She was an American Girl, Tom Petty.

Early last week we drove to Kansas City, where we did a little bit of this.

The Kansas City American Girl Store!

(The girls did eventually enter the store.)

You know, while I was pregnant, I swore that my daughters would not become girly girls. I also swore that they wouldn’t watch a bunch of television and that they would be good eaters. Anyway. Meredith took an American Girl class at her school’s summer enrichment program, and the girls have been reading the American Girl books and choosing their favorite characters (and saving their money, believe it or not) for the past several weeks.

Nicole and Meredith

Meredith knew exactly who she was looking for when we entered the store—Just Like Me Doll #53. She and Jeff headed to that end of the store while Harper asked a sales associate to talk her through the historical dolls so she could make the right decision. (I think she knew exactly who she wanted, but enjoyed “interviewing” the store employee to get more facts.)

Harper and Molly

It’s Molly! Her time period in the books is set during World War II, and I knew that Harper was paying attention to this when she told Meredith that “Molly likes to sleep a lot, because sleeping helps her forget about the war.” Admittedly, I haven’t read the books, but I have to wonder what led to Harper’s immediate need to get a wheelchair for Molly. (“She won’t be able to walk again for at least two years. Or more.”) So, while Nicole (JLM#53) is jumping around and trying on earrings (Yes. Both dolls got their ears pierced at the Doll Hair Salon.), Molly is sitting in a wheelchair wishing that this whole war thing had never happened.

You may think the American Girl thing is crazy. Here’s what I think is crazy:

Crazy Fudge Man

Crazy Fudge Guy. He slapped the fudge and threw the fudge and made bad fudge jokes and although I felt the same level of discomfort around him that I tend to feel around circus clowns and college mascots, he threw me over the edge when he passed his fudge spatula around the room and encouraged everyone to fill their finger with fresh fudge. (If you know me, you know that I cannot touch food like that. Standing around watching people fudge themselves and then lick their fingers threw me into crazy panic mode.)

So, we left and found a miniature waterfall.

Don't go chasing waterfalls.

Later that evening, I was able to evaluate my decision to stick with vegetarianism as Jeff ate one of the only things I miss—big deep fried crazy meat sandwiches sprinkled in powdered sugar with raspberry preserves on the side. Ah, Monte Cristo. (I remained strong. After 12 months of vegetables and beans, I will NOT let a deep fried meat and cheese sandwich bring me down!) ((I dipped my fries in the raspberry preserves.))

Monte Cristo!

Remind me sometime to tell you about when we tried to make a Monte Cristo during the university days. It weighed about ten pounds and was filled with oil and was probably not very safe to eat, but we still managed to eat it, because it had taken so much effort to make—what with our lack of a proper Fry Daddy and all. We also ate a turkey on the roof of our house on New Year’s Eve and danced in the snowy street on Groundhog Day. Those were the days. Speaking of which, after we left Kansas City on Thursday, we went to Columbia, Missouri—the town where I danced in the street and ate a turkey on the roof and attempted to make a decent Monte Cristo.

Shakespeare’s doesn’t carry orange soda anymore, and I think that’s insane because nothing goes with broccoli pizza like orange soda.

Oh, broccoli pizza! How I love you!

(They now carry Coke products. And maybe they’ve ALWAYS carried Coke products. I don’t know, because I ALWAYS HAD ORANGE SODA. Dr. Pepper is NOT an acceptable replacement. Life can be so hard sometimes.)

MC loves Shakespeare's!

The girls didn’t mind the lack of orange soda. They love Shakespeare’s. They love watching the pizza being made, and they love that the guy who was making it flipped some dough over the window for them to play with. Best of all, my love for Mizzou is rubbing off on them. The one thing they wanted to do before we left town was have their photo taken by the columns with their American Girl dolls.

The Girls and The Girls at The Columns

(The quad was blocked off, so we had to stay on the sidewalk. Not a big deal. We’ll be back.)

On the way home, I put about three inches worth of sock on my needles.

Knitting Socks on the Road

I haven’t felt very enthusiastic about socks lately, but last week something happened that suddenly made me feel enthusiastic about socks. More on that later. When they’re done.

(We boarded Scout for four days and three nights while we were gone. When we picked her up, she had been bathed and bandanafied, and we have photo evidence that she enjoyed playing in the pool with the big dogs. Meanwhile, the cats were home entertaining ideas of us eventually returning WITHOUT Scout. Sometimes, it’s nice to dream.)

Back from Puppy Camp! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Not all boys are jerks. But sometimes their parents are.

I’m coming to you from Kansas City, where our hotel shower feels like machine gun fire, and the pool is often filled with young boys who are here to participate in a baseball tournament. Last night I actually ventured out in my swimsuit (for the first time in years) to enjoy some pool time with the girls. When I noticed that the pool was filled with over a dozen boys hurling baseballs at each other, I joined the girls in the hot tub for a few moments, and then I headed back to the room to knit while the girls swam in the pool with Jeff.

