December 10, 2009

Holiday Break

As with everyone's home, things are crazy around here right now. I just realized I only have 2 weeks until Christmas and although I am very very good about shopping early, there are always little things that I save for the last minute. I just realized today that today is officially beginning the "last minute"!

I'm going to take a holiday break from blogging. Between finding a the perfect gifts for those last few on my list and living out my dream of being the perfect mom by baking up a storm of cookies, Chex Mix, more cookies, and many more things with my kids by my side, I cannot give Mr. Blog the time he deserves.

Happiest of Holidays to your family and I'll see you soon!

December 4, 2009

What's your 96 year old grandmother doing?

What is your 96 year old grandmother doing?

Mine just published her 9th novel!

It would take a year's worth of blogs for me to write about what an amazing woman she is and about all the unbelievable things she has done in her life - but check out this site to see a little bit more about her latest book.

November 28, 2009

What are you most thankful for?

I have worked so hard talking to my children about the spirit of "thanks" at Thanksgiving. We discussed all the things they are so very lucky to have (loving supportive family, food at every meal, a nice warm home, etc.) and my kids over and over again made me pictures showing me how thankful they are for all of those things. I was feeling pretty good about myself knowing I had done a fabulous job as mom and had gotten the true meaning of Thanksgiving through to them.

On Thanksgiving day we did the traditional cook all day long, spend time as a family, set a fancy table, etc. The meal was ready and we all sat down to eat. My 2 year old son yelled out "Happy Birthday Papa!" - okay clearly he did not pick up on the correct message.

BUT I still had my sweet thankful daughter who would make me proud. Halfway through the meal my daughter asked if we could go around and say what we are all thankful for. Wow! Great idea from a 5 year old - this was my shining moment! This was moment where everyone would see what an amazing mother I am and what a truly special child I was raising.

She had Papa start (whose bday by the way is not until January) and we went around the table taking turns sharing what we were the most thankful for. I smiled with a warm heart knowing E was going to make me proud by saying she was thankful for her family, friends, food, clothing, shelter, etc. All the things we had discussed for the past few weeks.

It was E's turn.

"I'm thankful for rainbows and unicorns!"

I'm not seeing much point in working on the meaning of Christmas.

November 22, 2009

I guess I can't say I wasn't warned.

Saturday we held my daughter's 5th birthday party at our house. I have spent weeks planning, purchasing and organizing for this event. She wanted a "flower"party. I had no idea what that meant but since that is what she wanted, that is what she was getting. I'm a believer that birthdays should be special for children and it is a great way for them to see what it is like to be selfless and do nice things for others in your family.

On Friday night my husband was nice enough to take the kids out of the house so I could flower myself out. I made flower shaped sandwiches, a flower cake, a pin the petal on the flower game and much more. I left the cleaning of the house and decorating for the next morning.

In the morning I asked my husband to please clean off our front porch. We have humongous trees in our front yard and they have been dropping their leaves with a vengeance the past few days. Our porch had a good 6 inch layer of leaves on it and actually posed a danger as it no longer looked like a porch and 6 steps.

Dutifully my husband went out to work on the porch. 3.5 hours later he still had not reappeared as he had trimmed the hedges, cleaned out the gutters, mowed the lawn and Lord knows what else. How do you get upset with someone who has worked so hard? I truly appreciate all he did, but I was wrangling, feeding, bathing 2 children all the while trying to get the party decorated and organizing the 4 craft stations I had planned for the 11 little girls that were coming to my house.

30 minutes before the party was to start I went out to ask the hubs if he could finish up his project and please come in and shower. I was greeted with this scene of a much dirtier and smellier porch than we started with!

Apparently the porch right in front of our front door was the landing pad for all the gutter gunk he had been knocking down - and we had people coming over any moment! Really??? Men!

I must say he did get it cleaned up with seconds to spare and with several nasty comments muttered under my breath.

Unfortunately I can't say I wasn't warned. I distinctly remember an incident from when I first started dating my husband. His parents were having a Greek Easter feast at their house and we were about 1 hour out from the party starting with 30 of their best friends showing up for a day of food/cooking/drinking in the beautiful backyard. As my mother-in-law was running around cleaning, cooking and arranging table settings, my father-in-law decided it was an opportune time to power wash the back of the house and roof, spilling black goo onto the back patio right where the party was to occur. Again, a great task that should be taken on at some point but just not moments before a party is to begin. My mother in law's head was to a point as was mine yesterday. Clearly this is hereditary.

November 19, 2009

Letter to Santa

I am pretty well done with my kids' Christmas shopping but I decided we had better write a letter to Santa to see if there were any surprises as far as requests go.

Here is the letter my 5 year old dictated for St. Nick:

Dear Santa Claus,

I like all the presents that you will give to me. You are so nice and I'm so happy that you came to my school. You are so sweet and you are so nice. I like you so much! You always let me sit on your lap when you go to my school. Dear Santa Claus you are so much fun. I like you, I love you Santa Claus. Thank you for all the nice presents you give me. I like the presents.

How does Rudolph's nose glow? I like you Santa Claus. Why don't other reindeer have shiny noses? I like you Santa Claus, you are so nice and I love you too. Oh Santa Claus I like you and you are so cute. Santa Claus, why is it not snowing today? I want you to be thankful. The End.

I counted and she complimented Santa in some form 9 times - think she is trying to butter him up? The funny thing is she didn't even ask for anything. Does that mean I can take all her presents back?

November 16, 2009

Potty Training Saga Part III

I am trying my best to get anyone other than myself to potty train my son but is isn't going all that well. My daughter still takes charge on it every once in awhile.

The other day we were with my son's good friend who is a few months older than him. The friend is awesome because he is potty trained. He had to use the bathroom and his mother and I thought this would be a wonderful teaching opportunity for the unbelievably uninterested in anything to do with a potty Z man.

We all trotted into the bathroom and Z's little friend pulled down his pants and did his thing standing up. Z watched in fascination and was very excited for his turn. He and I got his pants down, his diaper off and Z stood there over the potty waving his pointer finger over it. He kept shaking the finger and looking at it and shaking it again. Finally he pronounced "All done! It not working."

I think we are actually going backward on this whole deal. Last time I checked, pee pee does not come out of your finger. Clearly we have a long way to go on the potty training road.

November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Monday was my birthday and my husband was awesome. I went to the gym first thing in the morning and when I got home he had dressed, breakfast'd (yes, I use that as a word - and cereal'd too) the kids, and had emptied the dishwasher. How could the day get any better?

Several hours later, to my surprise, the doorbell rang and a man was holding a beautiful arrangement of flowers. I've told my husband repeatedly he does not need to send me expensive flowers (grocery store ones will do just fine) - and I really mean that. But WOW! He had really outdone himself on this most insignificant of birthdays.

I smiled at the delivery man knowingly and reached out my hands.

ME: "What a great birthday it is! My husband is the best!"

The poor delivery man looked very embarrassed.

DM: "Ma'am these flowers are for your across the street neighbor but she isn't home, I was wondering if you could hold them here and give them to her when she gets home?"


On the bright side, I did get to enjoy the smell of the flowers all day because she didn't get home until much later on - or maybe I didn't check if she was home until much later on, well whatever. And the poor girl really is the younger version of me. She even shares my birthday, she really has no chance.

November 5, 2009

We're Making Memories Here People

A favorite photo from my childhood shows me sitting on my parents retro space ship looking kitchen table wearing a brown/orange plaid dress with my long hair in two pig tails. My brothers are sitting next to me and we are all watching intently as our father carves a jack-o-lantern. Our young faces are bright with fascination and amazement at what my father is doing. I have always loved that photo because it captures such a great family activity and is exactly the kind of moment I hope my children will hold dear from their own childhoods.

