Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I am always behind with something...You've missed Macy's third birthday, Thanksgiving, the Big Bear Brunch, and Breakfast with Santa.  With only 4 days to Christmas, I only have 50% of my shopping done.  Tomorrow is our last day of school before break and I'm putting on the finishing touches on my class's party.  The party mom couldn't get off for the party since she switched jobs.  Today, a little third grade girl returned to school.  A few weeks ago, she fell on the playground.  Not a big deal.  Except that her knee wouldn't quit hurting.  She went to the doctor.  She has cancer - a fast growing kind.  In just 3 weeks, it has spread so fast that over winter break, her leg will be amputated and she will be starting chemo.  But she wanted to come back for the last 2 days of school.  She's in a wheelchair now surrounded by giggling friends.  Kids are amazing.  The stress of the season now seems a joy.  It's ok that I am always behind.  My children aren't facing cancer this Christmas....May God bless this third grade girl and her family with health, happiness, and peace.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

A mom of 2 college boys, a high school senior, and a high school junior told me today that everything is more fun when they are little.  Tonight, I agree.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To Do Or Not To Do, That is the question

My life is in to do lists.  My School to do list.  My Evening to do list. My All Purpose to do list.  My Parenting to do list.  My Before It Is Too Late to do lists.  And the to do lists go on in my head and on paper.  Sometimes, they bring me comfort, a sense of accomplishment, and a overwhelming dose of doubt.  At 9:00 tonight, driving home from work, my to do lists were drowning me.  I momentarily envisioned throwing them out the car window.  Were the itemized bullets really that important?  Would the missing to do lists really bother anyone but me?  Like a lightening bolt of reality, a thought zinged me.  Does God have a to do list about me?  What would He put on it? 
God's To Do List In Regards to Jennifer
~Increase Jennifer's patience
~Widen Jennifer's view point (It's really not all about her)
~Remind Jennifer to point her face towards the sunshine
~Encourage Jennifer to say no to the little things, and yes to the things that matter
~Help her lay down the guilt - I know she's doing the best she can
~Instill peace
I'm sure I didn't cover all the things on God's to do list.  Right now, my to do list covers 2 pages.  I sure hope God's isn't that long! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

At the Fishnic

Through Parker's Cub Scouts, we experienced our first Fishnic (a combined fishing & picnic outing).  Here is how each family member enjoyed the morning:

Once Macy had her babies settled, she had no problem getting comfortable with nature.  In fact, Macy outlasted all the boys & fished the longest.

Be careful what you read to your children!  Parker, like most boys, loves to read nonfiction.  We checked out one book on worms & read it over and over LAST YEAR.  As Parker watched each worm meet its demise, he started spouting information from the book and about all the wonderful services worms provide.  I seized the moment to remind him about the circle of life and introduce the food chain.  Parker wasn't impressed.  At the end of the morning, he proclaimed himself a "a fake bait fisherman."
Tony spent the first hour and a half, baiting, casting, and untangling lines while only having 2 hours of sleep.  What a great den leader and daddy!
I found my spot in the sun & my hot coffee just about perfect!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You know you're a teacher when....

You haven't blogged in almost two months.
You celebrate the last day before school starts.

You still get your picture taken on the first day of school.

The first weeks of school are so exhausting that you miss the Push Cart Derby to clean house.

You gain 3 pounds from all the stress eating due to piles of paperwork and the daunting task of molding the future.
The basement nows houses Mt. Dirty (an enormous pile of laundry).
Your caffeine intake doubles triples.
You get your daughter's 2 year old pictures taken 2 months before she turns 3.
You start telling your children "OK, smart friends, it's time to ....."
You bemoan doing homework with your own child, but keep assigning it any way.
You start grading papers/making new things/answering emails/do your professional reading at 9:30PM, and surprised when it is already 11:00 PM.
Your school bag is NEVER empty.
School supplies make you smile.
You think you have the best job on earth.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The F word

