the retro room: no longer retro

Welcome to the story of the longest room renovation known to man.

We've lived in our house for five years. It's safe to say that, while we don't consider ourselves "home renovators" or "project people", we've changed this house a lot to make it our own. It needed a lot of love. We (uh, Karl) have painted every single inch of wall space (save for one bathroom which will be painted before we move out!). We redid the kitchen (well, we picked out the flooring and cabinets and counters and paid for it anyway.). Before we even moved in, we tore out most of the carpet...discovering gorgeous hardwoods in great shape. (Down with carpet! Down with allergies!)

About three years ago, we tore the remaining carpet out of this room,
discovering this old school retro square awesome green and yellow square pattern that I love desperately. When we moved in, this room also had disgusting wood paneling. (Thank you 1970s! I do not like your wood paneling trend!) We painted over the wood paneling - and man did it look AWFUL. But we left it that way for, oh, a year or two (maybe three?), mostly because we were just at a loss of what to do in this room. Karl used it as his home office. I used it as the Room to Put Shit that has no other place. Various couches and desks have graced its floors. I tried desperately to make SOMETHING, ANYTHING work with the floors, but it just was not happening. We finally decided to make this Nate's playroom (future bedroom?). We filled in the crevices between the wood panels with a heavy texture paint and painted it (atmospheric is the color name; hoping for a robot theme!). We decided to have floors put down. They were laid this week. They look like this:
It may take us another three years, but the trim will eventually be painted white. I'm really happy with the finished product, but sad that my retro floors are no longer. Mostly, I will miss the way the very, very OLD glue beneath them crunched with each step across the room.

Slowly but surely, this house is turning more and more into our home.


blow to the dryer

Contrary to what you might think from that top photograph, I paid to have Nate's hair cut professionally. He freaked out when the, uh, child stylist took a blow dryer to his locks (which they have never done before). The, uh, professional asked him, "Doesn't your mommy blow dry your hair?" in snooty hairdresser language. (hairdressese?)


I do not blow dry and style my 20 month old's hair. When I explained that I never had to her, she shook her head sadly and in disbelief. DISBELIEF I tell you.

Am I missing out on some must-do baby blow drying technique!? (Ha.)

Because, if so, I refuse.


Disclaimer: I realize not all stylists speak snooty hairdressese.

Also, if you want to blow dry your toddler's hair get on with it. No judging.


Level of Whine: Gold Medal Winner

So, when you accidentally pop (birth? that's probably a better word than pop, but I like the disgusting POP image you all have in your heads right now!) (You'reeeeeee welcome!) your baby out in your bathroom, people (ahem, Karl) begin to think you have a skewed pain scale.

::cue curtain::

This week I have been plagued by some ear infection issues. Like a good little wifey, I have been complaining ENDLESSLY to Karl. Last night while getting ready for bed (the same bed I haven't left much in the past two days b/c of said ear issues.) I think I reached a new Level of Whine. He started to ask me very specific questions about the pain and the location of it. I admit I was totally enjoying outlining every little twinge. Usually I ball up and don't come out until I'm unsick, but this time it was nice to discuss my ails. I must have gone into a little too much detail, because I'm pretty sure he wanted to pack up and head to the ER.

ER? Psssssh. Have we learned nothing? Pass me two advil and some Gatorade and I'll be good as new in the morning!

Hope everyone had a decent Monday. This is Karl's final week of coaching his 9th grade basketball kids - their single elimination tournament starts Thursday and, though it's his fourth season coaching and he loves it so, I think we are both kind of hoping they lose this year! That's terrible, I know, but it's a huge time commitment and we are ready for our Monday nights, Thursday nights and Saturday mornings to be a little more, uh, TOGETHER.

(Also, how do people get sick with more than one kid and child obligations? I mean, really, how do people do anything with more than one kid?)


i can.

So apparently I can cook dinner for ten and watch Nate at the same time.


I hosted a gathering at our house on Monday evening (shocking I know; no one EVER comes to my house.). It was my turn to host Book Club this month. I admit that I was totally skeptical of the whole Book Club concept when we first started tossing around the idea. I am an obsessive reader but I don't generally dissect and discuss... it's more like toss it aside, forget the plot and start the next book. I skipped the first couple of months (in protest?) and then decided to give it a try. It has forced me to read books I would never pick up (next month: sci-fi!) and has been a great way to share book nerdiness that I didn't fully realize existed amongst our friends.


