Archive for September, 2011

a divine gift…

I had a wonderful time with Ava this weekend!

We drove up north to see our families, meet our new nephew/cousin and share time celebrating the upcoming arrival of my sister-in-law’s twins.

Ava and I headed back home directly after the baby shower. Ha, I say headed home like it was just a jaunt around the corner. No, we had a 9 ½ hour drive to make. And I was the lone driver.

The majority of our trek went fine. I did have a few storms to drive through, so that added extra time and brain energy to the trip. But, Ava is always good company. Around 9pm I told her it was time for her to go to sleep. School started at 7:15 the next morning, so at least one of us needed to be fully rested. My plan was for her to conk out between 9:00-9:30. I’d then stop around 10pm for one last gas fill-up and hit a McDonald’s for a hot chocolate to see me through the rest of the journey.

At 10:10pm, I pulled off the expressway.

“Welcome to McDonald’s. Would you like to try our new caramel frappe?”

I politely waited for the automated greeting to finish before placing my order.

“Hi, can I please get a hot chocolate?”

“I am so sorry ma’am,” the other voice answered (and she really did sound very sorry).”We just shut our machine down for the night.”

Shut your machine down? “But, you’re still open for another hour,” I wanted to say. “Don’t start cleaning it yet.”

I started to feel a bit uneasy. I only had water in the car…not exactly great for an energy jolt. Anyway, I got back on the expressway and went up a few exits.

“Welcome to McDonald’s. Would you like to try our new caramel frappe?”

Okay, if the automated greeting was still offering specialty drinks, then surely I was in luck this time.


Again, “Sorry ma’am, but we’ve already begun cleaning that machine.”

What is it with you Kentucky? Don’t shut down your menu down until your restaurants are closed!

I still had 2 ½ hours of driving to do.

My head started to hurt.

I was tired.

And I don’t drink coffee.



In keeping with the baby shower “twin” theme, the party prizes featured famous pairs: peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, ketchup and mustard, cheese and crackers, tea and honey, etc.

Oh yeah…

Did I forget to mention hot chocolate and marshmallows?

My favorite.

Well, I did not win my table’s prize (peanut butter and jelly), but right before leaving, my mother-in-law came up to me with a gift bag and a big smile on her face:

“This is for you.”

Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows

Turns out one of the bags didn’t make it out on the tables.

Too bad! 😉



Wait a sec! If I can’t order a hot chocolate, maybe I can still make one!

I glanced down to my right and sure enough, the green gift bag containing liquid gold was sitting right beside me.

I drove back around the drive-thru and tapped on the window.

“Okay,” I said. “I understand I can’t get a hot chocolate, but can I get a cup of hot water? I don’t care if it’s from the tap. You can even charge me for a hot tea if you want. Whaddya say?”

The young man looked at me before replying, “Sure thing.”


He handed me a large cup of hot water, a spoon, smiled and said, “That’ll be 32 cents.”

I pulled into a parking spot, dumped in two packs of the hot chocolate mix (along with the accompanying marshmallows!), stirred it up and took a sip.

It was indeed a perfect pair.


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the butt

Over the summer, the kids and I went with my parents to see “The Phantom of the Opera.”

I first saw the show 20 years ago and I have been in love ever since. This is hands down my favorite musical.

I hoped the kids would enjoy it as much as I did and I wasn’t disappointed…

They loved it!

They talked endlessly about it for days. When we got home, I played the CD of the musical and pulled out my old playbills and books. It was like Christmas in our house, they were so excited! The icing on the cake was when they found out there was a movie of the musical. They asked to see it.

Now, the movie is rated PG-13. Adam and I have a rule that the kids cannot watch anything rated higher than G without us watching it first. I’d seen the movie before and couldn’t recall anything overly overt about it. But, knew there had to be a reason for the rating. I told them I’d watch it again at some point and let them know.

Adam recently went on a business trip and the kids brought up the question of watching the movie again. Hold on a sec, did I say brought up? Hmmm, I think pleaded would be more accurate…

He was traveling, they were begging, so I thought, “Why not?”

I watched the movie and identified two questionable moments. I didn’t think it was serious enough to dismiss the movie entirely, so I planned on having them cover their eyes at those specific parts.

The next morning they all came thundering into my room. Ha – I think they’ve figured out the ambush effect works well on their mom!

“Did you watch it Mom?”

“Can we watch it Mom? Can we???”

I told them, “Yes,” but only on the condition that they cover their eyes twice during the movie.

I laid out the ground rules for eye covering:

1. You cannot cover your eyes with your hands because I know you’ll just peak through your fingers.

2. You must place a blanket or pillow in front of your face instead.

3. I’ll be watching the whole time. If you even try to sneak a glimpse, the movie goes off.

Needless to say, they accepted the terms of my agreement. Though, not before Ava threw in, “But, what if we accidentally drop the pillow or blanket?”

My look back to her officially closed the subject.

After dinner, we popped a big bowl of popcorn and got ready for the movie. The kids decided they would rather watched the movie on my laptop while snuggled on my bed, as opposed to watching it on the big screen in the basement.

Everything was going great. When we approached the first eye covering, I ordered, “Blankets up!” and they obeyed without protest. I knew we had a bit before the next eye covering, so I sat back and relaxed.

Things were flowing nicely, when all of a sudden, one of the characters totally dropped trou and shook his derriere.


I mean, we definitely had a full moon going on.

My jaw dropped.

My eyes bulged.

What just happened?

My children reacted…

Ava: (bursts out laughing)

Garrett: I saw his butt!

Grady: Mom, is that butt real?

Ava: I thought you said you watched this!

Me: (flabbergasted) I did!

Garrett: I saw his butt!

Ava: (mercilessly) How did you miss the butt?

Me: (fumbling, trying to hit ‘pause’) I don’t know!

Grady: Mom, why did he show that lady his butt?

Garrett: I saw his B-UHHHHH-TT!

I immediately apologized to the kids. Oh, you can bet your bottom dollar, I was grateful we didn’t watch the movie on the big HD screen. I gave the kids the “we don’t show people our butts even if we don’t like them” speech. I then asked them not to tell their dad about the butt, explaining that he needed to hear it from me first. Adam’s flight didn’t get in until after midnight, so I planned on telling him the next morning after I took the kids to school. Before going to bed, I thought through the best way to explain the butt without him kicking mine.

After waking up and while sitting at the breakfast table, I gave the kids a quick “no butt” reminder before Adam came in. He was working from home that day and spent the morning with us.

The kids were soooo excited to tell him about the movie. I think I held my breath through the course of the entire conversation. All was going well until Grady, in a loud voice, asked me, “Mom, what was your favorite part? The scary part? Or, the FUNNY part?”

Garrett, in a gallant effort to avoid catastrophe, hissed, “Grady, we’re not supposed to talk about the butt!” Not missing a beat, Ava hissed, “Garrett, you said butt!” To which Garrett retorted, “No, I didn’t! Grady did!” Not to be left out, I joined in the hissing, “Go brush your teeth, no more ‘butts’!” Thankfully, Adam wasn’t paying attention. After he walked out of the kitchen, I asked Grady, “What is the funny part?”

He gave me that mischievous Graders smile and said,

“The Butt”

I told Adam about the butt after dropping Grady off at school. He was very gracious and said mistakes are going to happen. He, like Ava, also mused, “How did you miss the butt?”

I have no idea how I missed the butt, but I did.

But, I’m not missing it again.

And now my children know, when we watch the movie, they have THREE points where they cover their eyes.

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