Thursday, April 30, 2009


I feel like I'm always going. I'm planning and/or cooking meals, washing laundry, breaking up fights between two seemingly angelic children, keeping up with long-distance friends on Facebook, arranging playdates, spending countless hours in the bathroom because of the 25 pounds sitting on my bladder ....

And yet, I find that there are days when I'm completely bored out of my mind. Like today. The house is actually relatively clean, I have a handle on the laundry, nobody's on Facebook, and the girls have been getting along (for the most part).

What do you guys do when you actually have free time?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We are back on track with Big Daddy's lifestyle change. During the first half of the week, Big Daddy was a bit discouraged. No matter how hard he tried to watch his caloric intake, he couldn't seem to lose anything.

Then, three days into the week, he dropped two pounds! Some slight changes have been added to his lifestyle change:

1. He is drinking more green tea, which studies have shown help with weight loss (along with a plethra of other wonderful things for your body).

2. He pairs simple carbohydrates with acids like vinegar and lemon juice. Good Housekeeping's April 2009 issue had an article saying that acids ingested in combination with simple carbohydrates may slow the absorption of those simple carbs, allowing them to be converted into energy rather than fat.

3. He has upped his activity level with gardening, lawn care, and some more strenuous jobs.

And here is the tally so far:

Starting weight = 312 pounds

Ending weight this week = 297 pounds

Weight loss this week = 2 pounds

Total weight loss = 15 pounds

Friday, April 24, 2009


I don't like bugs. They freak me out. The bigger the bugs, the more they freak me out. No one told me that bugs get bigger as one moves southward. Before I had kids, I freaked out freely when I saw a bug. Big Daddy, being my knight in shining armor, always hurried to my rescue, squashing the offending critter.

Now that I have kids, I am keenly aware of my reaction to bugs. I don't want to pass on my penchant for freaking out about them. So, I am very careful to remain calm, no matter how large and freaky the bug is that appears. I calmly explain to my cherubs that one needn't be afraid of bugs. I tell them to look at the bugs, but not to touch them unless Mommy and Daddy say it's okay (seeing as there are quite a few poisonous bugs here in the wonderful South). I tell them that we only kill bugs that are inside because they are pesty, not because they are freakishly terrifying.

Despite my efforts, however, my girls burst into hysterics at the sight of even the smallest bug. But, right now, small bugs are not the problem. It's crane fly swarming season.

They are enormous and repulsive. They look like a cross between a prehistoric mosquito and a flying spider. They congregate in our car port so much that I can no longer park in there if I want any hope of getting my kids to actually exit the vehicle. They gather on my back porch, so we now have to go in and out of the front door. They swarm up from the grass, which makes the walk from the car to the front door a forced torture march for my princesses. I drag them screaming to the door, yelling above their shrieks, "Keep moving! Keep moving! They won't get on you if you keep moving!"

We've put up bluebird and purple martin houses in an attempt to reduce the swarms. The poor birds can't eat enough to keep up with the plethra of crane flies.

So, in spite of nearly unbearable cabin fever, we don't venture outside much. We sit wistfully in front of the window screens, waiting for the swarms to abate ...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

R.I.P. MALIK (1995-2009)

In 2000, Malik was found tied to a tree in Philadelphia with a note pinned to his collar that said, "Please take me home with you." He was extremely aggressive, covered in fleas, and his skin was black and scaly from seborrhea. He showed signs of neglect and physical abuse. And I fell in love with him at first sight.
For nine years, Malik was at my side at every moment. He walked so closely behind me that if I stopped suddenly, he would run into my calf with his cold, wet nose.
After I had the cherubs, Malik didn't receive as much attention as he used to. But, I don't think he minded. He was old, and his day consisted of eating, sleeping, and doing his business. He didn't affect daily life in the house much, but he was a fixture.
On Monday, I accidentally hit Malik with my car, breaking his leg in a very bad place. Because of his age and the nature of his injury, the veterinarian recommended euthenasia. He will be sorely missed.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Well, the healthy lifestyle was thrown into turmoil last week when Big Daddy's twin unexpectedly landed in the ICU. There was a lot of hospital food ingested, and mounds of comfort food like chili and pasta. So, progress was not made. Big Daddy was so discouraged that he didn't weigh himself last week. He ventured on the scale this week, however, and realized that the damage was not as bad as he had feared.

