Thursday, December 28, 2006

Miracles do happen

Guthrie is currently sleeping. In his own bed. By himself. In his room. In his bed. By himself. Alone. Sleeping.

I'd take a picture, but the flash would wake him up.

How'd he get that way? (Asleep. Alone. In his own bed.)

His amazing, incredible, miraculous, wonderful, super big sister, Samantha. Yep.

Okay, that combined with the threat that Daddy was going to pick him up and take him to bed. He closed his eyes to pretend he was going to sleep, and really did!

If only it would last.

We're home

We're unpacked. The floor, which less than 24 hours ago was spotless, looks like the Christmas gift Grandma (thank you!) train derailed on it. We have all our little ones with us. We are (or at least I am) exhausted. And so no news for now. I leave you with pics, and will tell tales of travels, toddlers, and testosterone later.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

My husband announced

that the women he drools over are, not necessarily in this order,Julie Adrews and Ingrid Bergman. That, if given the choice, he would take Julie Andrews over Lauren Bacall.

Prompted, I'm sure, by watching the last two nights, Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

Since all of these women, now, are either old or dead, I'm not too worried. I'm still not sure how I feel about it though.

Julie Andrews?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Ouch," cried Turner.

The title is a quote from Guthrie last night. He "pushed" Turner down (it was a rather gentle push, more of a "helping him into a sitting position"), and then made the above statement.

Made me wonder if he doesn't hear a few TOO many stories. I know that's not really possible, but the kid has suddenly been speaking as if the entire world is a giant storybook to be narrated.

Could quite likely be his newfound obsession with all things Thomas, and the way the Thomas movies (which we so kindly - or crazily - bought him to get him through his illness) are narrated, the characters themselves not speaking the words but instead George or Ringo (or whoever it is who does it on the videos we have) altering their voices and reading the storybook.

Anyway, it's cute as all hell, and had me cracking up for hours afterward - I just kept looking at Eric and saying " 'Ouch,' cried Turner" - but I don't know if it's really a good thing. He plays with his little trains and toys, and instead of just making them speak, he does the, " 'Hello,' said James, 'What are you doing Percy?'"

Cute kid. Weird kid.

"What do I do with him?" said his mother.

Oh, and I might add, that with this newfound Thomas obsession, not only is Eric's friend officially "George the Steamroller," and his friend Gordon a "talking train," but I am Mama the Tank Engine. We're all trains. I'm a steamie, Daddy and Guthrie are diesels. But Turner is just a boy. Shows what he thinks is important.


Why do we feel the need to subject our children, our beautiful babies, who we got fat and ugly while pregnant with, and nourished with only the milk from our own bodies for goodness knows how long, to this sort of strange torture? Especially when we know that, decades from now, they will turn crimson in embarassment when we show these pictures to their girlfriends, college roommates, and future spouses?

But ain't he cute? It's a naked elf eating Eeyore.

Those Crazy Vegetarians

This news story didn't surprise me in the least. The higher a kid's IQ, the more likely they are to become vegetarian as young adults. A new idea for why higher intelligence is related to better health.

Totally is supported by my experience, too. I can't say I've ever known a dumb vegetarian. Usually, it is the stupidest people, too, who are most appalled at the idea of giving up meat, and who can't fathom how could possibly get everything you need without eating a dead animal.

(Realize I'm making this argument as someone who is NOT a vegetarian. I have, at times, gone a month or more without meat, but am, by my own admission, too weak and lazy to go all the way. And could never, never, never go vegan. I love cheese. I mean I LOVE cheese. As in, a world without cheese makes me very, very sad. Gruyere. Bleu. Hell, sharp cheddar - I don't care. I freakin' love cheese.)

And even among the people I know who do eat meat, the more educated and intelligent the person is, the less meat they eat, the more open they are to eating meat-less meals, and the more they care, in general, about food issues.

Ha! Although we are going to the grocery store soon, where we'll be buying our "road trip" food - lots of soda, juice, Cheetos for GusGus, I want me some guacamole Doritos, and probably some lunch meat and cheese for sandwiches. Another veggie issue: how do you eat meat-less, and healthy, on road trips? Fairly certain we're not going to find a "great little vegetarian restaurant" in Guthrie, Oklahoma, or off the Kansas Turnpike. (Or we could take the Turner Turnpike north of Guthrie, to complete the namesake-filled trip. Ah, but we'll already be passing through the Turner Falls region of Oklahoma)

Curious about other people I know. Vegetarian now? Ever been? Open to meat-free meals? How does that relate to your IQ? (Yeah, I know, trusting self-assessment of IQ can be a bad idea: "I've never been tested, but my mom told me I was a genius!" does not cut it.) For myself: I'd actually have to dig up my score, which I'm not going to do, since I can't remember the exact number. I looked up a chart, though, and I fall firmly in the "gifted" range, and am heading further down the meatless path everyday. Eric is the same, although his number is higher than mine, and might be right up in the genius area.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I think I'm finally going to attempt to upgrade to Beta. I've been having problems posting comments to other people's blogs, and wonder if this is part of the reason why. And I hate being behind the curve. :P Bare with me if this get weird. Wish me luck.

And, I finaly got around to coming into this decade and setting up a Myspace profile. It's lame and I need to add more, but Eric and I were browsing MySpace last night looking for people (we found mine, but not his), and I figured I should make it easy for people to find me too. Although the ease with which you can find your old people was a little bizarre, and I must admit I'm having a bit of a strange MySpace hangover this morning, having dsicovered the pictures and profiles of various people I haven't seen or talked to in nearly a decade. I knew I would have MySpace dreams all night last night, but instead it was X-Files dreams: I was Scully. And I wasn't doing what I wanted to be with Mulder. *sigh*

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still sick

There is an advantage to having sick kids. You suddenly have very cuddly kids.

This was how I spent my evening yesterday. Turner was asleep, and Guthrie fell asleep rather quickly. Excuse my exposed belly - at home I nurse and half the time I forget to cover myself back up.

Somehow, I've managed not to get sick. Eric came down with the stomach bug in the middle of the night last night, but is starting to feel better now - and managed to go into work today! Guthrie never got the stomach ickies. He was running a 103 degree fever off and on, had a runny nose, and just generally was tired and feeling bad, but no major symptoms. He's had this happen once before - high fever, no other real symptoms, over it in a few days.

He spent most of the day on the couch today, watching the Thomas and Friends movies Daddy bought him yesterday at the store.

He's feeling better now, I think. His fever seems to be gone, and he got off the couch to play with his toys for the first time today. The adventure will be getting him to sleep.

At least we got sick before our trip. And maybe I can get some sleep before we leave - with two sick kids, I haven't gotten much at all.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I've had fantasies of Guthrie some day just crawling into a comfy position and laying down to fall asleep. He's almost 3, and he's never really done it. Until today:

Unfortunately, it's because he's sick.

Poor things. Turner started throwing up last night about 9 o'clock, and kept it up off and on for most of the night. This morning it switched ends, and he had a fever. This afternoon, I was sitting in a chair holding a sleeping Turner when Guthrie climbed up next to me, and I noticed I was surrounded by little hot men - Guthrie had a fever too. Shortly after Eric got home from work, GusGus (he doesn't like being called Gus, but GusGus is okay) lay down on the floor, and when I checked on him he was asleep. I'm guessing he'll wake us up shortly with the pukies, too.

But in today's good news, we got our health insurance cards in the mail today. Yep, that's right, we're now insured! Isn't that the most amazing, incredible thing ever? And what timing - the boys get sick on the day we get our insurance cards!

We'll be taking off for Missouri in a week. So much to do to get ready - groceries, wrap gifts, laundry - I have 4 differents lists going! But we can't wait to see everybody.

