Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cake Mix Cookies

Take a cake mix, any cake mix, add 2 eggs and 1/3 c. oil. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until done. I used Funfetti cake mix. I don't like the cake, but the cookies were delicious. They are soft and moist and perfect. Next time, I will try just a chocolate cake mix and sandwich some creme between 2. Yum-O!

Jackson: The Not So Over-Looked Middle Child



We've all heard stories about the middle child suffering from a recondite syndrome that only middle children can know about. The poor middle child gets looked over because Mom and Dad are too focused on older and younger sibs, so the middle child starts to act out. Maybe its this veracity of attention-seeking tactics that cause parents and caregivers to dub this behavior as a "syndrome". And I understand that, fully, because there are times when I just stand in shock at what is going on before my eyes. Not that Jackson is a problem--he is undoubtedly quite entertaining and adored in our house--but he sure does make sure we are paying attention. For example, Jackson will repeat himself over and over until someone has acknowledged what he has said. I know a lot of kids his age do this too, but, he will not stop. I've not answered him on purpose just to see how long it will go on. He literally won't stop--which is good I think. I want my child to be heard in a crowd and not cower when no one responds. Obviously, he feels what he has to say is important and I like his confidence. He has no problem throwing insults when he feels he has been slighted. Not to long ago, I told him "no" and he responded with, "Well, you are fat" as he casually walked back to his room. I had to laugh. One, because I'm not fat and Two, because he picked up that the phrase might hurt some one's feelings if he were to say it. So, he was trying to hurt my feelings--which isn't funny, but it kind of is when a small 3 year old says it with such assurity. Jackson can never be trusted with any kind of writing utensil by himself. Almost always, his masterpiece spills onto the table, sometimes picks up on a nearby wall, and even on the face of unsuspecting Bryce. Thank goodness for Magic Erasers (for the wall, not the baby). Jackson is a natural comedian, pushing the boundaries of comedy. "Is it funny to eat boogers?" No, but if he thinks it will get a laugh, he is sure to do it. One characteristic that is unique to Jackson, rather than Triston, is his sense of gratitude. He is truly thankful for the things he has and gets to do. It's not uncommon to hear "Oh, thank you thank you thank you!" from his mouth and he is always the first one to say it. I could go on with the examples but it's safe to say that although Jackson is the middle child in our family right now, he is certainly not looked over!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Experiment

I'm a planner when it come to meals at our home. I try to plan a week's worth of dinners + a few just in case and I often buy extra items to have on hand. This saves me time and money. But, the last few weeks I have wondered if I could save even more time and money. (Emphasis on money) So for this week, I put together a calendar, if you will, of every meal we are going to eat in this house, snacks included. Of course, the snacks are really for the kids, as Travis and I don't eat them, so a little goes a long way with the little guys. Also, Travis and I don't really drink milk either, so 2 gallons lasts the whole week. As far as drinks, we all drink a lot of water. I only buy juice on occasion, so if it's not specified below, we are drinking water with that meal or snack.

My weekly bill for this week: $87. EIGHTY-SEVEN DOLLARS! So, I am trying my hardest to stick to it and I'll let you know results at the end of the week.**

**One irregularity: Travis' Mom and Dad graciously filled our freezer with beef from their Tennessee farm, in January. We don't eat red meat that much, so it is lasting. Also, I purchased a Pork Loin last week and didn't cook it, so I am using it for 2 meals this week. This allowed me a lower than normal grocery bill. Usual grocery bill is between $100-$120 per week.

Our Food Calendar

Tuesday
Breakfast: Oatmeal & O.J.
Snack: Mini-Oreos (at the store)
Lunch: Bean & Bacon soup & grapes & milk
Snack: Turkey roll-up & apple slices
Dinner: Pulled BBQ Pork & Cheesy Potatoes & Lima Beans & milk
Snack: Chocolate Pudding

Wednesday
B: Eggs & toast & milk
S: Banana
L: 1/2 turkey sandwiches & grapes & cucumber slices
S: Nutragrain Bar & cheese slices
D: Pork Fajitas (leftovers from last night) & rice & black beans & milk
S: Cereal

Thursday
B: Oatmeal & banana & milk
S: Apple slices
L: Cheese quesidillas & cucumber slices
S: 1/2 peanut butter + honey sandwich & milk
D: Crock pot beans & fried potatoes & cornbread
S: buttered cornbread

