Archives for June 2011

Twenty is the New Twelve

Guess who turned twenty on Saturday?

Happy 20th Birthday to the darling twins!

Holy cow! This means I do not have teenagers living in my house for the first time in 8 years. Until next April when Scary Baby turns 13 and the cycle begins again. Yikes.

I will not lie and say I will miss the teen years. I will tell the truth and confess that I absolutely miss this stage…

Zero to two is my favorite time. They were such adorable tiny twins.

Then they get big and talk back and think we’re stupid.

Side note: Twenty feels like the new twelve this summer as we go ’round and ’round about all our ridiculous rules. But that’s a post for another day.

Roger Leroy requested a chocolate chip fruit pizza for her birthday “cake.”

Wizzy requested a chocolate cake.

“Hot” tip regarding frosting = it melts if cake is still warm.

They’ve had to share one cake for so many years that I decided I could accommodate both requests. The bonus was that we had dessert three nights in a row.

They are such opposites in so many ways. Dinner requests were Mexican and Italian. We took them for Mexican on Friday night and Wizzy had an Italian dinner with her dad the next night.

Neither requested the singing, the sopapillas or the…


Forced cell phone picture. Can you tell?

We thought Wizzy’s hat made her look like a Canadian Mountie. We blamed her big head. She insisted it was because of her bun.

Wizzy also tried to escape from our booth when she realized PhilBillPaul had discreetly arranged for the wait staff to come out and sing for the darling twins. We pinned her in and about seven staff members delivered a rousing performance.

They really didn’t seem to appreciate when their dad and I came out of the restaurant wearing the bonus sombreros they got to keep.

And PhilBillPaul wore one all the way home.


Twelve is the New Sixteen

We did squeeze a birthday in during April.

Scary Baby turned twelve on April 22nd.

The day before Easter is not her favorite time to have a birthday.

Because of course, I took that opportunity to combine the birthday with the holiday. I’m sure that’s what Christmas Eve babies dislike too. Sorry but I like to be efficient.

Scary Baby should be thankful that Easter does move around each year.

She has reminded me several times I have not blogged about her birthday.

Consider this the new birthday tradition:

Must have blog post written highlighting your birthday.

She set the tone early for her birthday requests.

First, she really, really, really wanted to own a viola for 6th grade orchestra. She hated her rental instrument. She needed her own instrument. She would be performing in the 6th grade Honors Orchestra at the end of April and please, please, please could we buy her a viola.

Dad and Granny got together. Scary Baby got an early birthday present.

An extravagant but useful birthday present arrived.

The concert was lovely and I’m sure it’s because of this amazing viola.

Next, Scary Baby got very frustrated when I said I was not going to buy the giant cupcakes at Costco that were too expensive for her to take to school for her birthday treat for 28 of her closest friends. My Easter dinner budget was already high.

Instead I said I would be glad to make homemade cupcakes with ingredients we already had at home. You would have thought I suggested taking in circus peanuts or some other gross candy as her treat.

And speaking of birthday treats…when the heck does that stop? I think 6th grade, right?

Yes, this had to be the last year.

See, I’m a little unclear because the darling twins have a summer birthday – excellent planning to avoid multiple birthday celebrations. The Grunter wasn’t too caught up in birthday treats after elementary school.

This last child just wears me out with all her expectations. Thank goodness she sketched out her cupcakes so I had instructions.

We started with a cake mix and The Cake Doctor cookbook. She probably remembers what page. I don’t.

All food photo credits: Scary Baby.

Except the photos when she’s in the picture.

I did have to amend her plans. We had raspberries not strawberries.

I’d include the recipe but we made this up. Cream cheese, powdered sugar and raspberry jam.

Approximately this much.

I won her over with this change when I said she could squirt the filling inside with a new pastry bag and tip. And she could ice them all herself.

The kid is relentless when she makes a plan.

The clearance Easter sprinkles in the glass jar for $2.00 from TJMaxx secured my cupcake victory.

She declared the homemade cupcakes a huge success and her brother drove her to school so she didn’t have to drag them on the bus.

She caved on Easter Sunday and our Easter dessert served double duty as The Perfect Lemon Cake also became her birthday cake.

Only because I let her pipe the filling for deviled eggs.

And because she got Easter treats…

And birthday presents on the same day.

Everett gave her a swimsuit and we were glad he didn’t prank her and give him one of his old swimsuits.

The darling twins gave her the movie she wouldn’t see in the theater but really wanted to personally own.

