Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Blog Linkage, Crock Pot Pork Chops

Good Friday morning!

My Friday plans have changed quite a bit in the last five minutes, so this will be a hurry/scurry kind of post, and I will most likely be ALL OVER THE PLACE!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Remember The Chick had an accident (which wasn't her fault) last Tuesday?

Well, we finally got the call today from the insurance/car place, and guess what?

The Chick's car is totaled.

Gloom... despair... and agony on me. (Do y'all remember that old Hee-Haw song? Do you? It definitely fits our mood right now!)

RANDOMNESS #2 - In case you don't remember what The Faulkner Five were up to this time last year (and I definitely DID NOT), here are some pictures to walk you through June 2012.

Amazingly, many of these activities will be repeated in June 2013... which leads me to quote, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

(I really don't know what that means. I try to wrap my simple mind around it, but I've never had that "light bulb" moment where it made sense.)

Sparkle lived on the deck.

Copper... ditto.

Josh, Austin and Brad went on a man trip to Nashville, and had a great time.

Roxie missed them a little more than they missed her, I'm afraid.

Roxie attended Basketball Camp at Birmingham Southern.

Roxie wore a mustache for the first time ever.

Austin... ditto.

We celebrated Father's Day...

And I took my all-time favorite picture of 2012 on that day, too.

A squirrel looked at me.

Roxie took a little beach trip with her friend, Ally.

Austin and I made one of several Dreamcakes runs for the Summer... and it was so good.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I was feeling very antsy yesterday. Summer is unsettling to me in 2013.

Ten or more years ago, I knew exactly what we were going to do on any specific Summer day.

Today... not a clue.

Every day is a new and exciting adventure... and I don't know who is doing what and who is going where, and adult-sized people come by and talk about their work schedule and their social schedule as they pass me in the hallway.

And believe it or not, the plans very seldom include me and Mikie.

I know.

It's hard for me to believe, too.

So yesterday afternoon, I snapped.

I called Mikie first.

"I'm planning something for The Faulkner Five this evening. It's going to be fun, spectacular and very summery. Are you in?"

"I have to work until 8:00. Budget, you know."

"I didn't forget. Do you think you could stay up until 12:30 a.m. or a little after? Do ya? Do ya?"

I guess he could tell I was a little stir-crazy, because Sweet Mikie answered the way I needed him to answer.

"You betcha!"

One down... three to go.

I checked with The Chick next because she was "in-house" yesterday.

"What are we going to do?" she asked. She refuses to commit until she knows ALL the details.

"I'm thinking Mugshots at 8:30 with Dad... and then a 10:00 p.m. movie at the RAVE with The Brothers when they get off work. My treat!"

"I guess so."

It was a Summer Miracle, I tell you!

Mike stopped by Josh's workplace on the way home and told him where to meet us at 10:00.

"Are y'all supplying the popcorn?"

"Yes. Yes, we are."

"Sounds good."

Be still my heart. Four out of five. Could it be...

We stopped by Austin's workplace on the way to Mugshots and invited him on the outing.

"I'm working."

"I know you're working. I'm asking you to meet us at 10:00. You'll be off at 9:00. Right?"

"Yeah. That sounds good. Are y'all supplying the popcorn?"

"Yes. Yes, we are."

And it was a GO!

And it was FUN!

And we really did supply the popcorn.

I've been known to lie from time to time to get the responses I want from The Boy/The Man, MJ and The Chick.

I'm not proud of it, mind you, but "desperate times call for desperate measures."

And just so you know... I know exactly what that quote means.

Blog Linkage

1. Go to www.kellehampton.com and read yesterday's post entitled "The World Lies Upward." It's all about having a special needs child, and it made me understand Downs' Syndrome a little better. I think you'll enjoy it.

2. Go to www.jenhatmaker.com and read the May 30 post entitled "Worst End of School Mom Ever." This was all over Facebook yesterday and last night. I think it hit a nerve with a lot of Moms. Or struck a chord. Or made all the mothers everywhere stand up and sing "Hallelujah" and "Amen!"

3. If you're hosting a 4th of July bash (which I am), go to Six Sisters' Stuff under My Blog List and read today's post entitled "30 DIY 4th of July Ideas." Good, good ideas.

Crock Pot Pork Chops

You will need the following:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 thick cut boneless pork chops

1. Place chops in crock pot.

2. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over chops.

3. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours.

Oh... my... goodness. Heaven in a crock pot! It received five out of five stars at Faulkner Farms.

Once again... Thank you, Pinterest!

Have a tremendous weekend. I'll be back Monday with all sorts of useful information... and pictures... and maybe another new recipe.

Who knows?

I certainly don't!

Talk to you Monday.


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mindless Monday, Blog Linkage, The Story of Copper - Part Three, Banana Pudding Poke Cake, Summer Job Jar, Restaurant Review - Slice

Good Monday morning!

We've got a lot of ground to cover today, so we need to get started!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Josh Update - Josh is doing well. His hand is returning to it's normal shape and size, and there is little or no pain. We will probably not have another X-ray.

