How to feel like a jerk

I’m not a fan of our elementary school’s Test Kickoff Week.

We have Crazy Sock Day, Team Shirt Day, Crazy Hat Day and Crazy Hair Day.

Socks and hair I can handle.

But when it comes to team shirts and hats? My options are these:

Buy them or feel like a mean, ol’ party pooper.

We don’t already have team shirts or jerseys. And they tend to be more expensive than regular T-shirts. So today, the kids went to school in their regular school shirts. I promised we would go buy hats for tomorrow.


Anybody have any ideas where “crazy” hats are concerned? Especially for a little boy? Help!


On a cheerier note (can you tell I need a little sunshine?!), make sure to follow this link and enter our Loaded Easter Basket Contest. We’ve put together a really cute basket containing toys, games, CDs, a DVD and books. Just click on the link above and leave a comment on the post about your favorite Easter memory. We’ll announce a winner April 5. Good luck!

Adventures in food

When Tootie was just a wee thing, Hubs and I lived in San Antonio for a year. Within a few months, we’d become regulars at several Mexican restaurants. I was pregnant with the E-man and, just like my first round of pregnancy, craved all things spicy.

One restaurant we deemed a fave because of it’s incredible salsa.

Partaking of a really good salsa involves three stages:

At first, you notice only the amazing flavor.

Then you begin to feel the burn, which quickly morphs into pain.

If you’ve got the stamina to keep going, however, an interesting thing happens — while you can still taste the salsa, your mouth goes numb, just enough to eliminate the pain factor.

One evening, Tootie, who was almost 2, demanded to plunge her chip into that salsa.

She ate one coated chip. A second. A third. Then she began sobbing.

“Too hot for her,” Hubs concluded.

But after a few sips of water, Tootie grabbed another chip and pointed at the salsa.

“More,” she said.

From that experience, I learned that children — if not influenced by picky eaters, like, say, their Daddy (ahem) — are way more adventurous than we give them credit for.

Which is why I enjoy exposing mine to different types of food. They love all things Asian. And the E-man harbors a particular fondness for my Greek chicken, which I marinade for several hours before cooking it.

Now if I could just convince Hubs that onions are not evil.


Last night, Hubs and I hosted a gathering for some old friends in town for a fantasy baseball league draft. (I know. I know. The draft is something I must endure each year, just like my old friends Kim and Elisa.)

Anyway. Last night, our house was full of babies!

There was infant Josie, 9-month-old Zane and toddling Gabi. It was heaven. Lots of cuddling, stroking of fuzzy baby heads, inhaling of new-baby scent. Sigh.

The best part? My kids are now at the age where we can throw an impromptu party and I can enjoy a babyfest EVEN AS I KNOW that I will get to go to bed and sleep through the night afterward!

‘Tis the best of both worlds, truly.

The little ones were adorable — lots of chubby baby feet! — and we (including Tootie) loved trying to prompt smiles, coos, blown kisses and clapping.

It was a wonderful evening, not just because of all the babies present, but because we were with old friends, the kind of friends where you pick up just where you left off, even if it was a year or so ago.

Tonight, ours will be going to bed early — too many spring-break-related late evenings — and Hubs and I will enjoy a comfort dinner that I picked based on the cold and gray.

But I have to leave you with this: My own sweet babies, curled up together in the glider once used to rock them to sleep.

Aren't they cute? They did this all on their own. I love seeing them snuggled up together!

Back from the motherland

We had a fantastic time in Texas during spring break.

My favorite moment? The afternoon the kids came running at me full-tilt, carrying a forked stick. “Mommy, we found a lobster!” they yelled.

“Actually, that’s a crawdad,” I replied.

Their faces fell.

“But they’re really tasty too.”

The children remained unimpressed.

Anyway, as promised, here are (belatedly) photos from our trip:

I was sorely tempted to snuggle this little guy home in my luggage. But I figured my sister would probably object.

Getting ready to board the Bertram Flyer: Tootie, the E-man and their cousin Kirin.

"Psst...Kirin. If you refuse to look at her, she'll put the camera down."

Little boy on a train.

Picnic at the park. We had fried chicken — yum!

Down by the creekbank.

"Enough with the pictures, Mommy!"

Wading. And ignoring Mama's pleas to pose for more photos.

Rule No. 1007: "Do NOT have any fun on the playground!!!"

And now I leave you with a happy photo:

Baby feet!!

Spring Break: Texas Rocks!

OK, so I may be a bit biased, given that I was born and raised in Texas. But where else can you buy fresh pico de gallo at the grocery store? Ah, home…

Anyway, my parents are touring South America, but were kind enough to let us crash at the old homestead during spring break.

Thus far we’ve:

Spent lots of time snuggling wee Logan. (my newly hatched nephew)

Ridden the Hill Country Flyer (steam train)

Waded and played in the meandering creek that runs through a park near my parents’ house

Eaten a LOT of Tex-Mex (I’ve made breakfast tacos every morning with that pico. Yum.)

Attended a Total Body Conditioning class with my middle sister (am expecting to awaken in pain tomorrow, but at least I have leftover muscle relaxants from the back injury I sustained hoisting Girl Scout cookies to and from work!)

Photos tomorrow!

Road trip! And passes made in the kitchen.

Am in the motherland (Texas) for spring break!

Arrived an hour ago after an 8 1/2-hour drive from Little Rock. Solo. The Hubs, you see, has more trouble getting time off than I do.

Anyway, the trip went fairly smoothly. We stopped at a Taco Cabana and ate outside — the better to enjoy the lovely weather. Spent most of the drive alternately singing to Friday-night radio club mixes and lying to the children about “how much longer” it would be before we got here.

Am now drinking raspberry vodka and diet Coke.

Yesterday I promised to reveal Hubs’ explanation as to why men always accost their significant others while said others are busy cooking in the kitchen.

I assumed it was because Hubs nurtured some sort of Mad Men fantasy in which his wife greeted him at the door in an apron, served up an astonishing dinner and then orchestrated stunning choreography in the bedroom.

But no.

As it turns out, Hubs sees my time in the kitchen as an opportunity.

“You’re vulnerable,” he explains, referring to my position at the stove, stirring whatever happens to be in the pot. “You can’t escape when I try to grope you.”


So I’m the doe and he’s the pursuing buck.

I think I liked my theory a whole lot better.

Anatomy of the Booty Slap

I know I’m not the only one whose significant other delights in smacking my all-too-considerable rear when I walk by him. Usually, I grin and continue on.

The other night, however, as I raced inside in desperate need of a potty, the Booty Slap very nearly caused my unreliable bladder (thanks, uterus!) to explode.

“Why do men do that?!” I shrieked on my way to the bathroom.

When I returned, Hubs offered an explanation.

“We do it when we know there’s no chance of taking things further, like when the kids are around, but we still want to signify our interest.”

He waggled his eyebrows.

“So it’s an abbreviated grope?” I inquired.

“Pretty much.”

“Not some leftover habit from your high school football days?”


Tomorrow’s topic: Why men always become amorous when you’re trying to cook dinner.


For those of you here via my Forces of Nurture column, welcome! For the back story, go here. Otherwise, enjoy — and get thee to a Zumba class! (Zumba classmates: If you’d like to see more photos, let me know!)

Party Hearty Zumbathon: Fundraiser for the American Heart Association

Great turnout!

We had a fabulous time!

Airborne ...

Losing a friend

One of my daughter’s closest friends is moving to Texas. Tootie is devastated. Already, there have been a few spontaneous fits of weeping, even though Jada isn’t leaving until later this week.

The two have much in common — a love for dogs, collecting rocks and bugs, reading and running at recess.

This past weekend, we had Jada over for a farewell sleepover. The girls spent most of the night dressing up and dancing. Before bed, they read for an hour, swapping books as they finished. And while we wish all the best for Jada and her family, my heart breaks for Tootie.

The girls put on a show for us Friday night.

There was dancing ...

... clapping games ...

At one point, Hubs got caught up in the moment and showed off some stellar Daddy moves.

The girls were not impressed.

Jada is moving to a part of Texas we often travel through on our way to and from my parents’ home. So I’m hoping the girls can see each other at least a few times a year. Still, it won’t be the same.