"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Love My Mailman

Some people jokingly suggest that since Baby doesn't look that much like her siblings, then perhaps she is the result of an illicit love affair between me and the local postal carrier*. After thanking them for questioning my fidelity, I usually punch them in the face. Just kidding. I'm not the violent sort. I just make sure to spit in a batch of brownies I baked for them.

But I really do love my mailman. He frequently brings packages to my door instead of leaving them at the bank of mailboxes. So when I got TWO packages yesterday, it was like my birthday week all over again (except without the poo and sobbing).

Why am I getting packages, you might be asking? And I'm asking why am I not getting packages from you, eh? You think this sort of blogging brilliance comes without a price?

But I digress. Periodically, I get the strange urge to contact strangers, reveal personal experiences and preferences. So I join a swap. Usually, I join more than one because I am slightly masochistic like that. It was time for Mamarazzi's Favorite Things Swap, which I adore. I also signed up for an UnBirthday Swap hosted by Miya. It was a LOT of fun filling it all out! So yesterday, I received packages from BOTH of my swap partners! HOORAY!

First up, the UnBirthday presents:


My partner was Goh Wei Wei, who lives in Singapore. Look at all the cute stuff! The brown tote bag in the back folds down into that little strawberry at the bottom. She sent stuff for Boo, Baby and the Boy. They were in heaven (except for Baby; she was asleep). But my favorite part of it?


A Cow pencil sharpener! At the bottom it says "Themselves happy, they made the other happy, too." Love it!

And not to be out-done, Carebear from Not Quite a Fairytale sent a treasure trove of awesomeness.


It's hard to narrow down a favorite from this one but I'd go with the Nutty Bars. Not only did I crave them ceaselessly during my pregnancy with Baby, but Carebear's note reads: "I have to eat them outside then wash my hands and brush my teeth because hubby is allergic to peanuts, but I love these too much to give them up completely." She and I could totally be BFFs.



*Our mailman is blonde so Baby's brown hair doesn't come from him! Are you going to suggest that perhaps it was the milkman next?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Baby's Brain Net

You might be wondering just what is going on here...well, I'll explain, because I'm endearing like that.

A little while ago, a student from the "Lord's University" called and asked if I had a five-month old baby and if I'd be willing to bring Baby down to campus to take part in a neurological study on infants. First thought? They wanted to hook up Baby's sweet little fuzzy head to all sorts of electrodes. This would result in lots of inconsolable sobbing. And Baby probably wouldn't like it, either. But the student then reassured the crazy mom lady that no, Baby would simply wear a cap, of sorts, with electrodes fitted on it. No breaking the skin or taping anything. So I agreed.

A lot had changed on campus since I had last been there...nine years ago, when I graduated. And everyone there seemed far too young to be playing at college. There was the adorable girl who directed us in that the Boy immediately fell in love with and held her hand all the way to the testing room. Then there was the equally adorable young man (I say "young man" because he would probably be offended if I called him a boy) who explained the process to us. This was one of those moments where I really wished I had a camera on my phone so I could snap a picture and immediately send it to the Co-ed. Not only was he a cutie, but he was a smart cutie. And he spent the next ten minutes down on the carpet, playing airplanes with the Boy. Definitely a keeper.

After they fitted Baby with her awesome head gear, I held her on my lap while they showed her a series of dots on a monitor. Were they kidding? She's used to two siblings doing all sorts of crazy dances while vying her acknowledgment and they wanted her to pay attention to dots? So getting her to look at the screen was difficult and we had to stop a couple times. It was over in about a half hour. They gave us this photo and a certificate for her scrapbook. Or to show to a perspective date a few years down the road when I want to make sure she's home in time for curfew...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Loyalty Rewarded

Oh, I am so relieved that you are still reading my blog! To show my appreciate, I have something for you...a little something for every taste.

