Rawlins Family

Rawlins Family

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The True Meaning of Playtime

Tonight I was reading a story to Cameron from the Friend magazine. In the story there was a boy who was being bullied and another boy helped him out and told him how special and important he was. After reading the story I was pointing to the pictures and I said, "Those boys were mean to Rusty. Why do you think they were being so nasty?" To which Cameron quickly replied, "Those boys haven't learned the true meaning of playtime."


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Greatest Hits

Time once again to update the blog with some fantastic and dazzling pictures of my kiddos. (p.s. bonus points to the people who can name the books I referenced with my kids pseudonyms...)

Princess Elizabeth: Sophia has turned 1 and is as strong-willed and independent as ever. But she's not afraid to use her feminine wiles to get what she wants. Watch out, world!

P1030023                 Reorganizing the music in the piano bench.


All gussied up for church.


Accomplice. That's two boxes of Fruity Pebbles (I use them in Rice Krispie treats, not for regular morning breakfast!) on the floor behind her. The kids managed to get it over about 1000 square feet of my house. And my vacuum bit the dust two days before this incident. And I was just about to make dinner.


I put her hair in a mohawk in the tubbie and it stayed for a long time. And was insanely cute.

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Birthday cake. Mmmmmmmm...


Heartbreaker. Dream maker. Love taker. Don't you mess around with her.

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Park mastermind.


Max: Oh boy. Miles is two. Lucky for me he's a kid that's FULL of life and spirit and he's happy a large majority of the time. But a couple times a week he likes to put me in my place and remind me just who is in charge around here. Additionally, Miles is taking up the Super Hero mantle with amazing finesse and grace. It's quite a burden for a young kid but he's bearing up quite well. Now if he could just decide if he's going to use his powers for good or evil...

P1030053 Miles put so much mascara on his head/body that when I washed him up it left a black ring around the tub. Of course! One more thing to clean:)

P1030074 The newest superhero accessory.

P1030085 Miles just being...Miles.

P1030061 P1030062 Chrysta, it looks like our kids/husbands have similar napping strategies.


Dash and Spidey all in one cute package!

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The Energizer tantrum. It kept going, and going and going...


Alexander: Cameron. Cam, Cam, Cam. Poor kid is going through a bit of a rough patch. His big deal right now is that life isn't fair. Most of the day he's happy to play, run around outside and color. He LOVES learning to write and draw. Coloring inside the lines is a big thing around here these days. It's very impressive. But when you've been done wrong, you've been done wrong. And Cameron wants to let you know just how unfair his life really is.

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After watching Kung Fu Panda (which features Master Tigress), Cameron disappeared into his room and came out COVERED in stripes. He even managed to get one on his back.

P1030078 Pulling faces.

P1030093 Fruity Cheerios. Now THAT'S a breakfast food I can get behind.

P1030123 Keepin' it real.


(all together now) AWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

No one enjoys a long, hot shower like a mom (specifically an Ugly Mom)...

Since my kids decided to be sick this week (I say "decided" because I'm starting to think it's a conspiracy. No normal human beings could possibly be this sick, this often. It's not natural.), it's been a bit crazier than usual. And that's saying a lot. Anyway, with the craziness I may or may not have taken a shower yesterday. I'm going to go ahead and plead the fifth on that one. So this morning after steam cleaning my carpets and putting Soph down for a nap I realized I had a few free minutes to take a shower. Glory, hallelujah. My shower routine - if you want to call it that - consists of turning on PBS, handing the boys a couple granola bars and making a mad dash to the shower. Sophie likes to crawl behind me and then stand next to the shower repeatedly trying to take the shower curtain out of the tub. Or she stands there wailing. She's going through a kicked-puppy phase. If I'm lucky Miles will just come in and inspect the situation, making sure everyone is following proper shower ettiquette. He'll pull my towel down and throw it on the floor and then flush the toilet and then walk out, leaving the door open behind him. If I'm not so lucky Miles will decide he's filthy and needs a shower immediately. No, it cannot wait until mommy is done, it must happen now. This is where Miles jumps into MY shower and then starts pointing out really obvious things. No need to repeat it here; my dad occasionally reads this. Anyway, the whole thing, start to finish, is usually about 7 and a half minutes long and terribly unsatisfying. I mean, I'm clean. That's nice. But you can't really thrive on being clean because that's only going to last until someone spits up on you.

So TODAY was such a nice treat! I realized I could take a shower without Sophie standing there and thought how nice that would be. I got in and turned the water as hot as it would go. I kept expecting Miles to come crashing through the door to interrupt my bliss. But it never happened. I just stood there under the stream soaking it all up, wishing I could do it everyday. I still only took about 7 and a half minutes, but it was all by myself. Let me say that again. IT WAS ALL BY MYSELF! I TOOK A BIG GIRL SHOWER TODAY! I'm pretty sure there is no one in the world who enjoyed their shower more than I did today.



