Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sometimes they like each other

After their shower this afternoon, I found them curled up together reading Ty's favorite book. I couldn't choose a favorite shot.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Snow" Day

Bet you can't guess what's about to happen here.

We were out of carrots. Kate improvised. That stick is a nose, not a cigar. Smile.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bring Joy

As you hustle and bustle this holiday season, please remember the people working to serve you deserve to be treated with respect. They may not be offering incredible service. They may not appear very smart or even kind. The reality is that they are putting in endless hours to meet public demand on top of leading their own lives. You have no idea what else that person is facing as they perform their minimum wage job.

My girls engaged in a healthy conversation this weekend about their jobs after Erin witnessed an elderly lady screaming at Lauren when she stopped in to see her at work. Lauren laughed it off as just another day at work but it really bothered Erin. Erin works for Subway in a poor area of town; literally in the midst of three housing projects. Friends expressed concern about letting her work there; however, she has a very healthy work environment. The customers love her and she has grown to love them too. Of course, working with the general public means there are moments that are not pleasant but overall, she really likes her job.

On the other hand, Lauren works for McDonald's in our area. It's called the "Knobs" and more so the "Snobs" by surrounding communities. She has had food thrown in her face because some one's dollar menu sandwich was mistakenly mixed up by another employee, been cussed out regularly and watched a customer throw a fist at her manager. She handles the stress and hatefulness with a lot of grace; something we'd like to see more at home. 

The girls determined the people in our area believe they are superior to those who serve them and are entitled treat others poorly.  I know I am going to keep their perspective in mind as I manage the chaos of the season. I tend to show stress on my face and my expressions could be interpreted as negative. Care to join me in greeting everyone this season with a smile? You just never know whose day you may brighten or whose opinion you may change about humanity.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Living in southern Indiana provides me more entertainment than it probably should. Gleason is an adorable little sweetie who spends a day or two a week in my house with her little brother, Maverick. We've grown rather fond of the family and eagerly accepted an invitation to see her dance recital today. It was held at Bass Pro Shops. I.AM.NOT.KIDDING.

While there, Greg and I attempted to point out fishing poles that weren't pink. Santa is having a tough time providing a pink fishing pole for our son. Whereas I know this shouldn't matter, somehow it does. It's one of those moments he would look back on someday and question what we were thinking. As much as I appreciate the potential blackmail opportunity; I think the Mickey Mouse version will be far more acceptable to our little man in the long run.

Otherwise this week, I've been mentally preparing to host Thanksgiving for my family. My parents are coming for that weekend and my sister's bringing her group for the day. I can't wait to have us all together again; our last gathering was in August for Brennen's birthday party with several other people. We will spend the day being together without rushing or agendas. Games will be played, tickling is inevitable, teasing from my dad expected and discussions over dessert enjoyed. Family. For that I am grateful. "We often take for granted the very things that deserve our gratitude" Cynthia Ozick

The other night I had a very vivid dream we purchased an 8,000 square foot house with six bathrooms. The following morning I was cleaning one of our two bathrooms when I announced to my half asleep husband that there was no way we would be buying that house. As if.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The new ride

Welcome to my new office. It was home for almost an hour when Kristil called yesterday. Ty was practicing his scare techniques and Greg was cancelling plans for an emotional teen who's grades have slipped this week so I stepped out to my new office to chat. It smelled much better than the old one. Not only that, but my wonderful husband brought out an iced tea so I could further enjoy my discussion. He's pretty awesome. Kristil calls about twice a year so it was a special occasion. I sort of doubt I can get that service on a regular basis but it was a nice initiation none the less.

The odometer reads in double digits which is throwing me off. I am used to six digit numbers in that location. The stripped down model we ordered is missing some features I was quite used to in the Venture but the Sedona accelerates, has wipers that lie down when not in use and a working CD player. Did I mention it smells better? Overall, I am still getting used to driving something other than the Venture. It fit me quite well and I knew where everything was without thinking about it. I suppose I will be more comfortable in the Kia soon enough. As for the payments? I probably won't be getting used to those. Seven payment-free years were lovely.

During the "quick and easy" purchasing process, I let everyone who congratulated me know I would not be purchasing another mini van. This is it. Ten years from now I will be looking for something sporty and fun. I will be 50 years old, have driven a mini van since I was 25 and only have one kid left to haul around. I am looking forward to the next car purchase. Mini vans are just not that exciting.

