Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Recounting this Tale With Permission

Oh y'all.

My mom and I have so many things in common. Shopping, coffee, Bible study, loving my kids, working out, chocolate, "fashion" (interpret however you will), and Sonic happy hour are all things that lovingly bind us together.

And there are some things where we are not exactly on the same page.

Which brings us to one of my more sophisticated tastes, reality TV.

Last night I frantically called my dad from the grocery store to remind him to record Idol because I am away from the security that my very own TiVo provides. 

And it was Neil Diamond night.

Whom I love. Even when I am unconscious in either a hospital bed or the grave, I think my heart or what's left of my decaying bones will race when I hear "Sweet Caroline." 


My mom mentioned to me that she has NEVER EVER NOT ONE TIME seen American Idol. I didn't even know that was statistically possible, but based on her commentary during the show, I now know with great certainty that it is.

Before I share some of my favorite moments from our evening, I would like to mention that I love how my mom still uses the terminology, "television program." Not "tv show", not "tv," not "show."

"Television program."

Love it.

As in, "I have never seen that "American Idol" television program in which most of America seems somewhat interested." And she pulls it off with sincerity. What a gift.

(And sometime I shall write about what she calls the "movies.")

So, with her grace and best wishes for the death of the blog, are the finer points of our "Idol" banter.

Telling comment #1
Mom: "So are there actually any people who have ever become famous from this television program?"

Needless to say, I threw out some names and she was not so familiar. But Mom is very familiar with Neil Diamond, which counts for something. At least it did in 1969, but Neil's legacy will live on. Even though he is named "Neil." (Just not a name that reeks of fame, you know?)

Telling comment #2
Mom: "So did that LeeAnn REAMS girl start out on this show?"

Me: "Rimes."

Mom: "Right."

Me: "No."

Telling comment #3:
Mom: "Well I can see how you can really get addicted to this. Maybe we should watch it again tomorrow."

Telling comment #4:
Mom: "You know what show I really like?"

Me: "No, what?"

Mom: "Dancing With the Stars."

At this point I picture that she is envisioning "Star Search" or some other dancing show that's gone by the wayside.

But what I love about my mom is that she has a great sense of humor and can laugh at herself with the best of them. And don't worry, my ignorance on topics of actual importance makes me look foolish more often than not.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's No Endor, but Close

Not sure if you all around the United States are familiar with the idea of year-round school, but it is a cornerstone on the South Denver school scene. Thousands of kids go to school all the time.

Which really means, they are NEVER in school.

When you spread out a traditional school year, including three months of summer vacation over a 12-month calendar year, you realize that most of the year is actually spent NOT ATTENDING SCHOOL, which in my humble opinion, is not very educational.

And I love education.

So I move to rename the year-round calendar Vacation Abundance Calendar in Which Weary Parents Never Get a Break.

Year-round school has it's proponents, some of which are even my good friends, but for what it's worth, here are my thoughts on year-round "education."

I hate it.

There are some positives (not really...I'm only saying that to be nice), but I'm not going to write about those because being fair and balanced is something this blog is not known for and why start now?

And I don't even want to go on and on (ahem) about my great and serious dislike of year-round school because the Lord has heard my cry and we will be returning to a traditional school calendar in September.

September! Remember when school started then? Back when Labor Day and Memorial Day actually meant something? Back when we were young and busy plowing the fields and grinding wheat during June, July, and August so we couldn't be bothered to go to school?

I don't either.

So this post isn't really about year-round school and my great dislike of it, but rather about the fact that we are on vacation!

Yes! It's a vacation post disguised as a rant about my kids' (horrendous) school calendar!

I wasn't sure exactly what to do when one has THREE AND A HALF STINKING WEEKS off school at the end of April/early May.

Too late for Spring Break, too early for a summer road trip.

But also, TOO long to hang out around the house with a large, muddy, grassless backyard in a climate that snows every other day despite the fact that it is APRIL.


