Sunday, October 26, 2014

where we wandered (weekend edition)

it's the end of the weekend and i'm being a good blogger and processing/editing my pictures from the past few days.

on saturday, we had soccer games and an impromptu halloween cookie party. (nana sent us cookies and we decorated them last was such a hit, they requested a repeat this weekend).

today we cleaned the house. and cleaned it some more. and put away laundry. and ate every snack we could get our hands on. and snacked some more. and then couldn't finish our dinners because "we don't eat that stuff, anyway." (blergh!)

we also went for another hike around the property and the more we see of it, the more i'm convinced that with enough costumes, enough wine and colin firth cardboard cut out propped up against a barn somewhere, i could probably convince myself i'm living in a jane austen novel.

i know i've posted creek and foliage pictures before...but something tells me the colors won't be around much longer and we should enjoy it while we can.

they were looking for worms. all they found were mashed, rotted black walnuts and it took a good few minutes to convince them they couldn't keep them.

this creek goes back pretty far and even forks into three little branches. never knew it did that...

what you are missing here is the smell. this is basically cow highway...the herd travels back and forth over this creek and to the hills back there sometimes. so, um, the mud is a little pungent in spots.

hello, gorgeous thing, you.

i really can't explain my fascination with moss. it's pretty much the most amazing thing ever. even better than thin mint cookies and ice cream. well, maybe not that amazing...but i still love it.

 random shot of kenna and her dad. i'm pretty sure she's demanding that he carry her empty worm bucket. she did it two of three times on the walk and was disappointed every's not the one to boss around, it seems.

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sunday morning visitors

they show up every morning.

sometimes too early and i get really mad and judgemental at the mama cows who lose their babies and stand outside our house mooing and braying like wild, panic-stricken donkeys. the judgement doesn't last too long because, ahem, i can relate to losing a child now and then, too...

i love the gingers. they're precious and the more curious of the lot.

 i feel like they're judging us somehow. i feel a little ashamed of how long the grass is getting and make a mental note to clean up all the toys off the lawn so maybe next time they choose to stand out in the drive like a bunch of weirdos, at least the yard will be tidy.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

a brain of his very own (the only thing i could ask for)

my posts usually don't need disclaimers, but this one might.

please, if you're sensitive to political issues...if you've got your ideals and you hold them tightly to your chest and you're not interested in hearing others' points of view, please...tread lightly. 

this is not a post for you.

this is a post for my oldest son, actually.

last night, our younger son, all of five, was doing what little boys do. he walked up to his dad and said "dad will you marry me?" patrick laughed.

i was his next intended "mom, you'll marry me, right?"

and then he saw his older brother.

"bubba, will you marry me?"

dom replied that he couldn't.

andrew nodded, like he understood.

"boys shouldn't marry boys, right?"

dom looked right at me and i knew he felt caught.

 he wasn't sure what he was supposed to say to his younger brother.

what was appropriate and what wasn't?

 i'd explained to him before that there were laws being passed all over the country that allowed same-sex couples to get married and that some states still didn't allow it. some people felt adults should be free to marry who they want and others felt that marriage was strictly for a man and a woman.

i tried very hard not to push my personal preferences on him and hopefully, i'm still not.

hopefully, when he wonders what my opinions are, he has to ask me for them.

hopefully, he won't have had my opinions smashed on top of his head his entire life to the point that when it's time for him to think and make decisions on his own, he's suddenly unable to think for himself.

so he looked at me and i shrugged...opening the door for his own response to his brother's question.

