Monday, October 31, 2011

Have a Spooktacular Day!

Since my kids already dressed up and did a big trick-or-treating/fall festival shindig up at our church this past Friday, I have to keep reminding myself that Halloween is not actually over yet and I still have to take them trick-or-treating tonight. Because if there is one thing we need around this house it is more candy! Our supply is running dangerously low, we only have maybe a 4-year supply and that ain't how we do things in Sweeneyville.

Cindy's costume was a big success this year. And even more successful were her Leia buns! I took all the advice of Internet tutorials everywhere and took two long socks, wrapped them in some nylon knee-highs and made Halloween history. Cindy was absolutely thrilled with her hair. She kept looking in the mirror and freaking out saying, "I look EXACTLY like her!! People are going to think I am the actual girl from the movie!!" It made all my sewing, re-sewing, hemming, and hood-making work worth it :) Here are a few pics from Friday night...

It's a little known fact, but Darth Vader wore his Spiderman shoes a lot for extra comfort when he was interrogating prisoners and force choking his crew.

Does Cindy work in a bakery, because her buns are incredible!

She's part of the rebel alliance and a traitor! But she has a blaster, so we can pretty much let her go...

Yes, I did even make her a hood. She owes me BIG TIME for that...


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Results Are In!

Well, it's finally time to review this year's school pictures. And I even have a bonus for you! I totally forgot about Luke's picture day this year and so I didn't even order a single photo of him, which was kind of making me feel bad. But I was secretly hoping they would send home some sort of teaser photo that would at least show me what I was missing, and more importantly, allow me to show all of you what it looked like without having to go online and buy some sort of multi-million dollar reprint package. Well, whattayaknow? They did send me a little flyer with his pictre on it :) Score!

Take it away digital camera! Because scanners are way too high-tech for Sweeneyville...


Did I mention that I totally forgot it was picture day that day? And that my children have been triple certified in the unnatural half-grimace? Not crazy about his hair, not crazy about the smile, but I do love that this picture shows a Lego Stormtrooper on his shirt. If Jacob can have 6 years of school pictures in a shirt with the General Lee on it, then I guess Luke can have Lego Star Wars on his :)


I would have to give this picture an overall B-. The hair looks great. Kinda wishing both sides weren't in front of her shoulders, but overall it held up pretty well. I am once again not digging the smile that doesn't show her teeth and also says, "I am really uncomfortable doing this, please hurry."

I think when you are around your kids all day and you see them laugh and smile all the time, you know what they look like and have expectations of what their pictures should look like. So when you get their pictures back and they aren't captured just as you think of them in your mind, it causes you to be a little critical. Honestly, I am pleased with both of their pictures. Luke and Cindy are beautiful kids and I take a lot of comfort in the fact that at least their pictures didn't turn out like this:

(I don't own these photos, they came from here.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Carvers Guide to the Galaxy

Step 1: Go to a local pumpkin patch and pick the perfect pumpkin. It took Cindy and Luke about 30 minutes to find "the one". "The one" meaning "the one Mom could afford to buy" and not "The one the kids wanted to buy so they could carve it and then move in because it is spacious enough to be a studio apartment."

Step 2: Name the Pumpkin. In honor of the girl pug on The Adventures of Milo and Otis, our pumpkin was named Sondra. It's French, you know.

Step 3: Have Cindy remove the guts and complain about her life of servitude. Luke will then makes faces of disgust and attempt to touch a spoon. Maybe.

Step 4: After several pencil and paper rough draft sketches, let Mom do the actual knife work and steer the pumpkin-carving ship on a more sensible course, avoiding the "rectangle eyes" and "seven teeth" that were originally wanted.

Step 5: Pose with your masterpiece for all the blogosphere to see and admire :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Cindy Quickie

The other day when I was getting in the car with Cindy, she crawled in the front seat. I quickly told her to take her rightful place in the back. She said, "Hold on, I have to get something." She then proceeded to lean way back over the center armrest and arch her body in a very crazy position to reach something over her head that was under the driver's seat. After this amazing display of contortion she sat back up and with a red face she exclaimed proudly, "Man! I should be on Bending With The Stars! I am SO bendy!!!!"

And here are my kids with the miniature pumpkins they got to pick out a the pumpkin patch the other night. I never knew a teeny tiny pumpkin could make my kids so happy :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Siamese Slanket

Because why settle for humiliating just one person at a time when humliating two simultaneously is this awesome?

All I can say to Jacob is: You, me and this slanket make three, baby! When our day of winter hits this year (projected to be on Tuesday, January 10th) we are gonna be ready. Oh Yeah!!

P.S. Is it just me or does the guy in the picture have a secret underlying look on his face that says "I'm about to possibly have a panic attack in this thing"? I'm pretty sure he is freaking out...

