Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Little City Mouse

This past weekend we went to Chip’s cousin’s wedding in rural Kentucky. The bride and groom both have farming backgrounds and plan to work outdoors, I believe as park rangers or something similar. I appreciate their drive and am glad they have found a profession that so incorporates their passions. However, I could not be less like them if I tried. It is safe to say that we are coming from two different perspectives.

Before the wedding, a slide show played with pictures of the couple. The first half of the show had pictures of the bride and groom as children, before they met each other. It concluded with tons of pictures of the two of them together. Because they are outdoorsy, many of the pictures showed them dressed in camouflage, brandishing rifles, or posed next to an animal they had successfully hunted. Now, I live in the south, so this didn’t come as a shock to me or anything. However, I soon realized that I had not come prepared.

“Mom- they have GUNS!”

As Connor whispered this in my ear, my brain started spinning. I whispered a quick “We’ll talk about it later,” hoping to give myself time to come up with an appropriate response. I generally like to be pretty straight with him, but there were two things complicating the issue. For one, Connor is from Memphis. He equates guns with criminals- he doesn’t know that normal, law-abiding people just have them. At this point he was probably expecting cousin Joshua to come steal our TV! Connor sees the world in black and white- I needed an explanation that wouldn’t venture too far into the gray. Otherwise I would be answering questions about good guys and bad guys and guns for the next several years of my life.

Making this even harder for me is the fact that Connor has not yet consciously made the connection between the food we eat and the animals it comes from. I haven’t hidden the fact that chicken nuggets (ostensibly) come from chickens, but I haven’t really spelled it out either. He is pretty sensitive about anything having to do with death, so I’ve just let that one ride. I think you have to understand that to some extent before you can wrap your head around the concept of killing animals for sport. So I was definitely a little lost on how to quickly and casually explain all this.

After the ceremony, I told Chip what Connor had taken away from the experience. “Don’t worry, I’ve got a plan!” I assured him. When we got in the car to head to the reception, I said something about how they had those guns because they work out in the woods and have to protect themselves from some animals, like the bison we had seen in one of the pictures. Then I sat back and waited to see what he would do that explanation. I didn’t have much to back it up, so I was hoping this would do.

“But not DEER!” he said.

“Uh, no- those were just pictures of regular deer.”

(pause) “Okay.”

Whew. Looks like I bought myself some time before having to surrender a full explanation. Once I do, I imagine Connor will turn into either the pickiest vegetarian ever or a world-class chicken hunter. And I’m not ready to deal with either.

Ed Note: Not 90 minutes after we posted this, Connor observed Chip and Chloe eating chicken wings and legs. "But how do you know it's a leg? A real chicken leg?!?!? How do they get the leg? Do they have to kill it? A real chicken?" I let Chip field these questions, which involved things like, ". . .make it so they aren't living anymore. . .cows and pigs too. . .Mimi and Bwana only eat fish. . . you can get the milk without anything dying. . ." and laughed my ass off. Connor took in the information quietly, then went on with his meal. I can't wait to see if he goes into denial, or asks about it the next meal too. Explaining where the nugget comes from is going to be tough.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Scenes from that Dam Kentucky Village State Park

Over the Ocean

Last night, during her bath, Chloe began singing.

Bring back
Bring back
Bring back my Bonnie to me, to me

She sang joyfully, inspired by the Border Collie magnet she stole from her grandparent's house. I found I wasn't yet ready to tell her that Mimi and Bwana's Bonnie had passed away earlier that day.

For fourteen years, Bonnie was more than just a pet. She was a friend, a playmate, a confidante. She will be missed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Party Clothes

Back in May I bought my children "fancy" clothes to wear to Shannon and Carrie's wedding. For Connor, fancy in the summer means "not shorts." For Chloe, it means, "not a $4 cotton sundress from Target."

We returned home from Ann Arbor and put these clothes away until the next family wedding, which happened to be this past weekend. With our departure scheduled for Friday afternoon, I decided Wednesday night that I'd better see if I could find Connor's pants. I found them, ruined. They had been washed with the belt still attached, and were now stained in a way that we couldn't cover up. Thursday morning I pulled Chloe's dress out of her closet so I could iron it. And wow- the red sash that attaches to the dress bled all over rest of the dress when it was washed. So her wedding outfit was ruined as well, covered in pink and red splotches.

