Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


See ya next week

I mowed the lawn, waxed my eyebrows, bought some groceries, picked up prescriptions and had my roots dyed. As soon as the kids are all settled in, I'm on the road at O'Dark Thirty in the morning to pick up LaLa, hit Starbuck's and we're on the road for Thelma and Louise style fun (ok, sans the suicide at the end). We board the Carnival "fun ship" Ecstasy in Galveston and head to beautiful Cozumel, Mexico.

Hasta la vista. Baby.

Pet peeve

Kelly at Missing J.T. Snow blogged about something that totally pisses me off: unsupervised children who act like little hellions. This prompted me to go off on a recent event.

We were at a UNT basketball game not too long ago when I had my encounter with a child who will grow up to be a jerk because his parents didn't care enough to take care of him. Before the game and during half-time, UNT has a little kid zone with a miniature basketball hoop and bounce house. Hot Rod likes to play basketball and Stinkerbelle usually gets in the bounce house. The UNT folks are pretty good about keeping all the little kids in the bouncehouse together and timing it so everyone gets a turn and then the big kids go all at one time.

Well, this one night, Little Bit was the first kid in line. That is, until some 9-year-olds decided to run and cut in front of her. She is a very sweet child and not one to fuss too much at situations like that, but it was frustrating for me to watch her wait in line patiently and then not get the first turn in there because of bigger kids (who knew what they were doing was wrong) cutting in front of her. But, I let this go because I knew she'd get a turn.

Then, all hell broke loose. While I'm biting my tongue at that, I hear Hot Rod pretty much screaming and look to up to see some fat little child with my son in a headlock. I go over and pry his fat little fingers off my son and ask what the problem is and tubby was mad that Hot Rod got the basketball (they play the game more like rugby than basketball, just to give you an idea of what goes on - usually there is some teenager/college-aged boy supervising, but not on this evening). So, I pry them apart and figure boys will be boys. I whispered to Hot Rod that when someone has you in a headlock to use your elbow closest to the person and get 'em in the ribs. I figure that was a safe way to get the kid to let him go in the future without really doing serious damage.

So, I back up a bit and try to watch both the bounce house - which Little Bit is now beebopping around - and the basketball "game." Next thing I know, tubby has once again grabbed my son and is making his move to put my kiddo in a headlock only this time I get there before he can get full grasp of his head. I grab the child's shirt at the shoulder and ask him where his mom or dad is. He just looks at me blankly. I have a feeling that God's gift to this child was his size and not his wit. So, I ask him again. At this point, Hot Rod is trying to stop crying from being assaulted and my voice is getting louder. Once again, I demand, where is your mom or dad? At this point, I'm pulling the child by the shirt out of the play area and into the group of parents who are all staring at me - mouths agape - and finally his dad (I presume) comes out of the stands (where there is no way you can see what is going on in the play area) and asks me what happened. He didn't seem alarmed that I was pulling his son by the shirt. That should tell me something right there. I told him that tubby (I was nicer than to call him that to his face) had put my son in a headlock for the second time and I wasn't going to let him continue to beat him up. The dad wisely takes his son and vacates the play area back to the stands.

Of course, at this point, I'm totally embarrassed for coming unglued and every eye is on me. Fortunately, my kids were unphased and continued to play. I figured I did a public service for tubby by intervening before my son got really fed up and pounded the crap out of him. Hot Rod is solid muscle and is patient to a point. We have told him to use his words and try to settle things before resorting to fighting back, if he can. It was only a matter of time before Hot Rod kicked that kid's butt.

The next UNT ball game we attended, I did NOT want to go anywhere near that play area, so Army of Dad took the kids. The gal working at the bouncehouse apologized to my husband for the lack of supervision at that previous game. I felt a little better knowing that they weren't banning me from the area. I thought I did pretty well not to box that kid's ears and just get his shirt. The mama bear instinct is pretty strong.

But, I used that story as one illustration of how kids will be brats when they are unsupervised. If you want your child to grow up to be respectful of others, it is a good idea not to just turn them loose, because kids will be kids. They are all about themselves unless we, as parents, teach them that others have feelings, too.

