Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm moving

I have a confession.

I haven't been blogging very much lately. Was it obvious?

Starting at the beginning of this year, some changes blew through this household, some job-related, some school-related, and a few changes just might of traipsed on in here on four legs.

Much to my dismay, I just haven't had near the time I used to to spend hanging out over here. And as a result, I've outgrown this space, or maybe its outgrown me. However. I'm not quitting. I'm just um, downsizing.

Don't call it micro-blogging. Still call it me, just with less, uh, words.

From now on, emilythemom will be coming to you LIVE and IN PERSON [??] from a different direction:


Please say you'll come visit? And bring cookies?

Cool. See you there.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

a marriage in pictures....

seven years ago today:

six years ago today:

2 months later:

4 years ago today...well...give or take a few days:

at the end of 2006:

and the beginning of 2007:

a long time before all of this:

this time last year:

this time last month:

my face when i got the seven year itch last week:

and saturday, handsomely surrounded by firework smoke:

happy anniversary, mr. hartley. here's to us. and at least sixty more years of pictures.

L O V E Y O U.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

happy day, fathers.

Some people hit the jackpot and win a lot of money.


I won this:

happy fathers day to this guy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Way Too Early on Saturday Morning Video?

I've been at my mother-in-law's house all week, and I've watched nothing but VH1 Classic.

My husband has always had this theory that cable should be sold by the channel. If that were so, this would be the channel I'd buy. Well, and maybe Boomerang too. [ I watched Snorks, so should my kids, damnit!]

And it just so happens that this week, was maybe the most perfect week ever to stumble upon the 'ol classic. Each night they've showcased a different Rock N' Roll Picture Show.

I started watching on Tuesday -which was The Last Waltz. I love this movie. Very few places will you find Neil Diamond on the same stage with Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and of course The Band. Nothing beats Van's performance of Caravan in this movie either, he can barely stand, yet his performance is awesome. I mean, how do you do that? I certainly don't know. Pretty sure I'd fall right of the stage.

Wednesday was Woodstock. I've probably seen this movie 50 times, but it never gets old. Even though its well, old.

Thursday was Ziggy Stardust, which kinda looks like I shot it myself, but with less irritation. I'm not sure David Bowie with a mullet and wearing a tiny jumpsuit could ever NOT be entertaining. Oh, and the music is awesome too. Though I must be truthful here. Fuse was showing a Bruce Springsteen concert at the exact same time. I may or may not have watched most of that instead.

But Friday. Oh Friday. Like a tasty little cupcake I've been hiding from my kids all week, Friday was The Song Remains the Same.
They could be performing the phonebook and this movie would still be fantastic. I mean as long as you keep the camera on Robert and you fast forward through that scary part where Jimmy Page ages backwards & forwards.

I couldn't have asked for a better week, being lulled into sleep by some of the greatest musical performances of all time. You know, I could have gotten a lot done while I was here. But l didn't. And if I had - i mean c'mon. look at what I would have missed. I'd be so much less of a person right now if I'd just done laundry instead.

So on that note, I'll leave you with two of my favorite Bob Dylan songs from the Last Waltz. Pretty sure he's the real one responsible for that fedora trend.

p.s. You know what The Classic is playing right now? Livin on a Prayer. Obviously, this week was meant to be. For me.

p.p.s this is my 200th blog post. Cheers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

FAV...returns. again.

Its a well know fact that the Hartleys have a bit of trouble making it to church. It's a tough thing for us honestly, we are always conveniently out of town on Sundays.

I have, however, come up with a solution.

I'm starting my own church.

It's gonna be the Church of Joe.

Strummer that is.

We meet on Thursdays.

Baptisms are by fire.

See you there. Punk.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I've been this complicated combination of busy and lazy lately and who's caught the brunt of it?

Well, if you asked my house, it would probably try and raise two hands. But it doesn't have hands. Only a garage and a deck. So that answer doesn't count.

And if you ask me, it's poor little Friday Afternoon Videos that's caught the brunt. By the time I remember? Every Friday night?

I'm already asleep. Probably dreaming about being Phil Collins. In a suit. Wearing a yellow tie. And riding in a helicopter. Yup. Definitely riding in a helicopter.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tickling the Ivories

I've been driving my husband crazy....um, lately [or always?] every time a Bruce Springsteen song comes on with an obvious piano accompaniment [which is uh, pretty much every Springsteen song?].

I'll suddenly get a weird look in my eye and a tingle in my fingers and I'll turn up the volume and declare confidently that 'I'm TOTALLY gonna learn how to play this on the piano!" In fact, I've done it so much recently, that he started answering with "You say that every song. Make up your mind.".

Poor guy. I know it's tough living with me. And lucky for him, I know just the cure.

Piano lessons.

Now, I've had piano lessons before. And yes, I did hate them. But this time it's different.

I swear.

Would you or would you not be totally entertained if you came over to my house and there I was, in some sort of horrific get-up I haven't even thought of yet, taking up the entire living room with a ridiculously large piano, serenading you with Springsteen's "She's The One" or maybe The Beatles' "Martha, My Dear" or making you cry with Journey's "Faithfully"? Or better yet - what if I went all Yes on you with like 25 synthesizers?

Maybe I'm blind but I just don't see how that could NOT be awesome.

Think of the parties! The melodies! The spiritual transformations!

I'm sure I could get my kids to play along. After all, they're short enough that they can still stand on top of a piano.

