Monday, March 30, 2009

Prom Season - 4/25

Prom season approacheth.

We found a lovely woman to make Mellisa's dress. We found the pattern and the black satin fabric for the gown, black silky stuff for the lining (so she can be slipless)and a wonderful black and silver brocade for the little jacket. It is long, strapless, with a small train. She will look beautiful. The fabric was about $67 - and this crazy woman is only charging us $50! Mellisa has had 2 fittings already - the work is phenomenal. I am amazed. We will be giving a large tip. My girlfriend's daughter's dress was $425! Yikes!

Mellisa is going dateless as of today. She has this on again/off again guy that hangs out here constantly that swears he won't be going. So - she asked someone else who just says, IDK. So - since she is on the Junior Board - she goes regardless. She will be the most gorgeous dateless girl there and the guys will just kick themselves!!

Kiel announced via text today that he is going now with a girl that he has known since 3rd grade practically. I know her - she is wonderful - her mom is wonderful - and I have thought for YEARS that they should date but I always got the "mom, we are just close friends" - duh - those are the BEST people to date. So - tux shopping commences. Of course, I can't shop unless Rachel can go too - so we match and all that - so this is planned for tomorrow.

Hair appointments have been made. This requires 3 for Mellisa - color, relaxer and the up-do - all one week apart. At least Kiel is only the one appointment - and I remembered to do it a week in advance.

Tanning has started. Mellisa burned. Now, AJ thinks that this is hysterical. He didn't understand why when he feels all three of them are already the "default color of tan" - that just cracked me up!

Order forms are due this week. Kiel will be paying for Rachel of course - so that ticket will be $120 - this includes the dinner for 2, the prom tickets, the post prom tickets and 2 t-shirts - does not include pics. Mellisa will have some discount for doing all of the decorating, etc.

Now, of course, I will spoil all fun at After Prom since I am on the board for that. Too bad I can't sneak a flask in - maybe I should work the front and confiscate one of the kid's!!! This ends at 4:30am. What was I thinking? I haven't seen midnight in ten years!

I will have to update as the date nears...

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Reunion

The Hollin side of the family has an annual reunion. My PaPaw had 6 sisters and brothers and when his father passed away - the reunion was born. At least that's how I remember it.

It used to be held in Cincinnati and, at the time, at a swanky-do hotel - at least it seemed that way to a young girl from a small town in Illinois. I remember lots of swimming in the giant pool, lots of sunburns, 1 giant diving board and 1 little one and all of the moms lounging around the pool getting tans. And there was the neatest walkup - poolside dining thing which of course we abused by charging everything to the room (Dad got a little hot about that one year). It had an indoor pool with a slide (it was always ICE cold), mini golf, tennis courts, tether ball, shuffle board, kiddie pool, playground and even another pool down the parking lot at another set of rooms - we called it the ghetto pool.

There was even this elaborate program. Each year, a different family unit would 'host' and create the theme, decorate, mc - the whole nine yards. Everyone would dress up - suits, long dresses. I even wore my prom dresses. And LOTS of pictures. I never did develop the 'Smith' smile!

Times have changed. We are getting older - and the cousins just don't seem to be as connected as I am sure their parents would have predicted. It is almost sad honestly. The reunion was such a HUGE deal to me growing up - I loved it. I felt so special to be included in this huge family (we were the step side of the family) - there was so much love. I know that our attendance put a financial strain on my parents but they tried every year to have us attend. Funny, I am in the same boat.

But - it is just different anymore. I miss the Uncle Joe stories and jokes - that I probably shouldn't hear. And the parents staying up so late, smoking and drinking and laughing in the hospitality room. I miss playing in the elevator. I miss Granny's fudge - not to mention little Granny Hollin.

My kids just don't get it. Sure, they love going and playing but I don't think they understand the history and the significance and the meaning. Someone always makes Granny's fudge - they love it - but it's just not the same. It makes me sad just thinking about everybody I miss...

