Saturday, November 1, 2014

I hear those sleigh bells jingling- Already?

So it's Nov 1 which means Americans are now firmly divided into 2 camps:

Early Christmas preppers or Touch Not Thanksgivings hallowed season nor tread on thy turkey's feathers followers.

I've noticed a trend the last few years - and no it isn't that stores put out Christmas tress earlier and earlier.

It's the facebook shaming of anyone who doesn't feel Christmas needs to "wait it's turn " until the last piece of pumpkin pie has been shoved into the overfilled belly of a football watching, loosened belt man.

It's gone from people lamenting early decorators ( who wants to decorate in snow and ice , maybe they're just practical) to an all out facebook shame war with people "taking back Thanksgiving" by declaring all those eager for Christmas as buying Into the material consumer side of the holiday forgetting the spirit of the season and also being the most ungrateful lot because " they're skipping over the holiday of thanks for the holiday of getting".

I'm going to fire the first shot in this war right now.

First: Thanksgiving is mostly taken care of in the celebrating form in early fall. Around here people are putting fall decorations out in August now which sets me into a whirlwind of emotion. For me fall = winter is coming = the sads bc I hate being cold.

So people have been decorated for weeks or months prior to thanksgiving - what's there to do?

2. It's a day about eating turkey- again, what is there to do except for a couple days before . Maybe you spend the month in therapy in preparations for family battles that will rage during stuffing consumption but that's an entirely different post.

There is just not much to do for Thanksgivng in terms of celebration.

3.  It's kind of a made up holiday. Hate to burst bubbles but your history teacher was a lying liar who lies. Thanksgiving didn't go down at all like you learned as you made paper pilgrim and Indian hats . Also, it's not been a standing tradition since pilgrim days.

Abraham Lincoln instituted it as a day of thanksgiving after all the country had been through in the Civil War.

For that I can endorse it.

Now on to dismissing all the anti "early Christmas" brouhaha.

1. No. It's not too early for Christmas things to be out.

Retailers put stuff out a SEASON AHEAD. Don't believe me? Christmas costs will be on sale Jan and feb the coldest months of the year clearing them out and swim suits will be hitting the floor. 

Backpacks and back to school junk come out just a couple weeks after kids get out of school for the summer.

It's the same for Christmas! After Fourth of July, fall stuff is out and after September the Christmas stuff arrives.

It's not some premeditated anti thankfulness campaign- it's how stores operate. They can't help that fall is jam packed with holiday goodness. They aren't going to wait until the end of November to put out things for a holiday that's less than a month away. 

Go eat a turkey leg and calm the heck down.

2. People decorate early bc they don't like frostbite or falling off icu roofs. That's it. 

3.  Three - four weeks isn't long enough to celebrate the awesomeness of Christmas. There are a million great Christmas songs , people have to listen to them all and so some who are very dedicated to the cause have to begin earlier than others. They can't fit them in any other way.

And there's too much rich tradition and fun surrounding Christmas to jam it all squarely in December. It's a beautiful holiday that brings joy and happiness and so why stifle that? So much fun to be had who cares if people start in nov? Basically you've been celebrating Thanksgiving stuff all fall already with fall decorations so why can't Christmas cut Into nov?

4. Really Christians- (bc that's who I usually see making the "people aren't grateful posts") - Really? You're going to balk and complain and name call about people being excited about a holiday centered on your Saviors birth? Let's step back take a seat and rethink that move. 

Even if some people "don't get it" it's an amazing time of year where goodwill to men is displayed, people are happier kinder (except in Walmart) and it's a time where the name of Jesus is displayed and on more lips than any other time of year. It's also a time where people are more likelu to stumble into a church and hear about this once newborn King.

Let's lay off the Christmas celebration bashing this year ok?

I just can't abide the whole these people aren't grateful argument this year- at all. I'm probably going to find need to comment so I'll just be dropping this blog link on y'all's fb posts when you decide to declare Christmas enthusiasts the most ungrateful lot . 

How can people who love to listen to sub par music (sorry while I'm defending you, I'm not wholly into Christmas music) about jingling bells and holly filled with happiness and joy be ungrateful? It seems to me theyve got it and are grateful for the proper things while those fierce turkey defenders grumbling against those who don't celebrate as they do need to take a page from their page and just enjoy - whatever holiday you choose. And for how long. 

So Christmas enthusiasts , Halloween is over, deck the halls, jingle your bells and fa la la la to your hearts content. And if someone says  you aren't a thankful person bc you aren't celebrating thanksgiving alone for the whole of nov- sing a little louder and throw tinsel at them. 

And a side note- if you're local to me and want to really celebrate Thankfulness this thanksgiving season by helping someone instead of just grinching out the Christmas fanatics- MSG me. One of my fb friends started a Thanksgiving blessing program where numerous community families get full thanksgiving meals. I can get you info to help!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pigs in Pearls

I haven't posted in forever . June 23rd to be exact but in various fb postings I've nearly had a blog post written, so why not weigh in via blog by way of copy paste.

This weekend yet another Christian controversy erupted in media. 

People sent me links. I ignored - weary of all things on this topic and Christian controversy in the media in general. 

But it kept popping up so I read a bit about Hillsong Church and their stance/not stance on homosexuality and gay marriage.

I feel they're being railroaded on both side- the media and of course the ever ready to pounce and cannibalize, modern church.

I've yet to read a transcript of what transpired- what I've seen is a blog post excoriating Hillsong by taking partial phrases and expounding on those with the authors own perceptions by what this silence just may mean  and the clarification follow ups given by Brian Houston of Hillsong.

First, I'm sooo tired about talking about homosexuality. Politically , religiously, culturally- I'm spent.

I don't agree with it- it's a sin, and it sounds like Hillsong agrees. 

Im struggling with why as Christians we are putting so much weight on this sin, in particular.  I do feel there's a huge difference between slipping up and sinning occasionally while trying to live a sanctified life and living in that sin, in this case actively engaged in a gay lifestyle and not fighting those sinful desires.

