Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Stone Mountain Sunday

Monday, January 31st, 2011

It was, like, 67 degrees in Atlanta yesterday. Beautiful weather, and reminds me why I love the South. Shorts in January! I have been working and volunteering a LOT. Like, so much that i am burned out, my psoriasis is spreading due to the stress, and i have finally started saying, “I can’t do that.” This is not a bad thing. I was thinking about it last night, and in addition to being a full time mom, i also work part time as an editor (from home and on my own hours, but still, it is a job.) And then there is the volunteering:

I write the PTA newsletter.
I am on the Communications committee for the Evansdale Education Foundation. (You should donate to them all of your money.)
I am a member of a group dealing with the proposed Dekalb County School redistricting and reconsolidation (that’s Dekalb’s fancy, non-threatening attempt at saying “school closing”) initiative, called Evansdale Elementary United.
I’m Board Secretary for my daughter’s dayschool.
I volunteer occasionally for other things, like to help in my son’s classroom.

This is entirely too much. I see that when I look at it written out like that. The sad part is that I am not alone. If your kid is going to a great school, it probably has as much to do with the teachers, staff, and funding as it does with the amount of work that a very small portion of the parents do in their free time.

So, i am learning to say no. When a meeting came up yesterday at the same time that I was supposed to go to Stone Mountain with my family, I said NO to the meeting. Big step, considering what a control freak I am. it was totally worth it, too. We had a great time.

And if you’ve never been to Stone Mountain, you are missing out. Sure, the carving is cheesy at best, offensive at worst, and definitely it is sad that someone carved into such a magnificent and unique natural Georgia feature. But the park itself has tons to do and is wonderfully family-friendly year round.

Tiller took this one of me, Todd, and Rollie. I don't know that we have a picture of just the three of us since he was about two years old!

Tiller took this one of me, Todd, and Rollie. I don't know that we have a picture of just the three of us since he was about two years old!

Rollie took this one. It is kind of nice that the kids are getting old enough where they can do stuff like that. I can't believe I didn't get a shot of just myself and Todd. Next time!

Rollie took this one. It is kind of nice that the kids are getting old enough where they can do stuff like that. I can't believe I didn't get a shot of just myself and Todd. Next time!

I wish I had a dollar for every photo of us with a surly Rollie. We would be very rich.

I wish I had a dollar for every photo of us with a surly Rollie. We would be very rich.

The kids like to go in this weird stone formation. It is right at the steepest part of the trail.

The kids like to go in this weird stone formation. It is right at the steepest part of the trail.

I am not comfortable in small spaces, so I sit out and look at the view. In the distance, you can see the trail going down the mountain, the parking lot at the trail head, and even farther, Downtown Atlanta.

I am not comfortable in small spaces, so I sit out and look at the view. In the distance, you can see the trail going down the mountain, the parking lot at the trail head, and even farther, Downtown Atlanta.

Christmas 2009 Recap

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

So, here’s what we’ve been up to. . .

Christmas Eve, Rollie came down with quite an ear infection. Quint took good care of him.

Christmas Eve, Rollie came down with quite an ear infection. Quint took good care of him.

We spent Christmas Eve at Leelee’s house. There was much cuteness of children and stuffing of our faces, and dogs running around, and Cecil drinking scotch. Todd and I brought the kids home afterwards and tucked them in, then readied for Santa Claus. Luckily, this year there was no Victorian dollhouse to put together. Which basically means we lay out the loot under the tree, stuff the stockings, and pour ourselves a well-earned nightcap. I usually watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve, but i am a good wife and I let Todd kill zombies instead. Oh, Holy Night. . . .

I played with my camera. I just love a Christmas tree in the dark.

Rollie got a Hot Wheels bike from Santa. I love that green color.

Rollie got a Hot Wheels bike from Santa. I love that green color.

Tiller got a Hello Kitty bike. I wish it came in my size.

Tiller got a Hello Kitty bike. I wish it came in my size.

I love a Christmas tree in the dark.

I love a Christmas tree in the dark.

I used to sit in the living room in Roswell, in the dark, and just look at the tree.

I used to sit in the living room in Roswell, in the dark, and just look at the tree.


