Friday, December 31, 2010

All She Wrote...

2010 is on his way out.

It's New Year's Eve.

I won't try to sum up the past year in this post, but instead regale you with more and more stories about my kids! I have a lot going on in the soul these days, and hopefully, there will come a time to share. But for now...

Just yesterday my sister and I were discussing the inevitability of the public poop. I apologize for using the word "poop" here so freely, but after a certain point, it just loses its' power as a gross word. So, just a mere 12 hours later, I was standing in line at the post office (because have you ever been to the post office when there isn't a line??) and Drew *shouts* "Mom, I need to POOP right now." I wish I was the kind of person who always immediately said the right thing the first time around. You know the right thing like, "Ok, sweetie, let's finish up here and then we'll talk about it." Which I got to after I said, "SSSSSSSHHHHHHH!! Drew! You're just going to have to hold it. We live just a few minutes from here. You'll be fine." To which he said, "Mommy!" (through gritted teeth) "You just don't want me to go because you don't want to take me." What? No, I don't want to take you to yet ANOTHER disgusting public restroom where you will, without doubt, touch the toilet with your hands, your rear end and probably bend over to touch the floor. In a public restroom. Gag. me. Finally, I got to the nice way to handle it, diffusing the situation. After the whole lobby of the post office had a good laugh. I'm sure my neck was breaking out. (Have I mentioned the neck thing here? Yeah, anytime I am embarrassed or angry, my neck breaks out. It's awesome.)

We left the post office and headed next door to Staples. Which, was handy because I'm very familiar with their bathroom. We've been before. Every time we go. The moment was had and all I could do was try not to have a seizure over all the disgusting around us.

Did I mention all of this happened while my children were pajama clad??

This follows up a poop round at Target yesterday. We had been shopping for ALL OF 10 minutes when the poop announcement came. Not so shouty as today, but public nonetheless. What makes this situation all the worse is having to hold Emily in the restroom while Drew is doing his business. She wants nothing more than to unroll the toilet paper as fast as possible. So, it's a lot like holding a cat who definitely doesn't want to be held. Good times. As we walked in the restroom at Target, it quickly became apparent that someone else, of the adult persuasion, had felt the urge as well. And Drew says, "Shew!! It smells gross in here!" Neck.breaking.out. I mean really. I think the poor girl really tried to wait us out, but clearly she was not prepared for all the dawdling that goes along with being 4.

I'm sure there are many more public restroom visits to come. I'm thinking of inventing some antibacterial body lotion.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Ooh, ooh. Two new posts. Whatever is the world coming to??

Today I took the kids to Target just to get out of the house. I couldn't listen to the bickering-yes, between a 4 year old and his FOURTEEN month old sister-for another minute. I think the three of us were getting a little stir crazy. So, what else would I do to entertain us besides go to Target??? Plus, Drew had a "shopping card" that was burning a hole in his pocket. To be more exact, it was a burning a hole on the bookshelf, because no way am I letting him tote around a gift card in his pocket.

When we got to Target and started walking around, I almost started laughing out loud. It looked like some kind of war refugee scene. Every single person in there looked like they had been hit by a bus. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. Because, really, you should've seen me. And actually, I don't think any one of them would've argued the point with me. They were all too tired to care.

Moms out there know the feeling all too well. You should head over to Suburban Turmoil and read her post. All I can say is, Amen and Amen.

I know some people get a down in the dumps feeling the day after Christmas. Not me. It is one of my most favorite days in the year. This probably speaks to my melancholy outlook in general, but something about it feels so good. The decorations are still up, the treats are still around, it looks like a toy bomb went off in the house. But. But, there's nothing out there, waiting to be done. Nothing nagging the back of my mind. No programs to attend, no outfits to pick out, no menus to plan and no more midnight shopping trips at Wal-Mart. Praise the Lord, hallelujah.

I am always excited for the holiday season to roll around. And somehow, this year, everything got done even though I tried to let go of my inner holiday nazi. Amazing how that works. The kids had a blast and I tried to supply them with a little holiday magic. But as the dust has settled, I can feel my soul taking a big, deep breath.

So, to all you moms out there, "Merry quiet days following Christmas!"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Caped Crusader

Right around Halloween, we were invited to our second classmate birthday party. Clearly, this is my first year of classmate birthday parties, because I still think it's fun. I'm sure in a few years I'll be groaning and complaining about ALL the parties. In Drew's class, all the kids have birthdays within weeks of each other, so it's been a little heavy on the birthday fun. Ok. Back to the party we attended. It was a super hero party and Drew was ecstatic to wear his Batman outfit to the park for some fun. And then. AND THEN. Spiderman showed up to the party.

I had no idea this was going to happen, and I will never, never forget the look on Drew's face when he realized what was happening. I wish I could explain it to you. Astonishment, delight. FREAKING OUT. And this guy who was playing Spiderman-he was awesome. I have never met a character more dedicated to his craft! Ha!

And so, that was all she wrote. Out the window went my plans to have a party off-site with someone else doing all the work. Because, when he looked up at me with that face and said, "Mommy, can a superhero come to my party?" well, I was all done in. I don't know if it's just me or if it's all moms, but there is something about watching his biggest wishes come true.

I set to work. The first order of business was to ask the mom of the Spiderman party if she would be beyond annoyed if I totally ripped off her idea. She laughed and said, "No way. Because I totally ripped the idea off from someone else." And so it goes in the land of moms, I guess. Next, I was nervous because it was only a month away? Would Batman be able to make it?? I contacted the company and dealt with THE NICEST MAN EVER and was assured that this same guy did Batman and was available! Katy and I worked on our cupcake vision and she labored over the fondant for me. We made signs and scrambled around. I worked myself into a completely unnecessary lather, as usual. And it was all totally worth it.


My little Batman

Spiderman arrives!

The Dark Knight!!!

Batman's tricks

By the way, photo credits ALL go to Katy. I've dubbed her my own personal photographer-among other things-because she takes great pictures (and actually remembers to take them...) For example. Check out this next picture. Do you see Drew's face?? And his little friend looking at him knowing he must be ecstatic...Classic.

Drew and Weston with cupcake mouths

The group shot

The boy and his hero. Be still my heart...

Monday, December 6, 2010

What the?


It's been a sweet forever since I've posted anything on here. And it would appear that my background has gone away. Freakin' technology.

Life has And that's really all I have to say about that. So, I haven't been blogging but thought I'd pop in and let you know we're all still breathing.

My kids continue to be utterly hilarious and I really need to try to check in and get some stories on here. Emily is a full blown walker now and she thinks she is the sass. We watch "The Goodnight Show" every night in that last (painful) hour before bed and we are treated to the Pillow Pet commercial at least 6 times each night. She goes beserk each time and last week her Daddy brought her home a lady bug Pillow Pet and she WIGGED out. Her personality is so big and so funny. And, yes, I'm a tad biased. she is talking up a storm and pretty much repeats anything you say. You should hear her say "Bye". She's more southern than anyone I know, dragging out that "Bye" into around 27 syllables. "Byyyyyyyeeeeeeeee" And now she'll tell me "Byyyyyyyyyyyye" and walk out of the room and crack up. She also thinks it's a real hoot to do things she's not supposed to and say, "Nooo nooo". Hilarious until she's turned off the TV for the 10th time and Drew is apoplectic.

Speaking of Drew. That kid kills on a regular basis. Saturday we had his birthday party and THE REAL BATMAN came. Pictures are coming soon. They are awesome.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Her Highness

My oh my.

Emily's back in a funk. And I don't mean she's glued to the couch in some sweat pants eating out of the ice cream carton. Emily in a funk equals "I'm not happy and everyone should know it!" No idea what's up, although I suspect teeth. Because what else when there's no obvious answer?? I would actually be THRILLED if she would grow her two front teeth because she currently has the two outer ones on top, but not the middles. While the vampire look was super for Halloween, it pretty much creeps me out.

She has lots of words and has no problem speaking her mind. Well, I say lots of words. Lots compared to Drew who at this age had approximately zero. The new ones are : down, up (sort of), thank you, shoes, bear, baby, and Drew. Most of the time she says Drew in regards to his juice. "Dew's oosh" is my best phonetic approximation. What it really means is, "I'm about to swipe Drew's juice."

