Monday, September 28, 2009

Le Beurre

I went with the girls to see Julie and Julia this weekend at the movie theater. And in case you were not aware, the theme of the movie is . . .

. . . butter. Yes. You may have thought it was something like redemption or pulling yourself up from your bootstraps to get somewhere in life, but that is incorrect. The theme of the movie is butter. Lots and lots of butter.

At the end of the movie, there was a little post-script screen where the moviemakers tell you what happened to the characters after the time period covered in the movie. Did you know that Julia Child (who basically bathed in butter) lived to be 92 and her husband (who ate all that buttery goodness Julia served up) lived to be 91?

So the theme of the movie was: butter.
And the moral of the story was: you can eat all you want.
Apparently butter is the secret to long life. I suspected as much all along.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flag Football

Last weekend during Flag4Kids Football training camp, Casey was picked to play center on his team (this didn't surprise Joe for some reason). The quarterback didn't want to put his hands far enough between Casey's legs, so the Coach yelled, "Get your hands under there! He's not going to fart on you!"

He's standing on a field full of 6 to 9 year old boys -- can he really believe that?

Aside from living in a dream world, Coach Dan is very good. My son is having fun playing football even though it's still 90 degrees and 90% humidity outside. Putting him as center was a great decision, one I'm sure Coach Dan made within the first three minutes of seeing Casey's version of "running" down the field (Casey's more of a mosey-er than a runner). Casey can snap the ball, take three running-like steps forward and then turn around and wait.

Here is he is on one of his team's first defensive plays of the game:

Once he figured out that he had to chase down the kid with the flag, he looked a little more confident. I'm sure in a few weeks he'll be zipping around out there, but for now he's still operating under that first-child strategy of watching and learning so that when he jumps in to fully participate he won't fall on his face.

So we're spending our Saturday mornings at an elementary school field where budget cuts in the school system have apparently caused the elimination of the employee who was responsible for cutting the grass and spreading fire ant killer on the hundreds of fire ant beds on the fields.

And I don't want to be a whiner or anything, but if you're going to have a league rule that anyone caught peeing outside has to sit out the rest of the season, and the school doesn't open up any bathrooms for the kids to use, wouldn't it only be fair to have a port-a-potty around?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Flamingo Joe: "Hey Casey, how was chess today?"

Casey: "Good."

FJ: "Did your coach teach you how to lose graciously?"

Casey: "Daaaaad. It was only the first lesson!"

FJ: "Right."

Casey: "Do you want to play chess after dinner?"

FJ: "I don't know -- I don't think I could handle getting beat at chess by a 1st grader."

Casey: "Oh please , I was beating you in kindergarten."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Piggy Prognosis


Joe has been quarantined at home this week because he spent all of last week working in a room with a woman who came down with the Swine Flu over the weekend. Now, if Joe actually comes down with the Swine Flu this week, we will of course stop calling it the Swine Flu and call it H1N1 because I have noticed that changing the name to its more genteel designation is how it works once someone in your own family contracts it.

Joe was very responsible yesterday and did not go to the 1st grade picnic and infect 30 children with a virus he does not have. I know you're relieved.

If any of us actually do come down with the unfortunately-named flu, you will likely be the last to know because I will have had to spend the day calling two schools, Joe's work, the courthouse, the Publix down the street where I bought groceries today, the Hess station where I got gas yesterday, Casey's karate teacher, and the three McDonalds restaurants on Hillsborough where we tried to find Lego Racers this week, so that they can all alert anyone who might have been breathed on or touched by one of us and the victims can go home and not be sick for a week.

This can't be good for the economy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bo Bo

We're having some trouble weaning Mace from his pacifier, or his "Bo Bo" as he calls it. By "weaning" I of course mean "not even attempting to wean him from the Bo Bo at all." (I think our nanny came up with the term "Bo Bo", but I'm not sure. My mom calls it a "plug" -- a term I find offensive for reasons I could explain, but won't. This is a family-friendly blog after all.)

Casey gave up his pacifiers around the time he turned one. He had started chewing them off at the nub while he slept, so we were of course worried he would choke. As I recall, one night we just took them out of the crib and he went to bed as normal and never even looked around for the pacifier.

Mace, however, seems to have an unhealthy attachment to his Bo Bo. The rule regarding the Bo Bo is this -- only in the bed. But you have to remember two things: 1) Grandma lives with us, and 2) Mace can run upstairs, stick his hands through the crib slats and grab a Bo Bo before you can turn around from cleaning up whatever chocolate milk mess he has made to divert you from noticing that he has run upstairs, gotten the Bo Bo, come back downstairs and is now standing innocently behind you with one in his mouth. It's a constant battle all day long. We catch him with a Bo Bo and say, "Why do you have a Bo Bo?" And he shrugs and bats his eyes while he either takes it out and hands it to you or runs off squealing down the hallway with it still in his mouth.