I can't handle the snow.


Not even flurries. Of which there have been many.

So on a whim, we packed up and went to Dallas. Where it is flurry-free and just gorgeous this time of year.

Oh, and lots of people who love us live there.

That would be Jackson and Lilly in the airport clutching their new Nintendo DS carrying cases. Jackson has embraced his man-bag and wants to take it everywhere, including the grocery store. 

You never know when there will be ten spare seconds to play a little Mario Party at the dry cleaners. And Lilly loveth her carrying case as well.

As do I, because it means two uinterrupted hours of People and In Style magazines on the airplane. And maybe a Southern Living and Good Housekeeping with Paula Deen on the cover, because remember what I said about my PASSION for education?

So I will keep y'all updated on our excellent adventure. 

So far, it includes the Fort Worth Zoo, which my kids thought was located in an ACTUAL JUNGLE because they are not used to seeing trees, let alone large, lush beautiful ones.


Denver is as barren as a desert and our *ONE* tree that is leafless and makes anything Charlie Brown ever owned look full and expansive has not given them the vision for live foliage.

As we left the zoo, Jackson said, "Mom, do you think we can come back to this zoo that's also in a FOREST?"

Stay tuned for our adventures on speederbikes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Smattering of Amazing Photography

My brain is a little off-kilter because of the amount of children roaming our den lately. I believe there are around eight smallish creatures on the property this minute, which is why I am very responsibly hunkered down by the computer.

I think that is what they refer to as "hands-on" parenting.

So in the name of chaos, I thought I'd share a few pictures that have absolutely nothing to do with anything except for the fact that they made me smile.

I call the first photo Circle of Life:

(I am naming all of these because I'm pretty sure that's what big time photographers do. And I am nothing if not big time.)

Anyway, as a kid, I remember hating making Mother's Day crafts and planting the obligatory marigold each year. I felt so embarrassed, because I stunk at crafts and thought my mom would rather have some swanky something from Neiman's rather than a pathetic cup with my name on it containing a flower that in all likelihood, will never bloom. (And if you know my mom, nothing could be further from the truth).

But that cup with a tiny plant and my baby's name on it?

Love it.

Now that I am a mom, I get it. I'll forgo expensive and well-wrapped gifts any day over something made with little hands. 

And should it be accompanied by a Starbucks beverage, I will say an extra prayer of thanks.

This next photo I call Fine Art:
This big beauty was sitting in front of me at the stoplight the other day. I may not have had the camera ready for Lilly's Easter program or Jackson's debut on the waterslide, but I am READY for heinously painted vehicles at the stoplight.

It's a gift.

Jackson nearly soiled himself with glee at seeing this truck. For a few minutes, I was tempted to pimp out the Suburban with our favorite Wii game, but then thought better of it. That money could be used for so many other things like buying another guitar or installing stage lights in the living room.


The next photo I call Junk Drawer Surprise:

I'd like to make several observations:

1) This is as clean as it ever gets. I emptied the entire thing last week when it was unable to completely close for 11 days straight. 

Then, I put everything back in neatly. Neater. As neat as I want it to be.

2) That is not a handkerchief in the middle of the junk drawer.

Those are Princess Jasmine panties. And to my knowledge, I have never bought Lilly any Princess Jasmine panties.

I am still trying to connect the dots on this one.

So I guess the moral of the story is to be very careful when you search for a Sharpie because instead, you might find underwear. 

(I felt that the broad application of that little vignette made it blog worthy.)

3) This is unrelated to any of the photos but I would just like to observe that when a child plays the kazoo within a 10 mile radius of my eardrums, it raises my blood pressure to heart-attack ready levels.

And when a child plays the kazoo in the car with me, I simultaneously grip the steering wheel with greater force than the Incredible Hulk and look around for a button with which to eject myself from the front seat so quickly that onlookers will think the rapture has come.

So in summary:

Random pictures=super duper

Kazoos=death wish

Thank you. Back to "parenting."

