Tuesday, September 30, 2008

rare footage: monkey girl sighting

I've been trying my best to take some video footage of Avery doing totally adorable things. You know, those cute, precious, two-year-old things that she does all day long - when NOT being filmed.

Sigh.

It's not been easy. I feel a little like one of those National Geographic videographers/documentarians who have to hide out for hours on end just to get the perfect footage of some rare, exotic animal doing something rare, exciting, and...exotic.

As a result, I have literally minutes upon minutes of footage to share.

Minutes upon minutes of Avery in her PJ's.

Minutes upon minutes of Avery with wild-woman hair and a cheeto-crusted face.

Minutes upon minutes of the very rare, very wild, Avery in her oh-so-natural environment.

I did it all for you, people. All for you.

I've spent thousands of dollars on adorable clothes and bows, only to have $3.99 pj's from Gap, teeny tiny bows from Walmart, and one sweet little girl with a crusty face, recorded for posterity's sake.

Ahhhh... What can you do?
video

Side Note:
If you watched the video and kindly overlooked the fact that Avery had NO BLOOMERS on --- bless you, bless you.

Bloomers and a bow are quite possibly two of the most important things that a Southern little girl can be wearing to accessorize her Southern wardrobe. Non-bloomer wearing is tantamount to going naked. It's just not decent. Not at all.

I hope that my Southern friends will look past the utter indecency of my diaper-clad toddler. It was a pregnant-mommy moment of weakness. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to show off the cuteness of my little girl in this footage - even if it meant sacrificing a little of my pride and Southern Mommy legitimacy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

biggest loser phenomenon


David and I are totally addicted to The Biggest Loser. We watch every season.

I love Bob and Gillian.
I love the drama.
I love the suspense.
I love the emotion.
I love watching the Incredible Shrinking People every week.

Most of all, I love to eat while I watch the show.

I can't explain it.
I can't stop it.
I can't help it.
Is it because the poor contestants can't eat? Am I sympathy eating? Am I unintentionally mocking them? Who knows.
What I do know is The Biggest Loser makes me HUNGRY.

The Biggest Loser = The Munchies.

Somehow, I don't think that's what the show's producers intended...

Friday, September 26, 2008

you may be addicted to your cell phone if:

This is how your child impersonates her mommy...

Your idea of a cute halloween costume is this...


OR
You can't tear yourself away long enough to use the restroom without it.

What's with that?
I went to the restroom at the mall the other night and a lady a few stalls down from me was just chattin' it up on her cell phone while USING the facility.

Sadly, this is not the first time I've witnessed this social phenomenon. I'm all about being a multi-tasking mommy, but come ON. That kind of multi-tasking is just plain G-R-O-S-S.

Admittedly, I don't spend much time in the restroom by myself these days (two year olds are intensely interested in watching their mommies do anything and everything. literally. ). But - even this privacy-deprived-multi-tasking mommy draws the line at chatting away with my friends while using the restroom. If I get the chance to use the restroom in peace, I'm going to take full advantage.

I guess I should explain that the following picture doesn't really go with my post, but when I was searching for pictures on Google, I found him and thought, "I must have him. He's fabulous." Because he is.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the most beautiful sound in the world...

It's not laughter.
It's not the joyful chirping of birds in the trees.
It's not the jingle of pocket change.
It's not even the whirr of the electric beaters as someone makes me a big 'ol chocolate cake with whipped cream icing.

Not right now, at least.

Right now, the most beautiful sound in the world is the sound of banging, buzzing, sawing, and hammering.
That beautiful, glorious sound is the sound of progress.
That sound means that our sweet baby Charlie's room is just a little closer to being an actual nursery.
That sound means that mommy may not go insane today.

Ahhhh...I can just feel the weight of all that stress dropping off of my shoulders with each nail that is hammered.

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely.

It's almost as lovely as the sound of my husband saying, "Here's the credit card. Get whatever you want."

Almost.

Here's a few pictures of the progress:

play time with "faiffy"

Avery loooves her "Faiffy" and "Kiss".

Kris and I became friends when our little ones were just a few months old. Our first ever playdate was to the park. Our little sweeties were barely sitting up then and didn't even seem notice each other's existence. It has been so fun to watch them grow together this year. I've loved watching their relationship change as their little personalities have emerged. Turns out that our little girls are as different as night and day, but they love each other like crazy!

Over the last few months, Avery and Faith have become quite the little conversationalists. Just recently, they switched from talking next to each other, to talking WITH each other. Kris and I were cracking up as we watched them engage in a very serious, in-depth discussion about a plastic banana they found in my classroom at preschool.

It went something like this:

Avery:
A nana.

