Monday, June 30, 2008

You People and Your Blogs

My brother has a blog, and he never posts anything. He claims it's because he doesn't know what to write, then proceeds to entertain me with daily emails on a variety of hilarious subjects, attaching pictures for me to show to Mom. I try to explain that those are the very things he can put on his blog, and then he won't have to wonder if he remembered to send the pictures to everyone. He worries that his wife's second cousin's girlfriend might not "get" the post about Steve Vai, or that Gina doesn't want to read about hockey. I say screw it- they'll just have to enjoy the next post. If you keep posting, there will be something for everyone. Your audience will come to understand you, and your regular readership will grow.

Perhaps my brother is intimidated by the fact that so many bloggers, people who don't even have enough material to post every day on their main site, have felt the need to start more than one blog. A blog for their pictures, a blog for their work, a blog for their meals, a blog for their kids' art. It's dizzying, and must cause Shannon to worry that his sports posts belong on one blog, and his wine posts on another. It's what my blog roll is telling him, and I can't blame him for being confused.

Shannon, let me tell you how I approach the idea of blogging- I just throw stuff out there and see what sticks. We started this blog to show pictures of and tell stories about our kids. Then we just started posting about whatever we thought was interesting that day. It was still mostly about the kids, but okay if it wasn't. Sometimes we just put up pictures and let them tell the story. Sometimes we give our opinions on politics or sports or TV shows, sometimes we put up a funny list, sometimes we brag about the good meal we fixed when the kids spent the night at Grammy's. I don't worry that there's not really a theme, because the theme is "us." And no one complains, because if today they aren't entertained, they know they might be tomorrow.

And just to prove this theory, my next post will be about makeup. Come on, Shannon- I know you can find something better to write about than that!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

June Rock n Romp

The radar looked menacing on Saturday morning, with a solid wall of rain headed our way. This caused the RnR board to scramble for an indoor backup plan. We toughed it out and went ahead with it outdoors. (Ok, we actually just couldn't get our indoor backup plans together, so we had no choice.) For some reason, about three drops reached the ground all day.

Chasing Squirrels, Dan Montgomery, and The Ultracats rocked. We debuted our Season 4 RnR shirts, which sold really well. We saw quite a few new faces this time, which was cool.

Josh and Liz Phillips were gracious to lend the use of their backyard. We managed to keep the kids from demolishing their fancy garden.

As always, the kids had a great time. Thanks to the keg of PBR, so did the adults!

Stop! Picture Time!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Week in Review

First let me say- Jay, we're thinking about you.

Happy Birthday, Connor and Mr. Baby!

On Connor’s birthday, I took him to see Surf’s Up, and experienced a wonderful group parenting moment. There’s a scene in the movie where a character says “Oh crap!” This was followed by a sharp intake of breath from all the surprised parents in the crowd, although it was muted in a way that let you know we were all trying to keep our kids in the dark about the impact this word can have on an adult. But of course, the 2.5 year-old sitting behind us immediately hollers “OH CRAP!” This was followed by a collective stifled giggle from all the parents in the crowd. We tried to respect those parents enough to not let their kid get a noticeable positive reaction, even as we celebrated the fact that it was their kid and not ours. It was fantastic- we all really pulled together as a team on that one.

This week I ordered a bunch of these pens from our office supply place, and now I’m fighting the urge to commit some white collar crime and stick them all in my purse. For all you stationery/office supply lovers out there, this pen is the way to go. I wish I had gotten them in time for inclusion in this post.

I went to the TJ Maxx in Eastgate and got the other pair of Born shoes that I wanted. Now I have them in black and brown! I’m all set! All set to sit around in my sensible shoes sending properly punctuated IMs, that is. Man I’m old.

Speaking of aging, and my attempts to defy it- E, I use two types of Clinique lotion on my face in the mornings (just one kind at night, though), Jergens or something similar on my whole body, and then shea butter cream on my elbows and heels. Any brand will do.

I know how many people are looking at this blog every day, and let me just say- you people are definitely not clicking on the Google Ads (over there on the right side of the blog) as you leave. I have to put my kids through college someday, people! Help me out!