Monday, April 21, 2008


I was otherwise detained, so Jackson answered the phone.

"Hi, this is Jackson."


"Oh, hi Miss Karen. 

Um, we have a bunch of friends from the neighborhood over right now and we're all watching my mom play Guitar Hero.

Can she call you back in a little while?"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Ears May Never Recover

I think Lilly set a world-record for the most questions asked in a two-hour time frame. 

She also undoubtedly holds the Undisputed All Universe Title for asking the same question at least 50 times during one movie.

"Is he going to get killed?"

I wish I could tell you she fabricated these questions during a viewing of "Cinderella" or "Care Bears" but that would be a lie.

Brad and I have been getting excited about the return of Indiana Jones. At one point during childhood, I think I ate three Big Mac value meals in one weekend in a quest to buy all three of the movies at McDonald's for $5 each. (On VHS, of course).

And because of the fabulous marketers at Lucasfilm, Jackson already knows tons about Indy and his adventures, even though he's never so much as seen any of the movies.

Until tonight.

Brad and I thought it might be a good opportunity to spread the Gospel of Indy to our children in our ongoing crusade (I am going to try to use as many puns as possible in this post) to educate our children in cinematic greatness according to our low and rather uncouth standards.

Even though we are proud owners of the Indiana Jones Trilogy on DVD, I'm not sure that we'd ever watched the movies since the mid 1990's. I have a strong feeling the boxed set was on sale at Costco and it just felt right to spend $30 to have Indiana Jones at our very fingertips in case of a Raiders of the Lost Ark Emergency.

That emergency occurred tonight, although I underestimated the amount of blood spatter by a factor of 20. And the number of skeletons with cracking necks by a factor of 9 million. 

Before we even started the movie, we gave a Cliffs Notes-style plot synopsis, overstating the fact that INDY DOES NOT GET KILLED. 




It was shocking how many times we compared Indiana Jones to The Backyardigans. Uniqua, Pablo & Co. came in so handy as we referenced pyramids and booby traps. See? Nick Jr. is stimulating young minds across America every single day.

The schema-building strategy in no way deterred Lilly from asking an average of five questions a minute. That is not a made up statistic like I am known to throw out from time to time. In my ongoing pursuit of journalistic excellence, I set the timer and started counting how many questions she asked per minute. 

That experiment only lasted a few minutes because I couldn't take it anymore. In that brief time, she asked over 23 questions. "What's going to happen next?' competed with "Is he a Nazi?" for first place.

When she started asking questions like "Why is he wearing a white shirt?" I knew that the greater significance of Indy's journey to find the Ark of the Covenant was lost(!) and Lilly was more fascinated with the snakes and drinking competitions (which I also forget occurred more than once.) At which point we started skipping through large sections of the movie.

This post obviously serves as the antithesis of solid parenting advice. In case you were thinking of letting your 4 year-old daughter watch Indiana Jones, you might rethink that. Apparently we are the only ones who remembered gunfire and violent punching exchanges with such warm and fuzzy memories. 

Tomorrow we'll fire up "Die Hard."

Kidding. I KID. Of course. Not serious.

So anyway, check out the widget that Lucasfilm somehow magically implanted on my sidebar. (The Internet: super amazing!)  I'm apparently some sort of fan correspondent. I'm not sure if I'm trying to win a date with Harrison Ford or just tickets to the movie, but I'll take anything that's free and I do not limit myself to chicken sandwiches.

May the Holy Grail be with you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


We are all standing at the kitchen island, a vast taco bar spread before us.

"Hey kids, we are having chicken tacos for dinner. What do you want on yours?

Sour cream?




"Mom, I just want chicken," says Jackson.

"Me too, Mom," says Lilly. "And no tortilla, just chicken."

"Same here," says Jackson. "No tortilla."

If I looked puzzled at this point, it's because I'm not quite sure what they were describing.

