Bramell, Party of Five: February 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Play It Loud

I'm continuing my post from Monday, after I got to thinking about how often the music I listen to reflects my mood (and vice versa). 

There are some songs that just call out to me to play at a high volume and sing along with.  The singing usually only happens when I'm alone in the car--nobody wants to hear that, I promise.  A song I like doesn't have to have a special meaning to me, but occasionally it will.  Sometimes, I like it simply because it makes me happy.

Along with the two songs I mentioned on Monday, here are a few more that I thought of this week:
  • Anything by Audioslave--seriously, this band rocks.  Credit my hubby for introducing me to them. Sadly, the band has disbanded, but not before I saw them perform live.
  • Wanted Dead or Alive--Bon Jovi classic; how can you not love this song?? Possibly my most favorite song ever in the history of songs.
  • Harder to Breathe--Maroon 5; Oh, I don't even know what to say. Fun song, good lyrics, music is awesome turned up loud. Just try it!
  • Good Directions--Billy Currington; it's just a good, happy country song.

  • Shameless--the Garth Brooks version; just try not to sing along. I dare you.
  • Gives You Hell--All-American Rejects; listen to the lyrics. Really, who doesn't feel this way about an ex?
I asked my readers to leave comments with some of their favorite "play it loud" or "driving fast" songs.  Here's what they said--

  • Sweet Child 'O Mine; GnR classic.  Solid contribution, Adrienne.
  • Always Something There to Remind Me; Naked Eyes.  Totally reminds me of all the 80s movies I love.  Good one, Jody.
Anyone else want to add to the list? I can come back and make edits.  Maybe we can make a mix tape when we're finished... 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Twin Tuesday!

I've been surprised at how much lately the kids are asking to use the iPad--even the little ones.  Mostly they watch cartoons or audio books, but what has surprised me is how they understand how to work it!  I watched Boy Twin this evening grab up the iPad and go straight to a Dr. Seuss book to "watch" it.  I'm really fine with it, because I know they are learning.  It's just a different kind of learning than when I was a kid.  We only had books and no other choice.  Oh, don't I sound O-L-D? These kids have our phones, computer, iPad and even some really "smart" toys like Leap Pads to help them learn.

Here's a picture of the kids watching a movie on the iPad and having a snack. I love it when they are all playing nicely together and not yelling or fighting. And it's nice when I can get something done while they are being entertained.

Right now, we don't have any limits set for how much they can watch or play with the electronics.  Of course, we don't let it get out of control.  And we've also found that having this privilege to "take away" when they are not behaving is a great discipline tool. As they get older I'm sure we'll have to set some limits.  

Does anybody out there have some ideas for a good system of sharing and setting limits on electronic playtime?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mood Music is a Real Thing

Are you a music lover? I am, without a doubt.  I'm named after a popular song from the 60’s, you know (and also a former Miss Arkansas, I think).  I also know that I inherited my love of music from my dad, who obviously helped choose my name and introduced me to the Beach Boys.  Dad had an entire closet full of records when I was a kid, and often took us to Memphis just to visit the record store.  You know he was serious about his music, because the record store was not in a part of town you’d want to go if you were just passing through.
I have so many memories of singing along to the Oldies station with my parents.  As corny as it seemed at the time, I know that helped set the tone for my appreciation of all types of music.  I am not a music snob; I love it all.  You name it:  country, rap, disco, Broadway musicals, hair bands and pop….not much I won’t listen to. My iTunes library is very confusing.
As a lot of you know, I worked in the radio biz for seven years after college.  That makes me sound so hip, no?  What’s ironic about that is that I’m a radio station’s worst nightmare.  Stations are rated on how many listeners they have and the length of time people listen.  Well, I’m a button pusher.  I don’t have a loyalty to any one station or genre.  What I stop on depends on my mood and/or which of my old buddies is talking.
For me, music goes hand in hand with my mood.  Just a few weeks ago, I was driving to Fort Smith for a meeting.  I was having a Debbie Downer kind of day, just stuck in a rut or something.  Then, one of my “happy memory” songs came on the radio, and changed my whole mood.  It was 1994’s “Stay” by Lisa Loeb (thanks Jim!), which brings back so many memories of fun times in college cruising around in my BFF Lisa’s tiny red Toyota Celica. We’d put that song on repeat and sing forever.  It made me think of her, and how much I miss her, so I turned it up and sang right along.  Later, I sent her an email just to let her know I’d heard it and thought of her.
And just today, on yet another trip to the Fort, music impacted my day.  It was a dark, cloudy start to the Monday morning and I just couldn’t seem to wake up. I happened to stop the button pushing on my friend Jon’s radio show.  He talked a bit, and then launched into Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”  People! This song rocks.  In fact, it would totally be my “walk up” song if I played baseball.  I cranked it up and rocked out, right there in my minivan.  By the end of the song, I felt like I’d chugged about a dozen cans of Mountain Dew.  Yes, a rockin’ good song can do that to a person.
So this got me thinking of some of the other songs I like to hear when I’m driving.  Do you have a list of favorite driving songs?  Leave me a comment and let’s discuss.  Since this post is getting long, I’ll share my list with you later in the week.  Come back again, and we can share together.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Day I Wet My Pants

