Typo Tuesday ~ Writer {Desperately} Needed

I can’t remember who sent me this job posting. I wondered if the actual posting was part of their required writing/editing/proofreading test.

You’ll need to click on the image to make it large enough to read. It’s worth the click. 😉

Typo Tues Communications Writer

Trying to look on the bright side – at least they know they needed help!

Let me know how many you find.


Living with One Teenager vs. Three

It wasn’t so long ago that we had three teenagers in our house.

When I started this blog over 5 years ago, I had a 17 year-old son and the 15 year-old darling twin daughters. And a whole lot of blog material.

I entered the blogging world with no expectations other than to share our real life stories and to write as my personal therapy. I saw how many “mommy blogs” were out there and the number has probably tripled since I started. I also watched as a number of these bloggers stopped blogging as their children reached middle school. Stories became less funny and their kids’ privacy was more important than their blog readership.

Because my three teens were in high school when I started blogging, I kept it simple by letting the teenagers preview any blog post about them. We’re all pretty transparent here at the Humpfreeze abode so for the most part they allowed me to share freely.

You, my blog readers, let me know how much you appreciated a glimpse into our real life and the life lessons we racked up on a weekly basis. The connections to other parents, friends and family is one of the benefits of blogging our stories. Finding the funny is really the gift. Laughing has kept me from another breakdown.

Still, the blog is the sanitized version of our life. I’m saving the more vivid details for the book.

Round 1 with three teenagers flew by with our fair share of struggles. Nothing huge. No giant crisis. Just the mental exhaustion that comes with trying to keep up in a battle of wits while living with the darlings who know they are much smarter than their nerdy, ridiculous parents.

You might think the wisdom of our experience would make round 2 with one teenager a breeze.

You would be wrong.

Our one teenager celebrated the beginning of her 14th year last Monday.

Happy Birthday Scary Baby…

2013-04 Scary Baby 14

She is beautiful and we love her dearly.

She continues to test our parenting skills on every level.

The stories are still here. Most of them in my head. I’m trying to sanitize a few so I can still be authentic without embarrassing her.

Or I could review the remaining episodes of Dancing With The Stars.

Stay tuned.


Mother-Daughter Boot Haul

This post requested by Scary Baby.

Well really, she wanted to post a YouTube video.

Not happening but I told her I would blog about it.

I know I would feel guilty about my boot obsession and passing it on to my youngest, if it weren’t for my bargain shopping obsession.

So glad she’s excited enough to want to share the bargains on the blog.

Somehow she ended up with 4 pairs of boots and 2 pairs of flats when I only got 3 pairs of boots.

Scary Baby boot shoe haul

Okay, maybe that’s because my boots were a little pricier than her $8.00 and $10.00 pairs. And her feet are still growing so she really did need new shoes. I might have told her she is not allowed to ask for a pair of new shoes for at least one year and her feet better stop growing.

lucky and lauren boots

Nonetheless, it was our best boot haul ever!

Yes, bargain shopping does take extra time and we did hunt down the best buys at 3 different stores. Keep in mind that while I’m admitting to boot obsession, I really do not enjoy shopping and strategically plan my shopping around several best times of the year for when incredible markdowns are happening. This time in February after President’s day weekend is one of those times.

PhilBillPaul accompanied us on Friday night but begged off for our Saturday expedition. He still likes to ask what I do with all the money I “save”.

Did I mention he got 2 new Geoffrey Beene sweaters that were $65.00 each for $8.59 when I did a little online shopping last weekend?

See, I bargain shop for everybody!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the extraordinary service I received from the shoe sales associate, Susan at Belk in Gainesville, Georgia. She literally brought out every pair of leather boots in my size that she could find while I tried them all on right up until closing time.

belk boot receipt
Receipt #1 on right: Susan was also quick to point out that I saved $668.86 while spending just $199.17 for 5 pairs. That translates to less than the retail price of one pair of my boots. Yee haw! You gotta love a fellow shoe enthusiast who backs me up to PhilBillPaul on our massive savings. Receipt #2 on left was from another store on Saturday.

Do you shop the clearance racks or do you shop full retail because bargain shopping takes too much time?


The Power of Laughter, a Baby and Dog Poo

In my Happy 2013 post, I revealed that I haven’t quite figured out how to start blogging again but I wasn’t ready to quit altogether.

Maybe a once-a-month blogging schedule will be the ticket to less blogging guilt.

Or not.

Right now, true confessions continue as I tell you that I laughed until I cried. Scary Baby said she hadn’t seen me laugh so hard in all her life about something I saw on TV and shared with her and PhilBillPaul.

After a week of serious health bad news about friends and family, I really, really needed to laugh.

The true confession part is that I’m sure this should not make me laugh so hard and then want to share it on my blog. I should not be so immature as a mother of 4. This should not be what brings me back to blogging.

Perhaps it was PhilBillPaul’s encouraging words “You should blog this” that compelled me to begin again. Immaturity attracts immaturity. At our house anyway.

I must type these disclaimers before you scroll down to find the source of my immaturity.

