circus, family, fun

The Circus

It’s been such a nice weekend! The weather has been cool-not-cold and nobody has suffered with allergies. I was picking up dinner from Fernando’s earlier in the week and saw a box of many “Free Child’s Ticket” to the Star Family Circus. I grabbed three and marked the calendar. I have only ever been to one other circus in my life, long ago, and can’t remember much of it. I recall it reminded me of Dumbo, complete with the large, red circus tent and performing wild animals. It bothered me watching elephants and tigers being whipped, so I didn’t want to go again. Clowns also bother me. However, the Star Family Circus only uses trained dogs who are treated with bits of hot dog when they perform.

I gave the big kids some cash so they could buy coloring books and cotton candy (Elias thought the cotton candy was a magical experience). In the beginning of the show, they sat up front for a better view. All in all, it was a fun experience for the kids and us as a family.

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christmas, family, fun, gingerbread, hair dye, new orleans, new years, polar express, snow, travel

Christmas 2016 – New Year’s 2017

Christmas Day

Christmas Eve and Day was amazing, in spite of Dad’s accident. On Christmas Eve, the kiddos opened their traditional matching pajama sets from Gymboree, which I managed to snag a picture of before letting Elias sample the cookies and make a chocolatey mess all over himself. Emily came over and we decorated a Wilton’s pre-baked gingerbread mini house party kit (phew, that’s a mouthful!) and I baked chocolate chip cookies for Santa. I found a Santa-Tracker app on my phone, so it was fun showing the kids where Santa was located and when he’d arrive at our house. It was exciting for them as they hurried to bed. James swears he heard sleigh bells, so they hurried to bed before midnight.

Christmas Day was relaxing that morning. Everyone basically got what they wanted, plus some cool extra stuff. Santa only drops off one thing for each kid now (so much easier), so Zac and I buy whatever else. This year the big kids wanted robots. I blame cable TV in Dad’s room for all the commercials. So James only wanted an interactive R2D2 and Leah wanted a Zoomer cat. Santa brought her a Meowzie (Zoomer kitten) and she was disappointed that it didn’t roll, despite having wheels. She’s come to like it, though. And Elias has been glued to his new rocking horse.

 

We went to Sean’s for New Year’s. We arrived early enough for the kids to play for a little while before having to go to bed. Sean introduced us to his lady-friend, Erica, who Leah just loved to pieces. Erica is into Minecraft on a level similar to James’ so they’re all basically BFFs. Mom had bought tickets for the Polar Express train ride in New Orleans prior to Dad’s accident, so since they couldn’t go, we brought Marie and Francesca. It was such a fun experience. The kids loved it and it was nice going with Zac’s family.

Jessie invited us over to watch fireworks, but it rained all weekend. We hung out and she dolled me up all fancy while Zac picked up a pizza. She even baked some chocolate macarons, O.M.G. They were delicious. The big kids played with Orrin and his super cool Millennium Falcon hovercraft while us grownups enjoyed coffee and conversation. Elias was on such great behavior, we kinda forgot he was around, haha.

It was a great weekend, even in the rain. Karen came to stay with us for a few days to help watch Dad since it’s difficult for me to give him 100% attention when I’ve got kids to worry about.

We had our first snow of the year. I say snow, but it’s really ice. Cold, slippery ice. The kids are loving it, though, even without shoes.
family, fun, halloween, holiday, trick-or-treating

Halloween 2016

Halloween sneaked up on us this year. Going to the Oaks threw us off and before we knew it, we had one day left to grab a few bags of candy for Trick-or-Treaters and last-minute pumpkins to carve. Part of me is glad the day is over, but the other part wishes it was still hovering. Zac worked overtime hours over the weekend, so we never got a chance to do much prep. He brought the kids to work with him on Sunday, which gave me some much-needed Me time. I was especially thankful to Elias for napping a good three hours straight.
On Halloween, the kids received their treat buckets from the Wicked Witch and we got started on making Octoberfeast. I gotta say, I’m proud of myself for getting everything prepped and ready within the time frame. Once the food was done, we went Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood with Emily and Alex, then came home to relax. My comfortable shoes couldn’t prevent my back pain, but it was a fun night. I don’t have any pictures, but we dressed the same as we did for Ghosts in the Oaks, minus the hair dye.
30 day blog challenge, camping, fun, september, slumber party, summer, three memories from childhood

September Blog Challenge: Day 20

Describe three significant memories from childhood.

My most favorite memories of childhood happened with Daina. Even though we drifted apart as we got older and made lives of our own, she was my best friend and I’ll always be grateful to have made the memories with her. I’ve got so many memories, but I’ll try to pick just three.
I remember meeting Daina when I was probably four or five years old. I was sitting in our den, probably playing with a few McDonald’s Happy Meal toys when a woman with white-blonde hair and golden-brown skin knocked on our front door. It was always weird to me when people knocked on the front door. They would have to park at the front of the driveway by the old metal gate instead of pulling all the way to the end by the garage to knock on our back door by the kitchen. Mom invited her and her little girl in. Daina, I remember, was shy. She hid behind her mom’s leg, peeking around to look at Emily and me. She had red hair! I had never seen a kid with red hair before. Ms. Sue introduced herself and Daina. “I was driving by and saw two little girls who lived here around Daina’s age. Maybe they could play together sometime.” She told us we were welcome to come by anytime. She had a swimming pool and a trampoline, as well as a barn with horses, chickens, goats, and a few ducks.
A few days after the introduction, all I wanted to do was go play with Daina. My parents were weird about it since Ms. Sue “probably smoked” or “probably didn’t go to church”. Lots of meaningless probabys to me. I wanted to be friends with Daina. My parents relented and let us go to her house to play. Emily and I would play outside and wait for the school bus to pass behind our house. Daina would wave and shout for us to come over, so we would run inside, put on our swimsuits, grab a change of clothes, and run down the long, paved road to her house (barefoot!). Some days it would be so hot, our feet would get blistered. We would stop on the shady patches of road made by the overhanging trees to cool our feet before running again. Looking back, I don’t know why we never put our shoes on.
Daina lived in a mobile home when we first met. She shared a room with her older sister, Sherry, and used the second bedroom as a playroom. She had so many toys, we could barely move in the room, but we would sit and play with Barbie Dolls for hours. We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool, or jumping on the trampoline, singing as many Disney songs we could remember (a lot). Her mom made the best pancakes in the morning.
In middle school, Daina moved to Picayune (about an hour and a half from where we lived in Pearl River) into a house her mom designed. I was so sad when she left, even though I still got to see her on the weekends when I would sleep over at her house or she would come to mine. She had her own bathroom, plus a bigger area of land for her animals. She had cows, a mule, and a pony by then, as well as a feisty bull. I remember when we wanted to go play in the woods across the pasture, we had to climb the fence and run like hell because the bull would sometimes chase us. We were idiots, but it was exciting. 
Daina was the only kid my age who had a four-wheeler. When she got it for a birthday (I think?) she invited me to her house to ride on it. She would drive us down the super long dirt road from her house to the highway, then back again. Sometimes she’d ride through the pasture, making sure to run through all the cow patties she could find. So gross! Riding through the woods was my favorite, even in the rain.
One of my favorite memories was when Ms. Sue would invite me to go camping with them. She had a cabin that was high off the ground with huge windows. There was a kingsized bunk bed and a wood-burning fireplace, but no bathroom. Daina and I would walk through the woods to the creek to do our business (I think she loved it far more than normal). When it would rain, we’d play board games or play house (if we brought our baby dolls). At night, her dad would grill hot dogs or burgers. Daina sometimes invited another friend along, but I never minded because I got along with her friends. Sometimes they made me feel less afraid to try new things, like swinging from a rope attached to a branch of a tree at the top of a steep slope and splashing into the murky, brown creek. Sometimes we would bring flashlights and walk through the campsite after dark and try to scare each other with stories or “what ifs”. During the day, we’d ride horseback down trails. Sometimes, I rode with Daina, sometimes I rode alone, but I was never nervous.
Daina taught me how to put on makeup, something Mom and Meredith never did. She showed me how to tweeze my eyebrows and apply mascara without getting it clumpy, as well as how to dress with style, and paint my nails neatly. It was so much fun getting ready to go to the movies or to the mall with her. She would sometimes do my makeup for me or let me borrow some of her clothes or shoes. And so much GLITTER. I had so much fun growing up because of her.
black widow, family, fun, kids, madison ms, renaissance, spider

A Day At the Renaissance

Zac gave me his old Macbook, but it doesn’t retain a charge unless constantly plugged into an outlet. We decided to take a trip to Madison and hang out at the Renaissance. We stopped by Barnes & Noble and picked out a few books, then headed to the Apple store. It would be cheaper to order a new battery through Amazon, so we skipped the purchase, bought some lunch, and walked around.
While I was sitting on a bench feeding Elias, Zac noticed a large spider web with a few egg sacs tucked under the arm. It creeped me out a bit, as Elias was grabbing the arm stump of the bench and pulling himself closer to me. His little hand was so close to the web and I didn’t even know it. Upon further inspection, the egg sacs looked like spiky death-bombs. The spider was curled around one of the two, but when I poked at her with a pine needle, she moved and I saw the red hour glass that only a Black Widow carries. Yikes!
Rain clouds started coming close, so we had to leave a bit sooner than we would have liked. The next time we visit, we’re going to P.F. Chang’s. As we were leaving, it was all we could smell and how I regretted eating that hot dog when I could’ve filled up on sushi.