Friday
B: Eggs + biscuit & gravy & O.J.
S: Muffin & 1/2 banana
L: Grilled cheese sandwich & Tomato soup & milk
S: Cinnamon Toast
D: Black Bean Tacos & Mexican rice & black beans & milk
S: jello

Saturday
B: Chocolate chip pancakes & bacon & milk
S: Nutragrain bar
L: Leftovers from week or Peanut Butter & Jelly
S: Muffin
D: Homemade pizza and salad & milk
S: Cereal

Sunday
B: Oatmeal & banana & milk
S: Goldfish & grapes (during church)
L: Leftovers or P.B. & J
S: Cottage Cheese & pineapple
D: Hash brown Casserole & green beans & milk
S:Cereal

Monday
B:Oatmeal & cinnamon & sugar toast & milk
S: Apple slices & cottage cheese
L: Grilled cheese & Tomato soup
S: Goldfish
D: Lentil Casserole & corn & milk
S: Bakery Favorites Oatmeal (individual packages)

Tuesday
B: Eggs & fried hash browns & milk
S: Nutragrain bar & cheese slices
L: Pizza roll-ups & apple slices
S: Cinnamon Toast
D:Hamburger casserole & green beans & milk
S: Cereal

There you have it. Look for some of these recipes on the blog once they are made. I will post the results of this experiment sometime next week.

What a Boy!

Oh, Triston. What a funny boy I have. He is a bright light in this house--his personality shines even in times of stress. Just this morning, when he got in trouble, his response was a funny little dance and ditty from the new Denny's commercial "'Nanerpuss". Obviously, I can't contend with this kind of humor. So we both just laughed the punishment away. You can watch it here.

He has boundless energy that sometimes makes me question if I am in fact, only 25. He always has a "great idea" about something new and fun we can try. His ideas don't always work out, especially since I play the role of the mean 'ol parent who says "no" most of the time. We are patiently waiting for warmer weather so we can outside and PLAY!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Honey Pecan Crusted Salmon

Sorry, no pictures for this. They didn't turn out. My kids were patiently waiting for dinner and when they saw me whip my camera out....it didn't go well. They are their dad's children. Anyway, this was really good. A nice twist to a fishy fave.

Wild Alaskan Caught Salmon
1 c. Honey
1 T. Mustard
Pecans,
Salt & Pepper

Use the 1 cup honey to 1 T. mustard ratio. I had four big pieces of salmon and this was just enough.

Place the salmon on a baking sheet and salt & pepper. In a small mixing bowl stir together honey and mustard. Spread over salmon and sprinkle pecans to cover salmon. Bake at 350 until salmon is flaky, about 10-12 minutes.

I served this with sauteed spinach and wild rice. Very good. Next time, I think I will toast the pecans first. Oh, you might want to spray the baking sheet first. I had a terrible time getting it clean after the honey seeped off the fish onto the pan and then burned. Ugh.

Creamy Cheesy Potatoes

This is the perfect side to the perfect sandwich in the last post. It's pretty easy, too. And good.

2-3 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 c. milk
2 T. flour
salt and pepper
3/4 c. grated cheese
2 T. butter
sour cream

Saute onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add flour, salt & pepper. Add milk all at once. Stir until thick and creamy. Add grated cheese and stir until cheese melts. Pour over sliced potatoes and mix it all together. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Pull out of oven and mix a few dollops of sour cream in. Serve!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandies

I LOVE PORK! Seriously, this is my all time favorite meal of all time. (I certainly can tell I'm getting tired, can you?!) This is soooooo easy and sooooo good. Plan to make it today. That is, if you are a pork lover like me.
Pork Loin
Salt & Pepper
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
Hamburger Buns
Purple Onion, if you like it

Pull out a roasting pan or a crock pot. Set the pork loin in it and add just a little water in the bottom. Salt and pepper it. Put it in the oven on 350 or crank that crock pot on high. Cook until it is falling apart. Shred it and put it back in the pan/crock pot. Add the BBQ sauce and stir well mixing it together. Plop some on a bun and add the onion. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I just had this for dinner tonight. I have leftovers in the fridge....hooray for me.

Enjoy.

Aztec Chicken Casserole



I had higher expectations for this dish, but it turned out pretty good. Of course, my oldest boy--who hates anything that resembles or smells like a creamy enchilada, wouldn't touch it. I would make it again, though.



Shredded Chicken**
Corn Tortillas, fried (I fried my own in vegetable oil. Next time, I think I will use corn chips.)
Green Enchilada Sauce
Black Beans, cooked and drained
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheese

**I roasted a whole chicken seasoned with oregano, chili powder, salt & pepper, and garlic. I used enough for a 8 x 8 baking dish and saved the rest for another recipe. The original recipe called for 2 chicken breasts seasoned the same way and then shredded.

