Friday, December 24, 2010


One of my fondest memories of Lauren's toddler-hood was one summer day when she was about 18 months old.  We were living in a crappy little apartment that I hated and Jason loved.  He said it was like being on yard work, no home maintenance projects, etc.  We were there for 6 months while our home was being built.  It was very hard to go from living in a nice house, back to living in a cramped apartment.  The part I hated was being newly pregnant for the 2nd time, hauling groceries up 3 flights of stairs with a toddler in tow, and then having to go back down the stairs to take the big dog outside.  Ugh, never again.  But that is not the point of my story.

One day Lauren wasn't feeling the greatest, so I was trying to give her some medicine.  She was not taking it well and it got all over her face.  While I was trying to wipe it off, she turned away from me and smushed her face down into our very nice, suede recliner.  Jason freaked out.  "Oh great, it's ruined!  Is this what it means to have kids?  That we can't have anything nice?!  Great, just, you can't clean's ruined!"

The reason why this is such a fond memory for me is that it was then that I realized how much my wonderful husband exaggerates.  So now whenever Jason is telling a story, hunting or otherwise, we tell the listener to divide by two and add one.  And that's the truth.

Which brings me to today.  It's Christmas Eve and we are spending it with Jason's family and extended family this year.  It's a ton of excitement because there are more kids for our kids to play with.  That being the case, we decided that our kids should take a nap this afternoon because we know that it will be a late night.  We had gotten them situated and given all the usual warnings about staying in bed and not bothering each other.  Thinking they were settled, I headed to take a shower and make myself presentable for our evening out.  When I was just about ready, Jason came storming down the stairs spewing the following rhetoric:

"That's it, I'm done.  I've had it.  They don't listen!  All our kids are good at is watching TV and eating junk food!  That's all they're good at.  I'm done!"

Apparently nap time did not go as planned.  But. . .if you know our kids....and if you know'll know to "divide by two and add one" and that is really how it went.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why 6 Year Olds Make Lousy Criminals

Today was cold, windy, and wet.  The weather just couldn't make up its mind about what it wanted to do today, so it went with snowing sleet balls.  Strange.  But it was close enough to freezing rain that it iced over my windows.  I was on a search for the scraper that didn't seem to exist when I saw it.  The graffiti.

Written in blue pen were the initials "LJ."  "I can't believe that I was tagged by the LJ gang!", was my first thought.  My second thought was, "Huh...I wonder how they got into my LOCKED van and waaaay back into the back seat without me ever seeing them!  I'm sure glad that Lauren wasn't in there when it happened because she usually sits back there and colors on the way to.....uh....wait a minute."

Lauren (who we call LJ), the leader of the LJ graffiti gang, is now serving a two-day sentence for her artwork.

And that is why 6 year olds make lousy criminals...they aren't smart enough to write somebody else's name! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

What to Get Your Spoiled Kids for Christmas!?

Ok, so I know it's customary to want your children to have more than you had, and be more successful than you were...blah blah blah.  But c'mon...really?!  Does this have to extend to the "things" department too?

We have been struggling with what to get our kids for Christmas.  Braden wants anything he lays eyes on, and my beautiful daughter wants a DSi.  Braden will be very easy to buy for this year.  Anything related to sports, cars, action heroes, Buzz Lightyear, or Lightening McQueen will do.  But I am afraid that my daughter will learn a new vocabulary word this year: disappointment. 

I refuse to buy my 6 year old a Nintendo DSi!!  Call me crazy, but I do not think that children her age need something of that caliber.  That ranks right up with my views on kids having TV's in their bedrooms, battery-operated cars to tool around in, cell phones before they are old enough to pay for them on their own, and meth labs in their playrooms.

Now...I know that some parents are just fine with most of these things (minus the make your own meth lab kit I hope), but Jason and I agree wholeheartedly on these items not being appropriate.  Of course, I also said that I would never own a mini van too....