(p.s. It's been a long time since I've put up any pics of my cute kids. I need to find my camera and remedy that situation. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my kids are incredibly adorable...)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

As I was looking at dresses (and almost bought the Shabby Apple one) I realized why I liked it so much. I already have a dress a lot like it! I bought it when I was five months preggers with Sophie and I've only ever worn it once or twice so I totally forget I even own it. I wore it to church two weeks ago and got a lot of compliments on it, so I think it will be good to go. I call it my Leave it to Beaver dress because it makes me feel like June Cleaver. It's got a full 50's-style skirt and the cutest collar and sleeves. The party dress code is "dressy casual" (whatever that means), so I think it will be perfect. Dressy, but not overdone. I'm going to wear it with my peep toe black pumps and I'll have to figure out the jewelry situation. It's all black so I can do pretty much anything!
Yay! I'm so excited, especially since I've been Christmas shopping (for myself and others...I just bought these and these...Yep, I've succumbed, and it feels SO GOOD!) all day. I feel like someone just gave me a free dress! Woot woot!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Let's put it to a vote...

The time has come once again for the company Christmas party. Since I've missed every one of these shindigs due to recent moves/babies/etc. I figure it's time to actually go and schmooze myself silly. But that means I have to find a dress. UGH! It's always interesting trying to find something that is modest, dressy and doesn't make me look old/frumpy. I mean, it would be no sweat if I had an unlimited budget. Apparently the high-priced designers are all over this whole modesty business...

So, after a bit of online window-shopping I've found these. It's time to put it to a vote.

The Calvin Klein Belted Crepe Dress is CUTE, classic and still modern. I think it would be fabulous with a cute chunky bracelet, clutch and a pair of heels. Earrings would have to be somewhat subdued. Maybe pearl studs? Remember, I have shorty short hair that shows off my earrings.

The Calvin Klein Belted Ponte Knit Dress is also cute. Not so sure if it would look good on me. I like the idea of a wide belt since I'm not a size 6 anymore (I'm between and 8 and a 10 most days...).

The Adriana Papell Dress has some cool details. I'd have to add fabric in at the bust line because that v-neck looks pretty deep. I like that it's a clean, straight, pencil skirt that comes all the way to the knee.

This Maggy London Dress is crazy cute. I think the darts at the waist are going to be either cute and forgiving or they're going to puff out and make me look enormous. Can't tell. I love that it has longer sleeves, too. It's at the absolute top of my price range, though, and if I'm going to spend that much I'd better do it on Cyber Monday (is everyone else just hearing about this for the first time?!) while there are free shipping and %off deals.

I've had my eye on this lacey deal from Shabby Apple for awhile. I think it's SO cute and the price is pretty fantastical, also, too.

So? Any thoughts?

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I'm not actually going to discuss the film, so no worries you won't find any spoilers here (yet).

Rather, I'd like to discuss the event itself and all that I saw there.

We arrived at 10:10 for the 12:02 AM showing. There was a satellite truck parked out front for the local news crew that was inside shooting (side note, the news crew was filming when they saw my BIL, Eric, holding his two week old baby so they got her in the shot too!), so I knew it was going to be chaotic. I had bought our tickets in advance and I had people already waiting in line that I joined so I wasn't worried about sitting on the front row. We picked up our tix and got in line and then looked around. The place was PACKED! And they had already let one or two groups in to their respective theaters. Of course my line was the last to get entrance so we stood around waiting until at 11:15 or so. And of course you all read in the comments from my last post that I got the best seat in the entire theater. Banner day, my friends. Banner day.

Anyway, while I was standing in line and later while I was sitting in the theater, I got the chance to do something I LOVE to do. People watch. I am a hard-core, completely unabashed people watcher. If I think you're doing/wearing something interesting/silly/dumb I will stare you down. If you happen to catch me in the act I may or may not look away. Depends on my mood. After all, you're the one standing right there in the middle of Big Lots passionately making out with your boyfriend. Who said you had the right to privacy?

Being surrounded by a crowd with an average age of 15 was quite a treat. They're the most fun to watch! Here's what I learned and saw there:

1. That Girl still exists. You know the one. She's tall, thin and attractive and it's obvious that SOMEONE is spoiling her rotten. She's got the bag, the Juicy Couture sweats and the highlights. Her Tiffany's bracelet is constantly jingling as she tosses her hair back and forth. While everyone else in the theater is sitting down and chatting with the people closest to them, she only feels comfortable standing in front of her third row seat.

2. That Boy still exists. And he's placed himself right behind That girl. He's got the gelled hair, the bead necklace and the artfully faded Clapton  concert t-shirt that he bought at Hollister - he doesn't even know who Clapton is.  He's also standing up to talk to his friends. And he and That Girl keep casting sideways glances at each other but never speak. Which reminded me of how refreshing it was when I finally got the confidence (in college) to introduce myself to people without having to pass a note to a friend and make her do it for me. It got so bad with those two that I seriously wanted to just walk down there and introduce them so they could make-out and get it over with.

3. Uggs are still cool. And you can wear them with anything. I mean ANYTHING. Teensy, tiny shorts, leggings, miniskirts. But the best thing to wear them with is sloppy pajama pants/sweats. But make sure to tuck in the pants. But not tightly. Just loosely, so that your pants are billowing out over the top of the boot in a very flattering impression of a pirate. Ahoy there, matey.

