Friday, October 30, 2009

Play Ball!!


The day seemed to sing his name. A gorgeous October day ushered in Brighton's 6th birthday beaming with sunshine and blue. He greeted the day with his usual enthusiasm and then some, counting the hours until the Father Son baseball game. An hour or so later, powered by "birthday day" doughnuts, he ran around the soccer field like he owned it and added some extra cheesy drama with falls and rolls. It was his birthday and he was feeling it-- and showing it.


As soon as we got home from soccer he was ready to change uniforms. While he couldn’t concentrate on any one thing, Julia and I busied ourselves filling little sacks with peanuts and popcorn. Her critical role was to run the concession stand at the game and she was eager to dish out snacks and drinks.

We loaded up a party in the trailer and headed for the park. We picked a perfect spot and Jeff set up the sound system. What is a ballgame without organ music, baseball chants and sound effects over very loud speakers? In Brighton’s opinion, not much at all. He's quickly losing respect for the Ballpark at Arlington because they no longer sing for the 7th inning stretch. "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" might be his favorite part of the game-- or maybe a second or third next to cotton candy and Coke? (Thanks, Nanna and Papa!) Julia and I set up her “stand” and Brighton, well, he swung his bat and watched the road for familiar cars. At the sight of the first one, he took off running. The party, which he had been planning for at least 6 months, had started.

I almost dropped my popcorn when Julia said she would start off the game by singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" ................by herself................with the microphone. And sing she did, loud and clear with a big grin. Dads and sons took their places and they played “backyard” ball. They ran each other down, let the kids skip bases, made amazing plays (aka- nothing ever allowed in regulation play), caused many slides and ALMOST outs. When not making “amazing” plays, Jeff called the game over the sound system, adding digital sound effects, making it all seem very real. Dads were almost as fun to watch as the little guys but it's hard to beat miniature men strutting around proud as peacocks hearing their names over the speakers followed by crowds cheering or was it their playing with their favorite big guys? Hmmmm. Something tells me it was the big guys.


Great game and because of that, great party.

We never could get the candles lit on our breezy day, so we recreated it at home with leftover cupcakes. Big puffy cheek pictures with sibling(s) looking on are some of my favorites. And if you know my history with caramel icing, I am happy to say, I only made ONE batch of icing this year!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Now We are Six” B’s Birthday Letter 2009


“Now We Are Six”

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I’m as clever as ever.
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

A. Milne

Six. As any parent says, and I am no different, how can it be possible? Wasn't it only last week we were shooting off rockets with your friends when you turned a whole hand and maybe just a month ago when we had your fourth UT tailgating party and you still needed me to help you get your “number shirt” on making sure that even if I helped you, that you would still be four.


If I weren’t much of a writer or if I was concerned about the length of this letter (which, by the way, will be very, very long) and I could only say one thing about you, it would be you are a load of fun. 99% of the time, you awaken with a grin, a statement of some kind, and no need of coaxing to get out from under your covers. You are ALWAYS ready for the new day. Why wouldn't you be? Ahead of you is a whole day, empty of words waiting for you to fill it to overflowing. I guess for one with the gift of gab, your chances of making us chuckle are good. Once I asked you to go upstairs and TELL Julia it was time for her to practice her piano and you said, “Mom, can’t I just yell? It is SO much easier for me to just stand right here and yell.” Another time, when your friends were in the cul de sac, I asked you to do a two minute chore. I saw you vacillating between obedience and your desire to dash. “Mom, I will obey you right away, first time............tomorrow.” When bedtime comes, your comments from the top of the stairs are many and varied but this one comes in different versions, quite often, “I am having an argument with my head. I want to go to sleep but my head doesn’t want me to.” And after about 10 more minutes, “I am full of sleeping.” When your soccer team lost by double digits, you convincingly told me in the rearview mirror, “Those guys were at least 16 or 17.” B, you just make me smile.

I have never known a child that draws as much as you do. Maybe it is sort of like writing is for me. When you experience something, whether it is something read to you from a book, somewhere you were able to visit, or a football game on Saturday afternoon, your first response is to run to the printer and grab some paper..................and you draw. And you draw. And you draw. Maybe four different versions of the same game or 3 different scenes from the book. My heart aches when I pile them all up at night-- EVERY night--and wonder what in the world to do with them. Even though you are a purist when it comes to paper, you are by no means “green”. You want not a mark on either side of your crispy white canvas. Long ago I stopped trying to get you to draw on the other side of Craig’s List ads or Google maps. The battle wasn’t worth it. One day, maybe you will be led to plant a few trees (a forest) or at least draw on both sides of the paper.


