Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

This is not such a shocking admission, really. But, there have been a few things that have brought this front and center this week so I thought I'd lay it out there.

I have an uncontrollable addiction. It is taking over my house. It borders on compulsion. And, it is beginning to rub off on my kids in very obvious ways.

I am a book-a-holic. A bibliophile. A collector of the printed word. And I just can't stop myself.

Have you seen the bookcase in my Tackle it Tuesday post? You know, this one:

Well, it is filled on both sides with books. And, I have about 6 large boxes of books in my basement. And books by my bedside. And an overflowing bookshelf in the girl's room with kids books.

Everywhere you turn in our house there are books. Bathrooms, bedrooms, playrooms, laundry room, kitchen. Everywhere. And, yet, I continue to fill up my arms at trips to Barnes and Noble and bring more and more and more home.

Years ago I had an English professor who told me she had so many books she had them stacked in her bath tub at home. She had literally lost the use of a bathroom due to her collection of books. So she and her husband just used the other bathroom. And let the books take over.

That is where I am headed, friends. And I'm hoping that if my kids start having to find somewhere else to bathe due to a book filled bath tub someone will come stage an intervention. I know it won't be my mom since she'll be in the same boat, so will one of you please intervene if it gets out of hand? I promise to listen if you tell me it is out of control.


Well, probably not. But, thanks for your concern anyways. I really can quit whenever I want to. I just, you know, don't want to. So, you can just mind your own business, thank you very much.

What about you? Do you have any seemingly harmless addictions taking over? Anyone out there in need of their own intervention?

The Big Switch.

Ever since we moved the girls' bedroom into the playroom we've had a bit of a dilemma. Our flat screen was mounted over the fireplace and the new bunkbeds made it all too easy for Kai peek into the family room and watch tv from the top bunk of her bed.

So, my dad (who is shockingly helpful with interior design) suggested we do a little moving around in our house. His recommendation? Flip the family room and dining room.

And switch we did.

The Dining Room Before
(it should be noted that the section beyond the wall divider on the left was turned into a sewing room a looong time ago and doesn't factor into the whole dining room layout)

Same Space, Different Use

The best part? Our new dining room is looking beautiful! Our old family room was bigger and has an awesome painted brick fireplace. So perfect for entertaining friends and family at our dinner parties. In fact, I can barely resist the urge to get this table. I'll be posting pics of it as soon as I get our new cupboard from Eddy West!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Monday, December 29, 2008

Obligatory Christmas Post.

I wasn't going to do this to you, my faithful readers, because I figured "who really wants to see my Christmas pics?" But then 5 minutes for Mom gave me a reason to do it by having a Christmas photo carnival and, well, I just couldn't resist.

So, here you have it. Our Christmas pics. Feel free to ignore until tomorrow when I promise to have some real content. With words and thoughts and everything!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Picture Ever

From the Loving Family Archives. Christmas 2007. Our best Christmas card ever!

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Total Truth Tuesday - Christmas Edition

Every year at Christmas I do the same thing. I profess for weeks in advance my desire to have a "simple" Christmas. I declare my refusal to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. And, I am successful every single year. Up until December 19th. And then I have some sort of bizarre attack of commercialism where the relentless Christmas marketing catches up with me and I falter. In a huge way.

I then go on some ridiculous Christmas present buying spree. And pick up things that were never on my list. Because I secretly adore the look on my kids face when they see all the shiny, colorful presents beneath the tree on Christmas morning. Even though it means I risk breeding society's preoccupation with materialism in my own kids.

Then every year, after the dust has settled, I feel insanely guilty for caving in. I have some sick, emotionally unhealthy, codependent relationship with Christmas shopping. It's like that crazy, dangerous "bad boy" you go out with an that you want to stop dating because you know it's just wrong, but it is so exciting to be with him that you just can't stop yourself. Or so I've been told.

Of course this year was no exception. I staunchly refused to buy into commercialism this year. I declared my righteous indignation at the shopping craze going on in the malls. I professed my commitment to making my girls' presents or buying handmade or, at the very least, buying only American made.

And, then my girls began their love affair with their Barbie dolls. And they played with them for hours every day. And they dressed them up and drove them around in their Barbie minivan and created a whole make-believe Barbie world for them.

Little by little, my resolve began to weaken. Until I found myself buying Mariposa Barbie and Fairy Barbie and Hannah Montana singing Barbie-ish dolls.

So, while my girls will have American made wooden puzzles and lacing beads and educational toys under the tree, there will also be a hefty dose of good old American commercialism with a dash of anti-feminist archetypes and unrealistic female body images thrown in for good measure.

But, they will be giddy with excitement come Christmas morning. And, I'm hoping all the Advent and Bible stories and Sunday school lessons will be enough to make them remember Baby Jesus when they're dressing their Malibu Barbie in her bright pink stilettos...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Because there is something infinitely wrong with my brain...

It has occurred to me before now that I am not entirely normal. But the extent of my strangeness was never more real to me than last night at my fantastically romantic Anniversary dinner with my husband.

As part of our night out Thomas took me downtown to "Big Atlanta" to go out to a restaurant that we went to on our 1st anniversary. It is a great old downtown restaurant. Dimly lit, romantic, delicious food. You know, everything an anniversary destination should be.

Knowing where we were going I had a chance to prepare a wardrobe choice for the evening. Which is a good thing since it takes me hours to dress this belly of mine lately.

I ended up in the same black dress I always wear when we go out, a pair of tall black boots (because I know you care what shoes I was wearing) and a pair of pre-pregnancy skinny jeans.

Okay, so here's where you begin to get a glimpse into my weird, weird brain. See, when I'm preggo I try and use my regular jeans as long as possible. With a 6 month belly (that is apparently STILL measuring 3 weeks ahead) you might be able to guess that these jeans don't button. But, I'm creative. I think of ways to keep them up.

Last night I decided to just wear a long tight shirt under the dress to function as a makeshift belly band and keep them up. Of course, it didn't work well and I spent several trips to the bathroom hiking up my pants to avoid losing them in public.

On one such trip I was contemplating ways to make my pants stay up easier. The rubber band trick never works. I am too lazy to go out and look for a belly band. And maternity pants? No way. I'm more than halfway through this pregnancy. The next pair of cute jeans I buy will be post-pregnancy jeans.

And then, in some flash of twisted genius it occurred to me. I should wear a pair of my beloved maternity panties on top of the jeans to hold them up. Because pants can't fall down with a pair of those over-the-belly underwear on top, right? And since I almost always wear a short dress over these particular jeans no one would be the wiser. There was a brief moment when I really, truly thought I had discovered something quite genius.

But, I'll be honest, the idea of wearing underwear over my jeans cracked me up right there in the middle of the ladies room. Because, I imagined what would happen. I knew the first time I did something like that I would end up in some minor accident that would send me to the hospital where I would have to explain the reason I was wearing my underwear on the outside. And then I would end up in some compilation of the "weirdest patients" at an end of the year hospital party.

You know it's true.

When I finally made it back to the table I was still giggling about it. 'Cause I could just envision the post-accident/panty revelation post that would come out of such a ridiculous scenario. When I began to explain my sudden fit of giggles to my husband, he looked at me adoringly and said, "Why not just use a belt?"

Because, friends, that is what a semi-normal person uses to hold up their pants, right? A belt. And yet my mind went straight to wearing maternity panties over my jeans. That right there is why I will ultimately never run out of blog material.

I am simply too weird for my own good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dear Santa...

Mailing our letters to Santa via the Macy's Make a Wish Foundation mailbox.

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

Though my undergraduate degree is in English, I have earned an honorary Ph.D. in Swearing. And here’s the Total Truth for today: I have the potential for a potty mouth that would put a longshoreman’s vocabulary to shame.

Lest you think I am bragging about this Total Truth, let me assure you, I most certainly am not. I am quite aware that it is a disgusting habit. And though I have made great strides in eliminating bad language from most days, I’m hoping that maybe by admitting this problem I will finally shame myself into quitting for good. The thing is, swearing can be ridiculously therapeutic. It is, unfortunately, also incredibly contagious.

Which is why each of my children have said their first swear words before the age of two. Not that they swear, mind you, or use these words in conversation. I’m just saying they’ve each managed to catch and repeat a word that mommy has used and that she most definitely should not have. On a possibly slightly positive note (in a most convoluted way, of course) they both know what a swear word is and that these words should not in be uttered by their mouths in any circumstances. And we don’t actually have problems with them slipping up and saying naughty things. I have the feeling that this will not be the case once they reach, oh, middle school age unless I get my act together.

Now, BlogHer would prefer that I not swear on my blog and so I will be attempting to document and expose this problem without actually using any of the words in my repertoire. But, people, I’ve got some amazing swear word combinations. And that is all I’m going to say about that.

So, here’s how this whole swearing thing began. First, I grew up a good girl. Then, I went to girl’s school. And, I found out that if sugar and spice and everything nice was what girls were made of it meant that sometimes the “spice” involved was a bit more cayenne pepper than cinnamon. I got quite the education in swearing. But, I must have been storing up the skill and waiting until later to practice because it wasn’t until I turned 21 that the swearing was unleashed full force.

For years, I justified it. I mean, I’m an English major. I can argue all day long. How can you say a word, in itself, is immoral? I never argued that it wasn’t ugly to hear. Or hurtful. Or just foul. But, immoral? Really? What about shag? Obviously (thanks to Austin Powers) we know that it is a naughty word in England, right? And yet I have “shag” carpet in my bedroom. The goodness (or badness) of a word was, in my mind, purely subjective.

And then it happened. One day, on our way home from Easter Sunday service with my mother in the car, my darling Kai (then just shy of two) took one look at the church traffic ahead of us and oh-so-sweetly shouted, “Move it, Dumb*ss.” And, that is when I knew whether people could convince me of a moral problem with swearing or not, it was just plain ugly to hear.

Now, mind you. I’ve admitted that both of my children have said swear words and obviously Ivy wasn’t born when Kai was just two so I have clearly not been successful in eliminating these bad words completely. But, I have gotten so much better. And found many, many alternatives. Take for instance, Doughnut Hole. As in, “A green light means GO, Doughnut Hole!” Or even F. Because, it is the less abrasive nickname for another word that peppers my vocabulary. I mean, clearly not a nice alternative, but much better than it’s dirtier cousin. And, since it is simply a letter, it is at least helping to teach the girls their alphabet (um…totally kidding by the way).

Kai has helped me find other words to use as well, her suggestions include: booty hind, snap-a-doo, flip, blast, son of a nutcracker (thanks Elf!), and the slightly modified son of a motherless gun.

She thinks these are terribly clever. And using said modified “swears” actually turns yucky situations into something comical so it’s actually working for me. Of course, when the situation calls for swearing and nothing else will do I have a tendency to send them to their room so I can swear behind closed doors. And there are days when that is essential as well. Like when rude and uncaring government employees are reeking havoc on your taxes due to pure stupidity and you can’t quite tell your husband to tell those “sons of motherless guns to flipping get off their booty hinds and get it right.” It just doesn’t have the same effect, you know?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Confetti Bubble Bath Experience

Okay, so I saw this recipe online for Christmas Confetti Bubble Bath and thought it would be the perfect little project for the girls and I to do one afternoon. After all, what is more fun than homemade bubble bath?

Making the bubble bath really was fun. And with a bit of tweaking the end product could be quite the success.

Step One:

Shred (with regular cheese grater) one bar of soap. It should be noted: soy soap flakes do NOT turn into bubbles in the bath. More on that later...

Step Two: Add food coloring gel to soap shavings. Add a few drops to each bowl and mix. Tip: Be careful what colors you choose!

Step Three: Spread on wax paper to dry. Isn't it lovely?

Step Four:

Add to bath water and watch Red and Green turn into a horrible, horrible Brown colored water with strange floating soap flakes in it. Listen as your children exclaim with glee that it is like having a bath in lake water!!

Apparently, bathing in lake water is all the rage among preschoolers these days so luckily the girls didn't seem to notice the lack of bubbles and the hideous color of the water. (Note to self: next time stick with regular soap and consult a color wheel before choosing colors!)

I'm just glad I tested it out on my girls before giving it away as gifts for Christmas. 'Cause, you know, not everyone likes the idea of bathing in the Loch Ness Monster's natural habitat!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

The best part of making Gingerbread houses? Eating the icing, of course!

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Secret Santa = Super Savings (and fun!)

This isn't particularly a groundbreaking idea or anything, but it really is an idea that is so much more fun than you'd think!

The last couple of years as our extended family grew and my sisters got married buying presents for everyone has become a daunting task. We're big present givers so buying big gifts for lots of people is just too expensive to do and really seems to zap the fun from our holiday shopping.

So, a couple of years ago we decided to start the Secret Santa tradition. Each year on Thanksgiving we draw names and (making sure no one gets their own name *cough* DAD!) swear everyone to secrecy.

We set a limit for spending and let the fun begin. It takes the stress out of shopping because buying the perfect gift for one person is so much easier and my favorite part of all is the fun that is had weaseling everyone's names out of each other. Each year I think I have it all figured out and each year I am dead wrong! Still, a full month of intrigue and sneaking around is more fun than the buying or receiving presents.

We all buy presents for the kids in the family and have fun picking up little stocking stuffers for everyone else. But each person only has to buy one "big" present thus reducing both shopping and budgetary stress. It's a great Christmas tradition that we've never regretted!

That is what is working for me this week. To see what is working for others, head over to Shannon's Dryer!

Kai-versations: Perhaps the most important difference of all...

I'm putting Total Truth Tuesday on hold this week, because (truth be told) I'm feeling a little bit too steeped in reality to be dragging up any deep dark secrets or to be silly about any of my more ridiculous ones. I promise to dig up a doozy of a Total Truth for next week! In the meantime, here's one of my favorite recent Kai quotes...

Last night Kai and I watched The Navity Story. The live action one that came out a couple of years ago. And, though you might think she'd be too young to get what was going on she seemed to comprehend it pretty well. But, by far the most interesting conversation came as a result of the circumcision scene after Mary's cousin, Elizabeth gives birth to John.

Now, don't go getting all worried. They didn't show anything gruesome that would scar her for life but it did make her ask what exactly was going on. And since she's going to have a baby brother in less than 4 months I thought it might be time to go ahead and start explaining these things.

Me: "So, Kai, do you what makes boys and girls different?"

Kai, very seriously: "Yes! Girls get excited when they get clothes as a present and boys don't."

Me, giggling: "True...but they are also different in another way."

Kai, gesturing with her hand: "Boys have a...um....pickle, right? Wait! Does that mean Daddy has a pickle, too?!"

Ah....the next few months will be interesting indeed!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sometime the best answers are the ones you make up...

The other day Kai asked me an interesting question. She wanted to know where she was before she was in my tummy. Was she, she asked, with God in heaven? Or, was she hanging out with angels? Did God know her then? Where did she come from before she "hatched" out of the egg in mommy's tummy? (Okay, so she doesn't get the whole reproductive process, people. But, she's four. What am I supposed to tell her?)

I thought - hatching aspects aside - it was a really smart question. And, yet, another Kai question that I had to leave largely unanswered. I'm sure theologians have this all figured out. And, I'm sure it is a lot less romantic an idea than the one I've always carried in my head.

I guess I've always believed that babies are with God before they're here. That may make me seem silly or hokey or simple minded, but I'm okay with that. And don't even bother emailing me about how that is directly contradicted by specific Bible verses or the implied nature of God. I'm a mommy. I'm just telling you what I've always imagined to myself.

And that got me thinking. Because, our family has an important anniversary coming up. Last year, on Christmas Eve, we lost Thomas' mom following very unexpected complications from heart surgery. And, now, less than a year later we're expecting a baby that I know Natalie would be thrilled about and I can't help but wonder what she would think and say and do each time we reach a pregnancy milestone.

Just the other day I was telling Thomas how happy I think his mom would be to hear that we're adding a little boy to our family when an unexpected idea occurred to me. Perhaps, she knows all about this boy. And maybe, just maybe, she had a chance to spend a little time with him before he came to grow inside me.

And though that is quite possibly the result of someone who has read too many fairy tales and not enough of the Bible, it is enough to make me smile each time my heart breaks at the thought of all she is missing out on here with this baby. Perhaps she's gotten the greatest glimpse of all into exactly who this little boy is. And, I know she'd cherish the opportunity to be ahead of the rest of us...

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Little Girl, Book Review

I'm reviewing "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw over at my review blog. Come check it out!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

These are healthy, fun, creative, vibrant kids:

These are healthy, fun, creative, vibrant kids on Spongebob Squarepants overload:

It's scary what TV can do.

P.S. I hate SpongeBob Squarepants.

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cheap and Green Christmas Fun!

Last year at Christmas we were beyond broke. I mean, B-R-O-K-E.

It was our first year experiencing Ye Olde Beverage Company's slow season and we just weren't prepared. It was a real learning experience. Money for Christmas presents came courtesy of our willingness to sell unneeded items on Craigslist but I wanted a way to make our holidays festive around the house without breaking our budget.

And that's when my favorite holiday tradition was born.

Last year rather than spend lots of $$$ on Christmas ornaments and decor, we thought we'd get crafty and make some fun things to have in our house. We had lots of great decor left over from previous years, but we needed ornaments. So, the tradition of making our Christmas ornaments began and it's something I think we'll do with or without any budgetary restrictions.

(Our ornament assembly line - 2007)

Last year, our tree's theme was silly ornament monsters. The whole look was created using an old printer box, some googley eyes, pipe cleaners and glitter. It was the cheapest, easiest and most developmentally appropriate activity I could come up with. Not to mention, we basically had completely recycled and earth friendly decor!

At the end of the Christmas season, I took all the ornaments and tucked them away in a big manila envelope with the year on it. I stuck it in our art archives and figured we'd pull them out one day and look at it like a kind of Christmas time capsule.

(Kai's "Pickle Monster" and more!)

This year, we weren't necessarily trying to be as cheap as possible, but the urge to be simple and creative was still there. I figured the most fun type of ornament to make for a 2 and 4-year-old would be the sugary edible kind and we opted for a candy tree. Gingerbread men, Gumdrop ornaments, and even some creative project from melted peppermints are on the agenda.

(Kai making Gumdrop dangles!)

The Gumdrops were already a huge hit and the best part is that it is something we all do as a family. We take a few hours spread out over a couple weeks and spend it making fun ornaments to hang on the tree. It makes for a great family night and the memories we make are absolutely priceless. Plus, we plan to keep each year's ornaments in a separate envelope and celebrate one year by putting them all on a big tree when the kids bring their own families over for Christmas at our house!

Our only non-edible ornament this year - a pipe cleaner garland. I stole the idea after seeing the exact thing for sale at Joann's Fabric. It was much more fun to make our own!

So, that's what is working for me this week. For more cool ideas, head over to Shannon's Dryer and hear what's working for others out there!

Total Truth Tuesday - Not for the weak stomach!

I've admitted my housekeeping skills are less than perfect. But, I truly didn't think they were all that bad. Until the other day when I came face to face with the truth.

You see, this past week we got new carpet. Much needed carpet. The carpet we had was from 1982 or something. Came with the house. Horrible stuff. And as we were prepping the house for the installation it occurred to my husband that we should probably check under our bed since they'd be moving it to put in our carpet.

I should have known it was going to be bad when my hands got clammy and I broke out into a cold sweat just from the thought of looking under my bed. I mean, our room is clean. The house is actually shockingly well-ordered and clean lately (which I attribute to a shared nesting instinct my husband and I seem to be going through). But, the bed? I hadn't looked under the bed in....a while.

At first I was really proud of myself. Nothing under the bed but a stray sock and a few pieces of luggage that don't fit in our closet. But, then I heard a gasp from the other side of the bed. And I knew if it was something bad enough to make my husband actually react audibly it must be serious. That is when he showed me this:

This is the part where I share something to put this gruesome horror into perspective. Ivy is now 30 months old. She was weaned off a bedtime bottle by the time she started sleeping in a big girl bed, which was right around 15 months old. That means, these bottles have been under my bed for MORE THAN A YEAR! And, for the record, my mother is probably deleting all evidence of her relationship to me as she reads this because, how could I let this happen??? (And why was my first instinct to take a picture of it??)

In my defense (not much of one, I'll admit) they were wedged down on the floor behind the headboard. And, it isn't like they had an odor or anything. At least not anymore. Though I am desperately searching my memory for a time when there may have been a strange spoiled milk smell emanating from the headboard.

But, there you have it. Total truth about my housekeeping skills. I apparently have domestic skills that would make a Jerry Springer guest gag a little. And, to make it worse, I just told the whole world about it.

Now, it's your turn. What is the worst thing you ever discovered lurking in your home?

Monday, December 1, 2008

And then she smashed it into a million pieces.

My kids. They are a great many things. Precious. Kind. Creative. Smart.

But, right now, coordinated is not one the adjectives I would use to describe them. Not that I can talk. I mean, I'm certain they get it honest.

For a while, I thought it was just Kai. She moves around the world too fast and just doesn't have time to keep up with her surroundings. And, I can't tell you the number of times my girl has plowed into a door frame because she was zooming all over the house at the speed of light.

But, if clumsiness is contagious then I'm certain Ivy has managed to catch it. She's beginning to have a permanent red mark on her forehead from banging into one thing or another. And, just the other night she actually gave herself a big ol' bruise while drinking a cup of milk. Who'd have thought a nighttime cup of milk could be so dangerous?

Thanksgiving Day, though, she took the cake (or the Turkey) in clumsiness.

I've mentioned how my mom's house is. It's beautiful. And impeccably decorated. Basically, it is a veritable mine field for my children. So, Thursday as we're all settling in to cut the Turkey I hear "the sound."

You moms are familiar with "the sound" right? It is the noise that is made by a catastrophic crash that you are certain has left something decimated beyond all recognition thanks to your child. This time around it sounded like a crystal chandelier falling two stories into the family room. Thank God, it wasn't.

Instead, it was my two-year-old bumping into and knocking over a very expensive 5 foot tall glass cylinder floor lamp. And smashing it into a million pieces in the process.

Thank the Lord, she kept moving on past that lamp and didn't linger in the wreckage because it was the thing Thanksgiving nightmares are made of. We could easily have landed in the ER with an appointment with plastic surgery this week. Instead, she escaped unscathed and the only lingering effect was my own sense of mortification at her propensity for damage and relief at her ability to escape without a mark.

I was also pretty thankful it was at my mom's house, 'cause, you know, Grandma's have to love their grandkids no matter what, right? My kids are definitely testing that theory out with each and every visit!

But, what about you? What is the worst damage you or one of your kids has inflicted on someone else's house? Surely, I'm not the only parent uncomfortably familiar with "the sound?" (Please say no!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So, it turns out I'm a bad mommy blogger...

Well, I had intended to schedule something (anything) to fill the last, oh, 5 days, but I dropped the ball. In a major way. I mean, I didn't even let you all know how thankful I am that you stop by here and read about my crazy life on a daily basis.

(And I am, BTW, very very thankful for my commenting blogger friends and quiet lurking friends who come by to see what's going on at Land of Lovings!)

Instead, I hung out with family, largely ignored my blog and Twitter and Google Reader, finished Twilight, started New Moon, and ate WAY too much food.

But, the good news is I'm feeling relaxed and revitalized and I have lots of fun stuff to post about and I promise to be a better mommy blogger through the rest of the holiday season.

And, just wait until you see my Total Truth Tuesday this week. Sweet Merciful Lord, it is guaranteed to make you feel like a domestic goddess compared to me. I swear!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

If you know me in real life, you've probably asked me the question everyone asks a pregnant woman as far along as I am, "So, have you guys come up with a name?"

And, I can guarantee you that you've gotten this answer from me, "Um, well, it's just been really hard for us to settle on a boy name. I had plenty of girl names, but boy names are just harder for me."

That was true for a while. I did have only girl names picked out. But, that is not entirely true anymore. And, it's high time I fess up.

'Cause I do have a boy name picked out. Have had one for a couple of months now. And every time I go into my little "speech" about not exactly knowing a name yet, my husband looks at me like I've completely lost my mind. Because he knows the real truth and he can't figure out why on earth I keep saying that.

We're not the type to keep secrets about the name. I have never had any intention of keeping a secret because, well, I am notoriously horrible at keeping secrets. I don't even like to keep secrets. And even if I were going to I'd just tell people who asked that we're keeping it on the DL. But, I don't. Instead I'm evasive slightly untruthful telling a total lie.

So, here is the real truth. We have picked a boy name. And it's one that I absolutely love. Thomas came up with it and it is just so perfect. But, it is a bit...unconventional. I mean, we're not naming him Moon Unit or Dweezil but it's just got the potential to be received by blank stares and crinkled up noses. I'm not keeping it quiet because I'm embarrassed of it because that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm actually just hesitant to tell anyone because I love the name so much I can't bear to have anyone say anything ugly about it.

When we picked Arema Kai and Ivy's name pretty much none of my family liked either. They just thought they were too different. In fact, one family member (and you know who you are) thought Ivy sounded a bit too much like the stage name for an exotic dancer. Poison Ivy, she said. She joked that I was limiting her career choices by giving her that name.

And, this name is only slightly more different than those names. So, I've kept it quiet and been hesitant to reveal it to anyone. I guess I'm just thinking that once they see a cute little baby and we announce the name they'll be less likely to stomp all over the name. They'll be respectful and kind and, you know, make fun of it behind my back. That is something I can deal with.

That does beg the question, though, what is your policy/procedure on naming babies and name sharing before the birth? Have you chosen to share and regretted or kept things secret rather than subject yourself to all those unsolicited opinions?

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Mobistories saved my day. (GIVEAWAY!)

I got the opportunity a couple weeks ago to check out and review Mobistories. Mobistories are virtual books for kids that you can buy and have stored on your computer, iPod, or iPhone. I kept meaning to try them, but was behind so much on everything that I forgot. Not exactly a shining endorsement of my reviewing skills, but I'm just keeping it real, people. That's the way it goes in this mommy's life sometimes.

Anyways, this week we were refinancing our house and had no one to watch the girls when we went to the closing. So, guess what distraction my scattered mind came up with? You've got it, Mobistories.

Okay, so truthfully, I was a bit skeptical. I wasn't sure a "virtual" book would be able to hold their attention for long enough. My girls do seem to have the attention span of one of those cute little spider monkeys that come dance for pennies with that organ grinder at the mall. You know what I'm talking about, right?

But, I downloaded 4 of the Mobistories books and had them to keep the girls occupied. And, amazingly, they loved them so much they kept asking all day to watch different ones.

They are pretty cool, too, because they come up full screen on your computer and have the printed words (just like a book) but with narration and music. I love the subject matter, too, because I was able to get one about "stranger danger," one about jazz, and even one about conservation. In case you're curious which ones I got, I dowloaded Ella Elephant (all about jazz and learning to scat), Stranger Danger (informative and not scary for kids), Salsa for Kittens & Puppies (a latin themed book), and All The Way to the Ocean (teaching kids about why littering is bad).

I actually really loved that they have lots of different books with varied cultural origins and even different narrators' accents.

And the best thing? Mobistories is offering each reader a chance to try $10 worth of books for free! Head over there, pick out some books, and then just enter the coupon code 211A at checkout for your free books. This isn't a free trial either. It is a full-fledged giveaway so you have nothing to lose by doing it. They even have a free book available for download, too, so be sure and add that to your order! Do it soon, though, because the offer expires December 31st, 2008.

If you end up going over and getting some, come let me know what you think. I'm definitely planning on getting a couple more to add to my iPod to have on hand for those days I'm sitting in the doctor's office with two unruly bored preschoolers and I'd love to know what other books you've tried!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kai-versations: Just another day in my life...

Here's what happens when you teach your children to pray. They want to pray about everything. They ask God LOTS of questions and have the most random (and adorable) conversations with Him. And since you teach your kids that God is a friend who loves them, they don't see any reason why they can't talk to Him all the time. You know, just like any other friend. And so they do. Which may or may not lead to some crazy moments in public.

Case in point:

The other day while shopping for Thomas' birthday present at the local electronics store, Kai looked at me and asked:

"Hey, Mom? How are grocery carts made?"

Since I don't have a degree in engineering, I couldn't answer this question. The nice gentleman standing beside us glanced over and gave me a sympathetic smile. I stumbled through an explanation that I didn't know and we'd have to look it up when we got home. Drama avoided. Or so I thought.

But, Kai had other ideas.

"I know!" she exclaimed "Let's ask God how they're made. He'll know."

(By the way, why do my children have to make embarrassing requests at FULL VOLUME when we're in public?)

"Great idea, Kai," I said. "You can do that when we get home."

"No, Mom. You do it. Now. Ask God how grocery carts are made."

I tried to explain that I was picking out a gift for her Dad and would do it later. What I really wanted to say is that it is not really "socially acceptable" to have conversations with God about grocery cart engineering in the aisle of an electronics store. But, I didn't go into it. Instead, I looked around (noting the proximity of the man who had been eavesdropping earlier) and quietly and as discreetly as possible said,

"Um...God? How are grocery carts made?"

Kai impatiently (and loudly) asked, "What did He say Mom? Did God tell you how grocery carts are made?"

Having heard my question for God uttered out loud, the man standing near us changed his expression from a sympathetic smile to an amused and slightly alarmed stare. But, I quietly explained to Kai that God told me He'd explain it to me later. Which, on a side note, made me worried that I'd get struck by lightning for lying to my daughter about what God had "told" me.

But, Kai yelled excitedly,

"Wait, Mom! I think God is telling me right now in my ear!"

Both I and the fellow shopper near us would have dropped dead from shock had she actually then been able to give an explanation of what God "told" her. But, luckily, she just smiled about what God was telling her and never asked again about the origins of grocery carts.

And, the man beside us, got to walk away thinking he'd had the chance to shop beside real life religious fanatics. I'm sure that story got told to someone at the dinner table that night...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Saw this at the Hawaiian Farmer's Market last year...

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Excuse me a moment while I say...

Happy Birthday to my husband in a mushy lovey-dovey post.

i carry your heart with me
e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


Happy Birthday, my love.

There is no one I would rather travel this
crazy journey with.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tales from really stupid advertising...

Oh, Motrin. In case you hadn't heard, women have earned the right to vote, speak before being spoken to, have a growing influence on this crazy "new" thing called the internet, and even make up a HUGE portion of your consumer base.

So guess what happens when you decide to air a potentially offensive "mommy" ad where the speaker basically says babywearing is something we do just to look like an official mom and thank God we have Motrin to save us? The Twitter world goes nuts with mommy bloggers reacting to your ad and telling all their readers that Motrin is no friend of moms.

Beware the mommy bloggers, Motrin. They can be an unforgiving bunch.

And, since I am always an advocate of letter writing I had to let Motrin know what a bad move their ad was. And if you think it's a crappy ad, head over here and let them know for yourself.

Check out my letter below:

Wow. The new Motrin "babywearing" ad is beyond offensive. Couldn't your ad people do better than that? Or are you actually trying to alienate a whole demographic of people?

What's next? Breastfeeding is "supposedly" good for babies but we moms really only do it for attention. So, take Motrin when it starts hurting.

Or maybe, Raising toddlers is a pain in the butt and I only do it for the tax break so when they get on my nerves I take a Motrin to feel better.

If you guys play your cards right, you could actually turn this into a whole "Being a mom is miserable and thankless but knowing I can take Motrin makes it worth it" campaign.

Yeah, that might play really well.Link

Bravo Motrin. You just lost one family's business for sure.

Go here to see the ad that's causing all the fuss.

And check out what other mommy bloggers have to say here at Perfectly Natural.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saturn/GM Ride and Drive Event

Tuesday night I got the chance to chill at Atlantic Station with some of Atlanta's coolest blogging ladies after driving around the city in new Saturns.

Click here to head over to my review blog and see what I thought of the Atlanta area Ride and Drive event sponsored by Saturn/GM and Blogher!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Preschool World View

Warning: This "wordless" Wednesday is totally wordful. I apologize for breaking the rules. I just can't seem to do wordless to save my life this week.

Last week Kai and Ivy played with my camera for about 2 hours. I told them they could take pictures of whatever they found interesting and cool. Here are 5 of the over 100 pics they took around the house. I have more pictures of dirty laundry than I could ever imagine. But I'll spare you from seeing those. Still, I do love seeing the world from their perspective.

Not sure I want to know why she's holding her nose...

Self-Portrait (foot)

Guess Barbie got her family's portrait done...

What is more fascinating than a shoe closet?

And, now for my favorite. My bathroom. Seriously? And, what is with the 4 books lying around my bathroom? You'd think Thomas and I do nothing but sit in the bathroom and read novels. Classy...and, unfortunately, totally untrue.

For wordless posts from blogs that can actually manage to follow the Wordless Wednesday rules head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Escape from the 1960's

This weekend was such a whirlwind. We're getting ready for a big Thanksgiving practice party (more on that later) and parties like that always remind me of everything that needs to be done in our house. Couple that with a serious case of preggo nesting and we've been quite the productive family the last couple weeks.

And my favorite thing is doing make-overs on a budget because it forces some serious creativity.

This last weekend we made over our terrible straight from the 1960's bathroom. The counters were original to the house (built in '67) and most of the fixtures were from that era as well. I couldn't handle it one more second (there's that preggo nesting coming into play) and we couldn't afford to overhaul the bathroom completely either.

Here's our before:

Sorry for the terrible picture. It's one we had left over from the previous owner's real estate info. Just in case you thought that clock was my idea, it wasn't. And it didn't stay in the bathroom. Who needs a clock in the bathroom anyways? That seems like a lot of pressure to get things done quickly...

Anyways, it's a little difficult to get a good pic of the interior because of a funky angle. But, you get the idea. Boring. Even a little ugly. And, unfortunately, the counter top isn't nearly as hideous in this pic as it is in person. But, with a new coat of paint, some inexpensive curtains & fixtures from Ikea, we turned that into this:

We hung the shower curtains from the highest point on the wall in an attempt to make the room seem taller and added the pop of orange on the curtain sash and a small medicine cabinet to make things a little more interesting in there.

But, my favorite part is the new finish on the bathroom cabinet. Did you realize you can paint your laminate countertops? It's true. You can put a new finish on almost anything with the right process. For countertops, all you need is a quick sanding with some rough grit sand paper, a couple (or 3) coats of paint, and a thick coat of polyurethane and voila a new counter top without all the bad fake marbling that came with a 1960's counter top. I LOVE the way it turned out:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Where debit cards go to die.

Have you ever wondered what happens inside an ATM machine? I guess I always thought they were just a big glorified computer/calculator with a mini vault of money inside. But, I was oh so wrong.

So, in case you ever wondered, I thought I'd tell you what really goes on inside an ATM machine. Say, in the case of a person who accidentally leaves their debit card inside.

That way if you are ever on the phone with your mother trying to work out dinner details while simultaneously refereeing a fight between two kids in the back seat, driving through an ATM, and gestating a boy child you will know what happens when you take your money and receipt but fail to retrieve your debit card.

From what I have gathered, here is what happens. The debit card in question gets sucked back into the ATM of doom and is photocopied for record keeping purposes. It is then unceremoniously shredded to death thus relegating the card holder to a 3 week sentence of debit card free living. Those photocopies are kept in a drawer for an unsympathetic bank employee to rustle through before giving the news of said shredding to the hysterical debit card owner who may just so happen to be driving through rush hour traffic on a very busy highway.

That is what happens. It is not a pretty thing.

So, R.I.P. beloved debit card. Sadly, you are yet another casualty of this preggo brain. You will missed every single day for the next 3 weeks until your blessed replacement comes my way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

I'm late in posting, I know. But, I've been oh so busy voting (yeah!) and napping (double yeah!) because, you know, voting for two really takes it out of a person.

Anyways, my Total Truth this week is kind of ridiculous, but I'm wondering if I'm totally alone on this one.

My truth? I am completely clueless about why people use a top sheet when making their bed.

For the record, my mom is cringing right now. But, it's true. The top sheet? It baffles me.

I mean, I know what a top sheet is and I know how it works. At least in theory. But, seriously, what is the point? First of all, it is thin and flimsy and it's not like it keeps you warm. But more, troubling to me is that my kids always get tangled up in them and they end up in a ball under their comforter at the foot of the bed. And, if I'm being totally truthful, the situation is much of the same in my own bed.

Am I the only person in America who can't actually manage to successfully use a top sheet? If I have a big cozy comforter is it even really necessary to have one?

Actually, for a while I put a top sheet on every time I made the bed only to fish it out from the bottom of the comforter each night before going to sleep. It annoyed me. And I resented it. And then I had this revelation. Just because the rest of the world uses a top sheet successfully doesn't mean I have to. So I broke the rules and quit using them. Because I figured out that it's my house and, as it turns out, I make the rules and that means I can skip the hated top sheet.

And now my mom may quietly cry tonight because she managed to raise a daughter who can't actually successfully make a bed the right way, but at least I will sleep like a baby knowing I won't be strangled in my sleep by a rogue top sheet...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sssshhhh...Don't tell our neighbors

We just got 4 new hens and a beautiful red rooster. I think chickens may very well be addictive.

Obligatory Halloween Post

I know every mommy blogger in the blogosphere has posted on this so if you've O.D.'d more on Halloween pics than you have Halloween candy I apologize for adding to it.

But, my kiddos, well, I sure do love 'em. And I can't resist sharing their Halloween pics.

So, without further ado, I now present Kai as Cleopatra:

And Ivy as the loveliest mermaid in the sea:

And what would Halloween be without our traditional Halloween shot? We trick-or-treat every year with some friends from our first ever small group Bible study. We all had girls born within about 6 months of each other (twice) and looks like we're doing the same with boys. We've got one little one already here (the most adorable Halloween hot dog you have ever seen), one little boy on the way (ours), and one baby that has yet to reveal his/her gender (no pressure, Katy!)

In fact, just for fun I'm gonna post a Halloween retrospective so you can see our little ones in all their adorable glory!



Big Sisters

Little Sisters


Next year, we'll have 9 kids on those stairs. Good thing it's a pretty long stairway!