Faith:
MY nana.

Avery:
It's a nana.

Faith:
It's a nana!

I tried to capture some video of the two of them chatting together, but had absolutely no luck with getting them to repeat the cuteness. That seems to be the story of life with a 2 year old. Avery's current mantra is: Do the opposite of whatever Mommy asks you to do.

I did manage to capture some sweet little moments of Avery and Faith playing together at the mall the other night.



Oh, how we love our friends!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

almost wordless wednesday



Hey Mommy - if you need me, I'll just be in here watching a little Napoleon Dynamite.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

not-so-funkins

This month's Craft Club project was decorating Funkins.

Sounds easy, right?

Umm...No.

By the time my friends and I were finished it was a like a sawdust factory had exploded in my house. The two other Crafty Buddies who joined me this month are preggers too and I'm pretty sure we were breathing in some fairly toxic particles from all that Funkin dust.

Poor Baby Charlie. Between that and the Diet Coke I'm addicted to, he's doomed.

After 2 hours of vigorous carving and sawing with a teeny, tiny saw that looked like it could have been an accessory for Lumberjack Barbie, I had only finished 2 letters in the word "Boo!". Because I'm a total freak, I could not bring myself to rest until the Funkin had been conquered.

2 more hours later, my friends and patience were long gone, but my mission was finally complete. Score one for the Martha Stewart Wanna-Be. Take that, Funkin.

Since I firmly believe that "Knowledge is Power", here's a little power for those of you who decide to brave the World Of Funkins in the future:

1. Not all fake pumpkins are created equal.
Cheap means cheap when it comes to plastic pumpkins. Although the price is ridiculous, the "Funkins" brand looks more realistic than the others.

2. Funkins are a pain in the rear to carve.
Seriously. Unless you have a "craft saw" like Martha Stewart recommends, you are hosed. If you are one of the 2 people on the planet who owns one, good for you. If you're like me, you'll be using the Barbie sized hack-saw.
Pain in the rear.
And the hands.
And the lungs.

3. Funkins are nice. In theory.
They don't spoil and you can keep them from year to year. If you mess up, however, you've just spent waaaay too much money on a fake pumpkin that you're going to trash - or give as a lame teacher gift.

4. Martha Stewart is a big, fat liar.
I just wanted to say that to have on record somewhere. Because she is. Her projects are always harder than she claims that they are. I always fall for her schemes. L-I-A-R.

For Avery's first birthday, I decided to make crepe paper flowers for the centerpieces. Those flowers almost sent me to an early grave. Not good. Not good at all.

Martha is on my list.

5. Preparation is key.
My crafty friends and I hardly ever prepare. We just kinda show up every month and go, "Hmmm. Maybe we should have planned this a little better." The problem with the "let's go for it" approach is that the margin of error is just too slim when carving a Funkin. Which brings me to my next lesson learned ---

6. When you mess up and break parts off by accident, a hot glue gun will fix 'ya right up.
This advice can be applied to basically any craft project in the world. Test me on that. It's true. I love those glue guns.

Here's my finished project. You won't be seeing a close-up on this one (see helpful hint #6)...

Monday, September 22, 2008

jennifer the spy

When I was a little girl, I read Harriet the Spy. Have you ever read it?

It's a book about a girl named Harriet who writes down her thoughts in a journal that she calls her "Spy Notebook". As a young girl, Harriet completely fascinated me.

One of the first Alfred Hitchcock movies I ever saw was Rear Window. I was intrigued with how Jimmy Stewart's character, L.B. Jefferies, knew everything about everyone on his block: the ballet dancer, the pianist, Miss Lonely Heart, the newlyweds... I loved that movie. I still do.

Growing up, I watched Murder She Wrote every Sunday night with my mom. My mom always figured out who the killer was before the first half of the show was over. I was convinced that my mom was even more brilliant than Jessica Fletcher (a.k.a Angela Lansbury).

In High School and College, I soared through every Mary Higgins Clark book I could get my hands on. After reading quite a few of her novels, I could peg the killer before the first half of the book was over. Pretty brilliant, right? I loved a great mystery. I still do.

Young Jennifer's innocent interest in Spies and Crime Solvers has caused Adult Jennifer to morph into something completely horrifying. Something I've only recently discovered. Brace yourselves. It's pretty sad:

I'm Mrs. Roper (minus the mu-mus).
I'm Harriet the Spy (with an online journal).
I'm L.B. Jefferies (without the broken leg).
I'm Jessica Fletcher (minus the cool, Brittish accent).
I'm that creepy old lady in the neighborhood who knows everyone else's business (without the "old" part).
I'm...totally obnoxious.

