Eighty Percent Chance of Rain

This whole past week I have clicked on my Weather app or checked the weather website every day.  Several times a day.

And then some.

We had our family Easter hootenanny planned for today, and so the weather watching was part checking, part praying, and part trying to use sheer WILL to bring good weather into being.

The chances of rain for today have been as high as 80% and as low as 20% for a few short hours this week.  We were real worried about a rain out.

Rain and things like wienie roasts and egg hunts don’t exactly mix too well.

When the percentage dropped down to 20% by Tuesday evening, I could see that downward trend wiping the rain all the way off the map by Saturday.  I sent a celebratory message with a picture of the forecast to the Gracious one who was hosting the whole event.

Yep, called it a win way too early.  The percentage went way back up and then down and then back up.  It’s been a roller coaster this week.  Last night it was still looking really iffy.

Such that I waited until after 9 p.m. to make the potato salad.  You can’t freeze that stuff, y’all.

I woke up this morning, a day that, as of last night still had 45% chance of rain around lunch with the percentage getting higher by afternoon, and my room was brighter than I expected it to be.  I went to the windows, and the sky was blue with white puffy clouds and bright sunlight streamed down from above.

I felt like I was in an alternate universe or something.  This was TOTALLY UNEXPECTED and definitely not predicted.

And the whole day was just like that.

BEAUTIFUL.

Maybe it’s just me, and if you don’t do this, that’s okay–better than okay, it’s great.  That whole preparing for the worst, and then it turns out no worrying was necessary after all–

yeah.  Where.  I.  Live.

Today was such a gift, a gift wrapped up with a bow of sunshine and good people and hugs and laughter and great food and time together with folks who knew me when and know me now and have my bail money and I have theirs (looking at you, girl–love you) and children running around proving they can look and find things…..

I am thankful.

And it soothed the soul of this Eeyore spirit, who figured that yeah, rain, that sounded about right.  We’d have to change all the plans and “make do,” and then the worst didn’t happen.  In fact, the best did.

I’m not even sure what to do with that.  I’m still beaming, and my mind and heart are still reeling from the shock and surprise of sunshine today.  And all of the wonderful things.

Or maybe the reeling is from the pollen.  It is springtime in Georgia after all.

May your heart be surprised with something fabulous that you never expected today.

Love to all.

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a picture perfect day that no one could have predicted

 

The Sixth Day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas…..

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six pairs of little bare feet.

Running through the yard, romping through the house.  Getting them where they wanted to be, catching skinks and lizards and frogs and lovingly creating them wonderful habitats.  Running after each other and riding bikes and scooters.  Wandering all over Blackberry Flats.  Or little bare feet, kicked back, relaxing, just being together.

The cousins are in town, and we are very, very happy.

Love and laughter fills my house and the one at Blackberry Flats, full to bustin’.

Merry memory making has commenced.

And yes, in the photo above, you have counted correctly.  There are only five pairs of feet and fifty toes instead of sixty.  That’s because when you play all day after a long trip from home and you are a little fella of a certain age, you just might not want your feet in a picture.  Even though they are the cutest little feet you ever did see.

You’ll have to take my word for it, because Baby Monkey wasn’t having it.  He had better things to do.

And I’m okay with that.

Thankful for all the sounds of little feet and big, for laughter and stories and make-believe and all the imaginations.  This is the most beautiful sound of the season, and this is what brings Christmas to my heart.

Love to all.

 

 

And the Winner Is…..

For whatever reason, this fall our whole family has watched “Dancing With the Stars” together. We recorded it and waited until Aub was home from college and could watch it together. Thank you, DWTS folks, for making the finale this week, when she was home and we could watch it LIVE–something we never do. #wedonotdocommercialswell It has been a joy for many reasons, among them the age of my children, where we all picked our favorites and enjoyed the competition, and the different personalities of the dancers and pros. But the biggest reason we have so loved this season is, I believe, this has been the kindest and most fun cast of celebrity dancers ever. They built relationships with each other that were such a joy to see. As Aub said tonight, “I want to be friends with them.”

So do I.

Since we spent time watching the finale tonight, as I muted the commercials (why can’t they make those family friendly as well?), I composed some haikus about the evening.  As for who won, it was US–my family and all who shared the journey with this fabulous group of people.

Wishing you all something joyful or a good song (might I recommend one from the Back Street Boys?) to get your feet tapping. And if you missed this season, check out some of the showstopping dances on YouTube.