"Well without the toppings, that's not a taco. You are just eating chicken."

They just looked at me. Then at each other. Then back at me.

"We just want chicken tacos without anything on them and no tortilla."

"Right. I think that's called 'chicken." 

"But Mom, you said we were having tacos!"

At which point my brain got up and walked out the back door.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Seven Things

So I have been racking my brain trying to come up with seven interesting things about myself to share with those who read this blog. And if I'm honest, I've got a big bag of nothing.

But since that has never stopped me before, I type on...

1) I love camp. Not camping. Never camping. Camp.

Being a camper as a kid and a camp counselor in college were both amazing. As a camper, I'd call home after being away for two weeks, BEGGING to stay another two. I just couldn't get enough of all the fun, pranks, activities, snacks (you knew it involved food), and friends.

And being a camp counselor is probably my favorite job of all times. Why I was entrusted with other people's 9 year-olds for two weeks is beyond me, but we sure had a good time together and laughed ourselves silly.

Even though I am all about sitting in Panera with my laptop and sipping a latte by the roaring fire, I am also all about being dirty, not showering, and sabotaging other people's cabins, then waiting for the favor to be returned. Such fun.

But camping? I don't mind the eating out of tin cans and sleeping on sharp rocks. What I mind is that I can't stop thinking wild animals that don't belong anywhere near me are suddenly going to attack. I don't want ants or bugs crawling on me while I sleep, bears circling the tent, or fish so much as peacefully swimming in a nearby pond. If a ladybug so much as crosses my path three feet ahead, I'm out.

2. My favorite sports are baseball and golf. LOVEY LOVE LOVE them both.

They are a) warm in nature, b) intense, but not paint-your-face intense, and c) involve some of my favorite concessions.

3. I have a knack for losing big-ticket items. I am not proud of this, but it is who I am. 

Brad thought it might be "fun" to post the highest-dollar item I've lost. Well, I couldn't possibly do that to him or my parents, because the memories it conjures are downright painful.

But I will say that I had to have my entire college dorm re-keyed more than once and it is NOT CHEAP to buy new keys for like 500 girls.

4. I am not a "shoe" person. Love my flops. Love my running shoes. The End.

The rest of the year I limp by in out-of-style black or brown shoes. But mostly running shoes. Because I would rather spend money on 10 lattes than  having a pair of shoes. 

Because shoes are not edible.

5. It's taking everything in me to come up with seven things that don't all involve food. Because it is what I love. The buying, the making, the ordering, the dreaming about, and drumroll...THE EATING. 

Food is like my children in that I couldn't possibly come up with a favorite because they are all so unique in their characteristics, so wonderful, interesting, and just tasty in a way that quenches both my soul and tastebuds.

What I don't like is bad food. There are few foods I don't care for, but if something isn't fixed well or dry or wet or crunchy or soggy or whatever it shouldn't be, I can't do it. 

I have had four perfectly golden chocolate chip cookies cooked in a cast iron skillet, served sizzling hot, partially cooked inside, topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce in the last 10 days.

Is that a problem?

6. I have strong feelings about the pronunciation of certain words.




I will not tell you the correct pronunciations according to me because I don't want to hurt any feelings. Just know I am cringing inside when you don't say it right.

My favorite word in the English language is "swarthy." I just LOVE it.

7. My dream invention is called The Starbucks Mobile. It drives up and down my street each morning (like an ice cream truck) and stops out front so I can get a Skinny Mocha at approximately 6:30 a.m.

There are so many mornings I need a fix, but can't justify loading up the kids and myself in full Mismatched Pajama Regalia to hit the Starbucks that is five minutes from my house before shuttling everyone out the door to school. The nearest drive-thru is about 20 minutes away and I'd be lying if I said I'd never driven that far just to have everyone physically restrained while I drank my vanilla latte in peace.

(I let Brad unbuckle to drink his hot chocolate.)

So there you have it. Seven things.

