Category Archives: Zookeeper & the F-Troop

Zookeeper: a person employed at a zoo to attend to the animals

F-Troop: a satirical American television sitcom set at Fort Courage…heavy on character-based humor; verbal and visual gags, slapstick…

-These are the slap-stick adventures of my Fecher-troop and the spiritual journey of mawage, a new catering business, and tending to my homeschooling zoo of 12 at our own Fort Courage amidst laughter, tears, and a growing collection of pet peaves.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

In order of priority of things that need to get done, writing a blog post is at the bottom of my list. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” (Awful grammar, I know, and the report has precious little to do with this post but no one expresses the sentiment better than this gal.)  I still repeat that wise quote, “Ignore the urgent, take care of the important.”  This is one reason why I decided I was way overdue for laying some words down. It is why I did NOTHING yesterday because rest is important and we worked our butts off this past week and we needed to recover. (The boys did help our friends by moving their horse’s corral fencing yesterday, not a small job, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find you can teach kids to enjoy hard work. They said they were glad to have something to do and got to do something we certainly don’t do around here. Plus the horse was happy to have fresh grass!)  It is important that I fit in laundry and school and feeding my crew and reading to my children and cleaning at least some of my house and, and, and….

Here’s the thing; as a business owner,  that urgent/important thing morphs into a gelatinous glob and there are things you urgently NEED to take care of because it’s important they happen A.S.A.P. because the health inspector could show up any minute OR, if you don’t enter sales into QuickBooks, you can’t file your sales tax and don’t get me started on that, OR, if you don’t return that call that potential client will find someone else OR, if you don’t post something on HootSuite, people will forget you’re there OR, if you don’t update the website OR, if you don’t test a recipe OR, the bills (need I say more?) OR, OR, OR… All of these ORs monopolize my days and I have only fragments of  time to get anything done. One of my husband’s mantras is everyone is given 24 hours in their day. Any homeschooling mom and/or mom of many will read that and wonder how many times I’ve punched my husband. Throw in running a small business and I wonder myself, “how long until I have to hide the evidence?”

I learned a long time ago that I need to take time or myself, to do something that recharges me or I don’t function at optimum levels. My enthusiasm and energy are depleted; I can’t focus and am easily discouraged and overwhelmed.

SO, before I am engulfed by these post-it notes of urgently important things I have to do,

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I decided to sit down and just write. It’s not very creative but it’s writing. I miss it when I don’t do it.  I need the practice plus it’s where I think and it scares me to consider the possibility that when I go a month or more without writing I haven’t been thinking that whole time!! That should scare everyone.  I keep thinking that I will write or read like I used to before the business: at the end of the day when I finally sit down with my feet up after a hard day’s work and sigh and relax with my laptop, notebook or a good read. That was before the business. Now, the end of the day ends with me collapsing too exhausted to read more than a paragraph, a page at most.  Forget writing. By that time, writer’s block has become writer’s rigor mortis. Maybe it’s time I became a morning person.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle
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Just keep blogging, just keeping blogging….

It is exceedingly difficult to maintain a blog when you don’t have an internet connection to call your own. It is also challenging when you don’t really know if anyone is reading so why bother? I have many demands on my time. Am I wasting my time trying to keep up a blog when I’m not sure I’ll ever have a readership? Well, if I bless just one person, it’s worth taking the time to figure out a system to keep the word flow going. So, here I am, starting a sentence with so (something I was taught not to do) and trying to figure out how I am going to get this here post from my laptop to WordPress while in a coffee shop or at Wendy’s where I’ll be next Tuesdaywhile my cadets are at Civil Air Patrol and schedule at least few more posts to go out in the same period of time I need to reconstruct our business website. No stress.

“Squirrel” moment: I’m hearing the buzz about how PCs will be going by the wayside and I-Pads and the like will be “it” with handy-dandy accessories like wireless keyboards to go with them.

