Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hey, 98.6, it's good to see you back again...

or long as it isn't 103, I'll take it! Yes, T. Willy's fever has broken, and he seems to be back to his normal happy self! That is good news.

We had a good day. I picked my first green beans from the garden, and just had a great time with the kids. The Big Man has something going on at work, so for the next two months, he is going to work a consistent schedule. I'm not sure we'll know what to do with ourselves. So, he'll be off on Mondays and Tuesdays and work the same hours the rest of the week.

Today when he left for work, the Big Man noticed that T. Willy had buried his head under the covers in our bed. When he checked, he realized that T. Willy was crying because he didn't want his dad to go to work. He really is Daddy's boy. So, the Big Man told him that we could go there for dinner, and we did. It was T's first venture out since he'd been so sick, and it really wore him out. By the middle of dinner, he was laying his head on my lap. He will go to school tomorrow for a half day, then on Thursday, school is out! I have to work for another week cleaning up, but the kids will be gone, so the stress level should be less. We are doing a little bit of work and some tests tomorrow, then we're finished academically. We have Field Day on Tuesday, then on Wednesday we're going to have a kickball tournament with the 5th grade. Thursday is awards and early dismissal. That's it.

And, because he wasn't in any of the pictures that I was sent of Benjamin's graduation, here is a picture of my other nephew, Jonathan, that was sent to MK. He and MK are in the same grade, so he'll be starting high school next year too.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Congratulations, Benj!

How is it that I can so clearly remember my brother's high school graduation, and yet today his son graduated from high school? But that is what happened. So, here are some pictures of the event. Due to the distance, I wasn't able to attend, but my mom sent some pictures.


The family minus the other nephew

Benjamin and Alyssa

He has been talking to an Army recruiter, and it looks like he is going to enlist. I don't know too many details, but I do wish him the very best. And now...because I always have a story....a story.

My brother and his wife were married on August 6, 1988. The Big Man and I were married 364 days later, on August 5, 1989. On the Wednesday before our wedding, my brother (our wedding photographer) took some pictures of me at the church. My mom and my sister in law were there. I didn't notice that they had kind of sneaked off to talk. Then, while I was standing on the altar, my brother announced that they were pregnant. I remember standing there in my wedding dress bawling. I was so excited for them!

He was born on a Tuesday, I think, and the Big Man and I skipped classes Thursday and Friday to drive up from Virginia to see him. He was so tiny with the prettiest red hair. I did fine when I was able to see him, but when my brother put him in my arms...I can't describe the feeling,but I cried again. He was the first baby in our immediate family since me. I have never been able to live near him, but I have always enjoyed our visits and especially the visit he made here by himself when he was 16.

So Happy Graduation, Benj! Thanks for all the tears.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Garden pictures...again

The first green bean that I've spotted...after I saw this, I spotted several. I'm thinking I should be more observant.

Tomatoes...they're getting bigger...we've had a lot of rain; that has helped so much!

Cantaloupe...the only one so far.

Watermelon....the largest of 3 so far.

And that's it.

T. Willy is quite a bit better. He is still running a fever when the Motrin wears off, but he has been alert and even played a little bit today. That is a big change from yesterday, and we are thankful for it.

MK is going to a waterpark tomorrow with the band. It's kind of the last hurrah before summer. She is looking forward to it. I'm just hoping she remembers to keep applying the sunscreen, because she is quite pale. The Big Man works tomorrow, so T. Willy and I will spend the day disinfecting!

Have a great night!

All night long

T. Willy slept all night long.

To recap: he fell asleep yesterday at 4:00 p.m. and slept until 5:30 a.m. He did wake up once at 12:30 to get sick...then he fell right back asleep. Ugh. Poor little guy. He was feverish again this morning (101.8 - I know now because I went out last night to buy a working thermometer.) He was sick again at 6:30 this morning, then immediately asked for an apple. The Big Man is home with him now, and I haven't heard an update in a little while, but I'm really praying it's over soon. It's so hard, because he's just so little.