Mix together the enchilada sauce and chicken. Be careful here, I didn't like the taste of the sauce, so I mixed very little with the chicken. Set aside. Starting with the fried corn tortillas, layer the ingredients in an 8 x 8 baking dish. Tortillas, chicken, black beans, sour cream, and cheese. Repeat. Bake at 350 for 30 min.
This is what happens when I leave my make-up bag within grabbing reach:
Don't be fooled. He had help.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More recipes are coming soon!

Anatomy of a Brother's Fight

Baby brother is playing with toy.

Middle brother storms into room and swipes it from his unsuspecting hands.

Oldest brother consoles baby brother and pries toy from middle brother's hands.

Turns back on middle brother and lovingly hands the coveted toy to baby brother.

Baby brother giggles with glee and then eyes widen.

Middle brother is running behind oldest brother and knocks him in the head with an closed fist with all his might, then at once steals back the toy from a squealing baby brother.

Oldest brother turns and bursts with laughter at middle brother's quite assertive attempt. Knocks him down and stomps on him. Retrieves the toy and hands it back to baby brother.

Middle brother jumps up quick with eyes focused on the toy. Baby brother knows he is coming. Oldest brother has back turned and is calm.

Middle brother grabs the toy.

Baby brother squeals.

Oldest brother karate chops middle brother right in the jugular without even looking at him and is still quite calm.

Middle brother cries and stomps out of the room. He accepts his position. He finds something else to play with.

Mother is in the corner of the room, book in hand, pretending not to notice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

To My Mother...

summer of 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom! This is a gal that really takes time for the small things in life. I half expect to find chocolate mints on the guestroom pillows when we visit. She doesn't miss a detail. No crevice in her beautifully decorated home is overlooked. She calls my kids just to see how their day is. She always sends cards with stickers or candies or little trinkets for each holiday, even the un-important ones. For the last couple of years, with the exception of this last one I believe, she has sent Travis and I a card with a nice surprise for our anniversary. We spend it wisely--on delicious dinner and divine desserts. She's a young mom--still hip in her own right. Here's to her on her 44th!
P.S. We'll see you soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Call It Writer's Block...

For the life of me, I just have NOTHING to blog about. Recent news stories, a disheartening novel I'm reading, and the weather all have me down in the dumps. I'm one to mull over bad news for quite some time. Oh, plus I've been playing with a new addiction: Facebook, which takes up my computer time--you know, because busy moms only have so much time in a day to do useless things. Tomorrow, we're going away for a much needed week-end away, so hopefully this will kick-start a little happy in me and a little creativity to write something worth reading.

Until then, read this. This gal is pretty funny and she keeps it real.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Celebrating Life and Love on Valentine's Day

A little background for those who missed the last post: A friend of a friend lost a baby at 34 weeks, recently. The friend we share wanted to do something special to honor baby Andon by creating a blog memoriam in which all the bloggers post on V-Day how they celebrate life. Here is how we did just that.

Today, my family celebrated Valentine's Day by doing nothing. Absolutely nothing, and it was just perfect. There was no hustle and bustle of getting everyone ready, no packing a gigantic bag with snacks, wipes, diapers, and anything else three kids 4 and under need on an outing.

We slept in (just a little) and hung out in our p.j.'s. We ate a big breakfast and didn't clean up right away. We watched movies, read some books, played outside for just a little while, took a nap, and had a wonderful day being with each other. I don't even have pictures because I felt the camera just took away the perfect un-done moments we were having. I even decided against the Valentine's Day party we were going to have for the kids tonight. It just seemed too interuptive.

As I sat down to write this, I kept wondering, "What am I going to say we did?!" But, what is more celebratory than taking a day off from the busy-ness of life. And spending the day with each other was truly a celebration of love.

To the Knepp family: You are in our prayers. Stay strong. Baby Andon is with you, just in a different way. God Bless.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's What Blogs Are For....

Friends of a friend recently lost their baby at 35 weeks. The mother's sister-in-law quoted her as saying hours after the delivery, "God has a different plan for me", which I just think is amazing considering the circumstances.

Tomorrow my friend, who is her friend, is asking everyone (even strangers) to share how they celebrate LIFE in memory of the life that was lost for this family with a blog memoriam. Whether it is going on a date with your spouse, spending extra time with the kids, catching up with an old friend or whatever--share something that you do that makes life special amidst the hardships. You can write about it here. Or, if you want to leave something in my comments, I will forward it to her.