I've lost count of the times people have mentioned something they saw on Facebook or the times people were shocked that I wasn't participating or the times I've been told that I need to be on Facebook. At first, I resisted out of respect for my husband's wishes.  He knows me so well that he could see an addiction forming and didn't think it was a good idea.  Then after a couple of years of witnessing the same phenomenon, he relented and said he didn't care if I did it.  Another worry was what if a student or parent found me.  I don't have anything to hide. It would just be aggravating for an 8 year old to be on Facebook.  They're suppose to be reading or doing their homework - not hanging out on my page.  Next, comes the picture problem.  It would have to be a perfect picture.  And, is there really such a thing?  Apparently so, since I have read the article "How To Take The Perfect Facebook Picture".  It was terribly complicated. Look up, chin down or was it the other way?  Finally, the friend dilemma.  The last Facebook article I read was a study of the friend number.  The perfect number is around 300.  More than 300, the article found that people no longer felt important to the friend or that the friend spent way too much time trolling for friends.  Less than 300, the friend needs to get out more.  Facebook represents a whole new level of stress to me. And, I don't really need to go looking for more.  My life, at times, provides more of that than I really want.  But I suppose if I ever came across that perfect picture, then sure I'd join the millions saying "Did you see that on Facebook....?"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Celebrating a previous birthday at my mom's FAVORITE lunch spot in KC, Andre's

I've just been doing some online browsing for my Mom's birthday gift.  Her birthday is Friday, and we are excited for her to come and spend some time with us for a long weekend.  As I was pursuing her wish list, it dawned on me that these little gifts in no way communicate how much she means to me.  If we were wealthy, I could probably come close...maybe a cruise or something from Tiffany's?  Besides my dad, my mom knows my whole story.  She knows my tears shed when I lost the Student Council Vice President vote in middle school.  She knows that I loved hunting for bargains with her at Jones' Midnight Madness Sales. She knows my first kiss happened on my first Prom.  She knows that I couldn't wait to get my driver's license so she pulled me out of school on my 16th birthday.  She knows the tears I cried when I said good-bye to my best friend when she left for Mizzou and I for Harding.  She knew that there was something about Tony that hadn't been there with any other boyfriends - and let me tell you - they were so relieved it wasn't the neck popper.  She has seen every one of my classrooms.  She walked with me through all my pregnancies and listened to my own parenting failures and breakthroughs.  It's comforting to know that there is someone who knows your whole history - the sweet and the sour.  But even more comforting, is my Mom never lets me edits my disappointments.  They are what they are.  Move on. Some how, some way, she taught me that I am not a total of successes to failures, but I am God's chosen daughter.  May I be so blessed to do the same with Parker and Macy.  I love you!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Trophy Children?

I just finished reading Parenting By the Book, Bibical Wisdom for Raising Your Child by John Rosemond.  Friends, this book hit home on so many levels!  The first one that convicted me was how as parents we define success.  Often, we equate success with a great report card or the number of activities our children participate in.  But we don't view this as our child's success but as ours.  OUCH! Rosemond argues we should view success in the three Rs - respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness. He asks where is the bumper sticker that says "My child has impeccable manners!".  The second thing that hit home with me was how as parents we can be so consumed with our children learning skills such as their ABCs,  but we don't spend the same amount of time hammering manners.  He used the example that we teach children to wait for a pause then say "Excuse Me" when they need to interrupt.  The proper way he believes ifor a child to interrupt an adult conversation is to stand away from the conversation as not to eavesdrop and wait for the adult to address the child.  He points out this is still the norm in Africa, but certainly not the US.  I couldn't believe what I had taught Parker to wait for a pause and say Excuse Me was the exact example he used! I thought this was the polite thing to do!  Now I am not so sure!  I struggled to get past the first chapter, but I am so glad I did!  Rosemond gave me a lot to think about as well as generating lively discussions between Tony & I!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beat the heat with a must read!

Since I don't have my usual hour of grading to do after the kids go to bed, I've been indulging in my favorite pastime - reading (big surprise!).  It's easy to ignore my summer to do list when I am in a middle of a book.  So far this summer, Black Heels and Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond has been my favorite.  You know I love Ree in a big way!  I can't wait for her show to start this month on Food Network.  But even if you aren't a foodie, it is a great read!  It chronicles how she met her husband and went from being a city girl to a ranch wife.  I love listening to people tell a story - any story -  whether it's how they fell in love, went on a trip, or about their kids.  If you like real life stories too, then check this book out and join me in ignoring our to do lists! :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Future Photographer?

At 2 1/2 years old, Macy has already found her trademark.  Notice the finger?  Macy enjoys spontaneous photography - whatever captures her interest, it deserves a photo shoot.  If it is you, be prepared for a demanding session.  Macy says "CHEESE!!!" quite emphatically.  If your smile doesn't meet her demanding requirements, she repeats herself louder.  This technique found huge success when working with her daddy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parker's Self Portraits

During rainy days, both Parker and Macy are pretty easy to entertain - as long as I am willing to put away my to do list or keep from suggesting we clean out closets.  They took turns playing photographer.  Macy's pics coming soon!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Here's to the Dads!

