Army of Mom

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



My 13-year-old was singing the chorus for this song while playing Halo 3 with the 8-year-old.

AoM: Do you know what this song is about?
Pickle: No.
AoM: It is about a lady's boobs and her butt.
Pickle: EWWWW!!!!
Hot Rod: ROFL
Pickle: *singing* Not my humps, not my humps ...


Tiny Dancer

Stinkerbelle started dance class today. I just kept thinking of Elton John's Tiny Dancer. Plus, she is on an Elton John kick. The kids have been watching the DVDs of The Muppet Show (been checking out seasons 1 and 2 at the library) and she loves the old ones with Elton John singing. Definitely my kid.

Look at me!

Damn cute baby. What happened to me?


Help requested from Cingular customers

Hey folks, I'm contemplating getting a phone for the 13-year-old for Christmas. I bought a Go-Phone pay as you go thing, but after reading all the fine print, I'm thinking it might be cheaper just to add a line to our family plan and increase the minutes/texting.

Anyone have any experiences with the Go Phone or with adding a teen to their plans?

Many thanks.


Stuff happens

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it -- Ferris Bueller

With that said, let me just say that sometimes life hands me a big ol' pile of crap. Time to make poop-pies and like 'em. I don't want to get into details, but while at Sam's Club tonight, I was on the verge of tears from frustration. Then, I heard some Christmas music playing and it made me think about the reason we have Christmas and I sort of let things go right there. *shrug* Simple as that.

Yes, my eye started twitching again today. But, hopefully, I can relax it away. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm going to try and enjoy the holidays with my sometimes beautiful and sometimes cheesey holiday music. Yes, I am one of THOSE people who could listen to Christmas music year round.

How Rednecks Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was weird for us and totally non-traditional. We were thankful that mom was home from the hospital, but man she was doped up and bitchy as hell. She kept mumbling stuff that didn't make sense and even offered to babysit if AoD and I wanted to go out. *rolling my eyes* Yeah, like that is going to happen. She mooned me at one point to show me a bruise on her hip (well above her ass) and I knew then that she wasn't quite all there. She is getting more coherent with each day, thankfully. Anyway. We carried food down there and my hubby felt very neglected that he had no turkey, no yankee-style stuffing, no gravy, no scalloped corn and worst of all, no homemade pumpkin pie. It was cold, cold, cold and it was alternately raining, sleeting and snowing all day. But, that didn't slow down Hot Rod's desire for the cold steel of his little .22 and knowing that water jugs and soda cans were awaiting him out in the back pasture. So, we bundled up and went out to let him try to plunk the water jugs. Well, he nor I could hit the damn things, so Army of Dad quickly disposed of them, much to the delight of all of us. Now, I have some little pie pumpkins that are just begging to be blown up, too.

Hot Rod Woos the Crowd

Of course, the first UNT basketball game we attend and I don't bring my camera, that is the one that my son is picked to participate in the half-time musical lay-up chairs. *sigh* He and his buddy from his Bears baseball team are always there as are another family whose son we coached at soccer a few years ago. So, Hot Rod and his friend (who is a year older than Hot Rod) and the brothers who sit behind us (who are in the fourth and seventh grades) go out to center court with four chairs. When the music plays, they dribble around. When the music stops, they choose a goal, dribble down and try to make a lay up. Once they make the lay up, they run back (there are only three chairs left). So, Hot Rod beat his buddy back and the crowds erupt. Being the smallest kid out there, he gathered the crowd's support. They cheered wildly when he made the cut. Then, he went out on the next one and the crowd let out a collective "awwwwww!!!" Of course, the seventh-grader won. My friend and UNT alumna was sitting across from us in the student section at the Super Pit and she texted me that the winner was a high school freshman. :) It was funny. I just felt like a douche for not bringing my camera that day. Live and learn. Oh yeah, and Little Bit was on the big screen at the Super Pit while dancing like the dance squad. It was pretty cute.

When being yellow is a good thing

The boy made it all the way up to first degree purple belt in the juniors before turning 13 and moving into the adult/senior ranks of American karate. A couple of weeks ago, he progresses to a senior yellow belt. He scored a B+ on his belt test. Not bad for a goofy kid.

My little Eddie Haskel

When you kiss up to the teacher and take a really cute picture with her, you get to be student of the week at school. If the teacher is busy or it is a holiday, it turns into student of the month. :)

My favorite parts are: she has two pets (huh? Maybe she counts her brothers since we have no critters here other than their piggy attitudes. I'm assuming she means her granny's dogs); making cakes as a hobby (I guess we do this occasionally, but couldn't call it a true hobby); no one has any kitties, so no clue there on pets.

I love the fact that she is happiest when playing with mommy. That makes my heart just swell up. And, we were both proud of her when she learned to spell and write her name. I can see that being one of her proudest accomplishments.



What a voice. Rob Thomas just oozes sex appeal vocally.

Only 30 Days Till Christmas

Yep, the countdown has started in our household. We have a little calendar thingee that you can change the countdown and the kids love it.

But, it just got me thinking about what I'll get for Christmas this year.


The good and bad

Been busy this weekend taking advantage of the down time to clean, sleep and just spend time with my family. It has been really nice.

Of course, Thanksgiving was bittersweet. Mom was super drugged up and not herself. Early that morning, I received a call that one of the guys I grew up with killed himself in a hotel room in Arlington. For my friends who read, Harry "Jr." Ivie died Tuesday. His funeral will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Blessing Funeral Home in Mansfield.

