You Are My Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

My Only Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

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28 June, 2012

Mommy's Log: Summer, Day One, 20120628

Summer, it begins, finally!!

So, finally, I have recooped enough after being violently ill this weekend to actually GET UP, and STAY UP. That means that SUMMER BEGINS TODAY! (Er, well, it does for ME at least). 

Gracie's dad and I have our Summer split in such a way that he has her one week, and I have her the next. I suppose it's good because she gets to have some continuous time with him that he doesn't get throughout the school year, and I get an opportunity to work and take care of things that I usually don't get to do because I'm worrying about childcare. However, it ROYALLY sucks because I REALLY miss her being gone for a whole week!

That being said, I am fortunate enough to have a job where I can take two days out of the week and spend them with Grace - which is GREAT for us, because we really get to have some one on one mommy and daughter time. It really makes up for the time throughout the school year when we are battling over school, homework, getting to bed on time, learning the spelling words... etc....

The Day Begins.....

...... at the bank. Of course, a quick trip to the ATM for some cash before we venture on to our first stop. As we are sitting at the ATM, Grace looks over and asks about the wreck we were involved in back in February. She then mentions that her back is hurting (something she never mentions otherwise), and looks over at me matter of factly while arching her back and says "Mom, I really think I need a deep tissue massage". REALLY GRACE? You'd just have to know her. Personally, I would LOVE a deep tissue massage myself. It's on my list, right next to that trip to Fiji I want. Cash in hand, we proceed to our first "real" stop, which in all it's redneck glory should surprise none of my Rebel family:

If you know me, this doesn't surprise you.

Come on, it's Waffle House. WHO can possibly turn down all that fattening greasy-ness served by waitresses who are missing one or more teeth, and cooked by guys who are clearly just trying to finish out their probation without anymore violations. 

Grace has been going to Waffle House since she was pretty much old enough to eat solid food.  And for a while there, all we had to do was walk in the door and they knew exactly what to throw on the griddle for us. Grace tells me that her dad's new girlfriend won't let them eat at Waffle House because it's "dirty"... I don't know if that's true, but isn't that the whole point? I mean, none of us go to Waffle House for it's 5 star qualities, and it's true that it's usually 3 am and too much alcohol has been involved, but over the years I have learned that Waffle House food is great when you are sober too - and Grace LOVES it! So, I'm all in!

One large chocolate milk....

Post Waffle, well done bacon, and mommy's hashbrowns that were:
scattered, smothered, covered, topped, capped, and peppered on the side
  - and we are ALL smiles!

Mom, Let's See If We Can See Toddy's Car!

My Husband works for a local surgical center, so since it was on the way, Grace asked to see if we could see if my Husband was still at work. Okay, I NEVER turn down an opportunity to see my Husband. Just as we pulled into the parking  lot, we ran smack dab into him! My munchkin has perfect timing!
Grace and Toddy, her "Bonus Dad"

The hubby and I.

My little family.
As I look at these photos, I can't help but think to myself that drugs they put you to sleep with must be REALLY good, because quite frankly I'd be terrified if that was last thing I saw before I went under.... Anyways... I digress......

After quick hugs and kisses, we were on our way and planning to visit some folks we know who own a pet shop close to the surgical center. However they were closed so we were not able to visit the baby skunks Grace wanted to see. 

Library Time!

Our beautiful local library
Put it this way, Grace could have spent ALL day in there. We looked at SO many books.

I find it SO interesting to see her going through the books because she remembers EVERY book ANY of her teachers have ever read in class, or SHE has read in class. I have to tell you, elementary school reading lists have GREATLY improved since I was there!

So we looked at books, movies, I taught her how to use the computerized library catalog, signed her up for the summer reading program, and looked at all the FREE activities our library is offering this summer - WOW!

Yeah, I know, but you might as well be comfy if you are going to take in all those books!

A SMALL sampling of the books available in the reading room.

Grace and I in the Reading Room.
So, this leads me to my "spooky" story of the day......

My father died 11 years ago this year. Poof, suddenly he was gone. TODAY, June 28th, is his birthday, he would have been 69 years young. While I was growing up, my father raced motocross, along with my brother. Dad raced under the number "56", the age his father was when he passed. It was his silent homage to the late, great, Herman Holloway. My brother raced under "156", a variation of our family number. 

My father passed at the age of 58. I chose to stay with the family number of 56, and had it tattooed on me to commemorate him - because, GOD KNOWS, I was forbidden to race ANYTHING! :) My brother chose to change the family number to "58" to commemorate the passing of our father, William Herman Holloway. In turn, he carries the tattoo of the number "58". 

When I was pregnant with Grace, her dad and I took a trip to Savannah. While there we visited a psychic just for fun. I always think it's neat to see what these people come up with. She knew my father was dead. She said he came to me in the color white. NO, she didn't whip out any numbers, but I didn't really expect her to.

Over the last decade, little things pop up here and there that make you certain Daddy is somewhere watching over us, or giving us his version of a wave from wherever he is. Today shocked me. 

I registered Grace for her Summer Reading Marathon Program at the library. All the kids are given their "race" number, just like real marathon runners would tape to their bodies. I caught my breath when she handed Grace her number. My father was an AVID reader, and he would love knowing that the little redheaded grandchild he never got to meet shared that interest with him. I'll just let the picture speak for itself:

Hi Daddy! We Miss You!

Darlin' and Lou Lou catch up with us!

