Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conversations with a six year old

I know I said I wasn't going to be posting any more this week, but I couldn't pass this up.  You'll see why.  Also, to set the stage, we were just arriving home, it was dark and cold and I just wanted to get the kids in bed...
Mommy, I know where puppies are born from.
You do?
They come out of the mommy's butt.
Oh no,  No, they don't come out of the butt.  It only looks like they come out of the butt.
Well, where do they come from?
Oh shit.  Do we have to talk about this now?  We're almost home.
Yes, where are puppies born from?  The bellybutton?
No, not the bellybutton.  Rushing to get out of the car and Little Man unbuckled.  Come on, honey, let's get inside.
But I want to know where puppies are born from.
Take a deep breath.  They come out of the mommy's vagina.
Bagina?  What's a bagina?
Oh shit, shit, shit.  It's where the puppies come out.
Do all mommies have one?
Yes.  Why won't this unbuckle??
Did I come out of a bagina?
Yes, you did, now let's get inside.  You have to get ready for bed.
I'm so not ready for this...

Monday, November 24, 2008


photo by mathewingram
It's Thanksgiving!   Well, almost.  In just three days, it'll be Thanksgiving.  Close enough, right?  We are traveling, just like everyone else in the country, so this will probably be my last post for the week.  First one, too, apparently.
I wanted to encourage you, in this time of pushing Christmas shopping, to stop and remember that this week is Thanksgiving.  A time to give thanks.  We get so wrapped up in Christmas, Christmas, Christmas that Thanksgiving often gets missed (unless you count the Day-After-Thanksgiving attention).  Sunday, our pastors reminded us that we should stop and be thankful.  Thankful for many big and little things, especially in this time of economic troubles.  Do you have your health?  Be thankful.  Do you have your family?  Be thankful.  Do you have food and clothes?  Be thankful.  
I'm thankful for so many things.  I'm making a list (and checking it twice, gonna find out ... wait - wrong season!) and I encourage you to do the same.
I'm thankful for my family.  My husband who is my best friend.  My children who amaze me every day.  I'm thankful that my children still have all of their grandparents and nanny.  I'm thankful I still have all my aunts, uncles, cousins, sister-in-law and beautiful nieces.
I'm thankful for my friends.  'Nuf said.
I'm thankful for my health - such as it is.  Sure, I could be healthier, but I'm good.
I'm thankful for the house we have (even though I have a love/hate relationship with it).  
I'm thankful for the grocery game because we're able to eat well and still stay under budget.
I'm thankful for Dave Ramsey (even though I hate having to stick to a budget) and for not having car payments.
I'm thankful it didn't rain on me this morning while I was bagging leaves in the yard.  (The rain came later and stayed all day long.  In case you were wondering).
I'm thankful that my husband has a good job and I don't have to work, even though I do, part time.
I'm thankful for so many other things like sunrises and sunsets, rain, a good book, brownies, my children's teachers and schools, my church and my pets.  
What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Seasons of life