Today is a good day to die

One of my favorite Star Trek characters ever has to be Worf. He was a bad-ass and yet had a gentle soul and struggled with it. I loved it. I refused to watch Deep Space Nine when it first came on until Worf joined the show. After watching it, I fell in love with it and my affection for Worf grew even more. I met Michael Dorn briefly at a sci-fi con in October 2004 and he was really very kind. If you do a google image search for him, my picture comes up and then a picture he took of Hot Rod with my camera shows up, too. It is pretty funny. Suddenly, I feel like listening to Klingon opera.


There's nothing sadder

It really is the saddest thing in the world when my husband is sick. He isn't the typical big baby that most men are when they get ill. He sucks it up and goes forward and that I think that is one reason it is sad to hear him sniffling in the background. He just spent 1.5 hours chasing around 16 12-year-olds and a 7-year-old at the soccer fields. He'll get up around 5 a.m. and go to work only to return to chase around about a dozen 7- and 8-year-olds at baseball tomorrow night, too.

Dude's my hero.

I'll feel a little guilty Thursday when we set sail into the Gulf of Mexico for the tropical breezes and 85-degree temps. But, the guilt will slowly subside, I'm sure.

55 Things

1. Is your second toe longer than your first? yep, just a little bit

2. Do you have a favorite type of pen? one with ink in it, actually my dad makes really nice wooden pens and I love them

3. Look at your planner for March 14, what are you doing? having my day sans children and no daily work assignment WOO HOO

4. What color are your toenails usually? either natural or china glaze's Mad About Hue (dark red)

5. What was the last thing you highlighted? my hair

6. What color are your bedroom curtains? olive green

7. What color are the seats in your car? dirty grey

8. Have you ever had a black and white cat? I had a calico with black, white and orange

9. What is the last thing you put a stamp on? the car payment

10. Do you know anyone who lives in Wyoming? Nope, but read some stories about it

11. Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time? to have some spending money at Billy Bob's

12. Who is the last baby that you held? my best friend's sister's baby back in November

13. Do you know of any twins with rhyming names? I went to 7th grade with boys named Rusty and Dusty

14. Do you like Cinnamon toothpaste? no

15. What kind of car were you driving 2 years ago? a Dodge minivan

16. Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida Gators. Good Lord, I'm married to a Florida boy and have Gator in-laws. It has to be the Gators.

17. Last time you went to Six Flags? Maybe 2004

18. Do you have any wallpaper in your house? Unfortunately. The master bath and upstairs bathroom have some and then we have a border/trim in the dining room.

19. Closest thing to you that is yellow? the box for my Astelin nasal spray

20. Last person to give you a business card? my father-in-law gave me a card with the number of the hotel where he is staying

21. Who is the last person you wrote a check to? preschool

22. Closest framed picture to you? a baby picture of Hot Rod

23. Last time you had someone cook for you? AoD cooked hash browns for me Saturday morning

24. Have you ever applied for welfare? unfortunately, yes. But, I was denied.

25. How many emails do you have? too many to count. I have at least six email addresses I use regularly for our class reunion, email newsletters, work, pleasure, etc.

26. Last time you received flowers? Feb. 12 from AoD

27. Do you think the sanctity of marriage is meant for only a man & woman? I think it is what God intended, but I don't have any issues with same-sex couples getting half of one another's fortune when they divorce like the straight folks

What happened to No. 28?

29. Do you play air guitar? sometimes

30. Do you take anything in your coffee? not just anything. I like lots of sugar and extra chocolate

same with No. 31?

