Thursday, December 31, 2009

Birth and Babies, Birth and Babies

We were sitting at the table discussing birth pools (aka Kiddie Pools) when my brother-in-law called. On my I end I heard, "Well actually it's a common topic at our house..."

So true.

I just completed the January issue of the eNews for Birth Works, which means articles, websites and information on pregnancy, birthing, babies and breastfeeding are still swirling around in my head. Hopefully they come out coherently in the eNews! (If you want one let me know)

I currently have no less than 6 open boxes and bags of baby gear in my living room, my first attempts to see what we actually have for the new little one arriving soon. And to see what we might still need. I'm kind of surprised I waited this long to start baby planning but on the other hand there are WAY more distractions while expecting a third rather than a first baby.
When the new little guy is born sometime in February he'll have a car seat if he kicks his older brother out into a booster, a few furniture pieces and a small package of newborn diapers, courtesy of Santa! Lucky for him the clothes and blankets from his older brothers are still in good shape along with the cloth diapers that should fit in a few months.

A friend of mine called today needing more advice about birth pools and we ended up talking about care providers, home births, doulas and the local hospital.

Work on my Childbirth Educator Certification has picked up since the Student's been on break. More books and reports and brain swirls about birthing and babies. My favorite book so far has been Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. I agree with the the 271 5-star reviews on Amazon, that she has done a great service to childbearing women in sharing positive birth stories and practical advice.

Birth is a hot topic around the Franklin house these days, and I'm thrilled!

Did you count? 13 including the title and book title, see what a I mean?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

two more signs the world is coming to an end sooner rather than later...

At Walmart...

The QB was checking out with some groceries and the clerk held up a head of cabbage and said, "Uh...what's this? Lettuce?"

When the QB said cabbage, the clerk said, "Oh, right. Sorry. I'm not very good with vegetables."

On the Phone with a record store:

I asked the clerk if they had any recordings of "Swan Lake." The clerks response:
"Uh.. Who's the band?"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Need a Break from Christmas?

How about some Halloween Pictures! (We're still catching up)


I For costumes I bought two gray sweatsuits and sewed on fins, eye and teeth to turn the little guys into sharks! They're not in time out, just showing off their fins!


The sharks needed a surfer to chase after of course, so the Student took that job. And for me, well we couldn't think of anything that fit well for a preggo lady.
Pregnant Hula Girl? Nope
Whale? Feeling like that anyway, don't want to make Halloween emotional!

Anyway, I decided just to go as a pregnant witch! And if the pic looks a little funny it's because it's from the point of view of a 6 yr old.




Get him boys!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another existential moment....

Last night, I found myself sitting on my living room floor in the dark, watching this ambitious, if not terribly unpredictable version of Pride and Prejudice, all by myself. Okay, I wasn't alone, really. My very pregnant wife was asleep on the couch above me, her foot resting on my shoulder, and our recently-neutered dog lay on the floor beside me, snoring and twitching occasionally, but in terms of conscious participants, it was just me and the movie on the laptop. I don't know what this moment means, except that maybe sometimes proximity is all that people (and dogs) need--proximity to some other living, breathing, thinking thing.

The QB and the dog had me. I had them. and we had the movie.

It could have been a better movie.

We all could have been awake for it.

And the dog could have refrained from sitting up every five minutes to lick its fresh wound, but you can't have everything, right?

Snow...snow...never eat...what was that again? Never eat...

The QB made sugar cookies tonight for Family Home Evening. She was planning on just making stars with yellow frosting, but then the Monkey insisted they use the snowman cookie cutter too. We didn't realize it until after we'd decorated all the cookies, but thanks to the Monkey's insistence, tonight we ate:


"Yellow snow"-man cookies.

oh well. They were delicious.




Sunday, December 6, 2009

The new dog

This is Copper, our new dog. He's a boy, at least until tomorrow morning. This is a picture of him just after finding out about our trip to the vet tomorrow.
"You're taking me where?" he said.


And, as you can see from this photograph below, he is very well trained. Notice how expertly he has plopped himself down BESIDE his new bed, instead of on it. We think this may represent some measure of artistic predilection on his part--very avant garde, very "thinking outside the bed, err--box."
Interesting note. He and Mr. Baseball both react the same way to discipline. They both get really excited, as if the embarrassment/shame/frustration/whatever of failing to live up to expectations generates a lot of energy that has to be released in some way. Mr. Baseball usually gets wiggly and starts talking in goofy voices. The dog usually runs laps around the couch and rolls on his back at my feet, as if to say, "I'm sorry, really, I am. I know I'm bad, but look, I'm on my back now, totally exposed. That's got to count for something, right? Please don't hate me, please."

He's not bad. just new to all of this "living with bipeds" stuff. He's been a backyard dog most of his life and hasn't had a lot of rules. He couldn't sit or stay when we got him (still can't really) and his on-leash etiquette made going for a walk like trying to play with a thirty pound yo-yo. But he's getting better. five days of morning walks and he's right along side me most of the way without much tugging or getting distracted by the neighborhood smells.

Can you imagine having a nose like a dog's that takes in smells like we take in the visual world around us. What a smellscape! Rain gutters and stale garbage and burning chimneys and rotting leaves and cigarette smoke and that old chewing gum on the concrete and the stale urine on the fire hydrant and the cotton seed on the wind and ketchup packet smashed into the asphalt and the broken beer bottle and the McDonald's bag in the field and maybe even the cockroach droppings and a stray bit of exhaust carried in on the breeze--all picked up by the dog's nose, all registered and cataloged and labeled with at least two questions? "What's that smell?" and "Should I follow it?" I SEE most of this on our walks, but he smells it. It's got to be an entirely new dimension, a lens on the world that gives him what I imagine language gives us, a unique view on his surroundings specially adapted to his needs as a dog--a view we can neither appreciate nor ever hope to appropriate any more than he'll ever really appreciate or be capable of using language to the extent that we do.

I've read that some autistic savants associate specific emotions, colors, energies, and feelings with numbers--I wonder if a dog can tell the difference between an angry smell and a happy smell, a safe smell and a dangerous smell, a clam smell and an energetic one. who knows. We bought some old chicken at Walmart the other day that smelled pretty angry.

He's learning...I'm learning...we're learning...

Why Mr. Baseball is going to be a good husband...

So in primary today (the children's class at church) a teacher asked the group about their favorite restaurant and called on Mr. Baseball. His answer:

"My house, because my mom makes really good food."

