Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ward Clerk in the making

When Boy #2 found out that a part of Secret Agent Man's responsibilities at church is to take notes on the meetings, he thought that was cool and wanted to try it out for himself. These are the notes he took on his class today. Names have been removed to protect the innocent.

Here is the translation: The class all got their scriptures and the class got chocolate. Peter the Apostle is what the lesson is on. S and B are playing around. Now B is being good and listening. S is shouting out. R, K, St, and me are being good now. S is saying R's shoes are weird. B is doing the scroll. B is turning on the fan. S said, I want to color. S is interrupting and might not get a piece of candy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Parenting Experiment #106: The Garbage Bag Treatment

Please read my latest post at Mile High Mamas, (<---click here) my highly scientific experiment
could change how you parent.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fruita's Biggest Weekend

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the changing of the seasons, pulling out my comfy sweaters, Halloween candy. But, my favoritest part of my most favorite time of year is the Fruita Fall Festival.

I cannot wait to get a funnel cake (The Assembly of God Church always has the best price.) and a giant turkey leg. ( No headless chickens will be served at the FFF.)
My boys are excited to be a part of the parade this year. You will recognize the mom whistling and waving wildly at her kidlets, I will be the one wearing this t-shirt.
I hope I don't have to cover it with a rain poncho.

This is Mini Me's favoritest part of bestest festival in the world! Warning: Do not watch this video if you have just had lunch.

spinning strawberry ride

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prepare to be Hoardified!

I saw a show on TLC called, "Help! I'm a Hoarder." Watching the show made me more aware of the pockets of craziness existing right now in my home. Those who know me can attest that my home is usually pretty orderly. But recently, we have cleaned out the garage to make room for the second car. We have also moved Secret Agent Man's desk down to my office. Now that he travels so much, toppling Third World dictators, it's no longer necessary to dedicate a whole room for his office space. What was his office, will now be a guest room, if I can ever get it cleaned up. With all the rearranging I have just put everything up there until I have a chance to go through it. I know that I will need to dedicate at least one whole day to get that room put together. I have neither had the time or interest to do it.
S.A.M and I were watching this hoarder show the other night. He kept glancing at me as if to say, "Any of this look familiar?" OH.MY.GOSH. it did! I looked at him and said,
"Help! I'm a hoarder."

After I am done with the guest room, I will tackle the junk drawer and then the pile of shoes in my closet.

Here is a clip of the show so you can see what I am talking about:

They say that hoarding is hereditary. "No, Mini Me, don't be crazy like your mama!"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Wrap Up

Our quick over-nighter to Telluride was a blast. The Cronin clan really knows how to partay hartay! Telluride is so beautiful this time of year as the colors are changing.

One of the most excited things that happened is that I saw a black bear walking down the street in front of our condo at 11pm at night! He didn't even run when I was calling to the others to come have a look. Here's some pics! *****

"Oh, little town of Telluride how still we see thee lie..." This is the view from the gondola.Pictures edited to protect the innocent and super secrety.How many Paynes can you fit in a telephone booth?

Check out my teeter-totter(sp) skillz!

This is as close as I got to Tom and Katies house.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hamster Dèjà Vu

You've read this story before, but not like this. Visit me at Mile High Mamas today. (The freaky red eyes have been photo shopped so not scare the children.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Hello? Tom? Katie? It's me, Annie. Can I come in?"

This weekend we are going to Telluride with Carronin and clan. Last week Snowmass, this week Telluride! Woot!
While I am there I am going to knock and Mr. and Mrs. Cruises' door and hope to get invited in for dinner. I will make some iron clad promises in order to secure my invite:
I promise there will be no inappropriate touching, like the time when Liz Taylor came over.I promise to not look you directly in the eyes without permission.
I promise to take off my shoes before jumping on the sofa.
I promise not to write a book about it, "Dinner with Suri" Chapter 3: That baby is fussy eater. She refuses to eat sushi.
I promise to carry a purse that coordinates with Suri's outfit.
I promise to finally rent Mission Impossible 3.
I promise that I will carry my own dishes to the sink. Nobody needs to wait on me.
I promise to only ask for JT's number once or twice, in case you didn't hear me the first time.

Please, Mr. and Mrs. Cruise. I promise to be a charming and attentive dinner guest. Please let me in when I come knocking.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Anniethology Lifestyle Tip #374

Feng Shui principle states that the West and Northwest corners of the room are an auspicious place for your computer and other office machines. I recently moved my desk to said corner. I'm feeling the influx of good chi already.

