Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How to steal a car

Every day, Matt and I take our two children to day care and pre-school. When we drop them off in the morning and then pick them up in the afternoon, we are always among several other parents doing the same with their children. These are usually fairly intelligent, well dressed people. Most of them drive nice cars, though how they have the money after paying to send their kids to day care I have no idea. At any rate, it never fails that if there are 5 other parents there when I get there, at least 3 leave their cars running while they go in to drop off or pick up their child, regardless of the weather.

I timed it, and it takes me around 3 minutes to go in the building, round up Ethan's stuff, put on his jacket, and get him back out to the car--and that's if I don't chat with his teacher for a minute. In 3 minutes, someone could have my car on the interstate with a new tag on it.

I do NOT understand what these people are thinking! We are talking about Tahoes and BMW's and Acuras, just sitting unlocked and running! In many cases, the moms leave their purses in the front passenger seat. Some even leave ONE OF THEIR OTHER CHILDREN in the car! The ones that really kill me are the ones that take their purse in but leave the child in the car. There's priorities for you.

Now, when it's pouring rain and 15 degrees, or sunny and 90, I can understand somewhat, though I still think it's risky. But it matters not in the least what it's like outside. I truly believe these people just cannot be bothered with turning their cars on and off. These are the same people that will pull their vehicle up within inches of the front door of the school so that they only have to walk 3 or 4 steps to get in. No matter that those of us who park in an actual parking space have to go all the way around their car lugging a baby and a diaper bag. No no, I'm fine, as long as you don't have to exert any effort whatsoever!

Perhaps they think no one would take the chance of stealing their car with all the other parents around. I could tell them that logic is fatally flawed. We other parents are too busy wiping a nose one last time, or picking up the pacifier that fell on the pavement when we opened the door (of COURSE we wash it off...) or pleading with our child to please just leave the pink sparkly high heels in the car and wear her tennis shoes in to school. Someone could steal MY car while I was still IN it and I would barely notice. I have no time to be paying attention to anyone else!

I really think it's going to take someone having their car stolen for parents to wise up. So, if you've been wanting a new car but just don't have the cash, forget mall parking lots or opened garages. Go straight for the day cares--it will be like taking candy from a baby. Extra bonus: cars come equipped with child safety seats and, in some cases, children!

Monday, January 29, 2007

How do you get icing out of an ear?

When Abby turned 1, we had a huge party and invited everyone we knew. 50 people stood shoulder to shoulder in our living room while we set the smash cake down in front of Abby. We stood poised with cameras, ready to capture Abby destroying her cake. Only, nothing happened. She was having none of that messy business. Finally I just pushed her hands down into the cake, and she just gave me a dirty look and started licking her hands clean.

As Ethan's birthday neared, we took a much more practical approach. We invited just a few friends and our immediate family over, and it was a much more relaxed day. As we sat Ethan down into the same high chair we had put Abby in almost 3 years prior, I couldn't help but wonder if we would again be staring at a clean, annoyed child. I needn't have been concerned.





Oh, but he had a ball. He just could not believe that we let him get away with this, but he wasn't about to wait and make sure. He was covered--he even had icing in his ears. I now have a one year old boy, who is semi-walking and has only the faintest tinge of blue to his skin.

Said boy is having tubes put in his ears this Wednesday to get rid of his constant ear infections. We are SO ready for it. Abby is doing well, despite her insistence that because both her leg and back hurt this morning, she is "falling apart."



Thursday, January 25, 2007

Winner: Cutest birthday boy EVER


PF Chang's is going to want to hire me now!

My little boy turns one today. What an amazing little man I have. Great, here come the tears again.

On to the fun stuff! Last week, I got a call from a very nice, very excited man that I'll call Steve. Steve told me that he and his wife of 10 years, we'll call her Christi, had eloped and had always talked about having a real wedding someday. Well, he wanted to give her the chance to have that wedding, and he wanted the presentation to be, let's say, grandiose. For that he needed my help.

So. Saturday night, after the bridal fair, I made my way up to PF Chang's. For those of you who don't know, PF Chang's is an excellent restaurant--one of my favorites--and it opened in Rogers not too long ago. At any rate, Steve was bringing Christi to dinner for their anniversary at precisely 5:30. We had met on Thursday to set up all the details, so I went straight to my job when I got there. I found the manager, who introduced me to Steve and Christi's waiter for the evening, I shall call him Kyle (partly to maintain anonymity and partly because I can't remember his real name). Kyle showed me the ins and outs of being a PF Chang's server, including mixing the little tray of sauces they bring out (which I never even use when I eat there). When Steve and Christi arrived, I approached the table. I was wearing the required black shirt and pants, a PF Chang's apron, and carried an order pad in my hand. I introduced myself as their server, made small talk and took their drink orders. I even MADE the PF Chang's sauce at their table. BY MYSELF. I rocked--she suspected nothing.

Then, as I hovered by the kitchen door spying, Steve dropped to one knee in front of the whole place and re-proposed, with a NEW RING. As soon as he was done, I ran over and acted all excited that they had gotten engaged. Then I mentioned that I own a wedding planning company. Then I said, "Actually, Christi, I'm not a waitress at all. I'm the wedding planner your husband has hired to help with the surprise and to help you plan your dream wedding." I am telling you, I just about started crying into their spring rolls, her reaction was so adorable. My friend Autumn, who helps me with weddings, was there too to get some photos of them, and we ended up talking with them for a long time. They are a great couple and this is going to be a fun wedding.

Clearly, being a part of such an event was thrilling, but I have to admit, I was equally excited to be a waitress at PF Chang's. The experience didn't let me down. Once the rest of the staff figured out who I was (and it took a few embarrassing moments to get there) everyone was wonderful to me, and I got to go back in the kitchen and everything. Now I can add server for fine Asian dining to my resume!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

House of Pain

I'm just posting to let my faithful readers (all 5 of them) know that I am not slacking on my blogging duties without good reason. I started having rough headaches Thursday, and by noon yesterday it was so bad I had to leave work. I went to the doctor, and I have a fever and apparently some nasty virus, so I have been in bed ever since. The real fun part is that Abby has it too, only hers came with the added bonus of throwing up all over her daddy at midnight last night. Yay!

At any rate, I am writing this from Matt's laptop in (you guessed it) my bed, while my fabulous husband takes care of our daughter in the living room. Ironically our son, who has been pretty much constantly sick his whole life, is just ducky today and is at school.

When I feel up to it, I'll be writing a fabulous post on the most fun wedding planner thing I did this past weekend. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had my life. Well, my life except for this nasty virus bit.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is it February yet?

Holy cannoli, what a week. I am worn out, and it's not even over yet! It's the first week of classes, so I spend each workday in a constant frantic pace. The best part about the first week of classes is that everyone in our office is too busy to leave for lunch, so we get it catered in each day, and this time the buffet setup is right outside my office door. Literally--I could sit at my desk and throw my pen into the potato salad.

On top of all that, this Saturday is the big NWA bridal fair. I'm rolling out some new stuff at the fair, so I've been working like crazy on that, plus trying to get everything together to lug to the convention center. After the fair, I have a wedding-related task to do for a client, and it is probably the most fun thing I've ever been asked to do in the wedding planning business. It involves a surprise and even though it's for someone none of you know, I am supremely paranoid, so I won't blog about it until it's over, but it will be worth the wait!

Next Thursday is Ethan's birthday (!) and Abby has been invited to three (!!!) birthday parties next weekend. I am going to be birthday-present-gift-wrapping-ed out!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What's up, Doc?

Every once in a while, just for kicks and to torture me, Matt does this thing on Microsoft Money where he makes a chart that shows where and how we spend our money every month. I see the numbers for eating out and going to Wal Mart and try to breathe normally. Then I see the amount of money that we spend on day care, and I realize that had we opted not to have children, we could be spending roughly one week per month in the Cayman Islands with the money we would have saved.

Since Ethan has been born, I've noticed another piece of the pie growing at an alarming rate--the amount of money we spend on doctor's visits and medicine. The first year we were married, I had my tonsils out and my wisdom teeth pulled and Matt had a kidney stone, and we thought we had spent more on medical bills in one year than we would ever have to again. Well.

Every time we take Abby or Ethan to the doctor, we pay a $25 co-pay. Which isn't bad, unless you are at said doctor's office once a week. Then said doctor prescribes whichever child a medication, which will no doubt cost $27 in co-pay. Unless of course, whichever child is prescribed an inhaler to use for his respiratory infection for 5 measly days, and the medicine part costs $27, but the inhaler part is not medication but a medical device and therefore not covered, and therefore costs $46 by itself.

But I digress. The point is, we have never had to budget in medical expenses--it was just something you dealt with when it came up, like needing new toothpaste or paying that poor homeless guy on the corner to clean your garage. (Kidding, honey!) Now, though, medical costs are a force to be reckoned with, and we're doing plenty of reckoning.

Speaking of these expensive kids, Ethan has perfected the "touchdown" motion of throwing his arms up in the air when the word is said. Abby has taken to wearing a pedometer she got in a cereal box, and I'm sure you'll not be surprised to know that she's clocking in at about 75,000 steps per day. Must be the medicine the doctor put her on.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Who knew Mary was a loner?

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is the Willow Tree nativity Matt bought me a couple of years ago (way to go, honey!). It is quite traditional, with Mary holding the baby Jesus and Joseph standing close by. There are a couple of shepherds, the three wise men, and some animals. I think it's fairly safe to say that most people recognize the various roles in the nativity, basic as they are.

Well.

Matt and I have housekeepers come to our home once a week. Anyone who knows me knows that a housekeeper I am not. Or a cook, or a crafter, for that matter, but I digress. Anyway, these ladies come to our house every week and leave it spotless and lemony fresh. We discovered last December, however, that for all their cleaning prowess they apparently have no knowledge of the story of the nativity, or of the various main characters' roles in said nativity. After cleaning the top of our entertainment center, they replace the nativity--never the same way twice, and NEVER right. And I don't just mean switching Mary and Joseph. Here's an example from the first week we had it up this year:





The tall guy in the middle holding the staff is indeed Joesph. But to his left, our right, where Mary should be, is the first of the wise men. Do you see Mary? Give up? That's her in the far right of the picture, tucked in the back corner. Huh? Surely everyone knows that the baby is the whole reason for the setup! Each week, I faithfully rearranged the nativity, and each week, Matt and I delighted to come home and see what Jesus and the gang had been up to while we were gone. Once I even left a picture from a catalog selling the nativity right next to it, so they could remember how it goes. That day we came home to find that the shepherd girl had replaced Mary and taken up with Joseph, while one of the wise men seemed to be ready to comfort Mary in her hour of need off to the side.
This is how I see it. We pay a very reasonable amount of money so that I never have to scrub a toilet or mop the floor. I can deal with a little nativity confusion now and then, bizarre as it may be. I'll certainly never quit displaying it--like I said, it's lovely, and Abby loves telling people that Jesus lives on top of our tv.

Friday, January 12, 2007

If only it were Christmas all year long

Well, it's over a week into 2007 and I have yet to blog. Shame on me! It's not like I have a baby and a pre-schooler and a full time job and my own company to run or anything.

Things are bumping right along in the AMEN household. Matt got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas, so we have been brushing up on our bowling and boxing skills. Ethan is considering walking, but currently prefers crawling on his hands and feet, monkey style. Abby is her usual sassy self.

We finally got all of our inside Christmas decorations put up last night. And by put up I mean stuck in the garage. They'll probably make it back into the attic around Easter. We still have to get the outside lights down, though those are such a pain to put up I'm considering just leaving them up year round. You think anyone would notice?

My new year's resolution is to blog regularly, if for no other reason than to give all my friends something to do while they're at work. I am best motivated by guilt and harrassment, though, so if I slack don't let me get away with it!

Archived: Are me goofy?

Original Post Date: December 29, 2006
I am often told that I am gifted in the humor department. Not bragging, but let’s be honest—you don’t read this blog for its intellectual insights. Though I do have a few of those that would knock your socks off as well, let me tell you. Anyway, I have recently discovered that I have nothing on my three year old daughter. Since I’ve been off work for the past week because of the holidays, I have spent much more time with her than usual. Also, this is the first year she’s really aware of Christmas, and the combination of circumstances has left me speechless more than once. Allow me to provide examples.
On Christmas Eve, we opened presents at both Matt’s parents’ house and my parents’ house. By the time we got to my parents’, Abby had already opened about 1,000 presents. We got there and went straight to it, as my mom is a champion gift buyer. About a third of the way into opening, Abby walked away into the kitchen and said, “Let’s take a break from opening presents.” Um. Huh? You’re a KID! On CHRISTMAS! With PRESENTS to open! Okay, so we eat dinner. After dinner we return to the presents, but she makes me open all of hers. Seriously, I worry about her.
Christmas afternoon, we headed down to Little Rock to visit my grandmother. Abby slept most of the way there, along with Ethan. She woke up as we drove along the rural road leading to her Gigi’s house. Here is the conversation that transpired, in exact order and with no comments deleted:
Abby: Mom, what do cows eat?
Me: Grass.
Abby, Well, I think they eat their own poop.
(I look at Matt, bewildered. He shrugs.)
Me: Abby, why do you think cows eat their own poop?
Abby: Well, my dad said when cows poop they make cow pies.
(Matt turns purple trying not to laugh)
Me: Well, cow pies are not like the pies we eat.
Abby. Oh. Mom, was Joseph Baby Jesus’ dad?
Me: No, God was Baby Jesus’ dad.
Abby: But Mary was his mommy?
Me: Yes.
Abby: Oh! So Joseph was the babysitter.
Me: Well, actually—yes, Abby. You got it. Joseph was the babysitter. Look, we’re at Gigi’s! (I figure I can correct that misinformation later, but I just didn’t have the energy at that point.)
Do you see what I mean? She has a sharp little mind in that head of hers, and it’s always working. We are both thrilled and terrified to think of what it’s going to come up with next. Yesterday, she asked me, very seriously, “Mom, are me goofy?” For once, the answer to an Abby question was simple.

Archived: Rock star that I am...

Original Post Date: December 18, 2006
Well, well, well, well well well well well well. It would seem that I know a thing or two about making ornaments. The party was Friday night, and I do not mind telling all of you that my ornaments blew the other ornaments out of the water. My ornaments were what the other ornaments hope they will be when they grow up. I am the crafting rock star that I always knew I was.
I can’t believe Christmas is only a week away. Abby is old enough this year to understand the whole thing, and she is so excited. I have not wrapped any presents, because I know the minute they go under the tree they will be under siege by both of the kids. Ethan may not know what they are, but he is curious and FAST. Abby is just plain sneaky. My parents already have her presents wrapped and under their tree, and she spends every moment that she’s at their house trying to talk them into letting her open one. I don’t know if she’s going to make it until Christmas Day. She talks about Christmas ALL the time. Actually, she’s usually singing about it. The girl LOVES to sing, and she knows lots of Christmas songs. She performs medleys when we’re in the car. Sometimes she requests backup, sometimes she needs to be a solo act. We just smile and sing “Joy to the World” for the millionth time and thank our lucky stars that no one has taught her the alternative Jingle Bells yet (Jingle bell, Batman smells…).
Ethan is SO close to taking his first step. Once he does, I’m fairly sure I will be running for the next 17 years. He’s also started saying “uh-oh”—appropriate, since he usually says it when he’s throwing his toys. This boy business is more than I bargained for sometimes. But hey, I can handle it—I’m a rock star!

Archived: You say spite, I say Merry Christmas!

Original Post Date: December 15, 2006
Well, the gauntlet has been thrown. Some of the female members of Matt’s family throw an ornament exchange party every December. Matt’s mom always goes, but I never know about them. When I asked her why I’m not invited, she said it’s because you have to make the ornaments. Does this imply I am not capable of making ornaments? I’m sure she meant nothing of the sort.
But. Just in case.
The party is tonight, which I was told with scarcely 2 days’ notice (when I commented that it wasn’t much time to make 20 ornaments, I was told I wasn’t really expected to bring any, anyway). However, I am never one to cower from a challenge. In fact, I’m more the type to run headfirst towards a challenge and jump smack into the middle of it. So, first thing yesterday morning, I was on the Internet looking for ideas and then at Hobby Lobby purchasing supplies. Thanks to the extreme coolness of my boss, who understands such things, I have been able to get the ornaments done at work. I must admit, I have had quite a bit of help from my awesome co-workers, who immediately realized the importance of my success. That is, except for Jeff, who can’t understand why I want to go to the party at all and calls our creations “Spite Ornaments”. Men.
Pictures and party summary to follow—wish me luck!
PS. Responding to Sarah’s comment on my previous post—bring it on! Or, we could team up together and play against all the rest of UGPO!

Archived: Did someone say Taboo?

Original Post Date: December 12, 2006
I have gotten some heat from certain people for not blogging in the last few days. My fans await, and I shall deliver.
We had a nice weekend. Saturday night, Matt and I went to a Christmas party at the home of one of his coworkers. I had never met any of the people at the party, which are basically all of the people Matt work with and their spouses. A lesser woman would sit in the corner and wait for the evening to end. Not moi. I was in the thick of it in no time. We had been there for about 45 minutes when someone said, “Hey, let’s play Taboo.” I had to keep myself from laughing out loud. I am the master champion at Taboo. I have never been on a losing team. I decided to keep quiet about my prowess and let it reveal itself in good time. And reveal it did. I rocked the house, and the girls won the game by a landslide. Thanks to some sassy smack talking on my part, the guys thought I was a riot. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say I was the hit of the party. I cannot imagine what all those people thought sweet, quiet Matt’s wife would be like, but I bet they didn’t imagine me!

Archived: Ms. Vicki is a saint

Original Post Date: December 6, 2006
Last night was Abby’s first ever school program. It was a Christmas program, and all 4 classes of 3 year olds at her school participated. It was, maybe, the cutest thing I have ever seen. We had the video camera, and I filmed them as they walked down the aisle to take their seats when the program started. Abby’s was the last class to enter. The first three classes walked calmly and sweetly to their seats. Then came Abby’s class with their teacher, Ms. Vicki. Right in front of Abby was Sam, who Abby has gone to school with since she was 10 months old. Sam caught sight of the camera and ran straight for it, Abby hot on his heels. “Am I on CAMERA? HELLO!” Abby blew kisses. They both mugged until Ms. Vicki corralled them into their pew. Directly behind them sat the pastor of the church that houses Abby’s preschool, and I lost count of the times he had to gently ask Abby to turn around and sit down. When her class got up to sing, Abby’s voice was louder than all the others. Can’t imagine where she got that from. She was so proud of herself, and she had a ball. I kept thinking, Ms. Vicki takes care of Abby, Sam, AND 9 other 3 year olds EVERY DAY, and she's always so calm. The woman has a special spot reserved in heaven, that's for sure.
This past weekend, we spent lots of time decorating the house inside and out for Christmas. My friend Sarah came over to decorate a gingerbread house with Abby, which was enormously entertaining to observe. Adults have in mind how such things should go. You decide how you’re going to decorate the house, you find the candy you need, you put it into place. Here’s Abby’s method. You pick up a random piece of candy. You try to eat it. If your mom stops you, you put it onto the first unadorned spot of icing you find. You try to eat more candy. Repeat. The house is VERY interesting, but Abby thinks it is a work of art. Sarah displayed extreme patience—or maybe she was just laughing too hard to protest.
Today is Dead Day on campus, the day between the end of classes and the start of finals. Our office is doing our annual Fall Dead Day Soup Day, during which we all bring a crockpot of soup and invite all the staff and faculty of the college for lunch. We pretty much eat all day long. In fact, I think I hear a little scoop of soup calling my name now. Better go answer the call.

Archived: Do you hear what I hear?

Original Post Date: November 29, 2006
We have a baby monitor in our bedroom that we turn on every night to listen for Ethan. A few nights ago, in the middle of the night, it started making a horrible static sound. When it did the same thing again the next night, Matt went into Ethan’s room to change the channel on the monitor (there are only two channels). As soon as he changed channels, I could hear the sounds of a baby very clearly. However. It was not our baby. We quickly realized that our next door neighbors, who have a two month old, must have a similar monitor to ours, and now, depending on which channel I have our receiver on, I can either monitor our child or theirs.
This has prompted me to view baby monitors in an entirely different, and somewhat sinister, light. The monitor that goes in the child’s room is completely silent, and has only a small red light indicating that it’s on. I have long said that when Abby becomes a teenager, we are going to hide one under her bed and I’m going to use it to spy on her when she’s in there with her friends or on the phone. Don’t judge, you know you’d do it too.
However, I never thought about the possibility of these things reaching to strangers. What if we hadn’t figured this out right away, and had overheard stuff we didn’t want to? Now granted, they are Indian and we wouldn’t understand a word they said, but you see my point. What if THEY were listening in on US? It’s not like a whole lot of drama takes place in E’s bedroom, but still! Let’s hope the government doesn’t figure out the value of these things, or the privacy of parents everywhere will be compromised! (This is NOT a political statement. It is only a joke.)(I am NOT that person who freaks out about the government invading my privacy. That’s Matt.) So if you have a baby monitor in your home, be careful—you never know who’s listening in!

Archived: O Christmas Tree

Original Post Date: November 28, 2006
So we’re back from San Antonio. Obviously. We had a great time, but it was nice to get home to the kiddos. Thanksgiving was nice, and now I’m glad to be back in the routine of things for a while.
For the first time in a long time, we didn’t decorate the house for Christmas during Thanksgiving weekend. Several factors contributed to this change, including but not limited to the fact that we do not have a Christmas tree.
When we were first married, we bought a Christmas tree at Wal Mart for $60. It took approximately an hour and a half to put together, and afterwards I always looked like I got into a fight with a cat, it scratched my arms up so bad. After wrestling it into place last year, I was washing the blood from my arms and I told Matt that I wanted a new tree this year. He agreed, and that was that. This year, about a month ago, we were talking about the holidays and I reminded him that I wanted a new tree. He said he wasn’t ready to spend the money on a new tree, and suggested I ask for one for Christmas.
Really?
Yeah, I’m getting a new tree. I gave our old one away to his sister, so now we have no tree, and what kind of parents would we be if we didn’t put up a tree? I will hopefully have one in my possession within the week—one that is pre-lit and does not come in 4,000 separate pieces or require a tetanus shot after assembly. I’ll keep you posted.
The kids are doing well. Ethan is a daredevil extraordinaire—the child has no fear. Abby has always been fairly cautious, so I’m not used to having to leap to catch a baby that is diving, kamikaze style, off the bed at full speed, laughing heartily the entire way. I can feel the gray hairs popping out of my head. Abby now wants to be a cheerleader when she grows up. I told her that’s fine, as long as she makes enough money to support me and her father in the lifestyle to which we are accustomed. I’m sure that’s at the top of her list.

Archived: Like mother, like daughter

Original Post Date: November 18, 2006
San Antonio, here I am! Matt and I are on vacation for a long weekend to celebrate turning 30. We came with our good friends, Kevin and Robin. Currently, we’re in our hotel room listening to the Mississippi State game on our computer. We’re enjoying the town—the Riverwalk is really nice, and there’s lots of good shopping and food. My big purchase thus far is a pair of Croc Mary Janes—I’m quite excited.
Before we left, Abby asked her daddy where we were going. When he told her San Antonio, she said, “Well, does San Antonio have shoes?” He told her that they do, and then she said, “Theeeennnnn, they probably have dresses. I want a dress from San Antonio!” That’s one sharp kid I’ve got. We got her a little white Mexican dress—the kind with the full skirt and the off the shoulder sleeves. She’ll be a lovely little senorita.
Tomorrow we’re off to Sea World. I plan to ride all the roller coasters and chat it up with Shamu. Maybe some penguins too.
Well, I’m now back to finish the post. I had to stop writing because while I was typing Mississippi State almost scored, so according to Kevin my blogging was bad luck. Now that we have safely secured our victory, I’m allowed to resume. Whatever.
Thanks to my friend Sarah, who put me in touch with her family that lives here and gave us some great recommendations for restaurants. We’re having a great time—wish you all could join us! (Not really, it takes forever to get a big table at these places).
By the way, GO HOGS! Atlanta, here we come!

Archived: Get me outta here, Otis!

Original Post Date: November 15, 2006


So I got stuck in an elevator today. In the parking garage. By myself. Without my cell phone. I’d like to tell you that I did not panic, but I can’t. I pushed the call button, and I girl came on the intercom (she didn’t give me her name, but we’ll call her Bambi) and said “University information, can I help you?” Information? I don’t need the number to Pizza Hut, I need OUT! Bambi put me on hold, then came back and said she had called Otis to get me out. I pictured a smelly guy in droopy drawers with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth opening the ceiling panel and shouting down “Hey thar! Just grab this rope and shimmy on outta there!” Then I realized that Otis is the name of the elevator company. Whew. Then Bambi made like she was ending the call. “Hold on! Don’t just LEAVE me in here!” Bambi assured me that she would stay on the line, much like a 911 operator remaining with someone performing CPR on their grandmother. Liar.
I stood there for about 5 minutes, trying to figure out if I would have a better chance of living when the elevator plummeted to the ground if I was sitting or standing, when the elevator car started to move. Since I got stuck between floors, I had no idea where I was or where I was going. I called to Bambi, but she was gone. I pushed the button—nothing. Are you kidding me? Deserted in my hour of need! All of a sudden the doors opened and I was free, but a girl was trying to get on the elevator. I grabbed her by the shoulders. “Don’t get on—it’s a trap! I’ve been stuck in there!” I tried one last time to notify Bambi that I was released, but she must have been too busy saving people from dialing the wrong number. Otis never made an appearance.

Archived: It's a family thing, you wouldn't understand

Original Post Date: November 12, 2006
In what can only be described as true family loyalty, Matt and I sold our tickets to the Tennessee game (for FACE VALUE) and spent the weekend at a family reunion in Benton.
As the Tennessee game approached, many people asked me if I was going. As soon as the word no came out of my mouth, there was a yelp of shock, followed by a snort of disgust when I explained that we were missing the game to be with my extended family. Missing the biggest game of the season was not in my master plan, let me tell you. However. The family I got to see this weekend are some of my favorite people on the planet, and rarely are they all in the same state. These are people who have known me the longest and best. My Uncle Lonnie, who when he lost both legs in a car accident when I was a small kid let me tickle his prosthetic feet and would howl with laughter. His wife, my Aunt Joyce, who next to my grandmother is the sweetest woman I know. My Aunt Linda and her daughter Wendy, who know way too much about me. Also, about a million cousins that I grew up with and haven’t seen since we were kids. All of a sudden, we have kids of our own and they were playing together.
The VIP guests at the reunion were my Aunt Phyllis, her son Robbie and his wife Ann, and Robbie and Ann’s kids Chip and Ramey, all from Alabama. We adore this particular branch of the tree and were really excited to see them. We watched the game with them on TV. Ann grew up in Knoxville and is understandably a huge Tennessee fan. We respect each other as ardent fans of our home teams, and for that rare creature that we recognize in each other: women who really, truly love football.
Now, I say we watched the game together, but. Right after Arkansas scored its first touchdown, all of a sudden we were watching The Lawrence Welk Show. WHAT?! Indeed, apparently a large majority of Comcast cable subscribers in the central Arkansas area missed the rest of the first half of the game because their cable went out. We had to listen to it on the radio. The fact that The Lawrence Welk Show was all that was on is just the icing on the cake. Ann and I were about to crawl out of our skins. We do not handle anticipation well. Thankfully, it came back on for the second half, so we had a bird’s eye view of what Lee Corso predicted would happen—the Hogs laid the smack down on the Vols, and all is right with the world.
Well, almost everything. It appears that once again, the BCS has seen fit to punish the SEC for some unnamed sin, and so despite being 6th (and 5th!) in the other polls, we are 7th in the nation in the one that counts. Ah well—just a few more haters to silence. We’re good at it this season. GO HOGS!

Archived: True friendship is measured in food

Original Post Date: November 6, 2006

What a great weekend! I am lucky enough to work with people that I really like, and I spent Saturday and Saturday night with two of my closest friends from work, Erin and Autumn, and a dear former co-worker, Stephanie, who moved to Tulsa almost a year ago and who I miss horribly. We had a total girlie weekend, eating and shopping and eating some more. We had grand plans to go to the Sam’s in Bentonville and get books signed by the great Paula Deen, who has a fantastic show on the Food Network. We got there and the place was mobbed—I bet there were 2,000 people there. Steph shares my enthusiasm for celebrities, and especially Paula, so we didn’t give up. We made our way to where she was set up, and managed to get a spot behind her area—about 10 feet away from her. We tried to get some pictures, but it wasn’t going too well. Finally I decided that it was silly to be that close to Paula and not at least talk to her, so I yelled, “Paula Deen, you are the cutest thing EVER!” (Which she totally is). I’ll be danged if she didn’t turn around and talk to me for a minute! She loved me—I feel fairly sure that had it not been for the riot it would have caused, she’d have gotten up right then and gone to have coffee with me.
In other news, the Hogs ROCK. I am so proud of my team. I think I got on the girls’ nerves this weekend, because I was obsessed with the game—which we won, in case you’re dead and hadn’t heard. This entire season has led up to this coming weekend’s Tennessee game—#11 (us) playing #12 in Fayetteville, with ESPN Game Day as guests. Tickets are going for up to $400 each on eBay. This is huge! But. One must have priorities in life, and my family is having a reunion in Benton on the day of the game. There will be people that I love there that I never get to see, so there’s no question where we will be Saturday—in the basement of the house where the family reunion is taking place watching the Tennessee game. We have priorities, but come ON—it’s the Tennessee game! It’s ESPN!
Finally, a special shout out to my oldest (not oldest as in old, but as in the length of time I’ve known her)(though she, too, is older than me) friend Melanie, who was visiting Fayetteville from her home in the beautiful, exciting metropolis of Dallas and made a special trip to my office this morning to deliver to me chocolate truffles that she made herself. Melanie was my roommate in college, and I laughed at the students who lived off of Ramen noodles, because Melanie rocks out in the kitchen. If you want a spectacular treat, you should comment here and beg her to let you pay her to make some of these things—they make Godiva taste like mud balls. Bless you, Mellie!

Archived: Too much pizza

Origian Post Date: November 3, 2006
Last night Abby threw up in the ball pit at Fun City.
That’s it for now, just had to put it out there.

Archived: Snow and Darth rocked the house!

Original Post Date: November 1, 2006
It’s been a busy few days in the AMEN house. Ethan was a very sick boy—a trip to the doctor on Monday unveiled severe ear infections in both ears and a raw throat on top of this tummy bug. Poor kid! They gave him two shots of antibiotics, though, and he’s much better now. True to his MVP title, he had a blowout yesterday that required both Matt and me, new clothes for all of us, 4 garbage bags, the kitchen sink, and perhaps a new high chair.
Yesterday was, of course, Halloween. This is the first year Abby has really been into it. She was Snow White, and she wore it well. I got the costume on sale at a toy store for $20. The Snow White costume in the Disney store is like $70. Seriously? If I bought Abby a $70 costume, she would wear it every year, and possibly get married in it.
E was Darth Vader—guess whose idea that was. He was adorable, though he was having none of the hat. We couldn’t get him to breathe funny or anything, but I thought he looked tough all the same.
If you’d like to see some pictures of the adorable AMEN kiddos all decked out, go to www.nancysblogpics.shutterfly.com and enjoy.
I’d like to send a shout out (that’s my attempt to be cool) to my best friend Mandy and her husband David (the guy who posts on here a lot—thanks, Dave!), who had their third child, Emma, today in Little Rock. Mandy (the rest of the world calls her by her “grown up name,” Amanda, but I refuse, as she was Mandy in 7th grade and shall always be to me) (and at our age, anything that makes us sound more youthful is great) (though when I say “our age” please be aware that Mandy is older than me) has had planned C-sections each time, so for her, going in to have a baby is about as stressful as having her teeth cleaned. I talked to her while she was in recovery about a half hour after Emma arrived and I swear, she sounded like she was on vacation. I was so drugged up right after having Ethan that I pray I was not allowed to speak to anyone. I certainly should not have been granted access to an outside phone line. At any rate, welcome to the world, Emma, and congratulations Mandy and David!

Archived: You can never have too many shoes

Original Post Date: October 29, 2006
Well, Ethan has some sort of a stomach bug, and without getting too graphic, let me just say that I have seen enough infant vomit in the last three days to last me a lifetime. Of course, how much infant vomit does one really need in a lifetime? Anyway. We’re off to the doctor first thing Monday morning, so hopefully he’ll be better soon.
Abby has been full of 3 year old sass lately, and it seems to be manifesting itself in hysterically embarrassing ways.
Example one. I went to pick her up from her Sunday school class this morning, and she hands me her project for the day, a piece of paper with a square of aluminum foil glued on to serve as a mirror, with the caption “Look Who God Made” on it. I hold it in front of her with the intention of letting her see herself and say, “Look what God made!” She glared at me, grabbed the paper, and said (loudly), “GOD didn’t make that! I made that! In Sunday School!” Once the other moms stopped laughing, they assured me that their kids say stuff like that all the time. Sure.
Example two. Ethan had a brief non-sick period this afternoon, and it was a beautiful day, so we decided to take the kids to the new outdoor mall in Rogers. We went into a shoe store, and I took one minute, one minute, to look at a pair of shoes for myself while Matt and the kids wandered around the front of the store. Apparently my husband took issue with this, and apparently he communicated this to our daughter, because as I’m slipping on a shoe, Abby appears at the end of the aisle and yells, “Mommy! You have enough shoes already! You don’t need any more! Let’s go!” I could hear stifled giggles from all over the store. So I sent her back to her daddy with my own message. Sure enough, over the racks of shoes, I hear “That’s gonna cost you, daddy!” Indeed.
I am now that parent that lives in constant fear of what her child will say in front of other people. Now I get why my family was mortified when at the age of 3 I asked, in an elevator full of people, if the person standing next to me was a woman or a man. It was, in fact, a man—a biker man with long hair. You can see why I was confused! I guess the apple never really falls that far from the tree.

Archived: Nameless peoples everywhere will thank you

Original Post Date: October 26, 2006

When one is of above average intelligence, one ponders the deeper questions in life. For example. What are people from Vermont called? No, that isn’t a joke. Arkansas residents are Arkansans, people in Florida are Floridians—what are the folks in Vermont called? Vermontites? Vermit? There are several states that don’t have a logical answer.
This is something I have been curious about for some time. Several years ago I decided to do a little investigative work, so I called the University of New Hampshire, figuring that an institute of higher education was a great place to get accurate information. When a girl at the admissions office answered, I explained my quest and asked what her people were called. Without hesitation, she replied, “New Englanders.” “Well, but what word do you use when you want to talk about ONLY people from New Hampshire, and not the rest of New England?” Silence. Then she asked me to hold. She came back after a minute to inform me that no such word exists. Ooookay.
So! If these states aren’t going to name their citizens, then I think you, the faithful readers of my blog, should take a crack at it. Be creative! Here are some less-than-obvious states to consider: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, North AND South Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Wyoming. Some of these have a clear answer, but just SEEM wrong—could people from New Mexico really be called New Mexicans? We can do better than that!
Incidentally, I can name the states in alphabetical order in under 30 seconds. Not really related, but I had to throw it out there.
On your marks, get set, NAME!

LIST OF COMMENTS
1/8. ReverseWritten by hlrose1, October 27 '2006
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Ok, you above average girl. Can you name the states in reverse in 30 seconds or less?
2/8. WOW....Written by JMC1, October 27 '2006
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Your thought process scares me!!!
3/8. TitleWritten by SMH1, October 27 '2006
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I happen to BE a South Dakotan. I assume that people from North Dakota are, likewise, North Dakotans.
4/8. But Dakotan is so vanilla!Written by Nancy1, October 27 '2006
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Wouldn't you rather be Dakotes? Or Dakotites?
5/8. New MexicansWritten by DavidC1, October 27 '2006
Website
Copied from Wikipedia:
"In national politics, New Mexico has given its electoral votes to all but two Presidential election winners since statehood. In these exceptions, New Mexicans supported Republican President Gerald Ford over Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976, and Democratic Vice President Al Gore over Texas Governor George W. Bush"
I agree that sometimes your thought process and topics of discussion are a little scary! This is fun, though. As for Utah... you are probably safe to just call them Mormons!
6/8. You're starting to worry me.....Written by Melanie0, October 30 '2006
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You are the busiest person I know! How do you even have time to think about stuff like this?
And for future reference, just call them "the people of Vermont," " the people of Connecticut", etc (although i think David makes a valid point on Utah). Notice that all these states are not in the South...maybe that's why we just call them Yankees! :)
7/8. I'll give it a shot!Written by aparker0, November 03 '2006
Website
Since my brain works like Nancy's here are my thoughts...
Vermont--Vermutians, kind of like people from Venus are called Venusians
Massachusetts--If all the men would move out of Mass. then the name of the state would work for the women who still lived there. As in, "Hi! I'm a Massachusette!"
Idaho--Idahoans
Maine--Mainiacs?
Utah--Utes
That's all I've got for now. Enjoy!

8/8. THANK you!Written by Nancy0, November 06 '2006
Website
Autumn, Mainiacs is BRILLIANT!

Archived: What's a coulpe more at this point?

Original Post Date: October 25, 2006
We have some friends that have 6 daughters and are in the process of adopting twin sons internationally. This week, they brought home ANOTHER set of twin boys. Once the other boys arrive, that will make 10 kids. I’ll say it again—10 kids. Lots of people think they’re crazy, but I say more power to them—they’ll have their own baseball team!
We get asked all the time if we’re going to have any more kids. In fact, I think I was still in the hospital with Ethan when I asked when number 3 was coming along. People are always ready to push you to the next big thing. After your first date, your friends ask when the wedding is. When you get married, your aunt grabs your arm on your way back up the aisle and asks when she’s going to be a great-aunt. The moment you announce your first pregnancy, it’s no longer news—they want to know when the second one will be coming. I figure soon people will be asking Abby when she’s going to make us grandparents.
But I digress. It’s funny when people ask us if we’re done having kids—they usually expect me to say yes, and when I say we aren’t sure, they look at me like I’m a little crazy. I know we live in the world of small families, but really—three kids is not that big of a deal. My best friend Mandy is about to have her third, and she’s quite normal. Our friends Molly and Jimmy have 4, as does my cousin Denise, and those are lovely families. Somewhere after 3 or 4 but before Duggar territory, though, it starts to become the topic of strangers’ conversation. Kristen, mom of the 10 mentioned above, told me back when she only had 6 (!) that people would assume they were ultra-conservative, home schooling fanatics that made their own clothes and had family sing alongs every night. I can assure you this is not the case—they just like being parents, and like kids, as do we.
Besides, if you think about it, it makes sense to have a few kids. You hope that if you raise them right, nurture them and give them unconditional love, they in return will take care of you in your old age. However, there’s no guarantee that you won’t have a kid that wants to be an “actor” or “musician” and will live in a 300 square foot studio apartment with three other guys trying to “make it” in the “industry”. If that’s your only one, you’re done for. If, however, you have two or three extra, at least one of them will probably be a modest success and be able to maintain for you the lifestyle to which you are accustomed.
I feel this post needs two disclaimers:
- I DO NOT have children just to have someone to support me later. It’s a JOKE.
- I AM NOT pregnant. Really. REALLY, Mom

Archived: Indy Insanity, Part 2

Original Post Date: October 23, 2006
I am SO over this Indianapolis debacle, but I can’t leave you hanging, now can I? Basically, we showed up in Memphis and were at the mercy of the ticket agents there. After a brief, terrifying moment in which we thought we were being sent to Minneapolis (!) we were indeed put on the 2:20 Memphis flight and arrived in Indy Wednesday evening. Our driver to the hotel was evil and very unsafe, but we made it intact. However, my luggage did not—the schmucks at security broke my suitcase, so I had to buy a new one while we were there. Otherwise the trip went well and Indy is a nice town. I was VERY ready to get back home, though.
Abby is nursing a sore throat, so we’ve got her all drugged up. It’s startling to me how quickly she is growing up. Last time she was sick, she asked if it was time to take her “mecining” yet. Last night, she came up to me in the kitchen and said, “Mommy, is it time for me to take my Children’s Motrin yet?” Are you serious? What three year old talks like that? I’ll tell you—my three year old, that’s who. What a kid!

Archived: Indi Insanity, Part 1

Origianl Post Date: October 22, 2006
I’m back from what can only be called a bizarre trip to Indianapolis. Because it’s a LONG story, and I know people lose concentration if they have to read for more than 3 minutes, I will have to tell the story in installments. So here’s the saga, part one:
Our flight on Northwest was supposed to leave XNA at 6:40. AM. Which sucks. But what can you do? So I drug myself out of bed at 4 AM, got ready, and went to the airport. There I met my boss, Karen, and two of our advisors, Jeff and Deb. We boarded the plane right on time and had been on for about 10 minutes, when the captain came on the intercom and said, and I quote,” Well, um, everybody, we have a delay. There’s this, um, door, on the, um, well, under the plane, and it won’t, um, shut, so we have to call maintenance. See, every morning, we have to check the planes for—well, maybe I’d better not tell you that part. Anyway, I don’t, um, know how long it’s gonna be.” Oookay.
The flight attendant told us we could get off the plane to talk with the gate agent if we needed to. After an hour, we knew we had missed our connection, so we got off. My friend Gina works at the American counter, and found us a flight on American that could get us in at 3. We stood in line for 20 minutes to get the gate agent—a wiry, buzz-headed, squinty-eyed guy we’ll call Guy—to book us onto American. This whole time people are coming and going on the plane—NO one is paying attention. So much for airport security. Right as we got up to Guy, he announced that the “um, door” was fixed and we were ready to go. “But wait,” I said. We already missed our connection, and American can take us. We just need our bags off the plane. Guy glared at us and said, “This plane REALLY needs to take off.” As if we had snuck down and ripped the door off its hinges ourselves to avoid flying Northwest. (though knowing what I know now, we’d have done it in a heartbeat if we thought it would work). He insisted that he would book us on a flight leaving Memphis at 2:20 so that we would arrive in Indy at 4:50, a mere 5 hours late. He shoved us on the plane, and off we went.
More of the story next time. It’s too much for me to talk about all at once. In other news, though, we went to the game this weekend, and poor Ole Miss didn’t stand a chance. I love being a Hog fan! We met up with our good friends Kevin and Robin, and they told us they are expecting their second baby next May. Kevin is the only person I have ever known to schedule his children’s births around sports seasons, and Robin is the only woman I have ever met that wouldn’t care. They are the perfect pair and great parents, and we are very excited for them. Nothing wrong with populating the world with more Razorbacks!

Archived: MVP

Original Post Date: October 17, 2006
Mornings are always hectic in the AMEN household, and we can never seem to get out of the house on time. Yesterday, however, we were doing pretty well. Until.
I went to change and dress Ethan, which is the last thing I do every morning because it gives him less time to drool on his shirt/make another dirty diaper. This child, in true boy fashion, poops ALL the time. We’re talking 4, sometimes 5 dirty diapers a day. It’s quite funny, actually—he’ll be playing and then all of a sudden go completely still. Seriously, not a muscle in his body moves for about 2 minutes. Then he grins really big, and you know you have to bust out the baby wipes.
Yesterday morning was a typical poop, which I have changed hundreds of. Ethan is very wiggly, but I have a tried and true method of keeping him secured so he can’t flail. Well, yesterday, the hand I was using to hold his feet slipped, and in a split second he somehow managed to kick poop onto his stomach. He was laying flat on his back, so if you can figure out how he did this, let me know, because I have no idea. At any rate, I now had a squirming, naked baby with poop on his bottom, foot, and tummy. What would any rational mother do? That’s right, scream for her husband. Matt came running, thinking that Ethan had fallen off the changing table. Once he saw what had happened—and quit laughing—he helped me clean up the mess, and then I finished getting E dressed. He wore a little football MVP outfit yesterday, and when I brought him into the living room, Matt smirked and said, “Aw, look—it’s our Most Valuable Pooper.” Indeed.
This will probably be my last entry for a few days—I leave tomorrow for a conference in Indianapolis (!) for three days. I know what you’re thinking—I didn’t realize Matt was a single parent! I’m sure he didn’t realize it was going to happen either. He’s a good sport, though! Also, let me offer my apologies for the significant use of the word “poop” in this entry—there was just no way around it.

Archived: Pumpkin day

Original Post Date: October 16, 2006

Saturday was one of the best days I can remember having in a long time. As I mentioned, we sold our tickets to the Razorback game since we didn’t have anyone to watch the kids. It ended up being the luckiest thing that could have happened.
Ever since Abby was born, I have wanted to take her to a pumpkin patch. However, October is always so busy for us, and we never seem to have time to go. I decided that if we weren’t going to the game, then by GOSH we were going to a pumpkin patch. We got up Saturday to a beautiful day—one of those days that makes you think Northwest Arkansas is the only place on the planet anyone would ever want to live. We headed out to a pumpkin patch, where we met up with some friends from church. Chad and Marla have Audrey, who is 3 weeks younger than Abby, and Avery, who is 3 weeks older than Ethan. People have asked us if we planned this, which Marla and I think is hilarious—don’t all good friends try to sync up their reproduction?? We also saw Michelle and Chris, whose son Jacob is 4 and therefore an exciting “older man” for Abby to hang out with. The place was fantastic. There was a hayride, a maze, and of course a huge pumpkin patch with every size and shape of pumpkin imaginable. The kids had a great time and we got lots of cute pictures. To see some pictures of the pumpkin patch adventure and Abby with Mr. Bob’s beloved donkey, go here: www.nancysblogpics.shutterfly.com
Abby and Audrey were quite distressed to be separated afterwards, so we invited Audrey over for a playdate that evening. Neither of the girls had done this before, so Marla and I were a little worried that they might fight, but they were angels. Once they established that Abby was the Queen and Audrey was the Princess it was smooth sailing. We played hopscotch in the driveway and the girls treated the entire neighborhood to a top-of-their-lungs rendition of their new favorite song, My God is so BIG.
I know people read this blog for my sassy wit and not my sentimental ramblings on life, but I do have to get sappy for a minute. When we were in the driveway Saturday evening, we were taking turns lying on the concrete and having our outlines drawn in sidewalk chalk (no telling what our paperboy thought the next morning). When I laid down for my turn, I stared up at the blue sky and listened to my amazing daughter giggle with her friend. I could just see the edge of the roof of my wonderful home, where inside my sweet husband was giving my precious baby boy a bath. All my blessings just swept over me. My life is brilliant, and I'm lucky to have it.

Archived: Did you miss me?

Original Post Date: October 13, 2006
I feel like such a slacker for having not written a blog entry since Monday. I’m sure many people were on the edge of their seats, just waiting for my next installment. However, sometimes life gets so busy as to interfere with the writing of blogs about life, so what can you do?
I have been in a conference the last three days that is an extension of the one I went to last month in Morrilton. I also had a bridal fair on Thursday evening, two meetings with brides, and that whole motherhood thing to juggle. Much to our surprise, the grandparents all made plans this weekend without considering our babysitting needs, so we are not going to the game. Instead, we’re going to try something new and different for us—spending the whole day just hanging out with the kids, with no big plans. I can hardly wait!

Archived: Sweetly sings the donkey

Original Post Date: October 9, 2006
To all the haters, I say HA! The Hogs not only beat Auburn on Saturday, but they outplayed them in every sense of the word. (Auburn WAS the #2 team in the nation, in case you didn’t know). Those boys were extraordinary, and I have never been so proud to be a Razorback. True to my sports-genius friend Kevin’s prediction, we are now ranked 17 on the AP poll. Woo Pig!
The rest of my stay in Houston was fairly uneventful. I had a great time with Julie and her family. The highlight of my stay with them was definitely teaching their son Justin to call the Hogs. His dad, Mr. Alabama, handled it very well I thought.
I’m so glad to be home. I think both the kids grew significantly while I was gone. I got Abby a Polly Pockets on my trip, and she was so excited. We went to Target on Saturday to get her a carrying case for it (don’t ask), and as we passed two women who were arguing, both of them said “stupid”, one right after the other. Abby stopped walking, turned around and stared at them, and gasped. “Did you HEAR what they SAID?” I love that Abby thinks the worst thing a person can say is “stupid.”
We also got in a visit to Mr. Bob’s donkey this weekend. Mr. Bob is this wonderful older man that goes to our church and is one of Abby’s Sunday school teachers. He lives right down the road from us, and has a donkey in his yard. The donkey is completely calm and sweet, and loves attention. This spring and summer we visited several times a week and took snacks for Donkey (whose real name is Jackie). We haven’t been by in a few weeks, though, and Mr. Bob told Abby on Sunday that Jackie was lonely. So, off we went. Abby gets Jackie’s attention by singing the Donkey Song at the top of her lungs, and then hee hawing until Jackie ambles over to the fence. It totally makes Abby’s day to hang out with that donkey for 5 minutes.
Finally, I can confirm that Ethan is indeed mobile. It’s not exactly a hands and knees crawl yet, but he can definitely get from point A to under the table in seconds. I looked in the mirror and actually watched new gray hairs sprout. We are in trouble!

Archived: When I was a young...warthog?

Original Post Date: October 5, 2006
It’s been a very exciting and productive couple of days in Houston (YES, Sarah, we are here to recruit). We’ve been to three fairs in two days and seen about a billion students. It’s been mostly uneventful, though I did get in some good smack talk with the Auburn rep at the fair this evening. The funniest thing that happened was when a young man sat down to visit with us, saw our brochures and said, “Oh, you’re the warthogs!” The WARTHOGS? Autumn and I nearly went over the table at him. I almost didn’t let him have the brochure after that. Seriously, warthogs?
During our break this afternoon, we came back to the hotel to watch the season premier of my favorite show, Lost. We watched it today because when it was on, last night, we were working (get the picture here, Sarah? We are WORKING.) After it was over, my punk friend Brad text messaged me to rub it in that he saw it and I hadn’t. Even my own husband told me I was missing a great show. Well, they were right, the show was awesome. We have a discussion board for the show here on nwa360, and I can’t wait to get to it.
In other news, my husband informed me tonight that our son started crawling today, while I am in another state. Would it have been too much to ask for him to keep this from me and pretend that he started the day I got home? Apparently so. Well, he is playing Mr. Mom while I’m gone, so I guess I won’t be too hard on him. I am freaked out, though. Abby didn’t crawl until she was 11 months old. I am NOT ready for another mobile child in the house—one is plenty, thank you. It’s the great irony of parenthood—with the first, you can’t wait for them to do new stuff and it takes them forever. Then you realize how quickly they change, so with the second you want them to take their time, and they’re walking before you’ve recovered from childbirth. I can’t be expected to handle this well.

Archived: Give me the shirt and nobody gets hurt

Original Post Date: October 4, 2006
Let me say right off the bat that I take no responsibility for any typos in this entry, because I am writing on a laptop in a hotel room. I'm in Houston for the week to recruit for the great Walton College. I arrived yesterday and got to spend some time with my good friend Julie, who moved here when her husband, Michael got a job coaching football. Coach Michael graduated from Alabama, so when we all had dinner we didn't talk much about football, though I was DYING to rub it in. Julie and Michael have a too cute little boy named Justin, and hanging out with him made me miss my kiddos even more than I already do.
This morning I went to the mall next to the hotel, which is gigantic. I went to the Gymboree store because the kids need some new winter clothes and, silly me, I thought that at 10 AM on a Wednesday I could get some quiet shopping done. HA. Gymborree was full of moms in velour sweat suits who had parked their kids' strollers at the tv in the back of the store and were feverishly tearing through the sale racks. I carefully approached the girls' sale rack, and touched the sleeve of a shirt, only to have it yanked out of my hand. "I think there's another one somewhere" said the crazed woman who did the yanking. Okaaaaayyyy. It was like shopping for Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80s. I called my best friend Mandy, who is a Gymborree expert, to see if she knew why it was so crazy. Guess where she was? Yup, Gymboree. She informed me that tomorrow is the day that frequent shoppers can redeem something called Gymbucks to get 50% off their purchase, so today they are all choosing what they're going to buy tomorrow and having the store hold it. Just waiting until tomorrow to shop, she informs me, is for amateurs. Ahhh. How silly of me. I had to stop myself from RUNNING out of the store. (I may or may not have asked Mandy to secure an item or two for me with her Gymbucks--I do love their cothes!)
My friend and co-worker Autumn arrived this afternoon in time for our first recruiting event, which is tonight. From what I have seen and heard of Houston, I think it will be wise for us to go armed. I programmed 911 on my cell speed dial just in case.

Archived: Burn baby burn

Original Post Date: October 2, 2006
Well, I had a wedding this weekend. I’ve been working with these clients, we’ll call them Jane and John (not their real names), for 13 months. I have never had a bride more intent on having the perfect wedding, nor have I ever had a bride that was harder to keep under budget. I begged her to use some non floral centerpieces to cut down on a little bit of the florist bill, but all I could talk her into was a 3 tiered tealight holder for each of the 4 cocktail tables, which she spray painted to match the reception colors and tied ribbons around. They looked great, but apparently not great enough for the big tables.
The wedding went smoothly enough, and then we headed to the reception, which was at a large hotel in its main ballroom. The plan was for the couple to hide in their suite until the guests all got settled. Then the DJ would announce them for their grand entrance. Well, the DJ was late setting up—SO irritating.

So I’m standing by the cake chatting with the photographer, waiting for the DJ to get his act together, when out of the corner of my eye I see a huge flame shoot into the air. Oh, I think, I didn’t realize she was having a flambĂ© station. Then I realize that there is no flambĂ© station and that, in fact, a cocktail table is on fire. We’re talking 10 foot flames.

I run over to the table, where about 8 staff are watching with great interest. I ask the bartender if he has anything to put the fire out, and he throws a glass of water on the fire. Nice. As a fireball shoots to the ceiling, finally someone grabs another tablecloth and goes to smother the flames. Whew! Fire’s out.
Fire alarm goes off. Hotel is evacuated. Except for us, of course—we know there’s no fire, so we keep on partying. Turns out the tea lights melted their own casing, and as soon as an open flame touched that spray paint, voila! Blazes.
Finally the DJ decides to do his job, so I go get Jane and John. Her intricate plan is that the hotel event manager (we’ll call her Suzy) and I are to stand outside the double doors to the ballroom with the doors closed. The DJ is to announce the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Doe. Then we’re supposed to fling open the doors, and Jane and John will walk in to a rousing rendition of the William Tell Overture, go to the dance floor, and lead the guests in calling the hogs. They’re big fans, it’s kind of cheesy, but whatever. So the DJ announces them, we fling open said doors, and they walk in to…The Star Spangled Banner. The idiot DJ played the wrong song. Perfect. Suzy and I just shut the doors behind them and laughed until we cried, then went in to make sure nothing else caught on fire. I assured guests all night that no, John was not going into the armed services, the music was a mistake.
I love this job!

Archived: Crocs rock

Original Post Date: September 29, 2006
Matt and I have always agreed that we would try to strike the perfect balance when educating our children on how to be good consumers. We don’t want our kids to want stuff just because everyone else has it. However, we remember what it was like to be in junior high and be the only one who doesn’t have a Nintendo. So our plan is to teach the children to recognize quality, and to think about WHY they want things—not to just blindly follow the crowd.
Yeah, that’s not going to work.
Last night, I went on a power shopping trip to the mall with my friend Jen. She interviewed today for a job and needed new clothes. I haven’t worn non-maternity winter clothes in two years, and was in need of some new things myself. We stopped by Payless, and I took a look at the kids’ shoes. Abby has ridiculously wide feet (she got it from me, sadly) and so it’s always struggle in non-sandal weather to find her shoes that fit. They had some bright pink imitation Crocs (IC’s), so even though I think they are the goofiest looking shoes in the world, I got them for her since they look pretty wide.
When she woke up this morning, I had not only the IC’s to show her, but also the new pair of tennis shoes that I had ordered her online that had gotten in the day before. They are purple and white and sparkly, with Velcro. When I was a kid, I would have jumped off a roof to get to wear these shoes. I showed the tennis shoes to her first, and she just smiled and said, “Okay, mommy.” That’s all?! Fine, fine. So I said, “Well, I did get you another pair of shoes last night,” and I pull out the IC’s. She lights up and shrieks “CROCS!” and immediately puts them on. I was completely bewildered. I had never shown her Crocs in a store, and neither Matt nor I have ever owned a pair (though I may or many not have bought a pair for myself last night too)(I know I said they look goofy, but those suckers are comfortable!) (And inexpensive, honey).
“Abby, how did you know what kind of shoes these are?” I asked, already fearing the answer. She jumped up and down in her new shoes and said, “Because these are the kind Madison has at school and now we are the same and I love them!” Oy. Why do I have the feeling that tomorrow she’s going to ask for an IPod just like Paige’s?

Archived: So may shows, so little time

Original Post Date: September 28, 2006
Since nothing monumental has happened to me in the last couple of days, I decided to use my forum to address an important topic: my top 10 favorite TV shows. I know LOTS of couch potatoes, so maybe some of you will come out of the woodwork to comment on this post. So here they are, in no particular order.
1) Lost. This show rocks. The writers are brilliant and the actors are great, and the show is creepy and funny and clever, and always keeps me guessing. A bunch of my friends at work and I always watch it and talk about it the next day. In fact, we’ve got a discussion group going on this site so we can talk online about it. Join us if you like! (No, we are NOT nerds. We would be nerds if we were this obsessed with Star Trek.) (Sorry, honey.)
2) The Amazing Race. Without a doubt the best reality show on television. Contestants have to be strong and smart and get to go to really cool places and do really fun challenges.
3) Grey’s Anatomy. Where do I begin? Hot doctors, brilliant writing, diverse cast. Sandra Oh is one of the best actresses on TV right now. Plus McDreamy looks a lot like my cousin Robbie, who is in fact an ER doctor. You’d think Robbie would be thrilled by this, but he HATES it. Apparently teenage girls high on meth insisting on calling you McDreamy at 3 AM is not as glamorous as it sounds.
4) American Idol. You know you like it too! I love Simon—he tells it like it is.
5) Survivor. I am impressed that after over 10 seasons, the producers continue to find ways to make the game different every time. Plus, Jeff Probst is a total hottie.
6) Project Runway. I had never watched this show until some friends at work got me hooked, but I love it. Matt would never admit it, but he is as into it as I am. I normally wouldn't share that here, but he told me last night he never reads my blog, so that’s what he gets!
7) The Backyardigans. Okay, this is a show that Abby watches, but it is so cute! These random little characters sing and play and are SO adorable—not at all annoying like Barney. They have great names—Uniqua, Pablo, Tyrone and Tasha—and the stuff they say and sing is hysterical. Tyrone sings my absolute favorite Backyardigans song—watch it here: http://www.nickjr.com/shows/backyardigans/videos/back_buffalogirls.jhtml
8) Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It’s only been on for two episodes, but I loved West Wing and it has the same writer and one of the best actors from West Wing, Bradley Whitford. Again, really sharp writing and great acting make it an easy show to get hooked on.
9) Big Love. I know I’m gonna get a lot of flak from people on this one, but it’s a very interesting show. It’s the only thing we watch on HBO. It’s about a polygamist family living in secret in the middle of the suburbs. Matt’s allowed to watch with me as long as he doesn’t get any ideas.
10) I don’t have a 10th! I like some other shows, but there are none that I watch all the time. Gosh, I’m only addicted to 9 television shows—what’s wrong with me??
All I have to say is, thank GOODNESS for our DVR. Being a parent with some semblance of a social life can put a severe damper on your TV viewing abilities.

Archived: Let me help you help me

Original Post Date: September 27, 2006
Okay, I’ve been doing this blog for a couple of weeks now, but other than my friend David speaking up to correct a mistake he THOUGHT he saw, no one has commented yet! So what’s the deal? Are you scared to log in to the website? Afraid people will find out you know me? Think the stalker will come after you next? I have to tell you all, my self esteem is starting to waver here. I could really use some feedback!
I think one problem might be that you don’t know what to say. So, being the great friend/daughter/stalkee that I am, I have decided to help you out. Below, I have written what I think would be an appropriate comment for the blog. All you have to do is sign in to the website and click on Comment when you’re on a blog entry. Then copy my message below, paste it into your comment, fill in the blanks, and Voila! Participation.
Your comment template:
Hi Nancy! It’s me, _____________. LOVE your blog. You’re hysterical! The pictures of the kids are amazing—they are so cute! Your comment about ___________ was particularly brilliant. You should be a professional writer. Your husband is one lucky guy! Keep up the good work—your blog makes my day!
See, wasn’t that easy?

Archived: O Stormy Night

Original Post Date: September 25, 2006
Well, I’ll tackle the weekend day by day:
Friday. The Taylor’s anniversary party was planned for 7 PM, outside their home. At 5:45 it was pouring rain. However, by 6:15 it had stopped, so the AWESOME crew I had hired and I set up the entire party in 45 minutes. The place was packed, and it was a fantastic party. Hoewver, around 9:00, God decided to give us a taste of what folks in Noah’s time went through. I swam from tent to tent, beggin people to go inside. However, despite the fact that it was lightning all around us and we were under tents held up by METAL poles, no one budged. We had to turn the lights out and strongly urge (which may or may not include shoving politely) everyone inside. Hopefully we got some pictures of women running into the rain holding dinner plates over their heads to keep their hair from getting wet (they failed). After everyone was safely in, we risked our own lives to clean up the mess under the tents. When we were done, we looked like a large group of freakishly energetic cold drowned rats. Isn’t party planning GLAMOROUS?
Saturday was considerably better weather-wise. Matt and I headed out with Jacob and Patty around 11 to tailgate with our friends Kevin and Robin and their families before the game. We had a great time, though I squirmed a little watching their one year old son, Noah, crawl around in the dirt and mud. I do NOT look forward to having a toddler son. Abby hated being dirty, so I never had to worry about that stuff with her. I hate dirty (though you wouldn’t know it by looking at my house). The game was awesome, thanks to Alabama’s poor kicker, who had not only the worst day of his life, but perhaps the worst day in the history of mankind, ever. But whatever, we won! And I only had to pelt one guy with the small rocks I brought, and he wasn’t even wearing black—he was just a schmuck.
Sunday was the bridal fair, and we had a great turnout at Ease The Day’s booth. This should be a good season for the company—we’ll see. I look forward to more schlepping in the pouring rain for many new clients. Hey, somebody’s gotta do it!
Take a look at pictures of the game, Abby’s latest getup, and E’s adorable mug here:
www.nancysblogpics.shutterfly.com
You’ll see two folders, Family and AR/AL Game—there are new pictures in both.

Archived: Rain, Rain, Don't even THINK about it!

Original Post Date: September 21, 2006
After 24 hours of having no car, I am finally on the road again, in a sweet 2007 Chevy Equinox. It's crazy tricked out, and I'll have it just long enough to get used to it, then have to go back to my car. Ah well, those are the breaks. Or, the brakes--something the girl behind me obviously was NOT familiar with.
Abby is, as predicted, loving telling everyone the story of our accident. It's hysterical, because she does it in that tone where every sentence sounds like a question. "My mommy and I? Were driving home? And it was dark? And we were in the road? And this girl? She CRASHED US!"
Rain is in the forecast all weekend. Greeaaat. I only have an outdoor party and a football game outside--that means no more than 12, 13 hours of being soaked. That's okay, though--I shall perservere. I'm really excited about the game, and have been picking up rocks on the side of the road for a few days now in preparation. I'm about to go on a shopping expedition to get all the supplies for the party I'm coordinating tomorrow evening. This evening, I'm going over to my friend Kristen's house (she's actually the one throwing the party) to watch Survivor and Grey's Anatomy in her home theater. Jeff Probst and Dr. McDreamy on the big screen--bring it ON! (Love ya, honey!)

Archived: Hit me!

Original Post Date: September 20, 2006
So, last night I got rear ended. By an 18 year old. On the interstate. With Abby in the car. Yeah, not one of my better nights.
I was merging on to the freeway, and the car in front of me decided that driving on the on-ramp is an option, not a requirement, so they stopped. So, fortunately, did I, but the girl driving the car behind me lacked the same decision making abilities. Everyone involved is fine, but it was a big hassle and it scared poor Abby to death--until she found out we got our own policeman, then she was thrilled beyond words. I can just imagine what the kids at school are hearing today--"Mommy and I were in the car, and the car bumped, and a policeman camed and shined his light onto us and my mommy's car has the boo-boo!"
Anyway, I've spent all morning trying to get the insurance company's file claimed (big pain) and get a rental car (STILL can't because apparently Wal Mart has rented every car in Northwest Arkansas until this afternoon). The bumper of my car is scraping the tire, so I can't drive it. So I wait. It is not something I do well.
In other news, we have a big weekend coming up. I am coordinating a HUGE 10th anniversary party for some friends, and hopefully I'll be able to post some pics early next week. I also have a bridal fair Sunday, and Jake and Patty are coming up this weekend to go to the Alabama game with us (they will NOT be wearing black). Should be a great weekend, if I can keep people from smacking into me on the road.

Archived: Save yourself--wear red

Original Post Date: September 18, 2006
Well, I'm back from my conference. I have to say, it was way better than I expected. First, it wasn't exactly in Morrilton--it was on the top of Mount Petit Jean, at a beautiful conference center. The rooms were nice, and the food was amazing, cooked by a real chef and served to us about every 2 hours. It was like being on a cruise, only with 12 complete strangers, and working all the time.
This weekend was nice. My grandmother came into town, and we went to see my cousin Kenneth play high school football Friday night (he plays for Russellville; they were playing at Bentonville). Bentonville creamed Russellville, which was unfortunate, but Kenneth did get to play a bit, and as a sophomore that's more than he might have expected.
Lemme see, what else about football happened this weekend? Oh yeah, we beat Vanderbilt! I know it was a close game, and our defense could have been better, and yada yada, but let me just say this. I LOVE the Razorbacks, and I am thrilled that they won. Period. I'm not going to call in to some radio show and whine about all the things that we did wrong, because I sure couldn't get out there and play.
Aaaannnnddd, while we're on the topic. My friend Kevin, who literally knows more about sports, and the Razorbacks, than anyone I have ever met, tells me that some people are calling in to radio shows asking people to wear black shirts to the Alabama game this weekend to support firing Houston Nutt. Now. I think almost everyone who knows me knows that I am, shall we say, an ardent Houston Nutt fan. I don't always agree with the calls he makes, but I think he is a good coach and a good man, and until he leaves, he is MY team's coach. I plan to stuff my pockets with small rocks for the Alabama game and pelt anyone I see wearing protest shirts. So to the schmuck who sits 4 seats down from us and spends all his time flirting with the girls behind him, I say beware!

Archived: AMEN

Original Post Date: September 12, 2006

Okay, I have set up a way to share photos on the blog. To see pictures of the Pretty Princess and a couple other pictures of the kiddos, go to:
www.nancysblogpics.shutterfly.com
I'll add more pictures periodically, and post here when I do.
Matt is being really great about me doing this blog--I think he's only broken out in hives once. However, in an effort to appease his fear that some random person will stalk us because they are so drawn to my blog (HA), I have agreed not to put our last name, or where we work, or our social security numbers. However, I need to have a way to refer to our family as a whole unit. Since I can't refer to us by our last name (i.e. the Smiths or the Browns) (neither of which is our last name, Mr. Stalker!), I have decided to call us by our initials on this blog. We discovered when hanging our initial-monogrammed stockings this Christmas that with the addition of Ethan, our family's first initials spell out AMEN. So from now on when I refer to Ethan, Abby, Matt and me it will be the AMENs or the AMEN family. Do not confuse us with a gospel quartet (though Abby would LOVE that).
I leave early tomorrow morning to go to a 3 day conference in Morrilton, which means Matt will be left alone with the kids. He's an awesome dad, so I'm sure he'll be fine, but I still have the classic working mother guilt. If you know him, and you have a minute, check in on him. If you're the stalker leave him alone. Unless you like to do laundry--in that case, come on over.

Archived: It's what Pretty Princesses Do!

Original Post Date: September 11, 2006
Yesterday was a quiet Sunday and Matt and I are nursing colds, so I took advantage of a rare quiet moment (okay, hour) and take a nap. I woke up to the sound of the bedroom door being shoved open, and shoes clomping across the floor. I opened my eyes, and a VERY glammed up Abby stood in front of me. She wore purple play high heels, a skirt and striped shirt, beads, a bright pink boa, 4 or 5 barrettes, an electric purple waistlength wig, blue sunglasses, and a LOT of lip gloss. Here's the conversation we had:
Abby: It's time to wake up, Mommy!
Me: Are you wearing lip gloss?
Abby: Yes.
Me: Did you ask before you put lipgloss on?
Abby: (Diva-ish sigh) No, mommy, it's what pretty princesses do!
Then she walked off. Clomp, clomp, clomp.
What do you say to that? It IS what pretty princesses do, and if ever anyone qualified to be a pretty princess, it's Miss Abby.

I'll post a link to pictures of Her Highness soon, so check back!

Archived: Just call me Betty Crocker

Original Post Date: September 8, 2006
Anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes knows that cooking is, shall I say, not my thing. Matt cooks great, but he rarely has time. When my boss Karen told me about a new place in Bentonville called Super Suppers, I thought I owed it to my family to give it a try. Basically, you go to this huge immaculate kitchen, where they have stations set up for different meals. Everything is already pre-measured, diced, sliced and arranged, so all you have to do is go to a station and put the ingredients together. Despite my aversion to raw meat (seriously, it's DISGUSTING) I went with my mom and a couple of her friends last night. Amazingly, I completed my meals with no major disasters, and since the meat was frozen solid even that didn't gross me out. Now we have a freezer full of food that doesn't say "Totino's" on the box--yay!
The kids are doing well, though Abby is very busy coming up with the most creative ways to get in trouble at school. Most kids hit or steal another kid's crayons. Not my daughter! She got in trouble THREE times yesterday for--wait for it--standing on the BACK of the toilet and looking over the stall wall at other kids. How do you even discipline for that? I fear this child's teenage years.

Archived: Sleep? Who needs Sleep?

Original Post Date: September 5, 2006
It was a busy Labor Day weekend for me! Saturday was the big USC game. We had a great time despite the unfortunate finish--however, being the optimist that I am, I believe the team showed great promise once MM took the helm. I can't wait to see the rest of the season unfold. The atmosphere was great, though our seats are positioned in the section of the stadium that has the highest concentration of schmucks that I have ever seen in one place. Seriously, between the guy in front of us sending dirty text messages to his girlfriend while ignoring his two sons, and the drunk couple behind us who frequently spilled while passing their vodka to each other OVER THEIR KIDS, it was quite a freak show.

Sunday was the big Quinceanera that I have been planning for 9 months. I worked all day at the reception site, which shall remained unnammed in case by some remote chance anyone ever reads this that works there and has a lawyer. It's my least favorite place to do receptions, because it's ridiculously expensive, and the service is horrible That said, the ballroom looked fantastic when we were done with it, thanks in large part to Festivities, who did most of the large scale decorating. The whole night was fantastic. My friend Autumn and my sister in law Renee helped me, and none of us wanted to leave--we stayed late just to watch the 15 year olds have the time of their lives.

Monday was our 7 year wedding anniversary! Since it was Labor Day and we were off work, my sweet husband sent me a dozen red roses to work on Friday, which made my day. Then we went out Monday night to dinner and a movie. The best part was that Matt planned it all--he even hired the babysitter! Sadly, he is in the thick of a bad cold, as are the kids. I am the only one that's healthy, which is ironic since I got no rest this weekend. I've probably got it coming to me. That's okay, though--I can cheer for MM with a stuffy nose!

Archived: Velcome to my Vorld

Original Post Date: August 31, 2006

Much to the despair of my husband, I have decided to start an online blog. I have no idea what I have to say that anyone would want to hear, but I have never let that stop me before!
If you're reading this, you are either:
A)My mom
B)Brad, my friend who runs this site and is making sure I'm not saying anything too stupid
C)One of my co-workers who can't get enough of me during the day
D)My husband, who is terrified I will reveal something embarrassing about him
E)Someone else that is easily entertained
So whichever it is, thanks! This is not going to be edge-of-your-seat reading, but I can promise you funny stories about my children, my office, and the weddings I coordinate (NEVER about my husband), and flawless spelling and grammar. I think people can comment about my posts, which is fine as long as you have something nice to say.
GO HOGS--BEAT USC!

My new home!

Here I am at my new, and hopefully permanent, blogging home. Before, I could say that I was blogging just to get hits for my friend Brad's website. Now, though, I have to admit that I just like to talk about me!