Jared's Jackpot
June 29, 2007

We're here. We made it to New England in one piece. Well, everything except our stroller made it here in one piece. The friendly gate-check baggage man delivered the stroller to us with one hand, the handle with the other, and a big-ass grin on his ugly mug of a face. I was like, "Thanks." He was like, "No problem. And don't forget, we're not liable for broken strollers unless they're in their original packaging. Have a great night."

Now here's my question. Who brings their stroller to the airport in its original box? Is anybody out there seriously that anal? That totally defeats the purpose and convenience factor of the stroller contraption. Sure...let me just drag my feisty toddler and this box that's too big to fit in my trunk all around the airport. Grrr...

Anywho, the stroller incident combined with a motionless hour on the tarmac, no tables in the Chicago Midway Airport food court, and then another 60 minute delay have left me with an overflow of blog material. But the most bloggable moment of all goes to Jared, my sweet, sweet, Mormon husband.

Our second flight, from Chicago to Hartford, was a Southwest Airlines flight. In case you're not aware, there is no assigned seating on Southwest Airlines, and since we have a kid under five we were the very first people to board the aircraft. So we walked on to the empty plane and had our pick of about 400 seats. Jared chose a nice row towards the front of the plane, let James have the window and decided he'd like to sit in the aisle seat.

So Jared sits down, makes himself comfortable, and begins to sift through everything in the seat back pocket--passenger safety card, barf bag, Southwest Airline magazine, Maxim Magazine, and SkyMall. Jared casually glanced through everything pretending not to notice the fact that he had just hit every straight male's jackpot--a forgotten copy of Maxim with a picture of Ali Landry wearing wet tissue paper on the cover. He acted just as disinterested in that publication as he was in the barf bag.

In case you're not familiar with Maxim, the theme of the magazine is basically sex, beer, women and gadgets. In case you're not familiar with the Mormon religion, the theme of the faith is basically no sexy magazines, no beer, but gadgets are ok.

I picked up the magazine and began to flip through the pages. I was all, "Jared, are you sure you're not interested in this magazine? Whoa...look at that bikini! Gosh, I can't tell what her tattoo says. I wonder if those are real?" Jared just ignored me and was like, "Since you are sitting next to me Amy, I swear I'd rather read National Geographic."

I'm sure Jared cursed my very existence for every mile of that flight. But he's a good man. A good husband. A good Mormon...at least when his wife is around.

But seriously, hats off to Jared. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that if I had found a deep fried Snickers bar in my seat back pocket, that little piece of heaven would have been chewed up and swallowed in two second flat--and I wouldn't have cared who was watching.
Off to the airport...
June 28, 2007

Well, we're off to the airport. Hopefully I'll have something wonderful to share with everyone when I get to New England tomorrow.

Thanks again for reading my blog!

Wedding Gifts
June 27, 2007

We're flying to Connecticut tomorrow afternoon. I know that flying with a toddler is a big deal to most families, but we're way past that point. Actually, I'm quite sure that James has been on an airplane at least ten times, and the child is barely two years old.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not casual about flying because my two year old is well behaved on airplanes, I've simply detached myself from the chaos. We get on the plane, we sit down and I'm like, "Ok James, we're on an airplane! Go ahead and rip every page out of the SkyMall Magazine and then kick that nice man's seat over, and over. Mommy took some Tylenol PM, so she's going to close her eyes now." Sorry folks, it works for me!

The flights ended up costing us close to twelve hundred dollars, and since you can't pay for airline tickets with WIC vouchers, we're totally broke. For that reason alone, my cousin Kelly will not be receiving a conventional wedding gift from the Lawson Family. I am, however, familiar with wedding etiquette and wouldn't dream of leaving Kelly and Shawn high and dry.

In honor of their sacred nuptials, we've decided to let the happy couple keep all of our wedding related purchases including one toddler tuxedo with a dashing pink bow tie (valued at $17.99) and one pair of control-top underpants purchased at SuperTarget (valued at $12.99).

We have also been practicing a touching duet that we plan to perform at the reception. We will be singing 'A Whole New World' from the movie Aladdin, acapella. And yes, the performance will be captured by the event's videographer.

The happy couple will also receive one 60 minute motivational speech delivered by yours truly. The speech, entitled Marriage: There's Nothing Wrong with Wanting Separate Rooms, is based on my 5 years of personal experience.

And finally, I am giving my beloved cousin the priceless opportunity to open the lines of communication with her soon-to-be mother-in-law. You see, Kelly, I never got around to RSVPing about the rehearsal dinner by that pesky June 15th deadline. So just go ahead, call Shawn's mom, and let her know that all three of us will be there.

Kelly is truly blessed to have me as her cousin, I realize that. You see, a $200 check would be cashed and quickly forgotten, but our gifts are the type of memories that easily last a lifetime.

June 26, 2007

Dear Sir or Madam:

My mother has expressed some serious concern with my previous post. She would like readers everywhere to know that my slobbish tendencies are not a direct result of her mothering or her housekeeping. God made me a messy person, and that's all there is to it. Just so you know:

My mother is not a hoarder or a pack-rat.

My mother does laundry every single morning at 5am (she will freely admit that she loves her 33-year-old Maytag more than she loves my father).

My mom often uses her valuable cell phone minutes to give me long distance pep-talks about dusting.

My mom cannot sleep if there's so much as a Q-Tip sitting in the bathroom trashcan.

Someday I would like to hire a cleaning lady and a laundry boy--my mother absolutely refuses to engage in that conversation.

And my mother washes the kitchen floor on her hands and knees, because she firmly believes that mops are unreliable.

My mom would also like my readers to I understand that I don't keep a totally messy house. The laundry is currently piled up to my boobers and my dog has dried up peanut butter all over her left elbow, but other than that, my apartment is clean. I only wish it were a pig-pen.


