Rawlins Family

Rawlins Family

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things that would have been good to know yesterday...

It would have been good to know that Sophia planned to wear a winter coat to her first day of preschool on a day that happened to be 106 degrees outside. I would have hidden the coats.

P1060418 (Heat Stroke enter stage left...)

It would have been good to know that Haley was going to get the worst diaper rash she's ever had. I would have bought more Desitin during one of my fifty trips to the store this morning/yesterday.

P1060348 (Love the face)

It would have been good to know that my kids were going to spill chocolate milk, caramel dipping sauce and ranch dressing on my bedroom carpet tonight. I wouldn't have brought our McDonalds dinner home.

image (I didn't do this at all. Except for the part where I totally did. There's a chance I even stomped my feet like a three year-old. But it's mostly because I had just come home and seen my living room.)

It would have been good to know that the plumbers planned on doing THIS to my living room. I'm not sure what I would have done, but it would have just been nice to know.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hunger Games Trailer

Have you all seen the new trailer for Hunger Games? I'm suuuuuper psyched to see this movie. The books were excellent. If you haven't read them yet you're in luck because all three are out. No waiting for you!

Personally, I had a couple of thoughts as I watched this trailer.

1. The Hunger Games will take place in Forks? Really? That's weird.

2. When is this trailer going to start? Has it started yet? Oh wait, it's over?

3. "Oh, look! Katniss is running through fire. That's really indicative of how great the movie will be! Let's put that in the trailer." Um, great job Lionsgate?

4. What's with the wild west whistling at the end?

5. WHERE WAS GALE? WHERE WAS PEETA? (p.s. I was, am, and will forever be Team Peeta (and Team Emmett (oooh, we haven't talked about that in, like, forEVer...November baby!))). <-- I'm pretty sure the grammar on that sucker is right on.

5. I'm still excited, regardless of how lame-tastic this trailer is.

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music

Also, I saw that Beyonce is going to have a baby! Which, I presume, means her next video is going to look a lot like this one:


All the pregnant ladies, all the pregnant ladies. Put yo' hands up!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Days

Miles and Cam started school yesterday. We've counted down for the last six months (yes, before the last school year let out - Miles was excited!), but the day finally arrived. Sunday night Cameron kept asking over and over if I would remember to wake him up on time.

That ended up not being necessary. I'm pretty sure he woke up early and stared at the clock until 6:45 when he knew it was time to get up. So cute.

P1060326 Grandpa showed up early to stay with the girls while Chase and I went to school.

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I practically had to put a harness on Cameron to keep him from running away from us! He couldn't wait to get to his class and see his friends. He pretty much ignored us after these pictures were taken.

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When we had gotten Miles all situated and it was time to go we kissed him and wished him good luck. And he ignored us. He could have cared less! It was only slightly heartbreaking. Okay, more than slightly, but less than majorly.

For the last two weeks there has been this raging debate in my mind about whether I was ready for school to start. On the one hand, my kids were excited about it, and school makes them happy. So that made me happy.

On the other hand, I really like summer. I like the no-schedule ease. I like when the house gets quiet and I realize it's because my kids are wrapped up in some make believe game, and they're actually enjoying each other's company. I like that I'M the teacher and I set the curriculum.

As my kids enter school, I become painfully aware of how little time I've truly had with them. Time when they were just mine and I didn't have to share. And I begin to wonder if I did it right. I think of all the time I may have wasted worrying about clean carpets and laundry when maybe I should have been reading a book with them, or building a Lego castle.

So, overall I'm happy. I know the boys are in the best school we could find. I know they're surrounded by diversity and life experiences I can't provide in my home. I know they're being challenged and pushed to do hard things. And I know they're learning the joys of success and how to deal with defeat. All good things.

And I know that I'm learning how important those little people are, and I'm resolving to do an even better job as their mom.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Taylor Tale

There's this story that everyone in my family loves to remind me of. It involves my niece, who we'll call Taylor (because that's her name).

The summer that I was 17 and Taylor was three, I went to San Diego to live with her family and take care of her. My SIL, Sara, was interning with an accounting firm and my brother was working.

