The Common Mommy Denominator

I'm a Mom. I need adult conversation. I need to talk about the banalities and the excitements of life, and be understood by the masses. Most of all, I need feedback. Let's chat. You about yours, me about mine, us about ours. Let's find and discuss the Common Mommy Denominator.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oil Painting Efforts, # 2

MOST unfortunately, I will never be as good at oil painting as my dear friend Cory, but at least I'm having a bit of fun with self-expression, right? Betwixt writing a book, messing around with music-making on Acid, (and no, that doesn't mean that I'm dropping acid, it means that the Sony program I use is called Acid Music Studio!) oil painting, urban gardening, studying photoshop, video editing, developing my author-website (I am now the proud "owner" of, which will actually have something on it in the next few days, I hope!) and gearing up for Halloween this year, I guess maybe I DO have a talent or two after all...or maybe they're not talent, so much as interests I'm pursuing. Yes, that's probably more accurate.

Anyway, the first couple paintings I did were indicitive of a couple of the characters in the book I'm writing...and yesterday I did another abstract, which is an "update" on one of the characters and where she "is" now as I'm writing her. Things seem to be looking up for our heroine!

Then there are the other two I did yesterday...both attempts at landscapes a la Bob Ross, but if I'm being honest with myself, neither of them very good. Cest la vie, right? It WAS my first shot, and ironically, my first shot was better than my second shot.

I've learned something else about myself with painting...I am not creative. No, seriously, I live by the rule of theater: Steal. In other words, take someone's elses ideas and put them to work for you. (This doesn't apply to my book, by the way...that's all me.) Where my painting is concerned, I'm not painting me or my feelings or even really expressing MYself. Instead, I thought of a family member I'd like to do a landscape for, and got busy. Mom # 2? A desert landscape...during a monsoon. (You know, so it's cooler outside that way.) Jewels? An "asian" waterfall. (Well, it was SUPPOSED to be an asian-style waterfall. I told you I suck at this!) (Note: If I had even a modicum of shame, or the slightest tendency toward embarrassment, I wouldn't show you this next one. But I don't. Lucky you.)

What if I were to paint one for myself? Mmm, yeah, that's just it...nothing really reminds me of myself, so...if I'm going to paint, I have to paint for other people and "steal" from their lives. I'm okay with that, I guess. As long as it means I get to have fun painting - and, Lord willing, improve! - well, why not?

Speaking of which, I'm out of canvas, so I need to run to Michael's this morning and fetch a few more. Oh, and get back to my book. And develop a more effective pitch for it. And get busy building my website.

All while being a mom and wife and running a household. Wish me luck, and try not to laugh too hard at the paintings!

One for the Grandparents

In Tyler's kindergarten classroom, his teacher moves a clip with each child's name on it up a behavior chart of sorts...and when a child's clip makes it to the top of the chart - thanks to tip-top behavior - the child is awarded a "Super Star."

What is a Super Star?, you ask. It's simple, really: it's a paper star cut-out. But that's beside the point. To the kindergarteners, it's a HUGE deal.

And Tyler got one.
GO, SON!!!!!!!!! You EARN those stars!!!

Jason made cupcakes with the kids last night: "sprinkle" cake with chocolate frosting. They were yummy, but true to Bradshaw form, Mikayla preferred the frosting to the cupcake, and ended up looking like Papa...mustache, goatee, and all. (Or at least, looking like Papa did before he shaved it all off again...)
GO, DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!!!! You EAT that sugar!!!

Yeah, okay, they're two very different things, and perhaps I shouldn't be encouraging the ingesting of sugar, but we thought the grandparents would enjoy the pictures, you are, grandparents! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


1 pair of London Jeans: $4
1 pair of Express Jeans: $4
2 pair of Guess Jeans: $8
1 pair of Ann Taylor Jeans: $4
2 pair of designer-knockoff sunglasses: $8
7 well-fitting items I love & $28 for $500 retail therapy at "rewear": PRICELESS

Monday, September 14, 2009

2 Quotes from Tyler

First and foremost...the kids are sick. Very sick. As in, 10 minutes ago Tyler barfed into a bowl while watching Shrek on the couch, and an hour before that Mikayla was barfing into the same bowl while Tyler barfed in the toilet.

Since I'm a naturally self-centered person, now is the time to insert a comment revolving around me: I know I'm totally gonna catch this flu from them...which is ironic considering I'm still getting over the grown-up version of croup. Aaaaaah, kid-in-public-school. Can't wait. My throat feels like sandpaper even as a type this...and tomorrow I get to look forward to throwing up. Good times.

Back to the kids, though...

So at 2:21 this morning, Tyler comes careening into our bedroom yelling, and I quote:

"MIKAYLA'S POWERFUL-SICK!" (Magoo's retching and cries could be heard in the background...)


If it hadn't been for the puke noises, I'd totally have started to laugh.

What year is this? "Powerful-sick?" Is my son a farmboy from the 1800's? "Gee, Ma, I don't know...she's powerful-sick. Mightn't we truss her up for a trip to the doc?" "Naw, son, we're still in the days of housecalls."

And speaking of quotes from my son, we're in the car as a family a couple days ago, and from the back seat we hear Tyler: "I WANT TO FLIP OFF THE WORLD!!!!!!"

Uh, really?

He immediately followed it up with "I want to flip our car off the world!" meaning, of course, that "flipping off the world" translates to "jumping really high and doing a flip so as to leave the atmosphere" - admittedly an odd thing to excite a five year-old - but I like his original quote best. The innocence of children. Cool.

He then asked what Mommy was laughing about, and I told him I wasn't laughing, I was coughing. I lied. Shoot me. But YOU try explaining to your kid what "I want to flip off the world" means to your average adult, and tell me that you wouldn't claim coughing, too.

Wish me luck with my sickies! Entry for Tyler's birthday soon!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

HE DID IT!!!!!!!!

Oh, YES, he did! My husband bought a motorcycle.

A 2000 Buell Blast 500, to be exact. And he loves it.

You see, my husband has been searching, well, since we got married, really, for something "fun" to call his interest he could pursue that might help him reclaim - just slightly - a youth devoted to God, Work, Education, and Family. Something to excite him, to make him feel alive and eager...something to look forward to doing, and all just for him.

He has now slaved for 5 years at a thankless, exhausting job, with no serious outside interests - or time to even FIND an interest - of his own, and has found that incredibly depressing. Who am I to deny him a ray of sunshine in his otherwise dreary world of work, work, work?
SOOOOOOOO...he researched and researched and researched, took a five hour book-learning class, got his motorcycle permit at the DMV, took a ten hour practical class - which he passed with flying colors - so stringent that, once passed, the DMV only requires evidence of passing the class to license a student to ride a motorcycle (no on-bike test at the DMV!) and he has an appointment a week from now to add the motorcycle class to his license.

He has also purchased a motorcycle...AND motorcycle insurance...AND VERY SUBSTANTIAL additional life insurance...AND a full-head helmet, gloves with added knuckle and wrist protection, a motorcycle jacket, motorcycle pants, and large, substantial boots to seal the deal.

He has driven his own motorcycle exactly twice now...once around the parking lot the day he bought it, and once up and down some local residential streets. He plans on doing the same this coming Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and Monday morning at the crack of dawn.

I say good for him! For LESS than HALF of his meager bonus this year, he is suited up and ready to done everything in his power to make sure his family will be taken care of if anything should happen...whether while riding a motorcycle, or crossing the street. That's a lot more than I can say for most husbands. Plus, he will not be riding on the freeway for SOME TIME yet, and even then, only for a single exit or two. He has not yet gone over 35 mph, and doesn't plan to have to go much faster than that. He will not be riding between cars, but staying in the flow of traffic. In other words, unlike your typical 18 year-old (or your typical 50-something Harley rider), my husband is responsible.

