Monthly Archives: October 2012

In the nick of time

The death march through the holidays continues.  Friday night was Fall Fest at Liv’s school, which is why this blog has been silent lately.  This was our first annual Fall Fest, and my job coordinating it kind of consumed my life.

In the middle of it all, I also had to pull together Liv’s Halloween costume.  She wore the same cat costume for three years in a row, but this year she finally decided to change it up and go as Hermione instead.

I found the uniform pieces from Justice.  (btw, I HATE that store!! All the flashy, cheaply made clothes that are ridiculously overpriced…)  I made the cape.  The Gryffindor patch was done on the fancy schmancy Bernina embroidery machine that I’m reviewing for Craft Gossip.The outer is black suiting, and it’s lined with burgundy fleece so it’s good and warm for cold weather trick or treating.   Because of the thick lining and the “won’t hold a crease” polyester suiting, I used strips of the suiting to bind the edges.

I was sewing the cape until the very last minute.  She wore it unhemmed to a party Sunday night.  It dragged the ground and collected leaves and all manner of dirt.  Yesterday I trimmed it up and hemmed it, handstitching until the minute we had to walk out of the house to go to Boo at the Zoo.

This morning I realized that we still have a pumpkin that we haven’t carved yet.  And we haven’t decorated any of the 7 foam pumpkins I bought from Michael’s.  The little girl is home sick with a tummy ache today, so maybe we’ll make decorating pumpkins a fun sick day activity.


She’s much sweeter when she’s grounded

Do you know how happy I was when the little girl was finally old enough to be grounded?  As a younger child, she was infinitely adaptable to whatever kind of consequence we’d give.  Threaten to take a toy away?  That was effective until we actually had to carry through, and then she realized it wasn’t that big of a loss.  Time out? There was always some form of entertainment nearby. We finally had to tell her to “pick a square” meaning she had to choose a 12-inch tile in the kitchen or dining room and not let her little behind leave that space until time out was over.  There was never any consequence that we could count on to actually be distasteful to her.  But now that she’s a tweenish sort, grounding her from phone, TV, friends, and computer is finally a consequence with some teeth.

Today she was sassy to me when I asked her to turn down the speaker phone while she was talking to her friend.  They play an online computer game together with the speaker phones turned on so they can have real-time conversation.  Her friend lives 3 hours away so I allow this kind of crazy phone/computer use.

But I digress.  Because of her sassmouth, I told her she needed to get off of the phone.  Things escalated and ended with her telling me she was going to go out to the woods by herself.  Fine.  “The woods” are just a few wooded lots behind our house.  I thought it would be a good cooling down so I allowed it.

Not ten minutes go by, and she yells in the back door, “I’m going to go a little farther than the woods!”.  You can guess what my response was.  A quick and unequivocal “NO!”

Another ten minutes go by, and I go out to check on her.  It turns out that she had indeed gone farther than the woods.  Far enough that she didn’t immediately respond when I called her.  It turns out that she had gone as far as the little neighborhood lake across the street from the woods, which is a big big big no-no at our house.  No children at the lake unattended.  Just not safe.

So of course she got chewed out all the way home.  And of course she cried and said she was sorry.  She said she hadn’t heard me tell her “no” since she had already closed the door and was on her way down the sidewalk by the time I said it.  (Don’t worry, I let her that was not a valid excuse!  She was still expected to do what I said, even if she didn’t wait around to hear what it was.)  And then she wanted to know what the consquence would be.  She knew she’d be grounded, but she didn’t know how long it would be.  I sent her to her room and then waited for Tony to come home so we could discuss.  (The final result: Not allowed in the woods for a full week.  Grounded from TV, phone, computer, and friends for the rest of today and two more days.)

Here’s the thing.  Once she accepted that she was grounded, she became a totally different child.  She became sweet.  She wanted to sit with me on the couch.  And she wanted to have conversation.  And she immediately decided she’d write a book.  “The Eight Days of Halloween”.  Within 30 minutes, she’d written two “chapters”, each a full page on standard notebook paper.

It happens like this every time.  She’s much sweeter when she’s grounded than when she has access to computer, phone, or TV.  I suppose if I were a good parent (or one with a backbone), I’d take that as motivation to remove her from all electronic media.  Cancel our Dish.  Declare our house a TV- and computer-free zone.

