Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pardon Me While I Climb Up On My Soap Box

It has seemed over the last year or so that the media is covering more and more child abductions. More often than not, they do not have a happy ending. I myself was almost a victim of an abductor when I was around 1o or 11. We lived way way out in the country. I remember this man driving up in a light colored car and called me over to the drivers side window. He told me that he was lost and was trying to find the closest store. He asked me to get in the car with him so that I could show him the way. When I told him no, he tried grabbing my arm. I shrieked and screamed and took off towards my house. The man peeled out and was long gone before anyone could find him.

Over the years, I have often wondered what happened to that man. Did he ever get caught? Were there any victims that didn't get away? How many children did he hurt?

Ethan is almost 5 years old and is the social butterfly of our family. When I think about all of the sick people out there, I know that his need to know everyone around him is both a blessing and a curse.

We have talked in the past about not talking to strangers but up until now, it has not been a large topic. Until Sunday. Sunday at the park, I took extra notice of all of the children running around while their parents were blissfully unaware of their every move. Add that to the fact that in Pet Co. a few weeks ago, he drifted away while my head was turned for 2 seconds to go look at the fish. So, this weekend I started the discussion of "Stranger Danger". We talked about not talking to strangers when Mommy and Daddy aren't around. We ran through scenarios of different ways that strangers could try and entice him into a vehicle.

It was actually more difficult than I had originally imagined that it could be. It's interesting trying to reason with an almost five year old and trying to explain something to them on their level without introducing too much unnecessary fear. In his mind, if someone lost their puppy, he should be able to get in their car and help them find it. That instilled a fear in me that I had never felt before. I wanted to immediately make him an expert on the subject of strangers.

I spoke to his school as well and found out that they are going to have a "Stranger Danger" program, where police officers will come to the school and discuss this with them.

I'm looking into this book and this one. I'm hoping these books will help me better explain the difference between good strangers and bad ones. I don't want to squelch is friendliness, but I don't want it to get him into trouble either. It's a fine line, I guess.

Bottom line...parents....talk to your kids. Sooner than later.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Boring. Random. Next Please.

I think I have figured out how to cure the drought that is plaguing us. Get a dog. Seriously. Because, as soon as we got a dog, the sky opened.

Every time we think our yard is drying out, it rains again. This past Friday night the sky even blessed us with quarter sized hail. I have pictures of it on my camera but I'm too lazy to get them off tonight.

So, because I don't have any new pictures tonight (because I'm too lazy), I'll bless you with 15 random things about me...thanks to my besty Erin.

  1. I think anything from the 80's is hilarious...er...and the 90's. Particularly the 90's.
  2. Some of my very best friends in the world are ladies that I never met. We "met" on a message board for mommies due in May 2004 and have been close ever since.
  3. I will have my bachelors degree on May 12th and it can't come soon enough.
  4. It creeps me out when I try and touch my ankles together. It's like nails on a chalk board to me.
  5. The smell of gasoline is one of my favorite smells...it's right up there with Purell hand sanitizer.
  6. I love to read. A lot. I mean...a lot. So much that I often can't remember the names of the books I have read.
  7. My mom is my hero. She has no idea of the impact that she has made in my life. I should tell her. I think I will, tomorrow.
  8. My sister-in-law, Eunice, is like a real sister to me. We can have a cat fight argument and make up in 10 minutes. I guess that's because she's been in my life since the day that God created the sun. Good times.
  9. I love to sing. The thing is....I sound like a wounded possum. That doesn't stop me though, as demonstrated here and here. Don't say I never warned you.
  10. I made my brother run away with me when I was about 11 and he was about 9. We got about a mile away from home and then had a come to Jesus meeting with Mom once we got home. Poor Barry. How did he survive living with me?
  11. I have a serious addiction to Firey Cheetos.
  12. Speaking of Firey. I love spicy things. That's why I love Mexican Food!
  13. I'm very cold natured, much to the bemusement of Jerry. I have a heater on my desk at work and by my side of the bed.
  14. I really really don't like the taste of beer. I just don't get it!
  15. I wish Friends would come back on. There will never be another show as good as that one.
And there you have it, folks! 15 totally worthless things about myself.

Mikki, please shut up and post some pictures next time!

OK, OK..I was just filling up space.

Coming soon:

Pictures of the hail storm, Ethan, and of course...Butterball.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Happy Place

When people find out that I work full time working mom, they think nothing. Millions of people do that every day, right? Then they find out that I'm in school full time and I get little head shakes with comments like "I could never do that!" or "how do you do it!?". When I add on the fact that I take (and edit) photos all of the time and blog regularly, I get asked things like "Wow, how do you find the time to do all of that!?" and the oh so common "how do you stay sane!?" It's at this point that I no longer have the energy to then tell them that I'm now a soccer mom too.

