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.

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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”

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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Crazy Things I’ve Been Busy Doing

Neglecting my blog.

Stating the obvious. One of my favorite past times.

Saying goodbye to the blue bug.

Helping one darling twin buy her first new car.

Watching one darling twin play rugby at North Georgia.

Why does she always have to be the one trying to get the ball?

We still hate intensely dislike this sport game blood bath.

Celebrating the pumpkin’s 23rd birthday.

All he wanted was this pitiful fruit cookie pizza. No fruit, just sweetened cream cheese on top of chocolate chip cookie dough.

Weird, I know. Also, very easy.

Watching two darling twins play rugby at Georgia Tech.

Watching one darling twin get hurt.

Not taking pictures of her being carried off the field.

Taking a picture of their friend Jenna getting hurt. That makes 4 players down in one game.

Worrying about the darling twins and their bad decisions regarding rugby.

Waiting for MRI results from knee injury from horrible rugby game.

Taking one darling twin to the doctor for an echo cardiogram for a newly discovered heart murmur.

Probably caused by playing rugby.

Taking pictures of said darling twin during the test after she hissed “no” when I asked if I could take pictures.

Dining with same darling daughter later that evening.

Two dinners with 5 of us in one week is a new record. We missed you Wizzy.

Listening to Scary Baby say…

“When are you going to blog about our trip this summer?”

Nothing like a little blog pressure from your 13 year-old.

Dealing with middle school issues that we are too old and tired to be dealing with.

Parenting when we are too old and tired to be parenting.

Yes, we know we brought this all on ourselves.

No need to state the obvious to me. 😉

Supervising the setup of a garage sale that Scary Baby begged to have all summer.

Not being present at any time during said garage sale.

Enjoying our gorgeous weather.

Playing golf with PhilBillPaul on my birthday this past Saturday.

Unplugging from the internet and all email for the whole weekend.

Planning a vacation trip with PhilBillPaul for our pending 25th anniversary in two weeks.

I had big plans to plan the trip much earlier in the year. Um, yeah…that didn’t happen.

At this point, we may end up in a tent at a state park. Not knocking those of you who love camping but that is soooo not my love language.

Trying to continue documenting our life in the Humpfreeze family before I die of stress from worrying about my 3 twenties and 1 teen.

Stressing that I am not blogging our stories so they will all know how much I love them.

Endless circle I know – love, worry, stress, love.

Writing many blog posts. In my head.

I really do miss blogging and hope to be back here soon.

What have you been doing?

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Text Tuesday ~ New Potato Chips

Since I can’t seem to sit down and actually write a complete blog post with photos…

I thought I could change up my favorite random Typo Tuesday and make it Text Tuesday.

My kids randomly text me throughout the week and I’m sure many of you receive amusing texts like I do.

I especially love the ones with an accompanying photo like this one from Rachel.

I’m so glad someone finally though of this. I was tired of eating chips and hot dogs separately

Humpfreeze humor is alive and well. Thanks to darling twin #1 for this one.

Keep sending the typos if you see a good one. Meanwhile I’ll mix it up now and then with some funny texts.

I don’t want to over-commit but I might be back tomorrow. 😉

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This Is How We Roll

The Grunter is still here living with us. He really does take care of almost all of his own needs. I don’t buy his shampoo, deodorant and various other sundry items. He pays for his own haircuts, car insurance and almost all his own food. He really does support himself except for the room and board part. I do feel the need to give him credit for this in an era where many young people his age are still being fully financially supported by mom and dad.

He keeps his quasi-bachelor pad in the basement decent. He comes upstairs occasionally for a meal or to sit and talk to us.

After one such visit upstairs to our main level, he went upstairs to the bedroom level and came back down with one roll of toilet paper.

I’ve worked hard to teach independence and imparting the importance of how they need to learn to take care of themselves. There are still some little things I try to do. One of those is supplying toilet paper for anyone at our house using our bathrooms. Because I have a generous heart like that.

So I say to The Grunter, “You can take more than one roll of toilet paper for your bathroom.”

He has a quirky smile and turns to go down the basement stairs.

And now you understand the title of this post and the intentional bad pun.

Yes, I made him back up and re-enact this moment so I could take pictures.

Because funny is really how we roll…

And I love when my kids make me laugh.

Well played, Everett, well played.

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Once a Month Blogging

After I hit the 500 blog post milestone, it certainly appears that I’m become a once-a-month blogger. Never my intention but…

Life happens.

I can’t really blog about the trivial stuff of our summer and ignore one of the worst tragedies we all woke up to on Friday last week. Sad, sad stuff and my heart goes out to all those families in Colorado.

We are all fine, fine, fine here.

It seems a little funny to think our summer is busier this year with one 13 year-old at home and the 3 college kids mostly managing their own lives than when we had all 4 kids at home. Feels weird to me anyway.

More to come because I really don’t want to abandon my neglected little blog. Until then, here are some snippets of the Humpfreeze summer memories.

Reminder/Disclaimer: Food pictures follow even though this is not a food blog which is obvious when you look at the pictures.

Even though we’re working hard to stay away from boxed foods and make homemade things as much as we can, I will confess that many convenience foods were used to make the darling twins birthday dessert requests.

I used The Best Chocolate Cake Ever recipe and cheated with a box of Jello chocolate mousse I didn’t even remember buying that I had in the pantry. Homemade no-bake cheesecake filling and homemade whipped cream. We all thought it was one of the best cakes ever!

Rachel’s dessert request took on a life of its own. Recipe inspiration came from this crazy Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreas ‘n Brownie Bars recipe. It was surprisingly edible. Even at 21, who doesn’t appreciate monkey party hats and plates I brought to as well as the princess napkins? It’s a twin thing to pick a few special things for each twin and I picked things that match their personality.

