Monday, February 25, 2008

Belly button luuuv

Abby's always been a little ahead of the game, so it shouldn't surprise me that she's once again done something well before I was prepared. It seems that at the ripe old age of 4 she has developed her first crush. That she has the capacity does not surprise me--after all, she was born to a mother who was THE biggest New Kids on the Block fan EVER, and to this day swoons a wee bit if she sees Joe McIntyre on TV.

The object of Abby's affection is also a well known guy--in fact, she isn't smitten with the guy so much as the character he plays. This all started when, some months ago, we finally got around to recording and letting Abby watch Disney's High School Musical. I had heard gobs about it, but had never seen it. Abby had heard about it from all her friends, and begged to see it. As much as I hate to admit it, Matt and I actually like the silly thing. It's cute. For those of you who live under a rock (or at least don't live with a young girl), the basic concept is Grease--without the sex, alcohol, or drag racing. It's squeaky clean and has some very catchy songs. After viewing it, Matt and I deemed it an acceptable craze for our daughter and let her proceed. And proceed she did. The child has two HSM shirts, a purse, a necklace, a bike keeps going. She has seen both HSM and HSM 2 a zillion times each, and begs for more.

Recently, though, Abby's attentions have shifted from the movie in general to the male lead specifically. Played by Zac Efron (a cutie, even I have to admit), Troy is a basketball player and, as it turns out, one huckuva singer.
Now, Abby has no clue who Zac Efron is--that is Troy to her. Troy is real and Troy is HER man. She claims to dream about Troy most nights, and her HSM viewings now consist of maintaining a count of how many times she sees Troy's belly button during the movie. Now, Troy never appears shirtless in the movie--her BBS (belly button sightings) come from painstakingly watching the movie for a glimpse of his abdomen when he's dancing and his shirt bounces up. When it shows itself, she squeals like he showed it just for her.
Matt and I alternate beween amusement and terror at this development. HOW did she learn how to have a crush at such a young age? Who taught her to get excited about a belly button? I suppose we should be relieved that he's such a G-rated guy, and also that he's someone that she'll probably never meet. Lord help us when she gets her first in-person love. For that matter, help him, whoever he may be.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What's a conference without a donut or two?

Friday at last! I am so ready. I am really looking forward to the weekend. There is a Christian women's conference in Rogers, and the main speaker is Priscilla Shirer, whom I have never heard but is supposedly fantastic. I am going with three dear friends--Marla, Michelle and Autumn. It's highly likely that there will be lots of eating involved, too, especially since our hotel is across the street from a Krispy Kreme :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Take THAT, ground crew!

San Fransisco was fabulous. We weren't there long, but we managed a great jaunt out to Alcatraz, which was very cool and only a little creepy. I was surprised at how open it was--you get to go in the cells, even "the holes", the solitary confinement cells they have. I highly recommend it.

The best part of the trip by far was something that happened at the very beginning--before we even left, in fact. I was going with two co-workers, Karen and Jeff. Jeff is certain that he is a cursed traveler--any time he's going, the plane will be delayed or canceled, the weather will be bad, etc. Karen normally has good luck, but unfortunately fell to the hands of a total incompetent upon checkin, and was in a really angry mood (justifiably). We were to fly from here to Dallas, then had less than an hour to connect to the SF flight. It was tight anyway, and thunderstorms were setting in around Dallas. Trouble!

The details are exhausting, so I'll spare you, but through a very advantageous set of circumstances we were given the option to change our connecting city to Chicago and arrive in SF 2 hours late. In exchange, we each got $250 vouchers. Sweet! Turns out we would have missed our connecting flight in Dallas anyway, so it worked out unbelievably well.

That's not even the best part! The girl changing our flights for us at the counter was very kind and had been working her tail off. I can't remember her name for sure, but I think it was Shanda. When she finally got us re-ticketed, she called down to have them move our bags to the new plane. The ground crew came back with, "Sorry--too late. Can't get them." We all three groaned, imagining never seeing our bags again. Clearly, we underestimated Shanda, and so did the ground crew. She marched to and down the walkway, out onto the tarmac IN THE RAIN, and over to the plane. While Karen, Jeff and I watched from the terminal with our mouths hanging open, sweet Shanda hoisted herself up into that cargo hold, rummaged around, and pulled out all of our bags! We could not get over it. We talked about it the entire trip. Say what you want about living in a small town, but I guarantee you THAT never happens at O'Hare.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My man

I'm like any other wife. When I'm with my girlfriends, I yak about how Matt plays video games all the time, how he doesn't always pay attention when I'm talking to him, how he forgets stuff. I roll my eyes along with them and say things like, "Men--they're all alike."