  1. An I-Pad with a keyboard may as well be a laptop. I’m sure there will be or are cases that will hold the pad and the keyboard together like, um, a freaking laptop so what’s the dif?
  2. The keyboards I’ve seen so far are tiny. The designers are, obviously, men who have never typed with wet nails. Some of us multi-task so fix this issue. If you’re going to make the keyboards that small, it’s texting, not typing.
  3.  It makes more sense to me to just make an I-Top: a laptop with an I-Pad screen. This stuff is out there already, I know, so don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I love laptops. I will dig my heels in and make mine last as long as I can while all the fad-followers throw theirs out then suffer the small screen and smudged nails then they will look at me with envy and wonder “where did I manage to find such a wonderful relic?”

Back to the subject at hand. I love to write. I love to learn. I enjoy sharing what I learn. Therefore I shall blog. If, ever, anyone out there profits from my Wild Thyme, do comment! Bloggers are affirmed when they see comments and know they should stick around! If you think this blog worthwhile, send others this way!

I have some other posts ready to go; I just need to get the photos that go with them in order. I prefer to take the photos, arrange them while I write but I can’t do that with this situation. I’m going to have to prep my posts, order my pictures and have them in files on my flash drive which means transferring them from my external and blah, blah, blah…I’m going to have to be all organized and stuff. But the posts aren’t happening so that’s what I’m going to have to do. It’s just one more thing I have to devise a system for…sigh. I, obviously, haven’t done that, yet, so I will get on the stick! Hang in there with me!

Thanks for stopping by!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Chocolate-Covered Fun

I just said last night I wouldn’t do this again. But here I am, blogging from my phone. I will try to pay better attention to what auto-correct may decide for me.
Today started early; 5 am. Ugh. I had my follow-up appointment for my MRI and, thank You Lord, I don’t need surgery. I have a very bruised bone in my foot that was almost a stress fracture. In fact,  I was instructed to treat it as such and stay off of it for two to three more weeks. The doc and I both laughed then I promptly went to the grocery for cake supplies then to the dry cleaner then to our catering kitchen where I met up with Natalie, Autumn and Isabelle. Autumn requested we stop at Dollar Tree on the way home to get glow sticks for July 4th which we did after stopping by the Health Department. As you can see, I’m really babying this injured foot…
We came home to find Corinne and Gbaby #1, Autumn Rose,  had arrived to spend the rest of the week with us! Yay! After a visit, I rested my foot more by heading out with Craig to meet up with Lenae and Tony for a double date. My Mother’s Day gift of a chocolate and wine tasting WITH gift card at Winan’s Fine Chocolates and Coffee had an expiration date of July 3rd so we HAD to go.

We interrupt this programming. I give up. To be continued on my laptop…. this just isn’t working…

I’m back. My apologies to anyone who saw this when it accidentally posted from my phone with barely a paragraph and a random pic. Five days later, I will continue my tale of last Wednesday.

With Gbaby #2 in the care of her Great Grandma, the four of us ventured to Dayton, OH to enjoy some delicious (and some “could have been better”) wine and chocolate pairings. All of the chocolate was yummy; we just thought a couple of the wines could have been…replaced with other wines.

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That being said, we had fun just hanging and spending our gift cards on Highlander Grogg coffee and chocolate and more chocolate. For my selection, I chose Mint Patties, Peanut Butter Delights, Almond, Cashew and Pecan Wurtles, Opera Creams, something with coconut, maybe a couple of other things. Suffice it to say, I have enough chocolate to keep my hormones in check for at least a little while.

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This was a most enjoyable time and I highly recommend a Chocolate-covered date night!

Don’t worry, Olympian Candies; you’re still my favorite. I haven’t left you for another.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Does this app even work?

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I am much faster at typing that Swyping but I have this here WordPress app on my phone so thought I’d give it a whirl. I have my doubts as blogging with the help of an Android’s autograft…I tweet..that should say…REST my case, auto-direct..dang it…auto-correct sounds like a lot of back-spacing. I’d just like to interject and say I did NOT enter any off those incorrect words-auto-correct did…just as I anticipated it would.

I just returned from the hour-long trip from driving my four cadets to Civil Air Patrol and back. I was hoping I’d have time to post something while at Refunds…Agents…crap…Wendy’s which is where I go for the two to three hours I wait for my guys and work on businessy stuff and check on Twitter. Alas, I was actually getting work done so didn’t have time to TYPE my blog post. After this experience, I can assure you that I will be typing my posts from here on out unless I have some blogging emergency that requires me to Swype my way through a post.

