Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What are you lookin at?

This afternoon AMEN is heading to Little Rock for a long weekend to celebrate my grandmother's 81st birthday. Hopefully I'll have plenty of good pictures and stories when we return. In the meantime, I want to share with you all something that's very dear to my heart: my favorites list.

Most everyone I know has a list of websites saved on their browser under My Favorites that they visit regularly, and I am no exception. Of course I have my list of friends' blogs that I check on. What I'm talking about today, though, are the other sites I go to--those that somehow I have stumbled across and become addicted to. I love finding great sites to visit, but I hate going to all the effort of finding them, so I thought we could help each other out. I am listing some sites that I love below, along with a brief description. I hope you like them! Please add a comment and list any sites you think I (or anyone else) would enjoy. Let's see what we come up with!

Okay, My Favorites (in no particular order):

www.cnn.com
It is what you think it is, but it's my favorite place to get the news every day

www.bakerella.blogspot.com
If I were a fantastically clever, talented, creative baker, I would be Bakerella. Get ready to drool!

http://livingproofministries.blogspot.com/
Beth Moore is my all-time favorite Bible study creator, and it helps that she is one of the funniest women alive. This is the personal blog that she and her daughter write. It is alternatingly hysterically funny and thought provoking. Beth is a true Southern woman, but we share a loathe of cooking. This post about one of her attempts had tears of laughter streaming down my face:
http://livingproofministries.blogspot.com/2008/04/youre-killing-me.html

www.postsecret.com
This is a fascinating website that was started as an experiment by a guy in Maryland a few years ago. He published his home mailing address (!) and invited people to send him postcards on which they'd written a secret. Every Sunday, he posts 20 new secrets on the website. It's grown into this huge phenomenon, and there are several books of secrets that have been published. The secrets range from someone announcing they still love their high school sweetheart to admitting being abused. A warning: he does NOT filter for content, so some of the postcards are graphic and/or contain potentially offensive language.

http://www.babyrazzi.com/
Guilty pleasure! This site posts pictures and news of celebrity parents and parents-to-be. It's lots of cute baby pictures, and much less snarky than most celebrity sites.

www.sojourners.com
This is a progressive Christian organization that focuses on activism humanitarian issues like poverty and child welfare. I've been reading their stuff for a while, and so far I have agreed with them 100% of the time.

There they are! Now it's your turn...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Moo on, Ethan

More times than I can count, one of the kids has done something so hysterically funny that I race to get the video camera, despite the fact that I KNOW that as soon as I have the camera they will refuse to do it again. I finally got the goods, though! Ethan loves for us to sing Old McDonald (the CowPig song to him), and he gets very into the animal sounds. He was moo/oinking his heart out the other night, and was actually willing to do it in front of the camera. This is my first attempt to post a video, so I sure hope it works. Oh, and just because I know you'll wonder why he thinks a whale says ah-choo, there's a sneezing whale on one episode of Dora the Explorer. He's nothing if not observant.


video

Friday, May 23, 2008

Change is bad

It's just a little over 3 months until I leave my job, and I get a headache just thinking about all of the things I have to do between now and then. Cleaning out my office will take forever, and I have to fill out all kinds of paperwork, blah blah blah. The thing that has me really worked up, though, is that for the first time in my LIFE, I have to get a personal email address.

I have mentioned this to a few people, and they look at me like I just said I have to get a cell phone for the first time. I know it seems strange, but it makes sense when you think about it. Email wasn't widely used until I was in college, and the U of A gave me an address. Since I started working here before I stopped being a student, the address never deactivated. When I got married and moved to working for the business college, it changed a little, but that was 7 years ago. So for all this time, I have had the same address.

I have two concerns about switching. One is, how on EARTH am I going to communicate my new address to everyone? I know that I can send an email, but I'm bound to forget some people that I rarely talk to.

My bigger worry is what to pick for my new address. (Note: I have to be careful here since Matt has banned me from using our last name on the blog, so for the purpose of the rest of this post we're going to pretend my name is Nancy Fabulous.) My UA email address has been nfabulous@walton.uark.edu. Here are the decisions I have to make now:

1. Do I keep the first part of the address and still be nfabulous? Or is it better to be nancyfabulous? Or do I go more original and be amenmom? But then what if we have another child and I'm NOT amenmom any more? I don't think I can go through this process again. Or does that even matter? Is amenmom now enough of my identity that it doesn't refer only to my family's initials?

