Friday, December 21, 2007

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Thank you to everyone who checked on and prayed for Ethan. After his second shot he recovered very quickly and is now fully back to his fiesty almost-two-year-old self. I have spent the last week in a holiday frenzy, trying to get everything done. I am proud to say that with 4 days left until Christmas, I am very nearly ready. I'd like to say that I'll post daily about our holiday happenings, but you and I both know that's not happening. Instead, I will just say Merry Christmas and, barring any freakish occurances that simply demand immediate blogging review, you will hear from AMENMom in the first few days of the new year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can a kid get a break around here?

Okay seriously, Ethan has got the worst luck of any toddler I know. He's been plagued by ear infections his whole life, so for the second time we get tubes, plus have his adnoids removed, so that he can finally be healthy. Post surgery, he was great for a couple of days. Then he got--and kept-- a pretty high fever. Then came a really bad cough, enough to keep him up at night and choking. We took him to the doctor today, and guess what? He has PNUEMONIA. Are you kidding me? The poor boy! And for an unlucky child, today was a particularly unlucky day. It started with being tired, since he got very little sleep last night. Then his mommy drug him out into the cold wet day to go to the doctor. Then he had to get a chest x-ray, which for a child is about equivalent to being strapped into a torture device. Then, when the x-ray confirmed pneumonia, he had to get a SHOT. Then, when we got home, Matt and I had to give him puffs from an inhaler, wich involves holding him down and forcing a mask over his nose and mouth.

Yeah, not a red letter day for my boy. Don't get me wrong. I know there are many mothers in this world who would give anything to have their babies healthy enough to be home with them, and I thank the Lord every day that my children are safe and happy. I just hate to see my baby so sick, and really want him better soon.

It feels shallow, when my little boy is ill, to speak of trivial matters such as sports, so I shall NOT comment on how, despite my sorrow at Houston's departure, I am PSYCHED about our new coach! So I shall leave that for another day.

Monday, December 10, 2007


The surgery went well and we are surviving the recovery. In fact, Ethan doesn't seem to have any lingering soreness at all from having his adnoids removed. He can only eat soft foods for 2 weeks, which is more difficult than it might seem since the boy loves his Cheerios and crackers.

The worst part of the whole thing is a rather odd side effect that the doctor warned us about. Apparently, something about having adnoids removed makes a person's breath horrendous for a couple of weeks. For 2 days, his breath was fine and we figured the doctor must have been wrong. Then. It started as just an unpleasant odor. Now, the child coats the entire room with this hideous scent. It is AWFUL. I cannot imagine why this happens! Nor can I imagine how we're going to make it through the next few days until it goes away. Ugh!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

You're gonna put WHAT in my ear?

As most everyone I've talked to in the last couple of days already knows, we are taking Ethan in tomorrow to get another set of tubes put into his ears, and probably his adnoids removed as well. I'm not looking forward to it--the child screamed for an hour coming out of the anesthesia last time--but at least he will stop getting these hideous ear infections. I'll try to post Friday or Saturday to give an update.

Oh, and several people have asked why I haven't blogged on the departure of our football coach. I have decided to wait until his replacement is selected so that I can speak on the subject from a more complete perspective. At the rate the search is going so far, don't be surprised if it's February before you see the post :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Old friend, new baby!

You know how when you were a kid, some grown up things seemed so far off and cool and, well, grown up? Like when people met for lunch, or flew on an airplane by themselves, or went to visit friends in the hospital? Last week I got to do one of those things. I got to drive to Dallas to see my friend Melanie on the day she had her first child, the beautiful Rachel Elayne.
Melanie and I have known each other since we were 12 years old. We lived together in college, and were each other's maids of honor. Her parents and sister saw me as much as they saw her most of the time. Since Melanie and her husband Josh moved to Dallas, we don't get to see each other too often, so I was determined to be there to see that baby. Mel delivered around 4 AM on Thursday, and I got there a little after 1 PM--not too bad! She had no idea I was coming, which made it even more fun. I have to admit, the trip was more selfish than it may appear. I got to spend a ton of time hanging out with my best friend and my second family, and I even convinced Mel's mom and dad to let go of Rachel long enough to give me a turn holding her a few times. It was a great couple of days. I managed to get some pretty good pictures--take a look:


Melanie and I--note that I'm unabashedly hogging Rachel:

Rachel and her daddy, Josh--isn't this a GREAT picture?

Look at these feet! So cute. I bet she's going to be able to peel a banana with them by the time she's 1!

Monday, November 26, 2007

For a small guy, he can put up a good fight

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. We enjoyed eating WAY too much food at my parents' house, and then headed down to Little Rock for what turned out to be a highly pleasant weekend. We got to see lots of family, including my wonderful great aunt Joyce and Uncle Lonnie. They entertained my kids nonstop just like they did for me when I was little, and I have to admit that I was a wee bit jealous--I miss being a kid at their house so much! My Uncle Lonnie even took off one of his fake legs for Abby, which is just as cool now as it was 20 years ago. She couldn't get over it, and neither could I!

Let's see, what else happened over the weekend? Hmm...oh yes, WE BEAT LSU. I cannot think of a better thing to happen for my beloved team. Not only did they beat LSU, but the game was AT LSU, and LSU was at the time the #1 team in the country. As my friend Kevin is fond of saying, LS-WHO?

The biggest challenge of the week was cutting my son's hair. He has developed what can only be described as a violent resistance to his hair being cut. His protest is so significant that Matt and I together cannot get it done--Ethan is just too strong. We had to resort to waiting until 11 PM, when we scooped him up from bed, lulled him back into a deep sleep in my arms and then as quickly and silently as possible snipped what we could. It's not great, but at least it's not in his eyes anymore. Tomorrow we have a check up with his ear doctor, and if he has to get tubes in his ears again this winter I intend to request that a hair stylist be present at the surgery to give him a proper trim while he's under anesthesia. It's like I always say, never waste a good induced coma!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mind your Peas and Qs

This is not my story to tell, but I LOVE it so I'm going to tell it anyway. It's actually my friend Mandy's story, and she told me over a month ago, and I immediately said two things: 1) This is exactly why I love you, and 2) This is SO going on my blog. Here it is:

As you might recall, Mandy, David, and their 3 children have recently moved to NW Arkansas. They enrolled their 4 year old daughter, Katie, in a local pre-school program. The school goes past pre-school but Katie will only attend there for her pre-K year. At any rate, Mandy had some issues with the school right off the bat. Apparently the school "rules" parents to death, meaning there are rules about every little thing. If a problem crops up--say, there's a traffic problem at peak drop off and pick up times-- rather than just send a letter home asking parents to be more aware, they make an announcement that there's a new rule that parents can't arrive before this time or after this time, or park here or here, or blah blah blah. They have a rule that parents must have Internet access at home, and must check email frequently for school communication. Mandy said she gets more than 1 email per week. Seriously? What could the school possibly have to say that often? And whatever happened to asking nicely?

Here's where it gets good. The school does not provide lunches for the children, so everyone must bring their own. One of the school's multitude of rules is that every child's lunch must include a vegetable and a fruit, every day. Even if they will not eat them and they will get thrown away, they MUST be there, every day. Mandy seems to think that this is something they are required to do to keep their license. Trying to be a thorough blogger, I just spent half an hour trying to determine if parents are responsible for such things, but if there is such a regulation it's buried deeper in some state website than I care to dig. It seems absurd, though, to force parents to waste food.

Being the good sport, Mandy obliged and sent the required foods daily. One day, though, she forgot to include a vegetable in Katie's lunch. It was the first time this had happened. That day, Katie was sent home with a stern note reprimanding Mandy for not following school policy.

This is the part that makes me love my friend. Understandably, this ticked her off. Aside from the absurdity of the policy, there are about a million more appropriate ways to have handled it. So Mandy decided to let the school know what she thought about their policy without saying a word. Since the day of the mean note, Katie's lunch has met the vegetable requirement by the inclusion of 3 raw frozen green peas. As Mandy pointed out, there's nothing in the rule about the vegetable being in edible form. Clever girl! I LOVE it. I suggested she branch out--maybe send a raw potato or squash, or a huge thing of cauliflower. She's not heard a word since from the school. Way to show them, Mandy--I aspire to this level of moxie!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A pirate's life

At last, the public gets what the public demands. I present the AMEN family pirates:

Halloween was really fun this year. Abby was very much into it, and Ethan was hysterical. He was at his "along for the ride" best, and cracked us all up. He took his little pumpkin bucket and just wandered off after his sister. You want me to wear this goofy pirate hat? Eh, all right. Going to some strange door? Sure, why not? Someone opens it? Might as well go in. No? Okay, but I see I get candy--that's cool. Hey, you got any more? No? No problem, I'll just move along now. It was such a change from giving Abby a new experience. She's the type to want to know how far the walk will be, how many pieces of candy to expect, how many she would get to eat upon completion of the walk, and if she will have the option of changing clothes if her costume begins to annoy her. How these two children came from the same parents, I will never know.

Here are a couple of pictures of their trick or treating adventures:

You may notice that in Abby's pictures her mouth is in a funny shape--it's because she thinks she can't touch her lips to each other when she has on lipstick or it will come off. We're working on it. We're also working on Ethan's pirate "Argh!" which sounds more like a roar, but who's perfect?

Tonight, Abby asked me to tell her a "silly joke", and my mind went completely blank. I could not think of a single "What do ghosts eat?" or "What do you call a rhino in a swimming pool?" type of joke. Neither could Matt, so we went straight to the great crutch of our generation--the Internet. We found a couple that she liked, particularly: What is grey, has four feet, and goes up and down and up and down? An elephant on a trampoline. We found plenty of funny ones, but most were way over her head. She totally would not get why the chicken crossed the road, for example--irony and sarcasm are lost on her. So! I need some absurdly simple, funny, easy to remember jokes to teach her to aid in her apparently earnest quest to be her class humorist. Silly is the key--if it doesn't make her giggle uncontrollably, she isn't interested. Anybody got any ideas? Take away sarcasm and irony, and I'm powerless here. I need help!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Haters never win

Wow, I haven't had this many comments in ages! For all of you wondering, let me end the suspense and tell you that most of the anonymous comments are likely my mom and aunt, who are probably not as much trying to be mysterious as they just forgot to sign their names.

I thought for sure the Halloween pictures would bring the biggest demand, but it's obvious that my stadium story must be told first. I'll begin with clarification. At the Homecoming game, a couple of fairly attractive gentlemen sat behind us, and I decided to try to get them talking to my friend Jennifer in hopes that we could make a love connection. Alas, they left at halftime. I told her it was no loss--anyone who leaves a football game at halftime isn't worth the trouble anyway.

Now, the man seated behind us at the South Carolina game was most definitely NOT a looker. He is the perfect example of the "fans" that I call Haters. Theoretically they are at the game because they LIKE the Razorbacks--they are even wearing Razorback gear. But Haters never cheer or say anything positive--usually they don't even clap. They spend the entire game telling every player and coach what they're doing wrong, as though the players and coaches can hear them or care what they're saying. They think somehow that by being ticket holders they have earned the right to be critical and hateful.

Haters make my blood pressure rise and my teeth clench. I try very hard to refrain from confrontation, partly because it's rude and partly because I couldn't mortify Matt more if I went to the game in a sequined bathing suit. But it was the last game of the season, and we were playing SO well, and we were headed into halftime ahead by 18 points. We had about a minute and a half left in the first half, and our coaches decided to run the clock out rather than try to score and risk getting an interception that would completely ruin our momentum. (For those of you that don't care at all about football, momentum going into the second half is very important. Trust me.)

So Hater starts BOOING and yelling at Houston Nutt for the decision. Thing A, it was a good coaching call. And thing B, what kind of fool BOOS when we're 18 points ahead? After the 3rd time, I just couldn't take it any more. I turned around and led the following exchange:

Me: You don't boo your own TEAM!

Hater: I PAID for my seat, thank you!

Me: I don't know WHY, since you hate the team so much.

Hater: I wasn't booing the team, I was booing the coach.

Me: Ummm, I'm pretty sure the coach is a PART of the team. QUIT BOOING!

You know what the best part of the whole thing was? I figured that engaging in this battle would cause serious detriment to my marriage. I was wrong. The moment the first word to me was out of his mouth, Matt was all over the guy too. He totally had my back! That's a good man I have.

At any rate, Hater knew I was right, so he just sat back in a huff. Matt and I spent the 3rd quarter cheering wildly for every good play and standing whenever we could. Hater was completely silent, except for the occasional industrial strength sigh of fury. About halfway through the quarter, he stomped off down the stairs and dragged his wife with him. About 10 minutes later, she came back to get the two teenage girls that were with them--"He says we're going, NOW" was all she said. Guess the game wasn't bad enough for him. She glared at us, and I responded with a sound "GO HOGS!"

The Razorbacks of course went on to win one of the most exciting games I can remember being at, and I had the double satisfaction of knowing that Hater was driving home FUMING. So let this be a warning to all the Haters out there. Karma will get you--every time!

Monday, November 5, 2007


Now that registration is over and I finally have a minute to blog, I'll finish out my trip review. If so much time hadn't passed, you'd probably get a much more detailed description, but it's been a couple of weeks so this is the best I can do:

- I ate crab. A LOT of crab. And it was so good.
- Baltimore is kind of a shady city when you get away from the harbor.
- We rode a train from DC to Baltimore. It cost $7 and took 1 hour. WHY don't we use trains more in the south?
- Maryland has got some seriously tasty crab.

The one part of the trip that I won't skim over is my reunion visit with some old friends. I graduated high school with Brian and worked with his wife Alice at a day care forever ago. We have only seen each other a couple of times since, but I knew they lived in the DC area. They drove all the way to Baltimore with their two daughters--one of which is only 8 weeks old!--to see me. It was so fantastic to get to spend the afternoon with them. Their daughter Mili is maybe the cutest little girl I have ever seen--next to Abby, of course. Here's a shot of us on the harbor:

Okay, something's wrong with Blogger's website and it's not letting me download pictures. I could just save this entry as a draft and finish it later, but I want everyone to know that I did indeed write it, so you're just going to have to wait until later for the pictures.

Halloween pictures and the story of the foolish man who crossed me at the Razorback game Saturday are ahead. Speaking of the Razorbacks, GO HOGS!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Might as well face it

Don't think I don't know that you are checking my blog to see if I've updated, and when you see that I haven't you're muttering something smarmy under your breath about how inconsistent I am, and how your other friends blog all the time, and how you're going to just quit reading mine if I don't step it up. But what you and I both know is that you're addicted to AMENmom, and you'll always come back! Besides, it's registration week at work, and literally thousands of students are relying on my dedicated expertise to ensure their smooth transition into the spring semester. You wouldn't want to put your needs before theirs, would you?

More coming soon, I PROMISE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pardon me Sister, but can you tell me how to get to the Capitol?

I had never been to Washington DC before last week. Most people are amazed to hear that, as though I've said I've never eaten potato chips before or something. It's sad but true--though I have seen many of our country's cities, DC has never been one. Thus, I seized the opportunity to add a couple of days on to my conference trip for work so that I could visit. Fortunately two of my friends and co-workers that were also going to the conference, Erin and Autumn, were up for a little sightseeing as well, so I had companions.

We arrived in DC midafternoon on Tuesday. We toted suitcases filled with warm clothes, as we were going to be in DC and Baltimore in late October, and it's supposed to be cold. Only no one told DC and Baltimore that. It got up to 80 most days. We were only in DC for about 48 hours, so we had to make the most of it. Fortunately, we were up to the task.
After checking into our hotel, we went out walking for a bit. We circled the White House--pretty much exactly what you see on TV. It's a lot closer to the street than I imagined it would be. Amusingly, the only vehicle in sight was a pickup truck in the circle drive:

For some reason, this struck me as funny--like the President had just taken a run to the store and parked out front while he unloaded the groceries.

Every building in DC, and there are LOTS of them, are very imposing and fancy and most are clearly marked with what area of government is managed inside. All the usual suspects were there--Department of Justice, Federal Aviation Administration, Office of the Attorney General. This one, though, was new to us:

If there are people that our government pays to make sure we spend thriftily, I might humbly suggest that we sack the lot and start from scratch--thriftiness is definitely NOT a hallmark of our country.

EVERYONE in Washington is wearing a business suit it seems. We joked that this was true, but then we walked by some road construction. Check out the guy doing the work:
Whaa??? We stood there forever trying to figure out why an older man in a suit would be digging in a manhole while the construction workers hung out and watched, but we gave up. It's the government and road work--it's not supposed to make sense.

After our walk, Bekah and Greg came to visit us. I went to graduate school with Bekah, and she and Autumn are best childhood friends. Greg is her very gallant, VERY patient husband who bravely set out with 4 women for dinner on the town. It was so wonderful to see them both. Bekah, along with two other friends in our program, Julie and Allison, are the only reasons I made it through graduate school with my sanity. Here's the 4 of us girls at dinner (Greg, of course, was the cameraman):

Wednesday was our only full day in DC, and we were determined to make the most of it. We started with a huge breakfast at our hotel, then set out in search of M&M's--Monuments and Memorials. We hit the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, The WWII Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial in quick succession. Here are a few of the photos I took:
The view from the Lincoln Memorial:
The WWII Memorial:
A lesser known component of the Vietnam Memorial:
The reflecting pool and Lincoln's Memorial:
After a brief stop for refreshments, we trucked over to the Holocaust Museum. It was intense and extraordinary. I learned more than I thought possible, including details about the US' complete refusal to help refugees fleeing the concentration camps. All around me, I heard people whispering, "How could our country have let that happen?" Ironically, we are repeating our own cruel history at this very moment by ignoring the millions (yes, millions) of deaths in Darfur. I could go on, but this is a post about the trip, so that's a soapbox for another day.
Wednesday evening, we took a night tour of the city. It was fantastic seeing all the monuments lit up, and hearing stories about the city's founding and history. Plus, it was fantastic not having to walk. By the end of the tour we were all worn out--so much so that at one point, I mistook 4 large table umbrellas that were still in their tables but closed up for 4 nuns hanging out on a terrace. In my defense, they REALLY looked like nuns, very still nuns, but nuns nonetheless. We got back to the hotel around 11 and I think I was asleep before I actually laid down.
I'm pretty sure anyone who has actually read all this is all scrolled-out, so I'll stop for now. Coming up next: Dorothy's shoes, Union Station, and crab-alicious Baltimore.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back and better than ever

I am back (obviously) from my trip to our nation's capital and Charm City. It was a whirlwind week filled with sightseeing, eating, seeing old friends, and some really STRANGE stuff that made the blogger in me leap for joy at new material.

I intend to blog in a fair amount of detail about the trip, but there are a couple of reasons I'm not going to start now. One, I don't have the time. Two, the pictures aren't ready to post. So I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit for all the juicy details. In the meantime, trust that it will be worth the wait.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane

I had all intentions of posting a few interesting tidbits today, but Abby is sick and so all that went right out the window. At any rate, the blog will be quiet this week, because I am leaving WAY too early tomorrow morning to head to Washington DC and Baltimore for a conference and some sightseeing. I'm pretty excited, though I feel bad about leaving Matt with the kids for so long, especially when 50% of "the kids" is sick. But if anyone can handle it, it's him. There's a chance that I will get to post while I'm there, so do check in every once in a while. I get back on Sunday, so it will be blogging business as usual next week.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Little Rock Part 2--Rock Stars

Saturday morning, Matt and I slept in until the luxuriously late hour of 9 AM. Though we were still full from dinner, we managed to find the strength to eat the awesome breakfast at Embassy Suites. After that, we headed to my grandmother's house for some time with her and the kids. Abby and Ethan were having the time of their lives with her and my aunt Linda. Both "Gigi" and Linda spoil them to death, and they love running around Gigi's house. See?

Around 3:00, Matt, Linda, Abby and I went back to the hotel. The buses were scheduled to leave for the game at 3:45. We waited in the lobby, and as players came through to board the buses, Abby got them to sign her football. She was so sweet, and the players ate it up--they loved her. She got at least 30 signatures, including Peyton Hillis:

Matt and I got on the bus around 3:40, and Abby and Linda stayed in the lobby to catch any last minute guys and wave us off. Coach Nutt came through right at 3:45, but his hands were full so they didn't ask him. However, he stopped, asked Abby if he could sign her ball, handed off all of his stuff, and took time to give an autograph to my little girl. What a good guy.

The bus ride to the stadium was absolutely surreal. We had police escorts on all sides, and flew down Markahm towards the stadium. Once we got within 2 miles, the buses were surrounded by fans, screaming, calling the Hogs, pounding on the side of the bus. I have never experienced anything like it. This is what it looked like from the inside:

Then, just when it couldn't get any wilder, the buses stopped and we did the War Memorial pre-game walk through with the team. And when I say with the team, I mean we were right in the thick of them. The walk through consists of about a quarter of a mile path from the buses to the stadium lined with around ten THOUSAND screaming fans and television cameras. It is impossible to go through this and not feel like a celebrity. I can't even describe the energy. Imagine how the players feel--I was just a schmoe and I was ready to go play football.

Once we got into the stadium, the team and coaches went into the locker room. The concourse was blocked to keep everyone else out, so Matt and I and a few other people were just kind of standing around with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I noticed that Danny Nutt was standing nearby, and decided to go have a chat. You know me, Ms. Shy. One of the Mikes had told us that it was him who had suggested our amazing restaurant from Friday night, and I thought it only proper to say thanks. Poor Matt--he lives in constant dread of how my talkative nature will manifest itself.

This time, though, it payed off. We had an incredibly pleasant conversation with what has to be one of the nicest men I have ever met. I told Matt that though I love Houston as much as ever, he might be taking a backseat to Danny as my favorite brother.

We finally left the stadium to get in a little tailgating with our friends Kevin and Robin and their families. Then we had fabulous 5th row seats for the game. We caught a ride back to my grandmother's house from Kevin and Robin afterwards, and fell straight to bed. Hey, it's hard being a celebrity!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Rock Part 1--VIPs

This past weekend, the AMEN family had the time of our lives. We went to Little Rock, but this was no ordinary trip to the Rock. Because I work with several student athletes and their academic support advisors down in athletics, we were invited by two of the advisors, Mike R. and Mike B., to spend a weekend with the Hogs. What does that mean? Well, I'll tell you.

Friday at 11, Abby and I met the team buses on campus--4 buses altogether. We climbed aboard, after a few of the players made a fuss over Abby in her cheerleader getup. We rode to LR on the bus--very cushy ride. As soon as we got near town, we were joined by a police escort. We drove straight through to War Memorial Stadium, where Abby and I got to go in the locker room and all over the field. It was a PPO (prime photo opportunity):

She loved running around the field. After about 45 minutes, we got back on the bus and went to the team hotel, where Matt and I were given a room for the night. Then my aunt Linda picked us up and took us to my grandmother's house, where Matt and Ethan met up with us (Matt drove our car down so we could have our own vehicle). After getting the kids settled, Matt and I headed back up to the hotel to meet the Mikes and another staff member, and we went to dinner at Sonny Williams, a KILLER steakhouse in the River Market. We ate enough food for the entire football team, courtesy of the athletic department. It was one of the best meals I have ever had in my life--and I've had plenty to choose from. It was all we could do to waddle back to our room after dinner.

If you're thinking, man, they sure got a lot of perks just because she works with some athletes--you're right! I am wildly underpaid and overworked, and it costs me $500 a year just to park on campus to go to my job, so if I get a free hotel room and a bus ride every now and then, I deserve it! If you can believe it, you haven't heard the best part yet--that happened on Saturday. Story and photos coming soon!

Monday, October 8, 2007


What's that saying about old friends being as valuable as gold? Now, I don't like anything that implies I am aged, but I have to say that the old friend bit is true. Last Sunday, I was with my three best girlfriends for a very exciting occasion. Melanie, who has known me since I was 11 years old, been my closest friend and best supporter, college roommate and maid of honor, had a baby shower in LR in anticipation of the arrival of her first born, Rachel Elayne (LOVE the name!) Mandy, who has recently joined me as a citizen of NWA, and I drove down for the shower and Jenn (her abbreviated spelling, not mine) met us there.

It will surprise no one when I say that I think I make friends rather easily, and there are several women that I'm lucky enough to have close relationships with. However Mandy, Melanie and Jenn are on a different level altogether. There's just so much history, and they have seen me at my absolute worst--and vice versa, so don't even think about spilling on the comments, girls. I don't think I would be the same person without the three of them in my life.

Anyway, the shower was wonderful, and we got a great picture of the 4 of us. This is rare, since we are spread out over 2 states now and are usually too busy gabbing when we're together to actually take photographs. So here I am with my best friends. Aren't I lucky?

I have MUCH to tell about this past weekend--it was fabulous, and I have many pictures to back up the claim. However, there's something called work that they expect me to do around here, so it will have to wait until later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Notes from a garage sale

I love a garage sale. Shopping at them, sure, but having one at my house is my idea of fun. I know that this is pure insanity to some people, and I begin to even question myself when I'm inevitably up at midnight the night before feverishly pricing things, but I LOVE it. You get to sit outside and accept money for your old stuff all day long. How great is that?

The garage sale I had this past Saturday was a doozy. I was selling most of the clothes the kids have outgrown, as well as a lot of my old clothes, bedding, kitchen stuff, housewares--just everything that we don't use anymore (or never used in the first place) (oh, you know you have that stuff too) (yes you do--what about the waffle maker?) We borrowed 8 tables and two huge hanging racks from the church to put it all on. Again I say, how do people who don't have a home church survive in this world? I was out front before 6 AM, fully set up a little after 7 AM, and the last customers left at, astonishingly enough, 4:45 PM. During this time, I was allowed a unique glimpse into some fascinating human behaviors. Here are some of my observations:

- There is NO way to determine if something will hold value to someone else or not. We sold 2 DVD players that were broken, and marked as such, very quickly. I had some crystal pieces that we never used for sale for next to nothing, and no one touched them.

- Men love to play with stuff. We had a Diaper Champ out that drew men like flies. A Diaper Champ, for those of you who are lucky enough not to know, is a tall, garbage-can like thing that holds used diapers in a relatively odor-proof manner. Here's what it looks like:

Not a single man all day failed to go over and fiddle with this thing. I think they couldn't figure out what it was. Once my friend Autumn, who was helping me, noticed the trend, we laughed more and more each time it happened.
- While we're talking about men, never let one tell you they don't like a garage sale. We had lots of guys come with their wives, and though they made sure everyone heard them complain about being out "garage sale-ing", they looked around and bought more than the ladies.
- Parents who do not watch their children at garage sales should be shot.
- Having a cute 4 year old sell donuts for a quarter each is a GREAT marketing tool. Abby sold out of 3 dozen and could have sold more. Next time we're going to have juice and cokes, and perhaps a small breakfast buffet.
- Some people are just cheap, and they should NOT be accomodated. I sold bibs for ten cents each. I had some like-new, really nice bibs, and some not-so-new, not-so-nice bibs. Inconsistent, maybe, but they were a DIME for heaven's sake! A woman snidely pointed out that some were stained, and wouldn't I take less? I thought briefly about charging her 7 cents each and making her do the math, but finally just politely but firmly told her no. 20 minutes later I sold the entire stack for the full 10 cents each.
- If your garage door is up, they will come. We started trying to pack up a little before 3, but people kept coming and looking through things. I wasn't about to tell them to leave if they were going to buy stuff, so I'd stop and wait. It was almost 5 before there was enough of a break for us to get everything in the garage and close the door. I was half afraid that someone would ring the bell to see if we had anything left.
- I have WAY too much stuff. When you have a garage sale, and you sell a lot of stuff and make a lot of money, but over half your stuff is still left, you have too much stuff. Since everything is priced and ready, I've decided to repeat this event in the spring. I figure, what do I have to lose? I'll probably make some more cash, and besides--the Diaper Champ didn't sell and it will be fun to watch the guys try to figure it out again.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Zoo day

On Friday, we loaded up on our church bus, along with a bunch of other families, and headed to the Tulsa Zoo. We planned to leave at 8:30 AM, which in church trip time means we left right on time at 9:15. Ethan sat next to his betrothed, Avery, while Abby was in the back with the cool kids. Getting out of the bus and into the zoo proved a major ordeal, considering that we had, just between our family and our friends Marla and Chad, 4 adults, 4 children, a wagon, a double stroller, a cooler, two diaper bags and a camera. We made it in one piece, though, and it was off to the animals.

We looked around for maybe 20 minutes before deciding it was lunch time. After lunch, the kids HAD to play on the playground--because that's what you drive to the Tulsa Zoo to do, right?--then we finally got back to looking at the animals. Abby enjoyed most of them, especially a monkey she played with, but Ethan couldn't have cared less about any of it. The only animals he enjoyed were the flamingos. They make a really loud quack-ish sound, and he thought that was just great. He spent most of his time running around or lounging in the stroller sipping his water.

We finished the day with rides on the merry go round (I called it a carousel and Abby had no idea what I was talking about) and the train. By the time we boarded the bus to come home, we were all happily exhausted. Matt and I had as much fun as the kids, if not more. We're just so blessed to have the people we went with in our lives. Our church family means the world to us.

Here are some pictures of the big day. There are a ton, but I just couldn't narrow it down any more.

Abby and her best buddies (and fellow Foxy Loxies) Audrey and Carol Grace ready to roll:

Ethan and my future daughter in law, Avery, being entertained:

Marla and I, along with our kiddos, ready to enter the gates--finally:

Abby and Audrey, too cool for school. Both girls misplaced and rediscovered their sunglasses several times throughout the day. We thought we had lost Abby's for good until I found them in my pocket on the ride home.

This is my favorite picture of the day. E was playing in a big pirate ship, and this shot captures who my son is exactly:

Abby and Carol Grace teetering and tottering:

It's confirmed--my daughter is indeed a monkey:

Abby and her posse checking out a huge tortoise: (Did you know that the difference between a turtle and a tortoise is that a tortoise doesn't have teeth? Hmm.)

Ethan finally found something that can move faster than him:
Jealous that they're mine? I would be!
E doing his best elephant impersonation:
You gotta love a merry go round:
Abby squaring off with a monkey. You wanna race? Okay! On your mark, get set...:


Believe it or not, Abby took this picture of her dear old mom and dad. By this point, we were too tired to lift the camera ourselves:

AMEN goes to the zoo:

The littlest animals need their rest:

Check back soon--garage sale hilarity coming right up!

Monday, October 1, 2007


This weekend was one of those blocks of time that just pass in a large blur. Friday we went with other families from our church to the Tulsa Zoo. Saturday was my garage sale, and Sunday I went to Little Rock for Melanie's baby shower. Everything was wildly fun, and other than a couple of mostly minor injuries, the AMEN family made it through unscathed. I have pictures of almost everything, and much to say, so I'm going to do a separate post on each of the days. Hopefully I'll get to at least one tonight. Keep an eye out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Too much of a good thing

Okay, the pumpkin vine thing is getting a little out of hand. When we had a couple of pumpkins and 10 or so feet of vines, it was a fun accident and a good way to teach Abby about how things grow. Apparently cutting off the first two pumpkins gave the vine the energy it needed to go into growth hyperspeed. This is now what the side of our house looks like:

I'm not sure if you can tell, but the vine reaches all the way back to the fence. The two lengths running parallel to the driveway are around 10 feet long and growing substantially each day. And all of those yellow flowers have the potential to turn into big pumpkins. To give you a better idea of how big these flowers and leaves are, I had Matt hold his hand out next to a bloom for perspective:

I'm sure you can see how this could very easily get out of hand. I don't want to get rid of the vine, just...contain it. I'm sure we're violating some city code by growing produce in the front yard. I'm hoping we'll at least get a few more pumpkins out of the deal. Matt assures me that he can get rid of the vine in no time if necessary, so I'm content for now. If a school bus pulls up in front of our house for a field trip to the pumpkin patch, though, it's all over.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I pity the fools

I do not suffer fools lightly. This isn't a problem all the time, but it makes going to football games particularly difficult, since there seems to be an overabundance of fools at sporting events.

We sit in kind of expensive seats at Razorback stadium, which spares us from exposure to the obnoxious fraternity boys. However, apparently some fools can afford the good seats. We spent most of the game on Saturday seated in front of the MOST annoying couple on the PLANET. I remember them from last year, but then they were behind and down from us. This time my seat was directly in between and in front of them--it was like stupid in stereo. Let me just list the ways they made me crazy:

1) They showed up with extreme noise and hubbub halfway through the second quarter. Some of their friends were already there, and they explained loud enough for the referees to hear that they were late because their son's flag football game was scheduled for that afternoon. Whatever, just sit down and watch the rest of the game.

2) They were drunk when they got there, and kept right on going. This led me to wonder: did they get drunk before their son's football game? During his game? Or perhaps just on the ride from his game to the stadium?

3) They spent the entire game, the ENTIRE game, having conversations about things completely unrelated to football. Unfortunately, the conversations were held at ear-splitting level. Seriously, the wife was especially bad--she SCREAMED every word out of her mouth. She also found herself waaay funnier than anyone else did.

4) Their two annoying, dirty, fidgety children never actually sat in their seats. They spent the entire time hanging and climbing on the railing on the aisle, blocking the view for no less than 10 people. The daughter had on a Spongebob hat and a foam finger, and had a pretzel hanging out of her mouth the entire time. Precious. The parents completely ignored them.

5) At one point, the father announced for no apparent reason that the Razorbacks were ranked 17th. Really? I pointed out that we were not, in fact, ranked after our loss to Alabama, and he argues right back. Okay, just because you were too drunk to remember the Alabama game doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Were it not for Patty's calming influence, Matt's mortification that I might make a scene, and my need for good blog material, I would have likely gone over the back of my seat at them before the 4th quarter. They were saved this time, but Patty won't be there next time, and I'll have already blogged about these people--Matt may just have to suffer for the cause. Trust me, Razorback stadium would be a better place for my efforts.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Ahhh, Friday...another week survived. I had a Pampered Chef party last night. My friend Autumn sells it, and is a great presenter. She made some awesome food and we had a lovely time. I think I sent everyone home sick from eating too much, so I did my job as hostess. Thanks to everyone who came, and to Autumn for making it fun! I am going to use my hostess status to buy some new cookware at a big discount. And when I say that I'm going to buy it, I mean that Matt's going to pick it out and use it. I have a vague notion of what it will all be used for, though.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hot and Cold

I LOVE this time of year. A majority of my favorite college memories happened in the fall, and working on campus this time of year brings me right back to the glory days. Plus, it's such a great season. Football, cooler temperatures, pumpkins and hayrides,'s wonderful!

The one thing that I'm not totally crazy about is NWA's weather schizophrenia. We've already experienced a couple of these bipolar days, and there are surely more to come. I am talking about the days that you wake up to frost on your car and your breath visible in front of you, but by noon it's 90 degrees and climbing. There is no way, absolutely no way, to dress appropriately for this. Either you freeze in the morning or melt in the afternoon. I suppose it's a small price to pay to live here, though.

Speaking of fall-esque things, our pumpkin patch is growing like crazy. We cut off the big pumpkin I posted about earlier and one other that's medium sized but perfectly shaped. There are at least 5 new ones growing now. (!) It's very cool, bordering on very out of control.

I'm off to teach my class, comprised of 30 freshmen who don't need a teacher because they already know everything. Ah, the glory days.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Girls will be girls, and boys will be messy

It's no secret to anyone over the age of 5 that boys and girls are inherently different, and for more reasons than can fit here. Now that I'm raising one of each, though, I'm getting a very interesting perspective into how much of it is really hardwired. Ethan has recently undergone the development from "baby" to "boy"--it happens sometime between 12 and 18 months, I think. So now that I live with a boy and a girl, both slowly turning into the people they're always going to be, it amazes me how much gender-specific behavior just comes naturally to them. For example:

- Abby chooses to use her bath playtime to pretend to make and serve lemonade. Ethan uses his bath playtime to soak anyone within 10 feet who has the nerve not to be in the tub with him.

- Abby cries like she's losing a limb every time the slightest of injuries occurs. Ethan will dive off of the back of the couch, smack his head on the floor, and keep right on going.

- Abby can't stand having her hands dirty. Ethan will happily eat soup by the fistful.

- Abby is embarrassed and a little giggly if she accidentally emits gas through either her mouth or her bottom. Ethan is the youngest person I have ever seen be able to burp on command, and proudly.

- Abby wants to play with dolls and makeup and stickers. Ethan wants to play with trucks and blocks and bugs.

Now, the kids do occasionally break the stereotypes. Abby is a very aggressive soccer player, and E has displayed quite an affinity for Abby's play kitchen. Most of the time, though, they are true to tradition. Ironic, since most of the time they see Matt making dinner while I'm hollering at the football game on TV. Hmm...maybe they get more from their mom and dad than I realized.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I'm home from work today. For the first time ever, I seem to have developed "allergies". It's always intrigued me, this "allergies" thing. At random times of the year, all sorts of people come down with a large assortment of symptoms, and they are all attributed to allergies. It's been raining for a week and you have a stuffy nose? You must have allergies. Sudden cold spell and you have a scratchy throat? Gotta be allergies. Headache? Allergies. Watery eyes? Allergies. Lazy? Allergies.

I'm not implying that allergies are not real--I live with a man that suffers miserably and on a regular basis because of them. It's just that it's such a random thing. They can develop at any time, due to any condition, and last any duration. From what I understand, they are usually a reaction to something in the air, dust or pollen or anthrax or some such thing, that has invisible bits that we breathe in and get sick because of. Some people, like my friend Melanie, requires shots at times because it gets so bad. I know very few people who don't claim at least a minor reaction to allergies. It's an epidemic, apparently.

All this to say--well, nothing really. I'm just home and feeling blah and wanted to write, and allergies are on my brain. Literally, apparently.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Recent history

Everyone knows what today is. It's amazing how quickly the severity of 9/11 has diluted, though--I remember people talking 6 years ago about how the date was cursed, and no one would ever want to get married or have a baby on September 11. However, most people don't feel that way about December 7 anymore, and this country was torn apart in 1941 because of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It's the natural progression of things, I guess--life goes on, the past gets further and further behind us.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about 9/11 and its fallout from my children's perspective. Neither of them was alive in 2001. This will be another event in the history books for them, one that their ancient parents actually remember--like what the Kennedy assassination was for my generation. However, their lives are incredibly impacted by the results of 9/11. Our country has been at war for their entire lives. In fact, we invaded Afghanistan while I was in the hospital waitng to have Abby. Well, I myself didn't invade--I was in a hospital bed--but the US invaded. How old will she be before the US is not at war anymore? The Vietnam war lasted 16 years. Could Abby be driving before we are out of Iraq? It seems possible. I cannot imagine growing up with your country being at war.

At the same time, though, I'm not sure how much it will really affect their lives. It's not like the 1940s, when people had to ration their food and supplies and mothers dreaded the day their sons turned 18, knowing they would be on the next train out of town to go fight. The worst we have to deal with is the high price of filling the gas tanks of our monster SUVs. We live as civilians largely unaffected by the war, especially if no one close to us is enlisted. It's important to me that Abby and Ethan understand the sacrifices that other people have made--on 9/11 and after. I just hope I can teach them in a way that makes them see it as something other than history.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My little songbird

We survived the weekend, if only barely. My wedding went smoothly unless you count the torrential rain--it was indoors, though, so all was not lost. Kenneth's football game occurred during a brief break in the floods Friday evening. His team lost, but he played quite well. There is an offensive lineman on his team--a senior that has already signed with Arkansas--that is 6'10'' and weighs well over 300 pounds. Bless his heart!

Abby has focused her energies as of late on her new passion as a songstress. She sings ALL the time. This isn't that new, but what is new is that now she sings only original numbers. What I mean by this is that she picks a word, just any word, and starts singing it. Then other words come after. The words don't have to make sentences or be related in any way. But BOY, does she sing them like she means them. And the beautiful thing (in her eyes anyway) about songs that don't have to make sense is that they never have to end. Ever. They can just go and go and go and go until your mommy starts hyperventilating. An Abby original may go something like this: "When youuuuu go to your frieeends, the saaaaame, and wear shoes to the schoooooool, and we knoooooooowww, that I dooooooooo, because we are the saaaaaaame, and you are speeeeeecial, and he loooooooooves your hat, youuuuu like waaaaaafles, todaaaay!" Poetry, right?

Friday, September 7, 2007

A change will do me good...I hope

I did it! I got my hair cut. Take a look:

I'm pretty happy with it. I've never had my hair cut any way other than one length, even when it was curly. It took me a while to get up the nerve to do this, but I figured I only live once! I'm getting used to it slowly. It requires more product and more primping, but I'm up for it. I won't lie--I was freaking out in the chair while she was cutting. I was certain I looked like I had a giant mushroom on my head. If you think I really do look like I have a giant mushroom on my head, please keep that thought to yourself--I can't handle it right now. It's actually supposed to be a little fuller and poufy-er than it is in this picture, but I have to ease into that business slowly.

Enough about my hair. Last week, Abby was the "Star of the Week" in her pre-K class. This meant that she got to bring her favorite book to class to read (Green Eggs and Ham) and her favorite snack for the class to eat (fruit roll ups). She also got to bring pictures of herself and her family for a display. She was so proud of that thing! I took her picture with the display:

It's another busy weekend for us. I have a wedding, Abby has a soccer game, and we're going to watch my cousin Kenneth play football tonight. His high school is playing Fayetteville HS tonight. I was 15 when Kenneth was born, and doted on him a LOT while he was a kid. Now he's 16 and would be appalled if I spoke to him in public, let alone at the football game. Nonetheless, it will be good to see his parents and sister, and cheer him on from afar. We're taking Abby, who is so incredibly excited about going to a football game despite having no idea what happens at one that I feel sure she's in for some disappointment. Ethan is going to stay home with one of our wonderful babysitters, Laura, who I warned to get plenty of rest in advance, because that boy can wear a person out. I have never seen someone so small run so fast.

Enough for now--I have to go stare at my hair in the mirror and decide if I like it this hour or not. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

September's off and running

What is it they say about the best laid plans? Whatever it is, they are right. Our babysitters had a family emergency and had to cancel at the last minute this weekend, so no anniversary trip for us. We were really bummed, but life goes on--especially when it's in the form of a one year old blonde boy hurtling himself at you from on top of the couch or a 4 year old girl demanding a 200th game of Candy Land.

Speaking of games, football was great Saturday. I do so love going to a game--everything about it. The sea of people in red and white, the little girls in cheerleader costumes, the smell of stadium food, even the fools over in the student section. (Hey, I can talk, I used to be one of those fools). One of my favorite pastimes while waiting for the game to start is watching what people, especially women, chose to wear to the game. I really do wonder what goes through people's minds, and if they own mirrors. My favorite, though, are the young girls who are dressed like they're going to prom practically--dress, high heels, big updo. What on earth?! Did their boyfriends lie and say they were going to the opera?

I don't know how it happens, but September is always a painfully busy month for the AMEN family. I looked last night, and every single day of this month already has something written on it in our family calendar at home. It makes me tired just looking at it.

As a final note, I want to send a big CONGRATULATIONS to my friend David, who got a great job in Bentonville and will finally be joining his family in NWA! Welcome to the promised land, Dave!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Life's hard at the top

It is through sheer will power alone that I have managed to wait until now to talk about football. I didn't want to bore the non-fans out there to death, but the game starts tomorrow and really, if you're a non-fan, nothing can save you now.

We are SO ready for the first game. I really believe we have a fantastic team that can win a lot of games for us. The one person I worry about, ironically, is Darren McFadden. For those of you poor souls who don't know, he is our rock star running back who was the runner up for the Heisman last year, and lead contender for it this year.
Poor Darren is really in an unenviable position if you think about it. Basically, two things could happen for him this season. He could not perform as well as anticipated--if this happens, he gets slammed in the media, his NFL value goes down, and he loses the Heisman. Or he could be brilliant--tear up the field, win everything, get a gazillion dollar pro contract. In which case people will just say, Yep! It's what we expected. Big whoop. How unfortunate! Short of ending world hunger in the next 4 months, Darren's hype has ensured that he will at best meet expectations. That's a tough place for a kid (and these guys ARE still kids) to be in. Still, he seems to have a good head on his shoulders, so I'm sure he can handle it. And no matter what, he'll still be a gazillionaire, so life won't be that bad.

It's an action packed weekend for the AMEN family--well, the grown up half of it anyway. THe game is Saturday night, and Matt and I are leaving Sunday morning for a two day trip to Branson to celebrate our anniversary. We're using our full day there to--wait for it--go to White Water. We love water parks, and we figure it's our only chance for the next 15 years to go without spending the majority of our time in the kiddie pool. I can't wait! I'll tell you all about it as soon as we return. Happy Labor Day, and GO HOGS!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Beckham's got nothing on my girl!

I know that my posts have been a little Foxy Loxy-centric lately, but I just have to brag one more time--the girls played on Saturday, and Abby scored FIVE goals! She was a rock star on the field. She it! She kept stealing the ball and knowing just what to do with it. I was so proud! We caved and did the parent-tunnel, and the girls acted like we took them on a ride at Disneyworld--it was sweet.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Can you hear me now?

Yesterday, civilization as we know it came to a grinding halt for several hours. Did the sun fall out of the sky? Did nuclear war begin? Did George W. admit he was wrong about something?** No.

Northwest Arkansas' cell phone service crashed.

It takes something like this to make you realize how utterly dependent on technology you are. Ten years ago I didn't own a cell phone. Now, it is a rare moment that I don't have mine on and with me. I was filled with anxiety on the drive home from work--what if I had a wreck? How would I call Matt? Who would call 911, for that matter?? Would I have to wait until I got home to order pizza? (Just kidding about the last one, but you know someone was thinking that).

Never mind that 10 years ago these would have been issues all the time. I didn't know what to do with myself! And I had it easy. Lots of people don't even have a land line any more--they just use cell phones. They might as well have been in Siberia for the evening. And it apparently affected some Internet service as well. What did people do at work all day?!

It turns out that a backhoe (or some such thing) cut the main fiber optic cable (or some such thing) that supports the wireless network in NWA. Here's my main concern with that. You have literally hundreds of thousands of wireless devices, owned by and depended on by hundreds of thousands of paying customers, and your service relies on A SINGLE CABLE that is buried shallow enough to be dug up on ACCIDENT and unprotected enough to be CUT? This is absurd. It's like storing savings bonds in a child's toy box, or making freeways out of glass. Who thought up this brilliant plan? Well, it's the same people who make up those ridiculous cell phone commercials--I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

**This is not a political blog. The statement made here is meant to neither support nor disparage our President--I just thought it was funny. And you gotta admit, the guy does have a hard time owning up to his mistakes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


It wasn't us! It was them! The Foxy Loxies had their second game tonight, and it was an even match--proving my theory that Saturday's mess was not because of our girls' lack of ability, but the other teams' freakishness. Tonight was what a 4 year old soccer game is SUPPOSED to look like. And guess what? ABBY SCORED A GOAL! She was beside herself. I screamed my head off for her, and then started crying. The other moms laughed at me, but whatever--they cried when their babies did good too. She was SO proud of herself.

I am so far surviving the first week of school, though only barely at times. I looked just for fun, and I sent 92 emails today. Plus processed over 100 class override requests. I think it's fair to say I'm pretty tired of students right about now. Every once in a while I come across a nice one, though. Very occasionally, they even bring me gifts. I got some coupons for free salad dressing once. Don't mock, the guy worked for the company, and it was GOURMET dressing. One girl's dad worked for Staples, so I got a huge box of highlighters and Sharpies and pencils--the OCD color-coding freak in me went crazy. The most common thing that happens when I help a student out, though, is for their parent to email and thank me. This happens most often when the parent is high ranking in whatever company they work for for some reason. And without fail, the last line of the email is always, "I work at XYZ Bank/Smith and Smith Law Firm/Such and Such Real Estate Company, and if there is anything I can do for you in return for helping my child, please let me know." Then they sign and prominently place their title in bold below their name.

I never know what to make of this. Is it just something they are saying to be polite? Are they trying to assert their superiority? Are they trying to get business? Or could I go to Mr. Bank Executive and be like,"Hey, I did kind of set your daughter up real nice with her fall schedule--how about an extra grand or two finds its way mysteriously into my checking account?" I don't think I want to find out, so typically I just respond with a polite "Thank you, happy to help" and move on. Nice to know it's a possibility, though.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Foxy Loxies V RoboTeam

Today the Foxy Loxies played their first real game. Abby was very excited, and totally hammed it up once she was decked out in her gear. I do have to admit she looked fantastic--and not just becuase of the pigtails, which took me half an hour to do (she has very fine hair, okay?) Here's the little star ready to go:

The game was scheduled to start at 10:10. We got to the soccer fields, which were mass chaos, a little before 10. There are 94 teams of all ages in this league, and all of them were scheduled to play today. Kids in soccer gear of every color were everywhere, accompanied by overwhelmed looking parents. We found our field and started settling in. Soon, other Foxy Loxies starting showing up, but at 10:08 there was no sign of the other team. Then all of a sudden, there they were. They all arrived at once--I joked at the time that maybe they had marched in together, but by the end of the game I was half convinced it was true. This team was hard CORE. They are four year olds, just like the Foxy Loxies. But they totally knew what they were doing! They could get the ball AND kick it in the right direction AND run after it. And when their coach told them to play defense, they KNEW what he meant! I was shocked. The poor Foxy Loxies were bewildered. In all their practices and talk about soccer, no one had ever told them that another girl would come up the them and TAKE the ball AWAY from them! And that instead of giving her a time out, the thief's mom would CHEER for her! Fortunately, score isn't kept.
The other fortunate thing was that as long as we kept cheering for our girls like they were superstars, they believed they were. I think they really had a great time, but it was just so bizarre to have a first game against this machine of a team. I think all of the other FL parents and I were relieved to see the game end. What happened after is, I think, the best illustration of the differences of the two teams. Matt and Chad--who are FANTASTIC coaches with more patience than 95% of the fathers on this planet-- called the FLs onto the field, where they had a huddle, told the girls how awesome they were, and did the hands-in-the-middle-and-yell thing. Then, the other team did THEIR after-game thing:

Do you SEE that? This is not something you just do spur of the moment. This is a choreographed and likely practiced procedure. I almost expected smoke and strobe lights. When our girls saw it, the other parents let them run through too, so I guess it wasn't all bad. But still!
After the game we did a little team socialization at every 4-year-old's favorite hangout--McDonald's. The parents sat together and talked about what freaks of nature those other girls were, and guessed how many hours of practice they had put in, and mused as to the possiblity of a few of them dabbling in steroids. The Foxy Loxies had, by this point, forgotten entirely that they had just played a soccer game and were having a ball together. After all, they had all gotten matching pet kitties in their Happy Meals--what more could you want in life?

We play another game Tuesday, and we are all hoping it's against an equally clueless team so we have a fighting chance to score a goal. We're also making plans for our rematch against RoboTeam, which I think happens sometime in early October. We're considering carrying the FLs in on our shoulders, preceeded by a small marching band and someone dressed up as a giant girl fox. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Just so you don't think we've forgotten him, here's a photo of E being cool as a cucumber:
And, lest you think my last post was an exaggeration, proof of his love to climb and yell from our last trip to the park: