Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Cool pumpkins from our fall festival at church made by the lovely and talented Mrs. Summer and her partner in crime, Mrs. Jenny. Awesome job! Why can't I be this creative?

The Fall Festival

I don't know why this photo cracked me up so much...maybe seeing the Ice Princess, Batman, and Dora the Explorer Princess shoving pizza in their faces in front of the TV before leaving for the Fall Festival was just more than I could process.

It was another full weekend to say the least. The Husband and I went on a real date on Friday night. Whoo-hoo! We dropped the twins at a gymnastics function, the son went to spend the night with a buddy, and Nana came and kept the terror, er, toddler. We went to a really fine steak house and had a lovely time of it. It was nice to eat a meal out in public without having to find out if they had chocolate milk, order an extra plate, or cut up anyone's food as it came to the table.

Saturday night was the big Fall Festival at church. I thought that it was a really solid success and was proud of our people and the amazing talent that was manifested! Whoa some of the decorations and costumes and food! Most importantly, the kids had a huge time.

Lily kept making faces. I guess she was trying to overcompensate for the no mask situation.

And here is the hap, hap, happiest fairy in the entire land of Alabama. Elaina decided that she didn't like the black leotard body suit I planned for her to wear under her "itchy" fairy costume, and the pink one we settled on "isn't blue or purple like the costume, Mom!!!!" so she stood around like this until I let her run back to the house and put on jeans and a sweater. (You'll never discern who my picky child is...)

We had to pry Lily out of the Dora princess costume by letting her wear Batman while Dora was in the wash

You can tell we had a big time....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

When you gotta go...

The next time my son tells me while we are in the middle of a church service that he has to go pee, I can assure you that I'll pay better attention.

We have a rule that the kids know they are supposed to go use the facilities between class and service (morning and evening). I took Carter to the potty right before the service started at 6:00 p.m., so at 6:50 when he started squirming and holding 'it' in the pew I told him to sit still and be quiet, that it would only be a few more minutes. Well, it was something like 20 more minutes (Bad Mommy), and I'd forgotten all about his situation. (Must have been that amazing sermon The Husband was delivering.)

The second the last word was prayed in the dismissal, Carter Big Boy went screaming out the side door of the sanctuary like he was on fire. In his panic to get to the potty, he went out the wrong side of the building. Finding himself out in the grass as far as he could possibly be from the bathroom two buildings over, he did the only thing that he could do in that precarious situation.

He whipped it out and let it rip.

So there stood the Number One Son making the Number One in the side yard of the church santuary just as everyone began exiting the building. Naturally, he was on the side that faces the parking lot too. So I don't want to hear one word of it the next time he tromps up the aisle in the middle of the preaching to go use the facilities. It beats taking a pee in the front yard of the church building. Ha-ha! (You can't make this stuff up.)

Monday, October 22, 2007


My son is going as Batman to our church Fall Festival this year. He has been so excited about this costume that I can't even tell it properly. He pets it, holds it, wears it the second he gets home from school until I force him to put on night clothes...the whole works. He's obsessed.

Unfortunately for him, so is his baby sister, Lillian. She covets that costume. She watches him intently every time he puts it on, persistently asking if she can "just twie it one time, Tar-tar".

Nothing doing. He's not giving that costume up to anyone, much less his pesky, destructive 3-yr-old sister. Not in this lifetime.

The other night after Carter fell asleep earlier than the other kids. Lily was still up and about and saw what must have appeared to her as a Sign From God--Carter sleeping beside the costume and not in or on top of the costume. She snuck that mask and cape out of his bed and rushed into my bedroom too giddy to speak, just shaking all over, still stealing glances over her shoulder, fearful that the sneaky mouse would be rudely ended with a screaming Carter chasing her.

She clutched the stolen cape tightly to her chest, giggling wildly, and hissed at me in a hot little whisper, "No, I not Lily, I BATMAN!"

The Land of Loxley

Thank goodness for Rest Stops!

This is going to have to be broken up into several posts because there is so much data to cover. We'll start with the Pig Roast in Loxley (simply because that seems to be as good a place as any to start). We left right after school and headed south to the town of Foley, which is renowned for two things: outlet shopping and Lambert's.

Lambert's is a family-style restaurant famous for being the "home of the throwed rolls". They literally fling huge rolls at you (with uncanny accuracy, might I add), undermining years of etiquette and table manners that you drilled into your children with one hurled baked good. The entire time we were in line to sit down, my 5-yr-old son kept asking, the doubt filling up his voice, "They are really going to throw the rolls at us?" Then the question inevitably followed, "Can we throw them back?"

Um, no, no you can't. And yes, the highlight was the roll throwing and catching. Of course, explaining that we don't do that at home with biscuits was a little tricky the first day back from the trip, but otherwise, lots of fun.

After Lambert's, we went back to the indoor pool at the hotel and made mischief until 10:00 p.m. The funniest part of this was watching the 15-20 or so people who were scoping out the pool through the glass wall in the hallway of the hotel and seeing their faces when they saw the mountain of kids running, screaming, splashing, swimming. You could read the mental, "Oh, wow, that's a lot of kids, no way are we going in there." So, we had the entire space to ourselves. (bonus)

The next day we got up around 9:00 and headed to the pig roast event on the farm. Now, we were on this trip with our Seniors group from church. The next morning, they wanted to depart the hotel for the farm at around 7:00. I made the lady organizing the event a deal. We wouldn't call her room at 11:00 p.m. if she wouldn't call our room at 7:00 a.m. So, no one complained when we breezed into the event at around 10:00 in the morning. :-)

We had a WONDERFUL time! It was so relaxing and quiet and beautiful. The house where we had the gathering is actually sort of a "play" house. It's a small two-bedroom with a large kitchen, eating area and deck right off of a pond. It's not where the owners live, they just use it for fun events. It couldn't have been more perfect for a big group.

The kids played in the yard, ran, yelled, fished, blew bubbles, and had an all-around marvelous time of it. The adults did much of the same activities. :-) Our hosts were so gracious and everything went well. We had a great time.

Now, to the part you are all really curious about, the pig. First, it wasn't roasted in the ground. They didn't happen to do it that way this time (although, in times past, I understand, they have buried the pig). This time, they used a gargantuan grill/smoker thing. To say that I wasn't totally prepared for what came out of that roaster is an understatement. Now, don't get confused, I'm all for the consumption of dead animals; it's just that I'm in the habit of seeing said dead animals on a Styrofoam tray under cellophane at the Winn Dixie and not WHOLE with the head and feet still attached lying on a big table. Ick. Double Ick.

Elaina, whose favorite food list begins with bacon, summed it up best when she pointed at the dead, smoked pig and leaned in close to me and whispered under her breath, "Yes, I know I love bacon, but I'm not eating a real pig."

And here is the Right Reverend Steve performing the Last Rites before we "consumed the sacrificial pig". Ugh. (And this photo is proof that I'm not the only 'goofy one' in our family. The kids can't help it--they come by it honestly.)

Now, I carry on, but Porky there tasted pretty good. :-) So did all of the side dishes and homemade desserts. Only one child refused to try it and she refuses to try a lot of things, so no big whoop. It was a lovely trip!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The State Fair

The Fair Photos. As you can see, we had a big time.

Elise and Elaina

Lily Bell--the most excited child at the fair. She couldn't wait to get on the rides. If she was taller, she'd have ridden them all by herself!

Lily and Daddy getting ready to fly...
Daddy and Carter Big Boy feeding the animals at the petting zoo.
Lily kept screaming, "Go! Go! Go!" on all of the rides.
And the Three Musketeers: Elaina, Emily, and Elise

Bid-ee-oh Dames

This is Lily "playing" video games with her cousin Jimmy. He's a Big Boy, and she was probably very irritating, so the clever kid gave her a controller that wasn't hooked up and she stood beside him and "played" the game for hours. Of course, she probably improved her skills by wearing binoculars, a cat eye mask, and a furry pink mitten on her left foot.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

World Travelers

We are again on the road this weekend, going with the whole family to lower Alabama for a "luau" with the Senior Saints group from church--whatever in the world a luau in Foley, Alabama constitutes--something about burying a pig in the ground (just typing that makes me feel faint).

Never having been to a pig roast, I'm not sure exactly what happens, but the title is descriptive enough I guess. World travel ain't got nothin' on me. I done been to Foley for Pig Roast. I should make a shirt.

I told The Husband when he was called to preach and into the ministry that Jesus Christ Himself was going to have to appear in the living room to get me on the mission field. God had the last laugh on that deal since I'm clearly on the mission field in a land where they eat animals cooked in dirt. I jest, it's going to be lots of fun playing on the farm with the kids as long as I can distract them from the fact that we are eating Wilber. :-) (Note to self: pick up chicken nuggets on way to farm.)

Speaking of odd things...we are new to our area, so every day is a new adventure. We recently discovered a horse auction place with a cafe that's very close to our house. We drove by and began discussing what goes on there, and Elaina asked who would want to eat a horse at a cafe, adding that she'll be having none of that, not even with barbecue sauce on it.

When I tried to explain that they sell horses, but you eat regular food, she asked, "How do you know that for sure?" Ummmm...hmmmm...well...

Then Elise piped up from the back, "Who can eat with stinking horses everywhere? They poop right in front of you. Gross."

Okay then. I think we can safely cross "Big Animal Vet" off of the prospective career choices for the Johnson Girls.

Hannah We-Can't-Afford-It Montana

Okay, here is a meaningless tirade for you...I may have touched on this with (most of) you before briefly, but here it is again.

I tried to get tickets to see Hannah Montana to take the twins as a Christmas gift. If you live under a lack-of-culture rock, she's actually Miley Cyrus (Billie Ray Cyrus' daughter) who has a show on Disney Channel that is HUGE with girls 5-13 years of age. My girls mark their calendar for the new shows and can't wait. I mean the girls are fans to the extent that when Billie Ray Cyrus had a seizure, er, I mean "danced" (stomped around like he was putting out a campfire) on the Dancing with the Stars show last season, the girls didn't miss a single episode because he's on the Hannah Montana show playing his real daughter's pretend father. (I told you they were fans as in fanatics--I know way too much about this show.)

So, I saw the ad go out that she was playing in Nashville and Atlanta, and I immediately marked my planner for the sale date, got on the presale list by joining her fan club (also known as one of the stupidest ways for a 37-yr-old woman to spend money), etc. I did everything that I could do to ensure that I got tickets to one of those shows.

All three venues relatively near our house sold out in about five minutes. So, being completely defeated (even after getting up early and sitting by the computer with my phone in one hand and credit card in the other hand), I started looking for broker tickets. This is where I almost become violently just thinking about it. To get a single ticket all by its lonesome in a nosebleed section, they start at $150.00 and go to about $300.00. To get three/four tickets together in the stinky sections, they start at $400.00 a ticket.

To get reasonably "good" tickets, three together, they start at $900.00 a ticket.

To get on the floor or on the sides up near the stage, try $2500.00 a ticket. The tickets sold originally from Ticketmaster the day they went on sale at $26.00 second level, $36.00 on the sides, and $66.00 on the floor in the first 10 rows!!!! Are you kidding me?

It's a children's concert, for goodness sake. It made me sick that I couldn't take them, but only a complete moron would pay that to see Hannah Montana. (Apologies to all of the complete morons who did pay that to see Hannah Montana.) It's a CABLE show, for crying out loud. Sheesh. And I'm not the only one freaking out about this injustice. It's all over editorials on the Internet.

Steve wanted to know who all was getting A Sister Sunshine Charlotte Letter this week. I'm pretty sure that I have that covered now. Ha-ha! I told him that it's probably a conspiracy plot by the same jerk people who put on the movie trailer for 30 Days of Night (a vampire movie complete with throats being torn out and blood splattering everywhere) during the 7:00 family hour (Go see the movie trailer and you'll know why Carter Big Boy hasn't slept in his own bed for over a week. Stupid movie people.) You can bet your bohonkus they are getting a letter too. (I'm probably on some government list by now.) Ha!

The good news is that Disney is filming the concert in 3D and will release it as a movie in February 2008 so that we can go see it for $7.50 a person instead of $2,500.00 a person. Whew. Crisis Averted. Now that’s a load off. (I should have called this blog “Are You Kidding Me?”)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Five-Year-Old Logic

When we got home on Saturday evening, we were unloading the van and my son curled up into my bed dozing on and off, trying to find something to watch. Well, he grazed past something with dinosaurs and was immediately draw to it because, duh, it's dinosaurs. Jurassic Park probably shouldn't be on the viewing list of 5-yr-olds, but since he'd seen five minutes of it before we turned it off, the following conversation ensued:

Carter: "Mom?"

Me: "Yes, Carter?"

Carter: "Are dinosuars real?"

Me: "Well, they were real, but now they are extinct." (Insert long discussion of the word 'extinct' here.)

Carter: "So, God made them but he took them away?"

Me: "That sounds about right."

Carter: "Why didn't he just leave them?"

Me: "Can you imagine getting to school on time trying to dodge Tyrannosaurus Rex all over the road?"

Carter: "Oh, yeah. That would be bad."

Quiet spell.

Carter: "Mom?"

Me: "Yes, Carter?"

Carter: "If we got bitten by a dinosaur would we have to go to the doctor's office for a shot?"

Me: "Yes, yes, I'd say so."

Carter: "No, I don't think we'd have to go to the doctor's office, I think we would have to go to the hospital."

Me: "You are probably right. Most likely in an ambulance."

Carter: "Or maybe we'd just be in Heaven because we'd be dead."

(Note to self: Work on that filtering program on the TV.)

Carter: "Mom?"

Me: "Yes, Carter?"

Carter: "Well, if we go to Heaven and the dinosaurs are gone, where did God send them to? Are we going to have to run from them in Heaven too, because that's not good if you died from a dinosaur bite and then in Heaven you had to run from dinosaurs all over again..."

Not too bad for a Kindergartener.

M. Eye. Double S. Eye. Double S. Eye. P.P. Eye

Well, we are back from the land of Mississippi from a visit with the inlaws and outlaws. The Husband's fraternal side of the fam lives there, so we loaded up the Loser Cruiser (aka Van) and headed out for the weekend. The State Fair was in town. If you are ever in some sort of an ego crisis, an afternoon at the state fair should cure you in minutes. The kids had a ball, we loved seeing the cousins, and it was a really nice trip all the way around.

We all pile up at Cousin Sandra's house and take over the place. She's got a husband and two kids of her own to deal with. I have nothing but love and respect for that family--I don't know anyone else stupid enough, er, generous enough to say, "Sure! Y'all can stay at our house!" and then commit to feeding us and hauling us around for three days. They must be delusional or really good Christians.

The Husband and I run their dear daughter out of her room and bunk there on a twin bed and a pop-up bed shoved together. Adventure sleeping. The four girls sleep in the play room on a blow-up mattress, and the two boys sleep in his bunk beds. Well, that's the theoretical sleeping arrangement. What really happens is that the 3-yr-old sleeps with me until I carry her three times to her bed and finally give up about the time that the 5-yr-old son shows up and wants in for a 'snuggle' too. Trying to squeeze my big rear end and two kids into a twin sized bed is definitely Adventure sleeping.

So, for the road trip, I made these travel kits for the kids with new journals and pens and crayons and activity books. I also sprung for some cheap CD players and some kids songs CDs. (Add points to Perfect Mommy Title.) Well, Carter spent most of the trip screaming from the back seat in the van questions about the song lyrics on the CD he had in his pack. Stuff like, "What does 'salt of the earth' mean?" And "What does 'prince of peace' mean?" And "What does every told come pass?" Which I'm pretty sure was supposed to be "every tongue confess". By the end of the trip I'd had enough theological discussion with my son to earn some sort of honorary seminary degree. I also found myself wishing that I'd put the rock-n-roll oldies CD in his travel kit instead of the Bible Songs. Ha! (Points off the Perfect Mommy Title).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Candy with an "I"

Friday I went to the beauty shop and got my hair cut and colored. We’ve got an old-fashioned beauty shop with women all over the room having their hair set for the week. (I don't go to a 'salon'; it's really a beauty shop.) The beauticians are full of good gossip, and the prerequisite Diet Cokes sit on every station in the room. I love going to the beauty shop. They still have a window air conditioning unit and there’s a jar of hard candy up at the display case like your Memaw used to have in her kitchen when you were little. I always leave there with The Big Hair. I have no idea why folks in the country think that the bigger your hair the more fabulous it is.

One year on the front of my Christmas cards was this photograph of a woman with a huge beehive hairdo from the early 60’s smiling for the camera. On the inside of the card it read, “The bigger the hair, the closer to God.” I guess some folks in the beauty shop didn’t know that card was A Funny, because I once left the shop with hair so big that my husband called back down to the beauty shop and told my hairdresser to quit sending home a chick named ‘Candi’ who drove a t-top Trans Am to our house and return his wife and her regular head of hair.

Sometimes when the girls wake up with their hair gone wild we call that “getting an overnight visit from the hair fairy”. Well, that very day of The Big Hair Incident, I came through the front door of the house and Elaina said, “Look, Everyone! Mommy got the Hair Fairy!”

I got home from the beauty shop on this visit, and Elaina was so excited because the girl styled my hair straight and I had a few inches cut off the end making it shoulder length just like hers. Elaina said, 'Oh, MOMMY! Your hair is like mine! People won't be able to tell us apart!" Of course there’s that pesky part about me outweighing her by, oh, 200 pounds, the 30-year age difference, and being three feet taller, but she’s right--It might be hard to differentiate us.

How to Get a Memaw to Bake for You

An oldie, but a goodie...

Leamon Cake, or How to Get a Memaw to Bake for You

There's a lady named Ms. Betty at church who brought us a lemon cake with this wonderful lemon drizzle icing on it the second day we were in the new house. We scarfed it down standing at the counter while it was still warm. (Seven people + one warm cake = empty cake plate in 2 minutes flat).

So, the next Sunday, one of the 7-yr-old twins beelines this woman and tells her that it was the best cake ever and asks her to make another one. (I scolded my daughter, but secretly gave myself a high-five waiting on that cake--nothing motivates a Memaw-aged woman into baking like a seven-year-old bragging on her cake.)

One week later, in walks the next cake at around 9:00 in the morning. I am so excited because I'm having company and maybe I can pass it off as my own. (Did I just say that out loud?)

About 4:00 in the afternoon before the guests arrive, I walk by the cake plate and notice that it looks weird through the cover. I lift off the top and there sits the bottom inch of a lemon bundt cake. Some little "mice" had literally taken the top off in kid-sized fistfuls. The whole top. Gone. Down to the bottom.

I called the four monkeys onto the carpet and discovered that four babies weren't responsible for the scarfing of the lemon cake, but only one--ate that cake all by her lonesome in about five hours. (See what I tell her next time she tells me she can’t clean her plate!) So, I washed the cake plate and had HER write the thank you note. I told her that since she was the only one who ate any of it, she could thank the woman for it.

This is the exact content with spelling errors of the thank you note she wrote and delivered:

Thank you Ms. Betty for the delishious leamon cake. It was wonderful. I ate that whole cake by myself. It was just too good that I couldn't stop sneaking tastes until it was gone. And it didn't give me the tummy ache. Can you make me another one sometime? I really like that leamon cake. Its the best cake we got from church. Thank you. Love, Elise.

How funny is that? I think we'll be having Leamon Cake again very soon. :-) HA-HA! And little brother announced that this time he was sneaking bites first before someone else could eat it all gone. They crack me up!


My youngest child is going through a 'naked' phase. I'll turn around for one second and suddenly she's running through the house at top speed, a little naked blur flying by. This is most likely to occur about the time the doorbell rings and the UPS man delivers the church Sunday School literature to my door or we are already late leaving the house for some appointment. It's not like I can put my naked baby into the car seat headed for the school to pick up her siblings (can I?). So, she must be stuffed forcibly into a pull up and clothing, which has to be eerily similar to the experience of putting a sweater on an octopus.

And yelling at a three-year-old to put her clothes on is like telling a cow to milk itself; as much as you want it to, it's just not going to happen. So in order to avoid the wrestling match that inevitably ensues when I try to cram the naked baby into clothing, I find myself attempting to justify the nakedness. Saying things to myself and visiting neighbors like "she's airing out" or "it's one less outfit I have to wash today."

I'm sure our friends and neighbors love us. There's nothing like driving down the road, minding your own business, and happening to glance over to see a child riding in a Wiggles Car, singing Barney at the top of her lungs, while wearing nothing but a red plastic fireman's hat and Dora the Explorer house slippers. I'm surprised there aren't more wrecks in front of our house.

The circus is in town this week, and I almost thought about taking the kids, but who am I kidding? What could they possibly be doing in that big tent that is more exciting than what's happening in my back yard? Seriously.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Clinching the title

Well, today I earned major Mom Points on that Perfect Mommy Score I'm always working on. I did a full on clean of the house from top to bottom. (Before you get all impressed, it was way overdue. I am pretty sure there was stuff growing in the drain trap in my shower, and my fridge was an official biohazard site.)

I'm talking about the kind of cleaning that involves places like behind the toilet and q-tips on the sink faucet knobs. I impressed even myself. Six loads of laundry (which I actually folded and put away instead of leaving them in the baskets and making the family dig through them for school clothes), vacuumed entire house, mopped all of the floors, cleaned three bathrooms, cleaned three bedrooms, changed linens on five beds, cleaned under beds with the broom, emptied the trashcans, did two loads of dishes, cleaned the laundry room, and even made two loaves of banana bread with almost-funky bananas. (Wow, I'm impressing myself. No wonder I'm passing out tired.)

In exactly two-and-a-half minutes, my three-yr-old child who is still at home with me during the day, destroyed the bulk of that work. She 'disappeared' and when I realized that my 'helper' had vanished (silence with a toddler in the house is nothing but bad news), I found her in the bathroom painting her toes with purple Barbie nailpolish. No, that wasn't a figure of speech, she didn't just paint the nails, she painted her entire toes. When my shadow fell over her from the doorway, she held up the little brush and flashed a million-dollar smile up at me from those baby blues, truly excited about this amazing accomplishment, "Look at me, Mommy! I'm boo-ti-fool."

Lord, Help me. How do you get after that child?

And of course, this was on the CLEAN bathroom floor. She didn't even have the decency to do it before I mopped. Sheesh. While I was on my hands and knees cleaning that off of my (previously sparkling) bathroom floor, she found a bottle of hair detangler on the kitchen counter and sprayed the entire home office including, but not limited to, the computer, computer keyboard, printer, phone, floor, and let's not forget the chair.

When I rounded the corner with the rags from re-cleaning the bathroom floor to find my child naked save for the purple toes spraying the computer chair, she said, "Look! I clean it too, Mommy!" (Whispering to myself don't freak out, don't freak out, don't freak out.) And it's off to find towels and cleaner to get that mess up. (I'm sitting on a folded towel while typing this because the chair is still soaked.)

While I was cleaning up the office, this same child opened a ziplock bag containing a loaf of warm banana bread and helped herself to a fistful, carrying it clutched in her little hand, eating the parts that oozed out between her fingers, sprinkling it through the house as she toured the entire facility: kitchen, diningroom, hallway, and into her brother's bedroom, where she ground the remaining crumbs into his carpet. I discovered the naked purple detangler baby as I was taking the towels from the spray incident into the laundry room to put in the washer. And banana bread is sticky. So it left a trail that had to be re-mopped.

I actually had to step outside and take a few deep breaths and let the twitching in my eye stop before going into start re-cleaning my floors through the length of the entire house. (And it's not like cleaning my floors is a daily event--I am thankful when I hit them once a week, so twice in one day is like an epic occurance.) The fact that I didn't a) put her on ebay for sale, b) burst into tears, or c) go nuclear is a complete miracle.

Oh, yeah. I am totally scoring that trophy this year. High five.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Busy is Better

It was another full weekend at Casa Johnson. I think that I have a sickness known as "Full Calendar Fever". If I see a hole in my schedule I am compelled to fill it with some sort of activity. Nothing-to-do translates into Thunderdome at my house. You tell everyone to hang out and color and read books and think that you're going to have a quiet, relaxing time enjoying one another, and the next thing you know someone is wearing an old bathrobe as a cape, swinging from the ceiling fan screaming, "I CAN FLY!" While the others stand underneath shouting, "I'm next, I'm next!" So, busy is better.

Now, this is a true photo of my Shorties. There's tall Elaina completely clueless with her eyes closed. Elise fashionista (all she's missing is the tiara that we've been wearing for a week straight), Carter Big Boy, and Trouble there on the end. That's Lily's sneaky mouse pose. Like she thinks that's going to help her get out of a fix, completely unaware that just looking like that makes you suspect.

The Big Deal this weekend was Elaina sang at church on talent night for the first time. I was perched on the third row, poised to take the best possible shot, camera trained on my child, when the music minister sat down right in front of me on the front row, completely filling up the camera screen with the back of his head. A better Christian probably would have said, "Excuse me, but my baby is about to sing and I want to make photos."

Not being a terribly good human in general, I just blurted out, "Hey! Move your big head out of the way!" Nothing like setting an example, is there? He was a good sport and when he went up to introduce the next singer, he said, "You know you've sat down in front of a Mama whose child is about to sing when she yells at you to move your big head out the way." I'm such a lovely woman.

And of course, my baby girl did a wonderful job (translation: she actually hit a few notes and didn't leave the stage in tears or throw up). Pretty good for a seven-year-old.