Monday, July 27, 2009

I love my almost 12 year old boy!

Like most moms, I have enjoyed EVERY single stage of my son's life. Baby days? Loved them! Terrible twos? Weren't so terrible! Preschool age? Fantastic? And on and on and on.

Now my son will soon be 12 (GASP!) and it's a shock to my system, thinking that I will teaching a middle schooler this fall.

But I adore my middle schooler and one of the advantages of having an almost 12 year old is he is very intelligent, capable, and willing to take something I dread and turn it into something I'm looking forward to.

We leave for WV on Thursday. My husband isn't making the trip with us. I haven't been looking forward to the drive or the 2 week visit without him.

This morning, Evan asked me what time we were leaving on Thursday and where we were going to stop along the way. Those questions caused some anxiety, so I turned it all over to him.

He is busy planning our trip right now. He's been to WV and back at least 2 times every year for the past 12 years, so he knows the good places to stop for gas and the restaurants where we like to eat.

My stipulations:

1. I'm not leaving the house any earlier than 9:45 a.m. That way we'll get to spend some time with hubby before we go. I won't feel rushed and crazy. And, hopefully, we'll miss crazy morning rush hour traffic.

2. I'm not driving the easiest, fastest way to get out of GA. In the past month we have driven up 75 North towards Tennessee about a million times and I'm sick of the road. I am driving north on 41 and hoping for the best. Hee hee.

3. I have to stop and get peaches for my mother and my mother-in-law. If any other family member sees this post and wants peaches, you better call me before I leave on Thursday.

4. If I want to stop at a convenience store for a raisin ugly, I will. If I see a sign for a Civil War cemetery, I'm going to stop and look. It's not a race. I'm not a Nascar driver. I'm going to drive like a little old lady on a Sunday afternoon! So grin and bear it! Actually, my son will have no problem with this. If my husband was with us, it would be a different story.

So it's mostly in Evan's hands now and his enthusiasm for planning our journey is contagious! The drive up to WV can be tedious and annoying, but Evan and I are both determined to make it F-U-N!

See you soon, Mountain State!

Monday, July 13, 2009


In a couple of weeks I am heading up to West Virginia for a family reunion and to spend some time with my family and my mother-in-law.

It'll just be me and my son driving up. My husband has used several vacation days for my son's All star state tournament and upcoming world series. Plus he has some big doings at work coming up in August and can't get away.

He suggested I wait until late September and we can all go up together, because he knows how much I dislike driving to WV by myself. It's a tempting offer, but I don't want to miss the family reunion and I want to spend some time with my mom before she starts back to work at the end of August (she's a kindergarten teacher's aide for Raleigh County).

I've made the trip numerous times over the last 16 years without hubby, so you'd think I would be used to it. Based on experience, however, here's what the next two weeks before I head up to WV will involve:

1. I will be a bundle of nerves and they will overwhelm whatever excitement I may feel about visiting family.

2. I will say "Maybe I just won't go" about six hundred times.

3. I will cook and cook and cook, unable to forget the fact that my hubby will be eating mostly fast food for the 2 weeks I will be away from home. I'll consider freezing meals, but won't end up doing it.

4. I will make a list of "honey do" things I'd like for hubby to work on while I am gone and a couple of days before my departure will tell him just "forget it, relax, enjoy yourself. I'll be on vacation, you shouldn't be doing this stuff!"

5. I'll think about just meeting my parents halfway and letting my son go with them, so I can come back home and keep my hubby company.

6. I'll clean the house and it will be cleaner than it is on a day-to-day basis around here. I'll wish I could spend some time in my house with it this clean.

7. I'll get everything packed up, be on my way out the door, and the nerves will get so bad I'll have gastrointestinal issues for the whole drive to WV.

After I arrive in WV, I'll have a blast. The days will pass much too quickly and in no time I'll be making the return trip, wishing I could stay in WV just a bit longer.

In an effort to assuage my nerves, here are some things I am looking forward to when I go to WV:

1. Visiting the Amish Barn! Buying new cross-stitch projects.

2. Walking with my mom at the walking track that is now on the football field of her old high school. I'm hoping my mom can help resuscitate my slowly dying exercise program!

3. Seeing my assorted relatives and spending time with them.

4. Going to Lake Stephens!

5. Going to Bluestone!

6. Spending a beautiful Saturday at a family reunion!

7. Actually seeing my mother on her birthday for the first time in YEARS!

Wow! It's working. I'm starting to get excited about going. I'll have to revisit this list a few times in the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 4th

I didn't post on the 4th because we spent part of the day in Ringgold, GA with my son playing his first game in the state tournament. That tournament ended last night and the Acworth Warriors placed 2nd! I was so proud of the team.

