The sleepover vs. the slumber party

Tootie’s had a lot of sleepovers — at our house, at friends’ houses — but last night was her first slumber party.

Her BFF Olivia was turning 6, and after the festivities at a local pizza parlor wrapped up, a caravan of cars headed to Olivia’s house.

One by one, little girls headed eagerly toward the front door, clutching pillows and stuffed animals.

I counted silently as they streamed by … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 …

Wow, she’s so brave, I thought of Kelly, my mom friend hosting the party.

Thus far, I’ve hosted only one kid at a time at Tootie’s sleepovers.

The other parents filed in behind me, writing down phone numbers and issuing last-minute instructions to their daughters to behave.

The girls, of course, weren’t listening.

One was turning cartwheels. Two were performing cheers. And another pair were chasing down a terrified kitten.

Better leave now before Kelly changes her mind about this, I thought, easing my way toward the door.

I could tell the other parents were thinking the same thing by the way they made their own furtive exits and raced out to their waiting cars.

“Good luck!”


“Show no fear!”

I climbed into our truck, where Hubs and the E-man waited.

“Hurry,” I hissed, “before she changes her mind about this.”

This morning, the phone rang.

“Hello!” I chirped, having slept in this morning.

“Hi,” a weary voice replied.

“You survived!” I said.

“Uh-huh,” Kelly replied uncertainly.

And it was then I made a mental note to myself:

Sleepovers, good. Slumber parties, SCARY.

Lord of the flies (or not)

Reposted from April of 2008. I read this now and laugh. Back then, however, it wasn’t quite so hilarious. I’m happy to report the E-man is no longer afraid of flies. Moths, on the other hand …

My toddler is terrified of flies.


So this evening, when I heard the Scream of Terror, I knew — a fly must have gotten in.

The only other thing that elicits that kind of scream is a cat. The E-man had a few bad experiences with kitties in earlier years and hasn’t ever recovered. I’m not really a cat person, either, however, so I totally get this particular fear. I compare cats to premenstrual women — one minute they’re adoring and slathering in their affection and the next minute they’re swiping you with newly unsheathed claws. I have no patience for that. Only one PMSing creature per household, and that is ME, thankyouverymuch.

So — back to the flies.

The scream traveled from the living room to the kitchen, where I was cooking dinner. And then the E-man hurtled toward me. “Mommmmmmeeeeeee! A flyyyyyyyyy!”

Thus followed 30 minutes of sobbing. Each time he subsided, the fly would buzz by and the screaming started all over again. Finally, out of desperation — the kid wouldn’t touch his dinner — I pretended to kill the fly and dispose of its freaking carcass.

I am so diabolically clever.

Five minutes later, as a forkful of noodles was headed toward the E-man’s mouth, the fly rose from behind the couch with a loud buzz.


Again, I chased it around the living room, thwacking my library book against walls and windows. I smashed the darn thing umpteen times. But. It. Would. Not. Die. At last, after much cussing and flailing, I killed it.

“Look, E.,” I said, holding out the paper towel. “It’s dead. No more fly.”

“Let me see,” his sister said, pushing forward.

After she peered into the folded paper towel, I headed toward the trash. Just as I approached — I kid you not — that freaking fly miraculously came back to life and buzzed upward.

I flew at it again, book still in hand, and this time, I flattened the little effer into nothingness.

By this point, however, the E-man was so distraught, he wouldn’t eat his dinner. So my efforts were in vain.

In other words, the fly won. Even in death.

Arkie Mama: Our morning with Jessica Dean

Today, Cindy (aka Mom on a Wire) and I appeared on KATV’s Rise and Shine with Jessica Dean to discuss mommy blogging. Jessica was adorable and utterly charming. We had a wonderful time chatting over coffee when we weren’t on the air.

Please ignore the extra chin that always appears when I’m on camera. Oh, and also the incessant eye-blinking thing. No, I didn’t have something in my eye. I just bat my lashes when I’m nervous. Let’s call it one of my cute little quirks, OK?

Anyway, here it is —

(There’s a second segment, when Cindy actually got to talk, but I couldn’t find it!)

Arkie Mama: From sexpot to gone to pot

Behold the youthful Cathy, with her big, Texas hair and dramatic makeup —

College days, during my dating-musicians phase

Waiting for our dates

Those were the days when I could wear corduroy without the fear that someone could hear my thighs making that swish-swish sound as I walked. The days when it was fun to spend an hour (or two) on hair and makeup. Since becoming a mother — well, my standards have sunk.

It started with pregnancy.

When you look as though you're carrying a litter in front AND in back, you know things are bad.

No, I'm not leaving a bar. I'm in the vomitous stage of labor, on the way to the hospital to have baby No. 2.

This cut & style was dangerously close to Mom Hair.

Why hello, Hubs! Wanna try for a third? I know you want me.

This month, my kids turned 5 and 7. I’m just now losing the baby weight. My hair is finally getting back to normal. I’m ditching the mom jeans. Mostly.

So hello, 40! I embrace you.

Girls' Night Out Birthday Bash. More photos tomorrow.

Arkie Mama: I’ll be partying this weekend

Next week, I turn 40. So let the festivities begin!

Tonight, Hubs is taking me out to dinner. And then tomorrow, I’ll be heading out with my girlfriends for wine, cheese and, later, dancing. As my friend Amy says, this birthday calls for partying like you’re 20!

Does turning 40 bother me? Nope.

The only birthday freakout I’ve ever had was when I turned 29. At that point, I evaluated my life and found it lacking. I was living in a crappy, small town in Texas. I was in a dead-end relationship with a man who was quite possibly gay. So basically, I went berserk, kicked out the boyfriend and started job-hunting.

And I turned 30 here.

Stayed tuned for pictures. Several of us will be taking cameras!

Arkie Mama: I had a blast at the Book Blast!

I’m one of those annoying people who loves to read aloud.

“Listen to this,” I’ll say to Hubs before reading something from the newspaper, internet, my latest southern-family-drama novel, etc…

“Mmmm,” he’ll say when I’m finished.

Translation: “Why must you torture me this way?”

You can imagine, then, my delight in birthing two little people who had no choice but to listen as I rocked them at bedtime. When they were mere babes, I read and re-read all my favorites, adopting various voices for the characters.


I was invited this year to inflict similar torture read aloud to children at McCain Mall’s Book Blast!, which is part of Simon Malls’ Kidgets program. Even better, I was told I could bring one of my own to read.

Yay! I get to pick!

These days, you see, my children insist on picking out their bedtime selections. Occasionally, however, I insist on my faves. One such beloved book requires me to sing a lengthy passaged to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. Which is why the children groan when I beg to read it. I threatened to bring that one — When the Sky is Like Lace — to the Book Blast, but my daughter, who is now old enough to be embarrassed by her mother, pleaded that I leave it at home.

Anyway, the Book Blast was so much fun! Except, probably, for the poor girls who had to hold a microphone for me while I read and bantered with my enthralled captive audience.

Moody Mom was kind enough to take pictures of the event. I’ve included them below:’

Why yes, I am indeed sitting in Santa's mall chair! Oh, the power...

Oh my. Not sure why I look deranged. I thought I was merely being expressive.

Young audiences are so fickle. One minute, they're listening in rapt attention...

Hello! Children! Over here!

So tell me, little ones, what do you want for Christmas this year?

Lisa Meyer, left, is the marketing director at McCain, and the woman to her right was one of the many nice ladies running the event.

Thanks for inviting me, guys!

Arkie Mama: One of the most raw yet beautiful things I’ve read

I stumbled across Kelle’s blog, Enjoying the Small Things, quite by accident. She’s mama to two girls, one newly born, and an amazing photographer.

But this one post she wrote … it lingers with me. It’s her baby daughter’s birth story. 

Here’s an excerpt:

I knew the minute I saw her that she had Down Syndrome and nobody else did. I held her and cried. Cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone that would tell me she didn’t have it. I held her and looked at her like she wasn’t my baby and tried to take it in. And all I can remember of these moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over…she locked eyes with mine and stared…bore holes into my soul. 

Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh, please love me.

If you read nothing else today, read the entire post. And if you have time, browse the rest of her blog and look through her photos. They’re balm for the February-weary soul.

Arkie Mama: Valentine Mommy FAIL

This morning, I drove to Arkansas Tech, where I was scheduled to speak to two classes about journalism.

Minutes before my first talk, as the students took their seats, my cell phone rang.

It was my husband.

“Hello,” I murmured. “I’m about to start talking.”

“We have serious situation!” Hubs barked, nearly blowing out my eardrum in his hysteria.

“Can I call you back?” I asked. “I’m standing in the front of the room.”

“You forgot about the E-man’s valentines,” a panicked Hubs informed me. “What do I do? I have jury duty in 30 minutes.”

Oh no.

Somewhere in our snow-day-cluttered house was a box of SpongeBob valentines, which I had completely forgotten to address and sign.

Where did I put them?

The pre-K Valentine party was set for 11 a.m. But I was in Russellville. And Hubs had to get to the courthouse.

I am a horrible mother.

You have to find them,” I whisper-hissed.

“Never mind,” Hubs said. “I already … {crackle, crackle} of it. {crackle, crackle} took some {crackle, crackle} and the teacher will {crackle, crackle}

Mommy guilt washed over me. I’d let the E-man down.

And rather than swim in said guilt, I would have to shift gears and talk shop.

Several hours later, I tracked down Hubs.

“OK, so what happened? What did you do?”

Turns out that in the 30 minutes he had left before jury duty, Hubs managed to hit the grocery store, where he bought gift bags, several varieties of candy and other party favors. Then he hurriedly assembled them in his truck and dropped them off at the daycare.

“You did what?!” I screeched. “You outdid me! We don’t do bags. We do cards. Now you’ve gone and set a precedent. I’m known as the slacker mom and  you’ve totally ruined my street cred.”

“I HAD to,” Hubs replied. “When I walked into his classroom, all these women were bringing in cute little bags stuffed with candy. I couldn’t just go buy a bunch of cards.”

“What’s wrong with just cards?” I asked. “I even got him SpongeBob ones.”

Hubs sniffed indignantly.

“He would have been a social leper. You should have seen what the other kids’ parents were handing out.”

My suggested party contribution

Hubs' suggested party contribution

So. Which is better? Yeah, I know.


But I’ve learned my lesson. Next year, I  am sooooo delegating all Valentine-related duties to Hubs.