Arkie Mama: Wordless Wednesday

These pictures are from last year, when the kids were into raking leaves. In jammies, no less. Must take after me. This year, they’ve been picking up the zillions of acorns in our front yard.

Watch out, Tootie!

Watch out, Tootie!

She loves to wield the rake.

She loves to wield the rake.

Do these things come in shorter sizes?

Do these things come in shorter sizes?

(pssst … Want to win a pair of sparkly earrings? Go here to enter.)

Want to participate in Wordless Wednesdays? Post a photo on your blog with a link back to me. Then I’ll list the links to all Wordless posts here.

For more Wordless Wednesday, go here:

Moody Mom

She’s Crafty

In the Family Way

Baby & the Beasts

Mom on a Wire

Hugs & Kisses


Arkie Mama: The Pajama School Run aka Mommy’s Walk of Shame

Confession: There have been several mornings over the past 1 1/2 years when I’ve thrown on a pair of flip-flops, grabbed a sleepy-eyed E-man and raced off to Tootie’s elementary school — in my baggy flannel pajamas.

Sometimes, if we’re running late, I don’t even brush my hair. Or wash away the leftover mascara smudges underneath my eyes.

And then I pray fervently that I won’t get pulled over during my five-minute drive or that I won’t have to get out at the school for some unexpected reason. I cannot imagine the reaction if Tootie’s principal or teachers were to see me in all my jammy glory, complete with bedhead and goth eyes.

I call this slapdash routine the Mommy Walk of Shame.

Only instead of wearing last night’s clubbing clothes, I’m decked out in hubby’s softball shirt and a pair of ragged-but-oh-so-comfy PJs. And instead of calling various girlfriends to ask how badly I embarrassed myself the night before, I’m wondering what the cop will think when he pulls me over for going 5 miles over the speed limit in a school zone. In my haste to get to the school.

Most mornings, I’ve got it together. I dress Tootie for school and Hubs drops her off on his way to work. Then I get myself and the E-man dressed and drop him off at daycare on my way to the newsroom.

When Hubs is gone, however, my tidy little routine gets thrown completely off-track and I end up doing the Mommy Walk of Shame dropoff.

Behold these visions of early-morning loveliness:

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Exhibit C (my jammy shirt says "Snuggle") Heh.

Exhibit C (my jammy shirt says "Snuggle Up") Heh.

Exhibit D

Exhibit D - Now this is THE Jammy Run uniform. Note flip-flops.

Arkie Mama: I touched a dead deer, but only cuz I needed a potty

Over the weekend, I took the kids down to the Buck Fever Festival, which is held in south Arkansas each year to celebrate the opening of gun season. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would one day be dressing my kids in camo and partying in the deer woods, I would have declared them certifiably insane and laughed my ass off.

The only camo I ever purchased in my single-girl days came in the form of a skirt, which I figured would make for a cute clubbing outfit.

One day, I wore that skirt to work (yeah, I know, but women in their 20s have questionable fashion sense) and it immediately caught Hubs’ eye. At that time, we didn’t know one another, other than exchanging random hellos in the newsroom.

Anyway, Hubs saw that skirt and thought he’d finally found himself a gal who liked to hunt.


We started dating in September 2000, and when Buck Fever rolled around, Hubs invited me down to Banks, Ark., where his family has lived for generations.

“So you’re the latest girlfriend,” Hubs’ dad said with a laugh.

I determined right then that I would somehow distinguish myself from the other women who’d been dragged down to the deer camp.

And that night, as we sat around a campfire drinking bourbon and Coke, a moment of brilliance struck.

“I’d love to go hunting tomorrow evening with you,” I purred, sidling up to an elated Hubs.

So the next day, Hubs decked me out in hunting garb. All you could see of me were my eyes — which shimmered delightfully thanks to three shades of sparkling, autumnal eyeshadow — and my hands, which boasted 10 fingers tipped with shiny, burgundy nails.

When we got to to Hubs’ favorite spot, I trotted dutifully after him, prepared to prove myself as a sporting sort of girlfriend.

“OK,” he whispered. “Sit here and DO NOT MOVE.”

I plopped down into a position that I figured I would able to hold for the 30 or so minutes I estimated it would take Hubs to get a deer.

An hour passed.

And then another.

By this time, I desperately had to pee, but I knew that Hubs would frown upon A.) moving around and B.) leaving my scent behind after a drop-and-squat. He’d already made me shower with some sort of descenting soap. I figured peeing in an area where deer roam probably wouldn’t go over too well.

Please, oh, please just let him kill a deer, I prayed.

Bear in mind, I really had no idea to see a buck die. But in my haste to prove myself as The New and Improved Girlfriend, I’d neglected to ponder the fact that I would have to witness death in the woods.

Finally, just as my potty situation was becoming truly dire, Hubs silently and speedily pointed his gun.


“Yay!!!” I cheered, hugging him. “Now we can find a potty!”

But when Hubs tried to drag his buck out of the woods, it became clear he would need help. This was one big deer.

Crossing my legs, I mulled over my choices.

I could lag behind, maybe cop a squat when Hubs wasn’t looking. Or I could help him haul that damn deer out to the truck.

Believe me people, when I say that only a bathroom emergency would enable me to touch a dead animal.

After we heaved the buck into the truck, I ordered Hubs to take me to Grandma Hattie’s house, where a wall-papered, old-lady bathroom awaited.

And thus, my introduction and initiation to deer hunting was complete.

I married Hubs the following spring and I have never set foot near a deer stand again.

Instead, I take the kids to the Buck Fever parade, the Buck Fever catfish lunch, the Buck Fever Talent Show and the Buck Fever Beauty Pageant.

I find these activities both fun and totally surreal. And when I hear the occasional boom of gunfire, I thank my lucky stars that I got that ring on my finger before my second hunting season with Hubs.

And these days, my camo isn’t deer-woods friendly. It’s pink. And meant for sleeping.

The mighty deer hunter

The mighty deer hunter


psst … Make sure you go here for a chance to win a pair of sparkly earrings!

Arkie Mama: Overheard in the newsroom

So there’s this fabulous Facebook page that’s a fave of many a journalist. Overheard in the Newsroom offers hilarious comments and/or conversations overheard in, well, a newsroom.

Anyway, I thought I’d take you, dear readers, on a walk through our newsroom. (Some of you will likely recognize yourselves.

I originally posted this in 2007. But I’ve hauled it out, given it a good dusting and am making it available to you once again. (Just so you’ll know why I’ll never be fit to work in any other environment.)

So, here’s a sampling from a typical day:

“… and so for the next 24 hours, you have to pee in this bucket …”

“… caught trying to steal a sheep from the zoo … said he thought it was his mother…”

“OH NO!” [Thud, thud, thud] “I just wrote this email about how I was worried I might be pregnant and that I forgot to take my anti-depressant this morning and then accidentally sent it to one of my sources…”

” … he used Dippity-Do for WHAT?!”

“… So should I send another email apologizing for that first email about the anti-depressants?”

” … used a garbage can to steal that sheep from the petting zoo … no, the sheep wasn’t injured …”

” … guy said the strippers beat him too hard during a birthday spanking …”

[Religion editor walks by, pauses at a reporter’s computer screen and notices a man wearing a thong.]

“What website are you on?”

“Go Fug Yourself.”

[Editor looks hurt.]

“… Um … OK.”

Arkie Mama: Wordless Wednesday

Thanksgiving, two years ago —

Cece, Tootie, me and the E-man

Cece, Tootie, me and the E-man

This is why my gorgeous stepdaughter is no longer allowed to stand next to me in family photos. She makes me look short and stumpy!

Want to participate in Wordless Wednesdays? Post a photo on your blog with a link back to me. Then I’ll list the links to all Wordless posts here.

For more Wordless Wednesday, go here:

In the Family Way

Baby & the Beasts

Mom on a Wire

Moody Mom, part one

Moody Mom, part two

She’s Crafty

Hugs & Kisses

Wheels on the Bus


Arkie Mama: Kudos to Crestwood, NLRISD and the health dept.

One of the school district’s mass flu clinics was held today at Crestwood Elementary. Four schools were involved: Crestwood, Lakewood Elementary, Lakewood Middle School and Indian Hills Elementary.

It was so well organized. Each school was assigned to its own line. When the clinic opened, a group of five families from each line was escorted inside. Each group then went to a specific table to sign their child in and pick up the Health Department forms that had been sent home with kids ahead of time. After signing in, we went to the cafeteria. There were three rows of tables: one for seasonal flu vaccine; one for H1N1 shots; and a third for H1N1 mist.

The clinic volunteers were patient and helpful, and our nurse was fabulous. We handed our forms in at a checkout table and left.

I was one of the first in our school’s line and, once the clinic opened, we were out of there in 15 minutes.

I don’t know how things went once I left, but Principal Lori Smith and her staff & volunteers still seemed to have things well in hand. Turns out they were vaccinating younger siblings too. If I’d known that, I would have brought the E-man to Crestwood and avoided the rain and long lines at the ballpark. (I remain grateful for the many people who staffed that event, however. I sure didn’t envy them having to deal with that enormous crowd, especially in a pouring, drenching rain.)

Thanks to all involved with the Crestwood clinic! It wasn’t nearly as painful as I had feared. And since they had FluMist, Tootie would probably agree with this assessment!

Arkie Mama: I keep mothering adults

Several years ago, I sat beside my editor as he read my story. He offered a few suggestions, then asked what I thought.

I hadn’t uttered more than two sentences when he started laughing.

“You’re talking to me like you do your toddler, aren’t you?”

I froze. He was absolutely right. I was even using the Mom Voice, which made things even more embarrassing.

You’d think that by now I would have stopped lapsing into that tone, but no. These days, I have an even more annoying habit of treating my friends like my offspring. I use an arm as a barrier if we’re about to cross a street too soon. I inquire about their health in waaaaay too much detail. And as poor Moody Mom now knows, I can be a bit of a pest.

Sunday, I took her with me to the gym. I was going to my Zumba class, and Moody Mom was going to try doing her knee exercises in the pool. (She dislocated her left knee several weeks ago.) It occurred to me on the way that she might have some trouble getting in and out of the pool.

So after checking the kids into the playroom, I walked with Moody Mom to the indoor pool to check out the stair/ladder situation.

“Are you sure you’ll be able to get out?” I inquired doubtfully.

“Oh, I’ll be fine,” she replied, gesturing toward a set of stairs.

“Well. OK,” I said. Then I went back to the locker room.

Moments later I was in the pool area again. Moody Mom was perched on the edge, doing exercises.

“Just making sure you’re OK,” I said.

“I’m fine,” Moody Mom said with a laugh.

Moments later, I was back a third time, on the pretext of giving Moody Mom a key to our locker.

“So you’re sure you’ll be able to get out?” I asked again.

Yes,” she said. “Now go to your class.”

I spent much of Zumba imagining Moody Mom thrashing around helplessly in the pool

Can you tread water with only one working leg? What if she re-injures her knee trying to climb those steps? What if she accidentally wanders into the deep end? OMG, what if she DROWNS?!

As it turns out, Moody Mom was perfectly fine. She’d even enjoyed a leisurely soak in the whirlpool.

Still, when she accompanies me again, it will take much self-restraint to keep from ordering her to wear a pair of water wings.

Arkie Mama: Mammaw’s Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken spaghetti is the king of comfort casseroles. I’ve sampled many versions of this dish, but none could compete with my mother-in-law’s.

A little pile of heaven.

A little pile of heaven.

A few years ago, for Christmas, she gave everyone binders filled with her favorite recipes. At the front, she wrote this:

For 52 years, Mac and I have devoted ourselves to our children, our grandchildren and each other. These recipes have been collecting for all those 52 years — and are still being collected. The joy of cooking for my family has been one of my presents of love to them. My family and friends are my life, along with serving my Lord.

My mother-in law passed away last February after a lengthy struggle with cancer. During the last few months of her life, I spent a lot of time in her kitchen, cooking for family and the many friends who dropped in to visit her.

The weekend of her funeral, I made her chicken spaghetti. Even as I prepared it, several women dropped by, bearing — you guessed it! — chicken spaghetti. Mammaw would have found it funny, I’m sure. I sampled her friends’ various versions and they were delicious.

But not quite as good as Mammaw’s.

Mammaw’s Chicken Spaghetti


1 can Rotel

1 chicken, whole (I’ve cheated and used breasts!)

1 pound spaghetti noodles

1 small onion

1 medium bell pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Several cups of chicken broth

2-3 celery stalks

Shredded cheddar


Boil chicken. If you’re using a whole one, remove the bones. Boil spaghetti in chicken broth. Meanwhile, saute onion, bell pepper and celery in oil & a small amount of broth. (I sometimes add a little minced garlic.) Mix veggies, cream soups, chicken and noodles in glass baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Casserole's divided due to Hubs hatred of onions.

Casserole's divided due to Hubs' hatred of onions.

Crossed-posted over at Will They Eat It?

Arkie Mama: Wordless Wednesday

Psssst — go here and enter your child(ren) in our Halloween costume contest! Great prizes!

We now resume with our scheduled post:

I often hear moms debating the whole princess concept, how it teaches little girls that all they need do is smile winsomely, sing like Ariel and snag a prince.

I think perhaps we over-analyze at times.

Because when you’re 6 years old … well, it’s all about the twirly dress.

So thanks, Ms. Marissa, for giving the girls an afternoon of princess gowns and princess twirling.

Royal blue.

Royal blue.





Ring of princesses.

Ring of princesses.

(That’s Moody Mom’s Bear to the left of my daughter, btw.)

Want to participate in Wordless Wednesdays? Post a photo on your blog with a link back to me. Then I’ll list the links to all Wordless posts here.

For more Wordless Wednesday, go here:

She’s Crafty

In the Family Way

Moody Mom

Baby and the Beasts

Blessed Mom

Letting herself go


Hugs & kisses