Oct 14, 2014

Adventures goes to the dogs.

Did you know that Woodstock, GA has a dog park?  It does!  Not only is it conveniently located, but it is well maintained, and has a really loyal group of dogs and interesting pet-parents who seem to be there whenever we show up.  (We showed up three of the last four days, so technically speaking, that makes us part of that "interesting" group I referred to.)  What makes "Woof-Stock dog park a great outing?

First, it's free!  Show up, bring a dog, a toy or two if you want, and find one of the two VERY large fenced areas that are large or small with dog designated.  There are obstacle courses,  a big block to sit on as you discipline your dogs as if you were watching children on a playground, and there are even doggie water fountains!  There was this one "interesting" dog mom that brought a special water container to share water with any dog that passed her as she held out a liter water bottle with a hole drilled out of the top and she squirted water into whatever muzzle wanted some.  When her Great Dane got a little rough with some of the other dogs, she even used it to squirt him.  She did warn him that she "had the water" and "wasn't afraid to use it."  I won't call DFACS.  She was very on top of her child, I mean, dog, and made sure all the dogs were safe.

There was another lady that showed up with 4 dogs.  It was like watching a circus clown car when she pulled up.  She has been there EVERY time we have been there.  And when she shows up, everyone seems to get excited.  She is the one that steps into all the group brawls.  On occasion, 15-20 dogs together can get into little spats, and she gets into it and says, "Break it up, move on!"  And the dogs do as she asks.  It's like she's the female form of St. Francis.   She's the bouncer of the dog park.   Or something like that.

Then there was one child, I mean, dog, who literally grabbed a ball, and wouldn't share.  In fact, that little sucker would take the ball, circle all the humans, and shove it in our face and growl.  I thought, "He probably gets hugged too much at home."  His need to tell us that he had a ball and wasn't going to share it was overwhelmingly obvious.  Luckily, I don't care to play that game, otherwise, that lady with four dogs might have had to get between us at some point.

Then, there was the man with the Standard Poodle.  He was insistent on using a ball toss thingie to have his dog run for a ball, and yet, she just wanted to run with wild abandon, and had as much interest in that ball as I did for the mean dogs ball.  No offense, but she just pranced around all pretty and wanted to be a dog playing with other dogs- not with her pet-parent.

The man that came in with his Afghan that looked JUST.LIKE.HIS.DOG.  That one could have won a contest for the "dog"ledanger effect they rocked.

Then, there was a young, twenty-something with her dog, and the inevitable single guy macking on her.  (No wonder a family member is begging to borrow our furry child for an outing.  I got your number.)

Then, we show up.  And yes, it is hilarious to watch my dog not listen to me as I call his name and he refuses to leave.  Or how everyone asks my dog to quiet down since he runs around policing every single dog rough play and tries to break it up since he thinks it's too rough.  (Clearly, he spends entirely too much time with me.)  

So, whether you want to people watch, dog watch, or both, Woofstock is a really great place to spend an hour or more while your dog gets some much needed socialization, so close to home.

150 Dupree Road
Woodstock, GA

There are public restrooms, water fountains for both dogs and humans, free doggie bags to pick up your dogs waste, a small seating area, a limited obstacle course, and walking trails nearby.  (We have yet to try those.)  There are signs with rules posted, and children under six are not allowed into the large dog area, not sure about the small dog area.  Over six allowed with an adult.  We did not allow our children to run with the packs of dogs for their own safety.

If you go, expect we will be there, and expect me to make fun of you in my head.  It's all part of the experience.  (Just try not to call your dogs name non stop and try to show them off.  Let your dog be a dog, and enjoy being with other dogs.)

Sep 21, 2014

Adventures does the "Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour."

We did some crazy hair.  I am the last person to play dress up. I am also the first in line to bond with my daughter.  

Today, Shay and I picked up a mom and daughter duo that invited us to go to an event geared toward raising young girls.  Before I purchased our tickets, I first went online to learn more about it.  (Okay, that's a lie.  If you know me fairly well, you know that I went to see 1. cost and 2. LOCATION.  My anxiety disorder does not allow for me to venture far without an anxiety attack or headache.)  So, first, the cost was just under $20 a ticket for each of us.  That's doable.  And the location- well, it was about 40 minutes away, but that too, was doable.