I hadn't seen Junior since we were in school and I just heard about the downward spiral in which his life spinned. It is sad and really makes me think about his mom. She is a lovely lady. As a parent, there is only so much we can do to influence our children and help them grow up to be productive, responsible adults. They have to make their own choices and Junior's seemed to consist of many bad choices and it is unfortunate. He was a nice kid. He was my boyfriend in the seventh grade, if I recall correctly, for about two weeks. *shrug* I wept for his mom and I wept for all my fears as a mother. We make mistakes in parenting, but what can we do to prevent our children from going down that same path? I just don't know and that frightens me. Seems like every family with multiple children has a loser kid in the family. I don't want that to be any of my children. I want all three to grow up happy and successful, but there is no secret formula for it. Junior's life is an example of that.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for this holiday season. God bless each of you!


Hard choices

Either I'm getting old or Victoria's Secret is going after the teen crowd.


I'm afraid my first theory is the correct one. I was at the mall yesterday getting my watch repaired and walked into Victoria's Secret to see if there were any bras on sale. I thought I was going to wretch with all the signage that looks really juvenile to me. It is not sophisticated, which I tend to associate with Victoria's Secret. There are all these polka dots, bright colors (not that there is anything wrong with either of those, but it was the way they were done). I dunno. I felt very old.

And, just a side note, if you look at the VS website and see the Spice Girls at the bottom, is that really Scary Spice?


High School Musical

At Disney-MGM, Pickle just HAD to see the High School Musical performance. He and Hot Rod were excited to get to participate, too. If you look at the far left in the front, you'll see them in orange (behind the large boy in brown). Too much fun.

Fixing the boo-boos

Mom is home from the hospital today. I don't know that anyone could be happier about it than she is. She was thrilled. So, instead of her fixing the owies (like this pic from a few weeks ago), now we'll be doctoring her owies. Amazes me how someone's heart can be stopped and operated on less than a week ago and now she's home with only vicodin to kill the pain. Remarkable. I can't wait to go down on Thanksgiving. I just hope the kids don't wear her out. We plan to let Hot Rod plunk some cans and such with a .22 out in the back. Army of Dad may chop some firewood for us to bring back - while it is 83 today - it will be down in the 40s-50s by Thursday.

I definitely have lots to be thankful for this holiday.

Trash Mouth

At Magic Kingdom, we were fortunate enough to be serenaded by the robot trash can. My son and my nephew were totally fascinated and kept opening him up and looking in, tossing in trash and being confounded as to how the darn thing worked. Of course, Hot Rod has thought 'trash mouth' was an awful thing to call someone, but thought it was hilarious to say it to the trash can. I have more of this video, but thought this part was funny (and brief.)

Must be close to Thanksgiving

It will be 80 today. Is already 67 or so now. Must be Thanksgiving time in Texas.


Of course, a cold front is blowing through Wednesday, so I need to bring my plants in this weekend.


Bringing people together

The Cowboys. They do so much for people.

I wore my Romo jersey all day Sunday. At church, other parents picking up their kids from CCD look at me and say "Go Cowboys!"

At Albertson's, people driving by roll down their windows and yell "Go Cowboys!" as they drive through the parking lot.

Then, at the hospital last night after mom fell asleep, dad and I went down to the cafeteria. This hospital serves a very diverse population. We're walking along with the urban dudes wearing their Fubu clothes, jeans down around their thighs and an occasional T.O. jersey and we're exchanging high fives and "how 'bout them Cowboys?" comments. It is just sort of funny to see my redneck daddy giving knuckle bumps to the ghetto dude wearing the T.O. jersey with all the bling and the bluetooth thing in his ear.

See, all you Cowboy haters .... the 'boys are all about harmony in the world. :)

Step off, I'm doing the Humpty Hump

I was feeling good leaving the hospital today. Mom had all her tethers removed, she as feeling good. I was feeling really positive for the first time in a few days. Then, I heard the Humpty Dance on the way home. I love this song. Makes me dance and sing and want to eat at Burger King (just not want to use the bathroom there!)

We did our part

After taking me to dinner this evening, dear husband did his part to fulfill the goals of National Ammo Day: to empty the ammunition from the shelves of your local gun store, sporting goods, or hardware store and put that ammunition in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Make your support of the Second Amendment known--by voting with your dollars! There are an estimated 75 MILLION gun owners in the United States of America. If each gun owner or Second Amendment supporter buys 100 rounds of ammunition, that’s 7.5 BILLION rounds in the hands of law-abiding citizens! The gun/ammunition manufacturers have been taking the brunt of all the frivolous lawsuits, trying to put these folks out of business. Well, not if we can help it! And we CAN help it by buying ammunition on November 19! It is a nationwide BUYcott of ammunition.

Did you help support the Second Amendment today?

Bless her heart

Mom may be going home on Tuesday.

Doc said it would be Wednesday at the latest. When I was there today, she was untethered from everything and very happy about that. She is getting back to normal - being crabby and all. :) The only thing that was left to be removed were the leads from the temporary pacemaker. The surgeon was coming back later in the day to remove it and suture her up. She was thrilled to be rid of the port catheter thing in her neck and the other catheter. By the time she had all that removed, she was ready for a nap.

She is already weened down to two vicodin every four hours, which just amazes me. This woman was split open, her heart whittled on ... and now she is simply taking some vicodin. Wow. She is ready to go home and eat some decent food. The nurses and doctors at her hospital have been outstanding; the food, ick. Seriously, my kids get better cafeteria food than this hospital. They need to have Robert Irvine from Dinner Impossible come to fix something up for the heart patients there!!!

So, now, I can start planning for Thanksgiving. I can let out a giant sigh of relief. All is going well. I couldn't be more pleased. I guess, today, it seems, that I finally feel better about things. Yesterday started me feeling good about it. She just looked more like her old self today (and I mean that in a good way, not a bad way. :)

And as a good omen, I found her an autographed Drew Pearson mini helmet for $15 for Christmas. Woo hoo.

Back to the remedy

So, after listening to 'Fake It', I thought I'd go check out the other Seether stuff I like. I really love this song, but the video gave me the creeps. Of course, I'm reading "It" right now, so this made me imagine Karl Urban as Pennywise. *shuddering*

Now, I can breathe ... and, um, er ...