Chris called the hotel and made reservations again for this year. It's been moved to London, KY. It's a nice hotel - but simple. It does have an outdoor pool - but without the grandeur of the Carousel. The programs aren't quite as elaborate - the decorating not as all-encompassing but it's nice. Seems like every year, the attendance is less. We missed last year due to volleyball and I felt horrible. Grandmother said that hardly anyone came. So I told Chris - come hell or high water - we would be there for her if nothing else!

So we will be journeying down to southern KY during Father's Day weekend. I have told my family to take Friday off thru Monday. We always like to stop and visit with PaPaw and Grandmother for awhile on Sunday night.

I think Aunt Sally has the program this year - something about birthdays? So that should be fun - and it will be nice to see everyone again!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm old

A girlfriend of mine works at Lenscrafters part-time. It had been awhile since I had my eyes checked - so I went.

The eye doctor seems to think that I am old and now need bifocals. OK - so my arms aren't quite long enough to read anymore, but hey - bifocals?

Holly (the friend) also does my hair. So she had picked out some of the most lovely, yet funky, frames that matched me and could still do the no-line thing so I wouldn't announce to the world that I am old.

The glasses I now don have the same brown/red/blonde color bands as my hair and I look good.... And I have already learned to NOT look down while doing stairs!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Last night, caller id shows - Illinois Wesleyan. Chris grabs the phone quickly as there is a recruiter calling frequently from there. Nope - it is a college student doing a poll and needs the adult with the most recent birthday - and hands the phone to me.

Usually, I hang up on these people - but it's a college student and I imagined it was some class project that she dreaded anyway. So - I listen. Poll my fanny! It was a stinkin quiz! She asked about 50 questions about which candidate supported what - intermingled with personal questions (ex: do I watch the news regularly). I even told her that this was not a poll! She giggled - glad I could entertain. I was very frustrated with one question - which candidate asked a paraplegic to stand. I guessed McCain since I could not remember for the life of me and then asked her to tell me the right answer. She told me I had to wait until the end. It was Biden in case anyone was curious. I did get the pregnant daughter and the wardrobe questions right. I couldn't remember which was for school vouchers and wanted more nuclear power plants. Those were the questions that stuck out in my mind. She was just firing them at me!

It actually bothered me. I am a huge news person. I watch the nightly news with Brian - read msnbc over my lunch - and I love the Sunday morning political round tables. There were several answers that I had to guess at! Either I have no retention whatsoever or I am zoning out on the issues? Wow... I was surprised at myself - and even questioned how normal - non-newsy people know what is going on out there? Gossip? Husband's opinions? Church opinions? Boggles the mind thinking about it.

Another thought - when did I become my dad? He watched all of those Sunday shows - and it drove me crazy as a kid. How boring can TV be??? I love the news now - I like to keep on top of things - people ask me frequently about all sorts of topics... Right now, my favorite topic is the flooding in North Dakota - we have a lot of COUNTRY agent offices in ND, especially in Fargo & Morehead, MN (they are next door to each other for non-geography people) so it is fascinating to me. The worst flooding we have had is 3 inches in our basement when we had the monsoon rains a few years ago - I have a hard time relating to some 20 feet over floodstage - not inches but feet!

I try to have my kids watch at least the national news with me - Mellisa loves Brian Williams - that makes me feel good. At least one of my kids seems to care about the activity in the world!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Uncle Lou

We picked up Uncle Lou for the weekend. We try to get him once a month - but it seems closer to 6 weeks in the winter. It's very hard for Lou to stay at our house in the winter. He paces like a caged animal in a zoo. This weekend was a better weekend weather-wise - and I even found a chore for him to do outside - pooper scooping. I know, it seems mean - but he really does like helping. He doesn't do the best job on any project that I give him but let's face it - if he picked up half - that's better than it was!