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Smell Refund!

Have you ever been scammed by a business and wanted a refund? Have you made endless phone calls that get you absolutely nowhere? I am proud to say that my dad has created an absolute foolproof way of getting the results you want in these situations. It all started a few years back when, I believe, a totally dishonest credit card company ripped him off. He called, complained, asked nicely, asked not-so-nicely for his money back- all the usual tactics and it got him nowhere. Then he came up with the most ingenius tactic to get results. He just recently used this same plan of attack on the company in charge of those shifty, door-to-door, quasi-vagrant magazine salesmen. You know, those guys that just got out of prison, are trying to turn their lives around and all they need is someone like you to give them a chance and buy magazines so they can earn "points" so they don't have to live on the streets and sell crack anymore? Yes, my dad did buy magazines from them. But in his defense it was Sesame Street and it was for Luke. It has been a over a year since he forked over the check and he has been trying to get his money back ever since, because, obviously, the magazines never arrived. So here for you now is the letter my dad wrote (in all its sarcastic glory), followed by a picture of him holding the check for his refund :) A refund check that surprised my mom so much, her eyebrows fell off onto the ground. Ha! I had to make a joke about not having eyebrows at least once, Mom. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. They will be growing back in by Christmas anyway :)

September 21, 2011

UD Management Group
611 K Street NW Suite 3
Washington, D.C. 20001

I am not expecting a response from this letter. It’s for your information only.

I ordered a magazine from one of your young grifters in Lakeland, Florida, last year and, of course, the magazine never arrived.

I have called you several times and have been promised my money would be returned and, of course, it has not been.

I should have known better but my white guilt got the best of me and I gave a check to one of your apprentice con men. Oh well, live and learn I suppose.

But even though I will never get my money back, I can, perhaps, keep some other guilty white guy in Polk County Florida from contributing to your scam.

I have decided that it will be my goal over the next couple of months to hand out 500 of the enclosed cards to people I meet.

When I go to Walgreen’s, the clerk will get a card. When Domino’s delivers my pizza, the delivery guy will get a card. The staff at my dentist’s office, the people I go to church with, my neighbors and the lady in the toll booth on the Parkway will all get cards. If I get to 500 cards handed out before your lying shysters hit town again around Thanksgiving, I’ll start on another 500.

I know my little protest will not make a significant dent in the bottom line of your thieving enterprise, but it will make me feel good. And it might even save a few hundred other unsuspecting suckers from falling for your annual swindle.

Michael Bingham
Lakeland, FL 33812
Reference # 662049

Here is what is printed on a little business card that is enclosed with the letter:

This Card Is A Friendly Warning:
Do Not Buy Magazines
From Door-To-Door Salesmen


You think you are helping a young man earn points for a trip
or a scholarship by buying his overpriced magazines.


Two weeks later...

¡SeƱor Refundo! A genius the likes of which the world has never known...

So there you have it! The foolproof formula for a successful refund is as follows: 1 cleverly saracstic letter + 1 printed business card of doom = World domination!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No, Chancho, I would never leave you!

Saturday night I really wanted to watch Nacho Libre. (If you didn't know, it is one my favorite movies of all-time. Says a lot about me, huh?) I was going to put it in the laptop and just chill by myself but the kids started begging me to let them watch too. I finally decided they would need to eventually see this movie one day anyway and so they piled in my bed and we watched half of it before it was their bedtime. While the kids seemed to enjoy the movie, it was kind of a weird experience for me to watch a movie (that doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to begin with) with small children and have to explain the answers to their inevitable questions. I told them everything from describing what a nun was and why they can't have boyfriends to what a nucleus is; why wrestlers wear masks, what are "sweats" and "fresh ingredients", what are orphans, what is a water gypsy and whether eagle eggs give you magical powers, how you could possibly make a go-cart out of a wheelchair and lawnmower, what throwing a beehive at someone has to do with wrestling, why we can't eat our corn on the cob on a stick, what the Spanish word "esqueleto" means and also trying to explain the nickname "Satan's Cavemen". It was kind of a weird 45 minutes. (But then again it was kind of weird having to explain the words "whore" and "harlot" to Cindy last night while reading in 1 Nephi, so it can come at you at any time, really.) I couldn't tell if the kids could even follow the movie well enough to like it, but when I went into the kitchen this morning and saw the 2012 Calendar that the kids are decorating for me, I found this at the top of May:

"Get that corn out of my face"

I think I shed a tear. A prideful, wonderful tear :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Weekend Update

This was already on Facebook, but just to make sure I catalog this properly in the next Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of Sweeneyville: The Book...

On Friday my mom suddenly found out she was done with her chemo treatments!! She was supposed to have two more, but since some of the side effects of the latest treatment were getting a little intense, the doctor had mercy on her and is letting her skip the last two. Yippppeeeeee! Isn't my mom such a trooper? About 7 months of treatments and she barely complained and really didn't even miss that much work. Amazing! Anyway, I'm glad that part is over. Now I get my Friday afternoon buddy back! Yay! Next up is radiation treatments, but the good news is that since she got to end chemo early, she might get to start radiation early and thus be done earlier than planned. That would be awesome. Fingers crossed! (And prayers being said...)

And just a little update on that soccer tournament on Saturday... Apparently there is some unwritten rule in the universe that Cindy is required to always play on a soccer team that never gets a fair shake. Last year in Bartow, due to laziness on the part of the league, her little team was forced to play on a giant field with full-sized goals. And even more insulting, they were also forced to have me as their coach. I think I speak for everyone on that team when I say, "Please never bring that season up in conversation ever again." So this time around, playing in a different league, different venue, and with Jacob as her coach I was fully prepared for soccer vindication!! When we got to the tournament I was very encouraged to see the field was smaller and so were the goals. Unfortunately, the teams we had to play had obviously been taking steroids since they were infants, because they were each at least a foot taller than our girls. Apparently there were no U-9 teams for us to play, so we had to play up a division with the U-10 Amazon's of Bradenton. It was like David vs. Goliath. No, actually it was more like David's one-legged little sister vs. Goliath. Needless to say, as a parent, Saturday was a very long day. However, as you might expect from 8 year-olds, they stil had fun just being together :)

Pink ball, pink shoes- who could that be?

They played the game "Keep the Ball in the Air" and the record was 4.

Not listening, walking away from coach- who could that be? Busted!! Ha ha ;)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Right to Remain Fantastic

If you live here in Central Florida and don't get outside this weekend to either exercise, do yardwork, go to the park or otherwise enjoy nature and the unbelievable weather we are having, I will have to come to your house and make a citzen's arrest. Because not doing any of those things would be an absolute CRIME. You have been warned.

As for me and my house, we will be down in Bradenton watching Cindy play two soccer games with her team in the Halloween Havoc Soccer Tournament. If I didn't feel like a soccer mom yet, I will after tomorrow :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Cindy Quickie

There is some mysterious button on my phone that I accidently press about 4 times a day and every time I do a woman's voice starts speaking and says, "Please say a command." It drives me nuts because I don't even have voice commands activated on my phone, so every time I hear that phrase I only get annoyed and turn it off. Yesterday in the car, Cindy borrowed my phone for some reason and within seconds I heard the phone say, "Please say a command" to which Cindy made a quizzical face and then said, "Get me some ice cream!" I couldn't help but look at her and laugh. And she couldn't help but say, "What? It's a command, isn't it?" And that was the exact moment I decided to accidentally hit that button a lot more often.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Winds of Change

This morning my father-in-law was released from his church calling of being Stake President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints here in Lakeland, Fl. He has served in this calling for ten years! That was such a LONG time ago. Cindy wasn't even alive when he first became Stake President! So in honor of this momentous occasion, what could be better than some sweet Top Ten action? Answer: Nothing!

He won't admit it, but Karl is really gonna miss these things...


10. Instant friend verification with any member of the Quorum of the 12 on Facebook
9. Pretty much have the place to yourselves at Stake President's Night at Disney World
8. Free churro with every tenth Temple visit
7. Extending fake callings to members to clean your garage
6. Telling everyone you are on the phone with Salt Lake while talking into your shoe
5. Getting to destroy the country, ruin the economy and embarrass the nation on the world stage- Oh, wait those are perks of being the actual President. My bad...
4. No free health insurance, but free DVD of Patch Adams!
3. Get to use FastPass for really crowded endowment sessions (Utah Temples Only)
2. If the fire alarm at the Stake Center doesn't go off for 30 days you win a Ford Fiesta
1. Unlimited Overtime!!

In all seriousness, I think I speak for pretty much everyone when I say,
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant" :)

Friday, October 7, 2011


Well, finally here is that blog post you all have been waiting for! Me and the gigantic pork rind that is bigger than my head!

(I was alone with only Luke to take the photo. He didn't want to do it, but I made him say, "For the Blog!" and his courage was strengthened. We need to work on focusing the camera, though)

And just for good measure, here is Luke with the giant pork rind that is bigger than my head.

(he still has part of the mustache he accidentally drew on himself at preschool this morning...)

If you want the true low-down on this thing, this was a gift that my dad got from one of his co-workers. My dad loves pork rinds, so I guess his friend figured that if a small one is good, then an eye-poppingly large one must be all kinds of amazing. I honestly thought this thing was a car seat cover when I saw it on my dad's desk. Ahh, well, given my dad and his new diet, I suppose it will have to go into food storage until the lights go out and the trucks stop rolling. Or used as packaging the next time I ship something I sold on eBay. Either way, it will serve a good purpose.

Oh, wait, if you really were waiting to see a picture of Cindy's hair which was professionally done by Aunt KaRyn on Tuesday morning for picture day, here ya go:

Hey, if you were wanting pictures of the front, well, you are just going to have to wait patiently like everyone else in this house :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Request That Never Ends

It's 6:45am and this is the looping conversation I am having with Luke:

Luke: Can I have some candy out of that bowl on the oven?
Me: No, you need to eat some breakfast first.
Luke: Then I want to eat some breakfast.
Me: Okay, what would you like?
Luke: Some candy out of that bowl on the oven.

His Jedi mind tricks will not work on me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Luke Quickie and Cindy Shenanigans

I just picked up Luke from preschool and I noticed he had a sticker on his hand. I said, "Wow, did you get that because you did your homework?" He replied, "No, I got it because I figured out the letter sound the teacher was asking first. No one else got a sticker 'cause I was just paying attention and everyone else was clowning around!" Luke has a zero tolerance policy against clowning around at school, apparently.

And this has got to be a my new favorite picture of Cindy:

This was Saturday morning when it was about 63 degrees outside and the kids had to put on jackets and pants to survive the harsh conditions. I went out to take a picture of their get-ups and right when I lifted up the camera, Cindy made this pose in the flower bed. She is very gnome-esque, no? Anyway, it cracks me up whenever I look at it :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Force Is Strong With This One

For almost a year I have been resigned to the fact that the only way Luke was ever going to meet a Stormtrooper in real life was to take him to Star Wars Weekend at Hollywood Studios at Disney. That would cost me about twelve million dollars and be outside, in Florida, in July. Wow, could that be any less appealing? But by divine intervention I saw a story in an online paper about an exhibit at a Tampa museum that was going to provide the opportunity to meet Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and other members of the Imperial Guard. This was one of the luckiest discoveries I have made in recent memory. So on Saturday I went with Luke and my Dad over to the Tampa Bay History Center to meet these characters. Was it awesome? Amazing? Worth every penny??!! See for yourself!

There was an actual parade of the characters that came down the street where the history center was, but we chose to just hang out and wait for everyone to get to the museum. Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Imperial Guard Members, some Jedi and even R2D2 made their appearance! They did a little show for about 10 minutes in the lobby and then everyone got to go in.

Stormtroopers were falling from the sky, El Guapo!

As a side note: We were not allowed to use the flash on our cameras inside the exhibit, which made my little camera have to work all that much harder. Some of the pics are a little hard to make out, but it wasn't my fault. It was the Dark Side.

Luke started out this experience like he does all social experiences; scared to death and shy as the day is long. He was a little afraid of Darth Vader- several times he asked me if he was "using his real force" today. Dad was fearless, but come on! Vader doesn't take no crap from no one!

Luke started to loosen up a little bit. This picture sums up his whole life, I think. Wanting to do something so badly, but just needing a little courage :)

But after another 20 minutes Luke started to really get the hang of things. That's when things got FUN!

You know when you take a bunch of pictures and you are hoping for that one money shot, a picture that will become a classic? THIS is the one for me. I LOVE IT!

You know what? Stormtroopers are actually really nice! (Although, you did not hear that from me). In fact, Luke was so warmed up and feeling their love that he even got to hold some of their guns!

Of course he got to hold a REAL light saber too!

Dad asked to hold a gun and got completely rejected! Burn!

Jawa power!

You gotta admit those light sabers are awesome...

At the beginning Luke would not even go near R2! By the end, they were BFFs! Or BDFs.... Best Droids Forever!

Interesting fact: Luke owns a Stormtrooper action figure that looks just like this guy- covered in dirt and full of battle scars. I thought Luke totally ruined it by playing with it too much. I couldn't understand what he did to it! Turns out, it came that way! Luke is off the hook.

I had to go back and get my picture with the big guy himself. He was a little intimidating...

Of course there was an actual exhibit going on, so here is Luke and his orange flight suit.

And here I am in front of Captain Jean Luc Picard's suit from Star Trek: The Next Generation. And does it make me the biggest nerd on the planet that I instantly knew based on it's design this was his suit from season one? HECK. YES.

Look, it's The Holy Grail of Star Wars! Luke's original light saber from the original movie and the fake hand they used in The Empire Strikes Back when it gets cut off. Amazing!

Finally, I must include a picture of Luke and Dad in front of THE MOST GIANT ELEVATOR IN ALL THE WORLD!!! Look at the size of this thing! You could drive a tank in there! It was massive. And to be honest, it was probably one of the more interesting things regularly in that museum :)