I am right here next to the window, feeling the cool, crisp, early autumnal breeze. (Have I mentioned that is this my favorite time of year?) The world map is now above my desk so I can look up and think, "I wonder where my Secret Agent Man is today?" Because the front of my house faces north, I feel like I am always moving forward to better things, instead of watching my back for attacks from behind.

Although I have to admit, the new desk position hasn't done much for my productivity. My Thursday Swap Day videos are still waiting to be sent out. They're on their way, E-Dub!

Are you in a blogging funk? Does your computer crash a lot? Has someone used your Paypal account to purchase illegal fireworks? Did that embarrassing video of you find it's way to Youtube? Maybe it's time to improve your luck by moving the position of your desk.

It's easier the changing your name and moving to North Dakota.


Unrelated Post Script: For my upcoming Vlog (video log) I will be answering your questions. Send your questions to bubbiesmommaatyahoodotcom. I'll show that Ask-a-Ninja that he's got nothing on me!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Afternoon snack gone wrong

Don't you hate it when you buy something because you think the picture on the box looks really good, then you get it home, open it up and it looks nothing like the picture?
Darn it! I was looking forward to this all afternoon.
What did I expect from a company called, Poppycock?!
I was expecting clusters of almonds, pecans and cashews drizzled with Belgian dark chocolate. What I got looked more like dog kibble.
Did I eat it? Of course I did! It's still chocolate. It was a'ight.
Will I be sucka-ed in again? Nope!
It just goes to show; you can't judge a chocolate by its box.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Top billing at Mile High Mamas

Nothing to see here, people. Nothing at all. Check me out at Mile High Mamas ! I am at the top of the blog today with my never seen before post about trailer park names.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Up, up and away!

I am going to the Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Festival.
I am staying at the Glenwood Suites.
What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday Swap Day

So many bloggers have theme days. I decided I will give it a try and see how it goes.
I have created Thursday Swap Day!

What will you trade me for two Yoga videos on VHS? Anyone out there still own a VCR?
Non-related Update: It's Charm Thursday over at It's the new and improved version of the hamster story. Show me the love and give a clickety!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Mile High Mamas

I have some fantastic news that I wanted to share with you all. Some of you may know that I have started a little writing career.

A year and a half ago I created a blog called Hot Fruita Moms. My motivation was to "get out" all the stuff I had in my head. It was a crazy mix of commentaries on not shaving my legs, pop culture, and happenings in my small town.

My blog soon got the attention our local paper, The Daily Sentinel. In April, they did a two page article on me and my life as a "mommy blogger". The features editor was entertained enough by what I did on my blog that he asked me to submit bi-weekly articles for their women's page known as "Charm". You can find my articles every other Thursday on the newspapers website under the "Features" section. My next article will be this Thursday, but that is not my good news.

A couple of months ago, I created another blog called Anniethology. (You are here.) My reasoning was that I was becoming more well known in my little town and the "Hot Fruita Mom" title was getting on my nerves. I created the blog to entertain close friends and family, I had no idea that it would actually generate paid writing gigs for me or I never would have called it that. Geez, could I have picked a more embarrassing name?!

My Former Bishop- So, Annie, I hear you have a website. Hot Mamas something rather?
Me-(sheepish) Uhhh.. yeah.

I decided that Hot Fruita Moms needed to be more about Fruita and less about being a "hot mom". So I write more locally topical items for the Hot Fruita Moms blog, like my opinion on the rec center, the history of the town mascot, and the opening of the new Taco Bell!

My Anniethology blog is filled with all the usual stuff that I used to keep Secret Agent Man awake with at night.

"Honey, do you remember the words to the song, Union of the Snake, by Duran Duran? Do you think I made a mistake cutting my hair shorter? I am so excited for the new season of Dancing with the Stars, aren't you?"

"Annie, I love you. Please go to sleep!"

One of the highlights of Anniethology is quarterly fashion advice guest written by sister Lori. She is a wardrobe consultant in Boston. She weighs in each season on the trends, colors, and how to wear them. (Scroll down to see the latest.) But that is not the good news either. I'm getting to that.

The best part about writing a blog is that I have been able to keep in closer contact friends and family. Want to know what I am up to? Just read my blog. I have also made lots of new friends. Women just like me from all the country. This August I invited a few of them out to Colorado for a blogger convention. Over the course of the weekend we had about 20 bloggers come together. (Some of you were there.) It was so fun touring them around, showing them my home, and introducing them to Mike the Headless Chicken. I'm getting closer to the good news.

