Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fadre Does the Sweetest Things for Me!

Fadre took this

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to here for me last night

because the weatherman mentioned


but all we got was this

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and this

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and up close it looked like this

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but it was enough to cause this

which made the children do this.


Dinner Last Friday

Last Friday night while I was doing laundry at Nana’s, she let us all make our own pizzas.  Don’t they look good?

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Okay, the one with the funky shaped crust is the Silly Yak pizza for Nana and iNik.

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The girls liked it.

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I have no idea what Almost Mine is eating…

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And then it was time for a nap.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This week I did not tell the washer repairman that I do a load of laundry every single day and that I am now 6 days/loads behind. After all, I would admit that I NEED to do one load of laundry per day but that I usually don’t and end up putting it off until the weekend and spend all weekend long doing laundry.

This week I did not resort to promising Bug to take pictures of her while she was at gymnastics so she would be happier about going. Not me – I would never stoop to appealing to my young child’s ego to get her to do what I want.

When my mother called me this week to offer the use of her washer AND dinner on Friday night, I was not more excited about someone else cooking dinner for me than being able to have clean clothes. After all, I am very concerned about personal hygiene.

After finding out that my mom folded the last two loads of laundry I left at her house, I did not wish I had left the other two loads there for her to fold also.

I did not sit in church on Sunday and wonder if anyone makes heated pew seats for days below 40 degrees.

I did NOT hear Bean say this when she was asked how her day at school was:

“Well, I kinda had a nervous breakdown”.

Get in line Sister! If anyone gets to have a nervous breakdown in this house, I call dibbs!!!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Habitat for Humanity

Last April, a group from our church volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.  Now, Fadre and I do a lot of home improvements ourselves.  Okay, he does a lot…I am more helpful in “spirit”.  But I did climb out on the porch roof last year (being afraid of heights and all) and helped paint our new siding on the 2nd floor.

Back to my point, we don’t always attack our home improvements with the best of attitudes, it’s usually a dreaded chore.  But THIS, this was very, very different.  It was a privilege.  It was fun.




Chris and Dr. Jason were excited to get started.












Painting was the main job for the day and Jocelyn worked hard.









Faye was such a sport and painted all day – even with arthritis.  Yep, that’s me squatting.  Somehow, I’m always given the low spots.  Note my excellent posture in the above right photo - my mother will be so pleased.


Chris worked on the house next door too.







Bill getting ready for his assignment - climb WAAAY up there and paint.









iNik’s not big on heights, but she handled this with a smile!


Unless you had experience, you were not allowed to touch the power tools.  Fadre was the only one in our group allowed.  He’s such a MAN!



But Gary won the prize for being a gentleman.  Here he is moving the bench for his beautiful bride, Mary.  As we were getting ready to leave the site we had to hunt for them.  They “claimed” to be painting a closet…

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Kathy and Travis came with us.  Travis  does construction for a living so he made an excellent volunteer. 


This is how I found Dr. Jason most of the time…talking, not painting.




Faye takes a well deserved break.  I’m sure she’s enjoying the view – I know I am.


The WHOLE gang.  Our homeowner (front and center) was there working on her house with us.   She was excited to tell us how her boys were looking forward to having their very own rooms.   This is a dream come true for her.


This is my dream come true.  Nice work Fadre!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Take THIS Starbucks

Fadre made this for me.

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Okay, this is his.

Mine’s smaller.

And it was MMMmmm!

He’s so good to me.

Level 2 – Here we come!

Bug was a little nervous about going to a make-up session of gymnastics without her bud, K.  It was only after I promised to bring the camera and take pictures did she lighten up – a little.

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It was a fake smile in that rearview mirror.  The kind that you get only when you pull out the camera.  She went back to a worried look when I put the camera away.

She was shy and quiet, but she went downstairs.  She quickly found the camera lens and life was better.

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Ouch!  There is no padding on those hip bones to absorb the hit on the bar.

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Oh my!  I so do not bend like this anymore…

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After class was over Bug came upstairs to get dressed and nervously told me Miss A would like to talk to me downstairs.  And I thought “She was only out of my sight for 15 seconds when she walked behind the wall – how much trouble could she possibly get into in 15 seconds????”

“She’s ready for Level 2”, she said.

Phew!  She had not tripped/kicked/bit anyone.  She’s just movin’ on.  So I thank her and act as if I’ve have known this for quite some time, and I can’t believe it took her this long to notice…

Excuse me, I have to go make room for an Olympic gold medal in my hutch, my girl is moving up to Level 2!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wolves and Deer

Laughter LivesThis post is part of "Laughter Lives! Tuesday" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check our their blog to read everyone else's "Laughter Lives!" posts.