That's the update for now. Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And still he sleeps

T. Willy was up sick at 5 this morning. His fever continued, so I took him to the doctor. It seems to be a stomach virus that is going around...not much to do but wait it out.

I had to wake him to take him to the doctor. This is a child who DOES NOT nap at our house. He rarely falls asleep in the car. He is a great sleeper at night, but that's it. He fell asleep this afternoon at 4:00, and is still asleep at 9:00. This is not good for his mother, but he obviously needs it.

The Big Man works late tomorrow night, so I'll go back to work tomorrow. I am so hoping that T. wakes up happy and full of energy.

Today's picture is one that MK's friend took of them on the bus.

That's it from the infirmary. Hoping you're all well and have a great night!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Night 2

This is my second night on the living room sofa. It's a sectional, so T. Willy has one end, and I have the other. He is still sick. He's been running a fever for over 48 hours, so we will be calling the doctor tomorrow. The Big Man stayed home with him today, but he works tomorrow, so I'll be home with T. I stayed late after work today and made sub lessons just in case...and since he came in my room at 11:30 throwing up and burning up, my time was not wasted.

So many things that I heard all my life didn't actually make sense until I became a parent. The one that comes to mind is that as a parent, I would so much rather bear this for him than to watch him suffer. He's so miserable. Instead of playing video games with the Big Man, he's watching. Instead of climbing on his swing set in the backyard, he's just sitting on the sofa, and he's napping during the day which he never does at home. He is usually a great helper. He likes to help me water the garden, but today when I asked, he just said, "No thank you," and continued lying on the sofa. He even put himself to bed at 8:00. He goes to bed with no problems, but I'm starting to miss him asking for a cup of water just to delay bedtime a few minutes.

So, I'll try to get some sleep, and I hope T. Willy does too. Good night.

*I was just signing off when he woke up. He asked, "Mommy, is there space next to you?" Of course there's always room for him, so now he's cuddled up next to me while I type this. And he's still burning up.


So...I have a garden. It is what you might call "experimental." I have high hopes for it, but I also kind of plant things just to see what happens. I did that this year with green beans, and it has already given me ideas about what I will do differently next year. But it's fun.

This year I ordered some plants via catalog. I ordered strawberries which are doing pretty well, and 2 grapes, because I've wanted to try them for a long time. The grapes arrived looking like sticks, but with healthy looking roots. They were absolutely brown sticks, nothing more. I planted them maybe two weeks ago, and each time I look at them, they look like sticks. Just a few minutes ago, I walked out to look at them and one has actual new growth on it! I'm so excited. So here are pictures. The first one is of the second plant with no growth on it looking very much like a stick.

These show you some of the growth on one of the limbs...look for the pink buds.

My grandparents always had enormous gardens, and my grandmothers canned and froze a lot. They made jellies and jams and canned green beans and made apple butter and froze the most delicious corn I have ever had. My childhood memories involve eating fried apples and applesauce that they made themselves after picking the apples. I could cry thinking about it. All of my grandparents are gone now, and my kids never had a chance to meet them. When I found out that I was pregnant with MK, I had the opportunity to tell my grandfather about it, but he had slipped pretty far into dementia by then, so I'm not sure how much he understood, and he passed away before she was born. My dad also has a garden, and I learned to love zucchini and kohlrabi because of it.

I think they are all a big part of why I take so much delight in gardening, even though I don't produce nearly what they did. I love to watch things grow and to feel like I'm really doing something. I'm not crafty in any way, but this is my creative outlet.

My dream is to live in the country and have an enormous garden. But for now, I am happily planted in the suburbs where I will continue to garden my little piece of earth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


That stands for the Big Red Machine...the name of the band at MK's new school. As a member of the color guard, she is also part of the band. We had our first official meeting tonight, and a lot of information was thrown at us. Most important to MK was the announcement of the spring trip...a cruise to the Bahamas! She is beyond excited, and if we can swing it, she will completely forget about the DC trip. A lot of things have to come together, but we'll give it a try. It would also be nice to have one of us with her, because it's hard to imagine putting a 9th grader on a cruise ship without a parent. So we'll see.

