Friday, June 20, 2008

Song(s) of the South

Well, I took into consideration all of your suggestions for my Road Trip Playlist, then promptly ignored them and chose the following:

Life is a Highway / Rascal Flatts
Jambalaya (on the Bayou) / Harry Connick, Jr.
Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans / Harry Connick, Jr.
The Saints Are Coming / U2
M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I / Ella Fitzgerald
The Mississippi Squirrel Revival / Ray Stevens
Sweet Home Alabama / Lynard Skynard
Why Georgia / John Mayer
Georgia on My Mind / Ray Charles
Carolina In My Mind / James Taylor
Tennessee/Arrested Development
Graceland / Paul Simon
God Blessed Texas / Little Texas
All My Exes Live in Texas / George Strait
Theme from "Dallas" / International Television Orchestra

I think they can be heard on iTunes here.

This may be the first time ever that Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Stevens have been on the same CD. I completely forgot to put Devil Went Down to Georgia on there, but it's just as well, because I really don't want to have to explain to my children the theological implications of fiddle contests, and how if you lose, the devil will git yer soul.

Also, when I made the CD I forgot that I will be driving through Arkansas on the way home. Better luck next time, Arkansas.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

C is for Contagious

Tommy was excited that the word of the day on Word Girl was "Contagious". It just fits perfectly, since he got a diagnosis of strep throat this morning. My apologies go out to the 10:00 Level 2 Swim Class that he shared the pool with yesterday. Good luck, kids.

Meanwhile, the cookies have been baked, the laundry has been folded, and the packing has been procrastinated started in preparation for our Southern Migration this weekend. I guess I'll have to add Amoxycillin to the packing list. I'm just praying we will only need one bottle.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby Talk

The other day, Tommy found a sticker that said, "I'm a big boy", and had been wearing it on his shirt all day. Sitting at the kitchen table, he completed a certain task for the first time without any help, and proclaimed, "Wow, my sticker was right! I AM a big boy!"

My friend Julie left her baby here today for us to play with. All three of my kids were in his face the entire time, gooing and gaaing and playing peek-a-boo. It wasn't long before the questions started:

Grace: Can I have another baby brother? He could share my room.

Me: Are you going to feed him and change him when he wakes up in the middle of the night?

Grace: I would just feed him breakfast in the morning. And I wouldn't touch a diaper, they have germs.

Me: Then no baby brother for you.

Tommy: Why do you have to bring all of this stuff in a diaper bag everywhere? Do you have to bring it with you to the store?

Me: Yes, you have to bring diapers and wipes and sippy cups and extra clothes everywhere you go. Babies need a lot of stuff.

Tommy: What if he cries in the store, what would you do then?

Me: That happens a lot. It happened when all three of you were babies. You cried in the store all the time.

Tommy: (with chagrin) Babies sure are a lot of work!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Road Trip!

Yes, the Carpool Lane family is getting ready to hit the road for our Annual Tour of the South. I'm cleaning out the minivan as we speak. The kids and I head out every year to visit my parents, my sisters, my in-laws, and anyone else who will take us in for a night or two.

This year's tour includes a stop at my aunts' houses in Louisiana, a camping trip with my parents to the Blue Ridge Mountains, a weekend with Greg's family in upstate South Carolina, another week of lounging by the lake at my parents' house in Georgia, a night out with some old dear friends, and the trip ends with a condo filled with cousins on 4th of July weekend at a resort near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

Well, no, really it ends with me driving back to Texas on one last frazzled nerve.

Have I mentioned that my husband is not coming this year? And that I am driving? The whole way? Ha ha ha hahahah. Ohhhh.

I asked Google Maps the other day how long my trip would be, and it turns out it will be over 2,000 miles, with 27 hours spent driving.

Ha ha ha ha ha hahaha. Hmmm.

I know this sounds totally nuts. That's because it is. But we do it every year, and I know people don't believe me when I say this, but it's really not that bad. The kids and I are seasoned travelers, and we actually enjoy it.

One thing that makes it a lot easier is that I am freakishly organized when it comes to road trips. Before we leave, I pack everyone a backpack full of art supplies/puzzle books/leap pad games, set up the DVD player with a few new movies, and then I pack breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks, placing them in the seat next to me so that I can toss them back when the whining starts. The kids sleep in their clothes the night before, so that when we wake up at the butt crack of dawn, all they have to do is go potty and get in the car. We stop whenever we reach 1/2 tank of gas (about every two hours) and fill up, restock everyone's toys and snacks, and strongly encourage everyone to go the baby potty in the car, while I'm filling up the tank.

(and then I fling the contents of the baby potty onto the side of the road and get out of there as quickly as possible)

(Yes, I know that is redneck.)

(But you try herding three children into a gas station potty every two hours.)

So there you have it. Another thing that makes it fun is that we have some quirky traditions that the kids really look forward to. There are certain junk foods that I buy only for road trips. I bake homemade chocolate chip cookies for each trip, just like my mom always did. I let the kids go into a gas station in the middle of Mississippi and pick out any candy their hearts desire. We eat dinner at Waffle House as soon as we cross the Georgia state line. We always eat at Cracker Barrel on the way home.

Wow, it looks like all of our traditions are focused on food.

I'm starting a new tradition this year of downloading songs that have to do with each state we will be passing through. I thought it would be fun to listen to 'Sweet Home, Alabama' while crossing the Alabama state line, for instance.

Corny? Me?

So anyway, if you have any suggestions for my road trip playlist, feel free. And yes, I already own James Taylor and yes I always play it when we get to South Carolina. And I know I will pick Ray Charles' Georgia on My Mind, but I'm open to other ones, because that song makes me cry.

Mainly because my freshman year of college, I was standing in a Piggly Wiggly (grocery store) in Charleston, South Carolina when that song came over the intercom and I was so overcome with homesickness that I stood right there in front of the Ramen noodles and sobbed.

So every time I hear that song I am transported back to the Piggly Wiggly. Or the Laser Show at Stone Mountain.

Wow, this got really off track. So anyway, submit your southern state-themed songs, and I'll publish my playlist later this week as if everyone were interested.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The View From My Kitchen Window

Here's what I'm thinking when I do dishes: fried, fried, BLT, fried.
And then I rearrange them and turn them around as if they are laying out in the sun trying to get a tan. Oh, I could just leave them on the vine to ripen, but my little garden helpers love to pick them. Way too early.

Another thing that's currently growing in the garden....
Or Okry, as my Grandma used to say. Since this is the one and only okra plant that flourished enough to produce anything, it looks like we will all have to share this one pod. So when my kids are grown they will be able to tell the story of when times were so tough they all had to share one okra pod, and their Mama fried it up like it was a feast.

These are the good old days.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Extreme Makeover, 7 year old edition

We'll just file this one under they grow up too fast, shall we?

On Sunday afternoon, my baby looked like this:

(gap-tooth, braids, flipped up collar)

And by Tuesday evening, she had completely changed in to this:
(Missing another tooth and most of her hair)
(and more freckles are appearing every day)

She doesn't understand why we keep asking her to say "Sufferin' succotash." I need to get that kid a Looney Tunes DVD.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'll be eating humble pie instead of birthday cake.

You knew it would happen, too. So did I. As soon as I point out someone's bad parenting on the internet, the very next day I turn into one of them. I'll spare you the details, except to say that it involved one of my children at the pool (where else), teetering precariously on top of something dangerous (as usual). And as I was in the middle of correcting him or her (okay, him), the man sitting next to me jumped right on in and YELLED at my kid to GET DOWN BOY BEFORE YOU CRACK OPEN YOUR HEAD. At the top of his lungs. Yelled. So that was interesting.

The story ends with me snatching up the dripping, disobedient child and carting him off to the restroom for a "talking to", and the man apologizing to me for interfering (and frankly exacerbating the problem), followed by me leaving the pool, with the aforementioned child trailing behind, still screaming. And since there is still a week of swim lessons left, I'll be seeing the same man every morning for the duration. hoo-ray!

Which leads me to wonder, what level of misbehavior would it take for me to yell at someone else's child? What about you? What would put you over the edge?

I'm more the type to say nothing and then blog about it, but it still got me to thinking.

It's been a pretty good birthday, other than that episode. My husband pretended to forget just long enough for me to get mad, then surprised me with a spa gift certificate. Goober. Then of course we hit Happy Hour at Sonic, which basically means we all get slushies for about two bucks. My kids know to ask for a slushie between 2 and 4, because they know it's half price, and that I am always craving a Dr. Pepper right around then, so they've already learned to simultaneously exploit two of my weakness: bargains and caffeine.

I'm headed out now for a birthday dinner with the family at a restaurant owned by one of the parents from my daughter's school. You'd think I'd learn my lesson from this morning, that when out in public, it's best to be anonymous, yet onward I go. Hopefully, humble pie won't be on the menu.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

People. They're the worst.

After spending the afternoon at the city pool today for the first time (of many) this summer, I would like to announce that I am a truly awesome parent. There's nothing like a good trip out in public, spending time with other people and their children, that makes me feel like mom of the year. Except, you know, when my kids are the ones acting up, or you know, I'm the one being lazy. Not that it ever happens, oh no. Ahem.

Today, however, I would like to announce my awesomeness in comparison to the family who gathered for a picnic in the park and sent all of their kids to the adjacent pool while the grown-ups had a cookout. Their preschool children. Who had no floaties. And could not swim. Who they sent with an 10 year old older sister/cousin to look after them. Along with an 8 year old boy with Bud Light swim trunks. And whose little 2-3 year old little boy was clinging to the steps (WITH NO FLOATIES) trying to get the attention of any adult in the vicinity just so he could point out the birds or whatever he was saying that I didn't understand.

At this same pool last year, I turned around to see a small toddler underneath the water, just out of my arm's reach, with her mom busy putting on sunscreen, and the teenage lifeguard turned the other way, flirting with a boy. So I shouted to Grace to pick the kid up, and my six year old child saved the day, I'm just saying.

So the point is, put floaties on your little kids so that they will float. Floating is a whole lot better than sinking. Just a public service announcement. Thank you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

20 Things I Will Never Do

So this one has been going around a bit lately, and I've been thinking of giving it a try. I have to say it's been a little tough to think of twenty things. Joy did a great job with hers, and I really wanted to steal a lot of them, but I've refrained.

Also I keep coming up with Things I Will Never Do Again, but that's a list for another day, I suppose.

I will never:

1. Drive a Hummer, or any other similarly-sized vehicle. I can't stand those things. Plus I wouldn't be able to park it.

2. Own a cat. Sorry, cat lovers.

5. Have a neat, organized house. It's just not my personality. Or anyone else's personality who lives here, quite frankly.

6. Wear "state-triotic" clothing or jewelry. Or allow my husband to get one of those long-sleeved button-down shirts that looks like a giant Texas state flag. (shudder)

7. Become a vegetarian.

8. Describe anything as "too chocolatey".

9. Enjoy cold weather.

10. Be a morning person.

11. Be good at sports.

12. Want to be good at sports.

13. Feel passionately about a sports team. The best I can do is empathy.

14. Be done with the laundry.

15. Or the dishes.

16. Bungee jump and/or skydive.

17. Quit eating sugar. I've tried.

18. Have a hairstyle that could be described as "smooth", "silky", "shiny" or "straight". More accurate adjectives would be "frizzy", "bushy", "wild", or "tangled".

19. Figure out whether I should bowl left-handed or right-handed. I get the same dismal results with each hand. Same goes for softball.

20. Be able to comfortably use the word, "holla!" (although I secretly want to)

21. Start to dislike fried vegetables. (Okra! Squash! Green Tomatoes! Holla!)

22. Stop loving my kids, my husband, or my God.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Something's Missing All Right

So I have a post in the works with actual writing and not just one photograph after another, but I'm not quite finished with it, and then tonight this happened:
and if that little snaggletooth gap is not the most adorable thing I have ever seen in my life, I don't know what is. I would be depriving you, internet, if I did not immediately post this picture for you. How could I keep something this adorable to myself and still sleep at night? Well, I couldn't.

There is also a definite possibility that I will drop everything I had planned for tomorrow, braid her hair in pigtails, dress her up in overalls, and take her to a field of wildflowers and take a bajillion pictures of her.

Also there is a definite possibility that I am going a little overboard with the constant taking of photographs.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunburned and Bug Bitten

We had a great camping trip this weekend, and all survived well with only a few scrapes and bug bites. We had a lovely campsite right on the water. We did LOTS of swimming and a little bit of fishing. Greg ended up building a campfire after all, as it got much cooler at night. It was a good thing, too, because when I asked the kids what they liked best about the trip, their answer was this: Dad telling ghost stories by the fire. Such a funny guy, that one. The kids finally made it to the tent around 10:30, and of course the birds woke us up at 6:00. That's my one complaint about camping, there is not nearly enough sleeping involved. One thing I could never complain about, however, is our gigantic tent. It's 18 x 13. Our living room furniture could fit in that sucker. It's pretty easy to put up, too. I've done it by myself before.

We went for one night of camping, and my van was packed solid with gear. We're planning a week-long trip to Big Bend National Park in the fall, and I have no idea how we are going to carry a week's worth of stuff in that thing. I guess we'll have to get one of those storage things on top, and just look like tourists. As if we don't already!

The kiddos

The kiddos

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