Monday, January 31, 2011


Growing up, Sara and I weren't exactly girly girls. We did go through a princess phase, like all little girls do at some point. I remember being like 4 or 5 and it was Nap Time and during Nap Time, we had to stay in our rooms and at least "try" to take a nap. Sometimes, you're just not tired, right. I mean, I outgrew naps at like two weeks old. So, you couldn't make a kid take a nap. But, we did have to be quiet, so Mommy and Daddy could take a nap. I never knew what my siblings did during their Nap Time, but I would quietly shut my door all the way, rip open my shuttered closet doors, find all my Sunday-best dresses, lay them out on the bed, find the most "princessy" one, throw that sucker on, open my window, call Nappy the Cat, and sit on the windowsill while Nappy the Cat meowed from the ground below. A captive maiden...her only companion, a fierce black Nappy panther cat...she awaited for her prince to come rescue her from the Dreaded Dark Nap Time Dragon that probably lived under her bed. Which is ironic, because one year for Halloween, I was a princess and Sara was a dragon and Sara used to tell me that monsters lived under my bed. Huh.

The princess phase gave way to our tomboy phase. We were stuck in tomboy phase up until like last year or something. Tomboy phase is the best. Dolls were sooooo lame. The color pink made us vomit. Honestly, if we saw something pink, our bodies would involuntarily convulse. We wanted short man haircuts. We wanted to wear galoshes 24/7. Make-up was for pansies. Perfume? Uh, no. We wanted to smell like the OUTDOORS! Raw and natural and kind of like bark.

Sure, we had Barbies. Hardcore Army Barbies that fought beside Noah's G.I. Joes. Barbie's convertible was our armored escort vehicle and Barbie needed to lose those long, blonde locks because if she was taken captive, she would surely be sheared. So, we, friendlies, did it for her. Barbie's face may or may not have been melted during combat...a casualty of plastic, non-proportional bodies war.

We did play with My Little Pony, though. I've always loved horses. And we played with Polly Pocket. We had a lot of stuffed animals, like Pound Puppies.

We didn't "play house." We PLAYED FORT! It's amazing what an 8 year old and 10 year old can build with a few nails, vinyl rope, and caution tape. We would use Dad's hatchet and chop down sooooo many trees. Mom and Dad probably never knew how many trees were felled in the woods. I mean, I'm not talking redwoods or anything, but fairly thick ones. We had a lot of forts. We got a lot of cuts and scrapes and bruises. But, it was worth it, because we were explorers. And amazingly, neither of us ever got poison ivy...not once.

We grew up with goats. Ha, that sounds like we were raised by goats. Well, you might have thunk it by the way we ate supper. But no...Dad got us two goats one time as pets. Nubian goats. They're so sweet. One of 'em got pregnant. The next thing you know, we had 14 goats. They were all named after plants or flowers or some kind of berry. Let's see how many I can remember...Blackberry, Strawberry, Lily, Tulip, Blueberry, Almond, Honey, Raisin, Buckeye,, that's all I can remember. Mom made us name them that. Don't blame us. OH, the boy goat was named Mr. Rogers. The goats were super tame...they'd follow you around like dogs. We'd make little satchels for them to carry supplies for us. In return, we'd feed them sugar cubes. We loved those goats.

We climbed a lot of trees. We scaled a lot of barbed-wire fences. We traversed great expanses of wilderness. We were swallowed whole by bottomless canyons and then spit back out on the other side.

For Christmas and birthdays, we didn't ask for pretty jewelry or dress-up clothes or barrettes or princess backpacks. We wanted guns and bows and arrows and knives (all fake, of course) and coonskin hats and tasseled vests and bicycles that looked like motorcycles and Power Wheels four-wheelers. We were survivors. You think a fancy rhinestone barrette is gonna save you in the wild?? NO! But a cap gun or floppy leather knife might.

