Friday, December 7, 2012

Thinking Inside the Box

Or, Why Did I Spend All This Money on Actual Presents?

Sometimes the gift that ends up meaning the most is the one to which you gave the least thought.

When Scott and I studied The Five Love Languages in Sunday School, we were not shocked to learn that gift-giving was not a love language for either of us.  Our families usually get their presents within months of their actual birthdays not because we don't love them, but because we are horrible gift-givers.  Scott and I take a bizarre approach to gifts that has worked for us for 17 years now.  In short, you get a gift when you need that particular thing and then it's chalked up to the next gift-giving occasion.  For example, Mother's Day often comes in February, but that's OK since I have usually burned my Valentine's Day present when I did something like drop my phone in January, etc.  Right now, the gift I just received for Christmas 2012 is probably technically for our anniversary.  In 2017.

I got a big, shiny, new computer.  (Thank you, Santa!)

I decided to leave the world of PCs and go all Mac, all the time.  I love the photo editing, the new software, and all the things I can do with a click of the mouse.  And obviously, this giant computer came in a giant box.  TWO giant boxes, to be exact.

As I was opening my new toy, the kids came running.  "Here we go," I thought.  "I can't even open this thing and my kids are going to want to play with it before I can even touch it."  (Yeah, my Holly-Jolly was on leave at that moment.)  But the kids had no interest in the computer.  "CAN WE HAVE THE BOXES?" they screamed.  And with joy and excitement on their faces, they dragged them out and into the night.

Hmmm, OK.  These are thoroughly modern kids.  They have a computer in the playroom and an iPad. When my phone is giving me trouble, Katie fixes it for me.  But when I went to check on them, Davis had made a "jail" for his stuffed animals with his box, and Katie had made a dormitory for her stuffed animals with hers.  They had taken markers and decorated the boxes and were horrified when I asked if I could throw them out.  What was I thinking?  I had to promise that I would not even THINK of touching their new treasures when they left for school this morning.

Panda made bail, but he was bonded out by Clownie, who is known to break kneecaps.
Davis's room is an underworld of shady characters.  

I love it that my kids are getting older.  I am very un-sentimental when it comes to aging.  I love them at nine and six because we can do fun activities, we can take better trips, we can read more advanced books, and we can have heated discussions about whether Andrew Jackson was a great president or a monster for causing the Trail of Tears.  (Guess which side Katie takes?)  But I also tear up a little when I watch them, lost in their own imaginations, inspired by nothing but cardboard and markers, making new worlds for their old-fashioned teddy bears.  Maybe I'm OK with their staying little a little longer.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This summer seems to be dominated by the theme of what women will do for the men they love.  There’s this little book called Fifty Shades of Grey – perhaps you’ve heard of it?  All the women in the western hemisphere seem to be a-flutter over what a straight-laced, nice girl will do when asked by the man of her dreams.  I think we can all admit that we’ve read at least one People Magazine article about what Katie Holmes may or may not have done during her marriage to her once-Prince Charming, Tom Cruise.  So I felt right at home with these brave women when my husband sat me down this summer, looked at me with those huge, blue eyes, and asked me to do the most shocking thing I could imagine.

Scott wanted me to start playing golf.

I like sports. I adore sports.  In my life, I have played tennis, soccer, basketball, fenced (it’s true!),run track, and been a cheerleader.  I avidly watch SEC football.  Golf?  Golf is for people who don’t like excitement.  For people who sip bourbon and talk about their stock portfolios.  For people with country-club logos emblazoned on their sun visors.  There was no possible way I was going to buy into this crazy idea.  Scott was on his own.  After seventeen years together, this was asking waaay too much of me.  I am a nice girl, brought up with good values, and I would not give in to him, no matter how hard he pleaded.

Then he bought me a set of clubs.  (I am bribed so easily.)  They’re really pretty.  And they came in a sky-blue bag.  And they’re guaranteed to help a first-timer ease into the game while providing exceptional distance and feel on impact, while also being forgiving with a large sweet spot.

So, yeah, I’m hooked.

We joined the country club (under-40 golf membership.)  He took off work Friday morning so we could play our first nine holes together.  For the record, Scott takes off work when I am giving birth, being cut open by surgeons, and… no, wait, that’s it.  Scott goes to work with 103 degree fever.   Scott puts the snow chains on the tires and makes it in to the office when nobody else can make it out of his driveway.  Scott goes to court battling stomach viruses that would level an elephant.  Scott inherited his father’s professional drive when it comes to showing up at the office, except when a small, white, dimpled ball is concerned.  He has a kryptonite, after all!