But given that we’ve defined a media-free existence as a consequence for bratty behavior, in her mind we’d be putting her on permanent punishment.  That hardly seems fair.  “Because you bring your attitude into check whenever you get this consequence, let’s just have the consequence all the time!”  Yeeeeahhhh, that’d go over well.  And then, what would we do for consequences when the sassmouth or bratty behavior bubbled to the surface again?  I don’t think “pick a square” would work any more.

So we’re kind of stuck.  My child is much nicer to be around when she’s grounded, but she can’t stay grounded all the time.  I find myself secretly being glad when I get to ground her.  Sick, isn’t it?

Beach photos, macro edition

I’ve been back from the beach for a few weeks now, but I’m just now getting to play with some of my favorite photos.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m at the beach is to take a walk in the morning, camera in hand, to see what kinds of photographic treasures have washed up in the night.  I like to use a macro lens so I can get up close and maintain details.  When I bring it up on my computer, I zoom in to see what I can find.  It’s kind of like discovering new tiny worlds.

Here are some of my favorites:

shells on a stick

some sort of dried tangled seaweed


shell filled with sand

broken shell

This is where we were last night

Last night we had a special family outing.

We all bundled up and spent the evening watching a Little Rock Central High football game.  My alma mater.

Little girl had never been to a football game before. She’s seen some football games on TV now and then (we’re not super big into televised sports at our house), and had asked to go to a game.  Actually, she asked to go to a Razorback game but we knew that it was a) too expensive and b) going to be too rowdy for our littl girl.

High school football seemed more her speed.  The only problem is that every year the season ends before we’re able to find a night that they’re playing a home game AND we’re free AND there’s good weather.

Until last night.

As it turned out, it was also the homecoming game.  How lucky was that??

We watched as the high-steppers did a pre-game routine.  Liv got a huge kick out of watching the football players run through the big sign when they took the field.  I got a little teary when they started playing the alma mater – Hail to the old gold, Hail to the black….  I felt all kinds of nostalgic looking over and seeing the big crowd of high school kids standing near the end zone.  Just like old times.  Except now I’m seeing the kids of my friends standing in that group.  And I’m picturing a few years from now when Liv will be standing there with them.

It was good times.

Though I do have a bone to pick with their band director.  EVERYONE KNOWS that you’re supposed to play the fight song TWICE.  Play it once, then do the “chee cha, ha ha, Tigers, Tigers, rah, rah, rah” cheer, then play it AGAIN.  That’s how it goes.   This playing it once and leaving the “chee cha, ha ha” cheer just hanging out there is lame.  Just sayin’.

You can see that the other stands are pretty much empty.  Our opponents were from a town several hours away, so their crowd was pretty thin.  (That, and our stadium is a lot larger than most high school stadiums and it takes a LOT of bodies to fill the stands.)

In case you’re wondering, we smoked ’em.  35 to 20.

Tony gets a crafty Halloween idea

Liv has a flower floor lamp in her room.  It has three small lightbulbs surrounded by plastic flower petals.  She’s had it since she was a toddler.  The bulbs don’t put out much light.  In fact, we just use large Christmas tree bulbs and she uses it as a night light.

Today when we were pulling out our Halloween decorations, Tony had a fun idea.

He turned it into a pumpkin lamp!

The flower petals are easy enough to remove.  Just unscrew the lightbulbs and a plastic washer thing, and slide them off.  He took some plastic jack-0-lantern treat buckets, removed the handles, and drilled a hole in the backs.  Then, he threaded them on the lamp in place of the flowers.  Now her flower power light is spooky for Halloween.



Three important words

This morning I taught Liv how to say three very important words.  And, no, they weren’t “I love you.”  They were…

Venti. Breve. Latte.

She and her daddy got it for me (upon my request) while out on their Saturday morning donut run.  A to-go cup of “I love you”.

We got ‘er done

Our first attempt at getting Liv’s teeth pulled didn’t really work out.  The dentist, sweet man that he is, fell for the drama and the tears hook.  line.  and sinker.  We left the appointment with all three baby teeth intact, and made an appointment to see a pediatric dentist.

Round Two included a morning appointment so there wasn’t time for her to get too nervous, and a dose of Demerol before she went back to sit in the chair.  She took the Bozo Nose without difficulty, and didn’t even fuss when the dentist gave her shots to numb her gums.  She was soooo out of it at that point that she believed him when he told her he was drawing cartoon characters in her mouth.

Between waiting for the Demerol to kick in and then waiting for the gas and the numbing to take effect, there was easily an hour and a half leading up to the big event.


It took less than three minutes for him to get all three teeth out of her mouth.

In spite of the sad news about my grandmother and the ensuirng flurry of phone calls, we did manage to have some great family moments. 

One day we took a short trip out to Fort Morgan to tour the old fort grounds.  On the way back, we took a quick walk down one of the nature trails at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.  

From the Alabama Historical Commission:

“Since 1834 Fort Morgan has stood as the guardian of Mobile Bay. The military site and National Historic Landmark is located 22 miles west of Gulf Shores. During the Civil War on August 5, 1864, Fort Morgan played a key role during the Battle of Mobile Bay before surrendering to Union forces after a two-week siege. Alabama’s largest permanent military post between 1900 and 1923, the fort served during the Spanish-American War and World Wars I and II. “

While some of the rooms are off limits, and a few staircases cordoned off with yellow caution tape, much of the fort is open to explore. 

I tried to not be that obnoxious mom with the camera, but with all of the scenery, the old brick backgrounds, the puddles of light flooding into the old fort rooms, how could I not go a little photo crazy??

And check this out.  They’ve had issues with drainage since the fort was built.  The water dripping through the fort is creating stalagmites and stalagtites.

And check out how the light spills on to Liv’s face.  Perfect backdrop for a portrait shoot!!

After Fort Morgan, we took an abbreviated hike down one of the trails at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.  We cut it short for several reasons – we were running out of afternoon, we stupidly wore flip flops, and the bugs were out in force.  (Part of the trail goes by a swamp. Need I say more?) 

But we did make it halfway down the trail (1.5 miles).  We saw some gorgeous mossy trees, and a lookout over the Little Lagoon.

Fort Morgan & Bon Secour

Back from my vacay, and my Granny gets some birthday cake

Well, our much anticipated beach vacation took a turn with the sad news about my grandmother.  We did still manage to have some good times, though, but it just seemed kind of awkward to post fun pictures while we were still adjusting to the fact that my grandmother is no longer with us.

We got in some good beach time skipping waves, walking on the shore, and sitting out at sunset and watching the brown pelicans fly low across the water in search of their dinner.  We spent several mornings out on the balcony watching for dolphins playing out deep in the water.  We played some mini-golf at our favorite place – kind of run down but quirky and deeply shaded from beautiful old trees, and a bargain at only $5 a person.  We took a picnic out to Fort Morgan and explored the nooks and crannies of the old fort.  We took a walk down one of the trails at Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge.  I took plenty of photos and I’ll be obnoxious over the next few days sharing some of my favorites.

But today, it seems appropriate to share some of my favorite photos of my Granny on her 97th birthday earlier this year.  I mentioned them in the previous post.

Getting a preview taste of the coconut creme icing on her birthday cake.

And blowing out the candle.

I love you, Granny.  I’m so blessed to have had you in my life.

My Granny

Wow… what a day it’s been.  And not in a good way.

First off, I should explain that the big reason for our annual trip to the beach is to give my mother some down time from being the primary caregiver for my mother.  Last night, my mother got a call at around 11:00 from my sister (or maybe my uncle, I don’t know for sure) telling her that my grandmother had fallen. She hit her head and was bleeding pretty badly.  They called 911 and then spent the next several hours with her in the ER getting her stitched up.  The ER folks were amazed to find nothing wrong with her other than a cut on her head.  But, as they were putting her in the  car to go back home, she complained of being nauseous.  Those were her last words.  She died right there.

If I were at home, I’d share photos I’ve taken of my grandmother over the last few years.  But, I’m here in Gulf Shores while my photos are all back in Little Rock.  I’d show you the photo I took on her 97th birthday where she took a little pretaste of the icing on her coconut creme birthday cake.  Or maybe the photo of the kids at the preschool that backs up to her property walking up to her back porch to sing her Happy Birthday on that same 97th birthday.  Or the snapshot of the first time she held my baby girl in her arms.

The funeral will be held this weekend in her hometown in north Alabama, which is less than a 6 hour drive from the coast.  It wouldn’t make sense for us to leave here and drive 10 hours back home only to turn around and drive out to the funeral.  We’re going to stay put here in Gulf Shores until the day before the funeral.  The little girl has been looking forward to our girl trip down the beach for the past year.  We didn’t have the heart to take that away from her, too.

I don’t have much to say about it all at this point. We’re still taking it all in.