Disclaimer #1
In my diligent research as I did a quick search to find the video online, I found some people were appalled by this viral video and there was concern that the family was irresponsible for not stopping the video camera.
I think they were focused on the baby and not the dog. Nor did they want to ruin baby’s first steps by screaming at the dog and scaring baby Lydia which I clearly would have done. Scream at the dog and ruin baby’s first steps would have been me. Baby crying, mom crying and blaming dad for having a dog in the house with a baby.
Disclaimer #2
Some people believe dog poo can make a baby go blind.
I don’t know anything about this. But mom did take swift action.
Disclaimer #3
You do not have to click “play”. Just like the TV and radio and other electronic devices, you are still the operator in control.
I hope we can still be friends even if you don’t watch it. Or don’t think it’s funny. Or watch it twice. 😉

All said, this one minute video makes me laugh out loud each time I watch it.

Click here for video if you are reading via RSS or email and don’t see it below.

You have to admit, you could never stage this scene and get the timing of all this captured on film. Kudos to the family for remaining calm. I would use this priceless memory at Lydia’s wedding.


Happy 2013!

My blogging surge hasn’t happened.

But I did get around to making a Happy New Year card which is really just a very belated Christmas card.

I’m fine with that and I kind of like it that way.

humphreys 2012 holiday card blog v2

If you have really great eyesight and can actually read the tiny print, please know that the actual card I mailed to friends and family did not say “SB” and “Scary Baby”. Just trying to respect the 13 year old’s privacy regarding internet strangers.

It has been 5 years since I started this blog and 5 years since I sent a holiday card. Probably not a coincidence as I felt everyone could get the Humpfreeze updates on the blog.

And perhaps because we had not taken a decent family photo since Scary Baby was one.

I’m still working on 2012 highlights and getting them on the blog for the sake of our family history. The timeline pressure is all mine and I can go at my own pace knowing that all that I have recorded in the past 20+ years is more than many take the time to do and release some of my guilt over my giant blogging gaps this year.

I’m not ready to stop but I still can’t figure out how to start again.

Thanks for hanging around here and reading when I do post. I love every comment and email I receive.

Happy New Year – may 2013 be the best year yet for you and your loved ones!!



This is NOT a Christmas Tree Decorating Tutorial

While I have control issues over some many things, decorating for Christmas is not one of them.

For years I let Roger Leroy be in charge of holiday decor. She loved to go into the attic and bring all the boxes down. She was a master at assembling the artificial tree we had for at least a decade. The Grunter and Wizzy might hang an ornament or two but they quickly lost interest. Roger Leroy went above and beyond what I would have done.

She conned her dad into multiple trips to the store for more lights and would string lights on the front porch and in her room and anywhere she could think of. I was grateful for all her help and truly appreciated all her hard work.

Then she got older and left for college.

Our decorating elf had abandoned us.

PhilBillPaul and I do not work well together in tasks like decorating.

Thankfully, we got 2 out of 4 kids who find joy in decorating.

Scary Baby has become our new decorating elf!

Dad and Granny picked up a gorgeous tree at Costco on Thanksgiving weekend and Scary Baby couldn’t wait to get all the boxes down and start trimming the tree.

She really did a beautiful job.

2012 Christmas tree

Every day I came downstairs and said things like “This year’s tree just makes me happy!” and “I think this is the best live tree yet!”

PhilBillPaul asked her to water it every day. And every night he checked the tree and watered it because she forgot. It was the least we could do since she did all the hard work.

Now cut to two weekends later and it’s our annual baking frenzy. To be documented next week.

It is Sunday afternoon. I’m baking in the kitchen. PhilBillPaul is watching football and folding clothes in the family room. We both hear a very loud noise.

Me: “What was that?”

PBP: “Well I’ll be ________! Come in here”

tree toppled 5

A fallen tree with ornaments and lights creates an enormous mess.

tree toppled 2

Tree and stand had toppled over. Water everywhere. Ornaments. Strands of lights. Tree needles.

Roger Leroy was home that Sunday. She had taken Scary Baby to the mall when said tree fell over.

Roger Leroy had also arrived with a tiny dog she was “dog sitting” for her darling twin sister. To be documented next week.

zoey 1

Since she left the dog with us, PhilBillPaul thought it would be funny if I sent her a text with photo showing our mess…

tree toppled 5

Me: “Need help here”

RL: “Um how did that happen”

Me: “Damn dog. Please hurry up”

RL:”That 3 lb dog knocked over an entire tree?”

ME: “She’s very naughty and no longer welcomed here”

RL: “Whatever I don’t believe you”

Luckily for us, The Grunter was home and helped PhilBillPaul get the tree upright and swept up the needles and wiped up the water all with a joyful Christmas spirit. Not.

I was thankful that Scary Baby had decided not to put all the kids’ special ornaments on the tree this year. So many would have broken.

On Monday morning, I could only laugh when I turned on my computer to read my good friend Leigh Anne’s blog as she shared her Christmas tree decorating tutorial.


Photo used with permission

That is her actual tree in her house. Not a store display.

Are you kidding me? One person is not suppose to be good at everything.

Another example of polar opposites being friends. One tree puts me over the edge and she decorates up to FIVE. And has themed vignettes throughout her house on every open surface.

