Dear Rader #19

Dear Rader,

Today is your 19th birthday. I like to write you and your brother a letter every year, and this one will be no exception.

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I’m incredibly proud of you and your brother. Y’all have weathered some emotional turmoil this year, and even though you both have a little internal bruising, you are stronger for it.

You just finished your first semester in college. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to fathom you’re a grown-ass man. You worked your tail off earning ALL THE SCHOLARSHIPS to pay for college. You worked your tail off earning money to help pay for your trip abroad, your trip to Puerto Rico, and to buy yourself a car. I know adults who don’t have the work ethic you have now. It’s amazing to see you take control of your life, set goals, and work like a junkyard dog to achieve them.

You’ve always been my little individualist and it makes me proud that you’ve had a self-awareness well beyond your age. I’d love to take credit for helping you with that, but I think that you were just born with it. You weren’t a “normal” baby (as if there is such a thing.) You were always so independent, so curious, so willing to ask questions and make jokes and entertain yourself. You hated sleeping in bed with us as a kid, didn’t like cuddling, and spent the ages from 5-10 “hugging” me by poking me with your index fingers and saying “hug, hug.” So now, when you snuggle me on the couch, or hug me with both arms…it is truly special.

I love you, kid. And I’m proud of the man you’re becoming. Carry on.

Love, Momma

Dear Rader #18,

18 years ago today, I was in labor. I didn’t know I was in labor, and I worked a full 8 hours at the daycare, picking up babies, crawling around on the floor, and changing diapers. You weren’t due to arrive for another 3 weeks, so there was no way those regular pains and contractions I was feeling were real.

That night, just as your father was crawling into bed, I said “I think we might need to go to the hospital. They’ve been coming at about 5 minutes apart for a while now–and getting stronger.”

Off we went. We figured it was a false alarm, but hey, better safe than sorry, right?

They admitted me immediately.

At 4:00AM on January 30, after a night full of very strong, very regular contractions coming in at about 2 minutes apart, they just stopped.

The doc came in and examined me at 6:00 and told me I had two choices. I could go home and come back later that night when they would more than likely start again, or he could hook me up to pitocin and we could meet you today.

I believe my words may have been something along the lines of “I’m not going any-fucking-where. Hook me up.” Whatever I said, I’m sure it was colorful. You know me…

Labor with you was fairly easy, even with the pitocin. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t fun. That shit hurts. But my blood pressure didn’t spike like it did with your brother, and I slept a lot. Our friends and family came in and out all day, and about 4:00 that afternoon, the doc was convinced you wouldn’t be here before midnight.

You were. I’m a little fuzzy on your exact time of birth because shit got real not long after 4:00. You brought the pain.

Your AntiJen and Daddy were there through the whole process. There was a sprinkle of cursing among the tears and smiles. You came into the world bellowing like a baboon. You were also over 8 and a half pounds at 3 weeks early, so you never once looked like a newborn.

You took to nursing really quickly, but no matter how much you fed, you were never satisfied. We had to supplement you with cereal in a bottle between nursing times. You plumped up quickly, and at 3 months, you weighed 18 lbs…which is what your brother weighed at 1 year.

Your feet were cubes and you were completely pigeon-toed. You wore a brace with a bar between your feet for a while at about 18 months… you crawled around like a maniac. That brace never slowed you down. Once we removed it, you were like lightning.

We had to duct tape a sign to your back that said something like “If you see me without an adult, I’ve escaped again. Call my mom.” You always had to have a phone number attached to you, because you could NOT be contained.

I understood child leashes after having you.

You’ve been our Monkey Boy from day one. I also loved calling you Rader Tater Puddin’ Pop–mostly because you hated it so. You’ve been a daredevil from the moment you started to walk. I’ll never forget the time I was sitting with your Bobo behind homeplate at a baseball game and we both looked up to see you had climbed the fence in front of us…and you were so high up, we couldn’t reach you. Like I said, lightning fast.

Once you learned to talk, you talked for hours–sometimes for hours to yourself.

You weren’t a cuddler as a child, but now the fact you sit on the couch with me every night after school with your head on my shoulder and tell me about your day makes up for all the times I’d ask you for a hug and you’d hold out 2 fingers and touch each side of my waist or shoulders and say “Hug! Hug!”

As of tomorrow, you can vote. You can join the armed forces and die for our country. Legally, you are emancipated.

But you’ll always be my Rader Tater Puddin’ Pop. My Monkey Boy. My little tub of butter.

I’ve loved watching you grow into a man, and I’m really looking forward to life with you all grown up.

But for one more day, you’re still my baby boy.

Love,
Mom

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Many thanks to Rader’s dad for letting me have this set up in his yard last night.

black and… orange? gold? red?

college collage

This week, my youngest little bird was accepted to Hendrix College and offered $100K in academic scholarships. This doesn’t include the other scholarships he’s applied for.