32. What is your high school's rival mascot? I don't know that we had one rival in high school

33. Last person you spoke to from high school? my best friend, Tiffany, earlier today

34. Last time you used hand sanitizer? today

35. Would you like to learn to play the drums? not really

36. What color are the blinds in your living room? dirty off-white (do you notice the dirty trend?)

37. What is in your inbox at work? well, I work at home, so my desk is covered with to-do lists, soccer tournament registration forms and medical release forms, receipts to file, bills to pay, paperwork from Hot Rod's school to fill out, science fair info, my daytimer

38. Last thing you read in the newspaper? story about the UNT men's basketball team

39. What was the last pageant you attended? a baby pageant that Pickle was in back in 95 or 96

40. What is the last place you bought pizza from? Pizza Patron

41. Have you ever worn a crown? just Stinkerbelle's toy ones

42. What is the last thing you stapled? soccer information for the parents of our soccer players

43. Did you ever drink Clear Pepsi? I hate all forms of Pepsi, so no

44. Are you ticklish? yep

45. Last time you saw fireworks? Fourth of July, 2006, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, along the Mississippi River

46. Last time you had a Krispy Kreme doughnut? July 2006 in Kansas City. We won a dozen free donuts when the Royals scored X number of runs. I can't remember how many it had to be, but we could have gotten a free dozen for each of our five tickets. We opted for two and gave a dozen away.

47. Who is the last person that left you a message & you actually returned their call? my friend, Tiffany

48. Last time you parked under a carport? a real live carport? Maybe eight years ago before my parents made their carport into a garage.

49. Do you have a black dog? Not anymore. My parents now have my black lab/chow mix dog.

50. Do you have any pickles in your fridge? Hell yeah. We have Best Maid dill pickle slices

51. Are you an aunt or uncle? I'm an aunt eight times over

52. Who has the prettiest eyes that you know of? my daughter

53. Last time you saw a semi truck? this evening

54. Do you remember Ugly Kidd Jo? yep. The lead singer was pretty hot, weird, but hot.

55. Do you have a little black dress? I do, although I don't know that it qualifies because it can't be too little and still cover my ass.

Stolen from Mo K at Six Degrees of Blondeness.


Boogity boogity boogity

Watching Nascar with Hot Rod, he was inspired to set up the Army of Mom 800 in our back office living area. We have our own pit and garage area, as well as the race track. The laundry basket full of clean clothes is pit row. Behind dad's recliner is the garage area. My suitcases (for my upcoming trip - only four days to go - not that I'm counting or anything) is the finish line. (The green flag is held by the Chick-Fil-A cow) and the yellow is the girl rat from Flushed Away. We're on lap 56 and have had 20 wrecks, he said. We have a big wreck here where Gordon and the No. 77 spun out. Kyle Busch is going around.

Here, the Power Ranger pit crew get to work on the No. 77 car.

This is Kasey Kahne's Red Power Ranger pit crew celebrating his success in the race. I like the equal opportunity pit crew. We have the one-handed Power Ranger in the front. And the less-than-manly Power Ranger in the back with his high heeled boots on.
Kasey's one-handed Power Ranger pit crew member is wondering who hired this Mickey Mouse pit crew in the next stall.

No green flag yet, but Kasey is way out in the lead in the AoM 800. But, if we keep having this many cautions, this race may take a few days to finish. I don't want to step on the pit crew members while I'm getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

All we are is dust in the wind

Soccer Saturdays are back for the family and we'll toss some baseball into the mix starting next week, but I don't think anything prepared us for the windy weather that we had today. Plain and simple: it was gross. It looked more like West Texas than North Texas with the dust blowing in the wind. If you didn't know better, you might think it was fog, but it was dirt. I didn't take my camera out in the dusty air, but shot these pics from my car as I was leaving to take Little Bit to a birthday party. The first shot shows the players waiting for a throw in. The second shows Coach Army of Dad trying to hear one of his players over the wind.
Uzz saw it in Fort Worth, too, and documented it on his blog, too. It just looked like the dirt storms we grew accustomed to in Midland. Not something you see every day in North Texas.


A whisper to a scream

Gees Louise, my son has the loudest whisper on the face of the planet. I'm making business calls and the boys are playing Xbox in the floor of my office area. The rules are: you can't be loud while mom is making business calls or you're done playing.

So, his whisper is as loud as most people's top volume. It is also like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, too. Then, his brother sounds like a balloon with the air escaping as he shushes his brother to get him to speak more softly. (however Hot Rod has one volume and that is loud.)

