Archives for June 2009

Cell Phone Relationships

Just doing our part to keep our relationship with Sprint fresh and new.

As in…we’ve renewed our vows that we took way back in 2000. That means, two more years of our already long-term relationship.

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We got the girls new phones for their birthday and The Grunter and PhilBillPaul didn’t want to be left out.

I admit that their new Samsung Rant phones seem pretty slick. What with the sliding keyboard – now standard on many phones. I’m pretty partial to Wizzy’s. I think she picked the best color.

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I figured the advantages of all of them having the same phones were numerous. They can share chargers and swap cases. More importantly, they can tutor Dad because Cellular Phil (that’s what I call him when he shouts into his phone “Can you hear me now”) needs tutoring. There are just too many features on these newfangled gadgets for him to figure it all out.

I have threatened to get him one of those Jitterbug phones or something similar. He often finds himself in a quandary because he can’t read the text messages because he can’t find his glasses.

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I think it is an appropriate solution to his dwindling eyesight but coupled with his hearing loss, he just gets all grouchy and takes it personally declaring
“I don’t need a dog yet.”

“Yet” is the operative word here.

Anyway…

Much like the ipod, I had a smart phone with a keyboard way before the kids all wanted one. “So geeky, mom” is a comment I recall hearing.

Now it seems you are a total geek if you don’t have a phone with a keyboard.

So…are you a texting mom or are you still a holdout and refuse to communicate in teen speak?

No judgment – remember I’m still holding out on the Facebook *fad* that might pass.

Or not.

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1991 was 18 years ago. Seriously?

I hate math but I’m pretty sure that’s right.

Because I’ve been counting the years one by one of this job I’ve been in for almost 20 years.

Longest streak of gainful employment for me.

Raising human beings does qualify as gainful employment.

It feels kind of weird when you work yourself out of a job.

But that was the original goal 18 years ago.

To teach life skills and send them off on their own.

Those precious tiny babies that turned into pesky teenagers.

I never could have predicted that those darling twins would become Soldiers.

Or that their 18th summer would be spent fulfilling 18 training requirements none of which include what most of their friends are doing like going to the pool, the mall, the movies or the beach.

They’ll have to save all that for next summer.

Instead, the gas chamber exercise and proudly declaring, “I didn’t throw up” is a highlight of their summer.

Completing 3, 5, 8, 10 and 15K foot marches…

An obstacle course, marksmanship and throwing two live grenades are things they will forever remember.

I never could have predicted that I wouldn’t be able to talk to them on their 18th birthday.

Instead, I had to send them each a card.

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That was really a mini photo album that I hope makes them smile.

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With a letter written in the back telling them how much we miss them and love them.

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And how very proud we are of the women they are becoming…

Hug your kids for me today and please send up a little prayer for mine…

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P.S. The Grunter and Scary Baby are still at home so technically, I’m still employed but I am looking for a job outside the home that will utilize all my amazing people and management skills. Call me if you have an opening. 😉

Old and {Re}Tired

Does the word retired mean that we will be more tired than we are now even though we have not retired yet?

I thought of this as PhilBillPaul and I drove back from North Carolina late Sunday after playing 36 holes of golf and thinking of ways we can move there before we retire.

Especially since we probably can’t retire until we are around 95 and by then we’ll probably be too old and {re}tired to even play golf…

36 holes of bad golf is still better than no golf.

Even though I can barely move my right arm because playing golf a few times a year moves muscles I didn’t know I had.

Um yeah, it’s official. We are old.

And tired.

I’m hoping PhilBillPaul will stop wincing with sound effects whenever he moves because he hurt himself playing on Sunday–he plays less than I do. And he’s older than me.

In spite of that…

Great food, friends and fun made for a perfect weekend.

Thanks Toni & Randy 🙂

What did you do over the weekend?

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Flexible Friday #38 Bargain Dining in Atlanta

This is a followup to my fine dining in Atlanta post.

Because I’m pretty sure another one of our favorite restaurants does not fall in the “Fine Dining” category. Except for us, since our definition of fine dining really just means a good meal at a reasonable price.

We go here at least once or twice a month. Partly because we love, love, love breakfast. And partly because we love, love, love a cheap meal.

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We go for the biscuit and gravy. While we do live in the South, we are still Midwesterners at heart and cannot eat grits.

Tell me where you can get a full meal like this for $5.00 bucks?

Seriously, tell me – because we’d like to go there and eat this month!

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Free National Parks Weekends & Grand Canyon Tip

Did you hear the great economic stimulus plan for family summer vacations?

There are three free national park weekends with the first one starting this weekend, June 20th. The other weekends are July 18 and 19, and August 15 and 16.

