Friday, November 30, 2007

Children of the South

Today for lunch, the kids ate rice & gravy and baby lima beans. They also had cooked carrots, but those didn't fit the category. Their Southern lunch wasn't complete; no crispy-sides-and-bottom cornbread or sweet tea. I didn't have any around.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What happens in Atmore.....

Check out the Poarch Creek Casino development.

farmers in atmore have joked for years about taking our operating loans to biloxi and "getting it over with." now we can skip the drive to biloxi. cool.

several months ago, i noticed a bulldozer clearing some land in an area just outside of atmore. a company called "c&s chemicals" purchased the land and planned to manufacture a chemical used to purify municipal water supplies--i think it was aluminum sulfate. the plant would be a steel building (no smokestacks or emissions) set well off the road and piles of aluminum ore outside. the company chose the site because it was next to a railroad line with good rates and, more importantly, was located outside of city limits. escambia county has little or no zoning regulations, so a landowner can do pretty much whatever makes them happy. joyce and i have remodeled two houses and never pulled a permit or had an inspection. this is good. two men recently started a private junkyard next to one of my fields. this is bad. the land the chemical company purchased was in a primarily residential/agricultural area free of zoning requirements, so they can legally build a chemical plant and no one can stop them. this is not to say that no one will try.

there was a town hall meeting and, as often happens at public meetings, the loudest and least informed seemed to dominate the proceedings. the idea of living next to a chemical plant that used sulfuric acid (part of the manufacturing process) was more than some people could handle. community meetings continued on a weekly basis, prayer vigils were held, and homemade signs started popping up along the road near the plant location. the ordinary soon turned to the absurd. "no c&s chemicals" became "are you for US or THEM" and my personal favorite, "sulfuric acid is toxic." correct. so is gasoline, household bleach, cigarette smoke, drain cleaner, chocolate (to your dog), and beer--if you drink too much. i did a double take the morning the coffin showed up.
about a month ago a patient came to my brother-in-law's office and told him that the plant location was chosen for population control purposes. huh?

when too many people who think exactly the same (on any issue) spend too much time together, they tend to become extreme. "i don't want to live next to a chemical plant" turns into conspiracy theories about racism and population control. go figure. why didn't anyone have a problem with the two farm chemical warehouses three miles away or the airplane spraying cotton across the road or the farmers (like me) driving past with pesticides on the back of a pickup?

not much has happened for the past month or two. rumors are that the coalition against c&s wants the poarch band of creeks to purchase the land but i don't know for sure. for now, the signs are still up and the coffin hasn't moved. maybe i should put a plastic santa and some christmas lights on it.

finally, if you are into cars, this is funny. what's not to like about a volvo 740 cut into a pick-up truck?


Saturday, November 24, 2007


This pleasant looking family is dear to my heart. What happy faces they all have! What joy everyone shared as they worked together to take a family photo--color-coordinating outfits, keeping clothes clean while at church, smiling through pre-Sunday-lunch hunger. What patience and understanding they had of the need for a family photo.


Scratch head.

No, it wasn't quite like that.

Oh well. It's headed off to Cedarville to appear in the next issue of Inspire, the alumni magazine of the stars.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Feastus Giganticus

Stabs of jealousy were ripping through my chest as I lay in bed listening to Jason lightly snore, all the while desperately trying to go to sleep. It's a losing battle, because...

I'm just too excited!!! Tomorrow is the day I forget about the kids, forget about the husband, the house, the chores, but hopefully not the budget, and go shopping! I am ready, baby! The kids' bag is ready for Grandma's house. The kids' clothes are laid out for daddy to get them dressed. Their oatmeal is pre-raisined, sugared and cinnamoned with cooking instructions taped to the container, and is in the bag. My oatmeal is similarly made up, on the counter, without the cooking instructions. My outfit is planned. My make-up is laid out, in the order I use it. My purse is cleaned out and re-organized. My checkbook balance is caught up. My list is rewritten and grouped according to store. My Jo-Ann's sale flyer and coupons are freshly re-read and neatly stacked. My felt scrap from a bootie that needs matching felt and a matching onesie is in a Ziplock sandwich bag in my purse. Chocolate is in the purse. Am I missing anything? Maybe I could pre-grind my beans and get my coffee ready to brew. I'm meeting my sister-in-law Janice in Atmore at 5:00, and we're planning to hit Pensacola, so watch out for us if you're at Kohl's or Target! I've only ever done this Friday-after-Thanksgiving thing once before, and wasn't planning to this year either, but when your mother-in-law says, "Hey, I'll watch your kids and Jan's kids the day after Thanksgiving so you can go shopping," you say, "Yes, ma'am!"