I'm not really sure who to tag because many of the blogs I read are people who get THOUSANDS of comments and I'm not sure Pioneer Woman would know my email isn't spam. And really, people like me tagging her for memes probably IS spam.

But I love my blogging friends, so if you want to share Seven Absolutely Fascinating Things go right on ahead. I will be reading and loving it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Should I be Dusting Right Now?

So as I mentioned yesterday, B is at work. Not in the home office. But in The Real Big Boy Office.

Since we've been married, he's always worked from home or in whatever exotic location Frontier Airlines jetted him.

But this job? Minimal travel, and a real office. So for the first time in 9 years, he got all dressed up (no jeans, steel-toed boots, or yellow polos anymore), gave me a kiss, and walked out of the door. 

(It was actually quite a bit more romantic than the alarm going off at 4 a.m. and him wildly rushing to the airport, then texting back and forth all day.)

So I've been going about my normal daily comings and goings, but it just feels different. And I can't figure out why.

Since he's always worked from home, he knows what my day looks like. He gets it when I run around town in my workout clothes, take five hours to complete various stages of laundry, and spend a little too much time rearranging living room accessories instead of actually cleaning. I'm so thankful I don't have to explain how the stay-at-home-mom thing works at this stage in the game.

But I still can't shake the feeling that I should be wearing some sort of June Cleaverish dress with heels and firing up the crock pot right now. Should I set the table? Are we done eating in front of the TV? Is it now my job to make the bed? Should I have the children prepare a short song and program complete with Early American costumes to welcome him back to the homestead?

I will ponder all of these things while I enjoy the internet's finest and eat another chocolate chip cookie. I don't want to strain something thinking so hard.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

J to the O to the B

This is a post I've been thinking about for quite some time...something that's been on my heart, but not something I've shared with the blogging universe.

Because, ironically, of the internet.

There is this search engine where you can type in any words you want and it will find you that special something for which you searched. Or like 2 billion of those somethings.

Clever, isn't it? If I could Google things like "Where, for the love, are my car keys?" or "How to find my current grocery list" then we'd really be in business.

For the past few months, B has been on the employment hunt. Not the click-around-on-Monster-in-my-free-time hunt, but more of an aggressive search like when Indiana Jones was in the Temple of Doom and ate monkey brains and live cockroaches in order to accomplish his mission. I believe Indy also rode in a mine car and witnessed someone's heart being pulled from their chest, but B's desperation hadn't yet reached those levels.

So you get the idea. 

I didn't post much about The Search for the Holy Grail of Employment because I've been assuming that the first thing any employer worth his salt would do is google the prospective candidate's name. 

And if that boss is a proficient Googler, he would quickly come to the conclusion after discovering this teeny blog that "B is a great guy, but his wife has an undiagnosed case of OCD and based on her posts about food, apparently weighs close to 900 pounds, which cannot be good for our group healthcare rates."

And I believe that, perhaps, that might hinder B's quest.
For the past several years, work-related stresses have interlaced themselves into nearly every area of our lives. And even though my sweet spouse searched for an alternative, nothing presented itself that would ease the weariness of constant travel and the steroid-infused, jazz-dancing elephant of tension residing  on B's chest.

So in January, our family received some mandatory rest. Our very own exile island (see that? I can always bring it back to reality TV) where there was not much more to do than lovingly stare into each other's eyes while talking about all that WASN'T going on.

As a matter of interesting timing, Jackson was off-track for three weeks, so when I say we were ALL HOME, I mean ALL FOUR OF US AT HOME. In the winter. Doing a whole lot of...being at home. Inside. Together!

Good times.

And slowly, in this quest for better, different, new, God quietly laid on our hearts some things we needed to release from our lifeless kung-fu grip.




Which, of course, made for lots of light-hearted conversation and small talk around the the dinner table. And in the office. And while playing the Wii. Because did I mention we've had a lot of time together?

