Monday, December 20, 2010

It's no secret.

A friend of mine recently posted something on Facebook which got me going emotionally, about how increasingly impossible it is to keep the media (and the entertainment industry) from "sexing up" the minds of our children at an increasingly younger age.

My thoughts turned to our very recent family trip to Hamilton Place Mall; specifically, an incident which involved a pass by the local Victoria's Secret shop, whose "halls" were "decked" with what I can only describe as a disturbing mix of pink puppy cuteness and virtual pornography, two stories high. My kids started asking questions. I decided I needed to say something, whether my words will ever be considered by executives or no. My email follows:

I felt compelled to inform you that after years of enjoying your products, I have made the decision not to patronize Victoria's Secret anymore. My choice was largely influenced by the declining quality of product. Bras and panties I have purchased from your company have come unraveled after several washes, and I am disappointed in your methods of assembly, which obviously involve more glue than stitching. I have had to throw out several bras made by Victoria's Secret because they actually hurt to wear them; the adhesive used to put them together is considerably abrasive to skin. Lingerie I have purchased elsewhere (at MUCH more reasonable prices) has lasted me twice as long as your product.
My second motivation for terminating my patronage is more personal and involves a recent conversation I was forced to have with my three-year-old after a trip to see Santa at our local mall incorporated a pass by a giant VS display. First drawn in by pink polka-dotted puppy dogs, she quickly noticed the cinema-screen sized displays of oiled-up models in jingle-bell thongs and garter belts. I understand that your primary objective is to sell lingerie, which is, by its nature, sexy. However, using TOYS as advertising material is little more than a thinly veiled ploy to lure younger and younger patrons. I am not surprised to see girls as young as twelve sporting pants at school with "PINK" printed across the buttocks. I cannot raise my daughter to accept that this is ok, so I will begin by attempting to be a better example to her. I will no longer patronize your company. I would encourage you to consider alternate forms of advertising as well as higher standards of manufacture.

Amanda Medlin

Monday, September 27, 2010

Connor's journal entries

I've had multiple family requests for Connor's "blog" (his illustrated journal) to be posted here. So here you go, two fresh entries! The latter, on volcanoes, was composed just today.

We learned about two kinds of lava, one called "Pahoehoe" and another called "aa." Connor cracked up. He's been saying "aa" all day. He was fairly amused that the Romans had separate gods for everything. I think he found the concept rather excessive. I happened to have a miniature statue of Vulcan from the Birmingham attraction. Connor laughed at his bare butt. Apparently, volcanoes and Roman gods are hilarious. They really are.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homeschool cool

Some good stuff about Connor:
  • "Pre-homeschool" is going great. We have signed up with an online program called, which offers a fantastic curriculum of basic subjects (math, science, language arts, and something they refer to as "language arts extension," which is basically everything else, with loose connections to reading and grammar.). Connor spends literally hours on it if I allow him to. I've even had to cut him off and tell him no when he asks to do it on Sat. and Sun. I love how organized the whole thing is; it tracks his lessons, logs the time he spends on each subject, records his quiz scores, and even takes attendance. He's pretty much self-propelled on the whole thing, although I require that he check with me before he moves on to a new lesson, and he's not allowed to take a quiz without me there. He has access to three levels, essentially. His determined grade level (right now it's 2nd grade), the one below and the one above. I can "promote" him whenever I feel he's ready. I'd like to move him up in Language Arts, but I'm not going to do that until he's more confident with his math.
  • The past few days (really since we started the online curriculum) have yielded fewer tantrums, fewer wetting accidents, and better concentration at school. I won't say we're a perfect score. I won't even say it's a permanent improvement. I will say that he's trying. We had a long chat last week after a particularly hard day and he revealed to me how frustrated he was with school. He's basically been enduring the same curriculum (with minor adjustments at each level) for the past three years. He's had it. "Mom, I want to be learning about volcanoes and amphibians and weather and stuff," he said. Knowing he'd probably develop this opinion was my main objection to having him repeat pre-k. So we went in search of a happy compromise. It looks like we may have found it. I am seeing improvements in his concentration (he's been dutifully working away at a complex paint-by-numbers project I gave him over the weekend) and task-completion efforts (preschool take-home papers have all come home finished so far this week! And today at home he wrote his first "essay" on tornadoes!).
We have a long journey ahead of us still. I'm aware of that. But I am encouraged. Further testing is scheduled, and maybe that'll give us an even deeper understanding. More to come.

Now I need to get busy blogging about Miss Mimi the Magnificent! What's she up to these days? Among other things, she's my model for my "line" of boutique hairbows. I'm going to see if these things sell, and maybe I'll start a second blog, just for boutique nonsense! Oh now I'm just getting crazy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

B is for Badditude

It's been a trying day in the Medlin household. Our oldest lives for show-and-tell day. His class is working its way thru the alphabet one week at a time and this week it's "B." Bring something to class on Thursday that starts with the letter B. Connor informed me on Thursday of LAST WEEK that he was going to bring Boba Fett from his Star Wars collection. I mean he was excited. Last night I made sure Mr. Fett was sitting on our kitchen table, waiting for his ride to preschool stardom. This morning, he wasn't there. I don't know what happened in the hours between, but I'm pretty sure the story involves a young man who was so bloomin' excited to bring Boba Fett on B day, he couldn't help but carry him around a little more before bedtime. At this point, we were more than a little late for school; I offered him several alternatives which only made him wail a little louder each time. We went to school empty-handed. A very sad day.

Apparently, frustration continued to follow my child after I dropped him off, because upon my return I was informed that he'd refused to participate in show-and-tell at all. Fine. Kinda saw that coming. Then at clean-up time, he'd thrown a pair of scissors and narrowly missed a classmate. Whoa. He'd been angry because he was told it was time to clean up. If this had been the first time he's exhibited behavior like this, I'd have been irritated but consolable. It's not, though. This isn't even the first time this week he's exhibited behavior like this. It's not the second time this week. In fact, this is the third tantrum that's been reported to me by a teacher of his since Sunday. Yesterday he threw a chair instead of scissors.

Just two weeks ago, as the school year began, I worried. I worried as I dropped him off in his preschool classroom, that I was doing him a terrible disservice by retaining him in pre-k while the rest of his peers of comparable age go off to Kindergarten. Academically, he is functioning several grades ahead of where he should be. Why would I want to widen that gap even further by waiting another year to put him in elementary school? Steve and I had a very meaningful and detailed meeting last winter with his teachers to discuss the best plan for him in the coming school year, and at the time, we decided he'd best benefit from another year of maturation before "big kid school" began. We opted to place him back in preschool, knowing we'd meet with a certain level of controversy from some well-meaning friends and family members. We heard "Well, it's obvious he's just bored in school. He's not being challenged enough; there's the boy's problem!" Some of what I saw reflected that, granted, but was it the only problem? And entire summer has passed. he's since had a birthday. Steve and I saw a bit of improvement, fewer tantrums, better cooperation at steps, but improvement. Then school started back. Suddenly we found ourselves back at Square One. He's back to the same antics of lashing out when he's angry, digging his heels in at bedtime, and screaming at us. All summer long, he picked out his own clothes and dressed himself in the mornings and at night. Now I pretty much have to sit on him to get him to do it. He can't even remember to stay seated and finish a meal. The words "attention deficit" have flashed in my mind, but I refuse to entertain that. Not at this point.

Still, a five-year-old should have a better hold on his impulses than he does. He only participates in class activities when he's in the mood, he hardly ever completes an assignment, and he has a terrible time transitioning from one activity to the next...There's such a gap between his intellectual acuity and his emotional maturity, it's hindering his ability to function, both at home and at school, and even at church. He's now the oldest in his class and yet he remains the most immature. Two weeks later, my worry swings in the opposite direction: will a year be enough to cultivate self-discipline in him?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kick me in the pants


I am not worthy to call myself a blogger. What has happened to my drive to write drivel? By now my readers must be starved for a bit of my wit and wisdom. How torturous. I can only imagine.

Ok, really.

Let's start simply. My babies are growing up. I don't like it. Case in point:



I will never again photo both my dumplings on this wall. It's their last year at preschool together. Kindergarten next fall or bust. I mean that. Yipes.

I submit Item Two for your consideration:



The nerve of my baby. For the first time since beginning our parenting journey in May 2005, there are no cribs in use at the Medlin house. Mia's now lies in forlorn pieces, ready to be stored in the garage. Connor's now belongs to this guy:

Who is that guy? He's Teagan, the new Medlin grandbaby. Shame on him for being so cuddly and warm and small and adorable. But don't try and pull anything over on him. He may be the new guy, but he wasn't born yesterday. He was born the day before that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Disney vacation memories

Disney vacation vids completed! Six chapters for your utter enjoyment. Feast on!

Monday, May 24, 2010

What will he know in a year?


Things Connor Learned When He Was Three:

to buckle his own seat belt

to bowl

to pedal a tricycle

to poke his own straw into his juice box and open his snack

to jump on one foot

vowels, syllables, long and short sounds

addition and subtraction

to pick out his own clothes

to button and snap

to make his bed

to brush his teeth

to read “big kid books” like Tiger Can't Sleep without help

to build a castle in a sandbox

to count to thirty, unassisted. To one hundred with help on the tens

that a skinned knee is not a mortal wound

to bravely try new foods, like olives

that live theatre can be even better than a movie

that planting a seed is an exercise in patience

that the dentist isn't scary

that every patch of grass is not a potty

that sometimes people we love die

That Mommy and Daddy love him, even when they're furious

that earthworms poop, just like everyone else

that he shouldn't write the word “poop” on his schoolwork

that toothpaste makes excellent fingerpaint, but it's controversial

that cartoons are make-believe

that not everything we eat is healthy

that God sees us, even though we can't see Him

that it's a good idea to wait until your sister is napping to build a block tower

that sometimes, pointing out how someone is different can hurt their feelings

that sleeping is virtually impossible when you're expecting a visit from Santa Claus

that girls love getting flowers

that grown-ups cry when they're happy and when they're sad

that peanut butter and jelly is the balm that soothes all evil

that occasionally, the best part of a football game is getting ice cream with Daddy afterwards

that nobody really knows where Heaven is

that green beans turn to liquid when they're held in your mouth for thirty minutes

that caterpillars don't bite

that box turtles don't bite either, but they pee

that God loves him more than Mommy and Daddy do. And that's a LOT


Things Connor Learned When He Was Four

Counting by two's and tens

Major systems in the human body (nervous, digestive, circulatory, etc)

Blood cells—type/function (the coolest stuff ever!)

How to draw a model of a DNA double-helix. And label it!

Names of planets and other spacy facts

To count to one hundred, unassisted

To add simple numbers in his head

That Darth Vader is the most awesome villain in existence.

That Mickey Mouse is a lot bigger in person

That super-fast rides at theme parks, especially ones that drop you, are best left to the seasoned thrill-seekers.

That having your own bike is the next best thing to owning a driver's license.

That a joke stops being funny when you tell it nine times in a row.

That watching a person have their blood drawn is really cool, but when it's you under that's possible to lose consciousness for a second or two.

That even things we can't appreciate—like mosquitoes and germs—are wonders of God. And He doesn't make mistakes.

That video games are amazing, but not as much fun as an actual light saber battle.

That Dad really is just about the coolest guy alive.

That sleeping in a makeshift hammock is far superior to sleeping in an actual bed, even if said hammock is suspended just three inches from the lower mattress of aforementioned bed.

That boys need to stick together.

That girls need protecting. Especially Moms and sisters.

That girls enjoy being told how pretty they look.

That girls will take any carefully constructed carpet battle scene and turn it into a tea party in seconds flat. And not comprehend your fury.

That most things you see in movies are fake.

That a love for chocolate does not diminish with age.

That sometimes the hardest thing is the thing you have to do.

That even grownups have to be obedient to someone.

That baby teeth don't begin to fall out until you're five or six. Shoot.

That Jesus loves Connor enough to die for him.