At this point we were joined by my mother and my niece. All four of us girls together is always a good time. They wanted to eat, and sure, why not, I don't turn down good food. We picked up my famished hubby who had just made it home from a fully day of surgery, and drug him with us..... at least someone could take the photos. 

We ended the day with some good food at a local Irish restaurant, and I shall end this blog by sharing some pics of an impromptu lunch/birthday bash for Bill Holloway. Slainte!

We all took a sip of a "Cold Hiney", my dad's favorite.

Grace and Lou Lou.

My mommy and I.

"This is for you William!"

Mom and Lou. This is probably my FAVORITE photo, ever!

The four of us, with the Heinekin. Dad, you're here with us in spirit buddy,
but we'd much prefer you'd been here in person.

Maryellen XOXO

26 June, 2012

What to do with the kid for summer break.....


So, for the FIRST time since becoming a mother I am researching what to do with my little one for the summer. WHO KNEW BEING A MOM WAS SUCH WORK? Seriously, "how did the little pioneer children survive" without their parents having access to Google and Pinterest? (And for the record, that quote is a direct quote from my favorite attorney, I just love it and found it appropriate here.)
So, I'm looking around and so far I have found some really good coupons, some really interesting science experiements because my kid LOVES science, and am considering some close to home vacations.
As we all know, money isn't growing on trees for a lot of us lately. I want to give Grace the full summer experience, but of course, we've got to make the rent, and electric also! So I've been looking into some economical ways for us to REALLY get some enjoyment out of things.
Here's what I have come up with thus far:
1.) Valpak (that annoying package of coupons that comes in the mail) had a coupon B1G1 to see Winter, the dolphin made famous a certain movie - AND a movie in which my BFF played an extra!!  Adult admission is $19.95, and kids my daughter's age get in for $14.95. SCORE! Grace and I are going to take a day and go see this amazing little guy - and I especially hope to get to see those pelicans that attacked Ashley Judd!
2.) Bowling - We have a bowling alley up here that lets kids bowl for free with registration. As soon as I find my coupon, I'll be registering. However, I think that's been misplaced with a massive cleaning spree orchestrated by my wonderful husband.
3.) LIBRARY TIME! - By far, this is our go to for the kids. We live right around the corner from the library, so a run there once a week won't be a bad deal. Plus, like other libraries, our library has lots of things for kids to do during the summer - although, I would like to point out - THEIR HOURS SUCK.
4.) New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center - Given that we live directly across the street from them, it would be a shame not to utilize their services a few times this summer. They have a GREAT slide over there that is HUGE! Plus, when Todd and I get tired of baking, we go get in the kiddie pool and relax in the shaded part of it which is just deep enough for adults to submurge and hang out under one of those sprinkly Palm Tree things that are entertaining for three year olds.
5.) BAKING. Maybe this would be a good time to whip out some of those books on cake pops I got from Grace's book fair at school this year. However, it should be interesting, because I don't have the child that picks something easy to start with. NOPE, in true "I am my mother's daughter" fashion, she will go for the complicated cupcake Chinese Dragon right out of the gate.
6.) ARTS AND CRAFTS - Okay, nothing keeps kids entertained better than painting, drawing, coloring, etc.... PLUS, it's great therapy for me. I see some decorated flower pots, some friendship bracelets, and some wood crafts before the summer is out.
7.) Not so far from home vacations - I've been checking out a few places here and there. I'm keeping these under wraps for the time being until I decide which way I wanna go.
8.) SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS! I found an awesome website: It looks like we will be checking out some of their ideas there. Grace LOVES science. I think this will be both entertaining and educational at the same time.
9.) ONE BIG SURPRISE - yeah, this one is DEFINITELY a secret. She won't know this one until we pull into the parking lot. :)
So, I think that this summer should be packed with stuff to do - hopefully we can start it by visiting the library on Thursday. PLEASE dear LORD, let me feel better by then. I have a whole two more days to get to feeling better. And being sick, DEFINITELY shot this weekend in the foot.
Hopefully this will give you guys some ideas for the summer too, in case you were feeling stumped. I have found that Pinterest is a WEALTH of information on EVERYTHING - including what to do with kids for the summer! Gone are the days where parents just put your butt outside all day and told you to come in for lunch and dinner. BUT, the up side to that is Grace and I will get LOTS of quality time together! :)
We are going to try and post some blogs about our adventures this summer to let you know how it goes!

12 June, 2012

It's What's For Dinner: Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops

I have a package of porkchops in the refrigerator that need to be cooked tonight. Luckily I am home today, no kids, and no hubby, so this gives me some time to relax, find a great recipie, and give it whirl.

The hubby and I tire easily of eating the same thing constantly. We try to mix it up as much as we can. We enjoy sauces, and try to eat healthy. I have to admit, my husband is much better at that than I am, then again, my husband is better at most domestic ventures I attempt to undertake!

This looks really yummy because it should have a sweet flavor to it, and we LOVE onions!

Shortly I will venture into the kitchen and while I'm in there emptying the dishwasher, reloading it, and making a mini shopping list, I'll raid the cabinets and see what I'll need for this recipie from the store.

I will update after dinner and let you know how it turned out. If you want to try it as well, you should be able to click on the link under the photo to go to the recipie.

Right now, I think I'm going to copycat my niece and see if I can get back to sleep and stay that way for a couple more hours.... HERE'S HOPING!