Tuesday, December 30, 2008
We woke up Sunday morning in Newburg, went to Church, packed up the dogs and headed to Louisville to have lunch with Elaine and the newly-weds - Heather and Fred - before driving back to Knoxville. We were talking about the wedding and how much fun we had. Heather and Fred were telling us all of the inside stories "the alterations this and that" or "the florist this and that" - everyone who is married has those similar stories.
Except for this one...
Zoey was the little "flower" girl. And if you read the post before this one - then you can see how cute she was tossing "snow flakes" instead of flowers. But we found out this past Sunday that Zoey (who has always thought of Heather as family) has had a hard time accepting Fred. Zoey and her mommy had a little talk about how Heather was family and Heather loves Fred so they should love Fred too. But Zoey wasn't having any of it. The more her mommy tried to convince her that Fred really is a good guy and she should be happy for Heather - the more distraught Zoey became.
Finally Zoey's mom asked her exactly what she didn't like about Fred. Zoey's answer was (in a near-tears little girl voice), "Mommy - he's just a...". But before I finish that sentence, let me tell you a little about the wedding from Zoey's point of view.
It turns out that Zoey was paying attention to the ceremony - the whole "do you Heather..." and "do you Fred..." and "I now pronounce you man and wife". And then Heather and Fred turned toward the congregation and the preacher stood tall and said, "Let me introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Fred Nappier!"
But Zoey misheard the preacher on that last part. She thought the preacher said Mr. and Mrs. Napkin! So, the whole big hang-up that Zoey had with Fred was "mommy - he's just a napkin!"
Friday, December 19, 2008
Heather and Fred - moments before the "moment of truth"!
You may kiss the bride!
We met up with Elaine and headed over to the church. It was fabulous with lots of poinsettia's and winter scene wall mural. It was like being in a winter wonderland - only with a heater! And Heather's dress was really spectacular with a ton of beaded sequence and (my favorite) a unique red strip down the back! And the cutest part of the whole ceremony was the flower girl - or should I say "snow" girl since she was really tossing snow instead of flower petals!
Boquoet toss! Check out that red strip on the back of Heather's dress!
The reception was great too. I understand that it's the signatures on the paper that make the marriage official. But what about the cake cutting, champagne toasting, garter removing, bouquet tossing, first dance, chicken dance, and all of those other things? Ahhh - that's what makes it a wedding. When you are together with all of your friends and family, laughing and dancing - that's what makes it!
"Here's to you!"
The first dance
Monday, December 15, 2008
But after several weeks of relentless hounding from Todd and Maureen - we sent in our RSVP. And Friday night, we loaded up in the car and headed for the church.
And boy are we glad!
It all started out like you would imagine any church Christmas party. There was food and everybody was sitting around tables talking. Except the first thing you would notice is the sheer number of people - I'm guessing there were about 700 people. And the second thing that would appear odd (at least to the non-Catholics) was the beer and wine table (provided by the church, of course!). So, we ate, we drank, and we were merry...
Then we move in to the next stage where the music starts. And this is where you need to meet Father Augustine. He's from Sudan and has been in the US for about 3 years. And he is has become fascinated with American customs - especially American dances. And the chosen dance for this night was the Macerena. Which was of course followed by the Chicken Dance! Oh my - he really had his groove on!
And the "ring leader" of the show was Father Michael. He's an Irish priest with an apparent love of red bow ties and dancing. He told a story of how he searched all over Knoxville looking for a red bow tie for the party and couldn't find one. then, while he was at Walgreen's filling a prescription, he saw a nice piece of ever-green with some pine cones and bells and (you guessed it) a big red bow! He bought it, pulled the bow off and used the bow as a bow tie.
Now, if you were to closed your eyes and imagined a very tiny, older (60-ish) Irish man - that's Father Michael. He's about 130 pounds soaking wet. But don't let his size fool you. After he ate, he headed out to the dance floor and spent the rest of the night there - twirling all of the ladies around. I can guarantee you that he had more stamina than anybody on the dance floor!
It was a great time and we'll certainly be going back next year. And we still made it to Louisville in plenty of time for the wedding...
