The apple doesn’t fall far…

The Hubs won’t play games with me. He says I have too many rules. I say games come with rules. Otherwise, you wouldn’t know what to do. Duh. He says I make up too many of my own rules. I say… I say… I say whatever. He’s just a sore looser, I think.

Yesterday, Annalise and I set up an epic MLP playland. Don’t know what MLP is? Well, you were obviously not a child of the ’80’s.* Or at least not a female one. My Little Pony. I had a gazillion. And a stable with a bed for the ponies (as though they lay down in beds. Geesh.) And 2 baby cribs with mini ponies that had designs on their rears that matched their mommies’ rears. And lots of MLP clothes from the early 80’s (including one very hot pink workout headband… Rock On MLP!) And a giant pink castle with a pony’s throne and golden horseshoes. Not even kidding. Annalise inherited them all because apparently I’ve inherited my emotional attachment to things from my mother. She saved all my MLPs. And Cabbage Patch Dolls. And Strawberry Shortcake Dolls. And Little Golden Books. And I’m sure lots of other things I’ve yet to discover. Her garage is like a seriously organized treasure hunt. If you are my age and care to have a walk down memory lane via all the best toys from your childhood, come with me to visit her. I’m sure she’ll hook you up. Along with some seriously mean grub.** She feeds all people who walk into her home. Expected or unexpected.

*Does “a child of the 80’s” mean I was born in the 80’s? Or just that I was a child at some point during the ’80’s. Because if it mean’s I was born in the 80’s, then technically, I’m a child of the 70’s. But I won’t tell you which year. Except that it’s closer to the 80’s than the beginning of the 70’s.

**MOM! Just to be clear, “seriously mean grub” is a compliment. It means your food is delicious. NOT that your food is a bully. You probably knew that already, but just in case… I didn’t want to risk losing out on any of that deliciousness next time I’m down.

Anyway, while my girl and I were playing MLPs, I realized that we were actually NOT playing MLPs. We were setting up. We were organizing. We were planning. We were deciding what each little MLP accessory (i.e. goblets, awards, diaper, roller skates…) would be used for when we played and where it would go and who would hold it, and… Scratch that. WE were not deciding all these things. SHE was deciding all these things. I’d set up the castle. But in the wrong spot. It would get moved. I’d brush a pony’s mane. But with the wrong brush (there’s only 20 to choose from). I’d switch. And then again. I’d set up the horse jumps, but facing the wrong way. They’d get turned.

I finally asked if we could start playing. She said, “Not yet. We have to get it all set up first. Everything has to be in its spot. And then, when we play, we can’t (fill in the blank)... and we need to (fill in the blank)… and don’t forget (fill in the blank) …”

I suddenly found myself saying to her, “Annalise! You have so many rules! It’s not very fun to play with someone with so ma…” She looked at me, wondering if I’d finish my sentence. “Never mind. Your dad is in the next room.”

Have you ever had a moment where you realized that you are very much like your mother, and your daughter is very much like you and your mother? I did. Staring at those ponies my mom saved because she knew how much I loved them and might want to play with them with my own daughter one day. Then staring at my daughter, who is organizing the entire MLP collection – which takes up the entire living room – and making a “plan for playing” before actually playing. Yes, I am like my mother. And my daughter is like me. And I guess that is a good thing, because I love those two girls an awful lot. And if I turn out to be a bit like my mom, and if my daughter turns out to be a little bit like her, too, then I guess we’ve just made this world a little bit brighter. She is one amazing lady. LOVE YOU, MAMA!

P.S. Hubs just read this and wanted me to add that, and I quote, (ahem) “The reason I don’t play with you is because you have too many rules and are OCD… like when we were playing cars with Jacob and you had to re-line up the cars we’d lined up so they were with matching Cars. You ruined our fun.” I would like to add that if you are going to put all the Lightning McQueens together in order from smallest to largest, and you put the Fillmores together from smallest to largest, IT ONLY MAKES SENSE that you put the Maters and Finns and Hollys and other cars in order from smallest to largest. Otherwise they feel left out. And maybe also separation anxiety.

And yes, I’m probably slightly OCD. But I think I get that from my mom, too.

P.P.S. To all you faithful blog readers: WordPress tells me my blog has been going for almost a year. So I’m thinking it’s time for a blog makeover! I might change color (I’m thinking red and brown) and format a bit. Do you have any feedback? Is the font too small? Spacing weird? What do you think? Leave me a comment!

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.

times they are a changin – Part 1

It seems that recently, each member of the Priestman household has gone through some sort of change. Some good. Some bad. Some just… um… interesting. But enough that the changes required a posting to update y’all.

