Saturday, August 6, 2011

Musings at Simple Simons

Today when we stopped for lunch at Simple Simons, we were reminiscing about when Mark and I were teenagers.  The other day, Mom and my niece had been going through the old photos I posted to facebook and Mom remembered this one as taking place in Alabama.

I was 16, he was 17, and my parents gathered up both of my sisters and all four of them left the house and left us -completely alone- for 4 hours....

You know what we did, right?

That's right.

We sat on the floor and talked.  We played chess.  We sat on the couch and talked.  And we listened to music and talked.

Seriously.  That's all we did.  We look back on it and laugh at the missed opportunity, but nothing more than that even occurred to me at the time.  I mentioned it to my mother after we were married and she said that she never had to worry about me.  I was her good child.  In retrospect, I was her naive child (;

But from there, I was remembering a t-shirt that my friend Ambrosia liked to wear.  It said, "What part of NO don't you understand?!?"  The first time I saw it, I stared at her shirt and cocked my head to the side quizzically.  She said, "What?!" and I said, "The 'k' and the 'w'.  I've never understood why they're silent."

That led to a hysterical conversation today about pronouncing it  K-now.  Which led to K-nife.  K-night. and K-nit.

Why does it even have to be there if it's going to be silent?  I mean, it's not -usually- silent.  We don't fly ites, or play with our ids, or ick someone in the head.

All in all, it was a wonderful visit and an excellent pizza joint, in the middle of a wildly successful Tax Free shopping day (:


Today my husband turns 35.  I've asked him off and on for the last two days what he wants as a present and haven't gotten much more than an, 'eh....' for my efforts.

So I've decided he's getting a couple of easy to give things.

1.  Getting to sleep in, uninterrupted.  The boys and I will be out of the house for a good portion of the day.  I'm even going to hold off on mowing the yard until Sunday!

As to how he gets to sleep in, I'll be celebrating Alabama's TAX FREE weekend with my Mother and Sister in Law.  We're going school clothes shopping for the kids, while Uncle Ken watches all the boys (:

2.  I'm going to make bacon wrapped chicken for dinner, and brownies for dessert.

3.  And I'm taking the boys to the store to pick out birthday cards... or see if they want to make one.  We'll see what happens.

4.  I also left him a facebook greeting that comes from (It's copyright protected, so I'm not copying it, but it's where the title of this post comes from.)... and on the off chance that the link goes dead, there's a little spaceship and a candle with a space helmet looking at the remains of a cake. The candle says, "Mission control....It's a gruesome sight here.... Melted bodies everywhere and a cryptic message that appears to say, "APPY THDAY."

5.  As to an actual gift?... I'm currently thinking gift card to some store of choice...or a large surge protector.  We'll see if getting some sleep improves those choices any...


So now we're actually at the end of my honey's birthday, and it's time for an update on how close plans came to reality.

1.  Had an absolute blast shopping with the ladies today (:

Went to JCPenny-- they don't even have coats and long sleeved shirts out.  Then we headed over to Pier One Imports, on the chance that something might jump out and say, "I'm -exactly- what Mark wants for his birthday!"... that didn't happen, but I was very good and resisted getting a jewelry box and a series of wooden games that I don't need, a set of coffee cups that were absolutely adorable but I don't have any place to put, a spoon rest that would be the third in a space that can only hold two, and a set of 6 coasters.  Those were absolutely the hardest to resist, but I was good and did (:

After that, we headed to the new Burlington Coat factory in Dothan.  Absolutely the perfect place to go!  Last night, I told my 9 year old that my goal today was to get him a winter coat for this upcoming year.  I'd asked him what his first choice of color was.  He said black.  I also asked what his second choice, if I couldn't find the first, would be, and he said red.  Not only did I find a black coat that he adores, but it was regularly $100, marked down to $9.99.  I'd fully expected to spend $50 to find him a coat.  So when I came across some black converse on sale for $19.99, I got them in his size, since he absolutely begged for something like them when we went shoe shopping yesterday (but I insisted that he get real tennyshoes, with tread on the bottom and arch support for school.)

Then we headed over to Simple Simons for their delicious buffet.  Mom asked me what Mark's plans were, and I told her I wouldn't be calling him to find out because part of my present (as mentioned above) was to let him sleep in uninterrupted.  That didn't quite work because his Dad hadn't gotten that memo and called him about the same time I was saying that I wouldn't (lol).

