The Leaving

Last week I said to PhilBillPaul,

“I hate it when they are home. I hate it when they leave.”

Their leaving last week caused a wee bit of stress.

Understatement of the year.

Stress that only parents can understand. And even then, some of you don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe because your darlings haven’t left yet.

The darling twins are now gone for five months. I’m equating this departure to a semester abroad. Except they are in Arizona. So I guess it’s a semester out west. 😉

They will thrive and shine. They will be fine. Because we have prepared them for life in ways I’ve seen many of their peers are not prepared. For that, we are grateful.

We know they are equipped with life skills and life lessons. Even though they choose not to use those skills here at our house.

Roger Leroy sent me this text tonight just as I was about to write this…

“You not sharing any life lessons lately is bothering me.”

Funny kid.

I don’t like the blog pressure. Funny thing about the blog is that when I don’t write, people worry.

Sweet, kind people who wonder if something is wrong.

A few emails. A few phone messages.

As if my silence might indicated that my feet have been dangling dangerously close to the edge of The Black Hole.

Or that I may have set a personal record and taken xan*x three days in a row.

Side note: I’m not spelling the drug name out any more as it seems to attract spammers offering me all kinds of interesting pharmaceuticals.

I’m fine, fine, fine. I promise.

I’ve just been really busy doing some blog design work in between recovering from the holidays and spending quality time with the family.

I do miss them when they aren’t here. I really do.

Since this blog is really my online family photo album and my personal therapy, I’ll share this tiny glimpse of what I don’t and won’t miss…

Photos compliments of Scary Baby because I couldn’t bear to look again.

Oh yes, that is my precious little blue bug (that Wizzy is in the process of buying) and that is where a passenger is suppose to put their feet.

Why yes, that is chocolate milk and orange juice. And marinara sauce on the floor mat, I think. For the record, in an attempt to make me feel better, Wizzy did say it was OPT…Other People’s Trash.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did cry. And scream. A lot.

Another proud week at the Humpfreeze.

Note to darling twins: I did refrain from posting pictures of your room (again). Or your laundry. Where Dad found a clean stack of clothes still folded in the bottom of one of your hampers tonight covered with dirty clothes you left here. Nice.

Just want to keep it real.

Where is that prescription bottle?

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May I Take Your Order Please?

Special note: Our iLashGirls site was hacked yesterday so we had to rebuild a few things from a backup so this post disappeared for a while. If you left a comment and you don’t see it now, please leave another one! Hacking websites…add that to the list of stupid hobbies of people with too much free time. 🙁

This is how pizza ordering at the Humpfreeze house goes when all SIX Humpfreeze family members are home.

Side note: Small miracle in itself. All of us being together in the house on a SATURDAY NIGHT. Not just passing each other as someone walks out the door. Or passing each other in the driveway.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

pizza

Photo courtesy of callme_crochet

I’d like to tell you that this picture is of the hot, delicious pizza we get here in the South but that would be a lie. Pizza like that is rarely found here but this picture made me think of how much I miss the perfection of Illinois pizza…Chicago style or otherwise. My family lives near the Wisconsin border and it is that awesome Wisconsin cheese that I long for and have every time I go back to visit!

Now let’s get back to ordering pizza for dinner at our house…

I conducted this serious, formal interview with each family member to show you why I am crazy.

Dream Pizza

The Grunter
Crust: Thin
Toppings: Pepperoni
Sauce: Yes

Roger Leroy
Crust: Stuffed crust
Toppings: Extra cheese, 1/2 pepperoni
Sauce: Light

Wizzy
Crust: Regular
Toppings: 3 cheese preferably mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta
Sauce: Alfredo

Scary Baby
Crust: Stuffed crust or nothing
Toppings: Cheese and more cheese
Sauce: Barely

PhilBillPaul
Crust: Thin
Toppings: Pepperoni and sausage
Sauce: Extra

Sherra
Crust: Thin
Toppings: Light sausage, mushrooms and extra cheese
Sauce: Light

Saturday night pizza = Quality family time.

We can’t even agree on THE CRUST.

