Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hey, Walter C. May's Girlfriend!

Okay, I literally posted five minutes ago, but I am (despite my best efforts to be a cold-hearted yotch), a hopeless romantic, so I'm doing my (very small) part in this viral world.  Go get her, Walt!

Ben Is Two!

I haven’t added any stories about the kiddos lately, so in honor of Ben’s birthday last week, here are few gems from the last week or so.  We celebrated the day of his birthday with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese with all the visiting relatives and some present opening.  We also had a brunch party in the park on Saturday morning.  I am suffering a bit from second child guilt because I always feel like Will got my best and Ben gets the leftovers, so I overcompensated this birthday in the form of gifts, sugar, and multiple celebrations.  I’m working through my issues, I promise.
Ben turned two the day before Thanksgiving, and this was the first time in his life that he has really understood presents and the present-opening process.  Will stood quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) by, offering assistance.  At first, we kept telling Will to stand back and let Ben open his presents, but after a couple of presents, we told Will he could help.  Ben opens presents like an old person.  I kept waiting for him to whip out his pocket knife to slice through the Scotch tape so he could save the paper for later.  The spirit of Grandpa Claude lives on.  If Ben starts requesting new coffee travel mugs and crossword puzzles for his birthday, I’m putting my foot down.
The conversation I have with Ben a couple times a day:
Me: Ben, I need to change your diaper.
Ben: No.
Me: But you have a poopie diaper.
Ben: No, you have a poopie diaper.
Me: I don’t have a poopie diaper.  I go poop in the toilet because I’m a big girl.
Ben (pointing and laughing): You pooped!  Poopie diaper!
I’m being bullied by my two-year-old.
One of Ben’s new favorite things to do is climb up sweetly in my lap and then stealthily grab my ponytail with both hands and yank as hard as he can, all the while shouting, “NEIGH NEIGH NEIGH!!!”  Cute, but slightly painful.
Another fun thing Ben has started doing is singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” while I change his diaper.  While I enjoy his original rendition during which he sings, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your FEET...,” it makes for really difficult diaper changes.
And here are a few birthday week pictures of my beautiful Ben, who is no longer a baby which makes me both happy and sad:

Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool...at the Cheese
Taking forever to open his presents
Taking time to read each card out loud to the room (Will really did read all the cards  out loud,  making old people variety hour even more special.)
Taking a ride on his new "Power Quad"
Ben's Oreo birthday cake, which he happily shared with Mawmaw, Papa, and Daddy who all had significant birthdays this week.  2+30+55+60=147
When I asked Ben what kind of party he wanted, he said, "Balls."  
Waiting patiently for his guests to arrive at his birthday brunch in the park
Showing off his Batman swag to an interested party
The Fam

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gas Station Blues

My cell phone is a dying piece of poo, and I’m getting a new one on Wednesday (thank the Lord in Heaven above for rebates!), so I apologize for the pictures in this post in advance.  I hope my explanations will help you along the way.
Anyone who has travelled with children knows that one of the most important things to keep in mind is where the closest bathroom is.  This is also true, of course, if you travel with a grown man who has a bladder like an eighty-year-old woman, but that’s another story.
On our mini-vaca a couple of weeks ago, we got the “I have to go potty RIGHT NOW” yell from the backseat, so Scott dutifully pulled off at the next exit with a gas station and drove us here:
That’s right.  There was no sign for the name of the store and no sign reading “gas.”  Just cold beer.  When we got out of the car in the dimly lit parking lot, a man who was clearly no stranger to Jim Beam and outlaw country music walked out of the building to the end of the sidewalk.  After scanning our family to make sure we were up to his standards (re: Caucasian), he walked back in and sat behind the counter.  The front door had this:

Fantastic apostrophe usage!  So, we obviously had to buy something even though we just stopped to let our 5yo pee, which proved to be challenging since everything on the shelves was years old.  (The boys ended up getting some Haribo gummies, and Scott grabbed a Coke, while Grizzly Adams stared us down with his one working eye.)  I decided I should probably pee, too, so that we didn’t have to stop again, and this is what greeted me in the stall:
The entire bathroom was Pepto-pink, and I could get lube and “dotted” condoms all for a dollar!  That’s something I’ve never seen at Dollar Tree.  And better yet, this is what greeted me at the sink:
AYFKMRN?  A "Precautionary Boil Water Notice?"  (The highlighter was effective in letting me know that it was just a possibility that this water could give me dysentary.)  At this point, I wanted to vomit. As I weighed the pros and cons of washing my hands in water that needed to be boiled to drink it (I’m not effing camping!  I’m going to the bathroom in a public place!), I almost started crying when I thought about my two children marinating in the men’s room germs.  (I would have bought more anti-bacterial sanitizer, but SURPRISE--the cold beer store didn’t sell any.)
I browsed the shelves while I waited for the boys to finish up and found this hanging on the wall:
Wow.  Just wow.  All new employees must be able to read and write in ENGLISH!  I'm sure people are just beating down the doors for this lovely employment opportunity.
We took our candy and Coke to the counter, and while Mr. KKK growled through his meth-ridden teeth, I caught this little gem:
“No drinking on property!” (and in smaller letters, “It’s the law!”) And don’t you think that’s a bit confusing?  I mean, the store is called “cold beer,” after all.
Fun times!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Gospel According to Curious George

I haven’t posted on my blog in almost two weeks because I literally haven’t had time to sit down and write anything significant.  (I take the phrase “I don’t have time” very seriously and use it seldomly because I don’t believe people when they say it.  We all have time--we just choose to use time differently.  In this instance, I suppose I DID have the time if I had chosen to not sleep or eat.)  It’s hard to get back in the swing of blogging after that long of a break.  I have so many things to write and no idea where to start.  Instead of starting at the beginning (which is generally a very nice place to start), I’m just going to pick something and go with it.  
Last weekend, we took a last minute trip to Orlando.  Scott was on leave to finish his comprehensive exam for grad school, and I seized the moment to squeeze in some quality family time.  It meant that he was a little bit stressed to have less time to work on his exam, but I’ve learned in seven years of being an Air Force wife that if you want to have true time off, you have to leave the area.  Granted, someone can always find him on his cell phone, but if he’s a seven-hour drive away, they absolutely can not expect him to come off leave early for a flight.
With the impending release of HP7, my Pottersenses were on high alert, and I thought what better way to spend opening weekend than to go to Universal Studios to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  (More on that later.)
We’d never been to Universal Studios, so beyond the WWoHP, we weren’t sure how we would fill our days, but we had no doubt we could figure it out when we got there.  One of the greatest surprises was the Curious George Goes to Town area.  Tucked behind the E. T. ride, the Barney show, and the An American Tail playground, George’s splash zone/playground/“ball factory” provided a couple hours of run-around-and-get-some-energy-out-just-for-kids fun, which was just what the boys needed.
While they played, I walked around in awe of the minute details that went into designing this section of the amusement park.  I’ve always been a Curious George fan, even more so after I had children, and like with everything else at Universal Studios, I was overwhelmed by a sense of childlike glee when looking at the oversized books and play equipment that made up George’s town.
One of the blessings/curses of having my brain is that there is rarely a moment when I’m not thinking thematically.  Even when I’m trying to relax, my brain is still writing/creating/storming.  So, instead of just enjoying George as the curious little monkey that he is, I walked around mentally blogging.
I have, thus far, in my blog avoided things of spiritual nature because I often find it difficult to adequately articulate my thoughts and feelings related to faith.  I also have this fear of permanency when it comes to faith--like if I write it, it’s there forever for everyone to see.  This is troublesome because I believe that faith is somewhat amorphous in nature, ever-changing and indefinable, a process rather than a result.  (Please don’t confuse this with my concept of God, whom I generally view as unchanging in that traditional yesterday/today/forever sense.)  So, I fear on some level that if I write something and that is the only thing of mine someone ever reads, that will become their definition of my faith, and who knows?  Maybe tomorrow I’ll believe something a little bit different, and I won’t have the opportunity to explain myself.  I know, I overthink these things.
So, anyway, allow me to pull back from being an overanalyzing twit for a moment and allow you to have a glimpse at my faith.  And per usual, pictures are worth far more than any words I could type, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.  (As with all metaphors, don’t take it too far.  Just enjoy, and let it mean whatever it means to you.)