By the way, parking is at a premium in these parts. We aren't permitted to park on the street so the four vehicles in the drive are creating some navigational challenges. Call ahead parking is recommended for those hoping to visit in the next couple of years.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Celebrating Lauren

Lauren turned 17 yesterday. We celebrated all day and it was fun. We had some one on one time thanks to Anne who kept Kate and Ty. Lauren promised me a photo shoot on her birthday since she was too busy for said shoot prior to her birthday. Time got away from us and she really didn't want to consent anyway. So, like any good mother who has failed to post anything about her daughter's birthday, I shall proceed with some of my favorites from Lauren's first 17 years of life. I am fairly certain this will gain her cooperation in the future. Smile.
4 months

Age 3.

Age 5....the year she was convinced she was getting a Dalmation for her birthday.

Lauren 8 and Brutus 5 months.

Somethings never change. Lauren and Greg ready to attend a Father Daughter dance. age 8

Sparkle baby! Age 6

 age 9

14th birthday

Lauren and I heading out for her celebration yesterday
Happy birthday to you, beautiful. I am incredibly proud of the young woman you have become. The future is bright and I am excited to see what you do with it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Dear Meijer Executives,
My name is Sherri Baughman. You should know me. I spend entirely too much time and money in your store for you to not recognize me. And your greeter, Virgil? He knows me well enough to insist on a hug as I enter. I am not complaining. He's a sweet old man. I visited him last night and by visit, I mean ran away for forty minutes. If you would allow me to share with you what led me to your store for my mommy time out yesterday, I won't take up too much of your time.

You see I have five children. Three of them are self sufficient and independent. One is well on her way to joining her older sisters. One is certain he is big enough to rule the world but he is only four and believes climbing the dresser "until he's as big as Grandpa" is reasonable. He requires constant supervision. On top of that, several other little people hang out with me on a part time basis.

Some days, look like this and I enjoy this overall but when the "independent" people in my house return from their daily adventures, I tend to loose my mind. One of my teens came home with her boyfriend yesterday afternoon in tears. This happens regularly. But she is "in love". The art of not rolling my eyes is something I have failed to master at this point which feeds some drama. Another came home from school crying because she has no friends. She is the same kid who hosted a houseful of girls all.weekend.long. I fed an army this weekend. It's unfortunate none of them are friends. While navigating those tears, a neighbor knocked on the door to invite my younger two children to Miss Kibble's funeral. Miss Kibbles was a guinea pig. She was only around these parts a few weeks but apparently made quite an impression on the hearts of those who knew her because when I expressed my condolences, the owner shrugged and let me know it was okay because they'd be getting a new one this weekend and naming it Furby. Easy come easy go. I was grateful for the comic relief. During our discussion, my son who has recently discovered the awesome movie, Monster's University was practicing his scare techniques in the bedroom where his father was attempting to sleep before work. Let's just say his father was not as impressed with the scratching on the bed followed by a very loud roar as his son.  Just as my husband stumbled into the kitchen, I pressed the "coffee now" button for him and turned in time to greet my oldest daughter as she walked in from work. She also had a story to tell. You see, someone is targeting Subway stores and robbing them at gunpoint. He's hit three stores in two days. My daughter seems to think she can talk this man out of robbing her if he happens to show up at her Subway. So if you would like to follow up with me, you will be able to find me there. I am now camping out at Subway during my daughter's shifts.

Anyway, I didn't intend to consume so much of your time with my little letter; although it does seem only fair that you take the time to read it in exchange for all the time I spend standing in your check out lanes. The point to my note is to request you install a real Mommy time out in your store. As much as the mommies there with screaming toddlers need it, this location needs to be preserved for the moms who've broken out without their children. We need a place to hide. We really do. The grocery store is a safe refuge because no one appears to catch on if we return with food. Personal shoppers and a tea shop could be provided so we'd frequent your store even more often. Only moms would know about this sanctuary but believe me when I say it will be a huge success. Thank you for your consideration.

Sherri Baughman

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The weekend

Yesterday I was invited to join two of my favorite people on an adventure. They led me to their magical wonderland behind the tree line on our property. It was an exclusive invitation. Ty is quite the tour guide with very specific warnings and instructions. At one point he very enthusiastically informed me I was responsible for screaming when I step on a snake. No problem, I assured him. No problem.

They eagerly demonstrated the way they climb onto the "bunny home" and slide down. Kate is queen of the hill. She needs a place to be queen.

Greg and I took a walk each morning with Brutus. We thought it would be good to loosen the old boy up a bit. It appeared to help Brutus too. Smile.