Would someone create a chart so I can order a freakin’ pizza please?

What’s your favorite dream pizza? I mean the non-compromising kind where you don’t have to share or accommodate other people’s tastes?

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Teenagers and Clean Rooms

Every time the darling twins come home, we have the same conversation.

A tornado hits their room when they arrive.

They insist that it was that way before they arrived.

We argue.

It was no different during their Thanksgiving break.

I know have written about this subject once or twice.

I really did appreciate Paula’s advice in the comments that they will eventually be proud of their personal space. Ahem…it just won’t be their space in my house, I guess.

I have photographic evidence that I thought I would keep private. But then again I’ve been known to change my mind.

Years ago I let go of trying to make them clean their rooms. I’ve read that many experts recommend that this a battle you should “choose to lose.” You know, let them have their space, give them some freedom…that’s what doors are for…blah, blah, blah.

I have done this to the best of my ability. I’m sure my kids would disagree.

Whatever.

It’s still MY house.

I took to the semi-annual mode of cleaning. I stayed out of their rooms for about 4-6 months. Frankly, I think that’s personal growth for me.

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.
–Phyllis Diller

Then I would have to enter the danger zone for some reason and we would have massive meltdowns (them and me) and marathon cleaning day. Some day, I’ll share pictures of that family bonding time. Because, of course, I took pictures.

When the darling twins left for Basic Training this past summer, PhilBillPaul and I went in the danger zone and did a major clean up. We stripped the beds, cleaned up drawers, wiped surfaces, swept, mopped, vacuumed, etc.

I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, after a summer in the military that they would come back with some personal pride in their living quarters. That they would love their big, bright, colorful room after spending the summer on a hard bunk surrounded by drab army green.

I’ve pretty much given up on that now.

Full Disclaimer: All four kids are piglets. I have plenty of pictures of The Grunter’s pigsty.

I’m pleased to announce I’ve exceeded my personal growth goal and I have now have proof thanks to these photos by PhilBillPaul plus this text conversation with Wizzy which did not send me to the Xanax bottle.

Wizzy: Can you have dad look n see if meadows left her cover somewhere? (cover=military lingo for hat)

Me: Dad’s debit card was in ur room. We have meadows cover. Still no Vicks…where is it?

W: Oh crap sorry. Okay good. It was on the little table

Me: And he found a kitchen bowl of delicious popcorn with rat poop in it.

W: Hahahaha shut up

Me: It’s not on the little table. But he has found a wet towel

W: idk then

Me: Oh he just found the vicks under the bed. The rat must have been playing with it.

W: lol real mature

Me: The rat doesn’t really look mature. Seems kind of young & playful what with the vicks & all

Me: No one is allowed back here until room is clean BY BOTH OF U. Out of dad’s mouth…”u r not going to use our house as a dirty weigh station.”

W: I didn’t. Whatever

Me: nice try rachel wasn’t even here!

W: Okay

W: Its not even messy dads having a bad night n overreacting*

Me: He’s snapping pics now & he seems fine to me. I’m not looking becuz if he says it’s a wreck…holy cow.

W: Whatever

Me: Love u dd 🙂 (dd = darling daughter)

Me: I appreciate the blog material 😉

W: Not funny. Im not amused

Me: Love love love & miss u dd

W: Yeah i can tell

Me: I do dd & I think you are being mean to me

W: I think you are being mean to me

Me: sniffle

W: Thats what ive been doing all night. Im having a rough day

Me: Me too…sorry dd ;(

*Here are the photos of dad and his overreacting because “it’s not even messy.”

I just laughed and said…

Whatever.

Still open to any suggestions about how to *make* 18 and 20 year-olds clean up their personal space. Anyone? Anyone?

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New Four Letter Words

We learned some new four letter words this weekend. Though I really can’t give you clear definitions.

Maul.

Ruck.

Plus a lovely five letter word.

Scrum.

None sound particularly nice. Maul is the only one I’m vaguely familiar with.

But not in this new context.

Our darling twins have picked up another bad habit sport in college.

