Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Trip to the Alma Mater

This weekend, Robbie and I travelled to Johnson City to visit Robbie's alma mater, Milligan College. After word that these cats

would be joining us, we solicited the help of these cats

to make it an enjoyable weekend. We enjoyed a hotel room, sleeping in and room-service.

How nice was that??? On top of that, we were able to spend some time with good friends and see some folks that we haven't seen in awhile.

Special congrats to Coach Wally who retired this weekend and coached (and won!!!) his final home game at Milligan. We had a great time!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dysfunctional Family

I can't tell you how it happened. I can't even tell you when it happened, but it sure did happen. It's not easy for me to admit when things are hard. I try my best to see things in a positive light even when they aren't. Not because I'm fake or phony and not because I'm Pollyanna who doesn't "feel" negative, but because I truly want to live each day with no regrets...and the only way I know how to do that is to sit up, dust off, and keep on trucking. So...I'll say down here with no family is hard, it's more than hard at when I'm sick and Robbie's sick and I just want someone to come and take the kids so I can sleep for longer than an hour at a time OR when I have the potential for a romantic Valentine dinner with the hubby and can't find a sitter ANYWHERE!!!

It gets even harder on occasions. Ya see...I'm an occasion girl. I love to I celebrate with gusto the groundhog's shadow and the fireworks of July. I love a good holiday. And they're the premo-holiday...the one I love to celebrate the most. No...not just mine...anyone's. I just love them. What better way to show someone what they mean to you than to celebrate their birth???

Hence...the hardness. Enter my baby brother (pictured below with his lady otherwise known as Sarah Igglers)

Bobo, as my children have named him, is my only relative (great-aunts and distant cousins excluded) within an 800 mile radius. I have always known I was a lucky girl to have a brother like him, but I never really knew how blessed my children would be to have him as an uncle.

As great as he is, I still need more. It's a birthday celebration for goodness sake. So in the 17 years I have lived away from my family, I have inherited my own "family". Allow me to introduce them. (Note for clarification: the relation listed below is fictious and only to be used as comparative in nature...I know everyone has a crazy Uncle Paul!!!!)

Meet Nonny (not pictured)...

The fun, crazy sister who is spontaneous and zany and always comes up with the "water balloon fights".

And then there's Mel (also not pictured)...

The aunt who isn't married and all the kids love. She has the Christmas party at her house every year and spoils each kid as if they were her own.

Here's Heather (pictured below with daughter Allison)...

The sister-in-law that you love to spend family time with. Your kids and families compliment each other and you never have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings.

Meet Brandi (pictured below with daughter, Baylee)...

The cousin you spent every summer with as a kid. You adore her children and miss the time you had together but know your bond is still as strong as it has always been.

And Lea (pictured below with her son, Tucker)...

Your child's namesake...what else can you say?

And finally...our international man of mystery...Michael (pictured right)...

The family member that shows up every eight years and noone knows who he is.

Of course there are a few of our inherited folks missing...we'll highlight them another day. We may not share the same blood lines, but without these folks, I would not make it through. And as we saw today, at Tate's Birthday is competitive and will fight dirty if it seals the win...

And when it's all said and doesn't seem so hard with them by your side.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Little Man Tate


Five years ago, I was blessed with the most amazing Valentine ever. My blonde headed, blue eyed, analytical, intense, big-hearted son. Every year I am even more amazed at the gift that I've been given.

  • A talented artist who loves to draw cars and his family

  • A dancing outlaw who prefers 80's jams to mod ditties

  • A matter the supply....sand, blocks, tracks, tupperware

  • An almost athlete who will try almost anything once but won't stick with it long enough for daddy's liking

  • A NOT morning person who requires his glass of milk before I can open my eyelids

  • A sleeper who gets the hours he needs but never indulges

  • A sensitive soul who likes to take care of others and tell them what they mean to him

  • A brother who protects, loves, and comforts

  • A son who teaches, entertains, and amazes

Thank you Lord for this gift. I will never understand why I was chosen, but I will do my best to live up to my end of the deal.

