Friday, December 17, 2010

A brief summary

Well, this is embarrassing.

I hate when I go a long time between blog posts. Really hate it. It's like a vicious cycle--the longer it's been since I've posted, the more pressure I feel to do a REALLY GOOD post, which makes me procrastinate, which just...well, you know. So I finally decided I just had to bite the bullet. It's been almost exactly a month since I posted. Here, briefly, is a summary of that month:

- My birthday
- Matt's birthday
- Went to Mississippi (10 hours each way, with all three kids and 14 tons of stuff) for Thanksgiving
- Aaron got his first ear infection
- Helped with Teacher Appreciation Week at Abby's school--doled out 1,600 cookies to teachers among other things
- Got socked with a nasty stomach bug, along with everyone in my family except for Abby. At the same time. Worst weekend of. My. LIFE.

But! Now it is almost Christmas. Everyone is more or less healthy, and our only travel over this holiday will be a quick trip to Little Rock. So I can breathe easy and get back to blogging!


Today is the last day of school for Abby and Ethan for two weeks.

Pray for me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Conversation Between Me and My Four Year Old Son On The Way Home From A Birthday Party Last Night

Me: Did you have fun at the party?

E: Yes. When are we going to go to the North Pole?

Me: Well, we can't go to the North Pole. Santa's getting ready for Christmas, and we would distract him.

E: We can help!

Me: Oh no, only elves can help Santa.

E: We can be elves!

Me: That would be cool, but God created us to be people, not elves.

E: He made people to be people and elves to be elves?

Me: Yep.

E: And puppies to be puppies and babies to be babies?

Me: Yep.

E: What about buildings?

Me: Well, God gave people the abilities to make buildings.

E: Which ones did you make?

Me: Er, none of them. I haven't made any buildings. Some people make buildings, not all people.

E: Who made Chuck E. Cheese's building?

Me: I don't know.

E: I want to build a building.

Me: Well, when you are a grown up you can.

E: Okay. When are we going to go bowling?

Me: I don't know--maybe sometime soon. That would be fun.

E: But it might be too loud.

Me: Nah, it's not too bad.

E: Okay. But I want to go to the moon.

Me: Do you now?

E: Except aliens might eat me.

Me: What makes you think aliens eat people?

E: Because before I was born when I lived in heaven I saw an alien hide in a bag and grab a person that we don't know and eat them.

Me: Oh my goodness.

E: So I don't want an alien to eat me.

Me: I certainly understand that.

E: Mom?

Me: Yes?

E: Can we not talk any more until we get home?

Me: That will be just fine, son. Just fine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

iPhone Photo Fun

I've slacked a little with the photo posts, but let's be honest. No one's surprised there.

My kids with a giant chicken. And? Doesn't this happen to your kids all the time? I mean, who DOESN'T have a picture of their kids hugging a chicken?

This is Ethan, in the middle of a furniture store, making himself at home. We were shopping for bunk beds and we let him bring his Leapster so he would have something to do besides climbing on stuff. It worked--he plopped right down in this lovely chair, dirty shoes and all, and played away. It nearly gave the salesman a heart attack.

I love my grandmother. We were cleaning out a closet in her guest room and found this hat. I plopped it on her head and took a picture, and she had the grace not to yell at me about it. I think she totally rocks the hat.

These are our good friends Jake, Amy and Chad after our church's rummage sale this summer. Chad is the one sticking out his tongue. Chad is our preacher. Our services, as you might imagine, are super serious.

This was the hallway we had to walk down to get to our room at the Bellagio in Las Vegas this spring. The hallways at Vegas hotels are all like this. Endless. Forget bribing the check-in person to give you a room with a good view--if you ever go to Vegas, ask for a room within a half mile of the elevators.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things about me that would probably not be true if I did not have a 4 year old son

1. I know that Hulk and Spiderman, while both on the same side, have significant tension and have fought each other.

2. I can tell when "I didn't do it" is true or false.

3. Straightening up the living room might involve picking up Buzz Lightyear, a dinosaur, 2 pair of Transformers underwear, 5 socks (never an even number) and a glue stick that is missing most of its glue.

4. I spend a lot of my time in public places apologizing for someone else--Sorry he bumped into you! Sorry that pen narrowly missed your head! Sorry my son thought your purse was a trash can! Sorry!

5. I say "excuse you" in response to another's burps more often than I have to say "excuse me" for my own.

6. I buy fruit snacks in bulk.

7. I can explain the landscapes on each level of Mario Brothers for Wii.

8. I know that no amount of logic, bribing, threatening, arguing, pleading, or ignoring will make a 4 year old eat something he doesn't want to eat.

9. I know that Aaron doesn't seem to mind having all of his toys piled on top of his face "so he can reach them really easy."