One weekend my older brother, Jerry, and I went mountain biking. Well, Jerry mountain biked and I spent the day alternating between whining and falling off my bike.

When we got back to their apartment, we took the bikes upstairs and parked them against a book shelf in the living room. Why we didn't walk them eight feet farther to park them on the balcony I don't know.

That was Saturday.

Monday afternoon, Taylor and I were watching a Disney movie when she decided to walk over to the book shelf and check out those bikes that had been sitting there for a couple days. I wasn't paying close enough attention because a second later I looked over to see her pulling one of the bikes down on her head.

Now, I should mention that Taylor has never been what I would call a hardy child. She was born at 30 weeks and has always been petite. Healthy and happy, but a little on the skinny, delicate side. That summer she was barely into her size 2T clothes.

Upon seeing my tiny charge trapped under the bike I sprinted across the room and pulled the bike off of her only to see blood spouting from the top of her head. BLOOD. From her HEAD.

I had been to Girls Camp enough times and sat through enough First Aid lessons to know that, a.) head wounds bleed like crazy, and b.) you need to apply pressure to any cut and it will staunch, or at least slow, the bleeding.

Did either of these things come to my mind in the middle of the crisis?


You know what DID come to my mind?


So I did.

And then Taylor and I sat calmly (okay, Tay was calm, I was hyperventilating) watching the rest of the Disney movie while we waited for them to arrive. I didn't really notice that Taylor's head had stopped bleeding. And it never occurred to me to try to look at the cut and gauge it's seriousness. I figured the 911 Professional People would take care of that.

Side note: Did you know that when you dial 911 people assume there's an actual, real live emergency taking place? They send police cars, an ambulance and a fire truck. And, like, 20 people. It's spectacular.

And you know what? The 911 People? Turns out they weren't so impressed with my ability to correctly assess life threatening situations.

They all took turns examining Taylor's scalp very closely to see if they could find the cut. Eventually they located it (at the epicenter of the bloody mess of hair). It was maybe a half inch in length and had already stopped bleeding.

So everyone left.

And that's when the phone rang and it was Sara on the other end of the line. I can't remember why she called. Sometimes, in the afternoon she would call to have me start dinner, or get something out to thaw. But in any case I figured I'd better tell her about how I almost broke her kid but don't worry because I took care of it. The 911 People promised she was good as new. Just needed a bath.

Sara's reaction doesn't really need to be addressed on this blog. Let's just say it was appropriate. And Jerry's too. And I was in the room when they received the bill for the ambulance. There's a chance they considered sticking me on a plane and shipping me off.

But, like I said, no need to go into that.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Since I'm sick today

If you've read my blog for more than five minutes you probably know by now that I'm super awesome at being sick.

So I'm going to let my sister entertain you today. Because she is surely entertaining to me. And she doesn't know I'm sending everyone to her blog today, either. Which I think is kind of fun. Big sisters get to pull crap like this on little sisters. It's our privilege.

And now, back to bed. I'm almost done with that Tiger Mom book and I've decided that a summer's worth of completely restricted television access is about to go out the window. See kids? Mommy rocks. So does PBS Kids. And drugs. I like 'em.

Peace out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This would be funny if it didn't happen every day.

I appreciate the comments on the Tiger Mom book. I'm right in the middle of it, but I'll blog more about it when I'm done. LOTS of thoughts on that one.

On Monday mornings I usually sit down and plan out a menu for the week and put together my shopping list before hitting the stores. When I commenced this activity my house was pretty darn clean. This is what I found when I was done.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tigers Are People Too

Stayed up until 3AM this morning reading "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." Shock and awe, baby. Shock and awe.

I don't know where I'm going to land on this one. I mean, on the one hand it's really hard to relate to someone who gets results through horrific means such as calling her small child garbage, and threatening to burn her stuffed animals if she doesn't finish her piano practice. On the other hand, this woman is clearly getting results. Her children are polite, obedient and virtuoso musicians at a very young age. And she claims to have a very loving, healthy relationship with them.

