Thursday, December 27, 2012


Today marks two milestones in the history of me.  First, this is my 100th blog post right here.  Second, today is my 8th wedding anniversary (and my husband's, but I guess that goes without saying).  There is a .2% chance my husband will read this blog post, but I thought I'd write a few things about him anyway.

You know those old song lyrics that go "I love you more today than yesterday?"  I've heard a million different versions of that, but I'm not sure I believe it.  I look at this picture, and realize that on that day 8 years ago my heart was so full of love for that man that I don't think what I feel today is in excess of that.

What I do know is that after 8 years of marriage, the love I feel for him is deeper, stronger, and more grounded in a respect for his character.  I don't think I love him more, but I think I love him better.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm extremely blessed.  We got married 5 months to the day after we met, and for many people that would've been disastrous.  I wouldn't suggest it, generally.  If he had been anyone other than who he is, if his unwavering love for family and God had been less that what it is, if his work ethic had been more typical of his generation, if his character had been less what what I expected, after the wedding would have been a terrible time to discover those things.  Instead, I've found that he is so much more than what I expected.

His primary goal is to make the best possible home for our family, to protect us and take care of us and to be the best man, husband, and father he can be.  No amount of nagging, fighting, cajoling or ignoring could've have turned him into that, it's just how he is.  I think I may have had an inkling of that 8 years ago today, but I didn't know the depth of it.

I think marriage should be a partnership in which both parties look out for the well being of the other 100%, reserving nothing and holding nothing back for themselves.  Sometimes we take each other for granted, it's easy to do that when you know the other person has your best interest at heart no matter what, but today, at least, I'm not taking it for granted.  I'm letting the world (or at least the 20 people who read my blog) know that my husband loves me and I love him.  And I don't expect that will ever change.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Advice

I don't give a lot of advice here.  I figure, it took me 30 years to figure a few things out, and I'll probably realize in another 10 that the thing I thought today was actually a bit idiotic anyway.  Besides, even if I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is true, the best way to convince people isn't yelling at them about it, generally.  Beyond that, even if I have hit upon an important and life-changing truth, the internet is hardly the place I'm going to go to share it.

But, I do have one piece of advice that I'm willing to share.  This may be the last advice I ever give online, besides the vague "don't worry so much, moms" statements I occasionally make.  Here it goes.  Are you ready for this?

Use Cast Iron.
Yup, that's it.  Use cast iron.  I guess I should give a few reasons, huh?

1.  Food tastes better.  It's actually true.  The problem with using non-stick is that because you can't use very high heat and because you don't have to use fat/oil to keep your food from sticking, you don't get a good sear on meat, or good browning on anything, and your food tastes bo-rang.  It's also nice to have a pan that goes from the stove to the oven, for browning and then roasting.  It makes life easy and food tasty.

2.  It's cheap.  Seriously, this pan is the pan I use, the Lodge Logic,  it's $20 at Walmart or Target or Amazon or anywhere.  Most pans you buy, in fact, pretty much everything you buy, you use with the understanding that they will eventually fall apart and you will have to buy a new one at some point.  This is one of the only things I know of that will actually improve the more you use it.  You won't ever have to buy a new one, and your food will just keep tasting better and better, and the "seasoning" on the bottom will get smoother and more non-stick over time.

3.  It's better for you.  I know, I know, the use of Teflon is controversial, and many people believe it's safe or the jury is still out, and I'm not here to argue, so I'm going to take this from the most non-argumentative stand-point I can.   Let's say that Teflon is 100% safe with proper use, don't go above "medium" heat, throw away if/when the non-stick coating starts to flake off into your food, etc.  Firstly, not everyone's stove heats the same...are you positive you're never going too hot?  I'm not.  Secondly, do you toss your pan every time it starts to get weird on the bottom?  I didn't, in the past I've cooked with it for quite a while until I could budget in a new pan.  Even if there's just a small chance of getting cancer from PFOA, wouldn't it be better to skip it than take that chance?

There are some things about cast iron that make people reluctant to use it.  Cleaning, for one.  My skillet almost never sticks (and with proper use, yours won't either), so it's very rare I have to scrub at it, or do more than rub it with salt for a few seconds, most often, all I have to do is run some hot water over it.  

The use of fat/oil in cooking is another problem people have, but with cast iron you actually use much less than you would with any other kind of non-nonstick pan.  Plus, I don't think the fat/oil we eat is the problem with our diets, but that's another story for another day.  All I'm saying is, embrace the butter, baby.

The other issue is that you really do have to do a little bit of research.  You have to know how to wash and dry and season your pan and what tools to use, and it does take a bit of prep work.  I don't think it adds much to my actual work at all, but I did have to learn how to do it in the first place.

