Saturday, 25 December 2010


I know the news from this broad has been sparse. I've been having a hard time finding the joy in everyday life. Until this morning.

Having now been unemployed for six months, making Christmas memorable for the kids was going to be impossible. However, because of the kindness and Christ-like love of family and friends our Christmas was filled with joy. This post is for you.
Thank you.
Thank you for putting the Christ in Christmas and reaching out to us.
Thank you for being with us this morning among the discarded wrapping paper and bright smiles.
Thank you for a Christmas miracle.

If every you have put change in the Salvation Army's little red bucket, or placed a toy in the Toys for Tots box, or donated a dollar or two in the hopes of making sure someone else's Christmas was just a little bit better, thank you. You have made a difference. I'm sure of it, because it has made all the difference to us. Thank you for our Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


I am the most wonderful, lovely, enchanting person in the whole world, just ask my six-year-old son. If you don't already have an enamored fan, get one. It's quite intoxicating, I highly recommend it.

The other day, my little admirer whispered, "I WISH you were my age." I assured him how much I would like being in his class and playing together at recess. I saw the dreamy expression as he envisioned this idyllic world. then asked him, "What if the other kids started teasing you and saying I was your girlfriend?" The cow eyes disappeared instantly and he bared his teeth and furrowed his brow in a very fierce game face. I imagined he was going to defend my honor and challenge anyone who would dare tease us. Through clenched teeth he vowed, "If they did, I wouldn't play with you anymore!"

Good to know my limitations.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


I've been asked "how do you like living in Cheyenne?" I must say, the thing that has stood out the most about moving here is not the relentless wind, nor the fact that the day's high temperature dropped 30+ degrees from the delicious autumn Texas weather, but how nice the people are. In my experience, Texas has always had the friendliest, most considerate population of any place I ever lived. You can strike up a conversation in the line of a grocery store with a complete stranger and it not be weird. Here, the people are not just nice, they are also helpful and warm and friendly and welcoming. It's almost creepy; like Stepford Citizens or something. We're basking in their old time hospitality.

That job thing? Still waiting. Now it's possible that The Job will take us eventually to Virginia, but we are hoping that Divine Intervention will intercede on our behalf and we will be able to go back and live in the Second Friendliest State EVER. If they'll have us, now that I've downgraded the Friendly Quotient of the entire population of the second largest state in America.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Cabin Story

I don't even know where to begin the explanation of how our family moved from our modest 3 bedroom home into a cozy 1 bedroom vacation cabin. "Cozy" is a word the British use when describing extremely cramped living conditions. It sounds so much nicer than "confining" doesn't it? Here it is in a nutshell: we sold our home and the job we were waiting on wouldn't be available for some time, so we had an interim period of about a month with the question, "What to do?" The options were, drive 1,000 miles to Wyoming and wait for the job to come available in Texas so we could drive back, or rent a furnished place in Texas and wait. We opted for wait.

Our new abode was a one bedroom cabin with bunk beds in the same room as the kitchen/dining room. We were ecstatic to find there was one dresser and a very small closet as well. It was actually a real blessing that this particular unit became available the day before we needed it because most of the "cabins" are studio apartments with no separate bedroom like this expansive floor plan offered.

Here a few things I learned...
-Cooking must be kept to a minimum as the smell of your dinner will greet you at breakfast.
-Locking the bathroom door during your shower is no longer a viable option unless you want to clean up the aftermath.
-You can't sneak a bowl of ice cream after putting the kids to bed, as they are only 2 feet away from the freezer.
-Free wireless internet is not a good medium for watching Netflix instant downloads.
-Fleas and mosquitos love the great outdoors and those who live in it.

I have to mention this one quirky thing about our cabin. On the bedroom ceiling, there was a perfect glow-in-the-dark mural of the night sky. It wasn't those cheesy little stick on stars. This constellation wasn't even visible in the daytime. It was a startling, amazing wonder when we turned out the lights in our "master suite";the ceiling disappeared and the Milky Way and Big Dipper appeared. It was SO impressive, I have to give you the link so maybe you can get a feel for how wonderous it was:

So I'm sure you're wondering what happened next. The contract we were waiting to go through was delayed. After a month, we had to pack our remaining things into our 4 door sedan and drive 1,000 miles to Cheyenne, Wyoming where Dan's mom lives. Here we are STILL waiting for the job to materialize. Sheer madness.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Freestyle Baking

We are living in a one bedroom cabin. It's a long story that has nothing to do with baking, so we'll have to dispense with that tale for now. The important thing to know is that all our household goods are in storage and I was needing to bake 100 sugar cookies for church last Saturday. Luckily, my Momma lives nearby and I volunteered her to let me bake them at her place. She agreed, even though she wouldn't be at home to help. No problem.

