Thanks for stopping by! We were a family of three, until we added one more (cat, that is), making us a family of four. In 2012, we added four more...one husband, two girls, and a dog. We have a full plate as a party of eight!

Adoption, blended families, pets, school, running...it's all here. Pull up a chair and read a while. After you do, please leave a little comment love! It makes me happy...and y'all know...if Momma is happy, then everyone is happy...at least at our house!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blessings

If you are a Facebook friend of either Brian or me, you know he broke his ankle two weeks and two days ago...also known as sixteen days ago.

If you are not a Facebook friend or one of us...Brian broke his ankle two weeks and two days ago...also known as sixteen days ago..

I want to blog about it.
Mostly because we have talked about it as a blog post since we were in the ER that night (watching the Auburn-Arkansas State game on the TV on our "room").

I will blog about it...for posterity's sake...or so someone else can laugh at our expense...

But there just hasn't been time.

Life changes in the blink of an eye.

And I have discovered that although I used to "do it all" for G and myself...I can't do it all now...

I hate admitting that. I should be able to take care of my family.

But I have realized my limitations.

Which is why we are so blessed to have friends and co-workers who have provided us with meals when we have needed them most.

We have enjoyed chili and spaghetti sauce from Tracey (and still have her stuffed pepper soup in the freezer). Christine sent us home from choir last week with Cincinnati chili and homemade salted caramel brownies. Sarah brought us BBQ chicken and rice on Friday. Tonight, Paulette brought us a homemade chicken pot pie and some of her cake pops for dessert.

So my family has been well fed.
And I have been a little less overwhelmed by everything else.
And we are so very thankful for what our friends have done for us.
It means so much.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

School Supplies...A Little Over the Top?

**Disclaimer: This post contains a rant. This is not meant to be taken personally if any of my fellow teacher friends are reading. It is simply my rant against the greediness I am seeing in some supply lists. But if it makes you rethink some things...YAY!!**

And now for my rant... 

I am a teacher.
I am a parent.

Being a parent has changed me as a teacher.
And being a teacher also influences the way I parent (an unfortunate thing, if you ask anyone around here...).

I do things differently as a classroom teacher every year because of things I experience as a parent. I have grown and changed and developed as a teacher as a direct result of things I have experienced on the "other side of the desk." I see two sides of many situations. The way I plan, teach, and communicate has all been examined and reflected on and adjusted because I am a parent as well as a teacher.  And I'm NOT perfect, by any stretch of the imagination.  I'll be the first to admit that.  I'm a work in progress, even though I've been teaching since 1992...you know...the "olden days," as some of my students think.

So here we are, a few weeks before school starts.
It's time for the back to school shopping frenzy to take place.
Part of that involves school supplies.
And I'm here to tell you...supply lists are getting ridiculous!

Between our three girls, we have a list that spans an entire page 8.5 X 11 inch sheet of paper...single spaced and printed in a small font size!

I'll spare you the entire list, but I'm going to hit a few "highlights" in order to make my point...

We need five packages of pencils, plus just "pencils" for the middle schooler. One list requests three (3) packages of pencils. Another requests "2 packages of #2 regular wood pencils--sharpened (24 count)." I have a friend who was asked for a specific name brand of pencils, which happen to be the most expensive, also sharpened...which adds even more cost.

Here's the thing about pencils...I have seen too many teachers collect dozens and dozens and dozens of pencils each year and then berate a child when he or she needs a pencil. So why have a stash of hoarded pencils if you aren't going to actually allow children to use them? And why already sharpened? Have you seen the point on those things? They might last through a sentence...maybe two, if you're lucky. If it's because you don't want to take the time to sharpen them, then train a child to do it. You know the one...the one who is FIRST in your classroom EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING...before you can even take a single calming breath as that first bell rings. The second child can pass out the name tags and the third child can unstack chairs. But I digress...back to pencils.

Now, if every child in my class last year had brought in three packages of 24 pencils, I would have had 504 pencils to store and dole out. How about let's start with one package? And when you need more? Just send me a quick email or a note in an agenda..."Hey Mrs. H. We are running low on pencils. I think they eat them when they get hungry before lunch. Could you pick up a package for us while you are out running errands this weekend? Thanks so much!" Guess what? I'll probably get you that package of pencils, maybe even two or three, and maybe an extra box of tissues too.

