Sunday, February 28, 2010


I wasn't kidding about the skirt.

(She totally throws like a girl.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stop Being So S.A.D.

I've been thinking about doing another "Things I've Bought and Loved" post all week, just because I need to be a bit more positive, and then SAM went and flat-out challenged me to. Sort of. On her urging, here are ten things that make me happy right now.

1. Planning upcoming vacations. (I've tentatively got three beach, one St. Louis, and one Ann Arbor trip on the books.)
2. This lime squeezer. It has changed my life.

3. Books: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez for me, the Magic Tree House book series for Connor. Suddenly, he's a reader!
4. Party planning for Chloe's birthday
5. Running again, after a few months with a horribly bad back derailed my fitness efforts.
6. Lincoln Park After Dark nail polish from OPI

7. Lost!
8. Jacob's American Idol recaps
9. The expensive, lined, pinstriped Banana Republic pants I bought for $6.99 on ebay.
10. This skirt I bought for Chloe. I wish they had it in my size.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Is It

I've mentioned it before, but basically my kids are obsessed with Michael Jackson. It all started when he died. We were on vacation when, the day after Connor's birthday, news came that we had lost the King of Pop. Suddenly, his music was playing more regularly on the radio, his videos were constantly shown on TV, and his name seemed to always be on our lips. And my kids were fascinated.

"Why did he die?"
"Why are their zombies in this video?"
"Who is that white lady singing his song in this video?" (answer: MJ)
"Was this song from when he was white or when he was black?"
"Why is he grabbing himself? Does he have to pee?"
"Was he old? Then why did he die?!?"

My kids have never known a person who has died before. They have lost a family pet, and learned a bit about death from that, but quite frankly I've tried to shield them. They basically have a "people and animals get reaaaally old and then they die, okay?" understanding of the whole thing. So hearing us talk about someone who died, someone we had basically grown up with, totally captivated them.

Beyond that, the kids were suddenly watching all of his music videos, all at once, for the first time. I'm sure the radical change in his appearance from song to song was shocking to take in all at once- it had been gradual for the rest of us, so we could sort of make peace with it. We tried to explain things the best we could, without painting too creepy a picture of the man. The kids were satisfied with our answers, and soon begging to listen to and dance along with his songs whenever they could. His music catalog is pretty impressive, after all- we found ourselves surprised that we hadn't really exposed them to it before.

Last fall, the in-laws and I took the kids to see "This Is It." It was a great film, one that had us singing and dancing for days, and we couldn't wait for Chip to see it too. And see it he has, since we bought it as soon as it came out on DVD. Connor and Chloe have spent months singing the songs and practicing the dance moves over and over again, just like we all did when we were young and watching the "Thriller" video on a continuous loop. And Chip and I have been dancing and singing along with them. It's been nice to look at Michael Jackson through the eyes of my kids, ignoring the messy parts. He really was a big part of my youth.

Last week, Connor came home with a school assignment to write a paragraph and create a poster about his hero. There were some suggestions, such as "person we've studied in school," "person who has helped other people," and "person we have celebrated a holiday for." The history major in me started naming a variety of interesting people and what they had done to be considered heroes, when Connor cut me off and said, "Michael Jackson!" There was no talking him out of it, and I guess there's really no need to. He doesn't know about the bad stuff, the controversial court settlement, the fact that dude's face was falling off in chunks, etc. He just knows that MJ has inspired him and tons of other people to sing and dance, and I guess that's enough.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Things They've Said

Chloe: Isn't that hiLAIRious!?!
Mom, isn't it hilarious when I say "hiLAIRious"?


Me: Why did you get a bad conduct grade?
Connor (whispering): I don't want to tell you.
Me: It's okay, you can tell me.
Connor: Iusedpottywords.
Me: What? What's a potty word?
Connor (whispering and mortified): Weiner.
Me: Uh, okay, who did you say this to? And what were you talking about. I need some context!
Connor (after several minutes of hemming and hawing): Well, I took the wrapper off of a crayon, and I said that now it was naked, and looked like a weiner.
Me: Hahahahahahaaaa! Ooops, I mean, let's talk about when those words are appropriate and when they aren't. . .
(Seriously- I've never heard him use the word "weiner" before. We tend to use the real words at our house.)


Chloe (in full sing-song Chloe voice): Mo-ooom! When did youuuuuu. . . uh, Whyyyyy did the . . . uh, Knock Knock!


Connor: You know Mom, it is pretty funny when she says, "Hilarious."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Barcelona Red

In car any of you ever doubted my zen master level on the scale of geekness, I have now taken artistic photos of a TOYOTA.

I traded in my carriage of yuppy whoopass-ness (Infiniti G35) for a symbol of green geekness, with a side of living-on-the-edge. I'm now always prepared for a quick Fred-Flintstone-style braking.

But seriously-- so far, I love it.

See the whole slideshow here. But be warned-- if you are caught looking at a whole slideshow of artistic pics of a Toyota, your own level of geekness may make several leaps.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Harper is One

Our good friend Harper Morgan turned one on Sunday, so we used it as yet another excuse to get together and celebrate. (This actually happened in the same spot the Carrie/Maisy shower happened the day before. Those Morgans are party people.)