It's a disease. A terribly lame disease. A disease that has caused me to become obsessed with knowing things like:
1. Why the older lady across the street never waves back at me
(Does she hate me? Is she blind? Is she an undercover agent for the CIA?)

2. Why our across-the-street neighbors are always watching concerts on their large, flatscreen T.V. in the middle of the day.
(Make your own conclusions)

3. Why our next door neighbor's dogs are always outside barking. Always.
(Do they hate me? Do the dogs have an illness that causes them to bark non-stop? Do they hate me?)

The thing that I'm most obsessed with, however, is this:

I had to do some super-sleuth dodging around to get this picture. Grace Kelly would be proud. Very risky, but very necessary.

Upon viewing my detective recognizance work you might be tempted to say, "Wow. Those sure are responsible, environmentally sensitive Party People living next door to Jennifer."

That's where you'd be wrong... at least about the "responsible, environmentally sensitive" part.

These bottles, although placed in the correct type of container, have been in the recycling bin next to our neighbor's house since we moved in LAST NOVEMBER.

I wrestle with the following thoughts almost daily:
Is it wrong for me to drag that bin to the corner for them? CAN I even physically drag that bin to the corner? It looks really heavy. If I DO drag that bin to the corner, should I wait until they go to work/school? Would they be offended or relieved if I dragged that bin to the corner? What if they catch me... what would I say to them?

My concern isn't for myself, people. My concern is for the environment. This is about showing poor Mother Earth just a little bit of love. This is about being a good neighbor and a sweet, servant-hearted person. This has nothing to do with my annoyance. Whatsoever.

The bottom line is that every Tuesday, Trash Day rolls around, and I always chicken out. I just can't muster up the courage it takes to do the deed. Perhaps one day....one glorious day...the bottles will "mysteriously" disappear on their own.

I'm pretty sure that there's no real mystery here. Just a few ladies who don't like to take out the trash. I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

you know you have a toddler when...

you can't wait for the new episodes of Yo! Gabba! Gabba! to air.

Literally. Can't. Wait.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

how much is that doggy in the window?

Hee, hee... I totally couldn't resist that title! Cheesy, but whatevah.

Avery is currently obsessed with "dikahs" (a.k.a. stickers). While I was cleaning out the madness in our closet, I found a bunch of garage sale stickers. Avery thought that she'd hit the sticker motherload.

She was in Heaven.

It didn't take long for the little wheels in her head to start turning. Her plan was calculated and bery, bery, sneaky...

First, the Lure:
Come here, Gunner. I just want to give you hugs. You're such a good dog...

Then, the Execution:
I love you Gunner. Seriously, you're a great dog. You just keep on sitting there.

Riiiight there...


The Hitch:
Mommy intervened. Don't get me wrong... I've had my issues with Gunner, too. But, I think we should keep him around just a little longer...

Plus, the price seemed a tad low to me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

the thin line between love and hate

Today, I reached into my closet and found this:

Oh new clothes! I love you so...

There are few sounds in this world as beautiful as the little "pop" of pulling a tag off a new piece of clothing (especially when the little tag has two or more mark-down stickers on it).

New clothing makes me feel a little sassier, a little prettier, and for just a brief nanosecond in time, a little cooler. New clothes make my big 'ol pregnant tummy feel not-so-big and my rapidly expanding rear-end seem just a little smaller. I love new clothes.

The heart-felt passion I feel for wearing new clothes can only be paralleled by my intense hatred for washing them.

This is the evil, horrid, and VERY large pile of clothes in my bedroom. These clothes mock me when I wake up in the morning and glare at me when I crawl into bed at night. The scary thing is that they seem to be re-generating their evil spawn all over our house. The pile never grows smaller no matter what I do. I hate laundry.

Feeling all this love and hate in one small moment of time made me think of the other things in my life that I love and hate with equal passion.

By nature, I'm a sharer (all too many times, an over-sharer).

I share. It's what I do.

Unless something is gossip, mean, a private secret, OR David has made me promise to "put it in the vault" (the most serious of all requests), I just don't like to keep things to myself. I have found that sharing is much more fun than not sharing.

Since I find it truly painful to keep anything to myself...much less something as "pure and lovely" as a love/hate list...I'm going to share my list with you:
my friends and family...
and new bloggy buddies...
and strangers living in places I've never been....
and people I've never met out in the Blogosphere...

I hate this:

This is the room that used to be Gunner's room/Avery's playroom. It used to be organized and lovely. It used to be PRECIOUS and fun for my little Avery to play in.

Question: what is lovely and precious about this room now?
Answer: nada.

This room will eventually be Charlie's room, but in order for that to happen, our new addition has to be finished. When it is finished, all of Avery's toys will move on out to make way for our little man.

