Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why must I be so cruel?

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. I've been much too busy crushing the fondest hopes of my children. It's a precision job and takes up a good chunk of time.

But I'm pretty good at it. As evidenced above.

Not too worry, though. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll get back to being awesome.

Destroyed any dreams lately?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

You never know when the need might arise

Nate absolutely had to sleep in his camouflage ninja costume tonight.

I'm still not really clear on why. But perhaps some things are better left unexplained. At least by the time he was asleep and we took this picture, he'd removed the hood that goes with it.

"It just feels really cozy," he told me. And as my hands were covered in chocolate from a cake recipe gone awry, (shocker, huh?) I was like, okay whatever.

So don't mess with him. He will absolutely end you.

(And the cake actually turned out fine, thank you for your concern.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If you give your toddler a cereal bar

(Scenes from a road trip)

If you give your toddler a cereal bar...

...She'll want a Dorito to go with it.
Then she will screech like a rabid bat until you give her half the bag.

If you give your toddler a Dorito...

...She will want to paw your laptop with her nacho cheesy, cereal bar-y hands.

If you give your toddler all the snacks and all the chips in all the land and she has devoured them all...

...She will still demand your iPhone to play Barnyard Peekaboo.

And then, after she has scornfully used and dropped your now sludge-encrusted iPhone on the floor...

...She will stare reproachfully at you and demand another cereal bar.

Just so you know.

(P.S. We gave her Jason's old iPhone to play with, lest you think we'd completely lost our minds! The perils of a 7 hour drive with 3 kids will do strange things to your head, but not that strange.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


We are home. We had an almost totally fantastic time! There was snow. And sleds. And hot chocolate. And excited, frozen kids. And a one year old who doesn't like snowy holidays.

I'll be back to tell you more after I sleep for about 11 months.

Own bed=heaven

Back soon!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To the Snow

We are headed tomorrow afternoon to the Snowy Mountains.

It's about 6 hours southwest of Sydney. We're going to ski/sled/fall on our faces at on the slopes at Perisher, but the Snowy Mountains also has towns called Tumbarumba and Tumut and Jindabyne all kinds of other fun names. I love the place names here, and I'm sure we have the Aboriginals to thank for it. There's a neighborhood in the city called "Wooloomooloo". Now if that's not awesome, I really don't know what is.

But as I was saying. We're headed, as they say here, to the snow for the weekend. And as always, all the preparations to leave are coming down to the last minute. It seems to be the way we roll. The hallway is lined with baskets of laundry and borrowed ski clothes. There is a stack of towels and sheets on the stairs. There is a list of snacks and DVDs and assorted essentials to bring. Jason is feverishly working on a paper (due at midnight), that I'm supposed to edit beforehand. (It's after 10pm.) Meanwhile, I am supposed to be preparing to teach my scripture class at the high school tomorrow morning, but as you can see, I'm talking to y'all instead.

Today we had a man here fixing some stuff at the house, and conveniently, he switched on the power saw just as Grace and Nate went down for their naps. That went over real, real well. So instead of having some kid-free time to pack, we switched to Plan B. Nate watched cartoons, cranked to ear-splitting levels to compete with the saw, and I scurried around upstairs, doing laundry, sorting clothes and trying to keep an eye on Grace. It didn't really go so well. After about the third time she hurt herself trying to follow me, I thought, "You know? Maybe I am trying to do too much right now."

So I sat down and had a fudge brownie. It seemed like the responsible thing to do.

Wish us luck!

Remember our last vacation? Our first night away still makes me shudder. I expect a repeat performance, and Jason says I'm too pessimistic. I say if you expect the worst, you'll rarely be disappointed, and sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I don't really say that.

(But I think it sometimes.)

Check y'all later!

Monday, August 16, 2010

May I Advance an Unsolicited Opinion?

I took Ava and Nate up to our local indoor pool for their swimming lessons today. Normally, I am chasing Grace around while Ava and Nate swim, trying to keep her from walking into the pool or from eating things out of the garbage can. Last week, I became that mother with the screeching, writhing baby as I wrestled her into her stroller so I could get Nate dressed. But today, she stayed home with Jason. It says something about the season of life that I'm in-- that I was excited to take them to swimming--it meant that I could sit on the bleachers for half an hour and just read. Gotta take your thrills where you can get 'em, you know.

