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Sunday, July 31, 2011

How To Survive Your Teen Daughter's First Crush

I've started feeling old this summer.
While you'd think my gray hairs, aching bunions and dry skin might be the culprits, I have to say no. Actually, it's my daughters. They seem to be growing up so much lately.
LittleD and BabyD, 2000 

BabyD and LittleD, 2003

Especially LittleD. She's... well... let's just say she's "blossomed" over the last few months.
I know. I know. Perfectly normal. She's a teenager now, and this is supposed to happen. I just have to get used to looking at the young woman who is now living here, in the space once occupied by a little girl with long brown curls and a big cheesy smile. But, what happened to my baby?

When we had our daughters, I never really pictured myself with kids older than about 5.
Maybe I was in denial of what I knew, deep down, was yet to come.

So, now we've entered a new phase:  The First Crush.

In all honesty, it could be worse. (And, I'm sure it will, someday.)
You see, it's not that LittleD has a crush on a boy. It's a boy with a crush on her. And we have a front-row seat to watching this poor slob make a fool of himself.

"Timmy" used to go do LittleD's school. Even as a third-grader he seemed a bit goofy around my girl.
The last few months--practically every Sunday--he goes out of his way to walk by us in the foyer after church (and sometimes, it's way, way out of his way--contributing to his image as a fool in love), just to say "Hi" to my daughter. He's trying so hard to be cool, and smooth and "casually" run into her.
(BabyD, in true Annoying Little Sister style, refers to him as "Her Stalker.")

LittleD's usual response is to scrunch up her shoulders and roll her eyes. Like she's trying to hide, right there in the foyer.

Sorry, Timmy, she's just not into you. (Actually, she's not really into any boy right now--much to the relief of The Husband and me!)

Recently, Timmy's been creeping our direction in the pews.
Do you have a "regular" spot at church? We do. And, Timmy (little brother in tow) has been working his way closer and closer every Sunday, until, finally, this morning, they sat in the same row!
This boldness made BabyD and me giggle to no end.  Only LittleD does NOT think this is funny. (She's imposed strict orders that we are NOT to discuss Timmy, point out Timmy, refer to Timmy or even notice him noticing her!)

Now, I'm in no hurry for my daughter to grow up. And I'm not doing anything to encourage this relationship, because she's too young, and she's obviously not interested. So, that's left a real challenge of teaching her how to polite in this situation. Even if he is a bit nerdy. And shy (poor guy). I keep telling her she still needs to be courteous--without sending any signs of hope his way.

I feel kind of bad for the guy. Young love rebuffed. At least he hasn't started calling the house. Yet. (Do kids still call? They only seem to text and email to my knowledge.)
I can say, likewise, I'm not looking forward to my girls falling for boys... at least not for a long, long time yet!

I'm just sending out a word of warning to all you mommies of young girls:   It's really strange to start looking at this little (at least to me) girl as someone who is the object of a boy's desire. Suddenly, the future teen/dating years start flashing before my eyes. And my brain starts doing all the "what-ifs" that take me way off course from where we are today.

Makes me want to throw a blanket over her head and lock her in the basement until she's 27.
Maybe by then we can identify an appropriate mate through an arranged marriage process. That way we can by-pass all the stuff that goes with dating, and if she wants to date, she can take it up with her husband.
That's my survival plan A. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Check Out My Guest Post

My goode friend Cris, over at Goodeness Gracious, is doing a series on Super Mommy Secrets.
She asked me to share some ideas for packing school lunches.
So, stop by and check it out, if you have kids heading back to school in a few weeks!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hollywood: Nothing New Under the Sun

So, I'm sitting here watching Footloose with BabyD.
Yes, Footloose, the 1984 original.

It was part of a negotiated deal as an incentive to finish cleaning her room (including closet) in a timely manner.
I really didn't think she'd do it.
So, I lose.

No matter how fond the memories of great 80s movies... I never liked Footloose.Actually, it wasn't the movie so much as it was the sound track... still can't stand it.

And, guess what?
Some genius in Hollywood thinks it's a good idea to remake it.

Can someone explain this to me?
Are there no good ideas left in the movie capital of the world???
Apparently not, if they have to dig-up the smurfs again. (Didn't like them, either.)

Shall I go on?
Dukes of Hazard (that's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back)
Freaky Friday
The Karate Kid
King Kong
The Nutty Professor
Ocean's Eleven
The Parent Trap
The Shaggy Dog
Herbie the Love Bug
(Can you tell I'm particularly annoyed by the classic Disney pics of my youth?)
I could go on...

Can't they well enough alone?
Now I've heard that remakes are in the works for The Birds (you're going to improve on Hitchcock???) and Gilligan's Island. Really?

The worst part is:  They never get any better. I have full confidence that the new version of Footloose is going to be trashier than ever.
All I can say is:  This is why I rarely go to the movies. And I don't have much hope for the future...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Vacation Post--With a Bad Punchline Warning

So, I've been neglecting my blog lately.
But, I figure it's okay, because I've also been neglecting mopping my kitchen floor, cleaning my toilets, excavating the kid junk in my car, and organizing the garage.
Call me lazy, slacker, slug, or just plain busy. It happens.

Anyway, I haven't had a whole lot to blog about lately. I feel like I've been stuck in a wake up-eat-commute-work-commute-dinner-kid stuff-bedtime rut since we got from our vacation. Not the stuff a inspiration.

I realized I hadn't finished sharing some of our vacation photos--because I just know you've been dying to see them. (So pay me back, and show me yours...)