Which leads me to the next item on the list...between two of the girls, we needed to purchase SIX boxes of tissues. Three each. Do you know how much storage space those things take? Going back to my class from last year...I would have had 63 boxes of tissues to contend with if everyone brought me three! And in a trailer? There's just not that much space. Now, dear teacher friends...I KNOW green snotty nose season will arrive along around October 1 as the seasonal allergies kick back in and the weather cools off just a tiny bit and the students have been sharing 24 different strains of the current bug that is going around...but it does take a while to go through 63 boxes of tissues. Even at one box per week, that's more than a year's worth of tissues. So how about one box at the beginning of the year and then that quick little note or email..."Hey H. Family...You wouldn't believe the amount of snot we are catching right now. So much that we've run out of tissues! Could you send a box in please? Thank you!" Guess what...this doesn't even require a trip to the store for us...we typically have a spare box or two in the closet, so it will most likely arrive the next morning.

 Let's see...pencils...tissues...oh yes...COPY PAPER!

 One list requests THREE REAMS of copy paper. Another list wants a ream of white copy paper and then colored copy paper. At this point, you know where I'm going with this. And I know...copy paper is hard to come by in some schools. It's kept under lock and key and doled out on rare/special occasions. But three reams equals 1500 sheets of paper. That's a lot of paper...30,000 sheets if you actually had 20 students bring you all three reams that were on the supply list. That's more copies than I have EVER been allotted for AN ENTIRE YEAR at ANY school I have been in. Besides that...Where will you store it? You know what I'm going to say about sending me a note, so I'll spare you from reading that again.

Here's the thing...I see both sides of these lists.

As a teacher, I know that half of my students will not have anything on the list, some will have some of what is on the list, and some parents will follow the list to the "T." So that means I won't have 504 pencils or 63 boxes of tissues or 30,000 sheets of copy paper. That's OK. I'm not worried about it. For one thing, I know that I can send a request in a newsletter or email and I'll more than likely get more when I really need it. That way I have room to store the important stuff, like books and math manipulatives and science materials.

As a parent, I want our girls to start the year off on the right foot with their teachers and send in the "right" school supplies. But I also know I can't afford to purchase EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM...and because I'm a teacher, I know which materials are going to be needed and used by our children immediately and regularly (folders, notebook paper, flash drives, pens, pencils, markers or crayons or colored pencils). And I know which things we can tell a teacher that we are happy to provide when they are needed for the classroom (tissue, copy paper, Clorox wipes, pencils...)

Even with being selective in what we have purchased, we have already spent well over $100 on school supplies.
And that hurts the balance in our checkbook.

Because I'm a teacher...
And I haven't had a paycheck since the last working day of May...
And I'm trying to stretch our final few dollars and cents through 'til the last working day of August. 

Because I'm a parent...
I want them to start the school year with everything they need.
And maybe a few things they want.

And "they" could be M, G, & M.
Or it could be their teachers.
You decide.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five on Friday

1.  New yard art...Oh yes, we have become yard art people.  It happened by accident last summer when we got some flowers made of recycled, industrial-sized, tin cans.  Then we added the peacock, as seen here.  And last week while we were in Lake Lure, we discovered something we had to have while driving along the mountain road...Our new dragonfly makes me smile every time I see it.


2.  I really thought I had seen every episode of Little House on the Prairie when I was young.  But as G watches them on DVD, I keep seeing ones that I swear I have NEVER seen...like the one she watched this morning with the wild dogs...totally do not remember that one.  And darn it, they still make me get teary-eyed.

3.  We are awaiting our next box from Simply Fresh this morning.  I had heard of them a few times and then there was a Groupon for them earlier in the summer, so we decided to give them a try.  I love having a box of fresh organic produce delivered to our front door once a week!  Some is locally grown and some is not.  We have even discovered a few new things that we enjoy, like kale and chard.  I believe we are getting dandelion greens today.  That is another new thing for me...wonder what they will be like?  I'll let you know...

