This post was originally published in August 2007.
My parents recently moved to our city, and in the process they cleaned out their attic. They determined that since I am now a grown-up, it was time I kept up with my own high school keepsakes. Like, whatEVer.
It's been a hoot going through it all--if you're all very nice and well-behaved, I might even print some excerpts from my senior-year diary. Because, oh my word, I don't know who that girl was, but she wasn't from this planet.
The best keepsakes have been my big stash of formals and majorette uniforms. I swear, they all still smell faintly of Final Net. I'm not sure why I insisted my mom keep them. I think I honestly expected that my future life would be so sophisticated that I would be in dire need of a great stash of formalwear.
First up is my prom formal from 11th grade. Can we all just pause for a moment of silence at the memory of my waist actually being this size? If I pulled this on today, it wouldn't get up past my knees:
Next was my 9th-grade majorette uniform. That flesh-colored elastic strap was on my uniform only, not the other girls', thanks to my, um, lack of "endowment". I wept many tears over that elastic strap:
Next was a dress I wore in the Miss Mayberry High School pageant, in which I was a runner-up not once, not twice, but a whopping three times. Could you just die over the square rhinestone belt buckle?
This was my senior prom dress. Now, let me just tell you that this dress was the creme de la creme of my high school experience. My mom and I shopped and shopped for this most perfect garment in which to end my high school career. From the looks of all the chiffon ruffles, clearly I went out with a bang:
Here, you have to see the back. I clearly remember thinking that it was so beautiful, I might wear it again for my wedding. Can you imagine?
But wait, there's more!
This was my majorette uniform in 12th grade. Now that I look at it, don't those gold things kind of look like hands? Kind of creepy:
Last is the set of pompons the majorettes used my junior year. Yes, majorettes with pompons. There was a horrible uproar between the Mayberry High School majorettes and cheerleaders over this issue--horrible, let me tell you. Oh, there were dirty looks and snide comments and nasty notes. The very foundations of the earth trembled.
Really, wasn't high school such a fine preparation for the serious issues we would face later in life?
Thus concludes my little fashion jaunt down memory lane. Thanks for coming along. I have to go now, because I'm feeling the strangest urge to go tease my bangs.
This post was originally published in August 2007.
Since we all know that repeating ourselves (and repeating ourselves...and repeating ourselves...) is the name of the game in parenting, we might as well as make it snazzy. Hubs and I seem to have developed a treasure trove catch-phrases that we use over and over. If you were to pop in to the Dryer house, this is what you'd likely hear....
"Take what you get and don't throw a fit."
Every single mom I've ever met uses this one. I think that when you're distracted by the throes of labor, the hospital must inject it directly into your brain.
"I am my brother's keeper."
My Hubs initiated this one with our boys--it's taken (very loosely) from Scripture. He has given them numerous rousing speeches about the virtues of brotherhood--really, you can almost hear the violins playing the background. In moments of brotherly bickering Hubs has been known to call out, "I am?...." and the boys chant back (sometimes through gritted teeth) "..my brother's keeper."
We're going to conveniently ignore that the Scripture being referenced is, in fact, the story of one brother murdering another. Though there are days when that seems all too relevant.
"Different is good."
We've used this one with Adam since he was very little. He's not always the best at adapting to change, and we've had to coax him off a few figurative ledges by having him repeat with us, "Different is good."
I'm predicting this one will come back to bite us someday when Stephen (who most certainly does not have trouble deviating from the norm) comes home with purple hair and an nose-ring.
"See a need, fill a need."
We lifted this one straight from the movie Robots. Loosely translated, it's a nice way to say, "get your duff off the couch and feed the dog without being asked. Please."
"If you're gonna play rough, you've gotta be tough."
A friend taught us this one, and we happily pull it out when there is tackle football going on in the living room. It's basically a new-and-improved version of "it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt," or "Don't come cryin' to me!"
"Blood, barf, bones or bad guys?"
This is my favorite one. Sometimes, a momma needs the older kids to prioritize their needs before interrupting. "Don't come in here unless it's an emergency" wasn't working for my brood, because they think a misplaced Nerf ball is reason enough to call in the Special Forces.
So, I got a little more specific. When I need a few minutes of alone-time to accomplish something, the kids know to interrupt me ONLY if they see blood, vomit, a bone sticking out somewhere or a villain scaling the side of our house.
And really, it just warms this momma's heart to picture them sitting around living room after my funeral someday, reminiscing about their sweet mother, and they will chant, "blood, barf, bones or bad guys," and OH, how their hearts will be warmed.
I'm turning this over to you all now. I KNOW you're bound to have some good catch-phrases you use repeatedly with your kids--let's hear them.
This post was originally published in September 2008.
Yes, barbecue cupcakes. The original recipe for this (I believe it came from Taste of Home) was entitled "farmhouse barbecue muffins". But in this family, we believe in inserting dessert conceptually wherever we can. So, they're barbecue cupakes.
They are delicious and easy. They're perfect for a family meal, but they're also a fun party food. Here's the scoop:
1 lb ground beef, cooked
1 cup bbq sauce or sloppy joe sauce, whichever you prefer
1 can of LAYERED refrigerated biscuits (not the little tiny packages, the bigger one. I use Grands.)
About 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
Cook beef, drain, mix with bbq sauce. Set aside.
Carefully pull apart layers of biscuits, so that each biscuit is now in two pieces, like this:
Roll out layers with a rolling pin, until they make a 10-12" circle.
Spray the insides of a muffin pan. Insert one flattened biscuit into each cup, like this:
In each little pastry shell, spoon in about 1 tbsp of beef mixture. It will look this:
Afterwards, sprinkle cheese on top, because if a recipe doesn't say "sprinkle cheese on top", then you should run the other way:
Bake in a 350 oven for 8-12 minutes, take it out, and then you just tell me this isn't the cutest little thing you've ever seen:
This post was originally published in August 2008.
I sat on the second row of a darkened old theater and watched my boy, my oldest boy, that boy who emerged from me 11 years ago and made me a mother. I watched in him in awe, as he pulled from reserves I did not know he had, to do something I did not know he could do. He did it with abandon and confidence and joy, and I watched him, reluctant tears flowing down my cheeks ("Do not cry, do not cry," I told myself, "11-year-old boys do not like it when their mothers cry").
But I did cry, sitting there mercifully cloaked in the dark, and I was overcome with the idea that he's not mine anymore. Not really, not the way he was when he fit in the crook of my arm. Every day he is stepping further down this road to being entirely his own person, doing things I did not teach him, excelling in things I cannot do. It is astounding.
At the end, when the crowd roared, I shouted along with them: "Bravo! Bravo!" The words jumped out of me, barreling awkwardly past the lump in my throat.
But in my heart, the words were quieter: Bravo, my son, they whispered. Bravo to you for finding what you love, and for doing it well. Bravo to you for stepping gradually but surely away from your dad and me, making your own way in this world, standing bravely on the edge of what's ahead and jumping in headlong.
Part of me wanted to whisper these thoughts to him, and to remind him that as he runs forward, we'll still be here to catch him when he falls. For surely, someday, he will fall, and certainly, someday, we will catch him.
But this is not the night for such words. There was no falling tonight. There was no need for a safety net or a back-up plan. It was a night for his star to shine so brightly that it cast light on the path in front of him. He knows just where he's going now.
It's a funny thing, how a kid can grow up light years in just one evening.
Bravo, my boy.
Hi, blog friends. I'd planned to take the month of August off for working on the book and settling the kids back in to school. It has turned out to be even more well-timed than I could've known--my father-in-law passed away suddenly this week, so there has much to attend to. I'll be running things from the archives for a while until the dust settles. Our family would appreciate your prayers during a difficult time.