I hate to wait.
I hate disorganization.
I hate this room.
I can't wait to go "Clean House" on this room.
It's a shameful display, but I'm a sharer. So, there you go.

I LOVE this:

In a desperate attempt to reclaim order in my house, I went to Wal-mart and purchased these two lovely Towers-O-Organization. They roll. They store stuff. They ROCK. They make my life feel a little more sane. They were worth every single over-priced penny. They will go into my hall closet to create beauty and order. They make my heart happy.

Take a moment to soak up the fabulousness of it all. I did.

Love it:


Hate it:


Love it:


Hate it:

I'd much rather be on the beach than worrying about running late.
All. the. time.

Love it:


Hate (well...strongly dislike) it:

I guess I'll stop now. I'm sure I could sit here all night and just keep typing away, but I'll spare you.

oh goodness!

Look at what my Bloggy friend Jackie gave me:



It's my very first Blog Award. Isn't she the BEST?

Y'all be sure to check out her blog. She's got a little girl about the same age as Avery and I really enjoy her writing. She's a precious one, that Jackie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

thank you, thank you!

Just a little shout out to my friend Kris for the lovely, beautiful, wonderful header that she made for me.

Our family photos were taken by our friend and photographer Josh. The photo of David with the guitar was taken by Rita Resuggan - a photographer who goes to our church.

Thanks for making me look like I know something about computers and photography!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

sugah 101

Yesterday, I went to my Gestational Diabetes class.

It was 4 HOURS long.

Admit it. You're jealous, aren't you? How can you NOT be?

I spent 4 glorious hours learning about CHO's (the very official sounding, smart-person word for "carbs"), glucose monitors, ketones, and other things that made my already-scrambled brain hurt.

Question: Whose brilliant idea was it to ask a pregnant lady to sit in a room for 4 hours and expect her to remember things like detailed measurements and mathematical equations? I mean, I've lost 4 cell phones since January, managed to misplace the USB cord EVERY DAY this week, can't for-the-life-of-me show up anywhere on time, and I'm supposed to remember carb/sugar/fiber ratios and blood sugar numbers? REALLY?

The Diabetes Peeps were thoughtful enough to give us this take-home reading literature:

which makes for great bedtime reading! Guaranteed to put you to sleep in 0.5 seconds.


Overall, my experience was...

overwhelming. boring. and overwhelmingly boring.


Good Part I:
I got a really cute Glucose Monitor. If you can actually call a Glucose Monitor cute.

It's a fabulous shade of PINK.

A fact that makes my sugar-loving-diabetic-momma- heart just a little happier.

Good Part II:
I can have a little bit of REAL ice cream every once in awhile!

Bad Part I:
These little guys get poked into my fingers 4 times a day:


Bad part II:
These tiny test strips cost a small fortune. I use 4 OF THEM a day.


That's $60 for 50 test strips. And I thought that the price of gas was out there...

Bad Part III
I pee in a cup EVERY MORNING to check for Ketones. Which cup do you use for that? Maybe I should invest in some throw-away cups. What do you think?

71 days... 71 days... 71 DAYS!

Oh my gosh! Just 71 days!?!?!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

jesus is my friend

David and the band have been working really hard on the set list for this Sunday. We shot some video of them practicing their newest song. It's pretty great - If I do say so myself.

By the way, Avery loves this song. She made me play it over and over again. Those of you with small children: beware! You may be watching this more than once...

Friday, September 12, 2008

questions about caillou

Why does this guy

have no hair?

Does anyone know?

He's FOUR years old. Should I feel bad for him? Does he have Alopecia? Is it super early male-pattern balding?

I googled him. No answers.

Avery loves Caillou. L-O-V-E-S him. He's her new obsession. Her Joey from NKOTB. Her Ricky Schroder. Her Kirk Cameron. Her obsession with Caillou even ranks above her obsession with Brobee from Yo! Gabba Gabba! and a certain purple dinosaur. It's love.

I have the feeling that one day, she will have the same questions that I do about our friend Caillou...or maybe not. It's possible that she thinks that all great-looking guys look like that.


Anyway, I'm just trying to be informed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

adventures in shopping

Shopping just isn't what it used to be.

I remember the days - not so long ago - when I could casually drop into the mall to window shop just for fun.

Oh those days... those beautiful, breezy days...
The days of boutique browsing, shoe store (!) shopping, pondering over prices, and carefully sifting through the Sales Rounders while sipping on something lovely and over-priced from Starbucks.

Hmm.... Beautiful days of yester yore.
(I just realized that I don't even really know what "yester yore" means. It's quite possible that I just made it up).

