Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A New Addition!

Our extended family is getting an exciting new addition! Flanigan grandchild #4 is due in January. For those keeping score, that's 4 in less than 3.5 years! How fun to have so many cousins so close in age! We are all very excited. Andy is hoping for a boy, as he thinks there is more testosterone needed in the Flanigan line. I agree, but being female myself, I find it hard to root against us.

Congratulations, Katie and Dan!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just The Ten Of Us!

Andy's family came to visit last week. There were ten of us total, ranging in age from 10 months up to 80 years! I think we all really enjoyed our time together, and they were great houseguests as always. Next time we might consider renting a big van, as transportation was a little complicated.

Thanks to Grandma Spangler's generosity, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Spaghetti Factory on Monday. It had been ages since we'd been downtown, and we really enjoyed the atmosphere and witnessing that the district was as lively as back when we were in college and enjoyed it more frequently.

Astonishingly, we do not have a group photo from the weekend, but here is some documentation of the fast and furious action our Cozy Coupe enjoyed:

Sophie and Zoe, driver trainees...

Sophie wasn't quite prepared for the shift into Reverse...
Forward, ho!
And this is my favorite, of the girls crashing into our foyer table...
Drive safe!

P.S. A totally unrelated plea for help: I am looking for a two- or three-day a week nanny/sitter. Please let me know if any of you know someone who might be interested.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Biggest Of All...

Aunt Katie gave no less than THREE haircuts this night. And although the other two subjects were adult females, who do you suppose got the greatest volume of hair cut? You guessed it!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Animal Cracker Dilemma

When you go to the store, there are two (or more) brands of animal crackers. One brand is Barnum's. They are the classic ones that come in the little circus train car. The 2 oz. package costs about $1. Then there are Stouffers. Stouffers come in a 32 oz. bag, and cost about $1.50. Now, when faced with a purchasing decision, anyone who knows me can guess the choice I made. Quite obviously, we can reconfigure crackers into cute containers if desired. Paying 10x the cost isn't necessary. So of course we got the Stouffer's, and we've been eating them. A side benefit to me is that they aren't really all that good. This means I am not very tempted to consume mass quantities, as I tend to with some of the kids' other snacks.

The other day, I was with someone who had Barnum's. I tried one. A new world of animal cracker enjoyment was opened up to me. Holy cow, are they good! Like a few of life's other little luxuries, they are worth it whatever the cost. But now the dilemma: Do I let my kids try them, and ruin their little appetites for Stouffers forever? Or do I keep this knowledge confidential, and let them happily ingest a substandard snack?

Is this a metaphor for decisions to come? Should we send them to private Christian school, have them tough it out in a subpar district, or something inbetween? And if there's an inbetween, what's the animal cracker equivalent?

Thank goodness we have a few years to figure all this out.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Recent Prayer

Dear Lord,

I am so thankful to You for my children, one of Your greatest blessings. I know how lucky I am that they are healthy and normal, at least as much as can be expected considering their gene pool. So please understand that I don't mean to seem ungrateful...

But why Lord? Why do they have to be sick whenever their cousin Zoe comes to visit? They've been healthy for months without so much as a runny nose. And You know last time they gave her that ear infection, the one that's resistant to antibiotics... This time they come down with some mysterious fever-rash combination that looks suspiciously like Roseola, not three days before she rolls into town. Why?

Lord, I realize that I may possibly be focusing on the little picture here. I hope You don't mind that I am often praying for mundane things. And I am so glad that the kids been so healthy this summer. But I have to ask You for yet another blessing: Please, please don't let Zoe get sick! If she does, she and Molly may be afraid to ever come to our house again. So please let the fact that the fever's been gone for over 24 hours mean that my kids aren't contagious and please protect her from any lingering germs!

Thank you for your consideration, Father.

(Sophie sports her mystery rash here)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

General Updates on Previous Posts

OK, so I wanted to let you guys know some random updates about things mentioned in previous posts...