No other news, really. Eric's friend George came to visit last week. In the Thomas the Tank Engine books, George is the steamroller. Guthrie was unable to say the name "George" without following it up with "the steamroller." George is getting a silly Christmas present from us soon because of that.

Turner sitting on a slide

Guthrie at the park

OH, and I might add that I'm still having a hard time with the fact that we finally put up Christmas lights and little miniature trees while our tree is still blooming and we had to turn the a/c back on today.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Heifer International

Click the link in the title to check out this organization.

I'd never heard of this group before this holiday season, but apparently they got my name through some of my crazy liberal associations. I've been looking for ways to donate and try to do more than give some toys or a Christmas dinner, and this looks like it might be it. I can't do so much as to give a heifer this year, but maybe something smaller.

I was trying to explain this to Guthrie earlier, too. I've been trying to think of something to do for the wonderful lady who does story hour at the library, who used to be a teacher and I'm certain has entirely too many cheesy knick-knacks and thank you plaques sitting around her house. We were thinking of making a gift of a beehive, or some chicks, or maybe a trio of rabbits in her name, along with a tray of cookies. She strikes me as the type who would appreciate that more than another apple paperweight.

If you haven't decided on your holiday giving yet, go check it out. It really struck home with me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yes, it is okay

To whoever found me through a search for "is it okay not to have a large family, homeschool and grind wheat," yes, yes it is okay. And if you're doing a google search to find the answer to that question, I say it's probably best if you don't. Just my opinion though.

Thanks for putting a smile on my face, and leaving me a little confused.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Holiday Meme

Got this in an e-mail from my friend Tonya. Now everyone knows I'm a big old scrooge around the holidays, and get annoyed hearing holiday music starting in October and seeing lights up before Thanksgiving, but I do like the holidays. Really I do. So here goes.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. I hate egg nog. Barf.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? As a kid I think ours were wrapped. Eric and I leave the gifts from Santa out under the tree.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored. If we do lights this year.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Yeah, usually. Who doesn't want another excuse for a kiss.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Not until after Thanksgiving, but generally when we get around to it. Hopefully before the 25th. :P

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Pumpkin Pie Cake

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Getting my John Deere combine as a present.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was 7. My parents told me, because they thought we were going to be poor that year and I wouldn't have presents and would figure it all out, so they told me first, in the summer. There's actually more to this, and the fact that this was one of the more traumatic moments of my life, but that needs its own post someday.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Christmas morning.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With whatever we have - no theme. Handmade construction paper ornaments, glass balls, whatever.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Eh ... I'd like one snow and that's it. Not going to happen in South Texas, though.

12. Can you ice skate? Yeah, right!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I'll have to think about it. I got my engagement ring from Eric around Christmas time, I guess that counts.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spiked cider.

15. What is your favorite Holiday dessert? fudge is good

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Driving around looking at lights.

17. What tops your tree? a star

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving, especially to the kids

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? "God Rest Ye merry Gentlemen," and the tune of "What Child is This." I'll Be ome for Christmas always makes me cry, even if I am "home."

20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? okay

21. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life - need to buy it on DVD.

These are the moments ...

Yesterday, I had one of those moments when I just knew what it was all about, what I was doing this all for.

The boys were playing (!) together (!) in their bedroom (!) in their little playhut school bus. I was on the floor next to them, watching. Suddenly, Guthrie just reached over, grabbed Turner and held him close, and said "I love you." Oh, yeah, it definitely did bring tears to my eyes. Eric walked in right after, and I was a bumbling mess.

I have to remember that moment when Guthrie is trying to drag Turner around and away from his toys. Or screaming at us because he doesn't want to go to bed.

In other, completely unrelated news, dishwasher cleaner rocks! We have the cleanest, sparklingest dishwasher ever right now. We also have a sink full of dirty dishes which I'm not going to bother with until tomorrow, but you should see our dishwasher! Totally worth the $5 (or however much it cost) for that stuff. And I think it finally got rid of the fish oil smell too!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Turkey Day

Our little Thanksgiving getaway was great.

Living nowhere near family, and not close enough to drive, we're working on starting our own new traditions. We're planning on trying to do a Thanksgiving at the beach every year. This year we were kind of poor, so instead of going to one of the restaurants serving a full Turkey Day buffet - I just couldn't see paying $60 or more to eat a bunch of food we don't really like that well anyway - this is what our feast looked like:

Notice the biggest part of the meal seems to be the apple pie! We had turkey and ham (lunch meat), whole grain (store bought) bread, two kinds of (pre-sliced) cheese, chicken strips, Cheetos, a bag of fruit, and that weird thing on the left is a potato wedge. Oh, yeah, and some beer and wine!

(Forgive the Wal-Mart. Not many options on South Padre, and we needed non-grocery things too, that could only be found at Evil Central)

I have to admit, I enjoyed this much, much more than a traditional turkey, ham, veggies-covered-with-fat and fruit-covered-with-sugar family dinner. And there was NO STRESS!!! Slap some meat, cheese and mayo (and mustard for Max), between some bread, grab an orange and some apple pie, and down it with some beer, and there you go!

I think I'm going to like Thanksgiving from now on.

We went to the sea turtle rescue center on the Island too. This was really amazing for me. As we were walking around, waiting for it to be feeding time, Eric was talking about how sad it was, and how disturbing it is. I mentioned that with all the reports about seafood lately - both the mercury content and, even moreso, the overfishing problem, I was having a hard time eating any fish at all lately, and didn't think I could anymore. Eric looked at me and said something about what difference does one person make, which felt really discouraging to me.

As we were listening to the presentation, the man mentioned that one of the species of sea turtles had been down to a population of about 300 on the Island, but now is up to over 9,000. The organization is almost entirely volunteer, and consists of very few people. I looked at him and said, "What was that about one person not making a difference?"

Here's our little sea turtle:

And with Jerry, a famous old sea turtle. I love the way Guthrie is looking up at him, like, "Dude, you're kind of big. Don't eat me."

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Guthrie running to the beach:

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How's this for a way to spend the fourth Thursday in November?

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And, my cute little boys, together. Guthrie grabbed Turner and said, "Take a picture!"

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Good news

Eric's book was named one of the top 100 books of the year by the Kansas City Star. Not bad. Not bad company to keep either - Cormac McCarthy, Pynchon, Richard Powers. Congrats, also, to Wayne Miller, whose book of poetry was on the list, as well as the list of the top 10 books. Not bad for a first book of poetry.

The other, better news though - Eric doesn't have cancer.

What? you ask. Well, see, Eric has had a mole on his back for, well, ever. In the last week or so, he noticed it seemed to have gotten bigger. We were both freaking out - he worked for years in construction, going shirtless in sun and heat, making him a prime candidate for skin cancer.

After calling every dermatologist in the Valley, and being told repeatedly that they couldn't get anyone in until January, sometimes March, we finally found someone who, by chance, had an opening yesterday, and Eric got right in.

Fortunately, no cancer. Doctor did a thorough check of the mole, and Eric's entire upper body, and he's fine. But that was very, very scary. Strangely, while Eric was at the doctor, I dealt with my fear and nervousness by cleaning. Don't know where that came from.

And, so, when he came home, he asked if I'd like to spend Thanksgiving on the beach. That might be one of the dumber questions I've ever been asked. I'd like to spend every day on the beach, so yes, of course I'll spend Thanksgiving there. I'm getting ready to reserve us a room, for Wednesday and Thursday nights.