When Noah, and Peter (when he came along), got old enough to play outside with us, we established the hierarchy of The Great Outdoors pretty quickly. I've mentioned before that we have Native American (Cherokee) relatives. Harper was named after Missouri Jane, my great-great grandmother...a Cherokee Indian. We liked to "play" Indians. Well, one day, the Indians were being me and Sara. Four-year old Noah, an unwilling–but without choice–victim, roamed aimlessly nearby. Underneath the thick-bladed grass of my parents' yard is rich, red clay. My sister and I harvested this clay and, within minutes, Noah transformed into...a completely unrealistic portrayal of our native ancestors. But, he would have to do. RUN, NOAH, RUN!...we told him. From our back pockets we drew our weapons of choice...slingshots...and filled the leather pouches with the perfect projectile...acorns. We got in so much trouble that day. We have a picture of Indian Noah from that day...a ruddy-faced, curly-haired boy with the biggest blue eyes. All you can really see are his eyes, because he's got so much clay caked on his face.

The tomboy wore off after a few years. I'm still not super girly, but I do like certain shades of pink now. And I like sequins and sparkly stuff. I know everybody says this when they have just girls or just boys, but I can't imagine having boys. I am SO excited to go shopping with them one day, but I'm also looking forward to letting them go outside and make mud pies after the rain. If they adore princess stuff, I will buy them everything princess under the sun. If they want to play with Barbie and not cut her hair for war, I will get on the floor to play with them and put on my girliest Southern Belle accent...I do declahre! If they want to decorate their entire room with pink, then...well, we'll talk about that. If they want to play softball like Sara and I did, we will see them at every game. If they want to play outside all day, every day, then I just probably won't buy them any white clothes. If they want to braid hair, put on make-up, and paint toenails all the time, fine by me...I've got plenty of colors to choose from.

I'm just excited to see who they grow up to be...princesses or fort-girls or somewhere in between.

Monday Funnies

I have a real post for tomorrow, but just wanted to share some funny videos today.

This one MAY have a dirty wordy in it, I can't tell because there's a lot of talking going on. So, if you hear something fishy, I apologize. But, you just have to look at this. I mean, look at it!

One of the many, many, many reasons it's fun to have kids. You can do stuff like this.

I'm with you on this one, cat.

You can't not laugh at this.

Or this.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Yesterday, I told you that the girls make crafts at playschool. When I got the little brochure and read through it, it said part of their time at "school" would be making crafts. I laughed and thought, "Yeah, I'd like to see that." I was picturing shell pasta picture frames or peanut butter bird feeders or robots made out of Dixie cups and cardboard boxes. When I picked them up after their first day, I got home and looked through their bag to pull out dirty sippy cups and clothes and, lo and behold, THEY MADE A CRAFT! My heart exploded into a thousand pieces.

I will save these forever and ever. I'm taking them to Hobby Lobby to have them professionally matted and framed...I'm so not kidding. I just held them up so proudly (while the girls took a good, long, post-playschool nap) and stared at each little fingerprint and every little line and laughed at how much alike their handprints look. Look how they both spread out their right-hand thumbs. I couldn't wait to show David when he got home.

A few days later, they came home with THESE!!
Piper is missing a toe on her left foot and Harper is missing a toe on her right. (Not really...just in the painting.) These are getting framed, too!

A few days later...what in the world? One of my kids has escaped from their prison of play. Like, seriously, a Navy Seal couldn't get past that barricade. Hang on...I think they're working together. I gotta investigate...................well, awesome. They didn't push past it...Harper climbed OVER it. I'm in big trouble now. She's like a monkey. Anyways. A few days later they came home with these!
Whew...I'm gonna be dropping some dough at the frame store.

And look at this, last week, they brought home a BOOK!

Tim and Alex also had pictures in the book. Tim and Alex are the identical twin boys that are in the class with the girls. They're cutie patooties. They've got the biggest dimples. But, this isn't a post about Tim and Alex, now is it? (Actually, since they're so young and since I don't know their parents, I didn't want to put their pictures in a public blog.) But, hey, Katie Christmas, they have the same last name as you! Maybe y'all are related. Or, I guess it'd be maybe Mal is related to them. Anyways.

