Sunday, November 20, 2011

Here's to next year!

2011 is almost over, and not a DAY too soon. The ole blog has been quiet lately. Mostly due to the fact that no one wants to hear a whiny person vent. I won't lie, this hasn't been an easy year. And we started it off with such high hopes! The house didn't sell, but the inside contents did, on CraigsList, because we thought the house had sold. And we gave away all our warm winter clothes, thinking we'd never need a coat again. And it just spiraled from there. But you know what, we are all together again, and that my friends is priceless. Whether it be here in SC or where we thought we'd be in FL, we are together. Valuable lessons learned. But I won't say I wouldn't change a thing, because (here it comes again) this has been a HARD year. So, marching on to a better 2012, using our best manners as we go!

One bright spot was this past weekend. We were blessed to be able to fly up to Boston to attend Robbie's sister's wedding. Jennifer married Tyson at the Boston Temple on Friday. It was so beautiful and we are so happy for them.

I think everyone gets a little wistful thinking back about their weddings when they attend one. But then you think of all that ground you've covered already and decide going back would be so much work to redo! I have never really wanted to go back and start over. As fun as it was, as much as we've accomplished, I just like moving forward. And since you can't go back anyway, that is just as well, huh?

At the reception that night they had a tv in the corner with photos of the bride and groom growing up scrolling by. Then the groom's father invited Tyson and his mom up for a special collection of photos. I don't even know these people and I was crying! I love to take pictures and I take a ton of them. And when I saw those pictures of Tyson and his mom, I really didn't see them, I saw us, Key and me. My oldest hitting all those milestones. I could already do at least a 1/3 of the pictures. I can see the ones in my mind that I would use!!! And how can it be that he will be ten next year? I am sure he just came home from the hospital in a baby blanket. And it hit me, hard, how all those pictures I am taking of him (and his siblings) are for a future tv, to be broadcast at a future wedding reception, for a future bride/groom to watch. I told Robbie to not do this to me, because I would not be able to stop crying. I was crying watching a mom I don't even know! But she was just smiling and hugging her son. Will the next decade prepare me to let go? Will the teen years make it seem not so bad that he is moving on? I guess time will tell.

So, we wish the happy couple the very best life has to offer! We love you both and think you are the luckiest people to have found each other. You are just perfect together. And you'll have so many wonderful years. And like 2011 was to us, you'll have some years you'll wish you could forget. But if you have each other it will be just fine, and you'll come out wiser and better off for it. And you'll wonder where the time went and who those young, fresh faces were as you look at your wedding photos. Take lots of pictures - you'll need them for a tv in a reception hall one day.....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Dark and Stormy Night

It all started with a phone call from my friend Wendy. We are kindred souls when it comes to wildlife. We share bird sighting stories and love/hate relationship with small dogs. Her more the love part, me more the hate. Anyway, she called one day while we were in Florida (she lives there) and told me about the coolest experience and she knew I'd want to do it too. Her husband knew a guy, who knew a guy....who took them to Casperson Beach to watch the sea turtles lay their eggs. She told me how the County had volunteers out there with red flashlights (to not confuse the turtles) and they would let you touch the turtles if they rested on the sand during their return to the Gulf. She told me how their shells glowed with phosphorescence and how your hand would too after you touched one. And she got to see FIVE turtles that night! FIVE! Wow, that was about the coolest thing I'd ever heard! Resisting the urge to strangle her through the phone for not calling me to join her, I thanked her for the info.

I knew I'd have a willing partner in Andy and I was right. The other two looked at me like I'd invited them to walk on broken glass. Robbie, a former Police Officer who covered the area where Casperson Beach is located, didn't like the idea of us going out there so late at night. But we couldn't be discouraged and left the condo about 10pm.

We were surprised to find only one other car parked in the sand lot at the end of the island. Where were these County people with all those red flashlights? We pressed on. We met a shady character on the boardwalk and the idea that Robbie might be right did enter my mind. We pressed on. We got to the beach and ditched our flip flops by the steps. We realized there were large rocks on the shoreline for at least a half a mile. No turtle can come over those. We pressed on. We got to the end of the rocks. Still, not a soul on the beach but us. And heat lightning was the only source of light we could see. It was PITCH BLACK out there! Civilization seemed very far away. And the reality was that we were pretty remote. We pressed on. I called Wendy and reported our location and situation. She was baffled at the lack of red flashlights too. She assured me we'd see a turtle soon though. So, again, we pressed on.