He has worked two shifts at work since the robbery, and while it wasn't easy (especially around closing time), he did it. Just a reminder... he is the one wanting to return to work to see if he "can do it." Mike and I are not insisting/urging/wanting him to continue to work there if he has any reservations at all.

They still have not caught the criminals involved.

Things are slowly getting back to normal around here, and we appreciate your concern, prayers and thoughts.

Again, we were (and continue to be) very, very blessed.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie Update - I'm posting some pics of Roxie's little red car. Hopefully, it will be fixed (good as new) in a few more days, and we can put this incident behind us.

Roxie is still at the beach with Aunt Bev and Katie, and that has helped take her mind off of the unpleasantness of last week.

Actually, I just got off the phone talking with her.

I guilted her into calling me by sending her text a which read, "Do you not even miss me a little bit? Is that why you NEVER call? Do my feelings mean NOTHING to you? Have a good day and don't worry about me. I'm sure I'll be okay eventually."

I know.

I'm very good at the guilt thing.

It's a gift.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Restaurant Review - I have just a few more Mother's Day pictures to share. I asked Mike and the kids to take me to a pizza place located in downtown Birmingham called Slice for my Mother's Day meal.

Mike and I have eaten there once before, but it was on a Saturday night, and the place was much more crowded than after church on a Sunday.

We were seated right away and we each ordered a different 12" pizza. When we go again, we will probably share three 12" pizzas, but I knew any and all leftovers would be eaten for lunch or dinner the next day.

Which meant I didn't have to cook... again!

The pizzas are a little pricey, but it was a special occasion and nothing was wasted.

We ordered the following:

Super Cheese - Mozzarella, Provolone, Fontina, Parmesan, Feta, Asiago - $16

This was Roxie's choice, and it ended up being the favorite.

Spicy Hawaiian - Capicola Ham, Grilled Pineapple, Fresh Jalapenos, Asiago - $16

Okay. This one belonged solely to me! I picked the jalapeno peppers off, but believe me when they say "spicy," they mean SPICY! Very, very good.

Old School - Molinari Pepperoni, House Italian Sausage, Fresh Mushrooms, Grilled Red Onion - $17

Just your basic EXTRAORDINARILY good pepperoni pizza.

Soul Pie - Turnip Greens, Black Eye Peas, Conecuh Sausage, Grilled Red Onion, Bacon, Pepperjack and Cheddar Cheese - $18

Mikie likes to try different things, and while no one else tried it, he liked it. He liked it a lot.

Margherita - Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Basil - $15

Again, another basic pie, but oh, so much better at Slice.

And for dessert... The S'mores Calzone! It was huge, and one was enough for all of The Faulkner Five. Tons of marshmallow, hot chocolate sauce and the secret ingredient... cinnamon and sugar on the bottom of the calzone. This is best eaten hot straight out of the open brick oven! (You will notice there is no picture of the S'mores Calzone. That's how fast it was eaten.)

One of Slice's best features... they have a large open brick fireplace outside on the patio. There are three tables situated in front of the fireplace. If you were fortunate enough to get one of those tables on a cool spring or fall night, it would be an excellent eating experience, I am sure!

I also received my traditional hanging baskets for Mother's Day. This year, the kids picked out impatiens... and I love them.

Three kids, three baskets.

RANDOMNESS #3 - My friend, Sue, has a new granddaughter, and she asked me if I minded taking some newborn pics of Reese.

A baby AND I got to use my camera.

Oh... my... goodness.

It was a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday. All three of the guys were working and Roxie was on the beach trip with her cousin and aunt.

What else was I going to do? Laundry?

And the sad answer to that question is yes, yes and YES!

So I jumped at the chance to meet her beautiful new granddaughter and I happily snapped away as she and her daughter dressed, undressed, fed, rocked and posed Baby Reese.

I was taking the pictures to Sue yesterday afternoon when The Big Gold Van had a blow out. I handled it extremely well because I've had a lot of blow outs the last 35 years of driving. For some reason, blow outs do not phase me.

It really doesn't make any sense because if I find out I'm low on window washer juice in The Big Gold Van, I totally and completely lose it.

I know. I continue to be an enigma.

Short story shorter... I'm taking the pictures to Sue this afternoon, and maybe I'll post a couple of them Friday if she doesn't mind.

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Story of Copper - Part Three - A million years ago, I started telling you the story of how Copper came to be a part of our family.

I told you about Sparkle's need for a sibling/companion.

I told you about the beagle rescue lady denying our request for a beagle because we wouldn't let the dog live in the house 24/7, 365 days a year.

I told you about how crazy and excited Geeves was when we first met him.

I told you Copper's original name was Geeves. (Horribly bad beagle name.)

What I didn't tell you goes something like this:

It took both Roxie AND Josh to hold Copper down in The Big Gold Van on the drive home. And when I say "hold Copper down," I just mean keep him from running to and fro, and hither and yon while I tried to keep The Big Gold Van on the road.

Sparkle was very "Who is this crazy dog and why is he in MY van with MY people?" all the way home. And I can't really blame her.

As far as she was concerned, we had a nice, quiet arrangement, and I (the Maternal Unit) had thrown a huge kink in her life.

It didn't take us long to figure out Geeves had absolutely no attachment to his name at all. None. Nada.

