Our Sweet Sarah Beth

baby

Darling Little Debbie

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Since we last spoke

I realize it has been far too long since I have posted. Far too long for me, in that blogging is very therapeutic and helps me to unload when feeling stressed out. The good news is that I have not been under a lot of stress lately, therefore the urge to blog has not been very strong.

Here are a few things that have transpired since my last post:

We started potty training. I threw out SB's diapers and bought "big girl pants." SB grasped the concept for about 2 weeks, then took a sabbatical.
We stopped potty training. I bought more diapers.

We moved SB to a big girl bed.
She started trying to give other people her big girl bed.




Here she has trapped my brother in law in her bed, covered him with her stuffed animals and then danced around him while Mickey Mouse played jingle bells.


We drove past KFC.
SB thinks my dad is Colonel Sanders and yells, "It's Bumps!" every time we drive past KFC.


My Dad wanted to be called "Gramps," in honor of his grandfather, but when the first grandchild started talking, "gramps" became "bumps." It just stuck.

I used Tilex again. Seriously, we only recently needed it for the second time since I first bought it. That stuff is gold, Jerry. Gold!

I filled up at a BP station, because they don't put any alcohol in their gasoline. I noticed a huge difference in my gas mileage when I drove to Jackson the next day. BP is my new tilex.

I went to Jackson to see some of my girlfriends from college. I realized during an intense game of Catch Phrase that I was long overdue for a vacation from SB. The word was "moose," and I tried describing the mountainous animal with horns every way I could before the timer expired. The beeping got faster and faster, and suddenly I remembered the beloved moose Tyrone from The Backyardigans. I yelled, "Tyrone! Tyrone!" while using my hands to make antlers on my head.

As the timer beeped its final beep and our team lost the point, I yelled in frustration, "Hasn't ANYONE seen the backyardigans?????"

You can imagine the looks I got from these people, most of them single, working professionals with no children - Emily B has a masters degree in biology, Amy is a nurse, Emily Y is med school, Deanna and Carrie are accountants, and Emily G and Jennifer are physical therapists. (I know, that's a lot of Emilys. We are everywhere!)

I chose a slightly different career path in motherhood and got my masters degree in childrens television. Thanks, girls, for still being my friend!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where is Dwight K Schrute when you need him?

Did you hear about this??

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34173530/ns/politics-white_house


These two crazies strolled into the White House amongst invited guests last Tuesday and helped themselves to the President and his food. Why didn't I think of that?? Had I known no invitation was necessary, I might have done the same.

Apparently, gaining entry to the White House is only slightly less difficult than getting into an exclusive NY nightclub. Most VIP clubs toss you to the side if your name isn't on The List. But the White House? Obviously looking like you are supposed to be there is clearance enough.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi: See how important we are??

They are real life crashers, and Dwight would have bounced them.

It's Balloon Boy all over again, as the Salahis are (were) in the running to be "stars" in a new reality show. Maybe they should've checked with the Heene's before pulling their own publicity stunt. How'd that work out for you, Falcon?

Friday, November 13, 2009

I just got an email

from Tilex.

They want to pay me thousands of dollars to advertise for them.

OK not really. But I did just get an email from them.

OK technically Jack got an email from them.

I have no idea how they got our email address OR our mailing address, because the header of the letter included Jack's full name and our address. I did not write Tilex a letter, and I'm sure Jack didn't either. That is kind of scary.

Do the Tilex people spend their days trolling the Web, looking for references to their products? Am I under consistent governmental surveillance? The only thing I can figure is that Vicky is a long-time, loyal blog reader and a huge fan of what I do.

Taking that into consideration, I will excuse the fact that she referred to JACK'S kind words and generous comments about Tilex and never made mention of me a single time. It's ok, Vicky. I forgive you.

Here is the letter:

Dear Mr. Redwood,

We appreciate your taking the time to share your kind words about Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover.

Knowing that you like our products is important, and we value the generous comments you have shared with us. Because the marketing specialists working on the development of these products also will enjoy hearing your opinion, I am forwarding your comments to them.

Again, thank you for letting us know that our efforts have been successful.

Sincerely,

Vicky Bullock
Consumer Response Representative
Consumer Services

They could have at least sent me a coupon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eureka!

Which means, "I have found it."



This is it. The holy grail of cleaning supplies. I kid you not; I have been so excited all day that I couldn't wait to blog about this.

My shower has some kind of inherent defect that causes it to become filthy and disgusting over a very short period of time. I noticed yesterday that it had become disgusting again despite a heavy duty scrubbing a mere 2 weeks ago. I mean, seriously, how often do you have to scrub your tub??