Friday at noon I left work to go home and pack up the car, but stopped at Old Navy first. I easily found Connor some khaki pants (pants that turned out to be way too long, but at least they weren't shorts!), but the toddler dress selection was tiny. The cutest dress was mostly white, so I got on the phone to get some opinions. "If this dress is mostly white but has pink around the neck and the bottom, can she wear it to a wedding?" The consensus was that a 2-year-old could get away with wearing white and not stealing the bride's thunder. Whew- I made it out of there for under $30 and didn't have to go to any other stores. And my kids went to the wedding looking decidedly fancy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Lions

I always get excited when we get over the cusp and the time of the Leos is upon us. We start the celebrating today by wishing the lovely, talented, knocked-up Gina a very happy birthday! I’m sad we couldn’t take you out for virgin daiquiris, fried sushi and well-done steak this weekend. We’ll get together to have a caffeine-free toast in your honor very soon!

Upcoming Leo birthdays:
August 2- Elizabeth
August 3- My late Nana
August 4- Scott, who shares his birthday with Barack Obama! Sweet.
August 6- Mom
August 7- Moi
August 8- Mark
August 11- Tiffany and Cousin Jane
August 14- Richard
August 22- Cory (although I’m not sure about that cusp action)

Fun facts:
By far the most generous of the zodiac, Leos make loyal and giving friends. They'll go out of their way to help even when it conflicts with their own schedules. The Leo is a strong, confident personality who has the ability to make almost everyone comfortable. Unassuming and gracious, they love to host parties and events. The Leo is rarely found alone - interacting is second nature. Close friends are chosen for their ability to keep up with the Leo's energy along with a strong sense of dignity and a commitment to individual values. When family is involved, the mighty Lion will do whatever it takes to defend loved ones. Loyalty for the Leo is for a lifetime. They pride themselves on being there for family through thick and thin.
Warmth, humor, pride, joy, creativity, passion, generosity
Stubbornness, inflexibility, self-centeredness, laziness
Best environment
In the sun!

Do I believe in all that? Probably not. But I see no reason to disagree with it. Happy birthday, Leos!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Chip and I have been lax about having the kids clean up after themselves. I know that sounds like lazy parenting, but really it’s just an overall laziness- Chip and I are lax about picking up after ourselves. I always seem to remember that the kids should have picked up their toys way after they’ve already gone to bed or to school. So I just leave them there, thinking I’ll remind them to pick up their toys some other time. Long story short, my house is generally pretty messy.

I came across this chore chart the other day and realized it was time for me to do something. Connor is about to start kindergarten and it would help him to have some sense of responsibility. I’d hate for him to just show up and drop his backpack in the middle of floor, expecting someone else to hang it up. I printed off the chart and the pictures and developed a system that would work for us- a few simple chores, things that he should be doing anyway. Since the chart started on a Monday, I spent the days leading up trying to explain to Connor what was coming.

“You’ll have responsibilities and as you remember to do them you’ll get a sticker. At the end of the week, you’ll get a nickel for each sticker. Your own money! Then when we go to Target on Saturdays you’ll have money to buy stuff with rather than just begging us for toys we’re never going to buy!”

You’d think this would thrill him. Stickers! Money! Target! Instead, he let out a long wail, buried his head in my chest, and sobbed. It’s not uncommon for him to react negatively to something new, but this was a little over the top. Eventually he calmed down enough to spell out the problem.

“I don’t want to give my money to the people at Target!”

Wow- I laughed just typing that! At the time, I tried my hardest to keep a straight face and explain to him about a market economy, trading currency for products, etc. I told him that if he wants to keep the money in his Superman wallet forever, that no one is stopping him. But that his money will be there as an option if he ever finds himself “needing” a toy that I have no intention of buying for him. He continued to whimper, however, at the thought of giving his money to the cashier and then not having it anymore- even if he got a toy in exchange.