So….Lenae stopped by today and, of Coors.. You’ve got to be kidding me….of course, brought the grandbaby. The picture above is from today and I’d like to move it to this paragraph but I’m scared to death of what might happen so I’ll leave it there and just say my grandbaby is smiling and cooing, now! Just as adorable is her fan club of aunts and uncles with all their shenanigans trying to get her to smile and goo. She’s already discovered the game of “tongue tag,” a game I played with all my babies; I stuck out my tongue with baby watching, baby’s wheels turn, baby sticks out tongue and waits for me to repeat. After awhile, a newborn will start to instigate the game. I think this is genius. Yes, because the baby is learning cause and effect, but, more importantly, how to get a grown person to act like a complete idiot. This is a skill I have imparted to all of my children and am now imparting to my grandchildren. Empower the babies!
I’m fine …crud…. done Swyping.
What’s not shared it’s lost,
Michel…really? Michelle

Out with the Google Reader, in with the Bloglovin’

In case you missed it, Google Reader is shutting down for good on July 1st. Why, I don’t know but here’s the scoop. It’s all good because I have discovered Bloglovin’ thanks to Pinterest. I love Pinterest.

Anyhoo, if you aren’t an avid blog reader, why the heck not? There are so many clever, creative, inspirational, encouraging and witty folks out there! Bloglovin’ makes it too dang easy to not keep up with your favorite reads. If you get behind, mark some or all as read, and you can start fresh or just catch up when you can (in the bathroom, for example).  Signing up for Bloglovin’ is super simple as is claiming your blog if you have one.  You can also set up notifications for when someone follows your blog. Another plus is your blog will get page views via Bloglovin’ which was not the case with Google Reader. You can visit my profile here and looks like this:

Michelle Maxwell Fecher (zookeeper12) on bloglovin

I used to try to keep up with my favorites  by subscribing via email or just saving blogs to my favorites. I have also subscribed with the RSS feeds but was overwhelmed when Google Reader did work. Our sporadic internet service didn’t seem to like Google Reader so I won’t be missing it.  But, hallelujah, I have entered the 21st century and I have a Smartphone! Yes, there is an App!  I am thrilled with Bloglovin’. Effortless reading, it is! It’s crisp and clean.

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That you can categorize your blogs makes this OCD gal very happy. If I want to peruse the DIY blogs, no digging needed. I can keep my foodie, cake, homeschool and mommy blogs all sorted.

If you’ve been using Google Reader, it’s a real challenge to move your favorite blogs over to Bloglovin’ (she said sarcastically).  When you sign up, you’re prompted to this page which is extremely complicated: click the blue button.

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I’m sure there are other features that I’ve missed. I just got on board myself. Let me know if you join the Bloglovin’ crew! And if you need some recommendations, I have….a few….

Happy reading!

Michelle

Music Monday – Friend Fest 2013

WOOHOO!!! Friend Fest at Amish Acres in Nappanee, IN is awesomesauce! I know there are LOTS of music festivals out there but the folks at WFRN did their homework and have created the most family-friendly Christian music event I have been to or read about.  That this was just their second year is even more impressive. “What makes it so family-friendly?” you are wondering (I just know you are). Money, for one thing. Families want to take their families to worship with these A-MA-ZING bands but not everyone can afford all that a music festival entails, especially big families. You are usually nickeled and dimed for any and all amenities.

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First, the biggie for us was food, if you want to call that an amenity. Friend Fest allows food to be brought in! I’ve not been to a festival that allowed you to bring food in.  A friend just informed this weekend that another popular festival recently banned even eating in the parking lot. Say wha? No tailgating? Good grief…  Food was available for purchase at Friend Fest, there was a water tent at the back of the field (only a buck a bottle!), snow cones and ice cream on a hot day were perfect (they even had vendors walking through the crowd selling ice cream out of a cooler). There was no lack of sweet, cold stuff. BUT we brought 9 kids with us.  Purchasing food for 11 people is not cheap…even when buying cheap food. It adds up, dontcha know?  We were able to keep our crew hydrated and nourished all day without paying out the wazoo. That we didn’t purchase food from Amish Acres didn’t seem to hurt their business; the food lines stayed busy and we saw plenty of folks munching on their yums.  Meanwhile, our clan kept busy snacking on Capri Suns, strawberries, Cloud Cakes and a variety of other items we rarely indulge in then we dined on Pulled BBQ Pork, BBQ Beans and Sweet n Sour Broccoli Slaw. It’s nice having catering equipment to keep our vittles hot. 🙂 Did we make folks around us jealous? Maybe just a little. 🙂 That being said, we saved a fortune!

