Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!



And because you're so special to me, I even made you a Christmas slideshow, you know, in case you've forgotten what we looked like. It's my first foray into making a home movie, so bear with me, but I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself, putting together pictures AND music. I'm fancy!

I hope you enjoy it and have a fantastic holiday and an awesome new year!


Happy Holidays! from emily hartley on Vimeo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

F.A.V. Its Your Lucky Day




Oh that's right, I have a blog! I totally misplaced it this week. I just found it a few hours ago under a stack of unopened Christmas cards and discarded candy cane wrappers.

My house is a wreck.

A little elf named Edgar moved into our house earlier this month, and I'm just going to blame it all on him.

I found him face down in a bucket this morning, so I think its obvious he's the one to blame. I'm also going to blame him for the fact that I don't have even one ounce of Christmas shopping done, as well as for the reason that I simply cannot accept the fact that Christmas is this coming Wednesday and also maybe he's the reason I haven't even sent out a Christmas card yet and for the stomach-ache I now have for eating the majority of Christmas cookies I baked.

If it wasn't for that silly little elf, I'd probably have some awesome Christmas-themed video to go right here. I'm sure it would be clever, or maybe even amusing. But I'll just save that for next week.

Besides, the video I'm posting this afternoon is a gift in and of itself. I've tried to hold out as long as possible from posting a Bruce Springsteen video [I've been afraid once I start posting Bruce, I won't be able to stop] but I'm breaking the seal on that today. Right here. Right now.

The video is for "My Lucky Day" which is off his new album that comes out in January. It's about the sweetest little love song you ever did hear, and I'll be damned if he doesn't look ridiculously handsome the entire video. Especially in that hat. Not that I only love Bruce for his looks or anything...

Friday, December 12, 2008

F.A.V. MELLENCAMP



If you know me, if you love me, you know I love Mellencamp. He reminds me of growing up, my hometown, my best friend, and save for my baby Bruce, a Mellencamp concert is one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

Only John Mellencamp can pull off a blueberry-blue suit with a t-shirt and still look cool. And the man dances with the microphone stuck into the waist of his pants. The waist of his pants, people! Who does that?

John Mellencamp does.

He may not be the kind of rock star who'll gain you street cred with the hipsters. But do I give a rip? No. Fedoras are totally on their way out anyway.

Almost everything he puts out is awesome, and I could chock this whole blog full of videos, but I heard this song in the car yesterday and I got all weepy listening to it. Because I'm like that. Plus his hair in this video is awesome. And he does the splits.

Check It Out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bowl. Baby. BOWL.

My sisters were in town this past weekend, which meant dance parties, late nights, early mornings, a little free babysitting, and plenty of rotten spoiling.

We decided to throw all caution to the wind and let the boys dictate the weekends festivities.

They picked bowling.



Can I even begin to express my pride? I'm figuring their love for the pins started in-utero.

The one and only time I have ever kicked total booty in bowling [or in any sport for that matter] was when I was around 6 months pregnant with those two.

It was back in the early "Glory Days" when we lived off 8th Ave in Nashville and often frequented Melrose Lanes.

I was fierce, I tell you, hauling that heavy ball up there as well as my burgeoning belly [not to mention a burgeoning behind as well...].

It was almost as if all that extra weight gave me an awesomely grounding center of balance, and ta-da! I was coordinated for the first [and only] time in my life.

*Sigh* Those were the days, when slamming down a turkey was actually within my grasp on a regular basis, instead of just on Thanksgiving.

I've been hoping and praying since the day I found out I was having these two that they'd be blessed with at least just an ounce more of coordination than I'd ever had. I'm not asking for them to be captain of the team or anything, it would just be nice if they could catch a ball without having to cover their face first, like I once did. At a Major League baseball game.

After this weekend [and after many times of consistently being hit in the face by a ball or kicked in the shins by these dear children] I can almost conclude that my prayers were answered. Almost. Maybe. Sort of. Yes? No? See for yourself.

Cash:

A Time to Bowl from emily hartley on Vimeo.
[That girl on the left was the most uninterested bowler I've ever seen. She was always sitting down by the time her ball hit the pins. I think she scored a total of 14? And don't even get me started on her awesome flat-ironing skills]

Hayden [and Cash um, helps out]:

A Time to Bowl Part 2 from emily hartley on Vimeo.

Yup. My children obviously ooze coordination. Just standing next to them makes me look better, and I'm not really exaggerating,either. I even managed to beat Aaron at bowling that very same afternoon. This never happens. He wins everything. Even Candyland.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Mineral Moment

Getting ready the other day, this showed up in my foundation:



Can you believe that smirk its giving me? Do you even see it? Please tell me you see it.

It might has well have screamed "Oh, girl! After this is over, I'm gonna spread out all over your bathroom counter, and then when you try to wipe me up, I'll just smear, and then it'll look like your sink has skidmarks. So awesome! Oh, I'm also gonna do my best to make one of your cheeks look six times darker than the other while simultaneous not covering any of your zits, and then, maybe later, around 4:00 or so? You'll notice I've been hanging out on your pants leg all dang day, making you look way lame. You hate me, I know, but you can't quit me. Don't forget to recycle."

Hmph.

I wanted to put "Maybe it's Maybelline, or maybe I'm crazy" right here, but lets face it. That's not even funny. Not even remotely. Totally off the map. Like in the Bermuda Triangle.

No wonder even my own makeup is mocking me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

One of these things is not like the other.

One of these things just doesn't belong.



Can you find it?

Is it the overbearing presence of vinyl?

Or maybe, Yoda, it is?

The graffiti covered baby Jesus?

My grandma would say the Three Kings. Because everybody knows they don't make it to the stable until January 6th [she still makes them travel though her entire dining room before they finally make it to the Nativity on the Epiphany].

But I think it's this guy:



The holy badger. I've had this Nativity scene since my preteen years and I still can't figure out what this guy is doing there.
I'm pretty sure they're weren't any badgers in Bethlehem.

