Monday, December 31, 2007

TRIVIA!!!

I love, love, love trivia. In fact, I have filled my brain with so much useless knowledge over the years, that it's getting so full that I can't fit in everyday things anymore. I can't seem to remember to wipe my kids' noses or brush my own teeth some days, but if you asked me something like "What was the first video ever played on MTV?" I would know that the answer is: Video Killed the Radio Star. See? Useless. But I love it. So I bought this book called Imponderables: Answers to the Most Perplexing and Amusing Mysteries of Everyday Life by David Feldman and it is so cool. It doesn't have much pop culture information, which I love, so I'll have to go elsewhere for that, but it's still a fun book. My plan is this: I'll share a useless bit of trivia with you every day in the hopes that sharing the information will somehow free it from my brain, therefore making space for more necessary business. I'll try to post one daily...unless that too, slips my mind.
Ok, so here's the first one. Not because I think this is the most interesting tidbit I've ever happened upon, but because you gotta start somewhere.

Q: Who put E on top of the eye chart and why?
A: Professer Herman Snellen replaced the original topper, A, because the amount of white space between each of the three parallel lines of the letter E are equal, thus making it a more fair measuring tool to determine how accurately a person was able to see. If you have poor eyesight, there's a greater chance of the E morphing into an F, P, B or an A, making it more obvious that you are misreading the letter.

Ref: Imponderables, by David Feldman






Diary of a Bad Mommy (Volume 4)

I was so productive it was almost scary last week. We had bags upon bags of luggage, presents and laundry from our round trip to Oklahoma. After a day of complete rest (sloth) on Christmas Day, I woke the next day with an unshakable resolve to clean my house from top to bottom. It took almost one whole day just to unpack and get the laundry to a point where we could walk into the closet without climbing a mountain of underwear. The next day was Cleaning Day. I began with dusting and followed with bleach, Soft Scrub, and toilet cleaners. I got the vacuum out of the toy closet and went to work. As I came down the hall, I noticed I had left the closet door open. I hate doors left open. So, I shut the door and resumed my vacuuming fervor. I had completed all but Rhett's room, where he was sleeping, so I decided to take a short break. I came in and sat with Avery for a bit. We had been chatting about magic tricks and how Santa had, in short, ripped her off this year, when I asked her where her sister was. "Upstairs," she said. I assumed she was right, but after a minute, decided I should probably check on her. After all, she is two years old and can find trouble just about anywhere. "REESE!" I called to her from the bottom of the stairs. No answer. I went to her room. Nope, not there. I checked Rhett's room, ready to throttle her if she was in there waking up her baby brother, as she does so very often when I'm busy. Not there either. I called for her as I walked from room to room and thought I could hear a small cry. Upstairs. Ok, she is up there, just wouldn't answer. Typical. I run upstairs to tell her she needs to always answer Mommy. Except that she isn't upstairs. Hmmmm....the small cry again. Where in the world can she be? I checked my closet. No. I start to panic just a bit. Where in the world can she be????

And then, my heart falls into my feet as it hits me. The closet door, left open after I removed the vacuum. The toy closet. Oh no, please don't let her be in there...please, please, please....

Oh, God love her. She was stuck in the closet for at least 15 minutes, if not longer. Bless her little heart.
Oh, Baby, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I left you in here and didn't even notice you were missing until I finished vacuuming. I'm so sorry you are still sitting here, scared and miserable, while I take your picture. I'm going to pick you up and snuggle you right now. Wait, one more.

"Mother, please. Please pick me up and love on me. I'm scared and alone and I need you to snuggle me." Ok, sweetie. Mommy is sooo sorry. You can have all the candy and sweets you want today. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. And I'm adding $1000 to your adult therapy account right now. Did I mention that I was sorry?

After this heart-wrenching incident, you'd think I would be on full alert all day, never wavering in my duties as mother. You'd think I wouldn't let one of them out of my sight for even a second. You'd think.

But look at this one. I can't even pay attention to him long enough to get him a dadgum Kleenex. Please don't call Child Protective Services. I really do try. And I promise, my New Year's Resolution is to become Mother of the Year next year. Ok, maybe not Mother of the Year. But at least maybe Mother of the Day. One day. Ok, really, it's just going to be Mother-Who-Doesn't-Neglect-Her-Children. No more locked closets. No more snotty noses. Ok, well, no more locked closets. I promise. I think. I'll try. That's it. My New Year's Resolution is "I'll Try." And I will. I promise. I think.






































































Saturday, December 29, 2007

Little Brothers

Little brothers are soooo irritating. They invite themselves into girl play dates and slumber parties. They want to read your books and play with your toys, breaking most of them in the process. They come in your room, uninvited and look at all your important, grown-up stuff. They smack their cereal. They smell funny. Little brothers don't understand girl stuff at all. They would just as soon use your fabulous gold belt that is the only one that fits into your Jordache belt loops as a rope to hog tie your other brother. Brothers play too rough. They do strange things like hooking your hands and feet into your panties so that you are stuck like a turtle on it's back. They know just the right thing to say to send you to your room, sobbing. (Something like, "What's up, Skinny?" when they know you are trying to lose weight) Basically, they are just boys. And boys are bothersome.

But every now and again, a big sister finds that her little brothers actually are good for something. Like when you pull your calf muscle playing Wii and you have TWO brothers, a coach and an EMT who know what to do. Or when you are re-doing a table and your little brother can tell you all the little tricks to make it look right. And, when you want to have a shake-it-down good time, you have two fun brothers to shake it down with. Or, when you are two years old and you need to be able to see the TV. Your little brother's bottom is the perfect height.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Judge Judy

I love Judge Judy. Maybe it's because I enjoy watching people argue. Maybe it's because I enjoy watching her humiliate people for bringing senseless lawsuits to the court system. I also like it that there is a clear cut solution to the problem that people can't question. Whatever the reasons, I love it. But yesterday, I had a problem. The case was about some vandalism that some drunks did to a guy's car. Of course, Judy gave them the business about being drunk and out and about at 1:00 a.m. and doing stupid things. As she should have. But the last thing she said to the girls involved in the case really got me. She said "There is nothing more unattractive than a woman who drinks." Not gets drunk, but drinks. She also said "A drunk man is unattractive as well, but there is absolutely NOTHING worse than a woman who drinks and can't control her mouth."

Yikes, Judy. That seems a bit harsh. Not that I'm taking it personally. I mean, sure I may drink from time to time, but it's not like I'm ever unattractive when I'm drinking. I'm sure I always control my mouth and I feel 99.9% sure that I am always at my best and never say anything inappropriate or hurt anyone's feelings when I drink. I never overindulge and therefore, never engage in any activities which cause anyone else pain or embarrassment. I know that my makeup always looks flawless and I never dance to the point that I'm sweaty and disgusting. And I've never done anything to hurt my own reputation or embarrass myself and my family. So, as you can see, I disagree with Judy's comments. I think this is the first time I've ever disputed anything she said. Oh sure, there have been times when I thought she was too harsh, but this time, I just flat out thought she was wrong. There are women who can pull off drinking. I happen to think I'm one of them. Most of my family members are also able to pull it off quite gracefully.



And, if you know me at all, you know that you better be wearing boots when you read that last paragraph because it's complete B.S.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Presents!

NOTE: I am having some trouble with the formatting of this post, obviously. I've been working on it since 9:00 and my kids are mad and I'm frustrated, so sorry for the mess.
We all know that Christmas is a celebration of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a time to honor his birth and remember the tremendous sacrifice he made for all of us. (Disclaimer: While I hold true my Christian roots and beliefs, and honestly, truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, I am in no way claiming to be a good Christian girl, living the way Jesus wants me to believe. I attend church sporadically and sin on an hourly basis. So, if you go back and read posts about my boobs or drinking or saying naughty words, please don't send me emails calling me a hypocrite because I already told you I was one. I just believe it is my duty to introduce my children to the basics of Christianity so maybe they can one day save my wretched soul.)
I reminded my oldest daughter that we were celebrating Jesus' birthday several times in the weeks preceding Christmas. She attends a Christian pre-school and they spend a fair amount of time discussing the importance of Jesus during this holiday season as well.
But who are we kidding? When you are 4 years old, Christmas is all about the presents. And boy, did we get presents.










