Demoted to Dumbphone

9 Mar

This is my current phone.

Ready to be impressed? It has a mirror right by the camera lens so you can take a “centered self portrait,” as the manual put it.

Wanna know why I’m living on the cutting edge of 2009? Because God told me to.

Yes. God told me to put down the lovely Samsung Note with all the bells and whistles and pick up her (almost) long-forgotten older spinster sister.

I don’t know about you, but God often talks to me when I’m in the shower. It’s quiet in there. No kids, no electronics, no music. Just me and my thoughts. And God. So last Sunday morning, I was praying about an issue with one of my kiddos as I was lathering up my locks, and God asked me, “You say you’d do anything for your kids – would you really?” I knew almost instantly what He was asking of me – “lay down your beloved Android appendage for the good of your child.”

Now, before you get all skeptical on me, let me give you a bit of background. Said child has commented more than once on my Android appendage. The other 3 children haven’t so much as made a peep about it. They don’t notice and/or care that Mommy’s phone is actually her favorite child. But this kiddo noticed and was noisy about it. I feel a kinship for this child, though, because we share the same addiction – electronics. I have the maturity and self-control to be able to walk away (most of the time), but that muscle in me is weak. And if it’s weak in me, I can’t imagine how powerless my child feels facing the pull of the phone, tablet, XBox, DS, or computer.

So there I was, soapy and arguing with God. I won’t go into the details of the conversation, mostly because they would reveal the immature person I was at that moment, but you can imagine, I’m sure. I knew I couldn’t say no, but I wanted so badly to pretend like the conversation didn’t happen. I tried to bargain with God about it: “How about if I turn off my data and just use my miniature computer for phone calls and texts? I’ll delete all my other apps.” I knew the answer as soon as I asked the question – “Really? You’d ONLY use your miniature computer for phone calls and texts? Try again, Android Girl.”

This went on for a while. I won’t bore you with the details of my mental gymnastics as I tried getting around what God has asked me to do. It was like Jonah going to Joppa instead of Ninevah. Fortunately for me, though, I realized my error before God sent a big fish to swallow my phone. Or before it took a swim in a toilet. I started thinking about things, and how this development could positively affect my kiddo. The one for whom I said I’d do anything.

I started thinking about how to do this. If you’ve never had to downgrade from a smartphone to a basic phone, it takes a lot of work. It took me a while to actually get my hands on a suitable phone. God didn’t say that I couldn’t have a qwerty keyboard, so that was my first requirement. I sweet talked my mom out of her red Samsung Intensity. Flashy! I have a red phone. I’ve never had one of those, before. She’s long-since moved on into the smartphone world, and wasn’t even sure if she had Ruby (what I’ve named red phone). Sure enough, Ruby arrived in the mail this weekend…but without a charger.

Who would have thought that I would have needed a charger for an old phone? Not me! That’s why I got rid of those old chargers years ago. I had to scrounge around on Facebook to find one (thanks to KT and L!!). I got it and charged good old Ruby up.

Then I had to figure out how I was going to activate her. She doesn’t have a SIM card. I spent about 24 hours on the Verizon website trying to work this out, but I finally got her up and running.

Another issue? Forwarding my calls and texts from the Note to Ruby. The calls are the easy part – the texts are something different altogether. Yes, there are apps for that, but when Ruby gets a text from Note, it comes from my other number, so if I want to reply, I have to type in the number manually. Geez! Such problems, right? And don’t even get me started on exporting my contacts from Note to Ruby. One. At. A. Time. And each contact takes a minimum of 8 button clicks on Ruby to get it imported.

I’m secretly looking forward to my time with Ruby, though. I’m looking forward to spending time with my kids and really engaging with them. I know this isn’t forever (honestly, I think I might be back to the Note by summer), but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to what God is going to teach me, and how my relationship with all 4 of my kids and my hubby will change for the better.

So if you hear an old-school cell phone ring-a-ding-dinging while you’re out in the world, remember That Nolen Chick and ask God to give me a little wisdom about my dumbphone adventure.

Hijacked Spring Break

12 Apr

Our spring break is nearing its end. It wasn’t what we had planned – a trip to Bryan, TX, to visit my parents and side trip(s) to NASA and the Houston Zoo and/or Galveston.

My mom came up this way the week before spring break to visit my two grandmothers in Canyon and Alamosa. On her way back to B/CS the Thursday before our break, she took Baby Tay with her, because Kid #4 was the only one not to have spent any time with my parents at Camp Nana. Because of this, we had only 3 kids (and a pooch) for the 14-hour drive.

The morning we left for our vacay, we got a call about an hour down the road – my Grannie in Texas had passed away an hour earlier. I had sort of anticipated this, but hadn’t packed any clothes for a funeral. Instead of opting to buy appropriate clothes for 6 people for the funeral, we turned around, went home, got our clothes, and left again.

We stayed with Hubby’s parents in Clovis (4 hours away) that night, then decided to hit the road for a mini vacay with the 3 big kids. We wanted to do something fun with them since Kait was having fun at Camp Nana. We visited Roswell and Carlsbad over the next two days, then returned to Clovis to wash clothes and spend the night.

Finally, we headed to Canyon on Tuesday evening in preparation for the Wednesday service. We got #4 back from my parents, saw family, had dinner, then hit the hay at the hotel.

Then #3 got sick. Like, nasty sick. Middle-of-the-night nasty sick in the hotel.

So Hubs stayed with 3 & 4 and Senor Crazypants dog at my aunts’ house while the other 3 of us went to Grannie’s service. It was a nice service, but a bit surreal to be back in the church I grew up in. Kids 1 & 2 got to experience the Panhandle winds at the graveside service, and my brother and I told them repeatedly to be thankful they don’t have to deal with that wind like we did growing up.

In the meantime, Hubs had picked up some miracle medicine our doctor called in to a local pharmacy to stop #3’s dry heaves. Poor thing – once she starts puking, she can’t stop.

We headed home Wednesday afternoon and we were all SO THANKFUL to get home. #3 crashed Wednesday night feeling poor and woke up Thursday feeling fine.

I, however, didn’t. I got her tummy thing.

But yesterday I felt better, so we made the most of our circumstances (and Hubs’s remaining days off), and went to a movie in Santa Fe, followed by swimming, and a fabulous steak dinner at Outback. Actually, we went to two separate movies – the girls and I saw Peabody & Sherman (fun flick), and the boys saw Captain America. It was a nice compromise.

Pretty much the whole time we were on the road, we were listening to Lord of the Rings. We started it last summer when we went to Texas, but only got as far as 2/3 of the way through the 2nd book. Last night, pulling into the driveway, we were at the part where Eowyn was facing off with the King of the Nazgul, and instead of staying in the car and listening to the VERY EXCITING next part, the kids decided to go inside to bed. What? What! Hubs and I decided it was because they had no idea what the end of that standoff held.

So now they’re all in the living room watching the movies. Except for #4. She doesn’t care. She’d rather watch Frozen. Again. And dance and sing to every song. Again. Because she’s good at that.

As usual, though, I have a ga-jillion piles of laundry to do. It’s Saturday, after all, and dirty laundry waits for no woman.

I Have a Mess on My Head – Plus a Contest

18 Oct

I have naturally curly hair. Not Keri Russell’s Felicity-esque tight coils, or Julia Robert’s soft waves, but more like Meg Ryan’s relaxed corkscrews. In my junior high days, I fought the curls and tried to get my bangs to feather just so, but was never successful. Long story short, I was a volunteer head of hair in a hair show when I was about 15, and the stylist changed my life forever.

Forever, people!

He unleashed the natural curls and showed me how to style this mess on my head. My life was never the same. I was free! No more curling irons to try to straighten those cow licks (no, I hadn’t heard of straightening irons), no more plastering my feathery wings with half a can of Aqua Net before school. I could, for the first time in my adolescent life, wash and wear my hair. Fortunately, I lived in Texas and it was the late 80s, so big, curly hair was in. I still used half a can of Aqua Net before school every day, but it was only to enhance the mess, not tame it.

I never had the patience to grow my hair much past my shoulders, mostly because it’s thick and makes me hot. Not hot as in “Girl, you’re looking sexy,” but “Girl, you’re looking sweaty.” Plus, my mom always told me that short hair looked really good on me.

I’m not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere around 24-ish months ago, I decided I was going to grow my hair out to donate. Amazingly enough, I did it. Just knowing that this hair really belonged to someone else encouraged me to keep growing the mess until it was long enough.


So I don’t usually do my bangs this way, but even they were long. This was 24 hours before I went under the shears.


The two braids in the middle were from the back (13 inches) and the other 2 braids were from the sides (10 inches). In case you’re wondering, I’m donating my locks to a place called Art of Wigs.


The ‘do.


The new mess on my head.

One of the first status updates I posted post-cut was that I was expecting epic bedhead from this cut. Honestly – it’s asymmetrical in two directions (front to back and side to side), so how can I NOT have great bedhead? I had to recant my statement just yesterday because, honestly, when I get up in the morning, I only look a little bit disheveled. Disappointing.

Until this morning.


I posted this picture this morning, pre-coffee, and got a couple of humdinger selfies from friends in return. Which made me think…


Yes! How fun would this be? Depending on types of entries, we might have different categories – preschool, child, college, adult, and one overall winner. Yay! Fun times! So, visit my Facebook page to upload your picture. Give me a little info in the caption, too. If you are shy, feel free to wear a mask, or even put one of those black bars over your eyes. I want to see your most epic bedhead! I don’t know what the prizes are – maybe just bragging rights. But wouldn’t you LOVE to be the BEDHEAD MONARCH OF THE INTERWEBS?

bedhead king

I Have a New Blog, But YOU Are the Author!

