Friday, May 29, 2009

Giving that Seinfeld broad a run for her money.

Have you ever heard about something so awesome you refuse to believe it simply because if it was true, it might totally blow your mind?

That's kind of how I felt about people saying you could put raw spinach in smoothies. I mean, seriously. Spinach in a smoothie? That's just wrong. But they were like No, it's great. You can't even taste it! And if you use blueberries instead of strawberries, you can't tell there's spinach in it at all!

Right.

Despite the fact that we almost always have raw spinach and smoothie fixings on hand, I never bothered to try mixing the two together. Until now.

It was a particularly bad eating day for Liam (they're all pretty bad - the kid would happily starve to death if we let him) so I was mixing up a little afternoon power shake to keep him going. At first I pushed the spinach out of the way so I could grab the yogurt but then something stopped me. PUT THE SPINACH IN THE SMOOTHIE. I hesitated for a moment - would the world come to a screeching halt if Liam ate a leafy green? - then grabbed a big handful and threw it in the blender (along with plain yogurt, frozen mixed berries, a banana, orange juice and some vanilla whey protein powder).

Once it was all blended up, I really couldn't tell the difference. And, it actually tasted good. Exactly the same as usual! I gave it to Liam with a straw and tried not to giggle as he drank the entire thing (it took all afternoon, of course, but that's perfectly normal). If he didn't like it or could tell that something was different, he would have refused to drink it at all. But he liked it! (Liked it, forced it down, whatever - there's a lot of gray area when it comes to Liam's eating habits).

Buoyed by my spinach success, I swapped out his regular pancakes (whatever healthy whole wheat mix I happen to grab at the grocery) with sweet potato pancakes. And guess what? My son is now eating two vegetables! Woo hoo!!

Here's a great recipe I got from one of the moms in our Spanish class:

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Pancakes

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked mashed sweet potato

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 t vanilla

1/2 t salt

3 eggs

2 t
baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup canola oil


Puree sweet potatoes and eggs. In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk, applesauce, vanilla, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and honey. Incorporate the puree. Add the flour last. Use canola oil for frying pan or griddle. The remaining pancakes can be frozen and defrosted in microwave or toaster. (This recipe is very forgiving. I added ground flax seed and used plain milk instead of buttermilk and the pancakes still turned out great.)

I also made a batch of pancakes with the store bought mix and just added a cup of sweet potato puree, some apple sauce and ground flax seed. Both kinds passed the Liam test (and we liked them too). You don't even have to feel bad about letting your kid go nuts with the syrup - 100% pure maple syrup is chock full of magnesium and zinc, good for your immune system, and a great source of antioxidants. Pretty sweet, huh?

*Dies from totally predictable and cliche ending*

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mother of invention.

Yesterday we drove from the coast back home to Nashville. It's a pretty long drive - 8 hours not counting all the stops - and our first attempt at spending the whole day in the car with Liam. Everyone who witnessed him sitting perfectly still at the church with his ear buds in, watching Blue's Clues quietly while the bride and groom said their vows told us we had nothing to worry about. "Just plug him into that thing and you'll be home before you know it!"

But 8 hours is a long time for a kid. What if he got tired of watching videos before we got home? We'd be screwed. I mean, the iPod is pretty much our silver bullet. It's what works when all other books, games and snacks have been exhausted. Pull it out too soon and we'd be committing road trip suicide. We may as well start whining "are we there yet?" right now. No way. It's much better to hold out as long as possible, waiting for everything else to fail before pulling out the iPod and letting it save the day.

So what do we do until that point? Well, to be honest, I like to kind leave Liam alone. If he wants to interact with us, that's one thing, but mostly he is happy entertaining himself. He is either very imaginative and fun to eaves drop on (his bears say the darnedest things!), or he gets totally bored and falls asleep. Both are great options if you ask me.

Yesterday in the car, he never even asked for the iPod. (We had to offer it to him at one point because it was raining buckets and Bill needed to concentrate all his attention on trying to see the road.) He was totally happy entertaining himself with his new favorite toy. Stacking cups.

