Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First in Line

My firstborn turned 7 the other day. She was certainly the adventurous one in choosing to come first to me and her dad. Adventurous and long suffering..... Afton is definitely an old soul. She's a 7 yr old , in the body of a 5 yr old, with the personality of a 25 yr old. This is a child that was reading at 2 and attempting mommy's crossword puzzles even before that.

She's sharp as a whip and a straight A student- although her dad likes to tease her that her O's (for outstanding) are really zeros and that technically, her 1 S+ is a B+. She is a perfectionist, with a knack for words. She never studies her 30 weekly spelling words, she just takes the test and gets 100%.

Afton is my right hand and though I am sometimes hard on her, I am extremely proud of her and reliant on her. I could not function a lot of days without her help. It all started when a sleep deprived mother of a newborn asked for the baby wipes in the other room. Afton, 2 at the time, didn't need to be asked twice. She disappeared and then suddenly reaappeared with the wipes and My Girl Friday was born.

She loves fruits, vegetables and exercise. I have many times been admonished by her that I should get up off the couch and do jumping jacks or situps with her. She is quite amazed to find out that I used to be as thin as her. She loves salad and is our healthy little anomaly. Unfortunately, her Coke drinking mother has passed down a taste for it to her. When she was really tiny, she would show her satisfaction after a drink of Coke with a resounding, "AHH!" which cracked us up and anyone else who happened to be nearby.

Afton is a great big sister and is learning to deal with being a little sister when her 14 yr old half sister is around. This does not always bode well with the Little Woman In Charge, but she adores her sister Aubreigh and although she fights with her, loves to be around her.

She is a beautiful little girl, both inside and out. Even when I am short with her or frazzled, she is the first to be compassionate and help when she can. I sometimes have to remind myself that she is only seven and hope that she remains so for a little while. Other times I wonder just who is the mother around here........

Someone once said that having a child is like having your heart walk around outside of your body. This is true with Afton. She is my lifeblood and my legacy. In her quiet self-confidence and kindness she truly makes me proud. I would gladly put up with more dramatic hair days and many conversations where someone knows it all, just for more days with her.

Friday, October 24, 2008

One Word Tag
1. Where is your cell phone? ailleurs (French for somewhere.. I don't know)
2. Where is your significant other?couch
3. Your hair color? inexplicable
4. Your mother? dynamic
5. Your father? intense
6. Your favorite thing? massage
7. Your dream last night? schoolgonewild - oh wait-not a dream...
8. Your dream/goal? travel
9. The room you're in? comfortable
10. Your hobby? WHAT?
11. Your fear? failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? together
13. Where were you last night? bed
14. What you're not? supermodel
15. One of your wish-list items? boobs
16. Where you grew up? everywhere
17. The last thing you ate? chocolatepumpkinbread
18. What are you wearing? sweatshirt
19. Your TV? sometimes
20. Your pet? Marley
21. Your computer? workhorse
22. Your mood? relaxed
23. Missing someone? secret
24. Your car? Wondermobile
25. Something you're not wearing? leather
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? short
28. Love someone? always
29. Your favorite color? amber
30. When is the last time you laughed? minutes ago
31. Last time you cried? today

I tag Jamie, Chris and Cambree........

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Parody of a Pressure Cooker

So my daughter was home sick and I had a semi-free day to make a nice home cooked meal for a change. I had a veggie soup mix from my food co-op that I was dying to try. I ran to the store and picked up some stew meat, but did not pick up rolls. I figured I could make them myself- I had a great Lion house mix that was foolproof and I had time, right? (By the way, they will never be as good as my mother -in-law Pam's. Hers are magical. She had a pan of'em sitting on her counter yesterday when we were visiting, and I was constantly fighting the urge to dump the whole pan in my purse and run for the hills!) But, I digress......