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Secondly, there was no additional charge for the Kids Zone. There was even a Children’s Stage that featured juggling, an illusionist, illusions, music, puppetry and clowning around. Of course, the Bounc House area is a kid’s favorite part of the festival. I was a little disturbed, though, by the Gator Hide-and-Slide. The kids climb up into the gator’s mouth,

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bounce around inside

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then come out the back end.

When I went to take pics of my lovely children exiting the inflatable reptile, I didn’t find a slide as expected, I found a slit. I said, “Oh, unt uh…” Craig said, “Yep. That’s where they come out.” No no no…that’s messed up. I told my Lenae that the designer of said gator must not have liked kids. She quickly replied, “Or really likes them and knows how kids think. What kid wouldn’t love to say they were pooped out of an alligator?” She has a point.

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Thirdly, free parking. Nuff said.

Fourthly, the Coffee House Stage. If you had attended Friend Fest and  wanted to hear some other musicians and Break-Out Sessions with some of the Main Stage artists while using the, again, FREE Wi-Fi and drinking your gourmet coffee, this was the place for you.

#5 The Venue: Amish Acres is a fantastic location for an event like this! It’s clean, it’s lovely, it’s big! It’s also just 5 minutes away from Play-Mor Campground which means a lot to those of us who prefer “roughing it” in an air-conditioned camper.  Primitive camping is available at Fountain Acres but that’s not roughing it to me. That’s dying a slow death of humidity and allergies. The only thing I would change is placing a canopy section in the rear for those who don’t want to melt especially those with children, “older” folks and those wearing walking casts whose legs get over heated…not that I know anyone like that.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Sixthly, yes there’s more…The staff and volunteers were incredible friendly from the time you pull in to park. Some of the crazy antics of those directing parking had us smiling from ear to ear. Everyone was eager to assist, hospitable and, you could tell, happy to be there serving.

SEVEN: stewardship.  I was tickled to read the following in the program: “It takes 3-4 years for a festival of this magnitude to sustain itself. Currently, ticket sales, sponsors and partners cover just 80% of the festival’s total expenses. We are almost there, yet it is still not quite enough.” 80% and it’s just the second year! They accomplished this without charging for parking, the Kids Zone, and every other little thing and without forcing folks to purchase their food. Kudos! As soon as I’m able, I hope to become a Friend Fest Partner. We need to sell more cheesecake.

Eight: Enough space for Ultimate Frisbee. The kids did mention that Frisbee to Building 429 made them feel like they were in a movie or a music video, LOL! They rawked, incidentally.

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Nine: Friends. We drove 4 hours from home and ran into several friends. Many hugs were shared and, of course, Frisbee.  It really was a Friend Fest! (Cheesy, I know).

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And last, but not least, the music.  We went Friday to see some of our favorites: Carrollton, Rhett Walker Band, For King and Country, Big Daddy Weave, Building 429 and Matthew West. If we had gone Saturday, we would have enjoyed OBB, Hyland, Moriah Peters, Finding Favour, Chris August, Kari Jobe, Jamie Grace, the Peter Furler Band and TobyMac. We opted for some R&R with the kiddos at the campground. That aside, the weekend held a high-caliber line-up that did not disappoint. I CANNOT wait to hear next year’s line-up!!!

