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Unsung Heroes


They do not get near the attention they deserve when caring for a loved one who’s down and out.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have often overlooked them as well.

Until this week.

From the moment that I fell, my Mr. has gone into overdrive.

The Mr. has usually been in the background.  He has always been a quiet, firm foundation for our family.

I’ve always been the one to take care of the day-to-day minutia.  In other words, I’ve been the loud one.


His job is very demanding; he’s always on call.  Hence, I’ve been the one to take care of bumps, bruises, and other emergencies and not-so-emergencies.

With both kids grown and out of the house, the Mr. and I are each other’s primary focus now.

There aren’t a whole lot of other people to fill in the gap.

The breaking of my ankle has been traumatic on both of us.  Watching him handle it has given me pause to think.

All of a sudden, he has had to do everything.

He had to decide which hospital to take me to.

He had to figure out how to get me to the car…easier said than done when I was screaming out in pain the entire time (no exaggeration).

He held me over the bedpan in the ER…three times.

He might have gagged a bit, bless his heart.

He had to figure out how to get me out of the car when we got home after that long night.

He’s been behind me every time I’ve gotten up to use the restroom.  Neither of us trust my ability to navigate on crutches.  My clumsiness got me into this mess.

I am sleeping on the recliner in the den.  He has gotten up almost every night…in the wee hours…to check on me…to ask if I need to use the restroom.  If he hears me moan in pain, he’s there.

He called around for recommendations on surgeons and then made my doctor’s appointment.

He drove me two hours to the appointment, sat and listened to every word the doctors and nurses said, filled my new pain prescription before we left this city, and drove two hours home.  He was exhausted but kept on trucking.

He’s planned every meal I’ve eaten, except for the dish brought by a sweet gal from our church.

He’s gone to the store just because I had a hankering for orange juice, and he got Mexican takeout because he knew it was my favorite.

He helped me figure out how to bathe and monitored me closely to make sure that I didn’t get any water in my cast.

He’s been the primary caregiver of the dogs as well, letting them out every single time they have had to go…feeding them…comforting them during this weird time when their mama cannot snuggle with them.

While keeping up with me, the dogs, and the house, he’s also worked from home.

He’s also working on rehearsal dinner preparations and thinking about Christmas.

He’s trying to figure out how to decorate for Christmas because our human babies will be here in a few weeks.

He hasn’t figured out how to scoop dog poop.  I think he’s leaving that task to me.

Caregiving has its limits.


This man is my hero.

He has completely put my needs in front of his own.

Y’all, marriage is tough.

There have been times when we didn’t know if we were going to make it.

Fortunately, we are past those days.

When I look at the Mr., I see a man who is exhausting himself in his attempt to be and do everything so that I can make a complete recovery.

I love him dearly and pray that I never take him for granted again…that when it’s my turn to be his caregiver, that I’ll be more patient (I’m not known to be), just as he has been.

When we look around at other caregivers, let us all remember that there is so much that we don’t see.  They are putting on brave fronts, pretending like they’ve got things under control (most don’t), and that all is hunky-dory.

While we pray for those who need healing from whatever is ailing them, let us also pray for those who are providing the day-to-day triage care.

They are unsung heroes.

Weekending, the Auburnchick Way

How I love, love, love my weekends.

Seriously, though.

I honestly cannot remember what I did on Friday night.  My school’s football team had an away game, so I stayed home and relaxed.

I may have gone to bed early.  In fact, I remember that I did…right in the middle of watching my DVR’d episode of The Blacklist.

I’d worked super-duper hard all week, and I was just worn out.

Saturday, I wasn’t feeling very well, so I stayed in my pajamas and hung out in front of the TV all day.

I do love college football season!!

I got out the stockings I’d knit over a year ago along with the fabric I’d had cut this past summer and proceeded to add liners.

The Mr. and I stressed over our beloved Auburn Tigers, but they pulled out the win, so we were exceptionally happy the rest of the day.

Later that evening, I whipped up a batch of Detoxinista’s Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal Cups.