Amy B. Lawson

**Mom--was that letter ok?
Confessions of a [mostly] Reformed Slob
June 25, 2007

If you haven't met me in person, then you probably haven't realized that I'm kind of nasty--a totally disorganized slob. My keys are usually lost, I feel kind of good when I discover a putrid sippy cup in my diaper bag, and my child hasn't had a legitimate bath in like ten days.

In recent years the actual cleanliness of my living space has vastly improved, but in my heart I'll always be a mess. I should tell you--I don't vacuum or scrub because of my own desires, it's only because I'm trying to keep my husband around. If it were totally up to me, I would build a giant mountain of trash, carve out a cave, and live my days in happiness. Most women daydream about Orlando Bloom--I, on the other hand, usually fantasize about Oscar the Grouch.

Gosh, now that I think about it, I've been pretty messy for as long as I can remember:

When I was a kid, I was so disorganized that I actually lost my pet turtle. He ran away, and I couldn't get my act together quickly enough to chase him. (I'll never forget you, Skippy!)

In college, the only clean thing in my room was the trash can. Somehow it always reamined completely empty--I'm good like that.

For some reason, writing my 75 page graduate thesis was a thousand-million times easier than hanging my jacket on its designated hook.

And just today, I did two inexcusably slobbish things:

First, I was cleaning our kitchen and managed to find 85 cents in change. I was too lazy to put it in my wallet, and I didn't think the junk drawer was an appropriate place for 85 cents, so I literally stuffed the money in between the cushions of our loveseat. I fully realize that most ladies try to pull the change out of the couch cushions, but let me tell you...it was the most liberating thing I've done in ages. Honestly, I haven't stopped smiling since.

And then a few hours later, I sat down to check some unimportant business on the internet while I enjoyed my lunch. As I bit into my chicken sandwich, a little blob of barbeque sauce splatted right into the speaker of my laptop. Instead of jumping up to get a wet cloth and remediate the situation, I casually shrugged and thought to myself, "Oh man, this computer will never be the same again." And it's not, it smells like a restaurant in Texas....I LOVE IT!!!!

I know, I should be embarrassed, but I'm not. I like who I am, I've embraced my slobbishness and thanks to the little things, I'm having the best day ever.

The Mother of the Year Award
June 25, 2007

We had a really, really hard weekend with James--it was 100% impossible to make the child happy. He'd want up, so I'd put him in his high chair, and the very minute his bum made contact with the seat he'd want down. So I'd take him out and put him on the floor, and the second his feet touched the linoleum he'd want up. He was launching sippy cups across the kitchen, he bounced a peach right off Jared's cheek, and he repeatedly forced our poor greyhound to wear his potty seat like a necklace.
This went on and on and on, for about 48 hours. By Sunday night I was just waiting for James's skin to become a few shades darker and for his hair to turn all fluffy and florescent--because I was convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my child was actually part troll.

We took James to see his very first movie on Friday night--we was less than impressed. I took James to the YMCA on Saturday afternoon--he layed on the floor and cried for 30 minutes straight. And yesterday, he made a continuous 4 hour scene in front of my out-of-town college friend. He's been terrible. I was most disappointed by his behavior at the Y, as it forced me to miss the undisputed highlight of my week--my beloved water aerobics class. Nothing makes me feel stronger and shapelier than pumping some styrofoam dumbbells under water, in the company of 30 senior citizens.
Finally, around 6 o'clock last night, it dawned on me that James might not be feeling well. Jared took his temperature, and sure enough it was 101.8. James was sick. He had been sick all weekend, and the poor kid had gone without so much as a drop of sympathy or Tylenol.
Based on this oversight, I have officially withdrawn my candidacy from the Mother of the Year Competition. Instead, I will focus my efforts on spoiling my feverish toddler with popsicles and cartoons. Best wishes to the remaining contestants.
How'd They do That?
June 22, 2007

So I got a voicemail from my sister today. It said something to this effect:

"...Amy. My kid is cute, isn't he? I know I'm his mother, so I probably think he's a little cuter than most people, but I'm pretty sure he's at least normal looking. Anyway, I took him to Sear's to get his portrait done, and he looks crazy in those pictures. How could they make my baby look strange, Amy? Why did I pay them to make Tyler look so bad?"

I deleted the message, hung up the phone and kind of giggled to myself. My nephew Tyler is a very, very attractive child. I figured that my sister was simply acting as an overly picky consumer--a little stage-mommish if you will. And then I saw the pictures.


Katy wasn't overreacting. According the the proofs I viewed online, this photographer definitely has the ability to make Barbie herself look like a Cabbage Patch Kid...all chunky, and yarn-haired, and buck-toothed. Just look at that picture of my normally dashing nephew.

I can just picture it. The photographer was probably like, "Mmmm....let me just focus this lens, and turn this light a little bit to the left, and...voila! The perfect picture!" Then he enthusiastically turned to my sister and said, "Ma'am, I managed to capture your child just beautifully. His ears appear to be two inches lower than normal, his hair is ever so spiky, and his chin resembles a three cheeked monkey bum." And I'm sure my kind-hearted sister was extremely complimentary and overly polite about the whole experience.

Poor photographer--he should seriously consider the idea of transferring to the hardware department at Sear's. I bet he'd be good at mixing paint.

Oh, and here's some proof that my nephew really is a looker--http://robkatytyler.blogspot.com/

Excuse Me?
June 22, 2007

So I walked into the living room this morning, where James was innocently playing with his favorite bulldozer toy. I smiled at my pudgy little angel and enthusiastically said, "Hey Buddy!"

He looked and me, smiled that sweet little smile of his and replied, "Hi Poopy."

