Tuesday, May 29, 2007

If you are looking for a happy, feel good post, this is not it. Move on. Come back later. Right now, I have to vent.

I hate this place. I really do. I've tried. I've made the best of it. I've gotten involved, met neighbors and made friends. But I hate it here. No offense to Georgia. It's a beautiful state, really. I've met alot of really nice people. But I just don't think this is the place for me. This past week, I've received 3 letters from 'my' homeowner's association that I am not in compliance...my flower beds need mulch, my weeds need to be treated and my children's toys need to be out of view when not in use. I'm not kidding. I'm not even exaggerating. Then I got a warning letter from the county that I illegally watered my lawn. With that I was threatened with a $1000.00 fine and/or 60 days in jail. "Hey, what are you in for?" "My sod was looking a little parched." The icing on the cake was a nasty email from one of my neighbors accusing me of talking about her behind her back. Seriously, I'm almost 42 and if I've got something to say, I'll probably say it to your face. It did hurt my feelings though. So silly. On top of all of that, I've been dealing with the 'builder warrenty guy'. I realize he has a boss to answer to, but is it really that hard to do it right the first time? How about the second? He 'fixed' my front door on Friday and now it doesn't shut at all. The painters came, and despite my telling him that I wanted all of the trim scraped and repainted, they only painted where it was peeling. They'll have to come back. It seems no one is actually responsible for anything, but everyone wants to hold you responsible. And God forbid you actually get a straight, much less honest, answer from anyone.

Really, I'm ready to go home. Back to where I know where I am and where things are. Back to friends and family and comfort.

There, I feel a little better. But only a little. I'm still in Georgia.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

All in a Days Work

The painters came yesterday do redo the work that should have been done right the first time. It wasn't their fault. Crappy builder. Anyway, Blair got home and was going to take the girls outside. Rena went out first and Blair hit the open button for the garage door. Now, don't ask me why, but Rena decided to hold onto the handle of the garage door. You know, the one that's there in case you lose power and have to open it manually. (That's not really a problem for me, I'm a southerner and we don't really use the garage to park in! )Blair stepped back inside for something and the next thing we know, Rena is screaming. She didn't let go of the handle and it lifted her into the air. Then she was afraid to let go because she didn't want to fall. Luckily, the outside painter came to her rescue! Bad parents that we are, we didn't even register that she was in trouble. She was scared, but otherwise fine. Later, I'll see if she'll recreate the scene for me so I can get a picture. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Speaking of Night-Night

Rena had Budda. (pronounced Bud-u) Rachel has her thumb and her belly button. Riley, well, she's an interesting one. Most nights, Riley doesn't get her 'lovey' until about 30 minute before she goes to sleep. I should have been taking pictures all along, but I've only managed to get a few. You see, she finds some THING that she has to go to sleep with. Oh, and don't try to take it away from her. Blair found this out the hard way. Now, these things are not your conventional bedtime lovies. My favorite one is a Melissa and Doug puzzle which has three posts that you place graduated wooden shape on. Other's have included her bath towel, books, cars, keys...well you get the picture. So, I've added a few pictures to share. In one, she has a handful of books and in the other, it's an elmo phone. She's not asleep yet.


I think this video says it all!

View this slideshow created at One True Media

"The Guys" mom had a boys thing and asked me to watch her girls. We had lots of fun. We played on the playground, made pictures and hats, and ate. The 3 year olds enjoyed dressing up. You can see the little princesses are still in costume. Here they all are enjoying a little watermelon snack. That's alot of girls!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Devil's Tramping Ground

The Devil's Tramping Grounds is a barren circle in the forest in the Harper's Crossroad community near Bennett, NC. It is the subject of some of North Carolina's oldest legends. For at least the last hundred years, nothing has grown within the 40 foot ring and the phenomenon is thus far unexplained. A United States Geological Survey team could uncover no scientific explanation for the lack of growth within the ring.
Stories about the ring are well known in local communities. These include the disappearance of objects left within the ring overnight, and strange events occurring to those brave enough to spend the night within its boundaries.
Legend says that this is the very place the devil himself can rise from the depths of fiery hell, and come to earth. It's at this place, the devil walks in circles on certain nights and brings his evil into this world.

Ok, now that you know all of that, let me just say, I think my backyard, in particular, my garden spot, qualifies as Georgia's version of this. And whenever I've compared my backyard to the Devil's Tramping Ground, my non-North Carolina natives just look at me funny. Anyway, hope this explains it.

Aunt Mamie

I've been checking out Ancestry.com web site and finding my roots. Not for any particular reason. My mother's maiden name is rather unusual, so it makes it easy to research that kind of thing. Anyway, I was checking out her side of the family and I started thinking about my Aunt Mamie. Actually, she's my great Aunt Mamie. She and her family lived in Beaufort, NC. Every summer, we spent part of the time down in Atlantic Beach, which is just a few miles from Beaufort, and we would go and visit my mother's family. These were my mother's aunts, uncles and cousins. But Aunt Mamie was my favorite. She lived in a trailor beside her son and daughter-in-law's house. They lived on a farm. I think this might be where I actually fell in love with a farm. There was a dirt road that led to their houses and, being at the beach, it was really made of soft sand which felt great to summer's bare feet. The fields were across the street from the houses and they would always let us pick watermelons to take home. Feral cats lived under the house and there was always a new litter of wild, untouchable kittens. It was always warm and there was always tea.

Aunt Mamie was my Grandfather's sister and they looked a little alike. She was very sweet and always had a smile on her face...much like I remember my Grandfather. She had a bird that could do tricks. She had found that bird and given it a good home. She loved him. And that was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

My mother was an only child, and after she died, we completely lost touch with her family. It's a shame really. I did learn that my Aunt Mamie didn't die until 1995. that was a full 5 years after my mother died. I think she was about 98 when she died. I would have loved to have seen her again. Her son and his wife still live in the same place. At least I think they do. I should probably look them up, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I don't travel light. I'm prepared for most any situation. I have diapers, wipes, ziploc bags, trash bags, napkins, dog leashes and I just added a potty to the repertoire. I also have a variety of food products...goldfish, teddy grahams, juice boxes, etc. If you have children, you get the picture. It looks like a scene from the Food Network's version of Sanford and Son.

Yesterday I decided to take a few minute and try to see if I could find the floorboard of my car again and ,perhaps, restock. My girls think this is a fun place to play. They were shortly joined by 'the guys'. Within minutes all of the snack food was consumed and nothing but empty bags and plastic containers was left. They even emptied out the coin contents. This must be what it feels like to be descended on by locusts!

Dahling, you look smashing!

I don't know if it's because I've been up since 4:00am or if this is really this funny, but I've been entertaining myself by checking out the celebrities and, even more so, by reading the descriptions of them and their outfits. I always wonder what possesses them. Don't they have any real friends that tell them they look rediculous? Check it out.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Screaming Nekkid Toddler Tantrum

Blair met us on the beach about 20 minutes before we were going to head in. We had already been there about 5 hours and I was ready for a shower. So, we stayed even longer and no one was complaining. We finally packed up the pack n play, the beach blankets, the chair, the sand toys, the dog and all food paraphernalia and headed for the outdoor shower by the pool. While we washed everyone off, including the dog, a little girl started talking to Rena and wanted her to come play in the pool. I told Blair it might be good for Rena to hang out with her since the little girl was older and could swim. So, Blair and Rena got in the pool. I was going to take the twins and the dog to the room and start real showers so we could go to dinner. For some reason I don't remember right now, I decided to let the girls get in the pool too. They didn't have their bathing suits on, just diapers. And the dog wasn't supposed to be on the pool deck. But we got in anyway and Max was on his best behavior. Rachel and Riley were loving being in the pool, but since I was their life jacket, I was beginning to lose interest. After a few minutes, I decided to go ahead and take Rachel and Riley and the dog upstairs. There were a couple of problems with this. First of all, I didn't have anymore diapers for the girls and I didn't have any clothes for them either. At this point, their diapers weighed more than they did, so they had to come off. Now I have 2 naked babies,one towel and a dog. Oh, he's not very good on the leash. So, I try to wrap the one towel around the 2 naked babies and hold the dog leash while carrying both children. This MIGHT have worked. But Riley didn't want to leave. She goes into the passive-aggressive, limp baby position, making it almost impossible to hold her, much less cover her and her sister with one towel. And the dog is systematically wrapping himself around my legs. Swiftness is my only chance. I finally get from the pool to the door to the hotel (gently knocking people out of my way) only to find that my key doesn't work. All the while, Riley is wailing "No, no, no, no, no!" I make my way back to the pool to call for help from Blair. He brings Rena and they go to the lobby for a new key, while I wrestle with 2 naked babies in one towel while still being wrapped in a leash by the dog. Finally, Blair and Rena return with a working key and some very nice ladies help us by holding the 2 doors between me and the elevator. Then they wisely chose to dissappear before people assumed they were with me. Once in the elevator, I gave up on the towel and let the naked babies rule. I'm just glad no one saw us in the hall. Riley's wails of NO continued until about 3 seconds before Blair and Rena showed up. Ah, peace.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

View this montage created at One True Media
Ray-ray sings and dances


My father lives on a boat half the year and it just so happened that he was able to meet us in st. augustine. I packed up the girls and the dog and headed over to the municipal marina for a visit. It was great to visit with him and it didn't take long for Rena to get re-aquainted. We hung out on the boat and ate watermelon. I think the girls ate a whole one!