An old friend called the other day.  Not one of these old friends but a real person kind of old friend.  Honestly, we hadn't talked in probably two years.  I'll call him Steve, but that's not his real name.  We worked together at a music store way back when I was in college.  We never dated or anything, we were just friends.  In fact, he, his roommate, my roommate and I went to Woodstock '94.  Now those were good times.  Hanging out in the mud and rain, listening to all different kinds of music...  but I digress.
My point this evening is that while talking with Steve, I realized that we are no longer in the same season.  Over the last two years or so, I would hear people talking about the "seasons of life".  Everyone goes through them at varying times.  I've been through several already.  Not counting High School (which is a season of seasons), I've survived probably three or four different ones.
Let's see, there's the Freshman in College Season.  Yes, this does deserve it's own season.  Think back to when you first started college, if you went to college.  All of a sudden you are on your own.  You have no one to answer to but yourself.  Some make it, some don't, some barely scoot by and some excel.  But either way, you go through that season.  I survived, fairly well if I remember correctly.
Then, for me, there's the party season.  Specifically raves.  Yes, I'm old school.  I admit it.  I was going to raves back when they were still in dark warehouses that had electricity pumped in for the weekend or even just the night.  Invitations were printed on tiny slips of paper or it would just be word of mouth.  I'd think nothing of getting off work at said record store at 9:30 or 10:00pm, drive two hours to get to a rave in another city and stay out all night long then turn around and drive back in time enough to open the store again at 1:00 Sunday afternoon.
That season lasted about a year or two.  Then there were the Dead shows.  Need I say more?  Actually, for a while there, those two seasons coexisted.  Come to think of it, College Life needs it's own season, period.
Back then I was young and dumb.  Crazy, even.  I wasn't a bad person, but hey, it was college.  I'll be able to relate to my daughter and son when they get older (God help me!).
Then there was the post-College pre-Marriage season.  Just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  You know, the typical 20-something.  Trey and I were hanging out, traveling, working a lot but it was good, you know?
Then we got married.  Everything changed, but slowly at first.  We would still meet up with friends and hang out at restaurants with bars but nothing that would be considered "partying".  We still traveled and had fun.  Another season.
Then Monkey came along - ushering in the Parenting Season.  This, by far, has been the most challenging and rewarding season of all.
Steve is still in the post-College pre-Marriage season.  I talked about being a PTA mom, driving a mini-van and he laughed.  I'm guessing he still sees me as the raving hippie that I used to be.  He talked to me about his old roommate and going back to our college town for homecoming.  He told me about his current jobs and such.  He's been seeing someone for a while - you know, we chatted.  I talked about the kids and school, we talked movies and music and how much things have changed in the music sales industry since we were working together.  We talked for about 45 minutes about lots of things, actually, but when we were done, I realized how different I had become.  
Had being a mom really changed me that much?  Do I really have that little to offer someone outside my season?  Sure, I can relate very well with parents of children about 10 years and younger, but after that, what do I really have other than stories and experiences?  I'm sure they will come in handy one day- like when Monkey hits her teen years (AAAH!).
Seasons come and go; the wheel is turning and you can't slow down.  All we can do is move forward and look back fondly on our lives.  We all have our seasons.
So, what season are you in?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Question of the day

If a dog drinks ice cold water, does it get brain freeze?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome Home

I saw something beautiful today at Little Man's preschool.  As I was picking him up, I noticed that there was a mom greeting her little boy.  I didn't think anything of it until I noticed Mrs. J. taking a picture.
So I look closer at the mom and I notice that she's wearing desert BDU's.  Mrs. J. said to me, "She just got home today, just now in fact."
This cute little blonde boy, one of Little Man's classmates, is seeing his mom for the first time in a long time.  The little boy's twin sister didn't know yet.  She was still washing her hands in the bathroom.  I never saw the boy's expression when he noticed his mom there, but I can tell you that he didn't leave her embrace.  She crouched there with her arms wrapped around him whispering things only he could hear.
Then his sister came out of the bathroom.
You know how young children, older two's specifically, sometimes take a few seconds to register what they're seeing?  It's like you can watch their thought process in slow motion across their little faces.  This was her reaction.  She stared across the room at her mom then recognition flashed across her face.
Then her face completely changed and it glowed.  She excitedly tip-toe walked to her mom and wrapped herself around her, sharing the space with her brother as they've done all their lives.
Believe it or not, I never saw a tear from the mom or the dad, standing quietly to the side.  It was almost like they were in their own little world completely oblivious to all of us outsiders.  But I do believe that everyone else in the room got a little choked up.  I couldn't stop smiling.  See, I've been a part of that kind of homecoming before but to watch it from the outside, it truly is a sight to behold.
Welcome home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Depression stole $10