And then there was a raindrop. And the 'heat' lightning was directly overhead. Oh yeah, the skies opened UP. Buckets. That is what rained down on us. Buckets of rain. Accompanied by strong, gusty winds and lightning. Yes, lightning was cracking all around us, electrifying the air. We were in the middle of nowhere in a Florida thunderstorm. We were at least a mile from our car. (If it seems you've heard me talk about being in the middle of nowhere before, you are correct. I get caught there more often than the average human.)

Mom guilt set in big time as I grabbed Andy's hand. Who takes their 7 year old out in this? We started to run. Andy started to scream, "I can't see! I can't see!" He was referring to the fact that his glasses had rain all over them. It wouldn't have helped that I could have honestly screamed the same thing because the rain was I didn't panic him anymore than I already had. The white foam on the edge of the water was the only thing I could see as we raced down the beach. Then the rocks came into view. Then the boardwalk appeared and next we saw our flip flops! Oh, they were a sight for sore eyes! We jumped in the car no more wet than if we'd swam back. I still don't know how we weren't struck by lightning.

I was sure Robbie was worried sick about us. This terrible storm and we still weren't back? He must be panicked, I thought. So we drove back towards civilization and I tried to use my phone, which was also dripping. And then an amazing thing happened. A half mile from the parking lot the rain stopped. You could see a line on the road. By the time we got to Sharkey's Pier you would have never known that it had rained. Amazing!

We got back to the condo and went directly to the pool. We were covered with sand, head to toe. We washed off under the pool shower and Andy swam for a bit. Then we went back to the condo to admit, we were sure, temporary defeat in seeing a sea turtle lay eggs on the beach. We got, again, the walk on glass kinda stares from the more civilized Goodsons as they ate ice cream and watched Storage Wars on TV. They found it hard to believe we'd just survived a lightning storm a few miles down the island. I am sure they don't really think it was as bad as it was.

Unfortunately, we were never able to catch sight of a sea turtle. We made several other trips down to the beach, late at night, but to no avail. The most disheartening morning was when we found a brand new nest in a spot we passed on our way back at 1am. So between 1am and 9am we missed it.

I guess the best part is, there is always next year.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Girls Day Out

We had a Girls Day today. The boys went with dad to swim and canoe at Table Rock. Natalie was feeling a bit left out. Then she remembered me telling her that when the boys went away for camping, scouting, etc. we'd have a girls only day. So she asked if today qualified and I thought it probably did.

I had the idea of making a small quilt for one of her baby dolls. But before I gave her my idea she said, "I want to get my ears pierced today!" Wow, didn't see that coming. We've asked her about getting her ears pierced before and she was vehemently opposed. She must have been thinking it over. Or maybe you just get braver once you turn 6 years old, which she did this month. Or perhaps rising first graders are just more brave than kindergarteners. Whatever the reason, she was ready today.

We hit the mall and the Piercing Pagoda lickety split. We looked at every single pair of earrings available and I thought the pink 'diamonds' would be perfect. She thought the pink hearts filled the bill. So, pink hearts it is! I was a little hesitant to pay the lady before the earrings were actually in her ears but that seemed to be the way it is done. Natalie didn't hesitate when it came time to hop in the chair, though. She sat through the alcohol wipes and the dot placement. Then she watched the gun and on the count of three she had one earring in place. There was a few seconds delay and a tiny, "Ouch!" but she sat still and now has a matching earring in the other ear.

We celebrated with a chocolate chip cookie because she did so well. Or, from my point of view, the cookie filled up her hands and she couldn't twirl her new earrings around.

You are a brave and beautiful girl, Natalie! I loved spending time with you today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

East Coast Vs. West Coast: A slightly biased comparative analysis

I've been blessed. More blessed than I deserve, to quote Dave (Ramsey). And I've run into my fair share of good luck too. One of those lucky moments happened at Payless Shoe Store two Fridays ago. Robbie called to say that my mom had called and offered us a free week on Hilton Head Island. And although I had just left a five week vacation in Florida that same week, I was more than happy to accept her gracious offer.

