Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I know I should keep it quiet until I am able to meet and plan with my lawyer, accountant and financial planner but I'm not one to keep things from you my faithful friends.

Here's the 411...

Once in awhile when the lottery jackpot gets in the triple millions I am compelled to go against my good Nazarene upbringing and deviate from my current status as an upstanding Baptist and buy a lottery ticket. I promise if I win I'll donate at least 10% to the church..honestly! So about a month ago I bought a lottery ticket. I've been carrying it around in my purse with the intentions of checking it. I just had a feeling it was a winner so was just biding my time until I was ready for my life to be drastically altered by a few mil. Ok in reality, I just kept forgetting about it.

Until today, when I was at QT on my lunch purchasing a 32 oz iced tea for the summer special price of 49 CENTS when I remembered. I pulled it out of my purse and asked the nice cashier to check it for me. I told him I was pretty sure it was a winner. He walked over to the lottery machine and suddenly turned around and said, "You were right, you ARE a winner!" I immediately started jumping around, yelling "I knew it! I knew it was a winner! I never win anything! Oh my goodness this is the best day ever." People were looking at me curiously, no doubt taking in every detail so they would be prepared for their Live at Five interview on Channel 8. And then he finished with "You won 7 dollars." Now some might think this would dampen my excitement but this is me we're talking about, and I was still thrilled to have won anything so I continued with my winner's song and dance, still drawing looks from innocent bystanders. The cashier quietly said, "Do you want to cash that out?" to which I responded with a blaring "YES!!! I want to hold my winnings in my hand. Give me that cold, hard cash! Oh I'm so excited I won!" He handed me my $7.00 and I skipped out of the store, I had people to notify. First call was to GI Joe. I asked him if he was sitting down. He said yes. I said, "Remember that lottery ticket I've been carrying around in my purse for like a month?" He said, "yes?" Nearly hyperventilating from the excitement I managed to squeak out "You'll never believe it....I ACTUALLY WON!!!" And would you believe rather than being excited and happy and calling the real estate agent to buy our beach house in Hawaii he said, "Yeah right." Dude, throw me a bone here..I just won the lottery. I explained that really I had won the lottery and that while it wasn't in the millions it was still something...7 dollars to be exact! You have to start somewhere right?

I went back to work and messaged Annette to tell her the exciting news. As I have a tendency to do when telling a story, I was dragging it out, really building up the suspense and by the time I typed that I had won 7 dollars she was shaking profusely, and running across the building to get to my desk to get the full scoop. She thought I had missed the decimal and that I had won 7,000 or 7 million. Enough that we were going on the NKOTB cruise next year for sure. Obviously, she wasn't nearly as enthusiastic when I told her it was in fact just 7 dollars.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I'm going to do with my winnings. Buy a zebra? Invest? Take this blog big time? Book the NKOTB cruise? Buy a frappuccino and try my luck with another ticket? So many decisions to be made. I'm leaning towards the frappuccino and the $1 back in the lottery. I have a good feeling this time, I feel it. Can't win if you don't play right? Might be a good time to save 1-800-BETS-OFF in my phone's speed dial. But when I DO win, I won't forget about you my blogging friends, I promise. And don't worry, even when I'm a few million richer I won't change. I'll still be the Prairie Princess, just with more friends and more animals. But because you were with me before the fortune and fame, I'll grant you free admission to pet my zebra. That's how I roll.

Barn Burner

If you’re thinking that sounds like the name of a country song, you’d be correct, Jason Michael Carroll to be exact, love him. That song happened to be the soundtrack of our evening when just that happened, we had a real life barn burning minus the skinny dipping and moonshine. Man, I feel so country girlesque saying barn burning…ooooh say it again(name that movie)…..barn burning.

