Saturday, May 22, 2010

Abusing friends and relations

Hi All,

Okay, so I know I'm taking advantage of you and your emails. But I promise I won't do it after we get our little website out there to the world. Tell all your friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances and/or people walking down the street to visit:, and the harassment will stop . . . or at least wane a bit.

In all seriousness, I don't like abusing my friends and family, but since this is our Grand Opening week and we have no marketing budget, I have to do what I have to do.

Seems there's been some concern about the rules regarding our little giveaway - it does not matter if you're related, friends, etc. We're a two person company, and we make up our own rule! That being said, sign up. If you don't want a monogrammed item, think of someone you know who might.

I also wanted to let you know that Southern Gifting has issued a 10% off coupon code for this weekend (5/22 & 5/23) only: top ten

If you're not in the market for anything, just do me the favor of passing it on to someone else.

Just in case you're wondering, it's in the mid-80's here with intermittent thunderstorms. The frogs and mosquitos (but thankfully not the snakes just yet) are out in droves.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, May 17, 2010

After all, you're only as cute as your bag

Hi everyone,

Sorry to send a mass email like this, but it is of paramount importance . . . Okay, not really, just truly self-serving and easier.

Despite my best efforts to lead a life of leisure and do nothing beyond drinking coffee at Starbucks, and taking naps, I have taken on a part-time job. I know, total shocker.

That being said, I really feel like Martha would be so proud. As she started with a friend and catering business, we are starting with a website.

Jeff thankfully has humored me through this whole process, since as of yet, it is an unpaid job . . . but we're hopeful.

Hence this email. As we have no marketing budget to speak of, I am relying on the generous networking and emotional support of my friends and relatives. I feel a little bad that I may very well be abusing those relationships, but clearly not bad enough to not send this email.

After many weeks and many hours, we are ready for the big unveiling of Southern Gifting:

There is actually an upside to this email though. Since it's our big Grand Opening, we're doing Seven Days of Giveaways. But don't worry, those of you who are thinking, "but I don't need a tutu or veil at this moment" - we're giving away monogrammed bags. And frankly, they're pretty great bags.

So I don't get scathing reply emails about not including anything in the email beyond advertising our website, here's a little about the family:

Addie thinks she's a pirate and has developed quite and addiction to skull, spider, ripped flesh and barbed wire tattoos . . . Not sure if her future will be in a motor cycle gang, or as a surfer. At this point it could go either way.

Lorelei just started standing on her own, and has even been so bold as to take a few steps. We expect her to be fully walking by the end of the week. She is also an expert growler, which I believe she picked up from Addie, as she too is quite an accomplished grunt-er and growler.

Jeff is still at Daimler and dreams of the day when I will make enough money for him to quit and stay home with the kids.

And by the way - if you want to buy something while you're visiting our little website, I won't stop you.

As for me, well I still make tutus, and have expanded into capes, veils and hanging tutu topiary. I've even gone so far as to have taken a few sewing classes. Although being self-taught and reinventing the wheel is fun and all, there's something to be said for learning the right and easy way first.

In regards to this website development stuff, well let's just say, it's a good thing I have a degree in English and a background in HR, because that's really come in handy . . . or not. Speaking of reinventing the wheel . . .

Hope you are all well and enjoying spring (although it's practically summer here).

Hugs, Kisses and Handshakes,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

That emu - if that's what it is - we ain't done."

Dear Loyal Readers,

I'm so sorry I've been lax in my writing, but I assure you, this is worth the wait. In fact, the Herald came through so well, I ran upstairs (leaving the children in the care of our trusted babysitter - Senora Television), and got on the computer.

Just a little warning, it is a rather lengthy article (bless their ever-loving slow news day hearts!), but it's worth it. And no matter where this story ends up, just remember - you heard it here first.

Just to give you a taste of what's to come:
Today's Headline: "Emu to Rockhill - Catch me if you can!"

"I was right about gettin' up to him, Had him by the neck feathers. Wrong about the lassoing though."

