In this final fabulous release in the Diary of a Real Payne series you’ll find yourself ROTFL with EJ’s hilarious adventures with a new little Payne. The Payne family has just adopted a roly-poly package of pudge with bright eyes and a sparkling smile. In true sisterly fashion, EJ can’t wait to teach baby Faith how to be amazing at everything (just like her big sis!). But when EJ learns that she’s losing her role as flower girl to the adorable newcomer in an upcoming wedding, it’s almost more than she can handle. In classic EJ form, she dreams up even more fantastic adventures for herselfpromising colossal fun as you become part of her daydreams in Oh Baby!
About the Author
Annie Tipton made up her first story at the ripe old age of two when she asked her mom to write it down for her. (Hey, she was just two—she didn't know how to make letters yet!) Since then she has read and written many words as a student, newspaper reporter, author, and editor. Annie loves snow (which is a good thing because she lives in Ohio), wearing scarves, sushi, Scrabble, and spending time with friends and family.
Read an Excerpt
Diary of a Real Payne
By Annie Tipton
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
The Dinner Dare
The rhinovirus has invaded the Payne house.
You'd think that a fascinating word like rhinovirus would mean something great, like getting a new pet rhinoceros. But it's not at all great. In fact, it's sneezy and snotty and coughy and throat-hurty and generally terrible. The rhinovirus is what causes the common cold—and all five of us human Paynes have rhinoviruses stampeding through our bloodstreams.
I've been blowing my nose so much that my nostrils got red and raw. So Mom started putting Vaseline on the red part, which made it feel better until I forgot it was there and wiped my nose with the back of my hand while I was sitting on the couch watching Mary Poppins and trying not to think about how much my throat hurt.
Right now I can hear Dad in his study, practicing his sermon for tomorrow, except every couple of minutes or so he stops to sneeze (fun fact: Dad is a marathon sneezer, and his current record is seven in a row). Isaac is next door in time-out in his room, practicing covering his mouth when he coughs (why this is such a hard thing for him to learn, I don't know). Mom is in the nursery with Faith, trying to squeak out a lullaby from her scratchy throat to get Faith to fall asleep for her afternoon nap.
One weird thing I've learned about babies is that they can't blow their noses. Or at least Faith hasn't mastered that skill yet. And what's even more disturbing is the fact that she doesn't seem to care if green snot streams down her face or erupts out of her nose in giant bubbles. (I wish I were making that last part up, Diary, but I'm not. She even grossed out the king of nasty, Isaac, with a snot bubble the size of a softball.) So instead of blowing her nose, Mom uses this entirely crazy thing called a nasal aspirator that sort of looks like a mini version of a turkey baster—you know, one of those things that has a plastic ball on the end that you squeeze to pick up turkey broth to squirt on the bird while it cooks? Except a nasal aspirator is like a baby baster. And instead of broth, Mom uses it to get snot and boogies out of Faith's nose.
Diary, I literally do not have the right words to explain how disgusting the nasal aspirator is.
But as disgusting as Faith generally is, she's otherwise turning out to be a pretty fun kid. There's nothing better than hearing her sweet little giggle and seeing pure joy in her eyes as she claps for fun. And now she's trying new foods all the time, and she makes some of the very funniest faces I've ever seen in my life.
"Everybody have their hands washed?" Mom set a stack of paper napkins on the kitchen table. "We've almost gotten rid of this cold bug, so let's not reinfect ourselves."
As if on cue, Dad sneezed into his elbow as he walked into the kitchen for the evening meal.
"My hands are washed and sanitized," EJ said, squirting a handful of bubblegum-scented hand sanitizer and rubbing both hands together furiously. EJ grinned as Faith's chubby fingers reached toward the pocket-size bottle of pink gel on the table, but it was just an inch too far from her seat in the high chair. EJ slipped the bottle in her pocket and handed Faith a set of toy car keys instead.
"Excellent job, EJ." Mom smiled at her oldest daughter and took her seat next to the high chair. "How about you, buddy? Hands washed?"
