Thursday, June 30, 2011

Til November

Earlier today my brother Chris and his family left for Tennessee. After infinity years in school, school, school, more school and residency, my brother is finally done and ready to begin life as real-life, actual doctor. They bought a great house with room for guests, so hopefully Thanksgiving will be coming to you live from Columbia, TN. Okay, maybe not live, but at least with a short tape delay :) Since we learned they were moving I had seriously only been focusing on how fun all this is going to be for them that I kinda forgot to be sad for myself. I came home after saying goodbye and had a small breakdown for a moment realizing I was the only sibling left here in Florida :( I am really going to miss them. However, as I said to Molly, in a world with Facebook and Skype no one ever really goes away. No, seriously, even if you try, you can't get rid of people. Anyways, we love you guys! Drive safe!

Wyatt saying Goodbye!

One last popsicle with the cousins!

Goodbye Binghams!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Luke Quickie

Overheard today....

Luke: "Cindy, when you hear the beep it means don't tease me. BEEP!"

Saturday, June 25, 2011


My mom had round 3 of chemo on Thursday. She didn't want to go (wait, who does?) but I went with her and she is such a trooper. There is a lot of needles and lab work involved and I think she really handles it all super well. She even let me make her play Mad Libs with me :) AND the lady that passes out free cookies came by right after we got there. So mom gave me her cookie and I got to have two. Even in her suffering, she is still selfless :) She went to work Friday, did a few errands this morning but was feeling pretty lousy by this afternoon :( Chemo sucks! I was telling someone today it's like knowing you are going to get the flu really bad for an entire week, every three weeks for four months. YUCK! I say we forget the electric chair or firing squad and just replace it with non-voluntary, unending chemotherapy treatments. There's your torture! But, she always pushes through it and by a week from Monday she should be functional again. We love you, Mom! Hang in there!

Cindy's soccer game today was great! She scored a goal in the first two minutes and actually all the kids on her team seemed to be firing on all cylinders. It really was a fun game to watch. SHAMELESS PLUG: I cannot tell you how amazed I am at how much better Cindy is at soccer now, than she was last fall. It is like night and day. She kicks correctly and beautifully, she does throw-ins as they are meant to be done, she can correctly trap and turn the ball- it was seriously blowing my mind today as I watched her play. And the difference has been one-on-one soccer training with her dad. Jacob had been training with her for an hour a week for the past few months. It's like magic! I think all of us as parents sign our kids up for rec soccer or other sports and just hope they are good. We have a "either they have it or they don't" mentality concerning their quality of play. After last season I would have said Cindy probably didn't really "have it." Now I am thinking, Holy smokes! She could be GOOD! So it is much like assuming your kids will naturally just know how to make a bed or fold a shirt- they don't. But they just need someone to show them, one-on-one, how to do things correctly. Then they practice and become good at it. MORAL OF THE STORY: Teach your kids to make their beds and they will be good at soccer.

I finally did something about my white rabbit guilt, and constructed a very white trash rabbit run for Rosa on our back patio. It's ugly, but it does the job, and Cindy seems to be (at least momentarily) interested in Rosa again. And Rosa seems to enjoy running around and not being trapped like veal in her hutch all day. (She may be food storage, but I still have a heart.) We now release her for short periods of time to let her exercise and be outdoors. Seriously, I feel much better about myself as a human being for having freed her. Take a look...

This is also a nice shot of Cindy's new grin :)

And finally, I just finished watching the USA v. Mexico Gold Cup Championship soccer game. Sigh....

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Cindy Quickie

Today while we were swimming, I decided to try a new game with Cindy and it was called "I will say something underwater and you try to tell me what it was." For the first try I decided to use a phrase that was fairly common, so I went underwater and enunciated, "Mary had a little lamb" as best as I could. She obviously had no clue what I said because her guess was "The Scriptures are totally lame." The funniest part is, why would I say that??! Oh, Cindy. You kill me :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A little bit of everything

Guess who is starting to open their eyes!!!!

If you don't think that is the cutest thing you ever saw, call your cardiologist immediately because you obviously do not have a heart.

Okay, so the sunflowers finally bloomed. While they are both no where near as tall as Cindy's skyscraper of a sunflower from last year, they are still pretty. Her tallest flower actually fell over and the squirells bit the head off of it (disgusting vermin!!!), so she had to use her second tallest flower against mine, which still blew my tiny flower out of the water. We are gonna buy more seeds and replant to see if I can redeem myself over the next few months. So the final score is Cindy: 1, Mom: Don't make me laugh! I mean, 0.