Happy Birthday baby girl! You promised you would stay little and it’s just not happening. We all love you to the moon!

Thanks for your patience while having to wait to read your birthday blog post two months late. I’ll try to be on time next year.


Summer TV

I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled “Typo Tuesday” to have a quick chat about television.

In addition to the regular life stuff that has been happening at our house in these past few months, please don’t forget that Celebrity Apprentice, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol and Oprah ALL ended in ONE week’s time.

Life-changing indeed.

Side note: Did anyone see Rob Lowe on Oprah? Did anyone else save it on their DVR to watch again? And again.

Must be the St. Elmo’s Fire memories. The 80’s weren’t all bad. Just my opinion.

Thank goodness for The Housewives (90% of whom are not housewives), The Next Food Network Star, The Voice and a smorgasbord of other summertime viewing fun.

Remind me to tell you at a later date how I feel about caving in and watching The Bachelorette. Again.

First clue: Ridiculous.
Second clue: Addiction.

Stop judging. Remember this is a blog about sharing with SherrA.

Besides, I get more done when the TV is on. I’m productive like that.

In addition to me getting my money’s worth from our Direct TV bill, it seems we have an iPad zombie living with us.

Roger Leroy comes out from The Lounge from time to time when she needs air or food after watching an entire series of Grey’s Anatomy in a day. She just discovered that it’s a lovely show that I had kept them isolated from because of mature subject matter in their high school years.

Scary Baby wants to know why she can’t watch The Bachelorette when her other friends are allowed to.

And she doesn’t have a cell phone.

DFACS is probably on their way to our house as I type this.

What are you watching this summer? Come on, I can’t be the only one to admit some of these shows I’m watching while avoiding the sweltering heat.


Home Sweet Home

Since their college exams which they finished in the last week of April, the darling twins have been to drill, camping, a Braves game, several movies and the beach.

This was all in May.

We’ve seen them a couple of times.

There was even one Friday night which happened to be somewhat significant in our lives where we all went out to a Mexican restaurant together for dinner.


Crazy, I know.

Remember how I told you last week what Stress #1 was?

The darling twins being home (sort of) is…

Stress #2

That may not sound very loving. Please allow me to explain.

The week of exams Roger Leroy drove home with most of their belongings and dropped them off in the garage and foyer. She also arrived with a little surprise.

Make that two little surprises.

Meet Clarence and Francis

We were not amused.

Scary Baby fell in love with them.

She has taken them on walks. Ridden them around in a basket on her bicycle. Let them wade in the creek. Introduced them to neighbors.

We are still not amused.

Roger Leroy promptly headed back to campus to go load her car with friends and go camping. You know, the end of the semester before summer starts we’ve been with our friends for nine months we don’t want it to end dreading the days of living with our parents who will ask us annoying questions like where are you going and expect us to be home by their stupid curfew even though we get to live for free in their home because we don’t have enough money to live anywhere else please don’t make us have a summer job annual camping trip.

After the camping trip, Wizzy chose to stay with a friend for two weeks deciding if she wanted to come home and live by our rules.

Then she came home on a Friday night and promptly went to a Braves game, took Scary Baby fishing, met a friend for lunch and ended her first 48 hours at home by joining friends for a movie and quickly preparing for her next spontaneous trip.

During all this running around, Scary Baby has been appointed chief duck caretaker. This is not an honor.

Scary Baby has had to administer first aid to one of the duck’s feet. She used all of the hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ointment. You can thank me now for no pictures of that.

Roger Leroy was home long enough to build an absurd duck pen in the backyard since they had outgrown their cat carrier in about 2 weeks flat. Then she headed out for a 5 night spontaneous trip to the beach with her darling twin and 4 other girls.

Really, the ducks were taken from their mother and then abandoned in our backyard by their new owners. I’ve yet to see Wizzy do anything with the ducks.

Imagine how much the wiener dogs love the ducks.

“Tasty treats” is what I think they are saying in their heads.

Lots of barking and quacking in our backyard.

Roger Leroy also spent a few hours building a fire pit and then took Scary Baby to WalMart to buy a hammock, a chair and a couple of tiki torches so they can chill out while she strums her guitar and Wizzy…reads?!

Photo taken in planning stages before firepit and hammock purchase.

She’s also run an extension cord so she can get back to nature with her electronic devices. We find her out there in her hammock with her iPad and cell phone.

Ahh…those good ole’ days of summer.

The ducks are being relocated to a friend’s pond THIS WEEK.

They are now threatening to buy peacock eggs on eBay.

Save me.