Yay for crafts! And shame on me for doubting.

Yesterday, I didn't bring home Harper...I brought home Pebbles. A very, very tired Pebbles.

Outdoorsy gals.

These boots were made for walkin'...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Conversation with David

Last night, we were bathing the girls...everybody having a grand ole time. Those kids take like hour-long baths. They LOVE bath time. I was telling David about their day at playschool. They made a craft. Yes, they make crafts. I'll show you sometime. Yesterday, they made a little apple with paint on their thumb and pointer finger and it says, "I am the apple of my teacher's eye." Presh, huh. Then, either me or David starting singing the theme song for Yo Gabba Gabba, a show the girls are obsessed with. And I secretly like it, too. (When it's time to watch it in the afternoon, I throw my hands out and say "YO GABBA GABBA!" Harper and Piper Lee then throw their arms out and say, "Ah Gallah Gah!" We're working on it.)

David: Foofa! She's pink and fluffy!

Ruth:'s "she's pink and happy."

David: Whatever. She's pink.

Ruth (talking about that day's episode of Yo Gabba Gabba): Today, they learned about losing their teeth.

David (thinking we had switched back to talking about playschool): Losing their teeth?

Ruth: Yeah, like, how it's okay if your teeth get loose and they'll come out, but don't be scared. And the tooth fairy comes. You know, that type of thing.

David: But, how is that something they would even know to talk about it?

Ruth: Well, I mean, it happens to everybody. Sometimes kids are scared of that and it's good they're teaching them that it's okay. They sing songs about it.

David: What in the world? They sing songs about it?

Ruth (puzzled as to why this is so confusing to him): Yes. One time, they learned about taking naps. And one time they learned about making new friends. Every day is different...sometimes they talk about cars or babies or bugs...

David: But...I don't understand how they could possibly imagine that a child would remember a song about losing their teeth or any of that for that matter.

Ruth: What are you talking about? Kids remember songs.

David: What are we paying for? I mean, it seems they would just play with them and teach them basic things for now.

Ruth: Huh? Paying for? It's on TV.

David: OH! You're talking about Yo Gabba Gabba.

Ruth: OH! You're talking about playschool.

David: Well, that was fun.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Decision MADE!

First of all, I wanted to say THANKS, C! for your word of encouragement yesterday about the girls and their sicko-ness. Our pediatrician said the same thing...better to get them exposed at a young age. But it sho isn't fun. :)

So, for vacation this year, we are going TO.............I'll tell you in a minute. First, let me tell you how we came to our decision. Y'all's suggestions were AWESOME. So awesome in fact, that my little plan backfired. I figured we'd read a suggestion and be like YES, that's IT! But no. It ended up being like, "Ohhh, let's go here! Wait, let's go HERE. Yes! I wanna see that!" And now we have a million places on our list we want to see thanks to you guys. Y'all are the best! It was a super tough decision because you really couldn't go wrong with any of those trips. We narrowed it down based of time of year and length of the trip and how much we could do in that time. We REALLY want to visit New England/Cape Cod and stay for like two weeks. I could probably stay in Maine for a month. Sigh. Benjamin, that Oakland House place is incredible. I've always wanted to visit Yellowstone and Yosemite. Ha, ask Sara how she pronounces "Yosemite." We thought about a West Coast tour. My parents visited all the highlights earlier this year and said it was beautiful. We almost went with Victoria/Vancouver or the Canadian Rockies. Those were two tough ones to let go. Katy, my dad was born in Scottsdale! My grandparents said the sky was always so big and blue! So many places I want to many places I hadn't thought of. I pulled all of the details of each trip up in separate browser windows. I had about 57 pages opened. That's how Mom reads the internet. When she used to borrow our iPad, I'd grab it to look something up and there'd be 100 windows opened and I'm like, "Mom...bookmarks!" But she does it on her iPad, too, and her home computer. So weird. (Also, a side note, if Mom is on her iPad, she's not flipping you off. That's how she scrolls. Ha, get it...scrolls...rolls...nevermind.) Anyways. We compared all the options...