By the time Monday rolled around, Connor had gotten into the idea of being rewarded monetarily for completing simple tasks. With little prodding, he has remembered what to do with his dirty dishes and clothes and has even started taking pride in setting a nice table for dinner. But what he hasn’t yet gotten a sticker for is putting away his toys before bedtime. After putting the kids to bed, Chip and I inevitably trip over some toy and then start pointing fingers over who was supposed to remind Connor to clean it up. Then we leave it right where we found it, so we can remind him to pick it up some other time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Few More


Jiro is both strangling and biting Connor.

This is my very favorite picture. Satchel had his hands on the brim of the hat. Chip said, "1, 2, 3!" and on "3!" Satchel pulled the hat over his face and Stacey sighed. And this picture captures it perfectly!

GK and S fought the whole time. You can see it in all their pictures, but this is a particularly good one.

How did we get a picture of S and Miss M scowling at each other? That almost never happens!

Which one of y'all farted?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Group Outtakes

In this picture, Richard realizes that for the first half-dozen shots, GK has been perfectly hidden behind C's head.

She's in the shot now! But where did I go?

Only Kristy was ready for this one.

Another shot where most of us missed the heads-up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm a Winner!

Sweet Sassy Molassy recently bestowed the Arte y Pico award on our humble blog. I assume I should be flattered, although I haven't yet translated the arte y pico blog to determine if this is an honor or not. I'm kidding- Rule #1 says we're awesome!

1) Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based upon creativity, design, interesting material, and contribution to the blogger community, regardless of language.
2) Each award recipient has to display the name of the author and a link to his or her blog.
3) Each award winner has to display the award itself and a link to the blog whose author presented the award.
4) The winner must provide a link to the arte y pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) These rules must be displayed.

My five blogs:
The Chubby Vegetarian
Walt's World

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beautiful Girls

See all the other beach portraits here.

Co-Sleeping, Chockley Style

At the beach, our family shared a room with a king-sized bed. We figured it would be a breeze, since Connor and the other medium kids were going to sleep out in the den, loosely supervised by the big kid. They had a pull-out couch, another couch, and an air mattress in front of the TV. We set up a soft pallet on the floor in our room for Chloe, and we were good to go.

Night one, Chloe was great on the floor. Connor woke up disoriented and found his way into our room. No problem! There was plenty of room for three exhausted people in our king-sized bed. Unfortunately, having both kids in the room meant that both kids were on hand to wake us up at 6:15 the next morning.

The next day Chloe realized during nap time that the bed was the way to go. So for night two, Chloe, Chip and I slept together. Or should I say Maggie, Homer and I- I found it hard to fall asleep over the noise of Chloe's intense pacifier sucking and Chip's snoring. Somewhere in the middle of night two, an adult delivered Connor to our room, again. We put him on the pallet that was still on the floor and tried to sleep, although for some reason Connor kept waking up every couple of hours. Chloe eventually positioned herself perpendicular to me and Chip, so that one of us was getting kicked while the other was getting head-butted. By 6:30 the next morning, both kids were on top of me having the "MY mommy" argument that I documented in a previous post. (This 6:30 wake-up was the morning that they slept in late.)

Night three, Connor fell asleep with the other kids in front of the TV, Chloe fell asleep on the bed, and Chip and I stayed up until around 2:00 a.m. (Gasp!) By 2:30, all four of us where in bed together. By around 5:00, I was awakened by the feeling that I was about to fall out of the bed. I was on my side at the very edge of the bed, with Connor pushed up against me. I had a dilemma- there was enough light coming through the window that Connor would never fall back to sleep if I woke him. So I started gently nudging him away from me until I at least had enough room to lie on my back. But he started pushing me back- in his sleep! So I tried to softly lift him and move him a few inches. This is when I realized that Chloe was as close to him as he was to me. Here we were, in a king-sized bed, with three of us sharing one half while Chip had the other half to himself. Since there was nothing for me to do to remedy the situation, I resigned myself to feeling cramped and dozed off and on until the kids eventually woke up, around 6:00.