He walked in this weekend with a swollen eye. He said it was a black eye - which was not black at all - just swollen. Mellisa (who had to pick him up since Chris and I had hair appointments) said the nurse told us to just rinse it frequently. So - I asked Lou what happened. He did a dipsy doodle, interlaced his fingers, went thru a time warp and they turned his eyeball inside out and put it back in - this is the shortened version by the way. I start zoning out the second I hear the dipsy doodle explanation as that usually means another five minutes of baloney. Now, he believes the baloney - so I smile and nod and say, interesting - bet that hurt.

He drives Lee crazy. I try to look at it as entertainment value - and try very hard not to think about the Lou that I remember before he turned loopy - that makes me sad.

He did shave and his nails are cut - so he doesn't look nearly as Charles Manson-ey. The girls love to play with him - he will play dolls or whatever for hours. And plays fetch with Tanner - so he does help around the house. We do have to fumigate the bedroom when he leaves but I guess that's just part of it.

He watched the NCAA games with us - and seemed to enjoy that. And he really appreciates whatever Chris cooks. I know that his life at Sharon Woods is hell - but I am not sure he really notices.

Chris took him back last night - stopped and bought him instant coffee and cigs - normal procedure. Chris is a good husband - he has always taken care of Lou and never held it against me - he's a good soul.

I'm never sure if Lou realizes his illness - I think he is just lost in his own mind....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Official ruling

I love my aunties...
It's official...
Aunt Janet had the erpers - but NO hospital stay...
Auntie Ann had not only the erpers but a wonderful ER visit...
Auntie Ann is the winner - she made Riley sick...
Just thought I would clear that up with the relatives...

Nothing profound - just thoughts

I don't have tons of friends that I can truly say have been thru it all with me. I've lived a lot of places - my goals have changed - my job changed - my marriage status changed - I was a baby factory - all of these things really try a friendship.

I have known Angie since the Mel divorce days. She is a great person - big hearted - and has been thru a lot of the same things I have. I am the godmother to her 2nd (of 4) boy - Dylan, who I must say, is the best of the four (no bias there). His birthday was the same as my mom's - and I was right outside when he was born. She has been a great friend - and I think no matter how long it's been since we've seen each other - it's like we were never apart. It's nice.

Anyhow - I went to a party last night at her house. I don't get to see her as much as I would like since she lives in another town. It was a Scentsy party - plug in wax warmers - kind of cool. I hate it when my candles spring a leak and wax drips everywhere. I love the catch-up part of the product-driven home party. 5/6 women get together and chit chat and drink and eat and use some more excuse such as a scent party to get together - and rarely spend much attention to the poor sales pitch person! Lots of giggling, inappropriate comments - stuff like that. It was so nice to not think about anything serious for 3 hours!

I wish I could say I still kept in touch with my friends in high school - but I don't even know where half of them are! I hung out with the thespian, intelligent group - not sure how I fit in - but that's my story. And, of course, the second they graduated - they left Clinton never to return. They don't even come back for reunions!

Kiel was so sweet the other night. It was his last basketball game with his team. Of course, he didn't play much and walked home by himself. I went in his room later - his eyes were swollen. I thought he was upset cause he didn't play - I was wrong. He said, mom, do you realize I have played with these guys since grade school - and we are done? I will never play or even see them again? Makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Friendship is hard - takes a lot of work sometimes. I just hope my kids have good friends to help them thru...

Thursday, March 19, 2009


So - worry wart mom finally called the pediatrician. At some point, enough is enough. Riley couldn't keep anything down and looked horrible. The nurse says - what makes you think she is dehydrated? I wanted to say - I dunno - maybe cause she is my 4th kid, her eyes are sunken, she is lethargic and only has one kidney? Instead - I spit out, I worry about her since she is a cancer survivor and her eyes don't look right. I am not sure I will ever get past the cancer thing.

