Since my last Fisk family blog post, Christmas happened:
And there were trains:
And then we rang in the New Year at the loveliest lake ever (and in Clemson Tigers territory, no less), with friends Alec McLeod and Michael Williamson (pictured below), and Amy and Steve Ross (not pictured, since they came with their fur-baby Abby, after the photo shoot was over). We had so much fun that we’re thinking: a new New Year’s tradition?
Being Fisks, we decided to take a spur-of-the-moment road trip for my birthday (January 11th). We drove to Florida, because we wanted to personally thank Frank James of Lone Star Jewelry and Pawn for refusing to sell guns until meaningful gun control laws are passed. Being Fisks, we neglected to call to make sure he wouldn’t still be closed for the holidays. Arina, below, is highlighting the fact that . . . he was indeed still closed for the holidays.
But, being Fisks, we laughed; spent a lovely time at Madeira Beach instead; and mailed Frank James a packet of thank-you cards and donations when we got back home.
Much fun was had in February and March: one memorable event was a girls’ day out with Paula Feldman that involved visiting a sea turtle hospital in Charleston, SC and shopping for the necklace worn in the annual Fisk Family Easter photo, below:
As always, Easter was festive: filled with Fisk cousins, lots of Easter eggs, and new, bright spring clothes:
And we just arrived home after spending a fabulous weekend with our friend, Dr. Roger Ray and his congregation in Springfield Missouri. We joke that we have to drive 15 hours to find a church that’s progressive enough for us. But what a church it is!
We were scheduled to arrive in time to serve food to homeless, runaway teenagers and street youth. Being Fisks, we were late. Our conversation, through texts, with Roger:
Roger: “Remember: I’m counting on you and Scott to help serve dinner tonight to runaway teenagers.”
Me to Roger, b/c we’re running late: “Say a long prayer?”
Roger: “I’m picking up the food at 5:00.”
Scott to Roger: “Can we help you with your flat tire? nudge/nudge/wink/wink”
I remain convinced that Scott made us late on purpose, because ever since I read an article a couple of years ago (about New York City’s homeless LGBT youth population), I’ve been trying to talk him into adopting a homeless teenager (e.g. “But we have a spare bedroom!”; “But we’d have someone to help us with Jack and Arina!”; etc.). Roger confirmed that, as in NYC, a large number of Springfield’s homeless teenagers have been turned away from home, because of their sexuality.
Although we missed serving, we were able to tour the Rare Breed facility in Springfield, a safe house for youth in need. One of the highlights was talking to a young man, now in his 20s and working there, after finding it as a disconnected teen himself. Rare Breed has earned a spot on the Fisk’s donation list for sure.
We enjoyed a fabulous dinner, drinks and company at Springfield Brewery, and then breakfast at Roger’s house, before the next big church event: clean up at a local lake! Arina and Roger tag teamed the lake cleanup, while Scott, Jack and I worked together. I think Roger and Arina won, filling up the most bright orange trash bags. Jack and I picked up trash, walked across piers, and kept asking Scott to take our photo:
We lunched, played and shopped in Branson. Well, Roger, Scott, Arina and Jack played; I shopped! There was a Romantic/Victorian-inspired clothing store (called The Secret Garden for goodness sake); hence, I spent all my time and too much of Scott’s money there, while Roger and Arina rode go-carts . . .
. . . and Jack rode: a train!
Then: the kids’ (and Scott’s) first ever Dixie Stampede experience! Arina, horse-lover that she is, was mesmerized the entire time. She stared open-mouthed, at the show, and barely touched her plate. Scott, comedian that he is, thoroughly enjoyed himself as well; he laughed at all the jokes, although his favorite was Roger’s explanation of why we were sitting on the Northern, rather than Southern, side. For those unfamiliar with the Dixie Stampede, it’s:
“essentially a modern-day Wild West revue, pitting sections of the audience against each other in a good-natured way as ‘the South’ and ‘the North’ battle to win various horse riding competitions.”
Apparently, Roger specifically requested to be on the Northern side, because:
“Even if we won as ‘the South,’ I’d still feel bad.”
Jack’s experience? As Roger said afterward, it was “about six horses and eight too many pigs for Jack.” In other words, he loved it — except for the last 20 minutes or so. Then, after each act, he’d clap and say, “Yay! It’s time to go now.”
We had a lovely time at church on Sunday: we were charmed by everyone we met, and I got to wear my new dress! And, yes: it is called the Titantic dress, and it is *very* Downton Abbey.
Thanks to Roger and friends for taking such good care of us all weekend. We had a blast, and I came home to the best kind of new Facebook friend requests.
And now for some Arina-isms, for those of you not on Facebook:
1) Arina: “Somebody needs to wash clothes! I haven’t had pajamas to wear in three days!”
Me, warningly: “Arina . . .” [she has strict instructions *not* to point out what a sh*t show of a mother I am].
Arina: “What? Somebody could be Nana.”
2) For Christmas, Arina’s 3rd grade class drew names. A. had to get a gift for a girl classmate named Erin, who isn’t nice to her.
A.: “I’d like to get her a rock, Mom. Thanks.”
3) I read The Elf on the Shelf book and was careful to emphasize the following line: “There’s only one rule that you have to follow / so I will come back and be here tomorrow: / Please do not touch me. My magic might go, / and Santa won’t hear all I’ve seen or I know.”
A. to Scott: “So, Dad: if I wear gloves, I wouldn’t really be touching the elf, right?”
4) Arina, on the Christmas Eve homily:
Scott: “So, what was the homily about?”