It would be fun to be able to take advantage of one of these weekends. There’s still time to plan a semi-spontaneous family vacation! Or if you are lucky enough to live near one of the national parks, you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity!

I’d like to give a little Grand Canyon tip for anyone who is able to get there for a visit this summer. PhilBillPaul and I were lucky enough to visit in the quiet of December and it was breathtaking.

Towards the end of trip, this was really breathtaking.

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In case you can’t see it, here is a close up…

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An idiot who is on the WRONG side of the fence.

WHY OH WHY would you climb over a metal fence and rail to get one or two feet closer?

I couldn’t help but take a few pictures of the idiot. I like to teach the kids these little life lessons with words and pictures. It’s nice when an idiot provides you with a complete photo tutorial.

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I was glad to capture this picture of him climbing back over to safety. I would not have wanted to photograph the alternative. 🙁

I think they like to keep the number of accidents, disappearances and rescue and recovery on the down low. We don’t want to scare the tourists from visiting. Really, I just think they should work on keeping the idiots from visiting.

They do have these handy informational signs posted around the trails.

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In English, “People die here falling from the edge. Do not go beyond–or climb on–walls or railings. Most who die have gone beyond walls or rails.

Seriously? Yes, idiots keep signmakers in business.

Unfortunately, most idiots can’t read. The graphic probably just confuses them even more.

Hey, one more quick tip. Don’t forget to stop at the Wendy’s just before the South Rim entrance to have a $7.00 burger. The value menu is not available at this location.

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Is Today Tuesday?

This is what happens when you are alone in your house.

And the 4 children are all gone.

And you have no internet.

You just lose track of time.

In the quiet and peace…

The hours fly by

And you forget which day it is.

PhilBillPaul and I are enjoying our solitude.

How is your summer going so far? Any big plans?

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Fine Dining in Atlanta

fine –adjective
1. of superior or best quality; of high or highest grade: fine wine

Fine is a subjective word. Your “fine” and my “fine” can be two very different things. Your perception and opinion may vary greatly from mine.

That’s okay. I’m fine with that.

Our differences are what make the world go ’round.

I’m willing to bet that my definition of fine dining doesn’t match yours.

Typically, “fine dining” implies upscale…expensive…gourmet.

But for me and luckily, for PhilBillPaul, our definition of fine dining is really about good food that is not expensive, usually not gourmet and an atmosphere that fascinates us but usually does not fall in the upscale category.

We are always in search of great local restaurants wherever we go.

With the size of metropolitan Atlanta, there are endless opportunities to try restaurants both near and far.

If you come to Atlanta, be sure to find one of the six Zesto restaurants in the area. You may have heard of The Varsity but it’s not our favorite.

Our personal favorite is Zesto.

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Side note: We’ve never tried the oysters. Ewwww. And apparently they have salads for you health nuts. See…something for everyone.

What’s Our Favorite?

So glad you asked. We love, love, love their chili dogs and crinkle french fries.

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Top that off with an Oreo or Butterfinger Arctic Swirl and you can thank me later.

I don’t care how fan-cee you are, a good hot dog or cheeseburger, crinkle french fries and ice cream is FINE dining!!!!

A final tip: Be sure to empty your trash before you go through the
drive-thru. Zesto employees are not authorized to take your trash. 😉

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Come visit us this summer and we’ll take you to Zesto for a fine dining experience!

What’s one of your favorite local restaurants?

P.S. Be sure and check out the two different great giveaways this week at iLash Girls! The Fun, Fun & More Fun Giveaway has two great summer items. I need to get Scary Baby some of that sidewalk paint and who wouldn’t love a new, bright beach bag?!

Leigh Anne and I have had so much fun learning to blog we want to help others and share what we have learned! So if you have ever thought about starting a blog we’re offering a giveaway for some Fun and Free Blog Startup Help.

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

Her suitcase has been packed since the day we told her she was going…

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Which was last Tuesday.

She left yesterday.

But before PhilBillPaul put her on a plane on Sunday afternoon…

He took her up to the North Georgia mountains for some quality Dad/Daughter time…

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Ahem. Yes, he did. On that girlfriend.

I wish I had a close-up photo of that wiener dog tattoo she plastered on her left cheek. Really a nice look.

Remember, I lost control a long time ago.

Scary Baby is now at Granny’s house in Texas.

For the record, I have never, ever sent any of my kids anywhere without one of us.

Well, the twins did get to go to Tampa on their 16th birthday which was a giant step of freedom and now looking back, may have begun the downward spiral?

Anyway, we’ve gone from six to three in a matter of two weeks.