Anyway - Chris takes her to the Dr. since last night was the big dessert reception for the basketball team that I was in charge of. I am busy hanging decorations when I get the text, we are headed to the hospital. What? Now what do I do? This is Kiel's big night - I have this event - and my daughter is headed to the hospital? I am a very lucky woman though as I am married to the most wonderful man who handles crisis extremely well. He told me to stay - enjoy the evening and he would text me with updates.

Needless to say - I could barely tell anyone a single thing any of those coaches said as I was texting thru the whole event. But - Kiel did get a big plaque for his Most Improved efforts. The decorations rocked - and I got tons of pictures. Great event - went well - super turn out.

Riley is a trooper. Chris said she handled the IV just fine - poor thing is sooo used to needles anymore. I called her a zillion times - she said - Mom, I have this huge tube in my hand that is giving me fluids and I feel better already! They pumped 2 bags of fluid - plus chicken soup with invisible chicken (Riley's words) along with anti-vomit meds. And the pediatrician had xrays done to check for pneumonia - Riley loved the wheelchair ride. They released her about midnight. She looked 110% better already.

I hope that this is the end of this sickness.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fun little link...

The Family that sticks together - gets ill together

It's official. The whole stinkin family is sick. Poor Riley is out of school again today - AJ is on manny duty. She was erping all night again. I put her in bed with me so I could hear her - so Chris slept on the couch. Not sure which one of us got more sleep though! I just called Mellisa in sick from school. Unfortunately, Chris and I both went to work but feeling puny. Still no signs for Alyx or AJ - but the week is young. I think we can blame this one on Kiel - he was sick first.

Which leads me to my next disgusting thought... Just as there are wide ranges of sneeze volumes - I believe that there are for vomiting. I don't know what I was thinking when I put Riley in bed with me. I could have heard her from the neighbor's house...

I wonder if I should blame all of this on Aunt Janet - she was actually sick before Kiel!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Party Pooped

Party was not what we expected at all. Turns out - Riley is WAY more athletic than the other girls in the class. Weather was beautiful so we were able to play all of our basketball games outside. Well, the other little girls didn't want to play bball games - so I had a minor panic attack. I had a zillion cute little things planned. What do I do with these girls for another hour? AJ to the rescue - he ran inside - did a quick google search and came up with a few little more 'girly' games to play - inside - that did not require any ball handling skills. Lots of dancing and music - they were happy. More important - Riley was still happy. I owe him big time!!!

Riley is something else. Anything she tries to do - she has to be the best. I am very proud of her though - even when she isn't - she handles defeat very well - on the surface at least. I see her as one big over achiever in the future.

The big kids are noticing more and more the intelligence level of Riley and Alyx. Alyx has been tested at a 5th grade level (she is in 1st grade) and has her reading time with the principal. Riley is above grade as well but she is more into the Student Council and leadership. I find it fascinating how different the two 'sets' of kids are. Same mom - but wow, those dad genes really make a difference. The older three have to fight to get good grades and it just comes naturally to the younger two. Maybe I did something different with the 2nd group - they do have older sibs to watch and learn from too. Just interesting...

Anyway - Riley developed a horrible fever and slept most of Sunday. AJ is home with her today - he is such a good kid. It always scares me when she gets sick - I will worry about her forever. I am sure it is just the flu... At least she has lots of new Webkins to play with today - and the rest of the High School Musical DVD collection to watch!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Miss Riley

Well, Riley is turning 8 today! Somehow, she managed to carry 3 dozen cookies and 30 juice boxes to school today in her basketball bag. This teacher really whoops it up on birthdays - Riley gets to bring a book from home and read it to her class as well as share treats. And of course, miss thing has no problem standing in front of the class sharing - she LOVES being the center of attention.

Tonight, we are having a basketball cake. This is Riley's new passion - she is actually very good at it. I put two cake mixes in a giant glass bowl and cooked it. So - after I leveled it - it looks like half a ball. I'll ice tonite before she gets off the bus. Can't wait to see how orange our tongues get!