4.  I'm a little sad that today is our last summer Friday.  Brian goes back to the regular five day work week next week.  G has choir camp next week, so I'll be dropping off and picking up on similar hours to our regular school day.  While she is at choir camp, I will be heading to school so I can start setting up my classroom, although unofficially.  (Our real first day back is the 19th.)

5.  I'm going to be teaching kindergarten this year.  Oh. My. Word....KINDERGARTEN!?!  I haven't taught kindergarten since 1990something.  I can't decide if I'm excited or if I want to run for the hills.  It kind of depends on the day...or the hour...

We have absolutely nothing planned today.  Could be a lazy day.  Could turn into an adventure.  One never knows around here.  Hope it turns into a house showing day, at least one day this weekend!  Send us good house selling vibes, OK?  Please and thank you!  :)



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Taming a Troublesome Toilet and Other (Non)Adventures

The joys of home ownership...

Leaky toilet:  Ended up being an easy fix...after two trips to the hardware store and many wet towels.  The original bolts were rusted into oblivion and disintegrated into a rusty puddle the instant I touched them.  I'm so glad this was an easy fix.  I mean, I knew that more than one trip to the store would be necessary....It always is any time we attempt to do something...But I was so worried about cracking the porcelain after everything I read on line about fixing this particular issue.  My vision went something like this...

Over-tighten new bolts ---> Cracked toilet---> Buy new toilet---> attempt to install---> flood the bathroom---> replace bathroom floor and living room ceiling---> take the house off the market and stay here for ever because we won't have any money left

Yep...That was my vision.
So glad it didn't come true!  (yet...)

Rotting wood trim around the back door:  Fortunately, not our responsibility.  The HOA is responsible for the outside stuff.  That was easy.  Just make the appointment with the repair guy.  He was done in less than an hour...and didn't have to make ANY trips to the store.  Lucky dude...

And since things come in threes, I'm counting the window that won't stay open and needs to be repaired as the third thing.

So we're done with that stuff, right?

I sure hope so.

And now for a sign that universes are colliding or something big is going on...


I caught these two actually TOUCHING while sleeping.  And last night, they were sniffing noses and I'm pretty sure there was the tiniest bit of rubbing against each other that occurred at the same time.

Y'all, this is HUGE!
HUGE, I tell you!
Cookie has been scared of the cats since she first arrived here almost a year and a half ago.
(I can't say I blame her when it comes to Hannah Cat...she has a reign of terror around here...)
Can't you tell?

And a picture that makes me laugh...
Because it looks like Brian photo-bombed my picture of me with the river in the background...


A better picture, minus the river...

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ahh, Vacation...

How quickly time goes by when you are away for a few days.

Especially when you...
Take a boat ride on Lake Lure

So that you can see Firefly Cove, where Dirty Dancing was filmed
(Remember when they were practicing the lift in the water?  Yep...it was right there!)

And the steps where "Baby" carried a watermelon
And danced up and down,


Then you wander along the bank of the Rocky Broad River

And go horseback riding...

And see lots of butterflies...

And listen to giggling cousins from the moment they wake up...
until the moment they FINALLY fall asleep...

And feed your favorite animal...

Along with other hungry creatures...
I might get in trouble for this one, but it makes me laugh! I think they were sticking their tongues out at each other!

Each of those could be (and probably will be) individual posts.

But for now, I have to go move a whole bunch of boxes out of Brian's car and into my classroom before I go back to storage and load up more school boxes.  And then there are all the ones in our attic...

I think I need another vacation!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kissing Frogs

You know the saying "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince."

I've decided that the same is true when it comes to house hunting.

Every house we've walked through has its own umm...shall we say...unique qualities.
Yes...unique.  Let's go with that.
And in some cases...that's not such a good thing.

House Hunting, Day One
House #1: too dark and too closed off. No flow to it at all. So not us.  Nope.  No thank you.  But it helped us find our realtor, so Yay for house #1!  :)

House Hunting, Day Two
House #2: Most memorable because of the crazy yard art! (And possible pet cemetery?) So great, if a little quirky.  And the wallpaper in every room?  We could have lived with it though, gradually taking it down and painting. The teeny master bathroom and closet were questionable, but we could have made it work. All in all, we kind of liked it. Oh heck, we really liked it.  And then we checked the state registry and discovered that not one, but two registered offenders live two doors down. Mark that one off the list.  I was really quite sad about that and had to pout for a day or two.