...and we narrowed it down to Newfoundland (staying in Gros Morne National Park) and Zion (in Utah). Mom and Dad can keep the girls in August or October. Gros Morne closes in September, so we'd have to go in August. It's also a prime time to see icebergs and whales! And, oh my word, it looks like a place straight from Lord of the Rings. So beautiful. And Zion...who knew such a place existed. Well, almost everyone. But, I've never been or really seen a lot of pictures, but I started looking and, mother of pearl, that place is amazing. We couldn't decide. We did what any logical adults would do when making a fairly major decision...we flipped a coin. An honest to goodness coin toss. Tails won...


Mrs. Micki was the one that recommended this fantastic place out West. Here is her suggestion:
Book cheap flights to Las Vegas. Stay one night there to watch old people on oxygen tanks gamble. Drive to Overton and visit Valley of Fire State Park. Leave there and continue on to Zion National Park in Utah. Lots of great hiking, horseback riding trails, drives, etc inside the park. PLAN YOUR TRIP TO BE AT THE PARK DURING A FULL MOON. Yes, I did mean to 'shout' this part. One of my prayers is that should I live to be very old I always have the ability to close my eyes and pull up the memory of driving through this park during a full moon. We have visited in summer, fall and spring. Two of our three trips were during the full moon. Wish all had been. Planning to return. This isn't a place to just hurry through. The relaxation, renewal, joy and peace are found in the details and taking time to unwind and soak it in.

Mrs. Micki...I'm just going to come right out and ask...

No, seriously, we are SO excited. Actually, Mom and Dad visited last year (I think y'all and my parents would be good travel buddies). They went on a tour out west and visited the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce. They said Zion was the most beautiful. They stayed at the lodge inside the park. (They ended up in Vegas. My parents are HUGE party-ers. As soon as the bus pulled into the neon glow of the city, they hit the hotel buffet and watched the History Channel in their room the rest of the night. WILD!!)

Here is our Zion plan. We're staying at this adorable little house right outside the park entrance. Look how pretty! And yes, that is a piano. Because, "Hey, I think I'll go to Zion National Park and play the piano."

We plan on hiking most of the time. Doing the scenic drive on the shuttle. Visiting the arches. Playing the piano.

I think we're also going to do a day trip to Bryce Canyon...

...and a day trip to the northern rim of the Grand Canyon.

I cannot wait! I've heard you really can't picture the beauty of this place until you've been there. We're very excited. Don't worry, Mom, we won't climb any waterfalls. Here's a question...on a calendar, is a full moon or a new moon the symbol that's blacked-out? I can never remember. Because, we might be going on a full moooooonawwwwoooooooooo!

For those of you who wanted to stay at Mommajoe's, you are more than welcome to, but the stay comes with special conditions. Mom is very hospitable, BUT...
1. You will have to take your shower at 6:33 p.m. so the laundry can be done.
2. You will probably have to make some sort of craft and if she likes it, she'll keep it and you won't be able to take it home.
3. If the wind picks up a little bit, Mom will wake you up and you will spend the night in the tornado room. And it's cold in there.
(I kid, I kid, Mom... :) )

No, but seriously, that's all true.

Thank you all so much for your suggestions! I'm already thinking about our next excursion to the great beyond (a.k.a. North America) from the tips y'all gave. Mrs. Micki, I'll Facebook you about getting "the goods" to you. David's office is about 3.7 seconds from the new building, so I might get him to run it by.

Shannon, a four-week trip across the U.S.?? Dude, I'm totally coming with you.

I'm gonna do another giveaway pretty thinking about your most embarrassing moments!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Y'all don't kill me.

