Monday, December 31, 2007

As the New Year fast approaches

I've been thinking about past New Year's, especially those since 2001 and as long as Eric and I have been together, and I realized something.

We suck at celebrating New Year's.

This year? We're sitting at home, drinking wine (me) and beer (him), eating cookies, maybe YouTubing later for fun. (Oh, how lame we are.) At least we did put on some nice(r) clothes and a little makeup (well, I did) so we feel a little more festive.

Past years? I realized I couldn't even remember most of our NYE's together. 2001 we were in New York City. But as we walked around the city earlier in the day, and saw all of the preparations - including what felt like armies of police officers on various corners preparing for patrol (this was the first NYE post-9/11), we decided Times Square was the last place we wanted to be. We went to a party with a friend, but it was totally lame (what I remember most was a bunch of kids of various ages all sequestered in a bedroom that felt more like a closet, and some guy talking about how he'd been working on his dissertation - on James Joyce, of course - for way too many years). And so, at midnight, NYE, 2001, in NYC, we were in our hotel room, watching the ball drop on TV like everyone else in the country. Lame.

2002? I don't remember. At all. I don't think this is because I was too drunk, either, unfortunately. Looking back at pictures and trying to figure it out, I think we were either in a hotel somewhere, or were spending one night in our apartment after getting back off one road trip and about to depart on another to fetch Rosalind from Houston for her Christmas visit. No pictures, no memories. No clue.

2003? I was pregnant, with Guthrie. We had a party platter of meats and cheeses, drank sparkling grape juice with Sammie and Roz from pretty glasses, and watched the ball drop on TV. There are pictures. I remember that one.

2004? At our farmhouse, we drank a bottle of champagne Eric had gotten during his week in France promoting his book. (He was given the bottle as part of the festival he attended.) House full of kids. Not much excitement.

2005? No memories, again. None. *sigh* See a trend yet?

2006? That one was okay. We stayed the night in a hotel on South Padre Island, watched fireworks on the beach from our room, had a party tray and wine and beer, and stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning on the deck of the hotel room, kids asleep in the room. That was our best NYE.

We were going to go back to the beach this year, but the holidays left us broke. *sigh* Next year maybe.

So, this year, we're boring and lame again. I hope everyone else is having fun for us. Turner is already sleeping, Guthrie is watching a movie, Roz is reading, and look at what I'm doing. The neighbors are shooting off fireworks (illegally).

2007 was a decent year, but 2008 is going to be better. Much better. Good things are on their way.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

The goods, the treats, and the aftermath.

And this doesn't even show the Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake from my mom (there's still plenty left), half of the goodies (Santa - and my mom - were very good to us this year) or half the mess.

Guthrie is still sick, but better. His fever got up to 104 last night, but today it's been mostly normal, and he was up to doing Christmas. But what kid isn't?

Hope everyone's holiday was wonderful, and Santa brought you just what you wanted!

(And the pictures were taken with my present, a new digital camera that's just the right size to fit in a pocket or purse, so I can always have it with me! Yeah!)

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas

And Guthrie was sick. 102F fever. Passed out, on the living room floor, at 4:30 in the afternoon, with Christmas cookies waiting to be decorated and left out for Santa, a Santa tracker to track, and all the other Christmas Eve fun waiting to be done.

Poor kid. Turner was sick Saturday, in the hotel in Austin, then while we had to wait for my mom and Samantha's plane to arrive - 7 hours late! The up side of the illness (if there is an upside) is that Turner slept Friday night for a 7 hour stretch, for the first time in his life. His previous record was 4 hours. I knew something had to be wrong, though, and that was confirmed when I felt his hot little belly first thing the next morning.

Hopefully all will be well tomorrow morning, Santa will have come, and we will have a Merry Christmas after all.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Guthrie liked Santa.

A LOT!!!

Turner ... didn't.

I think we're *almost* done shopping. One more gift to get, and Eric is insisting he get some money to get me a gift (which I'm reluctantly agreeing to, after being unable to stop getting him gifts once I started). Oh, stocking stuffers too - that could get expensive. Maybe we're not quite done after all ...
This was a very good Santa too. Not quite the one I grew up with, who is the *real* Santa I am certain, but he was still very very good. But oh, if only the threat of "behave now, or we'll go back and tell Santa that you are not minding" would work all year long. It works so very well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fun with stickers

Turner has fallen in love with stickers. He will play with them for hours, decorating whatever we give him. So we decided to wrap some of our gifts in plain brown paper and let the boys decorate them. Turner loved it - wouldn't stop when it was time. But he got tired of decorating the paper, and decided to decorate me instead. So. Much. Fun.

(PS - I saw that this is my 200th post. Missed my 100th, so we're celebrating 200 instead)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Whether the weather be cold

I clicked over to the Weather Channel's website to view our local current weather. Right now, at almost 10 p.m., it's 75F, and the high tomorrow will be low 90s. The headline at the top of the page was "Storm Watch: Ice Storm Coming." And I couldn't help but chuckle.

(I'm actually ready for a little cooler weather, and was excited when the forecast was showing a couple days next week with highs only in the 60s. But it looks like they've changed that now. Hard to get too Christmas-y at 90 degrees.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007


My mother-in-law will be here in a matter of hours.

Nothing like an impending visit from your husband's mother to motivate a girl to wash the windows.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life with Guthrie

'Nuff said.

Maybe Santa's not such a good influence after all

My mom (thank you Mom!) sent the boys some Christmas DVDs - Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, the standards. Turner still has no interest in sitting and watching a screen (maybe if it was bigger than the 7-inch DVD player), which is not a bad thing. Guthrie has been watching them, though, and even figured out how to put them in the computer and start it up all by himself.

He just walked up to me, holding a little stick in his mouth, and telling me he was smoking a pipe. Now he has hte stuffed Santa smoking the pipe. I asked where he learned that (don't think anyone has ever smoked an actual pipe around him) and he said on his movie Santa smokes a pipe. I hadn't noticed that part, or thought anything of it.

So, what do I do? I remember my older cousin and I used to pretend our crayons were cigarettes and "smoke" them. And candy cigarettes and cigars used to be popular everywhere.

I suppose I just let him keep it up, and the novelty will wear off soon enough. If I don't let him, or make a big deal, he'll just want to do it even more, huh?

See, I knew watching TV taught you bad habits.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Let's build a fence

This is a story to remind us all why all illegal immigrants should be stopped. Why they are all evil, horrible, nasty people. And all that other BS propaganda some crazy fraidy-cats everywhere but around the border seem to believe.

Hopefully you can feel the sarcasm in my statement.

The story (really go read it) is about how an illegal immigrant in Arizona probably saved a little boy's life. The van he was in with his mom crashed, his mom was trapped inside, the boy crawled out to try to go for help but didn't know where to go. The man came along, tried to get the mother out (unfortunately, he couldn't, and she didn't survive), and then stayed with the boy, building a bonfire to protect him from the cold.

The boy, whose father had only recently died too, is fine, and the man is in custody. Because he's an evil law-breaking life-saver, or something.

There's one little boy who is glad there is no fence. Yet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Things that would have once looked weird to me

no longer do.

The fact that there is a roasting pan sitting empty in the hallway.

The instructions to a "Dora the Explorer" computer game in the refrigerator.

All the kitchen towels in Eric's office, on the floor.

The chairs to the kitchen table in the living room.

And not a single room in the house (bathrooms and closets included) that does not have at least one train.

Really, I don't even bother to pick the things up most of the time anymore. If I do, Guthrie will just come wondering where the roasting pan is, and why I took his (boat, garage, shed, tent) away.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"If Turner cries again, I will put a bandage over his mouth."

Said by Guthrie, of course.

It's not quite as bad as it sounds. Turner has been a rather, well, LOUD child lately, screaming, whining, you know the rest. It was worse than normal - he was crying about everything, and none of us could figure out why - and Guthrie had given him a band-aid earlier when he fell and hit his forehead. So, I guess Guthrie figured a band-aid over the mouth would stop the crying.

