Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Great Grandpa Rufus

Jacob's grandpa Rufus Sweeney passed away on Monday night.  He was 85 and had been tormented with Alzhiemer's for the last year and a half or so.  I think his family has great relief and peace with his passing.  I think I first met Rufus right before Jacob and I got married.  We were driving home from Utah to Florida and stopped in Ada, OK to see his family.  I can't remember a time when Jacob was so excited to have me meet someone.  Back then Rufus and Grandma Nadine had their own store, called Sweeney's- it was a little gas station and convenience store and I think every Sweeney grandchild worked there or at least has a few memories of getting free candy, soda or walking into the giant freezer in the back.  I had been told since meeting Jacob, that Rufus was a the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man.  And indeed he was. The grandboys always joked that Rufus described every meal that Grandma Nadine ever cooked as "the best meal he ever tasted."  And that was true!  I heard Rufus say that to Nadine on many, many occasions.  He and grandma came to our wedding, and then we attended their 50th Wedding Anniversary party in Oklahoma a few months later.  He was always positive and happy.  I was always amazed at how content he was with a simple life.  They drove simple cars and lived in a simple house, though they were successful enough that they certainly didn't have to.  He liked taking slow, driving vacations and finding happiness in visiting every fruit stand along the way.  We were fortunate that Rufus and Nadine came to Florida several times since we moved back.  I am glad my children got to spend time with them as much they did.  Cindy is very fond of Nadine, as they share the same birthday :)  I remember they happened to be here for Luke's 2nd birthday and we had strawberry shortcake with an angel food cake that I had made from a box mix.  Both of them could not stop telling me how good it was (I'm sure Rufus told me it was the best cake he ever tasted :)  and as I recall, he sheepishly even asked for seconds, and ate every bite.

Three years ago when our family drove out to Utah for Nathan's wedding, we stopped in Ada for a few days.  We stayed with them and I remember Luke and Rufus eating blueberries together.  I think Luke gets that directly from his great grandpa.  They both could eat them like candy.

I really love these pictures.  They all personify Rufus so well.  He never wanted to be the center of attention.  He was just always there, in the background or off to the side, quietly working and being happy with everything life had given him.  I can honestly say that Rufus is one person Jacob has told me that he wishes he could be like.  Although we will miss him, we know he is home now.  What a wonderful legacy he has left behind :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hit It!

Saturday was opening day for Spring softball season!  Thankfully it will be the only actual Saturday I have to give all season.  They played two short scrimmage games and it was a good assessment of what we need to work on, which is pretty much everything :)  

But first we had to do individual and team pictures.   Every time I am pressured into paying for sports pictures for my kids, I always have the thought, "I will take my own for free! Ha ha suckers!"  And then I remember this.....

And my next thought is, "Who do I make the check out to?"

I like their uniforms this year.  I was so happy it fit!  Uniform sizes are like a box of chocolates.  But she looks great.  Even with the face that says "Right now in my head I'm plotting your demise."

And notice that Luke is sticking out his tongue down here.  In the words of C-3PO, when it comes to pictures of my kids, I seem to be made to suffer.  It's my lot in life. (Yes, Mom, karma is not fun.)

Although the uniform fit well, the socks were a completely different story.  Cindy only really wears one pair of socks. Ever. They are the only ones that "feel right" in her shoes.  I think she wears them every single day to school and they could kill an full grown ox with their stench, but I have learned to never get involved when it comes to socks.  She just does whatever she has to do and I look the other way.  Yesterday morning when she put on the new socks, I heard her tell me they felt weird and then she was a puddle of tears in .03 seconds.  I repeated my motto of "Do whatever you need to do to fix the problem" and walked away.  Twenty minutes later she had cut the toes off the socks and was wearing them like leg warmers.  See?  Solving your own problems is the way to go!

Then we had the parade of teams to officially start the season....

I have seen this on Pinterest and was very glad to see it hanging on every field on opening day.

I didn't take that many pictures, but we've got all season for that.  Here's a few....

Warming up....

I am not sure what this stretch is or exactly does, but Cindy seems to excel at it.

