Bramell, Party of Five: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Travels

Last weekend, we took a quick trip to KC for one night. It was the last home stand for the Royals this season, and there were potential playoff implications at stake (I know, crazy!).  After soccer on Saturday morning, we hit the road and headed north.

Lee and I have always loved going to  KC, that's no big secret. We've taken Big Sis a few times, but this was the first time for all five of us to go together. The little ones were quite excited.  Girl Twin asked repeatedly if there was a beach at "Kansasth Thity." Sadly, there is not. But our hotel had a cool waterfall.

Long story short, the game was sold out--never, ever, ever in a million years has that ever happened to us in KC--so we missed the free fleece blanket giveaway. If you know Lee, you know that us not walking away with five blankets was enough to ruin the weekend. Period. We had to get standing room only tickets, which meant we watched the big screen in the kids' play area for most of the game. The kids had a blast, and didn't even know what they were missing, sadly. However, by the mid-7th inning, we were able to find seats in the handicap area and they were in awe of the "bigness" of it all.

Our view of the field once we found seats. And, look at my baby boy! He never took his eyes off the game! Didn't even notice the guy next to him with a blue face and mohawk...

We ate lunch at Fritz's Railroad Diner and had our food delivered to our table by a mini train. Huge hit. We explored for at least an hour in the Crayola store, which blew Big Sis's mind. We walked around Union Station and saw the model train exhibit, which took up a whole room. Then, we walked across the bridge just in time for a real train to drive below us. In 24 quick hours, we crammed in a lot of fun!

My Crayola kids

And, we boarded Fergie for the first time ever. What a diva dog! I think we were nervous to leave her, but she did just fine. It was only for one night.  It was a good test to see how we'd all manage on a weekend fun trip. It clearly wore some of us out.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mommy Confession Time

I'm just gonna go ahead and get this out there.  I've committed Parenting Sin #1.  Yes, The Daddy of Them All.  I let my children get in a vehicle with strangers.  There, it's out.  I am not the Mother of the Year.
Thank goodness the story has a good ending, but I still keep thinking about that day.  It was the day that Keisha and I were driving to Little Rock for the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference.  We were taking my girls to hand off to my mom in Conway.  Along about Morrilton, out of nowhere, the ole minivan started acting up and smoking from under the hood.  Since it was between exits, I just pulled off the side of the interstate as far as I could go.  I turned off the engine and Keisha and I, being experts in car repair, sat and discussed what might be wrong with the van.  Before KP had that AAA card out of her wallet, the smoke and stink got worse. The girls were crying, so we took them out of the van and into the ditch (safer than a van on fire, right?)  Very quickly, we noticed a blue truck had pulled over and was backing down the side of the interstate to us.  This is when you have about three seconds to decide whether to be thankful someone is stopping to help or scared that someone is about to chop you up into a million pieces.

To our relief, a very normal looking man hopped out of the truck and came toward us.  As the afternoon traffic zoomed past us at 70mph, I decided it would be safer to put my kids into the man's truck with his wife.  My shy little girls who won't talk to anyone!  I just knew I'd caused some permanent scars there.  But, heck no.  THERE WAS A PUPPY!  Now, it's all "Mom who?" while the nice man is looking at my van.  He said it would be OK for me to drive the van on to the next exit where there was a gas station and safer for him to work on it.  So, I let my kids ride in his truck--with strangers---while they followed me.  I'm not completely crazy, though.  I made Keisha ride with them, too! I wasn't letting my babies go alone.

Long story short, the couple lives in a small town about 15 miles from where I grew up.  They were traveling home from a funeral and he was wearing dress clothes; he even ruined his shirt checking the fluids in my van.  Mom was able to drive on to Morrilton and  tear the girls away from the puppy get the girls.  He found the problem with my van and Keisha and I soon hit the road again.  It was a crazy fluke involving a loose dipstick that made me lose all the transmission fluid.  No repairs needed, whew.
Ms. Fix-It Keisha doing her thing.
This incident got me thinking about another time I needed a stranger's help, when the twins were babies.  We were at Silver Dollar City; the babies needed a diaper change and the double stroller wouldn't fit in the bathroom door!  So, I took Girl Twin back for Lee to hold and trekked back to the bathroom with Boy Twin.  After I got him changed, I realized that I needed to use it as well.  There was a normal-enough looking woman washing at the sink. I totally asked her if she would hold Boy Twin so I could pee.  I never even thought twice about it! She was thrilled to hold a baby and I was thrilled to empty my bladder. 
Am I just too trusting of people?  Do you think I'm crazy? I think having more kids than hands has just forced me to ask for help when I have to. If you are reading this, I have probably asked YOU for help at some point.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Twin Tuesday

Here's the scene from last Saturday's soccer game.  They are not playing soccer, they are sliding down the hill.  I had so much hope for these two! Of course, Girl Twin was hurt for the beginning practices, so she had to watch. But brother jumped right out there and did so great at practices.  It took him getting knocked down one time during the first game, and he was done.  Finito.  When Girl Twin was healed and ready to play, she excitedly took the field.  Finally, what I was waiting for!  Oh, but no.  She decided, "I don't want the blue kids."  Translation: she didn't want another team out there.  I guess we forgot to explain how a soccer game works.

Oh well.  Lesson learned. They just aren't ready yet.  And we'll be saving that $60 bucks next spring.  As I always say, it's a good thing they are so darn cute.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Slapstick Comedy Hour

Or, alternate title:  The Day My Kid (almost) Ate Poop

First, let me say this:  I don't really like taking my kids to the park. Before you shame me, let me explain.  The park is hard work, y'all!  Sure, the kids like to run and play and climb.  But who really does the hard work? The grown-ups, that's who.  ME.  Oh, I'd love the park if I could sit down and leisurely read a book while they play. But, no.  I have to push the swings (x 3) until my arms turn to jelly.  I have to run from the rock wall to the 8-foot-high ladder thingy to make sure one of my kids doesn't break (another) bone, and I have to make sure the bigger kids aren't being too rough with my little ones.  Three kids climbing on three different contraptions is tough.  I have more fun when Lee comes with us, if only to have two more hands and eyes to keep watch.  But I usually end up taking the kids to the park on Sunday afternoons when Lee is working at open houses.  It keeps me from strangling them at home.  


So, off to the park we go yesterday. The weather was perfect and I needed a stop at Sonic's happy hour.  Which brings me to another issue that we have.  My kids absolutely cannot, EVER--I repeat, EVER handle a Styrofoam cup.  It's borderline ridiculous. 


All the way from the van to the playground, I instruct the kids to be careful not to drop their drinks...because someone always does.  Every. Single. Time.  Boy Twin knows I speak the truth, so he just surrenders and hands me his slush to carry for him.  Smart kid.


Sometime right after Big Sis said to me, "Is that your phone in your shirt?" and I assured her that I didn't have a rectangle boob, she fell down.   Yes, from a standing still position. Just fell flat to her butt, knocking over her nearly-full orange slush.  The lid popped off and it spilled everywhere. But being the crafty mom that I am, I brushed off her butt and secretly poured some of brother's orange slush into her cup.  All good.


After our hour of play time is up, we head back to the van.  Along the way, we stopped for an impromptu photo shoot in a cool-looking tree.  Girl Twin, also knowing how clumsy she is, said "I'm gonna put my Sprite down over here so I won't spill it."  Then, approximately 30 seconds later, she proceeds to walk backwards over it.  Crushed the whole cup.  Thank you, Sonic happy hour. Now I've only wasted two bucks instead of four.

I get Girl Twin directed toward the trash and herd them all to the parking lot.  Here's where it gets real.  As I'm buckling the other kids into their seats, I can't find Girl Twin.  After I yelled her name, she pokes her head into the van, licking her fingers.


Now, I know I didn't bring any snacks to the park this time.  I'm all, "Hey, what are you eating?"  She answers, very calmly, "Chocolate" and holds up her dirty brown fingers for me to inspect.  Oh yes, like you, I'm immediately thinking she's just eaten some poop.  "Sissy, where did you get that," I asked.  "Down there," Big Sis answered for her.  "An almond," Girl Twin also supplied.  


I'm holding my breath as I round the front of the van to the other side.  I need to know what exactly she just put in her mouth.  And, for once, thank GOD she was right.

But yes, she did indeed eat melted chocolate off the parking lot of the park.  And yes, there were almonds.  The end.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pinterest Made Me Do It

In a noble effort to avoid a dinner rut, I'm always looking for recipes that I think Lee will like.  He is a much more adventurous eater than I am, and he's usually willing to try just about anything.  He likes foods with gravies, sauces and lots of spices; I do not.  But I do like to cook.  I don't mind making him something that I won't eat because I'm usually trying to count calories or eat a light dinner anyway.  

As I was pinning like a madwoman one night, I ran across this Spicy Sausage Pasta recipe and immediately knew he'd love it.  Also, the girl who posted the recipe said her husband loved it, too.  And supposedly it was an easy, quick recipe to make.

The main ingredients are smoked sausage, onion, garlic, chicken broth, Ro-Tel, cheese and heavy whipping cream.  I even got to use the ole iron skillet, which I'm sure will make my mama proud.  You basically brown the sausage with the onion and garlic, mix everything together and bake long enough to melt the cheese.  It didn't take long at all!

Our review:  I, of course, did not eat it.  I know, I know.  Lee really liked it but did offer one nugget of advice for next time.  He thought it was a bit too spicy, as did 2/3 of the kids.  Next time, I will make sure to buy the MILD flavor Ro-Tel instead of the regular; I think that will make a big difference.  Otherwise, make sure you have a gallon of milk and some Tums on hand for a chaser to this dinner.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What I Learned at Camp....and Other Valuable Lessons

Over the weekend I made my second trip to the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference.  This year, we met at Ferncliff Conference Center and Camp, outside of Little Rock.  First off, if you've never been there, WOW! What a beautiful place!  It was smack dab in the middle of the woods with lakes, ponds, cabins, chickens and goats....can't beat that.  However, I was caught a bit off guard when we discovered that our room did not have a TV--you could have told us that up front, Stephanie!
Since I loved every minute of the conference last year, and soaked up so much useful info, I begged forced encouraged my blog sista Keisha to join me this year.  We hit the road on Friday full of excitement and with a van full of snacks, my two girls and a CD of toddler nursery rhymes.  Welcome to my world.  
The plan was to meet my mom in Conway to hand off my girls and get to the opening reception of the conference on time....but if you know me, you know things often don't go as planned.  More about that later.
Dipstick.  Ladies, when you travel, please make sure the dipstick is where it should be.  Apparently a loose dipstick causes transmission fluid to leak out of your moving vehicle.  This leaking causes smoke to pour out of your vehicle, after which you need to pull over on the side of the interstate.  This causes you to have to depend on a stranger to fix your dipstick, then wasting an hour of precious time at the Walmart auto center and being TWO HOURS late to your conference.  Sadly, this also makes you  miss hearing P. Allen Smith speak at said conference.  Lesson learned:  Keep the dipstick in tightly.
Masterpiece.  Thanks to BooMama, we learned the importance of this word.  See also, validity.  Our blogs are valid and they are a masterpiece, no matter the subject. Be purposeful in your writing and on  your blog.  This is something we all struggle with, and even knowing that is comforting.
Relationships.  I'm not the only one to feel this or say it.  But these girls at the conference...they are something. They are all special, fun and enthusiastic.  These are my people.  I know that's totally cheesy, but we get each other.  I'm a word nerd and THAT'S COOL.  Which directly relates to the next theme.
Community vs. Competition.  In a room full of 100+ bloggers, with so much in common, there is also so much individuality and creativity.  Sure, there are "categories" we can put ourselves into:  lifestyle bloggers, fitness bloggers, foodies, business and mom bloggers.  But we all have a different story to tell.  We are all going to make an effort not to compare ourselves with each other; we are instead going to be a support system and cheer the other on.  Hooray!
And, finally...
Poop.  Because, isn't it a normal thing for grown women to sit and tell poop stories?  This really needs no further explanation, if you were sitting on the porch with me on Saturday night.  Thanks for sharing your stories and thanks for the laughs, ladies.  You know who you are.

In my next post, I'll share more links to my bloggy friends.  Some old friends from last year and many, many new ones.  Look at me, making friends! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I decided to participate in Throwback Thursday on the blog this week.  I'm taking you back to a post from November 2008.  I have *this* pegged as the start of what we are dealing with today---slamming doors, talking back and generally acting like we are stupid.  And she's only SIX!  (and yes, she still makes this face)

Buckle up, baby.



Sunday, November 16, 2008

The transformation has begun...

This is our sweet little Becca dressed in her jammies. This is the good girl who minds us and reads books all day long. This is her sweet face.

This is Miss Independent Becca. Miss "how-dare-you-tell-me-no." If she doesn't get her way, this is Miss Mean Face. Just try to look at her and not laugh. I dare you.

Oh, dear. It is true. We have somewhat of a drama queen on our hands. She is wanting to do everything by herself already, including use the spoon, which does not have a great outcome--especially with oatmeal and applesauce. The good news is that Becca keeps us laughing most of the time. And, her vocabulary is moving right along. New words: "good girl" (which actually sounds a bit like "doo doo" but who cares), "bath," "meat" and "apple."
I also got the potty out a couple of weeks ago for her to look at. The first few times we sat her on it (clothed even), she had a hissy. But now she will sit on it and smile. Still no potty action, but at least she's not afraid of it.
Sorry it has been so long since we blogged. Had a rough couple of weeks. We'll do better, though. Enjoy the new festive look of the blog. Until next time...

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