But there are Christians living in so many sins, yet we keep shining a light on this particular one.

I get it that the gay community Is being forceful and pushing agendas politically. I think the church should have a voice in the direction our culture is headed - always.

But I've started to wonder at what point are we ceasing to be Gods witnesses on earth speaking his message of love and turning into political activists ourselves?

I'm not sure how we get the gay community to listen to a message of God's love for them when they're just hearing shouts of condemnation.

I've kind of done a 180. I've been in churches where you just hear sermons about all the sins in the world constantly and it leads to judging everyone. All the time. Just looking for signs that someone has fallen or is struggling and pouncing.

I'm not sure what good that does. And if Christians have a hard time dealing with that from the inside , how are those on the outside supposed to feel welcome amidst that?

I'm not saying water down the gospel or deny that something is a sin when it clearly is- I think the church just needs find the right balance again where we are the compass that points to true north without battering people along the way.

I think *think* that is what Hillsong was trying to do.  Show them Jesus' love and let that do the saving. We tell everyone else come as you are- how about  the gays? 

  Love and let Jesus do the work.

A side note on the origin of the controversy: this came about by Hillsongs Houston declining to say ANYTHING. He felt it wasn't the correct forum. He chose to use Jesus not hashing it out in public as his foundation for this silence.

The self appointed spokespeople for the church took that as a few things:

1. He was using the oft repeated and never correct excuse that if Jesus didn't mention it it's not a sin.

That doesn't mean it's not a sin and that wasn't what he was doing anyway.

2.  He won't speak on it and therefore he clearly is in favor of homosexuality not being a sin and for gay marriage.

Not even close.

Can we just please stop this silence is condoning bull? 

Sometimes it's wise to 
Keep. Your. Mouth. Shut.

Perhaps Houston not making a definitive statement for Hillsong in that forum doesn't necessarily mean equivocation, maybe it was wisdom. 

It never goes well for anyone when they speak out about homosexuality to the press. The media is just looking for something to twist into something ugly. 

Ie. Phil Robertson . He called about ten sins sin in his interview with rolling stone but what did they come away with- "PHIL ROBERTSON IS HOMOPHOBIC AND SAYS JESUS HATES GAY YALL!"

The media just wants to set people of faith up to show that we are an outdated hater of all things. We are closed minded intolerant unloving people .  No matter what Hillsongs stance was it would have been twisted to be explosive news on one side or the other. Damage would be done.

It's probably best not to fall into to
those traps because it isn't going to accomplish what you intend anyway. 

The Bible says 
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."
(Matthew 7:6)

Maybe just maybe Brian Houston's wisdom was telling him this was a case of pig pearls. 

And it was best to keep his mouth shut. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Moms Life Mondays

So I'm trying to get back to blogging and instituting a recurring installment Mom's Life Monday.

Lets be real : it only marginally keeps me on track and only temporarily, but people seem to enjoy my kids stories and my sleep deprived brain doesn't retain enough of them on its own so it helps me as well.

I sit here with an incapacitated Layla as close as she can get without becoming part of me.

Earlier today, playing on the trampoline (the death trap of childrens' play equipment) she landed wrong and "twisted my weg bc my knee didn't want to work"

She came in carried by a sister howling in misery.

Real tears flowed and I don't doubt she was indeed injured.

That was 8 hours ago and anytime she puts weight on it she cries still.

She hobbles slower than Tim Conways worlds oldest man character when we ask her to do things.

But the funny thing is- she will hobble on it when asked to do something.

If she gets up to go somewhere though on her own the minute she makes contact with the floor she screams and cries like its broken.

 Its not. 
Its not even swollen.
 Or red. 
Or anything.

Tony keeps telling her shes fine, but I feel the need to give her the benefit of the doubt. She's only 3 after all and we can't know for sure whats she feeling. She can't describe it to me other than

 "its not so bad that I have to go to the dr mommy. Its just good enough that I can stay here at home. Ow."

She milks things. Alot.

So I was feeling quite confident that when the pain went away as soon as My Little Pony Friendship is Magic appeared on the screen that she was ok.

But still 8 hours later when she cries when she puts weight on it I got worried. 

When I had to carry her to the bathroom bc she just.couldn't. make. it. on her own, I inspected.

Not able to decide between injury or knobby knees I carried her like a tiny infant up to her daddy for a second opinion.

Of course he immediately declared her fine. But I wasnt sure. After  all I had to force her to put weight on it even on our super soft bed to show him how much it still hurt.

Until, I walked out from getting her pajamas and she was standing on the footboard of my bed holding the top of it and one foot in a square each (it is kind of like a grid looking of open squares ) on hard solid wood in a way that had to put pressure directly on that knee.

So yes, she is a huge FAKER.  And she is also a better actress than most of young Hollywood. 

I need to get her an agent.

I don't doubt she hurts some, but not to the degree that these tears indicate.

Now the problem is - I don't know how they got this way.

All three to an extent are so dramatic about pain. 

So bad so that I never know if theyre bad enough for a dr trip. 

We almost Never go to the dr. but I always am in limbo with them because they seem to be in dire straits. 

But its so frequent now that were I a neglectful parent I would ignore every complaint. But im not so I keep a close eye on them and analyze everything. Its exhausting. Its either that or get a punch pass for frequent vistis at the dr office but I"m sure you don't get anything good. Probably just a sample of ointment or something as your prize.

We've never indulged them when hurt. Obviously we cared for them but we always try to be non plussed when inured.

Oh you fell off the chair because immediately after I turned my back after I told you to sit still you stood up and your lips bleeding? Heres a wet papertowel dab that blood we have to go. 

Layla has averaged 2 bloody lips per year of her life. She's the hardest to control.

We haven't helicoptored them. We let them play as kids. 