Thankfully, he didn't try it. But Eric and I couldn't stop laughing. I'm still laughing about it.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Turner only calls for me when he is crying. I've been somewhat concerned over his lack of speech (although the ped told me not to worry, as has everyone else), and disappointed at not hearing him call for me, ever.

A few weeks ago when I came home from working out, Eric told me the whole time I was gone Turner screamed and cried, and he beat on the bathroom door (assuming I was in there) calling "Mama!" over and over again. He stopped (calling, not crying) before I got home.

I've now heard him too. Just a few minutes ago, when he woke up, he came running out of the bedroom, face wrinkled in a cry, calling "MaaaMaa Mamamamama MaaaaaaaaaMa."

I do feel better knowing he can talk, when he needs to. But it sure would be nice to hear him call me when he's happy and just wants to play.

Friday, November 02, 2007


So I had this fantasy of doing NaBloPoMo, although I didn't sign up - something about my fear of commitment. I thought it might actually lead me to write here more often, and maybe, occasionally, write something of some merit or substance, let people actually get to know something more about Judy, not just how cute my kids are or how many trains I tripped over today.

It is night, now, and the only time I could really get to write something of substance. Unless I steal the time during Turner's nap, and let Guthrie watch another movie. My "me" time that I get on a regular basis is Monday, Wednesday, Friday (and sometimes Saturday) mornings going to the gym at roughly 9:30 (because that's when Jeopardy is on) to work out. And instead of writing something of substance, I am tired, and have decided to do what I usually do at this time, and sitting down with a glass of wine to converse with my husband, hopefully about something adult and substantive, that does not involve talking of poop, toys, or Thomas the Tank Engine.

Tonight's conversation, so far (Eric got called away briefly) is about taxes, and why they are not evil. That could be a post to itself, but it all frustrates me, and I start feeling so hopeless and angry at people who can't get their head around the whole idea (you drive on roads funded by taxes, you send your kids to schools funded by taxes, maybe your salary is even paid by taxes), that I just want to give up, and go join a group of Communists out there somewhere. Except I don't really want to become Amish.

And so to turn the conversation around, I'll probably bring up new words said by Turner, Guthrie's sudden interest in expanding his vocabulary, and Thomas the Tank Engine. Such is life around here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Yes, my daughter is 12 years old today. 12. 12?!?!?!

How the heck did that happen? 12?

Just as beautiful and smart as ever, too. Happy Birthday to my sweet baby girl.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We survived the crash

The computer crash, that is.

Saturday afternoon, after returning from getting our pumpkin, and as just a part of the insane and nearly catastrophic weekend we had, my computer crashed. Guthrie hit the surge protector button, I turned everything back on, then he did it again, and once again I was trying to get everything started, when bam, nothing, crash boom bang.

And I had just been talking to two different people who had had computer crashes recently, and thinking I do a pretty good job of backing everything up. Except, when the computer crashed, I realized I hadn't backed things up in at least a week, a week in which we had taken 500+ really awesome pictures. And Eric and I had a little miscommunication, where each of us thought the other was backing up his e-mail, so it wasn't getting done at all. it wasn't as big a fight as it could have been.

The good news? We were able to salvage all the pictures (it was only a few hundred that weren't already on the external hard drive), Eric's e-mail is all there, and the computer is now fine, and just like new. Well, that's part of the bad news. Now I have to reinstall all my programs, add back all the files, and get everything figured out again.

The really bad news is that I lost my e-mail. Yes, all of it. My address book, my messages. Everything.

I'll recover. This happened once before. I am learning to back things up even more often.

In the meantime, send me an e-mail so I can have your address again, and if I haven't gotten back to you, this is why.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fall is on its way

The big news of the day:

Yep, that's right, fall is officially going to arrive Monday. And it was the headline of the newspaper.

If you could read it a little more closely it says that the highs next week are only going to be in the 80s and lows might drop all the way into the 50s!!! Break out the parkas, baby. (Kidding, kidding.)

On Monday and Tuesday, the high might not even hit 80. Whoa!

Middle of October, and we were still playing in the kiddie pool, and I'm currently dressed in a tank top and shorts. But oh, am I ready to turn off the AC and open the windows. I like it hot - really, I do - and I hate the cold (and I've lived in Alaska, so I know cold), but I'm done. Now come the months of paradise that is fall and winter in the Valley. Our tree in the front yard is starting to bloom, and I'm very much looking forward to a tree full of pink flowers full of butterflies and hummingbirds. Here it comes!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Another reason I don't like battery operated, noise-making, light-activated toys:

When I walk past the train puzzle with all the pieces missing and my shadow causes enough change in the light to cause it to go off, but I can't figure out what the heck that weird noise is at 10 at night, it scares the heck out of me, and I'm sure there is a pterodactyl in my house.

And there wouldn't be batteries in it at all if Guthrie hadn't figured out that the little slots in the backs or bottoms of certain toys hold batteries, which cause the toy to do something.


Can anyone tell me what the block-like round toys, in the picture below, might be called? I have no idea. Guthrie had a blast with them a few months ago, and so did Samantha for that matter, and I remember playing with them in elementary school. My mom asked about them today, about a possible Christmas present, but I'm clueless as to what they are actually called, and the internet is not turning up any solid answers. So, to all of you out there, anyone know? Anyone? Help, please. Even if we don't get them for him, I'm going to go nuts until I get their name.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Good riddance

I'm pretty left-wing bleeding-heart card-carrying-ACLU-member liberal when it comes to most issues. I have some problems with our "justice" system, and have come to be pretty much against the death penalty. When Eric was offered two jobs when he took this one, one of my big concerns about the other offer (but not the reason he didn't take the job) was that we would have been living in the place where Texas conducts its executions.

However, when it comes to people like this guy , well, I just can't see how we can justify a suicide watch. While I still don't support the state putting him to death, if he wants to do it on his own (and he did), then why should we stop him? Why not let him save the taxpayers the money of a trial? And the hassle?

Although maybe suicide is the easy way out for people like this. Goodness knows he would have gotten his due in prison, and maybe that kind of justice would be more fitting.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Losing the Battle

with the toys. The toys - and the boys - are winning.

I realized that most of my day seems to consist of picking up toys, putting them away, picking them back up, putting them back away, rinse, lather, repeat.

And for some reason, Guthrie's new favorite pasttime is dumping out all of his toys all over his bedroom floor. And today he decided he wanted to play with puzzles. And by "play" I don't mean actually try to put puzzles together. Oh no,not a chance. He wanted to dump out all his puzzles all over the floor. And then, while I was trying to put all the puzzles back together and put them away, Turner had to "help." And by help I mean dump them all back out and scatter the pieces all over the floor. And then they discovered that one of the puzzles had a switch on the back, and still had batteries in it, and they spent the rest of the day making the puzzle make noise. ("How much is that doggie in the window, I sure hope that doggie's for sale.")

We've all been slightly ill around here, too, which makes it even more fun. No sleep, I don't really have the energy to chase them outside, and so I know it's from going stir crazy.

Anybody have Mary Poppins phone number? E-mail? Blog address? 'Cause I'm about ready to quit. Or at least take an extended break. Heck, 3 hours would be good.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

He looks like a genius

Like Turner's Einstein bed-head? Yes, he still calls all animals "woof woofs" and doesn't really talk much, doesn't know how to do algebra or calculate the energy of an object in motion, but at least he has the hairstyle of a genius. It's a start. And the story I've always heard is that Einstein didn't talk until he was 3, so maybe Turner's on the right track after all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Our little Biker

Guthrie has been riding his tricycle everywhere lately - wanting to ride it when we took our walks, and go for rides every night before bed. But he's getting kind of big for it, and we saw a little boy not too much older than Guthrie on a bike, and decided it was time for him to get one.