I can’t let the whole week go by without sharing the latest evidence of Chloe’s prodigious comedic talent. She knows it gets a laugh when she calls Mom or Dad by their given names. Then this week she learned that saying, “What’s up, dudes!” gets a big laugh as well. So it should come as no surprise that yesterday she climbed into her dad’s lap and said, “What’s up, Chip!” then paused for the laugh before continuing the conversation.

Good luck to my friends, both real and imaginary, who are moving on to new careers next week. I'm so proud of you, and I know you’ll be great!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Generation Gap

A couple of months ago, some coworkers and I attended a brainstorming session with a few of the ad wizards from Red Deluxe. Much of the discussion revolved around marketing to "Millennials," which is a fancy term for Generation Y, the group immediately following my beloved Generation X. During that meeting, as we discussed texting and IMing and online shopping and cynicism, I looked smugly around the room at all the Baby Boomers and thought, "Yeah, Gen X can hang. We know about that stuff." I may be (almost) 35, but I'm not totally out of it.

Or so I thought. After learning about what market research had to say about these kids, I started observing them a little more closely. On the surface, things didn't look so different. Then, in quick succession, I had an email exchange with one twentysomething and an IM exchange with another that suddenly alerted me to the main issue separating X from Y.


Now don't get me wrong- it's not that the Millennials sound like cavemen, or that the MTV generation speaks only the Queen's English. No, when we talk to each other it's all the same. The difference comes when we try to communicate in the aforementioned cool, hip ways. That’s when I realize just how out of touch I am.

Gen Y: how was your weekend
Gen X: Mom kept the kids Saturday night, so Chip and I went out to dinner. Then we got stuck sitting next to a table full of kids!
Gen Y: haha thats crazy. where did you go

It’s worth noting that most of my texting and IM activity involves other people my age. We craft carefully worded sentences, full of punctuation and capitals, and even correct ourselves if a typo slips through. Sure, we throw in a BRB or LOL every now and again- we’re not opposed to acronyms. We spent most of high school writing notes (an old-fashioned precursor to texting) that included phrases like BFF and LYLAS. But we also started each note with ’Sup- not sup- because we demanded an apostrophe to hold the place of those dropped letters.

Thirtysomething: You can work a desk job while he works on becoming a professional photographer.
That's my plan, but with writign.
Me: You're off to a good start there.
Thirtysomething: Ha! I misspelled "writing."

The Millennials don’t have these standards. They zoom through an instant message without so much as an accidental brush against the shift key. No apostrophes, no capitals, no shame. In a recent attempt to hold my own with someone younger, I tried to type in the style of the day- a bunch of letters, no punctuation- but found that I couldn’t. I would try so hard to not hit the shift key, but then accidentally I would, and it looked even more dorky that some words were correct and some weren’t, so I went back and edited the IM so that it was uniformly wrong. Are you kidding me? I quickly went back to my normal patterns. I'm sure the youngster I was chatting with was picturing a gray-haired old lady typing away on my end, but that’s just how it will have to be. I can't give up my commas.

It’s hard to believe I have children who are even younger than the Millenials. What will their catchy nickname be? How will Red Deluxe market to them? Will they grow up using apostrophes? One thing is for certain- I will have to work pretty hard to stay a step ahead of them. It’s clear that I’m already falling way behind.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scenes From Connor's 5th Birthday Party

Happy Birthday, Connor!

I am more emotional about Connor's fifth birthday than I have been about any of the others, so I'm afraid all you're going to get from me today is pictures of the two of us. I can't pull it together for much more!

Five years ago today I became a mom, and my life has been better for it. I love you, Connor!

Monday, June 23, 2008

One Hundred (and one) Minutes

Last night Chip and I engaged in some sexy pillow talk:
Him: Seriously though- what do you do for an hour and forty minutes every morning? What could possibly take that long? And how come you're always running late?
Me: I have no idea! I'm just slow in the mornings!

To satisfy his curiosity, I carried around a pencil and paper this morning to keep track of my activites. I see no reason to just show him the log I kept, not when I can embarass myself by posting it here!

6:00- 6:17: Shower (no shaving), astringent and lotion on the face.

