Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Daughter


I've been meaning to do this for a while now. I would like to end the year with descriptions of each of the kids. You are welcome to learn more about them, and I hope you enjoy a more in depth knowledge of each, but this is mostly for documenting them at the end of 2010. I hope they will enjoy looking back one day to this point in time.

I'm starting with my youngest, Miss Natalie. She is five and a half years old and some days I still wake up and am surprised to realize that I have a daughter. After having two boys, I still find it amazing that she is mine. And she is night and day different than her brothers, that is for certain. She came into this world with a clear vision of who she is, and what was acceptable to her. There is little grey in her world, black and white seems to sum up how her opinions are split. Her pointer finger wags at us daily as a reminder of her decisiveness.

She is random, if you can even say that after saying she is decisive. Random as in, say, nailing jello to a tree. You just can't pigeon hole her. I get the feeling that if she were asked the same question, by ten different people, she would give ten different answers. And I wouldn't have been able to have guessed any of them. When I am asked questions about her, I really have to think, and I am never certain that what I say will be right. I try to defer to her and let her speak for herself, whoever that is on a particular day. The decisiveness comes in her answer. For whatever she says, she is absolutely sure of it.

She is particular about her 'look'. She knows how her hair should be styled and will know it is right only when the last brush of the morning is pulled through. She also knows what she should wear to school and who will like it and who will make fun of her if she is forced to wear it and who she will look better than and who she will not look as good as. She is keenly aware of fashion and how it influences her day. This is new to our house because none of the rest of us have any where near this kind of perception.

She doesn't care if she is smart. She is, quite frankly, in many ways an airhead. Flighty, even. She doesn't aim to please in academia. It is okay with her if she doesn't know all of her letters and it concerns her not that her teacher knows it. She is much more concerned that her classmates like her and that she can get a tray lunch instead of carrying a lunch box. She prefers to just 'chit chat' instead of listen. Her track to the water fountain in class is long and winding. Her teacher has banned her from getting water. Her goal in life is to stay on the green card and not get knocked down to yellow, but only because that means she will have to sit on her bed. If there were no consequences at home she'd be fine with living on the yellow card.

She is hilarious. She can describe the most crazy events in her day and have us in stitches. She says off the wall things regularly. People she barely knows come up to us and say, "I just have to share what your daughter just told me....." This scares me and her dad every single time. Because we can't even begin to guess what we are about to hear. Once she told her Sunday school teacher that she and her family lived at Wal-Mart with Jesus. See? Could that be any more random?

She loves cats, which she gets honestly, because her mother is also a cat lover. She carries them like babies, or slung over a shoulder. She pesters them until they hide. She talks to them like they are people, almost as if she thinks they might answer her back. The only thing she doesn't allow is for them to sleep with her, lest they step on her eyeballs.

She is way more domestic than her brothers. She can make her bed well, even though her bed has two pillows and theirs only have one. She gets out her own clothes and dresses herself much better than them. She is the first one up every morning and wants to be in the shower first too. She knows that if she gets in first she can pick a song to listen to on the way to school. Right now her favorite is "Lips are Sealed" by the Go Go's.

She thinks she can sing. She tries to sing every song as an opera singer would. She closes her eyes and wavers her voice. Sometimes it works (hymns), sometimes it doesn't (Beach Boys). She practices singing and takes it very seriously. If asked what she does well, she mentions singing.

She is a cuddle bug at the end of the day. She wants someone to scratch her back and she wants dad to sing "Hush Little Baby" while lying in bed each night. Dad is good about that because he knows it is important to her. She and dad have a special bond. She goes to him first if he is home. She passes my side of the bed and goes around to his side when she comes in our room, usually too early for either of us. He can calm her better than I can. He can reason with her better than me, too. I think she and I are just a tad too much alike, actually. Like matching magnets, we repel.

But I love that little girl to the moon and back, and I know she loves me just as much. So we deal with the 5:45am, Saturday wake ups because no matter how many times we ask her not to do it, we know we are wasting our breath. She will be there. And that is a good thing.

So. Natalie Caroline, we love you so much!!! Even though we never use the name Natalie or Caroline. You will always be our Missy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What Happened to TV?

I can't even believe I am typing this. I don't watch TV anymore. How did this happen? Because I'm not boycotting TV, I just can't find anything to watch. We still have cable, but I am not sure why. I guess because the kids like the Disney Channel. I even called to cancel Dish last week but we are under contract until October. Unless something drastic happens we are done with cable TV in October. Rabbit ears, here we come. Can you even attach rabbit ears to a flat screen?

I am amazed that you can flip through 100+ channels of NOTHING. Have I changed or is it TV programming? I've always been able to find something to watch. Now? The only thing we watch as a family is America's Funniest Videos on Sunday evening. If it weren't for that show (and the fact that we watch it as a family) I wouldn't turn the TV on. I do not like reality TV. I don't care if you can sing, dance, survive on a deserted island or get along with a bunch of crazy people trapped in a house. I don't want to know about the drama of housewives all over the country. I would go on but I am too clueless to even know what else is out there not to like!

Just this week both grandma's called to say there was a tornado headed our way. They knew our TV wouldn't be on so they wanted us to be safe. We turned it on and got a two minute update til the dish went out. So even in an emergency the TV was not useful.

I have watched the Clemson Tigers play football a few times this season. But I find that I can't even sit still long enough to watch TV anymore. Even if I am interested I just have more important things to do than sit on the couch and stare at the TV. I'm just not used to it anymore. Commercials are especially irritating and loud. I get sensory overload about ten minutes in.

I've even banned TV for the kids Mon-Thurs. I thought there would be major fits over the new rule. Only for a day or two. Now they don't even ask. I think that is awesome! They read more now, play outside more often, and play the Wii. At least the Wii keeps them active. I think by October they'll be ready to go cold turkey.

Do you watch TV?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank You Shutterfly




If you know me, you know I love Christmas cards! My cards always have a picture of the kids on it. ALWAYS! So, when Shutterfly offered to send me the first 50 free I jumped at the chance. It took me forever to find the perfect card because there are tons of great ones to choose from. But again, if you know me, my favorite place to be is the beach. Most of my past cards have beach pictures on them. Key riding a radio flyer down a snow white sand hill, Key and Andy in red trunks with red buckets full of sand, etc. I tried to get Robbie to make us a sand snowman and he said it couldn't be done. Now that I've actually seen one I realized he was just being lazy!!! Maybe this summer... Anyway, as I was saying, I found the perfect card for us. Because a perfect Christmas would be a tropical one.
Check out the dozens of different designs. I know you'll find one pefect for you.
And if you have already decided upon your cards and have them in the mail I'll try not to be jealous. You might want to check out Shutterfly's great selection of birthday invitations: Birthday Cards and Birthday Photo Cards, Birthday Party Cards, Birthday Note Cards Shutterfly


And don't forget to order your 2011 calendars. If you add great pictures of the kids the grandparents would love to get one for Christmas!
Photo Calendars & Custom Wall Calendars, Personalized Desk Calendars Shutterfly They are super easy to customize. You can add all of your own events so you'll never forget a birthday.
Merry Christmas friends!!!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

In the News

So cruise ships are in the news again. Usually they make the front page due to a rotovirus or a norovirus. This time, fire in the engine room. My sister, who lives in California, was on a cruise this past week. Thankfully, not the disabled ship though. She sailed out of Florida.

I've been on a cruise. It was my first, last and only. I cruised with some friends, who discovered just what a stick in the mud I really am. They were great, and had lots of fun. Me? Not so much. Cruising is, most decidedly, NOT for me.

We went on a cheap cruise, for just four days (thankfully!). Maybe that was it? But it was awful, just awful. First of all, the whole ship's decor was tacky. Swirling red and purple designs on all the carpet. Carpet that didn't just cover the floor but all the walls too. It was enough to make you sick in dry dock, much less out on the open seas.