So I'm happy for him. I confess, I'll worry just a bit every time he leaves to go for a little jaunt around town, but this is important to him - and a great stress reliever - so it's important to me. A happy Jason makes for a happy Husband and Daddy, and that makes EVERYBODY happy.

Oh, and did I mention he looks SUPER-HOT in his moto gear? That makes me happy, too! Go, Jason! (Just...carefully, please!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Okay, so...we may not have gorgeous, fantastical old structures like my blog friends Hannah and Simon in the UK...and we may not have a whole lot of history here in CA like my friend Marcus in VA...and we may be shy a few temples like Cory and Adrienne have in UT...or beautiful, wide open spaces like Kelly has in TX...but we DO have something that no one in the world can claim because they only exist in a very specific part of California, in a few small groves at a specific altitude: Sequoia trees, the biggest trees (not by height like Cameron has in Northern CA or by circumference like my blog friend Denis in Africa, but by VOLUME!!!) in the entire world. CHECK OUT THIS PUPPY:

So Jay and I took the kids for a family vacation to Sequoia National Park. We spent the first night "down the hill" (ie MOUNTAIN, 7000 ft down!) at the Lazy J Ranch Motel, a PERFECT place for a family reunion: it had a playground, a swimming pool, individual cabins (some with kitchens that sleep 8 people!), the Kaweah river next door, the family's animals (for a mini "petting zoo"), tether-and-volleyball and badminton and charcoal barbeques for making dinner outside your cabin (we cooked our Hobo dinners that I'd made up earlier in the day), and a continental breakfast to boot. It was great, reasonably priced, and the kids had a it broke up the 5 1/2 hour trip nicely, so they only had to stick out 4 hours in the car.

The next day was perfect; it's about 70 degrees up the mountain, and the kids were wowed by the giant trees. We climbed to the top of Moro Rock (slowly...for our sakes) and Jay made super-delicious bratwursts over a charcoal cook stove. We checked into our room at Wuksachi, the "resort" up there (read: moderate-to-expensively-priced basic hotel) and then went exploring, running into some deer...the kids were thoroughly thrilled. Jason made dinner again (grilled bbq chicken drumsticks, grilled veggies, and roasted red potatoes), and we crashed that night...late. The kids went without a bedtime the entire trip; they just had to go to bed when Mom and Dad did. Surprise, surprise...they LOVED it.

So we also went for a hike around a big, BIG meadow, past some controlled burn areas, to Tharp's Log, a fallen Sequoia that a man with the surname Tharp had once hollowed out and lived in every Summer (with fireplace, bench and table, and bed!) and cooked the requisite hot dogs for lunch, then headed down to the King's River for some rock hopping, butterfly petting (I kid you not!) and fish spotting (meaning "OH, LOOK! THERE'S ONE!"), while Mikayla walked into the river up to her knees...with her pants, socks, and shoes still on.

We had dinner one night at the restaurant (which is incredibly overpriced but very good) and then went out to Sunset Rock (Beetle Rock, according to signs, but Sunset Rock for, well, the Sunset) for...the sunset. Jay and I took turns hiking the kids up and down the rocks and we'd planned to hang out and star gaze once the sun went down...until a mama bear and two cubs sauntered past a hundred or so feet away. Minutes later, a papa bear appeared and then swung around toward the parking area, so we decided it was best NOT to be on the rocks out in the open in the pitch blackness, or trying to find our way back to the car in the dark - flashlights or no (but we DID have them) - with a papa bear around. Jason took Tyler out later for stargazing after we'd returned to the hotel.

All in all it was a wonderful time, and when we were driving back down the mountain and I told the kids to say "Bye, Sequoia!" to the video camera, Mikayla yelled, "No, I don't WANT to!" In other words, we ALL had a GREAT time...and will certainly make that beautiful, peaceful, undertrafficked corner of the world a recurring theme in future Bradshaw family vacations. Enjoy the photos!