6:17-6:24: Here's when I'm not at all efficient. During this time, I checked my email. Dee posted a new MySpace blog, so I read that. Then I wandered into the kitchen for a swig of Diet Coke and stumbled upon all the new vitamins Roy brought for the kids. After getting a good laugh over the prospect of Connor eating a fish oil tablet, I decided to try one of the chewable multi-vitamins. Not bad. Maybe I should start taking them. Dude- I need to get moving.

6:24-6:32: Time to iron my clothes. Maybe I could save a few minutes in the morning by doing this at night. But since I usually figure out what I'm going to wear while I fall asleep, I doubt that will work.

6:32-6:35: Visit the can. I'm not as slow in there as I thought!

6:35: Connor wakes up.

6:36-6:40: Connor and I sit on the couch together, discussing how many more birthday presents he gets to open and when he might get to open them. Eventually Blue's Clues replaces me as a focal point and I sneak back upstairs.

6:41-6:48: As soon as I get up there, Chloe wakes up. She and I spend this time admiring the butterflies on her curtains, then looking out the window at all the toys in the backyard that were not put away properly the night before. Eventually I get her to go potty and then park her in front of Blue and Joe with her brother.

6:48-7:00: Finally dry my hair and brush my teeth.

7:00-7:06: Put lotion on my whole body and Visine in my gooey allergy eyes.

7:06-7:17: Apply make-up and randomly look through my closet for this one black dress, even though I've already picked out and ironed today's outfit.

7:17-7:27: Iron my hair, then put special lotion on my elbows and heels. During this period of time, I hear a wail from Connor and a frustrated "But you didn't even chew it!" from Chip. I correctly guess that this was the moment Chip introduced the fish oil tablet.

7:27-7:41: Let the kids and Chip know I'm ready to head towards the car. As they get shoes on, I try on three different necklaces, find my shoes, pack up my lunch (which I had prepared the night before) and clean up a few of the outside toys Chloe and I had observed before. And we're off! I even arrived at work with five minutes to spare.

So Chip, the answer to your question is: I still don't know what it is that takes an hour and forty minutes every morning.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Happy birthday to the lovely and talented Aunt Carrie. We're so glad to have you as a Miller!
We love you and miss you- have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Things I've Bought That I Love

Mindy Kaling, of The Office fame, has a blog called Things I've Bought That I Love. Continuing my theme of borrowing blog ideas from people more famous than I am, here are some purchases that I love.

Born Sandals
Despite my best efforts, I can't find a picture of a pair exactly like I bought. They are easily the most comfortable shoes I've had in ten years. And cute too! I found them at a TJ Maxx in Nashville- there were several pairs of Borns, Clarks, and Soffts, but the Borns were the cutest. It was shocking to try them on and realize how much more comfortable they were than the shoes I was wearing at the time. (Kenneth Cole slides) Then I wore them to work for a full day, and at the end of the day they still felt great. That never happens with new shoes- usually you have to break them in and end up with a blister or something. Not these! It makes me sad that I didn't buy more than one pair when I found them nice and cheap at the discount store. Maybe I can talk my MIL into running over there and picking up another pair or two for me. I wear an 8!

Pink Lady apples
These are the best apples ever! I'm not sure how I've lived my whole life without eating one of these before. Juicy, sweet, delicious. It's not often we find a food item everyone in the house loves, but even Connor eats these- skin and all.

Pampered Chef Apple Corer
While I'm on the subject of apples, let me mention one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. Some of you have made fun of me for my obsession with this product, but I would be lost without it. Why bother with the core if you don't have to?

Old Navy Undies
I've talked to a lot of women who are disappointed in the turn Victoria's Secret has taken. We spent a lot of years relying on Vic's and suddenly the store has turned into a neon-filled Fredrick's of Hollywood knock-off. I guess they are trying to appeal to a younger, thinner crowd, because there is nothing there that has enough material to meet my daily needs. I've got a lot of real estate to cover! So I went to Macy's, and over there they think you're either young or you're matronly. Isn't there something between a low-rise thong and a granny panty? Strangely enough, I found a great everyday option at Old Navy. (Who knew!) They fit perfectly, are comfortable the whole day, and are cute enough to let me believe I've still got game.

