Proust Questionnaire

I had to fill out the Proust Questionnaire for a feature in this month’s Moms Club newsletter. And since I just got the father-son camping photos edited and into gallery, I thought I’d go ahead and share my answers for this blog.

Houston & Daddy swim in the lake @ Hanging Rock.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Hanging out at a comfy backwoods locale with my hubby and the boys. We’ve already done a good hike and set up the site. All that remains is devouring our campfire-cooked feast and relaxing under the stars.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Being a yeller. I grew up in a house of yellers, so refraining from that learned behavior takes constant work. I usually succeed, but when I fail, I feel horrible.

What is your greatest extravagance? Getting an occasional full-body massage.

What do you dislike most about your appearance? My weight. Raising 3 boys, I’m probably stronger than I’ve ever been, but unfortunately, all my muscles are cloaked under a big layer of flab.

What is your greatest regret? I’m not really a regrets kind of person. I feel like learning and growing from my mistakes has made me a better person, wife and mother.

Father & son maneuver the water via canoe.

Which talent would you most like to have? Being able to live happily and healthily on 4 hours of sleep a night.

What is your current state of mind? Positive.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? I suppose I would come back as the cat of a doting pet owner. That way, I could snooze my days away and party at night — similar to college, but without the exams and debt.

What is your most treasured possession? My pictures: three-decades’ worth of 35 mm memories housed in photo albums and more recent moments of time captured and living digitally on CD or in iPhoto.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The loss of a child.

Where would you like to live? In the mountains, especially at an altitude where the temp never gets above 85 degrees.

This boy is ready for a hike!

What is your favorite occupation? Freelance writer or blogger, where I get paid to pen my thoughts at my leisure and for an exorbitant amount of money.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Self-reliance.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Same.

What do you most value in your friends? Honesty.

Who are your favorite writers? I don’t have any particular favorites, but I am a nonfiction junkie with a penchant for biographies and political tomes.

Who are your heroes in real life? People who stand up for their principles when the particular position is unpopular.

Waterfalls: the perfect way to cool off from a hike.

What is it that you most dislike? Deception veiled as truth … and drivers who tailgate.

How would you like to die? Any way God wants me to (preferably something quick) and hopefully at a point that I’ve gotten see my boys grow up, get married and get tortured by, I mean, enjoy kids of their own.

What is your motto? One day at a time.

Click the top photo to check out Part 1 pics from Westover’s father-son camping trip, which took place in August. And click the above photo to see Part 2.

3 Peas In A Pod

Here’s a current blog, but old photos from the summer. Yep, I’m still playing catch-up on pics, so thanks for your patience.

Fire safety day

Miss Jessie and I taught the 3 Amigos all about fire safety on 9/29. We reviewed the basics and then did some fire drills. Jessie pumped “smoke” into their bedroom (via a fog machine she borrowed from her church), while I helped them get down low on the floor. Gabriel and Houston each made a mock 911 call to Jessie’s cell phone, telling her the emergency and his full name. (Zeke was freaked out by the smoke, so he didn’t make the practice call.)

As big bro in charge, Houston unlocked and opened the window, and the dudes crawled out to safety. They also got to hear the smoke detectors go off, practiced lots of “stop, drop and roll,” made some construction-paper fire trucks, and were treated to an awesome PowerPoint presentation of fire-safety images that Jessie made (on her own time).

“3 peas in a pod” hang out @ the farm.

Fire station tour

The fire theme continued the next day with a visit to Northeast Fire Department, which I set up as an outing for Moms Club. Only Miss Amy, Daniel and Andrew could make it, but it actually turned out great that so few kids were there ’cause the fire fighters were able to give a more relaxed and hands-on tour with just five (although, extremely excited) boys present.

After assuring Amy and me that “they really can’t break this stuff,” the kids were allowed free rein, climbing on and in every fire and EMT vehicle. They got to spray the fire hose, pull the truck horn, turn cranks, press buttons, wear a fireman’s hat, don fire-resistant gear, look at images through the heat-detection camera, stand on the front of a fire truck and more!

Then we topped things off with lunch and lots of rough-housing at a nearby park with Amy and her boys. She says that Daniel and Houston are BFFs. “He’s my buddy,” concurs Houston.

