Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Current Events

1) YAY SUPREME COURT!



I was a little teary on Friday morning when the decision came down.  I honestly never thought we would see marriage equality in my lifetime but HERE IT IS. People! You guys! Our children live in a country where they can marry whoever they love, no matter what! That's amazing. ALL THE FEELS.
Bridge was lit up in Little Rock. Little Rock! Arkansas! So proud of my home state. 

And I'm so proud to be on the RIGHT SIDE of history.  Proud to be an American.  

(A favorite from the Skittles-bash on Facebook over the weekend. Mandatory brunch! 2001 Britney!)

I'm not just the world's biggest Obama fan but, fact is, under his presidency we've seen healthcare for everyone and marriage equality. You go, Barack!


2) The Confederate Flag.

My opinion on this is . . . I don't have an opinion.


Here's the deal: I was raised in small town Arkansas, where boys displayed Rebel flags on the backs of their trucks.  I was always taught "heritage not hate" and I never equated the flag with racism.  It was always, always, always about southern pride.  My dad was VERY proud of his southern roots, owned Confederate flags, and I can assure my parents were far from racist (HELLO!  I was married to a black man!)  I don't see someone flying the flag or wearing it on a shirt or anything else and automatically think, "THAT'S RACIST!"  However, I also understand that some people view it that way.  I get it.

And, seriously, my dad is probably turning over in his grave with all this brouhaha.  I can just imagine him asking me to get on his Facebook page for him (he couldn't type for shit) and post a rant about "the war of Northern Aggression" and all that.

P.S. I'm still a bleeding-heart, rainbow-flag waving liberal.  I just don't think it's fair or cool that the Rebel flag is being used as the current scapegoat to all the hate and division in this country.

3) And as far as the hate and division goes . . .  I saw this on Facebook the other day and YES.  I'm over race baiters.  Dylan Roof's crime was horrible and so shocking in the fact that someone so young in 2015 would hold such hateful and archaic beliefs.  But he wasn't arrested without incident and given a bullet-proof vest because he's white.  He was arrested without incident and given a bulletproof vest because HE DID NOT RESIST.  Why is it so hard for people to get that? 



4) Bristol Palin is pregnant again.  And while I don't even want to address this because why is the Palin family still relevant at all? I do think it's interesting.  Mainly because she's been a proponent for abstinence-only education and here she is . . . pregnant again.  How did that abstinence work for ya, Bristol? And can we please move pass abstinence-only and start teaching more about safe sex and pregnancy prevention?  It's time. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summertime and the Living is Easy

I remember when The Pyramid was built in Memphis back in the early 90's. We lived a couple hours away but were in West Memphis for some church thing or other. HAD to cross the bridge to see the pyramid!

For several years, the building was used as a sports arena and to host concerts but it's set empty for ... well, a long time. Not anymore, though. It's now occupied by Bass Pro Shop and the kids and I went to check it out on Friday. 


It just opened in May but, for some reason, I was thinking if wouldn't be too crowded on a Friday afternoon. 

Uhhhhh. 

I swear, there were 80 THOUSAND church youth groups in there. 

The building was also hot. Like, I know there were a ton of people in there but it's Memphis in June. Crank that AC up!


There was a lot of neat stuff, though!  (And I really thought I took more pictures that I did!)

The kids really enjoyed crawling on the ATV's and boats and into the tents. Of course they loved all the fish. AND. Gators!
 
I don't think you can even see them, but there are gators in there!  Or "croc-a-dile-a-s" as Karis called them.

The building also has a bowling alley, archery range, restaurant, and hotel. The big draw is the free-standing elevator that takes you to the lookout. I would LOVE to do this. But at $10 per person, I'm going to wait until I don't have my kids. Maybe the boyfriend and I can go at some point and do the lookout and try the restaurant. 


All in all, I was kind of underwhelmed with the place. I think it was mostly just the crowds, all the neon pink and orange youth group Jesus shirts, and how hot the building was though. We'll go back when the hype has died down.
 