They're really just half-and-half containers that Bill's mom collected for us but Liam loves them. He probably spent a good 3 hours in the car playing with them. Seriously! Her timing couldn't have been better. The only Yo Gabba Gabba! episode we had on our trip (so, therefore, the episode Liam watched many, many times) featured cup stacking as the cool trick. So the whole time in the car we heard, "My name is Liam and cup stacking is my cool trick." How much cuter is that than, "Are we there yet?"

What a clever grandma...

The only problem Liam could see with the cups was that he didn't have enough. Five were okay but he really wanted ten. Nothing a quick stop at a gas station/coffee shop couldn't solve. A pancake for Liam and coffee with lots of half-and-half for us.

Then it was back to the car for a little more cup stacking and a nap.

This was my big idea for the month - using an umbrella to block the sunny side of the car. It worked way better than those dinky pull down shades that only cover one patch of the window and are just a hop, skip and a jump away from a rear window full of kid-centric bumper stickers.

I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure the window shade is the first step to a mini van decked out in soccer mom paraphernalia. Just in case I plan to keep an umbrella with me at all times.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Future wedding crasher.

Bill's mom says one of her favorite things in the world is to watch me and Bill dance at weddings. I'm not exactly sure why - it's not like we know how to do the cha-cha or anything exotic like that (although we did take a ballroom dance class together in college). But what we lack in skills, we certainly make up for in style.

(That bumper sticker "dance like no one is watching" comes to mind...)

Last night at the wedding reception for Bill's cousin (which was amazing, by the way), my mother-in-law begged all night long for us to dance. I tried to put her off at first - I was stuffed from all the delicious wedding food (like one buffet line for shrimp & grits and another for ice cream sundaes) and didn't want to miss out of the friendly folks walking around with trays of sweet tea & vodka cocktails. Plus, from where we were sitting, we couldn't even tell if there was dancing or not (the reception was HUGE and so, so beautiful). Besides, we had a very tired boy with us - it was past Liam's bedtime and he had skipped his nap. But she really wanted to see us dance so we agreed to cruise by the dance floor on our way out.

Well, wouldn't you know it? As soon as we got within earshot of the band I realized they were playing one of my favorite songs. Okay, not really. I mean The Cupid Shuffle is good and all but not exactly a favorite. Still, it's a very fun Zumba routine and the song that inspired random group dancing at the free dance club in Nashville (exactly like in a movie!). Now, I'm pretty sure witnessing a whole club of strangers fall instantly into synchronized choreography is like a once in a lifetime experience. But at a wedding? Of course we're gonna do the shuffle! Wedding receptions are exactly what that song was made for.

So, I dropped my purse and my kid and found a spot on the dance floor. I was doing my thing (To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left. Now kick, now kick, now come on baby kick. And walk it all around...) when who should I see in line next to me but Liam! And he wasn't just standing there either. Noooo way. He was doing the freaking Cupid Shuffle! I swear to you, it was like group dancing was in his blood.

After that initial taste, he could not get enough. He was a dancing machine! (Sorry this video is turned the wrong way - any idea how I can fix it?)

video

It was incredible. I wasn't surprised exactly but very, very impressed. When he wasn't doing all of the "dancy dances" he's learned on Yo Gabba Gabba! or running around the dance floor like a fool caught on fire, he was watching the band. Like seriously watching them. Studying them. And they were so sweet to him - waving at him, giving him thumbs ups and nodding in approval any time he decided to stop watching and bust a move.

video

We had to drag him off the dance floor at one point to use the potty and the entire time he was asking, "Can I go back to that tent now?" I honestly think it will be a night he'll remember for the rest of his life.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Easily entertained.

Who needs a TV when you've got a music, a mirror and a three year old?

video

video

The scene he's acting out is from the Yo Gabba Gabba! with Jack Black (New Friends). It's toward the end of the episode where Flex the robot puts some gas in mini-bike and tells Jack how to get out of Gabba Land. It is just one of the many, many scenes Liam performed for us this weekend (well, not for us exactly - he usually asked if we would leave him alone). I especially love how he does Jack Black's voice - the "I'm really gonna miss you guys!" part is spot on!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beach day.