I heard this song on the radio and had to know who it was. I LOVE this song. It reminds me of people I know, that is for sure. But, this guy's voice is uber, uber sexy. He looks a bit like a rougher Karl Urban. No? The bit where the girl is biting on his lip ring makes me cringe, though. I do really dig this song. Video is pretty funny, too.


The Cowboys Raised Mom's Blood Pressure

Well, mom was still in CVICU today, but mostly because they didn't have any open beds in the heart center. She may as well have been in a regular unit. *shrug* She was doing much better. She got all the tubes and leads and stuff out of her chest. IV is gone, too. Only things left are the catheter (which really pisses her off - pun intended) and some thing in her neck, which is measuring something around her heart. Her blood pressure is very low, like 100 over 52. But, they weren't overly concerned. Her blood sugar is fouled up, too, leading her to get insulin shots, as well.

She managed to watch the Cowboys game today and we figured if that didn't shock her heart into spasms, she ought to be pretty good. I actually squealed so loudly at the Romo interception that three nurses ran to her room. So, I had to be vewy, vewy quiet. :)

I taught my dad how to text on the cell phone this week. That was pretty cool. I managed to fix a blanket for Hot Rod for Christmas, start one for Pickle, write a story, etc.

Seems like I had more to say at one point, but I'm tired and need to rest. Also, my fantasy football team was doing ok, but it doesn't really matter. My opponent had Tom Brady. *sigh*


another day in CVICU

My dad called this morning and said mom is still bleeding more than they want her to, so she will stay in CVICU for another day. The doc told him this is a good thing because they didn't have a free bed in the heart center. *shrug*

He said she was sitting up in a chair and eating crackers. Her stomach is still upset, but the nurses (again) said this is common.

I'm staying home with my kids this morning to try to keep some normalcy in their lives. They're struggling with the routine being completely off kilter. Continued prayers are appreciated.

On a lighter note, my brother is sure I'm going to hell now. A doctor came out to look for a family to discuss their loved one. So, he is walking along calling out "Adams family? Adams family? Adams family?" To which I had to respond with a double snap (get it? like the Addams family) I have to admit, I laughed. I don't think the doctor heard me, but my brother said I'm going to hell. Yeah, well, better to take the express train so I'm not waiting in line.


Sitting up

I'm sure I'm going to forget most of what happened today because I'm exhausted. I can't imagine how my brother, cousin and dad are feeling. Mom? I can imagine how she feels. Bless her heart. Literally and figuratively.

Mom woke up some overnight. She got the tube out of her throat, but she was still pretty out of it all day. She is running a fever of 100, but the nurses assure me this is normal and she'll be better when she is up and moving. They had hoped to get her up and moving today, but that wasn't going to happen and they didn't want to rush her. I never saw her awake for more than 10 minutes at a time and even when she was, she had that deer in the headlights look.

She is still twitching from the anesthesia. Again, the nurses told me this was normal and not to worry about it.

Her heart rate is low, like 50 or something. But, the nurse assured me she was good. Apparently, they have a temporary pacemaker in her chest to shock her if she needs it. She also has some tube coming out of her neck that is checking the blood flow in her heart (I think that is what it is doing).

She got to eat some jello and drink some tea. Seems like every time I went near her, she started gagging and trying to throw up. I felt like Typhoid Mary or something (wrong disease, I know, but ...) My brother -in typical sibling fashion - told me mom was allergic to me. Thanks, bro.

But, she did get to sit up and move around to watching the nice flat screen TV in the CVICU today. I'm assuming she'll get moved tomorrow, but I dunno. She still hasn't been up. The cardiologist seemed to think she was doing so well that she might be able to go home Monday or Tuesday. I'm just voting for Wednesday, personally.

I'm sure there is more, but I'm tired and need some sleep. She is definitely doing better. Thanks for the prayers.


My glue leaked today

Well, I may be the glue that holds the family together, but my glue was runny and thin today.

Mom is in ICU tonight and the nurse told me to go home and sleep because mom will need me tomorrow, but not today. Mom has her own nurse sitting at the foot of her bed with enough monitors, print outs, etc. to take good care of her. Mom's heart valve was able to be repaired, so that is awesome. The doctor said he had to scrape a good 1-2 inches of calcium off of her valve and put in a ring to help it open and shut properly and from what they could tell, it didn't leak. Good news.

The ICU nurse said they would let her sleep till she came out of the anesthesia on her own. They're not going to reverse it like they do for outpatient procedures. They expected her to wake up around midnight. She was restrained because she is still intubated and has many tubes running out of her; so they don't want her to wake and pull on tubes and hurt herself. She also said that if there are going to be any complications, they almost always occur in the first five to six hours. So, if we can make it through midnight, we are good. I called this evening and mom had a new nurse. He said mom is responsive and cooperative as he tells her what is going on. Dad camped out in the CVICU waiting room just in case she wakes up and wants someone. My cousin was there with him when I left. I will return tomorrow. I feel badly for not staying, but I wasn't doing any good there.

The nurse said mom should have the tube out and be breathing on her own by morning. She will likely stay in CVICU for another day before moving to another room in the Heart Center. Doc said five to seven days in the hospital, so that puts her home as early as Tuesday or as late as Thanksgiving.

I lost it several times today. I had an issue that was trivial, but it was the last straw and pushed me into a fit. I kept hearing my mom's voice in my head: Stop crying so hard or you're going to throw up. That was the standard response when I overreacted to something, because I do start heaving when I cry hard. I had to work hard to keep it together when I got to see her around 4 because I was not expecting her to look like she did. There was this giant PVC-looking tube full of blood ... it just threw me for a loop. She required several "blood products" during the procedure and this evening. That sort of freaked me out, too. But, I know they really test that stuff stringently (at least I keep telling that to myself).