Rugby

Call us narrow-minded but PhilBillPaul and I were less than thrilled to hear this. We know very little about the game except to describe it as “tackle football without pads or equipment.”

Oh wait, they do wear a pretty black mouth guard.

In their first mini-tournament that they insisted we not come and watch because they were still unsure of the rules, Rachel was kind enough to send me these photos. She is number 15.

Picture 1

Lizzie played too. Bottom right corner picture. She was just on the opposite side of the field barely in photographer’s view I guess.

Upon review, I had to ask if anyone else tackled anyone or just her?

She insisted she just happened to be playing right at the photographer’s angle.

She’s also the smallest one on the team (again) and after watching opposing basketball players literally lift her off the floor for years – I was pretty sure I was not going to like watching this.

Side note: No, I haven’t forgotten that they are Soldiers. Yes, it stresses me.

When they invited us to their first official full-length game this past weekend, we headed up to North Georgia as part of our parental obligation.

This after several lengthy discussions with the other darling twin, Lizzie.

Who had been sick enough to go to the clinic and was prescribed an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection and went TUBING in the river less than 48 hours later.

Exact words:

“Mom it wasn’t strenuous, I just sat in the tube and floated.”

She then continue her quest for resting and healing 5 days later by engaging in a flag football game where she…

“might have broken her pinky…the clinic said I should have an x-ray…where do I go for that?”

Bonus diagnosis at the out-of-network clinic (who declared the pinky the worst sprain they’d ever seen) was BRONCHITIS with 3 new prescriptions including an inhaler and steroid to open her lungs.

She called to tell us before we left home for the game and I paraphrase a bit:

I’m not playing unless we don’t have enough players. I’ve already told the team captain I don’t want to play. And if she does have to put me in the game, it will be in the backfield where no one really goes just so we have enough players on the field. Blah, blah, blah. Lie, lie, lie.

She played. Not in the backfield.

She was actively involved in this scrum.

scrum

Well, at least I think this was a scrum. Maybe it was a maul?

PhilBillPaul’s keen observation as he folded up his chair:

Well, it was more fun to watch than cross country don’t you think?

Anyway, darling Lizzie came up to us after the game happy and excited.

With a bloody lip. BIG SIGH.

Oh, and they won.

yipee

Never did I think, especially in this day and age, we would be begging them to…

Stop Exercising

Can’t they just be couch potatoes and take it easy for ONE semester?

Seriously.

Or at least try out for a less aggressive sport. Golf? Badminton?

I’m pretty sure there’s a life lesson here. But I’m too old and tired to connect the dots. Other than college freshmen get sick a lot.

Besides I have a lot of reading to do about scrums and hookers.

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HUGE Teen Driving Revelations

Psst…if you are a parent, lean in close.

Dim your screen…don’t let anyone see what you’re reading…

Especially your teens.

I heard this BIG news story on several channels on Monday so I had to do a little online research and share these revelations with you!

Two new studies confirm fewer crashes among teens with supportive parents and clear rules.

Did you get the two revelations in that sentence?

Let’s review (for my teen readers – who happen to be my kids)…

1. Supportive Parents

Teen Translation: Nagging “in-your-business” parents who ask you things like “Where are you going?”

My personal favorite annoying question that I know my children will attest to…”Who is riding in what car?”

2. Clear Rules

Teen Translation: Annoying, stupid things your nagging parents repeat hundreds of times before you are 18.

My personal favorite rule “Tell us your plans, destination(s) and passengers before you leave and don’t change them after you leave the house.”

Seems super clear to me but the darling twins still have a hard time with this one.

What I really wanted to find out was how much these new studies cost???

WHY OH WHY didn’t they just call me?

And a few other strict, not-fun parents like me?

Oh, that’s right – we are hard to find because we are almost extinct.

One of my most favorite lines from a Fox news affiliate

They also found that teenagers who have to ask to use the car were more likely to wear their seat belts and not talk on their cell phones.

I added the bold emphasis.

HAVE TO ASK TO USE THE CAR?!!

Oops, sorry, don’t mean to SCREAM but are there really still parents MAKING their kids ASK TO USE THE CAR?

