Recent conversations from the homestead:

Tootie: … so anyway, all the girls want to sit next to “Linda” at lunch so now there’s a schedule for who gets to sit next to her each day.

Me: What, does she poop rhinestones or something?

Tootie: Huh?

Me: Never mind.


Scene: Hubs embraces me in a bearhug.

The E-man: Are you guys mating?

Hubs: I think it’s time to ban Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel.

From yakking at Old Navy to Easter shopping

Wow. What a past few days.

First, on Thursday, I handed out cute little bags of badges to my Brownies. Photos on the way, courtesy of Hubs, but trust me, they girls were so adorable. I loved their expressions and the pride they clearly felt for having earned those colorful patches.

Saturday, I took the kids summer-clothes and Easter-attire shopping. Unfortunately, before hitting the mall, I treated them to a Chinese buffet, their fave. The E-man chowed down on pineapple chicken, General Tso chicken, sesame chicken, garlic chicken and two versions of beef and broccoli.

And then my stuffed-to-the-gills little boy threw up at Old Navy.

He gave me fair warning. I just didn’t pay attention.

“Mommy, my tummy hurts,” he said several times.

And then — “I need to go to the bathroom.”

At that point, I led the kids back to the restrooms, but there was a wait.

As I chatted with a woman in line, Tootie grabbed my arm.

“Mama,” she whispered urgently. “The E-man’s throwing up.”

I looked down and, sure enough, my poor little boy had upchucked his lunch on the floor next to the changing rooms.

Apparently my son inherited my drunk-in-college talent for Not Puking On One’s Clothes so that One May Return to the Party.

The only casualty, it appeared, was Old Navy’s floor.

When two teenage clerks arrived to clean up, I took pity upon them. (You should have seen their expressions of horror.)

“I’ll get this,” I said. “Then you’ll just have to mop.”

“It’s OK,” the girl said, struggling not to gag.

“Yeah, we can handle it,” agreed the boy standing next to her.

“Trust me, guys, only a mother can clean up puke left behind by her child. It’s what we do.”

They didn’t protest.

The E-man, having cleaned out his digestive system, immediately rebounded and commenced hiding in clothing racks and tormenting his sister as she tried on clothes.

Oh. My. Hell.

I now know why my mother despaired each year when we went Easter-dress shopping.

As I oohed and ahhed over cute dresses, Tootie sniffed disdainfully.

“I don’t like stuff on my dresses,” she informed me.

“Stuff” apparently includes everything from polka dots to flowers to stripes to paisley to plaid to flowery.

I finally convinced her to get a hippie-looking skirt to wear with the turquoise tank she fell in love with.

“I just like plain colors, Mama. Not dresses with stuff on them.”

I sighed, looking back wistfully at the black-and-white patterned dress with the hot-pink bow.

My poor mother. Now I understand.

Each year, she pointed out adorable dresses and I insisted on picking out outfits by Santa Cruz or Esprit. (Remember them?) She like cute; I favored bohemian.

And now I must pay the price for having forced her to sacrifice her dreams of pink frilly dresses.

Thus ended Saturday.

Sunday morning, we attended a church service, then met Hubs (who had to work) for brunch at Capi’s. Yum. Spicy bloody Mary and a breakfast quesadilla. Heaven.

That night, the children played in the water hose. Unbeknownst to the Hubs and I, our little E-man left his tennis shoes outside.

As you’ll recall, it stormed Sunday night.

My poor little guy refused to wear house shoes or flip-flops, so, after watching him depart for school in sodden shoes, I headed to Target. After picking up a spare pair of tennis shoes, I headed over to the school and asked to have the E-man summoned to the office so that he could switch out footwear. He was mortified.

Am somewhat ashamed to admit that it is fun to embarrass one’s offspring.

But it was.

I am now officially That Mother. The one who coos over her wee boy-child in front of the office secretary.

The E-man shoved on his new shoes and fled the office without a backward glance.

The ingratitude!

What not to do during tornado season

So say you’re a dad at home with your two young children while your wife is out pursuing tornadoes with storm chasers.

The tornado siren goes off.

The power goes off.

You have no TV or internet to tell you what is going on outside. (And you ignored your wife’s suggestion to dig the weather radio out of her closet.)

Just then your cell phone rings.

Your wife — who is in the midst of the storm with a certified storm chaser who’s in constant contact with a local TV meteorologist as well as the National Weather Service — tells you that your little neighborhood with all its big, old, towering trees, has been told to take cover.

“Get the kids in the hall,” your wife says.

Your options — as a man sitting in the dark with two kids — are:

A.) Follow your wife’s advice. Because at least she is aware of what’s happening out there.

B.) Ignore the tornado siren and roaring wind while you question and argue with your wife about the weather situation.

Guess which option Hubs went with?

Which is why I spent my entire night more worried about what was going on at home than the fact that I was rocking down highways in pursuit of a twister.

Earth Day Freebie Friday Blog Hop

Today, three bloggers are hosting this week’s Freebie Friday. Why? Because we had so many Earth Day giveaways that we decided to divvy them up between three of us!

While Moody Mom and Yavonda of Baby and the Beasts are offering an array of gardening books, tools and cookbooks, I’m offering several children’s books and a pair of kid-sized binoculars.

Just right for little hands.

And here’s one of the books. I also am giving away board books!

This one looks pretty cool.

I have several other books, including those geared toward the toddler set. To enter, post a comment! And make sure you go here and here to enter for other prizes!

Dear Red-Headed Bully of my Childhood:

Why do you keep sending me friend requests on Facebook?

We were never friends. You made my life miserable. Any memory in which you play a role, even a minor one,  is unpleasant.

You pinched me. Mocked me. Tormented me.

Once, as I tried to ignore you during a church youth-group trip, you got mad and pulled out a hunk of my hair.

None of your Facebook requests has been accompanied by a message, maybe something along the lines of … “I’ve always felt bad for the way I treated you. I’m a different person now and would like to get to know you as an adult.”

I’m a forgiving person if I feel someone is sincerely trying to make amends.

Not so much when that person appears ignorant of or unwilling to acknowledge the kind of bullying you inflicted on me.

The only thing I can figure is that you’re curious about how my life turned out.

I’m happy.

The end.

Now go away.

Saturday’s MS Walk

Yesterday, the Word Herders gathered down at the River Market for breakfast and the fund- and awareness-raising walk for those who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

Three friends of mine have this unpredictable disease. I remain in awe of their grace, sense of humor and efforts to educate.

Our team was organized by Jenn, who was diagnosed last fall. She kindly brought bubbles for the kids and adorable orange accessories. After an outside breakfast, we headed down to the amphitheater to get our official team photo taken before beginning the walk. It was a gorgeous day and we had several babies along for the ride.

You can follow Jenn’s journey on her blog, Losing It.  And if you head over to Moody Mom’s blog, you’ll find her account of our walk!

Here are a few photos. I didn’t have my phone/camera handy when Heidi of In the Family Way arrived. But the twins were just darling. Another Little Rock Mama, Yavonda, of Baby and the Beasts also was there.

From left: me, Jenn, Kristina of Moody Mom and Yavonda of Baby and the Beasts.

Jenn brought butterflies for our hair!

Yavonda and Alaina.

Tootie loves Jenn's dog Ella.

Kristin and Kahlan.

Ella draws a crowd.

Freebie Friday and a teensy rant about school buses

Up for grabs: 101 Blender Drinks by Kim Haasarud. Just looking at the cover of this book makes me want to put on a big floppy hat and recline outside with my cocktail and oh, say, some chocolate.

See what I mean?

Maybe there’s an unwritten rule of which I’m unaware. If so, please enlighten me. Otherwise — is my kids’ elementary school the only one where school buses whiz by all the parents waiting in the drop-off line, only to abruptly cut in front of a car when it reaches the driveway?

This has aggravated me for a long time. It’s rude. And it’s dangerous. But yesterday a bus driver pulled an extremely stupid stunt that sent me over the top.

I had just pulled into the driveway when I caught a flash of yellow to my left. A bus actually squeezed in next to me and effectively pushed me out of line. I honked.

As she approached the curved portion of the drive in front of the school, the driver stopped. And sat. And sat.

Turns out, she couldn’t make the turn because I was beside her.

A man trotted over and asked if I could move a little more to the right.

I gritted my teeth and obliged.

Then he came back over.

“She said to tell her you need to get out of line, turn around and then get back in line.”

I glared.

“You tell her that she shouldn’t have tried to pass me in a driveway.”

He made an “oh-what-can-I-do?” face and shrugged.

I complied and then fumed all the way home.

Is this an issue at anyone else’s school?

Prepping for flowers and picnicking!

What a gorgeous weekend!

Saturday we picked up some fried chicken and headed to Pinnacle Mountain. Not healthy, I know, but to me “picnic” is synonymous with fried food, potato salad, coleslaw, hot rolls, barbecue (beef, Texas-style!). Forget the boring old sandwiches.

After lunch, we wandered along the Kingfisher Trail before pausing at the area under the highway, where the creek is easily accessible. Tootie was most disappointed that she didn’t find any tadpoles. The E-man, however, was elated upon discovering a rather large dead fish.

And, after Tootie threw it into the creek, in an act of motherly love, I waded into the ice-cold water and used a stick to push the fish carcass back to shore, just so that the E-man could inspect it and poke at it some more.

The things I do …

During our fishing expedition (sorry, couldn’t resist), a couple and their son, probably around age 4 or so, arrived at the creekbank with a couple of camp chairs and lunch.

The little tyke saw my kids wading and commenced pleading.

The answer was an adamant no.

“Don’t touch that, don’t get dirty, don’t get your hands muddy, don’t take off your shoes, don’t throw rocks in the water, don’t, don’t, don’t …”

People. If you’re going to eat lunch by a creek, you’ve got to let the kid get his hands & feet wet. Sheesh.

Moving on.

Sunday evening, my Brownie troop met at a local community garden, where they are planting a shade garden, tending a lettuce bed, and, after the lettuce must be harvested, planting a couple of veggies of their choice.

The girls did a fantastic job of raking and clearing the area where they will plant flowers.

A big thanks to the folks at the Argenta Community Garden for letting us work with them this year. I think the girls will get a lot out of this experience.

Here are a few photos:

Raking and picking up leaves...

They filled several bags.

Not sure what was under discussion here. Maybe what colors of flowers to plant?

Trying to make sure she pulls weeds and not plants!