4. The 80's are back. So, I was standing there staring at people when I noticed someone wearing a pair of shoes that very closely resembled the Topsider's I wore in 5th grade. But they were uglier. MUCH uglier. I literally gasped in horror, thinking this poor girl must be so wretchedly poor that she was forced to wear her father's hand-me-downs from when HE was a boy. And then I realized the girl next to her was wearing them as well. Puzzled, I started looking at all of the feet closest to me that were not clad in Uggs. And sure enough, 46% of them were wearing Topsiders. In utter confusion I turned to Abby - who is very with-it - and told her what I was seeing. And she informed me that Topsiders are back. AND she thinks they're cute. Kathleen - who is RIDICULOUSLY with-it - confirmed. I was aghast. In fact, I still am. I can totally do the moccasin thing, I love flats, Uggs I can handle. But I've seen my dad wearing Topsiders (or something close) for almost 30 years! This is one bandwagon I will NOT be jumping on.

5. The cell phone craze is out of control. I have a cell phone. My first phone came part-and-parcel with my first big-girl job. In 2002.  When I stopped working I didn't have one again until the end of 2005 when Chase had HIS first job out of school. The phone came free with the plan we chose and I had it until about a month ago when it started acting up. I switched to a hand-me-down phone that was, aside from the color, exactly the same. We don't have a landline, so my phone is just a necessity. I don't think a whole lot about it or use it for much other than actually talking on it (except today when I've been texting with Bird because Lylla is in labor). So I was appalled/amused/confused when I noticed the kids around me in line holding these fancy Sidekicks, Blackberry's, and IPhones. There was one guy in front of me who seriously was spinning his phone in his hand for an ENTIRE hour. Just spinning, spinning, spinning. And once we were sitting I looked around a everyone was texting, talking on their phones and playing games. It's nuts! I do think that phones are a nice thing to have. They make really great emergency phones that you can program a couple numbers into and that's all they do. I think these should be MANDATORY for kids under 18. Anything else is just a waste of their brain cells and a waste of money. What kid needs a $400+ phone?!?! Crazy business.

6. I wouldn't relive my teen years for a million bajillion dollars. Sure, some things would be fun. It would be fun to go back and try out for sports other than volleyball. It would be fun to do the pep rally/football games thing again. But to be a teenage girl is like being on a gameshow. A really fashionable, yet sadistic gameshow. You just never know what you're going to get. Today you might be the coolest kid in your group and all your friends like you. Tomorrow you might get to school and find out that during the nights your friends got together and decided they hate you. It's total guerilla warfare! You never know who's hiding around the corner waiting to take you out. Thankfully I was able to maneuver through my teens without too much major drama but I know some girls who weren't so lucky. And I think it's just getting worse (sorry Tay) with the introduction of stuff like Myspace and Facebook. So yeah. I would love to be 130lbs and stretch-mark-free again. But 16? No thanks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There's peanut butter on my carpet...

And size 2T clothes in Miles' drawers. In the piano room there are three loads of laundry waiting to be folded and my bedroom has become the final resting place of all sorts of toys, newspapers and unpaid bills. The linen closet needs to be reorganized and the bedroom closets, too. Sheets need to be changed, the front porch is covered in leaves; the ironing board has taken up permanent residence outside of the master bath. The book shelf is cluttered, the garage is still housing all of my garage sale wares and the kids rooms have been declared disaster areas; last word was that FEMA was on the way to help.

But that will all have to wait tonight. Because I have a date.

With Bellward.

12:02 AM Friday, November 21, 2008. Me + Tinseltown Cinema = BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE (almost).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

My mom said it’s time again to write you a letter and tell you all of the wonderful things that I’m hoping for. You can probably look in my file and see that in the past I have asked for things like toys, clothes and electronics. But Santa, this year I have a more meaningful gift to ask for.

You see, Santa, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen my cousins Owen, Gaby, Lydia and Taylor. At night when I’m laying in bed I try to remember what their faces look like. I close my eyes real tight and concentrate. But I always get so sad because I’m starting to forget what they look like. Oh, Santa. I just love them so much and I miss them. Every day I cry and cry and cry because I am so sad that they don’t live somewhere close, like, say, Richardson.

So when my mom said it was time to write this letter I knew exactly what I would ask for. Santa, you can give all of my toys to other little boys this year. Instead of stopping at my house, just cruise right by. Because what I want, you can’t bring in your big, red sack. Well, technically you could probably fit it in a sack but that would be tantamount to child abuse. And you’re Santa. You don’t abuse kids. Except when you put coal in stockings. That’s pretty messed up, you gotta admit.

Anyway, Santa, for Christmas I want peace, love and joy to be found at my grandparents house when my cousins Hudson, Cannon, Keaton, Bean, Taylor, Lydia, GABY, Owen, Mason, Chase and I all gather together on Christmas Eve and eat shrimp. From what I’ve heard it’s usually the biggest shindig of the year and my mom will probably let me eat candy like it’s Halloween. There will be presents, and singing and we’ll read scriptures and have tickle fights. No one will get sick and Aunt Lylla will probably do a silly skit with Taylor. And if you could go ahead and help keep the gas prices down (you can do that, right, Santa?), then no one will go broke making the trip, either. At night I’ll sleep peacefully in the large upstairs bedroom with the wood paneling that my mom claimed in September so no one better try and steal it, and never make a sound while my mom and dad spend quality time with all of the other grown-ups. They said something about playing hearts and eating Turkey Hill Tin Roof Ice Cream, which, some say, is better than Dairy Queen!

