Pool Building Day 7 – Cutting Up The Stumps

You’ve heard me refer to my Perfect Neighborhood before. Part of that perfection is my next door neighbor who cannot look at a job of work without digging in and helping out. Telling this good old farm boy from Southern Mississippi to get out his chainsaw and come on over and cut up stumps was like telling him it was Christmas.

My job was to provide the beer, which I happily did.

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This isn’t happening somewhere else….

As you’ve seen from earlier entries here two weeks ago on Oct 19th – 8 miles from my house – a 7 year old girl was snatched off the street on her way home from school and found two days later murdered in a landfill.  She was an average middle class child walking a short distance home from school with her twin brother, older sister and a friend in a “safe” neighborhood full of people.  They got in a fuss and she ran ahead of them towards home. And she was taken. And no one saw it. Parents and police were looking for her within an hour of her disappearance. No one saw it.

The initial shock has worn off the community now but we still don’t have answers. This person monster is still out there. And every parent in town is acutely aware of it. At dance, at gymnastics, at the ball field – this is what we are discussing  – in the pediatricians waiting rooms, the car pool line – there is NOT another topic.

No child is allowed out of sight. The older ones they understand it, the younger ones not so much. My four year old balks at having to sit in the stands at her sister’s ball games rather than play in the dirt behind the stands. Any child seen alone is a problem for any adult. We approach them, question them. “Where is your mommy? Are you supposed to be here alone?” We are all writing new rules for each other – we don’t care about stepping on each other’s parenting toes. No child is safe.

Rumors abound.

Everyone knows a snippet “they” supposedly aren’t saying on the news. Something about what they found in the empty house nearby or something about evidence in the landfill she was found in. Everyone knows someone who knows someone on the police force who said something. I think we are mostly clinging to rumor because it makes us feel hopeful that it will be over soon. We pray that the police know something they aren’t saying. It’s a glimmer of light at the end of this terrible tunnel.

I hate living like this. Chafe at my child’s loss of freedom. I’ve always proudly been a “Free Range Parent” and one day I hope to be again. But not this week. Most likely not in the next. After they catch him it.

I’ve had to explain murder to my child. For her own safety – she is eight and she knows what murder is. Yeah I know, poor little upper middle class white kids had to learn about crime – boo hoo. But still…

Mostly we talk of it in terms of safety but you have to let the scary parts in to make sure they are taking it seriously. A bad guy is not a vague notion any longer. And really I’m so proud of how well she’s taken it in.

Taking it seriously but at the same time not shaken. They are all amazing these kids – being told everyday there is a murderer in our midst. Be careful, take care. Be safe. The nod, they comfort us, “I’ll be safe Mama. I know about the new rules, I avoid strangers, I play in the back yard only, I’m never alone. I’ll be okay.”  

We desperately try to believe them.

Taking Back The Childs Birthday Party (or Kids Just Want To Have Fun)

Puddin’s has a poorly timed birthday. It’s in mid October right when we start getting down to serious holiday planning  and I get all kinds of aggrevated forking out hundreds of $$ for birthday when I know Christmas is right around the corner. It’s not her fault of course so I try to never skimp on the presents but this year I did take matters into my own hands a bit with the party… I’m done paying big $$ for kid birthday experience extravaganza party– DONE I tell you.

So you know what we did – we had a Pancake & Pajama Party.

We put together a simple invitation using Word, printed out copies at home inviting her friends to come over on Saturday morning at 8:45 in the pajamas to decorate pancakes and play Wii.

We had 16 kids over from 3 to 10 and they had a freaking blast.

They played Wii and not even the newest game we had but they chose to play good old standard baseball so the most number of people could play even the little ones – our kids are awesome!!

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And I corralled a couple of laptops and put together a WebKinz station. The idea of logging into Webkinz right next to your friend. Freakin’ mindblowing…

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Then we decorated pancakes with all kinds of fun stuff like fruit and M&Ms

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Then headed outside for presents

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And then they played on the yard… you know like we used to do… for an hour!

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It didn’t take $100s of dollars or a donated organ or heck even a decorated cake to create a party that the kids enjoyed. We got them together and let them play with games/activities that we already had – and they had fun just being together in a big group.

And they all thought it was extra fun because they were in their pajamas. Because they are kids!!! They make their own fun. We parents need to try and remember that sometimes I think.

I’m Going to Not-BlogHer

While the rest of the blogging world is traipsing off to San Francisco going to the BlogHer conference. I will be at Not-BlogHer. Not-Blogher looks like this:

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and this

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Highlights of Not-Blogher:

  • Absolutely no Internet connection
  • Relatively crappy cell phone service
  • Trees, dirt, creeks, forests, sunshine, clean mountain air
  • Time, nothing but time

There will be no awkward small talk with strangers. Only hours of laughter and harassment with the husband, the clones, and these people who I adore

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Heaven, pure Heaven.

Time For Them To Fly – Setting Free the Butterflies

Saturday afternoon, 17 days after the arrival of our larvae, the time had come to say good-bye to our butterfly friends. Puddin’ did an excellent job of taking care of her charges and we had hatched(?) 10 lovely little butterflies that lived hanging from her ceiling fan for a week.  In butterfly years that’s close to a lifetime and we felt it was only right to give them a taste of great outdoors while they could still enjoy it.

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The Dr. was in charge of butterfly retrieval. We were very surprised that they did not immediately want to fly away but instead seemed content to hang out with us for a bit longer.

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FuzzyHead was extremely content to let them tip-toe around on her fingertips.

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Turns out some of them were a little ummm "busy."  Official line we fed the kids. They are just scared and holding hands.  Yeah that’s it.

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Boo doesn’t look nearly as sure of this as Fuzzy Head was.

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Eventually one of them got the bright idea to fly away. The butterfly is the little bit of orange in front of the tree.

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Reality came home a bit for Pud at that point. It’s hard to let go of something you’ve worked so hard for and loved so much.

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But we waved good-bye to those that would leave.

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Until it was just these two left. And there were ummm still busy. Please know that the only thing keeping me from making extremely bad jokes here about butterfly love is my better judgment about creating crass google-able remarks on a post that has kids in bathing suits in it. This is difficult, very difficult.

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So we decided that perhaps they needed a little quiet time on a nearby flower.

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Which suited them just fine.  They stayed there for quite some time. And Puddin’ made her peace with letting them go. She did a fabulous job with these guys. Mama is very proud of you my girl.

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Awesome Purchase!

So I was reading some great blog a few months ago (I so wish I could remember where – If it was you email me) and this mom was giving advice about getting the most out of your digital SLR.

She said an external flash absolutely necessary for good indoor shots. Because bouncing the light off the ceiling made for so much better light. Hmm I thought.

Then out of the blue – an unexpected amazon gift certificate arrived.  Hmm I thought.

And you know what…

She was absolutely freaking right!

This little darling cam yesterday and I took it to the crawfish boil last night and it was fantastic!!

I love it!

No more harsh in your face flash!!

 

 

 

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Crepe Murder

A neighborhood who trims together, blooms together.

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It’s that time of year, the annual trimming of the crepe myrtles. This always makes me a little nervous when the men get together and whack all the trees down to the knots every year. How can that poor tree come back from that… but come back they do. When it’s done right. So we all get together and trim at the same time so everything grows and blooms at the same rate. We’re just that obsessed.