Tony is an easy man to please which is one of the things I love about him today.  We had one of his favorite meals (although somehow Tony made it).  Brisket, BBQ beans, hashbrown casserole, and yeast rolls.  Yummy!  Parker then suggested that we dine by candelight (in the middle of the afternoon) and music.  What restaurant could top that?  Then everyone had to rest their tummies so we could head to the pool.  While Tony was taking a nap (another one of his favorite things), Macy helped me make Reese's Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies.  Tony loves anything with peanut butter.  We then headed to the pool.

 Poor Tony - the kids love the pool which is probably the last place he would pick to go.  But being the all star Dad he is that is where we spent the afternoon.
There was a reason God made her so cute - she's had a record breaking discipline weekend but why talk about the bad and ugly with all the good?  Now it's about time for family movie night with my favorite Sunday night tradition - appetizers for dinner!
Wrapping up, Happy Father's Day to my dad who is celebrating in KC. Thank you for always seeing the best in me and forgiving the worst in me.  I love you.  Happy Father's Day to Pa.  The way you love Bobbie is amazing! Finally, we're excited to wish Happy Father's Day for the first time to Tony's brother-in-law.  Caoimhe (pronounced Keeva) Joy is 8 days old today.
Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 1996

Our 15th anniversary finds Tony at Cub Scout camp functioning on 4 hours of sleep, me at home with Macy, and later on me taking the kids to the church so Tony can sleep in peace and quiet.  It's not what I had pictured 15 years ago, that's for sure...But thank you, God for the blessings I didn't dream of back then!
Both Parker and Macy are excited that they are included in tonight's candlelight dinner plans.  I'm fixing the first meal that I ever made for Tony which also happens to be in Parker and Macy's top five favorites and a Church of Christ potluck staple - Poppy Seed Chicken.  I am trying a new recipe too -blueberry snack cake.  I can just see the romantic points I am earning.  OK, no points for romance, but maybe a couple of points for showing Parker and Macy this is what a real life marriage looks like.
Now I would love to share my top 15 things I love about Tony, but Macy is almost done with her 30 minute Thomas video.  So here is what I love most about Tony today.  Tomorrow it will be something different. :)  He shows me grace daily.  I know many of you may find this hard to believe, but I can be quite crabby and self-centered.  Yet, he still loves me when I almost sever his head with my razor sharp tongue.  A long time ago, we heard a speaker compare men to microwaves and women to crock-pots.  We often tease each other and I'll tell him that my crock pot isn't even on the counter.  The other day (yes, friends it happens more often than I would like to admit to the whole world wide web), I had said something especially unkind.  Tony just looked at me and said, "You just took a hammer to my microwave and smashed it into smithereens."  I instantly laughed and made up for my mean words. That's what I mean by grace - he could have come back to me with something equally as ugly which is what I really deserved.  But he chose grace as he does day after day.  Happy Anniversary, honey!
Finally, Happy Anniversary to the Boltons!  Every anniversary, I think of you celebrating too in sweet home Alabama!

Monday, June 13, 2011


I've been thinking about my grandma a lot.  I grew up in a real estate office hearing everyone call my grandma by her first name so I did too.  She was a ruthless business women.  She would do anything to close a deal.  I don't say that with pride or judgement.  That is just the way she was.  7-11 was her favorite place to stop.  We would share a bag of Doritios and a Kit Kat as I rode around town with her.  When I spent the night, she would always massage my feet with lotion telling me my feet won't always be this soft and a lady has to take care of her skin.  But one of my favorite memories is of her playing Kenny Rogers on her record stereo that was actually a large piece of furniture and dancing around the room.  As I was scouting itunes for a song we sang in church on Special Sunday, Kenny came to mind.  I listened to the words and they took on a whole new meaning
You've got to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em...Memories are like that.  Some memories are so special that you have to hold on to them no matter what. Some memories don't deserve the space and you have to know when to fold 'em and let them go.  Bobbie is losing all her memories - those that are precious to her and those that she probably should have lost a long time ago.  I've let some of my memories go of Bobbie - that is what you do when you're family.  But there are memories that I will hold on to for the both of us.  Whenever I hear Kenny, I'll be back in her house cutting a rug. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer isn't here yet....

Parker still has one more day of school & I have two.  I think we're the last ones out in the entire metro area.  But we've spent a lot of time outside.  Parker loves his water guns and so do all the neighborhood friends.  Thanks Grandmaw for getting more than one!

