Saturday, February 26

February 30, 2011

Two nights a week, I moonlight as a waitress at a local diner.  It pays for gas and groceries and diapers. After 5 years without me having any outside job at all, it has been a huge change for our family. It's my pretend job.
I'm Not Really a Waitress.
My signature color.
It's hard to be at the end of my twenties, when the vast majority of the girls I work with are just starting out in theirs, or haven't even gotten there yet.  I've never blogged about my (vapid, vacant) coworkers because, well, if you can't say anything nice.....

They are of a different generation than mine, even if the oldest ones are just seven years younger than I am. The older ones were in 5th grade on 9/11. They were in diapers when Kurt Cobain died. They've never carried a Zach Morris Special. Crap, they probably don't know who Zach Morris is.

Occasionally I like to play with them. I use big words and they give me blank stares. I try very hard not to be condescending, but sometimes it's just. too. easy.


There is a giant bulletin board at work where important notices are posted. A large, and largely ignored, sign proclaims, "NO CELL PHONES IN THE BUILDING." There are a few half-hearted motivational quotes. If a waitress needs to have someone else pick up a shift, she posts a note with the date and time, ususally accompanied by a "pretty pretty pleez!"

This past Tuesday, I wrote an anonymous note:

I need off Feb. 30
4pm-close please!!
x____________

I was nearly giddy with the possibilities. Maybe I am meaner than I thought.
Friday night, I walked in and checked the board. Sure enough, someone had signed up to cover for me.
And left a note asking what day of the week it was.

I pulled the one coworker closest to me in age and IQ over to the board and pointed. "You put that up there?" she asked. Well, duh. We laughed and then went about our business.
Later in the evening I heard some coworkers arguing over the note.

"Is this a leap year?" one wondered.
"It has to be," another pointed out, "there are only 30 days in February on a leap year."

Before it got too far gone, I wrote IT'S A JOKE on the note and waited for them to discover it. When the manager (a mostly-grouchy-sometimes-fun old lady) saw it, she asked who did it.

"It had to be Savannah. She's one of the smartest ones here."





One of?


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Wednesday, February 23

SGA gets CRAFTY!

I told myself I wouldn't cross-promote my beloved Southern Girl Academy too much here, but I can't help myself today.

My friend (and one of the three women I currently want to be when I grow up) Jerusalem Greer is posting today at SGA. About crafting. And the girl knows of which she speaks. She's been featured in magazine and blogs all over, and she has her own etsy.com store full of her wonderful craftish things!



Head on over to SGA to learn how to make an EMERGENCY CRAFT KIT! Because it's brilliant, beautiful and resourceful.

Just like every good Southern Girl.





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Tuesday, February 22

Where you go, iGo

I don't to a whole lot of product reviews here, but I had to do this one, because I love the thing so, so much.


This, my friends, is an iGo Charge Anywhere.


And I'm a little bit in love with it.
A few months before my friend Kerri herded me off to October's Bloggy Boot Camp, I saw several tweets about the iGo company. People were wild about their products. I didn't really get what all the unadulterated joy was about.

Until I met Heather.

In the middle of a session at Bloggy Boot Camp Austin, I sent a tweet out- wondering whether to drain my BlackBerry's battery or my laptop's. There were no electric outlets available, and I was running dangerously low on both.
iGo.com was being represented at BBC by a cute girl in a yellow cardigan, who was offering to charge
my BlackBerry right up. In fact, she @replied to me saying something like, "iGo can help! Find me, I'm in the yellow cardigan." By the time I tracked her down, I was losing hope and my BlackBerry was fading fast. She gave me a big grin,  rummaged through a box, and pulled out the Charge Anywhere. Heather asked what kind of device I needed to charge (the BB has a standard USB plug-in), then found a tip to match. See, each iGo charger tip is designed to provide the exact amount of power to a specific device. And they power everything from cell phones to mp3 players to GPS devices to laptops! Awesome.

It was like magic, y'all. This little black box, unattached to any outlet, was charging my BlackBerry. Magic. I'll admit, I'm easily awed. But the iGo blew me away.

Heather sent me back to my table with a smile and an "I'll see you later!" I sat through the rest of the conference, marveling at the wonders of technology. With a fully powered BlackBerry.


