What’s That Sound, Volume Four.

We read the bible almost every night to our kids, they go to Sunday School, and we have conversations about God. But you never know what they’re really picking up and what they’re not.

And what they’re pondering in their heart of hearts.

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A few months ago, I had this conversation with Noah.

Noah: “They have cars in heaven.”
Me: “They do?”
Noah: “Yes. Last time we went there they had cars there. I played with them.”
Me, slowly turning and a bit scared, “uh. What?”
Noah: “At heaven. They have cars. And they had a Mater seat and I sat on it – ha!”
Me, wondering if Jesus sits on a seat shaped like a Pixar Character, “Can you say all that again?”

He enunciated it all again, very clearly and with no misunderstanding

I stared at him, confused and silent. Then Ali came to my rescue. “Oh Mom – He means the Blevins’ House! They have a Mater seat that he sat on.”
Noah: “Yeah – the Blevins.”

Blevins …. Heaven … a completely understandable misunderstanding.

After I shared that story with the Blevins, they actually passed on the Seat of Blessedness to Noah – their boys had outgrown it, and Noah needed a piece of heaven in his life.

And it has been well-loved.

Mater Chair

I thought we had cleared up the differences between The Blevins and Heaven until last week.

I was rocking Noah and we were discussing all the things. He asked, “Is heaven at the Blevins’ house?”
“No…The Blevins house is not Heaven, as fun as it is.”
“Oh. Well. At the Blevins’ house do we not ever die?”
“No. That’s heaven – not the Blevins.”
“Oh. Well. When I get to heaven can I ask Jesus if angels wear shoes?”
“Yes. You absolutely may ask Him that.”
“Do you think Jesus has a beard?”

Because these are the important matters of faith.

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From the backseat:

“Mommy, can I drive the car when I grow up?”

”Yup. In 12 birthdays.”

“Okay great. Now how do I turn on the Frozen soundtrack again?”


Noah had the hiccups.

Me: “When you were in my tummy, you got the hiccups all the time!”

Noah: “And then I turned into poop and came out!”

…thanks to my husband for Pre-K digestion lessons.

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After an emotional day, I asked Noah at bedtime if he would please stay little forever.

At first he agreed, then said, “Well, no…in a few whiles I’ll be giant like you.”

Then he went on to add, “When YOU get bigger you’ll have a beard like Daddy.”

Because, scientific reasoning.

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Noah, in trouble and trying to deflect…

(giggle) “You’re funny, Mommy.”

“Why am I funny?”

“Because Jesus Loves You! That’s why you’re funny.”


A small sampling of callbacks after bedtime:

“I have a fingernail problem!”

“I have good news and bad news. The good news is you like cuddling with me. The bad news is you can’t touch fireworks.”


And a couple from Ali…

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Ali went to two weeks of summer day camp at our Church (voted the best in the city, I might add.) This week was Studio Week, where every team made a movie. On the way to camp this morning, she was telling me about the different movies.

“The Orange Team must be making ‘The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe’ because there was a girl who looked like Dorothy with a basket and a dog that looked like Toto inside of it.”

“You mean ‘The Wizard of Oz’?”

“Oh yes. ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I get them confused because the movies are so much alike.”

Just so you know I’ve failed as a parent.


We all sat down at the kitchen table – at the same time – with the table set and everything.

Ali gasped and said “We’re sitting here?? For dinner??? This is what Royals do!”

I swear we have regular family meals. I think.

On Raising a Parrot.

In our pre-kid days, Chris and I had the peculiar hobby of reading Screen It reviews before, during, or even instead of watching movies. Geared toward parents, the site gives an intensely detailed yet discreet laundry list of every profanity or slightly negative word in the movie, detailed descriptions of all violence, drug use, or frightening scenes, and any sexual references all the way down to “There was a slight amount of cleavage showing on the lady in the far left background of the scene.”

Juvenile though it was, we especially loved the detailed explanations of how a word was used. For instance, it’d say “14 scatological terms, used literally three times, once with ‘head’, twice with ‘piece of’, and once with ‘you little’.”

Although we sometimes did make movie-watching decisions based on these reviews, we often found them more entertaining than the movie itself.

Since that time, Screen It has become a paid service, but other free sites like Kids in Mind have taken their place. Our kids aren’t really off the Disney/Pixar/Veggie Tales track yet, so we still don’t have a good use for this service, but it’s fascinating nonetheless.

Like, for instance, who is looking up “The Wolf of Wall Street” to see if it’s appropriate for children? And if they are, do all deem it inappropriate when they see* “Over 414 F words and its derivatives…82 scatological terms, 53 anatomical terms…name-calling (midget, scum, nitwits, degenerates, depraved, lazy, idiot, sweetheart)”? Or are some parents like, “Oh, well there’s under 500 F words, so I guess I can take the kids to see it!”

* I left out at least half of the Profanity listing of Wolf of Wall Street in the interest of not taking your entire day to read this post.

One service that Screen It offers is a listing of all imitative behavior, which would include any phrases or actions that they thought kids might mimic. For some reason, I always pondered these greatly. Like, would a kid really jump out of a fiery car just because they saw it on a movie? And if they did, wouldn’t that be a good thing? I mean the car’s on fire and all. And if I took my kid to see Maleficent and the worst thing they came away with was repeating the phrase “How Quaint!”, am I really going to care?

I looked forward to the day when I could see for myself if Imitative Behaviors really do get imitated.

But alas. Ali has never been an repeating type of kid. She’s a deep thinker, an independent thinker, and never seems to pick up other people’s behaviors.

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So we had to have another kid.

Noah did not disappoint. He can pick up on anything anytime and repeat it with the perfect inflection and gusto.

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Enter The Lego Movie – clearly a must-watch for our family.

As we have now seen The Lego Movie more times than the F word comes up in The Wolf of Wall Street, Noah has grafted many new phrases into his dictionary, such as “Darny darn darn!”, “Honey, Where are my paaaaaants?”, and “What the heck!”

But my favorite phrase…perhaps my all-time favorite imitable behavior of all time…is this Lego Movie Jewel.

Imitative behavior is every bit as awesome as I’d always imagined it. And then some.


Disclaimer: Before you ask, no representation is made that the contents of this video in any way reflects the speaker or the blogger’s feelings toward any recent blog topics.

People of Wal-Mart: The Live Show.

Wal-Mart.

I’d rather dance through a hunting reserve in a deer costume than go to Wal-Mart. Ever.

There’s just something about the atmosphere there that immediately stresses me out – I’m pretty sure God removed His presence from all Wal-Marts many years ago after one too many scary human sightings.

No matter how little I appreciate Target’s underwhelming sales events, they are Miley Cyrus in Hannah Montana and Wal-Mart is Miley Cyrus on stage with Robin Thicke.

Target is Lindsay Lohan in the Parent Trap and Wal-Mart is a conglomeration of every horrific iteration of Lindsay Lohan since.

Target is Instagram and Wal-Mart is Reddit.

Target is Anthony Bourdain and Wal-Mart is Adam Richman with Guy Fieri’s hair.

You get the point.

But it was my husband’s birthday.

And I love my husband. I love my husband so much that I was willing to put aside my from-scratch baking ideals and make him his favorite boxed cake.

Chris Birthday Cake

(And let the kids decorate it to death.)

I love my husband so much that I was willing to go the one and only place that still carries his favorite cake mix, Butter Pecan.

Yes. That place is Miley/Lohan/Reddit/Richman/Fieri-Mart.

I steeled my resolve, prayed blessings over my children, and managed to not have a wreck in the parking lot that is eternally a scene out of Independence Day right after the Aliens start shooting up the world.

I forced Noah to sit in the cart like an infant because I needed to minimize my distractions to make it through the American Ninja Warrior challenge to come. I could hear the commentators in my head.

Let’s see if Rachel can turn sideways quickly enough to avoid the lady in the electric shopping cart who can clearly walk but chooses not to do so. She did it – without even glaring when the Scooter tried to cut her off at the last minute!

Oh! She needs to duck! There are cans falling off the shelf due to an over-forceful stock boy.

Can she keep her three year old properly contained in the cart? No she cannot. But then again, who could?

Will she step on the fit-pitching child in the middle of the aisle? Rachel will get 100 points deducted if she does, and 500 points deducted if she rolls over him with the shopping cart, no matter how much he deserves it.

It’s time for Rachel to scour every tub of frosting looking for cream cheese – You can see her wheels turning, wondering WHAT CRAZY PERSON CAME IN HERE AND BOUGHT EVERY SINGLE TUB OF EVERY SINGLE BRAND OF CREAM CHEESE FROSTING?!?!

We got our cake mix, found the last elusive tubs of Cream Cheese Frosting, I allowed the children to shop for birthday presents to give their Daddy (Legos – obviously), and we made it up to the row of registers with minimal point deductions.

30 registers….5 with lights on.

The second round of competition began at picking the register least likely to turn on their blinky light for a price check…or worse.

We picked the last one in the row. Only one lady in line, and she only had four items.

What could go wrong??

That’s when I noticed that she was more blinding than The Star in the East.

I looked up to find the source of her light.

She was wearing a silver-sequined fedora – the kind you’d buy at Party City for a Tacky New Year’s Eve get-together. Her fishnet hose had such giant spaces between the fish nets that a school of Tuna could escape without breaking a scale. She was wearing peep toe shimmering heels, a cock-eyed black skirt with a separate silver sequined skirt hanging out from underneath, and a black business suit jacket…with more silver sequins poking out around the collar.

At first I thought she was also wearing a parole ankle monitor over her fishnets, but then I realized she just had the two biggest anklets ever created, but both still slightly smaller than ten out of twelve of the rings she was somehow managing to keep steady around her fingers.

When I got close enough to see what was going on, I realized she was singing. Softly at first, swaying back and forth minimally. The song swelled and her hips began gyrating.

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

I don’t think that’s what He meant when He said “If you ask anything in my Name…”

The cashier just watched, with a level, bored, I’ve-seen-this-type-of-routine-every-day-I’ve-worked-here expression on her face.

“Ma’am. They’re $1.97. I’m sorry.”

I looked down and saw the item in question: a box of Candy Crush Gummy Snacks.

The song resumed, this time on the second verse.

They were a dollar last week and they were a dollar before that.

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

You will need to adjust that price down to a dollar.

There was other bartering going on as well, one item in question being a neon pink sequined headband that had a clearance tag for fifty cents. Apparently the disappointment in the gummy snack price made her decide that this, too, was an outrage, so she threw the fuchsia headband onto the back of the conveyor belt.

I felt it was best, as she clearly had a silver sequin theme working for her.

“I need to talk to a manager or something. These gummies should be a dollar – they’ve always been a dollar and in the name of JESUS you ain’t gonna take my money!”

“I can’t adjust a price. Why don’t you pay for everything else you want, then you can go talk to a manager.”

She pulled from her pocket a large medicine bottle with the label ripped off. Through the amber plastic, I could see wadded up money and what looked like a couple of fake fingernails that had worked their way loose.

She sang under her breath as she pulled out the bills.

Apparently, Miss Sequins was also a magician, because as the clerk was bagging up her purchases, she found the pink headband in the bag.

“Ma’am. You didn’t pay for this. You said you didn’t want it. Do you want to buy it?”

“Uhhh! YES…I’ll buy it. How much is it?”

“Fifty-five cents with tax.”

“Fine! Just a minute.”

Out came the pill box again, where she pulled out a single bill from betwixt the fingernails.

(At this point I was just glad I didn’t spot any actual fingers in that bottle.)

She danced off with her bag in one hand and the gummies in the other. I assumed those gummies would magically move to the bag and she’d be walking out in no time.

The cashier and I made eye contact. She shrugged her shoulders and said “The characters you get in here…”

I laughed sympathetically and prayed that my children wouldn’t do anything to send this poor soul over the edge.

While she rung up my purchases, my eyes wandered down a few registers where Sequins had found herself a manager. Her dance was even more animated and her song had the passion of Adele after being stood up for a date.

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

As I finished checking out, Sequins was stomping away, shimmering in the florescent Wal-Mart bulbs. She had her money and the manager was holding the gummies, watching her leave with fearful fascination.

So in the end, her song worked.