Our room was approximately 3 feet wide by 5 feet long. Three of us shared this room. I included the bathroom in the above measurements. I'd never seen a combo sink/shower/toilet until I arrived. I slept (fitfully) on the top bunk. And when I wanted to roll over, I climbed out and flipped over and then slid back into place. My suitcase was at the bottom of my bed so my legs could never fully extend. Lovely. One good thing about our room though, was that we had a tiny window to let in some light. The rooms across the hall looked like caves and I am seriously not sure I would have survived in one of those. If we paid extra for that window it was money well spent!

Most of our time on board was spent waiting. We waited in the hall to get to the elevator. We waited outside the elevator to get on it. We waited on another floor to eat. We waited to disembark. We waited to get back on the ship. And every single cough I heard or railing I touched screamed ROTOVIRUS.

Because there were SO MANY people on this ship. A virus smorgasbord - no wonder you hear so much about this on cruise ships! I can only describe it like this: think of Black Friday at the mall, about 10am. Then, imagine someone locking the doors and sending the mall out to sea. That is what if felt like on that ship. People were everywhere!

Things to do on the ship were limited if you are a stick in the mud. The main activity was drinking large quantities of alcohol. I don't drink. It helped if you smoked and gambled too. Neither for me, thankyouverymuch. Oh, if you were a soccer fan you could watch it on TV, but you'd have to know Spanish to understand the announcers. In fact, I didn't find any English speaking channels at all. I felt very disconnected on board. No current news was available unless you paid some crazy amount of money per MINUTE to get online. I decided to remain uninformed of current events.

One day I signed up for an excursion. I decided to go feed the sting rays. I am a diver and had seen pictures of a place called Sting Ray City where you go out and swim among them and feed them bread and are able to pet them in the wild. I was really excited. Well, let me tell ya, this wasn't even close! The excursion was to start at 11:30am. I got up bright and early so I could get some shopping done in town before I joined my group. When I opened the room door I realized I was trapped. Hordes of people jamming the hall, waiting for an elevator to get off the ship. Uggh! I barely made it off in time to get to my excursion. Seriously! And what took so long to get off the boat? We were all forced to have our pictures taken with a fake parrot sitting on our shoulders! I am NOT KIDDING.

Then we took a small boat over to Carnival's private island. We were fenced in on a small portion of the island. The sting rays were fenced in as well. We were required to wear old life jackets and stood in waist deep water while the trained sting rays swam in a line past us, grabbing pieces of fish from our hands. Not the brush with nature I had envisioned. Then it was lunch time. I ate a $6 hot dog. Then I sat on the beach until it was time to go back to the ship.

The next day was our 'free day at sea', which basically meant - we have no plans to stop anywhere and you are completely at our mercy. I ran around their jogging track until I just couldn't take it anymore. Then I showered and headed to breakfast. There were 100 tables open. But you couldn't sit at those. You had to sit with the other folks who came down at the same time you did. So, here I am at a table with a honeymoon couple, several middle aged couples and one REALLY old couple. The old lady had on this low cut moo-moo dress that showed everything she had. The honeymoon couple laughed every time they glanced in her direction. Would it have killed them to give me a newspaper from the day we set sail and let me sit at my own table? Jeesh.

Then it was time to hit the pool. Okay, the pool was about twice the size of our room. No, I'm not joking. Twenty people in that pool and it would have been crowded. And it was a suspicious green color. Not appealing at all. So, I decided to just grab a lounge chair and catch some rays. Well, there were so many lounge chairs on deck that they were all touching each other. You had to start at the bottom, crawl up the chair and then flip over. And you had better like your neighbor really well. It was really hot, but I was hanging in there. Then, the reggae band started. Oh my. I bet folks on the nearest island heard them! I lasted about 30 seconds after they got started. I scootched right off the end of my chair and went back to my room.

The next day was the best day of all. The cruise ended. I have never been so glad to end a vacation in my LIFE. You know that feeling you get when you don't have your car with you, maybe y0u rode with someone else, and you aren't having fun but you don't have the option to leave? That is a terrible feeling. And it started the minute we got on board. I was terribly claustrophobic the whole time. If a helicopter had landed and offered to take the highest bidder off the ship I hate to think how much it would have cost me but I would have won that auction!

So, that is my only cruise experience. I know, I know, I'm the weird one, not you. You had tons of fun on your multiple cruises and can't wait to book your next one. I'll just find a deserted island somewhere (with NO fences or hot dogs!) and live happily ever after.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Food

Dear Goodson Children,
On Saturday night, at the annual Chili cook off, I took 2nd place. 2nd place! And I didn't even try all that hard. I flipped through my homemade cookbook Saturday morning and picked up the ingredients that afternoon. By 5:30pm the house smelled good and we had award winning chili. Viola! Now, don't get me wrong, I am no Julia Childs. But I CAN cook. Decent, edible meals are possible from my kitchen.

One day, dear children, YOU will be the one faced with cooking for YOUR children. And I hate to do it to you but I wish with every fiber of my being that they are as picky as each of you. More so, if that is even possible.

I hope they ask what's for dinner and then cut you off mid-sentence wailing, "Ohhhhhhhhh NO! I HATE THAT!!!!!!" Even if it is something that they have never heard of until that very moment and can't have a CLUE as to what is in it or what it might taste like.

I hope you stand in the middle of the grocery store, surrounded by food, and wonder what you can buy that they will eat.

I hope that when you do find something that two of them will eat that the third gags on it, every single time.

I hope they sit at the table and cry over perfectly good food.

I hope they are eventually sent to their beds with empty stomachs because they refused to try anything on their plates.

I hope your 6 six year old sons weigh 35 lbs.

I hope you have to beg your friends for food ideas. Then realize after the second suggestion that your children are not normal eaters and nothing you are hearing would interest them in the least.

I hope your 4Ker comes out of class at noon SO excited because at snack time he had banana pudding and he LOVED it. And you are SO excited that he ate something and loved it that you drive directly to the grocery store, find the 'Nilla Wafers, buy all the ingredients on the back of the box, rush home and make it for him. Then, as he hesitantly takes a bite, he declares it awful. And you ask his teacher the next day and she says they made instant vanilla pudding, not banana pudding. And it turns out that your son only liked the 'shaking' part of this snack, not the 'eating' part.

I hope your toddlers put one piece of food in their mouth and hold it there, without swallowing. Thus preventing you from adding the next bite. I hope they get up from their nap 2 hours later with that same bite still in their mouth, apparently afraid you'd try to feed them as they slept.

I hope you have to report at every doctor visit that your children do not eat, they live off air. You are not sure how they poop, because pooping would require eating at some point. And the pediatrician, like your friends, tries to give you suggestions. Suggestions that aren't even close to something your child would eat.

I hope that before you leave on vacation you spend a week making a very short list of foods that the grandparents MIGHT sneak into your children while you are gone.

I hope that you are embarrassed when well meaning friends say, "Ah, just let them eat with us tonight, we're just having xxxxxx." Because you KNOW your child would never eat that. So you just say you'd better be getting home.

I hope you go to bed at night wondering if they took ONE bite of anything that day.

My dear children, I will continue to cook good food for you. It is my job. I love you and want you to EAT. Something. Anything! But I am so very frustrated with you right now. I don't want to eat the entire bowl of vegetable beef soup. It starts to get old after the 4th day in a row. And I am leaving your father out of this entirely because if I got started on his picky-ness it would be even less cheerful of a post than it is now. (But seriously, who doesn't eat pasta?)

Anyway, BON APPETIT!

Love, Mom

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alone

Do you like being alone? I really enjoy alone time. I lived alone for a while in college and I LOVED it. Every single day of it. I had my share of rotten roommates, but that wasn't it. I just really liked being alone. I used to go out to eat alone and then catch a movie. Felt great!

