Thursday, January 28, 2010

Need to Steamroll Your Children?

Monday was a tough day. Jason stays late at work on Monday nights and the kids were at their finest that afternoon. Just see my Facebook status update if you have any questions:
FB update edited
So, we had to DO something. That probably meant I should back away from the computer and Facebook, but I'm no child development expert.

I am getting to be more of an expert on making something from nothing at our house, though, and had just read something that day about Flat Stanley. I decided we should make some lifesize Flat Children for fun.
Here's how you can get in on the action if you need an activity to save your children from being killed , beaten to a pulp , kindly and lovingly disciplined.

Oh, and it's a ton of fun to do, too!

* First, get out the newspaper from Sunday that you never read and lay several pieces on the floor and tape them together.

* Have the kiddos lay flat and still {ha} so you can trace them.
{Henry does not understand those 2 words, so he just helped with Ollie's.}
How to begin
* Next, cut out the shape to make a Flat Ollie {disproportionate neck optional}.
My shadow
* Be sure to keep an eye on 2 year old, because a massive tape wad incident could occur at any moment.
Tape wad
* Cut out pieces of construction paper to make face and let child act like Picasso and place them anywhere they'd like.
Ear placement
* Then make clothes for your flat child and have them decorate their wardrobe. {If they have trouble with this, show them their current drawn-on wardrobe and let them know they are actually allowed to do it, now.} Needs more rockets
* Let little brother in on the act since coloring is his favorite thing to do.
* Practice giving High 5s.
High Five
* Then enjoy your Flat Ollie!
Flat Ollie and Round Ollie

Right now, Flat Ollie resides on the back of the door of Round Ollie's room. I keep thinking he's going to wake up screaming that Flat Ollie is coming to get him, but so far he hasn't been creepy. Hopefully he won't come to life like Kim Cattrall in Mannequin because he would be really weird looking!

After this, our Monday night got much better. Since I love it when that happens, this post is linked to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

What is your go-to activity when things are getting crazy at your house?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why I love Chuck- and Zac Levi, too

You might have picked up by now that I am crushing on Chuck. I love the show {as mentioned here}, I begged NBC to put the show back on {here} and now he is getting an entire post dedicated to my love.

As I was explaining this infatuation to my husband last night {you think I could keep it from him?}, he said that I loved Chuck because he was just like him. I told him I didn't know he was a secret agent with a computer in his brain and let it go. Then I woke up convinced that he was right!

Here are the Top 5 Reasons My Husband is Just like Chuck/ Zac Levi:

1. Chuck's cover is that he is an IT guy
This means a computer guy. Chuck is in the Nerd Herd {which is the TV show's version of Best Buy's Geek Squad}.
Jason will happily tell you he is a nerd.

2. Chuck is always dependable
Chuck {almost} always catches the bad guys at the end of the hour- despite the fact that my heart is racing and somehow I always wonder how he's going to make it out of this predicament.
Jason is extremely trustworthy. You can really count on him to do anything he says he will do. Period. That's one of the many things that made me marry him.

See, look! He was even voted Most Dependable in high school.

3. Chuck is funny
The show is hysterical. One of my favorite quotes from the last episode:

Awesome/ Devin: "You're incredible! Is that your spy training?"
Chuck: "Duck Hunt, Nintendo."

Jason is, of course, funny, too. When we were scanning in the above picture this morning, I told him how he was *rockin* his braided leather belt.
He quickly responded, "Yes, my pants were definitely NOT on the ground".

4. Chuck is charming
Do I even need to elaborate on this?
Zachary Levi Suit
Of course my hubs is charming, too! Anyone who can find a date at Space Camp is a winner!

5. Zac Levi {the real life person who plays Chuck} is a Christian
He's on the cover of Relevant Magazine this month and talks about being a Christian in Hollywood, his family and upbringing and how his goal is to be friends with people and show them God's love through his words and actions. How awesome is that?
And, thankfully, my sweet hubs is a wonderful Christian man and leader in our home.

The last reason is enough for me to love them both, but since I am a happily married woman, I think Chuck is just going to have to move on without me.

But Harry Connick, Jr.... I will see you next week, my friend. Oh yes. I will.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Girls Getaway, Bella Band and a Jean Story

Ever need a getaway? Just a quick escape from reality for a breather?
Anyone remember that Calgon commercial?

Some dear girlfriends of mine were kind enough to invite me on one of those last weekend! They have met for many years in Birmingham {a central location to all of them} and I was thrilled to be able to hang out with them on Saturday. Birmingham is about a 2 hour drive {or less} so I went down early in the morning and was met with these for breakfast:mcr 020
Now you know why I love them!
Monogrammed cupcakes... For breakfast!
These are my kind of people.

Our day included eating, talking and eating with a tiny dash of shopping.

We went to lunch at this place called Bottega that was amazing! Mary keeps a file for every major city of places she wants to go and this was in the file. I used to be like that... back when I had free brain cells. She is just amazing! { Secretly, we decided she chose this restaurant for the risque lighting, but we just let it go because we love her. }

This is Lane, Heather and Jill
mcr 022
And Holly, Mary and emoi. mcr 026

You may remember Holly, Mary and Lane from the 4th of July. Holly is married to my cousin Marcus, Mary is Holly's sister and Lane is Mary's neighbor and {everyone's} friend.
Heather and Jill were college roommates and Heater grew up with Holly and Mary. If I could put a flow chart on here for you, I would. I told you the South was like this.

After perusing some adorable shops in SoHo {that's South Homewood, peeps}, we noticed a Yogurt Mountain. Have you ever been to one? It was amazing! It was like diving into Candyland {my dream as a child} and pouring yogurt on top!

You pay for your creation per ounce {45 cents/ ounce, I think} and you get one guess as to whose was the most.
Yes. That's right. Mine was on the top left there.
mcr 027

mcr 032

And it was tough. Really unbearable. But somehow we all scarfed it down.
Jan 10.3 016

I left after a long day of eating and laughing and more eating, I drove my fat and happy self back home. A little getaway was just what I needed!

: : : : : : : : :

On Monday or Tuesday this week, I asked the wide world of Facebook if I needed a Bella Band or not. I got a mixed response, reviews and opinions. But my favorite was of my afore-mentioned friend Lane who said, "It's in the mail"! WOW! And sure enough! It got here yesterday.

Here's what a Bella Band looks like. You wear it under your clothes so you can wear your regular non-maternity jeans until you literally can't zip them at all. This is SO much more comfy than the rubber band around the button. I wouldn't have believed it, but I love it!
And, Lane sent me a LIME GREEN one! One of my favorite colors!! Thanks, Lane!!

Jan 10.4 009
Here we are early this morning. How am I up and dressed, etc? That's because my children were up at 5:30 and 6 am {begging to watch Chuggington, btw. Have y'all seen that new Disney cartoon, yet?}. The children who usually have to be dragged out of bed at 7.
Yup. Same ones.

And Jason made me take this pic below. You can see how thrilled I am.
I'm only adding it because of Woody. That's Sheriff Woody, of course. Ollie was insistant that he be in the picture. We laughed so hard when we checked these. That little sneaker.
Jan 10.4 012
This is 13+ weeks if you are keeping track. And remember, my friends, this is child #3. My body said, "Hey! We know how to do this! Everybody to the front... pop out! YAY!!!" and there you have it. I already look kinda preggers.

Quickly- the jeans: they are $150+ Seven jeans. But you probably know by now that I am super cheap and would never pay that. Ne-vah. But, I was cruising the Goodwill {or the G-Dub as I've affectionately started calling it} and SAW THEM THERE! For 5 dolla.
Yes. That will make you holla.
They were a little big, but I figured they would work since I'm a little on the big side right now and THEY DO! I cannot tell you how happy I was.

This level of happiness is like living at Yogurt Mountain and never getting a brain freeze.
And finding perfect shoes on the same day. While someone feeds you monogrammed cupcakes.

Yes- it was that good.

Do you have a G-Dub near you? You really should check it out!
And any girls weekends planned? Cupcakes are a must!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Here is a shot of our half bathroom downstairs.
Let me know what you think is wrong with this image.
The Bathroom

Here are my thoughts {I have a few}:
The Bathroom 2.0

This is what it looks like almost every. single. day.
You might not know this if you or your family uses an ordinary amount of toilet paper, but that stuff isn't cheap!
Thus you'll notice that half of that pile is wadded rolled right back up.

There are many things wrong with my housekeeping {I wish I would have had a home ec class... seriously!}, but I will just mention that those green letters are conveniently located on top of a serious dust pile. And I only noticed it in the picture.

Has anybody tried those TP protector things so your crazy spirited warm and loving 2 year old doesn't do this every day?
Let me know!

P.S. The rest of my house is decent {except for the other bathrooms, of course}.

P.P.S. Seriously, if you know anything about those vents, please don't keep it to yourself!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blissdom- What I Wish I Would Have Known LAST Year

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

With BlissDom right around the corner and loads of articles and tips and advice in the blog world out there, I thought I'd go through my own list to share with you!

Don't know what BlissDom is? It's a conference for bloggers and all the info is on their conference site. It's hosted by Blissfully Domestic and the One 2 One Network and is... well... Blisstastic.

Last year was my first year at Blissdom. Jason gave the ticket to me as a present since he noticed I had vanished into the "blogosphere". He thought it might be nice for me to meet some of my own. And it was amazing! I read that someone compared it to being a smurf your whole life and walking in to find a huge room of smurfs! That was exactly it!

But looking back, I realize I was SUCH a rookie and really had no idea what was going on.

Here are some tips for other rookies that might be going this year:
10. Read ahead and find out about the sessions.
This will help you not look like a tourist studying your "map" at the conference. We will all have cameras around our necks, though, so you can't totally escape from that look.

9. Find out who the speakers are.
Oh, how I wish, I wish I would have done this. I didn't know ANYONE and that little tip would have saved me much embarrassment. Need we mention the Lisa Leonard incident? I think not.

8. Have business cards made.
I had NO idea this was like a networking thing. What a dork.
They don't have to be fancy, but something with your name, blog and other info would be helpful if you meet a new friend. {And if you don't have the mind of my man Chuck you will be thankful for everyone else's cards, too!}

7. Do not be afraid.
Everybody else there is pretty geeky and will speak the same blog lingo. PROMISE.
And if you don't even speak "blog", there will be people there to translate.

6. Do NOT room by yourself {if you can avoid it}.
I was such a dork and {since I didn't know ANYbody} just assumed I had to stay by myself. Get out there and hunt for other people going that you can split the room cost with! And you will surely find some new buddies that way! This year I'm staying with 2 of my favorite bloggy buds- Mary at Giving Up On Perfect and Jessie at Vanderbilt Wife.

I'm wondering if we will sleep. Magic 8 Ball says: "Outlook not so good".

5. Learn the attire needed.
Oh my word. I had no idea there were cocktail parties there!
The word "cocktail" doesn't scare me; it's when combined with "party" that I start to quiver at the thought of wardrobe choices. Because my selection is saa-lim. Especially when I didn't pack a thang.
Such is the case for last year when I arrived in jeans.

And nobody cared because they are cool like that. But it would have made ME feel better to have looked like I cared instead of a schlep.

4. Get on Twitter and figg-ur it out.
It's a little kooky; I'll be the first to tell you that. But, if you get the hang of it BEFORE BlissDom {unlike I did last year}, you will be WAY on top of the game. I had no idea what the proper usage of the word "Twitter" even was a year ago. {e.g. "Did he just Twitter on you?" "I don't give a tweet what she said." "Tweetle deedle dee, I think I just retweeted."}

Let me know if you have Twitter questions and I might put together a very short post about the things I know about Twitter. I'm still not an expert, but Alli is {she even wrote an e-book on it}, so check that out.

You can start to follow the hashtag {that's the number sign #} #BlissDom and get all the updated info and buzz on the conference.
Oh- and you can follow me on Twitter at @theothermama. Original. I know.

3. Take your computer.
This might seem like a no-brainer. That I might or might not have done last year.

Now that I think back, I think I took the hoopty laptop. I'm pretty sure I can't convince Jason to let me take his very cool Mac Book Pro {because it's his work computer... excuses, excuses}. Anyway, most people take their computer with them to the workshops. I hid my sad hoopty in my room {all by myself}.
And will most likely be doing that again this year.

2. Plan ahead.
Try to find out who is going and who you would like to meet! That really is the fun part.
E-mail new friends {or friends to be} and set up times to meet, sessions to sit together and any other plans! I can't imagine anyone not being flattered to meet a blog reader, so let them know you'll be there!
It's like stalking their blogs... only better.

1. Have Fun!
I am SO stinking excited. And I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with the fact that Harry Connick, Jr. will be serenading us.
Harry Connick, Jr.
Uh huh. That's right.

Don't get drool in your keyboards, girls. I'll be sure to bring you up close and personal details. You might recall that I have a slight crush on Harry.
Just a little one.

So I'm looking forward to the trip!

Are you going to BlissDom? I'd love to meet you!
If so, is this your first year?
If not, would you ever consider going to a blogging conference?

Here are some great posts about BlissDom planning:

* Mary at Giving up on Perfect has a 2 part series {part 1} and {part 2} on her BlissDom tips
* Jo-Lynne at Musings of a Housewife has a wonderful {as always} what to wear guide
* Edie at Life in Grace has an awesome survival guide that highlights mullets and tube socks {as in... we're not in 7th grade and you WILL be okay}.
* Amanda at Oh Amanda even has a series of guest posters on the topic. Now that is covering all your bases!

I'm happy to link up to my fab-o friend Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.
We're going to rock it in real life. {Oh} yes we are.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Here's the thing: I've been completely broken, torn and wrecked from the images coming out of Haiti. And I haven't been able to write about it. Because I don't have the words to understand the level of hell they are living in-- much less be able to convey it into a nice cute blog post that wraps up with a funny ending.

So I won't.

I keep thinking about mothers who can't find their children. Or can't help their friends who are sick and dying. I keep thinking about broken families who are sleeping on concrete without water or food or safety. And I wonder how they make it through the day. They were most likely already poor and living in a land ruled by warlords and gangs. In a home and life that we would consider unfathomable. And now they've lost even the barest of essentials- and quite possibly many of their own friends and family.

Every sermon, message and Sunday School theme yesterday was on control. Not the kind that we think we have... but the fact that God is in control. And bad things happen on earth.

That's it. It doesn't make sense to our feeble human brains and we just have to have faith in God that He is in charge of this crazy place.

Our family decided to help through Compassion International. They have been on Charity Navigator's 4-star list for years and we have a special heart for their work since we sponsor a child {in Guatemaula}.

There are many fantastic charities to use a small amount to make a big impact with this unreal natural disaster.

* I read recently that the Red Cross text donations are up to $21 million! Amazing! I'm sure you can still text "Haiti" to 90999 to send $10 to the Red Cross. You will be billed on your cell phone bill.

* There is an amazing orphanage called Hope for Haiti's Children Center that is also devastated and in need.

* And there is a long and detailed list at Charity Navigator specifically for giving to benefit victims of this earthquake.

My prayer is they somehow find hope in the midst of this tragedy.

That the people who are helping on the ground and throughout the world will find a renewed sense of purpose.

And that God will use this to impact the lives of millions. He has done a number on me {as usual} and I hope that you will be moved enough to help, as well.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zofran and Pickles

I'm still preggers and thought I'd own up to my promise and answer some of your questions.

Q: How did you tell Jason?
A: "Hey, Jas. I think this test is positive!"
It was real complicated and romantic and stuff. And it was about 6 am and I hadn't brushed my teeth, yet.

Q: When did you find out?
A: The week before Thanksgiving.
So that's why I had some nice long bloggy breaks here and there between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Mama needs a little more sleep than usual.

Q: How are you feeling?
A: Well... it's touch and go. I have many days where I'm living on Zofran {anti-nausea meds} and pickles. The tricky part is that I have NE-VAH had any sort of sickness with either of my other pregnancies. So, throw in a few crazy kids and it's been a rough few months.

With all that said, I am so thankful to BE pregnant, that I don't feel like I can complain. I know there are many people who would give their eye teeth {are those a real thing?} to be hovering over a 1970s colored potty.

Q: What does your uterus look like?
A: Okay, nobody really asked that {thankfully; because that's kinda weird}. But here is what it looked like back in December about 6- 7 weeks ago.
Baby #3 6 wk us
See that blob the arrow is pointing towards? That's what been making me sick.
That little blob. Crazy.

Right now I'm 12+ weeks pregnant, so the baby is much larger- as big as a large plum {working it's way through the produce section of sizes, apparently}- and is developing complex things like a digestive system and white blood cells. Our kids are SO smart.

I got to hear the baby's heartbeat on the fetal monitor at the doctor's office for the first time this week, so that's pretty cool. It was around 160 beats per minute so go ahead and take your guesses on the gender! It sounds like a washing machine- from 1950- if you happen to be stuck inside it.

Q: Are you showing?
A: Yes. Totally. I haven't gained any weight {don't worry; I will- PROMISE}, but I look pregnant if you are used to seeing me. I'm not pregnant enough for stangers to come touch me, so I'm happy about that for now.

Q: How did you tell family?
A: I make a calendar for Jason's parents every year with family pictures in it and this year made the calendar with only one picture in July {notice the red, white and blue posterboard?}:
Big news
And then did the same thing for my parents. Super easy and fun!
I actually wrote an article {anonymously} in December for Blissfully Domestic about different ways to tell people you're pregnant at Christmas.

'Cause I'm all kinds of sneaky like that.
And because it was killing me to keep a secret! Ugh! That's so hard!!
So glad we're out of the closet now.

So what else am I leaving out?
I'm going to have repeat C-section, so I'll get to pick a date at the end of July.
Yes, I'm aware July is a hot month. Thanks for checking. :)

I'll keep you updated on my pigging out and popping out, because I'm a full believer in eating whatever you want while your pregnant.
And maybe that's why I have 10 pound babies... Let's not look at the details, okay?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's not Rocket Science

A lot of things around our town are full of rocket science. Not the kind that nerdy jokes are made of, but the actual shake-your-windows-in-the-middle-of-the-day-because-we're-firing-rockets-today kind. It feels like a bit of an earthquake or possibly my stomach growling, but actually it's a test firing and those happen pretty regularly.

You might know our story and that Jason and I are space geeks. And, as the old saying goes, geeks breed geeks, so our boys love anything to do with rockets and space.

I recently wrote an article for Growing Up Magazine {so thrilled to be a part of it; it's a local parenting magazine and they asked me to write for them! EEK!!} so if you are visiting from reading that- Hey! So nice of you to stop by!
You can check out the whole article here if you aren't local, but the main point is letting your kids have some unscheduled time in their days to develop their creativity. I even did research and stuff. It's all kinds of official.

I am certainly not an expert at this {says the Queen of the Schedule}, but as my children have gotten older, I've grown to appreciate that free time more and more.

With the recent snowy and icy state around here, they haven't gotten to play outside much, so I thought I'd show you an activity that would be great for free time, a day stuck inside or a science lesson {if you're into learning and teaching and all}.

Yesterday we made rockets launch in our living room. With just a few things I gathered from around our kitchen and craft bins, we had a blast shook up our afternoon.

You will need:
* Yarn
* Balloon
* Straw
* Scotch tape

I attached the yarn to a door post with tape {unfinished paint from unfinished kitchen remodel is not required}. Before you attach the other end of the string, be sure to thread the straw in there to stay over the string. Did that make sense? Just look at the pictures below if it didn't.
Redneck launch pad
Then I tied the other end of the string to a nail across the room {nail was already in there}. We had 2 strings {as seen above} and one only went to the mantle; it was a testing site, of course.
connector 2
Next, blow up your balloon and hold it shut with one hand while you tape it to the straw with the other hand. Pray that you don't need to answer the phone or something at this time.
5, 4, 10, 1
Have the kids count down and let her go!
And we're off!
Plan on being there for at least 30 minutes while children come up to you and beg you to do it again.
You will most likely have to replace the tape once every couple of launches and this is what it will look like. Awesome and beautful, right?
Well, at least it looks kind of science-ish, doncha think?
final straw
We did several different experiments with our balloon launches {2 at a time, 2 on the same string, backwards, etc} and if you are a geek-a-zoid like me, you might make your 4 year old come up with a hypothesis for each one. Or try to explain thrust or a Newtonian Law or 2... but I would never do that.
Not me.

Either way, it was a ton of fun for a freezing afternoon and even though it might not qualify as "free time", sometimes my kids need something to spark their imaginations. They left and went upstairs to play rockets, Buzz Lightyear and counted down for hours, so I think it was a success!

Now I'm off to think of something to impress my kids with this afternoon.
What do you think about letting them have some "free time" folding laundry?
Or teaching them how to dust with socks on their hands?

Sounds like a winning combination to me... or else a children's prison camp.
Maybe it will be rockets again!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rednecks, Meet Snow. Snow, Meet Rednecks.

As you surely know by now, the South is experiencing snow and cold like we haven't seen in decades. {Surprisingly, you haven't seen a lot of Al Gore lately, have you? I'm sure he's snuggled up next to his documentaries and awards and such.}

After last Thursday, we were snowed and iced in until Saturday night, so that made for lots of quality time in the snow and many gourmet redneck meals.

Like pizza and Doritos.
Jan 10.1 042
I believe the snow might be a little bit prettier, so I'll show you some of those pictures.

The first day, the boys just realized they could eat itJan 10.1 038
and make snowballs
Snowball fight
and eat it
Jan 10.1 028
and throw snowballs.
Jan 10.1 026

Then, the next day, I wised up and realized we could use our beach toys and really have some fun.
So Henry "shu-beled"
Jan 10.1 051
and Ollie made giant snowballs with a bulldozer toy
Snow man starters
and then we "shu-beled" some more. Jan 10.1 055
This stuff is actually fun!
Jan 10.1 077
We decided to take to the snowy backyard playground and Henry rode his "bus" all around the yard. He looks thrilled here, but he really was having fun.
Jan 10.1 073
And Ollie made snow tracks on the big wheel. He was in constant motion, so this was the best picture I got. A frame-r, right?
Jan 10.1 071

All in all, we had a terrific time in the snow. I don't know how some people live in it ALL the time, but we can handle it for a few days. And we'll be back in the 50s by the end this week. Halleluiah!

Who has had snow the farthest south? Let's hear from YOU!
Or just tell me about your snow days!

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