The funny part of that, is knowing our little Guthrie, who has been begging since we got back from Victoria to "go to 5 hotels," we have to stay in a lesser hotel (we'd thought of the Holiday Inn resort that's right on the beach), because what he wants is the continental breakfast. Yep, he wants sugary cereal and little cups of yogurt, and a full restaurant breakfast would likely disappoint him. Funny kid.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A weekly recap

Haven't been on much this week. Oh, I've been online, just not on here. The boys have both this week been rather, well, difficult. I think Turner is about to cut his first tooth, and Guthrie is going through some weird stage I don't know what to do with. He's been waking up with nightmares at 3 a.m., screaming about ladybugs and not wanting to be flushed down the toilet and begging for glasses of soy milk. I've been exhausted.

On top of this, we had our friend, poet Kevin Prufer here visiting since Wednesday. It's been a lot of fun, and I guess Kevin did amazingly on his various lectures and readings around campus and town, but it was strangely hard on Guthrie. He had a good time with Kevin, but Guthrie can be unpredictable and will react to some things in the exact opposite way you'd expect. So, for example, when Kevin was showing him magic tricks and pretending to eat one of Guthrie's toys, Guthrie freaked out. Total meltdown. He was upset about it for the whole day, telling me, "Kevin will not eat my tree. Kevin must eat food," with tears streaming down his face. *sigh*

Oh, yeah, and Kevin got in Wednesday night. I was informed of his visit on ... Monday evening. Yep. Somehow, I didn't get that memo. I vaguely remember Eric asking me if those days would be okay, but I don't remember any confirmation that he was indeed coming. Words of wisdom: If you have company coming, tell your spouse/partner/roommates in advance, and 2 days does not count as in advance.

The weather here lately has been perfect. Absolutely what you would order if you would ask for your perfect day (well, at least I would). 80 degrees during the day, 50s at night. Bee-you-tee-full.

So, now that we've been having this great weather, I've been making a point of trying to talk a walk with the boys to the park every day. The park is a little under a mile from our house, so the walk to and from is at least a mile and a half, pushing 50 pounds of kid in a stroller. When we get there, if it's not busy (most of the time during the day we're the only ones there), Guthrie gets out and plays on the playground while I push Turner, who usually falls asleep, around in laps on the sidewalk around the playground. I can see Guthrie the whole time, I'm never really any further from him than if I was sitting on the benches by the playground, and this way I can get some additional exercise. I even bought a digital pedometer, so I can keep track of myself. It tells me my total steps, aerobic steps, time spent in aerobic exercise, and how far I went. I'm getting a solid half hour or more of aerobic exercise every day now, and have gotten as much as an hour and a half. I feel great, too.

We also paid a whopping $15 and bought an exercise machine from our neighbor's garage sale. I don't know exactly what to call it - an Airstride or something. I figure for $15, if I only use it a little bit, it won't be a huge waste of money. We're leaving it in a corner of the living room so I can sneak on it while the boys are playing. Well, that was my plan, but every time I try to step on it, Guthrie does too, and that doesn't work. So it might have been a waste after all.

It's only 5:45, but I'm already starting to nod off at the computer. I'll try to give a little more tomorrow, as it has been an interesting week. For now, though, I need coffee. I'll sign off with pictures:

Wild parrots, less than a block from our house. I could hear them out our window. They're beautiful.

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The tree in front of our house is flowering. It's a butterfly magnet, and this morning I lay on the floor of the boys' room and watched dozens of butterflies flutter around they tree while they played. I've also seen hummingbirds on it. The butterflies are very pretty, and come in all colors. Eric almost cut this tree down to put up an oak, but I'm glad he didn't. Now I won't let him. ;)

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And blogger still won't let me embed video, so click here to see a video of Guthrie singing his ABCs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Guthrie is not a word

He's a cute kid. Smart kid. Loving, sweet, great kid.

But he's about to drive me bonkers.

It's the same thing, every night, when we're reading.

I'll be going along, reading his bedtime stories (all 5 thousand of them), when I have to look over to see how Turner is doing if he's not yet asleep, or look at Guthrie to see his reaction, or ... whatever. You know, you can read a sentence and then reading it out loud takes longer, and so you look around while you're reading? Yeah. But then Guthrie's reaction, if I'm looking at him:

"I'm not a word."

Looking at Turner: "Turner's not a word."

Or sometimes he quotes the exact words: "Turner is not the Ugly Duckling." (See, he could be telling me Turner is the ugly duckling, so it could be worse.)

"The clock is not the big, big bridge."

You get the picture.

At first it was kind of cute. And it's a good sign of pre-reading skills, too, I think, on at least some level.

But it makes reading time rather difficult for me, and I want to pull my hair out. Sometimes Turner takes off crawling, and Guthrie is constantly giving me, "Turner is not a word. Turner is not Topham Hatt. I am not Celeste."

To the point where it takes forever to read one story, and neither one of us can concentrate.

I don't think he's old enough to understand how it works. I've tried. I'm at a loss.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Home again

We got back from Victoria yesterday early evening, and I have to say, although we were only gone 2 days, I feel like I've needed all of today to recover. I've felt just "off" all day today and couldn't quite figure out why. I've been unnaturally exhausted, jittery, and a little nauseas. I'm fairly certain it's from 2 days of junk food. It occurred to me that I ate like that for years and years (even worse, actually), and never did feel quite right. I used to have headaches all the time, get stomach aches for no real reason, and feel tired when I shouldn't. What a difference diet makes.

Poor little Guthrie needs to get caught up on sleep, but getting him to nap is a nightmare, and he's overtired so took forever to fall asleep tonight. I think I'm going to try to move bedtime a little earlier for a few days and see if that helps.

We had a great time. Victoria was beautiful. It is apparently a very old town, and once we got to the older areas, we realized we were no longer in Texas but instead were in the South. There was a huge area with beautiful old mansions, and the courthouse was gorgeous. The park - an enormous old park next to the Guadalupe River - had a small zoo, which we visited, a duck pond, a huge playground, and tons and tons of pecan trees.

I should mention here that Guthrie did not enjoy the zoo, due to his overactive sense of smell. I need to write a separate post about this issue. He didn't like the restaurant on the way home either and the smell of seafood.

On our way home, we drove along the coast and down through Corpus Christi. We stopped at a little restaurant in a coastal town and had a nice lunch - I had crab and shrimp fettuccine alfredo. (Another observation - portion size is out of control! My meal was probably about 8 servings of pasta. It was crazy huge.)

Eric did very well and enjoyed his time at UHV. He was on the local TV station (although I missed it) and in the local paper, too.

Guthrie keeps asking to go back to a hotel. Apparently he enjoyed eating Apple Jacks and watching the Food Network, since that was about all we watched. I think he's in love with Rachael Ray.

Took this picture along the coast on the way home.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I should add that it has been the cutest thing in the world to watch Turner playing with the other little baby in the room, the little tiny one who is stuck on the other side of the full-length mirror, and to mention that later we are planning on all taking a nice little swim in the hotel pool. The outdoor hotel pool. Because it's 90 degrees, and so we can do that here.

Notes from a hotel

We're currently sitting in a hotel room in Victoria, Texas. By "we" I mean me, Guthrie, and Turner. And I will confess to being total bums and having brought along not only the laptop, but also the portable DVD player and a few of Guthrie's movies. The drive was only 4-ish hours, but we didn't get out of town until close to dark, and I figured what the heck, it might make it an easier drive for Guthrie. It wasn't bad, though - I actually had fun sitting between the boys, teaching Guthrie about nocturnal animals, making Turner's little teddy bear do crazy dances to Rush songs, and generally feeling like a Total Mom.

Eric is currently off at the University of Houston-Victoria, where he's doing lectures and readings and all kinds of fancy-pants stuff like that. There was no need for me and the boys to come, but to be honest, I was ready to get out of the Valley for a little while. Seriously.

We're going to go hunt up a park in a little while, after Turner wakes up from his nap and Guthrie finishes watching his Cars DVD.