Here's the before picture:

This WAS the view from our kitchen table. I love the rustic, quaint look of this old barn. Makes me imagine what this place used to be like back in the day when it was a real live farm operation, not just a crazy woman collecting odd and unusual animals strictly for petting and then blogging about it. It’s been there since at least the late 1800’s and just having it in view from my kitchen makes me feel like an old school prairie woman and then I laugh out loud as I picture myself in a long dress and bonnet, churning butter. You’ll notice that the past 100+ years have taken its toil on our friend the barn and it’s leaning quite precariously. It’s been leaning a little more every year and finally the powers that be (GI Joe and his dad, the men of the homestead) decided it just wasn’t safe anymore. I don’t see the problem, I mean really, Italy ’s Leaning Tower of Pisa has been leaning since 1173, ours still has at least another 600 years by my calculations. They were worried that a good storm would come along and cause it to collapse, not caring if there was a peacock, kitty, horse or human in it and that would be dangerous. I suggested just putting caution tape around the doorways to prohibit entry and just leaving it alone but apparently my opinion as Prairie Princess is not highly valued. How rude. There’s been talk of having the local fire department come out and do a controlled burn on it for quite awhile but I kept hoping it was just talk. Imagine my surprise when on Sunday, GI Joe informed me that the barn was going to be burned down on Tuesday. Ummm…excuse me…WHAT? I think I was purposely left out of the loop on this one for fear that I would stage a protest complete with picket signs and media coverage (and you know I thought about it) . So I had only 3 days to prepare myself emotionally and mentally for this monumental event. Sunday, I forced the kids to take part in a barn blitz photo shoot telling them repeatedly that they would thank me for capturing this part of their childhood so that when they are older and telling their children about the hours they spent in their secret hideout in the hayloft, or finding the peacock eggs, or petting baby kittens in there, they would have pictures to show them. My children are apparently not forward thinkers as this didn’t entice them much but they did begrudgingly cooperate and someday, SOMEDAY they WILL thank me.
Really, they were THRILLED about this photo shoot..REALLY

In the days leading up to the dreadful B Day I took a lot of pictures, annoyed GI Joe by repeatedly asking him if he was sad that a piece of his childhood was going to go up in smoke, and requesting that he cut out sections of barn board for me to be used in creative projects memorializing the barn. One might’ve thought that GI Joe would be somewhat sentimental and sad about the fact that this part of his heritage was being destroyed but no, not so much. He’s such a guy.

And HELLO COWBOY, what a guy he is. Whew...

Finally, Tuesday evening came. The kids did one final sweep of the barn and rescued a nest of baby barn swallows. And by rescue I mean, got the nest down from a rafter only to drop it killing 2 of the 3 baby birds, leaving one orphaned bird who will now die anyway because his mom can’t find him and I’m sorry but I draw the line at letting the kids chew up worms and regurgitate them for the baby bird. Call PETA on me if you must but it’s how I roll. On a happier note, I made Smores cookies for the occasion as I thought it fitting. I had envisioned us sitting on our lawn chairs as a family, eating Smores cookies, while we watched the fire department burn our beloved barn, reminiscing about memories made there. As usual, the only thing that went according to plan was the eating of the Smores cookies, and boy were they delicious! The kids each wanted to watch it from their own vantage point, alone with their thoughts, GI Joe chose to watch while trimming the horse’s hooves and weeding the garden (I use the term garden loosely, there’s not much left now that it’s been “weeded”), and I chose to watch it from the comfort of my chaise lounger in the backyard. The fire department rolled up and I heard things like, “Hey Prairie Princess! Stay away from that barbed wire okay?” and “Hey PP, if you don’t want your llamas roasted then can you have them move?” and on and on. (Editors sidenote: Unfortunately, they don’t actually address me as Prairie Princess but I really wish they would.) Our town’s volunteer fire department doesn’t take their job lightly and they also enjoy giving me a hard time. So what if I’m the only one they’ve ever had to rescue from a barbed wire fence? ( Or the only one they’ve had to tell to move their llamas? Geesh people. What would I have to blog about if I were normal?
The fire chief, a friend of ours, came and told us how it was going to work and that he would try to make the fire hot enough that the smoke would go over our house instead of directly towards our house. Who knew you could control such things? Then he told us he was training some “greenhorns” so they were going to take their time. I considered running down the hill screaming “Stop! There’s been a mistake, we were just kidding, we don’t want to burn it down!” but using every ounce of willpower I had, I refrained. Probably good because given my history with the VMFD they wouldn’t have taken me seriously. Finally, all firefighters were in position, and smoke slowly started billowing out of the barn and I started tearing up. Not from the smoke inhalation, but just because I knew it was really happening.
The beginning of the end

It wasn’t long before the entire thing was engulfed in flames and my heart broke in a million tiny pieces. Why? It’s just a building you might say. A building yes, but it was more than that. It was part of our home, it was the first thing you’d see when driving down the gravel road towards our house, it was a part of the childhood that shaped my GI Joe into the country boy that he is, and part of the childhood my kids have been privileged to have. Overanalyze much? No, not me.

As the smoke billowed over our house, we watched in awe as that old barn stayed standing much longer than we thought it would, it finally collapsed on itself with a loud bang…and I SCREAMED. It sounded like a gunshot! Even above the roar of the flames, the firefighters heard it and looked up the hill towards us shaking their heads, and GI Joe laughed until he cried. Really, I think it was just an excuse, he was crying about the barn just like the rest of us. Speaking of crying, I found Blade sitting on an overturned feedbucket, watching the fire burning, shoulders shaking, and tears running down his face. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one taking this hard. I felt his pain, rubbed his back a little, and then gave him another Smores cookies. Nothing mends a broken heart like a mothers love, I mean cookies.
Burn baby burn

In less than an hour, 100 years of history and memories was nothing more than a small fire and a pile of rubble. The fire department started packing up so I ventured over to where they were. I was introduced to the crew as “the barbed wire girl”. Awesome, glad to hear my reputation precedes me. I need to work on getting my picture on the fire station wall for that one. After that I felt justified in asking the chief to get everyone together for a group photo. It helps to have connections because he immediately got on his radio and said “I need everyone back down here now and make sure your hair and make up is good.” I offered my lip gloss just in case someone didn’t have any handy. You should’ve seen the looks he was getting as these hot, sweaty, and sooty firefighters trudged back down the hill only to discover that they were reporting for a group photo…priceless. They drew the line when I asked them to do a pyramid though. I love my fire department even if I am “the barbed wire fence girl”. Then my mother in law started shamelessly promoting my blog to all of the firefighters and telling them that their picture would end up there and that they should read it and on and on. God bless my mother in law who I think is a tiny bit proud that her son turned this city girl country and now there’s a blog about it. So if any of my new firefighter friends are reading this…this one’s for you. And also, sorry I thought that one really short guy was a kid tagging along with his dad or something, but seriously he is really little and he did ask J the firefighter for a piggyback ride, what’s a girl to think?
Then it was done, finished, finito, we bid farewell to the barn. And with that I went home and showered off the campfire smell I’d acquired, ate another Smores cookie, went to bed and prayed that I’d wake up and find it was all a bad dream and that the barn was still standing, straight and tall. Obviously, I was more than a little disappointed to wake up this morning to see nothing but smoke and ashes where the barn used to be. Don’t worry a couple more Smores cookies eased my pain… a little. I’m still bitter about the whole deal and when GI Joe told me I could help him clean up the rubble, I told him I want nothing to do with it as it was against my wishes in the first place. Besides that I don’t want to rip my pretty pink work gloves.
I’m not the only one missing the barn, the horses were having a memorial service there this morning with one of them standing directly in the middle of the rubble pile, which concerned us since it was still smoldering, with the others circled around her, heads hanging down. It was as if they were saying their goodbyes too. I’ll tell you what though I am NOT sharing my Smores cookies with them, no matter how sad they are.

Before life as he knew it went up in a cloud of smoke

Bye Bye barn, you’ll be missed.
The new view and I gotta be honest I don't like it one bit.
But between my Smores cookies, my memories, the support of you my beloved readers and THIS guy...

I think I'll survive the trials and tribulations of life out here on the prairie. It's not for the faint of heart that's for sure.

And should you have a broken heart that needs mending here is the Smores cookie recipe (thanks to my friend Annette for sharing this gem with me). Do yourself a favor and use the WHOLE king sized Hershey’s bar and any extra chocolate you have lying around, you’re worth it:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fishing Follies

