Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Into Darkness, Into the Woods, and Around and Around the Blacktop (A Picture-Intensive Post, with Video, too!)

It's the time of the year in Virginia where everything is this really intense green.  I think all the rain has made things even more green than usual.  I like it.  It's very soothing for some reason.

A few days ago, Daphne asked me to help her find some four-leaf clovers in the yard.  I did NOT want to go look for four-leaf clovers in the yard, so I said no.  But then, I thought, "You big dummy! Your kid wants to hang out with you and do a nice simple thing like looking for four-leaf clovers and she is going to be grown up sooner than you think so you better just do it!"  And I did.  And it was fun.  Then it started to rain, so we sat on the swing and talked about all kinds of things.  I need to remember that.

It was an extremely action-packed weekend.  SLOW will have to wait.

Friday afternoon, we had a big Mom and Daughter non-Girl-Scout-sponsored play date at a local winery, which is owned by the parents of one of my Mommy friends.  The kids ran free in the huge field and had a blast, while the moms sat by the heater on the porch and had snacks.  Really really fun.  We need to make this happen more often.  It's good for the kids to have some unstructured time to play, and good for the moms (and troop leaders) to be sort of off-duty.

Saturday, Daphne was tired, and stayed in her PJs most of the day.  G-Ma and G-Pa came over to hang out with her while Kev and I went to see the new Star Trek (Into Darkness) movie at the Alamo Theater (totally cool new theater).  The move was GREAT.  Very exciting and fun to watch.

Before the movie, they showed all Star Trek related clips, like skits from SNL and In Living Color, clips from the Star Trek cartoon from the 70s, and stuff like that.  It was very entertaining.  I am admittedly a huge Original Series fan, but never got into Next Generation.  Apparently, the Riker character from that series is known for the way he sits down, and they showed this clip during the pre-show entertainment:

On it's own, it isn't funny.  However, it was accompanied by this song - an old youTube favorite of Uncle Jeff's -  which made it hilarious:

I cracked up, and couldn't stop laughing.  I was shaking and crying, and making the lady beside me laugh too. I hope Kev wasn't too embarrassed.  The same thing happened during the Disco Chicken scene of the latest Muppet Movie.  Sometimes, I just can't help it. Stuff is funny.

Sunday, we got up early and went to Rust Nature Sanctuary to go on a bird hike.  It was chilly out and so peaceful at the park.  We saw deer, bunnies, geese, and lots of birds.

We saw this Eastern Bluebird - so pretty:

We heard bullfrogs down by the pond.  Look at that reflection!

And we saw this injured butterfly:

Monday, Memorial Day, was a big day too, as Daphne accomplished a major milestone.  But first, she played some uke:

We took her to the blacktop at her school, and a very very patient Kev helped her learn to ride a two-wheeler.  She was anxious.

However, she eventually went from this:

To this (press "play"):

Look at that smile!!!  She eventually got better at stopping.  And she can turn left, but not right.  We'll keep working on it.

A big day indeed.  We were so proud of her.  And her persistence was rewarded with a new skill AND a DIlly Bar!

Another crazy busy week has begun.  Girl Scout bridging this weekend, Donuts with Dad, Field Day, our last Daisy meeting, and Daphne's birthday. And the last week of school.  Soon it will be time to pack up and head to Maine for a much-needed vacation.  Time is going by so quickly.  I need to take advantage of slow moments, stop for a minute, and just go looking for four-leaf clovers. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I am a big fan of Oklahoma.  Not the musical.  The state.  It's very underrated in my opinion.  It's really very beautiful in many areas.  The people there are really nice, there are great State Parks, and cool places to go camping. 

The tornado there on Monday was really horrible.  I can't even imagine what it must be like to have a house one minute, and not have a house the next minute.  I can't imagine what it must have been like for those poor little kids in the schools that were hit.  Too many bad things are happening to little kids lately.  And what can you do?  Not much really.  Send clothes.  Send money.  And then the next disaster strikes and we do it all again.

I really wanted my Girl Scout troop to DO something this time, so we decided to make cards and friendship bracelets for Girl Scouts in Moore.  It isn't much, but it's something.  According to the Girl Scout Law, we should "Be a Sister to Every Girl Scout"...maybe this is a way to do that.  Daphne and I finished the first card and bracelet this morning.  I have put the word out to all the troops in town, but am not counting on much of a response at this time of year.  I'll send whatever I can get though.  Maybe it will help those kids just a little bit to know people are thinking of them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Puppy Time and Food Experiments

On Saturday, we went down to Manassas for a belated Mother's Day celebration and to meet Chief, the good new puppy.  He is very cute and smart and fluffy.  Daphne especially is very excited.  I think Scout likes having a friend.  Good times.