The day that I entered Mommydom (another made-up word) things changed.

The days of browsing, pondering while I mentally compare prices, and sipping on lovely things have been replaced with "The List".

I've learned that the key to a successful Mommy/Toddler shopping excursion is a very detailed list. The List is crucial. The List is imperative. The List should be respected and followed to the "T". Any deviation from The List is just plain asking for it.

Get in and get out...or get ready to rumble - Toddler Style.

On a good day, I figure that I have approximately 20-30 minutes from the time I leave the car until the time the Toddler Melt-Down commences. On a bad day, I can cut that time in half.

Keep that in mind while I tell you about my most recent shopping excursion.

********************************

This week, I've been busily preparing for Avery's second birthday party. What started as simple gathering, has (as things tend to do in my life) quickly snowballed into a Crafty Nightmare of Martha Stewart-ish proportions. I'm in over my head, ladies and gents. As usual.

Yesterday, Avery and I were having a good day. She was happy and rested, so I decided to test the waters and take her out to shop for goodie bag items.

She did o.k. at the first store... until she wanted me to open a play purse for her (that was already opened). As I tried to explain that I couldn't open the purse BECAUSE IT WAS ALREADY OPENED, a frustrated, language-barrier induced tantrum began.

After her fit was over, I calmly said the words, "Mommy doesn't feel like holding you when you scream and yell at her like that. You'll have to walk next to me."
To which Avery responded, "Absolutely, Mommy. What can I do to make this a more pleasant experience for you?".

RIGHT.

I took the 14 1/2 minutes that I had left and used them wisely. Check list complete. Praise the Lord.

After that, we met David for lunch at my favorite sandwich place where Avery got creative with the sugar packets.

After a somewhat drama-free lunch, I surmised that Avery could make it through just one more store before her nap. So - we took our 68th trip to the craft store for the week.

That's when the melt-down began.

Because I'm becoming more and more with-child every day, I simply cannot hold Avery as much as she desires to be held.
Because Avery is almost 2, she refuses to sit in the shopping cart.
Because she was tired, poopy, and scared of the crazy Halloween decorations, Avery screamed to be held over and over in the store.

She didn't just scream. She screamed, bawled, kicked, AND angrily threw her body on the floor. I attempted to explain that I couldn't hold her because I was holding too many things already, but there's no reasoning with a tired and cranky toddler.

As I tried to look busy shopping, I desperately attempted to pull the words of the sage Kevin Leman out of the depths of what little brain I have left. I willed them to come to me and give me the boost of confidence that I needed to continue being a total MEANIE to my screaming child.

The words of advice finally came and I stayed strong. I even managed to look mildly ambivalent as her shrieks intensified.

Everyone in the store hated me.

This is what Avery looked like when we got back to the car.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

why facebook rocks

I reluctantly joined Facebook a couple of months ago.

I say "reluctantly" because the thought of joining felt like one more commitment that I just didn't have the time to work into my already over-booked technology schedule.

Then the peer pressure began.

Some of the girls (make that ALL of the girls) that I work with are on it, and I TOTALLY caved. I've never been really good at "just saying no". But that's another post for another day...

I have to tell you, my foray into the World of Facebook has turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. Yes, it can become a time-sucking black hole if I allow it to (kinda like blog reading!), but as long as I moderate the time I spend on it, it just good, clean fun.

Not only can I talk to the girls from work online, but I can catch up with old friends too. I've reconnected with some friends from high school and college that I hadn't seen or talked to in years...Friends that I would never have been able to find otherwise.

Two of those lost-and-now-found friends are SUPER special to me. The memories we shared together were always held close to my heart, but I just plain missed the daily/weekly interaction of their presence in my life. It's so exciting to be in contact with those precious gals again.

Today, I met one those friends at the mall for a playdate. Our little girls met each other for the first time. I almost cried from the sweetness of the whole thing (I know, shocker, right?). It was nearly impossible for me to get a picture of the two of them sitting still...but here's my best attempt. I just wanted to eat them up!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

must read post of the day:

Y'all. You have to read Vicki Courtney's post on the VMA's this year.

I'm ordering the plastic bubble shield for Avery right now.

worker bee


Avery. If you want to have a successful birthday party, you're going to have to chip in.

But, Mommy... I'm just a baby.

I know. But this "playing all day" thing is getting a little old. It's time that you start to earn your keep around here.

Now pick up that glue stick and get to work.

the sweetest thing


Beautiful, right?

Let me tell you, it tasted as good as it looked.

Before you get on the phone and report me to the Gestational Diabetes Police, I have to tell you what my sweet mother-in-law did for me...