I was like, "Excuuuse me?! Did you just call me Poopy?! James, that's not nice. My name is Mommy, not Poopy."

He looked at me, kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, "Ok. Hi Mommy."

"Well that's better," I replied. "Thank you for using your manners, James."

And as I walked back into the kitchen, commending myself for neither laughing nor flying off the handle, I clearly heard James say, "Bye-bye Poopy."

It's now 4 o'clock in the evening, and he's been calling me Poopy all day long. I've been trying my hardest to simply ignore this problematic behavior. According to every volume in my toddler library, if I get all riled up over this, James will feel powerful and he'll just keep on calling me Poopy until he's like 27.

Stop laughing--this is not funny. I have no idea where my child picked this up. And besides, where does he get off calling me Poopy? I'm not the one who needs my diaper changed six times a day.

Since I Hung Him Out to Dry...
June 21, 2007

After a quick chat with my sister this morning, I now realize that I completely hung my husband from the proverbial clothesline yesterday--airing his dirty laundry for all to see and smell. He negatively commented on my shirt, and I told the whole entire universe about his fleeting moment of male stupidity. For the sake of fairness, I guess I should embarrass myself today. And let's face it, a healthy dose of self-deprecation does wonders for my mood...so here goes.

I, quite seriously, have some of the largest hair in the universe. When I was in seventh grade, my mom once suggested I get a haircut immediately since my head was beginning to resemble a "big furry box." I couldn't be offended because I knew that my mom was actually softening the hairy truth. I scoff when people ask where James gets his curls from, and I laugh even harder when people claim that their hair is harder to manage than my own. Trust me girls, it's not.
I'm not a competitive person by nature, but I'll step into the ring without a seconds hesitation when it comes to hair comparisons. Mine is curlier, crazier, and more out of control than yours will ever be...period. Mine is the largest and the in-chargest...end of story.
And here, my friends, are the pictures to prove it. I went to bed last night with a nice, neat ponytail, and when I woke up this morning it had turned into what you see above. The first picture was taken as soon as I got back from walking the dog. Then I took my ponytail out and snapped the second picture. Cool, huh? My in-laws think so, too.
Never Mind
June 20, 2007

It never fails, whenever I start to feel all down in the dumps and bad about life I meet someone who gives me a healthy dose of perspective. All morning I've been moping around and spontaneously bursting into tears because my husband didn't like my new shirt from TJ Maxx. Poor me. What an insensitive turd-brain of a husband I've been dealt!!

I decided to take a brief rest from my angst to head to a neighborhood playdate around 10:30 this morning. I was walking over there, just seething about Jared's comment, making myself sadder and madder with each and every step. By the time I arrived at the hostess's doorstep, I was mentally piecing together my Home Depot shopping list--after all, I would need to replace the window after I hurled Jared out of it this evening.

There were four moms at the playdate, including me--I knew two of the moms well, and I hadn't ever met the other one. I began to chat with this new mom and learned that she was originally from New Orleans. She and her husband moved to Dallas after Hurricane Katrina. So of course I got a little nosy and asked her about her experience with the storm.

She was like, "Oh yeah. Our house was wrecked. We had closed on our new house on Friday and we had to evacuate on Saturday. Then the storm hit on Monday. It was a two story house, but since we had just moved in everything was in boxes on the first floor. We lost everything, except our bedroom set...so that was cool! Oh, and we took our pictures with us, too."

I was like, "Whoa."

Then she went on, "Yeah, our old house was untouched, so that was kind of a bummer. Oh, and you know what else was tough? All of our homeowners insurance records were washed away. We had just paid the premium for the entire year and there was no record of it anywhere. That's was kind of a pain to work out."

And I said, "Yeah, sounds like it."

And then she capped it off with, "Oh it wasn't so bad. We had family to stay with in Houston and they had a nice house. That was really convenient since I had a two year old and was just over seven and a half months pregnant at the time. But really, it wasn't that bad."

I just kind of sat there with my mouth hanging open and thought to myself, "Yeah, my husband thinks my new shirt is ugly...."

So, in conclusion, I've gained some perspective. You can bet your entire savings account that Jared is still getting tossed through the window tonight, but that doesn't mean I haven't been humbled.
I Saw it Coming
June 20, 2007

**WARNING: I'm feeling a little deflated today**

I think wedding rings are ridiculously outdated, but five years ago we liked the idea. I'll tell you what, if we had to do it all over again we'd be exchanging very different gifts at the altar. We would exchange trumpets, or airhorns, or buzzers, or gongs...you get the idea.

I think these types of instruments could really increase the quality of communication in our marriage. As soon as I began to nag, Jared could toot the airhorn or play a B flat on the trumpet. I'd have to stop, no questions asked, and we'd move on with our day without so much as a grudge. It would be good.

Yesterday, I most definitely would have used my instrument on Jared. I would have sounded the gong the moment he walked in the door, visually sized up my outfit, and gave me a somewhat disapproving look. I could have buzzed him in time to stop him from weakly smiling and saying:

"Ohhhh. That's your new shirt. I've got to be honest with you, Amy. I really, really don't like it."

But I couldn't. He said it. And with that comment off went the shirt, the shorts, the belt, the makeup, the push-up bra, the necklace, the watch, and the smile. I regretfully recinded my efforts, and changed back into my regular old mom clothes.

I really do wish I had an airhorn. My ears would be done hurting by now. But my feelings? They're still aching pretty badly.

The Third Ring of Hell
June 19, 2007

Oh summer! What fun! Children playing, ice cream trucks passing, grills fired up, and carefree attitudes. People count down to summer all year long--it's their reason for living.