Although mine turned out a little gummy on the bottoms, the flavor was divine!  I made a double batch and am sharing them with my friend at school.

I ate the first one while reading up on the next Beachbody program I’m going to start soon.

It’s a three-month program that I may do twice.  My plan?  Beast abs by bikini season.

On Sunday, the Mr. and I attended church.  Getting up was a lot easier after the extra hour of sleep we got from setting our clocks back.

I know a lot of people don’t like it getting dark earlier, but when you wake up at o’dark 30, seeing daylight makes it a little easier.

After church, we ran a few errands (more on those in a later post) and headed home.

I found a few minutes to indulge in a few selfies with the fur babies.  They are just so danged cute, and the day was incredible!

A nap attack hit me hard that afternoon, and I crashed for a couple of hours before getting up to make a pot of black bean soup.  The Mr. grilled out while I cleaned up the kitchen.

After watching a couple of television shows, I called it a night.

Weekends always seem to go by so quickly, don’t they?!

The good thing about this one is that it led into a four-day work week because of Veteran’s Day this Friday.

Silver linings, folks, silver linings.

Blast from the Past

Last Friday, the Mr. took my car and traveled a few hours to eat lunch and spend time with his parents.

When he returned, I got ready to take the car out to my school’s football game.

“There’s a tent in the back,” he said.  “I’ll get it out this weekend.”

Well, Sunday came, and the tent was still in there, so after grocery shopping, I went to get it out.

I had to stop and collect myself for a moment or two.

Y’all…the sight of this tent brought back so many memories.

We bought it eons ago when the kids were playing travel soccer.

It was the thing that parents did.  They bought tents, bought big SUVs to hold such tents, and they traveled from one tournament to another with said tents.

Then, each dad loaded his tent on his shoulders and walked the forever distance from the parking lot to the field the team was playing on.

Sometimes, it took two or three dads to put up a tent.  They weren’t super easy back in the day.

The sight resembled what I imagine to be a barn raising of old.

We got to be pros at this by the time the kids had graduated.

If those tent flaps could talk, boy would they have stories to tell.

They would tell of screams of joy and tears of sadness, depending on how the games were going.

They would speak of many shouted “Ohhhhhhhhhs” at good plays and the covering of faces at missed opportunities.

They might contain strands of pulled hair from stressful games when all we could do was grip our tendrils in desperation.

The tent would certainly tell of frigid days when prayers were offered up for the cessation of rain and, during the heat of summer, a lessening of the hotter-than-hell temperatures that rendered hair straighteners useless and wet, cold towels a blessing.

They might tell of muttered, multi-colored words spoken against horrible refs who either needed glasses or retirement papers.

Oh yes, our tent would be able to speak volumes, let me tell you.

We passed our tent down to Super Sis and her husband.  Our youngest nephew had begun his baseball career, and they were living our lives all over again, with a different sport.

Nephew boy is now a senior.  They have no need for the tent, so the Mr.’s mom gave it back.

I’ll be looking to either sell or donate it.

The memories, however, will stay.

Forever Catching Up

Y’all.  It’s been over a month since I last blogged.

This.  Must.  Stop.

For real!

I love to write.

I need to paint word pictures with something besides my voice, which gets old to listen to.

It’s a promise I keep making to myself and then failing.  All I can do is recommit and keep trying, so here goes!

What’s been happening these past few weeks?

Well, for starters, I had to get my classroom ready for a new crew of students.  It’s always extremely intimidating and overwhelming to walk into my room that first day.  The sheer amount of work that needs to be done makes me hyperventilate.

I went in a couple of weeks before I “had” to report back, just to arrange the furniture.

As the days drew nearer for school to start, I received the following email from a student I taught this past school year.

I had to chuckle.  This girl has a great sense of humor!

The whole getting ready for school thing made me crave comfort food, so I whipped up a batch of my Molly Weasley’s Magically Easy Fudge…veganized, of course.