Since that was the case, we quickly decided to call him Copper during his week-long visit with our family.

We always liked the name Copper because it was from one of the boys' favorite Disney movies growing up... The Fox and the Hound.

Copper refused to answer to Geeves. And Copper refused to answer to Copper.

Copper refused to bond with Austin or Mike, and whenever he heard one of their deep voices, he would tremble and try to run.

It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out he might have been mistreated by a man during his younger years.

Copper was sweet, loving, eager and beyond energetic.

Copper was also NOT house trained in any way, shape or form, and did NOT like enclosed spaces... like the basement dog room.

We found out about his dislike of enclosed spaces the first morning when we discovered he had eaten through the sheetrock beside the door.

That's right. Copper ate a large hole in the wall in our basement.

And he didn't use the bathroom on any of the pet pads we had placed in the room.

He preferred using the bathroom on the floor right BESIDE the pet pads we had placed in the room.

All in all, it wasn't our best week.

However, at the end of the week it was a stand-off between me, Roxie and Josh AND Mike, Austin and Sparkle.

They didn't dislike Copper. They just didn't see the point.

Roxie, Josh and I won with the "let us keep him just one more week" argument, and little by little Mike, Austin and Sparkle came around.

Copper has been a part of our little family for seven years this July 1.

He is still VERY energetic and playful, but he decided to love all of us (even those of us with very deep voices) and he learned to go to the bathroom on the pet pads, and we compromised on the enclosed space issue by keeping the door open in the basement.

He doesn't wander around, but he could if he wanted.

When Sparkle understood Copper was missing a couple of weeks ago, she tried to squeeze into a tiny hole under our fence to get out and find him. She was unsuccessful.

She barked and howled trying to call him home until she was hoarse. She was unsuccessful.

She sat on the deck and whined and cried until she fell asleep (alone) the two nights before Copper was returned to us.

All in all, I think it has made us appreciate Sparkle AND Copper more. Our family felt a little unbalanced (more than normal) without Copper bouncing around our backyard, and life is much sweeter with two beagles than just one.

We've returned to life as we know it... and like it.

And that, my friends, is finally The Story of Copper!

The End.

Blog Linkage - If I haven't already said it, "Happy Memorial Day!" Click on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and read her post simply entitled "Memorial Day." It's a wonderful tribute to the men and women who have served and protected our country.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

You will need the following:

1 box yellow cake mix
Ingredients needed to make cake (eggs, oil and water)
2 (3.4 ounces) packages instant banana pudding
4 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
20 vanilla wafers, crushed

1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions in a 9" x 13" cake pan. Once cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes.

2. With a wooden spoon handle, a spatula handle, or some other similarly-sized object, begin poking holes in the cake. You want the holes to be BIG. Be sure to poke down to the bottom of the cake.

3. In a bowl, whisk together instant pudding mix with 4 cups milk. Stir until all the lumps are gone. Pour pudding over cake. Pour it into the holes as much as possible. Spread it out and using the back of the spoon, gently push pudding down into the holes. Put the cake into the fridge to set and cool (about 2 hours).

4. Once your cake has completely cooled, spread on whipped topping.

5. If you haven't done so already, crush your vanilla wafers. Spread crushed wafers onto the top of the cake. You can do this immediately before serving the cake if you like. This will ensure the wafers are crunchy when you serve it.

6. Serve with freshly sliced bananas. Keep refrigerated.

Austin asked me to make this cake for him, and he'll be happy to know it is in the refrigerator waiting for after-dinner dessert tonight!

Summer Job Jar

Once again, Pinterest seems to have all the answers. I love how the Summer Job Jar worked out for this Mom... and it might work for you and yours, too.

The author or this article is a woman named Sarah Pinneo, and she explains in detail how she "taught" her two sons to work... and work well.

I presented it at breakfast. “In here,” I told my children, “are some things that need doing. Every morning we’re going to pick one, and right after breakfast we’re going to do the job together.”

Chewing their English Muffins, they sized up the jar. The little slips of paper inside did not reveal their secrets, even after a good shake. There was just enough mystery there to win over my men of leisure.

“Can I choose first?” asked the younger one.

I looked at his big brother, who nodded yes. “And I’ll read it,” he offered.

"I hope it says go to the store and buy a toy,” the little man said. (Every family needs an incurable optimist.) He pulled a slip of paper from the jar and handed it to his brother.

“Weed the herb garden,” my older son read.

“Oh, gweat,” was his brother’s exasperated reply.

But then, without complaint, both boys put their cereal bowls in the sink and came outside to weed. They learned how to identify (and pull) spurge, colt’s foot, dandelion and purslane. (They loved that you can eat purslane.) Little brother was easily distracted by the ants making tunnels under every rock, but he was more often helpful than not.

And my older son got into it. “This job’s not bad,” he said, pulling out a tall lanky weed. “I like how they go ‘pop’ when you yank ‘em.”

I let them off the hook after half an hour. The weeding (and the time) had gone surprisingly fast. The next morning there was no complaint when they pulled “wash kitchen floors” from the jar. That job was also finished quickly, and I released them again.