And you may be wondering who was getting married? Well - that would be Heather Hill! There will be post about that too - but it will be a day or two. We need the time to sort through the pictures and pull out some of the best ones to show you! It was great (and her dress was beautiful!) - and we wouldn't have missed it for the world!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I just wanted to let everybody know that Darlene slaved over the stove last night and baked 6 loaves of banana bread. There's plenty for everybody! All you have to do is come and get it!
She turns into a baking queen this time of year. I'm sure she'll take requests (I've put my request in for some more pumpkin fudge!) - but you'll need to hurry. The Leengrams Traveling Christmas Show begins in just over a week.
...and while the oven is hot - maybe I'll try making some more of Grandma Lee's party mix! Yummmmmmmm......
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Of course, I'm talking about the Christmas decorations! All of the boxes are already down (and it was 27 degrees in the attic this morning!). Just when the laundry room was starting to look "normal", we littered it back up!
Stacks and stacks - and more around the corner!And now all of the trees are up and the lights are on. We decided to use the "small" (8 foot) tree in the living room again this year. The 15 foot tree just seemed like a little more work than we wanted. It would have taken all weekend just to put it together, get the lights on it, and get it decorated. That means we would have spent all next week trying to get everything else out and would have only had one week to sit and enjoy it all before the holiday travels start...
So instead, we put the 8 foot tree in the living room and a 6 foot tree in each downstairs bedroom. The one in the living room is completely finished and we'll have the other two finished before the night is done. That leaves tomorrow for the rest of the decorations and putting all of the boxes back up in the attic.
The first completed tree!
It's been fun with the dogs. Izzy has been feeling a lot better and they have both been walking around inspecting the progress. Izzy is always a little bothered by the turmoil. Foxy doesn't really care - she's just glad to have a house!
Foxy - "Hey sis - why are mom and dad tearing up the house again?"
"Izzy - "I don't know - it seems like they do this every couple of weeks!"
And the antler tradition continues. We opened up on of the tubs - and there they were. Right on top! Darlene grabbed then and put them on. Bryon laughed and grabbed the camera. Izzy and Foxy were wondering if mommy was turning into a reindeer! We've had fun with them all day long.
I'm a reindeer!
Hey mom. Are those antlers?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I just wanted to let everyone know that I was rescued by another sister. This time it was Jennifer. And the occasion was Thanksgiving.
I can make a pretty good apple pie (and I have a really good story about why it's called blackbird pie) and I can make a pretty good pumpkin pie. But I just cannot make a good pecan pie. I've tried - but it always turns out as pecan soup in a pie crust, or pecan brittle in a pie crust.
Jennifer on the other hand makes the best pecan pie ever! But I was really worried that she wouldn't be able to send one down this year. She also makes wedding cakes and is making one right now for a niece that is getting married this weekend. So - my pecan pie hopes were not very high.
But imagine my surprise when it showed up last night! So "Thank You" Jennifer! That pecan pie is the icing on the cake (or maybe it's the whip cream on the pie!!!)
Yummy - pecan pie!
Monday, November 24, 2008
So - Tracey was doing good. She sounded really excited about the baby! Everything in the ultrasound was normal - the tech could see all four chambers of the heart and you could see the baby moving around. She was telling me that the baby looked like it had a big head - that should be fun for her when March rolls around!
Here's the ultrasound picture from earlier today! Isn't technology great? She has an ultrasound in Evansville and sends a snapshot to my cellphone and I can post it for the world to see. All in a matter of minutes. How cool is that? And at first glance, it looks like the typical ultrasound "static blur" - and while I'm no expert (obviously, since all ultrasounds look like blurs to me), it's pretty obvious that this is a great picture of the right side of the babies head. And look at the cute little nose! But you can't tell from this view if it's a boy or a girl...
Look at that cute picture!
Now - if you read the earlier post, then you already know about the lopsided count in the niece/nephew department. Currently, we have 9 - 6 boys, and a mere 3 girls. And you should also know that I was secretly hoping for a girl (I have this thing with symmetry...) and Tracey was hoping for a girl too - but everybody else was convinced that it was a boy. And all of Chuck's brothers all had boys (or at least there wives had boys - but the brothers are the ones who made the decision if you know what I mean!). I'm sure that Tracey had plenty of people offering their own unique speculation - "see that little lump in your stomach there? That means it's a boy" - or "see how your bellybutton is tilting up? That means it's a girl". I love hearing crazy things like that...