House Hunting, Day Three
House #3: Really big. Seriously...really, really big.  L-O-N-G is the best way to describe it.  Way too dark though.  I need, need, need lots of natural light and this house simply doesn't get it.  It faces the wrong directions and sits under a large canopy of trees.

House #4: Nice flow to it. Lots of light. Cute treehouse in the backyard--G would have spent lots and lots of time out there reading, I'm sure. But the left side of the house sloped, downstairs and upstairs. And the master bathroom??? It was the size of a matchbox!

House #5: So cute on the outside...but what a disappointment!  I can't even tell you! Of course, this was one child's favorite so far. Sigh...

House Hunting, Day Four
House #6: This one I discovered while searching nearby areas.  Quirky, but cute. It could work. But it needs some work. Surely there is something better?

House #7:  So much potential, but SO much work to be done due to water damage and mold on the ceilings both upstairs and down.  Another disappointment.

House #8: YUCK. Smell. Layout. Everything. Just yuck. I felt the need to wash my hands after leaving that one.

House #9:  Whoops. Don't even get to see it. Already had multiple offers. No sense seeing that one since we can't do anything until we sell my townhouse. So...moving on.

Starting to feel discouraged and defeated...

House #10: This one is so great!  Nice light. Nice floor plan. Nice space. New carpet, paint, flooring.  Kitchen is nice--just needs a new dishwasher. Lovely backyard backing up to the greenway. We could see ourselves living here. Whew!  Our faith in the house hunt has been restored.  It's at the top of our list for the moment.  Actually, at this point...it's the ONLY house on our list.

House #11:  Too small. And not much we liked about it. Easy to cross off.

House #12: Huge!!  But to me, just "eh" and no real appeal.

House Hunting, Day Five
House #13:  Too many problems. It's a foreclosure and has been empty for a long time. Some work has been done, but not what truly needs to be done. And the four letter word etched into the concrete on the back patio... So sad that someone feels the need to do that kind of thing.

House #14:  Quickly crossed off.  Even looking beyond the turquoise walls and bright pink trim in the master bedroom that the owner is willing to repaint if the buyer desires...

House #15: Oh. My. Goodness!!!  Why haven't we seen this one until now???  Ah ha...because the price recently dropped, bringing it into our price range.  That's why.  It's so nice. The kitchen is light and airy. Almost beachy feeling. Large bedrooms. I'm talking LARGE!  Master bedroom downstairs. Girls upstairs. That could be nice. Formal living room and dining room as well as space for a table in the kitchen.  Den.  Nice deck.  There's even a humidor.  A humidor???  Can we take out those little shelves and restore that space to its coat closet origins?  Backyard is not my favorite. But I might lose out on that. A second YES on our YES list.  And one of the three girls says this one is her favorite.  I'm pretty sure it is Brian's favorite right now, too.

House #16: Looks like a mountain cabin on the outside. Open and flowing inside. We really like it, but it just wouldn't work for us because it is just too small. Not the bedrooms...those were great.  But there is no true dining room/eating area other than the bar at the kitchen counter. There is a great "hideaway" in one of the upstairs bedrooms, which two of the girls thought was really cool.  This is number three on our short list.

At this point, we returned to House #10 for a second look and to look specifically at some things.  I'm still really liking this house...a LOT.  It did smell of cigarette smoke a little bit this time.  That was a bit of a disappointment.  It falls to #2 on Brian's list.  I'm torn.

House #17:  A "raised ranch" and quickly crossed off of our list.

Last night, we compared data from the two elementary, middle, and high schools that are "home schools" for the three houses on our list.  Houses 10 and 16 are in the same attendance zone.  Looking at the data, the schools for house 15 are hands down the better choice.  HANDS DOWN.  So now we are thinking that the price difference is well worth it when it comes to school choice for Miss G...

So here we are...
We've "kissed" 17 "frogs" and found three possible "princes."

Now...if we could find a buyer for this place...It all hinges on that.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Now We Know

Recently I have discovered this...


And this...


In our backyard in the early morning hours.
I had no idea who/what would be knocking over our peacock.