One of the friends I have met is another blogger from the Denver area. Her name is Amber. She is a blogger and travel writer with a background in PR and marketing, but most notably she is a mother. Here is the good news! She invited me to a contributor for a new blog she was creating for the Denver Post. The Denver Post, along with the Rocky Mountain News are the two largest newspapers in Colorado. The new blog is Mile High Mamas.
Tomorrow is our unofficial Official launch. I think they call it unofficially-official because there might still be some kinks in the blog that need to be worked out. It would mean the world to me if you all would take the time to stop by Mile High Mamas tomorrow and show your support through "clicks" or comments. It would be even better if you commented on my post.

Thanks ahead of time and thanks to those who have been so supportive thus far. I have never considered myself an excellent writer, although it is something I really enjoy. I never anticipated that anyone other than close friends and family would ever read anything I had to say. I never would have sought out these opportunities for myself, they just came in the form of opened doors and I have had the sense enough to walk through them.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Bring in the Professional Fall 2007

As a favor to me, my sister Lori, a wardrobe consultant, has agreed to write a quarterly advice column for my blogs. Here is her advice for Fall.

Before you know it, fall will be here. In the Northeast where I am from, leaves are already starting to turn yellow, orange, red and brown. Personally, I feel like I haven’t had enough of warm weather, capris, sandals and bright whites. To get excited about the changing of the season, I perused the local malls, Internet, and fall catalogs to see what designers and retailers have to offer in the way of cooler weather clothes. There are so many things to love and get excited about I can’t wait to put away the sand toys and bring out the fall decorations!

The berry tones are hot this coming season. Think cranberry, currant, mulberry and blueberry. Update your tops with these colors and pair them with your neutral basics: slacks or skirts in black, charcoal, winter white, brown, camel and khaki.

Dark denim is still very hot: I fell in love with two brands that fit my budget and my curvy figure. TiNT and ANA know how to fit a woman with an hour-glass figure without breaking the bank. Wear your jeans with everything: ankle boots or ballet flats, layered tees or sweaters. For a more pulled together look pair them with a great jacket. This summer, on the clearance rack I found a black velveteen military style jacket. I can’t wait to wear it with my dark jeans and a crisp white shirt.

I found several retailers that are selling clothing and accessories in various animal prints. Very few women can pull off wearing a whole coat or skirt in leopard print. To feel updated and trendy, I suggest purchasing accessories in the print and pair them with your classic pieces. Zebra print heels with ankle straps make a statement without causing a scene. A small leopard print clutch will look smashing with classic pieces in camel, brown or even red. Tortoise shell jewelry is back and looks great with autumn toned apparel.

If you live in an area where the temps are still in the 80s in September, you may not feel like wearing fall apparel just yet. Here’s your answer: Wear darker colors in light fabrics. Look for colors with a black tone to them. Spring type pastels should be packed away. Linen in garnet, black, olive and brown is still appropriate in warmer fall weather. Wear city sandals instead of flimsy flip flops. City sandals are darker in color, have wider straps and may have a more substantial sole. Try these tips and you will feel cool and seasonal appropriate.

Finally, fall is a great time to go through your summer wardrobe and cull any items that are faded, worn out or most importantly, if you haven’t worn them at all this summer. Donate your gently worn items to your favorite local charity. If you have summer suits that still have life in them, but you are not wearing, donate them to Dress For Success. Their mission is to, “promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.” Find a location near you at

Lori Wynne lives in the Boston, Massachusetts area with her husband and two sons. She works as a wardrobe consultant for clients all over New England. She specializes in closet organization, personal shopping and wardrobe consultation. Her clientele include, business executives, authors, small business owners, and housewives.

Pictures supplied by JCPenny and Target

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Miracle Workers

I have been a fan of the show "What Not to Wear" for years. I consider Stacey and Clinton my personal friends that don't ever call me or invite me out, but I love them anyway. I have been down right amazed with some of the transformations they, along with Nick and Carmindy, have enacted. Some fashion interventions are harder than others, but this last one is a
miracle of biblical proportions!Thanks, Secret Agent Man for the great idea for a post and thank you DVR for allowing me to pause and rewind live tv so I could take these pictures.
Unrelated Post Script: My friend, Nanette, of Underachieving Mommy has celebrated the one year anniversary of her blog. I'm thinking she might be "losing faith" a little when it comes to blogging. Go show her the love and encourage this irreverant, hot, fellow mother of twins to continue!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Dear Pampered Chef, I'm still waiting for my endorsement check.