This is an ornament Vanessa gave me years ago. I love it, but it is heavy and i have to tie it down on the tree so that it doesn't fall.

This is an ornament Vanessa gave me years ago. I love it, but it is heavy and i have to tie it down on the tree so that it doesn't fall.

This is an ornament my sister gave me. It looks like snow. I can't believe we haven't broken it yet.

This is an ornament my sister gave me. It looks like snow. I can't believe we haven't broken it yet.

The next morning, Tiller found the stockings and didn't even see her bike at first!

The next morning, Tiller found the stockings and didn't even see her bike at first!

Tiller was beside herself. Pure joy.

Tiller was beside herself. Pure joy.

Rollie didn't feel good and we could tell. He wasn't really amped up at all until he got Monster Jam tickets in his stocking. Santa is kind of an asshole, as he only left two tickets, so Tills and I am on our own that night, I guess. Sigh.

Rollie didn't feel good and we could tell. He wasn't really amped up at all until he got Monster Jam tickets in his stocking. Santa is kind of an asshole, as he only left two tickets, so Tills and I am on our own that night, I guess. Sigh.

Todd and I drank coffee, cuddled, and then untwisted a lot of twisty ties and rubber bands from cardboard while drinking mimosas.

Todd and I drank coffee, cuddled, and untwisted a lot of twisty ties and rubber bands from cardboard.

That afternoon, Mom, Dad, Lisa, Mark, and Dash came over. We all opened gifts, drank wine, played toys with kids, and made a lot of noise.

Two generations. Not sure what Tills is doing here.

Two generations. Not sure what Tills is doing here.

Rollie really didn't feel well. You can see him feigning excitement here.

Rollie really didn't feel well. You can see him feigning excitement here.

Tiller decided to throw a tantrum during gift opening. Always fun to discipline your child in front of your parents.

Tiller decided to throw a tantrum during gift opening. Always fun to discipline your child in front of your parents.

These things just aren't that exciting. I just don't get it. Robotic hamsters?

These things just aren't that exciting. I just don't get it. Robotic hamsters?

Alex was a gift unto himself.

Alex was a gift unto himself.

Birdie didn't really get the whole Christmas thing. He could have gotten a lump of coal in his stocking and he would still have this look on his face.

Birdie didn't really get the whole Christmas thing. He could have gotten a lump of coal in his stocking and he would still have this look on his face.

After the dishes were clean and dinner done and kids in bed, we finally go to relax.

After the dishes were clean and dinner done and kids in bed, we finally go to relax.

So, let's talk gifts. My dad got me these. As far as gifts from Dads go, this is not bad. V. comfortable, not offensive to look at.

So, let's talk gifts. My dad got me these. As far as gifts from Dads go, this is not bad. V. comfortable, not offensive to look at.

My sister got me these and also an awesome necklace. She buys me the best gifts. I also kind of like my camera skills on this one.

My sister got me these and also an awesome necklace. She buys me the best gifts. I also kind of like my camera skills on this one.

From my mom, who evidently still thinks i am six. Yes, i am a 37 year old with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer pjs. Note the Abominable Snowman.

From my mom, who evidently still thinks i am six. Yes, i am a 37 year old with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer pjs. Note the Abominable Snowman.

These are the best. LOVE getting these from the kids. I see myself crying over them for years to come.

These are the best. LOVE getting these from the kids. I see myself crying over them for years to come.

I have a thing for the Black Cat Fireworks logo. It cracks me up, always has. Todd finally got the hint and got me a Black Cat shirt! Rowr!

I have a thing for the Black Cat Fireworks logo. It cracks me up, always has. Todd finally got the hint and got me a Black Cat shirt! Rowr!

He also got me a thermometer. Lisa rolled her eyes that I would get excited over this, but I love getting stuff for my yard, and nature-type stuff.

He also got me a thermometer. Lisa rolled her eyes that I would get excited over this, but I love getting stuff for my yard, and nature-type stuff.

So, i saw that Todd had put The Monsters of Templeton on his wish list. He noticed the same thing on my wish list. We both got one for Christmas. From each other. Much laughter ensued. I am thinking we maybe need to spend a little time apart, or by next year, we might be wearing matching Christmas outfits. On the plus side, we can have our own little book club. At least for one month.