Tom Lee Park and Beale Street Landing are literally right down the road from the pyramid. So we headed down there to cool off after leaving. Made for happy kids!

The kids were with their dad Friday night so I went out for dinner with boyfriend and his kids ... and his mother, brother, nieces, and nephew. It's been a long time since I've met a parent but it went really well. We had a good time and boyfriend's nephew kept rubbing my arm at dinner. I think he liked me! 
 

Saturday was - what else? - swimming! The men threw some meat on the grill while the kids splashed in the pool. I got to hear "war stories" about boyfriend and his brother growing up. 


The kids were back with their dad Saturday night so I decided to meet up with Kendra and Jason for drinks. 


We started at Applebee's because they have 2-for-1 then made our way to Rock House. Our bartender there looked and sounded like Miley Cyrus (random fun fact!). Some guy bought me a shot that I didn't take and I left more than half a beer sooooo ... yeah, I'm 35. Off my game. 
 

It was a fun night but meant Sunday was so incredibly lazy. The weather was fabulous (low 80's after high 90's with wretched humidity most of the week) so I told the kids no TV's could be turned on. OUTSIDE ONLY. They ended up in the backyard blow-up pool with the neighbors then had a water gun war. 


Their faces!

Last night, the mega church down the road had their 4th of July celebration. The church is close enough that we were able to sit outside in our cove and enjoy the firework show. 
 

Last year, most of the neighborhood was outside enjoying the show. This year it was just us and one other family ... and they packed up and went in before the show was even over. Still, it was a great way to end the weekend. I love the 4th and can't wait to see what next weekend has to hold!



Friday, June 26, 2015

2004

The other day when I was writing my "weirdness" post, I initially considered calling it "Confessions."  (Mostly because I was going to confess that I hardly ever cook during the summer and we seriously end up eating sandwiches, like, two or three nights per week.  #JudgeMe.)  "Confessions" made me think of this . . .


And that made me think of the summer of 2004.

Which made me think of this . . .


That song was EVERYTHING.

Alicia Keys was EVERYTHING.

And then there was this one:


If you can't tell, I was really into R&B at that point in my life.

And Burn.  Oh man.  I was 24-years-old and every time I heard that song I would get all teary and emotional.  I was going through a bad breakup at the time and I can remember feeling like USHER WAS SINGING RIGHT TO ME.  I do but I don't think we should go our separate ways . . . tell me why I should stay in this relationship when I'm hurtin' baby, I ain't happy baby . . .

When I think of that summer I also think of . . .

. . . My bestie Keri.  She was married with a child but her husband was in Iraq and her son was a tiny baby and we were pretty much inseparable that summer.
(Inseparable AND Fabulous)
(I'm probably wearing a skort)
(JUDGE ME)

. . . spending days at Keri's mom's pool.  We would spend entire weekends there, floating in the pool and drinking . . .
. . . Smirnoff Ice, raspberry flavor (with a shot of raspberry vodka)  I don't care if I ever drink Smirnoff Ice or anything raspberry flavored ever again for the rest of my life.
. . . Working.  Working, working, working.  I was the director of an after school/ summer program and was given the option that summer of working the entire program day (12 hours) rather than hiring in someone else.  I did the "take the money and run" option and spent 6-6 Monday through Friday at the school.
. . . The working paid off because I capped off the summer like THIS:

 


Caribbean Cruising! 

The funny thing about all this is, when I was 24 and living in that moment on an inflatable raft in an above-ground pool with my BFF's brother hitting on me, I never realized just how good life was back then.  I was miserable and heartbroken.  I couldn't imagine getting through the next day let alone the next decade (plus!) 

In the years since, I've learned REAL tragedy.  I lost my dad.  I married and divorced.  I had three babies.  I moved and I moved and I moved again.  I found love again.  I found happiness, true happiness.  I have LIVED.

