Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hammock Time

In my side yard, there's a hammock hidden by azalea bushes. At least there used to be. Today, my brother took down all of the bushes that had grown up around the hammock and even dug up the roots of the largest bushes so they wouldn't grow back again. He then put up a new-to-us hammock. It was a wonderful surprise to come home to.

An even better surprise though was seeing Sammy. He'd been gone since Friday visiting his Grandparents, but when I got home from work, he was home!!! I walked over to the hammock to check out what had been done, and Sammy followed. He wanted to get up in the hammock, so in we climbed.

For the first few minutes, he was snuggled up against me. Every time we slowed down, he'd ask to go higher and faster. One time I said, "I can't go any higher. I'm on my tippy toes." And that became the new standard. Every time we slowed down, it was time to go tippy-toe high. I'd hold him against the hammock until we were almost vertical. Every time he'd ask "Are you on your tippy toes, Annie?" I'd answer yes, but he'd lean over my arm and look, checking to make sure. Then on the count of three we'd fall back against the hammock and swing as high as we could.

Later, he turned side ways and laid with his head on my stomach. We looked up into the trees, talking about being monkeys swinging from the branches. Sammy decided he would be a medium sized orange monkey with a long tail.

It was a simple time spent reconnecting. We talked about nothing special. We just talked. Three year olds love to talk and ask questions. We covered monkeys, why trees grew, and how high airplanes fly. It was 30 minutes of laughing, giggling, and fun. I'm so glad he's home.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sammy's after bath ritual

Every night, after we've drained his bath water and put away his toys, Sammy likes to lay down in the empty tub and pretend to change into his favorite good guys. Then he shows off his pretend suit. Then he repeats. Many times. The night this was recorded, he started out by changing into Wolverine. This is an audio recording of one of the times he changed into Iron Man.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sammy Can Cook

Sammy, my 3yo nephew, has a picky appetite. Sometimes, even if it's food he likes, he won't eat it because of the mood he's in.

While I want to make food he'll eat, I don't want to be stuck eating chicken nuggets and spaghetti all the time. Plus I want to introduce him to new food, even if it never enters his mouth.

So I posted a question on Facebook and Twitter about tasty AND healthy meals that both kids and adults would enjoy. The most common response was (drumroll please)..."let me know what you find out". That doesn't help.

But I began thinking of how Sammy loves to help me cook (he asks to help), and how he tends to eat when he helps prepare what I'm asking him to eat (although this isn't always the case). I thought it would be fun to show a 5 min video of him helping me get dinner ready. Then I thought, "what if I share a video every week?"

So I'm thinking of starting a weekly vlog called "Sammy Can Cook". Maybe. I haven't completely sold myself the idea yet. But the seed has been planted.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Inside the Actor's Studio

What is your favorite word?
Forgiveness, compassion

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on?
Respect, intelligence, living life to the fullest

What turns you off?
Superiority, intolerance, manipulation, cruelty

What sound or noise you love?
My nephews laughing, rain falling on the leaves, thunderstorms

What sound or noise you hate?

What is your favorite curse word?
Holy Crap

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Mother or Teacher

What profession would you not like to do?
Outside sales

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly gates?
Your family is here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today, We Finger Paint

Sammy found the finger paints a couple days ago, and has been asking to "paint with my hands" ever since.  Today, we finger painted.

This is the result of his labor:

This is the aftermath: I didn't get a picture of his hands and arms, but they were covered with paint

Update - 8:30pm  (Sam took a couple pics of Sammy's hands on his phone and I snagged them. What can I say? He's all boy, and he loves making messes)


Saturday, September 11, 2010

3 Consumer Justifications That End In Crap

In my previous blog about stuff, I mentioned I needed to get rid of stuff. The next day I came across this blog (3 Consumer Justifications That End In Crap - David Michael Bruno) which gets rid of all the justifications we use to hold on to stuff we no longer use.

The following is copied straight from the blog.

There are at least three excuses those of us with too much stuff use to justify our excess.

It would be wasteful to get rid of it. Uh, no. It was wasteful to get it in the first place. Now it’s just plain stupid to allow it to keep cluttering up your life. What’s wasteful is the mental and physical space that the stuff you don’t need and don’t even want is taking up. Stop wasting your life. Get rid of the crap.

I might need it some day. The moment this justification passes your lips you know it’s not true. Seriously. Here, try this experiment. Go into your garage, find that box you haven’t opened in a decade, dig inside of it, and pull out that graphing calculator. Now go stand in front of a mirror and, speaking out loud, convince yourself that you might need it some day. Liar, liar, pants on fire. Get rid of the crap.

It has sentimental value. Then why did you bury it in the closet? Besides, you don’t even like the uncle who gave it to you. The nostalgia you’re really missing out on are all the good times you could be having if you weren’t constantly reshuffling stuff inside your garage and closets. Get rid of the crap.

One thing is for sure. If you use these three justifications to keep loads of stuff, at the end of your days you are going to have, well, loads of stuff. Do you want the end to be filled with crap? Purge the things that are messing up your house and dominating your material and spiritual space. Then go live a joyful life that blesses others.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ROOM by Emma Donoghue

I saw this trailer for a book called Room. It's getting a lot of early buzz. A couple people I know who've read advanced copies have praised it as a fantastic book. It's release date is September 13.

You can read the first chapter at - just click "See Inside".

There's also another video trailer at


I read this blog on stuff. Then I clicked on the links in the blog to read other blogs about stuff. I also read their comments. And I came to conclusion I've come to many times before. I have a lot of stuff. More specifically, I have a lot of unimportant and/or unnecessary stuff. And so does my family.

Recently, my nephew Sammy came to live me and my brother full time. He already had a room of his own filled with more toys than it could hold when he was just here part time. But when he moved in, another roomful of stuff came with him. Right now, he can't play in his room because it's filled with too much stuff.

It's time to pare down and live more simply. It's going to take a while, but it'll be worth it.

Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. I don't want to define my life by the stuff I have. I don't want my stuff to have so much of a hold on me that I place a higher value on it than on the truly important things in my life.
2. I need to simplify by REDUCING what I have, REFUSING to buy more, and REJIGGERING my priorities.
3. If something new comes in the house, something old has to leave the house.
     Phase 1: Stasis
     Phase 2: Reduction
4. I could never live with only 100 things like some people have. Certain items are grouped, but even then it would be a stretch.
5. I complain that my little house doesn't have enough storage. Why? What am I storing? Stuff I haven't used in a very long while or only use 1-2 times a year. Why is it more important to hold on to them than to make room for what I use on a regular basis?

If you want to feel bad about yourself, watch this 20-minute video The Story of Stuff. It was a kick in the pants. It helped me reprioritize.

Time to get to work. Time to simplify.

The Geek in the Pink

I love this version of "Geek in the Pink"
It's a cover by ortoPilot and The Bathroom Girl

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Farwell Poppy

My Dad called this evening to let me know my grandfather passed away this morning.

In February 2010, I went to Paducah, Kentucky to visit my father and grandfather. We went to eat at one of my Grandfather's favorite restaurants (it has crab legs on the buffet), and I took a picture of us. On the left is my grandfather, Archie Swearingen. (I called him Poppy when I was a kid. I'm not sure why.) Then it's my Dad, my Uncle Denny, my Aunt Diane (Dad's sister), and me.

My grandfather had been sick for a while. Several months ago he was moved out of his assisted living facility into a nursing home. For the past month, he'd been in the hospital. A couple weeks ago, my Dad called to tell me that the doctor's said he had about six months left. Then this evening, my Dad called to tell me my Grandfather died this morning.

While his death wasn't a shock, it was unexpected. When Dad called a few weeks ago, I planned to fly out there yesterday to begin my vacation, but instead I had to push back my vacation a day and finish up things at work. When I told my Dad I wasn't going to be able to make it, but that I was planning on coming in October, there wasn't any concern.

I'm not quite sure how to feel. I'm not sad. I didn't know him very well. For many years, I didn't have any contact with my father or grandfather. But in the past 2-3 years, I've been trying to rebuild my relationship with my Dad. I've been to visit him twice, and was able to spend some time with my grandfather during those times. He talked about my grandmother Doris, his work (he was an engineer), and some of his travels (his work took him around the world). It was nice. I wish I'd had more time to get to know him better.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Instant No Button!

When you've just had one of those here then press the button.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Coconut-carrying octopus

(From 12/14/09) Warning: This video contains footage of an octopus hiding under a coconut shell that it has carried around just in case it needed to hide from something. Watching this footage may contradict your previous assumptions about animal tool use, and may be too adorable for some viewers.


Fantastic short film about the power of appreciation and a smile - love it! Don't just watch the first few minutes, because it tells a story. (16 minutes)

Canon in D

I was blown away when I first saw this a couple years ago, and it still astounds me now. As of today, 77,585,900 people have seen this video of a young teen playing Pachelbel's Canon in D on the electric guitar. Have you? If not, here you go...and you're welcome.

Daily Affirmation

If only we could all begin our day with this much positive energy and enthusiasm, there would be no limit to what we could get accomplished.

Jessica, the girl in this video, had just turned four.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's My 36th Birthday!

I've now been on this earth a complete 36 years.

Do you ever get feeling that only great things are waiting for you? That's how I feel right now. This next year is going to be fantastic!

My goals for this next year:
1) Share something on my blog daily, no matter how small or silly
2) Take a picture of myself everyday
3) Eat healthier and exercise more

My blog posting will probably come in spurts at first, a whole bunch on one day and then nothing for a while, but I hope to even it out. (I think this was a goal last year, and we see how well that went). BUT, blogger has done fanastic things with it's template designer. I stayed up way too late last night playing will all the scenes and options. I've pretty much got the layout set the way I want it (I'm still working on a few of the tab items), and when I get bored with the background, I can easily change it. I *may* stick with it this time.

Here we go.