I didn't cook out on the 4th because we weren't sure how many games our team would play that day, but we did participate in what I think is the best part of Independence Day ---- The FIREWORKS!

We went to see the city of Woodstock's fireworks. Acworth's fireworks are fine too, I'm sure, but we started watching Woodstock's fireworks when we lived there years ago and it's become a tradition when we're in town for the 4th. So off we went to stake out our spot at the Lowe's parking lot.

We left at 7:30 p.m. to get a good spot. Plenty early enough, we thought, but we were surprised to see how many people were already staked out for the festivities. We drove by the liquor store and saw about 20 people setting up chairs. I thought that was a dumb place to set up, but after we got stuck for about an hour in the quagmire of the Lowe's parking lot after the fireworks were over, we realized the genius of the liquor store location.

On top of that, there is a very relevant, hip, and happening church right across from Lowe's in the old K-mart building. (I miss K-mart!) That church was having a big party in the parking lot, waving people in to park, serving food, boasting on the loudspeakers about their bathroom access, and playing music really, really loudly.

We had to listen to their music all evening. U2, Bruce Springsteen, Nat King Cole, and other music I didn't even recognize were the soundtrack to my family's fireworks outing. Thanks, rock and roll church. You almost ruined my night. Even during firework time, they blasted their tunes to show how cool and "non-religious" they are. It made me envy the happy people at the liquor store.

Still it was a good night. The fireworks display was awesome. Even the wait to get out of the parking lot didn't spoil the night.

When I was growing up, fireworks and the 4th of July went hand in hand. We would load up in the van and go to Hills Department store. I remember my dad putting me on top of the van so I could see better. Maybe that actually happened. Maybe not. Regardless it was always one of my favorite times.
Hills isn't there anymore. Sad, because it wasn't only a part of my life on the 4th. It was a big part of my childhood, with the popcorn and the Coke freezes, and the countless Barbie dolls I saw and wanted. The time I got lost and some random guy took me to the customer service counter so they could page my mom and my sister made fun of me for being scared. Buying my Holly Hobbie mug for the express purpose of drinking hot chocolate. The time when I was a teenager and my mom, my sister, and I were in line waiting for popcorn and we heard a bullet come through the front of the window and we ran back into the store, but my sister just fell on the ground too afraid to move. I'm not sure it was actually a bullet. I think it was a rock that a car had kicked up and it had hit the window. Still watching my super cool teenaged sister on the ground in fear was kind of payback for her making fun of me when I was only about 7 and lost in Hills.

Yep. Good memories.

I hope those are the kinds of memories my son is holding onto when we drive down to see the fireworks in Woodstock. Even if he remembers the slight annoyance of the loud music, his big memory will be of anticipation, playing catch in the parking lot while waiting for dusk, and the awesome display of fireworks that capped off a great Independence Day.

I'll tell him the story about his Aunt Sherri being scared of the rock that hit the window at Hills too. That memory should live on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sweet Victory

It's not surprising that one of the dads on my son's All Star team is a Georgia Bulldog fan --- we are in Bulldog country, after all. Still it says something about him --- he's a jerk, for instance --- that he decides to wear a specific shirt to last night's game.

We have WV stickers on our van and on our car. Most people who know us well know that we are from WV. This guy is an observant fellow, so I know he knew we are from WV. The red shirt he wore last night had "BEAT WVU" on the front of it. On the back it continued, "and the couch burning hillbillies they brought with them."

It is, of course, a shirt from the 2006 Sugar Bowl that WVU played against Georgia. The game where WVU BEAT UGA 38 to 35.

Now I don't claim to be the most brilliant person in the world, but I am smart enough to not wear a shirt bragging about a victory that NEVER HAPPENED.

I was gracious last night for the sake of our boys' team unity, but, with regards to that UGA lovin' dad and in the words of my late father-in-law, I know who he is and I know what he is.

On the upside our kids won last night 8 to 3 and are playing in the Georgia Dizzy Dean State B Tournament tonight! My husband, son, and I came home and celebrated the victory by burning a couch in the back yard.

Not really.

Thanks to my sister for sending me this West Virginia video to remind me that where I come from is a pretty swell place and being able to claim West Virginia as my home state is worth the occasional ribbing from sore losers.