Getting Your Affairs In Order

I hope this ends my series on healthcare issues with The Grunter for a long while. Or he’ll need to get his own blog.

Disclaimer: Our family has a history of finding humor at inappropriate times. We are aware of this and have no plans to make any changes.

When we went to the pre-op appointment for Everett, we were instructed to go over to the hospital and get paperwork done and meet with the anesthesiologist and blah, blah, blah.

It’s hard to pay attention when they are giving you lots of information you don’t want to process.

I also know there is a lesson to be learned if we pay attention and stay in the moment.

Everett and I would both say we were mildly impressed by the smooth mechanics of the newly remodeled hospital and the registration process.

Then the hospital clerk asked him if he had an advanced directive.

Ding, Ding! Teachable moment.

Granted – it is a teachable moment that most people avoid.

I whispered to him that I gave Grandma a signed copy of my Living Will when I was 19.

I’m a planner, what can I say?

Side note: I later explained to Everett that Grandma (my mother) did not bring my Living Will with her when she flew to Florida when I was in the coma and therefore is no longer allowed to make any of my medical decisions. You need to pick someone who is responsible and trustworthy and obviously that is not Grandma.

The side note is actually not the teachable moment.

I wonder if God saves May 27th just for me to have stressful times? It’s okay, I’m getting used to it now. I’ve learned to keep my expectations low and it seems to be working.

It was probably a good time to explain more about what an advanced directive is and why he should sign one. After all, he is 21 year, 8 months and 18 days old at this moment.

The hospital clerk kindly printed out a copy of an advanced directive he could take home and read, sign and bring back and give to the surgeon on the day of his surgery.

We then went upstairs to meet the anesthesiologist. Except we learned that really meant meet a nurse who might know the anesthesiologist.

Luckily she was well-versed in the hospital procedures and took time to answer all our questions. Because of his finger injury the week before and pain meds he was taking, she stepped out to check about drug interactions and what not.

As she left, she handed him a laminated copy of “My Journey” which had a bold black marker message on the top “Do Not Remove from This Room” because obviously people were stealing their “Journey” instructions. It seems after the multi-million dollar hospital makeover, they could not afford additional copies of “My Journey” to actually give to patients. Or they are saving trees.

She instructed him to read through it motioning with her fingers that his Journey would begin at the top and, with a sweeping U-shape, would end at the top.

Again, a whole lot of information to process but we both skimmed it.

Day of Surgery

As we sat in the waiting room, I spied “My Journey” in a lucite standup frame on an end table. And another one just one couch down. I asked Everett to go over and snap a picture of it so we could better document his “Journey”.

When he refused, I told him I would go remove it from the frame and put it in my bag. He seemed skeptical which I took as a dare.

I casually went over to the table and laid the plastic frame down, slipped it out and picked up two very interesting magazines with “My Journey” sandwiched in between.

Sitting back down and quietly showing him that we now had a copy of our own, we discussed whether the sprinkler heads could actually be small cameras. He said he hoped they didn’t search my bag.

This might be some of that inappropriate behavior that we exhibit as we both quietly laughed in the waiting room. I believe it might be more appropriately labeled a coping mechanism.

Which I think is very healthy.

In recovery in his groggy haze, one of the first things he said is that he told the nurses to check my bag because he was pretty sure I had stolen something from the lobby.

He also told us that the anesthesiologist nor the doctor were in the operating room. Just three nurses.

At this point, I don’t think anyone found our little pumpkin very credible. He was mostly just cussing about needing apple juice immediately.

Back to the advanced directive…

I reminded him several times to complete it early. Please don’t do it the night before surgery at 1:00 a.m. and come ask me questions about it. Work ahead boy.

At 1:30 a.m. the night before morning of surgery he appeared in our bedroom and asked if PhilBillPaul and I could witness and sign the document. I refused on the grounds of it being too late and that he did exactly what I told him not to do.

Story of my life as a parent.

Furthermore, I didn’t think I should witness the document if he put me down to make medical decisions for him.

PhilBillPaul and Rachel signed it. I took a short nap while the family slept through the night.

On our way to the hospital, he gave me a copy and told me while I was waiting I should read it because he included a little “humor” and I should find that page to pass the time.

I didn’t actually read it until the next day.

He did clarify that the doctor’s copy did not contain his humor.

I then pointed out that page 7 clearly stated that his dad could not be a witness since he is the back-up health care agent so his advanced directive was clearly not valid.

Now we have another summer activity. I’m printing advanced directives for all of us to sign.

