Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

May 16, 2018
by Carrie
Comments Off on fly you fools

fly you fools

So I forgot to do my little dinky birthday post cat meme thing last week. First time I’ve missed it in years. Whoops!

Well, I was a bit busy that day.

Starting when Lydia turned five, Steven and I began a tradition: we would take the birthday kid out all day on their actual birthday, just the three of us. It didn’t matter if it was a weekday, weekend, or National Doughnut Day, we would go out and do whatever that particular birthday kid wanted. Chuck E Cheese? Sure! McWane Center? You bet!

I love this tradition. It’s up there with Pumpkin and backyard bonfires.

But it never occurred to us that we could have it for ourselves, too. Part of the problem is Steven’s birthday: his day is completely sidelined by Lydia’s. My birthday is part of The Gauntlet. So we get overlooked.

Until this year. For me, at least.

This year my birthday was on a Wednesday, and Steven takes me out for the entire day. So that’s why there wasn’t a birthday post. I was indisposed.

Early that morning after dropping the kids off we go to the new TopGolf place in downtown Birmingham. It’s like bowling, but golf! The aim is to hit golf balls way out in this green space that’s littered with targets to hit. You’re positioned in a big awning space open to the outside, and while you’re golfing you can also order up food and drinks.

Now, I’ve never swung a golf club outside of putt putt before, and I am feeling completely ridiculous with the first few — or twenty! — swings. Half the time I completely miss the ball! Once I get more used to it I don’t feel quite so silly and I’m able to hit some targets. In between shots, we feast on chicken and waffles along with some mimosas. Steven gets ridiculously good by the end, consistently hitting the farthest target. I like the kind of golf where you don’t have to walk around all the time!

After TopGolf it is nearing lunch, so we head to the Avondale Common House. I’ve eaten there many times before but it is a first for Steven. I’ve been wanting to take him for a while. I enjoy my salmon poke bowl and Steven is also pleased with his Rueben sandwich. If you ever go there, look up at the ceiling. It’s my favorite part!

Next it is time for the most outlandish event of the day: zip-lining. Now, I am neither outdoorsy nor a big fan of heights, but this was actually my idea. I’m not sure why I was willing to sign up for this . . . perhaps I’m trying to prove I’m not too old yet.

So, at 2:30 p.m. on May 2nd, 2018, I am perched on the edge of an 80 foot high tower connected to a hundred foot long cable, gussied up in all sorts of heavy climbing gear, cursing my earlier self using all the best drumline language I know.

Steven has already flown down. I was supposed to go on the line parallel to him, but my brain, despite all the safety harnesses and double-triple backups that I knew were in place, won’t let me shove myself off the platform. So here I crouch.

“You can do this!” Steven hollers from the ground. “It’s great!”

“It’s fine,” Paul Rudd #1 assures me. We had three Official Park Zip-lining People with us, and two of them looked like Paul Rudd à la Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The third guy looks like the tall skinny dude from In the Loop (though most of y’all know him from Silicon Valley or The Office). “People get nervous all the time. You can go when you’re ready.”

Paul Rudd #2 and the In the Loop dude are at the other ends of the line. “Woooooo! You can do it!” screams Paul Rudd #2 over the radio.

And here I crouch. While I am sitting there, I know, I KNOW, that I will eventually jump. I know I will do it. But knowing I would jump versus actually jumping are two different things.

Overriding that part of your brain that is solely intent on keeping you from spectacularly killing yourself is really difficult. Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

“Jump, Carrie,” I think to myself. “Do it. Jump. Jump. Jump.” And each time I think, “jump,” I fully intend to do so. “Jump. Jump. Jump, fool!”

And I jump.

I’m falling, I’m flying, and hey, I’m not dead! The trees blur past me on either side, and streams of drumline language pour out of my mouth as I race down.

“Wooooooooo!” scream everybody from below.

“$&@#%€¥ $& @£%#!!!” I holler back.

On my next jump (we get to go twice each), I don’t hesitate, so Steven and I are able to fly down together.

I am also able to hold back on the language the second go-around.

After hearing our tales from the day, Lydia is super jealous about the zip-lining part. Unfortunately for her, she needs to gain about 15 pounds and four inches before she can have her own little freakout experience.

Sam is content to keep his two feet on the ground.

Thankfully, neither of them know much drumline language yet.

April 26, 2018
by Carrie
Comments Off on allergies are optional

allergies are optional

A few weeks ago we planned to attend a hockey game in town, but through an unfortunate set of circumstances we ended up in a movie theater instead.