Anyway. I look like hell. My eyes are swollen and puffy; my face hurts (and hold back the joke about it killing you!) I'm off to the tub for a soak.
I've been doing pretty good .... till this morning. Little Bit woke up and asked me if Granny was really going to be sick until Christmas. I had told her that Granny would be "sick" for about six weeks - probably around Christmastime - before she felt better.

Little Bit: Will it really be Christmas before Granny is better?
Me: Yes.
Little Bit: Well, tell her to be good, so she can be better sooner.

It was pretty sweet. So, we called my mom this morning to relay our love and good wishes. Mom sounded pretty anxious. My mom and dad aren't real affectionate with adults, if that makes sense. For instance, we don't really say "I love you." But, I've made a point of saying it recently. Mom couldn't bring herself to say it this morning. Sort of like, if she says it, then she's saying goodbye and she doesn't want to do that. I have finally cried, a little. I'm scared shitless. I want my mommy. Prayers are appreciated.



I attended a headline writing seminar today. Good stuff. Best part, I have to say, were the headlines that went wrong.

Viet official's twin
tells why he defecated
(oh my ... should have been defected)

Dolly cancels performances, lays band
(I bet they enjoyed that - should have been lays off band)

Florida reporter completes sentence (go figure. LOL. Was talking about a jail sentence)

Iraqi head seeks arms (really? did he need a torso, too?)

Doctor testifies in horse suit (I would pay to see this)

Elliott's size
no obstacle
for Trojans
(I bet he doesn't get lots of dates!)

Free vaccinations
sought for every
child by Clinton
(there are probably many of them.) Easy way to fix this headline:
Clinton seeks
free vaccinations
for every child (voila! or as the local editor gal said: Bwallah!)

4H girl wins contest
as best hoer in county
(swear to goodness, these are all REAL headlines)

Lumberjacks still do it by hand (I bet they have arms like Popeye!)

You can put pickles up yourself (no, thanks)

After spill, jockey's business falls off (ouch!)

Fertile Woman Dies in Climax (these are towns in Illinois)

Bill Dies
In House (poor old fella - actually this is about farming legislation)

Summer ends for 36,000 PISD kids
(read headlines out loud after you write them, I'd be PISD, too, if summer ended for me)

Stating the obvious: Women make the best moms (no shit?)

Good one: Wife gets snippy over vasectomy refusal

Gees, I did feel REALLY old during the conference. In my early days of reporting, we had VDTs (video display terminals) and we had to hard count the headlines. We had a column of space and we knew the count for the headline and we had to make it fit. Today, you have everything on computers and you don't have to worry about letter count, etc. *sigh* I've joked around about the my first work computer having a pterodactyl in the monitor typing out my words on a stone tablet.

My family tree is full of nuts

ALWAYS my children request making a "goofy" face every time we take pictures. What makes this shot so classic is (AoD's mom) grandma getting in on the action, too.

Blogging has been light for the past few weeks and I apologize. I was out of town for a few weekends. Then, I had to get caught up on life, work, etc. Now, I've been focusing on getting ahead. My mom has open heart surgery at 10 a.m. in the morning. I'm on duty tomorrow. My brother is driving up and he'll be on duty most of the weekend. Then, back to me and then my cousin is going to step in.

I'm scared, but what can I do? Fretting over things won't make them any better. Plus, for whatever reason, I'm the glue in the family. Without me being strong, the whole family comes apart at the seams.

Anyway. Prayers will be appreciated.



I gotta go get Shrek the Third. Soon.


MGM Kind of Day

We did MGM while at Disney and I loved this place. Have I said that before? Well, I did. Here is Grandma with the little kids and Lightning McQueen. We got rained on some both days we were at Disney, but it was always a short shower and not so bad.
Pickle had a great time at both parks. He and I got to attend an animation academy and learn how to draw Stitch in the Magic of Disney Animation attraction.
Here is Stinkerbelle's godfather, grandpa and grandma dancing with the little kids to High School Musical. Pickle and Hot Rod actually got to get out and dance with the gang and some other kids right in front of the musical.
Popsicles as big as Stinkerbelle and her cousins.
The Rock N Roller Coaster with its greatest fans.
The gang entering MGM.
In the line for the Muppet Vision attraction. It was one of my favorites along with the Star Wars ride. We had a great time at MGM. Notice we were ready for Stress Testing. :)
Loving that girl.
The Hollywood Tower of Terror. By the third ride, I could enjoy it. The first ride made me want to barf. The second was a bit better, but it took three for me to have a good time. Pickle, on the other hand, screamed like he was being mortally wounded and refused to get near it again. Hot Rod - he loved it from the start and thought it was funny that mom was freaked out.
Loved the brooms and mops from Fantasia as part of the flowers. Very clever. There were lots of pictures I could post and didn't. We had a ball. The orange team scored a coup with our uniforms. AoD's sister lost her camera on the Aerial ride, but a lady gave it to her later. She found it and saw the orange lady leave it, so she and her friends were looking for the orange family to return it! What are the odds?

Orange Team: Go!

Magic Kingdom was decked out for Halloween during our visit, so our orange attire fit right in. We took the opportunity for some family photos. My kids had such a good time and looked so cute.
Grandpa and Grandma loved having the kids around almost as much as the kids liked being with them, I think.
And, our infamous family photo. Who looks the happiest out of the five? I'm not sure. We were all having a great time. This is the kind of vacation people dream about. I owe my sister-in-law so much thanks for giving us her frequent flyer miles and putting us up in their resort vacation club villa with the family. We had hoped to save up and take the kids in 2008 or 2009, so we were able to move it up a year or so.
And, our "magical" photo. I borrowed Stinkerbelle's Princess Minnie hat and AoD borrowed his nephew's Wizard Mickey hat. Yeah, I know. We look like goobers. But, hey, we were at Disney's Magic Kingdom. It was our job as parents to be a little Goofy. :) This was in the waiting area for Mickey's Philharmagic. Very cute attraction. We had a blast.



