September 27, 2011

Brains, Heart, and Courage

Last Friday was Chillicothe's Homecoming.  
That means much more to me than it used to.   I have a high school football player now.  It also means that I'm in a group called "football moms".  We painted business windows with our kid names.  We tied ribbons on every single car's antennae at the high school Friday morning.  Approximately 8,938,924 of them.  If they didn't have antennas, we tied them on the wiper blades.  I came across one car that had neither wipers or an antennae.   We make desserts for Thursday night team dinners.  We give the boys treats for the bus ride on away games and we ride on floats during the 
Homecoming parade.  

Then on Friday evening.....
I planted my hiney on a stadium bleacher, alongside my hubby.  Ryan usually plays in the J.V. games and we were flabbergasted when he didn't run out with them.  What Rick didn't know.......what I didn't know......what Ryan didn't know until moments before, was that he was starting his first Varsity game!  


My pulse quickened.
I couldn't feel my limbs.
I started to sweat.
I thought my head might explode!

There is my boy.  You see that guy running across the field?  He's my son.  #84.........I am his mother!

His name was announced overhead and I sort-of remember it, but it all seems a little fuzzy now.  I do recall them saying something like this.........
A sophomore, playing end...............RYAN SMITH!!!!!!!!

Then the Hornets swarmed into a huddle.  (you get it?  Swarmed.......the Hornets swarmed.  Oh forget it.)

Then the dance squad walked onto the field and did the cutest rendition of "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead" I've ever heard.   Are you noticing our Homecoming theme yet?  

Then, before I could catch my breath, they were lining up on the field.
I said several quick prayers.  Something about protecting him, blessing him and guiding him.  Again, my brain still was not clicking on all cylinders.  

I always know where my boys are on the field.  Both Ryan and Ian stand at least a head taller than everyone else.  So, I scan their helmets.  The one that sticks up above the others is usually my kid.  Even though I cannot see his number in this picture, I still know exactly where he is.  It's convenient.

And that would be Ryan before 2,000 pounds of boy pounced on him.
(sure glad I prayed)

He gets his facial expressions from his father.


Put 'em up, put 'em up!  Which one of you first?  I'll fight you both together if you want.

I'll fight you with one paw tied behind my back.  I'll fight you standing on one foot.

I'll fight you with my eyes closed.

Ohh, pullin' an axe on me, 'eh?  Sneaking up on me, 'eh?

Ryan, I know you don't read this blog.  It embarrasses you, I'm sure.  But in case you ever do, I want you to know that this was one of my proudest moments.   Your dad was just as proud, if not more.  We were both running on 100% adrenaline.   
You are not just an amazing athlete, your a kind young man.  You're smart and I simply cannot tell you how much I love you.  I know that I'm impatient with you sometimes.  I understand that I'm overprotective and annoying.  It's just because I KNOW I will have more proud moments like this one.  I also know that it won't always include a ball.  

You have a heart like the Tin-man....
You have brains like the Scarecrow....
You have courage like the Lion......

and I love you.

September 26, 2011

Mad Science

Well, hello Monday!
Seems like you were just here, doesn't it?

Last week, like many of my weeks, was a complete blur!
I've ran to and fro between practices, ball games, and the grocery store countless times.  Then you throw in an inkling to organize every drawer, cabinet and storage room within a 10 acre radius, and here I sit.  Ready to start it all over again.  
Please don't think I'm complaining!  I enjoy a busy life.
I do not believe the quote that says....
“Life is just a quick succession of busy nothings.” ~ Jane Austen.   

I do believe that for myself, idleness leads to boredom.  I'm happiest when I'm involved with my family, my children, my husband and my friends.  
You don't have to agree, that's just my way.  And for me, it seems to work.

In between the aforementioned things I accomplished last week, I decorated for Halloween.
I love to "SPOOK" the house up a bit.  I dangle snakes from the light fixtures and place mice on the bookshelves.  I drape gauzy fabric from the furniture and pose the skeletons on mantel.
I add something new every year to our crazy collection of eerie frights.  
This year I may have my new all-time favorite.  Dr. Giggles, the mad-scientist.  I love him for 3 reasons.
#1. He makes reference to diarrhea, and that instantly made him apart of our family.
#2. He seems more rattled than me, based on the four or five things he says.
#3. He seems misunderstood........and I always root for the underdog.

Without further ado, friends, I introduce to you, Dr. Giggles.
Dr. Giggles, I introduce you to my cyber family.

I supplied Dr. Giggles with an assortment of chemicals and potions for his experiments and such.  
Everyone knows that you cannot complete a lab experiment without deer antlers and severed fingers.  

I combined potassium chloride and liquid ammonia to make a potent truth serum.  Anyone care to join me for dinner?  Mah wah hah!  
(Disclaimer:  I have no idea what happens when you combine potassium chloride and liquid ammonia.  Do not try at home.  I may.....or may not have added a wee bit of red food coloring to water and slapped a Martha Stewart halloween label on an old margarita mix bottle.)

These beauties on the other hand are authentic, certifiable, and bona-fide.  These are old medicine bottles that Rick and I have collected for eons.  Grandma and Grandpa Howe and my Aunt Pammy have helped us add the assortment over the years.  

Rick's Granny and Grandpa Smith owned a pharmacy 
When Grandpa passed, Granny had an auction and we purchased some of their old supplies.  We were newly married and pinched for extra cash, so we didn't get it all.  We kick ourselves for not buying it all now....but at the time, it just didn't seem practical.  

You may have to squint, but I am amazed at the advise this author gave pregnant women on smoking.  Jeez...times have sure changed.  