I think this is such a great idea that the family can keep in remembrance of their precious baby. Hopefully it will be instrumental in the healing process, especially for the mother.

C'mon people!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear Husband

Dear Husband,

You left this morning in the dark, in the midst of a grumpy child waking up. I forgot to tell you to "Be Careful". I always like to say that to you, it makes me feel like you will have a safe return, as if the words offer protection from our winding country road. As for the grumpy child, he is all better now. He says it was a book that helped--the Spider-Man book. He did get in trouble though. He pushed Bryce off his bed and the little one hit his head on the wood beam. Not cool. As of right now, I can hear a conversation through a closed door about getting into the diapers. I stealthily slipped into the playroom and snuck the dipes out of there--oh, good thing. They're looking for them now. Ha--score for me!

Our day will consist of some learning and playing--and two clean bathrooms! Hopefully we can go outside, too. I haven't decided if I want to clean a big muddy mess yet, so we'll see. I can't wait to hear about your day. Oooh, guess what? I forgot to put those stinkin' red beans on AGAIN! So dinner is undecided, as of now.

Have a good day. We can't wait to see you. We love you lots. Be careful on the drive home.

Your wife

P. S. I added chocolate to the granola--It's really good now. The kids will eat it now, too! Chocolate makes everything better, no?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Commotion

I was folding laundry, my least favorite of all the housework.

I hear a scream. I hear crying. I hear "owie owie owie" followed by quick little jumps.

Someone is hurt.

It's not Jackson, as he is right beside me unfolding the clothes as I lay them in their proper piles.

It's not Bryce, as he cannot yet say "owie".

Triston.

He's holding his shirt up and crying.

I examine and see nothing.

"Stop crying, so you can tell me what happened," I soothingly say.

"HE!......BIT!.......ME!" Triston finally gets out, pointing at the culprit who looks on so innocently.

Upon re-examination, I can see little bitty indents most certainly caused by little bitty baby teeth in Triston's side.

Triston proceeds, "He bit me so he could get in my chair".

I look up and sure enough that little stinker is getting in Triston's chair.

I apologize to my oldest for my youngest's earnest lack of etiquette to get what he wants.

I pick up Bryce and reprimand him for biting and wonder if he even connects what I'm saying with what just happened.(But, I KNOW he knows what I'm talking about.)

And then, we move on--it's only 8 in the morning. We've got a whole day to go.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Valentine's Day Activities



I just typed the title and cringed when I typed the word, "Activities", but it was the first word I could think of for this post.

I haven't a clue as to why--my only guess being that I sometimes think it's funny when people go overboard doing their planned "activities" or "festivities"--that's another one.

Wait, it's not even that. I just don't like the words. There.

I'll instead use the word "projects".

Or, in my case including two preschoolers, one toddler, and a husband who doesn't really get in to all the girly stuff, we'll use the word "undertaking".

Getting to the point....

Valentine's Day.

In recent years, it's become one of my favorite holidays. I used to hate this holiday--for reasons unknown. For the same reasons I hate certain words, I suppose.

I really hate how commercialized all holidays are, but of the non-religious ones, I really wish this one was more sentimental.

And it can be. For a lot of people it is--for my family it is. I know Valentine's Day is supposed to be a celebration of romantic love, but I really want to include everyone. And then we can get to the romantic part after the kids are asleep, right?! (Now Travis is cringing! "Did she really just say that?!" Yes. I. Did.--Love You.)

So, here are some ideas that I have been poking around with, trying to come up with a perfect plan to show all my little guys and my one big guy how much I love them!

Mid-January, I checked out old February issues of several magazines. Family Fun, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, and of course--Martha. Plus, the new issues for the month of February hit the newsstands, and I received a couple here at home. Everyone knows you can find awesome ideas from magazines and the older ones are great because you can bring back some "new" ideas.

On February 1st, we made "stained glass hearts" to hang in our windows. My expectation of this was greater, but it was cute all the same. We put red, purple, and pink crayon shavings on wax paper. I put another piece on top and ironed it. After letting it set for a few minutes to harden, I then cut hearts from it free-hand so they were different shapes and sizes and used a hole-punch somewhere near the top. Tied some string and hung from the curtain rods. The boys thought it was fun, but trying to get crayons into shavings took too long.