I wish I had a "before" picture so that you could see the difference. Take my word for it; it was embarrassing. Even after a backbreaking 20 minute workout with comet and a follow up meeting with Scrubbing Bubbles, the corners of my tubby were still lightly stained brown. So gross, I know. But in the 2 1/2 years that we have lived with this shower, I had gotten used to and even accepted the fact that the corners would always be brown.

"Try Comet," my mother would say. "Let it sit on those stains for a little while, then attack with a toothbrush."

My mom's best friend.

I did just that on several occasions, and it worked pretty well. But not well enough.
My back? Aching.
My hands? Dry and cracked and arthritic.
Tub corners? Still brown.

My next stop was here:

A desperate attempt at whiteness.

Scrubbing Bubbles! They do the scrubbing for you! Well, that sounded just dandy to my poor hands and back. Spray it on, wipe it off, voila!

No dice.

My mother still insisted that comet would do the trick. Undoubtedly, I just wasn't scrubbing properly.

Well mother, it's time to wake up and smell the Tilex.

I bought some today in a desperate attempt to keep my shower from scumming up so fast. I remembered seeing commercials for this stuff ages ago. According to the commercials, you should spray it on your shower walls after each shower to keep it cleaner in between cleanings.

After a long morning of cleaning that shower, I was ready to try anything, so I picked up a bottle at the Mart. At home, I sprayed down the main wall and two corners of the shower and let it sit for a few minutes while I fixed SB some lunch. I returned to the bathroom a few minutes later, ready to scrub one more time. The sight that met my eyes at our bathroom door was enough to stop me in my tracks and drop my jaw to the floor.

I swear to you, that shower wall and corners were sparkling white and pristine like never before. I still can't believe it. I did a little happy dance and then made it rain Tilex all over that tub like a hurricane in New Orleans.

I don't know what's in that stuff, but to me it is pure gold. Due to its high rate of effectiveness, I would guess that it is probably toxic enough to burn a hole through the ozone layer, but how do I know if the ozone layer really ever existed in the first place? I've never seen it.

Jack came home for lunch, and the first thing I made him do was go into the bathroom and look at our shower. He was just as surprised but perhaps not as excited. He's never scrubbed that tub before though.

Mom, I can't wait until you come back over here. I am buying you a bottle of Tilex Mold and Mildew Killer today. You won't believe your eyes.


My new best friend

Seriously, if you know what is good for you, you will go out and buy some for yourself.

Please allow me to borrow from Etta James to help express my feelings for Tilex:

aaaaaat laaaaast,
my love has come along.
My scrubbing days are over!!!
And life is like a song...

Spoiler alert: Everyone on my Christmas list is getting Tilex this year.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Playing Dress Up



SB's new favorite game? Playing dress up! The only problem is that one outfit is never enough. I was reminded of my little sister Mary Beth, who wore bathing suits every day of her life from age 3 until she was about 6. She often could not choose just one to wear, so she layered them, one on top of another, until she had on all of her bathing suits. SB has done just that with her dress up clothes almost every day this week.

Here she is wearing a ballerina leotard on her head with a hot pink princess dress around her waist and a white tutu on her rear end.


We also captured this video the other night. SB is on Day 3 of potty training, and after each successful trip to the bathroom, she demands a sucker or some M&Ms. She had been to the bathroom several times that afternoon, and by this point, she was on sugar overload. I think it's time to rethink the potty treats.





If only Jack had left the camera rolling for ten more seconds! She held her resting pose at the end of the video for several seconds after the camera stopped recording. This kid keeps us laughing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tinkerbell


SB rocked Tinkerbell for Halloween this year.

We went to the downtown Pumpkinpalooza the week before Halloween. SB went nuts when she realized that her costume equaled candy. She wanted to wear her costume every day after that and eat suckers all day long. She got to wear it again on Saturday to go around the neighborhood.



Several of our friends brought their kids over to go out with us. At first SB was a little hesitant with so many kids running around and wanted to stay in her stroller. After a few houses, however, she got the point, and there was no turning back. Jack asked the kids if anyone needed more candy, and SB yelled "ME ME ME ME I DO I DO I DO!!" and took off running down the street. I wished that I had one of those kid leashes to keep up with her.

After (finally) getting her to bed, it was time to don my own costume. I present:



Flavor Flav, Pee Wee Herman and Mr. T

I was pretty disappointed that I could not find any fake gold teeth in this town. Not even at the costume shop! My homemade ones were more orange than gold but better than nothing I suppose. Unfortunately, I don't have a shot of Jack's shoes. He had the tall white platform shoes that Pee Wee wore in his great adventure.