A couple of years ago I spent my birthday alone and I have to say it was one of my favorite birthdays in memory. I went to a two day seminar in order to renew my Arborist's license in Winston Salem, NC. I dropped off the two little ones with my mom in Gaffney and Robbie and Key batch'ed it here in Greenville. I was on my OWN for a night. Just so happened it was my birthday. Bonus. So I went to check into my cheap-o hotel, because I am cheap-o. BUT, they were overbooked. My immediate thought was that this wasn't going to end well. Well, cheap-o hotel sent me to a VERY nice hotel nearby - FOR FREE. It was an old, renovated factory. My room had really cool brick walls and super high ceilings. My bed was a 4 poster with a nice down comforter. They served warm cookies and milk in the lobby. I walked next door to a fabulous restaurant and spent more than I normally would have because my room was FREE. I got a big slice of cheesecake and brought it back to my room. Ate it in bed and didn't share a crumb with anybody! Ahhh! Happy birthday to me.

Lately, for some reason, I've been picturing a nice, darkened room. It is a hotel with a bed turned down. It looks so comfy. Nice crisp, white sheets. No one is there but me and I can just lay there and not move. No dog that whines in the middle of the night. No cats that jump onto the bed and land on my head at 3am. No snoring husband. No little girl to wake me at 6am on a Saturday morning (but who must be dragged to the shower on a weekday). No alarm clock to wake me. Nothing to have to get up and do.

Don't get me wrong. I love my snoring husband (he doesn't even snore than much anymore!). I also love my princess girl who wakes me up on Saturdays. But the rare chance I get to be alone, or just dream about being alone, is such a treat!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Writing Spiders



When I was growing up writing spiders lived in the camellia bushes surrounding our front porch. I have no idea who started this rumor but it was believed at our house that if the writing spider saw your teeth he'd be able to write your name in his web. Then, when it got dark, he'd come and get you. So that is why I sat in the swing on our front porch and talked with my lips stretched over my teeth. I must have done a great job because he never did come for me during the night.

And this memory jogged another. Every night before bed my Papa would tell me this little....diddy/nursery rhyme...not sure what it is:

To bed to bed said sleepy head
Wait awhile said slow
Put on the pot said greedy gut
Let's eat before we go!

Three O'Clock


Three o'clock is HARD. Three o'clock means:


Three kids who are hungry

Three lunchboxes to unpack and clean

Three sandwich containers to wash

Three thermoses to empty and wash

Three backpacks open with contents strewn all over the floor

Three kids who don't want to do homework

Three cats who think it is time to play

Three snacks to figure out

Three pencils to find and sharpen


And I am supposed to be there for all of it. Even if that means I am supposed to be reading the kindergartener a book, helping the 1st grader find his three lined paper AND calling out spelling words to the 3rd grader - ALL AT THE SAME TIME!


How do you do it? Do you stagger homework amongst them all? Do you just dive into the insanity? After they have dumped it all on the table, how do you know who's permission slip goes where? How do you know who needs a dollar for hat day and who doesn't? Do you always sign the folders, notebooks, and homework sheets so they don't get dinged on the behaviour chart the next day? Do you always remember when it is your turn for snacks? Do you stand in the middle of Walmart and try to figure out something that ALL 23 students would eat? Do you remember that nothing can contain peanuts?


My mind is just goo by 3:30! How do you do it?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Hate Carpet

Before I go off on carpet I have good news. CSN Stores has given me another opportunity to spread the love. So, respond to this post for a chance to win a $35 gift card. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cheap bedroom furniture to fantastic fitness equipment to cookware! And who couldn't use more of any of those things?

First of all, I have carpet. Thankfully, not everywhere - but we are too frugal (cheap) to take it out so when I rail on carpet it comes from personal, everyday use. Our carpet is confined to the bedrooms. We even chose to have it in our last house upstairs because we thought it would help keep the house quieter. And it probably did, but it also kept it dirtier and I'll take loud over dirt any day of the week. Who decided it would be a good idea to tack a semi-permanent rug to the floor and have everyone (pets included) walk on it every day? It can't be sanitary. Sure, you can vacuum, but that only gets up the loose stuff. When your two year old squirts cold medicine from the dropper onto her beige carpet and it is still visible 3 years later you know that is just nasty! And litter training two kittens resulted in a few permanent spots too. (GAG!) The absolute WORST feeling on earth is walking on wet carpet. (I seriously just shuddered thinking about it.) The kids walk out of my bathroom every morning, dripping wet, to their clothes on the floor in our bedroom. They leave wet foot prints. I leave the shower behind them and no matter how hard I try I end up stepping on a carpet wet spot. Gives me the heebie jeebies every single time! Then I go into my closet muttering about how when we build our next house it won't even contain a floor rug, much less wall to wall carpet.

My ideal floor was in our house in Englewood, FL. Terrazzo, baby! Totally the way to go! You could have spilled a bowl of salsa on that floor and nobody would have noticed. It hid spots, was cool on your feet, swept up like a dream and mopping it took 2 minutes with a damp Swiffer. Dream floor! Like tile with no grout lines. That house was built in 1969 when Terrazzo was all the rage. I've heard it is making a comeback but is rather expensive now. Lucky for us, the lady we bought the house from never liked it so we yanked out her old, gold shag carpet to uncover our shiny Terrazzo for the first time since 1969. Can you even imagine? I will admit to one drawback. SLICK AS GLASS! Don't jump out of the shower and run for the phone. You WON'T make it. But if Robbie had had the video camera going we could have won $10,000 that day.

Right now we have mostly hardwood floors. Eh. They are pretty, and warm (although I'd take a tropical climate and cool floors in a skinny minute) and pretty low maintenance. They do scratch though, and if you drop something on them they'll dent. Terrazzo doesn't dent, it just shatters what you drop, which I guess is drawback #2.

I like the look of tile, but sweeping out grout lines is a pain. We've got that in our bathrooms and laundry. Kitty litter in grout lines is frustrating. Grout stains too.

Something else that sounds nice, if you have to live in a place with winter, is radiant floor heating. Walking on a warm floor on a cold morning would be a nice perk, especially in the bathroom. I've heard it is pricy too. Why do I always crave the pricy? My mom used to say she could line up 20 items of clothing and I'd always ask for the most expensive without even looking at the tags. It's a gift, I suppose! LOL

So, what are your ideal floors? Mine would be the self cleaning type, if they existed. I do think those toe kick vacuum systems would be a great idea when building. I do NOT like my central vac though. If I weren't so cheap I'd spring for a regular vacuum. But I just KNOW the next time around I won't be needing one. Oh PLEASE let the day come when I only need a broom!!!!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Brought to You by the Number 3

Bert and Ernie. Batman and Robin. Scooby and Shaggy. When you think of best friends who get along you usually end up with two people in mind. I know. I know. There were the Three Musketeers, way back when. But three usually doesn't work out nearly so well. That whole 'two's company, three's a crowd' thing is real, folks. I've known this for a long time, practically my whole life. But the daily grind kind of put it on a back burner until the perfect example entered our lives lately. We had TWO cats. Now we have THREE. And three just does NOT work here. The third cat is obviously hated by the other two, that is a given . But now the first two are picking on each other. The new cat has thrown our whole pet equilibrium into chaos. And it reminds me of my children and my childhood. The reason I've known the phenomenon of three not working is because my mom has bemoaned the fact my whole life. She had three girls. And we fought. Constantly. And the day I brought Natalie home from the hospital she said, ever so gently, "You know you have to have another one, right?" And I ignored her and denied the same dynamics were at play because I had two boys who would surely love their new baby sister. It HAD to be different in our situation, I was sure of it. And I was WRONG!