The last issue I can think of is the weight...a cast iron skillet is heavy, it's true.  But, with that heaviness comes an amazingly even heat distribution and good food, so, it's worth it.  Plus, it's like a work out without having to work out, you know?  I'd rather incorporate things that make me stronger in my day-to-day life than to spend time doing nothing but working out.  I'd rather have more heavy household items, more stairs, more resistance.  I guess that makes me weird, though, most people would rather have a 2lb vacuum cleaner and a grocery cart that floats and work out for an hour a day.  There's nothing that I can do about that, except to say, in this case it's worth it.

Alright, I'm gonna wrap this up by making my first point tastes better!  Better food makes for a better life.  A better life, well, is better.  So, get a cheap cast iron skillet.  Or, get an expensive cast iron skillet.  Either way.
Having good tools means that you'll be able to enjoy the process of cooking as much as the food that results.  You'll eat better and enjoy a greater variety of food.  Your kids still won't, and you'll sort of resent them for hating the thing that you spent hours working on, but that's a story for another time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Accidental Tradition

Every year, around mid-December, I think to myself, "hey, you know what would really put me in the Christmas spirit?  Reading the first two chapters of Little Women."

So, I read the first two chapters.  Then I think, "well, I've read this far, I might as well finish the book."

Then I finish the book and say to myself, "I've come this far, I'd better read Little Men."

And, I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this, I wind up reading Jo's Boys, too.

So you see, the last week or two leading up to Christmas is almost always spent reading the entire Little Women series, even though my intent was simply to read two chapters.  I guess that's just how it goes, huh?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What I Like

I tend to be a little, oh, what's the word for it?  Proud?  Conceited?  A raging egomaniac?  I don't know, something like that.  This manifests itself in many areas of my life, but specifically, today, I'd like to address how I don't like to be given advice.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not offended by advice and I don't get mad if people give me advice, but it's not because I'm super nice, it's because I think most advice is so dumb that it's not worth paying any attention to, totally beneath me.  I don't "pin" inspirational quotes because I don't think I need to be reminded of my self-worth...I have plenty of self-worth to go around.  And I often scoff at people who do share inspirational quotes, I can't imagine having to be reminded by Gandhi or Einstein that I'm super awesome.  I know I am.

Yeah, I know, I'm a snot-face.  Hey, maybe that's the term I was looking for earlier.

Anyway, long story short, my sister convinced me to read "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin.  Do I think I need help being happy?  Of course not.  Even if I was unhappy, do I think a book would help me magically be happy?  No.  I can do it by my lonesome, because I'm just that awesome.

Well, regardless, I actually liked the book.  I don't think it changed my life in any way, but she made some interesting points I can't remember right now.  I got the book from the library, and I didn't write anything down and I don't have it with me right now, so I don't remember exactly what she said, but there was this one point in the book she was talking about finding what you actually like to do, instead of doing stuff you think you like to do.

You'd think it's easy knowing what you like, but it's really not.  I've been spending some time evaluating what I like to do, and I'm starting to realize most of what I think I like to do is either stuff I used to like to do or, more commonly, stuff I think I should like to do but really don't.  I've created a measuring stick for myself: if I'm willing to cut into my tv time in the evening, then I really like it.  If I'm not willing to cut into my tv time then I don't like it, or, at least, I don't like it more than a rerun of Chopped.  It's simple really, if I actually do it, then I like it.

So, here's what I'm starting to realize.  I don't like concerts.  In fact, I don't like listening to music unless I'm driving.  I don't like tea unless I'm having tea with a friend.  I don't really like ice cream generally.  These are all things I think I should like, but don't.

I don't like to draw.  I used to, but I don't now, I'm not sure why.  I don't like most movies anymore.  I think I've developed a very short attention span.

I do like to read.  I know that because I actually read, I cut into my tv time to do it and my sleep time, and I sneak pages in between waiting for my grilled cheese sandwich to brown.  I like watching silly tv shows with space ships and aliens and shows where people cook.  Now, if only Restaurant: Impossible had a Restaurant At The End Of The Universe special, I'd be really happy.  I like to cook and I like to eat, which is awesome because eating and tv watching are mutually inclusive.  And I like going places alone, coffee shops, movie theaters, even the grocery store.  And I like coffee.

And I like them:

And I like him:

And I like Christmas.  Unabashedly, genuinely and whole-heartedly.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ups and Downs of the Holidays

Tuesday evening, we drove to Utah to visit my in-laws as soon as my husband got off work.  Imagine my surprise when we arrived (after driving 6 hours) and my father-in-law was sick.  As a dog. Stomach Bug.  It obviously wasn't food poisoning, thus some sort of highly communicable death plague, I'm sure.