2.  We got back to the house at 4:45 and the guys weren't there.  When an hour had passed and they still weren't there, we tried calling each of them with various cell phones, to no avail.  Since I didn't know where he was nor what time they'd get back, I didn't want to head back to the house and start a meal that only takes 45 minutes to make.  And since I hadn't been back to the house, I hadn't had a chance to make brownies either.  Eventually, Mom checked her phone and discovered that Dad had left a message.  Mark and my oldest son got to experience Blue Springs.  Apparently, he didn't believe us when we said it's 50 degrees and painfully cold and jumped right in.  (lol)  Surprise!  So I finally got a text message saying that they were on their way back and Mom decided to make pork chops and Heather, her daughter and I headed out to get dessert.  We stopped at Dairy Queen to see about getting an ice cream cake-- but as I've previously mentioned, Mark likes vanilla.  All they had was chocolate.  So we headed to Walmart, got cheese cakes, brownies, candles, vanilla ice cream, waffle bowls and chocolate syrup.

3.  We didn't do birthday cards.  My boys wished him a happy birthday and gave him hugs instead.

and 5.  Heather knows that her brother is still a bibliophile, so she wanted to stop in at Barnes and Nobles and get him a gift card-- that way, he could get paper books or a nook download to his phone.  Shortly after we stepped in, I had that, "This is it!" moment.  I got Mark two leather bound books.  The complete Dante's Divine Comedy, and the complete Arthur Conon Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.  Definitely better presents than a surge protector (;

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bologna and Crackers!

Tonight, as my boys asked for dessert after their Friday night pizza, I knew that what they wanted was ice cream.  My oldest prefers vanilla, like his Daddy.  (Mark likes to call himself an ice cream purist-- no nuts, not fru-fru toppings, just plain vanilla icecream.)  My youngest absolutely adores chocolate.  None of them will touch my pistachio almond with a 12 foot pole, possibly even to save the world (;  (Woohoo!  More for me!)

As I was scooping it for them, I was thinking about how ice cream mold is one of Mark's favorite things about ice cream that's been in the freezer for a while.  It's the extra sweet layer that ends up on the top of the ice cream lid if it's kept in a self-defrosting freezer.

Then I was thinking about dinner itself.  I finished both of my boy's pizza bones.  I have to admit, the pizza bones have always been my favorite part of the pizza.  Even though the rest of my family has always been more inclined to save them for the dogs.  (I admit, sometimes I'll eat one and give the other to the dogs, so we're sharing.)

As my mind continued on it's train of thought, I was thinking about how my favorite part of saltine crackers are the crumbs at the bottom of the bag.

And that led me to a memory, not of an event, but of my mother telling me about an event.  Apparently, when I was 5 and my sister was 3, we'd been particularly good while grocery shopping.  As a reward, my mother told us that we could have -anything- that we wanted.

She expected that one of the bright candies at the checkout, or one of the colorfully charactered cereals was going to be our request.

Instead, my sister and I, in loud chorus, cheered and said, "Can we have bologna and crackers, Momma!  Please!! Please!!!"

My mother said all sorts of eyes turned toward the three of us, having heard the exchange, and she was so embarrassed that people would think her children were so deprived that given the choice for anything, they would ask for bologna and crackers.

Every time she tells the tale, it makes me laugh.  And it makes me wonder what off the wall foods my children are going to enjoy and what stories I'll share with them regarding embarrassing parenting moments. (;

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Under the dresser of Doom

So I step into my bedroom and my cat is staring INTENTLY under my dresser.

That's my sweet old man, Peeve.
I turn the light on to make it easier for him to see and he reaches oh so very slowly and tentatively underneath, and I'm standing there trying to figure out if I'm letting him reach out to a snake, or a scorpion, or a centepede, or whatever;  You get the idea:  I'm worried my cat is being so hesitant because he's facing something sinister.

Two fast swats, and then he walks away in complete disinterest.

I grabbed the sword on the bookshelf because I didn't know what was down there and figured I could use it to 1. pull it out, or 2. kill it, pin it, or scare it, if need be.

Yeah.  The big bad deodorant was going to get me...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Last week, my mother in law called and asked if we wanted to go bowling.  My 5 year old had never been, and my 9 year old was 3 the last time I took him.  That meant that it'd been 6 years since the last time I'd tried to bowl as well (;  So of course, I said, "Yes!"

I made sure that both of my boys wore socks with their shoes.  And we all hopped in Mom's vehicle and headed to the Dothan Lanes on the north side of Dothan.

We all got our borrowed shoes and the gentleman at the counter gave us a special 6 lb ball for the two youngest to use.