Cindy is playing soccer in a little rec league for 6 weeks at the church down the road from us. Jacob has actually been doing one-on-one soccer training sessions with her for an hour each Wednesday for the past 4 months. I have never gone with them, but he always tells me that she does really well, works hard and could have some talent with the ball. At this age, who knows, right? So anyways, we were hoping to see some of her new skills in action. In her second soccer game last Saturday she scored three goals! She was even subbed out half the game and was super anxious to get back into the action; soccer enthusiasm we have not yet seen from her! And I can honestly say as an unbiased observer that she really is the only one on the team that can consistently and very beautifully dribble the ball. And this is a co-ed league! I am super proud of her for sticking with it and giving it her all, despite the hideous weather. Playing in 90 degree temps with 80% humidity is no small feat. We tell her this is all about exercise anyway, so she definitely gets a workout. You go, girl!

Don't mess with the Ravens!

After each game they award patches to the kids so they can put them on their shirts. Game 1 she got this one: (Offense? Good Sportsmanship? Best Braids? I can't remember...)

Second game patch....Best earlobes? Fastest drink of water? I have no clue. Mom fail.

For Father's day we went to my mom's and had dinner with my parents and my brother Chris and his family. Those cousins are just so crazy when they get together!

And here is the first official published photo of my mom wearing her fuzzy head wrap thingy. Which we all agree looks mahvelous!! (And I also love this picture because of Luke's tiny wave to the camera :)

And check this out!

Cindy finally conceeded to letting her other top tooth fall out. That thing had been hanging on by a thread for about a week. And there wasn't hardly any trauma involved. Except for me forgetting to have the tooth fairy visit her. Ouch. The Mexico v. Honduras soccer game ran a little late, what can I say?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beach Blanket Blog

Seeing as how I only make it to the beach about once every six months, it was now time for another excursion. My brother Chris and his family move to Tennessee next week (I am sad just typing that :( so I joined them over at Ft. DeSoto beach yesterday for one last hurrah. We got there at four o'clock and stayed till about eight- which seems a little backwards as most people go early and stay till afternoon, but I have decided that that little window of time at the beach on a hot, clear day is my absolute mostest favoritist day trip destination/location ever in the entire universe. I love sunset at the beach. It was magnificent :)

And Cindy, this is what you get for hating to take pictures, a blog post all about Luke.

He actually wore his sunglasses for almost the entire time. Stylin'!

Wyatt just loves to observe Luke. And Luke just loves to act indifferent.

Cindy did get to use Sadie's boogie board and try to surf. It wasn't exactly like Barbie and a Mermaid Tale...

I like this picture better, but the hair poof I got going on needs some major photoshopping. But this is just more proof that Cindy will smile for anyone but me, especially Uncle Chris :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Happy Father's Day! Since I did a spotlight on five things my mom taught me for Mother's Day, it is now the turn of my dear old dad. Pa Kettle, this is for you!

There is obviously so much more than this, but these will start us off...

1. Air guitar is a true talent. If there is one thing I remember about my dad when I was about the ages of third grade to high school, it is him playing air guitar in the garage while doing yard work. My dad loves good guitar music. Classic rock stuff. Things like George Thoroughgood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, you get the idea. Anytime my dad was outside doing yard work or general repair or maintenance tasks, he always had his CD player blasting and when a good riff came on, his rake or broom transformed into one rockin' air guitar. He ain't half bad at lip syncing either! I definitely get my love of music from him. Though my song downloading addiction is only about half as bad as his...

2. There are rules for yard work etiquette. I remember one time when I was younger when my dad was out mowing the front lawn and I thought he had gone just a bit too far over into the neighbor's territory. But he told me it is custom to mow one strip over into the neighbor's grass. Why? I don't remember, but for some reason that concept has always stuck with me.

3. The absolute best way to ask for a favor from anyone is to start it with these eight words: "I will give you a million dollars if..." It sounds so simple, but I have used this on everyone from the librarian to my waitress to Cindy's teacher and it always, always, ALWAYS gets a positive response. Try it, you will be stunned at how magical it is!