Wednesday morning, we dropped our car off to check out the transmission, since the last time we were at the shop for an oil change they said we had some leakage, but their shop wasn't equipped to work on transmissions.  Then, we took the kids to the park:

Afterwards, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I decided to drive to Ikea for Christmas shopping and fun, since we figured we'd be too busy to venture out the rest of the weekend.

First, we got a call letting us know our car repairs would cost us at least $1,800.  Then, on the way back, my mother-in-law got violently ill in her minivan...the stomach plague, er, flu, had spread.  The thing about this stomach plague was, unlike most stomach bugs, it doesn't just last 24 hours.  A person might only be vomiting for 24 hours, but they aren't able to eat real food for at least a week (my father-in-law got sick Monday night, but as of Sunday afternoon when we left, was still on a mostly banana, applesauce, and yogurt diet).  So, into her room my mother-in-law went, for the next 36 hours, pretty much.

Thanksgiving morning, my sister-in-law and I decided to soldier on.  It was Thanksgiving after all, and even though we were both a little sick to our stomachs from being in a car with a puking person, we were going to make it happen.  We did the math, figured out how much time the turkey would take, and decided to cook the pies first.

And this happened:

I guess, unbeknownst to me, the brisket which was cooked a day prior to my arrival had leaked all over the oven floor, and then caught fire when I tried to bake my pies.  Oops.

By the time the oven cooled down and we got the mess cleaned up, it was too late to put in the ginormous turkey and expect to have it done in time for dinner that night.  So, we had brisket for dinner on Thanksgiving.  I'd have been disappointed, except that it was phenomenal, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law were still so sick they wouldn't have been able to enjoy a real turkey dinner any more than the brisket.

Thursday night, my sister-in-law and I also had a very successful (and fun) Black Friday shopping extravaganza, so all-in-all, things had picked up.

Friday, I was still worrying about the fact that my car was going to explode on the drive home, or something.  I was actually pretty worried, and trying to decide if it was worth it to fix all the damage and hope for the best, or just move on.  Cam and I had been talking about buying a minivan for over a year, so Friday, when my in-laws felt better, we left the kids with them and went to test drive some vehicles.  We didn't intend to buy that day, just see what we liked in person, though I knew, on paper, I wanted a used Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.

Long story short, this happened:

It was the most expensive Black Friday I could've imagined, but I don't have an ounce of buyers remorse.

Saturday, we got to enjoy a turkey with all the trimmings, and open up Christmas presents.

Sunday, we drove home.

People have told me for years that travelling with kids is so much easier with a minivan.  I thought it was a gross exaggeration, but I don't think that anymore.  It was by far the most pleasant trip home I could've imagined.  So, I think we can say, overall, it wound up being a great holiday weekend!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Why Do We Do What We Do (Did I Say Do-Do)?

I read something today written by a friend.  She really poured her heart out about, well, life in general, and it was pretty heartbreaking because I understood exactly where she was coming from. If you're not an introvert, you probably don't understand this, but we introverts "recharge by being alone." That's what she said, but it's totally true. It's not a matter of not loving our kids and our husbands, because we totally do, it's just that while we need "quality time" with our families as a whole, or just our husbands, or just our friends, sometimes we just need alone time. The problem with being a mom is: it's hard to get alone time. We don't even get to go to the bathroom by ourselves (please tell me eventually this will change).

For the most part we don't really set a time aside for being alone, partially because most of us don't even realize we need it, and partially because we feel guilty that we don't want to spend every waking second staring at our kids.  Our lack of a real break causes us to feel overwhelmed and eventually shut down, so we try to steal a "few minutes" here and there by being on Facebook or Pinterest or whatever and end up wasting a bunch of time, but that makes us feel guiltier.  Eventually we just break down to the detriment of our husbands and children, just like my friend described (though I don't know if she wastes a bunch of time doing nothing in a bad attempt to get alone time like I do).

I was discussing this phenomena of "alone time" with another friend today, and she said, "The worst is when you're a Christian mom and you are told you have to have a 'morning quiet time' to be a good Christian....when did we decide we had to do it this way?  It's not like it's a Biblical mandate to be alone in your closet first thing in the morning."  Sure, sure, morning seems like a good idea, there's a lot of people and blogs out there telling me why I'll be more productive and happy and the household will run smoother if I wake up at 4:30am so that I can get a half hour of quiet time before my kids wake up.  Uh, no.  I am not a morning person.  Waking up at 4:30am means a half hour of staring blankly at my coffee cup, trying to make sense of the words in my Bible which seem to fade in and out, and literally panicking when I hear the creak from the bedroom upstairs indicating that my son has crawled out of bed 15 minutes early, thereby decreasing my "quiet time" from a half to a quarter hour.  No thank you, been there, done that, terrible idea.  I'm glad that it works for some people, but just because it works for some people doesn't mean it works for me....speaking of things I need to have grace for myself about.