I figured I would start the rolls, dance around singing and little birds would come and help me clean my kitchen, while harmonizing with me. However, my husband came home earlier than I expected, so I put the soup in the pressure cooker to cook it a little faster. This is my mother's pressure cooker and though I don't cook a lot with the pressure lid, I figure her wisdom would rub off on me. Aren't these things inherent?
The soup was really boiling and the steam was screaming out of the pressure gauge. I wondered if I should turn it down or check the soup to see if it was getting done. The lid has some warnings on it, like don't fill the pot too full, let steam out before opening, etc. I had this all under control, turned the handle, let steam out and figured I was good - so I opened the lid and watched in horror as the vegetable beef soup volcano erupted all over my kitchen! I've never seen anything like it before in my life....
Luckily my husband, who already thinks I am a giant dumkoff in the kitchen, was upstairs. I let out a bunch of whisper screams ( you know you've done it before, and if you haven't---- -la-de-friggin' dah..) then started scraping puddles of soup off the stove and countertop with the pan scraper back into the pot (extra flavor!)
My phone started ringing and I thought-"can't come to the phone right now- I'm scraping vegetables off of the cabinets! Please leave a message and if I get this mess cleaned up before my husband comes down the stairs, I may be alive to call you back. Besides, magical or not, I'm going to the store to BUY rolls.........

"You will do foolish things, but do it with enthusiasm." Collette

Big Ups for Triple P cont.

As far as stepdaughters go, she'll do. Aubreigh is the moderator to our Fullercoaster. We all adore her. Her sisters idolize her- her dad shares a special bond with her and she's one of my best friends. She's my wing man on many a crazy scheme and no matter if she secretly thinks I'm a superfreak, she's always got my back. I will eventually return the favor and, swallowing my terror, allow her to drive the family vehicle. I am now publicly thanking her for making my life easy as a wicked step-mother. When I made that plunge into instant mom and married her father, I never knew what a blessing she would be.

It's amazing how much of myself I see in her, even though she is genetically not mine. She loves to dance, sing and socialize. She's also got a wacky side and sees nothing wrong with wearing sparkly, shiny pants....

She has a great sense of adventure and will usually, willingly or unwillingly, go along with my schemes or come up with her own. She's the only person I know that will ride on the back of a quad with me on a dangerously crazy slope and not abandon ship when I say "I think I wet my pants.."

She is incredibly even-keeled and accepting. She lives between two families and lifestyles and comes out virtually unscathed and totally herself. We are just grateful that she keeps coming back for more.....

Aubreigh is the reason I ferociously play Guitar Hero into the wee hours of the morning (partly because she cheats and I have to catch up to her high score).

She puts up with her sisters who are 7 and 10 years younger and who, despite the fact that they drive her crazy, think she is a mix of Hannah Montana and Kim Possible all rolled into one.

She can talk her father into almost anything and acts as an emissary for me on a regular basis. He adores her and although he has a hard time with the fact that she is growing up, is fiercely proud of her. Both he and I would take her in a second if she decided to stay with us year round

She is beautiful inside and out. Her cracker stepmother is jealous of her insta-tan in the Summer and her long, thick, beautiful hair. By the way, a public thank you for putting up with all of the home haircuts and me attempting to wax your eyebrows at the tender age of 10.

Her sense of humor is brilliant and she cracks me up on a regular basis- even when I don't want to laugh. She finds humor in everyday things and puts up with our wackiness in good humor. While camping this summer, she and I ran into the metropolis of Heber-Overgaard to get s'more makings and ice. We found a little country store and barely, got the things we needed. The poor clerk was obviously foreign and when I asked for ice, he said, "IZEOWSAI". At a loss I looked at Aubreigh to translate. She stood there with her mouth twitching, but saying nothing. The clerk said, a few more times, "IZEOWSAI, IZEOWSAI!" I said, "Oh, no ice?!" To which he raised his voice and pointed "IZEOWSAI!!!!!!" I said, "whatever", and paid for my groceries. Aubreigh immediately grabbed my arm with me muttering sarcastically, "I hope he'll be okay...." and yanked me out of the market, over to the now visible ice machine and yelled " IZEOWSAI!!!!" That became our tag phrase for the rest of the trip-something to say when nothing else could be siad or even when prompted for a reponse to a question. Later that night, the manager of the campground was driving around at 11 or so, turning off generators and checking the camp. At one point he yelled something into the night and Aubreigh and I, still being awake, turned to Doug in our camper and asked, "What did he just yell?" Thinking that there was potentially a problem.. Doug grinned and said, "I don't know, but I think it was ................................IZEOWSAI!

