Friday, September 28, 2007


Who knew that two alternative-type singers could be so well-versed in the art of Momspeak? To take a line from a Jack Johnson/Ben Harper collaboration:

It seems to me that maybe
It pretty much always means no

These guys really have insight into how moms of the world must often operate. When you are in public, saying an outright, "no" to your kids can often drive them into a fit of pouting and with a three year old, a temper tantrum. But tell them "maybe," and well, they hold out a glimmer of hope that just perhaps, who knows, well. . .maybe that "thing" that they want will actually happen.

As an example, today after I picked up Maggie and Aleita from school, I needed to run by Menard's. As we were walking into the store, Aleita asked if Daddy was at home. I told her that he was working at a football game tonight and would be home after they went to bed. Occasionally, I will take the kids out to a game that he is working, but I really wasn't up for it tonight. As if on cue though, Aleita then asks if we can go to the football game tonight. I had a choice at that point. I knew full well the answer was "no." However, I also knew that I wanted to spend a good fifteen minutes looking at paint samples, and doing so with a whiny, crying three-year old was not going to work well for me. So I gave her my best momspeak answer, "We'll see." ("We'll see" is another way of saying "maybe" in momspeak.)

After we left the store, I did take them to the park and let them play for almost an hour. Playing at the park apparently quelled her desire to go to the game, because there was no more mention of it. After that, we came home and had supper, then I gave them baths and read books and got them to bed. It is now 8:30PM and I should probably go work on packing. Is that what I'm going to do? Hmmm. . . .maybe!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

POOR ME. . . .

I know someone who is always talking about how poor she is. Truth be told, she and her family live in a very nice, large home in a wealthy subdivision. She is always dressed in very fashionable, expensive clothes, and wears beautiful jewelry and a huge diamond ring. She drives a brand new car and sends her kids to a private school. So why does she always complain about money?

She reminds me of "that girl" in junior high who would always say, "I'm so fat," when she was about as big around as a pencil. She was always wanting everyone to say, "Oh my gosh - - you're not fat! You're so skinny!!" I am the one who would say something like, "well, it does look like you've maybe put on a few pounds, I suppose." People like that drive me crazy and I refuse to play those stupid games.

When the lady I know who always complains about being poor starts in about her money troubles, I just want to smack her and tell her to knock it off. Unfortunately, I know her from a professional standpoint and would seriously jeopardize our working relationship if I told her to knock off the "poor me" talk. Perhaps she never really outgrew junior high school.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


As with most preschool age kids, Aleita has difficulty with time concepts. Like my nephew Truman, Aleita is having a hard time wrapping her head around the idea of the difference between a nap and going to bed at night. When she wakes up from her nap in the afternoon, she always assumes another day has started. She also can't seem to get the correct terminology nailed down for mealtimes. She will often come in as I am cooking supper and ask what we're having for lunch.

Of late, Aleita's difficulty with time concepts is evident in the difficulty she is having with the timeframe of when we will be moving into our new home. She always thinks that when we discuss moving, it is going to happen tomorrow. As she sees me packing boxes in preparation for the move, she assumes it is because we are pulling up stakes tomorrow. We have explained that it will be in a few weeks, and I even showed her the days on the calendar. I know that if I were one of those supermoms, I would have some cool activity called "X days until move" and we would dutifully march to the calendar each morning and X the day off with a bright red marker and count how many days left until the move. Sorry - with the maze of boxes growing every day in our home, I can barely find my way to the door, much less remember to do the X the calendar thing.

Anyway - today my mom came over and helped me do some packing. When Chris got home from work with the kids in tow, Aleita immediately wanted to start "helping." A 3-year old's help with packing isn't exactly that. Again, the supermom would've found some way for the young child to lend a hand with the packing, but this frazzled mom simply turned on the Backyardigans that my friend Tivo captures for me every day so that I can have a half an hour when we get home each day to quiet the chaos.

Today, Aleita wasn't having it. She looked around the living room and noticed that her books were missing from their baskets. When she asked where they were, I told her that I had packed them, but that I had left a few out for her. She went up to her room and found the ones I hadn't yet packed (so we would have at least a few to read in the next few weeks) and she brought them down to me. "Let me put them in the box," she said. I told her that we were leaving them out so we would have books to read. She started to get very upset, and through our dialogue, I realized that she thought I wasn't packing them because they were getting left behind. Mind you, I left out some of her favorite books and she wasn't about to just leave them there for some other family to enjoy. No, sir indeed - - especially since she can't get the idea out of her head that we are leaving tomorrow.

