Spring Fever

Lovin’ this sunshine. After a frustrating morning of multiple time-outs and tantrums, laundry and changing bedding, I had enough.

It’s amazing how quickly the sun can melt away 3 very bad attitudes. 

The kids and I enjoyed a nice walk to the library then continued our walk on two quick errands. Then, just one more stop to take a “break”:

photo(53)We just couldn’t wait until we got home to dive into our books. Plus, the scent of coffee and sun shining on the outdoor tables was too enticing to pass up.

On our way home, we gathered rocks and sticks so we could make this:

We decided to add a few finishing touches to improve on our last year’s version.

photo(56)Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews in Latin, “Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum”

photo(58)Now we just wait for the grass to sprout.

And like last year, with our leftover peat pots and soil, we planted some herbs, veggies, and flower seeds:

photo(54)Bring on the peppers, zucchini, and cilantro!

Other improvements from last year: All this was done outside. No dirt on the table or dining room floor. No one cried due to mud in their eyes. No tantrums, and no arguing. I’m telling ya, that sun produces miracles.

So when we were finished, we headed inside only long enough to clean up our dirty hands, then back outside for another bike ride. It’s just hard to stay indoors with this kind of weather. Plus, all this walking and riding was a great way to tucker out the kids for an hour early bedtime… (Which means I actually got them to bed at the time I dream of doing so – the time I claim is their actual bedtime, despite the fact that they’ve been in bed at that time exactly never. Except tonight, that is.)

And next on the Spring to-do list: SPRING CLEANING.

Mother of the year? I think not…

I’m a terrible mother. I’m fairly certain of this because of a number of situations that have transpired these past few days that, instead of reacting the way a “normal” or “good” mother would react, my reactions were more, well, um… terrible.

Example #1.  A few days ago while getting ready, I heard uproarious laughter coming from the kids’ bedroom. That morning, they had struggled with getting along. I had sent them to their room to get dressed. Now, suddenly, there were gut laughs and squeals of delight, followed by even more gut laughs. I knew immediately: something must be up.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Drop everything and go quickly to their room to find out what bad thing is happening and put a stop to it!

My Reaction: Pray they aren’t going to end up seriously injured while doing what is undoubtedly a very bad idea. Let the laughter and giggles and squeals continue. Because frankly, I just can’t handle one more stupid argument. And because there is really nothing that makes me laugh as much as hearing those two gut laugh so hard.


Example #2. After I had finished getting ready – a good 5 minutes into the giggles – I finally decided to see what was so hilarious. I discovered my 2 darling angels, completely buck naked, each with their own undies around their ankles, both feet in just one leg hole. Ever try to walk with your undies around your ankles, both feet in just one leg hole? You fall immediately. Apparently, this is utter hilarity for a 5 and 2 year old. One would get up, the other would fall, sending both into wild fits of laughter.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Make the kids get dressed. Talk about appropriate behavior. Maybe even give consequences since they should know better and were supposed to be dressed by now.

My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. Then give them a few challenges, such as: Both of you get up. See who can make it across the room first. Laugh hysterically with them when they both crash to the ground. Give them a 3 more minutes of play time before they’ll need their clean undies pulled up, with clean clothes on, too.


Example #3: I discovered a new word of Jacob’s: titch. The first sentence he said with the word: I don’t like titch. After probing for clarification, he says, “I don’t like it when it’s titch. I don’t like the titch dark.”

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Correct his pronunciation. Make for darn sure he never says “I don’t like titch” again.

My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. While hiding my face. And then think of every opportunity to get him to say it again. Because it is so. darn. hysterical.


Example #4: The kids got silly puddy in their stockings. My sister told me a horror story of a friend’s child who got it stuck in her hair, and they had to cut it out. I stole the silly puddy and put it in a drawer for a rainy day. Yesterday, I was cleaning out that drawer with the kids’ “help,” and they found the stolen silly puddy. They asked me how it got in there.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Tell the truth. Let them know that they’re just not quite old enough to play with it.

My Reaction: Change the subject and tell them they can play with it tomorrow.


Example #5: The kids are excited to play with their silly puddy, but they can’t remember the name of it. They do know it starts with an s and a p. So, every single time they mention it, the words are different. “Mommy, when do we get to play with the smooshy piddle?” “MOMMY! Look what I can do with my squishy pedal?” “Mommy, can we play with the stoley pud tomorrow?” “Mommy! I love my squooshed puggle so much!”

A Good Mom’s Reaction: I don’t know. Maybe correct their pronunciation? Maybe not? I’m not sure what a good mom would do. Just probably not what I did.

My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. While hiding my face. (I’m noticing a pattern here.) Tell Matt. Laugh with him. Hard. While hiding our faces. Enough that they figure it out and have hurt feelings. But still don’t tell them the real words.


Example #6: The kids love Play-Doh. I hate Play-Doh. It sits in a box on the top shelf in their closet. I think I’ve gotten it out once in the last year and a half. (Probably a lot less than a good mom would.) Something came over me today (maybe a smidge of goodness) and I got it down for them. The whole lot of it. We set up a massive play-doh station at the table. I was reminded how much I hate the horrible stuff. It’s all over the table, floor, and chairs in 0.2 milliseconds. Both kids need my help simultaneously and for every. single. second. of their play time (which is supposed to be my folding laundry time.)

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Play! Lovingly. With smiles and giggles and warm fuzzies. Then clean it all up together in a way that is reminiscent of Mrs. June Cleaver, while looking forward to the next time you’ll all have this much fun with Play-Doh again… next week.

My Reaction: Play. Hate every second. Complain about it on Facebook. Think of every possible excuse, no bribe, to get them to want to quit. Finally win with a trip to pizza for dinner. Yes, I bought them out. And with unhealthy food. Then, while we all clean up, quickly put lids on the containers so the big chunks still on the table would have to be thrown in the garbage. Less Play-Doh next time = Less headache next time. Decide that’s a genius idea, and throw away two of the containers when they aren’t looking. Plan on not getting the stuff out for another year and a half, so they’ll likely never notice the missing containers. Pray that by then, the stuff will be all dried out anyway… Right now this moment, considering opening the container lids… just a smidge. To help with the whole drying out biz…


Example #7: While vacuuming up the remaining Play-Doh mess, send the kids to get shoes on so we can head-out to pizza. (I’m a mom of my word.) They come back, ready to go. But Annalise has made a serious fashion faux-pas and has put neon green Christmas socks on over – yes over her white tights with adorable jumper.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Another one I’m not sure about. What do you good moms do in this situation? Let her wear it? Make her take it off? Or would you do what I did?…

My Reaction: Gently question her choice in attire. “Are you sure you want to wear Christmas socks?” (As thought that is the biggest problem here.) When she confirms that yes, this is exactly what she wants to wear, go with it. Again laughing. Hard. While hiding my face. When she asks about playing with her “squishy puddle” tomorrow and you laugh, and she gets upset because “you’re laughing at how I said that!” Do everything in your power to not reply, “Yes, I’m laughing at your squishy puddle. And your outfit.” Because that might be crushing to a 5-year old. Who really is about the cutest thing despite the strange choice in clothing.

Then, when at the pizza parlor, take a picture. And post it on your blog for all to see…


Parenting for Dummies

Did I say for?   With. I meant with.

Welcome to Parenting with Dummies…

Lemme just give you a little picture of what Fridays look like with us folks who don’t use our heads:

  • After several days with a sick boy, ship him off to a full day at the babysitter. (He seems better, so it doesn’t seem like a bad idea.)
  • Run late (as usual.) Throw a mini-fit on the way out the door about not having time to get coffee or breakfast.
  • Drop attitude and turn on sweetness when the kind Hubs shows up with a latte and breakfast sandwich before students arrive.
  • Take two sips, calm thyself down, and get back to work.
  • Dump coffee over test booklets and materials for the day’s math/art lessons. Lovely.
  • Keep smiling, because at least there is food in stomach now, and about 1/3 a cup of coffee left. And still 5 minutes to clean up and gather new supplies before 28 smiling faces enter.
  • Continue school day as usual while hoping and praying the boy isn’t too tired and cranky for the babysitter.
  • Realize there are TWO 5-year old birthday parties to go to on Saturday, it is now Friday, and you have no gifts.
  • Plan to have a fun “Family Date Night” after picking up kids… dinner out, buy gifts, home to snuggle and read books before bed. Perfect.
  • Head out to babysitter’s. Confirm plans with the Hubs. He’s on board.
  • Pick up kids, find out the boy isn’t feeling up to par. Consider staying home for the night altogether or just heading out myself.
  • Decide to keep Family Date Night a go… Just a quick dinner and a stop at Target. No big deal, right? We’ll be back in no time. (Crucial error #1).
  • Stop at home to pick up dad and potty the family… including the boy and the dog. So proud of the big boy doing such a great job, decide to keep him in big boy undies instead of pull-ups. After all, it’s just a quick dinner and a stop at Target. No big deal, right? We’ll be back in no time. (Crucial error #2).
  • Dog in kennel, head out for a fun night. Time: 5:30
  • Pull up to Red Robin, realize it’s Friday night, and park half way to the mall. Given wait time: 25 minutes. No biggie. We can handle it. Just a few extra minutes to our fun night.
  • Giggle when my girl says to me, “Mommy, the girl keeps saying someone’s name, then ‘Party of 4.’ How come everyone is here for a party but us?” Tell her, “Oh, but we ARE here for a party! It’s a family party! Don’t believe me? Wait until she calls our name. She’ll say, ‘Matt? Party of 4?'” (Actual wait time: about 15 minutes… thanks to several parties that no-showed.)
  • Enjoy a free dinner at Red Robin courtesy of the Schulz family. Thanks, Dee and Gary! 🙂
  • Just as we’re finishing up, notice a red-faced boy with a panicked look. “Mommy! I went poopoo in my pants!”
  • Begin to panic while the Hubs tries to keep the situation calm and the boy from feeling worse than he already does.
  • Gather thyself. Grab purse and help boy out of booth and through restaurant, walking slowly and gingerly. Me, I mean. He walks wide-legged like a cowboy, talking about the poop all the way out.
  • Hustle to the car, hoping and praying you left the diaper bag in there from the babysitter’s. Try not to think about what you’ll have to do if you didn’t. Nearly slip on the ice. That was a close one. The boy does slip on the ice. Catch him just before poopy bottom hits pavement, and keep hurrying in the freezing cold.
  • Get to van and discover diaper bag. Thank you, Jesus. 
  • Spend 2 minutes opening every door trying to figure out the best location for taking care of business. Decide on front passenger seat. Determine this is a better location than walking from way out in the lot back to the restaurant bathroom. Crucial error #3.
  • Take off the boy’s shoes and pants. Learn the mess is contained in his undies. Jeans are clean. Say a quick prayer of thanks.
  • Remember the almost-fall on the ice that would have surely un-contained the mess. Say another quick prayer of thanks.
  • Decide that just in case things go bad, you’d better take off the boy’s socks, too. He’s already complaining of the freezing cold while standing in his undies, socks, and sweatshirt. Start car and get some heat going on him.
  • Take off socks and begin to precariously take off undies. Realize the mess may be messier than originally thought. Throw doggie blanket under the boy just in case.
  • Pull off underwear before forming a plan for where to put messy undies and where to position poopy boy so as to clean him. Crucial error #4.
  • Make several more crucial errors that result in the once contained poop smearing on both of the boy’s legs, both (thankfully bare) feet, doggie blanket (sorry, Izzy), and dropping with a smack on first the car door runner, then finally into one large clump on pavement.
  • Stare in amazement, wondering how contained poop can become so… uncontained.
  • Stare at my own now poopy hand holding poopy undies and other hand steadying freezing-poopy-naked-boy and wonder how I’m going to clean up this mess without stepping or kneeling in poop or giving the poor boy frostbite in places we’d rather not mention.
  • Get to work. Fast. With freezing cold wet-wipes.
  • Decide that with no garbage in sight and nothing in the car to act as such, the best way to handle the entire poopy mess is to roll it into a bazillion wet wipes and shove it in the side-door pocket until a bag is available.
  • Use every last bloomin’ wet wipe cleaning ever last poopy surface. Roll up the mess as best as possible and stick with door pocket plan.
  • After spending way too much time outside, head back into the restaurant with frozen boy, wondering why the other half of the family hasn’t joined us outside yet. Dinner was over when we left, after all.
  • Scrub with soap and as hot of water as we can handle.
  • Come back to table, only to discover bill has not yet been paid, because I had the gift cards with me in my purse. Which is now in the car. Which is half way to the mall.
  • The Hubs says he’ll run and get the purse. And when he gets back, he’ll pay the bill, because I need to take the female child to the bathroom. She has to go poopoo too.
  • Hubs returns with disgusted look. “Did everything go ok when you were taking care of Jacob??? Because the entire car smells like POOP!”
  • Smile. Say yes. Take the girl to the very full bathroom. Go in stall with her, even though she asks for privacy. Crucial error number… I don’t know. I’ve lost count.
  • Die of embarrassment as she talks loudly about bathroom stuff. Ask her to please be quiet and focus on her job. Die even more when she says even louder, inciting giggles from the stall next to us, “Ok, Mom. You’re right. It’s really hard to talk and push the poopoo out at the same time.”
  • Wash hands and get the heck out of there as quickly as possible. Only not too quickly, because the keys are lost. Not in my purse. Not in the bathroom. Not at the table. Not in anyone’s pockets.
  • While the Hubs checks the table for the second time, remember smelly car we are trying to get into. Ask one of the employees for a bag to dispose of leftover mess. Say a quiet prayer of thanks that even though this is Bellingham, someone has a plastic bag to give me. Even if it is a ginormous outdoor trash bag. It’ll work.
  • Leave Red Robin at about the time we intended on getting home.
  • Head to Target to do the one thing we actually came to Bellingham to do.
  • Head home. Bathe overly tired boy. Spray and wipe down car.
  • Send kids to bed much later than planned, with no books or snuggle time.
  • Determine pull-ups may be a better choice for public outings for a few weeks. Time: 10:00pm.