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whole season of dance
laughter, tears, and all the feels
mirrorball trophy

Paris train hero
danced his way into our hearts
and learned to love dance

Back Street Boy came back
with steps both strong and graceful
he can sing AND dance

beautiful daughter
of the Crocodile Hunter
her smile is pure joy

now it is over
only memories remain
thankful for YouTube

Love to all.

 

 

the best kind of tired

dear one, the best kind of tired
is the one that comes from bare feet racing across the green grass of summer
smelling faintly of the fish that swam in the lake next to you
as you splashed and played
and jumped in from the dock with your cousins
trying to see how far out you could reach
or if you could ring the intertube
that came from a tire on the farm
just as your Mamas and Daddies did years before you
in that very same spot

the best kind of tired comes from quiet drives home well after dark
each one smiling at the memories that were made
still hearing the hum of the boat or the roar of the jet ski
tummies full of the hotdogs and hamburgers Grampa cooked on the grill

the best kind of tired is crawling between the crisp white sheets
hair still wet from the quick shower you took as soon as you got home,
eyes barely able to stay open
or to whisper back when your Mama peeks in and says,
“good night sweet dreams I love you”

the best kind of tired is where the sweetest
and most treasured memories come from
the ones that keep you going back
wanting to give the same adventures to your own little ones

the best kind of tired
exhausts the body
but rejuvenates the soul

it comes from dreams coming true
and being loved

and the best kind of tired
is one of the best gifts we can ever give our children

  

The Struggle Bus is Real

The Fair is in town.

I do not think you can fully fathom the level of excitement that exists here at our abode when the Fair is coming to town.  My crew loves them some fair time.

When the littles had it on their radar, we began Fair Day countdown.  We decided to go today with Mess Cat, Leroy, and Shaker, so the children could play together, maybe ride some rides, and we could visit together and dream big as we walked through really expensive RV’s on display.  Oh, and you know, cows.

It takes us a little while to get out the door.  The Fella likes to say, here we go, “like a herd of turtles.”  Some days it’s like that.  Today came close to being exactly that.  But we did get out the door and into the GoMobile with snacks, headache remedies, wipes (for little hands), and other essentials tucked away in my bag.  I wasn’t going to tote a backpack this year.  I had this.  (Note to self:  Take a backpack next year–there’s all those things folks are handing out that the littles love and then you are left carrying them in your hands.  Ahem.  Backpacks are cool.)

Our first roadblock on this journey was literally a blocked road.  We got down to where we usually cross over the railroad tracks to head south, and there were two trains, traveling in opposite directions, facing each other, ON THE SAME TRACK.  That was a tore up mess right there.  I had no idea how they were going to fix that, but I knew we didn’t want to wait around and find out.  The Fella turned around and tried to use the GPS to redirect us, but it became quite clear that “she” was going to send us back to the railroad tracks not much further south of where we’d been-which still would have been a problem.

He turned around and found a road to cross over just a little north of where the trains sat.  Whew.  Okay.  Moving along.  We arrived in town, so close to the Fairgrounds on the outskirts of town when we saw another line of backed up traffic.  Are you kidding me?

It was the parade.

The Fair parade.

The irony that the parade for the Fair was making us late getting to the Fair was not lost on me.  It wasn’t lost on our oldest Aub either.  From her seat in the very back, I heard her comment, “We are on the struggle bus for real, people.”

You got that right.  It was one of those times when you started to question if we were really supposed to be going at all today.

Not to be outdone or to give up very easily, the Fella talked with his GPS again and figured out the back way to the Fairgrounds.  We were on our way and about to pull in where we needed to park to meet my sister when we realized the Georgia State Patrol folks sitting there were not letting anyone turn left to go in at that gate.

And no traffic in sight from either direction.

Sigh.

Why was there no traffic?  Because we were at the other end of that parade…..they were about to block the road off completely.  So the Fella went down as quickly as he legally could, trying to find a place to make a u-turn.

Again from the backseat, my droll girl:  “We are officially on the deluxe version of the struggle bus now, y’all.”

Yep.  Sounds about right.

But still.  The u-turn worked.  Just in time.

We found a pretty decent parking spot.  And we made our way in and met Mess Cat and family at the RV’s.  Each one we looked at the littles wanted us to buy.  My sister told her son what the man who worked for the RV folks told us, “Imma need you to sign some paperwork.”  Yeah.  And get a job.  Shaker just laughed.  Precious.

Coming home this afternoon as the fall shadows began to lengthen on this cool day, reminding of us the beauty of this season, I thought over our time together as a family.  And two thoughts came to mind.