I can just see it now. "Mom Goes On Tour, Kills On The Keys, Has Horrible Pipes, Makes Own Children Sing for Her"

Yeah. It's gonna be great.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


31 years ago today, my husband entered this world.

And oh, man. This world would never be the same again.
Even my life had already changed the moment he came along. I just didn't know it yet.

Mostly because I was still a fetus.

But the first moment I saw him 18 year later? I already knew him. That ridiculous guy making a fool of himself on stage? Yeah, that's definitely the one.

I feel blessed every morning that I roll over and he's still there. Even if he does stink a little.

Happy Birthday, babes.
This lady loves you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Tale of Two [or more] Teeth

One beautiful morning in April, a mother and her sons paid a visit to the dentist. It was time for all three of them to have a checkup.

It had been a long time since mommy had been to the dentist. Way too long. Embarrassingly long. The 'dentist is gonna laugh right in your face' long. 'Ohmygod you should just transfer everything from your bank to your dentist right flippin' now its that bad' long. Closing in on the 'it's almost been a decade' long....So lon----well, you get the picture.

And her sons? It hadn't been all that long since they'd last seen the dentist. A different dentist than they were seeing today. A different dentist who shall remain nameless and who may or may not be in a little town that starts with a Murf and ends with a Boro or who may or may not have extremely annoying jungle sounds on their website that DO NOT TURN OFF. A dentist who may or may not have claimed her sons needed hundreds of dollars of work done on their teeth. Their BABY teeth.

Mommy was scared to say the least. Mostly for her checkbook, and then of course, for her health. Oh and her kids health too.

Nervous as she was, she sucked it up and went on in. After all, the waiting room was quite tranquil, could it really be all that bad? How many root canals did it take to pay for this tile on the floor? Is that a fountain on the wall? Is that a massage chair she's sitting in? Is that a babbling brook she sees out the window???

Just as the mommy was about to drown in a sea of over-analyzing, out of the blue the sweetest little hygienist you ever did see fluttered in and scooped up one of the mommy's sons. She was so sweet in fact, the mommy's son actually looked pleased he was about to get his teeth cleaned. The mommy's son is 5. It was 7:30. The fact that he was even awake was a miracle, let alone be willing to have his teeth 'tickled' by a total stranger. His appointment came and went. He did not fuss, he did not pout. The mommy thought he might have even enjoyed it.

The dentist came by and gave his opinion. 'Great teeth!', he said. 'No cavities!', he said. The mommy almost fell out of her chair. 'No cavities?', she replied. 'You mean he doesn't need 500 dollars of work done in 2 weeks?' 'Nope.' the dentist said while mommy silently cursed the other dentist who shall remain nameless for claiming the opposite just a few months prior.

Next, the mommy's other son went for his checkup. With a smile on his face and smokin' sunglasses to boot. 'Who are these kids?' the mommy wondered. She was beginning to think they were actually starting to enjoy this whole dentist thing. "Great teeth!', the dentist said again! 'No cavities!' he said. The mommy thought she was gonna freak. Maybe all that nighttime 'brush your teeth' nagging was actually working?

Finally it was the mommy's turn. She got up in the chair. Then she made a lot of lame jokes about why she hadn't been to the dentist in so long. The hygienist was kind enough to fake a laugh, then she sandblasted the mommy's teeth with baking soda.
Just as the mommy thought she was going to start foaming at the mouth, the dentist stopped by.

'Beautiful teeth!', he said. [Take that, sons!, the mommy thought] and then came the clincher. The mommy winced a little in anticipation......

'No cavities!' he said.

'Hooray!' the mommy shouted, except it was more like 'Horragghhhhhhgurlglellle' since she still had that vacuum thingy stuck to her tongue. Then the mommy asked for some laughing gas in celebration. Or maybe not. Nevertheless, she was STOKED!

3 people.
68 teeth.
a helluva lot of halloween/christmas/valentines/president's day/easter candy between them.

And not one cavity?

The mommy decided she could live like this. She was definitely coming back to this dentist.

Right after she challenges her kids to a Who can finish this jawbreaker first? contest.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Good Morning. Here's my Wish List.

Like I said when I was talking mustaches, I've been teaching a lot lately.

This means a few things.

1. I have to get up early.

2. I have to get up really early

3. Very early is when I must get up.

My kids are also in school which also means some more things:

1. I have to get them up early.

2. Its really hard to get them up early.

3. Nobody likes getting up early.

And usually? We're going to the same school.

Which means even more things.

1. We have to be ready at the same time.

2. Let me say that again. WE ALL HAVE TO BE READY TO GO AT THE SAME TIME.

3. That same time we have to be ready by? It's 6:50 am.

To say achieving such a feat was easy would be amusing. About as amusing as me having my own comedy hour [that is assuming my own comedy hour would actually be funny. Which, hello! Of course it would be.].

It doesn't really matter that I'm going on my fourth month of doing this job, I still haven't gotten the morning routine down, and frequently find myself running out the door without something [probably my phone], or spilling something [like burning hot lava coffee], or yelling something [uh, no comment].

I like to pride myself on being a content person, but dangit to heck if there aren't just a few things I wouldn't mind having to make my mornings before school go smoother. You know like.....

1. A [clean & matching] sock dispenser.
I can never find a matching pair of socks. and its always the last thing I need, at the very last minute. It's so hard to find even just one sock. Let alone 4. Why did they have to make kid's feet so dang small?