Of course - everybody knows that the best way to really determine the sex of a baby (other than birth!) is with the ultrasound. And today was Tracey's turn to find out. So - she asked the tech doing the ultrasound - could she see if it was a boy or a girl? And the tech said "Yep - I sure can. There is no doubt that it is....."
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sounds pretty good doesn't it! The good news is - you are all invited. It's not too late! Just give us a call and we will save you a seat.
And for those of you who may not be able to make the trip - we completely understand. After all, Knoxville isn't exactly close to most of you! The good news is - Christmas is just around the corner and we are making plans to come and see you!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So, I'm not actually "guilty" - but I did have to appear in traffic court this morning. That's right - I got a ticket.
I personally think it was a scam (isn't that what all of the ex-cons say?). I was simply following the law that says the un-posted speed in the city of Knoxville is 30mph. The problem is - there was a sign - even if it was hidden around a blind curve, behind trees, and was spray painted black. And never mind the fact that it was a city officer that gave me a ticket in the county.
Apparently, the judge thought that was a good enough excuse to drop the charges. Of course I still had to pay court costs - but at least the charges were thrown out (no points and the insurance won't go up!).
But I have to say - traffic court sure is interesting (and I was "lucky" enough to be one of the last ones through). There where the typical dredges of society - people arguing with the Sargent before court started - people arguing with the judge ("I don't care what the radar says - I wasn't speeding!"). But my favorite was the young lady in front of me.
The judge said, "Miss - your charges are speeding, running a red light, driving without proper registration, and driving without insurance. How do you plead?"
At this point, the young lady started crying and said, "I don't know... I don't know... What should I do?"
Judge: I can't tell you what to do.
Young Lady: What would you do if it was you?
Judge: It wasn't me. I can't tell you what to do. Where you speeding?
Young Lady: Yes...
Judge: Was the light red when you went through the intersection?
Young Lady: Yes...
Judge: Were you able to show your vehicle registration to the officer?
Young Lady: No...
Judge: Were you able to show proof of insurance to the officer?
Young Lady: No...
Judge: Do you believe you are innocent of these charges?
Young Lady: (begins crying again...) I don't know... I don't know what to do...
Bryon: (thinks to himself - 'Jeez! If I agree to pay her fine can we get her out of here and move on???)
Judge: The court hereby finds you guilty of all charges and places you on probation for 30 days. Please see the clerk...
Young Lady: But I don't know if I'm guilty!
Judge: I do know - and you are. You can have a seat now...
Sure - you could feel sorry for her. And you can wonder how someone like that will be able to survive in society. But I believe that she will do just fine. After all - she had enough common sense to pull her pants up all the way, not show her butt crack, and knew how to put on a belt. That was better than every other person under the age of 25 that was in court today!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Of course I'm not talking about the football team (although the Titans are still undefeated!). I'm talking about the men's basketball team!!! And of course, the women won their season opener too - but I expect them to win the first game (just like I expect that the sun will come up tomorrow).
The men on the other hand - they had some "preseason" cause for concern. The big one was offensive scoring. Three of the guys that graduated last year scored 80% of the 3-point shots last year. And they are a REALLY young team who has only been playing together for a few weeks. It's a big challenge to play in a Bruce Pearl "run 'em up and down the court" fast paced all out full court press high turn over big scoring team.
And they were playing UTC (one of the few teams who has beaten a Pearl team in the past). And UTC is supposed to be VERY good this year - actually favored to win their conference.
All of that adds up to a scary season opener
So - how did the young team do? Where they able to get those big turn-overs? Were they able to run that high-powered offense against a good quality opponent? I'll let you decide. The score was Tennessee 114, UTC 75. And that was with Teddy Valentine officiating! For those of you who don't know how "frustrating" a Teddy Valentine game can be - ask Bobby Knight. Teddy's calls are SO RIDICULOUS that Bobby felt it necessary to throw a chair at him.
So - you may be saying "1 and 0 - it was the season opener. No big deal." And if you are saying that then maybe you should talk to a Kentucky fan. I hear that winning the first game is so unimportant to them that they decided to not do it this year. We'll see how well that works out for them as the season goes on...
And for all of you Indiana basketball fans - you had your chance. Bruce is ours now! Did I mention that he just bought a 2 million dollar house in Knoxville? Yep - we are treating him right.