So, with two coasts fresh in my mind, I offer you my opinions on who offered the better experience.

Best diving pelicans: Hilton Head
Best sunsets: Venice, FL (well, being the west coast, you get to watch the sun set over the water so that is a no brainer)
Best sunrises: I suppose I'll have to give this to Hilton Head. I don't get up early enough to know.
Best sand for riding a bike: Hilton Head
Best bike trails: Hilton Head

Although, I have to throw Venice a bone here. Riding bikes around Venice was more fun. But we visit in the off season and the place is deserted. Summer in SW FL means no traffic! Summer in Hilton Head means no parking spots, anywhere!

Best food: Just from looking around at all the cool restaurants, I'll give this one to Hilton Head. We didn't eat out much.

Best snorkeling: Venice, FL
Best beach water color: Venice, FL
Best pier: Venice, FL (that isn't exactly fair since I didn't see one in Hilton Head)
Best light house: Hilton Head (this counteracts the above, because there is no lighthouse in Venice!)
Best man singing at the Marina: Hilton Head
Best Marina: Venice, FL
Best shells: Venice, FL (no shells in Hilton Head!)
Best Sharks teeth: Venice, FL (shark tooth capital of the world)
Best marsh: Hilton Head
Best deserted beach: Venice, FL (I go for solitary beach experiences)
Best party beach: Hilton Head

And I have to comment on that. When you go to the beach in Venice you take a towel (or not), maybe a chair, possibly an umbrella, snorkel and mask. Done.

When you go to the beach in Hilton Head, to do it properly you must have the following:
fancy stroller thingy
four sided tent with either Gamecocks, Tigers or Georgia Bulldogs printed on it
eight coolers packed with food and cold beverages
heavy, wooden armed beach chairs
boom box to play Jimmy Buffet
badmitton set
shovels (garden type, industrial shovels, plastic doesn't work in this sand)
33 beach towels to hang from inside your four-sided tent
bogey boards
pink and green monogrammed bags full of other stuff
all your friends and your extended family

Hilton Head people don't go to the beach so much as they tailgate on it. It is quite the sight! They gather in large groups with many tents side by side. They start to resemble a Bombay trinket shop after a while. And they don't go down to the beach for an hour or so- this is an all day event. I guess with so many people there you can just come and go throughout the day, but somebody is always there to hold down the spot. (I bet if you go up to a tent on a game day it will have salt and sand on it somewhere, probably from Hilton Head.)

So, you have my take on how the east coast differs from the west coast. I'll take either, whenever I can get it. But you know my heart really does love it the most in little Venice, FL.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Florida 2011

We are having a great time here in sunny SW Florida. Here are some snippets of our trip so far:
Floating in the pool after dark, staring up at the big dipper.

Smelling cocoplum, especially at night.

Crab hunting after sunset.

Learning to surf.

Riding bikes all over the island.

Catching lizards, Andy still has it!

Finding all the spots where we take pictures and updating 2011 style.

Pasta salad from the Publix deli. Why don't all Publix have this? Hint: If you eat it out of the plastic container, there is no dish to wash.

PB&J sandwiches, almost everyday.

Still wearing the SCUBA masks we bought before we were married. What a great investment!

Swimming with a manatee!! A - MAZ - ING! Also exhausting, they are faster than they look!

Posing with a woody surf wagon

Key's birthday dinner at Mi Pueblo. I love the shrimp avacado salad.

Balloon animals (or princesses, take your pick.)

Ice cream every evening.

Wi Fi at the pool.

Military-like pelican formations.

Cold tap water does not exist here. I knew that, but had forgotten.

The smell of sunscreen, even after a shower. Robbie can really coat us good.

Those darn turtles laying eggs in the middle of the night when I am not looking. (Update, I did start was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it was. And I took Andy with me. I'll save the rest for another time.)

Seeing pool friends, year after year. Meeting new ones too.

Beach umbrellas as backdrops for cool pictures, and they second as a shady spot on the beach.

Three thousand shades of blue, no chance of picking they most beautiful. They all win.

Watching the old lady, straw hat society do water aerobics in the pool. (I almost snapped a picture. You're glad I didn't!)