Kind of, but not what you think.  I just wanted to get your attention. Did it work?

So, I just realized earlier this week that I've never blogged about the day Big Sister was born, and what excitement that created.  Sure, Lee and I were excited and so were our parents....but I'm talking about the other excitement.  When my water broke at work!!

Granted, this was almost six years ago and my memory is generally pretty bad....but this is something I can remember every single detail about.  It was May 22, which was my due date, and we were scheduled for a staff meeting at work after lunch.  I spent all morning feeling pretty fat and miserable, and just out of sorts. I think I was trying to will that baby to come on out.  I was at the end of my rope; I even called HR that morning to tell them I wanted to go ahead and start my medical leave the next day.  I just couldn't handle being pregnant any longer.

My office mates were all planning to go out for lunch together.  I confided in one of my co-workers that I just wasn't hungry and didn't want to go.  After much protesting, she finally spilled the beans and told me they were planning a surprise baby shower for me over lunch.  Dammit.  So, off I went with them to Fuddruckers with a tortured smile.  I ordered a salad and just barely touched it; I just wasn't feeling well.  They showered me with gifts and we talked about my plans and my due date, and all those other baby things.

I suffered through lunch and we headed back to the office. I was riding with Autumn, in the car that she'd just got back from the upholstery shop.  Want to know why this is an important piece of info?  Oh, because the car seats were getting replaced due to water damage from getting flooded during a storm.  Yep, you know where this story is going.  I opened the car door to get out and.....oops...water broke.  Right there, in her car.  Now, at this point I wasn't sure if it was "my water" or if I peed myself, which wouldn't have been a shock either.  I was just thankful her poor car wasn't flooded again!

I went straight to the bathroom to assess the situation.  Luckily, I was fully padded (if you know what I mean), as I had been for several months due to the unpleasant effects of sneezing while pregnant. So really there was no mess; it was quite discreet.  I calmly told my office mates what had happened, they laughed about what could have happened in Autumn's car and.....HOVERED.  Seriously, I sat down at my desk to call Lee and all six of them stood in my doorway just watching me.  I felt like I was a zoo animal in a cage.  Did I look different? 

The best part of this story?  While everyone was hovering around and asking me questions, the (shall remain nameless) LONE MALE in the office was hiding.  Literally.  He went into the room next to my office and continued to talk to me through the wall.  He wouldn't even look at me!  The girls were enjoying his discomfort a little too much, I'm sure.  This young, single guy was visibly uncomfortable.  I finally had to explain to him that I was still fully clothed and that I wasn't contagious.  I think he was truly afraid I'd have that baby right there on my desk.  And every single staff meeting I was at with that guy for the next five years, he made sure to tell this story!
Lee was working that day about a half hour away from me.  He panicked and said he needed to go home to get the camera, if I could wait for him to come get me.  Sure, sure....I wasn't in any pain and I had people to watch me, errr....keep me company.  I went on about my work and there never was a staff meeting.  Either it was a cover up for the covert baby shower or I ruined everyone's productivity for the day.  Or both.
I finally got to the clinic, where they had to give me a stupid test to confirm that my water broke---REALLY? Apparently, evidence wasn't convincing enough.  They sent me immediately downstairs to check in.  The rest of the story gets a little more blurry.  I watched the American Idol finale while I labored for a few hours and  Lee went home to shower, since the doc said it would be a while.  I got the worst scare of my life when the monitor beeped and everyone on the floor ran into my room. They put me on oxygen and sent in the doctor on call.  Baby wasn't doing so great, so I had to have an emergency c-section.  Little bundle was born at 9:29 p.m., as my mom was just getting to the hospital.  And it took me two days to finally ask who won American Idol.

It was Jordin Sparks, if you must know.

May 22, 2007 or when I was still sane.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Does Motherhood Mean?

Accountability. That's what I need right now.  I am going to put this out there in Internetland so that I have to follow through with it.
The 2013 Listen to Your Mother Show auditions have been announced. I am going to submit an essay for it, as I did last year.  Reject, shmeject. You may remember this post. In a nutshell, people are asked to submit an essay about motherhood or anything about moms; being one or having one.  After submissions come in, the organizers will select some entrants to come to a live audition to read their essays out loud to judges.  Last year, they chose about 15 women to present at the LTYM show at the Walton Arts Center. It's kind of a big deal; they sell tickets and everything.  If you want to know more about it, here is the link to the show's site.
The deadline to enter is next week, which means I better hop to it.  I am a procrastinator, I can't deny it. So, I've been thinking of what I should write.  I have a lot of ideas, but cannot seem to settle on one topic.  I mean, how do you really express what being a mother means?  And besides, look at the material I have to work with---how do I turn all that nutty, exhausting, cursing madness into some sensitive, compelling, "hey, I'm a good mom," feel-good essay? 

In my brainstorming process, I realized that I've never shared (on this blog) my crazy story of going into labor when Big Sister was born.  I mean, doesn't everyone enjoy a good water-breaking- in -public story?  Keep watching for that insane story later this week (maybe tomorrow, if I don't procrastinate).  I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pinterest Made Me Do It

Chalk up my latest time-suck project to Valentines Day.  Oh, I didn't want to send a bunch of candy to the school parties, so I got on Pinterest to see what options might be floating around out there in Internet land.  I found many cute ideas, but settled on two that I thought looked like they would take the least amount of time, effort and money.

Really, these were easy to make. And they wouldn't take a normal person very long to make at all. However, seeing how I cannot do anything uninterrupted, it took me way longer than it should have. I had no idea that round suckers (without gum inside) would be so difficult to find.  Who knew?  By the time I was done, I realized I should have just bought the damn Hello Kitty cards and been done with it.  Oh well, there's always next year. Somebody slap me when I want to start crafting for 3-year-olds.

The girls both took the silly straw Valentines to school, while Boy Twin took the superhero suckers.  All super cute, if I do say so!

Link to this Valentine template:  Sip Sip Hooray .  She also has one similar for Happy Birthday.

Link to template: Superhero Valentine

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Our Busy Social Life

I guess the title of this post is somewhat misleading.  This is not about my busy social life, trust me.  I have zero social life.  Nada. But where I am lacking, my children seem to be taking up my slack.  They've been in high demand for birthday parties and other social gatherings lately. With sickness, travel and visitors in town, we haven't been able to make it to everything; but we did manage to get Big Sister to a birthday party last month at "The Mouse" place. You know where that is.  We also decided to take Thing 1 and Thing 2 along for the fun.  You know, since you can turn them loose and not worry about someone taking them.

This was sweet Madison's 6th birthday party. She and Big Sister have been friends since they were infants strolling around our old neighborhood together.  I'm sad they don't get to play together anymore since we moved, but so happy we do get to visit a few times each year and at birthday time.  Also, sad that I didn't get a photo of the girls together....not sure where my head was.  Well, I know where it was---trying to make sure that overpriced pizza didn't end up on the floor under our booth.

Anyway, here are some pics of my kiddos having fun at Chuck's.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Conversations With My Kids

These kids just keep providing the doozies! I can't help but stop to jot it down when they say something funny or cute. My memory is terrible, and these are the things I want to remember when they are all grown up.  Or at least, grown up enough to be embarrassed by my re-telling of stories around the dinner table.

The other night Girl Twin came home from daycare in a really good mood. She was helping me with dinner in the kitchen, singing in her sweet little voice, "Bible story, Bible story, Biiiiblllle stoooorrryyyy....."

Me:  Did you learn a Bible story at school today?

Her:  Yes!

Me:  Was your story about Jesus?

Her:  No. About God (long pause).....and Cinderella.

OK then. I'm glad she's paying attention!

We have a big cup that I've been drinking out of a lot lately; it's got red and black polka dots on it.  We were in the van, heading to dinner with Grammy and Nanny, when this happened.

Him:  I see coconuts!

Me:  What? What are you talking about?

Him:  (pointing at cup) Those coconuts!

Me:  These are POLKA DOTS.

Him:  Oh, Polka Nuts! I like Polka Nuts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

100th Day of School

There was a big milestone in our house last week. It was the 100th day of school for Big Sis.  Yes, she's been in kindergarten for 100 days!! Unfortunately, she was absent on the 100th day, home sick with an ear infection.  But on the bright side, her class celebrated all week with a special show and tell AND she only had an ear infection and not the nasty flu that's been going around.  

Our school didn't make a big fuss over the 100th Day, like some schools do. I saw many of my friends posting pictures on Facebook of all the cute homemade T-shirts they were making and costumes their kids were wearing for the 100th Day.  Big Sister's only assignment was to bring in 100 pieces of something....anything.  Easy!

Being the overachieving mom that I am, we did not settle for 100 pieces of plain 'ole pasta. No, that would have been too easy.  So I got on the Google and found out how to color the pasta.  Here's what we came up with:

Ingredients:  dry pasta, alcohol and food coloring

Even the little ones got involved.
Well, Boy Twin was apparently too busy catching up on his magazine reading to help us.

Put in pasta and 4 drops of coloring, along with 2 tablespoons of alcohol.
Shake  it up.  

Let pasta dry overnight.

Our finished product!  A giant 100-piece pasta chain!
Doesn't the hubs look thrilled?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Twin Tuesday (but shhhh! It's Wednesday)

My babies are total ROCK. STARS.  We went yesterday for their first dental appointments, and they did fantastic!  No tears, no clinging, no clamping mouths shut.....not like someone else we know.  *cough* Big Sister

After all the trouble we've had getting Big Sis to cooperate with the dentist, we decided to try a pediatric dentist for the kids. Big Sis went about two weeks ago, and apparently, was only impressed that she got to watch Tangled in the chair (for the entire two minutes that she sat there). Never mind all the kid-friendly decor, fish tanks and other goodies for the kids.

These two walked in there like they owned the place. They hopped right up in the chairs and let the ladies do everything they asked.  They both got excellent reports with good, healthy and clean teeth!  The dentist said they are doing a very good job brushing their teeth; this makes mama happy since I know we *might* sometimes be skipping the brushing on crazy nights.  And, they both have all their baby teeth. That's 20 teeth, if you are wondering.

They are probably going to kill me over these pictures when they get older. But for now, it's the cutest thing ever! My babies aren't babies anymore....*sob*.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Few of Our Favorite Things

I've had this post in my head for a few weeks, but haven't gotten around to actually writing it yet.  You may have seen my recent post about the glorious Pizza Quesadillas I made from Pinterest; this is the main reason for their deliciousness: 

This is a new tortilla that I've recently found at our Walmart.  They were giving out samples and coupons one day, so I bought.  I don't think I'll ever, ever buy the other kind of tortillas again. These are uncooked, so you have to heat them in a skillet....just give 'em a flip and toast both sides.  We've used them on taco night and for quesadillas, and I've used them for baking in the oven for tortilla chips (fantastic, by the way!).  I'm not getting paid to promote this product, or getting free product, I just like them so much I want to share with you all.

Here is something else we are using that we like.  New Disney cups! Every mom knows how hard it is to find a cup that won't leak, and one that makes the kids happy.  My little ones are begging to be more "grown up," and be like Big we thought these might help! They are good for car travel, too.  Now, I'm not saying they won't leak, because they will. But the cool thing is that the straws won't come out!!!  GENIUS.  My little ones always want a straw cup, but I hate giving it to them because they pull the straws right out and make a mess.  Problem solved!  We have these, that Santa got at the Disney Store in Branson....but you can also get them online from the Disney Store:

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