Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Aging: One Big Cliche After Another

Plastic surgery? Never!
You wonder how much The Works would set you back.

You never exercised and ate whatever you wanted and never gained weight.
You make an appointment with your gyno convinced that there must be a medical explanation for your expanded waistline.

You just used any old soap in the shower to wash your face.
Two cleansers, a masque, a scrub, a day cream, a night cream, an eye cream...your bathroom counter rivals Joan Rivers'.

You never gave much thought to your bladder.
You never pass up a bathroom.

Your legs were leg colored.
Your legs are a virtual map of North America. Rivers of veins and roadways of stretch marks.

The Girls sat way up high.
Not so much.

Another day, another story,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why Summer Vacation is Like a Cruise

There is someone within arm's reach of you 24/7.

Nasty viruses are bound to break out in such close quarters.

It seems like a great idea at the beginning.

People expect meals, snacks and activities around the clock.  The brochure promised cocktails?!?

Once it starts, expect waves of intermittent nausea and light-headedness.

The Entertainment Director's salary is laughable.

Sleep is interrupted by cabin mates climbing into your bed and/or wanting something to drink.

Tempers begin to flare after two weeks.

Excursions inevitably end with someone throwing up or getting lost.

The community pool is crowded with people you don't really want to hang out with.

When it is over, you need a vacation to recover from your vacation.

Another day, another story,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dateline: Westpoint

Westpoint, TN: 
A five year old farm boy confessed to throwing a car into the window of a home in this rural outpost  in South Central Tennessee. When asked about the child, his aunt, the lovely Liberty Bain, indicated that he has been drinking “a living probiotic beverage” called Kombucha.

I received this as an email from mainbain this morning.  Sharing it word for word. 



Dog Days

Image courtesy of

Whether you subscribe to the calendar practices of Ancient Rome, The Old Farmer's Almanac or the Book of Common Prayer, the dog days of summer don't start til late July, but they started last night for our family. Not in a feverish, frenzied way but more in a  silly summer way - that turned out to be astonishingly accurate.

After supper a friend posed this question:  If you were a dog, what breed would you be?  Not which one would you like to be, but which one actually embodies you?  

Seemingly silly enough, but you really have to intimately know and understand someone to recommend a breed-match. You have to know dogs pretty well too.  (I suppose you could do this with cats, but seriously, who knows cats that well?!)

It's incredibly amusing, not to mention satisfying to glance at a loved one and assign them a dog, especially when you know it's a perfect fit.  After working to match up bains and dogs, I went to Wikipedia and checked out the accuracy of our guesswork. 

Mainbain/Golden Retriever - versatile, intelligent and eager to please. Sincere, confident and kind. Loving. 

Stringbain/Irish Wolfhound - Easy going and quiet strongly bonded to family.  Can be stand-offish with strangers.  Loyal. 

Limabain/Scottish Terrier - Quick moving, playful, muscular and resilient. Feisty and loyal.  Fearless and independent.  Intelligent. 

Mexicanjumpingbain/English Boxer -  their head is a striking characteristic (and his has been since birth).  Bright and friendly temperment, cheerful companion. Brave and determined. Great love for family. 

Butterbain/Miniature Schnauzer - bred a a farm dog/boy. Alert, spirited and playful.  Eager to please and easy to train. Friendly.  

Yours truly? When he posed to question to me I quipped, "Weimaraner - practical and beautiful." When I looked it up on Wiki it said the only dogs Weimaraners get along with are other hunting dogs, specifically Golden Retrievers. They are protective, good with children, and loyal companions.   Can be aloof with strangers and requires extensive exercise.  Sensitive problem solver. 

It's spot-on and completely entertaining - try it NOW with the first person who pops into your head. My mother is a greyhound, my dad a bloodhound, brother a borzoi, SIL a Beagle. 

Once you start, it might cause a fevered frenzy in your family too!

This posted is linked to Kristen

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Turning 11 Kind of Rocks-Postscript

If you forget to make a strawberry birthday cake for your 11 year old, but he gets a cell phone from Gigi and The Grands, you can put whatever candles you have on bakery cupcakes bought on the way home from dinner and all is well.