Enjoying the interesting art downtown Sarasota. Some recognizable, some not.

Sun kissed highlights in our hair.

Tans so deep they make our teeth glow.

Reading the Sarasota Herald Tribune. I miss it.

Reading a so-so paperback til 1am, knowing I'll get those sleep hours back in the form of an afternoon nap.

Gallons of pink lemonade, gallons of ice cream, gallons of chilled peanut M&M's. Seriously, we've been buying M&M's in the party sized bags - and there is no party!!!

Sea slugs in a bucket. (Temporarily, of course)

Sporadic sightings of the resident black snake, although Andy swears it is a cobra.

CraigsList iPod Touches for the boys. They paid!

Free apps, free apps, free apps!

Foxtail ferns, unusual succlents..

Pink cheeks, peeling shoulders.

Getting lost underwater in a huge school of jacks. Awesome experience.

Diving for fighting conchs and assorted hermit crabs to live (for at least ten minutes) in the seaside castle built especially for them.

Forgotten flip flops means burned feet, and carrying children along with beach bags.

Dinner at The Columbia! Love Cuban food. Boliche!

Watching the meandering bike formation ahead of me. Robbie leads, Natalie right behind. Me in cow's tail position.

Dodging skittering lizards as they cross in front of the bike. "Oh, look Mom! Those lizards are hugging!" (Yes. Yes they are!)

Stopping the bikes to talk to anyone walking a dachshund. Robbie's idea.

Boat rides with friends.

Robbie's first attempt at wake boarding. He did great.

BOGO popsicles. Key almost died of happiness. They are his primary source of nourishment, year round.

Knives that wouldn't slice hot butter. We keep 'em sharp at Casa Goodson.

Sunsets almost every night that would knock your socks off, if you wore them here.

Drum circle on Casey Key and a five year old girl who shook her bootie til the sun went down - all while wearing a belly dancing scarf around her waist.

Getting a picture of a manatee sticking his snout out of the water. This is nearly impossible.
You'll just have to trust me on this one. I promise that is a manatee snout. I have a better shot of a dolphin fin, but you get the idea of how good a photographer I am when it comes to mammals who live in the sea.

Opti sailboats and a new sailor in our house. He is a veteran of Roberts and Dona bays, running slightly aground around Rattlesnake island, but nothing raising his daggerboard couldn't fix.

Nautical knot tying. Practice makes perfect.

Neon green pool pass bracelets that a 'blue hair' insisted we should all wear in the pool. Don't sweat the small stuff, lady.

Digging for sharks teeth at 'the property' (our old house). Didn't find much but the old man who lives there knew Andy would be back this year and saved him a two inch whopper of a tooth. Thanks, Harold, you made his day!

Pulling a kitchen chair up to an outlet at 11:30pm so you can play on your new (used) iPod Touch as it recharges.

Jayyyyy Leno

Storage Wars. Glad we don't have A&E back home, I could get used to that. Dave, you are a JERK!

Laughing at an anhinga who caught a fish too big to swallow.

People watching at Sharkey's Pier.

Slowing down to envy houses with for sale signs out front. Thinking either one of two things:

1) we could never afford that house

2) we could afford that one, but would we all fit inside at the same time?

Tropical Thai - won ton soup and pineapple fried rice with chicken. Throw in a summary of the life of Thailand's fifth president, because Natalie noticed his picture on the wall and asked if he owned the place. Fascinating character, actually. Google him.

Really expensive watermelons. We aren't buying many. Did they grow with golden seeds this year and nobody told us?

Being genuinely disappointed that the Eastern Screech Owl we found in that Pongam tree last year wasn't in there this year. Yeah, we looked. Twice. Duh!

This vacation is far from over so I'll just leave it be continued.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I get that it is Mother's Day. And I get that I should probably be writing about how great a day it was and that my children were angels and how incredible every single second of motherhood is. I get that. But you know what, I hate to break it to anyone who isn't a mother yet (because if you are a mother, you already know this) ain't always rose petals and pretty background music and sunshine. Sometimes it is just hard and frustrating and thankless. So when Natalie huffed and slung my Mother's Day card at me, birds were not chirping. I was more 'angry bird' at that point and that is the truth of it all. Seriously, who SLINGS a Mother's Day card!? But I felt like writing tonight and wasn't going to let the fact that it was Mother's Day get in my way. I have had this subject on my mind lately, for whatever reason, so I am going to write about it.