"boys should marry who they love, Boo," he said as we went up the stairs. "i can't marry you because we're brothers. families can't get married."

i left it at that and the conversation quickly turned to how excited they were about today's field trips.

but as i came back downstairs and settled into a book, i was a little overcome with how proud i was of that boy for forming his own opinion and sticking with it.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

christmas countdown (week 9: christmas cards)

First mass-produced Christmas card (1843).
please don't hate me for going all wal-mart on you and shoving christmas down your throat before your kids have ODed on their halloween candy.

it's just that according to the official Christmas Countdown, we've got 9 weeks until the big day. that's sort of crazy and terrifying all at the same time and i always wait too long to start thinking about christmas logistics and i promised myself that THIS YEAR, i'd be ahead of the game.

i also really just wanted an excuse to drool over pinterest christmas pins, if we're being perfectly honest.

i wanted to turn this christmas countdown into a weekly thing on Wednesdays (because Christmas Eve is my absolute FAVORITE day of the year) and i figured i could pick a theme each week.


oh man, do we love christmas cards. my mom always displayed them on ribbons or archways in our house and it's something i try to replicate every year. even the years we don't get many christmas cards (boo on those years!)

it's a bit of a tradition for us to write out and mail the cards the first week of december and then we sit back and we wait for them to trickle back to us. did i mention we love christmas cards???

In 1843, Sir Henry Cole had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for 1 shilling each. (about 8 cents today).

The first cards usually had pictures of the Nativity scene on them. In late Victorian times, robins and snow-scenes became popular. In those times the postmen were nicknamed 'Robin Postmen' because of the red uniforms they wore. 
Christmas cards appeared in the United States of America in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn't afford them. It 1875, Louis Prang, a printer who was originally from Germany but who had also worked on early cards in the UK, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. Mr Prang's first cards featured flowers, plants, and children. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, still one of the biggest card makers today.
our family cards vary year to year, but i always try to make sure the words "merry christmas" are on them. i'm not a huge fan of the watered-down "seasons greetings." call me old fashioned...
last year, i ordered original cards from one of my favorite folk artists, Audrey Eclectic. she takes pre-orders for them until Oct. 31 and you usually get an assortment of the prints she chose for the year. last year i ordered a scandinavian-inspired print with a saint lucia girl (candle wreath on her head and all) and i loved them so much. if the money is right by the end of the month, i'll probably order from her again.
some years we love snowmen, some years it's all about santa. we had a nutcracker year, too. i hate to admit it, but i get a little giddy when i see the christmas card displays go up...even when they're up in september.
here are some of my favorites:

...happy happy happy...

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Monday, October 20, 2014

soccer mom-ing (it's not so bad)

it's week five of our first soccer season. i'm coaching the herd-aged group with andrew and patrick, bless his heart, is coaching dom's u12 team.

i figured soccer mom-ing was the last hurdle to leap in my effort to lose all my coolness by age 36. i figured next i'd need some high-waisted jeans with pleats, a perm, and a fanny pack to complete my fall from edgy grace.

but the thing is, it's no big deal (this is how we do!) because i'm actually really bad at this soccer mom thing.

see, i don't bring stuff.

i bring a blanket the week after torrential downpours and make us all sit on the frozen ground. i make sure we all stay seated until the moisture has seeped through the fleece blanket into our jeans. and that's about it. no juice boxes. no generator-powered mini heaters, no coolers with three-course snack meals, no game devices, no iPads. nada...

i also don't drive a minivan (yet).

nothing against minivans. seriously, i watch your videos behind you in drive-through lines with envy, dreaming of the day i can spin wreck it ralph on a continuous loop as we drive through harrisonburg.

so when i open our door, things aren't neat and organized.

no, when i open the door to our truck, all hell breaks loose.

soccer balls come flying out, followed by unsecured children, last week's mcnugget fragments, a couple missing library books and one moldy blanket.

and i don't cheer like a maniac for my sons' teams.

well, i'm coaching one son.

and i'm even bad at that because i find myself cheering for the other kindergartners, too.

i think it's so adorable when they score that i make these bewildered five-year olds high five me on their way back to their own coach. i keep the other team guessing, i suppose.

and when my own kids score, i just about burst my titanium-lined aneurysm with sheer joy.

 it's a beautiful, beautiful thing to watch a young soccer player get turf toe a few feet from the goal and stumble their way into the net.

and when it's time for me to cheer on boy wonder, well, i can't.

i suffer from this stress induced ibs awesomeness, so if i actually kept my eyes open everytime the ball got near my goalkeeper, i'd be chained to the outhouse.

 so mostly i cheer him on when the ball is on the other side of the field and i make andrew give me the play-by-play when the other team makes it into goal territory.

they say it only gets better with time, too.

maybe next season i'll be all the more legit with the minivan, the snack cooler and the folding camp chair brigade claiming my spot two hours before the game even starts...(god, i hate those people...)


...happy happy happy...

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

what i did that day (10.15.14)

when i woke up: 

5:25 a.m.


it was a typical wednesday morning, minus the breakfast because we were mostly out.

funny how that happens, isn't it? one minute, you've got full boxes of cereal. turn around, and it's gone.

 mostly you find out it's gone the moment you're trying to feed four kids their favorite cereal, too.

the drive to take the boys to school was rainy. in fact, it rained most of the day. but that's okay. it actually worked with how the day, or the morning, went.

i drove the 40 minutes into harrisonburg. i punched the code into the door lock. i walked the 14 steps to the second floor newsroom.

and then i packed every trace of myself from that place into two boxes (holy crap, how can i shove that much stuff into one tiny desk?)...

and i left.

the story is longer than i care to work through here, but it was necessary and it was liberating and terrifying all at the same time.

i've never walked off a job like that. i've never had to.

but this one?

 i had to.

it was pouring rain while i waited outside for my boss and after a few minutes, i figured it was starting to look like something out of a cheesy romance flick (which is hilarious if you had any clue of the stature/nature of the guy i was waiting on) so i got in my truck and i left.

i drove off.

(i eventually wrote him an email explaining and saying goodbye. i don't think i'll ever check that work email again...there's nothing that management could possibly say that would make that situation better. and i doubt they'd say anything to make it better anyway.)

i picked up coffee from the martin's grocery store on the way home. i struggled with the urge to tell everyone i met that i'd just walked off the world's most racist/sexist/backwards job on the planet.

 i also wanted to tell them to try to jelly donuts in the bakery because they smelled ah-may-zing.

donuts, ya'll.


using what was left of a chicken i roasted yesterday (why does cold, next-day chicken always look so much weirder than straight-from-the-oven chicken?), i made a chicken noodle soup for patrick, the girls and me.

 true to form, the girls told me it looked yucky and they wanted to eat powdered donuts instead.

given the strange place i was in, i shrugged and gave them their powdered donuts. (pls don't judge.)

i picked up about 100 tiny child socks off the floor and paced around. unsure of whether now was the time to start preparing for the next phase of life or whether it was time to watch funny cat videos on Vine.

cat fails prevailed.

we picked the boys up from school and somewhere in there it dawned on me that this would be my new reality. i'd now have the freedom to pick my boys up whenever i wanted. holy cow.


patrick made us all pancakes, despite being short one egg and overdoing the vanilla a bit. i didn't mind the vanilla and just because i could, i sprayed the whipped cream extra high on mine. i also popped open the small maple leaf container of maple syrup that my brother made. my mom brought it to me this summer. i thought about my mom and my dad--knowing today was his day off.

i wondered where they ate for dinner. they always eat awesome dinners out.

i put the girls to bed and played a little sudoku on my tablet. i won't tell you how many times i used the cheat button because it was a lot. i swear the "easy" level on my app is programmed by demons.

netflix isn't working down here now as i type this, so that means i'll probably have to actually write the last few chapters of book two instead of watching the first season of Vikings for, like, the 90th time. i might have a thing for rollo now that you mention it...

mostly i'll think of how scared i was this morning when i woke up. how scared i was packing my things into those boxes.

and how not scared i am anymore.

when i went to bed: 


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

ninja gnome confession: i water the office plants with your coffee creamer

mostly, i want you to know that the amount of your expensive creamer i dump in the office plant has a direct correlation to how long you hold me hostage chastising me in all your pompous a#$ery for never having watched "shane" in my free time.

i love watching the internal dialogue of whether or not you really drank that much half & half in three days or not play out on your face.

i should feel remorse, but mostly i feel like my english breakfast tea tastes way better when i have my very own, evil secret to keep all to myself.

you'll recover, of course. and buy new creamer. but your plant? it's not looking so great...

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