This is the calm before the storm at Grammy's house.





And here we go....it got much worse, but I had to put the camera down and run.

I think Reese was the most excited. She went nuts over everyone's gifts. In fact, she had a hard time opening her own because she was so happy watching everyone else open theirs.



Look at her little face. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?
Besides Jesus, I mean.



She got tons of Dora stuff and a purse and jewelry and lip gloss from her cousin, Cash. She went nuts!




Have I ever mentioned how adorable I think she is?









I think it's safe to say that JD was the least excited. Poor baby, he just didn't understand why everyone got cool toys and his Aunt Dodi gave him a lame sweatsuit. I vow not to buy my nieces and nephews anymore clothes on Christmas
or birthdays unless their mother asks me to. And even then, I'm not so sure.


Avery told me that she was most excited about the magic kit her daddy got her, which I did not get a picture of because I was so mesmerized by the show. She loves to be the center of attention and make everyone go "ooohhh" and "aaaahhh". I wonder where she gets that?
Rhett got mostly clothes. Luckily, he is too little to know any different. His mommy told everyone that's what he needed more than anything, since he is 7 months old and wears sizes 12-18 months and is growing so rapidly, he'll be in a 2T before the New Year. But these John Deere boots had to be the hit of the evening.


Look at my little Sub-Urban Cowboy, kicked back with a bottle, wearing nothing but his underpants. Let's hope that's the only time he's ever photographed in this situation.




My favorite gift were the fancy-schmancy wine glasses my sister-in-law, Emily, gave me. They are from Pier 1 and they are red and they are gorgeous and they make me want to drink wine. Is it too early for that? I have two sick kids who are whiney and won't let me accomplish any chores today anyway. Does that make it ok? Oh, come on, people. Live a little. Even Jesus drank wine.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas is Over

I don't know whether to be relieved or sad. I woke up this morning, more rested than I've been in weeks, yet still exhausted. I had gone to bed with big plans of cleaning and organizing toys today, but all I really want to do is lay around in bed and pretend it's still a holiday. I can't believe it's really over. And I guess I'm not sad. It just feels, I don't know, weird. Maybe because this is the first time ever I've been in my own house the day after Christmas. We came home from Oklahoma on Christmas Eve. Now, that day, I was sad. Avery and I were NOT ready to come home. We wanted to be home, but only if we could load everyone up in the car and bring them with us. It felt lonely to be leaving everyone just as Christmas began. And we were starting the long drive home to an empty house. I think it was safe to say that Avery and I both were in need of some extra loving that day. We waited until the last possible minute to leave Oklahoma and then, we sat in the backseat together and had a good cry. She told me "Momma, I just need a cry," and I said "Me too, baby," so we cried together for a bit and then sang Christmas songs and got excited for Santa.
And once we got home, all the tears and sadness went completely away.
We put out the reindeer food that Auntie Em gave us.














We put out cookies and milk for Santa. Oops, no cookies because we've been out of town. And no milk because we aren't sure if it's good or not. The out of town thing again. Surely an old package of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls won't hurt our chances of scoring on the gifts. At least it's something, right? And hey, at least we moved the fireplace screen so Santa wouldn't get stuck in the fireplace. We tried, ok?









Turns out, Santa likes Swiss Cake Rolls. He ate all but one bite. And he didn't seem to mind not having milk to wash it down. He brought lots of presents. And it was a mess. We ate candy, played with toys and whined over broken toys, missing parts, and sharing all day long.

I made a big Christmas dinner for just our little family and it was
delicious. We have tons of leftovers, which I plan to indulge in as many times
as I want to today.
Ok, it's official. I'm relieved that it's over. We had a wonderful time and
there will be more posts to follow of our fun in Oklahoma, but for now, I'm
going to go eat leftover turkey and try to sift through a week's worth of
laundry. Happy Day After! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

P-Town Christmas

We are officially in the midst of a P-town Christmas. Yes, it's early, but so far, it's been a blast. Last night, we let the kids exchange and open gifts. Oh. My. Gawd. It was utter chaos. There are 6 cousins, the oldest of whom is only 5, so all you could see was wrapping and tissue paper flying and you could only hear screams, shrieks, and occasionally, some wild sobbing. My youngest nephew, bless his heart, had a complete meltdown. He is only 3 and isn't exactly sure how all this Christmas stuff works. We had to wait on the oldest cousin to finish a holiday dinner elsewhere, so by the time the first present was opened, it was JD's bedtime anyway. And he, Avery and Reese had been waiting for almost 2 hours (plus 365 days) to open presents. They had cleaned, eaten a good dinner and behaved like little angels (sort of) so they could FINALLY have Christmas. And I can tell you that it was not at all what JD was waiting for. All he knows is that he asked Santa for Spiderman and Batman and his Aunt Dodi gave him a lame sweatsuit and a pretend shaving kit that he wasn't allowed to open because it's too messy. And his cousin was opening about a gazillion Spiderman toys. And Santa was nowhere in sight. He was not having fun.
Reese, meanwhile, got an adorable Dora nightgown and a purse filled with lipstick, earrings and necklaces from Cash. She went nuts. She put on the gown, all 6 of the necklaces and all three of the lipsticks and gave a style show for anyone who was interested. Avery got all "boy toys" so she was on cloud 9. She didn't know whether to play football, play Spiderman basketball, do the hippity-hop from JD, or drive cars on the Cars mat Grammy gave her.
Grammy and Pa Pa saved poor JD from his misery and loaded him down with bucking bulls and Spiderman figurines and lamps to last him at least until February. I would have to say that, despite the waiting, wailing and trash pile the size of Mount St. Helens, the night was an overall success.
And tonight, is the grown up's Christmas. We are hoping to have drinks and open presents together in a civilized manner while those heathen children play with last night's gifts in the other room. I'll keep you posted on how early into the night those dreams were crushed. It's crazy, and it's only just begun, but so far, it's been a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Searches

I've always wondered how I had readers from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and France. And when I say, "I have readers," I mean, I have had at least one visitor at least one time from each of those places. I usually average about 25-30 readers a day (more than I expected) and I have a sneaking suspicion they are all the same people (and I love you all for your loyalty!)

Anyway, my husband showed me the spot on Site Meter where you can see how a person would end up on my site accidentally. You know how, when you Google something, you get random websites sometimes? For example, you might google "chocolate brown tunic blouse" and you would get websites about chocolate or medieval times tunics or something equally off-base.

Well, apparently, my website pops up for people sometimes. It's clearly not at all what they were looking for, and I'm sure they never came back again, but I was shocked and tickled (did I really just say 'tickled'?) at the things people search for. Here are a few of the latest:




  • staph infection

  • lump in armpit the size of golf ball; golf ball sized lump in armpit; armpit lump huge; armpit ball; golf ball lump (apparently, this is a common problem for people)

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks (tons of searches for this)

  • I want to hear Urban Chipmunk (yeah, you do!)

  • let's throw a fit (yes, let's)

  • my first doctor's visit

  • Vince Vaughn (yeah, baby)

  • vicodin vodka (I'd like to meet this person...why would you search online for this combo? Were you just wondering what the best liquid for washing down vicodin would be? Were you thinking of suicide and looking for the best combo? Are you a desperate housewife, who, after reading my blog, decided that you needed this mixture to put you out of your misery? I like to think it was a college dude who just had knee surgery and he accidentally drank his roommates' night-before vodka instead of water to take his pain meds and was searching for possible side effects to see if he needed to go to the ER. I'm sure that's it.)

  • spanking (uh....)

  • spanking and scoring (I bet they were disappointed)

  • boys spanking (really disappointed)

  • balls armpits (wha....?)