Would you like some free chocolate?

a) Yes, please! Go here.

b) Yuck, hate the stuff and I hate babies. Go here.

c) Maybe later, I just ate a big, healthy salad. Go here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Bad

Alternate Titles: "And here's where I lose followers..." or "Strip Search now instituted at home"

Actually, it's the Man's bad but I am willing to accept the blame. Remember how I told the sob story about my camera battery dying in Key West and the subsequent purchase of a cheap underwater camera? Then I made glowing promises about getting that film developed for your viewing pleasure? Yeah, well...funny story.

So the other night, I was talking to the Man on the phone - because he may or may not be on business in Las Vegas and I mentioned the film and possibilities for getting it developed. We discuss the seductive evils of cheap Wal-mart pricing when I realize something: I've unpacked all the luggage and I don't have the film. The Man was the one that transported it home in his trusty backpack. Such a trusty backpack, in fact, that he never leaves home without it.

The Man has the film. In Las Vegas.

So no pictures for a little bit longer...I know, I totally suck. I already lost one follower this week and I would completely understand if the rest of you left in droves.

(And seriously, like getting comments wasn't addictive enough, now Blogger wants us to form our own little Internet cliches by tracking "followers?" But if you promise to stay following my blog, I promise not to abuse my power over you by making you drink grape kool-aid.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

An Open Letter Because I'm Feeling Irritable

Dear Neighbor,

Your phone is ringing. And ringing. AND RINGING. Answer it, already! If you don't want to answer it, either turn off the ringer or shut your window. That phone is insanely loud and annoying and my baby is trying to sleep. And who is calling you every two minutes? (Yes, I'm timing it...it's every two freaking' minutes!) They need to get a clue already.

Signed,
The person who is going to throw a brick through your open window!
(Okay, that's not true. I'd never throw a brick...)
The person who will hurl a dozen pink-frosted cupcakes through your open window

Monday, May 18, 2009

I've dreamed about these...

GIANT Gummy Bears! ON A STICK!!! Anyone else have a sudden desire to watch the old Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory again? I sense a Product Review coming on!

You can find them here.

Be sure to read the customer questions down at the bottom! They are priceless. Here are a few:

Q: If you choke the blue gummy bear what color will it turn?
A: Giant Gummy Bears do not have any blood flow, so choking them wouldn't do anything except get your hands a little sticky.


Q: I'm a writer for the newspaper and I am writing an article about Giant Gummy Bears. Would you please send me a sample? Actually, would you send me one of each flavor? I like to be thorough. Thanks!
A: Sure, no problem. Please send an email to riiiight@gmail.com and we'll take care of it.


Q: Where did the grand idea of a Giant Gummy Bear (on a stick) come from?
A: From the mind of a genius.


Obviously.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cruisin': Key West Florida

Okay, sorry about the delay, there. I had four cakes (two looked like this one and this one) scheduled for this weekend. And the Man may or may not be out of town, therefore leaving all childcare responsibilities to me. AND my van had massive issues on Saturday just as I was heading out to deliver cakes! Lovely.

So where were we? Ah yes...at sea.

I'm kinda glad they gave us the first afternoon to just relax, get unpacked, and periodically alternate between squealing with glee or trying not to cry because I missed Baby. Also? We were dead on our feet. The Man got a nice nap before dinner while I unpacked. No sleep plus constant adrenaline rushes? By the time we went back to our stateroom (cruise-speak for your room, also called a cabin), we pretty much crashed that first night. I hardly felt the boat moving.

Monday morning, we woke up in Key West. This was one of the Man's favorite things about the cruise. Your hotel moves to the next location while you sleep comfortably.


Key West is a tiny little island and really nice. Right off the boat, we were in a downtown, market area. I loved the little shops and stalls that lined the streets! The main drag is Duvall Street. The beach area is about a mile away from the pier. You can rent scooters and little electric cars or take a taxi. We opted not to go. Also, after seeing a woman on a scooter wipe out in the middle of an intersection, there was no way I was getting on one! There are other things to see: pirate museum, aquarium, seashell warehouse, a marina, and, of course, a multitude of key lime pie establishments. And if you buy nothing else, get a slice of key lime pie, dipped in chocolate and frozen. It was possibly the most refreshing thing I've ever tasted!