When she heard that I had the Sugah, she made this special dessert just for me. It was totally sugar-free, and didn't taste like cardboard! Amazing!!!

I was so touched by her gesture, I had to take a picture of it.

I could have eaten the whole thing by myself. No lie. It made me wish that I had two stomachs so I could enjoy it a little longer...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

petting zoo bedlam

I love the fall. We may not be experiencing cooler weather or watching the leaves change here anytime soon, but one of the tried-and-true signs of fall is the arrival of the greatest invention known to man: The Fall Festival. Fall Festivals are the BEST: the smells, the sounds, the people-watching. I just plain love 'em.

David and I met my mom at one of my favorite Fall Festivals today. We had a great time shopping around the little craft booths, chatting with friends, and listening to fun bluegrass music.

The only down-side to an otherwise beautiful morning was that I was unable to indulge in my favorite Festival Foods. I stoically resisted the corn dogs, snow cones, and even the funnel cakes... but almost cried my eyes out when I had to pass up the FRIED PICKLES (Darn you, evil, evil Sugah!).

I'll be sure to make up for lost carb-age next year. You can quote me on that.

As the day wound down, we thought that Avery might enjoy the chance to pet some of the animals in the Petting Zoo.
She's started this "I'm Afraid of Anything New" phase lately, so we weren't quite sure how she would respond to seeing real, live farm animals.

At first, she was VERY nervous about the entire situation. She must have said, "Mommy, I hode you a minute" a million times.
Evidently, one request to be held is just not enough to an almost-two-year-old.


The happy news: The longer we stayed, the more comfortable she became.

The sad news: As Avery became more relaxed, Mommy became more and more nervous.

The reason for my anxiety had nothing to do with Avery. My trepidation was rooted in the fact that the poor little "petting zoo" definitely wasn't the well-oiled machine that it could have been.

(Southern Etiquette 101: How to verbally pummel something/someone with grace and charm: Simply insert the words,"poor", "little", "sweet", or "bless his/her heart" and you can get away with saying almost anything in your evil little head).

Bottom Line: That place was out-of-control! I'm pretty sure that if PETA could have seen what I saw today, they would have immediately launched a full-blown anti-petting zoo campaign. Right there on the spot.

Problem #1 -
In order for me to go with my small child inside the petting zoo area, I had to pay for a TWO tickets: one for her, one for me.
That's $6 to pet a few tiny animals. Not the greatest bargain in the world.

Problem #2 -
Many of the parents there opted NOT to pay for an additional ticket to go into the petting zoo with their child. Instead they stood at the gate watching.

Great idea, Mom and Dad. You have a front row seat as your unattended child steps on teeny, tiny farm animals.


Problem #3 -
There was only ONE worker in the petting zoo monitoring 15 exuberant, handsy, little guys.
The teacher in me almost lost her MIND.
I found myself frantically trying to monitor each one of them.
I kept saying, "Gentle, gentle, GENTLE... OH GOODNESS, don't grab so tightly, I'm pretty sure it can't breathe...OH MY... Careful!"

Problem #4 -
Small children and small animals do NOT mix. It's just a scientific fact.
I watched in horror as many overzealous preschoolers excitedly grabbed baby duck wings, practically crushed tiny chickies, lunged at innocent bunnies, and happily chased unsuspecting baby goats.

After the most terrifying 10 minutes of my life, I decided to make an exit before things got really ugly.

You'll enjoy this little picture. One of the bunnies got a little too friendly with me...

Don't let the smile fool you... I'm freaking out on the inside!

Friday, September 5, 2008

time out

Me: Avery, quit pulling mommy's hair or you'll have to go to time out.

Avery looks at me and pulls my hair again.

Me: Avery. Do you need to go to time out?

Avery nods. Walks over to chair and happily sits down.




Maybe the "Time Out" chair isn't as scary as it should be. Hmmm...

daddy date

One day a week, I go to work all by myself (!) while Avery spends the day with David.

David has come to love his special day with Avery and looks forward to it all week. She may not be wearing clean clothes, a bow (*gasp!*), or even matching shoes when I come home, but she's happy and feeling very, very loved by her daddy. A fact that warms my heart, thrills me beyond belief, and (almost) makes me forget about the horrifying non-bow-wearing-business... at least for a moment or two.

David tries hard to find fun activities for he and Avery to do together on their special day. They've taken trips to the zoo, read books at the local bookstore, spent time playing at the mall playground, and gone to lunch with friends. You know, good, clean, family-friendly stuff.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that last week's Daddy/Daughter Date wasn't quite as "family-friendly" as previous days. Last week's date was to a little store called... GUNS AND AMMO.

Don't bother grabbing your bi-focals, tri-focals, or binoculars. You read it correctly the first time.