Check out some of the wildlife we saw at the beach today:

Yes, that is a dolphin. A dolphin! Not only was it like 5 feet from the shore, it was nice enough to stay there while I ran back to our towels to find my camera. And then it told its friends where we were hanging out so they could come swim back and forth for us too. Dolphins!

Ahhh! That is totally a SHARK that the man in the blue jeans is rastling with. He caught it accidentally and then had one heck of a time getting the hook out of its mouth so he could throw it back (you know, cause it's a shark and wanted to BITE HIM). Eventually he got the hook out and threw the poor shark back into the water with the most triumphant SPLASH! I have ever heard.

We also saw lots of little crabs and a super cute starfish that we placed near the water (not nearly as awesome as throwing a shark but we're just not the shark throwing type).

We also saw a couple of these crazy things that Bill called Horseshoe Crabs. He told us they are prehistoric which seemed pretty cool to me but Liam was like, Does that thing make bubbles? No? Then why the hell are you showing it to me?

To be fair, these light saber bubbles are pretty cool. Especially when there's a slight breeze.

Even if you don't have a beach trip planned this summer, I suggest you pick some up ($1 at Walmart). If your kids are anything like Liam, they will think they are on the greatest vacation of their lives (even if they never leave the backyard).

On location.

Right now I'm sitting on the front porch of our guest cottage in Blufton, South Carolina, watching my boys explore the lush landscape of our temporary home. It's raining lightly which makes the huge, moss-covered trees above us seem like they are alive. If it wasn't for the mosquitoes who love me and only me, this would be a little piece of heaven. You know what, even with the mosquitoes (who are only slightly deterred by DEET), this place if pretty darn perfect.

Our cottage is on the right; the big house on the left is where my in-laws are staying with some other relatives. The home belongs to a friend of the family who let us all stay here. For free! I love the South.

We left Nashville Wednesday so we could take our time getting here (we're going to a wedding on Saturday). We spent some time in Chattanooga at the Aquarium (and TGIFriday's and Ben & Jerry's...) and have decided that it is a very cute town.

Liam was "scared" of the sharks - look how tightly he's hugging my neck!

The butterfly garden - fun for me but the mist in the air freaked Liam out.

A ray eating a shrimp out of Bill's hand!

These jellyfish were amazing but...

...for Liam's money, it's all about the mirror.

You cannot imagine how hard I smacked my head on this thing.
I guess it's not meant for full grown adults.


We stayed the night in Atlanta before driving the rest of the way. Check out the great view from our balcony - Thanks Priceline (and Bill for finding it)!

For someone who normally won't sleep in the car, Liam has surprised us all with some epic naps.

Today we will hopefully spend some time digging in the sand at the beach and eating more buckets of fresh shrimp, corn on the cob, sausage and potatoes.

Happy trails!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Teenage fanclub.

This weekend, our 10 and 13 year old nephews and their dad came to Nashville for a visit. They became our nephews a couple years ago by marriage, making us Aunt Maggie (or Mags) and Uncle Bill (Wez) for the very first time. They are like the smartest, coolest people I have ever met and I feel pretty lucky that they're in my family.

Even though they're awesome and we were completely flattered that they wanted to come all the way to Nashville to celebrate their father-son birthday weekend, I was still a little, how you say, completely freaked out at the prospect of having teenage boys (or tweenage boys) in my home for two days.

I mean, what the heck do you do with 10 and 13 year old boys? After racking my brain and coming up with nothing but white noise, I turned to Facebook for a little inspiration.

Maggie Day Conran house guests this weekend...any ideas of what to do with 10 and 13 year old boys???

I got some good suggestions - video games, skate park, pirate festival, Internet porn, bowling - but still felt a little unsure how the whole thing was going to go down. I mean, I was pretty sure we could keep them entertained but what could we do to make them really enjoy hanging out with us? Exactly what would it take to clench the title of coolest aunt ever? Which, if I get right down to it, is all I really wanted.

I thought a lot about it but ran out of time to come up with an actual plan of action. We blew up an air mattress for them to sleep on, borrowed a Wii from some friends and picked up an ice cream cake for the birthday celebration. The rest, we decided, would have to be made up as we went along.