Today though, I was at my leisure. Looking around the pool, I noticed another mom there watching her kids swim. She was about my age. She was standing with her back to me, and I couldn't help but notice that she had a pair of sweatpants with the word "PINK" emblazoned across her bottom.

I know that "PINK" is a Victoria's Secret brand. But this got me thinking. This phenomenon of girls and women wearing shorts and pants with words on their rear ends...I just don't know.

I get that it's supposed to be cute. And somewhat flippant. And probably alluring. But here is my theory. There are just a couple of brief windows of time in a woman's life when butt-words are okay. (For lack of a better term. I thought of "butt-prints" but that could be confusing.) The first window is between 1 month and 2 years of age. You know, when babies are crawling and toddlers are toddling, it's kind of cute when there's an embroidered teddy bear on their little diapered bums. This isn't strictly a butt-word, but the same principle applies. Grace has a pair of red pants with a strawberry on the back, and it is downright adorable.

But I think once a little girl is out of that baby stage, that kind of clothing would be a little weird. Lots of times, I've seen girls or young teenagers with butt-words written across their short shorts or sweatpants, and it bugs me. This probably has something to do with me being the mother of daughters. I was looking at google images just now, and there is a mainstream catalog photo of a girl about 10 years old, wearing pants that say "juicy" across the rear. Um, no. So I think once a little girl moves into preschooler age, butt-words are out.

The second window of time where maybe you could get away with it are the older teen years (17 and up) to your early 20s. (Although again, as a mom of girls, I really wanna say 18.) I'm saying that because a girl is old enough (mostly) at that point, to own her own decisions, right? And if she wants to wear the word "sassy" across her rear, well, who am I to stop her?

But at some point, we must put away childish things. When the Apostle Paul wrote that he probably wasn't thinking of butt-words, but I bet he'd back me on this one. (Ha! I made a pun. Awesome!) So, once a woman is not in her early 20s, it's time to donate the short shorts with "Cheer Camp '07" on the back to Goodwill.

Let's be frank. Can we? There are windows for butt-words. Those windows are brief. And if you missed it, my friend, you missed it. And that's okay. I have a personal policy of not calling any attention to my bottom if I can help it, but beyond that, some things are not meant for women above 25. Take heart! There are other frivolous trends we can adopt. Ankle boots! Under-eye serum! Mobile phone charms!

Again, just my opinion. Last year, when I posted about guys in skinny jeans, I got some very passionate, vocabulary-challenged comments that I had to delete. (Family blog, folks!) So, if this post brings some butt-word wearing gals my way...girls, I support your right to do that. Just remember...windows, okay? Windows!

(And this is meant to be tongue-in-cheek anyway.)

Ha! Another pun. Awesome to the second power!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Enroll Now for our Safety Seminar and Receive a Free Sense of Guilt

Our sweet Gracie has had a tough few days. Day before yesterday, she faceplanted on the floor. She ended up with a purple bruise on her sweet, baby cheek. Then yesterday, I was webcamming with Mom and Dad. (Maybe I wasn't being as attentive as I should've been. But you weren't there, so how can you know for sure?) Anyway, I heard a cry from behind me. Scooping her out from under the table, I noticed a bump forming on her sweet, baby forehead. Yikes, I thought. It's the same purple as the one on her cheek. My girl--accessorizing already.

Now, can you guess what happened tonight? Y'all are really smart. Jason had her in the bathtub. Her favorite thing to do now in the bath is to stand. No matter how many times we sit her back down, she stands. She was grumpy tonight, so as I was making dinner I asked Jason to let her play in the bath. Approximately one minute after he left to put her in the tub I heard his footsteps coming back down the hall into the kitchen. Here's Grace, wrapped in a towel with, Lord bless her, another, bigger bump on her forehead. It wasn't pretty. Right next to yesterday's bump.

"OH!", I said, my hands covered in raw ground meat. "Oh!" "Can you get the boo boo buddy?", Jason asked, sitting down in a chair with Grace. To the uninitiated, this is a boo boo buddy:

It's filled with gel and you keep it in your freezer. It comes in all different cute shapes and colors. I suppose the theory is that it's cuteness will make your kid go, "Sweet!! Please, mother or father, put the freezing cold butterfly/nemo/dinosaur on this sore, throbbing wound of mine. Nothing would give me greater joy." That is a really nice idea, isn't it? And I'm not knocking the Buddy. It's handy. But all of our kids hate, and I do not use that word flippantly, HATE having ice put on their bruises. If total world annihilation could be caused by the screams of a child, we would have all been toast back in about 2005 when we first tried icing Ava's sore noggin.

Grace wasn't crying hard till we put the boo boo buddy on her forehead. And then she was like, "I will cut all of you freaks if you don't get this freezing cold pink princess off of my head right now!" (I may be hyperbolizing just a little.) And then Ava and Nate started to get upset. I saw Nate's bottom lip start to protrude. His eyes filled with tears. He needed a mission. It's like in Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne is sick with fever and Colonel Brandon is pacing the floor and fretting and then he grabs Elinor and is all, "Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad!"

Okay, it wasn't much like that. "Nate!", I said. "Run upstairs and get Ava's teddy bear for Grace!" In what was a case of the world's worst timing ever, Grace's beloved bear was currently in the dryer. Nate ran off. We all like to feel useful, don't we? I sent Ava scurrying to find the children's pain reliever. All kidding aside, they were both very sweet, bringing her a huge and totally unnecessary assortment of stuffed animals and blankets. And after a few minutes of her livid screaming, we abandoned the boo boo buddy.

Once she calmed down, we decided to put her back in the bath. What? She needed one, and I didn't want her to be afraid of the bathtub. When Jason put her back in, he discovered she wouldn't release her kung fu grip on Ava's bear. So the bear went in the bath as well, and is next in line for the dryer.

Yes. My child has had three minor head injuries in three days. But as my neighbour Jules pointed out, three out of three ain't bad! So that's something.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So what's this post *really* about? I have no idea.

Yesterday, driving home from the gym, (where I nearly killed myself on the elliptical machine and then choked on my water and coughed my head off in front of everyone), I slowed way down to let someone merge in front of me. Their lane was ending, and rather than do what I wanted to do, which was zoom past them, I tried to be nice.

I have thought before that I spend a great deal of time "trying to be nice" to people that don't necessarily ask or expect that of me. But that's a neurosis for another time.

I tried to be nice to this dude and I let him in and he drove on. And so did I. And I was reminded of something that I miss from home and that almost never happens here. The Wave. No, not this:

Though here's a fun fact for you: Aussies call this the "Mexican Wave". Isn't that interesting? No one that I've asked seems to know why.

I mean the Wave of Acknowledgment. The flick of the hand between the driver's seat and the passenger seat that says, "Thanks for that. I acknowledge that you did something for me that you didn't have to do." Growing up, we had the Wave drilled into us. When mom or dad would merge in front or someone would let them in, they'd say, "Amy, wave at that person." And by golly, I did. I guess that technically this would be called the Delegated Wave, but still--the principle remains the same. I drive, therefore I Wave. ("By golly?" Who am I, Opie or something?) City driving has made me a more aggressive driver, but when the occasion calls for it, I always Wave.

So, Aussies don't Wave. Not that I've seen. And that bugs me. Not hugely. I don't even really think about it on a conscious level that much. But if you've ever lived in another country for an extended period of time, you find that there are lots of little things that get at you. It's kind of like a low-level buzzing that you don't normally notice but when you do, you go, "Geez, what is that about?" And for me, this lack of Waving, this is one of them. Is that totally pedantic?

So here I am, driving behind this guy who I've just let in, and I say aloud, "Are you gonna Wave? Are you--nope! No Wave." And I sigh, and this wave of homesickness washes over me. How funny is that? But I'm telling you, it's the little things.

And then I thought of the Steering Wheel Wave, which is really a different animal altogether. You know, when you're driving on a two-lane country road and you pass another car going in the opposite direction? And you both lift a finger or, if you're feeling quite friendly, two fingers off the wheel. Like, "Hey, y'all. Here I am, driving, and there you are. Driving. Let's take this moment to acknowledge our mutual existence. Okay. Bye." It's kind of nice, isn't it? I wonder if they do that on country roads here in Oz.

It would make me feel better if they did.

Aren't we all in this together? Don't we share this planet? I let you merge, you let me? I think I am going to print T-shirts. Or bumper stickers. They'll say, "Wave. By golly."

P.S. Clearly I should not blog after midnight. I am like a gremlin of the blogworld.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Notes to Self: Friday edition

For future reference:

1. Next time you decide to clean the toilets, remove the long scarf tied around your neck.

2. Next time you go to the mall, buy a new scarf.

3. Don't take it personally when Grace stabs you in the neck repeatedly with a plastic screwdriver. Surely she doesn't mean anything by it.

4. Maybe Grace shouldn't watch so many crime dramas on TV.

5. When the clean laundry has been in its basket so long that it retains its basket shape after you dump it out, it may not still certify as clean.

6. Fold and put away anyway. No one is watching.

Have a great weekend, everybody! Catch ya later. xoxo

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lessons Learned this weekend

Sunday night here. We've had a really nice weekend and just got home from church. Church was great tonight--I kidnapped our youth group during the service and took them out for coffee. It was a fun Sunday, but I am wiped. Done. Whooped. As they say. When it's bedtime, I think Jason will have to peel me off the couch. I have become one with the upholstery.

Here are some observations that are not only entirely random, but likely to add no value to your life whatsoever. Read on!

1. Jason and I saw "Inception" last night with some good friends of ours. Really entertaining movie, I thought. Like Becky said, it should've probably stunk--too complicated, lots of stuff going down, and explanations like "The military developed dream extraction technology" put forth to support the movie's whole premise. Yeah, the military. I love when movies explain away the most implausible scientific advances with "The military developed..." or "Scientists discovered...". And we're all 'sposed to go, "Really? Cool." But this time? It totally worked. I bought it and so did you. Fun and interesting movie. Freaky, but in a good way. And that Leonardo Dicaprio did a nice job. He's one to watch--i think he might make a career out of this.

2. I had a small salad as my first course for dinner that night. The main course was a box of popcorn that was bigger than your head. And a gallon of Diet Coke. And half a big bag of M&Ms. My observation here is that this was a really bad idea. I felt totally nauseated by the time the movie was over. The M&Ms mixed with the popcorn sat in my stomach like a big gluey mess. Also, salad does not cancel out the caloric value of all that other crap. But it was still fun--actually buying popcorn at the movies feels like such an extravagance to me!

3. When your four year old gets a splinter in his heel, the odds of him letting you get it out with a pair of tweezers are approximately equal to the odds of the military developing dream extraction technology.

4. The iPhone 4 went on sale in Australia this past Friday. Online stock was sold out within the first 27 minutes. Jason went by a mobile phone store on Friday afternoon to ask about getting one. After pointing and laughing at him for thinking he could just walk up and get one, the salesguy told him we could order online and wait up to 6 weeks. I think the magic iElves need to make those things a little faster, don't you?

5. Australia is in the midst of a federal campaign for Prime Minister. The election was called a week or two ago and is set for August 21st. Come again? Yes, friends, the campaign is only about 5 weeks long. There was one debate. Given that the last American presidential campaign went on for like 2 years, I think the US could take a page from this book. I mean, could we cut it down to a year, perhaps? A month long campaign makes me a little nervous--it seems a bit hasty, but then again, a two year campaign makes me feel like I did after eating all that popcorn and M&Ms. It's tasty and addictive at first, and then you just want it out of your face.

That's all I got, y'all. It is Sunday night, after all. And you know how I get on Sundays. But I leave you with this:

Because OMGosh at the cuteness. I love it and so do you.