Monday, October 31, 2005

Book Reviews

From Big Arm Woman comes a link to a great article that presents some of the "best" Amazon book reviews of a few of the books on Time magazine's top 100 books. My favorites?

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

“This book gets my nomination for the most overrated book in American Literature. It is trite, saccharine and false. The themes and insights it contains are not even good enough to be third rate. Moreover, as a prose stylist, Kerouac was probably fourth rate. In short, I despise this piece of [garbage] and would advise all of its hipster doofus fans to lose the tie-dye clothes and throw away their bongs. Maybe then they will read something good for a change.”


The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

“Here’s the first half of the book: ‘We had dinner and a few drinks. We went to a cafe and talked and had some drinks. We ate dinner and had a few drinks. Dinner. Drinks. More dinner. More drinks. We took a cab here (or there) in Paris and had some drinks, and maybe we danced and flirted and talked sh*t about somebody. More dinner. More drinks. I love you, I hate you, maybe you should come up to my room, no you can’t’… I flipped through the second half of the book a day or two later and saw the words ‘dinner’ and ‘drinks’ on nearly every page and figured it wasn’t worth the risk.”


Pumpkin Carving

With little effort on our part, we acquired many more pumpkins this year than the two I had planned on for the kids. Our neighbor gave us four that had volunteered in her yard and a couple from church gave us a big one along with a bunch of gourds to make what they call a "jolly goblin." Thus instead of two, we have seven pumpkins.

Yesterday it was clearly time to do a little pumpkin "harving" as my son used to call it. The Boy wanted a vampire, The Middle Girl wanted a kitty cat, The Baby wanted to eat the pumpkin guts and we carved another one just for good measure -- as well as making the Jolly Goblin.

And by the time it was all over, we had so many pumpkin guts and seeds and I was so tired that I didn't feel like roasting anything. But we got some cute jack o'lanterns and still have a couple of uncarved pumpkins. Maybe I'll gut one of those later for the seeds.

Without further ado, we have the whole family of pumpkins.

The vampire:
vampirepumpkin.jpg


The cat:
kittypumpkin.jpg


The silly face:
sillypumpkin.jpg


The Jolly Goblin and friends:
jolly goblin.jpg


Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Always Knew I Couldn't Think While Pregnant

She scanned the brains of women before and after they were pregnant and found the brain shrank during pregnancy.


This article (via Patricia) clearly explains my problem. It claims the shrinkage is reversed six months after delivery, but who knows what you really lose and never regain.

Some Days I Shouldn't Try to Drive

Yesterday, I noticed that I was trying to wean the car. Since they don't tend to want to go without gas, and I tend not to want to be stranded, I pulled into a gas station -- and pulled up to the wrong side of the car. So I pulled around and was going to back into another spot, when someone drove behind me and took it. So I pulled around and neatly backed into another spot -- only to get out and realize I was still parked with the gas tank on the wrong side.

I decided my best bet was a hurried exit from that gas station. I turned towards home -- and then realized all the gas stations were the other direction. I went to another -- where gas was several cents cheaper than place I'd gone to first. I pulled in on the correct side, opened the gas tank door, got out and realized my purse was inside the door that was now blocked by the open gas tank door. Eventually I did manage to fill the tank. At almost $40, I think I should just stay home from now on though.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Babies, Babies Everywhere

My friend for whom I was babysitting a week ago had her baby, by the way. A delicious girl, whom I haven't met yet, because I've been a bit sick. But I'm taking them split pea soup and other stuff tomorrow.

And then there are all these other babies in the works. I think I said I was probably done with three, but that longing to feel a squirmy little one inside and hold another newborn is extremely strong.

The sleepless nights and the swollen misery do have some discouraging power, but these children of mine can be awfully cute.

gpb2005.jpg


Monday, October 24, 2005

Fashion Police

Occasionally, I try to leave the house in yoga pants, running shorts or a sweatshirt. For the last several months, any time I make such an attempt, my three year old has looked at me with a critical eye and asked, "Where are you wearing that?" When I tell her I plan to wear it to the grocery store or a walk to the park or some other place where dressing up doesn't seem necessary, she informs me in no uncertain terms that the clothes I have on do not pass muster and cannot be worn outside the house or yard.

