Hiya – Remember Me?

15 May

So it’s been over a year since I’ve written a post. TBH, I lost interest. I decided over a year ago that I really didn’t want to be a writer when I grew up, and because I didn’t need to build my online marketing platform, I didn’t really see the need to keep tending my blog.

But something weird has happened in the last few months: my writer-ly Facebook page has gained more followers without me promoting it. Interesting.

Maybe I’ll post more now. I’ll start today with a story that continues to warm my heart.

It’s about kazoos and flamingos.

Several weeks ago, our church staff and worship team facilitated a different kind of Sunday morning service. It was focused on fellowship and celebrating our church family. It was great – coffee, photo booth, pastries from a new local bakery, great worship songs, friends, and…kazoos.

Kazoos in the hands (or mouths) of adults is pretty fun. I’ve heard lots of fun song arrangements utilizing the little guys. But in the possession of the under-10 set? No.

That morning, I decided before the service even began that there would be payback for the kazoos. I discovered that our youth pastor was the culprit, and I had 20 pink yard flamingos ordered before I left the building that morning. Why? For his yard. Because kazoos. And because he responded to my “thanks for the kazoos” text with “i regret nothing.”

I began gathering my co-conspirators. I will not name names here to protect the still-presumed-innocent, but I will say that it was other like-minded parents. Because kazoos.

The flock arrived.13064110_10208992593309732_1147386930_o

This is only half of the flock. They came in two boxes. In case you need to acquire your own flock, Home Depot had the best prices.

Schedules were coordinated, plans were laid, and Operation Oh No He Di’int was a go.


Note the kazoo on this bad boy.

We were so stealthy and quick that we were done in 8 minutes. It was mildly anti-climactic…

But it was fun to sit back and watch the puzzlement unfold. The pastor and his wife thought that various teenagers from our church were responsible. He was mostly sure that I was the ringleader (maybe because of the #revenge texts I had sent him earlier), but he was fuzzy on my comrades.

He was a great sport about it though, posting pictures of his mini-mingo wrangler.


This was the caption: Flamingos escaped containment and were getting aggressive. She had to step in before it got out of control. ‪#‎celebratechurch‬ #‎youremyboypink‬‪ #‎flamingoesandkazoos‬

His little mingo wrangler really enjoyed her new pets – she got them into this formation:


I was a little worried about those two lying down. I wondered if maybe they were injured and the others were turning on them.

We let him enjoy his flock and stew in the mystery for a while. Until the next Sunday when the conspirators wore these stickers:

kazoos flamingos

I think we need to make some t-shirts with this design. But I digress.

Then this happened during the sermon:


That was his face when Pink made his appearance. And others began appearing. Check out the jungle mingo in the plant in his office.

Whole threads on FB were devoted to the birds when found in the wild.

And everything was ok until this happened…


We had put our dear pastor and his family in danger!! Oh no! But never fear, the mingo wrangler still has her flock under control.

I don’t know how long this flamingo thing will last. I think others are helping perpetuate the longevity, and that’s awesome. I live in mild fear of retribution because I know that the pastor has at least one of his own co-conspirators who keeps posting things like this on Facebook.


Yeah – this exists, apparently.

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 IToldMyKid.wordpress.com 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.