Macy has really enjoyed our neighbor's volleyball/limbo water toy.  The first day everyone played in it, Macy couldn't bother with a swimsuit and stripped right to her diaper in the driveway.  Then she outfitted herself with Parker's bike helmet and umbrella.  Silly girl!
We can't wait for summer vacation!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tornado Scare

I was just leaving for my Professional Learning Community meeting at 3:15 telling my class to be good.  Halfway down the hall, the tornado sirens go off. I spin around and sprint back to my students.  As a teacher, this is my worst nightmare - to be responsible for 22 precious babies.  I had been agonizing over the weather the whole day.  In fact, I had Tony sign Parker out early since the storms were suppose to hit around 3 and our schools don't dismiss until 4.  My students spend what seems like forever in the tornado crouch position in the hallway.  There are tears.  I sing "You are my sunshine."  We get the call that students can sit up but must stay in their tornado spots.  Four o'clock comes and goes without dismissal.  We stay in the hall.  Parents start signing out students but I still have over half my class in my care.  A second wave hits turning the skies nearly black.  The call is heard for everyone to resume the tornado emergency position including the staff.  The lights go out.  I cling to one student on my left and stretch out to hold five more.  The lights flicker and I say words of hope for I hear quiet tears.  "I am here.  I will take care of you. You will be ok."  And in my mind, I say by the grace of God.  A few moments later, we can get up.  Finally, at 5:30 we load the buses and all 22 students are safe with their parents.  Tonight, I am so very grateful that the worst we saw leaving school was broken limbs and downed trees all around.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hard Times

This has been a hard winter for a variety of reasons.  First, health.  I kid you not when I say Macy has not gone over a week without a fever.  We finally got to what I believe was the root of the problem - LONG story there.  Thankfully, Parker stayed healthy until a viral round and then a week and a half later, the stomach flu. A much lighter version visited Tony and Macy.  Now I am taking my Airborne and trying to mentally overcome that little twinge at the back of my throat.  Second, the demise of the housing market - a VERY long story there.  Third, every morning I enter my classroom, I am mentally playing the Rocky theme in my head.  Some years you are a fighter more than a teacher.
This past Sunday found me cuddling Macy at home as she had been sick through the night with the stomach flu.  Tony and Parker headed to church.  Thankfully, we already had the craft lined out for King's Kids, and it was one Tony was ok with.  For some reason, he has an aversion to glue and glitter.  On his way back home, Tony called to report all the things I care about - how many kids there were, who was missing, and any hiccups (aka time outs).  He then mentioned we had an appreciation gift that Jenni Reigjers had dropped off.  "Oh, really? What was it?" "I didn't open it since it was for both of us." "OK" We said our good-byes and then Macy and I got back to sitting on the blankets watching Dino Dan.  If only you could have been there when Tony got home.  Macy cheered for Bubby and Daddy.  Then Tony hands me a bag with the sweetest pictures by our King's Kids friends. After ooooooingg and awwwning over those, we read the sweetest card thanking us for working with the two and threes and then offering FREE babysitting.  Tony & I smiled and high-fived.  We were content to stop right there, but there was more. A gift card to the Melting Pot - our favorite special occasion place.  Wow!  We read some more special thank yous, unwrapped beautiful wind chimes, and came to the last card.  It was another gift card to Ruth Chris (we haven't been there since we lived in Austin - what a big treat for us).  We were so stunned that we were silenced.
 Later, I found out that 40 families made this happen with Jenni leading the way. Please know that I am not sharing this to brag.  We've just been incredibly humbled.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect or surprising.  It's been a hard winter, but with spring comes encouragement. Thank you to our incredible church family who loves us like God does!  You've lifted us up when we were weary and reminded us hard times don't last forever.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Parker!

Parker enjoyed celebrating his birthday at school!  He got to wear a crown, be the "go to guy", and share cookies with his class.  At home, he got to pick his birthday dinner menu: steak in the crockpot, volcano mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and red velvet cake.  The cake request was a big surprise.  He's never had it.  But Tony and Parker are partners in running a restaurant, and they serve a lot of red velvet cake at their place.  You have probably never been there - it's an app on Tony's phone. :) 
He couldn't wait to open presents.  Macy did a good job recognizing that today was Bubby's (as she calls him) special day and watched without helping or throwing a fit.  That doesn't sound like much to ask unless you're 2 and sometimes terrible! :)