I wasn't sure how he'd do, but Eric was confident he'd figure it out fine. Well, apparently I should actually listen to my husband on occasion, because he's doing great on his bike. It has training wheels of course, but he's learning and having a blast. We go for rides most mornings and every night, and stop and have a nice little visit with a neighbor's cat while we're at it. (Turner still thinks it's a "woof woof" but he also now says "cat.")
For Christmas, I've told Eric I want a bike too. Eric has one, and if I got one, I figure we could all go for rides together, at least on the weekends. Good way for us all to get in shape and have some family fun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


This is an awesome post about the whole "nursing in public" ignorance that takes place so often. Go check it out. It illustrates how so many people get all riled up seeing a few centimeters of skin exposed for a mother to feed her baby (honestly now - how many times have you seen a woman nursing in public exposing her nipple for any serious length of time, or at all? I don't think I EVER have) while they will tolerate all kinds of skin exposure in magazines, on billboards, in advertisements to sell beer, jeans, CDs, or whatever.

I am convinced it is not about the real exposure that comes from nursing in public (NIP) that bothers people. Most of the time, if a woman is nursing in public, there isn't much exposure at all, and certainly no more than you will see in other places in hot weather when girls are running around in skimpy clothes. It is, I'm certain, the ACT of NIP - the act of breastfeeding in general - that upsets and offends people.

I don't have the time or energy to go into much depth with this, but I think a lot of it comes from our need, as a culture, to overcome nature, to deny that which is natural and biologically normal. This extends to our obsession with hygiene and showering constantly, shaving every part of our body we can, prefering to take drugs to treat our ailments rather than concentrating on the root causes and fixing our diets or lifestyles. Breastfeeding is the perfect example of what our bodies, our most basic human NATURE, can do if left alone and allowed to do what they need, and it it offensive to many. The baby bottle, baby formula, the sterility and unnaturalness of it all, seems so much more safe, and so much less offensive, to the majority.

Remember Demi Moore's magazine cover, where she posed nude while very pregnant? Remember the uproar? It was beautiful. Remember any of the covers linked to in the post above? Christina Aguilera on Rolling Stone, or Janet Jackson on another issue? Where was the uproar there? There wasn't, because they were presenting breasts in their culturally acceptable context - as sex object - not in their natural context - as objects for feeding and comforting a baby.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


First, excuse my absence. I smashed most of the fingers of my left hand into our garage door about a week ago (don't ask - my clumsiness will be my demise, I'm sure), and although nothing was broken or otherwise seriously damaged (at least I don't think - I didn't actually go to the doctor or anything) my left middle finger is still in some serious pain, still hasn't regained all the feeling, and is just now starting to develop a pretty serious bruise under the nail. So, typing hasn't exactly been easy, or fun.

BUT ---

I talked to my mom earlier today. My mom is ... okay, I won't reveal her age here. (She says she's 19, again, on every birthday.) She has never, once, in her life, flown in an airplane, anywhere. She has, as many people do (myself included) a fear of flying. We've talked about it in the past, and she has given her excuses, but shown not much real desire to overcome this fear.

A week or so ago, I talked to her on the phone, and invited her here, to visit us, for Christmas this year. The thought of traveling to Missouri with the boys, the hassle, the cost, not spending Christmas in our own home (again) just seemed so ... not fun ... to me, and I thought she and Samantha could come here, to Texas. I even looked up the Amtrak schedules to see how it would all work.

Well, today on the phone, she said that she is thinking about coming, and thinking about FLYING!!!!!!!!!

I cannot properly express here, on the internet, for anyone in the world (or, okay, the 6 people who occasionally read me, LOL) to see, how terribly proud I am of my mother for taking the first steps to conquer what has been, for her, a lifetime fear. Truly, fear of flying is nothing to be ashamed of (John Madden anyone?), but taking steps to overcome a fear is a huge accomplishment, and I am so so proud of my mom for even considering it. Whether she does it or not, she rocks for trying! Yea!!!

And come on, everyone, all 6 of you, give my mom a little encouragement. Missouri is cold and snowy and icy and cold and ... COLD at Christmastime. She could fly down here, spend a couple days in San Antonio, and then spend Christmas, not slaving over a hot stove cooking a huge feast, but on the BEACH on SOUTH PADRE ISLAND (or Corpus Christi - we love Corpus too) eating perfectly yummy junk food and being WARM and on the BEACH. Hmmm, someone really has to think about this?

Saturday, August 25, 2007


This past week has been one to show us - or at least remind us - that the best toys very often aren't. Specifically toys, that is.

For awhile now, Guthrie has enjoyed playing with rulers. Just plain wooden rulers, which he turns into a million different things - tracks for his trains, roads for his cars, bridges across boxes, ramps up onto higher levels, a pogo stick as he holds it and jumps up and down, a knife to cut play food, a sword to fight dragons, a gate for his trains, he uses more than one to become a fence, or to mark off a parking space for a bigger car.

The other day, my mom reminded me that the space shuttle was going to land, and so Guthrie and I sat at the computer, pulled up one of the news websites, and watched it landing. This piqued his interest in space shuttles (at least momentarily) and we searched YouTube for videos of shuttles taking off and landing (but not blowing up - skipped the Challenger). Then he asked lots of questions about them, and a drumstick became the space shuttle, with a ruler serving as the boosters which fall off.

Another drumstick was an airplane, and he showed me the differences in how the two take off - space shuttles go straight up, while airplanes gradually ascend at an angle. But they both land (roughly) the same way.

We looked through my photo albums, and found a picture of me at the space center in Huntsville, Alabama, as a little girl, sitting in a model of an old space shuttle. He spent hours laying on his back, pretending he was in a shuttle taking off, flying all over the place.

Two cardboard boxes brought in from the garage have served as places to hide, a turtle shell when held on Guthrie's back, a cage, and a home for a Jack-in-the-Box, or I guess a Guthrie-in-the-Box.

Yesterday, I heard lots of giggling coming from the library, and found Eric and Guthrie sitting on opposite sides of the large low table, playing what Guthrie called "Bounce and Roll" with a new roll of scotch tape. For nearly an hour, Eric, then I, sat across from Guthrie sending this roll of tape back and forth, then putting it down and trying to blow it across, figuring out ways to make it roll on its side, roll in a boomerang that came back to us, using a doorstop as a ramp for it to roll down. It was delightful to see the joy and discovery in Guthrie's face.

We have been saving every cork from every wine bottle we use for some time now. (And since I am generally the only one who drinks wine, if you saw our collection, you would be convinced I am an alcoholic. I am not. It is a few years' worth of corks. And I can't recall the last time I was truly intoxicated - certainly before Turner was conceived.) When we visited a friend of ours a few years ago, he had corks, and his son and Samantha took a bunch to a creek and had "cork races." I took a bunch into the bathtub for the boys to play with, and said they were boats. Well, Guthrie put a couple in the "fish holding tank" part of his toy boat, and they were fish. He put a couple in his toy canoe, and they were people riding in the canoe. Another one went into the seat at the front of the boat, and was the person sitting up front fishing (and he reeled in a cork fish). There seems to be no end to what a little imagination can turn corks into. Thank you, Yellow Tail.

A large red plastic container, which up until now had housed extra sheets and towels (which we finally sorted through this week), was filled up with all the balls we could find in the house, and became an instant miniature ball pit. Both boys loved it. Guthrie then hid in the container, and insisted we put the lid on top for him to repeatedly kick off.
We have a house full (really, we have entirely too many toys, although most of them are variations on one theme - TRAINS!) of toys, and again, what the kids like the most are all the other things.

The Mouths of Babes

Great recent quotes from Guthrie:

At the post office the other day, after we'd been there roughly an hour or so, and everyone's patience (the line was huge) was worn thin, and we were quite possibly the only white people there, he looked at Eric and announced, loudly, "You are a Gringo!" Um, yes, Guthrie, you are correct. Thankfully, the reaction from customers and employees was loud laughter.

When things at home start to get really crazy, and I feel like my brain cells are disappearing too quickly, I jokingly threaten Eric that I am going to get a job. I said this the other day, and Guthrie protested, "Don't get a JOB! You are my teacher!" Melted my heart.

And on the phone with my mother today, when he asked what she was doing and she said she was watching TV, he told her she needed to give her TV to someone else (we recently gave our TV, that had been sitting unplugged in our garage for over a year, to some friends), because "it will make you fat again." (Not that my mother is fat, but she just announced that she had lost 7 pounds.)