We went first to a zombie party, but Mr. T made us so late that we missed most of the fun there. We still got to see a few zombies, but I didn't get a single picture!! What was I thinking?? Trust me, their costumes were great.

After that, we went to see a band. I won a prize for my costume, but the best part of the night was seeing all the other outfits. My favorites were Garth Vader (Garth Brooks with a Darth Vader mask), Billy Mays (the oxi clean guy) and the Slanket couple. Yes, there was a guy and a girl there in slankets and slippers, both carrying steaming mugs of hot cocoa. Genius. Wish I had thought of that.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yeahhhhh Boy!

Are you dressing up tonight? Jack and I have decided to go for it, since I have never done it before, and the last time we went to a costume party was six years ago, while we were dating. While Jack and I didn't dress up for that occasion, it was great fun going out and seeing all the costumes.

So we decided that this is our year. I will take pictures tonight and post them next week. But if you are still on the fence regarding your costume for this evening, here are a few ideas that I passed on in order to portray legendary hype man and reality star extraordinaire Mr. Flavor Flav.

Feel free to use any of these ideas, as they are all relatively easy to create on a last minute basis.

1. My top preference was Swine Flu, but I waited too late, and the costume shop didn't have a pig costume available. All you would really need is a pig nose and a pair of angel wings. Be sure to sneeze/oink a lot on people. If you are dressing up with a partner, he/she can go as the vaccine, which is certainly much scarier than the actual flu.

2.My second choice was The Bailout. Very simple to create with a business suit and tie. Make sure you have a bucket with you to ask people for handouts. Added accessories are optional but encouraged: a flashy, expensive watch; a large bonus check sticking out of your pocket; keys to your Porsche and so on.

3. A recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. You could dress up as pretty much anybody. Make sure to talk a lot about your ideas and say the word "change" a lot.

Have fun, stay safe and get lots of candy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coffee Talk

There are a few things that I have been meaning to share with you lately. First of all, this guy:



Cash Now

I have seen him before, standing beside a major highway in front of this check cashing joint. Last time, he was dressed in the same Uncle Sam getup, but instead of a sign, he was waving a handful of dolla dolla bills. Unfortunately, I did not have my camer handy on that occasion. You can imagine my delight when I saw him a second time; I even made Jack turn around so we could go back and get a picture.

Unfortunately, Uncle Sam wasn't wielding any money that day. I guess the economy hit them hard too. The American flag is a nice touch, though. Cash Now. Truly the American way.

You don't need a bank to cash your payroll check. No job? No problem! They will gladly accept your car title instead.

I think the message here is clear: Stay in school, kids.


Topic Number Two: A foreboding piece of junk mail


This gem was waiting for me in my mailbox last month. In times of economic crisis, most people go to the mailbox hesitantly, dreading bills, past due notices and bank statements of poor report.

So this company took it one step further and went for the jugular, reminding us that hey, we're all gonna die. Don't sweat it! You've got enough to worry about, what with dying and all. So why not let us service your phone until you kick? We won't even make you sign a contract, because, let's face it, you'll probably be dead soon anyway.

Please notice the skeleton hand reaching out, pointing out the fact that you are, indeed, going to die.

The best part about this gimmick is that there are no gimmicks!!

That isn't photoshopped, folks. I don't have that program. (Thanks, Paint, for the red highlighter.)

Anyway, hope you enjoy your day. I mean, you better enjoy it while you can.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Him??

Reuters: Breaking Ridiculous News:

Mr. President Obama has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

No, I'm not kidding. The committee said it was because of "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
and "attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."

He's an ideas man, people!

I also have a vision for a peaceful world. And it's my job too to promote cooperation between peoples. I give people a price for work, and then I promote them to cooperate with us and give us their money. Maybe I could win next year?

Obama said he felt humbled, Axelrod said he was stunned ( an emotion shared by the rest of the world), but after some digging, the press was able to find someone to congratulate him. They called his uncle. "We share in Barak's honor. We congratulate him."

Thanks Uncle!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Find out what it means to me

Kids these days...they just don't have any respect for anyone. Case in point:

I went to Kroger a few days ago because I needed groceries. When I arrived, my mom called, so I stayed in my car to chat with her before going inside. As I was sitting there, I casually notice this girl pushing her cart toward the cart return. "Good for her," I think. Too many people are too lazy these days to even return their shopping carts and instead just leave them sitting in empty parking spaces. Am I the only one who gets ticked off when you see a great parking spot, only to have your excitement doused when you pull halfway in and realize some lazy-o has left their cart in the middle of your spot?? Especially when the spot is RIGHT NEXT to the cart return?? COME ON!!