The best part is that now you don't have to go to church on Sunday because you've already heard a great sermon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Once You Go Black

Okay, so this goes against some sort of girl code, but I’m going to say it.  I don’t like shopping.  I like buying, but I don’t like shopping.  I feel about shopping what I think some people feel about going to the dentist.  I know I’ll be happy with the results, but I have to prepare myself for a few days leading up to it.  
Most trips to the mall for me involve a purpose and a plan.  For instance, say I’ve lost 15 pounds and none of my jeans fit anymore (not hypothetical actually!), then I go to a store and buy jeans.  I might check out the rest of the store for a minute, but browsing (which is the heart of shopping) makes me 1) judgy, 2) nervous, and 3) angry.
  1. I enjoy the artistic/pop culture aspect of fashion when it’s on Project Runway.  When you stick horrific trends on mannequins and market it at outrageous prices so that women buy things that don’t fit their body types just because Christian Soriano said it was fierce, I want to throw up.  And then when I see women picking up sequined shrugs and leopard print jeggings, I just want to scream, “You’re paying $50 for half a cardigan, and those are going to make you look fat!”  See, judgy.
  2. When I venture outside my purposeful plan, I get overwhelmed by the options which makes my brain start twitching.  My pits get sweaty, and I either grab piles of clothes, all of which I leave with the dressing room attendant because I didn’t really like them in the first place (I was just trying to get outside my comfort zone!) OR I stare at a pile of bedazzled tank tops for ten minutes, trying to pick between canary yellow and lavender.  My nerves can’t take it.
  3. I hate spending money on clothes.  It takes away from the amount of money I can spend on books.  Plus, at this stage in life, I’m not wasting money on clothes that are undoubtedly going to be ruined by my lovely children.  So, I shop at places where people shove you in the aisles because they’re trying to get to a pair of Kate Spade ankle boots that have been marked down to four cents.  These people are SERIOUS about their discounted clothing, and they take no prisoners.  By the time I make it out of the store with my sun dress and sandals that I plan on wearing to someone’s baby shower next weekend, I hate humankind.
All of that said, due to the fact that I have an often absent husband and two small children, I very rarely even have the opportunity to shop in the first place.  So, when I booked a trip to meet my friend, April, in Houston for a girls weekend, I started preparing myself for a day of REAL shopping.  I had a list of a few things that I really needed to purchase, but I was also going to spend some time browsing for things I didn’t need.  Maybe even trendy things.
Just like going to the dentist, it helps if you mentally prepare, so by the time I landed in Houston, I was actually kind of psyched for the possibility of elbowing someone in the eye for a BCBG handbag. April was going to be at a conference all day Sunday (we built our girls weekend into her university-sponsored trip so that we could laugh the night away on someone else’s dime).  So, while she was broadening her mind with Ph. D. students from around the world, I was happy to have an entire day alone.  After five hours, I returned to our hotel room with three pairs of shoes, a sweater, two pairs of jeans, some jewelry, two dresses, a skirt, and three shirts.  I think that’s it.
And I have to admit that even though my goal today was to think outside my fashion box, most of the things I bought today are...BLACK.  I really, really try to vary my color choices, but in the end I almost always choose the black version.  (In the wise words of Wesley Snipes, always bet on black.)  I had a brief affair with color when I was pregnant (I’m convinced there’s something about our brain chemistry that links weight gain with bright fabrics--I mean, really.  Have you ever seen a black muu muu?  Nope.) during which my closet started to look like a bag of Skittles, but now that I’m back to my normal, non-impregnated state, I am falling right back into my comfort zone.  I really believe that color and patterns should primarily be reserved for accessories (I will totally rock a pair of red heels or a pink purse--not together, of course), and if you only buy black clothes, everything matches.  I DO also buy things in white, gray, and varying shades of brown sometimes.  You know, for variety.
Overall, today was more than successful.  It’s always a lot more fun shopping when you’re buying a smaller size, and the bargain shoppers were actually pretty polite (minus the man who reached across me, knocking my purse off my shoulder and onto the floor, to snatch a pair of tangerine slingbacks...for his wife, I assume?).  Now I just have to find a way to get it all in my very small carry-on.  Oops.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Really Early Saturday Morning Funnies

Okay, so I was sick this week and sleeping a lot, and then on top of that, when the TV was on, I was watching the Harry Potter movies with Will to get him ready for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter  next weekend, so it’s a short one today.  (Oh, and I’m going to Houston for a girls weekend with a childhood bestie, so I couldn’t even get in a few shows on Friday night...packing and then to bed for an early morning flight!)  

P. S. I’m posting this from the airport while I wait to board.  By myself.  All by myself.  No kids.  Just me.

Brothers and Sisters: Okay, so you know how that Marie Claire lady got in all kinds of hot water for saying she didn’t like seeing fat people kiss (as she should have)?  Well, I’m kind of tired of the old people love stories of Nora Walker, but not because she’s old(er).  I’m tired of it because I don’t believe there are THAT many attractive old(er) gentlemen out there.  I mean, come on!  She meets hot old guys every couple of weeks, and let me tell you--I shop at the commissary on senior citizen day, and there just aren’t that many hot old guys out there.  On an unrelated note, I’m glad to see Scotty and Kevin are working it out (and I’m well-aware of the double standard I have for TV world and real world--if one of my friends’ partners cheated on them, I would totally say, “Kick him (or her) to the curb!”).

Parenthood: All I have to say is that Rush Limbaugh better hope he never meets Adam Braverman in a dark alley, and Sarah Palin might just have the perfect running mate for 2012.  Nothing that exciting ever happens when I’m in line at the grocery store, but I definitely have fantasies of punching people in the face who have more than ten items (and I think I really would do it if they called my kid a retard).  And two thumbs up for Haddie’s crush on do-gooder Alex because now we get to look at Michael B. Jordan’s cutie-patootie face two nights in a row (love me some Friday Night Lights Vince Howard!).  Oh, and the scene with all the kids talking about their sexcapades on the Love Boat just made me wish I wasn’t an only child.  With and to whom am I supposed drink margaritas and tell inappropriate stories?  (Sorry for the ridiculous grammar in that last sentence.  I just can’t end a sentence with a preposition.  Can’t do it.  Even when I write informally with sentences like: Can’t do it.  It’s like when I send texts--I have to text in complete sentences.  It’s who I am.)

Friday Night Lights: Bad move, Julie Taylor.  Sleeping with a married man is only going to lead to heartbreak.  And probably bad grades since he’s your teacher.  So, my heart is breaking for Vince with this whole dad’s-out-of-jail thing.  I mean, his mom is doing so well (huge surprise because everyone knows people right out of rehab almost always relapse), and Vince was just getting into his football groove and his loving girlfriend groove.  Ack!  I just feel so bad...what’s that?  Oh, my husband just reminded me that this is a TV show, and they aren’t real people.  Right.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Father Knows Best...and Is Getting Old

So, my dad is turning 55 tomorrow, which means something big!  That’s right--he can now order off the senior menu at IHOP.  I’ll be having pancakes sometime this weekend to celebrate his birth for sure.  Isn’t it handy that I created this blog and can now honor him in the best way I know how?  Here are some embarrassing endearing pictures of the two of us over the last thirty years.
Apparently, men were still encouraged to wear hazmat suits in the delivery room in 1980.
I could probably write an entire blog post with just pictures of us sleeping next to each other.
Who knew we would inspire a hipster trucker hat trend twenty years later?
This happened a lot.  What can I say?  He liked bedtime stories.
We look alike #1: Flying a kite version
Family vacation #1:Jabba the Hutt's cave version
We look alike #2: Gone Fishin' version

Sweet suit, Dad.