First, sometimes roadblocks are just that.  They aren’t always signs we should turn around and go back home.  Sometimes they are just roadblocks.  As we say around the house every now and again, “Sometimes it just be’s like that.”  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just keep on pressing through.  It’s a pain in the neck and frustrating as all get out, but most of the time, the end result is worth it.

The other thing is about being with family.  If I have to ride the struggle bus from time to time or, you know, several times a day, I am glad I have this assembly of “peoples” and personalities to ride on down the road with.  Today we laughed so hard about the roadblocks, and when I used the “j” word I really should not have said, my crew lovingly reminded me that maybe my attitude could be a little better.  Ahem.  (I was mad and I thought those directing traffic were being jerks not to let us turn in.  I know, a little extreme.  But considering it was the third time we’d been waylaid…..I did apologize to my crew though.)  That’s what we have each other for–to love us through the hard times, the crazy times, and the good times, and to remind us of who our best selves are and empower us to be just that–our best selves.

Tonight I’m thankful for a great day, right down to my *surprise* sunburned cheeks and wind-chapped lips.  It was a wonderful time of being together–of smiles, of laughter, and of teasing that brought on even more precious laughter.

And if I had to ride the struggle bus to get there, well, it was all the more worth it.  I love the Fair, and I love my people.  A good day all around.

 

Wishing you all good company on your struggle bus rides.

Love to all.

 

Why I’m Lord Business and Other Lessons from The Lego Movie

The rule in our family is we celebrate birthdays for more than just the one day.  So Happy Birthday Weekend to my baby boy!

Today we went to Lego Building School with Bricks 4 Kidz.  After we went to lunch at his favorite pizza place.  He loves him some pizza, and we ALWAYS get our money’s worth with him.  The last of the fun planned was going to the movie theatre to see “The Lego Movie.”

But you probably saw that one coming, didn’t you?

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone in case you haven’t been able to rush out and see it in the two days it’s been released.  I think Cooter is fairly certain that this movie was released at this time JUST FOR HIM.  Well, why not?  I’m not telling him otherwise.

It was an interesting movie.  If your life has been inundated by Legos, Lego movies on-line, dreaming about Lego sets, and constantly hearing the newest set to make the wish list, then you will definitely get the little hidden bits of humor.  When one of the characters was looking around the area trying to build something, and she kept seeing set numbers next to different parts, that was hilarious.  Lego Star Wars made an appearance which thrilled all three of my children, and Billy Dee Williams played Lando, which I thought was really cool.

It was a little disconcerting during the violent parts, when I thought about how I would NOT be letting my littles watch such violence were it not just Lego parts flying around in the aftermath of one of the many attacks that were waged on the main characters.

The ending has a twist that surprised me, and without revealing too much, I felt very guilty over my claim that if I EVER lost my mind and bought Cooter one of the big (read expensive and MANY parts) Legos Star Wars sets, I would be supergluing it to keep him from tearing it apart.  I mean, all that time and energy–woe be the child who takes it apart, right?  Wrong, apparently.  Yes, I did feel guilty, like someone had been watching and listening to my thoughts on the subject.  I am Lord Business, and I don’t even have to take one of those “What character are you in The Lego Movie?” quizzes to see it.

The best part was a very small side story.  One of the main characters was a Legos 80’s astronaut named Benny.  A little scuffed but very enthusiastic guy.  Whenever the good guys needed something to get away in, he started building a spaceship.  Of course.  It’s just that the heroes were always looking for something else.  Benny would be so dejected.  Until the time finally comes.  He offers half-heartedly to build a spaceship, and after a moment of quiet, they all give him a definite YES!  He can hardly believe it, and he immediately gets to work.  In the span of ten seconds it’s built and they are soaring away to safety, with Benny calling out as incessantly as the seagulls in “Finding Nemo” (“mine” “mine” “mine”):  “Spaceship.”  “Spaceship.”  “Spaceship.”  “Spaceship.”  He is so excited it’s downright endearing.  We were all laughing gleefully with him.

Haven’t you ever had a moment like that?  When you’ve found something that you were good at, and you finally have your shot, and you do a great job with it?  Don’t you want to just shout it loudly and often what you have done?  Yeah, I have.  There’s nothing like that feeling, is there?

One other moment in the movie touched my heart and empowered me.  Poor UniKitty.  She was all about being positive and chipper and not letting all that was going on wrong around her bring her down.  She was the Pollyanna of the group.  I mean, she holds it together, stuffing all those emotions down inside, through some pretty harsh stuff.  (Good thing it was all Legos, because it got pretty intense.)  And finally, she is giving herself a pep talk at a point when all seems to be falling apart, and something clicks.  Gone are the rainbows and sparkles–it is time for “fight back with all you got and stand up for yourself and your friends” kickin’ attitude.  I cheered inside and clapped.  Good for her.  There comes a time, you know, even with the nicest of folks–a time to say, no more.  Enough.  I was glad to see her go there, to stand strong in the face of adversity.

