Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We can never just have a normal vacation

I'm pleased to say we survived our holiday weekend, though it was not without its road bumps, both literally and figuratively. The most significant:

- Abby sustained what was, in her eyes, a major injury when she jumped over a sprinkler in my grandmother's back yard and it nicked the side of her foot. There was a small amount of blood that gathered around the cut--not enough to drip off--and she should truly have won an Oscar for her performance. Once she calmed down, though, she admitted that she had "just freaked out for a minute."

-On their return trip Sunday, my parents hit a deer on I40 going around 75 miles an hour (them, not the deer). Incredibly, they were going fast enough that the deer literally exploded on impact. Yes, it's every bit as gross as it sounds. Mom's car is at a garage in Russellville awaiting repairs, and Matt and I spent half of Sunday afternoon racing to Russellville to rescue them. They were remarkably calm about the whole thing--as dad put it, "No matter how bad our day was, at least it wasn't as bad as the deer's" True, true.

-On Monday at around noon, my grandmother's 60-ish cousin Wilma, from California, called. Wilma is a bit of an odd duck. She's very loud, and very talkative, and very blunt, and very clueless about how much she annoys everyone, and also about anything related to social skills. Wilma announced that she was in town, and could she take my grandmother out to dinner? My grandmother, who had been planning to spend that time with us before we left, of course agreed because she's so sweet. Besides, she would still have all afternoon to hang out with us first. Well, it turned out that Wilma was calling from a taxi. A mile from my grandmother's house. She showed up 10 minutes later, and planted herself all day. Let me just share with you the first thing she said to me, and I think this will sum up very neatly for you the woman that is Wilma. I walked into the room, and my grandmother said, "Wilma, you remember Nancy, don't you?" I haven't seen Wilma in probably 10 years. Wilma said, "Of course! My, you're thinner than you were last time. I always thought you might have a pretty face, and now I can see that you do!" Yeah. How do you even respond to that? When I saw that she had brought all of her luggage, my eyebrows must have shot past my hairline, because she said, "Oh, don't worry, I'm not staying. I'm catching a bus in downtown Little Rock at 1 AM tonight to go to Florida and see my grandkids, so I'm just going to take a cab from here in time to catch the bus." The eyebrows stayed up, but she paid no mind. My poor grandmother was stuck listening to Wilma blab for hours. Finally, around 8:00, my aunt Linda marched into the living room and told my grandmother that she had been going too strong, and she had to go to bed at 9:00 or she would be too exhausted the rest of the week. Wilma finally got the hint and called her taxi--I guess she sat in the bus station for the next few hours.

Here are the questions that will likely forever be left unanswered that I have about this siutation, and this lady.
1. How do you just not mention that you are coming from California to Arkansas ahead of time?
2. Why do you fly from California and then take a BUS to Florida?
3. Why would you presume your 80 year old cousin, who you see MAYBE once every 2 years and are not all that close to, wants to stay up yacking with you until midnight?
4. What would you have done, in that taxi a mile from her house, if your cousin wasn't home?

Now, I know that my precious Aunt Joyce, my grandmother's sister-in-law, is reading this, and that she too got a visit from adorable cousin Wilma. Aunt Joyce, please don't be mad at me for saying all of these things. I know that you guys love Wilma, but have to admit this was blog-worthy!

The rest of the trip was thoroughly enjoyable. We got to see our friends Kevin and Robin, and their new son Ryan along with their almost-2 year old Noah, who could be Ethan's twin. We were able to see lots of family and friends at my grandmother's birthday party. If only my dad had been driving a little slower, we could have all been the proud owners of a lifetime supply of deer jerky, too!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We'd take the kitchen sink if we had a bigger car...

Tonight and tomorrow morning I face the daunting task of packing for our family to spend the holiday weekend in Little Rock. We are staying until Tuesday, so I have to prepare for 4 nights away. I know everyone complains about packing, but this is on a different level. Packing for a 4 year old and a 1 year old and two adults is a major effort requiring several hours, multiple pieces of luggage in several sizes, and frequently a muscle relaxer. The sheer volume of items is astonishing. Lest you doubt, allow me to provide you with part of our packing list. This does not even include regular clothes, shoes, pajamas, etc. because everyone has to pack that, though that too is overhwelming--my children's propensity towards making messes requires at least two outfits per day to be packed.

Behold the list:

Sippy cups
Baby spoons
Ethan's toddler foods
Baby wipes
Baby thermometer
Children's medicine (Motrin, Triaminic, Benadryl)
Pack and Play
Pack and Play sheet
Baby monitor
Bouncy Balls
Assorted other toys
Abby's LeapPad game
Portable DVD player
Baby body wash/shampoo
Abby's pillow
Giant stuffed Dora the Explorer
Cell phone chargers
Camera batter charger
Video camera
Video camera battery charger

Remember, this is a partial list. As I look back over it, I realize that many of you might think we overpack and bring lots of things we don't need. You are wrong. It's true that we may not use, say, the medicines on every trip, but the kids come down with random things frequently enough that I'm not about to jinx us by going anywhere without it. Most of these things have made their way on the list via trial and error--for example, we once went to visit my grandmother on a beautiful weekend without any outside toys for them to play with, and that was an error. Now we are prepared.

