. It was nice to do something I knew Pete was interested in. As a follow up, Pete and I went to Cabela's to have his bow checked over and to get his first hunting license for youth weekend. We stood in line waiting for his license and chatted about his upcoming trip with Uncle K. He was very excited about finally getting to go hunt. When it was our turn to step to the counter, Pete was ready. He had his wallet (he checked his back pocket every 3 minutes to make sure it was still there) and wore his serious, ready-to-hunt look.
"Can I help you?" the lady at the counter asked.
I quickly explained that it was our first time to get a license. She looked at Pete and said, "How old are you?"
"Did you take the hunter's safety class?" she asked.
"Did they give you a certificate of completion?"
"Do you have it with you?"
"yes" (Pete stands there, waiting for the next question)
"I need to see it"
"Oh!" Finally he reaches into back pocket for wallet.
She takes the certificate and begins typing. She makes sure she spelled the name correctly then says, "What is your address?"
Tonight was Homecoming. Both Dori and Macy were beautiful as they headed out the door toward their parties and festivities. Dori headed out to eat with swim friends, then the dance and then finally to an overnight party. Macy went to the dance with a new date (not the guy that she rode in the parade with the night before!) then to a party where they watched a scary movie together. Her Facebook page now reads “In a relationship”. Wow do they grow up fast!