Sonicare Flexcare Toothbrush
Chip and I have had a Sonicare toothbrush since the beginning of time. It's one of the main reasons neither of us has ever had a cavity, despite the ten or so uninsured years we lived through without visiting a dentist. So you can imagine our despair when our beloved toothbrush (and a few other suitcase items) got crushed on the flight back from Michigan last month. We only felt bad for a minute, though, because once we looked for a replacement we realized we were three generations behind. Now we have the latest, super-fancy version, which we all know is Chip's main goal in life for anything we buy. But I love it too, because I take my oral health very seriously. My teeth are clean!

Choxie Dark Chocolate Ceylon Spice Bar
In case you were wondering why I need big underwear and a high-powered toothbrush, here's the reason. I used to make fun of the Choxie brand, specifically Target's attempt to make chocolate seem hip and modern, but then Chip saw this on sale and bought it. Now I am unable to leave Target without at least one of these chocolate bars, and I've been known to hide them from Chip when we're running low. I'm not proud to admit that, but hey-it is what it is.

Speedo Flip Flops
I am not really a fan of flip flops, except for wearing to the beach or pool. (I know I'm in the minority here, so don't give me any lip. Shannon- internet high five!) I figured it would work for the kids too, but I soon learned that my children are just not coordinated enough to walk in flip flops. I didn't want them to ruin regular shoes, and I sure didn't want to buy Crocs (Again, I know you love your Crocs- I don't need any hate mail!), so I was happy to discover these shoes that have a strap across the back. I can even buy them a little big, meaning Connor is wearing last year's pair again this year. Score! And don't be scared by the price on that link- they are much cheaper at Target.

I'll wrap up with a shopping-related story. I went to Schnuck's after work on Tuesday, and didn't have any of my reusable shopping bags with me. The woman who rang me up has worked there forever (Jennifer) and when I asked for paper she hollered, "Where your real bags at!" Hee! I'm glad there's one person in East Memphis who has gotten used to seeing reusable bags. They are definitely something I've bought that I love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


While Aunt Elizabeth was out of town, I missed her lists so much that I ended up compiling a few of my own. I should have run her blog while she was gone!

Things the Kids and I Saw During Our Commute
Our neighbor on his bike
A little person selling newspapers
Two motorcycles
Five airplanes
A stray dog in the park
A person passed out (not shot, like SOME people suggested) in front of a gas station
46 days with no fire fatalities!

Things I Need to Confess
I have a huge crush on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
I think Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York album is horrible. I simply can't comprehend why it is so revered by critics and fans.
I think this is the best picture I've ever taken:

What We Carried Into School on Friday
A lunchbox shaped like a purse
A toy cell phone
A Spiderman lunchbox
A toy monster truck
A Superman backpack filled with a towel and a change of clothes
A toy dinosaur
My purse and keys

Facts Uncovered By My Research This Week
You can get a 14,000+ square foot home on the lake in Austin, TX for around $6 million.
Dick Smothers, Sr. has a college-aged kid.
He also has a son, Dick Smothers, Jr, who is a porn actor. Unlike most of his colleagues, he performs using his given name.
There is an Outsourcing World Achievement Award.
I’m somewhat confused about how bankruptcy lawyers make money.
David West was the only member of the Minnesota Twins' pitching staff to record an ERA of infinity in the 1991 World Series.

Characters I Think Might Be the Final Cylon
Gaeta (for so many reasons)
Helo (like Tyrol- in love with an Eight)
Lee (if it’s going to be one of the major characters, I don’t think it will be Bill, Laura or Starbuck, and that leaves Lee)
Zak Adama (he’s not in the fleet right now, he could have resurrected, plus there’s been a little foreshadowing)
Zarek (he’s the only cast member from the original show, so that would be fun)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Note From the Editor

A few things I need to follow up on before moving on to new and no doubt exciting content.

1. I have gotten many comments and emails that indicate you people have made it through over 400 posts here without realizing I'm occasionally trying to be funny. So let me clear this up- I'm not at all bothered by the fact that my four-year-old can't read yet. I used to teach elementary school! I quit because I hated everything other than being with the kids! You all know that. I have plenty of patience with the learning process, and I actually have taken college courses on teaching reading to young kids. It just makes me laugh when Connor reads those two lines wrong, because it reminds me of that comedy bit we have been laughing about for the past year. I thought some of you might find it funny as well, but apparently I was way off on that. Sorry.

