Sunday, May 30, 2010

Can you imagine being 11 and having a friend like...?

Shelby woke up a couple of weeks ago and on a Friday morning, stumbled down the stairs and before her eyes were even opened she said, "Mom can we drive to Columbus tonight?"

I was like (and I am not very nice at 6 am), "Why in the world would we drive to Columbus tonight?"  

She said, "Well, Hillary might have left us tickets."

I had to explain to her that we were not driving to Columbus to "see" if someone left us tickets.

So... now... I'll explain to you that... several years ago, a friend of ours moved to Nashville, TN and began dating a girl.  He very much cared about our opinion in almost every area of his life and so he asked if he could bring home a young lady for us to meet.  Of course, we were thrilled to meet anyone he dated because we LOVED him! (Still do!)

He brought a girl named Hillary Scott to our house.  He told us that her mom, Linda Davis, used to sing with Reba McEntire and that she was in a little band and that they would probably be pretty big one day.

Yeah, right... we thought.  Everyone thinks they are going to make it big.  But, it mattered not to us.  We REALLY liked Hillary.  She was very down to earth.  Super fun and easy to talk to and she loved our kids.  She would bring gifts for them when she came to visit and she payed lots of attention to them.  Once she sat in Shelby's room forever and wrote a song with her.

We were sooo sad when they broke up, but because I really liked Hillary, I stayed in contact with her.  And, because she is exactly who I thought she was when I met her, she has allowed Shelby to keep in contact with her too!

And, as it turns out, she kinda made it big.  She sings with a little group called Lady Antebellum.  You may or may not have heard of them.  They're only setting the country music world on fire right now and cleaning up at awards shows.

She won 5 or so Grammy Awards this year and the next day she was chatting with Shelby (11 years old) on Facebook.  That's her.

While they were talking, she said the next time she was around she'd love to see us and she would give us tickets to a show.

Well, Shelby had tried contacting her twice about tickets as that particular date drew near.  She had not heard back from her... which was why she wanted to drive to the arena to check on tickets.

Since I nixed that idea, she wanted to email her again.  I said, "No."  She asked if I would email her.  I said, "No."

But, later that morning, after Shelby had been long gone to school, I thought about the look on her face and thought it wouldn't hurt to email her one last time.  I had no intention of her returning an email that late.  However, a couple hours later, she emailed me back saying that she had left 4 tickets at will call along with meet and greet passes... and she said she, "I can't wait to hug y'alls necks!"

And, so we went to watch our little friend Hillary sing that night and my girls were in heaven.

I can't imagine being 11 and having a friend like Hillary.

Lady Antebellum

Can't you just see how sweet Hillary is with the girls?  We've never been to an official meet and greet.  It was disappointing in the sense that we barely had time to talk with her.  The other times we had lots more time with Hillary, but we'd never met the guys.  
Shelby and Gracie sat by AJ Hawke the whole night. In case you don't know him... he is a former Ohio State football player and now he plays for the Greenbay Packers. 

Family Theme night #2- Baseball night

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Family Theme Night #2- We walked into Janae's house for Baseball night.   Take Me Out to the Ballgame was streaming through the speakers in her computer.  On the counter in the kitchen was almost every baseball food one could want.  Soft pretzels, nachos and cheese, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, sunflower seeds and a baseball cake.  Hotdogs were cooking on the grill.  It felt very festive and baseball like..... for about 5 minutes.  Then I wanted to blow up the computer.

 Janae knows anything repetitive grates on my last nerve.  I think she purposefully found the worst version of the song she could find.  It featured the organ and the song lasted a whole 30 seconds.  It played over and over and over and over.  I think she was timing me to see how long I could take it.  I think it was 10 minutes... max.  Then I started to twitch so she turned it off.

I was good to go after that!

We ate and then we played some baseball.

Jackson... totally into the game.

Can't you just see the orneriness?  I love those teeth missing though.  I could eat him alive!

And, then there's Grace.  

