Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Too much of a good thing

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

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

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

I pity the fools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 21, 2007


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

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hot and Cold

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 17, 2007

Girls will be girls, and boys will be messy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 14, 2007


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

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

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Recent history

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

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

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

Monday, September 10, 2007

My little songbird

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

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

Friday, September 7, 2007

A change will do me good...I hope

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

September's off and running

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

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

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

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