2. My boss read my post about work, and assured me that when she fires me it won't be for that. The other good news about that post is that one of the authors of the book I mentioned left a comment. Fun!

3. The reason there was no Father's Day post is not that I have Daddy issues, but rather because I was too busy spending the day with the two most important fathers in my life, Roy Sr. and Jr. They spent some quality time together at the Nashville Symphony on Saturday night, and we all had a big lunch on Sunday afternoon. I have been privileged to spend most of the last fifteen Father's Days in Nashville with Roy, and as always it was a treat. I'm also incredibly lucky to have brought children into this world with Chip, who is an amazing dad to our babies. Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! I hope your day was wonderful.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Little Bee-ar

Because I am not technologically skilled enough to actually embed a video into this post, first you have to watch this.

That is one of my favorite comedy bits not performed by Chris Rock. It has always resonated with me because of my past life as an elementary school teacher. I never considered that one day this could be a reality in my own home!

That’s right- Connor’s learning to read. I have to say, it is BRUTAL! Some days he really seems to get it, but a lot of days it seems like he’s just looking at the first letter and then making a guess based on the illustrations in his book. There tend to be a lot of frustrated sighs (from both of us) and by the time we get to the end of a book I am just openly calling him Bruno.

Here is one section of the book Max that absolutely ruins me every time he reads it:

The bad rat sat.
The bad rat sat and sat.

Just like in the Gerry Dee’s routine, Connor struggles loudly, slowly, and strangely through the first line. I mean, it takes him five minutes just to settle on “thee” or “thuh” for the opening word, and things don’t really pick up from there. Then he starts the second line as if he has never seen any of those letters before, and certainly not in that configuration. I know I should have more patience, but by the end of these surprisingly long ten words I am struggling to stifle either giggles or condescension. I forgot that learning to read is such hard work! But at least now I remember why I quit teaching.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Oh, Connor

Things Connor has (pardon my French here) completely lost his shit over during the last few weeks:

Leaving the Penguin Room (and the daycare hall) and moving on to the summer camp class for rising kindergarteners. We had a tearful good-bye every morning the first week of the new class. (The week after Memorial Day)

Attending music class with the Vacation Bible School kids. (All last week.) After overhearing that the VBS kids were going to sing at church on Sunday, he cried all Monday night and hid in his room Tuesday morning, terrified that he would have to go to school and sing on a stage with people he didn't know. After a call to his teacher to get the details, I assured him that he would never have to go on stage to sing this song. He still worried about it each day (Mom, there are going to be electric guitars! Too loud!!!!) until finally Saturday came and he was able to relax in the knowledge that he made it through the week without hitting the stage or performing with real instruments.

The idea of having a bowling party for his birthday. I had his birthday all worked out, at a place where we had attended a party before, and I was thrilled at the prospect of having someone else clean up, fix food, and provide entertainment. Saturday morning Chip and Connor were tasked with going and paying the deposit for the party. It took Chip a half hour to convince a sobbing Connor to even go check out the place. He went, played some games, looked in the party room, and said, "No. I want a party just like last year!!!!" Then it was my turn to cry.

Grammy's suggestion that they go to Toys R Us together so that he could pick out some things he might like for his birthday. (Sunday) "But Mooooom, I just want to stay here with you!"

The prospect of attending a gymnastics class. (This week, 45 minutes a day, Mon-Thurs.) My son, who attempts to breakdance and perform flips and spins all day, is scared of gymnastics. It's because he's never done it before, and is scared he will fail in front of other people. (Never mind that only one kid there has ever taken gymnastics before.) He mentioned it a few times over the weekend, but Monday morning I got the call from his teacher. "Uh, Stephanie? Connor reeeaaallllly doesn't want to go to gymnastics. What do you want me to do?" Well, first I wanted her to ignore my crying. Then I told her to make him go to the class, but not to force him to participate. And so far that's what he's done every day. But at least he has stopped crying about it.