It’s just me and PhilBillPaul and The Grunter.

It occurred to me on Sunday afternoon that we have come full circle because 18 years ago in June – at least until the 25th, The Grunter was an only child. He will get to experience that again, but only for a couple of weeks.

No…I’m actually not crying, thank you very much.

I’m quietly rejoicing in the silence in my house. I might even sneak away on a little trip myself. 😉

Thank you Granny for being brave enough to fly Scary Baby to your house and give us a much needed parenting break!!!!!!!!

It’s only June but this has been the longest year of my life…

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Flexible Friday #37
Some Women Get Flowers

But I told PhilBillPaul in the early years not to waste money on flowers – I’m just not a good flower receiver.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m appreciative of the rose or two he brings me from time to time. I know it is a sweet gesture. But he learned long ago that a dozen roses is not my love language.

Still, Mr. Wonderful is always on the lookout for original, thoughtful gifts for me. This week, maybe because the darling twins are gone, or maybe just because he loves me…

Here is what he brought home for me…

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He was so proud of these purchases. He found this wholesale store that has bargains galore. In case you can’t see, the clothespins were a dollar.

Side note: I do not hang clothes outside to dry. We use them for chip bag clips. Obviously…we have a lot of chips.

The Grunter happily modeled my favorite gift of all.

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Well, sort of.

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I think since they have the American Flag on them, PhilBillPaul should go back to this amazing store and get everyone in the family their own (also ONE dollar). We can wear them to the darling twins’ Basic Training graduation which is outside in August and it might rain.

It will be a proud moment. I’ll be sure and take pictures.

Let me know if you want PhilBillPaul to pick up any clothespins, umbrella hats or $3 squeeze breezes for you when he goes back to the store…

P.S. I’d give the store a plug but he doesn’t actually know the name of it.

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The back story of THE decision

This could also be titled “Our Humpfreeze Holiday Letter in May that forgets to talk about the two other children we have because the world has been revolving around the darling twins for pretty much their whole senior year.”

But that title is way too long.

If you are one of the last three people on earth who I forgot to send a graduation announcement to or you haven’t called or email for the complete story…

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Here is the condensed version of the darling twins’ decision to join the Army National Guard because so many people have asked us questions about the whole process.

Sidenote: They are now at Basic Training and receiving mail is a BIG DEAL. Since they have no access to the internet, i.e. Facebook and email {GASP} or cell phone, i.e. texting and more texting {DOUBLE GASP}, the old-fashioned letter is their lifeline to the outside world for the next nine weeks. If you would like to send them a card or a letter, I know they would be thrilled. Just email me and I’ll send you their address!

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We’re very proud to share a little about Roger Leroy & Wizzy’s decisions for college and joining the Army National Guard as many people have had questions.

We had privately discussed military service with each of our teenagers in the past several years. They both decided separately in mid February to join the Army National Guard both for the educational and leadership opportunities that are available to them through service in the military.

They then figured out together that if they picked the same Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) they could go to Basic Training and attend their Advanced Individualized Training (AIT) together.

This was a time of their lives when we thought they would be going down separate paths and perhaps living apart from each other for the first time in their twin lives. We are very thankful that they will be together to support each other through this new season.

They shipped for Basic Training on May 27th, just six days
after their high school graduation and will be gone for 10 weeks.

Upon returning, they have both been accepted and will attend
North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Georgia in the Corp of Cadets – it is one of only six senior military colleges in the U.S.

After their first semester in college and coming home for the holidays, they will spend almost 5 months in Arizona where they will complete their AIT specializing as Human Intelligence Collectors.

In April, Roger Leroy was awarded the Georgia Military Scholarship which is a full four year scholarship! She will graduate as a commissioned officer and serve an additional four years in the Army or National Guard.

Wizzy may choose this same path after her first semester but for now, will serve two additional years after graduation.

This feels a little like a FAQ page which we don’t mind at all.
People are curious and most have been kind and supportive.
Big decisions, big changes in our family – thanks for letting me fill you in.

We hope this finds you and your loved ones happy and well.
Thank you all for your love, support and prayers.

Side note #2: I know that sounded all cheery and bright but in the interest of my sister and a few others I know who are struggling with teenagers…the last month of May with the darling twins nearly started a drinking binge that I don’t think I would have been able to stop.

PhilBillPaul has announced to several people that we’ll need a few weeks to really start missing them. He has also been overheard quoting that lovely saying that I’m paraphrasing…

“Parents of teenagers know why animals eat their young.”

Truly, we are very proud of them.

Truly, we are mentally exhausted.

Truly, I’m saving the really bad stories for the book or when telling will not jeopardize their future.

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