We are a fishing family. Yes, even me. Well, if you count sitting in my pink camp chair, reading a book, drinking my iced tea while holding my pink fishing pole, that GI Joe baited and cast for me fishing (and I do). We are surrounded by farm ponds and live about 2 miles from a lake, so at a moment's notice we can leave the zoo behind and be fishing in minutes. During the spring and summer, we go fishing about at least once or twice a week. The fishing is temperamental but the laughs are guaranteed.
Tonight was no exception. It was a gorgeous July evening and we decided to go out to the lake and fish from one of GI Joe's childhood fishing spots. It was a picture perfect evening with the family, enjoying some quality time on the lake teaching the children valuable life lessons and imparting our profound wisdom on them. Oops wrong lake, that wasn't us. Here's the real story.
Within 5 minutes of arriving on the pier, Blade found a dead snake which he promptly came to "show" me. I was trying not to scream as there were other people on the lake but that left me only one other option....jump in the lake to get away from him and the dead snake. GI Joe, not wanting me to embarrass him by doing either of the above items, quickly told him to leave me alone with it and throw it in the lake. The real kicker was when about 30 minutes later GI Joe was reeling in what he thought was a big fish only to discover that same dead snake hooked on his line. Two snake sightings in one night? Yuck! Time to find a new fishing spot.
GI Joe and I were enjoying a brief moment of peace and quiet when the silence was broken by Dakota yelling "Ouch, I hooked my hair!" We looked over and sure enough in a casting attempt gone awry she had hooked her worm in her hair. Miss Independent didn't want any help getting it out, she worked it out on her own. Which is good because I was no help rolling on the ground laughing at her, not that I touch worms anyway.
Not 5 minutes later, GI Joe was adjusting my line and next thing I knew he had accidentally caught a 55 pound Blade bass. We had planned to just catch and release tonight, but this one was just too darn cute so we kept him. Maybe I'll hang him above the mantle.
During all this excitement, I looked over at Ryder sitting next to his pole, propped on a rock, and noticed that his pole was practically bent in half, pulling with the weight of a fish biting. Ryder was sitting right there but instead of paying attention to what his pole was doing, he was taking a "rock shower", pouring pebbles over his head. I mean really what else are you supposed to do, just watch your bobber or something? B-O-R-I-N-G. I mentioned to Ryder that he might want to reel in as he had a fish. He sprung into action and started reeling immediately but when Ryder gets down to crunch time in fishing, he approaches it differently that the vast majority. Instead of reeling until the fish is up on shore, once it gets about 5 feet from shore he goes into freak out mode and instead of continuing to reel he jerks as hard as he can to make the fish come flying out of the water. As you can imagine this works flawlessly...or not. The fish went flying off the hook and the empty hook landed squarely in his sister's shirt. But if you ask him, he'll tell you he caught a big one, he just let it go early. Seriously.
GI Joe got everyone calmed down from the "almost caught one" excitement and helped them all get their lines back in the water. Oh yes, all of them because the moment one gets any action they all drop their poles and come running to help. He had just sat down when Blade started yelling "Dakota caught one! Dakota caught one!" We looked and yep, she caught one....a REALLY REALLY big one. She had to one up her father's 55 lb. Blade bass and caught herself a GUY IN A BOAT. Tears of laughter were streaming down my face as I tried to photograph the event. The guy in the boat didn't seem to find the humor in it like we did so I did not get any pictures of it. But that's one picture that will forever be imprinted in my memory. I told her next time go for the yacht.
GI Joe was getting a little bit frustrated as he had mistakenly thought he would actually get to fish. Instead he spent the evening in a bit of a round robin from one kid to another to me to another, untangling lines, changing lures, casting, etc. I had to remind GI Joe that the Outdoor Channel wasn't there to film us doing the next fishing show, although they should because that would be one very entertaining fishing show (if there is such a thing) and that we were just there to have fun. Easy for me to say as I dangled my hook in front of his face and asked him to please remove that yucky moss from my hook so the fish could actually get to the worm. (I don't touch moss either.) I don't understand why he wasn't enjoying it as much as we were. Weird huh?
Finally, after the special vein in GI Joe's head started to pulsate I suggested that we call it a night before any serious injuries or strokes were sustained. The boys had moved on from fishing to throwing rocks in the lake and playing with frogs so it was only Dakota we had to pry away and by then she was yelling at the boys blaming them for scaring all the fish away . At least this time they hadn't jumped in and scared the fish away. That was last time. Sigh.
As we were walking back to the truck from our adventurous night of fishing, I suddenly saw a full moon. Not in the sky either. Instead it was my adorable son, Blade. His shorts were a little loose and as he walked by a bush it caught on his shorts and before he could say bluegill they were around his ankles. I thought it a fitting way to end our evening. At least no one fell in this time.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Vacation Rehab

One more vacation quip, a picture or two, and then it's time to put it in my memory bank to be reflected on fondly on rainy days or reflective moments. Then I must try to move on and get off my lazy, post vacation stress syndrome, McFlurry lovin' behind, and get this house back in order and some suitcases unpacked...finally. To say I'm not transitioning back to reality well is an understatement. Is there vacation rehab? Preferably located on a beach somewhere? Sign me up.