  • shoes balls (oh dear)

I had to stop reading at 'shoes balls.' It conjured up too many images in my disturbed mind. Maybe I'm the one who is a freak. I mean, maybe some old lady wanted to find a pair of shoes that don't hurt the balls of her feet. Or maybe a bowling alley owner needed to buy shoes and balls for his business. Or Cinderella's stepsisters wanted to buy a pair of shoes that they could wear to the ball. Nah, it was a sicko. And hey, sickos are welcome here. If you are the sicko that searched for shoes and balls and you maybe searched for it again (sicko) and wound up here again, welcome. Sickos need love too.


Momma's Boy

No, I'm not talking about my husband. I'm talking about this guy.



He is such a Momma's boy. Maybe all little boys are like this with their moms when they are babies. I don't know, because I have only had girls until now. But he is crazy about me. I don't say that in a boastful way, but if I'm being honest, that's just the way it is. It goes beyond anything the girls and I ever had. If I walk into the room and I don't pick him up immediately, he is mad. If I set him down to, God forbid, get something done or tend to one of his sisters, he is mad. If I'm sitting next to him on the floor, he is touching me. Even if it's just one, chubby little mitt. He's touching me. He touches my face and "kisses" me. He gives me little love bites on my nose with his two new razor-sharp teeth. He grins and laughs when I look at him. If his daddy is holding him, he's looking at me. Usually laughing, sometimes looking at me through tearful eyes, as if to say "Mommy, why aren't you holding me? Don't you love me at all?" It's pitiful. And I love it. I don't know if I've ever had someone love me with such devotion. It's amazing. I'm in Heaven whenever I see this kid.

EXCEPT AT NIGHTTIME. Oh my goodness. If our days are Heaven on earth, then nighttime is our Hell. Seriously, people. This kid can't stand to be in there alone. If I put him in there awake (like you are told to do by all the parenting experts), he screams bloody murder the second I set him down and he realizes I'm leaving. If I rock him to sleep (a supposed no-no), he wakes about 10 minutes after I put him down and the screaming begins. I leave him for 5 minutes then go get him. (And, for the record, the intense screaming stops as immediately as it started, telling me that this is a spoiled fit, not a hurting or scared fit. Sometimes it stops just when I walk in the room and speak to him.) Calm him, put him back down, this time leaving him to scream for 10 minutes. Go back, calm him, put him back and leave him for 15 minutes. I have found that 15 minutes is my limit. I can't stand to leave him for any longer than that. The first 2 minutes I'm usually fine, but the last 3, 8, or 13 minutes are excruciating for me. I hate it. But how else is he going to learn to sleep in his own bed? He does the same thing during the day, but he doesn't usually cry as long and it's easier to leave him when I'm not lying in bed, listening to the screams.


I have a little light on in his room just in case his problem is a fear of the dark. It's not. I've tried music and a humidifier, just in case the problem is too much quiet. It's not. The problem is that he's a Momma's Boy. Last night, as with every night, after the last 15 minute crying spell and when I've reached my own point of exhaustion, I go get him. He was snotty and gagging and didn't seem to be any closer to sleep, so I gave up. I understand that Dr. Phil would say "Well, common sense would tell us that if he knows you are going to get him, he'll cry until you go get him." I get it, Phil. But last night, he went to bed at 7, and I finally gave up and brought him to my bed at 11:00. It's not like I'm giving in so easily. But it seems to me, that he will always win. And as much as I love his obsession with me, it irritates me that we can't come to some sort of compromise on this bedtime deal. Like, he sleeps a good 8 hours in his own bed and I'll snuggle him as much as he wants the next day. Last night, I was determined not to let him win. And then, when O'Reilly was over, and my eyes were so heavy-lidded I could barely see, I decided I had had it. I told him exactly what I thought about his spoiled, Momma's boy fits, and that I wasn't going to put up with it anymore. After tonight, that is. After all, we're about to spend 5 days in Oklahoma where he'll be forced to sleep with me anyway, so it'd be like starting all over again when we got back. So what's the difference?

And folks, trust me. I know two things for sure. One, I know I'm getting myself in trouble here. I chose to let my oldest sleep with me a lot when she was a baby and she still, at four years old, asks if she can sleep with us every night. We don't usually let her (usually), but she still wants to, every night. I know that's what this is leading to.


And two, I also know that one of these days, he won't let me kiss him anymore. He'll be too embarrassed to let his momma love on him in public. He'll be a big, stinky boy with better things to do than sit in his momma's lap. Then he'll move away and marry some cute girl and I'll only see him twice a year. So, while I'm not going to quit trying to get this bedtime thing right, if he does end up sleeping with me for a while, it won't be the worst thing in the world. Right? Right? Please tell me I'm right. (Mom, if you are reading this, I know you don't think I'm right so don't bother answering.)


Men. They start driving us crazy early, don't they? You love them to distraction and what do you get in return? Sleepless nights and frustrated rants about their impossible behavior.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Plants

Why do I buy plants? I can't keep them alive. And it's no wonder. We buy them, plant them and forget about them. The mums I got in October were barely even planted. I literally scooted the dirt out of the way, removed the mums from the store pot and set it in the dirt. It wasn't really even in the dirt. It was more or less just sitting on top of the potting soil. Those died within two days. And I left them sitting there for a good 2 months, just withered and dead. The mums looked like root beer-flavored Dum Dum lollipops, only not sweet or tasty in any way.



Here's the poinsettia Aaron bought for the pot last weekend. I think he was just ready for the root beer mums to be tossed out. Avery walked out the front door Sunday afternoon and said, "Mom, I just saw that the plant is dead." She said this very matter-of-factly. She is used to it. This plant, after all, looks better than the mums. Or the moldy pansies that stayed in there from May to August. At least it's still red. And it has that cute little plant stand that my sweet friend, Mel gave me for Christmas.

No, Avery's not critical of my lack of a green thumb. She's just glad SHE gets food and water on a daily basis. (Thank goodness she's old enough to feed herself.)

P.S. Turns out I'm bad at keeping my friendships alive too. My friend, Kim always remembers to send me a card on my birthday, but yesterday was hers and I forgot to even call her, let alone have the forsight to buy a card in advance and get it there just in time for her birthday. So, Kim, Happy Birthday, Girl. Thanks for continuing to be my friend even though I'm such a forgetful loser! Love ya!

Differences

My husband worked hard all weekend building these shelves for our shoes. Last night, I went in to put some shoes away and admire his work once more. I noticed something really funny. And I thought, as I looked at our respective shelves, that the placement of our shoes pretty much sums up our marriage.


Here's mine. Note that the shoes are all turned so that the heels are showing. My opinion is that, your shoes are easier to pick up with one hand if you pick them up from the back. You can't hold two shoes in one hand if you hold the toes. Plus, I know what shoes I own, so I don't need to see the front of them to know which shoes they are. Makes perfect sense to me.





Here's Aaron's shelf. His shoes all point toes-down. I asked him why. He said "I don't know, isn't that how they are in stores?" Makes perfect sense to him.




This is how much of our marriage goes. We don't fight much, but we have these teeny, tiny little differences that drive each other crazy sometimes. He's left handed, I'm right. He's far-sighted, I was near-sighted until I had Lasik. I read novels, Dr. Phil books, and memoirs, he listens to financial and historical books on CD. He drives all leaned back with one FINGER on the wheel, I'm at 10 and 2, driving like a grandma (since I had kids, that is.) He likes alternative rock, I like hip hop and country. He likes sci-fi and adventure movies, I like drama and romantic comedies. If we have plans to go to Target and lunch, I'll plan to hit Target and then eat, he thinks we should eat first. I can't relax until all my chores are pretty caught up, he can't accomplish chores until he's had a chance to relax. I can't quit a project until it's finished, he usually has three or four things going all at once. I like green veggies just about any way they can be cooked (or uncooked, for that matter), he would kiss me like there's no tomorrow if I told him he never had to eat another green bean. He prefers fast food to home cooking, I'd rather have fried chicken and mashed potatoes. (Side note: To him, KFC and instant mashed potatoes are equal to home cooked made-from-scratch fried chicken and mashed potatoes. I do NOT agree.) He falls asleep within 5 minutes of his head hitting the pillow, I lie awake for hours sometimes, just listening to him snore and wishing sleep would find me. I'm uptight, he's laid back. I like to be with friends and family and party into the wee hours, he likes to drink beer watching a game, barely speaking to anyone in the room and hitting the sack by 11. I could go on and on, but you are probably already bored. That is, if you haven't quit reading already.
My point is this: Opposites definitely attract. We come from different backgrounds and different families. We have almost completely opposite views on most of the every day decisions we make. But it works. We get frustrated and have to agree to disagree much of the time. But somehow, it works. After thinking about it this evening, I think it works because, even though we disagree on the little things, we agree on what matters. We have almost identical views on religion and politics. We agree on how and when to spend our money. We agree (in general) on how we want to raise our children. Our priorities about what is important in life are in the same order. Our core values and ideals are the same. In the long run, I think that's what matters. Not whose shoes are pointing what way.