Catching Up

According to my calculations, today is supposed to be day 34 of my “40 days of Faith, Family, and Funnies.” I’m just a wee-bit behind. But c’mon. Did any of you think I’d actually complete 40 consecutive days of blogging? 7 days was a stretch, and frankly, it wasn’t even fun at that point. Life gets busy and time is always short. I did manage to squeeze in an 8th post about Jacob and his “boy tights,” making my goal 1/5 of a success. And I’d say 1/5 success is better than no success at all. (Like that positive spin?) I was only short a mere 32 posts, and really, now that I’m almost… well, let’s just say I’m older than 32…, 32 seems like such a small number.

But since my goal was 40, and since the reason I started this challenge in the first place was to focus on the things I am most thankful for (Faith, Family, Funnies… and Friends), I decided I’d catch up in one random blog post. So, below you’ll find a list of 32 randoms… mostly within those categories. Some other topics may have snuck their way in, too.

1.  First, a boy-tights update. For those of you that were so very concerned about my poor son and his undergarments, I saw boxes of long-johns at Costco. While I admit I quickly became that annoying shopper (according to my husband) who looks through all 6 bins (moving each one out of the way) to find the right size, I did so in a less-crowded Costco (Burlington) and without blocking the entire aisle or neighboring products. I also completed the hunt with incessant grumbling from the Husband. But here’s the deal: you don’t get to grumble about your son having to wear boy-tights and also grumble about your wife taking the time to look for long-john replacements of the correct size. It’s one or the other, Buddy.