Tomorrow we are going to make valentine's for each other during our 'family night' time to give on Saturday.

Sometime this week we are going to decorate Valentine's Day cookies. My favorite part of any holiday!

On Saturday morning, I am planning on making chocolate chip heart-shaped pancakes with strawberry syrup, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit.

I want to have a special dinner and dessert that we all help with and then we all get dressed up and eat by candlelight. Make it kind of fun---but, c'mon. This will not happen. But, maybe I'll make a smokin' red velvet cake or chocolate cherry triffle.

These are my ideas. Anyone else got any "activities" planned?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cupcake on a Saturday Night

It's Saturday night. 8:52 PM.

The children have dozed and my husband is not feeling well, so to bed he went, too.

Normally, we would be watching a juicy movie.

Or, we would be cuddled close; sharing hot chocolate while we whisper romantic poems to one another.

(I know at least Nicol is cracking up) For those who know us, we're not that kind of couple. Although, Travis has been known to pull a few romantic tricks from up his sleeve.

I have been busy cutting out valentines for my cute little sunbeams. Secretly, I am wondering if I could control the after-math of 3 three-year-old boys if I let them play musical "love" chairs. Yeah. I don't think so either. (For those not familiar with my church, the "sunbeams" is the 3 year old Sunday school class.)



So. What should I do, now?



Learn how to sew bias-tape on to the apron I've been working on?



Scour the french cook book I picked up at the library?



Plan an awesome Valentine's Day party for my one and only and our little beloveds?



I sure do complain a lot for never having any time. But, look-ee here. I have a lot of time right now and I don't even know what to do with myself!



One thing's for sure--I'm not going to waste it by BLOGGING!



Good Nite!

P.S. Mom, thanks for the Jessie Steele apron. It's so cute and I just love it. I make Travis call me 'cupcake' when I have it on. I'm still wearing it from earlier today, right now.

Please excuse this terribly bad picture AND the obscene amount of BLUSH I am wearing in it.

Thank You.


















Friday, February 6, 2009

Egg-less Peanut Butter Cookies



I have a few staples in my pantry.



3 different milks, 2 different sugars, 3 different flours, pancake mix, pudding mixes, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, almond extract, and cocoa powder. don't use these items very often, but they are there just in case.



One day, I had a hankering for peanut butter cookies. I gathered some ingredients and realized that I had used my last egg that very morning.



I live to far out in the country to make a quick trip to the store for eggs. Plus, it's freezing cold and with 3 young children to bundle and buckle--I just wasn't into it.


So, I found this recipe on the Internet. Luckily, my trustee ol' staples were waiting for me in a pantry cabinet that's rarely used. And the recipe: it's actually very good. I think it will replace my old one.


PB Cookies


3/4 c. peanut butter


14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk


2 c. Bisquick


1 t. vanilla


white sugar (optional)


Mix PB and SCM in bowl until smooth. Add Bisquick and vanilla and mix until combined. Form into little balls and roll in sugar if you like it that way. I've done both--they're both good. Place on cookie sheet and slightly press fork into center of ball. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Triston and Jackson: An Interview



I interviewed my top two (ages 4 and 3) over a meal. This is what they had to say:



What do you want to be when you grow up?


T: A Model Maker.


What kind of model maker?


You know, Trucks, Planes, Dinosaurs--that kind of stuff.



J: A walking chair


What is a walking chair?


A chair that walks.


Why do you want to be a chair that walks?

BE-CAUSE it's a chair that walks. That is funny!



What is your most favorite thing to do?


T: Play games. I like Poop-A-Mole. (explodes in laughter, because it is really Whack-A-Mole)


J: I like to play with bowling pins.



If a dinosaur was looking in your window, what would you do?!


T: Is it a real one?


Yes!


What kind?


A T-Rex


I would run and hide. But, if it were a long neck I would just go outside and say hi!


J: I would RUN! If it were a long neck, I would let him eat my din-nor (I love that) and take care of his baby long neck.



If you were an animal, what kind would you be and why?


T: A saber-tooth tiger. I like his long teeth.


J: A dolphin so I could jump out of the water and flip upside down.



What would you do if you woke up and Mom and Dad were nowhere to be found!


T: I would call 911.


J: I would get my clothes on and go outside to Dad's car and then yell really loud.


If you could paint your bedroom any color, what would it be and why?


T: Orange and white--Tennessee Vols (I would like to add here that Travis and his brother Thomas have sufficiently brainwashed my oldest child.)

J: Blue. I have a blue flag. (????)