It's tempting to say I want to go back and shake that poor 24-year-old girl, just knock some sense into her.  "Learn what real tragedy is!  You're going to have a reason to be legitimately sad before too long!" Mostly, though, I wish she'd just have realized that harder days were coming . . . and even better and more amazing days after that.  And that, one day, she'd look back on that summer and realize that . . . SERIOUSLY?  Is there anything better than spending the weekends on a raft in someone's pool (just no Smirnoff Ice, por favor) and capping the whole damn thing off with a freaking seven day cruise?!?

You had it pretty good, 24-year-old Brandi.  You had it pretty good. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday Things

1) This has been our first truly, truly HOT week of the summer.  I mean, the past few weeks have been hot but none of them have been the type where you walk outside at 7:30 in the morning and can't breath and are automatically sweating buckets.  I swear, Memphis is one of the most humid places on Earth.  I love summer and hot weather but, man, I HATE sweating.  It would be nice if we could just have hot summers without the wretched humidity.  However, I will take this over our who-pissed-Elsa-off winter ANYDAMNDAY.

2) Since it's 80 million degrees outside with 28239483298% humidity then it makes PERFECT sense that we're going to the Redbirds game tonight, huh?  Boyfriend has a coworker in town from another plant within his company.  This coworker is a huge Cardinals fan so tonight we're "treating" him to a game at Autozone. I mean it's totally a "treat" when four kids are included, right?  Luckily, one of the bars has $2 beer on Thursday nights . . .

3) One of my favorite things to do is introduce my children to movies from my childhood . . . in a time before HD and when Pixar (I LOVE Pixar!) didn't even exist and those damn annoying minions had yet to be introduced to the world.  (Totally sidenote: am I the only person in the world not excited for the Minion movie?  My daughter is DYING to see it and I'm over here all . . . meh . . . next . . . )  ANYWAY.  Movies from my childhood.  So far, my boys love The Wizard.  All three kids have watched the original Annie and Mary Poppins.  The Sandlot is a VERY, VERY favorite in this house.  I could go on and on.  However, last week I tried to introduce them to The Apple Dumpling Gang.  I can remember watching that movie over and over (and over and over and over) because it was Storme's favorite when we were little.  My kids weren't into it AT ALL.  In fact, all three FELL ASLEEP.  How dare they!

Next up: Bedknobs and Broomsticks!

4) The K's faces are just too epic not to share this picture.


P.S. Jaidan was VERY UPSET that the "Kevin Durant signature slushes" at Sonic did not include KD's actual signature.

5) Boyfriend is a huge - HUGE - Chicago Bears fan.  I really don't care one way or the other about the Bears.  I mean, I don't hate them and I'm pretty sure I'll end up at a game this coming season.  But I'm not exactly a fan either.  Anyway, a friends of ours -- friends I met through him -- recently gave me a  whole bunch of clothes.  Going through them, I found this:
Pretty sure I know who was behind sneaking in a Bears shirt!

6) They're turning my girl into a gamer! Nooooo!


7) I think one of the more annoying stages in parenting is the stage where your kid is obsessed with money. Finding random pennies everywhere, insisting they need a wallet, counting out their $3.81 every ten minutes. I mean, at least their counting money and #math and all that but, I mean, the coin stash in my car is completely depleted ...

8) We went swimming last week and, while there, boyfriend and his friend decided to throw pizza on the grill. 


BBQ, olives, banana peppers ... It was AMAZING. I've been dreaming about it all week ...

9) This weekend is the first ever Memphis Margarita fest which, come on, sounds like something MADE for me. However, I have no sitter and Boyfriend has family in town, and it's sold out. Bummer. Next year!

10) Pretty much my philosophy on life:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weirdness.

Have you ever heard people talk about things that make them "weird" or that they deem to be "crazy" and you stop and think, "WAIT.  Doesn't EVERYONE do that?"

Like, eating in bed while watching trashy TV.  That's what your 30's were made for, right?  Everyone does that.  Or they should.