So, i saw that Todd had put The Monsters of Templeton on his wish list. He noticed the same thing on my wish list. We both got one for Christmas. From each other. Much laughter ensued. I am thinking we maybe need to spend a little time apart, or by next year, we might be wearing matching Christmas outfits. On the plus side, we can have our own little book club. At least for one month.

Todd also got me the Merge Records book I've been wanting to read. Will probably start this one next. Yay! That cover photo makes my heart pogo.

Todd also got me the Merge Records book I've been wanting to read. Will probably start this one next. Yay! That cover photo makes my heart pogo.

The next morning, we got up early, kicked my parents out, and headed for Auburn.

While we were in Auburn, the kids got some time in on their new razors, and I had a few heart attacks.

While we were there, the kids got some time in on their new razors, and I had a few heart attacks.

We did some hugging.

We did some hugging.

And Tiller pitched another fit. . .

And Tiller pitched another fit. . .

And then we hugged some more and rode the dinosaur at the park.

And then we hugged some more and rode the dinosaur at the park.

Then more hugs with Uncle Lyle . . .

Then more hugs with Uncle Lyle . . .

And even more hugs with Lyle and Denise.

And even more hugs with Lyle and Denise.

We had lots of fun, and my in-laws spoiled the kids, and I didn’t get one single picture of my niece, Luci. We left on Monday and came back to Atlanta. On the way, we decided to stop and get fireworks, which was funny, because I was wearing my new Black Cat shirt.

Kids with Todd at Black Cat Fireworks store.

Kids with Todd at Black Cat Fireworks store.

Since then, we’ve been recovering from Christmas, putting away the loot, stuffing our faces with cookies and drinking wine. Yesterday, we felt we needed some fresh air and exercise, so we hiked up Stone Mountain with the kids. I had my doubts about whether they could make it, especially Tiller, but she didn’t lag at all. She picked her way up the mountain like a mountain goat. That’s her new nickname. The Mountain Goat. We didn’t have to help them at all, which as a parent, is nice.

Taking a rest on the way up.

Taking a rest on the way up.

Tiller looking stoic, while the boys cut up at the top.

Tiller looking stoic, while the boys cut up at the top.

I was kind of disappointed that no one had decorated this little tree behind us for Christmas. Also, please don't judge my fashion choices.

I was kind of disappointed that no one had decorated this little tree behind us for Christmas. Also, please don't judge my fashion choices.

Todd had fun with perspective.

Todd had fun with perspective.

And they kids thought it was hysterical.

And they kids thought it was hysterical.

Rollie was rocking out, I guess. Not really sure, but he's a cutie.

Rollie was rocking out, I guess. Not really sure, but he's a cutie.

One last shot overlooking downtown, before we head back down the trail. Tiller and I took off after this and kicked Todd and Rollie's asses. I'm just sayin.' You don't mess with The Mountain Goat.

One last shot overlooking downtown, before we head back down the trail. Tiller and I took off after this and kicked Todd and Rollie's asses. I'm just sayin.' You don't mess with The Mountain Goat.

I took some shots of Tills with the flags at the bottom, while we waited for the boys. Did I mention the Mountain Goat and her Mama beat them down the mountain? By many minutes? Girls rule, boys drool. (Tiller and I decided we wouldn't tell the boys that, though.)

I took some shots of Tills with the flags at the bottom, while we waited for the boys. Did I mention the Mountain Goat and her Mama beat them down the mountain? By many minutes? Girls rule, boys drool. (Tiller and I decided we wouldn't tell the boys that, though.)

All in all, we had a great Christmas vacation. Last night, I had dinner at Bistro VG with some friends from high school: Kevin Fagan and his fiance (she is awesome – they were in town from Richmond) and Jamie Kish and his wife, and Camille and Joe showed, too. Natalie didn’t show, which was disappointing. I ate a cheese tray and drank wine. Yum! The kids and todd went bowling today, and I am thinking about cooking dinner and building a fire tonight and perhaps playing some Beatles rock band. We shall see.

Them tomorrow, New Year’s Eve! We are having some friends over and their kids too. Should be interesting.

