Tuesday, March 29

Only the Good Dye Young

I have had 17 gray hairs in the last two years. I counted each one as I pulled it out of my head. At first I was naming them. The Baby. The Girl. The Boy. The Dog. The Husband. The Laundry. Then I lost count, and started over.

Not even RiRi can pull off the Betty White look.

I had friends in high school whose moms were totally on board with their bleached blonde highlights, or jet black dye jobs. These were The Pretty Friends. The ones whose eyeliner never smudged, whose braces came off before mine, and whose hair never kinked up in the stifling Arkansas humidity. Ten years later, they're still gorgeous. I hate them a little bit.

My mom colored her hair for years, but warned me against it. "If you ever start, you won't be able to stop." (Interestingly, this bit wisdom is exactly what one of my closest -and now heart-breakingly deceased- guy friends told me about pre-marial sex.)

There was one disastrous occasion when the mother of my Beauty Pagaent Friend firmly placed a cap on my head and started pulling "just a few pieces. To frame your face. To highlight it a bit. And... hand me those tweezers. Your eyebrows are ridiculous." Thus began my first lesson in plucking and coloring.

I stuck with the tweezing (mostly... though now I let my hairdresser do the waxing for me), but not so much the highlights. Turns out my light brown hair didn't take well to that color- and orange didn't look as good on me as it does on Kathy Griffin.

Lately I'm thinking of reversing my position on aging gracefully. My long-held anti-upkeep regimen is starting to show. The Girl poked at my scalp a few weeks ago and asked why one of my hairs was shiny. Shiny and silver.

I recently read a precious YA book, Anna and the French Kiss whose author and main character both have unique do's. Stephanie Perkins has cute, curly hair that is sometimes green, sometimes blue. Her titular Anna has brown hair with a manufactured shock of white.
After I finished the French Kiss, I had a brilliant idea: Purple highlights.

Not this drastic, from fashionmefabulous.com,
but, um, nice flowers there, gal.

I've been toying with the idea of putting purple highlights in the underside my hair for months now. I have a friend who, after years of jobs that required a strict wardrobe and appearance, became a momma and highlighted her blonde hair with a shocking pink- and loved it. I am not so bold, but I think some color would be fun. I just haven't worked up the guts yet.

See? Subtle. From gasolinealleysalon.com, wherever that is.

Anything would be better than more gray-hair counting.

Also hair related: My fantastic giveaway with The Rep!! Two tickets to the Mom & Me matinee of Hairspray are still up for grabs. My sweet friends Alison and Sarabeth are giving away tickets, too!


Thursday, March 24

Mom & Me Giveaway- see Hairspray at the Rep!

I am so excited for this, I can't even think of a proper introduction.... so.... here it is!

My friends at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre asked me to give away two tickets to the Mom & Me event and matinee of Hairspray on Saturday, April 9!

There will be a Lunch & Shop before the show (from noon to 2:00) featuring jewelry by Rae Ann Creations, handbags, candles, salon services by Staci Roberts, custom picture frames and more by The Sassy Polka Dot (remember the gorgeous canvas she made me?), and a special Hairspray cake by Covered in Cake!
Then the fun begins onstage as Tracy Turnblad and Link Larkin and the rest of the Hairspray cast raise the curtains at 2:00 pm.

Tickets start at $40, but you can win two right here! This will be such a fun time for mothers and daughters (or sisters! or BFFs! or cousins! or next door neighbors!) of all ages.
There are several (fun!) ways to win:
  • Leave a comment on this post describing your worst haircut.
  • Like chasing my Bees on Facebook, and leave an additional comment saying that you did.
  • Like The Rep on Facebook and leave another comment.
  • Check out The Rep's 2011-2012 season and leave yet another  comment about which show you're most looking forward to (To Kill a Mockingbird! The Wiz! Second City!) seeing.
  • Saving the best option for last: Send a picture of your own hairspray fiasco or swingin' 60's outfit to SavannahB@chasingmyBees.com and I'll publicly shame you give your props for your bravery!

Send me your pictures and leave your comments by next Friday, April 1st.
I'll post the pics and announce the winner on Monday, April 4th!
Tracy with 'TEEN Magazine, featuring Link Larkin!
from Arkansas Repertory Theatre's flickr stream


Disclosure: The folks and the productions at the Rep are beyond awesome. In exchange for asking me to do this giveaway, the Rep is giving me 3 tickets to see Hairspray, so I can take my mom and my Ladybug. Just don't tell my mom about it, because it's a surprise. The Rep did not ask me to tell you how awesome they are, or to include so dadgum many exclamation points in one blog post. All opinions (and punctuation) are solely my own.
Seriously, don't tell my mom.


Wednesday, March 23

Friday, March 18

Open Highways Readers: Groovy 60's Kid Books

I have had the good fortune of stumbling upon not one but two library book sales lately. A few weeks ago, Sarabeth, Sarah, Kerri and I, along with my five children (yes, five- two Bees, two nephews, and a cousin-niece) ventured into the wilds of the CALS Main Branch's basement.

I would have paid good money to be down there alone, or to be down there with those gals and no children. As it was, I let each kid pick out five (5!) books of their own (because I am the coolest mother/aunt ever), I collected several kid books and, I think, only one grown-up book.

Then on Wednesday of this week, I went to my local library to pick up some books they were holding for me. I was delighted, thrilled even, to find another book sale going on.

I think it's an addiction, this habit I have of collecting books. But it's better than crack, right?

As I finally got around to putting all of the books in their new homes, I noticed that two of them- from separate library sales- were from the same 1960's reader series: Open Highways, a diagnostic and developmental reading program.

Their cover art (and loads of art inside) was so fantistically fantastic, I thought about framing the entire book and hanging it on my wall. And then I remembered I own a dusty old scanner. So.

circa 1967
So cool, huh? Also, a good motto for life. Ready to Roll. I think my friend, That Cover Girl, would approve.

And this second one is my favorite: 1) for its inherent awesomeness and 2) because nobody really says "splendid" anymore, and 3) because it was formerly owned by one Chuckie McCauley. And I like that.

circa 1968
Also a good motto for life... or... a good metaphor for life. Either way.

I think I will do some light color correcting, and print them out and frame them.

Not a bad ROI, considering they were a nickel a piece.


Tuesday, March 15

I have a crush on Tumblr

When I first heard about Tumblr (later than everyone else had, because that's how I do), I was hesitant. In fact, I was all, "No way, not another microblogging site/thing I have to remember the password to." But thanks to a little coaching from Kat, I fell in love. Blame her.

I am totally smitten by Tumblr because I see so many lovely things there, and I don't have to do anything at all! Yes, it's a self-gratifying, lazy kind of love.

It's a lot like Twitter in that you follow the tumbls, or tumblrs, or, tumblogs or whatever, of people you want to follow. There is no barrage of status updates from your Aunt Mildred and that One Guy From Highschool. There is no, "RT MY TUMB, PLZ."

Occasionally, there are lots of words grouped together (like the excellent, if sometimes foul-mouthed, Kelli Hates. Which I love.) but mostly, in my stream, there are pretty pictures of random things, and lovely quotes. It is a source of etsy.com inspiration. It has tons of cool vintagey things, with which I am currently obsessed. It has lots and lots of photos of books, and of people reading books, that I particularly love. It has photos of handmade felt octopi, for crying out loud.

This is why I love Tumblr- I don't have to create anything. I don't have to sit down and come up with something, I don't have to wonder if I might offend someone, or worse, leave someone not laughing. I just get to click the handy "reblog" button, add it to my automatic queue, and say, "Ahhh."

Some of my recent tumbles (I'm sorry, Tumblr. I had to stick that "e" in there just once.) include:

and THIS.
which is actually a picture of my uncle and one of my cousins,
and is one of my most favorite photos in the whole world.

I, ever so aptly, titled my tumbl, .the.things.i.love.
Its, ever so apt, tagline is this: a small but varied collection of things that catch my eye or tug at my heart

Go see. It might just tug at your heart, too!


Sunday, March 13

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Ranking Pain

My frriend Fadra has this great little meme: Stream of Consciousness Sunday. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and write. Publish. Don't edit, don't even spellcheck. Let it flow. I've been meaning to do it for the last few weeks, and I kept forgetting. Of course, the weekend I remember, I am afflicted.

I can only see out of one eye, currently. Early early last Thursday morning I went to check on The crying Baby. I usually use my trusty BlackBerry as a flashlight, but in the 4:15 am haze, I forgot to grab it. When I opened the door to B3's room, she was standing there, wailing. At the exact moment I bent over to pick her up, she raised her hands to "holdju," and then.... Fingernail... Eyeball... Meet, not so very, cute.
After Jeremy went to work and the rest of the house woke (back)up, I realized it was more than a bump. I called my mother-in-law in desperation, and she took me to Our Family Doctor. He did some awful diagnostics and pronounced: Corneal Abrasion. Antibiotics. Check tomorrow.
I'll leave out the bit about writhing around in pain all night, and jump to the re-check Friday morn. More awful liquids in my eye and a weird blue light and: Still not healing. Go to eye doc.
God bless the eye doc. I'll also leave out the bit where he said I had torn eyeball skin holding on like a hangnail. And I'll leave out the bit where he did a little in-house surgery to remove the offending eyeball skin. I'll leave out the bit about the bandage lens and all because EW OMG EW GROSS YUCK EYEBALLS.
I will say this: God bless the eye doc. He's my new BFF. Him, Vigamox, and Tylenol #3.
I have spent the entire weekend in bed, in various stages of unrest. Sleeping fitfully, dozing almost-comfortably, wide awake in misery.
It sucks being down by one eyeball. As it is, this is the very first time since Thursday morning I've turned on my darling netbook, and still, I'm only half-hoping this will actually post, as I'm not sure if I'm actually blogging, or writing one very long appointment in my calendar.
Just now, Jeremy asked how I was doing.
"Giving myself a headache."
"Well, stop! I don't want to hear your whining later!"
Which, is kind of a moot point ("It's a moo point!" Oh, Joey Tribiani, I miss you), since he hears my whining on a regular basis anyway.
My husband has been a champ this weekend. He has done every bit of laundry, cooking, bathing, soothing, spanking, reading, entertaining, chauffering and nursing. Every. Single. Bit. Because he is remarkable, that's why.
But I've been thinking about this extraordinary pain in my left eyeball, and how slowly it is healing. I can only compare it to other pains I've had, physical ones, not psychological, because there is a 5 minute time limit here. And I can't compare it to real, awful, lifechanging and devestating pains, either. I've just been comparing it to what i've experienced. And here's how it goes:
Worst, Systemic, Shoot-Me-Now-Please Pain: Mastitis at not even 2 weeks postpartum, 2008
Longest, Wiggling-and-Drugs-Won't-Help Pain: Kidney Stones, at 6 months pregnant in 2004, and at 38 weeks pregnant, 2008 (2008 was not my finest year. Except, yay, The Baby was born!)
Sharpest, Shards-of-Glass-Shredding-Delicate-TissuePain: This.
It's excrutiating. No kidding, Shards. Of. Glass, this feels like.
But, every day is a little better than the previous one, and I get to amuse The Baby by making pirate noises. While wearing my eye patch.
It's an unbalanced mix of ARRGG and GAAAAAH. Just like the rest of my life.

Friday, March 11

Need a MOMcation?

ou just read that word, MOMcation, and said, "Ahhhh, yes!" didn't you?
Moms (and moms-to-be!) in Central Arkansas have a unique opportunity for a weekend getaway this spring. My friend Fawn is organizing another MOMcation this year, taking place April 29-May 1 at Heifer Ranch. (And we've already established how much I love Heifer International, right?)

I am so excited for a lazy exhilarating weekend of kid-lessness intellectual stimulation among new friends. I admit, this is a step outside of my comfort level. I won't know most of the other moms there, and I'm not the best with small talk. But there are so many cool things going on during the MOMcation, that I could hardly stand not to go.

A small-but-lovely list of some MOMcation Activities:
Book Discussion: We'll discuss Amy Wilson's book, When Did I Get Like This? I follow Amy on the twitters and I can't wait to read this book.
Cooking Workshop: Because, bless my own heart, Lord knows I need one.
Ask the Pediatrician: A sit-down, don't-be-afraid-to-ask time with Dr. Carrie Brown, who is a UAMS faculty member at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and writes for Parents.com.
Lots of Other Cool Stuff: a magazine and clothing swap, a book exchange, a coupon trade, hayrides (right?!), hikes, campfires and best of all.... girl time.

Plus! Plus! Somebody will win a Keratin Smoothing hair treatment!! I am dying for this right now, but don't have the $350 it costs just lying around waiting to be spent.

I am really excited about the MOMcation, can you tell? I think it would be a great weekend for you and your BFF, or you alone, or you and your three favorites cousins, or.... well... you get it.

Registration for the MOMcation is $180, and closes April 3rd. That covers all of the weekend's meals, lodging at the Heifer Ranch and activities. (A good deal, huh?)

There is a Saturday-only option available, too, for $80. If you can't swing the dollars or the time for the entire weekend, you should join us for Saturday's activities. A mini-MOMcation! You can register for the Saturday option online at http://www.momcation.org/ starting March 21st.

So. You should go. It'll be fun. C'mon.
Oh! Plus! Fawn and the team sent out an email this week that said
"We've got a few more surprises up our sleeves. A little hint -some of our surprises involve pampering! (Not the diaper kind.)"
So! You should go! It'll be fun!


Thursday, March 10

First Year Homeschool Burnout?

Seriously, kid?

The best part of the school day is when you're off?

You could do with a little less ennui there.
Sitting at your desk... alone. With the chandelier hanging precariously above your head. Heavy with the weight of that solitary word..... class.


I didn't even make you fill in your name and the date.
I am not the oppressor, kid.


Wednesday, March 9

Sweetness in a Storm

Last night, we had a (characteristically loud) March thunderstorm. I love a good rainfall. I love the rumbling thunder. It makes for good sleeping weather. When The Boy was tiny, I mean barely-standing-on-his-own-two-feet tiny, he would pull himself up to the storm door on our porch and just watch.

We haven't had too many gully-washers in the last few months. This calm weather has coincided with The Baby's burgeoning verbal skills and, before now, she's never been able to say how she feels about the thunder.

But, oh, she said it last night.

The line of storms came through right at bedtime, which was super convenient. Between Jeremy and I, we put the girls back in their beds at least eleven times. While The Boy was snoring away in his bed, The Girl was howling in terror from hers, which would only key up The Baby even more.

I tried every Good Mother trick I could conjure. I sang soothing songs while I brushed her hair. I whispered to her that she was safe and warm and the thunder was just a noise high up in the sky. We prayed together, and I managed not to laugh when she demanded,"God, go away the funder now!" I told her that the thunder was just saying goodnight.
"Boom, boom, goodnight, Bunny. Boom boom, sweet dreams, Bunny. Boom boom, I love you, Bunny."
And every time I thought my Superior Mothering Tactics were working, that she was finally still and quiet enough for me to kiss goodnight, she'd start wailing again.

Eventually, my patience and my skill set ran out. As did Jeremy's. Around 11:15, after a total of ten quiet minutes alone, The Baby marched into our room carrying her Things- two pacies, a Lovey, a bunny, and a blanket. "I need a holding." This is what my Baby does- she wears us down to nothingness, then attacks us with her cute. She has the sweetest face and the best snuggles. She is the indulged baby-of-three. She stood at the peak of our mountain of rules ("NO SLEEPING IN OUR BED"), triumphant.

As I held her little balled up two-year-old fist in my hand, as she patted my face, as I rubbed feet with my husband from the other side of the bed, I thought of storms and of sweetness.

Almost always, the two are intertwined.
Something scary immediately precedes something wonderful.
The dark things are so often chased away by light.
In the middle of a storm, there is a sweetness in safety.

And then, after hours of anguish, The Baby slept. Sweetly in the storm.


Wednesday, March 2

Husband Hump Day: Telling MyChapter

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

This is MyChapter…

When Savannah and I first got married, we did not have a computer. Two years later, we finally got our first home computer, and shortly after that, she was telling me about something called Xanga. I had no idea what she meant. She explained to me about blogging; it was a way of keeping up with my family. So I let her set me up an account. She asked for me to pick a username and the first thing that came to my mind was my dad. I said, “Make it MyChapter.” She looked a little puzzled and asked, “Why my chapter?”

Let me give a little background on my dad.
He went to be with the Lord just over 2 years ago and I miss him dearly. He was my go-to guy about everything. There wasn’t a problem he hadn’t had or could not figure out. He was your typically-goofy dad, at least to a pre-teen boy, (it would be years before I really appreciated the wisdom my father possessed). He was a dark red-headed, left-handed pitcher, ex-catholic, former US Naval pilot, a photography teacher and picture taker extraordinaire, an avid backpacker, a strong Christian, a loving husband, a full-of-life type A-personality, an all-around funny man, and most importantly, he was my Dad. That just barely scratches the surface of who my father was, but it’s a start.
I remember when he would come home from work and I would be at the dinner table doing homework. My mom would be cooking dinner and he would come over, give her a kiss on the cheek, and pat her bottom. It would totally gross me out and I would say, “Eww. Come on Dad, do that somewhere else.” He would say, “What? Your mother likes it.” She would retort with something about how she was sure “all” the women like it, (sarcastically but sweetly, saying, “Your Father thinks he is a bigger flirt than he really is.” That would just fuel his fire and he would start to dance (I use “dance” loosely since it usually looked like he was convulsing and would occasionally throw a leg spastically in the air).
Then he would tell me (as he did frequently) the same thing he claimed to have told all the girls he used to date (which, by the way, he went to an all-boy catholic school). He would say, “When you write a book about your life, leave my chapter out!” Then he would crack himself up and I would laugh too, and my mom would say with a big ole grin on her face, “Stop it, you are just encouraging him.” He was implying that he was such a big part of these girls lives that they would want to write a book about him, but he was just too cool to be included.

After explaining that to Savannah she said, “So, why do you want that for a username leave my chapter out!
Then I broke out in a dance…

Jeremy B is a husband to the luckiest woman in the world, a father to the smartest son and loveliest daughters in the world, and ason to parents who tried 3 times until they reached perfection (but don’t tell that to his older sisters). He strives to be like his role model, his dad (but can dance much better). Jeremy finally wrote his own bio. You can find him not tweeting at @mychapter.

Tuesday, March 1

Indescribably Undomestic: A flashback

Ten years ago, my best friend and I moved into the dorm and settled into life inside a 12x12 room. We had two dressers, two desks, and a set of bunk beds. We also had the luxury of our very! own! sink! With a mirror and everything. We also had a mini-fridge/min-microwave combo, which were used solely to house bottled water, a bottle of rum a jug of milk, and to cook mini-corndogs. We were all about the mini.

When our mothers took us shopping to stock the dorm, my BFF and I chose cute, cheap melamine plates from the Wal-Mart store. (They matched our comforters! Which matched the picture frames! And the desk organizers! There were a LOT of exclamation points during our freshman year of college.) We could cook a little something for ourselves with our very! own! microwave! and then rinse off the dishes in the dish-soap and face-soap lined sink.

That's the BFF on the left, and me on the right;
Ten years, three kids, and 45 pounds ago.
She is still gorgeous.

Well. She rinsed the dishes. I just sort of let them sit there for a while. Until they looked like they were about to start growing something. Once, I loaded the dirty dishes and cups into a laundry basket and drove them over to our friends' actual house... where there was an actual dishwasher. My lazy knew no bounds.

One day, after a solid week (or more?) of my filling the sink with plates topped by hardening mac and cheese and moldering pizza crusts, my best friend/exasperated roommate threw! the plates! away!

Except, I didn't notice until after Spring Break.

And, except, now that I think about it, the plates weren't in the sink. I had stashed them in the cabinet below the sink. Probably when a boy a study partner came over to make-out study.

If only our dirty sink was overlooking a sunny oasis.
And had a fishbowl.Then I would have cleaned.
via ApartmentTherapy.com
Man. My younger self was gross. Good thing I'm a real! live! grown-up! who cooks and cleans up after herself now.

{insert husband's laughter here}