Seriously- how does co-sleeping work for people? I know families who love sharing that closeness, and have had wonderful experiences with a family bed. I guess these are people who can function on only three hours of sleep. I am not one of those people! However, I am willing to put up with anything in order to enjoy a few days at the beach. I'd do all that in a full-sized bed if it meant I could go back tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Quotable Kids

Connor: This Play-Doh is too good to be true!

(During a fight over my lap)
Chloe: MY mommy!
Connor: No, MY mommy!
Chloe: Your daddy. MY mommy!


Connor: Mom, you know I love to fart.

Chloe: I want to wear this shirt- and some boobies!


Me (to Chip): Do Charlie and Linda drink wine?
Chloe: No, Mommy, that's you.

Breathe in the Sea

In my real life, I'm terrified of the night. I'm scared of the dark as it is, but when you add to it that I'm scared to be out and about in Memphis anyway, you can understand that I do everything in my power to avoid being out of the house in Memphis at night.

When I go to the beach, my fear totally disappears. I can't imagine anything more perfect than the moon on the ocean at night. It's the closest I get to being a hippie Earth mama, when I consider the pull of the moon on the tides, and on me. I am already making plans to spend more time on the beach at night when I visit the coast again. But until I get back there, I'll be hiding inside, gazing at the moon through a (locked) window.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Water Babies

When I was a kid, I was never comfortable in the water. Before the age of about eight, I can remember one trip to Myrtle Beach with my family (I know there were others, but the one with Marsha and the girls is the one I remember) and I remember one swimming party I got invited to, during which I sat by the side of the pool wearing water wings and being terrified. Then my mom married someone who took us (and his kids) to the pool on a regular basis. This marks the beginning of my regular exposure to the water, but I was still horribly uncomfortable in it. My bully step-siblings splashed me, dunked me, and mocked me until I cried as if it were my fault that I had never learned to swim (or that my mom had married their dad, but that's another post altogether). It's safe to say that I still dreaded each trip to the pool. It wasn't until I hit college and found my own way that I suddenly loved being around the water. I loved being on a raft in the pool, I loved going fishing at the lake, and I LOVED going to the beach. I still do! And so do my kids.

We first took the kids to the beach when Connor was three and Chloe was still measured in months. He loved it, and she wasn't so sure. That next spring Connor had a week of swimming lessons, and we took him to the pool sporadically before our next beach trip. By then he loved it even more! We've tried to do a lot of swimming at the Rhodes pool since then, just to keep Connor's comfort and skill level high, and it worked. This weekend we visited the Gulf Coast for the first of two planned trips this year. Connor was in his element- other people on the trip couldn't help but comment on how much Connor loved the water. It was hard to pull him out of it, even to play with friends. (You know Connor is in the zone when he doesn't even give in to peer pressure!) For the first time, we felt we could send him out into the ocean while we watched from the shore. He was aware of his limits, and comfortable enough to not need us on hand. We were there strictly in a supervisory capacity.

Chloe also loves to go to the pool, and is fearless around water. She would happily jump in and drop to the bottom like a stone if there wasn't an adult there to remind her that she can't swim! She will be able to in no time, though, because she wants it so badly. At the beach this weekend, she was thrilled to hold someone's hand and jump in the waves. If the water calmed, she would yell, "Come on, water!!" As long as her head was above water, she would only hold one hand. She asked for a second if the water got too deep, but she never wanted to be carried. She wanted to taste the salt water at every opportunity.

As we drove home, we all found ourselves flipping through the atlas and working out plans for our next beach vacation. What is the best route? What toys will we need on the beach? Can Chloe get another bathing suit before we go? Soon we realized that October is too far away, and we began to focus on the weekend we'll be spending at a resort in Kentucky later this summer. What is the best route? What toys do we need for the swimming pool? Then today, while I was at Target, I went ahead and got Chloe a new bathing suit. It's never too early to prepare for the next vacation.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Things That Suck About Being Home From Vacation

1. Home = Memphis
2. Needing to look at a clock for any reason
3. Frozen shrimp
4. Wearing clothes instead of baby soups
5. Scratching the mosquito bites I got while sitting on the deck
6. No deck
7. The only ocean sounds I hear are coming our noise machine
8. No Warren to cook me dinner
9. School and work really cut into our tanning time
10. Waiting on Chip to release the pictures he took so that I can show them to you