My recipe box is in storage, but I had the presence of mind to send an e-mail out to friends and family asking if they could give me my favorite recipe days in advance. From the faraway reaches of England, Tina answered my culinary call and I was able to access it using Mom's computer, quite handily located in her kitchen.

The cookie cutters are all packed away, so I examined all the glasses in the cupboard and picked one that would make the perfect sized cookie. That is only the beginning of the "McGyvering" that goes on in this story. For example, I couldn't find a rolling pin at first, but thought, "It's OK. I'll cover the dough in wax paper and then use Mom's hair spray can to roll them out." Luckily, it didn't come to that, as I found a rolling pin while looking for the electric mixer. Good thing too, because I never did come across any wax paper.

The butter flavored Crisco had been forgotten at our one bedroom cabin 15 miles away, but I had $3 and a very handy Dollar General store nearby that helped to reconcile my oversight.

Upon returning from my shortening run, I began the process of mixing the dough. I vacillated a while between doubling or tripling the recipe since there were so many cookies to make. I settled with just doubling, as I didn't think the bowl was big enough to accommodate 15 cups of flour. So, let's see 1.5 cups of butter becomes 3 cups of Crisco. I laboriously poked shortening into a one cup measuring container three times to ensure the recipe was EXACT, because precision is key to premium results when baking, right?

I think it was at this point that I realized I had left the sugar at the cabin and began rummaging around for enough sugar to make ONE HUNDRED cookies. While I was at it, I figured I'd pull out the electric mixer and opened every cupboard and cabinet door in the kitchen in a fruitless search for the elusive mixer. Oh, but look! I found some vanilla extract, another thing I had forgotten to bring with me. Located the sugar, not the mixer but came across a rolling pin then got back to the recipe.

OK, where was I? Oh yes, I had measured out three cups of shortening, which got me thinking I had tripled the recipe because it was three cups, right? So, um, the recipe called for 2 cups of sugar, multiplied by three, came to SIX cups of sugar, but the one cup measuring container was all mucked up with shortening, so I used the 1/2 cup measure which meant I would need to add 12 half cups of sugar. I counted very carefully TWELVE half cups of sugar into the bowl and only then realized that I had doubled the butter part of the recipe yet tripled the sugar. After concluding I had no business actually applying math in real world situations, I tossed in a stick of butter and kissed accuracy goodbye . Since the mixer was a no show, I used a potato masher to cream the first two ingredients together. By-the-way, I'm only just now getting feeling back in my right hand, so I don't recommend this method of mixing to anyone who isn't already visiting a gym regularly.

At this point, I had to reassess what proportions the ingredients should be. Since the boat had already sailed on doubling, I decided I'd shoot for somewhere in the neighborhood of two and a half times the recipe; then added 10 eggs and a 5 lb sack of flour. Yes, things were feeling a bit "I Love Lucy-ish" by then, and I only hoped I'd have the strength to hand mix those nightmarish proportions into something that resembled cookie dough. It was a miracle on the level of turning water into wine that I was able to mix this disaster into a yummy ball of dough that was the perfect consistency for rolling and cutting. The story ends happily-ever-after with smiling church kids smearing butter cream frosting on their very own cookie and decorating with sprinkles to suit their hearts desire.

As I have proven what a forgiving recipe it is, I've included it for your baking pleasure. Please be sure you have all ingredients on hand as well as a potato masher, hair spray canister, wax paper, and a medium sized drinking glass to avoid any minor inconveniences.

Easy Sugar Cookies

1.5 cups softened butter
5 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs

Mix butter and flour and make into crumbs. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix into crumbs. Add vanilla extract. Add eggs a little at a time and bind all mixture together to make dough. Roll onto floured surface and cut into shapes.
Bake in preheated oven at 350f oven. 8-10 minutes.