She wants to be held ALL.THE.TIME. Today I bought a crazy fancy baby carrier that allows me to carry her on my hip or on my back. It cost a ridiculous amount of money. But I needed something today. And let me just say that I folded laundry and did the dishes with her on my hip. She was happy and work was getting done. Pretty much worth the insane price right there.

I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that she has mastered the art of the temper tantrum. Isn't she still a baby? Surely a baby would not throw a fit. And yet, the fits are being thrown. Every time it happens it seems weird to me. I don't know why I'm having a hard time grasping the fact that she knows what she wants. But I am. And what she wants right now is golden Oreos. You may not know this about Big Dan, but he goes though what I like to call "food phases". He will eat the same thing for many, many days in a row. And then, he won't eat it again for a long time. Or ever again. Anyway, he's currently in a golden Oreo phase and Emily has been slipped a cookie or two and now she knows the goodness. She threw a full blown screaming, thrashing her arms around fit because she couldn't have a THIRD cookie. Yes, my 13 month old had two golden Oreos. Not even discussing the nutritional issues here, let's discuss the fact that stuff like this hurts her belly. Usually in the dead middle of the night. So. NO THIRD COOKIE. Drama ensues.

I have resorted to trickery and lying. I refer to her milk as "juice" and today I handed her an organic fruit bar and called it a "cookie".

It's a good thing she's cute. What, with her Lyle Lovett hair and her daddy dimple. And her belly laughs. And her surprise face. Oh what the heck...what's one more cookie???

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Fun 2010

Now that all of my school hubbub is over, it's time to get back to business. The business of gratuitous pictures of my bebes!!

You might not know this about me, but I'm sort of a maniac about making memories. Because of this, I have been known to over plan a few weekends here and there. Just a few. Ahem. So, back a few weeks ago, you remember that we had two birthday parties in one weekend. My sister from Knoxville was coming to town along with all the grandparents. So...I had the bright idea to take a visit to a pumpkin patch. All together. The weekend of two birthday parties. I don't know where these ideas come from. I suppose from the part of me that says, "Just cram in one more thing. It'll TOTALLY be worth it." Thankfully, on this particular weekend, the sisters saw some reason . Maybe all of us traipsing to the pumpkin patch wasn't a great idea. Probably right.


I left Emily in the capable hands of Big Dan, twisted Grammy's arm a tad and took my first born to the pumpkin patch. He had the undivided attention of two adults who think he hung the moon, and a few hours to call the shots. He needed it. I needed it. It was the most fun I've had all fall!

Gentry's Farm-my all time favorite Fall destination

Playing in the corn bin. With his best corny grin. (Sorry. Couldn't resist...)

Drew and his Grammy

I've been trying to come up with a way to rig one of these in the backyard. It just screams "wholesome".

This is Drew at the entrance to the corn maze. The kiddie version, that is. I think this was his favorite part of the morning-telling Grammy and I which way to go!

I LOVE spending one on one time with my kids. There are surely days when I feel like myself and my love just can't stretch far enough. I might be a slightly crazy memory making maniac, but I'm ok with that. Every single day matters. You can't do it over and you might not get another. I plan to blow it out every chance I get!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not the Chosen One

Hallelujah and Amen. I did not get picked. REPEAT. I did not get picked.

Our ECERS evaluation was yesterday and we all survived. I had pumped myself up. Told myself I could totally handle it. BRING.IT ON. And then, when I found out I wasn't chosen, I wanted to weep like a child! All day long I caught myself thinking, "Don't forget you need 45 minutes of free play during this block." OH WAIT! No I don't! I can even have snack early. *GASP*.

The two ladies chosen were both veterans and one has been evaluated two times before. Her own personal life is super hard right now and she pretty much could have cared less what they said! We were at recess with them (and the evaluator) and I was a nervous wreck just for that. And naturally two of my boys had a head-on collision resulting in one howling like his leg was on fire. It was fairly humorous to see the cavalry of support staff who came running for the one injured child!

But now it's over. Let freedom ring. I told the director not to be surprised when I was doing all sorts of crazy, zany, non-ECERS approved activities with my kids. She said, "Go for it!" It's one of the reasons I love her. So, bring on the cardboard tube binoculars and the sound effects CD, because we're going exploring in the forest tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm plum tuckered out. In the midst of all the manic preparation, my daughter got roseola and went on a milk strike. From her sippy cup. And insisted on shouting, "Ba-ba, ba-ba, ba-ba" all the live long day. I thought I would be excited about having an early talker. Considering her two most used words are "nak" (snack) and "oosh" (juice) and she screams like a witch whenever she can't have either, I think I might prefer Drew's made-up sign language.

Annnnnd, my washing machine broke again. I will not be repairing it for the third time, and the new one arrives tomorrow evening between 4 and 6. And then I'll be doing laundry non-stop until Christmas because Drew's pull-up leaked twice this week all over his bedsheets. Naturally. Emergency load being done at Katy's tonight. Undergarments are in short supply. Just trying to be transparent. We're headed there because Drew left Ribbit there yesterday afternoon. Tough lesson in personal responsibility.

The good times just keep.on.rollin'! Dare I even wish for an uneventful week? What if I beg??

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When My Hippie Tendencies Leak Out

I am, by nature, a gigantic rule follower. At times, (Big Dan would argue most times) I have a slight problem thinking outside the box. I do not like to get in trouble or anything that has the smell of trouble around it. I am not, nor have I ever been, what you would call "rebellious".


There have been a few times in my life when that little genetic streak of anti-establishment, down with man spirit comes leaking out. And it usually has to do with rules that I deem ridiculous. Or standards that are overly stringent or otherwise preposterous.

One of the times the little rebel was awakened inside was at a camp where I'm pretty sure my director was on some sort of weird power trip. Or drugs. Or both. Anyway, my usual rule following self was pushed aside by Little Miss Activist. If I could've gotten away with carrying a picket sign that said, "Down with the Man", I totally would have.

This has come up at other weird times. Like with an over-bearing resident assistant. Or a nutty lawyer who most definitely wasn't putting the needs of the kids I was advocating for ahead of her own.

And now. I'm thisclose to storming the gates of "the state" and grabbing a hold of the throat of whoever decided this environmental rating scale was worth two hoots in determining a good preschool, and not letting go until they scream "Uncle!". Because seriously??? IT.IS.RIDICULOUS. I'm saying to you right now: if your child is in preschool in Tennessee, in a three-star program, run, don't walk, to hug your child's teacher. Hug him/her tight. Because it means he/she's been put through the dadgum wringer on all manner of arbitrary issues.

Let me say this. I get the SPIRIT of the thing, I do. I recognize that there are children across the state who need to be protected by standards. BUT. When a preschool teacher of 21 years is in a giant tizzy over this evaluation (a lady I work with) then something is terribly wrong.

I mean, if you know me, you know I'm all about multicultural. I've been privileged to travel all over the world and have friends from all over the world. But right now, I feel like the affirmative action of preschool teachers-White kid in a poster? Not putting that one up. Bring me your obviously ethnic, your special needs, these are the ones I MUST post en masse.

And don't even get me started about the "free art" vs. "teacher directed art". Best I can tell, I'm just supposed to let my kids run amok all day. This "freedom" will clearly help them learn and grow. Don't dare have a theme. Why, it's a profanity. You shouldn't teach about any certain subject. Heaven forbid you quench the creative genius of your three year olds.

And do not, under any circumstances, forget to pass out napkins at snack time.

So. For the next week I scramble around like a mad woman trying to make my room look free and open-minded. And reminding parents what they are mandated to pack in their child's lunch. By "the state". I try not to a) have a nervous breakdown or b) get the school shut down, or c) call in sick-for the rest of the year.

Next Wednesday is the big day. I have a 2 in 5 chance of having my name pulled out of the literal hat to be evaluated ALL DAY. I can promise you if I am chosen there will be no way I'll be able to not smirk at the evaluator. It's what happens when my hateful self shows up. I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

School Marm

Hmm. Well, needless to say, I'm not finding a whole ton of time to blog these days. What, with my new career and all. Can I just tell you that I have gone seriously soft in the last 5 years? Working three days a week-well, I might as well be working 80 hours. I'm so far under the pile I'm thinking of calling up Chile to see if I could borrow that tube extractor just to come up for air.

Dramatic much?