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Terrible Twos

The first time I had a two-year old, it was a bit of a disaster. To begin with, I really didn’t know what I was doing. On top of that, I was pregnant and had the patience of whoever is the opposite of Job. Poor Connor, my sweet, moody little boy, who just wanted to eat his chicken nuggets in peace and have every fledgling attempt at a conversation understood perfectly. His crazy, hormonal mother kept asking him to try exotic foods (such as plain white rice), and couldn’t help but look at him quizzically when he talked. It was frustrating for both of us, but we made it through.

This time around, I still don’t know what I’m doing, but at least my hormone levels are carefully regulated so my patience is much less thin. As a result, Chloe at age two seems like an absolute delight. What’s that? You’d like specific examples? If you insist.

Chloe is an entertainer. She sings well, and loves to insert new words or phrases into whatever she’s singing, matching up the syllables and then flowing seamlessly back into the original lyrics. She’s also pretty funny, earning the nickname “Lucille Ball” from her Mimi. She is constantly yapping and will make a mental note of what makes you laugh so she can spring it on you again when you least expect it.

Sure she whines, as two-year-olds do, but she has a very distinct “real” whine that she saves for truly frustrating moments. That’s not to say she doesn’t test out a fake whine for effect every now and then. It’s just that she knows she’s full of shit, so she gives us the fake whine with a little twinkle in her eye. She’s in on the joke, and she’s waiting for you to call her out on her B.S. so you can both get a good laugh out of it. Who knew whining could be entertaining?

What else? She doesn’t speak as clearly as some kids her age, but she has a huge vocabulary. She is able to say a lot, and really carry on significant conversations. She still loves her paci and blankie. She also loves to add that “eee” sound to the end of any word, asking me for “juicy please” when she’s thirsty and telling me her bath water is “Coldy coldy coldy!” She wishes she could swim as well as her brother, and also play with all his toys. Her favorite phrase is "I WANNA DO IT!" as she fights the age-old battle for independence.

Last weekend we finally disassembled her crib and stored it in the attic. She hasn’t slept in it in months, but I put off this official close of the baby era as long as I could. It was a little bit sad, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I warned Chloe before she went to Grammy’s Saturday night that her room would look different the next time she saw it. Chip and I spent the evening constructing toy shelves and rearranging furniture. I was worried that when she came home the next day she might have some kind of fit that her personal space had been violated. Instead, she was delighted. She shrieked and laughed and jumped around in circles, celebrating the changes. Then the next morning it was all new again as she emerged from her post-slumber haze. “My ROOM!” she yelled excitedly. “My chair is ober dare!” I think I could get used to having an agreeable child. I’ll enjoy it as long as I can, at least until she hits puberty and her raging hormones cause her to have the patience of, well, whoever is the opposite of Job.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Talk About Pop Music

I know many parents who have a strict “No kids’ music” policy in place in their households, and I can certainly respect that. Chip has that policy in his car, as a matter of fact. However, I have no such policy.

Why, you ask? It really boils down to my love of pop music and my considerable knowledge of pop lyrics. It’s fun to know the song you’re listening to and to be able to sing along. (If you don’t believe me, ask anyone you know who has ever been in a band. Do people get more excited about the originals or the cover of The One I Love?)

I was really struck by this when Connor was younger and just learning enough words to offer up a verse of “Row Row Row Your Boat.” He loved to listen to songs on the radio that he knew and could sing along to. To be sure, we steered him toward music we liked, but for the most part it was either too difficult for him to learn the words, or too inappropriate. So I broke down and got a CD of “children's classics.” Sure, the songs got old quick- especially since I have listened to it approximately 8,497 times in the past three years. But Connor loved it, and has managed to still enjoy it through Chloe’s time as the target audience. They can sing along, they can clap to the beat, and it helps them enjoy our considerable commute.

