Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Here's proof that I do have people in my life other than Mickey and Alex and their daddy.

I'll start in the middle: that's my mom Rosemary. Isn't she pretty? She really hasn't changed much in the last...forever. I was about 25 before I appreciated anything she did for me (is that what I can expect from my boys?).

The lady on the left: that's Dorthy, my mom's next door neighbor of, let's see, how old am I...almost 44 years. She's a part of our family, too, whether she likes it or not. I think she's still trying to get over the shock of seeing a family of 13 move in next door. True, we all moved out eventually, but then we brought more little kids back to visit.

The gentleman on the right, that's my brother-in-law Roy. He and my sister have been married about 31 years (and a charming couple they are!) He owns a construction business based in Smalltown, Oklahoma, where he was born, by the way.

Roy is the storyteller in the family. Real or fiction (and sometimes a very gray line in between) the man's favorite thing in the world is to weave a tale in front of a rapt audience. And they're usually worth your attention, and usually involve a reptile or horse or some type of equipment (possibly an injury, too). In spite of living in a small town, the man has met so many people throughout his life, had so many experiences at home and traveling...and manages to recount his adventures like a Western novelist.

Telling stories, the interesting kind, is a skill I've never had; I stumble over reciting what I had for breakfast.

Not Roy. I've wondered how he got so good at it. Maybe his dad taught him, or he learned it from his brothers. Maybe it's spending countless hours at the local restaurants or rodeos or family gatherings. It does seem like cowboys in general gravitate toward...each other. And when they do, they stand around with an arm propped up on a corral gate, a booted toe dug into the dirt, and the stories flow, usually with laughter at the end.

Wherever he learned it, storytelling is something he continues to practice on anyone who'll give him a chance. Mom and Dorthy, they've heard hundreds of his stories over the years, maybe the good ones more than once.

Interestingly, he's getting ready to be a grandpa pretty soon...

...and he'll have a whole new audience.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

To be. Is to run.

...and splash.

And enjoy a 90-degree September day.

For $7.87 from the K-Mart clearance rack.

And run some more.

Running, running, running...

And remember you have a brother now and again...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Overheard: the wistful 5-year-old

Today Mickey's kindergarten class got to attend an assembly put on by some of the older kids at his school. The kids were singing and dancing and wore costumes...a very colorful production (I peeked in the gym myself). Later I asked him if he enjoyed it:

"oooohhhh, mom, you would have loved the girls. They all wore bows! They were sooooo pretty! I could have looked at them alllll daaaaay looooong..."

I don't know whether to be amused or worried...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your kids look blah, and it's for sale!

Last weekend I took the boys to have their pictures taken; religiously I've taken them to Big Department Store Portrait Studio on or around their birthdays to preserve the moment and their newest outfit in a photo. I've taken them there so I can get decent photos at a good price, and I've been happy with the result for the most part.

Until now.

Their most recent pictures were mediocre and I'm being kind. The boys were set up in the same poses they've been rehearsing for the last several much so I think all their portraits are starting to look alike. And to my horror, the "photographer" had them saying things like "fuzzy pickles" and "cheeeese." Just typing that makes me cringe. Neither was enough to get a genuine smile out of either boy, and Mickey even looked to be grimacing.

I thought maybe they'd look better when I sat down with the "photographer" to review them. No. She'd prettied them up with enhancements (at nine dollars per enhancement) and written words on them...I suppose in an effort to soften Alex's all-teeth facial stretch. And then she tried to convince me that a package, complete with royalty-free CD (as if I'd want copies of the mediocrity), for $129.99 was by far my best deal.

At this pitch I told her "the pictures aren't that good." Then I wanted to scream "...and I'm their mother!!"

She didn't try anymore upselling.

I still left having ordered several sheets of average photos...because average is still good if your kids' faces are there. And I'd fought to get them dressed and to the appointment and having to reschedule the whole thing somewhere else was not an attractive option.

But now I'm determined even more to figure out Behemoth DSLR and take my own photos of the boys. Or pay a premium for a photographer who sells skill and artfulness instead of...meh...

Kids' faces deserve better.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pizza's fourth cousin twice removed

If you've ever wondered how far you can possibly get from a pizza-like food, and yet still give it a name with "pizza" in it, look no further.

...and then wonder why I was compelled to tell the Internet about it.

Love ya, BC, but please, back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Four: the cake

Yes, the non-toddler had a birthday cake. Yes, I made it. Yes, I'm in Year 6 as The Mother Who Refuses to Pay for a Bakery Birthday Cake for Her Kids.

But for Alex's #4, maybe I shouldn't have been that mother.

I made the very big mistake of committing to making Alex a Lego cake. So I got reminded of it every day for a week. When am I going to learn that my boys have brains like steel traps when it comes to promises from their parents?

So I was in it whether I liked it or not. The very simple and exquisite example that enticed me so is pictured here. (Aside: does anyone know how they could have possibly gotten that well-defined edge around all the bumps when marshmallows are curved?)

My version wasn't exquisite. Or simple. It took me six hours. And I sweat (not on the cake, though, since I moved a fan into the kitchen). Seems those little blocks required freezing between layers of icing, and the little round thingies (big marshmallows halved) needed to be frosted indi-freakin-vidually.

I can't complain too much, really. I knew without a doubt it would be a challenge even with the simple design. Especially when I amped up the recipe to two cake mixes and making my own buttercream icing.

But for some reason I wanted the Lego cake to happen anyway. And happen it did.

Alex loved looking at it, although he refused to eat any of it. Thanks, honey.

In the car today I decided to throw caution to the wind and ask him what kind of cake he wanted next year.


"Uh, yeah, that'll be a half-sheet ready for pick-up on September 16..."


As of today my house is void of toddlers.

Excuse me a minute while I collect myself.

My littlest is Four today. I capitalize the word because I feel it's least in my little mind. See, Four seems like the end of all things babyish. All things toddler-y. Pretty soon his softness will be replaced with lean, wiry limbs like his brother's. And it'll all happen overnight.

Just like his first four years.

I have one of his baby pictures on my wallpaper and Pete wandered by and asked me whose baby it was.

His OWN baby.

Think four years is a long time?

I think it isn't. Not nearly long enough...

Happy Birthday, sweet. I want to pinch those cheeks forever.

Monday, September 14, 2009

So, how've you been?

Hi, blog. Yes, I know it's been a while...not much, how 'bout you? I'm not sure why I called I guess I really just wanted to talk to you. Well, I was thinking maybe later on...we could get together for a while. It's been such a long time and I really do miss your smile...

...I'm not talkin' 'bout millennium. And I don't want to change your mind. But there's a warm wind blowin' the stars are round.

And I'd really like to find time to write.

Happy Monday peoples...

Friday, September 04, 2009


Sent Pete and Mickey on their way this morning with umbrellas and jackets. Alex and I hover under the eves and wave them off. Doesn't take long for Alex to start weighing too much for me to hold, so I put him down and he scurries inside to the recliner and Super Why. And somehow he cuddles a Lego-built helicopter, too.

And I'm doing laundry, and cleaning up breakfast dishes, and doing various other mundane things.

My job, in other words...

It's Friday, the end of the work week, but that doesn't really matter much to a stay-home mom. Our job is where we live. We don't get to stop doing it for two days every week.

And I'm happy about that.

Especially when it's raining and I get to retreat back inside my house with a soft three-year-old.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Another first day...

I do have another son. He started back to Mother's Day Out this week...same school he's been visiting a couple of times a week since he was nine months old.

One of his teachers is a former teacher of Mickey's. The other...the incredibly sweet mother of one of Mickey's good friends.

I felt like kicking back with my hands clasped behind my head. Ohhhh, yeeaahhhh...

Pics from the day...sometimes I wonder if he assumes his non-expressive, staring into space look especially for me and my camera. I'm not really sure I should even post these; the boy looks like he's dreading it with every fiber of his being. I assure you...this IS his happy face.

Ten reasons Wipeout should stay on the air

Have ya'll seen this show? Wipeout has to be the most fun on TV right now. I don't spend time trying to figure out show line-ups, but I'm guessing its days are numbered since summer's almost over.

But I think they should keep it around, and here's why:

1. The only show, ever, that makes my entire family laugh...genuinely.

2. Gratuitous and witty innuendo that keeps adults happy, and little kids happily clueless.

3. Muddy water. Then clear water that cleans off all the mud. I love this. Yeah, it's a little weird.

4. Fun to watch the boys fashion their own "sweeper arms" at home.

5. Host John Anderson used to be on one of our local TV stations. Nothing to do with the show, I know.

6. It's truly the only show we all watch where I don't have to worry about the boys seeing something that makes me cringe.

7. Comes on at 7:00 p.m. Still time for getting the boys to bed on time.

8. When it's on the boys say "Big Balls" a lot...more laughs for Pete and I.

...oh, shoot, I can only think of eight reasons.

Seriously, that should be enough.