By the time they arrived, I was so excited to see them (and to see Liam with them) I completely forgot that I had no idea what to do with them. And almost immediately, their dad set me at ease. He said, "When the boys come to stay with us, we try so hard to be cool. But you guys just are cool. I mean, look at this - they've told you more in the last five minutes than they've told me all week!"

Yessss.

The weekend was great. A perfect mix of go-go-going all over town (with their dad, not with us - thank goodness for nap time!) and chillaxing at the homestead (that's why I'm the cool aunt - I say really cool, age-appropriate things). By the end of the weekend I had no idea what I had been so worried about. Yes, these kids are smart and busy and used to doing really awesome things, but they weren't coming to Nashville to be entertained; they were coming to see us.

Because we're cool.

The weekend actually made me really excited to have my very own tweenager someday. Which is great because, if these pictures are any indication of how fast time flies, I am going to have a stubble-chinned fifteen year old in my home, like, tomorrow. And not just for the weekend.

Cousins at first sight - Hawaii 2007.

Grow much? - Nashville 2009.

Wondering what to do with your tweener house guests? Have them start a blog! I like to think I was the super cool aunt who inspired them to join the blogosphere but it was totally their dad's idea.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Friday.

I set my alarm for 6:30 this morning so I would have a little time to shower and check my e-mail (and possibly try to get the house ready for our last minute house guests who arrive tonight) before Liam woke up and the day began. Guess what happened at 6:25? Liam woke up. (That's like two hours early for him. Don't hate me.)

I intended to see if he would go to the bathroom, have some milk and go back to bed for a little while but he was fully prepared to start the day.

"Good morning! Mama? Are you happy?"

"Yeah, buddy, I'm happy. But I'm still really tired." Hint, hint. Go back to sleep!

"No, Mama. Be happy!" Weak smile of a three year old trying to convince his Mama to get with the program.

"Okay, I'm happy." Yawn.

"No you're not." Looking sad.

Digging deep, mustering a real smile. "Okay, now I'm happy."

"Now we're both happy!"

Fortunately DJ Lance Rock was available to babysit on short notice so I could wake up a little and really start the day.

He always comes prepared.

Yo Gabba Gabba! came onto Liam's radar while we were in Reno and has been one of his favorite shows ever since. You can tell by the way he accessorizes that he's a really big fan.

DJ Liam rocks!

At the bookstore yesterday we picked up an interactive Gabba Land that will surely take his impersonation to the next level.

It's pretty cool. You open it up just like DJ Lance's case and fold out a big poster that looks like all the different lands. There are cardboard cutouts of the characters that Liam can use to act out scenes and perform songs. Now he can play along while he watches. (Definitely the next level if you ask me.)

We went to the bookstore intending to get a pre-k workbook so Liam could begin tracing letters and numbers and we could introduce something along the lines of curriculum into our day. (I got the idea from a mama friend of mine who has scheduled time each day for her children to work independently on such things. Love her.) We scoured the shelves until I decided on the perfect book (no small task) then went over to the train table to play and read books.

But while I was listening to Liam read an entire collection of Blue's Clues stories (like a freaking encyclopedia, that thing), some dude took my book and started showing it to his daughter. At first I thought it was no big deal. I mean, obviously he was not the type who would ever buy a book of worksheets for his kid. (I mentioned I'm still waking up, right? So I'm a little judgemental in the morning.) But the little girl was really into it. He started flipping through the pages with her and everything she saw, she wanted to learn. Counting! Adding! Writing! Phonics! The better she did, the more his eyes started to light up. When she correctly answered what letter bird, bee and bus start with, he turned the book over and looked for the price. To my surprise/delight/dismay, he let his little girl carry the big book to the check out counter and bought it for her.

I let it go and chalked it up to my good deed for the day (I probably changed her life!). Then I bought my kid the TV themed book with no words and went home to see the babysitter.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Be here now.

Last week I made a decision: no more computer in front of my son. Noooo I'm not addicted to Internet porn or anything sketchy like that. I just got tired of failing at two things at once. You know the feeling - half your brain is trying to respond really quickly to an e-mail while the other half is totally engaged in a three year old's explanation of what Rintoo did on Kai-lan. Inevitably your eyes start to twitch as you grow increasingly weary and irritated and before you know it a task that should have taken 40 seconds has swallowed up your entire morning.