Parker was very happy with his presents which warmed my heart.  He's always prefered toys over clothes.  But he did say a sincere thank you after each gift.  It reaffirmed our decision about the big birthday gift.  Meet our newest family member -
Parker has been asking for a hamster for two years, and we have been telling him no way for two years.  But the thought that my baby was 7 and I only had 11 years to left to make memories that would endear him to me forever caused us to visit Petsmart last Saturday.  Yes, Tony totally appreciated my reasoning and was willing to reverse 2 years of shouting no every time Parker brought it up.  What a man!  We met a lovely young lady who told us all about dwarf robo hamsters.  Here's the nitty gritty: they're the smallest of all hamsters, they are not meant to be handled (a huge plus in my book), they are the cleanest of all the hamsters so their home only needs cleaned every two weeks.  Plus, they curl into a ball the size of a cotton ball.  Too cute!  So when Parker finished opening his wrapped presents, Tony said "Doesn't he have one more?"  "You're right.  He's only opened three." I quick wittedly replied.  "Where is it?", Parker wants to know with eyes darting all over the room. "I'll give you a hint.  It's not wrapped." his generous hint giving Dad replied. "Didn't you leave it in Parker's bedroom?" his helpful mother asked.  Parker generously allowed me to run upstairs with the camera.  But I got swept away in the moment and missed the picture.  But rest assured, Parker was so surprised and excited!  I think we achieved our goal.

Now please forgive this long post, but I will close with this: Our Top 7 Parkerisms:
1)  Macy could not have a better brother.  He is so patient and affectionate with her.
2) Parker loves school.  His teacher told me this morning that he wrote his friends through the school mail system but forgot to sign his name.  The friends started asking who mailed me math problems.  Miss Moses said who loves math in our class.  They all replied Parker!
3) Parker has a tender heart.
4) Parker has the best day ever - over and over again.
5) He hides special notes for me all over my classroom.  They go like this: Dear Mommy, I miss you.  I love you. Parker  
6) Parker constantly asks for a new recipe to try.
7) He says the sweetest prayers.  You can tell he is a regular at Saturday morning prayer hour.  I hear echoes of Wole and Bose and his daddy.

Happy Birthday, Parker!  I'll keep trying to make the most of the time I have left with you!  I love you! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Need a smile, anyone?

What Macy thinks about potty training...

Macy has repurposed her crib.  It is now the nursery for all her babies.  She is a good mommy.  While I was putting away laundry, Macy told me to "SHH! I read."  I ran for my camera as fast as I could.  Thankfully, I didn't miss story time.
Yes, most days you will find Macy with either her shirt on and no bottoms or no shirt on and only bottoms.  I haven't started worrying about this - yet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adios Training Wheels

While driving to Columbia today, Parker and Grandma were talking about his birthday list when Parker mentioned wanting a skateboard.  I reminded him that he needed a new bike helmet.  Not to miss an opportunity to compliment her grandson, Grandma was saying what a great job he does riding his scooter and bike.  Parker boasted that he could go faster on his bike but his training wheels were slowing him down.  Not one to miss an opportunity to keep her children grounded, I said then Dad could take them off when we got back.  Parker readily agreed. He is willing to risk arms and limbs!  He is willing to risk falling!  I can't take it!  Slow down! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

With banana crazed Macy around, this doesn't happen very often. 
Parker has been recycling bananas since he was two and can now practically make this recipe without me.  Macy is learning how to cook now too which is why I don't have any pictures of today's baking time.  If you turn your back on Macy, you may not have any bread to bake.  I have been enjoying this recipe for 31 years.  Ever since my mom and her Pro Family friends published a cookbook together in 1980.  This recipe was donated by Glenda Knowles, one of my mom's dearest friends.

Banana Nut Bread
1/4 cup butter (or margarine)
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoonful baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Cream butter, shortening, sugar, and eggs.  Add flour and soda; mix well.  Add buttermilk, bananas, and nuts.  Mix.  Bake at 325 degrees about 50 - 60 minutes.  Makes 2 loaves.
Cooking with your kids introduces them to fractions, measurement, the importance of following directions, and reinforces patience.  Parents get to practice modeling patience and perserverance.  Always a mom, always a teacher!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break Project 1