10. Before I fall asleep at night, when I am not worrying about my daughter's teenage years, I am worrying about what was done with that glue stick.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Things about me that would probably not be true if I did not have a 7 year old daughter

1. I know the difference between Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato.
2. I know how to determine if a stomachache is real or fake.
3. Straightening up the living room might involve picking up a Barbie, a glitter pen, several pair of Old Navy flip flops, a ponytail holder and 17 Silly Bandz.
4. I regularly participate in a play session of Beauty Shop that results in my hair being weighed down with about 28 hair bows, bobby pins barrettes and clippies.
5. I check more addition problems each week than I DID when I was in second grade.
6. I buy Capri Suns in bulk.
7. The most-played song in my car is Hey Soul Sister. We listen to it EVERY. Time. We get. In. The car.
8. I am elevated to hero status by securing McDonald's for dinner.
9. I struggle to explain why a pink shirt goes with brown pants, but a pink shirt does not go with pants that are a different shade of pink than the shirt.
10. I spend a fair amount of the time between when I lay down at night and the time I fall asleep panicking about the teenage years.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet relief

WOW, am I glad that's over.

I hate election season for about a million different reasons. I hate campaign ads. I hate my local news being dominated by campaign stories. I really, really hate recorded telephone calls from candidates. And I hate losing my normally regular, level headed friends to political frenzy.

I learned from an expert to be cynical about politics. When I took Intro to Poli Sci in college, it was one of my favorite classes. This had nothing to do, I assure you, with the fact that my teacher was one good looking dude. That was why I sat in the front row, but not why I liked the class. I liked it because I learned how government is really run, and how far that reality is from what most people think.

I know people who equate the results of this election with the rescue from certain death and despair, and people who think it is the beginning of the end. Here's the thing: it's neither. Now we have a split Congress full of people on the far right and the far left, and a president that many Americans would believe anything they got an email forward about. You know what's going to happen in our government in the next couple of years? Very, very little. I mean next to nothing. No one will be able to accomplish anything, so things will stay the way they are.

I know people will think I'm apathetic, that I don't care about our government, blah blah. Not true at ALL. I just think it's unnecessary to get worked up about results that, in the end, are not going to produce that many new results at all. It's not healthy! Everyone just calm down. It's not good for your blood pressure! Now don't anybody go getting all sassy on my comments and lecturing me on why I'm wrong. Start your own blog if you want to, but this is mine and I'm always right here.

When the presidential election ended 2 years ago, I wrote a similar post describing my distaste for politics. I also explored the possibility of running for office myself in couple of years. If you don't recall, here is the post. I still think this is a really feasible plan. If I decide to go for it, you'll all be at the top of my recorded phone call list.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taking back the night

There are people who, when they are woken up in the middle of the night by a storm or a wrong number or, say, a 5 month old baby, can go right back to sleep.

I am not one of those people.

In a cruel twist of fate, Aaron (who has incredibly slept through the night since he was less than a month old) began waking up once or twice every night about a month ago. He wasn't hungry, didn't seem to have any particular agenda--he just woke up. So I'd go get him, rock him, and within minutes he would be out again. Lucky duck. I would then go back to bed and lay awake for an hour or more, trying to get back to sleep and taking way too long to succeed. This has resulted in a very exhausting October for me.

This week it seemed to get worse, so we finally decided that perhaps the addition of solid foods to his diet was the source of the problem. We did some experimenting with his feeding schedule and tried a few other tricks, and the past two nights he's been his old, sleep 10 hours straight self. Thank. The. LORD. I am just praying that it's not a trick, and that we are really over this miserable phase. We can't afford to keep buying the amount of Diet Dr. Pepper I was requiring each day to function.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Whole Story Behind "Mary Had A Little Lamb" as Told By Ethan

One day Mary took her lamb to school. And the kids made fun of her. And they took her hook. And her hat. And so the next day she had a new hook and a new hat. And they took them again. And so the next day she had a new hook and a new hat and she put "X"'s on them so the kids wouldn't take them. But they did.

So the next day Mary took all of the kids' clothes. Except for one boy who tried to help her before but he couldn't because the other kids wouldn't let him. And she put the kids' clothes down the drain. And there was a baby shark that lived under the drain and he liked to eat clothes. So he ate all the kids' clothes. And Mary was happy and had dinner.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

iPhone Photo Fun

Okay, so it's technically been longer than a week since my last iPhone Photo Fun post. A smidge longer. A scootch. My bad. Hopefully my superior photography skills and saucy wit will compensate for what I lack in timeliness.

This was taken when I was pregnant (obviously, I hope). My aunt became obsessed with me texting her a picture of my expecting self, and I finally did it to get her off my back. This was the one I didn't send, because A) I was still prepping myself, and B) my husband is a goofball.

