Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Does this feel like graduation? It totally does. Will you sign my yearbook?

Oh, you guys. You guys, you guys, you guys. Let me just look at you for a minute. You look really good. Did you change your hair?

It just seems like, oh, 3 weeks ago that I decided to celebrate my 300th post by blogging everyday for the rest of May, and now here we are. We've shared so much together, haven't we? I don't know about you, but I really feel like these few weeks have been a turning point in our relationship. Do you feel that? I do.

You complete me.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to link back to some of my most memorable posts from the ol' archives. Seeing as how I've never been organized enough to make them easily searchable, you may have missed a few.

1. Read the epic tale of a major passport mishap/parenting fail. There's planes! Trains! Tears! The US Consulate! Parts One and Two, in which I sweated, cursed under my breath, and tried not to pee my pants.

2. I'm not sure if he meant to, but Stephen Fry made me cry. Sometimes you miss things from home without even knowing you miss them. Ya know?

3. I made Grace wear a maxi pad. I like to think it's an example of my ingenuity.

4. This one time, my friend and her little boy thought it'd be fun to bring their baby Bluetongued Lizard for a visit. I guess the lizard really liked my house. And boy, can those things disappear quickly! I was not amused. Read Parts One and Two, and how the day was saved.

5. Our Grace is born! I'm sure she was already plotting her eventual coup at this stage.

6. My sister calls me to tell me she's been diagnosed with breast cancer.

7. Jason has to get all Jack Bauer when I made him split his toe open. I am the best wife ever.

8. I consider living in a vat of hand sanitizer when we all get conjunctivitis. I also talk about boobs, though--so everybody wins!

9. I lose a bet with my dad. I have to cluck like a chicken. That's really all I can say, except that it's so lovely to have supportive parents.

10. My name is Amy, and I wink/accidentally flirt with strangers.

11. A little story about what a stabby mess I was when we were getting ready to move here. It has rainbows! And ponies! (But not really ponies.)

So there you have it. That should keep you busy for awhile. For real though, thanks for reading! I love talking to y'all, thanks for indulging me.

Back soon!


Monday, May 30, 2011

Time to up my game

Grace will be 2 in two weeks--yikes! That's the funny thing about kids...when you feed them and stuff, they tend to grow. Profound, isn't it? I have lots of other insights to offer; would you be interested in my book on parenting? It's called: Swimming Lessons Count as a Bath (And Other Parental Shortcuts).

Thing is, she's getting smarter too. And throughout the day, I find myself getting played a little bit. If I'm putting her to bed, she waits till we read our 3 books then right at the last minute, calls for daddy to come and do the honors. She will go and stand in the hallway and just yell his name till he comes. Of course, if it's Jason that does the jammification process and reads books, then she's wanting me.

Oh gosh, speaking of--I gotta tell y'all what happened yesterday. We got home from church and I went straight into her room to put her down for a nap. We had something on in the afternoon so I was trying to get her down in a hurry. Of course she wanted Jason to come do it.

I called for Jason to come--he'd gone up to our bedroom to change clothes. He came to Grace's room with no shirt on. When he walked in, she just stared at him and started saying, "Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh." (This is what all dudes hope the ladies will say, right guys?) I mean, she was really bothered that he didn't have his shirt on--she just stared at him. I started doing that silent-laughter-shoulder-shaking thing. I tried to hand her to Jason, but she clung to me. She was just not having this whole shirtless thing. Good news, though--now every time Jason changes clothes now, I can just go, "Uh-oh! Uh-oh!"

Anyway, I've realized that I've been a little more lax with Grace, as far as setting boundaries and discipline goes. We are working on teaching her to say "please" and not rewarding her for tantruming. But I let a lot more things go than I used to. I guess I just find it so funny when she points at Nate and screams for him to vacate the rocking chair. (He does it right away, whereas he never would for Ava.) Or when she walks up to me and silently holds her hand out for me to give her my partially-eaten apple, certain that she will be obeyed. Or when she tells one of us off--in total gibberish language, but her tone! You just know that she is ripping you to shreds, if you could only understand it.

She is a fuzzy, pink, attack bear. They're the most dangerous kind.

The truth is, it makes me laugh. (Well, when I'm not frustrated already.) She is like this tiny, blonde dictator with light-up sneakers. The chutzpah! She has no doubt of her place in the universe and she will brook no opposition. But I know, I know. What's cute at 2 is utterly obnoxious at 4. This ain't my first rodeo. So, I know we have to start working on some of these behaviors.

Before we're all huddling under the kitchen table while she trashes the joint.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Need to work on our Theology. Or Geography. Theography?

On the way to church early this morning, the kids were both looking through their Bibles. We bought them both new Bibles a few weeks ago--their first "nicer" ones. Nate can't read his on his own yet, so he likes to look at the maps in the back.

"Dad?" he called out from the back of the car. "Did you know that we were the second people in Australia?" "We were?" Jason asked. I thought, Hmmm, maybe they're already teaching him about the Aboriginal people at school. "Yeah," Nate said. "The first were the Israelites."

And being the responsible, quick-to-educate parents that we are, (and pastors, to boot) we did what came naturally.

"Really, buddy? That's interesting."

Sometimes, you just gotta let things go.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A quiet kind of day

Today was a much-needed lazy day. There were no birthday parties to attend, no meetings to go to, no events to organize. I slept until 8:30 (!), and Jason got up with the kids. (Yes, I'm sorry to say that 8:30 way counts as sleeping in.) Then, we took the kids to the park and enjoyed a glorious winter(ish) day.
It doesn't matter the weather, though... the kids will always want iceblocks no matter how cold it is. I think it's like a constant of the universe. Like, is the earth still rotating on its axis? Are we still carbon-based lifeforms? Does mankind still possess the power to freeze flavoured sugar water, and place said frozen water on a stick? Then, yes. I would like one of those frozen sticks, please.

Then, we came home and tried to do as little as possible. The kids had their afternoon rest time, and when that was over, Jason and I did that thing we do when neither of us feels like getting up--we traded off parenting. You get up to get juice this time, I'll make sandwiches next time. You help build the Lego tower this time, I'll change the diaper next time. Wanna watch another DVD, guys?

You get the idea. I read Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey on my phone and Jason watched The Seven Samurai until Grace insisted on something more age-appropriate. She's picky like that. Actually, we couldn't blame her. I know that movie is supposed to be a classic, but we both found it to be a major snooze-fest. Just being honest.