"Yep. I washed mine when I took a bath last night," Isaac said, tucking a paper napkin in his T-shirt collar like a bib. "So I'm good."
"Gross! Isaac!" EJ scrunched her nose in disgust. "I know for a fact you've gone to the bathroom since then—and you didn't wash your hands afterward?"
"Umm, I don't know." Isaac scratched his head and appeared to think hard. "Ever since I turned six, my memory is bad."
"Boys are basically a walking science experiment for germs," Dad said as he picked up Isaac and slung him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. "Let's exterminate our man cooties at the kitchen sink."
EJ leaned toward Faith and whispered, "Did you hear that? I told you boys have cooties! Dad just confirmed it!"
Faith squealed excitedly and threw the toy keys into a bowl of spaghetti sauce on the table in front of her.
Mom gingerly picked out the keys and wiped them clean with a napkin. "I guess if we're all sharing germs, at least they're Payne germs."
"Oh yeah, Payne germs!" Isaac said as he ran from the sink to his seat at the table. "The very best kind!"
"EJ, would you please say the prayer for our meal?" Dad took his seat at the table.
"Dear God, thank You for things like cold medicine and Kleenex and hot chicken soup and moms and dads who take care of us and help us feel better when we're sick. Thank You for always taking care of us. And thank You for this delicious"—EJ squinted to peek through her closed eyelids at the food on the table—"or at least nutritious meal that Mom made. Amen."
"Amen," Mom echoed. "Wait a second. EJ, you don't think dinner will be delicious?" She looked shocked that her daughter could say such a thing, but EJ saw the twinkle in Mom's eyes and knew she was mostly joking.
Faith had started eating solid food when she turned six months old, and Mom decided that was the perfect time to "broaden the Payne family's food palate."
Which, to EJ and Isaac, meant that they would be forced to try a lot of new (mostly disgusting) foods. The only thing that made trying new kinds of food not completely terrible was that Faith made the funniest, most ridiculous faces with almost every new food that she tried.
"It might be delicious," EJ conceded. "But I'll let you know after dinner is over."
Along with the spaghetti sauce (delicious, according to EJ), on the table was a basket of toasted whole wheat bread with garlic butter (EJ wasn't sure about the whole wheat part of this—what happened to the Texas toast that she loved so much?); salad (a necessary evil—Mom liked to have something green on the table at every meal); and a giant bowl of what looked like spaghetti. Except vegetabley. And not at all like the pasta noodles she was used to. EJ was very suspicious that Mom was trying to pull a fast one on them.
"Marmalade, what is that?" Isaac used his babyish nickname for Mom and pointed at the plant-spaghetti hybrid. "It looks weeeeeird."
"Oh, it's super weird and fascinating," Mom said, using a pair of tongs to put a good-sized pile of the mystery food on Isaac's plate. "It's called spaghetti squash. I have no idea why God made the inside of that vegetable look like spaghetti, but at least we get to eat marinara sauce on top of it!"
Isaac held up a strand and let it dangle like a worm between his thumb and pointer finger. "Squish? Never heard of it."
"Not squish. Squash," EJ said. "Mom, I don't think I'll like it. May I please make a peanut butter sandwich instead?"
Isaac sniffed his piece of squash and made a face before tossing it to Bert, who sat on the floor next to Isaac's chair—prime position for a few table scraps. EJ watched as Bert licked the spaghetti squash off the floor and promptly spit it out. That was a bad sign. Bert would eat pretty much anything.
"I second the request for peanut butter." Dad looked uneasily at the bowl of yellow strands. "I'm not sure I can stomach that stuff."
EJ looked hopefully from Dad to Mom. Was she going to be off the hook for trying this new food that easily?
"No peanut butter." Mom's voice was firm. "Come on, you guys, this is our chance to discover new foods. It's a good thing to get us out of our rut of mac 'n' cheese and hot dogs!"
It was true that Dad was a rather picky eater—especially for an adult—and EJ and Isaac both had inherited some of his pickiness. A couple of years ago Mom had mostly given up trying to get her family to eat things they just didn't like.