Oh, Grace!

 If her named only described the way she moved through activities.

Gracie was playing the position of the pitcher.  Things were going well when all of a sudden she got nailed in the head by a lined-drive ball that had just left the bat.  She immediately fell to the ground.  I think there were a variety of emotions coursing through her little self.  I think it hurt when she got hit and then there was a bit of embarrassment and her face tried to tell the story: should I laugh or cry.  Because she couldn't decide, she just laid on the ground.  Janae took over the job of the pitcher.  

And, then, as luck would have it for the graceful one (Gracie), and because she continued to lay in the middle of the field during the game... the next ball hit.... nailed her in the leg.

I thought we were all going to die.  Janae and I hit the ground doubled over in laughter.  (Neither of us were gifted with mercy.)  The game was halted as no one, adult or child, could compose themselves.

But, alas the game continued.
Emme and Paul.  Since the whiffle ball was bigger than her, we kept her off the playing field.  By the way... the playing field... Michael had cut a baseball diamond into the grass with the mower:-)  I loved that!

Bryn in the batting stance.

Kaya in... I'm gonna go with... a karate stance.

I think she was just happy to be off the ground out of the line of fire.

Since the earliest of times, I have called them Tom and Jerry.  Use you imagination.

There's a tiny little hill in their yard and Bryn had situated herself  just right so that it looked as though her lower limbs had been taken off her body.

When we had had enough of the actual game, we made the kids spin around and around on a bat and then run.  

We're sick like that.

Who sits like this?  Well, my tiny Asian daughter does but...   whatever!

Michael soaking up the moments.

And, then he decided to give it a whirl.

Gracie laying down.  She was done.

When we were eating the baseball cake, Paul asked for a cup for milk.  Janae thought he wanted the cup for Emme, so she handed him that teeny tiny cup.  We kept watching him fill it up and drink shots of milk and then we realized it wasn't for Emme.... Big surprise... we couldn't stop laughing.

And, what baseball game doesn't end with fireworks.

It was such a great night!  

I love our family theme nights!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Banned from Field Trips

Things are particularly funny to me when it's time to go to bed. It's either that or it's the only time Paul and I get to talk without 4 other mouths going.... and I still, after all these years being married, think he's really funny.

To be honest, I think it's a bit of both.

So, the other night I said one thing that reminded Paul of a video clip. I saw him reach over to his bedside table to grab his phone. (We can get videos from YouTube on our phones.)

Ahh! I hate when he does that! I don't know why, but the thought of watching video clips gets on my nerves. I am positive I was rolling my eyes and screaming, "NOOOO! On the inside."

He brought up a video clip of one of our favorite comedians, Brian Reagan. Click here so you can watch it... you won't be sorry.

Whenever I start watching, I am never sure why I balk at the idea. I was laughing so hard, I thought I was going to die. I actually gave myself a headache from laughing.

When we were finished watching, he was getting ready to send the clip to Janae. I asked him not to do that because I knew I was going to see her in the morning and I wanted to watch it with her.

In the morning, Janae and I had to be at school for an all day field trip with our 3rd graders. Since we had taken the kids to school and school started at 8:15, we had 45 minutes to kill before the 9 am departure time. We went to Starbucks for some coffee and then we came back to the parking lot of the school, sat in the car, and watched the video.

We laughed so hard that... well, Janae had to use her inhaler.

In case you too balked at my idea of watching the video, Brian Reagan was talking in the clip about going to the eye doctor. During his eye doctor visit, the doctor says to him... "Did you know one of your eyes is lower than the other? It's not going to affect your vision or anything.... I just want you to be self-conscience about it for the rest of your life!"

That was one of our favorite lines and we had our quoted it at least once during our bus ride.

For this third grade field trip, we drove about 90 minutes to visit a farm. It was a historical site, the North's type of plantation. It was owned by some army general... or something like that.