Their first game was pretty good.  Lots of hits, lots of good catches.  The second game was played as if they were under a spell that made them forgot how to do anything related to softball.  Overthrows, missed catches, infinity foul balls- not to mention that all the girls were full of Gelati Joe's and kettle corn- plus, you add in the mid-80 degree weather and it was a hot and sluggish affair.

Cindy played first base one time, and then played right field the other times.  She was a little bummed that she was playing outfield so much.  But that just gives her good motivation to practice catching the ball off the bounce- which is a key skill in little league softball.

Definition of Irony:  Cindy as a pinch runner for the girl with the boot cast on her leg.  I love Cindy so much, but honestly, she is only slightly faster than a girl running with a boot cast on her leg.  She takes after me, I own that.  


But notice Cindy's new pink batting helmet! Thank You, Ebay.

Grandma and Grandpa Sweeney came out to watch while they are here for a few days.  Grandma Bingham was there too, but I didn't snap a pic before she got away.  I'll get you next time, Gadget!  

As for Luke, well, he's just there for the snack bar and to swing on palm trees.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Is it just me or do other wives get urgent texts from their husbands that say, "Look up #5 for the Men's Mexican National Soccer team- is he fast? Also, what is his height, position and his strengths and weaknesses.  Thanks."

It is just me, isn't it?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Open the Bag Because Here Comes the Cat!

You may have already heard, but my father in-law just got called to be a Mission President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He and DeAnne report to the MTC in Provo at the end of June to start a three year assignment in the newly created Scottsdale, AZ mission.  Wow, are we going to miss them! But  so tremendously grateful for their example.  It's going to be wonderful :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Red Dot or Feathers?

The other day at work I had the experience of calling customer service to verify patient insurance benefits.  If you haven't had this experience before, I will liken it to being hooked up to "The Machine" by the six-fingered man and having one year of your life sucked away.  Is there anything more pleasant than talking to a barely audible, mumbling man in India about whether Cortisone injections are covered under a copay or the deductible?  Nope.  It was sheer heaven!  And how many times in a row can you say to someone, "I didn't understand you" before it gets awkward?  Three? Four?  Turns out to be about seven.  Who knew!  If I am to survive this new element of my job responsibilities, I gotta lighten things up a bit.  I have ten ideas on how to do that...


10.  "I've been told I have a lovely singing voice, so I am going to sing you a verse of Yellow Submarine and I want you to tell me what you think."
9.  "My name?  Hummingbird Saltalamachia."
8.   "Hey, can you talk to my boss real quick and tell her that it was me who stole all the toner?"
7.  "If you can correctly answer the following trivia question about Phineas and Ferb, I will personally send you a York Peppermint Patty."
6.  "So how much gold are you wearing right now?"
5. "Don't tell anyone, but yesterday I snuck into the back room and took an X-ray of my purse."
4.  "Has anyone ever told you that you sound like a husky Scott Baio?"
3.  "While I have you on the phone, I have my copy of Teen Vogue right here, so if I could just ask you a few questions we can find out which One Direction hottie you are most compatible with."
2.  "Can you give me your email address so I can follow you on Pinterest?"
1.  "Ordinarily I don't even talk to strangers, but since we've been chatting for over 14 minutes about insurance, I think I can safely ask, will you marry me?"

Monday, February 18, 2013


As you already know, Jacob coaches a handful of soccer teams, but this weekend it was his U-11 team was playing in the Gator Showcase tournament in Gainesville, FL.  I think tournaments are such a mixed bag.  They are fun to enter and fun to be a part of, but traveling can be difficult and you just never know if you are going to have an off-day once you get there and have made all that effort.  Plus, tournaments usually take place over an entire weekend, so Jacob pretty much never gets to fully participate.  I don't know that the parents always understand that, but I am proud of him for his obedience and always being at church on Sundays.  As such, we went up to Gainesville on Friday night and stayed until Saturday afternoon.  I think I have driven by Gainesville about eleventy twelve times but never have I stopped there or been anywhere on the UF campus, so it was fun to explore for 24 hours or so.  Friday night we went out to eat with the team.  I would not recommend dining with a party of 38. Takes a little while to get your food :)  After that we hung out at the hotel and remembered why we don't pay for cable.  Seriously, sixty four channels available to us and we still busted out my tablet to watch Netflix.  At least the room was paid for by the club.  Saturday the team had a game at 8am and then they had a tour at UF with members of the Gators Women's Soccer team. 