Another day, another story,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Saturday Morning Treat

As far as I'm concerned life doesn't get much better than lounging around in your pj's for hours. Catching up on all the magazines piled month high on my bedside stand and various other spots around the house.  Of course this kind of treat is only possible if somebody else is happy to be the grown up, get dressed and make breakfast for the ever ravenous baintrain.  Apparently Saturday was my get-out-of-being-a-real-grown-up morning because  I lounged and mainbain brought me coffee. I read and he re-filled my cup. A few boys climbed into bed with me and we read foodie mags and dog books and planned menus and what our next dog would be.   I mosied into the kitchen to see what he was making;  the man asked one pertinent question about his breakfast concoction and told me to go get back in bed.   Yep, he's a keeper!

Thought you might like his latest recipe; it's Junior League quality, in my opinion. The baintrain was pleasantly filled and there were a few pieces left over. 

::Saturday Morning Treat::

2 c leftover grits 
12 fresh eggs, with 1/2 c. sour cream blended in
1/2 lb browned sausage - from our barn freezer
2 c shredded cheese

His instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 - convection if you've got it. Brown the sausage and butter a 9X13 baking pan.  Press grits into bottom of pan, and spread sausage as evenly as possible on top. Dot approximately 1/2 stick of butter on top of the sausage.  We are not fat-phobes, can you tell? (He actually used our farm fresh lard, but you won't be able to find it, so just use butter.) Blend sour cream and eggs and pour over top of sausage.  Sprinkle cheese on top of the whole thing and bake at 375 for about an hour.  
The butter and sausage will create an astonishing crust, incredibly light and delish paired with the grits.  

Lounge and let him be the grown up!

 this is linked to Rachel, Jen, Micheal and Kristen


Turning 11 Kind of Rocks

Number 1 has inherited my knack for celebrating a BirthWEEK versus a BirthDAY.  His 11th year celebration:

  • A family birthday dinner to our favorite Central BBQ tonight which will conclude with the realization of the all-consuming middle school dream of cell phone ownership (courtesy of Gigi & The Grands).
I couldn't be more grateful for the blessings Number 1 has revealed to me in the last 11 years.  He is honest, kind, confident and smart.  Happy Birthday, My Number 1!

Another day, another story,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Abstract Art Unearthed

A new closet abstract art installation was unearthed this morning. The medium appears to be Sharpie marker in black on flat paint with accents on door facings. Experts are nearly unanimous the work can be attributed to the widely acclaimed mixed media artist, Number 3.

Another day, another story,

Friday, July 16, 2010

Top 10 reasons to go take a hike

On the way home from the closest metropolis there's a sign that's always intrigued me.  

I've wanted to stop and see what treasure awaited at Stillhouse Hollow.  Unfortunately going and coming time constraints always prohibited checking it out, until yesterday.  We've had a pair of sweet girls as guests this week and I decided to load up the six (6!!) children and go take a hike. I also took some notes for you to find a natural area and go see what awaits in your neck of the woods! 

#1 There are surprises on the way there.  Like this marshmallow farm butterbain spotted!

 #2 Since it's an adventure, say YES to the extra long cheese coney's, then watch in horror & amazement as your 10 year old consumes his in 4 bites!

#3 - Trail signs make good reading practice...

#4 The shade in the woods helps dial down constant high summer temps!

#6 There are gorgeous backgrounds for photo ops!

#7 There's lots to do if you venture off the trail (which I would never sanction!!)...including natural monkey bars! 

#8 Tons of treasure is waiting to be found - ours happened to come in the variety of freshwater snails and baby geodes!

#9 You don't get to see God-made steps in your normal, everyday asphalt life. 

#10 At the end of 

the trail

 you might just sanction unexpected and delightful clothes swimming and 

feel like this!

Yes, I joined them.
I dare you to resist the call of nature! 

 this post is linked to Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday and Kristen's WFMW tips

The day Em gave up

What Not to Wear

Shopping at Target this week with The Boys and St. Joel, I decided to pick up a new bra.  Grab one off the rack, throw it in the cart.  Simple enough.  Who was I kidding?

Number 3 (of course) begins examining, aka touching, the cups of every single bra, making suggestions loudly as he went.  "How about leopard, Mommy?"  "You really need a white bra!"  "This one has big beepers."

I grab the next one I see, throw it in the cart and move on.

Yesterday, I was getting dressed in the privacy of my own closet and in waltzed My Personal Lingerie Expert.  "That bra looks awful on you.  You need the white one, Mommy."

Another day, another story,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just a Thought

This week, for the zillionth time someone described me as a "laid back mom." What does that even mean?  Code for not doing it right.  For not always following the mumbo-jumbo found in the latest parenting book.  For not signing my kids up for 67 activities (and then bitching about driving them around).  For making more chicken nuggets and pizza than broccoli.  For refusing to compete in the Perfect Mom/ Perfect Children contest.  For nurturing my relationship with St. Joel as much as my relationship to the kids.  Well, if that is "laid back," guilty as charged.

I have been described this way since Number 1 came along almost exactly 11 years ago.  Even my own mother voiced her concern when I broke the news that Number 2 was on his way.  "He'll probably be playing alone in the street by age 2."  She always had a flair for the dramatic (genetics!).  Then, Number 3 and Number 4 came along.  With each child, it has simply become more and more obvious what really matters and what is, well, complete BS.

I am not "laid back".  I am "not careful".  Not careful with my words.  Not careful with my heart.  Not careful with my actions.  Some times that works out.  Other times, not so much.  But I'm happy.  My family is happy.  I enjoy my life more than I complain about it (summer vacation with all 4 kids at home 99% of the time notwithstanding).

Another day, another story,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Day at the Children's Museum

We go (and by "go" I mean run like wild horses) to first exhibit.

Numbers 1-4 run around acting out a Star Wars battle scene.

Number 3 says, "Mom, I pooted.  And it's wet."

We all go to the family restroom.

I strip Number 3, throw away his underwear, re-dress him and he says, "Cool, now I can go commando!"

Numbers 1-4 run around acting out a Star Wars battle scene.

We walk (and by "walk" I mean run like wild horses) out.

Another day, another story,

The one on the left?

Yeah, that one standing with the head full of white blond cotton ball hair. There on the left with the bright green crocs. I claim him with heart expanding happiness.  He's my altar boy...gloriously marching to his own music,  happily swinging the censer and raising his voice to sing every word of the Gloria.   He said the best part of being up front was sitting next to his Big Daddy, who also happens to be our priest.  

The best part for me was watching him serve. 
And him loving it.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, July 12, 2010

When you know it's going to be one of THOSE days

I've learned over the years to be prepared.  Okay, I'm not always a blue-ribbon winner in this particular mothering category, but I've made progress.  And I've learned that making progress is good enough.  It's taken 4 boys and almost 13 years, but it's finally sinking in that the progress part of life may just be the most important.  Because just when I think I've got this mothering thing perfectly down pat, just when I've worn down the grass on my track and feel a bit of day-to-day familiarity, it changes. 


One night they nurse to sleep, and the next night not.  One day their completly satisfied with breast milk, the next day there isn't enough baby food at Costco to fill them up.  One night they're all sleeping in the same bed, the next night they are draped over every other flat surface than their bed.  One morning they wake up and wrap you in all their fresh-morning-warm-boy smiles and kisses, and then they turn 12 and you have to ask for a hug.  One morning they all eagerly await eggs, and the next there's a communal groan when you try to serve up any form of protein. 

Those hugs and smiles are easier to come by when there's something ready to eat on the breakfast table.  Hearing them help themselves to breakfast and take care of their own needs is a change worth embracing.  

::Overnight Oatmeal::
2 c. rolled oats, I used Bob's
2 - 2 1/2 c.  milk or kefir
1 heaping cup frozen berries/fruit
4 T hemp seeds (optional)
1/4 c. maple syrup

Mix it all up right before you collapse get into bed: 
It will look like this, don't forget to cover it before you leave the kitchen. 

Looks kind of soupy- but don't worry, it will be perfect in time for breakfast!

As you stumble to the tea pot the next morning, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see this and remember breakfast is already made:

I dare say this is a change that will have you smiling all morning long, especially if you've trained them to clean up after themselves...
Ahh, progress!
 This post linked to Kristen, Lisa,   RachelMicheal  Jen all worth checking out!

Everyone Needs a Wolfpack

Guest Post by our friend Kim from

We really couldn't tell it better ourselves. All we can add is a wholehearted, "Amen".

Em and Lib

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's not a party

Until someone throws up.

Luckily AFTER we all enjoyed dinner at our favorite pizza place, Number 3 (aka The Usual Suspect) let out a massive burp followed by a look of surprise and well...threw his guts up tableside.

He continued more of the same out on the sidewalk and in the bushes in full view of no less than 10 people for a few minutes before proclaiming calmly "I'm good. I'm alright now."

Haven't been calling him Frat Boy lately for nothin.

*Memphis Pizza Cafe Free PR: As I was apologizing to the unlucky teenage boy who happened to pull the "vomiting kid" section while he was mopping up Number 3's vomit, he interrupted me and said, "Oh, happens all the time. As long as he's OK, I don't mind. Hope he feels better."

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A welcome surprise from the 50's

I've never met a Junior League cookbook I couldn't transform into a close friend.  Even if you don't enjoy cooking, they make for interesting reading with tips and family recipe history.

I grew up using my Mother's Talk about Good from the Lafayette League, which she got as a wedding gift.   I received Heart and Soul as a wedding gift and even though it's lost it's binding, I can't bear to replace it because of all the notes I've made over the years.  Until yesterday, my latest favorite was the Greek dressing from the Jackson League's Southern Sideboards.  A few months ago I inherited a 10th edition copy of the first cookbook the Memphis  League produced, aptly named The Memphis Cook Book.   Originally published in 1952,  it contained a welcome breakfast surprise, with  more than a few recipes for whole-foodies, calling for lots of cream and fresh ingredients.   Reading through it I was stunned by the quality of food people ate in the 50's.  I'll refrain from the rant about the lack of quality food that's available en masse these days... 

On my quest for high-quality, delicious, simple and quick (I'm not asking much, really!) I had to check out what those women in the 1950's were serving up.  I hit the jackpot, with a pancake that's like a crepe, but thicker and much easier to cook.  Photo taken by stringbain, just prior to inhaling everything but his silverware! 

::Cottage Cheese Pancakes::
4 fresh eggs
1 c cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
3/4 c flour
1T sugar
1/2 t sea salt
1-2 bananas, optional
Whisk eggs, cottage cheese and sour cream.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  The batter will be like thick cream.  Drop large spoon fulls on hot griddle and add a few slices of banana to the top of each pancake if you like.  The banana slices will caramelize when you flip the pancake - my boys like that kinda thing.  They also reveled in using left over caramel sauce and whipped cream as toppings.  

Yeah, alien mom suggested that...canned whipped cream wasn't listed as an optional topping in the 50's.  

This post linked to Kristen, and Kelly RachelMicheal  & Jen

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


There are no words to accurately describe the Dance Party hosted by Numbers 1-4 tonight.  

You will have to use your imagination to picture Number 4 performing Timbaland's Apologize.  Being just shy of the Big 3 doesn't seem to affect his song and dance moves in the slightest.  

The Boys' renditions of the Black Eyed Peas Rock That Body and Jay Sean's Down were indescribably impressive.  My new nickname for Number 3, "Frat Boy", might just be an accurate premonition.  The show concluded with an raucous finale of Kings of Leon Use Somebody.

All I can say is I'm fairly certain some, if not all, of them have bright collegiate futures ahead of them.

Another day, another story,

Just Keep Juggling

As July heats up, I continue the daily summer juggle.  Keeping The Boys busy with swimming, playing, tv and movie watching, field trip going, video game playing, least possible amount of fighting and whining... ad infinitum.

A few things on the horizon to keep my momentum up, Number 1's 11th birthday in a couple of weeks and a last hurrah of summer beach trip with Papoo before school starts (34 days from today, but who's counting?).

I know the back to school schedule and homework load will have its own set of challenges.  The VERY bright side - I won't be the full-time social scheduler-referee-chef.

Another day, another story,


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