I remember when Laci was 1 we had a friend with a 4 year old over. Laci was expertly climbing the ladder and faux rock wall to her swing set while I stood at a safe but not overshadowing distance and the 4 year olds mom had wrapped herself around the childs waist like a fleshy safety net whispering be careful be careful be careful the whole way.

Now the ladder has like four rungs, we werent in a tree house, so even if they did fall they'd have to try and fall in a way to really get injured.

They ride a four wheeler and have a trampoline. We don't baby them.

And still they always put on oscar award winning performances for minor injuries.

I thought we'd saved ourselves from t his by playing off injury and sickeness from the start.

Unfortunately, we were just blessed with three actresses who see every scratch as *their* moment.

Or every time theyre to clean their room as a chance to hone their acting skills.

You'd think with Ella that room cleaning was the same as a big  mac to someone with a poorly functioning  gallbladder . She 20 minutes in comes down hunched over, eyes shimmering with the begining of tears and declares stomach pain.

Not buying it. I'm on to you . All of you.

Unless it involves the stupid trampoline. Then I'm probably carrying you on my back like a little hobbit backpack for three days.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

...Until Justice Runs Down Like Waters and Righteousness Like a Mighty Stream... MLK

While we've been in Atlanta we've been trying to sight see on weekends.

Our second weekend here we visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Martin Luther King Jr Center.

Its our last night in Atlanta and since I packed away all the sewing stuff I get a break from Frozen etsy orders and decided to write a blog about that weekend, since I'd planned to blog more while I was here but got busy with etsy.

I didn't realize today was the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act so it was an appropriate coincidence that I am blogging about our time visiting the moving exhibits honoring MLK.

When we arrived we tried to give the kids a little background on the whole different world that people experienced just 50 years ago. Laci has always been a Civil War buff with an odd fixation from the age of 2 on Lincoln, so she was well aware of the evils of slavery that entangled our nation. However, I am not sure how much she understood the long term effects on the lives of black Americans . She does read Addy American Girl doll books, Addy is a slave who escapes to Philadelphia, so she has an idea of the struggles people faced but I don't think she grasped how long it continued.

The other two are young but Ella had many questions as we walked through exhibits. I think at their tender ages in an age where they don't distinguish people by trivial things such as skin color it has to be just absolutely bewildering why such things were perpetrated against people over something they can't control, something that doesn't matter.

As you walk into the Martin Luther King center ,its quite crowded and chaotic as they tell me it normally is. There are a few exhibits highlighting people who helped form the center and I assume exhibits that are changed out frequently because they highlight the every day person as a civil rights activist.

Once walking into the actual MLK portion, I dont if I can explain it but its quite overwhelming.

The first thing you see (and I tried to get a photo but it was crowded and I was moved so I wasn't documenting much) was a glass wall with Jim Crowe Laws inscribed on it. I tried to read some to Laci just to show that even though they had been free for nearly a hundred years, black Americans were still being treated horribly. I don't know if there is even a word for the treatment.

She didn't realize how all encompassing these laws could be over the most mundane aspects of life.

And standing in front of a 15 foot tall glass wall inscribed with these acts against humanity I too was blown away.

We all learn them in history class, but standing there under them it was just overwhelming and takes your breath away. You can almost feel the oppression just from the printed words, because there were

just. so. many.

The emotions continue as the next exhibit is a replica of the kitchen where MLK JR prayed nightly- along with videos talking about that kitchen being fire bombed. He had kids. No one cared if they died too. Unfathomable evil.

I'm guessing for space sake, you then go to the actual wagon that carried his casket through the streets of Atlanta after his service at Ebeneezer Baptist.
The lighting was different in all areas and I was too involved with the exhibits to worry about changing exposure so its a bad picture, but the blurriness gives it a  kind of ethereal look that is appropriate in a way. The white flowered cross was a top his casket. I am not sure if it is the real silk one or a replica. He may have had one of real flowers. I don't recall seeing any specification at the exhibit but the film shows the same cross on the casket in the wagon.

All of Atlanta seemed pack in the streets around the wagon. You couldn't have fit any more people on the streets as the walked four miles in the procession.

From the funeral wagon they moved into the beginning of the marches . The girls couldn't believe he was jailed for civil disobedience.

There were a lot of whys asked, and how do you really answer why a person hates someone for skin color? There's no answer but evil. And not everyone who felt that way was an evil person. I think its an important distinction.

Racism is in itself a pervasive evil but I don't think all people who were prejudiced were evil. I think it was such an ugly time and that evil had such long roots that many otherwise good people were led astray by fallacies.

I love the music South Pacific, and one of the famous songs in it says

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

There's so much truth in that. Racism like so many things is passed down through the generations and if people arent taught another way so often they continue down the same mistaken paths.

Im not saying they're not guilty of wrong doing- somewhere deep inside you have to know how wrong such a view is- I'm just saying that not all were evil - the hate, the racism they allowed to take over was in fact evil.

It's hard to explain such things to innocent minds who just see people.

And walking through the exhibits it was hard to fathom it myself as a grown adult.

The exhibits are really well done. You feel the fear they must have felt leading these marches. These were brave brave people.
The I AM a man sign always gets to me.

I just kept saying to Tony the whole time how courageous MLK had to be. And you know that intellectually, but listening to audio, seeing videos walking through staged marches- these people knew they were risking it all everytime they went out and they experienced many injustices and atrocities and they kept on.

At one march one of the keynote speakers was shot - at the rally. They didn't stop. He went to the hospital and

They. Marched. On.

Of course, we all know how the story ends.

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”
He died the following day after that speech. I can't help but wonder if great figures know. Thinking of MLK and Lincoln and so many others speaking similar things immediately before they're taken from the world.

They have several videos playing at once with funeral footage, and footage of the same procession I mentioned above. Surrounding the tvs were large prints of him standing on the balcony just before he was shot, I'm sure we are familliar with those images.

It was very moving, just like the whole museum. You really just feel such a conflict of emotions the entire time: sadness, overhwhelmed, shock, hope, fear, awe. They all swirl around  you at once and you cannot help but feel the turmoil of that time period- its almost electric.