(What? No pics from the bands?! That’s another post….;) )

www.WFRNFriendFest.com

Have you been to a music festival that was as family/pocketbook-friendly as this one? Let us all know!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

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39.95 plus shipping and handling

“I have decided that I am not a 40 something. I am 39.95, plus shipping and handling.” That was one of my tweets today on this, my 45th birthday.  It’s also Thursday which anyone on social media should know is Throw Back Thursday #tbt.  SO, having  a birthday that ushers me further away from 40 and closer to, gulp, 50 ON Throw Back Thursday is just asking for sentimental notions, denial and a midlife crisis.  We see our kids turn 10 and we say, “Oh, they grow so fast!”  I see me turn 45 and I’m thinking, “Where did the time go?”

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Holy cow.

There’s a saying that goes “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.”  Add that to one of my responses to inquiries about the number of children we have, “They keep me young,” and we have a formula for a fountain of youth.  Now that grandbabies have entered the scene, there will be no end to my shenanigans!

It’s been through being a mom that I have, quite serendipitously, re-discovered my “inner youth” and have tried to get it right this go ‘round. For example, when I was a school-girl, I would bring home those arts and crafts books from the school library, look at all the cool projects I wanted to tackle then promptly NOT make a single one of them.

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This school girl here. The 70s, the height of fashion….

 I believe that was due to my serious lack of self confidence…among other things. Then comes along the Fecher kids

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who don’t know they’re supposed to be intimidated by trying new things, have creativity and talent oozing out of their ears and I’m a new woman…girl. They have been contagious.  Now, when I get on Pinterest, I see a project I want to attack, make a supply list and the next thing we know,  the kids are asking each other, “Why is Mom painting clothespins?” (True story).  I have a refreshed appetite for adventure, travel, friends, creativity and play.

I also have a constant reminder of what child-like faith looks like.  I get stressed out.  But something has been reprogrammed in me that keeps the worry at bay. Like a kid, I see and feel God taking care of me and I know that even when there’s absolutely no money available for business bills, God will come through somehow and I watch and wait for it. I get antsy when bills are past due or I don’t get a much-needed catering job. I fret when a child is injured or sick or when the youth of our household make less-than-ideal decisions (we’ve had open discussions about how people are all stupid, us included, and this expected). But each time I venture into “worry-land,” the “que sera sera” comes over me like a wave.  Kids love anticipation. I do, too. Something the kids have taught me is that the problems that normally cause worry should create anticipation for what God will do.  I wish I could remember which Christian speaker it was that I heard talk about problems. (If you know who this is, let me know). He said, “All God’s people got problems. If you don’t have a problem, you come forward and we’ll lay hands on you and pray God gives you a problem. Because if you want to see a miracle, first you gotta have a problem! You can’t have a miracle without a problem!”

One of my mantras is “Never a dull moment!”  Big family + new season of grandbabies +a business = problems-a-plenty or, what we affectionately call them, “growth opportunities.” Also opportunities for miracles. Never a dull moment.

I’m looking forward, with anticipation, to another year of growth opportunities…and miracles. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

The last time I saw myself I was either coming or going…

One would think with being told by the doctor to stay off of my feet for at least two weeks that I would have been able to catch up on my blog before now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on blogging to give myself some motivation but that hasn’t made any posts magically appear. I keep thinking that once I catch my breath, I’ll write something. Who am I kidding? I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. And while I’ve been waiting for that “spare” moment to happen, SO many events have transpired that I have failed to journal while in the moment. I’m not getting any younger; I’m not going to remember things unless I write it down, take a picture (or 10) or there is some sort of food that’s part of the event that will create a dendrite in my brain that will stir up the memory when I get a whiff of said food at a later date. I have blogged about my not blogging before. I probably will again. I need to write and it’s extremely frustrating when I don’t. There’s also something to be said for “use it or lose it.” There was a time when I could write rather well without it being a struggle. For example, that last sentence took me about 5 episodes of backspacing until I was satisfied with the wording.  Good grief.

I have a ton of pictures I want to post, cakes I want to display, stories to tell and, eventually, recipes to share. I heard someone once say that if you haven’t given up, you haven’t failed so here I am again. I’m at it again and I’m making an effort to be organized and set a time to write even if I don’t post.