Pickle put off doing his Texas History work as long as he could and then had to bring home about a dozen assignments to be finished in two days. Army of Dad and I both ragged, hassled and fussed at this boy about it. We gave the "make better choices" lecture, the talk about how doing a little at a time is preferable to doing a bunch in a rush ... we did the whole discussion about how your work habits now prepare you for the rest of your life ... you don't want to wind up in a crappy job, your choices now will impact if you can get in the art program (we have a great one here at the technology campus) at high school (they select who gets to attend - you have to have good grades, good attendance, no discipline issues) ... anyway.

He told Army of Dad last night that he finished his work. *crickets chirping*

I get a phone call this morning from the boy. He had lied and the teacher made him call and tell me. I told him HE had to be the one to tell Army of Dad. *whimpering on the other end of the line* Can't you tell him, he asks. Nope, you get to tell him.

After school, his punishment for lying (and for putting off his work) is a list of chores around the house. First, he had to dump the nasty pumpkin in the compost pile, then dust the front room and vaccuum.

From the other room, I hear this:
Pickle: Hey mom, after dad gets done yelling at me, I have a question for him.
AoM: What is that?
Pickle: Where does dust come from?

Very matter of factly. I had to stifle a laugh.


Mickey, Minnie and Princesses, oh my!

More orange team pictures. Here we have Grandma, little cousin and my group. Hot Rod was much too cool to be seeing Mickey. *rolling my eyes*

These little girls were about to split their faces in half with the giant smiles from meeting Minnie Mouse.
This is probably my favorite picture of all that I took on this trip. The look of pure pleasure on his face is priceless. I loved Minnie giving him this kiss. She was showing everyone the picture he drew in his autograph book of her. Too cute.
The princesses named him Prince Pickle and showed him how to do the princely pose. He was just loving the hot chicks, I think. :) I love how he removed his hat for talking to the ladies. I have taught my Southern gentleman well.
Cinderell as so good. Little Bit was mesmerized.
Snow White even pulled out that high pitched voice while in character. Little Bit was just in heaven to see the princesses.
And the Fairy Godmother was a hit, too. Little Bit told her how beautiful she thought she was. It was very sweet.

And, of course, the Cinderella castle.

Get out the vote

Today is the final day in voting for the Wizbang Weblog Awards. Please go vote for Army Wife Toddler Mom to help her overtake good old liberal Dooce. Please?

Give her a vote, won't you?

Magical day at the Magic Kingdom

Assuming you don't have dial up or you wouldn't have had the patience to sit and wait for this post to upload. Photo heavy. Sorry. Our day at the Magic Kingdom was very fun. The orange team was reporting for duty. My sis-in-law bought everyone orange shirts and it made it easy to spot each other. Plus, it was Halloween, so we were festive. We hit just a few rides around the park and then spent the bulk of our day in Tomorrow Land. It just made sense for our family. We had Buzz Lightyear and the Emperor Zurg, for instance. Stinkerbelle and I both wear our birthday buttons to the park and when we walked into the Fast Pass line at the Buzz Lightyear ride, a cast member shouted out "Attention ladies and gentlemen. It is Stinkerbelle's and AoM's birthday. *cheering ensued* Then, the ENTIRE line and staff at the Buzz ride sang "happy birthday" to us. It was awesome. A little embarrassing, but awesome!

Space Mountain rocked out for me, Hot Rod and Army of Dad. I rode it three or four times and I know they went back and rode it another one or two times. Hot Rod is definitely our danger boy.
Pickle, on the other hand, not so much.

The cousins were with us for the first couple of hours before they hit the road back to Hotlanta. Hot Rod had a shadow and it was really funny because he wasn't used to that.
Stinkerbelle's godmother (AoD's sister) was awesome with all the kids, but especially my brooding artist, Pickle.
Here is the whole gang as we entered the park. We were constantly called the "orange family" or the "orange team." It was funny. We were even serenaded by a singing trashcan at one point. It was funny. His birthday song: "Here's your birthday song. It isn't very long." Yep, that was it. But, the kids loved talking with him. Hot Rod kept looking for trash to feed him.

Happy Birthday Granny

Nov. 8 is my late grandmother's birthday. This song always reminds me of her. I used to spend many summer days with her and my cousin. Heck, I just spent a lot of time down there. She had a big old field behind her house and we made a clubhouse down by the railroad tracks. I used to pick Indian Paintbrush from the field, too. One afternoon, my cousin and I were listening to the radio and this song came on. My granny was not very PC and after the chorus, she yelled "Oh for God's sake, would you just sail away with him, so he'll shut up!?!" So, every time I hear this song, I smile and think about Granny. I miss her. Playing dominos, singing very politically incorrect songs about Daniel Boone being chased by a bear, her version of the 'monkey wrapped his tail around the flagpole' that rhymed with something about his A-hole. *shaking my head* What can I say? The apple didn't fall far from the tree.


Everything makes your butt look big

Honestly, this is the answer I expect from my husband whenever I ask him that infamous question of "does this make my butt look big?"

Hell yeah, it does. 'Cuz my ass is fat. I know it. Guess what? I've stopped asking him that question.

Big thing is that I am confident in my own skin. When I'm not, those are the moments when I need to focus on what I can do to feel better about myself: exercise, eat better, etc.

But, I digress. I read a GREAT story in the July issue of Esquire magazine. LabKat bought it for me so I could read the Stephen King story in it. She wasn't impressed and she's a Stephen King fan. So, the magazine has been sitting on the back of my toilet since August. I finally needed something to read in the tub tonight and was intrigued by a story titled "I think you're fat." So, I started reading. I'm usually a very hard person to impress with writing. I can be entertained by decent writing, but this story is good. Really good. I found myself fascinated and even laughed out loud at one or two parts.