Well done, Mr. Baseball, well done.

The nice thing is, we're pretty sure he meant it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Behind a Few Months on Pictures

September was a crazy month, we did a lot of swimming in the pool at our temporary apartment in between house shopping, starting school and adjusting to Lubbock. One of the most fun things was celebrating Mr. Baseball's 6th Birthday! He loved the Pirate Legos and his Pirate Hat cake (even though it was a little floppy).




Mr. Baseball you are so smart and caring and thoughtful. Sometimes I'm amazed at all the things you know about and want to learn. Just last night on our Mom and Son date you told me you wanted to be a Architect and a Baseball player! That's ambitious but I have no doubt you'll be able to do and be just about anything you want to. We love you and your bright spirit!
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Working Backwards: October Pics

In mid-October we took our first road trip to Utah. Our main reason for going was Joey's brother's wedding (Welcome to the Franklin Family Sarah!). We spent nearly 10 days there visiting with both sides of the family.

Cousin Olivia's Baptism!

Nearly all the Franklin cousins together in the same place; a rare treat

Go Monkey!
Probably the closest I'll ever get to really skiing. We visited the 2002 Olympic Winter Games museum in Park City. It brought back good memories since I was in school and dating the Student. The kids had fun sitting in bobsled and trying the virtual skiing!

Oldies, it's about time

Our cute little Monkey's birthday was a month ago but I just found these pictures, all ready to post!




The dinosaurs were a big hit with both boys!



The Birthday boy requested crepes for dinner!


A "Dinosaur Dig" cake, those are fossils on the dirt cake if you can't tell.

Monkey, we're so glad you've been part of our family these last three years! It's fun to watch you grow and learn and be so silly! We love it when you say funny things and ask all sorts of questions and follow your brother around incessantly. One of my favorite things is when you sing primary songs with us or when you sing I Am a Child of God on your own. It's very sweet and I know you are His child! We love you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Parent training dog training kid training parent.

I am of two minds at the moment--a psychological limbo wherein I find my tired brain over-saturated and confused by two very important, yet very different philosophies. Both promise to stretch my mental muscle, my patience, and my capacity for love and forgiveness, both promise to increase my well-being and happiness, and both promise to improve my family life if applied correctly, but the two philosophies could not be more different. I am speaking, of course, of two books: Cesar's Way, a dog training book by Cable TV's "dog Whisperer", Cesar Millan, that I got a few years back and guiltily skimmed as we prepared to give our old dog, Shelby, away before moving to Ohio, and Raising Cain, a book about the emotional lives of boys written by two child psychologists who've spent their entire careers working with troubled boys.

Cesar's Way
constitutes a gentle rebuke to all dog owners who anthropomorphize their pets to the point showering them with misplaced sympathy and coddling or bludgeoning them anger and aggression:

"Feeling sorry” for a dog is not doing that dog a favor. It is actually hurting her chances of becoming balanced in the future. Imagine if someone “felt sorry” for you all the time. How would that make you feel about yourself? Dogs need leadership before they need love" (153).

Raising Cain is a gentle rebuke of parents who buy into the "Boys are supposed to be tough," mentality that discourages boys from expressing, understanding, and reacting in a healthy manner to their own emotions.
“Parents can model emotional connectedness and empathy. They can listen to boys’ feelings without judging them, hear their problems without dictating solutions. We have to come to grips with the fact that every boy has an inner life, that their hearts are full. Every boy is sensitive, and every boy suffers. This is a scary idea for many adults, who consciously or unconsciously, don’t want to acknowledge a boy’s emotional vulnerability…If we teach our sons to honor and value their emotional lives, if we can give boys an emotional vocabulary and the encouragement to use it, they will unclench their hearts” (20).

Since we just got a dog, and since we're having our third boy in February, these two books and their very different philosophies have been churning around in my head. It seems that some dog owners have been treating their dogs like little boys, and too many people have been treating their little boys like dogs. The result: dogs that pee on the wall of your living room and kids that throw toys across the room when you ask them to help with the dishes.

In fact, the behavior that Raising Cain warns against is not far off from the alpha male firmness combined with rewards and carefully planned affection that Cesar wants for dogs, and the unconditional love, emotional space, and nonjudgmental support Raising Cain advocates
is not too far from the behavior that Cesar suggests is tipping some dogs off balance.

So what is "natural" for the dog is not "natural" for the little boy. That seems obvious enough. But with a head full of pop psychology and no real easy answer to dealing with the daily changes in the emotional and physical needs of a little boy like Mr. Baseball, I get a little lost. Especially when, in his book about dogs, Cesar writes something like this:

"Those parents on Nanny 911—of course they love their children!—But love’s the only thing they’re giving. They’re not giving their kids exercise. They’re not giving them psychological stimulation. There are no rules."

I'm not confused by what Cesar is saying--that in some ways the needs of children (structure, consistency, a stable understanding of expectations, emotional, psychological, and intellectual stimulation) are the same as the needs of Dogs. What gets me is how easy it is, as a parent, to want to apply the rest of Cesar's philosophy to the kids--to treat them like dogs. You know--ply them with treats, put them on a proverbial "leash" in public (particularly at the grocery store when they're chasing each other down the cereal aisle screaming "fireman to the rescue!" so loud that people in the checkout lines can hear them), draw out clear and strict boundaries about where they can and cannot go, establish myself as the "Alpha male."

No matter how much I read, and pray, and think about being a good dad, there is a threshold I reach as a parent, where Mr. Baseball's daily fight about putting on clothes or his tantrum about having to help set the table or his kicking furniture and toys when he gets frustrated leave me saying things like

"Either choose to be okay with doing BLANK (insert undesirable but important activity that takes him away from whatever it is he'd rather be doing) or we'll BLANK (insert a variety of privileges that we could take away, everything from listening to books on tape to skipping story time to not having dessert)"


and that only makes him more upset and makes me feel like I'm trying to train a dog instead of raise a child. Mentally I know I should give him a little room to vent his frustration and then decide on his own that complying with the rules and order of the house is in his best interest, but the alpha male in me wants immediate results--I want him to sit when I say sit, to fetch when I say fetch--and I know that it is both unreasonable and ineffective.

But I still do it.

Not all the time. Just when that threshold gets breached, when I feel like I've been the calm and patient and active-listening parent that I need to be, or it's week 11 of the school year and putting on school clothes in the morning should, in my mind, be well-established routine, or when I call Mr. Baseball inside after playing in the backyard for an hour to come in and help clean up and complains that he "never gets time to play"--that's when this irrational alpha male part of me wants to break out and say, "Just do it!" and sometimes it does.


