Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finally! An Update!

I realize I’ve been terribly slack about not updating the blog. I’m sorry! It takes a lot longer to write these posts than you would think, and time is something that I don’t have a whole lot of extra of these days. I have looked around the aisles of Publix, but I can’t seem to find it bottled on a shelf anywhere. If you happen to find some on ebay, how ‘bout send me a message and let me know. Isn’t it AT&T that has the commercial where the kids are throwing away their unused cell phone minutes? Maybe I can get my hands on some of those and be in good shape! Life will be much easier for me once school is out for the summer, but there’s quite a bit of time before that happens. In the mean time I’m having to complete a project for my grad class as well as do a bunch of make up work for the time I missed while being out with Mike last year.

I just found out a couple of weeks ago that Richland School District Two dedicated the Chick-fil-A Classic basketball tournament in memory of Mike. They had a page in the program with the dedication and gave me a framed copy. I showed it to Ava, and she said “Oooo!” She proceeded to name everyone in the pictures. There is one of me and Mike as well as him and the girls. For those of you who don’t know, the basketball tournament is a pretty big one. It’s held at Richland Northeast and is played the week before Christmas every year. Teams from several different states participate; in the past, they’ve even had a team travel from the Bahamas. As athletic director, Mike always had to work the tournament, which required a lot hours. I thought it was very nice of the district to dedicate the 2008 tournament in his memory.

And to those of you who sent in a contribution for Mike’s memorial at school—don’t think it’s being ignored! They are working on having a cavalier statue made in his memory. The original idea was to have it in the courtyard, but they have since had a better idea. The school is going to build an auxiliary gym and have a corridor that connects it to the current gym. The new plan is to place the cavalier in the corridor. As athletic director, Mike’s office was in the gym and he spent a lot of time there, so this is really a better spot for it. Having the statue erected will take a little longer since we have to wait on the new gym to be built, but I think it will be the perfect place for it. On a sad note for those of you who don’t know, Richland Northeast has lost two other faculty members this year: Terry McCoy, who was the Student Activities Director, passed away in December, and Tom Buckland, a social studies teacher, passed away just last week. Please keep the families of these gentlemen in your prayers.

The girls are doing well. We went through another bout of the pink eye. I swear, I think that ever since Ava contracted it back in the fall, our house has just been infected with the funk! Savannah is 17 months now, and is doing quite well with her talking. She says a bunch of words independently, and she’ll even speak in two or three word sentences. She loves to put the phone (or remote control) to her ear and say, “Hello?” Mike would have been rather amazed at the difference in development between Savannah and Ava. Ava didn’t even speak ten words when she was two, nor could she correctly pronounce her own name until she was two and a half. Savannah, on the other hand, will say Ava’s name as well as repeat just about anything that comes out of your mouth. So, if you’re ever around the girls, definitely be careful of what you say! You’ve also got to keep an eye on Savannah, or she’ll get into something before you can turn around. Whatever you do, make sure bathroom doors are closed; she loves to stick a toothbrush or toothpaste in the toilet. Whenever Savannah’s being trouble and I call her name, Ava asks, “What are we going to do with her?”

Last month my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! We all went to the beach for the weekend to celebrate. Boy, was it ever cold! The pipes froze, so we didn’t have water for a couple of hours our first night there. On our second night we all went out to dinner then went to a “Tribute to Elvis” show at the Alabama Theater. My oldest sister and her husband kept the girls while we went to the show, so that they could decorate the house for a mini party when we returned. We had balloons and golden anniversary d├ęcor all around as well as cake and punch. It was a good time for all. When we came home on Monday night, school was canceled for the next day because snow was in the forecast. Since I had all of my stuff, I decided to stay at my parents’ house because I knew that I would need help keeping up with both of the girls if I let them out to play in the snow. (Okay, maybe—just maybe—the fact that we didn’t get home until almost 8:00 and The Bachelor was coming on TV played a small role in me spending the night. I mean, if you’re a fan of Reality Steve’s blog, you have to watch so you can enjoy his witty banter the next day.) Of course, the snow was typical of that in the Midlands of South Carolina—everything gets closed down for a dusting of white powder. It didn’t stick to the ground, but some did collect on the cars. My mother and I took the girls out to play with the snow that had gathered there. Ava liked throwing snowballs, and Savannah enjoyed eating it. Not like that’s surprising—the girl likes to eat. We made a mini snowman, though micro snowman is probably a more accurate term.