If Mace was not the last Flamingo that will be born of the Flamingo union, I would have long ago taken the Bo Bo, tossed it in the trash and dealt with the consequences, in spite of Grandma's pleas that it's not hurting anything, he's still so little, blah blah blah. But he is still allowed to have his Bo Bo when he naps or goes to bed for the same reason that I have not transitioned him out of the crib and didn't get his hair cut until he was two. He's the wee Flamingo.

And I will confess that there's another small reason he still gets his Bo Bo. Casey gave up taking naps when he was about 18 months old. Mace still takes three hour naps in the afternoon. Did you hear me? THREE HOUR NAPS! I'm pretty sure the difference is the Bo Bo and even if it's not, I'm not willing to chance losing those wonderful naps. If your nanny had broken her tibia and hadn't been able to work in a month and would still not be back to work for another three weeks, you'd feel the same way. Trust me.

I do realize that the longer we go without dealing with the Bo Bo situation, the harder it will be to deal with it. But I figure we should be able to get him weaned off the Bo Bo as we transition him into the "big boy" bed. I'm sure the excitement of Casey going off to college will help distract Mace during the transition and all should go smoothly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Destination v. Journey, Part III

Who wants to see some ducks come out of an elevator, march across a red carpet, hop into a fountain and swim around? You'd be surprised. Well, you might not be surprised that my kids wanted to see that, but you would be surprised that about 200 or so people show up to see it every day at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis:

And they're just regular old ducks raised on some dude's farm. They're not even hooded mergansers.

Regardless, I remember being very excited about seeing the ducks "march" when I was a child and visited Memphis. My own kids were no different. They thought those ducks were fanfreakingtastic. And after we watched them waddle out of the elevator and down the red carpet, we went up to the roof to see where they live when they're not paddling around the fountain. Their digs used to be really cool, with wrought iron fancy cages. Now, the ducks live in air-conditioned comfort inside a glass room with a pool for swimming and a nesting box. I was so disappointed the cool wrought iron cages were gone that I didn't deem the new ducky abode worthy of a photo.

But we found some other things on the roof worthy of photos:

We found these kids getting ready to jump off the roof. Where is their mother?

Oh. Oops! Wait a sec', those are mine.

We also took a family photo minus daddy:

And the only reason I feel compelled to post it here is because of that look on Mace's face. He had only 2 minutes before tripped over my foot and landed forehead first on the concrete. He was very unhappy with me (since it was my fault, after all) but at the same time he was compelled to come to me for comfort -- it was a tough moment for him. Comfort won out, but only barely.

Nanny and Nette bought Mace a toy duck in the gift shop. Nette discovered, only on the way out of the store (so she says!) that the duck quacked. Three times in a row. Loud enough to hear across the Mississippi in Arkansas. Don't believe me?

Funny, I'm not sure that duck actually made it back to Tampa. It may have gotten "lost" in one of the camper cushions on the way home. Poor wittle wost ducky.

Moving on. We took Casey to see the Mississippi River because we had told him that it was a mile wide and he just had to see a river that was a mile wide. So we get there and he is singularly unimpressed. I realized that it was because he thought a mile was much longer than it really is -- I forget that he's six sometimes (and can you blame me, the boy reads words like "outrageous" the very first time he sees them!).

Those three grown-ups there in that photo decided that Casey had not been in enough states in 2 days (FL, GA, AL, MS, TN), so while PopPop and I took Mace back to the camper for a nap, those three took Casey over the bridge to Arkansas. On their way back to the camper, they stopped off by a cotton field and let Casey pick some cotton. Casey came back with a beautiful cotton boll that he took to show his classmates this week.

And try as I might, I cannot seem to work in the phrase, "Hey, now, you just wait a cotton pickin' minute!" into this blog post, so I decided to stick it awkardly onto the end where it has no purpose whatsoever.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Destination v. Journey, Part II

Friday night, after visiting Mama Dot in the hospital and Aunt Fran at her senior apartment (and eating BBQ at the Commissary), we finally gave in to Casey's begging and pleading and took him to the fair. Again, I could not figure out why he wanted to go because I knew it would be a waste of money -- I usually spend all my time at fairs and amusement parks trying to get Casey to ride even the tamest of kiddie rides ("Casey. Seriously. The bananas are just going around in a circle, they don't even move up and down. Don't you want to ride? No? Really? Fine. Your loss.") But something got into Casey Friday night, starting with the Fun Slide. I cannot believe he walked all the way up those stairs and let that creepy looking guy tell him to get on his burlap sack and slide down. But he did! See --

I was shocked. He couldn't believe it himself, either. Buoyed by our success on the Fun Slide, we moved on to a couple of fun houses -- the Sponge Bob one was particularly lame, but what do you expect out of a fun house themed around a sponge? The others were better -- one had a ball pit in it and my sister, who spent a few years as a Dollywood employee nearly vomited at the idea of Casey jumping into a ball pit maintained by carnies. She said it's not the balls so much that get disgusting, it's what's under the balls. She doesn't have kids, so she's never seen what happens to the inside of a sippy cup half full of chocolate milk after it sits in your car for three days in August. After that, a little schmuck at the bottom of a ball pit doesn't turn your stomach anymore.