I'm getting off track. So the girl, hereafter referred to as "The Culprit," is pushing her cart across the parking lot, toward the cart return, which is directly across from her spot and next to mine. I've used the Paint program on my computer to draw a map for you. This little visual aid will help you get the full effect of the story. Please look at it. It took me a very long time to do, and do you have any idea how hard it is to write with that little pencil function?







I suppose the first thing I would like for you to notice is the location of The Culprit in relation to the location of Cart Return. I used the yellow brush to highlight them both. The Culprit was so close to Cart Return, she had to use about as much energy to take her cart there as she did to run her hand through her hair and flip it over her shoulders.



One other vital piece of information is the fact that Cart Return is only open on one side. It was not the side facing The Culprit. As you can see by studying your visual aid, The Culprit had to invest about 10 more steps round trip to escort her cart around Cart Return and into the loading area. It was all too much for her. About halfway across the space between her car and mine, she ran out of time. So she shoved her cart toward the back of the return, but about 2 milliseconds later, the cart went rogue and you can guess where it landed.




Right smack dab into the passenger side of my car. The Culprit hears the impact. She spins and freezes in horror.

At this point, I'm thinking she has two options:

1. Run over and apologize profusely.

2. Run away and don't look back.

As she is frozen in horror, I am still sitting in my car, watching the entire scene unfold in front of my very eyes. I look up at her. She looks at me. Our eyes meet for a few long seconds. I prepare for option 1. I am looking at her; she sees me looking. She knows I have seen all. she has no choice but to take full responsibility. While I fully expect her to run over and apologize profusely, offer to pay for the damage and insist that she is a terrible person, she chooses option number 3, which up until that point, I didn't know existed. Oh, she ran. But she looked back.

She took a few quick steps toward her car, then peeked back at me. I am in shock at what is happening. She's about to come over to me, right?? Option 1 is still available. But nay.

She turns back around and breaks full force for the drivers seat of her car, only turning her head slightly once more to make sure I'm not chasing her. Then she proceeds to cirsumvent me by taking the looooooooooong way out of the parking lot. See below.



The blue line represents the normal exit route for any normal person leaving the parking lot. Her row is one way traffic only, and it doesn't lead toward the exit. So she had to double back. The yucky orange line shows the escape route The Culprit took. The exit is at the end of my row, but The dirty rotten Culprit is afraid I will get her license plate number and hunt her down if she drives past me. So she skips my row and drives alllll the way around the parking lot and exits behind Kroger instead.

Clever little Culprit. I can't get no respect. I was so mad; I didn't even know what to do! Can you believe someone would do that?? She looked right in my eyes and said, "forget this, I'm outta here!" Some nerve.

The Culprit makes Emily feel:

You would cry too if it happened to you

I guess it's just been one of those days. A long one of those days. We had a wonderful vacation last week with Jack's family. A week long beachfest that ended much too quickly. We arrived home to a million messages from people needing our services. The past three days have been a complete blur. Returning calls, scheduling appointments, drafting estimates, invoices and roof reports.

Here is just one example of someone I dealt with over the phone today:

Me: Hello.

Her: Yeah, uh, do ya'll be doin' the roofing?

Me: Yes ma'am, we do.

Her: Ok, well, do ya'll do them free estimates? (pronounced estiMATEs)

Me: Yes ma'am, we do.

Her: Ok, how much you charge to come on out and see 'bout my roof?

Me: We do free estimates ma'am. There is no charge. What is your address?

She gives me an address, but I cannot understand her. I got the number, but I ask again for the name of her street and she says something like Ishcort, so I ask her to spell it. Instead of spelling the name of her street, she YELLS it into the phone.

ISH.....CORT!...and again for good measure....IIIIISSSHHH COOOOORRRRTTT

Then she proceeds to tell me which street it is "off of."

Well, thank you. That was helpful.

After we got off of the phone, I pulled up mapquest and searched streets around the street it was "off of" and finally found a street that sounded like ishcort. I hope it was the right one.

As if I didn't already have enough going on, our mortgage was sold yet again, this time to Bank of America. They haven't received our last 2 payments, because we sent them both to our old mortgage company. Apparently this transaction took place months ago, but Bank of America didn't see fit to let us know about it until they realized they weren't getting paid. They also didn't have a copy of our homeowner's insurance policy, and I received a letter saying they were just going to go ahead and buy some for us (from themselves) and charge it to our account. Lovely.

After an hour on the phone cleaning up that mess, going back and forth between Bank of America and our insurance company, I got a welcome break from a friend who had brought me lunch. We got to visit for about 2 minutes before Jack called with more work for me to do. While talking to him, I get call waiting from a customer. Then Jack calls right back to tell me that I need to leave the house right then and go open our storage unit so our supply company could drop off some materials.