All work and no play makes Auburnchick a very boring person indeed, so I treated myself to a new book…Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

It was written in a play format, which took a bit of getting used to, but oh my.  To be caught back up in the world of all things Harry Potter made my heart so happy.  I read this in just a few hours.  I simply could not put it down!

Of course, there was napping.  A day without a nap is like a day without sunshine.

There was more reading.  Kwame Alexander is the MAN.  This book is part prose; the subject is basketball and life.  I hope my boys will give it a chance.

There was time with the pups.  They’d been so spoiled having me home all summer.

Six-day-a-week Hammer and Chisel workouts continued to occupy my time.

Wine, knitting, and Big Brother always hit the spot as well…my non-guilty pleasures.

Then, there was the day that I sat at Rooster and his girl’s apartment while the movers came and packed them up.

Did I mention that they are now married?

Oh yeah.  I didn’t.

See, here’s what happened.  Back when Rooster was getting ready to leave for Basic Training, he approached us and said that they wanted to go ahead and get married before he left.  It would be easier for her to get on his orders…something that takes forever.  All the way around, it made sense.

So, and hold on to your hats, they got engaged on a Friday, which I shared before.

That Saturday we started trying to find a judge to marry them.  We have a couple of friends who are judges, so we reached out to them.  They needed to be married by Monday so Rooster could get the paperwork back to his recruiter in time for it to be submitted.

Rooster’s girl’s parents drove down from Alabama that Saturday while she and I got pedicures.

That Sunday, we skipped church, ate lunch together, and then met the judge at a scenic location in town.

I took a LOT of pictures since it was just the seven of us…no photographer.

It was very sweet.

Rooster left two weeks later for Basic.

Which brings us to early August.  He got to come home for a few days when he transitioned from one phase of tech school to another.  He’d gotten his orders; he was going to a base out West.  She was on his orders, so she would be going with him.  The timing, much like their marriage, was harried.  They didn’t have time to drive to the base, so they flew out, six bags in tow, and left everything else here.

I cried the entire way home from the airport and the entire day.  Sending your baby across the country isn’t the easiest thing.

Life moved on, and two weeks later, I found myself sitting at their apartment.

The movers did a quick job of packing.  The timing was perfect…two or three days before I had to report for my first “official” day of pre-planning.

It was bittersweet.

And life moved on.

I did some retail therapy.  This necklace has quickly become a favorite…hand stamped by a friend’s daughter who has her own Etsy store.

I took moments to enjoy unexpected wildlife appearances.

And I napped.

With school drawing nearer, I reacquainted myself with the art of multi-tasking.  Lysa TerKeurst spoke somewhere, and I enjoyed watching the broadcast from my First5 app.

Her interview with Tim Tebow was amazing!  I’ve never listened to him speak before.  His story is a powerful one!

We had a pretty intense storm during our pre-planning days.  Thank heavens for sandbags!  Podunk, USA offered them for free, and I snagged six.  My porch routinely gets water on it when it rains heavily.  The sandbags worked like a charm!

The week of pre-planning, I gave a Smartboard presentation at the school I taught at my first year.  I went from working out to dressing up…all within an hour and a half.

Weekends continued to be mine, though.  Days at the pool and beach are respites from the stress of work.

I also ordered and received DVDs for my next two Beachbody programs…

Ever the planner.

Meanwhile, as the beginning of school got closer and closer, I got closer and closer to finishing my Hammer and Chisel program.  Balancing classroom prep, exercise, and errands for home became the name of the game.

I made some decisions for my classes.  I’m teaching two Honors English classes this year, and I wrestled about whether or not to include silent, sudent-selected reading.  I love this poster, which echoes my feelings exactly…

For the record, my Honors students are reading silently…and loving it.  That’s a story for another day.

Classroom prep had me making numerous reminders.  The beginning of the school year is absolutely exhausting.  For every sticky note I got rid of, I wrote three more to take its place.

My shirt echoed my sentiments…run, run, run.

One of my planning days was made a lot brighter when a former student, newly graduated, stopped by my room to visit.

This young man will forever be one of my favorite students ever.  I taught him when he was a ninth grader.  He has a joy for life.  I’ve rarely seen him without a smile.  He has the kindest heart, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in his life.