Happy Place

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

I don’t mind the weather
I’ve got scarves and caps and sweaters
I’ve got long johns under slacks for blustery days

I think that it’s brainless to assume
That making changes to your window’s view
Will give a new perspective

dscn4111.jpg

So, yeah, the anxiety is getting me down, and I feel like I’m in a rut. So, we’re going to my happy place. I don’t care how cold it is. I think it just might actually give me new perspective.

Peace and Joy and Stinky Polyester Santa Suits

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

One of the great things about being an adult at Christmas is seeing pictures like this one of my nephew. Pictures of babies bawling on Santa’s lap.  Nothing says, “Peace and Joy” like children terrified of creepy guys in smelly old polyester santa suits!??

What a crybaby!

What a crybaby!

I didn’t have time to fool around with resizing the photo (deadlines yo!), but it had to be larger to get the full effect of the terror. I know, shoddy.

(For those of you who are curious, this is the Lenox Mall Santa.)

Uneek Vampire Name Game

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

BabyNameWizard picked their annual Name of the Year for 2009: Renesmee.

HATE it. (It’s a Twilight thing, in case you are completely dead.)

Renesmee is the (spoiler alert, in case you are dead) child of the two main characters in Twilight and is named after her two grandmothers, Renee and Esme. Her middle name is Carlie after her two Grandfathers, Carlisle and Charlie. Their sister site, Name Candy, discusses it here. And poses the question, how would you combine your grandparents’ names, or parents’ names, to come up with a baby name?

My grandmothers: Evelyn and Vivian. Vivelyn. Evelian. (NOT Evian!)
My grandfathers: Walter and Charles. Warles. Wharles. Charlter. Chalter. Wharlie. Warlie. Chalt.
Todd’s grandmothers: Nell and Ruth. Nuth. Rell. (Rad!)
Todd’s grandfathers: Roland and Allen. Rollen. Alland. Rolallen. Allenand.

Moms: Peggy and Virginia. Pirginia. Pegginia. Virgy. Virginy.
Our fathers: Lavaughn and Cecil. (Oh, god!) Lacil. Lavacil. (Obviously, a remedy for “down there” problems.) Cevaughn. Cecaughn.

I give up. What’d you come up with?

I really want to know! I want to know your grandparents’ names and your parents’ names and what you come up with. Except Lisa. I am doing this. You can come up with a competing list if you so choose.

Feeling Sentimental

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Not sure why. Maybe Christmas is causing it all, but i’ve felt like a debbie downer lately, so i was looking through some more old pictures and came across this one and it just made me smile.

Dancing with Graham, 1973

This is my cousin, Graham, and I dancing at my Aunt Dot and Grandma’s apartment in about 1973. I don’t remember the name of the street they lived on, but it was an upstairs apartment in a house. No idea how, but they had a piano up there. I would give my right pinkie to know what song we are dancing to, but you can see aunt Dot (my Grandma’s sister) over there smoking and clapping along. She loved to dance!

I miss the big family gatherings and the crazy grandmas and aunts and uncles and cousins. Graham and I were best buddies, at least until those hangers-on, Lisa and Adam showed up.

And I don’t remember ever liking to dance, but i guess i did at some point!

Thankful, Part II

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I really wanted to post about my weekend in Auburn, the Iron Bowl, seeing old friends, and Georgia surprisingly beating Tech. But I have had too much to do today to do the weekend justice. Instead, i will just give Thanksgiving picture love. . . .

Cousins
Leaf Hand-Holding Cousins

Malex
Leaf Dog

Dash
Leaf Crawling

Tiller
Leaf Throwing

Princess Visiting Puppy (Yes, she came up with that name on her own.)
Princess Visiting Puppy

Little Brave
Little Brave

Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

Sheer Bliss

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

So, Todd went to Chicago this weekend to meet fellow Auburn boys, Brian and Tom. And to see the Pixies. Yes, I am the best wife in the world for not pitching a hissy fit that he was flying to Chicago to see one of my favorite bands ever. (Yeah, right. You know I didn’t take this lying down. I made him promise that I had a free pass if they came anywhere in the Southeast on this tour. So, if you want to go, let me know and you will be included if it comes up. ) In all seriousness, Toddler really deserved this weekend, as he is the best husband/Daddy combo ever, and he has been working his ass off for the last six months.