Anyway, with apologies for the bad punchline at the end (which The Husband did actually say), here's a look at Day 5 and beyond in our Great American Family Road Trip. (insert the wavy screen and the music here, a la Wayne's World) You'll last recall we'd made it to Wyoming, and were Yellowstone-bound...

We reached Yellowstone National Park (YNP) after five days on the road.

We actually stayed in a campground just outside the park in the town of West Yellowstone, MT.
We stayed on the shores of Hebgen Lake, nestled at the base of more mountains.

It was quite nice there. Apparently, the wildlife thought so, too.
We saw evidence of the native species visiting the lake over night. (This is a bear print next to my foot.)
(And I don't have small feet!)

We opted to stay outside of YNP because we preferred a campsite with full hook ups. (In other words, we had electric, water and sewage connections provided.) Not all of the federal campgrounds have full connections. 
Call us camping wimps, if you want, but I got nothin' to prove!

Actually, that turned out for the best, since the snow pack for YNP was running at 225 percent of normal.
Yeah, that's a LOT of snow!
Turns out, many of the YNP campgrounds--and two of the roads--were still closed (yes, first week of June!)
when we got there. So, we may not have had a camp site if I'd booked in the park.

BabyD and LittleD got a kick out of having a snowball fight (in shorts!) on their summer vacation.
The weather felt quite warm in the lower elevations, but was a little nippy up on the mountain tops.

We enjoyed so much of the beauty of the park.
Like thermal features...

 And buffalo jams...

And fly fishing...

Only all the snow melt (and a couple days of rain) left the rivers running fast and muddy, making for lousy fly fishing conditions. But, ever the outdoors woman, I did manage to land some salad for our dinner!

Here's the family over looking the canyon... 

So, I have to tell you a funny story about our neighbors in the campgrounds.

Our second night there, I was making dinner. While I was putting pork chops on the grill, The Husband and LittleD decided to walk down to the lake shore to take some pictures of an osprey that was catching fish. This included hauling all the camera gear along with them.(Yes, I'm talking about all the contents of That Bag, which I've blogged about.)
So, this older woman came by and stopped to talk to the three guys smoking cigars in front of the camper across from ours. The woman was noticeably upset, and I could hear every word.

Lady:  "Did you see the kids down there with the big guns?"
Guys:  "What?"
Lady:  "What are they going to shoot? Somebody should do something. I think they have bazookas or something."
Guys:  "You mean the guy with the camera?"
Lady:  "That's too big for a camera. I think they have big guns."
Lady:  continuing to fret and carry on about someone's going to get hurt

By now, I'm chuckling, and I had to interject
Me:  "Um...That's a camera lens." 
Lady:  "That's too big for a camera, and he has something else under his arm. It's got to be a gun."
Me:  "That's a tripod. The lens is so big, he needs it to steady it."
Rebuffed Now-Disgusted Lady retreats to her camper.

When I went to wave The Husband and LittleD in for dinner, I walked by the camping guys. One of them says to me, "You didn't run into any terrorists did you?"

When The Husband returns, I couldn't wait to tell him what that old gal thought of him.
So what does The Husband say?

wait for it.... 

"Did you tell her it's a Nikon, not a cannon?"
Sorry, but I warned you...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh Where, Oh Where, Have the Finches Gone???

Are you a bird-watching family?
We certainly are here. Have been for years.

Our family favorites are the hummingbirds. Those little guys seem to make their first appearance here every year during the last week of April, with all the regularity of the buzzards returning to Hinckley, Ohio and the swallows returning to Capistrano. I try to make sure I have their feeder filled, ready and waiting for them.

We also share our yard with a flock of purple martins that entertain The Husband when he's mowing the grass. As the mower stirs up the bugs in the yard, they'll swoop and dive-bomb the insects. He calls it his "air show." We feel blessed to have them here, because they can be difficult to attract. But, with our large, open yard, situated near a pond with a decent tree-line, we've not had any problems getting them to call our place home.

This year, however, we're missing our friendly goldfinch population.
I'm not sure what's going on. I've seen all of one--and he was sitting on the hummingbird feeder perch. (Think he was a little confused??)
The best thing about feeding goldfinches is their habit of feeding upside down. They like thistle seed, and will hang upside down to eat. (Don't ask me how they swallow.) When the girls were very small, this always elicited giggles just watching.
Seed Feeders, Birdscapes® Upside Down® Goldfinch Feeder, 736
The good news is:  With their specially designed feeders, other, less appealing birds (and pesky squirrels!) can't figure out how to access the goods.

Anyway, I'm wondering if the gold guys are mad at me or something. Maybe boycotting.
You see, our feeder broke a few months ago, and I was a bit of a slacker in getting it replaced.

That's one reason I was so glad when Perky Pet offered me a bird feeder to review. I gladly selected their Birdscapes Upside Down Goldfinch Feeder.

I have to say, this one is much prettier than our old one, with the decorative metal top and base. It fills easily, with a great locking latch on the top that allows the cover to slide up and down for easy filling. And, it's secure enough that those annoying squirrel-thieves (which, I've already caught scoping out the food) can't knock it open.

I have seen evidence that some kind of bird has been there.
I just haven't seen any of our finches.
So, we're giving up on the front yard, and moving it back to the back of the house. (Downside:  We can't watch it while we eat dinner.)

If you are interested in getting started in birding, and want to learn more, I'd highly recommend checking out the online resources at Perky Pet's Learning Center.

Another way to get started is to head over to the Real Farmwives of America & Friends Blog and sign up to win a Copper Triple Tube Bird Feeder!

Perky Pet did provide me with this product to review, however the thoughts and opinions shared about this product on this blog are my own.