Then, we grilled steaks for dinner and our neighbors came over to eat with us. They agreed that I'm definitely more easygoing. Like, way. (Right, guys? That's what we decided, right?)

Now, I'm watching a live streaming video of a friend's wedding in Dublin. Ain't that fancy? All in all, a lovely day.

Hope yours is nice too! Don't over-exert yourself, okay? You deserve a break.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Very Sporty

I've never been good at sports. I always seem to get hit in the head with the ball--even if I'm not actually playing the game. Standing around, watching friends play beach volleyball, for example, it's only a matter of time before an errant serve whacks me in the side of the head.

As a kid, I gave it a go. I played church softball. (For my Aussie and/or non-American readers, a lot of churches in the States have sports leagues and play other churches in softball, basketball, whatever.) I was never any good at softball. I played cause that's just what you did, but I was always uncomfortable and nervous I'd do something catastrophic, and generally glad when my turn at bat was over. I only played for a couple of years, before embracing my non-sportiness. But not before I got a trophy! My very own award, at the end-of-the-year church softball banquet. For "Most Christian Attitude". Bless them for coming up with an award to give me, but even as an 11 year old, I knew it was kind of bogus. Still, it was nice to have a trophy.

Imagine my surprise when I ended up dating and eventually marrying a natural athlete. Jason grew up playing nearly every sport offered in Orange County, and eventually chose to focus on diving. I really saw my lack of athleticism as a flaw, at that time it was something that I was kind of embarrassed about. So, when I started to realize that I, like, LIKED Jason, I told myself he would never be interested in me because he was such an athlete and I was clearly not. Of course, I was 18 and more than a little silly. Now, of course, our differences there are a non-issue. He doesn't expect me to want to play tennis or whatever with him, and I enjoy having a husband who can do back flips on command. (This is awesome at parties.)

Ava and Nate are at the age now that they are starting to try out different sports. We are doing it gradually--they're pretty little and we are not quite ready to have our lives overtaken by practices, games, and more practices. They both are in swimming lessons, which here in Australia, doesn't even really count. Pretty much every kid is in swimming, all year round! Nate has started playing soccer this year, and both kids are taking gymnastics on Friday afternoons. The YMCA runs a program out of our local high school, and they are having lots of fun on the trampoline and the balance beam, and learning to hang from the uneven bars.

Of course, when your kids start to play sports, that's when you see the different philosophies emerge from Mom and Dad. You might guess that I'm pretty chill about the whole thing. Do you want to do this, are you having fun, just try your best--that's kind of my deal. Jason would agree, but he's also: push through the pain, don't cry, practice more, don't stop running just cause your side hurts, etc. (Actually that's the advice he has to give me, not so much the kids!)

Tonight, I was getting the kids into their PJ's, and asking them how gymnastics went this afternoon. Ava stuck her foot in the air. "See this big toe?" "Uh, yeah," I said. "I was running toward the mini-trampoline to do my star jumps and my toe hit the metal bar on the side. I cried," she said. "Ouch!" I said, "I bet that hurt."

Nate then jumped in the conversation. He showed us where he'd fallen and scraped his elbow. "I laid on the ground for a minute," he said, pausing for effect, "And then I just got up and kept going. See?" he said, now looking at Ava to lecture her, "It's okay if you feel tears, but you just gotta keep them from coming out."

I'm sure Jason would've high-fived him if he'd been in the room to hear that statement! Of course, me being me, I said, "Well, it's okay if you cry sometimes!" I betcha if Jason had heard me say that, I would've totally gotten the Stinkeye.

This is probably why one of us got a Most Christian Attitude trophy and one of us got a 4 year full tuition athletic scholarship.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

As if you needed more convincing that I am a freak

Tonight when I got home I watched a little of the Oprah show finale. Actually, I guess it's the second to last show? The last last one is tomorrow night. I haven't watched Oprah consistently in years, really. But for a lot of years, it was a mainstay of my week. ("You get a car! You get a car! You! You!") I'm not as big an Oprah-ite as a lot of people, but some of her truisms still come to mind for me. "You teach people how to treat you" is one of the big ones.

Anyway, while watching tonight I remembered again how vaguely uncomfortable I get while watching "live" TV. Are you like this at all? It just feels too uncertain, and I worry that someone will make a mistake or say something they shouldn't or that someone will embarrass themselves. This year, I tried to watch the Academy Awards but I had to change the channel cause I felt so sorry for Anne Hathaway. She was trying so hard! And I just was worried that it was falling flat.

I have a hard time watching talk shows where viewers call in, too. I would get so embarrassed for people sometimes. Why? I have no idea, but I'd beg to change the channel. There's a popular drive time radio show here where the hosts sometimes prank call random people. They're not nasty about it or anything, but I always have to switch the station when they do it. Also, those candid camera type prank shows. Oh gosh, those are agony to watch for me. I can't stand watching someone being pranked--I literally have left the room before, it's painful to me. Not because I don't see the humor in it. I think it's that someone is being made to be vulnerable, or exposed in a way, and I feel like I should look away--just as much as if they'd ripped the seat of their pants.

Tonight I was sort of laughing to myself though, cause why would watching the Oprah finale make me nervous? All those people up there have been on camera most of their lives. There is an army of staff and professionals who have planned that show, literally to the second. I probably don't need to worry about how they're gonna do.

But I still did. A bit.

I need to chill out a little, don't I?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Say I'm More Relaxed or I Will Punch You in the Face

Tonight Jason and I got to go out to dinner and a movie. We have some friends staying with us, who've just relocated to Sydney, and they agreed to babysit for us so we could go out. Woohoo!

Over dinner, Jason was telling me about a conversation he had recently with a mom from the school. He ran into her at our local coffee shop, made polite chit-chat, and she ended up telling him a little about how her kids were coping with her recent divorce. (Jason just seems to be the kind of person that everyone wants to talk to. He's all pastor-y.) We don't know them very well, but Ava is in the same class as this couple's little girl. We were talking about how difficult the adjustment must be for all of them, and how both the husband and wife have very strong, dominant personalities. Really, we weren't talking so much about this couple in particular, but about the anatomies of different kinds of marriages. It always makes me think of what my dad used to tell us, "The only people who know what really goes on in a marriage are the two people in it."