I thought I would close with a few mad scientist images I found and a rock candy science experiment I would like to try with the kids.  I'm off to mow the yard.  Hopefully for the last time this year!!!!!

Happy Monday! 

Rock Candy for Kids

    • 2 cups granulated sugar

    Heavy cord

    • 1 cup water


  1. Put one cup of water into a small saucepan, pour 2 cups of granulated sugar into the water, heat the water and sugar on the stove over a medium heat, continue stirring until the sugar melts, keep adding sugar and stirring until it melts, stop adding sugar when you see that it will no longer dissolve in the water (that is until you see sugar lying on the bottom of the saucepan). Remove the pot from the stove, let the liquid cool until it is just warm.
  2. Pour the liquid into a clean glass jar.
  3. Tie one end of a piece of heavy cord around the middle of a pencil.
  4. Place the pencil over the top of the glass jar letting the cord fall into the liquid.
  5. Crystals will begin to form in a few hours The next day, remove the cord from the jar, pour the sugar liquid back into the saucepan, reheat and cool it just as you did before. Pour the liquid back into the jar and reinsert the cord with the crystals into it. More crystals will form.
  6. If you repeat this procedure every day the crystal candy will grow bigger and bigger.
  7. When it has reached a size that pleases you, snip off any excess string and enjoy.

September 19, 2011

The Big 1-0

So, I've been thinking about birthdays.
(You know, a caution sign should flash above my head when I start thinking). 

Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone had a sign that flashed their mood above their head?
If I embarrassed my children, their sign would flash "embarrassed".
If I made my hubby mad, his would flash "ANGRY"!
If I frustrated a store clerk, it would flash (yes, you guessed it)..."frustrated".
Gosh, how easy would that be.

Oh wait!  That means that when I go to church and I'm annoyed because the cat puked on the floor and no one can clean it up but me (strange how that is, huh?)  The kids have fought all morning and the husband is watching ESPN while I'm trying to get myself and the monkeys ready.  I was having a good hair day until I walked outside and noticed it was raining.  I plaster a smile across my face because that is what everyone does when they walk into church.  My flashing sign would say, "#%@#-ed off beyond words and nothing the pastor says today is going to sink in because I'm having a pity party.  Look at how happy all these other people are.  Smiling......twinkling eyes.....and cute little cheek dimples."  (I'm going to need a very large sign).
Then I read their signs..........and I begin to feel better.

Whoa, I think this post was supposed to be about a birthday!  
Now do you see now why I need a caution sign?

OK, I've collected my thoughts.
As I was beginning to tell you, I've been thinking about birthdays.
Namely because my sweet, little, angel, baby girl celebrated her 10th birthday last week.
Yup, she has blessed my world for a whole decade.
In some ways, I cannot remember my life without her.  
Then other times, I think about the time I held her for the very first time, and it feels like yesterday.
She is my pal.  My sidekick (or maybe I'm her sidekick).  

Birthdays are to Gracie like peanut butter is to jelly.  She thinks about her birthday.  She plans her parties year round.  She changes her party ideas 4,234 times throughout the year.  A week before her birthday, she told me she was going to take many naps and go to bed early every night, so her birthday would get here quicker.
NOTE: She just turned 10 and she is already planning her sweet 16. 
What I'm trying to say is........for Emma Grace, birthdays are BIG! 

Gus' birthday was June 9th.  He could care less!  Birthdays mean nothing to him.
However, he understands that they mean a lot to Gracie, so he mustered up some extra energy and joined us for the gift opening ceremony.  (If Gus had a sign above his head in this picture, it would say "BORED")

We all signed a card for her.  Everyone knows (but no one admits), opening a card before a gift is semi worthless.  We are all so curious about what they gift is that we hardly read the card.  Anyone relate?  I'm speaking the truth here, people!

Gracie did a very good job of acting like she was interested in the card.  

Because she has opened many gifts in this particular shape, she pretty well knew what was inside the package.  

She also told me multiple times exactly what she wanted.  She marked catalogs and left them on the counter for me to see. 

Please ignore that my middle child is picking his toenails off in this photo.

This is what Gracie asked for......her gazillion-th American Girl doll.  She wanted this one because she has super long hair.  My daughter has hair styling DVD's THAT SHE WATCHES!!!  She watches YOUTUBE videos on up-do's and braiding.  Most girls want headbands and bows for their hair.....Gracie wants them for her dolls.  

Gus has just about reached the top of his patience max!

Gus doesn't need a caution sign, he has a tongue!

Gracie did not know that Rick and I purchased a gift that she didn't ask for.  As a matter of fact, we purchased this gift almost 5 months ago.  Maybe even longer ago than that.  

The gift was four tickets to see Taylor Swift in concert.  

She has never been to a concert and has never seen a concert ticket, so it took a little bit for her to figure it out.  

She looked and looked.  The sign above her head would say, "Confused"!

Then it clicked!  She read the name on the ticket.  He turned bright red, started shaking like a leaf and then had a little trouble breathing.  
You see, when you ask Gracie what she wants to be when she grows up, she says, "I want to write songs for Taylor Swift".  She has a karaoke machine and sings Taylor Swift all the time.  She has all her CD's and knows every song like the back of her hand.  
I have never seen her so excited in all my life!  She called four or five people to tell them.  She squealed for over an hour.  She jumped up and down and ran around the house.  

Aunt Pam was on speaker phone with us while Gracie opened her gifts.  
Yes.....I took a picture of the phone.

The concert is this Saturday and I cannot wait to show you pictures.  

Gus' sign now says, "misery".  
Yes, Ian is still picking his toenails.
And yes, I put a strategically placed a sea shell on Gus because I care about you.

Happy Birthday Gracie!