Basketball and horseshoes

While we were visiting my mom last month little Eric went to basketball camp. He was in heaven- basketball is his favorite sport in the world. He learned a ton and was just so excited to get to play all day everyday for a whole week. Each day when he got home we would drill him for specifics on what he had done, who he'd played with, etc., which is how we first got drawn into the saga of the androgynous camper....

When Eric came home the first afternoon, he told us there was a boy on his team named Katie. I thought that was interesting, and figured that maybe the child's name was K.D. The next morning when I dropped him off I went in to watch for a while. Eric started shooting around with this very cute, sort of tomboyish little girl. He turned to me and mouthed that this was "Katie". I nodded my head and thought about whispering in his ear that this was DEFINITELY a little girl, and a very cute, if tomboyish one at that. She had shoulder-length blond hair and I reasoned that if you were going to name your little boy what is typically a girl's name, you definitely would not let him have long hair- right? But when Eric got home that afternoon he insisted that Katie was a boy. He said that on the first day the coach made everyone on the team say their names and whether they were a boy or a girl. Ahhhhh....so the coach had been confused as to Katie's gender as well and that had been his clever way of figuring it out. So it must be K.D. and he must indeed be a boy. Also, Eric said K.D. had a brother on another team who referred to K.D. as "my brother". That pretty much settled it. Until the last afternoon of camp. We sat in the bleachers with the other parents, watching our kids show off their newly acquired skills. While the other moms were exclaiming over Michael Jackson's death and chatting about playdates, I was alternately watching Eric and the tall middle-aged man in front of me- K.D.'s father. I could have sworn I'd just heard him turn to the lady beside him and refer to K.D. as "she"! Later on, when K.D. had won just about every prize there was, I definitely heard him tell someone, "She'll be back next year." As we were leaving, I caught a glimpse of the certificate he was holding: Katie was written in the name field. !?!?!?!?!?

Anyway, as I said, Eric had lots of fun and even got the good attitude award on one of the days. On the last day there was a tournament and his team won his division, so he got a trophy, which he slept with for at least a week. Never mind that there were only two teams in his division! The kid just loves basketball- so cute.

While his brother was at basketball camp, we got the chance to take Brigham out to see Sugar the horse, who belongs to my mom's friend Julie. Luckily for us, our visit coincided with that of the farrier- the man who shoes the horses. It was so fascinating to watch him! We learned that being a farrier is a backbreaking and dangerous job. He told us that farriers almost never retire- they either become disabled or are killed on the job.

First, the horse gets a pedicure...

Then the farrier uses the old shoe to help him shape a new one...

Then he puts the new shoe into this little toaster-oven-on-steroids...

And then he puts the shoe on the horse, which sears the hoof and smells like burning hair...

This particular farrier was incredibly kind and friendly and even gave Brigham a horseshoe to take home, which he promptly lost (so much for good luck). I thought he looked exactly like Matthew McConaughey, but thought better of mentioning that to Eric. Not that I think Matthew McConaughey is attractive. I simply noticed the resemblance. But then he mentioned it to me, so I don't mind pointing it out...don't you agree?

Oh, and check this out: this horse was once a racehorse, so he has his jockey's name tattoed inside his lip!

The best part was that the barn was an amazing place to take pictures...


Dear Cami,

I watched you drive away in the rain today and said a silent prayer that you would make it to Walmart in your car with the broken windshield wipers and non-opening window. I couldn't decide if the gray, drizzly day was appropriate because it mirrored the way I felt saying goodbye to such a wonderful friend, or because it symbolized a clean, fresh start for you in your new home all the way on the other side of the country.

Thoughts flooded my mind as I drove home- of our first Sunday after we moved here, when you had us over for dinner and made us feel like we had real friends already....of the time when J was a baby and you were feeding him, so I took M to the bathroom in the woods, but failed to perform the necessary shifting of clothes so that she peed all over her pants....of trick-or-treating with M the day of Merrill's accident....of Brigham and M kissing in the bathroom:)....of night-time swims at Duke getting ready for the triathlon....of Merrill on his mountain bike, Hawaiian shirt flapping in the wind....of amazing dinners from the grill, homemade enchilada sauce and Merrill's grandmom's icecream....of J and the "naked Barbies":)....of Marley and L rolling around on the carpet together....