I don't think that I need to waste time trying to explain what kind of store Guns and Ammo is. The name pretty much says it all.

My husband: worship-pastor, servant-hearted leader, loving father, and...Gun-Toting Republican.

Lest you should think that my sweet husband is some crazy wacko, here's a bit of back-story:
David grew up watching and learning from a dad who worked as a U.S. Postal Inspector for many years. After college, David made plans to work toward a career in Federal Law Enforcement. In preparation for his career ambition, he spent a few years as a Sheriff's Deputy in Local Law Enforcement.

That's about the time that God decided to shake things up a little and called him to Full-Time Ministry. A pretty big change in direction to be sure, but isn't that the way that God always seems to do things?

AnyWHOO ---
David's history with the not-so-desirable element of our city has made it nearly impossible for him to view any place here as "safe". As a result, he pretty much has a gun on him at all times... Hence the trip to Guns and Ammo to purchase gun accessories and various accoutrements (with our TODDLER).

So there you have it: The story of Avery's first trip to the gun store.

I'm definitely writing that one in the Baby Book!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

kidz bop creepiness

So I was watching Yo! Gabba! Gabba! with Avery the other day (amazing, brain-stimulating television, by the way) and a commercial for Kidz Bop came on.

Have you seen these commercials?



My reaction as it occured in the moments after viewing the commercial:
eye-rolling, followed by a chuckle, followed by complete bewilderment, followed by a little vomit in the mouth.

At first, I thought I was watching some sort of joke. It was almost funny: a bunch of elementary-aged children dancing around and singing about "being in love", "breaking up", and "partying like a rockstar". WHAT???? That's just silly.

When it really hit me that the commercial was NOT a joke, I felt a little creeped out. Make that A LOT creeped out.

I'm not trying to go all Janet Parshall or Vicky Courtney on you ('cause, Girl, I can't EVEN come close to being in the same ballpark with those ladies)... but I AM going to ask a question or two:

Why can't our sweet little girls and boys stay... little?
Why the rush to push them into a world that is all too ready to swallow them whole?

It makes me so sad. It makes me want to sweep up my innocent little one and keep her in a bubble forever.

I'm pretty sure that a young boy or girl has no clue about the meaning behind many of those lyrics, but does that make it OK for them to sing them anyway?

For that matter, why is it considered cute or clever to buy items of clothing for small children that say things like, "spoiled", "diva", or "trouble-maker"? I don't know many Christian parents who truly desire to raise a "diva" or "trouble-maker", so why are we buying clothing that labels them that way?

When we parents purchase these items for our little ones, aren't we just teaching them that it's cute, funny, and even acceptable to be "spoiled", a "diva", or a "trouble-maker"?

It makes me realize that what we do as parents really matters. I mean REALLY matters. Just something to think about...

..i got the sugah

I just got back from my Gestational Diabetes Screening.

The good news:
I didn't puke!
I may have felt like puking, but thankfully, the "Glucola" (For real. That's what it's called. How can that nasty yuckiness be compared in any way to COLA?) stayed where it needed to stay.

The bad news:
My diet will be changing considerably from now on. Not only did I fail the test, I failed miserably. This is after I ate hummus and carrots before bed, and egg whites and water for breakfast.

When the nurse practitioner told me that I wouldn't need to come back for the 3-hour Glucose test, I was relieved. When she told me it was because I my blood sugar was so high that another test wasn't necessary, I felt sad.

Good-bye carbs. Good-bye sugar. Good-bye sitting on the couch. Good-bye yumminess. Good-bye fun.

Quite frankly, the lecture/talk I got after the diagnosis scared the pants off of me. Evidently, if I don't want my KIDNEYS TO FAIL or my FEET TO FALL OFF later in life, I'll need to change a few things in my life... FOREVER. Since it turns out you kinda need your kidneys and your feet, I will comply. So sad...

It's becoming quite evident that pregnancy and I just don't mix well.

As soon as I heard the word "Gestational Diabetes", I thought of Lavell Crawford's comedy sketch about Diabetes for Last Comic Standing. I found it on Youtube so I could share it here. There are a couple of PG-13ish comments in there, but it's seriously hilarious!

Sometimes you just gotta laugh at yourself. It makes life so much easier!

day of doom

It's midnight. Guess what I'm about to do?

Eat.

Eat, eat, eat, eat, eat.

My Gestational Diabetes/Glucose Tolerance Test is in a few hours.

After a month of staring at the bottle of orange evilness lurking in the back of my fridge, the Dreaded Day of Doom has finally arrived. Evil-In-A-Bottle and I are about to come face-to-face.

I am beyond sad. I'm completely despondent.

