What's Up, April?

It is time for the April recap -- it seems like we just did What's Up, March and now we are less than a month from the end of school! 

What I'm reminiscing about: Someone's fourteenth anniversary is today! (It's us.) We celebrated a few weeks ago at Old Black Bear, so today it is just your usual day of kid activities and work. But I did want to send a shout out to that special guy out there. Happy anniversary, Marco.

My friend asked me on Facebook if I had two dresses and confession: I did. It was my one Bridezilla moment in a wedding that was pretty chill. It was more out of a practical need but I won't lie, having two gowns was fun (and I liked my second better). Our reception was in an inn full of antiques and I would have a difficult time walking around in a full skirt. So I changed to a slip dress that I found for a steal at a formalwear store going out of business. 

Yes, my eyes are closed but it is such a good picture of our cake.

 Ceremony gown -- it was poofier than it looks.

It is also the fifth anniversary of the devastating tornados that ravaged the Southeast. To read my account of that day: April 27, 2011.

What we're eating: The weather is nicer so we are grilling out a lot. Oh who am I kidding, we grill in the snow. The Engineer is trying to be heart healthy and eat less red meat so we grilled lemon pepper chicken and pork chops this weekend. I have the easiest and tastiest pork chop marinade for you courtesy of my sister-in-law:

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Boom. Use it as a marinade or dipping sauce and I promise you won't regret it.

What I'm loving: Our fresh mulch and that everything is green again.

I am not a big fan of my house and my grass being the same beige color scheme.

This was AFTER we mulched all the beds. We might have over-estimated. We ended up giving mulch to three different neighbors.

The first bloom for the double knockouts is always the prettiest.

We had to pull down our climbing vine that covered this entire wall. It was overgrown and too long on the top and completely sparse on the bottom. 

I have to go back to the drawing board on this bed. It was beautiful when the vines covered the whole wall but it should not take long for them to grow back again -- the growth above? I planted them one year ago this month and they were two feet tall.

Fletcher decided that the vines were a tasty snack. He is so weird.

What we've been up to:  Baseball and birthdays. The birthday party Sunday was a skating party for our neighbor and I admit, those are my favorite. I love to skate and I was rolling with the second grade homies Sunday, and then woke up the next day barely able to move. I was so sore. Turns out I am not eleven anymore.

Big had a double header this weekend, playing for his team and then playing up for his basketball coach's baseball team. We have had challenges with this season that I have talked about before -- Big getting a handle on his frustration and his temper, and his working on being a leader and a team player. He is a natural leader and the other boys look up to him but that bears some responsibility and sometimes when he strikes out and is so frustrated, he loses sight of the big picture. And he loses his temper. He is so hard on himself, but we are lucky to have awesome coaches who are helping us work through this.

Trampoline party, Team Skelley on Instagram

What I'm working on: I interviewed the local chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders yesterday. They give escorts for military funerals, returning service members and patriotic events -- I am sure you have seen them on the news. They provide a valuable and meaningful service and I am honored to write about them. 

What I'm dreading: I am expecting bad news at my next dentist appointment. It has been a year since my last crown and I have an aching tooth so I am probably due.

What I'm excited about: Two words: Civil War. I think our whole family is excited that Captain America: Civil War is out May 6.

What I'm watching: You know the answer to this. Game of Thrones is back! These hilarious (and heavy on the spoilers) Memes from Sunday's ep made me laugh.

What I'm reading: I just finished Mhairi McFarlane's newest book, Who's That Girl?  and it was everything I wanted it to be. Her books are such that you cannot sit and read one while longing on the couch watching TV with kids running to and fro. You have to concentrate or you will miss one of her turns of phrase, or a gem hidden in dialogue, which is the very epitome of droll. What I would give to be as witty as a McFarlane character, in my writing or just life in general. McFarlane's books dance along the line of glib, but then deliver a gut-punch which elevates them above chick lit, which honestly is not always a positive category. More tart than sweet but with a heart big enough to make you care about the characters.