So much for my lunch break. I had to run another errand, then got back late for SB's nap so she was cranky. I blew right through nap time working at the computer, then it hit me around 4:30 that Jack had invited a friend over for dinner. I run upstairs to clean up the house and start cooking.

Please tell me that you would have made the same mistake:



These two containers, while appearing identical, hold very different ingredients. I finished making dessert, put it in the oven, then I thought, "hmm...I should sprinkle a little cinnamon on top." So I pulled it back out of the oven (if only I had left well enough alone!!) and proceeded to sprinkle away.

Suddenly I froze in mid-sprinkle. That red powder did NOT look like cinnamon.

It wasn't.

Chili powder friendship bread, anyone?

To top it all off, I put SB to bed a little while ago and came downstairs to unwind. I just got a text from Jack, who is upstairs in the living room, right next to SB's room.

"Your daughter is up here screaming for mama."

I need a raise.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Dahday

Two weeks ago, we celebrated Sarah Beth's second birthday. I cannot believe my little girl is two years old!

Due to a long, lingering case of the flu, we didn't plan a giant celebration complete with 20 toddlers. I wasn't honestly thrilled with that idea anyway. We just had family over for hamburgers and ca-cakes, with a few rounds of the birthday song thrown in for SB.

And I do mean a few. We had to sing the song about 4 times before SB was truly satisfied. She loved opening her presents, especially the markers and paint set from Uncle Philip and Aunt Corrie, which I promptly put into the top of her closet to remain until she is at least 6 years old. She got to keep the crayons. Her other favorite present seemed to be the play kitchen we got her. However, when we opened it up, we found a thousand tiny, flimsy little plastic pieces. They weren't joking about assembly required. That one went back to Wal Mart.

Poor SB. Sounds cruel, right? We will get her another one. Thankfully, Tom and Nat saved the day with a pair of shoes. Seriously, she has worn them almost every day since. She is female, through and through. Purses and shoes are two of her favorite things.


The shoes


I told her last week that we were going shopping. She sucked in a deep breath of joy and exclaimed, "I want clothes and shoes!"

Blogger isn't having a great day today, so here are just a few photos from the big day.


Birthday cacake

Having fun with Uncle Tom and Aunt Nat


Caroline and SB with birthday umbrella.



It's a dachshund!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

And so it begins

Another year of football. Today we kick off our season against Jackson State. I hope we win! Look for me on TV. The game is on ESPNU.

Go Bulldogs!

Flu Shot Addendum

Thanks to an anonymous tipster, I did not clarify that the name of the live flu vaccine is FluMist. If you are like me and don't like getting shots of any kind, you might think this nasal spray is a great idea. It isn't.

And to clear up any possible confusion, this isn't a medical journal. It's a blog. My verbage isn't always technically correct. To clarify, technically, the words shot and vaccine are not interchangeable. I did use them in that way in my last post. My deepest and most sincere apologies. You can get a flu vaccine without getting an actual shot with a needle (FLUMIST nasal spray). But I wouldn't recommend either of them.

And next time I will proofread.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Swine Flu Update

We're not dead. As it turns out, the flu is not deadly after all. Thanks, mainstream media!

After a rough weekend, Jack and I both started feeling better, and Wednesday was our first day back on the job. We felt recovered by Tuesday, but took one extra day just in case. Nobody wants flu germs.

Just to be clear, we did not see a doctor, nor were we tested for the actual swine flu virus. However, I can assure you that what we suffered was indeed the flu, swine or otherwise. (I'm still relying heavily on the use of my asthma inhaler.) A lot of bad press has been given to the "swine flu." Let me clear things up: H1N1 is just another new strain of the flu virus. It causes the same symptoms, lasts the same amount of time and it is not the plague. The swine flu is just the flu with a piggy name.

I was told that the on campus health clinic at MSU has stopped testing for swine flu, due to the emergence of another brand new flu strain! Many swine flu cases were confirmed on the MSU campus within the last few weeks. All these sick kids kept coming in with the same symptoms, but only half of them tested positive for the pig virus. Doctors believe this is due to a newly mutated flu virus. I don't know which one we caught, but it was nasty for a few days.

Buyer Beware

On my way home yesterday, I saw a sign in front of Walgreens:

FLU SHOTS NOW AVAILABLE

How wonderful. Now you can go and get your flu shot at your local Walgreens. I bet what they won't tell you is that:

a. the flu shot is only made against a few strains of the flu virus. Every year, health officials travel south of the border to see which flu strains are wreaking havoc on our South American friends. Then they figure the same strains will probably hit us in a few months. So they make a vaccine against the few prevalent South American strains. If you catch one of the other strains, too bad too sad.

b. The current flu shots are completely ineffective against the newer flu strains (including the swine variety.)

c. The flu shots are loaded with mercury.

d. One of the flu shots is a live vaccine, so you might get a mild case of the flu afterwards. Too bad too sad. I'm told there is a no money back policy.