Alas, there was not even one box left in all 6 bins that would fit, so boy-tights it is. Jacob doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he asked to wear boy tights just the other day.

2. The kids got to spend a day Christmas-crafting with my aunt, uncle, and my cousins’ kids. They were SUPER excited about it and had a total blast. Later that night when we were back home, Annalise said to me, “I had so much fun today! I wish I could stay at Auntie Jill’s for 100 years…  I would do it, except you would be dead when I got back. So I guess I won’t.” Nice to know she loves me enough to want to see me at least once before I’m dead.

3. While having a little fun with Jacob, I may have given him the impression he has magic powers that can cause doors to open and close at his command. The van door opens with the push of a button on the key fob, so when he was frustrated at not being able to pull it open I playfully told him, “Just tell the door to open.” He did. I pushed the button. The door opened. I really didn’t intend on it going much further, except that now he enjoys telling the van door to open and close often, and it works every time. Or at least when I’m in earshot and have the fob in my hand.

There have even been a few times where he’s headed out to the car first and I hear him yelling at the door to open while I’m still inside locking up. He stops yelling commands to the door, pauses, and changes his tone to his sweetest voice, “Door, could you please open for me?” I quick grab the fob and push the button. You know, just to reinforce the whole good-manners thing.

Well…. It’s all fun and games until you find yourself standing outside of Rite Aid trying to get your 2-year-old to the car, only to discover he is standing in front of the automatic doors, totally hollering at them in complete frustration to CLOSE! CLOSE, DOORS, WIGHT NOW! Only they won’t close… because, as I already said, he is standing in front of them. Ah well. At least his sister got a kick out of it. And we entertained a few customers in the process.

4. Today, Annalise spent some time being grumpy with a capital G. I had totally lost patience and was at my wits end trying to think of what to do with her besides lock her in her room forever when Jacob suddenly ran over to her, pulled at her sleeve as though he had just grabbed a loose hair off it, and ran towards the kitchen. I had no idea what he was doing until I heard the cupboard door under the sink slam shut as he hollers toward the living room, “Don’t worry, Sissy! I just took all your grumpies from you. And I FREW dem wight in da garbage! NO more grumpies!” Matt and I looked at each other in amazement and started to laugh hysterically. We had no idea where that came from. His own idea, I guess. He took those grumpies right off her sleeve and ran straight towards the garbage with ’em! I guess he’d had enough, too.

As though that wasn’t funny enough, just minutes later, Annalise (still very grumpy) was frustrated about something. Suddenly she let out a loud sigh, “UGH. Jay-cuh-ub!” (The 3-syllable Jacob always means the same thing, she is super frustrated with something he did or is doing.) “I think you actually threw away my happies! UGH.”

And there you have it, folks. The (already) grumpy girl found a way to blame her brother on her grumpies. It is his fault, of course, because he threw away the wrong thing. If you’re missing your own happies, you might want to check the garbage can.


Well, that’s it for “Catching up.” Yes, it’s only 4 stories. Did I say 32? That may have been over-estimating my time to sit and write (not to mention everyone else’s interest level.) So I think I’ll stick with four and call it good.

May you have a merry Christmas season full of kids who love you enough to want to see you (at least once), magic doors, and grumpies in the garbage.


7 of 40 – Well, aren’t we adorable

Day 7 Topic: Funnies. Annalise this time. I’ll be brief.

While we were having brunch at a restaurant, a couple walked by and smiled. The lady leaned over to Matt and whispered, “Just so you know, you have the most adorable children!”

As she walked away, Annalise asked what they said. Matt told her. Annalise asked if it was the man that said it. “No,” Matt replied, “just the lady said it.”

Her response: “Oh. He must not have seen us then!”

Atta girl. I like the confidence.

P.S. A couple of updates…

  1. I will be investing in a pair of long johns/long underwear for the boy. I still say tights work better – because of the feet and all. But all you guys that were concerned for my son, rest easy.
  2. I still have not made it on Annalise’s “Thanks Giving” leaves. Only 19 more chances. Not that I’m counting, or anything…