I don't even know if he's really a badger. He could be a Christmas koala? Or maybe, a bear, lost in the desert after a wrong turn on the tundra?

Truth is, I kind of feel sorry for the little guy. Just look at the way he hangs his pokey little head in and shame. He's even getting the evil eye from the king on the far right. And that donkey? We all know full well he's being a total ass.

Poor thing. Maybe he's a black sheep...uh, literally.

What do you think?

Friday, December 5, 2008

F.A.V. Art of Destruction



The boys had art class earlier this week.

When they got in the car after school that afternoon, I asked about their day. We discussed all the important happenings like who pushed who, was it or wasn't it on purpose and why is everybody else so slow at putting the blocks away during block center, before the conversation settled on how Art went that day. [Art was my absolute favorite subject from the beginning of preschool to the end of college, so I admit, I do harbor a small-ish hope that at least one of my children might enjoy it too.]

"So what did you do in art class today, guys?" I asked, totally expecting them to trip over themselves with excitement.

Silence.

Cash was asleep.

Hayden was staring out the window.

Finally, after a minute or so he confidently declared. "I'll show you when we get home."

Ooo. Such suspense from such youth! Must be something good.

Once we got home and settled into our afternoon routine [which is basically me yelling about how could you possibly still be hungry, you just ate 3 go-gurts and a bowl of cherrios and two bananas, while they ignore me] we gathered on the couch to review our art projects.

They seemed proud of what they were about to show off, and I so enjoy listening to them explain their work, I was anxious to see what they had done.

Hayden was first.

"This is a building....



AND THE WHOLE THING'S ON FIRE."

He drew on the back too,

" This is a race track, and these are the cars....



there was an EXPLOSION here, and this one EXPLODED and that one EXPLODED, and oh yeah, EVERYTHING'S ON FIRE.

Hmmm. Interesting. Scorching, even.

Next it was Cash's turn.

"This is a van you watch Christmas lights from. Here's a guy wearing a hat, and here's me....



and my feet are A LITTLE BIT ON FIRE.

He also drew on the other side of his paper, a race track too,

"Here's Daddy, here's Hayden, that's me....



I'm A LITTLE BIT ON FIRE, oh and you, you're over there. "

Hmmm. Do you sense a theme? I'm not so sure if I do or not.

I mean, we never watch racing around here. What this obsession with race tracks? I don't get it.

Regardless, today's video is for my kids and they're budding talent as artists [of destruction...]:


[why doesn't anybody dance in their seat like that anymore? Everybody always has to get up these days to shake their booty....]


What about you? What's your video today?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Through A Childs Eyes

Children have a unique way of seeing things in a different light.

Here's my son Hayden, on Thanksgiving.


Superman, The Video. from emily hartley on Vimeo.

I think this video sums it all up for me. This is the way I want to remember this time in our lives, this is the way I want my life to be, and obviously my son has a bright future in videography.

Friday, November 28, 2008

F.A.V. The Day After



Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can tell you what I'm really thankful for....

John Stamos.
Cocktails.
The Beach Boys.
NOT Tom Cruise.
Getting there fast and taking it slow......Yup.

You got it.

Kokomo.



Happy Black Friday. Hope your digestion is going well, and that no one trampled you at JC Penney this morning....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Looking For Something?

That Island of Lost Toys?



I'm pretty sure it's in my playroom.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

O, Christmas. Tree.

Last Sunday night we put up our Christmas tree.

What?

Yes, that's right. Screw the turkey. Give me the manger.

Wait...that came off kind of blasphemous....

What I meant to say was I don't have 8 boxes of turkey stuff in my garage. I have a shortage of pilgrims. And I don't like scarecrows.

Instead my garage is half-full of tinsel, trees, ornaments, wreaths, advent calendars, garlands and glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.

The Christmas season in our house so busy, with us usually being out of town for at least 2 weeks, that I like get our decorations up early, so we can enjoy them. Who cares if it was only the third week of November?

The boys were eager to help out. In fact as soon as I brought all the boxes out of the garage, they got to work without even asking.

Cash took it upon himself to open all the new boxes of lights I'd bought after Christmas last year. I didn't pay much attention to what he was doing, until I found myself hearing the familiar clinkity-clink-clink of light bulbs. I turned around from the tree and saw this...



He'd had trouble getting the lights out of the cardboard they came in [which you can see in the background], so he came up with a solution.

Unscrew every bulb.

*Ahem*

How could you be mad at that ingenious? I certainly couldn't. After all, there was no whining involved, so I have to admit I was filled with more pride then I was disgust.

He even helped me screw all the bulbs back in and put the finishing touches on the tree. A tree which he remarked looked like "Christmas exploded on it".

I'm just going to go ahead and accept that as a compliment. He is a boy, and in a boy's vocabulary, 'explosion' is pretty much synonymous with 'awesome'. So, obviously, my tree must look awesome.

I think Hayden agrees as well. Just yesterday morning he said "I hope that tree doesn't fall over, because it looks like a mess already."

Uh, yeah. Just like I said. Looks awesome.

Friday, November 21, 2008

F.A.V. Awesome



Last night, I was getting ready to go out and see a band that my husband is working with [Tommy and the Whale. Way worth your next 5 minutes. Please check them out!].

I was in my room, and the boys were out in the hall. Wrestling. Singing. Spitting. Reading. Doing anything but sleeping, which is what they were supposed to be doing.

They were pretty amusing, what with their alphabet-themed renditions of Who Let the Dogs Out and all, but I'll admit, I was on the edge of irritation. Just as I was put the finishing touches on my evening attire, and just as I was about to threaten to turn out all the lights, I turned toward the boys, who said this [I made them recreate it, just for you]:


Awesome from emily hartley on Vimeo.

And that just melted my cold mean-mommy-get-me-the-hell-out-of-this-house heart. What little darlings I have. They're totally getting Leapsters for Christmas.

So since its obvious that I'm awesome. And that my children are awesome. I picked you an awesome video. I figured this one pretty much sums up my night last night, because I totally wore the same outfit this girl is wearing. And yes, its true that sometimes I pretend Aaron is Huey.


