Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Packing for a Trip: Why can't it be that simple?

So as I mentioned previously, we are heading to a family reunion a couple states away. 
Eight hours of driving with two teens.  #Iknowyouwishyoucouldbeme

In preparation for this event, I told the kids they were now old enough to pack their own suitcases. They are both teens now, afterall.
It shouldn't be hard...
2 days in a car=traveling clothes a.k.a. comfy clothes
2 days around other people who haven't seen us in 5 years = please dress in something that won't embarrass me and/or show your underwear.

I shared articles I found online giving directions on How to pack a suitcase  so the clothes don't get wrinkled (you can click on that link.. there's a video),

checklists to make sure you don't forget anything, 

all those great pieces of information to help my children be responsible in this task.

The girlchild, just like her mother, has been thinking on these things for quite a few days now. 
She's made a list of all the things she needs to bring: makeup, toiletries, swimwear, 12 pairs of shoes, half her closet... #momweneedtodolaundrynow!......you get the drift.

The boychild, however, has not even begun to think about what will be going in his suitcase, let alone if it's even clean. 
I can foresee how his packing will occur:  
   1. Pick up t-shirt, sniff to make sure it's clean, wad it up and put it in the suitcase.
   2. Rummage around for a pair of shorts, again sniffing to make sure they are clean, because of course they were not put in the dresser when they were folded by his loving mother and brought to him fresh from the dryer. Oh no.. they laid around on an end table, or were pulled down to the floor for the dog to make a bed on. That's how things happen in that room.
  3. Remember what Mom said about not embarrassing her, so repeat steps 1 and 2 to find an additional set of clothes.
  4. Throw in a pair of underwear, a pair of socks, and his swimsuit (after the girlchild reminds him of the pool at the motel of course).
  5. Put suitcase in the car, only to take it out again as Mom questions him about such items as his toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant. #ohyehIforgot
  6. Add another, bigger, bag to the trunk holding video games, the Xbox, and headset b/c "the motel will a tv, Mom!" #sheesh

At least he knows to get his stuff in the car before the girlchild (and their mother) start trying to load up their dozen bags between them.

So if you see a small SUV driving along I-40 through Tennessee over the weekend that looks a little like this,

 please be patient with it... cuz Mama can't see out the back and is trying to follow the GPS' directions, the girlchild will be pouting because she couldn't fit in "that one thing she really needed", and the boychild will be mad because that one thing he wanted to look at will be in the bag at the bottom of the pile!

Can You Go to a Family Reunion and Leave Your Own Family at Home?

So this weekend is my family's every 5 year family reunion.
In a different state.
400 miles away.

Only two of my children will be going with me. 
The two that can't help drive, of course.

One would think that traveling with teenagers would be so much easier than when they were little and  all of three of them would be in the car with me for our trips together. I mean, we know how kids are on long car rides... they get cranky, they get hungry, they need to potty, they whine....

Not my kids. My kids were great travelers when they were little.  Of course we invested in a tv/vcr that would plug into the cigarette lighter  power supply (oops, showing my age there) and they would either watch movies or plug the Nintendo into it and play games for hours.
Easily pacified they were. I never even had to resort to the old "give them a dose of Tylenol" trick. #notthatIwouldhave #nonotme
We once took a 9 day road trip and pretty much had an awesome time together, stopping to see lots of things and visit family and friends along the way.

But those days are over. Now they are teens.
They take up more room in the car.
They are much more opinionated over every single thing we talk about.

  • where we will eat  #notMcDonaldsagain
  • what music we listen to #yourmusicsucksmom
  • who sits where #Igetshotgun!
  • you have to go to the bathroom AGAIN? #stopdrinkingsomuchcoke
And did I mention they still can't help me drive?  If #1son were going at least I'd have some help in that area. But no... he's staying home to work. #dangresponsiblekid

And it's going to be a quick trip...two days of travel, two days of vacation... to see family we've mostly not seen since the last family reunion five years ago.  So there will lots of catching up and "Oh how you've grown"s and "I haven't seen you since you were thiiiiiiis big"s.