First, the breaking news: POTTY TRAINING SUCCESS! That’s right, folks, we are potty training pros around here. In no time at all, he went from diapers-’round-the-clock to big-boy-undies-and-dry-during-sleep. But I should probably give credit where credit is actually due… to the little man himself. While I did suggest on Saturday morning that he try to go potty every 45 minutes and set the timer to remind myself to make him attempt at each beeping, it was only around lunch time when he told me with irritation as the beeper went off, “I do NOT have to go again! I will TELL you when I do!” Ok, then.

About 15 minutes later, he told me he had to go. And he’s been telling me every flipping 5 minutes since. Seriously, this whole pottying business is downright EXHAUSTING. Is there something about little boys that prevents them from emptying their entire bladder in one sitting??? Because I gotta tell ya, going through the effort of taking off shoes, pants, and undies (because he won’t try if they aren’t COMPLETELY OFF but just HAS to have them on in between time), pottying, washing hands, pulling ON undies, pants, and finally shoes, isn’t really worth it when it is followed immediately by, “I gotta go again…” There is just something about it that makes you want to say, “That’s what pull-ups are for, Dude. Have at it.” I’ll admit, I said it once. But his reply made me give in with a smile, “I twied, Mom. I weally did. But I dist (just) can’t weally go in my big boy undies.”

Other Jacob news… he’s sick. Again. The poor boy has a poor immune system, which is contributed to his poor eating. I mean really, it’s a miracle he’s survived this long with as little food he eats. Nonetheless, he has stolen my heart and brings me to tears about 27 times a day because of his sheer cuteness (overheard singing earlier today in a slightly-pathetic-but-adorable voice amidst sniffles and coughs, “Wudolph da wed-nosed weindeer-weindeer, had a vewy shiny nose… It’s a  LIGHT FULL!…. …den one FWOGGY Cwistmas Eve…” Picturing him picture all those frogs jumping around on Christmas Eve does bring a smile to my face.

In addition to his cuteness, I cry an additional 63 times because of his awesomeness, his sensitiveness, and his growing-up-too-fast-ness. Yes, he’s just getting out of diapers, and yes, he hasn’t even seen enough birthdays to fill half of a hand, but just the other day I bawled like a baby thinking about the day he will graduate and eventually drive-off to college. Not enough things to cry about in the present, apparently, so I thought I’d devote some of my emotional energy to 16+ years into the future.

But really, the tears just flow because I’d like to just please FREEZE this:photo(30)Serious cuteness, people. SERIOUS  cuteness.

Which was taken just moments after this:

photo(31)Little boy, Big bed. Crawled himself right in (along with a box of tissues, his blankie, Mickey Mouse, and “Clippord”) and put himself down for a nap!

And then there’s this:

photo(35)Praying one MASSIVE prayer at lunch time. Sick boy, praying for the needs of others. UGH. MORE. TEARS. Not the same reaction from his sister, though, who looks to be feeling a little less like “he’s SO sweet” and a little more like “good GRIEF, is he EVER going to finish? I’m HUNGRY!”

And while all those are cute and awfully freezable moments, I’d even like to freeze THIS:

photo(34)“Look, Mom! Da tissue dist (just) sticks to my face all by itself! It’s because of all da slimy booger stuff comin’ out!”

Yes please! I want to freeze especially this! Because what happens when he doesn’t want to show me his proud moments… even if it is just getting his tissue stuck to his face all by himself? Or when he’s too proud and grown up to tell me about his slimy booger stuff? What happens then??? I cannot bear the thought. More tears…

Another reason for tears: Annalise’s big change… her first loose tooth. Buckets, people. Crying buckets over this one. Because not only is it loose which makes her WAY too grown up WAY too quickly, but while it loosens very slowly, the permanent tooth is growing in behind it fast. Its quicker rate of growth means it will be mostly in place BEFORE the baby tooth is out, which means no adorable toothless girl that still has a teeny-tiny moment of “baby girlness” to her. Nope, we’re transitioning right from baby(tooth)hood to adult(tooth)hood in one instant. And this, friends, is DOWNRIGHT UNFAIR. For me, I mean. It’s hard enough on Mama to see the baby transition to big girl, but now I have to lose out on those precious days, maybe even a week or two, of squeezing out just a little more little girl. Coupled with the fact that she has grown taller at a quicker rate than most kids, talked early, and was BORN with more hair than many 2-year-olds, I’d say I’ve had a serious disadvantage in the baby-stage, and I’d like to call it what it is: LAMESAUCE. That’s right, I want a DO-OVER. NOT a do-over with Annalise, mind you, because I absolutely love her nearly every minute of every day and wouldn’t change her one iota. But I call “do-over” with babies. Maybe another go-around is in order? Yes, I’d say so. At least one.

Besides… even with her mouth wide open trying to show all of you her loose tooth and the one growing in (neither of which you can see in a pic), how gorgeous is she???

photo(32)Yep. Big Brown Eyes = Totally suckered parents. Every. Time.

Lots more Annalise-changing-(aka-growing-up)-news. But first, a side-note question. How come no one ever told me that FIVE is the beginning of the AWKWARD stage? I thought it was wayyyyy later… like 12, or maybe even 13. But I gotta say, I’ve seen some serious AWKWARD lately.  It doesn’t last all the way ’till 12, does it?? Maybe we just experienced random awkward. Maybe they’re just glimpses of future awkward and not the full-blown awkward we’re in for. But if the full-blown awkward is just lots more of the awkward we’ve seen already, Heaven help us. Because My. Oh. My. Awwwk-WARD! 

Just the same, I DO love that girl, and her spunk, and her neverendingdancingself. I did not realize it was a “thing” she had, this inability to not dance. But it is. It’s a thing. She can’t not dance when there is a beat or music of any kind…including Daddy singing, Jacob humming, or a car horn beeping. The dancing just. happens. She doesn’t even realize it, either. Yesterday, she needed to hold still for something. She wanted to hold still for it. Far off in the distance, there was a slight hum in the air. Suddenly, the girl was wiggling all over the place. “AnnaLISE! HOLD. STILL!” I hollered.

“But I ca-aaaannt!” she replied. “It MAKES me every time. I try to stop, but the music won’t let me!” I just love that dancin’ girl. It’s in her soul. And how can you argue with that?

You also can’t argue with this: after her Bible Class lesson today, she excitedly told me the story they learned about Jesus in a boat with the disciples while there was a big storm, only he was sound asleep. “Mom, then the disciples woke Jesus up because they were afraid. And know what Jesus did?  (Now raising her eyebrows and stretching her arms out as far as they could go in both directions.. then whispering…) He just told the wind and the waves to be still. And MOM, they DID! They were STILL! Know what he told them? He just said… ‘COMB.'” Arms still stretched out for added dramatic affect as she awaits my reaction.

“Comb? Really? Are you sure he didn’t say something else?”… like, say, CALM?

“NOPE! He said, (arms out and eyebrows raised again), COMB!

Hmmm. I’m still not getting it. “Why do you think he said that?”

Without hesitation, she tells me…”Because, the waves were all wild and all over the place and stuff. Just like my hair sometimes. So he said, “COMB.”

Yep, makes sense to me. And good… Not too grown up just yet.

No, not too grown up, but certainly getting older and wiser. How I love her heart. How full it makes mine. This Christmas season, she and I shared many special moments, thinking of others, praying for others, making things for others. My little girl showed me how big she really is. I am so proud of her. So blessed. And once, with her big heart and big eyes, she looked at me and said so sweetly, “Mama? If alls I got for Christmas was a big bag of rocks, know what I’d do?”

“What, Baby?”

“I’d paint them all different colors and have the most beautiful rock collection.”  That’s my girl!

Because when life gives you lemons… or rocks… it’s not what you hold, but
what you do with what you hold that matters, right?

I’m learning from that girl all the time.

But back to the changes. Even Izzy is in on it. She’s currently at the vet getting a few changes of her own. We kept it a secret, because I was afraid she wouldn’t have gone if she’d known what she was headed in for. But we were not about to go through another heat cycle with that mutt. Or at least, Matt wasn’t. If you haven’t heard the story, I’ll spare you the details. Just know that no amount of money would be too much for him to spend if he could just erase the images that are now burned into his brain forever. Oh, and as a side-note, while Izzy is “under” today, they will be pulling a baby canine that never fell out when her adult canine grew in next to it. It might cause problems later, so we’re saving a potential future surgery. And I’d just like to know, what is it about the teeth growing in this family? Don’t they know there is a process to this? First – tooth comes out. Next – new tooth grows in. There is an order, people. Let’s stick to the order.

As for Matt, his changes are all about photography. Business is booming. Growing pains are good. He is handling it all well, and I am so very proud of him.

My changes are a little more… well… heart changes. Too serious for this post. Maybe later. For now, I think I shall retire the computer and go hug my little bugs before they grow up and drive off.

Haikus for my family


Bedtime is quiet.

You keep saying you forget.

I’m losing my mind.



Potty training stinks.

Your diapers stink even more.

PLEASE use the toilet.



You’ve made it this long.

But now you peed on my things.

You’re pushing your luck.



We have such cute kids.

I thought I wanted one more.

They have changed my mind.

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…