Aubreigh is a keeper and a blessing in our lives. We love to see her come and cry when we see her go. Even though we aren't there to see all of her triumphs and see her through her valleys, we are very proud of her and are always here in case she decides to call or drop in for a visit. SO BIG UPS, GIRL- WE LOVE YOU!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Big Ups for Triple P

My 14 yr old daughter (or step-daughter, technically, since she did not come out of me)but daughter all the same-earned the nickname Triple P this summer. It all started with the hat - or I think it was a hat. She showed up at the airport for our summer of fun in a boheme outfit, with this "thing" on her head. I immediately went into flashback-to the year 1980-and saw as clear as day "The Purple Pieman"! The resemblance was overwhelming, but I'll let you be the judge.....





So she became our Purple Pie Princess with an unnatural affinity to blackbirds or crows or whatever they are-don't ask me-I just made the connection. Purple Pie Princess was shortened to Triple P and a moniker was born!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You have to be THIS big to ride......

*******Caution******** This post may contain content not suitable for younger riders, or those with heart problems, etc. It's a little spicy......so be forewarned! However, the source is a very well known short person around here and since this is kind of like our family journal, I couldn't leave this out. Like Pioneer Woman says, "Just keepin' it real!"

The other day Doug was a little grumpy and I was trying to budge him from this state by asking him 20 questions about what he would like to go and do, see, etc. We had others in the room and after too much of a barrage of "concerned love", I guess, Doug said, "Tell Mom to stop harassin' me!" Jorj came around the corner just at that minute and said, "Yeah, Mom! Stop puttin' your ass on Dad!" We were shocked for a moment, then puzzled, then realized, as I looked down, that I was indeed, sitting on Doug's lap. Cut to the laugh track.

Life is never boring with Jorja. She pretty much calls it as she sees it. As for the language, I'm not naming any names, but I can say with a clear conscience that somebody around here needs to wash his mouth out........maybe that's why we stock so much Listerine. To be fair, though, this comes from a girl who has almost convinced her sitter (and my friend) that I drink coffee and have a special mug that I drink it out of????????wha?????(I have almost been driven to the hard stuff from time to time, but coffee has never called my name) and who also has been attacked mutliple times by tigers and alligators. Ask her next time where that scratch or cut came from! I believe there have been recent monkey sightings.....When you meet Jorj on the street, ask her where she's from or where she was born------New York, of course-------same answer every time, never been there in her life, but hey! She also informed a kindly old grandpa, not one of ours, mind you, that her mom likes to sniff her dad's armpits! I was close by for that one and promptly refuted this, to which she practically winked and put her hand by her mouth and conspiratorily whispered to the man as I was pulling her away, "she does, I've seen it!"
I could say that I don't know where she gets this penchant for imagination and joie de vivre, but I would not be completely truthful. Just ask my brothers and sisters. However, Jorja likes to kick it up a notch...........BAM!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Into The Great Wide Open

Ahh, Fall Break. Since Doug had to work and I needed to set up my classroom for my new class AGAIN (don't ask) we didn't take any long trips. However, this did not impede our desire to adventure, so we decided to go camping close to home.

Doug made a roaring fire......

We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for s'mores...

And sang camp songs!

The weather was beautiful and there were so many stars.

We bunked down in our trusty tent to watch a video and eventually get some sleep

The facilities were very nice- comfortable beds, showers, electrical outlets-you name it, they had it.

We had such a great time, I would definitely recommend it to everyone.

In fact, the next morning, when I found him, Doug said it was some of the best sleep he'd ever had!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Start The Ride!

Technically, this all started back in 2000, new millenium, new century, new start- but they say today is the first day of the rest of your life, right? Since it is Fall Break and I am just languishing here in my bed with a box of Leonidas chocolates (Bond boot camp members did NOT read that) and nothing else to do.........kids, what kids!?.........oh you mean that crash and scream downstairs? excuse me.........what are you two ?............... Jorja, where did you put the playdough? (Marley, our min-pin, making tiny hacking sounds) Afton, I appreciate the effort at breakfast (truly I do), but Alton Brown(her hero) had many years of culinary school before attempting Dutch babies.......yes, get the handi vac, what's one more plate? By the way, you wouldn't happen to know where all of our forks have gone to?............

Simple truth for the day: Mothers and teachers are paid farrrrrrrrr too little.