So, Santa, in closing may I just say that you’re looking rather well this year. Is that a new suit? That Mrs. Claus sure knows how to sew. And your cheeks are especially rosy, too. You don’t look a day over 196!



p.s. I promise that you if grant me this one, very small, inconsequential and easy-to-grant wish I will be your best friend forever.

p.p.s. I swear I did NOT push Sophie down and lock her in her room. That was TOTALLY Miles.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just Because

While walking at the nature preserve with my SIL, Jeni, we passed a man walking a dog. We ushered the kids over to the side of the walkway and smiled nicely and said what a pretty dog he had. After looking at our kids (three walking, one in a sling, and one in a stroller) he replied, "That's a litter of kids." And kept walking...Jeni and I just stared after him in shock. Why can't full-grown adults stick to the old adage of "if you can't say anything nice...?"

While putting the kids to bed I was snuggling in with Cam and Miles (who are currently sleeping in the same bed - that's another blog post for another time - no, actually it's a short explanation. Miles kept waking us up in the middle of the night and we decided he was lonely so we made Cam sleep in the queen bed with Miles, thus solving the problem). Miles was sleepy but Cam was in a silly mood. He looked at me with a big grin and said, "Mommy, you are good." Before I could respond he added, "...and soft and squishy and sassy."

Sophia is starting to walk! Every night Chase and I put her between us and do the time-honored tradition of passing her back and forth trying to get her to take steps to us. The last couple of nights she was taking a step or two. Tonight she took FOUR! I'm half excited and half trepidatious. Yes, walking is good and fun (and sassy and squishy?), but it just means a lot more work for me. But oh well, bring it on, sister!

'Tis the season for Christmas church outfits. I already found a cute little navy plaid dress for Miss Sophia and I'm trying to figure out what the boys will wear. But I love it all. Summer dress clothes are nice with all the pastels and bare legs and short sleeves, etc. But there's something so classy  about a dress with sleeves and a collar and tights and mary janes. And boys in long sleeves with sweater vests are SO adorable! Yay! It was finally cold enough on Sunday for me to put Sophie in one of her winter dresses. I think the effect is quite adorable.


How to be a negligent mom...(tips from a sick mommy)

  • Turn on the TV at 7 AM, leave on, uninterrupted, until 4PM
  • Open the door to the deck, lay on the floor next to the door and act like you're watching your kids
  • Serve Teddy Grahams and Goldfish as "breakfast" and "lunch"
  • Wendy's drive-thru
  • When your kids beg to go to the park continue staring at the blank wall over their left shoulder for about five minutes
  • Don't feel bad when yesterday's pajamas become today's play clothes (and tonight's pajamas)
  • Count the hours on the couch as valuable "together time" with your children. Bonus points if they were on your lap.
  • Extra bonus points for not freaking out when your kids put entire rolls of toilet paper in the toilet, or empty brand-new tissue boxes.
  • At the dinner table feel free to lay your head on the table and mumble responses to any direct question.
  • Clean dishes/underwear are for wussies.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Son of a Hershey's Bar!

It's been a long time comin'. But here it is. I'm back.

Hmmm...(tapping nails obnoxiously on keyboard)...should I just move forward or bore everyone with a detailed account of my last two weeks....Hmmmm.....

How's about we settle for a recap. And no, I'm not doing bullets because I'm bringing them back (though, you know that's what will naturally happen because of the sheer awesomeness of my blog -I'm a trend-setter, what can I say?).

  • A couple weeks ago I started doing some work from home to make some extra bucks. It's not exciting, but having more money is! Yay! So that's what's been keeping me busy.
  • Also, too, we had Chase's 10th High School Reunion on the 18th of last month. My husband, being the stud he is, was class VP. So that means he was in charge of planning the reunion. I know, technically the class president is in charge. But in our specific case the VP had to take over. I think there are people from TCHS who read this, so I will just, uh, leave it at that:) Chase was happy to help:) Seriously. I mean that. So yeah, after lots and lots and lots of work and hours creating elaborate spreadsheets to track the alumni information, the reunion was planned and under control. And we ended up having a BLAST. Luckily I've gotten to know a couple people Chase went to HS with and they're great people. So it was fun seeing them again and chatting them up. P1020890 P1020896 P1020897 P1020912
  • The arboretum and pumpkin patch were must-sees for the fall. The arboretum was a special experience because Miles needed to use the facilities, like, 85 times in the short 30 minutes we were there. Then the skies opened up and rained so much I wished I had an ark. And the arboretum is not exactly cheap. And it takes forever to get to. But these are the breaks with kids, right? P1020876P1020877 P1020924 P1020927 The pumpkin patch was a better experience even if Miles did get lost and had to be found by a PP employee. I'm getting a leash for that kid. A short one. And then my life will be one big SNL episode.
  • Also, too, the Office and 30 Rock are back on the air. That's important. I should have mentioned that first.
  • On the 28th Kathleen and Eric had their first baby and I got another gorgeous niece. You can see she has a well-accessorized mom. I've never seen a baby look that stylish in a hospital. Or outside of a hospital. It's been decided that Sophie will be the tomboy. I'm okay with that. Being stylish looks like A LOT of work.P1020976(1) P1020989 P1030014 Avree Melody came home from the hospital on Halloween, which, coincidentally, happens to be Kathleen's most favoritest holiday ever. So Avree was prepared. HOW CUTE IS THAT!?!?!?!
  • The 29th was Trunk or Treat. This is a phenomenon that will eventually sweep the country. Get ready because at some point it will be coming to the church parking lot near you. And I love trunk or treat. All my best friends and favorite people and it's SO MUCH LESS WORK walking around a parking lot. P1020980 P1020984
  • The 31st was Trick or treat. Yes, I know we already had a lot of candy from two nights ago, but we decided to go anyway. We had Natalie with us and the kids did awesome! At Trunk or treat both boys were Darth Vadar and Sophie was Yoda. On Halloween Cameron decided to put on Sophie's yoda robe (that he had been wearing for two solid days...including to the store and park) and go as a Jedi master. It was pretty convincing. Miles just had on a black outfit because he didn't want to wear a mask. I was glad when the night was over because my feet hurt and I just knew we were facing the "I WANNA EAT ALL MY CANDY RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE RIGHT NOW IMMEDIATELY" meltdown. Oh, and it happened. And it was lovely. I love my children, I love my children, I love my children.P1030005 P1030003 P1030009  P1030007
  • Cam finished up the term for preschool and I decided not to send him again until after Christmas. Mostly because he's way past the stuff they're teaching him. I ALSO decided to put Cam on the waiting list for one of our local charter schools. I'm super un-impressed with our local elementary school. If he doesn't get in right away next year I'll be homeschooling him until he does.
  • The kids all got sick. Yay.
  • Somewhere in there I snuck off to do early voting. I love voting. I stand in line watching all of the happy, elderly poll workers and dream of the day my kids are old enough to fend for themselves while I go volunteer at the polls. Little known fact: After I realized that I had little hope of becoming the next Katie Couric, and after I got over my crush on Stone Phillips (I was going to win him over with my ridiculously amazing reporting skills and we were going to bond at the company picnic - and he was going to somehow be unmarried and Mormon...so it was a lost cause from the start), I realized that my dream job was/is a campaign manager. I have a degree in Media Communications with a focus in Political Science and I was working for an up-and-coming Pittsburgh City Councilman during my senior year of college. I had planned to go work at the state capital after graduating with thoughts of law school. I was going to parlay all of this into a fabulous career as a tough-as-nails, yet sweet and endearing campaign manager...
  • (BACK TO REAL LIFE) After my washing machine kept leaking water all over the floor during the spin cycle I had to put in a call to Johnnie the plumber. After giving him an exorbitant amount of money I have clean, hydra-jetted pipes. And it took all of 20 minutes for good ole' Johnnie-boy and then he was off to rob someone else. I think it was Amy Poehler who pointed out that plumbers are going to be just fine during this recession. And she's right.
  • Finally, last night Rack-a-Bama (his official title in my house, bequeathed to him by my niece, Gaby) proved he really is the wind beneath my wings. Well, him and Chase. And Cameron and Miles and Sophia. You get my drift. I love that guy. Okay, not everything about him. But most things. Just the important stuff. AND, I thought McRage did a good job last night, too. So to prove that I'm really ready to put all of that nastiness behind us I'll be referring to him as McClassy from now on. image

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Ghost of Halloween Past

This is from Halloween '06. I'm still trying to collect my thoughts enough to put together a coherent blog entry. I figured I'd dust off this oldie, but goodie.


As we approach Halloween evening, the night of trick-or-treating, I am coming to a shameful realization...Cameron and Miles are not just my sons on Halloween, they're my patsies. My stool-pigeons, my decoy, my cover. Whatever you want to call it, I use my sons to get me some yummy candy. Up until this point I think it was subconscious. I really WANTED to drag Cameron out all night, freezing his tush off and pulling at the "feathers" I had sewn on him (2005), or the anchor tattoo Chase had drawn on his arm (2004). I really LOVED the idea of watching him go door-to-door and thrust his little open bag up into the air, looking expectant. It was CUTE to hear him learn to say "trick-or-treat", which sounded more like TickTeat. But as we count down the days the thought of all of those glorious mounds of candy piled on my living room floor after a dutiful night trudging down the streets makes me giddy. I LOVE candy. Perhaps it has something to do with my upbringing or maybe it's encoded in my DNA; I don't know. All I know is that when I see people stringing up orange lights on their trees or sticking skeletons in their front windows I positively drool at the thought of the forthcoming bounty.
So am I ashamed, you ask? No. I have also recently come to realize that I'm not the only parent who feels this way. The more I think about it, the more I realize MY parents were probably known to dip their hands into our confectionary coffers. Think about it. Halloween night usually went like this: You run out of the house with some sort of paint on your face and a great thrift-store dress (or fatigues) that your mom found. In your right hand is a flash-light and in your left hand is a pillow case. No plastic pumpkin for you, no, you plan on striking it rich tonight. For the next FOUR HOURS you cover (and re-cover in many instances) the streets located within a 5 miles radius of your house before returning home exhausted. You and your siblings or friends proceed to dump out your goodies and start categorizing the candy. Then you start trading. But before long mom comes in and tells you that you can have one more piece and then it's time to hand it over and go to bed. No, you're not allowed to take your candy into your room because then you'll just spend all night eating it and getting cavities. So, as a trusting young child you hand over the candy and head for bed. Now here's what you didn't know...it's at this point in the evening that mom feels VERY rewarded for having borne children. She and dad rifle through the bulging bags like homeless people at the dumpster behind Olive Garden. They laugh, they giggle, they pour the candy on the floor and lay down to make candy angels in it...Yeah, I can see your wheels turning. You know I'm right.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I promise I'm totally going to update my blog...soon. My life got pretty crazy (good crazy...sort of) and I haven't had too much to blog about.

(there's always a "but")

I found this and you know I had to blog it.

Less than a month. I'm as excited as a 12 year-old!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There's a new Twilight trailer and it's fantastic. There's a little more than a month before it opens in theaters and I'm getting slightly giddy. Check it out here or go to StephenieMeyer.com and follow the links on her site. Best 2 minutes of my day so far...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reminiscing (or, the reasons I need to listen to more Bon Jovi)

So today I was cleaning my kitchen and whilst scrubbing away at my bright, shiny cabinets I found myself humming along to a much beloved tune: Dead or Alive by Bon Freakin' Jovi. I got a little carried away, progressing from a low hum to me belting out the guitar solo while air-guitaring. It. Was. Awesome. As soon as I finished rocking out to that I could hear the opening notes of Blaze of Glory (From the Young Guns II soundtrack, I believe) and as I started to sing along to the tape deck playing in my head I realized I haven't listened to Bon Jovi in SO LONG! Why?!?!

I've always considered myself a pretty musical person. My siblings can attest to the many hours I spent (loudly) playing piano during their favorite TV shows or singing along to my Newsies soundtrack in my room (dude, how hot was Christian Bale in that movie and why did I totally want to move to Santa Fe after watching it?!). So music has always been a big part of my life. I'm realizing now that certain music acts almost like a place holder, marking the passage of time through my metamorphosis from little-girl Anna to big-girl Anna. Anytime I hear a classic Sesame Street song I can visualize myself sitting in front of the TV after my half-day Kindergarten. The song Que Sera Sera reminds me of my first experience in front of an audience as an extra in a middle school musical when I was 7. I can still sing "Consider Yourself" from Oliver, which was the next musical in third grade. It was done by the High School and I thought I was totally radical for getting to hang out in the high school cafeteria while waiting for our scenes (read: I WAS totally radical in third grade and have remained so to the present day).

Miami Sound Machine, Get on Your Feet was the song of my DANCE SOLO in fifth grade. I can still remember wearing some pink stretch pants and dancing my hiney off. See above about me being totally radical.

Godspell and Annie were the next community theater projects, but in my free time I was singing along with every Disney animated musical. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King. See above about me being totally radical.

At some point I decided that it was time for me to be a grown up. So I decided that I liked Depeche Mode. That's reasonable, right? Sure. Every 6th grader is listening to Depeche Mode in 1991! Okay, not really. I was mostly listening to them for the same reason I was reading Kurt Vonnegut. Because my big sister did it. And, in case you were wondering, she was totally radical. No, but seriously. I could show you pictures of her hair in '89 and you'd understand why. It defied gravity. And her acid-washed jeans were glorious in all their pleated-ness. So anyway, yeah. I wanted to be just like Chrysta so I started listening to DM. And to this day I still love them. Thanks, sis.

When I turned 14 I got to start going to DANCES. At the dances I got to meet all of the kids from the area who were members of our church and they introduced me to all sorts of insane music. So anytime I hear Violent Femmes I think of church dances. Hmmm...so appropriate, right?

In high school the grunge movement was in full swing. Picture me with purple (or pink) hair and a flannel tied around my waist rockin' along to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and you'll have a pretty good idea of my life during the first three years. Senior year I moved back to PA and met a group of kids who were into "underground" music. I spent HOURS listening to all sorts of random indie bands who recorded on VINYL. Yes. Just when I finally bought myself a CD player with my hard-earned K-Mart salary I decided I should listen to emo singers whining away on scratchy vinyl albums. See above about me being totally radical. And when I wasn't listening to it on vinyl I was standing in some back room of a record store watching them live. I cut off all my hair, wore big baggy pants and hoodies and referred to myself as "hard core." But PRIVATELY? I was listening to Indigo Girls and Sarah McLaughlin. Senior year was also during the "Lillith Fair" hey day.

In college I discovered Dave Matthews Band. Because, really, what college kid doesn't listen to DMB? I don't remember if our bookstore even SOLD posters for any other band. Every party I ever went to had DMB playing in the background and all the long-haired romeo's would sit around strumming his melodies. By the end of my first semester I practically had a degree in DMB.

When I met Chase I fell back in love with the Beatles and Radiohead - two of his favorite bands. Though we only knew each other a short time before getting engaged I knew by looking at his CD case that he was the one.