The mature, adult comment that I use a lot is "Well, effective time management is key to successful living ". (Insert obnoxious snort here).

Would you like to know the real reason I stay sane?



I have no idea how I would survive me hectic, stressful, often aggravating schedule without it. I DVR a LOT of television shows. Not that I get to watch them regularly, but just knowing that they are there makes me happy. I can catch with my shows whenever I need a break. Some nights after Ethan is in bed, I will watch 2-3 shows in a row.

I was counting last night to see how many shows I had saved (because at this point, I may never catch up) and I'm up to 48 shows. 11 of which are Without a Trace.

Would you like to know what's on my "record" list?

The Unit, Desperate Housewives, House, Criminal Minds, Bones, Big Bang Theory, One Tree Hill, Medium, Castle, The Mentalist, Life on Mars, Flashpoint, Monk, Fringe, Boston Legal, Greys Anatomy, Private Practice, and Numbers.

I just counted 18 shows that are currently recorded on my DVR. Some of them are not even on the air any more.

This is a good time to mention that yes, I do have a life. I do read books, I do play on Facebook, I do spend a lot of time on the weekends out in the yard and at the park, and I do spend a lot of quality family time doing family type things.

It's nice to know that when I do have a few minutes and I'm on the elliptical, that I have something good to watch.

Honestly, I can't imagine a time when I'm actually caught up. But, my shows are my way of blowing off steam with a mindless activity.

Television keeps me grounded to reality. It's my "me" time. So, when I'm not at work, not doing homework, not being a mom, not blogging, not randomly Googling things, not catching up on my message boards, not reading, not doing family type things...I'm usually watching TV.

Hey, at least I'll have something to watch over the summer while all of the shows are on hiatus.

Oh, and while we are on the subject of TV, Steve Wozniak makes me giggle on Dancing with the Stars.

Good times.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Confession Friday

OK it's been a while since I came out of the Hannah Montana closet so I thought maybe it was time for another confession. I was sitting here thinking to myself "Self, it's time you shared again". Now, for those of you that really know me, this will come as no surprise, because by now..well..you are used to this affliction I have.

Here goes:

I have a serious aversion to voice mail. Voice mail gives me hives. Unless I'm at work really trying to get a hold of someone, I will not leave one. My opinion is that caller ID is the new voice mail. And since we are talking about this aversion, I can honestly tell you that if you leave me a voice mail (work excluded), there is a 99.9% chance that I will not listen to the message. This is a quite common conversation:

Me (thinking to myself glancing at the phone): Oh, So and So called.

I dial So and So

So and So: Hello?

Me: Hey, I saw you called.

So and So: Oh, I left you a message, didn't you get it?

Me: Yes, but I didn't listen to it. I just figured I'd call you back instead.

So and So then has to repeat the message.

This is also where I tell you that I clear out my voice mail messages in bulk...about once a week or every other week. I just scroll through them (not listening to them, mind you) and delete them all at once.

Wait a minute, now that I think about it...this is really rather clever. It's a great time management tool. After all, I could lose about 5 minutes a week just listening to messages only to have to call the person back anyway. I should actually market this theory. People NEED me! I could save them about 4.5 hours a year of wasted time.

This theory does not, however, apply to my work. I could only be that lucky...Well, it does sometimes...I do sometimes just call the person back when they call. But work has an advantage...I get my voice mail emailed to me. Nice.

Moral of this Story: Don't leave me a voice mail...I promise you, I probably won't listen to it.

Hello...my name is Mikki.....and I delete voice mail without listening to it.

OK, I will be able to sleep tonight now that I got this off my chest. You have no idea who much this has been weighing me down. I mean, there are people out there that actually think I listen to their messages. It has been a horrible burden I've been carrying with me. Well, not really but that did sound good, didn't it?


Serial Voice Mail Killer

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Puppy Love

It has rained for 4 days straight. We finally get a puppy and our back yard floods. Good times. So, we have spent a lot of time inside, trying to entertain ourselves.

Does Butterball look tired to you? Does his eyes looked a little glazed over? That is what happens when an almost 5 year old meets up with a 12 week old puppy. Tonight, they chased each other with a ball to see who could keep it the longest.

It was hilarious actually. Both Butterball and Ethan were having a blast. The world was a better place while I was watching.

But just a few minutes later, this is what I found. One wiped out puppy. Hello? Butterball? Can you hear me? I'm sorry Ethan wore you out. Well...actually, no I'm not.

Of course, while Butterball was snoring, Ethan must have been getting into some chocolate ice cream. He does look satisfied, doesn't he? Poor Butterball just couldn't muster up any enthusiasm for the impromptu photo shoot. Ethan stepped out of the box though and actually suggested that I get some pictures of the two of them.

Ethan? Please don't eat the dog while he is too tired to defend himself. Thank you.

Having a puppy has actually been pretty fun. Although, I get really suspicious when he gets quiet. Except for when he's passed out from exhaustion from playing with Ethan. Then the quiet is satisfying.

Because I know the two of them have found a best friend. Each other.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tongues and Puppies

I noticed something interesting this weekend. Every time I turn around, I notice how much alike Ethan and I are. You see, when I was in high school and on the dance team, I had an affliction. I could not dance without sticking out my tongue. It drove my coach to distraction. This affliction never went away. When I am concentrating on something I still stick out my tongue. And so does my soccer ball kicking son. So, as I am snapping pictures of the game this weekend, I noticed a trend. When he runs or kicks, his tongue is hanging out of his mouth. It's humorous actually, because I see myself in him.

See? All he is doing is running...about to kick the ball. I wonder if this is genetic.

Ethan? Hello, son. Sticking your tongue out will not make the ball go further. Thank you.

And now, I would like to introduce you to the newest addition to our family. Everyone, this is Butterball. Butterball, this is everyone.

The interesting thing is that it was Jerry's idea to adopt Butterball (formerly known as Buster). Butterball is a rescue puppy that we adopted from Pals for Pooches. He and his brothers and sisters were dumped by loser and they were rescued. Let me just tell you how stunned I am that we now have a dog. Jerry has always been adamant that he does not want any more animals, so imagine my surprise when he pulled into Pet Co. so that we could go look at the rescue dogs. The first dog we wanted needed to have another dog in the house so we couldn't adopt him (we had no intention of getting 2 dogs).

But then we went to the other Pet Co. and found this handsome fella. Ethan fell instantly in love because apparently he looks just like the puppies in the movie "Snow Buddies" and "Rocket Ship Buddies". That's also where we got his name. Butterball is a movie star.

Another interesting note is that they were featured on our local news here. Oh and also here. Butterball is the spunky puppy barking throughout the story.

Jerry and Ethan are also in the local paper! Just click here and scroll through the pictures. Butterball's name was Buster when we first adopted him.

He fits right in. Ethan and Butterball are already best friends. They nap together and even drive around the yard together. It's essential that any pet of ours loves to ride shotgun.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Long Time Coming

Disclaimer: Serious post Alert: This post is not about my past per se but about a song that had a profound impact on me.

When I was a teenager, I used to write. A lot. I had a lot of things on my mind, and writing was an outlet for me. The older I got, the less I wrote…and then I discovered blogging. I first created my blog to use as an avenue for family to keep up with us, or more importantly, to keep up with Ethan.

Then one day I realized that I had more to say than just regular updates about the family. I got more into photography too and decided that my blog would be more about random musings from me. I would write whatever was on my mind that day. Mostly it is a story revolving around pictures I took, but every once in a while I like to veer off the beaten path and write about something random. That’s how I roll. Just when you are lulled into a false sense blasé blah updates, I mix it up.

Today I’d like to talk about a song; or more specifically, a particular song that had a very big impact on me. Music has always spoken to me but one song hit me in the stomach when it came out and spoke to me in ways that no song had ever spoken to me before. 

It was 1989 and I was an angst ridden teenager. The song was by a “Hair Band” that had pretty shallow music for the most part. I remember when it first came out; it immediately took me back to my much younger years and brought feelings to the surface that I spent many years trying to squelch. When a song like that comes out and speaks to you like that, it evokes feelings that you have no control over. I often wonder if other people have had a song make that much of an impact on them.

House of Pain-  Faster Pussycat: Release date September 6, 1989

Let’s skip to years and years later (i.e,. about a month ago). I was browsing iTunes for music to add my iPod and decided it would be great to have a playlist of all the music I loved to listen to in my teen years, music by Poison, Warrant, Skid Row, Europe, etc. Then I ran into this song, so I downloaded it without even listening to it.

Driving home about a week ago, I was listening to the songs and House of Pain came on. I hadn’t heard it in forever; seriously it had been since I was in my teens. As I was listening to the song, it immediately took me back again. I once again identified with the young child that was working through feelings that I couldn't explain and had no control over. It said things that I used to think. I called my mom and we talked about how one song could still make me sick to my stomach...thinking of myself in much younger terms and trying to deal with something that I had no way of understanding. Honestly, it brought back feelings that I had since forgotten (or at least moved on from) and made me bitter all over again.

OK so the song is written from the perspective of a little boy, but really it applies to any young child that lost contact with a parent.

It's a little past supper time
I'm still out on the porch step
Sittin on my behind, waiting for you
Wondering if everything was all right
Mama said come in boy
don't waste your time
I said I got time, he'll be here soon

I used to do that. I used to sit around wondering if everything was OK and thinking that my dad would call or I would see him soon. I didn't understand the dynamics of what was going on. One day he was there and the next day he wasn't. A 7 year old child doesn't have the capacity to understand something like that. They think it is their fault or they blame the other parent.

Five years old and talkin' to myself
Where were you? Where'd ya go?
Daddy can't you tell?
I'm not tryin’ to fake it
And I ain't the one to blame
No there's no one home
In my house of pain

This part of the song was so significant for me because I didn't know where he went. I didn't know why I couldn't be told. And I did blame myself. Imagine living this and then a song comes out years later that was your life. Imagine the impact that the song would have on you. It really is profound. Even today.

I didn't write these pages
And my script's been rearranged
No there's no one home
In my house of pain
Wasn't I worth the time
A boy needs a daddy like dance to mime
And all the time I looked up to you
I paced my room a million times
And all I ever got was one big line
The same old lie
How could you?

I did feel like my whole life was being re-written. Of course, when you are 7, you think of it in much simpler terms. I tried and rationalize what I did know - that was he was gone and I must not have been important enough to come and see.

I was eighteen and still
talking to myself
Where were you? Where'd you go?
Daddy can't ya tell?
I'm not tryin to fake it
And I ain't the one to blame

This was me too. I was literally 18 years old and still didn't know the answers. By then, Pop was in my life and I saw how he was with his son who did not live with him. I saw him struggle through fighting the battle of remaining in his life..I saw him refuse to give in... and then I knew. It was a choice. At that moment, I let go. I quit being angry and accepted it for what it was. Life. It is what it is.

I still cannot listen to it without going back. But I do from time to time because it was part of me. It still is. Because, even though I did move on and I did "forgive"...I can never ever forget.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Soccer..Take 2: Humble Bombers

As you know, last year we attempted to play soccer. We knew it would be a risk, because Ethan was only just under 4 years old, but we tried anyway. As it turned out, the soccer field was a great place to do things like donkey kicks, picking flowers, observing people in another field, and getting tangled in the net. We decided after about his 3rd game that maybe we'd just try again next year.

Fast forward to now. He's now just under 5 years old so we thought it would be a good idea to try again. Kind of like the Little Engine that Could...we keep trying. Except, this year it turned out to be a fabulous idea. He decided that he adores soccer. At least for now. Thankfully, he has the same coach that he had last year.

Not everyone on his team loves soccer as much as he does. One little boy in particular down right hates it. And lets everyone know it. Ethan didn't hate it last year, he just found donkey kicks to be much more entertaining. As you can see, he now doesn't get why the little boy doesn't like it. He just stares at him and keeps going.

He is also the biggest kid on the team. He's a giant compared to the other little guys. They are the same age and Ethan just towers over them. He's not old enough yet to enjoy it...enjoy looking down on people. I hear it's a great feeling. Personally, I can't vouch for that since I'm vertically challenged.

This little boy is Ethan's age too. He's a quick little bugger. I blacked out his face because well...he's not my kid and I can't say that I'd be happy to find Ethan's adorable face gracing someone else's blog without my knowledge.

I decided on Saturday that although it was in the 50's and freezing cold...(OK for you Northerners, just keep on reading...no smart comments....that is cold in Texas...Besides...it was very windy and that makes it even colder. I tell you, I couldn't even feel my hands) that watching Ethan play soccer was the highlight of my day. Because even though he scored 2 goals for the other team....he scored goals!!!! He did score one for his own team, which they were very grateful for, I might add.

Once he actually got into the game, he was on fire. He only came out a few times to sit in our laps and get warm...in the middle of the game....But, as soon as we reminded him that his teammates needed him, off he went again. No prodding, no making him play, no forcing our will on him...he loves it.

Yes, I think it was a very good choice to let him try again this year. No more donkey kicks so far, but we did get a whole lot of smiles like this one. Show off...