Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vacation at home

While Em is busy on the road to white sandy beaches, the baintrain begged me to take them to a new swimming hole....ironically called the beach.

 No white sand, but beautiful nonetheless.

A bit colder than the Atlantic, but swim-worthy. 

Relaxing for 2 reasons: natural beauty and no cell signal, so no interruptions. 

Entertainment provided: crawfish hunting.

After catching they have to see how much the crawfish can bench-press!

Bonus: bull-frog tadpole.  We had to bring it home. It's now on the kitchen counter - hoping to be left alone long enough to grow into a full grown amphibian.

Even though I prefer white sand to rocky beaches, they could care less where we are, as long as we are together.  That's what being at the beach is all about: distraction-free living.  Hope I can do it all summer long....


Thursday, May 27, 2010

On "Vacation"

If you consider driving 9 hours to the beach with a 2 year old a 4
year old a 9 year old and a 10 year old, a "vacation". I'm pretty
sure there's not all that much "vacation" possible in this scenario.

On a good pace so far. We've been in the car 3 hours and I've only
threatened bodily harm and revocation of electronics once.

Our track record on family trips is less than stellar. We've seen the
inside of more minor med's and ER's across the Southeast than I can
count. Strep throat, broken bones, miscellaneous mishaps are our norm.
St. Joel rationalizes it is simply due to our increased odds. Tell
that to Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Hoping for the best, but preparing for blog material.

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act 5-26-10: Another Mouth to Feed

No, we didn't adopt a baby or get a dog!  I know my limits.  I'm crazy, not insane.  But fortunately, I'm just crazy enough to say "Yes" when a friend asked me to keep her 5 month old baby BOY (of course) for 2 days.

What's really strange is that it really hasn't been that big of a deal.  I thought there would be at least a couple of chaos moments (like any other day), but it has actually been relatively calm.  My boys have been loving all over him, fighting to feed and entertain him (including a few Black Eyed Peas YouTube videos, but don't tell his sweet, first-time-mother mom) and generally enjoying having a baby in our house.

It strikes me that once upon a time I thought taking care of an infant was REALLY hard. When I was a sweet, first-time-mother mom, I agonized and worried about so many things that I would hardly give a second thought to now.  I'm sure I didn't appreciate enough the wonderfulness of just being with a baby. Even while juggling my 4 boys during this babysitting assignment, I was able to find a couple of hours to simply hold this beautiful sleeping baby on my chest and watch a little Food Network.  Heaven on Earth in my opinion.

I can SO see how people end up with even bigger families than ours.  There is just nothing quite like a baby.  Grateful that I added this to my juggling act this week.

What are you juggling this week?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's a great day to be alive


To a funeral and a wedding in the same weekend. Just some moments strung together in sun-shined air conditioning through the deep south. Through masses of Mississippi kudzu, clusters of Arkansas oaks and miles of soldier straight pines, stoically observing all who pass. Observing us ploughing down the road with 4 adventurous, happy, thoughtful and healthy boys. 
Looking forward to visiting seldom seen family and close friends. Thankful for ties that bind. For hearts that remain close in spite if great distance. Thankfully connected to the tribe of people God's plunked me down in the middle of. 

Thankful to believe the best is yet to come. Thankful my newly-buried grandmother will be there to introduce me to that heavenly best-ness when my moment comes. 

Thankful to be surrounded by love on all sides.

holy experience

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here We Go

Today was the last day of school.  The last day for the foreseeable future that I will not have a 2 year old or a 4 year old or a 9 year old or an 11 year old with me 99% of the time.  The last day I will go to the grocery store without someone else to buckle, to wrangle, to bribe with fruits snacks.  The last day I will not have to come up with something (not counting video games and TV) to occupy the time of Numbers 1-4 for a large majority of my waking hours.  The last day I will not have to come up with three meals and 432 snacks in a 12 hour period (not counting frozen waffles and chicken nuggets).  Probably the last day in West Tennessee that it will not be 95+ degrees.  I could go on, but you get the idea.

