Friday, April 18, 2014


Didn't know I was a famous supermodel, did ya?

This was a total fluke.  A friend of mine who is a Mary Kay lady was holding a fashion show featuring Chico's clothing and Mary Kay makeup to debut the new Mary Kay car which is a BMW.

One of her models had to back out a few days ahead of time due to a family emergency.

So, naturally, she called me.

I'm everyone's favorite choice to model.  Five feet three inches, mom of three, closing in on fifty - it's a wonder the agencies aren't beating down my door.

She asked me to run down to Chico's and let them pick out two outfits for me to model.  

I thought I'd be in and out in a flash but it actually took a while with me standing like a human Barbie doll while three ladies mixed and matched clothes and jewelry on me.

It sounded something like this:

"Let's put the denim top on her."  "We only have one left in the store and if people come in wanting one like it, we won't have any to sell them."  "How about the denim crops, the white tank, and the white jacket?"  "No, the denim pants look all wrong with that jacket.  Put on the white pants."  "The pants look good but now I don't like the jacket."  "Get the aqua jacket."  "Get a smaller jacket."  "Get a bigger tank top."  "I like that, how about a necklace?"  "Put on this necklace."  "Take off that necklace." "Put on these three long necklaces and this one short necklace."  "I don't like that."  "Take it all off."  "Where's that other necklace?"  "This bracelet goes with that necklace." "It's too much, we need a different bracelet."  "These bracelets are too shiny, they make the necklace look weird."  "What about earrings?"

This was a running litany which put way more thought into jewelry than I ever have in my life.  I have to admit it was fun having people pick and choose clothes and jewelry for me.  I wish I had someone like that with me whenever I go shopping.

I understand now why models have such a far away look in their eyes all the time though.  They've probably heard this conversation every day of their lives and they tune it out because their opinion on what they are wearing is not solicited.  Not one sentence of the above conversation came out of my mouth.

I was quite nervous about doing the modeling and seriously considered calling in sick at the last minute.  I've been teaching the girls, though, that they should always try new things and step out of their comfort zones.  This was a chance for me to set an example but I was dreading it, to be honest.

When I got there, I was pleased to discover all the models were older moms like me.  Only one was tall.  Everyone was nervous.  One told us how she had flatly refused to wear one of the outfits they had picked out for her.  I couldn't believe she dared.  Turns out they just put the outfit on one of the other models.  

Once we started down the runway, I just decided to give it my all and have fun.  One thing I've learned from watching tons of high school plays - the kid who's embarrassed to be up there sticks out like a sore thumb and everyone notices them (and is embarrassed for them).  Which is probably the opposite effect of what they wanted.

 I just wanted everyone to have fun and not be bored so I strutted my stuff down the center, struck poses, and smiled at everyone.

I waved at people and acted like it was the most fun I've ever had.

I got some laughs and the girls told me I was the best model up there.

Now I'm just waiting for these photos to go viral, and for Hollywood to come knocking on my door!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Horses, Horses, Horses

While we were in Kentucky, a good friend asked if we'd like to see the stables.  Horses are cool, so of course we said yes!

I realized that the girls have a horsemanship badge to earn for their scouting program, so I quickly grabbed a handbook to see if there were any requirements we could check off from this visit.

We were able to mark off three for Katie!

Emily discovered shortly after our arrival that she is very allergic to horses even if she doesn't touch them.  She spent most of her visit in the car waiting for her eyes to stop itching.

Katie (that's her little head peeking out from behind the giant rump) learned how to groom a horse, attach a lead line, saddle a horse, and the difference between Western and English riding.

And, of course, how to clean up after a horse.

I snapped this shot as she was leading the horse back out to the field.  It is now one of my favorite photos ever!

Monday, April 14, 2014


We went to see the tumbling team at Ben's college perform their final show of the school year.
These are clips I pulled that feature Ben.
It was one of the coolest shows I've been to - very high energy and lots of fun!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Late Night Snack

Last night, after everyone had gone to bed, Kerry and I were discussing the possibility of making pancakes for breakfast.

That made us hungry.

We both talked about wanting to get up, go downstairs, and eat something, but we try not to eat late at night so we each said several times, "I'm a little hungry, but I'm fine, I'm not going to eat anything."

We were both really craving pancakes by that time.  One of us (I don't remember who) said, "We should go to IHOP sometime for breakfast.  We haven't been there in ages."

"I'd go to IHOP right now if you wanted to."

We joked about it a few minutes, both of us knowing we would never do it.

The next thing I know, Kerry popped out of bed and said, "I'm going to see if the girls want to go."

I didn't even get out of bed.  I wasn't really sure he was serious, and I also thought the girls might say no.  They like their sleep and will usually choose to continue sleeping rather than pretty much anything else.

Kerry came back in our bedroom and announced, "All right, we're going!"

I jumped up and started pulling on some jeans when I heard the girls talking right outside our bedroom door.  I opened the door and they were standing there huddled together, talking.  They look at me with hopeful expressions and said, "Is he serious?  Are we really going out to eat?"

"Yep!" I responded with a grin.  They squealed with delight and took off.

We all yanked on clothes and headed for the car, the girls giggling like we had just announced an impromptu trip to Disneyworld.  

We quickly discovered that IHOP was closed* so we headed to Denny's instead.  We really wanted breakfast food and we looked like poor white trash so we couldn't go someplace nicer.

