Halloween Scrooge

This should come as no surprise to you.

Because after all, I'm the one who hates birthday parties, dresses my child in girl pants, and was guilty of actually forgetting one of the rascals' birthdays.  (I'm as proud of my mad parenting skillz as you are.)

But...I don't like Halloween.

I'll be honest with you....

It does have a bit to do with the historical aspects of Halloween that have given me the initial sour tastes in my mouth.  I just don't like it.  But, I have come to the point of realizing that dressing up in a superhero costume and begging candy off your neighbor isn't really that big of a deal.  We do, however, stay away from all things scary and haunted and gross.

I so wish that I could just take hold of that whole "We Don't Do Halloween" thing and run with it.  But, then I'd be lying to everyone.

Because really what it boils down to is that I just despise the whole costume THING.  And the fact that our town STINKS like skunk when it comes to Halloween-alternative activities also makes me just want to go to sleep on October 30 and not wake up until November.

Here's my take on the costume thing.  When I was growing up, my parents let me participate in Halloween activities like trick-or-treating and such, but we always, always, always MADE our costumes.  I was a gypsy and a hobo for years on end...because we scrounged around for stuff at home.  I'd get into my mama's makeup and doll up in my grandma's jewelry.  It's just what we did.

But now everything is so commercialized.  The racks and racks of neatly packaged costumes that cost $19.99 for cheap polyester hypnotize my children and put these weird voo-doo spells on them.  And it isn't that I can't say "no."  Because I can say "no."  It is the whining and perpetual asking for polyester that just makes me want to pull my hair out one blessed strand at a time. 


$19.99 x 3 = $59.97 for paper costumes

Do you know what we can do with $59.97??????  But the children don't tend to think in terms of $59.97.  They only think in terms of what's hanging on those racks.  (Do you know that one of my boys actually wanted to be a guy from KISS this year?  Why?  Not because they know who KISS is...but because it was hanging there.  Case in point.)

So this year (actually just yesterday...because I procrastinate), I put my foot down.

Each kid got $5.00 to spend on Halloween costumes.  They could use it to buy supplies to MAKE something (wahoo!!) or they could buy makeup or they could buy something to go with a costume that we already had at home.

.....let me interject here with the fact that we have a costume/dress-up cabinet at home that has no less than 48,397,342 costumes in it of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Masks.  Hats.  Shoes.  You name it.  But, of course, none of those were "good enough".....

And I'm pleased to report that after much whining and crying over not getting to buy the prepackaged Obi Wan Kenobi or Gene Simmons or Michael Jackson (yes, MJ) costume, we came out successful. 

And today the children are excited about their costumes.

Tate found an army guy hat that he desperately wanted, and when he remembered that we had a soldier costume in the dress-up cabinet...he was thrilled.  $2.99 for army guy hat -- Score.

Keaton decided that he wanted to be a book.  Yes.  A book.  So today we are turning him into a book about whales (his choice), and he is going to end up looking relatively like one of those "The End Is Near" guys from New York City.  But he's happy, so I'm happy.  $3.29 for foam board. $1.29 for elastic. -- Score.

And then there was Sawyer.  He was dead set on being a ninja.  And making a ninja costume would be easy IF you owned a black sweatsuit.  We don't.  (Well...we do, but it has red paint all over it from when one of the boys painted the dog house.  And last time I checked....ninjas don't do paint stains.)  So, we priced everything at the store and GASP! it was going to come out cheaper to just buy the polyester get-up in the package then to buy a hoodie and britches and red material to make all the masks and ties and stuff that he was sure he needed to be an authentic ninja.

So we hatched a deal.  I'd put my $5 towards a ninja costume.  But he'd have to foot the rest if he wanted it that badly.  Smart kid spotted a $12 ninja costume (which was nowhere near as elaborate as the $19.99 one that he was eyeing) and decided that it was just fine.  And he decided that $7 was worth being able to hi-yah his way around the streets tonight.   $12 for a ninja costume. -- Kinda score.  (Because I put the $7 back in his piggy bank without him knowing it...I'm a sucker like that.)

Ah....Halloween.  My least favorite of all the holidays.