I may have mentioned before that Dakota is a bit of a brainiac. She's been reading since preschool and just devours books that would put most of us to sleep such as the Visual Dictionary of Plants or Dinosaur Encyclopedia or a factual book about Germany...seriously. She reads anything and everything she can get her hands on and stores the info away in her little head to be used in casual conversation later. Such as when we were driving and all of the sudden from the backseat we heard an angelic girl voice exclaim loudly, "LOOK! LOOK! Look at all that yarrow on the side of the road!" GI Joe and I looked at each other with matching blank stares until she explained to us that yarrow is an herb used for medicinal purposes. Indians used it to get rid of headaches and it can also be used to cure sick cats if they've eaten something poisonous. Oh YARROW, of course we go way back, I knew that.

When we were taking in the different historical sites she read every brochure, booklet, pamphlet, etc from front to back and would then proceed to enlighten us with random information about what we were seeing. She was right there with her father for the tour of Jamestown, D.C., and Gettysburg. She loved it and soaked it all in. One particular instance of her being too smart for her own britches was when we were in D.C. and she told us an interesting fact she'd read about one of the presidents. GI Joe was all, "Oh yeah I knew that and did you know he also did blah blah blah," and I responded with, "Wow that's really interesting, I didn't know we had a president by that name." She looked at me and then to her father with a bewildered look on her ever so innocent face and said, "Mommy, am I smarter than you?" She really didn't mean it disrespectfully she was just asking an honest question. So I gave her an honest answer which was, "Ummmm, well no, of course note. History just wasn't my thing. Neither was math....or science....or never mind. But you can't do long division (yet) and I can spell better than you, so NO you're not smarter than me, take that sista!" I'm in trouble when she learns long division this year in 4th grade. Just so you don't think I'm a complete dizzy blonde, I WAS part of the National Honor Society in high school and graduated with the exact GPA as GI Joe. Never mind that I was in a graduating class of 35 and took such classes as Basic Math, Adult Living, and Journalism, that may or may not have cushioned my GPA slightly but whatev, minor details. We all have our strengths, mine just happen to be more socially oriented. The moral of the story here is this: Parents be careful what you wish for when you're putting in requests for your child to be one of those really smart, advanced kids, as your wish could very well be granted and will result in you being humbled and shown up on a regular basis by your kid. But it will all be worth it when she's footing the bill for our beachfront cottage with her 7 figure income. Who's the smart one now?

And this is the look I get from her ALOT. The one that says, "Can't you see I'm kind of busy right now, doing important things that intelligent people like myself do, like looking for previously undiscovered marine life or curing cancer and such? Also, are you sure I'm your daughter? I just don't see how it's possible."
Oh it's possible, 25 hours of labor NO DRUGS doesn't lie. Just remember to thank me in your Noble Peace Prize acceptance speech.
All in all our vacation was a smashing success with no major issues, which is very unusual for us and a tad bit boring. No breakdowns, no lost in the middle of the night excursions, no mixed up hotel reservations, no major items (ex: flat iron) left off the packing list and forgotten at home. I suppose it was worth the 764 loads of laundry that I'm currently battling. The score: Laundry: 761 PP: 3. I've got a ways to go.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

National LamKoons Summer Vacation Part 2

Apparently, I've lost my ability to blog in complete paragraphs so back to bullets it is.

Other highlights from our trip include:

*Reaffirmed what I've always known...that I would not have survived in any other time period but the present. We went on a tour of the Jamestown Setttlement established in the 1600's. Oh my goodness, I almost cried tears of pity for the people who had to live like that. No internet? No TV's? No New Kids? No cell phones? No cars? The injustice. We toured 3 replicas of the ships that the settlers came over on from England, where the tour guide told us that one of the struggles of the passengers of the ship was extreme boredom. Wow, ya think? Then once they arrived, they worked like, all the time. And they basically had to wear the same thing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. RIP Jamestown Settlers, and wherever you are I hope you're living it up, playing video games and washing your clothes in a Maytag.

*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I've figured out what is wrong with our nation! Turns out in the D.C. area, McDonald's does not offer Reese's McFlurry's. Ummm excuse me..what? How can our Senators and Congressmen and women, and even our President be expected to think logically and make smart decisions when they are forced to function without a necessity to happiness..a Reese's McFlurry? I'll be holding a press conference to announce my findings and suggest to McDonald's that they have the power to solve all of this country's problems, stay tuned to Fox News. I might've just changed the course of our nation. You're welcome.

*Speaking of D.C. we walked approximately 417 miles. Which is ironic, considering we paid a decent amount of money to ride the Tourmobile and take the guided tour of the city's landmarks. The thing with the Tourmobile was that you could get on and off at the different sites, all day as long as you showed your ticket. The problem with that was that our timing was less than impeccable and we always seemed to miss it from every stop by about 5 minutes. And because I am married to GI Joe, who doesn't see the value in waiting when you could just walk to the next location, we took D.C. by foot. Not sure if you knew this or not, but I can whine just as well if not better than my children, when forced to walk an exhorbiant amount when it's hot and I'm hungry AND we paid to RIDE the Tourmobile. GI Joe took great pleasure in my misery. It's been 24 hours now and my hips, shins, back, shall I go on...are STILL sore. When did I get so old?

*Dared the kids to ask the security guard at the Smithsonian if the exhibits really came alive after the museum closed. They just rolled their eyes and refused. Fun haters.

*Got a free, guided tour through the Smithsonian: Museum of Natural History, provided by none other than our very own Dakota. It was like Christmas morning to her, she wanted to read everything about each exhibit and would've spent 8 days there if we had time and her parents had half her attention span to such things. Nothing like a 9 year old explaining fossils, naming the obscure dinosaur skeletons, and her exasperated sighs when we mispronounced extinct mammal names, to make us feel smart. We've grounded her from the library and educational books for a month, that ought to teach her.

*For once, GI Joe posed for pictures and actually enjoyed it. Maybe it had something to do with the poses he was striking in front of such establishments as the EPA building and the Capitol Building in D.C. Thankfully, no arrests were made, although plenty of odd looks were received.

*Read my book as GI Joe navigated through rush hour traffic in downtown D.C. He has a few gray hairs but I'm happy to report that no injuries, fatalities, or automobile damage were sustained. And I finished Firefly Lane (great book) and ate LemonHeads. It's a stressful life I lead.

*Toured Gettysburg Battlefield on our way home. This was a dream come true for GI Joe. Given his affinity for war AND history, this was the perfect combination and someplace he's always wanted to visit. The battlefield itself was interesting (more so for GI Joe who actually paid attention in History class), but a little long. Why did it have to be 24 miles of battlefield with a stop every mile or so with a statue, or marker, or vantage point? I'm just sayin'. Abe, couldn't you have found a different, more condensed location? It worked out though, I got halfway thru a new book, the kids will be able to say they've been there when they learn about it in school, and one of GI Joe's lifelong dreams was fulfilled. The town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a quaint town that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time to the Civil War period. Who knew they had an outlet mall during the Civil War, which happened to be right next to our hotel?!? Maybe I would've survived in the olden days after all.

*Drove past a farm in Pennsylvania that had a mini horse, a ZORSE, and, wait for it....A ZEBRA in their pasture! Jealous party of one.

*After leaving Gettysburg heading west towards home, we happened upon the backwoods of Pennsylvania. We're talking missing teeth, mall bangs, slippers in public, the works. I had no idea PA had backwoods but it was like a little piece of home. Sigh.....

And with that the National LamKoon's Summer Vacation is winding down. I'm sad it's almost over but am anxious to get home, pet my animals, and sleep in my own bed. Now if we could just work on getting that ocean built in Iowa I'd be a really happy camper.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

National LamKoon's Summer Vacation Part 1

Have you missed me this week? Maybe in all the extra time you've had from not having to read my latest ramblings you've been able to check out the movies we've reviewed, or maybe you've cleaned a closet, or maybe you just went on about your lives not even thinking of me in which case my feelings are very hurt. Whatever you did while I've been away, rest assured........I'm baaaaaack.