I decided that I would go visit my parents at the lake for the weekend. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to after the kids go to bed, and i love taking the kids to the lake where they can run free in the trees, and fish, and crawl around in the bushes and get wet and muddy. They get to learn about life in the food web via fishing and all of the dogs decimating a nest of baby squirrels. I worry they don’t get enough of that. Nature Deficit Disorder, if you will. We thought it was going to rain all weekend, but it ended up being really nice weather on Saturday, so the kids played, and I did some yardwork for my dad (leaves and pruning bushes, mostly.) So, about noon, just as i popped open a beer and was finishing my yardwork cleanup, i heard this . . . running water sound. It was pretty loud, so it didn’t take long to locate the source – the spigot in the front yard had sprung a leak. Water was bubbling up out of the ground.

This was one of those moments where i thought to myself, I should not say a word about this. Just let it run. If I say something, Cecil is going to want me to help fix this. I have fixed a leaky water pipe in this yard before. This will not be fun. Keep. Mouth. Shut.

I am dumb. I said something. We decided to eat lunch before starting to fix it. I like that when I am at the lake, I can eat things for lunch like turnip greens and leftover Old Clinton BBQ and wash it down with a margarita. (My sister had come down that morning with my nephew Dash, and god bless her, the first thing she usually does when she gets to the lake is make margaritas. I couldn’t let her drink alone, no matter how much leaky pipe i had to fix that afternoon.) After that Dad had me knee deep in mud before i finished the damn margarita.

I dug and dug and was a complete and total Goat Man in minutes. After digging a couple feet down all around the spigot, we found the trench where the water line was. In the true spirit of half-assed construction, and wiring that is the lakehouse, the water line is in the same trench as the power. So, I was digging in a hole that was quickly filling with water and through which electricity was running. Brilliant.

I did not get electrocuted, although that might have been sweet relief from my father telling me how to do everything. Twice. Because just saying it once might not sink in through my thick skull. No, everything must be stated twice. If something isn’t working, and I am trying to figure it out, while I am doing so, my father repeats his instructions. Over and over. Just taking the volume up a notch each successive time.

I finished the margarita, which was helpful both in regulating my attitude, and because I could then use the cup to bail the water out of the hole. That’s what you call forethought and ingenuity. I will just pour myself this drink, so that when i am done, i can use the cup to bail out a muddy hole filled with water.

About this time, we decided to turn the water back on, and find out where the leak was. It was, of course, right below ground level, on the pipe running up to the spigot. Not in one of the pipes running through the yard at all. Basically, this means that I didn’t really need to dig up the whole damn trench anyway. Sigh.

Dad and I went to the hardware store to get a replacement pipe. Just trust me when i say that trips to any store with my dad are a nightmare, but especially to a store where they sell things men would be interested in: manly things like trucks, lumber, tractors, fertilizer, nails, power tools, knives, guns, or ammo. I love him, but he really likes to “talk shop” with whomever the resident expert is on any subject. I usually stand around avoiding eye contact with the other folks in the store, while pretending to be really interested in joint compound. This time, I stood in Ace with mud from head to toe and checked out the vast array of dead deer heads on the wall. People walked by me like i was an insane person wandered in off the street.

We headed back to the house with our pipe, just in time to meet the neighbors who had come over to visit. This is another thing I find humorous about the country. People just show up at 2 pm on a Saturday, with a cooler and a chocolate lab on the back of their golf cart or Gator, and everyone starts drinking. In this particular instance, the two gentlemen were decked out in their Bulldog regalia and informed me that they were “tailgating.” They didn’t have a tailgate and weren’t in Athens, but i liked the spirit of it anyway.

They stood with my dad, drinking beer, while I got down in the hole and fixed the pipe, and all the while they were telling me how to do the job. “Don’t strip it now.” “You need to get it tight,” and so forth. The only saving grace to this was that they made me drink their moonshine (all the way from Silver City, Georgia! Peach flavored! Straight outta the mason jar!) and I needed two shots to make sure it tasted alright, but after that, I felt much more equipped to deal with the peanut gallery.

