Currently addicted to:

JAC's Squidge. Ahhhh....

Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's. Oh. My. God. These are ridiculously good. Mars, Corp. you are a sweet, evil mistress, you with your delicious candy-coated shell innovations.

Oh, Dr. Pepper, my former beloved. How could I have forsaken you all these years? I loved you in jr. high. I love you still.


County fair.

En route to the fair: I call this photo, "Moooom, I thought I told you not to interrupt me while I'm on a conference call!" Doesn't he look put out with me?! I'm sure I'll be seeing that look with increasing frequency in the not-distant-enough-future. (He was talking to Aunt 'Lecia & Z, btw. A rousing conversation that as far as I could tell involved mostly Daddy's work schedule and backhoes.)

You gotta love the county fair. The dust and smell of the animals, the blue ribbons, the sweet, chewy taffy, the rusting, ancient rides assembled by listless carnies...ah, bliss!

I took Mog this afternoon, and I can't imagine why I thought it was a good idea for me to do that by myself. By the time we left I was hot and sweating in my jeans, I really had to pee, I was broke, and I was cranky as hell. But the small boy had a good time, so I suppose it was worth it. Where else can you spend a completely ridiculous sum of money a mere $40.00 and come away with a tiny stuffed hedgehog, a balloon animal Snoopy flying a balloon airplane, and precious, precious memories?

Sometimes Mog amazes me with his fearlessness. He rode the cars by himself 3x, and waved at me everytime the ride whisked him past. Love, love. :)

He may be fearless, but his momma isn't, so we didn't get on this one:

But we did...

the flying elephants.

And he freaking loved it. (He's in the midst of yelling "cheeseballs" at the camera here, hence the wrinkled nose expression.)

And, this one:

I would have taken him to the tractor pull tonight, but I'm afraid his head would have blown off with the sheer force of joy. We simply couldn't risk it.

Also, I had to get the hell out of there before I was forced to use a port-a-potty.


Scrapping the va-cay.

Las Vegas is the very definition of the word "spectacle." I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I'd love to go back sometime soon to see the sights we missed. Eli and I wandered around in an awed daze most of the time we were there, and I feel like I need to return now that I know what to do and how to navigate the place! :)

And guess who got picked out of line at the airport for the extra security screening? Yep, that's right--moi! I ALWAYS get searched. Every time I have flown I have either been submitted to extra x-raying, or my bags get searched. Every. Time. Cause, you know, I look extremely suspicious. That 5'3'' generously porportioned woman with the ill-fitting jeans and flip-flops--search her!--she's sooo likely to have a pipe bomb hidden in her carry-on amongst the paperbacks and logic puzzles. Uh huh. Right.

But back to business.

Before we left I put together a little book of patterned papers, planning to add photos and what-not to it upon our return. I completed it on Monday and was surprised what a fat little book it turned out to be. I had to swap out the 1 inch book rings I had put it together with originally for 2 inchers.

There are many more pages, but these give the general idea. I like that it's a sloppy little album, with tickets sticking out willy-nilly and masking tape and staples adhering some of the pictures. Some pages are just 4x6 pictures glued back to back.

This was so easy to do.

Done, and done! Voila!



I hate juice boxes. I’d like to get ahold of whoever invented juice boxes and sit on her chest and squirt her straight in the eye with some Apple Juicy Juice. Out of one of those tiny white straws that bend all crinkly-like.

I know, I know, you’re saying, “Jeez, Rachel. First the Wal-Mart diatribe and now juice boxes? What else do you hate?” I’ll tell you what else. Puppies. I hate puppies, okay? Especially when they’re wearing sweaters. That shit is stupid.

I don’t buy juice boxes as a rule, but lately we’ve been boxing it mostly because Eliot became acquainted with and enamored of juice boxes after numerous Happy Meals (and yeah, I said I’d never take my kid to McDonald’s, cause I hate McDonald’s too. Whatever). When he gets a Happy Meal, he also gets a juice box because he isn’t allowed to drink soda. I know, I’m practically a fascist.