Personally, I'm intrigued.

Has anyone else read this one? What are your thoughts on it?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

American Idol Mom

If you've ever watched the audition phase of American Idol, you might know what I'm talking about. You get these completely deluded kids who have HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, NO GOOD voices standing there embarrassing themselves in front of millions of viewers. And back in the Days of Cowell, they were also subjecting themselves to some serious raking-over-the-coals...because Cowell isn't known for niceness.

As the audition progressed, it would inevitably cut to the corridor where mom was waiting with baited breath, telling Seacrest all about her amazing child: She was just sure s/he was a shoe-in for the show.

Meanwhile, inside the audition room some kid is trying to explain to a slightly incoherent Abdul that s/he KNOWS s/he has talent...because mom said so.

So here's my question: Is it okay to completely delude your kids?

Because this morning Miles asked me to take a picture of his "big muscles."

And I did.

And it was awesome.

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Now that I think about it, I know just where those moms are coming from.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My $10,000 Dyson

So, Chase got me a Dyson. Finally! And she is a BEAUT, let me tell you. It's cleaning capacity is off the hook. Crumbs? Got it. Wood chips dragged in by the kids? Got it. Dimes, nickles, pennies, Pokemon coins, Legos, hair ties, bits of toilet paper? Got. It.

But she truly shines in the kitchen where she's put to the test daily. She's easy to maneuver under the table and around the chairs, and she's a master in the corners.

She's changed my life for sure and for certain. I mean, sure she took about a year to get up to full cleaning strength, but I hear that's normal for my particular model (see below). 








Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Exasperation Station: Not a state of mind, but a destination.

Recently, we were at dinner with some friends and I was challenged about the name of my blog.

Friend: "Anna. What's up with your blog name? Are you from Chicago?"

Me: "No. But we lived in Chicago when I started my blog. I'm not going to change the name to our ACTUAL location! Confuse the stalkers! That's what I say."

So there you have it, stalkers. Ever step we take, every move we make; it ain't in Chicago.

I've known this was coming for a long time. Chi-Town just isn't appropriate anymore. At first it was somewhat sentimental for me. I loved our time in the Windy City, brief though it was.

But over time, the hold up wasn't my nostalgia; it was just plain apathy. Well, equal parts apathy and technological impairment. I mean, I just figured out how to put links in my sidebar!

I have spent some time thinking about what our new name could be and nothing seemed to fit. I like the flow of Chi-town Rawlins. Pretty easy. Not much pretense to wittiness. It doesn't give too much info (I let the actual content of my blog do that). It was about as nondescript as the rest of my life. It felt comfortable.

If you've read my blog, you know that, while I love my life, I need to let off steam every now and then. Just like a train...fully loaded with lunatics....careening out of control...headed for CrazyTown.

So, the evolution to Exasperation Station wasn't hard. It's where I live most of the time. And goshdarnit I like it here.

Winkin' blinkin' and nod

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Last night after dinner the boys were begging to go play in the sprinkler. Sophia was also begging to go, but she didn't finish her dinner, so I didn't feel like she had earned that treat. She stayed inside howling while the boys ran around in the water. (As a side note: Can anyone tell me why boys seem genetically predisposed to putting their bums in the sprinkler and thinking it's hilarious? It flummoxes me.)

Afterward it was bath time.

I love bath time.

The boys don't need any mommy help anymore but the girls are still 100% my domain. They are SO FUNNY in the tub. Sophia - who was bummed about not getting sprinkler time - decided that she was going to wear her swimsuit into the tub, which was fine by me.

Haley spends all her time pouncing on toys in the tub. She reminds me of the part in the Lion King where Mufasa is teaching baby Simba how to hunt. She has no grace at all. She just sees a toy she wants and hurls herself at it, usually landing on her face. She comes up sputtering and laughing and it's hilarious.

At first I was a little bit unnerved by her baby water play, I'll admit. My other babies were all pretty timid in the water, but not Haley. She's all about it. I've tried to keep a handle on her. I don't love the idea of her rolling around in water like that! But she's starting to assert herself and her lovely (lively) personality. So I'm helpless against it. I just park myself right next to her on the floor and try to stay dry.

Plus, there's nothing like a rousing tubbie to steal the last of a baby's energy for the day. She comes out so ready for lotion/jammies/songs/bed. It's soothing for me, too. I love sitting in the chair rocking her and singing while her siblings keep coming in trying to make her laugh.

Some days are hard. Just really, really hard. But even in the midst of those hard days you can have good moments. Like deep down, soul satisfying good. And then suddenly the day doesn't seem so hard.



P1060282 I like Sophia's face in this one.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Dear Children of the Future

This weekend I set my children about the task of cleaning baseboards. I got the idea from Shawni over at 71 Toes. Her children are forever cleaning baseboards and her house always looks so sparkly! I thought maybe this was the Magic Bullet I was missing.

So on both Miles' and Cameron's Saturday chore list I included "Clean baseboards in ______." Cameron was a little bit baffled, but I handed him a magic eraser and showed him how it was done. Then I left him to it while I went off to deal with laundry.

About 30 seconds later he pronounced himself done.

Moral of the story?

Dear Rawlins Children of the Future,

In 2011 you sucked at cleaning baseboards. Yes, mommy just said "sucked." I believe we were commanded to keep an accurate record.

Please tell me you are now better at cleaning baseboards.


Your Mother

Saturday, August 06, 2011


I've been promising pictures in the last couple of posts. And I'm nothing if not a woman of my word. Here are some shots from the summer so far.

P1060049 P1060050

I told you Cameron is really into Pokemon cards. He has become obsessed with making money to buy more. While I wish he would be less money-crazy and stuff-crazy, I do admire the big guy's determination. We woke up one Saturday morning to these signs. Cameron was convinced that the only way to make money (aside from cleaning the garage, which was OUR suggestion), was to sell our property.


P1060054 Does anyone else experience this phenomenon? You tell the kids to go get their shoes on and come back to find that every shoe we've ever owned is lying in the middle of the floor. And the kids are usually still barefoot.


Sunday afternoons on the couch are dreamy.


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The kids painted some patriotic rocks to put around our flag holder outside. Thought they turned out cute. And Miles ate the paint. Which means it was a normal day, by our standards.

P1060182 Cam and Miles came up with this game where they put Haley on a blanket and drag her all over the house. I think she liked it at first, but then she had a traumatic roll-off and that was the end of that.

P1060187 This is Danielle. She and her brother Brandon (I can't find a pic of him at the moment - and you should know that I refer to them collectively as "Branielle") are Chase's cousins and they come a couple days a week. They manage to save me from insanity. They work for slave wages and seem happy about it. Plus, as a bonus, my kids love them! They read, do crafts and play silly games. But they're not afraid to be tough.

P1060219 The boys competed in their first karate tournament. You may remember that I had to purchase protective gear for this. And you may remember that I was emotionally scarred. I'm still recovering. But it was worth it, because those boys are adorable.

P1060217 " P1060239

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And just to show you how much I love you...

We call this one Miles Doing The Transformer:

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Haley's First Birthday

In July Haley had her first birthday! Haley is lucky enough to be nine days younger than one of her cousins, Olivia. Olivia's mom, Kathleen, had a great idea that we should celebrate together and stick them next to each other with their cakes and see what happened.

In short, frosting-covered, sugar-coated adorableness happened.

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Yeah, it spells "HO" we know, we know. Just think CHRISTMAS.

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A few days later we celebrated at home with a couple of our good friends. I made brownies and called it good. I just can't handle the multiple celebrations these days. What do you think that means? Could it possibly be related to the ever growing number of gray hairs Kathleen has to tackle every few months?

Here's The Halester's new whip. She's a master at that thing and I love to watch her rollie pollie legs fly!


We're so glad to have Haley in our home. She's a heart melter, that one. She's been such a lovely baby. It's been a bittersweet experience to see her grow because I feel like I can't hold on to time long enough to really savor it. Everyday feels like it's gone before I even wake up! But I wouldn't trade this year for anything. Haley has been a light in our home and I know she'll continue to be so as she grows.

We love you Haley girl!

Where I'm at

So you've probably noticed a BIG influx of posts from me lately. This is not accidental. I'm trying with all my might to get back to writing. It's a passion of mine. And though I often feel inferior in the level of my skill, I realize more each day that it doesn't matter. What matters is my need to do something that enriches and edifies me - even if it's a ridiculous blog post about my knees, or silly snippets of my children's day. These are the things I love to capture! These are the real parts of my life.

If you're like me, you've probably grown weary of a lot of the blogs out there. That may be part of why I stayed out of the game. There is, it seems, this need to "put your face on" in the blogging world. It's like putting makeup on your life - covering up the imperfections and only letting the pretty shine through. And while I can certainly respect that - who doesn't want to show themselves at their absolute best? - I think FOR ME it became detrimental over time.

Yesterday I was listening to an interview with a group (no, THE group - the founders) of the Mormon Mommy Bloggers. It was fascinating to hear their stories of how they came to blogging. A lot of them started blogs as ways to keep up with family far and wide, or to keep a family record. Those are the same reasons I started my own blog so many years ago.

But one story tugged my heartstrings because I felt it as much as I heard it. This woman, after having four children in under four years, was dealing with serious post-partum depression. Now, let me stop here to say that I don't care to discuss the rightness or wrongness of someone's decision to have children on the timelines they choose. There IS no right or wrong. It is the sole decision of the couple bringing those children into the world. I know how difficult those decisions can be and how SACRED those decisions are (more posts on that to come!).

So in the depths of her depression she had a sensitive doctor ask her what she was doing for her. What could she do in her life that would allow her to still care for those precious children, but allow her space and creativity - a venue in which SHE could flourish and develop. Then that same doctor suggested a blog.

I've never read this woman's blog. I don't intend to start. But that idea struck me as being inspired! This woman was able to go online and share her story, share her struggles and share all the real parts about her. And you know what? She helped people. Her ability and willingness to share even the gritty and harsh parts of her life is what drew people to her.

I'm not going to lie. I'll tell you that I've stopped before taking a picture and cleaned up the crap all over the floor. I'll tell you that I chose not to include certain details because they didn't paint me in a very favorable light. And that's okay, to a certain extent. I don't think you need to hear every unkind thought I've ever had, or see my children's unkempt hair EVERY DAY. I think we can save that kind of thing for, say, once a week?

I do think it's important to keep people safe. I think it's inappropriate to share stories or experiences that would subject my husband, children or friends to judgement or criticism from others.

But going forward I think I'm going to lose the facade and try to just share me. And maybe in the process of doing that I'll get to know myself even better. And what a blessing that would be.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Didja hear?

Anna joined the 21st flippin' century!

How do you like my new bloggy blog layout? Personally I'm a fan. Because LOOK ---> I even added a BLOG LIST and a little section "About Us." And there's a fancy picture up there with my cute family. I like how it's all classy-like. I personally can't think of anything better to use than a picture of my family outside of an IHOP on the morning of the 4th of July. We're all coordinating, my legs are shaved, Sophie's hair is cute, there's a flag in her face, the background features a ghetto-looking building, and I think Cameron is picking his nose. I mean, can it get any better? I'm expecting Martha Stewart or Nate Burkus to feature me sometime very soon.

(Okay, but I did try to use our professional family photo but it wouldn't adjust size-wise because I think the photographer locked it down like Sing Sing.)

I'm sure I'll get some better pictures up here soon, but until then, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


This is an email I sent to my TX BFF.

Hey Steph,

Miles just had a conversation with Preston on his "invisible phone that sticks to his ear." I said, "oh you have an invisible blue tooth?" To which he replied, "Uh no. I don't have an invisible blue tooth. I have an invisible phone that sticks to my ear!"

Anyway, this was the conversation:

"Hi Preston. How are you doing? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Why do you always do that? Blah blah blah. Have a great day!"

Clearly this child is as awkward on the phone as I am.