We drowned golf balls.  Scott hit someone’s house.  I think I gave a goose a concussion.  And I managed to bogey on one hole with some sort of beginner’s luck.  We laughed and cursed and had an enormously wonderful time.  How could I love a game that made me so crazy?  I couldn’t wait to get to the next hole, and I was horrified at how sad I was when it was over.  When could we do it again?

After we finished our scandalous morning together and I came home, I set up shop in the back yard and hit practice balls for another hour, trying to figure out fairway shots.  (How DO you get distance without a tee?)  Saturday night, we packed up the kids and went to a driving range and hit balls until closing time.  Sunday, we lay on the couches and watched the British Open (“The Open”) all day, passing issues of Golf Digest and Golf for Dummies back and forth to one another and discussing whether Adam Scott would blow such a large lead (bless his heart, he did.)  We ordered the kids TaylorMade hats because let’s face it, that’s just really funny.  We scheduled lessons with the country club golf pro.  We cancelled plans to go to the lake just so we could make it to those lessons. 

I was in the back yard tonight in my rubber duckie pajamas, with my driver and a glass of wine, wearing my golf shoes, working on my swing when my neighbor leaned over the fence and told me in the most loving way possible that I had completely lost my mind.

We’re hopelessly bad.  We’re learning.  We’re na├»ve.  Our enthusiasm to play every second of every day will wear off at some point.  We’re terribly outmatched at the club, and we can imagine the laughs that other, “real” golfers are having at our expense.  But we’re having fun.  And that’s a handicap I’ll take any day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Questionable Parenting Choice #2,784

So, we made Questionable Parenting Choice #2,783 and sent Davis on to kindergarten this fall.  He’s a summer baby (06/06/06 for those of you who don’t know that), he’s a boy, he’s very excitable, and he has trouble focusing.  All of these are wonderful, responsible reasons NOT to send a kid to kindergarten.  I fully believe that 99 out of 100 Parents Who Aren’t Britney Spears would red-shirt their child for another year.  Not Scott and me, though.  Those cons couldn’t hold up next to this one large, overwhelming pro:  we really wanted him to start school this year.  He's smart, and he's already big for his age.  We didn't feel like being in preschool another year would address the challenges that Davis has, and throwing him in the deep end would force him to grow up a little.  Also, I did some math.  Do you know how OLD I am going to be when these kids get out of high school?  VERY OLD, friends.  Maybe I can score some AARP seating for the ceremonies.  We also got the go-ahead from my best friend who is a former kindergarten teacher, so there was someone with some sense (and several degrees) backing us up. 

Since Davis was going to school, we started thinking of ways we could help him succeed.  Counseling?  No.  Tutoring?  No.  A summer of home-schooling?  No.  Karate?  Oh, yes.  He could punch and kick and scream words in languages I don't understand and pick up some life lessons along the way.  Also, he wouldn’t have to wear shoes, which is a big plus for him.   Premier Martial Arts was having some type of back-to-school special, so we signed Davis up. 

The grandparents thought we had taken leave of our senses.   I think most of our friends thought that the paint fumes from our summer remodel had finally gotten to our brains.  Katie informed us that she would remain locked in her room until she left for college, in order to escape broken bones.  All in all, this was seen as a second low point in our parenting careers.  When Davis was issued boxing gloves and nunchucks, everyone knew disaster was imminent.  What idiots give their five year old weapons?

I am not going to say that all of his problems with focus and impulsiveness have gone away (they’re not miracle workers, y’all) but Davis is a changed kid.  He’s doing well in school.  He is not a behavior problem, according to his teacher.  He’s becoming more polite.  He goes to karate and kicks and punches and basks in his instructor’s praise.  He loves being a little bit of a tough guy, but he still runs grinning to hug us when he has performed an exercise well.  His karate instructors require him to have focus and discipline, and you do NOT want to cross these guys.  (Which is why I don’t have more pictures.  I don’t think they were amused by the giant Nikon with the extra flash and the zoom lens…)  He is so excited and happy and thrilled to have found an activity that fits him so perfectly.

And if I’m ever in a scary dark alley late at night, I’ll be really glad to have him with me.  I just hope he remembers those nunchucks.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Playdate with Lee

Some people don't have enough sense to get their kids out of the rain.

The kids had a playdate with our new friend Lee, who is slowly making his
way north through Tennessee. 

They jumped.

They splashed.

Then they broke out the big guns.

Katie seemed to have the upper hand for a while...