All of this is the result of my "Will Work For Food" approach to working. I took on the clean-up efforts for one of the magazines I write for and called 81 different construction companies, sending out surveys, etc. It seems the publisher wanted to get the ad sales folks to do these phone calls, but they do things so much differently than us editorial folks and miscommunication ensued. So, I get called in to do it right. *sigh* It is something I'm known for with the editors for whom I work. They call me to fix things when someone else has fouled them up. I guess it isn't a bad place to be, but I was really counting on a more relaxing day of cleaning the house at a leisurely pace instead of frantically fighting off an anxiety attack at getting everything done.

SPF: To-do list

This week's SPF assignment from Kristine at
Random and Odd was a simple one: your to-do list. For me, that means compiling several of them. I have many of them that I scribble notes and scratch off items as I complete them, then I wind up consolidating several lists into one by the end of the week. I think this is three different ones stacked on each other. The little design thing is something I've done since I was in junior high. I doodle while I listen to people and to pass the time.
So, did you play? What's on your to-do list?


My three little ashtrays

The single favorite mass of the entire year for my children is the Ash Wednesday mass. There is just something cool about having black stuff smudged on your head and mom thinks it is cool, too. Little Bit cried when her ashes finally came off about mid-morning today. I was not allowed to wipe them off.The kids were so stoked, I had to take pictures. Oh yeah, they don't always act that goofy, like in the first picture. Oh, ok. Yeah, they do.

Six days and counting

Temps in the 80s. Balmy sea breezes.

Ohhhh, I can't wait. Cozumel, here I come. About this time a week from now, I hope to be checking into my teeny tiny room inside a big Carnival cruise ship.

Groundhog Day

Yes, I know that was almost three weeks ago, but do you ever feel like that is your life? I've been that way for the past few weeks. I feel like all I do is wash clothes, wipe noses, clean up messes. Rinse and repeat.

Seems like, too, that it is an experience many of us are having and I just wonder why now?

I think mine may be because I'm getting to take a trip next week and I'm looking forward to it and to get away from the day-to-day drudgery of life. Of course, I feel guilty (see, I'm not a totally bad Catholic) for feeling this way. I should embrace every day and be grateful for it because I know many people who would love to have their daily routines back instead of what they're having to endure right now.

I think I just need a break. Maybe I'll get to it after I wash and fold another load of laundry and mop the floors again.


Who needs pictures?

Funny how an attractive guy can look good even in a wife beater. The handsome and talented Brad Paisley is the reason I love current country music. I would have never even given it another listen, but Army of Dad introduced me to it. His lyrics are clever and entertaining he's a great performer, too. It doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes, as well.


For the love of money

My son was ecstatic today when he finally got his highly anticipated $1 presidential coin. The lady at the bank - they finally got them in today - said she was waiting for me all morning. I have been asking about them for several weeks. I showed up about 10:40 a.m. this morning and they were almost all gone. Apparently, they will be limited in circulation. I got 15. I gave one to each child and put up the rest of tooth fairy visits. Our tooth fairy is partial to dollar coins of all sort.

Of course, I just now noticed that he is holding up the Statue of Liberty flipside for me to see and he is looking at President Washington on the other side.

Ash Wednesday and Lent

I have a book I bought several years ago when I converted to Catholicism. I figured if I'm going to do this, I want to do it right. My book "Guiding your Catholic Preschooler: Bringing Up Kids Roman Catholic" has been a wonderful little how-to for me to get the kids to understand why we do what we do.

My challenge, as it is each year at this time: Lent and Ash Wednesday.

Lent is a time of sacrifice. Pickle is struggling with this one. He is only 12, but has already been confirmed, so he is an adult in the church's eyes and will follow Lent as an adult. He will refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on the Fridays during Lent. He is also going to give up something for the season, too: gum. That is a big deal in our family as that is a special treat for the kids.

According to my book, Lent is a special time set aside by the church to help us focus on our journey to God. We should use this time to grow spiritually and get back on track with our faith.

Ok, good enough.

More from the book: There are three main components in preparing for Easter: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

I think we'll get Hot Rod to learn the Our Father. He hasn't mastered this one yet. That will be his Easter goal. The book suggests fasting from any "earthly pleasure" such as TV or computer time. Give it up from 6 to 8 p.m. each night. For the almsgiving, we have collection boxes from church. A combo for fasthing and almsgiving may be to decorate a box and collect a food item each of the 40 days of Lent to the food bank on Good Friday. The kids will be sacrificing something from their pantry.