Speaking of that, I noticed something. My shoes are a bit skewed. Look at my running shoes. Me, the organized, OCD one who always puts things where they belong. His are perfect. Him, the laid back, leave shoes in the living room for a month if I'd let him. That's funny. Well, maybe not ha-ha funny. Actually, it's not funny at all. It's just a general observation from a bored housewife.



Oh, one more thing. The shoes on the shelf are not my only shoes. Those are the ones without boxes. There are two more shelves in the top of my closet that look like this:

Wait. What's this? These are skewed too. What is my problem? I think I'm being passive-aggressive and rebelling against my own strict policy on organization by letting my shoes become out of control. I may need to call my therapist.




Ta Da!

Ta Da! I got my Christmas cards done, beating my pitiful performance last year by a good week. Last year, we procrastinated the whip that is the family picture until the last minute. I was 4 months pregnant and not in any hurry to put my fat self in front of the camera, or fight two small children who don't ever want to smile at the same time. We had a dancing Frankenstein by the camera and I would turn it on right before I turned on the timer to the camera...we did this about 22 times before we got a picture that is at least passable.
I believe I got my cards in the mail on December 20 and they went out the next day. We didn't order enough, so some people got left off the list. And boy, did I hear about that. And I'm not flattering myself. I know most people don't care if they get a card from us or not...in fact, most people probably don't notice. But it's that one person who doesn't get one and finds out that someone else did that caused our problems last year. So I was on the ball this year. We tried to make the effort to get all slicked up for a family picture, but I just ended up sweating and crying because nothing fit me. Just when I finally found something that was tolerable for the back row of a picture, Rhett puked on his Christmas button-down. Aaron wasn't excited about wearing the same sweater for the third year in a row. So we threw in the towel, and I made a card with the three kids' separate pictures on it. And I got them in the mail last week. That's a whole week and a half before Christmas. I just spent this morning putting stamps on them and getting them ready to be mailed tomorrow.
But guess what? I ran out again. (I'm extremely popular and have tons of friends who are just dying for a card from us.) But this time, I had enough time to order more. So if you are one of the unlucky people who have a W or Y last name, you will get yours just in time to pack them away with all the rest of your Christmas stuff. But hey, it's better than last year. Next year, I may even get those pictures snapped around Thanksgiving. Wait. No. That's too much pressure on myself. There's a better chance of me not doing cards at all then actually getting it right next year. Oh well, I do what I can!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Yesterday, my husband took off work because he wanted to take us all to the movies. Really, he took off work because he's sick of work and he has 4 1/2 vacation days left and needs to use them by the end of the year. But he decided we'd make it a fun day and go to the movies.
We decided, after much debate, to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. Actually, there wasn't much of a debate. I wanted to see Fred Claus, but my husband is sick and tired of me lusting after Vince Vaughn so he put his foot down. I love it when he puts his foot down.
ANYWAY, with three kids at 10:00 in the morning, you gotta see Alvin and the Chipmunks. So we did. And it's awesome. It took me back to the days of the original chipmunks. The cartoons. I loved those stinking chipmunks. I had two, count 'em, TWO of their albums. Yes, I said albums. I played them on my record player (which, by the way, had an awesomely bad Panama Jack sticker on the front of it) over and over. The two albums I had selected for my music catalog? Alvin and the Chipmunks' Christmas Album (they bring one of those songs back in the movie) and.......
Urban Chipmunk. With Alvin on the cover, wearing a cowboy hat. That is one awesome album. I was way too young to watch or listen to anything from Urban Cowboy, so I settled on Urban Chipmunk. I loved it then and if I had a record player to play them on, I'm sure I'd love it now. If more 10-year-olds had Urban Chipmunk instead of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton to listen to, the world would be a better place.
What is it about singing, talking rodents that just makes you fall in love? I don't know either, but the music in this movie is hysterically awesome. We all loved it (even Aaron, who was furious that he had to get up and take Avery to the potty right at "the turning point of the movie!") The remake of The Witch Doctor was a big hit. As with everything else these days, it's turned into quite a snappy little hip-hop dance number. And instead of rushing to Wal Mart to purchase the album as I would have in the old days, we came home and bought it on iTunes, downloaded it onto my iPod, and plugged it into the stereo. The girls and I danced so long and so hard, I was sweating. It almost felt like 1982 again. Only now I have three kids. And bigger boobs. And alot more body to move. I think it's actually better now, bigger butt and all.
Although, I sure would like to get my hands on a turntable so I could scoot a boot along with Alvin to "Devil Went Down to Georgia" just one more time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holidays

If you are the type of person who turns on Christmas music the day after Halloween and has Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, you may not understand my feelings about holidays. But, if you are like most of the people I have talked to recently, I think you will get it. Not that everyone feels like I do, but it seems that most of us have some apprehension where holidays are concerned.
Sometimes I feel like a Scrooge. I don't get terribly excited about putting up Christmas decorations. I actually dislike putting up a tree. I think it's beautiful once it's up, but I almost hate putting it up and taking it down. I don't own a CD of Christmas music. It's not that I don't like it, but it's everywhere already, so I don't feel the need to put it on in my house. I sometimes get tired of spending so much money and I definitely hate thinking of the travel and logistics of getting to see everyone on Christmas Day. I don't remember feeling that way when I was younger, but back then, I didn't buy any presents and I just went where I was told. Plus, all of my family lived in the same town, so it wasn't so difficult to see everyone. It was Mimi's on Christmas Eve, Santa at our house on Christmas morning and then Nana's on Christmas Day. Easy, right? Even when I moved to Texas, it wasn't a big deal. I just traveled to Mom's and once again, let her make all the arrangements. I had a few nervous breakdowns when I started to reach an age where everyone wondered why I wasn't married, especially when my LITTLE brother got married and I got moved back to the kid table so he and his wife could sit at the grown up table. But other than my own emotional distress, the holidays were fairly easy.
Then I met Aaron. Meeting Aaron was, without a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wouldn't have my three beautiful babies, my wonderful life in a beautiful home, or a partner to share all of that with. But, boy, did it screw up Christmas. All of a sudden, we couldn't just travel to Mom's for the week and relax. We had to make decisions. Decisions that didn't upset everyone. The first year wasn't such a big deal except that my dad's family wondered why we weren't at Mimi's on Christmas Eve. That was easy to explain...I got married. You gotta split it up, right? We would spend Christmas Eve with Aaron's family and then get up and drive to Oklahoma on Christmas Day. No, we didn't like driving on Christmas Day, because we missed Christmas dinner at Nana's, but we loved hanging out with my family and shaking it down on Christmas Night, so it was worth it.
Then we had kids. All of a sudden, driving on Christmas Day was even less of a fun idea. It was one thing to drive 4 1/2 hours when it was just us, but add a screaming baby who hates her car seat, drag the drive out to 5-6 hours and it just doesn't feel too Christmas-y. But we didn't want to upset Aaron's family, so we couldn't change the Christmas Eve plans. The first few years of Avery's life, we had Santa come visit on Christmas Eve morning and actually drove in the night, arriving at Mom's at 1 or 2 in the morning so we could be in Oklahoma on Christmas instead of driving. And it's became something I dreaded.
And now, the kids are getting old enough to notice that they are the only kids who have Santa gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. We also feel fairly strongly that Santa come to our house instead of Mom's. Besides the fact that we want Christmas at our own house, think of the logistics of having big Santa gifts delivered to Oklahoma so the kids won't see them in the back of the car. But if we have Santa come Christmas morning and then get in the car, the kids don't get to enjoy their new gifts for any time at all. Sheesh...I get tired just thinking of all of it. I lost a lot of sleep at night thinking about it.
Then, my mom saved the day. She suggested that we have our family Christmas the weekend before Christmas. Everyone has so many places to be and so many people to see, that it feels too rushed anyway. And then I talked to Aaron's sister-in-law. They want to be in Oklahoma on Christmas too, so we changed our tradition as well. We're having a New Year's Eve slumber party instead of trying to cram our Christmas in before we all travel. So now, we're going to be in our own house on Christmas Eve, Santa will come visit and we'll get to stay home and enjoy our kids and they get to enjoy their gifts on Christmas Day. But, for the first time in a long time, I'm actually excited about Christmas. I even lit a pine needle candle and turned the holiday radio station on. I've been able to sleep. I'm not dreading the holiday. I feel like we get to enjoy our family without rushing and relax this year. And focus on our kids. After all, that's what it's all about, right?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Punishment