I read up on the "Secret Keeper Crazy Hair Tour," and realized that the event was based on a book series that Shay was given to read, just this past year.  I learned that these events, which are part concert, part silly lessons and games in raising modest and honest girls that are true to their Heavenly Father, all infused with the teaching of the bible.  It was two and a half hours of LOUD.  And yes, I started with a headache, and ended hugging the porcelain throne the moment I walked in the house.  The good news?  It was the most fun I have ever had while in the throes of a migraine.  AAAND, I got home in time to toss my cookies, get into bed, and only had to sleep for about 2 hours to wake up refreshed.  That was a bonus!

My partner in crime, a dear friend that actually threw us our baby shower for my girl child, also had not been feeling well, and each time the "Enthus-a-Meter"was digitally displayed for the girls to scream, I gave her the stink eye.  She then repeatedly told me that at the last event it was not that loud, and that she sat in a balcony.  Well this event was louder than if I stuck my head inside a blender, and we sat in the FRONT ROW.  AAANNNDDDDD, we were asked, REPEATEDLY, to stand up and dance!  Oh yes, that was what I was wanting to do.  And then, stand and scream.  And stand and sit.  And sit and scream.  And then, repeat.  It was like Catholic calisthenics, but not as fulfilling, as I did not have the pleasure of having Jesus in body and blood in front of me.

But, I had my daughter in my lap at times.  Sitting beside me at other times.  Giggling as she and her little friends met another girl and they played with feathers they found on some silly hair style.  And then, there were times when we were asked to dig deep, and earnestly converse with our daughters about their insecurities.  About their relationship with G-d.  And why did I cry?  Because when asked what part of her body she would like to change, she said…  Nothing.  I cried thinking, "Holy bat balls.  I did it.  I helped surround her with so much love, that she knows she is wonderfully made."  I know I didn't do it alone.  I know that between my husband, the church, her G-d Parents, and friends we carefully chose to accept in our lives,  our daughter is surrounded by G-d fearing people who live their love in a way that our children know they are made in His image.

I also know, one day, she will not have the same answer.  If you know me, you know that I am not the least bit affected by clothing, hair, or make up.  I rarely even care about my PCOS induced acne and weight issues.  (I would like to be healthy, therefore I work out, and talk a lot about the importance for keeping our hearts healthy, and eating right.  Luckily, both children do not have my body type, and hopefully, they will maintain their healthy eating and exercising habits into adulthood.)  So, I know my influence has some impact on my daughter, but their are other potential influences that my daughter sees, even infrequently, that have an impact on shaping who she is, and is to be.

This event helped me to be more m mindful of these informative years, as she is so fragile in her development.  I know her love of our Heavenly Father is strong.  She knows Him.  She is steadfast in her hearts' desire to come closer to Jesus.  It is events like this that allow moms and daughters to share those intimate thoughts that might have had a hard time evolving in daily conversation.  On the way over to pick up our friends, we talked about modesty.  It was not our first conversation on this, and I know it won't be our last.  It was important that at almost eight years old, she understood the word, and how it affects her life, now.  And when she is older, the conversation will morph into more adult concerns, and one day, she will have to apply the lessons, in her life, in a way that allows her to feel confident and know that she is protecting the likeness of G-d.  Such a hard topic, yet, with the cost of admission of the Secret Keepers tour, I was given a helping hand.

If a Secret Keepers Girl Tour comes to your area, and you have a daughter between 8-12 years old, you need to look into this.  We even saw a dad there with his daughter.  Is was magical.  
Girls just being girls.  They took a bunch of dress up feathers from this girls costume and threw them in and the air, and delighted in the pick up afterwards, for longer than I thought was possible. The innocence of youth. 

This.  This is the "Enthus-A-Meter."  This was shown, at various times throughout  the event, to see which team, "Pink" or "Blue,"could scream the loudest.  For a migraine sufferer, it was akin to a torture device used in the olden days.  I am guessing that there were about 500 girls/mothers at this event.  My ear drums were bleeding by the six round of "Enthusing."  On top of everything, doesn't that look phallic?  My thirteen year-old self will never grow up.  

Sep 13, 2014

Adventures is alone. And LOVING it!