Sure, there will be occasional babysitters and a couple of day camps and swimming and sleeping in and no homework and a beach trip and lots of fun during the next 79 days, but...well, see above.

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act 5-19-10: My Kids' Social Calendar

Between Number 2's birthday on May 1 and St. Joel's birthday today, there has been an endless slate of "End of the Year" activities.  On a daily basis, I find myself digging through stacks of school papers or scrolling my iPhone calendar to see where someone is supposed to be next.  And that's with opting out of a few.

And just a side note, there were some Dads at these events, but I bet the other 88% of them who couldn't make it didn't feel an ounce of guilt or conflict about it.  Just a hunch!  

I honestly don't remember if my brother and I had this many events when we were kids.  Maybe we did, and my mom was just juggling it all the best she could too.  

5th Grade Luau
Student Council Party
2nd Grade Slideshow
Jr. Beta Club Breakfast
5th Grade Parade
2nd Grade Field Day
Preschool Awards 
Yearbook Signing Day
5th Grade Field Day
Goodbye Elementary School Party
Hello Middle School Party
5th Grade Slideshow
Preschool Bike Day
End of the Year 2nd Grade Party
5th Grade Farewell Tunnel

What are you juggling?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New nurse in town

She's tall, blond and beautiful. 
She's slogged through nursing school despite our mother's heart surgery and various personal disappointments too intimate to divulge. 

She's amazed me in every way, and despite being my 10 year junior, I admire her.

She's the new nurse in town.  

I hope the next time you're sick enough to need a nurse, you get lucky and she's the one you get. 


The Good News

AKA The Gospel According to Number 2.

An original breakfast

We live in the middle of Amish country.  Not as well-populated as Lancaster PA, but I do have to whip around buggies when driving in town. There are hitching posts at our grocery stores and gas stations.  One of the best things about the Amish is they have time and kid-power to grow and make all kinds of good things I never get around to.  Things like strawberries and fresh butter. Both of those ended up at our family cook-out this weekend in the form of strawberry shortcake.  

My youngest brother and his new wife were visiting from out west and we had a party. I contributed strawberry shortcake and we had leftovers. Do you have any idea how rare it is to have leftovers from dessert for over 20 people? Dessert leftovers call for celebration...which meant eating some for breakfast after a bite of protein, in the form of an original breakfast. 

They were more than happy to gobble down some basic soft boiled eggs in exchange for dessert in the morning!

:: Simple Soft Boiled Eggs::

1-2 eggs per person

Using your smallest pot, cover eggs with cold water.  Cook over high heat 'til a rolling  boil begins.  Set your timer for 3 minutes. At the end of 3 minutes, remove pot from heat, carefully pour out hot water and add cold water to cover.  This stops the cooking and keeps the egg soft.

Crack the top off, salt and enjoy! 

As far as the strawberry shortcake - I recommend  doubling whatever recipe you make this spring, then dessert for breakfast is automatically on your menu plan.  I doubt your kid-power will have any problem devouring it!
Check out Rachel and Lisa and Jen, kelly - recipe mavens!
And Kristin whose tips are fabulous...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act 5-12-10: More Listening, Less Talking

What I hear when I listen more and talk less.

Number 1, mid-turn to walk towards his friends, "I don't care, if you want to, whatever." (When I asked for the third time if he wanted me to stay at the big end of school luau party.  I left.)

Number 2, "Memorial Day is when we think about the people who were in wars for America and go to the beach and honor Nana."

Number 3, "Mama, when are we going back to Texas just you me and Daddy?  I have an idea. I think we should go with the whole family to, you, Daddy, The Brothers, MaMaw, PaPaw, Gigi, and Papoo in a RV...we could drive there when no one has to go to school and no one has to go to work...we could go to the Texas Zoo like we did that time and see the lemur and that really, really, really tall giraffe.  Can we do that Mama?"

Number 4, "This is a beetiful day. Mommy, you're beetiful too."