Remember when you were a kid and your parents would say "This hurts me more than it hurts you," when they would spank you? I doubt you believed it any more than I did. But today, for the first time ever, I kind of know where they were coming from. I haven't spanked my kids recently or anything, but Avery is being punished today. She was up half the night last night screaming that she was scared of the dark. She would NOT stay in her bed, no matter what happened. And, of course, her screaming woke every person in the house. So she is in trouble for ruining everyone's night and making us all exhausted today. Before you think I'm an evil person for punishing her for being scared, let me tell you two things: 1. There is a huge pink flower nighlight in her room, and 2. Avery isn't scared of much of anything.
So, she is in trouble today. No TV. No movies. No computer games. She has to clean her room and use her imagination to find things to do. Oh, yeah, and it's raining today. And cold. So I can't say "Just go outside," when the whining about being bored and having nothing to do starts.
My friend called this morning to invite us to the mall for a play date. I had to say no because Avery is in trouble and going to the mall to play isn't much of a punishment. I have to stick to my guns if I don't want a repeat performance tonight, so I'm missing out on some much-needed adult conversation and a trip to the mall today.
And I have to work out in a minute. And clean the house. And finish up the laundry.
I think I can officially say, "This hurts me more than it hurts them."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Things I Learned Yesterday

1. Do not feed your children in the living room, even if it is more cozy and comfortable in front of the fireplace.



2. Take the phone with you wherever you go because you never know when it will ring and you'll have to jump up and answer it, leaving your children to their own devices.



3. When you don't listen to my advice and you do feed the children in the living room and you do forget to bring the phone with you, please, please remember, to TAKE THE FOOD WITH YOU WHEN YOU GET UP TO ANSWER THE PHONE. Chubby boys who like to eat will always find a way to get to their grub.



4. Buy lots of paper towels and a Spot Bot for when 1-3 fail.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Rocky IV

When was the last time you watched Rocky 4? I mean, Rocky IV? The one with the Russian? I watched it last night while ironing my husband's dress shirts like the dutiful housewife that I am, and the minute it came on, memories came rushing back to me so fast, I almost felt like I was back in 1985. I was in the 7th grade. We were still in the Cold War with Russia and were forced to endure lectures and outdated videos on nuclear war on a semi-regular basis in those days. I remember honestly thinking that the evil Russians could bomb us at any time. I hated Russia, even though I had no idea where it was. And when Rocky IV came out, and Ivan Drago defeated and KILLED Apollo Creed, all that hate was completely justified.

I remember talking about the movie with my friends at school and being so pumped that Rocky had defeated Drago. He was totally cheating anyway by taking all those steroids. He was a horrible, horrible man. If it wasn't bad enough that he was Russian, for crying out loud, let's just think about the fact that he took Apollo's life. Nevermind that Rocky once fought Apollo and we all hated Apollo then, too. When Apollo and Rocky ran together on that beach in Rocky III and Apollo told Rocky to get the "Eye of the Tiger," you were behind Apollo all the way. I remember being absolutely shocked and devastated when Apollo died. And then again, when Rocky wanted to fight Drago, thinking "What is Rocky thinking?" when he signed up, without Adrian's permission, to fight in Russia on Christmas Day. It was almost too much.

And I defy you to watch the training sequence in any of the Rocky movies without feeling like you need to either sign up for a marathon or at least put down the Twinkies. It's such a rush. And especially in Rocky IV. He's so stinking tough, with his beard and wearing a coat and jeans. Rocky trained in the snow. With logs and his friends in a wagon instead of weights. And running up mountains instead of having some dude increase the incline on your treadmill. You can't beat that.

Now, as an adult, I'm still inspired by Rocky's amazing courage and strength, but I was more touched by Adrian's eventual support of her husband. "No matter what, I'm with you." What an amazing woman.


It's a fabulous movie and I think everyone should go out and rent it right now. It's so inspiring...the song by Journey (or Foreigner, who can tell the difference?) that says "Does the crowd understand? Is it east versus west or man against man?" And at the end, during his victory speech, when Rocky says "We're just two guys killing each other, but I guess that's better than 2o million. And I guess what I'm saying is that if I can change and if yous can change, then we can all change."
That's just good cinema.

P.S. Please don't stop reading this blog because I did a post on Rocky IV. Forgive me, I know not what I do.

Picture with Santa

I had great plans for our picture with Santa this year. I have cute, matching outfits for the kids and I planned to bathe them all before we went so their hair would be perfect and their faces booger-free. They would not be covered in spit-up and/or candy shrapnel. They would look adorable. But, as with many of my best-laid plans, it was not to be.
I must say, it's because of my sweet, sweet husband that it didn't work out. And I am grateful to him.
You see, we met at the mall Friday so I could go shopping for clothes that fit me and are in style (after the cracker incident, he insisted that I get something new). He took the kids while I shopped. It was wonderful. Usually, when you are given the "green light" to buy new things, you can't ever find anything, but I did. I found three or four new tops, a black skirt for dressing up and a pair of cute, sexy tall black boots to wear with the skirt. Fun, fun.
And in the midst of all of this, who should appear, but my sweet husband and children. And they had a surprise for me.
Aaron said "I know you've been worried about when we were going to get their picture taken with Santa, so I just went ahead and did it." Bless his heart. The kids looked horrible. Avery had insisted that they all three wear Spiderman socks and they don't fit anyone but her. Reese's hair is going through an "unfixable" stage and always looks frizzy and frazzled unless she is fresh from the bath. I wonder if that's what she's upset about? Rhett had on a onesie that is stained with a banana/sweet potato/spit-up combo. But bless Aaron's heart for trying.


And the bright side of this? Our Santa picture, like so many other things that turn out not-so-perfect, has a good story. And that's what I like about it!

Friday, December 7, 2007

New Signs!! (Post 2 for Today)

Here are some of the custom door signs I made this week. ($25 each, including shipping.)
I hate to toot my own horn, but I love that turtle. Toot! Toot!