Forget the Three Musketeers, we are more like the Three Stooges! (This is not going where you think, there will not be a fourth!) The Stooges will have to make do until someone moves out but the dynamics of trying to get three children to cooperate is FUTILE. Sometimes it is the boys who get along great. But as soon as you add sister, it all falls apart. Sometimes Key and little sister can work on a puzzle together and talk like old pals. But as soon as Andy enters the room the gig is up. And I don't think I even remember a time when Andy and Natalie ever got along!

So, mom, you were right. How you survived three girls, with all the drama that must have entailed, is beyond me. One drama queen here is quite enough, and probably the reason there isn't a fourth Goodson child anyway.

I gotta run. Doors are slamming and cats are hissing. No, really, that is what is happening RIGHT NOW. Arrrgggh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Childhood Memories, Part 2

I had such a good time strolling memory lane for my last post I thought I'd do it again. This time I am going WAY back. In fact, I've been meaning to write this down for a long time and it occurred to me I could do it here. I'm sure if I had written this years (ok, decades) ago it would be a much more comprehensive list but if I wait any longer my list will just shrink even more. I even had to do research, like a real writer. Okay, I called my dad. This post is all about my paternal grandfather, Addison Buford Crocker, and the memories I have of him. It won't be a narrative, because I remember him in short segments. So, that is how I'll share him now.

My first memories of him revolve around his chair. He had a brown recliner that we sat in together and watched TV. Then we'd request ice cream from my mom and she'd bring it to us. Normally we ate neopolitan. The strawberry part was my favorite. In fact, it still is.

Another good thing about his chair was that if I got in trouble with my mom, and could make it to his chair, I was out of trouble. I was always safe in his arms, he wouldn't let her punish me.

Once, my parents took me out to eat at the fish camp. When we got home I climbed in Papa's lap for my nightly ice cream treat. He told me that you should never eat fish and ice cream on the same day, it would make you sick. I insisted on the ice cream. I threw up all night long. I have NEVER had fish and ice cream on the same day again, and I never will.

Papa helped in potty training me, but not in a hands on type of way. He said I could start going places around town with him when I didn't wear a diaper anymore. My mom says it didn't take long before we were traveling companions.

Papa had an old, white Chevrolet truck. The bed of the truck had wood slats instead of a metal bottom like you see today. There were small pieces of wood missing and I enjoyed watching the road or the field beneath the truck as we flew along.

I learned a valuable lesson in the back of that truck. Never blow a bubble gum bubble when you have ponytails flapping all around, flying along in the wind.

Papa always dressed nicely. I remember him in overalls too, but for the most part I remember him in a nice white dress shirt and slacks. He also wore a belt with his initials. ABC. I assumed he put ABC on everything in order to honor the first three letters of the alphabet. It confused me to see others mix all those letters up on their monogrammed items.

Papa and I used to eat at Self's Cafe. He always ordered me a BLT and we always sat at the counter. It was off Main Street and you parked by the railroad tracks.

Papa always had a special treat in his pockets. If you were extra good you'd get your choice of a caramel square or a silver bell. Silver bells have since been renamed Hershey's kisses, but I think they tasted better when they were silver bells. He kept his stash on the second shelf of the china cabinet. For years it still smelled like caramel when you opened it. It might still.

Papa and I liked to get up early and have coffee and egg sandwiches. I drank my coffee from a plastic red mug with Scooby Doo on the front. (That mug was later repurposed as a toothbrush holder and served faithfully for years.) I've never drank coffee without him. Can't stand the stuff! Mama says I would eat livermush with him too. If I did, I only did he because he did first.

Papa and I liked to take walks across the road to visit my cousin Ron and Aunt Carolyn. I'm sure we'd have visited Uncle Ronnie too, but he was at work.

Papa hated prickly pears. He'd throw a shovel in the back of the truck and we'd go off looking for those tresspassers in the pasture. When we spotted one he'd dig it up and put it in the back with me. I don't really remember what we did with them but I am sure they didn't get the chance to spread.

Along those same lines, he also couldn't tolerate fall webworms in his pecan trees. They had to be removed and burned.

Papa's room is where our piano room is now. He had a high, four poster bed, if I remember right. And he had a bolero type, leather rope tie that hung on one of the posts. I liked to get it down and play with it. His bedspread was white.

He always bought me gifts for special occasions. Well, I thought he did anyway. Those were my favorite things, usually clothes. I learned much later that my mom bought it all and put his name on something.

Papa got me my first pet. I barely remember some dogs chained up down at the smoke house. I think they were brown. My dog, Scooby Doo (of course!), was a puppy to those dogs. We brought him in when he was tiny, and I was tiny too. Apparently he peed on the floor and was banished to the outside pretty quickly. Me and Scooby had about 12 good years together. He was a small white dog with a black tail. Eventually, as he aged, his tail turned white too.

To pass the time, because we both had a lot of it on our hands back then, we'd sit on the front porch swing. We played a game where one of us would pick cars and the other would have trucks. Then we'd count how many of each that passed by. We lived out pretty far and didn't get a whole lot of traffic so it wasn't a fast paced game. Trucks usually won.

We'd also sit out there at night a lot too. Remember, we didn't have air conditioning. He'd swing me til I fell asleep and then usually my dad would carry me up to bed. I remember wearing blue Raggedy Ann pajamas. He might have given them to me! ;)

I remember being at my maternal grandmother's house one night. She was babysitting us, which was EXTREMELY rare. My parents were at the hospital with Papa. It was August 1975 (I had to get that date from dad). Papa had a stroke and passed away. I remember lots of people coming to our house and it bothered me that they went in his room. He didn't let just anybody in his room. I was about to start 1st grade.

I may remember a few more tidbits, and if I do I'll add them here. But, for the most part, this is what I remember about Papa.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Childhood Memories

I was talking to my boss today about something I've wondered about often as I raise my children. I also read an article about being frugal recently that reminded me of why I am the way I am. I was raised in a very frugal household. Truth be told, frugal is a nice way of saying my parents were CHEAP! I don't think I had a glimmer of understanding as a child or teenager growing up there. Sorry mama and daddy! I can now see the wisdom of your ways. Better late than never, eh?

So today my boss and I discussed 'then vs. now'. He killed a wild hog and made us all sausage biscuits for breakfast. That's the kind of boss I have! I mentioned that my dad killed hogs too, for food, and that I was paid a quarter per coffee can full of acorns, which we fed the hogs. I should have gotten rich but I bet I only made a few dollars worth. Then I told him that I worry about kids today, especially my kids, because they can't even understand the kinds of things I had to do growing up. Do all parents feel this way? Or is my case extreme? I don't know!

We didn't have air conditioning growing up. We did have an attic fan to pull in the cooler air at night but that was it. I moved away to college before I ever had central a/c. We gathered firewood all winter long to keep warm. We closed off our house and lived in the back half that had a fireplace and wood heater. One unlucky kid was picked every night to run up a half hour before bedtime to turn on every one's electric blanket so we wouldn't freeze solid overnight. You could see your breath up there! Our house was 100 years old and didn't have insulation.

The only way you could earn enough money to go to the skating rink on Saturday afternoons was to help get enough firewood for the week onto the side porch. I'd arrive bone tired and listen as my friends talked about the OTHER fun stuff they'd done that day.

The other extreme was to be set out in a hayfield and told to pick up rocks and put them to the side so the hay baler wouldn't pick them up. That has to be the hottest job on earth!

In the summer we tended our garden. We'd get up before daylight and head out with buckets and bags to pick so we could be back on the back porch steps when the sun got high and hot. I still remember my fingers getting raw snapping green beans. Once my sister had a little friend come visit as we shucked corn. She was a 'city kid'. I remember her eyes got really big and she exclaimed, "I didn't know you had to PEEL corn!" I admit, I was part envious that you could make it that far in life without knowing that. You couldn't escape garden patrol even if you went next door to your cousin's house. They had just as many bags of beans that needed snapping as your house did. At least Uncle Frankie made up silly songs though!