But if you are looking for a coach from the University of Tennessee, then we have a football coach (most likely an entire coaching staff) that will be available in about 3 weeks...
Friday, November 14, 2008
But there has always been something "odd". And I think I've finally figured it out. It's the quantity! Nine. That's how many. Nine. It's so close to being a nice, round, even number. You could even say that it's close to a "perfect ten".
So leave it to the youngest one to bail me out. Tracey is having a baby! She came down (with Corbin!) this past Labor Day - but she didn't have even the smallest "baby bump" that I could see.
But that's all over with now! She certainly can't hide it anymore!!! Still no word on the "boy/girl" scenario. I'm hoping for a girl myself - the boy/girl ratio is currently a little lopsided with 6 nephews and 3 nieces. I've heard that it's going to be another 3 weeks before we find out...
I can't wait! She's not due until the end of March so I guess I'll have to wait a few months. I'm so excited!!! This is going to be fun...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
All of this means that I can currently cut my entire lawn in about 20 minutes. I thought I had it made...
The problem is - I really like grass! And I've tried several times to get some to grow in my backyard. I've even been successful in getting it started. But in the end, it has always wilted and died.
And now we have Foxy Brown. And she loves being outside. In the "all dirt" backyard. It takes about 1.8 seconds before she is filthy. And runs back in the house. And gets dirt all over the new furniture. Or better yet - in the bed.
Corbin on the bike in the "all dirt" backyard...
Then one day I was talking to my neighbor (who has a friend with an agriculture degree). Apparently when you let 18 inches of leaves decay on the ground every fall - it really throws off the pH of the soil. And you can send a soil sample to the UT Ag campus and they will kindly test it for you (after all, the university has tens of thousands of students that they can use as slave labor!) and then tell you what you need to add to your dirt.
Without going into the great detail of my soil report - the pH of my dirt was so far off that I had to add 520 pounds of lime to 4600 square feet! That moves me out of the "20 or 40 pounds" from Lowes and in to a real live field trip to the farmers co-op!
So - a couple of weekends ago I formulated my "backyard plan". I rented a tiller. I put down the 520 pounds of lime, an additional 50 pounds of fertilizer, and tilled up the entire backyard - just like my report said to do. I put down 40 pounds of seed and waited.
Now the grass has started coming up. I'm not expecting much this fall (I'm just happy that it was able to get started a little before it goes dormant) - but I'm REALLY hoping that it all comes back this spring.
The "new and improved" backyard with GRASS!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
When I was little, I used to sleep with my mommy and daddy. Daddy's armpits would get dirty by the end of the day, so I used to clean them up for him before he fell asleep. Then I would give him a goodnight kiss (I would aim for the lips, but he usually turned away at the last second).
Now, I'm a big girl and my daddy has been better about keeping his armpits clean. But mommy's feet is another story. Every night while mommy is on the recliner, I'll nudge and pull on her shoes until I get them knocked off. Then I'll pull on her socks. By this point, mommy has usually figured out what I want and will take her socks off for me. Then I'll lick away until they are clean!
Boy - moms feet sure taste great!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Last week, we decided to give it a try with Foxy Brown. Darlene and I were howling away. Izzy was barking (I think she was trying to tell us to shut up). And Foxy was just watching us like we were a three ring circus. Then all of a sudden, she leaned back, pointed her nose in the air, and let out the most mournful howl you've ever heard. It was great!
Last night - we decided to give it another try. She was pretty tired and it wasn't quite as heartfelt as the first time but it was still really cute! At least she was willing to humor us...
Seemingly unrelated - the weather here has been PERFECT for the last few days. Lows in the 40's but during the day it's been sunny and mid 70's! We've had the windows open (and haven't ran the AC or the heat pump for more than a couple of hours for the last 6 weeks - take that TVA and your 20% rate hike!). And I'm sure that all of our neighbors have been doing the same thing - who wouldn't want their windows open with weather like this?
Now, imagine what our neighbors must have thought was Darlene and I started howling...........
Monday, November 3, 2008
Why not burn it!
So that's what we did. I cut it up into small pieces (I love the sound of a radial arm saw on a Saturday morning! I hope my neighbors do too...). Then got out the camping chairs, set everything up, and waited for it to get dark.