Good read if you get the chance. It is about "radical honesty." Curious, as Spock would say. In an effort to follow the concept, my 39th birthday is going to suck. I'm not getting any presents or anything. Selfish, I know. But, my kids won't even remember until I tell them. I bet my mom forgets, but she has a little bit on her mind like having her chest cracked open and put back together. My buddy gave me a football shaped crock pot. Cute. My honey bought me a Romo jersey and Cowboys ball cap a few weeks back. My inlaws gave me a gift card with which I bought a CD player for myself and a souvenir Disney photo that I wanted, but would never spend the money on. I have a gift from my sister-in-law on the counter that I'll open tomorrow. But, I dunno. I would love to be spoiled like I was as a kid - with a cake and everyone singing to me and getting my favorite dinner. *shrug* Doesn't happen much when you're mom and I resent that.

Ok, that radical honesty thing sucks. I sound like a whiner. Or is that a weiner? Maybe both. As Harry Potter would say "happy birthday to me." Where's some dirt so I can draw myself a birthday cake.

Let the testosterone flow

Karl Urban.
Eric Bana.

*fanning self*

All this hunkdom and guess what? They'll be part of the new Star Trek movie.

Oh good grief. I have plans for Christmas Day 2008 and none of them involve my children or opening presents. Ok, maybe momma will be opening up her stocking with tickets to the movies in there.

I'm getting my dork on, big time.

Oh, p.s. while at my national board meeting in St. Pete this weekend, I'm walking along with the former president of the board and we're talking about my geekdom with Star Trek, when he mentioned how his colleague at the Wall Street Journal in L.A. had been totally changed when Star Wars came out back in the 70s. Talked about how this guy added a wing on to his house to hold all his Star Wars memorabilia and how this guy fought to get an interview with George Lucas. So, we're walking along The Pier in St. Pete and have this exchange:

Colleague: Yeah, Star Wars really changed his life.
Me: That is really amazing.
Colleague: Yeah, he got an interview finally with George Lucas. Then, when the job as head of his fan relations came open, it was perfect for him.
Me: Are you talking about Steve Sansweet?
Colleague: You know him?
Me: Well, I've met him at a sci-fi convention. He signed some of my kid's pod-racers that are hanging on the wall of his room.
Colleague: Wow. He's doing autographs now.

*shaking my head*

Boy, did I ever feel like a dork. I knew who this guy was from sci-fi cons. But, honestly, what are the odds that all of these things would happen? I mean, to know who this guy is, for one. Then, for him to have been the former Wall Street Journal editor for this professional colleague of mine. One in a million. But, hey, maybe my dorkiness may lead to some work. We'll see.

Wasting away in Margaritaville

Looking out over The Pier. It was pretty. The yacht club was just around the corner from The Pier.
Sunset over St. Petersburg was gorgeous, too.
Look, it is an old gal doing the MySpace finger and pout thing versus just a pouty MySpace face. I had to. Been dying to do it. I'm so posting this on MySpace.
Here is the group of business publication professionals. I'm telling you, I don't think any group other than soldiers can put away the liquor, curse and shoot the shit the way journalists can. Personally, I had three rumrunners. I was almost ready to sing with "Three Dudes." They were rocking the place unplugged style and I was loving it. You can see the dude who had been flirting with me and turning up next to me whenever I sat down. Really amusing as he is a Jewish liberal and I'm a Catholic conservative. We whiled away the time discussing politics, religion, you name it. When he asked me to go have coffee after my three rumrunners, I felt it was in my best interest to invite others along. I got lucky and a crusty old retired soldier and current Kansas City journalist tagged along. I also felt it prudent to show my knife skills and how I carried my knife in my pocket while walking to Baywalk by myself after dark the night before. I know how to make my point, literally. :)
And, I had to post this one. A Dallas cop on a Segway at Love Field. I kept thinking my phone should ring (the White and Nerdy song with lyrics about riding his Segway.) Anyway. I'm back. I'm tired. I'm overwhelmed. Mom is going to have open heart surgery on the 15th. I just found out last night. Doctors said this should give her a good five years. I just keep thinking that five years is not enough. I'm selfish. I want my mommy. I want my daughter to have her granny for longer than five years. Those two love each other so much, I just can't bear the idea of life without her. Spending my birthday lunch with her tomorrow. What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my 29th birthday than with the old gal who gave me life?



Sitting in Tampa International Airport waiting for my flight. Got a nice venti Peppermint Mocha, free wi-fi and the Pats-Colts game on. Big screen would be nice, but I'll take what I can get. I'm surprised at the low scoring game.

But, I digress. Been a nice trip. Thought I'd get to do lots of writing this weekend. Instead, I mingled and got to know my fellow professionals. Today, I had a chance to visit a primo art museum and do some souvenir shopping. All in all, a great trip.

Except ...

The national board president suggested we all get on LinkedIn to send messages to one another in an effort to stay in good contact and not clog up one another's email inboxes. So, I log on and sign up, send out friend invites and then click on the catching up with other Baylor grads from my years there. And, I see him. I actually let out an audible pain-filled gasp. It was so bad that the New Yorker who has been flirting with me (and made a point to sit next to me today) actually turned around and asked me if I was ok. I managed to nod my head and not make any more whimpering noises.

The Him - the boy who date raped me my sophomore year in college. The boy who was so sweet and kind. I fell asleep in his arms after a long, joyous date. The boy who went from kind to cold-hearted rapist. The boy who I awoke to find on top of me holding my arms down. The boy who held his hand on my throat until I finally stopped fighting and let him do what he was intent on doing. The boy who left me in tears and sent me roses the next day. Roses. Do you believe that? Roses. He fucking sent me roses, like that would make it all ok.

I talked with my friends about calling the police. One girl told me he was sweet and that I must have misconstrued what happened. Uh, yeah, ok. My other friends agreed with me take on it. Last girl we knew in college who was raped and told police was crucified by the town, the paper and all the Baylor students - she put herself in the position to let it happen, what did she expect was going to happen when she went to this man's hotel room, etc, etc. I could see it. I was going to be painted as a little whore who fell asleep in this man's arms. What else did I think was going to happen? I wasn't prepared to take THAT on top of the assault. So, I kept my mouth shut. I didn't see talk to him again.

I ran into the asshole on campus my junior year after I was engaged to Uzz. This jerk had the audacity to try to talk me out of getting married and how he'd like to see us rekindle what we had. I'm sure smoke must have been coming out of my ears. I told him he had a lot of nerve to even suggest that after what he did to me. He looked at me with a sideways sneer and said, you wanted that and you know it. Otherwise you would have fought harder. I just walked away. That is what everyone would have said, too. That is why I never reported it.

I do fine 99.9 percent of the time. Then, like today, I see his name or someone's hand brushes my throat and it takes every ounce of my being not to curl up in a fetal position and cry till there are no more tears. It is when I'm caught off guard that it is hardest to handle. But, handle it, I will (as Yoda would say *grin*). I don't let too much hold me down. This jerk will not get the best of me. Never.

Free or not free

Sitting in my national board meeting ... debates about charging or not charging for webinars.


Ok, I need to focus again ... come home tonight. Been gorgeous in St. Petersberg. Dinner on the gulf last night listening to "Three Dudes" singing unplugged to all the songs I love, sipping (Ok, chugging) rumrummers while getting flirted with by the guy from New York City. :)


Have a good weekend

Enjoy the pictures by Uzz of my kiddos trick-or-treating. This little girl looks like an angel. She was Tinkerbell. She loves this house in the neighborhood that puts up Pooh and Tigger every year.
And, the three of them out front before charging through the neighborhood with the next door neighbor kids. Gotta love surburbia. See you Tuesday!

I don't get it

Yet another case of a female teacher running off with a junior high student in a torrid affair. I look at my son and his buddy and don't get an inkling of sexual arousal. I mean, they are cute little boys. But, they are LITTLE BOYS! For cripe's sakes, lady. I mean, really. There is a hot little number in my son's karate class who is probably 15 or 16 and I think, hubba hubba ... if I were 15, I'd be flirting all over that. IF I WERE 16 being the KEY phrase there!!!

*shaking my head*

What is it? I mean, I guess, they have to be mentally ill in some sort of fashion. On top of it all, how could you carry on conversations with a kid like that? The sex can't be great. No conversation aside from what is Britney Spears' next skanky move or something. Maybe they could talk about Drake and Josh on Nick.


I knew I'd worry about the safety of my little girl, but it is something else when I have to worry about the safety and chastity of my 13-year-old son from his teachers.

What banks can do to your American dream

This is an article I wrote about my friends who got hosed by the Bank of Oklahoma. I pulled out their names, but if you want to reach them, contact me and I'll put you in touch.

LR and her husband DM lived the American dream with four furniture stores and two other commercial investment properties in Enid, Okla. Annual sales were $5 million and they had $1.3 million in inventory.

So, why would the bank foreclose on their lines of credit when they were experiencing a giant business growth and expanding? It all came down to terms LR and DM never knew existed: technical default and cross collateralization. That ignorance cost LR and DM their business; eventually forcing them into bankruptcy.

In fall 2006, LR and DM had several lines of credit and four buildings all financed at the same bank. The grand total for all the loans was $1.2 million.

After 10 years in business, they were growing their furniture empire. They had the same banker for the life of their business and were friendly with her, too.

“Never forget that even if you’re friends with your banker, their loyalty is to the bank,” LR said.

By May 2006, their credit line was renewed and they had bought two buildings. In August, their credit line was renewed and increased. It was September before LR realized something was terribly wrong.

When the couple decided to buy a $500,000 building in May, LR told her banker that they could only put down 5 percent. But, at closing, her banker surprised her with the announcement that they needed 15 percent down.

“We told her that we couldn’t do it. We needed an additional $25,000 and we only had $50,000. She said she would cover us and not to worry about it,” LR said. So, they didn’t give it another thought.

What the banker did was take the money out of the business account, causing it to be overdrawn. It wasn’t until September that LR noticed non-sufficient funds fees stacking up. By the time she realized what was happening, the business had $13,000 in NSF fees.

“By November, everything started to go downhill,” LR said. “We called our banker and reminded her she said she’d cover any associated costs with the closing. She said she’d have to go to her bosses for that amount.”

LR said her accountant figured that, by September, her business had paid the bank $52,000 in interest alone, so she assumed the bank could refund them the $13,000 in fees and still make money.

“The day after I called her, we heard from the bank’s special assets team. By February, there was a lawsuit,” LR said. “They said they wanted us out of their bank, but we thought that meant they were going to shop our loan out to someone else. We didn’t know they were going to call our note and that they could call in everything in addition to that single line of credit on a technical default. They didn’t need a reason.”

LR said she learned a costly lesson from the experience about cross collateralization and technical default.

Cross collateralization is when collateral for one loan is also serving as collateral for other loans. In the real estate market, it can occur when a person already owns a house, and wants to buy another one. Technical default happens when an affirmative or a negative covenant is violated. Affirmative covenants are clauses in debt contracts that require firms to maintain certain levels of capital or financial ratios. The most commonly violated restrictions in affirmative covenants are tangible net worth, working capital/short term liquidity, and debt service coverage.

“You really need to spread the wealth to different banks. If some situation arises, it is easier to go to a banker with an established relationship and we’d have multiple accounts in multiple banks,” LR said. “The trap that we fell into, and many small businesses fall into it, is that it is easy to go to one person and have them hand you a check for $60,000 and say go buy a building.”