Still want one? Opt out while you still have a chance. Soon most of us won't even have the option.

Your best case of avoiding the flu? Wash your hands you dirty person! Keep alcohol based hand sanitizer handy, and use some every time before you touch your face. You shouldn't be touching your face anyway. That is how the flu is mostly spread. And if you do catch it, for heaven sakes, stay away from me!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pigs Do Fly

I suppose they will have to come up with a new saying. It just doesn't carry the same connotation anymore.

Earlier this week, a pig flew over our house and dropped a lovely little H1N1 present down upon us. Sarah Beth ran a fever for a few days, and then Jack started coughing. He woke me up early this morning:

Jack: I think I have a fever.

Me: Okay. I'm real sorry.

Jack: Do we have a thermometer?

Me: Yeah, somewhere.

Jack: Will you go get it?

Me: Do you really have to know how high it is? I mean, can't you just take some medicine?

Jack: Will you go get me some medicine?

Being the loving, patient, compassionate wife that I am, I groaned and rolled out of bed, grumbling all the way to the kitchen. I threw some pills at him and got back into bed.

Throughout the morning, his cough worsened and so did his discomfort. I took SB out for a while, to get the bare necessities: cough drops, popsicles and chicken soup. While at Wal Mart, I started feeling a little rotten. By the time I got home from the Wal, my legs and head were aching, and I started feeling a little sorry that I had been so flippant with Jack's early morning complaints.

Jack called Uncle Doctor and described his symptoms, including the throbbing pain, dizziness and trouble seeing that he had attributed to a migraine.

After a brief, over the phone consultation, his uncle delivered the verdict. It's probably swine flu.

Fan freaking tastic.

So I thought I would take a minute and say my goodbyes. Since we probably only have hours left to live.

Goodbyes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Everyone Loves a Slanket

Claire.

Seriously?

You don't know what a slanket is? I'm disappointed in you. For Claire and the rest of the uneducated population out there, a slanket is a blanket....

wait for it...

with sleeves.

Or to help you better understand the concept: a sleeved blanket. Erego, a slanket. Ever heard of the Snuggie? It's like that, only better.

One hand for the remote, one hand for your drink.




Jack modeling his birthday slanket


I am sure you have all seen the commercials advertising the Snuggie. In case you haven't, I'll set the scene for you:

Open into a cozy living room setting, an elderly lady snuggling up on the couch with a book, covered by a warm blanket. It's a peaceful scene; all is well with the world, and Grandma is really digging that book she is reading.

Then, the phone rings, and what happens next is like something out of a horror movie. It's like in a Hitchcock movie, you know, where they tie you up in a rubber bag and throw you in the trunk of a car.

So the phone rings, and all of a sudden, Grandma's life is thrown into an uproar. Hold on, they aren't selling phone silencers, just wait. Granny is flailing left and right, desperately trying to free her arms from the devil blanket. It's just so confining, WHY CAN'T SHE GET HER ARMS FREE??????????

The phone is ringing, and she can't get to it! Alas! She has freed herself, but now her hair is a mess, she's lost her book and worst of all, her arms are cold! I'd hate to be the person on the other end of that line because Granny is LIVID.

Cut to an eerily familiar scenario. It's like deja vu. There is Grandma, cozily reading on the couch, and she is happy again. THEN THE PHONE RINGS. Uh oh. The audience smells trouble in paradise. But not this time!

Because Granny has the snuggie, all of her problems are over. It's a blanket with sleeves! She can comfortably read on the couch, but when she needs to take that phone call about her friend's hip replacement surgery, her hands are free, arms are warm, and that blasted blanket has been thrown to the dogs.

The commercial ends with a whole family of Snuggie wearers, from Grandma to preteen, all happily smiling and hands free. They are a real treat for the whole family (one size fits all).

I seriously wanted to recreate that commercial with my video camera for you. I gave it some real thought, but if you check youtube, you can find plenty of snuggie commercials for your viewing entertainment.

After viewing the commercial several times, we heard a joke about a similar item (the slanket) on one of our favorite shows. Any 30 Rock fans out there? So as a gag birthday gift, Jack's brother Rob went to 8 different Walgreens and finally came out with a pair of slankets for Jack and me.

But Rob didn't know the gag would be on him! As it turns out, the slanket is a most wonderful thing. I wear mine nightly, and it keeps me so cozy and warm. Now Jack and I are the ones laughing as we like to nightly think about Rob freezing his arms off on his couch, while we snuggle away under our slankets.