I have not been alone in well, I don't know how long.  I always have someone with me.  ALWAYS.  However, I arranged for the migits to go with the hubs to a Lowe's Build and Grow, free, binocular making event, as well as pick up some much needed supplies for home repairs on the new house, and then to drop off library books and do a return at another store.  Oh, and then the hubs mentions he wants Dunkin' Donuts, so add that to the list.  So, they grabbed their glasses, shoes, waters, and off they went.

And now I am here, nestled in at my desk to work, and I realized that I was alone.  Alone, in the house of my dreams, that I pray I never take for granted, and that I can hear the echoes of the not to distant thundering of feet as they prance through the halls and on stairways.  How grateful and appreciative for what I have.

What I have, right now, is "Q-U-I-E-T."  With the sounds of various birds singing their songs, and the faint sounds of squirrels racing through the treetops, dropping twigs, and disturbing the branches, just out side my windows, I won't ever be alone ;o)

Now that I have found a moment to sip my coffee and be alone, I suppose this moment of procrastination is over, and I must actually clock in and start work for the morning.  Even the idea of work seems pleasant to me at this very moment.  Ahh… make it a great day!

Aug 26, 2014

When a teenager restores your faith in humanity.

I am on Facebook.  And one of my favorite connections are to the local, on-line, garage sale pages on there.  Our community has three, and I monitor them all the time lately as we just moved into a new house a week and a half ago, and trying to fill the space with much needed furniture.  Well, right before the move, I was trying to figure out how to get some extra help to pack the moving trucks we were renting.  A man in his early twenties posted on one of these pages that he was looking for odd jobs to make some extra money.  Perfect!  I contacted him, told him we were also going to be hiring some of the local day laborers in the area, and he could work alongside them.  

After much back and forth, he told me that for the amount I was willing to pay him, there was no way he could possible ensure my furniture would be safe.  First of all, would not or could not?  Second of all, the furniture was fine with the pads I provided and my working alongside a neighbor, brother-in-law, AND mother-in-law who jumped in to help- WITHOUT pay, and the workers we hired worked tirelessly!  We paid them the same amount of money an hour I make, after paying taxes.  So, I was really ticked that this man, although in his early 20's, felt entitled to more.  

Yesterday, as I was looking over a huge mountain of tree limbs that were taking up half my driveway from the trimming our good friends came to help Geoff with on Saturday.  Then, a high school-aged young man posts on one of those Facebook pages that he is looking for odd jobs.  I messaged him, he responded immediately, and arranged to come over after school today.  He showed up early, was prepared, and when he looked a little nervous about the job in front of him, I asked if he wanted to think about it.  He said, "No, it's a job."  And that was it.  He went to work.  

Two hours later he was finished, and he had the $50 in hand that I offered him for the job.  I asked him about his need.  He said he had to pay back debt to his family since they helped him to buy the truck he was driving.  I loved it.  I was so tickled by this young man that I posted on all three of the local Facebook pages how I would highly recommend this young man for odd jobs.  And the response was overwhelming!  I have a feeling that he will be too busy for me to hire him in the future, but felt great to have had him serve us for the short two hours.  Maybe my recommendation will serve him ten-fold from the little job I offered him. 

Aug 9, 2014

Adventures is sooo deliriously content.

Woke up after a doozy of a week at my parent's house. We moved in last Sunday, as our home is completely packed up and ready for our move at this end of this coming week.  Staying, working, cooking, and homeschooling there was too challenging, as everything was packed.  Being 25 minutes from home and at Grandma and Grandpa's is fun for us.  Truly, we love being with them.  The migits had Grandma all week to keep them company after I home schooled and headed to lock myself in the bedroom to work.  Brody, our 65 lb. rescue Collie even got to sleep in Grandma and Grandpa's bed with them last night!  I don't know how they did it, as moving from a king to a queen must be such an adjustment for him ;o)  I love that furry baby of ours.  

Well, the migits have been without a trampoline for just over a week now, and no swimming or running around much, so they were really bouncing off walls the past few days.  Geoff and I woke up early, got ready, picked up the nieces, and headed to the Bounce House.  BEST.TIME.EVER!  You all know how much we love spending time with family.  This was even more fun as we don't get to see our nieces that often.  After an hour and a half of non-stop running, they were worn out, and ready for lunch.  As a special treat, we took them to a McDonald's with a Play Place.  (I made my kids use an essential oil synergy hand sanitizer- "Germ Fighter" from Plant Therapy to make sure they are germ-protected- don't worry.)   