There is a second page, so be sure to click Next Page at the bottom. And of course, there's a photo gallery for our own amusement.

And here I thought the front page headline about quadruplet lambs would be the highlight of my month.

Happy Reading. I promise I'll write more later.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Capes of Grumpiness

Hello there old friends,

I realize it's been nearly six months since my last email, but in my defense, my children are getting harder and harder to ignore.

I'll try to sum up, but there's a good chance this will be a long email, so please prepare snacks and toilet breaks accordingly.

I know many of you only read my emails for the Bubbles update, but sadly Bubbles is gone. I realize this news may lose my some readers (you fickle cat fans you), but I couldn't go on pretending any longer.

We like to believe she found a better home (really not hard to believe considering the number of times she ran away, and the many families she tried to adopt), but we don't really know for sure.

The day after Thanksgiving, we went for a walk, Bubbles went with us, and she forgot to come back.

We already know that Bubbles' sense of direction, and her ability to find home is lacking, so it is possible that she got legitimately lost.

But as Jeff prefers to say, "we took her for a long walk off a short pier."

Although I am of mixed emotion about our cats disappearance, it solved the dilemma of what to do with her while we went to Oregon.

But since I am not completely cold hearted, I did jot down some kitty notes before Bubbles moved on:

While away on a short trip, Bubbles ran away again (surprise, surprise), but showed up a few days after our return (she was waiting at the door when Jeff came back from his run).

According to the Neighborhood Bubbles Network, she had tried to adopt a new family in a different part of the neighborhood, but to no avail. After many thwarted efforts to get into their house and garage, she jumped into their car. Thinking quickly, the Dad got in too, and drove her back to our house - and dropped her off at the end of our driveway, under the cover of darkness no less.

Since trying to physically catch a new family (reference jumping out of bushes at joggers), didn't work, Bubbles came up with a new plan - she would hop on the hood of cars that slowed down, and stay there until she got to their house.

Sounds a little far fetched, but I watched her do it at least twice. At first she was a little concerned when the car picked up speed, but then I swear she put her face to the wind, braced herself, and enjoyed the ride . . . all the way down the street and into the new family's garage.

Admittedly, it makes me a little sad that I won't be writing about Bubbles any more. But at least my children will be safe from running cat tackles.

Let's see, we've had Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas since my last writing. And as always, we went a little crazy (okay, Jeff mostly) decorating for Halloween. We dug graves, made stuffed babies and tested every noise and motion sensor in the yard. Jeff even added a chainsaw-wielding maniac this year (i.e. Jeff).

Jeff said it was all worth it when a kid started crying even before he got through the graveyard.

Christmas of course was another opportunity to decorate, and naturally, we had to keep up with traditions. There's something about giant ornaments hanging 20 ft. in the air that really bring out the Christmas spirit.

And the litmus for the success of the decorations, was when people driving by would stop and marvel at the wondrous Christmas miracle, that was our front yard.

Sometime during all of this, I continued to make tutus, and added capes to my list of accomplishments (boy oh boy, when the time comes for me to go back to work, think of the additions I'll have to my resume!). If a Tutu of Happiness can't make your day, we bring out the big guns - the Capes of Grumpiness.

In an effort to make new friends, I made the grumpiest person I know a beautiful shiny purple cape with sequined letters on it (SG for Super Grump), and I thought surely this would do the trick.

But strangely, she did not appreciate my efforts, nor does she engage me in conversation any longer . . . I can't imagine why.

Jeff got a new riding lawn mower recently, and has developed some neurosis about it.

Since Jeff is so busy doing laundry on the weekends, I thought I'd help out by mowing the lawn. But apparently I had broken some sort of Man Rule.

Jeff flagged me down, and with a crest-fallen look on his face asked, "What are you doing? I was looking forward to mowing all week."

Who knew?

There I was, just trying to help, and admittedly, get a little alone time (it's a sad state of affairs when you have to get on a loud machine to get some alone time), and getting no appreciation for my efforts.