At some point, probably about 10 minutes before we leave, I will remember to pack for myself, but it will be too late to do any of my laundry. This is why I will spend the weekend in a t-shirt from high school and dress pants or something.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Apparently my straightening iron resented being used for what it considered lesser purposes (see previous post). This morning, Ethan snuck in the bathroom and grabbed it, burning his little index finger. Oh, he howled. Then he seemed fine, but got absolutely hysterical on the way to school, so I'm home with him this morning. He has the wonderful ability that some kids get of sleeping off illness or injury, so he's headed into his third hour of nap right now. Hopefully he'll wake up all recovered. This morning's events have prompted me to come to the conclusion that if there is a harder physical task than trying to put Neosporin and a band-aid on the finger tip of a screaming, hurting 16 month old boy, I sure never want to have to try it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The hem never stood a chance

Hannah Homemaker I'm not, but sometimes I think I could show Heloise a thing or two. This morning I was getting ready for work, and genius struck. Here's the story:

I was still in my pajamas, but was otherwise completely ready to go. I have learned that unless I want to go to work with smears of breakfast bar on my shirt, it's best to wait until the last possible moment to get dressed. I pulled the shirt I was going to wear out of the closet. It's a button down shirt, and one of those that has the incredibly annoying habit of flipping up along the hem every time I wash it. When I realized the hem was creased, it was too late to heat the iron up and pull out the ironing board. What to do? A-HA! My straightening iron was still on for last minute touch ups. I hung the shirt up on the bathroom door frame and ran my straightening iron along the hem. In 20 seconds, the fold was completely gone--it actually did a better job than the regular iron does. Now, you tell me that's not brilliant. I may never use the iron again! (No comments about the frequency with which I use it now, please)

Have any of you come up with a clever solution for something that rivals mine? Post it in the comments! Oh, and if you have been using your straightening iron to de-wrinkle clothes for years, keep it to yourself--don't burst my bubble.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Shame is my name

Boy, have I been an irresponsible blogger lately! I am ashamed. I know my fans must be disappointed. I apologize sincerely and beg your forgiveness.

A few major updates for you:

-My friend Melanie is pregnant! Melanie and I, along with our other chum Mandy, have known each other since 7th grade. We have seen each other through some bad hairstyles, bad teachers, and REALLY bad boyfriends. But all of us have ended up okay! Mel has been waiting a while to jump on the baby bandwagon, and I couldn't be happier for her. She is one of those people that was born a mama, so she will be a natural.

-My grandmother turns 80 next week! We are all headed to Little Rock to see her this weekend. She's the coolest 80 year old I know, that's for sure.

-My mom is now over 1 month smoke free! She's doing so well. I'm still in awe of that achievement.

-Last week I cleaned my office and desk, and it is neater and more organized than it has ever been, since I started working here. This may not be major for you, but TRUST me, this is a big accomplishment for me.

I am going to try really, really, really hard to post every day this week. I think I can do it! Do you?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Old Spice of life

You know the old saying, when the cat's away the mice will play? Well, it turns out that Abby makes a great mouse. While I was in Little Rock with my grandmother, Matt was SuperDad. (His word, not mine). He did a great job, and on Friday night he took a well-deserved break and went with his dad to the baseball game. Our babysitter came over to watch the kids, and brought her 5 year old sister--we'll call her Louise to protect her innocence. (Well, I don't know if innocence is the right word--she was as responsible for the misdeed as Abby).

Abby and Louise were playing in Abby's room. They came across a gift bag from Christmas that still had a couple of things in it (do NOT judge--it's been a busy few months for us!) At the bottom of the bag, they found two spray cans of Old Spice Red Zone body spray.

I know that when you read that, your mind immediately went to how bad this could be, like when someone tells you their toddler got a hold of a Sharpie marker and took it into the newly painted kitchen, or that a birthday cake had been left in reach of a large dog. Let me tell you, your insticts are right.

The girls apparently thought at first that the cans were shaving cream. When they discovered that wasn't the case, I guess they just figured it was an all-purpose cleaner. They emptied the two cans in Abby's room--it was sprayed on the furniture, on her toys, in her closet, on the walls, into the carpet, EVERYWHERE. And I guess this particular all-purpose cleaner also doubles as body wash, because they covered themselves with it too. Matt said when he came through the front door, he immediately started choking.

It's now 7 days later. Most of the house has been fumigated, but Abby's room is still a no-breathe zone. I doubt it will ever go away completely. I try not to think about the implications of this. How will we eventually sell a house that has an Old Spice room? Will Abby suffer any physical problems from sleeping in a haze of body spray every night? After a while, will she think she's a manly ship captain? Oy. I guess it could have been worse--she could have found a can of Stetson or something.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The healing powers of tater tots

Okay, this time I have a TOTALLY good excuse for the delay in posting. Last Wednesday, my mom and I drove down to Little Rock for what was supposed to be an overnight trip to take my grandmother to have some medical tests done. However, she needed a few more tests after that, and the doctor wanted to observe her, so she ended up being in the hospital all weekend. I didn't get home until Sunday night. She's doing very well now, thanks to her couple of days of rest and hydration in the hospital. Thanks to everyone who checked in on her and prayed for her, and everyone who covered for me at work and church while I was gone.

Those of you that know my grandmother know that she is NOT what you think of when you think of an almost-80 year old woman. She is energetic and feisty and independent, on top of being literally the nicest person I have ever met. Having to lay in a hospital bed and be waited on was NOT her cup of tea. However, as soon as she started feeling a little better, we had a great time--just talked and talked, and laughed a LOT.

One of the highlights of the weekend came on Saturday. when my mom brought me a Sonic Kid's meal for lunch. Right now, the toys they give out are a series of stuffed tater tots. Yes, it is as bizarre and funny as it sounds. You can see the entire line of Tots here:

My grandmother looked over right as I pulled mine out of its bag, and asked what it was. I announced that it was her get well present, a friend to keep her company in bed. This particular tot was named Spicy Tot. I perched Spicy on my grandmother's shoulder, and he stayed there for pretty much the rest of the time in the hospital. Oh, the looks we got from nurses! I think the best moment was when the girl brought in the dinner tray for my grandmother and we asked her where Spicy Tot's food was. These people have no sense of humor!