People ask me all the time if I like working. Look, in a vacuum, the answer would be an unequivocal YES. I really like teaching and I really like teaching 3 year olds. I like the fact that they are such amazing learners. Can I brag on them for a minute? Because 6 out of 8 of my kids can name all of the fruits of the Spirit. Sure can. I make them do it all the time because it's so stinkin' cute. I like the fact that they think everything I do is genius and the most fun ever. I have amazing kids and they have amazing parents.

That said, I'm not really loving the trying to exist in two different ways part of it all. I know it's the working mom's cliche, but I feel like I'm not doing great at anything. The good news is, I have grown-up in this area quite a bit since my last job. My blood pressure doesn't get up about issues at school. I don't lose sleep or have nightmares about meetings with parents, even when it involves telling them that their child had a gigantic meltdown in the bathroom and refused to pull up his pants. You know, in case something like that ever came up. I'm not all twisted in a knot about my performance as a teacher. It's nice. I feel like I battle all the same things I always have in life, so it's nice to have a little God-given growth. My mom-self could learn a lot from my teacher-self. My mom-self still has trouble forgiving herself when she loses her cool. Again. My mom-self has nightmares about losing her kids or ruining them or missing out on _____________. My mom-self loses sleep over her choices and how they are effecting her family. Mom-self needs a swift kick in the rear from teacher-self.

So. I'm working on it. Letting myself off the hook as a mom is the hardest thing I've ever tried. Because, let's be real. The stakes are high. But, one of our teaching pastors said several weeks ago-"God's going to do what God's going to do." This seems like a no-brainer, but what this means is that I cannot single-handedly derail God's plan for the lives of my children. He is going to do what He is going to do.

Today I'm juggling preparing for this big beast of an evaluation we have coming up at school in a couple of weeks with snuggling and loving on two sick kids. I can PROMISE you I'd much rather sit on the couch all day and snuggle. However, the Little Monkeys need a nature sculpture, stat. Emily's asleep and Drew and I are headed out for a backyard adventure, collecting nature items. And then I'll fold the laundry.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ain't No Party Like a Birthday Party

Last weekend was nothing less than an explosion of birthday party madness. Don't worry-it wasn't all for Emily. Lyla had her party last weekend, too.

Saturday, Lyla hosted a big crowd of costume-clad youngsters at one of our favorite haunts-Dragon Park. Aunt Katy COMPLETELY outdid herself with the party. We're talking varieties of cake pops (and if you don't know what these are, you are missing out on one of the world's most perfect desserts...), spider web cupcakes, brain cupcakes, pink and black halloween themed cookies, eyeball gum, mummy parts candy, fancy white chocolate coated pretzels. I mean, Martha Stewart was jealous. Really jealous. The kids had a great time. It was a little toasty, especially when you consider that Drew was decked out in head-to-toe Batman attire, complete with built in muscles. But, he was dedicated. He dripped sweat, but he would not take off one stitch of his costume. And, as always I managed to take around 6 pictures. Maybe.

Here, the cousins have a little pre-party appetizer. I wish you could have witnessed first hand them chowing on these cake pops. Classic.

And here is Emily in her costume. I DIE.

I really have to talk myself out of putting her in this outfit everyday.

Emily enjoyed the party. She spent most of her time hanging out at the beverage station. Along with all the other babies. Apparently ice is the in thing if you're one.

On Sunday we had a little birthday brunch for Emily. Since some of my family lives out of town, we decided not to make them come to Nashvegas twice in one month, so we crammed it all in one weekend. Emily had a great time at her party. Girl really knows how to work the room. I'm pretty sure every single person at the party held her at some point. I barely saw her at all.

The highlight of the party was Emily and her cake. She loves some cake. I, because I'm brilliant, made her smash cake with black icing. I'm slightly obsessive about a theme and once I got in my mind that I wanted Minnie Mouse ears for her cake, I could not talk myself out of it. So, I took her shirt off, put a bib on her and let her go for it. Again, classic.

We've spent the week in party recovery mode. Ok. Maybe it's just me. I just can't party like I once could. Can't believe Emmy's a year old and really can't believe Lyla is four. It can only mean one thing. My baby boy is about to be four also. I've got to find a way to stop time. Pronto.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy, Happy, Birthday

Even though we are having a real live birthday party for Emily this weekend, I just could not let the day pass without celebrating a little. I'm just going to go ahead and put it out there that it was totally for my benefit. She was completely confused about what was happening and besides really liking some cake, could have cared less. However, some day, she will see pictures of herself on her real 1st birthday and think, "Oh, I have the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful mom ever." Or something like that...

I whipped up some dairy free cake and we lit a candle and we sang to her. She had a smile on her face, but it was sort of that smile people get when they are shocked, and know they should be happy, but are a little afraid. Manic smile, sort of! I put our family birthday hat on her. Not impressed. Drew blew out her candle-he almost knocked me over going for it when I told him he could. I got her two little presents. And, because I have no shame, I'll admit to you that they both came from the dollar bin at Target! I got her a Sesame Street book because she is obsessed with another one we have. She loved it. And I got her an Elmo figurine. Because, again, she 's obsessed. I probably should've planned to have an Elmo party for her. But she didn't love Elmo approximately 6 months ago when I started planning her party!! I love parties. A lot.

Oh, she was initiated into the Hamilton girl batter licking club. I have no doubt that my mom and my sisters and I really have no need to ever bake anything. We are totally fine with any and all batter. And you can be sure that if you are making any sort of baked goods at a family event, somebody's fingers are going to be in your bowl! She did me proud. Loved.every.minute. Here she is licking her spoon:

I don't know if it's purely psychological or what, but I feel like she is all of a sudden so big. She just seems different to me. Like a bunch of light bulbs came on all at once. It is beyond fun. I'm going to list some more words she has been saying. Not because I'm a big egomaniac about it, but because I want to be able to look back and remember. Somewhere I have a notebook chronicling all of Drew's words. Key word being "somewhere"...

[And let me just pause to say that a few lines up I typed "want" as "wan't". Sweet mercy. I'm going to need to proofread this like 87 times. Which I probably won't, so let me just give a blanket apology-sorry.]

Today she said "ball" (and this one she said unprompted when I handed her a ball); "night-night", she is trying to say, "Drew Drew"; "please" and "puppy"-which sounds suspiciously like "cookies" but she says it every time she sees a dog. I think Van taught her that one. It's his favorite word!

Big party fun coming up this weekend! All the family converges on Nashville to celebrate the only two girl grandchildren. I hope I will take more than six pictures. And I also hope it won't take me 6 months to post them. I aim high. Just sayin'.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

1 YEAR!!!

Emmy!! Today is your birthday! This time one year ago, we were welcoming you into our lives. I have such good memories of our first minutes together. My pesky blood pressure would not come down, but you were perfect, so we got to lay on the bed together in the dark and quiet. I will never, ever forget the time we got to spend together, just the two of us.

Emily, at one year:

*You are back to your happy, cheerful self. We finally discovered FOUR teeth are getting ready to pop through on the top. This would explain why you were not feeling your best for a while. I am so happy to see you back to being hilarious.

*Your "daddy dimple" is even more pronounced. You have one dimple, just like Big Dan, and I cannot get enough of it. I've seen it a lot lately, because you have been smiling and laughing all the time!

*You are walking between things more and more. If you think anyone is paying attention you will immediately drop to the ground and crawl! When Daddy and I try to put you between us to walk, you just won't do it anymore! I think you are a little shy!!

*Aunt Katy taught you to hold your own bottle! You still prefer for me to hold it when I am feeding you, but a few times we have been out at bottle time and you laid in your stroller and drank your bottle. This is a fantastic development. Although, we are probably not far from bidding a fond farewell to the old bottles...

*You can drink from your straw sippy cups like a champ. You would drink juice all day long if I would let you. We have to keep our eyes on you because you will swipe any and all drinks in your path.

*Just in the last few days you have started really trying to say some new words. Friday night on the way home from Aunt Katy's we stopped at the toy store. From the toy store to our house you said, "Bye-bye" the whole way home! You can also say, "cookie" as in Cookie Monster. I'm sure it won't be long until you are asking for an actual cookie!! You also say ba-ba (for bottle), mama, and dada. And "juice" - you have that one down pat! You are trying to say just about anything I prompt you to say.

*You have fully transitioned to a regular, big girl paci!! Somehow you just decided you were fine with it. You switch back and forth between any and all pacis. I'm planning to stealthily remove all remaining soothies.

*You LOVE to look at books. A lot. You haven't quite figured out how to crawl while holding a book and it is ticking you off! I keep trying to tell you that walking would solve this problem. =) You love to sit in my lap and look at books-particularly ones with Elmo in them. You can, at times, get a little aggressive in your page turning. Clearly, I don't read quickly enough for you!

Emily, you literally learn something new every single day. I am amazed at the things you know how to do. When I think back to your early days, I never would have guessed how joyful you would be! I am praying for you, sweet one, that you will always know how much your Daddy and I love you. I am praying you always know how God feels about you-He delights in you, thinks you are beautiful, and loves you more than you can imagine.

Happy Birthday, love!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I have visions of ER trips dancing in my head.

And, I'll have you know, that approximately 12 hours after I posted the 11 month update bemoaning the paci scenario, she up and adopted one of the impostors!!!!!!! (Which I realize I spelled wrong on the last post. Guh. Let me take this moment for a friendly public service announcement regarding my blog: I am aware that a) I have very bad grammar including the constant misuse of the comma b) I use the word "that" too much. I just can't stop myself... c) I use too many exclamation points. What can I say? It's all VERY exciting!! and d) despite my complete pet peeve for poor spelling, I, from time to time, misspell words. Thank you.)

So, I've decided to post about anything that needs changing, declare it will never change and maybe casually mention it to Emily. Then she will be sure to change it. It's what they call "reverse psychology", kids. I'm a parenting genius.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I'm so hoping I will have lots of these posts as the year goes on. Today I got TWO hilarious comments.

First, in music class, a little girl grabbed a little boy's arm and he said, "Ouch! It's time for your mommy to cut your fingernails!"


Then, on the playground some of the boys were chasing some of the girls. One kid in particular kept talking about killing. So, the teachers were trying to explain that "killing" isn't really a nice game to play. One of the little girls looked at me and said, "But we can play killing quietly, right??"

Sure kid. Because the loud part is really what's concerning...

Monday, September 20, 2010

11 months!!

I figured since it is almost time for Emily's FIRST BIRTHDAY, I'd better go ahead and sneak in the 11 month update!

Emily, at 11 months you are one busy girl!!

*You are a crawling machine. You crawl fast and with a purpose these days and usually that purpose involves some sort of trouble! Case in point:

Your scariest trick is climbing the stairs of death in complete stealth mode. There have been MANY times that I had no idea you were even on the steps until you were already at the top!! I'm thinking of installing some barbed wire. Or, you know, a baby gate!

*You took your first steps a few weeks ago. You are getting more bold about cruising around and your balance is getting a little better. You still have Bambi legs just a little bit (the deer not a redneck woman) and you are still nervous to really take off, but I'm betting it won't be long!

*You are starting to share your opinions and they are quite strong. Sometimes you cause Drew and I to want to jump out of the car with all of your screaming. Drew often says to you, "Emily. Please. Can you just BE QUIET????"

*Speaking of Drew, he still takes really good care of you and is very good to you, but you are sort of making it hard on him. Talk about a space invader!! Anything he has, you want. And you'll screech about it until you get your way. I'll give you a little tip-this is not winning you any friends!! You also LOVE to pull his hair. A lot. Also, not so much with the winning friends! Still, though, you guys are tight. He loves you little girl, and to be sure you think he is pretty swell, too.

*Your tummy continues to be tender. Milk or any milk products are still a complete no-go. Also, a lot of times when you have any new food it will upset your stomach. You would really prefer that I ignore all of this and let you have whatever you want. Anything we are eating, you want to try. Sometimes I will let you, and you are a great eater!! I wish I could let you try some of everything. The good news is, you have not had a puking episode since JUNE!! I know we are on the way to stomach freedom!

*You continue to sport only two teeth. No other teeth seem to be in any hurry to arrive. Your brother was the same way! You are very proficient with your gums however!

*Try as I might, I cannot get you to give up your newborn soothie pacis. I've tried around 6 different varieties and this last time it was in an effort to stop all the losing of the pacis. Because those soothies??? They might as well be super balls. Once they hit the ground not only do they bounce, but they roll. This has become more troubling since you became mobile. None of this bothers you though. When I try to sneak another paci in your mouth, you swat it away in disgust. It's like you're saying, "Away from me you paci imposter!"

*Your favorite activity is playing on the couch. Anytime you are grumpy or just don't feel like doing anything, I can plop you up on the couch and you'll be laughing in mere seconds. I'm really looking forward to the day you are able to get off the couch on your own. As Daddy pointed out you can, technically, get off the couch on your own now. I would just prefer it didn't involve skull cracking.

*You love to look at books and you are very into pointing at things in the books. Specifically, we have an Elmo book and you love to point to Elmo on each page.

*You have around 2 words. First, "Buzz". You call any and all action figures "Buzz". You also know exactly what to do with them-fly them around! It's pretty hilarious to watch you. You also say, "Poop" regularly. Any time I mention changing you, you say "poop" and pull on your shirt to indicate being changed. Although having "poop" as one of your first words is not exactly warm and fuzzy, I am happy you are starting to try to communicate with something other than shrieking!

*You are doing so great staying with Aunt Katy. You love her, maybe more than you love me, and you are taking great naps at her house. This makes us both very happy!

*You should be all the way into 12 month clothes, but I am too cheap to buy you any more summer clothes. Ha! I keep thinking cooler weather is right around the corner and so you get to keep wearing your 9 month summer clothes. Luckily, mini skirts and daisy dukes are not offensive on a baby!

Emily, I am having the most fun with you. Even though you are starting to demand a little more, you are also showing more of your hilarious personality. You LOVE to laugh and you give the best hugs. I love the times in the evening when we can snuggle. I can't believe you are almost a year old! It's been a nutty year, but you have been THE BEST. We love you, Em!!! To infinity and beyond!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Woo-wee. It's been over a week since I've been here. And today, for some reason, I had the strongest compulsion to come on here and say, "I'm not dead!!" Because I know you have all been wondering.

I continue to get my tail-end kicked by all this working and having small children and a home thing. I think it's kind of like working out. When you haven't done it in a while those first few "day after" moments are fairly horrible. This week is just simply nut bar. And nut bar is a phrase from somewhere in my past that I can't quite place...(Perhaps a Greg Pinkner?? Just not sure...)

But, coming soon-Emily's 11 month update. It'll be quite lengthy, so you might want to plan to get a sitter so you can really hunker down and read it. I just want to give you the heads up on things like this. I'll also update you on my class, which will be worth reading about, too.

In the meantime, the RAGWEED, my word! (When I first typed that I typed "rageweed". SO TRUE) And Drew. Last night I heard on the news that ragweed is at a record high. Which is super awesome considering allergies make my son something akin to a mix between the tasmanian devil and Chucky. And, in even better news, it won't die down until the FIRST FROST. I'm sure that's right around the corner since it continues to be 90 degrees every afternoon. I'm barely getting by since I can only take 1/2 a Zyrtec-otherwise I might as well be on Valium. Which, really, is a nice thought, but doesn't do much for all the functioning I have to do in a day.

It's 9 p.m. I'm on the verge of falling asleep as I type. And I had two cups of coffee at 6:00 p.m. I am a sight to behold.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Mac-gical Weekend

I hope ya'll have enjoyed your Labor Day holiday! Labor Day weekend is one of my faves, you know. It's not really my affinity for the labor movement, but rather what the day communicates-Fall is coming!! And this past weekend did not disappoint.

Kristin, the kids, and Grammy came down for a visit. It had been way too long since we had seen each other and we were all starting to get the twitches. This is what happens when we get family withdrawals. I didn't even know how much I was missing them until they were here and I was experiencing some serious euphoria!! The weather was picture perfect and we got outside with the kids. We introduced Aunt Kristin to Edwin Warner's nature playground. The kids had a blast getting covered from head to toe in mud. I warned her they'd get dirty. Thank goodness! There was one family there who had clearly not been before. The little girl had a matchy outfit on more suited for shopping at the mall. Rookie mistake. Been there. Remember when I took Lyla and she was wearing a white dress and bloomers??

Saturday night it was time for some ROCKY TOP, baby!! We ordered up the game (which we should have skipped. We ended up turning it down and finding the Bob Kessling broadcast from Knoxville...almost as good as John Ward...almost...) You have never seen grown women more excited about a football game kick-off. We insisted the kids sit and watch as the Vols ran through the Power T. They were annoyed, but the burden of Vol spirit transference rests on our shoulders! Yes, it's a slight sickness. You're just jealous!

Did I mention the weather?? I could feel that little twinge of Fall in the air and it was making me giddy. Combined with my Paula Deen Mystery Pecan Pie candle it was like the weekend could not get any better. And then it did.

I am typing to you RIGHT NOW on a brand new-to-me Macbook brought to you by the mac-gical genius of Uncle Jon. I am forever in debted to the Kelleys. An indentured servant if you will, because they have saved my cheese repeatedly over the last month. Uncle Jon coming through with the computer, well, I teared up and swore to hug him the next time I saw him. Which means he'll probably steer clear until the emotion wears off...But, seriously? Beyond the call of family and I could NOT be appreciating them more. I told Katy if I had a million dollars, I would totally give it to them. Kind of an empty promise since I don't actually HAVE a million dollars, but a heartfelt sentiment nonetheless.

School starts Wednesday. I'm excited. The only thing I'm nervous about is remembering the schedule. Oh, and my lesson plans. Thinking about more than one thing at a time is going to be really taxing. I need a nap just thinking about it...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catch Me If You Can!

Ya'll. I feel like a racehorse who's had a bit too much running and being slapped on the sides and starts sweating and foaming from the mouth. I am tired.

Today was "Meet the Teacher" day today and by some miraculous happening I was ready. And by miraculous happening I mean Katy staying with me at school until MIDNIGHT last night. She had a date with some clear tape and kept me from wandering around my room in a daze. And believe me, it was a big job. I could NOT be doing my life without Aunt Katy right now.

Right now, my overwhelming emotion is relief. Relief that my kids are done with the hard childcare situation. Relief that Emily no longer has to nap in the scary Jesus room. We have started her therapy fund for when she fears all religious symbols someday. Relief that the meetings and paperwork are almost finished and I can get on with teaching my kids.

Don't get me wrong, I still have a TON of stuff to do, but I won't be doing any of it tonight or tomorrow! I don't have to be back at school until Tuesday. Praise ye the Lord. And then our "normal" schedule will start, although September is packed full of extra meetings and Open House potlucks.

Meeting my kids was a complete delight. Some of them are teeny, tiny! I forget that Drew is a big giant. I have five boys and three girls and of the ones I've met, I think they are going to be great together as a group. I know they will grow and change SO MUCH over the year.

I'm not even sure this post is coherent. If not, just nod and smile and whisper a "Bless Her Heart" and be sure that I know I'm nuts. And you know what they say. Knowing is half the battle...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Take 2

Well. I don't know if all 8 of ya'll stormed the gates of heaven on my behalf all at the same time or what, but I'll have you know, today was 1 bazillion times better than Monday. Hallelujah and amen.

Somehow the exact amount of time this morning seemed longer. With fifteen minutes to spare I was looking around trying to figure out what 5 steps I had forgotten. But everything was done. No one spilled milk. No one got kicked in the head. I even had time to stop for coffee, which no doubt added to the utter goodness of the day. Emily took better naps, and I was able to actually laugh at all the scary Jesus pictures instead of cry. I used the paper cutter, the laminator, and attended a meeting with the facilities director. And then I pinched myself to make sure I hadn't time warped to six years ago.

Speaking of six years ago, I have to confess that I got stuck working on a computer document and I called my friend Mindy, who was my right hand woman at the church, for help. I told her I was aware that she no longer worked for me technically, but surely she knew when she signed up with me, it was for life. And wouldn't you know she solved the problem over a text message. Man. I wish I could afford her services right about now!!! I could also use the sound advice and comic relief that came from two of my other favorite people at my old job, (and now I'm starting to sound like this one pastor we worked with who started every sentence out of his mouth, "Back at my old job..."), the communications guru and his trusty pal graphic designer guy. Look, I realize a monthly newsletter at a preschool should not have me all tied in knots, but I just can't be happy slapping down a bunch of clip-art and calling it a day. Issues. Too bad, though, because clip-art is all I've got.

Have I mentioned I'm going with a monkey theme in my room? I'm a very theme-ish gal. I must say I'm pleased with my choice. All in all, I'm much more up-beat today. Yeah, hang on because my moods swing like the wind! It also didn't hurt that the admin assistant showed up in my room with some chocolate this afternoon. Good to know she possesses mind reading skills. All good admins do!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In The Books

Well. Day 1 is done. My first day back to work in five years and the first time for my kids to be in someone else's care while I worked. It was...kind of nightmarish!!

I really did not expect to be posting bad news about our first day! I really, deep down, suspected that everything would probably be just fine. Oh, ok, it was fine. I mean, everyone survived and there were no true emergencies, but smooth it was not.

I worked long into the night on Sunday getting everything ready to go for Monday morning. I was feeling pretty proud of all of my hard work come daylight on Monday morning, despite the fact that Drew was up before 6:00. And then Drew spilled chocolate milk all over his shirt. You know, the one I laid out the night before? He also knocked Emily down and kicked her in the head (accidentally) with his shoes on. Somehow my minutes were evaporating like I had never experienced. But, we managed to make it in the car on time. I could feel my road rage creeping up as we attempted to get out of Bellevue. (I might not have mentioned this before, but Bellevue, for various reasons I won't go into here, is a complete driving quagmire.) It was about 5 minutes from leaving my house that I realized I had left my work keys at home. Good times.

We managed to be on time, and I finally got the kids' room situated with some toys. This was my responsibility. Not sure why...And then I decided to put Emily down for a nap. So, I fed her some bottle, and laid her down in a strange crib in a strange room. The walls were hung with lots of scary Jesus pictures. It would have been pretty hilarious if, say, I had been watching it on T.V. However, leaving my real, live daughter in there...notsomuch. I took the monitor with me and went back to my meeting. I could feel my emotions lurking right there on the edge. I tried to summon my old working self, who, after working with almost all men, learned to stuff it. When Emily would not go to sleep, I went back in to rock her. I could not deal. My old working self did not have a mommy's heart. She finally settled and I walked back into the room and made my staff meeting debut by blubbering like a complete idiot. It was awesome.

The rest of the day went a little better, but Emily, who is normally everyone's BFF was terrified of everyone. Thank GOODNESS for my sweet Drew. He was so brave and the babysitter said Emily stayed right by his side the whole time. It's a good thing the Lord made so clear "this was the way, walk in it" because otherwise I would've grabbed my kids and run out of there like the place was on fire.

It was an emotional day for me. When we got home I felt like I had been hit by a bus! Luckily, I've had some sleep since then, and I'm feeling much more upbeat today. It seems that Emily got into some sort of dairy product, most likely a snack left on the floor and she feels terrible. Today has been better, though, so maybe when we all head back tomorrow, it won't seem so awful. I am thinking about taking some colorful cloth to cover over Scary Jesus, though. No offense, of course.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Five O'Clock Whistle

Just as I was getting ready to write this post, I realized this will be the second post in a short time about the late afternoon. I guess it goes to show what happens to me around this time everyday.

One day, Drew and I were in the kitchen and I said, "Uh-oh, it's 5 o'clock..." Drew said, "Mommy, what's at 5 o'clock?" I told him that usually everyone starts going bananas at that time. So, he, of course, started squealing and jumping around acting bananas. A couple of days later it was five o'clock and I was just SUPER annoyed with everything. I was considering giving myself a time-out when it hit me. I needed some fun music. And that's how the 5 o'clock dance party was born.

I'll tell ya, it was a little tough to get Drew to come around to my idea. He's not exactly known for "letting loose". It took finding just the right music. I found it. Turns out the kid is a big fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Yep, give him a little "Bad Moon Rising" or "Traveling Band" and he is raring to go. Poppy would be so proud. Most of his dance moves look suspiciously like Superhero punches, but he's very impressed with himself. He tells me regularly that he's a better dancer than me. Wow. Don't kill the dream son, ok?

Emily loves the dance party. She's pretty much got one move that involves waving her arm back and forth, but she is faithful to do her part anytime music comes on.

It's just the mental break I need and just the energy buster Drew needs. While he's a classic rock guy for now, I'm working hard to bring him around to embracing Will Smith with me. Gettin' Jiggy Wid It...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Shock and Awe

Yesterday I took Drew to the dentist for the very first time. I know, I know. I'm around 8 months late for this visit. I have no good excuses. Oh, I have excuses, just none of them are good! Mostly I was terrified that he would go completely ballistic, and frankly, I was skeered. But, it was on my "get to it before school starts" list, so we did it.

I lucked into a fantastic pediatric dental office. And, by the way, where was the pediatric dental office when I was a kid??? I digress. They have a great website and I got all the info I needed before we even went. One thing I read on the website is that they really prefer for the kids to go back on their own, without a parent. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhttttttttttttt. Sure, I thought. We'll give that a whirl, and I promise you'll be begging me to come back with you. I didn't mention this little fact to Drew. I am learning more and more everyday about what things to prepare him for and what things to spring on him last minute. It's a delicate balance.

We got to the office, checked in, and Drew explored the waiting room. After we were there a few minutes I casually mentioned that the dentist likes for kids to go back without their mommies. "You won't go with me?" he said. "No, I don't think so." And he said, "Ok, mommy." Uh-huh. Right. I was sure the bravado would fade as soon as they called his name.

The hygenist came out, called his name, he gave me a hug and kiss, walked towards the door, turned around for another hug and kiss (yep, here we go, I thought...) and then...and THEN...he just walked right back there. I sat in my chair paralyzed with shock. And awe. And then, I almost started sobbing at the grown-up-edness of it all. Are you kidding me???? A little bit later they came to get me and sat me in the consultation room. Drew came bopping towards me with a prize bag and a balloon. Um, did I mention the sobbing???

He had a perfect check-up and when the dentist said, "Keep up the good work" I almost laughed in his face. Good work. Snort. Luck is what it is.

Add to this stellar dental visit the fact that Drew has decided he does like the shower after all, washes his hair on his own, and then declares, "I can dry off and put my pajamas on by myself," well, it's all just a bit much for old ma.

Monday, August 16, 2010

RIP, ibook

Sad. So sad. If I had music on my blog it would be playing a funeral dirge just now. The ibook is broken and we have entered the land of "costs more to replace the part than the whole thing is worth." Sad. I've been to this land many times before, but it usually involves a car.

We haven't quite figured out what to do just yet, so for now, Big Dan and I are arm wrestling for computer time. Why he would ever be brave enough to arm wrestle me is such a mystery. So, I may be a little scarce around here for a while. And pictures? Fugedaboudit. You know it will take me a solid six months to figure out how to get them loaded on a WHOLE NEW COMPUTER.

In the meantime, we are T-minus one week away from starting school. It will be a "soft start" since I will have a week and a half of training. We could definitely use your prayers! Drew is already a nervous wreck. And there is lots to be done! It's going to be crazy (crazier!) around here for a while. Add to that the fact that we have entered the late-August-slide-to-holiday-madness and you can pretty much guarantee that by the end of December I'll be propped up in a corner mumbling to myself. And maybe drooling. At least we have plenty of bibs lying around...

Friday, August 13, 2010

For the Love

Well, I made it a few days without causing significant damage to anything around here, but never fear, I've done it again. This time I have royally messed up my computer. I am utterly sick about it. Yesterday Big Dan called me up to say, "Would it help if I came home early so you could get some work done in your classroom?" A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!! So, I headed to school to work for a few hours and took my computer with me so I could have some musical accompaniment. On the return trip my giant bag was filled with books I needed to review, and my computer was on top. And then. I had to stop abruptly, and the bag fell into the floor. And then. When I turned on my computer the whole right side of the screen was, well, not quite right. As in, a big blank white space that was sort of flashing.

I have a slight attachment to my computer and I was having a slight drama-fest over it and Big Dan just started laughing at me. He did point out that I have had the computer for quite a while. WHICH IS PRECISELY THE POINT. We're tight, the iBook and I. We have chemistry. We jive. And now I've perhaps fatally wounded him.

There is a tiny glimmer of hope. Uncle Jon is a Mac genius. And what, with all his free time just now with school starting back, I'm sure he can't wait to work on my decrepit iBook. Wonder if there's any chance I made $1300 at the consignment sale??

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Food, Angst.

A few months ago I finally got around to watching the "Food, Inc." documentary. I have to hand it to the makers of this movie. It scared the pants off me. And then it ticked me off. And then I was scared again. And then ticked. I think you can see where this is going.

In case you haven't subjected yourself to this particular brand of mental/emotional torture, let me enlighten you. It is basically a discussion of the mainstream food industry in America, its' corruption and ultimately the danger to we, the consumers. Sounds relaxing, huh?

Well, not being one to only know a little about a subject (some might call it obsessive...) I promptly checked out two of Michael Pollan's books from the library. He's one of the fellows behind this movie. To say I read these books would be a slight overstatement. Skimmed is more like it. Skimmed and cursed. One of his books discusses the fact that the "organic" industry has now become more mainstream and in so doing has lost its' soul. More or less. Did I mention that I'm ticked?

Here's why I'm all wadded up over this. When you're just a plain, little ol' mom trying to raise healthy children you take for granted that you can trust certain things. Well, guess what? You can't. Not only does the mainstream media drive home the point that children today are OBESE and UNHEALTHY and this will be the first generation to DIE YOUNGER THAN THEIR PARENTS, but those on the other side are constantly driving their left-wing agenda as well. Seriously, can we leave politics out of this? I'm sure Michael Pollan is a swell guy, but I think he is just as guilty as the big food corporations. GASP! How could I say such a thing??? Well, because, he uses scare tactics to drive his agenda. Is he right about some things? Yes, very important things. But, I think he compromises his integrity by tying politics to his "cause". Not to mention how unrealistic his advice is for most normal people. And by normal I mean folks who don't make a bajillion dollars writing scary books or making scary movies. Real people who need to use coupons (or food stamps) to buy groceries. Real people who don't own goats/chickens/cows or have neighbors who do. Moms who can barely keep up with normal household chores and cannot even grow cucumbers in a container on the deck, much less feed her family with organically grown vegetables (from homemade compost, of course.)

And let's not even discuss the government's role in all this disgusting scandal. Republicans and Democrats have made super shady decisions in this area. Luckily, I lost my shine towards the government a long time ago. Nothing they choose to do or ignore really surprises me at this point. Bitter much??

So. What have I done? After talking myself down from the ledge (Again. Remember I'm the queen of self pep-talks) I decided to implement my changes slowly. I had to decide what matters most to me and make baby steps to reach my food goals. And yes, I'm aware this all points toward some sort of psychosis. I never promised sanity around here people! And, because I pretend you care, I'll share with you what I've decided.

First, it matters to me the environment animals are in when they become my food (or give my food in the case of dairy cows). Look, at the risk of sounding awful, it's not so much that I *care* about the animals. I'm not a bleeding heart about animals and I think it's perfectly appropriate to eat them and their products. But the things these animals are enduring are not NATURAL. It isn't how God intended at all. And the neglect is beginning to show and the ramifications are effecting real families. It takes some digging to find out about this aspect of your meal. As I mentioned, the organic market is a big corporation now. Luckily, there are lots of folks out there more ticked off than me, so there are an abundance of websites that rate companies according to several factors. Just as an FYI, the Whole Foods brand of milk (365) scores very well and is reasonably priced. And they make string cheese, too.

Second, I am working on becoming a high fructose corn syrup free zone. I watched another documentary (obsessed *cough*) called "King Corn" and this one I really loved. These two random guys made it and they are much more laid back in their message. I'll even forgive them for interviewing Michael Pollan! ANYWAY. The point is corn is everywhere. And perhaps the little ad campaign is right, that in moderation HFCS (handy abbreviation...) is ok. But, good luck with that, because it's in everything we eat almost. So, did I go through and throw out everything I have that contains HFCS? Nope. A) I'm cheap, and B) That's so wasteful. As things run out I replace it with something HFCS free. The choices are many these days. Companies are getting the message for sure.

Third, I'm buying local produce this summer and loving it. I would picket in a line that said, "Save the little farmers!" I've got just enough hippie blood in me to make the poster and have it ready!

Last, I'm tiptoeing slowly towards finding a local meat source. Grass fed beef, free range chickens, pigs who aren't fed other animals. You know. Wholesome. I have a good lead on a farm about 40 minutes from here. I've yet to make the trip, but it's on the (ever-growing) list.

There you have it. I would not call my self crunchy, but I'm maybe moving out of the soggy category. Baby steps. Oh, and I will never, ever give up Chik-Fil-A. So, if you know something...don't tell me!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Over the weekend I was on a retreat for my new job. Some other time I'll catch you up on how utterly bizarre it was to be on a work retreat for the first time in around 7 years. Bizarre, I say.

Today, though, I want to tell you about one of the other new teachers at the school. Her name is Cricket (a nickname that she has fully adopted as her name. So fitting) and she is 70 years old. When she told the group her age, I said, out loud "Stop it!" I would have NEVER guessed that she was 70 years old. She is beautiful!

Each new person was asked to share some of their story and her story is so amazing. I didn't ask her if I could share it with you, but I feel most certain she wouldn't mind! She's just that way. She was married to a Presbyterian minister for 41 years. Two years ago, he passed away. You should hear her talk about him. She talks about having a true knight in shining armor. But not in a way that seems to overcompensate for some other reality. She truly feels that way about him. BUT, she is not stuck in her grief. Speaking of his passing comes so naturally, and she never makes you feel like you shouldn't ask about it.

And then, she talks about the rest of her life. All the things she plans to do and all the ways she plans to serve the Lord until she takes her last breath. Just this summer she went parasailing with her 10 year old grandson. She has promised her granddaughter a hot air balloon ride as soon as she's tall enough to see over the basket. While we were down on the dock over the weekend she saw people riding on a tube behind a boat. Once we explained what was going on, she said, "Do you think if I flagged them down, they'd let me try that??" I feel certain that they would have! She is spunky and hilarious and one of the kindest souls I've ever met. And, she's hoping the Lord will call her to minister to Native Americans sometime soon!

She will be working for the first time in her life. Teaching the older toddlers at the school and she is very excited to work on teaching them the 23rd Psalm.

I am trying to figure out just how to spend as much time with her as possible. I can only hope that I will have as much passion for life and the Lord as she does when I am 70. I plan to call her to mind every time I feel tired. At 33!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

10 months!

Emily is 10 months old!! Didn't I just do one of these? Yikes!

Emily, at 10 months:

*You have lots of new tricks. The biggest one of the bunch is that you are pulling to stand! When I got home from my girls' trip, this is what I found:

We had to lower your mattress right quick, before you decided to jump out!

Your other favorite place to stand up is in the bathtub.

(This picture. I DIE!)

You are still learning to get back down. When you forget how, you give out a big ol' yell! You are still pretty scared to move your feet, but you are getting the idea that there just might be another way to get around.

*You have added clapping and dancing to your repertoire. You have a little stage fright though. If I catch you dancing and say anything about it, you laugh and then stop! You will not really perform any of your tricks for anyone else.

*You can make the sounds for a dog and a lion. And, to your credit, you think every animal (besides a lion) says "Ruff ruff", which comes out of you "unh, unh". At least you have the concept that they are animals!

*You really like Elmo. We are watching a bunch of Sesame Street because it sort of bridges the gap. It's a show that you and Drew enjoy.

*You are eating like a champ, have lots of foods that you can tolerate, and you love to drink from a straw. We are working on 10 straight weeks of no puking! Woo hoo! Dairy is our last horizon, but based on a bad call by mom and a little test, we are still a ways from conquering that one!

*It is getting more and more difficult to take your picture in the big, brown chair! Here are some shots from our photo shoot the other day:

Em, you are so easy-going! Even when you aren't feeling good, as long as you're up and about, no one would ever know. You are such a big snuggler and you love to give love. You are a major Daddy's girl! You flirt with him like none other!! Daddy and I (and Drew) love you so, so much. Your sweet self makes my day-everyday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy August!

Can you believe it is August 1st?? August has been looming large in my own mind for several weeks now. For some reason, August 1 was my deadline for various and sundry projects that I felt compelled to finish. It's like I'm nesting! (NOT pregnant...) it's the weirdest thing. And the only thing I can say is that it must be the push of school coming up. I guess somewhere in my subconscious I think I'm never going to get to work around the house again. Whatever it is, I sort of hope the momentum keeps going. I'm going to need it!

I worked in my classroom for around five hours yesterday. FIVE HOURS. And you would never know it. Sigh. Much to be done, but it was a good head start. They are replacing my floors starting on Tuesday, so another week is down the tubes. I did find a giant cabinet in my room full of books! Woo! I can't wait to dig through them.

I carted off a bunch of stuff to a consignment sale today. I waited outside for an hour. Outside. Where it's sweltering. I'll let you know if it was worth it!

Got the garage door fixed. That Chad, he's a good one. I told him I knew we probably needed to replace the door, but it wasn't exactly on the short list. He said, "Hey, I understand. We'll keep this thing going as long as we can." And that's why I love him.

Big Dan has worked his guts out to help me out this weekend (Holla, Big Dan!) I am currently hiding in my room. Just to give my ears a rest. I don't think Drew has stopped talking for around 3 weeks straight!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Think a Change, Will Do You Good do you like the new digs?? I'm still trying to decide. Ya'll, you were thisclose to losing me last night. I was getting ready to shut 'er down. I was going to abandon my mommy blabber for a full-on fanatical Criminal Minds fan blog. (Have you see this show??? I'm SUPER addicted. Thanks Katy.) But, lucky for you, I persevered through technological purgatory and came out on the other side. I just wanted to play around with the the blogger templates, but APPARENTLY, there is no going back. I spent an embarrassingly long time getting to this. Imagine if I had any bigger aspirations!

And yes, I took down the sidebar o' goals. It was just too much going on over there. I haven't forgotten about them, but some of them have been replaced by other more important things. So. Now you'll never's going to haunt you, isn't it??

*On a completely unrelated note I have to tell you the things my son had to eat before 10:30 a.m. this morning. 1. 2 bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios 2. Two hot dogs with ketchup (no idea!) 3. A mini bag of Doritos (look, we were at Wal-Mart and he needed a distraction. Don't judge.) 4. A mug of hot chocolate. Can you say gross me out??? Then we came home for lunch and he declared he wanted a salad. He ate around three bites and said he was full. Ya think? Fifteen minutes later he asked for a strawberry milkshake (Carnation Instant Breakfast) and proceeded to down the whole thing. He said, "I'm not really in the mood for anything with vegetables." Just one more reason to nominate me as Mother of the Year.

*I managed to break the garage door again. I know all of you are jealous that you don't live with me. My poor Big Dan. After a hard days work, probably one in which someone yelled or cussed at him, all he wanted to do was come home, open the garage door, change into his basketball shorts and relax. Nope. Not married to this old gal. Yesterday afternoon I got a big energy burst and decided to make the most of it and do some jobs. I quickly unloaded my recycling containers out of the back of my car. Apparently, I forgot to close the hatch on the back of my car, and when Big Dan came home and tried to open the door, it broke. Sigh. I thought I was kicking tail and taking names yesterday afternoon. I had to call Chad the garage door repairman. We're getting close, Chad and I. I plan to beg (on my knees if I have to) for him to find a way to fix it without replacing the door. Beg, I say!

Here's hoping I don't cost us any extra money for the rest of today!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


We are way past the midpoint of the year, but I thought I'd better check in on my resolutions and see how I'm coming along. This is purely for my own personal edification/chastisement. Feel free to skip the reading today!


1. Lose weight-I have made some progress in this area finally. I am 15 lbs. from my goal weight. I hope to have it off by Emily's birthday. Grade=B-

2. Work on my style-Well, this totally depends on the day. Like yesterday I woke up in the mood to just wear my yoga pants all day long. So I did. Well, until I got too HOT and had to change into shorts. And today, after our morning outing I promptly changed out of my cute madras skirt into black palazzo pants circa: pregnancy with Drew. But, overall, I think I've made some major strides in this area. I hit the jackpot when I stumbled upon Lindsay Ferrier's style blog She's Still Got It. Unlike most style websites, it's by a mom on a budget for a mom on a budget. I've gotten some great tips from her. And have her to blame for a considerable upswing in my spending...

As far as the lipstick goes...not so good. I have remembered more often than, say, last year, but still, poor showing. I did wear some Burt's Bees yesterday.



I have been reading A LOT this year. Currently I am about 35% of the way through Big Dan's favorite book "The Killer Angels" about the Civil War. I was making good progress until some of the books I had on hold at the library came in. I have to read those up right quick, because other people are waiting on them. I am currently reading FIVE books. I'm not sure what's going on, but I feel like i have to read every book I can think of RIGHT NOW. Like some classes in college, this category is a total gimme. Grade=A+


I think I am most proud of my consistency in this category. I have actually maintained the plan to read the Bible through by the end of the year!! I know this is not that big of a deal to some people, but it's a HUGE deal to me. There have been times when I have had to do some catching up, but I've never been so far behind that I couldn't. And, I'm LOVING it . I love the chronology of it all. I'm learning TONS.

Currently I'm on a Lisa Whelchel binge. Yes, that Lisa Whelchel. Blair from "Facts of Life"!! Bizarre or what? But, it turns out that she has written several books targeted to young, Christian moms and I am really loving how practical she is. She gets what it's like to be slightly nuts at all times and still want to grow in your faith. It's the first time that reading a mom book like this has made me feel like it's ok to just do the little I can. I think this is a message God is trying to get across to me. In fact, in my Bible reading last week I came across this verse:

"He tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers his lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; he gently leads those who have young." Isaiah 40:11.

Did you catch that last part??? "He gently leads those who have young." You may think I am a kook, but those words were life to me. It is like he is saying, "I get it. I know your season. I'm still leading, but I understand we need to go slower."

As far as the "stirring" that I was feeling several months ago, well, I guess we all know what that was about! Three days a week of serving three year olds, coming right up!

Grade=Ummm...I feel kind of weird grading this section!

House and Home:

1. Cook one new dish for dinner each week: FAIL. Although, I will say over the last month, I've done some better in the cooking category. A lot of days, though, Big Dan gets home later and isn't really hungry for dinner. And because I've been trying to shed some lbs., I've been eating very plain items. So. Maybe some other season. I did learn to cook a MEAN steak this year. I think that might count for everything.

2. Ha! I haven't even been motivated to pull out any magazine recipes lately. Ha! So...A+++ on this one! I am cooking a new recipe from Southern Living sometime this week. Baby steps.

I've picked up some good habits around the house that make up for my lack of cooking. (See, the beauty of grading yourself if you can give random extra credit at any time!) I have started folding my clothes straight out of the dryer (thanks to the tip from Kristin) and this has REALLY cut down on my ironing. Although, right now I have three items laying on the ironing board needing to be ironed and every day I just look at them. Also, I do housework for 30 minutes after the kids go down for nap and for 30 minutes after they go to bed (if I need to). It's amazing what gets done in just that one hour's worth of time. I've also been a purging maniac and have gotten rid of a ton of stuff. Add to that, that Big Dan is keeping the family room under control and Drew is getting some lessons in cleaning up after himself, we've added a *little* more sanity to the home front.

Grade: C+

I'm not sure what all of those average out to, but can I just say that I've never been very good at keeping resolutions and I feel pretty proud that these items are still on the forefront of my mind? Which is saying something considering what a mental case I am. I'm just happy I didn't forget about them all together!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday-Witching Hour Play Date

Can you believe it?? I'm doing a "Works for Me Wednesday" post. It's been ages. I guess I just haven't felt all that tip-tacular of late. There are more super tips over at We Are That Family. Go. See. I'll wait...

My tip today is not something I thought up. It just kind of...happened. And boy, am I glad it did! Have you ever heard that the late afternoon/evening hours are called "The Witching Hours"? I think this is because mothers turn into witches at this time of day. Or is it because the kids do? Probably both. It is definitely not the most fun I've ever had. I've heard some people call this time of day the "Aresenic Hours" As in, slip me some so I can make a quick exit. Whew. Now that is a bad day.

Play dates (can someone please tell me when we started calling hanging out with other moms "play dates"? Don't get me wrong-I've embraced the term. I'm just pretty sure I never called a rowdy game of hide and seek in the back yard a "play date") usually take place in the morning. I am assuming this is because children are usually at their best this time of day. And nobody wants the obnoxious kid at the play date. Not that I would know anything about that...

But, my neighbor, Lana and I have stumbled upon what might be the largest miracle of motherhood anyone has ever discovered. I'm not exactly sure how it started, but I think it happened around the time that Emily was tiny and screamed her little lungs out everyday starting at around 5:00 p.m. Lana graciously said one time, "Just come over and I'll hold Emily". Lana is a real live baby whisperer. So, we would go. I would hand over Princess Screams A lot, Drew and her son would play, and I would sit, slightly comatose on the couch. As time passed and Emily got better, we figured out these times were perfect for us. Both of our husbands, bless them, work their heads off, and are often home late. It's not their faults, but it does leave us alone for these horrid hours. Alone, until we started hanging out together!

Now our withching hour play dates usually involve one of us cooking dinner (which means the other is off the hook!) and lots of mommy time while the boys play. Sometimes with each other, sometimes not. We don't really care to be honest. And it always seems to work out that if one of us is in need of some coma time, the other is up for entertaining. Beautiful magic is what it is.

Moms need other moms. Sometimes it's just nice to have someone to talk to while you do the dishes or clean up the family room for the 105th time that day. Sometimes your kid acts better when another mom is around! Sometimes you have a few things to get off your chest, dang it.

Be warned. This is not a play date to plan with your judgmental friends. Ha! Kids are devils this time of the day. Find another friend who will look at them and roll their eyes and stroll back to the kitchen to hang out with you. Two is better than one.

Drew with his partner in crime:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Things I Like About Summer

I am making this list because I am (still) working on my attitude. Because, ya'll? This heat?? Over. it. I swear I was excited today that it might not break into the nineties because I knew that I might not sweat my hind end off (if only...) inside my house tonight. Only a tiny bit of sweat tonight. And I could actually put Emily in regular pajamas. And I can't stop thinking about all the things I don't like about summer-super stinky trash (outside), dog hair all over my house and baby, flies, mosquitoes. SWEAT.

Ok. Enough with the whining. Onto the list.

Things I like about summer:

1. It is socially acceptable for my baby to be barefoot almost all the time. Which is so nice, because it is beyond annoying to put her shoes back on her feet 14 times in one outing.

2. I don't have to really work at drinking enough water.

3. If I take my kids swimming it means we can skip bath time.

4. Fresh produce. I know I mock myself for my love of junk food. Because, I mean, it is a problem. BUT, I also love vegetables. Pretty much all of them except for the few I've always been afraid to try. And when I can buy them super fresh at the farm stand down the road? Even better. Even if they do give my son a red sucker, which sort of defeats the purpose...

5. I love that it stays light later. I don't feel like my day is over by 5:30 p.m.

6. I like watching my son eat a popsicle outside with the juice dripping all down his arms.

7. I like watching my son wash his arms off in the Elmo sprinkler.

8. I love both of my kids' hair when it is all sweaty.

9. I love that I don't have to argue with Drew to wear a coat/hat/gloves

10. The days are ours to do with what we want. Not for long. And I'm trying so hard not to wish the summer away. Just please, for the love, temperature, take a tiny 10 degree downslide. Please? For me?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Watch Out For Us

Boy. Yesterday I was in a mood. I have no idea where it came from, but my patience and ability to deal was around zero. And it was the Lord's Day. I felt certain that after church (which equals Big Dan and I getting a few minutes to be together alone) I would be feeling better. But noooooooooo. And then my super mood spread like a thick ooze over the rest of the household. This is not the image of "mother" I'm really striving for...

Today, I decided I was going to better. In case you were wondering I spend quite a bit of time giving myself little pep talks. Mostly internal, although I have a very bad habit of talking to myself out loud in the grocery store. I'm pretty sure I have a reputation at my local Kroger.


I wanted to sit down with Drew first thing this morning and have a little prayer time to get things going on the right foot for both of us. (I do not tell you this to sound like a pious mother. Please. I just admitted that I was a total bi-otch yesterday) When I told him my idea, he was excited. We sat down to pray and he said, "I have a blessing to say mom." Before I tell you what he said (and believe me, it's worth the wait) I need to give a little background. Drew has been having a hard time with thinking potty words are funny. We are working hard to teach him that the standards we have are God's standards not just arbitrary standards. So, I've been using a bible verse to remind him that saying "BOOTY" and dying laughing is not a good idea. I taught him Eph. 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome words come out of your mouth..."

So. Today, during our morning prayers he says, "Dear Dod, Sometimes we say unwholesome words, and I think it's because maybe we didn't get enough sleep. And when me and Mommy don't get good sleep we are grouches and have unwholesome words. Please watch out for us."

I'd say watch out!!! Good word, son, good word.