But it was Davis FOR THE WIN.  (Check out his expression!)

Thanks, Lee, for a wonderful playdate and some really fun memories.  When they were done playing, the kids finished the day with a bath in Mom's jet tub and some hot chocolate.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jack's Best Day Ever


So when this summer began, I thought that I would have TONS of time to take a lot of pictures and keep up with the blog.  With the kids at day camp for several weeks and at the lake for one, I thought that I would have entirely too much to post about.

Hmmmmm.  How is that going for me?

Update on kids: they love Tate's Camp. They have learned how to swim (for real this time!), dive and jump off the diving board, fetch things off the bottom of the pool, and generally re-discover life without electronics. Oh, and we saw Harry Potter ( more on that in another post...)

Update on me: I have taken advantage of being alone in the house by cleaning out and redecorating. I cannot do this with anyone else around as the kids will not throw out anything and Scott would throw out everything if left unattended. It's been a messy, long project, but the house looks great and we can start the school year off with a clean, organized house. We'll see how long that lasts. Also, I wanted to get that project done before we open the Taylor Bed and Breakfast for Football Season. Lest you think I am complaining, that's my favorite time of year. I love football company, just be prepared for my house to be decked in orange if you are a fan of the visiting team. Oh, and I saw Harry Potter a couple of times.

But, Vaiden, didn't you title this post "Jack's Best Day Ever"?  Focus!

The third-most anticipated event of the summer was Jack's Maiden Voyage to the lake.  Part of our decision to get Jack was influenced by the fact that he could go with us on lake trips.  It would be fun for us, and we assumed that it would be fun for him.  Although I don't plan to use Jack as a hunting dog, hundreds of years of breeding would mean that he might enjoy some retrieving in the water.

I know that Yellow Labs are famous for their "smiles", but this Black Lab was the happiest creature in civilization that day.  I would have taken more pictures, but I was too busy laughing until my sides hurt.  Jack took to water like...well, like a duck dog takes to water.  We are counting the days until we can take him back, and I am quite sure he is, too. 

For Jack (and most of us Taylors), this is the gateway to Paradise.

You can fly, Jack!  You're the king of the world!

I love Pickwick sunsets.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Life on the Lake

Riding in the boat.
Swimming in the lake.
Flying across the water on the jet skis.
Sleeping late until the sunlight on my face wakes me up.
Having no internet, and no schedule, and no worries.
Taking an extra week just because we can.
Remembering why these are my favorite people in the world.

From our "Life" to yours, Happy Fourth of July and Happy Summer.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On the Road Again!

This is what happens when you leave Davis and Vaiden alone.

Scott was off at the Bar Convention in Chattanooga last week.  While "Bar" in this sense is a legal term, I understand that he and his attorney buddies did manage to find a watering hole (or eight!)  All torts and no booze makes Scotty a dull lawyer... 

Katie was in Dyersburg studying cake decorating, sports, and science at the Dyersburg State College for Kids.

Jack was off at the pet spa having a bath and his nails done.

Davis and I, being sadly neglected, decided to take our own vacation and head down south to check out my sister's awesome new house in Tupelo.  And yes, I am again the only immediate family member to migrate successfully out of the Great State of Mississippi.  Call me our token Yankee (all the way up in Tennessee...)

We had a wonderful time with Ginger and Whit and had too much fun to take a lot of pictures.  When I did break out my camera, I forgot to change the white balance to "bright sun", so all the pictures of the boys on the slip-and-slide turned out "Smurfs".  Yea for the B&W option on my editing software!

Also, Blogger and I are having a difference of opinion about the order of the photos I want to post.  I have tried repeatedly to put them in chronological order, but Blogger is having NONE of that.  So here are several of the pictures from our trip, in **reverse** chronological order, just to keep all you sharp readers on your toes (hi, Mom!)

Enjoy the pictures, and if you are ever in lovely, historic Savannah, Tennessee, you really need to eat at Uptown.  Outside on the deck, weather permitting.  The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was delightful.  And it's a great place to take some pictures.
The windmill built by Mr. Frank McGinley, Scott's grandfather.

Davis enjoying the art at Uptown

Bird's Nest (You didn't really need this caption, did you?)

Taking a ride at Wolfchase Mall in Memphis.  Of course Davis picks the freaky looking dragon.

You go first.  No, YOU!

My navigation system and I had a little misunderstanding on the way to Tupelo that resulted in a one-hour detour.  We were glad to make it to Mississippi!  Davis welcomes you, too.
Posted by Picasa