Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Get on the good foot

Bill "Superfoot" Wallace is a living legend in the world of Martial Arts and professional kickboxing and Pickle was able to participate in one of his karate seminars this spring. A pioneer in the sport, he began his martial arts career as a karate point-fighter and competed along with such Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, among others. After an incredible career in point-fighting, Wallace became a kickboxer in 1972. He quickly captured the World Middleweight Championship and retired as the undefeated champion after compiling a record of 23-0. With the urging of his friend Chuck Norris, Wallace has appeared in a number of motion pictures, mostly as the "heavy" in martial arts films. Wallace continues to give exhibitions and trainings around the world. Here is Pickle giving Superfoot a drawing he made after the karate clinic. Pretty cool, huh?


Hodge Podge

One of the most exciting days of the school year for my kids has been field day. The kids are told to wear swimsuits and bring extra clothes because they are going to get soaking wet before the day is over. They get to run and compete and pour water on each other, get shot by waterguns, you name it. Cool stuff. Pickle was disappointed to be in the middle school this year and miss the fun. But, Hot Rod had enough fun for everyone. Here, he is leaping over a hurdle with Pickle's former teacher. She is a great gal and I learned she is moving to another school. We are going to really miss her.
I cracked up at the wistful look on her face as she skipped back to the starting point for the race.
She was really sweet to let Little Bit participate in stuff, too.
With a "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" theme to everything this school year, the Wizard of Oz theme fit right in on field day, too. Here, the kids pour water into their teammate's tin hat.
Then, they had to go retrieve more water. Lots of fun was had by all. You can see that in the child's face.

SPF: Favorite creation

Having two children who LOOOVE to make things of all shapes and sizes and mediums, I have many pieces of artwork from my children. My middle child isn't much of an artist, but even he creates some treasures, too. I honestly don't consider any of them ugly, so I couldn't select my "favorite ugliest creation" made by the children - as assigned by Kristine at Random and Odd for this week's Stuff Portrait Friday. So, I selected Pickle's latest creations. He took art classes a few weeks ago and this was his first effort at molding clay. He made Wallace and Grommit. Not too bad for a first effort. So, didja play?

A special place in my heart

Reading about Harry's first kiss with Cho Chang in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie and it brought a smile to my face. Harry has been there for my family since the movie came out in 2001.

I think Uzz had already taken Pickle to see the movie and I really had no interest in a movie that was so harsh that an aunt and uncle took their orphaned nephew and made him live in a cupboard under the stairs. How cruel, I thought, for a children's movie.

Yet, it was the perfect therapy when I lost my job out of the blue on Dec. 3, 2001. I was in a state of shock and thought that taking my boy to see a movie would be a great way to avoid thinking about it for a while, spend some time with the kiddo and veg out. What I found was a new love affair for me and my entire family. I was hooked. What is funny is that Army of Dad was resistant to reading the books when I started buying them. Trust me, I said, you will be hooked as soon as you read one. The writing is incredible. He balked. He didn't even want to watch the movie. Then, he caught it one day on TV. Perhaps, he could be persuaded to watch and maybe read. Now, he is a Harry Potter junkie just waiting for his last fix coming up next month.

So, Harry and J.K. Rowling, thanks. I'm anxiously awaiting this last book, but with a sadness.

On a side note, if I had lots of money, I'd want to go do this and I can't wait for the Harry Potter theme park.


Hoop-dee do

For 50 cents a piece, we scored these great soccer horns at the Sonics' last tournament. Hot Rod and Army of Dad enjoyed blowing them after Gbandi's goal versus Real Salt Lake last month.
The Hoops aka FC Dallas are our favorite team.
That is soccer phenom Freddy Adu in the white.
And, I just thought this sunset was really pretty over the Pizza Hut Park sign. PHP is having a giant Independence Day event with fireworks. We're still debating doing it or going to the local fireworks display. Either will be fun. Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. For us, it is a family time and one in which we spend with our family every year. We talk to the children about the importance of this day and what it means to be an American. We are truly blessed to have been born under the stars and stripes.

Sonics' last stand

Last month, an era ended for Army of Dad. He coached a group of boys for about seven years - give or take. He coached Pickle from the time he was 5 or 6 and then grew with that team. Pickle finally gave up after spring 2006, but these boys had grown on AoD and he coached them for one more year until they finished the under 12 division. Now, that they're moving up to the 13-year-olds, they'd be traveling and we just can't justify that time commitment without a kiddo on the team. The blue team is ours. They took fourth place in the last tournament in which they played. Not too shabby.
This is coach talking to the boys at halftime. They lost this game 2-1 and it was a game they could have won, so they were getting a pretty good lecture here.
This was after the game. It was really very emotional for Army of Dad. He was pretty shook up for a few days and, really, I still don't think he's completely good with it. He worked hard with these boys. For many of them, he was the sole disciplinarian in their lives and the best role model they had. For others, he provided a motivation to excel and work hard. Many of these boys don't get that. For others, he was a father figure that they didn't have either.
He wasn't thrilled that I captured this shot. He was having a hard time talking here. Bless his heart. He doesn't get teary-eyed too often. That tells you how much these boys mean to him.
The little fellas were among some we've seen the greatest change in. The little guy in the middle was one we've had with us for many years. I think he was taking the last game pretty hard.
One last team picture for posterity.
And one final Go Sonics.

Christmas list in the making

I have a feeling that the NBA will be a lot more important in the Army of Mom household this next season. Why, you ask? Well, because of the draft class going tonight. I'm thinking that Army of Dad and Hot Rod are both going to want a Joekim Noah, Al Horford or Corey Brewer jersey. Me, I wouldn't turn down a Kevin Durant jersey. I'm actually a little excited about this draft. Weird, huh? But, I think it will be fun. Of course, we will likely miss it and be eating hot dogs at the Vacation Bible School thingee tonight. We were supposed to go to a baseball game, but I'm not holding my breath with more rain in the forecast and sopping wet fields as it is. I think I'd look good in SuperSonics green and gold in a Durant jersey.

Ok, gotta add these things to my holiday shopping list so I don't forget. I suppose another Gators bowl shirt can be on the list for Army of Dad. I'm holding out for that, too.


Darn pirates

Hat tip to SM, one of my writing colleagues, who sent this to me. Doesn't sound like a marquee, but a title for an episode of The Secret Lives of Women.
Cracks me up. I'd watch this movie. *wink*

Who'll stop the rain?

Seven-day forecast: Rain

Yeah, rain, rain and more rain. I honestly don't remember such a wet summer and I certainly can't recall a June 26 with a high in the mid-80s. This is great. Of course, my children hate the rain. Pickle pulled out Cat in the Hat to watch. I think the rain inspired him. Remember that in the first part of the book? The kids are watching the rain outside the window. Stinkerbelle keeps singing "Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day." I'm wondering if this is God's answer to my prayers to help me pay the bills. He is keeping our electric bill down. If you follow the thinking in Evan Almighty, that is a reasonable thought process.

Can anyone tell me when Seattle was picked up and placed in North Texas? Just thinking ...

This explains a lot

Lately, I've noticed that my right lower eyelid has been twitching like mad. In the past, this has only happened when I've been incredibly stressed and, usually, when I'm really mad. Well, for the past month, it has been happening way more frequently. Of course, with Army of Dad changing jobs last month, I'm on the 'catastrophic' temporary insurance policy and would have to be coughing up a lung before I see a doctor. So, like any dufus with Internet access, I decide to diagnose myself and do some surfing. Eye spasms like mine are apparently nothing to really worry about. I sort of figured that, but I want them to go away. The eyelid twitch is really annoying. According to the University of Michigan, the cause of minor eyelid twitching is unknown. A slight spasm of the lower eyelid or even both eyelids is common and of no concern. Still more disturbing to me, minor eyelid twitches require no treatment as they usually resolve spontaneously. Reducing stress, using warm soaks, or correction of any refractive error may help. Some ophthalmologists recommend reducing caffeine usage. Ha. Reduce stress. But, wait, noooo, anything but that .... reducing caffeine usage. NOOOOOO. I'm like the highly caffeinated science fair judge, Dr. Krunklehorn, from Meet the Robinsons with her caffeine patches that equal a dozen cups of coffee. Ok, maybe I can live with the twitch.


Rock around the clock

Well, the party is over and I can honestly say that it was a great success. I was hoping to do a big post telling all about it and I probably still will. For now, I'm content to post a few snapshots that I took. I asked Uzz to come and serve as the official event photographer and he graciously agreed to do that for me, so I have a plethora of fabulous photos awaiting me inside one of the two giant cameras he used that day. I took pics until he arrived and then I retired my camera for the rest of the day. This photo is the only one my mom has of her wedding day. Something happened to her photo album and most of her pictures were damaged or destroyed.
This was the reception table early on. We added more to this area, including a very pretty tray that my good friend made for my parents. It is one of those where you can put photos under glass and she included a newspaper clipping of the anniversary announcement and the party invitation. It made a beautiful addition to the table. My sister-in-law arranged all the flowers. I bought a bunch of mums and baby's breath at Sam's and she placed them in vases I brought with me. My mom hates this picture of them because of dad's ugly hat.
This shot shows all the smiles that everyone had looking at the pictures and a photo album that I made of mom and dad through the years. I didn't have lots of old pictures, but I did my best. This is my aunt, on the left (my mom's sister) and my cousin on the right.
This is one of the photo tables we had along the back wall. I took three tables and decorated them with photos over the years. You can see a clipping of my dad, in his youth, and several of his buddies when they won some championship. Then, there is mom's wedding announcement. The photo album has lots of fun pictures, too.
This was dad and mom before they cut the cake. They looked really happy. Dad smiled the whole time. He had a blast. Mom looked stressed to me much of the time. I think she felt obligated to circulate and talk to everyone and she still didn't get to visit with all her old friends and family.

This picture is pretty funny because mom kept acting like she was going to stab dad with the cake cutter while she was posing for snapshots. I thought it was pretty representational of them, actually.
This was a cute shot, too. This is my nephew (in the orange) and my brother. My nephew was cracking up at his dad in the Eagle Scout picture. My brother and his family were wonderful at the party. I had been dreading him criticizing my party planning, but he was really pretty good. His family arrived early and helped me clean the reception hall (long story, but the last people to use it did NOT clean it up) and then to move the tables and chairs and get everything ready. I can't wait to see Uzz's pictures of the event. We took all kinds of family pictures, candids and more. He has some precious ones of Little Bit, who was an angel the entire event. She was very cute and really enjoyed the whole thing, prissy little girl that she is. I have to extend giant thanks to LabKat and my friend, TS, because without them, this party would have never happened. Those two women not only put up with me freaking out madly about 90 minutes before the party started (I knew I have been way too calm throughout six months of planning!) and they served as hostesses keeping the punch bowl full, cookies restocked (LabKat worked very hard at making sure that we didn't have any broken cookies on the tray by gallantly eating all the broken ones!) ... and they were wonderful at greeting people and being very sweet to help keep me from going bananas throughout the event - even when one of my aunts completely dissed me by ducking when I tried to hug her. *taking deep breaths* All in all, it was great. We had about 70 guests, give or take, and my favorite quote from the evening from another aunt: "I thought this was a come and go reception ... but, I haven't seen anyone leave!" I think that, alone, tells us what a great party it was even if I did have to keep my husband from spiking the punch.


SPF: New and Improved Scent

The lovely Kristine at Random and Odd went on a cleaning jag yesterday and decided that air freshner should be our assignment. Whatever kind of air freshner we used in our house ... that was what we should shoot. Air freshners in our house are typically candles or soap that my dad makes. They have wonderful scents. Right now, we are enjoying a mulberry candle in the kitchen. My dad's candles are the greatest. I love the smells they create throughout the house.

So, what keeps your air fresh?

Happy 50th Anniversary

Today, my parents mark a giant milestone: they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that they have made it all these years. Heck, it is hard to believe with all the health issues that they've both lived this long. I am very grateful to them and all the opportunities they gave me through life. They may bicker and fuss, but deep down, they really love each other. I could see it on my dad's face when my mom had her radical mastectomy back in '89. He seemed so lost. She was the same way when he had his angioplasty in '93. But, they're still mean, still kicking and still loving.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Hopefully, the reception Saturday will be fabulous. It won't be for lack of love or lack of trying, if it isn't.


What the hell? Draco Malfoy?

You scored as Draco Malfoy, Spoilt and proud, you place high value on the purity of wizard blood and look set to follow in your father's somewhat shady footsteps.

Draco Malfoy


Albus Dumbledore


Ron Weasley


Sirius Black


Remus Lupin


Harry Potter


Hermione Granger


Severus Snape


Ginny Weasley


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with

Ok, this so totally pisses me off. I hate Draco and this is my Harry Potter alter ego. I even went back and took the test a second time. Both times, I'm 90 percent Draco. I guess I better dust off that Slytherin robe.

Hat tip to Mo K or is it Ron Weasley?


I am way behind on posting pictures for everyone. Last month, Hot Rod had his first communion. It was a very sweet mass and the kids all looked so handsome and pretty.
Our very patient priest was really good to pose for all these pictures after mass. No photos during mass, so I guess he figured it was a concession to all the moms and dads. However, there was no order or system in place, so guess who (yeah, you guessed it) stepped up and instilled a system. It was frustrating, so I just took over and created a line. We never did get a group picture because that one was way out of my control with all the parents grouped up too close to get them lined up for a group shot.

Hot Rod's godparents.

And mom and dad with the boy. It was a nice ceremony although I really need to NOT buy new shoes to wear for occasions like this. I had giant blisters on my toes by the time we got to picture time. He bore it well, but Army of Dad was suffering from some serious allergies this evening. Bless his heart. He was a trooper, though.
They look so happy to have just sat through a whole mass. I thought Pickle looked especially cool in his outfit. Look how proud Hot Rod looks. Little Bit is just happy to be in her "pretty white dress" with a bow in her hair.
It was nice to have AoD's dad there as well as my parents. Afterward, we had the family and godparents over for dinner.

First love

This my daughter's first "boyfriend." He is the son of a friend of mine who watches the kids every once in a while for me. Little Bit tells everyone now that she is going to marry him and they're going to have kids. Just like a typical woman, she already has their lives planned. Sad thing is that her boyfriend is moving to Oklahoma in a few weeks. She has already started planning our visit.

Field Trip at ATC

At the end of the school year, Pickle's sixth-grade class went to tour the new Advanced Technology Complex with our local school district. The facility provides special courses for high school juniors and seniors as well as continuing education opportunities for area adults. In addition to the basic vo-tech type classes you'd expect like cosmetology and automotive, students can also get hospitality, animation, graphic arts, engineering and law enforcement. It is really a very neat facility. I went to help herd the children and my son wouldn't leave my side, despite my encouragement to go see his friends. That is, he wouldn't leave my side this this little gal came along. Then, he took off without so much as a goodbye. He insists that she is just a friend.

My son, the mime. *shaking my head* This was at the football field where we ate lunch.
And, the thoughtful skeleton. Students can leave this campus with medical certification, too, for jobs in the healthcare industry. Lots of advantages at the school.


Me me me meme

I was tagged and it was really good. Oh wait, that is a different kind of tagged. This guy wouldn't tag me like that ... I'm not his type. *wink* Even though my blatant flirting has got to be getting old over there.

The Meme Rules:-- Post the rules, then list 8 things about yourself.--
At the end of the post, tag and link to 8 other people.--
Leave a comment at those sites, letting them know they’ve been tagged, and asking them to come read the post so they know what to do. Ok, just so you know, North Dallas Thirty, you are seriously fired.

Here is my list:
1. I own CDs by Eminem, Brad Paisley, Godsmack, Big T and the Bada-Bings, Nine Inch Nails, Johnny Cash, Will Smith and Justin Timberlake. I listen to all of them, too.

2. I hate to floss my teeth.

3. I have nightmares that my children are in danger, but they are always out of my grasp to protect them. One version always involves my children washing away from me in rushing water; the other involves the children running from me and into harm's way and I can never catch up with them.

4. I played competitive fast-pitch softball. One year, my team placed fourth in state.

5. I was in the top 10 of the Miss Fort Worth Teen Pageant when I was 15.

6. I was kicked off the JV cheerleading squad. Instead of being a social outcast, it actually boosted my street creds a small amount. I still managed to keep my Goody Two Shoes reputation, though.

7. I like reality TV. My favorites are Beauty and the Geek, Project Runway, Top Chef, Age of Love, Biggest Loser, Joe Schmoe, etc.

8. I'm 7.5 years older than my husband.

I don't think I have eight people to tag with this, so if you WANT to do it, please do it and let me know that you did and I'll come laugh and point, er, I'll come read your blog.


Stress Queen

I knew it was too good. I have been way too relaxed. Now, it is all coming back to bite me on my ample ass.

I'm under pressure from deadlines for a giant story package that is coming up, getting things ready for my parents' 50th anniversary shindig this Saturday (and anticipating dealing with my severely dysfunctional relationship with my very critical brother), working on Friday and hosting a little at-home jewelry party on Sunday (yeah, I'm not sure what I was thinking either having it on this date.)

My to-do list this week:
* write, write and write some more
* pay X number of bills with Y number of money
* cover my grey at the hairdresser
* finish framing photos of my parents through the years
* create photo album with remaining photos of parents
* sweep and mop kitchen and dining area
* make phone calls for even more interviews for stories
* dust
* clean bathrooms and kitchen
* wash and put up laundry
* work Friday night in neighboring city
* pack lunches for Hot Rod's day camp
* call exterminator to treat termites - creative accting to pay him
* go to Wallyworld to pick up pictures
* soccer pictures Saturday
* pick up cake and flowers and ice
* load up everything for party without forgetting anything
* decorate church

Oh hell, there is more, but I'm going to forget. The pressure is going to get me this week.

Herding cats

Well, I think God is giving me my Godsmack for all that sinning I've done in my life. My "special" team of soccer kids is forcing me to make a trip to the hairdresser before my actual six weeks. (i.e. my gray hairs are rapidly multiplying)

I have my "special" boy, whom I'm call Stuart. My boy, Stuart, also has a nickname. He is known as the "Dick Grabber." This child can't run down the pitch without holding himself in his hands. Ok, I take that back. He has adopted the "bird" run in which he runs and flaps his arms and yells "I'm a bird." God love him, I genuinely wonder if the child if the child is autistic or has Aspergers Syndrome. With another child, I would talk to the parents and address my concerns. What jades this discussion with his parents? His mom is a pediatrician. Surely, she recognizes this child's symptoms. Perhaps, she just doesn't want to tell me. I just don't know. But, bless his heart, I can't get frustrated with him. I just don't know how to reach him or help him.

But, in addition to Stuart, I have my challenges with the brother and sister team who refuse to listen. The brother is an oversized bully and his sister is just plain stubborn as a mule. She and I had a battle of wills tonight and I have to say that she won. I was out of options. Would you believe we battled over her taking a drink of water? She refused to go get a drink from the water fountain. Flat out refused. I cajoled. I ordered. I tried to be playful and get her to go get a drink. Nothing was going to work with this child. Her brother is pretty similar, but he seems to have more of a desire to excel and will eventually come around to instructions that are given as orders. These children definitely need some discipline, but without any way to back up my words, I'm defeated already. These kids will be the death of me.

Then, I have my poor sweetheart with vision problems. He has one eye that faces a different direction. I would call it a lazy eye, but I don't think that is accurate. He has always worn sunglasses. His mom said they help him see, only I think she does it to obscure the appearance. He took off his sunglasses today and my bully took it upon himself to call attention to sweetheart's eyes. *sigh* So, we had a discussion about how God makes us all different (this is the Baptist Church soccer league) and how we all have something special about us. So, I picked out something cute about each child. I did get a giggle when we did our scripture memory and for John 3:16, one child said Jesus was God's "only forgotten son." It is just funny to hear these little kids reciting scripture.

We ran lots and lots tonight because these kids need to up their endurance. Four minutes seems like a short amount of time to exercise, but when you're competing with nine other kids to get a ball and there are no game stoppages for indoor soccer ... it seems like forever to the kids. Running is easy. The passing drills and shooting drills - well, God help me, it is like herding cats - only harder.