I've tried telling Liam I will be able to play much sooner if he will give me five minutes of alone time but he's three so, you know. That's not exactly happening right now. In the past he's been perfectly content to play on his own for short periods of time but he has recently hit a bit of a needy patch. He wants to play with me, watch a show with me, get cozy on the couch with me. It has given me a much greater understanding for why people have kids semi-close together now. A built-in playmate might totally take the pressure off.



Not that it's Liam's fault, of course. With or without a child vying for my attention, the computer would still be, in and of itself, a black hole of distraction. I mean, where else can you go to look up the phone number for a pizza place and find yourself scrolling through Facebook twenty minutes later while your starving family whimpers in the other room? No phone book I know has ever done that.

Without limits I would happily spend all day on the computer, writing and reading and editing photos. I love it but can easily admit that it's a major time suck. And it is never-ending so there isn't really a point of satisfaction. It's not like you could ever say, "I'll be right there, just finishing up the Internet." There is always more, always something new.

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

But now that I know I can't get online for just a minute until Liam is asleep or otherwise engaged, the temptation to let my mind wander back to the computer isn't as strong. I can play Go Fish or put a puzzle together without wondering if I got any new e-mails or if so-and-so posted something I simply must read right this second.

I would be lying if I said it wasn't a challenge, but I think the good greatly outweighs the bad. Life is so much better when you're fully participating in it instead of going through the motions with one distraction after the next. It takes a bit of planning (which I haven't entirely figured out yet) but my time with Liam is better and my time on the computer is better.

For example, Liam and I have blown bubbles in the back yard oh, I don't know, a thousand times? But I have never really appreciated them until now.

Bubbles are SO cool! It may have been that they were extra colorful because it had just stopped raining and was still really overcast, but I suspect it's because I was giving them my full attention.

We must have played with bubbles for two hours. If my mind had been somewhere else, I most likely would have gone mad in that time. But being there, fully present - it was the sweetest two hours of the day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Get your art on.

A few days ago I heard a great interview on NPR with children's author Mo Willems. He is the creative genius behind such favorites as Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!(which is the first book my sister gave Liam) and Don't Let the Pigeon Eat a Hot Dog! (which she also bought for him but decided to keep for herself).

Here is a bit of the interview from NPR.org:

Willems is obsessed with why adults don't draw — and he wants to do something about it.

"One of the interesting things about cartooning and doodling and drawing," Willems tells Michele Norris, "is that people stop when they decide they're not good at it. Nobody stops playing basketball when they realize they're not going to become a professional. The same thing should apply to cartooning."

Willems says just sitting and drawing a character brings out empathy in people, and that's something the world could use more of right now.

One of the biggest reasons children stop drawing is that they see that adults don't do it, Willems says. When he goes into classrooms, he says, teachers often ask him to get the kids to draw. But when he does, many of the teachers don't participate.

"Well, now the kids realize that this is just a baby activity," he says.

He reminds us that parents are actually cool in kids' eyes — for a while — and kids want to imitate what they do.

"If your kid comes home from school and you say, 'I'll be right with you; I'm just finishing a doodle,' the kid's going to go, 'Dude, I want to do that, too!' "

He suggests doing what his family does: have a family draw. His family gets a large piece of paper, picks a theme and then everybody draws. They went so far as to paint a wall with chalkboard paint.

To get adults started, Willems suggests drawing a favorite character from childhood. See Willems' blog for more.

I loved to draw and paint and do creative things as a kid but my passion sort of tapered off as I realized I wasn't as good as I wanted to be (it took me a while - I actually earned a minor in Fine Art trying to find my niche, If I'm not good at sculpture, maybe oil painting is my thing?). Eventually the frustration of not being able to create exactly what I wanted to got the better of me and I simply stopped trying.

I still thought of myself as a creative person but realized when I heard this interview that the only time I really got my art on was when I was likely to be good at it. Photography? As long as it's digital, you bet! Gluing stuff together? Sure! Coloring (in the lines) in a coloring book? Heck yeah! But free hand stuff like doodling or painting (aka, the stuff Liam does every single day)? Let's just say it's been a while.