I have no great quotes from Turner. He still doesn't talk much. Mostly he points to pictures of animals, plays with toy farm animals, and repeats "oof oof oof" over and over again. Because you know, cows, pigs, dogs, cats, elephants, birds, even dolphins all say "oof oof."

Friday, August 24, 2007

6 Legged Hell

The Six Legged Life here in the Valley leaves much to be desired. At least for me, at least right now.

Due to the rain (we assume) our backyard is again covered in fire ant nests. Two nights ago they weren't there, we were all running around playing and having a blast. Yesterday it rained off and on all day, and just a while ago we were outside again, and there are a ton of nests. A couple of them are really big, and one in the front yard is HUGE! Eric spread some poison, and so for the short term I don't feel terribly comfortable taking the boys out there to play - either they get eaten by fire ants or they eat the poison. Neither is a good option.

There was an enormous black bee on our mango tree, but I think he's just doing his job, and has never even attempted to bother us, so as much as I didn't like looking at him, we let him be.

There are bees everywhere (which I guess I should be happy about, given how freaked out I was at the reports of honeybee dieoffs all over the world a few months ago). One kept me from going outside for a few minutes. (I'm not about to open the door when there is a bee looking at me on the other side) And for some reason, lately, every few days I have a bee in my bathroom window. Eric kills it, everything is fine, and then a couple days later, there's another bee. Today there were several. Now, bees, I know, big deal, I'm not allergic, they sting and that's all.

Except ...

We live in Hidalgo County, where the first Killer Bees were found in the US in 1990. And occasionally, we do hear of people being killed by bee attacks. So I do admit to being a little irrational when it comes to bees, here.

The mosquitoes are gone, though, at least for now. And although today I found a goodness-knows-how-old half-eaten apple cinnamon rice cake buried in my closet, there were no bugs of any kind in there, thank goodness.


Do all kids go through a shoe stage? I don't remember this with Samantha. Both of my boys, though, have gone through a stage - at about the same age (Turner is in it now) where they became obsessed with shoes. Have to wear them, even at home, doing nothing. Must try on any shoes they see on the floor. Love nothing more than to stand in Daddy's cowboy boots.

Turner is currently walking around with one shoe on. He brought it to me, and I put it on him, and he seems to think it's the greatest thing ever. Don't know where his other shoe is, but he seems to be having fun this way.

The shoes, btw, are red Crocs knock-offs. Guthrie thought Turner needed pink ones, but I talked him into getting red ones so that they both matched.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


We currently have a plumber here. Why? you ask. Oh, just because yesterday, right as Guthrie was flushing the toilet, Turner decided to throw a Weeble into it. And I couldn't catch it fast enough. And it went down.

Turner threw another one in, but I caught it in time. Guthrie was absolutely hysterical. I thought it was all the way down, gone for good, too, and so after trying to calm him down, calling Eric, figuring out just exactly which Weeble it was that went for a swim (Baby Bear, from the Goldilocks playset), I did what any good mother would do - I took them to Wal-Mart. To try to find a new Weeble house, to replace the way which I thought was then on its way to the sewage treatment plant.

No luck. Not a Weeble to be found in the entire store.

So I looked on eBay. If the Weeble is indeed gone for good, then I will be ordering a replacement on eBay. I'm guessing it's going to be around $100 for the plumber, plus another $30-ish for a new Weeble house. Very expensive toilet flush. Thank you, Turner.

To get a little work done while Turner is napping, I let Guthrie watch some Looney Tunes on his DVD player. He only watched for a few minutes, and is now running around saying, "Beep Beep," like the Roadrunner.

And we are currently under an Inland Tropical Storm Warning, whatever precisely that means. I think it means a lot of rain, some wind. Good times. It's bright and sunny and HOT right now. But more rain means ... more MOSQUITOES!!!! Oh, YEAH!!!

Oh, fun fun times these are, fun times.

UPDATE: Baby Bear is safe! The plumbers are Guthrie's Heroes!

Monday, August 13, 2007


to moms of young boys:

Don't let them share an iPod earphone set with a 16 year old girl on road trips. If you do, they will, as Guthrie has just done, walk into the room singing "My humps, my humps, my little lady lumps," followed by an emotional proclamation of, "Baby Got Back!"

He announced he likes the "Big butt song" (Baby Got Back) and "Barbie World."

He was singing the Chattanooga Choo Choo and other Glenn Miller. Now it's Fergie, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Aqua. What have I done?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

41 months

I missed World Breastfeeding Week. I've been busy, with Samantha and Stacia (my niece, who will be 16 on Saturday) here, going to the beach, to Mexico, to the zoo, and generally having fun to take any time to sit here and write a blog.

I realized last night that I have now been breastfeeding, continuously, for 41 months.

Add in pregnancy, and I've been giving part of my body over to another (or two other) human being(s) for over 4 years now.

It's become so normal, so routine, that I don't know what I'll do when (if) Turner ever weans. Maybe sleep, and have a really, really, really big margarita.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We have a visitor

An uninvited guest. I've named him Gary, and I don't know why. I wanted a "G" name, and it was the first one that came to mind.

Eric says he's harmless, and will, in fact, eat bugs (which I've been watching him do), and so, right now, we're keeping an eye on him and letting him have a meal of our insects before kicking him out. These kinds of creepy-crawlies don't bother me at all - I only wish Guthrie was awake to see it. Isn't he cute? Almost?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


The rain has stopped, at least for now. The weather report I just read had a warning that the Valley could get some pretty serious rain in the next few days. There is, however, still a lot of standing water in places, and that has caused a huge growth in the local mosquito population. And has caused the mosquitoes to grow to be enormous. I've never before seen skeeters this big, and on one of my legs alone I have more than 30 bites. (Yes, I counted. I'm weird like that.)

And so, if we want to go outside and play, we must coat ourselves in bug repellent, which I'm not going to do. But just walking to and from our van we get bitten, and if you leave the door open for any length of time at all, you have them in the house. We are currently rather miserable.

The boys are going completely bonkers. For a week we couldn't go outside because it was raining, and now we can't because we'll be eaten alive, get West Nile or Dengue fever (there are occasionally cases along the border), and that would suck.

So today I did what any mom under the circumstances would do: I took them to ... Chick Fil A. (You didn't really think I was going to say McDonald's, did you?) It was my first time ever eating at one (they don't have them where I'm from), and I figured if I was going to do fast food so we could let the boys play, well, Chick Fil A was the least of the evils. (Other choices were McD's - NO WAY - Burger King - no thanks - or Peter Piper Pizza, a Chuck E. Cheese kind of place) The food was, eh, okay, the play area small and without a place to eat while you watched the kids, and so overall I was not impressed, but it did salvage a little of my sanity. Just a little.

The good news is our banana tree is thriving in this weather. And our fire ants are gone (although everywhere else we're going I'm seeing mounds everywhere).

Any other suggestions for not going insane with two little ones when the weather sucks? I think all of Texas is dealing with some variation on this right now. I'm about to sign them up for the Little Gym, but by the time I did, the weather would clear right on up. *sigh*

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Our House

... is a very very very messy house
With a toy camel in the potty
A toy diesel who is naughty.

And as I'm no Weird Al, that's as far as I can get.

Turner has finally decided to start sleeping better. He's now sleeping regular 1 1/2- 2 hour stretches at night, and naps are about 1 1/2 hours too. I know, for a 15 month old this seems like not sleeping much at all, but for OUR baby, this is amazing. I don't think Guthrie was doing it at this age.

BUT - Guthrie has decided to start waking up at 4 in the morning, sometimes earlier, on a fairly regular basis, or waking up in the middle of the night and being awake for hours. Thankfully, he has been kind enough several times to crawl on the futon next to Daddy, and keep Eric awake half the night while Turner and I just sleep, but it's still dragging us all down.