What are you juggling this week?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top ten things to AVOID when grocery shopping

If you're reading this, chances are you have or currently are grocery shopping with kids.  Because Mainbain is the smartest, most darling hubs in the world (and because he cares for you, dear reader) he encouraged this post to be done in Top-10 fashion.  Otherwise it would be a rant.  An extended,  holy-guacamole you-won't-believe-what-grocery-shopping-has-degenerated-to kind of post. 

:Top Ten Things to AVOID when Grocery Shopping:

10. Processed food - this is not original, it's a duh item.  

9. Cereal - if it doesn't look like the natural form of the grain, it's not good for you, no matter how many vitamins and minerals they add back in!

8.  Anything containing High Fructose Corn Syrup

7. Anything with artifical dyes.

6. Impulse spending at the checkout.  Don't give in, no matter how loudly they scream!

5. Standing in line behind the kid who's throwing a fit...yours might be inspired to test their lungs out as well.

4.  Knock off, overpriced perfumes ;)

3. Slick meats, a.k.a. processed meats

2. Anything on the Dirty Dozen list of produce. That's a link to a printable pocket list to keep up with those 12 things to avoid. 

And the NUMBER 1 thing to avoid at the  grocery store is a magazine like this:


1.  Because the reason you taught your child to read is NOT for them to peruse headlines like "50 things to do butt naked" and ask what THAT means while you're trying to keep up with what's being scanned.

Seriously.  I felt like some kind of prudish old lady as I rushed to stand between the magazine rack and my boys eyes. 

If you're reading this and have a bunch of the above in your basket...just check out before someone melts down, and better luck next time.  

Happy Shopping!

 This is linked to Amanda

Passing the torch

Just one more item on the gratitude list:  A hand-me-down baby-bike seat, passed to my neighbor-brother.

A little more than 7 years ago Mexicanjumpingbain's Godparents graced us with the perfect gift for a country baby and busy mama.  A baby seat for my bike. If living in the country has taught me one thing, it's frugality.  You never know when something will come in handy, so all kinds of intriguing detritus collects.  I know, I have a basement brimming with examples: shelving, not quite ready to be thrown away, a refrigerator that might be fixable, lots of riding toys needing tire expertise,  and a huge persian rug.  There was no way that baby seat was ever going to be tossed. 

Before I could even articulate I had depression issues - I just knew exercising made the world a nicer place - I would bundle mjb into a veritable baby burrito and head out for a bike ride.  He would be swaddled so tight the safety straps wouldn't go around him, but his baby-ness wasn't able to squirm yet anyway.  He was born in January, and even on the coldest days we would go for a ride.  The crisp morning air and January-blue sky was soul medicine for me.  The fresh air was so intoxicating for mexicanjumpingbain,  he usually passed out before we returned home.  I repeated the exact same cycle with butterbain, born 3 years later.  Early morning nursing, swaddle baby, get dressed, scoop up baby burrito, tuck into bike seat and exhale as I start peddling.  

Some of my fondest memories of those babies happened on that bike/baby seat.  Checking on them over my shoulder as I huffed up a hill, or their sweet baby sounds letting me know they were loving and absorbing all the natural God-love we were peddling through. 

Don't think for a minute they stopped riding in that seat when they were babies.  I know I carted mexicanjumpingbain around in it when he was upward of 40 pounds, and Butterbain last rode in it about six months ago.  I knew the time had come to hand it down when getting Butterbain out of the seat turned into an "extraction."

My time with babies, or more appropriately big boys, on the back of my bike has come to and end.  I'm not sad, just grateful I get to pass the torch (and the seat) to someone else. 

Happy memory-building, bro.
This is linked to Ann.

You Can't Handle the Truth

Where is Jack Nicholson when you need him.  I bet he and A Few Good Men would get to the bottom of the rash of sibling violence around here.

First, there was the still-unsolved Brothers' Bus Stop Brawl.  Still think I should have called the cute, blonde neighborhhod girl in for questioning.  Now, we have the mysterious Bloody Toe Clothes Hamper Fracas.