Same with being either super organized or very DISorganized.  So are a lot of people!  It seems like most people tend to fall on one end or the other of the "organization spectrum," either bordering on OCD or losing their keys every time they turn around.

Checking out other women.  Ladies.  WE ALL DO IT.  "Oh, man, her butt looks way better than mine."  "I'd KILL to have her boobs."  "Check out that rack on that one!"

Oh, this one always gets to me: "I eat like a man!" "I love to eat!" "I love food!"  DUDE, THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL WEIRD OR CRAZY ABOUT LOVING FOOD AND LOVING TO EAT.  It's not man-centric to love to eat.

Another one!  If you grew up in the 90's then the odds are good that you're going to have a soft spot for 90's rap (even if Snoop did get you grounded circa 1993.)  It's not weird to have to jam out anytime Dr. Dre comes on 90's on 9.  And, gurl, naw, you not "so thug" because you just had a car dance party to some "Back That Azz Up."

Anyway, now that we have that out of the way, I thought I'd share a few things that probably maybe actually are a little weird or strange.  A few of my idiosyncrasies, if ya will. 

- I don't like having chipped polish on my fingernails but I can deal with it for a bit. Chipped polish on my toes, though? Aw hell naw. I'm fixing that right away.

- I hate escalators.  I HATE THEM.  I don't want to get on one if my hands are full to where I can't hold on to the rail.  My children being on them scares me to death.  I'm afraid they're going to fall backward or trip getting off or something. 

- I don't like surprises.  What I mean by this is I hate waiting to open birthday or Christmas presents.  And don't ever call me and say, "I have a surprise for you but you can't have it until ..."  That's just cruel.  But I love for someone to walk through my door and surprise me right away. Which never happens.

- Internet snark sites are one of my guilty pleasures. 

- I (still) play Candy Crush when I get bored. 

- Here's one I'm thinking/ hoping (?) more people do: whenever I accept a friend request on Facebook, I immediately go to my profile and look at it through the eyes of my new virtual friend. 

- Sometimes I'll do something relatively simple (such as drinking at the pool) and immediately go into mode of "how would this play out on Nancy Grace or Dateline if tragedy were to occur?" Meaning: would my Nancy Grace headline be something like "Beer Guzzling Mom Neglects Children at Pool!!!!"
(Note: I don't neglect my children ever and especially not at the pool. I do, however, watch too much ID channel.)

- I cannot, for the life of me, get into "binge-watching" any TV series, on Netflix or otherwise, EVER.  I feel like there's something wrong with me but I just . . . I can't do it.  I keep thinking of all the other things I can do or need to do and just cannot devote that much time to watching a TV series, even if it's while doing other things.   

- I also very - VERY - rarely watch an entire movie if I'm not seeing it in the theater.  When I was married, my ex would always get irritated with me because I'd fall asleep when he'd put a movie on.  I just feel like . . . there's something else I should be doing, even if it's sleeping (or being on my computer/ phone . . . )

- I get way, very, SUPER irritated whenever anyone talks about the south in generalized/ racist/ stereotypical terms.  Newsflash, a-holes: it's 2015 and we've progressed far more than you think and THERE IS RACISM EVERYWHERE AND FROM/ TOWARD EVERY RACE.  Serious, y'all, I get a little rage-y concerning that one.  I'm proud to be from the south but hate being stereotyped.  (Y'all!)

And, there ya have it, a little bit of weirdness for this Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jerry's Sno Cones

 

There are several places in Memphis that are just so Memphis.  Institutions.  Places where the locals go.
 
Jerry's Sno Cones is one of those places and, until about a week and a half ago, I had never been.  Even though this is my sixth summer in Memphis.  Obviously, we had to remedy that and see what the fuss was all about.
 