To say I am overjoyed for him would be an understatement

Last night he found out that he can log in to his Vandy account today after 5:30 pm CST to see if he’s been accepted and how much need-based financial aid he’ll be receiving. (Scholarship information will come later.)

We will hear from Rhodes in January.

I am so nervous for him and so damn excited. I want so badly for Vandy to accept his application, and for the tuition assistance to be good enough along with his scholarships that he can attend. It’s his first choice. Hendrix and Rhodes are neck-n-neck for 2nd. He loved all the schools so much and would be happy attending any of them.

But Vandy felt like his soulmate. You could see it in his eyes as we walked through campus and toured the dorms.

I’m wearing my black and gold today, in hopes for good news tonight.

I feel rather positive that he’ll get in…but there’s always that niggling what if he doesn’t… and you know what? so what what if he doesn’t? He tried. He put forth a great effort and for whatever reason, if he didn’t make the cut–it will make him stronger and more determined to succeed at either Rhodes or Hendrix. But at least he wasn’t afraid to take a chance.

Talking to Rader’s godfather and my best friend Nick this morning he said that when he was afraid to leave for school his dad said “You know what son, I don’t want you to go, but you better get the hell out of here.”

And that right there sums it up perfectly for me. I’ll miss you when you’re gone, but you better fly away little birdie!

Okay, bitches! Keep your fingers crossed for good news! Maybe tonight, I’ll be the mom of an incoming Vanderbilt Freshman!

 

Scenes from the lake

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This weekend was amazing. I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed.

Rader and I hung out in the hammock on Saturday. I read, he talked. We had to actually put him on mandatory Quiet Time on the way home last night. Seriously. That kid just yammers on like he’s got something to say. LOL

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This Spider is not real. However, you don’t know that when you pass by it. Trust me.

 

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WE’RE ON A BOAT!

Da Godfodda was our water taxi driver. We enjoyed Saturday afternoon on the lake after the rain moved on.

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A rare sighting! El Jefe!

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It really was a wonderful weekend. I read. FOR PLEASURE, all weekend long. I can’t remember the last time I did that!! Honestly, if it weren’t for the 2 hour drive there…Laura and Mac would never get rid of us. LOL

I did somehow manage to get eaten alive by chiggers on the entire left side of my body. Ugh.

El Jefe discovered evidence that Anacondas have a lair at Greers Ferry Lake. Giant snake skins…but no snakes to go with them. Because they’re hiding. Watching. Waiting…

I hope your weekend was as magically delicious as ours!

Melf unplugged

The fellas (minus Ian because he’s a working man now) and I will be heading to the lake tomorrow for a full day and night of fun. And then we will rinse and repeat on Sunday. I am so ready for a break.

Which means, I’m unplugging this weekend. Sure I’ll have my phone on me (because I can’t NOT take pictures!!) but I am not gonna be online. Yup. Even Facebook. (maybe) (probably) (possibly) (hopefully) (not much). At. All.

Try not to miss me!

In other internet news… There has been a couple of really fantastic discussions on one of my favorite blogs. If you’re interested in seeing how internet discussion SHOULD work, check out this blog post over at Raising Kids Without Religion.

Actually, there are two pretty great discussions going on right now:

God as a placebo
Children Taking a Different Path

I really enjoy reading the well thought out discussions and the respectful way they are conducted. Religion (and politics) can be such divisive topics that they are rarely discussed without anger and condescension. It is so refreshing to know there are places on the internetz that allow for these discussions without all the child-like behavior. Who knew that could exist? I never leave that website wanting to yell MOM! SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET AGAIN!

Okay my bitches! I leave you with your moment of zen…which will also give you an idea of what I will be doing all weekend long…

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LET’S PLAY FAIRIES!

My niece Double A.

My niece Double A.

When I was a little girl, my favorite thing to do on the 4th of July was play fairies.

You don’t know how to play 4th of July Fairies? What is wrong with you!?

You light up sparklers for each hand and you “fly” around the field yelling “I’m a fairy!” I taught Double A this game last night, and we spread our fairy sparkle far and wide at the compound. I’m pretty sure it’s still glowing out there.photo 3(7)

Ian and Ben and my brother Mike bought ALL THE LOUD FIREWORKS KNOWN TO MAN and we blew shit up for hours. Well, they did. I lasted about 30 minutes. The skeeters like my sweet blood way too much. They apparently don’t even care if I bath in Off or Skin So Soft or Gasoline. It doesn’t matter. The want to suck me dry.  photo 1(9)

For a while, the entire county sounded like we were at war. I thought maybe the British were actually returning…and Paul Revere fell down on his job. But by 11:00, the bang, bang, booms had stopped and the world was quiet again.

I think everyone was excited we weren’t under a burn ban. I can’t remember the last time it sounded like that. I bet it’s been since I was a kid.

OMG. we used to have the best 4th of July celebrations when I was younger. Bonfires, roasted weenies, s’mores and lots of booms and bangs. This would have been the perfect year (weather wise, especially) to have brought back the Compound Celebrations, but with Jefe still down with the plague, it just wouldn’t have been the same. (you know he doesn’t feel well when he didn’t even come outside to blow anything up!)

Today, the kids are coming back to test out the waterproof fireworks in the pond and to blow up old toys. Good grief. We have created monsters! (Monsters of awesome)

I still have some sparklers left, so I shall play fairies one more time.

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Have a fantabulous weekend, bitches. I will be sparkling and fairying all weekend long. If you need some extra awesome, just stop by the compound. I have plenty to spare!

 

 

getting all inside the beauty of my trip. and even better, inside the beauty of #equalrights

FYI, the reference of “inside the beauty” comes from a creeper message on Facebook. We have taken this on as a new turn-of-phrase. And we modify it on occasion. If we get up inside your beauty, you know we mean business.

New message from the Other Inbox: Please to be my friend, pretty lady? You have very much beauty and I want to get inside your beauty.

Check out my pictures on Instagram from our trip to Iowa and Illinois.

The trip was breathtakingly beautiful. Every damn time I looked out the window, it was like looking at a postcard.

El Jefe’s family was amazing. So welcoming and fun.

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After Iowa, we spent a lovely day with David and Kyle in Chicago enjoying the hell out of PrideFest.

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Speaking of PrideFest…YAY SCOTUS! You made the right decision striking down DOMA. All Americans should have equal rights. Marriage is a human right. Period. And frankly, “separate but equal” has never worked…and it is not really equal. So. Let’s all get Gay Married! Okay, I know everything isn’t done yet, but striking down DOMA is a huge step in the right direction.

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super stoked about Saturday’s #super moon!

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We will be at a lovely estate on the Mississippi river enjoying Saturday’s Super Moon. We are definitely going to be looking out for E.T.SS_top_movies_ET

I will be basking in the glorious super moonlight. Looking like this:

devorssand this:

476512-bigthumbnailand y’all are going to be jealous Mo-Fos because you’re not with us. But don’t worry, we’ll be sure to have a grand time anyway. And you know I’ll take lots of pictures because I have a problem. I have an iPhone and I’m not afraid to point and click!

Today, it’s lunch and haircut with Rader. Then an appointment, then I’m off to finish laundry and pack so we can hit the road tonight when Jefe gets home from work. Aw. Yeah.

I don’t know if I’ll be updating the blog as we travel, but you never know! You can always check out my picture-trails from my instagram or facebook. Like I said, I have a problem. But I’m okay with it. I don’t need your approval to make me feel good about myself. (and if you find yourself in need of someone else’s approval to feel good, then you need to repeat after Stuart Smalley:)

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!”

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take me for a ride on your big green tractor…

You think my tractor's sexy.

You think my tractor’s sexy.

Oh John Deere! I can’t wait to see your museum this weekend!

I was thinking I should wear something awesome to commemorate the visit. Is this “dress” too much?

If I put a pink camo John Deere trucker hat on with it, will that dress it down just right?

Of course, if I were to wear this “dress” I’d have to make a few adjustments. Like add about 3 feet of material at the bottom. The neckline is pretty much perfect for my girls…but I would probably want to wear a tank top so as not to overwhelm all the old farmers who are hanging around.

Okay, I’m kidding. Well, not about the pink camo trucker hat..but the dress? Only for Halloween. You know. When it’s appropriate to be a Slutty Tractor.

Even Ruby loves to John Deere Dream

Even Ruby loves to John Deere Dream

When you spend as much time on a John Deere Tractor as I do, you tend to develop a bit of a crush. So, it’s only natural that I would be overly-excited about my time at the museum. I can’t wait to sit on a combine. I hope I don’t get kicked out…

El Jefe has a family reunion in Iowa, so we are going to enjoy our time on the Mississippi River while I get to meet his family. I really hope his grandfather comes. The stories about him are always fantastic.

Once the reunion is over, we’re headed to Chicago for 1 night. I’ve never been before, and I know 1 night isn’t enough time, but…it’s PrideFest on Sunday! So it’s like the stars have aligned to make sure Chicago will be full of extra sparkle and fabulousness for my arrival. Thank you, STARS!

In a Walgreens update, I was contacted by the company yesterday after they read my blog. They’ve opened a ticket to investigate the complaint, which I do appreciate. The more I hear from people in my town, the more I realize that this Walgreens in particular seems to refuse to fill narcotic prescriptions on a regular basis. They are “out” a lot and “don’t know when they’ll have more in.” Well, that pretty much makes them the shittiest pharmacy ever if their purpose is to fill prescriptions and they rarely do. IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO MONITOR OUR MEDS. That is called “Practicing out of the scope of your position.”

Walgreens. You’re fired.