After she and I had talked about it at great length, I felt she was starting to understand that we were not leaving her books behind. She looked at me thoughtfully for a moment, then said, "I'm going to get my Little People so you can pack them. I'm not leaving them here too!" So much for reasoning with a three-year old.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Maggie had her first heaping helping of reality the other day. As she and Chris were walking into Aleita’s school, she reached up to grab his hand and bumped into his bulletproof vest. She asked him, “Daddy, why do you always wear that?” He answered her honestly, saying that if someone were to shoot at him, it would help protect him from getting hurt.

The look on her face said it all. Up to that point, it had never occurred to her that even though her daddy carries a gun to work everyday, that he himself would ever actually be in danger, let alone that someone may actually try to shoot at him. Chris said that she was very quiet and simply said, “oh,” but she seemed a little shaken by this bit of wisdom she had just received. About that time, they arrived at Aleita’s room to pick her up, and then discussion between them ended there.

I am sure that in a few days, Maggie will bring the matter up again. Maggie is like that - - she will roll something around in her noggin for a while, thinking through a matter before she discusses it. I am sure that her questions will have to do with wanting reassurance that her daddy will be safe when he goes to work.

I often deal with those type of questions when people find out that I am the wife of a police officer. I have had countless people ask me, “doesn’t it worry you?” Well, naturally it does. But I can’t live my life in a constant state of angst. I have to believe that Chris has had the appropriate training and background to appropriately be able to deal with whatever situation arises. I know that he is smart and adept at thinking quickly and staying calm, even in times of extreme duress. I also have to trust in God to provide him protection so he can return home safely to us each night.

Keeping all that in mind at age 32 is difficult sometimes. I am sure for a 6 year old, it may be a little harder.

Monday, September 24, 2007


One of Maggie and Aleita’s favorite activities to play together is dress up and let’s pretend. Often times, this activity consists of Maggie costuming Aleita in an eclectic combination of dress up clothes, complete with hat, glasses, and shoes, and then assigning roles. For as headstrong as Aleita is about most things, she is actually willing to go along with whatever role Maggie assigns her in most cases. They have a large box full of dress up clothes, but many times, their choice of clothing doesn’t really represent the game they choose to play.

Case in point: About a week ago, they decided they were going to play school. Aleita was assigned the role of the teacher. For this role, Maggie costumed her in a spaghetti strap black cocktail dress, a pair of pink sequined high heels, about 10 Mardi Gras style beaded necklaces, and a large, blue straw gardening hat. Now, I will admit that I have only talked to Maggie’s teacher a handful of times, but I have yet to see her in anything that even slightly resembles this ensemble.

Last night, they decided to play firefighters. For this game, Aleita’s garb was a cape fashioned from a baby blanket, purple sunglasses, and appropriately enough, a firefighter’s hat. Their firetruck was their little red wagon that is actually meant for pulling dolls in, but Aleita often gets pulled around in it as well. Apparently, they were hearkening back to the days of the horse-drawn fire carriages, as Maggie pulled Aleita around as they went to put out fires.

At one point, after they had just put out a pretend fire, Aleita said to Maggie, “I need to go get my tambourine from my bedroom.” Maggie responded by saying, “Firefighters don’t need tambourines!” But apparently, the little caped firefighter felt differently as she ran off to grab her tambourine. Maggie yelled down the hall after her, “that doesn’t make any sense!!” I guess even she has her limits for pretend play.

Friday, September 21, 2007


There is a thought that keeps running through my head constantly now. . ."WHEN IN THE H*&L AM I GOING TO FIND TIME TO PACK ALL THIS STUFF?" When we first set our date for closing on our house, it was about five weeks away. That seemed like more than enough time to get our things in order and be able to move out. Our moving date is now three weeks away, and I am really not that much closer to getting things ready to go than I was two weeks ago. Panic is starting to set in a little bit. How I am going to get a five bedroom house packed and ready to go in three weeks?