The girls were so tickled by this late night trip, they vowed to make sure they do this with their kids one day which made me and Kerry start sharing some of our favorite memories growing up.  

Kerry started talking about a favorite memory of when his mother made homemade pretzels.  "It was pouring rain, we couldn't go outside, and there was nothing to do....." 

"Did a big black cat walk in on his hind legs and start talking?" Katie interrupted.

"What.....?" Kerry was baffled.

Emily laughed, "Dad!  You just quoted the first few lines of 'Cat In The Hat'!"

We had some of the best laughs we've had in a long time last night.  I don't know what it was about doing something so common, but at a different time of day than we ever have that made it seem so hilarious but boy, did we have a good time.

"Why haven't we been doing this all along?" the girls asked.

"Well, when you were younger, by the time we got you kids wrangled into bed, we were exhausted, and the thought of getting you up and then going through all that again was not appealing.  Just wait until you have kids, you'll understand!"

But now that everyone is old enough to get themselves back to bed (stuffed like ticks, no less) this might be a more common occurrence. 

And it just goes to show......when it's too much effort to get up and walk downstairs to make yourself a snack, it's perfectly acceptable to get in the car and drive across town for moons over my hammy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pass the Milk!

Emily has been sick a lot lately - headaches, losing weight, nausea.  We've been to the doctor and she's had lots of tests done trying to pinpoint the problem.  

While we haven't yet pinpointed the cause of her illness, we did discover that her milk allergy has reduced markedly.    The allergist told her she could definitely start eating foods that are baked with milk ingredients in them.  Cakes, cookies, donuts - look out!

She'll have to go back at a later date to actually drink a glass of milk while they observe her to see if she reacts.  

We promptly headed out to Olive Garden so Emily could have a breadstick.

Her joy knew no bounds!

After which, she promptly felt sick.

Friday, March 14, 2014

St Louis Zoo

This is another post I just never got around to finishing.  Unfortunately, I didn't write anything on the pictures at the time and I don't remember much about it.  Ben was with us, so this was clearly a looooooong time ago.  And we're all wearing jackets and closed toed shoes, so it wasn't a summer visit.  I have no idea what we were doing going to the zoo on a cold day.

Anyway, here are some old pictures of the zoo......

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Grant's Farm

Last summer, while Ben and Emily were in Hawaii, Kerry and I took Katie to Grant's Farm in St Louis.  I got sidetracked with information overload and never finished this post.  Fortunately, I had uploaded all the photos and written headers for them with the basic details of the day.  It was when I was trying to pad it with additional details scrounged from the internet that I frizzled myself wondering how much to include in a blog post.  Just recently, I was looking back through blog posts and found six or seven that I started but never finished.  This is one of those:

Something you just don't expect to find in the middle of a city as big as St Louis is a 281-acre farm with a wildlife preserve, an acrobatic elephant, Clydesdales, a llama (which can end up figuring prominently in your visit), a mini-zoo,  and some of the best bratwursts to ever meet a pretzel bun.

But that's what you'll find at Grant's Farm - named for Ulysses S Grant who at one time owned and farmed a portion of the land.  It originally belonged to the family of his wife, Julia Dent Grant, and her father gave them 80-acres of it as a wedding gift.  It was later owned by the Busch family (of Budweiser fame, not of presidential fame - different spelling you know) and their 6,300 square-foot mansion is still on the property.  You can get a glimpse of it through the trees if you ride the tram.  My understanding is that Grant's Farm is now owned by InBev who conducted a hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch in 2008.

(Okay, I'll confess, this is the point where I got hung up and never got this post up.  I was looking around on the internet trying to find out the history of the mansion and came upon a tale of murder, mystery and mayhem which took up so much time and twirled my brain around until I just never made it back to finish writing this until now.  And I'm not going to tell you either, go look it up.  It should be a novel, or a made-for-tv movie.)

It's really quite pretty and peaceful.  You'll see some great views while riding the tram.

Hardscrabble - the farm the Grants built and lived in briefly.

The fence is actually made of bayonets from old rifles.  Some of them still have the sights on the end.

You can pay to get a baby bottle to feed the goats.

The goats are like little contortionists when it comes to getting to that bottle!

The goats will also screech like they're being murdered if you try to take the bottle away to share it with a different goat.  Just trust me on this one - pick one goat and stick with it until the bottle is empty.

There's a carousel, which we didn't try because our kids are not little enough to think it's cool.


Tortoises.  Tortai?

Little German village where we got the best bratwurst I've ever had in my life.

Of course, we had the *ahem* diet plate of bratwurst on pretzel buns with fries and German potato salad.  I'd skip the potato salad next time.  It was good, but this was way too much food.  But don't miss out on those brats.  I'm not kidding.

This particular llama sneezed (not spit - sneezed right in Kerry's face).  Kerry was not pleased, but Katie and I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Kerry had to run immediately to a bathroom to wash his face. He still said he smelled like llama butt all day.

There is also a building where you can see all the old Budweiser wagons.

And awards that the Clydesdales have won.

There is an elephant show - my favorite.  I don't know when I started to love elephants so much (real ones, I don't want to start collecting elephant figurines) but I do.  They fascinate me.  This one could balance a treat on his trunk before eating it!

And he walked on a balance beam!

We went to an exotic animal show.  This pig rolled out a red carpet.

A roller skating parrot.


A rat on the head of an audience member who did not know he was volunteering for this!

The best part was that the smell of horses in a stable completely overshadowed the smell of llama butt!