For some time I’ve been thinking about creating a new blog to update everyone about how the girls and I are doing. Since the majority of the posts are about us and what we’ve been up to, writing about our antics doesn’t really fit the purpose of what “The Misadventures of Mike” was created for. With that being said (or written, technically), this will be last time I post on this particular blog. I appreciate all of you who have been reading since it was started last year and for checking back regularly, particularly since it’s been two months since I’ve posted anything. (Some people are just so slack!) I also want to thank you again for your many prayers for me and the girls. I’m certain that they have made a difference for us. If you want to keep up with me and the girls, check out our new blog at http://starnesgirls.blogspot.com/. I actually created it a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the time to write anything on it. I did post some pictures, so if you want to check out a few pics of the girls in the big blizzard we had, just click on the link to check it out.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


I took the girls to Santa Claus the other week. Ava was so excited! We had actually gone to the mall on a Saturday afternoon, but I had to hit Belk before their sale ended at 1:00, and by the time we left, the line to Kris Kringle had been blocked off. I guess Santa had to go feed Rudolph some lunch or something, so we didn’t get a picture. Anyway, I took them back to the mall a few days later. The line wasn’t too bad, and they both behaved while we waited, which is one of the most important factors for me. The good behavior ended for Savannah when I tried to hand her over to Santa. She wasn’t too keen on that idea and started screaming her head off. Instead of making St. Nick hold her for a picture that would haunt her for the rest of her life, I decided just to let Ava get a picture by herself so we could have decent memory of the event. Plus, I figured the employees there aren’t paid enough to have to tolerate screaming children. Neither am I, for that matter.

In the words of Professor Hinkle, December has been busy, busy, busy. (Hinkle is from Frosty the Snowman…where’s your inner child?) Getting ready for Christmas was no easy task this year—not that it is for anybody any year—but I think I got everything done. At least I don’t realize if I messed something up terribly. Santa is going to need to make a list of what he gets for the girls next year so he doesn’t overdo things like he did this year. I don’t have a lot of storage space in my house, so I had to hide things here and there. I’m certain I’ll find stuff three months from now that was intended for Christmas. In fact, yesterday I realized there were two small things I forgot to give the girls, but I have no idea where I put them. I’m sure they’ll make lovely birthday presents or gifts for Christmas next year. I’m not real big on buying the girls toys unless it’s for their birthdays or Christmas.

My family and I had our annual progressive dinner the Sunday before Christmas. We’ve been doing this for about eleven years or so now, and it really is a lot of fun. I have four sisters, and we go to each others’ houses for a different portion of the meal: appetizers, soup, salad, main course, and dessert. We open gifts at each house, so everyone gets a present at each stop. I had appetizers this year, and those of you who know anything about me know that my culinary skills are limited to pancakes, brownies, and anything that can be tossed in the microwave. Mike was the cook in the house, so let’s just say the stove and oven don’t have to worry about getting worn out any time soon. The oven, however, did get plenty of use for the festivities warming up a variety of delicacies that can be found in your local grocer’s freezer. The girls got enough toys from all of the stops that I think Santa could have skipped our house this year. I don’t know where we’re going to put all of it…if anyone wants to volunteer to come build an extra room onto our house, feel free. A shed in the backyard will be fine by me.

The girls and I stayed at our house Christmas Eve. Ava made some sugar cookies with her Aunt Cindy and we left one out for Santa that night. There were a gracious plenty cookies, but Ava only wanted to leave one for St. Nick. The girls actually went to bed around 9:15 that night. I was worried about there being too much anticipation on Ava’s end—I remember has a child staying up half the night waiting for Santa to come. When Ava woke up Christmas morning, she lounged in bed until Savannah woke up. Even then, she wasn’t ready to run to see what Santa brought. I asked her if she thought Santa had come, and she said, “No.” I told her I thought he did and took them both into the living room. A short clip of them playing with their toys shortly after they saw them is below. I’ve also included some pictures of them playing as well. We went to my parents’ house around 2:00 where we stayed the rest of the day. Ava got a Black and Decker work bench and a girly train while Savannah got a doll house and a very nice rocking chair to match her room. We all got a family membership to EdVenture for one year, so we can go as often as we'd like over the next 365 days!