T. Willy stayed home with the grandparents while we were at the meeting. He was running a fever when we left and fell asleep while we were gone. He slept the entire time we were gone and is still burning up. He has had some medicine and is now watching the hockey game that the Big Man recorded while we were out. They'll probably stay home together tomorrow unless Ty makes a quick recovery.

I'll close with a picture of MK and her friend that I took tonight. The entire band was there - Freshmen through Seniors - and it was really great to see. They did the ceremonial handing over of the baton from this year's drum major to next year's, and it did a lot for the freshmen to see how excited and supportive the other kids were.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

We did pause to think about our fallen heroes today. What a blessing it is to live in the USA, and our thanks go out to those who currently serve and especially to those who have paid with their lives for the freedom we have today!

I cut some gardenias today, and they smell amazing. They're almost gone, but I've really enjoyed their scent. We had more than ever, and I'd have enjoyed them more, but we have had so much rain that I couldn't spend as much time as I like to rocking on our porch.

The kids received some new waterguns in the mail this week from the Big Man's parents. The rain held out today, so they were able to take them outside and play. MK had just done her hair, so her instructions to T. Willy were that he was not to get her hair wet. He listened pretty well, but didn't like to be shot at all. Hopefully he'll realize that's part of the fun, but today was a learning experience. So I'll close with pictures of them and their guns. Have a good night!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


There was a minor tragedy at our house today...our Xbox 360 died. This is a very big deal because it is T. Willy's favorite toy. We had some warnings that it was coming, so we had a plan. I went to Wal-Mart to get a new one. I could see the cabinet where it was supposed to be, but they were out. I have many memories of exasperated employees trying patiently to explain to customers that, no, there weren't any more in the back. So, I was ready to walk away without asking. However, the employee asked me if there was anything he could help me with, so I bit the bullet and asked. He had a scanner and said that yes, there was supposed to be one in stock. He kindly walked to the back and found one! Ty's day was saved.

The Big Man's parents came over tonight. They'll be here for a few days. Tomorrow is my mother-in-law's birthday, so we'll celebrate with her. The kids are both spending the night at their house tonight. This is Ty's first time to spend the night with them, and he is really excited about it! I am too...I can't wait to sleep in tomorrow.

I'll close with a picture of MK and her pal, Buddy, one of the in-laws' dogs. Good night!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'll leave it to you

That was the name of the play that Maddie and I saw today. The school where I work is preschool through high school, and the high schoolers performed it. They did a really good job, and we had a lot of fun. They did a dinner theater, so they served us food before each act, and it really went smoothly. So here are some pictures of it.

Before the play

First act: Salad

The actors

Second act: Spaghetti/meatballs and garlic bread: there was actually a third act and cake, but I forgot to take a picture of that.

I can't speak for MK, but I had a great time. It was a nice night out with her, and she made it really fun. I hope you had a great night too!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Take your daughter to work day

It was unofficial, but we did it. MK spent the day with me at school, and it was one of the best days I've had there! It was just fun sharing it with her and laughing with her! She was able to experience what I do, and she was amazed at how accurately I've portrayed the class.

At lunch, she sat with me at first. I usually sit at the boys' table, so she sat with them and me. However, the girls were dying to talk to her, so she sat with them for a little while. They flocked to her and barraged her with questions. She ate it up.

So, that's how we spent our day. Here are a couple of the eggs hatched! So, there's a picture of that too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Now I can tell

MK has been doing something all week, but I wasn't allowed to talk about it until there was a result. So, now I can say that she has been practicing to try out for the color guard at the high school. This was all very new to her. She loved the band but wanted to try something different. Today was the tryout...and she made it! Then the kids and I ate dinner at the Big Man's restaurant to celebrate her big news! She didn't want me to blog about it unless she made it so that she wouldn't be reminded of it, but she did, so now I'll post pictures.