Blech. There was a period of some weeks in which Abby's smile resembled that of a hillbilly due to her numerous lost teeth. When I was a kid I had no qualms about pulling my own teeth, but for some reason now it grosses. me. OUT. I could barely even look at her when I took this picture.

This is Ethan and one of his BFFs, Aidan. They play soccer together, and they can be entertained for hours by being sent on "soccer missions" in our yard. For example, I'll tell them to kick their soccer balls to the tree, then pick them up and walk backwards to the bench, then sit on them for 10 seconds, then repeat. This was the sitting for 10 seconds part.

Blech again. We took the kids to Tulsa in August for our Daycation. We went to the Aquarium, and there was an albino turtle there. It both fascinated and repulsed me. Look at its creepy red eyes!

Awww. This one is definitely not blech. No big story here, just me smooching on my (at the time) itty bitty baby. The one that is now over 5 months old and working his way steadily to Butterball status.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where are your parents?!

Kids' television shows are weird.

I've written before about the annoying need for all kids' shows to teach something. More strange, though, is the bizarre characters and plots out there. For some reason, since they're wrapped up in a shiny package with catchy songs and flashy graphics we don't pay too much attention to this. I started thinking about it, though, and it's pretty disturbing. Let me show you what I mean. Here is a rundown of the basic plots of some of the more popular shows out there for children:

- Dora the Explorer: A young girl spends her days in the company of her best friend, a talking monkey. They use a magical backpack and map to go on adventures with no adult supervision. They encounter snakes, crocodiles, and fierce storms. Their foe is a weasel that steals from little children.

- Go Diego Go: Dora's cousin Diego also has an animal best friend--a jaguar. Super safe. He, his sister and the jaguar traipse around rescuing wild animals from precarious positions, including imminent destruction by predators.

- Wonder Pets: A baby duck, a turtle and a guinea pig escape from their cages in a classroom to fly around the world in a homemade boat/airplane in order to save animals and occasionally plants. These rescues are usually from more benign emergencies than Diego's--a dog that can't get outside to relieve himself, a plant that can't get water. About three quarters of the dialog is sung instead of spoken, though to no particular tune and certainly not following any rhyme or song pattern.

- Toot and Puddle: Let's take a minute and just examine the freakiness of the name alone on this one. Yeah. Toot and Puddle are two pigs of an undetermined age who enjoy traveling the world and absorbing the culture. And their names are Toot and Puddle.

- Blues Clues: A man in his 20s lives with a dog and a talking salt and pepper shaker, nightstand, mailbox, and various other talking household items. They don't really do much besides talk.

- Special Agent Oso: Oso is a panda bear that goes on missions to help children figure out how to do basic tasks. So, for example, a little girl will be in her back yard to water her flowers, and the bear will drop out of the sky and help her figure out how the watering can works. I'm a grown woman and that would freak me out, but apparently a 5 year old would think nothing of it.

There are plenty of others, but you get the picture. What in the world are these writers thinking? Well, I guess they're thinking that these plots are gold mines, because that's exactly what they are. Kids eat this stuff up like candy. It's fine with me, I guess, as long as Ethan doesn't start asking for a jaguar or talking to the salt shaker.

Friday, October 8, 2010

iPhone Photo Fun

Matt's in the middle of a camping trip with some of his buddies, so things are a little crazy around here, but I knew if I didn't get this post squeezed in my hoardes of fans would never forgive me. And without you 3, I'd be so sad!

This is the World's Largest Chocolate Fountain, found at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. It's behind glass, which is pretty smart, because if it wasn't I'm sure people would stick their heads right under there and drink. Not me, of course. I'd bring a cup. It's hard to tell the scope in this picture, but it's over 15 feet tall. It's running out of the ceiling. Three different kinds of chocolate. Hoo boy.

We went to see the Blue Man Group when they were at the Walton Arts Center in September. It was my 3rd time to see them, and I love them every single time. This is a picture I took during the show--we had pretty darn good seats. There was a brief moment of terror when they picked someone 5 seats down from us to go up on stage, but I breathed easy once it wasn't me.

This was the scene at The Harbor in July at our rummage sale. We had SO. MUCH. STUFF. It was great. I am one of those freaks that likes putting on one of these sales. Something about making money off of things you don't want any more is just so satisfying.

My eldest on the occasion of her 7th birthday. We checked her out of school long enough to take her to lunch. We told her we'd go anywhere she wanted. Of course, we went to McDonald's. As you can tell I had to coax her to pose for the camera.

The first remarkable thing about this photo is that it's the first one I ever took with my iPhone. The second remarkable thing about this photo is that it's of Ethan and he isn't doing anything destructive.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Silver Linings: The Gulf Oil Spill

I had the best of intentions to make this a weekly feature, but I think I'm going to have to reclassify it as a "regular" feature. The problem is that I'm having trouble coming up with very bad things to talk about lightly that won't upset or offend people. Hopefully this one does neither, but we'll see.