4. Eggs go with anything. We all know that my dad gave me my deep abiding love for breakfast, but more specifically, my dad taught me that just about anything goes on eggs. Salsa, hot sauce, canned mushrooms, pepperoni, banana peppers- pretty much anything you can think of is acceptable. Especially Parmesan cheese, which I believe is his favorite egg topping of all time. And I do love me some Parmesan cheese :)

5. When on vacation, the appropriate mantra is "You're on vacation, do whatever you want." My family has never taken any elaborate vacations together, but we always did take little getaways when I was younger. Mostly to the beach or to somewhere close by; and always staying in some little no name motel here and there. But while we never did anything outwardly grandiose on these trips, we always had amazingly fun times together. Partly because we are just fun people, :) but also because mom and mostly dad let us feel justified in any whims we might have. Cereal at midnight? Sure! Wearing ridiculous clothes that don't match at all? Absolutely! Sleeping in your clothes? Yup! Not eating any vegetables for 5 days? Certainly! Dad let us all feel like little Frank Sinatras on vacation- we got to do it our way.

Thanks Dad for all you do. I don't kid when I say that I have had many people over the years, when speaking of you, tell me, "You must have had the best childhood!" And I can honestly say I DID :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Why do I always find things like this just a little too late?

You might want to click on it to get a better look at the "Garbage Masher from Star Wars" cake. Spectacular! Luke, I can't wait for you to turn 5!

Friday, June 17, 2011


It's just as I feared; only 4 people read my blog. Well, either that or you guys are all afraid to tell me what you really think of my sloth video. Or you are afraid to laugh at the video for fear of violent retaliation by the local chapter of Sloth Lovers of America. Yes, that MUST be it! So in an attempt to take away your fears, I have now posted my question as a poll on the sidebar. It is anonymous, so let your sloth loving voices be heard!

And now for something even more hilarious than a flying sloth (okay, yeah, right- we all know that doesn't exist- BUT): My children wearing grandma's wigs! I left the kids with my parents the other day and when I picked them up I got to see these pictures on my mom's camera.

These are just mulletacular, are they not? Their hair color is actually kind of a perfect match.

And this picture of Luke takes the cake for me because he looks like he just got back from Thing 1 and Thing 2's Beauty Parlor McBarlor...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Please Help!!!

Please watch the following short youtube video and tell me whether or not it is hysterical:

I am awaiting all of your comments to settle the issue once and for all. Well, actually, the issue is already settled in my mind, but I am curious about everyone else's take on it...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday!

And not just to Jacob, who really is having a birthday today, but also to Cucuface's new brood. She had her kittens starting at about one o'clock this afternoon and when it was all said and done she had FIVE! Three are black with white feet and the other two are grey tiger kitties! Finally, kittens that aren't black :) And I now have to just acknowledge how amazing my readers are because according to the polls, you guys pretty much nailed it. Nice work! Here are two quick pictures, with about a bazillion to follow over the next few weeks:

The kids did really well with them. Cindy absolutely cannot stop picking them up. She has been told not to, but after the last time she got scolded she sat there bawling and blubbering, "But I can't help it, they are so cuuuuuute!!!" She is just too much like her mom :) Luke watched everything unfold and kept saying, "I hope one is black so we can name it Darth Vader." Never breaks character, does he? Anyway, yay for the kittens and double yay for them being born on an already important date I won't forget. Flag Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Good thing I did my hair

My mom is so cool. Not that we need more evidence of this fact, but as a Christmas present for my dad this past December, she bought him a gift certificate for a ride in a bi-plane over St. Petersburg and the surrounding beaches. Suh-weet! And even better is that Dad got to take two people with him for free, so guess who got to cheat death yesterday with him?! Oh yeah! Me and my brother Chris. We headed out to the Clearwater Municipal Airport after lunch, which was perfect because Chris just got off his shift at All Children's Hospital that is just down the street. It was so meant to be! After going directly to "Hangar 7" and hanging out in what were probably many very restricted areas, we finally were able to call the owner and confirm that we were in the wrong place and needed to go to the actual "terminal" like a normal human being should. D'oh!

Our first hint that we were not actually in the right spot should have been when we watched the red bi-plane taxi away from us and then take off and land no where near where we were. Wait, come baaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!

Okay, we found the terminal and the owner and the pilot, so we were now on track for our ride.

Hanging out while everyone got ready...

As Chris and I are the BIGGEST motion sickness pansies on the planet, he did wear his waterproof shoes, just in case of an emergency.

Sorry Dad, I know you won't think this picture is flattering, but I was simply showing the tiny door we all had to climb through. Way to take one for the team!

(seriously, there were so many captions I could have put on this....)

