Friday, November 3, 2017

Halloween Everything 2017

Halloween definitely seems to be the holiday around here that just keeps on giving.  This year it started early with me giving in to the kids constant requests to carve a pumpkin.  Cindy carved her Superman pumpkin weeks ago, so Luke had to get in on the action.  Cindy was a champ and helped Luke with most all of the legwork and some of the knifework as well.  Turned out pretty well, Barry Allen.

Next up was the Bartow Halloween Parade, one of our family's most time-honored traditions.  This time Luke decided to wear his costume.  For the longest time leading up to Halloween, he wanted to be Black Panther from the Avengers. I was adamantly against it.  BOR-ING!  It was basically just a black costume with a mask that might kinda tell you who he was.  Thankfully, in a twist of fate, I rented Spiderman: Homecoming last weekend and Luke changed his mind soon after. My spidey senses told me I had dodged a huge bullet.

Yes, those are real muscles. Grandma checked.

This is the literally the best picture we could get of everyone.  Ridiculous.  

Cindy did not have a bag to collect any candy she could get her hands on, so she turned her hoodie around backwards and used it as some sort of low level food trough.  

Take the picture so I can hurry up and murder you.

Fun fact: Spiderman is afraid of clowns and will use his mother as a human shield when he sees one coming.
Please don't see me, Please don't see me...

And now the winner of "The Float That Didn't Quite Turn Out the Way You Envisioned" Award...

It's Winnie the Pooh falling in a beehive. Duh.  

The next day was Fall Festival at the church.  And here is how I felt about that....

Whoo-hoo!  Cindy did a group costume.  Alvin and Chipmunks with Charlotte and Maddie....

I went as a strawberry.  I knew Carmen Stanley would be expecting a fruit costume and I didn't want to let her down.

Pay no attention to Luke's crazy eyes.

Halloween day was actually kind of exciting for me this year.  I decided to participate in the school's teacher dress up day.  We had to be a book character.  So........ Behold! The Magic Tree House!

 I was pretty proud of this little costume!  It didn't take me too long and the kids seemed to really enjoy it.  Yes, I did wear this in car line and during lunch duty.  No, I could not really open doors or Gogurts.  Yes, I was amazing. 

Halloween night we went to our friend's, The Baileys, house as we usually do.  It's such a fun tradition.  I look forward to it every year :) 

This year's crew

My crew

The best part is always the house that gives out full size bars.  Spiderman went with the 3 Musketeers.  Hershey bars were not available this year apparently.

Finally! Something worth stealing from Luke.

And the second best part is returning to the Bailey's to pig out on candy and watch someone play Xbox while Cindy and her friends go around the neighborhood for a second time.

And another Halloween is in the books!  I gotta start thinking of a costume for Luke now.  We can't let a Black Panther situation happen again next year...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tales from the Lunchroom

So there is this kid at school I see every day during lunch duty and his lunch always consists of a hamburger bun, a bag of mini Nilla wafers and a small Tupperware container of ketchup.  It's the weirdest combination.  And I know that he is choosing this meal because his mom drives a really nice car and his backpack has a matching lunchbox with his name embroidered on both of them.  I was telling one of my fellow paras on lunch duty about this meal and she just said, "Yeah, last year it was mustard."  Moral of the story: kids are weird. 

AND, in a segment I like to call "Why are you tattling?"  the latest kid to tattle on his neighbor was upset because, quote, "He's trying to change my birthday from October to Saturday."  I can understand your anger. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Super Girl

My girl Cindy has been up to a few things herself.

Like career shadowing on a citrus farm and taking chicken selfies...

Training her cat...

Training is serious business

Helping dad out at soccer tryouts because Cindy actually now attends the high school where he coaches.... I don't have a picture for that, but just let that last sentence sink in for minute because Cindy was THREE when Jacob started coaching at McKeel.  Wait, I found a picture...

Oh my gosh I'm old.

Making awesome grades in school (with ZERO involvement from me)...
Catching the bus every single morning by herself since the first day of school without any incident....
Selling 35 hideously overpriced cheesecakes for her chorus fundraiser...

This is basically my face being all proud of Cindy

And finally she's been celebrating Halloween on her own terms.  With her own pumpkin, that she bought with her own money....

(She only let me take her picture because I drove her to the pumpkin patch.  I love the barter system we have going.  And the fact that she can't go anywhere without my help.)

And then she proceeds to do this with the pumpkin while she was home alone on a Saturday night...

The moral of the story is:  Never underestimate Cindy.  One minute she doesn't understand how to fold a blanket a or use a hanger and the next she's carving a pumpkin like like she's a Disney Imagineer.  Cindy is like an onion.  So many layers.  And sometimes she makes you cry.

Wonder Boy

I don't even know how it happened, but Luke has turned into Mr. Busy.  

He is now officially taking piano lessons....

Playing soccer....

Go Celtic!

Participating in Cub Scouts, Chess Club and Art Club once a week....

No pictures of Chess Club or Cub Scouts, these pears will have to do

And as of today he has been selected out of 176 kids to be on the South McKeel Academy Academic Team.  

No wonder he looked like this on the way home from school today....

