Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sir Charles and Mr. Tippin

We had two more star encounters on our Nashville trip. My mom was ecstatic when she found out Charles Barkley would be signing autographs during the trade show. Evan enjoyed giving Sir Charles high fives, even though he has no idea who Charles Barkley is. Charles (he told me I could call him Charles when I referred to him as Mr. Barkley) was around for the whole day and anytime I'd walk past him he'd ask me where "mom" was. Since I was working, mom and Evan spent most of their time exploring the hotel.

We also got to meet country star Aaron Tippin. I'm a fan of his, so I was pretty excited. Evan did his smile, which is more like a squint. If you don't catch it at just the right moment, it looks more like a grimace...

We all made it home after some long delays in the airport, but it was well worth it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We're Here for the Party

I'm working in Nashville for a few days covering the trade show my old association puts on each year. My mom and Evan are here with me and one of the perks of this gig (in addition to the paycheck) was a private concert by Gretchen Wilson and a little meet and greet. Evan slept through the whole meet and greet (I still can't figure out how he can sleep through something like this, but at home the phone ringing wakes him up immediately). He was just kicked back in his stroller, hands behind his head, like he was taking a siesta under a shade tree.
My mom and I took turns watching the concert, since it was a little too loud for Evan. (He did wake up by the time the concert started). I am a huge country music fan and I know I'm going to have Gretchen's song "I'm Here for the Party" stuck in my head for days!
When I came out of the ballroom from my "turn," I saw my mom and Evan dancing to the music. It was too cute!

I am pooped, but I was able to wrap up all the writing I needed to do tonight and now I'm going to hit the sack and sing along to Gretchen Wilson tunes in my head until I fall asleep.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home. Home.

Evan has turned into a homebody. I am a little worried that our three-week trip to Utah made him paranoid that we're going to leave and not come home for a few weeks. When we get him dressed to leave the house, he repeats the word "home" over and over. On Saturday upon returning from a morning out, he RAN into the living room saying "home, home, home." The poor guy was so relieved.

Today I decided we needed to go somewhere since we literally have not gone outside for two days. A restaurant in town has morning concerts followed by a free child's lunch with the purchase of an adult entree. I decided to give it a try. It was a lot of fun, but partway during lunch, Evan got up from the table, grabbed my hand and said, "Go home. Home. Go home." So, we went home--where we stayed the rest of the day.

I reminded Evan today that he has school tomorrow. His response? "No. Home."

Each night before bed Bryan, Evan and I tell each other what our favorite part of the day was. Bryan and I tell detailed practice, playing a game, being silly...but lately Evan says, "Ummm....home." He is definitely loving being home.

Unfortunately, we have a trip coming up. We're leaving on Saturday for four nights in Nashville for a conference I'm covering. I'm scared it is going to put this kid over the edge. We might never get him out of the house again once we come home.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Evan has entered a new stage that can only be defined as “mine.” Actually--it is more like “MINE!”

Everything is his, Styrofoam peanuts, Goldfish crackers, my makeup, old receipts, the pillows on my bed, even the ice pack I was using after my oral surgery last week was suddenly his. He declares his ownership first and asks questions second. He thinks we have an interest in taking anything he is looking at, thinking of or already owns.

Sometimes he’ll look at us, touch his chest, give a thoughtful nod and a polite “mine,” as if he is gently explaining the item in question is, in fact, his. Other times it is much more forceful. He’ll hold the item close, shout “MINE” and then run away, just in case you didn’t get the message the first time. You know, just in case you really wanted to play with his Lightning McQueen RIGHT NOW and planned to steal it from him.

Sometimes he reminds me of one of those dogs that is raised in a huge litter, so she grabs her food and runs to make sure she gets her fair share. He isn't even two yet, so I’m wondering how long this is going to last.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Vacuum Lives On…

In an effort to clean up all the Styrofoam peanuts littering our house, I pulled out my vacuum. In case you don’t know, I’ve been cursing this vacuum for months and complaining about it any chance I get. I couldn’t pick up a darn thing with it, and it somehow was putting down more dirt than it was picking up. I had had it with the vacuum when it couldn’t even pick up a piece of Styrofoam the size of a pea.