But I'm putting on my big girl britches tonight and making the most of it.  I'll parade my soldier, book, and ninja up and down the streets, and I'll come home and fish all the good candy out of their buckets.  I'll tell them that I need to "inspect" those pieces, and then I'll eat them.

And then we'll wake up tomorrow and it will be November.

And it will be time to get ready for my two favorite holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now those I can get excited about.


Conan and the Mini-Me

Meet Conan.

He's the Man Beast.

And here is Conan's proud new owner.

Oh. Wait.

Nope. That's the Mini-Me.

Have you ever seen anything cuter?  I think not.

There's Conan's real owner.  Look! He's smiling!!

Welcome to the family, Conan!


So...You Wanna Know the Why Behind the Fish? Alright. I'll Tell You.

I've had several people ask about my tattoo.

Either they are seriously curious about my choice of ink and placement, or they are so shocked that I would actually follow through and get one.....whichever...

Here's the back story.

I'm a bit of a rebel at heart.  I know, shocking, right?  Not if you know me well. 

I'm a boundary pusher.  One foot over the fence on most days.  And I'm not even sure how my parents are still sane after having raised me.  Bless their hearts.  So to come home with a tattoo wasn't really a stretch.  It tends to be how I roll.

So...you've asked:

Why a tattoo? 
I've always wanted a tattoo.  Thankfully, I didn't follow my rebel spirit in my high school/college days or right now I'd be sporting some weird back tattoo of a fairy princess dancing on a daisy.  You think I'm kidding.

But my want for some ink has never really gone away.  My thoughts have just moved from weird statement-making to wanting something classy and that held meaning for me.  And I wanted a design that would carry its meaning with me as I got older.  (You know...because that dancing fairy probably wouldn't be so cute on a 90 year old body. Just sayin'.)

Why an ichthus?
The "Jesus Fish" has always held amazing symbolism for me.  I love the history of that particular symbol in our Christian heritage.  During the early days of Christianity, our sisters and brothers many times had to worship in secret, and a fish was the symbol that the people used to identify each other.  Fish on doors symbolized a secret place of worship or a fish drawn in sand would signal fellow believers.  (To read more about the ichthus and its place in Christian Church history, go here.)

Like I said, I wanted a design that would carry its weight throughout my entire life, what with tattoos being permanent and all, and the Jesus Fish fit the bill for me.  I feel so blessed to not live in a society where my faith must be kept hidden and that symbols are what have to be used to identify my beliefs, but, at the same time, I wanted my dedication to Christ to be obvious to even those that may only ever see me in passing.  (Please understand that I KNOW that Christ being evident in my life shows by the fruit that I bear and by my daily walk with Jesus, not by ink on my foot, but I wanted my tattoo to be a quick marker of my faith.)

Why the foot?
I don't come up with many good ideas on my own.  I'm a copy-cat by nature.  So, I'll give credit for this where credit is due.  One of my old pastor's daughters actually has this same tattoo.  And I always found myself admiring it and thinking that when/if I got my tattoo that I would want one like hers.  It was small and classy, and it meant something. 

And the more I thought about it...it made sense to me.  Since I was going for the outward symbol of where I place my faith, then I wanted people to see it.  And I am SO not an arm girl.  No judgement here, folks, it just isn't my cup of tea.  But what I am is a flip flop girl....and I knew that I could still appear classy and mature and respectable with the very small foot tattoo (strategically placed to look cute with flip flops, mind you!).

So there you have it.  Why the fish. Why the foot.  Why the ink. 


Well thought out and meaningful. 

Ain't no dancing fairy.


Football, Fun, Friends, and Ink -- Day 2 (Part 2)

Before I tell you what happened….you have to promise to believe me.

Because when I tell you that this was not a rash decision…I want you to believe me.

Ask my friends. And the husband. They’ll tell you.

That the one thing that I have wanted FOREVER is a tattoo. Of an ichthus. On my foot.

And I have bugged these same people that will vouch for me for close near forever to take me and get one. And they never would.

Until Saturday night.

It all started out the same way. I spotted a tattoo parlor (this one was next to our hotel which seemed like providence anyway), and I started in with the begging. I want a tattoo. Please take me.

To my shock and surprise….they did.

One of the credentials that the parlor had to have was that it was clean. And this one was. It had lemon yellow walls, and didn’t have whacko paintings of skulls and dragons draped on the wall. Looked good to me.

And then I met Cadillac Chris. Apparently he is a cardiologist who packs heat, owns 3 Cadillacs, and also single handedly took down a Taliban cell when he was doing time in the army. And we all smiled and pretended like we believed him.

Because we didn’t want him to screw up my tat.

After arguing with Cadillac Chris for a good 15 minutes on the size of my Jesus fish….he finally took me back. (Cadillac Chris was under the impression that I was sadly mistaken about the size of the ink I wanted…but since I had rehearsed this day in my head for, literally, years…I stood firm and forced him to give me what I wanted.)

Look…that’s me and Cadillac Chris. And his nephew who couldn’t have been older than the can of cranberry sauce that I have sitting in my cabinet. The youngster kept telling me that it wouldn’t hurt….Uh, thanks…kid.

The kid was wrong. It hurt. Like the dickens. Obviously.

And then he was done.

Just like that.

And I now have it. And I couldn’t be happier. I love it.

And to celebrate my new ink…we went dancing. Because we all love to dance!! We met up with some other folks from our town there, and we all had a great time rockin’ out to some killer 80s music. It just doesn’t get better than Prince, Madonna, AC/DC, and Belinda Carlisle.

And by the end of the night…we all were having so much fun that we had forgotten about the game.

But we’re not discussing that.

Day 2 (Part 2) of Football, Fun, Friends, and Ink – Over and Out.


Football, Fun, Friends, and Ink -- Day 2 (Part 1)

Whoever decided that the football game should be at 11:00 in the morning was nuts. He obviously didn’t discuss the timing with me. And he obviously doesn’t understand my sleeping patterns.

But, I put all grumbling aside and got up.

After all….it was HOG DAY!!! I was going to get my scream on and Woo Pig Sooie my Razorbacks to victory. Well, by now, you probably know how that all turned out, so we’re not going to dwell too much on the game here. For one, it makes me a little upset. And for two, it makes me a little upset.

So instead of rehashing the Hogs lack of memory concerning how to play the game of football…we’ll go over some of the more interesting parts of the day.

First off….dress the part.

So I gussied up…and later regretted the gussying because my gussified Hog red shoes gave me killer blisters while I trekked the length of Nebraska to get to the stadium.

I also mastered the art of the fake tattoo.

What I did struggle with was how to take a picture of myself with the tattoo without looking like a haggard old spinster. I am in my 30s and have wrinkles. And crow’s feet. And didn’t really notice until taking these pictures. I’m blaming it all on the fact that I’m a genuinely happy person and those are all nothing but smile and laugh lines. Ahem.



So...lesson to be learned here:  If you want an upclose picture of yourself, open your eyes and mouth really big, act all excited, and it flattens the wrinkles.  You're welcome.

After deciding that the cutey Hog on my face was just going to have to deal with being wrinkly, we took off.

And were all super excited about the game.

Even Trip Nazi Wes. Who might possibly suffer from Game Day Road Rage…but I’m not for sure.

While we SAT in game traffic for what seemed like hours, we saw this car.

Obvious Ole Miss Rebel fans, dontcha think?

When we got there….finally…we had the privilege of parking at the Oxford Mall. Kirk was especially giddy about having this picture made in front of JC Penny.

He worked many a hour in that store, wrapping presents and chatting up his drag queen co-worker, while he was in school at Ole Miss.

Speaking of Kirk and Ole Miss…let me chase a little rabbit for a second.

The husband was highly confused this weekend. He knew that he was supposed to be rooting for Arkansas. He KNEW that he was supposed to. But something in him couldn’t let go of his short-lived Hotty Toddy heritage. So…he decided to go all incognito and confuse everyone. He wore a blue hat (for Ole Miss) with the Arkansas A. Bless his RazorRebel heart.

Okay….where was I?

Oh right….

After Lisa and I posed in front of the semi, we found our seats and sat in high anticipation of a really great game!

We were sorely disappointed. But we had a great time. And the weather was beautiful.  Our seats were in the Rebel endzone (yes…you heard me right), and we learned quickly to not call the Hogs very loudly lest you wanted the highly intoxicated Rebel fans to yell profanity at you.

See that guy?

He found it particularly fascinating to throw the bird and obscenities around like they were candy.

Classy guy, I tell ya.

And then there was this guy. Who wasn't in on the Hog slander, but did have incredible fashion sense. Yes, that is a paisley shirt. Loved it.

And I ate popcorn and drank Diet Coke out of an overpriced souvenir cup that a college kid tried to steal from me… No sir. You don’t mess with a sister’s cup.

And then the game was over. But we’re not discussing that.

On our way out we did see this very nicely dressed lady pick up her box of Wheat Thins that she had stashed IN THE DUMPSTER during the game. Gag. She will now live in infamy as the Weirdo Wheat Thin Dumpster Lady.

Then we headed to The Grove.

And it was something to see. You’ve heard of The Grove, haven’t you? You know…tailgating at its finest only without the tailgates. I mean, these Rebel fans get serious. There aren’t just tents. There are tents with chandeliers. And slipcovers. And floral centerpieces. And folks dripping with more diamonds than Liz Taylor.

This is the tent of our friends from our town that are displaced Rebel fans.

And next to them was Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. No joke. Her tent was all pink; all her friends were gay men; and she had a little dog in a pink baby carriage. You betcha.

Then we headed off for the husband to get all kinds of sentimental.

Here he is at his old dorm.

Then we went into the Rebel bookstore and were the ONLY Hog fans in there. But the husband got all nostalgic on us and needed memorabilia.

He also might have cried. But I didn’t tell you that.

He wasn’t the only one weepy though.

Lisa and I had tears of achiness from the gussied up shoe blisters. So we took our shoes off and went barefoot. And decided that then we would be obvious Arkansas fans….what with the no shoes and all.

Wes was misty…because of the..uh…loss.

But we’re not discussing that.

Day 2 (Part 1) of Football, Fun, Friends, and Ink….Over and Out.

(The ink part is coming....I promise!!!!)


Football, Fun, Friends, and Ink -- Day 1

I think that 2009 is going to hold the record for Rascal Raising travel logs. Because we seem to just keep taking trips.

Oh…I’m not upset about that. Because I love me some trip taking. But I do feel a wee bit sorry for you people that have to hear about it. But seeing as I run this show…travel logs it is. You’re welcome.

So…we headed out.

And drove the little people to the Mother Ship. And felt slightly guilty about dumping the sickly pint sized munchkins with the ‘rents. But then remembered that the grandparents take better care of our children than we do, so knew that the kids were in way better hands with Grammy and Poohpa than they would have been with us. So we left them there. And whispered prayers that Grammy and Poohpa wouldn’t disown us as we skedaddled off for a romping weekend with the besties.

We now officially owe my parents the world. First for the whole raising me thing, and now for letting us play with our friends.

Guilt-ridden minds in-tow, we headed to meet up with Lisa and Wes, and we loaded ourselves up in the Tahoe and jetted.

First stop. Walmart. Naturally.

To buy rear end decorations.

No. For the car, silly.

(But then we put them on the side because this blog post and that pitiful excuse for a joke were not at the forefront of our thoughts on magnetic swine placement.)

And then we drove. And talked. And giggled. And drove some more.

We finally made it to the hotel in Mississippi and got all gussied up for a night out. Hmmmm….where to eat? Where to eat?

No brainer.

Yes. Paula Deen’s. Queen of all thing butter and creamy. Talk about stick-to-your-hips food but lovin’ every second. Yes, sirree.

I ate this.

That flat pancake looking thing is a hoecake. I was intrigued to say the least. But I was pleasantly surprised with the hoecake. Another bucket list item…check.

The husband’s plate looked like this.

And then Paula begged to have her picture made with me.

And I admired her very faincy salt and pepper shakers.

And then by sheer luck, we met a fairy.

Now. I call that just plain good fun.

Day 1 of Football, Fun, Friends, and Ink. Over and out.



I had this for lunch today.

I also drank 3 of these.

And I'm cuddled up with these.

I don't make a habit of being friends with any of these 3 things. 

Chicken and Stars soup is reserved only for days such as this.  I don't even really like it that much....it is just how I roll at times such as this. 

And then the water.  Gag.  Water makes me nauseous.  But I'm trying to be a good girl and drink up. 

And don't even get me started on the Kleenexes.  I don't care how much aloe and soft stuff you pump into tissue...there is nothing fun about swabbing your nose with what soon feels like sandpaper.


I hate being sick.

I feel like a hippo is rolling around inside the ole' cranium, and that Victoria Falls has relocated its beauty to Nostrils Numero Uno and Numero Dos. And it ain't so purty anymore.

But what may be worse than being sick is that I gots me places to be this weekend.

And I don't really have time in my schedule to be sick.  Like not even 5 minutes.

Because these guys:

Yep.  My beloved Hogs.  Are playing these guys:

And I'm supposed to be there.  Looking all cute while I scream "Woo Pig Sooie."  And rolling my eyes at the husband as he tries to cheer for both the Hogs and the Rebels (he went to Ole Miss for a stint...but I still love him anyway).

So I'm holding my breath.  Hoping that I'll heal up soon so that I can jet off wearing my red and white and cheer my Razorbacks on to a much-deserved win after that travesty that was last week's game.

And I'm drinking water.  Blech.  And eating stars.  Ick. 

And stuffing Kleenexes up both nostrils so that I don't drip all over my keyboard.

Good times.


Hokey Pokey

I am a good mother.

I promise that I am.

And, for the most part, our radio stays tuned to KLove.  And we belt Chris Tomlin and Nicole Nordman at the top of our lungs. 


Occasionally our radio may or may not get switched to our local country station.  And we may or may not rock us some Toby Keith and Keith Urban. 


Occasionally our radio may or may not get switched to our local pop/rock station.  And we may or may not rock out to Pink and Pokerfaced Lady Gaga. 

But I really am a good mother.


But my children SOMEWHERE and SOMETIME have picked up a liking for a certain song that has...um...less than tasteful lyrics. 

But I really am a good mother.

Really I am.

The lyrics are really too racy to even post on here, this being a G-rated show and all.  So....if you can recognize these lyrics...than you know of what I speak.  If you don't.....then good for you.

But I really am a good mother.

Because here is the rascally version of that song.  The one that they have been running through the house singing all day. 

Shush, girl.  Shut your lips.
Do the hokey pokey
and do the twist.

"Momma, that's how it goes right?"

"You betcha, baby.  You betcha."

We will now be keeping our radio tuned to KLove. 

You're welcome.


Wheelin' and Dealin'

Not altogether.

Just how I've been feeling lately.

And not like going-to-do-something-crazy-like-chop-up-my-bathtub-and-sell-it-for-necklaces unstable.  Just not feeling all there unstable.  Kinda haphazard.  Wondering around in a stupor.  Just weird.

And I'm not sure why.

I'm happy. 

I'm blessed with an amazing hardworking husband.  And our marriage is at the best place it's ever been. 

I have great kids.  Like amazing terrific wonderful kids.  They bug the snot out of my sometimes, but there is no place I'd rather be then home with them every day.  So incredibly blessed.

I have a roof over my family's head.  We have electricity.  And water.  And toys.  And clothes.  And food in our fridge.  And a dishwasher.  And a washing machine.  And a shower that works.  And vehicles that run. And. And. And.

I'm healthy.  Excluding this whole poison ivy ordeal, our family has been crazily healthy.  This time of year we usually frequent the doctor's office more often than we do Walmart, so that we have even been able to escape the wrath of all the pig flues, cow flues, and every other flu is really a miracle. 

I have amazing friends.  An amazing church.  An amazing extended family and in-law family. 

I'm really super blessed.

But, yet, I still feel blah.

It frustrates me when I get like this.  When I'd rather sleep the days away than get up long enough to cook my kids a hot breakfast.  When I'd rather watch reruns of Dr. Phil than do the laundry. 

It bothers me.

Because I KNOW that I'm just flitting from one thing to the next, not really doing anything well.  I KNOW that I'm letting the ball drop on some things.  I KNOW that I'm trading joy for blahness.

So if I KNOW it, why can't I get out of the rut?  Why don't I just MAKE myself?

Well...this is what I've discovered....


So, I decided that it was bigger than me.  That if I KNEW it was a problem and was still making a choice to not do anything about it, then it was bigger than me and my very small brain.  So I did something about it.

I had me a little chat.

With Jesus.

And He and I made a deal this morning. 

That I was just going to let Him handle me, and I was going to let Him. 

So.  What does that look like?  I don't really know.  But, I do know that I'm just going to trust Him to hold up His end of the deal.

And I'm going to hold up mine.


Fly By the Seat of My Pants All the Way to Oklahoma -- Day 2

*Post written 10.14.  Published 10.15

Another night in the spy palace down.

And my sneaky peeky Junie B. Jones spy skills proved extraordinary. The rascals and I went undetected, despite one minor luggage cart debacle held in an elevator. But…shhhh…..if someone asks, it wasn’t us. It was the weird guy who wears blue shoes and hosts lambchops for facial accessories. Because you should never trust a guy with blue shoes and lambchops. Ahem, Elvis. Just sayin’.

After doing an all out search-and-rescue operation for a LEGO man’s head, the children and I packed up our room, loaded up the rental, and departed from the spy haven.

And headed for the Oklahoma City Zoo.

In the rain. And the drizzle. And the chill-me-to-the-knee-bone cold. Awesome.

The zoo was…in a word…UNEVENTFUL.

Unless you count Sawyer being accosted by the strange zoo nazi who was quick to tell him that if he didn’t behave she was going to send him back to his bus. Okay, thanks, Ms. Zoo Nazi. How about I send you back to a bus? You know, since we’re sending people to imaginary buses and all. (Forgive me…I’ve never been very good at comebacks…I’m an “I know you are, but what am I?” girl all the way.)

But we did see giraffes.

And Tate was afraid that they would be highly offended by my purse.

I’m sure they were.

Then there was the pathetic looking rhino.

And this poor unfortunate creature…who was having a bad hair day.

I really shouldn’t talk ugly about the poor guy, because I’m pretty sure I looked the same way. Did I mention that it was raining on our heads the whole time?

Um…yah. Good times.

After we had taken in just about as many empty cages and animals that were intelligent enough to get in out of the rain, we hiked the 837 mile trek to the only indoor eating facility at the zoo. That’s where I sold my plasma at the door to buy a few measly fries and cheeseburgers the size of Rhode Island, but only grumbled 837 times once about it because we were finally in the dry.

Because I could feel my blood pressure rising and a migraine coming on, I lied to the children and told them that all the exhibits on the backside of the zoo were closed. It was self-preservation. And they’ll never know. Don't judge me.

So…back in the car and 2 hours until time to pick up the husband from his meeting…what to do? What to do?

The children were screaming Science Museum.

So I obliged them…..and drove straight to the Super Target that I had seen on the road near the spy palace. They were thrilled. I thought about lying and telling them that Target was a Science Museum…but thought better of the idea. Didn’t want to overextend the Mother’s Free Pass To Tell White Lies For Matters of Survival all in one day.

Where was I? Right. Super Target.

Now that is a sight for sore we-don’t-get-out-much eyes. I’ve never had the pleasure of being in a Target so grand, and I am now pleased as punch to be able to cross one more thing off of my bucket list. I set high goals.

Now….before I go on, let me just tell you that waiting with 3 restless boys on a dreary drizzly day for the husband to get out of a meeting causes time to tick by much slower than normal. Slow like Masterpiece Theatre slow.

So what does this mom do when time needs to be filled and there isn’t an Old Navy nearby? Why, go for ice cream, of course!

We headed back here.

We went last night before our movie outing and fell madly in love with the eats and the ice cream. So, it only made sense to go back today.

I ate this. Again.

Calories don’t count on vacation.

And Tate got the ice cream that gives you a permanent mustache.

They should charge extra for that. It being so close to Halloween and all.


Time to pick up the husband back at spy headquarters. And now we are on the road headed back home.

And the scenery is amazing.

Oh, wait….you have to see what is out the other window.


I’m taking poison ivy fairy drugs and taking a nap.

Fly By the Seat of My Pants All the Way to Oklahoma – Day 2 – Over and out.