And then I stole the iGo. On accident. I never saw Heather again, and after a nap in the hotel room, cramming my head full of SEO and best practice knowledge, and one semi-wild night out in Austin... I got home with the charger in my bag.
I. felt. awful.
Months of self-inflicted torture went by (as I kept using the charger and was simultaneously wracked with guilt) until I had an epiphany.

Duh.

I got in contact with iGo via their (extremely polite and helpful) twitter account- @iGo. They directed me back to cute-Heather-with-the-yellow-cardigan and I explained my mistake, all while apologizing profusely. And offering to write a post, and tweet about the (awesome) iGo charger.
She was gracious and said for me to go ahead!

And she gave me a discount code for their site, iGo.com, just for you beautiful bloggers! How cool is that?

Just enter iGoblogger at the website for 20% off your purchase! And there's free shipping for orders over $35!

The best part about the iGo products (aside from the aforementioned MAGIC) is that the iGo Green Technology (lithium ion batteries and other stuff I don't really get) reduces standby power by up to 85%, conserving resources and saving money. Did I say "awesome" already? This little baby has become my standard charger of choice. I plug it in at home, it self-charges (while charging my phone, if necessary) and then I just take it with me everywhere! It has never once failed to bring my on-its-deathbed BlackBerry back to life, 100%.

Since Jeremy got me a netbook for Christmas, I've been on it more than the laptop. It has a great battery life, but I'm already considering buying iGo's Universal Laptop Battery to add 4 hours of battery time to my sweet little netbook for when I'm away from the wall charger all day. At, like, a blogging conference or two.


Awesome.






Disclosure: If it wasn't abundantly clear, iGo lent me a charger and I jacked it. They didn't pay me to post a positive review, but they also didn't charge me with theft, either. We're all winners here, I think.

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Friday, February 18

My Funny Bunny



The Boy is the studious, serious one.
The Girl is the dramatic, sensitive one.
The Baby is, without a doubt, the funny one.

It is so easy to ascribe different aspects of Jeremy's and my personality to each of the kids.
The Boy is meticulous and introspective like Jeremy is, but he's also a bookworm and somewhat absent-minded. Just like his momma.
The Girl has her daddy's flash-in-a-pan temper, and my flair for hyperbole.
The Baby, though, she is harder to pin down. At two years old, she has already established much of Her Own Self. She is the undisputed boss around here.
I've joked to friends that we were learning how to be parents with B1, we were pretty good parents with B2, and with B3 we are total crap- giving in to her whims because a) she's so darn cute and b) she's so darn loud. We acquiesce just so we don't have to listen to her tortured wail. It's pathetic.                                      


But, oh, she is funny. A born comedienne, that Baby. She's two, for heaven's sake, and she tells jokes. Her vocabulary is out of this world, and she phrases things in her own funny way. She lives to make us laugh. Her shrill giggle gets her out of trouble more often than not. She makes funny faces, and the way she rolls her eyes in mock-exasperation could beat the socks off any petulant teenager.


 She does this thing where she presses her forehead to yours with all the strength she can muster, while cackling like a maniac, and it's just so ridiculous that you can't help cracking up too. She gives guerrilla hugs. She is full of what my mother calls Attack Love. She's a fruitcake.

She doesn't walk so much as she struts, swaggers, and prances. She doesn't talk so much as as she yells. She doesn't stand so much as she bounces, dances, and shakes. She doesn't smile so much as she creates joy.









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Thursday, February 17

What We're Reading- The Bookshelf of a 6 Year Old

A few months ago, I was tweeting what books The Boy and I were reading/had read together, and I recognized a pattern.

We like rodents.

Chapter book rats, picture book mice... we enjoy all kinds of scurriers.

Naked Mole Rat Gets DressedSeven Blind Mice (Reading Railroad)  The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear (Child's Play Library)   The Best Mouse Cookie Board Book (If You Give...)

The Boy and his sisters get a particulary big kick out of Seven Blind Mice. It's a beautifully illustrated, beautifully told story of, well, seven blind mice, who travel over a mountain and discover new things each day of the week... and eventually put the puzzle pieces together to discover what the mountain really is.

I'm a sucker for Don and Audrey Wood; I adore anything they do. Quick as a Cricket is my absolute favorite, but Mouse, Berry and Bear is a close second.


The Mouse and the Motorcycle  Runaway Ralph  The Secret of Nimh  Stuart Little by E. B. White, Garth Williams (Illustrator)  The Tale of Despereaux, Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, some soup, and a spool of thread

The very first chapter book The Boy and I read together, snuggled under covers, asking his daddy for one more chapter at bedtime, was my beloved Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and The Motorcycle. I loved litte Ralph as much this time around as I did when I was small. We also read Runaway Ralph, but haven't gotten around to Ralph S. Mouse. Yet.

The Secret of NIMH (that Amazon link leads to a paperback copy forjust $0.01!) was one of my very favorite books as a kid. It's full of terror and bravery and science and loyalty and a mother's love. And rats. We haven't read it together yet, but it's high on The Boy's TBR pile. And oh, what a pile it is.

Stuart Little and his bird friend Margalo's adventures were fun to read outloud. The language is a throwback to the '40s, and we learned some new words.


Our absolute favorite mouse-and-rat book thus has been Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Desperaux (You know: "Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread"). DiCamillo's writing is incredibly descriptive, imaginative and emotionally satisfying.
I can't say the same about the movie. It was crap.



So, if you have an early-reader in your house, or know one, or have ever been one, and you (or they) have a thing for rodentia, pick up one (or some!) of these books.

But don't take my word for it!


I know there are some great literary mice out there.... which books am I leaving out?


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Wednesday, February 16

I'm ok if boys don't make passes at The Girl in glasses

My husband, bless his heart, is 'bout near blind as a bat. He had to get his first pair of glasses at the ripe old age of four. Back in the old days (The Boy is convinced that tv only came in two colors- black and white- when my husband was a child. But that's another story), there was no Vera Bradley line of glasses. No Michael Kors, no Disney, no Laura Ashley. Jeremy's first set of specs were huge, round, and Coke-bottle thick.

Recently, he has noticed something not quite right  with The Girl's eyes. He is much more sensitive to that kind of thing than I am, oh me of perfect vision.

On Saturday they went on a father/daughter date to the optometrist. I was hope hope hoping she wouldn't have to get glasses, knowing somewhere in my heart she probably would.
Sure enough, I got the text an hour later, "She needs glasses. Far sighted. Come pick them out."

My heart sank. Yes, she'd look beyond adorable in glasses. No, glasses aren't the end of the world. Yes, I pray that she'll have the confidence to scoff at the mean kids who will (inevitably) make fun of her. No, I won't punish her when she punches them in their (glassesless) faces. It's likely, because my brilliant husband caught on while she was young, that her eyes will correct themselves before she's an adult. There is no astigmatism, which is a blessing. And though she was pretty ambivalent at the fact of actually wearing glasses, she was super stoked to be able to choose any pair she wanted. The Girl is all about accessorizing.


So, we picked some out.

First pair she chose

So many to try!
She tried on several wire-rimmed ones and one rockin' pair of horn-rims, but she was drawn to the thicker, more distinctive kind. That's my Girl. Original to her core.

These were my most favorite. Jeremy called them "Lisa Loeb-ish"


Narrowing the field....

After much deliberation and a whole lot of "Ladybug, are you sure sure?"-ing, she settled on a pair that made her heart happy.




The very first pair she tried on.




I can only hope she's this easy and decisive when it comes to her wedding dress.





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Monday, February 14

Bloggers' Night Out: The Redux

I am woefully remiss in having waited so long to talk about the awesome that was Bloggers' Night Out.

It. was. awesome.

When sweet Kelcie invited me to come and teach her friends a thing or two about blogging, I thought she was nuts. But, as I prepped for my presentation, I found out I know more than I thought I did. Or, I think I know more than I thought I did. Either way.


My blogging shirt and cute Kelcie

I found out I retained a lot of the info I heard at Bloggy Boot Camp. I came to terms with the fact that I'm a total geek for the twitters. I realized, even more than before, how much I love blogging and the community it creates.

And I talked for three hours. THREE. WHOLE. HOURS. Of course, the girls asked some great questions that led to some great discussions. But mostly I talked. For three hours.

I want you to go and check out the blogs of these lovely ladies, and give them some encouragement. Some of them have been blogging for years, and some (ahem, one) of them set up their blog the day before our night out! But they are all fabulous girls who, like me, are trying to find their way around this world of wide webs.

Kelcie is a writer and blogs at Then There Were Three

Candace is a budding photographer who graciously gave me a photo session as a thank you gift.

Kourtney works for March of Dimes and was brave enough to let us have the party at her house. Also, her husband said it was a good thing I'm not a preacher.... as it was obvious from the THREE HOURS OF TALKING that I'm a little long-winded.

Nicki has a blog that's way cuter than mine. AND she has a food blog. Nicki wins.

Amanda's blog is also way cute and she has a whole page of recipes.

Ginger happens to be related to one of my friends... it's a small (blog)world after all.

Sara made me an unbelievably gorgeous canvas. Check her out at The Sassy Polkadot, too. You'll want one of everything.

my amazing canvas from sweet Sara Bell

I wish I had a picture of the whole group of us. It was such a great night, and I'm so honored that they trusted me to inform them.

Thank you, girls, for a wonderful experience.



Now, who's ready for Bloggers' Night Out Part Deux??


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Wednesday, February 9

Valentine's Day Prep: the Kindness of Strangers

I was catching up on the twitters this morning and came across my friend Brent's hilarious account of egg-shopping in the current snowblizzard. At the end of a string of tweets, he revealed that the lady in the checkout line in front of him couldn't get her card to work. So he asked the checker to scan his items, and he paid for it all. Brent played it off like he was in a hurry, but secretly, he's a good dude. Just don't tell him I said so.



It reminded me of the time, in 2007, I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper. They published it on February 14th. Here is that letter:


On the day before Valentine’s Day, after my husband left home for his night shift at work, I took our nearly-6-month-old daughter and nearly-3-year-old son to Wal-Mart to get their dad a gift. I was wearing my daughter in a front carrier pouch and my son was riding in the cart. The gift I’d picked out was very large. As I was contemplating how to get it into the cart without damaging it or my children, a woman who was passing by put down what she was carrying and helped me load my item into the basket. I was very grateful for her help and told her so.
When we finally reached the checkout line, my son accidentally opened the candy I’d promised him. The man behind us in line saw me struggling to clean the mess (still with my daughter on my chest), and he helped me pick up the candy. After thanking him, I tried to reach sideways into the basket behind the bulky box and again, he came to my rescue. I thanked him once more. My total came to a few dollars more than the cash I had on me so I asked the lady to take off one of the food items, apologizing to her as I asked. The total came within a few cents of the amount of money I had; yet another thing to be grateful for.
As I was leaving, I thanked them both for their help and wished them a good evening. After bundling my children against the frigid wind, we hurried to the car. The man who’d stood behind me in line ran to catch up with us, holding in his hand the item I couldn’t pay for. All he said to me was, “I couldn’t let her have to restock it.” I thanked him yet again, with a huge smile on my face. As my son yelled his thanks, the man grinned at us, turned, and walked away.

I make it a point to do small kindnesses for people when I can; it’s the way I was raised. It’s amazing when the person on the receiving end of kindness is me.

On the day before Valentine’s Day, people I’ve never seen before and will likely never see again showed me the kind of love that often gets lost amid the roses and chocolates and big heart balloons- genuine, honest, and easy compassion.

I want to thank them, and everyone else who hasn’t forgotten what it means to do good to others.

.......................................


greeting card from zazzle.ca
  
 
 
 
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Friday, February 4

Valentine's Day Prep: A Quote


"Your eyes would suffice to give tired men hope."


a cheesy, but nonetheless heart-melting, line from the movie, "New York, I Love You "


hope, on etsy

Wednesday, February 2

Husband Hump Day: Great Responsibilities

Somehow, I managed to sweet-talk my husband into guest posting for me. Fingers-crossed, every first Wednesday of the month from now on will be a new post from JB. Stay tuned, because there is no telling what he'll come up with!
................................................


ed note:
Spidey is property of Marvel Comics,
and rad rad Stan Lee

"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." (Luke 12:48) This verse defines my responsibilities as the head of the household. I am the baby of my first family, but I am the only son. The caretaking responsibilities fall solely on my shoulders. I have been groomed for this my whole childhood and adult life. My mother and father made sure I was aware that someday I would 1) have a family, and 2) I would also be in charge of handling my parents in their older age.

I am scared to death of that 1). I am the “protective umbrella” of my family. I make the final decision (if you have a good wife like I do there is always compromise). I wouldn’t ever make a “hard” decision without my wife, but I am totally responsible for the decision. Because of my faith, I believe that I answer for everyone in my household, as long as they are in my household. Is it fair? Who’s to say for sure, but life is not fair.


I worry constantly that I am not a good enough example for my children. I pray for their future spouses. I worry that they are not exposed enough to the Bible and its teachings (you can never have too much). I pray that, even though we gave them back to God at birth, He will use us to raise them right. I hate to discipline my children. I do it out of love for them. We try to teach them about family, values, manners, etiquette, worldly things, Biblical things and all things from a-to-z. Being a parent is emotionally and physically tiresome, and is the most rewarding thing one could ever accomplish.

photo by my incredibly talented wife

I worry that I am not the best husband I can possibly be. The examples I have are at once awesome and impossible. My parents were married 36 years before my father passed away. Even with everyday problems and trials they toughed it out and loved each other the whole time. Also, I am commanded to love my wife the way Christ loves the church. (How could one possibly live up to that kind of standard?) Still want to call the shots? It's hard to want to be in charge when up against examples like that.

And finally we come to 2) taking care of my parents. Even though I am the youngest of three children, I am the only son. My parents were very traditionalist and raised me in that manner. They believe that the eldest son, if there is one, is responsible for the care of the family when the time comes. Well, the time has sort of come since my father passed away. I do not run my mom’s finances or tell her what to do or when to do it. What I do now is primarily up-keep. I change light bulbs, do landscaping, fix things I can, and make sure the things my father did are still done. When my mother gets to the age she cannot care for herself anymore, she will live with us or us with her.

I promised my dad and mom a long time ago that I would never place either of them in a nursing home. I will not do it. I know how hard it will be because I saw how hard it was on my dad when he took his mother into their house. He had to change so much around so it would accommodate her needs. He installed a chair lift for the stairs, installed a shower capable of fitting a wheelchair, and installed hand rails everywhere. So what I plan on taking on is not done lightly, but it’s done out of love. My parents took care of me when I was young and it was difficult at times. Someday I will take care of my mom when it is difficult. Still want to call the shots?



Everyone wants power and to make decisions, but few can handle the responsibilities that come with the power. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but as for what rules me this works. I don’t force this view on anyone or condemn them for different views. I will, however, do my best to pass this along to my children.

 
 
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Jeremy B is a hard workin' man who thinks he has nothing to say, but his bride knows better. He enjoys spending time with his neurotic dog, his three darling children, and his outrageously gorgeous wife. He also forgot to write his own bio, so someone else had to.
Again.


 
 
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Tuesday, February 1

Indescribably Undomestic: She gets it from her momma

Having birthed and thus-far raised three kids you'd think I'd pay a little better attention when the house gets quiet.

After-bedtime quiet house = heaven. Daylight-hours quiet house = impending doom.

Yesterday I, very mistakenly, thought The Baby was playing in her room with her beloved Weeble Wobbles. (Seriously, she's obsessed. You know they wobble, but they don't fall down. What's not to love?)

Instead, she was doing this:


Yes, I climbed up on the sink to take the picture. How could I not document that?

I've always heard that egg white facials do wonders for the skin. No mention of what they do to ducky floor mats.










Clearly, I am doing nothing in the way of teaching The Baby important life skills like Bathroom Clean-Keeping or Scrambled Egg-Making.


Her poor, poor future spouse.




*edit* Oh, I didn't mention how she GOT the eggs OUT of the fridge in the first place? Never again will I trust The (beatific, altruistic) Girl when she so sweetly offers to fetch a Capri Sun for her sister. She totally let The Baby swipe the eggs, and didn't come tell me they were all cracked UNTIL THEY WERE ALL CRACKED.
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