Waves rolling in, the sun's shining, a good book, a cold Diet Coke, children happily building a sand castle to my right, and a snoozing husband on my left - Spring Break on the beach. Ahhh, give me one more minute in my tropical paradise.  OK, back to Spring Break Staycation where it snowed 5 inches yesterday!
If you have ever seen a certain very organized blond's refrigerator, then you know that my frig was crying out in neglect!  I have four major projects on my to do list for Spring Break including taking my refrigerator apart & scouring it from top to bottom.  My pride kept me from taking a picture of what the frig looked like before.  But in full disclosure, let me say that when Tony got the bottom half completely out including light fixtures, a hardened puddle the color of Diet Coke was found in the very back.  What in the world?  After scouring it with my new favorite cleaning product (vinegar & water), a barbecue aroma overtook the vinegar aroma.  Tony figured it was the homemade barbecue sauce we use to marinade  brisket.  GROSS!  But here is the finished project - one down, three to go!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Meeting Ree

After successfuly meeting Mary Pope Osbourne and lack of a birthday gift idea, Tony volunteered to take me to Ree Drummond's book signing.  If you have no idea who Ree is, check out her blog -  She has also been on the Today show and Throwdown with Bobby Flay.  The doors opened at 5:30.  We arrived at 5:15.  This was the line.  Yes, that is the edge of the parking lot at the rear of the building
We had assumed it would be like our first book signing.  Wrong!  I jumped out of the car to get in line just grabbing Ree's cookbook.  Tony parked the car & brought the kids.  Just as we got to the entrance, we found out that Ree was giving a short talk.  Both Macy & Parker had fallen asleep on the way there. (We had a busy morning.  Parker and Tony helped pick up litter for Cub Scouts & we all toured the fire house and station afterwards.)  As Macy was waking up, she started crying "I hungry!".  I turned to Tony to ask for my purse.  He said he had put it in the trunk.  I reminded him that Macy's diapers, wipes, etc. were in it.  Tony left to go get it, but returned without it.  Because the library was reaching capacity, if Tony left, they would not let him back in.  We distracted Macy with a pencil and paper when Ree took the stage.
I thought that we were going to make it through the presentation until the very prepared mom in front of us pulled out Bread Co. for her two year old son.  Macy lost it & wouldn't quit crying.  I got up and exited as fast as I could to the farthest corner of the library.  Tony came to take Macy but she would have nothing to do with his plan.  So I stayed and missed Ree's words of humor and wisdom. Just as I was on my third verse of "The Wheels on the Bus", Ree walks right in front of me with her hubby, Marlbaro Man.  All I can do is grin like an idiot holding a tear stained two year old.  We then found out that the yellow cards they gave us at the entrance determined when we would go see Ree.  We had cards with the number 12.  Wendy Martin was there with her mom and they were not going to stay so they gave us their cards.  They were in group 10.  Thanks Wendy and Anna!  When they called group 1, we estimated that each group had about 40 people in it.  Tony found the children's area where we spent about an hour..or two.
Of course, the kids are starving and about ready to hit the whine-o-meter all time high.  By then we had figured out each group was taking about 30 minutes and exiting out the rear door.  Tony then decided to take the kids to McDonalds and let them hang out in the car until we were the next group.  I have to say all the other mothers in the play area were quite envious and looked at their husbands longingly.  Sadly for them, their husbands were quite oblivious.  While he was gone, I had a great visit with Laura Picker and her Mid-County friend.  Who knew we were all Ree fans? Not me!  Finally, it was group 9's turn.  I called Tony who ushered the kids in the back door so as not to upset the front door gaurdians.  I won't say who was the rule breaker and let them all in.  Finally, group 10 was called and we got in line again.  Five minutes later, I smell something very suspicious.  Macy had made a stinky.  No big deal - I had my purse now.  Reaching for the diaper, my hand kept searching for the wipes in my bottomless purse.  Not there.  Tony then recalls he had used them in the car to clean the kids up after dinner.  By now, we are four people away from the Ree room.  No time to make it to the car. No way to get back in. No time to change the diaper.  Ree will not notice, Tony assures me.  I just give him a stinky look.  It's our turn and here are my exact words to Ree (that Tony had helped me practice):  I wanted your camera for my birthday and my husband laughed.  I was hoping to win your Kitchen Aid give away and I lost.  So my husband volunteered to take me to your book signing for my birthday present.  Ree then added Happy Birthday to her autograph and we all posed with me trying to stand as far away as I could so she couldn't smell a certain stinky girl.
She was as kind and funny in person as she is on her blog.  We then met Marlbaro Man and hoped he didn't smell the stinky.

Finally, Macy got rid of her stinky, we climbed in the car, and started back home at 9:45.  Yes friends, 4 and a half hours later.  But it was so worth it and a birthday present that I will never forget. :)