But I digress. Casey's next big achievement was riding the race cars. I think he thought they were like the ones at Disney where you actually control the speed of the cars yourself. He got into the car, though, and immediately got this panicked look on his face. You can see that he figured out he had no control over the situation and that freaked him out. That's what freaks him out about all rides (that's my problem with airplanes -- if I'm not flying the thing, then surely it's going to plummet to the earth).

I think the cars ride was the one that got Casey hooked on the adrenaline rush because after that he was willing to ride most anything in the kids' section. He rode:

the monster trucks

the motorcycles

and the airplanes

And then we ran out of tickets and I wasn't willing to buy any more. So all Mace got to ride was this little car we rented for him at the entrance:

If you think he looks kind of dazed, you're right -- it's already 10:00 in this picture. The only thing keeping him awake at this point are YaYa's shoes.

But it wasn't a total dud of a night for Mace. He vanquished some goats with his blow-up sword.

He also vanquished his Aunt Nanny -- but she was fighting with a blow-up guitar, so he clearly had the advantage (and the stance! Maybe he'll be a fencer -- I've always dreamed of having a kid who grew up to fence! Not stolen goods, swords.)

And thus endeth our night at the Delta Fair. I learned that the fair is just as dirty today as it was when I was a kid and that they still race pigs there. Sorry, didn't get a picture of that. But the next day I got some pictures of ducks in a fountain that I'll show you tomorrow night.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Destination v. Journey, Part I

When someone coined the phrase, "It's not the destination, it's the journey," my side of the family took it literally. We tend to take long road trips, spend 24-48 hours at the destination, and then turn around and head back home. My mom called me a week and a half ago and told me that my uncle had died and that we needed to go spend a couple of days in Memphis with mom's sisters. Mom called my sister, who currently lives in Michigan, and my sister agreed to meet us in Memphis. So last week on Wednesday afternoon, the boys and I loaded up the Expedition and drove to my mom and dad's in Douglas. We put the boys to bed in the motorhome Wednesday night and then woke up early the next morning and headed for Memphis. Mom's shoes woke us up:

We drove and drove and drove on Thursday. Casey was thrilled that he was in 4 states in one day (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee), though he did sleep through Mississippi. The boys did great. They clearly have the travel genes from my side of the family. We would drive for 2 to 3 hours and then stop at a McDonald's for them to play, then load them back up. They learned pretty quickly the best ways to pass the time on a long road trip:

And look what was next door when we got to the campground in Memphis:

Nothing like camping next to the fair. Casey drove me crazy for the next 24 hours wanting to know when we were going to the fair. I wasn't sure why he cared, I never can get him to ride rides (even the kiddie ones) at Busch Gardens or Disney. At Disney, he acts like I'm abusing him when I force him to get on Dumbo, for crying out loud. The only ride he likes at Disney is "It's a Small World," but even there the little Scandanavian children on the tightrope kind of freak him out. But he was determined to go, so we agreed to take him on Friday night after dinner.

We had dinner at the Germantown Commisary Friday night. "Dinner" actually is a more sophisticated term that I'd really use to describe the experience we had there -- it was BBQ. If it's real southern BBQ and if it's done right, you don't call it having "dinner," you call if having BBQ. And we had BBQ. A lot of it. It was so good, my sister took back several pounds of it to Michigan just to prove to her neighbors that there is nothing as good as Memphis BBQ.

Here's some of my family at the Commissary -- I didn't take a picture when there was food on the table because I was too busy stuffing my face. But I'm posting this picture because I want to introduce you to Mary Griffin. She's my first-cousin-once-removed's girlfriend sitting near the end of the table on the right. Winston, my first-cousin-once-removed, came in after we had all been seated and introduced his girlfriend, "Mary Griffin." So I said, "Nice to meet you, Mary." You see where this is going don't you? I called her by the wrong name -- her name is really Mary Griffin MiddleSomething LastSomething, and her first name is "Mary Griffin." That's how you know I've been living in Florida too long -- I had momentarily forgotten that in the south it's okay to give a girl two first names and to always use both names. If either of my boys had been girls, I was going to name her "Beth Ann May Flamingo" -- and I was going to call her Beth Ann. Joe was opposed to this naming scheme, so it's a good thing we had boys. Though if Flamingo Joe hadn't gotten to the nurse with the forms first at the hospital when we had Mace, we'd be calling him Quenzer Powell.

When you're on the road for 14 hours in a motorhome in one day, you really really want to stop and take pictures of those interesting places that you see, like "Walter's Boobie Trap," an adult night spot somewhere near Birmingham, but time does not allow for such frivolous stops. So I'm sorry, I didn't get a picture for you. I tried to find one on the web for you, but apparently this establishment has only a local following among Alabamans who don't use the internet.

But I did take some pictures of Casey and Mace at the fair, so I'll post those tomorrow night. See you then!