Friday, March 3, 2017

130 Down

Here is a screen shot of the missionary app I use to track Will's time in Mexico. Today, as you can see was a momentous occasion when we hit the 600 days to go mark. 130 days gone, 600 more until he comes home.

That sounds like a lot of days.

 It's odd how in some ways, it seems like last week that he was here and we were so busy running around and getting everything ready for him to leave, and in other ways, it feels like he has been gone FOREVER. It also feels like the more days we get underneath our belts, the faster the days are going.

I am still determined to not wish this time away. It will go fast enough. Life is good. We shall savor the moment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jackpot Times Six

I'm pretty sure that everybody in the world has at least a few things in their life that did not turn out the way they wanted or expected.  I have my fair share of those bothersome things, and the older I get, the more I realize that some of them are just not going to change, no matter how much I dislike them. I am also really good at dwelling on all of those things I have not, and feeling sorry for myself.

Today though, it hit me hard that there is one big part of my life where I got everything I hoped for and more.

I have great kids.

 Whatever areas it shorted me in, Life was kind enough to bestow upon me six terrific kids.  More than anything else, I always wanted a herd of kids, and that is exactly what I got. The older they all get, the more I just really like them. Every single one of them. I wish I could take more credit for what wonderful people they are, but I really can't. They mostly just came that way. I will take some credit for the fact that none of them are ax murderers, but beyond that, I think I really just got lucky.

They are kind, intelligent, level headed, hard working, thoughtful, funny, honest, motivated, and of course, beautiful. Right now, they are all doing exceptionally well, achieving great things, and giving me much about which to brag and boast. I have been a parent long enough to know that I could wake up tomorrow and all six of them could be in dire straits. But no matter what happens tomorrow, I have six good, decent human beings on my side. What else could a girl ask for?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Menagerie

There are times in life when you are just tripping happily along, doing the best you can, and suddenly, something gets thrown in front of you that you never wanted, never looked for, and never expected, but it's there, so you just grab on to it and run.

I keep hoping that one day it will be a million dollars that trips me up, but this time, it was just a dog.

The last thing we needed, wanted, or planned on was ANOTHER animal, and yet, here we are.

Meet our latest addition.

 This is Bandit, now unofficially known as Bennett or Benny on the records of the Metcalf family, because he doesn't look like a Bandit. I really wanted to call him Dwight. He is a sheltie shitzu mix as far as we can tell. He is an old puppy, around 10 or so, we think, He lost his first person to a care center when they got too old to keep him. He bounced around the animal shelters for a while, then bounced around various members of our extended family before we just decided to bite the bullet and adopt him. He is cute and mellow, but he also has terrible separation anxiety, and wreaks havoc if he is ever left alone. But even having just another dog around for him is enough to calm his fears, so, since we have Piper, he does great at our house.  And oddly enough, we all really enjoy having two dogs, which is something I NEVER thought I would say. He isn't any more work than having one dog, and he and Piper play off each other great. Plus, he is old, so it's not like we've made a lifetime commitment or anything.

So I am going to say this one more time, and this time, I really mean it: THIS IS OUR LAST ANIMAL. No more exceptions, not ever. Mark my words.

Especially no more birds.

If you want to know the truth, this lousy parakeet here is the one that really rules the roost. We are all terrified of him. He is really mean.  I keep suggesting that we let him outside, just to see what would happen. Or that we let him fly into the microwave, then accidentally nuke him, just to see what would happen. Nobody thinks I am funny. I am not funny. I am serious. I almost had Audrey talked into pulling an Ozzie Osbourne moment, but she chickened out at the last moment. The bird's head was in her mouth. All she had to do was.....never mind. I better quit before the ASPCA starts calling.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Science!

The Sixth Grade Science Fair was a success!

I didn't get to go, but my friend snapped a picture for me.

Olivia came up with her experiment all by herself. She made her own slime, then tested to see how adding salt and sugar to the slime would affect it.  Apparently, a LOT of girls in her class did experiments with Mento's and Diet Coke, which was probably the first project to come up when their mothers looked on Pinterest. So I am quite proud of my independent and creative girl. And proud that she got a perfect score, all on her own.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Kids (and cats) in the Kitchen

So this is how many an evening has gone down at the Metcalf home lately:

7:45 pm - Mom walks in after a long eleven hour shift at work.
                 Dad is working late or working a game and is not home yet either.

Random child says, " Oh hi. What's for dinner?"

This question can be classified as Number One on The List of Things that Make Me Say GRRR. It is especially galling at 7:45 on a Thursday night. 

Here is a life lesson: Nobody wants to be asked what is for dinner at 7:45 pm. If it is that late, and nobody has fed you yet, please, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, figure it out yourself. And then feed something to that poor tired person who is just getting home at 7:45.  Learning this lesson may save your life someday.

At some point this week, I realized that it was mostly my fault that there are people living in this house who do not know this important truth.

Now, before I go any further, I must insert here that Audrey is very good at making dinner for the family when I am gone. Just a day before, she had made grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone before I got home. And that is not an unusual occurrence.  But she is busy studying, or working, or any with any number of her other activities, and often she is not home to get things going. Also, it's really not fair for all of the dinner prep to fall to Audrey. There are TWO other perfectly capable people in this house who could be pitching in more than they are. I will not names, but the guilty know who they are.

And I will post their pictures, just in case there is any doubt as to their identity.


So I came home Thursday night determined to improve my parenting failures, to teach my kids a lesson in cooking, and to instill some independence, responsibility and self sufficiency into these two birds.

I announced that THEY were making tacos for dinner.

Panic ensued. Protests issued forth. Ignorance was proclaimed.

After that, we got down to business, me perched on bar stool to give orders and advice while they did all the hands on.
 Getting the raw hamburger out of the packaging and into the pan was the hardest part. Neither of them wanted to touch the raw meat. Alas, life is dirty business.
 Olivia finally braved up and somehow managed, with a great deal of maneuvering,  to get that hunk of beef into the pan.
The next step was to turn on the stove.
This proved challenging to them both as well.  When I told them to turn on the stove, they both just stood there, blankly staring at the stove top as if they could light it with their minds. Seriously? 22 and 11, and they don't know how to turn on the stove? Where have I been and what have I been doing these past several years? Apparently not mothering. Or cooking.
 I am happy to say that they both now know how to turn on the stove. They also got some lessons in stove top safety and why we don't leave food cooking unattended. Remember those grilled cheese sandwiches I mentioned that Audrey made? Yeah. Ask Audrey why our house smelled of smoke for three days.

While Duncan  had lessons on browning hamburger, I told Olivia to grate some cheese.  She got out the cheese, and a plate, then looked around.

"I can't find the cheese grater," she told me.
"Hmm," says I, "What would you do if I wasn't here to ask where the cheese grater was?"
She looked at me for a minute.
"I would look for it," she said.
"Bingo!" says I.
And miracle of all miracles, she found it.



 Success. Meat cooked,  grease drained, seasonings added, cheese grated, table set, condiments added, and voila- dinner was on the kids tonight. Next week, I'm requesting crab Rangoon and baked Alaska.


My other mom failure this week? Buying cat food. We have been out of cat food all week.  The cats have been subsisting on milk and the occasional scrap of leftover we throw them. Poor hungry Buck begged and meowed and cried his way into a little taco meat, much to the chagrin of the dog, who never gets anything good. Except Iams. I buy her Iams and she does not even begin to appreciate how lucky she is. She still insists on eating garbage.

Kids who cook could be a big thing around here. I think I like it. Cooking dinner is like, 1/8 of the battle. Now I just need someone to shop for me. And earn money to pay the grocery bill. And plan the meals. And throw away the leftovers after we leave them in the fridge for two weeks....

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Just Another Tuesday

Just a regular Tuesday around here, eating burgers and ignoring the rest of the world having their taco Tuesday. Nobody tells us what to eat on a Tuesday. We will eat burgers on a Tuesday if we want to, gosh.

I love January. I love feeling free to hibernate. Tonight, it was about 4:30, and I found myself debating whether or not it was too early to get into my pajamas, and of course the answer was a resounding NO! It's never too early to get your clothes off in January. Heck, at 4:30, the sun was already setting. July is a different story. In July, 4:30 is still the middle of the day and you feel compelled to be outside getting sunburned. January is a no pressure kind of month in my book.

Olivia had her science fair presentation today, and an oral book report due, and of course she rocked both of them. She got a perfect score on her science fair project and that makes me happy. She was so worried about it, and about having to present it in front of the class. She did the whole thing herself, and to have it be a success feels like such a mom win.  Also, those are two big projects we don't have to worry about anymore, hooray.

Audrey has three big tests this week, two were today and one is on Friday. Then the semester is over, which means the school year is half over. Yikes. Our very kind neighbor gave her a little math tutoring session to help her out with the math test on Friday.

Will has been out 11 weeks today. His birthday on Friday will make 80 days that he has been gone. I wonder if he had taco tuesday today.

Duncan and I finished up his birthday celebration that we had to postpone yesterday. We ordered him a game and went to lunch at Chik Fil A. Did I mention that he texted me at work yesterday at 11:42 a.m., to let me know he was officially 22? I love that kid.

Monday, January 9, 2017

22

It's a bittersweet day to have this guy turning 22. That number seems like such an adult, yet he is still such a kid at heart. He woke up early for a birthday hug from his sister and birthday cereal, just like the good old days.



We had some things planned today, unfortunately, Pharmageddon descended upon me when I got to work. I had planned on leaving at 1 and didn't get out of there until after 3:30. So we will just have to extend the birthday celebrations until tomorrow.

For this evening, we partied it up with laser tag, pizza, a chocolate chip cookie cake and vanilla ice cream. Duncan's friend Jayson came along to make into a real party.


This picture melts my heart.
His goodness and innocence seems to be oozing out all over.
His Star Wars shirt,  and his scraggly hair in need of a trim.
He's an adult, but he will always be a kid.
There is nothing I would not do for him.
I hope I can do enough.