That being said, here’s a “brief” description of the whirlwind that has transpired in our family since the end of May:

  • I “possibly” tore a tendon and/or ligament in my foot and “possibly” broke a toe carrying my toddler to bed at 3 in the morning
  • My sons dug out my crutches so I could hobble about
  • I had to go for x-rays the day before 2 graduation cakes needed to be done so Natalie and Noah started the cakes and icing while I headed to Eaton, Ohio for my doctor appointment with Isabelle as my helper. I took her for lunch, waited for the downpour to let up, then headed to Dayton for fondant as we did not have enough for both cakes and didn’t have time to order any.
  • MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, my boys are digging through closets and our storage shed to find my walking cast so I can work on the cakes the next day (even though I was supposed to get off of the foot ASAP)
  • My oldest who was due May 29 went into labor that night
  • Grandbaby #2 Rosemarie Lee was born June 1, 7:17a.m. Praise the Lord!
  • However, instead of heading off to see my new grandbaby, I had to go to our catering kitchen and finish cakes with Natalie and Noah. Natalie had to leave for an interview, came back to help some more then had to go to the theatre for play rehearsal.  I love doing cakes and I love our clients but that was not where I wanted to be that day. Plus, I was in excruciating pain (which made me a tad grumpy but Noah was a good sport, I must say). I confess my heart was not in it and I did not do as good of a job and I normally would have. :o(
  • FINALLY…Noah and I met up with the rest of the family at the hospital to FINALLY hold my new grandbaby and see my firstborn on her first day as a mommy. Talk about overwhelming…..
  • Went back the next day, hobbling on crutches, to see my grandbaby. By that night, my foot and ankle were pretty sore and pretty swollen.
  • SO…the rest of the week, I tried to be a good girl and sat with my foot up. Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep busy. This has not been easy! I kept the kiddos busy with school, cleaning missions and laundry while Natalie covered the shop all week AND had rehearsals for the play she was in.
  • Jump to this past Thursday, my daughter, Corinne, called to let me know she was coming into town early. She and her husband had already planned on coming in this weekend to see her first niece but Josh was informed that he might be working Saturday but they would not be able to let him know until Saturday SO…inhale…Corinne decided to pack her and Autumn Rose up and head on down to stay for a long weekend. YAY!
  • Meanwhile, back at the catering kitchen, Natalie and Noah were to the rescue again by starting a cupcake order.
  • Always the one to be obedient to doctor’s orders, the kids and I met up with Corinne to visit with Lenae and the new baby. (We’re on Friday at this point. Are you keeping up?)
  • Saturday A.M., I went in with Noah for the cupcake pick up.
  • Headed home but stopped for pork loin and sides to take to Grandpa’s for family get-together. Again, “staying off my feet.” Hobble, hobble….
  • Loaded up The Great White and ventured to Grandpa’s to visit with the grandbabies (and their parents and Grandpa). (Natalie could not join us as it was performance night for the play!)
  • I’d like to interject that I had Benjamin throw together a rub for the pork that was outstanding, I must say.
  • Natalie and Jillian left to pick up their BFF, Noah, and head to Richmond Civic Theatre where Corinne, Ben, Noah and I joined them to watch their production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Natalie was “Iris”, a sassy spirit. The play was fantastic as was Natalie. Proud mama.
  • MEANWHILE, Craig hauled everyone back home including Grandbaby #1.
  • Sunday… we slept in. Kids scrounged up pancakes and Corinne procrastinated about heading home. She was anxious to get home to her hubby but didn’t want to leave at the same time. It was a sweet visit and I’m glad she came early. My Autumn and her Autumn, though, have become pretty tight and I’m not sure how long they can go…she did say they might come visit again, soon, because Josh didn’t get to see the baby! We shall see…

So…this is a “quick” rundown of the past 10 ..T-E-N ..days of my life. A lot was left out! SO…somewhere in this…I passed myself coming or going….

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Less Miserable

1-DSC04403Last year, Richmond Civic Theatre announced that it was one of a handful of community theatres that did not miss the opportunity to nab performance rights to oh, I can’t stand it….Les Miserables.  Ever since, I have been trying to contain my “estaticness” and resist the temptation to act as crazy as some of my theatre friends who have Instagrammed, Twittered & Facebooked all manner of fanaticism since before  the movie was released in December. Y’all are ridiculous. And I love it! I have been preparing myself mentally to audition for Madam Thenardier. I know I can sing the part (I sound fantastic in the van) and the character would be a blast to play!  People who know me know I would have fun with it.  I purchased my soundtrack CD, picked up audition materials, YouTubed the piece to rehearse and wrote audition dates on the calendar. This was going to be a once in a lifetime thang, ya know?