Right now she still lets me out in public without makeup and other rather plain clothes, but I'm sure as her sense of fashion becomes further refined, you'll see me looking nicer when I leave the house. This is, I suppose, not a bad thing, and I'll never bow to the point of ridiculousness just to please my fashionista.

She's probably right. I shouldn't go out of the house in yoga pants or running shorts. I'm not sure I'm ready to give up sweatshirts though. Sometimes comfort outweighs fashion.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Those Internets Sure Are Useful

Saturday was one of those long, long, busy days when had I planned ahead better, I would have had leftovers or something cooking in the crockpot. Instead, when dinner time rolled around there weren't a lot of options except going out, which we were too tired to do or bringing something in.

We don't order pizza very often and usually when we do we get it from the pizza place near our house, but they don't deliver and every once in a while, getting a pizza delivered to your house is totally worth it. But nobody around here ever wants to call. We must not be the only ones, and that's why being able to order a pizza online is brilliant.

While I complain about not getting to talk to a human when I'm actually on the phone, being able to do something on the computer and never deal with anyone is rather refreshing. When the next long, busy day comes to a close with no dinner plans in sight, I'll be running to the computer and clicking through another pizza order -- and I can put a tip on right at the start. Wonderful.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Compassion and Caring On The Other Side

There are hate-filled nasty people out there. They should be generally avoided. To hear some people talk most such hatemongers are right-wingers and Christians. Although there are people who claim to fall under those titles, and we don't need to debate right now whether they actually deserve those category listings, who are pure evil and certainly disturbed, right-wingers and Christians do not have a monopoly on hate and vitriol.

Occasionally this strikes me rather forcibly, as with this article Big Arm Woman wrote about yesterday. Entitled "God Does Not Want 16 Kids" Mark Morford's article go on to lash out at the Duggars, whom I assume most everyone is aware just had their sixteenth child.

Some where in the article, he asserts that their having so many children is going to bring on environmental destruction and overpopulation of the world. Ignoring , of course, that Arkansas is not overpopulated and that one family with sixteen children is hardly a trend in the making, that seems to be his only real point in the article. The rest is all hate. He hates to see a family of apparently happy people who don't believe what he believes.

He attacks their hair, Mrs. Duggar's (as we call them around here) girl parts, and even complains that they are so white (I've looked at the parents and I'd like to figure out how they could produce children that weren't white). When one has to resort to complaints about another's appearance the arguments and any real point is already lost.

The bile and hate do slip into the realm of funny once or twice though, when Morford worries that the Duggar children will be, "encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right." Or when he notes that there aren't any "liberal, spiritualized, pro-sex" people with sixteen children. I think he must have missed the part of Health class where we learned that sex wasn't just for fun and getting to know someone on the first date, but was actually for procreation. How can one assert that people who have sixteen children aren't "pro-sex" and as far from "asexual" as they come? Sure they may, gasp, think that sex belongs in a marriage relationship, but these aren't people who are against it.

When I hear from some one or other of my more liberal acquaintances how they are looking for tolerance and acceptance and when they assert that the Christian Right is simply full of hate, I'll be sure to remember this article. No acceptance. No tolerance. No better than what I have been accused of merely by going to a conservative church and voting Republican.

In Which I Get All Artsy...

I've been painting and drawing forever. In high school I did one painting that won all sorts of prizes and after that, part of me thought I would go on to take lots of classes and be an "artist." Instead, when I got to college, I was busy taking academic courses and intimidated by the thought of a college grade resting on my work, so I didn't take any art classes. My oil paints dried out and my easel started gathering dust.

I spent several years -- most of college and grad school not painting or drawing. Periodically I would go to an art supply store and look and touch and maybe buy a little something, but I rarely used anything. I wanted to paint or draw or something, but didn't make the time.

About a year after The Boy was born, I was participating in a Secret Santa gift exchange and the woman whose name I drew said she loved notecards. With that thought clicking around, I decided to draw up some notecards and have them printed on cardstock. She loved them and I gave away the same designs to other friends as presents -- and it is really annoying me that I cannot find the originals for those cards at the moment. Those drawings were simple pen and ink with watercolor. Nothing fancy and not much like what I've been drawing more recently. In fact they were more related to the doodles I used to put all over my class notes than anything else.

The next year I made Christmas cards for myself and some friends wanted to buy copies. I sure wasn't getting rich off the deal, but it was a thrill to get a check for something I'd drawn.