Go love on your families and friends. I'll see you back here in a bit.
Hobby Lobby is my second favorite store in all the land.
I love everything about this store--the sales are amazing, and oh great day all the crafty gear makes me instantly want to weave potholders the minute I walk into the door. They are probably running a craft-lovers racket, and I am the Chief Sucker. My budget has taken a battering over the years, because, "Look! It's decoupage glue for 50% off! And what if I need decoupage glue in the next decade?"
See? Chief Sucker.
Yesterday Corrie and I went to Hobby Lobby to buy some gifts. Now, here is where I should tell you that as much as I love their store, their grocery carts are horrible. Nearly every one I've ever used has been top-heavy and wobbly. There was one incident years ago in which my then-one-year-old son ended up hanging upside down by his pants, and I can assure you it was entirely the cart's fault. My preoccupation with the 50%-off florist ribbon had nothing to do with it.
We walked in, got a
deathtrap cart, and Corrie asked if
she could stand on the end of it. I said no, because I am a
safety-conscious woman who watches Dateline NBC. I turned my back for
2.8 seconds to get a sales flyer (because I needed to know what
entirely useful craft supplies were 50% off this week). Out of the
corner of my eye, I saw a flash of metal and my daughter crashing
toward the floor.
In slow motion, I turned to my right to see that Corrie, ever obedient, had not climbed up on the end of the basket, she had climbed onto the side of it. The whole thing was in the process of falling down on top of her.
And I, in that instant, wanting to redeem myself for the son-hanging-upside-down-from-his-pants incident, inserted my leg between my falling daughter and the falling cart.
She is safe. My leg, however, is not.
It hurt SO badly that it took every bit of self-control I had not to sit down in the floor of the store and weep. But I couldn't, because they might think I was one of those crazy lawsuit people, and what if they flagged me as a troublemaker and wouldn't let me buy 50% off scalloped scissors anymore?
I managed to hold myself together, though I was gritting my teeth and fighting back tears. I even finished my shopping trip. (That is courage, y'all. Courage.) I came home and nursed my wounds.
But the point of this entire story (believe it or not, there is one) is that a few minutes ago I took a picture of my battered leg so I could blog about it--truly, there are some glorious bruises--when I realized in the nick of time that oh my word, I nearly posted a picture of my thigh on the internet.
I think I need a new hobby.
Last August, I made an important mental note and filed it away in the dark recesses of my brain. It went something like this: Every year, you forget how busy the back-to-school season is. You overcommit and over-extend yourself, and you make your family a little crazy, what with all the emotional breakdowns and carryout pizza. Don't do it again this year. Simplify, simplify. Clear your schedule. Whatever you do, do NOT--I repeat--DO NOT take on any additional projects in August and September.
Unfortunately, also lurking in the dark recesses of my brain are a bunch of empty Diet Coke cans, reruns of Diff'rent Strokes, and badly-conjugated French verbs. Very important mental notes can get lost in there, as evidenced by my curious decision to write a 350-ish page book in 14 weeks spanning across (yep) August and September.
(It's going really well, by the way. Melanie and I are managing to carve out big chunks of time at the library, and we're chugging along. We'll chug better once the kids are in school, but still, we're making good headway.)
Our writing schedule, as you might imagine, is pretty rigorous; coupled with the demands of the busy back-to-school month, it's a lot to manage. I'm going to slip away and take a bit of a blog break, because something really has to give. If something doesn't give, my kids may very well look back on August 2009 as the The Month That Mom Went Crazy.
I'm stepping away until Labor Day, so I can work on the book, enjoy the last 18 minutes of summer with my favorite people, and elbow my way through the school-supply aisle with the rest of the free world (I am not afraid to FIGHT for twenty-cent bottles of Elmer's glue). I'll run a few things from the archives, in the meantime.
Hope to see you back here in September, my friends.