And then last night (this should be its own separate post, but I'm too tired, so it's not) we had visitors, a writer and photographer from France, who are doing their own sort of literary Alexis de Tocqueveille tour of America, and one of their first stops was way down here in South Texas to interview and photograph my very own husband for their project. Not too shabby. And we had a great time, but as such were up waaaay too late, and so the the 5:30 wake up call was waaaaay too early.

We were all grumpy, and Guthrie was sleep-deprived crazy. Turner was extra needy. Chaos was the word of the day. We (meaning mainly me and Rosalind, and honestly, mostly Rosalind, as I had a baby attached to me most of the day) picked up toys almost constantly. Cars, trucks and trains flew through the air. I really did discover a few minutes ago a toy camel in the potty chair. We went to our favorite local taqueria for breakfast tacos, in the early afternoon I napped with Turner while Guthrie and Rosalind watched a movie. Once Eric got home it was meltdown after meltdown after meltdown ("I want Goldfish." "You have Goldfish. Eat those and you can have more." "But I want those Goldfish!!!!" Followed by screaming and throwing himself on the floor. And Turner sitting in his high chair watching and laughing, then throwing his Goldfish on the floor, doing his favorite mealtime trick and feeding the invisible chihuahua.)

Bedtime could not, and did not, come soon enough. Another meltdown, over what stories we were, or weren't, going to read. Once he was laying down, though, the eyes couldn't stay open, and halfway through a book about pandas, Guthrie said, "no more," and was snoring in seconds. Finally, the house is quiet.

And it is still raining. I know part of the meltdowns are cabin fever from the inability to go outside, but even when it is not raining, it is too wet to be outside. And can we talk for just a second about bugs? A couple nights ago I was attacked by fire ants. I'd heard about them, been bitten by one or two, but this time I was attacked - my flip-flop wearing feet were covered, and it hurt. Today, in between downpours, Eric and I were in the backyard to check on the banana trees (and look for a pair of shoes that disappeared in our home somewhere) when we discovered a giant fire ant mound. Last night we had left the boys' room window opened (screen intact) a few inches, and when we went in there to turn off the light, it was filled - literally, there were thousands - with some sort of weird white flying ant-like creature. I don't like chemical poisons anymore than anyone else, but let me tell you, these bugs - fire ants and crazy flying things - gotta die. Eric sprayed the bedroom, shut the door so no one would go in, and this morning I vacuumed them up. Yes, I had to use the vacuum. And our front door was covered, too. Gross. The fire ants are going down tomorrow (if it stops raining long enough).

My head still feels like it is spinning, and no, I haven't had enough of my fruity green drink for that to be the cause. Maybe it's because Guthrie's new trick today was to lay down and spin in circles on the kitchen floor while announcing, "I'm a ceiling fan." Or from the circles I had to run today to keep the boys from killing each other (or me - I got pegged in the face with a toy truck today). Whatever the case, fruity green drink is helping, and the bed is looking better by the second.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why I'm an even bigger dork

Because I was so excited that I felt the need to blog about it.

Why I am a Total Dork

Because this news made me squeal with joy. Seriously.

In case you don't want to click on the link, the news, the wonderful news that made this Total Dork squeal, is that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are both on board to do another X-Files movie. Yippee!!!!!!

I guess this means Eric and I have to get back to watching our DVDs of the series. We still haven't made it through the first season, but since Turner is starting to sleep better, maybe we can waste our evenings with Mulder and Scully. Ummm, Mulder, Yummmmmm. I mean, that was a great show, uh, yeah, great show. I actually didn't see much of the last season, so I still don't know how it ended. Gotta find that out soon.


Monday, July 16, 2007

He talks to the clouds

Yesterday morning it was cloudy, and looked and felt as if it were about to rain. We went to the store to get some things, and on our way back Guthrie asked if it was going to rain. I told him I wasn't sure, and he should ask the sky and the clouds. He looked out his window, turned his head up, and had a little conversation.

"Sky and clouds, are you going to rain today?"

"Yes Guthrie we will rain after it is dark time at night."

"Okay sky and clouds. Thank you."

I thought this conversation was adorable. It didn't rain at all during the day. Then, last night, as soon as it started to get dark, we started to see lightning. And drops of rain. And when Guthrie woke up at midnight (and told me thank you for "saving" him when I went into bed with him) I told him he was right, and it was raining, and he got a huge smile on his face.

Maybe the clouds really do talk to him.

Although they could stop raining now. Story hour was canceled today because too many roads were closed, we got 5 inches already, and lots of people are having trouble with flooding. I guess I'll need Guthrie to ask the clouds for their plans again tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Raining on our Parade

I've been preparing Guthrie for a week or so for fireworks. Last year, we didn't even try taking the kids to a show, but some were still shot off close enough that Guthrie couldn't sleep through them and got scared. At New Year's, he refused to look out our hotel window to watch, again scared of the noise and lights.

So I decided I'd spend plenty of time explaining, we watched the videos Karrie posted on her blog. We talked about how they are loud, but won't hurt us. And Guthrie was all excited that he could stay up late and watch fireworks.

And then Mother Nature decided that we needed rain, and to play a joke on me. And so it rained - a lot - and there was lightning, and thunder, and big, dark clouds. At around 7 I looked out, and saw more big clouds (although it wasn't raining) and there was still lightning in the distance, and so Eric and I talked, and figured the shows would all be canceled or postponed, and I should put the boys to bed. And so I did.

And now, it is not raining. I see blue in the sky. I hear people shooting off their own fireworks in the distance. And the boys are sleeping right through it, and I have no plans to wake them up.

Mother Nature is not very nice to me today.

So, our Fourth was completely uneventful. I don't believe I even walked out the door of the house today. The big event was whipping up some Jiffy corn bread mix (one of my big food indulgences, that I don't do often - I generally try to avoid the word "lard" in food labels). Guthrie is having a blast with Roz being here, and I hope he won't be too sad he missed the big pretties in the sky.

And to add my own lame patriotic touch, for those who, like me, love quizzes, have at this one.

Can YOU pass the US citizenship test? I apparently deserve to be here - I got 100%. (Although why it's really important to know some of this stuff to be a citizen is beyond me, but apparently I retained enough of my social studies lessons - thank you to most of my SS teachers)

Hope everyone is having a more eventful Independence Day than us.

Monday, July 02, 2007


My 29th birthday came and went with little fanfare. I got a few phonecalls, some comments on MySpace, a card in the mail from my mom and one from my niece and nephew, and I got to take a (very short) midafternoon nap, but other than that, the birthday itself was pretty uneventful.

I've come to understand that having a birthday which falls at the end of the month, when payday comes only once a month and is at the beginning, is a definite downer. The money is all gone, forget about the party.

Eric made up for this, though, by surprising me with a Very Nice bottle of wine. I've been telling him, for a long time, that I'd like to try a Very Nice, Expensive even, bottle of wine, to see if it's really worth all the hype, and if I would ever, if I could, trade in my Little Penguin or Yellow Tail (why have I come to be so fond of the Australian wine makers?) for the Really Good wine.

We enjoyed the bottle Saturday night, at an Econo Lodge in Corpus Christi, where we stayed on our way to pick up Eric's daughter for her summer visit. We remembered the cork screw (I, like a good wino, keep a cork screw [although I'm not sure now if cork screw is one word or two] in my regular travel bag when on road trips), but not glasses, and so we drank the Very Nice, Really Good, Expensive even, bottle of wine - every last drop - out of the cheap plastic cups provided by the hotel, on the balcony overlooking the pool and while watching the other overnight guests returning from the George Lopez show across the street, and with the hotel room door open so that we could stand just outside the door and be able to look in and make sure the boys were still sleeping. (Turner slept a very long stretch that night, bless his little heart. Kind to us he was.)

And the verdict? Would I, if I were able, trade in my nice cute-named Australian friends for the Very Nice bottle of wine? Nah. It was worth it - definitely worth it - and tasted great with our pre-sliced sandwich cheeses, but I think I'll stick with my kangaroos and penguins. (Why is an Australian wine called the Little Penguin, anyway?)* Not that I have an option, now - that Really Good bottle was definitely a Big Splurge for a birthday - but I'll know, when that long lost uncle who no one has ever heard of decides to shower me with his fortune.