Tomorrow is the party. She wanted a bball party - so all of the guests were told to wear a jersey or fav team tshirt. Lots of bball games - and luckily, the weather is going to be perfect to play outside. Our backup plan was the high school gym - sometimes it pays to have keys to the building! She only invited the girls in the class - so I hope this goes well. We included referee whistles in the treat bags. I told Chris SEVERAL times that the treat bags are handed out AS THEY WALK OUT THE DOOR. Parents will just love us...

Funny how much Riley has changed over a year. Last year, everything was pink and tulle and princess-y. Who knows what next year will bring?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Much better

so - i figured it out and my page looks much better...

I forgot my cell phone today - dang it. I had no idea how much I loved getting my little text messages from my kids all day. Of course, they only text me between classes (ha). I think I communicate with them more now than ever - although it is usually snippets of information in some foreign code that I usually have to look up on the Internet! But - it counts!

I dragged my feet on getting a cell phone for so long. I hate talking on the phone. I have never been one of those people - even in high school - that could just sit and chit chat. I love to email - I love to text - but I still hate talking on the phone. I have no idea why either. I drive my friends crazy - they know I have about a five minute window and then I am done. Now, I can email people all dang day. Maybe I am afraid of what might come out of my mouth or something? I like to review what I am saying since I have an incredible tendency to just say the first thing that pops in my head - which is not a good thing. Usually something funny comes out - but sometimes it might be crude (thanks mom) or flippant. So maybe this is my way to edit or censure myself!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


i am trying to be creative and try some new backgrounds for the blog - something more me-ish... right now i have a lovely 3 column background with a 2 column template....

i am too tired to deal with this - i will fix it tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kiel & Basketball

I am having a very hard time understanding Kiel's basketball coach. I just about want to kill him - luckily, the season is over so he has been granted a stay of execution. Poor Kiel. He sat on that bench for 2 years waiting for his chance. He grew (and grew and grew). He attended a camp in Peoria the entire summer for big men. Every night he would drive over there by himself and would be bored to tears since he had no competition. The coach told him repeatedly - hang in there, come to practice, go to the camps, lift, run, etc. and you will get your chance. When was that? How many teams would have a 7 foot guy sitting on the bench? Kiel would make a 'mistake' and the coach would scream at him and he would sit the rest of the game. Now, I don't have a problem with the screaming itself - but the fact that the coach was not consistently screaming at the whole team when mistakes were made was bothersome. I had so many people come up to me and ask if Kiel was injured or is the coach just an idiot? Well, I know Kiel was not injured - so I just let them make their own conclusion.

Anyway - Kiel was being recruited by division one schools. Not many D1 kids sit on the bench or only get 4 minutes of playing time! I think that the coach has ruined his chances for full scholarships. He will probably have to play at a junior college and then transfer IF he is given an opportunity. I completely blame his coach for this situation.

After Kiel turned in his uniform yesterday - the coach said, we'll work on getting you into a school now. WHAT??? With what magical statistics will you be using for that? The LAST person that I want help from is that coach. Kiel is a good kid and just told him sure - thanks.

Chris and I want to just have 5 minutes with that coach and tell him what we think about his abilities - but I won't do it. Regardless of his inadequacies, I was always told to respect the coach. But boy, is it hard. I think he made HUGE mistakes - and as long as he coaches at our school - more and more kids are going to suffer because of it.

Anyway, I am the banquet planner. I have such mixed emotions. I really am ONLY doing this for the Seniors - could care less about the coach or his 'team'. My son has played with a couple of these kids since 2nd grade and they deserve to be recognized regardless of the season. I have made replicas of their jerseys out of white foam board and black card stock and have found a zillion pictures to add to the back. I will hang them - so they look like the retired jerseys that many arenas hang. And cake - can't go wrong with cake.