Okay, in the plane and we have our noise protecting headgear. Roll call time!

Chris, you ready??






So we took off and had a very cool ride on our Island tour. It wasn't actually very scary, it took only a few moments to get used to it, but the plane was not as sturdy as you are used to when flying Delta or the like. But we had total trust in our guide. I mean, Jesus is his co-pilot, just check out the hat.

He even offered to take a picture of all of us enjoying the trip...

HANDS ON THE WHEEL!! OH MY GOSH, JUST FLY THE PLANE!!! Well, that is what we were kind of thinking. But it is a great picture :)

So here are a few action shots of what we saw from the air:

view of the airport behind us. You can see the Tropicana field dome in the distance...

Even being so close to the ocean, look at all those trees!!!

Tierra Verde

Ft. DeSoto- the only beach I ever really go to :)

Sunshine Skyway Bridge (and a great place for an emergency water landing, I thought...)

Sweet coastline shot

I did take some video, which is mostly for my mom to live vicariously through. This is very raw video- no editing or anything. You are hearing what we were hearing :)
You will also see us going in for our first landing, but suddenly we have to abort because another plane is in the way somewhere. (I never saw it) So we got an extra turn around the bay to come in safely the second time.

To be honest, the motion sickness wasn't so bad. If I were up there about another 10 minutes things might have gone differently, but it turned out to be the perfect trip. Thanks Mom! Thanks Dad! Thanks Wright Brothers! It was one for the ages :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Luke Quickie

Luke and I went swimming the other day, as we always do, and at one point he was sitting on the deck of the pool taking a break. He was laying back on the ground and he had both legs up in the air. He said, "Look at me with my legs in the air!" So I said, "Hey, you look like me and dad when we are doing p90X!" (It's been my whole life for 4 months, what do you expect?) And then he smiled and said, "Yeah! And the water dripping down my legs can be like the sweat!" I guess if there is one thing my kids have learned about, it's sweat :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The results are in...

Well, I made the Funfetti pancakes this morning and, sadly, they were nothing special. I was expecting the wonderful taste of a funfetti cupcake to come bursting through and instantly transport me to a fabulous morning birthday party, but honestly, these did not taste any different to me whatsoever. Plus, who else out there is a Bisquick gal (or guy)? I was raised on Bisquick pancakes and Hungry Jack and Aunt Jemima just don't really do it for me. They always come out so darn chewy. Bisquick is always so incredibly cakey and fluffy and dry. I love my Bisquick :) Anyway, as Vice President of Breakfast (it's an honorary title) I will veto Funfetti pancakes. However, I am signing a multi-million dollar grant for Betty Crocker to research and develop an instant brownie waffle mix. Preferably one where the outside is cooked but the inside remains raw. And you get to top it with ice cream. And peanut butter. With chocolate shavings. And caramel ganache. With a dollop of butter syrup and whip cream mixed together. Sugar free syrup, though. I wouldn't want to go overboard...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jim Gaffigan probably invented this...

Look what I just bought at Publix:

FUNFETTI PANCAKE MIX! Did you hear what I just said?! (I was shouting at you in extra large all caps, so you should have) It's Funfetti PANCAKE mix! I really didn't think breakfast could ever get any better (well, not since chocolate-covered bacon), but this has absolutely made my day. Friday morning, as we celebrate the emancipation of Jacob and Cindy from the shackles of public education and enjoy the sweet taste of summer freedom, we will be feasting on giant stacks of these bad boys. Or maybe we'll do it tonight because I honestly don't know that I can wait that long...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Welcome, how may I assist you?

You know what I have decided is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world? Of course you don't, so I will tell you. Live Chat customer service. It really is the only way to go when it comes to solving problems and avoiding direct personal contact with another human being; which are two things I am a huge fan of. If there is the option of Live Chat for customer service on any website where I need help, I always use it. It is so fun! First off, there is no misunderstanding each other. There is no background noise, no accents to throw you off, no need for the aviator's alphabet when giving numbers or letters. It is all in print right in front of you, clear as day. Secondly, you can do a print screen if you need anything in writing to verify what information someone told you, which is really what we all need when talking to anyone about anything. But the best part is that you feel way less inhibited when talking via computer chat and can loosen up a bit and be a little silly. Who me? Silly? For example, just now I was chatting with "Rebecca" at Bright House about my Internet. So when I asked her how much the cheapest Internet/TV package is and she typed "$94.99/month" I can type back: "Is that in pesos?" (While making an awesome choking noise that only I can hear- seriously, who does she think I am, Warren Buffett?) Then at the end of the conversation when she typed "Would you like to go ahead and order new services now?" I reply: "Not now, I have to check with my husband to see which of our children we will sell to afford the upgrade." Rebecca didn't miss a beat and promptly suggested "The oldest one, they are the most valuable." To which I said, "Is that an offer?" And she will be here at 8:30 to take a look at Cindy. JUST KIDDING! She wanted Luke... JUST KIDDING AGAIN! I would never sell my children for better Internet. I think.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Taco Time

