Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beautiful Music

The kids had their recital last night!  It was a big night, and the whole group did a fabulous job.  They played "In the Morning" in unison... and they did so beautifully!  The suzuki-esque piano lessons that they have been taking this year at our hybrid school have been such a hit.  The fact that their classmates are all working, together, on the same creative outlet has been so motivating for them.  I am a believer in the Suzuki method, but more importantly, I am a believer in just surrounding kids with music, with possibilities for learning music, and letting them grow.  As I plan out another year at our school house, I really hope that I can find a band director who would be willing to help me start a homeschool community band.  At the moment, I have no idea how, but I am sure it will happen!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Moving the Chickens

Ellen and the kids came over for an impromptu dinner! I decided to use this extra large group of children to help me move the young chickens out of their truck-camper-chicken-brooder (which works beautifully, by the way) and into the coop with their slightly older counterparts. I tried, and failed, at this task by myself last weekend. This time went much more smoothly!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

36 hours.

The whirlwind birthday trip is over.  I highly recommend having a crazy birthday that actually makes you feel younger instead of older. This one definitely had that effect.

It had been 16 hours since Jeff came up with this crazy plan. We were running a little late on Saturday morning, but were out the door and heading to the airport by 6:45am.  Much to our surprise, we were too late to check in for the 8:00 flight.  Ridiculous, since we definitely could have made it to the terminal in time.  Jeff was a little anxious, and then I reminded him.... there was nothing to be late for.  We have no plans until 9pm.  No worries.... we could just grab a coffee and hang out until the 9:00 flight.

We made it to Orlando and were picking up our rental car by 11:00.  If felt pretty strange to be getting off a plane with no bags!  Because Jeff used to work on the database systems of some large theme parks, he knew someone in Orlando who could recommend a good lunch. We hung out, at lunch with them, and then they were able to get us in as their guests to Sea World.  There have been a few times that I have been able to walk around various theme parks for free... and it's a wonderful thing.  No pressure, no hurry.  You just get to leisurely take in what you can, and enjoy!  We hit a few shows, saw some cool animals, and hung out until we were ready to head over to Downtown Disney for dinner.

As it turned out, House of Blues had a deal where you could spend $20 per person on either food or merchandise and get into the "pass the line" line for the show.  The chef had changed since the last time we were there, which made me a little nervous since their ribs were so good before.  But, it turned out that the food was amazing.  We ate, wandered around looking for coffee and chocolate, and then jumped into the very long "pass the line" line.  We never saw the regular line, but I bet it was crazy.

It was 8:00.  We stood in line for an hour until doors opened.  We stood waiting for the crappy opening act for an hour.  We stood watching the crappy opening act until 11:00.  Then, we stood waiting for Axl until 12:15.  We had great spots, about 10 feet from the stage.  We had planned ahead... no drinks, empty bladders.  All of these poor souls were fighting to get to the bar or the bathroom, and we stood firm and inched up.  Sweet.

We were in a crowd of mostly 30-50 somethings.  Grumpy wives who didn't want to be there.  Tired men who were, well, acting like tired men.  But, as soon as GnR took stage, no one felt their aching backs anymore.  It was amazing.  Seriously.   And, I saw it up super close in a venue of only 1400.

Axl has a self-made mountain to climb.  He broke up one of the best bands of all time.  He spent 15 years ticking off even his most devoted fans.  He "came back" and made a fool of himself in 2002, in a depressing display that could only be pitied.  It would take an absolute miracle for him to impress the masses now.... and his miracle has come.  This band is amazing.  He is amazing.  He is playing over three hour shows, and with album quality vocals.  No one left there without feeling that they witnessed something awesome.  It was like he was back from the dead.  But, the amazing thing is that the desire that we all have for the band to reunite is, shockingly, gone.  There is no need.  What he has created right now is jaw-dropping.