We finished up and the pipe was fixed, and then my kids wanted to fish, so I sat on the dock and enjoyed another beer in the late afternoon light, while making sure they didn’t plunge into the lake. I untangled crossed rod and reel lines, and put minnows on cane poles, and I was muddy, and hanging out with the pack of five or six dogs that always seem to congregate in our yard whenever we visit. It turned out to be a pretty nice day.

I was thankful for the lake and the good weather, and the company of my kids, and even my father, and some big, dumb, wet and muddy dogs. It is funny how disconnecting from the tv and the radio and the internet, getting outside in the fresh air, working, getting muddy, hearing your own breathing and the sound of your child’s laughter and dogs barking and growling and wrestling in the yard can make you feel relaxed and at peace and like all is right with the world.

Oh, and then I finally had my shower. There is no better shower than a post-yardwork, muddy Fall day, very hot shower. Then a steak dinner.

Sheer bliss.

Because If We Don’t Laugh, We’d Cry

Monday, September 21st, 2009

We got a bit of rain today. This is what grandma and Mama might refer to as a Toad Strangler, with lots of God Bowling, although there was a moment in early afternoon of The Devil Beatin’ His Wife.

And this was all over Facebook today, but I am too tired from cleaning out my damn flooded basement to come up with anything original, so this pretty much sums it up. I love how a tragedy or huge event like this flood results in some really funny jokes. This is the best. Pokes at Sonny Perdue praying for rain also crack me up.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

In all seriousness, there was some sad stuff in Atlanta today – Loss of life. And I am thankful all my peeps are alright. Tiller and Rollie are tucked in with no school to get up for tomorrow, mama made it to Atlanta and had to pitstop at Lisa’s due to the blocked roads, and Lisa had a tree fall on her house, but all my folks are safe. Even that piece of shit I married, sitting up at the W in NYC, drinking a beer in crisp white sheets. Just kidding T. Send me that check, baby.

I hope that wasn’t thunder I just heard.

What’s Up with Me

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Not sure how I always end up so overwhelmed in the Fall. For one thing, school starts at the beginning of August, which, in my head, is still summer. So it catches me off guard.

  • Rollie is in school, and he has his first cold of the school year. It is the second week of school. I also have his first cold of the school year.
  • Tiller doesn’t start for another couple weeks. (I think. Guess I should check on that.)
  • I am volunteering at Rollie’s school, writing the monthly newsletter for the entire school (with a co-chair, thank god.) I also help with Literary Guild once a week.
  • The kids are gearing up for Fall extracurriculars – Both kids did well in soccer last year, so they are both playing again this fall. That means a weekly practice for Rollie, Rollie’s game on Saturdays, and Tiller’s on Sundays. (Tiller’s consists of running around, dancing on the field, drawing in the dirt, and lots and lots of crying.)
  • I am trying to up my mileage a bit to train for the Half at Thanksgiving. So far, ankle is holding up well, and it is just me being out of shape from over a month off my feet after the ankle sprain. I am also doing weight watcher’s at the same time, which makes for a ravenous Annie. Oh, and I am still growing out the dyed hair, hoping to go gray. It is getting more and more noticeable. I know. I still need to post some pics. Will do that one of these days.
  • Tiller started ballet and tap last week. Anyone who knows Tiller can probably imagine how humorous this event is. So, we are running around looking for tap shoes and leotards and ballet slippers. I am mostly wondering how I got myself into the whole mess in the first place.
  • And Rollie is playing baseball (well, t-ball) for the first time. It scares me to death, watching him walk around with a baseball bat. So many heads to crack, so little time. Should be interesting to watch, though. He seems to like to play and is very coordinated.
  • Todd is working his rear off, which is good in this economy, but makes for a stressed-out Todd and a single Mama Anne. I honestly don’t know how you single moms do it. Hats off to you. Todd will get the weekend off and then starts yet another job next week.
  • I am still crafting a complaint to file with Dekalb County schools concerning their botched Magnet lottery system, and especially, the beeyotches that run the program.
  • The car needs to be serviced, the basement is gearing up for renovations, which we are doing ourselves. I am taking a floor-laying class this Saturday. And in the midst of it all, my parents are cleaning out Pop’s house, having a garage sale this weekend, and trying to find a house in Atlanta.
  • Busy Fall.