You are still highly intrigued by cautionary things, like all the signs with the red circle and the line through bad/dangerous choices. These were never really on my radar but now, whether I want to or not, I know all sorts of accidents waiting to happen because of your keen ability to see each and every sign, sticker or poster. You get very serious when we go to pump gas and remind me to “discharge static” before I begin to pump because you don’t want to “catch fire”. Me neither-- even though I had never been aware of the possibility of such a tragedy at the Shell station.

One of my favorite things this year has been watching the preference for your Daddy grow. I knew it was coming and I knew it was natural. Many mornings your first question is regarding his whereabouts,
wondering if he is still in the office in his chair reading or if he had an early morning meeting. Many times, before our house is officially switched on for the day, he gets to enjoy your company. You, with blue blanket in hand, always sit on the couch opposite his chair and ask, “So, Daddy, what do you want to talk about this morning?” Your Daddy loves this. The time of his return in the evenings is a popular
discussion of the day-- especially when Julia and I get a
little carried away with reading time........which brings me to another favorite thing from this year. For the first time, you were moved by a book. The story of Satchel Paige and all that he endured while playing baseball in the Negro league trying to make his way to the white Major Leagues pushed your little heart to tears-- a heap on the couch, head buried in my lap. Your sense of justice came forth in great sadness and I was proud of you.
You finished up at the Montessori school in the spring and joined us for school at home this year-- in all your Kindergarten glory. You were ready--ready to do “math work” and “letter work”. After the first week of school, this Momma heaved a huge sigh of relief because I knew then, adding you was only going to make our day brighter. Just today, Julia and I couldn’t help but laughing at your enthusiasm for the “fast math facts” game she and I made up two years ago. You got to play for the first time today and our little “learning room” could not contain your excitement. Now, Mrs. Barbara had warned me of your love of pretending that you didn’t know something. You just don’t like to be left alone for even a minute. Somehow, you figure things out much more quickly with me by your side. I am on to you, boy. I am on to you.


You were determined to wakeboard this summer and although you never made it up by yourself, you devised a plan to get up between your Daddy’s legs and it worked! Your grin was as wide as Eagle Mountain Lake. You picked up the neighbors bike this year and realized you could ride without training wheels. A breathless Julia ran in for me to come and watch. Then we had the incident of your first lost tooth-- both ways-- like, not in your mouth anymore nor present to place under your pillow. It is on the soccer field in Keller somewhere- or in “Helen Keller” as you tell everyone.

Your prayers are full and long, just like all your conversations. Safety is big issue with you and we have seen that prayer answered more than once. No matter what insanity we have experienced inside our walls during the daylight hours, your prayers at night make it all worth it. Your Daddy usually tucks you in, but he has the same experience as I do. Whenever he finishes praying for you, you never fail to say, “Now, let me pray for you.” And pray you do. For me, you have “hit home” several times and I have been thankful for the darkness of your room as I can exit discreetly with blurry eyes.

Something I certainly will never forget are the words you choose to “love me with”. Most I chose to keep just between you and me, but, at times, they have taken my breath away and have come at moments that can ONLY be God ordained. Just last week, you stopped me as I was coming out of my bedroom, took both of my hands in yours and said some of those "breath takers" as serious as your bed head would allow. You then gave me a big hug around the legs and I’m like, “Candy? Do you want some brightly colored high fructose corn syrup for breakfast?” You’re just sweet like that-- without the sugar. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness. Your words minister to me, sweet son.

So what am I missing these days? That’s easy. Words/expressions like han-mitizer, Casa Mayama, the MI-MAX, Pig Lots, hiture naking, Tip-Tac-Toe, Starbooks, Chick fi Leg, Hippotatas (for Pappadeaux--???), skabetti, Lightening the Queen, fuge (for huge), extruction (for construction) and down my droat. And images like little hands with white knuckle grips on a multitude of cars and trains, the cave man dance, you, at three, on a bike, shoes on the wrong feet, pajamas on backwards, you, crawling behind Julia, sleeping with your hiney in the air, an orange nose from too many carrots and your huge toothless grin. Thank God for cameras.