 A few pictures....

Camera self-timers rock!
I do have to say that right after we took this picture we had to ask for some directions to find the soccer field.  We found two amazing hipster guys sporting handlebar mustaches, skinny tweed pants, matching tweed sport coats and flat caps.  One was holding a Starbucks and the other used his iPhone to give us directions in seconds flat.  Hipsters. Hipsters everywhere!

Here is Jacob's cute little team with two of the players from the UF women's soccer team.  The taller one in the gator sweatshirt was a goalkeeper recruited from Norway.  They are serious about recruiting at that school.

We got to go in the women's soccer team locker room, which seems like it would be lame, but actually was kinda cool to see how collegiate teams really live.  It's a pretty sweet life.  We saw all the equipment, the endless swag and all the services available to the team.  Laundry service, vitamin regimens, massage tables, hot tubs- you name it, they can get it.  

Right after checking out the soccer team digs, we headed down to Ben Hill Griffin stadium, or "The Swamp" as it commonly known.  We found Tim Tebow in all his Heisman bronzie-ness. Surprisingly his statue had him in the upright, running position. Curious.

I had to make this picture extra large to try and capture the enormity of this stadium.  It was so humongous.  Seats about 30,000 more people than Cougar Stadium in Provo.

Okay, here is where the trip got glorious.  On the way out of town after the tour, we had time to get some lunch.  I had asked my friends on Facebook for some recommendations on the best, local, hole-in-the-wall type restaurants and someone mentioned the Reggae Shack Cafe.  Jamaican food.  I was not entirely sold on the idea, however, I figured, this could be a once in lifetime chance to eat a type of food I had never had before.  So we took the plunge.  I had a Caribbean chicken sandwich and Jacob had some Jamaican curry.  Both were excellent, but the real star of the show was the little item I am holding in my hand in the above pictures.  It is called a "festival" and was described as a coconut hush puppy.  It was one of the most delicious things I have ever put in my mouth. Ever. Period.  It was like a hush puppy, but it was sweet at the same time.  It was hot out of the fryer, but it wasn't as doughy as a hush puppy.  I wish I could adequately describe it, but you can't!!  It was just so phenomenal.  I have thought that it would be worth the almost three hour drive to Gainesville just to go back and eat some more festivals.  The other items on the table are Coco bread and a Jamaican beef patty.  The bread was kind of like a mild King's Hawaiian sweet roll, only with the consistency of smooth cotton candy, which was delicious. The beef patty was tasty too, especially the crust.  So the verdict on the legendary Reggae Shack Cafe is two thumbs up.  Way up!  Plus, how can you argue with a place that serves something called "Dutty" Fries- which are french fries with all kinds of seasoning dumped on them, including sugar???!  You can't.  Plus, a big shout out to my parents who watched the kids for us while we were gone and made all their dreams come true by taking them to Denny's AND garage sale-ing.  I can't compete with that, nor will I try.  In the immortal words of Bert from Mary Poppins,  "The cream of the crop, the tip of the top, are Grandmas and Grandpas and there we stop" :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Catching Up

Last week I posted this picture on Facebook with Cindy and yet another gigantic sunflower she grew (in the shade, I might add)....

But not to be outdone, here is Luke with his....

We gave the first sunflower to Mrs. Viers (Cindy's teacher) and this one might go to Miss Paladino if it survives the holiday weekend :)

I got this Valentine yesterday from my favorite little Jedi....

Uncle Nathan commissioned Luke to paint this family portrait for him:

And he finished!

Luke just loves art, drawing, painting, cutting, crafts, etc.  
He never gets tired of them and has an incredible amount of patience.  He is the cutest :)

I am also hard at work on a top ten for you.  Top ten? What is that?  Should be finished by Saturday night.  I am headed out to Gainesville with Jacob tonight and tomorrow for a soccer tournament.  Hopefully we can find a good BBQ or Mexican food joint that we don't have here.  Traveling is all about the food, am I right?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It is Thursday, After All

As you may already know, there is not much ado about Valentine's Day in Sweeneyville.
(Or "Thursday", as we call it.)  We ate Cindy's apparent favorite dinner of tri-color rotini pasta by candlelight, but that was about it.  Although, I did find this graphic that seems to be the perfect Valentine for my sweetie. Happy Thursday, Jacob!

This one also seems to ring true....
For you my friend... @Nicole Blank

Ahh, we are such perfect nerds for each other....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bleep Bloop Beep!

Valentine's Day boxes are all the rage now in school.  And the pressure to make a good one with your kid is pretty intense.  Luke decided he wanted an R2D2 box and Pinterest really didn't have anything to offer me.  So I came up with this little guy without their help.  Nanner, nanner!  Just takes one protein powder canister, one cardboard tube from aluminum foil, two empty fruit cup containers, a bowl covered in foil, some construction paper and deep love for showing up other children- I mean, for making something to be proud of.  His head is fully detachable and hopefully tomorrow he will come home full of plans for a secret battle station.  And giant, delicious, chocolaty battle station.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Avengers According to Luke

I finally got around to taking pics of Luke's Avengers paintings.  Just so you know, we always use Google to find a picture for reference and then he draws it and paints it.  I helped with three lines on Hawkeye, but everything else is completely his own original work.  Tomorrow I will show you the Zombie drew.  Gotta keep you coming back for more :)


Captain America



Iron Man

Sunday, February 10, 2013

While You Were Sleeping

Yesterday I took a short nap, and when I awoke, Luke was very excited to show me his latest hand-crafted creation.  I admit, I did not recognize it right off the bat, but as soon as he told me it was Rosa Parks, I saw it immediately. It was the googly eyes that gave it away.  (I took this picture with my tablet camera, so the quality is not the best.)  If you have ever been a teacher of little kids and you have ever wondered whether they are listening to anything you say and then secretly hoping that at least ONE is getting something from you, well, that one is Luke.  He actually told me many things about Rosa Parks, including the fact that she didn't finish high school until she was 21.  And now I have officially celebrated Black History Month for 2013.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Luke Quickie

Yesterday the kids were in the back seat of the car and Luke was struggling to put on his seat belt.  He was sitting on the complete other side of the car than he normally sits and I think it was causing some confusion, having to use his non-dominant hand to buckle up.  This is what we overheard...

Cindy:  Just buckle it with that hand!
Luke: Well, it's hard!
Cindy: Why?
Luke:  Because I use this hand [right] to do everything.  The only thing I use this hand [left] for, is flushing the toilet!

I applaud his meticulous separation of manual powers!  And note to self:  Always high five Luke's right hand from now on.

To: Dad Love, Jessica

This is pretty much the best one of these I have seen....


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Softball Ahoy!

Anyone else out there getting slammed by this cold/sinus infection going around?  ALL of us have it here in my house.  It is a like a crack den with all the drugs floating around in here.  And  don't get me started on the amount of facial tissues we have gone through... In the mean time, I have to report on Cindy's first softball practice last night.  I was secretly terrified that at the exact moment I was handing over my check for softball registration two weeks ago, Cindy was going to change her mind about softball and tell me she wanted to join the circus or take piccolo lessons.  But she didn't!  Last night we showed up to meet her team and I am so excited for her!  I think she is on one of the best teams.  They have FIVE coaches.  Each one was running a different station last night- hitting, fielding, base running, etc.  It was unbelievably organized.  I was pretty much speechless.  These guys are totally hardcore.  And Cindy had a great time. There are several girls on her team that all go to her school and one of them was even her reading buddy last year!  It is even more amazing luck considering that I actually forgot to take Cindy to tryouts and they called to say they would just randomly put her on a team if she was still going to play.  And not to brag, but I think the coaches were pleasantly surprised with their mystery players' abilities.  Cindy really is a good player.  Today we spent a solid half hour out in the front yard throwing the softball and her catching skills are coming along quite nicely!  She barely dropped a ball.  Takes after her mom.  Oh wait, never mind.  Dropping the ball is kind of my hobby as of late...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Race Is On

Two Sundays in a row with something deep to write about? What is this, Dr. Phil??!!  On Friday night I ran my first 5K in a long time and going into it I wasn't sure I was going to be up to the task.  Among other reasons for my concern, I wasn't feeling 100% due to this nasty cold that's been rotating around my family.  Plus I usually don't fare as well in night races because my eating during the day gives me cramps, etc.  Add to those two facts that I did a small warm-up run prior to the race and was having some very new, very real knee pain and I have to admit that I was panicking a little :)  And did I mention it was cold?  The ultimate run-killer!  However, I went, I stretched, I stayed loose and I just ran.  And you know what?  It was one of the best runs I have had in a long time.  I was completely shocked at how well I did.  I ran it at about 28:10, which is not a personal record of any kind, but very solid considering everything I was up against.  So as the finish line approached and I made it across, I truly felt like a million bucks!  There were over 630 racers out there and I had just ran past a vast majority of them.  I was thrilled that I ran so well.

Now, as you can see by this picture, I was in good running company that night.  My friends Davina, Michelle and Pollyanna were there too.  Davina is part running cyborg and won our age group with a blazing time of 23:10 and Michelle only missed third place by coming in about 40 seconds behind her.  They are both incredible runners.  And I have to admit that upon learning their times I was a little deflated by realizing how slow I really am compared to these two rock stars.  But then I remembered a quote that I posted a while back on here, which reads, "Don't Let Comparison Steal Your Joy."  And then I realized that I was doing just that.  By comparing myself to their accomplishments, my joy was being stolen.  I was giving away the elation and pride I felt when I crossed the finish line.  For no good reason!  I realized I needed to simply be happy with what I had just done and not care what anyone else did.  It was time to be selfish and focus on just me.  I showed up.  I ran.  I didn't stop.  I did something that was difficult to do.  So while I still admire Davina and Michelle for a thousand different reasons including their mad running skills, I have decided I still get to be ridiculously proud of myself for running like a three-legged turtle covered in molasses.  I will take my 28:10 and wear it like boss.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Quickies All Around

The other day Cindy and Luke were in the front yard playing Harry Potter.  They had picked up some sticks and were using them as wands and yelling "Expecto Patronum!" at each other.  When I finally came out to watch this for myself, Cindy told me she was ready to watch the next Harry Potter movie, The Half-Blood Prince.  She asked me if it was scary and I told her that it some of it was kind of intense and some parts might be kind of frightening.  I told her that maybe she should wait a while to watch it.  She dismissed my worrying and said, "Well, in primary on Sunday, Brother Brown told us that Heavenly Father will always, always protect us, so I think I am ready to watch it."

Luke came home the other day from school telling me that they were learning about Groundhog Day and what it meant if the groundhog saw its shadow.  He very desperately told me, "I reeeeeallly hope he doesn't see his shadow, because I do NOT want 6 more weeks of winter!"  I hate to break it to you buddy, but you haven't had 6 weeks of winter in your entire life.  Heck, having 6 days of winter might even be a stretch.  But let's keep it that way, okay?

Report cards officially came out yesterday, but Cindy had tipped us off a few days back that she was bringing home a C.  I told this to Jacob so I could gauge what the punishment might be so I could prepare Cindy for what might be coming.  He told me she should be banned from Netflix for a while and should have to run a mile every day for a week.  When I told this to Cindy, the thought of all that running made her absolutely despondent.  I don't think she had stopped thinking about it all week.  However, on Friday, she got home from school and walked right in to give the report card to her dad and learn her fate.  Five minutes later she came out of the room with giant eyes.  She looked at me and said, "That. Was. AWESOME.  He said no Netflix for a week, I don't have to run a mile every day and I didn't even cry!!!"  For the record, she did bring up last report's C to an A.  She just had a B slip to a C.  However, she still managed to eek out all As and Bs for the semester average, so I am very proud of her.  She will retain her Choctaw Star Student status!

And finally, today is Groundhog Day!  And in honor of this momentous occasion I set my iPod alarm clock to wake us up this morning to "I Got You Babe" right at the 1:41 minute mark.  It was epic.  Especially when Jacob rolled over and looked at me and said, "Well, at least your sense of humor never changes." You have no idea what you got yourself into, Sweeney ;)

Plus the alarm clock was all the way across the room, so no punishment could be exacted upon it...


I don't know how I missed this one... If we hadn't been watching the movie The Aristocats on Netflix for the past few weeks, I am not sure I would have recognized this cool cat.  Cindy and Marie at Magic Kingdom :)