Admittedly, I stayed on the mower another 20 minutes out of principal, but that still counts as helping, right?

I'm fairly certain that living with a preschool-aged child is equivalent to living with a crazy person, and when I found myself responding to something Addie said with, "No Addie, I don't think juice boxes get car sick." I knew I'd moved into a place I could never fully return from.

I started playing indoor soccer again, but have been surprised to find that four years, two kids and many pounds later, I am not nearly as light on my feet as I once was.


Okay, so I may never have been light on my feet, but my body and mind were at least on the same page. Now, I'm lucky if my brain can tell my feet to kick at the ball (not necessarily make contact mind you, but make some sort of kicking motion), before I fall down.

Not to mention that no one told me my bladder would refuse to play. Fortunately for me, I wasn't the only one, a gal with a six month old confided that she'd, "totally wet her pants" on that last move . . . I tell you, they're going about the teen sex ed. classes all wrong.

Since I have so much spare time, I decided that the preschool ought to have a silent auction during the Father Daughter Dance, because I'd be damned if I was going to sell or buy any more cookie dough.

I mean, it's a great way to make money for the school . . .

That's me - always thinking of others.

Anyway, since I opened my big mouth, I got to organize it. And as it turns out, I'm a bit of a control freak (okay, so we may have known that already, but the preschool people didn't), so I thought surely I could do the whole thing myself.

Martha wouldn't ask for help.

To make a long story short, I got a lot of donations, and we made a fair amount of money. And Jeff and Addie are so very glad it's finally over.

Jeff is doing a Leukemia & Lymphoma Fund-raising Race in May, and has to raise $500.

If it were me, I'd start making some phone calls, or set up a stand, but no one ever accused Jeff of taking the easy way out.

He has decided to wage a one man bake sale in an effort to raise the money. That's right - A One Man Bake Sale.

Every couple of days Jeff bakes cookies. This week it's monster cookies, last week it was sugar cookies.

He takes his cookies, his little sign and his tip jar to work, and sets it up in the break room.

He's apparently going to raise the $500 one dollar at a time - literally.

I'm fairly certain that the different ways we approach our fundraisers pretty much sums up the difference between he and I.

We flew back to Oregon at Christmas, and then again in January (for Jeff's grandpa's funeral, sadly). It's a long flight every way you look at it, and the kids did great each time - and we didn't even have to sedate them.

The last trip out west I felt like we were the control group in how contagious infections spread. When we landed in Portland, Lorelei had a raging case of pink eye, and Addie was doing her best to catch it too.

A long ride on the MAX into downtown helped spread the germy love even more. Meanwhile dodging questions from passengers about what exactly was wrong with our baby and had we taken her to the doctor.

Nothing like traveling cross-country with a crusty-eyed infant to really feel like a great parent.

Now that we've acclimated to living here in South Carolina, certain things are no longer as shocking as they once were.

Case in point, the tuxedos and corsages at the preschool Father Daughter Dance barely fazed me.

Discussions about going out and "killing me some terrorists" and hearing "them foreigners are always trying to cut in line" at the grocery store, just don't have the same impact they once did.

But I still haven't gotten used to reading about the pros and cons of the Confederate flag in the editorial section each week. Nor reading, "you must be from up north" as an insult rather than an observation.

Surely I'm forgetting some titillating and insightful tidbits, but for the life of me, I can't remember them.

Take care,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Heat Packin' Momma

Hey There,

Well, it's that time again - Alligator hunting season!

Nearly a quarter of the front page of our local paper (bless you Herald and all the joy you bring to my life) was devoted to the play-by-play account of how a group of Rock Hillians brought down a terrifying 12-footer.

"It took the four guys - working in tandem teams of two, rotating through arms warn slap out - three hours to boat the monster. . . Honeycutt ended it with a gun shot behind the gator's head."

And naturally (what else does one do with a 12 foot alligator), they stopped at the truck scales at the Flying J Travel Plaza on their way home.