But you know, I really appreciate my upbringing now. I realize I wasn't being intentionally tortured. In fact, my parents did ten times more work than I did, working right along side me. My poor mother had to take all those snapped beans and combine them with the tomatoes, corn, okra, etc and can it all. We sure did eat a lot of homemade vegetable soup in the winter. Still a favorite of mine! And the soup had meat in it. Meat from our cows. When I say homemade, I mean all the way.

And don't even get me started about homemade clothes! Whew, some of the stuff we wore would itch a warthog to distraction! My dad worked in textiles and he brought home fabric remnants. Mostly knit, unfortunately. Then he'd size us up and start cutting. Then my mom would take over and, VIOLA, I'd have a new outfit. And both my sisters, too. And we'd all match and itch in our air condition-less house.

Which brings me to our family. My kids are clueless, and I regret that. But I am at a loss as to how I could do anything differently. We have a garden, on that fits into our subdivision yard. My kids didn't get to grow up on a 60 acre farm. Gardening is a hobby to them, not a way to eat through winter. And firewood? What's that? Just push the up arrow on the thermostat and the house warms up. Magically!

We are going to Myrtle Beach soon for a long weekend. Taking the kids out of school for a day. It is sort of our last hurrah for the summer season. Time to make our peace with the end of summer. Get a grip on ourselves and decide that fall really is upon us. It is hardly on the kid's radar screen that we are going, although we've mentioned it frequently.

Back in the day, first of all, you'd have had to have been on deaths doorstep to get out of school. I don't know of anybody who got out of school for FUN. That was blasphemy! And this weekend trip, that means hardly nothing to my kids was longer than our entire summer vacation when I was growing up. We went to the beach for three days. Yep, we all but passed ourselves on the road headed back! And the excitement was over the top. We had those paper chains counting down the days til we left for our HUGE SUMMER VACATION. My goodness. I remember seeing the ocean for the first time, between the shops along Ocean Blvd. It looked like a mountain, like it should just swallow us up as we got closer. And then the rides at the Pavillion would come into view and I wonder how they kept us from jumping out of the car! Probably the only reason was because it was daytime and no one was riding them yet. I remember eating all our own food, because just because you went on vacation didn't mean you had to eat out. I remember getting a few tickets for the rides and making what seemed like life and death decisions over what we'd ride that night. I remember water boggin' til I could barely make it back up the steps with that heavy mat. I remember renting a float, red on one side, blue on the other. I remember my dad's really white legs! (Gardens and hay fields required overalls, not shorts.)

My kids will float in the lazy river. Eat out every meal. Get a wrist band and ride every ride. Twice. And they'll grumble on the way down because it will take SO LONG to get there, as they play with their DSi XL's and feel sorry for themselves because they'll lose Wi-Fi when we pull out of the driveway.

How sad is that?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mom Guilt

Don't you just hate mom guilt? It is never logical and it surely wasn't today. I got up early to get a jump start. Had some breakfast, okay it was a piece of Aunt Peggy's pound cake, but it was breakfast. Then I painted Natalie's bathroom pink. It has always been a fine shade of tan but she wanted pink and, by cracky, it's PINK now. So, I did something for her today. Keep that in mind. Then, I went right to work on a Halloween quilt/wall hanging. Andy loves Halloween so that was something I was doing for him. Okay, that is a stretch, but still, he has asked for it to be left to him. So, two of my children had difficult projects done on their behalf, all before lunch today. However...today isn't any ole day. Today is the last. day. of. summer. vacation. So my husband calls to see what I have decided to do on this most special of days. Even though he heard about both of the above projects he was unimpressed and didn't see any real benefit for the children. That was annoying enough, but then he goes on to suggest I take them to the local state park to swim in. the. LAKE. Eh.



Lakes. Hmmm. Let's see....I am NOT a lake person. Not at all, not in the least. Do NOT see the appeal of getting wet in a lake. So sue me, I just don't get lakes. I don't want to wade into a slimy bottomed lake! I get the whole scenery thing, to a degree. And, if I had to pick between two home sites I'd pick the one with a lake view. I'm not opposed to looking out and seeing one, I just choose not to wade out and swim in it. And I know not all lakes are slimy bottomed. I am sure the one you are thinking of right now isn't. But it is my perception and I am sticking to it.



So I stewed about whether to ruin my children's lives by having them miss out on this opportunity. Knowing Robbie was going to be hurt on their behalf because they didn't get to go wade in a lake. And then the Halloween pattern I was working on got to be exponentially harder than I had anticipated. And then I decided to poll the children to see if they were even interested in doing such a thing. Two were for it, one against.



The two who were for it immediately ran for their swimsuits. I knew I was sunk. I grabbed a sandwich and put my suit on too - as I prayed I wouldn't have to get it wet. Then I got really cranky. This was such an impromptu, illogical, unnecessary intrusion on my day. Yes, I love my children. Yes, I always want them to have fun. No, lounging around the house for ONCE does not sound like Chinese water torture. Uggh.



Let's recap the summer, folks. Key and Andy get DSi XL's for Key's birthday and we added WiFi to our house so they could get on line. Natalie has a princess party one week before we leave for FL. We stay in FL, on vacation, for a MONTH. See post below to even begin to describe the things we did there. We've been swimming with friends multiple times upon our return. Just yesterday I took them to Gatti Town for lunch where they rode bumper cars and the Merry Go Round. Last week was spent with their relatives in Hartsville and Camden. That alone would have made it a good summer. They've seen Toy Story 3, Despicable Me and The Last Airbender. They've BTDT all summer long. Anyway, you get it.



So, what did we all do today but go to the state park. Key refuses to get in, wouldn't even put on his swim suit. Nat and Andy go for it, but Andy bails pretty early. Key begs to ride the paddle boats. We suit up in stinky life vests and climb onto an impossibly hot boat. I was, of course, the only one who had legs that would reach the pedals. So for 30 minutes I paddled the three of them around the lake. We saw two turtles who, upon seeing us, bailed from their downed tree trunks. Other than that excitement, they were completely unimpressed with my tour.

Back to the beach (I use the term lightly) for more lake fun. Natalie made friends with two other little girls so they had fun together for a while. And their bathing suits all matched. Wait, no, they didn't. They just all looked like they matched because they were all lake stained by then.

The point of the story is this: Mom guilt will make you do some really dumb things. The end.

Friday, July 30, 2010

We Have a Winner

...........and her name is MISSTY! Congrats Missty. Look for your $40 gift card in your inbox soon. Thanks for reading. Come visit us again in SC too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Funny Things

I realized after my children started to talk that they were hilarious on a regular basis. I loved the way they expressed things and knew I'd never remember them all. I decided to start a notebook for each of them and put all of their funny comments, questions, etc together. They each have several notebooks now and they love for me to read them the funny things they've said and done. If my house caught fire I'd want to rescue these books first. Here is a very small sample of what I've captured:

Andy

A little boy pushed you on the playground today. You told me, "I thought he was a better man than that."

Natalie was screaming and you told me, "She is about to bust my drums!"

Deep thought for the day: I wonder why grown-ups read books on the toilet? I never see kids do that.

Andy: Opening a box of Oreo's... "know what that smell says? It says, 'I need a glass of milk'."

Complaining about your sister: "She's mean like a guard dog."

You hit Natalie in the shower this morning. When asked why you said she 'pushed me up on the side like a sucker fish'.

You laughed at how scared grandmommy was when you caught a lizard. You said, "She doesn't like my catchin' skills."

You always tell me to 'Shine and Rise, mom!"

You were so excited to see so many fish this year in Florida....herds and herds of them!

Natalie

Your favorite candy bar....Greasy Cup

For breakfast you want a waffle, with plain syrup, that has NOT been mapled!