Thanks for letting me rant.

Because as I have admitted before, I have issues…

About parents who are more worried about their kids being popular and their kids liking them than of the seriousness of giving our teenagers a bright, new, shiny car but none of the responsibility that goes with it.

This is the magnet I purchased and made the kids drive around with when they were learning to drive. Kept one in the trunk of each car.

teendrivermagnet

Yes, I am that parent.

I prayed a lot. But I also remember thinking if the message on that magnet makes just one impatient, tailgating, honking, rude driver stop and realize that a new young driver was at the wheel in front of them, then the magnet was effective.

We also paid for private driving lessons with a veteran police officer and driver’s education instructor who came highly recommended. He made a tremendous difference in their confidence level and spent some serious time teaching them how to handle the big metal weapon car in scary situations.

So in case you didn’t know until now, it’s official…

Firm Parents Keep Drivers Safe

In all seriousness, if you are a parent and did all the right things and suffered the loss of a teen, I send my heartfelt sympathy. Sometimes, accidents really are accidents. I’m certain that the devastation and heartbreak never goes away.

If you have a teen learning to drive and you need some help and guidelines, here is more info about the study:

Parenting Teen Drivers

On the heels of two studies published in the journal Pediatrics, the Young Driver Research Initiative (YDRI) has developed a comprehensive report of recently published research providing evidence-based recommendations for teen driver safety practitioners and parents that may reduce teen crash risk. It’s called Driving Through the Eyes of Teens, A Closer Look. A set of fact sheets and a webpage including expert advice have also been created to help parents enhance their skills to help teens safely navigate the first years of driving.

I’m grateful I got the first three to 18+ but as usual, the study, the book, the manual, the instruction guide, etc., etc., came out just after I needed it and I had to just use common sense and “go with my gut.”

I know I take this all a little personally. Must be the coma and head injury.

Ridiculous mother. Unreasonable rules. Uncool and politically (and socially) incorrect. Not their best friend.

Yes, I am that mother.

And this is not an apology.

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She’s Baaaaack . . .

scarybaby

Scary Baby is back home.

With a new Texas-Bohemian look.

This means the end of The Grunter’s short-lived “I’m an only child again” phase.

It also means he can start blaming one of his sisters for putting the toilet lid up and not flushing.

I kid you not.

While we were in the 3 week “only child” phase, he actually said he did not put the lid up and he always flushes.

He’s totally busted after blaming his sisters for many years that they are sooooooo gross and he always flushes. (I’m just talking about pee here – seriously even my gross kids aren’t that gross.)

Big fat lie.

Totally gross.

But not as gross as what he has to deal with at work.

*** W A R N I N G ***

This may make you stop going to the movies.

Or at least wonder what the heck is wrong with people?

This was our text message conversation with him last week while we were in North Carolina. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…

Side note: Do not read while eating.

The Grunter (TG): Somebody made a poo on the floor of a theatre again.

Me: A baby or a grown-up poo?

TG: Grown up poo

TG: Or maybe a small horse

Me: Wow did u have to clean it up?

TG: Yes

Me: Where was the poo located specifically?

TG: Located on the floor in the front row.

Me: Did you get a gift card?*

TG: Nope I got nothing

Me: Publix should be looking good right now

Me: Any toilet paper near the pile?

TG: Nope the horse didn’t wipe. His butt is gonna itch…

*This is the 2nd incident. The 1st one he only smelled but never located until a movie patron located it IN A SEAT where they sat down IN IT. When the 3 lucky employees had to clean it up, they all got generous gift cards from the managers.

PhilBillPaul affectionately refers to this as a “Code Brown” from his year of hotel employment when they would walkie talkie each other when there was an incident in the pool. (Caddyshack anyone?)

Soon, I will be unable to function in public.

For some reason, our family (Grandma included) finds this cry-tears funny but also utterly disgusting. We actually made him call Grandma and relay the story to her on the phone after dinner last night.

Let me tell you, I inspect the seats before sitting down now.

Grandma has a good visual in her head of some poor soul (like me) walking in with thin sandals and slipping in the floor variety. (I’m trying to refrain from using the word “poo” too many times.)