I spent quite a bit of my weekend ripping apart and re-working a quilt I would have thrown away by now had I not promised it as a gift.

Lauren's coming to terms with her "hot ride" and Makenna has requested I take her to school in the new van because it is so cool. Makenna dear, it's just a mini van. Seriously, there is nothing cool about a mini van. She's excited about all the new buttons she can  push. She is also pretty pumped about the windows that go up without encouragement and a glove box that opens, also without encouragement. Yep, Lauren's got a hot ride alright.

And finally, the church asked me to write a short devotion for their sermon this weekend. If you care to read it, you can find it here. Someone took the liberty to add several commas and a second "n" to Baughman but otherwise, it was what I was able to create in a very short period of time. I was fairly rushed and distracted, to say the least but it was nice to be asked.

Friday, November 8, 2013

This and That

It was an emotional week with a lot of surprises I am still trying to process. By last night, I was feeling less than happy. Once I realized I had typed "ba-humbug" twice and used it in conversation three additional times, I decided I needed to do something to turn my bad attitude ship around. I cut circles out of scrapbook paper, clipped dead branches off the trees out back and cleaned out my serving utensil vase to create a gratitude tree. Just writing down all the many blessings in my life helped. That and the warm sunshine on my face today.

The high school sent a letter notifying me of upcoming registration events for Makenna. No way. That is my baby and I have seen what happens to kids who go to high school. They grow up, talk about moving out and getting a life that doesn't need me so I am not having it. I teared up and Greg laughed. Greg is counting down the years until we are officially in empty nest season. Let's just say we don't see eye to eye on this particular subject. Rather than debate sending my baby to high school with Greg, I called my sister who confirmed that I need to call that school and let them know they can't have her. It's good to have a sister in moments like this.
Makenna dressed for Halloween fun with friends last weekend.  Perhaps I can convince her to dress like this for high school and keep the male attention toned down a bit? 

In other news, my poor old mini van is tired. Very tired. She needs coaxed up hills and no longer has it in her to accelerate. Christmas traveling is around the corner and we knew we were going to have to rent a van to attend. Rather than risk it breaking down in winter weather on top of the rental fees, we bit a very expensive bullet today. Our new Kia Sedona will be arriving in a week or so. It's on a truck. They had to locate one without all the bells and whistles I do not want to pay for. In the mean time, I am driving a top of the line model. Car salesmen are tricky that way. I will get fairly comfortable with the moon roof and leather interior before Miss Plain Jane arrives. We decided to keep the old van because believe it or not, an eleven year old van with 198,000 miles on it isn't worth much in trade. But there's good news! Lauren gets her license in three weeks and will need something that will not fly on the interstate. It's a temporary ride for her to get to work and school but it's available until it finally dies. I prefer to not hand her the keys to the new one anyway. I've seen what teenagers do to new cars. Overall, we are experiencing some mixed emotions. Yeah! We can drive something we know will make it to our destination. Boo! We have to pay for that! I did not miss car payments. I haven't made one in over seven years.

Greg and I enjoyed a cheap date at McDonald's last night. He had coffee and I had tea while we waited on Lauren to get off work. We are looking forward to her driver's license; however, returning home to this scene was an excellent way to end a relaxed evening. Makenna is good. She had them in pajamas and watching a movie until they both fell asleep. Of course, Brutus wasn't supposed to be on the couch but I don't know why I bother saying that anymore. That dog is really good when the kids aren't around!

Brutus is aging rather quickly. He's limping and favoring one leg. Greg was on vacation this week and noted the dog appears far more pathetic when he has an audience though.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

One Year.

Lauren and John Micheal had their first official date last night to celebrate their one year anniversary. They went out to dinner and then back to his house to watch a movie. Roses were waiting for her there. His mom chaperoned and thoroughly enjoyed the role. She interrupted the movie several times with aunts calling to congratulate them. I am shaking my head in disbelief. I asked Lauren if she enjoyed herself and if they ran out of things to talk about since Greg and I tend to talk about the kids when we get time alone. Lauren responded that it was fun but they were worried they weren't talking about the right things on their date. They questioned if there was an itinerary for things like this. Cute. Anyway, it appears she likes him and plans to keep him around awhile. He asked me to take photos of them for their eight month anniversary. I never posted them because I assumed he'd be long gone by now. Wishful thinking.

In other news, there was an incident involving poop. It was being scooped up in the neighbor's yard by two little boys with pails and thrown at big sisters. True story. My life is an adventure.