Saturday, February 13, 2010

In the Middle

Taylor Swift's song, "A Place in This World" reminds me of my middle child. 


"I don't know what I want...


so don't ask me...


cause I'm still tryin' to figure it out."



My middle daughter is a scrapper.  She's a talented flautist, dancer, golfer and can take a computer apart and put it back together again. 


My middle child is a loving child who cares deeply for everyone's troubles and cries genuine tears for the pain of the world.  We've known this about her since she was very young.  


My middle child feels loss and grief deeply...the loss of her grandfather this year, while difficult for us all, was a searing loss for my middle child.


As a parent, knowing that my child bears the weight of the world on her shoulders is difficult...because I know that the world will disappoint her again and again.  








My midle child has the cutest dimples you'll ever see...she tries to hide them now that she's older, but I know where to look for them :)  She was diagnosed with asthma when she was 18 months old and we spent 4 days in the hospital.  The only way she would stay under the oxygen tent was if I stayed under there with her...so I did.  We watched Barney over and over through the thin plastic tent.  I memorized ever line in her face while we were under that tent. 







For some reason that I can't figure out, my middle child doesn't always see her "place in this world."  She's not a follower...and I am glad of that.  At the same time, her non-follower status makes her feel out of place in a small town high school sometimes.  I know that high school doesn't last forever and my middle child will be more prepared for the big world than many of her peers.  But, that's something she can't see yet. 


My middle child's sensitivity, creativity, loyalty, perseverence, stamina, talent and individuality are all characteristics that are invaluable in the world today...

and rare.

I am blessed.

Snow Day with the "Kids"




And, several more predictions of mine were proven correct ;)

My middle child put on every piece of clothing she owns to keep warm...kids in the South don't have parkas and such...

Except for kids who are hunters...they usually have a pretty decent stock of keep warm clothes...My middle child is not a hunter by any stretch of the imagination...








My youngest put on her warmest stuff as well...Gymboree jeans and boots (neither of which is waterproof by the way) and a sweatshirt that is by the looks of this photo ready for the Salvation Army basket. 

I believe my youngest is going to be my tallest child...I just can't keep up with clothes that fit her :(

Those are leaves in my pool...and you're not supposed to notice...I will get the leaves out as soon as I won't get frostbite from putting my hands in the skimmers.









My middle child and youngest child built a miniature snowman together...

My neighbors' septic system has been leaking into the ditch that runs under our driveway and you can't see it here, but if these two had made one small step forward, they would have been knee deep in...well, you can imagine.







My middle child posed for this photo...I don't usually like posed photos, but I think she was very proud of her winter outfit and wanted me to preserve the memory for posterity.  She's usually whining about me taking her picture so I took advantage of this rare opportunity.








Now, THAT's a snowball!!!!








Prediction #1 - 1 random young man arrives

Prediction #2 - notice that my youngest has on another pair of pants and boots (the boots in this picture are from Gymboree and are no more waterproof than the ones she had on earlier)








Prediction #2 again...a new change of clothes...same boots but different jeans and sweatshirt...

Have I mentioned that right now I have a washing machine that doesn't work??  9 days and counting...some strange part is being ordered...I finally gave in and went to the laundramat this past Thursday...spent $50 in quarters and 3 hours of my life washing 11 loads of clothes...but that's for another post...









The snowball fight got the attention of the Head of the Household who grew up in a house full of boys...just mention any kind of activity that entails throwing things at each other and he's game.









Lord, help me...
I promise these pictures were taken in order and on the same day...
This child changed clothes AGAIN!
The jeans and boots are new, but for some reason she went back to her original sweatshirt...who knows?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Uh-Oh and Beneigt's Snow Day



On Snow Day Eve I predicted Uh-Oh and Beneigt's behavior in response to the snow. 

I hate to say it (actually I love to say it), but I was absolutely right on the dot.



They both were stunned at first...






Uh-Oh immediately began having a panic attack...and ran to another side of the front porch as if he just couldn't believe what he was seeing...maybe he was still asleep and having an awful, horrible nightmare...







But, over on the other side of the porch, the snow was still there...I'm not sure why he decided to stand there and hold one leg up...he was probably imagining what it would feel like to step in the snow...
You know how cats are about their paws...






Beneigt, on the other hand, scooted a little closer to the edge to investigate the white stuff and the new smells in the air...







Beneigt backed up a little, intrigued with the entire situation but at the same time huddling against the cold....







In this photo Beneigt is trying to act cool so Uh-Oh won't completely lose his mind but at the same time contemplating his next move.  Uh-Oh has made it to the front door and is crying to come back in the house.






What'd I tell you??
We opened the door and Uh-Oh headed straight for the loft...
headed for high ground!
Notice the scaredy cat look on his face...
Please don't notice that my middle child has grapes in her bed...???






Even after he was in the loft, it took Uh-Oh a few minutes to get settled...
"Maybe if I just close my eyes, it will all go away"





And, then, something from below catches his attention...






Beneigt decided to climb the ladder and keep his brother comfortable for a while. 
I think he was just worried about Uh-Oh because once Uh-Oh relaxed, Beneigt went back outside...

But, that's another post...



SNOW!!!!

At 7:30 this morning my youngest woke me up with urgent whispers.

"Mama!"

No answer.

"Mama!"

Again, no answer.  But, I did open one eye.

"Mama, can I go see if it snowed??"

A little more concious at this point, I said, "Sure, but no matter what, you have to get back in the bed...it's too early to get up."

7:30 is not my idea of sleeping late.

As soon as she got the blinds open, I knew I was getting up.  "Mama! Mama! There's snow EVERYWHERE!" 

The urgent whispers had now become high pitched squealing.