At the bus stop one morning I noticed Bug had a big red spot on her forehead.  So I asked “How’d you get that red spot on your head?”

Bug:  I bumped it on Bean’s mouth.

Me:  How did you bump it on her mouth?

Bug:  We were playing a game.

Me:  What game?

Bug:  Wolves and Deer.

Guess who was the wolf and who played the deer….

Monday, January 19, 2009

Silly Yak

group photo

Do you know what this is???

Rice noodles

This is a container of rice spaghetti noodles, as in - not made from wheat, but rather from rice. MMMMmmmmm! These are my sister’s and my mother’s noodles for dinner. We went to Macaroni Grill to celebrate iNik’s birthday. Because iNik suffers from Silly Yak disease, she cannot eat wheat (the spaghetti noodles the rest of the world eats). She has a gluten (wheat protein) allergy.

I’m pretty sure when she was diagnosed by the doctor, he did not say: You have Silly Yak Disease. I’m pretty sure he said Celiac Disease. But if you’re not going to be able to eat wheat for the rest of your life, shouldn’t your disease have a much better name than Celiac? Hence, the Silly Yak Disease was born.

Now, you could focus on all the things you can’t eat if you suffer from Silly Yak, but look on the bright side: iNik still eats: potato chips, chocolate, and ice cream. So it’s not like she’s REALLY suffering. And through the years she’s found better tasting food. I mean, seriously, that first loaf of bread she found, that she was soooo proud of, tasted like Styrofoam and kinda looked like it too. But now she makes mean spice cupcakes and if you didn’t know they were gluten-free, you sure wouldn’t be able to tell by the taste. She claims her bread now is really good, but after the Styrofoam bread, I just can’t bring myself to try it again.

Raising children is much, much easier if they don’t have Silly Yak disease. iNik kept Almost Mine on a gluten-free diet until he was 2. You actually have to be eating gluten to be tested for Silly Yak. He showed up in my pantry and discovered cheerios, goldfish, pretzels, cheese-its and he LOVED them. After introducing these finest of delicacies, what were we going to do if he DID have Silly Yak? I mean, how do you tell a 2 year old, thanks for playing, but you’re not a winner? Thankfully, he does not have Silly Yak and all is well with my pantry.

When iNik was first diagnosed, it was before the Atkins Diet. You would be amazed at the number of fast food employees we could baffle by ordering a cheeseburger with no bread, or a roast beef sandwich sans bread.

You mean you don’t want any bread?


No bread?

No, no bread thank you.

You just want a hunk of meat on the plate.

Yes, just a hunk of meat, with all the trimmings. Thank you, this is exactly how I envisioned my dinner – hunk of meat….

You would not believe the number of times we have received that hunk of meat – without silverware. Now, just how did they think she was going to eat that hunk of meat?

But at Macaroni Grill, aahhh, life is good with our rice noodles!

Rice noodles

Not Me! Monday

Join me at MckMama's website see what others are NOT up to this week.
  • I was not slightly panicked that we had to call in a repair man for the furnace because it wouldn’t stay lit and we heard from many people that it looked like we were going to have to buy a new furnace. We JUST bought a truck, we can’t afford a new furnace! The truck does have heated seats, a very good heater, and a DVD player. Maybe we could just live in it until Spring…..
  • I was not HUGELY relieved when the furnace repair man said he thought it was just a dirty burner that was kicking off the furnace. He cleaned it off with his “hi-tech” tool (a pocket knife) and it has worked since Thursday night!
  • I did not hear W calling my name with some urgency when he saw the washing machine water creep out from under the laundry room door and halfway into my kitchen.
  • I most certainly did not spend the next 10 minutes mopping up soapy laundry water off the kitchen floor and think – this counts as mopping the kitchen floor.
  • I did not search quickly for the warranty information for the 5 month old washing machine, race to the computer to register the product online so that I could call for service.
  • I was not more than slightly miffed when I “talked” to a computer on the telephone for 5 minutes, giving up all of my pertinent information, only to be asked by the service rep, as soon as he picked up the phone, for my name, phone, address, model #, etc.. UUUUUGGGGHHH! Why do you ask me to divulge all this information to the computer if you are only going to ask me for it again!!!!!
  • I did not call Zman (who was in the house) from the backyard, while in the hot tub, to come outside and turn up the patio lights (that are located on the patio, 10 feet away from the hot tub) so that we could play Uno H2O in the hot tub and actually see the cards. Nope, not me! I am a much more considerate person and would not stoop down to using child labor because it was BBRRRRR! cold outside and I did not want to get out of the hot water.
  • If I had asked Zman to come outside and turn up the lights for me, I most certainly would not barter with him for such deed and agree to drive him and his friends to the movie the next night. I am a much better mother than that and do not barter with my child.
  • I did not wait until Zman signed onto Facebook with his buddy C standing right beside him, then grab my phone and start a chat on Facebook with him. I would never embarrass my child in front of his friends.
  • I did not ask Zman’s friend C to be my friend on Facebook and he did not accept me as a friend. If he did, I would not consider myself a very “cool” mom. (Yes, I am a legend in my own mind)
  • I did not take my camera to church to take pictures of Bean, Bug, and Almost Mine receiving their certificates of appreciation for serving as acolytes. I did not then proceed to take pictures of the entire service. If I did, I most certainly did not look at said 150+ pictures last night and think I am very lucky to have this church family.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