Synopsis: What’s the one thing you DON’T do at a wedding?

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

My verdict: five out of five basset hounds:
 imageimageimage imageimage
Check out my  Goodreads page for more reviews.

What I'm listening to: The answer to this is always Steely Dan. I am never not listening to Steely Dan.

What I'm wearing: I had a Dorothy Spornak look going yesterday because I have had an upset stomach for the past few days and I could not bear to wear anything tight fitting to work. So it was very caftan-esque.

Since today is the first day in two weeks that I have have had no events or interviews, I am blessedly not in dress clothes today. It's a writing day and I am tackling my assignments for our Memorial Day special issue. 

I cannot say enough good things about Zella Knee Fit shorts. They are comfy and figure-flattering, win-win.

I am still rolling on with my goal to paint my finger nails, even when typing and yard work make them a hot mess. Today: 

I received my first shoe fix from Stitch Fix this month and they hit it out of the park!

Excuse the dog hair. #lifewithabassethound

These Franco Sarto are so comfortable. I wore them Monday to work, a parent volunteer meeting and then to the trampoline birthday party and my feet never hurt. Loving the new offerings. If you are interested in Stitch Fix: My Review.

What I'm doing this weekend: Another roller skating birthday party! I need to start stretching now. We are also feeding the youth group at church so I have to figure something out. I am leaning toward Costco croissant sandwiches. Also, I am going out to interview a vintage baseball team, The Redcaps. It's going to be a lot of fun.

What I'm looking forward to next month: May is going to be huge. Mother's Day, Big's twelfth birthday paintball party -- and his last day of elementary school. I feel like that is momentous. He brought home his last set of school pictures yesterday. I know I am the epitome of biased but I think they are both cuties.

These two.

What else is new? Well, my MacBook is burning the top of my legs right now so I think I might have an overheating sitch again. Last time this happened Apple told me that it was stuffed with dog hair. O_o

Bonus question for April: What is your favorite Mother's Day gift to give or receive?

That's a good one! Mother's Day is one of two days of the year that I put up my feet and do jack. No laundry, no dinner, nada. I might go see a girlie movie that no one wants to see except me. It's glorious. The gift that I like to give is that I always take my mom out to lunch, just the girls. I am already planning this year's excursion.

Thanks for dropping by! I would love for you to leave a comment and introduce yourself. If you want to read more about this motley crew of hooligans that is Team Skelley, check out the About Us or the vast array of gold social media buttons at the top of the page that I am proud of because I coded them myself (the rest of the blog I left up to the professionals at Designer Blogs who knew what they were doing).  Have a super cool day.

Joining in with my gal Mel over at:

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Prince, 1958-2016

I had been cobbling together a Friday Faves post that I immediately scrapped when the news broke yesterday that Prince had died. One of the main reasons that I started writing the blog seven years ago was to capture moments in our lives and record personal snapshots of important events. I was a sociology major -- analyzing the facets of society on a micro and macro level is what we do. When you are discussing the music of my generation, it does not get any more important -- more influential -- than Prince.

If you want to see the quintessential example of Prince's musicianship, watch this all-star clip from George Harrison's memorial concert. Even amongst musical legends, he was truly one-of-a-kind. What level of talent do you have to possess to stand out in THIS crowd:

Aside: Harrison's son is the spitting image of him.

I don't always connect to sermons or preaching, to put it bluntly. The interpretation of God's word by man is always going to have flaws. But I am never closer to God than when I am in song, and beautiful music has always been my reassurance that there is a higher power. I don't think there is any better example of that than Prince, his talent and the incredible body of work that he created. James Corden said it so much better than I in his tribute to Prince on The Late Late Show: "What a thing to have been alive when Prince was making music. We are all incredibly lucky."

"Everyone has their own experience. That's why we are here, to go through our experience, to learn, to go down those paths and eventually you may have gone down so many paths and learned so much that you don't have to come back again." 