My meal wound up being perfect for the day - it was cold and snowing and raining and windy and MISERABLE. So we had a Soup Party - which might be the best 'food theme' I have done in a long while. I made beef stew, chicken corn chowder, and potato (lots of starch for my vegetarian friends!). We also had plenty of bread and salad . I wound up starting all the soups way too early so they were all mushy and thick and hearty by the time everyone arrived. Warmed everyone right up.


I took no pictures as I was too busy running around the kitchen with Nate on my hip and a spoon in my hand. (Though neither barefoot nor pregnant. Now wouldn't that have been a pretty picture?)


what the buzz?

So, yes, I don't normally write tech-related posts on my blog (maybe I should? Tuesday Techies? Techy Tuesdays?) but I am terribly geeky about social media and admit freely that the Google Buzz launch got me all hopped up (and I didn't even need coffee!). If you aren't interested at all in The Internet, or if you are still using some SUDDENLINK or SBCGLOBAL email account, kindly skip this post. (And, yes, I typed those words scornfully and sometimes judge people on the type of email account they use.)

My own personal verdict on the product? To Be Determined. (Just what you wanted to hear, right?)

The launch was somewhat messy, but, without a doubt, showcased the Power of Google. (Additionally, the Power was shown in the three/four days post-lauch when Google responded immediately to changes in privacy issues- they have 38 million Gmail users in the US alone; no easy feat to implement a change.)

The Buzz release was different and much more viral than Wave or Latitude (which are other recently launched Google products. Surely you knew that right?) Anyway, Wave and Latitude were "invite" products much like Gmail was in the beginning (Does anyone remember that? I vividly remember the dreamy, long ago day I got my Gmail invite. UH EXCITED. By long ago I mean 2005.)

Anyway, the Buzz about Buzz was crazy Buzzy. Then a bunch of privacy issues arose and everyone was all F YOU GOOGLE and I HATE IT. People were (are) confused. WHAT DOES IT DO? IS IT TWITTER BUT WITH MORE THAN 140 CHARACTERS ? DO I NEED ONE MORE THING TO CHECK AND UPDATE? PEOPLE CAN FIND ME!

So what does Buzz DO?

It aggregates a lot of content in one place and places it in a stream (similar to Facebook and Twitter and pretty much any other site dedicated to Social Media. Many compare it most closely to Friendfeed). Buzz 'connects' to sites you use and pulls the feeds to your Buzz stream. (If you do not know what the word feed means please stop reading and email me and we can chat. Er, type.) Anyway, Buzz does not place feeds in your stream unless you choose to do so.and you can choose which contacts see what. It's particularly easy to connect if you already have a Google Profile. (Which you should.) It also allows you to "share" items from your Shared Items in Google Reader in your Buzz stream. Additionally, it allows you to create orignial "Buzzes" which is basically a status update (FB) or a tweet (Twitter.) Individuals can respond to your Buzz similar to commenting on a blog - conversationally and post-specific.

Currently Google Buzz can pull data directly from the following services:

– Flickr
– Twitter
– Picasa Web
– YouTube
– Blogger
- Shared Items on Google Reader

So, for example, my friend Jenny and I currently share all these things online: photos, videos, blogs, and our twitter accounts. Instead of having her send me links or instead of visiting or subscribing to FOUR separate sites it could all be in my Buzz stream. WHICH IS IN MY GMAIL INBOX. For me, that sounds convenient and awesome. Anytime I have my laptop open, my Gmail Inbox is open. There is a Buzz tab directly below my Inbox tab within my inbox that shows the number of new posts/buzzes that I have to look at. Additionally, if someone responds to a Buzz I posted or a Buzz I posted a comment on, it sends a notification/email to my inbox.

Additionally, Buzz 'autofollows' your most frequently emailed contacts so you don't have to "friend" them like on Facebook or "follow" them like on Twitter. For me, I like this feature and am totally fine with it. But I use my gmail account mainly with friends and family and not professionally or as a method to forward/funnel other email accounts into one account. It has definitely been the feature that has received the most criticism. It allows your followers to see both your email address and discern your email habits. Think: A reporter whose "anonymous" sources could be revealed. Or: A recently divorced person who needs the ex to see none of their personal information. The recent changes to Buzz now auto-suggest as opposed to auto-follow and allow you to block it/disable it completely.

Here is a link to a recent Mashable article re: the privacy concern changes.

I really feel like this is Google's attempt to GET IT ALL IN ONE PLACE. This appeals to me as I have accounts for upward of 3oo internet services. (That might not be that far of an exaggeration. When it comes to the internet, it's safe to say I try it all.) I also have no qualms about sharing information on the Internet. I AM TRANSPARENT.

I should add that I think if you have your own blog domain/feed or Wordpress, it doesn't appear to be able to pull into Buzz at this point. A suggestion I have seen to combat this to this: subscribe to and "share" your own blog posts through Google Reader.

So, here are the problems I have with Buzz. (Feel free to contribute your own if you made it this far!)

In no particular order:

1. DUPLICITY. It already annoys me when people update Facebook and Twitter with similar thoughts (or the exact same.). So, now I run the risk of seeing a Tweet, a Status Update, and a Buzz? Shudder. Many people are not pulling their Twitter feeds into Buzz b/c of this. There is no way to pull your FB updates. There also will now be Duplicity with Buzz RSS feeds and my Google Reader Feeds. I adore Google Reader and not sure I like the (inevitable?) convergence of the two.

2. BLOG COMMENTING. When my blog post comes up in Buzz, people can comment on it there. This is fine but I think but has the potential to detract from a true discussion on a particular post.

3. TWITTER. People are just getting used to Twitter and it's varying clients/applications (TweetDeck, EchoFon, UberTwitter, etc.) Twitter is not going anywhere, so it will be interesting to follow the interactions (battle?) between the two services. They are different.

4. FILTERING. There doesn't seem to be a way to filter or tweak what others share to avoid the OVERSHARE.

I hope I didn't lose you and that I maybe helped you understand it a little better? If it was all a foreign language, I apologize! If you leave a comment (with your email) about Google or Buzz, I will send you a piece of snail mail to show you LOVE and that I don't just live on THE INTERNET. (What? I'm well rounded! Snail mail is an important communication tool too!)

Final note: If anything I reported on Buzz is incorrect please email me and I will make a correction.

the big red dog is missing (for real)

So, as most of you know, we are big into books in our house.

Nate is currently obsessed with a "Where is Clifford?" book.

Plot: Emily Elizabeth is looking for her big red dog (how do you lose Clifford?) in various places around town. (Ahem, Birdwell Island in case you were wondering. They packed up the family car and the Howards left the city.)

It's a flap book so at every location (page) you have to lift the flap to look in the barn and the school and the theater, etc. At every page Nate says "NO CLIFFORD!" and shakes his head.

The last page is, of course, Clifford's doghouse, where Clifford is supposed to be but where Nate ripped him out the first day he got the book.

Every time, we lift the flap and Nate looks at me very solemnly (yet somehow sort of proudly?) and says "I BROKE IT!"

Every. Single. Time.

On an unrelated note, I am working on a post about the Google Buzz craze - will be up soon.


sharing the story: a different take on Battle of the Moms

So, I've totally met people in real life that I began relationships with via the (gasp) internet. (Mostly from twitter. At events called tweetups. No, i am not lying. What? Stop laughing at me!)

I am fortunate to have met The Woman with The Best Twitter Name Ever, @amybhole, a few times. While I don't know her that well, I do know this post she wrote is important. It's about the (quote, unquote) Real Mom Wars and one man's journey to raise awareness about homeless kids and teens who are about to age out of the foster care system.

Here is an excerpt from her post (you know it's an official excerpt because it's in ITALICS. Fancy!):

Raising children means going out onto the battlefield every day and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Us moms are fighting so many enemies -- our partners, our lack of a partner, the media, our jobs, our joblessness, our expectations, our pasts and our personal demons. We're all waging this war every day, and unfortunately, some of us are losing.

Full post HERE.

Her words are as honest and real and true as his mission. (You can follow him on twitter here; I think he is somewhere in Ohio right now.)

I think we all know raising children does not apply to just moms or dads or to biological parents or grandparents or whatever your situation might be. While I believe it's important to talk about and examine topics like working vs staying at home and formula vs nursing (and on and on and on the mommy wars go) so we better understand one another, those topics are NOT as important as building relationships with our children (those of our own bodies and those of our friends and families.)

I hope that you will take a minute to read!


soppy about snow

So, compared to the feetsies of snow in other, more northern areas of the country, I know our measly four-five inches might not seem like a lot, but here in the great state of Arkansas it is. Particularly because it wasn't predicted.

I woke up around 2 a.m. (okay, let's face it I hadn't gone to bed yet. WHAT? I was reading! Remind me I'm not allowed to complain about being tired this week!) and peeked out the window to find the ground covered in fluffy white. This morning the sky POURED SNOW for a few hours. It was the beautiful, big fluff I remember from my childhood (youth? younger years? DAAAANG this is making me sound old!er!) - the fluff of snowpeople and red skin and hot chocolate and teeny marshmellows. I love fluff snow b/c it makes everything quiet and bright and you can hear the flakes popping against the hood of your jacket. I know all my Arkansas friends are laughing at me right now as they are reading this because I generally only complain (very QUIETLY as is my way) about snow. But I maintain that is because the "snow" we get here is generally more ice and of the half an inch variety and people really do PANIC like the world might end.

Early this morning, Nate and I sat by the window and watched the snow fall for a bit. We also went outside for a bit. A very short bit. (I don't really have snow appropriate clothing for him (and he hates hats) so it cut our time out of doors a bit short despite my attempt at heavy layering.)

Little Rock is apparently breaking accumulation records from, uh, forever ago and more snow is predicted throughout the week. In the six years (6 as of Feb 1!) I have lived here I can't remember this much. I'm going to attempt to enjoy it and try not to fret about the impending CABIN FEVER as pretty much every activity Nate and I have planned for the week has already been canceled!


if you don't have anything nice to say

My mama taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, best to keep it zipped. So, again, we've been quiet, but are about to GET REAL LOUD here soon! (Like maybe on March 1. The Day February Ends.)

Nate and I survived Karl being out of town last week. We, ahem, watched way too much PBS kids and ate as we pleased. We played with various friends and read "If You Take A Mouse to the Movies" more times than humanly possible. Nate has been quite lovey-dovey this week and I am soaking up every head-on-shoulder moment.

Since I have been feeling a little lazy (did I mention it's February? and COLD? And Nate is starting to HATE sitting in the jogging stroller for more than ten minutes? And, that, additionally, he FREAKS OUT when I put the plastic weather shield over the stroller?), I have been remembering how ACTIVE I was while the pregs and marveling at it. I was looking back through some belly shots and found this one from May 31 (less than a month until N's June 26th birth.) from a 5K that almost killed me! At the end of the race (the cop car was RIGHT behind me and a few other stragglers), my fingers were so swollen (it was hot. cause it was May. NOT February.) that I immediately plunged them in the bins of ice containing bottles of water and juice for the runners. I probably stayed with my hands in and out of those bins for a solid five minutes. It was such a simple thing and everyone I was with laughed at (with?) me. Ah, it was sweet, sweet relief.

A friend and and I have been running 4 miles once a week for the last few months (5:30 in the AM on Wednesdays!). She is training for the upcoming Little Rock Marathon and I am trying to fight the never-ending battle of outrunning my calories. (cue: I'm a Loser, Baby!) For her, it is her light and slow day. For me, I just try to NOT DIE. It's true. (I have you all fooled, right? So not hardcore!)

At the end of September, my friend Jenny and I pledged to run to one another's house. She lives in Tulsa. I live in Little Rock. The mileage between the two houses/cities is 268. We are giving ourselves one year to complete our little project and we are both about 20% of the way there. (Read: TIME TO STEP IT UP!). You may have notice the ticker on the side bar of my blog. If you have a burning desire to track us, you can check our mileage there. If you want to participate, let me know and I can help you set up your own cheerleader jumping next to a thermometer.

She is visiting Little Rock in early March and we intend to run a 10K (6.2 miles) together while she is here. The problem is: there is no "official" race scheduled for that weekend so we are going to create our own. Like a WE WANT TSHIRTS create-your-own-race. This leads us to another problem: We would like to come up with a fun and creative name for our 10K. (You know, FOR THE TSHIRTS! which will, clearly, be homemade.)

Thoughts? Help?

The Little Rock Don't Die 10k?
Will Run for Beer 10k?
Beer Belly Begone 10K?
Kathleen and Jennifer are Slooooooooooooow Trail Run?

Here are my inspiration images:
1. Where can I get some shorts like that? (Also, file this under THIS GUY MIGHT BEAT ME! I have been passed by men and women three times my age (and one mom with TWO children in a jogging stroller. bitch.) during races. I try not to cry about it.)
And #2 which is actually actually described on the stock art site as 'Young woman drinking water after fitness exercise' because that is OFTEN how I drink water. Especially after fitness exercise. HELP!

We are fully amenable to supporting a cause! Beer, babies, nipple cream, organic baby food, tires, WHATEVER MAKES A FUNNY TSHIRT, really.

Unfortunately, The Rabies Awareness Fun Run is already taken. (Who doesn't love a good Office reference? This was one of my favorite epis of all time.)

I leave you with this (disconnected from my post yet hilarious and, uh, inspirational) quote:

Myth – three Americans die every year from rabies. Fact – four Americans every year die from rabies. How many of you know someone that has been afflicted or affected by rabies? Show of hands. One, two, three… too many to count. It is truly the silent killer. No, it is the foaming barking killer. - Michael Scott


gloom and doom

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans," right John Lennon?

I have been sitting here for the better part of thirty minutes (wasting Nate's nap time being completely unproductive!), staring at my computer screen, checking twitter, checking facebook, checking my google reader AND ignoring this here bloggity blog blog because I don't know what to say. When I get out of the habit of blogging, it feels like THIS BIG THING. And then I feel guilt about not writing a blog post or not posting pictures. I know it might be a little silly but I miss not putting it out there and connecting when it's been a few days.

But I also don't want to s(ch)mear some words out there that are sad and tired.

Cause that is a little bit how I feel today - sad and tired.

Maybe it's the weather (cold and rainy here in the dirty south).
Maybe it's the fact that Karl has been in Manhattan all week for work and I never sleep as well when he's gone.
Maybe it's the fact that Nate has a vampirey tooth poking through and is low grade and cranky about it.
Maybe it's just the long and dreaded month of FEBRUARY.
Maybe it's that I sometimes feel my words aren't always articulate enough for this here blogosphere.
Maybe it's the image of Nate eating a sandwich for lunch today. (A SANDWICH! Don't laugh, but I totally burst into tears - he looked like such a Big Kid eating it! Sometimes little moments like those really get me and make me realize how fast time is flying by.)
Maybe it's because while I was rocking Nate to nap today, my lovely dog Roxy ate the last of my delicious lunchtime turkey salad I left on the counter. Indulge FAIL. (And just like that, this blog post became the perfect country western song.)

Maybe it's



Some days I think it's just okay to occasionally be gloomy (and eat a lot) and not have a "real" reason.

So, I am just going to chalk up today as ONE OF THOSE DAYS (mama said. mama said.) and spend the rest of naptime writing some personal emails to my friends and family to reach out and say WELL HELLO THERE! because they might be having a bit of a gloom and doom day as well. What else should I do to perk up? What do you do? Retail therapy? TV therapy? Bath therapy? Workout therapy? Skype therapy? Sleep therapy? Acupuncture? Maybe I should try it all.

thank you, skype:


the men in my life

Karl, Nate, and Arlo.

It snowed and iced here in Little Rock on Friday and we all about killed each other being cooped up. We did venture out Saturday night to a concert that included songs like "Jesus & Rugers: They're Both Straight Shooters." The good news is only one drunk person fell into me while we were down on the floor. It was a good show - the band was Jason Boland and the Stragglers who are, in fact, from the great town of Stillwater, Oklahoma, but are viewed as "texas country" or "red dirt" country. I don't understand that labeling, but I admit openly to digging some of the red dirt music.

(I also openly admit my love for Taylor Swift, She & Him, Kanye, & Steeeeeeve Perry. What? I suffer from uh, Varying Tastes in The Musics.)

I am wrapping up my project today and will soon have a long and winded blog post JUST FOR YOU!