iNik is my younger sister. Younger by 8 years. I don’t remember much before she was 2 years old. That’s about the time she started crawling in bed with me at night. With her, she brought her grinding teeth and a mild case of sleep apnea. After our parents divorced we shared a bedroom. When she was 6 we packed up the 2 door hatchback and she, Nana, and I headed from California to Tennessee where we would start our new life with Poppa. iNik sat in the backseat with Trouble, the cocker spaniel mutt for the days it took to get to Tennessee. Poppa had bought us a new HUGE house where iNik and myself would each have our own bedroom – at opposite ends of the house. For the next year she would still sneak into my bedroom after I was asleep.

She, self-admittedly, has her “blonde” moments. When we took her to register for the first grade in Germantown she was deathly afraid she wouldn’t be able to understand anyone because they would all speak German.

One day Wes and I headed to Nana’s house. iNik had left and locked the door behind her. Wanting to make sure we were not locked out of the house she left us a note taped to the front door: “The key is under the mat”. Thankfully, burglars apparently cannot read….

By 16 years of age she had become one of my best friends.

And she grew into a fantastic woman. She was thrilled when we announced the impending arrival of Zman. He was born just before her last summer at home before heading off to college. I stayed home with him for 6 weeks, Wes stayed home for 2 more, and then iNik kept him – all summer. It was hard for her to leave him and drive 4 hours away.

I called her at college to tell her I was pregnant with Bean. Bean was born in March with iNik as a witness and iNik came home that summer to keep her. She took pictures galore and iNik struggled, but SUCCEEDED, in convincing that nursing baby to take a bottle. Back to school she went. It was at iNik’s apartment Bean had her first slumber party.

But she graduated and moved to Georgia. So far away. It was hard on all of us. She was the first person I called when I discovered we were pregnant with Bug. She was over the moon, but a little sad that she wouldn’t be here to share the moment.

She called me several months later to tell me she was expecting Almost Mine. A tough call. She was scared, he was unexpected, and I couldn’t be there to hug her and tell her everything was going to be okay.

After Bug’s delivery our first call was to iNik.

Then she moved back home with her big belly. She let me be there during the ultrasound that told us Almost Mine was a boy. She let me be her birthing coach. She let Bug (at 5 months old) and I come to the delivery. And she gave me the honor of cutting his cord.

She loves my children as if they were her own. She constantly takes them for the day, for the night, it doesn’t matter to her. She is the aunt with abounding patience even though she works 24/7.

She is a MAJOR part of my village and it takes quite a village with my crew. She’s one of my best friends and I love her. And today is her birthday.

Happy Birthday iNik!


Your favorite sister!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back to Normal, Well Our Version of Normal

The girls are no longer infectious, so off to school they go. Whew! They were really good yesterday, and nobody felt really bad, but still, it was nice to see them get on that yellow school bus.
And yes, that is a rubber mallet. Not one of my usual kitchen utensils, but a requirement last night to dislodge one pot from another after Bean and Bug had put away the dishes. Really!?!? I don't know how they managed to get them so STUCK.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not Me Monday

I did not spend my “Free of Small Children” Saturday night cleaning my teenage son’s room with my husband. Not me – I am much more romantic than that and know how to take advantage of free babysitting when I have it.

I did not pull out a WHOLE bag of clothes from Zman’s closet that were a size 7/8 and pack them up for Almost Mine. After all, I purge my children’s closets more than once every 7 years.

I did not clean out my freezer this weekend and find not one, but TWO bags of frozen vegetables with expiration dates in 2004. Nope, not me, I am not wasteful or forgetful.

When Bug came to me last night complaining of a sore throat, I most certainly did not tell her to get a drink of water and go to bed. Not me, I am a very sympathetic, compassionate, caring, and attentive mother – I would never do anything like that.