So. Juice boxes. Eli bought a pack, or I bought a pack? Someone bought a pack at the grocery store because they appeared in our refrigerator and now instead of requesting just juice, Eliot specifically demands “Juice box! I want a juice box!” (And really, hearing the adorable way he pronounces the words “juice box” make it almost worth the trouble.) I grabbed him a juice box this morning and was taking it to him on the couch, where we were busy soaking up the morning dose of Curious George, when the stupid thing dribbled all down my leg and onto the floor. This always happens. Always, because the dumb straw points downward and when the juice box is full it’s nearly impossible to carry it without juice flowing out the straw and down your pants leg. The tiniest amount of pressure on the juice box causes spurts of liquid to fly out of the box with abandon, as though the juice’s rightful place in the universe is on your leg and on your floor, instead of in your kid’s mouth and down his gullet.

This is one of those instances where you might think I’d be smart enough to carefully hold the straw upright as I walk with the juice box, but if you think that then you obviously don’t know me well. I might hold an advanced degree, but I can’t even figure out how the dimensions of a piece of paper change when it’s folded, so don’t be expecting me to triumph over the juice box any time soon. And I also know that they (whoever “they” are) make hard plastic holders to slip the juice box into to prevent accidental squeezing, but that would just be too easy, right? Then what would I have to write bitch about?


I am reminded of my dear mother’s eternal lament as I was growing up. “Rachel,” she’d sigh, “You’re making it harder than it is.”

I know, Mom. I know. It’s what I do. :)


I'm in love.

My love affair with etsy.com continues.
I was away from my computer for almost a week, and so I've been making up for lost browsing time today. If anyone wants to buy me some of this stuff, you just go right on ahead! ;)

Current favorites:


Putt putt.

You knew she meant business when she was talking but her teeth weren’t moving.

Let me just start by saying that Wal-Mart is the center of all evil. While I've never been to Bentonville, Arkansas, I imagine there must be a thick black swirling vortex of inexpensive and shoddily constructed items hovering just above the city. Residents have to check the daily evil index before venturing outside, or risk choking on the diabolical fumes of soda shelved directly next to laundry detergent.

I try to keep all this in mind, and I expect it accounts for at least part of the reason why my son acts like such a rotten brat every time we shop there. (Hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) When he was an infant, Eliot loved Wal-Mart. Loved it. Sometimes when he got superbly cranky I would strap him in the car and drive him to the store just so that we could pace the aisles, with him gazing up at the lights and the colors from his chicken bucket. (Some people call it a pumpkin seat; I call it a chicken bucket. Eh huh.
You're actually required to read that line with a Billy Bob Thornton Slingblade accent, in case you didn't notice.)

But at some point, the tide turned, and now I dread taking Mog with me even if it's just to run in for a gallon of milk. Especially if it's just to run in for a gallon of milk. He inevitably refuses to sit in the section of the cart that's actually designed to hold a child, kicking and screaming, and yelling, "No! It hurts, Momma, It HURTS!" if I make any attempt to get him to sit there. Instead, he wants to sit in the grocery part of the cart, which is fine until he gets bored and stands up, leaning out to snatch items off the shelf or knock them to the floor. At this point I think we can all agree that it is Wal-Mart's aura of evil provoking him to do these things, and not a failure of my parenting, which is stellar. Ha. Ha.

In fact, there is very little that makes one feel more like a crummy, useless parent than having a child throw a tantrum in public. First, people look at you like it's your fault that you can't control your kid, and they look at you like that because that's exactly what they're thinking. Regardless of whether these people are parents themselves, they will give you the most hostile stares of scorn and even pure disgust when your kid makes noises as though you're pulling out his toenails and trying to feed them to him, even though you AREN'T EVEN TOUCHING HIM FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY JUST GET IN THE FREAKING CART. And secondly, the whole situation coats you with the stench of double failure, because let's face it: what's your recourse at this point? What is the "good parent" supposed to do here? Most of the time my answer to that question is remove yourself and the kid from the situation. Leave the cart, leave the groceries, and just get the hell out of dodge. Go home and put the kid to bed. And then threaten him with bodily harm if he ever pulls such a stunt again. (Ha—yeah, like he cares! But whatever.) But want if you NEED tampons? Or chocolate? Or something else equally important? What then?

Sometimes my answer is to bribe Eliot with promises of new matchbook cars if he'll just shush and get in the cart. And when I hear myself doing this, when I sort of step outside my brain and watch myself and think about how I would narrate the events unfolding (do other people do this too, or am I just a weirdo?), I feel like I totally deserve those deprecating glances from fellow shoppers. Let's face it, if I were them, I'd be giving me the stinkeye too.

So today, before we ever got out of the car and headed into the store, we had a talk about BEHAVING. I told Mog he would have to behave in Wal-Mart while we did our shopping or else he would not be coming into the store with me again. So he nodded his head and agreed, that yes, he would behave. I told him that if he could be a VERY good boy while we were shopping, he could choose a new car when we were finished. This tactic seemed to work, and actually, I think the whole trip would have gone off without a hitch if it hadn't been for the infernal sensor going off on our way out.

He only needed one reminder about BEHAVING, when we were in the aisle looking at razors and he stood up and reached out to grab a package. I bent down and whispered in his ear (because quiet threatening is way scarier than a raised voice; a raised voice is much too predictable), "If you don't sit down now and stop grabbing, you will not get a car." Magically, he let go of the razors and sat back down without a word of protest.

Even more impressive, when we had finished our shopping and were in the matchbox car aisle, eyeballing the possibilities, Mog pointed at a giant plastic crane: "I want THAT," he said, clearly impressed. I gently replied, "No, we aren't getting a big toy today. Today we have to choose a little car." (And why do I do that—that annoying plural pronoun nonsense? I just can't help myself.) And wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the child said, "Okay." And chose instead a very lovely tiny blue forklift.

And all would have been, should have been, could have been well. Except for the sensor. Dear God in Heaven, the stupid sensor. It said something garbled and unintelligible as we passed through, something like, "Please report to the customer service department where an exceedingly bored teenager named Tricia, wearing a blue vest with a yellow smiley face sticker will proceed to frisk you in order to retrieve the twelve Kenny G CD's that we KNOW you have stuck in the waistband of your pants." (Okay, I'm lying. They don't wear blue vests anymore; they wear navy shirts and khakis. Cause you know, they're all upscale now. Pfft!)

So the elderly door greeter lady, armed with her giant gray sensor-y wand, comes over to us, and I'm digging for my receipt, which I had already stashed in my purse, when Mog totally loses it. Because now that he has his forklift, all bets are off, right? He starts scrambling like a lunatic, trying to get out of the cart, throwing himself against me and making noises like a cat in heat. When I lift him out of the cart he goes completely boneless until he slides down my body and onto the floor. Every parent of a child old enough to stand knows the boneless trick. Somehow, unfathomably, they become rubberized and loose so that any attempt to grasp them is fruitless. So Mog is thrashing around at my feet, while I'm simultaneously trying to get ahold of him and dig the receipt out of my purse, and greeter lady and other shoppers are giving me looks of stern disapproval.

Somehow I managed to make it back to our car without dying of shame.

I find myself wondering how in the world my own mother achieved such silent acquiescence from me and my sisters in public settings. I don't remember ever causing a scene in public, and maybe that's because my memory is faulty, but I really don't think any of us girls ever threw a tantrum while out on the town. In fact, I don't recall any tantrum-throwing at home either. Whatever my mom did to us—I don't recall ever having been spanked or physically punished in any way—it was enough to ensure our tacit obedience. I remember that all she would have to do if tempers began to flare was put the squeeze to our upper arm and whisper through clenched teeth into our ear. The mystery of just how much she was capable of was scary enough that we didn't dare push her past her limits. We didn't want to find out what she would do. (Well, except for Adriane, of course. I'm fairly sure I do remember Adriane getting slapped hard across the face on more than one occasion, but that was during the teenage years. That was a whole other story. And the sound of the contact of my mother's hand with Adriane's cheek was so shocking that I think it ensured Elecia's and my behavior for at least several years afterwards.)

I'm left home again, with Eliot, now safely out of the public eye and back to his sunny self, to ponder discipline and obedience. I don't want my son to grow up to be disrespectful or to feel the sense of entitlement that I see in so many of the young adults who are my students. But I also don't want him to become fearful and easily cowed. (This is not to say that my mom erred on this side—not at all. On the contrary, I think I was lucky to have been born to two people who were such wonderful parents.) But how does a parent strike a balance between the two extremes? How do we walk through the shadow of the valley of Wal-Mart and not knock every colorful box along the way off the shelf?


Pop quiz: Why did I let Mog eat a custard cone in the backseat of the car?

A) I hate myself enough that I want to spend half an hour cleaning up the mess.
B) I'm a cool mom.
C) I'll do anything to make that kid smile.
D) I just plain didn't know any better.
E) All of the above.

If you answered "E," you are correct.

Story People

So I don't at all remember how or when I stumbled upon Story People, but I came across them in my internet ramblings one day and signed up for their daily newsletter (which as far as I can tell is much less frequent than daily, but whatever). Sometimes they're wonderful and right on and sometimes they're just plain weird. No wonder I like them, right!? Sounds like me.

Anyway, I enjoyed what I found in my inbox today, even though I'm not big on the idea of angels. Just change "angel" to spirit of the universe, I guess, or something slightly less hokey. Click here to read it. It's really quite lovely.



Last night I dreamed that Dave Grohl got drunk and threw up in my hair. I was all, "Dude. I don't care if you are Dave Grohl, that's just gross."


Recent proof that my kid is freakin' adorable.

Fishing at Pa Pa & Grandma's house.

Eating a slushie during our visit with Millifriend Megan.
Note that two spoons are better than one. ;)

Eliot had a great holiday weekend, from splashing in the pool at Uncle E & Aunt C's to watching fireworks at Pa & Grammy's house. He wanted to go down the pool slide like the guys were doing, so I carried him to the top and sent him down, threatening Eli with his life if he didn't catch him. And so he did catch him, sort of. Apparently Mog is a little top-heavy, and he flipped off the end of the slide and entered the pool headfirst before Eli was able to grab him. He was pretty flustered when he came up choking and sputtering, but recovered pretty quickly and kept 'swimming.' He was angry at me because I wouldn't let go of him in the pool. He wanted to swim on his own! At times that boy amazes me with his fearlessness.

He loved the fireworks as well. With every explosion Mog's face contorted into an open 'O' of wild delight, and he'd quickly glance to Z to see if she was having a similar reaction. It was so funny, the same routine, over and over. His giant smile and the quick swivel to his cousin. Every time. :)

I wish I had a video, not of the fireworks display, but of the kids watching them, standing in the back of Uncle Otie's red pickup, leaning chubby dippled arms against the tailgate, gazing up at the sky.


This face says, "I said 'cheese' dammit, now get me back in the pool!"


Boom boom pow.

Today was NOT a good day. Much whining and tantrum throwing from Mog, including a total spazoid fit in Walmart over which cart we were going to use. A spazoid fit that resulted in me marching him back out to the car and driving straight home and putting him to bed with a stern warning: "if you EVER pull that crap with me in public again, we will come home and I WILL SPANK YOUR BOTTOM. DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND. ME." Notice that last is not a question. It is a statement.

I'm fairly sure my teeth weren't moving as I said those words, and as the four of us daughters of Karil know, that is some serious shit. That, and the fact that I totally gave up on the grocery shopping and came home with no Fresca.

I honestly don't know that I've ever been so angry at Eliot. It seems silly now, but just hours ago I was spitting furious with him. So furious that on the way home he kept yelling, "I want music, Mom! I want Boom Boom Pow!" and I just turned off the car stereo and said, through gritted teeth, "No Black-Eyed Peas for you! You are in TROUBLE! NO Boom Boom Pow!" (The kid freakin' loves the Black-Eyed Peas. Not kidding.)

By the time Eli got home from work, both of us had marginally recovered and we were watching DragonTales together, Mog on my lap, his feet cupped in my hands, my breath in his hair. And when Eli walked through that door...well...I had actually forgotten how nice it is to have a partner. Someone to whom I can hand over the boy after a long frustrating day and just say, "Here. Take this beastly spawn before I lose my mind." Someone to go back to Walmart, armed with my list, and bring me back milk, Basic 4 cereal, swim diapers, and...FRESCA! (Just the essentials.) Someone to put Mog in the tub and wash his hair. Someone to wrestle him into pajamas and sing him to sleep.

I have missed him. I have missed us.

But I don't know whether I can forgive him...for coming back from Walmart tonight without the Fresca. Seriously! Four items on the list and you forget one? The most important one? Seriously?

This is the most grevious offense yet. No Boom Boom Pow for you, sir. No Boom Boom Pow for you.


What's gender got to do with it?

This is my favorite sequence of photos from yesterday's impromptu (I used your word, Seth!) trip to Chicago.

Possibly my favorite sequence of photos ever, actually.

Many kisses to Seth, my most favoritest bald man of all time, for the heapin' helpin' of hospitality. I love you more than Michael Stipe, more than Ben Kingsley. And that's pretty serious.