But now, you are six and now you are the one who never fails to turn the dead bolt when you
come in from playing, even when in need of a Band-Aid. You are the one who seeks people out to say hi and still runs to hug your grown up friends around the leg. You are the one who always wants peanuts at the game and eats them SHELL and all. You are the one who loves a new trick.....or a silly joke. You are the one who will offer our guests an extra pillow or a blanket just to make sure they are comfy in our den. You are the one with the best fake laugh this side of the Mississippi. It gets me EVERY time. You are the one who at 6 (!!) knows how to make small talk. I've even watched you "work a room". Your ability to chit chat with a stranger is remarkable. You are the one who doesn’t like to retrieve anything from upstairs if Julia isn’t already there. You are the one who coaxes me at bedtime to stay just a minute longer for the kiss that is only for “Monday” or whatever the day of the week it is. You are the one who, once in our cul de sac, will yell, “STOP!!!! Let me out! I want to say ‘hi’ to him!” You are the one who wants a “crack” left between the door and jamb at night. You are the one who still talks of living in our home with your wife..... “except for the LONG time we will have to be in the hospital. You know, Mom, the baby thing.”
And you, my sweet B, are the one who, if you aren’t melting my heart, are driving me crazy. And I love, love, love you. You are the son for whom your Daddy asked the Lord, the brother for whom your sister prayed night after night and the second promise for which I waited with hope perched in my heart. The Lord fulfilled, three weeks early and then, in the middle of the night, came you. Our heartstrings are tied together, in knots, like the ones you tie in your room when you are bored--- impossible to undo. I am so very proud of you, Jeffrey Brighton Sanders. I love you “the whole world”. Happy Birthday, B! And to answer your question from tonight, yes, a million times yes.
Goodbye Five. Hello Six!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Duh"


I could devote an entire blog to my “duh” moments as a mother—well, as a wife and pharmacist too, now that I think about it. There are times I figure things out WAY too late, embarrass myself- and my family- and have “aha” moments when it just really doesn’t matter anymore. Countless times, I have made things MUCH more difficult than they were EVER meant to be, only to be shown, sometimes years later, the magnitude of my ineptness. It wasn’t until children entered our family did I learn Jeff’s ingenious way to peel an orange. I also remember watching one of our newest technicians file prescriptions at the end of the night unlike I had ever seen before and thinking, HOW have I never thought of that all these years?? Far too many times, my tongue has been road trips ahead of my brain.........and, of course, that is always interesting. I have created many opportunities for awkward phone calls, late night emails, and hand on forehead moments. You know. "Duh" moments.

The first “duh” moment as a Mom happened when I had only been a Mom for maybe 2 days. Thankfully, Jeff was in on this one, incriminating himself as my partner in idiocy. Getting Julia into her car seat for the SECOND time, we had a sweet audience of parents who had done it many times before. We proceeded to do it the way we had done it at the hospital, with much difficulty and perspiration, I assure you. As the hotel room in Louisiana grew quiet, a voice came from across the room and said, “Whoa!!! Let me help you with that!”. I think my dear friend was worried for baby Julia's life and rightly so. What they saw was Jeff and me hunched over her brand new carseat trying to strap her in all tightly swaddled in her blanket not knowing to separate the little buckle in the middle. Rounds of laughter followed as the two new parents blushed brightly. It was some feat we had accomplished at the hospital and before our friend showed us how to do it, I was completely getting why new Moms didn’t get out much.