Upon waking - my breath is dirty.

Am I larry-ous? (hilarious)

Seeing the full moon - "I think the moon has a light bulb in it."

Very sleepy girl before school one morning, not wanting to get dressed: "I can't take it anymore! How long do we live?"

Wearing a new princess gown for the first time: "Does the tag say, 'Natalie is a princess'?"

You don't feel so good tonight. You have 'sticks in your throat and your brain hurts'.

Hand sanitizer = Hanitizer

I tucked your hair behind your ears and you immediately looked in the mirror and declared, "Lisa Goodson, you have RUINED my afro!"

Key

Where do bubbles go when they pop?

I asked how you slept. "I sleeped and sleeped and sleeped. Then I woke up and opened my eyes. I saw a head. It had lots of hair on it. It was Andy."

Are pigs made out of bacon?

While watching fireworks you asked if Heavenly Father was shooting arrows at us.

After your first day of pre-K: I'm not learning ANYTHING! I can't write my name and I STILL can't read!

You got a friend-girlfriend at school. You couldn't remember her name but she has 'the cutest head'.

After I got a new haircut: Your eyes were huge and you stared at me for a long time then you asked, "Did you freak out when you saw that new haircut?"

You told us that Santa couldn't bring you the Thomas the Train set you wanted. When we asked why you replied, "Because Thomas the Train is only available at Toys R Us."

You were riding your bike really fast and told us you were 'flying like a chicken.'

Worms are 'bird pasta'.

You announced you had 'man fur' on your arms.

Seeing your sister in tights for the first time: Wow, Missy is wearing sock pants!

You: Where do they hide?
Me: Who?
You: Those people!
Me: What people?
You: Those people that change the lights from red to green. Where do they hide? I never see them!

Leaving the Y
You: Who did you wave to?
Me: Yoshi
You: That is a funny name.
Me: Yoshi is from Japan.
You: Wow, she sure has a long ride home!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Florida 2010







We're back! Florida was so fun this year. Florida is fun EVERY year but this was the best so far. And, while I was away, CSN stores contacted me about another giveaway! How exciting is that? If you'd like to win a $40 gift certificate from any of their 200+ online stores just leave a comment about this post. At CSN Stores you can find everything from dinnerware to dog beds to sofas and suitcases! Good luck! I'll pick a winner on Friday.

I think one of the reasons we had so much fun in FL this year was because the kids are all getting older. Don't get me wrong, I loved my babies. I remember thinking everyone was envious of me when I had tiny newborns. A few might have been, but most were probably thanking their lucky stars that their kids were older. Sleeping through the night and everyone wearing real underwear has it's advantages. And I am enjoying this stage of life and appreciating the fact that they can get their own water from the fridge and tie their own shoes. In fact, newborns have taken on a whole new fear in me. I am eternally grateful for my three, and very glad the last one was born over 5 years ago. :)

Oh, having an 8 year old, a six year old and a five year old still has it's frustrating moments, but I think this is a much easier time than 5 years ago. For instance, this year I actually read books AT THE POOL. I glanced up often, but got a real thrill at my newly acquired freedom. Reading at the pool.....JOY! All three kids are great swimmers now and are much more independent. They don't need me to always get in with them now. One of their new skills is diving. All three can dive off the side now, which was fun to watch. There were lots of belly flops but by the end of our stay they were pros.

We also enjoyed the ocean so much this year. For most of our stay it was as flat as a lake and as clear as the pool. As far as you could swim out you could see the bottom. I had an amazing time diving down about 15 feet and collecting whole sand dollars. Andy even dubbed me the 'Sand Dollar King'. Eh, I'll take it. We also found lots of fighting conchs this year. As far as I know, we've never even seen one before. They were very interesting creatures. Along with those guys we found lots of hermit crabs as well. Again, can't remember ever finding them before. Everyone was curious as to why so many new creatures were popping up this year. Some of us are wondering if the oil spill has relocated lots of things further south. I don't know if that could even be true but it makes you wonder. Just picturing that beautiful beach covered in oil is so incredibly sad. I sure hope we find it like we left it next June.

Speaking of next June, Key will be nine years old and can take sailing lessons. He is so excited about being able to take the 2 week beginning sailing class. It will focus on water saftey , knot tying and sailing a sunfish. It was fun to watch all of the little sunfish sail around in the bay this year and realize next year one of the sailors would be Key. He plans to take his skateboard next year and skate down the sidewalk to the Marina alone. Mr. Independent, he is.

Well, this only scratches the surface of our wonderful vacation but I have to get moving this morning. That sounds like I haven't done anything yet but I have already scrubbed the screened in porch and sprayed it with bleach. That counts for something, right? And the kids just left with Aunt Nikki. (Another advantage to having older kids, people actually volunteer to take them somewhere!) They are going to see The Last Airbender today. I'm going to hit the paint store. Alone! :)

This is a short clip of Andy battling a fighting conch.


video

Friday, May 28, 2010

And the Winner Is.............

............Natalie! :) Congrats Natalie!!! Your name was pulled from the hat. I'll be sending your email address to my contact at CSNStores and you'll get a code to use your $40 gift card soon. We all want to know what you pick!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Do you like shopping?

For things like a bathroom vanity? Or Purses? Or adorable aprons?

I do. Especially when it's not my money I'm spending.

Well, good news: CSN Stores would like to help me say thanks for being a reader by offering one of you a $40 gift certificate to use in any of their 200+ stores!

All you have to do is leave a comment with your name. How cool is that!? By random drawing I'll chose a lucky reader on Friday.

Now, on to our changes!

School is almost over, which amazes me. In some ways it seems we just got started. In other ways it seems as if it were a lifetime ago that Andy cried because the cafeteria was too loud. One thing we could all agree on at the Goodson house is that we all changed a great deal this year.



Let's start with Robbie. His changes are easiest to pinpoint. He decided to get serious about his health and started going to the Y before coming home from work everyday. As a result we have 36 lbs. less of him. He looks better, feels better and has lots more energy. He also needs to buy new clothes, his are all too big now.



Next up.....Lisa! That's me. :) I've been working for the past year, which is an amazing turn of events. I wasn't looking for a job but one found me. I've loved every minute of it and learned so much from my co-workers. I've been involved in very interesting projects. For instance, did you know that certain trees are more routinely struck by lightning that others? Me either! Now we both know. I've also increased my ability to identify trees in SC again. When you live in South Florida for 13 years you tend to forget.



I've also had to learn how to manage my time better. That is necessary when you work and have children. My hat is off to those moms who work full-time. I don't know how you do it, really! I've also had to let some of the daily housework go and pick it up on the weekends. That is hard for me but I'm making my peace with it. I still make all the beds, even if it means doing the boy's beds while they are brushing their teeth and about to hop in for the night, but in other areas I've learned to let go.



Key was a second grader this year. He has never been a big fan of school, this year was no exception. He thinks school gets in the way of more important things that he needs to be doing. We can't get specifics as to what would be more important, but he thinks there must be something. Nevertheless, he has gotten much better at reading and writing stories. We don't have to interpret words or paragraphs nearly as much as we used to. He has also taken up T-ball and found that he loves to play. He loves to learn about the rules of baseball and I enjoy sharing my love of the game with him. He hit five homeruns this season! He also stands in the pitchers spot, which means something different in T-ball but is an important position anyway. Oh, and he is also sporting glasses now, which have changed his look a bit.