She said it is harder to go to a bank with profit and loss records for the past three years and wait 60 to 90 days for the process to complete. But, she would recommend doing that to other business owners.

“It is hard for a small business with a collateral base like a furniture store to split up their accounts between inventory and accounts receivable, but they could have their equipment or building debt split among other banks,” acknowledged a commercial lender with a Fort Worth, Texas,-based bank. “It is hard to have multiple lines of credit on same the same collateral pool, but it is good to have strong relationships with several bankers. It takes the pressure off of me to say yes to every request.”

Keeping options open with other lending institutions even when the relationship is satisfactory is a good idea, he added. Talking monthly or quarterly with your banker is recommended, so they are up to date and there are no surprises, he added.

Plus, the banker agreed that business owners should ask lots of questions and shop around to other banks.

“In the end, it may be the smartest thing you do,” LR said. “We put our faith in the bank. All of our notes were current. Our employees were happy, our vendors were happy and our customers were happy.”

After Chapter 11 bankruptcy, LR and DM have relied on loans from family and friends and now have one small store that they are doing a lease-purchase directly from a friend. LR's mother is the president of a limited liability corporation. They work for her.

“We’re no longer credit worthy as individuals. The day they kicked us out of our business, they didn’t pay us our paychecks. If the bank doesn’t get all their money they can come after us personally, too,” LR said. “We literally used up every bit of our savings on the building and we only took paychecks to cover our bills.”

LR said that is probably the biggest mistake they made as small business owners: putting everything they own back into the business.

“Even some banking attorneys have told me that you need to have some stash of money somewhere that is safe and legal. It sounds really simple, but next time we will have more money for ourselves and some of it will be put in that figurative jar in the back yard.”

Additional good info:
Santa Barbara, Calif., law firm Cappello & Noël LLP Trial Lawyers created “10 Rules to Remember When Borrowing Money from a Bank” that provides good information for consumers and small business owners, alike.
1. Don’t rely on what your banker tells you; get it in writing.
2. If you get a loan commitment, be sure it is in writing and includes all the terms of the loan.
3. Get all important statements by your loan officer confirmed in writing.
4. Read every document before signing; if you have any questions, ask.
5. If you have any questions about your loan documents or your rights under them, contact a lawyer.
6. Never give a lender a security interest in something you can’t live without.
7. If your banker tells you something that sounds unusual, check it out.
8. Be aware of what you’re giving up if you sign a jury trial waiver, an arbitration clause or a release.
9. If you suspect your lender has done something improper, do something about it doctrine known as "waiver of the fraud" is being used by lenders to prevent borrowers from prosecuting their claims.
10. Don’t ever forget that your banker’s allegiance is to the bank and not to you.


Rockin Roller Coaster

I found a new favorite roller coaster at Disney-MGM: the Rockin Roller Coaster. Ohmygosh, this was the coolest ride. Not only was it just simply a cool ride, but the Aerosmith aspect of it was awesome. Of course, I had to explain to Hot Rod and Pickle who Aerosmith is. But, that is not the point. They were playing my favorite songs like this one, Sweet Emotion, Dude Looks Like a Lady, etc. The songs changed with each ride, which was cool. It was awesome. We rode it five times. The trick to it is to get in the "single rider" line. You can go right to the front. We didn't care if we all rode in the same car. We just wanted to ride! One time, we got lucky and me, Army of Dad and Hot Rod all made it into the same car! We did a rock 'n roll hand sign when the camera snapped and we have a hilarious souvenir picture of us rockin out to Aerosmith. Totally cool.

Home, sweet home

Disney's Vacation Club resort was really cool. The little touches and the outstanding customer service made it very enjoyable. Things like the Mickey Mouse heads in the railing just add a fun sense to the decor.
Hot Rod and his namesake at our front door.
Little Bit and her little cousin were quite the hit everywhere we went. Both have big brown eyes and were often mistaken for sisters rather than cousins. Little Bit and I both had on our birthday buttons and got first class treatment and a chorus of Happy Birthday everywhere we went. It was pretty cool, to be honest. I felt like a queen and I know she felt like a princess. You aren't mistaken on the orange attire. My sister-in-law thought it would be a good idea to help us all stay together by wearing the same color. She found inexpensive shirts at Old Navy and they were fabulous. I felt stupid initially, but I can't tell you the number of times we were able to see each other clearly amongst the crowds by the orange popping out in the crowd. For my sister-in-law, it was a Godsend. She lost her camera at the Ariel ride at MGM and someone found her and gave it back to her. They told her, "We were looking for the Orange family!" Wowsers. What luck. Everywhere we went, we were named either the Orange Family or the Orange Team. It was sort of funny, but it worked!

How much is that cutie in the window?

Friday night, we went into Downtown Disney and Little Bit crashed on the boat ride. Typically, she'll catch a little nap and then be revving and ready to go. Not this night. We found a little Irish restaurant with just enough window ledge to sit her down and allow Army of Dad to eat with both hands. Many people stopped by to take her photo or try to wake her. It was pretty funny *unless you were carrying her* though.

And, look: Kim DuToit's Nation of Riflemen T-shirt made a stop in Orlando.

More memories

My mom and dad said this was the first song I ever sang. Apparently, as a toddler, I'd do that ch-ch-ch sound during the chorus whenever this song came on. I still remember swimming at Mr. Delaney's pool as a kiddo and loving when this song played on the loudspeaker. :)

He's back

Dammit. I'm a Halo widow again. *sigh*

I even voluntarily bought all the goodies for my husband and the boys to become permanent fixtures in front of the TV playing Halo 3 on their new Xbox 360.

I just keep thinking of all the shoes I could have bought with that money. I'm actually glad to be going to Tampa Bay this weekend after this acquisition. Hey Cashin, let the fun begin.