5. The ocean is so much more shiny now.

4. Free gas for everyone! (Well, everyone who has an apparatus to extract and purify oil from ocean water, and another apparatus to turn oil into gas.)

3. Exxon finally gets to hand off the "Oil Company Most Hated By Environmentalists" title to someone else. Congrats, BP!

2. Thousands of overworked fisherman finally have time to take a vacation.

1. We can rant about the irresponsibility of the oil spill when we hear the updates on news radio as we drive the half mile from our house to drop our children off at school in our SUV, right behind our next door neighbor who is dropping her children off at the same school.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Biker baby

Mom, it's my first Bikes, Blues and BBQ. Let's ROLL!

I mean, um, I love you Mommy! Can we please go to Bikes, Blues and BBQ?

No, you say? You might want to reconsider. It's unwise to mess with a biker baby.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

iPhone Photo Fun

Here we go!

Our kids are a little...obsessed with technology. They get it from their father. Abby got a Nintendo DSi for her birthday this year, and she and Ethan can be entertained for hours. This picture was taken at my grandmother's house. I like it because I can look at it and pretend they like each other, when in fact they just tolerate each other because there's only one DSi and they have to get that close to both see the screen.

Is there going to be a picture of my son behaving badly every week? Probably so. This is Ethan scrubbing white crayon off of our love seat. Let me tell you, removing crayon from microfiber is not my idea of fun. It's not his either.

Mmmm. This picture was taken this past Christmas when we visited my brother Jacob and his wife Patty in Mountain Home. We were joined by my brother Michael and his wife Siobhan. We stayed up after the kids went to bed one night and played spades. We had a fantastic time until things turned a little...dramatic. You can read more about that here. I've no doubt I'll be getting a smarmy comment from Michael on here any time.

We have a fantastic group of musicians at our church, The Harbor. One Sunday morning, they all came dressed like lumberjacks (granted, one is a very pretty lumberjack). Also, note the one-foot-forward pose that all boys performing music seem to make.

Ohhh, just looking at this picture makes me want to go wake him up and squish his cheeks. Well, almost. This is Aaron the day we brought him home from the hospital. He's wearing the same outfit that Ethan came home in. I can hardly stand looking at this he's so cute.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I feel the need, the need to read

I love to read.

I have always loved to read. When I was a kid, I read all, and I mean all, the time. I read when I ate. I read before I went to bed and after I went to bed. I read while I was watching television. I likely remain the only student in the history of Baker Elementary to get recess detention as a punishment for reading (apparently hiding my Babysitter's Club series #8 book, Boy Crazy Stacy, under my math book and reading while I was supposed to be working was not okay.)(Yes, I know I'm a freak for remembering what book it was that got me in trouble in the 6th grade. It was traumatic--I had never gotten detention before.). I read any time I rode anywhere in a car. The unfortunate result of that was that when I turned 16 and got my driver's license I had no idea how to get ANYWHERE because I never paid attention when I was a passenger. I got teased a lot for that.

I majored in English in college. I enjoyed it, though it annoyed me to have to tear apart a book to try to find what an author was "really" trying to say. I always wanted to meet one of these authors and have them tell me that they just thought it was a cool story, so they wrote it.

Few things in life delight me more than a really good book. That's why it is such a BUMMER that I have not read a really good book in a really long time. I can't even use the excuse that I don't have enough time--I could definitely squeeze some reading into my day, though it would cut into my Spider Solitaire time. The problem is that books are EXPENSIVE. Well, you say! Just go to the library, you silly girl! I do. I have. About a million times. The problem is, the library just throws all the fiction books into one giant section. At Barnes and Noble, I can go to their featured books table and instantly find 10 books I want to read. At the library, it takes me an hour to peer my way through one aisle, sifting through the Westerns and Romances to find the good stuff. Who has the time for that? And inevitably the book I want is in hardback, and I am way too clumsy to read hardbacks. So, most of the time I am without a book to read.

I don't mean to imply that I never read. I get People Magazine in my mailbox every Friday, and it is usually devoured before I go to bed that night. We also get Reader's Digest, and I make pretty quick work of it too. (Mock not--there's some good stuff in there, and the funny stories people send in are great.) (Okay, I just read that last sentence. Go ahead and mock.) Also the newspaper semi-regularly. And of course, there are the legions of books I read with the kids. Why, just last night we read:

Skippyjon Jones in Outer Spice
Hippos Go Berserk
The Care and Feeding of Rabbits (no, we don't have a rabbit and we aren't getting one. Ethan wanted to know why rabbits eat carrots, and his sister got him the book at the library. It did not answer his question.)