While we are at McDonalds, Charlie asks go get up and refill his water.  The refill station was within my field of view, so I let him go.  I don't know how I missed it, but he returns to the table, and a few minutes later, an older woman walks over and asks the four kids were mine.  I said yes, not sure why she was asking.  She then says, "I want you to know that your little boy has the best manners of any child I have met in a long time.  I want to know if I can buy your children some cookies."  I was floored.  Not even sure what he said or did when at the drink station, but WOW!  Charlie asked if he could hug her, then he and my youngest niece walked up to the counter with her and she bought all SIX of us cookies!  I wanted to cry.  (Mostly because I am hormonal, and second, because I am so proud of my children.  At least the two I birthed ;o)  The other two were angels as well- don't get me wrong.  But Charlie, for all that I have lost sleep over with him, I know he is a blessing to those around him, and I might never know the depth of his gifts.  

So, on a high from that, and while sitting there, I get a text from my friend, and realtor extraordinaire, Stacy Benson.  (If you don't know, we used to volunteer with radKids with her and that is how we became friends a few years ago.)  Stacy has held our hands every step of the way the past 3 weeks, and has not only sold our home 24 hours after listing it, but 48 hours helped us get the home of our dreams we didn't even imagine for ourselves!  We close on both homes this coming Friday, LESS than a month after listing our home.  

So, Stacy texted- "Hey, the homeowner of the new home would like to gift your children a bird feeder and bird food since they feed many bird families in the back yard."  I was so overwhelmed to not only be given this opportunity to have this house, but also, for the homeowner to be so considerate of our children.  We are so animal conscientious, and loving, that it was like this woman knew us!  Early this morning, during our drive to pick up my nieces, Geoff wondered aloud, "I wonder if we will see any deer in our back yard area beyond the fence."  The kids and I agreed that would be magical, but that it might not be likely.  

Well, a few minutes later, Stacy texts again, "Oh, the homeowner also said that she will leave a bag of deer food- the family of deer comes to the back gate at 6:PM each night for dinner."  Speechless.  Tears.  We have tried to sell our home three times before this attempt in the past eleven years.  I always said, "When it is meant to be, it will happen- easily."  And well, G-d has shown Himself, and his plans for us.  

There is nothing I can say or do in thanks to this woman for her kindness, and appreciation of our love of nature and animals.  I just know that this house is more than a house- it is a home.  It is the home our family will heal in.  It is the home that we will open to our friends and family and share our love in.  It is a home we will feel safe in.  It is a home that has goodness running though it.  I don't feel worthy, but I hope I do it justice by sharing the beauty of it with all of you.  

Tomorrow would have been my cousin Scott's 29th birthday.  He passes on after a long battle with Cancer, a year ago, July.  He drops his "anchor" for us all the time.  Today, was no different.  As I was walking out of Kroger, a bagger, not even ours, turned, and said, "Have a nice day!"  And I saw it- her earrings.  There was no mistaking Scott's presence.  Today, Shay, without knowing the date, put on the NY shirt that Scott signed last year for her.  I realized it when I took a picture of her at the Bounce House.  

I went into Kroger to get a card to go with our little token gift of appreciation to the original homeowners of our new home.  They have done this "For Sale by Owner," and so we have had a small glimpse into them as our realtor has been dealing directly with them.  She says they are lovely to work with, and we have to agree.  That have been so cooperative with us the entire process.    And look how perfect this card was.  Never mind that is for a man's birthday… pffft.  We can fix that.  

While they seemed to have an appreciation for the animals, maybe they also appreciate gardening, or fresh herbs to cook with?  We added some "Deer Park" water, as the neighborhood we are moving to is called "Deer Run."  (That was the main reason for the deer card.)  Got a container, some potting soil, plant food, different herb seed packets, and threw it all in for the homeowners to set up in their new home.  The kids are jumping out of their skin to start seeing animals, as we didn't have much, other than the stray cats in our 'hood.  (Insert Jefferson theme music here.)  I have to admit, I think Geoff and I might be even more excited!  Shay is going to write a letter to the homeowners as well.  She is such a sensitive child who appreciates kind gestures more than anyone would know.  