After we got the shoes on, everyone went looking for the perfect ball.  The two older kids alternated between using a 7 lb ball and 9 lb ball.  Mom grabbed a 10 lb, and I grabbed a 12.  I have to admit, the electronic scoreboard threw me just a bit.  The last time I went bowling, we still used pencil and paper.  My niece thought that was completely bizarre because she's never been to an alley that didn't have the electronics.  Mom and I reminisced about having to keep score ourselves and how dangerous the ball return had been (not that it's not dangerous -now-, just that it's more enclosed, so it's -less- dangerous than it used to be.)

We even discussed why no one should stand up on the deck behind when someone was bowling. Yeah-- when I was a clumsy kid, I was the one who accidentally threw the ball backwards...or across 4 lanes....

As soon as we were all set up and my niece keyed us in, the kids started bowling.

There were also plenty of breaks for dancing to the music.

Remember when I mentioned that the cousins had developed a 'Coot's Family Dance'?  Yeah, that's it.

This is my all time favorite of the dance break shots (:

See my youngest on the floor?  No, he did not fall.  He's actually in the middle of trying some break dancing....

Mom spotting my youngest nephew on his turn.  We got the bumpers for our lane so that the kids would have a good time.

His first game was all Granny rolls.  His second game was like watching the bowling version of shot-put... But his score got a lot better (:

My niece is an expert of using what you have (lol)  She'd bounce her ball off the bumpers on purpose.  They go bowling with their parents back home all the time.  And have a family tradition of doing New Year's Eve bowling (:

My oldest getting ready for his turn.  This is the second time he's ever been to the bowling alley.

He likes to get a running start and slide up to the line (lol).

He's got a consistently wicked spin on his bowling ball-- when he learns how to aim, it's going to be devastating on the pins!

This was my youngest's first time at the bowling alley.  He's already got great form and was actually -bowling-.  No granny rolls for him, thank you!

He's got really good aim and hardly touched the bumpers at all.

In fact, in his first game, he got a strike, and scored 95...just 2 points less than me and 4 points less than his Grandmother!

But if you want to talk about a good bowler, that would be Mark's Mom (Okay, at least compared to the rest of us (lol)).

She had the final highest score of 102 by the end of the second game, and we'd ALL had a wonderful time.  And we ended our mini-adventure with a trip to the local Simple Simons for some of their absolutely delicious pizza, (a large pepperoni for $5, thanks to my boys local business school discount card that I got last year.).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Panama City Beach Zoo World

Back when my oldest son was getting ready to go to his Grandparents' for a month, I was making plans for what to do with his little brother while home.  The number one thing on his summer 'to do' list was to go to the Montgomery Zoo.  When my oldest realized he was going to miss out on that, Mark promised that we would visit the zoo in Panama City Beach.

Zoo World is only 7 acres large, so it's quite easy to walk the entire thing without getting tired.  And even though they're smaller, or perhaps even -because- they're smaller, it's much more intimate feeling.  The animals are more engaged with the people who come to visit.

They have groundhogs, but more impressive, they have a little tunnel that kids can go through with see through windows that give them a more intimate view of the critters, as well as give them a bit of the feel of what it's like to be in a groundhog's tunnel.

They have otters, that even came out to say hello.

And chickens, parrots, geese, ducks, swans and peacocks just wander the park as they please.  I got to see a white peahen with two babies!  I'd never have known them for peacocks.  They looked like little awkward chickens.

When we visited the lemurs, they were right up against the mesh fence and let us pet them!  We spent almost 20 minutes right there.  They licked all the kids' hands and one of them kept smacking at Mark's hand when he put his palm up.  We decided it didn't like him (;

The also had New Zealand Dingos, aka Singing Dogs.  They are considered a living relic and are the only canine NOT related to any other canine!  They're also extremely endangered.  It's estimated that there are only 100 alive in the world, so when you look at the 7 they have at Zoo World, you're literally looking at 7% of their population!

As we got closer to the playground, we came across the only section I took pictures in.

We got to see wolves and Old World Monkeys called Mandrills (Like Rafiki!) closely related to Baboons.

Then we stayed for the show where we got to see Parrots, Frogs, Snakes, Lizards and a Hedgehog up close.  My boys adored seeing the hedgehog!

We made a quick trip to Zaxby's for lunch-- great opportunity to introduce the visiting family to a local favorite (:

Then we headed back to feed the animals in the petting zoo.  The kids adored feeding the goats, donkeys, and sheep.  The camel was cranky and the giraffe had a chicken in it's feed bucket that it was busily keeping an eye on.

All in all, we had a wonderful mini-vacation down to Panama City Beach, and decided that next year, we need to spend a whole weekend down there, visit the beach and some of the other attractions.