The museum is simply done, but well done. It gets the message across- many messages.

They have  a temporary exhibit now with a mock Lincoln monument, of course,  for the I Have a Dream speech complete with a tiny reflecting pool.

The kids loved this because, like I said they love Lincoln.

                                                          its    pretty convincing from the correct angle ;)

The Dream speech was largely forgotten until his death. Now its iconic like the Gettysburg Address.

We followed this up with a brilliant short film just detailing his early life with shots of the home. It was really interesting to listen to stories of his early years and his father's influence on him in regards to being treated like man like anyone else.

They shared a story of Martin walking with his daddy and wanting a pair of shoes in a store window.
When they tried to enter they were told they had to use the back door.

Martin, or ML as they apparently called him, didn't get his shoes that day.
He instead got a lecture by his father on how he wouldn't be told he was less of a man because of his skin color that it wasn't ok to just accept that untruth.

We took a walk across the street to the church he grew up in, his dad was a preacher, and where he later co pastored with his brother.

Its a beautiful old church all wooden inside like stepping back in history.

It was pretty amazing to stand right at the pulpit he preached from while his sermons played overhead in speakers

We just sat for the longest time. It was awe inspiring. The mix of history, his voice playing, the time transporting look of the place, like its frozen in time- I don't know I'm a history nerd I like to breathe it all in. Some people like to chase after celebrities, I like chasing history. It almost feels electric being in a place where amazing things happened.

You can also tour his home but you better get there at opening. You get tickets at the MLK JR Center (where the museum is located) its free, but limited so they assign tickets. 

 We didn't initially plan on going this day so missed out on the tour, we intended to get back over but we didn't, but Tony's training is always in ATL so we will see it sometime!
 He and Coretta are entombed on the grounds of the center in a beautiful memorial reflecting pool with fountains. It's really breathtaking. Listening to him talk about himself, I don't know how he'd feel with such a monument, but it is beautiful to behold indeed - and quite large.!


If you find yourself in the Atlanta area its a must do. Its fairly easy to get to and free of charge. Its a wonderful experience. If you have kids please take them. I am a firm believer the best way to learn history is to experience it. This place certainly brings to life the era Martin Luther King Jr was fighting in much better than any text book.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gold mining and face stuffing across Georgia

I love Atlanta.

We are having an amazing time.

We are here for "business", Tony is in training.

For me a vacation isn't a vacation without sand and waves or large characters, princesses and rides.

We do day trips to places that don't have those necessary things but not full on vacations, so its been nice to explore somewhere I wouldn't normally head.

As I said in my previous post, I've always wanted to go to Georgia, so its pretty cool to have an extended stay.

We home school so we are also always on the look out for fun educational things to do or just things to broaden their horizons - and mine. Pre Tony I didn't travel much at all.

Aside from touring Target daily *its 4 minutes from me how can we not* and all the Joanns of the area... I'm still working on my boutique and the Frozen slam has hit like an avalanche in orders, we have visited a few places on our list of to dos.
                                                                 this is actually Hobby Lobby
                                                                                we've been hitting it up a bit too.

Last weekend we headed up to Northern Georgia to Dahlonega Ga to the Consolidated Gold Mine .

Its about an hour north of Atlanta and was part of the original gold rush in America - before California.

This gold mine boasted a huge vein of quartz ( where there's quartz theres gold) . I believe what the tour guide said ( i saw it online too but can't find it now to confirm everything is vague that I'm finding)  was that normally a vein of quartz is about the width of a pencil and this one was 24 inches. or feet. I don't know really but the number 24 keeps popping in my head.

In any case, they mined half a million dollars worth of gold in ONE day. I don't even know how much that would be today.
                                                                         The glory hole

It is the only mine you can tour in the area and the tour really is worth seeing.

Extremely informative and the guides are also funny.

The kids learned all about rock formations, gold mining, tiny bats that actually were cute and didn't move, working conditions in a mine back then and technology advances.

         he's entertaining!

The mine companies used a lot of their profit to install a new technology in the mine - electricity. Unfortunately the wires weren't insulated so many died from running into the wires.

They also learned about the toll it took on the miners (mining itself not the electricity) how most all were deaf because of the dynamite, and died young because of all the toxic dust they inhaled - all for a dollar a day. (1.50 if you were the dynamite poker and he got paid daily because, well he may not last the week)

I believe 350 ish died in that mine, some children because boys aged about 6-10 ( 10 and up already were miners) were employed as arm tappers alerting the other miners to get in the safe area because they were about to use dynamite.

Couldn't yell because they were deaf and they need someone who was small enough to run quickly through the mine so young boys were the pick.

You get to see the glory hole where they mined the largest amount and some relics of the past, the rails are still in place and some of the wagons are in the mine along with other fixtures that are original.


   rail for a kind of trolley car

This door was built by the London Gate company in the 1200's. Doc asked "and what were the British in the 1200's?"

A grown woman answered "our overlords"

Um no.

Correct answer: Short. so duck when you walk through.

Pretty cool gate - but sad for the dumbing down of 'Merica.

                                                      Look we're  in the Tower of London. ish

After the tour you go up and they give you a pan of dirt to sift for gold included in the cost. Its neat for the experience but you get a few flakes. Clearly not worth the cost but the tour is well worth that. From what I read many people who want to pan for gold for real go to Crisson gold mine . Price is the same for the little pans but without the tour. However apparently their big buckets you can purchase have more gold in them. Consolidated also has the larger amounts you can pan but we werent interested.

                                         If you look really closely you'll see gold.
                                                It looks like sparkly         fish food
                                                           Lots of water. Itty bitty flakes
                                                    She got the most. Can you see them?

                                                           Thinks she's going on a shopping spree.

We did however purchase a bucket of gems to grub.

That was more fun for the girls because you can feel the big rocks as you scoop them out. Just like playing in a sand box.