One day while I was running, I listened to a podcast on the topic of  being faithful when times are hard. The speaker defined faithfulness as walking through hard times having eternal eyes. Not avoiding the tough trenches of life, but forging onward, relying on God for his strength.

And on that same day, I read this verse, "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him." (2 Samuel 22:31)

So here we are three months into this journey and B is starting something new. 


This isn't necessarily a dream job or all that he envisioned a few months ago, but we feel blessed and cared for beyond words. We're thankful that God has taken care of our needs and even our wants. He has encouraged us along the road in amazing ways.

One day while I folded laundry, I was praying for B to get an interview as a sign of encouragement. As I matched up the socks, the phone rang with an opportunity. Seriously.

(I chose not to take that as a hint that I should further engross myself in housework.)

On the day that I ran out of my pricier-than-it-should-be eye cream, I was a little disheartened to think about not replacing it until the cash flow rebooted with new employment. Later that afternoon, my mom called and asked if I needed any of my precious eye cream and did I want the night cream to go with it? God is faithful to provide even beauty products for a body that is made from dust and decaying as we speak. That is generous beyond measure. And a humbling reminder that he cares about the details in my life.

We keep coming back to the verse in 2 Samuel that says "His way is perfect." We rest in knowing that while our ways our flawed, lacking, misguided, and even greedy, His way is none of those things. I will gladly receive that any day...even when the gift is exile island and the time spent there is less than pleasant.

So, here we go...the next chapter begins.

And even though I could quote "In Christ Alone" during just about every post (whether the topic is molten lava chocolate cake or parenting issues) I've restrained myself a lot lately, so here it is one more time. Because it is true and the glory is His.

In every victory,
let it be said of me...
My source of strength, 
My source of hope,
Is Christ alone.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fashion Exhaustion


Reading about fashion all day, putting that fashion knowledge to use at the mall, and eating a lot of lasagna has really worn me out.

I have so many things I want to discuss, and so little time before I fall asleep with my forehead implanted on the laptop.

1. How OH FREAKING HOW did Michael Johns get voted off Idol already?

2. And "Shout to the Lord?" Interesting. As the first few notes were played, I turned to Brad and said, "Didn't we sing this at our wedding?!" I am personally convinced they just want all Christians to download it on iTunes. I am debating...

3. "The Office"--Jim & Pam--funny. Michael & Jan--scary.

4. I got tagged for a meme by a Legit Blogger, Lisa. I am so excited to come up with a few things about myself that are interesting, yet not frightening. That might keep me up all night. The ideas Brad brainstormed suggest that he believes I have a few areas in need of personal "growth."

Or that I'm driving him just plain crazy.

5. I left my cell phone charger in Arizona and feel crippled without use of my cell phone. I almost pulled over and used a pay phone today because I am used to the instant gratification of a thought coming into my head then immediately calling someone to purge the info before I forget.

We interrupt this boring blog for a ***LIVE BLOGGING UPDATE**** 

(beep beepbeepbeep beep beep)

Michael Johns is on Jay Leno. Right. Now. With Gene Simmons. Are you watching? 

But Michael Johns ascot? Brilliant. And his smile? Brilliant.

Michael, I apologize right now for failing to vote. Forgive me.

Now Gene Simmons is singing "Rock and Roll All Night" and I am dying to jump through the TV screen and tell him that I would love to play that song on Guitar Hero while he sings. We would be such a great duo. I just stopped typing to work on my guitar riffs while Gene halfheartedly belted out his greatest hit.

In conclusion, I believe I have hit rock bottom.

It's All About the Uniform

Y'all, it's here!

small button

I know you have been eagerly awaiting for the Spring Fashion Fiesta and all of the mediocrity it holds. Fashion is something near and dear to my heart, although those in my path might question that on a regular basis.

I did catch myself mid-sentence the other day at the Gap asking for "white jeans in my size," but rest assured that I left those babies on the rack. Big Mama, God bless her, is giving this little fashion foray as an opportunity to showcase some fashion do's and don'ts, as well as a look inside the collectively scary closets of bloggers.