Tonight I am thankful for the gift of spending time with family and enjoying special outings for a very special occasion.  Good stuff that.  I’m thankful for the privilege of going to the movies, and for entertainment that is creative and thought-provoking.  Most of all, I appreciate the good company we had today.  There is nothing like a good old family happening to celebrate the good things in life.

Love to all.

I Love a Parade

Today was the day for parades.  The town closest to us and those all around us had their parades today.  It made me smile to see several of my non-local friends talking on Facebook about their local parades today too.  I wonder if there is a National Christmas Parade Day in the works.  If so, I think the first Saturday in December is it.

This wasn’t something we planned ahead.  Actually we waited until the last minute to decide to go.  We left our house several minutes after it started, arrived towards the end of the route thirty minutes after it began, and still had a few minutes before the beginning of the parade was in sight.  I like it.

My crew headed to our spot towards the end of the parade.  Love watching it from this spot.

My crew headed to our spot towards the end of the parade route. Love watching it from this spot.

How fun it was to see the faces of the children in the parade–some of them experiencing it for the very first time!  The little elementary school Snowball Queen waving her hand like a Princess is taught to was just too precious.  The two boy dance team inspired me with their bravery and confidence.  Aub’s friend who continued keeping time marching with his ROTC group though we were waving and taking pictures the whole time his group went by.  The people on both sides of the road waving and clapping with respect as the members of the USAF marched by.  The young man who teaches at Cherished Children singing as he walked alongside their float.  I think theirs was my favorite float of all.

I worried over the little ones who were a part of their school’s group and had to walk when other schools had floats for their groups.  I worried about fairness and financing and wanted those children to be okay walking that whole long route.  Aub worried about all of those folks having a ride back to their cars parked way back at the beginning point.  My littles loved waving at the people walking and on floats and cars.  It was a virtual waving fest. Anyone not knowing what was happening would have thought we were all quite friendly.  And for a brief time we all were.  Aub and Cooter, my little guy, hid when the Shriner clown and Ronald McDonald went by.  Coulrophobics.  But everyone’s day was made, especially my littles’, when the guy in the red suit came walking up and high-fived the two of them.  They were both starstruck and speechless.

Yeah.

Darth Vader.

In his red mask and cape for the holiday.

Yes y’all, the legend from the Dark Side took top billing with my little people.

At a Christmas parade.

And I’m okay with that.  I am thankful that someone (who knows if he was even an official part of the parade) decided to show up, dressed in red and delighted the children who waited to catch a glimpse of the other guy in a red suit riding on the back of a truck.  That was very cool.  The littles are still talking about him.  And wondering who will show up next year.  Cooter hopes it’s Han.  I think Aub might hope so too–just for different reasons.

I am glad I decided to go.  I didn’t have it in my heart to go two years ago, still reeling from Daddy’s absence.  Last year I was involved in a Fair Trade day so I didn’t get to go then either.  It was time for me to go, and I was happy myself to stand out in the cold on this dreary, not quite raining day and watch and wait to see the guy in the red suit.  And that fabulous woman sitting beside him.

No, not Darth and daughter Leia.

Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Santa and Mrs. Claus with all the reindeer.  Cooter asked where the real reindeer were, including Rudolph.  Resting up for their long trip in two and a half weeks of course!

Santa and Mrs. Claus with all the reindeer. Cooter asked where the real reindeer were, including Rudolph. Resting up for their long trip in two and a half weeks of course!

Taking the lead from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the arrival of Santa signified the end of the parade and the beginning of the holiday season.

The littles were almost as excited to see Santa as they had been to see the red-caped Darth Vader.  It's where we live folks.  Star Wars-ville.

The littles were almost as excited to see Santa as they had been to see the red-caped Darth Vader. It’s where we live folks. Star Wars-ville.

While I don’t know what this Christmas will look like for all of us–we are still figuring it out–I am thankful for the parade and the simple joy of being there.  I found myself humming along to the Christmas tunes on the radio and looking forward to getting the tree up and decorated.  (It’s a slow process around here–this whole decorating thing.)  And then the whole afternoon, the song kept going through my head–well, to be honest, it was just the one line–I don’t know the rest of the words.  “I…..love a parade!”