The problem is, these songs are not any more appropriate for children than 311, Death Cab, or any of the other “real” music my kids like! The two Disney classic CDs I have basically consist of pop songs from 100 years ago. These are not kids’ songs- I got ripped off! (Amazingly, the Lazytown CD that Chloe forces down my throat is way more child-friendly than the Disney stuff, despite sounding like the house music from 616 circa 1992.)
Check out these examples:
The Man on the Flying Trapeze - All the girls he does please? That makes me blush.
Camptown Races-A song about gambling. Outstanding.
Ten Little Indians-Dude- it’s 2008.
Animal Fair- You don’t know the lyrics to this, but trust me when I say a drunken monkey is prominently involved.
Sailing Medley-What do you do with a drunken sailor? I don’t want Chloe to know the answer to that question for a long time.
On Top of Old Smokey- It’s a classic, alright- a classic about losing your lover. The word lover is used about a million times in this song. (Besides- I always thought courting too slow was a GOOD thing.)
There Was an Old Lady- “Perhaps she’ll die” is the line repeated most often in this song. And then at the end she DIES.
Old Blue- Almost a harmless song about a dog, right up until the dog DIES.
"You put your little head in
You put your little head out
You give your head a shake shake shake
and turn yourself about"
Um yeah- that’s what she said.

These songs lead either to awkward conversations with the kids or fits of giggles from me, but at least the ride in is entertaining. I’m sure in 100 years toddlers across the universe will be singing along to Bootylicious while their parents shake their heads in confusion. Unless the music is piped directly into speakers implanted in our brains by then. If so, the parents of the future have got it made!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Life at Five

What’s up with Connor these days? Oh, just the usual- a constant struggle for control in any situation. He would argue with me about how to spell his name if the topic came up- it is constant. Not just with me, but with his dad and his sister too. I’m all for giving a kid some choices so that he doesn’t feel his life is totally out of control. But I’m the adult, and I’m not going to negotiate with a five-year-old about every decision that is made in the course of the day.

This leads to our other problem, that Connor seems to have no respect for the fact that we are his parents and what we say goes. He is learning that lesson the hard way, with swift consequences when he crosses the line, but that just leads to other problems of the “you’re-mad-at-me-so-you-must-not-love-me” variety. Sigh. Parenting a five-year-old is exhausting!

There are great things about it too, of course. When he’s happy and enjoying himself, he’s a lot of fun. He’s mature enough to really communicate, to get jokes, to be helpful. He’s also strangely patient and generous when we have guests in our house. The toy he just spitefully took from Chloe becomes something he wants to share when Delaney comes by. There’s a gentleman in there, even if sometimes he is hidden away from the immediate family.

Another mostly fun thing is that Connor is still a mama’s boy. Although it can occasionally be annoying I remind myself that it won’t last forever, and I stop and bask in it. He had the opportunity to spend the three-day weekend in Nashville, just him and his grandparents, and he didn’t want to. He just wanted to hang out at home with us. Then he resisted Saturday night at Grammy’s- he wanted to be at home with me. I noticed this morning that at school they did a “wish on a star” project, and inside Connor’s glittery star it says “I wish that I could play with Mom more.”

Before you give it too big of an “Awwww,” it’s important to note that Connor has become very greedy lately- more has become one of his favorite words. If I am giving him and his sister some M&Ms, he wants just oooone more, just so he can think he got more than Chloe did. That means "play with Mom more" really translates to “Mom plays with me more than Chloe.” I appreciate the sentiment, though. I wish I did have more time each day to play with both of them. I remind Connor that the reason I stop playing to cook dinner is because I love him and want to take good care of him, and it helps a little bit. As long as I let him choose what he’s having to eat.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

On the Ride Home...

I feel the need to purge this experience from my consciousness by regurgitating it onto a blog post. This is not for the squeamish.

The other day I picked Connor and Chloe up from daycare, as usual. Connor claimed that his head hurt, which I thought nothing of. We got in the car and hit the road. I was rocking out to NPR All Things Considered. The kids love to rock out to NPR. And by rocking out I mean yell and laugh and scream at each other in the back seat while I strain to hear about rising water temperatures in the arctic.