Anyway, there's not really a point to this blog. It's just fun to think about all the different events in my life and what I was listening to at the time. Along the way I've discovered some really great music. My greatest musical influence has been the great Pittsburgh Sara. The girl owns, like, a million CD's and has perfect taste in music. She listens to EVERYTHING (except country, but including bluegrass) and is always finding newer, cooler stuff. And what I admire about her, and what ultimately prompted me to write this blog, is that she's not afraid to embrace what she likes even if other people might not think it's cool. She recently attended a NKOTB concert! I don't like them myself but then again, some people don't like Bon Jovi. But guess what? I do! I think Bon Jovi is one of the most consistently cool bands of all time! And I'm not afraid to say it. We all need a little more Bon Jovi in our lives.

That is all.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

After watching the Vice Presidential debate I have a few thoughts to share.
First, I will say that I was highly surprised that Palin did as well as she did. Before the debate (which, by the way, pre-empted The Office...not a good sign) I mentioned to Chase that it was on and we should watch it. He replied that yes, we should watch the slaughter. "It will be like shooting fish in a barrel!" So I was impressed with how well-rehearsed and well-prepared Palin was. But that just wasn't enough to hold me over. Read with me now and we'll go over a few pros and cons in relation to Mrs. VP.

Pro - Her hair was much less annoying tonight. Less fluffy and librarian-y.

Con - Her blush was out of control in a very 1986 Cyndi Lauper kind of way.

Pro - At no point did she tell the moderator she would "Get back to her" with an answer.

Con - At no point did she actually answer any of the questions.

Pro - She only used the word "Maverick" 74 times.

Con - She still keeps using the word "Maverick."

Pro - She's a mom and I like that.

Con - She hasn't realized that being a mom doesn't count as "executive experience."

Pro - For the most part she used full sentences and didn't fill too much time with Um, Uh, or Hmmm.

Con - She was winking. Seriously. She was winking. Maybe she was chewing Bubble Yum, too. I couldn't tell.

Pro - She has given Tina Fey SO MUCH to work with.

Con - Tina Fey no longer is on staff at SNL so I don't know how much longer they'll let her keep guest-starring (though, hopefully at least through November).

Pro - She is a Washington Outsider.

Con - Not sure yet if she is able to spell Washington.

Anyway, you get my drift, right? Honestly, there just wasn't a whole lot of substance coming out of her. She was cute and peppy and used sweet little colloquialisms and gee isn't that nice. But I don't vote for nice. I don't vote because I think someone is going to be a really great gal "up there" in Washington. I vote because I stand behind the actual policy of a particular ticket. At this point, aside from his stance in Iraq and his stance on same-sex marriage I don't know McCain's platform any better than I did before (I can't figure out what the guy is running on, to be frank). I thought Biden did a much better job of actually answering the questions placed before him. And I agree with him. I was especially happy to have him give a solid outline of the exit strategy for Iraq. And I'm pretty sure he knows that the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan isn't McClellan. Oops! (Wink, nod, snap your gum, raise your pom pom) Your mistake, right hon?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Lately I've had something on my mind. With the state of our economy I find myself thinking back to the things our leaders have been emphasizing so much recently. They have been seriously focused on preparedness. Having our lives in order and being ready to weather any storms that life may throw at us. Recently we have received pamphlets about short and long-term food storage. We have received another about financial preparedness. We've been hearing it over and over from the pulpit and from our church news magazines. We need to be prepared as a people. We need to stop living in excess and focusing on worldly desires.

Personally, I've been hearing it but I've been slow to take to heart these messages. I've been pretty lazy in gathering my food storage. I'm sure we could live for a good month off of the food in our pantry but I promise you it would be a very sad month.

As I read and see the news reports that are growing more desperate each day I feel like the time is now. I can't put off any longer what I should have been doing all along! I need to buckle down and heed the counsel of the Lord who taught, "Organize yourselves; aprepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a bhouse of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of corder, a dhouse of God..."

While the current condition of the economy may end up turning around and we may avoid a national catastrophe I think we can all use this as a lesson to ourselves. There is danger in extending ourselves beyond our ability to pay. There is danger when we devote ourselves more to the vain and foolish things of the world, and less to the simple concerns of building a safe and happy home for our family. I truly believe that if we do all we can to follow the simple principles the Lord has outlined for us, including paying our tithing, establishing a moderate amount of food strorage and building on it, and doing our best to save what money we are able to, we will be able to enjoy a sense of peace even amidst the volatility of the world. The Lord does not desire for us to live in fear, but rather to follow after Him and His principles and find comfort and peace therein.

Obviously I have a lot of work to do. Though I feel so behind I hope that I am able to have a sustained, steady effort and build up my food, water and financial reserves. It feels like such a monumental thing - to gather food and money enough for my whole family. For a WHOLE YEAR! Thankfully, I've found some good websites. If you're interested you should really check them out. They're very helpful. The most important part seems to be having a plan. This is not something you can go about willy nilly (side note: I love any and all occasions to use the term "Willy Nilly"). Anyway, I'm providing a list of websites that I've found helpful. Hopefully you are all way ahead of me. But if you're not, here's the bandwagon. Jump on!
Provident Living
Safely Gathered In
Totally Ready
Food Storage Calculator

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend Update

On Saturday I did something I've never done before! I had a garage sale! I had a couple big items and some smaller stuff that were cluttering up my house/garage/life and decided it was time for it to go. I'm usually much more apt to throw stuff away or take it to Goodwill. Occasionally I'll post it on craigslist and let someone come pick it up from my house. I've never bothered with ebay because packing up my junk and then driving it to the post office sounds about as appealing as a bikini wax. But for whatever reason I decided I was going to garage sale it! I talked to Jeni and she had some stuff to sell as well and we made a date for Saturday bright and early. And while we didn't see the throngs of people clambering to buy my sweet wicker wreaths and broken chair pads (from my lame attempt to decorate my kitchen in the Americana style), we were both able to sell a good bit of our stuff. By the end of the day we both had triple digit sales. Not bad. Sara, maybe you need to hold a garage sale to raise funds for your Pee Yay trip!!!!!!!!

Anyway, we kept the thing going until 3 in the afternoon before bringing it all into the garage to bring back out for a last ditch attempt this coming Saturday (before conference:)) to get rid of it all. After  digging it out, cleaning it up and putting tags on it I'd like to actually SELL the dang stuff!


After packing up the garage we made a quick trip to Lowe's to get the hardware for our kitchen so we could finally finish our stupid project! Chase worked late into the night on Friday to get the cabinet doors back on. We did paint the hinges, Chrysta, and it turned out really well! While I still hate my cabinet doors I hate them much less than I did before. And overall I really like my kitchen! We still want to put in a new backsplash, faucet, dishwasher and ceiling fan, but that's for another month (year) and another budget. See here to get a good idea of how I feel about budgets (right now, anyway). Oh, and I still haven't put anything up on the walls and I need valances. Again. Another time, another budget.

So, without further ado, here are some pictures of my kitchen! Hooray!

P1020827 P1020828

P1020831 P1020832 P1020833 (The cabinet above the range hood still doesn't have doors on it because I have to order new hinges for those doors. So I guess we still aren't technically "done" with our project. Maybe by 2009 or so...)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Here's an oldie but a goodie. Since I got a bee sting on the bottom of my foot last night - which has rendered me swollen and pretty much useless...and I'm being a big crybaby about it - I have some free time on my hands. I was cleaning out my email inbox and found some old emails from '06. Specifically I found one where I sent out some newly-taken family pictures. In the email I said, "How cute is my family? Seriously, I want an essay from each of you. At least 350 words about how cute my family is and why you think they're going to change the world. It's due a week from Tuesday."
In true Alyssa fashion she actually wrote an essay.

How Cute is the Rawlins Family?

By: Alyssa Sage

Although it may be hard to determine a scale with which to measure “cuteness”, it is easy to see that the Rawlins family is, indeed, very cute by any standard. Dictionary.com defines “cute” as “attractive, especially in a dainty way; pleasingly pretty.” This definition has been used to create a cuteness scale based on units called “megasmiles”. The scale ranges from a score of “dismally unattractive” at the lowest end, to “maximally adorable” at the highest end. I believe that I can assign a score to the Rawlins family, indicating just how cute the Rawlins family is.

Judging by the photo evidence provided, the Rawlins family is composed of two somewhat dorky parents, and two outrageously adorable little boys. While the presence of the parents may seem to negatively skew their score on the “cuteness” scale, the ridiculous cuteness of the bouncing baby boys seems to balance out this factor. This places the Rawlins family in the category of “Highly, to Supremely Cute.”

Although the story seems to end there, we must take into consideration other mitigating factors. For instance, the alpha female appears to have dressed the family in matching outfits. Again, ridiculously cute. This adds at least 5.7 megasmiles to their overall score. Additionally, the alpha male appears to have positioned himself in a manner mimicking the actions of his offspring. This enhances the alpha male’s cuteness by association, thus increasing the score by yet another 4.2 megasmiles. Lastly, the photo depicting the playful relationship between the mother and her offspring shows that the Rawlins family is not only cute in appearance, but in their demeanor as well. This adds an astonishing 12 megasmiles to the overall score!

After careful calculation and examination of all evidence provided, I believe that it is safe to say that the Rawlins family falls neatly into the category of “maximally adorable”. The cuteness scale doesn’t lie, and megasmiles are not easily awarded. It is my estimation that fewer than 1 in 1000 families can achieve this rating of cuteness. The Rawlins family should be looked upon as a fine specimen of the human genome. The offspring (largely accountable for the high score) may even be the perfect specimen with which to create an army of ridiculously cute clones.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that the Rawlins family achieved a score of “maximally adorable” on the cuteness scale, based on their overall accumulation of “megasmiles”. I believe that the photo evidence provided confirms my findings and illustrates how the Rawlins family is supersaturated with cuteness.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jungle Fever

(Insert vicious cat growl - think Pitt Panther, Nittany Lion, BYU Cougar - here)

Check out these hotties I got at the mall today. They aren't going to match my collared seasonal dress-up sweatshirts but oh well. Wearing them together will just make me even more of an ugly mom.

P1020806  P1020807

P1020808 Aren't these crazy cute!?!?