So yesterday’s “duh moment” wasn’t as entertaining as that rookie blunder, but one nonetheless. The book I had chosen for Julia to read aloud had not arrived from the library so I grabbed one off the bookshelf for which she had handed over her own money at Barnes and Nobles. She had chosen an abridged version of Oliver Twist for “young readers”. I knew the story was about an orphan boy’s adventures, some funny and some difficult, but ultimately his finding a home filled with love for him. She sat up on the kitchen counter while I was spreading Skippy. While my mind was on the next 24 hours, I heard her reading but at the time I was only hearing a string of words catching phrases like “great sadness”, “hard labor”, “no family”. I tuned in for a bit while searching for the honey figuring out we were looking in on a child birthing scene. “Young readers”—I was okay with that. It must have been while I was trying to get the cuts right on their sandwiches—one, big rectangles, one, triangles—that I noticed the words weren’t coming anymore. Without looking up, I said, “Go on,” as I placed sandwiches on the plastic plates. It was then that I heard the sniffles. I looked up to a wrinkled- faced, teary eyed Julia. “Oh, Momma, it’s so sad. I am NOT reading this book anymore.” The book went face down on the counter and then the sobs came heavy. I had missed it. Clueless. So while hugging her on the counter, I moved the book around towards her back and this is what I read over her shoulder, “The patient shook her head. She stretched her hand toward the child. The doctor placed Oliver in her arms. She pressed her cold white lips onto the baby’s forehead. It was a tender, loving kiss. This was a special moment between mother and son. She then passed her hand over her own face. Her head dropped onto the pillow and she was dead.” Dead. Great. I read on to find out they tried to resuscitate her and failed, but how traumatic for a “young reader”. Julia was sobbing into my shoulder and my extra foot was kicking me in the rear. Orphan. Child birthing scene. Duh.

It is not the first book mistake I have made and most likely it won’t be my last. I know it won’t be the last time I feel like an idiot, but I am learning that these “duh” moments keep me on my toes. This one reminds me of what a tender heart lies within the girl under our roof, that seven years old really means she has been on this earth for less than 3000 days, and losing a mother is about the worst thing she can imagine right now. It also reminds me that sometimes crying is the only appropriate response. In this situation, it was pure and true.

So I don’t mind them really....”duh” moments, as long as someone doesn't have TOO much fun at my expense. At least I eventually figure it out- or someone else enlightens me. Sometimes it might be as simple as peeling an orange and other times, it could be as dramatic as being reminded of what real fear looks like at seven, an important fact I won't soon forget.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lost


I missed it. His first tooth came out and I wasn’t there. Big sigh. Even bigger sigh. That’s not supposed to happen. I home school for pete’s sake. Last week, as I was pulling back the covers for myself, I heard the familiar thumping of feet on the stairs and an unusually high pitched whisper, “Momma!!” Pause. He’s supposed to be asleep! “MOMMA!!” I made my way to the stairs to find him half way down, blanket in tow. “You gotta see this, Momma. C’ mere!” Seeing his finger, I knew what he had discovered. His first loose tooth. I met him in the middle and I hugged him hard seeing baby pictures over his shoulder. I told him I was happy but sad his little mouth was about to change forever. As he floated back up the stairs, he turned and asked this question, "Will I still be your handsome boy?" You know exactly what I said. I have no idea how he ever went to sleep because his excited meter was thumping the other side.

We had Men at the Cross this morning and the kids had soccer games. Sweet Remey agreed to brave this early, cold morning PLUS picture day and be the “soccer sitter”. We met at home after the morning's activities and they caught me on the phone. Before I could end the call, Brighton was jumping around my feet like a Mexican bean with his finger in his mouth, showing off his prized hole. His eyes were shining just like they do when he’s following Jeff out to throw the ball. After soccer gear had landed all around the den and Remey could finally be heard, she admitted a slight glitch in the episode. They couldn’t find the tooth! I thought she was either kidding or I didn’t hear her quite right. My B loves a little joke so I thought they had planned this trick on the thirty minute drive home. Remey’s face told me otherwise. It was lost. She said he bumped his mouth on the bench (and who knows how that happened?), it came out and instead of locating the tiny pearly white, he bolted across the field to proudly present to her his fresh new gap. Realizing what was missing, she organized a search immediately around the team bench and here’s my favorite part: As his teammates and coaches searched and searched and searched………………….. Brighton tried to help by announcing with finger in precise position, “Hey guys, it looks just like these!” Got to love that.

So now he sleeps, wondering, because he has no tooth to show for his little hole, if there will be anything under his pillow when the sun peeks through his curtians come morning. Before bedtime, he found his special blue pillow he’s been waiting to use for about two years. AFTER bedtime, he wrote a note explaining his predicament and drew a picture just in case “she” can’t read. (Mind you, our kids know fairies don’t fly in their windows and jolly men don’t come down our chimney, but they LOVE to pretend.) The note reads like this, “ My tooth is gon but i hav it in my soccr feld but i do not no wer it is but I wud lik you to come to my house please.” (Juila helped him with the last few words and yes, we have a spelling curriculum.) His picture of himself is a little scary. His hair looks like Einstein’s, which, actually, isn't so unusual in the morning, and his teeth look like “wolfman” but he is definitely missing a particular one in his self portrait. He has it all laid out, not the typical “under the pillow” position—making sure “she” doesn’t miss it and making sure it doesn’t get lost in his covers.
For Brighton, a tooth lost. For me, a significant moment lost. Maybe a first for me and I didn’t like it one bit.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How 'Bout Them Dawgs!