This morning my mind was filled with fabulous ideas about spring fashion, when I looked outside and saw this:

I'll be honest: snow in April took the wind right out of my fashion sails. This was not serene, O-Tannenbaum-ish snow. It was driving, horizontal, blizzard-in-your-ear-canal storminess. But in the name of Banana Boat sunscreen and summer I'll forge right ahead.

Let's start with my summer uniform. There has been no piece of clothing as faithful to me for the last three summers as the ribbed tank top:

For $5 (give or take), I can look totally average hauling my kids from the pool to the grocery store to the gym to the Dairy Queen. 

It's a Swim Cover Up! It's a Cute Top! It's a Workout Shirt! It's my Uniform!

Being that these are so reasonably priced, I've bought just a few:

In my best estimation, I have about 12 of these little beauties. That means between wearing the exact same one a few days in a row and slacking on the laundry, I am good to go for approximately three weeks. I tell ya, it's harder than it looks to earn the title "Trophy Wife."

This year I added brown, blue (in a very distinct shade), and coral to the rotation. I will probably keep all of my friends excited and guessing as to which one I'll wear when they see me. Variety is what makes fashion so exciting!

I like to pair these tanks with some long shorts in either a) khaki or b) black. 

That's right: 2 pairs of shorts + 12 tank tops = an entire summer's worth of clothes! 

Let's move on to the last part of the uniform, and possibly my favorite. I have a deep, long, abiding love of the flip flop. They have never betrayed me by hurting between my toes or giving me blisters and have been my trusty companions for longer than I can remember.

But all flip flops are NOT created equal. That is a lesson I learned the hard way when several Old Navy pairs just quit on me. I was mid stride, in a hot asphalt parking lot when the part that holds the flop to the foot pulled right out. That is a sizzling and painful failure, especially when one nearly drops the baby and the pool bag packed to sustain an entire family for upwards of a month.

However, a few summers ago, I was forever changed. The Reef came into my life and we shall not part--even in death--when I am buried in a ribbed tank top with these on my feet. (Sorry if that was a little morbid, but I don't own any pantyhose or pumps and honestly, can you see me buried in a floral Laura Ashley dress anyway?)

(Sorry again.)

What I adore about Reefs is that they are like walking on pillows that are so perfectly firm, yet cushiony in just a way that makes each step feel like a piece of heaven. If you think I am just being dramatic, then you haven't tried Reefs yet and you are also correct.

Here is my new pair for Summer '08:

I needed a black pair and felt the zebras were right up my alley. Also they will match my black long shorts and the black knit skirt I occasionally throw in the mix to dress things up when I go to the grocery store after dusk.

This brown pair has loved me long and well:
Bless them.

I've even infiltrated my kid's flip flop collection because if you've missed it thus far: REEFS ROCK HARD CORE. Plus, the kids are weenies and won't wear stuff if it hurts.

Lilly's pair:
Jackson's pair:

Now there are occasions, like church and weddings, when a little bit dressier of a flip flop is in order. I love a Dressy Flop because it can snazz up an outfit without forcing you to wear some strappy number best left to people with no actual walking to do. Plus, strappy heels don't really work well in sand or wood chips.

This is my Dressy Flop '08:

Not sure if you can tell, but that is a delightful black patent usually reserved for music recitals and Christmas Eve. I'm glad it's making it's summer debut because it does pair nicely with a long jean or casual skirt. 

Eating Mexican food in the summer at anywhere other than Taco Bell demands a certain leg coverage in the form of a great jean so that you can withstand the arctic air conditioning in order to savor the queso.

I'll be honest: Reefs are more of a daytime slap, while the Dressy Flop begs to be worn in the presence of a margarita and salsa. A bracelet pairs nicely, too, if you can remember it and have time to fish it out of your 4 year-old's closet.