In the meantime, I have to admit there are things I love about staying in hotels. We're total crunchy freaks (yeah, right) in that we don't have a TV (technically, we do - we own one, but it's sitting in our garage, where it will stay). We also eat a mainly healthy diet at home, and don't allow a lot of the normal average "Standard American Diet" foods into our home at all - sugary breakfast cereals, white bread, and the like.

On road trips, and in hotels, we relax most of our rules. No, the boys still may not have any soda, and we don't ever eat conventionally grown beef, but other than that, just about anything goes. On the drive home, Guthrie's going to get a bag of Cheetos, and I've already had two bottles of Pepsi. As rarely as we take road trips, and as well as we eat most of the time, I figure for a trip we should just relax and let the whole thing be seen as a treat. We also gorge ourselves on TV. Last night I kept trying to go to sleep, but it was almost 1 a.m. before I finally crashed, after watching South Park, "Iron Chef America," Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. I just couldn't stop watching.

The good thing about all of this is that it reinforces to me why we do things the way we do at home. Aside from the gems of Stewart and Colbert, and the 5 million channels to feed me bizarre news addiction, TV today is CRAP. It was darn near impossible to find anything other than some form of "reality TV." And the constant barrage of advertisements, whether it obvious commercials or in the form of interviews and features on talk shows, was also inescapable.

I tried to find something decent for Guthrie to watch on TV. While I don't think (or even care) whether SpongeBob is gay, I don't like him. And it seemed like SB was on 24/7.

The commercials during the shows Eric and I were watching were scary too - "Ultimate Fighting DVDs," violent war games for your Playstation, or how about some sex, sex or more sex.

The hotel breakfast? Between the sweetened yogurt (but it's low-fat!), the maple-flavored pancake syrup (the secret, I believe, is fenugreek - I know when I took it I couldn't figure out why I had such a craving for pancakes all the time, because I smelled like freaking syrup), the 4 cups of sugared, creamed coffeine, and the toast with grape jelly (I loves me some grape jelly), I have a sugar rush to end all sugar rushes. Why can't hotel breakfasts have any substantial protein?

I guess I could have eaten a tub of peanut butter flavored trans fat.

So, off we will go soon to explore Victoria, eat us some junk food (I saw an Arby's last night - I'm having me a Roast Turkey Reuben. And when we get home - no TV, no crap food, no soda.

But I must admit, there was something addictive about Iron Chef. When it first came on, I couldn't quit laughing, and Eric just stared at me. It seemed like America had finally lost it, and this was proof of our impending doom: A food contest reality TV game show whatever the hell you want to call it. But I would be so addicted to this show if we had cable. A bunch of chefs, making venison taquitos, and rack of venison, and running around like crazy people throwing dried blueberries and pureeing apricots and avocados and who knows what else, in some crazy American competition to please a bunch of snooty pretentious judges. I LOVE IT! Makes me want to go eat some freedom fries.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I've been tagged to Know Thyself by Jill, but every time I've tried to do it I've been interrupted, so here goes:
What is/are YOUR:
Easy how-to ways to beat a bad mood? When Guthrie tells me to "chill-out Mom," a glass of wine, a bath and a book.
Never-fail lip color? Cover Girl ColorSlicks.
Personality type (via myersbriggs)? ISFJ
Greatest strengths and weaknesses (like in a job interview)? Friendly, warm, smile a lot, easily trusted, but sometimes not confident enough to trust that I can do something
Names of the trees in your yard? A pretty flowering tree of some sort.
Mother-in-law's favorite flower? Hah! Black roses? Those nasty smelling ones? Something poisonous?
Names of 4 friends whom you're going to tag? Abby, Callie, Karrie and Amanda, to remind her.

From Jill, again

So, the idea behind this meme is that you bold every one of these things that you've done and leave the rest in standard typeface.

01. bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. swam with wild dolphins
03. climbed a mountain
04. taken a ferrari for a test drive
05. been inside the great pyramid
06. held a tarantula
07. taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. said "i love you" and meant it
09. hugged a tree
10. bungee jumped
11. visited paris
12. watched a lightning storm at sea
13. stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. seen the northern lights
15. gone to a huge sports game
16. walked the stairs to the top of the leaning tower of pisa
17. grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. touched an iceberg
19. slept under the stars
20. changed a baby's diaper
21. taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. watched a meteor shower
23. gotten drunk on champagne (cheap champagne)
24. given more than you can afford to charity
25. looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. had a food fight
28. bet on a winning horse
29. asked out a stranger
30. had a snowball fight
31. screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. held a lamb
33. seen a total eclipse
34. ridden a roller coaster
35. hit a home run
36. danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. adopted an accent for an entire day
38. actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. had two hard drives for your computer
40. visited all 50 states
41. taken care of someone who was drunk
42. had amazing friends
43. danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. watched whales
45. stolen a sign
46. backpacked in europe
47. taken a road-trip
48. gone rock climbing
49. midnight walk on the beach
50. gone sky diving
51. visited ireland
52. been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. in a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. visited japan
55. milked a cow
56. alphabetized your cds
57. pretended to be a superhero
58. sung karaoke
59. lounged around in bed all day
60. played touch football
61. gone scuba diving
62. kissed in the rain
63. played in the mud
64. played in the rain
65. gone to a drive-in theater
66. visited the great wall of china
67. started a business
68. fallen in love and not had your heart broken (so far, so good)
69. toured ancient sites
70. taken a martial arts class
71. played d&d for more than 6 hours straight
72. gotten married
73. been in a movie
74. crashed a party
75. gotten divorced
76. gone without food for 5 days
77. made cookies from scratch
78. won first prize in a costume contest
79. ridden a gondola in venice
80. gotten a tattoo
81. rafted the snake river
82. been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. gotten flowers for no reason
84. performed on stage
85. been to las vegas
86. recorded music
87. eaten shark
88. kissed on the first date
89. gone to thailand
90. bought a house
91. been in a combat zone
92. buried one/both of your parents
93. been on a cruise ship
94. spoken more than one language fluently
95. performed in rocky horror
96. raised children
97. followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. passed out cold
99. taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. walked the golden gate bridge
102. sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. had plastic surgery
104. survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. wrote articles for a large publication
106. lost over 100 pounds
107. held someone while they were having a flashback
108. piloted an airplane
109. touched a stingray
110. broken someone's heart
111. helped an animal give birth
112. won money on a t.v. game show
113. broken a bone
114. gone on an african photo safari
115. had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
119. had major surgery
120. had a snake as a pet
121. hiked to the bottom of the grand canyon
122. slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. visited more foreign countries than u.s. states
124. visited all 7 continents
125. taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. eaten kangaroo meat
127. eaten sushi (yummy!)
128. had your picture in the newspaper
129. changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. gone back to school
131. parasailed
132. touched a cockroach
133. eaten fried green tomatoes
134. read The iliad
135. selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. skipped all your school reunions
138. communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. been elected to public office
140. written your own computer language
141. thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. built your own PC from parts
144. sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. had a booth at a street fair
146. dyed your hair (umm, monthly!)
147. been a dj
148. shaved your head
149. caused a car accident
150. saved someone's life

That was fun. Leave me a comment if you do it too!!!

Sleepless baby redux

Turner has definitely started following in the footsteps of his brother. When he was tiny and new, he was such a good sleeper, that I was certain we weren't going to have the problems we had with Guthrie. Even just a few weeks ago, he was taking 3 hour naps all by himself and sleeping for 2-3 hours, at least to start the night.

Now, though, I'm starting to get nervous. He has taken to waking up after 20 minutes for a nap unless someone is laying right there with him, and is waking up about a gazillion times every night.

