Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We Will Laugh, Some Day, I Say Through Gritted Teeth

Packed in like sardines last night after accomplishing our entire bedtime routine in the laundry room as the sirens went off.

Once the sirens were over, the weatherman said be prepared for it to be a long night. Boy he wasn't kidding. Five and three quarters inches yesterday here.

I should know by now, that the South really does have monsoon season.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Will Laugh, Some Day

As I tried to figure out how to use our printer/scanner to sign and send a new house document last night, Benjamin stood close dismantling my every effort by pushing every button on the thing. Elaine was in her room crying crocodile tears, naked because she couldn't figure out how to put on the Tinker Bell dress. Downstairs, and thankfully mostly out of earshot, I heard the wails of Alida as she fought with Nicholas. They would have to wait.

I called Patric, cell phone in one hand, beating Ben back from the computer with the other. In the middle of my fussing, I noticed out the window that two police cars with lights were racing down our street. No. They were stopping in front of our house. I was relaying this all to Patric when I realized that they were very seriously assessing our yard. No. They were very seriously approaching our front door.


I hung up and went downstairs. Nicholas beat me to the front door from out of nowhere, and I shoved him behind me to see one officer standing back and ready. Then this exchange.

"There was a 911 call from this house with screaming in the background."
Another officer made his presence known by coming out from behind a tree.
I looked down, "Nicho.."
Nicholas had already hid his face in my leg and started clinging.
"Please come in."
"Who's in the house, ma'am?"
"Me and four children." (What great grammar lady, way to impress them.)
Then two more officers appeared. I opened the door wide.
One disappeared to the back of the downstairs immediately. The most gigantic, seven-foot one stood and took up our entire living room.
It crossed my mind very briefly to ask if he was in the market to buy a house, and then another asked me who was upstairs.
"My girl and my boy."
Up he went.
Officer four went to the garage.
"Nicholas? Did you call 911?"
"Yes." Barely audible.
"I'm so sorry. They have been learning about 911 at school..."

And so that is how my non-actress Alida set to screaming at Nicholas for not letting her have the phone at just the moment that he hit send on his 9-1-1 call.

Friday, April 22, 2011


being homeless, I guess.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monsoon Season Has Begun

This picture this morning as I left my sliver of bed with four feet in my back.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Girls vs. Boys

On Saturday, we had nowhere we had to go.

So the boys stayed in their pajamas until bath time, then we changed into clean pajamas for bed.

(I don't think I picked up the camera Saturday at all; these are obviously not their pajamas.)

The girls had at least three dress changes each that day.
(Benjamin did pick up the camera on Saturday; I found this picture on Monday.)

She meets us somewhere in the middle most of the time.
Star Wars and the Christmas Dress to celebrate Spring.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Serious Conversations

Elaine: "Mommy, I'm scared a monster is going to get me."

Me: "No sweetheart, there are no monsters here. And, you have your sister and your brothers and me all watching over you. And you know what? God is in your heart; he's protecting you too."

Elaine: "God will just kick him in the face?"

Me: "You bet he will."

Elaine: "Then I'll just punch him in the teeth."

Alida (from across the room): "Yeah, and then I'll just stomp on his toe."

Me: "Good night ladies, sweet dreams."

Thursday, April 14, 2011


"You make your dad SO happy when you talk to him on the phone, Benjamin."

"I like talking to daddy too. He fixes my heart."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Alida: "Mommy, can I be Wonder Woman for Easter?"

Me: "You are Wonder Woman, girl."

Alida: "No I'm not mommy; I'm Alida."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Here We Go

Overheard on the phone last night,

"I'll stay and help Susan get the kids off to school, then I'll drive to Texas."

Seems surreal.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Traveling 2011 Style

We count hours in the car by number of movies.

Crossville is a three movie road trip.

No pack-n-plays.

I didn't pack until we were walking out the door.

I forgot their toothbrushes, no big deal.

We decided to stay an extra night, no big deal.

Making sure we had the food, bottles, blankets, right toys, teddy bears, pacifiers didn't even cross my mind.

When it was time to go, the boys rolled out the luggage.

Car sickness, we still need to kick that.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Come On In, The Water's Fine

The best part of their weekend last weekend was swimming.

Ladies jumping in together.

I lost track of the hours we spent in this pool last Saturday afternoon.
Fearless Jumping.


Nicholas not clinging to someone. On the drive up he asked if we could stay at the hotel with the pool. When I said we could, he announced that he would swim on his own. With no help mom.

Then this started.

And it didn't seem so daring until I looked at the picture.

The had a ball.

And then Alida took off her suit, climbed into bed, and took a two hour nap.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Not many kids get to climb freely on working tanks.

But it was with great glee that they all crawled around a last time last weekend.
I snuck off here while they were engaged to say good-bye to the cleanest woman's restroom with a urinal in the universe. I always appreciated coming to the armory because I had my own bathroom, maintained impecably by men in uniform.

And here we are before we saddled up to go swimming, which was all the brood wanted once the tanks were tucked away.

Learning from the inside,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011


On Saturday, we all went to watching Patric's Change of Command Ceremony in Crossville.

He's been troop commander in this town for five years, which is nearly unprecedented.

And he enjoyed most every minute of command I think, right down to the end.

I love seeing this smile in the midst of all the serious faces. It helps me pick out Patric in all that drab finery.

We were late. And when they saw us all roll in together, the soldiers very quietly and very quickly lined up more chairs at the front for me and the brood, even though I tried to plop us all down in a corner in the back. The men would have none of it. I love that they have a huge banner in the armory with a prominently situated heart that says "love." That whole banner is filled with pictures of these soldiers with the members of the local community. This place loves their troops, and we love them back for their unceasing support.
Then they started doing this.

And he handed it to him.

And then they had to exchange words.

And then the thing got handed off again to another guy.

They all look the same...

We started getting antsy.

So I took a moment to click a photo of why the latest scissor ban is in effect. Alida was the stylist this time, trying out her skills on Elaine.

Then this.

This was the moment that Patric was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

This was a complete surprise, even though we know he deserves it.

Then they let him talk.

And he talked.

Then he talked with his hands.

And I realized that the soldiers wanted us at the front so they would have some entertainment to watch.

And we all listened to him talk.

And then he finished talking.

And everyone cheered for him. Perhaps because he was done talking, but likely because those men love him almost as much as we love him.

And finally, the most important adoring crowd was released to mob the man who had just wrapped up a very successful command.

Saying good-bye to his tanks is bittersweet I think.

We are proud of him.

Now we're just excited that he'll continue serving when we move, but finally in the same town we live in and not a five hour drive away from us.

More on the final tank ride with the brood and commentary on the cleanest armory in Tennessee tomorrow.