Turkey Day 2010 – Tennessee Style!

“Bawk-baws!  Bawk baws!” These exclamations were some of Charlie’s first words upon arriving at Shani and Joe’s place in Dover, TN for Thanksgiving.  He was referring to the dozen or so chickens that Joe was raising in a coop just down from the house.  All three kids were mesmerized by the chickens.  Stewart loved collecting an egg from the nest, Will loved feeding them and Charlie loved carefully approaching them while pointing and yelling “Bawk-baw!”

The trip was excellent and a much needed break from our day-to-day.  After a surprisingly easy 2-part drive over (and the kid-heralded hotel stay where we all found ourselves in bed lights out at 8:45!?!?) to Dover we unloaded into Shani/Joe’s amazing amazing place atop of the high point of Stewart County.  Many acres of peace and quiet, sunrise and sunsets, large fields and larger skies. They live in a very special place – one that sets a strong mold for what I look forward to down the road.  The 3-day visit was filled with great food and family.  4-generations of our family as a matter of fact!  Spending time with my Granny was the highlight – she’s such a strong 90+ year old woman with great family in her life everyday.  Spending time with Penny and her family over one of my favorite meals (soup!) was fun – especially watching Charlie and his frustration with the puppy Bella who always seemed to want one of his three tennis balls.  Penny has raised a wonderful girl in her daughter Courtney – such quiet confidence and maturity.  In one 4 hour stretch we were able to see my Aunt Linda, Aunt Carolyn, Uncle Hugh, Aunt Carol, Uncle Gerald and my cousins Joey and Shannon and their families.  Cool stuff – my mom and dad do a great job at making stuff like that just happen.  Anyways – I prattled on a bit too long here to say that Thanksgiving is one of the greatest holidays of the year.  The food is great (especially that Sweet Potato Casserole Aunt D!) but the chance to see so much family and remember how cool it is to have such a large extended family is unique to this holiday.

Thanks to all who went out of their way for us this year!  You know who you are.  It was as special of a Turkey Day as I can remember (the sappiness ends here).

Click here to see pictures of our Thanksgiving in Tennessee.

Click here to see pictures of Will’s soccer celebration and Uncle T’s birthday.

Click here to see all of our pictures a la Flickr.

Parental Espionage?

I’m going to do something here that a) in 10 years might be more appreciated than it will be if discovered by my eldest son now, b) that highlights the special moments of being a parent, c) I’m not 100% is truly ethical but in the spirit of being a priceless parenting moment I am choosing to share broadly (to the 10-15 readers of this blog), d) that concerns me deeply for what may lay ahead in the journey of parenthood.  Allow me to set the stage.  Kids are down in bed.  Cindy whispers, as if we don’t have 3 of the deepest sleepers on the planet upstairs, you want to see something funny that I found in Will’s backpack.  Parental espionage has already started?  Our oldest is only 8!  I cautiously reply: “I’m not sure I like where this is heading.”  This should not be confused with me not wanting to know now more than ever.  She sneakily pulls out this (names have been hidden to protect the rights of the innocent):

Cindy explains to me that these days note-passing is supported by the school in the form of inter-classroom mail.  Why this is necessary in school still baffles me.  Do they pay bills?  Playground debts? Do they get junk mail like I do?  Essentially you write a letter, address it and it magically arrives at the sender’s classroom same day (the post office might want to explore their speed).  Will’s friend, we’ll call her “Susie” decided it was time to send a note to Will getting to the bottom of something that had clearly been bothering her.  At this point I feel it necessary to swear my 10 readers of this blog to absolute secrecy.  At least secrecy when sharing this with audiences less than the age of 12.  Reputationally this could sink “Susie” or worse the subject of her note both of which we know to be fine, upstanding young kids (one of which we can confirm has wonderful penmanship and letter-writing skills). And now the letter:

So many questions from such a short, direct note.  Personally I love how it lulls the reader into a false sense of security and calm.  Just a note to see how you are doing until WHAM! the catch-your-subject-off-guard-technique quickly re-routes Will into a tunnel of “you-can’t-possibly-answer-this-question-the-right-way” directness.  The author, clearly the “heavy” in her circle of friends, has played her cards perfectly and trapped my boy with an unanswerable situation.  Essentially his only way out is the same way he got into this predicament in the first place: DON’T ANSWER HER WILL!  My first impulse, ok, my 3rd impulse after 1) deciding not to immediately tweet it, and b) not screaming “DON’T ANSWER HER WILL” a la Seinfeld with the overhead camera shot, was to run upstairs, wake him from his sleep and tell him how grave this situation is.  Side note: I acted on none of the 3 impulses and instead watched “The Amazing Race” (best show ever – I could totally run the table on that show!), went to bed and woke the next morning and decided to post this instead.  I want to let him know that going the route of the geeky here is basically his only play.  I want to reassure him that no matter the depth of geekiness he falls into here, it will wear off in 20-22 years.  I speak from experience.  Yes, some (Cindy) would debate this and might win the debate.  I also want to let him know we are signing him up for saxophone practice very, very soon.

I find it imperative to reiterate that this story must not be shared within earshot of any child age 4-12 within 2 states of South Carolina.  Their network is just that good.

What else has been going on you ask?  Not much as can be viewed from the pictures below…Charlie finds his way to the top of tables, counters, couches daily without us seeing it happen.  Great parenting.  There’s a post coming about the slackness of raising a 3rd child.  Organic apples are much smaller than non organic (inorganic?) ones.  Stewart finished soccer.  Adventure Guides (see prior post) is going well with a 2nd successful camping trip.

Click here to see more random pictures from our last few weeks.

Boo! Muhahaha!!

Halloween is cool.  Arguably one of the biggest and best holidays for our kids.  Much anticipation, much hype, being outside after dark, dressing up and loads of candy…what’s not to love?  The kids transformed into Harry Potter, Hannah Montana and some random monkey (for about 10 minutes on the monkey) for the official day.  In the days prior we saw witches, princesses and Little Red Riding Hood too.  The neighborhood came through in a big way again with a great bunch of houses to visit and a park event with our neighbors and food prior to dusk and the beginning of trick-or-treating.  Charlie made it to exactly one home – ours where when he climbed the front stairs he promptly said “buks” which means “books” which really means bed.  Good times had by all.

Also notable from the past several weeks was Stewart’s 1st Field Trip (and my first chaperoning experience at a field trip) and Emily’s birthday celebration at Carowinds.  Fall soccer wrapped for Stewart and is wrapping for Will this week.  Life here is a mile a minute which frankly is typically all good.  Pictures in the slideshow format are below – enjoy!

Click here to see pictures of Halloween.

Click here to see pictures of Stewart’s Field Trip and Emily’s birthday at Carowinds.

Click here to see all of our pictures a la Flickr.