I was ready to walk the thing out to the trash when I suddenly had a flashback to visions of my parents sitting on the kitchen floor, huddled over the vacuum with a flashlight, utility knife and electrical tape in hand ready to perform some sort of surgery on our old Electrolux. I’m not sure of exactly what they did to the vacuum during those moments, but somehow it seemed to work magic and the vacuum lived to see another day (this went on for at least 20 years).

It was time for a vacuum operation of my own. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but something must wrong and I was about to haul it to the trash anyway, so I didn’t have anything to lose. I prepared my supplies—okay, I got out a flashlight. I looked down the hose and stretched it all out. I couldn’t see anything and considered cutting it in half just so I was sure I didn’t miss anything, but I decided not to get overeager. Plus I don’t think we have any electrical tape, so then I’d just be left with half a hose.

I continued checking it over, pulling off anything I could and inspecting it with the flashlight. ALAS!!! A clog somewhere in the back of the vacuum. I went to my silverware drawer to find something to help me fish out all the hair and dust and gunk inside a little hole. A seafood fork appeared to be my best option. I pulled it out of the drawer and dug away for about 15 minutes. Finally, finally, finally! All the buildup was removed and my vacuum works again. It works beautifully. I spent so much time today vacuuming with a real vacuum and not just the Dust buster, which sadly I used to prefer over my vacuum (clearly something is wrong when you’d rather vacuum 1,200 square feet with the Dust buster than your upright vacuum). I moved from room to room just looking for something else to vacuum. I even moved furniture! It was a glorious day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Pink

This week we have had a flurry of deliveries as UPS and the post office brought us all the Christmas treasures we left behind in Utah to avoid paying extra fees on the airlines. The best part of all of these delivers, at least in Evan's world, is "THE PINK." Each time I open a box and it is filled with pink peanuts my little guy squeals with joy and shouts, "THE PINK! THE PINK!" He then tosses peanuts throughout the room, breaks them in to small pieces and laughs like crazy. He also likes to hop in the box and wallow in the wonder of Styrofoam.

He loves "the pink" so much that when I try to sweep up the small, staticy pieces of Styrofoam littering our floor, he throws himself on the floor trying to pick up each little piece while declaring, "Mine! Mine!" I decided just to let it go for awhile and let him have his fun. Our floor was a sea of pink. Then, my doorbell rang, and I regretted ever giving in. I explained to my neighbor we had gotten deliveries and Evan loved the peanuts. I was so embarrassed. After Evan went to bed, I swept up as much of "the pink" as I could.

The next day--another delivery and another box of pink. Bryan took Evan to the mall yesterday so I could do some much needed cleaning. My first move was to de-pink the house, which is nearly impossible. Those little peanuts--particularly the peanuts that Evan has broken into at least eight pieces--get everywhere. There are some stubborn little pieces still hanging around. One of them even went with us when we took Evan to watch hockey practice yesterday. I'm not sure which one of us it rode on, but Evan was more than pleased when he looked down at the Kettler Ice Complex and saw a piece of pink. I think we'll probably still be cleaning up pink next Christmas and I'm sure Evan will be more than pleased!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I am home from my dreaded dental appointment and although it wasn't really fun, the appointment itself wasn't as bad as I had anticipated (now I'm worried about all of the anesthetic wearing off). The most annoying part was that the new assistant working with the dentist kept managing to suck my hair up into the little vacuum-type tool they use to suction the spit out of your mouth. I am not kidding. I would be sitting there in the chair, trying to relax and breathe deeply, then SCHLOMP. She'd have to untangle my hair from her tool. The dentist was pretty patient with her, but I was relieved when he told her not to get anywhere close to my mouth with the tool when he actually took the gum graft off the roof of my mouth. In the nicest way possible he said, "I don't want to risk you sucking it up."

Bryan dropped me off and picked me up, and luckily Evan was able to pick up a drop-in day at preschool, so I have a few more hours before I have to do much (thank you, thank you, thank you!). I've been trying to just sit back and watch t.v., but can you believe there is not one episode of Law and Order on before 2:00? I love that stupid show and I really miss watching it. It seems like there are always episodes on, so I was all set to treat myself to a Law and Order marathon today! Instead I've tolerated the Best Celebrity Feuds on E! I finally had to get out my computer so I could catch up on some blogs!

By the way, before Bryan left for work he asked to see my mouth. Then he said, "It looks good. Don't look in the mirror." He isn't very convincing.

Okay--now that I've spent the few weeks whining about dentists, viruses and surgeries, I promise to have some more upbeat posts! Well--maybe until the end of next week when I get all these stitches out. Ha ha.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Plain Old Fear

I just looked at the clock and realized in less than 12 hours, I will be sitting in a dentist chair having a titanium post drilled in to my upper jaw bone. Needless to say, I'm a little scared. I'll also have some gum grafts done, which worries me, too. Bryan tried to cheer me up by saying, "I'm not going to're probably going to wish you were dead." Thanks, sweetie. That helps. Bryan likes to keep expectations low, so things can only look up.

I broke my front teeth playing a game with my niece when I was 12 years old or so. I eventually lost one of my front teeth as a result, which either meant I could walk around looking like a hockey player for the rest of my life, or have some major dental work done. Its been nearly 15 years since my last major work on my front teeth (well, until last week), and I think I've forgotten how much I hate dental work.

On Thursday, I had a four-hour appointment to remove my old bridge so the doctor tomorrow can place the post. I'm not quite sure why, but when my dentist booked the four-hour appointment, I didn't really think I'd be an active part of all four hours. I packed up my laptop, I-pod, book and a magazine to kill the time. I was quite disappointed when I had to spend all four hours leaning back in the chair with my mouth open. Four days later, my teeth still hurt. I'm also still wondering what makes someone actually want to be a dentist. I'm obviously happy that people do become dentists, I just think it would be the worst job in the world.

So wish me luck! My appointment is at 7 o'clock tomorrow morning. I made a nice dinner of mashed potatoes and pecan crusted salmon tonight as my final meal for a few days. I think the whole process will probably be a good self-imposed diet and finally force me to cut out diet sodas. I've stocked up on Jell-O and pudding for tomorrow and I have some leftover mashed potatoes. I intended to sew some cute little ice packs, but I never got around to it. I did, however, find time today to get to the library and stock up on Elmo videos to use for a babysitter tomorrow. I hate doing that, but I think it is going to be a necessary evil. Where is my mom when I need her?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Pause Button

I've been thinking that I could really use a pause button so I could put the world on hold and steal away a few extra hours. I'm not sure how the days and weeks pass so quickly, but they do. I thought things would settle down after Christmas, but no such luck. Between the coughs and colds, trips to the pediatrician, trips to the dentist, articles to catch up on, undecorating and unpacking, I've managed to fall behind on everything. There are dishes to do, thank you cards to mail, papers to file, laundry to wash, clothes to iron, stories to write and on and on and on. I think I just need an extra two or three hours a day to get caught up! As soon as I figure out how to get it, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Handmade Gifts: Rice Therapy Packs

I made these rice therapy packs for several people on my Christmas gift list this year. I used the pattern from Sew Mama Sew at

Inside the pretty bag is a muslin bag filled with rice scented with essential oils.
It was one of my first sewing projects on my new machine--luckily it was all straight lines!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcome to our Infirmary

Hello and thank you for calling the Longs’ infirmary. We are busy assisting other illnesses right now and are unable to answer your call. Due to the high volume of viruses we’re experiencing, we currently are not accepting new illnesses. We will continue treating existing sicknesses, but due to the prolonged nature of such sicknesses, we can no longer guarantee service with a smile. Coughs, colds, runny noses and general ailments requiring such service should seriously consider relocating to another family—perhaps one where the mommy takes mood enhancing drugs. Please hold and we will get to your call in the order in which it was received. Thank you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Kids are Resilient

Evan had surgery today and the whole experience reminded me once again that kids are resilient. I have been dreading today, mainly because I'd have to deny my poor little guy food and drink for several hours leading up to the surgery. He couldn't have anything after midnight, which in reality was after 8:00 since I wasn't about to wake him up for one final swig of milk. He was such a little trooper. To show my support I only had a few sips of Diet Pepsi this morning.

We arrived at the hospital an hour and a half before the surgery to do all the paperwork that seems totally unnecessary since I had three phone calls earlier in the week to confirm all the information. We were moved from one waiting room to another until they finally gave me a blue cap and yellow gown so I could walk Evan into the operating room. I sat him on the table and held his little hand while the anesthesiologist grabbed Evan's arms from behind and put the mask over his face to make him fall asleep. It seemed a little cruel, but I know Evan would have immediately reached up to move the mask away, so I understand why the doctor held his arms. I sang Evan the ABC's and worried he would never forgive me for looking on as this man held him down and made him breathe some sort of gas.

They escorted me out, and I fought back a few tears. Bryan bought me a Diet Coke and tried to get me something out of the vending machine, but it wouldn't take his dollar. Darn it. I was hungry!

A little while later the surgeon came out to give us the thumbs up speech. All went well and it didn't take very long. I was relieved, but they still wouldn't let me go back to be with Evan. They wanted him to wake up a little first. I kept trying to sweet talk one nurse after another, but I finally gave in and sat down to wait for someone to call my name.

Finally. A nurse came to take us back to be with Evan. I was practically running with images of my little guy screaming mercilessly for his mama. Imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner to see Evan sitting up in bed, sipping on some juice with four nurses making goo-goo eyes at him. He looked happy as a clam with all of the attention he was getting--not to mention having four women at his beck and call. When he finished his first apple juice, a nice nurse promptly brought him another. That treat was followed by some Cars stickers. Here I thought he'd be pining away for me. He didn't even seem to notice I had arrived. When they did finally let me hold him, he simply wanted his dad. Is this a sign he is growing up? Maybe he was still a little mad about that whole anesthesia thing. I really think it boils down to the fact that kids can handle a whole lot more than we give them credit for.

We brought him home a little while later and he has been doing well. I hope tonight goes as well as the rest of the day did. Let's all keep our fingers crossed. I have to give a special thanks to my friend Sarah who brought us dinner tonight. It was the perfect ending to a stressful day. She brought us Italian beef sandwiches, salad and potato chips, and I'll freely admit that I finished almost all of the chips by myself. Poor Bryan only got crumbs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year. New Resolutions.

I am a sucker for New Year's resolutions. I have been making them ever since I understood what the word resolution meant. Even if I might tell you I didn't make any resolutions, I lied. I can't help but to make them. Which is why I think I have a hard time keeping them--I make too many. Typical ones for me include being a better wife, mom, sister and friend. All of which is very vague. I've also jumped on the bandwagon and resolved to eat better, exercise more and floss every single night no matter how tired I am.

I specifically remember one year when my resolutions included putting on more lotion. Really? Did I need a resolution for that? Given how dry my skin is right now I apparently did, but I obviously wasn't able to stick with it.

A few years ago Bryan and I told ourselves we would call one long-distance friend a week. It seemed like an attainable goal. I mean, how hard is it to spend one hour a week reaching out to friends? Apparently harder than you'd think since we had given up on it by February. I think I'll try it again this year.

For the last few years I've told myself I would use the coming year to spend more time writing fiction and less time reading about writing fiction. I still haven't finished any spectacular stories. I'm making that resolution again this year and since the cover story on my latest issue of Writer's Digest is "Finish Your Novel in 2009," I'm obviously not alone.

Like many women across America, I also plan to get more organized this year. I have several magazines cluttering up my living room right now that promise to teach me how.

I don't know why I think making a resolution will actually make me change the way I live and think. But, I try every year. At least it makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone! So, wish me luck as I start off the year with my 57 resolutions and I'll thank you in advance for not mocking me when I fail to keep any of them going past March!