So many unanswered questions.

WHO? WHEN? And most of all…WHY?

Anyone? Anyone?

I tell you he really earns those free movie tickets.

Another proud mom moment.

Thanks for letting me share.

Leave a comment and let me know if you laughed or you unsubscribe now.

Just sharing our real life. 😉

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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.

grandcanyon1

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

grandcanyon2

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.

grandcanyon3

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.

grandcanyon4

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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Two Weeks Plus Two Days

Mother’s Day 2009 is imprinted in my memory.

Not for the usual reasons of past years in my “perfect” life.

Side note: A few weeks ago, my sister and a friend told me that they think I should be more real because everything at my house always sounds so good.

I laughed at them but was a little puzzled. I guess me writing about spiraling into depression, getting a phone call from the high school principal and taking xanax now and again is too upbeat and perky for some people.

Yeah, I’ll work on that 😉

Back to Mother’s Day. In past years, Saint PhilBillPaul has had the kids make me breakfast in bed and make lovely homemade cards, taken me out for brunch or dinner and all the other cliché but wonderful things that moms love.

This year…

not so much.

But in the midst of the day, I did receive this heartfelt and touching card.

WARNING

Do not scroll down if you are eating or if you are offended by super short shorts.

Mother's Day card

Mother's Day inside card

That’s my girl. And I especially love how she signed with her last initial “H” because otherwise I wouldn’t have known who it was from.

Roger Leroy has inherited the same warped sense of humor that the rest of us have.

The card is a winner even if Mother’s Day wasn’t.

I’m saving some of my more real venting for a later date.

Perhaps in about two weeks and two days.

Because that’s how much time is left before the darling twins have here at home with us before they graduate and then ship to basic training.

For now, I’m still trying to respect their privacy.

Until then, please leave a comment and share some warm, fuzzy Mother’s Day moments that will help me remember when they were tiny and cute.

P.S. Scary Baby did make me a sweet book of poems at school in her handwriting complete with her own drawings!

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Flexible Friday #33 Airport Bathroom Etiquette

I’ve been so flexible with my Fridays that I haven’t posted for a few weeks.

Between spring break and coming home from spring break and packing to leave again, I’ve been a little, um, irregular.

I flew to Chicago yesterday and there is always so much fun to be had at the airport observing humans and their behavior.

Like the car and people being searched at curbside before I even left Atlanta.

Here’s what I really started wondering as I walked through the airport.

I wondered how we all lived before cell phones? Every other person was using one. Who did we talk to before they were invented? Did we talk to each other at the airport? Or just stare at each other? Does anyone remember?

Here’s one thing that has really changed and I’m going out on a limb here and stating my strong opinion on this one.

When did it become socially acceptable to answer the phone in the bathroom?

Why is this okay?

Is there really any phone call important enough to answer when you are in a bathroom stall?

Frankly, I think not.

If someone died, they will still be dead after you flush, wash your hands and leave the restroom.

I just don’t want to be that connected to ANYONE that I answer the phone in a public restroom.

In addition, I’m not interested in hearing someone else’s conversation while I’m in the bathroom.

Call me crazy but no one is that important.

Please do share if I’m missing the importance of why so many people are compelled to answer the phone while in a bathroom stall.

The most recent airport pet peeve…

A fee if I want to check a bag.

Um yeah, isn’t that what all that space under the plane is for? Bag storage.

So build the bag fee in to the price of the ticket and charge accordingly.

cartoonairlines

I took a chance and paid the $15.00 because I am a risk-taker like that.

Happy to report my bag arrived.

I am also delighted to announce there is NO SNOW and the weather is actually beautiful.

May you all have lovely spring weather and enjoy your weekend wherever you are!

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Flexible Friday #32 Barter with Me

I’ve got nothing today.

Because I’m still doing that thing that I HATE.

Why don’t I have a friend who is an accountant?

And that accountant really wants a blog.

That I’d be happy to set up, install and help get them started.

Or needs some help with something that does not involve numbers or math.

Because I would trade services.

In a heartbeat…

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