Those are the moments that I feel smallest, that I wish I could take back, that I wonder at this parenting thing and how God can trust me with his children. I feel bad that Mr. Baseball is the guinea pig--that every change in his emotional and physical needs is new to us--a fast moving blip on the radar that we barely have time to react to before it has completely overtaken us, knocked us off course, and left us spinning, scrambling to right the controls, to steady the ship, and to regroup enough to react in a way that is helpful and encouraging to him and maintains the order and stability in our family.

I called him this morning from work after leaving in a huff, grumpy that this parenting thing isn't easier, upset at myself for being so demanding, disappointed at the dissonance between how I know I should interact and communicate and negotiate with Mr. Baseball and how I often end up leveling him with warnings and lectures and sermons and platitudes about "being part of the team." I called him to tell him I love him, to let him know that I'm not as frustrated and disappointed by his actions as I sometimes appear, and to see if he'd managed to get out of his own chore-induced bad mood. he was laughing when he picked up the phone--all the frustration and defensiveness of early this morning washed away. He was sitting at the table doing some writing practice, getting ready to go out with Mom and his little brother. I told him I loved him. and we talked for a moment. Then he said, "I love you Daddy," and hung up the phone.


As nice as it was to hear his happy voice on the other end of the line, and for him to say that to me without any prompting, I can't help but wonder at what point my short comings as a father will no longer be so easy to forgive and forget.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Utah Trip in Mid October


We had so much fun in Utah visiting with cousins we don't see very often--Olivia got baptized and all of us spent the weekend at a cabin in park City.

Probably the closest I'll ever get to speeding down a powder covered mountain.


Go Monkey Go!

The boys were very excited to see Olivia's baptism. And even more excited for the chocolate cake afterward. Remarkably, they managed to eat all of dinner without a single stain on their new white shirts. The monkey did have a hard time trying to keep up with the older kids though. At one point they all went to the bathroom and the Monkey got left behind. Somebody found him in the bathroom trying to push the heavy wooden door open, and crying his eyes out. Not the best way to encourage potty training.

New House

Be grossed out if you must, but that floor is brand spankin' new! The Student spent quite a bit of time, energy and at least 5 trips to Lowes to get it in, and we're all very appreciative. Whoever thought carpet in a bathroom was a good idea is cuckoo. Now imagine it with freshly painted walls and a black vanity cabinet, hopefully it will look exactly as you imagined before the end of the year.

A quick snap of the kitchen before we moved in. And yes, that is carpet in the kitchen too! Ick! But the newly purchased Scraped Hickory Laminate is in the garage waiting for Thanksgiving weekend to make it's appearance. At some point we expect to paint the cabinets and replace the counter too. We're very grateful for the bigger kitchen right now though.

Backyard, complete with 2 sheds full of old tools, knobs, jars, paint etc. We plan to:
1) Scrap some of the old metal for a little bit of cash
2) Sell some of the extra tools and garage-saleable items
3) Use the free yard tools! And plumbing supplies and old paintbrushes and camping chair and and and and... We're thankful we don't have to buy a lot of stuff to take care of the yard.

The Monkey is playing next to a railroad hitch dug into the ground. We're not exactly sure why it's there but they must have had a use for it. We're not sure both sheds are going to stay long term, and we know some of the extra sidewalks need to come out but the boys are having fun playing out there everyday. (Oh and we think that's a peach tree in the picture, we hoping for peaches and pecans next year!)

We like the new house, despite the ugly carpet, it's finally feeling like home now!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Future Posts


Now that we're all healthy (well, mostly) and things have settled down we have some major updating to do on the blog! I figure if I list them here, I'll feel more obligated to write about them and post pictures and I'll actually do it!

1. New house! Thanks to the Student the new bathroom floors and painted vanities look awesome! Presto-change-o, Carpet-B-gone!

2. Trip to Utah for a wedding and fun with family!

3. Sinus infection. Ok, no pictures of that. But that's my excuse for not posting anything the 10 or so days after the trip. They're awful anyway but on top of being pregnant it was pretty rough.

4. Update on homeschooling! Some days I can't believe we're actually homeschooling but other days I'm very grateful and we're having so much fun.

5. Birthdays: Mr. Baseball's was right before we moved and we never posted anything about it. The Monkey's is TODAY, and The Student's is on Tuesday. Lots of celebrating going on...

6. And my husband, who is laying here in bed next to me, wants me to tell you all how great he is! He's joking of course, but he really is great. My personal superhero :)

He cooks! He cleans! He fixes! He writes! To Infinity and Beyond!

7. Halloween!


8.The weather. I know, its a silly thing, a last resort conversation topic but it really different. It was still 71 degress outside at 7pm last night when we took the boys to play. And it's NOVEMBER! I knew it would be warmer here but it's just a little weird.


9. Mr. Baseball woke up with an abscessed tooth yesterday. Having any sort of medical or dental issue on Saturday should be outlawed.

10. Counting down to Baby Franklin's arrival in February. And he has nothing even close to resembling a name yet. When I was a kid I remember thinking I would let my kids pic their own name. I'd just call them Bubba or something until they were old enough to choose. Maybe I really should do that!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Swashbuckling Around the House

Thanks for "Swashbuckling" with our boys Joey, I love you! And congrats to the producers for the best public service announcement!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On new things...

What is it about new, shiny "things?" When I get a new pair of running shoes, the leather so white, the mesh nylon so taut and reflective, the pattern of the sole so uniform, clean, and fresh smelling, I imagine I'll keep them that way for months, that this pair will be different than the dozens of pairs of tennis shoes I've owned in the past that invariably end up dog-eared, grass-stained and smelling of cooked onions and wet dog. For the first few days wearing them, I walk gingerly, avoid taking steps too fast, and make sure to keep the laces tied and out of footfall range. But then one day I'll find myself late to class, or a doctor's appointment and in my hurry to be on time I'll trip over a curb, or stumble on a step, or kick a rock and smudge, tear, scuff, or otherwise defile my new shoes. For a moment I'll look at my new shoes, no longer perfect and shiny, and feel sad and frustrated that I can't seem to keep anything new for longer than a week, and I'll wonder if other people have the same problem.

And the next day, I'll wear those shoes to mow the lawn.