We delivered their cakes after making them cut them so we could bring 2 pieces home for Scary Baby and took them to dinner.

Forgot to take a picture of Rachel’s monstrosity after we cut it.

I bravely cooked again at 4th of July. The summer heat has us avoiding turning on the oven so I opted for crockpot shredded pork BBQ.

I used two recipes from Monica’s blog, The Yummy Life and we all loved the BBQ. I really liked it because even though “they say” the fat from pork roast adds flavor, I don’t like it and don’t like to strain it all off. Picture of the pork is before I added the Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque sauce. Here are links to both recipes:

14 spice dry rub mix
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

We also enjoyed the super sweet variation of strawberry shortcake that my friend Leigh Anne had posted. It’s hard for me to say anything is too sweet but the frosting layers on this cake were very sweet! I loved the butter almond cake but would use a lightly sweetened whipped cream with the lemon curd next time. We shared half the cake with neighbors who raved about it.

Berry Almond Butter Cake with Strawberries

It’s rare that all six of us are all in one place at one time with the 3 college kids’ summer work schedules but whenever we can capture any of them it seems to usually involve bribing them with food.

How are you surviving this summer heat?

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Birthday Milestone

Those tiny babies arrived 4 weeks early.

They tested everything I knew about being a woman, a wife and a mother and continue to test me still.

The darling twins…

…are 21 today.

They have shared so much more than a birthday in their twenty one years of being sister twins.

I hope today, especially, they will remember all the special memories they have created together.

In case they are still reading the blog…

Dad and I are so proud of you and love you both more than we can convey with mere words.

I hope you will celebrate and be safe and get along!

Yeah, you know I like to keep it real here on the blog and the darling twins continue to argue and fight while living in a house in the mountains this summer with five ten more people than we can count.

Any suggestions for a sweet, memorable milestone birthday gift? When I consulted my friend Google, gifts like over-sized flasks, engraved shot glasses, beer mugs and hangover cures came up. I found these items to be neither sweet nor memorable. I was looking for something that might not be associated with drinking alcohol. Pretty sure their friends will take care of the drinking themed gifts.

I’m notorious for late birthday gifts and this one won’t be the exception.

Side note: Late birthday gifts can be more memorable when they are not mixed in with the pile on the actual day. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

PhilBillPaul had no suggestions. I’m looking for something meaningful and my goal is to give it to them by their actual July due date. Takes the pressure off. We saw them this weekend so chances are good we won’t see them again until July anyway.

Do you remember what you got for your 21st birthday? Share here please–I need some inspiration! (as long as it wasn’t a car or a condo.)

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My Favorite Beach

Just when I think I’ve got a regular blog rhythm going on…

Something interrupts the rhythm and the blog suffers neglect.

This time it was a last minute beach trip with one darling twin.

I’m not complaining.

In the rarest of moments, I was able to travel with just one Humpfreeze child and we got to spend 4 decadent nights at the beach.

It was a grand early Mother’s Day present and I’d like to make it a new tradition. One child and mom on a trip.

For those of you who had one child instead of 2, 3 or {gasp} 4, this may sound like no big deal but for me it was lovely one-on-one time with my darling Roger Leroy.

I even had the joy of forcing asking her to wear a dress to dinner.

Sorry Rachel but I had to put it on the blog for posterity’s sake.

COPYRIGHT WARNING to Rachel’s friends: Lifting pictures from the blog and posting them on Facebook is stealing. 😉

She preferred gym shorts and cruising around in the golf cart.

The beach in Destin was gorgeous. It rivals many beautiful beaches we’ve been fortunate enough to visit.

No pictures of the water but Rachel described the crystal clear water as looking like an ad on television for a tropical vacation in the Caribbean. She’s right!

I love that it is less than a six hour drive from our house. We stopped going in the crowded summer and I can confidently say that May and September are my favorite times to visit.

New way to spell Humpfreeze just in…

I’m still going with Humpfreeze but this comes in 2nd place for most creative.

Thanks Errin & Doug for outstanding accommodations!

A belated but heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day to all my women friends. I hope you had a wonderful day.

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Best Job Ever

We have recovered from the grandmas visiting last week but we’re pretty sure that the grandmas have not.

When it occurred to us that since having kids, we have had the grandmothers together 3 times in 23 years, we decided it would be a perfect time to have a family photo shoot.

Did I mention a surprise family photo shoot?

A few of us who shall remain nameless might not like to have our picture taken.

Nothing like a little last minute fun involving trying to coordinate 3 college kids and their busy schedules. Add dressing the top half of eight people and I will say that I hope to not see the inside of the mall for at least 6 months or so.

In spite of the last minute preparations, the weather cooperated and we were able to pull it off.

It had been 12 years since our last professional family photos were taken. I’m so grateful we made the time to do this.

This weekend I spent time learning some fun new things while creating story boards in Photoshop and sent them to Costco for printing.

So excited to see the finished products and send some copies to the grandmas. We are so glad we got to include Granny and Grandma in some of the photos.

Love.

Love.

Love.

My absolute favorite creation ~ these four kids.

I grumble about them and have been sharing stories about our life for over 4 years here on the blog. I probably don’t say it enough…I am so proud of them.

On the very worst day…

being their mom is still the best job I’ve ever had.

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P.S. My email subscription service is not delivering my blog posts consistently. I say this in case you get Typo Tuesday on Wednesday and think I am losing my mind. I write and schedule those in advance and when the email service doesn’t deliver on time, I look more crazy than usual. I don’t think it even delivered last Monday’s little gem on PhilBillPaul’s job suggestion for me.

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