Prince, 1958-2016


A Day in the Life | 2016

I linked up a Day in the Life from January 2014 for Show and Tell Tuesday at Momfessionals, musing that life had not changed much since then other than Baxter no longer being with us. But after thinking about it, life is different for Team Skelley in 2016. We are almost to the end of Big Kid's elementary school career and instead of just beginning hers -- as she was in the last Day in the Life -- Little is finishing up her third year in grade school. She also is doing new things, switching from soccer to softball, giving up dance and learning the keyboard.

So I picked yesterday to document. I like doing these every once in awhile so one day we can look back at this snapshot of our lives right now.

6:30: Let's do this.

I roll out of bed in the guest room not because we have permanently taken to different bedrooms but simply because the pollen is out of control and my husband is an Olympic-caliber snorer. Also, I am an incredibly light sleeper which was a good quality when the kids were little, but not conducive to  a good night sleep sometimes. The Engineer has a CPAP but cannot wear it while his head is stuffed up. I had escaped any allergy suffering until Tuesday morning when I woke up feeling like something was squeezing the top of my head. Even the dog's eyes are watering.

I jump in the shower while M. feeds the kids and dog. Then he is off to work and I pack their lunch and we take off on our walk to school with the neighborhood crew.

On the way back, the other parents and I discuss this article that my neighbor posted on Facebook: Raising Awareness about Electric Shock Drowning. A child just died from this close by last weekend. My neighbor and I are from the same hometown and she owns a lake home back there. Very scary and something we all need to be aware of when swimming around docks.

When I get back, I take out the recycling, clean up the house and finish getting ready for work. The first difference from the last Day in the Life: I no longer make the kids' beds on weekdays. I still make ours because come on, we aren't animals. I head back to my happy place for a second cup of fuel.

After checking my social media/blog list/personal email, I scramble up some eggs with salsa before starting my day. Yum.

It is a beautiful morning so I start my work day on the patio, with my faithful assistant. I need to knock out my todo list before my interview. Two red birds are frolicking in the yard but they fly away before I can snap a photo. I love working from home.

Sometimes in these Day in the Life posts, I have noticed that bloggers like to post about their Supermom days -- the days in which everything is firing on all cylinders. Not me. I promised myself I would be honest in this post so I will say that soon after I took this, he moseys out in the yard and proceeds to eat poop. At that point, I run inside to grab the tabasco sauce to pour on it -- a tip from our vet. He stalks off.

After that debacle, I head to the Auto Skills Center on post to interview their new manager, who is a lady (very cool). Her name is Kate Kelly. Yes, Katie Skelley is interviewing Kate Kelly. Even our middle initials are the same. We got a kick out of that. Keeping it real #2: I mixed up the day for this assignment. I am supposed to meet Kate tomorrow. I have not goofed up an interview date in more than three years but of course I do it the one time that I am documenting my day. Luckily she was understanding and we went ahead and knocked out the interview photo since our staff photographer has a conflict tomorrow.

Since I was on post, I stop by the Arts & Crafts Center to follow up on a request and then I head back home to write the rough draft to my story on National Prescription Take Back Day, which is April 30. Did you know that scientists have found that fish in Puget Sound are high on drugs? Don't flush your old drugs down the toilet friends, or our fish will start to resemble the three-eyed fish on the Simpsons.


Turkey pasta with veggie noodles. I know it sounds lame but it is seriously so good.

This is usually when I would knock out laundry but I am actually on top of it for once. The only thing on the laundry agenda is Big Kid's uniform for his baseball game tomorrow (which I then to forget to wash, keeping it real #3). I change into some workout clothes to do yard work before our mulch arrives this weekend. This year, the high school football team is selling mulch as a fundraiser. Our good friends and neighbors' (Rocky Hound's family) son plays football and we were happy to support him and the team - especially if I don't have to spread mulch. So I dig weeds and prep the beds, which includes trimming all of those little fronds at the base of my crepe myrtles. I hate these little buggers.