They did good apparently for the bucket size we got. They got some onyx, amethyst, rose quartz plus several other rocks.

Apparently the amethyst and rose quartz are typically in the next sized bucket up that also you usually get rubies in sapphires in.

Considering the appraiser knew what size bucket we had gotten by the rocks we showed her and mentioned that the few really nice rocks we got were in the larger buckets typically, they obviously seed the buckets, the more you pay the better the stones you get. But still it was fun for the kids for $15. The more precious bucket was $30 and we will do that one if we go back because we won't do the tour again nor pan for gold. They really enjoyed the gems so we'd be willing to pay more for a bigger bucket and apparently nicer stones.

                                                                      bag o rocks

They did get ones that could be cut and put in jewelery but we didn't  explore that option this trip since it was already costly. Maybe we will bring them back with us next time.

We finished the day (after a stop at an awesome outlet shopping plaza) at Tony's choice.

Big Pie in the Sky pizza in Kennesaw Georgia.

It was featured on Man V Food for a huge 11 pound pizza challenge and Tony always talks about doing a pizza challenge...

                                            She didn't get any she was too slow.

If you go here know the pizza is REALLY good and its really thin. Not horribly thin but wood fired pizza style.

Tony got a 20 " and for some reason thought that would be enough but he should have gotten a 30.

Of course we ordered a second pizza when they inhaled the first (and waited an hour for the second to come out. They are BUSY!) and so they ended up eating 40" of pizza so i guess the 30 wouldn't have been enough either.

Maybe they should do the challenge. you get one hour for 2 people to eat the challenge pizza. Its full of meats to make an 11 pound pizza. They may be able to do it...

It is very tasty and I assume we will eat there again while we are here. Its like a mile from LivviRae Lingerie - the hilarious gals from Double Divas that was on Lifetime ( i think sadly it was cancelled but Im hoping not) .  By the time we got the second pizza they had just closed so I didn't make it there so a Kennesaw trip is in order.

Like every place we've been so far it looks to have enough to merit the thirty minute trip too so may as well.

Of course our standards aren't high. We have a Walmart at home and thats about it so we are easily impressed.

Oh we also ate at the Cheesecake Factory for the first time. Okay food but great cheesecake as I am sure everyone in the world.

Like I said we have nothing in the area and I don't even know aside from 3 hours away where we'd find a Cheesecake factory, maybe Pittsburgh, but thats still 1 1/2 hours. We are deprived.

Her face sums up mine when I saw the bill. Maybe that's why we haven't gone. I mean if it was just the two of us no kids, I would eat there but $85 for so so food is cray. The cheesecake was extremely reasonably priced though . That one was $7 and enough for all 5 us to be like no you finish it please. We will definitely be getting at least some cheesecake from there while we are here.

We love Atlanta!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Song of the South

I love the South. I really really do.

I always see the Southern hospitality you hear about, people are just warmer and more open here for some reason.

I have a theory that the warmer, sunnier weather gives them more vitamin D thereby making them a nicer population.

Or maybe they're more traditional and value traditional values and traits like hospitality more so than the northern counterparts.

I don't know but it is different for sure.

Since Tony is in training in Atlanta we joined him and I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Atlanta.

I have always wanted to go to Georgia.

I have no idea why.

My idea of a vacation only involves a beach or an oversized Mouse wearing red shorts.

But, for some reason I've always had a desire to visit Georgia.

I think I just love the looks of the big old plantations *and yes I know how awful plantations were , I mean them now not romanticizing the slavery era*

Or maybe it was because I watched a lot of Designing Women as a kid, but Georgia always held an allure for me.

But I didn't really consider Atlanta to fit into that, I assumed being a large city it would more have the attitude of a New York or DC, cities I'm familliar with - and while I think New Yorkers get an overly bad rap, they still don't possess southern hospitality.

Delightfully, Atlanta has surprised me.

At least where we are located, it isn't overwhelming at all. It reminds me of where Tony and I went to college - a city that had everything but still had a small town feel. And manageable traffic.

We've had a lot of fun so far and it seems safe where we are. The girls and I venture out on our own without feeling uneasy.

I prefer driving here than back home.

I have serious stress driving at home. People just drive poorly, so many with no driving skills and also very inconsiderately and aggressive.

And its a small area with no traffic - should be a breeze.

Here, we are driving on six lane highways which would normally  make me a bit panicky because I get claustrophobic in a sea of cars but people are driving at a nice speed and no one tails anyone. There is that nice space that people are taught to drive at between cars but rarely do.

No one is swerving in and out of lanes just to get a little bit ahead or cutting people off.

You don't have to hold your breath wondering if you;ll be able to get over when you need to because one the aforementioned space and two they'll let you over.

Its been delightful.

I assumed I wouldn't be going out much because I hate tense driving conditions but even though I don't know where I'm going I feel at ease.

The people are so warm and friendly and full of personality.

Ive determined we need to add at least five minutes buffer time per store or location we are visiting if we need to be on a schedule because every place you go someone will want to talk for a good 5-10 minutes. Theyre just genuinely nice and conversational. Just warm and friendly.

We love it.

And of course the weather is so nice. I can't take much more cold. Cannot take it. Its been a bad winter and we all hate the cold.

If my kids at least enjoyed the snow I could get behind it, because it would be fun but since they hate despite all kinds of ideas we've tried to do with them, its just a miserable time where my kids are stuck inside far too long.

It hasn't been as warm as it was supposed to be which is disappointing but at least I see no snow and its not bitter. Its like spring time and a few days have been summery. Hopefully there is more warm weather this week because its glorious. I love warmth!

I'm surprised at how huge Atlanta is.

There are so many beautiful suburbs that are large and cities unto themselves.

The area we are in now has more shopping than we'd ever need, all of our favorite stores and more all of our favorite restaurants. If we lived here I think we would only have to leave this little area for entertainment, Im assuming  but haven't looked into it, that most would be located more downtown.

We've explored several of the close suburbs and the all seem to have nearly as much as this one, so it seems most of the suburbs are little self contained cities . Its  great.