16 Jul

After a hilarious Facebook status update yesterday, followed by more hilarious comments from other parents, I’ve started a blog called “Things I Should Not Have To Tell My Kid.” (It’s if the link isn’t working)

Some gems:

  • get out of the oven
  • don’t lick the shopping basket (or public bathroom sink)
  • the urinal cake is not a boat
  • the tampon is not a submarine
  • we don’t dance like a hoochie mama in the grocery store
  • don’t pee on your brother
  • quit touching my boob

Really? We have to tell our kids these things? What have you had to tell your kid? Share! We want to laugh commiserate.

Do I Know How to Celebrate, Or What?

15 Jul

Remember this show?


I remember my parents watching it back in the late 80s. Being a teenager, I wasn’t very interested in it. Moonlighting was more my speed. I loved me some Bruce Willis. The only things I remember about this show are that the main characters never seemed very happy, one family’s house was in a perpetual state of remodeling (and they were living among the construction), and that the redheaded lady’s hairdo was strange.

As a twentysomething, I ran across the show in syndication. I thought, I should give that show a try. I might understand it more now that I’m a grown-up. But then I never watched it. I didn’t care about adult angst, artsy haircuts, or other people’s remodeling projects. I had my own angst, bad hair days, and torn up kitchen to worry about.

I forgot about the show until tonight. It’s the last night of my 30s. Come the morning, I will no longer be thirtysomething. How do I feel? I’m not stressed out (I already had that for my 26th birthday), I’m not sad. If anything, I’m a bit meh. It’s another birthday.

I’m not planning a party. That would require effort on my part. I’m too tired for that. Besides, many of the people I’d want to celebrate with don’t live here.

My most memorable adult birthday was a few years ago – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came out on my birthday. I stayed in bed all day long and read. It was heavenly. Haven’t had a day like it since, and that was 8 years ago.

So, on this, the eve of a new decade of my life, guess what I’m about to do? Go grocery shopping with the hubs. Because those darn kids keep expecting to be fed.

On My Mark, Get Set….Here I GO!

8 Jul

Long-ish story, but the short version is that I signed up to be part of a group of people who will share a goal (or goals) that we want to reach in 24 days. I think our 24 days begins on the 15th, but along the way, we will be e-mailed mini-missions that will encourage us to step out of our comfort zones and work toward our goal.

My goal? Get my manuscript edited so that I can publish it on Amazon for the Kindle.

It needs to lose some weight.

The manuscript

I will be a published author by August 10 (I think that’s the end of the 24 days).

For those of you new to the game, my book is called “186 Days: The Marvelous Adventures of the Fabulous Nolens,” and it’s about our 6 months in England with 3 little kids.

Stay tuned!

P.S. I’m a little freaked out just writing that red sentence above.

I Didn’t Fall Off The Face Of the Earth

12 Jun

Yeah, I know. I haven’t posted anything in forever. Sorry.

So – quick catching up here.

  • We finished school back in May and my oldest is now a middle schooler. He’s also an official member of our church’s youth group, which also means that he’s in the Sunday school class Hubs and I have been teaching for, oh, about a hundred years. That makes me feel weird – to have my own kid in a teenager-y setting.
  • We put down sod in our backyard last month, so it no longer looks like we’re dirt farmers back there. On a related note, I have a feeling our water bill is going to be as high as our orthodontic bills (we now have 3 kids in orthodontia).
  • My phone broke. Sad days. I dropped it and shattered the screen. I’ve been scraping every spare dollar I can find (and selling crap on eBay) to pay for the repair, because I don’t want to take it out of our budget. $300 to replace screen and LCD. I’ve been without my phone for almost 2 weeks and I haven’t exploded yet, but I’m getting close.
  • I’m now Coordinator for our Community Bible Study class. This doesn’t mean anything extra right now, but in a few weeks, I’m going to have to shift into administrative mode and get everyone who has registered for the class entered into The System. Yes, there is a nationwide system that we all use. This is a big organization!
  • I’m now paying my children almost 4x the amount of weekly commission (allowance) to do their summer chores. I’m also not loading/unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, or dusting. I think this is a fair trade, and I’m willing to keep shelling out the George Washingtons to maintain the arrangement.
  • Kid #2 and I have started watching “Downton Abbey” together. I’ll probably blog more about this at a later time, but for now, we’re enjoying it. She’s almost 10, by the way.

I think that’s all the old business. On to new business. We’re going to a family wedding at the end of June, and we decided to make it into a big family vacation. This means that I’m going to obsess over finding the best deals for hotels and attraction tickets for the next few days until we have everything purchased. I’ve been working on it tonight already for three hours and I’ve given myself a Google overload headache.

We switched meds for Kid #1’s ADHD issues. Today was the first day with the adderall – the new stuff. So far, so good. He tried Vyvanse (adderall) back in December of 2011 and broke out into hives.  We’re hoping the allergic reaction was just to a filler and not the meds, because the meds he has been taking are only ok at controlling his symptoms.

By the way, if you have a kid with ADHD, I recommend “Taking Charge of ADHD” by Barkley. I finished reading it yesterday and feel much more competent to deal with this.

So, do any of my fabulous readers have interesting (or not-so-interesting) summer plans? I want to know – share!


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