Wanting to create that same memory for my children this past weekend, I gathered the biggest pumpkin we had off the front porch and brought it inside. All morning long I teased our children with a fun activity we were going to do later that day. Organizing the knives, black marker, paper trash bags and bowls for gathering the pumpkin guts/seeds for the yummy roasted seeds I would make later, I was ready.

I gathered my excited children around the kitchen table and got my husband ready for carving. He started drawing the face he would cut out and the kids were eager with anticipation - for about 3 minutes.

Here is a photo of my husband carving a pumpkin all by himself. I'm sparing you the picture of my children watching Max and Ruby on tv.

Either my mom just caught my brothers and me at the right time, or my kids are lame.

November 2, 2009

The Swine Flu is a JERK

I hate the Swine Flu, I mean really really hate it. Nope, no one in my house has it but I hold it directly responsible for the most miserable afternoon of my life.

It all actually started before today. For weeks that flu took countless hours of my time during which I obsessed over whether or not to vaccinate my children. I read no less than 1,254 articles that all told me something different about what to think and feel.

Then when I finally made the decision to vaccinate my children, I could not find a place within a 500 mile radius that actually had the vaccinations. Thousands of hours on the phone, visiting different doctor and pharmacy websites and hair loss from pulling my locks out, I was totally unsuccessful in my search.

So today I decided the least I could do was vaccinate myself from the regular old flu (my kids had their regular flu shots weeks ago). Low and behold the CVS Minute Clinic I walked into had H1N1 vaccinations - and the ones to spray in my kiddos noses to boot! No shots required. Score!

I picked my kids up from school and we scurried over to CVS to make them swine free.

2 1/2 hours, 4 bags of snacks, 2 new coloring books, a new box of crayons, 2 bottles of pink Vitamin water, 7 time outs, 2 requests for the handy vac from the guy behind the counter to clean up aforementioned snacks, 25 glares, 3 sympathetic grandmas trying to entertain my children, 11 screaming fits, 32 separate sets of tears, 17 promises to talk to Santa Claus about the My Little Pony they had in the toy aisle, 438 threats to take away everything my children own, 2 separate instances of blood, 16 laps around the entire store, 2 knocked over aisle displays, and no less than 8 fights over who got to sit in the KU Jayhawk chair, my kids are swine flu resistant - hopefully.

Good thing is that the vaccinations are free, bad thing is my bill came to about $376 - oh and we have to go back in 4 weeks for another dose. Not sure I wouldn't rather have just dealt with the damn flu.

October 31, 2009

Costume Contest

Enter your little cuties in this great costume contest from the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and you could win $1,000! That'll buy lots of candy.

Go here for more details.

October 26, 2009

The kids got a carrot in his ear

Like most 2 year olds, my son loves pretending he is on the phone. He has used countless items around our house as a "phone" such as remotes, books, shoes, my arm and his very favorite, a big blue calculator.

If you are the person he is calling on the calculator the conversations might get a bit boring because they always go the exact same way:

Z: "Hi, what doin'?"

Z: "Nufin."

Z: "Okay, bye bye. Wuv you."

From my end however, it is really cute - well that was until he grabbed this particular household item to use as his phone: Now it is just getting weird - especially because he was using a dust pan as the part to speak into.

October 23, 2009

I'm not busy!

How is it that the last couple of weeks I have been extremely busy:
- traveling for work
- when not traveling, doing my actual work
- being the co-chair of the Entertainment Committee of a charity ball
- dealing with sick children
- one million other things
and I was able to write new posts for my blog?

Here we are this week
- no travel
- charity party is over (we raised $100K!!!!)
- work is pretty light
- kids are healthy
yet I have had not found one minute to write anything for my blog?

Makes no sense. Kind of like my life.

Hopefully I will get really busy again next week and therefore write several new posts.

October 19, 2009

Potty Training is going swimmingly

My daughter has been slacking in her duties of potty training her 2 year and 4.5 month old brother. I guess I can't be too upset with her since I have done NOTHING toward the furthering of his use of the toilet.

Yesterday my husband asked me to buy Z some big boy underwear with a character he really likes on them in hopes to get this whole thing kick started. I trekked to Target and got some pretty spiffy Elmo undies. I'm still not really ready to hit potty training hard core but I figured we could at least start talking about it with the little guy.

Brought Elmo underwear home and Z really liked them. We picked the pair he wanted to wear first and put them on. Z happily ran around the house yelling "Elmo potty!" about 1,000 times. Of course he had zero interest in sitting on the potty or going anywhere near it.

About 15 minutes later it was bath time and we hiked upstairs to get squeaky clean. I asked the kiddos to get their clothes off. Z refused to take off his undies. He had also gotten new shoes that day and I had to wrestle the kid to the ground to get those off. It was very clear that Elmo undies were not going to come off without World War III ensuing. I really had no choice but to let him crawl in that way.

I'm really glad he likes them but so much for my theory that having Elmo on his underwear will help with potty training since won't want to get his beloved Elmo wet...

October 16, 2009

The vortex of combs

We all know there is a tiny monster who lives in our dryer that happily munches away on socks. He only chooses 1 sock from each pair and has a great laugh when you spend time searching for it behind your dresser, on the top part of the dryer drum, under your bed, in your refrigerator, etc.

In my house we also have another place that things disappear to. It is our brush/comb vortex. I find it very strange because there are only two of us (the females) in this house who actually use a comb or brush but they manage to get sucked into this vortex almost on a daily basis.

Yesterday I had to travel to Milwaukee and back for work. Clearly in meeting with clients, I needed to have freshly brushed hair. It's not like my home life where there are days that the only thing that gets run through my hair is a race car driven by my son.

I showered, got all squeaky clean and was ready to do my do. No comb or brush to be found. I searched high and low and could not find any of them! I have several combs and brushes for just this reason. I never use my daughter's brush for fear that since she is a school aged child, one day she might bring home the dreaded lice and I DO not need that issue in my head in addition to all the other issues I have going on already.

But I was desperate and so went on a search through her stuff to find her brush. Couldn't find that either. Then I saw it, her pink princess vanity - there had to be something in there. And I was right! There was a huge pink plastic comb shaped like a heart with princess bobbles on it, gemstones, and stickers galore. Let me tell you it wasn't easy styling my coif with that thing but I made it work - I had to. I stuck the comb in my bag as I headed out the door to catch my airplane. Got to the Milwaukee airport, pulled out my large pink heart shaped comb in the bathroom and in my professional business suit and high heels, began to freshen up. I ignored the looks of the women around me who stared in awe at the ridiculousness of what I was doing. The 5 year old set looked at me with envy.

Had my meeting, everything went great. We were all standing around talking afterward and someone looked down and said "uh oh, someone lost their comb" - and there it was. In the middle of my clients, my bright pink princess comb was staring up at us. I kind of ignored it at first and then someone else walked to our circle and pointed it out. Of course I did what any grown up would do in this situation - blamed it on my daughter.

"Oh my gosh, how funny! My daughter likes to sneak things into my bag when I leave town so that I think about her while I'm gone - this must be what she put in this time! Silly girl!"

So tell me - what in your house mysteriously disappears?

October 11, 2009

Vroom Vroom goes his bed

I'm a dork. That is a fact. I have had the bedding for my 2 year old son's big boy bed for about 2 years now. I found what I liked, bought it and haven't wavered on my decision once. In addition, over the past few years I have spent many happy hours looking for the right accessory that will go in this spot or the perfect color blue lamp shade, etc.