She's been told that she won't have to try out again; this is what she's going to do in high school. Already she has met some older girls, and that is making her feel much more comfortable about starting high school in the fall.

Tomorrow is "Activity Day" at her school; it's kind of field day without ribbons. She doesn't want to go, so she is going to spend the day with me at school. She hasn't been able to meet my class, so she's looking forward to it. Then, on Saturday night, the school is having its Spring Play. They are doing a dinner theater, so we are going to go to that and enjoy a spaghetti dinner and a Noel Coward play.

We are looking forward to the three day weekend and sleep! It doesn't apply to the Big Man...holidays just mean more work for him. But we will relax and hopefully swim if it doesn't rain. And that's it from us. Have a great night!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I have some pictures I'd like to post, but I have to wait for MK to give me permission. So, here is a picture of my niece that I took when we were looking for T. Willy's birthday bike. She lives out loud and isn't afraid to have fun.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Neither sleep nor exhaustion shall keep me....

I was almost asleep. I had said my goodnights and was in bed. Then, I remembered...I forgot to blog.

Today was a miserable day at school. My students are ready for the end of the year, and it's wearing on me. I gave out 2 detentions, so it will be a late day for me tomorrow. But, they were well deserved, so I had to do it.

However, things were great here when I got home. MK had an after school activity, so I came home and the Big Man and T. Willy were playing Xbox 360, and I had a few minutes to myself. Then we went to see MK play in her last middle school band concert! It was bittersweet...they were wonderful, but we are going to miss that school a lot. We really had a great time, and they did such a great job. However, I completely forgot to take pictures. We did take video, though, and we may be able to get some stills from that.

The middle school mascot:

One of those pictures we'll show to his girlfriends in 10+ years. He likes Wii Fit! And he's the only person in our family who will be shown without a shirt on this blog.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The fruit of my labor

I picked the first zucchini from my garden today. Here is a picture of it. This is the first time I've gotten zucchini to grow, and I'm very proud.

Of course, I'm the only person in the family who will eat it, but I'll enjoy it!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


What a blah day. It started off sunny, but it ended up rainy...good for my garden, but not for my spirits. However, it is cool outside now, so that is a good thing.

The kids are in bed, and the Big Man is at work, so I don't have anything to photograph. Here, then, is a picture of the beach yesterday when T. Willy and I went for a walk.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A day at the beach

We spent the afternoon in Destin today. The Big Man and MK saw "Star Trek," and T. Willy and I explored. We walked on the beach, shopped and went to Build a Bear. There is a playground at the shopping center where the movie theater is, so he played there for a while. We finished the day with dinner at a pizza place we hadn't tried before, and it was a great finish to a fun day. It's back to work tomorrow for the Big Man, but we were glad he didn't have to work today.

I'm not kidding

I forgot. I blogged about it. I collected the money. MK knew. The Big Man knew. My class knew. And I forgot!!! Yes, I do think I'm mother of the year...well, I'm certainly not "Tooth Fairy" of the year.

Let me explain.

To protect me from vicious stalkers (ha,) I did not mention that the Big Man was out of town all week. He left Sunday to attend meetings and training at his company's home office in Tennessee. So, the kids and I had a quiet week. MK did great and was a big help. T. Willy also did great, but the separation was harder for him.

As we drove to the airport Sunday night, we were just talking and then we heard from the backseat, "Daddy? What makes you cry?" The Big Man named a few things that might make him cry, and I looked back to realize that T. Willy was crying. I was expecting a shaky week, but that was really the only time he did that. He had to nap every day at school, which he often doesn't when the Big Man is home. But it was a good week, and we made it through.

Last night while walking out of the airport, T. Willy smelled something bad. He said, "What's that horrible smell? It smells like Tennessee." I guess he hasn't forgiven Tennessee for taking his dad.

Then last night we came home, ate dinner and went to bed. The Big Man woke at 6:30 and said, "The Tooth Fairy!" We forgot. I had a bunch of change ready, so I sneaked into T. Willy's room to put it under his pillow. And there he was...awake and playing on his iPod Touch.