While we were there, I had a grilled hot dog wrapped in a corn tortilla because it was still Gluten Free Week.  I made it through the whole week without cheating, in spite of many temptations.  It wasn't so bad, and I didn't have an upset stomach the whole week.  However, I don't think I am going to continue to be completely gluten free for my whole life.  I am going to be Gluten-Lite.  The thought of never having ravioli again makes me sad.   I've had some really happy moments involving plates of ravioli.   Pictures of grilled cheese sandwiches I saw in a magazine yesterday made me sad.  The gluten free bagel I had this morning made me REALLY sad.  Holy crap.  It was TERRIBLE.  Food should not make you sad.  So, my plan is to be MOSTLY gluten free, but allow myself a treat now and then. Because I do believe that wheat is bad for people and should not be a big part of one's diet.  Neither should sugar.  Or anything processed and full of weird chemicals.

By the way, yesterday we had a GREAT salad from lettuce and herbs we grew in our garden.  I really like knowing where my food comes from.

Look at how cute that puppy is! 

OK.  Off to start my week.  It's going to be a very rainy one around here, but the upside is we won't have to water the garden.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meet Chief

Possibly the cutest puppy in the history of puppies, and I get to go play with him on Saturday.  Woohoo!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Proud Moment

This morning at Daphne's school, they had Muffins with Moms.  Students' dads volunteered to serve muffins and coffee to kids and their moms before school.  Daphne insisted that we dress exactly alike, so I also wore tie-dye and a denim jacket.  It won't be long before dressing like me is the LAST thing Daphne wants to do, so I went along with it.  We looked really cool as I'm sure you can imagine.

When we got to school, I noticed that the principal's copy of Daphne's variety show poem was hung up in the display case.  Since I now have a phone that has a camera, I was able to take a picture and email it to myself!  I am so modern!  Daphne was really proud, as you can see.

I didn't eat any of the school muffins, although they looked really good.  I am on Day 2 of a gluten-free experiment.  Luckily, my friend Jill baked some gluten free banana muffins and brought me some of them.  They were great!  So I got to have a muffin after all.  So far, I don't really mind being gluten free, although I could really go for a bagel.  I am going to try to knit when I start craving bread.  We'll see how it goes.  I will probably get a LOT of knitting done.

I love Daphne's school.  Later in the year, they will have Donuts with Dads.  I think I am on juice duty.  Should be a good time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Best Kind of Not Slow

Big Thing Number Two is in the books.  Our first Girl Scout camping trip was a big success in spite of heavy rain and thunder, moms who don't like bugs, and the most terrible cots in the world.

The good news about the rain is that most of it happened while we were (theoretically) sleeping on the terrible cots, so during our waking hours, we mostly just had to contend with mud and wet firewood.

The girls didn't mind a bit.  I wish I could post pictures of them because they are so dang cute, but it's probably bad manners to post pictures of other people's children on the internet, so this will have to do:

They are all gathered 'round because of this:

A toad!  How cool.  They all wanted to hold it.  These are tough girls.  I should tell you that they all wanted to help clean the latrines too.   I know the next household chore Daphne is going to be learning!

Speaking of Daphne, here she is holding a worm, which she named "Petals":

And here she is holding a s'more (I hope she washed her hands):

And here she is at the end of the camp-out, completely exhausted but complaining that she didn't want to go home, and could we please stay one more night:

Is it bad manners to post pictures of other people's moms on the internet?  Because I'm going to. We handed over our cameras to the kids and let them take a group shot of us.  Oh, that Mrs. Ramey!  Always with the bunny ears!

It was a Mother-Daughter camp, and I am so pleased that we had 100% troop participation, girls and moms.  It was exhausting, but so much fun, and all agreed that we must do it again.  I'm calling it a success.  I have the very best troop.

I went home, took the best shower of my life, and slept the best I have slept in ages.  I awoke to the delightful smell of German apple pancakes with whipped cream and raspberries and sausage and coffee.  Mother's Day Rules!

I got some nice gifts, including Pink Martini tickets and a coupon for a free story to be read to me by Daphne:

And in the afternoon, we took a road trip out to Skyline Drive for a picnic.

I can't believe that less than an hour from my house there are mountains.  I love Dallas, but look at how pretty it is here.

Anyway, thanks to Kev and Daphne for a great Mother's Day and for spoiling me and making me feel appreciated.  It was really fun.  I'm calling it a success.  I have the very best family.

Today, I have some catching up to do.  Laundry, cleaning, groceries, etc.  Mother's Day is over and it's time to get back to reality.  But with Big Thing 2 complete, I have less brain clutter and should be able to maintain a groove.  I am even thinking of doing a gluten free meal plan this week.  Off to face my Monday!