Have you ever heard of Accutane? It's that medicine that is mostly used for very severe acne. It also became famous for suicidal side effects, mostly in teenagers, the target patient of Accutane, one would guess.

Well, I took it once, but not for acne. I had roseacea, which is when you have a very red face, mostly across your nose and cheeks. After a hundred, "Wow, you sure got sunburned!" comments I decided to find out what was really going on with my face. The dermatologist took one look at me and declared I has roseacea. We tried multiple rounds of tetracycline which didn't help and then we pulled out the big gun, Accutane! I didn't realize what I was in for. Accutane shuts down the oil production in your body. Now, on the surface, this sounds pretty harmless. Trust me, you don't have a clue what grease can do for you until you don't have any!

The first thing that started happening was my skin started to crack. Under each fingernail, I started getting cracks. Then my ears, where they attached to my head, started to crack. Then my lips started to peel. I mean PEEL, like...OFF. As in one huge piece. As in I could hand you my lips! I remember being on a business trip and standing in the bathroom at the hotel HOLDING MY LIPS IN MY HAND. And the lips still on my face were raw and burning like fire. And then this started happening every second day for a few weeks. It got intense, to say the least.

And then I got sticky. I couldn't pet the cats without yanking out handfuls of fur. And then I'd have to wash my hands to get it off. I couldn't put pieces of paper down. I simply couldn't turn them loose. I had to have someone take them from me. I couldn't cross my bare arms or legs without getting fused to myself. Oil is a lubricant, folks! When you don't have any you stick to everything, including yourself. I would have to slowly peel my arms and legs apart or my skin would rip. I still have scars from cat scratches during that time. I guess you don't heal well without oil.

But the strangest part of having no oil production is the way I perceived smells. Quite simply, humans stink. I never realized that until then. I don't guess you would ever know that sort of thing unless you were in my situation. People smell like grease balls, and it is not pleasant! Robbie made the bed up one night and unknowingly switched our pillows. I really insulted him when I gagged at the smell of his pillow. It was amazing the difference it made to not be amongst the greasy population. I had to leave a meeting once when a lady with greasy hair sat down next to me. I couldn't stand being near her! Even just entering a room full of people overwhelmed me.

Thankfully, I was only in the sticky, peely, stinky phase for a few weeks. Then I was able to slowly decrease my dose and return to the land of oily and self stinky. You would think you'd want to remain in the non-stinky category, but life would be very difficult that way. The old saying is true in this case, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

And the doctor was right about the Accutane. It cured my roseacea. And it gave me lasting insights into how important oil production by our bodies really is. Who'd of thunk it, eh?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It was a Great Week

We had such a great spring break week. I can't believe it is ending. Tomorrow will be an early morning. Showers, bagels, backpacks, lunches packed and out the door five minutes later than I wanted. Yes, back to the grind. School, work, violin, dinner, bedtime. Routines are important, but breaking them, for a few days, is too. It is too easy to go on auto-pilot in our routines and miss the bigger picture.

I'm grateful for the break that let us be together as a family and slow down. We picked Robbie up from the airport on Thursday. The kids weren't expecting him until Saturday, and they thought he'd be driving home. So they didn't suspect a thing when I explained I had to check out a tree at the airport. (Having a Arborist for a mom makes "going to look at a tree" normal and boring.) When we pulled up, I asked, "Hey, who's that?". Key, who couldn't wrap his brain around what his eyes were seeing, sputtered and finally exclaimed, "He won't be here til Saturday!!!". Natalie flung her tiny arms around his neck and refused to let go. Tender hearted Andy had silent tears stream down his cheeks. Dad was home, back with us, and all seemed right with the world.

I could turn this into a travel log. We did get out and about during our week, but I think I'll just focus on the things that made it so special.

Watching Robbie cut the grass, with Andy riding on his lap. Hearing the made up verses of "Hush Little Baby" coming from Natalie's room each night. Hearing him criss cross the hall fulfilling back scratching requests. Watching him make pancakes and bacon for dinner. Hearing the gentle encouragement he gave each child as they showed him all the new things they'd learned when he was gone.