We begin Lent on Ash Wednesday by putting ashes on our forehead, and during that time our spiritual focus is upon our need to feel the forgiveness of Jesus. Our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told "Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return." Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

This will be another special Easter season for my family. Last year, Pickle received his first communion and confirmation. This year, Hot Rod will have his first reconciliation and his first communion. The special events make it even more meaningful.

Here is to hoping your Fat Tuesday was a good one and that we'll all be humbled by the Lenten season.

Dirty Jobs

On Saturday, the team we coach played in a soccer tournament. It was going to be REALLY cold with north winds 35 mph, so I dressed Little Bit uber-warmly. She had on some longjohns, a turtleneck and denim coveralls. Not to mention the heavy coat, mittens and heavy fleece hat.

So, guess what? She got diarrhea. Yep, two 25-minute halves and I think I saw maybe 10 minutes of the game total. So, after the game, we go by a pharmacy and pick up some Pepto-Bismal children's tablets. A few minutes later, it was the other end gushing. This child puked everywhere on herself and the carseat.

While I was cleaning (with my hands covered in Pepto-Bismal-colored vomit), Hot Rod pipes up:
Hey Mom! That is a dirty job! Let's call Mike Rowe!

My ever-clever husband responds that Mike can't get here quickly enough to clean up this mess and we can't make Little Bit puke on command. Thank God for that.


Make it so

Finally, a History Channel show I want to watch.

Live long and prosper.


What a finish

Kevin Harvick made a miraculous last minute dash to win the Daytona 500 today, but my favorite part was Clint Bowyer's number 07 Chevrolet sliding across the start-finish line upside down in the final lap the 49th Daytona 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup series race at the Daytona International Speedway.

This is why people like racing, I think. On an up note, Kasey Kahne finished 8th and Jeff Gordon finished 10th. I was really sad to see Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson lose it. Some wild wrecks today.


SPF: Free

This week's SPF by Random and Odd is Free. I spent about two seconds thinking about this before my vision of freedom came to mind. First thing I thought about was "Me and Bobby McGee."

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free.
Yeah, an' feeling good was easy, lord, bobby sang the blues,
You know feeling good was good enough for me, hmm mm,
Good enough for me and my bobby mcgee.

Then, once I got past humming that, I was thinking of the freedom that is most important to me. Freedom of speech wasn't something I could illustrate without spending time. As a writer, that one is important. But, the next one, was just the freedom (and ability) to move around as we see fit. My friend is going through hell on earth as he fell ill Jan. 2. He went from being a healthy guy doing what he wanted to pretty much being able to get around with a cane for short lengths and a wheelchair for more extensive walks. He's been diagnosed with transverse myelitis. I'm sure he'd love to have back the freedom he had before he became ill. I woke up last night to the phone ringing. He is back in the hospital and I'll be watching their kids for a while this afternoon. Prayers for them would be appreciated.

Finally, I thought of one I could illustrate: our right to bear arms. I had those pics handy because last week, we took my father-in-law and grandmother-in-law to the shooting range. Now, THAT I have a picture of.
Did you play?


Wonder what the sale price is?

Hmmm, I wonder if they'd consider a trade? Take my hyper child and consider it an even swap?
Army of Dad saw this sign at the local organic food store.
Pickle started saying "no, you don't!" when he saw it. Not sure if he didn't want us to buy another child - this time a calm one!

Love is in the air

Nothing says Valentine's Day like pretty girls and my little diva is among them. I thought it was really cute how all the girls had bows in their hair and pink clothes on.

Then, there is Hot Rod and his classmates. I told the kids to smile and the gal sitting next to him struck a pose. Man, her dad is in trouble already!


Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to lovers everywhere. To my special sweetie, I couldn't imagine life without you. To those who are lonely or grieving, I hope God's love gives comfort to your heart. My parents mark their 50th anniversary on June 22. I caught them in a sweet moment on Saturday. It was pretty nice to see. Army of Dad and I celebrate our 9th anniversary on March 27. I feel pretty lucky to have him in my life.

