You're in the eighth grade. 
You came home from school and asked if I could keep a secret.  

There's a girl. 
Her name is Daisy. 

A Moment Captured

I found a picture of you.

You were maybe four or five years old, I'm not sure. You're holding a water gun in your hands, and the look on your face is so serious. I wonder what you're thinking about? Your mouth is open, just a little. What were you about to say, buddy?
The sun is shining on your soaking wet hair - I'm not sure if it's wet from sweat or the water gun battle - or both!  I see your little-boy-dirty-streaked face, with your eyes shining.  I remember that brown and blue shirt that you're wearing - how many times did I wash that thing?
I can even recall the smell of that little boy, with his ever-present wiggling, moving, noise, and sweetness.
I remember that day - it was warm, the sun was shining on us, out in the backyard. I look at that picture and it was only a handful of years ago, but so long ago, really.
You turned 11 a few days ago.  Eleven, my little boy with the bluest eyes.
I'm so proud of you!  You make me happy, and I have been incredibly blessed to be your Mom.
Happy Birthday, my sweetest boy.  I love you.
May 31st, 2014

Sheesh!  It's been forever and a day since I've been on here.
We've been crazy busy with school, church, work, soccer, and life in general that I haven't even thought about posting.  But now, it's Saturday, the boys are gone for a little while - how 'bout a little review and a few random thoughts?  Don't mind if I do.

It's finally summer and my favorite time of the year!  Ben is out of school; he finished fourth grade and leaves his elementary school for a new intermediate school next year for fifth grade.  Fifth Grade!! Unbelievable. 
As we went through visiting his previous teachers on the last day of school, I snapped pics of him with each of them and gave hugs - I never once thought I'd get teary-eyed, but I did!  He had such wonderful teachers there - I'm going to miss the family atmosphere.  The school he's heading to is muchmuch larger, they'll have sixteen 5th grade classes!  I'm already overwhelmed, I can't imagine how he'll feel.

My 'baby' turned 10 the first of May.  TEN!  We celebrated with a birthday party in the back yard. We called it the "Food Fight Rematch" - called a rematch because 2 years ago I lost my mind and had the first birthday party + food fight.  That party was such a hit with the boys that I thought, heck, why not do it again?!  This time, we invited 10 boys (and they all showed up! eek!).  I made sure to have lots of stuff for the boys to throw - Jell-O, mashed potatoes, flour, whipped cream, cheese puffs and pork n' beans.  We also had lots of silly string and I'd made 25-30 sponge bombs and put them in tubs of water in the yard. Now, when I had the bright idea to make them for the party, I thought the boys would use them sort of like water balloons; they'd throw them at each other, and the water would help wash off some of the yuck.  Uh.  Not so much.  They got downright violent with them!  I made sure to stay far away during the melee, but they had a ball.
I made Ben's birthday cake and if I can figure out how to post a picture, I'll do so.  He wanted a Minecraft cake, so I hit the internet looking for ideas.  I found a wonderful YouTube video and followed it exactly - it was awesome if I say so myself.  He was so excited to show it off to his friends.  Am I a cool mom or what?  :)
After dark, we roasted marshmallows over the fire pit and made s'mores, then went inside for showers and to cool off a bit before bed.  Oh, I didn't mention it was a sleepover?  Yes. Another brilliant idea on my part.  Ha!  Greg had the camper and tent all set up and ready to go earlier in the afternoon, so at bedtime the boys drew straws to decide who got to sleep where.  (the camper has AC and actual beds......the tent?  Doesn't.)  A good friend (and Dad to one of the kids) slept in the tent with half the boys and my sweet husband slept in the camper with the other half.   Not sure how much sleeping went on out there, because I slept in blissful peace and quiet inside ~ that's the advantage of being the only girl!
The zombies started peeling out of their caves at around 7:30am,  ready for breakfast.  We formed a buffet line for them after making approximately 750 pancakes, 245 pieces of bacon and 22 dozen scrambled eggs.  Give or take.
They fueled up and then headed back outside.  They ran, they screamed, they used anything and everything as weapons, they hollered, they ran some more, they went out in the woods and built forts, they explored, and they ran and ran and ran. 
When it was time to leave, we handed them over to their parents tired and filthy, eaten up with bug bites and scratches from running through briars in the woods.  Just the way boys are supposed to look. 
After the dust settled, we pronounced the party a big success and I vowed to never do it again.  :)

We're gearing up for vacation in a couple of weeks - I think we're all more than ready for a little R&R.   We'll be spending a week in Orlando with a few hundred thousand of our closest friends.  Can't wait.  :)   Then later on in June, Ben and I will be headed to the beach with Mom, Toni and the boys. That's always a fun trip when my sister and I get together.  Silliness abounds. 

Ahh.  Summertime.  I'm actually sitting on the back porch right now ~ ceiling fan is on, feet propped up on the table.  Greg and Ben came back earlier, now the hubs has started demolishing the deck and I'm supposed to be supervising. 
Guess I'd better go make sure everything is up to snuff.  

Have a wonderful summer!