Meltdown

Well, it was bound to happen. Combine a hectic week with lots of minor failures and hassles, add three kids, a constant headache and exhaustion and what do you get? A complete meltdown.
It happened to me. Two nights ago. And it was so comical that my husband insisted that I write about it. After a day of rest (if rest is going to another doctor's appt and taking food to Avery's school party) yesterday, I am ready to purge my soul and reveal my embarrassing-and somehow comical-temper tantrum.
Let me just start by saying that, for some reason, I've been having headaches. Pretty much daily and almost all day long. So that kind of puts me at a disadvantage when dealing with the other little hassles that go along with raising kids and running errands.
Remember the night of the Christmas program? I couldn't find a thing to wear in a closet full of clothes and I was frustrated. I got home that night, purged my closet of almost all of the winter clothes I haven't worn in the last year and cleaned them, hung them on hangers, and packed them into the car to take to the resale shop. But when I got to the resale shop, they had a sign that said they weren't accepting clothes until January 2. Sorry for the inconvenience, they said.
And Wednesday, I had an eye appointment in Dallas to check to see if these headaches are visual. I chose a doctor in Dallas because my husband goes to him and says he is super thorough and does all kinds of diagnostic tests. They asked for my insurance when I made the appointment and said "Yes, we do take Eye Med" and since my husband goes there, I knew it wasn't a problem. Sooooo, I fed the kids and got them dressed. Then I got showered and dressed and got us all into our car seats. We drove 40 minutes into Dallas and arrived 10 minutes early to the eye doctor's office. I was waiting on my husband to come pick up the kids. He had taken off work for an hour or two to come help watch them while I was examined. When I walked in, I said my name and the lady said "Didn't you get my message?" Uh oh. That is never good.
"No. There are no messages on my phone." "Hmmm...are these the correct numbers?" "Yes, but there is no message." "Well, I'm sorry, but it turns out that while we do take Eye Med, we don't one of their plans and that just happens to be the plan that you are on." "What? My husband goes here. " "Well, we aren't sure why they accepted your husband, but they are rejecting you and maybe it's just changed in the last few months or something. Sorry for the inconvenience." That was frustrating (notice a pattern here?). But I kept my cool. I was more than disappointed, but I decided to look at the bright side and enjoy a nice lunch out with my husband in a part of Dallas I never venture into anymore. And it was nice.
But then, we got home and I watched a few kids that afternoon and there were toys everywhere and the house was filthy, which really gets me, um, uncomfortable. And I was trying to finish painting some door signs I had sold so that I could get all the painting supplies out of the way.
And then we moved our new kitchen table (more on that another day) into the kitchen and we just couldn't arrange it the way we wanted it. We moved furniture for an hour and a half before we finally found a way we (I) liked it. And I had forgotten to make dinner, what with all the kids over here all afternoon and the painting and the furniture moving. So I made the girls some soup. And crackers.
And then, amidst arranging furniture and being frustrated (there's that word again) that it wasn't working, the girls started fussing. And making a huge mess of their soup. And Rhett was screaming his head off because I wasn't holding him. I found myself scrambling to clean soup off of the floor, make a bottle for Rhett and clean all the clutter in the kitchen. I rushed to put the box of crackers back into the pantry and the box fell off of the shelf and the three sleeves of crackers fell out onto the floor. I left them. And slammed the door. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I went into the living room and actually said, "No. You know what? I need to go back and smash those crackers." And I did. I went into the kitchen, picked up the sleeves of crackers on the pantry floor and threw them, hard, into the trash and then smashed them with my fists. And you know what? As stupid as it was, I felt better. I walked back into the living room, picked up my screaming baby, went to the garage fridge and pulled out a beer and just sat down. And then looked at my husband, rather sheepishly, and said "Sorry." He said "You know what? I don't blame you for being like that becasue you've had lots of bad luck the past couple of days. But never in my life have I seen someone smash crackers in anger. And actually SAY they are going to smash crackers."
And then, what was originally frustration, anger, irritation and a whole bunch of other stuff, was just funny. And ridiculous. But mostly funny.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Christmas Program

All in all, the Christmas program last night was a success. Sure, I couldn't find anything to wear because I haven't dressed up in cute non-maternity clothes in 5 years so it's all either too small or completely outdated. Yes, the girls (a neighbor girl and Avery) overflowed the toilet and it leaked all over the floor in the midst of my "I'm too fat and my clothes are old and ugly" crisis. Ok, so Rhett threw up all over me the minute we got into Avery's classroom at the church (that'll teach me to worry about what I wear!). But all things considered, the night was a success.
Avery looked adorable. She didn't want to love this outfit, but she did. She even asked if she could wear the red bow in her hair. And something about the "girl clothes" made her behavior that much sweeter. I guess "sugar and spice" has a ring of truth to it after all.




Look at her. No fake smile, no Spiderman web hands, no smacking her sister for taking ornaments off the tree. Amazing.






She said she was nervous during the program, though. She looked nervous. She was fidgety and kept sticking her tongue in her cheek to keep herself from smiling.

She reminded me of myself when I was a kid. All of my life, anytime I've ever been on stage or in front of a crowd performing, I assume that everyone there is looking directly at and only at me, so I'm extremely cautious of my expressions and behaviors. It's ironic because, like Avery, I go crazy with the idea of actually being on stage. Can't wait. I have all these grandiose ideas of how fabulous I'm going to be. And then I stick my tongue in my cheek and fidget and worry so much about being cool, that I wind up looking like a complete idiot. Not that my baby girl looked like an idiot. She was precious. I'm just saying, it would be nice if we could just go out there, sing our little hearts out, grinning when we felt like it and enjoying ourselves instead of wondering what all the people in the audience are thinking about us. I think it's genetic.
Oh well...she was happy before, during and after the program. And when she watched herself on film, she laughed at herself for the tongue in cheek business. Like I said, it was a success.

P.S. Reese enjoyed it too. Here she is, during the program, unloading my purse.
Yeah, that's a tampon. In a church. And Avery and I worry about our facial expressions and what we are wearing. Sheesh.



Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Compromise

This morning was full of compromises. No one was ready to get up and get dressed for the day, but we had no choice. It was a school day for Avery and that means we all have to be fed, dressed and ready to go. Reese has been sick (she threw up on the restaurant table Sunday night and had fever yesterday) and therefore, extremely whiny and not wanting to do much of anything except be held. But as you all know, getting three kids ready to go in the morning means no sitting and rocking. For anyone. Even poor Rhett has to hold his own bottle for a bit on school mornings. Today was especially rough for some reason, so I found myself making all kinds of compromises that I normally wouldn't make, just to "get the show on the road," so to speak.

Here's my first compromise. Usually, Avery has to dress "like a girl" for school, saving her "boy clothes" for home and play. But tonight is her Christmas program and she has to wear a (gasp!) skirt, so, in order to help this morning go smoothly, I allowed her to wear all boy clothes, right down to the camo boxers.












Reese did not want to get ready this morning. She wanted to be held. But then she spotted Avery's dress shoes in the closet and decided she'd get ready happily if she could wear them. They look ridiculous and she fell three times leaving the house, but she was happy. And that's worth a million on mornings like this.

NOTE: The non-brushed hair and teeth was not part of the compromise for either child. I'm ashamed to admit that they indeed both went into Avery's school like that. And I left Avery there with stinky breath and half-brushed hair. But hey, she was on time. That's what counts.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cameras