That was what our week was really about. The backdrop being the trips downtown for ice cream, our walking tour of the Clemson campus, etc. On his last day he made sure all of bike tires were filled and that the seats were at the right height and he appeared happy and positive to the kids when he explained it wouldn't be long until we finish school and join him for our summer vacation. But I could tell he was missing us already. And that is just one of the reasons he is such a great dad (and husband). We are truly blessed to have him in our lives. And sometimes it takes having someone out of your life to fully grasp how important it is to have them in your life.

And speaking of life, we are still in the midst of deciding where we will be living out the next decade or so. We have lots of possibilities (or, as Natalie would say, possumbilities) and all of them are good things. It is an exciting time to be a Goodson, plus a bit stressful if you really like knowing where you'll soon call home. But I'll take it, because I know where ever we land we'll be together. And THAT is home.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He is still here

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Robbie has been here all week but has to go back to FL tomorrow. I'll post more soon about of wonderful week together.

He is still home

Friday, March 25, 2011


Well, here is the last installment of the Goodson kids. Andrew Dean is our middle child and the most gentle soul I've ever met. He is so much like his father he is routinely referred to as 'Little Robbie'. He even sees it in himself and will giggle after a particularly 'Robbie' action or saying.

Andy was the miracle we never thought we'd have. We found out he was on the way when Key was ten months old. Stunned would be an understatement. Joy would also not do it justice. A 'free' child, out of the blue, not the result of testing and shots and endless waiting. A blessing we didn't dare hope for nor even deserve. All of his brother's firsts were going to be repeated, and it was just too good to be true.

We didn't find out the gender, yet again, but we were somehow convinced that Andy was a girl. He was so different, in utero. His brother slept for nine months. Andy kick boxed. He could literally throw me off balance as I walked. He kept his father awake at night with his constant motion. We were a bit scared at what this all might mean. We named him Natalie.

And then HE was here. And we couldn't call him Natalie anymore. We threw names at him until the nurse insisted that we pick one and stick with it. We gazed at him and he gazed back with eyes that seemed to say he'd been here for a long time. We called him a little old man and named him after Andy Griffith and his grandfather, Harold Dean. Andrew Dean it was, but don't dare call him Andrew now. He can't stand it.

From the start he was my shadow. He needed me, and only me, for at least the first year of his life. If there is a picture of us together, he is smiling. If I took the picture, meaning I was an arms length away, he is crying. Many, many, many nights he slept right beside me, my pinky finger as his pacifier. When dad isn't home, he still sleeps with me. Thankfully, I get to keep all of my fingers now!

Andy is the sweetest child I've ever met. And I am not just saying that because I am his mother. Any adult who spends time with Andy eventually finds me to tell me the same thing. As we walk together down the halls at his school, teachers I don't know stop to tell me what a special child he is.

Andy is helpful. He can sweep the house like nobody's business. He volunteers to help with anything I am doing. He is an extremely hard worker, never gives up. We spread mulch one day for hours and hours and he never left my side. His siblings abandoned us within a half hour, but not my Andy. When he has pulled all of the weeds in the garden he sits on the railroad ties waiting for a new one to pop up.

Andy loves to read. He learned to read within just a few days of starting kindergarten. It was as if they just flipped a switch and he knew. He read the first Harry Potter book to me before he turned seven. Every. Single. Word.

Andy is an expert lizard catcher. He loves all living creatures and has a shelf of reference books on fish, reptiles, shells, snakes, etc. He can name almost every vertebrate just by looking at it's skeleton. He is like a sponge when animal knowledge is available. His plan is to be an animal dentist when he grows up.

Andy started asking us if he could play the violin when he was three. We finally found a teacher, and a tiny violin, when he was four. He just turned seven in February so this is his 3rd year of lessons. He won an honorable mention from South Carolina in the Reflections contest recently. He composed and performed a song. Actually, he wrote over ten songs and chose one of his favorites to perform. The wobbly little notes he drew were adorable!