Luckily, my family is not one of those where everyone has to "one-up" each other. No one is in competition to be better or do better or look better than anyone else.  We all keep in touch pretty much through Facebook, sharing pictures and daily living with each other, so that I don't think there will be any big surprises.  We're just a bunch of regular folks who actually enjoy being around each other.   With food. Lots of food. Lots of GOOD food.  #mygrandmacancook

Keeping the teens entertained will be the biggest problem. There will be fun things for all the little kids to do. They are easily pacified.. pools, fishing, scooters, playing with each other. But the teens... the "Oh, I'm too cool to do that" or "I don't want to mess up my hair" teens, they are a different story.  This is when I'm thankful for technology.  I'm hoping they will find a friend in another cousin and talk about how awful their lives are together, commiserate about why they even have to go to these things, and just basically not hang on me every minute because they are "bored and there's nothing to do."   SURELY, they can find something to do for two days! 

But I digress... and I'm stalling... cuz I haven't even started packing yet. Which brings up a whole nother topic for discussion... but later. I hear the girlchild rising from her slumber which means little miss hormones will be wanting to "go do something soon" and "why aren't you dressed yet, Mom? We can't stay home all day! It's booooring!"
So, what do y'all think...  is it easier to travel with teens, or littles?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Southern Belle-ish

I'm a southern girl, born and raised, and apart from one year spent in northern California back in my early 20s, I've been living in The Natural State purt near  all my life. 

I'm proud to be a southern girl.  And aside from all this flag business going on right now, I will always be proud of that.   
Let me tell you why.

I love hearing the words "Yes ma'am" and "No sir" from not only our children, but from other adults as well. It does not offend me to have someone call me "ma'am". It is a sign of respect.
I love politeness. Waving at strangers you pass by. Holding doors for others. Letting people in front of you in the grocery line or in traffic. It's just nice and down here, it's a way of life.
And when the occasion calls for it, which it sometimes does, we will "bless your heart" in such a way you won't know we are bitch slapping you figuratively. 

I love high school and college football.  It's way more exciting than that ole' Pro stuff on tv. Going to the games wearing your teams colors, cheering from the stands, knowing the players on the field... now THAT's entertainment! #woopigsooie

I love my food cooked. Preferably on a grill.  *notice, I said on a "grill". Not on a bbq.  "BBQ" is a flavor, not a cooking apparatus.  You put bbq sauce or rub on your meat that you are going to grill.  You don't eat "grill potato chips". You eat "bbq potato chips".   Unless you are an Aussie and can use that cute phrase  "shrimp on the barbie", just stop it!!  You cook bbq on a grill.  (You can use the verb form "we are bbq-ing" to mean you are using the bbq flavor on the meat you are grilling.  "Grilling" is  also the verb form of cooking something on THE GRILL. )
And none of that raw stuff for me either... no sushi or sashimi or rare meat.  Cook that meat til it's done please!

I like dressing up for dinner. Don't get me wrong, I can live in my pj pants and tshirt all day, but when it comes time to eat, especially if you are going out or to someone's home, put on some clothes! Nice ones! And take that dadgum hat off your head when you enter a house!  If there's a ceiling over your head, your hat comes off. It's just that plain simple. 

I love that I know my neighbors. That I can run over to borrow a cup of sugar, or glass of wine, if I'm out. That they will take care of my pets should I go on vacation, and collect the mail for me.  That we stand at the fence and talk in the evenings and wave as we drive by each others' houses.  It's nice.

And we take care of each others' kids... babysitting when they are little, watching out for them as they get older and ride around the neighborhood on their bikes and scooters, later keeping an eye out on who is bringing whom home after school or on dates. Not in that nosey way... just watching out for all our kids' well being.

We take care of each other... whether there's a death in the family, a new baby arrives, new neighbors descend upon our neighborhood...you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be there with a casserole and a cake. It's just what you do.

And speaking of eating... don't count out those church potlucks once a month. Everyone brings their favorite covered dish (or a bucket of chicken if you are like me and don't cook much), and we share in the bounty together. Your church family is your extended family. In this day and age of mobility where people move away from their immediate family to take jobs or go to school, finding a good church family is a vital part of becoming involved in the community.  Those people take you in and take care of you. They become your lifeline sometimes. Don't take that for granted! And much like with your neighbors, they help you with your kids, bring you casseroles when you are sick or have a new baby or lose a family member. They are there for you.