Somehow I had blundered into a formula which worked for us at that little moment in time. The crucial elements seemed to be:

1. The mystery of the jobs. They had no idea what I’d written on the slips of paper.

2. The fact we did everything together. It wasn’t lonely work.

3. No job was too overwhelming. In fact, a few were quiet easy like “try on all the fall clothes to see what still fits,” and “organize art supplies.” Since a pattern of helping out daily was established, we accomplished some real doozies, too.

4. We chose our job during breakfast when, by definition, the boys were not already in the middle of more enticing play.

As summer progressed, our closets were cleaned, our clothes were sorted and our beans and potatoes picked. Our outdoor furniture was scrubbed and our floors cleaned. Now that school has started again, the job jar stands abandoned on the counter top. I can’t wait to try it again.

I'm going to put this in my "I wish I had thought of that" file.

That file just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger!

Have a fantastic Memorial Day and FIRST OFFICIAL WEEK OF SUMMER! I'll be back Friday with more of the same.

Take care, and I'll talk to you the end of the week.


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

On Monday, you may remember I used the sentence, "I've heard it's going to be epic." I was referring to the Summer of 2013, and I meant "epic" in the fantastic, good, wonderful kind of way.

The events which have transpired since Tuesday afternoon of this week have most definitely been epic, but not in the way I had previously imagined.

It's going to be a little hard to follow, but do the best you can... and keep in mind, the only "big" thing originally planned for Tuesday was attending Katie's graduation from high school!

1. Around 3:10 Tuesday afternoon, Roxie left the house to visit her sweet friend, Taylor, for an hour or so. At 3:15 Tuesday afternoon, Roxie called me to say she had been in an accident in front of the Elementary School. She told me she was fine, but I needed to hurry.

I literally put on shoes and walked out the door... and proceeded to get behind the S-L-O-W-E-S-T driver in the history of the world. He might as well have been driving a horse and buggy (with an almost-expired horse pulling the buggy) from the end of my street to the accident scene.

I was very calm... until The Chick called again and said, "Are you ever going to get here? I need you."

And then I was no longer calm.

And I might have had a few non-Christian thoughts run through my head.

Because The Chick needed me, and I desperately needed to be with her, you see.

When I did arrive, Roxie was standing next to a police officer and her little red car (with a very crumpled up front end) was sitting in a church parking lot.

I hopped out of the van, ran/walked over to The Chick, put my hand on her back and immediately removed it.

Roxie was the picture of poise and calm on the outside, but just touching her back I could feel the trembling. If I had held her or patted her or comforted her in any way, she would have started crying... and Roxie HATES to cry in front of people.

So I stood very close to her and listened as the police officer and the crossing guard told me the accident was not her fault and she could not have prevented it. A driver in front of her slamming on his brakes unexpectedly caused the accident... and no one was hurt... and a car can be repaired... and My Chick was going to be just fine.

We had the car towed, took care of business at the auto repair shop, etc., etc. and we finally arrived home. We had lost over an hour of "get ready for graduation" time, so we were running to and fro beautifying... and we were exactly 30 minutes late for Katie's graduation.

Which wasn't bad, because we had planned on being 30 minutes early.

In other words, we walked in with the graduating Seniors.

2. Graduation went very well. Katie is NO LONGER IN HIGH SCHOOL and she is happy, happy, happy!

Katie graduated from Springville High School. They hold their graduation ceremony in The Alabama Theater downtown, and when the ceremony is over, everyone spills out onto the closed street to toss their caps, take pictures and celebrate!

I turned around just in time to get a pic of Tommy kissing his "Baby Girl."

This is a rare picture of Zac NOT photo bombing. I LOVE it!

Tim and Katie at Ruby Tuesday's.

Roxie, Grandmother and Katie... and Photo Bomber Zac. I guess he just can't help himself.

Our family's 2013 graduates... Austin and Katie!


3. I'm going to backtrack just a little. You already knew my niece and nephew, Amber and Jared, were expecting a baby. The baby was due in June. HOWEVER, Mackenzie decided to make an early appearance as some babies tend to do, and all day Tuesday and during graduation, we were waiting to hear about her arrival.

Around 8:00 p.m. (toward the end of the graduation ceremony), Mike received a text from his sister saying Mackenzie had arrived at 6:20, but they didn't have any other details yet.

Right in the middle of one happy event, we were blessed with more happy news.

Tuesday was turning out to be a very good day.

4. Mom, Austin and Zac were riding with me in The Big Gold Van to Ruby Tuesday's in Trussville for a celebratory dinner with family and friends. Mike and Roxie were following behind (because he had driven to the graduation ceremony straight from work).

Halfway to our destination, two Sheriff cars passed us with lights on and sirens blaring.

Within seconds of their passing, Mike called and told me to pull over at the next exit and let Roxie get in the van.

"Why?" I asked.

"Just do it," he said, shortly.

Something was wrong.

I pulled over at a gas station three or four minutes later and jumped out of the van. Roxie was climbing out of Mike's car crying.

The only thing I could think of was Baby Mackenzie, and I ran to Mike and asked him if the baby and Amber were okay.

"It's not the baby. It's Josh. There's been an armed robbery at the store, and his hand may be broken. He's okay other than his hand, but we have to go."