I'm not an organized person at home.  Back in the day, when I used to work full time, I would be very organized at work, but it's like I would leave it there when I clocked out.  When Depression moved in, he made it worse.  I coined a phrase (although it probably isn't original).  He turned me into a Functioning Depressive (is that even a word??).  Outside my front door, everything was "normal."  I'm doing all the stuff I normally do, usually with a smile on my face.  I even managed to go to Kohl's on Friday and buy two new sweaters (they were 1/2 price - love a sale!).
But Depression would sneak in if a friend asked "how's it going?" and I'd fall apart.  Quietly, though, hiding behind my sunglasses.
But you should see the inside of the house.  OK, maybe I don't need to go on "Clean Sweep" or Oprah's messiest house shows, but really?  It's a mess.
Mail, for example.  We keep mail in a basket on the steps, just inside the front door.  The last few weeks, I haven't really gone through it, except to pull out the bills.  As of Sunday morning I had Three. Steps. Full.  Of mail.  Crazy, right?  Magazines, catalogs, ads, junk mail, you name it.  It was there.  So, Sunday morning I had had enough.  I sat down and started going through the stacks.
There is was.  
From Kohl's, a $10 gift card to use on anything.  Something they had sent in the mail a couple weeks back.  I vaguely remembered at the time thinking "Cool!  I can always find something at Kohl's."  Did I remember on Friday that I had it?  No.  Depression wanted it for himself.  Could I use it for something else?  No.  It expired on Saturday.
Stupid Depression.  Now he's stealing money, too.  I bet he and High Blood Pressure went on a shopping spree.

Friday, November 14, 2008

old friends...

I've had two old friends come and visit recently.  Usually, I enjoy catching up with old friends.  We talk about things we're doing, rehash what madness we may have shared in the past, glance at the future.
But not this time.
This time, I'm not happy to see these old friends.  They're both kinda sneaky.  Gliding in like mist through a crack in the wall.  That imperceptible presence just outside of my line of sight.  These friends like to linger.  I guess they like me.  I should be flattered, right?
I'm not.  I wish they'd go be someone else's old friend.
I first met Depression in 2003.  That friend managed to stay around a while - almost a year in fact - before I kicked him out of my house.  He tried to come back again in 2005 but I was much better than him that time.  He only lingered a few weeks.  He got clever, though.  He found ways to sneak in to my life without me even knowing he was there.  It wasn't until a conversation with a good friend that I realized that Depression had moved into our spare bedroom.  I was too busy looking the other way to notice.  So, at the advice of said friend, I went to see the doctor this week, hoping to find a way to make Depression move out.
That's when my other old friend showed up.
Her name is High Blood Pressure and she really is a sneaky bitch.  I bet she's pissed at Depression, though, because now her cover is blown.  I first met High Blood Pressure when I was pregnant with Little Man.  She was persistent and refused to go away.  She didn't bring along her other preeclampsia friends, just her own bad self.  She even managed to force the doctors into delivering our son six weeks early and then started a knock-down drag-out fight with the doctors forcing them to bring out the big guns - the Magnesium Sulphate drip.
Yeah, High Blood Pressure is an evil bitch.
She managed to live in the spare bedroom of my life until after Little Man was about 6 or 8 months old, then she left.  Sometime in the last 6 months, she's decided to move back in.  
I suppose I should be thankful to Depression, though, because without him, I would never have known she was there.  I stopped checking for her after she had disappeared for months and doctor's visits over the last two years turned up nothing.  She was gone.  Needless to say, I'm now on to them both.
Excuse me while I go draw up an eviction notice.

Welcome to China

I have another guest post and I'm very excited to share it.  I found this blogger - or more accurately, I think she found me - just recently, so I haven't been able to explore as much of her blog as I'd like.  (Just so you know, it's hard to catch up on blogs when there's so many out there to read!  I had 56 new posts in my reader this morning!).

She writes about many things, particularly writing, travel and her experiences in China.  What's so amazing to me about her is that she packed up and left her country just a few months after college and moved to China.  Most of us pack up and move to another city or state but she moved to another country.  Now THAT is stepping out of your comfort zone!  She is a teacher by profession but is also exploring her Chinese heritage and writing.  Her name is Kate and I hope you'll take time to visit her blog, Live Out of the Box.  Her tagline is "write, travel and think beyond," and she certainly does.

     *     *     *     *    *    *

photo by ernop.

She looked down on me as if I was nothing but a pesky mosquito in her large encompassing world. She held out her hand and said something. 

The words rang in my hand. Alien sounds. Fleeting notes of melodies I couldn’t grasp. I opened my mouth but no words came out that she could understand. 