A.: “I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.”
S.: “What if they had given you a test?”
A.: “I would have failed.”
5) Me to Arina, as I was brushing her hair: “I don’t like your hair down, now that it’s longer, but I really like it pulled back. You look like a ballerina. Or a supermodel.”
A. to me: “I don’t like my hair pulled back, but I like it down. Because I look like a wild girl who could live in the jungle.”
6) A. had been saving her allowance and asked to spend it. I logged onto the Amazon toy store, typed in her amount, and told her to have fun.
This is what she picked:
7) Scott: “How was school today, Arina?”
A.: “Someone kicked me.”
S.: “What did you do?”
A.: “Uh . . . I kicked her back.”
S.: “You know that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Did she tell on you?”
A.: “Nope — because I told on her first, after I kicked her back.”
8) Jack: “Arina had to sit in timeout at school!”
Me: “Why did you have to sit in timeout, Arina?”
A.: “Because I accidentally spit in someone’s eye.”
Me, exasperated: “How could you accidentally spit in someone’s eye?”
A.: “I meant to just spit in her face.”
9) Me: “Arina, last night I dreamed that you drove Ms. Dale so crazy that I had to take you out of school and home-school you.”
A.: “Yep. I dream that all the time.”
10) Me: “Arina, clean your room.”
A.: “Who’s coming over tomorrow?”
Me: “No one.”
A.: “Oh. So, I’m just doing this for fun.”
Me: “Is cleaning your room fun?”
A.: “No. Not my idea of fun. I meant your idea of fun.”
11) We do *not* have dog poop in our house (all our dogs are trained), but Jack is obsessed with the idea that we *could* have dog poop in the house.
J.: “I smell dog poop!”
Me: “Will you find it and clean it up for me?”
J.: “But — no!”
Me: “Whoever finds it, cleans it.”
Arina, to me: “Is that the rule?”
Arina, to Jack: “We won’t be cleaning it then, b/c we’ll just never ‘find’ it.”
12) Arina: “Hey, Mom: if you come to check on me tonight, be careful of the rope that runs across the bottom of my door.”
13) Me to Scott: “So, when Arina gets her driver’s license, we’ll give her my car, and I’ll get a new one?”
Scott: “We’ve put almost 50,000 miles on your car in less than 2 years; we’ll be lucky if it’s still running 8 years from now.”
A.: “Oh, I can fix it. Because I’m a girl.”
14) Me to Arina: “You need to be kind to Ms. Dale tomorrow.”
A.: “Okay. I won’t make her yell.”
15) Bad news? A.’s first trip to the Principal’s office.
Offense? She locked all the stalls in the girls’ bathroom [from the inside and then crawled underneath the doors].
Good news, according to A.? “I told you I wouldn’t make Ms. Dale yell today, and she didn’t! She just did this [here, she demonstrated an eye roll heavenward and a heavy sigh].”
1) Jack dropped his toothbrush between the sink and the upstairs water heater.
Scott: “Jack — you dropped your toothbrush.”
Jack: “You will get my toothbrush, Dad. Your hand is strong.”
2) Jack: “I want mac & cheese!”
30 minutes later . . . when Alec presents homemade mac & cheese:
Jack: “No! I want mac & cheese! This NOT mac & cheese!”
Me: “Dude: it’s us. Our kids only know Easy Mac.”
3) Jack decided to pour a scoop full of chicken feed in his diaper. Then, he started crying and yelling, “I have corn on my penis!”
4) Jack: “I want to go to McBee.”
Me: “We’re not going to McBee this weekend. We’re going to the circus on Saturday, and to MeMe’s on Sunday.”
Jack: “And then we can go to McBee.”
Me: “You’ll have to ask Nana and Pop about that.”
Jack: “I already asked them.”
Me, knowing that he hasn’t: “Oh yeah? What did they say?”
Jack: “They said ‘sure.'”
5) Jack’s new thing: watching train toy reviews on youtube.
Train toy reviewer (a middle-aged adult male): “You’ll see that the wheels on this toy train should be rated 7 out of 10.”
Scott to train toy reviewer: “Dude. Time to get a girlfriend.”
6) Scott: “Jack: you were in timeout, b/c I told you not to touch the box, and you touched it anyway.”
Jack: “But it has m&ms!”
Scott: “No means no.”
Jack: “But it has CHOCOLATE!”
7) Jack: “Somebody needs to play my trains with me.”
Me: “I’m working, Jack. Go see Daddy.”
J.: “But he’s way downstairs!”
Me: “You can go downstairs.”
J.: “But I can’t. It’s too far. You better say, ‘Scott! You need to play Jack’s trains!'” [as he impersonates me yelling from top to bottom floor].
8) Jack, pointing to an orange: “Can I have that apple?”
Me: “It’s not an apple, Jack. It’s an orange.”
Jack: “Can I have that orange apple?”
9) Nana was in Holly Hill, watching Jack, while I worked. Jack wanted to go to McBee. I overheard the following conversation:
Jack to Nana: “I want to go outside!”
Nana: “We’ll go play in the backyard.”
Jack: “No. I want to go to your car outside.”
10) Two favorite Jack moments from the Missouri trip = (1) when he insisted on sleeping with a package of Lance peanut butter crackers; and (2) when he protested and/or cried for most of the way home from the Dixie Stampede, because Scott wouldn’t buy him a green lawn chair that he saw at Wal-Mart.
Scott: “He’s such a WEIRD kid.”