That no matter how big we grow, cuddles are important.

That head-wounds bleed more than they probably should, and that Mom should probably wait to examine the wound after it's been stitched up.

That underwear needs changing daily. Even if you can't tell it's dirty.

That taking time to aim before you use the toilet saves Mom a lot of yelling.

That “table manners” are really just a bunch of random rules adults made up to zap every bit of the fun out of a meal.

That dogs aren't always cooperative, but it's nice to have a friend who's willing to sleep under your bed when it's dark.

That popsicles taste better when they come from the ice cream truck.

That snowmen are not as easy to build as you'd think

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Permission to board the Mother Ship?

Did I mention we leave for Disney World in just THREE DAYS?????

Technically, two and a half. Not that I'm counting.

I've been going absolutely OBSESSIVE making goodies for the kids, and some may call me a nutjob, but honestly, how often are they this age at Disney? It's likely the next time we scrape up the funds to re-create this experience, they'll be taller, more jaded, and a lot harder to wrestle into outfits of my totally went bananas for this trip. Just ask my husband. Actually, don't. Please.

All of these items were designed and created by yours truly, with the exception of the adorable pillowcase dress (Mia's) and birthday tee (Connor's), both of which were Etsy purchases. Am I crazy? Prolly.

Without further ado, I present to Disney crafting madness:

Friday, March 26, 2010


After scoring a sweet little blue-and-white gingham dress on Ebay for Mia to wear Easter Sunday (already monogrammed with a capital "M!"), I set to work designing her a hairbow to match. I've been lusting after those gorgeous, fat, boutique-style bows lately (lots of loops and layers!), so I popped onto YouTube and gave myself a tutorial. How did we get along before the internet?

Here's my first attempt at a "boutique bow." After attaching the clippy, I thought it needed a little something to tie the whole thing together, so I rummaged in my jewelry box and found just the thing--my sapphire cross! It's secured with needle/thread as well as a dollop of hot glue, so I feel fairly confident the thing's not gonna fall off. I can always detach it if I want to wear the cross again...but I think it will look better in my little girl's hair!

Stay tuned...I've been getting super creative in anticipation of our MONSTER family vacay to a certain resort that starts with a "D," coming up in May...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Aw, Sissy

It was brought to my attention recently by a very precocious fellow blogger who shall remain nameless (she's got blue hair and a penchant for combat boots) that I haven't posted a single entry since the danged Christmas candy outfit. Ok, she's right. Convicted. What's up with me? Blogging is a little like attending church. You fall out of the habit, it's tough to get back into. Did I just get a little too honest? It's sadly true.

I'll ease myself back into the saddle with a delightful moment I experienced just moments ago, while tucking my oldest into bed. I've been pitifully ill these past few days, and being bedridden is starting to get to me. Let me preface with this: Connor is our "toaster baby;" he pops back up at least four or five times before he's fully settled in bed at night. We're used to it. So I was totally prepared to dismiss him another time when he appeared in my bedroom doorway, resembling a Precious Moments figurine in his oversized pajamas and giant, pleading eyes. "Mommy, can I read to you?" I couldn't stand it. So up Mommy got, in her grubby sleepwear she's been wearing all day, and trudged to Connor's bedside, where I plopped onto a beanbag chair and watched my little professor enchant me with not one, but TWO chapters of Frog and Toad Together. Hearing him chirp these sweet, simple stories just makes me warm inside. Chapter two was about Toad's dream that he was onstage performing many tricks, and after each one, Frog would shrink a little, until he disappeared, at which point Toad awoke, relieved and overjoyed to find his friend by his bedside. I asked Connor if he had a special friend like that, and he said "Mia." I was not expecting that! "If I had that dream, I'd be so glad to see her standing there when I woke up too." Wow. I think she'd say the same. They really are dear friends. I watched them play today, chasing each other up and down the hall...I watched as Connor carefully helped his sister into her Cinderella costume, and then shared his blocks with her. I hope they're always this kindred.

Now I guess I better do something about that "Happy New Year" wallpaper on my blogsite, huh.