I mean, sure, I draw the occasional horse or elephant or whatever it is Liam asks for but it always leaves me feeling kind of sad and inadequate. I look from my awkward, square legged animal to his lovely, squiggly lines and think, "Lucky kid. He must have gotten the art gene from my dad." And then I put down the magic marker and go back to watching from the sidelines.

Well, no more. I don't want to be a do as I say, not as I do kind of parent. I don't want to teach Liam that being creative is a kid thing he will surely grow out of. Worse than that, I really don't want to teach him that we should only do things we are good at. Could you imagine? Oh, honey, it's okay. If you're not immediately good, just give up. That's what Mama always does! Not exactly one of the life lessons I'm hoping to teach.

So, I've been getting my art on! It's not always pretty but I finally understand that that is so not the point. We've been having a grand old time with markers, crayons, acrylic paint, watercolors, chalk, glue, you name it! Here are just a few of my many masterpieces:

Any time I start to think, Wow! I'm really terrible! I just remember the song Liam has been singing to me all week:

I’m not perfect, no I’m not.
I’m not perfect,
But I’ve got what I got.
I do my very best, I do my very best,
I do my very best each day.
But I’m not perfect,
And I hope you like me that way!

It's from The Laurie Berkner Band on Jack's Big Music Show. Liam likes to put his arm around my shoulders and sway back and forth while he sings and it almost makes me cry every single time. No, he's not pefect. But I think he might be as close as they come.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Southwest shortcut.

Just a quick tip for the next time you're booking a flight on Southwest...

If you, like me, can be semi-flexible with your travel dates, there is a special hidden tool that can help you get the best deal. Instead of clicking "Book a Flight" on the homepage, choose "Travel Tools" up at the top and then "Use Southwest Shortcut" from the menu (or, click here for an even shorter shortcut). From here, you choose where you want to go and what dates you prefer. Then a calendar pops up showing you the lowest fare available on the dates you chose as well as for the rest of the month.

Isn't that so much easier than doing all the leg work yourself? It used to take me forever to book flights because I wouldn't commit until I had checked out every possible day/time combination for the cheapest fare. (I used to work at an airline so I know that a little flexibility can sometimes save you a lot of money.) Now I just find the cheapest dates available and edit my trip accordingly. What a great little...shortcut! (Perfect name.)

PS - Please tell me this is life-changing information that will save you time and money the next time you travel. If I come to find out that using the Southwest Shortcut is sooo five years ago and everyone and their mom already knows about it, I'll be a little bummed. No one likes to be the last to know. Just ask classic Britney.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Listserve Favorites - March/April 2009.

Our neighborhood has a Listserve that is just about as quirky as our neighborhood itself. It ranges from lost/found pets and items for sale to political discussions and crime watch to completely random tangents that go on and on for days. I found all of my babysitting jobs through the Listserve but other than that I rarely get involved. There are some stars of the Listserve who chime in on almost every single post like it's their job to be witty and sarcastic. I'm sure if I were to read all of the threads I would find some very lively "conversation" but I rarely get that into it. I typically just glance through the digest version of posts to see if any of the subjects jump out at me - that alone is entertaining enough! I saved some of my favorite subjects from the past couple of months to give you a taste of the place I call home:

Adult Easter Bunny Costume Needed
I'm sure they had no problem finding one - people in our neighborood love a good costume!

Anyone know where I can get a flute repaired?
Probably...this is Music City.

Vocal Booth For Sale
I'm telling you, where else would you find such musician-friendly classifieds?

Dear drunken motorist and passengers at 14th and Woodland, try at least to act sober.
You gotta love an open letter!

To the gangster that robbed me at gunpoint tonight outside Family Wash...
Although, I'm sure these people are not reading the Listserve.

Lunch today, anyone?
See? It's not all drunks and gangsters. Some people are friendly enough to have lunch with any one of their hungry neighbors. I love that!

Mow my front lawn right now! ...before the rain starts
Whoever wrote this is brilliant. It's been raining for a week now and our yard looks like a jungle!

Tonight: Best Local spot for guys who like cowboys who like guys
I love my little gayborhood.