I feel so badly for Kiel - he's a good kid and deserved so much more. I respect him so much for taking it night after night but hanging in there - staying as positive as possible and supporting his team.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shrinking AJ

About a week or two ago, I had the funniest email from AJ that went something like - 'I have decided to no longer be the balding, short, fat guy that lives in his mom's basement. I have decided to become the balding, short, thin guy that lives in his mom's basement.' Quite a revelation. Poor thing has developed his mom's love of food and hatred of anything that could be construed as exercise. He is, however, doing very well. I can already tell a difference. He works out regularly by riding his bike, skips his work hazard of pizza and eats salads instead. His best friend is getting married in September - so I think this may have prompted him - regardless, I am very proud of him.

I have battled my weight as long as I can remember. I even remember my freshman year of college when I told my suite mate Donna that if I get over 145lbs to shoot me. Wow - if only!! I can't imagine ever being 145 - and that was heavy for me back then! I am the yo-yo queen of dieting - I lose it and then gain it right back. I am hoping that once my health gets back into line - that AJ will inspire me and I can give it a go once again...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bathroom Etiquette

So - this post will be crude. My mother used that word about me a lot - so prepare yourself.

Seriously, public restrooms - there is a protocol. Last night, I walk into our high school's rest room. At least sixteen stalls - all empty. So - I sit down, doing my thing for a minute or two when the door opens and another lady comes in. Now, keep in mind - there are at least 15 empty stalls remaining. She sat down next to me?!??! WHAT!?!??! NO! That is not proper etiquette - at least one stall should be between each squatter when available. I should not see shoes next to me unless we are at an Illini game or a concert and the "crossing my legs - why did I have that extra beer" line is out the door...

I think even guys can relate - you never stand next to another man at a urinal when there are empty urinals available. Shoulder touching is just wrong. Am I right about this?

It's just an unwritten human rule...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Almost over!

I have only two more concession stands for this school year - whew... I had a Booster meeting and sort of lost my temper. I am sick and tired of listening to parents boo hoo and whine about how busy they are and how they just can't donate three freakin hours of their time - YET - they complain when there is no money in the budget for their child to get the swanky-do warm-ups provided by the school (for example). HELLO? Where do you think the money comes from?

I had surgery last Wednesday - supposed to have bed rest for five days. Saturday - bright and early - I am opening the stupid stand for an all day basketball tourney. I check the cashbox on Sunday - $400. What??? Did they give food away??? We didn't even come close to covering the stock! Monday - the nichols/turpin family is working the stand by ourselves - we cleared $500 in 4 hours. Tuesday - I'm working completely alone and grab whatever students I can snag as they leave practices - we clear $350 in 3 hours. Kiel even played on Tuesday and I didn't get to watch since no parents volunteered AGAIN!

So I was a bit bitter on Wednesday night for the meeting. Coaches want money - parents want money - but no one wants to put forth effort to make the money. Concessions tonight and Friday night. And after my temper tantrum, I do have some help both nights!

They are just forcing me to be a giant b*tch...

Anyway - Friday is the last one untill next school year!!! My back will be soooo happy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Back again

Well, I survived - more importantly, my family survived! Just a little sore and tired but I will live to see another day... Back at work - my coworkers are awesome! They sent flowers - how many people do that anymore?!? My bedside table was so much nicer - and smelled so much better!!! They even did my work for me while I was gone - that was the best gift ever! And it made me feel so much better when one of my area's installs still crapped out - at least I knew it wasn't anything I did and maybe I might have been missed!!!

I was looking over my calendar for March. I am very frightened - next week was white (blank). Kiel's bball season ends this week (unless they make the playoffs); Riley's bball season ends this week; Mellisa's volleyball season ends this week. Wow - what will I do with my time?

So - I guess it's back to gardening then!!! Chris hates this season - I spend a small fortune on grandiose plans that usually don't work so well in our climate but I always have such high hopes. Poor guy - he loses his dining room to banana trees every fall/winter! One day, I will have a lush, tropical garden with lovely water features where I can waste my day pondering the world...