By the end of that last planning day, my room was as ready as it was going to be.  I was pleased with the results.

I was ready for school.

I think I’ll end this post here.  I’ve let it go on far too long, and if you’ve read to this point, just WOW!  Thank you for sticking it out!  I’ll try to finish my catch-up post tomorrow and then stay on track.



Even though it’s my summer break, and the days kind of run together, I find myself looking forward to the weekends when the Mr. is home from work.

As new empty-nesters, we are starting to fall into routines that work for us.

I kicked off the weekend on Friday with a beach lunch date with Rooster’s girl.

We ate at one of my favorite places right on the beach.  The view…so lovely and peaceful.

Saturdays find us sleeping in.  It’s a luxury that I do not take for granted…especially with 4am wake-up calls looming on the horizon again (for me…not him).

Even though I got up late, I still managed to get in my workout.  I just don’t feel as though I can enjoy my day guilt-free if I skip out on this.  Plus, it burns extra calories that I can later eat.  🙂

Ever since Rooster left in April, we started making trips to the beach on Saturdays.  Sometimes, we just head to the neighborhood pool.

We’re getting pretty good at this, even keeping a bag ready with our towels and sunscreen.

I always throw in a book, and we fix coolers with snacks and drinks.

First, though, was lunch…a necessity given my workout.  I was starving!  I ate a bowl of West African Peanut Soup.  It’s less like a soup and more like a stew.  The next time I make it, I’ll either increase the vegetable stock or will decrease the amount of brown rice.  It’s delicious, though!!!!!

The Mr. surprised me as I was selecting my water wear.  He’d purchased a new bathing suit for me!  They’re on clearance right now at Victoria Secret.

Because the water at the beach had been FILLED with seaweed the week before, we opted for the pool this past weekend.

It.  Was.  Hot.

Unless it rains, the water is tepid…not cool.  At least it’s wet and offers a bit of respite from the heat and humidity.

I loved my new bathing suit.  It was the perfect fit.

We really enjoy watching young families at the pool.  The little kids are too cute.  I have discovered, though, that I have a limited tolerance for boys between the ages of nine and twelve years old.  Oh my, but they are LOUD at the pool!  And they are rough.  And they don’t care who they splash when they jump in.

The Mr. knew I was starting to get annoyed, so he suggested that we leave.  We’d already been there a couple of hours, so I quickly agreed.

The Mr. wasn’t feeling well, so we stayed in for dinner.  I ate another helping of the soup.

Sunday mornings find us going to church.  First, though, was my workout.

We skipped our usual lunch with friends to run to the grocery store and Hallmark.  I picked up this Itty Bitty at Hallmark…

These are all the rage with my Facebook support group.

Then, I ignored the huge pile of dirty dishes in the background below and got ready for a second stint at the pool.

The weather was uncooperative, though.  We kept a close eye on the sky and my weather app, and hoped that the promised thunderstorms would skirt us.  They did.  For all of thirty minutes before it started raining.

Back into the house we went, where I picked up the third book in The Testing series and started reading.  I couldn’t help but notice the blurb you see boxed in below.

How fitting, do you think, regarding the leadership crisis we are experiencing right now in America.


I watched First5’s weekend video message, which was one of the BEST since this free app started last year.

I was in tears by the end.  God’s provision…His promises…they just awe me.

The dogs tried to use their cuteness to get me to fix them an early dinner.

Their charms did not work, by the way.  Poor babies.

Dinner was leftovers again, but I was craving something sweet.

I turned to one of my newest favorite recipes…Crazy Cake…which is so simple and contains NO eggs!  It and the chocolate buttercream frosting are vegan-friendly.

The rest of my evening consisted of Big Brother (what a crazy episode!!), Next Food Network Star, and more of my book.

I absolutely love my weekends.  We don’t run hard any more.  I’ve learned the value of lying low and taking things easy.  There’s a peace that my soul has yearned for and is now able to enjoy.