So where does that leave me?  Basically stuck with NO ideas for a "big" gift for my 6 year old daughter that I deem as reasonable, and that she would love.  I am half-temped to go through the mountains of things they already own and wrap some of it up.  $10 says they have forgotten they even own some of it!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Your Husband Should Fit You Like Your Favorite Pair of Shoes

Now, think about that for a minute.  Do I mean that you should be so comfortable with each other that you don't mind how he smells?  No....I strongly encourage showering.  What I mean is....he should be your "go-to guy."  He should be the one that you feel so good around that you'll never want to throw him out for a newer matter how cute they look on!

Jason and I knew we were meant to be even before we were dating.  And definitely by the end of our first date I knew he was the guy, and he knew he would end up marrying scary is that!  We are NOTHING alike...well, we weren't at that point anyway.  But through the years we've developed very similar tastes in things.  I put up with his passion for hunting and all things shooting related, and he tolerates me filling our home with smelly candles and items from Craft Fairs.  We agree on how to raise our children, and we are both there to tell the other one when they need to chill out on things.

Women needs girl friends to gripe to about work, gripe to about their kids, gripe to about "women stuff."  But I think that women also need that man in their life to come home to, snuggle with on the couch, and when they ask you how your day was they don't say "Sorry I asked!" when you tell them how it really went! 

Your significant other should also be that guy who takes the kids off of your hands for an entire day "just because."  NOT because it's your birthday, or because you've guilt-ed him into it and he's tired of hearing you complain, but because he knows that you need it in order to be a better mom and wife.  And he should preferably NOT be the kind of guy who opens the trunk of your car and explodes in expletives because of all the stuff you bought at the craft fair. ;)

My pair of comfy shoes is downstairs, throwing a football around with our son, allowing our daughter to climb all over him even though it's annoying him, and who smiled and said "I'm glad honey" when I told him what a great day I had.  And he continued to smile when I told him about my purchases at the craft fair.  And that's why I will keep him around...funky smell and all. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Update on the Preschool Saga

I called to talk to the director of the preschool today.  I explained who I was and she says, "What's up?"  Like we're going to have a nice little chat...yeah right.

I told her that we were removing Braden from her center and that this change was effective immediately (or really, last week).  I told her that I felt like I owed her an explanation as to why he wouldn't be returning so that she could take care of things herself.  I also mentioned the fact that I had considered going directly to her licensing rep from the state, but had decided to talk with her first.

I told her everything that I had witnessed during my visit last week.  She listened very politely to what I had to say, and when I gave her a chance to speak she sounded extremely upset (that any of this had taken place) and also very sorry that we had to deal with all of it.  She said that she would be taking care of the problems that I had brought to her attention immediately, and I have a feeling that her staff is in for a brow-beating for a few things. 

Overall, I am glad that we are sticking with our plan of taking him out of that environment and I am also very glad that I spoke up about all that I had witnessed instead of just fuming about it.  This way was more productive and I also get the satisfaction of knowing that I got these women "in trouble."  I know that sounds childish, but, mess with my kid, you mess with me!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Even "Super-Mom" Makes Mistakes!

Last Thursday I had Parent-Teacher Conferences from 8:00AM to 8:00PM.  But I had to take time out of my 12 hour day to be a parent as well.  I wish that I had done this sooner. . .but hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it.

I went to observe at Braden's preschool today.  Not good.  I am sick to my stomach about what I witnessed.  I am kicking myself that I didn't observe there sooner. . .like maybe BEFORE I enrolled him!?  I am a teacher for goodness sake.  Why didn't I think to do that?  Why?  Well. . .because I'm human and I can't control everything that happens to my children no matter how hard I try.

What prompted the visit in the first place is that Jason took him to school on Tuesday and didn't like the chaos that he witnessed.  Once he said something about it all of the little comments that our babysitter Kim and her husband had been making about what they were seeing at his preschool started to make more sense.  Jason and I decided that I needed to go and see for myself, from the perspective of a teacher AND a parent, in order for us to make a more informed decision about whether or not to keep him there.

The very minute I walked through that door I knew that I wasn't going to allow him to return to that place.  Not one person stopped me and asked me who I was, what I needed. . .nada.  I sat there for 15 minutes before anyone even realized I was there!  During those 15 minutes I witnessed the 4/5 year old's teacher screeching at them about stupid things, my son's teacher manhandling a toddler, screeching at the other kids, not having ANY control over her group, and not doing anything academic with them during "circle time."  Then, my son got pulled aside to work with another teacher during a small group time, and she interrupted the other teacher to ask how to spell Braden's name!!!  He's been a student there for a whole 1/4 and they don't know how to spell his name??!!

About this time, Braden notices me.  He runs over and hugs me.  Then the young teacher with him asks me if I'm his mom.  When I say yes, she asks me how to spell his name!  Can you imagine the body language that I was portraying at this time!?  I walked over and sat down beside Braden while he worked on his "project."  All it really was, was drawing his face.  The "teacher" would ask the kids what colors they should use for their faces, and instead of having them find those colors in the crayon box, she handed them the colors!  She passed up what could have been a review of the colors just to make the project take a shorter amount of time.

Once he was done he returned to the whole group where they were singing songs.  It was very apparent to me that they were not used to doing many songs and that the teacher was just trying to impress me, because the kids HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO DO DURING THE SONGS!  Needless to say, she couldn't have done much to impress me by this point.

Finally I had to say goodbye to Braden and get back to my conferences.  It took all that I had to leave him there with those "teachers."  As I was leaving, not ONE of them said goodbye to me, or thanks for coming...nada.

Do NOT send your child to Storytime Preschool and Daycare in North Sioux City, Iowa.  The day that I observed was Braden's last day and I would rather NOT have him in ANY kind of preschool, rather than take him back there.

The director will be getting a visit from me today.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today's Headline Reads: 5 Year Old Outsmarts the Tooth Fairy!

Lauren has had this awfully, wiggly, disgusting example of a tooth for far too long now.  Last night she was horrified when it started bleeding.  I think it was the tooth's way of saying "enough already, get me outa here!"  So we finally convinced her to pull it out.  This is only the 2nd tooth that she has lost, so there is still much excitement about these things in our house. She very proudly paraded it around the house and excitedly placed it into her purple, velvet pouch and under her pillow to await the monetary deposit that the tooth fairy would make.

Upon bedtime, she and I were talking about her tooth, the new gap in her mouth, and the cool things that she can do now that the tooth has vacated the premises (ie - drink milk through a straw by placing the straw in the hole, spit water at her brother in the bathtub through the hole...these types of fun things).  Lauren informed me that she didn't want the tooth fairy to take her tooth.  I said that of course she would take it, and leave her some money in its place.  She insisted that she keep her tooth!  But she would never give me reason.  So as I closed her door we ended our conversation with how excited the tooth fairy would be to get her nice baby tooth.

During the wee hours of the morning, the tooth fairy fluttered into Lauren's room and reached under her pillow to extract the purple, velvet pouch.  It wasn't there.  "That's odd," thought the tooth fairy.  So, she looked all around Lauren's bed in case it had fallen.  Nowhere to be found.  So, she looked in Lauren's jewelry box, thinking that maybe she had tucked it there for safe keeping.  Nope.  She looked in Lauren's dollhouse.  Not there either.  She looked in Lauren's nightstand drawer. Nada. The tooth fairy finally gave up and fluttered away, very disappointed.

This morning Jason and I went into Lauren's room to wake her up and see what the tooth fairy left for her.  She lifted up her pillow to show us that there was nothing there.  "Where is it?," asked her father.  Lauren said that the tooth fairy hadn't left her anything because she had hidden her tooth and planned to keep it!  Jason and I looked all over her room, but to no avail.  So we told her that we give up.  She smiled sheepishly and stated: "It's in my robe pocket."

And that is how the tooth fairy was outsmarted by a 5 year old. :)  (Round 2 guess is that the tooth fairy wins this time!)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Things I Know to be True

This list is a compilation of things that I have learned in my lifetime, however short some of you might think it's been, and I'd like to share them with you and see what you think.  We'll see if any of them are interesting enough to build upon for future posts. :)

These, of course, are in no particular order...just in the order that I have remembered them or made them up. LOL!
  1. Never Say Never!  (Case in point, I own a mini-van and I teach Kindergarten!)
  2. Do not allow your children to watch television until they are over the age of 5.  I did not follow this "truth" but I believe it now because of all the tears that are shed when the TV is turned off, or not allowed on. it worth it to cry over?  No...but I do remember countless nights in college when my boyfriend (now husband) was not allowed to call the house I shared with three other girls because Melrose Place was on and we didn't want any interruptions.  No DVR back then!  As a result of MY being allowed TV, well, at any point in my life, I am addicted and could watch it all day if I wasn't trying to be a good role model some of the time.
  3. DVR is awesome! :)
  4. Having kids is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
  5. Having kids is the most stressful thing I have ever done!
  6. I could kill someone trying to hurt my children and not feel badly about it.
  7. Guns don't kill people.  Husbands who come home early do.  (LOL!  I had to put that one in there! LOL!)
  8. Children will do anything for a Skittle. :)
  9. Children can play together for days, weeks, maybe even months without ever exchanging names.
  10. Children will play together regardless of age, creed, gender, or language.  Play is a language all of its own.  I love this fact! :)
  11. Your children have enough friends, they don't need you to be their friend, they need you to be the parent; set boundries, have rules, give them responsibilities, and be there for them when their friends are not.
  12. You don't always have to interferre when sibling rivalry rears its ugly head, again, and again, and again.  Let them work it out more often than not.  They need to learn to get along with difficult people, and who's more difficult than their sibling who is the complete opposite as them!
  13. Even good parents have naughty kids.  (You've met Braden right?!!) LOL
  14. Nothing good ever happens after midnight. :)  But sometimes fun things do. ;)  But bad, definitely bad. LOL
  15. Children don't care how awful your voice is, just as long as you sing with them: loudly and proudly!
  16. Don't wait too long to tell the people you love how much you care.  Tell them daily if possible.  Life is way too short and ends before anyone is ready. 
  17. Writing thank you notes is a lost artform. 
  18. People who don't treat their animals like they are a part of the family don't deserve to have them.  And people who mistreat their animals should have the same thing happen to them.
  19. People who mistreat children should just be shot.  End of story.
  20. Singing the wrong lyrics to a song does not make you makes you creative!  ("I weigh too much, hate the sound!"----Highway to the Dangerzone) :)
  21. Blogging is a way to talk too much without anyone interrupting you. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Phineas & Ferb

For those of you unfamiliar with the children's show "Phineas and Ferb" I urge you to catch an episode on Disney Channel one of these days.  Or better yet, watch this clip:

This show is seriously so full of great on-liners that you can't even begin to imagine them all!  Here are just a few of our favorites:
  • "Curse you Perry the Platypus!"
  • "Perry the Platypus your persistence is insufferable, and by that I mean completely sufferable!"
  • "Hey, where's Perry?"
  • "Oh!  There you are Perry!"
  • "Mooooom! Phineas and Ferb are building a giant roller coaster!"
  • "What now Candace?"
Jason and I really enjoy watching this show with our kids because it is so creative and funny.  We have actually caught ourselves stopping on Disney Channel when we have been flipping channels at night and watching part of an episode without the kids even around!  It cracks us up and listening to Braden and Lauren mimic what they've seen is even more hilarious then watching it ourselves. 

The characters in the show have an extensive vocabulary and we have caught our kids using big words like: imagination, actually, seriously, legendary, enormous, etc.

So check it out, watch it with your kids, and enjoy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why do I Bother?!

Ok, seriously, why do I think that it's going to be any different each time I take my kids on errands with me?  Seriously, why?!  It's always the same.  We leave with a goal in mind, I warn them of what is going to happen should they decide to misbehave, they misbehave anyway, I whisper threats under my breath to them, we come home mad at each other and then they act like nothing has happened.

Tonight was barely different.  We had to run to WalMart (enter large groan here) to get a couple of birthday presents for some very important friends in our lives.  Before we left I said, "Ok, now if I count you to three we are coming straight home with no presents."  I checked for understanding and away we went.

The first thing that happens is that they are fighting over which side of the cart they are going to walk on and things are getting loud.  "That's one for both of you." I calmly say.  We go a little further.  I grab some much-needed hair products and we turn to go down where the toys are.  Now they aren't really misbehaving at this point, but their oooohs and ahhhhs over all the Halloween decorations are just a bit on the loud side.  "That's two guys, quiet down."  I'm still calm.  We are now in the dreaded toy aisle.  This is where the calmness has left my body and I am downright stressed.  They are running back and forth from aisle to aisle yelling like hyenas about all the cool stuff.  Now here is where this counting thing gets tricky!  They have already been counted to two for being loud in the store.  Here I should count them to three, leave my cart full of things, and go home.  Here is why I don't:
  1. I have a cart full of things that I came to the dreaded WalMart to buy.  Things I "need."  Do I really want to leave them?
  2. We've come SO FAR!  We have gotten all of our other little things on my list, and are now down to the last two items.  Can I really give up now?
  3. If I count them to three and "calmly" say that we are now leaving, I will have to make the "walk of shame" all the way to the front of the store and out into the parking lot with at least one screamer, one whiner, and a very red-in-the-face mom.
So what do I do?  I resort back to my old ways of muttering things under my breath, making empty threats that there is no way I would follow through on, and leave the store with all of the things in my cart while making apologetic faces at the poor cashier who has to deal with us.

The only thing keeping me from feeling like a complete failure in tonight's little escapade is the fact that I came home with a Margaritaville Margarita Maker and all the fixens!  Now you know why I couldn't leave my cart!  LOL!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Boys and Dogs

My dog Sadie loves my kids.  And my kids love Sadie.  Braden and Sadie are especially fond of each other.  Braden plays Frisbee with Sadie nearly every morning before we leave for work/school.  And in turn, Sadie is not shy in expressing her love for him, which usually means he needs his face washed.  Today, however, Braden was not fond of Sadie.

Braden had asked me if he could eat a fruit snack.  I said no because I had just put a very *healthy* pizza in the oven and it would be done shortly.  He proceeded to whine about it.  "That's one." I said.  He whined a little more and said, "Please, I'll be so nice I promise!"  "That's two."  I said.  He whined some more.  I said, "That's three, time out."  He threw a fit all the way to time out.  Sadie followed us.  I walked back to the kitchen to set the timer for his three minutes.  Then I start to hear him yelling at Sadie: "Sadie, leave me alone!  Sadie stoooooop!  Go away!"  So I glanced out at the "time out rug" and there sits Braden yelling at Sadie.  Sadie has decided that she is Braden's keeper and there she sits, directly in front of him, staring.  Just staring at him!

I couldn't help it.  I laughed out loud and called Sadie over to me.  I wonder if she understood my lecture about not being Braden's boss and that I would be responsible for his staying in time out. =P

Friday, October 8, 2010

Selective Sight

Did you know that's it's a scientific fact that children cannot see the messes that they make?  It's true!  I swear!  They have this innate ability to drag out everything that they own, and step over it for DAYS until either 1)their mother puts it away, 2) their mother practically kills herself tripping over it, or C) their father trips over it and chucks it into their rooms, which are also a mess.  There is good news and bad news about this scientific theory of selective sight.

The good news is that almost all little girls will eventually grow out of it, and grow up to be quite productive members of society, contributing quite nicely to their households and the world.  The bad news?  Little boys NEVER grow out of it and our plagued by this ailment for their ENTIRE lives!

Know how I know this?  Because I live with a wonderful man who is good to me, a wonderful father, does the laundry, cooks more meals than I do, participates fully in our lives together. . .and who is absolutely absent of any housekeeping skills whatsoever.  And believe me, I have tested this theory many, many, many times.

We will be about to have company over and I will be frantically trying to pick things up and he will look around and say, "Honey, the house looks fine!"  And um, excuse me, but I wouldn't let my best friend in my house the way it was.  I have even gone so far as to wait him out on the housecleaning.  Do you remember that episode of Ray Romano's sitcom where he and his wife Debra are fighting over who is going to put the suitcase away?  It sat there for days, weeks, and neither of them was budging.  I thought that Jason and I were reliving this episode in real life.  Turns out, only I was reliving it.  He was just going through life as happy as a clam in a mold and dust-infested house.  I, on the other hand, was going CRAZY!  When I finally shouted to the rooftops that I caved. . .he was like, "what?"

So what is the answer to the infernal question of how to get your family to pick up after themselves?  I'm afraid that we will never know because all the scientist assigned to this case are men, and they don't think there's a problem.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Girl for the Guys

A very good friend of mine dropped by tonight while we were outside playing football with the kids.  She told me I was amazing and that I was a real "guy's girl." =)  I like that!  My response to her was, "Well, you've seen my camo mailbox and the deer skull pinned to it right?  What do you think!"  She told me not to breathe a word of it to her husband or he might get ideas. :)

Before I met Jason I was petrified of guns.  But by the time I went home to the farm with him for the first time he had me holding and shooting any that he could get his hands on.  As a result, I am quite the markswoman!  I have always told Jason not to surprise me by coming home early from a trip because I will shoot first and ask questions later!!!  We are raising our kids not to fear guns, but to respect them.  The kids go shooting with their dad whenever we are back at the farm and they love it.  Of course they can't hit the target without Jason holding the gun with them, but they still love it.  One of my favorite Laurenisms occurred when she was about two years old.  We had taken her to the zoo in Omaha and we were looking at the giraffes.  She got all excited and said to Jason: "Shoot it Daddy!"  LOL!  Can you tell she's the daughter of a hunter?  And just the other night the kids had been downstairs playing together.  Jason went down to get something and was chuckling to himself as he came up the stairs.  He said that when he walked past the couch he looked over and the kids had posed our coyote pelt with a nerf gun on top of it.  They had apparently been coyote hunting with their play guns and had shot one...and every good hunter knows you have to pose the animal just right to make it look good for the camera!!!

So, how does it feel to be the only one in the family that the hunting bug HASN'T bitten?  Awesome.  Know why?  Because as soon as both kids are old enough to hunt, I will have some VERY quiet weekends during hunting season.  I can't wait. =)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life As I Know It

It's funny, but I often-times find myself wondering just what in the world I did before I had kids.  And there are those rare moments in my life when I DO remember and think: What in the world was I thinking?!  When we first moved here we had nothing.  We were straight out of college, new to our jobs, new to this city, and with NO responsibilities.  No house, no dog, no kids. . .and well, no friends!  And can you believe it?  Those are the times that I reminisce about.  Not college parties, or high school football games. . .nope. . .I reminisce about the time when it was just Jason and I taking on the world.  Young, newly married, not a care in the world, and so, so, so in love.  <sigh>  But you know what?  Even though everything has changed since that first year we were married, there is one thing that remains a constant.  We are still so utterly in love with each other that it makes all of life's stresses worth it.

My stresses have names: Lauren Joan, who will turn 6 very soon, and Braden David who is all of 3 years old.  I love them more than life itself, even on those days when the majority of my thoughts and prayers start like this: Please God, grant me the strength to deal with my children today. =)

I hope that you will enjoy reading about my little stresses and find my blog entertaining.  I would love to have followers. =)