Since then, I've been doing various things. Artwork ideas float around in my head. A lot of them don't ever make it out and a lot of things that do find their way out look horrible. I've been able to make enough things that I'm pleased with though to make myself happy and to fill up my walls. As of a few years ago, most of the work I've been doing is watercolor and pencil. Some from photos but mostly stuff I've picked in the garden that is sitting around on the kitchen table. I sketch it out and then put the color where it belongs, which is what painting has always been for me -- putting color where it belongs.

I don't think I do watercolors "right". I've never had a watercolor class. I always wanted to paint in oils, but oils are expensive and take up a lot of room. Watercolors won't break the bank and I can set up and take down everything I need in a few minutes.

I'd been doing quite a bit of painting and really enjoying it before I got pregnant with The Baby. During my pregnancy I only painted one picture. After my pregnancy, I only painted one picture -- until one day, out of the blue, Janis wrote to me and asked about notecards. Just doing that and buying a few inspired me to start again.

I'm not an artist. I wouldn't pretend to be, but I do love to make pretty pictures and see them hanging on my walls. Although I have a hard time parting with anything I've ever made, I've reached a point where I want to see if anyone would buy anything bigger than a notecard from me. I've thought for a long time that being in an art show would be really neat, but I'm not really the go-getter type. However, even the way into the simple art show world has been opened. Some of my neighbors organize an annual art show in their house of any and all neighbors who want to participate.

I've been thinking about it for two years. This year, I signed up for the neighborhood art show. I plan to take a lot of notecards along, but I've also been painting some bigger things. Selling any one of them would make me really happy, although there is at least one painting that I'm tempted to price high because I'm not really sure I'm ready to let it go.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Homecoming, part 2 -- Why Can't Marching Bands Just March?

Buried in my Homecoming post below, I mentioned that the halftime show was worthy of its own post. As with many things, I intended to return to the subject that day or the next perhaps. Here it is much, much later and I'm only finally getting back to it.

Sewanee does not have its own marching band. It has a fine orchestra, a wonderful choir, great organists and carriloneurs, but I suppose marching band must be a little low brow. For some reason, the powers that be think Homecoming, unlike other football games, requires a marching band, so they make arrangements every year with one of the nearby high school bands to provide halftime entertainment.

During college, I can't say I paid much attention to the bands. I remember that they seemed to play Rocky Top every year, but that's about all that comes to mind.

This year, though, the high school marching band made an extra special effort to do something really entertaining. We should have been tipped off that something was up when they brought so many props onto the field. There were fake palm trees, a park bench, a miniature graveyard, several different flags, and plastic swords, as well as changes of costume. The truth is though, that the fog started rolling in just then and I was walking the kids around, so I didn't notice all of this at first.

Without announcement, the band started playing -- a few bars of the Star Spangled Banner (enough to realize what you were hearing and put your hand over your heart) and then the music swung right into Moonlight Serenade. And there were majorettes on the field swing dancing (poor girls in sleeveless dresses in the cold damp fog).

This medley was followed by another. I can't really tell you what order most things transpired in. At some point the music was quite marshal and the flag corps was fighting with flags -- half of them waving blue flags with stars while the other half swung Japanese flags and the majorettes twirled plastic swords. This was when it finally dawned on me what they were doing -- we were seeing a musical reenactment of the War in the Pacific.

After the fighting, the band played Taps and off at one end of the field one of the majorettes ceremonially kneeled weeping at the fake graveyard. This was followed by some sort of peaceful tune while the flag corps ran a circle around the field carrying white flags with doves printed on them.

You'd think that would be the end, but it wasn't. I can't remember what the final music was -- by this point the spectacle of the thing had captured my attention. Whatever rousing finale was played was accompanied by the majorettes throwing on old military jackets and raising a flag -- holding it in the stance memorialized in the Iwo Jima statue.

I think the band played well and the majorettes and flag corps certainly had their work cut out for them with all the flag and costume changes -- plus learning to swing and running all over the place. One must certainly give them credit. However, what's wrong with a few rousing tunes, a band marching around the field and (if you must) baton twirling and flag waving? Must we make everything into an elaborate spectacle?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Free Tickets! Parties! I'm Exhausted!

We had a really fun, full weekend. I'm pretty exhausted, especially with an extra child on the loose, and I think I need a cup of hot tea on top of my cup of coffee or maybe I just need some caffeine on an IV drip. I've had a sinus infection for about two weeks and while I'm finally past the nightly fevers, I'm still sniffling a lot and tired.

Friday night we had a class picnic with The Boy's Kindergarten class which was a nice way to chat with the parents and teachers socially. The most amazing part was when one of my mom friends from the class said she liked Justice Roberts a lot and thought Ted Kennedy was a mean, old windbag. I've had those thoughts lots of times, but I never expect to hear similar sentiments at a gathering of Hippie German School people.

Saturday morning, we went out for breakfast at this restaurant near our house. Afterwards, Justin and my dad worked on cleaning up and fixing our lawnmower which was running funny. I planted a few bulbs and watered stuff. As much as I want to instill a love of gardening in the kids, I'm about fed up with gardening when they are around. When I only had The Boy helping, it was fun. Now it is just a lot of extra work.

While Justin and my dad did yard work, I took the kidlets to a birthday party for a boy from church. I don't think we did anything in the afternoon, but that night I went to the opera with a friend of mine to see Faust. She had an extra ticket and had offered to take me earlier last week and so I jumped at the chance. I don't get to do stuff like that very often. Faust was really good, although when Valentin, the brother of Marguerite gets killed, he spends about 10 minutes up and down singing about how he's dying any second, which struck me as funny. I don't think they meant that to be the funny part though.

Sunday we had church in the morning. In the afternoon we just played outside with the kids throwing balls and whacking balls with croquet mallets and baseball bat and other stuff. Sunday evening we had a Bible study and then ran home, got the kids ready for bed, put the babysitter in charge of The Baby and ran off to a Nickel Creek concert. One of our neighbors and friends "in the music business" offered us tickets. It certainly wasn't a free night, since we had to pay a sitter, but we never would have gone to something like that otherwise and it was really fun. I'd heard good things about the band before, but never listened to their music. And the main guy, who plays mostly mandolin was just awesome. But standing up listening to a concert from 7-10 was tiring.

I'm still not recovered from all the excitement and now with a fourth child in tow, life feels a bit crazy.

Mission Accomplished

I made to the grocery store and back with three children, one of which was not my own. Since this was the main thing I needed to do today other than pick up The Boy after school and start the mountain of dirty clothes on its way to becoming the mountain of clean clothes, I'm glad to have it behind me. I wasn't sure how taking a different kid shopping would go, but it was pretty good. Easier, in fact, than now when our visitor is playing with The Boy's Thomas trains and complaining that my girls are messing up his tracks. Sigh.

Phew!

That was a full weekend and now I've gained an extra child while my friend is off at the hospital having a baby. More later.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Web Search of the Day

Some one dropped by looking for ornaments for husband. While I think my husband is very ornamental (and useful) all on his own, here are a few other ornaments you might want to add to an ordinary husband to jazz him up.

(1) A necktie -- I like a nice regimental stripe, but use your best judgement.

(2) A tuxedo -- mmmm...shawl collars are especially recommended.

(3) A tool belt -- I love seeing my husband out fixing stuff and building.

(4) An apron -- this means an ordinary husband has become an extraordinary chef and cooked dinner.

(5) A lawnmower/weedeater -- sort of like #3.

I'm sure other ornaments will be lovely on a husband and really give him that nice decorative touch, feel free to add your favorites in the comments.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Little Lolita

Even though we usually make our own Halloween costumes out of the dress-up clothes we have on hand, I was perusing a costume website when I came across the "Cheerless Leader" costume in the teen section. I'm not the cheerleader type, but I'd take a cheerleader over a Goth wannabe. The costume with it's fishnet tummy and fishnet shorts is disturbing and totally inappropriate, but the fact that the model looks to be about eight and is wearing blood red lipstick and heavy eye makeup seems even worse.

My kids may do many things I don't like and wear many things I don't approve of when I'm not looking, but I'm sure there is someone out there buying this "adorable" little costume for their daughter. Because letting your daughter run around looking like a Goth Hooker is just "soooo cuuuuute!"

What's Wrong With Your Legs?

During the summer, I almost never wear pantyhose. Other than for church, I almost never have any opportunity to dress up and I just don't like wearing hose when it is hot outside. This Sunday was one of the first cool days we've had this year and I put on a corduroy skirt and hose (as well as a shirt, of course). I was slipping on shoes when my son looked at me and said, "What's wrong with your legs? The skin on them looks funny." I explained that I was wearing pantyhose, which I told him were sort of like the tights his sister wears. I think he was unconvinced that wearing them really added anything good to my outfit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Here Comes The World's Shortest Biped

The Baby has, I suppose, become The Toddler. She's been able to walk for several weeks taking up to 5 or 6 steps at a time. Friday night Justin and I played "make the baby walk" by sitting several feet apart and sliding a toy she wanted back and forth between us. Still, she wasn't really doing more than a few steps on her own without all that encouragement.

This afternoon we had a break-through. When she was sitting and could have crawled to me, she stood up and walked and then started walking all over the room as if it required little effort. When she started to lose her balance she would stop, re-adjust her footing and go on.

Some people dread walking, but I really don't. I kind of like it. If they are going to be mobile at all they might as well act bipedal.

Homecoming

Thanks to a combination of stupid things, DSL was down all day yesterday, so my report on the events of the weekend was delayed. But here it comes -- but without pictures -- because taking photos while carrying a grabby baby in a sling is difficult.

But anyway -- after waking up and all that usual stuff, we dressed ourselves and the children. The Boy complained that he didn't want to wear "dressy clothes" though black cargo pants, a plaid button down shirt and sneakers hardly count as dressy in my book. The Middle Girl was excited to get to wear her new rainbow tights and The Baby was just glad she had something to chew on. We packed the car with snacks, music, changes of clothes and rain gear and stopped for gas, money and breakfast at Sonic on the way out of town.

Sonic has semi-decent fast food breakfasts, but currently the only thing they offer for a children's breakfast is French toast sticks. The words children, syrup and car should never be used in combination, so we started the morning with slightly sad children because they wanted whatever plastic toy Sonic was handing out and we made them get grown-up food. The words orange juice and little girl who takes the lid off things should also not be used in combination, so before we even left the parking lot, we needed to stop and mop up the Middle Girl. If you were intriguiged by the steak, egg and cheese breakfast burrito -- wonder no more. It has no flavor.

The actual drive was painless. The girls slept almost the whole way and The Boy wanted to listen to Tom Petty.


In Sewanee we got our registration packet, found parking and opened the car up to the chiming of the carrillons -- a concert by the brother of a good friend. The carrilloneur played violin at our wedding when he was still pretty young and it would have been nice to see him, but he must have run down the stairs and vanished into the mist before we got to the tower. We did run into another friend and classmate of my husband's though, so we wandered around together.
It was a foggy day on top of the mountain. As foggy as any day I remember while I was there. We headed over to the ugly McClurg Dining Hall, House of the Flying Buttresses and Phallus Palace, with an actual name reminiscent of the sound of wretching. I suppose it is some what nicer than the two different dining halls that were available when I was in college, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Nor does the number of food choices actually mean that the food had improved. I rememered why I weighed nothing during college. There was never anything I liked to eat. I need to go back to college.
The children ate though and we ran into more people we knew, including George ( a commenter here on occasion) and his lovely pregnant wife.
By the time lunch was over, it was time for my sorority alumnae tea. Yes, I was in a sorority. No, I really am not sure why. Back in my day (yes, I felt like a geezer) there were no sorority houses and so seeing one, and its location right next to another sorority that wasn't particularly beloved by mine was odd. There was only one other alum there that I knew and we chatted and admired each other's babies, but that only goes so far -- so we pressed on towards the football game.
The track has been redone and rubberized and most the path around the field has now been paved in ubiquitous aggragate concrete. During college several pairs of my shoes suffered irreparable damage when they were walked repeatedly through the gravel around the football field, so I appreciated the paving -- especially since we were pushing a stroller.
Although the general rule is that one should plan a homecoming game against a team on can beat, Sewanee decided to try the novel approach of playing a team they couldn't even score against. The day being extra blustery and foggy, so that people couldn't see the field at times probably didn't help. Not that having a losing team is really anything new. There is a reason we still brag about our team from 1899.
The halftime show deserves a blog entry of its own, but I will note that we now have all sorts of new sororities and they now nominate a Homecoming King. The fraternity and sorority awards for academic achievement don't seem to be handed out anymore.
After half-time, the fog rolled in even more thickly, we couldn't see the field and the kids were cold. So we walked over to the house of a professor who lived next to the football field to chat and warm up. After another stop at another professor's house, a stop by my old living quarter's at the German House, where a party with lots of sausages, kraut and beer was in full swing, we headed for our last stop -- the newest academic building, which used to be one of the dining halls and a dorm, where my husband lived for one year. The renovation was beautifully done inside and they even added the pitched roof that the builders had always intended but had run out of money to make years before.
On the way home, I thought the kids might sleep, but they didn't. However, they were fairly mellow. I was sore and achy from walking all day lugging a baby in a sling. I need to go into training before we go to Homecoming again.
All told though, it was a fun time and I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces and catching up with some lost acquaintances. I'm glad my husband and children indulge me and go along for these jaunts. You can't go back to college or anywhere else, but now ten years later, I can honestly say I wouldn't want to. I felt more like a real grown up after visiting Homecoming than I ever do.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Drizzle, Fevers and Homecoming

After the hot, dry, doesn't-feel-like-fall weather, I thought I'd be a lot more excited about the cool, wet day we're having. I'm not. It's making me want to curl up in bed with a cup of tea and a book, but my children don't allow their mother to do that, so what fun is a cool wet day?

A rainy, cool day might have been just fine, but I'm sick. Yesterday I got to feeling exhausted and achey, followed by chilled and then hot. It wasn't a really bad fever, but even a low grade one doesn't feel very good. I'm not feverish this morning, but I suppose I'll need to wait until tonight to find out whether it is really gone, because my fevers seem to often recur in the evenings even when they've been gone all day. I'm just hoping the kidlets don't get sick.

Tomorrow is my 10 year college homecoming reunion. Other than not feeling very well, I was mostly looking forward to it. Sure, I'm not as skinny as I was in college and I look a lot older and more tired, but I think seeing people I know from the past will be fun. I didn't read things very carefully though, and discovered today that the actual alumni get-together for my class doesn't start until 7 tomorrow night and you aren't supposed to bring kids. For the 5 year reunion they start earlier and kids are welcome. I guess I assumed that since many people at a 10 year reunion will still have small children that making a child-friendly event would make sense. D'oh. They did offer some babysitting, but only for 30 children and the college was charging $25 per child and wouldn't take little ones. Paying $50 for childcare and still being left with one child made no sense, so we didn't sign up. We'll see how things are going, but since we plan to drive home (about 2 hours) from Homecoming tomorrow evening, we may just have to take in the football game and call it quits. Kind of a waste of money, but so these things go.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Choosing My Religion

One hears all sorts of reasons to go to one church congregation or another. Some people want a big place, while others look for some place small where they are more necessary to the day-to-day workings and can't be anonymous. Some people look for a place with great preaching or music. Most of the people I know place varying degrees of emphasis on those sorts of things, but also want most of all to find a place faithful to the Gospel (even though their idea of what is faithful might diverge greatly from someone else's).

Today I was at the park with a bunch of other moms who have older kids at Hippie German School and little kids about the age of The Middle Girl. Some how the topic of where people go to church came up. One lady said she loved her church (when they went) because, "It is progressive, liberal and has a lot of same sex couples with children." I don't think my jaw dropped too far, but those wouldn't top my list of things to look for in a congregation.

It's a strange feeling to be hear something that seems like a parody and see everyone else in the group nodding with interest. Discussions like that make me question the wisdom of sending my children to Hippie School. And yet, although almost everyone at Hippie German School is bound to be more liberal than I am -- I don't feel as if everyone out there is really quite that rabid. And there is so much to love about the education and the school that I'm not ready to give it up. Other schools aren't free from troubles and my children don't want to be homeschooled at present.

It sure was a conversation stopper when I was asked where I go to church and I said the name of what must be in the minds of that particular group one of the most conservative churches in town. Coversation switched topics almost immediately.


"Because I'm Daddy, and I Know Everything."

Robert the Llamabutcher on keeping the kidlets believing that their parents are the keepers of all wisdom and knowledge.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

An Odd Interest

The Baby is like a little puppy dog. She crawls around carrying things in her mouth. Toys aren't so strange, but her favorite thing to carry around is her big sister's underwear.

Since The Middle Girl is only 6 months potty trained and likes to change her clothes (all her clothes) frequently, I keep a lot of her clean underwear in a basket under the changing table where her diapers used to be. The Baby has discovered this stash and I find her frequently crawling into my bedroom, standing on her tiptoes and snagging a pair of underwear.

She stuffs a corner in her mouth and crawls off babbling to herself -- pleased as punch with her prize. But why? We have lots of other cloth stuff around and lots of normal baby toys within reach. Why underwear? I have no idea.

The Baby sure thinks underwear is nifty. I wonder if this will help with early potty training?

Monday, October 03, 2005

A'Cleaning I Will Go

As I mentioned below, we cleaned house Friday in preparation for The Middle Girl's birthday party and Saturday afternoon we cleaned out the minivan. Yesterday I began the process of tearing all that down and sending the house back into its usual state of piggishness. Actually, it is probably far worse than usual -- BUT -- it is all for the good cause of cleaning out, donating and removing from our abode a lot of extra junk that slowly accumulates without us even trying very hard.

Yesterday I started cleaning out my closet. I got rid of a sweater I've been dragging around since junior high (yes, I was about 12 when I got it and baggy things were in) and I certainly haven't worn it in at least a few years -- Outback Red not having the cache it once had when I was in seventh grade. I also got rid of a suit I wore to a job interview in 1997 and wore last shortly after The Boy was born. I could list more things, but I probably shouldn't mention all the things I couldn't quite get rid of this time (mostly for sentimental reasons) but I did make a big dent and you can see the floor in there.

Since my closet also doubles as the house's linen closet, I tackled the refolding of sheets and blankets that have been wadded up and shoved back on the shelf a few too many times and at the same time, I also got rid of all the sheets that no longer match anything and/or don't fit the beds we have.

Some sort of cleaning sickness must have really hit me hard. When I went upstairs this morning to put clothes on The Baby, so I could take all the bags now decorating my dining room off to a donation center, i instead opened her closet and started dumping, sorting, putting away and best of all getting rid of. I'm more embarrassed by just how many children's clothes I've been holding on to than by the fact that I was still hauling around a sweater I bought in the eighties. I finally decided that if we should have another child there will be other clothes available and it will not be naked just because I didn't save every sock, onesie or pair of jeans the older kids ever wore. Yard sales and Goodwill will still be around and operating and I can buy them something new. I didn't get rid of everything. I kept probably more than I should have, but only things that held some sentimental attachment or that I would really, really, really want to see another child wear. Otherwise, the clothes are going to go away and be worn by people who need them and not be stored away awaiting a child that might never actually be born and filling up one of the few storage spaces I have.

Emptying all that stuff out and sorting through the children's clothes and getting out their cold weather clothing was extremely satisfying. The only frustrating part was that despite spending almost the entire day in The Baby's room and getting rid of half the stuff in the closet, I was not able to finish up all that needs to be done and the room is still a wreck. I can't wait to restore order to chaos and actually enjoy a clean house for more than a few hours.

Party Time

The Girl had a wonderful birthday party on Saturday morning. We, the parents, were a bit sleepy having spent long hours the night before cleaning house and then having the birthday girl pop into our bed at 6 so she could share her wiggly-ness with us.

But everything came together, the kids loved wearing their butterfly wings and flying around, and the pink butterfly cake turned out pretty well, if a tad on the dry side. The girl was given a lot of dress up clothes and bling-bling. If it's sparkly and/or pink she probably owns it.

That afternoon we cleaned the van and rearranged carseats, because we were going to another party almost two hours from Nashville and were driving another couple. With the right combination of carseats, we can fit three across, but buckling all the children in is tricky and makes me glad that we have a van and room to spread out a bit. With modern carseat laws requiring children to stay in their special seats until they are 18 (well, maybe just 8) it becomes very difficult for a family with more than two children to own anything other than a minivan or extra long SUV.

Getting the car cleaned out was worth the hassle of moving carseats. The children were antsy on the road, but travelled pretty well and the party was a fun one. Celebrating the first marriage of two people who had reached an age where undoubtedly neither ever expected to marry, but they found each other and seem to positively glow. So the occasion was a happy one and the food was good too.

For once I was also wise and packed the children's pjs. We stripped them down and put on their pjs before heading back on the road for home and they slept almost the whole way, which certainly made more a quieter and more pleasant return journey.

Next weekend will be eventful as well. I'll be going to my tenth college reunion. How did time pass so quickly?

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