I went outside this morning only to run back in a grab a small sweater. The air on my bare arms definitely felt different but my favorite part is that it even smelled different. I am not sure if I will ever equate it with anything else but football season—college, that is, and for now, my old high school for which my nephew plays. College football season is officially underway—fourth weekend actually. Each week, my team looks better, well kind of, and the best part is that I have been able to watch them—for free. My biggest shock in moving to Texas 16 years ago was that the Georgia Bulldogs didn’t play on television EVERY weekend. I mean, didn’t everybody in America watch the SEC on Saturdays? Or MAYBE the ACC? How quickly I found out some teams beginning with “T’s” and “O’s” overtook the TV grid on the weekends. I honestly didn’t even know what conferences they were in. Still don't really.

I was young when my family started making football memories. I had the typical little sister Saturday morning experience of watching my brother all decked out in miniature shoulder pads run up and down the football field before he knew the sum total of a touchdown and a field goal. I continued to watch him through high school until he and his best friend won their last game by talking their coach into letting them run a quarterback sneak for a touchdown the very last play of the game. Adding up all those years in between, football was central to many family memories, but the ones that Blake wasn’t playing may have been my favorite.

When I was in elementary school, my Mom and Dad would get Blake and me out early on Fridays in order to make the drive to Athens for the “Georgia game”. One of the two doctors in our small town was a Bulldog fanatic and my Dad would get our tickets from him. As soon as we rolled into the college town in north Georgia, you knew it was a home game Saturday—streets crowded with vans and RV’s plastered with Bulldog faces or G’s, Bulldog stuff for sale on every corner and Dr. McNair’s car in the Holiday Inn parking lot- a beautiful sight for my brother and me. On seeing his car, Blake and I could almost taste what would be in his room- a yummy spread from the local bakery down the street. The one treat that we couldn’t wait to sink our pre-braces teeth into was what we called a “coconut bar”. Unfortunately, when that little bakery closed, the secret and taste of those chewy iced bars were lost with it. For several years we would stay in and around Dr. McNair’s room to visit with all the people that would stop by and then an hour or so before game time, we would make the downhill walk to Sanford Stadium. Eventually we began tailgating in a regular spot close by the Holiday Inn but only after a quick visit to his room to assist in shrinking his stash of coconut bars and to pay our respects to "Doc", of course.

I got to see every home game the year they won the National Championship. I will never forget watching Herschel Walker donning his first pair of "silver britches"running up and down the field averaging something like 150 yards a game and jumping over heaps of men like I had never seen anyone do before. We didn’t lose a game that year. I remember the game against Clemson when Kevin Butler kicked his first 60 plus yard field goal to win the game and loving the tag line he earned, “The Butler did it!” Incidentally, in this year's season opener, I watched his SON, Drew Butler, kick an extra point. Yikes, yikes and yikes. Enough of that.

Early high school I was quite enamored with the clothes all the girls would wear to the games. Who knows if they still do this, but in the 80’s, the games were the place to showcase your cutest fall clothes—whether it was 50 degrees or 100. So, of course, I spent most of my high school years trying to look like all of them on Saturdays in Athens. I am sure my parents and our friends, the Bowers, who made the trek to Athens with us every weekend, recognized my gallant efforts and shared their chuckles privately…… while I perspired publicly.

We tailgated with the Bowers every weekend. (the same family with whom we enjoyed the lake) There were 5 phases to our tailgating years: 1st phase- both families would drive together, 2nd phase- Once Blake and Brian (the Bowers’ son and Blake’s best friend) were in school at UGA, we would drive up to meet them, 3rd phase- When I joined them at Georgia, both sets of parents would drive up to meet us. 4th phase- When I was the only student left, everyone still came!, 5th phase- well, that’s the phase after I moved 1000 miles away. I don’t like that one.