It's like a New Years resolution to exercise every day, or the month I tried to go without chocolate--everything goes great for a while, but then something happens--I forget to exercise or someone brings donuts into the office, and I slip a little, and then there doesn't seem to be a point anymore in holding out. Pretty soon I'm hanging laundry from the treadmill and eating a donuts and candy bars between trips to Wendy's for lunch and dinner.

Except with things it's different. With a diet or an exercise routine, there's always a chance, however small, that I might keep it up. But stuff will always wear out, eventually. No matter how hard I try, my new shoes will always get scuffed, spaghetti will always splatter on my new white shirt, my watch will eventually get lost, and my car--my brand new (to me!) 2002 dodge caravan with only 25,000 miles on it that some grandma drove to and from knitting school for seven years before trading it in for a Dodge Charger--will eventually get rear-ended while I'm driving through Albuquerque on the way to my brother's wedding and the new paint on the back door will splinter and flake off and the exposed steel will begin to rust and the door will no longer shut quite right so that even when I slam it as hard as I can, it still wiggles back and forth when I drive, and when that happens I will have to decide that "stuff' doesn't really matter, that as long as my shoes lace up and my car still goes down the road when I press the gas, I should be thankful for what I've got--especially when the other driver had insurance.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Exhausted with a Capital E!

The really really long week. It would have been a marathon week anyway, but considering that I was still stuck in bed 8 weeks ago, it's more like one of those Ultramarathons. Read if you dare:

Sunday: Fairly normal, pick up borrowed car

Monday: return weekend car rental 7:30 am, finish packing house, pick out vinyl to replace YUCKY carpet in bathrooms, final walk through with realtor, Family Home Evening, The Student and kids go to fair (and spend $17 to ride 2 rides), I go to Moms Night Out with other homeschool moms.

Tuesday: Drop kiddos at friends, close on house at title company, return to title company to drop off the big important check we'd left at home, pick up kids, make a deal with credit union (and keep kids entertained by making paper airplanes in the breezeway out of credit union flyers), celebrate out to eat (Taco Bueno!), run home for quick nap, Dr. appointment across town and a good reminder that I'm pregnant and shouldn't overdo it this week, let carpet cleaning guy in at the new house, stop at home improvement store, eat dinner, haggle with car dealership. FLOP INTO BED

Wednesday: Pick up rental truck early, take new car to mechanic for OK, sign papers at dealership, dismantle and pick up swing set for the boys (had to use the truck to get it) sign papers at credit union, drop off swing set at new house, pick up new car (!!!!) in exchange for the 3-quarts-of-leaking-oil-per-day (and not enough room for 3 carseats) clunker, return borrowed car from friends, pack pack pack, eat pizza for dinner (Mid Week Comic Relief: The Monkey had fallen asleep when The Student went to pick up the pizza, so he carried him in, paid and carried him out, setting the pizza on top of the car while he buckled the monkey into his seat. If you know the Student, you know that's trouble! He returned a few minutes later to beg for a new one and tell the employees about how the box flipped off the car, the pizza flew out and landed face down on the busy street, scaring the driver behind him. Mr. Baseball tried to tell me the story but when I found out the pizza flipped out of the box and onto the pavement, I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself) help load truck with friends from church, drive past horrible accident on the freeway, unload truck at new house with new friends from new ward, try to find something for everyone to sleep on and to wear to bed, send the writer back to the apartment with the truck to get the last few pieces of furniture that wouldn't fit the first trip, FLOP INTO BED. (The student finished unloading the truck about midnight).

Thursday: Wake up starving, send The Student to McDonalds for breakfast (since I couldn't even find a knife to spread some jam on the last piece of bread we had), pile in the car/truck to return rental truck at 8am, spend morning cleaning apartment to check out, unpack a little tiny bit at the new house, send The Student off to class (oh yeah! He's a grad student, kinda forgot about that part this week...), atempt to make dinner with very few dishes or pans unpacked, dig for nice clothes for the writer to wear to a formal dinner at school (oh yeah, we almost forgot about that too!), bathe kids using hand soap left at the house from the previous owners, try to unpack a little bit more, fall asleep on the couch waiting for Monkey to fall asleep in his bed. Didn't even make to the flop part, it was more like a half-asleep drag.

Friday: Drop the Student off at school, attempt to find something to pack for sack lunches (celery and peanut butter and cheese slices), stop at store to buy drink because we forgot the water bottles, attend Homeschool co-op classes and eat at the park with everyone (whew! Something a bit normal!), stop at Home Depot to buy toilet seat to replace the padded one left by the previous owners (DISGUSTING) and battle the over-tired Monkey the whole time; more battles at home about nap time which didn't ever happen, talk with a friend who came to the door who wondered why she couldn't call me (oh yeah, did I mention no phone or internet at the new house even though we had service transfered on time? And no more minutes on the cell phone, must be purchased online), try to find a few more kitchen boxes to put away ( Oh! plates! A knife! a cutting board! glorious!) throw a frozen casserole in the oven, meet the phone technician at the door, hide the wet underwear hanging all over the room (oh did I mention the outlet for the dyrer needs to be fixed, so we're line drying for now) more unpacking, thank the phone tech profusley, pack kids in the car to pick up the Student from the bus stop, wait 20 minutes and wonder where the Student is, realize the the car's been on empty too long and that the casserole is still in the oven and possibly burning, drive back home, taking way too long to stop for gas at an overcrowded gas station, rush into the house to find the casserole still ok, jump back in the car, run back to get the student who ended up having to walk 10 blocks because he read bus map wrong, scarf down dinner at home, run back to Home Depot to buy supplies for the vinyl flooring, upend many boxes to find the modem power cord so the internet will work before Conference on Saturday, put the kids to bed while The Student scrapes the carpet and old linoleum off the bathroom floor (DISGUSTING!), buy groceries at the store before they close, FLOP INTO BED.

This week does not end on Friday unfortunately...

Saturday: Send the Student to Lowes for more parts to fix the bathroom, wonder what's wrong with the Monkey who is acting lethargic and dehydrated, take the Monkey to Urgent Care to make sure his burn (a big blistering one on the arm from the waffle iron last week) is not infected which dashed my hopes of tidying up the messy partially unpacked house before General Conference started at 11am, waited in said Urgent Care with many other saturday-clad parents who were comforting pajama-clad sick children, hurry into Lowes to exchange parts for the bathroom so the water can be turned back on, return home in time to see the last 3/4 of the first Saturday Session. Run back to Lowes to exchange the same pieces again (oops!), eat frozen burritos for lunch, send The Student back to Lowes yet again, enjoy Saturday Afternoon session of Conference, run back to the store, send The Student off to the Priesthood session (for the men) being broadcast at the church, unpack a few more kitchen boxes, feed the kiddos mac-n-cheese at 8pm, send them to bed, try to finish writing this blog with frequent breaks to help The Student get the toilet back on (on top of the new vinyl! hooray!).

And no, with the water off most of the day and the toilet sitting inside the bathtub I never took a shower. But, my son is healthy, I have a new floor in my bathroom, and best of all Conference today was spiritually uplifting and, as always, captivating and distracting enough to let me forget about the crazy week and the house in disarray. I'm off to flop.

(And tonight when my pregnant bladder wakes me in the middle of the night, I'll be happy to walk on the new vinyl floor and use a normal toilet seat! I know, too-much-information.)

house pictures and new bathroom pictures when we can find the camera cord...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taking Applications

I posted this on Facebook yesterday:

Taking applications for an assistant. Preference given to persons who can always tell me what's on my calendar, return library books before they are due, schedule meetings and Dr. appointments, organize my desk, pack and then unpack my house, pack suitcases for a trip and find me a new car. Anybody, anybody? Pay will be in the form of home cooked dinners. (Tonight's is Indian food and homemade naan if you can start today!) Oh and I just remembered a few more things: wash and fold laundry, sign loan documents, make a birthday cake, chauffeur children, and babysit on occasion.

And since I wrote that I remembered a few other things: hound the renters about paying rent on time, find a vinyl remnant to replace the carpet in the bathrooms of the new house (ick!), clean the windows, etc. of the new house, take pictures for the insurance and call about ALL the address changes, oh and convince the Texas government that since we just received our licenses in the mail a week ago we shouldn't have to pay $20 more dollars to get ones with our new address and wait another six weeks for them to come in the mail. Open until filled...

And if you think I'll just sit around with my feet up while the assistant does all the work, HA! We've started homeschooling and especially since I'm new it takes much of my focus right now. We really really like it though, and Mr. Baseball is a much happier boy. It's not something I had planned on but really felt like it was the right thing to do. I also need to remember that I'm 4 1/2 months pregnant; naps are not a luxury but a necessity! And our family needs to eat. Taco Bell and Little Cesars don't count as food.

Every day in the midst of the busy-ness I think, "Oh! I should post about that on the blog. Maybe tomorrow."

Here's snippet for today:

I peeked into the "cave" where The Monkey was sitting, pretending to be a dinosaur.

"Do you want some books to look at in there?"

"No, dinosaurs don't have books."

long pause

"
They have meat! Can you bring me some meat?"


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lubbock: Month two

So, we haven't been posting much. Just busy I guess. School has started and we're getting ready to move into a house and the weather has cooled a bit and between all the must-dos of moving to a new city, things like sitting back and reflecting has not been high on the priority list. In fact, I'm so tired of priority lists, of making huge decisions, of spending obscene amounts of money, and of waiting on people to make decisions that I have no way to influence, that on more than one occasion in the past six weeks I've told the QB--I quit!

Not that I mean that--because I don't really want to quit, but it would be nice for someone else to make the decisions for a while. When life gets stressful as it has these past few weeks (and don't get me wrong, it's gotten better and things are happening, balls are rolling, gears are shifting, shows are getting on the road, if you will) we often wax nostalgic for life when we didn't have to worry about adult decisions like car repair, health insurance, obstetric care, tuition, the neighbors below us that smoke on their porch and make all of our clothes smell--in short, we find ourselves saying things like, "wasn't life great when we were kids and didn't have to worry about ________."

The irony of course is that I remember, as a teenager repeating the inverse: "Won't life be great when we're adults and we can __________."

What's that expression about greener grass?

Life is good. Complicated, but good. Exhibit A.

The pool has been great. Both boys are in love with the water. Mr. Baseball is actually swimming on his own a little, and the monkey will jump in all on his own.


Before school started and the weather got cooler/windier, we were going several times a week.



dress up is a favorite game around here--especially if it involves weapons.



Mr. Baseball has learned how to play chess, and if I leave out a queen, knight, and bishop, we can actually play an interesting game.



More dress up. More weapons. There was a time when we didn't think we would have weapons in our house (foolish, foolish us). What's that expression from Jurassic park? Nature finds a way. Oh well, better plastic swords than vacuum attachments.


At some point a few weeks ago, I came in to wake the monkey from a nap and found him in the rocking chair. He'd moved from his bed at some point after I'd left him to fall asleep.



What do you mean we can't go swimming?



The apartment had a BBQ two weeks ago and Mr. Baseball taught this pinata a lesson. And we won a gift certificate to Texas Road House. Think steak. Think huge portions.

Have you driven a Ford lately?

Have you driven one that has had three engines fail?
That has been in two accidents?
That has been stolen once?
That has driven From Utah to Ohio, and From Ohio to Texas?
That is currently leaking oil like this:



NO? You haven't?
Would you like to?

Since the QB is pregnant, and since the two car seats and four or five hundred pounds of stale cheerios, squished raisins, cracker crumbs, taco bell wrappers, tissues, library books, hot wheels, and spent diapers already in the back seat of the car will make it difficult to fit a third child seat back there, we've decided that we are eventually going to have to find a new car.

But that hasn't stopped us from throwing money into this one like so much lettuce into a Salad-shooter. We paid $170 to the great state of Texas to register the car, which included something like $80 for "Sales tax," even though we bought the car in Utah five years ago. And just last week I took it to the shop to fix the above-mentioned leak, expecting to pay $260 for a new oil pan gasket, and ended up paying for a new valve cover gasket as well, for a grand total of $372.92 And the engine still leaks--from a different spot mind you--but it STILL LEAKS.

After spending all day with the car and replacing two gaskets (which, in the exquisitely designed Ford Escort requires the engine to be lifted entirely out of the car), the mechanic called me up an informed me that while neither gasket was leaking anymore, a new leak had sprung somewhere else, and that he'd never seen anything like it, and that there must be something wrong with the pressure in engine, and that the oil pump must be bad, and that for another $375 (because, well, he'd have to take the engine all apart again) he would be happy to replace the oil pump for us.

After I got done beating my head against the filing cabinet in my office (really), I told him that I would live with the leak and hung up the phone.

So, we're leaking oil at a rate that the Oregonian in me is embarrassed to admit, and we are in the market for a new car. Which means we've got to get rid of this one, somehow.

This is the ad I was thinking of running.

For Sale: 1999 Ford Escort Wgn. Runs great. Low miles on current engine. Experimental lubrication system. Unique interior extras. One of a kind body and frame. Test-driven by industry experts. Interested? Make me an offer?


Or, maybe I could just do this:

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Path to the Waterfall

Thanks to my dad for making this video. You can visit his website here or visit his blog here

Sunday, August 23, 2009

As promised.. a clip from our road trip

The boys got a piece of candy every 50 miles, and this impromptu dance party happened to coincide with a fifty mile mark, so both boys are chewing on carmels, or something.

Sunday....

We have church at 11:30 a.m.

That means we wake up at 7 a.m. and eat cereal. Then cook waffles at 8:30.

That means we take naps at 9:30.

That means we play Legos and read books and build forts and lie around on the carpet in blankets until 10 a.m.

That means we stay in our pajamas until 10:30.

That means at 10:30 we look at the clock and say, "Shoot, we're still in our pajamas." And we jump in the shower and throw clothes on ourselves and the boys and by 11 a.m. we're sitting at the table and I've got a toothbrush in my mouth and I'm telling the boys to "hurry and eat your spaghetti or we'll be late for church," and the QB is doing her makeup as we pull out of the complex parking lot at 11:20 and by 11:29 we're walking in the double doors of the Chapel and sitting down just as the bishop is standing up to welcome everyone to the meeting.

Oh well, at least we weren't late. And the waffles were good--oatmeal with agave nectar and a little whipped cream.

Line of the day from the pulpit:
"If you care, the Holy Ghost will help you find a way.
If you don't care, you'll find an excuse all by yourself."




A few pictures....

Sunglasses, swords, and pajamas--three summer morning essentials at our house.


This is the chocolate chicken I won in the "chicken dance" contest at the Church party last week.
It's all about bobbing your head and picking up your feet.



Grandpa Franklin was a big hit with the boys. The only problem is that they may have exhausted his supply of Navy stories. He'll have to make up some new ones next time we see him.


The Monkey at a hotel pool in Illinois.



I think I was as tired as I look in this picture. Thanks for your help Grandpa.


Grandma single-handedly unpacked and organized our entire kitchen (and that was after she'd single-handedly packed up and cleaned out our kitchen in Ohio--and I'm sure she left feeling like she hadn't done enough. Silly. Thanks Grandma.
.

The monkey and his house.




This is why we call him the Monkey.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mr. Baseball and the swimming Pool

So we've got a pool. Not a big one. But its a pool. Clear water. Chlorine. stamped concrete patio. With 90+ degree weather outside almost everyday, we're getting our rent's worth.

We go about once every other day and Mr. Baseball is slowly learning to swim. He took lessons last summer, but as he is with most new things (and as I am), he resists taking the time to learn if it doesn't come naturally. And swimming hasn't come naturally. We had been trying to teach him to hang on to the wall and kick, show him how to use a kick board or inner tube to hold himself up, hold him up ourselves by the waist so he could practice, but he has always been more interested in doing cannon balls into the shallow end and "walling" around the edge of the pool.

But since we've moved here and had such easy access to a pool he has put in a real effort to learn. Not that he's been excited about "practicing" per say, but he does spend much of his time in the pool gliding with one hand on his nose while he paws at the water and his feet flail behind him. He's actually given himself a bruise on the edge of his nose from squeezing it so tightly. It was cute, but his stubborn unwillingness to "practice" bugged me.

That brings us to today. I was catching him as he jumped into the "deep" end (5 ft.) and I asked him if he would try to swim to the wall. I expected him to put up a stink about my desire for him to "practice," but he said okay and he started thrashing towards the wall. He actually made it a few feet before he began to sink.

I expected him to be grumpy, but when I asked him if he was okay, he laughed and said, "Yeah."

He climbed back out of the pool and jumped in again for me to catch him. And again he willingly tried to swim back to the wall. He repeated this process a half-dozen times and each time he made it almost all the way to the wall without my help.

He was thrilled.

I was thrilled.

Then he got tired.

But not grumpy.

He actually laid down on the pool deck and let one hand hang in the water. "I'm tired," he said. But then he got back in and did it again.

So I was absolutely thrilled. Proud. Pleased. A little surprised. And now I'm feeling a little silly about the whole thing. Why so thrilled/proud/pleased at this and not at his earlier attempts at "learning" to swim? Sure his nose-bruising thrashing around in the shallow end lacked the structure and repetition of "REAL" practice, but it was practice nonetheless. Today, was it merely that he was willing to follow my suggestion? I hope not. It drives me crazy that as a parent, no matter how patient and open-minded I try to be, when it comes down to it, a part of me just wants him to Do. What. I. Say.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.

It was fun--really fun--to be out there today with him and the monkey (whose getting his own set of webbed feet with the help of a floaty suit) and the QB (who is feeling better everyday and stepping nicely into the cute-prego-mama role) and while it was nice for him to respond so willingly to my suggestion, and while I was mega-pleased that he kept at it even though his head went under water a couple of times and several times he glanced over at me, wondering if I was going to put a hand out to help him, it was mostly nice just to be out there as a family and to laugh and splash and get a little sunburned together.

Hmmm. It's the last day of summer vacation, if you don't count tomorrow (and we don't, really, because Sundays are pretty much the same year round for Mormons), and now that I'm thinking about it, today was a fine way to say good-bye to the season. Mr. Baseball starts school on Monday. I start on Thursday. We'll still hit the pool as long as the weather is warm, but after today life gets busier, and we have to stop pretending we're on an extended vacation.

The real world awaits. But for now, I'm content with my sunburn, and the image of my son, afloat an arms length away, riding that wave between failure and flying.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Corporal Punishment? No thank you!

Yesterday I registered Mr. Baseball for school. The usual address and info was requested along with two questions next to yes or no boxes. The first was basically a "Do you give permission for corporal punishment to be used with your child at school" and the second was "Do you give permission for your child to attend field trips". Whoa. Hold on. Corporal punishment!? I haven't heard those words for a while but I'm pretty sure that means slapping, hitting or spanking. Sure enough, the * for info on the back of the form said

* "
Corporal punishment shall be limited to spanking or paddling the student".

Wait. What?! You mean you want me to give you permission to paddle my son? I was totally shocked. I put a big X through the no box, finished filling in the rest of the information and turned it in. It's taken me about 24 hours to really figure this out and think through it, but yes, corporal punishment is legal here, and yes, my son will be attending a school where it's still legal.

Maybe I'm just ignorant as can be, but I thought C.P. was illegal in the United States. Not only is it still legal in 21 states, but it was used on 49,000 student in Texas in 2008. The Center for Effective Discipline provides a wealth of information on this subject, from statistics on the number of countries banning CP, even at home (24), to sample letters for parents in writing to their district. I'm especially grateful for their guide to looking up statistics where I happily found Mr. Baseball's school with zero incidents of corporal punishment last year. Whew! I'm glad I saw that before I wrote a nasty letter to the district!

Corporal punishment in schools was banned in Ohio last year and I hope to see the same in our new state! Maybe that letter I was going to write should be directed to my new congressman, I'll let you know.


Just after I originally posted this blog, I found this timely (no pun intended) article:
Corporal Punishment in U.S. Schools, Time Magazine

Saturday, August 15, 2009

7 year itch? Says who?!

Today marks seven years of marriage. That's a lot of time together. Here's a quick sum of our lives since August 15th, 2002:

7 moves
6 anniversaries
5 bikes
4 pregnancies
4 apartments
4 states
4 universities
3 degrees
3 car accidents
2.5 children
2 houses
2 cars
2 emergency room visits
1 major contest win
1 stolen car
1 year in Japan
1 HUGE moving sale

...a few tears...

Lots of bike rides, holidays, romantic dinners, family home evenings, hikes, sleepless nights, trips to church on Sunday, diaper changes, visits to the temple, grocery trips, home haircuts, papers and essays, church callings, part-time jobs, and plane trips.

And tons of hugs and kisses.

Here's to Marriage!

Any advice for the next seven?




*And thanks to the person I got this idea from. I read it on a blog a while ago, I don't remember which one, but it was cute!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In Lub with Lubbock

1490 miles and $400+ dollars in gas later, we have arrived at our new home in Lubbock, Texas.

Thank you to everyone who fasted and prayed for, or otherwise thought good things about the QB on this trip. She was feeling as good as we could have asked (and we DID ask!) for the entire trip. She even felt good enough to dance along with the radio. (She's not feeling so great today, but that is another story. We are glad the traveling went as smoothly as it did)

Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Franklin for flying to Ohio, helping us load up and clean up, For driving the Penske truck 1490 miles, for unpacking, and organizing and playing with grand kids and telling them so many Navy stories that all they talk about is Navy ships and Mr. Baseball tried to jump into the pool "Like a sailor" with his feet crossed and his arms around his neck, for running errands and making meals and just being there when we needed you.

Thanks to everyone who helped load the truck on Saturday. It only took about an hour and we had the apartment cleaned so early that we contemplated catching a movie to celebrate how smooth everything went. We didn't end up going to the movies, but the fact that we had the option was great.

Thanks to everyone who watched kids, brought meals, or otherwise helped us out while I was trying to finish up teaching, pack the house, and get our new life in order.

Lubbock is hot, frequented by colossal thunder storms, and very friendly. Everyone wants to talk to you, and they seem genuinely interested.

I took the monkey's Sunday shirt off today before feeding him some watermelon in his booster seat and while I was getting his bib and the watermelon in the kitchen he kept repeating over and over: "Bib on my nip--ples," "bib on my nip--ples." In fact, just about every time he takes his shirt off he informs us that he has "Nip-ples."

Mr. Baseball lost a tooth tonight. Or, rather, he yanked it out with a piece of dental floss. He discovered the tooth was loose last night and all day today he walked around with his finger in his mouth, wiggling the tooth. By bedtime he was so distracted by the wiggly tooth that he couldn't go to sleep. I told him his options were 1) pull it out, 2) have me pull it out, or 3) ignore it and go to bed. He chose to pull it out himself. So I tied a piece of dental floss around his tooth and he gave it a tug. The tooth came easier than I was expecting and when I cheered as it came out, he gave me a big smile and jumped into the air. He was asleep within ten minutes, disembodied tooth tucked safely under his pillow.

In the car, somewhere on I-70 on the way to Oklahoma, we were playing the "I'm thinking of something..." guessing game and I said, "I"m thinking of something squishy," and Mr. Baseball said, "Is it your meat?"

The Monkey has taken to hitting and kicking a lot lately. When I ask him why he does it, he usually answers something like, "Because brother/Daddy/Mommy is Stup-pid." Its really hard to be upset when he says "stup-pid" that way, but we're trying to ween him off the word without giving him too much attention for saying it. Yeah, right, that's going to work.

Lubbock has more Christian radio stations than the Vatican has stone pillars. Christian Rock, Christian talk, Christian preaching, Christian fundraising, Christian cooking, Christian financial advice, Christian parenting advice.

Lubbock does not have a dedicated NPR station. Morning Edition is over before I wake up. All Things Considered in the afternoon, sure, but the rest is classical music, Opera, and Irish folk singers. No Science Friday. No Talk of the Nation, period. No Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. No This American Life. I. AM. GOING. TO. BE. SICK. At least we have the Internet (or, at least we will have the Internet, on or about the 5th of August. Why does it take five days to process something like that? I don't understand. Oh well. I am grateful for the "Business Center" here at the complex).

I don't start any real school for a few weeks so we've got some time to adjust. Which is good, because the QB is still not out of the morning sickness cycle yet and the boys need a lot of attention.

I am a writer, by the way, or at least I am supposed to be. It's funny, this "write about real life," stuff that I do. Life has to be interesting if I want any new material, but sometimes when life is at its most interesting, that's when it is the most difficult to write. When I've spent all day unpacking boxes, making phone calls, running errands, wiping rear-ends, paying bills, making meals, dumping out pails of throw-up, mopping up spills of oatmeal, pulling out loose teeth, hanging pictures, and folding clothes, the energy to sit down and think critically about the world completely escapes me. All I want to do is throw in a movie and eat a half-carton of ice cream.

Is that healthy?

Writing is SUPPOSED to be cathartic. It's supposed to channel all my pent up energy into streams of earth-rattling prose--"language charged with meaning," and "spontaneous overflows of powerful emotion recollected in tranquility." Meaning for me, meaning for you, meaning for ALL MANKIND!

I'm supposed to NEED to write.

Right?

Well, right now, what I NEED is some sleep. The writing will come later. And so will some pictures of the boys and a video of all of us dancing in the car somewhere in Missouri.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Something you can all do for Melissa...

"This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting"
--Matthew 17:21

Some of you already know (and all of you are about to find out) that QB is pregnant. We are very excited, and she has been very sick--in bed 23 hours a day for the past five weeks--which while it probably means the baby is growing well, it also means that she has been pretty miserable for quite awhile.

You may also know that we are moving to Lubbock in nine days. The QB will be in her eleventh week the day we hit the road, which is a good thing because her morning sickness has not lasted beyond the first trimester in the past, but we are concerned about making the trip as easy (and vomit-free) for her as possible.

We are going to do everything that we can to make the trip easy for her, but there's something all of you can do as well. We're asking anyone and everyone who is interested to send Melissa some positive energy so that the trip will go smoothly for her. You could pray, fast, meditate, repeat affirmations, or merely think about her this week. Anything that you feel would be appropriate would be great.

We believe there is serious power in the collective focus of friends and loved ones and if there has ever been a time in our life that we could use your thoughts and prayers, this next two weeks is it.

Thanks for reading.

God bless.

Next stop, the Lone Star State.

-Joey

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The past few weeks...in gerund* phrases

*at the risk of patronizing somebody, a gerund is a verb turned into a noun, usually by adding -ing. Not nearly as exciting as turning a noun into a verb--as in I Googled "gerund" because I couldn't remember the fancy name for a verb that's been nounified.

Teaching English to eleven pre-freshmen. They've got to do well in their classes this summer or all bets are off for fall quarter--like probation, except they're trying to get in, not trying to stay out.

Assistant-coaching Mr. Baseball's t-ball team. I get to stand in the dugout and keep the helmets coming on and off and the bat swinging in safe directions and the players batting in the right order. Sometimes I stand out in the field too. I Almost teared up today on the way home (really, I almost did) when I caught a whiff of the distinct chemical smell of my jersey--shocked at the memories and emotions connected with that smell, how much I loved playing baseball as a kid, and how special (for lack of a less sentimental word) the uniform used to make me feel.
(No, that is not my thoughtful coach pose. I've got a mouthful of sunflower seeds and I'm trying to figure out how to spit out the husks without spitting out the actual seed as well.)

Packing boxes like mad. Currently I am sitting on our living room couch and to my left are fifteen boxes stacked in the corner. Across the room are three more. There are one or two in the dining room. Another two on the book shelves. A half-dozen in the boys room, four or five in the hallway, three in our bedroom, and another couple in the closet. It's to the point that I can't pack anything else without seriously hindering our ability to function (Just today the Monkey asked about his green bike, which I'd packed days ago. I had to open up a box and extract the bike so he could ride it. If he asks about his Little People Noah's ark, I'm going to play dumb).

Caring for the QB. She is sick. Really sick. Living off a diet of bland tea and fudge sickles sick. I'm ready for a one-story apartment.

Finding a place to live in Lubbock. I should say "found" a place, and not a moment too soon. We're moving in two and a half weeks. We just sent a deposit check to The Enclave Apartments in Lubbock, where we'll be living for at least three months while we explore more permanent housing options.

Examining teeth. I recently poked my head in the Monkey's mouth and discovered that his two-year molars are really, really weird looking. Like two-teeth-smashed-together weird. Like the occasional conjoined strawberry weird (click on the image for a blown-up image).


Watching a lot of television. Since the QB has been sick, we've spent a lot more time than usual watching television. We watched an episode of Matlock today (classic stay-home sick entertainment, and still on at 1pm). We watched America's Got Talent (our new favorite. Mostly because of the judges: Piers Morgan is much kinder than Simon. Sharon Ozborne reminds me of my mother--If my mother had spent 30 years managing rock bands. David Hasselhoff's favorite line is "This is what this show is all about," and he gets way too excited about anyone in a bikini on stage, but that may be a holdover from a previous life, so can we really blame him?) Watched a bit of local news (local news, I've decided, is the medium by which people in hell learn about what is going on in Heaven).

One side effect of so much TV is that the boys have been getting to bed a little later than usual. This is the monkey, at 9:15 pm, after Mr. Baseball had fallen asleep and we'd spent twenty minutes trying to get the Monkey to stay in his room. He'd slept until after 4pm that day, so we caved in and popped popcorn.

Reading the scriptures. Thanks to readthescriptures.com, which sends me a daily email reading, I've read from the Book of Mormon nearly every day for the past month. This proves two things: first, the internet can be a really cool way of connecting with information. And second, I live entirely too much at the mercy of my inbox. I think eventually there will be a name for the disorder that compels people to check their email fifty times a day. I think they'll call it "I-want-people-to-like-me-itus." If you're into that kind of thing (reading the scriptures, not obsessing about whether or not people like you), I strongly recommend checking out their customizable reading calendars and team reading options (and no, the website is not paying me for this endorsement, though if they're looking to pay someone, I'm not against selling out like that).

Eating too much. We're busy around here. Worn out. Tired. Stressed. And when I get stressed and tired and spread thin, all I want to do is eat. Chocolate, of course, but we've also had ice cream and cookies and chicken nuggets and Ruffles potato chips, among other things. For a household that usually eats whole wheat everything and gets funny looks at the grocery store because of our cart full of produce (its not uncommon for the checker to have difficulty recognizing some of the "weird" produce we buy--you know, weird, like jicama, winter squash, and bean sprouts), all this junk is a new low.

We're such grocery store snobs. We live in one of the fattest states in the nation, and consider it a point of pride to buy as little pre-packaged food as possible. When we see a cart overflowing with TV dinners, fish sticks, Gogurt and 24 packs of Pepsi we get all self-righteous.

Let's see, pride cometh before the...the...how does that expresssion go? I can't remember... cometh before the...

Sleeping less than I should. Which is why I am going to end this post now. The Athens edition of the Franklin Chronicle is winding down. Soon we'll say good-bye to rolling hills of Athens July and say hello to the wind-swept flatness of Lubbock August.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

kites and tooth fairies

We flew kites this week out by the river. My first time actually flying a kite. I remember trying to run down my street with a kite in Oregon, but there was never enough sustained wind. But there's almost always sustained wind along the waterfront here, so its almost always good kite weather. The boys loved it. The monkey kept dropping his string, which sent either me or Mr. Baseball chasing after it.



Mr. Baseball lost his first tooth two weeks ago. He wiggled it with his tongue for days before it finally came out during dinner at Taco Bell. We wrapped it up in a napkin and that night the tooth fairy to put some money under his pillow. He was excited to find two quarters under his pillow when he woke up, but I'm pretty sure he misplaced them by lunch time.