Butter Cream Frosting

4 oz butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1/4 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix together ingredients until smooth, spread over cooled cookies and decorate

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Select a Language

As I was giving Logan a much needed bath after having walked all over the D.C. mall today, he playfully put some bubbles on his chin and then used his fingers to "shave" the soap off. I narrated what he was doing in Spanish, telling him he was "razurando". He corrected me and explained he was, in fact, shaving. "That's what I said, 'razurando'" I assured him, still speaking in Spanish. "Ooooh. I didn't know that," he marveled. Then he wondered, "Mommy, how you know EVYTHEEN?" I was about to demure that I really didn't know everything in Spanish, but he interrupted my denials by figuring it out all by himself. "OH, I know. You in 'Spanish' mode."

Which is really only hysterically funny if you've watched Toy Story III and are picturing Buzz Lightyear while HE was in Spanish Mode.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Asphalt Surfing

Dan has started running in the mornings before the day's high causes the ground to spontaneously combust and/or the humidity requires one to don an underwater breathing apparatus. Hannah has wanted to go with him and actually awoke him (and thereby, ME) the other morning at 4 am, dressed and ready to go. That is an error she will not likely make again, to be sure.

This morning, at a MUCH more civilized hour, Dan was ready to go for his run and both children wanted to tag along; Hannah on foot and Logan on bicycle. When Logan arrived home, he looked like he had been in a brawl. He explained the brakes hadn't worked on his bicycle and so he tried to stop himself using his feet, but it was too late (an investigation into pilot error is pending). Dan and Hannah arrived a little later and filled in the details:

It all started well enough as Logan impressed Dan by riding his bicycle safely down the frighteningly steep 11% grade road without incident. They arrived to the park where a nice, sedate pedestrian trail meanders between fields and mature trees. Dan felt this would be a good place for him to have a run, as the park is closed to traffic and no one else was there. He took off and Logan decided to keep up, engaging the turbo boosters on his Spider Man bike. At some point, he wiped out on the asphalt, totally compromising the money-maker. The bloody upper lip that swelled up quite dramatically as well as multiple abrasions on his face give him impressive looking street creds .

Oh, and today was Meet the Teacher Night at school...perfect timing.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Guardian Angels

There is no way to spin this next episode so that I come off as a slightly ludicrous yet endearingly charming mommy. No, this story smacks of borderline neglect.

We're in Texas, and it's summertime. The high today was forecasted to be 99 degrees Fahrenheit (38C). Hannah wanted to go outside this afternoon. In Texas; during the summer. Can you already see the tragedy beginning to unfold?

The rest of us decided to stay in the comfort of our air conditioned house and watch A Little Princess, but that movie just didn't appeal to Hannah the Anti-Princess. She asked if she could go outside and read her book. In my head, I'm kind of annoyed because I really enjoyed reading A Little Princess with Michelle and Kimmy years ago when they were Hannah's age and I wanted Hannah to watch the movie so that she would have the desire to read the book too. But no, she would rather go OUT in the HEAT in TEXAS where there is no air conditioning to read Harry Potter than watch the boring movie mommy picked out. And no, I do not have issues. All right, maybe I do...

We started the movie, then Michelle called and we had a nice long chat. Afterwards, I went back to watch the movie and it was already to the part where Sarah Crew is a hungry pauper that gives her food to a little street urchin. Logan was off playing quietly and I thought about Hannah. She was STILL outside. Huh. Wonder if I should go have a peek? That thought was discarded as I figured Hannah would come in when she was ready. Then Kimmy called and we talked for about 30 minutes and got caught up. Little Jack will be 3 months old tomorrow, the same day that Kimmy is starting back to work after maternity leave. And John has gotten a new position at work with a raise as well. After our nice little catch up, I got back to the movie (which I had put on pause because Dan had fallen asleep on the couch sometime during the first phone call). Not too long after that, there was a knock at the door. I got up and saw it was Hannah. I opened the door and she stood there all forelorn then sadly spluttered that she had been stuck up in a tree for ever so long and couldn't get down because there was a bee hive nearby and she knows that nearly all wild bees in Texas are likely to be Africanized. So she sat outside and called for us but we were too far to hear her (in our tightly closed, air conditioned house). She prayed for us to come check on her, but no one came (even though Mommy had been prompted on two seperate occations to check on her). While she was stranded, she cried and thought that probably by bedtime, we would come looking for her. Finally, after at least an hour and a half, she slid off the branch she was on, skinning her tummy. It was the only way to escape her prison and avoid the bees.