The fun mom. That’s me.

P.S. Best online explanation I found on advanced directives when I did a quick search. In spite of our inappropriate humor, I actually do believe these things are really important to discuss before people get sick and not just when you become a senior citizen.


DIY Nursing Care

It’s not enough that we now have to be our own cashier, banker, waiter and candlestick maker with all the customer service friendly businesses where you now provide your own customer service.

We now announce Do-It-Yourself Nursing.

A week and a half before his surgery and because we didn’t have enough stress at the house, The Grunter arrived home early from his new job and announced he had injured himself.

This is when I check myself out of parenting responsibilities.

Because I don’t do blood or vomit.

Believe me, I do enough other stuff so don’t start thinking PhilBillPaul has to do everything. And don’t say in your head or out loud “Poor PhilBillPaul” in that voice my mother Junebug uses.


I suggested that PhilBillPaul take a look at his injury because he is an expert on personal injury. This is when his voice actually got higher as he squealed, “OH BOY, OH GEEZ, OH EVERETT YOU HAVE TO GET TO A DOCTOR…” I knew it must be bad.

They headed to an urgent care facility assigned by his new employer that was open 24 hours. Arriving back home at 2:30 a.m. they reported that it was not broken but the doctor said he was lucky because he almost blew the tip of his finger off.

This from pinching it between two big metal doors that reportedly weighed 1,000 pounds each.


Everett did not shed a tear or dance around screaming like I would have been. He did embrace the Tylenol #3.

When we went back for the followup appointment, he came out to the lobby carrying this bag.

He had to ask the receptionist/nurse?/person in scrubs for scissors so he could wrap his own injury.


I’m sure this is part of the new plan to make healthcare more affordable.

Can’t wait to do my own mammogram this year and PhilBillPaul finally goes in for his overdue colonoscopy.


Typo Tuesday ~ Keep Your Receipt

I know I need to let go of the apostrophe obsession.

But I just can’t. They just keep screaming at me everywhere!


It Will All Work Out Momma

When I stress about something, especially if it’s related to The Grunter, he loves to chant his mantra.

“It Will All Work Out Momma”

He’s pretty calm and easygoing most of the time. He definitely takes after his father in this department.

The distractions and daily stresses took over towards the end of April and haven’t seem to let up. That led me to barely getting a weekly Typo Tuesday posted. Thanks for hanging with me in my quiet phase. The family would not agree with the previous sentence.


I’m going to play catch up in the coming weeks here on the blog. Mostly because the blog is now our family photo album so I have to continue to tell our stories even if they are not all chronologically perfect. Go me – look at that flexibility. I will also need to high five myself for showing restraint in not writing some of the stories. Saving for the book. Or when I finally start drinking. Hard liquor.

If I were prioritizing the stresses, the following would be…

Stress #1

The Grunter has had a swollen lymph node that he started complaining about a few months ago. I said “Make a doctor’s appointment.”

This is part of the growing up checklist, right?

  1. Make your own doctor’s appointment.
  2. Go to your own doctor’s appointment.
  3. Call Text your mother.

He finally did all three.

#3 really triggered some anxiety…

“He said he didn’t know if it was a tumor or what. They are doing a blood test and then deciding whether I need to go to a specialist. Also I may have had mono last year.”

The swollen lymph nodes were actually from last February when he was really sick with a cold and swollen tonsils. New blood work now confirms he had mono.

This is a kid who has never had a stitch. A cold and/or sore throat is about as sick as he gets.

Next appointment is with a specialist and I attended with him.

I could have gone my whole life without hearing a doctor say…

“We need to rule out lymphoma.”

Three times.

Everett ~ before drugs

This is my way too small tribute to every mother out there who has had to fight the “Big C” battle alongside their children.

Because I know you prayed it would be you and not them.

I can only imagine that there is just one thing worse than battling cancer yourself and that would be having to watch your child battle it.

The good news for us is that our pumpkin is fine. His post-op appointment was last Thursday and the pathology report was all good.

Everett ~ after drugs

“It Will All Work Out Momma”

These words from the baby I was pretty sure would kill me during childbirth. He’s right.

It will all work out. It almost always does. He’s helped me to see that.

And it’s always a milestone when you can embrace a life lesson from one of your own.


Typo Tuesday ~ For Sale

Everett and I were driving home from an appointment last week when he spotted this van in front of us and said…

“Do you really think that van is worth $3,900?”

As we got closer, we enjoyed the sales pitch.

Thank goodness for camera phones so I didn’t have to actually tailgate.


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