This tryptophan thing is bogus. I ate turkey, so I should be sleepy. Am I sleeping?

This wonderful Thanksgiving day started out with Jason letting me sleep in until I got up--a little after 9. I haven't slept that late for years! I drifted in and out, but while awake, listened to him with the kids and just smiled to myself.

"Owen, do you want cereal or oatmeal?"

"Helen's highchair!"

"No, you sit in Owen's chair. Now do you want cereal? Or oatmeal?"


I finally stumbled out of bed while Jason was giving the kids a bath. Helen didn't really care about seeing me, but Owen hollered, "Mommy!!!" Helen was a self-proclaimed daddy's girl for almost the rest of the day. What a nice break for Mommy. I made up for my Mommy-time-off later in the evening by changing 3 poops in 5 minutes. I won't say whose.

We had a wonderful feast with the extended Weber family, over at Mant Airy Hane's house, as Owen calls Aunt Mary Jane. He loves Mant Airy Hane's house because of the cool toys. Right before prayer, Great Grandma requested the Doxology. Aunt Velma started it high, so we smilingly screeched away as we sang. I saw one little cousin holding his ears. We had a great time with everyone, and we had some great food too. We got us some good cooks! Homemade dinner rolls that melted on your tongue. Baked turkey. Fried turkey. Creamy garlicky mashed potatoes. Gravy. Bread dressing. Cornbread dressing. Gingerbread dressing. Some kind of wonderful, creamy, full-o-goodness California vegetable casserole with mushrooms in it. Creole sweet potatoes. Broccoli salad. Cranberry salad. And let's not forget the most wonderful appetizer--an impressive fruit sculpture complete with toasted coconut ginger fruit dip and 3 different flavored yogurts to dip, dip, dip! Goooo Lisa!

I was puzzled when Helen didn't eat as voraciously as usual. (She out-eats Owen nearly every meal.) I fed her before the official mealtime, and she only ate half of what I thought she would. Later, I saw her hanging around her grandparents, getting fed pumpkin pie and pumpkin dessert, spoonful after spoonful. Aha--she was holding out for the sweet stuff. Owen ate as expected--he downed his mashed potatoes and didn't want to try anything else. I put a piece of cooked cauliflower drowning in cream soup and cheese in his mouth. It came right back out, head shaking, "I doan wannit!" Same tale with the cornbread dressing. He was more interested in Airy Hane's cool toys.

I love this season of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas and the excitement leading up to it. It's the weather. It's the time with family and friends, the good food shared, the thinking and planning of gifts and all the special thoughts you have of the ones to whom you are giving. It's the full heart that comes from quiet reflections with God, thanking him, loving him, adoring him, basking in his love.

Speaking of quiet reflections, I am finally getting sleepy. I'll have to speak with Airy Hane tomorrow to see if the coffee I grabbed from her pot was decaf, or regular pretending to be decaf.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Foaming Brine

Oh my darlin', oh my darlin', oh my daaaaarrrrlin' Clementine! Thou art lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry, Clementine!

Enough of the goofy song. I had it in my head because I just baked my Best and Juiciest Turkey Ever, thanks to the brining process, where you soak a thawed bird in a salt solution for a great long while--at least 12 hours--I soaked mine over 24 hours. It is a fabulous prevention from dried out, need-more-gravy, stick-in-your-throat white meat.

Jason found this recipe in the Mobile Press:

3 c. Kosher salt
3 c. brown sugar
3 T. cracked black pepper
8 or so bay leaves
8 or so garlic cloves
Enough water to cover the turkey

And then you can add apples, oranges, cinnamon, rosemary, or whatever's clever. I threw in 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary.

I baked the turkey breast side down, according to Perfect Turkey.

And, since so many of you asked, I found the Bitty Booties pattern link on beesnest. Heather is a fun crafter to follow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


The day after my family left, I watered my favorite house plant that I haven't managed to kill yet--according to its handwritten stake it is a Hoya Rope. I noticed three tiny little shoots peeping from the potting soil. I rolled my eyes and dialed my brother's number. Fortunately for him, Sherri answered. Once again, Kev-O left dry soybeans all over the house. The last time this happened, I was finding beans for the next couple of years. And yes, in case you're reading, Kevin, I found the pecans in my vase cupboard. I left the shoots as a reprisal of one of my freshman biology science experiments.