Andy isn't perfect. He has no use for napkins nor underwear and avoids using both. If he has eaten since his last bath, you'll know exactly what it was by looking at his cheeks. And you can tell where he sat to eat it. The underwear thing....not sure what is so offensive about them. He also couldn't keep his shoes tied if his life depended on it. We have a stash of new shoe strings just waiting to go in his shoes. He also routinely clashes with his little sister. Those two are like oil and water.

I wish I had more words to describe Andy. He is so much more than I can adequately portray here. But I hope you have enjoyed getting to know him a little through my thoughts. The boy is pure joy to his dad and me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I'm hardly fashion conscious but I have noticed a winter trend - SCARVES. Cute, cute, cute scarves. Which are also quite utilitarian right now because it is beyond cold this winter. But there is a problem with all these cute, colorful scarves. Well, I shouldn't blame the scarves. Really, it's just my problem. I can't wear the things! I am just not scarf material. There doesn't appear to be a body type that can't 'do' scarves. I've seen them on just about every body type. So it must be a mental block at work here. First off, I think I'd suffocate having that thing wrapped around my neck all day. Secondly, I'd be fiddling with it constantly which would be distracting to me and everyone else. Third, I think I'd look as if I tried tying a sofa cushion around my throat and left the house like that. I'm not too bummed about this mental inability to carry a fashion trend. I'm so rarely dressed to impress that it barely matters. But I do love seeing all of you wearing those scarves. You look GREAT!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Next Up - Thomas Key

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from stylish Modern dining room furniture to cute cookware to chic lighting pieces! And they are letting you in on the action. Leave a comment below and I'll pick a winner on Friday, January 21st for a $25 gift card to any one of their online stores. Thanks again to CSN Stores for asking the Goodson Gang to sponsor a giveaway. You've been awesome to work with.

Now, on to another child of mine. Tonight I think I'll talk about the oldest, Mr. Thomas Key. Key is now an eight year old third grader, which seems impossible. But, on the other hand, I can't really remember life without him, either. Robbie and I had been married for almost nine years when we became parents, through the modern miracle of IVF (in vitro fertilization). We are eternally grateful for the miracle that Key truly is to us.

Key has always been an easy child. For the first year or so of his life he slept approximately 23.5 hours a day. He was like one of those baby dolls that close their eyes when you lay them down. If you ever needed a break all you'd have to do is lay him down. He'd close his eyes and nap for hours. I went from working full time to staring at a sleeping baby full time. I've actually never slept so much in my life as I did when Key was an infant. I didn't really understand that this wasn't normal at the time. (Andy changed all that, don't be too mad at me.)

Key is always on the look out for the big payday. He always has a money angle on his ideas and plans. He can instantly think up a really good reason for his brother or sister to part with their money, and give it to him. He is quite convincing, and usually takes their allowance, until we inquire and make him give it back. He sets up stores and sells his wares all the time. He behaves at school so that he'll earn 'Gator bucks' and then buys things he knows Andy or Nat will like so he can convert the Gator bucks into cold, hard cash. In short, the boy could sell ice to an Eskimo!

Which leads to the dilemma of school. School takes up way too much of Key's day. How is he supposed to be out there earning a living while he is trapped at school? He is convinced he could make it on his own right here, right now. If only his parents didn't insist on wasting his time at school.

He heard about stocks and asked us a million questions about how they work. He asked if he bought some shares of Walmart, thus becoming part owner, if they would give him a discount.

We feel that Key has sufficient motivation to either be a multi-millionaire by the time he reaches age 25 - OR - he'll be in jail! Our goal in life, for Key, is to steer him in the right way to make a buck.

Key is also loathe to spend his own money, of which he has a lot. He has a lot because he rarely ever parts with any of it. In fact, he hounded me until I took him to the local bank and opened a savings account in his name. He funnels every dime into that account and then claims, in the middle of Walmart, that he has no money on him and asks if we can spot him. Knowing full well he won't ever pay you back!

Key is also a gadget man. He craves the latest and greatest the world has to offer electronically. He owns a Nintendo DSI-XL, a Wii and a spy watch. Oh, and with his Toys R Us gift card he bought a Paper Jamz electric guitar. (I had to spot him the money for the neck strap. I'll never see that $6 again!) For Christmas this year he begged for an iPhone. No, not kidding, he wanted an iPhone. He did not receive one, much to his dismay. He is still relentlessly begging for one though. (Not happening!)