Then I lit it up, sat back, and had a beer. Even Darlene had a beer! And the dogs thought we were stupid for sitting out in the yard (they were thinking 'hey - don't we poop out there?').
It was a great time - we wish you could have been there!
Friday, October 31, 2008
We decided on bamboo. "Bamboo" you say? Yep - bamboo. To be more specific it's stranded bamboo. They take the bamboo stalks, shred them into strands. Then they take the strands and "roast" them. That's what gives the color - and it means that the color goes all the way through (unlike stain, which is only on the surface). Then they stack the strands 5 to 6 feet tall, add some adhesive, and compress them into a 1/2" thick board.
After all of that, you have a plank that's a nice color (which goes all the way through), and is twice as hard as oak or rock maple. Yep - that's right. And that means it weighs a ton (22 square feet weighs about 100 pounds!). And for the eco-friendly aspect - the bamboo plant can be regrown and ready for harvest in 8 years (compared to 60 for oak). How cool is that?
We put it down in the living room, down the hall, and in the bedroom. It sounded like it would be easy enough (especially when somebody else is laying the floor) but it turned out to be a semi-major undertaking.
The new and improved laundry room
The spare bedroom
Yep - that's a lot of junk. It was right about this point when we decided that it would be a good idea to paint the bedroom (it REALLY needed it!) before the hardwood the hardwood went down. And hey - while we are at it, let's put up some crown molding too and replace all of the baseboard! So - it's a scramble to pick out a paint color - buy all of the trim and paint and get everything painted and hung in a weekend.
Let the painting begin!Foxy was less than impressed with the entire process. She spent most of the time outside (surprise!). She was scared of the POP from the nail gun and couldn't understand why we were sleeping in another room. But she wasn't afraid to let us know that the couch was still hers.
Foxy on the couch
Izzy on the other hand was not scared of the noise at all. Very interesting since she is terrified of thunder and fireworks. She was more interested in the progress of the installation and would wander from room to room to check the progress. The guys doing to work found this absolutely hilarious!
Izzy checks out the floor
All in all, we are very happy with the floor. Here's a couple of pics of the final product! And if anyone wants to come over and help us put the rest of the stuff away - give us a call...
The view out of the bedroom and down the hall...
The living room...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This is the third year that we've had season tickets for the UT men's basketball games. Coincidentally, it's the third year that Bruce Pearl has been the coach and will hopefully be the third year that the team is competing for another SEC title!
It's been a fun evolution. Just over three years ago, the basketball team only sold about 30% of the seats and were lucky to finish someplace other than "last" in the SEC. We would go to a couple of games (usually the Kentucky game) and there would be more UK fans than UT fans. The program was in sad shape to say the least - and the revolving coach door was still swinging in one bad coach after another...
Then they hired some coach named Bruce Pearl. The Leengrams knew he was a fantastic coach because of the USI - Kentucky Wesleyan rivalry. But around here, nobody had heard of him and everybody was complaining about hiring another "no-name" coach.
Then he won. And won again. And again. And again and again and again. Now they call him "Bruce Almighty". Heh heh. I love it when I'm right!
And the fans have changed too. I never realized that the signal for a "false start" in football was the same as the signal for "traveling" in basketball until three years ago. We were at a game and a guy in front of us leaned over to his buddy and said "why do they keep calling a false start on that guy?" The other guy responds "I don't know. But they called a foul on that same guy a minute ago and he only pushed the dude a little bit." Wow.
After two short years - Bruce already has an SEC championship, sells out the arena every game, has converted MANY football fans (the football team is currently in last place in the SEC...), and WE get to go to all of the games!
Now - I need to clarify. This is MENS basketball. The WOMENS team is a completely different story. Pat Summit doesn't have enough fingers to wear all of her NATIONAL championship rings. The floor is named after her (yes - Bruce and his team play on the "Summit"). There fans are insanely dedicated and knowledgeable (yes - they know what travelling is!). Oh - and Pat Summit is the winningest basketball coach on the planet. I don't care if you coach little league or the NBA - you haven't won more games than Pat Summit. And if she gets 17 more wins that will put her at an even 1,000 for her career (which has been 100% at Tennessee!).
So - if you plan on coming to visit us between now and the end of March, you may want to call ahead. There's a chance we may be on campus watching some roundball...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
My point exactly! You didn't before, but you do now.
So - read and enjoy!