This morning we walked over to the breakfast area, where the girls (with their new American Girl dolls) chose a table that faced a table full of baseball boy parents. When the waiter brought special high chairs to our table for the dolls (I know! It’s part of the package!), one of the moms at the next table rolled her eyes, sighed, and LOUDLY said, “I’m so glad I didn’t have girls. I can’t deal with all of that trouble. I can’t do dolls.” (She said this after traveling over 300 miles for her kid to play baseball in stupid hot temperatures! I suppose everyone has their own definition of trouble!)

Me: Shut up.

(Not really.)

Me: I’m just wondering how you’re able to teach your son manners if you don’t have any manners of your own!

(Not really.)

Me: Mmmm! Smell those pancakes! AND, know that girls tend to outperform boys in olfactory sensitivity tests! So, it’s actually EASIER to have girls than boys! You know, when it comes to smelling things and taking tests on what you’ve just smelled!

To me, kids are kids. Girls don’t have to “do” dolls just like boys don’t have to “do” baseball. You do what you do. Also, some parents are assholes. I try my best not to be.

Whoosh! I’m now coming to you from Columbia! Time keeps on slipping, and we’re off to fill my need for broccoli pizza and orange soda. Have I mentioned that we’re just a little over $1,500 away from Aaron getting his bike? This is such a good thing. (Donations are still being accepted! Feel free to join us as we reach our goal!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

No one’s gloomy or complaining while the flatware’s entertaining!

Breakfast with Belle

We’re back. The trip was amazing and fast and as you can see, we met a beautiful princess.

Actually, we met a bunch of princesses. We had breakfast with them!

Oh, Ariel.

Me: Ask Ariel if she misses her dad.

Harper: Why?

Me: Because she decided that she would rather have legs and a boy than a family who loved her. Also, poor Flounder.

My mom: Shut up.

I’ll be editing and placing photos into this set during the next few days. Keep checking back if you want. (And, yes. I went a leetle cuhrazy when it came to shooting photos of Cinderella’s castle. I really have no idea what I was doing. It changes colors! So sparkly! ClickClickClickClickClick!!!)

One more thing: Although I’m not one of them, I totally understand the fully grown women who go to Disney World wearing red and white polka dotted shirts and Minnie Mouse ears. If you’re going to be a character you may as well go balls out, and When in Rome, right? But here’s the thing. Although I will not laugh at you if you’re 40 years old, not employed by Walt Disney World, and you’re all dressed up to look like a mouse, I probably won’t be able to control my Eyebrows of Judgment if you’re also screaming at your child who’s acting a bit nuts after eating the Dumbo-sized funnel cake that you just purchased for him. Lady. You’re dressed up like a mouse. You just fed your kid a gigantic cake covered in sugar. He’s now out of control, and all of a sudden you’re Joan Crawford with a weird fake tail. (I really wanted to take that little boy home with me, feed him some vegetables, and give him a night full of sanity. Isn’t it sad that option isn’t available?)

Main Street bedecked for the holidays!

This is the scene that I want to create in my own backyard. (Minus the millions of people, Plus! More! Castle!)
Come watch me grow larger and leave a comment for a chance to win a $150 Visa gift card! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

M-I-C… See you real soon!

This afternoon my parents announced that they are taking our family and my sister’s family to Disney World for Thanksgiving.

The girls are smiling from ear to ear and studying their Birnbaum Guides to make sure they don’t miss anything during our stay.

I haven’t been to Disney World since I was thirteen years old.

This is going to be good. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I’m not internationally known, but I’m known to rock the microphone.

On Saturday morning, we packed up the car and headed to Columbia, Missouri to watch the Missouri Tigers KILL the Colorado Buffalos. (I’m all-capping the word KILL to make you think I’m a big football fan. In reality? Not so much. The final score of the game was 26-0, which I believe qualifies as a kill. Remind me to tell you about the time I found myself in Colorado playing the horn of some guy who was out sick with a foot fungus. During that same trip, I ended up wearing a sombrero and singing in a mariachi band. I live the life I love and I love the life I live.)


Our seats were way on the eastern side of the field, and I think we all know that I’m making that eastern thing up. I have no sense of direction. All I know is that 21-year-old students look a lot younger now than they did when I was a student at Mizzou.

While we were in Columbia, Jeff and the girls were very patient with me as I shared my most remarkable memories with them.


I once (mostly accidentally) shaved my head, and my best friend (who was one of the Trumans!) cheered me up by letting me parade around in her Truman suit.

That particular incident most likely took place in this house, which was known as the DOG House, and my capitalization would make much more sense if I was allowed to use Greek letters in this post:


(The incident really did take place at the DOG house, but I’m not completely sure this IS the DOG house. My shadow is growing longer!!! And why are Greek letters giving me error messages?!)

Look at this building and tell me it doesn’t look like a fish with a big gaping mouth that vomits sorority girls!

Memorial Union Fish Face

I know! I think so, too!

Puke Bench

Speaking of vomit, it was at this very bench where my friend Séve and I took a break from walking home after a long night out. While taking that break, I leaned over and threw up onto the sidewalk. (I know. I was just as mortified as you are right now.) Séve, God love him, simply squeezed my hand and said, “Oh, honey. You had spaghetti for supper.” (Yes. The girls are pretending to throw up in the photo. They also pretended to cry afterward, because I always cry after throwing up. I gave birth to Good Sports.)

Columns with Girls

We hung out at the columns, where I once engaged in a Big Mac fight, because I was young and stupid and not yet aware of how many homeless people were roaming the streets just a few blocks over.

903 Moss

This is the house where I lived after graduation. It’s a tiny house, and four of us (sometimes five, sometimes seven and a baby) lived there. I spent many hours sitting on the roof of that house. (One of my roommates built the screened-in porch, which eventually brought us down from the roof.)

Pens come in handy.

When everyone is talking football and the only thing to eat is meaty sandwiches, Harper and I tend to transform our hands into hecklers.

Harper Quote of the Weekend: The sweat in my armpit smells like onions.

Meredith Quote of the Weekend: When I burp it tastes like sausage.

And I share these quotes not because I feel you need to know them, but because I want to remember them. This is my canvas.

My roommate once told me I was Very Wide. Follow this link to read the story, and you could win $150! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Don’t mind us. We’re just perpetuating the stereotype…

On Saturday morning, we bundled up with coffee and doughnuts, sat lawn chairs on the side of the road, and enjoyed the high school’s homecoming parade.

The girls were very excited to see Pete the Pirate. (Actually, they were excited to see that Pete was throwing Tootsie Rolls. The hurling of the candy is their favorite part of the parade.)


I was surprised to see how many people showed up to represent the class who graduated from the high school during the year that I was born. (Note to my fellow WHS 1988 graduates: Don’t count on me riding a “float” and/or wearing owl headgear in 2028.)

Class of 1970

As an editor, I’m always excited to find spelling errors during parades.

This one was due to adhesive failure, and cannot be blamed on the junior class.


This one? I’m really hoping it had everything to do with the sign maker and nothing to do with the athletic department.

Acitivities. Hhhhhh.

Meredith: How do you say that word? Assitivities?

Me: Um, no. A-city-vitties.

Meredith: I like Assitivities.

Me: Hhhhh. Me too.
You are cordially invited to admire my senior photo from high school and take a chance at winning $150!

Please read about my extraordinary family, and follow the links to win all sorts of prizes! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

If that billy goat won’t play, Mama’s gonna keep it anyway.

School started three weeks ago, and because I’m scared to death of having nothing to do, I’ve somehow managed to fill my calendar with arrows and freelance assignments and out-of-character plans like “September 7 – PTO meeting”. While I have your attention, let’s get something straight. Although I live in the United States, where periods tend to fall INSIDE the quotation marks, I actually prefer putting them OUTSIDE the marks—as is supposedly preferred in the United Kingdom. I’m living on the edge over here! Someone send me some cherry bakewells!

Let’s see. I was folding laundry on Friday, and I came across a pair of Jeff’s underpants that were ripped a bit between the elastic and the fabric. SO, Harper and I did what anyone would do. We designed a bunny sling.

Slinging Bunnies

The only person in the house who isn’t completely crazy about our brilliant Fruit of the Loom repurposing scheme is Jeff. However, I do believe he’ll come around when he sees that We’re Going to Be Millionaires.

On Saturday, we drove to Springfield to visit my sister and her family. While there, I fell in love with this guy.


Oh, this goat. He was above begging for food. He didn’t try to chew on my shirt. He just wanted to chill out and have his nose scratched. (Confession: While Jeff and the girls created a ruckus, I ran out of the zoo with the goat. He’s currently sitting on the stool next to me doing what goats tend to do—throwing back wheat grass shots and asking questions about html and the embedding of photos. I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I know more than the goat. (He can’t read, and his attention span barely exists. But he’s really cute, and I’ve heard rumors that he can play the tenor saxophone.))

Meanwhile, the girls have decided that we need a dog.


My sister’s dog is crazy and fun and loves to jump around and play ball, and we don’t have anything like that in our house.

(Except for the goat. But that’s our little secret. Ixnay on the Oatgay.)

((Wait. Speaking of Billy Goat (which we really weren’t, right?), I once went to one of their shows. Ah, to be twenty again.))

(((On a semi-related note: Am I too old for Doc Martens? Because just look at these. I’d almost trade the goat for them.)))

Only one week left!!! Come over here, read about my disaster cake decorating experience, tell me a funny story, and you could win $150! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

He was indeed a hunk, a hunk of burning love.

So, you know I went to Graceland last week. What I neglected to tell you is that I freaked out with all of the “Do Not Bring Blah, Blah, Blah into the Park” signs and left my camera in the car.

Luckily, my mom had more sense than I did, and she allowed me to use her camera.

I am about to give you a mini-tour of Graceland.

“Hello there! I’m Big Noggin Angela with the nostrils that might eat you! I’m wearing headphones that have been sprayed with Lysol! I’m your purple dressed tour guide who can’t figure out how to get the date to NOT appear on the photos! You look pretty today!”

That's me again.

When you enter the Graceland Mansion and look to the right, you see this room. This is where guests would sit and wait for Elvis to walk down the stairs. I’m thinking about having one of those peacocks tattooed up the entire left side of my body so that it looks as if I’m being pecked on the ear. Welcome to my mid-life crisis!


This is the kitchen, and I loved it because it looks like my parents’ kitchen in the 70s. It also looks like YOUR parents’ kitchen in the 70s. We are the world!


This is the lounge where Elvis played the piano on the morning of his death. According to the Lysol scented voices in my head, he loved to gather friends in this room to sing gospel tunes. It’s 07/10/2010!


This is Lisa Marie’s swing set, and I love knowing that she probably burned her butt going down her slide just like I burned my butt going down my slide. Once again, we’re all more alike than we are different, don’t you think?

Metal slide!

This is not a great photograph, but I had to add it, because it’s right around the corner from Elvis’s grave, and when I first saw it I thought it said, “Thank you for not smiling.” and I immediately smiled because it’s sort of like “Don’t picture a pink elephant in your head.” isn’t it?

Grave Bush

My mom saw this and wondered why the album at position (2,2) is crooked.

Adjustment needed at B2

Similarly, Mom wondered why the left side of this vest is a bit shorter than the right. Mom has quite an eye for detail. I have quite an eye for tear duct infections. But, with a few drops of antibiotics, it cleared right up! See how I’m tying this post together with the post from last week? By the way: I need glasses!

Adjustment needed on right bottom.

I loved this suit so much that I’m now thinking of designing a white knitted shawl with cascading blue and silver beads. And I know I’ll never get to it, but it does seem like a lovely idea.

My favorite suit

These are Elvis’s shoes as seen on Elvis’s plane. When I saw these shoes, I just knew that Elvis and I could have been great friends.


Ah, yes. There’s one (or sixteen) in every crowd, no?


Enjoy your day. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Today’s heat index is 115.

I have returned home from Memphis. Actually, I returned three days ago, and have been spending the past 72 hours in an Elvis haze. I’ll just say this: If Elvis was still around and I wasn’t married with children, I would consider being his girlfriend if he would have me. Even with the 35 year age difference. As long as he stayed away from booze and junk. (I think we can all agree that a narcotized/sauced 75-year-old guy does not earn many kisses.)

Anyway. While in Memphis, we did that thing where you watch ducks walk from an elevator to a fountain.

We ate cupcakes.



We went to a bad yarn store and a good yarn store.

We ate at a restaurant where the employees throw rolls at the customers.

Best of all, I am now the proud owner of a Graceland spoon rest.

ETA: Psst! CrazyMomTats!
Spoons Rest Here ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I ate a waffle on a mountain.

I don’t want to bore you with long windy stories about our vacation.

Instead, I’ll show you some of my favorite photos.

The view from our hotel room:
View from Room 843

From the top of Rendezvous Mountain:
On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever

Totally loving the mountain thing:
We are a mountain loving family. 100%.

I ate a waffle (and drank a Fat Tire) on the top of Rendezvous Mountain:
It has taken forty years for me to be able to say, "I drank a beer and ate a waffle on the top of a snowy mountain in Wyoming!"

The girls rode a horse at the Diamond Cross Ranch:
MC and Harper loved riding Freckles at the Diamond Cross Ranch.

We hiked at Grand Teton National Park:
I never got tired of seeing this. (I have 743 photos that look Just Like This One.)

(The entire set may be seen here.)

Other notable events: I had my first OSM waffle at The Bunnery and am now obsessed with finding a recipe. I ate a soft pretzel at Old Faithful because it seemed like the right thing to do. I accidentally exposed my underpants to the photographer at the Alpine Slide, and will now try my best to either sit like a lady while riding a ski lift, or leave the skirts at home. (Seeing my splayed legs and pink underpants showcased on the computer screen as we were asked if we wanted to purchase a souvenir was a bit horrifying.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>