PS  Happy Mother's Day to all Moms who read this.  You are awesome.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Firefly Head

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be inside my brain, you can imagine it like this:

On a good day, it's like watching a firefly.  One minute, it lights up over there, the next minute, it lights up over here, and so on.  On a bad day, it's like watching a swarm of angry bees.  By the way, do you call them fireflies or lightning bugs?  We always called them lightning bugs when we were kids.  We would catch them in my cousin's back yard and put them in baby food jars. Somebody would put holes in the jar lids, but it didn't seem to do much good.  Dead by morning.  Poor lightning bugs.

See what I mean?  I sort of go from topic to topic.  Sometimes slowly and logically, sometimes frantically and crazed.  It gets worse when I have a lot of Big Things going on in addition to regular life.  Like right now.  So, for example, today I have been thinking about the camping trip this weekend, the Daisy bridging ceremony in a couple weeks, the end-of-the-year Daisy party (date TBD), Camp Tag-Along (which isn't until August but the planning stages have begun), the book which I haven't finished for book group, Daphne's karate situation, Staff Appreciation week at school, Mother's Day, Daphne's birthday, family illnesses, appointments I need to make, the overdue library books, and a variety of other things.  In no particular or logical order.  So, I'm getting SOME things done, and checked off the list, but not in a very efficient manner.  And I think this is why I am sometimes awake at three in the morning thinking about stuff.  Instead of sleeping, I am planning what I am going to say at the bridging ceremony, even though it's a few weeks away, and I'm worrying about the baby robins (see fluff in photo above) which I didn't actually see moving until yesterday (alive and well!), and I'm fretting about trying to make a camp fire in the rain.  It's kind of exhausting.

I wonder if I need to make myself a schedule of blocks of time to dedicate to each thing on my brain list.  I wonder if I gave myself 20 minutes of fretting time each day, if that would keep me from fretting the rest of the day.  I doubt it.

Be very very glad you are not in my brain.

Kev says he can make his brain stop on command.  I believe him.  There are times when I can look at him and tell he is thinking about absolutely nothing.  It's amazing.

I can only make my brain stop when I am on vacation.  I am really looking forward to being on a vacation.

Right now, though, I am going to go sit on the porch and wait for Daphne's bus.  I will attempt to Be Kev and think about nothing while I'm there. If I make it more than 30 seconds, it will be a new record.


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

On Stage

Someone took a photo of Daphne on stage at the variety show and shared it with me.  I still don't have video, but this will do.  I love the happy little expression on her face.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Definitely Not Slow

A busy week ended with a busy weekend.  Trainings, play dates, camp meetings, Daisies, dress rehearsals...there was something extra going on every day last week.  There are a lot of Big Things going on as the school year starts to wind down, and they all seem to require planning, time, meetings, and/or projects.  The first of the Big Things is behind us now...the Catoctin Elementary School Variety Show was Friday night.  The kids have been rehearsing (and I have been volunteering) for the last 4 weeks in preparation for what turned out to be a really great show.  Daphne wrote and recited a poem about her school, but after signing up she began to regret it.  She was really nervous, and I don't blame her!  She had to get up on a big stage by herself in front of a big audience at the middle school auditorium.  But, although she complained - a lot - she stuck it out and did a fantastic job.  I would show you the video, but I don't have one because my camera failed to focus.  I don't even have a picture of her on the stage.  But, my mom took the one above of Daphne right after she finished her act.  She was so proud and so relieved.  And I was proud of her - she faced her fear and was awesome.  Way to go, Peanut.

Saturday afternoon, Daphne went to a three-hour bounce house birthday party.  And Saturday night, she had a camp-out in the back yard with her daddy:

This was her first time spending the night outside in a tent.  She LOVED it.  They read mystery stories and made shadow puppets, and Kev said that once she fell asleep she didn't move all night long.  That's what three hours of bouncing and sleeping in the fresh air will do to you I guess.

On Sunday, Daphne went to ANOTHER three-hour bounce house birthday party.  This time, there was also a trampoline.

While she was bouncing, my friend Jill came over to help me with a project for Big Thing number 2:  the girl scout camping trip next weekend.  We made camping t-shirts with our troop number on the back to surprise all the girls, and they are awesome:

Also, for Big Thing 2, Daphne needs SWAPs, so we worked on those this weekend too.  An unfinished pile of felt S'mores, to fit the camp-out theme:

Once I get through this camping trip, I have to start focusing on the Daisies' Bridging Ceremony (where they become Brownies), and Daphne's birthday (where she becomes SEVEN).  Big Things.  All really fun Big Things, but I will be glad when the time comes to get slow again.