Only they're not. I want to say here, for everyone to see, that I am fully aware that I have the most fantastic husband on the planet. I am reminded of this frequently by other people--by my grandmother when she sees the incredible way Matt takes care of the kids, from my friends when they come over and he cooks all the food, from our friends at church that giggle when we still hold hands. But no one has to tell me what I already know. God's given me a lot of great gifts int his life, but Matt's at the top of the list. How he puts up with me, I'll never know. I sure am grateful for it, though. He's a better husband and father than I ever thought I could find.

For Valentine's Day this year, rather than buy a card, I made a little composition of my own. After I gave it to him, I asked him if he would mind if I posted it on the blog. At first he squirmed a bit, mainly because of #27 (which you will PLEASE not ask him about so as to spare him the embarrassment of the story--I can tell you later if you really want to know, and it really is a very sweet story). I finally convinced him that my true intention was to show the world how great he truly is, so he agreed.

Matt, I love you tremendously. Thank you for letting me tell everyone just how much.

The 50 Reasons Why I Love Matt (as written to him):

1. You love Christ.
2. You love our children.
3. Those calves!
4. You’re musical.
5. You’re the best father I’ve ever met.
6. You’re smarter than me—sometimes.
7. You’re funny.
8. You care about other people.
9. I trust you.
10. You like the same TV shows as I do, for the most part.
11. You put up with my family.
12. You’ve helped me through every difficulty of my adult life.
13. That beard is hot.
14. You always drive when we go on trips.
15. You get up early with the kids.
16. You take me on dates.
17. You don’t complain when I play FreeCell before bed every night.
18. You’re good to our dog.
19. You teach a children’s choir and love it.
20. You always try to give me what I want.
21. You like sports.
22. You don’t mind that I like sports too.
23. You’re willing to take me to Paris.
24. You supported me when I started my own business—twice.
25. You help me believe I’m a good mother.
26. You think our kids are as cool as I do.
27. You ran outside naked in the winter so you could cool me off.
28. You dance.
29. You’re a fabulous kisser.
30. You tell me I’m attractive, and I believe you think it.
31. You never complain when I go out of town for work.
32. In fact, you don’t really complain at all.
33. You coached our daughter’s soccer team and enjoyed it.
34. You respect your parents and are good to them.
35. You like musicals.
36. You treat my grandmother like she’s yours.
37. You know how to cook really well.
38. You instantly agree to help anyone who needs it.
39. You know how to fix all kinds of things.
40. You accepted my new family without reservation.
41. You never forget my birthday or our anniversary.
42. You hold hands with me in public.
43. You start my car on cold mornings.
44. You always say “I love you” before we hang up the phone.
45. You put effort into being a good father.
46. You look things up for me on the computer whenever I ask you to.
47. You have the respect of everyone you know.
48. You manage our finances.
49. You give fantastic back rubs.
50. You love me.

Movin' Out--be back Tuesday

As usual, it's been a busy week for AMEN. Wednesday night I went to see Movin' Out with my mom at the Walton Arts Center. It was fantastic. I love Billy Joel, but this was like Billy Joel plus some extra fabulous thrown in. Thanks for taking me, mom!

We celebrated V Day by dropping the kids off at day care and heading to Little Rock so that I could go to a doctor's appointment with my grandmother. We got back in time to pick the kids up and head home, where our faithful babysitters Cori and Matt relieved us so that we could go to dinner. When you're old and boring and married like us, double dates are more fun than single ones, so we went with our friends Chad and Marla. We all ate way to much food and had a great time. I have more to say on the V Day subject, but I will have to wait and post it later tonight.

I leave for a conference in San Fransisco tomorrow. I am quite excited. I've never been there before--actually I've never been to California before (unless you count a layover at LAX once)(which I don't, because I never even left the airport)(thank goodness, because all manner of hoodlums and vagrants were hanging out right outside the doors)(which actually does make it seem like I've been to California). At any rate, I'll try to post again tonight, and then again when I get back next week. TTFN!