And for a city, its a really beautiful one.

Dogwoods lining the streets, everything very clean, its all surpassed what I had in my head for Atlanta and has the southern genteel look and feel that I wanted to see in Georgia.

One thing missing - Southern accents.

People mostly sound northern, I assume being a city there are a lot of business transplants.

When we headed North you heard some but I want to hear people talk like Julia Sugarbaker.
"Yesterday, in my mind's eye, I saw four women standing on a veranda in white, gauzy dresses and straw-colored hats. They were having a conversation. And it was hot. Their hankies tucked in cleavages where eternal trickles of perspiration run from the female breastbone to exotic vacation spots that southern men often dream about. They were sweet-smelling, coy, cunning, voluptuous, voracious, delicious, pernicious, vexing and sexing... these earth sister/rebel mothers... these arousers and carousers. And I was filled with a longing to join them. But like a whim of Scarlett's, they turned suddenly and went inside, shutting me out with a bolt of a latch. And I was left only to pick up an abandoned handkerchief and savor the perfumed shadows of these women... these southern women. This Suzanne. This Julia. This Mary Jo and Charlene."
                                                                     - Julia Sugarbaker
*yeah I'm pretty sure my ideas of Georgia all come from Designing Women*

We have time here left so perhaps we will find some southern talking women.

but hopefully not these ones.
They talk with a Southern accent
but with a bite.
But I would love a pic with
Nene or Phaedra just
because my friends
would find it hilarious.
Whats the tea hunni.
 My kids are loving it too, despite being in a hotel room that is really no bigger than a normal hotel room except it has a kitchenette. Emphasis on the ette.
When they wake up and go to sleep they tend to fight. Otherwise they're doing really well.
They keep asking if we can move here.
And depending on who is reading this from my home area some are probably saying well if you hate it here so much why don't you move there.
And its not that our area is awful, it just doesn't offer our family things we want really. 
Some people are really happy there and I think that's fantastic, but our family spends a lot of money travelling places to accomplish even simple things we want so it doesn't really fit us.
I think a lot of people that grow up there are the small town nostalgics. I know my mother always called me names like I was too good for anything just because I wanted to see something outside of the county lines growing up even though that is completely normal . 
And there are a lot of people who fiercely defend the area. 
I just don't find a lot to defend, but that's just us, and because of things we are interested in and enjoy.
Tony and I aren't nostalgic about areas, we get attached to people but not things. I don't feel any fondness for my old high school but I carry great memories of child hood friends and shenanigans that make me smile when they cross my mind. 
We don't have any favorite local restaurants where we are regulars. 
We don't care about the local high school sports teams, and don't get excited for wins.
Those just aren't things that interest us so that nostalgic feeling doesn't kick in.
I guess we are more practical and see things from that sense.
We enjoy plays and exploring new sites, the kids love historical sites and museums and aquariums and zoos. We love new adventures and warmth great restaurants and shopping . I have to drive well over an hour just for a stinking target! Target!

We love concerts and amusement parks, hockey games and beaches.

Its just that our area offers none of it and even the whole safe small town vibe has left the area thanks to the prisons - I assume, people blame them for the increased crime gangs and drugs, I'm just going by the popular rationale.
(there are lots of historical sites that we've visited many times, although they all do require travelling we do enjoy the somewhat nearby historical sites)

Jobs are scant and the outlook is bleak.

Even though he has a great job, Obama killing the coal industry has killed a lot of his opportunity, he used to get a ton of overtime but theyve cut that off in an effort to make up for the loss of revenue from coal. 

Its just not an area that offers us anything , nothing personal to those reading out there who want to be offended by my practical analysis.

I know a short stay anywhere can seem lovely because you don't have the everyday dealings, but we've also lived else where and know the grass sometimes is greener elsewhere.

The best thing about where we live now is our house and its location. 

We live in a big beautiful farmhouse on one of  his family's farms, which is near his parents which is great for the kids.

Its away from neighbors mostly with lots of beautiful land. Its absolutely gorgeous and such a blessing to raise our girls there. 

I can see us living there forever just for that house and land. I know we won't have a better property than that picturesque lot (except in winter, in winter while still beautiful its a nightmare with snow drifting continuously in our driveway and whipping winds. still pretty though...)

Now if only I could move that house and plot of land to the south....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The State of the Careys

I haven't blogged at all consistently in a year. Boo.

I have been rather busy with my etsy shop. I found favor right away on there and consistently had my items listed on the front pages for the coordinating search results. That and not charging a ridiculous amount like most of the sellers on etsy has granted me a good deal of business. It takes up a good bit of my time and when I don't have a rush of orders Im trying to figure out something new to put in the shop in case my last bit of popular items turns out to be a fad.

All of that has taken what time Id usually blog. So since i have a bit of time now I thought I'd do a Carey state of the union post...

Laci is getting old. Shes a tween (when did we get this word anyway) but seems like a teen more and more boo hiss.

I remember thinking when she was like 2 that kindergarten was sooo faraway as I listened to my neighbor lament her daughter going to kindergarten. And now shes double digits . If we didn't home school she'd be in junior high. JR HIGH!  She's old and thereby so am I.

I'm not sure where the time goes. AT.ALL. Its terribly cruel how quickly our kids childhoods fly by. I can remember her getting diaper rash and now she's getting pimples. Luckily only one at a time but it is fodder for Ella to make fun of her. Who needs school bullies when you have sisters right?

Her voice even seems older sometimes. I don't like it :(  I'm not going to pretend Im super cool with my kids growing up. I'll be the one grabbing on to the last vestige of child hood kicking and screaming along the way.

Some things are cool though in that we can relate on things and talk on an older level. I started reading Sherlock Holmes books because I became Obsessed with BBCs Sherlock and since our kindle accounts are shared she started reading it when it popped up on her kindle. Things like that are nice, but I'm still not loving her oldness :(

She has similar interests as me that age- she loves mystery things, she likes Nancy Drew, and while I don't remember reading her I loved mystery books, still do. I remember for a few from that age my friend and I had a young detectives club (hey kristie : ) ) .