I was chatting on the phone with Lib yesterday.  Numbers 2-4 and I were about to walk out the door to pick up Number 1.  Then the familiar wail of Number 3 came from the other room. The legitimate wail, not the I-want-to-watch-another-Spongebob wail.  I turned the corner to find him wallowing on the floor holding his blood-dripping foot and Number 2 shrugging his shoulders.

I'll never know what really happened.  I have pieced together differing accounts of Number 3 pretending to be a ghost with the clothes hamper over his head and Number 2 possibly dropping or throwing or kicking the clothes hamper in such a way as to cause bloody, bodily injury to Number 3's big toe.

The truth? Who needs the truth?  I probably couldn't handle it anyway.

Another day, another story,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elvis Waffles

Confession time:  I am addicted to XMKids.  I'm not talking the Oprah channel, or even the 80's, no my addiction is much worse.  I have their number programmed into my phone, and I listen to it without children in the car.  I have some of my favorites on my shuffle and ran while listening to El Quacko last week.  One of the baintrain's latest favorites is Elvis is Everywhere

I'm certain I was channeling Elvis - or at least Mojo Nixon's version - as I concocted breakfast this morning.

::Elvis Waffles::

Make Waffles using your favorite mix, or heat up some frozen ones.

Make The Sauce:

In a pan over med low heat mix:

6 T.  butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter

After that's bubbly, gooey and yummy, add 3 sliced bananas.
Stir to coat and then top waffles with The Sauce.

Elvis was definitely at our breakfast table this morning!

Check out Rachel and Lisa and Jen - recipe mavens!
And Kristin whose tips are fabulous...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy is a Choice

This is my first Mother's Day without my mother.  And 3 years ago this week, my doctor told St. Joel, "It's cancer."  And I didn't get a new minivan or gift certificate for plastic surgery for this morning.

I am not any more or less sad today about losing my mom because it's Mother's Day.  The everyday longing for her doesn't know the difference.  I miss her the same amount today as I did last Tuesday.  Mothers Day is simply another reminder that she is gone.

Happy is a choice and today, I choose happy.

Today I choose to be grateful I am a mother to 4 beautiful boys.  I choose to be grateful I am healthy. I choose to be grateful for St. Joel and our family and friends.  And I choose to take the same advice I give my kids, "You can be sad, you can miss what you don't have, but you cannot be miserable."  

I choose a happy mother's day.

Another day, another story,

Friday, May 7, 2010

my mama matters because....

Mother's matter because without them there's no balance.  

Without HER I wouldn't know right from wrong, time to work vs time to play,  forgiveness from grudge holding, compassion vs. impatience or how to make a killer pan of cornbread. 

   Without her a lot of my journey, would be done in circles, instead of a straight line.  

Mothers matter because no matter how old you are, you still want HER there laugh at your youngest's latest joke and need her encouragement when life is like a bad B-movie.

My mother matters because without HER a small piece of the Earth stops spinning: mine. 

Check out the other mothers matter posts here

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Math

In a family of 4 boys, 2 brothers go to the bus stop in the morning.
One brother gets on the bus and 1 comes back to the house bloody. How
many cocktails can their mother have?

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act 5-5-10: Guest Video Post by Lizzie from LizzieBtv

We are thrilled to introduce our friend Lizzie B., a.k.a. The Girl with the Fabulous Coat. We met Lizzie at the Blissdom conference in Nashville earlier this year. She came strolling by in a fabulous black and white print coat and we just had to stop her and chat.  We fell just as in love with her work at LizzieBtv and the rest is history.

Enjoy her video post about juggling it all.

What are you juggling?

Em and Lib
this is linked to Kristen

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mainbain's Eggstravaganza

I fell off the Monday morning breakfast wagon, and handed the reins over to Mainbain. To his credit, I was busy exercising and he just took the reins. Further confirmation, readers. His specialty is meat and eggs. Lots of both. His concoctions are always met with smiles and silence, since the baintrain is too busy eating to make a sound.

:: Mainbain Eggs-travaganza::

Sure to make your morning brighter, this recipe will fill up three growing, healthy kids and one bottomless-pit adolescent boy.