We started the girls in a Mother's Day Out program at the beginning of January so I could have a break and get more work done during the week. Well, they're sick all the time. And the only other kids in their class is a set of 8-month old twin boys (weird, right?), so where are they getting it from? Kids are just gross, I guess. Anyways. Mostly, it's just been snotty noses. But Friday, it culminated into snotty noses, phlegm-filled coughs, sore throats (you could tell by them writhing in pain after the coughs), and completely sleepless nights. So, this weekend was basically spent holding the girls...all day and all night. I don't mind that at all...they're super cuddly. I just hate them being sick. They're always so happy.

But, I wasn't able to blog and we're still not 100% sure where we're going, but we're supposed to decide tonight! So, I'll let you know (fingers crossed) tomorrow! Until then...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzz z zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pretty Pony

For one of the girls' Christmas/birthday presents, we got them a little rocking horse. I looked around and researched which ones kids and parents liked the most and came across the Rockin' Rider Pony. Good reviews, soft coat and mane, "realistic horsey sounds," and an out of this world song that the HORSEY SINGS HIMSELF. I Amazon-Primed that sucker and two days later, a sweet little black pony arrived at our doorstep. I brought the box inside, peeled back the bubble wrap, and jumped a little as my gaze was met by the emerald green eyes of Kevin, the little black pony, as he is known around our house. His stare was so intense.......I felt as though there was life behind those embroidered oglers. He came pre-assembled, so there was no need to read the instruction manual. Yeah, it was more than one page. How many instructions can there be with a rocking horse? 1. Sit on the horse. 2. Rock. 3. Get off when you're done. The manual did explain that by pressing his left ear, Kevin would speak to you, saying things like, "I like it when you brush me." Uh, inappropriate. He would also neigh and make galloping coconut sounds. If you pressed his right ear.......the song. It was cute and catchy. I played it several times and noticed two sets of blue eyes peeking over the barricade, their interest piqued by the whimsical equestrian tune.

I took Kevin into the play room to meet his new friends. It did not go well. Apparently, the song wasn't cute enough to counteract the HIDEOUSNESS THAT WAS KEVIN!! The poor pony was not immediately welcomed into the family. He was outcast. But slowly, assuredly, the miniature humans warmed up to his sweet smile, fuzzy face, and charming demeanor. Instead of a giant, black, scary dog thing, Kevin became the cuddly pre-obsession of ponies that every little girl will have at some point in their life...ahem, some will have that obsession far into their adult years. Anyways. At first, the girls swatted at Kevin with playful jabs, waddling away mirthfully. But eventually, they started to pet him and kiss him. Piper Lee was the first to take to the saddle. She loped and cantered through the grassy meadows, head back, eyes closed, hair flowing gracefully in the wind. Rider and pony were as one. And then Harper pushed her off.

Kevin was a great addition to our home and we were all very excited we adopted him. But one day, everything changed. Over New Year's, Noah, Sara, and Bryan were in the play room, admiring the sleek black coat of the tiny horse, when Noah suddenly felt a cool breeze on his neck. But there was no draft, no fan, no wind. He looked at Kevin...Kevin was looking BACK AT HIM. Sara and Bryan noticed it, too. David and I walked into the room, taken aback by the paled worry that had washed over our kinsmen's faces. Noah's voice cracked, "Something's up with Kevin. Something's not right...there's something sinister going on." We laughed it know grad students...always so dramatic. New Year's passed, but before long, David and I started noticing strange things happening around the house. Hoof prints would appear on the kitchen floor, a path from the play room to the fridge. There was an inexplicable supply of fresh oats and hay in the garage. The TV would randomly switch from Animal Planet to QVC for no reason at all. We also started noticing other weird things...

Piper Lee, once enraptured with the childhood bliss of her first little pony, now felt the eerie chill of somethingweirdness creep up her tiny spine.


We keep a close watch on Kevin now...and sleep with one eye open. At night, we can hear his haunting tune wafting through the hall..........................................

Giveaway winner announced Monday! (We still haven't decided...too many awesome suggestions!)