A Box of Goodies

Empty nesting is an active verb around here.

Namely adjusting to empty nest is the ongoing action.

It’s still hard to walk through the grocery store, see things that Rooster likes to eat, and then be slammed with the knowledge that he’s not home eating these things.

We no longer keep cereal, ice cream, or Cheez Its in the house.

It’s strange.

Unlike Basic Training, where care packages are strict no-no’s, tech school attendees are allowed to receive them.

I still had one box of Krave cereal from a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal I’d taken advantage right after Rooster went to tech school.

To this cereal, I added the other items you see below…

I got out the pad of paper I’d purchased right before Rooster left for Basic Training and discovered that I had one sheet left.

That’s a lot of letter writing, y’all.

I added my words of love to the box.

He’s probably the only Airman who’s received a box that claims it has knitting notions inside.  You’ve gotta love recycling!

This box was h-e-a-v-y.

It cost me a pretty penny to mail this thing off, but it was worth it when I talked to him a week later.

He seemed happy to receive it, although he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to finish the snacks before moving on to the next phase of tech school.

I told him to make a friend and share.


I’m eking out every last chance I get to spoil him.  His girl will be the one doing that soon enough.

Some Assembly Required

Summers are always about DIY projects.

You may have seen my post about my screen door project, which is still not finished.


My latest adventure happened this past weekend when I decided to get busy and put together the Mr.’s birthday present.

Not the Bowflex (that’s mine), but the grill, which he’d picked out at Walmart.  Here’s the photo of the one he saw in the store…all put together, mind you.

He had wanted to purchase this one, but I poo-pooed the idea and told him it wouldn’t fit in the back of my car.

I’d be forced to eat those words later.

The box sat in the garage for over a week before I decided to give it a go.

The Mr. decided that he would go to the grocery store.

Can you say role reversal?


I had to carry the parts in separately because the box was too heavy to carry in by myself.

There were a LOT of parts…

I’ve put a LOT of things together over the years.  The labeling of parts has gotten better, let me tell you.

The manual laughed at me…

Getting started was the hardest part…kind of like beginning an essay…trying to figure out which parts were which.

I finally figured out where my first pieces were and got busy.  The dogs were a little curious.

Not very helpful though.

I got the first few steps done and then ran into a problem.

Bent parts.

The Mr. had pounded down one part to flatten it out, but these parts…they couldn’t be fixed.

The Mr. was not very happy.  This kind of thing stresses him out.

As a teacher used to thinking on her feet, I came up with a plan.

I would return the grill.

And I wouldn’t take apart the section I’d put together.

Take that.

The Mr. helped me load it in the car.  We put the non-assembled parts back in the box and stuck the section I’d finished in as it was.

The people in the Garden Center were very understanding, but I had to go to Customer Service before I could do anything.  My plan was to exchange the grill for another one in a box.  The Garden Center representative told me that there was an assembler on staff who would put it together for me.  I love how they didn’t tell us this when we’d purchased the grill the first time around.


The Customer Service representative told me that she needed the old box to scan.



My Garmin was racking up the steps with me going back and forth across the store.

The Garden Center rep put everything on a cart for me, and we walked BACK to the Customer Service desk.

Doesn’t that assembled section on the bottom look like a dead bug with its legs in the air?


The rep issued me a Walmart giftcard since I didn’t have the VISA giftcard that the Mr. had used to buy the first one, and then I had to go back to the Garden Center to rebuy the grill.


It was the most inefficient process EVER.

The grill wouldn’t be ready until the next day, so I headed home and watched a soccer game that was HALF OVER by the time I got back.


The next day, I went back to get the grill.

It was beautiful.

It was put together.


I crossed my fingers in the hopes of it fitting into the car.  Two sweet young men worked on loading it.

It did fit, much to their surprise, and I got to listen to it rattle and clank all the way home.

The Mr. and I unloaded it, and he grilled on it the next day.

The thing is HUGE.

It needs a separate handle to roll it around.  That’s our biggest complaint.

Otherwise, the Mr. is happy.

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