Huey Lewis and the News - Heart and Soul


Its Friday. Show me your awesome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a Bunch of Winners

I'm a winner.

A few weeks ago I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Rock and Roll Mama, by the ever-awesome Lindsay Maines, who writes beautifully about both music and mommyhood. She writes one of the few blogs I actually ever comment on and you'll never believe what happened.

Apparently, my comments? They were soooo riveting that I actually won an award! Yes, it is totally true, I really won something!

Ok, well, maybe it was more like she awarded a Starbucks Card to the fifth commenter, who I just happened to be, but whatever, Y'all! I. Am. A. Winner! [Did I really just TYPE y'all? Oh yes, I did.] Here's the proof:



You'll be happy to know I spent it wisely. On something warm and all mocha-like. A long time ago. With this gal.

Yummy.

And It appears this winning streak has rubbed off on my kiddos too.

I took the boys to an after-school activity this afternoon at their school library put on by Read to Succeed. There was a craft, a story, games, snacks, and a drawing for a prize. 3 prizes actually.

I figured we had a pretty good chance of winning, considering I had one more kid there then every other parent. I can't tell you what kind of winning percentage that would give me of course, because I'm no good at the math stuff. But that's not important anyway.

What IS important is that we won. Well, at least Cash did. We are now the proud owners of a lovely, fluffy, Build-A-Bear brand dog.

[be sure to note the conflicting expressions on my children's faces...]

A dog now affectionately known as "Fluffy Doggie" partly because we're obviously super creative with our stuffed animal names around here [like Deer, Catty and Black Doggie, for instance] and partly because I think Cash is deliberately trying to rub his winnings in Hayden's face by constantly remarking on the furry texture of his new best friend.

I'd be lying if I told you all was well in our house after this big win. Suddenly, and for Hayden at least, every toy we already own paled in comparison to the Mighty Fluffy One. This included both of the Build-A-Bears we already had, anything with a remote and even *gasp* the Bat Cave.

I feel bad for Hayden, I really do. I know it has to suck to watch your brother win, while you get nothing but the two free books everybody else got. But at the same time, losing is a part of life that we all have to get used to, and I don't want to sugar-coat this experience so much that we miss the life-lesson entirely.

So what's a mom to do? I did what any mom would, I entered another contest to win a $25 Build-A-Bear gift card.

Problem solved. Sorta.

C'mon Lady Luck! Momma needs a new pair of uh.....paws? Preferably ones that can fit in a pair of bear-sized sneakers?

Friday, November 14, 2008

F.A.V. Whatever



It's a busy week this week. My mom's in town, I got a substitute teaching job, we attended the ever-exciting CMA Awards and tomorrow, my nieces and nephew are coming so we can make a valiant attempt at a Christmas card picture for my mother-in-law.

For once, I woke up this morning with no idea what video I was feeling today. With so much going on, I had a few themes in mind, but I finally settled on maybe picking something teacher or job related since I'd signed up for substituting this week. I thought maybe "Hot for Teacher" , but, wow, that would have been wildly inappropriate, and kind of gross, and maybe just a little self-centered.

Somehow my train of thought led me to 'Particle Man' by They Might Be Giants. I thought, 'Hmmm, Particle Man. That's kind of science-y.' The last time I felt science-y was school, and school=teacher, so, hey. There's my theme.

When I started to search for the video however, so many great TMBG songs came up that I found it increasingly hard to choose which one was my favorite. Maybe I'll put up "Never Go To Work" because lets face it, I love that I can actually go to work now, but does anyone ever really want to go to work? Besides, my kids love that one - you just gotta love a band that can span the generations.

Still, my initial gut feeling was to pick something older, more classic TMBG, and when I saw this video in the list and listened to the song, it all came rushing back. Screw my theme, I felt like I was sitting in my high school cafeteria, dipping my pretzels in cream cheese and stapling the hem on my uniform all over again.

So enjoy it. And don't forget to let me know your pick, either.


They Might Be Giants - The Statue Got Me High

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reason #373 Why Having Twins is STILL Awesome

Because even though the school photographer seriously screwed up your kids school pictures the first time around [mistaking your two children for JUST ONE CHILD] you sucked it up and ordered the pictures anyway.

Last week we got the pictures back.

Here's what they looked like:


Ahem.

Talk about identical. Right down to the allergy eyes, the parts in their hair and the wrinkles in their shirts.

Man. I had no idea my kids looked that much alike. I mean I know they're twins and all, but c'mon now! This is kind of eerie.

Its almost like they're the same per---oh wait.

They are the same person. These are both pictures of Cash.

Way to go Mr. School Photographer, you did it again. You've managed to take my kids from two children to one and then back again. I have to say I really admire your consistency.

Sigh......at least I have enough pictures of Cash now to wrap all our Christmas presents with.

Friday, November 7, 2008

F.A.V. Flip-Out



This feels a little cheesy. Maybe a little cliche.

And maybe completely embarrassing too.

But screw it, I'm gonna do it anyway.

I'm a mom you know, and I have a temper.

And I lose it. A lot. So much, that I shouldn't be able to find it anymore.

I lose it over lame stuff, like missed baths or a sticky floor. You could even say that I'm better at throwing a temper tantrum than the two five year olds I live with.

Its getting old, really. And I'm tired of it, I'm tired of pretending its something I don't do, and I'm tired of making excuses about it.

I'm tired of having to apologize to my kids for my inappropriate actions.

I'm embarrassed that some days my priorities are so skewed that I'm more consumed by my mounting to-do's than I am by all those I-love-you's my little ones so selflessly shower me with.

Precious moments are flying by faster than I can keep up with and I can't afford to waste any more of my time worrying endlessly about how many grams of sugar are in those granola bars, or how looming my recycling pile might be, or how many toys are carpeting my floor.

In five minutes, five days, or five years, it simply wont matter if we skipped our bath three days in a row that first week of November, if I cant remember what the carpet looked like in the playroom, or what the sink looked like when it was empty, once.