Key is also a talented artist. From the earliest time he could pick up a crayon, he has impressed us with his ability to draw. We've rarely seen one of his drawings and asked, "What's that?" He's been featured in the local paper and enjoys after school art lessons.

One plan for his future career is to be a Navy pilot. He chose this profession because the Navy will feed you, house you and provide you clothes to wear. Due to his inability to spend his own money, he feels this will suit him well.

Key is quick to say 'Thank You'. He is always the one to mention how grateful he is to us for taking him somewhere, or buying him something.

We couldn't be more grateful for such a wonderful son!! Bubby, we sure do love you!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

50 Random Facts About Me

My mind has raced in a thousand different directions lately, as has my body, so I haven't finished writing about the boys yet. I saw another blog with 50 random facts and thought that I could at least garner enough brain power to do that.

1) I don't like snow. It is supposed to start snowing tomorrow. I dread it.

2) I could not have found a better job than the one I have now as a part-time Arborist. I love what I do.

3) The more I ask around, the more convinced I am that I'm a speed reader. How do you know if you qualify?

4) I only have a few dear friends. I'd go to the mat for them. They keep me sane. I probably drive them crazy.

5) I would love to travel more. I'd even go to cold climates if I knew I wouldn't have to stay long.

6) If I can't be on time, I'd rather not go.

7) An organized home is extremely important to me.

8) When I am stressed, I clean. My house is spotless right now.

9) I can ride a unicycle. We live on a hill so I don't ride much right now. I rode a good bit in FL.

10) I love, love, love my front loading washer and dryer.

11) I love taking pictures and wish I were a better photographer.

12) I'd eat Mexican food for every meal if I could.

13) Well, I'd also have to throw in some Puerto Rican mofongo every once in a while too. That stuff is delicious! If you've never tried it you don't know what you are missing!

14) I wish I could wear flip flops every day of the year.

15) I need a haircut.

16) I hate the sound of non-residential toilets and flush with my foot so I can have my fingers in my ears.

17) I do not like dark chocolate.

18) I don't own any make-up, and haven't in over 15 years.

19) I don't like cows, they scare me. I have cow nightmares.

20) I drive a minivan but I can't wait to get rid of it once the kids get older. It's not a swagger wagon to me.

21) I'm discovering how far I am willing to go with my 'less is more' idea. It's getting extreme!

22) I think I need more sleep than the average person. I never get it, though.

23) I'd like to think I could hike the Appalachain Trail, but I bet I'd give up early on.

24) I keep journals for each of my kids to record the funny things they've said. I treasure them!

25) I've come to appreciate the violin by sitting in weekly lessons with my son.

26) I don't like dogs. Any dogs. I used to love them all. Then I got our dog. She turned me against the entire canine species.

27) I am even beginning to wonder if cats are worth all the effort I put into them. I do still love a cat though.

28) I still hope to learn Spanish one day.

29) I love palms.

30) I don't enjoy being in large crowds.

31) Heights scare me now. I used to not mind them so much.

32) My favorite color is sunny yellow.

33) I wish my legs weren't quite so long. I'd have a lot more choices in pants if this were so.

34) I wish I had the patience to homeschool my children.

35) I'm glad I don't bite my fingernails anymore.

36) One of my favorite authors is Rick Bragg. I've read everything I can find by him. I wish he would write more!

37) I don't enjoy talking on the phone.

38) I love to quilt. So many patterns, so little time.

39) I wish I didn't have chronic neck and back pain.

40) I hope we can get a swimming pool at our next house.

41) I drive way too fast.

42) Bonaire is my favorite island so far. I can't wait to check out more.

43) I love talk radio.

44) I think one of the smartest people on the planet is Thomas Sowell. I am so sad he is in his 80's. He has so much common sense that the world needs to hear. I look forward to every one of his columns.

45) I'll be glad when my children are too old for Candy Land. Ack.

46) I love sparkling grape juice that is always available at the holidays. I'm regretting I didn't stock up.

47) I enjoy helping out in my children's classrooms.

48) I am a terrible at ironing.

49) I have no pain tolerance.

50) I love listing things for sale on CraigsList and Ebay. (See #21)