Monday, January 28, 2013

Lance Armstrong Isn't the Only One

Max checks out Dad's wheels after a ride
My husband is an avid cyclist. He's intense. As you may recall from this post, I am no athlete.  He can ride 200 miles at a time--and enjoy it.

Me? I like brownies. I've never kept a diary of my food. Heck, it's impossible to track what I eat because my kids take meals right off my plate.  But my husband can tell you exactly how many calories he's eaten at any given moment. He consumes a small garden every day. He eats the peels on his kiwi and chomps on raw oatmeal, but he claims I'm the one with strange eating habits.

Needless to say, health and exercise is serious business around here for one of us. Which, I admit, can be good for all of us.
Hanging out at a hotel before a ride

Until it's not.
"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever." --Lance Armstrong
One of his biggest heroes was Lance Armstrong. He read all his books. He admired his single-mindedness, his athleticism, his dedication of giving it all.  Garrett modeled his workouts after the cyclist's, thinking that what makes you better is training harder than everyone else.  That's what Lance said, so it must be true.

And then Lance (we're on a first-named basis in our household) confessed to using performance enhancing substances, and the fairy tale was over.

When the drug confession came out, I asked Garrett what he thought of his hero being a liar on top of everything else.
He grew thoughtful.  "That world is filled with drug use.  It's kind of like when we ask Max if he hit his sister.  Of course he hit his sister. We know he hit his sister. That's what brothers do." He shrugged. "But you don't admit it."


Then Garrett shocked me with a confession of his own.

"Brandi," he looked remorseful. "I get it. I get why he did it. You feel you have to be better. Sometimes you just need a break." He took a deep breath.

No. Oh no.

"I've used performance enhancing substances."

Oh, man. Why, oh, why would he do that? It's a hobby.

He wasn't through shocking me.

"You've used them, too." His look dared me to challenge him.

I remained silent. Too stunned to speak.

He looked at his hands and shook his head.  "It's just that... sometimes, when I...turn on the tv and the kids watch Sesame Street or Max and Ruby, I can get soooo much more done.  TV is really a parent's performance enhancing drug."

I nodded.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zilch tv for any child under two.  But...lots of parents do it. They just don't admit it.

Sounds familiar.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cooking Up Toddler Vocab

My sweet little helper borrowed my apron to bake brownies with me.

Later, she demonstrated she can whip up toddler vocabulary in a jiffy.

Me: (trying to remove some dangerous object from the toddler's tiny, mighty grasp) No. Alexandra, don't do that.  No. (muttering) I swear the child doesn't know the meaning of the word.
Alexandra: (breaks into a sprint down the hallway)
Me: Alexandra, come here, please.
Alexandra: (calling out over her shoulder with a giggle) No!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Favorite: Storm Trooper

Target Dollar Spot, you know me so well. That's right. I bought this Storm Trooper notepad for me.

TV show Friends exposed some sort of geeky cult fantasy: Princess Leia.

Rachel dresses up as Princess Leia for geeky boyfriend Ross

But nothing was mentioned of geeky girls. 

Let's see...Magic Mike had a real following, too. I think these guys can pull off a kickline, don't you, ladies?

What do you think of Storm Troopers? Soldiers of an evil empire or misunderstood bad boys?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oklahoma Women Bloggers: Poopie Diaper Path to Enlightenment

Did you see it? 

I had a guest post on Oklahoma Women Bloggers! OKWB is a brand new network of bloggers all around Oklahoma. Cool stuff is happening around here.

Check out my Poopie Diaper Path to Enlightenment.  See a picture of Max doing downward facing dog. 

I asked Alexandra to pose, too, but she just got on all fours and barked. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tea Talk: Downton Abbey Season Premiere

I dreamed--seriously, I had a dream--about eating petit fours and drinking tea while watching the premier.

Instead, I drank a glass of water and ate a granola bar.

Tower of London tea, anyone?
So, please, let's have tea now and share all the gossip of Downton.

Matthew and Mary are in love! Edith is in love! Sybil is in love!

My husband is annoyed.

Lady Mary and Matthew. My husband thinks it's too obvious that Matthew is always the savior of Downton and that Lavinia's father's inheritance goes to Matthew.  I think there has to be a fourth person on the list.  If Lavinia's 's father was as sweet as his daughter, I can see him leaving it to...Mary!  *Gasp!* Why? Well, it's a soap opera. Plus, he'd think his daughter has all of the money from Downton and they cared for her so well even though the family was losing the estate, so...leave a little to Mary in thanks.  I agree with my husband that they can't leave the estate.  After all, the show is called Downton Abbey, not Downton Abbey-less.

Lady Edith and Sir Anthony. Why is Lord Grantham and the Dowager so suddenly concerned with Sir Anthony? Wasn't he going to propose in another season?  I'd think now more than ever they'd be thrilled Lady Edith might be married off.

Lady Sybil and Tom Branson. How will they fit into this season?  How will his politics be incorporated? So exciting! I adore her.

Martha Levinson. What did you think of the introduction of Lady Cora's mother? The Dowager Countess and I share the same opinion of her.  Then again, that shouldn't be a surprise. I took a test, and if I were on Downton, I'd be her. I know you're jealous.

Okay. Let's talk about downstairs.

Mrs. Hughes. Oh my. I kind of thought the housekeeper might have a thing for the butler Mr. Carson. They at least held mutual admiration and respect.  Suddenly, in this show... where did all this animosity come from? I've never seen their relationship so stressed. True, she's ill. I'm curious to watch the whole thing play out.

Mrs. Patmore.  I love her. If I ever have a cook, I want her.

Daisy. She seems to be coming more into her own. Why she continues to let Thomas influence her is beyond me, though.  What really has me curious is her interest in the new footman. Why does she care about his dalliance with the American maid? Is she simply concerned? Jealous? Or is she recognizing what she might have missed with sweet William?

Thomas, Thomas, Thomas. Your evil ways are a delight to watch since I'm safe outside of Downton Abbey and can not be a victim. He is one ambitious fellow.

O'Brian. I like the continued changes of her character.  She is still spiteful and manipulative...but taking sides with the right people. It's about time.

Mr. Bates. Free Bates! Get him out of the prison. I'm not a fan of what's going on with that story line. And on that note, who killed Vera? My theory is Sir Richard Carlisle --Lady Mary's ex-fiance--had her killed because she was shopping the story. Yep. That's why the family stayed out of the papers. To protect him. Not Lady Mary. Wouldn't that make a good story?!

So, what do you think?

Remember that test I mentioned to let you know what character you'd be? Take it here and tell me who it says you'd be.

Plus,  let me know your thoughts on what's going on at Downton. But, since Season 3 has already aired in England, if you're privy to real information, please don't spoil the fun for the rest of us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Add Glamour to Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue

The kids and I watched Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue (Disney, 2010) the other night.  It's about a fairy (Tinkerbell) who gets captured by a little girl. The story is sweet.

There's a boy who leads her on a journey.

Tink's friends battle the rain to "rescue" an imprisoned pal.

So many aspects of the story seemed similar to a story I know very well. But there were differences.

For example, Tink teaches Lizzie how to fly.

Plus, the only real danger Tinkerbell encounters is Lizzie's father, a scientist who likes to pin things with wings to his wall. It's Disney, so everything turns out happy in the end.

If you know someone who liked this movie, but wants something a smidge darker, my novel Glamour (HAWK, 2008) is the perfect next step.

In my book, a teen captures fairies.  But she's not nice.

So the fairies aren't either.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Decked the Halls and Done with December

I am tuckered out.
I am thrilled the holiday season is over.  Sure, the tree is still lit, but 2012 is OVER. The advent calendar is boxed up and my insane collection of popsicle sticks listing "fun" family activities is tucked away until next December.

If every member of the family hadn't raced through Kleenex boxes and hacking coughs, the season might have been a little merrier.  Sleep does that, I hear. By holly or by jolly, we managed to make some memories, though.

We watched Christmas movies and read special books.  We piled into the car in our pajamas and looked at lights.  We decorated our own house.  On a personal note, I enjoyed my annual Inklings Christmas tea with my writing buddies and ran/walked a 5k with my hubby and friends.

Here are some highlights:

Christmas Parade
My parents parked their truck at a prime location about two hours before the parade began. How awesome are they?! We showed up with McDonald's (don't judge me) and had a picnic right in the bed of their truck as we waited. The kids were joy incarnate.

School Christmas Program
The program is a testimony to the teachers' amazing creativity and patience.  Look at his cute Christmas tree shirt! Each child in that school wore a hand made shirt and sang carols.  Just thinking about the process gives me the urge to wash the inevitable paint out of my hair. Aside from the fact they're wonderful teachers who love our kids, I obviously love those ladies because they create Pinterest crafts with my I don't have to.

Gingerbread House
The grands all visited and--partially against their will--helped Max decorate his first gingerbread house.  My mom (we are so similar) came up with the idea of putting pins in the cookies to make the house stay together. Yeah, um, who needs icing? Let's place an emergency room visit in a baked good. Garrett's mom stuck with Max until the powdered sugar snow fell...everywhere. Grandma Celeste had the good sense to stay out of the mess and just laugh.

The Grands and Max with the gingerbread house

Visit Santa
I'd heard the North Pole can be a nightmare.

But I tried to prepare.

In the past, we visited Santa during the week. This year, the weekend was our only option. I called and asked when Santa arrived. She told me noon. Guess what? We drove the 45 minutes and showed up at 11:30 to wait in line.  Then we were assigned a ticket to return at 1 to wait in line again. We found out the jolly old elf had been accepting visiors since 9 AM.

I almost made the naughty list.

We gave the kids a lunch of cookies. We waited patiently to play with remote control cars.

We camped out at the North Pole until our appointment.  Alexandra even kept a bow in her hair just for the big guy. She was extremely excited to see him....until she wasn't.
In all the chaos of the season,  I managed to get out a few Christmas cards. They looked something like this:
The Barnetts--Keeping the happy in the holidays!
 I'm not sure who I sent the cards, though. I had a list, but then I found another list after they were mailed.  I had some cards left over and can't figure out who I missed. And I may have sent some twice. So, friends, Merry Christmas. You may remember the Christmas Card Picture Debacle of 2011.  I vow to be more organized in 2013.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Cookies for Santa
Max has never seen the movie that made this pose famous. He was simply excited.

 He couldn't wait for the guy to come down the chimney.

Alexandra, on the other hand, was asleep before we set out the fudge and strawberry cookies.

Christmas Day
We hosted 34 family members on Christmas day.  Yes. You read that correctly.  It was a wonderful combination of family from all sides.

I made the dressing I mentioned here. The next day,  I found missing ingredients in the fridge *head thunk*... so I made another tastier batch.   Volunteers contributed to the meal. Because I crave organization and To make the drop-off easier, I even made name tags for everyone to place their food.  This was Garrett's idea of joke:

Throw a Snowball
The next day it snowed enough to delight a preschooler.
Happy New Year!
The four of us rang in 2013 with champagne and sparkling apple juice, silly hats and 7:30 PM. 

I mean, really, it's lucky we lasted that long.