Eric is convinced he is teething. I may try some Tylenol tonight before bed to see if it helps. I just don't want to keep him constantly on the Tylenol, but I really need him to have at least some short stretches of sleep where I can be a human being without holding him!

I have the No Cry Sleep Solution but those solutions certainly aren't for a baby with a toddler in the house as well. I can't just sit by the door and wait for him to stir, and then go in and lay back down with him until he goes back to sleep, and I sure can't do this every nap, every day, for an extended period of time. Not without Guthrie coming in to "help" or insisting at that moment that he needs a glass of soy milk.

Eric assured me that this will pass. And I know it will - it did with Guthrie. It just took 2 1/2 years for it to pass with Guthrie, and I have such a fear that it will with Turner too.

It's not that I'm sleep-deprived, because on that end I'm doing okay. It's that I'm ME-deprived. I need to have some time alone, or time alone with my husband, and I can't do that with a baby who refuses to sleep alone.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I voted!

We found out, last Wednesday when we (Eric went with us) took the boys to Story Hour at the library, that we were indeed registered to vote. We thought we'd missed the deadline, but found out that in fact we got registered when we got our Texas driver's licenses. I thought I remembered something about getting registered, but we never got a card in the mail, so I was thoroughly confused.

And so, since we were there, at the library and community center, which was our polling place, and they were doing early voting, we went ahead and voted! Yeah!

I'm not going to tell you who I voted for, but let's just say I'm BLUE! Well, actually, I voted for quite a few Libertarians, because in several races the only options were vote for Darth's minions, or vote for Libertarians. I will admit I was hopelessly uninformed about some of the races, because I didn't think I was registered. Shame, shame, shame on Judy.

It was my first time voting on a touch screen. Yeah, um, I have tons of faith in that system. It didn't even feel like I was voting, and who knows whether or not the thing counted at all. I just feel like elections could soon be decided by hackers racing each other to beat some clock. Call me a cynic, but it just doesn't seem right.

I did my part, though. We, sadly, didn't take either of the boys in with us while we voted, as we took turns, and one of us stayed in the library with them while the other voted. Guthrie's baby book has an "I Voted" sticker from the '04 elections, but I don't think they even gave them out this time. :(

And we won't even talk about the ridiculousness of the redistricting down here, and how they worked it all out so that the districts contain enough white people to keep white people in office. Makes it feel like none of it even matters.

From One Weird Mother

to another.

Thank you to Karrie. I got my package yesterday, but Blogger didn't like me and wouldn't let me post this. :(

Had a barbecue to go to yesterday, but I know what I'm having for lunch today! These look awesome. But, the spices (I've looked everywhere for the Garam Masala and couldn't find any anywhere) mean I now have to attempt to cook something more creative than Barilla Plus (Drink!) and veggies. And I've already started the book - I had it on my wish list, too.

Friday, November 03, 2006

BB Image of the Day

I forgot to post the link, and show that Samantha and Guthrie were featured as part of Blogging Baby's Image of the Day for Halloween. They did a little collage of pictures. They are the devil/angel and choo-choo train on the left in the middle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Talking Turkey(less)

Now that Halloween is over, we've been starting to think about Thanksgiving. A little early, I know, but I like to know ahead of time what we're going to do for these kinds of things.

Eric suggested maybe getting Cornish Game Hens, which actually sounded like a fun idea, but the way Guthrie freaked out in the grocery store yesterday seeing whole dead fish, I think that might send him into a panic.

I was thinking about it, too, and I think part of the reason Thanksgiving is such a big deal to lots of people is because so many people don't really cook anymore, and then on Thanksgiving they go all out and cook a huge feast. We, on the other hand, cook all the time. There is constantly the smell of some food in our house - beans on the stove, bread in the machine, cookies in the oven, or bacon in the frying pan. (Let's not talk about our recent bacon fetish. That combined with the candy and I've actually managed to gain 3 pounds!)

My suggestion, which Eric seems to like, is that we take a lesson from A Christmas Story and go out to eat for this holiday. (Yeah, in the movie it was Christmas, I know) Chinese, American buffet, Mexican food, the Indian restaurant if it's open - but something so we don't have to cook. How completely untraditional of us, I know, but a nice way to start our own tradition. Eating out, in a restaurant, is a real rarity around here, so that would be a treat for us, and something I think these boys would remember.

And I'd like to start the habit of spending New Year's Eve on the beach. Hotel rooms, from what I hear, are super-cheap that time of year, and I love nothing more than hearing the waves crash outside my window. Christmas we'll be in Missouri, for a visit, and we'll do that in the traditional way, probably at my mom's.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Real Men Cook

Because there are women out there whose husbands don't regularly cook for them, and I really want them to be jealous of the amazing cook I married, I thought I'd share this picture. Okay, that, and it's just really cute.

They were making Eric's famous cookies (which he really must stop making on such a regular basis, or I'm never going to lose those last 5 baby pounds - although we froze most of them, and right now any weight must be blamed on the Halloween candy). Tell me - this boy is beautiful, has blonde hair and blue eyes, is a little genius of course, and is already learning how to cook. Is he going to have more girlfriends than Hugh Hefner?

Happy Birthday!

My beautiful precious (not so) little girl turned 11 years old today.

I can't say much, except Happy Birthday to my little angel. I can't even begin to say how much I miss Samantha, and wish we could all be together for her birthday. And I can't believe she's 11.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I'm completely in awe. It caused a truly emotional reaction for me, and I don't know what else to say.

If you're curious, it is an artist, who creates works of art that are TINY. As in, the Statue of Liberty in the head of a pin.

If you haven't seen it before, click the link. It's mind-boggling. I have found another human being who I would be in awe of.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Staying home for Halloween

but feeling really guilty about it.

Started thinking about it this weekend. Eric has his long day on Tuesdays - goes to work by 8 in the morning and doesn't get home until after 7, so I'd be trying to do the whole trick-or-treat, or take the boys to the community center, by myself. Not impossible, but not exactly fun either.

Guthrie has no interest in Halloween. I've tried to get him excited about it, but he doesn't get it at all. I've told him he goes door to door getting candy, and he said, "I already had some." The library had a "practice run" at Story Hour last week, but after he went to the first station, that was all the candy he wanted. When someone tried to give him some more, he actually threw it out of his basket. He doesn't want to put on a costume, either.

Turner obviously doesn't care one lick about Halloween, or anything else. I've always thought it as pretty lame, too, when parents take tiny babies trick-or-treating. If they can't eat the candy, they shouldn't get any.

So, I think we've decided we're going to stay home and pass out candy tomorrow night. We're carving a pumpkin tonight, going to make some sort of Halloween treat, and after Story Hour this morning I'm taking the boys to buy candy. (We also have to get some long PJs and pants for Guthrie. It's still in the 70s and 80s during the day, but at night it drops into the 50s and gets downright chilly. If we keep the windows open at night, we don't need the a/c during the day.)

I love Halloween. I really, really do. I love dressing up in costumes, eating pumpkin seeds. So I feel bad about the fact that we're staying home, which is silly when these kids Just. Don't. Care.

I'm also very curious to see the celebrations for Days of the Dead. Always fascinated by the holiday, and looking forward to seeing it for myself.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Guthrie the jumper

Blogger won't let me embed video. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. So here's the link:

Okay, it still won't let me embed the video in a post. Don't know what the deal is - I'm copying the code straight from YouTube. But, it will let me add it to my template, so I did that. Just scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and the video should be there.

The little dude is absolutely fearless. The top step of the stool is 2 1/2 feet off the ground. I would jump from that high!

Turner, of course, thinks it's just about the funniest thing in the whole world, and totally cracks up at Guthrie jumping. The scary part will be when Turner can climb up the stool and tries to jump off, too.