The best part of the bottle? It did cushion the blow of the fact that I now have less than 365 days until I am no longer in my 20s. And last night, while sitting up with my husband across from me and a glass of one of my Aussie friends in my hand, I caught myself saying something that not so long ago seemed an oxymoron. When discussing with Eric whether we would ever have more children, I said there's no need to spend too much time thinking about it now, I have plenty of years of reproduction left. After all, I told him, I'm only 29.

*I looked it up on Wikipedia, of course, and discovered the ignorance of that statement. Penguins live in Australia. What do I know? I'm as bad as the people who asked me, when I lived in Alaska, if we saw lots of polar bears.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


After a nightmarish day of flight delays and spending 4 hours wandering Houston airport with the boys, plus then spending over an hour sitting on an airplane waiting to take off, we successfully made it home late Sunday night. Oh, yes, we'd had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to be sure we made it to the airport in time for our 8 a.m. flight, which ended up being an 11:40 a.m. flight, and then the flight from Houston was delayed - repeatedly - and our 12:30 arrival home ended up being at nearly 10 p.m.

We had a mostly fun and eventful stay in Missouri, with a very full schedule. The only real downside - and a big one it was and is - was whatever cold or other virus we all managed to pick up while we were there, which left the boys with a low grade fever and general ickies for a few days, my mom with a pretty serious illness which kept her from work for 2 nights, and me with a nagging cough and stuffy head and headache here over a week after the fever first hit.

Well, the lack of sleep - none of us slept well while we were gone - is a bit of a downside, too, and probably another reason I'm still trying to recover from what for the boys was a rather minor illness.

We spent time at the Knob Noster fair, where Guthrie had a blast going on lots of rides and eating lots of junk food, we saw lots of old friends, went to see Thomas the Tank Engine in Baldwin City, Kansas, and spent some time at KMOS (the local PBS affiliate) Kids Day, where the kids got to see Clifford, Curious George, and Jay Jay the Jet Plane. .

We are glad to be home now, and trying to get settled back in. I feel like there is a ton of work I must do, and feel the need to have it all done RIGHT NOW, and Turner is still being a velcro baby and needing to be held about 23 1/2 hours a day., I'm trying though. And Guthrie is helping me type this post, so any extra "dots" or commas can be blamed on him.

Today is Eric's birthday, which he had forgotten about until we started singing to him this morning. I even had to remind him how old he is. If Turner ever goes down for his nap, Guthrie and I are going to get to work on a chocolate cake topped with strawberries, at Guthrie's choosing.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Made it!

Arrived safely in Missouri this afternoon, after completely uneventful traveling. The flights went fine, although the second leg was delayed and arrived about 15 minutes late. The boys were both great on the airplanes, and I managed to keep my fear in check. Even managed to catch the last, oh, two questions of the Cormac McCarthy interview on Oprah. (Apparently it airs again later so I should be able to see the rest tonight)

Getting settled in to my mom's house for our stay, so glad to see Samantha, and Guthrie was obviously thrilled to see Stacia, as he practically attacked her on getting off the airplane.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Travels, travels, lots of travels

Friday morning, my dear husband, who I've come to believe might have gone off his rocker, announced (okay, so he hinted Thursday night) that we were, as soon as he got through with his morning meeting, taking off for the weekend. This wouldn't be such a shock except that he's done this 3 out of the last 4 weekends. And who am I to say no to a weekend away, especially to keep me from spending the entire weekend stressing about the impending travel to Missouri by airplane?

So off we went, about noon on Friday, to Corpus Christi. We are quickly falling in love with the whole Texas Gulf Coast, and Corpus and the surrounding area is filled with fun stuff for kids and adults. There's the beach, obviously, but so much more, which we've only started to explore. We've gone ahead and gotten a membership to the Texas State Aquarium, and love to watch the dolphin show. (The first time we were there, after the show we sat looking out at the bay and watching wild dolphins following a big ship.) We haven't done the USS Lexington, a retired aircraft carrier, yet, but will when the boys are old enough to care. And we bought our annual parking pass for Port Aransas, with its beautiful beaches.

Guthrie just loves the swimming pools, which was great because the beaches were so covered in seaweed this weekend that it was hard to play in the water too much. And we saw our first jellyfish, which I must admit was a little creepy for me, having grown up landlocked.

One of the highlights for me was heading up to Goose Island State Park, to see the "Big Tree." Eric wasn't nearly as impressed as I was, but I thought seeing a 1,000+ year old tree was pretty cool.

Guthrie enjoyed taking the ferry up to Rockport, and I'd never been on one either. Turner just screamed. Surprised?

And to further show that kids really are amused by the smallest things, Guthrie thought the surf shop was the coolest ever. I figured he'd get scared walking through a shark's mouth, but no, he said it was a nice shark, and he even touched its tooth on the way out.

And now, I am all packed for our adventure tomorrow, and I think we're ready to go. I'm hoping there won't be any meltdowns and I have prepared Guthrie enough for all of the details of flying (going through security, the layover in Dallas), but there is always something that comes up that I will have forgotten. If you feel so inclined, just glance up at the skies sometime between 7:30 and 12:30 central time tomorrow to send me good vibes for safe and fearless air travel.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Visiting Missouri

A week from now the boys and I will be in MO, visiting our friends and family, eating the wonderful ... oh wait, sorry.

Then again, I chose this time to visit because it was a time when Eric will be having to work like crazy and will have no time for the family, and also because it will be during the Knob Noster (yes, I come from a town called Knob Noster. go ahead, laugh, get it over with. Done now?) Fair, so I will be eating one of my favorite yummy junk food creations ever ... FUNNEL CAKES! Oh dear gourds how I love funnel cakes. And those giant ridiculous baskets of fries?

(So I just discovered that Knob Noster has a website. I linked to it above. Wow, high-tech.)

I'm looking forward to the visit, seeing everyone, and taking Guthrie on the caruousel and ferris wheel and all that junk food. I am not, however, looking forward to flying. First, I'm a teensy bit afraid of flying. Irrational, stupid, ridiculous, I know, but still ... we all have our irrational fears. (Someone I once knew practically panicked at the sight of grasshoppers. I think fear of flying is a little more rational.)

More than that, though, I'm not looking forward to flying, alone, with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. And even more, the 2-hour layover in Dallas on the way out.

Guthrie is really excited at the thought of flying -can't wait. Keeps asking all kinds of questions, and climbing on the futon and pretending like he's "driving" the airplane. Turner is absolutely clueless, of course, and has recently turned into super-high-needs clingy, "don't-you-even-think-of-putting-me-down," needs to nurse 37 times a day, won't eat real food and won't sleep more than 45-minutes at a stretch, velcro baby.

Which should make for fun traveling.

I have 6 days until we fly, but I am already trying to make lists and get a bag together. trying to fit as much as I can, for all 3 of us, into one big bag, and keep the carry-on as small as possible - diapers, granola bars, toys. I am going to be that mom, and I'm buying a carrying case for the portable DVD player. I'm actually thinking of it more for the layover in Dallas, when I'd like to not be running all over the world with the two little ones, and if I could get Guthrie to sit still and watch a movie during that time, great! I'll try to avoid it on the plane if at all possible.

So, any tips for traveling with 2 little ones? I haven't flown in 4 years - since before I got pregnant with Guthrie. My usual coping mechanism for flying - massive quantities of booze in the airport bar (which our local airport doesn't have anyway) won't work with little ones, so I'm thinking I'll pop a valerian before I leave for the airport, and that might help a bit. All the samples of baby products I got at the Baby Expo will come in handy now, too, for staying under the limits for liquids.

And any old friends who happen to be reading this and might want to get in touch during the prime social event of the year, the Knob Noster Fall Spring Whatever-The-Name-Is-Now Festival, e-mail me.

And wish me luck!

Monday, May 28, 2007

First Words?

I've been a little concerned since Turner, now 13 months, does not talk. AT ALL. For about a week's time, he would say "uh-oh," but that stopped rather quickly, and he didn't pick up any more words.