I wish you and Merrill every good thing as you start this new chapter of your lives. I wish you a car with working windows and windshield wipers! I wish you a big house with a yard for the kids to play in that is far, far away from the parking lot of Home Depot. I wish Merrill a boss who is the opposite in every way from the advisor-who-shall-not-be-named, and colleagues who do not steal chocolate cakes. I wish you an indoor dryer. But most of all I wish you friends who will love you and surround you and lift you up the way you have done for us. And don't forget: We'll see you at the beach!!!!

Love always,


Listen, children, to a story....

The other night I was lying on the top bunk with Brigham trying to sing the boys to sleep. I haven't done that in a long time and I miss it. Here are the lyrics to the song I was singing, one of my favorites that I learned at camp:

One Tin Soldier

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They'd have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they'd kill.

Came an answer from the kingdom,
"With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there."

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.

Now the valley cried with anger,
"Mount your horses! Draw your sword!"
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.

Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it...
"Peace on Earth" was all it said.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.

So I think the boys actually listened to the words for the first time, because after I was done they started asking me questions about the story. That's when Brigham said this:

"Why didn't the mountain people just lift up the stone so the valley people would know it was a lame treasure and not kill them?"

When did the word lame enter my six-year-old's vocabulary? And what are your favorite bedtime songs? Some of mine: Return to Pooh Corner, Rainbow Connection (Cindy Lynn- what is a "sunderate spell"?:), Mr. Moon, Father and Son, Go Tell Aunt Rhody...


The sun was shining, birds were chirping and the sweet smell of gasoline was in the air...


...I actually do love the smell of gasoline. It may be my favorite smell, right up there with dishwasher detergent. Especially liquid Cascade- our neighbors gave us half a bottle when they got a new fancy dishwasher and sometimes I give it a little sniff just because. I know. But back to the point of my post: Our ninth anniversary, which was yesterday, and went like this:

2:00- I have some time in the afternoon to either clean the bathroom or go to the store and buy Eric a humorous anniversary card and write a sweet note in it telling him how much I love him. Tough decision, but I go with the bathroom because I know it's what he would choose- he just loooooves a clean bathroom. I think I may have some issues, because I'm incapable of cleaning the bathroom and then not announcing to him "I CLEANED THE BATHROOM TODAY!!!".

3:00- I take a shower, shave my legs and even put on mascara!

5:00- Eric leaves to pick up our WONDERFUL babysitter, Gabby, after a very lengthy discussion on whether or not it's appropriate for Dads to drive around with cute young babysitters in the car. Our consensus: he picks up, I drop off.

6:15- We arrive at the restaurant 15 minutes late for our reservation to find that we're one of two couples in the entire place. Eric eats a very alarming quantity of goat cheese. I'm disappointed with my shrimp and grits. We decide to get dessert elsewhere.

7:30- We get in the car and discover that we have run out of gas. This happens to us all. the. time. In fact it happened last week in South Carolina! It's okay though, because it's such a nice night and we can never think of enough things to do to fill up our dates so that we don't get home before the kids are in bed. So we walk to the nearest gas station, about a mile away and Eric holds my hand even though it's sweaty, as it always is, and he really hates that. He only breaks away to wipe the sweat off on his shirt once.

8:00- Phone call from Gabby- Marley won't go to sleep. I tell her to wrap her in her purple blanket and bounce her on the bouncy ball. Then I say to Eric, "You didn't tell her about the purple blanket!?" and he says, "I thought YOU told her about the purple blanket!" The purple blanket is very important.

8:30- We arrive at our favorite dessert cafe and decide that to mark the occasion we'll order three desserts- coconut cake, chocolate layer cake and a chocolate eclair. Yum!

9:30- We arrive home to find that the purple blanket worked it's magic and all three kids are fast asleep.

Nine years.
Three babies.
Two cities.
Three degrees.
Three apartments.
One house.
Five cars.
One dog.
Eight chickens.

*Back in the early days...some time after our first anniversary.