This morning, I found out...


Thursday, July 25, 2013

I'm Dreaming of...Christmas in July? (Commenting Challenge, Day 4)

It's July 25th.

That means it is five months until Christmas.

Which means that school starts back in one month. (except that August 25th is a Sunday, so we get to wait until August 26th this year)

But I digress...

What that really means is that it is about four months before I start my Christmas shopping, which is the topic for Jenna's Commenting Challenge this morning.

I don't know about y'all, but at our house...interests change with the wind.  Which means it would be hard to do any early shopping.  And clothing sizes?  Who knows what those will be!  Have you seen how these girls are growing?!?  Yikes!

Besides all of that, my brain is too wrapped up in selling my townhouse and buying a new house that is bigger than the current postage stamp-sized dwelling we currently reside in.  In fact, when I first read the topic of the day, Christmas songs started running through my head.  I love Christmas music.  And I also have a bad habit of changing words to make them suit my mood or need or the moment in time or just to be a pain in the neck and annoy the girl child.  Hee hee!

Cue the music...

First came this...

I'm dreaming of a house showing
Just one that sells our little house
Where the buyer's smitten
And a contract's written
And we can move on down the road...

Then came this...

All I want for Christmas is a bigger house,
A bigger house, yes a bigger house.
Gee if I could only have a bigger house,
Then I could have room for a Christmas...tree!

Ehh.  That one's not as good as the first one.

In all seriousness though, Christmas can be hard for me.  My family has a weird tradition of someone being sick or in some way making Christmas a less than perfect time most every year.  It's kind of a joke now, to see who might win the "rubber chicken award."  And yes, I've been the recipient...maybe once.  (Why is it that teachers can be perfectly healthy for an entire school year, but give us a day or a week off for a holiday and all of our Facebook posts are about being miserably sick???)

Christmas of 2003 was one of the hardest ones for me.  I had spent Thanksgiving of that same year in Guatemala, visiting my sweet baby G. (You can read a little bit about that here.) Adoptions at that time were tenuous at best and the process was painfully slow.  Nothing like it is now, so I am absolutely not complaining about it.  Spending those four days with her made her so much more real.  I hadn't just seen occasional pictures of her.  I had held her in my arms.  I had looked into her deep dark eyes.  I had rocked her to sleep.  I had felt the warmth of her against my body and smelled her sweet baby smell.  And I was so in love with her.  And then I had to leave her there and come home...to wait for the process to finish before I could bring her home.  Which broke my heart.  At Christmas, I was missing her so much, it about did me in.  She, of course, finally came home in March of 2004.  Every Christmas, we traveled to Memphis to be with my family...sometimes two of us, sometimes accompanied by a protesting cat or two.

Then it was Christmas, 2012.  Brian and I were newlyweds.  It was our first Christmas together.  My first Christmas (ever!) away from my family.  I think we both had ideas of the "perfect" Christmas, but didn't know quite how to make that happen.  There was a kitchen disaster, tears, and even a vomit incident.  Hopefully those won't remain part of our Christmas traditions!

So I'm not quite ready to think about Christmas, 2013...for any of the above mentioned reasons.

Although I do know what I want for Christmas this year...besides a bigger house, which I really want for back-to-school instead of having to wait another five months...y'all send some good house selling vibes our way, OK?  Please and thank you.

Oh, and what I want for Christmas?  A stand mixer.  You know, like the Kitchen Aid one?  Never had one.  Always wanted one.  Still dreaming of one.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Favorite Tips? (Commenting Challenge, Day 3)

It's day three of Jenna's commenting challenge. It's a good thing it's summer time and I have the time to sit at my computer and blog hop!  Where does the time go?!?

The suggested topic of the day is favorite ideas/tips from Pinterest...
Umm...about that...I've got a confession...
I have NEVER been on Pinterest.
NEVER.
Not even once.

And cleaning tips?
Meh...
Cleaning, shmleaning.
Mr. Clean is my best friend...especially his magic erasers.
Those things are truly magic, especially when it comes to my *white* kitchen counters!

(Note to self...and Brian...I would prefer NOT to have white counters in our new house!  Although...Mr. Clean might notice a drop in sales...Sorry Mr. Clean!)

Cooking tips?
Don't have those either.
We have been doing Weight Watchers since December 8th, and that has really changed what we cook and how we cook it.  Combine that with me needing to eat gluten-free, one who drinks almond milk, one who drinks cow milk, and two who like chocolate soy milk in our coffee, one extremely finicky eater, a few who are adventurous eaters, one or two who like spicy food and one who likes unspicy food, a carrot allergy, three different preferences of salad dressing, and flat out refusing to prepare more than one meal at dinner time...It gets a little tricky around here.  But we manage to make it work, serve healthy meals, and lose weight all at the same time!

Organizing tips?
I have dreams of organizing.
I have ideas in my head about organizing in our new house.
But organizing?
Not my cup of tea!

So, if you were hoping for some great tip or idea...I got nothin' for ya.
So sorry!
Well...not really...but it sounded good!  :)

Happy Wednesday everyone!
Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time for Some Television (Commenting Challenge, Day 2)

Now that my super powers helped me find someone's work phone, I can sit down to think about my favorite TV shows.

The first thing you should know is that we don't have any kind of cable, satellite, etc.
Just plain old network television.
95% of the time, that's ok.

Then there's football season...
when the 10 year old girl child wants to watch her beloved Auburn Tigers lose every single game play.
And most of those games are on ESPN...which we don't have...
So she sits in front of the computer screen and yells at them like an armchair coach watches them on line.
And I might admit to doing the same thing with Vanderbilt...

So, outside of Auburn and Vandy football games, there are just a few favorites that Brian and I enjoy watching once the kitchen is cleaned up, lunches for the next day are prepared, cats are calm, dog is walked, child/children in bed, and we just can't do one more thing...

Parenthood I have watched and loved the Braverman family since the beginning, and I was worried they were going away at the end of last season.  I'm so glad they are returning...on September 26th!  What a perfect birthday present, two days early.  Thank you NBC!  Brian didn't really like this show when he first watched it with me, but I think it grew on him.  We keep talking about going back and watching from the beginning so he can catch up on all the story lines.

Downton Abbey We didn't start watching this until late December or maybe even January, season one on Netflix and the rest on Amazon.  Again...LOVE this show!  I do wish the writers would just let Lady Mary be happy for more than an episode or two.  I mean, she and Matthew were *finally* together, and CRASH...UGH!!! (Note to other Downton fans...Maid to Match is a novel set at the Biltmore Estate and is very much like reading about the downstairs at Downton.  Highly recommend it.)

America's Got Talent I don't know which we enjoy more...the actual contestants or the interactions between the judges.  But, I CAN. NOT. STAND. another sword swallowing act!  Ugh!

Our little guilty pleasure...The Bachelorette  A glass of wine and two hours of heckling on Monday nights during the summer...oh yeah!

We have also been enjoying watching Friends on DVD.  I have seasons one and two.  I think we are about half way through season two.  Guess I need to start looking for season three!  It's so fun to watch a couple of episodes and laugh before bedtime.

My summer morning routine has turned into a bit of quiet time with the dog and two cats surrounding me on the sofa, coffee mug in my hand, and GMA on the television.  Maybe someday I can stand outside with the crowds in New York City and see them in person? (Hint, hint...)

I had so much fun reading lots of different blogs yesterday.  And all the comments here made me a little giddy.  I mean, who doesn't love comments?  Can't wait to read more today thanks to Jenna's Commenting Challenge!

Monday, July 22, 2013

About Us (Commenting Challenge, Day 1)

I've been a pretty slack blogger lately.  Just a busy season of life with very little down time, and I haven't wanted to spend what little down time I've had sitting in front of the computer.

But...
I miss blogging.

I realized that last night when I finally posted about our 4th of July doings, leaving my husband to clean up a very messy kitchen.  We usually share the cooking/cleaning duties.  If I cook, he cleans.  If he cooks, I clean.  Last night, he cooked...and I blogged...so he cleaned. (Perhaps that is why he left the nasty hairball for me to clean up this morning?)

Oh...wait...that last pondering makes it sound like HE left the hairball.  Oops.  That would not be correct.  One of the cats left the rather large nasty hairball on the downstairs bathroom floor over night.  Brian just left it for me to clean up.  That's a joy to discover at 6:56 A.M.

Aaaand now that I've lost anyone who might be reading this morning...I should move on to the topic of the day...

About Us

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...or so it seems in my little head...

"Us" was truly what my blog title suggests...
Momma and G and a cat...a family of three.

I was a single mom to my sweet, now 10 year old daughter.  I adopted her at the age of 13 months.

Momma and G
March, 2004

Momma and G
May, 2013

Hannah Cat
AKA "HC" or "Thing 1"
Then we added one more (cat, that is) to become four when Screamer came home with us from my mom and dad's house after Christmas one year.

Screamer
AKA "BAD CAT!" or "Thing 2"
and several other things I can't post on my family blog  ;)
And I assure you that the above pictures are a true representation of our cats...the princess on her perch and the trouble maker enjoying the results of his mischief.

We cruised along, the four of us...two human and two feline...until last February...when I met Brian...


And his two daughters, M&M...

And the dog
Cookie
AKA "Dog" or "Thing 3"
And in December, we did this...

So now we are this...

The ONLY picture I have of the five of us!


No longer three or four, but eight--five humans and two felines and one canine.

Life is messy.  
Life is fun.  
Life is certainly not always easy as we find our way.  
Blending two families is hard.  
There are good times and then not-so-good times.  There is work, which all revolves around school...

I am an elementary school teacher, headed back to kindergarten in the fall for the first time in a 
L-OOOOO-N-G time.  Brian is a media relations specialist for our school system.  The girls are in school...rising 7th, 5th, and 4th grades.  

So there are school projects, 
homework, 
extra curricular activities, 
long days, 
busy evenings, 
weekends that are too short...

Things go by in a blur sometimes.  
Oh, who am I kidding...things go by in a blur most of the time!

But by blogging, I find a few moments to slow down and think about what has been going on in our life.

I started blogging as a way to let family keep up with us.  Then it became more of a journal, keeping up with things we have been doing.  I don't have many followers, and I've probably lost many of them with  my blogging hiatus of recent months.  

That's OK.  
I know my mom reads it. (Hi Mom!)
And Brian reads it too (Hi Brian!  But aren't you supposed to be working?)  
And hopefully you are still reading too (Hi you!  Thanks for reading!)

If you would like to help me out a little bit here...any suggestions for a new blog title?  I desperately need to update things around here.  (I'm not very good at that, but I can muddle through it.)  I just haven't done it because I know I need a new title since we are no longer "Momma and G and the Cat Make 3" and I simply can't think of one.

And now I'm off to read some new blogs through the commenting challenge at Jenna's Journey.  Can't wait to see who's out there!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

4th of July...on the 21st of July




OK, so I'm a little behind.  No surprise lately, right?

I have an excuse...cleaning and scrubbing and de-cluttering and cleaning and painting and scrubbing and changing a bathroom light fixture and hanging a new bathroom cabinet and have I mentioned cleaning and scrubbing?  

(Have you ever noticed how when you clean one area, you see more dirt and yuck that you haven't noticed before, which leads to more cleaning, which leads to finding more stuff to clean, which leads to yet more cleaning?  Yeah...that was us for the past few weeks...)

All of that work led up to putting our townhouse on the market.  We were officially listed on MLS on July 17th.

So now I can go back to July 4th!  (and the night of July 3rd)

Yay!

The night of July 3rd

We decided to take everyone to a Knights baseball game on July 3rd.
Fireworks were scheduled for after the game, so we thought it would be a fun family outing.
What we didn't plan for was 9 days of rain beforehand.
And rain the day of...
Right up until after we entered the baseball stadium.
Then, the rain stopped.
Whew!
The view to my left
My view straight ahead
Proof I was actually there  ;)
There were snacks...lots of snacks...
Peanuts
(I'm not allowed to post the picture of Brian eating his peanuts...insert pouty face here!)

Popcorn--the endless bucket, which got filled twice--and a super salty soft pretzel


M&M's

Overpriced bottles of water

And let's not forget the cotton candy...

Each of the three girls had her own way of eating her cotton candy...

There was "tear big chunks off and eat them bite by sugary bite" method...

There was the "open mouth, insert cotton candy" method...