Today, though, Eric and I both heard him say what we thought might have been his first words. Oh, yes, he is definitely our son. What we both heard was, we believe,

"Damn. Damn. F#@*."

Would not be a surprise, since a few days ago Guthrie said, out of nowhere, but still at an appropriate time of frustration, "God. F#@*ing Dammit."

I'd like to be able to say he gets it all from his father, the one who is known by some for the language he uses in his writing, but no, I'd say he got it all from me. And when I hear from the back of the van Guthrie burst out with something that should not be coming out of the mouth of a 3 year old, I try not to laugh and encourage him while I also hide my head in shame that he got it all from me.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Go Has a Cheezburger

If you have not done so already, go here. I was LOL, really, so hard Eric wondered what was wrong.

I'd link to my favorites, but the one that had me laughing the hardest was not kid or work appropriate, so you have to find it yourself. The "invisible" tag has some of my favorites.

Oh, dear, why do I find it so funny?

Thank you, Karrie, for guiding me to this site which has sucked so much time from me. It's made me laugh a lot, though, so the time was worth it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

His kitties

A few days ago there was a shooting at a mall in Kansas City. I am from the area (an hour east, but still), and still read the Kansas City area news fairly regularly. As if the story of the shooting, especially after Virginia Tech, was not enough to make you wonder what is going on with the world, and how to feel safe, and what is going on in these people's heads, this story was on the web tonight.

Apparently, the shooter left a voice mail with his sister shortly before going on the shooting spree. He asked his sister to take care of his kitties, saying they were all he had to love, and that it was too late for him.

Now I know that we are supposed to hate these people, to paint them as entirely evil, inhuman creatures capable of the unthinkable, and to feel only for the victims. And don't get me wrong - I feel for the victims, for their families. But this story, this man's voice mail to his sister, has me heartbroken. Yes, I feel heartbroken for the man who shot innocent people.

Because, really, what is it that causes someone to do this? A person who has been loved, and who has lived a happy, fulfilled life, does not do this. A person who has nothing left in the world but his "kitties" does not go to a mall and shoot innocent people. And though their lives were cut short, maybe those victims felt at some point something this man never did - loved.

Maybe I'm reading too deep. Maybe I'm thinking too much. Maybe I'll be attacked by all sides. But I just can't help but think that just maybe, if we all stopped for awhile, slowed down a bit, held our babies, rocked our children, hugged our spouses, smiled at strangers, and the world loved a little more, then there might not be people who felt so unloved that they did these horrible, horrible things, and that those innocent victims might still be here.

He did a horrible, unthinkable thing. But at the same time, I hope his sister takes good care of his kitties.

Who put the Benadryl in the Avocado?*

Yes, he still has the spoon in his hand. Still would, actually, if I hadn't taken it from him.

The only problems? Do I move him or leave him? And since he fell asleep at 5 o'clock, is he going to wake up at 5 a.m.?

*The Benadryl in the Avocado is, of course, just a joke. There were no sleep-inducing substances added to anything.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just possibly, the most ridiculous baby gadget ever

I saw this over at Hathor the Cow Goddess, and you know, it's so bad, it almost seems like it's parody. Really, this thing is just stupid. And the pictures? Dreadful. I feel bad - almost - for the model.

It won't let me copy a picture, so go look.

Sadly, though, there are people out there breaking their back and thinking this is the most brilliant idea ever.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

picture boob sleeping desk computer

You found me through a search for this? What?

I mean, what, exactly, were you trying to find anyway? And did you find it?

How bizarre. Gotta love the internetses.

More Wiki

What else did I learn from Wiki?

That Turner's birthday is the same as the date of Mark Twain's death.

That Guthrie shares a birthday with Osama Bin Laden and Shannon Tweed.

That Samantha's birthday is World Vegan Day.

Eric's birthday is World Refugee Day, and John Goodman's birthday.

And we were married on the anniversary of the death of Charles Bukowski.

Fun time-killer. What would we do without Wikipedia?

Wiki Birthday Meme

Stolen from Alimum

1. Go to Wikipedia and enter your birthday without the year:
June 27

2. List four events that occurred that day:
1844 - Joseph Smith, Jr., murdered along with his brother, Hyrum, at the Carthage, Illinois jail.

1967 - The world's first ATM is installed in Enfield, London.

1985 - Route 66 ceases to be an official U.S. highway.

1981 - The first paintball match was played.

3. List two important birthdays:
1880 - Helen Keller, American spokeswoman for the deaf and blind (d. 1968)
1930 - Ross Perot, American billionaire and politician

4. List one death:
2001 - Jack Lemmon, American actor (b. 1925)

5. List one holiday or observance:
National HIV Testing Day in United States

And for me, a bonus fictional holiday:

In Shirley Jackson's Novel The Lottery, the annual lottery is held on this date each year.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cake, Icing, Cuteness

So I was totally lame and decided to just get a boxed cake mix. You know, younger siblings, especially when they're close together, get the short end of the stick all the time anyway, right? Although Turner's cake was probably yummier than Guthrie's homemade sugar-free carrot cake he had on his first birthday.

Guthrie picked it out - strawberry cake with white icing and sprinkles. Turner doesn't like sweets much, so he really didn't care one way or the other. And I don't think he ate more than a lick or two of the cupcake.

(Yes, I did notice the picture of the cupcakes has The China Study, a book on ideal nutrition and health, sitting right behind it. you gotta have cupcakes sometimes, right? Maybe even vegan ones.)

His gift, from us, (little brother getting shafted again) was a big ball of ball-pit balls. We're thinking we can empty the baby pool and fill it up with the balls, as a friend of ours suggested. Right now it's kind of rainy out, and so instead, the boys are just running around the living room (and the rest of the house) kicking, throwing, chewing on, and otherwise causing havoc with the balls. Guthrie is using a ruler from yesterday (thank you Rio Grande Regional Hospital) to bat them around, and using them to make letters. They love it!

And otherwise, it's just a great day all around. We've got the Beatles playing on the iPod, Eric is in the kitchen making his famous quesadillas, and although Turner did think he needed to get up at 4 this morning (!), he and I took a long nap this afternoon.

Life is good!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Birthday Boy

Turner is one whole entire year old today. And cute as can be, if I do say so myself!

Eric had work he had to finish (actually it was a little late) today, so the birthday festivities (cake, ice cream, requisite icing smashed into hair and face) will take place tomorrow.

So we celebrated the day at a Baby and Child Health Expo, at the brand spanking new McAllen Convention Center. It is really really nice, and the Expo was interesting. I've been to these kinds of things before - Auto Shows, Home Shows, and a more general, miscellanous Expo sponsored by a local radio station where I used to live - but never one geared at babies, young children, and pregnant and postpartum women. I went as much because I was curious about what kind of free samples and information would be handed out. The draw of Heidi Murkoff - one of the authors of the "What To Expect" series (also known as "If You Eat Too Many Cookies Your Baby Will Have Three Heads and Your Uterus Will Fall Out of Your Body" with the subtitle "Breastfeeding is for Crazy Women who Wish to give up their Self Identity") just didn't do it for me.

Here is a picture of our take in free samples. And we didn't take half of what was available:

One of the funny things that happened: Turner was asleep when we got there, so I put him in the sling, thinking he might go back to sleep. No chance, but I kept him in the sling, anyway, and Guthrie rode in the stroller. As we walked past the WIC booth, the rep stopped me and said, "Here is our breastfeeding information. You're a breastfeeding mother?" I took the info, and as we were walking away, laughed and asked Eric if it was really that obvious. Apparently so, because every booth affiliated with breastfeeding stopped me to give me information or samples, until I took Turner out of the sling and he was riding in the stroller.

There was formula information everywhere, but I think there were as many breastfeeding booths, too - Avent, Lansinoh, WIC was pushing breastfeeding, and at least 2 other breastfeeding-related groups (whose names I don't remember). Someone did stop us and give a sample of nursery water, which I took, because hey, it's water. Malt-O-Meal gave us a bunch of cereal and cereal-snacks, which were really sugar-rush yummy. (Blueberry yummy) I think we now have more samples of Huggies soap, shampoo, wipes, and other products than we'll ever use, too. It was crazy.