I gave him a hug and slid the money under his pillow. He then looked up and said, "Hey, why wasn't there any money under my pillow?" Deja vu. I said we needed to look again, and he did and there was the money! $2.37 in change! Then he asked why there wasn't a treat there too. We mentioned one time that there would be a treat under his pillow, meaning money, but he was looking for more. I explained that the money was the treat; he accepted that, and we put the money in his bank.

He has another loose tooth...wish us luck!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I should have seen this coming

Now I get to see how much I've learned about being the Tooth Fairy.

MK stayed home with T. Willy today. Her allergies were bothering her last night, so she didn't go to sleep until about 10. She was really tired this morning, so I let her stay home. She offered to keep T. Willy, and he's been having long days at school this week, so he stayed home too. She texted me during the day to let me know how they were doing, but around 2:15 she called me. My first thought was panic, but she was calling to let me know that T. Willy lost his first tooth! She was so excited and proud that she was the one who found it...and she has already sent pictures, so here they are. The first is obvious...a hole in his mouth. The other took me a minute, even though she drew an arrow and a circle. It's his tooth in a plastic bag.

Now I'm ruining it for other people's children

MK will verify this: there are some things about parenting that come naturally to me. However, there are some things I just don't do well.

The one that comes to mind today is the Tooth Fairy. MK woke up more than once after losing a tooth to find her pillow bare. She would come into my room and tell me that the Tooth Fairy had forgotten her. Then I would surreptitiously scoop up some change and walk with her into her room and play the, "Oh, it's right here" game. She probably knew what I was doing, but she played along.

Today during our spelling test, the word was "observant." I talked about how observant kids are and how MK never said that she knew what I was doing. In the middle of the story, though, I realized that these kids are only in 4th grade, and it's very possible that some still believed. I tried to backtrack, but they caught on, and it began the "I already know" discussion. One boy, however, walked up to me and, with the most sincere expression, said, "I know; God does it."

So, I really hope I haven't taken away a little childhood from him and maybe some others who didn't speak up. One girl raised her hand and asked, "Is Santa real?" (I knew that she knew and was just being a smart aleck.) I did not answer and said it was time for Math.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Birds

Today had something of a bird theme.

At school, we have chapel on Thursdays. We were seated and ready to start when the kids realized that there was a bird in the sanctuary. Their attention was definitely diverted as it flew back and forth and perched itself on a picture frame. It finally flew into a foyer with doors to the sanctuary and outside, and they were able to close the doors behind it, then set it free.

Then we went to recess where my girls found some birds' eggs. Contrary to what we've all been told (never touch an egg found in the wild) the girls did. Then I made them put them back, and words like "bird-killer" and "Mean Mrs. G." were directed toward me. They were so angry with me that they were crying. They came up to me and begged me to let them keep them. They said they were going to save their money and buy an incubator so that they could save the eggs. But mean old Mrs. G. just wouldn't let them.

By the end of the day, I'd managed to take each of the girls aside and explain that I really wasn't trying to be mean, but wanted the eggs to be in their nests where they were supposed to be, and where Nature and their mothers intended. All but one seemed to understand, but I endured a lot of evil looks and whispers until then.

All in a day's work.

I hope you had a great day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's random picture night

I can't think of anything to write tonight. It's very quiet around here. So, I'm just going to post a random picture and comment on it.