St. Augustine

I'm not a big traveler. I tend to be more of a homebody. However, I do like being other places. I know that sounds weird. It's just the thought of travel that I don't like. I pack everything but the kitchen sink when I go somewhere and with little kids, it's even worse.

Well, Blair goes to St. Augustine on business alot and this time he decided to take us with him. A beach? I'm in! We were going to all ride with Blair in his truck and tow my jeep so I'd have a way to get around while I was there. This sounded great to me. I was actually going to have a little time to read, relax and maybe even catch a few zzz's. Once we were all settled into the truck (Max was on his own in the jeep), I kicked back with my latest parenting magazine and started to read. This lasted until we pulled out of the driveway and discovered that you can't actually tow my car like that. 2 options. Put my car on a flat bed trailor, which we have, or I drive. Well, the girls had already been strapped into their carseats for 15 minute, so I decided to drive. No need to confine them any longer than necessary. I wasn't very happy about this but I was ready to go. Turns out, it wasn't so bad. What I actually don't like about traveling is sitting there for long periods of time. It's not so bad when you're driving. Plus, it was just me and the dog. And my thoughts. I don't get to hear them that often anymore, so it was kindda nice. (No, I'm not hearing voices in my head. At least not yet. And even if they were there, I probably wouldn't be able to hear them over the din of my own children!)

The drive to St. Augs wasn't so bad. There were stretches of it that reminded me of Raleigh a long time ago. It was all lush and green and there weren't traffic barrels everywhere. All of that green made me think of my childhood and trips to the beach. There doesn't seem to be much lush green left these days. Everything is being destroyed to make room for new. But on this drive, while I could hear my thoughts, I thought about how it used to be. I remember going to the beach during the summer and when we'd return home, the yard would be all shady and cool, in that summer kind of way. We had a pecan tree and a maple tree that shaded most of the front yard. The grass would need to be cut and there was always the smell of fresh cut grass from one of the neighbors. The house would be stuffy from being closed up for so long and it's warmth would welcome you when you walked in. It was nice to be home. Those smells and feelings were comforting. I miss those carefree days of youth, and I'm afraid that my children won't have those carefree days if I'm not careful. The 'Jones's' push way too hard for our children to grow up too fast. But I'm in control now, and so, carefree and innocent it is.

We spent most of the week on the beach. It was great. St. Augustine is beautiful and I absolutely loved it. There were beautiful flowers everywhere and it was warm and sunny and you felt like there was really no need to wear shoes anywhere. Great! I ate seafood every night. It's the oldest city in the US and so there are all these great old houses shaded by palm trees, scrub pines and twisted old live oaks. The buildings and houses are separated by streets that are paved with old cobblestone bricks that are uneven and worn. You really feel like you are in another time.

We stayed in a hotel right on the beach, so each day, I would load up the stroller and set out for the beach. Me, Rena, Rachel , Riley and Max. We had to walk through the pool area to get to the beach, up some steps to the outdoor shower, across the gazebo, down a couple of step and then into the sweet soft white sand that the Atlantic Ocean had offered up. There's nothing better than walking barefoot through that soft sand. Oh, it's hard work, especially when you're pushing a double stroller, loaded. But it's great. It makes a kind of squeaking sound as you push on towards the harder packed, wet sand. Your feet sink down into it's warmth and resurface for another step. Progress is slow but Ahhh.

It helps to know the tide schedule, which I didn't, but the beach is really wide and there weren't alot of people there. The last day we were there, we got there at high tide, so I set up right at the water. The girls played in the sand and the surf, chased birds and made sand castles. Rachel and Riley took a nap in the afternoon, so I got to spend time with just Rena. Max guarded our 'camp' from other dogs and bike riders. Blair joined us in the afternoon and we all just wandered around enjoying the warm sun and the cool water. It was perfect.