And how can I forget the weather.  Sure...it gets a bit hot in the summer. And oh the humidity! But we, for the most part, do not have to deal with snow drifts and blizzards, having only to put up with icy roads for a day or two out of the whole year.  Sure, we close school at the first sight of a snow flurry, but that's because it's the only time we're going to see any so we want to be home to take advantage of it!  It's fleeting and thank goodness so!  This girl does not like the cold and gladly trades months on end of below 40 degree weather for a couple months of 95-100 degrees in the summer.  You may say you can always add more clothes in the winter to get warm... but once these old bones get cold and achy, they don't thaw til spring! (Which thankfully usually starts the end of February!)

So ok.. the north may have a lot of good things going for it. I know there are nice people and beautiful places up there, too.  But for crimeny's sake... could you please add some sugar to your tea and cornbread, pour that chocolate gravy on your biscuits, and relax a little.  We may take life at a slower pace down here, but that's because it gives you more time to enjoy it!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Where's That Dang Cleaning Fairy When You Need Her?

I posted a Facebook status today that read, "I've decided that today is the day I stop procrastinating. If not today, then tomorrow...next week at the very latest," .........and now I'm feeling guilty.

I really could make a living sitting on the couch drinking my coffee and trolling Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, and all those articles that suck me in like, "Last pictures of celebrities before they died" and "Celebrity Reconstruction Surgeries that Went Wrong". (yes, I like to revel in the famous people's misfortune sometimes.)
But... as much as I love wasting  spending  my time that way, and as good as I am at it, noone pays me to do it, and nothing else in this house gets done. #colormeresponsible

So.. today's task will be cleaning out the whatusetobeadiningroom room.

Yes.. one of THOSE rooms. Everybody has one, right? A room that should be serving a greater purpose but has become the junk room? No?... Just me?  #crapIreallyamaslob

When I got married 5 years ago and moved into my husband's house, this room was the formal dining room. We never used it for that, but it had all the requisite furniture in it... a dining table and chairs.
With the addition of myself and 3 kids some rearranging had to be done. Our house only has 3 bedrooms, so with 4 kids, only one being a girl, and one/the oldest/his son not wanting to share a room with 2 new step brothers (which I totally get), we had to make a place for my boys.  Now, some of you already know that my boys do not live with us full time. They live with their dad during the school year. Maybe in another entry sometime I'll share the reasons they needed to go to a smaller school than the one we have here and how even though it broke my heart I knew it was the best thing for them... but not today. 
So.. this diningroom room, that nobody ever ate in, got delegated to becoming their part time when they are here bedroom.  So, we moved out the table and chairs and made a place for them in our large living room area over by the front full window where it looks quite nice actually, and put in 2 twin beds and a dresser and tv.  The only trouble was, that as most diningrooms go, it had no doors. So... in the name of privacy, we got thick dark curtains to hang in the 2 entryways to give the room a more bedroom-nobody-can-see-in-here feeling. Trouble with THAT was.. we could still hear the noise from in there, and they could still hear the noise from the living room.  So that didn't work.   
To make a long story short... since the boys spent most of their time playing video games in the gameroom, and never went to bed before us anyway, they wound up taking up residence on the couch in the living room and the loveseat in the gameroom when it came time to sleep.  Thus.. leaving the diningroom free to just pile our stuff in.
Eventually the beds got sold since noone was using them, and a treadmill got moved in there (b/c I'm such an avid workout enthusiast) as well as an extra sofa I had from my previous before-marriage home (where I actually spent more time when I was suppose to be on the treadmill.)  And then the stuff happened.
You know.. Stuff.
Clothes starting piling up on the treadmill.
Rubbermaid tubs got placed in there during the Christmas season after being emptied of their holiday decor. Then more tubs holding all those yearbooks and photo albums I'm going to sort through and put on a shelf someday (I swear I am).  
Then stuff brought home from school got dumped in there.  And all the things I really have no other place for started finding a home in there. #wrappingpaperandbags #akeyboardpiano #BoxTops (oh the boxtops!!)