Just in case you were wondering, the alligator PLUS the trailer weighed 11,380 lbs. Oh, what I would have given to be at those truck scales . . .

This is been a busy headline month for the Herald:

"Start you Christmas Liquor now." Okay, so it may have said Liqueur, but still.

"South Carolina Rock Showing at Winthrop Delayed." This was a follow-up article to the one about the rock that's shaped liked South Carolina.

I'm not sure what I like better, the fact that they wrote an article about a rock shaped like the state, that they are now taking said rock around the state for viewing, or that they wrote a follow-up article about the rock being delayed. It's a tough decision.

In addition to being the most infamous cat in the neighborhood, Bubbles has managed to get herself an enemy.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have someone yell at me, than have them politely tell me (with no voice inflection whatsoever) that (referring to an alleged tin foil incident on his back deck, which may or may not have involved Bubbles), "I haven't been ugly yet, but I won't put up with that."
I thought he was joking at first, but when he offered to, "take care of her" for me, and mentioned that it would involve "putting her in a box" (insert scary mobster here), I admittedly got a little protective of Bubbles (shhhh, don't tell anyone).

Now that I know there's a bounty on her head, I get a little nervous when she pulls her disappearing act. She always seems to know when we're about to leave somewhere, and hangs around just long enough for us to believe we'll be able to keep her captive in the garage, but vanishes into thin air 10 minutes from go time.

It's one thing to be at peace with natural selection (getting run over by a car, being beaten in a cat fight, finding a new home, etc), but it is quite another to know that there is a deranged cat killer on the loose.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a kitty murder on my head. And besides, how would I explain that to Addie? . . . "Well you see Addie, Mr. Spike (oh whoops, so much for remaining nameless) was angry (although you'd never know it from his tone of voice), and put little Bubbles in a box, and took her for a little ride." Or, "Bubbles in gone Honey. You see, she went for a long walk off a short pier."

As I've mentioned before, whooping is alive and well here. I have a friend who carries a wooden spoon on the dashboard of her car. She says that all she needs to do is hold it up, and the kids fall into line immediately. Apparently the threat of the whooping stick is just as effective, and much safer than reaching back to swat the kids while driving. Now if only they made wooden spoons with extend-able handles . . .

I totally impressed Addie's preschool teachers and fellow classmates on Addie's birthday (because, preschool is after all about showing off what a good parent you are).

I brought alphabet cookies, alphabet gummies, read an alphabet book, and sang two songs.

No one can ever accuse me of being anything but 100% dedicated to educational wellbeing of my child . . . provided I only have to keep at it for 20 minutes.

I've finally met someone who's imaginary fears far surpass mine:

The other week my cell phone dropped out of the stroller while I was walking, and a man picked it up (some of you may have received random phone calls from him).

In an effort to find its owner, he started calling people in the address book. After three tries, he finally got a hold of my friend Christine, who arranged to meet him at the park to pick up my phone (meanwhile, I was happily unaware that I'd even lost it).

Moments after hanging up the phone, she was convinced that this man had seen us walking the day before, had laid in wait for me, kidnapped me, was holding me in the back of a truck, and was now forming a plot to capture her as well.

So in a heroic act of selflessness, she called her mom for backup. It's at this point in the story when you might ask why. Naturally, her mom carries a handgun, a stun gun and pepper spray with her at all times.

All conveniently carried in a Crown Royal bag . . .

Since one must get their neurosis from somewhere, when Christine explained the situation to her mother, rather than telling her she was overreacting, her mom simply asked where she was supposed to meet her.

In a constant effort to amuse myself, I have taken up tutu making. I just know there's an untapped market for pirate apron tutus, that only I can fill. Never mind that my sewing abilities are less than adequate. I'm sure Martha never let a little thing like lack of ability stand in the way of her dreams.

I've recently learned a thing or two about the third grade dating circuit.

Apparently all it takes is for a girl to ask a boy to be her boyfriend, and low and behold he says yes.