I told Jason, "You know, I think we have it easier sometimes because we both happen to be pretty easygoing people. Temperament makes a big difference." And he goes, "Well yeah, one of us is easygoing." I stopped, my fork of delicious lamb massaman curry halfway to my mouth. "Surely, you're talking about me."

"Hmmm, I'm pretty sure I'm more easygoing than you are," he said, smiling sweetly. (He loves to bait me like this. Probably because it always works.) "Oh sure, maybe," I said, "Until it's something you have a strong opinion about. Then you bring the hammer of your iron will to bear." (Okay, I probably didn't say exactly that. My mouth was full of this beautiful, tender lamb shank, after all. But that's what I would've said if I hadn't been chewing.)

Then I reminded him of what country we are currently living in, and how that was a decision driven by him. (Yes, yes, I love it here, but still.) And of how many times he'd rearranged our living room furniture without asking me first. He said, "Well, okay, maybe 10% of the time, I push my way through. But the other 90%? It's all you."

Well, I called BS on that, I'll tell you right now. Then we had a discussion of terms--yes, I looked up the official definition of "easygoing" on my phone, we discussed the difference between easygoing as a temperament versus a moral position. "Placid" was thrown out as an alternative descriptor, and promptly abandoned.

Then he decided to show how easily annoyed (read: non-easygoing) I can be. He started drumming his fingers repeatedly on the table. Then he picked up the water carafe and rested it on top of the little tealite holder. "Stop that!" I said, looking around. "Oh! Is this bothering you?" he said, lifting it and putting it back, again and again.

It was totally bothering me, but that kind of business would bug anyone!

Do other couples flirt like this?

I then decided it was time to take this to a jury of our peers. Facebook, duh! As we waited in line to buy our movie tickets, I asked my FB friends to help us settle our debate. Who was more easygoing: Jason or I? Well, the initial feedback was underwhelming, to be sure. My friend Jules pointed out that if either of us were easygoing, would we have posted the question? I replied that all of my friends were PANSIES and needed to man up and answer.

As of now, Jason has slightly more votes than me, but I have been designated as "sweeter". Someone pointed out that easygoing people wouldn't yell PANSIES at their friends, but I don't think that's a pertinent observation, do you?

Anyway, it was a lovely evening. And when Jason started to complain about our seats in the theatre and said maybe we should move, I pointed out that really, I'll sit anywhere. Any seat in the whole place is perfectly fine by me. Here I'll just stand here in the aisle. I don't mind.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Brain is weird and/or amazing. Probably mostly weird.

Remember how I was telling y'all about my love for MacGyver the other day? (It will never die, by the way. I don't care what anyone says. #Mac4Lyf)

Anyway, I've been thinking about how certain movies or TV shows really make an impression on you, and kinda "stick" with you. Books do this too of course. But because of the visual aspect, for me, I'll think of certain shows or scenes from different movies often. Usually, they're funny.

Here's one that you may or may not remember. Anytime I hear the country Yemen mentioned I always think of this one Friends episode. You know the one? Where Chandler can't bear to break up with this annoying girl, so he tells her his work has transferred him to Yemen. And she is so sad and wants to maintain a long distance relationship, so he has to go through with the whole charade. It's hilarious the lengths he goes to in order not to have to breakup with her. He prepares, he goes to the airport, he goes to the gate--and she still won't leave. So, he picks up his bag and says in this desperate voice, "I'm goin' to Yemen!" And goes and gets on the plane. Anytime anyone says the word Yemen, Jason and I look at each other and smile, cause we're both thinking of that episode. I think of it, too, when I'm going to stupid lengths to avoid an uncomfortable situation. Going to Yemen!

(You can watch it here if you wanna. It's pretty funny.)

But the last few days, with all this end-of-the-world talk, I keep thinking of this one particular episode of The Twilight Zone. Of course, that series was before my time, but it used to come on late at night when I was a kid and teenager, and my sister and I would often stay up and watch it. They never really scared me, but they always left an impression. The one I've been thinking of is this one that starred Burgess Meredith. It's called Time Enough at Last.

Basically, Meredith plays this shy, bookwormish bank teller who is henpecked by his wife, belittled by his boss, and is generally pretty miserable. He loves to read, and is absorbed in books, a habit that gets him in constant trouble at work and home.

So, one day, he goes for his lunch break in the bank's vault. And while he is down there, reading in peace, there's a thundering explosion above. It knocks him out at first, but when he comes to he leaves the vault. He comes up, realizes there's been some kind of nuclear explosion and that everyone is dead but him. He wanders around the town, in disbelief. He gets to the point where he wants to kill himself, but then he sees the ruins of the public library in the distance. Here are stacks and piles of books, all in good condition, all readable. Finally, he has time to read all he could ever want, with no one to bother him. He runs over to the dusty steps of the ruined library and sits down. He picks up a book. He looks down to open the book, and his thick glasses fall off his face and break on the pavement.

Without his glasses, he is basically blind. The episode ends with him weeping on the steps of the library, knowing that he's alone now, with all the time in the world and all these books around him and he can't read a single one.

I don't know how old I was when I first saw that episode...maybe 12? But it made such an impression on me. I was just so sad for this character--unaccountably sad, really--I felt his despair and hopelessness. I was totally drawn into this old black and white, 30 minute TV show with its sorta cheesy plot and script. I can remember sitting in our living room at home and feeling such a sense of loss for him. I think it's the whole idea of your dream being right in your reach, and then knowing you've lost it. And for me, at that young age, to think about what it might be like to be really, really alone...sheesh, that was a lot for me to take in.

Dude, I don't know, but it's stayed with me, and this week I've thought of that episode several times. The mind is a funny thing, isn't it? I don't even know why I'm writing about it, except that I'm blogging everyday this month and needed to write something! But seriously, it interests me; the little pieces of culture--books, TV, songs, jokes, history--that provide the associations we make with what happens to us and around us.

What are your "landmark" shows, books, movies? The ones that regularly are recalled to your memory? Some more of mine involve: Monty Python movies, Little House on the Prairie books, Star Trek, Seinfeld, and stories my dad would tell us about when he was a little boy. There's this one about a dismembered big toe buried in the barn...but enough about me.

What about you?

Monday, May 23, 2011

My friend, YOU are the salad spinner. Go, and be that.

Tonight, we hosted our leadership team here for dinner and a meeting after. My friend Sarah was helping me finish all the dinner preparations, and was making the salad. As she was washing the lettuce, she asked if we had a salad spinner. You know, those thingies. It's like a colander inside a bowl, and you crank the handle and it spin dries the lettuce?