Except for those unfortunate souls who have been banished to live in Texas. Quite simply, summertime in Texas is like stepping in to the third circle of Hell. Not only is it unbelievably hot, but the people get super mean and nasty because of it. You'll regularly see people fighting at train stops, children beating up on younger kids at the park, big-haired ladies running into one another's luxury cars (just to get a rise out of their friends), and if you look closely, I swear that the devil himself is driving every public bus in this city.

Just last night, we were taking a leisurely walk as a family. We came to an intersection and looked both ways as all responsible pedestrians should, and proceeded to cautiously cross the road. As we crossed, a fugly old car approached the stop sign and I happily waved to the driver (who happened to be every bit as ugly as her car). In response to my friendly wave, this woman threw her hands up in exasperation, rolled her eyes and began to mutter all kinds of not nice things. Initially, I was confused. What can possibly be so angering about a young couple, an overly chunky toddler and an old dog? Then I remembered--it's the summer. No one wants young families to enjoy walks in the summertime. Everyone should be miserable.

Families, watermelon, children, dogs, flowers, singing, sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, bags-o-money....in the Texas heat, they all suck.

So bust out your cowboy hats, your thick skin, and your bulletproof vests! It's the summertime in the LoneStar State....Heeeeee-haw!

**Oh, and one last word to the wise...NEVER make the mistake of asking the neighborhood sno-cone lady for a screwball. Instead of kindly directing you to the adjacent ice cream truck, she'll call you and your family a bunch of #$%$^@ screwballs. Then she'll squeal the tires of her golf cart as she drives away in a rage. Last summer I quite seriously saw her burn rubber right into a park bench. It was amazing.**
Calling All Humans...
June 17, 2007

If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that my husband is a chiropractic student. He's only six months away from graduation and in desperate need of patients. You see, Jared needs to recruit a certain number of patients and perform a certain number of adjustments in order to graduate on time. More importantly, Jared needs to graduate on time in order to stay married to his lovely wife. Consequently, he's reached a new level of desperation.

Jared has decided to give his card to every single person with whom he makes any form of human contact--the mailman, neighbors, homeless folks, the staff of 7-11--no one gets away without a business card. Since Jared is working so diligently to drum up business, I figured that I could help a bit too. So far, so good. We're totally on a roll.

I know this type of solicitation seems a bit scary, but it's actually quite simple. I just manage to turn every conversation toward spines, backs, and chiropractors. Here are a few of my successful (and questionable) conversation starters:

To my friend from church:
You have awesome looking boobs. Do they ever weigh you down and cause back pain? I hope not, but just in case they do...

To an ex-NFL player:
I know you outweigh my husband by like 200 pounds, so I think it'd be kind of funny if you let him try to adjust you...

To my close friend (on the phone):
Hey! What's up?! I'm gonna hand the phone to Jared now...

To the man I see every day at the bus stop near the park:
I like your back pack....a lot. And since we're on the topic of backs....

And to the guy at the deli:
I'll take one pound of roasted turkey. Turkeys have spines, don't they?

So I blew it with the deli guy, but believe it or not, we're starting to have quite a bit of success in the patient recruitment department. So why not help us maintain this trend? If your back hurts, I kindly request that you make an appointment with Jared. And if it doesn't hurt, we will trip you, or fight you, or find some other way to ensure a series of minor aches and pains...it's only a matter of time.
Oh, and FYI, we're running a special deal for all of our Dallas-area readers. For a limited time only, if you make an appointment with my husband, we will send you one high-resolution photo of our bare bums, via email.

Happy Father's Day
June 17, 2007
A lot of people tell me that my husband reminds them of my father. They're about the same height, they have similar looks, they equally enjoy whistling and their names are remarkably close...Jared and Jerry. My mother and I both enjoy beckoning for "Jare?!" when we're in need of some husbandly help. Some people even go so far as to suggest that I married Jared because of his similarity to my father. Well, today I'd actually like to respond to that claim...Um, of course I married my husband because he reminds me of my father! I happen to have one of the best Dads on the face of the planet, so it would have been a king sized mistake to seek out anything else. In all seriousness, if I had wanted to marry the opposite of my dad, I would have had to take out the following personal ad:

Single, white, female seeks a husband. Must be rude, chronically late, and mean to children and animals. Stinginess is a plus. Outdoor activities, family outings, and fun in general are frowned upon. Prefers to find a man with weak moral fiber, wavering standards, and a strong aversion to ice cream and candy of all types. Should be unusually bad at fixing things and unable to hold down a job.
Instead, because I used my dad as my benchmark, I found a pretty good husband who happens to make a fantastic father. My father is, by far, my biggest fan--he's never missed a track meet, or a graduation, or any old chance to pay me a compliment. And Jared is, by far, James's biggest fan--he's never missed a chance to throw him around, teach him to play ball, or enthusiastically talk about the movie "Cars." I see no need to be modest--I'm a very, very smart girl for taking the approach that I did.

So thanks Dad, for everything. And thanks Jared, for everything else. James and I love you guys!
Thanks, Carl!
June 16, 2007

Contrary to popular belief (as indicated by previous comments), you do not have to audition to be my friend. It's really not that hard, folks. All you have to do is buy me things, take me to dinner, or laugh at my jokes. If you take it a step further and pee in your pants because my jokes, then we can automatically be friends for life.

I'll tell you what, Carl must have caused my Dad to pee himself a time or two, because these guys have been friends since like 1942. Consequently, I've known Carl since I was nothing but a glimmer in my mother's eye. His house was actually the first bachelor pad that I ever had the pleasure of stepping into. I was like 8, and I was shocked that it had a kitchen. I was even more shocked at its tasteful decorations. I also remember babysitting Carl's chocolate lab when I was a kid. My Dad tied "Choco" to the tree in our back yard so he could get a bit of peace and quiet. When he woke up from his nap he realized that Choco had freed himself by gnawing through the rope and then bolted. I thought it was fabulously funny. My Dad on the other hand, did not. That was the day I learned every swear word, in every language, ever invented.

Anyway, Carl was in town on business and invited us out for dinner last night. I never ever say no to offers of food, and we had a really fun time last night. We went to Sonny Bryan's, a local institution here in Dallas. Sonny's is famous for their ribs, brisket, and smoked sausage--coincidentally, the first three things I'm going to request when I arrive in heaven. Here are a few pics for you viewing pleasure:

Here we are. Do you see all of the food on that table? Do you see the expression of rapture on my face?

Here is Carl talking to our bubblehead of a waitress. I'm willing to bet that she'd be really confused by James's barnyard puzzle. Do you see Carl's forced, polite, look of confusion? She was probably like, "Um, that'll be seven thousand dollars, and I'll need to take those glasses, too."

Here is a picture of James. See his new haircut?

And finally, this is the candy that James picked up and ate right off the sidewalk after dinner. I honestly can't say that I blame the kid. I kind of want to lick my laptop screen right now.

I do have a fantastic picture of Carl mopping the sweat off the back of his neck after one or two bites of jalepeno suasage, but based on the threats I received as we were leaving the restaurant, I'm not able to post that picture at this time. I suppose that he doesn't want the world to know what kind of lightweight he actually is. So I won't mention it.

Thanks again, Carl! We owe you dinner...just as soon as we have some income. In the mean time I can offer you some used parenting magazines.
A job?? Ohhhh, a job!!
June 14, 2007

It's been a very, very long time since either of us has had a legitimate, paying job. And if you really want to get picky about it, neither one of us has ever had a good job--no health insurance benefits, no vacation time, and I genuinely have no idea what a 401k is. Jared's last job, as the lead dog food stacker at a pet shop, ended about two-and-a-half years ago when he started chiropractic school. My last job, as the whipping girl at a chiropractic office, ended a few weeks before we had James. Trust me, our resumes are awesome.

It's been so long in fact, that the very concept of a job has become rather mysterious to us. For the past several years we've survived off of student loans, various gift cards and bartering. We have a surpirsingly large number of friends who are in similar situations, so we trade stuff with them all the time. We'll be like, "Hey, we'll trade you two pounds of government cheese for that 0% credit card application," or "I'll give you six pirated CDs for that underwire bra that you're wearing." You'd be surprised how well it works. We've gotten very, very comfortable with it.

So my good friend is a dentist, and she needs some help with her bookkeeping. She thought I might be interested. When she brought it up, I was all:

"So you're telling me that if I keep your books, you'll trade me money for it? Gosh...that sounds like a really good deal!"

She was like, "Um....yeah. It's a job, Amy."

And I replied, "Oh right...a job. I didn't realize that people were still doing that sort of thing these days."

She ignored that comment and said, "In a month or two, we'll be able to offer health insurance, too."

I replied, in all seriousness, "Ok...sounds good. I'm going to opt to take the health insurance instead of the money."

She was silent for a moment. And then, in the most loving way possible, she called me a dumb-ass.

You know, I'm not the one giving people money and health insurance just to do a little bit of work. I can think of ten people, right of the top of my head, who would do the very same job in exchange for a used toaster oven and a pleather sofa. So really, when you think about it that way, who's the dummy now?
And I'll tell ya what...when Jared and I open our own practice, we're paying our employees with free rides in the Blazer and pizza coupons. I see no problem with that.
Totally, Competely, Out of Control
June 12, 2007

***This story is going to provide my mother with endless amonts of stress...sorry, Mom.***

I own a bike, and it's not my ideal bike by any stretch of the imagination.

In a perfect world I would have a bicycle with three speeds, streamers flowing from the handlebars, a giant seat with springs underneath, and a basket big enough to hold my cell phone, my toddler, and all of my coupons. It would also have nice, wide tires and some sort of a flashing light...just for effect.

Instead I have a freaking speed machine. You've all seen them--it weighs like 15 pounds, has 82 gears, and a seat that's small enough to fit right up the crack of my a**. Unlike my dream machine, you can't wear a straw hat while riding this bike...you absolutely must wear a helmet.

Yesterday, I rode this bike. And yesterday, I almost killed three people and five dogs.

You see, I was riding along on a designanted bike path, feeling completely out of control like I usually do. I took a sharp right and began to cross a bridge, and that's when it happened....an elderly woman (with a walker no less), stopped at the outlet of the bridge to make small talk with a man who was walking five medium sized poodles.

My first thought? "Oh schnit."

Then I fervently began to recite the Hail Mary. I was in desperate need of divine assistance, as my three options were equally bleak: hit the people, hit a gigantic "Sharp Turn" sign, or ride into the lake. If I had been on my ideal bicycle I would have happily applied the brakes, shared some coupons with the old lady, and helped James count all five dogs. But I wasn't.

Instead, I fought momentum, applied the brakes, and screamed at the top of my lungs..."MOVE IT, LADY!!! I'M CRAZY ON THIS THING, Y'ALL!!!!! Thankfully the woman and her walker complied, and took a short step back. One second later I wizzed through the middle of their conversation, quickly complimented the man on all of his barking dogs, and I was on my way. Everyone was ok...and interestingly enough, that was the very first time I've ever used the word "y'all."

So, if anyone is interested in purchasing a high-end lawsuit-waiting-to-happen, give me a call. It's pink.
Pirates: Another One Act Play Based on a True Story
June 13, 2007

Setting: The living room, early this morning.

Amy: Hey Jared....

Jared: G'morning Love! Ya know? You kind of look like a pirate today.

Amy: Excuse me?

Jared: Oh, you know...you're sitting there all grumpy, and the way your ponytail is, your clothes, your face... For some reason, you really, really remind me of a pirate this morning!

Amy: Wow. You always know how to make me feel so pretty.

Jared: [Smiles. Kisses Amy on the forehead and walks into the kitchen]

Quote of the Day
June 12, 2007

Every single day, Runner's World Magazine sends me a quote. These awe-inspiring quotes are intended to be highly motivational and should provide me with the daily desire to push myself to new limits of personal fitness. Well, they don't. Mostly because they're stupid.

When I signed up for the quote-a-day service, I was hoping for quotes like this:
"You have an unbelievably nice ass."
"Wow, running has turned you into the spitting image of Julia Roberts."
Instead, I get quotes like this:
"Pain is temporary. Pride is forever."
or today's quote...
"You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face." -Gatorade
Today's quote is wrong--all wrong. Probably the stupidest yet. I have far more choices about what to do with a towel than the two that Gatorade is presenting. For example, I could take the towel to the lake and work on my tan. I could use the towel to replace my current, freak-nasty bathmat. I could wrap myself in the towel so I that I don't have to walk to the mailbox half-naked like I usually do. Or, I could use the towel to make a fantastic handicraft project like the one pictured above--that way I could hang the towel on the handle of my oven door, and if I ever do feel like using it to wipe the sweat off of my face, I'll know right where I left it.

I feel quite strongly that today's quote should be changed. It should probably read:
"You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or if it happens to feature a screen-printed image of a kitten wearing a scarf, you might consider tastefully crocheting the top part of it (among other options)."

That just seems to make so much more sense to me. And if anyone from the quote departmentof Runner's World is reading this, here's my daily quote for you...
"If at first you don't suceed, try try again."
Should I Be Embarrassed?
June 11, 2007

My apologies for the recent overload on kid pictures, but this is a true emergency.
My child just asked me if he could use my hairbrush, so I handed it over. He breifly brushed my ponytail and then left the room. A few moments later he walked back into the kitchen and I saw this...

Wow. Oh my gosh. That's my child. He looks like Billy Crystal. Holy cow. He needs a haircut. Or a bath. Or both.
I'm so ashamed.

On second thought, he looks more like a 70 year old woman who just had her hair set at the beauty parlor--like his name should be Estelle. Don't get me wrong, this hair-do is actually quite nice for the much older generation, but certainly not for my boy toddler!
I had no idea that James knew how to tease his own hair--and to do it so effectively! This is undoubtely, the puffiest I've ever seen it. I'm just so shocked!
Shoe Dilemma
June 11, 2007

On June 30th, James will make his worldwide debut as a ring bearer. The big event will take place at my cousin Kelly's wedding on Cape Cod. James will be sporting a used tuxedo that I bought off ebay for $13. I think it's quite slimming, but as you clearly see in the pictures, he hates it. To the right, you can see Jared restraining James and explaining how awesome tuxedos really are. The picture below is James running away from the camera as he mutters inappropriate baby swears at his loving mother. We finally got him to wear the tux after we convinced him that it was a penguin suit, and if he put it on he would be able to dance on air, like the cast of Happy Feet. He loves Happy Feet, so he persevered, but not for long.

I'm not going to stress about the tux. I'm sure James will be completely compliant on the wedding day by proudly wearing this sharp get up, walking down the aisle with a sweet smile on his face, and then delivering a humorous yet sentimental toast at the reception.

What I am worried about are his shoes. And this is where I'm begging the help of family, friends, and loyal readers everywhere. I can't decide which shoes James should wear, so I'm going to let you all decide. That way I can place blame on everyone other than myself if the shoes induce a tantrum, he refuses to walk, or they look goofy.

You have four choices: classic black dress shoes, black converse sneakers, black crocs, or his favorite shoes of all time. I have clearance from the bride and the mother of the bride on any of these models. Oh, and I should mention that the photographer has requested that James wear his favorites--the red, white, and blue crocs picutred above. Apparently the photographer thinks they will photograph well. Apparently the photographer is also a drug user.
Now cast your vote...and tell all of your friends to cast their votes, too!
Which shoes should James wear with his penguin suit?
Classic black dress shoes
Black Converse sneakers
Black Crocs
His very favorite shoes in the entire dang universe--red, white and blue tie-dyed immitation Crocs
Free polls from Pollhost.com
I Would Rather be Riding a Giraffe
June 9, 2007

Isn't PMS strangely amazing? Seriously, it induces feelings that are completely unjustifiable and out of this world. Take right now for example--Jared is sitting on the other couch innocently and quietly enjoying Saturday Night Live. It's totally pissing me off. Actually, he's been on my nerves pretty much all night.

  • First, he wouldn't decide on the pizza toppings and insisted that I choose....GRRRR!!!
  • Then, he made me stop and listen to the bugs chirping in the peaceful, quiet countryside...Oh C'MON!!!
  • Now he wants to check his email on my laptop....NO. NO. NO!!! He should get his own freaking prized possession.
  • He also told me that I looked unbelievably beautiful on our wedding day....I guess he thinks I got fat.
  • Prince just released a new album...Somehow, that has got to be Jared's fault.
  • The salad-mobile on the Jack-in-the-Box commercial appears to be far more practical than our station wagon.
  • And last but not least, he's wearing a belt! A freaking belt!!! And he keeps touching it. I don't know why, but that just makes me hope he decides to sleep under the bed instead of in the bed.
Oh, my poor, unfortunate, sweet, sweet husband. I hope and pray that the universe will bestow him with bountiful and practical blessings...like the gift of invisibility, a body double, and a reasonably priced duplex. He truly deserves them all.

And now? I'm going to put on seven layers of clothing and hide in the back corner of my closet. That should definitely improve my mood.
When Dad's in Charge
June 8, 2007

I love it when Dads are left in charge of babies and toddlers. It's like the funniest, most obvious thing on the planet. You see it at the park, you see it at the grocery store, and you see it at church...the child is always dressed completely crazy and the Dad looks half stressed and half confused. It's awesome.
A few months back, my friend Catherine left her husband Matt in charge of their four children on a Sunday morning. I ran into Matt in the hallway, as he was bouncing their small baby girl. I couldn't help but stop and make some small-talk with him. After all, his infant daughter was wearing a velour leopard print sweatsuit outfit, a bright pink onesie, and the piece-de-resistance--some sort of headband with tall, tri-colored feathers sticking out all over it. I could be mistaken, but I think the headband belonged with one of his older daughter's dance recital costumes.
So I was like, "Hey Matt, is Catherine out of town?
He replied, "Yeah, but she'll be here soon. How'd you know?"
And I said, "Yeah, I didn't...I just had a hunch I guess."
Catherine was more than embarrassed when she arrived at church that morning. Apparently she had instructed Matt to select a dress, any dress, from the baby's closet. I will, however, give him an A for effort--especially for his attempt to accessorize.

This morning, I have been privileged enough to experience the "Dad in Charge" phenomenon once again. My friend Beth is in Colorado for a girls weekend. Consequently, her husband JC is in charge of their two-year-old daughter Sophia. I've agreed to watch Sophia today and Monday while JC is at work. He called last night to set up the plans...he'd drop Sophia off at my apartment around 7:15. Simple enough. Well, this morning around 8:05, JC showed up at my door. He handed me the diaper bag, the carseat, and a surprisingly well-dressed child. He did, however, look a little bit ashamed when he had to admit that Sophia hadn't eaten breakfast yet.
A few minutes later, after he stepped out the door, I dug through the diaper bag that he had packed. I could hardly wait to evaluate the items contained within. Pictured above, you will find the entire contents of the bag artfully displayed on Sophia's carseat. The items, listed in no particular order, are:
  • a large baby doll
  • a mini baby doll
  • one single, solitary Goldfish cracker
  • a binky (please note, I have never seen this child use a binky in her entire little life)
  • two pairs of shoes (sandals and tennis shoes)
  • one single, solitary crayon
  • four diapers
  • a post-it-note with directions scribbled to who-knows-where
  • sunscreen (even though we're expected to have thundershowers all day long)
  • and one rubber duckie
Right now, the kids are fighting over that crayon. I'll tell you what, Sophia better get her act together and stop fighting or she's not getting that Goldfish cracker that her daddy packed her for lunch.
My Friend Sarah
June 7, 2007

This morning, as I caught up on the world's most important news and headlines [read: friend's blogs], I was delighted to discover that I was featured in one. Since Sarah was kind enough to give me a mention, I strongly feel that she deserves one too. You know how it goes with friends--I scratch your back and you scratch mine; I pinch your butt and you pinch mine; I squish your kitchen ants and you squish mine. Blogging shouldn't be any exception to the reciprocal trends of friendship, so here goes!

If you're curious, I would strongly encourage you to check out Sarah's blog at http://skousentippetts.blogspot.com/. There you will find many pictures of her smashingly good-looking husband Tom, her two cute-as-a-button daughters, and her own painstakingly sculpted body. You will also find a flattering mention of me.

If you chose to visit Sarah's site, you will quickly realize that we are cut from very different molds. In other words, Sarah is a hell of a lot smarter and more refined than I'll ever be. She loves to travel, has an appreciation for the fine arts, has no TV, enjoys obscure ethnic cuisine, and reads the newspaper a lot. Then there's me. I'm like, "Hey Jared, grab my pepperoni hot pocket out of the microwave and come watch the Tyra Banks show with me. You can finish your Archie comic book later!"

The other day Sarah and I were working out at the YMCA. When we got off of our treadmills Sarah was like, "Oh Amy, what'd you think of that Democratic debate on CNN? That was something else, huh?" I was all, "Huh? Why weren't you watching Wife Swap? Dude, you missed it when the speed eater traded places with the figure skater. It was insane!!!" But somehow, we're friends.

The piece of her blog that really had me laughing was the blurb about wedding announcements in the New York Times. Yikes! Those are whoop-ass-crrrazy! Read them and you'll see. They did however, inspire me to think about my own wedding announcement. Well, I never actually submitted an announcement to my local newspaper--probably because it would have said this:

Amy Boucher and Jared Lawson will be married on August 3rd, 2002. The couple met at a volleyball game at church. Jared told Amy how much she sucked at sports, and Amy told Jared that he sucked, too. Love soon followed.
Amy is planning to finish her Bachelor's degree from the University of Maine this December. Her parents will be incredibly upset if she does not. Currently, Amy works as an intern for the Town of Orono, Maine making six dollars per hour. Since the position is temporary, the bride will be unemployed one week after returning from the couple's honeymoon to Disney World.
Jared is employed as a waiter at a restaurant that is scheduled to close its doors in December. Due to an administrative oversight, the groom earned a high school diploma from Hampden Academy in 1998. He is currently enrolled in community college with no major. He can, however, throw a mean 360 on skis.
The couple will reside in a 500 square-foot apartment in Orono, Maine. It is not up to code.

I don't know, maybe I should have published it. And come to think of it, Sarah's wedding announcement probably would have been very similar to my own. Maybe that's why we hit it off so well. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, Sarah!

**Please note: To be featured in an upcoming edition of the "My Friend _______" series, you must do something kind, thoughtful, and/or incredibly generous for the writer**
My Mommy
June 6, 2007

As most of you know, a parent's relationship with their two-year-old child can be tumultuous at times. Mine is certainly no exception...and it gets old. All day long, James pushes the limits and I reign him in. He says yes and I say no--over and over and over again.

Please don't get me wrong...I'm not one of those people who insists upon being their child's best friend. I'm the parent and he's the kid--I get that. But it would be nice, every once in a while, to see some indication that James likes me. I mean, my stomach sticks out further than my boobs on account of this kid...a little appreciation is the least I deserve.

Well, today I had a glimmer of hope. This morning we were playing trucks at our babysitting gig. The little boy who we watch (we'll call him Garfield) came up behind me and gave me an affectionate pat on the back. It was sweet, so of course I couldn't help but smile.

Immediately, James made it quite clear that he did not approve of this type of interaction. He threw his truck down, stood up, and yelled right into Garfield's face, "NO! MY MOMMY!!!"

Bratty? Absolutely...there's no denying it.

Endearing? Most definitely. I felt liked. I felt protected. I felt wanted. It felt good.

About fifteen minutes later I was changing James's diaper when Garfield climbed off of his bike and toddled up next to us. All of the sudden James turned bright red and started to spew that horrible, toxic, two-year-old anger. I thought I knew exactly what was about to happen--he was going to pull the "my mommy" stunt again.

Wow. Was I ever wrong. James roared at his friend. I mean, he screamed like a pack of wild wildebeests were carrying his firstborn son into the wilderness--all shrill and desperate sounding. But instead of yelling on my behalf, he screamed:

"NOOOO!!!! MY BOOPY DYPO!!!" [translation: No! My poopy diaper!]

Based on the volume and intensity of James's screams, it it quite obvious that he is more protective over his soiled diapers than he is over his own mother. Fantastic.

This mothering thing is thankless. I'm thinking about trading it in for a pet bird or an ipod...I haven't decided yet.
"Wimming" at the Pool
June 4, 2007

Oh my word. My kid is so cute, isn't he? I just can't be modest or humble about him. Even the crotch strap on his floaty-vest is adorable enough to make a grouchy person think about smiling!

People often ask if his curly hair (especially visible in the third picture) is natural. No, it's actually not. We do a home perm every six weeks or so. We're thinking about treating James to extensions for his third birthday. Please, don't spoil the surprise....

[hint: click on the pictures and they'll get big...I think]

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A Slip of the Tongue
June 4, 2007

I know that Texas has a reputation for being all dry and dessert-like, but let me tell you...if you haven't seen a thunderstorm in Texas, then you haven't seen a thunderstorm. And yesterday, we had one heck of a thunderstorm.

We were on our way to church in the morning, and could barely see out the front windshield of our Toyota. I had conveniently forgotten our umbrella at church the Sunday before, so we were already soaked...and when I say soaked, I mean that I would have been more covered up by one of those peek-a-boo bras and a strip of saran wrap than I was by my drenched white blouse.

So we're driving along, singing songs about rain to James, when I see a guy that I recognize making his way down the sidewalk. I didn't know his name, or even know him personally, but I knew for a fact that he was walking to our church...I had seen him a million times. So I told Jared to pull over and pick him up.

I rolled down the windown and shouted: "Are you going to the Mormom church?"

He replied: "Yup."

So I said: "Us too. Hop in."

He climbed into the back and wedged himself in, next to James's gigantic bark-o-lounger-type carseat. By this point, my teeth were chattering. Plus, I felt a little nervous about having a stanger in my car. And if you know me well, you know that I garble my words severely when I feel a little jittery. Like in an interview for example...they'll ask me about my biggest weakness and I plan on giving them the classic reply--sometimes I work too hard. But since I'm nervous, it will come out as--"A lot of times I really don't work very hard." [sidenote: this is why I'm a babysitter with a master's degree]

So this perfectly nice guy, who is about my age, is sitting in our back seat. I turn around and say, "Hi. We're the Lawsons. I'm Amy, this is Jared, and that's James."

The guy replies, "Hi. Thanks a lot for picking me up, I'm Bobby."

And without a moment's hesitation, in all of my nervouse glory, I make eye contact with Bobby and in my very coolest voice say, "Oh. Well hey Baby. What's up?"

James sat clueless. Bobby looked kind of shocked. Jared was smiling one of his very satisfied smiles over in the drivers seat. And me? I'm planning to use cue cards as my primary means of communication from this point forward.
Get Ready for Some Pictures
June 1, 2007
Maybe you've wondered why I never post family photos on this blog. Or maybe you haven't. Either way, it's for two reasons. First, we are the most unphotogenic family on the face of this planet--which is strange, because in real life we're pretty much like super models....I take people's breath away on a very regualar basis. And second, our old camera pooped out on us a few months ago. We're broke and slightly lazy, so it took us a while to replace it. Well, we have quite a bit of making up to do, so get ready...lots and lots of crappy photography is coming your way!

This is a picture of James singing a song about his cereal. He is sitting on a phone book, just take my word for it. A video probably would have been more appropriate, but I haven't learned how to do that yet. Stay tuned.

Ok, my bra strap is hanging out, I'm not looking at the camera, and my head looks unbelievably huge compared to my body. You're probably wondering "Why one earth did this girl post this picture of herself?!" Well, I'll tell you why. This is one of the top three best pictures ever taken of me in my adult life. The best is that one to the right with all of the Mardi Gras beads, and the second best is one of my wedding pictures. This is the third best. Our Christmas card picture this year featured me in my pajamas, holding a stack of diapers while Jared and James sweetly posed in my parent's formal living room. I got a lot of good feedback on that.

And this last one is of Jared sleeping. I didn't want to wake him up, so I snapped this picture from all the way across the living room. This camera has one hell of a zoom--don't ya think? Can you see the pores on his nose? Cool, huh? Also, go ahead an call him on his cell if you think he needs to pluck his unibrow. He won't listen to me any more.
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