Z is still in a crib but he is very close to learning how to propel himself out and break one or more body parts. That means room transformation time!!!

My husband really never gives much of an opinion on anything and normally he lets me interior decorate to my heart's content. Although he doesn't interject very often, when he does, 100% of the time it is annoying. His last strong opinion was when we got married almost 9 years ago and he had a major opinion on the weight of the everyday knives we were registering for. Here we are, a short 9 years later and he has another opinion.

This time his obnoxious opinion is on the choice of big boy bed for our son. He wants a race car bed. Let me repeat that - he wants a race car bed. Yeah, I do mean one of those very large, very plastic, very red race car beds.

I'm a snob - can't help it. I not that big on plastic toys for my kids and so you can probably imagine a race car bed is not in the design schematic I have drawn up for Z's room. Yes I'm not kidding, I'm that big of a dork I have a drawn up layout of his big boy room - did it for my daughter's room too.

So here we are. Every day I walk a line of "hmmm... he never insists on much, maybe I should let him have this one thing" to "Oh my God, there is no way in hell I am putting a race car bed into my design plan." I'm at the point that I'm considering paying someone $400 to build me a wood, chic race car bed for the little guy. Yes, I have gone so far as to price that option. I'd do it but I don't think that would satisfy my husband's race car fantasy.

I realize many a wee boy has been incredibly happy in a red plastic race car bed and I'm sure Z would absolutely love it, but let's be honest - it is all about me :)

My daughter summed it up best. We were talking about the bed and I was mentioning many cool and appealing to the eye options that we could get for Z. My husband asked our daughter which one she thought Z would like better. She said, "Dad, you know you are the one who wants a race car bed." Exactly!

Maybe I should get one for the hubs and let him sleep in it so he can get over never having one as a boy and leave me alone to design away.

October 7, 2009

Can't wait to see what she names her kids

You have probably gathered by now that my 4 year old daughter is totally crazy - but that is what I like about her.

Every Wednesday her class has Show 'N Tell and the item a child brings to share must correspond with the letter of the week. This week is the letter "E".

At first she was just going to take herself because her name starts with "E" which I thought was cute and clever - but that idea went out the door. After rummaging in her toy box for an "E" item she found a colorful stuffed Elephant that she got as a gift from her Aunt Hilary. The elephant came named and has a cute book that goes along with him. His name is Elmer proven by the fact that ELMER is sewn on his side in large letters and the accompanying book is called "Elmer the Elephant".

I'm sure her teacher and everyone stared at her like she was a bit nuts when she introduced her elephant whom she calls Walmart. Don't ask me why, I can't break into that brain of hers.

Can't wait until it is "J" week and she takes her pink, curly pig-tailed hair, female baby doll named Baby Jesus.

October 4, 2009

I'm going to let my 4 year old do the mothering for now on

We live in a split level house and my husband and I hang out on the middle floor while the kids often play downstairs. They rarely make the trek up two flights of stairs to their rooms quietly - there is always a pit stop involved where they come chat with us, etc.

My husband was watching TV the other day and heard the soft pitter patter of feet as the kiddos went up both flights of stairs quietly. In my house quiet = bad. 100% of the time that means they are up to something and 89% of the time that something is not good.

My husband went upstairs a few minutes later to assess. As he walked down the hall toward their bathroom where their voices were coming from, he heard:

E: "Pull your pants down Z."

E: "Good boy!"

Then he hears the familiar rip noise of each side of a diaper coming off.

E: "Okay Z, now sit on the big boy potty"

E: "Great job! Here is a book to read, now go pee pee, sweetie."

My husband walked into the bathroom at this point and couldn't help but crack up, be in shock and be a little concerned all at the same time. E then asked dad where she can find the stickers for the yet to be developed potty chart because "she was just so proud of Z for trying the big boy potty".

Of course my 2 year old did not produce anything - but my daughter is already more successful in her potty training lessons than I have been. So far my attempts have only yielded tears and a toilet seat around Z's head:

I'm thinking this is fantastic! Let the 4 year old potty train the 2 year old - she seems more motivated to do it than I am and she is easily bribed with toys, etc. Potty training your brother because your mom doesn't want to is totally worthy of getting a pony, don't you think?

September 29, 2009

The dog's water bowl

Today is a gorgeous day so the kids and I were outside enjoying the fantastic Kansas City Fall weather. E and Z were playing on the swing set, I was picking some weeds out of my flower bed and the dogs were happily sunning themselves. It was Normal Rockwell kind of stuff.

One dog got up lazily and wandered to an over turned toy that had filled with water during the last rain storm we had. She began to drink. It was dirty water and who knows what kind of bugs, etc. were in there that would not sit well in my dog's stomach.

Dog: "Slurp, slurp, slurp"

Me: "Francis, yuck! Do not drink out of there, it is dirty!"

E: "Yeah Francis, you can't drink out of there, that's not the toilet!"

Norman Rockwell is turning over in his grave somewhere.

September 28, 2009

I'm Stealing It #8

I have not stolen an idea in a long time. Not that there aren't a plethora of amazing ideas out there but because life has been crazy busy and I haven't had time to write about these great things. However, I stumbled across the following and I love the idea and wanted to share. I think it could be so cute for so many things.

Make your own Scratch Off Tickets!

I am going to make these for my daughter's next birthday party. Of course everyone will win something as I don't particularly want a brawl to break out amongst the 5 year old set. But I actually see quite a bit of other uses for this as well.

I am clearly not clever enough to come up with the idea but I am smart enough to steal it from someone else. I don't even know this person, just found her who knows how. Check out her description on how to do it - looks simple enough.

As she said, the trick is mixing metallic paint and liquid soap for the scratch off part. She must be some sort of mad genius scientist to have figured that out because I never would have come up with that!

Scratch off tickets

September 26, 2009

A crystal ball into their future

The house across the street and down one sold recently and soon thereafter a "For Rent" sign went up. Thankfully two young girls moved in. For the first couple of weeks we did not formally meet but I could tell they were nice girls who would be good neighbors.

I finally had the opportunity to speak to one of the girls. She was walking her dog and we were just getting home from running errands. I took my crazy children over there to say hello and introduce myself.

It was really fun talking her because it turns out we have quite a bit in common:

1) She and her roommate went to the same college that I did and were in the same sorority I was - a million years later of course

2) I'm from Oklahoma and went to a small private high school
- the roommate (whom I have not yet met) is from Oklahoma and went to a rival small private high school
- there were several girls from my high school that were in their sorority pledge class
- I know older siblings of several of their friends

3) The father of the roommate I was speaking with is a Ford dealer
- my father is a Ford dealer

4) The roommate just moved back to KC from a major metropolitan city. I moved to a major metropolitan city right after college and then moved back to KC.

I came home and reported back to my husband all about our cute new neighbors and how we have so much in common and how they totally remind me of myself right out of college.

His response?

"Did you tell her to be careful or your life is what hers will be in 10 years?"

He is sleeping on the couch.

September 24, 2009

The steps to my mental breakdown

Our house was flipped before we moved into it. On appearances only it looks cute but it has been proven to us more than once that a lot of things were put together with gum and Elmer's Glue. One of those things was our front steps. The flippers put terracotta colored ceramic tiles on them - not a great plan for outdoor, high-traffic stairs. After about 2 years of weather changes the tiles started breaking and we had to have them re-done. Re-done included pouring, stamping and staining concrete.

We used this one particular company who at this time will remain nameless but trust me I'm very close to naming them. They were recommended by a friend and they did a decent job - when they showed up. They would do one thing and then take like a 3 - 5 week hiatus before they started the next part of the project.

Here we are now.
1 year and 5 months since they gave us an estimate.
1 year and 3 months since they started the project.
11 months since I have seen them.

The problem with that is that the steps are NOT finished yet.

I've tried quite a few things to get this company to come finish my steps but my new tactic is calling them every single day. Of course the phone always goes to voicemail when I call. I only have one guy's cell phone number so he is the lucky one who gets to hear my voice daily. I started out snooty letting him know of my frustration but since I get bored easily I have now changed it up a bit. Each day I have a new personality. Thus far I have used anger, humor, and calmness.

Here are some other tactics I am working on:
Spanish (just for fun)
Psycho Screaming
Lawyer Speak
Speaking each word backwards (I have a weird ability to do this)
Calling every minute for 3 hours

Still working on some others. I'm sadly having a good time with this and I might even be disappointed when (if) they actually finish our steps - what am I going to do with my time?

September 21, 2009

It's official! I'm a mom.

I took my kids to a place called Penguin Park yesterday. I had heard about it a few times and since my husband was gone all day to the Chiefs game, the kids and I had some free time. I figured it was as good a time as any to make the trek to the park.

As you can see, the park is really cute!

Sadly some less than civilized teenagers (I'm speculating on their ages here) felt the need to destroy the park. They spray painted horrible things of the verbal and visual kind all over the entire place. Thank God my children cannot yet read or interpret spray painted gentailia or we would have left immediately. I spoke with a mother who lives in the area and she had been at the park the day before and Penguin Park was graffiti free at that time. So some hooligans (total mom word) had done this destruction as their leisure activity on Saturday evening. Jerks.

One of the geniuses also spray painted their name - full name, first, middle and last - on the side walk. Realistically I can't imagine anyone, including these kids is dumb enough to write their own name on something they defile - it could be the name of someone they hate, etc. But still I figure it is something to go on and so I took a picture of it and I plan to email it to the police. See - there it is right there! I'm SUCH a mom. And even more mom of me I took this disgusting situation as an opportunity to talk with my kids about other people's property and how we need to respect it, etc. I'm really growing up :)

So tell me, when was a moment you realized that you are totally a parent and there is just no going back?

September 17, 2009

Circus Review

We went to the circus last night.

A great time was had by all - eventually. For quite some time my daughter sat there with her fingers in her ears due to a loud explosion (on purpose) that happened early on.

I did eventually get the fingers out of her ears.

Our 2 year old was a bit freaked out by all the activity in the beginning and stuck close to daddy. There are definitely a lot of colors, sounds and a multitude of things going on - but it was those exact things that eventually won him over.

Like all kids, our children get extremely distracted by bright, glowy, shiny, expensive things and my husband and I are totally the parents who buy that kind of junk for them.

Here are a couple of pieces of advice in the Barnum & Bailey souvenir toy department:

1) It might just be my children, but they have an impressive ability to turn any item into a weapon. This $1,324.59 toy was no different. I'd be surprised if the people around us enjoyed the fact that our children continually hit them in the head with these toys. The kids aren't up yet this morning, but I cannot imagine there is any way we will get through this day without one of them hitting and lacerating the other one in the face with these things. Who thought it was a good idea to develop a toy for young children that spins around at blistering speeds with stars attached to strings??? Better yet, who thought it was a good idea to purchase them? I'm looking in their father's direction...

2) If you do decide to mortgage your house to purchase this toy wait until after the circus is over. We lost the kids to this toy for quit a bit of time after purchasing them during intermission and it did not matter how many acrobats were flipping around, hanging from dental floss 300 feet in the air, our children were enthralled by the toys.

All in all it was really fun and our kids fell contentedly exhausted into bed asking when we can go to the Circus again.

September 15, 2009

Check out my latest article in KC Parent magazine!

In February I started writing articles. I had no idea where they would get me but I just thought it was kind of fun. I sent them to no less than 11,543 magazines across the country and I was fortunate that a very small fraction of those magazines actually liked my writing style and asked me to write some articles for them.

See below for the most recent one published:

Need to Nest?

And to check out this link for other articles I have had published:

look here!

Sorry for the annoying self promotion, but I feel incredibly fortunate that these magazines took a chance on me - someone who hadn't written anything since college. Other articles are coming soon!

September 13, 2009

Blight of the neighborhood

This morning my husband was doing some yard work and the kids wanted to be outside with him. I'm sure our neighbor whose house is for sale and who was entertaining potential buyers was so pleased we didn't feel the need to change out of our pajamas before we ventured outdoors.
Oh yeah, and I have decided it is best to keep up on the latest styles in bike helmet wear, this one passed down from our cousins looks as if it is medically required for my son to wear.

September 11, 2009

Dads are awful! Mommies are awesome!

Dads are awful and mommies are awesome. While I do agree with this statement at times, I’m not sure my husband really deserved to hear that in this particular circumstance.

I had another quick jaunt of a trip yesterday for work. In and out of Milwaukee in like 8 hours. The kids went to my mother-in-law’s for most of the day until my husband picked them up after work. As I was told, the story went something like this:

Once they arrived back home my husband realized he didn’t have a house key. Since my husband’s car is still at the dealership getting it’s 9,087 issues resolved, he has no house key. Yes, yes, his house key is on the key chain at the dealership - probably not the best place for them huh? Oddly this has not been a problem for us over the past 11 months or whatever it is that the darn car has been in the shop. I guess I must always be home when he gets home – yeah, well except not last night. I was in Milwaukee and my keys happily went on the trip with me.

So, D went about breaking into our house, leaving the children strapped in their car seats. If you know my children – or children in general – you can imagine how well that went. I heard something about our daughter poking our son with an umbrella, random things within reach being thrown at one another a boatload of tears and extreme range over not having the windows rolled down.

Eventually they got inside – fortunately without the neighbors calling the cops on the man crawling through a window in our house. It was about then that our daughter really got out of control, enough so that she warranted the rest of the evening in her bedroom.

Here is what she had to say about that:

In general:

"Dads are awful! Mommies are awesome!"

And here apparently are the 3 reasons why her father in particular is so awful:

1) He would not roll down the window of the car

2) He made her eat dinner in her bedroom because she was not allowed out of her room

3) He bought her an awful light bulb

My thoughts on that:

1) My guess is she began screaming to have the car window rolled down at the precise moment my husband was straddling the window sill in a delicate balancing act with one leg on the prickly bushes outside and the other carefully twisted around the candles yet avoiding the picture frame on the table just inside the house.

2) The kid is nuts. Personally I would love it if daddy would bring me dinner in bed, she doesn’t know how cool that really is.

3) She is right on this one, her new environmentally friendly light bulb does completely suck but we can’t blame dad for that, let’s blame global warming on that one.

Anyone want to put in their wager now on how much longer my husband is going to let me keep this job???

September 8, 2009

Calling all apple recipes

We went to an apple picking farm yesterday and it was a ton of fun. We dropped off several apples at my in-laws and are left with no less than 6,287 apples. What do I do with them?

Any favorite apple recipes out there? Much appreciated!

September 6, 2009

Circus Ticket Winner!

So the very scientific drawing has occurred - and when I say scientific, I mean my 4 year old daughter drew a name out of a hat - congratulations to Anne Epperson - you are the lucky winner of 4 tickets to the circus! I will contact you and let you know how to get the tickets.

To those of you who still want tickets, here are the details on how to get them discounted, click here.

Thanks to everyone who participated and I hope to see you at the circus!

September 4, 2009


Okay peeps, on Sunday a winner for the Kansas City Barnum & Bailey Circus will be announced. If you haven't checked out this give away - get on it!


September 1, 2009

My guess is right about now my husband is wondering if my salary is worth it

As I've mentioned before, I work from home but from time to time I have to make a business trip out of town. Today I had to jog down to Houston for a quick meeting. I was there and back in just a few hours - love Southwest - and I got the last credit needed for a free flight to boot! All in all, not a bad day for me.

Here is a look into my husband's day:

6:20 AM - Wake up after sleeping on the couch because wife was coughing ALL night long

6:25 AM Throw tired, grumpy the kids in the car, drive mom to airport because my large/loud car is in the shop and we are down to one car right now

7:10 AM Drop mom off as kids are crying and asking mommy to please not go

7:30 AM Make a run through McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast, get kids home

7:35 AM Clean up spilled chocolate milk from white carpet in kids playroom from aforementioned McDonald's trip

7:45 - 9:30 AM Lots of frustrating arguments with daughter that end with "well, that's just awful!" Continually shaking head as son randomly runs into the room and yelling "Haprise Daddy!" and then runs out again

9:35 AM Chase naked children around the house trying to get them dressed

10:20 AM Take children dressed in non-matching outfits to pediatrician

10:27 AM Arrive at the pediatrician office 7 minutes late

10:25 AM Explain to 4 year old that she is going to have a flu shot and some other shot

10:26 AM Lose most of hearing in both ears from the screams

10:30 AM Have mommy call and calm down child a bit - enough to get said shots

10:33 AM Lose rest of hearing and inspect my wounds from the assault received from the 20 minute meltdown after said shots were given

10:34 - 11:00 Ask doctor a bunch of inane questions that wife has written down for each child - running the gamut of bladder infections, wax in the ears and thoughts on swine flu

11:01 Sheepishly sulk out of doctor's office throwing apologetic glances at all mother's waiting with their now nervous children because my child's screams have scared the hell out of everyone in a 2 mile radius

11:30 AM Take children to guitar store

11:33 AM Realize in a panic, I somehow have to get work done today

11: 35 AM Purchase daughter a guitar

12:00 PM Go home, feed lunch, put 2 year old down for a nap and have 4 year old take some time in her room to relax

12:30 PM (NOTE: In my head he mixes a cocktail here, but I can't confirm that)

2:00 PM Go to Home Depot and to get spray paint because daughter wants a pink guitar and not a red one

2:05 - 2:25 Tussle with 4 year old over gloss and semi-gloss spray paint (NOTE: As a man who has built countless guitars in our basement, he oddly has a deep knowledge of what is better for painting a guitar - but I find that her argument for the one with the prettier can is pretty valid)

2:25 PM - 5:30 PM It's kind of a blur, just did stuff to keep the children occupied in and out of the house. At one point take purple guitar cord that 4 year old insisted on buying off of 2 year old's neck explaining that it isn't a necklace and could in fact choke him. Somehow get 2 video shoots set up and write 1/2 of a treatment for a music video that is due tomorrow.

5:30 PM Pick up dinner, feed children food completely devoid of nutritional value, wrangle kids to bed and wait for lovely wife to come home from her stressful day

Forever AM/PM Appreciate how amazing my wife is and in constant awe of how she gets everything done. (NOTE: That might be in my head too)

August 30, 2009

Barnum & Bailey Circus Ticket give-a-way!

The last time I went to the circus was probably 11 years ago with my husband, his sister and his father. This was in the early stages of our relationship and I remember he bought me a stuffed tiger that we named Bailey (get it? - Barnum &? - lame I know) and I remember thinking how sweet I thought it was, showing that kind of affection for me in front of his father and sister. I still love that tiger and my daughter now snuggles with Bailey every night.

Fast forward to now and we have not been back - pathetic - the circus rules! That is why I am SUPER excited about this. I have 4 free tickets to give to a reader for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus Show coming to Kansas City in September!! It is a 4-Pack for opening night (Wednesday, September 16th).

For those of you who do not win the free tickets, I still have a savings deal for you.

Ringling Bros. Coupon Code Details
  • The coupon code will be MOM — you can get four tickets for $44 for all weekday shows and any additional tickets are still priced at $11. The code will also give you $4 off all tickets for weekend shows.
  • The tickets can be purchased from <> and by entering the MOM code in the “MC promotion” box when purchasing tickets.
  • Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required
  • Offer not valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row, or VIP seating.
  • Cannot be combined with other offers. Service Charges, facility & handling fees will apply.
All Access Preshow
  • Be sure to get to the arena early to check out the All Access Preshow. The Preshow begins at 6:00pm and will give you a chance to head down to the circus floor to meet the performers, get autographs, try on costumes, and clown around! This is free for all ticket holders.
Okay so how to win the free tickets. Just sign up to be a follower of my blog and submit a comment to this post explaining why your family should be the ones to get these awesome tickets! Also, make sure and let me know if you post information about this give-a-way anywhere (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, someone else's blog, etc.) and you will get extra entries into the ticket drawing. Winner will be selected at random and announced on Sunday September 6th.

Thank you and good luck to everyone!

August 28, 2009

That Tux!

As you might now by now, my husband and I are very fancy. Okay not really. Since I work from home, it is a big day when I get my shower in before 2:00 PM and my husband works in the creative world so the last time I saw him in a pair of khaki pants was somewhere before Y2K. That is why I find it very odd that we are buying him a tux.

Tonight we are going to our second black tie event in 2 months. Now, I love to dress up. I got that from my mom who always looks like a million bucks. Unlike her, I am okay with leaving the house un-showered to drop the kiddos off at school. When I was little my mother would have curled her hair, painted her fingernails, ironed a dress and put on high heels before she got us to school.

My mom uniform in the summer is black running pants, Fit Flops (if you don't have a pair, you must get them they are so comfy), a t-shirt for exercising in and either my OU or KU visor (depends on my mood).

The winter mom uniform is very similar except sports a black North Face jacket on top of it all - oh and tennis shoes instead of Fit Flops. I'm not the only one who dresses like that though. I cracked up one day as I was standing outside my daughter's classroom to pick her up - 6 other moms in the hallway had the exact same outfit on - including the jacket!

Since I rarely get out of anything that isn't made of stretchy gore-tex material, I love dressing up, putting on my fancy jewelry and doing my hair and nails - and I love going to these events. I have a million things to wear to them. These type of events are popping up more on our social calendar lately and it has been fun. We are nowhere near like my parents who wear tuxes (well my dad, not my mom) more times a year than I probably shower, but for us casual, unkempt folks every two months is pretty often. From what I gather it is less expensive to purchase a tux for my hubby than to keep renting them - and who wants to wear pants another man has worn, anyway?

Now if I can just get him to shave...

August 25, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

Last week we went way up north in Minnesota for a family reunion with my husband's family. They have been going to this area for like 25 years or so. His aunt and uncle have a beautiful vacation home and normally we stay there. Due to a leak, dumb insurance agencies, etc. their home is gutted and we had to rent a place.

His aunt and uncle got there first and had gone to bed by the time we (me, husband, kiddos) arrived. This was the middle of the woods, it was late at night and we couldn't tell all that much other than it was a huge new log cabin. Without turning on many lights we grabbed a loft bedroom so as not to awaken anyone and went to bed.

Sunlight rolled around and scared the crap out of us. There were HUGE dead animals all over the walls. I'm talking bears, a bobcat, large fish, deer, mooses - or is it meeses, moosai? anyway - a freaking warthog, kittens (okay not really) and many other things that once innocently roamed the woods were mounted everywhere.

Let me state that I really don't have many thoughts either way on hunting. I personally wouldn't do it but I understand the need for hunting deer as they get over populated and run into the highways posing a danger to drivers, etc. I do however know that I do not want to stare at a large dead animal as I try to sleep or eat dinner.

For an entire week my 2 year old walked around saying "hi doggy, hi polar bear!" (NOTE: there were no dogs nor polar bears on the wall but if you read my blog with any consistency you already know that my son is animal challenged).

Poor little Z kept asking the animals to come and to play with him - like he does with our dogs at home. The difference is that our dogs love to play with him when he asks because they are not stuffed and hanging on our walls.

The really odd thing is that after a week all those carcases actually start to blend in and you don't notice them as much, which is almost more disturbing.

August 23, 2009

Great News! My daughter can be bribed with money!

I find bribery a very effective and genius form of parenting. Yes, I know, I hear it all the time, I really should write a parenting book.

Anyway, I've utilized bribery since the day my kids could talk but up to this point it has been very expensive. Bribing two children with a new toy or a trip to get ice cream can really add up when you do it between seven and twelve times a day. We have often tried to go the cheaper route of "hey I'll give you a dollar if you do such and such" - but it has never worked as my four year old always had the same response.

"Why do I need money when you have it?"

On our family vacation this past week we reached a major milestone in our lives! When our daughter got up at an ungodly hour, my husband offered her a dollar to go back to bed and she said "OK!" Let me tell you, that was money well spent and it was the first time that bribe has ever worked. E trotted off to her bed, I passed out back to slumberland and had a dream and everything. It was pure bliss and it only cost us $1. Ahhh, she is really growing up, this is a very exciting day in our big girl's life, definitely something worth writing in her baby book!

The bonus is that I can now make her buy her own toys and teach her the value of a dollar by discussing how much she has and what she can buy - saving me oodles of money and teaching her valuable life lessons. Clearly all those nay sayers out there who don't believe in bribery are so wrong.

August 13, 2009

The Thumb...

Anyone know how to break the thumb sucking habit? I have a very good friend who sucked her thumb forever. I distinctly remember going to the pharmacy with said friend and her mom to get some sort of stuff that supposedly tasted awful when applied to the thumb. Back then, it was probably toxic as well. Anyway, my friend liked the taste of it and it didn't deter her from thumb sucking a bit.

Our daughter was a pacifier kid. She wasn't that hard to break of the habit either. She made it all very simple.

Our son is thumb sucker. He would not take the pacifier no matter what we did - all he wanted was his thumb. Luckily he only sucks his thumb when he is tired. He isn't an all day sucker like some children are and his dentist has said it is not harming his teeth yet. Even so, I'm wondering how we break this habit. Short of cutting Z's thumb off, I have no ideas. Apparently my father sucked his thumb until he was like 12 or something silly like that. There are many amazing qualities that I hope my son picks up from my father, but holding the Guinness Book of World records for longevity of thumb sucking is not one of them.

As much as I'd love to end the habit, I've got to say he looks pretty darn cute doing it.

Yes, he is sleeping on the floor in this photo - don't judge.

August 11, 2009

Life lessons from a 2 year old

It is possible to have a split personality at 2? Cuz' I think my son has one. He can be the most gentle loving angel on the planet. He will look at me and say "I wuh you mama" and it is so genuine and sweet it brings tears to my eyes. Then with the next breath he slaps me across the face - which also brings tears to my eyes. What a little monster.

Our daughter has always been more independent than him and not nearly as snuggly - but fun and hilarious in her own way. She is sassy and demanding to a fault, but can flatten me with her observations and jokes.

I have logged hours and hours on end snuggling with our little guy for fear that one day he will stop doing it and I'll have no one to snuggle with. Well, I guess there is always the dogs - oh and my husband.

But this hitting thing is really annoying. He is so good about his apologizing that it melts your heart. "So sorry mama" - aaahhhh - all is forgiven. However, his new thing is pulling that grubby little hand back as far as he can reach and in the process of the hit apologizing profusely. "So, So, So sorry mama" SLAP. And then laughter and a darling crooked teeth smile. It really hurts but it always makes me laugh unfortunately (another example of my solid parenting skills). I think I'm really amazed at how clever he is to apologize while doing something he knows is completely wrong.

I'm thinking I should try this is my daily life. I know I'm not as cute as he is, but really this concept might come in handy at work.

August 10, 2009

Road Trip #2 - Barfing Boogaloo

We got back from our 2nd road trip of the summer last night. The drive back home was just fine (well that is after the emergency room visit from my son playing with rat poisoning - but that's a whole different story). The kids were exhausted after two nights in a row of not getting to bed before 11:30 PM (fantastic parenting on my part) and they sort of just stared out the window quietly. The trip there wasn't exactly so easy.

Before we left, the kids and I went to the library to get some new videos for the road. We got a few of the old regulars, Max & Ruby and Maggie & the Ferocious Beast. But my daughter picked out a new video that we have not seen before - it is a little blue animated guy and the title says "Hi, I'm Todd" - I'll tell you right now that Todd is a jerk.

We were on the road for about an hour and the kids were acting completely insane. They were screaming at the top of their lungs and laughing really hard. It was clearly great fun for them however my husband was about to drive off a bridge on purpose so I went to the old road trip standby and pulled out the video player.

Trying to be different, I pulled out the "Todd" video. Big mistake! All was fine at first and the kids were quiet and watching intently for about 30 minutes. All of a sudden my daughter let out a blood curdling cry and said, "I'm going to throw up!" - I hurriedly dumped everything onto the floor out of a plastic grocery bag I had and threw the bag to her. She just kind of laid there and groaned and complained about her tummy. Of course we were in the middle of nowhere Kansas and there was no place to stop.

My son contently watched the video and ate iced animal crackers, all the while I'm constantly asking my daughter if she wants us to pull over to the side of the road or if she could wait until we found some hole in the wall rest stop.

We were going like 100 miles an hour to find a suitable barfing location. The millionth time I turned around to ask if my daughter was okay, I heard my son cough so my eyes naturally went to him. At that precise moment he projectile vomited everywhere. No warning, no upsetness, no nothing. He then went on to continue to eat his animal crackers.

Strangely my daughter never got sick but she felt terrible for a few minutes. We turned off the video, pulled over, cleaned everything up (well I cleaned everything up, my husband does not do vomit, which works out fine because come to find out, I don't do rat poisoning very well) and went on our way. Everyone was fine from then on. After much discussion about what the kids had eaten, drank, any flu viruses going around, etc. we came to the conclusion that it was that stupid Todd video. What a little blue putz, Charlie and Lola have never made my kids yack on a road trip. I don't know what kind of crazy animation he had going on there but Todd is no longer welcome in our home - err - car.

Glad the road trips are over for the summer - oh, well except that little one we are taking to northern Minnesota - only about a 9 hour drive... Ahhhhhh the memories!

August 5, 2009

Tickle Monster - literally

My son is the WORST tickler on the planet and, unfortunately for everyone who comes in contact with him, he loves to tickle. When Z takes a running start toward you and says "tick, tick, tick, tickle!" you know that is your cue to run. His tickles hurts indescribably bad. I have cut his nails down to the nubs but it doesn't help. The receiver of his tickle torture inevitably ends up looking like they got into a bar fight with a cat. His horribleness is special in that it isn't just the nails, it is the amount of force he puts behind the tickle as well. He digs his little fingers so far into you that I'm surprised he hasn't ripped out someone's organ.

I feel really bad because I always have to discipline the poor kid for tickling which, in most cases, is a normal cute kid thing to do. I have to sound like the meanest mom ever in public when I punish him for tickling his sister. Of course if I ever get a dirty look from a stranger, I'll just sic Z on them and then they will understand.

His little face is always crushed when I get mad at him for it. He is just trying to be sweet and goofy and playful but it isn't normal to have to take a trip to the emergency room after being tickled.

The whole situation reminds me of this episode of friends where Monica gave the worst back rubs and they were extremely painful to everyone she tried to do them to. She was just trying to be nice by rubbing people's backs. Finally she took pride in being the "best worst back rubber" on the planet and she quit doing it.

Not sure how to explain that concept to a 2 year old.

August 2, 2009

Really gotta stop punching my kids

I spent all of Sunday afternoon cleaning out my children's bedrooms. My husband took the kiddos to play with their grandparents and I got to work.

It is never a good thing to have the munchkins here when I go on major cleaning sprees because suddenly items that haven't been seen or thought about for months - items found stuck in the wood grate underneath a bed - become their "very favoritist toy in the world"! Really it's just best that they do not see the books and toys that I donate. Just as I knew would happen, no one even noticed anything was missing when they returned home.

I placed a bag of outgrown clothes ready to pass of to my sister-in-law outside my daughter's room. When my daughter saw the bag, she looked at a few items and we had the following conversation:

E: Mooooom, you can't give these away, if you do I'll get punched!


E: I said, you can't give that sweater away or I'll get punched.

Immediately I was imagining some horrible child at my daughter's school threatening her because the bully wanted that sweater and my daughter was panicked that she would get a beat down if we got rid of it.

ME: Honey, I won't give it away then, can you tell mommy what happened?

E: Remember before I put it on that one day? You punched me!

I've never laid a hand on my child and usually I can decipher where my kids are going with things, but this had me stumped.

ME: Honey, I have never ever punched you and I never will, what on earth are you talking about?

E (getting impatient at this point): Mother, that sweater has green on it and if I don't wear it on Patrick's Birthday you and daddy will punch me!

Ah ha! Mommy interpretation finally kicking in here. She had worn that sweater last St. Patrick's Day and is now worried that she will get pinched if she does not have it anymore.

Glad we got that one cleared up before she blabbed that to anyone outside our house.

July 30, 2009


So this crazed mad woman cut off all my little guy's hair early this summer. It has been like 2 1/2 months since then and now I have NO idea what to do.

If this hairstyle was to be on his head at all times he would be at the point where he desperately needs a haircut. His hair is peeking (ok, really more than peeking) over his ears and when he woke up from his nap today I swear to you he had a rat tail. Oh my Lord, I so wish I was kidding. The poor kid has gone from pint sized army recruit to 1986 7th grader.

This is the worst. I want his hair to grow back to the shaggy, messy, freaking adorable look he was sporting before but I have no idea how to go about doing that. If I trim it is he going to go back to that unrecognizable chia pet looking kid he was for a few weeks there? I do feel he needs the trim because right now he looks as if he lives on the streets and it is making me look like a bad mom. (Note: If you have spent any time reading my blog you know that that I have an amazing ability to make every situation somehow end up being about me.)

Growing out my daughter's bangs took an entire year and it was excruciating every step along the way. I don't want to do it again. I'm very distressed. Are you allowed to sue hairdressers for mental anguish? Cuz' I think I'm gonna. Who knew I would have so much trouble with a boy's locks? Aren't they the easier sex to groom? Help!

July 28, 2009

Reasons to be nervous when a toddler is alone for more than 3 minutes...

No children were harmed or drunk in the making of these photos - although I definitely drank after cleaning up the messes.

July 27, 2009

Somebody teach this kid something

Our two year old son has really exploded in his talking over the past week. He is so fun to have short little conversations with and he shows great delight in identifying every single thing that we pass. "Look shoe! Hello, tree! Hi Dog! Oooh a car!" and so on.

Yesterday on our drive back from our great 5 day visit with my parents, we met my husband a few hours outside of Kansas City. He is finally taking his hunk o' junk to get fixed at this dealership like 2 hours outside of town where a guy owes him money. Woo Hoo!

Anyway, this pit stop was going to add a significant amount of time to our drive home - but on the bright side daddy would be with us for the last few hours. In order to break the drive up, we stopped at a zoo in a small town in Kansas. The kids didn't notice the difference but this was a tiny zoo with like 12 animals. There were honestly a total of 7 people there and my husband and I couldn't figure out how they can afford to even open the doors each day. We overheard the other family visiting the zoo talking about the Kansas City zoo and how it amazing because it has a giraffe and some elephants. I have to say I do love the KC zoo but until yesterday, I thought those animals were kind of zoo basics - what do I know?

Clearly it wouldn't matter to my 2 year old what kind of zoo we go to because he apparently knows of only two animals in the world. The first animal we saw was a monkey and so the next six animals were "ooohhh see da muky! There's anoder muky!" This was understandable because those next several animals were chimpanzees, gorillas, etc - things that look like monkeys.

I was however quite puzzled when we walked up to the warthog and he said "ah ha! A chicken. bawk! bawk!" and every animal from then on was a chicken - the tiger, the emu, the raccoon (who knew a raccoon was a zoo animal? I just thought they were the pesky things who get in your trash when you live in the country), and the hyena. Ironically we never even saw a chicken.

I wasn't aware of how little this kid knew until he started talking. Better get on teaching him some stuff.

July 23, 2009

Road trip!

The kids and I are going down to visit my parents for a few days. We are super excited about it!

I'm sure my husband is more excited about our trip than anyone as he will have the house to himself. I know he loves us but I think he likes us a lot better after we've been away for awhile. You know, the whole distance makes a heart grow fonder thing.

For him I think it is more of a sleeping in/not breaking up fights over the fuzzy dice we got at a party last week/not stepping on 300 Legos on the way to the bathroom/no one putting sticky hands in his hair/no one making snide comments when his boxers don't make it into the hamper makes the heart grow fonder thing.

Although we have such a great time at my parent's house - the getting there part is kind of a nightmare. Preparations begin about a week ahead of time. $284 worth of items from the $1 aisle at Target usually help quite a bit. Distractions galore are really the only things that get me through the 5 hour drive to their house. I could fly but really it isn't all that much easier to pack and get through an airport with two children - one of who is a complete maniac - on my own. At least in the car they are strapped in and I can't lose them - well probably can't lose them.

As a product of a mother who has written a newspaper column on packing for the past 15 years, you know I am an efficient packer. Just the essentials - a dop kit filled with every sunscreen known to man, several varieties of insect repellent and whatever the stuff is that fixes you up if you do actually get a bug bite, 4 packages of Band-Aids all with differing cartoon characters, Children’s Motrin, adult aspirin, Neosporin, an ear and oral thermometer, cotton balls, nail clippers, alcohol rubs and a suture kit.

Normally my husband is along for these road trips like when we go to the lake. In those circumstances I have things down to a science: We stuff our car with a cooler the size of Texas, 2 dogs, 2 kids, enough clothes for rain, shine and anything in between, 4 bathing suits per child because they can never decide what they will want to wear when we get there, water skis, life jackets and a lot of beer we are on our way. Sitting with my knees up to my ears, as there is no room on the floorboard among the sea of DVDs, new toys for the road and coloring books, we zip along the highway. I perfectly time the snacks for the changing of the 87 videos for the car ride and we only stop about 11 times for potty breaks in the 3-hour drive.

But this one is a solo mission and the drive is 2 hours longer than the beloved lake house. Since it is probably a good idea for everyone in my car and on the road for me to keep both hands on the wheel, the kids are going to have to fend for themselves back there. This is uncharted territory for me here. I'm thinking it might be a bit like Lord of the Flies.

UPDATE: So we made it here in one piece which is very exciting. Eight minutes into being on the highway I called my mother to let her know we had left and were on our way. At that point my kids had already eaten Scooby Doo graham cracker snacks, 1 blue Twizzler each, 1 Rice Krispie treat each, shared a bottle of water and had two separate arguments about the zebra striped towel that happened to be in the backseat with them. At that point I was scared to death, this ride was gonna be hell.

But amazingly I didn't even have to turn the video player on until 2 hours into the drive and the only times we stopped were to get gas (no one got out of the car but me) and to change the video. I'm sort of annoying like that and hate to stop on road trips when I'm on my own. My son is in diapers so he can take care of his business on the highway and I didn't let my daughter drink anything after that first bottle of water. Of course that didn't matter because about 30 minutes before we got to my parents' house she really had to go to the bathroom - but really 30 minutes? Surely she could hold it that long, there was no way I was stopping at that point.

When I called my mother to let her know we were about ten minutes away my daughter made me relay this message to her:

"Tell Happy I can't hug her or Poppa until I go to the bathroom because I don't want to get peepee on them."

Poor kid, I'm really the worst mom ever.

July 21, 2009


I'm busted, I committed to getting my kids to church in a blog post several weeks back after an incident with my daughter and her thoughts on where God resides. But here we are several weeks later and clearly I have not followed through with the church thing because this is the conversation we had this afternoon:

E: Mom, did you know that people's skin comes in all different colors like, black, brown, white, blondish?

ME: I did know that honey. But people have blond hair, however I wouldn't say they have blond skin.

E: Yes they do, look at your arms, with all that hair you would have to say you have blond skin.

Nice, kid. Thanks. Mental note - make an appointment for a full body wax.

E: And God has blue skin and wears a striped hat and has brown curly hair. He also has blue eyes, oh yeah and a curly tail.

Wow, really really we need to get to church before this gets too bad.

July 20, 2009

My kids are weird

My kids are weird

I think they get it from their father.

July 14, 2009

Can't take my father-in-law anywhere

I am writing this post solely for my father-in-law. The man has enjoyed a successful career, has a lovely wife, 2 great children, 2 fabulous spouses for his children (I say that because I'm one of them) and 2 adorable grandchildren (again I say that b/c they are mine) but I think possibly the highlight of his entire life came about 3 weeks ago.

Our daughter (mine and my husband's - not mine and my father-in-law's - that would be weird) just completed a 10-week modeling course. It is a very expensive program where the kids learn all about etiquette, manners, nutrition, and modeling. I was lucky enough to win this course at a school auction for a fraction of the true price.

Although my husband loves to call it her "JonBenet class", it really wasn't anything like that. The modeling teacher let the little girls be little girls and didn't ask them to wear make up, get spray tans, have liposuction, highlight their hair or anything. I really think the class gave our daughter some added confidence and she loved helping me think up her outfits each week.

This course culminated in a fashion show. The theme was garden party and the girls were to dress a bit over the top like you would at a real fashion show. We worked on E's outfit for weeks and practiced her "slating" - where she would stand at the end of the runway and say her name and which modeling agency she was with - over and over again. E was ready to go and was so excited about it.

My friend Lindsey and her son came to see the fashion show and beforehand Lindsey handed me some tissues in case I cried. I laughed at her saying, "please Lindsey, I'm not going to cry. This is a silly fashion show for a 4 year old."

Okay, admittedly I did cry - seriously what is wrong with me? I'm such a sap. But I digress.

Lindsey and I packed snacks galore and toy cars, etc. for our little guys to ensure they kept quiet during the show. We know how those 2 year old boys can be and we didn't want them to disturb everyone around them. And you know what? It worked. The boys were great. They sat there and watched quietly and really enjoyed the show. I was bursting with pride for my little fashion flower and my well behaved 2 year old son. Little did I know that it was my father-in-law whose behavior I needed to concern myself with.

My son, being 2, has no understanding of social etiquette and he clearly had a bit of a tummy issue that day. When you are in diapers, you have the freedom to do whatever you need whenever and wherever you need to do it. Sitting on metal chairs in a quiet room does not help the situation of whatever noises exude from one's body. At one point, the seat on my little guy's chair sounded like a lawnmower starting.

Knowing him all to well, my husband looked at me immediately and said "uh oh, my dad is not going to recover from this".

I looked over at my father-in-law and his shoulders started shaking violently, his head was down and cheeks were bright red. The harder he tried not to laugh, the worse it got. When the lady seated in front of my son started laughing at his tooshie noises I thought we were going to have to call the fashion show off because my father-in-law was inconsolable.

Those tissues that Lindsey brought came in quite handy for the tears streaming down his face. Thankfully the fashion show was recorded because I'm pretty sure my father-in-law did not see a thing that went on after the explosion in my son's pants occurred. He was entirely too busy trying to compose himself - and not all that successfully I must say.

My mother-in-law was unable to make the fashion show but did call me the next day to ask how it went. She didn't get much of a report from her husband - other than the entertainment in Z man's pants. She heard my father-in-law still laughing about it in the shower that next morning Apparently he starts giggling about it at least once a day - even now several weeks later.

Poor Z is never going to live this down. I feel so sorry for the girl that marries my sweet son because there is no way that a wedding toast will slip by without this being mentioned. And yes, yes I do see the irony in that statement as I am putting this story on the internet for the world to read. But let's be honest, there are like 2 people who read this blog on a consistent basis - so I think my little guy will be okay.

My father-in-law requested a posting about the occurrence and so now you have it. I personally think he just wanted to have a re-enactment of it so that he can read about it on a daily basis. But if I have learned one thing, it is that I cannot take that man anywhere until Z man is potty trained.

July 12, 2009

I'm Stealing It #6 & #7

We recently discovered that the door leading out to our garage from the kids playroom is magnetized. Not sure why it took me 4 1/2 years to figure it out - only thing I can guess is that I'm slow.

This works out great for us since the kids' drawing table, crayons, art supplies etc. are right next to that door and they pump out what they declare masterpieces approximately 1,394 times per day. Don't worry we use both sides of the paper, but I'm still probably going to need to buy a forest in the near future to make up for our carbon footprint.

Anyway, we never have enough magnets to hold everything and it is heartbreaking to my daughter when we have to sort through all of her glorious pictures and make decisions on which ones to keep and which ones to put in the recycling bin.

I found these on "not Martha's blog" and I think they are really cute and could be a fun project with the kiddos.

They are called marble magnets and you can buy all of the supplies at Michael's. Like most of the ideas I steal, I have not made these yet (I need to get on these things, what kind of a resource am I if I always give ideas and never execute them???) but I will report back once I do. I'm trying to do one "major" craft per week with the kids. In my head this is major - most people are probably way craftier than me and look at this project as beginner level.

These cute magnets remind me of these rings my friend Lindsey has and I LOVE them - which lead me to my next item I'm Stealing.

Lindsey has these rings that are called Pop Art Painted Rings. They come with 5 in a pack and you can get them at Beauty Brands. You can also find them online.

Lindsey had her son color hers and seriously the rings are so cool. He is only 2 years old but they are completely abstract and actually remind me a lot of my mom's paintings - but on your hand. You can do whatever you want with them as far as design goes. By the packaging, it seems like something a young girl would wear but Lindsey wears hers all the time and I will too once I have some for myself!

She has given them to people as gifts - which is a great idea because they have a very personal touch since her son made them.

Again, I will report back once I have found them (Beauty Brands has been out the past few times I have gone) and show you how cool they are.