Although Big Daddy didn't lose any weight over the past two weeks, he also didn't gain any weight. So, we're no worse off than we were two weeks ago. And now, back to the straight and narrow. We are back to watching portion sizes, and Big Daddy is on a job that will require a lot of physical exertion. We're hoping this will jump-start that last plateau and start the weight coming off again.

Oh, and Aunt Tracy is out of the hospital and recovering nicely.

I, on the other hand, gained five pounds in the last three weeks (thank you, Peanut). I know I'm only supposed to be gaining a pound a week right now, but Peanut loves her chocolate!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Our neighbor's horse had her foal this week. Poor Ms. Sandy spent a week sleeping on hay bales in her barn (through freezing temperatures, a tornado warning, and pesky barn cats) while her mare labored. Finally, at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, the foal made her appearance. We tried to get some closer pictures, but the mare was rather protective and the electric fence was turned on.

Aunt Tracy's cat had kittens this week, too. She is desperately trying to get us to take one. Fortunately for me, Bean showed a major allergic reaction to them, so I have an excuse to vehemently oppose bringing yet another pet into the house.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Yes, there is a festival in a neighboring town called Mule Day. It's been an annual event since 1834 and brings in about 200,000 visitors each year. It all seemed rather anti-climactic to me, seeing as I had waited five years to go to this celebration of all things mule. Maybe we needed to go to more than just the parade ...

Anyway, here are pictures from the Mule Day 2009 parade (note the wagons full of Mule Queens past, as well as the Mule Queen 2009 and her court).

We left before the parade ended. You've seen a hundred mules, you've seen them all, right?

Monday, April 6, 2009


Well, Big Daddy has hit his first weight loss plateau. He knows that weight loss tends to plateau on occasion, but he's a little discouraged about it happening so soon, especially after such tremendous weight loss during the first two weeks.

My solution is for Big Daddy to begin an exercise regimen. We both know that sensible eating alone is not going to maximize weight loss. Big Daddy has a very physical job working construction, but that kind of exertion is different than a daily 30 minutes of controlled and steady movement.

Unfortunately, Big Daddy heard some chiropractor on the radio talking about cutting all sorts of foods out of your diet to make weight loss happen more quickly. Personally, I think those kind of self-depriving fad diets do more harm than good in the long run, but they hold some kind of strange appeal for Big Daddy. I'm all for moderation. I mean, if people really feel the need to deprive themselves of something for the sake of weight loss, I think they should look at it from the angle that they are already depriving themselves of all the junk food they would normally eat and of the portion sizes they would usually take.

So, I'll see if I can light a fire under Big Daddy to start in on the exercise, and we'll see what happens this week.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The cherubs were out at the compost pile (aka the wormy horse poo pile) with Grampy yesterday. They rode out with him on the lawn tractor and were playing in our little patch of trees while Grampy shoveled compost (aka wormy horse poo) into the wagon for spreading on our soon-to-be-planted garden.

Suddenly, Bean came up to Grampy with a very sad look on her face. In one hand was the body of a dead bird. In the other hand was the head of the dead bird. She said, "Grampy, Cakes broke my bird."

Ah, country life. Yes, I was a little disturbed to think that my youngest decapitated a dead bird. It wasn't the first time she's dismembered something dead, but it's still gross. Then, later, I realized that Bean had been playing with the dead bird before its decapitation.

So, the cherubs spent a lot of time in the tub yesterday ....