----- pics of what I'm up against---

Every time I walk past this room, which has been devoid of its curtains now for a couple years, I think to myself, "Self.. (so I'll know who I'm talking to)...you really need to get in there and do something about that mess."  To which I answer, "Yeh yeh.. I know. I will." (I can't NOT answer myself... that would be rude.)
So.. today.. on this day.. since school is out and I'm not obligated to be anywhere else for the next 3 hours, I shall tackle the whatusetobeadiningroom room. 

But not until after I eat this hot pocket.

Monday, June 15, 2015

What's in Your Wallet?

A woman's purse is her life.
Everything she holds dear goes into that thing. 
  • wallet
  • phone
  • keys
  • lipstick
  • pictures of her children

Sometimes there's more, depending on the woman:
  • notepads
  • ink pens
  • receipts
  • lotion

And if you are a mom of small kids you might even carry around emergency items:
  • extra diaper
  • juice box
  • snack
  • pacifier

But if you are me... well, there is really NO telling what you might find in my bag on any given day. Sure, I carry all those things listed above...well, not the baby stuff. I don't think. 
*note to self: make sure no diapers are in my purse  #girlchildisnow15 #thatwouldbeweird

But yes, I do get chided sometimes for the things one might find in there, should they be rummaging through it looking for something.   Things like a pair of scissors, outdated postage stamps, boxtops that expired in 2009,  an address book from when I was in college (#notsayinghowlongagothatwas).... 

or maybe a burrito:

or maybe 1/2 a chicken salad sandwich:

I've been known to have a taco or even a McDonald's cheeseburger in there.. yanno, just in case.

Suffice it to say I'd be prepared should I ever run into Monty Hall and he wanted to Make A Deal with me!!   #alwaysprepared 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Reformed sun goddess

So I bought this seemingly harmless bottle/tube of lotion about 3 weeks ago, and I've been afraid to open it.


to open lotion.

Yes, that would be me. With the pasty white legs. In desperate need of some color but now too "informed" to go back to tanning beds, and too busy to lay out myself.

My best friend uses the stuff all the time. "Try it" she said. "You'll like it!"  (whoa...deja vu! now I want some cereal.)

But it's just sitting there, on my bathroom counter. Taunting me.

What am I so scared of? It's just a tube of lotion, right?
Lotion that has the power to help me change from looking like Casper the Ghost to becoming the next Princess Jasmine.  Right?
Or maybe... maybe it will make me look more like her tiger.. with all the stripes.

THAT is the power my friends... it has the power to put colored streaks all over my body and stain my hands into looking like I've eaten a whole bag of cheese puffs, without the actual advantage of actually haven eaten said puffs.

Oh yes... that is a powerful little tube right there, and it is taunting me... 
"Come on.. rub me on.. I'll make you beautiful."

We'll see sunless tanning lotion... we'll see.
One day soon I'll have the time to apply you carefully and let you dry without staining my furniture and streaking my legs...
but until then... until I face my fears... ya better don your sunglasses because the glare from my legs will blind you!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Apply Liberally

So I've been using this foundation for years now.  And I guess it does what it claims to... rewinds my appearance back to a time past...makes my face look more youthful. I mean, I do get told I don't look my age. Often.  I'm pushing 50 and the checker at Walmart still asks me for ID to make sure I'm at least 40 when I make certain purchases.

But  I need it to do more.
I need it to make ALL of me more youthful looking.
or feeling, rather.

Do you think I could get a whole vat of it and start chunky dunking in it?  


Monday, June 8, 2015

So I've Decided to Start a Blog

So people tell me all the time I should blog.

"Blog about what?" I ask. 

"All those funny things you post on Facebook and stuff. You're so funny."

"Don't listen to them, Mom. You're not funny," says the girlchild.

"I'm a little bit funny," I reply.

"No...no, you're not," responds the girlchild.

"People on Facebook think I am," I tell her.

"They're old like you and they don't know any better," she announces.

So... I'm old and not funny.

You've been warned.