If you had an airplane, where would you fly?

T: To a deserted island so I could find the treasure first.

J: To Sodor Island so Thomas (the train) could give me a ride.

Now the boys had their turn.

T: What do you like most about your life?

(Me) I like my family the most.

J: Do you like talking to animals?

Yes. If they could talk.

What fun questions! In fact, they are still asking each other silly questions.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bryyyyyccceeee! I Said No!

What a stinker.

This cute little 14 month-er is rocking my world.
And not in a good way.
He answers our questions with a funny "yeah!" or a full force head shake.

He constantly bothers the space heater in the living room. He knocks it down. He pushes buttons. Then, he falls on the floor and laughs.

He won't stay out of my kitchen utensil drawer. I am currently missing a garlic press and several measuring cups. And worse, he grabs different tools and terrorizes Jackson with them.
He won't eat unless he can do it all. by. himself.

He falls on the floor and screams when he doesn't get what he wants. I placed some animal crackers in a bowl for each boy and handed them out...only, I handed an actual cracker to Bryce instead of the whole bowl and guess what he did.
Flung himself backwards on the kitchen floor and kicked his legs.

I, bewildered, just stared.
Then, I realized. "He wants the whole dang bowl!"
I gave it to him---he acted like nothing was ever wrong. Grabbed up a cracker and said, "eeehhheah".
When I put on a movie for the older boys, you know, so I can just have a minute, he pushes buttons to change the channel. He does it just to mess with us, I know it.
And finally, he walks around our house with his short little legs and growls.

He surely is making his place in this world.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Something to Blog About...

I logged on to my blog, in anticipation, to re-create the mess of what was yesterday.

It was dreadful.

But, I read several blogs first. Most of which I know the author--directly, or through other friends...or at least have been keeping up with for some time.

After reading several posts of heartache on so many different levels, I realized my problems are really just kind of silly.

In fact, when I think about it...truly think about it--I've got no problems at all. Just minor little things, to be dealt with all in good time.

So, I sit here with a thankful heart.

Because, you know, things could be a whole lot worse. And somebody, somewhere is probably experiencing that right now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Little Insight...

Last night I was on a boat.

Or rather, a ferry, considering the situation.

We lived on an island, just off the coast of the mainland, but the ocean was deep in between.

I went to the mainland, against the pleadings of Travis, who kept Triston and Jackson at home. Bryce and I sat aboard the ferry and watched the waters churn below. I was nervous. My legs were shaking.

I was talking to a friend from high school. A couple, actually. I hadn't seen them in years.

I look over the edge of the boat once more and see that the water is shallow. So shallow, that I can actually see the wrecked body of a small white plane.

The boat starts to lurch. Then, it falls to one side. I take my shoes off--on instinct. Inside I am panicking--my worst fear is happening. Water submerges where we were sitting and I hang on tight to Bryce.

We are in the water. "It is not shallow," I think to myself. I am doing all I can to keep Bryce above water. Someone grabs on to us, and we both go under. I put my hand over Bryce's face and kick the hell out of whoever is grabbing us.

We're back up. I look up and see the boat is right side up and everyone is swimming toward it. There are strong-looking men pulling bobbing bodies out of the water. Relief floods my body and I hold Bryce up. Someone takes him out of my hands and then hoists me up as well. Bryce is screaming and everyone is in shock.

My shoes are in the same place I left them--and they are dry, so I put them on. Everything settles, as it once was. I think, "How am I going to get home!", as the boat floats along, continuing its' journey to the mainland.

What a dream, huh?

I have these intense dreams from time to time that center around water. It has actually made me quite frightened of water in real life.

For example, Jax Beach in Jacksonville has a beautiful long pier that sits out over the ocean. It doesn't look like it goes out very deep while looking at it from the beach, but once I was on it I nearly had an anxiety attack.

Then, in Jacksonville, the St. John's River runs right through the city, separating the east from west sides of town. The river is wide and a beautiful blue, and smells of salt. There are manatees that float unbeknowest to the passer-by. There are numerous bridges--a few 300 ft. high--that extend from bank to bank of the St. John's.

I did what I could to avoid them. I drove across them when I had too, but if there was another way to my destination, I would take it. One bridge, the Buckman, is a flat expanse of asphalt that sits just 50 ft. or so (or maybe it just seems that way) above the water. I lived in Jacksonville for two years before driving on it myself.

Now you know my worst fear. Even more so than getting eaten by a shark, although they go hand in hand I suppose.

What is your worst fear?

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