As long as my family is basking in the kind of love that they deserve, nothing else matters.

So.....

What better way to acknowledge these statements than with the crankiest band of all time?

In the spirit of letting go, moving on, and tempering down I dedicate today's video to me.

Here's to less yells and more giggles, and my crush on James Hetfield that will NEVER die.



[Did you see that date at the beginning? 1992! not only am I angry, I also feel old]

It's your turn now....how are you feeling today???

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

About Last Night...

I'm not really one to go all political on you, but I think it would be a crime not to mention how last night made me feel.

What an awesome historical moment it was to see Barack Obama capture the presidency. So many amazing milestones were reached in just one night, from the amazing voter turnout [14 million more people than in the last election!] to the choice of our first African-American president.

But I must admit, what I was most proud of was my generation and the younger generations that have come after me....Barack said it best when he described the unlikely success of his campaign, “It grew strength from the young people, who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy, who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.”

We do have a voice, and we made ourselves heard. We are a force to be reckoned with.

I know this road will not be easy, and that the journey ahead will be difficult, and I know that Barack will not be the answer to all our problems.

But I am truly excited about is that I FINALLY have a president who empowers and inspires me to WANT to support my country, to WANT to do my part to make America a better place to live. I truly believe that is a change I can and will believe in.

I am excited to be raising my children in a country where all things truly are possible, a place where we can judge on character and not on color. My friend Jennifer from momslikeme summed it up beautifully this morning with this statement, "The best part of the Obama victory is the renewal of the spirit of millions of Americans who can truly believe their children can grow up to be President."

Amen.

We have lived so long under the politics of fear, I look forward to a future fueled by the politics of hope.

“This is our time to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.”

And to Ohio, my home state, I am so very proud of you...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Out of the Office

So, if you need me today....


...i'll be in the BatCave.

Friday, October 31, 2008

F.A.V. Happy Halloween!



OOooOOOOOoooOOOOOooo!

Happy All Hallows Eve to you, my little pretties.

Today's choice was a tough one. I couldn't just ignore the holiday after all. I wanted something festive, and a little bit freaky.

I thought, quite dreadfully, hmmm, who should I pick? Maybe Rob Zombie? But I don't even like Rob Zombie.

Or what about NIN? Nope. Too serious.

Maybe Thriller? Nah, too obvious.

Finally, after many horrifically terrifying moments of indecision, I finally made a choice. So here goes...

I harrowingly dedicate it to my frighteningly adorable husband and his undying love for bad horror movies. And the Pixies.

But beware!!! If you don't like splattering blood, exploding eyeballs or Linda Blair, you probably shouldn't watch this. Especially if you just ate.


Horror Movie Montage set to "Dead" by The Pixies

Share with me your ghastly [or not so ghastly....] pick for today!!!

If you don't do it for yourself...please. Do it for the children...

[Don't ask. I don't know...]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sitting with Scissors

I was going to write a thrilling entry today about my budget Halloween. Which probably isn't so much based on budget as it is on mooching, oops! I mean, on the genuine generosity of others...

But then yesterday happened. It was an exciting and busy day, with votes to be cast, pumpkins to be carved and homework to be finished. It was a day with a story, and that story must be shared.

The boys and I were seated around our kitchen table hard at work on this week's cut & sort worksheet. After a few minutes of gleeful participation, things had started to go a little sour. I could see the grand tradition of procrastination [passed on through many generations] starting to rear its ugly head. Glue was being thrown, scissors were being launched, and my children were quickly disappearing under the table,

Just when I was about to give up, things had gone eerily silent.

As a mom, you can pretend all you want that silence is a good thing, but when you live with two five-year olds, you know better; the sound of silence might as well be a siren of destruction.

And that's when I heard it....

"Mommmmmmy?" A two syllable word stretched into six? Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all.

"Um, I accidentally cut my hair." Ah, yes, a statement that will go down in history, forever destined to be repeated and bronzed in a baby book. 'I accidentally cut my hair.'

I took a minute to inhale, then exhale, inhale again and then let out one big sigh. I counted to ten or twenty, maybe even thirty, and I stared at the table for a minute, not sure I really wanted to look up.

If you know me at all, or if you've been reading my ramblings for a while, you know my biggest fear [besides martians] is the fear of a buzz-cut. The last thing I wanted to do was to look up and make eye contact with a snafu so horrid that it could only remedied with clippers.

Eventually, I summoned up enough courage to direct my eyes upward. I first saw the pile of hair on the kitchen table which Hayden was already starting to throw away. Kind of big, yes, but under the realm of positive thinking, could have been worse. So I bit the bullet and prepared to face Cash, the culprit, face to face.

This is what I saw:



Just see if you can spot the missing chunk.

I could tell the boys were nervously waiting for my response, probably expecting a blow-up, but the look on Cash's face was so classic, his eyes looking up, trying to focus on that spot where hair once was, that the only thing I could do was laugh.

Cash started to giggle too, in high-pitched relief, and Hayden followed suit. I manage to eek out one or two 'You need to be more careful' scoldings but what was the use? It was a moment so humorously endearing it was devoid of all punishment or discipline.

It really wasn't that bad, anyway. My painstaking devotion to their hairstyle had finally paid off, as the rest of his bangs are long enough that with the right part and maybe the right product you can barely tell that something is missing.

Truthfully, I have to admit I'm a little bit surprised it hadn't happened sooner.

After all, a good day in our house is one when we manage to make it to the end of the day with the house leaning, but standing and most everyone's appendages still intact.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ground Control



Fed up with the lack of dusting going on around the house, the SpaceMan takes things in to his own hands.

Friday, October 24, 2008

F.A.V. To Prepare or Not Prepare



Its Friday again already? I was so not prepared for this. Well sort of not. Ok, truthfully I decided on today's video last Saturday, so I can't lie anymore, I was completely prepared.

Maybe my problem is not that I'm unprepared, its that I'm pretending to be unprepared. Who does that? Me, I guess. I don't really know where I'm going with this.

But what I do know is that you better be prepared for today's video from Sia.

We should all take a hint from her and wear pantyhose more often.


Buttons Video

[if you liked that one, you should check out this performance too, Sia puts Kayne's glow to shame]

Now its your turn. Hurry!

Its raining and I'm bored.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Maybe My Grossest Blog Yet...

**you have been warned: this blog contains pictures of real live fake rodents and one real dead one**

You may have heard me mention before the surplus of artificial life forms we have laying around our house.

I'm talking fake spiders, rats, snakes, centipedes, flies...you name it, we probably having a plastic replica of it.

More often than not one of these little dummies has scared the poo out of me when I wasn't expecting it.

Like our mouse friend here, who startled me while I was on a lego-excavating mission in the playroom:


Or this spider who I was sure was on the attack:


Or how about this terrifying piglet who jumped out at me while I was on dustbuster duty:

And with it being Halloween and all, the likelihood of these happenings has greatly increased, what with all the extra spiders and mice showing up for the celebration:

So yesterday, while I was taking out the trash, I wasn't surprised at all to find another little rodent friend hanging out on the driveway. I figured he'd been joy-riding with the boys on their big wheels the afternoon before and must have gotten left behind when it was time to go inside.

Then I leaned over to pick him up, and that's when I began to second-guess my better judgement.

It was a mole.

And, um, he wasn't Made in China.


You just can't get more festive than that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dearest Husband...

While you were busy shutting down the city last night in the Big Apple, I was busy trying to avoid going to bed alone.

I watched Leno make fun of McCain, Letterman discuss the economy with Bill Clinton, and Craig Ferguson whisper about a hot girl in a shiny dress.

I was dreading that moment when I have to trudge up the stairs, turn off all the lights, and be serenaded to sleep by that unnerving combination of total silence and the annoying hum of the boy's 'fishy' light.

I dislike this moment partly because I miss you, and want to be sure you are safe where ever you are, and partly because I'm almost positive that surely this has to be the time, while I'm here alone in a quiet house, that green people from another planet will appear to whisk me away on a not-so-fun excursion into the outer limits [thanks to that chip they implanted in my nose 15 years ago in Colorado. STACY.].

But after a few conversations with you by the romantic light of text, and after firmly affixing my aluminum foil hat upon my head, I finally managed to settle in for a good night's sleep.

I tried to enjoy the fact that I could sprawl out across the entire bed without any complaints from anybody about my freezing 'are you sure you took your shoes off?' feet touching theirs.

I rolled around a bit, trying to find that perfect spot for slumber. Just when I was about to give up I stumbled upon one of the most heavenly sleep spots I'd ever encountered. It was as if I'd instantly been carried away on the backs of fleecy little sheep and plopped right down onto a cloud of the fluffiest cotton.

It was your side of the bed.

I couldn't believe you'd been keeping this from me. You'd been hoarding this little slice of heaven all this time and I didn't even know? No wonder you dosed off every time I started into another bedtime discussion on whether I should teach the boys how to tie their shoes, or maybe just invest in a lifetime supply of Vans.

To think, all this time I just thought you were tuning me out. I'm crazy, I know it. And I took all your snoring and sleep talking as a sign of agreement on this fact.

Little did I know your were being lured luxuriously into a blissful sleep by the siren song of the tranquility that is your side of the bed.

I did my best to stay up, trying to sleepily piece together a tirade on this injustice of this situation.

Alas, it was too late, I'd flirted with the fluff, and now the sandman was here. I tried to fight it, but it was no use, I was already drooling.

All over your fluffy pillows.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Are You...

Feeling a little out of place today?



Yeah. So is she.

Friday, October 17, 2008

F.A.V. Indecision

I'm currently on my way to the pumpkin patch with 100 5 year olds, so afternoon is coming early today....



I usually decide early on in the week what video I want to post. And then I sit on it for a few days. Trying to craft a perfectly imperfect description or story for accompaniment.

I act like I'm all smart or deep about it, but this actually means that I over-think my choice quite a bit, and often subject my choices to some lame drawn out form of analyzing that I made up all by myself just to make things difficult. Because I like difficult. Difficult is good. No pain, no gain, my brethren.

That said, this time around was no different. I'd firmly set my sights on the following video. After receiving a random email earlier in the week I'd made up my mind up that we should just change our national anthem to this song:



Frankly, I think everyone should be required by the law to like The Talking Heads.

But then the mail-lady drove by one afternoon, late as usual, and dropped a long-awaited MGMT album on my doorstep, and well, this house has kind of [oh whatever, more like TOTALLY] been grooving ever since.

I can't post the original video I wanted, because THE MAN [or the band] just won't let me, but you MUST go check it out here, NOW. Whether you like it or not, its worth watching for the cameo made by the animal band from Showbiz Pizza somewhere around 1:33.

Instead I'm posting this version, because I'm in the audience in this one. Over there by that white tent on the left. You can't see me, but I'm fairly certain you can see a microscopic glint from my sunglasses when I turned to ask Aaron "What is this?" Yes, it's true. I really am cool like that. I never know what's really going on.



Lastly, I'm going completely overboard and posting MGMT covering Talking Heads. Now that's what I call FULL CIRCLE people.


Trifecta complete.

Alright. I'm done now.

TAG.

You're it.

How much thought do you put into YOUR choice?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Terror by the Dinner Table

I like Halloween.

I like the bats and the fangs.

The black cats.

The skeletons.

And oh yeah, the costumes.

Pumpkins, you're ok too, but do you have to be so grody on the inside?

Yes, we're getting geared up in this house for All Hallow's Eve.

The decorations are up...



the costumes have been purchased [and the poses mastered]...



the treats are being discussed, and the pumpkin patch is being visited [tomorrow. with 100 other kids. and I'm chaperoning. talk about terrifying].

Oh how I love to get my kids all jazzed about Halloween. After all, you just can't knock a holiday where you get to wear a ridiculous outfit and be rewarded for it with sugar. Loads and loads of sugar.

However. I am starting to scare myself [appropriate I guess, considering the spirit of the season and all] because last night, I extended our celebration right into our diet.

No, we didn't eat candy corn ala mode or candy apple souffle. Worse.

We had this:


Mummies in a Blanket!!!!!

Horrific, isn't it? Next thing you know I'm going to start wearing embroidered jack o' lantern sweat sets and light-up ghost earrings.

I'm scared for myself I really am.

So if you see me in the next few weeks and I say something ridiculous like " Ghoul morning, my pretty!" or "You look BOOtiful, daahhhling!", please, do me a favor and put me out of my spooky misery, commit me to holiday rehab before I spend all my money on a over-sized, hand-woven cornucopia...

As soon as my cauldron fizzles out, I'll thank you for it.

Maybe [she types, while cackling uncomfortably....].

Yeah. I definitely need some help.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mondays...



...are rough on Batman too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

F.A.V. The ROCK Test



My children have become increasingly particular about their 'Rock n' Roll' lately. Meaning, if a song doesn't match their current rock criteria, it's quickly dismissed from the Rock n' Roll category. Their standards are quite high, and frankly, a little bit sexist [as in nothing sung by a woman counts. Trust me, we're working on this one. Joan Jett anyone?].

Only a handful of bands have managed to make it on their Ultimate Rock List: Metallica [of course], AC/DC [no question], Rush [I still don't get this one], Nirvana [approved], and as of yesterday Foghat [can you say classic rock radio overload maybe?].

Which brings me to this little tale...

This past Monday we were visiting my family in Ohio. The boys have a ritual with my dad where they watch the rocket launch sequence from the Apollo 13 movie about a hundred times over before heading to bed. This time around, after watching the re-entry sequence in addition just for kicks, my dad decided to throw on a little Allman Brothers Band, too.

I don't know what kind of reaction he was going for, if any, and I didn't really think much about it. It certainly wasn't out of character or anything, my dad is a music man, music was always on when I was growing up, and still is, much to the chagrin of my mother.

And then it happened.

Hayden stood up, his southern-born blood not moved at all by the greatest southern rock band of all time, and confidently said " This is NOT rock n' roll. "

Houston, we have a problem! Did he really just dismiss one of the greatest guitar players of the 70's? My mom, my sisters and I fell on the floor laughing. My husband, who has never been an Allman Brothers fan, and who was not there, would have been so proud. My dad on the other hand was determined to change their minds.

He didn't lecture, or even try to explain. Instead he made them watch Billy Preston do a mind-blowing organ-solo on Eric Clapton's "Have You Ever Loved a Woman". Yes, that's right. He made two five-year olds sit through the slowest song-build-up ever recorded on DVD. Lucky for my dad, 2 instrument solos and a smattering of lyrics later, the song managed to just barely pass their rigorous rock test.

Mission accomplished.

It was a classic moment, to say the least, one for the baby books, no doubt.

So today's video goes out to my boys and to my dad. I think I managed to find one that they both would approve of...



And you? What's on your list this Friday?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pssssst...

I'm still here!

Will return soon to regularly scheduled programming. Promise.

As soon as i figure out how to get out from underneath this rock.....

Friday, October 3, 2008

F.A.V. For The Squirrels



Today's video goes out to the squirrels, whose talents with the saxophone are often under-appreciated.

And to George of course, the greatest Beatle, oh and to my children too, because they love this video as much as I did when I was a kid.

[I also think it eloquently summarizes my feelings about this election, but that's all I'm gonna say about that business...]



What video do you have your mind set on this here lovely little Friday?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

As Political As I'm Gonna Get.

[NSFW! I mean, if your work doesn't like 4-letter words, or Sarah Silverman taking off her bra.]

Cheerio...Cheerios



My dear Cheerios,

I'm so over you.

I just can't take it anymore.

I loathe seeing you sitting around on the couch.

I abhor the way you manage to always adhere to the butt of all my pants.

I detest the sound of you hitting the floor and I despise the crunch of you under my feet.

I hate the way I think you're gone, and then there you are again, hanging out under the couch, behind the bookcase, in the bathroom, or driving a dump truck in the playroom.

You know what's coming. I'm kicking you out again. Banning you from breakfast.

The dust buster and I? We've had it. It's high time we took a break from your bran.

*sigh*

I try to act so tough, but you know in the end [or in a few weeks when we've had our fill of waffles] I'll always take you back. I just can't resist those honey nuts or those fruity tendencies [but the yogurt? gross] . Lucky for you I'm fickle, I tend to forget your irritating crunch under my feet and only remember your sweet aftertaste when faced with the prospect of getting a free race car in return.

O, my little o's, how I love to hate...

...and hate to love.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

F.A.V. The College Rock Edition



Another Friday already?

Then it MUST be time for another instillation of friday afternoon videos.

Today's choices are important. Integral. Sentimental. Instrumental.

And there's even a talking dolphin.



I'm pretty sure I have these guys to thank for my marriage, because had The Uplift Mofo Party Plan not been in my record collection in college, my future husband might have just took one look at all my Dave Matthews Band and Eric Clapton records and high-tailed it in the other direction.

And had he done that, well not only would I probably still be wearing birkenstocks clogs,over-sized courdory pants and an extra-large Eat A Peach shirt, but he would have taken my future best friend with him. And without the two of them - I would have never discovered music like this:



or this:


[too much David Cross...or too little?]

So in honor of my Aarons-Squared, I give you this:



And now I pass the torch on to you....what's your Friday Afternoon Video today?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reason #372 Why Having Twins is Awesome

The school photographer thinks that your two perfectly, OBVIOUSLY separate children, are in fact, just one child.



So much so that he only sent back pictures of one, thinking the other child's pictures, in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SWEATER VEST, were just extras. Which in turn, screwed up the entire class list, and every child behind mine in line was mislabeled.

Come now, sir, was it really that hard? Can you not tell the difference between a pennant flag and an American flag? Can you not see that only one of my children found your 'fat chicken' joke even remotely funny? Did you not notice that only one of them is expertly contorting his smile to conceal a spot where a tooth once was? Isn't the potato-head/tomato-head comparison blatantly obvious?

I'm just not sure I understand the confusion here. It only took me a measly two years to confidently determine just who was who.

So there. Mr. Photographer. I'm seriously considering NOT letting you rip me off with your over-priced picture packages. Thats right! You heard me! This whole snafu has definitely forced me onto the fence about handing over to you my currently-imaginary-semi-hard-earned moneys.

Oh and by the way...Hayden wants to know why Cash gets to be color and he has to be gray.

I'm leaving that one up to you.

Expect a call from my son in the AM.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And The Dance Party Continues...

I let the boys go out alone with their Dad a few nights ago....

This is what happened when they came back. You might want to shield your eyes, the air guitar and drumming? It's on fire...


Going Down for A Dance Party from emily hartley on Vimeo.

And these dance moves? Pretty fierce. We could totally take over DanceTV.


Going solid gold with santogold from emily hartley on Vimeo.

Friday, September 19, 2008

F.A.V. !DANCE PARTY!



I'm feeling like a little Dance Party today.

If the video you are about to watch doesn't make you tap your feet until they hurt or give you an itch in your booty to get up and shake it all over the house then I don't know what's wrong with you. You should probably go see a doctor. A beat doctor. Because this beat WILL INFECT YOU.

I don't want to muck up this here party with a lot of words, but I will tell you that my kids and I jammed out to this song in the car yesterday like you wouldn't believe. Oh if only you could have seen the dance moves. I mean, obviously mine were awesome, but my children? They put me to shame a million times over. They've come up with some new-generation robot moves that make the old ones look like square-dancing.

So without further ado, let the dancing begin...



I suggest you put on your groove shoes and keep this party going. If not for me, do it for you, for your children, your future children, your future grandchildren. DO IT FOR PHIL.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In Anticipation of Socialization

Next Monday, there's an open house at the boy's school.

Actually it's an Ice Cream Social, since there's gonna be ice-cream and unsuspecting parents will be forced to socialize with one another.

I'm a little nervous. This is new territory.

It'll be the first time I meet the parents of friends my children chose, instead of the other way around, you know, making my kids be friends with my friend's kids.

So this is kind of a big deal. Well, for me at least.

What will I wear? What will I say? Will I still have this enormous zit on my face?

If I make a fool out of myself, I'm screwed. That's the beauty of public school. All these people live in my neighborhood.

So if I do or say something lame, like maybe going off on a tangent discussing the nutritional values of ham vs. spam, people will remember.

Every time they see me walking down the street they'll say 'Oh there goes that spammy weirdo. Hurry. Get all the kids in the house before she sees us'.

So help me out here. Make me feel better. Come over and help me pick out an outfit. Say a prayer that I'll remember to shower that day and hopefully only get a little ice cream on my shirt [not a prayer that I won't get anything on my shirt....because for that to be possible, it'd require some sort of divine intervention.] Do your part to save my children from utter embarrassment [well, at least for a little while].

And in return, i just might let you know how it all turns out. If its not too painful, that is.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To My Two Gray Hairs...

Hi.

Nice to have you hair, uh, I mean here.

I thought your arrival would spawn a burning hate in my heart, but, eh. I have to admit, I kind of like you.

You're both spunky and wiry, and totally unruly. Who wouldn't want to spend all their time getting tangled up with you?

You don't show up every day, which is comforting and unnerving at the same time. How many of you are really hiding in there?

And just exactly how many friends have you invited to the party? Will they be showing up soon, or will these arrivals be staggered?

I need to know. I have to know how much punch to make. You know. Dark, shiny, permeating, permanent punch.

The two of you are on opposite sides of my head. Are you in cahoots? Or blissfully unaware of one another? I'd always kind of assumed you grew up together.

Is it possible you might be familiar with your next of kin? You know, that insanely large posse on my YOUNGER sister's head?

Oh, and was it me that brought you out, what with this whole 30th year of life deal?

Or was it my children? Always with the breaking and the tearing and the destroying, and the growing?

Hmmmm.

Somehow I get the feeling this is just the beginning, so maybe we should just get past all this 'getting to know you' business and just be friends already.

A little bonding, perhaps? Maybe a girls night? No painful plucking, I promise, but you do look like you could use a little makeover. Maybe some color on that pale little facade?

Think about it. Absorb it. Let me know.

Spell it out in the mirror or something. When you get long enough.

Just don't show up in my ear or on my chin, ok?

Your partner in condition,
Emily

P.S. In the mean time, would you mind telling everybody else up there to chill? Enough with the frizz already. There's a lot of you and you all want to be seen, I get it. Please, just wait your turn, you'll get your chance. The Great Tease is coming.


************

Everybody talks to their hair, right? RIGHT? Not just me?
If your hair would listen to you, just this once, what would you say?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Afternoon Videos 9.12.08



All week long I thought I had thought I had my Friday Afternoon video picked.

I was gonna pick AC/DC's " Let There Be Rock" accompanied by an impassioned rant about how iconic songs like that one shouldn't be allowed on video games like Rock Band and how its a shame that's the only way kids these days are discovering these classic tunes but then again maybe its not so bad because at least they're discovering it and it went on. and on. and on a little more.

But yesterday, during a period of successful procrastination, I was checking out what my husband was saying on twitter. [Because, you know, I don't like talking to him face to face, I'd rather use an impersonal social network to express my true feelings.]

He kept tweeting about The Lemonheads, and I thought to myself 'GAH! How annoying. He is so hung up on the Lemonheads lately. Every time I get into the car after him he's stuck " It's a Shame About Ray" into the stereo again. And frankly, its getting kind of old.' Yes, my friends these are the kinds of things I get angry about with my husband. It's not about dishes left in the sink, or clothes all over the floor, it's about albums, who's overplaying what, or who liked this song before everybody else did first.

Even though I was succeeding at feigning annoyance, I couldn't get the Lemonheads out of my, um, head. I woke up this morning feeling more vintage 90s and less vintage rock, like I'd originally planned.

So I searched them on the ol' YouTube, and oh my, at first chord, it all came rushing back. Mostly in the form of an extreme-hadn't-been-awoken-in-at-least-14-years Evan Dando crush, but still, you must admit, there wasn't a band like them before, and there hasn't been since. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.

The hard part was picking which song, but I finally settled on this one. It was one of my favorites, probably because in the mid 90's I was as obsessed with Evan Dando living happily ever after on the arm of Juliana Hatfield as I was with Natalie Merchant marrying Michael Stipe [which I now know was an impossible dream...].



And here's another. Because I couldn't resist. Old school crushes never die. Besides, this is Friday Afternoon VIDEOS, who says I can't post two?



How about you? How are you feeling today? 90's? 80s? 70's? 1963? What's your Friday Afternoon Video?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My First Day as A Suck-Up

Today, I made a crucial first step in my life as a mother of school-aged children.

I volunteered in the classroom.

Yes, yes, I know. I've been dropping a lot of bombs lately, first I tell you that I'll be giving actual people, actual advice, and then I admit that I'm going to be helping to shape the minds of younglings as well. I know its all a little hard to handle, but bear with me will you, please?

I was nervous about this choice. I've heard the horror stories of letting your child's teacher know you were even remotely available. I've heard the complainants about 'that bossy room-mom' who keeps asking you to 'do stuff' or 'buy something'. But I've also heard the occasional success story, the rare mom who actually enjoyed volunteering, or appreciation from a teacher who was in need of a little help now and then.

I labored back and forth over the decision during the summer, worrying that I'd go from sleepy semi-slacker to super-over achiever in just a matter of months [beacause I thrive on both overreaction and over analyzing]. I had frightening daydreams about going from being that mom who just drops her kids off and runs, to being the mom that tackles you for fundraising before you even know what hit you.

But by the time school started I'd finally come around to the conclusion that it couldn't hurt to help out. I mean what could be so bad about getting to know my children's teacher, or their principal, or heck, even the lunch lady? After all, the school nurse claims to be a relative of Elvis, how could I possibly deny myself a relationship with her?

I told the boy's teacher during orientation that I was willing to volunteer, and she just about jumped out of her skin with excitement. I was relieved and felt so good about my decision that I somehow managed to also rope myself into designing the class t-shirt. I figured that way I couldn't complain about my kids coming home in some dopey school shirt. At least now I can say 'Hey, I designed that dopey school shirt'.

After weeks and months of deliberation & speculation, today, my first day as volunteer, finally rolled around. I was a bit anxious. Would I be loved? Hated? Ignored? Would I spill glue everywhere? Would I ever figure out what the heck a 'center' was?

I expected I would just be helping the teacher with her papers and things, maybe making copies or cranking out some die-cuts. But much to my surprise, I actually got to be her assistant. Sure, I did have to use a glue-stick, and yes, I did hand-address every child's report card, but I also helped teach one little girl how to write her name and I quizzed the whole class on their basic colors. I even had a little roll call. Can't you just imagine me having to call each kid up by name one by one to hang out with me? No? I couldn't either. I almost made myself laugh. Especially when I had to summon my own children.

The best part was joining all the kids for lunch. If you're looking to feel popular, or even pseudo-famous. I advise that you join a bunch of kindergartners for lunch. You've never felt such admiration. They'll bombard you with questions:

"How can you be a mommy?" Um, ask your mom.
"Where do you work?" When I answered 'at home' they all doubled over in laughter.
"Is my mommy going to pick me up at daycare?" Uh, I hope so?

And give you compliments!

"I love your hair!"

Okay, maybe that was the only compliment I got, but they did cheer when I came into the classroom. So there.

All this and I was still home by ten after eleven. There's nothing like a full meal, complete with rolls and mashed potatoes at 10:30 am, lemme tell ya. I drove home feeling stuffed and pleased I'd given up a few hours to hang out with a bunch of feisty five year olds.

In fact, it was all so much fun, I'm doing it all over again next Tuesday. And the Tuesday after that, and probably every Tuesday until the end of time, or um, the end of the school year.

So call me what you will, suck-up, brown-noser, or maybe just Sally. I'm sticking with volunteer. Just don't make me wear any bright orange. Please.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Here, There, Everywhere.

Remember that time I went to DisneyWorld and never shut up about it?

Yeah, well my tirade is back. Just in case you want to re-live it all over again, or maybe you forgot to read it the first time, my well-researched, put-to-the-test snarky survival tips are up today at the newly remodeled Blissfully Domestic!

You'll find me over there from time to time in the Family Channel, dolling out advice. Yes, that's right, telling people how to do things. Based on my personal experience. Go ahead and laugh if you want, but I'd be careful if I were you. I just joined the PTO, which means i could totally be your Vice President in 12 years.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Afternoon Videos

Remember Friday Night Videos? Do you remember staying up late on Friday nights to try and catch the latest, coolest music videos?

Well I remember it. And I'm bringing it back. Except, uh, in the afternoon.



Because I miss videos. I miss staying up all night waiting for my favorite video to come on. I miss hovering over the record button on my VCR trying to get the best ones on tape. I miss shows like Headbangers Ball and 120 minutes.

I'd like to think I could keep this up, making it an every Friday kind of thing, yes? So consider this my first installment.
I think you should join in too, so feel free to link to your fave video in my comments or steal my little badge and do it on your own blog.

I'm gonna kick this thing off with a true classic. A standard in my house. I'm sure you won't be surprised when you see it.

I'll admit, I tried to pick something else, something more obscure, more hip maybe? But I just kept coming back to this one.
Because let's face it, they just don't make 'em like this anymore. What ever happened to the classic worn-out-sweaty-band on world tour documentary-esque video? Where'd all that hairspray go? More importantly, whatever happened to those sequined dusters?



Yep. You're making fun of me on the surface [probably because you know I still pay to see this band in concert], but you know you were singing along. You know you got a little giggly when Jon came on screen.

Now it's your turn....what's your Friday Afternoon Video?