Here are a few shots I got-- check out the whole set here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cupcakes and Punch

Despite the fact that a stomach flu swirled around our house this weekend, I still managed to have a wonderful Saturday. Gina, Mom and I threw a shower for Carrie and Maisy, and it was so much fun!

Gina did a great job crafting adorable decorations, and Mom grabbed some always-perfect Muddy's Bakeshop cupcakes, and just like that it was a party.

It was a treat to spend time with Carrie and her baby bump. She is possibly one of the cutest pregnant women I've ever seen, and I'm not just saying that because my niece is in her belly! She's the only person I know who manages to look thinner even as her belly is growing. (Some of us were bloated from 10 weeks onward. No, I'm not bitter.)

Chloe got all decked out in a "party dress" (which some might call a "costume") and enjoyed being included at the girls-only party. However, she was a bit shy and reserved until the end of the event, when the crowd cleared out and the sugar rush kicked in.

Is it possible NOT to melt into a puddle on the floor when confronted with tiny, soft, pink clothing? I think not. It was a great afternoon full of family and friends. I miss Carrie and Shannon already, and can't wait until I can go visit their family of three. Love you!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Our cat, Clark W. Griswold Jr. Chockley, is totally codependent and needs your attention. However, he doesn't understand basic social interaction so he bites you as soon as you try to pet him. Then he follows you around wondering why you aren't paying attention to him.

Only Chloe is immune to his abuse. She is somehow able to show him affection that occasionally borders on assault without ending up bloody. I think the only time he has ever bitten her is if someone else got him riled up first. She is definitely going to grow up and work with animals. She thinks veterinarian or animal rescuer (thanks, Diego) but I'm convinced she'll be a lion tamer or a snake charmer.

Monday, February 08, 2010


We woke this morning, following our normal showering and getting everybody ready routine, until Steph happened to look out the window, doing a cartoon doubletake.  It's really so much more fun when it's unexpected.  When Memphis frets for a whole week over winter weather, it's always a letdown.

This was actually enough for a SNOWMAN, which I don't think has happened in these two kids' lifetimes.

See the whole slideshow here.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Poor Uncle Chris

Stream of consciousness ramble from Chloe on the way to school this morning:

"Oooh look, the Memphis Tigers on that building! Mama, that's just like what you have on that t-shirt! And the Titans. You have the Titans on a t-shirt too! The Titans are everyone's favorite team that we know. Except for Uncle Chris! He likes the Eagles! Uncle Chris is from a whole different world. . ."

Monday, February 01, 2010

Book Club

As you may know, Connor does not like school. I realize this isn't unusual- a lot of kids don't like school- but if you've been paying attention around here, you know that Connor tends to become hysterical when he doesn't like something. He isn't one to shrug it off and say, "Hey- what are you gonna do?" He is one to sob and hatch elaborate home-schooling plans and give me guilt trips about how not all moms have to work and if I loved him I would just STAY HOME AND PLAY WITH HIM.

One thing that might have made school more fun for him would have been getting him into the CLUE program early. I was told by Sassy that I should get him tested before Kindergarten, because the pre-school test doesn't have any reading requirements. I never got it together to get him tested, and he wasn't recommended by his Kindergarten teacher, so he isn't currently in CLUE. I asked his teacher if he could be tested, and she said sure, but warned me that kids need to be reading a couple of grade levels ahead of his peers in order to qualify. Now, Connor certainly isn't reading below grade level or anything, but so far he just hasn't shown a lot of interest in reading on his own. He still sees it as a bit of a chore, rather than something that can be done for pleasure.

I just used a lot of words to say that basically I wish Connor enjoyed both school and reading more than he currently does. At a recent elementary school awards program (Perfect Attendance? I thought I had taught him better than that!) I sat next to a friend who happens to be a first grade teacher and the parent of a first grader. I told her about how Connor hates it all, and she shared that her daughter LOVES school and loves to read. In fact, my friend recently started a book club for her students and her daughter loved the idea so much that she started her own book club with a couple of her classmates at Snowden. To which I said, Oh hell yes! An activity that will give him stronger social ties to school as well as peer pressure to enjoy reading! We would love to invite ourselves to that!

So we did. The next meeting was on a Sunday evening, and it just did not work out for Connor to go. It was the end of a busy weekend, and both kids were a little snotty and puny, and he was too exhausted to make the effot. I was surprisingly frustrated by this. I guess I knew I had been pushy about wrangling an invite and felt stupid not showing up. Plus I just really wanted him to go and enjoy himself and his book. But a wonderful thing happened. He decided to give the book a try on his own, and he DID love it! He read the book over breakfast, he read the book in the car, and by the end of the week he had read a chapter book all by himself and passed an AR test on it and ENJOYED IT. It was magical.

This week he actually attended the book club meeting in person. Four kids came, and they each took turns reading a chapter out loud. I didn't stay to witness this, but I was told that listening to them talk about the story, and help each other with unknown words, was absolutely adorable. Connor reported that it was a good book, and that the two girls were better readers than the two boys, and that he had a good time. And now I've got a son who carries a book around the house with him and smiles at new friends in the hallways at school. It's a start.