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3 posts from May 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reagan's Applesauce Adventure


"I don't want to try applesauce!!!"


"Okay, well MAYBE I'll try it"


"What the heck did you just feed me?! UGH!"



"Okay, well maybe applesauce isn't that bad!"


"Applesauce and fingers that is"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Pioneer Woman Comes to Charlotte


I've been blogging for a little over 2 years now and few have inspired me like Ree Drummond.  I really like her. She is funny, smart, a talented cook, photographer, and writer.  She is a good mother, a loving wife, and a good friend to many who have had the pleasure to get to know her.  She has her act together and keeps her readers, her family, and her friends smilin' and laughin'.

I read a number of blogs, but my favorite is by far is Ree's "Pioneer Woman." I wrote to her several times that I hoped she would come to Charlotte. I don't know if my emails made the difference, but I was so happy she chose our Queen City to visit last week.


Ree and I became acquainted after her precious Border Collie, Nell, was lost. I was so taken by her expression of loss and all the stories that she had written about Nell, that I painted an oil of Nell and shipped it to her. She loved the painting and wrote a very nice story about it on her blog. That story caused chaos at Six Apart who host my blog via TypePad. In less than 10 minutes after the story posted, my blog crashed. Fortunately, the down time was short-lived as TypePad contacted me and let me know that they would have my blog back up as soon as possible. That "up" time came about 15 minutes later. I had thousands of hits that day in October, 2008 and many of the visitors from that day have returned and become regular readers of Raisin Toast and distant friends.


Ree is so nice. We've talked on the phone twice since that day and I feel a real connection with this pioneer woman. She is as real as her blog portrays her to be. It just goes to show you don't need to be vulgar or over-the-top to have a successful blog. You just need to be honest, funny, real, and a good writer. In her case, she is all of the above and more, and I am proud to call her a blogging friend.



Well, last Friday, Ree came to Charlotte - solo, and I know that was difficult for her to be away from her family. I was looking forward to finally meeting her; so, my daughter, Sarah, and my Big Bear (hubby, Bob), went to Joseph-Beth Booksellers to meet Ree.



We waited 4 hours, but it wasn't so bad.  Joseph-Beth was very organized and courteous about how to manage the mobs of people.



We met a number of other very nice Charlotteans, like Carla here, who just started her own blog, The Country Diary of a Southern Lady.  She came with her daughter and hubby to meet this Pioneer of a woman - Ree. 



The place was packed. At 6pm, Ree walked out onto the 2nd level balcony of Joseph-Beth and addressed the crowd.



There were hundreds of people there and I was in the middle of it all. Bob was sitting down somewhere and Sarah was around the corner from me looking at books.



Ree was telling jokes and laughing, telling everyone how happy she was to be in Charlotte, when she surprised me from the balcony and said "Oh Hi Susan!" I looked around thinking "There must be another Susan here" when I realized she was looking right at me. I responded "Oh Hi Ree!" and for a moment wanted to hide behind a shelf of books. All eyes were momentarily on me - including Ree's. Then the questions began - "Do you know Ree?" and "How do you know Ree?"



Sarah was standing across the room and I noticed her as she put her hands on her cheeks and said "That's my Mom!" Sarah showed up by my side shortly thereafter and gave me a hug. Ree, for that brief moment, made me and Sarah both feel special. I was surprised that she was able to pick me out from the crowd. Must have been my blinding gray hair.


Even though Ree and I have spoken twice on the phone and emailed a couple of times, I never thought that she ever visited my blog. She is so busy with her ranch life, homeschooling, cooking, and writing, that I can't imagine she has much time for anything else.



But, when we met Ree, she gave me and Sarah, both, a big hug and told me how happy she was to finally meet me. I was telling Big Bear "this picture better not be blurry!"



She looked at Bob, who was taking the blurry pictures, and said "And that's Big Bear, right?" I laughed and said "yes."



She then looked at Sarah and said "My goodness, you are so grown up! I can't believe how grown up you are from the pictures I have seen of you!" I said "Ree, I think it's the haircut" and Ree gave me and Sarah a big hug and dimpled smile.



