Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

April 26, 2015
by Carrie

embracing the hippie culture

Y’all, April has been a busy month. I’m looking forward to June when all we’ve got to do is have three birthdays.

So, let’s see. Earlier this month Steven went to a .NET conference in Portland, Oregon. Since his parents are super awesome and agreed to keep the kids, I got to tag along with him! I’m always ready and willing to travel somewhere new.

Portland is a great little city. I say ‘little,’ but Portland is pretty big compared to Birmingham, it just didn’t feel that way. It was very walkable and had a great public transit system. As I walked around I kept finding myself thinking, “Birmingham should do this! Birmingham should do that!” If only, man. If only.

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While Steven immersed himself in programming awesomeness, I explored the city, beginning with Washington Park. Inside the park is where you find things such as the zoo, a children’s museum, a forestry museum, an arboretum, and a Japanese garden, among others. When I first entered the arboretum and found myself surrounded by humongous Douglas firs, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I was in my own personal heaven. For most of that day I walked all of the trails of the arboretum and then moved down to the Japanese gardens in early afternoon.






It was only when I was having to work my way back towards Steven that I realized how far I had gone. It was quite the hike back to civilization.

There were many great things to eat around town. I’m sure I missed a lot of great stuff, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. We feasted on huge hamburgers with avocado, spicy thai food, sushi, ramen, pizza, coffee, beer, wine, and a great sandwich from a food truck.


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And then . . . there were these doughnuts.


And I’m not a doughnut kind of girl. I’ve never really liked the overly fluffy Krispy Kreme stuff. I know, I know — I probably need to turn in my Southern Girl card.

But these doughnuts. Ohhh my giddy aunt. There was a Mexican chocolate doughnut with cayenne. There was a doughnut with Cocoa Puffs on them. There was a doughnut shaped like a cock and balls (creme filled!). There was one with bubble gum. One with Rice Crispies. And on and on and on. And they were so damn good.

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VooDoo Doughnuts, people. I didn’t believe the hype, but I was wrong.

I also found my second heaven in Powell’s Used Book Store. Four stories of books and books and books. It was very hard to limit myself, knowing Steven and I only brought one carry-on between us. I settled on Select Charters Illustrative of English Constitutional History, published in 1900, along with some smaller books for the kids.



Between my horticultural amusement and Steven’s progressively bushier beard, we would fit quite well in Portland. As an added bonus, Honda Elements seem much more popular there.

Very soon we were back in the humid South, and it was back to business. Steven hopped back to work while the kids and I tried to get back on a schedule.

And this is where I reach the second half of my story. What, you thought I was done? Ha ha ha. Ha.


Saturday morning the four of us pile into Steven’s car to heard towards his parents to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. Everybody buckled, ready to go . . . aaaaaaand the car doesn’t start.

Now, this wasn’t exactly out of the blue. Steven’s car, a 2004 Saturn we bought from my parents in preparation for an impending Lydia, has been acting squirrelly for the last six months or so. There’s been noises, vibrations, some flicking lights business, and on rare occasion it will refuse to start.

So we wait a few minutes and try again — nothing. Well. We decide to worry about this looming event later and hop in Elliott to attend the birthday festivities.

On Sunday, the car magically starts, no problem. Okay . . fool me once. Plans are made for a bit of car shopping later in the week.

Steven drives to work fine on Monday. We figure the car is on its best behavior since we were contemplating a replacement. Monday afternoon I’m at gymnastics with the kids when I get a call from Steven — the car starts in the technical sense of the term, but really bad things are afoot and it is essentially undriveable.


Tuesday we find ourselves test-driving cars. “Hondas are good,” my brother-in-law texted me that morning. “Also Nissans and Fords. And don’t count out GM.”

“Haha,” I texted back. “It’s a GM car we just had to tow.”

We tried out a Honda Civic, Accord, and Crosstour (sadly, NO.), a Hyundai something, a Nissan that really didn’t do it for us, and a Volkswagen (nah). Then Steven scanned across the sea of cars, pointed, and said, “Is that a Volt?”

Five minutes later we’re test-driving a Chevrolet Volt. And it was awesome. It’s a range-extended electric vehicle, which is another way to say ‘fancy hybrid.’

And it was a GM.

And yet . . . we drove off the lot with a Chevy Volt. Whould’a thunk it?? Not me. So, here he is! His name is Voltaire.

. . . get it?


. . . . .

As for the Saturn, that saga is still ongoing. It’s a sad affair that I hopefully will never bore you with.

March 20, 2015
by Carrie

I promise to always turn back toward you

As part of our reading curriculum this year Lydia and I have been reading from chapter books. Actually, I’m reading them aloud and Lydia is listening. Chapter books have been a bit of a struggle with Lydia — she wants to read a book cover to cover in one sitting, so the concept of taking in a story a bit at a time has been foreign to her. We started off with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Tale of Desperaux, Matilda, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. She listened well to all of these books, some of them my own childhood favorites, but she still was not enthused about reading.

Last week as we were finishing up the Rats of NIMH, I picked up a book on a whim from the bookstore: Flora & Ulysses. After we were done with NIMH, we started up with our new book, which is about a girl who meets up with a very unique squirrel.

And just like that, Lydia fell in love.

Suddenly we found ourselves reading at a marathon pace whenever we could find the time — morning, evening, we were reading! The story completely captured her.

All too soon the story reached its end. We finished up the last few chapters this morning. Lydia spent the rest of the morning in a languid post-book depression. We colored some pictures from the book and Lydia worked on copying out a poem the squirrel, Ulysses, wrote for Flora.

She changed one thing, though. The original title of the poem is “Words for Flora.” She switched out “Flora” with “Mom.”

It now adorns my fridge.


March 13, 2015
by Carrie

sleep stories

Sam is beginning to realize he has dreams at night, so he’s usually looking forward to tell me about them in the morning. He hasn’t picked up on the word ‘dream,’ though; he calls them Sleep Stories. Man, he can be so damnably cute!

A few mornings ago he walks into the kitchen after waking up.

“Good morning, Samwise,” I greet him.

“Morning. Mommy, what happens if we don’t have a head?” Sam has been asking a lot of “What happens if . . .” questions, but this one takes me a bit by surprise. Lydia answers for me.

“We wouldn’t be able to live, so we’d die!” she cheerfully replies to Sam.

“Ohh,” Sam muses. He nonchalantly adds, “I had a Sleep Story and Lydia didn’t have a head and she came up and hugged me.”

Eeeesh. “Geez, Baby, that sounds more like a Sleep Nightmare!”

“Ohh.” Sam thinks for a minute. “Can I have a cherry Pop Tart?”

March 2, 2015
by Carrie

words of comfort

Earlier this month my very old and trusty Panasonic pencil sharpener honed its last pencil. I had to order a new sharpener, which came in the other day.

This Monday is the first day we’ve put it through its paces. Sadly, this sharpener isn’t up to snuff compared to my old Panasonic.

“Man, this sharpener isn’t very good,” I lament to Lydia.

Lydia, ever the empathetic soul, hopped out of her chair to give me a hug and comfort me.

“Don’t worry, Mom,” she coos. “Someday, you’re gonna die.”

February 26, 2015
by Carrie
1 Comment

winter wonderpoop

Over the past week the weather has been taking us through the emotional wringer with constant threats of snow, none of which ever materialized. Our latest and greatest chance was yesterday. Thankfully, I never mentioned to the kids that it might snow, so they were none the wiser when all it did was rain all day.

Right before the kids went to bed last night, the rain briefly changed over to some big, wet snowflakes. Any snow, including flurries, is an uncommon event here in Alabama, so I called Lydia over to the window to have a look before climbing into bed.

“Come look outside, Lydia,” I offer.

Lydia strolled up and looked out the window with me to see the big fluffy flakes dropping onto the deck. “It’s . . . raining? What is it?” she asked.

“What do you think it looks like, baby?”

“Ewww! It’s bird poop!”

January 19, 2015
by Carrie

it’s all greek to me

It seems not that long ago Lydia was a fast-moving toddler running up and down the halls with her cousin, Elizabeth.


A short five or so years later, she’s writing her cousin’s name in Greek.


Time is weird.

January 7, 2015
by Carrie
1 Comment

life with a four year old, part two

It’s snacktime. Sam has some goldfish and oranges in a bowl. He hops up in his seat and promptly knocks his spoon to the ground. <Baymax> Oh no. </Baymax>

Sam climbs down out of his seat. He grabs his spoon and puts it back in his bowl. He continues to hold his spoon while climbing back into his seat, which results in him tipping over his bowl and spilling some of the orange juice on the table.

“Wahhhhhhh!” Sam cries. I tell him to get a paper towel to wipe up his juice. Sam climbs down out of his seat, comes over and gets some paper towels. He then climbs back up into his seat and wipes up the spilled juice.

He climbs down out of his seat with the wet paper towel and throws it in the trash. Back at the table, Sam climbs back up into his seat and promptly knocks his spoon to the ground.

<Baymax> Oh no. </Baymax>

December 29, 2014
by Carrie

kitchen complaints, episode four

Earlier this evening we sit down together as a family of four to eat dinner. I become aware of loud smacking and chomping noises to my right — Sam is wolfing down his dinner again.

“Sam, slow down and enjoy your food,” I admonish.

Sam, taking me literally, looks me dead in the eye then stuffs his entire sandwich in his mouth in agonizingly slow motion.