I shared her blog post with Scary Baby. She was less than impressed with any tips.

The joy of decorating the Christmas tree comes but once a year…

Not twice as evidenced by my cranky decorating elf who was less than thrilled with my request that she re-trim the tree.

Alas, the tree is now re-trimmed.

Not because our precious decorating elves worked together. They were elves with bad attitudes. Roger Leroy did the lights and left. It took Scary Baby a week but she finally put all the ornaments back on. There may have been a few threats.

Keepsake Decorations

We also found some extra special decorations while doing some attic cleaning.

I believe I made this lovely candle holder in the 2nd grade. When my mom downsized and moved to a condo, she kindly gave us some of our beautiful keepsakes. It’s hard to believe that she didn’t want to hang on to this and proudly display it in her living room. Thanks mom.

candle craft 1

Perhaps the attic was not the best place to store this gem. Or at least the green candle? that is now melted and stuck in the hair spray lid.

candle craft 2

Fond memories of that candle holder that sits in a gold foil wrapped peanut butter lid. I clearly remember the excitement of making it in elementary school. I think you can see I was bitten by the crafting bug very early.

What’s your favorite Christmas decoration? How many trees do you have?

Please say one…


My Darling Twins

We hardly ever see them together these days.

Imagine the thrill when I received this photo on Sunday via cell phone while they were at drill together.

PhilBillPaul gets total credit for it appearing here on the blog.

I was compelled to do a tiny bit of photo editing because it is what I thought the moment I saw the photo.

Since they did post the unedited version on facebook, I’m sure they won’t mind that I’m posting my version here.

Love my babies soldiers.


Creative Mailbox Ideas

On the road again…

This time we’re in Florida and we’re shopping for a new mailbox.

Which one do you think we should pick?

Scary Baby liked the “walrus” one so we had a teachable moment about manatees.

Think we’ll start a trend in our Georgia neighborhood when we get back. It’s a long way to drive to shop for the perfect mailbox.

Okay, really we’re on vacation and the mailboxes made me laugh. Of course, I had to have PhilBillPaul stop so I could snap pictures of these winners.

We’re visiting a new place and enjoying perfect weather! More trip details and photos to come. I’m making it a personal goal to write about this vacation before January.


Midwest Trip Highlights

Way back in August when I wrote this sentence…

Later this week, I’ll show you what else we did on our trip…”

I should have said

In six weeks…

Because that’s how long it has taken me to gather myself and beg Scary Baby to create the photo collages of our Midwest trip. I told you last week I’ve been a little crazy busy.

Seems reasonable to me since she was adding to my blog pressure by asking repeatedly when I was going to blog about the rest of our trip.

Without further ado, here is a baker’s dozen of photo collages created by Scary Baby to prove we did more than just eat our way through the Midwest. 😉

Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry

We’ll always remember how Scary Baby got a turn at the periscope in the submarine exhibit. Our middle school teacher friend handled that for us. Thank you Mrs. Bowman. We were so glad she drove from the Quad Cities to spend the day and one night with us in Chicago.

All the exhibits we saw were interesting but the whispering gallery was Scary Baby’s highlight.

Scary Baby’s bird’s eye view of downtown Chicago from our hotel room on Michigan Avenue.

Navy Pier

At night it looks very cool…

Lake Koshkonong

We spent one night in Wisconsin at my high school friend Terry’s lake cottage. She owns an antique shop and added all her special decorating touches throughout the cottage.

Scary Baby was excited to learn how to kayak on the calm lake.

Windmills of Indiana

Driving home, I was glad Scary Baby got to see the windmills in the day light. We saw them at night on the way down and we agreed that their red lights blinking in the pitch black dark night is scary! Either way, they still feel like a science fiction movie as you drive towards them. She took these awesome pictures in the moving car.

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe

Finally, on our last morning before heading home, our experience in this Louisville, Kentucky restaurant was a highlight. Even though she did not want to participate in all the funky photo ops, she enjoyed the eclectic restaurant and gift shop as much as I did.

The ugly lamp contest is ingenious marketing. Our personal fav – the toilet lamp on wheels.

Did you go anywhere fun for a summer vacation? I know today is October 1st. Don’t judge.


Crazy Mom and Missing Photos

Speaking of crazy…

It has been so long since I wrote a blog post, I can now feature myself on Typo Tuesday…

On Monday.

Because I published the post before I put the photos in.

So if you subscribe by email or by RSS feed, you received an awesome blog post from me that says “INSERT PHOTO COLLAGE” with ZERO photos at 7:00 am.

Now, you should receive this 2nd blog post you are now reading around 9:00 am with this link to the crazy post so you can see the actual photo collage!

Unless feedburner’s delivery system is broken which is not my fault but doesn’t necessarily make me less crazy.

Please don’t miss all the lovely Humpfreeze photo collages I made as well as the fully edited blog post. Just click the title below:

Crazy Things I’ve Been Busy Doing

The blog post is so much better with my blurry, grainy, dark photos. Really, it is.

Thanks. I’ll try to get back in the swing of things.

Now back to my regularly scheduled crazy mother routine…


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