 I decide to make a quick run to the garden nursery. I look like this:

Because the temp is this:

What happened to spring? I think we skipped it.

A little reading and a Zone Bar snack and Fletch and I walk out to meet the kids, chit chat with my friend for a few minutes and give Rocky a head scratch. The kids usually do not have any activities on Wednesday night so they chillax while I finish working in the yard. My double knock out roses are looking good --

My tea roses are not. The rose bush in the back has become a tasty treat for some pesky aphids. I waited too long to treat them, which is what I picked up earlier at the garden center. I trim them back, treat them and say a little gardening prayer. At this point Big sweet talks me into playing catch in the yard, which we do until I overthrow the ball (doh) and it lands in the creek lining our neighborhood. Big wanted to fish it out but he is wearing flip flops and it is a pretty steep incline to the creek bed. Luckily, my neighbor saves the day and goes down after the ball. Thanks, Dave!

About that time, the Engineer pulls up from work. Now that he is back to hang with Little, Big and I hit the Y for some cardio. He tells me that I need to do arms tonight because my arms are flabby. Kids are always so unfailingly honest. On the way home, we pick up take out dinner which probably negates the workout that I just did. Since I have church choir on Wednesday evenings, it is usually our one fast food takeout night a week. We rotate around from Chick Fil A to Five Guys to Zaxbys. I try to eat a small portion so I don't totally undo all of my work at the gym. Big will hoover up the leftovers. #bottomless pit

Tonight: Wendy's

Chicken sandwich with fries and a strawberry lemonade. I stopped drinking soda more than a year ago, other than the occasional treat and I was surprised to find that I did not miss it. Most of the time. The Engineer sits out the Wendy's meal because he went out for lunch and is on a diet -- he has already lost 11 lbs. in two months! I am very proud and slightly jealous. Although this chicken sandwich was so good that he said that if he had known about it, he would have ordered one. I am usually one that slathers everything in sauce but it tasted so good that I ate it plain. That never happens.

Then somehow dinner became dinner and a show:

A couple of goofballs. Keeping it real #4523: We have a chalkboard on our kitchen pantry door where I keep the day's schedule and menu. Yup, completely forgot to do that today.

I head to church while The Engineer is on Dad duty. Our kids are older now so they can take care of their own bed and bath routine. But they still seem to need a teeth brushing and musical instrument practicing reminder. Big is in the middle of standardized testing this week so no homework for him and he heads over to his bestie's house while his sister works on her usual reading and math.

Time for Chancel Choir. Even though we are in the heart of suburbia, this little shortcut to our church always reminds me of my hometown in Tennessee.

My fellow choir mates would probably beat me with a stick if I tried to take their picture at practice, so I did not include one of them, although they are awesome and I love them all. We run through our songs for the next couple of months which includes the Armed Forces Medley for Memorial Day weekend. I love singing the Armed Forces Medley. #alto

I'm home! I roll out the garbage for pick up and head upstairs to lay out the kids' clothes, chill in the rec room with Mr. Skelley and catch up on our DVR. We don't have much stored but never fear, Game of Thrones starts this weekend. I have my face-hiding pillow ready.

And I am back downstairs to wash my face and eat a snack. I don't know about you but I cannot sleep hungry. And if I don't eat a healthy bedtime snack, I am usually up eating an unhealthy midnight snack. Cereal and blueberries are usually my goto evening snack but I know that you are probably tired of looking at my food so no picture. I say goodnight to the husband who usually conks out before me because I am a night owl. And I realize that I did not take his picture at all today, but it would be bad form and a little TMI to do it when he is in the bed.

I then try to repair all the damage to my manicure that I did in the yard today.

OPI Toodle-loo to Blues: I received it and two other shades free for making a donation to Doris Day Animal Foundation. Helping animals AND free nail polish? Win-win.

11-ish: Lights are out! It was a good day.

If you are over from Momfessionals, welcome! Thanks for peeking in a typical Team Skelley day in the Rocket City.