We would write in code to each other and solve mysteries. You know MYSTERIES. like things we totally made up but they were mysterious. We also did things like spread baby powder around her moms house looking for fingerprints. Im sure she loved us for that. We'd ride our bikes around town *because life was safer then thank you* looking for mysteries and protecting the unknowing masses from dastardly deeds. We even questioned random hooligans we'd run into.

Yep we were dorks. But we had loads of fun and we all know dorks grow up  to be the coolest.

Right now we are planning her birthday party that occurs so soon- end of august.

Nancy Drew theme and its gonna be killer.

I haven't decided if there will be a killer but there will be a mystery to solve.

Because we're awesome thats why.

I'm already sewing deer stalkers.

Whats a deerstalker?

Its a Sherlock Holmes hat!

                                                                                             ^ he wins the who wore it better contest

She wants the kids to wear deerstalkers.
Its too much lol.

I did find a nice houndstooth fabric with gold shimmers throughout so they'll be totes fab as they solve mysteries. BTW no baby powder for fingerprinting will be in the party favor boxes. Except maybe the ones they get handed as they head out the door. That's right. revenge for all the play dough you've people brought as presents to my kids parties!

She still likes little girl things like American Girl dolls and she tries hard to believe in Disney magic. She totally spotted Pooh's zipper years ago *can't we hide that better?!* but I think she still believes the princesses are real. Or did. I don't know. She has a crazy mother who acts like its all super serious so maybe.

 We do photos in my wedding dress as a growth chart . I knew one day it would be depressing. That day is here :( she's big enough now to stand in it. The first time it swarmed her. No I dont have the wherewithall yet to see a side by side :(  Maybe I will save that for her wedding day. Ill make sure someone is handy with the xanax.

Ella is Ella.

 I am not sure there are even words to describe her. Shes got  a lot of personality built up behind her crazy smile.

Shes super into fashion and can put together some cute looks and walks around like she's on a runway in Milan. She's also taken to daily wearing of tiaras so. yeah. Shes' gonna be fun as a teen.

She really pays attention to clothes. All her dress up costumes have to be handmade because Disney can't make their own designs correctly according to her.

She is of course correct. In an effort to save costs , I assume, they've pretty much made all the princess dresses cookie cutter not taking into account what they really look like on screen.

She's my chief consultant for the fairy tale section of my shop.
                                     For real.

I take her fabric shopping and let her pick out the fabrics. She knows how they move in the movie and the hues and shades . How the skirt should fall where the bodice should end.

I pattern test for a pattern designer who has started doing lots of princess dresses and for my feed back I consult Ella on what to tell her. Her thoughts have been invaluable!

She's whiny and tattly still and I have a feeling the whine will be permanent. She's just drama. And while the drama is oh so fun in areas its not fun in the negative aspects but to get the fun dramatics you have to take the not so fun so its a fair trade.

In exchange we get lots of shows and weird stories, the best expressions and excitement.
She likes to snuggle and says really sweet kind things.

She's also just crazy.

Her imaginary friends have lessened their appearances but we do still at times hear stories about the Noone family. Mr and Mrs Noone hail from Australia with several children. When they first came when she was two they were kind of jerky but it seems like they've all ironed out their differences and now pop over for a spot of tea. Mr Noone may have been nasty because he took the rap for a lot of things Ella did for a good year.

Sarah the eagle died and came back from the dead so shes pretty fantastic.

The deer family is my favorite. Mostly because theres a flock of like 20 (idk is it a herd? ) and they all have some form of Bob in their names. I don't usually get through the listing of the names to hear what theyre up to.

Millie the mermaid comes around too but not much. She may have died. I haven't kept up on imaginary deaths.

She is pretty creative.

A couple days ago I kept hearing her belt a tune something about "you said forever but now you're gone" with a catchy hook. I even started singing it while I cleaned. Then I called for her and called her Selena (she likes Selena Gomez, the two or so songs shes allowed to listen to anyway) and she wanted to know why I called her that. I told her bc she was singing a Selena Gomez song for the last hour.

"Oh I wrote that" she said. What?! It was really good. Had I known it was hers I wouldve recorded her because of course now she can't remember it.

I think she's definitely going to be our creative one. Im not sure which direction she will take or if she will find a way to combine them but she's got an interesting future ahead.

I think this Valentines shoot captured Ella pretty well. She poses herself btw lol.  Totally fun fashion that works and at the  supa chic girl at the same time weird crazy nerd who does the oddest things - especially her wild dances she breaks into for no reason with abandon with wild eyed looks -  this is Ella.

Layla is monstrous and a paradox.

She is
 All. the. bad.

I know you aren't supposed to call kids bad blah blah new agey feely stuff. but she really is.

 But she is SO. SWEET.

Therein lies the paradox.

She is a mean little bugger who loves nothing more than making Ella mad and then biting her for being mad. Shes three adn still bites - but only Ella.

She yells and throws fits and does not know the meaning of wait a minute.

She will ask you over and over and over and over and over FOR THE LOVE before you even have a chance to but in and answer her.

She will not be put off.

She's always been that way and the only way to get her to stop is give her what she wants.

This kid is a leader.

Tony always joked her middle name was going to be Esther.

I mean I love Esther and all -a strong wise woman who becomes queen and saves her people. Esther is amazing.

Her name is so not.

But this kid is an Esther if Ive ever seen one.

A pastor who didn't know us held her one time and looked at her and said "She's an Esther. Wow she is gonna be a leader"

he did. and I was like now Im going to hear  "I told you so FOREVER"

So even though we didn't choose the name the traits are there.

 And let me say. Baby Esthers are so daggone draining!

I know one day shes going to be some amazing something in charge of  people- like shes in charge of  our entire household now - but dealing with them at the already irrational toddler/preschooler age is life sucking.

