Friday, April 30, 2010

Not Everyone Loves Petting Zoos

If you're around my family, ask them about the Attack Goats. They will start laughing. Hard. One of the first stories my family told Gary was about the Attack Goats. Now, here is the story from my point of view. . .

Sometime a long time ago, almost 30 years ago, my parents took my brothers and I to Opryland, when it was a theme park. I was proud to be in charge of keeping up with the map, which I put in my back pocket. While we were at Opryland, we went into the petting zoo. I got a cone of food, and wanted to give the cone of food to the sheep. As I was trying to walk back to the sheep to feed them, a GIANT goat came up to me and tried to take the sheep food. I held the cone far over my head. More GIANT goats started coming after me. One of them was going after the map in my back pocket, and other were trying to climb up me to get to the cone of food. I was screaming for help because I was being attacked. . . .

My parents were standing nearby laughing at me. I never got any help. I have no idea how I survived the Attack Goats all on my own, but apparently I made it somehow.

My parents still think this is funny. So does almost everyone else who hears the story, for some reason.

Apparently, Henry isn't a big fan of goats, either. This past weekend we went to the zoo and walked through the stables. I noticed Henry was (justifiably) being sure that the animals didn't get his feet. . . . (Notice the goat coming after him.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Awesome Dinner by Gary

How many almost-2-year-olds get dinner like this?

Sunday morning I mentioned to Gary that I hadn't planned anything for dinner. He immediately said that he would handle it. See, when I think about making dinner, I think of meatloaf, casseroles, etc. Gary thinks of fresh fish. So, he consulted his recipe book and went off to Costco and the grocery store. While he was there, he even did our weekly shopping. Dinner was delicious!!! The kids agreed. . . .

This is all that was left:

Gary and I try to each pull our own weight around the house. I read once about someone who had a deal with their husband that neither of them sat down until they both sat down. I mentioned that to Gary, and we immediately implemented it. It works great for us, and we apply it to almost everything. We also split up weekend days into mornings and afternoons. One person is in charge -- the other person almost always is around to play with the kids and help, but it is nice to have one of us in charge so that the other can run errands, rest, etc. without guilt, prior scheduling, etc. Usually I take the mornings and Gary the afternoons.

On Sunday, it was my turn to take the afternoon (be in charge of snack, baths, etc.) because Gary had to take the mornings so that I could go to a photography class field trip. While we were having lunch (after the kids were down for their nap), Gary told me that he would do the baths because he likes spending that time with the kids! I was thrilled -- baths are pretty physical and my growing belly has been getting in the way with that. Gary also had already said he was making dinner, so he asked if I would mind putting it in the oven, etc. (it would already be ready to go in) while he did baths. I said I didn't mind at all.

While Gary was upstairs with the kids giving them their baths, I was downstairs thinking about what an easy weekend it had been and how EASY it had been on me. I took two nice naps over the weekend. Gary had cleaned a lot more than normal before I could even get to it. He also had done the baths when it was my turn. He had made dinner, when that is usually what I do (Gary is a wonderful cook, I just usually end up cooking because of our schedules). He had done laundry when I didn't even know he was doing laundry. He ran the dishwasher several times before I knew we even had a load. Then I started thinking about earlier this week when I would discover that I had fallen asleep on the couch and Gary would wake me up to go to bed, and he would have already taken care of our dinner dishes and put leftovers in the fridge. Now it's not unusual that Gary is doing all this -- but what unusual is that I did so little when he did so much because we try to keep things more even. . . .

And then it hit me -- I've been fired. This was not a fluke, this was a concerted effort by Gary.

I've really been doing great with this pregnancy. I'm not 100%, but I'm so much better than I was last time that I can hardly believe it. But I do get tired easier, and this week was a little harder on me than the past weeks. I remember Gary doing this exact thing when I was pregnant with the kids, and I just took it at face value because I needed it so badly. Much later I heard him telling someone that while I was pregnant he considered his job to be sure that he did everything around the house before I could get to it. Only then did I realize that it had all been planned. . . .

Gary never told me that at the time because he knew I wouldn't like it, but it was absolutely true and especially when I was pregnant with the kids, I needed to be sitting down and wanting to sit down. It's easier to do that when there is nothing to do. It looks like Gary has decided it's time for me and Penelope to rest a little more, and he's probably right, but it's something I never would have suggested myself. I hate that Gary is having to do more because I'm pregnant, but even though I think of it that way, I don't think that he does. He doesn't ask for praise, and he doesn't ask for recognition, but I know what is going on, and I deeply appreciate it. Thank you, Gary. You're a great husband and daddy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weirdos and Sunglasses

Saturday before last we went to the Botanical Gardens. Usually those sorts of trips are rather uneventful. When I first was pregnant with the babies, I tried to avoid telling anyone that there were three babies in there just to avoid the obvious questions and comments (i.e. did you do fertility? did you plan to have three? better you than me. bless you. -- and so on and so forth). For obvious reasons, it didn't get that much better when we started going out with the kids, and perhaps that has something to do with our four foot wide red stroller. Regardless, Gary and I have been rather proud of how we've been able to just let the questions and comments roll off. . . . We know that most all of them are just out of innocent (even if ignorant) curiousity.

At the Botanical Gardens the Saturday before last, though, the weirdos were out. I've never seen such brazen people. One woman asked to photograph us (I said no), several people tried to get in front of the stroller and stop us, and a zillion people said crazy things to us. I don't think we passed anyone who didn't have something to say. At one point I told Gary I wanted to sit down and rest, so when I sat on the bench I asked him to turn the stroller toward me so that the kids wouldn't be facing out towards the weirdos. Well, I was taking some photos of the kids and next thing I know some nutjob is standing next to me and in front of the stroller, all up in our personal space, and asking us questions (so is this just 24/7? how do you even do it? are they girls or boys? etc.) We barely answered him, and started packing up to start moving again.

I understand that we are bound to get a little attention out in public, but I do really wish that people would just not interfere with our family time and get in our personal space. I understand people saying something in passing, or asking a quick question, but the personal questions and invasion of personal space was a little much. If nothing else, at least this happened this year and not last year, because last year I was not prepared to deal with that sort of attention. This year I can handle it a lot better.

Despite all the weirdos, the kids had a good time. Henry always hates having the sun in his eyes, so this trip we brought along his sunglasses. He really liked them. You could literally see the attitude the minute he put them on (check out his pursed lips and then the eyebrow raise). . . .

Rosemary wanted to wear the sunglasses, too.

What really cracked me up is how she kept trying to push them on top of her head. I guess she is mimicking me because usually I have my sunglasses or glasses on top of my head when I'm inside or taking pictures. . . .

Piper wasn't very into the sunglasses for this trip, but she still posed a little for me here and there. . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year Campaign

I have been nominated for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year. My goal is to raise at least $18,000 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (Alabama/Gulf Coast Chapter). Every dollar I raise is a vote for me, and the female nominee with the most votes is named the Woman of the Year. The money raised is in honor of the Girl and Boy of the Year, who are local children and blood cancer survivors. All funds donated are tax deductible and will go to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society programs, including research, patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services. To find out more about this very worthwhile organization, please click here to read more.

The campaign ends on May 13, 2010. You can donate by clicking HERE. Then just click on "donate" under my picture and name. I have this information in the sidebar to the left as well.

There are also great corporate sponsorship opportunities, so please let me know if that is something in which you, your company, or your employer may be interested.

The campaign ends on May 13, 2010, when the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hosts the big Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale event, complete with live and silent auctions. The proceeds for any live or silent auction items that are donated through me will count toward my goal. If you know of any great live or silent auction items that you can help me procure, please let me know.

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First Photos After The First Photography Class. . . .

This past Saturday, while we were waiting to leave for the Botanical Gardens, I pulled out my camera to try out some of the new tricks that I learned at last Monday's photography class. I took all of these pictures over the course of 5-10 minutes. I'm pretty happy with the results so far. I can't wait to see what I learn in the rest of the classes in this course!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lebanese Food Festival

Last Saturday we took the kids to the Lebanese Food Festival for lunch. First we went across the street to the big grassy area and let the kids run, then we had lunch under the tent. The kids had a great time playing and a great time eating!