Friday, October 27, 2006

What's My Age Again?

Maybe I need to keep this in mind for my marriage. We both took this quiz. Keep in mind, my husband is 17 years older than me. I'm 28, he's 45. My answers probably would have been mostly the same when I was 19, though, so I guess I've been about 30 for a long time.

My results:

You Are 29 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Eric's results.

You Are 20 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Beach bums

Ah, yes, it is a little chilly here today (chilly of course being a relative, subjective term. 64 degrees when I was in Alaska was often a rather warm day). But yesterday, Turner turned 6 months old, and we spent the day at the beach. After thinking about it, I realized it wasn't really worth going to Houston with Eric, spending 18 or so hours in the van with the boys over a 3 day period, and then spending half the weekend in the hotel room. So he's on his way to Houston, and I'm home with the boys (again).

But yesterday the beach was a blast, as always. My new goal in life is a beach house. Or a beach trailer. Or a beach cardboard box. I don't care.


Did you see my little weather pixie over there? ---------------------------->

Yeah, she's not wearing a bikini. She's wearing JEANS!!!!

Woke up this morning and stepped out to get the paper and it was downright chilly. We have all our windows open, and the PJ shorts I slept in are almost too cold. Pulled down Guthrie's old wintery clothes for Turner, so he'll have some long pants, and realized I need to get Guthrie some jeans and sweats and things. And maybe I can wear some of my clothes from my closet.

And my motto was starting to be "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the Valley!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I must confess

Eric makes the world's best cookies. Like crack on a cookie sheet. To make up for the fact that he left me alone with the kids for three days while he was hanging out with famous people and having his portrait done, he made cookies tonight, after replacing the van's battery (yes, he's SuperHusband and all that - you can't have him. You really wouldn't want him anyway, especially when he's in WriterMan mode).

A few weeks ago, our neighbors across the street brought us over a plate of cookies, a new recipe the wife had just tried. Being the neighborly type, we realized that since we had freshly made cookies, we should reciprocate. We had also borrowed their jumper cables, and needed to return those, so Eric took the plate of cookies over with the cables.

The confession? I asked him *not* to admit that he made the cookies.

(Where's a blushing emoticon would you need it?)

I don't know how the whole exchange went, but Eric assured me they think I'm a wonderful cookie maker.

Okay, really, we live on the Texas/Mexico border. The culture is a *little* different down here. Eric has repeatedly said he thinks I'm the whitest person in The Valley (which is not true - with his blue eyes, Guthrie definitely is). I don't think a working class Mexican family would get it that my husband comes home from his hard (3 hour) work day and makes cookies. So, they can think I make great cookies.

Because I did make some great cookies with Guthrie this weekend. With the help of this guy:

We're still stuck

My totally stupid "mechanical failure" of the weekend?

Battery is totally fried, needs to be replaced.

Died on Saturday, when we got home from the grocery story. Discovered on Sunday, when we were going to go to the park. Monday evening, friends came over to try to jump-start, but couldn't locate jumper cables. (Turns out they're in Eric's Volkswagen - in MISSOURI!!!!) Eric got home yesterday morning, borrowed some cables and tried to jump it this morning, but got nothing. On his way home from work he's going to get a new battery.

This means that I've been at home, with the boys, since Saturday afternoon. Between the weather (alternating between it raining out of nowhere and 100+ degree heat index), plus the fact that there really isn't anywhere close enough to walk (the library and park on a nice day, but not in this weather), and the mosquito problem which makes it miserable to be outside and makes it impossible to take walks along the canal by our house (and the fact that our lawn needs cut and we have a giant fire ant mound in it), we're going a little crazy. I also have overdue library books. :(

The van has to be fixed by this weekend, since we're going to Houston. Eric has a reading, Roz is coming, and it's just good to get out of The Valley sometimes.

Oh, and Karrie, as I've been unable to get to the post office, your package is going in the mail this afternoon, after Eric's class.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm adding this guy to the blogroll. I disagree with a lot of what he has to say, but I've found some of it interesting, especially his thoughts on homeschool.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I miss about Missouri

What (not who) I miss:

The Korean restaurant in Knob Noster, 'cause gods do I want me some kimchi right now. My mouth is watering like Pavlov's dogs just thinking about it. No Korean food in the Valley.

Korma Sutra. Yes it was an hour's drive, but so worth it. The Indian restaurant here (only one in the Valley) is mediocre at best.

Fall weather, because while I like warm weather and stuff, it's 80 degrees, right now, at almost 10 at night, and starting to feel kind of ridiculous.

Fall foliage, because palm trees don't turn orange and red and pretty. They just stay looking like palm trees.

Ummmm, I'm thinking really hard here to see if there's anything else I miss about Missouri ... still thinking ...

Yeah, without listing people I miss (which would be a shorter list than some might imagine, and is therefore why I won't list it), that's about it. Mostly, though, it's the kimchi.

Wasting time

since we're stuck at home.

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You pull punches, but people still love you.
Absolutely accurate.

You Are 40% Paranoid Schizophrenic

You're pretty grounded, though you have your occasional paranoid moments.
Just make sure to ignore those voices in your head!
Eh, okay.

Your Linguistic Profile:
70% General American English
20% Dixie
5% Yankee
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern
Funny, for a Midwesterner.

You Are Most Like George W. Bush

So what if you're not exactly popular? You still rule the free world.
And while you may be quite conservative now, you knew how to party back in the day!

You Are 84% Bipolar

You have some serious ups and downs, maybe to the point of endangering your own life.
Consult a doctor to see if you may truly have bipolar disorder.
Nothing like diagnosing mental illness through an online quiz. Lithium anyone?


I got all of us all ready to go to the park, diapers packed, cold water bottle, clothes changed, faces washed, kids strapped into their car seats in the van, keys in the ignition, started to turn it over, and ... Nothing. Nothing. Van won't start.

I immediately realized ... between the infant screaming as though a tiger were attacking, the sleeping toddler I wanted to get in the house without waking up, the groceries I had to unpack before they thawed out or otherwise spoiled, I totally forgot to turn the lights on the van off when we got home from the grocery store yesterday.

*sigh* I called Eric to tell him what a dumb-arse I am, and he suggested I ask Sam from across the street, the only neighbor we really know, to help. They're gone for the weekend. I might call friends later, but right now, we're going to make some cookies and stay home and I might let Guthrie watch a movie while I listen to the Chiefs game


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Single Parenthood

I've rather suddenly become a single parent.

No, I didn't leave my husband. Rather, my husband left me.

Okay, he's only left me for 3 days, but still. Did I have you going there? I didn't think so.

Eric is currently sitting on a flight to Los Angeles, where he'll be spending the next three days. What's he doing in LA? Going to parties. Hanging out with his oldest dearest childhood friends. Having his portrait done. And mostly, from what I can tell, not having two drooling, crying, diaper-wearing, puking, pooping, "Mommy please may I play the train game?" little ones hanging off of him. Which is exactly what I'm going to be doing all weekend.

Oh, yes, it's all technically "business," and "job-related," and all that jazz, but I think I want a job where I get to go to LA and hang out with famous people, and generally be child-free for a weekend.

Did I mention he was having his portrait done? By the artist who recently did the portrait of one rather well known, very hot new mama?

(Okay, I'm just jealous that he's going to be hanging out with someone who got to see Angelina Jolie naked. There's my confession.)

And the highlight of my weekend will be ... I was thinking of taking the boys to the zoo, but it's going to rain, and none of really slept well last night - Guthrie woke up at 4 in the morning asking me to change his diaper (!), and then Turner peed through his diaper and all over his onesie, the bedclothes, and I woke up in baby pee. Eric will be having cocktails, with friends and without babies, on Hollywood and Vine, and I will be eating El Pollo Loco and watching Wallace and Gromit (I promised Gutrie we would). Tomorrow, Eric will be at the Huntington Library with movie stars while I'm changing diapers and cutting grapes.