Dimples. Ree is definitely working those dimples. Sarah said to Ree "Ree, you are so beautiful" and Ree laughed. As we were leaving, Ree said "It was nice to meet you too, Big Bear" and then we drove home.



When Sarah told Ree she was beautiful, she meant it on many different levels as she explained to me in the car going home. Sarah said "Mom, Ree is so beautiful - on the outside and the inside. She is so gracious and funny and real. I am so happy I came with you tonight. I will never forget this."



We are looking forward to Ree's new book - Black Heels to Tractor Wheels! She wrote the last 49 words of her book in Charlotte. I certainly hope we meet again some day, this was a lot of fun!



Monday, May 10, 2010

Little Girl No More


I look at my baby girl, Sarah, and wonder where all the years have gone.  She is so grown up.  Responsible.  Hard working.  Very funny with an addictive laugh.  Witty.  Smart.  Beautiful.  Compassionate.  A bit stubborn at times.  But overall, the best daughter a mother could ever hope to have.  



We don't pick our children, God does.  He gives us our children, places them in our care, and entrusts us to raise them well, and to love, respect, and honor Him.  Our children - there is no greater gift in this world. 



Little girls are different from little boys.  Having had 3 daughters and 1 son, I know just how different they can be, however, I am a bit apprehensive to assume I know anything about raising a teenage boy going through puberty.  My son, Matthew, is just entering this stage and I am feeling a bit out of my element at times.  But, with Sarah, I have a better idea what to expect, not only from her 2 older sisters having troubled their way through their teenage years, but also from my own personal experience of having been a difficult teenage girl.



Sarah is everything I wish I had been when I was her age, and more. I have had many heart-to-heart talks with her about my own mistakes and growing up, and surprisingly she listens and learns.  Yes, she is only 16 and there are still many tough years ahead of her, but overall, I trust that she has a handle on her life, her goals, and her emotions at this time.  She is grounded - believe it or not.



Can you tell how proud I am of Sarah?  She knows that her grades and everything she does is a reflection of her character and work ethic.  She knows that her high school career and grades will be the foundation for the rest of her academic life and career choice.  We've drilled this into her psych.



Together, Big Bear and I have told her that her high school education is her "job" and her grades are her "paycheck."  We've told her this:

Every "A" on your report card is worth $10,000 in the bank.

Every "B" on your report card is worth $5,000 in the bank.

Every "C" on your report card is worth nothing.

Every "D" on your report card and you have to give back $10,000.

Get an "F" and you start over and lose it all.



In other words, if she were to keep a checkbook register of every grading period report card, every year, and were to calculate each grade as a deposit or deduction, it would probably round out to be about how much she qualifies for in scholarship funds from a college or university.  So, if Sarah wants to go to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Duke, or University of Maryland (which are on her radar at the moment), she needs to understand how much it costs annually to attend these universities and what they expect of her "now" in her high school years to put her on their radar for a potential scholarship.


Yes, I am proud of Sarah.  She has gone from homeschooling to high school seamlessly.  I can't believe she will be starting 11th grade in just a few months.  Where has the time gone?


Well, just last week, Sarah got her hair cut.  I know, so what, right?  Well, let me tell ya, I sat outside in the truck while she got her hair done because I knew she wanted it shorter and more stylish than the long main of hair she grew up with.  But, she wanted this done and I thought it would be easier for her to care for too.  Her dad was in the salon with her.  An hour later (Tom, our stylist, takes his time) Sarah walks out of the salon and I took a double-take.


I started to cry.  She walked in a little girl and walked out looking like a young woman.  My heart was in my hands.  She was smiling from ear-to-ear and looked so beautiful.  I couldn't take my eyes off of her.


Well, just this past Friday, Sarah and I went to Charlotte's Joseph-Beth Booksellers to see Ree Drummond (Story tomorrow) - you all know her - The Pioneer Woman.  When we finally had an opportunity to talk to her, she said to Sarah "My goodness, you are so grown up!  I can't believe how grown up you are from the pictures I have seen of you!"  I said "Ree, I think it's the haircut" and Ree looked at Sarah and gave her a big smile and a hug.  Sarah was so happy that she finally met Ree, and will never forget what Ree said to her.  It was a special time for mother and daughter that day.


Still, my little girl has really grown up this past year - don't you think?


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