At this farm, we toured the house and learned about life in the 1800's. After that part of the trip, we walked to a canal that was built on the property. We boarded the canal boat, and once all the kids were seated, an old gentleman began explaining how the canal was made, lock systems, etc.... I wasn't paying much attention to the old guy. I was looking around and listening. Listening but not looking at him.

Janae leaned over, while he was talking and whispered, "Did you know one of your eyes is lower than the other? It's not going to affect your vision, I just wanted you to be self-conscience the rest of your life."

I figured there was a reason she said this, so I turned and looked at the old gentlemen that was speaking. All of a sudden I turned into an elementary kid. The laughter welled up inside me and I could not control myself. You know how it is, when you are not supposed to laugh, everything is funnier.

Now, please understand that I am not making fun of the old man. I'm really not. It's just that his one eye looked as though someone has stuck their finger in the bottom lid and slid the eye down his face. Any other day, I would have noticed the eye and felt sad for the poor feller.

But why? Why on the day that we see a man with his eyes so obviously off center did we have to watch a comedian talk about that very thing 3 hours prior to seeing him?

I couldn't look at the man. Every time I turned around, I would have one of those violent snort kinda of laughters begin in my stomach and works it's way up. I had to turn completely away from Janae, look at the back of the boat, and bite my cheek as hard as I could. I could keep the laugh silent, but I couldn't keep my body from shaking as I was laughing.

I'm pretty sure we're not getting asked to chaperone another field trip together.

The picture above was the boat we rode.
Here is the poor old feller. If you click on the picture it will enlarge the picture and you can better see his eye. Even still, I don't think the picture shows how pronounced the eye problem really was.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To the Mountains of North Carolina Days #3-5

"Brace yourself Effie!"  Do you know what movie that is from?  Well, this post has nothing to do with the actual meaning of that quote... if, in fact you know the origin.  I just want you to brace yourself for the deluge of pictures coming your way.

I'm wrapping up the last two days of our trip.  The 5th day was spent driving back home... in sadness.

Day #3 of our trip was marked with what I hope has become years of memory making for our children.  Janae and I decided to start Family Theme nights (or in this case... family theme DAYS).  I'll explain more through the pictures.

The Family Theme for the trip was 60's Day.  

60's Day started the night before with everyone making tie-dyed t-shirts.

On Friday morning the kids were eager to see the final t-shirt product and put on the finishing touches of their outfits... sunglasses and peace necklaces.

Janae started the day with a "school" lesson.  (We pulled them out of school for this trip.  We had to teach them something!)

Janae made a board of popular wordage used in the 60's.  She taught the kids the words and then we all tried to use the words as often as we could during the day.

The 60's teacher, Miss Janae.

Shelby and Bryn practicing their peace signs.

We decided to head into the local town after our lesson.  On our way in, we had to stop at a gas station so Paul could get his Mountain Dew.  I went in and saw pickled eggs in a jar.  (Gas stations in the south crack me up.)  So, I bought one for Janae.  Does she like pickled eggs?  No.  But, that's just the kind of friend I am.  I am always trying to be thoughtful and do nice things for those I love.

And, as you can see by the expression on her face, she is thrilled that I would think so highly of her.  (Janae and I did not have tie-dyed shirts.  We had matching peace shirts.)  (P.S.  About that... you will find no pictures of us in our matching shirts because.... in our matching shirts I look like a marshmallow standing next to a stick.  Pictures are bad enough when we aren't dressed exactly alike.)

So, yeah, we went into this little town all dressed EXACTLY alike.  To say we got a few stares would be a gross understatement.  

This is the clan of kids, minus Novalee, in front of this amazing furniture store.  Seriously, we went in and it was one of the coolest stores I have ever been in.  I pretty much wanted to live there.  Well, I wanted to live there until all of a sudden these HUGE, hairy dogs came bursting in through the back of the store.  Seriously, there was something wrong with being in this store and all of a sudden two gigantic dogs appear.  They were super friendly.... the whole scene just did not go together.  And so because the scene was so odd, Janae whipped out her pickled eggs and put it in the mouth of one of those hairy beasts.  Initially, the dogs felt the same way as Janae about the egg.  He moved it around his mouth for a second and then promptly spit it out.  He then apparently had a change of heart because he scooped it back up, chewed it twice and then pretty much swallowed it whole.  He must have thought it was dog food unlike he'd ever tasted and he thought he might as well give it a whirl.  