But who knows, Rob's birthday is only a few weeks away. Maybe he'll get a slanket of his own. And I still might make a commercial.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Locks of Love and a Little Slanket

Yes I did, and yes I was.

To clear up a few questions from my last post:

1. Yes, I cut my hair. It is shorter than it has ever been. We are dealing with the situation.
2. Yes, I was wearing a slanket during our slumber party, as I do most evenings. Don't hate.

First of all, the haircut.



This is my hair on the morning of Friday, June 27. Long, heavy, lumpy mass of trouble. I was so tired of it constantly being in my way, and it has been just too hot to bear this summer. I haven't cut my hair (except for the occasional trim) since high school, and it was time. So when Jack hit the road last weekend, I hit the salon.

As I mentioned before, it's been a while since I have had my hair cut short, and Jack has always preferred it long. I told him in passing that I might get it cut while he was gone, if I got too bored, and he said, go ahead. So I blame him.

I told my stylist, Misty, I wanted to cut it all off, and that she could send it to Locks of Love. For those of you who aren't familiar, LOL is a charity that takes your unwanted hairs and gives it to cancer patients who can't grow their own. I hope my lumpy mass will make someone very happy.

So there I was, in the chair. She whipped my hair up into a ponytail and asked if I was sure I wanted to do this. Yes?

She poised her scissors above the ponytail holder, and caught my eye in the mirror one last time. A slow grin crept over her face, as though she understood the gravity of the situation, asking for one last "go ahead" before she took my ponytail away.

"Are you ready for this?"

I squeezed my eyes shut tightly, and she took that as a yes. Five minutes later, she had finally managed to saw through my thick, coarse mane, and she was triumphantly holding the ponytail formerly attached to my head up like an Indian chief with his first scalp. I wish I had taken a picture of that. It was over a foot long and looked so strange detached from my head. My hair was a mess. I went into mild shock, but after a few minutes on the bag, I was stable enough to style.

She began cutting even more, and things began to even out. By the time she was done, another pound of my hair was lying scattered carelessly on the floor around my throne. I walked out of there feeling about 10 pounds lighter. Probably not a bad estimate, although I haven't yet been on the scales to confirm.

Misty did a fantastic job, exactly what I told her I wanted. However, I'm still deciding if that was a great idea. I thought long hair was a pain, but you can always throw it up in a ponytail. Now my dead ponytail is lying in a box somewhere awaiting a new head and I'm stuck with something I cannot style.

Slowly, I'm learning. I placed a 911 call to my cousin, Dees, who came right over and helped me fix it the day after I cut it. And she brought me a Bops to ease the pain. Then my little sister, who is way more stylish than I will ever be, threw in her two cents with a curling iron a few days later. Although much shorter, my hair is still very lumpy and will not always cooperate. It tends to rebel in the back, where I have much less control over it, but at least I can't see that part, so as long as I can fix the front, I'll just wear a hoodie.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Slumber Party!

Jack went out of town last weekend, so Sarah Beth and I had the house all to ourselves. Everything was going swimmingly until the second night when I tried to put SB to bed. She revolted. It was awful. She was sobbing,

"I wanna go night night mama!"

Interpretation: "Mom, if it's alright with you, I would like to sleep with you in your bed tonight."

This pitiful cry went on for over ten minutes before I caved. Jack was out of town, and I figured I could use the company. So I rescued her from her white wooden prison and carried her back to the couch with me for some cuddle time.

It wasn't until an hour and a half later that I looked at the clock and realized how late it was. Almost 9:30, and SB, who normally goes to bed by 8, was still wide awake and grinning from ear to ear.

I looked at her and asked,

"Are we having a slumber party?"

SB: "Mmm Hmm."

Me: "Well then, we need some midnight snacks!"

SB wanted to put on her favorite pajamas, which are way too hot for summer. However, we were having our first slumber party, and I felt it was only fair that she get to wear what she wanted. So we put on the hot pink footed flannel pjs, and I left them unzipped so she wouldn't sweat to death. She was so happy, she gave me a big kiss.



When I asked what kind of yummies she wanted, she yelled, "I want cheese!" and did a little dance around the kitchen.

SB excitedly shows off her cheese.


I opted for M&Ms, which I naturally had to share.

In the kitchen getting yummies. SB in the hot pink footies, me in the slanket.

When our chick flick was over, it was after ten. I realized I might have gone a little overboard with the M&Ms when I noticed SB trying to nosedive off the couch:

doing acrobatics on the loveseat:


and getting as close to my face as possible while jabbering incoherently about Bunny and Puppy.