I have to fix this problem! I need grown up books to read. I think what I need to do is make a list of books I'd like to read and take it to the library--maybe if there are enough on the list I can find a few in paperback. I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Because it seems appropriate, here's a list of some of my favorite books:

Time Traveler's Wife (#1. If I could only read one book for the rest of my life, this would be it.)
Poisonwood Bible
Memoirs of a Geisha
Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Anything by John Irving; A Prayer for Owen Meany is genius
The Devil in the White City
The Handmaid's Tale
All 3 Stieg Larsson books
Anything by Edward Rutherfurd; New York is my favorite
The Harry Potter series
Velvet Elvis (I'm not usually a nonfiction fan, but this book changed the way I view my faith)

Okay! What am I missing out on? What do I need to read RIGHT NOW? And if you own it, can I borrow it?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

iPhone Fun and an announcement

Okay, this is going to be the second installment of my series, iPhone Fun, in which I display and describe random pictures I have taken with my phone. Before we get down to that business, though, I just have to say: WHOAH! Yesterday my blog got more than twice the visitors it has ever recieved on a single day. I have to think it's because of the millage post and the several kind people who linked to the post on Facebook. I haven't gotten any death threats yet, so I'm going to assume most people liked, or at least tolerated, the post. And hopefully they were so blown away by my witty style and mastery of the English language that they will become regular readers.

And so! I have decided to add a second regular feature to the blog. In order to help us all remember that it's never as bad as it seems, I am introducing the Silver Lining series. Each week I will provide 5 silver linings to what most people would consider an impossibly bad situation. Can you hardly wait??

Okay, now on to today's post. I give you, selected at random and certain to classify me as stranger than you even thought before, photos from my iPhone:

Like the good mom that I am, I forgot to bring my camera to Ethan's last soccer game this spring, and so my iPhone holds the only photo of him after he recieved his medal. He's awfully proud, which is funny considering that he mostly ran about 10 feet behind the other players and cried because they wouldn't let him have the ball.

Ahhh, Ethan again. A few weeks ago he played quietly in teh room he shares with Abby for about 20 minutes. Not sure why I let that happen. I guess he decided the stuffed animals needed to take a ride, so he climbed on top of their bunk beds and methodically propped each animal on a fan blade, rotating the fan to reach each blade. He never said a word about it, just came out after he was done and had a snack. Abby found it like this several hours later. Am I the only mother who has the need for a "no placing toys on the ceiling fan" rule?

Wild Hair Day at Abby's school. I was coming back from being out of town that morning. This was what her dad came up with, and what I saw when she came home from school that day.

This is torture. When Matt and I went to Vegas in February, there was a spectacular bakery in our hotel that we went to once or twice. A day.

Abby and Ethan singing and doing the motions to "One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater" on the way to our daycation in August.
Okay, that's it for today! You have to wait another week to see more oddball pictures. Don't worry, though--you won't have to wait more than a day or two for more oddball blogging.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

But hey, think about it this way...

I have a lot of friends who are VERY disappointed that the Springdale millage did not pass today. It's a bummer for sure, but I always try to look on the bright side. I wanted to do my part to cheer everyone up, so I present to you now:


5. Our kids will have so many more friends when they have 60 kids in their class.

4. Har Ber students will be able to swing by Sonic Happy Hour on their way to their off-site athletic practices.

3. Nostalgic Springdale High alumni can rest assured that their football stadium's bathrooms remain "original" and "authentic".

2. If the school district buys the right kind of trailers to use as overflow classrooms, they can just hook them up to big trucks at the end of the day and deliver kids to their houses--talk about saving on bus costs!

And the number one silver lining to the Springdale millage not passing:

1. Everyone has something to post about on Facebook!

I love you all, and I am impressed with your dedication. Apathy is for wussies.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Which are you?

Tomorrow our city votes on a proposed 2.4 mill increase to our property taxes. The bulk of the money will be used to build new (badly needed) middle and junior high schools, but a not insubstantial chunk will be used to build a new football stadium and other athletic facilities for our newer high school, and upgrade the football stadium of the older high school.

I am not going to use this blog to either support or criticize the proposal, partly because I don't want a bunch of drama, but mainly because I have mixed feelings about it. One the one hand, overcrowding in our schools is a continual problem, and I do not really want my kids in classes with 60 kids. On the other hand, I feel like we're getting a little played by the way they lumped in the frills with the needs. At any rate, I can certainly understand reasonable arguments on both sides.

The mill increase means property taxes would go up $4 per month for every $100,000 worth of property owned--doesn't seem exhorbitant. However, the way people are going on about it, you'd think we were being asked to take out second mortgages in order to avoid the total shutdown of the school system. I've listened to most of the dialogue with a fair amount of interest, though sometimes people use arguments that I find extraordinarily irritating. And talking about things that irritate me is much more what this blog is about!