Sam jabbered away about the strongest Godzillas while we waited for the movie to start. The movie screen was subjecting us to a smorgasbord of commercials when suddenly an Allegra commercial came on, imploring us to remember the other patrons in the movie theater: no talking, please turn off your cell phones . . . **big sneeze** and turn off your allergies.

Yeah, okayyyyy, because that’s super easy. Why didn’t I think of that?

A few minutes later Allegra was back with another winner that showed cute video clips of sneezing animals set to a bouncy little tune. “It’s cute when they sneeze,” Allegra says. “But not when we do it.”

Geez Allegra, thanks for the allergy shaming. Can we just start the movie now?

February 11, 2018
by Carrie
Comments Off on kitchen complaints, episode ten

kitchen complaints, episode ten

Sam is not a fan of the Imperial system, but this isn’t really so much a complaint as a cross examination. It was discussed over dinner, though, so work with me here.

Sam: “Mom, how high does a plane fly? Is it close to the tallest building?”

Me: “Planes fly at 39,000 feet, baby.”

Sam: “No, in meters.”

Me: “Hmm, Alexa, how many meters is 39,000 feet?”

Alexa: “39,000 feet is 11,887.2 meters.”

Me: “There you go, buddy. 11,887 meters.”

Sam: “How many tallest buildings in the world is that?”

Me: “Uhh, how tall is the tallest building in the world?”

Sam: “828 meters.”

Me: “Okay. Alexa, what is 11,887 divided by 828?”

Alexa: “11,887 divided by 828 is 14.3562801932.”

Me: “So, to get to the height of a plane, you would need about 14 and a third of the tallest buildings.”

Sam: “A third? So 14 plus three more?”

Me: “No, a third is a piece of a whole. It’s . . okay, you would need 14 of the tallest buildings and one Shin Godzilla.”

Sam: “Okay.”

February 8, 2018
by Carrie
Comments Off on call me maybe

call me maybe

This morning I was teaching the last day of a three-day class when my phone rings.

“Whoops, sorry about that,” I apologize as I silence my ringer.

Thirty seconds later I see my phone flashing silently — it’s the same number, trying again. It’s a local number but I don’t recognize it, so I let it ring through.

Another minute later my phone is silently ringing again. Same number. Now I begin to think . . . what if my mother-in-law and the kids have been in a car accident, and a Good Samaritan has found my number in her phone, and they’re struggling to reach me, to tell me my kids are in an accident, but they’re okay, but you need to get here now. Now!

No. No no no. Take a breath. That’s too far-fetched. But why is this number so insistent?

It rings a fourth time, silently but urgently. I have the full attention of some 20 people, but my mind is racing about that phone call and what could be going on.

A fifth time. Okay, I’ve got to.

“Sorry, guys; this number has called me five times. I’ve got to see what’s up.”

The class waits silently as I answer, “Hello?”

“Is this Mrs Williams, Samuel’s mom?”

“Yes . . .”

“This is an appointment reminder for tomorrow with Dr. Mosis. Please arrive at 1:00 p.m. for your 1:30 p.m. appointment.”

“Okay. Will do.”

Well. Apparently Sam has an appointment with the most insistent doctor’s office in the state of Alabama.

January 18, 2018
by Carrie
Comments Off on kitchen complaints, episode nine

kitchen complaints, episode nine

For dinner tonight we were all sitting down to a lovely spread of pork tenderloin and rice, one of the few dinners the kids will actually eat for the most part. Sam still isn’t a fan of rice since the whole FPIES thing.

As Sam is thoughtfully chewing, it begins: “Mom, did you . . . Mom, do you . . . Mom, do you know of . . . Mom? Mom, do you know that bad word that starts with a ‘ck’ sound?”

Oh, is it going to be one of those conversations?

“It has a ‘ck’ in it?” I ask. “Umm, you mean like the word at the end of Spiderman?”

This is our household’s reference to the ever-adaptable f-word, which Aunt May almost says at the end of Spiderman: Homecoming and Sam absolutely had to know what it was she was about to say, so we told him on the condition that he will not use that word (yet). So far, he has kept to his promise.

“No, I don’t mean the f-word,” he continues, “It starts with a ‘ck.’ ”

Well, only one other word popped into my mind. “Uhh . . . well, does it rhyme with ‘runt’ ?”

While Sam retreated back into his mind to work that one out, Lydia, ever the helpful sister, loudly and proudly solved the puzzle for him.


It turned out the word he was thinking about was ‘crap.’

December 24, 2017
by Carrie
Comments Off on christmas eve update

christmas eve update

Sam is having an Arthur moment.


Times the cat has eaten the tree and barfed: 0! This count is just no fun without Renton.
Times the cat has launched off the tree skirt and irritated the stew out of Mom: 26
How many ornaments the kids have broken: 1
How many ornaments Mom has broken: 2
How many cookies Mom has made: 381. That’s an exact count.
How many years we’ve had our Christmas Tree: 14
How many branches have snapped off the Christmas Tree: 4 🙁

December 13, 2017
by Carrie
Comments Off on the sum is greater than the equal of its parts

the sum is greater than the equal of its parts

So I have been keeping up with this blog for a long time — since 2003. That’s over 14 years! But outside of one single post I haven’t touched very much on one of my life’s cornerstones: band.

From middle school through high school to college, band was my life. If you couldn’t find me, the first place to look was the band room. Once, I found my 6th Period Health classroom locked, lights out, no note . . . so I went to the band room. I was marked as skipping class and earned my only Saturday school detention. I’m a bit proud of that. Thanks, Coach Wilson.

Most of my friendships today originated in band. Both me and my sister first met our husbands in band. Band was the absolute shiznit . . but after three years of marching band in college I realized I needed to graduate someday, so 2000 was my last year.

And that was it. I had to replace music with horticulture, then came graduation, work, marriage, kids, and oh my god I’m 37.

And then last month a friend of mine (from band! — hi, Meredith!) tagged me in a post on Facebook about a band. A bonafide community band that anyone could join. So me and my little dinky set of bells I snagged for $30 from a local sale made my way up to Hipstertown.

And ohhh, I was so nervous! And so out of practice! And I sucked and hit wrong notes all over the place . . and I loved every second of it. Every sucky note was music to my ears, and I was surrounded by my people: Band Geek people.

After 17 years it all came flooding back: reading the music, memorizing the sticking, counting the long rests, and practicing until you can’t get it wrong. I have missed this, but it’s been so long I didn’t even realize it.

Last weekend we even had a Christmas concert! I was so nervous at first — there were a lot of people! — but as the music started I settled into Music Mode and then it was over much too soon. Despite the cold, I could have played for hours.

We will start up again after the New Year and I’m so excited to see what we will be playing next. My New Year’s Resolution for 2018 will be to memorize all my music before the next concert — then hopefully there will be less sucky notes and more awesomesauce.

November 26, 2017
by Carrie
Comments Off on the tree + two, 2017

the tree + two, 2017

And now I present to you The Tree, 2017:

Lydia is in charge of the smaller tree and Sam is supposed to be in charge of the smallest tree . . . but he would rather me do it.

Total lights on the tree: 2,880; surprisingly less than last year.

Total number of incandescent lights: 100

Total number of LED lights: 2,780

Times the cat has eaten the tree and barfed: 0!

Amount of interest the cat has shown in the tree this year: 0, but he’s fascinated with the tree skirt.

Ornaments Mom has broken: 1

Amount of new lights strung up on the two trees outside: 1,000

Cookies Mom has cooked: 79

August 26, 2017
by Carrie
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parental supervision

During dinner last night Sam slowly chewed on his hot dog while staring into space. I wave my hand in front of him until I catch his attention.

“What’re you thinking about, buddy?” Steven asks.

“Ohh, I’m just trying not to think about a video I saw,” Sam replies.

“Why don’t you want to think about it?”

“It was just the WORST THING EVER. I saw it on YouTube Kids, and I don’t want to think about it because it was the WORST,” he answers.

Steven and I glance at each other across the table. “Uhh, well now I’m a little curious,” muses Steven, “Can you tell us anything about it?”

“But I don’t want to think about it!” Sam protests. “It was absolutely horrible!”

Steven looks as concerned as I’m feeling. Sometimes weird things can sneak through YouTube Kids’ filter. Oh Lord, what has he seen?

“Well buddy, now you’re going to have to tell us, or else we’re going to worry,” I explain.

Sam mulls over that for a second. “Well, okay, but it’s horrible.” He takes a deep breath. “It’s a video about Halloween and there are kids and they eat too much candy and then they THROW UP!!!”

August 23, 2017
by Carrie
Comments Off on kitchen complaints, episode eight

kitchen complaints, episode eight

In the past year the kids have been more willing to eat the food Steven and I cook for ourselves, but it’s still a 50-50 shot. This evening we went simple with some chicken thighs.

“Hmmm,” Sam mused while poking at his chicken, “You know, I don’t like this chicken very much. I like it just a little bit.”