Today I am watching Ava. She slept while my kids ate lunch, then woke up and ate while my kids entertained her. Ava's like Helen in that she doesn't need much encouragement to eat. She is such a neat eater--if even one macaroni fell off her fork, before she could take another bite, she had to search until she found it. She didn't eat as much as I expected her too, but maybe that was due to the huge Charms sucker--the kind with that nasty gum in the middle--that I gave her before her nap. Heh heh!

And here is a little pair of Mary Jane-style bitty booties I made for a friend who is having a baby very soon. Owen thinks they belong to Aunt Mary Jane, and told me she was coming to get them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday Time!

Owen turned 3 on October 19, and Helen turned 1 two weeks later. Rather than having two separate parties, we waited until Helen's official birthday and then combined them. How handy, since some of my family from Indiana was visiting! Since we've combined parties for Owen and his cousin Abby (born the day after him) the past two years, Owen still has yet to have one all to himself, but for now he doesn't know and he doesn't care! (And we as parents shall take full advantage of that fact.)

Since Owen's favorite TV show is Wheel of Fortune, my brother Kevin found this so I could plan out the cake. (The other cake possibility was a smoke alarm cake that really beeped, but that required too much energy.) Dear, sweet Helen will have to wait until next year for her historic first-year birthday lamb cake. Mommy was too tired, and Daddy heaved a hearty veto. She savored a cupcake with one cute little candle on top.

Here are all the little cake eaters that came to the party. Cousins and more cousins! It was noisy but fun. Across the table from left to right are Abby, Blake, Owen, Caedmon and Kaiya. In the back are David holding Helen and Jace holding Brian. What a bunch of good lookin' kids getting ready for a sugar high!

Owen was grandly excited, but subdued by the shock and awe of a party. He still can't blow out candles, but sure thought he did when Caedmon lent some air. (This was the second go at it--I think Blake may have extinguished them the first time around!)

Here are the cupcakes! Heh heh heh...ahem.

Helen had just eaten supper and was a little sleepy. I couldn't believe that she didn't rip into her cupcake. She needed some encouragement to get started. She eventually got going and grabbed all the frosting off. My mom put the cupcake in a small bowl, poured milk on it and fed it to her with a spoon. Atta girl! Cake + milk FOREVER!!

We had a great time with everyone at the party. But we're sooo glad birthdays only come once a year!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Helenator

Helen Update:

Turned 1 year old on November 3rd! (cake pictures forthcoming)

Has 14 teeth

Weighs 24ish pounds; haven't measured her length recently, but is tall

Wearing size 18 months (I finally figured out why she hated putting pants on--they were too tight!)

Has a mammoth belly

LOVES food

Wants to feed herself. Refuses food if I hold the spoon (unless it is something yummy like yogurt or cake)

Propels herself solidly on her bottom with one leg bent in front of her, and the other straight out to the side--this one she uses as a sort of paddle

Can stand alone for flash seconds, but is too chicken to try for longer

Cruises expertly

Walks when both hands are held

Is very curious about objects and how they fit together or how she can maneuver them

Is very precise with finger and hand movements, and will quickly and steadily move pecans or peanuts from one bowl to another. (this is the female selecting/shopping gene coming into play!)

Likes cause and effect--putting pegs through Owen's tool bench, dropping a play knife through the fingerhole on the train table and picking it up again, playing peek-a-boo, throwing her bear out of her bed (a Mommy game where Mommy throws it back)

Pulls as much stuff as she can reach off her changing table when she is done napping and throws it on the floor

Is learning to open screw-top lids (I had to clean up olive oil and Jason had to clean up Burt's Bees baby bee lotion)

LOVES people, and Mommy is a people

Loves to have people ALL to herself. (Doesn't like to share Grandpa B with cousin Kaiya or Grandpa W with cousin Brian)

Screams quite loudly, loudly enough to make Owen cover his ears

Screams exceedingly when her nose is being cleaned

Is learning to blow her nose

Is a quick imitator

Blows really cute giant bubbles (from her mouth)

Laughs very easily and smiles even more readily; has a fabulous belly laugh

Takes 2 naps a day, total of 3-4 hours and sleeps from 8 pm to 7 am

Is fast friends with everyone she meets

Her pet name is Stinkerbell (but not because of bad smells)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Monkey see, monkey do, (monkey get in trouble too). No children were harmed in the making of this picture, or in the aftermath. They both have a fascination with the window crank. We have since replaced the sheet with bamboo blinds, which hold a grand temptation themselves, especially for our daughter.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Another birthday!

Happy birthday (this past Sunday) to my mother in law. She loves her hot tea, so this cake was especially appropriate!