The official word for nightfall is 3 inches.  Now, I don't write in this blog for anyone else but me.  But, I enjoy reading the blogs of others and particularly enjoy some of the folks who blog from parts of the country where snow is a part of life.  So, I'm ever mindful that those very folks (if they even look at my blog) are laughing their heads off right now...

"3 inches!!!!  This country gal ain't seen nothin'!!!"

But, listen...

3 inches...and it's still snowing...it's 10:57 a.m. as I type this and it's STILL SNOWING!!  HARD!!!

I took this picture from my front porch...Notice the Mississippi Pines...they look like Weeping Willows already...





This is my backyard...a typical backyard in Southern Mississippi...swimming pool (please don't notice the leaves that need to be scooped out of the pool), patio furniture and lots of room for being outside and having a good time...




In Southern Mississippi we also have lots of pots and supplies for planting flowers and veggies...our last freeze is earlier than most and winter doesn't last as long as most other parts of the country to begin with so I don't even bother to put my pots up...this pot looks like it's in shock...

"Please, please, help me....I'm being attacked by white stuff...!"





Most Southern Mississippi backyards have a grill...The Head of our Household also built the little brick patio the grill sits on for me...I absolutely love my little patio...when we built the pool last summer, my builder wanted to pull up my bricks and expand the concrete patio.  Let me see...little brick patio that my husband built for me with his own two hands...or more concrete slab??  

We do have plans to expand the deck and the patio area, all of which were built before the pool, but I will build around my little brick patio :)






The diving board looks cool with snow...sortof a contradiction, don't you think?






Our temperatures fluctuate a great deal here...we take a lot of sinus medicine for this very reason...but sometimes it's tough on the plants and shrubs as well.  This little plant thought it was time to bud...hope the snow doesn't hurt it too badly.





This is the limb of a Mississippi Pine covered in snow...Mississippi Pines are a signature tree in our state and you can see them even more commonly than the Magnolia tree. 

But...pines are weak...we learned this the hard way when Hurricane Katrina hit...it doesn't take much for a pine to snap.   I'm trying right now to enjoy the snow and not worry about what all this heavy snow is going to mean to the pine trees...not to mention the power lines that are within reach of falling limbs. 

I'll think about that tomorrow.






Here's one of the Magnolia trees in my backyard...mixed in with some Oaks and of course the Mississippi Pines...After Hurricane Katrina, as a way of dealing with their post traumatic stress disorder caused by all the chaos that erupted in the hurricane's aftermath, most folks cut down all the trees around their homes Of course, they had to get the trees off their roofs and out of their houses first. 

I don't mean some of their trees.
I mean all of their trees.

I just couldn't do it.

Most of our trees made it through Katrina...we had one in the back that fell nowhere near our house and one that fell in the front with just its tip touching our garage. 

I couldn't punish my trees for the actions of the other trees in our neighborhood.

I hope my trees remember my post Katrina kindness as they labor through the snow today...which, by the way, at 11:36 as I get ready to publish this post, is STILL FALLING!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day is here...to be continued...

Tonight feels a little like Christmas Eve...we are going to bed wondering what kind of prize we'll see when we wake up in the morning. 

The latest forecast says we will get between 5-9 inches of snow...they might as well have told us we are having a blizzard!!  Schools have already been closed for tomorrow...both mine and the kids'...even if it doesn't snow, that means sleeping late (something I enjoy almost as much as a Shipley's donut). 

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this snow.  My bones are aching and I'm tired of the cold.  Our utility bills have been out the wazoo and that's never any fun.  Between our late start to the semester and mine and the youngest fighting the crud, I feel as if I'm just beginning to get my students back on track.  Now, we're going to miss class again. 

My children, of course, are beside themselves.  If it does really snow, as it did in January 2007, I do look forward to my girls running in and out of the house all day...my floors will be wet, and they will change their clothes 1,000 times.  I will probably have at least a couple of random young men in my house and a snowball fight or two will ensue.  Uh-Oh and Beneigt will be mortified...Beneigt will probably venture out some, but Uh-Oh will be insulted that this cold wet stuff is on the ground.  Uh-Oh will probably elect to sleep in the middle child's loft all day if it snows.  If it does snow, especially if it's 5-9 inches, I will take a bazillion pictures...that I'm sure of...

Actually sounds like a pretty good day after all :)


Here are a few more shots from our November snow...


Two 17 year olds and a 5 year old...notice how the 17 year olds are acting goofier than the 5 year old ;)  Snow in South Mississippi has been known to make even adults act goofy.




The tap shoes again...and the nightgown on my youngest...this picture makes me cold!
By the expressions on their faces, I believe they had lost all self control by the time I snapped this photo :)






Aren't you proud of me??  I did finally find my youngest some sensible shoes (albeit no socks), gloves and a hood for her sweet head...I probably should have added pants but there was no time....seriously, this snow melted almost as fast as it fell.  My youngest is on the back deck now...notice the wet gloppy snow...that's what South Mississippi snow usually looks like...maybe we'll get luckier this time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow?

Snow in South Mississippi is an event to behold.




Snow in South Mississippi makes teenagers become like little children.  Notice my youngest daughter's tap shoes and nightgown...they were the only shoes we could find at 10:30 p.m. on this night in November when it began snowing.  My firstborn even has on shorts.  That's because even though it was snowing, the temperature had not been cold enough long enough nor was expected to stay low enough for the snow to stick...we knew it would all be gone by morning...and it was. 

That's also why I actually woke my youngest up that night so she could see the snow...hence her being in her nightgown. 

A student asked me yesterday in class if our college would be open on Friday.  I had no idea we were expecting snow Thursday night.  But, we are.  :)