Monday, February 11, 2008

What really matters

Clearly my posts on intellectual matters are not well received. Fine, fine, I'll revert to the subject that seems to draw the most attention--the two little people that live in my house.

Abby is very busy being an overachieving almost-5 year old. She's been selected to play the Ringmaster in her school's pre-K circus, and she's constantly rehearsing her lines and song (a snippet: "Ringmaster PROUD, Ringmaster LOUD! Calling the acts of the show!") She's still doing brilliantly in piano. It seems that the only thing the child doesn't excel in is behaving herself these days. We're going through a "phase" (that's what we're calling it for our peace of mind) of not minding, sassing, and a little lying thrown in for good measure. I know this is supposed to be normal, but it is wearing us OUT . On the other hand she can be a great helper around the house, and she's such a good big sister that I'm half convinced she could raise Ethan on her own at this point.

Fortunately, actually being two seems to have calmed down E's Terrible Twos a bit. He is much cheerier lately, though we still get treated to a tantrum every once in a while. His language is exploding and new words are popping out every day. Thanks to a random episode of Dora, he has learned to do a huge fake sneeze (Ahhh-ahh-CHOO!) that never fails to crack us up. It kind of startles bypassers sometimes, which is fun. He's always very pleased with himself after a goof fake sneeze. He's still all boy. He absolutely refuses to let us brush his teeth, but yesterday morning while we were getting ready for church I noticed that he was too quiet, so I went to the bathroom to find him dipping a comb into the toilet and then putting it in his mouth. When he saw me, he gave me the sweetest smile, held out the comb, and said, "Brush teeth, mommy!" Sigh. It's a start, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It should be Awoi, it's so backwards

Well. It's been a long week and a half, filled with fun. I could summarize the multitude of activities, like my brother Sam's visit, Ethan's birthday party, or the LOST premiere. Truthfully, though, the thought is overwhelming, and whose blog is it anyway? So I'm going to do what I do best--talk about something random.

And WHAT is more random than caucuses?

Yes, I am speaking of the events that occur in some states to determine which presidential nominee that state's delagates will support for each party. Don't get caucuses confused with their normal, logical descendants, the primaries. These two are nothing alike.

Primaries, such as the one held in my fine state, are held just like any other voting day. Citizens go to their assigned precinct, usually close to their home, at their convenience within a 12 or 13 hour period. They vote on a piece of paper or a voting machine, and they leave. Not a big deal.

A caucus, though, can only be compared to a schoolyard pick. Everyone in the state that is interested in having a say in this stage of the election is assigned a location. At a set time, let's say 7 PM, everyone is due at their caucus location. If you're early, you wait. If you're late ,you aren't allowed in. At 7:00 PM sharp, the organizers of the caucus announce that the first round of "voting" is beginning. At the signal, everyone in the room gets up and goes to stand under the sign that bears the name of the candidate they support. Really. Then, the organizers count, and any candidate who has less than a certain percentage of the attendees standing under their sign is deemed "out". Following the narrowing of the candidates, there's a time--this is my favorite part--when the supporters of the candidates that did make the cut (we'll call them the Winners) can try to convince the supporters whose guy (or girl) just got kicked to the curb (we'll call them the Losers) that they should join the Winners under their various names. No pressure! Then they do the process again, and whoever has the most people under their name wins.

It all sounds very quaint and traditional, and would probably be a lovely system except for a few small glitches:

- It's in no way, shape or form private voting
- It limits the voting population to the people who are able to attend a meeting for 2 or 3 hours on a Tuesday night. So if you work evenings, or have small children, or have physical difficulties, so sorry--no voice for you! And forget about absentee ballots.
- It's subject to votes being made for the wrong reasons. What if you really like some candidate, and so do a lot of other people, but the first guy to get under your candidate's banner is all gross and sick and keeps sneezing without covering his mouth? No way are you going over there. On the same note, what if there was an absolutely beautiful woman who kept smiling at all the guys and went to stand under some schmoe's banner? Every single guy in the place would instantly be Schmoe's biggest supporter.

Do you see the flaws? It's absurd. Our country is far from perfect, but at least as a society we seem to grasp when we need to update our practices. We no longer deliver mail by pony, we don't use kerosene lamps to light our homes--but we still have states that revert straight to the 1700s to elect their next presidential candidates? Never again will I allow anyone to call Arkansas backwards. Iowa's way more messed up than us.