Andy-man, our sweet Andy-man. I hope that part never changes. He is truly the most caring, compassionate child you can even imagine. He tells me he loves me on an hourly basis. He had a rough start to kindergarten but after the first week he was ready to conquer K5. He learned to read overnight it seemed. He loves books and figuring out words all on his own. He can sound out anything! He was hoping to lose a tooth but still has a perfect little mouth for now. He also got glasses. His violin teacher noticed he was standing too close to his book. We took all three in for a check up and both boys ended up with glasses. Back to the violin. Andy has made amazing progress this year! He is playing so well and we are just in awe of his musical abilities. He even summoned the courage to play in the talent show at school. This was way out of his comfort zone but he did it. :)

Natalie, our princess and daily drama queen. Natalie became a formal student this year. She was in the 4K program at Furman Child Development Center. Her teacher, bless her heart, had her hands full with this one. There were days of sitting in the hall, fits to be ignored, friends to be seperated from, but it looks like she will survive! (Both Mrs. B and Natalie) My goal for her was to have her write her name. She is easily distracted and keenly aware of what we want her to accomplish. She likes to do the opposite. BUT, she IS writing her name. When she feels like she isn't being taken seriously though her name goes back to AANTIEL or some such combination just to see us get flustered. She has made friends, which to her are far more important than anything else she's learned this year. She even has a boyfriend who has proposed. :) He has no idea what he is in for!

Now you are all caught up with the Goodsons. We look forward to an upcoming weekend in Charleston, our annual time in Florida, and then back to the grindstone. We'll have a 3rd grader, 1st grader and a new 5Ker. Wow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do You Read?



I love to read. From as far back as I can remember, I've always love to read. My mom can probably still recite The Little Red Hen from memory because that was my first very favorite book. I've loved reading since before I could read!




I've had many favorites through the years. I loved Judy Blume books in elementary school. I read all of Stephen King's books in Junior High and High School. I even read the required summer reading books and loved most of them as well. Jane Eyre was a favorite, as was To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men. Other favorites that come to mind are Don't Stop The Carnival by Herman Wouk and Wind From The Carolinas by Robert Wilder. Recently I've devoured Rick Bragg's books, I think I've read every single one. I also enjoy John Grisham, Pat Conroy and Michael Crichton.





With three small children I haven't read as much as I've wanted to in the last few years. But, I have made a renewed effort to begin again. Except for the Olympics I haven't watched an hour of TV in the past 6 months. I have also cut down my computer time quite a bit too. I'm using this time to read and it is SO much better than vegging on the couch! Last night I finished one of the latest books written by Randy Wayne White. He is a fishing guide in SW Florida and I love reading about the adventures of his characters in a setting familiar to me.





I've also tried to add educational books to my list. I am going to start Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell soon. I think Sowell is one of the most brilliant men on the planet. I loved reading his book Black Rednecks & White Liberals and expect his book on ecomomics will be amazing as well.





I am also committed to reading the Scriptures more this year as well. They are a feast to the soul.





So, do you read? What kinds of books? Who is your favorite author? I'd love to add to my list if you would share!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dear Editor

I have a guest writer on my blog today. My husband sent this to the editor of our local newspaper and it will be printed either over the weekend or first of next week. I am super proud of him, as always. :) (If you saw the first draft with an extra paragraph, it had to be removed to get it under 250 words.)

Dear Editor,

In the early 1840’s, when asked how he governed the pioneer residents of Nauvoo, Illinois in establishing a successful and vibrant city in almost perfect order, Joseph Smith, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was quoted as saying, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

True and correct principles have a great benefit – when practiced, over time, they always work! Historically, failures or lack of success, at every level can be linked to a departure from true principles by individuals, families and nations. Regardless of religious beliefs, political disposition, or personal philosophies, true ideas and understandings will prevail while false and contrived notions will always impede real progress, at the least, and more likely than not erode even the greatest talent, ability, and character.

In the past people seemed to subscribe to the idea that, “Life is not perfect, but I’ll make the best of it”. Today it is more like, “Life is not perfect, and somebody’s going to pay!”

A primary definition of welfare is a person’s state of well-being. It is a true principle that people are primarily responsible for their own well being. How much of today’s troubles are due to a reversal of this principle? Unlike some corporations, this country is not “too big to fail”. Individuals and families will collectively either learn and abide by correct principles and see our situation improve or continue to watch well intentioned, but misguided efforts deteriorate all that is right and good.


Robert Goodson

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What is IT?

I got an email today that said a homeowner in Maryland came home to find these two on her couch. It seems that the fawn followed the beagle in through the doggie door. How cool to find such a cutie on your couch!

It reminded me of what happened at our house, years ago when we lived in Englewood. We didn't have a dog door, we had a cat door. Actually two cat doors, one from the house into the garage and one from the garage to the outside. We had two cats, Punky and Ma. Ma was a stray calico we found in Orlando when we lived there. Punky was an 18 lb orange tabby. One night one of them caught something and brought it in our cat door. The first time it happened was one of the scariest expericences of my life.

There must have been a noise. A squeak, a thump....something unusual. Otherwise, how would I have opened my eyes, from a deep sleep, when I did? All I know is that when I opened them a small black creature was moving quickly towards my bed. A creature that did not move like a cat. I instantly knew that, whatever it was, it did not belong in my house. The only sound from this thing was the sinister click of claws on the terrazzo floor. Now, I'm typically not one to panic. I like animals. I'll hold just about any of them. So it still puzzles me to this day why my reaction was so extreme. Maybe because I was only half awake? Anyway, I lost it! Completely lost it! I went from horizontal to vertical in one move. I found myself standing up in bed shrieking. As you can imagine, this quickly got Robbie's attention. He assumed, as anyone would, that someONE must be in the house. Why else would I be acting this way, right? I'm screaming, "It's...........it's............it's............" but I don't know how to finish my sentence because I didn't know what IT is. But it was evil, of that I was sure. I suspected the devil himself had slipped in, in the form of a round dark blob with long toenails. I had just thwarted it's plans to attack us while we slept! I was not acquainted with reality at this point in time. So Robbie has sprung out of bed and is screaming, "GET OUT! GET. OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" This was even worse because now his feet were on the floor. That terrified me because IT was on the floor too! I can remember thinking that he was going to get shorter and shorter as this thing attacked him at foot level.

Have you ever seen a cartoon character get scared? Have you noticed how his eyes bulge and his lips curl back? I cannot attest to the eyes bulging but I can tell you that the lip thing is a real, physical response to extreme fright. My lips literally curled backwards towards my face! I can still remember how strange that sensation was.

I know I need to let Robbie know that there isn't a person in our house - that whatever it was was worse! But all I can think to say is, "No! It's.......it's.....it's...." I was being really helpful and informative. He runs for the light switch on the other side of the room. I was relieved because now he was further from IT and wasn't in as much danger of having his feet gnawed off. At this point I even had to wonder, did I see anything at all? IT wasn't really doing much. But I didn't have to wait long. As soon as the light came on, IT sprang into action. IT was a rather large rabbit. The poor creature had been dragged by the neck through two cat doors. He had a cut on his neck because, in his panic, he would run into the wall and blood would spray onto the wall.

At least we now knew what we were dealing with. And, thankfully, it wasn't the devil. Robbie screamed for me to grab a towel. And because I no longer feared having my feet gnawed off I got down and grabbed one. Robbie threw it over the rabbit and ran him outside. Problem solved, just like that! Not that I slept a wink for the rest of the night, but at least IT was gone.

Oh, I did do one more thing that night. I got MAD. Mad at those cats. I caught Punky by the front door. It was about 3:15am and I was in my gown. I was standing outside on the lawn at 3:15am beating my cat! It was not my finest moment.

Later on, after catching birds, midair, in my dining room, we realized that it wasn't Punky after all. It was Ma who brought all those creatures in. Sorry Punky!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Locked Out

Most everyone who knows me has heard this story but I wanted to get it down on paper. I thought I did this once before but I can't find it. Not that it isn't seared into my memory forever!