I am not a photographer. At all. I love to look at great photography and I get really excited when I accidentally take a great picture of one of the kids, but I don't have the patience or creativity for "real" photography. I have a good camera, but not the best. (Until yesterday, that is.) It's a middle of the road digital camera and has been working perfectly for me for the past two years. Until about 3 months ago. For some reason, the pictures have been blurry. I've troubleshooted and talked to live techs online. No one seems to be able to explain this, telling me only that it costs $50 just to look at the camera and upwards of $150 (probably) to fix it once they find out what is wrong. We only paid $250 for the camera in the first place, so it didn't make sense to spend another $200 to fix it. For the last couple of months, we've been talking about getting a new camera, but Aaron wanted to wait until we could get a really good one, so I've been doing research on digital cameras and digital SLR cameras so I'd be ready when bonus time came around.
Then, yesterday, I went to my neighbors to snap a few shots of her family in front of the tree. Christmas card time, you know. We got a few great shots but, as is usual lately, for no explainable reason, a bunch of them were blurry. It is so frustrating. When you are working with kids, every shot needs to be great because it might be the one shot where everyone is smiling AND looking at the camera. I'm not selling or professionally displaying any pictures, but I do put them in scrapbooks and if the first shot of Rhett eating peas is blurry, how do we ever recover from that?
So, last night when I got home from my friends' house, I was editing the pictures online. And I was frustrated. Aaron said "We're definitely getting you a new camera right after the first of the year." I started looking again at reviews and the best camera for your money and all of that. I really didn't want to buy a new camera. Really. I just wanted my camera to work right.
But then he said, in that tone I love-the same tone in which he said "The washer and dryer you want are on sale and we're getting them today"-he said, "You know what? Let's just go get it now. We're going to want good Christmas pictures and that sucks when you take pictures and then find out later they didn't turn out. " WOO HOO! You don't have to ask me twice. I love the words "Let's just go get it." The next words he said are very rare, but even more special. "And let's get a good one. Don't just try to get the one we can afford. Don't even worry about the cost, I know it will be expensive." I couldn't get my shoes on fast enough. I was afraid he would change his mind.
He didn't change his mind. And about 2 hours later, I walked out of Circuit City (thanks to No Interest Financing) with the best digital camera they have. (It didn't take me long to switch from "I don't want to buy a new camera" to "Let's get the best they have!") It's sort of an in betweener for someone who wants super great pictures, but doesn't want to get an SLR and have to do everything manually. I can do everything manually if I want to with this camera (Canon PowerShot G9), but the automatic functions are awesome, so I don't have to. I can add lenses and an external flash (I plan to order the flash soon) but I don't have to. It's amazingly great. There are so many things that I haven't learned about it, I plan to read all day today. I love it. And the pictures. Again, I'm not a pro, but I just love these. Completely unedited, raw pictures here. I'm amazed at the difference between these and the last shots I took of Rhett. You be the judge. (And if you say the old pictures are better, I will run to my room and cry my little eyes out because I LLLOOOOOVVVEEEE my new camera!)












This is from the old camera. It needs lots of editing in my opinion. The above pictures could go straight to print, in my opinion. I edited one just for fun, though. Mainly, I just cropped and auto adjusted it...what do you think?






Sunday, December 2, 2007

Bunnies

This morning, I have read and re-read the book Runaway Bunny to the girls. They love it. I love it too. It's the sweet story about a baby bunny who wants to run away and his mother vows to follow him and take care of him no matter where he goes. It's precious. And as the girls sat, holding their stuffed bunnies, listening to the story for the third time this morning and begging for real bunnies, I was reminded of a childhood bunny story of my own.
I have no recollection of wanting them or getting them, but somehow, my brother, Bo and I ended up with a couple of pet bunnies. We kept them in a hutch in the backyard and I vaguely remember feeding them once or twice and I distinctly remember being told to clean out the cage. Yuck.
As with all of our childhood pet endeavors, we tired quickly of the constant feeding and care (probably once a day at best) of the bunnies. But we persevered. Until the day Dad came in and said that we were going on vacation. But only if we could find someone to take care of the bunnies while we were gone.
We racked our brains and couldn't come up with a single soul to come over every day while we were gone and feed these bunnies. Nevermind that we probably never actually tried asking anyone. And that we probably gave it about 2 minutes of thought before we hatched an even better plan.
Since no one would come help us (even though we never asked) but we really wanted to go on this vacation (I believe this was Worlds of Fun in Kansas City), we had to take matters into our own hands. There was only one way to handle this situation. We'd have to let the bunnies go. I doubt we considered the fact that these 15-pound, tame bunnies would only last about 2 seconds in the woods behind our house before a dog or coyote snatched them up for supper. I'm pretty sure we thought they'd just blend in with the other wild bunnies who fled in and out of the neighborhood bushes from time to time. Although most of those bunnies were small and gray and our bunnies were huge with fluffy black and white fur, we just knew they'd either become part of the scenery or they'd find a great hideaway in the woods.
Actually, I'm probably giving us too much credit. I doubt we thought beyond "If we are going to have Worlds of Fun, we gotta lose the bunnies." So we did.
And for a while afterward, we'd see those huge bunnies munching lazily on our neighbor's flowers, or ambling slowly from yard to yard. I never once saw them scurry or dart in and out of bushes. And then, one day we didn't see them anymore. I have no idea what happened to them. But I know this: Their blood is on our hands.
Lord (and PETA members), please forgive me. I promise to spend the rest of my life being kind to all wild bunnies and allowing them to eat my flowers and dig in my dirt any old time they want.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Four Going on Fourteen

Oh, the drama. How can someone so small be so dramatic?

I'm talking about my four-year-old. Four and a half, if anyone is asking. She seems to grow taller, thinner, and smarter every day. And this week, it seems as though her behavior has become more dramatic and frankly, smart-assed, and it's driving me crazy.

First of all, on the way to school yesterday morning, as we turned onto the main road, she still wasn't buckled so I firmly asked her to buckle again. And she said "Uh, do not talk to me like that."

And that isn't where it ended. She also said, sarcastically, "Thanks for making Reese cry," when I got firm with Reese when she refused her own car seat. I didn't even know Avery knew what sarcasm was. But she does.

And the drama. Oh, the drama. Tonight, she did not want to eat her dinner. It was a chicken and rice casserole that my Nana used to make and it's a time consuming and delicious meal. And it made Avery gag. Which made her get in trouble. So she finished her dinner in silence. Not happy, but she ate it. She didn't say another word about it until last night, when I was putting her to bed. She said, in the sweetest, teariest voice, "Momma, my throat is killing me. It really hurts. I think it's because I had to eat all that food tonight and some of it is still stuck there. So can you get me some medicine?"

I get the medicine, not because I believe that she has food in her throat (is there even medicine for that?), but because she has had a cough and runny nose for days and I have just been looking for an excuse to dope her up on some Tylenol Cold so I can get some peace.

After the medicine, we talk for a bit. We talked about Christmas presents and what we will do tomorrow (she doesn't want to go to the gym because "she's just so tired of it"). I made the mistake of telling her that I already had one gift for her, hidden somewhere. Will I ever learn? Sheesh. She could have won an Oscar for this performance. "Mom, why won't you just ever tell me anything? I never get to know anything. All I want is a real horse and I want you to tell me if you got it for me because I need to feed it. Mother, please. Just tell me. I have to know."

Somehow, I dug myself out of that hole by discussing what I had gotten her father. And then it was time for me to go to my own bed.

"Mom, can't you just sleep in here?" No. "Just for tonight? Just once?" No. "Mom, you used to sleep with me when I was three, so you should still sleep with me (I did not)." No. "Mom, I just can't be alone tonight. I just need to sleep in Rhett's bed with him, that's all I need. Just please, Mom." Honey, no. I'm going to bed. Good night. "(Sobbing desperately, clinging to my shoulders)Mom, I just really need you. (Sobbing stops abruptly) Can I sleep in the office tonight?" No, you're already in bed. "(Sobbing resumes)Oh Mom, I just can't be in here alone. I need to sleep with you. I just need you."

The thought that sent me to my bed sobbing desperately is this: She is only four. I'm only just beginning. And there's another one coming up behind her. I've said it before...I'm in big trouble.

The Tree

Remember when you were little and you helped decorate the Christmas tree? You would be so excited to put the ornaments on, but every time you put one on, your mom moved it and said "Honey, we need to remember to spread them out more...don't put two the same next to each other...there's already a snowman there, Honey...we need to put some near the top...don't forget about the back, and on and on and on..." and then you'd come home from school the next day and they'd all be moved to where she wanted them anyway? That always drove me crazy. I always thought "Jeez, Mom, can't you just relax? Does everything always have to be just so?"

Yeah, so last night, we decorated our tree. I'm not finicky, I said. I'm not as picky about this kind of thing as my mom is. It's their tree, I thought. I'll let them do it the way they want to do it. And here is the result.



If you come over to my house, please don't look at the top, right side, left side, or the back of our tree. There is a 2' radius of ornaments smack dab in the middle. In the front. And it looks ridiculous. And I tried to be quiet, but I found myself saying several times, "Avery, don't forget to space them out." Her response was always "I am, Mom. I know, Mom. I'm doing it, Mom."