It would take such a jaw-dropping show to keep us all pumped up until the show ended at 3:20am.  From there, Jeff and I jumped into the car and headed to the airport for a 5:30 flight.  At the terminal, we realized that the flight home wasn't going to be easy.  There were 22 flying stand by and only 5 seats.  Needless to say, we didn't get on.  We crashed out on chairs while were waiting for the 6:30 flight.  No go.  So, we rushed across to another terminal to try for the 7:30.  I got some pretty good sleep underneath the airport chairs in between disappointments.  Honestly, I didn't mind.  At home, I would be picking up the kids... no sleep.  At least I was getting some shut eye on the airport floor.

By 10:30, we realized that we had to make a decision.  The attendants looked ahead and let us know that there was no real shot of getting home until at least 1:30, and then it was iffy.  So, we made the call, got a refund, and rented a car.   At 6:30pm, we pulled into town, in the same clothes that we left home in the morning before.  Picked up the kids, headed home, put everyone to bed, and was up in the morning for a typical Monday.

36 hours of the best. birthday. ever!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why I'm a "yes" person.

 I mentioned that Jeff went to see Guns and Roses last night.  As it turns out, even the biggest skeptic going in came out exclaiming that Axl had completely redeemed himself.  The show must have been phenomenal.  They came on stage at midnight, played till 3, and Jeff got home at around 5am.  At 8:30, he was working (from home).... running on adrenaline I supposed, as he was psyched up about the show.

At 10:00 this morning, Jeff asked me if I would be interested in a insane, totally bizarre idea.  He wondered if I would be interested in going to the next GnR show... tomorrow night... for my birthday... in Orlando, at the House of Blues.  I started to go through possible complications, when he stopped me... and just asked if I would want to if we could.  Of course, I said "yes".  I always say "yes".  He could have said, "Let's fly to Nebraska and see Henry Rollins doing this musical about the life of a Panda" and I would be all for it.  I'm a "yes" person to a fault.

I called Mom and asked if she could watch the girls (the boys are in the mountains with Grandmomma and Granddaddy for the weekend), and she said she could.  So, I pass on the info to Jeff.  Unfortunately, the show had sold out at 9am.  Ah well, it was a crazy idea, anyways.

10 minutes later, Jeff called from the next room that he had managed to snag tickets.  Love that "refresh" button.  Now... the trick of grabbing plane tickets.  Since we were needing to fly non-rev, we had to start out on a very early flight.  Too early.  As in, before Mom could watch the girls, early.  Drat again.  We texted, messaged, and called everyone we could think of that might be able to watch the girls from 6:30am until noon.  Miserable hours for a Saturday morning... or any morning!  We had purchased concert tickets AND plane tickets, so it just had to work out!

Then, I heard Jeff on the phone with someone... I had no idea who.  I listened as he spouted on and on about this crazy, spur of the moment idea, and how we know we're asking a lot but.... and then, his tone changed from a begging one to a thankful one.  You see, we had planned to have Allison and Tim over to discuss their upcoming Disney plans.  Jeff had called Allison to see if they wanted to come over, discuss Disney, eat dinner, and oh... yeah... maybe watch the kids the next morning!  The plan was set for dinner and more! 

Now, the plates are cleared, the dishwasher is running, my little carry on is packed with things to get us through a day in Orlando as we hang out waiting for the show that night.  The plan is this... to get off the plane at about 9:30 in the morning, grab a rental car (yay for coupon codes!), and wander until dinner.  The show will most likely be like last night, with Axl taking stage at 12 and playing till 3.  After the show, we drive straight to the airport and hit a 5:30am flight home.  24 hour plan, no hotel room, no sleep, and no hard core plan... sounds like the makings of a great birthday to me!

Off to bed, as I will be up in 5 hours to begin my spontaneous birthday escapade.

Let the wild rompus begin!

Friday, March 2, 2012


Ivey and I went to the grocery store by ourselves today.  She's a totally different little being without the craziness of the other three.  She carried the basket and was an angel throughout the store.  As a reward, she was able to get a cookie at the bakery.  It turned out that she didn't get the exact cookie that she wanted, resulting in slumped shoulders and a pouty face.

I sternly explained that she can give that cookie back.

"Put a smile on your face or I'm taking that cookie.", I explained.

She looked up, and in an exasperated tone said, "I just can't!  It keeps falling off!"

I hate it when I try to put a smile on my face and it keeps falling off.  So, I told her what the best thing is for keeping a smile on your face..... a cookie.