Over medium heat, brown 1/4 lb breakfast sausage and 8 slices of no nitrate bacon. (cut up the bacon into smallish bits)

While that was cooking, he mixed:

8 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
After all the meat is cooked, add the egg mixture directly to the pan. Once the eggs are about halfway cooked, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and 1/3 cup Cheese. Continue cooking until the eggs are completely set.

Serve immediately, and listen to the sounds of silence while your crew scarfs it down.

If you can get your hubs to do it, it will be your easiest Monday morning ever!

this post is linked all over the place, after all the mainbain deserves a bit of promotion too!

Check out Rachel and Kelly and Jen - recipe mavens! and to the new FAT TUESDAY linky here
And Kristin whose tips are fabulous...

Every time

Every time we recite the Nicene Creed at church I ponder the words light of light
There are other great sentences and phrases in the Creed, but this one struck me recently.  
So I began consciously looking around for some of that light in my life....

Sometimes I'm standing smack in the middle of it.

It has halo-bestowing powers.

A shaft of it in the morning will make me smile as I stumble to the tea pot.

And at the end of the day, recalling the ways my life is changed & brightened with that light, I can rest easy.

this post linked to Ann and Emily

Hanes Partners With Komen to Fight Breast Cancer

We, Em included, all have been affected by cancer in some way.  Sadly, it is a disease that our friends and family must deal with every day, whether as a patient or a caregiver.  Many of you have participated in the Komen Race for the Cure series, and we would like to pass along some exciting news about the 2010 event.

Please continue to support the fight against breast cancer.
Em and Lib

Hanes® has announced an expansion of its partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, which has designated Hanes as the Official T-shirt of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® Series. Hanes T-shirts will be provided to the 1.5 million people expected to participate in the race series. 

Hanes will also reprise its role as the Official Apparel Sponsor of Passionately Pink for the Cure®, a fundraising program created by Komen to inspire breast cancer advocacy and honor those affected by the disease.  As part of this partnership, Hanes is proud to enlist actress Melina Kanakaredes, star of the television show “CSI:NY ” who will lead the Passionately Pink for the Cure mission and has designed three Hanes T-shirts to help fight breast cancer.  Hanes will make a total cash and in-kind contribution of $500,000 to Komen in 2010.

In 2009, Komen made grants to more than 1,900 community organizations and provided funding for approximately 500,000 breast cancer screenings.  Komen also provided $60 million for research in 2009, part of an overall $500 million investment in research since Komen was founded.

For the second year, Hanes will offer a special “pink collection” of panties, bras, socks, and graphic tees –  including three T-shirts exclusively designed by Melina Kanakaredes.  Select items from the The Hanes® “pink collection” have already begun rolling out in stores, including Hanes socks available at Walmart .  This fall, the entire collection including Kanakaredes’ tees will be available on and in select stores.  
Hanes® has also refreshed its campaign Web site,, which features highly interactive elements designed by the Night Agency of New York City to encourage others to join the mission for breast cancer awareness. Starting today, visitors to the site will have the ability to create their own T-shirt design, invite friends to join the mission and interact with digital applications, including customized Facebook® messages.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Very Special Day - Plan B

You know what a mom does?  A mom tries her very best to make the bad weather stop, silence the tornado sirens and calm the lightning on the only day that will ever be her son's 9th birthday. She has to make the grown-up decision to call all the parents and tell them not to come.  She holds back the tears when she tells him his birthday party has to be postponed until next weekend.  She waits until she can call her friend from her closet to fall apart about it all.  Then, she waits for the weather to calm down slightly, drives across town to pick up the cookie cake she ordered, calls the moms of the invited kids who live in the neighborhood and invites them over for a last minute-completely unorganized-run around the house-play video games birthday party.  A mom, with help from some of her friends, saves the day.  That is what a mom does.

Another day, another story,

A Very Special Day

On May 1, 2001, a 9 pound baby boy (thank God for epidurals), who would go on to take his significant place as Number 2 in our perfectly loud, chaotic and love-filled family, came into this world.

Today is a very special day.  Happy Birthday my sweet boy.


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