I don't have one. It makes me feel like less of a woman.

Not really. But it IS one of those things that I never think about buying until I need one and don't have it. And then I'm like, "Dang it! How will I ever get this lettuce to dry?" Other things in this category for me at the moment: new dental floss, clothespins, and conditioner. People should really start making lists of things they need from the store, so that when they go, they can just check the list. Why doesn't anyone ever do that?

My life is very difficult and painful at times.

But then Sarah changed my life. And now I'm about to change yours.

She said that she heard somewhere that if you put your washed lettuce inside a clean pillowcase, and then swung the pillowcase around, that it would have the same effect as a salad spinner. "Seriously?" I asked. Sarah hadn't ever tried it before, so she decided to give it a go.

And y'all, it WORKED. So AWESOMELY. And all you do is just what I wrote before: wash your lettuce, put it inside a clean pillowcase, step outside if possible (this is kinda important unless you want a floor sprayed with lettuce water) and swing your arm around in circles. If you knew about this, why hadn't you told me?

Sarah saved our salad and saved the day! Do you think this is how pioneer women used to dry their lettuce? I mean, before salad spinners were invented and all? Those prairie women had to be resourceful, you know. And now, I feel so much closer to them. Me and Ma Ingalls, joined across the centuries.

You may not feel like I've just changed your life, but I really have. It may just take a day or two to sink in.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Apocalypse? There's an App for That.

Last night, at about 8:30 I got a text from my Dad. This automatically made me uneasy, as I knew it was only 6:30 in the morning where they are. The text read, "Are y'all still there? Earthquakes?"

Now, given the earthquakes and other natural disasters in this part of the world lately, I automatically thought there'd been another one somewhere. I started to worry--we hadn't been watching TV last night, and our internet was down. "Uh...yeah," I replied, "You know more than me. Where?? Our Internet is down."

"Associated with the rapture. You didn't go?"

(I'd forgotten that one dude predicted the world would end on May 21st. See, I don't tend to get alarmed about these predictions, especially cause Jesus was all,"Look guys, no one knows the date but God! Don't listen to those schmucks!" This is obviously my loose translation.)

Then I really did laugh out loud. "Nope, def still here!" I said. Dad replied, "Guess that guy got it wrong again." "Yeah I guess so. Red-faced for sure!"

Jason and I were chuckling about it last night when he read me this brief article from Gizmodo: An iPhone App for the Post-Rapture Barter Economy. It's accompanied by a short video. It's an app called Barto, which allows users to upload descriptions of items, skills or services that they'd like to barter. Of course, it's a legit app, kind of a Craigslist alternative, and the whole apocalyptic spin is just from Gizmodo, I think. But we thought it was funny--somehow checking your iPhone for deals on pitchforks or canned goods doesn't seem to fit with the traditional post-apocalyptic genre.

But it's good to know that people are thinking ahead! Now what I wanna know: will there be iPhones in heaven? Cause if there ain't, I don't think I can convince Jason to come with me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Budding Philanthropist

The other day, Jason was driving somewhere with Ava and Nate in the car. Somehow, the conversation turned to helping others, and the children that we sponsor through Compassion International. Jason told me later that he told the kids about what it means to sponsor a child, about how there are many children in the world who desperately need it.

(He's relaying this to me tonight, and I'm thinking, "Wow, he goes deep with the kids." I just usually let them play games on my phone, or I say, "Hey! Let's all play the Quiet Game!")

Then, Jase told me he mentioned how it would be great if we could sponsor more children, and that maybe the kids could chip in some of their allowance.

"Yeah, that's a good idea!" Ava replied. Nate wasn't so sure. Jason talked some more about how sometimes it's hard to give to a need when it isn't right in front of you, or you don't know the person, etc.

Nate listens to all this, and goes, "No that's not it. I just wanna get a Nintendo DS."

Oh. Okay, then. At least he's honest, right?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Thoughts so I Don't Get Stabby

This post is brought to you courtesy of two things: one, my post-everyday-in-May-o-rama! (Yay!) And two, I am trying to distract myself from the stabby thoughts I am having about the neighbors behind us and their loud, bass-thumping party. It's not the first time. You can read here about the letter I'd like to write to the shrieking girls over there. They need guidance! You guys, I am having, um, uncharitable thoughts. So I decided to think about happy things. Cool?

For Nate's "news" the other day, he wanted to take in some of his baby pictures on a USB stick to show the class. His teacher can put it onto the smartboard (which looks like a whiteboard, but is so, so much more!). These kids and their Modern Conveniences. In my day, we took a dirt clod in for show-and-tell and that was good enough!

Look at my little, slightly jaundiced dude.

Look at little 2 yr old Ava--she and Grace could be sisters. Oh, wait.

Looking at those pictures, I can't believe how much has happened over the last 6-ish years. When Nate was born, we'd only been in Australia for 3 months. He was born prematurely, as I mentioned here, and when these pics were taken I can remember just feeling so relieved and thankful that everything had worked out--that he was healthy, and that we were all okay.
That time is a blur in so many ways. We were settling into life and ministry here, I was still scared to drive on the "wrong" side of the road, we were learning all the stuff you have to learn to set up life in a new country. Learning it on the fly, really--which unfortunately seems to be a theme with us.

But really, I'm amazed when I think how our little family has grown.

(Oh man, I just realized this could sound like a "We're pregnant!" post. We are not pregnant. Mom? I promise. Okay? Alright, anyway.)

In lots of ways, I still feel like we're adjusting to life here--it will always feel "different" in some respects, I imagine. And although we think we'll end up back in the US one day (Mom? We do!), we are happy with our lives here. It's a great place to be, and we feel blessed. Heck, we are blessed. There's a Psalm that kind of expresses that sentiment--it says, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." That's pretty much how we feel.

(Now, I am going to try to go to bed, so that laser-like anger rays don't shoot from my eyes and burn a hole in the back fence.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Real quick-like

Just a quick note before I'm off to bed...Grace was out of sorts all day today and has woken up crying 3 times already. So, who knows what the night may hold? Best to sleep while you can!

I just needed to tell you this. We checked out a new playgroup today, since Grace was like, "I know I'm the third child and all, Mom, but throw me a bone, will ya? Take me somewhere developmentally appropriate!" And I was like, "What--playing with the vending machines while Ava and Nate are at swimming lessons isn't enough for you? What about the time you got your hand stuck in the door flap thingy?" And she was all, "See? That's pathetic."

So my friend Jules and I went to playgroup this morning, and met a bunch of nice girls and their kids. And here's the thing I wanted to tell you: one of the little boys there was named Odin.

Odin? Major god in Norse mythology, ruler of Asgard? I think he's like the Nordic equivalent of Zeus, right? Anyway, it struck me as I met this little guy today that I think I've heard of other people naming their boys that. Is it becoming a thing? Why am I always the last to find out?

The quick, totally non-comprehensive research I did on the Internets gives me the idea that it's simply thought of as a quirky, uncommon sounding name. I dunno...I just don't think I could have a little Odin running around. It just makes me think of Viking ships and pillaging. And crusty old warriors. But that's just me...we tend toward the simpler, less creative names, I guess.

So what other naming trends am I missing out on? Is there a goddess of sleep and non-cheekiness? Maybe that's who we should've named Grace after.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Somewhat Constrained

You guys, I kept thinking about that cupcake all day today. Is that sad? Maybe a little. It is perhaps a little sad. But I didn't go back to get one because, frankly, the thought of taking Grace back to the mall in the midst of the mid-morning rush was too much for me. Plus, she'd have just eaten most of it anyway. Somehow, none of our three kids have been the type to sit quietly in their strollers and watch the world go by. They have all been little Houdinis, figuring out ways to slip out of the restraints, or at least being loudly miserable until we release them. At this point, I would like to go on the record and blame Jason's hyperactive DNA. He of the knee jiggling. He of the pen tapping and napkin fiddling. He of the candle wax peeling. The blame lies squarely at your door, sir!

So, anyway, no cupcake today. I think I should have to run a Grace-gauntlet to get to any high calorie or fatty food...I bet the weight would just come right off! She can be my healthy lifestyle coach. Instead we stayed home and Grace dumped a massive container of yogurt on the floor.

The bright side, though, is that she still got to eat a little, as she managed to scoop some up as I was getting the paper towels. Then, while I was down there I decided to do a little mop job with the baby wipes. This is a totally legitimate cleaning method, did you realize? So, not only did Grace get her morning snack, I cleaned a small section of the kitchen floor. Know what that's called? Multi-tasking. Don't be intimidated, I wasn't always this on top of things.

Then we went to the school to watch Ava run in the Cross Country "Fun Run".
Now, Ava is many things, but she is not really a runner. She is happy to jog/walk along near the back of the pack. And that is so fine with me. She doesn't stress about not placing in the race, she walks until she sees me, jogs by with a big smile, then starts walking again. Ha! A girl after my own heart.

Speaking of exercise, I had to sorta take it easy today, cause last night I got my first Zumba-related injury. A real sports injury, y'all! And I got one! This is a first! I strained some tendon or something in my foot. I'm thinking it either happened during that new J.Lo song where you have to "back it up like a Tonka truck" or when Ricky Martin tells us that she makes him live a crazy life, but she takes away his pain? I'm really not sure. But my foot's a bit sore today, and I don't think my Uggs provided adequate support.

Don't worry though, I'll be fine! Maybe I'll limp to the mall tomorrow and fortify myself with a cupcake. Or Grace and I can scoop more food off the floor. That second option might be easier.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ways to kill an hour when you're 2.

Join me as I celebrate my 300th post by blogging everyday for the rest of May! A plan so crazy, it just might work!

This morning, Jason dropped Ava and Nate at school, since I was still in my bathrobe. As the temperature has dropped, it's been harder and harder to take it off in the morning. I figure I'm one step away from a Snuggie, heaven forbid. Grace was feeling clingy this morning, and wouldn't let me leave her sight. As we sat on the couch and watched Roary the Racing Car, I thought I should really do something special with her today. Bless her, Grace usually just tags along with me on errands or to her older siblings' activities. We go to the park often throughout the week, but that's about it. So I decided to take her to the Preschool Storytime at our local library. When Ava was Grace's age, I would go nearly every week, lugging an infant Nate in his car seat and trying to get there in time for her to snag a coveted floor pillow to sit on. But Grace hasn't been to storytime yet. I decided to force myself out of my jammies and make it happen.

The library parking was full, so we parked down the street and walked two blocks to the library. I didn't bring the stroller, cause I plan our outings really, really well. We sat near the front for storytime, but Grace was too uncertain to go sit on the blankets with the other kids. So was it an enriching, mentally stimulating time for her? Well...if you count her trying to take the fire extinguisher off the wall and repeatedly lifting a panel in the floor that covered various electrical outlets...maybe. But the story, the songs, the actions? Yeah, she lasted about ten minutes and then got mad at me when I wouldn't let her keep opening and slamming the panel in the floor while the nice lady read the story. We were outta there.

I let her wander around the children's section. She liked holding the books and staring down the other kids.

She wouldn't let me read to her, either. She just held the book and wandered around. Then, hey--this is a good time to poop, don't you think?

Please disperse. There is nothing to see here. I repeat: there is nothing to see here. Kindly return to your library-related recreational activities.

Of course, then I was obliged to pry the book from her hands and take her to the bathroom. Screaming all the way, but also reaching for another fire extinguisher as we rushed by. After that, we returned to the books for awhile, but then I was ready to go. I employed a sure-fire tactic to get her peacefully off the premises. "Gracie," I whispered, "Wanna go get a cupcake?"

"Cupcake!" she cried, dropping the book she'd picked back up. We walked across the street to the mall and I bought a cupcake that I thought I'd halve for us to share. Ha!

I did sneak a bite or two, but she yelled at me for doing so. Like the Masai see themselves as the spiritual owners of all cattle, Grace takes dominion over all cupcakes and related pastries. See the look she's giving me? In your face, Mom!Then, knowing that the sugar rush was approaching like a thunderstorm, I did my best to hustle us out of the mall for the walk back to the car. But as Shakespeare wrote, "The course of taking a toddler anywhere never did run smooth." After climbing on the Bob the Builder tractor, looking at the sushi bar, sitting in the Big Red Car, riding on my shoulders, crossing a busy intersection and walking two blocks, we made it to the car. Sweet Lord, what a relief.

Then, there's just the minor matter of grabbing Grace from the front of the car, where she likes to turn on the hazard lights, the seat warmers, twist the radio dials and lift the armrests, and wrestling her into her car seat.

Now, that wasn't so bad, was it? Not exactly the learning experience I'd hoped for but I guess Grace did learn that fire extinguishers are awesome and that if you disrupt storytime, then poop, then scream about getting changed, you get a cupcake!

I am nailing this, you guys!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Maybe I'm reading too much into this

Most of the Borders bookstores here are closing down. This is sad to us, as Borders was always one of our go-to date night spots. We'd each pick out our books or magazines, go sit in the cafe and read. Usually we wouldn't even talk to each other. According to the Handbook, that still counts as a date, though. We sit together and Jason pays for my drink. What can I say, we like to party.

As often as we went to Borders, though, we rarely bought a book there. They're just too darn expensive here. It's very hard for me to bring myself to pay $25-$35 for a paperback book, when I know that it could be gotten for less elsewhere. I guess lots of others felt the same, and that's why they're closing. Last Wednesday, we went on a date to see Source Code, and beforehand took a walk through Borders. Everything in the store is at least 50% off now, and they're even selling off all the tables, chairs, bookcases, etc.

The books were pretty well picked over by this point, but we had fun looking around. I was tempted to buy Russell Brand's autobiography. Why? I really have no idea. It was deeply discounted, though, and that spoke to me.

We spent the most time looking at all the non-book items that they were trying to get rid of. All the furniture, office supplies, chairs, fixtures that go into running a business. They were even selling file folders and binders! The whole experience was a little melancholy, to tell you the truth. Sort of like when you walk through an estate sale of someone who has died--you think of all the activity that used to happen here, all the hopes and plans, about things coming to an end.

Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that this is totally in my nature, but I started to feel a little guilty. Like, if I'd done my part and actually bought something there more often, Borders wouldn't have to be hocking their listening station headphones. I started to feel personally responsible, in a way. I sighed as I put my weight on a nice round table, to see if it wobbled. Does it really have to end like this?If there'd been an employee or manager around, I would've apologized for my lack of customer loyalty. No really, it's too true. When I was a kid, my dad told me he would ground me if I said I was "sorry" one more time for something. And I'll give you one guess what I said in response.

But then, I snapped out of it when Jason and I saw a fog machine on sale. A fog machine! So cool! So many things to do with a fog machine! Like, create fog! We could hold our own middle school dances! Ava and Nate would be catapulted to popularity! Our church services could be all edgy and mysterious and, well, foggy. We stood there for awhile and tried to find a legitimate reason--any--that we could use to buy it.

We didn't really find one, and so we left it there. Bad consumers, once again! I wonder why Borders needed a fog machine to begin with. Maybe we should go back and get it. Do you think we should go back and get it? Maybe it would lift their spirits some? Like, hey, our multimillion dollar business is failing and we all have to go find new jobs but look--some chick just bought the fog machine!

Do you make sympathy purchases?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Under the Influence

Jason's had a cold the last few days, which has left him with a raspy throat. Sundays are big days for us, obvs, so he took some cold medicine this morning so that he could get through our morning service and also a workshop we had later in the afternoon.

This morning, I had to leave for church extra early, so Jason brought the kids a bit later. As he was rushing down the stairs, carrying Grace, he turned his ankle pretty badly. So by the time he got to church, he was limping. He took some pain medication cause it was really hurting.

It reminds me of the time I led worship while hopped up on some serious decongestant. It was an interesting service. I might've told everyone I was feeling "loopy" and then attempted a toe touch at the end. However, this cannot be verified. Not my most professional moment, but it was memorable!

Anyway, despite his throbbing ankle and scratchy throat Jason preached a great sermon. But I have to tell you that there was some evidence he was a little out of it. The most telling moment was when he told everyone that Jesus had compassion on and healed the leopards.

(Instead of lepers, you know.)

Can I please get some props for not laughing out loud when he said that? I smiled, and my shoulders twitched involuntarily. But then I got it under control. No one else reacted, so I thought maybe they didn't notice. But after church, several of us were chatting and one of the guys goes, "Hey, did Jason say Jesus healed leopards?" We all cracked up--apparently quite a few of us noticed. Jason laughed when we told him and said he knew he'd done something "off" when he saw how I was looking at him. "I thought maybe my fly was down," he said. I assured him that I would say something if that had been the case.

I'm preaching next week...and you better believe I'm working the leopard joke into the message. I feel that it's my responsibility. Church humor, y'all! Catch the fever!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

...But the fire is so delightful

Well. My post-everyday-in-May was going so well! Until yesterday, when Blogger had major issues and no one could publish or comment at all. Sigh...such is life! And all the comments disappeared from my last post, too! So allow me to let you know that Rebecca and my dad (Camp Papa) both correctly guessed MacGyver's first name--Angus! Well done, guys! And Dad, you letting us know that you knew it was Angus cause that's what Mom calls you "sometimes"...is there a way to unread something? Maybe I need a new brain?

But moving on! This last week here in Sydney has been freezing! Autumn was going along quite nicely and then it was like all wintry up in here! It took us all by surprise. Wednesday, we ordered our firewood to be delivered. It seems that once we start using the fireplace, we don't stop till late August. Our fireplace is the main way (well, the only way) that we heat our kitchen and playroom. It has a fan that blows the hot air from the fire into the room. Building and maintaining the fire is usually Jason's job. Last winter, though, I had to get good at it while he and Ava were in Manila. I'd stare at the cold ashes and wish it were warmer in the room. However, I found that wishes and desperation do not conduct heat. So, I had to woman up and build the fire. Then, I'd beat my chest and howl into the whipping winter wind.

When we start using the fireplace again each year, the kids always ask to roast marshmallows. This year, we decided to do s'mores. Mmmmm, s'mores. Creamy, chocolatey, marshmallowy, crunchy goodness. I don't think s'mores are much of a thing here in Australia--at least, not with the folks I've talked with.

So, just in case you're reading this and you've never made a s'more, lemme fill you in. It's easy peasy! You need some kind of plain biscuit (ideally a graham cracker if you can find them), marshmallows, and milk chocolate. Roast the marshmallow, and have the biscuit with chocolate on top waiting. When the marshmallow is all hot, and almost burned on the outside, pop it off the stick and lay it on top of the chocolate. Sandwich it with a second cracker/biscuit and press down. Then your life will change and you can thank me later.

We invited some friends over, as well as some of the youth group from church. Graham crackers are pretty hard to find here, and sadly, there's no Hershey's chocolate, so I had to improvise.

Instead of graham crackers, I used digestive biscuits, which are kind or crumbly and I thought it might be an okay substitute. Also, the marshmallows here are a bit smaller than the ones we'd use at home, so we had to double up on those. The kids had fun roasting their marshmallows.(Sorry for the dark shot.) So, how did they taste? Hmmm, on the S'more Delectability Scale (SDS), which was of course sanctioned by the International Campfire Traditions Council (ICTC), I think they'd rate at about a 6. Not fantastic, I gotta say. The biscuits were a little too thick, and the chocolate didn't melt quite as well as it should have. Not that the kids minded at all--any parent-sanctioned excuse to ingest 3 forms of sugar at once is hailed as a miracle!

But I will not be beaten! On the agenda for next time: find a better graham cracker equivalent. There used to be a shop in our mall that imported them from the US, but they were like $13/box. I'm told, though, there are other sources. And also, maybe get some better quality chocolate. S'mores, we will meet again. I'm determined to get your ratings up to 8, 8.5 at least.

This month, I'm linking back to some of my favorite posts. Speaking of stuff I can't get here in Oz, click here to read about some things I miss from home. But there's lots to love about living here! Here's some of my favorite things about daily life in Australia. And also here.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Richard Dean Anderson, you will always have a place in my heart.

I'm posting everyday for the rest of May to celebrate my 300th blog post. Give it up, y'all!

A few mornings ago, I brought Grace into the living room so she could watch some cartoons while I finished getting kids ready for school. As I flipped through the channels to find the one I wanted, I saw an old MacGyver episode on TV. You remember him, right?
I'm just gonna say it: that man rocked a mullet. I almost sat down with Grace to watch it, but then I remembered: it's 7:30 in the morning, lunches have to be made and uniforms put on. Perhaps now isn't the best time? And then I was sad, cause really--when is that ever gonna be a convenient time to watch MacGyver?

You see, I sort of really love that show. I have seen pretty much every episode. MacGyver and his creative use of tin foil and packing twine got me through a tough year. When I was 15, I went through a really rough time. But really, doesn't everyone? Seriously, I've done a very informal survey, and most people agree that 15 is a really "trying" age. I wouldn't go back to it for anything. But of course, I'm grateful for the lessons learned and character building yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, I was fairly depressed that year. There was some significant stress and serious relational issues in our extended family, I had to have major jaw surgery, and what else? Oh yeah--I was 15. Lots of angsty angst. I'd come home from school, make myself macaroni-n-cheese, and stretch out across the end of my parents' bed to watch MacGyver. Two back-to-back episodes, baby. And then, several hours later, 2 more episodes. I know! Don't judge me, love me. Sometimes, mom or dad would come in and sit on the end of the bed with me. And I'd be all, "Shhh! He's got to defuse the bomb with a stick of gum and a packet of ketchup!!" Lord only knows what they thought.

See? I'm not the only one. Aunts Patty and Selma loved him, too.

Of course, I came through that difficult time. And MacGyver, my parents, and God made it possible. Um, not in that order, of course. But the Lord works in mysterious ways, don'tcha know, and I think Richard Dean Anderson played a part. And now, years later and on the other side of the world, I flip past that show on TV and it makes me smile. And cringe a little, too, at the memory of my 15 year old awkward, mac-n-cheese eating self. But mostly smile.

Do you have any weird connections with TV shows? I am not gonna make myself sound any nerdier than I already do by mentioning my love for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Quantum Leap, or The West Wing. The part of my brain that should have mastered Analytical Geometry or Spanish III is filled with lots of trivia! I am pretty much a nerd at heart. Which Jason enjoys reminding me.

Here's just one tidbit, in honor of my mullet-headed, creative problem solver hero: do you know MacGyver's first name? He hated it, which is why it was never revealed until one crucial episode!

I charge thee, do not google it! I'm curious to see if anyone knows it. Let's geek out together.

It gets worse. Click here to read some more random, slightly embarrassing, and definitely nerdy things about me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Revelations during Zumba

Realizations I had during my Zumba class last night:

1. "Livin' La Vida Loca" is rich with texture and meaning.

2. When I stop shaking, certain parts keep shaking. What does it all mean?

3. When the instructor smiles, it's not only because she loves exercise and has a zest for life. I think she might be laughing at me. The actual laughter when I'm on the front row is what clued me in.

4. Shimmy fatigue is a real problem, and must be addressed.

5. I should've listened better about strengthening my pelvic floor muscles. Or drank less water before class.

6. Lasagna was not a wise pre-Zumba dinner option.

7. I can keep up with the steps and the beat, or I can pump my fist in the right places and shout "Yeah!" like the instructor. Do not attempt to do both at the same time. My brain/body cannot perform all those functions at once.

Do you zumba? It's the dance sensation that is sweeping the nation, you know. Actually, it's really fun. Our teacher keeps the lights off and has little colored disco lights flashing. That way,you can sort of imagine no one sees you shaking it like a polaroid. It's really better this way. Thankfully, all the other attendees are moms from the kids' school as well, so we are probably all rhythmically challenged and trying not to wet ourselves during the jumpy bits. (Sorry, dude readers. I went there.)

Anyway, I taught Grace some of the moves this morning. You know the one where you hold your elbows out to the side with your fists right in front of you? And you kind of beat the air with your fists? I believe the youngsters call it crumping? Or krumping? Here's a young lady I found on Flickr demonstrating. Her technique looks similar to mine, unfortunately. (I don't know what she's wearing, so let's focus on the moves.)
(Hey look--she's wearing Uggs!) Anyway, I was doing my moves for Grace this morning and she started joining in. She was pretty good, actually. I think it helps that she's like 2 feet tall and can get her bottom closer to the floor than I can. I think she's already better than me.

Not that this is a difficult achievement. Your grandma is better than me. And yet, I will continue to shake what my mama gave me. Isn't that all that any of us can do, in this crazy world?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I love them and I'm not ashamed to say it.

It's my 300th post-a-rama! I'm posting everyday for the rest of May! Catch the fever, y'all.

Winters in Sydney don't usually go below freezing, but in a house without central heating, I've learned the importance of layering to stay warm! Last winter, I finally bought a pair of Ugg boots and basically never took them off until spring. Such warm, fleecy goodness. Like a hug for your feet. They complete me. If lovin' my Uggs is wrong...I don't wanna be right. Can I get a witness?

Anyway, it got chilly enough last week for me to start wearing them again. It's Ugg season, y'all! The most wonderful time of the year. Now, I'm hoping my Aussie friends and readers can chime in here. Even though Ugg boots are an Australian creation and of course you can buy them here, they're really not worn in public a whole lot. At least, here in the suburbs, I don't really see people wearing them out. From what I gather, Uggs are thought of more as "house shoes", maybe too ugly to wear out?

My neighbor and I were discussing this the other day. Jules is from the UK, and has recently tapped into the power of the Ugg. "Do you get the impression," I asked her, "that it's seen as strange to wear them out?" I told her how another friend of mine--an Aussie girl--had just bought some and was wearing them out to the shops one day when her husband teased her. "You're gonna turn into a bogan," he said.

Now if you're like me and not from these parts, you probably don't know what "bogan" means. Near as I can tell, it's kind of similar to a redneck, maybe? I'm sure my Aussie readers here will set me straight. From the inferences I can make when I hear the word used, "bogans" are considered to be tacky, without much class. So I guess maybe wearing your Uggs out in public here is analogous to a redneck going to Walmart in their bedroom slippers? (Which, if you go to the Walmart near where I grew up, this is pretty much the dress code. North Florida, represent!)

It's just so confusing. Jules and I were commiserating over our other potential cultural faux pas. We've both had the experience of shopping somewhere we really like and buying clothes there, only to find out later that "nobody" really shops there. Sigh. How are you supposed to just know these things? What's a bargain-hunting, fleecy-footed girl to do? They're just so cozy!

So I guess I'm bogan. There it is. Because Uggs, I just can't quit you. Not till September at least.

Wanna read about more ways I've missed cultural cues and made an idiot of myself? Check here where I flashed a bunch of people, and here where I accidentally kissed a guy. From my church. Bridging those cultural gaps, one at a time.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Those who do not learn from history, blah blah blah.

If you're just joining us, I'm celebrating my 300th post by posting everyday for the rest of the month! Because...I'm not really sure, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But then, I'd ingested a large amount of dark chocolate and was feeling optimistic. Nevertheless.

One of my favorite posts on this blog is from December 2009. We'd just returned to America for Christmas, and our first day back in LA, we made a beeline for In-n-Out Burger. (Duh.) Our little Grace, just 6 months old at the time, chose that moment to have a serious diaper containment breach. And I was without our diaper bag. And our Double Doubles and milkshakes had just arrived--leaving was not an option, guys! Remember this?

Read the post if you wanna see the parenting kung fu I employed to solve the problem. Or an alternative interpretation could be my stunning lack of forethought and planning. Either way!

I was powerfully reminded of this last Friday evening. Jason and I took the kids to McDonald's to shower them with Happy Meals and send them merrily into the Playland. Such a perfect plan...what could possibly go wrong? We'd just arrived, and as Jason was carrying Grace into the restaurant, he told me she was, um, aromatic.

Of course, that would be the moment when I realized that he hadn't grabbed the diaper bag when we left home like I'd thought he had. Cause he thought I had. (Totally not my fault.) I ran out to the car to see if we had an extra diaper in the car--we didn't. By the time I got back inside, Gracie was pointing at her bottom and loudly proclaiming, "Poo! Pooooo!" And again, her cup runneth over--there was leakage, and we had an official Situation on our hands.

Due to my quick thinking (and Jason pointing her out), I asked a nearby mom if we could borrow a diaper. Then I laughed self-consciously, "Actually, can we just have one? I really shouldn't say 'borrow'". Har har har. She was very gracious.

I changed Grace in the restroom, removed her pants and put Ava's jacket on her over her T-shirt. It was much too large of course, but at least it mostly covered her little borrowed-diaper bum. And then I did what any mother of three does: I sent her out to play in the playland. With no pants on.

That's not tacky.

(Tomorrow, I'll tell you about how I think I'm accidentally being tacky in another way. Oh, these subtle cultural differences!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

She lives!!

Y'all, I am still here! I know you were starting to worry, but everything is okay. Last weekend, our church hosted a conference which kept us very busy, and Jase and I had a houseful of friends that came into town for the meetings.

Our friends Jason and Olivia stayed with us for a few days before moving back to America. Sad face. Jason and Olivia just had their 6th child, a sweet baby girl. So yes-- if you're into math you'll be realizing that we had 9 children in the house. Nine children 8 years old and under. And 6 adults.

Here's my three and their three oldest at the park, along with a friend thrown in for good measure.

The kids had so much fun together--it was like a 4 day slumber party. And Jason and I were amazed at the monumental logistics it took to move our friends back across the ocean. A minibus (well, practically), 60 boxes shipped, 14 huge suitcases weighed carefully, untold numbers of diapers for a newborn and twin 18 month olds...I'm breaking out in hives just thinking about it. We are so grateful for the time we got to spend together, even if it was slightly insane. Love y'all!

And wouldn't ya know it, during the busiest week that we've had in months, both of our cars decided to give us trouble. Tuesday morning, as Jason closed the boot (trunk) of his car, the driver's side window shattered. For no discernible reason. Then the next day, while that car was getting a new window, our other car wouldn't start. Then, when we finally got the broken window car back and sent the other off, the doors wouldn't unlock. We had to get Ava out of bed to climb through the little hidey hole in the boot into the backseat and unlock the doors manually. Life is strange sometimes.

And guess what? This here is my 300th blog post! Can you believe that I've enriched your lives 300 times, at least? I know! You are so welcome. Feel free to go into detail of how I've done this in the comments! But seriously, to celebrate I've decided to post every day throughout the rest of May. I'll also be linking to some of my favorite posts from days of yore. And with 300 posts, that a whole lotta yore! Know what that means? Your May just got a teensy bit more awesome.

Hope all you mamas out there have a fantastic Mother's Day. I am sending you smooches.

And Grace just finished eating some dirt, in your honor.

Oh! And in reference to my Two Truths and a Lie, you guys totally nailed it! Apparently, I am a terrible liar. In no way did I reorganize my pantry--it is a disaster and I'm still nervous to go in there, especially at night. Oh, and Ganeida, your rat story--I don't know if it's true, but you'll be happy to know that it's what I thought of before going to sleep at night for at least 3 nights. Yay!