Here are the arguments from each side that most make me want to bang my head against a wall:

1. Do NOT tell me I shouldn't vote for the millage because "we pay enough taxes already." That's like telling your 10 year old son that you aren't going to buy food for him anymore because you just bought his 16 year old sister a car and you're tired of spending so much on your kids. If you have reviewed the proposal and you don't believe the district needs the things the millage will pay for, fine. But to oppose a tax on the general premise that you just don't like being taxed is silly.

2. Do NOT tell me I should vote for the millage if I support education and my school district. This one really bugs me. I think a lot of people feel like they have to vote for any education millage because they don't want to be thought of as the jerk that doesn't want their city to have good schools. There's a lot of bullying going on in this department, and I don't like it one bit. Voters were presented with a complete package--one option to vote for. It IS possible to want more money spent on our district, but to oppose spending so much on athletic facilities, or to oppose the amount spent to build each school (our newer schools do look very mansion-ish), or to wonder out loud why other areas that it seems should be higher up on the priority list aren't. We don't get to vote on tweaking the budget, or approve part of the projects but not all of them. So to criticize someone for not immediately jumping on the millage bandwagon because the phrase "more money for schools" is used is just ridiculous.

So! According to these arguments, if I support the millage I'm a greedy tax loving hoarder, and if I oppose it I'm a freeloading unsupportive education hater. Peachy.

Well! It feels good to get that off my chest. This time next week, regardless of what happens, the millage won't be news any more. There will undoubtedly be some other controversial issue that will have everyone worked up into a lather. I can hardly wait.

Monday, September 13, 2010

iPhone Fun*

I am excited to announce a first in AMENMom blogging history--a regular feature! Keep your seats, folks. I am shamelessly copying this idea from a couple of other blogs I read. Once a week, or thereabouts, I will post 5 random photos that I have taken with my iPhone and explain them. I recently uploaded my iPhone photos to my computer for the first time, and trust me--there is plenty of photo fodder (how's that for some good alliteration??) to carry this feature for a while.

I have to admit, when I got my iPhone last fall I really didn't think I'd use it to take pictures all that much. Boy, was I wrong. The kids know there is a camera in my phone and they demand to have pictures taken all the time. Also, since my phone is with me pretty much 24/7 (Yes, it's a bit of an addiction. No, I don't see any problem with that) I can take pictures of really random things I see. And let me tell you, I see a lot of random in this life of mine.

I put all of the blogworthy photos into a folder on my computer, and I will pull 5 at random each week--I won't even look at them until they're on the blog. Should be an interesting mix each time. So, week one! Here we go!

Ooh, a good one right out of the gate. I got an app on my phone called QuadCamera that does photo strip-esque pictures. It takes them every fraction of a second. I feel fairly sure that if Matt had any idea this could someday end up on the Internet for all to see, he would have ensured its destruction long ago.

Ethan has a pair of pajamas that are WAY too big for him. For reasons I cannot comprehend, he loves to wear the pants, even though they are a foot and a half too long and the waist band is twice as big as his own waist. Here he is modeling the fact that they do fit, if worn a la Pee Wee Herman and when he sticks his chest out as far as possible to keep them from falling down.

There's a local park with a pond that is home to dozens of ducks and geese. It's the local "good parent" thing to do to take your kids to feed the ducks every once in a while. This picture deceivingly makes the process seem entertaining and quaint. In fact, it's terrifying. Those suckers are aggressive and MEAN. Especially the big white geese--they hiss at you! And bite! I am not ashamed to say they terrified me.

Oh, baby. In February Matt and I went to Vegas. He had a conference there, so all we had to pay for was my airline ticket. I was 6 months pregnant and this was our last chance to relax before we became a family of 5. Since Matt was gone to meetings most of the day, I spent a lot of time laying around, reading and eating. The first morning we were there, I allowed myself the luxury of ordering room service. Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite breakfasts of all time, and this one did not disappoint. It was like $38, but whatever. Today my breakfast was an Eggo waffle. It all evens out in the end.

Matt's parents brought the kids these accoutrements on New Year's Eve this past winter. They LOVED it. This is one of my favorite pictures of them.
*I considered titling this feature "iPhone Phun" to poke a little fun at so many people's tendency to misspell out of an attempt at cuteness--you know, "Kammie's Korner" and "Kwik Kash" and the such. In the end, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The yuckiest thing in my life

Warning: the topic of this post is gross. If you are squeamish, you'd be best off just moving on to the next blog on your list.

I normally don't write about gross things, but this particular thing is such a major part of my life right now that I figured it deserves a little respect, in the way that brilliant criminals deserve respect for their quick thinking and daring attitudes while also deserving to be tossed in prison. Oh, to be able to deal with this problem that easily.

The problem--plague, really--of which I speak is this: spit up.