Everything has to be done to her specifications on her time line.  I can't even explain the angst that ensues if you make her wait for orange juice.

She micro manages everyone including me. I have to give account for where I am going where I have been and why it took x amount of time. She knows the inner workings of my body because she demands to oversee everything I do.

Ella is the victim most often of this. Ella can't do anything without Laci or Layla telling her what to do. And you know what, she listens to Layla. Older and bigger and is domineered by this pint size Glenn close in Devil loves Prada character we have under our roof. And thats been for two years nearly.

I knew when she was born and she'd scream at the nurses for trying to move her arms- like scream immediately like  a beast from the depths and turn a shade of crimson that no baby should be  and then cut that scream off as soon as they stopped touching her - that we were in for it. I  was worried something was wrong with her honestly when I watched those displays in her first few days but nope she just knows what she wants and wants it now and to perfection.

She has not changed.

God help us all.

She asks daily to move Disney world. Not just visit. Move.

Don't think for one second this sweet face wouldn't throw Cinderella out on the curb and take over that castle.

 Look out cindy
she knows where you live and she wants that castle
                                        Notice she didn't pose with her in the castle picture. She was measuring windows for drapes while we were distracted. 

While she does just the most awful things to her sister and blatantly disobeys EVERYTHING we tell her and destroys everything in her path and throws the BIGGEST angstiest fits (still turns red) 

She is the sweetest little thing. She loves to hug and snuggle and give you a million and five kisses all in the same one spot of your face. 

She grabs my face in both hands and says "I just love you. Your face is so cute."

She gives her sisters these genuine and grown up sounding compliments applauds them for character traits and gives them tight neck squeezes. 

 Im not sure how so much beauty and beast reside in such teeny package but its no wonder her personality is explosive!

 Beauty                                                             &                                   Beast

                                               and "Vampirate" that's what she said she was lol. A Vampirate. 

                                            She kept running in and with an ARRRR she'd steal random stuff and scamper off. When I found her treasure chest she would bite me to protect it which I suppose is the Vamp part....  I think this is actually an accurate portrait of her innerself. Ive never seen anything more capturing of Layla than this right here.

On the grown up front:

I'm my own sweat shop but I love to create so its great to do so on someone else's dime. I love sewing- taking this flat piece of fabric and turning it into a 3 dimensional useful item that is pretty to boot is so fun and fulfilling. 

Layla thinks I possess something called Mommy Magic (ok that MAY be because my answer to every how question from her is "mommy magic" but I'm a little propaganda bc Tony has taught them that everything is because he's awesome. )

I love being able to make things for the girls as well and the fact I taught myself is affirming. I do wish I learned much sooner, but all things in their time I suppose.

I recently started making our bread. 

Bread at the store has sooo much junk and terrible stuff in it anymore that I'm not sure you can call it a food item.

Bread is flour, water, sugar and yeast. That's IT.

Why have generations been telling us its too hard just buy it?

I mean I had a serious fear / no way i can make that complex surrounding bread. 

So do my friends.

I think its a conspiracy among the older generations that we know all our computery stuff so bread is their domain and they kept us in the dark.

Its SO easy people. 

And SO good. and better for you.

I'm going to do a post soon on my favorite recipes.

My kids love me for it too. Theyre more excited for homemade bread than cake. 

Layla tells me " Your mommy magic is so deewicious mama"

That is as fulfilling as life gets I think.

I told Tony the other day: "I came into this marriage with no skills at all and now look at me, baking our bread and sewing clothes. Not a bad return on your investment"

Hes also upgraded me to chef status from just a cook. So apparently I'm rocking it in the kitchen.

Probably why we need to lose weight. gah.

Tony is headed up the CSX careeer ladder. He isn't talking much about it but he's taking initiative to further his career and make a better life for us - and him.

The threat of getting called up as an engineer really sucks. He holds a position now where he works locally and doesn't have to go out on trains which is nice for us - and I think him. I mean I hear a hotel a few nights a week and Im thinking i can get my sanity back, but he tells us he wants to be home. 

If he gets called as an engineer he will be back out on the road.

We currently in Atlanta while he trains for a new position in the yard. He'd manage things I don't know if its techncially a manager position because most train talk makes my ears bleed just like the words I need to go to Joann Fabrics does to his. But its a promotion hes an overseer of sorts and it opens doors to other opportunities. Hes also talking about finishing his business degree which will open more doors for him within the company.

People have a  lot of negative to say about CSX and really things are a mixed bag at conductor level- great benefits but a lot to deal with and threat of firing daily - but they have great programs to raise up the employees that have the wherewithall to do so .  They really do try and better their employees and give them opportunities to move up in the company, that used to be pretty common but seems to be dying out as everyone is insistent on everyone going to college so its nice to see a company that does a lot ladder climbing from within its own ranks. 

Not sure what all is in store for us over the next year or so while he decides what to do but its nice to know there are options.

On the adoption front we are stalled. 

Haiti is going through its own growing pains and things are changing often often often. 
Also do to all the things on Tony's end career wise and not sure what is going to be going on for him the rest of this year talking to people who know the adoption world and my agency we've been the best thing is just to wait on our homestudy til January. Somewhat frustrating because we were waiting for Haiti to pass their new laws and thought for sure by THIS January we'd be well on our way but thats not what is happening.

It is better though and really with the state of Haitian adoption what it is right now when we start up next year we really may be no further from getting a child than if we started this January. There are just a lot of messes being cleaned up (while they create more...) apparently the learning curve to a change in policy is steep so progress is quite slow. 

It will turn out for the best.

Sometimes I wonder why we were called and with such urgency to adopt last year when we weren't going to make headway but God knew what all was going to happen and he knows our personalities and what all would be opening for us too and how it may affect our decision to adopt. 

Also, lets be real. 

Layla is so much still. I don't know how I or this little Haitian child would deal with her.

Its best for us all if she has time to calm down.

Like that's going to happen...