I think that's one of the biggest ways Satan keeps us from doing stuff is by convincing us we aren't doing it the right way, so we might as well not do it at all.  That's why I wasn't reading my Bible, somehow I bought into the lie that if I wasn't focusing (which, as you know, is hard to do either half asleep or with two kids running around) it wasn't worth doing at all.  And everyone knows you can't pray unless you have at least 30 kid-free quiet minutes to groan in travail.  Haha.  Right.  But, in the back of my head, I really think that, so I just skip it so much of the time.

We think, "well, I can't wake up at 4:30am to get a few minutes without the kids, so I might as well skip it.  I can't get in my prayer closet without a toddler trying to drive cars over my feet, so I might as well skip it.  I can't read my Bible because I can't really focus on it and write deep notes and highlight passages, because the last time I tried little Susie drew scribbles on John 2, so I might as well skip it."  We don't get the things we need because we can't figure out a way to do it the "right way."

I think we just need to throw out the "right way" and do it whatever way we can.  If that means reading our Bible in the living room while our kids watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (sans highlighter), so be it.  If that means locking myself in my bedroom with a book while the husband watches the kids, even if it's Saturday evening and we should be spending it as a family, so be it.  Who says what the "right way" should be anyway?

P.S.  I don't know about you guys, but most of my reluctance to leave my kids with my husband isn't because he's upset about it, it's because I feel guilty that I need time away from them.  Guilt just isn't a good reason to do or not do anything, especially if I'm the only one that cares.  I know this isn't applicable to all of you, extroverts or single parents or people whose husbands are extroverts so they aren't as understanding about "alone time" as mine is.  I'm just sharing what's applicable to me.  And the reality is, my husband cares less about me needing alone time than about me randomly freaking out because I'm totally overwhelmed because I haven't had a second without someone demanding my attention in weeks.  In fact, he even understands it, but since he gets solitary time at work he doesn't have fall-apart moments like I do.

P.P.S.  Preschool starting has helped me so much recently, that three hours, four days a week feels God sent.  Suddenly, it was like I could breathe again...and I didn't even realize I had been holding my breath.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Preschool Update

For those of you keeping up with our Preschool drama, here's an update!  We actually had our first Parent-Teacher Conference this week, and though the kids have only been in school about three weeks, their teachers touched base with me on the strengths and weaknesses they've seen thus far, and we discussed educational goals.

I really like both of their teachers.  They listen to what I have to say and actually seem to care about what I want the kids to learn.

Sam's teacher said that as he's getting more comfortable with the routine and everyone there, he's developing really quickly.  She said for only being there (then) two and a half weeks he's making really fast progress.  He's still obviously behind, but he can accept redirection and is starting to interact socially.

Jubee's teacher said pretty similar things about her, she even described Jubee as "mostly cooperative."  I asked if she was talking about a different Jubilee, because the Jubilee I know is never cooperative.  Haha.

I can already tell a difference in their level of communication at home.  They have a better vocabulary, and the words they do say are clearer.  In fact, we've even been able to have a conversation of sorts, a back and forth exchange of ideas.  That's never happened before, not until about a week ago.  I don't know if it's the higher level of communication or the fact that I get a break a few hours most days, but I can honestly say this is one of my favorite "phases" of their development.  Probably because they finally seem to be getting out of the baby "phase," which, for them, was a very, very long phase of me always having to guess what they wanted and needed.

I think, despite my initial panic, this preschool thing was for the best.  I'm feeling pretty good, and both of their teachers described them as being "happy" kids.

I was also a little worried about what they might pick up in school, but the worst thing Jubee's said so far is "suck it up," which I can be pretty certain came from me.  Uh-oh.

Our first non-traumatic family board game experience, c. yesterday

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sam's Prayer

Yesterday, at dinner, Sam asked if he could pray.  This is what he prayed:

"Jesus, (mumble mumble mumble) and Daddy and Mommy and Jubee, too.  (Mumble mumble), I love you, Amen."

That kid cracks me up.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I just realized that dinnertime at my house is an awful lot like dinnertime at Calvin's house.  Minus the tiger.

I guess the moral of the story is, I need to stop serving undead zombie brain mush for dinner.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just A Little More About Preschool

One thing they don't tell you about sending your kids off to preschool is how stinkin' weird it feels.  I mean, I guess if I worked outside the home and my kids had been going to daycare for years it wouldn't feel weird, but they have been with me 24/7 since they were born with very few exceptions.  Our lives are wrapped up with each other, and now, there's three hours a day they have without me and me without them.

There's something weird about having my 3 and 4 year old having their own life, even in this small way.  They know people I don't know, do stuff I don't do, it's weird, it feels weird and emotionally unsettling, raw. 

That was the biggest problem I had when Cam was deployed to Afghanistan, too, when I'd look at the sink in the bathroom and see only one tooth brush sitting there, and realize he was living a life apart from me, and I was living one away from him.

I just wish my kids could communicate a little clearer, so they could just tell me what they do during those 3 hours.  Not that I think anything bad is going on, I just want to know details, you know?The good news is, after only 2 full days so far, there's already progress.  Last night, at dinner, they sat down with us and ate everything on their plate, even though they didn't really like it much.  That's kind of a miracle, they don't usually have patience for dinner because they don't like most cooked food (not even mac and cheese), they'll eat two bites and say they are done, and if we want them to eat the full meal we usually have to spend an hour coaxing and threatening and bribing and even spoon feeding to get it all in them.  I was pleasantly surprised, to put it mildly.  

Their school had them scheduled to eat breakfast there, but after Monday they asked if they could do breakfast and lunch so they could work on it with them.  It's really nice to have them going to a place that pays attention enough to see the same problems I see and be able to work on it with them in a way that actually helps.  It's a relief, really.

I guess the long and the short of it is, this feels weird, but I think it's good.  Maybe in a week or two I'll get used to it.  I'm also super excited that I can call and make a dentist appointment and actually have a time I can go in, by myself.  I love my kids, but I'm starting to appreciate kid-less time.  Now, I'm going to go fold a load of laundry without my kids playing in it, which is the stay-at-home-mom equivalent to Heaven on Earth.

PS Happy Reformation Day, everyone!  We're going to celebrate by dressing up as a Princess and a Dark Knight and asking people for candy.  I know, I know, that sounds like Halloween, but it's not.  Haha.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Little Bit About Preschool, Kids, and Life in General

So, I've been slacking on this whole blog-writing-thing.  I mostly write this blog for friends and family who live far away to give them a little peek into our lives.  I'm not naive enough to think I'm going to somehow make money by blogging and I have no desire to be a "blogger."  As a result, when I do write (mostly in spurts) I try to keep it light and happy.  I try to never talk about hurt feelings and struggles because I find the internet the worst place to air out negative emotions.  I don't really need people to validate me online, and I especially don't want to hear strangers tell me how I'm failing.

There is one thing, though, I thought I'd share with everyone, not because I need validation but because I think there may be other moms out there who feel the same way and need to know that they aren't alone.

Before I had kids, and up until a month ago, I KNEW I'd homeschool my kids.  I was homeschooled, I'm fairly well educated and I don't want any job other than to teach my kids, so it just made sense to me.  I even discussed it with my husband before we got married because I wanted to make sure we were on the same page as far as education went.  I read quite a bit about education theory and the more I read the more I decided I'd unschool, at least through the first few years.  I wanted to model a love of reading for them before forcing them to learn their ABCs, so they'd love to read, too instead of it being a chore.  I wanted to teach them practical math, how it applies to their real life instead of just seeing numbers they hate, teach them the art form of math instead of rote memorization and formulas.  I wanted them to love the world around them and explore and learn by discovery.  That was my theory, and it was corroborated by articles, professionals, blogs, and real-life experiences of people I knew.  Children are sponges, especially preschool-aged children, and they'll learn just by existing.

So, I read around them constantly.  I'd read books to them, too, but they didn't have a lot of patience for that sort of thing.  That was a little disappointing, but I soldiered on.  I can probably count on one hand the days I didn't have a book out, reading in front of them if not to them, for at least a portion of the day.  Most of that is simply because I love to read, though, I don't think I'd have done it if it were a chore...but still, I'm modeling a love of reading, right?

At the grocery store, I'd chat with them about prices, how "cents" are really decimals, the percentage of tax we'd add.  They ignored me, of course, and I'm sure I looked like a crazy person.

We went places, did stuff, crafts, and sang songs.  I may not be the best unschooler, my kids watch too much tv and Sam is addicted to video games already, but I was trying, at least for a small portion of the day, every day.

Here's what happened: I have a nearly 5 year old and a 3.5 year old who are speech delayed, Sam, the oldest, is two years behind most other kids.  They can count to 12, but it's a rhythm and pattern to them, they don't really understand what it means.  They don't know their ABCs.  They only get colors right maybe 50% of the time and don't really care, and know maybe two shapes.  They are just now getting potty trained, despite my best efforts.  As far as I can tell, they don't recognize their own name when it's written out.  We spent months testing them recently, and there's nothing wrong with them as far as anyone can tell, they simply aren't motivated to learn, at least not without peer example and structure.

There are kids, quite a few kids, whose moms never thought twice about their education, who plan on sending them straight to public school and giving their educational responsibility up to the government, never to think twice about it unless they come home with a bad report card, whose kids know more than my kids.   I don't mean that as a judgement on those moms, if I hadn't been homeschooled, I might not prefer it, I dunno.  There are kids who spend most of their day watching tv who talk better and clearer and more prolifically than my kids.

I think my kids are less spongy than most.

Don't get me wrong, there are things my kids do better than most, too.  The people who tested them called them "satellite skills," so even though they tested in the low average in motor skills, for instance, Sam can do cross the monkey bars better than kids two years older.  They are also hilarious, one lady who tested them mentioned their comedic timing and said it was a shame they didn't test in that area.  So, I'm not knocking my kids, I wouldn't trade either of them in for anyone else's genius toddler, reading at age 3.

My kids, contrary to unschooling theory, do NOT learn by simply sponging information out of the universe.  They oppose structure sometimes to the point of rebellion, but they also respond to it.  They also learn by example; Sam potty trained in a single day after he spent a week around two boys who "went" in the potty.  After two years I spent coaxing, bribing, crying, reading, threatening, dragging him bodily to the toilet, cleaning pee and poo off the floor, he learned instantly by peer example.  He didn't watch them go, he just knew that's what they were doing when they went to the restroom, and they told him his pullup was gross and he believed them.

So, when the developmental people suggested they go to preschool for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week, I went home and cried.  I couldn't even teach my kids the stupid ABCs, when every other person in the free world seemed to have a kid that learned it from watching Sesame Street once.  All the singing on all the car rides and all the youtube phonics videos and all the letter printables and all the this-letter-is-for-this-animal flash cards and the big dry erase board I put in the kitchen and wrote a single letter on which we talked about for the entire failed.  I failed.

Afterwards, I realized that maybe a structured environment, surrounded by kids their own age, might really be the push they need, the push I can't give them.  Maybe it's not, but maybe it is.  So, after some thoughts, prayers, advice gathering, my husband and I decided to do it.  They are at their second day of preschool right now.  And they seem happy, in fact, yesterday they seemed happier (though more tired) than usual.  They were excited to go back this morning.  I don't know what's going to happen next year, or the year after that, but I do know, right now, I think we are doing what's best for them.  Which I guess is all any parent can do.

My point in all this is, I don't get upset when my friends and family have kids that are smart and articulate, like I said, I wouldn't trade my little boogers for anything, besides I love my friends and family, so I love their children by default and want them to do well.  I do get a little hurt by the suggestion that it's something great some parent did that has made their kid so awesome, thereby implying that I'm a terrible mother because my kids are so far behind.  I guess we moms are just as quick to take credit when our kids do something great as to blame ourselves when things go wrong.

I think the problem is we are surrounded by moms who tell us how awesome their kids are all the time, about their A's in school and their early walking and early talking and "advanced for their age" somersaults.  That's great, I don't think there's a problem with bragging, I just think the rest of us need to realize that what we hear is the exception rather than the rule, we simply don't hear from people who have problems as much, or we only hear the good stuff.  I'm proud of the fact that Jubee said, "I love you too!" last night instead of "I wuf you!" but I'm not gonna announce on FB that my closer-to-4-year-old-than-3 daughter was, up until last night, unable to pronounce a letter that many of my friend's 18-month-olds don't have a problem with.  That's just how it is.  If we do hear about a kid with problems, it's because the kid has real problems, medical problems or mental problems, something definable, we never hear from people whose kids are just average or who really struggle with undefinable problems, like 5 year olds who struggle through speaking full sentences, or 8 year olds who have trouble getting through Cat in the Hat.

So, to all those moms out there with imperfect kids, just remember, you're not alone.  You're not even the minority, despite the evidence to the contrary online; we're all imperfect, so it stands to reason all our kids are imperfect, too.  They are imperfect...but also perfect.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Incident

I read this the other day: Top 9 Things Your Child Can Actually Cut with Safety Scissors.  I remember thinking, "haha, those things are so dull, right?"  My favorite was:

#9 Paper. Well, technically toilet paper. And you need to cut on the perforated line.

I discovered yesterday that there's one other thing that can be cut with safety scissors.

I was making dinner.  Actually, it was nearly 5pm and I was fighting some sweet potato hash browns in a cast iron pan.  I was losing.  There was a 1/2 inch layer of stuck potato mash on the bottom of the pan, with a sparse layer of greasy, uncooked shreds on top.  I had just broken out the chisel and hammer and was working on unsticking that dang pan, when Cam came downstairs after taking a shower after work, and said, "hey, what's Jubee doing?"

If you have kids and/or husbands, you know that's not a good sign.

I said, "I dunno, I'm trying to make dinner.  What is Jubee doing?"

And he said, "this," and put this on the counter next to where I was working:

Do you know what that is?  I'll give you a clue, it starts with "B" and ends with "angs."

FYI...that's marker on her face.  Because that's how she rolls, she's a walking craft nightmare.

It's too bad you can't clearly see her new bald spot about two inches above that weird gap in her bangs. She cut an anti-mohawk, all short going down the middle and long everywhere else.

The long and the short of all this is, those dang hashbrowns were abandoned as I rushed her to the hair cutting place to see if we could salvage the situation.  We couldn't and we didn't, but we did get a pizza on the way home for dinner.  

So, even though I may have to buy a new cast iron skillet and Jubee looks like she's been spending an inordinate amount of time at Walmart, I guess it all worked out.

Friday, August 24, 2012


I have a secret to tell you guys.  A super, duper secret-y secret, so don't tell anyone, okay?  I think I'm hilarious.  That's right, I often sit at the computer and laugh out loud at stuff that I wrote.  Does that make me a humor narcissist?  I dunno, maybe.  But it happens, more often than I'd like to admit, that I am taken by surprise at something particularly silly or witty that I write, and snort coffee into my sinus cavities.  Which is painful, by the way.

I also have to admit that this blogging thing is not my forum, I do much better in one-liners.  If I have to explain the background of something funny, it loses it's inherent funniness.  There are people who can do backstory effectively, but I'm simply not one of them.  Thus, I tend to be a little funnier on Facebook than I am on here.  Just how it is.

I also tend to post fuzzy pictures of my dinner.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pre-K Intro to Film

Turner Movie Classics was having a Katharine Hepburn marathon a few days ago, and I recorded quite a few movies.

Last night they played an assortment of Gene Kelly movies, so, again, I recorded a few.

I'm thinking this weekend might be a great time to introduce the kids to film...I mean, they watch movies, but rarely anything, you know, not cartoon.  I'm not sure how much they'll be able to sit through, but here's what I'm thinking:

There's a leopard, and a lot of people (mostly Cary Grant) jumping up and down quite a bit, plus it's hilarious, so I'm thinking we might have about a half hour before they lose interest.  I love films like this, but in this age of attention deficit disorders and sex comedies and "action" movies, it's an acquired I hope my kids to acquire sooner rather than later.

Just to recap, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in a Howard Hawks film...that's a great way to start a early and enduring love of film.  If I play my cards right, we may get to sit through half of "It's a Wonderful Life" as a family come December.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Leaning Over the Edge of Reason

This morning, I was cleaning the breakfast dishes in the kitchen while the kids played upstairs. Jubee comes downstairs and tells me she's poopy and needs to be "wiped up."  I told her, "if you're old enough to tell me you need a change, you're old enough to go on the potty, blah blah blah."  It was actually a fairly long lecture, until I realized there was bright green poo all over her feet.  

Oh, and her legs.  

And her hands.  

And in foot prints, coming down the stairs and across the living room. 

Oh, and a huge pile of diarrhea on top of a whole bunch of books upstairs.  

So, into the bath we went, and it was AWFUL.  While I cleaning Jubee to try and contain the mess, Sammy was "helping" by taking a whole container of baby wipes and smearing the poo into the stairs.

I'm fairly certain that there is at least one permanent green stain on the carpet.  Ugh.

I'm also fairly certain that this whole thing is the direct result of some dietary changes we have implemented recently, which means we're going to have to give it up.  Which is frustrating, because I've spent quite a bit of time and food money revamping our diet and weekly menus.

I just remembered I have one of these in my freezer:

If you're planning on calling me or dropping by, wait until this hits my brain, in about 20 minutes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Out of the House

If you were one of the very few people who read my blog post from Friday, you probably extrapolated that I needed to get out of the house this weekend.  So, we did.

We took the kids to the playground:

Afterwards, we went for a bike ride.  I would've taken a picture, but I discovered it's hard to ride a bike and take pictures at the same time.  

Jubee rode in Cam's bike carrier for 3 miles while Sammy rode his bike, and then Sammy rode in the bike carrier with Jubee for another 4 miles.  All that to say, we were pretty dang tired by the time we were done.

Oh yeah, so this funny thing happened...Sammy accidentally rode off the road, and he and his bike rolled 10 feet down a rather steep embankment.  He'd probably have gotten hurt, except there was so much 3-foot tall grass to break his fall.  He thought it was really fun, it took a few minutes to convince him that he shouldn't "do it again."

After naptime, we drove to Fort Collins.  The kids watched Wall-E on the way.

We went to eat at this local pub, it was awesome!  They make root beer milk, the kids loved it!

We colored.  By "we" I mean "Jubee."

And we got chocolate ice cream mustaches.  By "we" I mean "Sam."

And we went walking downtown Fort Collins.  Yes, that is Sam's underwear pulled up so high you can see it above his shorts.  I fixed it shortly after taking this picture.  Ehem.

Anyway, it was a great day!  I'm fairly certain we couldn't have had more fun packed into one day.

Friday, August 17, 2012


It is Friday Morning.  Friday:

Do you hear that?  It's a chorus of angels, pretty sure, singing "Hallelujah."

The old prime time TV block on ABC, TGIF, used to get a lot of flack in the Christian community for using "The Lord's Name in vain," but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in vain.   I think it was (and is) a real, legitimate sentiment.  I know I feel it, and I'm not ashamed to say, "Thank God it's Friday!"  That's just basic gratitude, my friend, to the Author of Time and Space, specifically in this case, the time and space taken up by weekends.  Not that one shouldn't be grateful all the time, obviously, but it is much easier when one's heart beats with the cadence of "the weekend's almost here, the weekend's almost here."

But I digress.

I've been up for about two hours already, and have been reading about the relative health benefits of bacon and which cooking oils are best to use while I drink my coffee and the kids watch Bambi.

I wonder if they make venison bacon.  I'd imagine there's not enough fat on a deer belly, but it's worth looking into.

Venison tallow?

Anyway.  I need a plan, a plan for making a perfect weekend.  First and foremost, I need a plan of something to do with the kiddos today while Cam is at work, but then a plan for something to do when he's home.

Did I ever tell you that I'm not a huge fan of August.  I never have been.  Something about my birthday month being over, Christmas still so far away, and school either starting or about to start, August was always the most depressing month to me.  But, we are officially over halfway through this August, and good riddance, I say.  Soon it will be September, the month Fall, my favorite season, begins, the month of birthdays for some of my favorite people.

Well, between being over the hump of August and being nearly finished with this week, I feel like I should be ecstatic, but really I just feel bored.  You know that quote, "only boring people get bored?"  I tend to think that's the sort of saying that's sort of true, some of the time, but pretty applicable to my current situation.  I need something to do.

I suppose the long and the short of all this is: August is boring.  But what should I expect from the only month without a "US Federal Holiday or Special Occasion?"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On This Day...

Yesterday, Cam was looking at old baby pictures of the kiddos.  I warned him how dangerous that was, but he didn't listen.  And since I'm easily influenced (by people looking at baby photos anyway), I joined in.  Mostly, we were just struck by how different the kids have gotten in the last few years, and I thought I'd share that with you.

This is newborn Sam (with my Daddy):

This is Sam in August 2008.  I think, even at just 8 months old, he looked pretty "Sammy," except for those chubby-wubby cheeks.  So cute.

This is Sam in August 2009, during his "cranky" phase, when Cam was deployed.  I didn't get any good pictures of him from this month.

This is Sam in August 2010.  I love sleeping baby/toddler pictures.

This is Sam in August 2011, after Mommy discovered Instagram, much to her friend's and family's chagrin.  I love his longer hair.

And this was Sam a couple of days ago.  He's so big!

This is newborn Jubee, right after we brought her home from the hospital.  It's amazing to me how much she's changed, more so than Sam.

This is Jubee in August 2009, eating her first banana.  Oh, happy day!

This is Jubee in August 2010, so stinkin' pretty!  She finally got that blond hair in, haha.

This is Jubee in August 2011.  I didn't have any non-blurry pictures from this month of her.  Haha.

And this is Jubee about a week ago.  She still has a love/hate relationship with food, mostly hate.

Just to recap:

Cam disagrees, but actually, all these baby pictures make me NOT want another one.  We had a very long "baby" phase with both kids, and a very long "cranky" phase.  It took me over 4.5 years to get just one outta diapers, and they are both finally starting to communicate clearly.  In fact, I can honestly say, I enjoy the kids more now than ever before.  I love their jokes and their personalities and their silly faces. I love that they can finally tell me what's the matter when they are upset.  I love that they can pick out their own clothes and sometimes pick up their own toys.  

On the other hand, they were dang cute....