Matt and I were alarmed when Abby, at a couple of weeks old, began spitting up substantial portions of her formula after every feeding. It got worse and worse. The pediatrician said she had reflux and prescribed Zantac to keep her from being in pain from all the spitting up, but nothing could stop the flow. She didn't grow out of it until she was almost a year old. Then we had Ethan, and he was just as bad. When I got pregnant with Aaron, we knew that in all likelihood he would follow suit.

He has not disappointed.

This time we were ready--as ready as you can be, anyway. We know the right bibs to buy (terry cloth is most absorbant), the best position to feed him in, and to never lay him down on any surface without first covering it. We bought dozens of cloth diapers, which make the best burp cloths ever, and they are placed strategically around the house. I never leave home with Aaron without a change of clothes, 3 bibs, and 4 cloth diapers in his bag. Friends are welcome to hold him, but they are first warned that they might need to change their clothes afterward.

Aaron actually has a pretty mild case of reflux compared to the other two. He spits up a LOT, but it doesn't have the, shall we say, velocity that the other two managed. And right now he's still just on formula so it's not too bad. Soon, though, he'll start baby food and that's when it gets really nasty. It's okay, though. I've done it twice, I can do it again. And it will end eventually.

On a less icky note, we saw Blue Man Group this weekend at the Walton Arts Center. It was fantastic. It was my 3rd time to see them. I'm a huge fan. The people who sit in the first 2 rows have to wear ponchos to protect their clothes from stray paint, Twinkie stuffing, and marshmallows (if you haven't seen the show, don't even try to understand). Before the show, I watched those people don their ponchos, looking nervous, and saw them flinch every time something went flying during the show. Amateurs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A good day

A year ago today, I woke up in a fabulous hotel room in the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. I had a wonderful day with Matt, exploring the Red Rock Canyon, wandering around downtown Vegas and eating a lot of really good food. We didn't know it yet, but I was in the very earliest stages of my third pregnancy--too early to feel any symptoms. We were celebrating our tenth anniversary.

I recalled this experience today, our eleventh anniversary, while sitting on my couch in my pajamas, feeding Aaron and watching a rerun of West Wing. Not quite the same kind of experience. Our day was not what you'd call carefree or romantic. I got to go to Wal Mart for groceries on a Saturday, at noon, on a holiday weekend, the day of the first Razorback home game, with an infant that cried every time I stopped the basket or moved out of his line of vision. Matt got to clean out the garage in search of the possum that somehow snuck in several days ago and has been using it for his bachelor pad ever since. (He found it.)

The funny thing is that I really don't mind that we didn't have a super-exciting day. We're going to see Blue Man Group at the Walton Arts Center tomorrow night (we saw them in Vegas on our second anniversary and they were GREAT) so we are celebrating--just not today. And anyway, the day seemed appropriate somehow. The thing I love about our marriage is that we are both so content with the normalcy of our lives. We aren't those people who must have excitement and drama at every turn. A great evening for us is one in which the kids go to bed early and we get takeout and watch a movie or play cards. And let's be honest, when we do go to Las Vegas, we don't exactly tear up the town. We're too old and too dorky for that. For heaven's sake, we went bowling the last time we were there.

I remember in the days leading up to our wedding, people continually asked me if I was nervous about getting married. I never quite knew how to answer. I was nervous about the wedding, sure--would I trip walking down the aisle? Would I get embarrassed by one of the MANY people in my family able to make that happen in any number of ways? But I was never in the least bit nervous about getting married to Matt. That was the easiest thing ever. Even then, when we were just 22 year old children, I knew how lucky I was. I knew that he would be a faithful husband, a great parent, and a loyal friend. In the last eleven years, he's nursed me through losing my tonsils and wisdom teeth, plus 3 c-sections. He's done more mopping and vacuuming than me, let me sleep late when the kids get up early on Saturdays, taken the trash to the curb every week (okay, MOST weeks), coached a girls' soccer team, and let me have slightly more than my fair share of the covers. He's one of the good guys. One of the best, really.

So sure, I'd have loved to have spent our anniversary on a great vacation somewhere exotic. It's not necessary, though. I love him just as much when we're sitting in our living room. Especially when I know there's no longer a possum lurking in the garage.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Maybe I should have asked about the curriculum

When kids start going to school, there must be some secret meeting where they're trained to reveal nothing about their day to their parents, no matter how much prodding they receive. What did you do today? Nothing. What did you learn? Don't remember. What did you have for lunch? I forgot.

It drives me batty. Abby's finally learning that it's easier to just give me a couple of nuggets of information than to suffer through my harrassment. Ethan is a wall of silence, though. He will stand by his insistence that his brain has completely deleted the contents of his day no matter what I do, or threaten to do.

Except for today. Today he threw me for a loop. We got in the car, and I asked him to tell me what he learned, not really expecting an answer--just doing my motherly duty. So imagine my surprise when the following conversation ensued:

Me: So Ethan! What did you learn today?