"Faith is trying new things"—Mom read off the jar of the bright purple baby food she was spooning up for Faith, who was waiting impatiently with her mouth wide open, reaching toward the food—"like this apple-blueberry-pomegranate-Brussels sprouts baby food. Wait—Brussels sprouts?"
EJ checked the label. "Yep. Brussels sprouts. Sick!"
"Okay, well, if Faith can try new food, I think we should all try it with her." Mom stuck a spoonful of bright purple baby food puree in Faith's open mouth. The family watched as Faith's lips closed around the purple stuff and waited the split second it always took her to make her very best face.
First she closed her eyes tight and flared her nostrils. Then she puckered her lips into a tiny circle. Then her eyelids opened so quickly that it looked like her eyes were going to bug out of her head. She smacked her lips in what almost sounded like a kiss, and then her tiny tongue jutted out of her mouth, pushing about half of the purple stuff onto her chin before gagging and looking a little confused at the four sets of eyes staring at her.
"She's gonna blow chunks!" Isaac shouted, ducking under the table.
Everyone laughed. The apple-blueberry-pomegranate-Brussels sprouts face was almost as good as the sweet potato-banana-mango-kiwi face from a few nights ago.
"See, Mom? Faith is picky just like us!" EJ said.
"Well, she is a Payne," Dad added.
"No, wait!" Mom said. "Look—she likes it!"
They turned their attention back to the smallest Payne, who had swallowed the remainder of the apple-blueberry-pomegranate-Brussels sprouts spoonful. Her legs kicked excitedly beneath the tray, and she opened her mouth, pleading with eyes that seemed to say, "Feed me!" With the baby spoon, Mom scraped the purple off Faith's chin and stuffed it in her mouth. While Faith's eating technique was anything but well-mannered, she actually seemed to enjoy what Mom was putting in her mouth once she got the hang of swallowing the new texture.
Dad added squash to EJ's, Mom's, and his own plate before adding a tiny pile on Faith's high chair tray, saying, "All right, everyone, if we're going to do this, let's at least make it interesting. I dare you to eat this spaghetti squash, EJ."
EJ's eyes widened. If there was one thing she couldn't turn down, it was a dare.
"I double-dog dare you to eat that spaghetti squash, Dad."
Dad narrowed his eyes at her for a second and then winked at EJ. "I triple-dog dare you!"
A triple-dog dare. That sealed the deal.
"On this episode of Dinner Dare," Mom said in her best TV-announcer voice, "we'll find out if the Picky Paynes will live up to their name or if they'll silence the skeptics and just try something new."
Dad threw his hands in the air. "Tabby, I was the one who started the dare!" EJ wasn't sure if Dad was just kidding or if he was seriously trying to get out of trying the spaghetti squash.
"And I'm the one who is quadruple-dog daring all three of you Picky Paynes to try it," Mom said. EJ, Dad, and Isaac looked at each other, realizing they no longer had a choice about whether they'd be trying the spaghetti squash.
"Look—Faith likes it!" Mom pointed at the baby who was chowing down on a fistful of squash. EJ's stomach lurched as she thought again how the color and texture reminded her of worms....
"Welcome to Dinner Dare—everyone's favorite supper time reality contest!"
The studio audience bursts into a round of applause, nearly drowning out the game show's theme music. Colored lights swirl around EJ and the other contestants.
"Tonight's episode of Dinner Dare is sponsored by the Road Kill Café," the announcer named Tabby says. "Where their motto is: 'Today's bump on the road is tonight's delicious meal!' "
"Ewwww!" the audience chimes in together.
"We've got a great contest lined up for you tonight, folks," Announcer Tabby continues. "Please welcome the three challengers: David, Isaac, and EJ!"
A spotlight swivels to reveal the contestants, and they wave at the crowd during some polite applause.
"... And the person you're really here to see—youngest contestant ever and reigning Dinner Dare champion: Faith!"
The crowd goes absolutely nuts—screaming, cheering, whistling, clapping, stomping—as the spotlight swoops over to reveal Faith, a sixteen-pound package of adorable chubs and crazy hair....
"A baby?" EJ's eyes get wide. "A little baby is who we're going up against?"
"We can't lose to a baby, guys!" Isaac says.
"This should be a piece of cake," David responds.
"Maybe not a piece of cake," Announcer Tabby says, uncovering the table settings in front of each contestant. "More like a bowl of mealworms!"
A dinner bell clangs loudly in the background.
Faith dives into the bowl and starts devouring the worms like they're the best thing she's ever eaten.
EJ glances down at her bowl and sees the worms squirming against each other. Her stomach does a similar squirm.
"Come on, EJ, you can do this," EJ whispers to herself. "You can't let a baby beat you! You can do it!"
EJ grabs a handful of mealworms, squeezes her eyelids closed, and pinches her nose shut. Before she can change her mind, she rams the worms into her mouth and swallows them whole.
"Whoa. Hard core, EJ," Dad says in awe as he nibbles on a single worm.
"I can't do it!" Isaac spits out a couple of worms he was trying to swallow. "I give up!"
The crowd suddenly erupts in a gigantic cheer. EJ glances at Faith, who has nearly finished her bowl of worms and will remain the undisputed champion of Dinner Dare—but not if EJ has anything to say about it.
EJ picks up her bowl and dumps the remaining worms in her open mouth; a few worms that don't fit tumble down the front of her shirt. She gulps the worms down in one giant swallow and slams the empty bowl on the table—CRACK!
"Waaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" Faith's ear-piercing scream jolted EJ out of her Dinner Dare daydream. She looked down and was happy to see that her bowl was actually empty—she hadn't imagined the eating part.
"EJ, don't slam your bowl down." Mom tried consoling Faith as she continued to scream. "You know loud noises like that scare her."
Faith started screaming at even a higher pitch, if that was possible. Bert matched her scream with a howl.
"Sorry, Mom." EJ really was sorry. "Here, I know what will make her stop crying. Isaac, do your thing."
Isaac grinned and leaned toward Faith's high chair, rubbing his finger against the front of his top and bottom teeth. Once he got them good and dry, he tucked his lips up in his gums and said in a high-pitched voice, "Hey, Faith, it's your friend—Lipless Man!"
Faith immediately stopped screaming and stared at Isaac, as if in a trance.
"Lipless Man can't give good kisses," Isaac continued.
"Which is a good thing, because he's got terrible cooties," EJ added.
"But he can nibble on baby fingers!" Faith stuck out her hand toward Isaac, knowing what would come next. Isaac snatched her chubby fingers and gently nibbled on them, making "nom-nomnom" Cookie Monster sounds, and Faith's face lit up before letting loose with a melodic giggle.
"Delicious!" Lipless Man said. "Thank you for sharing your fingers with me!"
Faith clapped. Mom and Dad joined in, laughing.
"Thanks, Isaac," EJ whispered. He grinned at her.
"So you'll eat baby fingers, but not spaghetti squash, eh, Isaac?" Mom asked.
"I think Faith and EJ might be the only takers for this new wormlike culinary experience," Dad said, biting into a piece of the whole wheat toast. "Isaac and I are both out."
Mom spooned a glob of beef and noodles puree into Faith's mouth. "I think there's a box of mac 'n' cheese in the pantry if you picky Paynes want to make it for your dinner. I always knew girls were more adventurous than boys." Mom winked at EJ.
"Yeah, girls rule and boys—" EJ didn't get a chance to finish her statement because at that precise moment Bert made an impressive vertical jump to knock the beef and noodles jar out of Mom's hand and onto the linoleum floor, where he frantically licked up as much as he could.
"Bert! You mangy mongrel!" Dad swooped around Mom and scooped the dog up like a baby. "What has gotten into you?"
Excerpted from Diary of a Real Payne by Annie Tipton. Copyright © 2014 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Another Great book! I hate to see this series end. This book is great for ages 8-12 and also for the older generation as well. Especially for those who are kids at heart. I love the fact that it portrays life as it is and as it should be. The parents are in charge and display what a family should be like with Christ as the head of the family.