It was a completely forgetable Sunday evening - the week between Christmas and New Years. I was 8 months pregnant with our second child. We lived on ten acres, smack dab in the middle of nowhere. My 17 month old has been in bed for a few hours and I was waiting on Robbie to get home from work. He was a police officer working the second shift. I waddled to the kitchen for a snack. When I opened the fridge I noticed the pack of ground beef I'd thawed and never used. I knew I needed to do something with it soon so I decided to make some chili for Robbie so he'd have a snack when he got off work in an hour or so. I started to cook it according to a recipe I had and turned the burner up so it would begin to boil. About this time I realized it was 10pm and the new puppy we had gotten earlier in the week needed to be taken outside. I was trying to take her out at regular intervals. I was wearing a huge grey t-shirt/gown and slip-on Keds. When Daisy finished wandering around the yard we headed back inside. Except, we couldn't get in. My heart froze when I realized we were locked out. Locked out in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! I desperately tried every door, every window, even lying on my back and reaching for the door knob through the cat door. Nothing worked. Panic set in, big time! On the next lot over, which was also ten acres, was a horse barn. I'd seen a travel trailer parked there earlier but had no idea if it was still there, or if someone might be in it. It was my only hope at this point. My baby was trapped inside with a boiling pot of chili on the stove! What if the fire alarms started to sound, terrifying him, and I was not there? What if the house actually caught fire? I started to run. Run, at 8 months pregnant, through the field to get to the horse barn. It was pitch black as soon as I got a few feet from my house. Suddenly, I was up-ended. Cartwheeling through the air, and then through wood shavings from the barn. The ground there was very uneven and the owners often dumped the old shavings in the low areas. Now I was lying in shavings and old hay and I smelled like horse poop. This is where I started to cry. But press on I must, so I struggled to my feet. Running again, as I spit out small pieces of wood and hay and probably some other stuff I don't want to think about. My luck was about to change. As I got closer to the barn I could see a tiny light. It was from the travel trailer. It appeared as someone might be IN the trailer! I started screaming. I can only imagine what I must have sounded like at this point. The door flew open and someone started screaming back. "Who's there? What do you want?", he asked. "Do you have a phone? I need a phone!!! I'm locked out and my house might be on fire!", I pant. He thrusts a cell phone into my hand and I dial 911. As soon as the dispatcher starts to speak I beg her to send Officer Goodson home ASAP. "EMERGENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I hang up. I give the phone back and order the shadow in the trailer to get a hammer and follow me to my house. "A hammer!?" He clearly thinks I've lost it. Yes, as my breath is finally catching up, I need a hammer to break into my house, I am locked out. He is on his way to the barn now and turns on the light. He takes one look at me and screams, "LADY, you're PREGNANT!" "I KNOW! Now get a hammer!", I say. Then I start running again. He is chasing me, trying to get me to slow down. He is wearing boxer shorts and flip flops. When he gets to my porch I am laying flat on my back gasping for air. I point to the kitchen window and get out the words, "Break it!" He assures me that he can see the chili and it is not in danger of bursting into flames, but if it does, he will gladly smash the window.

About this time we hear an engine, getting quickly closer to us. Robbie is FLYING down our driveway. He gets out of his patrol car as white as a sheet. He finds his wife lying on the porch gasping for breath and a man in boxer shorts holding a hammer. I can only imagine the thoughts that must have gone through his mind at that moment. I can still barely speak but explain that we need his keys to the house. I think he was a bit upset to find that all the panic he has just been through is because I locked myself out. We go in and turn off the chili. Man with hammer disappears, I guess. Baby #2 is on an adrenaline high, bouncing from one side of my belly to the other. We assume he/she is okay. Then my husband, who has only said a few words since he arrived asks, "What is that all over you and what is that SMELL?"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Learning is Fun

Whew, did Christmas/New Year's/school vacation knock you for a loop too? We are finally settling back into a regular routine, for which I am grateful.

Just a few days after Christmas we received the World Floor Map from CSNStores.com. Fast shipping! I didn't realize that it was going to be made of that spongy floor mat material, probably because I'd never seen a puzzle made that way. I really liked that though because we were able to leave it together in the middle of the floor and study it instead of having to put it away all the time. I also liked that it came in a sturdy clear plastic bag, so when we did store it, it was easy to keep together. Quality wise, we were most pleased! It was easy to put together for my guys since they are all veteran puzzlers but that wasn't our purpose anyway. I did have to put some index cards over the names of the countries because 2 out of 3 are now readers. They have all learned some of the countries and can point them out now, which was our intent! :) And they had fun and didn't think of it as learning, also a good thing.

One misconception was that France was in the US! LOL Hey, he is only 7. So now we know where it is AND that the Eiffel Tower is there.

The kids got a giggle out of the Country named Turkey. :)

We are also facinated by the Panama Canal and are wondering what they did with all that dirt they dredged out.

The first time they heard about the earthquake in Haiti, they wanted to look it up on the map. We decided Haiti doesn't seem so far from SC. Now we are remembering Haiti in our prayers.

Key has a good friend living in Italy for a year. We looked her up and talked about Italy and how long it took her to fly there.

Robbie and I are going to Puerto Rico so we looked that up too. I love that they 'get it', that every place we mention can be found on a map. I've shown them all of the places I have visited and told them stories about my travels. Some of them Robbie hadn't even heard. Fun to remember back!

Now that we are able to find different countries on the map, we are going to learn something about each country. That should be fun too! Thanks CSNStores.com, this was a great opportunity for us!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Florida

In the spring of 1989 I was attending a pre-Calculus class at Greenville Tech. There was a cute boy in my class, kind of surfer looking. He had a cool haircut, with a weight line, and he was blonde,which made him look like he spent lots of time in the sun. I enjoyed watching him each day as he went through his routine of taking out his pencil, then his big pink eraser, and then his notebook - always in that order. We eventually started to chat with each other. One day he asked me what my plans were. I was only 19, and really couldn't be too specific. All I knew was that I wanted to graduate from college and move to Florida. Those were my only two goals. And I only had the first goal because it seemed that it would help me accomplish the second. I guess that didn't seem too strange a thing to plan for because that surfer dude and I moved to Florida in the fall of 1993 as husband and wife.

I longed for Florida before I ever got there, and I miss it really bad today. It would be easy to miss Florida on a day like today. I don't think it got above the freezing mark, and if it did, I couldn't tell! But that would miss the larger point. I miss Florida everyday. So why am I here, back in SC? It was a once in a lifetime opportunity when real estate prices were skyrocketing. We were fortunate (I don't like the word lucky) and here we are. I don't regret it. There was really no choice as to the best path to take. We took it and life is good. But that doesn't make me miss Florida any less.

The sky is bluer in Florida. The weight of the air is better. Palm trees and anoles just give everything a laid back style. You never have to wear socks in Florida. You can find a good Cuban sandwich in every town. People don't care so much about who you know, where you came from, who you went to school with - you get a certain anonymity there. And that is freeing in many ways. But friends like to listen to the quirks you left behind. You get to describe what a boiled peanut tastes like, because no one knows. You can explain what a crocus is and how it is the first flower of spring, because spring in Florida is a lot like summer, fall and winter. They even indulge you the pleasure of describing how the Clemson Tigers take to the field during home games, even though they pull for the Gators or 'Noles.

So anyway, I'm just missing my life back in Florida. I plan on returning, for sure. In fact, here I sit, back in Greenville, just like I was back in 1989. I still tell my surfer dude how much I want to be there and that it is my plan to go. He listens, just like he did back then. And I think he wants that for me, and for him, again. To return to our old town on the Gulf. We've even got our children, who were all born as Crackers, ready to pack their bags. Key told us that his teacher asked each child in his second grade class to tell where they wanted to go to college. Key told them he was going to be a Florida Gator. And this Clemson Tiger just smiled when she heard the news. Because it will be perfect if we can all end up on the beautiful beaches again as a family.