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The Ramblings of a Redneck Diva
Sunday, August 1, 2004
"I'm not a pickle, I'm a cucumber."
Mood:  surprised
Okay, before I go ahead with today's blog I've gotta update you on the last one.

In addition to the awesome dinner and free play we got at the casino Thursday we also got a goody bag! I didn't even know about it until the next day when I dropped the kids off at Mom's. She told me she had a bag for me and Sis. I figured it was just something the kids had left or something she had found for us and was just wanting to get out of her house. No...they are actual tote bags that say "Quapaw Casino" and inside was a koozie, a magnetic clip and a t-shirt. Pretty durn cool eh? Y'all may not be excited, but this chick was impressed, lol.

I've had a couple of people ask how the driver's license picture turned out. Pretty almost alright, I guess. I mean for a driver's license picture it's not too bad. The only thing is, they made me take my glasses off! I have worn glasses since I was 11 and they are a part of me. I have tried to wear contacts two separate times in my life and I have actually had people tell me I look weird. I'm just meant to wear glasses. And my hair, which is really dark anyway, looks even darker in my picture, so I think I look like a big fat indian woman, LOL. No kidding! I told Sis that and when she looked at it, she goes, "Yyyyyyeah, I can see that." I called Mom, because I knew she had gotten hers renewed a few months back, to see if she had to take hers off, too, but nooooooooo they let her keep hers on! It's so strange that I had to take them off because I have the corrective lenses restriction on my license, so you'd think they'd want my picture to have me in them. *shrugs* Dunno. Maybe the lady at the tag office just needed a good laugh and I was the unfortunate person who she picked to cheer her up.

Okay, so on to today's actual blog, telling the events of the weekend...

Friday night we went out for Sis' birthday, which was a total hoot. Bub dropped Sis off at one of the small casinos in town, came out and picked up all of our kids and me and took us to Mom's to leave the munchkins. Then he and I met Sis and our friend, Melissa, at the Stables. We were just planning on hanging out until Paul got off work, then we were going to eat. Paul wasn't scheduled to get off until 8, so we were all hungry and cranky, but hanging, nonetheless. But miracle of miracles, he called me shortly after 7 and said he was on his way home to shower. So around 8 he called and said he was almost to town. About that time John and Tif showed up, just in time to get back in their car to drive across town to the steak house. The three couples had a really great dinner and just enjoyed visiting and laughing. I tell ya, some of the stories we tell when we're together. We were having such a good time I nearly cried all my mascara off.

So then after dinner, John decided he needed to go on home and for some strange reason get some sleep, the big poo. So we took Tif with us out to Quapaw Casino. We all kind of split up, but about 5 minutes after I sat down at my machine, here comes Tif strollin up. She had blown $20 in that short 5 minutes! I'm tellin' ya, it's easy to do. Been there done that. It only took me about 15 to lose $15. A buck a minute...not good. So we left those machines by the wayside and headed to a different part of the building. I wanted to play my favorite game, RedBall. Tif and I got machines side by side and were having a ball. I taught her how to "woogie" her machine for luck, which she thought was silly at first, but after awhile we were both woogie-ing like crazy, lol. Paul was bored and sat down at a slot machine behind us and put in a dollar. By this time Sis was on the other side of me. He tapped Sis on the shoulder and said, "Uh, I think I just won $100." Well, imagine the three of us turning around simultaneously. That definitely got our collective attention! Sure enough, he had won a $100 jackpot. He went to the cage and got his cash, then decided to try it again. He put in a $10 and in $6 had won another $87. We were making him cash out when he won, otherwise he'd just play it all again. All told he won about $250 during the course of the night. Me, I just played $40 of his winnings, lol.

Okay, sidebar...a hilarious one at that... While I was typing along here, my internet answering machine rang and I needed to return the call. I walked out onto the carport to get my cell phone out of my van. I dialed the number as I was walking and it's a good thing poor Sarah didn't answer the phone because as I walked in the door I stepped on a lizard!! Imagine the scream that came outta my mouth. And imagine the surprise she'd have gotten had she picked up!! Iiiiiieeeeeewwww, I hate lizards!!! I was so busy screaming and jumping around that I'm not even sure where the stupid thing went. He could've run right back out the door, he could've run further into my bedroom. I'm not sure I'll be sleeping here tonight, lol. iew iew iewiewiewwwww iiwewwwwwwwww that was gross!

Okay, so now I'm not even in the mood to type any more. That stupid thing could still be lurking here in my bedroom!! Yeah, I'm thinking I want to leave my bedroom for awhile. If I get enough courage to enter this part of the house again today I'll write more, otherwise y'all may have to wait awhile, lol.

The Diva has spoken at 4:36 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, August 1, 2004 4:47 PM CDT
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Luck be a lady
Mood:  hungry
Well, at least the $25 I lost at the casino tonight wasn't mine. *sigh*

Tonight was my first ride in a limo, which I could SO get used to. We all met up at the casino and left our cars, so everyone could go home when they wanted later. Lemme tell ya, they were double and triple stacked in Aunt Janet's van when I arrived and when Aunt Janet said, "Climb in and find a lap!" I replied, "Oh dear, there is no lap in there quite ready for that." Man, was I ever glad when her sister volunteered to drive her car! We all gathered in Larry and Janet's house to await the arrival of the limos. They brought a black and a white one, a Lincoln and a Cadillac. I told the driver at the door that I wanted to ride in the Caddy, but to tell you the truth I just got in the black one because it was prettier and I couldn't tell the difference. We crammed 9 people into a limo that was probably only supposed to seat 6 or 7. And Mom and I ended up riding backwards and I was pretty thankful the drive out there was only about 5 miles. Any further and they'd have had to pull that long sucker over to let me hurl. So anyway, we just goofed it up real good the entire drive, really enjoying ourselves and probably making that poor driver think we were nuts. I'm surprised he didn't put up that little privacy window divider thingy. At the casino we all got out and they took our picture (and of course I forgot my camera!! But they're supposed to email them to me tomorrow) then the escorted us into the bar where they had the whole shebang set up. No pictures there since it's illegal inside the place, but it was pretty nice - for a bar inside a casino anyway, lol. They fed us t-bones that were so melt in your mouth it was incredible. My cousin Keith had a baked potato on his plate that honestly was as big as a football! I sat between my cousins, Chad and Keith, and that was probably one of the most fun meals I've ever eaten. We laughed so hard through the entire meal I'm surprised one of us didn't get choked. Here's an example of the kind of things we were laughing over:

Chad and Courtney are working at a motorcycle rally this weekend and Courtney is announcing. She was telling us how she is going to have to announce the wet t-shirt concert and wasn't really all that excited about it. When she asked them just how she was supposed to go about saying it they said, "Just yell 'SHOW US YOUR T--S!'" She was even less excited about saying that. Then they proceed to tell us how rough it might get with all those bikers and all that beer. I told her that if things got too rowdy to just yell my name over the intercom and I'd come up and show 'em my boobs because that was sure to clear the place in a heartbeat. Keith said if I just cut two holes in my shirt right off the bat I'd be able to control the crowd. But when I told him that the holes would have to be down close to the hem of the shirt he and Chad nearly fell out of their chairs. Crude, yes it is. Funny, even more so. Sadly, it's not too far from true. *shrugs* What can I say.

Along with the free meal we also got the $25 free play I mentioned, but we found two bonuses in our envelopes in the form of 2 free beers. Not being a beer drinker, I promptly gave mine to cousin Keith. So did just about everyone else. If the poor kid makes it home tonight it'll be a miracle, lol. I played my money to the best of my ability, which isn't saying much. I mean, how much ability is really required to hit the button over and over in electonic gaming? I played for over an hour on their $25 and came home with $5, so all in all it wasn't too bad. If I'd cashed out every time I won I'd have come home with $35 more, but oh well. I had fun while it lasted.

Tomorrow the kids and I have a bunch of errands to run, including getting my driver's license renewed. The state just switched over to a new sytem, not allowing you to use your SSN as your DL# anymore, which means now I have yet another set of numbers to memorize. I'll have to get fingerprinted, too and of course, have that awful picture taken. And it's supposed to rain, which means I will have the most horrendous hair ever. Just once I'd like to take a half way decent driver's license picture...just once! Of course, my last picture, while still bad, is a heck of a lot better than my Sam's Club membership card picture. Oh heaven's, that thing is atrocious!!! Even my mom, who tries to always make ya feel good, said, "Oh honey."

Well, I hear a piece of red velvet cake calling to me from the kitchen. Yes, I realize it's nearly midnight and yes, I know it'll go straight to my butt, and no, I really don't care. Then I'm off to get my beauty sleep before my photo shoot tomorrow!!

The Diva has spoken at 11:12 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:16 PM CDT
This weather rocks!
Mood:  spacey
We have had a week of the coolest weather I've ever experienced in July. Sunday morning it was actually cool enough to merit a sweater. The girls had goose bumps when we were going into the church! It's been so cool all week, it's given everyone this little shot in the arm that is unheard of during the hellish Oklahoma summers. Usually this time in July it's nearly 100' with heat indices as high as 110 and the humidity somewhere around 4000%. Right now the temp is 67. We've spent more time outside this week than we normally would - we've gone to the park, played outside... of course today it's raining, but still it's awful durn inviting to just run out there...

My uncle is running for state representative and Tuesday was the primary election. We were so hoping that he'd win with enough of a percent that there would not be a run off. To win you have to have 50% of the votes. He won with 49.3%. Agh! SO close!! Technically he won, but there still has to be a run off. Yesterday we had an informal meeting and we now all have only one shirt in our wardrobes, lol. My children are going to be labeled the poor kids at school because they will wear only their campaign shirts for the first 3 weeks of school, lol.

My aunt won a drawing from one of the casinos and we're all wearing our campaign shirts there, as well. They're going to think they're being invaded when we all show up with matching shirts and hats and whatever else they forage around for between now and then. I'm all for wearing my shirt in support, but tonight I'm all about the free steak dinner and $25 free play in the casino. Ya know, a girl's gotta have her priorities in order.

Tomorrow's baby sister's 28th birthday and there are 4 couples all getting together to hit the casinos that give away free play on birthdays. Might get expensive for the 7 of us non-birthday folks, but Sis is going to have a ball, lol. Mom's watching all 5 grandkids overnight so that we can have a good time and not have to worry about dragging the kids out at some ungodly hour. Mom rocks. I'm looking forward to some fun "grownup" time this weekend. School starts in a few weeks, I'll start babysitting again next Monday...things are going to get serious again. Bummer. Kind of bites being an adult sometimes.

The Diva has spoken at 10:15 AM CDT
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
bring your own lampshade
Mood:  party time!
Happy Anniversary John and Tiffany!

Some friends of ours celebrated their first wedding anniversary yesterday and I meant to get a happy anniversary up on here before today.

Sorry it's late, guys! Love you both!

The Diva has spoken at 11:06 AM CDT
Friday, July 23, 2004
This is gonna take awhile, part 2
Mood:  hug me
Make sure you're reading these in order, folks...

Okay, so the drive there goes off without a hitch. We have walkie talkies and keep ourselves mega entertained the whole drive, talking about our own church camp and youth group memories, asking each other trivia questions, commenting on billboards, you name it. I made it to Stroud before the eye-crossing exhaustion hit me. Sis drove us in the rest of the way, while I sat in the passenger's seat, unable to sleep, but borderline catatonic, nonetheless.

Sis went as a cook for another church who was in desperate need for one (God bless her willing, helpful heart), but they weren't supposed to arrive till later in the afternoon, so when we hit camp she just went up the hill with us. The look on her face when we entered the cabin was so priceless...which I'm sure the look on my face mimicked it as well. I've stayed in some pretty rough church camp cabins before and this one was definitely in the "rough" category. But it smelled relatively clean and we didn't see rodents or roaches scatter when we opened the door, so I was counting blessings right and left. I had separate cook's quarters, which wasn't the Ritz, but it was workable. I scooted two beds together and made the kids one giant bed and they were ecstatic, claiming this to be one of the best vacations ever. Oh to be a child again... So Heather helped with the unloading and the settling in before I took her to her cabin. Oh if we thought our cabin was rough...her face dropped another 6 or so inches when she saw hers. (She called me later with the news that that particular cabin had had an outbreak of some awful virus that had caused several people in it to be hospitalized. They ended up having to bleach everything down, bless their hearts.)

Sunday night when we were packing my throat started to get this little tickle in it. I figured it was from being up so late and shrugged it off. Monday night it was still scratchy and by Tuesday morning I had no voice. None. It was nothing but a whisper. If you couldn't tell it from the way I write, I love to talk, so not having a voice is a bad thing for me. Plus imagine being the cook in a cabin full of loud teenagers with no voice. But everyone was really sympathetic and the youth really did pay attention well when I'd wave my arms to get their attention. The kitchen wasn't like the one I'd conjured up in my Super Camp Cook fantasies, but it was workable. And I'll have to give all the campers credit, they were WONDERFUL help, pitching in even when it wasn't their turn for KP. My kids were so incredibly well-behaved I was shocked. Not saying I was expecting them to be hellions or anything, but I figured that being away from home I'd be open to more bad behavior. Nope, they were angels. The other sponsors and even the youth did a wonderful job keeping them entertained and occupied while I worked.

Wednesday morning we ended up sending a camper home because her blood sugar when she woke up was 300. The camp dr wasn't comfortable with her being there with out of control sugars, so we had to call her mom. I ended up in the clinic that same morning because in addition to the loss of voice, I woke up with some horrific eye infection and my right eye was nearly swollen shut. He gave me a diagnosis of laryngitis (no duh), some yucky tasting medicine for the throat, with the instructions to rest my voice - ha! - and some antibiotic drops for my eye.

Thursday morning I got up early to make pancakes. Well, the griddle on the stove hadn't been cleaned since oh... roughly 1927. Maybe that's an exaggeration, maybe it's not. It was nasty, regardless. But how else was I going to make 60-some pancakes? I certainly didn't want to do them all in a skillet and I had a breakfast deadline of 8:30. I couldn't control the heat very well, add that to the buildup of grease (and trust me I did try to clean it, people) and we had one smoky cabin. I was crying, Alicia was coughing, we had doors propped open. It was a disaster. I was feeling like a total failure when my cell phone rang. Strange for it to ring at 7am. It was Sis, calling from her cabin at the bottom of the hill: "Kristin, I'm hurting for some reason." From the sound of her voice I knew she was serious. I asked where and when she said her lower back I knew right then and there it was a kidney stone. Our dad passes 4-5 a year, Mom has had two and I've had one. I know about kidney stones. I told her I was coming to get her. She protested, I told her to shut up, big sister was coming down, hush and be ready. I woke up the Sarah and Dedra, the two moms with babies, told them the situation, asked them to watch the kids and I'd call in a bit. When I got to her cabin she looked uncomfortable, but not like she was dying or anything. By the time I got her in my truck she was crying and I knew it was serious. She's a tough cookie and for her to cry...well, let's just say I could feel her pain, having gone through the same thing myself. I got her to the clinic on campus and it was closed until 8. It was 7:45 at this point. She said she'd wait. She was lying on the pavement, leaning over a handrail, sitting on the steps - I mean, this girl was seriously hurting. I felt totally helpless, begging her to just let me take her on to the hospital. Finally the nurse shows up and when I said the words kidney stone she said "Get that girl to the hospital now! The doctor won't be here for another 45 minutes I have nothing stronger than extra strength tylenol in here and that won't do a darn bit of good." I got the directions to the hospital, left the kids' carseats with the nurse and off we flew. I had to take her to Ardmore, which was only about 20 minutes from the camp, but it felt like I was driving to freakin' Egypt. She was so miserable, crying, moaning, writhing, she couldn't get comfortable...oh it was awful. I was praying for her some relief and praying that God would give me a voice because I had phone calls to make and doctors to talk to. About that time my cell phone rang and when I said "hello" I had a voice. Praise the Lord, it was the coolest thing ever. Heather said later that even through all that pain she thought, "God gave her her voice back so she could take care of me." I got her checked in and we proceded to walk the floor of the waiting room. She decided to stop and lean up against a wall. All of the sudden she got a weird look on her face. I asked her what was wrong, expecting her to just drop to the floor or something, but she just said, "It's gone. The pain is gone." Well, mine certainly never quit hurting, so I was perplexed, but we were certainly willing to take any blessing at that point. Anyway, we saw the dr, they started an IV, sent her to CT, gave her some morphine and we waited. The dr came in and said, "I have good news - you have 3 kidney stones." I'd hate to think what his idea of bad news is. She had one on the right, which was the one causing her all the pain. It had moved (which was what it was doing when it hurt so badly) down pretty low and he said he expected her to pass it within a few days. The other two are still up in her left kidney and will make an appearance at a later date, bless her heart. They released her and back to the cabin we went.

I called Mom and Sis called Bub and everyone decided we should come home. We didn't argue. I left her at her cabin to sleep while I went back to mine to pack. My kids were oh so mad at me for making them leave because they were supposed to go fishing with James, the pastor, that night. Oohhh, was I not a popular mom at that point. The whole cabin was preparing to leave for an afternoon at the falls and we'd be gone by the time they got back. The kids were bawling at all the good-byes, I was bawling because my emotions were a little raw by that point, plus I was exhausted and it was a pretty rough afternoon. I took them to the campus bookstore to get some cool "Jesus t-shirts", as they called them, and that seemed to make things better. Plus I told them I'd take them swimming at Auntie's this weekend, promised them Happy Meals at dinner and I may have even alluded to a cash bonus at some point. Hey they were crushed and I was desperate, lol.

I wasn't about to let Sis drive with morphine in her system, so that left me to drive the entire 5 1/2 hours home. That meant driving through Oklahoma City, something I had never done before. I'm just now getting relatively comfortable with Tulsa, for cryin' out loud. But hey, trial by fire is pretty proving sometimes and I really had no other choice. I prayed the kids would sleep through the city and they did. Halleuiah. It was 4:30 when we hit city traffic, but it wasn't too awful bad, but I was glad we didn't hit it at 5. We got home last night about 9 and I was never so glad to see our house in my life. Paul was anxious to see us, as well, because he was on the carport waiting on us. The kids screamed "Daddy!!" when they saw him, the dog barked and we were home.

The Diva has spoken at 6:13 PM CDT
Pull up a chair and sit a spell....this is gonna take awhile
Mood:  not sure
Oohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my goodness, friends, family and fans of my blog, you are just gonna marvel at the adventure I call my life.

I'm home from camp, albeit a day earlier than I had anticipated. The reason will come later in the me.

Okay, Sunday was church, the final day at home before camp. Directly after church Sunday morning service we went to McDonald's for a 6 year old's birthday party. Ah, McDonald's...I'm lovin' it. :-)
We ducked out of the party just a hair early because I had to meet Alicia, the other camp cook, at WalMart to finish picking up our groceries. We had a lot of things donated by the churches, but there were still some things left to buy. Thank the good Lord in heaven that Mom offered to watch the kids while I went. We ended up with two carts full, saw several other cooks from other churches who were doing exactly the same thing, saw virtually every person I've ever met in my life and of course they wanted to visit, even ran into an old boyfriend, his wife and new baby. We finally got to the checkout, Alicia is freaking because she's thinking we've spent $500. Well, being the grocery guru that I am, I knew it wasn't that much, and sure enough, I estimated $200 and it was $216. Darn, I'm good. So we load it all into my van (which have I mentioned that the back doors still don't open?) and I go to pick up the kids at Mom, run out to WM to fill up the van, drive across town to meet Alicia to get Rubbermaid containers and the rest of the donated groceries, (btw, I'm still in my pantsuit and heels from church) then it's back home to unload the van, change clothes, start packing a few things in the Rubbermaid, then it's time for church again. I was basically there in body only because I couldn't focus on the sermon, only on what I had left to get done. After church we loaded up what was donated from our church and off I go to Sis' house, where she had dinner waiting, praise the Lord. Half way there, I noticed the battery light has come on in the van. Hmmm...I think, not knowing what that means other than maybe something's wrong with the battery?? I pull up to Sis', don't dare turn the thing off for fear it won't start again, holler at Paul, who's already there and he just gets this uggy "this isn't good" look on his face. I'm still thinking it's the battery, but oh noooooo, that would be too easy. It's the alternator. It's 8pm, Sunday evening, I'm leaving at 5 am, Monday morning, so what do you think the chances are of it getting fixed before I go? We take a look at Heather's van, it's too small. We get her in-law's SUV, a Bravada, and it's too small. I call the pastor, he says if I can at least get it to town we'll be alright because he's going to get a stock trailer. Whew, okay, that's great, not panicking quite as bad now. So we opt for Sis' van to drive there, we'll take the food to town in the truck and all will be well. We prepare to all head to my house to pack when I realize that the keys have somehow been locked in my van. Paul has to ride the motorcycle home, get his keys, drive back to Fairland, unlock me...ugh, I had managed to keep it together until then, but while he was retrieving keys I had a good cry. So we all meet back up at my house to start packing food because my mom's a whiz at things like that. Jon, my brother in law, calls Paul and they decide they really aren't comfortable with us driving her van all that way, can we take Paul's truck instead? It's a freakin' yard barge people, a big white Chevy with dual exhaust that screams "I'm a redneck", but it's dependable so we're driving it. We load all the luggage into Sis' van to get it to town, load all of the food into the bed of the pickup, Paul tarps it down and it's now nearly 1am. I fall into the bed at 1, Paul says he'll sleep on the couch so I'll be able to sleep better. At 1:15 I asked him to come to bed because I couldn't sleep. At 2 I gave up and started getting ready. We meet at the church at 5:30, expecting a stock trailer - whaddya know, no trailer. But God either shrunk everyone's luggage, increased the interiors of the vans or just did a miracle like with the bread and fish because it all fit. My 3 kids are squished into the back seat of the truck like sardines, Heather and I are half goofy from lack of sleep, we're in the church parking lot with 17 youth and we are ready to have our socks blessed off at church camp. Three 15 passenger vans, a pickup and an Xterra all head out at 6:35 am carrying 1 pastor, 2 youth ministers, 1 mom and breastfeeding baby, 1 mom and bottle baby, 2 goofy sleep-deprived cooks with 3 small children, 2 female sponsors and the rest is made up of youth.

God bless us everyone...

to be continued...

The Diva has spoken at 5:20 PM CDT
Saturday, July 17, 2004
The final countdown
Mood:  rushed
Well, I think I'm almost ready for camp. Almost. I think. :-)

I am skipping out on my uncle's campaign pig-roast tonight, even though the kids and I really needed some time out of the house, but I just feel so pressured I'm afraid if I leave the house I'll lose my energy. This much-needed break out here on the computer is already taking some of my steam, but I was headed that way anyway. Might as well chill while I'm doing something I love.

I scrubbed both bathrooms down today. Was that something that had to be done before camp? Probably not, but then again, yes it did. I am leaving my husband alone in this house for 5 days and if it's yucky when I leave it is only going to be yuckier when I get back, so I figured that by giving it a thorough scrubbing I'd at least be a little further ahead in the game when I got home. Amazing what rubber gloves, bleach cleaner and a toothbrush can do for a bathroom! Of course, now I can only smell bleach because I burned my nose, (great for those poor, sick sinues) but hey my bathroom's clean, lol. I cleaned Ab's too, which was certifiably disgusting. Never give a grade schooler her own bathroom. When she was 5 she painted a mural in Aquafresh Kids on the wall, at 6 she traced around all the butterfly appliques on the walls with pencil, and at 7 she has discovered glitter. That is the sparkliest bathroom in Oklahoma, lemme tell ya. But now it's also one of the cleanest. When I got done and could finally stand again, despite my poor, shaky, bruised knees, I called her in and began with "Look real hard at how clean this bathroom is at this very moment..." Used to she'd be all excited, like "What is Mom going to enlighten me with now?" but now she's wise to my motherly lectures and finds them not amusing in the least. She started the eye-rolling and the hip jutted out....Oohhhhhh that just drives me bonkers!! So I made the lecture longer. Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure if I get nominated for Mother of the Year, it's not going to be by her.

I have all of Ab and Sam's clothes in the small suitcase, all of mine and Kady's plus the towels and bedding in this humongous suitcase of Mom's that really should have it's own zipcode or something. I have no earthly idea how I'm going to cart that sucker around. Yeah, it's got wheels, but it's roughly the size of a double-wide. I have a big rubbermaid container that is going as the toy box, which will be packed once the kids finish watching Spirit here in a bit. All of the food that is here at my house is boxed and just needs to be loaded in the van, which husband doesn't know it yet but he's been nominated for that job when he gets home from work, lol. I need to pack toiletries, the hair dryer, 6 trillion ponytail holders and all of our pool stuff next. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, folks!

Well, husband just rolled in on his "Kawa-hog-y" (He wants a hog so bad, but there are also folks in hell who want ice water so...) and that's my cue to get busy again. I actually cooked tonight! He'll be so impressed. I want to make sure I'm in the kitchen when he sees actual food on the stove.

The Diva has spoken at 8:33 PM CDT
Friday, July 16, 2004
Well, the shot experience yesterday went off without a hitch. I told Sam first thing in the morning. He kind of teared up, but I told him I needed him to be super brave and show Kady how to act. He ate that up; loved playing big brother. He was the first victim and bless his heart, try as hard as he could not to, he cried. But it wasn't bad and as soon as it was done, he was done. Kady watched big brother with some serious curiosity and was totally cool when it came time for her turn. I assumed the standard toddler shot-taking position: I held her on my lap, pinned her legs between my knees, put the other arm behind mine and and held her elbow straight. She actually smiled through the entire thing. The nurse stuck her once, Kady grinned and watched. She reached for the next syringe and said, "'re supposed to be crying by now." She gave the other two shots and Kady was fine, flinching ever so slightly on #3. And then we were done, got suckers, stickers and coupons for free Apple Dippers at McD's. All was well with the world. Then I had to take her to WIC and get her finger stuck. She did say "Ow" on that one and jerked when the tech started squeezing her finger, but when she saw her blood going up that straw she was mesmerized and sat still. She's such a cool kid. Poor Sam asked me all day long, "Mom, even though I cried, am I still brave?" Ohh, God bless that precious baby. I told him that definitely yes, he was about as brave as they come.

The rest of the morning was filled with WalMart,a quick visit to Grammy's office so they could relate the details of the immunizing (is that a word?) and a run through McD's to get the Apple Dippers they so deserved. We stopped here at the house long enough to drop off the booty we had acquired at WM, let everyone pee and dope everyone up with some Tylenol. Then we were off to Tulsa to the dentist. Sam's cross-bite is almost completely corrected now and that is worthy of a mighty praise! The consultation with the dentist about Ab's mouth didn't go as well as I had hoped, but it certainly could be worse, so I shan't complain. He wants her to start a headgear, as I mentioned, but he also wants her to wear it 14 hours a day. 14 hours!?!? Geez, that just borders on cruel and unusual punishment and humiliation. I, of course, would never ever make her wear it out of the house. That would just be mean! The other bit of not-so-great news is that our insurance isn't going to cover it. But, by the grace of God, the dentist lowered the price and is letting me pay it out and even waiving a down payment. HALLELUIAH!!! I could've cried, he was so kind. If I take on another house to clean, twice a month, just like the one I'm cleaning now, I will have an extra $120 a month- $100 to pay him and $20 for gas. I think it's totally do-able.

I should be packing right now for camp, but I seriously feel a nap calling my name. I am battling what feels like the start of a sinus infection and I'm afraid I'm losing the battle. I know the allergy/sinus issues will only get worse down in the woods, so I'm praying for a healing before I go. I am about to run down as it is, simply from stress, and to get sick on top of it all...agh, not a good combination.

Btw, thanks for everyone who has been reading and commenting on my blog! I am tickled to death every time I get a new one. Makes me feel so special, lol. I'll probably write again before we leave for camp, but mind you, it may be unintelligible and make no sense whatsoever! But then, some days are like that already...

The Diva has spoken at 1:47 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, July 16, 2004 1:50 PM CDT
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Allergies suck
Mood:  chillin'
Well, this again is going to be quick. That seems to be my theme these days, eh?

This afternoon I got a call from a friend who takes her kids to the same clinic I take mine. She said I needed to call them because they had a whole bunch of immunizations recalled and were having to re-shoot a whole bunch of kids. Agh! So I called...and sure enough...Sam and Kady both have to be stuck again. Ab hasn't had any shots since she was 5, so she was clear. But Sam had some last fall at his checkup and Kady some last winter, plus another HepA just last month. I guess they're going to have to repeat the entire HepA series and possibly another MMR. Maaaaaaaan...I told Sam he was done till he was 8!! He still doesn't know yet, either, which should be fun when I tell him. Wherever y'all live, you will probably hear him yelling when I break the news, lol. Really, though, he's a pretty tough kid and doesn't freak out like I used to. Oh man, I used to put my mom through the ringer with shots and even finger-stick blood draws. My kids have never had a phobia about them, which I count as a serious blessing. But he's still not going to be happy. Since we leave for camp on Monday I told them at the clinic I wanted everyone caught up before we left. You never know.

We also go to the dentist tomorrow afternoon. For Sam it's just a check on his appliance and possibly an adjustment. For Ab, it's her consultation with the dentist so he can tell me just how involved it's going to get. He already said headgear, but I'm hoping that's as far as we go right now. She's not looking forward to headgear anyway, bless her heart.

Well, I already typed longer than I had planned, which is pretty normal for my long-winded self, lol. I'll let everyone know how the whole "re-shot" experience goes tomorrow! I'm sure you're waiting on the edges of your seats, am I right? LOL

The Diva has spoken at 10:39 PM CDT
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Another bleh kind of morning
Mood:  lazy
Well, I shouldn't have been concerned that I wasn't ready for the VBS lesson. We had no kids in our class!

Yesterday afternoon when Kady woke up from her nap her freaky post-fever rash was worse, so I called the nurse advice hotline. She said she was contagious and to keep her away from people. I called Heather to tell her I wouldn't be there and, bless her heart, she sounded almost mad. Can't say I blame her really. So I jumped on here - ah the power of the 'net. Everything I read about viruses, rashes and even Roseola (which she's had before but no one is sure if you can get it again), said that once the fever is gone and rash appears they aren't contagious anymore. So I threw together 3 pb&j's and out the door we ran. Heather was "cramming", so to speak and I felt so bad having put her through 30 minutes of thinking she was going to have to teach. She's such a saint. I helped her hang up a couple of posters and then it was time for the march in. We hustled our kids up front to the foyer, expecting it to be full to overflowing. It wasn't. We provided 5 kids to the total of 12 kids in the whole VBS. The preschool/Kindergarten class had 7, first/second grade class had 4 and there was one lone 5th grader. Heather and I stayed in the sanctuary to see what we could do to help elsewhere. James, the pastor, asked us to learn the hand motions to all the groovy songs. And thus we became the two dorky grown ups who teach the hand motions. Ahhh, the things we do for Jesus. This year's theme is a Japanese theme, entitled Rickshaw Rally, so the songs are all really fast with an athletic-type hand motion theme. We were down in a runner's stance, doing stretches, running in place - I hit my target heartrate pretty early on, lol. But the kids ate those hand motions up with a spoon, so it turned out to be almost fun.

The evening was almost over and Sam came through complaining he was cold. Well, the back of the church, especially the fellowship hall, is never cold. Heather said "ohhhhh noooo" and about 5 mom's all reached for his head at the same time. Yep, a fever. So we skipped closing and I loaded up my infectious crew and we ran out the door. By the time we pulled in the driveway Sam was out of his seat, knees in the floor, doubled over the seat crying with severe stomach pain. He could hardly walk! His fever was 102, so I got him in his pj's, laid him on the couch and poured the Tylenol in him. He ended up falling asleep on the couch, doubled up in a ball. How can a family of 3 kids end up with 2 completely different viruses??? Ab asked, "Why is everyone else sick and I'm not?" I told her to hush and stay in her room, lol.

The Diva has spoken at 8:56 AM CDT
Monday, July 12, 2004
Racing to Jesus
That's the lesson for tonight at VBS, which I only know because my wonderful, man-do-I-have-it-all-together sister told me over the phone this morning. I have yet to lay eyes on a book. Am I awful or what??? Sis worked so hard yesterday making our room look authentically Chinese with lanterns, paper scrolls, fabric draped from the ceiling... man, she rocks! The missions guy came into our room and asked her what room it was. She replied, "Third and fourth grade." He said, "No, what will the room be used for during VBS?" Heather again repeated that is was for 3rd and 4th grade. He said, "No...I'm missions, what is your room?" She said THIRD AND FOURTH GRADE!! She said he was way impressed that a teacher would go that far out for a home-room. Again, I must say she rocks. The pastor said it's the most authentically Chinese-looking room they have. She SO deserves a gold star for her work. Now I just pray that God blesses my lazy soul and gives me the right words to say to those kids tonight and the rest of the week.

I tell you what, I am totally overwhelmed, but in an underwhelmed kind of way. I know that God is giving me peace because I should be way more stressed than I should be. I have VBS every night this week and Falls Creek next week. My original plan was to pre-make a lot of the food for camp and just take it all down frozen, but seeing what the schedule looks like for this week, I'm thinking I'm just going to have to do it all there. But really I think it's going to work out by doing that. When the kids head off to tabernacle in the mornings the sponsors have the entire time before lunch without the kids, which can be used for prayer, showers or sleep, lol. I, of course, will use it for cooking - and prayer that I get it done! Then in the afternoons, while the kids are out doing recreation or chasing members of the opposite sex, I'll have time to prepare dinner. And if it's a pretty light load I can also pre-make stuff for the next day or even further into the week. I honestly believe God is going to bless that kitchen!

Agh, this blog is going to be short today. Looking at this screen is not helping this 2-day old headache I'm nursing. I've been having a lot more headaches lately, which used to be normal for me, but for over a year now I've been virtually headache free. Now all of the sudden again, I'm having them. Might be allergy issues, so I think I'll take a Zyrtec and a hot shower and see what happens... probably a nap will ensue, lol.

The Diva has spoken at 11:18 AM CDT
Friday, July 9, 2004
If I don't have a title I guess from now I'll just use bleh. What else ya gonna use? Bleh sounds pretty good to me.

Last night I had a meeting with the other staff/sponsors for church camp and had to take the kids. About halfway through the meeting Kady came over and laid her head on my leg and when I reached down to brush her hair back from her face I realized her head was hot. I asked Sarah, the pastor's wife, to feel her, too. Yep, definitely hot. So we scrapped a trip to the big W to get milk before we all end up with osteoporosis and went directly home. She was burning up by then. I had Paul start stripping her while I grabbed the thermometer. There is nothing worse than watching that thermometer climb higher and higher and feeling utterly helpless the whole while. It finally stopped at 104.4. The only other time any of my kids have ever had a fever that high was last summer when Kady had Roseola - it was 105 then and I had her butt in the ER pronto. But I knew there was a virus going around and with a fever that high it was a virus, so we stuck cool rags on her groin and under her arms, gave her a double dose of Motrin and a sippy cup of Gatorade and rode it out. She's run it consistently all durn day and I hope that now that we've hit the 24 hour mark, it goes away. Fortunately she's been drinking really well and I'm not too worried about dehydration. She even ate some dinner tonight, so I hope we're on the mend.

This next week starts VBS every night from 6-8:30. Heather and I have the 3rd and 4th graders. We have taken over the preschool, early childhood wing, so until we get our kids out of there we're stuck taking the older kids. I love 3rd graders, though. They are so loving and sweet!! When I subbed in the 3rd grade last year I got tons of pictures and declarations of love and hugs and oh talk about a self-esteem booster! So I hope we get a good group of 'em in VBS.

We end VBS on Friday night then the kids and I leave at 6am the following Monday for church camp, which is in Davis, OK. I've only been there once and it was when Heather was a summer missionary and Mom and I went down for her ceremony thingy. It's like a 4 hour drive. Bleh. With my 3 kids. Bleh. I'm the only full-time cook. There is a younger girl that is going to help, but she's also going in sponsor capacity, too. Then Shauna Foust is going to help as we need her. We're feeding 30, so yeah, I think we'll need her. I really think there should be another full-time cook, but I don't know if I'll get anyone to concur. Keep the prayers a rollin' in that week! Last night when we ended the meeting and we all went around the circle and prayed, I prayed for extra blessings in the organization department, lol. If y'all could do that, too, I'd be ever so grateful! Ab and Sam are old enough to go to a day camp thing for sponsor/staff kids, but Kady isn't quite old enough, so she'll have to hang out with me in the cabin. Should be interesting... to say the least.

Well, the kids have managed to spill bubble solution alllllll over their little bodies and probably my entryway, so I'm outta here. Or I'm outtie!

(Just 3 days till I Love the 90's, btw!)

The Diva has spoken at 7:54 PM CDT
Wednesday, July 7, 2004
Yadda yadda yadda
Mood:  down
I really have nothing to blog about in particular today. Sam has pink-eye and that is the high-light goin' on right now in the Hoover household. Man, do I live the wild life or what? Kady and Chandler are watching Bear in the Big Blue House right now, Abby's fixing her hair for the 30th time (and it's only 8:30 am) and Sam is probably squeezing out an entire tube of toothpaste or hot-wiring the car. Oops, nope, now I hear Chandler whining at Sam so the big bear must've lost it's appeal.

I am so tired of being tired! No matter how much sleep I get I cannot seem to get enough. I could sit down right now and sleep for probably 3 hours no problem. I could probably sit down after that this afternoon and sleep another 3. Then sleep 8 hours tonight and still feel like crap. I still attest that I am in peri-menopause, even though my mother in law says it's just because I'm fat, lol. Everything in the universe that is wrong is because I'm fat, just ask her. Anyway, everything I've researched and studied about peri-menopause describes me to a T and no one is going to convice me otherwise. One of the grand things about peri-menopause is that it's just one step under the hellishness of actual menopause except you can be in it for like 15 years THEN go through the real thing. Ah, ain't it great bein' a woman. My doctor (who I've since concluded is a certifiable quack) says I'm "chronically depressed". Ha! I'm so damn happy I can hardly stand myself, lol.

*sigh* I feel the need to write today, but I can't get motivated to actually start. I hate days like that - I know I have something brewing in my mind, either another story or possibly the first chapter in the next Great American Novel, but I can't get started. Once I get started, though, I can't stop. Maybe that's why I can't get movin' on it - I know I have too many other responsibilites and can't devote what I need to on the book/story/whatever it is.

Well, the silence of my office has now been broken. I have one 2-year-old arguing with me about where he's going to sit and read his book, another 2-year-old asking if she can play with all the toys that are set aside to put in caches, a 7-year-old asking me if her hair looks okay and a 5-year-old who is just tormenting the hell out of the male 2-year-old. Celebrate the moments of your life...

The Diva has spoken at 8:47 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 8:50 AM CDT
Monday, July 5, 2004
Next year I'm stayin' home
Mood:  don't ask
Oh my goodness, what a holiday weekend. Christy, I'm FINALLY getting around to adding our fantastic story from Friday night! Being without power for 29 hours kind of held things up, lol. More on that further down, which I know you're on the edge of your seat now...

Okay, Friday night my mom offered to watch the kids so Paul and I could go out before his vacation ended. We had spent Thursday at Mark and Christy's since we hadn't seen them in forEVER and during the course of conversation we asked them to go with us. Well, Christy called me Friday morning and said that yes, they had a sitter and they could go. The plan was to meet at the Rib Crib in Joplin at 5:30. We left the kids at Mom's around 4:30 and headed to Joplin. We drove to Joplin in the rain (which y'all know does horrific things to my hair), but it really wasn't anything more than a light misty rain, the kind that just makes things dreary. We met the Wylands at the restaurant and waited about 10 minutes for our table, deciding during that wait that we'd go see The Terminal there in Joplin after dinner. OOh I was so excited - seeing a movie with no animated critters or comic strip heroes! We get seated, order our food and are just doing the typical couples out without the children thing, visiting like normal humans. Our food gets there and man, are we chowing down. Oh geez, the food was SO good! Not being a big barbecue fan, it was a nice surprise for me. We're about 5 minutes into our meal and I commented that it was sure raining hard. Everyone nods while they continue eating, it wasn't a real big deal. Then someone opened the door letting in the sound of the tornado siren. Yes, I said tornado siren. We all 4 kind of look at each other, look around, look at each other and laugh uncomfortably, look around some more...are you getting the sense that we were kind of confused as to why the sirens were going off and no one was paying any attention to it????? It was weird, lemme tell ya. Then all of the sudden we hear someone yell "THERE IT IS!" Well, Mr Hoover was out of that booth in a heartbeat and at the door looking for the twister that was going to relocate us to Oz. Mr Wyland, on the other hand, was still poking chicken strips into his piehole. (Marky, you know I love you!) When we heard Paul concur that, yes, there indeed was a tornado that was enough to get the 3 of us out of the booth as well. Christy and I ran to the window and look toward the horizon, expecting to see something from the scenes of Twister. I said, "I don't see anything!" and she grabs my hand and says "LOOK UP!!" Thar she blows, er blew, actually kind of spun and rotated...anyway...there was the freaking FUNNEL! Right over our heads, doing it's dead level best to form into a full-fledged tornado and strut it's stuff on the ground for all to see. Oh man, my insides were already shaking but when I saw my first real life, up close and personal funnel cloud directly over my head, mind you, those insides just kind of went all the way over into Jello consistency. Christy's looking at me asking what we're going to do and I'm just kind of standing there going "Duhhhhhhh" like SpongeBob's friend, Patrick. Okay not really, but I was pretty shaken up anyway. Then quick as all get out, the funnel was gone, back up in the clouds, adios amigos, see ya later, Witchy Poo, we are not going to Oz today. After that, the plate of pulled pork still sitting on that table in front of me didn't look so appealing. I called Mom to check on her and the kids and she said, "Oh, is it raining?" Holy crap, yeah and then some, Mom! Things were fine in Miami and never got bad the entire night. I wasn't too savvy to sitting in a movie theatre with the weather so freaky because even though they'd give us warning, I'm sure, was it going to be as much warning as I wanted or needed? We decided to go on to Neosho to Mark and Christy's house to rent some movies. The weather was spooky all the way there, but nothing more than rain ever hit us. We checked out the movie times at the Neosho theatre, deciding that as long as the weather was okay, we'd catch the late show. So in the meantime, the boys played a PlayStation2 game and Christy and I laid on her bed and watched our Senior Prom video. ROFL, what a RIOT!!! That was so much fun! After that little walk down memory lane, we got around and saw The Stepford Wives at the late show. It was a very eventful evening and as much as I love Mark and Christy, I'd rather not repeat anything like it for awhile!

So Saturday was spent just getting ready for the 4th's festivities. Paul, his brother and a friend went to a bike rally in Grove and the kids and I just hung out here at the house, cleaning and getting things ready. I ended up with a headache as the evening wore on and instead of baking the crusts for the desserts, I opted to go to bed early and just get up early to do my baking before church. Ever heard that saying "He who hesitates is lost"? Well, hesitation caused me to lose out on 3 desserts for the 4th. I woke up around 6 am to the sound of a pretty big storm. At 6:30 when I was in the bathroom (the only room in the house with no windows, mind you) the electricity went out. We got our power back at 10:50 this morning. It was a good ol' fashioned Fourth of July, lemme tell ya. We were pretty primitive. Okay, primitive for us anyway, lol. We did the burgers on the grill, as planned, but the desserts had to be left by the wayside and we weren't hurt a bit by the caloric deprivation. Everyone learned to grab a flashlight if they needed to use the bathroom and it didn't really matter that my bathroom never got cleaned. It was too dark to see the dirt! We ate outside, as was planned, and it was a whole heck of a lot cooler out there anyway. I took Melissa, Heather and Uncle David on 4-wheeler rides around the mile section to cool off, the kids played on the slip n' slide and we watched some pretty good fireworks while we slapped mosquitoes by the light of the tiki torches. It really wasn't too bad now that I look back, now that I sit here in my air conditioning again.

There was supposed to be another storm come in overnight and we just couldn't see spending the night shut up in that house, so the kids and I packed up and went to Mom's to spend the night in air conditioning. Paul stayed here just in case the electricity came back on. Something about power surges and not wanting anything to blow up. I think he was just wanting to be alone, lol. He was supposed to go back to work today, but ended up calling in this morning because we weren't sure when we were supposed to get power back and we had two freezers and a fridge that needed to be relocated. He emptied the fridge and small freezer and brought them to Mom's where we stashed and stowed our food. He went back to the house to check on things before going out to his brother's to load up the generator to plug everything into. While he was at the house the second time the power was restored. Halleluiah! Our concern was that they wouldn't be able to get down to where the line was downed. It was down in the river bottom, which was flooded from all the rain. We figured it'd be a few days because things would have to dry out in order for them to get trucks in there. Thanks to the miracle of bucket trucks and whatever other magic wands they used, they got it back on this morning.

Ya know, last year on the 3rd is when Paul had his wreck and we spent the 4th thanking God that we still had him with us. It was a weekend I didn't want to repeat and figured that this year would certainly be better. Okay, so yes, it was better - I mean no one in the family was injured and all we ended up missing out on was a couple of really good pies on the 4th, but frankly, next year I plan on renting some movies a few days before the 4th, staying holed up in my comfy house and not tempting things.

The Diva has spoken at 5:43 PM CDT
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Where ya from? You sexy thang...
Mood:  silly
I just heard that song on a commercial so I made it my title... I believe in miracles....where ya sexy thang (sexy thang)...dooo dooooodododododdododoodoo. *grin*

Well, it's 10:13, Tuesday, and we've been home since 6 am yesterday. It was a great vacation. Long drive, but good vacation. We decided that someday we'd all like to be wealthy enough to fly on our vacations, lol. I had enough QT with the fam to last me awhile.

The weather tried to cooperate as much as it could. When we got there Paul was absolutely dead on his feet, having worked a 9 hour shift, came home and showered, we left and drove all night. Okay, first let me start with this...we drove into Miami when we left our house. The Stelles hadn't had dinner yet and we needed to feed them. We stopped at the Sonic to grab some food. Abby asked for some fruit loops out of the back. Well, we've been dealing with the stupid door on the back of my van for awhile now. I guess someone tried to break into it when it was locked and broke the door handle. Paul redneck rigged it so we could at least open it. He gave me a lesson on how to hold the handle to get it to pop open. Well, I get into the back of the van, get Ab's dang fruit loops, shut the door, then Sam decides he needs something out of the back. Lo and behold the stupid door won't open again. Paul gets out, madder'n all get out. Agh, it was awful. We had that back loaded down with everything we needed - food, clothes, well, everything! Not to mention the kids and I were in our pj's for the all-night drive. So Mom is trying to keep the steam from rolling out of his ears, smoothing it over, I'm about in tears, apologizing all over the place, standing in the Miami Sonic parking lot with my pj's on at 10pm. I was beginning to think the trip was doomed. But we headed out. The drive was uneventful, except for the torrential rain from Arkansas on. ha! We roll into Biloxi around noon on Friday, the kids and I still in our pj's, mind you. We can't check into the motel till 2, so we drove up and down the beach front for a bit, then decided to grab a bite to eat. I wasn't about to go into the restaraunt in my jammies, so Paul had to crawl over the backseat to drag me out some jean shorts and the kids some clothes. We ate a really good lunch at Ruby Tuesday, stuffing ourselves to the hilt. By the time we got done it was after 2, so we headed to the hotel. Paul was so exhausted, like I said, he just fell onto the bed and immediately went to sleep. I walked next door to the Stelle's and Mom's room and the smell of sunblock smacked me in the face. They were dressing for the beach! Agh. I wasn't about to go without Paul, the whole reason we finagled this extra two days of vacation was so he could see his kids on the beach for the first time. I told them to go without us, we'd all just take a nap. Bless their hearts, they said they'd stay and wait for us. Well, around 5 I hear this banging on the door and open it to find Mom with this worried look on her face, saying a huge storm is moving in and it's supposed to rain for the next 3 days and if we're going to the beach we have to go NOW. So I start waking up kids and husband, throw on suits and water shoes and down we go. Oh it was so cool and nice and the kids were enthralled. We played and took tons of pictures, not knowing if we'd get a chance to go again, until the storm started rolling in. Wow, I've lived in Oklahoma my whole life and I hardly blink at the tornado watches we live under in the spring and summer, but to see a storm roll in off the ocean is something else. Talk about magnificent! We literally watched it move in in a big wall. The sky and the ocean merged, the lightning began and I was just in awe of it all. But ripping me from my meterological reverie, Mom reminded me that lightning and the ocean weren't a good mix. We scooped everyone up, headed back to the room and just made it when the storm hit the land. We just hung out in the room the rest of the evening, grabbing sandwiches when we finally got hungry, watching TV, the usual vacation stuff. The storm didn't last long and by about 11 we were ready to gamble. Yeah, baby! Mom stayed in the room with the kids, who were exhausted anyway, and Sis, Jon, Paul and I walked down to this huge pirate ship to see how much money we could donate to the city of Biloxi. Jon didn't do so well at craps, Paul, Heather and I did fairly well at slots and we'd have stayed longer except my eyes kept crossing staring at the screen. We slept in the next morning, then go around and headed back to the beach. The weather was perfect and we spent the entire morning there. We had lunch on the beach with a herd of hungry seagulls (If you've seen the movie Finding Nemo, the seagull scene with them all going "MINE MINE MINE" is SO true!). The kids got a total kick out of feeding those stupid birds and Paul had them picking stuff out of the air over his head. I don't think any of the kids ate half their sandwiches, feigning sand in the peanut butter or whatever else they could think of to be able to donate to the screeching things. Around this time I could feel my skin starting to sizzle and I knew a sunburn was taking place. We were worried about the kids' skin so we packed it up and went back to the rooms. We took a nap, again. Love vacation naps, lol. That night we ate some really good seafood - and for me to say that is a big thing since I don't like seafood - then went down to find the house where Mom and Dad lived when they were there 34 years ago. Mom knocked on the door but never could get anyone to answer. I'm sure she was disappointed over that. Then we just spent the next couple of hours souvenier shopping and letting the kids buy vast quantities of junk. We ended up leaving with two of those stupid biting shark heads on a stick, a lobster visor, a duck wearing sunglasses visor, a sand dollar, a lighthouse charm (Abby at least got something of some quality), a resin baby aligator, 5 strands of Mardi Gras beads, and two velvet sacks of polished dyed rocks. Oh ya gotta love vacation souveniers. It's about 10pm now and my sunburn is screaming "You idiot! YOu got sunburned in a state where the UV level is 2000+" I swear I heard it mocking me. I volunteered to stay in the room that night so this time Mom could go. We were originally planning on going in shifts, the women first, then the men, but I just didn't have it in me. I crashed with the kids thanks to a hearty dose of Benadryl. They got back to the rooms around 3:40am after having seen a guy face down in the parking lot, who they thought was dead. The police were called. Turns out the guy had run up a huge liquor bill in a casino, skipped out, passed out and got caught anyway. They were questioned by the police. And I snoozed while it happened, darn the luck. The next day was checkout day. We left around 11, drove into Gulfport and spent 3 hours in a hands-on children's museum/discovery center. It was awesome! The kids thoroughly wore themselves out and so did we. We left the great state of Mississippi at 3 in the afternoon with 5 exhausted kids and 5 adults dreading the drive. We no sooner got on the road and the rain began again and it rained HARD on us all the way to Memphis. After that we just drove in and out of showers the rest of the way. We did a lot more stopping on the way home. We wore out quicker and had to switch drivers more often and I think everyone's bladders shrunk along the way, lol. My only complaint really about the trip was my hair!! OH MY GOSH, the humidity was unreal, people! Mom would look at me every 10 minutes ago, shake her head and say, "Kristin I KNOW your hair is curlier than it was the last time I looked at you!" I finally gave up trying to straighten the bangs, pulled it back in a headband and went with it. I do not like one single picture that was taken of me with my 'fro, so don't expect me to post any, lol. I swear I could feel the curls relaxing the further west we drove. I know we have high humidity here, but it must be the combination of salt and humidity there or something. Crazy stuff.

I started doing laundry today and we have yet one more souvenier - a third of the beach is in my utility room. The other two thirds are in Mom and Sis'.

The Diva has spoken at 10:48 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 10:51 PM CDT
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Not enough hours in the day
Mood:  rushed
ARGHHHHHHHHHH Imagine if you will, me running frantically up to the screen of your computer going AGHHHHHHHHHH like the kid in Home Alone. When you imagine this, you will have a pretty accurate depiction of how I am feeling right now. I have less than 24 hours to get us all ready for the big Nat'l Lampoon's Biloxi Road-trip and I have to sleep at some point. Actually, sleep is going to take a huge priority for me tonight. If I don't get some good sleep tonight I will be useless tomorrow. I am taking 2 of my potent herbal sleeping pills and I'm heading off the dreamland. Then I'll be more equipped to handle the stress of the coming days. Laundry's going right now, dishes are pretty well caught up, everything is bought that we need to take with us. All I have to do (All, ha!) tomorrow is clean out and vacuum the van, finish the laundry then pack all 5 of us, finish cleaning the house, find time in there to shower, go to town and fill up the van, get the kids' vacation spending money changed from well, change into bills (they cleaned out the piggy banks, lemme tell ya) and I think that's it. Nothing like a good vacation to relax a person.

I doubt I post tomorrow folks! In the meantime have a good weekend and I'll post tons of boring beach pictures on Monday!

The Diva has spoken at 10:45 PM CDT
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Hey hey we're the Monkees
Why I titled it with the theme song from the Monkees I'll never know. It was the first thing that popped into my head. Kind of scary, eh?

Well, the Diva and her family is heading out in a matter of days for, what is probably going to rival a National Lampoon's summer vacation. We've taken the whole fam damily to just Branson before and it's always been uh...interesting. Imagine what it's going to be like going all the way to Biloxi, MS!! 14 hours, 5 kids, 2 vans, 3 adult women with hormone issues, 1 potty training 2 year old, and 2 men. Don't need to go further in describing the men or putting any adjectives in there - y'all know what I'm talkin' about. Love you, boys! Really, though, I am SO excited about this trip! Okay, 14 hours in the van with my oh-so-not-talkative husband is going to be frustrating, but I think the trip is going to be great all in all. I am excited to see where my mom and dad used to live when they were young and in the service, I can't WAIT to see my kids at the beach for the first time, truthfully, I can't wait to see myself at the beach for the first time! lol Used to, I never had a desire whatsoever to see the beach and truthfully considered that living my life having never gone to the ocean would still be just as fulfilling, but for some reason - call it a quarter life crisis, whatever - I have this overwhelming desire to see it now. I personally, would pack up tomorrow and move to the east coast, but every time I say that Paul looks at me like I just sprouted a new head on my left shoulder or something. He says I'm strange for wanting to leave at this point in our lives and why can't I just be happy here. I dunno, why can't I just be happy here? *shrugs* One of life's little mysteries...

Anyway, my next two days are going to be spent in a whirlwind of vacation preparatory activities, so if the blog goes a little unattended, that's why. Rest assured, though, that I will have TONS of pictures to post when we get back, though!

It's 10:30 pm now and I am feeling the effects of a stress-cleaning day. I know I'm not the only woman in the world who can clean like the dickens when she is frustrated and aggravated and has a lot on her mind. Right? RIGHT?? Gosh, I hope I'm not the only one. I play housekeeper every two weeks and clean my cousin's house. Well, today she definitely got her money's worth because I was nearly blinded by the sparkling when I left there today! Okay, so maybe it wasn't really sparkling, per se, but I definitely went a little above my normal today. I find it oh so gratifying to take out my frustrations on the mop when I'm slinging Pine Sol from one end of the kitchen to the other. It's very theraputic to talk out loud to one's self when one is vacuuming, too. I know, you're grinning right now, either because you're thinking I'm a total loon or because you've done exactly the same thing! Go ahead, admit it.

Well, I definitely chased a rabbit there, didn't I? I was going to close and ended up typing another whole paragraph. Geez. Annnnnyway, I'm outta here. Gotta rest my poor work-worn muscles, so I can get up and tackle my own house tomorrow! I hate coming home from vacation to a messy house and I simply refuse to do it next week. Even if it kills me, lol.

The Diva has spoken at 10:38 PM CDT
Monday, June 21, 2004
When it's raining on Monday
Mood:  don't ask
Okay, so I just blatantly stole a line from a Keith Urban song. Sue me.

Yesterday was one booger of a day. I cried virtually the entire morning. Why? Hmm...good question. Just been on a crying jag lately. Every now and then I get this way, it lasts for a few days and then I'm back to being my normal self again. It usually starts when I read a good book, one that touches me somewhere deep and incredibly personal. And it snowballs from there. Agh, I hate being that vulnerable! Vulnerable sucks. My emotions sabotage me more often than I'd like. I like being in-control and confident, but it's hard to exhibit either of those when you've been crying virtually nonstop for the better part of two days, you have a flaky nose that rivals that of a coke user's, you have bloodshot swollen eyes and suffer from dehydration. Hard to be self-assured and tough when you'd rather crawl under a rock until you regain control of yourself again. Maybe this is God's way of humbling me, making me realize that I'm pretty much as human as the next guy and I need to step down off my high horse. *shrugs* Dunno.

I'm more in control today, but feel like that at just the right emotional cue I'll be back snivelling again. I'm trying to just avoid anything and everything, lol. So far laundry hasn't made me cry, so I guess I should concentrate on that.

Can you imagine what I'm going to be like during menopause?????

The Diva has spoken at 12:12 PM CDT
Saturday, June 19, 2004
Has it really been this long since I last posted?
Mood:  cheeky
Goodness, it's been a mere 5 days since I last blogged and they've changed all the options on here! Now I can add a mood and a topic and well, goodness, but I feel uptown.

I took my little selfish vacation this last week and let me tell you something...I NEEDED IT! I was down to my last shred of sanity and patience and just really needed some good quality Kristin time. I left quite a bit later than I had intended, but still managed to miss any heavy traffic on the interstate and in Springfield itself. The motel wasn't exactly the Ritz, but I guess if you want the Ritz you book at the Ritz, eh? It looked a lot nicer in the lobby than it did in the actual room, lol. But it was pretty clean and I felt better after I jerked the comforter off the bed the minute I walked through the door. I've seen too many episodes of CSI and I KNOW what they find on those motel bedspreads! But with it stashed on the floor in the corner of the room, I was more comfortable. I spent the rest of my time alone watching TV, reading, shopping and enjoying the quiet. I called home more than I said I would, but oh well, can't quit being a mom just because you're out of town. I ate Chinese, something I don't eat with the family because, well, no one likes it but me. I shopped at my own pace, stopping in the stores I wanted to and stayed as long as I wanted. I tried on shoes for nearly 30 minutes with absolutely no intention of buying a single pair. Just because I could. I didn't have to threaten 3 children to sit still before something embarrassing happened like me smacking them in front of the entire store, I didn't all of the sudden realize that Kady was missing and had to hobble through the store with one foot bare and the other one wearing a size 10 red get my drift. I watched an entire episode of Reno911 and not once did I get up during a commercial break to switch out laundry, put the last remaining dinner dishes in the dishwasher or straighten up the living room. I had my butt planted on that bed, propped up like the freakin' Queen of Sheba with every pillow in the room and I was going to stay there.

I love my kids more than life itself, but every now and then every Mom needs some grownup time by herself. My sister is content with Bub taking the kids to his mom's for the day and leaving her there to clean, sleep, play XBox or scrapbook. She's content staying in her own domain and she's completely refreshed at the day's end. I, however, do not get that luxury. My husband isn't as well equipped to take the kids placed as Jon is. Just not his thing, I guess. So I do not get the whole day at home doing my own thing. What I have to do is just save up my frustration for 6 months at a time, until I start snapping people's heads off for little things, I cry at the drop of a hat and I can't accomplish anything because I'm exhausted. When I start seeing those things more often than I don't, I know it's time to start planning the Selfish Vacation once more. I do realize that I am fortunate to have a husband who allows me to do this, so I really can't complain that I don't get breaks as often as Sis does. Quality not quantity, right? Paul really doesn't understand my need to get away. To him it is undeniably foolish and what in the WORLD do I do while I'm alone for all the time?? Ohhhh, I enjoy it. He has a 20 minute drive to work and another one home at night - alone. When he takes a bathroom break during the day he does it - alone. He mows the lawn - alone. He tinkers around in the barn - alone. He takes 6 hour bike rides with his ultra cool, bald-headed Stone Cold look-alike friend - virtually alone.

I ended up my 3 days of bliss with a night at the opera. Okay, yeah, so it was the Tulsa Light Opera driving up to do a one-night stint at the Coleman, but it was opera, nonethless. My friend, Tiff, had asked me to go Tuesday when I went through the drive-thru on my way out of town. I mulled it over the entire time I was gone and just couldn't justify a night out after having been gone 3 days. When I got home there was a message from her asking again. I called her at work, told her I didn't think I could, but I'd ask anyway. She called me when she got home, reminding me to ask Paul, lol. When he came in, I greeted him with a kiss and a hug, let the kids maul him for a few minutes, then presented my case the best way I knew how. And he said yes!! My knees buckled and I shook my head with absolute incredulity. And immediately picked up the phone to tell Tiff I could go!! I got ready and got my butt out the door before anyone had a chance to change their mind or mine! Tiff, Jill and I had dinner at the Chinese restaurant (twice in 3 days, whoo hoo!) and enjoyed our time at the theatre. Intermission was a hoot, especially when Jill snorted, but that's a story for another time, lol. We also decided we need to culture ourselves more and we say we're going to go to Tulsa to the opera on a regular basis. Guys and Dolls is running next month, so I hope we actually stick to our guns.

So all in all I've had a banner week, folks. I hope you've had the same! We play softball tonight. Of course, I have't picked up a bat since our last game two weeks ago, so you can pretty well bet I'm going to strike out. Nothing new there. We play at 6 and 9, throwing a church social in at 7. Gonna be a busy evening, but after my week I think I'm equipped to handle it!

The Diva has spoken at 9:39 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, June 19, 2004 9:48 AM CDT
Monday, June 14, 2004
Air conditioning!!!!!!!!
Topic: Rambling much
Praise the Lord, we finally turned on the AC. I'm telling you what, I really do not know if I could've lasted one more stinkin', sweaty day in this miserably hot house without air. Agh, it's been awful. Today was the clincher. My friend, Trishia, called this morning and asked if I was about to crack. They're holding off turning theirs on, also, but I think she may have very well caved in by this evening. Call me a wuss, whatever you want, but I will be cool when I wake up in the morning, that's one thing I know for sure.

Being this hot and humid for an extended period of time, you do things that you never dreamed you would. Like putting deodorant under your boobs. Yes, really. I'm tellin' ya, if you have any boobs at all you know what it's like when those things start the waterfall of sweat. You wear a bra, not for support, but simply to stifle the perspiration torrents. Another friend of mine told me she did that sometimes in the summer and I never dreamed I would actually do it. But I did. And hey, it works!! Quite well, I might add. I've been taking 2 and 3 showers a day just to cool off. When I had taken shower #3 the other night and came down the hall fanning my shirt Paul gave me the strangest look and asked what the heck I was doing. I said, as straight-faced as I could, that I was drying my deodorant. I could tell he was perplexed and asked how fanning the front of my shirt would dry my deodorant under my arms. When I told him that the deodorant I was drying was not under my arms, well, he kind of blushed, not out of embarrassment, but I think simply because he sometimes marvels at the crap I do. Desperate times...

Paul and I have reached a new level in our marriage, I've decided. Not only am I sharing trade female secrets on creative anti-perspirant'ing, I am allowing him to participate in the age-old art of waxing. Sadly, it's not my eyebrows I wax. It's my arms and upper lip. Agh, the older I get, the more I resemble a Sasquatch. I know that the hair on the upper lip is simply hormones and age. The hair on my arms is nothing more than a really crappy draw in the game of Heredity. Not only did I inherit Dad's grey hair, but I've also inherited the hair on his arms. Or should I say "in-hair-it"...HA! Maybe that was funny to only me, I dunno... Aaaaaanyway... I put up with this awful anomaly for years until I finally decided that it would have a hold on me no more. Enter Sally Hansen and her magic box of wax strips. That Sally Hansen was a sadist, I'm sure of it. Okay, to make a long story short I proceed to wax my arms the other night. If you've ever waxed you know you have to pull the skin taut when you rip the strips off, if you've never waxed, well now you know what you have to do. With the wax being on my arm I didn't have the extra hand to spare, so I trot up front with this hot-pink strip glued to my left fore-arm. Paul and the looks he gives me....poor guy. I asked him if he could do me a favor. Believe me, it was met with trepidation, but he agreed. He was kind of impressed at the results and enjoyed holding the strip up to the light to see just how much hair it had ripped from my body. So when it came time to do the right arm, I trot up to the recliner again, except this time he says he wants to rip the strip off while I hold the skin taut. Believe me, that was met with trepidation. But I let him. I'm thinking that he and that sadist, Sally Hansen, are twins separated at birth.

There are two conflicting theories I have regarding being married long enough to allow your spouse to do such things (or worse!) with/for you. One is that we have been together so long that we have reached a level of comfortableness that supercedes most relationships. I mean, he's seen me give birth to 3 children, so obviously the modesty barrier was broken a long time ago. But to allow each other to participate in the ordinary not-so-pretty moments of life, like waxing, well,that takes quite a bit more than breaking a simple modesty barrier. We are comfortable in who we are, not only with ourselves, but with each other as well. We are truly a couple, a long-term couple. The other thought is that aw, to heck with it, he's the only man to see me naked in 11 1/2 years. It's not a matter of being comfortable with each other, it's just who's available at the right times. Not like I'm going to call my Mom at 10pm with a wax strip stuck to my forearm and ask her to drive out here to hold my skin taut while I rip the hair out from the root.

I'm not sure which theory I'm going with at this point... I'll ponder it some more while I pluck my eyebrows. In the living room. Under the light of the lamp next to his recliner. While he watches WWE.

(PS: The Diva will be incommunicado for a few days. Taking a little selfish vacation. Need some ME time in a desperate way! Will write when I get back into town. XOXO)

The Diva has spoken at 10:41 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, December 6, 2004 3:26 PM CST

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