Suddenly she started screaming obscenities at me, lashing out with unbridled rage, shouting with such a fury and passion that went unnoticed by all the passengers in the bus. 

Welcome to China. 

I had gotten on a crowded bus. It was my first month in this wild country. I was soaking up every experience and adjusting to the fact that I’m an expat. To me everything was all new and great and nothing could go wrong. 

Until the moment came when the bus conductor almost threatened to kill me. 

Or at least that’s what I understood from the tone of her voice. 

I felt so helpless. The language I came so much to depend on was of no use here. I had not yet learned the survival street skills needed to get out of this situation. I hastily gave her the correct fare and hoped that would satisfy her. 

The people in the bus looked at me with a mixture of curiosity, incredulity and pity. They along with that conductor, naturally assumed I was one of them because of my Asian looks. Not one of them had the common sense to talk to me in English or tell off the conductor. 

My cheeks were flaming because they were looking at me as if I was the stupidest person in the vehicle. 

Who’s this Chinese that doesn’t know how to speak Chinese?

What an ignoramus!

Can’t even speak Mandarin.

 She must be from the far outskirts of the countryside. 

It was so unfair! They don’t even know me. They don’t even know half the truth. I had these concepts about these people being educated and supposed to know the outside world. Boy, did that give me a reality check. Have you ever had moments when you just felt so small, like a speck of dust? Like the whole world is judging you on a false assumption and you can’t even put up some sort of defense? That’s how I felt back then. 

While I was nursing these open wounds, apparently the conductor felt she wasn’t through with me. No! While I was minding my own business she came back –spit foaming around her mouth like a mad dog. She screamed at me and pointed at me with twice her original fury and once again I was the center of humiliating attention. Whatever pride I had as a person was stripped away. I was treated like an animal. 

So what did I do against this person who treated me like a four letter that starts with s

I gave her more money. 

Why didn’t I retaliate? Because I wasn’t that strong then. I wasn’t raised to shout back at people (apparently it’s common courtesy here). This was the first time this has ever happened to me and the first time I ever suffered culture shock, and a cruel one at that. 

Shaking, I called my friend and said a lot of things. Many I won’t repeat because they were a string of dirty words so foul that came pouring out of me from my rage and anger at the unfairness of it all. I made sure to raise my voice so that everyone would get to hear it, so that everyone would know that I wasn’t one of them and that I was a foreigner and I don’t speak a word of Chinese! That they were all making a big mistake.  I made sure to have eye contact with that conductor while talking but she avoided it in obstinate embarrassment. 

A few months later, I realized the reason why the conductor was so mad at me was because she had asked me how many persons was I paying for (I think it was clear to anyone who would be looking that I had nobody sitting beside me) and  that I was unable to answer her. 

Try letting that sink in. 

For all the products it distributes around the world, China is still a closed country. Many people here are ignorant even those in the big cities. Probably because most of the residents came from the poor countryside, bringing with them their hard to break habits that they think are still applicable to civilization. They get carsick. They puke in the bus and on the roads. They take a dump in big swanky malls and I should tell you, they don’t do this in the bathrooms. They allow their children to pee on the floor in the arrival section of the airport under the public eye of all those arriving from other countries (and I’ve seen this happen in Beijing). Spitting, cutting in line and hitting others whether by bike or if they’re in a hurry with not a word of apology are all part of their common culture. Whatever heritage they had was wiped out during the Cultural Revolution and the sad truth is that most of them don’t know that. The government doesn’t want them to. 

They have no idea that so many of their fellowmen immigrated abroad and have a new life of their own in other countries. They’d be shocked to find out that these immigrants’ children don’t even speak Chinese. They don’t know that Southeast Asians look similar to them. Most of them have never even seen a foreigner before let alone another Asian so how else would they know that I’m one? 

There are still a lot of things they don’t know. 