I did NOT wake up this morning; get ready for work, only to take both Bean and Bug to the doctor because they have a staph infection and strep throat, respectively!

I did not proceed to feed them cinnamon rolls with icing for breakfast. Not me, I feed my sickly children very nutritious meals to boost their immune systems.

I did not try to take a picture of my girls’ feet thinking it would be a sweet picture only to capture THIS. AAACCCKKK! Not me, my girls are dainty, delightful, poised, young women.

Click on the Not Me Monday icon to see what others are NOT up to....

Friday, January 9, 2009

7th Grade Operating Manual

When Zach was in the 7th grade OUR homework assignment (yes, I said OUR - if I remember correctly, Wes and I have already passed the 7th grade - why do we have to do 7th grade homework all over again???) was:

Tell me about your child in a million words or less.

Really?!?! Wouldn't you rather just keep him for a couple of weeks and find out for yourself?

If I recall correctly, (because as most of you know I can't remember what we had for dinner the night before) I was really busy at work so Wes, my Knight in #2 Pencil Lead Armor, took on the task. This is what he had to say:

Zach—One in A Million-More or Less

Here is the operating manual for the 2006 edition of Zach…I hope you find it helpful.

Zach’s a kid with way too much talent and personality; and far too little time to accomplish anything he’s told to do. He’s liked by most everyone as far as we can tell and is a friend to kids much older than himself. He has never gotten into any serious trouble such as fighting, cheating, stealing, or any of the other really bad words, but he does tend to get into the mischievous little adventures which make you wonder what he was thinking at the time. Example: For fun he re-arraigned the landscaper’s marker flags for an underground sprinkler system that was soon to be installed!

Zach’s very smart, but too often his best work doesn’t shine through. He feels the need to race through his assignments in order to get back to his fun time. His parents are working on that, and I’m sure you can appreciate the labor involved in telling a 12 year-old to slow down, and make it look your best.

Zach’s someone who doesn’t have to struggle often with his schoolwork. Because of this, if he’s challenged or given a lengthy assignment, he will sometimes become frustrated quickly. Zach’s mom and dad have both passed the 7th grade already, so Zach’s required to do his work himself. His book reports and hallway posters may not always be the best looking works displayed, but they are always his works. He will get guidance from us, but he doesn’t have publishers, editors, and artists on staff as some appear to have. The Alexander family has had more than a few late nights sticking to the principle of this, even though we could have desktop published our way to an early night’s sleep.

Zach is the oldest of three, with 2 little sisters to help distract him in the afternoons after the school day. He’s a master of the loophole at home. If given a chore or assignment, he will try it, but if the instructions weren’t clear and in the proper order, he has the tendency to sometimes use that to his advantage and stop the process. He’s very talented at creative thinking projects, and given the right motivation, a good storyteller, comic, and writer.

Zach does have a tendency to shut down when confronted or if pressed. He will argue his case, but after the absolutes are stated, he will often glaze over and wait for a better time to express himself. He tends to be a bit on the careless side, especially with taking instructions and keeping up with them. His room’s a mess and it doesn’t bother him, so why should his backpack and assignment folder be any different. Yep, his parents are working on that too.

Wow - the 9th grade version still looks A LOT like the 7th grade version - only TALLER!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Matches Made in Heaven

When we moved into our neighborhood, it was like taking a step back in time. All the way back to the '50s. As we stood in the front yard looking at the house the next door neighbor came to talk to us. "You're worried about the backyard aren't you?" he said. YES! It had a large pool that took up the entire backyard. At the time neither Zach or Wes could swim. And I envisioned my summer days would be spent under a heavy coat of zinc oxide on my nose with a whistle around my neck and a life preserver under my arm. The neighbor said not to worry - he had lived there several years with two kids (6 and 3) and their kids hadn't played once in the backyard - they all play in the street. The STREET?!?!? What kind of parent let's their kids play in the street. As I recall, that is on the top ten list of being a good parent - keep your kid out of the street.

He wasn't kidding. And I caved. And Zach ran with the pack of 10-12 kids ranging in age from 3 to 19. They yell CAR! and run into the yard when a car comes down the street. The big kids took the little kids out for games of Flashlight Tag at 10 o'clock at night during the summer. And I never regretted it.

But then came Syd two years later. And Katy 18 months after that. And there was a BIG age gap. Thankfully there were two of them and they entertained each other for years. And then the house 3 doors down sold. To a couple with 2 small girls. The oldest: same age as Syd and a tomboy. The youngest: a year younger than Katy and just as "girly" as Katy.

Two PERFECT matches: