Sunday, April 29, 2007

Full moon in Branson

I'm back from Branson! The weekend was lovely. Matt has a very close extended family, and I really enjoy the women I was with. There were 8 of us total, including Matt's mom, sister, grandmother, two aunts and two cousins. Every family has its own kind of groove when they're together, and this crowd is no different. Most of these ladies are hard core crafters, and so that took up a lot of the weekend. Now, my friends and I like a good scrapbooking habit as much as the next girl, but I have never seen anything like this. Matt's aunt Karilyn and her daughter Katrenia alone have enough stamps to open their own store. We ate, of course, and shopped. Poor Renee had to follow me around to all the kids shops and offer her opinion on things she had no interest in, such as whether Ethan would look better in navy or khaki overalls, and whether yellow would wash out Abby's coloring. She was patient!

I really get a kick out of Matt's family because you never quite know what to expect. It keeps you on your toes. For example, when his grandmother came into the living room with her camera to take a candid of everyone sitting around, she instead got a photograph of someone (I won't say who, because you might meet her someday, and besides, SHE knows who she is) mooning her. Indeed. This is most definitely near the top of the list of things none of my cousins would EVER do to my grandmother. The rest of the weekend was spent discussing whether or not his grandmother would be arrested when she gets the pictures developed.

Katrenia was nice enough to email me a group picture we took as soon as she got home, so I have included it for your viewing pleasure below. We're a fun looking bunch of girls, eh? Pun intended!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Don't blame me, blame the lack of visual aids

I know I haven't been very diligent about posting lately, but it's actually not my fault. The things I have wanted to post about--Easter, seeing my new baby nephews, etc.--all have photos to accompany them. My home computer is currently holding those photos hostage, so what's a girl to do?

April has passed by in a blur. It's one of the worst months for my job in terms of workload. Tomorrow we have orientation, and next Friday is a state advising conference, which I was in charge of planning. Why, you may ask, would I volunteer to take on such a monumental task? I didn't so much. While I was on maternity leave with Ethan, I was nominated and elected in absentia to be president of the state association. Tell me, how is this fair? This business is wearing me out!

At least things are going well at home. Abby is on a good behavior streak--yesterday was her 7th day in a row of school with no time outs. She is keeping a tally, believe you me. Ethan is still eating well and is starting to learn a few words. He's also gotten into the habit of stashing stuff in our trash can when we aren't looking, but I'll focus on the good for now.

I am leaving tomorrow after orientation to head to Branson for my annual in-law weekend. Every April, all of the females in Matt's family and I spend a weekend in a cabin in Branson. This sounds, on the surface, like turture, but for the most part it's fairly relaxing. Let's hope! I'll get back in time Sunday for our church's children's choirs concert. Abby is very excited--the kids are each dressing as part of a profession, and she gets to be a gymnast. She has also learned the sign language for Jesus Loves Me for the evening, and does it very well--though we still can't convince her that the sign for "strong" is NOT posing like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh well, at least people will get the gist.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Are you a TrueFan?

I've made no secret, on this blog or in real life, that I am a Razorback fan that is disgusted with the way some people have treated our coaches, players, administration and program recently. The absurdity of the situation has gotten out of control. Even if you couldn't care less about sports, you should be offended that people think it's okay to act this way in the name of loyalty. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just Google Houston Nutt, Razorback rumors, or Razorback controversy. People have crossed the line from critical to unethical, from harmless talking to destroying people's lives. For what? This week, as our country deals with its largest massacre ever, there are still people who can't shut their traps about this athletic program.

My friend Kevin and I have started a blog as our way of venting about all of this. I'd like for you to take a look-- Feel free to comment there on any of the posts, or add in your own topic. We don't want there to NOT be talk about the Hogs; we just want grown ups to act like grown ups. Let me know what you think!

In other news, I have to say I am a tad disappointed that more of you didn't comment on my product thing! And Gloria, yours was a total cop out. Freedom isn't a product! Come on now. My product, without a doubt, is Chapstick. I'm addicted and proud of it. Maybe I'll do another poll someday and try to find a topic a little more motivational for you all. In the meantime, read the other blog--but don't stop reading this one!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What's your must-have?

I've decided it's time for a little AMENMom readers' poll. I'm excited to see what kind of responses I'll get.

Here's your topic. What one product could you not live without? This is not like that "stranded on a desert island" question. What I mean is, if you were told that at any time, every porduct you use could be taken away from you except one, which would you choose to be the one you get to keep? You can't say something generic, like "books". No clever answers like "electricity" or "gasoline" either. I'm not interested in what you literally have to have to survive. Of course, you also have to explain why you chose it. Make sense? Have at it! I already know mine, but I'll save it until my next post.

I would like to offer my congratulations to my co-worker Logan, whose wife Aeja delivered their first child, a daughter named Avery Pierce, yesterday. You'll make a great dad, LL!

Matt returned from Las Vegas, though not at 9:00 Friday night as planned. Instead, he spent some time Saturday evening discovering the thrills of the El Paso airport while waiting for DFW to be reopened after bad weather. Then he get to DFW, but unfortunately it was no longer functioning as an airport and instead became his hotel for a night. He finally came home around 10:30 the next morning, exhausted and frustrated. Despite the 10 hour layover in DFW, they had managed not to get his bags on his plane. There was a huge line at the baggage desk, so he came home and called American Airlines when he got settled. He was informed that his bag was now at our airport, but that he had to have called within 4 hours of his arrival to be rewarded with having it delivered to our home. He called 4 hours and 20 minutes after his plane had touched down. So even though it was completely AA's fault his bag was late, and even though this 4 hour policy is printed NOWHERE and was never mentioned by any of the dozens of employees who helped him get home, he drove back to the airport to get his bag. Gotta love that crack airline customer service.

Okay, have you thought about it? What product do you have to have? And no, my blog doesn't count, but thanks for the thought :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My mom, my hero

I don't know when I have been so excited about the subject of a post as I am today. I am proud beyond words to announce that my mom has ended her relationship with cigarettes. That's right, she has quit smoking!

Mom has been a smoker longer than she's been an adult. She became hooked back when smoking was an okay habit. Maybe not the best thing to do, but it was thought of like drinking Coke is now. When the facts came out about the damage it does, and cultural attitudes towards the habit changed, it was a wonderful progression, but not for the hundreds of thousands of people already addicted. Now they were doing something they knew was bad for them and that was frowned on by society, but that doesn't make it easy to stop.

Around a month ago, mom heard about and researched a new drug called Chantix. Unlike previous Stop Smoking drugs, Chantix doesn't contain nicotine or antidepressants. Simply put, it stops the process in your body that releases dopamine when nicotine is ingested. It's like eating a cupcake with your taste buds turned off--you know it should taste good, but it just doesn't.

Mom started taking Chantix a mere two and a half weeks ago. I was thrilled when she said she had started. The first week was hard for her, and she thought it wouldn't work. I knew, though, that she just needed to give it time. Sure enough, soon the cravings dwindled and so did the frequency with which she smoked. I reminded her that to end a 30 year addiction that is chemical, physical and mental is not an overnight process, and that she shouldn't push too hard. After two weeks, she was down to less than 10 cigarettes a day (less than half of her normal). Then she decided that it was time to show herself how strong she can be, and she has just stopped. Just stopped! And she refuses to do anything, like eat or take up a hobby or hide her cigarattes--she wants this to be about the presence of will power, and not the absence of opportunity. She said she has hard moments, but they end, and when the next one comes, she knows if she waits it out, it will end like the last one did.

Does everyone else find this as incredible as I do?! To me, this is one of the biggest personal accomplishments that can be achieved. I feel very lucky to have never had a chemical addiction, because I truly do not know if I would have the strength to overcome it. So many people don't! But my mom does. She has decided to end a habit that was integrated into every part of her life and in many ways defined her, because it's going to make her a better person. The respect I have for that determination is huge. I can't stop telling her how proud I am--may sound weird coming from daughter to mother, but I don't care.

Mom, I know you're reading this, and I know you already know it, but let me say it again to you and in front of everyone: I believe you have done something for yourself that few people can. I haven't ever been prouder of you. When Abby and Ethan are teenagers and Matt and I are ready to teach them about making good choices and doing what's hard because it's what's right, we will tell them that they should look to you to learn that anyone can do anything if they are determined enough. I'm so excited for you, and I love you.

I know mom will read the comments too, so if you're reading this and you're happy for her too, please post a comment and let her know how great it is!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Love is a battlefield

Oy, am I glad last week is over. Registration is no fun for anyone.

This week I will be playing the role of single mother, while my husband lives it up in Vegas. Well, by living it up I mean attending a training conference 12 hours a day, but whatever--it's in Vegas. When I had a conference in Vegas, I took him with me. Just saying.

This morning I had to get both kids and myself ready and delivered to our respective morning locations. I was doing so good--I had laid out everyone's clothes the night before, even poured their breakfast drinks and put them in the fridge. I was prepared--to a point. How do you prepare, though, for a one year old covered head (and hair) to toe in the strawberry filling from his breakfast bar, especially when said one year old has a furious and violent reaction to any activity that is related to being cleaned? How do you prepare for getting trapped in a line of cars outside the day care behind a Yukon, whose driver is yakking inside while her vehicle blocks the ONLY way out of the parking lot? Oh well. The things we do for love.

I actually think it's good for me for Matt to be gone this week. I make no secret of the fact that I think he is frequently a better parent than me. There's no parental task that he refuses to do--on the contrary, he firmly believes that he and I are equally responsible for taking care of our kids. Thank goodness! I know plenty of women who have husbands who refuse to change a diaper, or who have no idea how to get their child to stop crying, or have never taken their son or daughter to the doctor.

Every relationship sets its own rules, but I am very grateful that Matt wants to be right there with me, doing all the things you do when you're a parent. So I guess 5 days without him won't kill me. There may be war wounds, though, if that Yukon is in my way again tomorrow.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Much to say, no time to say it

Yes, I know it's been a week since I posted. It's registration week on campus, and I consider myself lucky if I get to check my email. Just one of those weeks! At any rate, I'll be back full force next week--I hope. In the meantime, here's a fascinating article I found on I agree with virtually everything in the article, and I think it's well stated.