Ever since I can remember, here in Lakeland on Hwy 98 near the old Ryan's Steakhouse (now that takes you back, eh?) there has always been a little taco truck. You know, one of those catering trailer looking kind that just open the metal windows and instantly it's open for business? Well, going and eating a taco from that stand almost made my 30 Things list 2 years ago. But alas, it didn't make the final cut :( Every once and a while I think about going, but I always worry that the local taco mafia would instantly recognize me as a gringo and reject me faster than the soup nazi, so I have never gone. But the other day, quite out of the blue, my dad called and invited me to go to lunch at the taco stand. Yea, verily! So I grabbed Luke and we headed on over to "Taco Xpress", as I learned for the very first time from the giant red bathtub filled with flowers outside of the stand.

My dad and I both got the flour tortilla tacos (although the "Mexican Hamburger" had me intrigued)- which was recommended to us by an actual Mexican who was working inside!! No way! I kept expecting to get there and find out that the stand was actually run by two Indian brothers named Rajal and Putab. Dad asked for something "muy Mexicano" so we both got our pork tacos all the way. Okay, not really for me, because I didn't actually want to experience the magical hot sauce. Chili verde; yes. The ability to not taste the meal for which I came; no. Of course my dad was all over that and within a few seconds was shedding some tears and bidding a fond farewell to many of his taste buds. He also got a large jalapeno with his order, which he ate with delight and the announcement that he would be "paying for it later". Aye, Padre! Lo tonto!

We sat out in front at the see-saw-like plastic picnic table in the blazing sun, surrounded by a used car lot on one side and a lot of road construction on the other, which was pretty darn accurate to the ambiance I had imagined! Luke hid under the table to avoid all the necessary squinting, but he had his bag of Cheetos so life was good. Anyway, the food was good. A tad overpriced based on portion size, but when you squeezed a fresh lime over those tacos, they weren't half bad! Thanks for the tacos, Dad! And for following your heart and making all of my wildest dreams come true. You are my own personal Pedro :)

P.S. One day when Brian and Kelly come back to Florida, we will go there and see just what kind of Mexican food I was actually eating. Because I didn't get sick at all, which makes me think it wasn't very authentic :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wish List

The Women's World Cup starts in about 3 weeks and today we were able to catch the last half of a friendly between the US and Mexico- which they won in overage time, by the way. Anyway, the first thing I noticed about the team today was their official new World Cup jerseys, which has now obligated me to major repentance because of how much I am coveting them. Seriously, I think I have to have one of these...

Friday, June 3, 2011

You are getting very, very sleepy....

I am now going to hypnotize you into a trance where you are reading this and it is yesterday afternoon....On the count of three it will now be yesterday afternoon.....1,2,3 Snap!

So much blog fodder, so little time! I have been really, really busy the past few days and just have not had the time I need to blog. I don't see a break in the action til at least Monday :( Lucky me gets to be the awesome DJ for the Young Single Adult Dance in Tampa tonight. But being this busy is not all bad because this means that next week there should be a lot coming down the Sweeneyville pipeline. Did I just hear throngs of people cheering?? No, couldn't be...

In other news, my mom did her second chemo treatment yesterdy and this morning she called me FROM WORK! Her body seems to be coping much better this time. I assume she will still bottom out a bit in the next few days, but even one day feeling better is amazing. I can't really explain it other than it is a miracle based on all the prayers of family and friends. So, thank you!! I do have have to say that even chemotherapy is not strong enough to kill "the curse" when it comes to us Binghams and our cars (see this blog post for reference). When I drove my mom up to the cancer center to get her post-chemo shot (we took my car on account of her car was overheating a little and the air was going warm) but on the way home, MY car overheated. Unbelievable! Actually it isn't, but I really thought the curse had some sort of compassion. Nope! Now we know it's as cruel as forcing my brother Brian to interact with Mexican clowns. Confused? Click here :)