After about 5 minutes in the car, I notice in the rear-view mirror that Connor is crying. Not a loud, pitching-a-fit type cry which we see all too much of these days, but a silent, genuine cry. I say, "Connor, what's the matter, buddy?" In between sobs he says "My head rrreeaaallly hurts!" I reach behind my seat and rub his leg, telling him I'm sorry and that we can get him some medicine as soon as we get home.

As I speed down the interstate, all of the possible reasons for such a severe headache run through my mind. High fever? Migraine? Inoperable brain tumor?

A few seconds later, Connor says "Dad, I need to throw up."

The horror of all horrors. I can't imagine six words I fear more than those. See, I don't do vomit. I have a mortal fear of doing it myself, and consequently haven't in ... years. And when someone else shouts groceries in my presence, I usually run.

I frantically look for a place to pull over. Except that I'm in the MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING INTERSTATE, about to turn from I-55 onto 240, which is a pretty hectic interchange.

Not even a chance. I hear the telltale burp. I cuss loudly. I hear another burp.

And then it hits me. It literally hits me. In the back of the neck. Connor yaks, in a projectile manner, through the headrest of my seat. It covers my back. I'll spare you the details. Oh wait, I've already overloaded you with those.

I lean forward in my seat, all hunched over the wheel like an an old lady. Connor is instantly hysterical, as am I. I don't recall ever being ralphed on (baby spitup doesn't count-- this is WAAAAAY different). I try to utter some comforting words: "ohhhhh Connor, I'm so sorry, man, ohhhh man, oh gosh, oh man I'm sorry..." Actually, I'm trying to calm myself down as much as Connor. It doesn't work for either of us.

Sitting next to all this is Chloe, who is now also hysterical. Hell, I would be too, witnessing large numbers of Buicks being sold right next to me.

The smell hits me and I roll all of the windows all the way down. I look in the rearview again and notice that Connor has pushed himself up on his armrests, as large quantities of yakk on his shorts and seat keep him from sitting comfortably. In fact, he rides the whole rest of the way home in that pose. Can't blame the poor fella.

I think about pulling over on the interstate several times. But then what the hell would I do? No towels, no napkins, no change of clothes. I just go faster. We're still 10 minutes away from home!

I call Steph at home, to prepare her for our arrival. No answer. I think of other people to call, just because SOMEONE needs to know that my OWN SON has HAD AN ORAL MOVEMENT on my NECK.

After about 4 more tries, Steph finally answers. I stammer out something about how it was finally my turn-- the kids have both whistled beef in her car, but never in mine.

We finally arrive, and Steph greets us with towels and clothes in the driveway. It takes me hours to clean my car.

Connor was fine the next day. I may never recover.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I love makeup. I believe society gave women makeup to atone for all the crap we got screwed on. I mean really- when most men wake up in the morning, they look in the mirror and pretty much know what they are going to look like for the rest of the day. Not me- I get to even out skin tone, make my eyelashes look longer, and cover blemishes. I feel so lucky! And you should too, knowing you'll never have to see the hot mess that greets me in the mirror at 6:00 a.m.

Recently, before a big event, a friend said, "Please do my makeup! I want mine to look like yours. You're so gorgeous and smart and well dressed! And a great mother to your kids!"

My memory of the event is possibly a little fuzzy, but I definitely remember doing her makeup. Not long into the process, she said, "Uh, why are you curling my lashes? I don't have mascara on yet!" I explained to her that that's just how it's done. "No, that doesn't make any sense. I need mascara first." I sighed under the weight of the irony and continued applying her makeup, afraid to argue lest she make me stop. I do love applying makeup.

Since she ended up looking even more stunning than usual that day, I feel she'll listen to me now. So here it is: Your lashes will only hold a little bit of curl, and mascara helps set the curl whether you put it on right before or right after curling. So it comes down to this- if you use the curler after applying mascara, it won't hold any better but it will cause your mascara to clump. So curl first!

And even though you didn't ask, here's my other helpful tip for the day: Apply your concealer after your foundation. Otherwise you just rub off the concealer when you apply the foundation. Plus it's easier to blend the two when you put the concealer on last. If you don't believe me, just try it. You can thank me later.