Tonight I am making Chicken Enchilada Casserole, also known as Mexican Mush at our house, from the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook.
I hate chopping, but my new Pampered Chef utility knife makes easy work of it. With this knife I can chop a potato with one hand!
I love that my Pampered Chef utensils are heat resistant. I can leave them in the pan as I cook. I also like that they are black and don't show food stains.
Part of my aversion for cooking comes from fear. I hate touching raw meat. It gives me the heebbie geebbies, big time! With the Pamper Chef Mix and Chop utensil, I just throw the chicken into the skillet and chop it up as it cooks. Works better than just using your spatula.
Mini Me loves to help me cook. She ripped up the corn tortillas before she went to school today. I need to visit Bella's store at again and get my Mini Me an apron too.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

"Hamsters, like goldfish, are not known for their longevity."

We have owned a hamster for four months, but not the same hamster for four months. We are on our second hamster.
We try to be conscientious pet owners. Before we bought the hamster we a got manual and read all about them. Their likes, dislikes, sleeping patterns and what kind of habitats are best for them. We even picked a name for the hamster ahead of time. We were going to call her, Penny.
After preparing a suitable habitat, we went to the pet store and picked out our new family member. It wasn’t too difficult because they all looked the same.
On the way home we noticed that Penny, in fact was different. She had red eyes. It made her look a little evil, but we were already in love with our odd little hamster.
As the days went on we noticed more weird behavior. She would finish a whole water bottle in one day and completely soak a corner of her habitat with her waste. She also was very irritable. You would have to be willing to sustain a bite from her if we wanted to pick her up.
A month later we noticed she was shaky and reclusive. We went out for the evening and when we came back she was dead.
My husband and I had already sent the kids to bed, so they had no idea. He unceremoniously wrapped her in a paper towel, put her in a box and threw her away. I didn’t want to tell the kids. I knew they were going to be really sad.
We knew this day would come. Hamsters, like goldfish, aren’t known for their longevity. My husband was going out of town the next day. I didn’t want to have to deal with the death of a family pet on my own. So we concocted a plan to replace Penny with an identical one.
I micromanaged their whole morning so the kids would not look in the habitat and notice she was gone. Then I dropped them off at my parent’s house and went to the pet store.
Finding a proper replacement was harder than I thought. Although the hamsters are similar they are not identical. I picked one whose fur I thought matched the closest.
So I took Penny No. 2 home and put her in the habitat. She ended up looking a lot different than the first one. She had more gray fur, she was fatter, and her eyes were black. My kids noticed the differences right away. I casually made the excuse that she is growing and changing just like humans do and I referenced their 13 year old cousin who is also growing and changing. They completely accepted that answer. My kids never questioned for a minute that it wasn’t the same hamster.
Fast forward three months. I leave town for the weekend and my husband decides it’s time the kids know the truth. I was up at the Glenwood Caverns with a group of my friends, about to go on the cave tour and I get a text message that says,
“I told the kids the truth about Penny.”
What?! Why in the world? He told me that he wanted them to understand how fragile hamsters are. After a day of handling and mishandling, Penny No. 2 was looking a little dazed and confused. He said they needed to know the reasons why we have so many rules to protect her. According to him they took the news about their first hamster really well and I was concerned for nothing.
To date, Penny No. 2 has outlasted Penny No.1 by three months. I am going to call Mr. Guiness, because by hamster standards, I think that might be a world record.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

On board Amenities

We have an on board personal assistant named Miss Scarlet (Distant cousin of Millie's assistant Ethel). She sounds like she was educated back east. She gives us the turn by turn directions of our navigation system.

The car has heated seats. Tama says "no eating in the car" and honestly the woman knows what she is talking about. Her car is immaculate. So, no more eating in the car, but what about cooking?

DVD player for Bollywood on the Go!

Hands free calling! Miss Scarlet also places my calls for me. I love her! I hope she doesn't want benefits. Employee dental coverage will put us out of business.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Newest Member of the Payne Family

We have been a one car family for 8 years. In that 8 years we have only owned the 1996 Nissan Quest. The new 2005 Chrysler Pacifica is the result of a deal I struck with Secret Agent Man. He showed me our finances and said,

"With the amount of money that we spend eating out, we could afford to buy a new car!"

I said, "Deal!"

I have agreed to cook more at home and he agreed to a new car. It was a hard sell. We haven't had a car payment in 5 years. I haven't cooked for 5 years either. I think we will both have some adjusting to do, but that shining new red automobile will make the adjustment a whole heckuva lot easier!

Drum roll, please.

Check back here later today. I have some good news I would like to share.