It drives me crazy when I realize my mom was right.
(I'm moving the ornaments today, while Avery is at school. One day, in about 30 years, she'll know why.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rhett-A-Rooskie

My baby boy is 6 months old. Actually, he's 6 1/2 months old now and I've just gotten around to trying to schedule his 6 month pictures. I usually take the kids to a studio for pictures, but when Avery was 6 months old, we went to a rather expensive studio and got these adorable, amazing pictures of her all in a collage-type photo. It's beautiful. And it was almost $200 for just the one picture, and I don't work anymore, so with Reese, I took several close-ups of her and created my own collage photo on Kodak Gallery. It's not bad. It's a little huge, but the pictures are good and you get a good idea of what she looked like at 6 months.


I've been trying to work on one for Rhett. I am having so much trouble. I have some here that I think are pretty cute, but then I realized he had a booger hanging out of his nose (told you they were taking over our house.) Plus, he has that little scar on the right side of his face, so I should probably take some photos without that in there. I don't need permanent evidence of my neglect.
Ok, so that's the long version of the story of these pictures. The short version is this: Look at my precious boy, who is 6 months old. These are my "rough draft" pictures, but I love them anyway!



Not my favorite, but he's still cute.


















Definitely not my favorite. He appears as though he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer in this one and I feel in my heart that that is not true. You never know at this age, but I choose to believe he's brilliant unless and until proven otherwise. I'll not be framing this picture. But he's still cute.








LOVE this one. LOVE IT. Not because it's fabulous quality or anything, but because it's funny and he's so stinking cute. And he drools constantly and sucks on his lips and this one just captures him perfectly.










I like this for two reasons...one, his eyes look beautiful and two, he looks like a hilarious little old man. It doesn't really even look like him, but I like it anyway.













I like this because he's just so pretty. And the booger isn't showing and neither is the scar. And I like his fat little hand.










And this is my very favorite. I'm framing this one for sure. I love it. He's so cushy and cute and funny and precious. Did I mention cute? When I look at this picture, I can hear his deep little gurgly laugh and it tickles my heart.



I love this guy. Boogers and all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boogers

Yeah, this is a post about boogers. I'm terribly sorry if this is gross or inappropriate to any of you, but it's all I can think about lately. Boogers have taken over this household. I can't get away from them. I find them everywhere. I scrape my arms on the dried ones on my kids' clothes when I gather the laundry. I have a crusty shoulder at all times. At our little party the other day, I realized I had a huge, wet booger on the bottom hem of my Gap turtleneck. Don't know where (well, I guess I can narrow it down, but I don't know exactly from which nose it came) it came from and I don't know if anyone noticed. And we are now down to our last box of Kleenex and payday doesn't come until Saturday. It's reached epidemic proportions.

It started roughly two months ago with your average cough/cold/crusty booger combo. All three kids seemed to have runny noses, but as long as I had Kleenex and some Tylenol Cold nearby, I was fine. I really only had to tend to Reese and Rhett anyway because Avery figured out the shirt-sleeve-swipe pretty quickly and took care of herself. I had it under control.

But then pink eye came along. If you haven't dealt with pink eye, I'll give you two key pieces of information in case you encounter it in your future. One, it's not really that big of a deal to cure if you don't have a problem sitting on top of a two-year-old's arms in order to squeeze eye drops into sealed eyes three times a day and two, there are TONS of eye boogers involved. And we're not talking a little gook in the corner of your eye when you wake up. No, I mean, BOOGERS. Sealed shut, crusty, gooey boogers that have to be scraped off of little eyelashes with your fingernails because even a warm wash cloth won't budge those suckers first thing in the morning. Naturally, they all three got it. Separately, because it would be far too easy to just spend a day or two on Booger Patrol and then be done. No, it drug on for a solid week. And now, the pink eye seems to be gone, but the boogers remain. And, of course, Reesie has had it the worst, God bless her little middle child heart.





Here's wishing you all a booger-free Tuesday! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Princess Party

Princess parties are so not my oldest daughter's "thing." If you have read this blog before, you know that she, in her own words, "likes boy stuff." She wears boxers, talks in a deep boy voice and loves all things superhero. She plays all sports and is unnaturally attached to her camo-print Converse. So, when we got the invitation for a princess dress-up party, I knew I had to prepare her. She was excited about the prospect of a birthday party, but was dead-set against dressing up. But that was the whole deal. It was a pretend, dress-up princess tea party. You were supposed to send your sizes to the hostess and they would have dresses waiting for you when you got there. But Avery didn't want to wear a dress. She said "I'll go to the party, but I don't want to wear a dress." I explained that, when you are invited to someone's birthday party, that you do what they want to do. And that if she invites this little friend to her boy-ish party next May, I'm sure that friend will do what Avery wants to do even though she doesn't like boy stuff at all. Avery stewed over this all week and especially yesterday, the morning of the party. She spent some time in her room before she came in and said "Mom, can I have a Superman party when I am 5?" I said she could. She siad "I"ll invite Rylee, ok?" I said ok. "And Mom, since Rylee doesn't like boy stuff, I won't make her dress up ok? She can just come and I won't get mad if she doesn't do the stuff I like."
She's good, isn't she? I knew then that I was going to just have to play the Mommy card and quit trying to reason with her. "Avery, we can either go to the party with you participating and being nice about it, or you can stay home and I'll just take Reese." That did it. She said she would go, and she would be nice, and she would dress up, but that she wouldn't really like it. Ok, fair enough. That was our deal.
And she kept it. She was nice, she was polite, she went along with everything with a sweet little smile on her face. But I could tell she didn't like it. It was so not her.
Luckily, they had one blue dress. Blue is a boy color, you know, so that actually brightened our spirits a bit. It didn't fit her, but she didn't care. And her blue Spiderman boxers showed through the tulle skirt, but she didn't care. And she found an Ariel crown with blue, purple and green (all boy colors, in her mind), so she was relatively happy. She didn't put on makeup like the other girls and she didn't wear fake hair and jewelry, but she was happy.




I didn't say super happy. Just relatively happy. Happier than if she were say, hanging upside down by her toenails. Actually, she would probably like that. Nevermind. She was going along and being pleasant.







This was our happiest moment besides cake and party favors. We just found out there is a game. A ring toss game. What's that? A sport, you say? Finally, payoff for wearing this stupid dress.


Thank goodness.


The best part of the party came right after the battery in my camera died. I promise I will post pictures if and when any of the other moms send them to me. The style show. Yep, that's right. They had a red carpet sprinkled with flowers and all the "princesses" modeled their outfits. It was a hoot. They were all supposed to walk gracefully, spin around and pose at the end of the carpet and then move to the staging area. All of the girls were so excited. There were squeals of delight when the hostess said the words "fashion show." This was serious business. They strutted, they preened. There was even a high kick by one of the "models." It was hysterical. And then there was Avery. She came out onto the carpet, hands on hips wearing her game face. She was all business. No graceful modeling for her. Nope. She marched. Marched, hands on hips, serious face to the end of the carpet. Did she spin? No. Did she pose? Absolutely not? But was she, with her Spiderman boxers showing through the tulle, the most hilarious princess there? I think so. She is funny. And at the end, when she was back in her black track suit and carrying a balloon and bag of party favors, she said "Mom, if you ever ask me to go to a princess party and dress up like a girl again, I will do it. It was pretty fun. But I still like boy stuff." Fair enough.
And just in case you were worried that I'm running some kind of boy camp here and don't allow my girls to be, well, girly...check this one out. She LOVED this. She wouldn't stop spinning, looking in the mirror and asking me if she was pretty.

"After about 20 minutes of dancing and spinning, she started throwing a fit, trying to rip the dress off and yelling "NO, off, Momma!" and then fell asleep in my lap for an hour. Ah, such is life when you have a 2-year-old. But she is pretty, isn't she?