Family vacation #2: Clark Griswold version
We look alike #3: Roller coaster scream version
Cool dads let you borrow their clothes.
We look alike #4: Sooner sweatshirt version
The one and only time I've ever helped change the oil in a car  
The one and only time I (almost) mowed the lawn

We look alike #5: Popeye version
What's the saying?  The more things change...
Family vacation #3: Playing cards back at the hotel room version
We look alike #6: Scared face version
Now, THAT is a much better suit.
Happy 55th birthday, Dad!  You are the best.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm a Little Bit Country (Okay, I'm a Lot Country)

This girl had a pretty spectacular night (and my husband added her to his freebie five).

You know why I like the CMAs?  Because it’s a bunch of real people prettied up for one night being rewarded for raw talent.  (And let’s be real--in an alternate universe, I’m still waiting for my big break.)  The thing I love the most is that it is more than apparent that some of these people have never met a stylist because they are straight up tacky--but that’s what makes country music so great, right?  All the sparkly, bright-colored boots and fringe and giant hats and spandex--it’s like New Year’s Eve at a gay bar.  (On the issue of clothing, let me just say that Carrie Underwood was stunning in every single dress she wore last night.)  So much of the night was fantastic, but here is a little commentary:
  1. Brad Paisley was genuinely funny.  Like comedian funny. (And he took home entertainer of the year--not too shabby!)
  2. Taylor Swift has obviously had some voice lessons since the Stevie Nicks debacle.  She was on Ellen earlier in the week, and I was floored when she sang at least 95% of the song without going flat.  Then, tonight she rocked it.  This makes me so incredibly happy for her (and the rest of us) because that girl has more song-writing talent in one pinky than all of Nashville (not to mention a beyond-her-years amount of grace), and I think someone is helping her get the voice to go with it.
  3. I really want Keith Urban to go away.  I liked him so much more before Nicole Kidman.  Seriously, he had enough eyeliner on to re-caulk my shower stall.
  4. In the country legends making appearances competition between George Strait, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Loretta Lynne, the award goes hands down to George Strait.  He looks and sounds the same as he did when he starred in Pure Country.  (Runner-up goes to Loretta Lynne for getting up there in that great big gold dress with the great big hair and singing Coal Miner’s Daughter).
  5. I’d like to give out some special awards to Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton (post-mullet) for remaining HAWT without the cowboy hats.  This is a feat that many a country star can not pull off (i.e. Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw...the list goes on and on...).
  6. I was actually listening to The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” on the radio today, and then they played it on the show.  First, it’s a beautifully written song, but I just want to be clear:
If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song 
does not represent my wishes.  Satin is my kryptonite.  Makes me want to throw up when I touch it.  A bed of roses?  No.  I like poppies--I want to go out sleepy Dorothy style.  I don’t want to ever drown--now or even after I’m dead.  And as far as my funeral music goes, just stick with the Beatles.  They’ve never steered me wrong thus far.  You can throw in some Ben Harper if you want.

7. Gwynneth Paltrow?  I love you Gwynnie, and you found your groove in verse two.  Congratulations on being good at everything you do.

8. And finally, I have to give it up to the women of country.  I didn’t see one emaciated starlet in the bunch.  How refreshing is it to see women who didn’t skip several meals to fit into a size 0 dress?  Even the skinny-minnies (i.e. TSwift) look healthy.  Frigging fantastic.