The whole scene was a bit surreal... crazy cool Adirondack like furniture store... 2 hugs dogs in furniture store.... one dog eating pickled egg.  I shudder to think it came back up in that store later.

Then, in keeping with the theme, we went to a drug store that had a snack bar in the rear of the store.  Could you get anymore 60's than that?  

The kids ate ice cream at the bar in the drugstore.

Paul and Gracie- with a super fake smile.

Clearly, we have done a horrible job of teaching Emme ice cream cone eating ettiquette.

In the little town square.  Can you imagine the stares?

After our adventure in town, we had to head back to St. Lucia (aka... the rocks/sand/ dirt lake. On our way to the water's edge, we walked through an old cemetery.  I was very disturbed by one of the grave sites.  Every time I see it it makes me jerk my head... a Kramer (Senfield) head jerk...... and shudder.

Yikes!  Are you kidding me?  What is up with that?  I have to move on quickly!


 St. Lucia for the kids... rocks/dirt/water for the adults... AND fond, fond memories for all.

The kids LOVED playing here!  It doesn't really matter why because all parents like to see kids thoroughly enjoying themselves in the simplest of activities and because I am pretty sure the 4 of us can find ANYTHING to laugh at no matter where we are.

Michael playing Moses holding up the 10 Commandments.

After the water playing, Janae and I had to run to the store for something.  When we came back, there were large chalk drawings of us one the drive.

That's me.  Michael thinks I wear this silver-beaded necklace ALL the time so he always puts in on me in his animated drawings.

I always love his drawings of Janae's hair... except this one was so mean.  She's had some hair fall out due to... who the heck knows... Chemo, steroids, STRESS... 

Really, no one really tell she's lost hair... but he had to draw her hair thinning in the picture.

Tie-dyed fruit platter.

Our decorations.

The kids tie-dyed cupcakes.

The finished cupcakes.  Janae made the peace signs on the top from pipe cleaners.  She's crafty like that!

We went shopping before we left.  Here we are in our 60's dinner outfits.  Seriously, could we have found anything more perfect?

Janae and Michael... they'll grow old together.  In 40 years, I'll post another picture of them on this bench.

We made some lava lamps with oil, water, food coloring and...  What are those tablets that fizz to clean dentures?  Yeah, whatever those are called.

Sue... why does she look so studious doing this?  She's like a chemist.

Well, I guess Kaya looks serious too.  These kids need to relax!  

We were trying to relax on the porch and soak up the sun... and then Emme decided she was constipated.  What if adults cried and screamed and acted like that when they were constipated?  That'd be kinda funny, huh?

The kids had a water balloon toss with... Ready?... tie-dyed water balloons.

Hollywood Kaya!

The last evening was spent around a campfire making smores.  

Below is a picture of the house where all the fun took place.  Lots of great memories in that house.  I am very thankful for generous people like Michael's parents who would open up their house and share it with a family with so many kids.   

Since our line of work doesn't line us up to be featured in Forbes, I am pretty sure money would not have lent itself for us to do something like... get away in the mountains... in a nice house like the one above... and just enjoy being families.

And, I think that's why it was so sad to come home.  Sometimes, I think we have life all wrong.  I don't think we were meant to live life so separated.  It's so hard that way.  Life is so much more enjoyable making meals together, eating together, dealing with kid conflict, cleaning together and playing together.

Life is hard.  But it's also good.  And, God loves to give good gifts to his children.  The Corbett family has been just that for our family... a good gift... straight from the hand of God.

P.S.  The movie line at the beginning was from Mrs. Doubtfire.