Since Key West is reachable by road, it has the southern-most highway in the United States. Here is where it ends (the other side of the street is the "Begin" marker). There was supposed to be a geocache here but we couldn't find it in the short amount of time we had to look.


This was another marina around the corner from where our ship anchored. We saw fish called tarpon swimming around that were longer than I am tall (which isn't saying much considering how short I am). I took a picture but my shadow was in the way...then I noticed the battery light flashing on my camera...crud! Did you know it is impossible to find a camera battery charger in the Caribbean? It's true. We looked everywhere. Ended up having to get a camera from the store on the ship (also had to get hairspray). Actually, I recommend bringing a disposable underwater camera. I didn't even think of how we would get pictures while snorkeling or climbing the waterfall. Turned out to be a good thing.

So...since my battery died on the first day, all the rest of my pictures are on 35mm film, which I still haven't gotten developed...I promise I'll get to it first thing this next week!

Friday, May 15, 2009

First Decade of Eternity

We take a break from our normally scheduled overly dramatic rehashing of the cruise for these important messages -


I woke up this morning to the doorbell ringing...


Ten years ago today, I married the Man. Now, as tempted as I am to get all mushy and weepy about how fantastically wonderful he is, I will spare him that. But I will say that from the moment he fixed my computer, I knew he was something special and I am so very glad that I stalked him endlessly until he agreed that I was special, too.

I love you, the Man. Thank you for the beautiful flowers, the beautiful children, and for 10 beautiful years.


Also, this day marks another special event. It's my best friend's birthday! Happy Birthday, Kellerbeans!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cruisin' On A Sunday Afternoon

Okay, here we go with the long-awaited, much anticipated, and more than likely disappointing posts about my vacation. This was my first cruise and I gotta say, it's an entirely different way of life. In fact, I'm considering starting another blog devoted to helping first-time cruisers work their way through the system. I like the name "Fat White Lady's Guide To Cruises" and possibly going with an alter-ego, like Sunburn Susie. We'll see.

Five years ago, for our fifth wedding anniversary, we did absolutely nothing. I think we might have kissed each other for an extra second to mark the occasion but otherwise, very lack luster. That's when I started saying that for our 10th anniversary, we would take a cruise. So five years later, I was combing through the cruise deals and trying to narrow down my choices. I was campaigning for an Alaskan cruise because - let's be honest, here - I look much better in a parka than I do in a swimming suit. The Man wasn't sold on the idea and the shore excursions (that's cruise-speak for trips you make to land to do something other than bake yourself on the deck of the ship or visit the self-serve ice cream stations) were pretty lame or very expensive. Then I found Carnival Cruises. They were reasonable and had some fantastic choices for port trips. My one stipulation? No Mexico stops. I was utterly paranoid and the whole "drug cartel wars" made me nervous (and don't bother trying to reassure me...I am completely irrational). Turned out to be a very good thing because, thanks to swine flu outbreaks, all Mexico ports of call were canceled. So hooray for anxiety attacks!

Grandma G came to stay with the littles and we were on our way! The Man booked us onto a red-eye flight to NYC, where we would fly all night and then hop on a plane down to Florida. I think both of us kinda glossed over the fact that it is impossible to get decent sleep on an airplane. If it wasn't for the constant excitement about finally getting on the boat, I might have been dead on my feet. Our boat left from Fort Lauderdale. For some insane reason, we had to follow other cruisers around in a line for nearly two hours before they let us on the boat. Ri. Dic. Ulous. But we finally crossed the gangway and were on deck! Before we could jump up and down, squealing with glee, it was time for muster. This is where all passengers must get their life jackets from their cabins and then meet in assigned locations for an emergency drill. It's mandatory, people. They check your rooms and herd you out of all other parts of the ship for this. Afterwards, you are free to behave like self-centered jerks but for now, listen up.


While not quite mandatory, nearly everyone heads to the Lido deck (the main deck) to watch the ship leave port. Once you leave the city behind, there's not much to see. No dolphins frolicking in the surf or whales breaching the surface. There aren't even any strange fish floating around. Just water. And maybe some seaweed.

But here are a couple other things that I learned right away:
1) The ship's photographers like take your picture. Frequently. Even when you're eating.
2) The bar service people are always asking if you'd like something from the bar. "Sir, I see you've just come from the restroom. Perhaps you'd like to work on refilling that bladder with one of our specialty drinks in a nifty souvenir glass?"

Now, the ship tries to sell you the pictures but of course, you don't have to buy them. There's even handy recycling bins for the ones where you look cross-eyed. These photos make cute reminders of your trip. Unless of course you are me and have never been accused of being photogenic. We did get lots of pictures taken because I really wanted one to mark the occasion. Never bought one. I tend to forget that I am rather portly. *sigh*

As for the constant flow of booze, some people declare that this is their favorite part of going on a cruise. We certainly met a few people who seemed bent on drowning themselves in pineapple juice, vodka, and fresh fruit skewers. Our boat offered a bucket of beers. Seriously. A large white bucket filled with ice and bottles of your preferred beer. Since we don't imbibe, we purchased Fountain Cards. These are usually pro-rated (ours was $5.50 per person per day) and are good for your endless fountain drinks or juice during your entire cruise. If you don't want to pay, you can always partake of the self-serve water, tea, coffee and lemonade stations. Those are free (but not always completely stocked). (And by "free," I mean you've already paid for it in the price of your ticket.)

Okay, this post is getting rather long and we've only just left port...so stayed tuned for our first stop: Key West, Florida!

What beverage would you like to have a bucket of?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Housekeeping

Before I post my pictures and commentary on the cruise, I have a couple things I need to get up here.

Remember Moody Mommy's Mother's Day Swap? I got the package when I got home!


I love getting stuff in the mail, especially stuff that smells good or is sparkly. Jackie from the Woods Family was my partner. She also happens to be a Scentsy consultant. The only way Jackie could have sent me a better package was if it were coated in chocolate. I love this stuff! The room spray is called "Skinny Dippin'" and I am addicted!

And I'm not sure I've mentioned this at all, but about five months ago, I had a baby. I am still getting the random gift in the mail!


This perfectly adorable dress is from some old friends of ours from back in our single days who now live in another state. The card game is the kids' version of one we frequently played with them. It's also the only game that I completely suck at. Except for maybe Clue, but I cheat at that one so it doesn't count. Boo is already an expert at this Phase 10. I just hope she doesn't find out there's another one...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Open Letters From The Cruise

We're back! Had an amazing time and didn't burn myself to a crisp out in all that sun. I'll give you the details over the next few days but here are a couple letters to people on the cruise that just couldn't wait...


Dear Chick in the White Bikini,

Yes, you are attractive. Yes, you have a lovely figure. But was it really necessary to hike up a 600 foot waterfall in a thong? Seriously?

Yours,
Fat White Chick a few dozen feet below you and not enjoying the view



Dear Jerk in the Dining Room,

Looks like you are having a good time, with your drink and your mild sunburn. And perhaps it is the alcohol that befuddles your mind but in case you didn't read the brochure, misplaced your schedule, didn't hear the repeated announcements, failed to notice the many signs, and didn't listen to your waiter last night or during lunch and breakfast today...tonight is the second formal evening for dinner. You won't be allowed into the dining room in your shorts and ball cap. Verbally berating the tiny little hostess who won't let you in is not going to make things better. It just makes you look like a uncouth cretin.

Sincerely,
Person who took the time to shower before coming to dinner because I'm fancy

P.S.
Having your slightly less creepy wife sneak you in later when the hostess isn't there is so not cool. I hope someone spat on your lobster...wish it could have been me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Overheard Conversations #2

Boy: Daddy?
the Man: Hang on a minute, son.
Boy: Daddy? Daddy?
the Man: Just a bit, almost done, Boy.
Boy: Daddy? Daddy?? Daddy?!? DADDY!!
the Man: Geesh, Boy! Hold your horses!
(quiet pause)
Boy: We have horses?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Miss Me While I'm Gone!

So I'm not really here right now but I don't want you to stare at your computer screens, all lonely and bored. Here's a little something for your viewing pleasure. I think I actually saw this when it originally aired and loved it.


And if the embedding isn't working, I can't get off the cruise boat and fix it so go here instead.

What is one modern miracle that you take for granted?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Breaking Spring

For da Boo's Spring Break, we headed down south to see the incredible Goblin Valley. Since all of the camping areas there were booked, we got a site in Capitol Reef National Park. Keep in mind this place was Plan B...not our first choice.

We haven't been camping since I was pregnant with the Boy. Well, at least not as a family. The Man and the Boy have gone on a couple Father/Son trips (while da Boo and I did fun girly stuff). But I'd consider myself a fairly experienced camper. I went all the time as a kid. Some of my favorite memories are of setting up tents and pop-up campers in the dark, nearly freezing the time we forgot sleeping bags (I used a beach towel as a blanket), and scaring ourselves witless by imagining there was a bear in the woods (actually, that wasn't our imagination...there were tracks around our campsite the next morning). So I am big fan of the whole camping thing.

And I thought I knew what to bring. But the first day, when we nearly lost all feeling in our extremities because of the cold winds in Goblin Valley, I began to doubt. I hadn't packed for this. That night, while chilly, wasn't terrible, since the trailer we borrow from our awesome friends came equipped with a heater. Still...this was the scene outside the next morning:


Icicles! Now, that's cold! But the second day was better. No biting wind to contend with. We got to see more of this rather amazing national park. We had such a good time that we decided to stay another night.


This homestead was left behind by one earlier settlers of the area. That tiny little house - that isn't even the size of my living room - housed a family of TEN. And sometimes our big ol' house is too cramped when the kids insist on following me every where...goes to show just what I take for granted.

Can't go camping without hiking! We took a pretty easy hike up to a natural bridge, called Hickman Bridge.

The kids had a good time (well, Boo did when she forgot to whine about how she wasn't having any fun) and Baby slept the whole time in the backpack carrier. Periodically, the Man would hear growling and grunting coming from just behind him. Just before he freaked out, he would remember that those noises were produced by his snoring infant daughter. So Day #2, very enjoyable. We chatted a little with our neighbors and found out that they live not too far from us! Small world. My favorite memory of the trip was teaching the kids how to make s'mores that night. (And I tossed a marshmallow into the fire for old time's sake...but don't tell the Man!)

The next morning, it was time to head home. I had a birthday party to prepare for and the kids were in need of baths. But the weather had more surprises for us...


Awesome. Nothing like packing up in near-blizzard conditions...

Selfish Mistakes

I've never been accused of over-thinking anything (besides Halloween costumes). And it's true. Sometimes, I just don't think before acting. I don't think about how da Boo might not laugh when I tease her, how she might cry instead. I don't think about how other people might be affected by my erratic driving when I'm running late. And I don't think before posting, especially when I am emotional. When I'm being super-sensitive, I do what I think I need to in order to feel better, whether it's venting a little too harshly or making snap judgments of others when they don't deserve that. Blowing off steam shouldn't make other people cry.

I've hurt someone with a blog post. Now, if it were Super Dell we were talking about, then it wouldn't matter because he is a futuristic cyborg sent to corrupt the minds of innocent wearers of fanny packs. But it wasn't that freak show. It was someone that I admire greatly; one of those people with whom I'd really like to be friends but my dorkitude holds me back. And since it was by blog that hurt this person, then it must be on my blog where I apologize.

I am really sorry. Please forgive me.

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