And I’m still learning about that.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

books, books, books

photo by emilywjones 
Yesterday was one of my days to volunteer at Monkey's school.  Our library services about 1000 children and, of course, the teachers for those children.  It is an "open door" library, meaning that students can come to the library any time during school hours, at the discretion of the teacher.  This is in addition to the classes coming to the library for their Specials throughout the day.  Needless to say, it gets very busy.
Parent volunteers are a huge part of the library.  I think on any given day there are about 10-12 moms and dads that come to help the librarians during the school day.  I usually go for two hours in the morning, about twice a month.  Mostly, what I do is shelve books and sometimes check out books for the students.  Often, the brightest part of my morning is seeing last year's classmates of Monkey.  I'm not ashamed to say I had favorites.  Sometimes, I'll even see Monkey come in.  She never knows I'm there and I'll just observe her.  Then I just can't stand her not knowing, so I'll go and sit next to her and wait for her to acknowledge me.  It's pretty neat surprising her that way.
But yesterday, the librarians asked me to do a different job.  One that I hadn't done before, but it was one they had saved just for me.
I'm not sure how often our library gets new books, but when they arrive, the new books need to be checked over for publishing errors; is it bound properly, are the pages all there, did any of the text get cut off.  Then they have to be "broken in."  This is simply pressing a few of the pages open so that the book is easier for the children to open and read.  Who knew, right?
Yesterday was my day to sit down and break in new books.  There's something special about opening a new book.  Those fresh, crisp pages, brightly colored illustrations, bold text bouncing along, carrying the story through.  I can't even begin to tell you all the books I looked through, but the librarians busted me more than once giggling to myself.
There was Petunia, the goose that learned that wisdom comes from reading a book, not carrying it around (she blew up the barnyard!).
The Three Billy Goats Gruff - remember that?  It brought back a memory of mine from elementary school of making paper bag puppets and putting on a puppet show.  Our class rooms had half-doors, so we went in the hallway and used the bottom half of the door as our stage.  But I can't remember if I had a goat or the troll.
And there's The Three Silly Girls Grub and The Armadillos Tough (I think), which were based from the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
I creeped my way through spider books, laughed at a giraffe with a tongue up its nose, lingered over beautiful watercolor illustrations of a coral reef.
I read about Lou Gehrig, JFK and Jefferson.
I learned why the Jolly Roger is called that.  (Oh, he was a jolly old pirate!)
I giggled over a dog that got a kitten that "if he ignored it, it would go away." 
I saw pumpkins and apples and Christmas and variations of the Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
I spent two hours immersed in books and I loved every bit of it.  The Librarian joked that I owed her one, because I was doing one of their favorite things.  I think she was right.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

where's the love, man?

[knock knock]  Anyone home?  Hey, Kool-Aid?  Are you there?  Where is she?  Anyone know where Kool-Aid is?
I have been wallowing in self-pity, that's where.  See, Trey is out of town and I'm left to do all the work two parents normally are able to share.  It's not like he hasn't traveled for work before.  It's not like I haven't done the "single parent" thing before.  I've done it several times over the course of the last 6 years.  No, many times.  More than I care to remember.
Sometimes it's a weekend, sometimes it's a week, sometimes it's two weeks, but every time it gets harder.
Maybe it's the age of the kids.  6 and just-about 3.  They keep me busy; they keep the house messy - oh, wait, no that's me.  But they help keep it messy.  And I'm forever trying to negotiate peace treaties.  After this, I think I could help the Israelites and the Palestinians strike a permanent peace accord - surely that would be easier than getting those two siblings to get along.
I'm wallowing in self-pity because I can.  Poor-poor me.  I really shouldn't be, though.  There are others who are worse off than me, for sure.  I have a roof over my head, food in the kitchen and a car to get me where I need to go.  Also, I have friends that love me and are willing to help.  Why is it so hard to ask for help?  A dear friend and I were talking on Saturday and she told me "When you don't ask for help, you rob someone of the opportunity to help you."
When you don't ask for help, you rob someone of the opportunity to help you. 
Strong statement, that.  Yeah, I have smart friends.  I should listen to them.
So, I'm asking for help.  Accountability from some of you readers out there.  Have I cleaned the computer desk yet?  How about picked up the toys?  More importantly, have I read to Little Man today or is he plopped in front of the one-eyed babysitter?  Have I played Little Pet Shop with Monkey today?  Or helped her with her homework?  What about those leaves that are scattered like so many thoughts out in the front yard?
Imagine how happy those kids would be if I raked up a great big pile for them to play in. 
Imagine how much fun it'll be for me to watch those kids scatter the leaves that I worked so hard to put in a pile for them.  
They might actually get along... for about 5 minutes until one jumps in the pile before the other one and a fight ensues because the pile is no longer there and there are no more leaves to jump in because big sister or little brother spread them all out again and now there's just no more fun to be had even though there are a bazillion trillion leaves out there that just need to be scooped back up and tossed into the air.
I think I should head to Israel.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

yet another...