I ran back to the van, told Austin to take everyone to Katie's party and to stay close to Roxie and make sure everyone was okay. I would call him as soon as I talked to Josh and give him details.

We didn't talk much on the way to the store, but at some point during the five minute trip, Mike reached for his phone, looked at it and passed it to me.

A picture of our new great-niece, Mackenzie, was on the screen. She and Amber were doing well. She was tiny, but healthy and beautiful.

As soon as we arrived at the store, we spotted Josh. He walked over to the car holding his hand, and as I got out of the car and ran to him, Mike called over my shoulder, "Josh, tell Mom what happened."

And he did.

Two masked robbers (one male and one female) came into the store just as it was time to close. They made everyone get on the floor.

The male made the manager open the safe... and then the female made Josh get off the floor, put a gun in his face, and told him to put the "code" in to open the registers.

Josh told her there wasn't a code... it needed a key. He didn't have a key.

She was shaking badly and the gun was pointed at Josh's face. He was afraid she was going to accidentally pull the trigger, so he reached up and pushed the gun hand down away from his face.

She screamed and the man ran over. Josh pulled the woman in front of him so the man wouldn't shoot. He then fell to the floor and put his hands over his head... and the man beat his head (his hands were covering his head) with the pistol handle... again and again.

The manager saw what was happening to Josh, yelled, "Here's the money!" and the two grabbed the money and ran out the door.

The paramedics checked Josh's hand and because it was so swollen (and he could still move his fingers), they said to ice it overnight and let the swelling go down before we had an X-ray taken the next day.

He had a cut on his shoulder, a knot on the back of his head and his back and knee were pulled from falling to the floor the second time.

Other than that, he was physically okay.

5. Wednesday, Josh and I spent some mother/son time at the Emergency Room getting X-rays. We'll have to double check next week with an orthopedic when the swelling goes down more, but right now it looks like there are no broken bones in his hand.

God takes care of us every day, but Tuesday of this past week, He was all over our family.

We are blessed.

I've learned two things during the past week, and I'll pass them along in case you or a family member are ever involved in a violent crime.

LESSON NO. 1 - In our case, we had talked to Josh and knew he was basically okay. However, it was wrong of me and Mike to send Roxie, Austin and family to a party. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard, "I just need to 'see' Josh." And that's what has happened this week. Everyone has 'seen' and 'touched' and 'held' Josh.

After a violent crime, it is important to be able to do those things.

LESSON NO. 2 - The security tape of the robbery and part of Josh's attack was played on two newscasts for Crime Stoppers Wednesday. And I watched it. And I watched it again. And I watched it in slow motion.

And I literally became sick to my stomach.

For me, as Josh's Mom, there was no need for me to see the crime. Lesson No. 2 may not apply to you and yours, but think about it if you are ever put in that position.

I experienced some very strong emotions watching Josh being robbed, and although they cut most of the actual attack, knowing what happened next was too much for me.

What's next?

Josh returns to work today. This is his decision... definitely not mine. Prayers, please.

The criminals have not been captured yet. More prayers, please.

Our Weekend Happenings consist of not much of anything. No "epic" plans for The Faulkner Five.

I know I promised the following:

The Story of Copper - Part Three
New Dessert Recipe
Graduation Stories
Fun Summer Ideas and Traditions
Mother's Day Pictures and Stories
Restaurant Review

But sometimes life gets in the way of our "plans."

I hope you have a magnificent weekend. I'll be back Monday, and I'll do my best to make that post an informational, fun, picture-filled account of MY NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE!

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.


The Enchanting and Extremely Blessed Belinda

P.S. I'm going to leave you with three of my Mother's Day pictures... and hopefully, I'll have the rest of those for you Monday, too!

This is my great-niece, Lauren. How beautiful is she?

This is my great-nephew, Matthew. He is a sweet, busy five year-old, and I love our time with him.

Two of my favorite Chicks EVER. Lauren and Miss Roxie.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mindless Monday, Blog Linkage, The Story of Copper - Part Two

Good Monday morning!

Let's start the week with a smile, shall we?

Roxie's last official day of school is TOMORROW... which means the first official day of Summer (around here) is WEDNESDAY!

I've heard it's going to be epic.

RANDOMNESS #1 - As you might recall, Mike and I were supposed to go on a Pepper Place Farmer's Market Date Saturday morning.

It's been a semi-rainy weekend here in Central Alabama, and when we woke up Saturday morning it wasn't exactly the rain making everything wet. It was the steam rising up from the ground causing the problem.

I exaggerate, but not much.

I believe the only thing worse than walking around in the rain is walking around trying to keep your hair from kinking up so tight it looks like it is trying to climb back into your scalp because of... HUMIDITY!

That's right, Folks. It was humid Saturday morning, and Mikie knowing my disdain and contempt for said HUMIDITY suggested we go to Pepper Place on a different Saturday.

So he took me to Niki's West for breakfast... and he parked by the front door... and Niki's turned the air conditioner on very high... and my hair and my heart were happy.

In other words, there are no pictures of peppers or flowers or squash in today's post, but that doesn't mean I won't try another time.