Inviting people to his birthday party. (Tuesday) It's protocol to invite everyone in the class to his party. There are tons of kids in his current class, most of whom I don't really know, so my compromise was to put individual invitations in the cubbies of his close friends, and then to just tack up an invitation in the general announcements area. The moms who don't know us are not going to drag their kids to my house- I'm not worried. Connor is. I also suggested inviting Drew and Megan (Hi Dee!) but he insists he doesn't remember those kids. I wiped the tears from his eyes and assured him that he would have a fun time at the party with his friends, and that even if someone he doesn't like shows up, at least he'll get a present out of the deal. That almost cheered him up. We still had a prolonged good-bye, even after the crying stopped. His, anyway. Although I do try to save mine until I get to my car.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Quick Chloe Update

Let's go ahead and get this out of the way: Is breathtakingly gorgeous.

Is displaying some musical talent, with excellent pitch and rhythm.

Is all girl in the shopping department. Her brother has always been a horrible shopper- as a baby and toddler had meltdowns, as a big kid gets a bad case of the grabs- but Chloe is a model of patience and is often quite helpful. I love having her to keep me company, especially at the grocery.

Has an excellent vocabulary. Some adorable examples are: often tells me that dinner is 'licious or that my earrings are lubby (lovely).

Will try any food you put in front of her, but never eats all of it.

Believes our household is "clothing optional."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Work sucks.

This is not a revolutionary statement. We all know this, although we might know it for different reasons. For me, it boils down to the fact that work tends to get more of my time than my family and home do. My office is organized, my desk at home is a disaster. I spend more time celebrating my co-workers' birthdays than I do those of my friends. And I spend many more waking hours in the workplace than I do at home with my family. It's stupid.

Back when I was in college, there was talk of a revolution- more women were in the workplace, meaning that more families had two working parents, and the only logical next step was widespread "flex time" and more opportunities to work from home. Ha! We all know what happened there. The idea of it entered the workplace, but not the practice.

An example of the issues raised by "flex time" can be seen in my office's adaptation of "summer hours." In this scenario, I can come in half an hour earlier and leave half an hour earlier, or come in on time, take a shorter lunch, and leave half an hour earlier. How generous to allow a grown adult the choice of coming in at 8 or 8:30, yes?

The problem with summer hours is this: I am my absolute busiest during the summer. This is the time of year I need to do the most work. Sadly, it is also the only time of year I have the opportunity to leave at 4:30. This extra half hour improves my quality of life exponentially. It makes everything about my personal life better. So I have a constant internal struggle- should I get my work done, or should I leave? The first two weeks of summer hours, I mostly worked straight through lunch and left work at 5:00. Nice! (Especially since I was told directly that working through lunch and leaving at 4:00 was NOT a summer option, since everyone needs a break and it's not healthy to work through lunch.) I have since forced myself to leave the office for a half hour at lunch, and for the day at 4:30. I feel like I'm a little behind, but I also feel I would kick myself if I missed my only opportunity to have anything resembling work-life balance.

Of course, this scenario makes no business sense at all. The logical thing would be for me to work as hard as I can in the summer in order to get my job done, then have an opportunity for "summer hours" in a time when I'm not as busy. But our HR department would never allow that, so I don't bother getting upset about it. It's just not the way things are done. Or is it?

I was recently alerted to the breathtakingly perfect situation at the Best Buy corporate offices. Apparently they have adopted a radical new approach to the concept of work: ROWE, which stands for Results-Only Work Environment. Basically the idea is this: Each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.

Whaaa? You mean it's more important for the job to get done than for butts to be in chairs from 8:30-5:00? You don't say! How sad that in 2008 this is deemed "radical" when really it just seems logical. But as I read about it, I realized what a blow this was to the traditional power structure of the American office. It is a change that needs to be made- check out the increase in productivity described in that article!- but I can see that it will be slow in coming.

The two women who implemented the work plan have written a book about it- it really is amazing. Seriously- take a minute to read about it. If you skipped the earlier link, go back to it. I'll wait.