2. What server do I use? Matt has a hotmail account and likes it fine. I know other people use yahoo and google and peoplepc and all manner of others. I don't really care which it is, since I'll probably set it up in Outlook anyway, as long as I don't get a bunch of junk mail all the time.

Help me make a decision! Tell me what you think the first half should be (remember to use Fabulous if you want my last name to be in it), and let me know if you've had any good/bad experiences with any of the different servers. I figure that I had better get this address set up pretty soon so I can start the transition. It will be traumatic enough without having to hurry.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Me and the BBB

As a parent, there are events that I can anticipate will make me emotional--for example, I know that I will be a messy puddle of tears and baby pictures on my living room floor Abby's entire first day of Kindergarten. Some things, though, sneak up and catch you off guard. They're disguised as just everyday parenting occurances, until suddenly they show themselves to be what they truly are: another sign that your children are growing up and their babyhoods are slipping away.

A prime example happened to me Sunday. For some time, we have been gearing up to move Ethan to a "big boy bed" (BBB). We waited to move Abby until I was pregnant with E, because she loved her crib and never tried to climb out. BIIIG mistake. It was well over a month before we had a night that she actually stayed in bed after being tucked in. It would take hours to get her to go to sleep. So we were determined to start E's process earlier. We didn't want to buy a new adult bed just yet, so I went to Wal Mart on Saturday and got SUPER lucky--I found a cherry wood sleigh style toddler bed for just $37. Woo hoo! I added a Cars sheet and blanket to the mix, and we had the makings of an excellent BBB. However, it was Sunday afternoon before we got it put together, and then we were gone for several hours and didn't get home until well after E's normal bed time. We rushed in the door, and I put the new sheet on the mattress while Matt started taking apart the crib (it's too big to get out of the room in one piece). Then it happened to me. One minute he was just taking apart the crib, and the next he was TAKING APART MY BABY CRIB! The crib that we assembled when I was 6 months pregnant with Abby (I use the term "we" loosely here), the same crib that had stood in the same place for over 5 years and protected and provided comfort, rest and safety for my babies the whole time. And we didn't need it any more! I was traumatized.

Then, as though he knew what power he had to squish my heart even more, Ethan was so excited about his new bed and so tired after our long day, that when I offered to sit with him a while, he said, "No, mommy, I go night night. Bye bye. Bye BYE, Mommy! Bye BYE!" (I may or may not have been holding on to his hand a little tightly at the time). Sure enough, he went right on off to sleep like he's been sleeping in a BBB forever.

Now that I've recounted this story, let me just vent for a minute. I went to the trouble of taking pictures of E during his last time sleeping in his crib, and his first time asleep in his new bed. I downloaded them to Shutterfly, and then tried to use them in the blog--just like I always do. Only. Shutterfly has completely revamped their structure, and it is AWFUL. So I couldn't figure out the pictures, and I sent them a really strongly worded comment in their suggestions section. The nerve! At any rate, I will eventually figure out a new way to get the pictures on here, and once I do you can see Ethan in all his BBB glory.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hello, baby!

I hate that I don't have photos to go along with this post, but it's been two days and I have neglected to give a big blog congratulations to our friends Marla and Chad, who welcomed their third daughter, Ailey Elizabeth, into the world Wednesday afternoon. Marla is, by all accounts, a veteran rock star in the delivery room, and though Audrey and Avery both weighed almost 9 1/2 pounds, Ailey was a petite by comparison 8' 15". She is lovely and tiny, and Matt and I look forward to hogging her when we visit them. The ladies in the church nursery are practically salivating, they are so ready to get their hands on a newborn.

Any time one of my friends has a baby, I get really excited, and it always makes everyone wiggle their eyebrows at me and say some version of, "So! Does this mean you're ready for another one?"

Define ready. I would love to have another baby, and we definitely hope to expand our family at some point. I'm emotionally ready. However, we are not financially, spatially, physically or mentally ready just yet, so we're going to hold off for a while. Fortunately for us we have great friends like Marla that have babies for us to play with in the meantime!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Misc.

I'm about to leave to head to Little Rock to hang out with my grandmother and take her for a checkup. Before I go, a couple of tidbits:

-On Saturday my sister-in-law Renee graduated with her Master's degree in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages from Arkansas Tech. YAY Renee!

- For Mother's Day, Abby, my mom and I went to a nail salon. Abby got a manicure and mom and I got pedicures. Ahhhhhhhh.