The's that time of year again. Maybe we'll actually make it there this year! Good night!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Red hooded sweatshirt

I will paraphrase Shelby from Steel Magnolias..."Red is my signature color." I love red and always find myself drawn to it when I'm shopping. When we last went to my college alma mater, I bought (what else?) a red hooded sweatshirt. I've noticed recently that I'm always wearing it in pictures. I get cold in air conditioning, so I keep it nearby. Here is my ode to my favorite hoodie:

Click here: >Red hooded sweatshirt

Just a sampling:

Monday, May 11, 2009


We are a family of swimmers...not Olympic swimmers, just people who like to swim. We have an above-ground pool that we enjoy very much. I grew up with a pool, and the Big Man tells stories of his neighborhood pool in Plano, Texas that was either shaped like the state of Texas with an island where Plano was, or just an island shaped like Texas. Anyway, we have great memories of summers spent swimming. MK has always enjoyed swimming, but T. Willy hasn't enjoyed it much at all. We have tried to get him in the pool since he was a baby, and he has pretty much always hated it. He never liked the little boats they make for babies and wouldn't ever attempt to swim on his own.

Last summer, however, we bought him a suit that had flotation pads built it, and he would finally let go of the side. He had a great time in my parents' pool and would ask to get in, instead of being forced.

Our pool was late opening this year, because we had to replace the liner. We finally used it for the first time on Saturday, and T. Willy loves it! He asked to go in it today, so I went in with him. He's really getting brave which makes me glad that it's above ground, because he can't swim on his own yet, and I can take the ladder off of it in case he gets curious.

So, here are a couple of pictures of him that MK took tonight. He can touch the bottom if he's on his tip-toes, but he has to keep his mouth closed. That is why I put the water wings on him.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I've been blessed with many wonderful mothers in my life. My grandmothers were wonderful, my mother-in-law is wonderful, I have amazing aunts, and there are many other women who have been wonderful influences in my life.

But I have only one "mom," and she is truly wonderful.

There is no way I can list the things that make her so wonderful. However, this morning, MK made me think of one way that I can accurately describe it. I have a new favorite song and video; Taylor's Swift "The Best Day." I've seen the video with MK twice, and I've cried through it both times. When it was over, I told MK that it reminded me of her and things we've done together. She said it was because I was her favorite.

I used to feel sorry for my brother. Poor Aaron, I always thought; it must have been hard to grow up with me as a sister, because I was so obviously the favorite. I knew my mom loved him, but I knew that she loved me better! The subject came up once, and I was surprised to find that he had always felt sorry for me, because he knew that he was the favorite. I think that is a sign of a wonderful mother...she made us both feel that we were the most special kids on earth. What more could we ask for?

So, on yet another Mother's Day that I spend away from my mom, I want her to know that I am thinking of her, and, Mom, I thank you for all that you've done for me. I know I wasn't always the most appreciative, but I know now how much you did (do) for me, and I think about you every day!

Love, Annette

Now pictures:

This is my mom around age 30, and I'm probably 6 in this picture.

This picture is one of my favorite childhood memories. I was in first grade and our teacher was planning a surprise. We were NOT allowed to tell our mothers that we had something special planned; we just had to tell them that we wanted them to come in and do a craft. My mom told me that she wouldn't be able to come, because she was working, but I tried very hard to convince her without giving it away. In my 6 year old mind, I thought I was being stealthy. Anyway, the day came, and I watched other mothers come in, and I tried not to get my hopes up. Then, I still remember looking at the door and seeing my mom walk in! To this day, 33 years later, I haven't forgotten that. We had written stories for our moms, which she still has, and our teacher gave the moms pictures, which I have at my house for some reason. Thank you, Mom!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Wow, was that fun!

We had a great night. Several times during the night MK ran up to me and hugged me and thanked me for the party. That's a success to me! The kids seemed to have a ball, and they were great. There were 14 girls and 2 boys...the odds were definitely in the boys' favor. But it wasn't like that. They were just friends and added to the fun.

We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and the Big Man brought us the world's best macaroni and cheese from his restaurant. After they ate, we lit a fire in the firepit, and the kids roasted marshmallows and made smores. They played Rock Band and were in and out all night. They played on the swingset, and to Maddie's delight, not one person asked to swim, even though the pool is ready. She was swimming with boys around.

Now I'm exhausted, but 2 girls are still here, and they're playing Rock Band. T. Willy crashed in my bed, and I'm ready to move him to his bed and then do the same. And with that, Maddiepalooza is officially over! Happy Birthday, MK!