Today, I wish I could put my arms around everyone who has offered to help, (Geoff's parents have signed themselves up with Geoff's twin to help with the moving process.)  To know they will be with us has taken EVERY bit of anxiety from that process from me, and that is priceless.  My parents have been integral in many ways, and we appreciate and value their presence and nod of encouragement as well.  For our friends, we thank you for your prayers and offers to help.  And to Stacy Benson, the most amazing friend and realtor- there are no words other than, "So…  When are you guys coming over for dinner and s'mores?????"  For the record, Stacy was JUST as excited as we were when we walked through the home the first time.  To share that experience with a professional is unique.  I will go through withdrawals from Stacy once this process is over.  

Closing this Friday, August 15th, and will be unloading boxes in the early evening.  Come on by if you want to join us.  It's a Friday night, so you know pizza will be readily available!  

Jul 20, 2014

Adventures talks dirty.

I won't lie.  I do use foul language.  Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I don't use it all the time, but mostly, it is the fastest flying words that might pop out when I get hurt.  (I don't curse at people.)  So, this morning, I was doing my 7 1/2 year olds hair.  She asked me, "Is "screwed up" a bad word?"  I told her that in our home, it is, however, I know that I have used it in front of her.  I told her that I switched my verbiage in recent years to try to say the word "wonky," instead of that term.  She said she didn't know, and I told her that she should always ask if she is not sure.

I took the conversation a step further.  I asked her to tell me all the bad words she knows.  I told her that she would not get in trouble, but I wanted to know what she really knew.  I was blown away.  First, she reluctantly told me the ones I knew she would, like "fat, stupid, dumb."  I pressed her further for words that were "REALLY" bad.  She thought and thought, and could only come up with one.  I wish I was kidding.

Wait for it…..


She then added, "I have heard you say that a lot, but I know how bad it is and I would NEVER say it again.

To which I THOUGHT TO MYSELF,  "Well, fuck me!  I'm not as shitty a parent as I thought I was!"

Jul 19, 2014

Adventures plays the lottery.

This is the sort of silliness that happens when I try to sell my house.  First, our friend and agent of Better Homes and Gardens, Stacy Benson, listed our home this past Thursday.  Twenty-four hours later, we had two showings and 2 investor offers, sight unseen.  (I listed on some free sites as "For Sale By Owner" without any success two weeks prior to signing up with Stacy.)  We gathered the dog and got in the car and sat in our neighbors driveway, down the street, for the first showing.  I was on my way down there again for the dinner-time showing when my next-door neighbor graciously offered for us to just stay with them.  After hearing all the good fortune we had with the potential sale of the home, and the freaking out I was doing over the fact that there were few homes available for us to consider in the price range we were looking at,  she suggested that she gift me three dollars to get two lottery tickets- one for Friday and one for Saturday.  She asked that I remember her in the moment of winning.  I found a dollar as I was heading into the store, and bought an extra dollar ticket for the drawing last night.  I kept the ticket that had the number three as it's "mega ball."  Three is my number.  I dropped the other two tickets off with her, and trust that she will "remember" me when "we" win.  Well, turned out, my three ticket WAS a winner.  And here is what happens…. 

To answer your question.. yes, I will continue working. I am certain my coworkers would miss me, but I would miss the work. (I mean, I truly do have the best job in the world. I am a wife and mother.) And I will keep my second job, because that is really fulfilling for me. Shay just woke up. I told her the news. She said, "You're kidding me. We are going to have to do it again." Well, yes, I was considering turning it in for another ticket. This time, we might make even more money. Like, say, two dollars.
I don't want to flaunt this, but I won the lottery last night. (I don't generally play, but I knew it was going to be a good dollar spent. I was really lucky yesterday.) And well, it paid off. I won- a dollar. Please, I tell you this to share in the joy, but I can not help you or buy you a new E.T. poster. I don't even think I can get you a New Kids on the Block poster. Maybe a garage sale wire hanger, but I can not guarantee it. We will not be doing interviews today, as the lottery office is closed until Monday. I did verify that. Thank you in advance for your multitude of congratulatory well wishes on our new life. (P.S.) I have to share half of my winnings with a neighbor, and she does not wish to be bothered by media or my crazy family. Yes, we have already had this discussion. It was the responsible thing to do. — with Kris Tuttle Groover.