- Ethan has a horrific cough that can only be soothed by administering albuterol, a steroid, through an inhaler mask. From the response we get, you would think it was mustard gas. Fortunately he doesn't know how to hold a grudge yet.

- Abby told me I looked nifty yesterday.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The value of peer pressure

Saying Ethan is a picky eater is like saying Abby is a talker--it's a gross understatement. You might remember last year about this time when we went through a real battle with him. We won temporarily, but eventually he toughened up again. Right now, he will not eat anything except breakfast bars, fruit snacks, PB&J sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, crackers, or kid-friendly, non fruit based desserts. This is inconvenient, frustrating, and of some concern on a health level, but until I'm home and able to be the only one feeding him, there's really nothing we can do.

This problem rears its ugly head most frequently on Wednesday nights. We eat dinner at church on Wednesdays. From where we sit, Ethan has a clear line of sight to the dessert table, and as soon as we sit down he starts whining for cake or ice cream. We have gotten into this REALLY tiring routine of spending the entire meal repeating this exchange:

Ethan: Cake! Cake! Cake!
Me: Do you want cake?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Then take a bite of chicken.
Ethan: No!
Me: Then no cake.
Ethan: WAHHH! CAKE!
Me: Cake?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Chicken!
Ethan: WAHHHHH!

We have left church more than one Wednesday night without him having eaten a single bite of dinner--the boy has got an iron will. However, last night a new element was added to the mix that changed the results dramatically.

Our friends Chad and Marla have two children, Audrey and Avery, that are the same age as our kids. Marla's a few days away from adding a third baby to the mix, so she stayed home last night, and Chad was in charge of the meal, so Audrey and Avery sat with us. I put Avery and Ethan next to each other in high chairs, and put two chicken nuggets in front of each of them. Here's what happened:

Ethan: Cake! Cake! Cake!
Me: Do you want cake?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Then take a bite of chicken.
Ethan: No!
Me: Then no cake.
Ethan: WAAHHHH!
Avery: I want some cake! (she's a tad more eloquent than Ethan)
Me: Then take a bite of chicken.
Avery: Okay! (takes a bite)
Me: Yay! Avery gets cake! Does Ethan want cake, too?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Then take a bite of chicken like Avery!
Ethan: Okay! (takes a bite)

Are you KIDDING me?

I am a 31 year old woman with a graduate degree and years of parenting and child care experience. I have consulted with our pediatrician and countless other moms, and I have not been able to get this child to budge. But a cute blonde sits next to him and all of a sudden he's putty? Unbelievable.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Black Friday, AMEN style

I admit that I have a tendency to enjoy some things that other people loathe, like proofreading, for instance. One thing that I REALLY love to do is have a garage sale. Matt claims to hate them, but I never hear him complaining on the way to the bank afterwards. This weekend, I had a ginormous garage sale at my house. And as is par for the course for me, it was insane.

I decided a couple of months ago to invite all of my friends to throw in their stuff so that I could have some company and I could advertise a "multi-family" sale. I ended up with about 9 other people selling things, though I had the most by far. I spent all day Thursday getting ready, but we heard about the dire storm warnings for Friday morning and prepared not to open up until noon. To our surprise, the storms cleared out early and we started setting up at 8:30 Friday morning. My friend Betsy got there to help, and I sent Matt to put the signs up since I figured a few people might already be out shopping and maybe we'd get some early business.

I underestimated.

About 45 seconds after he put up the signs, we had--I am NOT exaggerating, you can ask Betsy or Matt-- 60 people in our driveway. I found out later that Matt spent half an hour directing traffic on our street from the gridlock the sale caused. I took money as fast as I could, and Betsy did her best to pull out the rest of the stuff without knocking anybody down. Soon our friend Erin got there and helped out too, but it was 10:30 before I could see the street through the crowd of people from where I stood in the garage. Two women almost got in a fight because one cut in line. Seriously?! You're buying a couple of potholders for 25 cents! Wait 10 seconds!

As people came through and talked with us, we discovered that most of them were drawn to the sale because they believed our road to be the entrance to a large subdivision that is near our house that was having its neighborhood sale the same weekend. What serendipity! We weren't able to close shop on Friday until almost 5:00. Saturday was more moderate though still steady, and by 4:00 all the unsold stuff was at Goodwill, and Matt and I had an empty garage and $450 more than we had before the sale (all together, the sale made about $1300!) We were exhausted but happy, and I now have a new respect for my husband's traffic management duties. And potholders.