I'll tell you what the fuss is all about.  The fuss is about sno cones with soft serve ice cream.  I mean, HELLO.  Yes please and thank you JESUS.  I realize there are other places that do this as well -- heck, we had Rita's when we visited Virginia Beach a couple summers ago.  But there's just something about getting your soft serve infused sno cone out of a pink and green painted building that looks like it's been standing on that same corner for at least a hundred years. 

 
We all ordered our sno cones "supreme" (with soft serve) and Kyan went for the Ninja Turtle flavor.  Jaidan chose blue raspberry, Karis wanted "yellow" (banana), and I wavered between wedding cake and fuzzy naval before finally going with fuzzy naval.

 
They were good, really good, but OH SO SWEET!  We took them home and put them in the freezer and, no lie, I ate on mine the entire weekend (we went on a Friday around lunch time.)
 
I've heard Jerry's gets extremely crowded but there weren't many people hanging around while we were there.  Only two girls were in front of us and we probably saw somewhere around 10 or 12 people come and go while we were there.  Of course, we were there early enough and on a workday.  I'm sure it gets CRAY CRAY on Saturdays.
 

The sno cones were DELISH and we'll definitely head back.  I think going to Jerry's is going to become a "must do once a summer" thing for us.  The prices are definitely reasonable -- $4 a pop so less than $20 for the kids and I to all enjoy.

If I had any complaint at all it would be that there's zero seating.  There are no picnic tables or anything outside to sit around.  The choices are to either pop a squat on the (icky) ground or sit in your car.  And a certain eight-year-old is just way too cool to sit on the ground . . .

It was so good and a fun time.  We'll definitely be going back!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekend: Father's Day Style

Father's Day is a rough weekend for me, it just is. No way around it and I'm pretty sure that's just the way it goes when you lose your dad relatively young and it's not a holiday that honors, you know, you. So, not going to lie, I went into this weekend feeling fairly ... well, meh is probably the best way to describe it.

And Friday. Friday just ... did not go as planned. For starters, the spray park I've taken the kids to the past several summers is in Collierville, a Memphis suburb about 15 or 20 or so miles away. They're building a fence around the park and are going to start charging non-residents $10 per person to use it (don't EVEN get me started. Do.Not.Even.) That whole thing goes into affect on Monday so I figured I'd take the kids Friday for one last hurrah. 

Buuuuut ... Rain. 

We decided to go see Cinderella at the value theater instead. 

Had to wear her princess dress ... found a worm ... So Karis ...
So. We're in the theater. Movie had been going on for about thirty minutes when -BAM! - power went out. We waited. Waited. Waited, waited, waited. We finally got a refund and went to Chikfila for ice cream and to play on the playground. 


No plans that night -- first Friday night in ages! So we figured we'd get a Hot and Ready pizza then make our way to the park. 

Obvs, SOMEONE had an attitude the entire time ...

We played for a while then Kyan fell off the monkey bars and I was like, "you know what Friday? Go home. You're drunk. (And I'm not enough to deal with this shit!)"

Saturday, we decided to try for the spray park again. 


I think they're ages where they're kinda just ... over it. The boys wanted to play football with some older kids and Karis "HEY MOM!"-ed me to death. They're spoiled by our friend's pool which is, coincidentally, where we ended up going to spend the afternoon and evening. 


DERP!

Boyfriend is a Chicago boy and fixed us all Chicago style dogs for dinner. 
 

YUMMMMM! I'm not much of a tomato fan but all the other flavors made the tomato a-okay with me. They were delish. 

Sunday was Father's Day and I had my kids (all I'm going to say about that. -- Forrest Gump voice) We spent a majority of the day doing ... what else? ... swimming!


I'm very, very fortunate and blessed and lucky and  *insert adjective here* that my kids not only love and adore my boyfriend but also that he loves and adores them and was cool with including them in his special day. 
 

It really was a great day ... just swimming and splashing, spending time together, EATING, downing a couple beers. Pretty much the ultimate Sunday Funday, right??


All in all, a really great weekend with the people I love!
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