We also got these tote bags, that might be useful, but that advertise for a hospital and say, "Born in Texas." Not one member of this family was born in Texas (fortunately), so I think I'll feel kind of silly carrying the bag, but whatever.

They had one of those inflatable slides there, and Guthrie was really excited to try it, but once it came time (and I'd signed the waiver @@), he got scared. So this really adorable 2-year-old girl took his hand and helped him up, and went down with him. Precious, I tell you, precious. Except now he's figuring out how to get the girls - act all scared and nervous and let the sweet little girl show you how brave she is and help you overcome your fear. *sigh* He's learning these things too early. And then he wouldn't let go of her hand.

So, more pictures of an icing-and-cake covered toddler to follow tomorrow. Guthrie thinks Turner needs a "red" cake and Guthrie needs a "blue" cake. I suppose colored icing will work for that trick.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mommy lesson

Keep all chocolate in the house on high shelves, in the deep freeze, or otherwise where a creative and independent 3-year-old can not reach it. Otherwise he will wait until you are putting the lunch dishes in the dishwasher to go into the bedroom where the 1-year-old is sleeping and jump on the bed next to him until he begins to wake up. (Thankfully, he was not jumping on the 1-year-old.) Then, while you are on the bed with the baby trying to nurse him back to sleep, he will come into the bedroom holding an opened block of baker's chocolate, and telling you that it does, in fact, taste really good, contrary to what you tried to convince him earlier. And you will be left with the dilemma: do I stay here, help the baby get back to sleep, and let the toddler eat what could be a ridiculous amount of mediocre chocolate, or do I get up and take the chocolate away, causing the baby to wake all the way up and not get enough of a nap and then be cranky for the rest of the afternoon?

In case you're curious, the solution was to let him eat the chocolate. He didn't eat that much after all. And it has all, now, been put up high enough he can't find it.

Crunchy home birther

Yesterday as my screen saver was flipping through random pictures from our lives, this picture popped up. As I looked at it, I realized, for the first time, just how bizarre and unreasonable this picture must seem to anyone who believes giving birth in a hospital is the right way to do it, and who thinks home birth is dangerous, crazy and just plain stupid.
So a brief explanation. Turner will be one year old this Saturday, the 21st, and I have his full birth story available here and pictures here. He was born, very peacefully and beautifully, at home, in our farm house in Missouri. His birth was attended by 3 amazing midwives, Rachel, Cheryl and Lisa.
The picture shows me still on the floor holding my minutes-old baby son, and my very-pregnant (she gave birth just 2 days later, although I don't believe she was due for 3 more weeks) midwife starting to clean up, as well as the environment in which I gave birth. Yes, I gave birth on our living room floor, which was how and where I wanted to be. You look around, you see a space heater on the floor to warm the room for the baby (it was a warm spring day, but got chilly at night, and we wanted to have it nice and warm for the baby's arrival). You see a toy box full of Guthrie's toys against one wall. You see a futon right there, a nice comfy soft place where I could have given birth had I chosen.
Our society firmly believes that babies need to be born in hospitals, attended by specialists, with all the bells and whistles and the machine that goes "ping." I won't go into the politics surrounding birth, and how bogus this whole idea is for the vast majority of women, and how it is the hospital environment itself which causes so many of the complications which now occur in birth and especially the shamefully high c-section rate, because there's just not enough room here, and I doubt it would accomplish much anyway.
Giving birth at home, in my own space, with access to all of my own belongings, my own bathroom, my own food, was an absolutely incredible experience. My first child was born in a hospital, nearly 12 years ago, and my second was born in a freestanding birth center (a home birth in someone else's home, in many ways). If we have any more children, which is still a distinct possibility, they will be born in whatever home we are in at the time.
It now seems as bizarre to me - as strange as this image must seem to most of the American population - to think of going into labor and immediately packing things up to go to a hospital. To imagine being tethered to a bed, to not be able to go into the kitchen and eat a bowl of Frosted Flakes (as I did at 3 a.m. when I realized a baby would be coming soon), to not be able to turn up the iPod and belly dance through contractions to the Culture Club and Duran Duran and Prince and The Cure, and to not be able to leave your sleeping children asleep in their own beds as long as possible, seems so unnatural, so inconvenient, and just so wrong. To be poked and prodded, and on someone else's time frame for delivery, and to be surrounded by rotating shifts of strangers is not something I can imagine anyone ever choosing, if they knew the options available.
Within minutes of Turner's birth, I was drinking a cup of coffee, eating a pb&j, and having some of the cookies Eric made while I was in labor. Turner was only separated from me for brief moments while I used the bathroom. He nursed immediately, we lay together in our own comfy bed, and we had visitors come to our house to see the new arrival. Turner was welcomed by his family - his parents, siblings, and his grandmother - and later we all lay together in bed and napped peacefully together, and life was just life, as it should be, as it has been. Bizarre only in a society that sees birth as a medical event, as a disaster waiting to happen, as something women are not capable of doing on their own.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I've been on a bit of a self-imposed internet vacation, or time-out.

Why? you ask. Well, I get a little sucked in to the whole virtual world, and lose sight of the actual real world around me. It's not awful, and since we don't have a TV, it is my one real vice, but I do have a tendency to get too involved in things that just don't really matter, and neglect things that do. You know, like the stack of books I've recently bought from Amazon or all the recipes I've been wanting to try out. And other things, like fresh air and sunlight.

And so, I cut myself off, temporarily. I deleted shortcuts so I wouldn't be tempted, and just generally stayed away. (And since Eric had pointed out that I read too much news - I guess that's another vice - I was just telling myself this morning that I would stay away from the news sites for awhile, too, when I heard of the shooting in Virginia, and can't stay away. I won't comment on that - there just aren't words - except to say how offended and disgusted I am by the pro-gun lobby and the way they are already using it as another reason everyone should own, and carry, a gun.)

In the meantime, after saying I needed to cut back a bit, our internet connection went down to slower-than-dialup speeds, and then my computer (which just recently celebrated its first birthday) needed to be fixed - again. And so I suffered the pain and terror of disconnecting my computer, driving it to the computer doctor, and hoping for its safe return. (Still not quite fixed - may have to take it back.)

And, while all of this was happening, Turner has not only decided that sleep is against his religion but wailing at the top of his lungs is his form of worship, but I got sick-ish. I say sick-ish, because I haven't been exactly sick, but not well either. I've had this sort of general icky feeling, for a couple weeks now, with headaches popping up out of nowhere, a sort of queasiness that fades in and out, and an abnormal fatigue. Oh, yes, I've had that terror - "Am I pregnant?!??!" - but I am, in fact, not pregnant. I'm certain. With all 3 of my babies, I've known almost immediately, and I am quite definitely not pregnant. Well, that and the fact that I would CRY CRY CRY CRY CRY if I were, because I am so not ready to be pregnant again.

But the fact that I was sick-ish but not really sick had me ridiculously worried and wondering what was wrong, and driving Eric generally insane. West Nile? - there have been lots of mosquitoes here. Hepatitis A? - we're in a high-risk area and there was the recent Whataburger incident. On one particularly sleep-less and slightly crazy night I was convinced momentarily it was ovarian cancer or something equally horrible, but snapped out of it by morning.

(I'm not generally a hypochondriac, and am generally rather healthy. I think the internet withdrawal was getting to me. I'm feeling much better now.)

So if I haven't returned your e-mails, commented on your blog, or debated you on whether Barilla Plus or Multi-Grain is better, that is why. I haven't stopped loving you and I'm not cheating on you, promise. It's just that darn ebola virus.

Friday, April 06, 2007


And because blogger never lets me embed video (I'm just copy/pasting from Photobucket), scroll all the way down for the video.

Guthrie LOVES it, Turner likes the slide, and Eric likes that it's all done. 18-ish hours total, we think, although we weren't looking at the clock at the end. And this weekend we're set to have record cold (um, 60 degrees), so we probably won't be using it much until Monday.