Then there was the "eat it so fast that no one has a chance to take a picture of me eating it" method...

There was even some actual watching of the game, in and amongst all the eating.


We were so fortunate that the rain stopped, and stayed away, for the entire evening.
It wasn't hot.
We had good seats.

And we got to see some really good fireworks.
Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to take pictures of fireworks yet.

From the looks of things...we had a successful night at the ball game.


And now July 4th

We had every intention of going to a parade, but the late night at the baseball stadium sort of made everyone sleep late and be lazy the next morning.

We were back to the three of us that afternoon
(well, six if you count the animals, but I'm only counting humans right now...)

We had also planned to participate in the people's parade that G has enjoyed every year.
But, for what ever reason, she changed her mind that afternoon.

We did go down to the town park and listen to a band that was playing.

Upon returning home, we had a "first" planned for G.
Something I had never done with her as a single parent.
We always played it safe and watched the Washington DC fireworks on PBS every year.
Not this year...



She reacted exactly as I knew she would.
Didn't want anything to do with them.
Resisted.
Said she would just watch us.
Twisted her fingers all around and stayed 25 feet away from us.

Brian demonstrated.


I demonstrated.
(but there are no pictures to serve as evidence of that...)

And then we kind of sort of maybe insisted just a little bit that she H-A-D to do 
*just one*

Notice the sparkler being held at the very end by just her fingertips...




And guess what?
She LOVED them!

And grinned and twirled and enjoyed herself and asked for more!
(And Momma had fun trying to take pictures with different settings on the camera in order to capture the moments, just in case you couldn't tell...)


The sad remains of our sparklers...

This was proclaimed our "best Fourth of July ever!"


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer To-Do List

Ever since the three that were Momma and G and the cat became the four that were Momma and G and the catS became ummm....uhhhh...hang on...I gotta' count...

Momma =1, G=2, HC=3, Bad Cat (who at this moment is being destructive as his way of distracting me into feeding him)=4, Brian=5, M&M=6&7, Dog=8

OK, 8!  

So...
Ever since the three that became four became eight last year, we have been desperately cramped for space in our two bedroom townhouse that seemed so perfect for me, myself, and I twelve or thirteen years ago.  I reached my breaking point a while back.  I think Brian has joined me there now.

We have started looking at houses to get an idea of what we like and don't like and what might be negotiable.

But before we can even think about buying a house, we need to sell the townhouse we call home...

And before we can even think about selling this place, we need to do a bit of work...

And before we can do that work, I made a list...

And I emailed it to Brian...

With a subject line that read "Warning:  my list...by room"

That list is now residing on the bulletin board in our kitchen.

And we are working our way down the list.

It might take a while, seeing as how the list details each room in the house and there are at least two bullet points for each room.

(Yes, I really do have a list with bullet points, organized by room...)

We started with cleaning the carpets...a day-long event involving Brian and a rented carpet cleaner


and two cats who were most put out by all the noise and damp carpet under their paws...

I have been working for several hours each day, going through drawers, cabinets, closets, boxes, bags, corners, nooks and crannies, and where ever else I might discover stuff that needs to be sorted, thrown away, donated, packed for storage, or otherwise put away...

In the middle of cleaning out her dresser drawers and under her bed, Gloria asked if she could go live in Memphis with my parents when we finally get the house on the market (which will probably not be until next spring) so that she doesn't have to remember to keep her room neat.

There is wallpaper to take down in two rooms.  Painting to be done in three rooms. 

And there is the huge question of what to do about the carpet...  
It's old. 
But it cleaned up quite nicely...
until a dog had an accident
and a cat hacked up a hairball
and...
well...
Makes me not want new carpet, that's for sure!

So I keep working...it's my summer project...

I think I'd rather go to the beach! 


Friday, June 21, 2013

A Totally Useless Pet Pix Post

But hey, if it helps me get back in the blogging mode...

A few animal pix from my phone, because they made us laugh...

Mom went to Costco and brought me back a BOX!
I love my box!
My box is awesome!

The man brought home a pizza.
He says it is for the girls while he and Mom go out for dinner...
I'll just guard it for them.

The lady took me to the vet?
And I got this cone on my head?
And now they call me Conehead?
Poor me...