2. An automatic lunch maker. Human or robot, whatever. I don't care. Just somebody, anybody, ANYTHING, make 3 lunches for me. And don't forget to draw a picture for two of them.....

3. A personal [and professional] dresser. I need someone whose entire job is to get my kids to get dressed. Quickly. And with a smile on their face. This person should also be prepared to do battle with at least one child at 6:42 exactly on will they or won't they agree to wear what was chosen for the day. Said person should also be aware that this requires quite a bit more preparation than they might think.

4. An alarm clock. Not just any old alarm clock. One that will manage to wake me in a delightful mood, and in plenty of time to do my hair. In fact, it should be able to just do my hair for me. NO TANGLES. Oh, and it needs to be able to carry my kids downstairs.They should also be in delightful moods. Perhaps the snooze button should just be set that my clock gets all aforementioned things in the list done for me, and then wakes me up. Yeah. That sounds good.

5. A Chauffeur. That 5 minute drive? It's killer. Somebody else should do it so I can just sit back and drink my coffee. Or at least frantically do my makeup. This same somebody should also make sure they NEVER go over 14 in the school zone, because if you're going 16, or 15.5, you're getting pulled over. For sure.

So there you go. Not a bad list. I mean, I don't think any of these are too much to ask. We all need a little help from our friends....

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Mustache List.

Since December, I've been substitute teaching elementary school to supplement our income.

It's nothing short of awesome, really. You get all the fun benefits of being a teacher, but without quite as much work.
Plus, I get to work almost everyday where my kids go to school, and I can't say I can really complain about that.

There's something so rewarding about walking down a hallway and getting hugs and hellos from every other kid - even if some of them do stink, or have sticky fingers....

But the best part? Definitely the commentary. Oh, the commentary.

I'm sure you've heard me discuss my moustache before right? Thanks to a bit of a, uh, hairy heritage, I've spent a lot of my life bleaching, waxing, and plucking. I'm so used to it, its pretty much part of my beauty routine, and I tend to forget about it.

However, when I had children, I didn't have to forget about it. Because they remembered for me....

"Mommy....you're growing a mustache!"

"Mommy, I can see your mustache, you need to put that white stuff on it..."

"Why do have a mustache like Daddy?"

Its quite amusing really, trying to explain why mommy has a mustache without making my children think their mother used to be a carnie. At an earlier point in my life, all this talk would have made me a little self-conscious, but now, I just think its kinda funny. Plus it always sets up the perfect "Everybody is made different" conversation, so score one for the moms on that.

Of course, just when I thought we'd probably had all the mustache conversations we could muster, I started teaching. Because obviously, I felt the need to discuss it with more children.

And I do.

Not a day goes by where at least one kid doesn't mention it. Right in the middle of a lesson. And keep in mind these are all 4, 5, 6 and 7 years olds I'm working with here. They're honest. Brutally honest.

Really, I could fill this whole blog with some of the comments I've heard, but that would get old [and hairy?]. Quick. Instead you're getting the top five, which are the cream of the crop anyway, the only ones you really need to hear. So here goes:

5. "You know, you have something right here [rubs a snotty finger on my upper lip]."

4. "You have black eyebrows and a blond mustache?"

3. Ok, well this ones more about my eyebrows actually... "Next time you get your nails done, you should have them shave your eyebrows too."

2. And maybe this one is kind of indirect - it was said to another teacher, but its hilarious, so whatever it deserves this spot on the list- "Fernando says Mrs. Hartley is a freak!"

and last but not least, my ultimate favorite, from one of my favorite preschoolers, said with much concern...

1. "WHAT have you been using under your nose???"

You've got to give it up for these kids. They're creative. And sincere. And I don't think I could find a better job. Unless you want to meet me by the water cooler at 3 to discuss your favorite Nair product....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

FAV: Hey. Cowbell.

A lot of people think of Blue Oyster Cult or maybe Lynyrd Skynyrd or Swizerland when they hear cowbell.

I think of this:

Now you go....what do think of when you hear the cowbell? Dairy? Or is the Reaper?


Sunday, March 22, 2009

FAV: Road Trippin'

WOOOOOOOOO! It's Spring Break '09 y'all! And the Hartley's are roadtrippin'. The Mr. just got back from SXSW, and the boys and I? We're all over the place. Alabama, Ohio, North, South, you name it - we're there. And we're wearing matching airbrushed t-shirts.

So with all this traveling going on, we've got a new favorite road trip song. While driving last night we sang this song for an hour and a half straight. And it was aaawwwweeeessssoooommmee. You should really take a few minutes to learn it yourself. Trust me. You won't be sorry.....

Friday, March 13, 2009

FAV: Feeling Steely

I kinda felt bad for calling out my husband last week with 'The Reflex' and all. I mean, I didn't realize he'd end up being the ONLY person that didn't remember that song. So to make up for it, I'm putting myself on the line. I'm going to admit something that will tarnish me forever and probably make a few people throw up in their mouth.


I know. It's horrific. But It's the truth. I like them, and I like them a lot.

I have since I was a kid. Even without Chevy as their drummer. "Ricki, Don't Lose That Number" always takes me back to that brown shag carpet we had in the old apartment where my favorite toy was a spool of thread named "Fitty-Fitty". And "Peg " and "Josie"? They always feel just like old friends.

I could claim I eventually grew out of them, but I'd be lying. I never did. I'm sure this will make perfect sense to you once you see this video.

Friday, March 6, 2009

FAV: The Reflex

Aaron and I were coming back from signing our taxes and treating ourselves to doughnuts this morning [very romantic stuff, we even stopped by the library and returned books, SWOON!] when this song came on his XM. I informed him that I thought he needed to put this song on one of his DJ playlists to which he replied "I don't know what this is."

"Just wait for the chorus." I said. The chorus came and went and came and went again. Still didn't ring a bell.

I was shocked. I almost choked on my coconut doughnut. I mean yes, we were only 6 when this song came out [1984] but I do still remember watching this video and wishing someday I'd have a boyfriend with awesome Duran Duran hair. Aaron says he must have been too busy listening to Mousercise at the time.

And in his defense, that was a really good album.

So, how about you - do you remember "The Reflex"?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oh Yeah That Lent Thing.

I was positive it was still Ash Wednesday. Turns out its already positively the Wednesday after Ash Wednesday. Seriously. When did that happen? Where did that week go and since when did they make February so flippin' close to March? I was so positive this year had only just begun, yet a third of it is practically gone already.

See? I'm doing awesome with my Lent project. I'm obviously staying positive. I mean, I used the word at least three times in the last paragraph. That's good. That's real change.

But seriously, dear[s?]. I have been working on it. And working hard. What have I learned so far? Turns out its not as much about just staying positive - for me- as it s planning ahead, or um, LETTING IT GO.

Sometimes its those little things that I just. can't. let. go. that I sit on, or let build up, that fuel my most negative moments.

So what if the dogs just got into the house for the 6th time today? Its not so much fail as it is just a little fart. Neither me, nor them, or us, will die because this just happened.

Who cares if my children are on their third pair of pants within a span of 10 minutes? At least they're clothed - isn't that good enough?

Or what about the fact that we had pizza for dinner tonight and Mickey D's last night? Wait. I don't really see anything wrong with that statement.

What do I always say to my kids? You get what you get, don't throw a fit. Maybe I should just apply that little nugget to myself. After all, I am a little old for stomping my feet and screaming when things don't go my way, just by a few years at least.....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

F.A.V: Dear Bret

I knew I should have stuck with my crush on Rikki Rockett instead.
But how was I supposed to know you were going to throw it all back in my face with your 'Rock of Love'?

It's not fair that every time I hear "Nothing But A Good Time" these days I want to vom. It's feelings of nostalgia I want when you come on the radio. Not nausea.

I should of quit you that time you canceled your tour date with Slaughter in Cincinnati in 1991 because Bobby Dall broke his hand. Obviously the universe was trying to tell me something. It knew what was coming. But no. I stuck with you. I had the audacity to see you twice in concert after the year 2000. And I'm telling you - If you hadn't brought Cinderella out BOTH times, I probably wouldn't even admit that anymore.

You know - I'm ok with the fact that you might really want a solo career, or that maybe you're just trying to put your babies through school.I might even go as far as to say I'm ok with the fact that you can't seem to come to terms with what aging has done to your hair. But c'mon now! I'm pretty sure I could have the gone the rest of my life just fine without ever knowing anything about Daisy or Heather or that Megan. Or all those Brandis. Or anybody on that bus for that matter. Blech.

All I gotta say is that why'd you have to go tarnish my youth? Couldn't you have just stayed classy like Def Leppard did?

Geez, Bret. I thought you were something to believe in. Thanks for being the thorn in my rose.

Love [Tom Keifer more than you],

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Givin' It Up for Lent. Yo.

Its the first official day of Lent and I'm really going all out this year if you didn't already notice. I mean. I'm pretty sure I managed to consume my body weight in sugar yesterday. It's safe to say I fufilled my Fat Tuesday duites with flying colors. Thank you IHOP. And Pillsbury. And whoever makes sprinkles.

I'm trying to get the kids in on the fun too. I tried to explain the whole idea of Ash Wednesday to them, and the results were priceless. They couldn't get past the ash part and to them ash=fire and fire=cool. So in short, Ash Wednesday is their new favorite holiday.

I grew up Catholic and while I don't always agree with some of their practices, I still love all the tradition and history and imagery that is Catholicism. Ah, such warm memories I have of many Ash Wednesdays past. Like sitting in class after mass in grade school trying to figure out whose ash smudge looked like what. Or how about that dreaded feeling of only getting to choose between eating fish or pizza on fridays until Easter? My sisters and I still laugh about writing on a rock in church every. single. year. that we'd try to be a little nicer to each other.

So in honor of my obviously rich and reverent childhood, I'm gonna give it up for Lent this year. I mean, I bringing Lent back. I'm totally gonna go all serious on Lent's you know what. Um.....yeah.

What I'm really trying to say is that I want to make decent effort this year to maybe make a real change. And I'm gonna use this blog to hold me accountable. It's either going to be awesome, amusing, entertaining, and educational, or I'm going to bore the heck out of you for forty days. And forty nights. Depending on when [or if] you regularly read this.

What I'm going to try and give up you ask?


I've got a nasty negative mindset I'd like to shake. I wouldn't say I'm pessimisitic, but I definitely have a bad habit of thinking the worst is going to happen before I buck up and realize the best might actually be what's right around the corner. I'd like for things the be the other way around. I'd like to think that might change my attitude for the better.

The hardest part about actively trying to make a change is taking the time to work on it everyday. Which is why I'm choosing to air it all out here. You know it's going to be fun. Just you wait. You'll laugh when you find out how angry I get when I stub my toe.

So here goes nothing. I even made a sign.

Yeah, I know. It's AWESOME.
[See? More positive already.]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bringing the Fat in Fat Tuesday. Really.

You know what I did today? Practically spent the whole day at IHOP.

Because hello! It's also National Pancake Day.

A normal person probably would have gone once. Or maybe just gotten some pancakes to go.

But me?

I went twice. Once for brunch and once for supper. Once with out kids, once with. Once with hashbrowns, once with fake granola.

I managed to scarf down at least 6 pancakes, 4 glasses of water with 2 lemons, a side of hashbrowns and a few crumbs they were trying to pass off as granola. Because when Cash hears that it's Pancake Day, he orders granola & yogurt.

And as if that weren't enough sugar to make your teeth just roll right out of your mouth.....we went home and made a king cake.

I think we've got our bases covered as far as holidays that fall on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 go. Just call us festive.

And if I were you I'd make sure i hung around Hayden for the rest of the year. He's gonna have some good luck. Hope that means he remembers to save enough quarters to buy the King Cake next year.

By the way, I'm going all out for lent this year. I might even blog it. What am I giving up? You're just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

FAV: what the heck

So what if its already Monday.

My kids sing this one. A lot. Yeah, I know, they sing everything. But who would have ever thought they'd fall in love with Dino?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Comcast, You've Been Dumped.

Well sorta. I did keep the internet. Because its so, you know, useful.

I downgraded our cable today [ or yesterday for that matter, by the time I got this posted]. That sounds so pretty doesn't it? Downgrading! It was totally romantic.

I'm weirdly excited about it, actually. Just think of the possibilities without Johnny Test and Ben Tennyson to slow me down? Seriously. I'm ok with it. As long as I don't focus too long on how much I'm gonna miss Mike Rowe.

Apparently, the downsize was perfect timing. On the way to school this morning Cash said to me "Mom, it's not fun when we come home from school."

What? It's not fun? No mom wants to hear she's no fun! I'll admit, at first I took this statement to heart. I was pretty sure he was referring to last week, where let's just say, I was not really myself. Between the new four-legged arrivals at our house, all their poop, the impending holiday, the cards that went with the impending holiday, and the fact that I worked out of the house everyday for the first time in 5 years, things got a little....out of place. I wouldn't say our routine got totally turned upside down, but it was definitely lying on its side. And acting totally unresponsive.

I asked him again about his statement. "You mean, I'm no fun?"

"No! I mean we don't do anything fun - we don't have time to before we have to go to bed" he repeated.

"Well it could be because we always end up watching TV when we get home, right? Maybe we could be doing something else? What kinds of things do you want to do?"

"I don't know. Some special thing."

Ok. Great. A special thing. Thanks for the clarification.That could be anything. An un-birthday party? A field trip to a volcano? Where to start? Where to go? What to do?

So as we leave behind Spongebob, Chowder, The Tennysons and The Movers, and start on our journey of time creatively spent, wish us a little luck, and uh, a lot of DVDs.

Hello, Netflix? It's Me, Emily.....

Friday, February 13, 2009

F.A.V. VDay

Originally, this week's video was going to be Willie Nelson, "You Were Always On My Mind". Because there's no greater wounded love song than that one, especially when Elvis belts it out. And with it being Valentine's day tomorrow and all, I just had to post one of my favorites.

But I couldn't find a version that appeased me, or one that could be embedded, or both. I just couldn't bear to throw up an awful version of the song, just for the sake of being able to do so. I even briefly considered one video of him singing it with Bon Jovi. But it was awful. Bon Jovi butchered it, and you know that's saying a lot coming from a die hard Jovi fan. And besides, Jon was wearing this horrific hat that looked like he'd picked it up at Target ten minutes before the show. I figured that version should probably just continue on living in obscurity without me.

Somehow, between my over-analyzing and under-searching, I ended up at this video. As soon as I saw Joe hobbling across the stage, followed by Leon Russell, and Leon Russell's hat, I knew it was the one. It was love at first sight, even though I've heard it a million times over [thank you, Kevin Arnold.].

And so.....without further ado.....happy valentines day.

[hello? obviously NOT woodstock. Everybody has clothes on.]

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh Yes We Did.

If you must know, I must tell you.

My family's gotten bigger. Like, way bigger, ya'll.

As of last Sunday?

We added two more to our burgeoning brood.Two more of the FOUR legged variety.

Because you know, why potty train one dog when you can just train two? Why get nibbled to death by just one puppy when it could be so much more blissfully painful with two? Why settle for just one pile of poop when you could have 12? Or more! Why worry about an overload of human toys when you could just increase the fun by throwing in a whole gaggle of dog toys? Why get one tiny dog when you can get two [soon-to-be] giant labradors? And heck. why live with 3 males when you can live with 5?

Seriously people. there's a sort of theme showing up in my life. Something to the effect of "Why take the easy road, when you're on the most difficult one already?" I don't know simple. I've never met uncomplicated. And I missed my chance to shake hands with convenient a long time ago.

So if you haven't heard from me, please. accept my sincere apologies. I've been a bit busy. You know. Trying to save my shirts, pants, shoes and ponytail [yes the hair on my head] from an early death by nibbilation.

So, with out further ado, introduce yourself to the newest Hartleys, Boss & King.

I'm sure you'll NEVER guess how we came up with those names...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

F.A.V. You Got Lucky

Today, I wore all my hair up in a modified banana clip.

I frequently used the phrases "Use your words", "Hands to yourself" and "Voices off".

I came home in the afternoon and put on a sweater.

And I spent all night last night swimming in glitter making these for today's winter carnival at the boy's school....

I'm pretty sure my transformation into full-blown mom is complete, sans the jeans.

Lets just say when my kids got stuck with me, they got lucky.
[I'd click that link if I were you. Its Tom Petty gone sci-fi! You'll be sorry if you miss it. Really sorry.]

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Little Bathtime Perspective

I came over here ready to rant on bathtime.

I loathe bathtime. It's my least favorite mother/child activity. If I could hire a nanny to come to my house every night just to give my kids a bath, I would. It is the only time I ever wish my kids would just grow up and take a dang shower already.

But on my way over here I stopped by Suburban Turmoil. She had posted a short post about a reader and fellow blogger who had just lost her infant son a few days before his due date.

Suddenly my rant seemed so trite and trivial, so unnecessary. How blessed am I to even have the chance to bathe my children? To be able to hug them afterwards and sniff that sweet after-bath smell, to be able to wake up the next morning and do it all over again...day after day. It doesn't matter if it seems mundane or routine, what matters is that I get the chance to even do it at all.

I don't usually post things like this, but I felt I couldn't read her story, say my prayer and move on. I needed to share it. I needed the perspective it gave me. My stumbling upon her story seemed more to me than just a click or a coincidence.

I simply can't imagine the pain and heartbreak of losing a child before I barely even had the chance to meet him. My heart and my prayers go out to Cynthiaa and her family. Hug your kids just a little tighter tonight, try to stop and enjoy the fact that your kids are driving you nuts, revel in how blessed you are to be in that moment.

If you'd like, you can leave your thoughts and prayers for Cynthiaa on her blog here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

F.A.V. Bruce. Again.

Even though there is definitely a slight danger of friday afternoon videos suddenly turning into friday afternoon springsteen, I just can't ignore Bruce this week.

His new album came out Tuesday, he plays the SuperBowl on Sunday, and on Monday, tickets start to go on sale for yet another tour. I'm not sure we'll be able to scoop up any tickets this time around, after all we did see him twice last year, and well, our family does need to eat. One cannot survive on just the E Street Band alone, you know.

I'll admit. I'm trying not to get all depressed about it. In fact, I like to think that because, I choose not to go this time, maybe another person, who perhaps hasn't had the chance to see him live yet might get the chance to go. Or maybe somebody whose seen him 49 times, will finally get to see him for the 50th time. Or I don't know, maybe a ticket will just fall out of the sky and into my lap. I mean, why can't the stimulus package just include one Bruce ticket for everybody? Surely that would really get things rolling again....

You get the idea. Whatever it takes to help me get over it, I'm gonna do.

So happy friday. Cause your papa say he knows that I don't have any money....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just Rhyme it Out.

My kids are learning how to rhyme.

Its pretty much all we talk about around here...

"Cool, tool. Hey mom! That rhymes....right?" Yes.

"What about grass, road? Does that rhyme?" Um, no....

Its a back and forth thing. One minute, they totally get it, and the next, not so much.

Rhyming seems like such a natural thing, its hard to remember a time when you didn't know quite what it was.

The boy's teacher tries to get as creative as she can to get the concept across. One day last week she had all the kids change the first letter in their name to the letter B for the entire day, to try and stress the way their 'new' name rhymes with their regular name. So Cash & Hayden became Bash & Bayden.

The boys loved this of course, and it has started a trend in our house. They love to change the first letter of something just to make to sound silly or different.

Like today for instance, we were working on a rhyming worksheet and Hayden was matching up the pictures that rhymed. "Pig, wig, MIG!"

Mig? What's that?

"Another word for pig."

Oh, Really? [Looks like I've still got some 'splaining to do.]

He moved on, cutting and gluing...gluing and cutting, matching up each rhyme.

Cash was hard at work too, "Bat & lion don't rhyme, Mommy."

That's right, Cash, they don't. But cat rhymes with bat doesn't it and that picture looks a lot like a cat to me.

" No," he said, as he looked down at the picture of a 'feline' with NO MANE and a collar, and whiskers. "Its definitely a lion."

Fine. Its a lion, but a lion is a cat. So glue the bat next to it. [I'm good a subtlety, no?]

Hayden was already on the last group of pictures. He loudly called out all the objects and then threw in his make-believe word, just for kicks....

"Corn, Horn, PORN!"

I choked.


Porn. He just said porn.

Ok. What do I do? How do I discourage saying the word "Porn" while still encouraging rhyming? Crap.

This is just like that time I had to dissuade him from spelling out 'fag' on a door hanger during craft time at the library.

I took a deep breath...Um, Hayden, let's not say 'porn'.

"Why not? It's just another word for horn, Mommy."

Well, it really isn't another word for horn, and a lot of people really don't like that word. So, lets not say it, okay?

"Okay, mommy" he said with some matter of disgust in his voice.

Ten minutes later I heard his sweet little sing-songy voice again..."Horn,Corn....PORN!"

Sigh. This road of rhyming...sure is gonna take up a lot of my timing....

Snow Way!

I was so on track this morning. Lunches were made. We weren't out of juice. I was able to convince Cash that his eyes really could remember how to open and our usual wardrobe scuffle was rather minor.

But just as I was starting to feel pretty confident about the way things were going, my phone rang. It was either get everybody's shoes on or answer it, so I missed it. I checked the voicemail only to hear the latter half of a recorded message from the school...."uary 28th" was pretty much all I heard.

I thought for a minute, maybe they cancelled school? But no, it was just raining outside, surely not. I checked the county website. Nothing. I checked the clock. 7:18. Now, we were officially running late. When did that happen? Should I check the news? Or should I get in the car?

Because I delight in the difficult, I decided to get in the car. I mean who wouldn't find it easier to load two cranky 5 year olds in to a chilly car in the freezing rain, while carrying one open drink, two back packs and an overflowing purse instead of oh, i don't know just flipping on the TV and changing the channel? Me. That's who.

So we drove to school. Hayden and I chatted. Cash slept. I saw cars pulling out of the other elementary school parking lot as if they had just dropped off their kids. I felt relaxed that surely, I hadn't missed anything. Sure, we were late, and they were going to be 'tardy'. But hey, we made it. And that was no small feat.

I turned the corner towards their school, and that's when I noticed there was no crossing guard. Hmm. Must have stayed home today, I thought.

And then I pulled into the school parking lot.

Which was empty.

I pulled into a space and walked to the front door. Because surely, somebody was there.

Doors locked. Lights off.

Turns out we weren't late. We were uh, early?

No, I certainly had not missed the fact that school had been cancelled and dragged my kids to school anyway, insisting we were going to be late.

No. That wasn't it at all.

The real truth is that I'm ahead of the game. For Thursday.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

F.A.V. Sunday Edition

So maybe I forgot to post a video on Friday. Maybe it was because I got a call at 6 am Friday morning to spend my "Fun Friday" with a bunch of darling 2nd graders. And then maybe, just maybe, I also skipped my morning coffee that day which just might have sent me into a full blown caffeine withdrawal somewhere around 3:15, complete with headaches, nausea and fatigue [or maybe I'm just allergic to second graders? I haven't ruled that one out yet]. Which maybe forced me to cancel my appearance at a baby shower I shouldn't have missed and instead had me sleeping on the couch while my children turned my living room into Lego City Central.

And maybe, when I did feel better, and could have posted something, I didn't because I too busy settling into my weekend Mark Wahlberg Film Festival [compliments of The Shooter and We Own the Night] and was so focused on his exquisite acting skills that I completely forgot all other priorities.

Yeah. Maybe that was it.

One thing I am certain of though, is Paul Westerberg.

WARNING: this video WILL make you all 90's nostalgic. Something that I never thought was possible when it actually was the 90's.

edited to add: my Dyslexic Heart video has been disabled! WAH! So instead, you should go watch Singles. Get on it. Oh and you can listen to it on my blip page here.

Happy Sunday Afternoon.

[And if you don't already have the Open Season soundtrack, which Paul did most of, you should get it, like, now. If you wanna watch the movie too, that's your choice, just don't look at me when you realize you should have just skipped ahead to the soundtrack like I told you to.]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


...was a sick day for one,

a birthday for another [happy birthday mom!],

and a new day for all...

"...We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom..."

"...For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate..."
From Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

I would love nothing more than to pass on to my children and grandchildren the kind of country that thrives on freedom, faith, and respect for all. I am so happy to have a president who inspires me to do just that.

"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."
From Rev. Lowery's Inaugural Benediction

Friday, January 16, 2009


I have a long running joke with my husband that the world would be a completely different place if Michael Hutchence had never passed away.

Except I don't really think its funny, I completely stand behind my statement. I'm pretty sure that if he were still around, Katy Perry would have never gotten famous, America's economy would still be in fantastic shape, and I'd be getting paid more for substitute teaching.

Here's my proof:

Case closed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Car Talk

Normally, when driving in the car with my kids, I only hear one thing out of their mouths - "Turn IT UPPP!!!"

Usually when the request is made I'll have just started an important conversation like "What did you learn today?" only to be rudely interrupted by the demand that music be much louder, and my talking non-existent [I am allowed to sing however, well at least for the time being....].

And ironically, after the radio is turned up just loud enough that your ears are starting to think about bleeding, that's when they'll choose to continue the conversation we'd previously been having; which in turn forces me to have to turn the radio back down just to hear what they are saying, and the vicious cycle starts all over again.

But driving home in the car last night, things were different. There were still the usual demands of course, but a few fruitful discussions ensued.

For instance, when "Sweet Child of Mine" came on there were inquiries about instruments and which one makes what sound, just what is a guitar solo and why is that guy singing "Where do we go now?" , why does he want to go somewhere?

And when Peter Frampton came on with "Show Me the Way" [sincere apologies to my husband that I did not change the channel] we had our very first lesson about the talk box. A conversation which I'm sure will prove itself to be influential later in life. Especially the first time we drag them to see Bon Jovi.

But by far my most favorite conversation we had was not necessarily music-related, well, at least not directly. The boys had just come from Awana Cubbies, where they had learned all about the Bible story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus .

Hayden was retelling the story in detail and when I asked him what Jesus had done for Lazarus he said this "He brought him back to life, Mommy! Just like he did for Elvis!"

Of course.

How had I not made that connection? Especially after last week's conversation.


This proclamation from the mouths of babes can only mean one of two things. Either I've succeeded ten-fold at teaching them about Eternal Life, or instead I'm raising a couple of complete Elvis fanatics. Hmmm. Maybe its a little bit of both.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

F.A.V. goes Elvis

Yesterday would have been Elvis' 74th birthday. You know this. You also know its no secret that Elvis is big at our house. My kids were so excited it was his birthday yesterday that they asked me if we could make him some birthdays cards. Sure, I said, but we'll have to send them to heaven, because that's where Elvis is.

Don't ask me why I chose that route. I could have just said, "Sure lets do it!" and pretended to drop them in the mail. But no, I had to be truthful. I just couldn't lie. I've always sucked at lying. Just ask my parents.

So what started out as a innocent conversation turned into a full on discussion on heaven, how many years do we stay in heaven, why do we have to go into a box [this question being left over from a previous death discussion], how do you know when its time to go and lastly if Elvis doesn't live in his house anymore, who does? And can we go there? There was also some discussion over elves, and whether or not we are allowed to laugh at how small they are, though I'm not sure what that had to do with anything.

It was a rather deep conversation for the three of us, but it couldn't have been more appropriate. Discussing death on the birthday of the king of rock n' roll? This is exactly how I wanted parenthood to be.

So in honor of the E-man and my mothering skills, you'll be treated today to some of my favorite Elvis moments. You don't even know how lucky you are.

Tiger Man from the '68 Comeback Special...I never really thought Elvis was attractive...until I saw this. And you can be sure I'll be wearing sequined Elvis sweatshirts when I'm 80 because of it.

If I Can Dream, also from the 68 Special. This is Cash & Hayden's personal favorite. Which is a bit odd, since the usually proclaim "BOOOOOOORING" every time they hear a slow song. I guess they just know true genius when they see it. And you should see them perform it...

And lastly, Suspicious Minds. Because my favorite Elvis is early 70's Elvis. When the jumpsuits had just started and he was all about the dramatic ballads. If you only choose to watch one of these, I'd suggest this one. It's totally worth it for when he sings "Shove it up your nose" and for the all the killer dance moves, most especially the ones at the end.

And you? Do you have a favorite Elvis? Or a favorite somebody else?

Monday, January 5, 2009

It Went A Little Something Like This...

A re-cap. Of sorts. Most people wrote about their Christmas 2 weeks ago, you know, when it actually happened, but whatever. I like to make my own path. So what if it's a tardy one.

Our Christmas started with two glorious nights at Opryland Hotel. A place where everyone still thinks sequined blinking christmas -wreath sweatshirts and furry santa purses are 'appropriately festive'.

Oh, and they have something like 2 million lights all lit-up and stuff. It's real fancy. And real crowded. It was kind of like Disney, but with a lot less mice, and a alot more uh, scooters.

From there, it was on to Huntsville, Alabama - THE Rocket City, where we spent our Christmas.

This guy showed up too. I can't seem to shake him. He followed us everywhere...

[and he totally forced me to write a series of dumb notes and tell a few too many lame elf-themed jokes]

After Huntsville, we stopped in Birmingham, where my children schooled their great grandmother and great-great aunt on the plot developments of Spongebob Squarepants.

The Finer Points of Spongebob from emily hartley on Vimeo.

Next, it was time for the Queen City, Cincinnati. Home to Skyline Chili and some flying pigs. And me. There, we had Christmas. Again.

You'll never guess who tagged along.

He later spilled that powerade ALL OVER one of his notes I'd worked really hard on. Really. This guy was soooo starting to try my patience. I mean, it was after Christmas already, and he was totally starting to overstay his welcome.

Many important firsts happened on this leg of the trip....

1. My grandparents threw a bowling party. Possibly the best Christmas get-together in family history. Ever.

2. After my children expressed much love for 'Bohemian Rhapsody' we gave them their very first taste of Wayne's World. Which kind of just ended up making me feel really, really old. They loved it though, and that was totally worth the personal humiliation.

3. We made some gingerbread trees that could only be referred to as MASTERPIECES and then thought it was a good idea to let the boys actually EAT them. Later, all of their teeth fell out. Oh well. Saves on toothpaste.

4. And most importantly, my little Jedi finally got a couple of Lightsabers.

Wanting to master their skills of lightsaber handling and aunt and grandparent manipulation, the boys elected to stay a few extra days in Cincy, while Aaron and I headed home. Quickly. Before anyone could change their mind.

This plan resulted in many things, a little rest & relaxtion for us, much fun for my family, and my children mastering the lyrics to "Pour Some Sugar on Me" [sung here to the tune of uh, our spaghetti dinner]. I should be um, proud, right?

Pouring Some Sugar from emily hartley on Vimeo.

They got the chance to road trip back home to Nashville with my dad, which is always a treat, and hardly ever dull [Just ask me sometime about the great pepsi-as-winshield-fluid incident of '92].

Saturday night, I put away all the Chrismtas decorations [cuz you know I know how to party!]. I was really kind of proud of myself, as I usually really drag my feet on this part. I gave myself a big pat on the back of congratulations only to find this face staring back at me from the couch:

Our eyes met and only one word came to my mind. And I'm not typing it here. Let's just say the little guy is now on a very long vacation. To the Bermuda Triangle.

I can hardly believe the holidays are already over and we're already slamming right into 2009. I'm not sure I've completely recovered from all the excitement yet, nor have I even begun to catch up. I think this last picture pretty much says it all, so I think I'll just leave it at that....