Done already? OK, admit it- your mind is blown. You just read those articles and then imagined how much better your life could be, didn't you? I actually got tears in my eyes when I read about it. Let's all hope that this is the wave of the future. In my case, the immediate future- there was talk around my office that I might get to work slightly different hours if Connor gets a spot at Snowden for kindergarten. Here's hoping (well, that he gets into Snowden!) that someone realizes that I can get my work done just as well at 7:30 in the morning as I can at 8:30, and that getting work done really is the most important thing. Maybe this post can serve as an example of my early-morning industriousness.

P.S. If you didn't read those articles, go back and read them!

P.P.S. Let's hope my one foray into writing about work doesn't get me dooced.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And So It Begins

This week is Vacation Bible School week at Idlewild, which means Connor has had to spend an hour or so a day in gen pop learning songs about “surfing the scripture” and mingling with older kids. It has made him extremely nervous, as being around big kids tends to do.

The thing that has stressed him out the most is the idea that he might have to sing a song, on stage, with people he doesn’t know. (I find it fascinating that he is more nervous about singing with people he doesn’t know than he is about singing for people he doesn’t know.) A specific source of his anxiety has been the three people who are teaching him the song. These are the people he doesn’t know the most, apparently.

Yesterday I confirmed with his teacher that he doesn’t actually have to sing on a stage- the church kids will perform their song some time this Sunday, and the daycare kids aren’t involved in that. They’re just learning it to have something to do this week, I guess. Once Connor heard that, he was much happier about the whole ordeal. Last night he even sang the song for me and showed me the hand movements that go with it. (This just a day after being in denial about the whole thing and insisting that he couldn’t remember any of it.) After the performance, he finally felt comfortable enough to tell me what was really causing all of his anxiety.

“Mom, you know those three people teaching us the song? Two of them are just really big kids! How can they know how to teach little kids?”

I explained to him about teenagers and how sometimes they are babysitters or camp counselors, etc. It seemed to make sense to him. Then he continued.

“Uh, so one of the girls teaching us that song? She is really, um, really pretty. She has a bow in her hair and it’s really pretty. She’s, uh, real pretty like you are. Except you’re like, a half bit, uh, a little bit, um, you’re just a little more. . . She’s just a little bit prettier than you are!”


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Life at the Breakfast Table

In a burst of unrealistic optimism, I pour two bowls of Cinnamon Life, remembering how much I loved that cereal as a kid. Connor and Chloe's cereal experience is pretty limited, so I'm excited to introduce them to Life.

I arrange the two bowls at the kitchen table, and walk into the den. The kids are engrossed in some explosion of bright colors and learning on TV. "Kids-- breakfast is ready, c'mon." I return to the kitchen table and sit down to my own, slightly larger bowl of Cinnamon Life. Mmmm-- the crunch, the kick of cinnamon. After several bites, I realize that the kids are still staring, slack-jawed, at the TV. I walk back into the den. "Guys, come on-- I have a new cereal for you."


I grab the remote and "pause" the TV. In our house, this is the best way to avoid any sort of violent reaction to the end of TV time. It gives the kids the comfort of being able to return to whatever they were watching, a TV-land fermata which makes everything ok.

As I walk back to my place at the table, I notice that the kids are not following me.

They are still side-by-side on the couch, staring, slack-jawed, at a motionless image of Pinky Dinky Doo.


They jerk out of their reveries and saunter listlessly into the kitchen, tripping over blankets and toy trucks in the floor. They assume their usual positions at the table and shoot glances at their bowls, then at me. The hazy morning sunlight streams in through the kitchen window, accenting their glassy stares and untamed morning hair styles.

"It's Cinnamon Life. You'll love it," I say.

I continue enjoying my cereal while reading the paper. After several minutes, I look up and notice that Connor is resting his head on his hand, staring at the untouched bowl. Chloe has given me the ultimate meal-rejection: she has her pacifier in her mouth, and is stroking the blanket cradled in her arms.

I extol the virtues of Cinnamon Life, making "mmmm" sounds as I eat it. I even try to prepare individual bites on their spoons, which are met with bobbing heads and whines. Defeated, I return to my own bowl and finish it.

The kid's cereal swells up to that soggy mess it becomes when you don't eat it fast enough.

I'll try to teach the kids about Life some other day.