As the audition dates have approached, I began to feel conflicted and wasn’t sure why. I’m not afraid of auditioning. I’ve done it before, had fun, got a part, had a blast with Pirates of Penzance! I’m ready to do it again.  Recently, I was listening to my Les Mis soundtrack and the youngsters were around so I skipped “Master of the House” because it has “bad words.” It hit me that, even if I were to get the part of Madam Thenardier, my little kids would not be able to see me in the play because of language and heaviness of subject matter and, if they were to see it, I would have to justify to them why it’s okay for mommy to use “bad words” simply because they are being sung and fit the character.  Wow. What was I thinking? True, the language suits the character but it doesn’t suit mine. Another time last week, little 3 year old Seth was sitting on my lap in the evening, as he usually does, and the thought hit me that I would be missing several months of our evening routine of cuddling. No biggie to the theatre or the rest of the world but it means everything to Seth in the evening. Especially since we started our catering business, I have to be gone sometimes during the day. Then it was time for lullabies. Seth likes to hear the one I wrote for him, “Teach Me Lord” or “Deep, Deep” then his lullaby is followed by Isaiah’s regular, “Amazing Grace.”  That, too, would not be happening for awhile as I know a rigorous rehearsal schedule is in store for those who get parts.  Then there’s the hilarity that emanates from the kitchen when the kids are doing dishes in the evening or my huge homeschooling, business-owning, catering to-do list. BUT, I’ve been telling myself, this is a once in a lifetime chance!

It was from the deep recesses of my mind that that phrase re-emerged from the past. I heard it on TV. It was Regis and Kathy Lee.  Yes, I used to watch the show on occasion. On one particular show, Kathy Lee was talking about how she was going to be hosting the Miss America or some other Pageant and, in order to fit the dress she wanted to wear, she was weaning her baby. Say wha? She was weaning her baby to fit a dress. Why? Her words still ring in my ear; “It’s a once in a lifetime chance.” I remember thinking, “Isn’t being your baby’s mommy a once in a lifetime chance?” So here I am, struggling with my once in a lifetimes, looking at each of them and, while I think working with the people at the theatre is fabulous, my little ones are precious and I have to be away from them enough as it is when we cater. I was able to do a play before because we didn’t own a business…that changes things quite a bit!

SO, I will be excited for my friends who get parts and I will continue to wear out my soundtrack. I will help with costumes and come see the play in August (as should everyone else) and I KNOW it will be fantastic! But I will be passing this round. I was feeling a tad miserable over missing out, but then I remembered what I would be missing out on if I didn’t miss out on Les Miserables and then some of us would really be miserable. Did you get all that? BUT, theatre peeps, please hold off on Fiddler on the Roof for a few years because I have sworn to my family that I WILL BE GOLDE!!! Well, I want to at least try. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

UPDATE: If I sound over-confident about getting the part of Mdm. Thenardier, it’s only because I’m not auditioning. IF I were, in fact, auditioning, I know good and well that the odds of getting a major role are slim (I not that cocky). I believe in shooting for the stars so as hit the moon. In this case the moon being the probable role of a whore (as listed in the audition materials) and then I’m back to my little kids asking, “Mommy, what role did you get?” “I’m a whore.” “Mommy, what’s a whore?” Sigh…Sound of Music is next..maybe I could be a Nazi…that would fun to try to explain, too…

24 Years Ago

Twenty-four years ago today, I walked down the aisle and said “I do” to Craig and it has been the adventure of a lifetime.

Twelve kids, several pets, 2 apartments, 3 houses, 5 church families, 20 years of homeschooling, five or six jobs (lost track), trips to Florida, Kentucky, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Alaska, and one family-owned catering business later….we are still together.

I’m just glad we still have our sanity.

I love you Craig! Happy Anniversary!

Thanks for enduring my psychotic tendencies.

And thank you, God, for such a wonderful man.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle