Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Being a Just

Last week while driving back from Dallas, I got pulled over for speeding.  I was on  hour four of our trip and the kids were hyped up on McDonald’s, so I must have missed the 35 mph sign.

I saw the cop car pull out behind me.  I prayed for the lights to not come on.  Then they came on anyway and I pulled over.

“I clocked you going 50 mph in a 35.  Any reason why you were going that fast?”

There’s always a reason.  Not necessarily a good one.
“I thought the speed limit was still 50.  I’m sorry.”

“Do you work?”
“Are you unemployed or just a housewife?”

And there it was, my worst fear.  To be a just.  Just implies not important.  Just implies I have nothing to contribute.

“Just a housewife.” I mumbled.

I drove away with my speeding ticket and bruised pride.  I beat myself up over not being able to pay attention to the task at hand.  It’s why I am constantly running into things when I park.  But more so, I beat myself up over not being…more.

Tonight the answer came to me through a children’s book.  I was tucking Hudson in and I was reading him “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”.  Mr. Morris Lessmore is a writer and lover of books.  One day his world is torn apart by a storm and he finds himself in a library filled with living books.  He becomes their caretaker and sometimes loans out books to the townspeople.  He loans out some well-known stories and some not well known because “Everyone’s story matters.”

Even mine.   It may not matter to a whole lot of people, but it matters a lot to two very important people.  To them, I am just enough.  I am just the person who knows that at bedtime, track 2 is the only acceptable track on the Mozart Bedtime CD and it must be repeated.   I am just the person who knows how to cut a sandwich to the right sized pieces.  I am just the person to tuck them in the right way at night.  I am just the person who knows how to talk to them when they're scared, when they're hurt, when they're frustrated.

Maybe to some people this is just sad.  That’s ok.  I don’t answer to those people.  I answer to myself and two very important people who think that what I do matters.  So maybe one day I will do more, but right now this is just enough.

Monday, January 28, 2013

In Need of Real Information

“Mommy, are some spiders nice?” asked Hudson while we were driving to the gym.
“Yes, some spiders are nice.”
“Are some spiders mean?”

That spider that crawled on my washcloth that one time just as I was getting ready to wash my face, that spider was a real dick.  I didn’t say that though.  But if the question would have been “Are some spiders dicks?”, I would have answered with an emphatic “yes”.

“I need to learn about spiders so I can learn the difference between nice spiders and mean spiders because I want to get a nice spider to crawl on my hand.  Maybe we should get a book about spiders.”

Being the bibliophile that I am, I admit I get pretty excited any time my son wants to do anything involving books.

“That’s a good idea, Hudson!  Where do you think we could go to get a book about spiders?”
“Target?” (Because of course he has to pick up on my unhealthy relationship with Target instead.)
“Maaaybeee…how about the library?”
“Or Barnes& Noble” he suggested, “because I need some real information, not pretend information.”

And that my friends is just one of the many reasons I love my son so much.   I know that he will never share a silly meme on Facebook with pretend information about spiders.

Probably contains pretend information about spiders.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

More Than One Way to Pick a Booger

My daughter is the MacGyver of nose picking.  Tonight I saw her combine technology with auto digital manipulation in a truly ingenious and disgusting fashion.

“Kenzie, get your finger out of your nose.”

She listened.  She did take her finger out of her nose.

“I have a booger.”
“You’re using the USB cord to get a booger out of your nose?”
“I have a booger!”

Then I said the thing that might make the list of all time wackiest things ever said to a child

“Kenzie.  We do not use USB cords to pick our boogers.”

On that note, if anyone has advice for how to remove a booger from a USB cord it would be greatly appreciated.  Pinterest did not have a pin for that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Photo Friday: Good Dog, Cooper

A Story by Sabine and Ann
"Look after the babies, Cooper.  I'll be back shortly."

"Dude, she's gone...time to PAR-TAY!"


"She's coming!  Everyone act natural!"

"Oh, Cooper!"

(Check out the real book, "Good Dog, Carl" here.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another Installment of Creepy Children's Stories

Hello children!  It's been a while since we've had story time!  I haven't see you children since we read those nursery rhymes,  Curious George, and Madeline. Today we have a special treat-Good Dog, Carl.  Did you know that you're parents have been wasting money on babysitters?  All they need is a family pet!  Not a gerbil or a parrot.  That would just be irresponsible.  No, a large dog capable of ripping your arm off if you get out of line.
Like a Rottweiler.

See how great they are!  They will spring you free when you are wrongly imprisoned by your parents.

And them promptly shove you down a laundry shoot.

Into a dark and scary basement.

And then try to drown you.
Perhaps this baby talked about who really pooped on the floor that one time and Carl is teaching him a lesson.

No, will be fun, really!  Dog babysitters let you eat anything you want!  Like chocolate...and butter.

And then...well, then the dog will try to drown you again.

But he will do your hair before head-butting your ass back into your prison and that's thoughtful.

Oh, who are we kidding?  Carl's an asshole.

(Disclosure statement: I do own a Rottweiler.   He is actually great with my kids and has not once tried to drown them or shove them down a laundry shoot.   I have not yet, however, trusted him to babysit.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Revenge of Target

Target came after me again.  I suppose it was angry with me for defeating it that one time.  When we managed to stick to our grocery list, for the most part at least, it snapped.  This time it decided to take its revenge out on my family.   Bad move Target.  Bad move.

Eric and I had finished shopping.  We finished loading our groceries in the car and Eric put the shopping cart back.  As he turned to walk back to the car, Target freed its shopping cart from its cage and it slowly started to advance on our car, taunting us.  Eric calmly put the shopping cart back and walked back to the car.   Target, however, was just getting started.  It freed the cart again it started to stampede towards our car a second time.

Like me though, my husband isn’t afraid of the red-eyed beast.  He turned to face Target’s shopping cart minion and raced towards it full of fury.  With a war cry of “Motherfuckeeeerrrr!” he leapt into the air and high-kicked that shopping cart in its metaphorical nads, sending it right back to where it came from.

You cannot defeat me, Target.  Today the score is Brown family-2, Target-0.  Suck on that, Target.

 One of Target's henchmen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

AFCENT Invades Dallas

About a month ago, Ann and I decided it would be fun to get together with some of our AFCENT high school friends.  Quite a few people live in the Dallas Area.  We thought it would be us and a couple of other people.  Instead we had this…

So today I want to give a big thank you and virtual hug to all my fellow AFCENTers.  We grew up oversees.  We have been scattered everywhere, yet 10 of us still managed to get together on a last minute whim.  We’ve known each other through bad hair and questionable fashion.  We’ve known each other though countless moves and fitting in yet again.  When others have looked on in disgust, we've been there for each other to say, “No, eating fries with mayo is perfectly acceptable.”  And most importantly, we lived through Driver's Ed and still managed to successfully drive a car to Dallas.

I hope to see you all again soon and I hope a few more of you will join us next time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


My son will be a storyteller just like his mother.  Like me, he will be a weaver of words, a builder of eloquent locutions, and an avid user of the thesaurus to use fancy words inappropriately.  Maladroitly if you will.  I knew this to be fact when he told me the story of spotting a seagull while driving home one day.  Yes, we were still in Oklahoma at the time.  I said storyteller not ornithologist.  Speaking of ornithologists, did you know that the namesake of Ian Fleming's spy James Bond, was James Bond, leading American ornithologist and expert on Caribbean birds?  Seriously.  Google it.  But back to my story... 

“Mommy, I just saw a seagull!”
“Yeah I saw the seagull and I was like…whoa…that’s a seagull.”

And with those words, he painted a picture in my mind of what that bird looked like gracefully soaring across the sky through his child-like eyes. I felt his boyish excitement when he uttered the word…whoa.  He also portrayed quite accurately what Joey Lawrence would sound like if just saw a seagull.  Or a spider monkey.  Or just about anything.  Yes, my son will tell great tales.

Whoa.  That's a seagull.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Photo Friday: In your face

Guest Post from Ann

Getting up close, whether you're zooming in or just moving in, can make for better photos. So can letting your naughty little dog beg for birthday cake (check out those crumbs on his face). 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Road Trippin’ With The Birds and The Bees

 When I was in college, my two roommates and I decided to drive to Virginia for spring break.  We were in the car for 19 hours with a bucket of chicken and a Madonna CD.  On a trip to Colorado with Eric, he actually said, “You have to talk to me” when we hit western Kansas and he was about to loose his mind to boredom.  On Saturday I drove to Oklahoma City and back with my two kids for a birthday party for Ann’s daughter.  The hour and half drive back to Tulsa was more painful than any cross-country drive and not just because of the slowly forming ice on the roads.

My first mistake came before I ever set foot in my car.  If you have two kids 5 and under and someone asks you if you need help you say yes.  Always say yes.  Ann’s sweet mother asked me if I needed help getting the kids loaded up.  “No, thank you I said.  I think I’ve got it.”  Then my daughter proceeded to run to the nearest flowerbed and sit down in mud.  She followed this up by running into the street.  So when I said “I think I’ve got it” I must have been referring to my complete lack of control over the situation.

Everyone was finally loaded up and we headed out.  A few minutes in we had the beginnings of the standard she-looked-at-me-funny meltdown, the she-looked-like-she-was-going-to-take-my-toy meltdown, and the this-seatbelt-is-suffocating-me meltdown. 

By the time I hit Stroud, I resorted to what any self-respecting mother does and stopped at McDonald’s to placate my kids with food and cheap toys.  Cue tantrum over iPad malfunction and dropped toys.  This was also about the time Kenzie decided that the seatbelt really was trying to kill her and repeatedly took her arms out of the straps.

It would seem like I had run the gamete on mishaps on road trips with children, but my kids like to go above and beyond.

“Mommy, does God but babies in girls’ bellies when they’re born?” asked Hudson.

Because of course, when would be a more perfect time to have the birds and bees talk than on a dark Interstate threatened by ice with an uncooperative toddler.

My strategy was to keep it simple and pray he didn’t ask any more questions.

“But how does the baby get in the mommy’s belly?”


“When a mommy and daddy decide they want to have a baby, that’s when the mommy gets a baby in her belly.”

Thankfully, that was the end of the reproductive Q&A.  At least until some time in the future when we find ourselves driving through a blizzard.

This only happens when the trip is under 15 minutes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Some Musings on Mullets

I’ve been thinking a lot about mullets lately.  Not because I’ve been thinking of getting one, but because I overheard a conversation about them at the mall.  The conversation was between a mulleted boy, about 16 years old, and another about 13 years old with long hair.

The long-haired boy looked at the boy with the mullet and said, “Dude, why do you have a mullet?”
“Because mullets are cool.”
“Mullets are so 3000 years ago.”
“No man, mullets are coming back into style.”

This answered my question of if people with mullets know that they have a mullet.
I wonder how many people actually go to their barber and ask for a mullet.  I imagine it’s probably more common to hear “Take some off the top and sides, but under no circumstances shall you touch the party in the back.”

I always feel sorry the people that seem blissfully unaware.  I saw a guy the other day with his hair just slightly longer in the back that probably has no idea that he has a seedling mullet.  There should be some sort of public service announcement for this sort of thing.  Especially for the children.

If you're into androgyny with mullets, I'm super hot.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

If You Want To Freak Out Your Kids, By All Means, Do This

If you don't want to freak out your kids, may I recommend that they not get out of bed and find you in the bathroom wearing the fringe Snuggie that you got for Christmas.

Enough said.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Next Year I Will Do More Stuff And Buy Less Glitter

Earlier this week we finally took the tree down.  I thought about leaving it up so we could be the only family in our neighborhood with a Flag Day tree, but then decided that probably wasn’t as cool as I imagined it would be. 

Every year that we take the tree down it makes me reflective.  Like, why is there so much glitter? The tree is gone and there is a 10-foot radius of glitter on the floor. It looks like a troupe of strippers live in our house.  Tiny Keebler Elf sized strippers that live in our tree.  That last statement is only completely ridiculous if you think about it for too long.  Also, a group of strippers is definitely called a troupe.  Because a gaggle of strippers is completely ridiculous.

What was I talking about?  Oh yeah…being reflective.  As I’m packing the ornaments away, I always get a little sad about all the things that we didn’t do that year.  I never sent Christmas cards.  Hudson and I never made cookies and we never went back to walk though the Christmas light display at Rhema Bible College.  But we sure found time to find decorations with glitter, that’s for damn sure.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Am 814

Every time I get my nails done, I worry that I am a predictable boring person.  Let me explain.

I’ve been going to the same nail place for the last 6 months or so.  Every time I get a pedicure and manicure.

“Pick your color” they say as I enter.
I always pick the same dark red, at least during the fall and winter.
I sit for the pedicure and they bring me the Shellac colors.
“814, please.”

I always pick 814.  Then I sit for my manicure and have this same conversation.
“You really like this color, huh?”

First of all, yes, I like this color.  I didn’t look at the colors and think, “This one looks like shit.  Let’s go with this one.”  Are there people that choose a color they don’t like?  And if there are, is that some kind of lame way of exhibiting their own self-loathing?  “I chose this crappy color because I hate myself and didn’t get hugged enough as a child.”  But I digress…

It is at this point that I look around at everyone else’s choices.  I see the younger fashionable crown with shades of blue and few bold women with patterns.  Am I boring because I never do anything different?

Every once in a while I entertain the thought of picking something different.  Maybe I’ll pick a bright color today.  But then I remember that that’s not really me.

Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in being exciting and interesting.  No one wants to be stuck in a rut.  But there’s also something to be said for knowing who you are.

I am not a flashy person.  My closet is filled with a lot of black, gray, and brown.  My make-up choices are subdued.  I have a thing for black and white pictures of Paris and 90% of the time I will choose Greek salad with chicken at Panera.  This is who I am.  I am 814.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Seriously, My Kid Is Obsessed With Bacon

Ok, I know I just wrote a bacon-themed post but my daughter can’t stop talking about it and so I must share.

Kenzie and I were sitting at the counter.  (We’re going to ignore the fact that we were sitting there because I had just pulled her off of the counter because she was attempting to grab a knife out of the sink.)

“I want Daddy.”
“Daddy’s in the bathroom.”
“I want bacon.”

Of course being the loving wife that I am, I promptly had to tell Eric about how he was replaced by breakfast meat.  Then I felt bad.

“Kenzie, tell daddy that you love him more than bacon.”
“I love bacon.”
“No, tell him you love him more than bacon.”
“More bacon.”

I quickly realized this was not going anywhere and left to finish dinner.
“What Kenzie?”
“I want bacon.”

Really, is there a patch for this kind of thing?

Bacon is a girl's best friend.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Photo Friday: Go to collage

Guest Post from Ann

Today I'm going to share some quick tips for making free photo collages. It makes you look like you did something fancy when you didn't. Score!

PicMonkey has some pretty amazing features for collages (most effects on the site are free and you don't even have to register to use them, but heads up that the Royale effects on the site do require a subscription). In the Layouts area, you can make collages in standard card sizes, ones designed to fit a Facebook cover spot, and Pinterest-oriented creations. The sizing area under the collage makes it really easy to change the size and lock or unlock your proportions. 

iPiccy has a perfectly servicable collage tool, too, and everything's free there (so far, anyway). Just pick your template, upload your images and adjust spacing, proportions, roundness and more.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Money and Bacon

My children had simple requests today.  Money and Bacon.

It started with Kenzie randomly screaming at me this morning.  That’s really not that unusual.  She screams things at me all the time, but not usually about breakfast items.

“You want bacon?”
“I’m sorry, we don’t have any bacon.”

I will admit that we bought a pound the other day and it didn’t even last 12 hours.  We’re a bit obsessed with it.  I actually made meatloaf with a cheese center that was wrapped in bacon that I….wait for it….wove.  Yeah, that’s right.  I wove bacon.  Into a meal.  Tell me I’m not the best housewife ever.

So sadly I did not have any bacon to honor my daughter’s simple request.  I also could not honor my son’s request for a box full of money.

He had taken some of his coins and put them in a small cardboard box.

“I need some more money.  This isn’t even enough to fill this box.”
I looked up from the book I was reading because I could tell this conversation was going to be way more interesting.
“The next time I see grandma I’m going to ask her to give me some so I can have this box full of money.”

This got me thinking.  Maybe Scrooge McDuck really wasn’t that rich.  If converted all my assets to coins, I’d look pretty rich too.  Maybe not enough to fill an entire room, but perhaps a small broom closet.

Anyway, my kids are probably on to something.  Because wouldn’t we all be happier with more money and bacon.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year’s Eve Quest

Happy New Year, everyone!  Yeah, I realize I’m a day late, but I just couldn’t pull it together to write a post yesterday.  The laziness was courtesy of a late night with friends and Red Bull with vodka.  It did not give me wings.  It did give me a hangover.

Last minute, we decided to go to a New Year’s party downtown at the Mayo Hotel.  New Year’s parties are like prom for adult women.  Therefore, I made a last minute shopping trip the evening before.  I had exactly an hour and a half to get to the mall, buy a new dress, shoes, and a matching purse.  Guys, if you’re questioning this logic, just trust me.  It had to be done.  New year, new dress.  And you can’t wear old shoes into the new year because it’s bad luck.  It’s true.  I wrote a chain e-mail about it just now and if you don't forward it to 10 of your friends you'll get gonorrhea of the foot.

One hour in and I found a dress.  Disappointingly, I could not find one in gold (the theme of the party) in my required munchkin size, but I did find one with sequins.  Now I had half an hour to find shoes and a purse.  I strategically planned out my attack on Dillard’s.  First pair, not available in my size.  Then I found the perfect sparkly shoe, which just screamed happy new year.  These shoes were destined to be one with my feet.  If I could find a sales person that is.  After several minutes, I finally saw one, who was quickly snagged by a lady with about twenty pairs of shoes scattered around her.

“I like these but I just don’t know about the arch support.  I can’t seem to find any shoes with the proper arch support…”

The arch support conversation went on for several minutes, eating away at prime purse buying opportunities.  Could this lady not see that her arches could wait?  Could she not see that my acquisition of insanely high sparkly high heels could not?  I stared at another salesman until he could feel my eyes boring into his skull and he came and helped me.  Shoes down, one gold clutch to go.

I quickly found the perfect one and went to check out.  I had five minutes before I had to leave so I could make it home in time.  There was one lady in front of me.

“How are you?”  said the sales lady.
“Fine.  How are you?” said the lady in front of me.
“My mother-in-law stole my wedding ring out of the bathroom today.” said the sales lady.

No one starts a story with “my mother-in-law stole my wedding ring out of the bathroom today” and just jumps to “but here’s your purchase.  Have a nice day!”   No, there was a whole story about how her and her husband had been fighting and her mother-in-law was mad at her husband so she took her revenge out on her wedding ring, etc. etc.  Meanwhile I am standing with my last purchase obsessively watching the time on my iPhone.  When it was finally my turn, I made sure not to make eye contact.  Or talk.

I made it out just in time.  We left the house just a couple minutes late.  Then we forgot the debit card and ended up late any way.  But we had a great time.  We drank too much and danced badly and it was everything New Year’s Eve is supposed to be.  Sparkly high heels included.