My other favorite gift this season was the Madras Top Sider:
I'm not sure if y'all remember the Top Sider from the peak of its popularity in the 80's, but I guarantee I could go into my dad's closet right this very minute and find his pair lovingly at rest. He will probably also have the knit Polo shirts whose collars he popped right alongside them.

See? If you hang on to things long enough, they will always come back in style.

Here is an up-close of the madras print that makes my heart skip a beat. I've always loved madras and to see it on a shoe is an extra measure of God's grace.
The last item I'm going to discuss is tough. I'll be honest. You either love them or hate them. 

Brad has declared that when I wear these, he won't be seen with me in public, and that is okay. I'm not exactly cruising around, hoping he'll lock arms with me while he wears his yellowed, pitted-out shirts with pictures of burritos on them. Sexy!

I bring you The Aviator:

Brad was flipping channels the other night and came to an episode of "The Bachelor" where all the girls were similarly shaded.

"Don't they all look absolutely ridiculous?" he commented.

Meanwhile, my pulse quickened and I hoped I liked my pair as much as theirs. If I can get this much satisfaction for $10, then life is good.

Hope you enjoyed my Spring Fashion Fiesta! Head over to Big Mama's for more fashion fun and don't hold me to anything I've said. I could be wearing white jeans next time you see me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Which Explains the Cramping in my Hands and Wrists

I have been BUSY working on my career in Guitar Hero. It was a sweet birthday gift from my mother-in-law that has taken over my life and that of my family. 

After coming home from a fabulous girls weekend in Phoenix, I promptly hugged the kids, sat them on the couch and said, "Let's watch Mom play Guitar Hero for about 5 hours."

They were beside themselves with excitement.

It's well-documented that the addictive effect of Guitar Hero is similar to meth, but does not come with twitching or weight loss. Just dreams of guitar strings and chords. Richie Sambora and Santana probably dream like that every night, but it's totally new for me.

Somehow years of piano lessons never really got to me in the same way...infiltrating my dreams and causing me to think about the VERY NEXT opportunity I would get to sit and play the piano for hours. However, I am working on a theory that the piano lessons might have helped my hand-eye coordination and propelled me to a future of Guitar Hero Excellence. 

I am becoming all that my parents dreamed!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Also, He is in Favor of World Peace

I am glowing because Tuesday is the day of free.

Free breakfast at Chick-fil-A!

Free birthday burger AND ice cream at Red Robin!

I am down with free food, especially when it is tastier than the cold, dry pizza various collegiate organizations used to provide as bribery and lure for students. And which I ate quite liberally.

At this point, I'm really done sharing about the free and wonderful things provided us today and am segueing into a segment about Jackson's sweetness.

This transition may seem a little clumsy because it is my very crafty and authorish way of giving all readers who are not family members ample time to exit the blog.



(If you stay around I have to type out all kinds of disclaimers about how I know the following statements are somewhat contrived and may or may not prove to be true and how I really don't think my kid is better than your kid, except I do a little bit, because of course, he's my kid.)


So there we sat at Red Robin, savoring the freeness and deliciousness of my eleventy millionth birthday celebration because remember, FREE was involved.

And I LOVE free. Because it doesn't cost anything.

At which time Jackson said, "Mom and Dad, I am going to say something that will just delight you."

Well our ears perked right up at that.

"I want to obey everything you say and serve God with all my heart my entire life."


(You were warned.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hopefully I'll Find Time to Wash My Hair

I've been thinking about the fact that if I lived on the East Coast, it would only be two hours until American Idol comes on, as opposed to the heart-wrenching FOUR hours I currently face.

I'm also conflicted because The Biggest Loser is narrowing down finalists, Dancing with the Stars has a results show, and my first love, American Idol, will be coming to me "live" (via my tiVo) from the Kodak theater in merely a few hours.

And then the Lord spoke to my heart in a gentle whisper:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." James 1:2

I believe I am being refined this very minute.