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Thursday, February 24, 2011

“Let’s talk about trains”


Leo’s train obsession is so intense that I think it has officially eclipsed the ball obsession. (Don’t worry, Grandpa Ron, he still likes to talk about and play sports too.)

And speaking of Grandpa Ron, he’s the one who gave Leo this very grown-up book about trains that Leo is currently—hate using the same word again here—obsessed with. It’s a book about the history of trains and Leo makes us read it to him every day before nap and every night before bed.

Here he is with Frank, holding his “conductor” hat and making Frank read him this huge book:


He’s very particular about HOW we read the book. We have to start with the back cover and Leo says, “Let’s talk about it.” We are to read the back cover and then flip to the front. Then we “talk about” the pictures on the front. “Which is your favorite?” he likes to ask. Then Leo flips the pages and we stop only when he wants to. If I want to stop because I think a particular picture looks pretty or interesting, that is not allowed. He has all these catch phrases like, “That’s the MARTA train,” (it’s not) and “That’s the Dinosaur Train.” Sometimes he remembers things we’ve told him like, “That train is in Australia” or “That’s called the Super Train.” 

I was so amazed the other day when Leo pointed at one of the trains and said, “I rode that train when I was a baby.” It was the Durango-Silverton train which he did ride when we went to visit David, Laura and Ellie in Colorado for Christmas 2009. Leo was only 20 months old!

As it turns out, Frank had told him that when he read it to him on a previous night. Still, we were impressed that he remembered which picture it was. After all, he can’t read. (I don’t think.)

After we read the “Big Train” book, Leo gets to choose another book. Lately it’s always “Freight Trains” which is a regular kids’ book. The other night I said, “Maybe we could read a different kind of book” and he said, “Okay, Terrific Trains!”

And one more funny train anecdote: I was explaining to Leo that I have this running grocery list on the dry erase board in the pantry. I said, “If you think of something we need, tell mommy and I’ll put it on the list.” He said, “We need trains.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Calculatin’ Old School


You know I don’t hang onto things forever so this is a big deal. I have had the same calculator since the seventh grade!

For 22 years, this bad boy has gotten me through homework, work assignments and bills. I just used it to figure out how long I’ve had it!

It’s a Texas Instruments Math Explorer. In seventh grade we HAD to purchase one. It was mandatory. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. See, it’s not only solar powered, it does fractions. I can add fractions, subtract em, even divide them. It also has a backspace button so you can delete one part of an equation without having to start all over.


The T.I.M.E. (ha, just realized it has a cool acronym) has moved with me at least nine times. It has a handy case that I always keep it in. It only covers the front so the back has some issues—like remnants of gum that got stuck in it in high school and a sticker that says “I’m the type to save lives” from a blood donating experience back in the early part of this century.

Just in case my parents were a little put off by the fact that we had to purchase this special calculator, I thought it would be comforting for them to know that not only did it get me through seventh grade math and fractions, but I haven’t had to purchase another calculator since then. It’s not like this is one of many. It’s not even one of two. It is my ONLY calculator. The only one I have ever owned.

Sure, other calculators live at our house but I don’t touch them. Frank has his fancy “financial” calculator that brings back bad memories of when we were buying our first house together. We were in the realtor’s office, going over the paperwork and he was totally taking the lead on the mortgage part of it. (I was more in charge of d├ęcor.) In the middle of the discussion he ordered me to “go to the car and get my financial calculator.” After that incident I’ve never liked that financial calculator so I’ve never used it. (Or maybe I just don’t know how to use it.)

Leo also loves my calculator. He plays with it and loves to say the word “cal-cu-a-la-tor.”

I usually don’t mourn the loss of “stuff” but I would be seriously sad if I lost my calculator.

Good news. I just looked it up and while TI has replaced it with something else, they say they still have a few of my kind left. Look, it’s curvier and fancier looking!



Maybe I should go ahead and get one for Leo. You know, for when he learns fractions.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Risky Business


After a successful session of doing his “business” in the potty today, Leo’s get-up reminded us of a young Tom Cruise so of course we had to snap some pics.  We even tried to add the sunglasses at the end:




Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writinggal Takes on Sunday Booze Sales

When I first moved to Georgia and heard that you couldn’t buy booze on Sunday, I thought, “Well, that’s kinda nice.” I mean, I like to have my wine but I can buy it Monday-Saturday. And it just felt so Southern, like a throwback to when times were simpler—when people went to church on Sunday and the stores were closed and after church everybody just sat on their porches and drank peach tea. Ah.

But four years later I realize it’s not nice at all. It’s just plain WRONG.

It’s not wrong because I can’t live without alcohol on Sunday.

It’s not wrong because of the inconvenience it causes when I inevitably throw a bottle of wine in my grocery cart on Sunday, only to get turned away by the cashier.

It’s not even wrong because of the potential tax revenue Georgia loses by not selling alcohol on Sunday.

It’s wrong because churches shouldn’t be telling us what to do. It’s part of a little thing called “the separation of church and state.”

If the only reason Georgia isn’t selling alcohol on Sunday is because it’s a holy day, well then that is faulty reasoning.

This has always been a hot topic here but lately it’s back in the forefront again because we have a new governor who is willing to put this to a vote.

The other day there was a Yes/No debate in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, both of which I thought were weak.

The guy in favor of it played up all the money Georgia could bring in if we voted in favor of Sunday alcohol sales. His numbers were in the low millions which 1). Didn’t sound all that impressive and 2). May not even be accurate. I mean, wouldn’t the same people buy alcohol, just spread it out over seven days rather than six?

So while I agree with his “yes,” I thought he should have also mentioned the biggest argument of all—it’s WRONG!!

The “no” guy went into his religious rant, all of which isn’t valid: “Keep Sunday sacred,” etc. To that I say, “If you want Sunday to be sacred, don’t buy alcohol. Don’t go shopping. Just go to church. But don’t tell the rest of us, much less the government, that they have to do it too.”

He also made this argument that anti-Sunday-alcohol people love to make: Aren’t six days a week enough days to buy alcohol?

Yes. In fact, six days are really enough to buy lots of things. Take underwear, for instance. If we couldn’t buy underwear on Sunday, we could certainly wait until Monday. So why not limit the days that we can buy underwear?

Because that would be wrong. So is limiting the days we can buy alcohol.

It’s a free country. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion and I think the state of Georgia needs to give us back our freedom to go to church on Sunday and pick up a six pack on the way home.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I subscribe to this writers’ newsletter where the editor has a little intro note where she usually mentions one of her son’s “Maxisms” (funny or sweet things that Max says). I’m going to copy that and call Leo’s “Leo says the darndest things” Leoisms.

Here are a few recent ones:

Leo was asking me “What things are not fun?” I said, “Well, you know how you don’t like it when the sun gets in your eyes? That’s not fun.” He said, “Actually, I close my eyes.”

When I told him Granny Jo had left on the plane to go back to Texas he said, “I need another grandparent to come.” I thought that was so cute because a). He thinks he’s entitled to grandparent attention all the time and b). He even knows what the word “grandparent” means!

He keeps opening the fridge and the freezer and trying to get in. I once saw an episode of Punky Brewster where this happened and it’s freaked me out ever since. I keep telling him not to do that because he will get trapped. So the other day he opened the freezer and said, “I will get trapped and you will have to eat me!”

When I picked him up from the babysitter’s house yesterday he ran outside to the car and exclaimed, “The sun makes me happy!”

Yesterday we had a big #2 accomplishment on the potty. As I was “coaching” him through it, I said all sorts of crazy things, including, “You can do it. You are the master of the potty.” So after he had finished and drank his chocolate milk (his reward for going #2, gross, I know) he ran into his room (no bottoms on), waved his hands around and kept screaming, “I’M THE MASTER OF THE POTTY! I’M THE MASTER OF THE POTTY!”


And here are some pictures of our potty master at the zoo this past weekend:




















Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trash in Plain Sight

You’ve got trash all over you house, though you may not realize it. (Yes, this is another one of my de-cluttering lessons.) There are two rules to keeping a clutter-free house:

1. Constantly get rid of stuff

2. Don’t let stuff in

Today I’m going to focus on the first one—getting rid of stuff. I’ve said this before but I can’t stress it enough: just about anything is potential trash. And if it pains you to throw things away, well, you might need focus more on #2.

“But why throw something away when I could donate it?” you ask. “After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Some things can and should be donated: gently worn clothes, furniture that is in decent shape, appliances that still work. And that’s about where it ends. When you donate crap that nobody wants, all you’re doing is bogging down the systems for good places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill. And if it’s your “trash,” what are the chances it’s someone else’s “treasure?”

Here, I’m going to give you some examples of things that can be thrown away, things that you thought you weren’t allowed to dump.

Mugs: The other day a friend gave me a really cool mug for my birthday. I enjoy drinking tea and hot cocoa. I truly appreciated this mug and wanted to keep it. But when I went to put it away in the cabinet I realized that I had way more mugs than I could ever use. I surveyed my mug collection and threw out two old ones. They weren’t broken or even ugly. I just didn’t need them. Now I have my new, pretty mug and two fewer mugs. (When you can replace two things with one, ah, that’s such a rush!)

DVDs: We have a Netflix account. We get movies in the mail just about every week and now we can stream movies from the internet. Do I really need to own any movies? I can’t think of one movie that I want to watch enough times that it’s worth it for me to own. So I threw out the three movies that we did own. Betcha didn’t know you could do that, huh? I would throw out CDs if Frank would let me.

Kitchen utensils: I had a good food chopper from Pampered Chef that’s served me well for about five years. It’s the manual kind but it has fewer parts than my food processor so I use it for small jobs. Then I received an even cooler food chopper for my birthday. I think 99% of people would have kept the Pampered Chef one and the new one. Not me. I said Buh-bye to the PC one cause really, if I have this new and improved one, when am I ever going to use that again?

Goodie bags from kids’ birthday parties: I just found one buried in our craft box from a b-day party a few months back. It’s full of junk from the Dollar Store. Sure, Leo might have been mildly amused by a few of the trinkets in there but where am I supposed to put them? Right back in the craft box? No way. I put the whole thing in the trash, where it belongs! (Let me just add that I, too, am guilty of dispensing Dollar Store toys to kids at Leo’s birthday parties but you can feel free to throw it all out.)

Socks/underwear: Socks and underwear are not expensive, especially if you get each in packs from Target. So update them every now and then. But you gotta throw the old ones away. Remember it’s “Out with the old, in with the new” not “Hang onto the old forever, in with the new.”

This weekend we are going to clean out a closet. I’m giddy with excitement. Frank just better not stand in the way of me and the trash!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

“Mommy, you look like a caboose!”

And that, I think, is the highest compliment you can get from a 2 and 3/4 year old. Plus, I really looked quite caboosey today:



I’m 22 weeks now and I decided to check out how I looked at 22 weeks when I was pregnant with Leo:




OH MY GOSH!! My belly is soooo much bigger than it was the first time. In comparing to the old pictures, I look more like I did at 28 weeks with Leo.

Leo is sweet and hugs my giant belly. Other times he threatens to pee on it. Oh, boys. And in case you haven’t heard, Baby Donald Duck is ALSO a boy! Here are some previews of him:


Baby_Donald_Duck_001[1] (2)


He just started moving around some. I’m hoping he’s a little calmer than Leo. You can see in one of the photos that he’s sucking his thumb. He did that in his 8-week ultrasound too. Here we are finding out that we were going to have another little boy:




By the way, Frank told me that night that my outfit looked like something Leo would wear. Is this what I have to look forward to with a house full of boys? Years of ridicule over my clothing? (I knew I could bring it back to the caboose headline!)

And because no blog is complete without a picture that includes our first-born, here he is with his buddies John and Dawson at our MOMS Club Valentine’s Day party today:



Thursday, February 03, 2011

My Facebook Philosophy

I am officially the last person in America to see the Social Network. But I did finally see it and I loved it. You see, I’ve come a long way since when I first started on Facebook with my twelve friends,  I’m on it every day: posting, checking statuses, sending messages, even using it to promote my other blog, Workout of the Week.

Since I’m such an FB-expert now--people in the know write it as FB—I really enjoyed seeing this somewhat accurate account of how it all got started. After watching it I recalled how someone once posed the question: Since it started out as a college networking tool and now it’s for the masses, why are the college kids still on it?

Good question. I mean, if a club opened up that was immediately popular with college kids, would they stick around if a bunch of stay-at-home moms started hitting the dance floor? Or what if those college kids started wearing their hats sideways and then the senior citizens said, “That’s cool. We’re gonna wear our hats sideways too.” Wouldn’t those college kids turn their hats back to the front?

But with Facebook, the college kids are hanging in there. They don’t care that we moms are on there talking about potty training; computer nerds are on there with all their hacking lingo; grandmas are on there posting pics; polticians are on there spouting their agendas; even dogs are there. Yes, I’m friends with a dog!

Here’s why they’re still there: They don’t see the rest of us. At the club they’d have to see us moms dancing to Ke$ha. Yuck! Or on the street, they’d see gramps with his hat sideways. But on Facebook, they can stay in their own little microcosm. They don’t have to accept Uncle Rodney’s friend request. And because they don’t see us, they still think it’s cool.

Sure, Facebook is just as cliquish as the real world. It’s just that the cliques are bigger and you don’t have to see the other groups. And college kids, you should be grateful for that because this mom is in potty training mode this week.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Put the Pedal to the Metal

Leo got this classic tricycle for his birthday last year and for the past nine months, he’s just happily scooted along with his feet on the ground. But this past weekend he discovered the pedals. Well, I guess he always knew there were pedals there but he discovered how to use them. We were impressed with how quickly he gave up his Fred Flinstone ways and started really cycling, even on the part of our driveway that’s uphill!