Valentine Bandit

It started on Thursday when I picked Lily up from school. As we were walking up the stairs to the car, she said, "Mommy, I forgot my flowers." As we are walking back downstairs, I figure she has made some Valentines crafts. When we walk into her classroom, she runs over to some roses in a vase. I said, "Lily...those aren't yours." To which she answers, "Yes they are mommy...they're from Bobo." She held them the whole way home and insisted on putting them in HER room.

You would think roses for a three year old would be enough of a Valentine but no way. Tonight Connie had some chocolates from Michael and before she knew it, Lily had swiped them, opened em up and started stuffing her face. When Connie tried to get them back, Lily informed her they go in HER room. I think we're in trouble.

Alien Invasion

Anyone with kids knows that you never know what's going to come out of their mouths. And once you hear what comes out of their mouth, oftentimes your reaction is...."Huh??" Last week Tate woke up (for his 5:45 wake up call). Within five minutes of his wakeup, he says, "Mom, what's your favorite planet?" Now....totally reasonable question if A) you're studying planets at school, B) you've watched a movie about planets or C) you were talking the day before planets. Considering none of the choices occurred, I was caught a little off guard. So I said, "What made you think about the planets, buddy?" To which he replied, "Ah...I just was thinking about them last night before I fell asleep. So...what is it?" I had to think quick (since who really knows their favorite planet off hand????) and said, "Saturn, definitely Saturn." Hence begins the research project. That afternoon, Tate decides he wants to survey all his loved ones and friends about their favorite planet. So...of course, I decide we must chart the results (see below)...

And the winner is...


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Not that I have avid readers, but to those of you that keep up with the crazy rantings of this blog, I must apologize for the lack of activity lately. My computer has struggled in the past month and Robbie's computer will not read my camera. So...thanks to Nonny, I am able to post some updates. Enjoy...

Max Well O'Bryan

Family dogs are essential to a happy family. I always had one (there are a few side stories about Scruffy and Rosa Pearle that I could insert here, but I will spare my parents the additional guilt such stories trigger), so when I had kids, I knew a dog was a MUST. Our families first dog was a boxer and Robbie and my first child, Gabbie. Unfortunately, Gabbie jumped the fence the summer after Tate was born and found her way to a widow on Lookout Mountain. There was a huge sense of loss for Gabbie, but when we finally located her (two years later...another CRAZY story that I will spare you), we decided she was best to stay where she had brought joy to a woman who had none. In the meantime, I found Max.

A friend of mine from college had a litter of boxer pups. When I found out he had a brindle male, I decided to surprise Robbie with a great birthday gift. Unfortunately, Robbie was still heartbroken and loyal to Gabbie and didn't can I say it...CONNECT. Much to my discontent, since Max's arrival (right before Lily's birth), he has primarily been an outside dog. At first, it was to spare our toddling children from being knocked over by a toddling dog. Then, we moved into seller's mode and decided scratches on the new floor from a hefty dog's paws might not be a selling point. Maybe it was the cold weather, maybe it was the need for some normalcy in our lives, maybe it was one too many times finding my kids staring out the back door longing for their "best dog Max" or maybe it was just the Lord's way of answering Max's prayers, but the past few weeks, Max has found his way into the home. Of course, it wasn't soon after, that Robbie started noticing significant scratches to the beloved floor. Hence...the picture below:

Yes...they actually sell dog shoes at PETCO. Now, we have a high stepping, not so smart, extremely loved member of the family who is right where he should be...laying on the floor by my feet.

Snow in Cleveland

I guess that's what you could call it...the kids loved playing in our "dusting". Robbie took them outside to build a snowman and when they came in, they decided they needed hot chocolate to warm them up. Mommy was reminded of why she doesn't live in NY...wet clothes laying on the floor, putting gloves on tiny fingers that don't quite fit in the hole, and having no marshmallows in the cupboard when you need them.

Our Own Hall of Famer

Two weekends ago, we made the trip up to Kentucky to attend a Hall of Fame Banquet honoring the kids' Papaw. It was a wonderful banquet and the kids were so proud of their Papaw. They were jumping and cheering at the game. Even Uncle Adam and Aunt Erin drove down from Michigan to be there. Way to go Papaw!!!