It was a silly enough comment for her smile to finally stick.  And, off we skipped, happy with the cookie that we were given.

"Reminds me of childhood memories Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue skyyy."

 We had a fantastic day at "school" today.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the math was actually colorful and our lesson on sound waves was musical.  I love the harmony of our class.  I love the closeness, and the respectfulness.  And, I am so very glad that we will be doing it  again next year!

After school, Asa, Addison, Anna, and I always head home to relieve Gina.  Usually, Gina takes Anna home... but not today.  Jeff wouldn't be home tonight, and I'd be on my own.  Anytime the only other adult in our household has plans, I feel the need to amp up the nightly routine a little.  I mean, I am here all day, every day.  Same mouths eating the same foods at the same tables.  I gotta shake it up a little, right?

Because I was going to be on my own tonight, Ellen and I devised a plan to get together for leftovers at my house.    So, we kept Anna, and Ellen brought her other two over, along with baby carrots and a ton of apples.  The kids played like maniacs, jumped on the trampoline, ate all of the leftover birthday pizza, and then proceeded to crank up the music from one of their American Revolution animation videos and put on a performance for us mommies.

Addison would come into the kitchen, calmly stating something like, "In this scene, the patriots are armed with cannons and muskets, and closing in on the troops."  The music would crank up a notch, and here the kids would march, all 6 of them (Carris was finishing dinner, amused by the unexpected dinner theater), guns drawn.  At one point, Asa had decided to wheel Bennett in, as if he were the cannon.  They must have repeated this with 5 or 6 different scenes of American Revolutionary War battles.  Loving every minute of it.... especially Ivey.

 And where is Jeff on this fine night?  He's the GNR show at the Tabernacle, which I wholeheartedly supported.  As someone who recently missed out on being in close proximity to Jack White (because I was dumb enough to confirm a sitter BEFORE purchasing tickets), I gave him the thumbs up to head out.  Hopefully, he is enjoying a great show and not burning images and sounds into his psyche that will require hypnotherapy to remove.  I'm thinking positively.  That he is out there, with great friends, witnessing the downright non-depressing Axl performance of his dreams.  :)

Let me just say that being 2 does not become Olive.  She is a bossy little selfish bully.... complete with "no" and "mine" and all of the other obnoxious tools that the two year old fairy must have left her under her pillow last Sunday.  While poor Carris attempted to enjoy our house, bossy Olive had to walk around exclaiming, "No, those are MY pajamas!"  Like Carris wants your pajamas.  Sheesh!  Olive even demanded to use the potty just because Carris was on her potty.  And, she went.  I'm sure out of either spite or just to mark her territory.  Ivey took on whininess as her two year old weapon of choice.  Olive appears to be interested in a less passive route.  Lord help us all.

At one point, Ivey told Olive, "Olive, do not say no to Mommy.  Say yes ma'am to her.  She is great, Olive."  and this gem of advice, "Olive, when you feel anger, you need to say stop that to your anger."  I guess that's the difference between a girl on the beginning of this painful learning process and a girl who is starting to pull those pieces together and gain some self control on the issue.  Ivey has been so much better.  Typically, once we say that it's bedtime, Ivey falls into hysterical whining and sobbing.  For three days we explained that we can tuck her in, kiss her head, and tell her how much we love her, but we do not sit and rock a girl who acts like that.  Each night, she fell apart for having to go to bed, and each night, she did not get to rock.  On night 4, she happily shared that she was going to rock me that night because she was going to do no more whining and crying.  You know what?  She did.  And, it was a long, sweet, awesome rock with songs galore.  Withholding a nightly rock too harsh?  Not nearly as harsh as the punishment to the world would have been by releasing another emotionally driven tantrum prone girl into the mix.  My girl is learning self control.... and is aware of it.... and it coaching it to her baby sister.  I call that success.

And now, speaking of success, I must go and tend to my 2 and 3 year olds, who managed to sneak past me with a full cup of water, spill it, and then devise a plan to smear it up with toilet paper, which is now in tiny, wet pieces all. over. my. rug.  Sigh.  Back to work!