Chin up, Peeps!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I didn't mention it last week because it was too embarrassing and fresh. However, from time to time, I still have people ask me how I keep it "all together," and I shudder to think there are still humans out there who are under the misconception The Enchanting Belinda has it "all together."

Because I do not.

Not even a little bit.

For example, after Roxie and I picked up Copper from his "adventure" Monday morning at 7:30, I drove The Big Gold Van into our driveway. Roxie, Copper and I hopped out of The Big Gold Van and ran to meet Mike and Austin who were waiting for us on the sidewalk.

Somewhere between The Big Gold Van and my front door (a very, very short distance), I lost my car keys.

I looked and looked, but to no avail.

I couldn't even find the spare key in the spare key drawer of our desk.

So guess what?

Except for two "I have to complete this errand because other people are counting on me" type outings, I didn't drive until Saturday morning.

My two errands were completed using Austin's truck for short bursts of time.

When I finally admitted to Mikie I had lost my keys (again), he did his customary search of the premises, and while he usually finds my keys quickly and efficiently, this time it continued to be a mystery.

He had better luck finding the spare key in the desk drawer, but he made me sign a few papers before he handed the keys over to me. I didn't mind signing the papers which list in very specific order what will happen to me if I lose the one and only spare key, but it was a little embarrassing having them notarized.

At 51 years of age, I am happy to report my embarrassment level no longer hits a "10" on the Embarrassment Scale for lost keys... or forgetting to put on all the necessary foundational garments... or wearing only one shoe... or laughing/crying/talking at inappropriate times in a movie theater... or being chased into the parking lot of a store by an employee holding the items I had bought only seconds before.

Those are "little" things on the grand scale of life.

Now if I could only teach The Chick the difference between what IS and IS NOT embarrassing, I could call myself an "all together" kind of Mom.

But it ain't gonna happen today.

And probably not tomorrow either.

In other words, don't hold your breath!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Austin's College Graduation Recognition Service was held at our church during the 11:00 a.m. service yesterday.

There were over 60 high school graduates in the 9:15 a.m. service and 12 college graduates in Austin's service.

It was the last time Austin will be wearing this particular robe, so I was happy for one more chance to photograph The Boy/The Man, and it was a privilege to join with the congregation praying blessings over the graduates and the future God has planned for them.

This is Jamin. He's our Youth Minister and he's been with Austin, Josh AND Roxie throughout their teenage years. I could not have hand-picked a better Youth Minister for my guys.

I know what you're thinking. "Why did The Enchanting Belinda wear a multi-colored top when she KNEW she would want a family picture after Senior Recognition? And she also knew the church's foyer carpet has a pattern which also throws a kink in the "take a perfect picture in the church foyer" plan."

Since I have blamed menopause for most of my mistakes over the past decade, I see no reason to change anything now.

I'm in menopause so I wore a patterned shirt.

There. I said it... and I'm sticking to it.

Roxie had wanted a picture taken of her and Austin on the football field at his graduation. However, when we planned for everyone to gather on the field for pics, we didn't take into account more than half of our party would be waiting for us at the restaurant... or Josh jumping the railing onto the field... or Roxie wearing a really fluttery dress that didn't really go with jumping the railing.

Anyway, it was important for her to have her picture taken with Austin in his robe... and it just so happened she had new white linen pants which looked marvelous... even with the church's foyer carpet pattern.

RANDOMNESS #4 - After church, before we headed off for my Mother's Day Celebration, Roxie and I drove to Taylor's house to take a pic of Roxie (and her new pants) beside Sweet Taylor in her graduation robe.

How pretty are these chicks?

RANDOMNESS #5 - I'm running incredibly long today, so I'm going to talk about the majority of my Mother's Day Celebration on Friday. It's going to include a Restaurant Review!

But today, I just wanted you to see my giant card.

All of my kids think I have a favorite.

Josh thinks I prefer Austin.

Roxie thinks I prefer Josh.

Austin thinks I prefer Josh AND Roxie.

Basically, I cannot win.

Truthfully, I do not have a favorite kid. I love them all an enormously, huge amount. However, if you asked me which kid understands me best (and vice versa), it would be Josh.

He knows if there are two gifts for me to choose from, and I am told the SMALL gift has a $500 bill enclosed and the LARGE gift is a purple stuffed elephant pillow, I will pick the LARGE gift.

I cannot help myself.

Something in my head screams, "BIGGER MUST BE BETTER!"

I told you all that because Josh picked out my card... and I love it!

RANDOMNESS #6 - The Story of Copper - Part Two - When I left you Friday in our story, The Faulkner Five had been rejected as "good" beagle parents by a rescue beagle advocate because we didn't plan on letting Copper and Sparkle live in the house 24/7.

May I remind you, they have a large fenced-in backyard, a lovely light blue doghouse AND an unfinished room (with heat and air and a bed) in the basement.

No matter what you may have heard from The Boy/The Man, MJ and The Chick, the dogs (AND THE KIDS) do NOT have a hard life here at Faulkner Farms.

However, I was a little insecure about trying to find another rescue beagle advocate because I do not like being rejected. I know that's hard to believe, but it is true.

A week or two later, I called another woman, and she listened to my story. She then asked me to send her pictures of my backyard, my doghouse, my unfinished basement room and Sparkle.

I was very, very nervous, but within two or three days, she contacted me.

"I think I have a match for you and your family," she said.

"Oh. Thank goodness. Sparkle cannot wait to have a sister," I said. (Did I mention I was requesting a female beagle because Sparkle is a female? Did I? It was one of the MOST important requests.)

"Well, it's not actually a sister. It's a male beagle named 'Geeves.' He came out of the woods with a pack of six or seven other beagles a month ago, and all of his companions have already been adopted."

Hmmm. Geeves. Geeves. What kind of name was Geeves? I almost agreed to adopt him because he needed a better name, and I knew we could give him one.

"I'm sorry. I thought you understood. I need a female beagle because we already have one. I want another female because she'll have a similar temperament as Sparkle. Laid back. Sweet. Prissy."

"No. No. No. You need a male beagle to bond with Sparkle. Male and female beagles get along so much better than two females. You know how girls are!"

I didn't say anything, but she arranged a meeting between me, Sparkle, Roxie, Josh and Geeves. (Austin and Mike had to work.)

I wish I could say the meeting went well, but Sparkle was very shy and intimidated around Geeves. Geeves was an EXTREMELY energetic beagle. I mean, CRAZY ENERGETIC.

Plus, he had a very crooked front leg.

"Is his leg okay? Does it hurt him?" I asked.

The woman told me when they found him it was already crooked and after examination, they decided the break was over a year old and it had never been set.

To be honest, it did NOT slow Geeves down.

I was still very hesitant. Geeves still needed to be "fixed," and the woman wanted us to take him to another vet for a second opinion about his leg.

Also, the kids were trying to bond with Geeves, but he was literally bouncing off the walls and "getting to know" him was not really possible.

"I think we're going to have to think about this," I told the woman as Geeves ran from one end of the room to the other, barking his head off and drooling enough to make puddles all over the floor.

"I'm afraid if you don't take him, we're going to have to put him down," she said with a heavy sigh. "The other beagles which were with him were adopted very quickly, but no one wanted Geeves because of his leg."

I wanted to say, "I don't think his leg is the problem. I think the fact the dog needs heavy sedation on a regular basis is the problem," but I refrained, because when it is all said and done, being rejected by a second rescue beagle advocate was more than I was going to be able to bear.

In the end, Roxie and Josh made the decision to take Geeves home for a week because the idea of a healthy four year-old pup being put down because he had a crooked leg was a little too much to handle in their minds... and I had to agree... and Austin agreed... and Mikie agreed.

If you don't mind, I'll finish up The story of Copper Friday. (You already know there is a happy ending, so it isn't really a cliffhanger, is it?)

Blog Linkage

1. Go to Six Sisters' Stuff under My Blog List and check out today's post entitled "Slow Cooker Mexican Haystacks." I'm about to throw this in the crock pot and try it tonight!

2. Go to www.kellehampton.com and read today's post entitled "Six Years: Secret Agent Party." This is one cute party, and she gives you all the details, plus, a ton of pictures.

Have a fabulous week. I'll be back Friday with pics from Katie's graduation and more. I actually have the ingredients for a new cake sitting on my counter top, and I hope I'll be able to share that with you Friday, also.

Take care, and I will talk to you the end of the week.


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Blog Linkage, The Story of Copper - Part One, A Camel Ridin' Date, Well Spent Alphabet Date

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Chick tried out for Varsity Basketball and made the team this week. As you can imagine, all is well at Faulkner Farms today.

Volleyball tryouts are underway, too, but Roxie made a decision to be a one-sport chick earlier this year, and since basketball is her favorite of the two, she is sticking with dribbling, passing and shooting.

She'll miss her volleyball peeps at practices, camps and games, but we think she made a good decision for her.

So instead of 1,087,340 pictures of volleyball games beginning in August, you'll have to wait for the 1,087,340 pictures of basketball games which will begin in November.

It's a hardship, I know, but I expect you to hang tough and make the best of it.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Last Saturday, while the kiddos ran/walked the 5K, Mom, Bev and I walked around the little "waiting" area in Crestline, and we found this beautiful nursery.

If you like to walk through a lovely and unique nursery now and again, this one is worth visiting.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Story of Copper - Part One - Before I tell the story, I want to give you a little update. Copper was exhausted Monday and Tuesday after his wild and crazy adventure Saturday and Sunday. He ate, drank and slept for two entire days.

As of this morning, he is as normal as he has ever been.

And we are grateful.

Eleven years ago, Mike showed up from work with a tiny, fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand miniature beagle.

My sister, Bev, knew someone... who knew someone... who knew someone... and we became first-time dog owners.

Josh named her Sparkle. Austin and Roxie agreed. And we became The Faulkner Five... plus one.

Sparkle camped with us, rode in the boat with us, walked with us and protected us (or so she thought). She was a good fit for our family, and as far as beagles go, she was an easy, breezy pup.

Four years after Sparkle joined our family, Josh became ill. So much of our energy and time was spent inside, Sparkle became a little neglected as far as "lovin'" was concerned.

And because I do indeed love Sparkle, I didn't want her to be lonely during this difficult time in our family. I approached Mike about adopting a "rescue" beagle.

He was a little hesitant because we, as a family, were already overwhelmed, "under" rested and most days we were operating on auto-pilot. Another dog might just become "the straw that broke the camel's back."

He was right, of course. But I was kind of right, too. In the end, we decided to try it on a "let's see if it works" basis.

I made arrangements with a "beagle advocate" to be a "host home" for a week. During that week, if our visitor just didn't fit in, he/she could be returned to the advocate.

In other words, it would be like housing a foreign exchange student... showing them the very best the United States has to offer (or in this case, The Faulkner Five... plus one) and letting them return home to their family having enjoyed a very fulfilling "life experience."

If you didn't already know it, I tend to over-think things.

My conversation with the "beagle advocate" went something like this:

Beagle Lady - "So, do you have any dogs?"

The Enchanting Belinda - "Yes. We have a four year-old beagle named Sparkle... female."

Beagle Lady - "And where does Sparkle sleep?"

The Enchanting Belinda - "She sleeps outside of my bedroom door on our deck. She also has a little blue doghouse, and if it is cold or stormy, she has a room and bed in an unfinished room in our basement."

Beagle Lady - "So what you're saying is she doesn't stay in the house with you on a full-time basis?"

The Enchanting Belinda - "Well, she comes inside for lovin' and some lap sittin', but for the most part, she is an outside dog. Oh! And once we let her watch Marley and Me with us, and I cannot begin to tell you how we lived to regret that decision. I told you she was a beagle, right? Like Snoopy. Right?"

Beagle Lady - "I'm aware she is a beagle, and I cannot believe you let her watch Marley and Me either. Are you aware I have 14 beagles presently living in my home right now."

The Enchanting Belinda - "I am so sorry. I can't imagine what that is like."

Beagle Lady - "You're sorry? You're sorry? I'm going to have to give this some thought. I'll contact you if I have a beagle available."

The Enchanting Belinda - "I don't understand. You have 14 beagles living INSIDE your house and you don't know if you have one that is available? How can that be? I would be trying to get you to adopt 13 of those beagles right about now."

And then I laughed, because I tend to think I'm very funny.

Beagle Ladies do not think I'm funny... at all.

Hmmm. So far, The Story of Copper sounds more like The Story of Sparkle, doesn't it?

Why don't I finish this up Monday, because The Story of Copper definitely is worth repeating... and repeating well.

Blog Linkage - Please go to www.kellehampton.com and read Monday's post entitled "The Middle Parts." Kelle and her family actually go to a place called The Isle of Capri for summer evenings and long weekends... just because. It looks and sounds heavenly.

A Camel Ridin' Date

My new friend, Tiffany, posted a picture on Facebook the other day of her and her daughter riding a camel at The Birmingham Zoo.

And I thought to myself, "Myself... Wouldn't that make a really fun date? Wake up and tell your little one, 'Let's ride a camel today.'"

If you had time to spend the day at The Birmingham Zoo that would be good, too.

But if not, just to wake up, put on some camel ridin' clothes and go out for a little wild animal adventure? That would be memorable!

I realize this could be a little pricey if you were ONLY going to ride a camel, but if you are a member of The Birmingham Zoo, it would be very, very doable.

Saddle up and have a great, great date!

Well Spent Alphabet Date

I found this on the Internet, and although it is similar to a date I posted a couple of years ago (Thrift Store Date), it has a little twist I think is pretty cool.

Even the calmest of couples has a competitive streak, but instead of letting it flare up in an unhealthy way, use it to strengthen your relationship with a gift-off at the local flea market. Agree to spend $10 to $20 on each other, and set some criteria... The items must all start with the letter "M," for example, and you have 30 minutes to make your purchase. Now that the rules are in place, shop away.

You can shop in categories (most items bought beginning with the letter "M," most unusual item bought, oldest item bought, most useless item bought, most useful item bought, etc., etc.)

End the evening with the letter, too. If "M" is your letter, eat at Mugshots or Moe's.

Watch a movie beginning with the letter when you get home (Marley and Me, Monster's, Inc., etc.)

Have a good time!

Weekend Happenings

1. Saturday morning, Mike and I are planning a breakfast/farmer's market date at Pepper Place. I have never been, but I've always wanted to go.

I don't know what to expect, so I'll be taking the camera with me... to an outdoors farmer's market... because doesn't everyone take pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis?

That's what I thought.

2. Sunday morning, Austin will be recognized as a college graduate in the 11:00 a.m. service at our church. It's going to be a special time, and one I'm planning on enjoying to the utmost.

I have had TOTALLY different reactions concerning high school graduation and college graduation.

I am not tearful...

Or fearful...

Or despondent.

I think I may have actually grown over the past four years as a human being.

And isn't that what college is supposed to do?

3. After the service Sunday, The Faulkner Five are heading to Slice (my pick) for my Mother's Day Celebration. Roxie and Josh haven't been yet, and I'm eager to see what they think of the joint!

Have a lovely weekend. I'll be back Monday with pics from my Mother's Day Celebration and details from my date with Mikie at Pepper Place (I hope).

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.


The Enchanting Belinda
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