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Get Your Seer Stones Ready

Last week while DJing a Single Adult Dance for the Brandon Stake, an older Spanish sister handed me a list of her "requests."  This is why we make the big bucks, people.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Ever since we got this kitten, he has had about a thousand different names; Stella Nugget, Oliver, Hurricat, Cat 5, Furface, Satan's Minion, Psycho, Razorfeet, Tigerbilly, Tigerlarry, etc.  For whatever reason, this guy just doesn't have a name that is working for me.  The good news is that he is pretty fun to have around, so I will continue to keep calling him whatever I want until something sticks.


This cat LOVES feet.

He never stops trying to bite your toes.  He hides, he appears, he bites the crap out of your feet, and then he goes back to hiding.  This is pretty much his entire life.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Lunchroom Quickie

The other day during my lunch duty, I walked past a table full of second graders and noticed one particularly happy girl unloading her lunchbox and getting ready to eat.  I continued to walk around and as I made my way back toward her table no less than about one minute later, I found her in tears. She was absolutely distraught.  Her fellow table mates were trying to console her and so I approached and asked, "What in the world just happened??"  She showed me a paper towel in her hand that was filled with some sort of gloppy mess.  "I dropped my pie on the floor!" she bellowed.  I didn't know whether to feel bad or laugh.  I patted her back and told her, "I feel the same way when I drop my pie."  Finally after a few minutes of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, she stopped crying, wiped her tears, looked at the pie and said with a spirit of determination, "You know what, I'm eating it anyway.  It doesn't even look that dirty!" And she took her fork and dug in to the pumpkin pie that hit the floor. To be honest, the cafeteria floor is way cleaner than a second grader's hands, so there really wasn't a risk. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Luke Quickie

The other day Luke came in from feeding our outside cats and excitedly told me, "Mom, I think we have baby birds up in our tree somewhere!"  I said, "Oh, yeah, how can you tell?"  Luke replied, "Well, because I heard some chirping that sounded like little babies and then I heard the noise of something throwing up and it was probably the mom putting it in the baby's mouths."  You know, the sound of a bird barfing? It's very common.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Story #5 from Irma

Okay, okay, I lied.  I have one more story from hurricane Irma.  After the storm was over we realized that we needed to cut down the palm tree in our front yard, as it was way too close to the electrical transformer.  We didn't really know when we were going to do it, but figured sometime in the next month or so would be fine.  Well, Saturday morning I got a text from my neighbor saying that her father was coming with a chainsaw to cut some palms in her own backyard and did we want to go ahead and have him chop ours at the same time.  Heck to the yes!  Her whole family basically showed up and helped us take down and then chop up the palm tree.  Took less than 30 minutes to have it completely done!

Thank you, Joyner family!

What a view!

However, as the palm was being chopped up, Jacob noticed that something was living in one of the outside pieces of bark.  This is what we discovered:

Holy crap, what are those things??!

BABY FLYING SQUIRRELS!  And by baby, I mean like born yesterday, baby squirrels.  They were itty bitty, and pink, and fleshy and for a few seconds we thought they were bats!  After the initial shock wore off, we didn't know quite what to do with them.  So what do you do when you don't know what to do about something?  You poll strangers on Facebook, of course!  I posted the pic on the Lakeland Online Yard Sale page and within about 30 minutes I had over 60 responses and names of people who wanted them.  I was hesitant to give them to a regular person who swore they "knew how to take care of just this exact kind of squirrel" and we opted instead to take them to someone's recommendation of Lakeland Veterinary Hospital.  Cindy scooped them up into a bowl and me, my mom and Cindy drove them over.  The five girls working at the clinic were immediately smitten with them and promised they would be totally fine and released as soon as they were big enough.  They were even able to tell us the gender of the squirrels after seeing them for about 5 seconds.  Amazing! These guys really owe their lives to Cindy, who was adamant that we find someone to help them live and did not stop bothering me until a happy ending was reached.  You did good, Cindy :)

Goodbye, little guys! I hope you eat the pineapples
of my enemies

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Story #4 from Irma

I realized yesterday that I was missing one more important story from the hurricane.  On Saturday we started to realize that the path put the hurricane a little more in our direction so we started to gather up and assess our resources a little more seriously.  My parents had a Coleman camp stove that uses propane that they had left out for us, but we were thinking that since we had two full giant propane containers at our house, we should probably just buy a grill to use them with when the power inevitably went out.  Well, all the summer clearance sales on grills had already happened a few weeks ago and you can imagine that Lowe's and Home Depot were completely picked apart by this time as well.  As Jacob was driving home from a very unfruitful grill search at the stores, he was about a half mile from the house when he drove by a man putting a propane grill out at his curb!  He stopped, the man said that it worked fine (missing some little piece that didn't really affect anything) and so he decided to bring it home.  By dragging it in the rode with his left hand, while driving the car (door open) with his right hand.  He got stopped by a police officer in that short period of time, who basically looked at him shaking his head and told him to just "be careful." But now we own a grill! We have used it twice so far and it works fabulously.  As this happened the day before the storm even got here, I should have taken it as a sign that everything was going to work out fine.