It's not as though I have been sitting around twiddling my thumbs. The past two weeks have been extremely busy for us and have mostly been filled with all those things involved in finding a NEW place to live (it seemed a good idea to have someplace to go to once we actually had all the stuff in boxes.) We now have the new place all ironed out, but finding the time to get our current house packed up is somewhat challenging.

The day gets started about 5:45AM each morning for Chris and me. We both work all day. By the time we pick up the kids and get home from work, it is about 4:30 or 5:00PM. By the time homework is done, supper is made and eaten, baths are given, bedtime books are read and prayers are said, it is pushing 8:00PM. I don't know about you, but after fourteen hours or so on the go, I need a chance to sit down and take a breather for a minute. I know I quite literally need to "get packing," but I am finding that my time, as well as my motivation to do so is limited.

Part of the difficulty also lies in the fact that we are moving to a slightly smaller home, and need to downsize. Chris and I both realize that we have a lot of stuff that we really just need to get rid of because we have allowed too many things to just accumulate that we don't need or use all that often. Moving presents a perfect opportunity to sort through our belongings and cut out some of the unnecessary clutter. The problem is that sorting also takes extra time.

We plan on working on it as much as possible this weekend. However, I am going to have to get myself psyched up to listening to the whining that will commence from the children once they realize we will be working in the house all day packing. Saturday is typically our "go do something day," especially when the weather is nice. We have a family membership to the zoo, so that is a popular Saturday destination spot. It is nice sometimes just to head to the park and let the kids play, and then go somewhere for lunch. When we have stay-at-home Saturdays, it also means that we will be listening to the bickering that will no doubt commence between Maggie and Aleita. They manage to play together nicely for about an hour, then the squabbling begins. It usually results in the two of them being forced to go to separate areas of the house to play so that we don't have to step in to referee an argument every three minutes.

I figure that I will probably end up taking a day or two off of work in the next few weeks to get everything finished up. Packing up without two extra little helpers around is sometimes much easier. It will also make it much easier to get rid of a certain hideously ugly monkey bank that my husband had as a child and insists on moving with us from house to house. Just kidding, honey. . . really.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


We have several old men a block down the street from us who are quite the voyeurs – they love to watch. Every day, there are at least one or two that set their lawn chairs in a shady spot and just pass the day. . .watching. Several guys in trucks slow down and leisurely cruise by to get a better look. The parking garage attendant across the street from my office sits in his little booth and even uses his binoculars – and he doesn’t even care who sees him do it.

Contrary to what you may think from this introduction, these are not dirty geezers whistling cat calls at all the pretty girls as they pass by on their way to their downtown offices. Not even close. These are all guys who are fascinated by trucks and cranes and concrete and big steel beams. . .and they are all enthralled by the large bank that is being erected on a city block near my workplace. There are two or three older gentlemen who really do camp out with their lawn chairs under the shade trees across the street, simply to watch the building’s progress as it is being built. They will often bring a small cooler with snacks and pop, and pass the day just watching the progress being made by the workman and large machines.

The parking garage attendant is often too absorbed with the progress down the street to even notice when the cars pass by his booth. I am sure the city is missing out on some revenue because he is often so engrossed, watching the construction with his binoculars, that he frequently fails to notice when people drive by the booth and leave without paying.

As I returned from lunch yesterday, I walked past the construction site and watched as a guy in a truck bumped his tires pretty hard into the curb as he was cruising by at the speed of a tortoise because he was so busy rubbernecking at the steel beams and concrete that he hadn’t kept his eyes on where he was going. Thank goodness the guys in the lawn chairs keep themselves a safe distance back on the sidewalk!

What is it about this type of project that causes some men so much fascination? I have yet to see any woman at all give this project much more than a passing glance. . . yet so many of the guys just can’t seem to get enough of it. I guess I would just have to chalk it up to yet one more difference among the genders.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Since when did first grade become so much work? At the beginning of the year, Maggie was so excited to be in first grade and to finally have homework. To her, having homework was synonymous with being a “big kid.” She has since changed her mind and has decided that kindergarten is really where it’s at. She told me that she didn’t know that first grade was going to be so hard, and that she misses getting to play and do artwork like they did in kindergarten. “All we do is read and do math!” she lamented to me yesterday. She also expressed to me that she has changed her mind about that whole wanting homework business.

I have to agree with Maggie in that regard. I had no idea that first grade homework would require between 40 – 45 minutes of our attention every night. I can understand sending home their reading books to practice their reading skills every night, but it is a lot more involved than that. Every night, Maggie and I sit down at the kitchen table and work on:
1) reading that day’s story from her reading book
2) reading an extra book that is sent home for practice
3) completing a page or two of additional reading worksheets that deals with phonics and coding words
4) completing a page or two of math worksheets
5) practicing her spelling words for the test that week
6) memorizing a new Bible verse every night

I try to give Maggie a break as soon as she gets home from school so that she has some time between schoolwork and homework. Most nights, it is not too big of a problem to get her homework completed - we do try to get it done before dinner so that it is done and out of the way. Some nights though, it is difficult to do so. If we have any other obligations right after work, we are sometimes sitting and doing homework at 7:30PM after dinner is over. Completing homework with a tired, teary girl can be somewhat challenging. When that happens, we often have to put it away and just work on it in the morning after breakfast.

I do have to say that Maggie’s reading skills have improved dramatically since the beginning of the year. Her confidence in reading is really growing as well. I'm still not wild about 45 minutes of homework each evening, but I know we'll make it through. Curiously, last week, Aleita's preschool teacher sent home a note saying that if we wanted to do some "homework" with them, she would provide it, and it would be scored and returned to them. I politely checked the "no" box and returned the paper back to school with Aleita. Her time will come soon enough.

Monday, September 17, 2007


My daughter Maggie is what I refer to as a “dear heart.” She is a sensitive soul, and feels things more deeply than a lot of people do. Maggie gets upset when anyone is hurt or distraught, often becoming upset or distraught herself. When she has to be disciplined, Maggie often sobs and gets upset and laments, “do you love me anymore?” The ultimate punishment for Maggie is to tell her that you are disappointed in her. By all counts, she is an emotional girl.

Maggie and our younger daughter, Aleita, love each other very dearly, but often fight like cats and dogs. Their threshold for playing together peacefully is limited to about ten minute increments before Chris or myself are called upon to intervene to break up a squabble. Maggie has a tendency to be a bit bossy, and Aleita’s behavior has been somewhat, um. . . . trying lately. Aleita doesn’t like to take orders from anyone, least of all her bossy, older sister. Maggie has even commented before, “she’s not a baby. . .she’s three! why does she act like that?" I try to explain that she is not as mature at three as Maggie is at six, but she doesn’t seem to buy into that argument very much.

For as much as they bicker though, Maggie feels deep empathy for Aleita when she gets in trouble. Maggie takes a ride on an emotional roller coaster almost every time her sister has to be disciplined for misbehaving. Last night, as we were getting the kids ready for bed, I was helping Maggie brush her teeth and Aleita was sitting on the toilet. I left the room to grab a washcloth out of the hall closet, and when I returned, Aleita was doing something that I have expressly forbidden her to do - - - dunking her hiney in the toilet. I have given her the lecture about how it is unhygienic and gross, and on and on, but my words have done little to discourage her. I told her that the next time I caught her doing it, she was going to get her little wet hiney spanked. Well, this was the next time.

About this time, Chris came into the bathroom and I caught him up to speed on the hiney-dunking. He was just about as pleased as I was with her new trick. Once Aleita realized that the butt spanks were coming from Daddy and not from Mommy though, she knew she was in for it. Maggie knew too, for she immediately tensed up and her eyes began to tear. As Aleita received her spanking, Maggie ran to her room sobbing and threw herself on the bed. I followed her in to her room and tried to explain that Daddy and I don’t like to spank Aleita, but if she doesn’t do what we tell her to even after we have asked, she has to get a spank so she’ll remember the next time. Through teary eyes, Maggie looked at me and said, “but she’s only three!”

Friday, September 14, 2007


I called Chris late this morning and asked him if he wanted to meet me for lunch. He said that he was really busy today, but wondered if I would bring lunch by instead. We agreed that Krekel's fit the noontime bill. For those of you who are reading this blog from out of the area, I should probably fill you in a bit on Krekel's. Krekel's is something of a Decatur legend - - they have fantastic cheeseburgers that are flattened and crispy on the edges. They also have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and my favorite, lemon frozen custard. They are also somewhat know for their unusual chicken car. In our area, it is almost considered blasphemous to utter a disparaging word about our beloved Krekel's.

I stopped by the Krekel's on East Wood, the one that you get to right after crossing MLK. I pulled in and parked in the back, then came around front to the dilapidated little burger stand to place my order. The smells wafting from the stand were enough to make my stomach growl. I am always a little embarrassed though, when I order my cheeseburger, fries, and DIET Coke. Gotta save those 200 calories with my Diet Coke so I can eat my burger and fries with 40 grams of fat. Maybe I am hoping they will somehow balance each other out.

At any rate, after I had placed my order, I stepped back from the counter and waited while my food was prepared. It generally only takes about 4-6 minutes, depending on how many other people are waiting. As I stood in the parking lot with the other folks waiting for their lunch, I made the most incredible social observation: Krekel's may be the only place in Decatur that I have ever seen different classes and races of people interact so openly and freely with one another.

In the five minutes or so that I waited for our lunches, I observed social interactions that I dare say you wouldn't see anywhere else in town: as everybody stood around and waited on their order to come up, they. . . talked. To each other. There was a business lady in a skirt and heels chatting with two guys off a construction crew. I saw an elderly gentlemen who pulled in a Cadillac stand and talk to a kid with a half dozen tattoos who was holding up his pants with one hand to keep them from falling down. I even watched a guy in a three-piece suit who drove in a Mercedes convertible help a guy driving a pimped-out Blazer, complete with spinners, carry his large order to his vehicle so he wouldn't drop it. I stood and talked with a nurse from St. Mary's while I waited on my order.

What is it about Krekel's that inspires this sense of community and togetherness? Why do various races and classes of people feel comfortable associating at a run-down little burger stand when they would never have anything to do with each other away from there? Perhaps when our community is studying ways to bring about positive change, they need to examine the Krekel's phenonemon. Krekel's: bringing the community together, one burger at a time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I think the household chore that I hate more than any other is dusting. Chris and I cleaned the house yesterday, and it seems it is always the chore we put off until the very last. It is one of those things we both hate to do, and most of the time, we try to stay busy doing some other cleaning so that we can avoid being the one to have to do it. Chris will sometimes come find me as I am cleaning and ask, “what else needs to be done?” and I will answer, “dusting.” He will then suddenly find three other things to tackle that are more pressing (as I am staying busy to avoid being the one to have to do it.) Often, if we run out of time, it gets skipped altogether, or just the high spots get hit (I think my mom is probably shuddering as she reads this. . . )

As we cleaned yesterday, I could tell that we could no longer put the dusting off any longer. You can get away with skipping it a few times, then it just becomes too visible to ignore. I am a little ashamed to admit that I had to go shake the dustrag out multiple times outside while I was dusting, and even then, I had to exchange it for a clean one about halfway through. On top of the entertainment center in our bedroom, I think I found the beginnings of another person (the Bible says we’re created from dust, right?)

Part of the problem is all the dusting obstacles we have. . .everybody has dusting obstacles, otherwise known as “stuff.” This stuff consists of things such as knick-knacks and pictures and books and vases and plants and toys and on and on and on. Having to remove all of these dusting obstacles usually takes longer and is a bigger pain than actually doing the dusting itself.

A friend of mine once had a good idea (a bachelor, at the time.) He suggested doubling up a piece of duct tape, and taping it to the bottom of every figurine in the house, then bringing in the leaf blower and letting ‘er rip. Dusting problem solved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I didn’t know if I was going to write about this or not, but I keep laughing about it, so I feel the need to share. A few weeks ago, a co-worker shared with me that he and his family have been trying to get back in the habit of attending church. They are looking for a place that they enjoy the services and feel comfortable attending. He then relayed a hilarious story about the service that they had attended the Sunday prior in a Decatur-area church which shall remain nameless.

He said that he didn’t realize that the service was going to be as contemporary service as what it was. He explained that he didn’t have an issue with the contemporary style of worship, but he felt that it was done up to the degree that it really took away from what he felt the focus of worship should be. At any rate, he said that the minister was trying to get the congregation up and going and excited about the service, and was having difficulty doing so. Here is the part that made me laugh out loud:

The minister stood before the congregation and led a big ol’ cheer for Jesus. I kid you not.
Minister: Gimme a “J”!
Congregation: “J”!
Minister: Gimme an “E”!
Congregation: “E”!
Minister: Gimme an “S”!
Congregation: “S”!
Minister: Gimme a “U”!
Congregation: “U”!
Minister: Gimme an “S”!
Congregation: “S”!
Minister: What’s that spell?
Congregation: JESUS!!
Minister: LOUDER!
Congregation: JESUS!!!!!
Minister: ONE MORE TIME!
Congregation: JESUS!!!!!
Minister: Let’s hear it for our Lord and Savior!
Congregation: WOO-HOO!!! Alright Jesus! Go Jesus!

If his family ever decides to attend this church again, perhaps they should remember to bring pom-pons. Contemporary indeed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The kids don’t realize what is coming. . .because if they did, there would be lots of whining and pleading involved. Since we are going to be moving out of our house in a little over a month, I am going to do my best to get organized and get rid of some of the things that we do not need. Some of those things include the kids’ toys that they no longer play with or have outgrown. I try to “thin the herd” so to speak, from time to time, but it has been awhile since I have taken the time to do it.

When I pack up some of those toys they no longer play with, I usually will put them in a box down in the basement, then wait a month or so to see if they actually notice anything is missing. If one of the children notices a particular toy is gone and asks for it, it is spared banishment from the household. However, they usually don’t even realize the change, and after that month has passed, the toys migrate their way to the Salvation Army or the Lutheran Thriftstore.

The problem comes in if one of the children, who infrequently go down into the basement (since it’s mostly used for storage anyway), actually go down into the basement and see the box of toys sitting there. Since they rarely go down there, I make no effort to hide them away. All of a sudden, toys that haven’t been given a second thought in weeks become highly coveted. A battle of wills then ensues to determine if the toys shall stay or go.

Before this week is out, Operation Selective Toy Reduction will have taken place. Though difficult, this process will be nothing compared to Operation Selective Comic Book Reduction and Operation Selective Star Wars Stuff Reduction, which will (hopefully) take place with my husband sometime before our move next month. Stay tuned for the outcome on that one. . .

Monday, September 10, 2007


On Saturday afternoon, we told Maggie we needed to talk to her. I believe the exact words I used were, "Maggie, we have some big news to share with you." All of a sudden, her little face tensed up and she worriedly asked, "Are we getting another baby? I don't want a another little sister!" Chris and I were both laughing so hard that neither of us could answer her for a bit, causing her to repeat louder, "ARE WE GETTING ANOTHER BABY?!?"

Once I stopped laughing, I told her that the news wasn't quite that big. I explained that we had people that wanted to buy our house, and that we would be moving in about a month. She, of course, has asked the same question that everyone else asks once I tell them the house has sold: "where are we moving to?"

That is a good question. The answer is: I don't know just yet. Chris and I agreed that we didn't want to do too much house hunting before we had committed buyers for our house. It is just too disappointing to find a house you really like, but not be able to move on it because your house hasn't sold yet. We also refuse to do a bridge loan because we are not willing to get ourselves in over our heads by having two homes at once.

Unfortunately, this means that we are now concentrating a lot of our efforts on finding new digs. We have agreed that we aren't going to "settle," and that if we don't find what we want right away, we'll rent for awhile until we do. Hopefully that won't be the case, but we'll have to see. When we bought the house we live in now, there was about a month between when we sold our previous home to when we could move into our new one. My parents were generous enough to let us live with them during that time. At that time though, Maggie was only 9 months old and still a cute little cuddly baby. Now Maggie is six, and Aleita is three and the energy and noise level has dramatically increased (to say the least.) I am not sure if Grandpa and Grandma would be ready for a month with our two wild ones.

For now, I am a little overwhelmed by the idea of packing up an entire house in about a month. I know it will all come together, but I know my stress level is definitely already a little elevated. Got any plans for October 13th? Moving party at my house!!

Friday, September 7, 2007


As I was driving home from work yesterday, I saw something that caused me to laugh out loud. I have a habit of reading license plates of the vehicles in traffic around me. One such license plate that I read yesterday was "HOT MOM 6." This license plate was the tag for a mini van.

Now I am not knocking minivans -- so all you minivan drivers please don't start leaving hateful comments just yet. I am sure that there indeed are a lot of HOT MOMs driving minivans. . .but how many would publicly announce it? What amused me so much about this plate was the fact that in the world of "SCR MOM" and "MOM OF 3" and "MOMS VAN," this mom had a very different way that she chose to reveal who she was to other motorists. This lady definitely does not lack self-confidence. She feels she looks fine, and by goodness, the world should know about it. I am all about having a great self-image, but I don't think I would personally be comfortable putting it out there quite like that.

I wondered then about the age of her kids. If they are little and oblivious to the license plate thing at this point, that is probably for the best. I can't imagine when they turn about 12 years old and they have to get dropped off at school by "HOT MOM 6." Imagine the comments they will have to endure from their friends? They will likely beg to be dropped off three blocks from school so they can walk the rest of the way.

I wonder if HOT MOM 6 is one of those moms who is obsessed with staying youthful, and insists on being her kids' friend, rather than an actual parent (Also known as COOL MOM.) Is she that mom that shows up at school functions in a ridiculously low-cut blouse and booty cutters and egregiously flirts with the science teacher? Is this the mom that tries to encourage her 14 year old daughter to date older boys so she can get asked to the prom? Does she try to live vicariously through her children? I can almost see the news headlines now: "HOT MOM 6 busted for providing alcohol at party for 16 year olds."

I am, of course, making some huge speculations based upon a license plate. I wonder just how close to the truth I've come though. . . .

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Ah September, the time of year when the leaves start to turn colors and fall from the trees, when farmers return to the fields to harvest the crops, when Friday night football games are the draw for local schools, and when the kids return to school and start begging for money from everyone they know. Actually, it seems to me that it is often the parents that get stuck doing the majority of the begging. The schools refer to it as "fundraising." Already this fall I have bought some wrapping paper, a tin of candy, and a Bossy Bingo ticket (a lovely contest in which tickets are sold, and a field is divided into numbered squares - - a cow is then led onto the field, and if good ol' Bossy yields to nature's call on the square that matches your numbered ticket, you are the winner of $1,000.)

Maggie's school has the kids selling magazine subscriptions again this year. (i.e. I have been selling magazine subscriptions for Maggie's school this year.) Let me start by saying that I hate asking other people for money or donations. It's just not something I am comfortable doing. I realize that the school needs to raise funds, but I know that people are getting hit up left and right at this time of year to buy stuff from kids' fundraisers. I am probably not the best salesperson in the world. My attitude is that if you want to buy a subscription, that's great; if not, that's ok too.

The one thing that I am at least happy about regarding this fundraiser is that the magazines are sold through the Reader's Digest company. They do have a great selection, and the prices are actually better than you can get if you go through the company directly in most cases. Some people are happy because they can support the school without buying something fattening, like chocolates or pizza. The problem that I keep running into is that so many people, including myself, already receive such a bevy of magazines that adding yet another subscription is somewhat unnecessary. In fact, I have heard from several people that they are actually trying to reduce the number of subscriptions they currently receive. Although you can renew a magazine that you currently get through the school's magazine drive, sometimes the deals that the company offers make it somewhat comical to do so - - there are many good deals where you get two years for the price of one - - in fact, my Entertainment Weekly is now renewed until 2010.

Soon, we are going to have a slew of magazines being delivered to our house. A few weeks ago, I got a letter from United Airlines letting me know that some of my frequent flyer miles would soon be expiring. A new strategy for airlines to allow you to use frequent flyer miles that are close to expiring (and you don't have enough for a ticket) is to trade them in for magazine subscriptions. With my miles, I got three new subscriptions, to go with the other five we already have. Do we get all of them read? Not hardly. I always read all of my Reader's Digest and my Mental Floss. I read most of the Entertainment Weekly. The others mainly get a good skimming. I do take some comfort in the fact that I can bring the magazines to work to leave in the lobby area, and other people do actually read them. So, even if I am not reading my magazines, at least someone is.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

South Carolina Must Be So Proud!

Just in case you haven't seen this one, it is a clip from the Miss Teen USA Pageant that was held last week. I actually was flipping through channels and saw this happen. I immediately thought, "this is going to end up on You Tube!"

Click on the link, and just enjoy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Privy to a Family Moment

Apparently, when I am in the bathroom at home, there are neon signs that light up outside the door that point and flash and direct everyone to come on in - at least my immediate family anyway. I have come to accept that if I want privacy, the bathroom is not the place I am likely to find it. A few nights ago after we had finished supper, Chris was downstairs reading a book and the kids were downstairs playing. I took the opportunity to take a moment for myself and take a soak in the tub.

After I had been in the tub about 3.6 seconds, the children must've looked around downstairs and figured out that I wasn't there. They must have sensed they were missing out on some sort of excitement that was being had without their knowledge. I heard them tromping up the stairs, then begin the room to room search asking, "Mommy?" I sunk a little lower in the tub and sighed. It was only a matter of seconds before my serene setting was shattered as two little girls came bursting through the bathroom door.

Watcha doin', Mommy?" questioned Aleita. My standard answer when one of my children asks a question with an obvious answer is the one I gave to her, "painting the walls - - don't they look great?" "You're not painting!" she said, "you're takin' a bath!" Then she did what she always does when she happens upon me in the bathtub - - she insists that I must have some toys to play with. As much as I try to convince her that I am just fine without any toys, she in turn persists that I indeed do need some. After all, what is a bath without toys? Why bother to even get in the water if not to play? Our conversation went something like this:
Aleita: Do you want a Polly Pocket?
Me: No, thank you.
Aleita: Do you want a bath flute?
Me: No, thank you.
Aleita: Do you want a fish?
Me: No, thank you.
Aleita: Do you want a boat?
Me: No, thank you.
Aleita: Do you want a duck?
Me: Yes, of course, I would love a duck. (this will go on indefinitely unless I actually give in and take something.) Aleita, then satisfied, hands me a duck and sits down on the floor to dig through the rest of the basket of the bath toys to find something for herself to play.

In the meantime, Maggie is sitting on the toilet, singing "Jingle Bells," and coloring a picture. A few moments later, Chris came in and we had a discussion about who is picking up the kids after school the next day. While we're talking, the dog decided that since everyone else is in the bathroom, he too must join in on the fun.

Yes, we do have a lock on the door, but if I actually do remember to engage it, I am then subject to both children tapping and knocking on the door or rattling the knob the entire time I am in there. This is usually accompanied by little fingers wiggling under the door and them laying on the floor with their mouth pressed to the opening going, "MOMMMMMMYYYYY......what are you DOOOINNNNNGGGG?"

Some people complain because they never do anything together as a family. If I want family togetherness, all I have to do is run a bath.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Decatur Garcia's = Thumbs Down!

A friend and I ate lunch on Friday at Garcia's Pizza. I was very excited when we got a Garcia's back in Decatur - we previously had one at the mall, but it closed several years ago, I believe after a number of repeated health code violations and the effects of poor management. At any rate, prior to this spring, if I wanted a Gutbuster, the nearest location was in Champaign. This past Friday, I was jonesin' for a Gutbuster, so off to Garcia's we went. After we ordered and sat down, I realized that there were about five televisions located in the fairly small space of Garcia's - - all of the blaringly loud, and tuned to the Jerry Springer Show. My friend and I tried to carry on a conversation, but it was nearly impossible with the trash blaring from the television sets around us.

And speaking of trash, after we were seated, I noticed that the garbage cans were overflowing, and the floors looked as though they hadn't been swept in a month. YUCK. I even went up to the counter to ask someone to turn the channel and turn the volume down on the TVs. The girl behind the counter said she would ask the manager. After about five minutes, he came out from behind the counter and shouted to me from across the restaurant that something was wrong with the TV and that was the only station they could get. We were almost done eating at that point, so I didn't press the matter. If it were me though, and my choice were Jerry Springer or nothing, I would definitely pick nothing.

I don't think I will be back to this Garcia's again anytime soon. If this one follows in its predecessor's footsteps, it too will likely fall victim to poor management. If I need to satisfy my Gutbuster craving, looks like I will have to head to Champaign.