Giveaway!  This time, it's a REALLY cool Thermal shirt from PeaceLoveMom.  I personally like the "Grateful Mom" shirt because I'm a Deadhead at heart :).
This was from the PeaceLoveMom website, but I pulled it from IslandLife where it was posted with the giveaway.
 We believe in motherhood.
Mothers have a unique style.  We believe that motherhood does not define us, but that we define it.
Mothers are heart and soul. 
Isn't that a pretty cool message?  I thought so.  Anyway, check out the giveaway here.
Good luck! 

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Christmas giveaways

At 5 Minutes for Mom, they're doing lots of different giveaways for Christmas.  You can either click on the button in my sidebar or follow this link for these really cool Multiples Mommy t-shirts (Hey Sis-in-law!  Check them out!) from Multiple Moms Rock.
Keep checking back for more giveaways all November long.

Oh, pickles!

Houston, we have a problem.
My coffee maker broke this morning.
Tragedy has struck.
How am I to get through the day?
I don't have a "coffee maker" envelope.
Oh, man.....
What about tomorrow?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You are crazy!

Yippee!  Another guest post this week!  This is from Ryan Detzel.  I found his blog over the summer when a friend of mine was talking about Pastor Ryan on The Pioneer Woman.  See, one of his many interests is cooking and he did a guest post recipe on her site.  Well, I figured a pastor with tattoos should have some interesting things to say so I visited his blog, this is reverb..., and I haven't been disappointed yet.  
Not only does he write honestly and openly about his family, his church and other randomographies (plus a whole lot more!), he also takes amazing, crazy, really cool pictures.  I'm so excited to introduce Ryan Detzel.  
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
photo by detzelpretzel

Have you ever felt like you were nuts? Like you just don't fit, or maybe everyone else doesn't fit?


That's because you're crazy. Just as crazy as everyone else, but a different flavor, and crazy still.


We all have this thing inside of us that causes us to think, move, and be different than everyone else. We were made that way. And so there are some things that just feel natural to us. There are some things that feel so natural to us that we wonder how in the world all these other people don't have the same feelings/insights/thoughts/wants/desires/passions/et cetera. What might feel like common sense to you is hard to grasp for another.


And that's because you're crazy.


You were made with very specific gifts, talents, and abilities inside of you. You think a fingerprint is unique? Try the whole human being. Now that's unique.


And in all that uniqueness; we still have a desire to be a part of a bigger something-or-other. There is a want and a need to belong...a yearning to be connected.


And that's because you're crazy. To the world's standards at least. Because people are afraid. People don't often like to admit that they've submitted to mediocrity. It's easy to say no to community and no to your destiny when you've already said yes to the status quo.


But maybe you are crazy. Maybe you're just crazy enough to swim upstream and find the deeper waters. Maybe you're just crazy enough to say yes to the greatness you've been called to. Maybe you're just crazy enough to trust as if you couldn't get hurt. Maybe you're just crazy enough to be a fool for glory rather than straight-laced for the crowd.


Maybe you're just crazy enough to take off your mask and be the person you've always known you were supposed to be.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