Is there no justice in the world?

When he gets home, I'm taking a nap. Yeah, that's right. He goes for a weekend without the family, and what do I ask for in return? A nap. A long nap, all by myself. Maybe even a long bath. Seems fair, huh?

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Karma Chameleon

When I couldn't find Guthrie today, I located him in my bathroom, very quietly applying blush with an eyeshadow brush all over himself. He was very proud. Sweet little thing. I figure why not - we've painted his toenails too!

And then he thought Turner needed his done, too, so he did Turner's with a marker.

More Cars.

To continue:

This is Mack:

And here, left to right, are The King, Lightning McQueen, some random race car, Thomas the Tank Engine (he needs gas too!), another random race car, Chick Hicks, and Luigi. They are all at the gas station, filling up before the big race. They also all take their turns on the train set in the background.

Sally is apparently lost somewhere in this giant mess of a car collection. This big bin is almost completely full of cars, mostly thanks to his Uncle Mitch.


We try, for a variety of reasons, to avoid too much commercialism, especially for the kids, and to limit exposure to licensed, branded, franchised toys and characters. I could go into depth explaining why, but that's not my point right now, and if you're really curious, I'll direct you here. My guess is you're either already on board with this idea, or you don't really care and it wouldn't make much of a difference anyway, so I'm not going to waste my virtual breath right now.

One of our reasons, though, is that we believe it encourages imagination and creativity. Toys with too specific of a purpose, or very strong associations can be very limiting - you only play with it in the way you are "supposed to," and that doesn't really require much thought. The more simple and basic the toy, the more things you can do with it, the more creative you're going to be with it.

We've seen lots of evidence this seems to be working with Guthrie lately. This past summer, we took him to see the Disney movie Cars. While he does have a little tiny actual toy model of both Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson, he loses them a lot, and is really much more interested in the models he's found in his own giant box of cars (thanks Mitch!). He does ask for the licensed stuff when we see it in the stores, but he doesn't go overboard, and it's not a battle at all.

What he has done is find, in the box of cars he already had, models that he has assigned to be the cars from the movie. It started with a blue race car that actually did look amazingly like The King. Then he found other race cars, and one became Lightning, and another - a green one - Chick Hicks. His model VW bus, when not being called "Uncle Mitchell's Bus," is Fillmore. A green car with flames is Ramone, an older silver car is Doc. His red Coca-Cola truck is Mack, and my personal favorite, the tow-truck we bought him in Mexico, is Tow-Mater. There is also a black Porsche that has been assigned to be Sally, although I think Eric helped him figure that one out. And the big plastic car is Luigi. My favorite, though, without a doubt is his "gas station." It's part of his train set, and is supposed to be, I assume, a platform for waiting for the trains. I never would have thought to make it a gas station, but that's exactly what it is, and what he did.

Unfortunately, for some reason, I can't get all the pics to load into this post. So, see the post above, or below, or however it ends up showing on the page, to get it all figured out.

Ramone and Doc:




Check out what we got from our tree. Yes, it's a lemon. From our lemon tree. How cool is that? Course, we can't actually eat it, because the white flies got to it first, but we did at least get a lemon.

This is amazing. Check him out. He sleeps. By himself. Alone. For more than 15 minutes. He obviously didn't learn this from his brother.

And I took about a thousand great pictures of Eric and Turner yesterday, but since I can't post them all, here are 3 of my favorites:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Feeling like a bad mom

I know I'm not actually a bad mom, but sometimes I feel like a total bum.

Right now, Guthrie is playing Thomas the Tank Engine games on the laptop, while I work at the computer. (Yes, I know blogging isn't really working, but I did have actual work to do, I'm just done now. Just because I SAH doesn't mean I don't have actual work to do on the computer.) Turner is napping.

I've been letting Guthrie play on the computer too much lately, but he hasn't been watching any movies at all, and I do figure the computer is the lesser of two evils, because it's not entirely passive. Yes, he's on a commercial site, and is getting addicted to Thomas (I realized why we were so dead-set against licensed toys walking through Wal-Mart the other day - "Look Mom, there's Thomas! It's Dora! Lightning McQueen!").

The mosquitoes are so bad right now it's miserable to play outside. This September was apparently one of the wettest on record here, and there were several individual rainfalls that set records. And areas were flooded, there is lots and lots of standing water, which of course equals mosquitoes.

Unlike the mosquitoes that I'm used to in Missouri, these things bite all day and night. Doesn't matter when you leave the house, you are going to get eaten. Just walking to and from the van to go to the store I've had 10 bites! It's worse on the boys, too, because Turner obviously can't swat them off, and Guthrie usually doesn't realize they're there, and then he scratches his bites until they bleed!

I don't want to cover them in insect repellant, either, even though I have some Burt's Bees. So, we haven't really been going outside. It's not worth it to come inside covered in bites (and I do mean covered - I've counted 20 or 30 on myself at any given time lately).

I hope this is going to end soon, but it's been really rainy lately, and the forecast is calling for rain just about every day. It's so bad that I've found mosquitoes living, flying around in the house. I sat down to use the bathroom and heard that buzz! I'm certain that's what wakes Turner up from his naps sometimes - there are almost always a couple in the bedroom lately.

Maybe we should cover the whole house in a giant mosquito net?

I'm going to get off the computer and try to steal the laptop away from Guthrie. He really would play on it all day if I let him. We've got to figure out ways to be more "active" while staying inside, or at least not getting eaten alive!

Lost without Lost

We don't have cable. Haven't in the whole time Eric and I have been together. Don't really miss it at all. I'm glad we don't have a TV where we can watch it (it's in the garage, unplugged.)

I do have one TV show I'm slightly addicted to though - Lost. Stupid, lame, cheesy as all hell, but I love it. It's pure escapism, and that's what I want out of TV. Samantha and I used to sit together on Wednesday nights, tuen out the rest of the world, and get caught up in Sawyer, Hurley, Jack, Claire, Kate, and Sayid (aw ... swoon ... Sayid).

My computer can tune TV stations, so we bought a little set of rabbit ears to try to tune it in. But, I don't get enough of a signal to really be able to watch. I tried last week, and could make out enough to be able to tell what's going on, except in the dark scenes with Jack. This week, though, I was putting the boys to bed, and didn't get enough of a signal for the computer to record. So I'm sitting here with no clue what happened to any of them. Where are Locke and Desmond? How's the baby? And Sayid - where's Sayid? (With his much older girlfriend?)

I'm debating whether I should buy it from iTunes. I don't really like their policy with video downloads, that there is no way to burn it and watch it anywhere other than on your computer. But at the same time, I really want to watch Lost, and don't want to wait for the whole thing to come out on DVD.

I think I remember hearing you can watch it on ABC's website, and I might try that. My only concern there is whether I have to just watch it all, then, at once, which is darn near impossible with 2 little ones, or if I can download it to watch later, or how it works. I'll check it out.

In the meantime, NO SPOILERS PLEASE!!!!!!!! If I can't get to watch it, then I'll ask for an update. For now, I'll survive.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Sweetest Thing

Yesterday morning, as I was trying to get all ready to leave for the store, Guthrie was playing in his room, and I laid Turner down on the living room floor to go do a couple things in the kitchen. I was unloading the dishwasher when Turner started fussing, and since I was almost done I thought I'd just go ahead and see if I could finish before he had a total meltdown. He was terribly fussy yesterday anyway, and it really didn't seem to matter what I did.