Not sure what I did or how I did it, but apparently while goofing around on the computer about 1 a.m. Saturday morning, I accidentally hit a pop-up ad of some sort. Now, I have unleashed the fury of the pop-ups on my computer system.

Now, I sleep with a former IT guy, so you'd think that would provide me with a fix, right? Well, no. He has done everything he knows how to do and the attack of the pop-ups, advertising websites and .exe files, etc. continues.

For one thing, I will NEVER buy anything from any of the advertising sites that pop up. EVER. For the second thing, it is just really annoying. Our firewall/virus thingee (can't you tell how technical I am?) seems to be keeping most of it out, but something is clearly not right.

This will make for some fun till I get it fixed. Double grrrrr.


Happy Father's Day

I love the song
Watching You by Rodney Atkins and it is especially accurate for this Father's Day. My Hot Rod reminds me so much of the song that it isn't even funny. He wants to be so much like his dad. This one chorus really makes me smile: He said, I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool? I’m your buckaroo; I want to be like you. And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are. We like fixin’ things and holding moma’s hand. Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad? I want to do everything you do; so I’ve been watching you. Hot Rod began smacking me on the butt like he saw his dad do. We had to put a stop to that! But, I love these moments of sweetness of his part. Army of Dad is big and tough and mean, at times, but he is so tender. He yells loudly on the soccer fields, but the moms on the team told me that they know he is a "big ol' teddy bear on the inside" and they're right. Just don't tell anyone I told you.
Then, there are our own dads. My dad is something incredible. He grew up a very hard life and worked hard. He instilled a work ethic in me and taught me that girls can do anything a boy can do (except pee standing up, but that is another issue) and I remember him tucking me into bed every night and telling me that I could grow up to be the first female president if I wanted to. I credit him with much of my success in life.
I am blessed to have a wonderful husband in my life and I'm sure this his father played some role in the man he is today and for that I thank him.
And, I can't forget Pickle's dad, Uzz. Despite our divorce, he has remained one of my best friends and he is very instrumental in his son's life. I know he would walk on hot coals for his son and that love for him means the world to me. Pickle is lucky to have two dads who love him very much. Army of Dad gave up many Satudays of fishing and hunting to coach Pickle's soccer team for years. He went to basketball games, pre-kindergarten parties and all the stuff in between. He has been to ARD meetings at school to help serve as an advocate for his stepson. He has been there for this boy and supported him emotionally and financially. He makes the tough decisions for me sometimes when I don't want to be hard on him, but AoD knows that Pickle needs the firmness. He has been the father that he didn't have to be and I hope as he grows older that he recognizes the love and devotion his step-father has for him and it helps him be a better man and ultimately a better father when he has children.
I am blessed to have many wonderful men in my life to whom I wish a Happy Father's Day.


The 4400: The Saga Continues

One of the best shows on the planet, The 4400, starts season 4 on Sunday night. I am so absolutely stoked to see it again. I have the first two seasons on DVD, but not the third, so I may break down and buy it! It is a great mix of sci-fi and mystery and thriller all wrapped up into one. Sunday night at 8 p.m. on USA. Enjoy!


In the summertime

The summer has started off with a bang from careers camp and art camp for Pickle to three different baseball camps for Hot Rod. Stinkerbelle has been the odd gal out with only her soccer to keep her going. I'm going to try and get her enrolled in a dance or gymnastics class in the coming weeks, since she likes to be as busy as the boys. I love Hot Rod's green tongue from a ring pop last week.
Little Bit in her hot pink swimsuit (which was made for a roly-poly pre-schooler and not a skinny gal) was sort of hanging off of her. She was smiling for a snapshot when a guest at Dad's birthday party shot her with a water gun. Then, I got this expression. It was too funny, though.
Pickle enjoyed art camp this week. He worked with different mediums, which is really challenging for him and I was glad to see him dive right in. He did some drawing on tiles, some marbling of paper as well as working on clay. He created a Wallace and Gromit and did pretty well for his first dabbles in clay.
Outside the art center where his classes were this week is this sculpture. The kids really like it and it is a great photo spot.