Fashion lazy skinhead seen walking up Fatherland openly carrying black semi-automatic
Huh? There were lots of weird responses to this one - Bill was pretty sure one guy was admitting to being the fasion lazy skinhead with the semi-automatic but I assured him that was one of the Listserve stars being cleaver and witty.

Stop what you are doing...and run...don't walk...to Walden's Market before they sell out of salsa!!!
Wow! Talk about great word of mouth!

PAID GIG: Need someone handy with own chainsaw (no trees / yard work involved)
I purposely didn't click on this one to find out what it was about. I think some things are better left to the imagination.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What are you doing?

Seriously, Facebook. I think it's time for a little status update of your own so poor saps like me who used to waste ungodly amounts of time reading through all my friends' status updates to see what was going on in their lives can know WHY? you had to go and do away with your only truly great feature. I know, I know. I can still see my friends' status updates if I scroll through the home page or go to their individual pages. But who wants to scroll past page after page of so-and-so took this quiz and what's-her-name is this type of drink just to see a potentially funny or informative status update?

Not me.

It's like they're intentionally trying to make me more productive or force me to remember my Twitter password or something.

I hate to be like an old hag wistfully going on about the good ol' days but, well, if the Rockport fits...

************** 1 minute later *****************

So, I just logged in to Facebook to torment myself and found that they seem to have fixed the problem. Or at least removed all the garbage from the homepage so I can see lots of my friends' status updates without trying too hard. So much for being productive! Thanks, Facebook (I guess).

************ 10 minutes or so after that ************

Nevermind. I must have just hit a lull or something. The homepage is now telling me what breed of dog a girl I went to high school with would be if she was a dog. Guess I'll go do some laundry. Sigh...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Boys are from Mars.

Since I managed to go my whole life without having any brothers or boy cousins who were close to my age or guy friends or neighbors who acted like they were my brothers, I am kind of clueless when it comes to certain aspects of raising a boy.

I get the whole being dirty thing - that's fairly universal. And I encourage Liam to touch bugs and tromp through the yard in his sandals despite the possibility that there could be a snake or something icky hiding in the tall grass (no matter how much it freaks Bill out). But when it comes to boy stuff - like guns and swords and trucks - Liam has been seriously short-changed. (I'm sure that's more to do with the fact that I don't like having a bunch of crap in my house than it is about me not understanding boys.)

If you ask me, a pile of sand and a keg cup are perfect toys for boys.

For Christmas my sister gave Liam a pop gun and a whoopie cushion because she didn't think he had enough boy stuff to play with. I still don't think he gets that the whoopie cushion is funny because it makes a fart noise. He just thinks it's funny because it makes a "whoopie" noise. (I guess we forgot to teach him that farting is funny.)

It doesn't get much more awesome than fishing in a bucket of live crawfish.

Or does it?

Bill is somewhat helpful when it comes to boy stuff but he has his limitations as well. I mean, he's a guy and all but not necessarily what you'd call a guys guy. He was brought up in a house full of older sisters so no amount of watching football or playing poker with his friends will ever get him to leave the toilet seat up or burp in front of me. As a kid, he took tap dance and opera instead of baseball or soccer. And while I know he played with cars and Transformers and matches and stuff, there are certain rough-and-tumble aspects of boyhood that seem to have him stumped.

Going to his "happy place".

It's the wrestling, or rastling or whatever, that boys do that leaves us scratching our heads.

I think in part it's because we've never seen Liam play like this before.

Except for with us, of course. Bill and Liam have been playing Diggida Diggida for years now. Bill chases Liam down the hall going diggida-diggida-diggida-diggida and into his room where he "slams" his head into his chest knocking him onto the floor where he tickles him and tries to protect him from the dog who is trying to "herd" him with little bites. (I'm not allowed to play. I've been semi-banned from rough housing ever since I miscalculated the space between the pillows on my bed and playfully threw Liam headfirst into the massive wood headboard.)

I'm an instigator.

Aside from all that, we're fairly new to rough housing.

Is this normal?

Seeing Liam get down-and-dirty with his buddy is actually a little bit of a relief. I may be accidentally sheltering him and treating him like a mama's boy but he's still full of (play) fight.

Alright, he may need a little bit more help.
But, in all fairness, it's hard for anyone to get out of a half-nelson.