When she told us her story, we hugged her and cooled her off and cuddled her overheated little self. Dan went out to retrieve her book and took some pictures of the bee hive in the tree where Hannah was stranded. His heart gave a jump when he saw how close her reading limb was to the hive and how very badly she might have been hurt had the bees attacked. We are so thankful that the Lord shielded her from harm and brought her safely home to us.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Once Upon a Time...

The other day, Dan was telling Hannah a story that took place when he was but a wee lad. She sat mesmerized by the tale, while Logan played nearby with a small toy. After the epic saga was spun out, Logan looked at his daddy and asked, "How you 'memboh dat?" He couldn't work out how his father could possibly remember an event THAT far back in time. To clarify he continued, "How you memboh when you a lil boy cuz now you a dolt."

Apparently, when you grow up, you become a dolt.

I didn't think kids knew that about us until they were teenagers.

Friday, 23 July 2010


I have another story I would like share in order to further embarrass my posterity.

If you'll remember in a previous post, Logan's super hero obsession includes Tony Starks' Iron Man. One day he decided to revisit that particular Marvel hero and asked that I play the DVD for him. Normally, we start the movie at Scene 4 in order to avoid the floozies, the drinking and a bit of the violence. As I was preparing to start the movie at the usual place, Logan objected saying, "Momma, Ah wan see da danseen." Moments passed as I ran that phrase through the Logan Decoder 2000....ok, found a feasible translation...I assured him that Iron Man had NO dancing in it, but he really insisted. To prove him wrong, I started the movie at the beginning and darn if there wasn't dancing!

The scene takes place in Tony Stark's private jet where he and Rhody, a bit toasted, talk business as the lovely young flight attendants danced for their arbitrary viewing pleasure.

Now I remember why we start at Scene 4...

When the movie progressed to the next scene, Logan requested that I rewind it to the "danseen" again. I'm sorry, but women dancing for the gratuitous indulgence of men is demeaning and not something I want to foster in our home, so I crashed his party and refused his enthusiastic pleas. When none of his entreaties would bend my unreasonable, fanatic, feminist will, he cried.

He was only five at the time.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Fodder for July

I was getting really worried that I wouldn't find anything during this month to which I could point a literary finger at and laugh. Thank-fully, I had a very harrowing experience last night just, in time for your reading pleasure.

Since returning from England, I've been job hunting; agonizing over resumes and cover letters, letters of intent and letters of recommendation. I've sat countless hours in front of the computer filling out online teaching applications in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and even Nebraska. Extreme effort with zero response. In desperation, I thought, "Hey, why not branch out and apply for a position in, say, an office?" I found the online job center for USAA and filled out yet another cyber application. Yesterday, I got an e-mail from them requesting I do an online (of course) assessment. I was informed that I would need to set aside 2 hours of uninterrupted time to complete both tests. Since Dan is in Canada for a wedding (Congrats Paul and Stephanie!), I thought it best to wait for the children to go to bed before delving into them.

The first test was easy-peasy. It consisted of questions like, "Of the following three descriptors, which one best characterizes you: Loyal, Convicted Killer, Hateful Shrew." Hey, I know how this game is played, I picked the one that THEY wanted me choose, not the one I ACTUALLY am. * I trotted breezily through that little quiz without incident. However... why is there always a "however"? I think life would be better served if there weren't quiet so many of them, don't you?

ANYway, as I was attempting to say before the innane, rhetorical questions, the second test was a she-bear. The instructions stated I could use a calculator, but I didn't have one. And the one on the computer was not accessible while taking the test. So there I was, armed with a paper and pen facing questions like,
"If Project A takes 27.25 weeks to complete and
Project B takes 3.50 weeks to complete,
Project C takes 2/3 the time of Project A and
Project D takes 1.5 times of Project C.
How long will it take to complete all 4 projects?"

If that's not enough to rattle this stay-at-home-mom's brain, the masochists at Human Resources decided that 3 minutes is all anyone needs to read and answer such straight forward questions. Needless to say, there might be several questions whose answers may not be entirely accurate. Oh. One more thing: Once you start any given section of the test, there is no "pause" button. One question after another, 3 minutes to read, calculate and commit to an answer that will determine your hireability (is that even a word?). Finally, when that part was completed, I decided it was bed time and put it away.

But that's not the end. Because then I DREAMED about it, and in my dream, I was electronically informed that my score was 128 out of 200 (I'm so traumatized by it, I still remember my imaginary score). I was then shown a lovely HR video of all the jobs for which I qualified: I saw a happy janitor mopping sparkling corridors, and smiling, hard-hat wearing warehouse men moving boxes from one pallet to another.
I was thoroughly humiliated in my own dream.

I'm guessing you feel better about your life right about now, don'tcha?

*Just a little icing on the cake...When nine year old daughter Hannah read this entry, she asked me which of the three descriptors did I feel characterized me. I explained that some of the humor consisted in NOT stating which of the three I actually consider myself to be, allowing the reader to decide for themself. Once she understood that she confidently guessed, "Oh...Hateful Shrew." Now my wretchedness is complete.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


I almost forgot to tell you about this one. It takes a bit of setting up, so bear with me a few paragraphs, ok?

My daughter Michelle and her Jonathans (big J and little j) came to visit us before we headed off to England last month. I like Big J because he's a very handy man and he installed my toilet while he was here. I like little j because he is my yummy pet man-cub.

Anyway...they stayed the weekend and we had a chance to say good bye. You see, while I was going to be traipsing about England (illegally), they would be moving to Nebraska. Yeah, I don't know where that is on the map either...

So, we went to England, we were detained, we were released, we got good with The Man and then came home. Dan was booked on a different flight than me and the children, so I got to hustle 6 bags of luggage and 2 children to Amsterdam, then Tennesee before catching our delayed THIRD plane and finally arriving home 23 hours later.

Dan's plane was delayed and therefore missed its connection and he was given a free pass to a nice hotel...of COURSE. That means I got to drive back to the airport at 11:00am on the morning of my first jet lagged day home to collect him at the exact place that I had left 12 hours previously. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?

I know, so far, you are not impressed with the quality of this story. Wait for it... I promise, it has a punch line.

The kids and I picked up Dan, happy reunion, collected luggage, hour long drive back home, blah, blah, blah.

I had left the house in good order before running off to England (illegally), so it was still in pretty good shape when we got home, if you don't count all the spiders and scorpions which had moved in, thinking the place was derelict. We walked in the door and Dan dragged his suitcase into our room. As I followed behind him, I saw something dark tucked a bit under the bed skirt. That's odd...I bent over to pull it out and what do I find?

A pair of MEN'S UNDERWARE! And Dan standing right there looking at me holding up foreign skivvies! I started laughing at my own situation and said, "These must be Jonathan's ...they were here just before we left for England. This is the room they stayed in when they came to visit!"

Dan good naturedly calls me on it and applauds my quick thinking.

So far, I think he still believes me.

*for those readers who don't know, Dan had been working in Iraq for 17 months prior to this.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Today at church, one of the speakers became overcome with emotion and started to weep a little as she shared her love of teaching the Young Women. Logan stopped working on his paper airplane to ask why she was crying. I tried to whisper a quick but spiritually appropriate answer, "Her heart is filled with the Holy Ghost and when we are emotional, sometimes we cry." I turned my attention back to the sniffling lady and tuned Logan out. After a moment, I realized he was speaking to me again, but all I heard was, "Is her on crack?" How do you answer a question like that? In church and everything!...with a lady pouring her soul out?

I'll tell you how I addressed such a shocking question. I used the tried and true answer every parent falls back on and just gave a curt, "No" so I could go back to trying to hear what lady at the microphone was sobbing about. Logan interrupts again and reiterates, "Ho hawt is quacked?"


He hadn't asked if she was "on crack," but if her heart was "cracked"; which in retrospect, makes much more sense.

Uh, yeah, that's it Logan, her heart is cracked...

(then I whispered the story to Dan and he almost had a stroke, trying not to laugh out loud... in church and everything!)

Governor's Reprieve

Dan made some gorgeous baby back ribs for dinner last night. He smoked them flawlessly and added the perfect amount of barbecue sauce to make them moist but not unnecessarily sloppy. It's enough to make you salivate just looking at them, mmm-MMMM!

Our adventure began with us gorging ourselves shamelessly, licking fingers and methaphorically tossing the bones over our shoulders as we worked our way through several racks of ribs. That's when it happened. A very sneaky sneeze erupted out of Logan's meat filled mouth.

Dan was right in the trajectory's path.

It wasn't pretty.

Too late, I handed Logan a napkin. Dan was incensed at the total lack of common decency Logan exhibited by not covering his mouth. Just as The Lecture was about to commence, Logan wiped his face and said in a rather dazed manner, "I didn't see THAT coming..."

I hid my grin behind a hand. Dan looked at me incredulously, covering his new found mirth behind his napkin. Hannah, who has been schooled to not encourage her brother's bad behavior through laughter, watched us stifling our giggles with twinkling eyes and an almost straight face. Logan, noticing our silence, looked from face to face and realized he would not be walking the Green Mile that night. He laughed at us trying not to laugh at him--breaking the tension and sending us off into gales of laughter where only death and dismemberment had hung previously.

So Logan spat chewed food at his father and got off scott free.

Bet you didn't see that comin'...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Why I'm Not a Travel Agent

We found out sometime last November that Kimmy and John were going to have a baby in May. Since then, I've been discussing and organizing plans to fly to England to meet my new grandson and have the kids meet their newest nephew.

After huge amounts of angst booking our airline tickets online, Kimmy helped me buy train tickets that would take us from the airport to her home town of York. Then, noting that my return flight in June was quite early, we decided that reservations at a nearby airport motel would be in order. So I painstakingly booked those as well, I even paid extra for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning.

On the big day, I had a copy of my flight itinerary, the train tickets that Kim and John mailed to me from England, passports, and some English currency all organized together. We made our flight on time, and when we arrived to the Manchester airport in England, I was ready. I had filled out the Landing documents we were given on the flight to turn into the Passport control people and our passports in hand, ready to whiz through and catch our train. The Passport Control Nazi barked out his questions: "How long will you be here?"
"Thirty-four days!" I had counted, I was prepared.
"What is the reason for your visit?"
"To see my grandson that was born 3 days ago," I gushed.
He kept flipping through the three passports I had given him until, holding up Logan's and my passport, he finally growled, "These passports are expired!"

I will skip over the part where I almost started crying and the part where the Passport Control Jerk threatened to put us on a plane right there and then to send us home. It ended up that the good people of England decided (after holding us for an hour and a half) that the kids and I weren't a security threat and graciously allowed us to come into their country even though I am a complete imbecile.

Once Dan arrived to England, we took a day and went into London to sort out the passport snafu at the American Embassy so all was set for our departure back home.

Just one last little detail to make this little saga into a great story--when we arrived in Manchester travel weary and ready to go home, the Travelodge didn't have a reservation for us...because when I booked the room back in April, I had inadvertently made it for MAY 16th instead of JUNE 16th. Perfect.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Do you remember that wonderful sense of heady intoxication you felt experiencing some of life's simplest pleasures? You know, like getting to stay up late on a dusky summer night chasing fireflies, or that amazing sense of wonder and excitement at the sight of your Christmas tree all lit up? Tonight, a glimmer of that magical anticipation resurfaced when I was fortunate enough to hear Hannah excitedly confide to her brother that she was planning to be a vampire for Halloween, a scant 179 days from now (I know, it totally snuck up on me, too)! Not one to be caught unprepared, Logan promptly responded, "I going be a peh-wit." Following this, um, unusual announcement, he added the following codicil: "A good peh-wit." So that evil parrot Halloween outfit that immediately popped into your head when he first mentioned his costume choice...forget about it.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Awesome Transformers

Before I forget, I need to tell you about Logan's latest super hero obsession. Those of us in the Circle of Trust know that when he was 4, it was Spider Man. When he turned 5, it was Ironman. Then came Bumblebee from the Transformers. Just recently, he is all about the Transformer's 'bot in charge. Who might that be, you ask? Some of you Transformer buffs might incorrectly think you know that answer to be Optimus Prime. I can understand your confusion, as six months ago, Logan too was under the impression that the head autobot's name was "Officer" Prime. Now that he is almost 6 years old and knows WAY more words, he realizes that the name has actually been "Awesomous" Prime all along. Now you no longer need call him by the wrong name any further...You're welcome.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

HRH's New Subject

Have you ever tried to explain the time continuum to a child? If you have, you'll know it's on the far side of impossible to do with any kind of elegance. Logan has been asking about our upcoming trip to England. It's still three weeks away, which to a 5 year old is equivalent to the better half an eon. He also insists upon using the phrase, "the other day" which like the word "aloha" can mean any number of things, such as "tomorrow" or "yesterday" or "a long time ago", casting further shadows on the already nebulous determination of exactly when something will transpire. Here's how our most recent Pending Vacation conversation went down:

LOGAN: When we ah goin' to Englin?
ME: In May (thankfully, now Logan knows the months of the year, a real asset when trying to convey, with exactness, when an event will take place)
LOGAN: The other day? (hmm. I guess knowing the months of the year didn't help as much as I had anticipated)
ME: No, in three weeks (To further clarify, I sing the days of the week song, 3 times in a row, to the tune of "Macarena")
HANNAH: Am I going to be in England for my birthday?
ME: No, we'll be home by then.
LOGAN: (whining): NO! I want stay to Englin fo' EVoh
ME: We can't because we don't have a job there
LOGAN: (stubbornly): Well I juss gonna stay. I no come back!

So, not only did I fail to answer the question satisfactorily, I also incited my child to seek asylum in a foreign land. He's a small boy, I doubt Her Majesty will ever notice us leaving her lovely island country minus one child.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

It's Happened

When we first got to Texas, all the kids and teachers at school commented on Hannah's darling English accent -- which I had a hard time hearing, but, whatever...However, yesterday while we were in the car, this is what I heard her say, " Ah juss kay-yant." Yes, she WAS speaking English, but whatever semblance of cultured English she had gleaned while living overseas is gone. She is now speaking Texan, the language where you take a one syllable word and stretch it into two, sometimes three syllables. For those of you who are still baffled by her statement, she was attempting to say, "I just can't." Charming.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


If men are indeed from Mars, then that planet is no place for the faint of heart or delicate of spirit. I say this because of an incident that occurred last summer when Dan had just arrived from Iraq. Hannah had come bounding into our room the first morning of his return. She was so happy to have her daddy back and was jubilantly getting Dan up to speed on all the news of her very busy new life in Texas. While she basked in her father's attention, I studied her animated face, noting how endearing her smile was. She had lost her front teeth around Christmas, so by now, they had grown in, making her look like one of those adorable, animated Chipettes. I interrupted her happy chatter by saying, "What cute teeth you have!" Dan asked to see them and upon inspection, declared, "Man! You could cut a tree down with those things!" Stunned by the insensitivity of his remark, I quickly glanced at our little girl to gauge her reaction. The hurt look on Hannah's face and her sudden silence were ominous. She quietly removed herself from the bed and walked out of our room with all the dignity and aplomb of a lady. I hissed at Dan, "Why would you say that to her?" He defensively retorted, "You started it!" Trying to explain that my comment was a compliment while his was tantamount to calling her 'quasimodo' in girl-speak was futile. I quickly followed Hannah and found her face down on her bed crying. I tried to explain to her very delicately and with all manner of political correctness that men are babbling lunatics when it comes to communicating with the fairer sex. Dan came in and apologized profusely, devastated that he had wrought such distress. I explained to Hannah that if Daddy were to have made that statement to another male, it would have been thought immensely cool. So cool in fact, that the hypothetical male might even have tried going out to see if he could indeed, chop a tree down with his new assets. This made Hannah giggle and hopefully innoculated her against all future male "compliments".

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Fair Share

At school, both kids eat lunch before noon, so when we picked them up at one to whisk them away to the San Antonio Zoo yesterday, they were near starvation by 4:30. In order to stave off the whininess and bickering that comes with low blood sugar, we bought the requisite $13 bag of popcorn and 12 oz drink to ward off certain death. Luckily, popcorn refills were $1, so we totally scored on THAT deal...

By the end of our second bag of popcorn, Logan, in his unique command of the language complained, "Mama, Hannah eat-uh alla pa-cone." so I tolda Hannah, "Hannah. Don'ta eat-ah alla pa-cone!" I looked down at Logan just then and noticed he had his two hands cupped together FILLED with popcorn; he quickly added with guileless blue eyes, "Also, I had some."

Friday, 19 February 2010

Quid Pro Quo

Monday, we took the kids to the Hard Rock Cafe on the San Antonio Riverwalk. They were pretty miffed we were going there instead of McDonald's, but sometimes in life, we all have to do unpleasant things.

We saw Elvis' karate outfit and Johnny Cash's black duster jacket while eating food three times pricier than the fare found on Mickey D's menu. Luckily, the kid's meal includes a milk shake made with Dreyer's ice cream (for an extra $3), pretty much this establishments only saving grace in their eyes. Miraculously, Logan managed to finish his in record time without a single brain freeze. I helped myself to the dregs of Hannah's shake and had barely stolen my first taste when Logan insisted he wanted a share of his sister's left overs. Teasingly, I held the cup more firmly, turning slightly away from him, feigning I didn't want to share. Insulted, Logan complained, "Hey, I give you flowers Mommy!" reminding me of all the hand picked dandelions he has harvested for my personal enjoyment. Not able to dispute such a lucid argument, I laughingly handed over my ill gotten dessert, thus allowing justice to be served (and tantrum avoided).

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Waxing Nostalgic...

Recently, I was reminiscing over our days in England. One memory came to mind that I really must share even though I've told the story several times. Just deal, OK?

We had recently made friends with the neighbors across the close (that's "cul de sac" to us Yankees). Their little girl Louise and our Hannah were spending every free moment together; this particular time, they were over at ours. It was winter, so it got dark pretty early, about 10 seconds after we got home from school, if I remember correctly. Since everyone was playing nicely, I thought it might be a good idea to sneak into the bathroom for some personal pursuits. Just as I'm getting, er, situated, Hannah calls up that Louise was going home. Normally, this event would have acted as a catalyst, starting with a phone call across the street to let the neighbors know she was on her way, followed by standing at my door and watching as she walked the 18 steps across the close into her home, where HER mom would be waiting at their open door. Yes, we are over protective mothers, but it was DARK and she was only six years old. However, since I was rather indisposed at the time, I asked Hannah to watch her friend cross the road for me. Situation handled, but I still felt a twinge of guilt for dispensing with protocol.

Maybe some 10 minutes later, an amiable fellow came to the house. He introduced himself as Louise's father so we stood chit chatting just inside the door. We're in England, and he's English, so I figured he was just being polite and had come to say "hello" or whatever genteel thing the British do when they come over to one's home for no apparent reason. Of course, the awkward pause eventually ensued as our conversation skittered slowly to a halt. We stood for a moment, blinking at each other; I waiting for him to either state his business or make a gracious exit, he wondering why I was being obtuse and forcing him to be direct. "I've come for Louise," he finally says since I was obviously not going to offer to return his first born. Baby panic started fluttering in my stomach as guilt for not having watched Louise cross the street nibbled at my heart. I informed my newly met neighbor that she had gone home some 10-15 minutes ago. He stood smiling congenially at me, thinking I was joking. When I told him she SERIOUSLY had gone home, he politely excused himself, saying perhaps she was at home but that somehow they had overlooked her. He crossed the street and I stood watching, hoping that I would see an "all clear" sign from the neighbor, indicating that she was indeed home. Instead, I hear Louise's mom call her daughters name, the sound of panic and fear audible clear over to my house. Of course, that kicked my panic into sheer terror as I started imagining what horrible thing must have occurred when Louise had gone home alone, in the dark, unsupervised while I selfishly tended to my own needs. Neighbor Man came back over and I told him I would search upstairs if he would search down...remember we have JUST met and I'm asking him to be totally unBritish and snoop around my home.

I didn't find Louise upstairs, but Neighbor Man found her downstairs. Apparently, Louise had hidden herself in the closet under the stairs. Hannah had covered her with coats and the two of them were playing a fine joke on us! I was SO relieved that Louise wasn't kidnapped and really impressed with her tenacity at staying quietly hidden for so long. As they went home, he looking a bit grim, I was resigned to being viewed as the inept mother and neighbor. My only consolation was that being American, they probably hadn't expected too much to begin with.