Crawfish and Sausage Soup


This is the recipe for the soup Ben loves - we made it for the first time way back in 2010.  I was in the kitchen trying to figure out something to make for supper (hmm...is there a theme here?) and Ben was 'helping' me.  So, we literally started throwing things in a pot, and this is what we came up with!  The measurements are approximate - it's basically a dump-it-in-to-taste recipe.

 Crawfish & Sausage Soup
Medium-dark roux, using 1/2 of a stick of butter and 1/3 cup of flour

1 lb  Cajun Smoked Sausage, sliced
1 package crawfish tails, rinsed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 T dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Pasta of your choice, cooked
Louisiana Hot sauce, optional *

Make a medium-dark roux;  when done, add onions to roux and cook over medium heat till done.  Transfer to a medium sized stock pot.  Add sliced sausage, chicken broth, bay leaves and parsley.  Bring to a boil.  Add cream of mushroom soup, whisk to combine.  Add crawfish tails and cooked pasta, season with salt and pepper.  Heat through, remove bay leaves and serve immediately. 

*The sausage has a bit of heat to it, but if you want to add hot sauce, go for it.  Because I made it with Ben in mind, I didn't add the hot sauce.



On the way to school this morning, I asked Ben if he wanted anything special for supper tonight. (yeah, it's sad that I have to get supper ideas from an 8 year old...)

Well, I'll give you three guesses as to what his first idea was.  It starts with a p and ends
with an aHas izz in the middle....

I tell ya, at 7:45 am (that was really 6:45, due to the whole Spring Forward event of the weekend)  pizza was not high up there on my list of ideas for supper. 

So, I tried to talk him out of that - I crinkled my nose and said how about something else? 

     How about my Honey Chicken?   "Nah."

     Chicken and Sausage Gumbo?  "Nah."

He thought for a second and said, "Shish kabobs?  Without.....?"   (*)

     Without what, bud?

"Without the vegetables.  Just the steak and onions?"

     Um, I'm not sure I have any steak, but if I do, yeah, I guess we could have that. 

He was quiet for a minute and then said, "Hey! What about that crawfish and sausage soup?  That's my most favorite food ever that you make!  Could you go to the store and get some crawfish and make that?"

     Really? That's your favorite?  Um, sure.  I could do that. 

"AWEsome!  I love you, Mom!!"   Kiss!!  :)

So, I guess I'll be making a trip into town for crawfish.  Nah, he's not spoiled at all.

*We have a friend who has introduced Ben to the wonders of Mediterranean food - he thinks Mr. Sam is cool, so he's tried several new things and, lo and behold!  he likes it!!!    In fact, he was walking around the house the other day, saying, "Baba ganoush!" 
But even Mr. Sam can't get Ben to eat vegetables - cool as he is.



 The definition of dread, according to Mr. Know-it-all Google:

      Verb - Anticipate with great apprehension or fear.
Oh, it's not something that I've thought about every waking moment, or even all that frequently - but when it would pop into my head, dread would be the perfect word choice. 
The question I've dreaded for 8 years has finally been asked.
We were driving home from somewhere last weekend, and for whatever reason, we were in two cars - little man rode with his Dad, while I drove alone.   As we gathered our things from the cars to go in the house, Greg pulled me to the side and told me that Ben had asked who his Birthparents were.  My first thoughts were:  Ooh, thank goodness he asked his Daddy and not me!  And, oh dear Lord, what brought this on??  Why now?  What do we say??
We huddled in the garage for a minute, deciding finally that:  if he asked, he's ready to know.
(nobody asked me if I was ready!)
We've had the adoption conversation before - he knows he's adopted, we use the word adoption freely - but he's never asked about Birthparents.  My baby is somewhat naive about the whole birds and the bees thing; he hasn't been around many pregnant women, so the whole idea of where babies come from is waaaaay off his radar.  Thank goodness.  So, for him to ask - out of the blue - about Birthparents?  (we found out that he'd watched an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place featuring an adopted character, who referred to their Birthparents....go figure.) 
So, we put all our things away and called a Family Meeting.  Ben hopped into my lap, happy-go-lucky, while I felt my stomach start to digest itself.  My sweet husband took the reins and brought the subject up again. {Because of privacy, I'm not going to go into specifics  - the folks that read this blog (most of you, anyway) know us and our family story personally, so specifics aren't necessary.}  
After a few minutes, with all his questions answered, the subject was closed and he was satisfied.  That, which I'd dreaded for so long, was much easier than I could have dreamed. 
I know this won't be the end of the questioning, but I think the groundwork has been laid nicely. 

Now, I'll have to find something else to dread.....


You, my dear, smell. 

Not in the, "Oh, you smell like roses!" smell. 

No no no....you smell like a dog.   Your blanket smells like a dog.  The rug smells like a dog.

Your chair....wait.  MY chair!  When did it become your chair?  Oh yeah.  It became yours when YOU GOT YOUR SMELL ON IT!  

You're a big, goofy, wild, hard headed, smelly dog. 

Want a treat?  :)