I hope today is a great one for everyone!

Hoop it up hottie

From player to coach, one of my favorite men in basketball happens to also be the coach of MY team, the Mavs.

Watching him in action tonight during the Mavericks come from behind win over the Bucks was awesome. Coach Avery Johnson is awesome.

He's too cute and absolutely intense. Even when the Mavs are kicking ass and taking names, like now, he isn't content. He always see where improvement can be made. And you have to go see The Avery Bunch.


Your assistance is required

I have a friend who could use your help. In 1992, my friend's pregnant daughter was brutally murdered by her estranged husband. My friend lost her daughter and grandbaby. She is raising the son of her late daughter, Angela.

My friend, Lydia, is asking for everyone to petition the state NOT to give parole to Angela's killer. If you could take some time to write a letter of protest to the parole of Gilbert Rivera, you can do it online.

Please take a few minutes to do this. I wrote many articles about Angela, Lydia and Gilbert and this man has no remorse and no conscience that I ever saw him demonstrate. This man would get subscriptions to dirty magazines and send them to Lydia in Angela's name. He did all sorts of mean, cruel things to Lydia AFTER murdering her daughter. This man has no soul. Help us ensure that he never gets out.

The Divas

I may get a cavity at all the cuteness that is coming from the other room. Little Bit's best buddy came over to play for a little while this morning. It is amazing at how the room went from clean to covered with princess shoes, pom-pons and dollhouse furniture.

They also have the collective attention span of a goldfish. *sigh* But, I'm getting work done. Wait, I'm blogging. I NEED to be getting work done. Maybe I'll go give them a juicebox and cookie and focus on working. Yeah, that's the ticket.


Go Mean Green

We found a family fun way to pass the time inexpensively at UNT men's basketball games. The team is pretty good this year and we've got some favorites on the team. The really cool thing is to watch the kids enjoy the game, pay attention and get into the spirit. Secretly, I'm hoping I can persuade the children to attend the local state school (saving me money in many ways while furthering their education!)

We've made friends with the mascot, Scrappy, too. Pickle likes to draw pictures for him. We have a little poster, too, that Pickle drew Scrappy slamming the basketball. It is pretty cool.
At one of the recent games, the women's softball team was there signing their schedule posters and Pickle had to pick some cute ones to have his picture taken with. And, I thought it was precious to see Stinkerbelle doing the little Mean Green Eagle handsign/talon thingee at the end of the game during the alma mater. She has some work to do on her technique, but it is the thought that counts.


The good, the bad and the ugly

With the good comes the bad.

We got Verizon FIOS cable and DSL. It is so completely groovy. But, with the good stuff like the Game Show Network, Noggin and all kinds of music channels - we have about a dozen different history channels. So, good grief, I'm learning all about the Mauser or the Apache.

Tonight, we watched Lockdown on the National Geographic channel. It was interesting and scary. I told Army of Dad that the schools should have to show these shows to teenagers whenever they eff up. I don't think near as many people would commit crimes if they saw what prison was like. We also decided that I'd be the bitch waiting on everyone to survive prison. I don't think I would last.


Shoot golly darn

On Wednesday, Army of Dad took the two little ones over to Grandpa's hotel early for a round of waffle-making before school. All was well until Little Bit found out she was going to preschool and not spending the day with Grandpa and Great-Grandma. Then, apparently the lungs got quite the workout.
We had an adult day and that was cool. We took the folks down to show them Texas Motor Speedway and then went shooting. Quail Creek Shooting Range was wonderful as they brought the mule over and loaded up Grandma and her walker and took her straight to the shooting line. They were really kind and patient. Army of Dad spent some time offering instruction to Grandma and she plunked away with the boys' .22.

Grandpa took a turn with my .38 Special, too. I had a turn with the .22 and we figured out that I'm left-eye dominant, so I learned how to shoot left-handed.
We rounded out the afternoon with lunch at Ranchman's Steakhouse in Ponder. Grandpa and Great-Grandma were treated to great home-cooking and then each got a free bar of soap on the way out for being first-time visitors.