Brotherly competition

The results are in: Gabriel won the first round of the “diamonds in a jar” competition and chose going on a hike as his upcoming one-on-one time with Daddy. Our outdoor boy picked the hike over going to the comic book store or attending a high school football game. We’re proud of you, Gabe!

Haylie, Houston & Zeke play in the herbs.

And Zeke won the “dream weekend” in the mountains with Granny and Grumps. He was happy and well-behaved, they report, and only started showing signs of homesickness on Sunday. By the time we met them that day for lunch, Zeke was due for a little meltdown, I suppose, and let his contrarian attitude be known. Overall, though, Zeke did a wonderful job on his first solo outing.

Gabriel, on the other hand, was extra whiney and emotional over the weekend. Maybe being at home with constant reminders of twin bro all around was just too much to bear. And Houston really missed Zeke, regularly voicing his concern for the missing bro.

It’ll be interesting to see how different each kid handles the next separation when Gabe gets to spend the weekend at Granny’s. I know it’s healthy to let each big boy have some valuable solo time with loved ones, but they really are three peas in a pod.


Stephen and I began taking the Membership Class at church on 10/2. The six-week program teaches people who think they might want to join Westover as an official member what the church is about (i.e., doctrine essentials vs. non-essentials) and what the church has to offer (learning opportunities, theological discourse, community and global outreach, etc.)

Gabe, Zeke & Savanah reach for the ‘maters.

Our small group will have lunch with the pastor and his wife on 10/30 to allow us the opportunity to get to know them a bit better, as well as ask questions. Upon completion of the class, we will then meet with a few church elders to finally decide if we and Westover are a match. So far, so good.

Solar system day

Miss Jessie handled the execution of this themed day on 10/4. She created (again, on her own time) a beautiful poster-board chart comprised of planet cut-outs, paint, glitter and ribbon-ringed celestial bodies. After reviewing the poster and reading books on the subject, she showed the kids space pics on her laptop, and helped them each craft a “telescope” by drawing on the cardboard middle of an empty paper-towel roll and “planets” by painting cosmic landscapes onto inflated white balloons.

More fire stuff

I took the kids to the “fire fighters and fire engines” story time at the library. They so were so well-behaved for the readings, the group activities and the playtime that I thought we should eat our packed lunch outside on the lawn on this gorgeous fall day. Then the boys got busy collecting huge acorns, which they brought home to our back yard, and then climbing and sitting in a giant old tree (with Mommy’s assistance).

“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV,” Houston explains.

Pumpkins galore

Last Friday, we hit the pumpkin patch at Mount Pisgah Methodist with Moms Club, and were also treated to a visit from Auntie Merdy and Uncle Greg, who attend that church. Other than the scare of Gabriel getting way too close to the busy road to check out a traffic sign — one of his new passions — the gang had a blast picking out small pumpkins and gourds while playing amongst the rows of festive veggies and mounds of acorns.

From there, the Moms Club posse headed for my favorite park, where the kids painted and put stickers on their pumpkins, frolicked in the warm sunshine, and ate Halloween cookies and snacks. Another awesome autumn outing!

Bikes & baseball 

Late last week, Houston pulled off his first trek all the way around the block without any assistance. And then he accomplished the feat again with Alyssa over the weekend. Zeke and Gabriel are making great strides with the trike. I’m sure they’ll be taking off on solo rides before we know it.

We pose w/ “pretty Pat” after the twins’ final speech therapy.

Houston confidently caught three ground balls and hit like a champ at his t-ball game on Saturday, says Daddy. His skills have come a long way in such a short period, and little bros are following close behind, especially with their throwing and aiming abilities. All that time Daddy spends playing ball with the 3 Amigos is really paying off.


Also last weekend, Stephen, the boys, Alyssa and I made a make-shift sandbox by using rip rap as the border, instead of wood. We have a surplus of the big rocks from past yard work, and I figured that if it worked for our campfire ring, why not for this project? Plus, the dudes had taken a liking to digging muddy holes in the berm of one of our backyard trees, so why not give ’em what they were craving? The sandbox is holding up pretty well thus far and the kids couldn’t be happier.


Click the top image to check out our Moms Club outing to Faucette Farms back in July; the Houston-as-doc picture to view the July gallery; and the above photo to see the August shots.