Hang on while I check the online Thesaurus for more sad words...

I'm lachrymose, melancholic, dispirited, and utterly tenebrific. You heard me. I said "tenebrific".

I guess I'm anticipating the worst case scenario here. During my pregnancy with Avery, I failed the initial Glucose Tolerance test and had to return for the second, more extensive, 3-hour round. That sugary non-sense sat in my belly for about 2.5 seconds before I puked it's orange stickiness all over the place. It was NOT pretty.

I hate puking. I despise puking. I'm deathly afraid of puking...and I'm even more afraid of puking in public.

Pray for me, my Sisters. Pray hard. Pray like you've never prayed before. Pray passionately, dithyrambically and even...perfervidly.

I'm gonna need it. The girl sitting next to me might need it too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

made to worship

As I was watching the thousands of people who had traveled untold distances to attend the Democratic National Convention last week, I was struck with the truth of scripture: People were created to worship.

We long for it, we need it, we have an ocean-sized void in our soul that cries out for it.

In our attempt to fill that void, we easily find ourselves worshipping anything... anyone.

It's a truth that I've heard in countless sermons before, one that I've accepted and claim to understand. But it's one thing to believe a truth as fact, and quite another to feel the truth in your bones.

For a brief moment I was struck with the flesh-and-blood reality of scriptural truth. I felt it. I really got it.

As I watched the camera slowly pan from whole of the crowd to specific individuals in the crowd, I saw something. I saw faces full of hope and longing. People intently listening to someone they believed could offer them a better life. People fervently cheering with joy and excitement. People literally weeping with emotion.

I realized that I was watching people who needed a savior. People in need of The True Savior.

On one hand, I felt like I was seeing a tiny glimpse of what Heaven must be like: untold numbers of people gathered together in unity to worship and praise our Creator. I got excited as I thought how overwhelming and beautiful Heaven must be. How freeing and emotional it must feel to corporately worship the One we were created to worship. The wholeness and completeness of being who we were designed to be must be nothing short of awesome.

Then I felt really sad. Sad because all that love - all that worship that I was watching - was so misplaced. I was watching thousands of people fill their God-shaped void with a paltry substitute for the real thing.

Instead of worshipping the only One who can offer true hope, all those people were offering their praise and adoration to... a man. Just a man.

The thing is - I do it too. I fill my God-shaped void every day with things and people that always leave me feeling empty. I don't want to worship money or other things and ideas that don't last, but I do it... Without thinking.

It was definitely humbling and eye-opening.

Just a thought...

rats

Avery loves to suck her thumb and twirl her hair between her fingers. It's her version of crack. She is totally addicted to it.

When she first started the hair-twirling/thumb-sucking combo, it served as her little coping mechanism: a way to soothe herself when she was tired. I appreciated not having to fumble around in the middle of the night to find a missing paci. Her new found discovery kept her content and happy. It seemed like all would be well with my sleep-deprived world once again.

News Flash: There are no free rides on the Mommy Train, Sister. None at all.

What was once a harmless coping mechanism has now become a dreadfully dangerous habit.

Right about now, you're thinking, "Come on, Jennifer. Dangerous? You're being a little dramatic, don't you think?"

That's where you'd be wrong my friend.

Question: What happens when you mix sticky toddler fingers with beautiful, baby fine curls?

Answer: RAT'S NESTS.

You know what I'm talking about, right? The tiny, insignificant tangles that morph into huge, scary knots? The kind of knots that take an Act-of-God to get rid of without pulling out the dreaded...(shudder) scissors?

Rats are ugly. Rats are terrible. Rat's Nests, however, are even UGLIER and TERRIBLE-ER.

After a few very sad trial-and-error moments (some involving scissors), Avery's hair had begun to look like this:

Question: Lopsided?

Answer: Yes. Lopsided. Beautiful curls on one side. Not-so-many beautiful curls on the other side.

Having learned from my dreadful mistakes, I now have a carefully designed set of steps to follow before a brush of any sort can come near her head:

1. Catch the dreaded tangles before they become official rat's nests (the most crucial step).
2. Keep the "No More Tangles Spray" far, far, away until the appropriate time
3. Hold Avery down and begin carefully detangling hair with fingers (think unknotting a ribbon or untangling a necklace)
4. Ignore screams of pain. Ignore pleas for mercy. You are on a mission. It's for her own good.
5. Rake through knot with fingers until dissipated.
6. Brush through hair and THEN spray with detangling product
7. Fluff and scrunch
8. Bow and go.

Avery asks me a million times during the process, "All Done?". I wish.

A sad, long, painful process for both of us to be sure, but definitely worth it.
I think.
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