Santa brought Ava a bonus present that we weren’t expecting—pink eye. That was lots of fun. Luckily, my mother had the eye drops from when Ava had it a couple of months ago, so it’s pretty much cleared up now. I suspect Savannah will have it before long. I think I’m going to go ahead and put some drops in my eyes as a preventative measure. And let me tell you I am not a fan of the eye drops. The first time I ever put them in my eyes was when I got pink eye from Ava in October. I swear I don’t know how people can use Visine or put in contacts on a regular basis.

Thank you all for continuing to check on us through the blog and your many prayers. Christmas, of course, wasn’t the same, but it is what it is. As Mike used to tell me, you control the things you can control and deal with the things you can’t. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a blessed new year.














Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Give Thanks!

While last year at this time I certainly never in my wildest dreams anticipated that I would be spending this holiday season husbandless, it is the season to give thanks, so I think it’s much healthier to count my blessings rather than roll around in self-pity. I’m sure I could make a great case for why this will be the worst Thanksgiving and Christmas ever, but what good is that going to do? None, that’s what. The bottom line is there’s always someone out there who has it worse than you do, so be grateful for what you do have. Here’s what I’m thankful for this year:
*I got to be married to Mike for seven years and learn lots from him.
*Mike didn’t pass away suddenly and unexpectedly, so I had a few months to prepare myself for the inevitable.
*I was approved for the sick-leave bank at work, so I was able to spend every day with Mike that he was in the hospital.
*Mike was very organized, so that helped in getting lots of paperwork junk taken care of this year. (And there has been a gracious plenty of it.)
*I have two wonderful girls.
*I have parents who help me out tremendously with the girls. (Small children are small children. It doesn’t matter how you slice it—they’re a lot of work! If you’ve never had kids, borrow someone’s for a weekend, and you’ll quickly discover what I’m talking about here.)
*My family and friends.
*My faith in knowing that I will get to see Mike again.

This evening Ava set up everything for a tea party at the dining room table. She had four place settings. She told me she set one for Daddy—he was still sick up in the sky, but maybe would feel better and come down. When I tried to explain to her that that wasn’t going to be happening, she told me to “Stop it.” That’s her new thing to say when you tell her something she doesn’t want to hear. Now, when I asked her what she was thankful for, I didn’t even end up on the list. What’s at the top this year? Sausage. And eggs. I don’t even like either one of those things! When I asked her “What about people?” She said she was thankful for her people and started rattling off the names of her play toy people. Good thing I don’t suffer from low self-esteem.

I was fortunate to have Veteran’s Day off from work a couple of weeks ago. The girls and I decided to have a big day together. We started off at Edventure. For those of you who aren’t from around here, it’s a big children’s museum. If you live close by, I highly recommend making the trek for a visit. We went once over the summer; I’m not big on crowds, so I don’t like to go to places like that on weekends when there are a bunch of people there. Particularly when there are a bunch of children present—they can be ruthless, which makes reinforcing manners a bit challenging. We had lunch from the “virtual” McDonald’s on the bottom floor. (Read: you call in the order and they bring it to you from across the street. Do note that if you order a happy meal, you’ll be not so happy to discover that the drink is not included and you end up paying an extra buck fifty for it. Lesson: read the fine print AND ask for an exact interpretation.) I’ve included a some pics of our Edventure adventures at the bottom of this post. There would be more, but somebody forgot to charge the camera battery, so we didn’t get pictures of everything.

After exploring the museum we went to every girl’s favorite place: the mall. The main reason Ava likes to go to the mall is we have a rule that we always get a cookie when we go to the mall. A few months ago Columbiana Centre got sneaky on me. They put about six little rides right at the spot where the cookie store is. I am fortunate that Ava doesn’t care one thing about having to put money into them and actually ride. She’s perfectly content just to sit and play on all of them, but she likes to play on them forever. So now whenever Ava and I go out and about and I ask her where she wants to go, the standard response is, “Let’s go to the mall and get a cookie and ride some rides!” We topped off our day by going to Barnes and Noble. Each of the girls got a book, and Ava loved going in there to play with their train set in the children’s section.

I suspect this is more than enough for you to read…it’s the holidays, and I know everyone is busy! Thank you all for regularly checking the blog for updates to see how we’re doing. I appreciate all of your continued prayers as well…I’m certain that’s why we are doing as well as we are. Now, go count your blessings and be thankful for all that you have!