Guthrie apparently heard Turner fussing and ran in from his bedroom. He lay down on the floor next to Turner, put his arms around him, talked to him softly, and Turner calmed down. They lay there together for a few minutes, Turner staring and smiling at his big brother, Guthrie smiling and making faces at his little brother, holding hands, completely unaware that anyone was watching them. I wished I'd been able to get it on camera, but then Guthrie would have known I was watching, and gone after the camera instead.

It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life.

Guthrie is, mostly, an amazing big brother to Turner. Yes, he gets mad when Turner wants to play with his toys, or when he wants on my lap when I'm nursing Turner. Mostly, though, he wants to calm him down when he's upset, and is careful not to let him get anything he could hurt himself on, and if Turner is playing with a toy Guthrie wants or shouldn't have, Guthrie will take it away (sometimes gently, sometimes not) and replace it with something more appropriate.

He also wants to share with everyone. When he's eating his food, he'll try to feed me bites, or when we make a meat and cheese tray he'll fix up little sandwiches for Eric and me. And the other day when Turner and I were napping, Eric said it was all he could do to keep Guthrie out of the bedroom, because he found one of Turner's toys and was certain Turner needed it right that second.

He's a sweet, sweet kid. We must be doing something right.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Those Un-Socialized, Miseducated Homeschooled Freaks

I'll have lots more to say about the whole homeschooling issue when I have a chance, but here's an article talking about how many colleges are actively recruiting homeschoolers. And I'm sure that's because they don't have adequate social skills and are getting an inferior education. @@

Yes, I'm planning to homeschool my two little boys. My husband, the college English professor, is just as enthusiastic about this as I am. We have researched it. We already know what our plan is, and have since before Guthrie was born. We feel confident that we can do it. I'm not worried about "not having a life" or my boys not having friends. My only concern, honestly, is finding other homeschoolers in this area who are not doing so for religious reasons.


And can anyone tell me why the wireless internet connection using the laptop is SO MUCH FASTER than the connection on my computer? It all goes through the same thing. But the laptop just FLIES! I think Gus can have my computer, and I'm taking this one. Better screen, faster speed. And I can use it anywhere.

Another quiet Sunday

I'm starting to rather enjoy our relatively quiet, uneventful Sundays. Eric and Guthrie are currently at the grocery store, getting some sushi (Sushi Sundays!), fruit, and miscellaneous other goodies to stock the cabinets and fridge. Turner is doing the most amazing thing, which he has been doing all week - napping. All. By. Himself! And he has been, for over 4 HOURS!!!!!! Yes, this kid is certainly a gift from one of the gods (is there a god of sleep?) to make up for the little sleep demon who is the Guthrie. I even took a long nap with him - about 2 hours - while Eric took care of Guthrie, finished writing his book review, and even picked up all the toys and straightened up the living room! Is it my birthday?

I'm sitting and listening to the Chiefs (down 17-10 at halftime) and typing away on the laptop. Why the laptop? We pulled it out to the living room so Gus could bomb around on it while Eric and I tried to get stuff done, but instead Guthrie wanted to use my computer, and so I'm using this one. Whatever works.

I've been having the most bizarre dreams lately. I've always been one to have weird dreams, but I think I haven't been getting enough regular long stretches of sleep to have that many strange dreams. The night before last I dreamt of a horse giving birth (very scary, actually - my Chinese zodiac animal is the horse), dreamt last night of giant boxes of Goldfish crackers and of our lawn, which we just had mowed a few days ago, being 3 feet tall in places. And the weirdest - I was Kate Hudson, had just been on a date with Burt Reynolds, and was driving back into Warrensburg from our old house when I realized Burt was following me, and so decided to pick up my cell phone to call my good friend George Clooney to see what I should do.


If I'm going to dream of celebrities, couldn't I at least have been on the date with George Clooney? Or even better - Joaquin Phoenix or Johnny Depp?

Our nights now - bedtime -are much better. I take the boys in and lay down (lie down? never can get those right) between them and we read stories. Turner nurses, listens to stories, inevitably fusses a little bit, but then falls asleep, and I curl up to Guthrie and keep reading stories for awhile. Some nights we read for two hours, but I don't mind, and Guthrie loves it. He does the funniest thing though - if I turn to look at one of the boys while I'm reading, and keep talking and finish the sentence I'm reading, he'll get mad at me and say "I'm not a word!" Too, too funny.

And since bedtime has gotten easier, and better, and Guthrie at the age of 2 1/2 finally sleeps mostly through the night by himself, and Turner sleeps long stretches without needing anyone there, I've started to be able to stay up at night and spend some time with my husband, like a grownup. Last night I think it was 1:30 before I went to bed, after Turner woke up and when I picked him up he pooped all over both of us. It's not so bad - before the poopfest I got to have two whole glasses of wine (Yellow Tail Shiraz if you're curious) with my husband, and I finally got him to agree with me on a point I've been arguing for, oh, almost the entire 5 years we've been together.

Turner is awake, I'm not doing enough of my part to root on the Chiefs, so I must go.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Eric is now convinced, and almost has me convinced, that I go a little crazy with the full moon. Because I was, uh, a little crazy yesterday. Like as in the pile of dishes in the sink seemed like an insurmountable task, and the fact that Guthrie took two hours to go to sleep seemed like some sort of punishment from the gods. And today I am totally fine. Well, mostly. I was a little bonkers that Guthrie, after going to bed at 10:00, woke up at 5:30, but other than that - fine!

So I'm going to have to pay attention for this, and see if there's any truth to it. After all, I am a Cancer, and the ruling planet is the Moon.

Goodbye, Buck

Kansas City's finest citizen, Negro League star and all around fine man Buck O'Neil has passed. He fell one vote short of the Baseball Hall of Fame in this past year's vote. Thank you, Buck, and you will be missed.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Brotherly Love

Aren't they sweet? Doesn't Guthrie look like a great big brother?

Ah, yes. Of course, this was snapped immediately before Guthrie decided to let go of Turner, who then proceeded to fall flat on his face on the carpet, and then roll over with that look of, "What the heck just happened?" Which is why we have no intention of putting in the nice tile flooring until the boys are much, much older.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Duh, duh duh duh, dumb

Okay, so apparently I'm an idiot and the video I tried to embed didn't work. And I was so freakin' proud of myself for figuring out how to do it.

Anyone want to give me some tech tips and tell me what I did wrong? Really, I'm not that computer illiterate.

UPDATE: I got it to work, sort of. Now it's huge, though, and screwing up my template.

Ah, well. It's not that exciting. I'll leave it up for now, then take it back down to fix mylayout.

I swear I'm doing it right - Eric and I are having a very bad tech week.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Go Chiefs

I'm managing to have a chance to sit down and update this thing right now because Guthrie has been begging me all morning to watch The Pink Panther, and I've told him all morning that as soon as the football game started, he could watch it. So, as soon as I got my computer all ready and tuned to the Kansas City station so I could listen to the Chiefs game, he asked again for The Pink Panther. And so I told him I'd get in ready for him in just a second, and he ran off. I went looking for him, and found him - playing happily in his room!!!!! While I will certainly let him watch the Panther when he asks again, because I said he could, I'm sure as hell not going to remind him he wanted to watch TV. Especially when he's playing. Happily. In His Room!

Did I mention that I love love love my high-speed internet, so I can listen to my football team playing when it's not going to be on any local radio? So what if the Chiefs are 0-for so far, and Trent Green is out for now - I'm still going to listen. And Turner, Guthrie and I are all wearing our Chiefs gear today, too. (I married an Oakland man, who won't wear Chiefs red. Meanie.)

And now, less than 10 real-time minutes into the game, KC is up 7-0. Maybe that's the secret - I just need to blog about the game for them to win.

So, sing it with me now:

"O'er the land of the free, and the home of the CHIEFS!"