I remember the first time they all tailgated without me after I moved to Texas. It was almost as bad as the first Christmas or Thanksgiving without me. I sought more sympathy from a perplexed Jeff on a Saturday in September than I did that same December. I sat in Texas thinking about the covert operation with Blake, Brian and sometimes Mark, of parking our cars to barricade and secure “our” tailgating spot on Friday nights before the game. I prayed for those riding with Mr. Bowers hoping they made it to Athens unharmed. (He tended to enter a comatose state while driving.) Clear to Texas, I could taste the Toll House pan cookies, the sausage and biscuits, the little honey mustard ham sandwiches, and the fried chicken from the red and white paper bucket. Then I had to wonder if anyone had braved the lines and the boisterous crowd at The Varsity to pick up a few chili dogs. I envisioned all of them in our square of the parking lot, standing around the table, greeting friends who stopped by, sitting on the parking bump, listening to the Larry Munson show or other SEC games on the car radio, watching crazed fans go by and devouring all the familiar, yummy food. I could picture little Bulldog wanna-be’s dressed in over-sized Georgia jerseys running around the parking lot working on their spirals- remembering Blake and Brian doing the same thing not so long ago. After the game as they waited for the traffic to clear out, the food would come out again. Plays would be retold, coaching decisions would be questioned, and the leftovers would be finished off. Definitely. And last but not least, if Georgia lost, I wondered who would help Mr. Bowers get his bottom lip into the car. It would be a quiet ride home.

I am thankful my parents were willing to make these memories. Who wants to give up half of their Saturdays in the fall? For like 15 years? Tailgating is probably in my top 5 and maybe my top 3 of things we did as a family. Huge chunks of time were designated for this. How bearable a week of classes and exams were knowing that your parents and dear friends would drive up in “our” parking lot with smiles, hugs and, thank goodness, lots of good food! How fun it was to be able to tell our friends to come by for brunch, lunch or sometimes, dinner because we knew right where we would be and that there would be more than enough food for anyone.

I will watch another game “between the hedges” again. I'll get to yell the kick-off chant with 80,000 others some day-- instead of just with Julia and Brighton in our den. Don’t know when, but I will. Until that Saturday, I will search the TV grid each weekend in the fall for the familiar words- “Georgia Bulldogs”-in a little rectangle and cheer for the "silver britches" like a “dawg” from my den in Texas!

Family Notes:

Also, since I am the ONLY Georgia fan in the entire Dennard/Sanders clan (except my sister-in-law's husband!)I expect a few fingers are warming up to type some sort of joke about the inferiority of the school or some hype about who won the Georgia/Georgia Tech game last year. In Georgia, all this banter is referred to as a little "old-fashioned hate". "I will go ahead and say it. Georgia Tech won- 45-42. But since this is my blog, let me say, it was the FIRST time they have beaten us since the turn of the century.


A couple of "must tells": Nothing about Jeff is a Georgia Bulldog-- except that he agreed to marry one. So far, my brainwashing (and threats not to feed them) has kept our two cheering for the "Dawgs". Jeff is a Georgia Tech fan. The little buzzing bumble bee just doesn't do it for Julia and Brighton.

My brother, who would almost rather see his team, which is also Georgia Tech, lose than see Georgia win has an English bulldog named "Buzz", the Georgia Tech bumble bee mascot. You can deduce a lot about my brother from that right there.

So now, if you are wondering why we went to school there and why in the world did our Dad take us to the games if he wasn't even a Georgia fan: First answer--- it was the best pharmacy school in the south. Second answer--- small town businesses do what they have to do!

Photos: First four compliments of Flickr-Jennifer Tillman and cvogle

Pumpkins!


What is it about pumpkin patches?? We woke up to a HORRIBLE forecast which promised rain-a-plenty and this momma didn't have it in her to tell her kids they weren't going! They were SO excited and had been talking about it for days. A pumpkin patch. Walking around with packed lunches, umbrellas, camera, purse and all the other stuff required for a day out IN THE RAIN just didn't sound fun to me at 8 o'clock this morning but neither did sitting across from two long faced kiddos teaching them Saxon Math and phonograms. Determined, we all found our boots and umbrellas and made our way to Mainstay Farms south of town to meet good friends who were willing to risk the rain too.