The next door neighbor boy just recently told me that he "got a girlfriend." To which I responded, "You got a girlfriend? What, did you go to the store and pick her out?" Because, as usual, I always remember that I'm the adult . . .

I think this kid said yes, not necessarily because he liked the girl, but because she asked. Or perhaps he was caught off guard, and thought she was asking him something else.

Either way, I think that this sort of approach would resolve a lot of stress in the adult dating scene.

Something to think about my single friends.

Yesterday I lost Addie. Granted it was here at home, but I looked and looked and she was no where to be found.

Fortunately, a few minutes later, I came up the back stairs and heard a muffled, "help me." It took me a minute to figure out where it was coming from, but I finally did, and found Addie standing in the sink in the guest bathroom, without pants on. Her hands were covered with lotion, and there were little lotion prints all over the walls and mirror.

Addie has recently started using the guest bathroom (thanks Jeff) and, after using the toilet, will climb up on the counter to wash her hands.

Evidently she got up on the counter, and rather than sitting down on the edge of the sink, stood in the sink to reach the soap, but got the lotion instead, and found her hands too slippery to turn on the water, sit down, or do anything but stand there and yell for help.

That's my girl. We're very proud.

Take care.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Choose your apron well

Hi all,

First off, I want to apologize in advance for any trains of thought that don't reach the station. I'm working on the fifth day in a row of little sleep (the teething demons have come to visit), and I seem to have over done it in the caffeine department today.

I've mentioned the giant appetizer-sized insects here before, and lest y'all think I'm exaggerating, I've attached two pictures.

Jeff killed the wasp just as it was trying to carry Bubbles off (his words), and tried to give it some frame of reference with the tape measure. Certainly this is a big one, but I've seen bigger. But instead of killing it and taking its picture, I ran for the house.

Since there is no reference point for the big giant scary spider, let me just say that we didn't want to get too close to it, for fear of being its next meal, and although I have no photographic proof yet, I swear its grown double its size in the last few days.

Apparently its prime location, and its bigger than life web, has enabled it to snare large enough prey (mice, squirrels, rabbits), to give it that Guinness Book of World Records advantage.

We've even set up a safety perimeter around it's web, lest the children become ensnared.

Since returning home, Bubbles has only run away twice, and has managed to lose three collars.

We had a beautiful bonding moment between Addie and Bubbles the other day. Addie was in the bathroom, Bubbles walked in, Addie told me to, "close the door shut," and within seconds, Addie had managed to pick Bubbles up, and stuff her head first into the toilet. And just to make the moment a little bit more special, the toilet was unflushed . . .

Addie seems also to be experimenting with a new game. Late at night, after she's been put to bed, the Covert Diaper Avenger strikes. Keep in mind, Addie already has a great pension for changing clothes (at least five times during the day), and apparently night time is no exception.

In the dark of night, Addie gets up, pulls off her diaper, puts on undies, changes jammies, and lays back down. That's all well and good, but when you get up and your child is a) in different jammies than you left her in, and b) sitting in a puddle of accident, you begin to question your sanity.

Addie is also polishing her table manners. A few nights ago, Addie stuck a green bean between her toes, and proceeded to try to put it into her mouth.

Neither Jeff or I could bring ourselves to chastise her, as we were eager to see if she could do it. But alas, Addie is cursed with the Selig flexibility gene - that is to say, she possesses none at all.

We were at a neighbor's house for a BBQ the other night, and they introduced us to a little goody they picked up in India - Gin in a bag.

These little wonders are one shot each, and are about the size of a large ketchup packet. I can't for the life of me figure out why they don't sell them here, as just about everyone there confirmed what a great "parents little helper" they would be.

One teacher even suggested covertly slipping them to some of her first graders . . .

The dedication to on-going classroom improvement is staggering.

Sometimes I forget that we live in the Bible Belt. But find the constant reminders refreshing.

We were at Summerfest last weekend (in the little town of York), and they kicked off the opening ceremony with a group prayer. Never mind that the festival has no religious ties, or that they would take into consideration the varying religions of the 10,000 people they were expecting.

But that's when I remind myself that there are only three religions here - Baptist, Presbyterian or Methodist.

This is the very same festival I wrote about last year, where I saw the "Commemorate Confederate Flag Day" t-shirts. And this years favorite was: "Saton Sucks!"

And for those of you who didn't want the talking Dr. Laura Action Figure, I'm sure I could round up a few of those t-shirts if you'd like.

When considering what to prepare for dinner, be mindful of the apron you choose. I find that when I don my 50's style waist apron (reference the height of my domestic accomplishments), I seem to channel Martha (also known as the Great One), and find myself striving for culinary feats above and beyond my domestic level.

Case in point, while emptying the dishwasher, I was suddenly overcome with the urge clean the kitchen, and make pork medallions with an apricot reduction.

Addie had her first day of preschool yesterday, and I seemed to have been the only mother without a camera. But, thanks to Martha's example, I'm easily able to justify my shortcomings.

After all, when one reaches the level of domestic perfection that I have, one can only focus on so many things, and one will find that something has to be neglected, and it's only natural that it be the children.

I'm off to plan for Addie's birthday party. I am thinking of taking an internet course on basket weaving, and doing a little palm frond weaving demonstration for all of Addie's little friends. After all, it is never too early to start them on the road of domestic perfection.

Take care,

Friday, August 7, 2009

America's Real Action Heroes

Hi y'all,

Well, we've arrived back from Oregon, and are shocked to find it cooler than Portland was. Not sure how that happened, but won't look a gift weather system in the mouth.

As you can probably imagine, Bubbles was just thrilled to have us back. It's a good thing when you have to force a cat into the carrier, right?

After returning from Camp Joe (where we will be sending her from here on out when we leave town), she is all healed from her neighborhood cat beatings, but I think it's only a matter of time before she's back to mouthing off and provoking another smack down. I saw Oreo (the giant Don Corleone kitty from across the street) eying her this morning.

And I know you'll be happy to hear that now that she's all healed, the unprovoked attacks have resumed.

Jeff lets Bubbles in the house every morning (not my decision), and upstairs she runs. Addie has taken to sprinting from her room to ours, or back again, in an effort to avoid a traumatic cat tackles. She'll even slam our door behind her, hoping (I can only assume) that the force of the door shutting will knock Bubbles unconscious before she has a chance to jump on her.

Just this morning, while Addie sat eating her breakfast, Bubbles attacked her from behind. Not that I'm saying Addie is totally blameless in what their relationship has become, but this particular case was 100% Bubbles mania.

I'm thrilled we found someone else besides Other Family Mom to watch Bubbles. I'm just not sure how many more times I could listen to her say, "Bubbles used to be such a nice cat before she was outside all the time."

Although on the up side, Other Family Daughter just told me (I'm sure her mother would be just mortified if she knew) that they took their kitten to the vet in bag . . .

Hello pot, this is kettle calling.

Although honestly, I don't know how anyone could accuse me of being a bad cat mother. Just before we left, Bubbles went missing again (we've figured out, that if she gets more than four houses away, she gets lost). Since we were going to be gone for two weeks, and we couldn't leave the garage open for her, I saw that I had no choice but to find her, and bring her home.

There I was in the pouring (and it pours here) rain with Lorelei on my front, fighting Addie for control of the umbrella, searching for our cat. Bubbles may be short on brains, but at least she knows to stay put. I found her almost exactly where we'd seen her last - about four blocks away, sitting under a bush.

Outside of the torrential rain, it was the longest walk home in the history of walks.

Are you familiar with the saying, "It was like herding cats?"

If I had to estimate, I'd say one Addie = three cats. And let’s not forget Bubbles' keen sense of direction . . .

Just in case any of you were wondering if I'd given up on my Martha endeavors, we threw our annual 3rd of July party here, and I made 54 lbs of pork. Martha would have been so proud.

Now that's all well and good one would think, but when I purchased said pork (I actually bought 75 lbs, just in case), I failed to consider what one would use to cook said pork in.

I appreciate that I'm in pork country and all, but you should have seen the look on my neighbor's face when I told him I boiled the meat . . . Keep in mind that he is a self-proclaimed southern barbecuer, and according to his gospel, pork should take no less than 10 hours to cook.

He confessed to me later (after tasting the pork), that he thought, "Oh lord, we're havin boiled meat for dinner. This is gonna be jus' awful."

My response was something to the effect of, "if a girl likes to eat, you aught to trust that she's not going to steer you wrong when it comes to cooking." I think my southern-side is coming along nicely.

Coup of coups, not only did I boil the meat, I also served sweet mint tea - god forbid.

Shortly after our big party, Jeff went into the garage and discovered the door to his kegerator was open, and the tap had been pulled. The atrocity of it - beer all over the floor and an empty keg.

Come to find out, there had been a great beer heist in the neighborhood. Multiple cases of beer had been stolen, or attempted to be stolen from all the unlocked garages (this was on a Sunday evening). And to think, we had tried to blame Addie.

Apparently one neighbor discovered his loss immediately, as his fridge had been left open, another chased off the hoodlums in question, and another (after a day of drinking mind you) hopped in his car and proceeded to chase the teenagers down the road. Of course he got their license plate, and by that night, four of the six kids had been arrested. The police officer, who had the privilege of returning the stolen beer, was quite proud of himself.

And we were told shortly after our arrival home from vacation, that the other two culprits had been apprehended and arrested as well. Well, thank goodness for that.

Some of you may have heard that pythons are taking over Florida, but apparently they're working their way up to the Carolinas too. Having just seen a python up close and personal at the Portland Zoo, all I can say is, Jeff will have to find his own way back to Oregon, because the girls and I will have already left.

Every once in a while, the girls and I will meet up with another preschool family for a nice meal. But then reality hits, and the realization that kids suck the joy out of eating out.

We recently met up with two other moms and their kids (making six kids under three) for Mexican, and between the tortilla chips in the ears and the quesadilla on the shoulders (and that was just my kid), the nice lunch out was somehow lost on the three of us, and those seated immediately around us.

The picture attached is just one more example of why I believe that some girls go from three to 15 in about 10 minutes. We will be in such a world of trouble soon.

As if that weren't bad enough, I took Addie to open gym at a gymnastic academy, and she just fell in love with the outfits. She kept pointing out different leotards, and insisting that we go and get one. She even tried to convince me that we should leave the gym, go get one, and come back. Explaining that she wanted one in purple, but if they didn't have purple, green would do. And if they didn't have green, pink would do.

For those of you who don't know, Addie decided that it was high time she should be wearing underwear (god forbid you call them underpants or panties). And outside of finding sitting on the toilet tedious, she is doing very well. Although as many parents can attest, the automatically flushing toilets in the airport, were nearly the undoing of the potty training advancements.

I have found two new products that very nearly put the injectable gravy to shame.

I was at Tuesday Morning, and found Solar Vinyl Shorts (send me your size, and I'll see about getting each of you one of your very own), and best of all - a Dr. Laura Action Figure.

I have only dreamed of such a thing.

Apparently there is a whole line of "America's Real Action Heroes." As if the action figure itself were not enough - she talks. For those of you who follow Dr. Laura, this should be a no-brainer - she says, and I quote, "Now go do the right thing!"

I can't imagine that this won't be on everyone's Christmas list this year.

As if the poisonous snakes, parachuting ticks and wild animals are not enough, lighting struck a tree in our backyard while we were gone. And just in case you're wondering, lighting will in fact fry the electrical system for your irrigation, and the irrigation of your immediate neighbors.

I'm beginning to question how one reaches adulthood here with all of the perils lurking in your own yard.

Take care,