I finally got her settled down, and she went almost willingly to sleep in her own bed by 11. I think our first slumber party was a huge success.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One More Redwood

I have some news. I've delayed telling for a while because I wanted to be sure.

But it's official.

Our family just got a tiny bit bigger. The news came as a surprise, but I am adjusting well, and the rest of our family is very happy about it.

Our little guy is small now, but he's growing every day. We have been to the doctor, and he said all is well, so it looks like our little guy has found a home.





Our new puppy, George Oscar Bluth, Gob for short.


You didn't think I was pregnant did you?? Heavens, no.


When Jack knocked on the door a few weeks ago, I thought he must have forgotten his keys. When I opened the door, I realized it was his mind that he had lost. He was holding a tiny ball of mangy, flea infested fur. I knew Jack wouldn't be bringing home a cat, so I assumed the lumpy mass was a dog, although my first guess was a baby hyena.

Jack: I brought home a friend for Oskey!

Me: No.

Jack: His name is Gob. Isn't he cute?

Me: No.

Jack convinced me to let it stay over the weekend to just see if we liked him. However, I insisted on an emergency vet visit. After being cleared by Dr. Smith, Gob had none of the nasty diseases I had been certain he was carrying like mange or rabies, it looked like I might not have a way out.

After the weekend and the vet bill, however, I felt like we had invested enough in the thing, and we might as well keep it. He's growing on me, for sure, and SB is thrilled that her puppy action has now doubled. She calls him "Bob" and asks about him every day. "Where's Bob?"



Gob (Bob) and Oscar: Best friends

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Steve Wells: the Man, the Myth, the Photographer


Last weekend, Jack and I got to spend a little bit of time with one of Jack's best friends from high school. I've known Steve Wells for several years now, and I have forgiven him for not so discreetly writing "Jack don't do it" on a dry erase board during our rehearsal dinner.

Steve is a great guy, hilarious and lots of fun. Whenever we get together with all of Jack's buddies from high school, I always ask, "Is Steve going to be there?" If so, then you know it's going to be a party.

I got to see a different side of Steve on Saturday, when he whipped out his camera and went to work on SB. I knew photography had been a hobby of his for quite some time now, but he recently quit his job to go full time. I think it was a great decision.

He lives in Panama City Florida, but his family is still in Columbus, MS, so he is in the area every now and then if you need a good photographer. I know we are definitely going to get him to do this for us again in the fall.

If only I had known we were going to have a photo shoot, I would have cleaned Sarah Beth up a little bit after lunch and put a bow in her hair!! Her face was a MESS, hence the black and white close up pics. I still think the pictures he took turned out great, except for the family shots, which wasn't his fault as you will see.




SB didn't cooperate fully for the family photos.

You can see more of his work here. It's just pictures of SB. I am sure he has a web site, and I will post the link when I get it from him.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thirty Love Jack

Jack woke up early on May 16 this year. It was a big day for him. Thirty years old. We had been planning for weeks, and Jack turned up the pressure to make his 30th one to remember.



I think we succeeded. If you missed the party, shame on you. For the 35-40 people who did make it, it was a crawfish extravaganza that shan't soon be forgotten.

We started the party off right with a giant batch of crawfish, and the recipe got better as the night progressed.







The weather didn't stop us, as our neighbors generously donated a couple of tents for the occasion. It rained off and on for most of the day, and our carpet took the brunt of the punishment, but the rain did little to deter our plans.

Jack only pretended to be offended at the shirts I made for a few lucky partygoers. I took our favorite school picture of Jack from when he was about 13 years old, added a clever title

Sorry the quality is so poor. I didn't get a close up photo until after the party, when the shirt had been washed.

and we paraded out in front of the crowd to Jack's feigned dismay.

As you can see, he really did love the final product.


I also put together a rather embarrassing slide show of Jack growing up, complimented with a few great photos of myself, but lucky for Jack, his guests never got to see it, since I forgot to show it!! Trust me, it was great.

Special thanks to all of the out-of-towners who made the drive to help us celebrate.

The Jollys


The Hollemans before the party got started


Rob came all the way from New Orleans and Allen from Columbus



Joey (since we're counting Columbus)

The McNeeses (how did they get away without a photo???)


Rob J. and Beau

and all the ones I have forgotten. I would also like to thank everyone who came prepared with a toast. Jack's brother Rob made a fantastic video from footage he shot during the party and all of the stories you shared behind Jack's back.

From getting lost while driving to Louisville to get the crawfish to scrubbing our carpet the next day, the evening in between was well worth all of the effort. I hope everyone who came had as much fun as we did!



Only a few crawfish were psychologically tortured during the making of this party.

Happy 30th Jack!