1. Spoono is alive and well and is an almost constant presence at our house.

2. Apparently there is no master Plaque List, and different people order them. So just because I'm on one person's plaque list doesn't mean I'm on everyone's. I'm not sure I ever will be, since I don't think I'll ever be either the general manager or president of the company. So each time the plaques roll in, I will just have to be on pins and needles along with everyone else to find out if I've made the cut this time.

3. Sophie's still chowing down on green bean casserole at every opportunity, and is still toothless. She still says nothing but "Uh-oh". She is, however, crawling on all-fours now and pulling up on everything.

4. Will still needs a haircut, although Andy is wavering, thinking that maybe Will's long hair is starting to look "cool". I disagree.

5. The TV box is still in my dining room.

6. Andy is looking for another house to flip. I am trying to discourage this for a while and am thinking of changing my MLS password and not telling him what it is.

7. Will is totally potty-trained (although I am still putting him in a diaper at night just in case)!

I think that's all - you are now officially updated.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No Soph, that's Vewy Dang'rus!

This is a refrain we hear often at our house. It seems EVERYTHING Sophie touches is Dang'rus, including 1) Toy Trucks 2) a Fisher Price Toy Phone and 3) Little People School Buses. Also, apparently, anything else that Will is playing with at any given moment. I guess since he is likely to hurt her if he catches her with any of his stuff, it's technically true that it is all dangerous for her.

A couple of weeks ago, Will invented a new sport, Sister Tipping. It's much like cow tipping, only Soph is awake and sitting up when she is victimized. The part where the tipper runs away laughing gleefully is much the same. Luckily, with a little swift justice, I think we were able to squelch this fad before it caught on internationally.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Top 10 Signs Your 2.5-Year-Old Is Tired

10. Appears enraptured by "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip".

9. Pitches a tantrum over putting on pajamas.

8. Will not, under any circumstances, set foot upstairs for fear he'll end up in his bed.

7. Gets extremely angry at toys and people that aren't receptive to his psychic powers.

6. Starts asking Mom, "Are you a big huge frog?" and other questions expected only from psychedelic drug users.

5. Has a full-blown emotional breakdown because "I didn't want it to get dark outside!"

4. Insists vehemently, "I'm NOT ty-rid."

3. Begins every sentence with "Don't say..." (i.e., "Don't say Will is tired!")

2. Eyes start to roll back in his head whenever he blinks.

1. Is now asleep on the couch in front of "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip".

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's All Downhill From Here

So the dark days have come, wherein Soph rejects baby food and demands whatever it is we are eating. Mostly pizza crust and green bean casserole. This is some cause for concern for me. I was thrilled that she was such a voracious baby-food consumer, and I'd hoped that her love for it would endure, if not through the ages, at least through the first full year. But alas, she's discovered the wondrous tastes of all the disturbingly junky food we consume. And in comparison to Shrek-shaped Cheez-Its, what do ground up peas and squash have to offer? Which would you choose?

And so that battle begins, between what I want for her (vegetables) and want I want for myself (peace, quiet, carbs and fats). It doesn't help that she's so danged observant. You can't sneak in a healthy bite here and there. She'll take a look at what's heaped on her spoon and zip her lips like she's pleading the Fifth. And if she does by some small miracle intake a bit of mush, she spits and gags like I've tried to get her to take Cod Liver Oil. (Here I have to interject: poor, poor Ava, who does endure doses of the stuff.) It wasn't a week ago Soph was happily consuming baby food by the jarfull.

I'm once again reminded of the third tenet of parenthood (after Wash Your Hands and If You're Trying To Get Out The Door Or Sit Down For Dinner, Chances Are That Someone Will Be Poopy), Expect The Unexpected.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Plaque List

You know the "gold records" you see on music industry veterans' walls? We call those plaques. At Curb, unless perhaps you're direct-entry senior management, there's apparently a waiting period of 5-10 years from date of employment until you actually start getting these. A year or so ago, my ship finally came in and a beautiful plaque inscribed to me arrived, celebrating the success of Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" album. The fact that I had nothing to do, directly, with that album's success is inconsequential. I do at least make darn sure that his royalty statements are accurate and hopefully in so doing, preserve whatever shred of peace exists between Tim and Curb. I am also nice to his auditors and business managers.

Heck, maybe I do deserve the plaque!

Anyway, a few months later I was privileged to receive a second plaque, this one for Rodney Atkins. Wow. This confirmed that the Tim plaque wasn't a fluke. Somehow, after eight years, my name had found its way onto the mysterious "Plaque List".

So naturally, I was excited when I saw new plaques stacked in the lobby yesterday. A third addition - why, that makes for a full-fledged collection! Then I saw the artist involved. I won't mention any names, but its a Christian trio. Unlike Tim and Rodney, I know personally two of the three group members. They're very nice, but I call them my worrywarts. They call me several times a year, WAY more than any other artists or managers, and I've met with them and gone over their rates and statements. They even thank me in their liner notes, which no one else ever does! So if there was any doubt that I'd be receiving one of these plaques, it was instantly erased.

I returned to the office after an afternoon meeting. It took me a while to notice the plaques were all gone from the lobby. Then I noticed there wasn't one in my office. Strange...

A quick search of the building ensued and confirmed that there was NO PLAQUE WITH MY NAME ON IT! How could this be?

I am on the case. I will let you, my faithful readers, know how this turns out...

Until next time I remain yours truly,


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Counting Blessings

I have a very happy baby. I don't mean to gloat, but Sophie is an exceptional child.

She wakes up all smiles, and she goes to sleep silently content, snug in her crib. Some days I hardly hear a cry all day, except for when Will attacks her with his two-year-old brand of violent affection.

It's very easy to take these days for granted - day after day of smiles, giggles and babbles.

But occasionally God sends us a reminder to count our blessings.

It might be a near-accident in the car, a sad story on the news, or a lesson in Church.

Or in this case, a tooth.

There's nothing like a inconsolable, fretful and intermittently bawlin' baby to remind you how good you have it the other 364 days of the year.

I'm not really sure Soph is teething, since I haven't yet seen a tooth. But knowing her nature and this dramatic departure therefrom, I can only surmise that she is either teething or enduring acute gastrointestinal distress. Since her new favorite food is green bean casserole, it may be the latter. We'll just have to wait a couple of weeks to see if any ivories have poked through.

(If Sophie gets a tooth now, prior to her 10-month birthday, she'll be a phenomenally early teether for my family. We're gummy babies. Will enjoyed his first birthday cake like a toothless old man, sprouting his first fang (it really was!) at a ripe old 13.5 months.)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Blank Slate

Some of you guys know that we've been attending a super-small church in a neighboring community on Sunday mornings as part of a little mission effort. We've been worshipping there since January, about six months. The people there, mostly much older, have been super sweet and friendly to us and the kids. Will's usual attire is a polo shirt and khakis, and Sophie wears one of her sundresses (mostly pink) with a hairbow. Last Sunday before church the minister "warned" us that he would be mentioning us in his lesson. Once he got up there, he proceeded to talk for two or three minutes about how children, and OUR TWO SONS in particular, were "blank slates" and we could inject whatever knowledge and encourage whatever beliefs we desired in them. And he must have made reference five times to "OUR SONS" or "OUR LITTLE BOYS". I whispered to our friends, "They really are blank slates, so we've decided to raise this smaller one as a girl!"

This has been a constant problem with Soph, and I can't imagine a more feminine and delicate-looking child. Older men ALWAYS think she's a boy, even men that should know better. It is true that she uses the same infant carrier we had with Will, which is blue. But it's navy, which I don't think is particularly gender-specific. And I promise that however practical, cheap and careless I may seem, I don't dress her in his old clothes. Most of her clothes are pink, and I love little hairbows and if anything I overuse them. Maybe it's the dark hair. Or maybe it's just that the "default" is boy in people's - and particularly men's - minds.

Could she pass for a boy?
(By the way, do you like the attractive wasteland of debris in the background of this photo? Yeah, that's Will's room in its usual state - sometimes it's worse.)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Aunt Kiwi, We Need You!

\Aunt Katie (aka Aunt Kiwi) is Will's stylist. Since she lives about 600 miles away, sometimes his hair doesn't get the most timely attention. I've learned that my talents lie elsewhere and it's best for family relations if I don't even attempt to trim his wild locks. Luckily, Katie is coming to visit in a couple of weeks. And we're going to try to make it. So Aunt Kiwi, please pack your shears!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy Birthday, USA!

Ideally, I might've taken their picture together, but that was a dream that wasn't to be realized on this day.

A little story about our 4th: Our neighbors George & Danielle had a little party at their house, and it was a lot of fun. About 8 couples and 15 or 20 young kids. Did I mention that George and Danielle are very brave?

After we left, we were pretty tired. We'd been planning to go to the Brentwood fireworks, but we almost wimped out. Then I told Andy that I'd feel like a bad parent if Will didn't get to go to the fireworks. After all, he is finally old enough to appreciate them, right?

So we drug ourselves back in the truck and drove over to the Crockett Park area, only to find that the park was closed. Apparently it was already at capacity.

Not to be discouraged, we drove into a neighborhood that adjoins the park, and found a cul-de-sac to park in. There were a lot of other cars parked there, and some people out on their front lawns with lawn chairs, so we figured we were in the right place.

With Sophie asleep in the truck, we opened the sliding rear window, turned on the radio, set up shop on Andy's tailgate and waited for the excitement to begin. Will informed us that he was "ready to go home" but we assured him that the fun was yet to be had.

We heard A LOT of high-dollar amateur fireworks, to the point I was constantly paranoid that we were missing the real show. A little after nine, the "amateur fireworks" increased in frequency and volume, as did Will's requests to go home.

After a couple of minutes, we determined that the REAL fireworks display was in full force, directly behind a huge tree from us.

Perfect. But again, we're flexible. So we hopped off the tailgate and stood along the side of the street where we had a (slightly) better view. At this point Will's requests to go home were endless. Endless, yet not escalating. A special talent of 2.5-year-olds (and I bet veteran moms will back me up on this) is that they can repeat the same statement or request OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER about one hundred and eighty six times and never change their tone whatsoever. It's as if they don't even realize that they are repeating themselves, and they certainly don't process your answers. I have tried many strategies and have yet to find a way to disrupt this maddening rhythm, and I fear that prolonged exposure may result in my need for intense psychotherapy and/or fullblown institutionalization.

So while Sophie slept in the truck, Will spent the entire span of the fireworks display chanting the mantra, "I'm ready to go home" and was equally unimpressed by the show.

And next year, obviously we'll be bad parents if we don't go see the fireworks. After all, it will be the first year Will will be old enough to appreciate them!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Collection of Statements/Questions/Requests I Never Thought I'd Make, Ever, Until I Became A Mom

These days, every day I hear words coming out of my mouth that I can't believe I am saying. Here are some recent examples:

1) No, Will, I can't close the garage door with my esophagus.

2) You're not eating books again, are you?

3) (From a few weeks ago) Mom, I need for you to come do another poop inspection.

4) a. We're going to the grocery store that has the car carts.

4) b. Yes Will, you're driving us to Colorado in the car cart.

4) c. Will, you're driving because we're in the United States. If we were in Europe, Sophie would be driving.

4) d. You know, this car is actually like an airplane, so either wheel can control it. All you have to say is, "Sophie, it's your turn to drive." You don't have to change places. Just tell her you're turning over the controls to her.

5) I can't help you pee-pee. You have to do that part on your own.

6) Let's go to McDonald's!

7) Are you eating the cabinet?

8) No, I'm not a big huge frog (an automatic response to the question, "Are you a big huge shrog?")

9) Yes, I'll sit on your bed... I mean the lawn mower.

10) Please don't eat the burrs off the dog.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Toys That Should've Never Been Invented

We all realize now that candy cigarettes were probably a bad idea, and we're warned about the dangers of toy guns and video games. But recently we acquired yet another item on the list of toys that should've never been invented:

The Toy Chainsaw!