election day

Yesterday, instead of staying home and obsessing over an election that I have no control over (I'm sure my vote was canceled out by someone else, but at least I voted), the kids and I headed out to the mountains for the day.  I love living close to mountains!
Here are a few of the 150+ shots I took yesterday.  Yes, I know I have a problem with taking a lot of pictures!   In no particular order, here are a few to share with you.
Who knew there would be snow here in early November?  Enough to make snowmen?  Very cute...
A shot as we were coming down the mountain.  It was a wonderful day for a hike.  
I carried Little Man on my back for the two hikes we did yesterday.  I didn't really like the idea of him traipsing down the side of a really big hill.  He was much heaver at almost-3 years old than he was at almost-2 years old.  Funny how they grow...
Another shot taken from the top...
A view with the late afternoon sun across the range. 
We headed to a waterfall first.  It took us maybe an hour to get to these.  And then my batteries started crapping out on me.  I was not very happy.  There was even a nice lady there willing to take my picture with the kids (I'm always behind the camera) and there just wasn't enough battery life.  So, guess who gets to go to the visitor center to pay a premium for cheap batteries that lasted about 24 hours?  I wasn't about to go without batteries, though, because then I would have missed all the awesome shots going to and hiking up the mountain.
Being at the visitor center worked out, though, because they had a small museum and a movie theater with a short film that taught about where we were hiking.  Monkey found it interesting and, dare I say it, may have learned something!  Little Man, on the other hand, was much more interested in seeing how fast his mommy's reflexes were when he darted through the doors to the lobby.  Watching mom freak out is way more entertaining.
On the road again....
I love fall.  These pictures came out much better than my previously overexposed pictures from our hike a couple of weeks ago.
I even played around with the lighting some... 
Just another pretty shot of the fall color in the mountains.
It was much nicer to commune with nature than to listen to talking heads all day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Well, I don't normally post pictures of my kids, but since they're all incognito, I thought it might be ok this time around.  Aren't they cute!
We went with Little Man's buddy, WB.  Their neighborhood is ideal for chasing after candy.  They had lots of energy starting out.  After about the 10th or 12th house, the energy waned a bit.
Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!
This was the haul that Little Man brought in after we called it quits after the 15th or 20th house or so.  Monkey continued on to about 5 more houses.  Her bucket was overflowing... 
The sugar-induced drunkeness began shortly thereafter.  We left WB's 'hood and headed to another friend's house where they were having a bonfire and s'mores.  I didn't get any pictures because by then I was exhausted and just wanted to sit by the fire.  We didn't even get home until about 9:45 or so and the kids went straight to bed - face paint and all.
All in all, it was a good night.  

Daylight savings

Ahhh.... daylight savings time.  It's the two times a year that we actually have "control" over time.  In the spring, we get to spring forward and skip an hour.  As if our days weren't short enough as it is.  In the fall we get to fall back and trick our bodies into thinking they get an extra hour of sleep. 
Next year, I'm just going to bed an hour earlier.
The puppy (who is crated in our room at night) usually is a great sleeper - except for the snoring, but I can get past that.  He picked this morning, at about 4am, to wake up and whine that soft but high-pitched whine that slices through your subconscious like splinters under the fingernail.  I do my best to ignore him and manage to drift off to sleep again.  If there's one thing he's learned in his relatively short time here, it's that whining will not get him out of the crate now that I know he's able to control his bladder for the entire night.
The children don't understand what daylight savings is.  Monkey will sleep late, if you can call 7:00 late, but Little Man follows a different drummer.  At 6:30 am (and this is before I turned back my clocks, so that makes it 5:30 am), Little Man comes climbing on my bed and uses my prone body as a guide to crawl to the top of the bed - as if falling off my body will dump him into a deep abyss.  Once he reaches the pillows, he finally climbs off and asks to be covered up and lays still for a little while.
Have you seen The Lion King?  Remember the scene where Simba gets up and plays with his sleeping parents trying to wake them up by crawling all over them and talking to them when they OBVIOUSLY don't want to be woken up?  Does Simba stop?  No.  Does Little Man?  No.
Just as I thought he was drifting off, he becomes one with Simba and starts crawling all over the bed and talking about breakfast.  Things like cereal and waffles and such.
"Let's go back to sleep."
"But I'm really, really hungry."
Damn his cuteness.
So yes, I'm up at my "normal" weekend wake-up time of 6:30am despite the fact that I was supposed to get an extra hour of sleep.  Making pancakes from scratch because I'm out of my mix.  At least there's coffee.
Yeah, next year, I'll just go to bed at 9:00 to get that extra hour of sleep.
(I'll be posting a Halloween post once I get my pictures downloaded from the camera.  I know I'm a little late, but that's how I roll.)