E: Tricks.

Me: Your teacher taught you tricks?

E: Yep.

Me: What kind of tricks?

E: Doing headstands.

Me: Headstands??

E: Yep. Headstands and clown juggling.

Me. Um.

E: Oh, and you know what else?

Me: Clown juggling?

E: Yes, mommy. Clown juggling. And you know what I learned about Friday?

Me; What?

E: That it's Tuesday.

Me: Ummm.You learned that Friday is Tuesday.

E: Yep. And do you know what ELSE I learned?

Me: I'm pretty sure I don't have any idea.

E: I can't tell you. My teacher said I can't tell my mom and dad the other thing that I learned.

Me: Well then.

I figure one of three things is going on here:

1) My son lives in a world of his own imagination a good portion of the time, and I took a little visit there today.

2) My son has gotten tired of me asking about his day, and decided to try to freak me out enough that I won't ask any more.

3) Pre-school is WAY different than when I went.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In my head

God must really get a kick out of me.

I have this apparently unbreakable habit of creating in my head perfect visions of how things will be. When I started staying home, I imagined a sparkling house, laundry always caught up, quality time reading and playing with the kids, and having time to volunteer regularly. I was sure the last two summers would be an organized montage of library events, summer excursions and water play. I'm pretty sure I don't have to paint the picture of how NOT any of those things my time has been.

Abby and Ethan are in school now. Ever since I knew we would be having Aaron in May, I've been imagining this time when both of the others would be gone all day and I would have hour upon hour home, alone, with my baby. I could clean house! I could play pattycake and organize the kids' clothes and clean out the pantry! I could take long walks pushing the stroller and meet the school bus every day and be holding the baby in one arm and dinner in the other each night!

See what I mean about God? He must think I'm hysterical.

So far, Ethan has missed 1 day of school for fever and Abby has come home early and then missed 2 days for a virus. Today, in theory, I will be alone with Aaron. I'm pretty sure that things will be a bit more survival mode than Martha mode, though. At least for a while. I'm not as concerned with getting the laundry done as I am getting to take a shower. Not as concerned with making dinner as I am with getting to eat lunch with both hands. Not as concerned with meeting the school bus as not being asleep on the couch when it gets here.

It's okay though! It's only August. I'm sure that by October Ill have found my stride and things will be great. By then I should be able to work on the kids' scrapbooks for at least half an hour each day.

Shhh. Do you hear somone laughing?

Saturday, August 21, 2010


A couple of weeks ago Matt took the day off of work so that we could take Abby and Ethan on a "daycation." (I made that up. Or at least I think I did--if you've ever heard someone else say it, please don't tell me.) We left Aaron with our friends Chad and Marla and their 3 girls and headed to Tulsa. We went to the Oklahoma Aquarium (surprisingly great for a water-themed destination in the middle of the landlocked heartland), Cheesecake Factory for lunch (worth the trip alone) and Kaliedoscope Children's Museum (no extra comment here, but the parentheses seemed necessary for consistency). I think my photos tell the story of the day best, so here we go:

You can feed stingrays at the aquarium. I have to admit, they freak me out a little after the Croc Hunter thing. Also, the food you give them it totally gross. A and E loved it though.

Proof that a shark could indeed eat both of my children whole, and that contrary to popular belief A and E do NOT have the biggest mouths on the planet. Note that I did not pose for comparison myself.

They fed some turtles too. Much less threatening animals, and the food was only carrots.

Warm fuzzies in the tropical room.

More warm fuzzies in my happy place, The Cheesecake Factory.

While perhaps totally irrelevant to the story, I want to record for posterity how ridiculously good my food looked. It tasted even better.

The best strawberry shortcake I have ever had. Yes, I was at the Cheesecake Factory and I did not get cheesecake. Back off.

The kids' museum was great. There was tons of stuff to do, but what our kids seemed to enjoy most was the little town they had with all these rooms where the kids could do grownup stuff. They had a post office, restaurant, grocery store, salon, doctor's office--you get the idea. This first picture is funny because I don't know that Ethan has ever seen anyone do this--he was just following my prompts.

This was Abby's process to diagnose my stomach pains.

Abby loved to play the busy grocery shopper. Here she's the doctor on her way home from work.

Ethan made an excellent checker. Matt's purchase cost "two hundred and fifty nine seventy fourteen."

Abby in her other favorite role, injured elderly citizen.

At the salon they had several mannequin heads for kids to work on. They were mostly fine, but one was downright creepy. I took its picture and someone must have noticed, because less than 5 minutes later an employee replaced it with a much more normal head.

The kids went ballistic when they found the jail. They marched us in, laughing maniacally the whole time. We tried to convince them to leave us there, but it didn't work.

We had a great day and were worn out when we got home. It wasn't the beach or Disneyworld, but it was more than sufficient.