10 Good & FUNNY Mother's Day Gift Ideaa

When SkyMall approached me to flip through their products and promote them for Mother's Day, I hopped on that train. SkyMall is always entertaining. One of my favorite shows to watch is Dragons' Den, which is the British version of Shark Tank. Entrepreneurs present their inventions and these mega rich people decide if they want to invest in them or not. I imagine that lots of the SkyMall product creators were like the people that go on Dragons' Den or Shark Tank. Their dream in life was just to get a product in the SkyMall catalog.

The only time I thought about SkyMall was on the plane. I never thought about going on-line and buying anything from SkyMall while my two feet were on the ground. That's craziness! Their website is FULL of great gift ideas. FULL. Although I could have picked at least a hundred things for you to look over, I settled with ten. You've got things to do. Those clothes aren't going to wash themselves.

#1 SaddleBaby Hands Free Shoulder Carrier

This convenient contraption sells for $99.99. I just love it. I mean, think of all the things a mom can do with her two hands since she won't be holding on to Junior's ankles. She could juggle. She could mow the yard. She could get her nails done at the salon. She could bathe a dog. She could do anything! ANYTHING! THANK YOU, SADDLEBABY!

#2 Bracelet Assistant
Now, who hasn't yelled out, "CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH THIS BRACELET??" and only turned to find two crickets staring at you from the windowsill? Everybody has seen those crickets. Everybody has needed a little help with her bracelet at the wrong time. With the Bracelet Assistant for only $24.95, you can give the mom in your life (or maybe it's you?) back the precious minutes she wastes year after year after year hunting down someone to fasten her dingdang bracelet.

#3 Perfume!
I found an old classic in the SkyMall collection, but there are a WHOLOTTA perfumes to choose from for both men and women. It's Mother's Day soon, though, so let's forget about the Drakkar and focus on the Dior. They have current scents and classic ones, too. (Who didn't love them some Liz Claiborne long time back in the 80s? I almost want to get this bottle for the memories.) This bottle right here goes for $21.90.
#4 TowlHub Towel Holder with 4 USB Ports and 2 Bluetooth Speakers
Would you check that out? You can listen to your music at the same exact place you get your paper towels. Unbelievable. I can hardly process what I am seeing here due to how excited I am. Tell me a multitasking mother wouldn't love that. If you want it with speakers, it's $79.99 and it is on back order. That means people are scooping it up. (The version without speakers is $49.99.)

#5 Lucky Three Necklace
There are various options and the price ranges from $58.99 to $65.99. I think it is super pretty. It's not a funny gift, but it's a gift any mother or grandmother would love, unless they have 20 children. A necklace that long could really get in the way of their productivity. Think it through before your order it. I don't want any disgruntled mothers on the big day.

#6 Squirrel Tree Climber Sculpture
I know there is a mother out there who would love a little squirrel climber on her back porch. Who wouldn't want to imagine a squirrel rappelling while enjoying her morning coffee? Absolutely no one. Everyone loves the thought of a rappelling squirrel, especially mothers. There is nothing closer to a mother's heart than a rappelling squirrel. If you don't believe me, order this for a mother in your life and watch her face radiate with pure joy when she opens it. It's only $34.95!

#7 Squirrel Whisperer Shirts
I can't stop with the squirrel theme. My mother- and father-in-law once took care of a hurt baby squirrel and kept it in their house as a pet. They named it Rocky. They thought they were squirrel whisperers. I can't quite remember what happened to Rocky. I'm not sure if he up and died or went to try out his luck in Vegas. Word in the trees was that he had a great singing voice but difficulty managing his money. If you know a mother like my mother-in-law, consider this t-shirt, which ranges in price from $19.95 to $29.95.

#8 Automatic Cordless Tire Inflator
Wouldn't this be perfect for the mother who can't quite estimate how much air to put in a tire? I mean, it takes all of the guess work out of it. No more blowing up tires to smithereens while just trying to fix a basic flat. Flying rubber pieces never did anybody any favors. If you don't want the mother in your life to show up on her special day with tire treads in her teeth, then do the right thing and order this tire inflator for $89.95.

#9 Love You More Bracelets
Now, isn't that sweet? You can get this bracelet in silver or stainless steel for $19.95 to $59.95.

#10 SkyRest Travel Pillow
I think I might love this one the most. There is no shame in this sleeping man's game. He is ready to snore and he is making no apologies about it. The only mother that can use this pillow on a flight is one that is flying without children, of course. I guess the children could use the pillow, though, so SkyRest Travel Pillows all around is what I say. This reminds me of my mother-in-law's flight routine. It absolutely cracks me up. You must check out what she does here. If you are interested in this little doodad above, you can buy it for the mother in your life (or yourself!) for $29.95.

Those are my 10 things! Remember how I told you there were so much more than 10 great gift ideas in SkyMall? Well, I would be completely irresponsible if I didn't let you know about just one more. The reason I didn't include it in my list is that it is on back order until June 3rd! This thing is flying off of the SkyMall shelves! What mom doesn't need a trio of dancing ducks??? They're doing high kicks while welcoming you inside at the same time. Ridiculously talented. You can buy this masterpiece for $24.95. It looks like it will be here in time for Father's Day, so there's that.

If you are interested in swiping any of these up for a mom in your life or for yourself, you can use this discount code, SM25KBR, for 25% off your order.

Speaking of Mother's Day, I'm also giving away three really funny books by author friends of mine. One is a New York Times Bestseller! You just leave a comment on Facebook or on the post for an entry. Check this link out for more details. The winner will be announced on Wednesday the 23rd.

The Big Time Popular Books Giveaway

Welp, I'm giving away some books. These are books I should have given you a long time ago. I should have gotten my rear here into this break room, set the books up on a table and given you some. One of these days I am going to get my act together. I gave these funny women my word and the review never showed up. My life might be crazy but I am going to get this review done, sisters!

*wipes sweat from brow*

You would think the common thread with all of these books is that they are funny and honest takes on motherhood. While that is true, the common thread that comes to my mind first is that I consider the writers of these books to be friends of mine. I got to know them when we collaborated on I Just Want To Pee Alone. It is crazy that I walk through Barnes & Noble and see books written by people I KNOW. And Target, too! In Target!! TARGET!!!!!!

*shakes a random stranger*


That is somethin' else.


I have met just about all of them but I have not met Paige Kellerman of There's More Where That Came From yet. Dern it! I will meet her in June at the Blog U conference in Baltimore, Maryland, though. (Are you going? Are you going?) She has literally made me laugh out loud many times. I will start with her book first because it was in line first and I'm loving her cover long time.

That title, At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles, wins me over every time. You know it is going to be full of witty and quirky lines when that is the title. To me, Paige writes in a smart way in this book and in her blog. I bet in real life there are some that get her humor right away and others that may need a little time before they start cracking up. Her humor is smart and sly like that.

This is the kind of book that you would be safe giving to anyone at a baby shower. It is absolutely HILARIOUS. The cankle chapter alone made me laugh out loud at least five times and I had tears in the corner of my eyes. I am not even kidding. I felt like I went to the gym after just reading that one chapter. She describes her pregnancy cankles in ways you've never heard anyone talk about them before. You will laugh out loud, I promise you that. 

And that is just that one chapter.

The next book here at The Break Room Shopping Channel is I Just Want To BE Alone. This is the follow-up to I Just Want To Pee Alone. It does not include all of the authors from the first go round but it does introduce some new ones. When I heard the title, I thought the book would have stories about wanting to be away from the husbands, but that was not the case. The stories were funny and real stories about marriage.

(Not that they sometimes don't want to be away from the husbands, of course. I mean, let's be realistic. I love how they describe it: "Don't get us wrong, we love the men in our lives – we do (most of the time). It's just that sometimes we would like them to go away. Not forever or anything like that. Just for an hour … or a day … or a weekend. We want some time to ourselves to read a good book or take a walk or do anything other than try to make a dent in the never ending mound of dirty clothes that keeps piling up on his side of the bed.

If I had the energy, I am pretty sure this is a book I could read over two nights tops. The stories are short enough that you think, "Huh. I bet I could read one more." Before you know it, it's 3:30 a.m. and you're hungry. You obviously have to get something to eat and drink which keeps you awake longer. Next someone needs you and then the sun is up. You've gotten zero sleep. All I'm saying is, beware when you start this book.

There really are just too many highlights to mention. I love how Lisa Newlin talks about sneaking beans into her husband's food, how Nicole Leigh Shaw describes her husband as her opposite, how Abby Heugel talks about loving NOT having to share her bed, the way Courtney Fitzgerald shares a story about cooking and her late husband (funny and touching all at once) and on and on. You will smile for a long time after this book.

The last book I've got for you is Karen Alpert's, I Heart My Little A-Holes, that is blowing up Amazon and everywhere else. It is like someone told someone else that the secret to all things secretive is in this book. She is tearing it up!!

I think Karen sets up what you might find in her book quite nicely. You shouldn't be surprised that it drops word bombs everywhere and that it gets right down to it when you see the cover and the title. Karen shares things that you probably don't hear many people sharing. She ain't afraid! She lets it all hang out! I think that is what draws so many people to Karen. She makes them laugh and she says it exactly like she's thinking it. She says things most everyone else won't say.

I love how Karen dedicates her book to her children in this way: "I write about the bad stuff because it is funnier and because there's so much good stuff it wouldn't fit in a book. I love you both more than you can possibly imagine."

So sweet, right?

(I can vouch that this is true. Her personal Facebook profile pics almost all contain a sweet picture of her with her kids. She has a funny family photo of them all in bed with a family photo afghan across the bed. I hardly have any with my kids at all, much less on an afghan. Afghan. Afghan. What is wrong with me?)

(And, also, doesn't Karen just look nice? People who wear that share of pink, nice earrings and a cute shirt like that one seriously love their kids. They just do.)

Karen's book has parts where you will open up your mouth wide before starting to laugh. You may be tempted to cover your eyes in some parts. You might think, "Did she really just say that?" You will laugh, though. You will laugh and know that you aren't the only one who has thought or felt the way you might sometimes. (The part about the hot tub with some friends makes me laugh every time.)

Also, if you ever wondered how she came up with the name of her insanely popular blog Baby Sideburns, or if you'd like to know what it used to be called, the answer is in this book. That alone was worth reading the book to me!

You can buy the books on Amazon here:

Their Facebook pages are here:

If you are interested in reading any of these books and would like to take part in my little giveaway party, leave a comment here OR go over to Facebook and enter by clicking on the link below. (You just leave a comment on that thread.) It would be super awesome of you if you followed the Kelley's Break Room Facebook page, too, but I'm not going to get any police after you if you don't. I am going to give all three to one winner and will pick that winner by next Wednesday night, April 23rd. If that winner already has some of them or just wants some of them, then I will divide them up. Ain't. No. Thang.

Now go get to readin' and snort-laughing!

#LetsTalkBums, Shall We?

So, I'm writing about toilet paper because, honestly, is there a more exciting topic out there? There absolutely is not. People care about toilet paper. Just think about how much you and toilet paper are intertwined.

You + Toilet Paper = 4Ever

The thing is, not all toilet paper is made equally. There are companies out there trying to pass off something as toilet paper when it's thinner than my patience on school days when my kids are supposed to be putting their shoes on and they're playing with Legos. In their pajamas. What I want is toilet paper that can double as my pillow or, when several are bunched together, a mattress for house guests. If the toilet paper doesn't immediately bring to mind quilts, comfort, luxury and Kate Middleton's powder room, you can stuff it and royal flush it. 

I want to feel like I've entered a day spa every time I go to the restroom.

The toilet paper that reaches those heights and then some is Cottonelle. Cottonelle...oh, lovely, lovely Cottonelle. That tuggable, huggable Cottonelle.

(My mother-in-law is IN LOVE with Cottonelle. When I told her I was taking part in this campaign, she got all excited. She went on for about 6 solid minutes- maybe even 56- about how she loved, loved Cottonelle. She is a Cottonelle fan, let me tell you.)

(That sure would make a great kids' name, right? Cottonelle Anne. You could call her Nelle or even Cottie Anne.)

I think with its luxurious feel, their new slogan should be "If Princess Kate isn't using it yet, she will be". Princess Kate comes to mind for two reasons: 1) Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths and Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper are fit for a princess's derrière and 2) this lady:
She's British!

Her name is Cherry Healy and she came allll the way from England to talk to Americans about their "bums" and specifically about Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths and Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper. And she is funny. If you follow the Cottonelle Facebook page, you can see funny video after funny video of her going up to random strangers and having let's-get-right-to-it discussions about their bums.

So, I decided we should do that here.

Talk about bums.

Have you ever tried those cleansing cloths? Come closer... They're awesome.  We made trying these out a family affair but first we made buying them a family affair. We relaxed like kings on them in the process. Kings on a TP Throne.

When I set the cleansing cloths up on the toilet, my boys just stared at me.

"We are going to use those?"

"Yes, we are going to try them out."

"On our butts?"

"Bums. On our bums."


"Because they'll make us cleaner and we'll feel fresher. We'll all have that fresh feeling. That fresh, clean, fresh feeling."

And we have.

It's been glorious.

In all seriousness, those Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths are quite the treat for your seat. Have you used them? 

If you head over to the Cottonelle Facebook page, you can snag yourself some good coupons and laugh at Cherry Healey's antics. Before this campaign, I never thought of toilet paper as the life of the party. From now on, I'm putting toilet paper in every bathroom of the house. And also? I'm making sure it is Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper and I'm going to throw in those cleansing cloths, too.

People will wonder if they are at my house or Buckingham Palace, I have a feeling.

I also have a feeling I need to change my math equation up there to:
You + Toilet Paper + Cleansing Cloths = 4Ever

*This post is sponsored by Cottonelle but  my words and opinions are my own.*

Would you live in a cemetery like these people do?

After eating out and seeing a movie a couple of years ago, my husband and I began driving around the outskirts of downtown Houston looking at various places.  Recognizing that we were near the old Jefferson Davis Hospital, I asked him to drive by it again.  When our oldest son was 2-years-old in 2007, we accidentally came upon the old hospital and looked around the inside of it.  It was abandoned, but there was security guard on the property.  Although we were not previously aware, people had been flocking to this hospital for a very long time due to claims that it was haunted.  I don't want to entertain any of those stories here, but the place IS interesting.  Really, any old building with a historical marker on the outside of it is interesting to me.  It drives my husband crazy, but he always stops so I can read them. 

This is what it looked like when we found it in 2007. 

In 1840, just 4 years after Texas won its independence from Mexico and Houston was founded by the Allen brothers, 5 acres of land were bought on what is now known as Elder Street by the City of Houston along a couple of bayous that run near what is now downtown Houston.  A cemetery was opened and contained 4 sections for the poor, slaves (as slavery would not become outlawed until 1863), Confederate soldiers and people that died from suicide or in a duel.  In a duel.  Isn't that interesting?  You dueled?  You will be buried HERE!  It is estimated that approximately 10,000 graves are within those 5 acres. 

Queen Victoria in 1841.

The cemetery operated until the 1880s.  Today, there are only about 3 visible areas that you can tell were burial plots. There are no original markings on them at all. In 2007, a marker was made to honor a grave that had been discovered containing soldiers' remains.


From 1840 to 1880, there were many, many grand homes built in downtown Houston.  I saw many of them in a book I have about Houston history.  I wanted to take pictures of the pictures to put into this post, but then I was afraid I'd get thrown into the clanker with stale bread and mouse-nibbled cheese for the next 50 years of my life.  So, I thought I'd just let you know that most of those beautiful homes were razed to make way for an emerging downtown, which makes me sad, of course.  Those homes were majestic!  How could they just be demolished?  I know the answers, but I still hate that those houses were just punched right in the face.  
The oldest occupied house is the Waldo Mansion, which was built in 1885 at Caroline & Rusk.  It was moved in 1905 where it sits now in the Westmoreland District, which for you Houstonians is near Montrose and 59.

Waldo mansion, 1885

Here is a picture I took of another home in the Westmoreland District, which may have looked like some homes that were hit in the gut with a wrecking ball in downtown Houston.  Obviously, this house would cost a lot to repair.  Someone with lots of money, please restore this home before it gets knocked down and then invite me over and give me a tour and possibly give me the whole house for free.

So, you get the idea of what Houston looked like in some parts in 1880.  During that year, operations shut down at that location as the official city cemetery and moved over to Allen Parkway.  From 1880 to 1924, the cemetery containing 10,000 gravesites on Elder Street became neglected and overgrown.

That's when Jefferson Davis Hospital was built ON TOP OF THAT same neglected, overgrown CEMETERY and named after the THOUSANDS of people buried underneath, some that were Confederate soliders.  The hospital only operated at that location for 13 years and then moved to an updated facility nearby.

Jefferson Davis Hospital, circa 1920s.

From 1936 to 2007, this place was abandoned!  It just sat there getting dustier and dustier and and dustier and dustier and dustier and dustier, until artists moved into this building renamed "Elder Street Lofts".  People LIVE there now.  They live in a place that used to be a cemetery and a hospital.  Perhaps this is common in other parts of the country and world?  I have been out of the country, with the exception of Mexico, once and that was to Paris where the Catacombs are located.  Underground are thousands of bones of the deceased while the vibrant life of Paris goes on above.  Maybe building on top of cemeteries can't be avoided at some point?
"We don't like thinking about dying and we don't like being dead and so we don't like taking care of cemeteries," says Mark Denton, an archaeologist with the Texas Historical Commission. "Our society has this out-of-sight, out-of-mind philosophy about the dead, and it's reflected in how many cities have built over and turned former cemeteries into something completely other than a cemetery." (from http://www.houstonpress.org/)

Do you think buildings should be placed knowingly on top of graves?  Do you know of other places with similar stories?  Would you live in this place?

The Right & Wrong Times To Ask "When Is Your Baby Due?"

We've all done it. Probably. We've all assumed someone was pregnant, asked about it and were absolutely wrong. What can do you do then? There are no trapdoors in life. There's no way to suck yourself right out of the moment. You said it and you must own it.

That can be an ugly place to be.

You may have been on the receiving end of those words, too. When I was NEWLY pregnant, a woman at my former workplace said, "Kelley, I knew you was pregnant from behind." Mmmmhmmmm. She said that. She could tell from my big ol' behind that I was with child. She was right, but that behind didn't have anything to do with that baby. He was brand new! He was probably the size of a grape! Grapes don't cause you to have a rhino rear!

Knowing the heartache these questions can bring, my cousin and I developed some guidelines on this situation just this weekend. We don't want any unnecessary ugliness in a person's life. We're thinking that everyone could use a few tips and pointers on when to ask...

If the woman has a slight belly bulge, DON'T ASK. It may just be pizza.

If the woman says she's late on her cycle and she has a slight belly bulge, DON'T ASK. She maybe super bad at math and may have also just had some pizza.

If the woman has a bunch of other kids and you know she gets pregnant easily and has a definite roundness to her abdomen, DON'T ASK. It may just be the gift her baby left with her that was just born a month ago. If you were a better friend, you would have known that. You will not be giving her an additional gift by asking if she's pregnant. You actually need to go get her a gift card to Babies 'R Us and keep those questions to yourself. Sakes alive.

If the woman is holding her back like pregnant women do, DON'T ASK. Girlfriend may have had to move a lot of 12-packs of Diet Coke from her trunk to her pantry last night.

If the woman sort of waddles and is also holding her back like pregnant women mostly do, DON'T ASK. She may be part duck, part human. This may be the way she walks all the time. Who made you the official on walking patterns? Do not ask her when her baby is due and do not ask her to quack.

If the woman has an unmistakable pregnant lady belly, DON'T ASK. She may have had a whole watermelon for lunch. Do not tell her she looks like she swallowed a watermelon, either. She may find a watermelon and bust it over your head.

If, while you are talking to her, you see a definite imprint of a baby's foot poke out, DON'T ASK. It may not actually be a baby. That footprint may actually be a weird something she's got going on in her innards. Unless you have a trapdoor under your feet, you best keep that yapper zipped.

If she's wearing maternity clothes that you recognize from your own maternity clothes collection, DON'T ASK. She might like loose-fitting clothes, sister. If those loose-fitting clothes are actually tight-fitting, you really better not ask. (After my oldest son was born, my 82-year-old great aunt asked if she could have the maternity shirt I wore to my baby shower. I gave it to her. She'd probably have liked it if someone had asked her when her baby was due.)

If she said that she's having contractions, DON'T ASK. She may be an English teacher and she's talking about a contraction lesson that she's got coming up. You can't run the risk of being wrong.

If you are walking by a woman at Target that looks really, really pregnant and then something warm and liquidy spills out everywhere around her and then you slip in it, DON'T ASK. That might not have been her water that broke. She may just look like she's pregnant and she had to pee really bad. You can't risk being wrong. That could ruin her day. She may not want her bladder to receive any more attention. Just mop up the warm body fluid, make sure she's going some paper towels and keep shopping.

If you find yourself in an impromptu labor & delivery situation with a stranger at a grocery store and you see a baby's head crowning, DON'T ASK. I think it's pretty obvious that her baby is due right now. Go grab some paper towel packages and give it to her as a pillow. Maybe call 911.

So, you see, it's really pretty simple.

Never, ever, ever ask.

(Wait for her to tell you unless you are needed in the frozen food aisle with your forceps.)

Have you ever asked this question at the wrong time?
Has anyone asked you this question at the wrong time?

Get your boxing gloves out. It's Bluebonnet time.

Well, shoot. It's that time of year again and I haven't done any preparation. The time of year when all mothers of Texas kids, especially younger Texas kids, get all in a tizzy. Some of us anticipate when this moment will hit and others don't realize the moment has hit until they are sitting at a red light.

That moment?


Lawduhmercy, grab your cameras! Plop Junior down in some bluebonnets and snap away before those bluebonnets up and die and you look like a neglectful parent.

(The first person to post their children's photos in the bluebonnets on Facebook is typically the first person who gets their Christmas trees up.)

The painful reality that yet another bluebonnet season was going to pass me by hit me while I was at a red light yesterday. I casually looked to my right and dern it if those blue state flowers weren't staring holes right through me.

"Gah, bluebonnets! I see you! Yes, I forgot about you again! You'd think a state flower would be a little more understanding."

Honestly, I think the bluebonnets wish we'd pick another state flower.

"Belle, get ready because I see a young toddler boy on his way to sit near us."

"Oh, Howard, I don't think so. Looks like he's headed over there to Charlie and Bonnie's neighborhood. I sure am going to miss those two. Oh, Bonnie. Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie."

"Nope, he's waddling our way, Belle. His mother is panicking. Look at her freaking out over where he sits. She's thinking that other lady is about to steal her spot. I'll tell you where both of your kids should sit, ladies! Back in their car seats! Stop stepping on my friends! Why can't they just pick another 'state flower' already? Haven't we done our duty long enough? What's wrong with a dandelion? Why can't they sit in a patch of dang dandelions, for goodness sakes?! Or how about a daisy? A buttercup? A...  Belle? BELLE!!!!!!!"

Yep, Belle's a goner.

Timmy's diapered butt killed her.

Toddlers and Texas children far and wide kill Belles and Howards left and right during bluebonnet season, which is very short-lived. It's amazing how many bluebonnets Texas butts can snuff out in such a short time. And we'll snuff out those flowers, boy. We don't care. We'll act all self-righteous when we see someone pick a bluebonnet (which, it turns out, is not really illegal...I don't think), but we'll plop our rear in patch of them in no time flat.

"What??? You picked a bluebonnet????? THAT'S OUR STATE FLOWER!! Forget the bank robbery! Get this lady!! Call Rick Perry and get her to the front of Death Row!"

I'm not even kidding.

It happens every year that I will want to take the boys' pictures in the flowers. I'll want one of those fancy pictures I see all over Facebook. The one that makes me look like a loving and playful and kind mother. (Bluebonnet pictures are up there with the rodeo and floatin' the river as a Texas mom's duty.) The thing is, I use my phone as my camera because I'm lame. I have "real" cameras, but they aren't as real as other people's real cameras and those are the cameras taking all the fancy pictures that go on Facebook. By the time it all clicks that I might want to ask someone with a real real camera to take the boys' pictures in the flowers, THEY'VE VANISHED. They've packed up and left town.

A couple of years ago, I decided I'd be my own photographer. I could do this thing! I drug the boys to a hill not too far away and anticipated a sea of blue to photograph. I was going to finally be eligible for that Super Texas Mom award. Wouldn't you know it that when we arrived that sea of blue was tainted by butt prints all over the prairie? Belles and Howards were all smushed and lifeless. I had to try to situate my boys at such an absolutely perfect angle that it looked like the 2 living bluebonnets equaled the 4 million that were on that hillside less than 24 hours ago.

"Smile, boys! Come on, smile! Now, don't turn your head that way. It makes it obvious that we're working with only 2 bluebonnets here. *MAKE YOUR MOTHER LOOK KIND OR I'LL PUT YOU IN TIME OUT!!!!!!!! MAKE ME LOOK KIND, DANG IT!!!"

*I didn't really say that out loud.

Those bluebonnets can bring out the ugly in people.

So, if you are ever in Texas around March and April, beware for screeching cars at the roadside. We'll stop anywhere if we spot a patch of blue. Parents who care deeply about 5-point harnesses will shove little Billy Jo right into a median surrounded by cars zipping by at 90 miles per hour for that coveted picture.

"Now, smile, Billy! That 18-wheeler ain't gonna hurt you!" *tries to remove bits of rubber tire that just flew into her teeth* "Smile, son!"

We are super serious about the bluebonnets 'round here. There's even a site dedicated to bluebonnet sightings. There are probably many like it. They're like UFOs or something. For goodness sakes.

After all of this writing and talking about the state flower, I'm really tempted to take my boys to that red light I was at yesterday near the old barbecue restaurant and busy intersection for a snapshot. I'll have them stand amidst the 10 bluebonnets scattered among the ant hills and weeds and then ask them to smile.

I bet no one will be competing for that spot.

But I'll take my boxing gloves, just in case.

Confession: I May Be An Overreactor. My sister, too. (Alternate title: What would YOU have done if this was in YOUR house?)

My sister wasn't hurting anybody. She was just sitting there eating her pizza on her couch. And watching some TV. I'm sure it was something on Bravo. She just loooooves Bravo. She was minding her own business and watching something on Bravo. Or HGTV. One of those two. Minding her own business and watching Bravo or HGTV. It could have been Food Network. Minding her own business and watching Food Network or Bravo or HGTV. Or perhaps it was...


My brother-in-law heard my sister scream and came rushing down the stairs.

"What? What? What's wrong?!??"

"Looklooklooklooklooklooklook!!!!!!!" My sister frantically pointed up toward the ceiling with her arms flailing all around in her full-on freaked-out mode.

"Oh, Lisa!"

"What? Get it!!!!"

"I thought you were bleeding to death down here. I can't believe you screamed like that over THAT!"

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? It's a BAT! A BAT! There is a BAT in our LIVING ROOM."

Not the same bat, but, lawduhmercy, that thing is ugly. Source

It wasn't in the living room long, though. Before they were able to stick that thing into a headlock, it had flown upstairs into their game room. My brother-in-law chased behind it and decided to turn on the ceiling fan in the hopes that the flying blood-sucking mammal would crash into the blades and fall to the ground.

And that's what happened.

I still don't know if that bat was alive or not when he sailed face first into the carpet. I need to remember to ask my brother-in-law about that. I just know that the bat problem had been taken care of for the time being.

Except when I told my sister that the pest control people I had pestered about sponsoring our neighborhood swim team told me that bats usually travel in pairs. (I had to pretend I had another goal for coming into their establishment other than just wanting them to cough up some dollah bills.) The bats-traveling-in-pairs thing got her all freaked out over again.  Well, that, and the fact that there is bat residue in her house.

Bat particles.

My sister is one of those REALLY clean people. I feel like I'm a clean person, but my sister is REALLY CLEAN. If she were fresh out of the shower but then had to take the trash out, she'd want to take a shower again. For her to have bat atoms in her house is a huge deal.

So, this is how it's been for the last week:

"Kelley, can you believe there was a BAT IN MY HOUSE?"

*Brother-in-law in the background* "Would you stop it, already? The bat is out of the house. We have rid our house of the bat. The bat area has been cleaned."

"A bat, Kelley," She'll continue. "A bat."

I always agree with her, because the first person I'm calling if a bat finds a key to this house is her. Well, that's after I've yelled and flailed around my own house for a bit.

This bat business prompted a conversation between my sister and me about the level of sympathy our husbands have for us when something super really bad happens like bats flying into ceiling fans in your own house when you were minding your own business while watching HGTV. (Or was it Bravo?) Her husband felt that her level of yelling was only appropriate for profuse bleeding. I am thinking he should have thought her reaction should have gone more like this one:

"Oh, dear me. Would you look at that? A bat in my own house. Shoo, bat. Shoo. Honey? Oh, honey! When you get a chance, could you see if you could get this nuisance out of the house? I'm trying to watch the Food Network and this constant flapping of this bat's wings are sort of bothering me. No rush, though."

I only feel like I am at liberty to tease them about this situation because my husband would have had the same reaction as my brother-in-law if he had found me yelling like crazy over a bat in the living room. I know this because I know how my husband reacts when I hurt my toe. If I have nailed the sucker into the side of some furniture, for example, and fall down in agony, the scenario would likely play out like this:

"OUCH!!! OUCH!!" *crashes down to the ground*

"What's wrong??"

"I hurt my toe!" *rolls from side to side on her back while clutching her foot*

"You hurt your toe?? I thought you broke your leg or something!"

"I can't hurt my toe and get some sympathy? Why does it always have to be catastrophic? Is the only way I'm getting a 'Are you okay? What can I do to help?' outta you is if I come through here with a 2 x 4 sticking out of my right ear?"

(I'm fairly confident he'd give me a pat on the head and a "there, there" if I had a 2 x 4 sticking out of my ear. Possibly.)

When he says things like, "I thought you broke your leg!", he pretty much knows I didn't break my leg. That is his way of saying that my outburst doesn't match my pain level and so, therefore, does not require much sympathy.

"But, I hurt my toe!"

"You aren't even crying, Kelley."

"But, I hurt it!"

"Not crying."

"Okay, I'm better now."

I guess he sort of has a point. I do recover pretty quickly. And I can be a little dramatic. I guess my sister can be that way, too. We all react to pain and bats in the house in our own individual ways, though, and that's our God-given right, dingdangit.

We know our husbands care about us. Of course, they do. Once when we were first married, and before my husband became desensitized to my pain reactions, I had heartburn that made me feel like I was having a heart attack. I clutched my chest and slid down the bathroom wall. (I've seen a lot of movies.) I do remember him dropping everything and running over to me with a worried look on his face exclaiming, "Kelley! Kelley! Are you alright??". I tuck that little scenario in the back of my head when he doesn't run to get a stretcher for me after I hurt my toe.

Seriously, though, if my sister or I see a bat just after we hurt our toes, we are going to need a stretcher. We might as well stock up on a couple of those right now, just in case.

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