Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm back!

First, let me apologize for subjecting you to April's hiney for the last week. That really was not nice. I finally got that big honkin thing off my arm and am back to typing like a secretary. (Actually, I took it off before I was supposed to so I have to put it back on right before my doctor's appt. this afternoon! Don't want to get in trouble, you know.)

I've been wanting to post this video of April for a while now. Please, bear with me and tilt your head to the left to watch this. I couldn't figure out how to turn it like a normal person. I was shooting it from the kitchen while she was outside on the porch. She's just hanging out in our pool talking to her peeps.

Some people say she gets a lot her expressions from me...don't believe them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tonight we got some rare footage of either Thing 1 or Thing 2. It went by too fast to tell which one.

Something about that wig made her go crazy. She was running faster than she ever has and jumping over the furniture and escaped from Elliott's arms more than once. I think we'll put it away for a while.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hey! I'm back, sans the hideous tumor. Everything went great, I'm just trying to get used to this henpecking at the keyboard. Here's something to make you laugh this Monday morning.

Me: Anna, what are you doing out there with that pump?
Anna: Just playing.
Me: Well what are you airing up?
Anna: April.

And don't ask why April is naked. Just know that she is always naked.

Monday, September 15, 2008

morrow morning, before the butt crack of dawn, I will have my twin removed from my left wrist. It will be bitter sweet as I will not get near the attention I have been getting since it started getting bigger several months ago.

Say goodbye to my little lump because the next time you see me, I'll have a big splint that will go from my hand to my elbow and I will have to learn to do everything with only one hand like I did when I had a baby on my hip 24 hours a day. But the lump will be gone. Hallelujah!

Here's a little tribute to my soon-to-be-absent friend...

Mug shot

Cyst bokeh

Dark side of the cyst

Who knows, I might get even more attention walking around with that big splint. If things go well, I just might wear it an extra week!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Family afFair

We did eventually get to go to the real West Texas Fair and Rodeo and we couldn't have planned it for a better day. It was cool, sprinkling on and off, and the place was empty! I have never before seen the zipper with only one person on it and no one else in line. The workers were begging us to get on their particular rides and we actually made some deals with them. Elliott would tear off some tickets and hand them to the guy and say, "Is this enough for all of us?" and the guy would wave us all on. We made out pretty well. That is, until you realize we spent an ungodly amount of money on carnival rides that took an afternoon to put together and food-like substances that made us continually hungry no matter how much we consumed. Here are some of the highlights...

The petting zoo was our first stop. Why my kids are fascinated with goats I'll never know. They're a dime a dozen where we live. Go figure.

Remember that face that Anna is making. You'll see it again.


Right about now is where John started to learn the fine art of swindling. He brought some of his own money so it really hit home this time!

I'm not even sure what to say about this. I guess the Dumbo ride didn't live up to their expectations.

Did I mention that we came home with three goldfish?

The place was so deserted, April helped herself to the Ring of Fire.

There's that face again on Anna.

April loved the Tilt-a-Whirl!

Anna and that face again.

The artwork on some of the rides is just stunning.

Now let's be honest. This is what we really came for. I love the way my husband looks under the fluorescent lights of the funnel cake stand. Sigh.

The fair is a place where we leave the cares of the world and our concerns about HFCS at the gate.

See you next year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The fair before the fair

When the weather interferes with our plans, we Parks like to make our own fun.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How to turn your husband on without installing a pole in your bedroom. Rated G

It's Wednesday again and you know what that means? It's time for Works For Me Wednesday hosted by Rocks in my Dryer. You can find all kinds of great tips here.

The other day I went to turn on my oven so I could start supper. I set the temperature for 250 so I could do my all day roasted chicken. Usually, when it gets to the set temperature, it beeps. This is good because I could easily set my oven for 250, walk away, start a new task and not realize it until one of my kids says, "Mom, were you gonna fix something for dinner tonight? I was just wondering."

After about half an hour, I noticed that my oven looked like this...

It's still in preheat mode after 30 minutes. It hadn't even got to 200 degrees! Something's not right here. I opened up the oven to find this...

And please don't judge me for not cleaning my oven. I do other things really well. Here's a closer view.

Hmmm. It appears that the element has burned out. "How do you know?" you ask. Well, it's just a hunch, really. It has something to do with the fact that it looks to me like there was a small explosion in the bottom right corner of the oven. But of course, I'm not a professional. And I don't want to pay a professional to come out to the house and charge parts and labor fees for something I have a pretty good hunch about. So here's what I did.

I went to this site. Found them on Google.

I went to my warranty notebook that has all the pertinent pieces of information for all of the major appliances in my house to find the model number of my range.

I plugged the model number into the site and selected the part I needed by looking at a diagram of my range.

That looks about right. I ordered the part and waited 3-5 business days. Actually, it only took 1 day. Yes, that's right, the part that I ordered came the next day! I'll be cooking up a storm again quicker than I thought!

I'm not sure what all needs to be done "electrically" when changing out the heating element in an electric oven, but just to make sure I don't give myself an instant home perm, I think I'll shut off the electricity to that particular section of my kitchen. Was that a run-on sentence?

Hey, how do you like that fancy breaker box smack dab in the middle of my bedroom? I've been saying for three years that I'm going to get a picture or something to cover it. I'll just add that to the list.

Here we go. I'm so glad our electrician labeled the switches in ink. God bless him.

Now, I read some of the comments on the parts website from people who did this themselves and the consensus seems to be that it's pretty darn easy. I'll be the judge of that.

Here's the screws that I need to loosen to disconnect the element from the wires they're connected to.

And here's where I ran into some problems. I couldn't seem to get the wires off of the prongs. Here I am, my head in the oven, my butt hanging out when who should walk in the door but my sweet husband, home from a long day at work. At first he didn't know where I was. Then I called out to him from my spot inside the bowels of the oven. He took one look at me and all the tools I had laying around and he was all, "How you doin?" He hasn't looked at me like that since I fixed the pull chain on the girl's ceiling fan.

If you want to find out how I finished changing the heating element in my oven, you'll have to check back tomorrow.

Oh, and one more thing, I think I'm getting a tool belt for Christmas!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tales from The All Night Bucket Buffet

The other morning, while getting the kids ready for school, John said, "Look, there's a skunk in the compost bucket!" Our compost rarely, if ever, makes it to a "pile," it just sits in buckets on our back porch for all the forest animals to help themselves to. Anyway, I freaked out a little because I have a thing about skunks and their aromas. I haven't been directly sprayed before, but I have had one spray near me and it left an impression. I'll tell that story another time.

The whole family gathered at the window to look on the back porch and this is what we saw...

Now, I ask you, is that not the cutest living thing you've ever seen? For a minute there, I forgot what we were dealing with. As soon as the kids start cooing over it, you could tell it got a little nervous and tried to scramble from the bucket.

Insert heaving noises here and imagine if you had to pull yourself up out of a deep pit. Now imagine that pit was full of your most favorite food and you had been eating it all night long. He almost made it out a couple of times but he just couldn't get his behind up over the edge. Boy, do I feel for him.

I didn't even notice that Elliott had gone outside the front door and around the house to try to rescue him. Stinky looked at him as if to say, "Excuse me sir, but would you be kind enough to help me. I'm in a bit of a jam." Normally I would use my best Pepe Le Pew voice for a skunk, but for some reason I think this skunk has a British accent.

Now my husband, we'll just call him McGyver for now, is a very handy fellow. He takes care of his wife who doesn't like the smell of skunks. That's a rope he's trying to loop over the bucket. Watch how he saves the day.

He's got the rope around the bucket and now he's going to gently slide it across the porch so as not to alarm the little stinker. And sorry about that view. If you could just imagine that all that junk is gone and while you're at it, imagine there's a swimming pool there in that sea of grass, that would make me feel a little less embarrassed. Thanks.

You know, somehow I think he knew that he was being rescued. He just poked his head out and enjoyed the ride.

Here's where it got a little dicey. Elliott had to pull the bucket back really fast to tip it over and then get the heck outta dodge.

Freeeeeedooooooom! That skunk laid right there in that position for several seconds and then he got up and waddled off.

Guess we'd better move the All Night Bucket Buffet a little farther from the house.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


At the beginning of the summer, I told Anna she could get her ears pierced before school started. As usual, I listened to weeks and weeks of reminding from her and then waited until the last week of summer to actually get it done.

I made arrangements for the other hoodlums, I mean children and planned to spend the whole day with Anna.

We got off to a late start so when we headed for Abilene, it was close to lunchtime. I asked her where she wanted to go for lunch and without hesitation she said, "Harvest Moon!!!" So we had some grown up girl bonding time over chinese food and it was precious. She's so grown up!

Here's a picture of us at the restaurant. Now, before your eyes start to water I'll tell you that I had our waitress take more than one picture of us trying to get it focused. In the end, I think that's just probably the way she saw us. I don't remember if she had glasses on or not, but she was no spring chicken.

Even though she's a big girl and we're doing big girl stuff, she still wanted to ride the coin operated bull. She made that face before the thing actually came on. Her next expression is much less exciting.

Here we are at Claire's. They're clipping her hair back so they can see her ears.

Tada! All done. Boy that was fast. Just kidding. That's just her with her hair pulled back and her ears marked.

She started to get a little nervous right about now. There's a girl on each ear so she doesn't have to go through it twice and they gave her a teddy bear with earrings to squeeze for comfort.

All done! I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but her eyes are a little misty. She was so brave. I could tell that she was struggling to keep the tears in.

They gave her a bag that says, "Just got my ears pierced!" It's about 150 degrees in the mall parking lot, just in case it looks hot to you.

I'm so proud of my big girl. She's growing up fast!

Of course, we had to go by the church and show them off to Brenda.

And get a hug. You can't tell here, but she really does love hugs!

Then we had to go by the studio to show daddy!

And anytime we're at the studio, she just has to play the drums!

Another milestone. Sniff, sniff. Don't worry, I'll be alright. I get to do it two more times!