We're en route right now from Virginia Beach to Washington D.C. Because I am a wife of compromise (not really, but sometimes I try really hard), after subjecting my history buff husband to a vacation solely based around beach activities with a historical tour of Jamestown thrown in for good measure, I agreed to scrap our original plans to visit my sister (again) in TN on the way back home from VA and instead we're taking the D.C. route. (Sorry sis!) Neither of us have ever been and we figured since we were only going to be 3 hours from it, we might as well hit it. Besides, after the kids watched Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, they were thrilled with the prospect of visiting the real Smithsonian. I hope they aren't disappointed when the exhibits don't really come to life. I'm sure there will be tales to tell from that adventure. Stay tuned.

Here are a few memorable moments from the National LamKoons Summer Vacation so far:

*When Dakota looked over at me as we were climbing a 210 foot hill on one of the top 10 roller coasters in the world at Busch Gardens and said, "Mommy, I know this is horrifying for you but don't look down and also please don't scream like a girl." Why must she use such big words? P.S. I did scream like a girl but it was fantastic.

*While on our dolphin watching cruise in the Atlantic, we hit some rough water that made the boat go up and down. Blade giggled and said, "Ooooh that tickled my wienie." Nice, thanks for sharing.

*The woman at Busch Gardens who told GI Joe he had a "nice butt" as I was taking a picture of him and the kids. I told her thanks, I picked out the shorts that accentuated it.

*Ryder telling us at Busch Gardens after he went on his second roller coaster of the day, "I don't like the roller coasters that go high, or fast, or loop, or twist." Well, okay then back to the Teacups we go.

*The family on the Virginia Beach fishing pier who thought we were locals since our kids helped them unload their crab from the crab pots without getting pinched. No sirree, we just watch Deadliest Catch. Who says TV isn't educational?

*The sign at one of the roller coasters at Busch Gardens that said, "Due to the nature of this ride, we are unable to accommodate individuals with a chest measurement of greater than 52." Darn, I really wanted to ride that one. (Yeah right.)

*Witnessing the instant transformation of my husband, who went from relaxed, laid back GI Joe to militant, meticulous, drill sergeant, GI Joe every time we pulled into a military base. Which was often since we stayed several nights at a hotel on a Naval Base. I swear I thought he was going to pull over and spit shine the car before we were able to proceed through the gate, everything had to be just right and in order. I saw GI Joe in his military element and frankly, it was frightening. So glad I pull rank 'round the Zoo. :)

*Yet again I was faced with the unanswered question which is...why the heck do we live 18 hours+ from the nearest ocean? Seriously?!? I'm not one to point fingers but I'm blaming our parents for birthing and raising us and causing us to continue our roots in the great state of Iowa, smack dab in the middle of the country. Boring. Just kidding Iowa, I do love you but let's talk about adding an ocean, k?

The adventures didn't stop there, more to come.

Monday, July 13, 2009

His & Her Movie Reviews

Since GI Joe and I were in a car together for 12 hours, we thought it would be fun to do a little his and her movie review of movies we’ve seen recently. Who needs Siskel and Ebert when you’ve got us?

Crowns-ratings given by me Grenades-ratings given by GI Joe
1 -Worst, I’d rather be shoveling manure than watching this movie and am mad I wasted 2 hours of my life on it, if I didn’t turn it off after 30 minutes.
2-Not Great, I could’ve written a movie better than this but there were a FEW redeeming parts in it.
3-Eh just alright, something in the movie made me watch the entire thing whether it was a character, an actor, or an interesting plot twist. But there was probably something or things lacking and it felt unsettled or unfinished. Probably wouldn’t recommend it and won’t ever watch it again.
4-Solid Good-Either made me laugh, cry, or sit on the edge of my seat.(That’s for PP, GI Joe doesn’t so much cry at movies). Would recommend it and will probably own it.
5-Royal Accolades-If a movie gets a 5 rating you know it must be good. And by good, I mean as soon as I see it I want to tell everyone I know that they should also see it so we can discuss in detail. It will definitely be added to the collection and watched again and again.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Her Comments: Since I was stuck in the car with nowhere to go, nothing to do, on day 1 of our vacation, I decided to give this 3 hour movie a try. GI Joe watched it when he was gone and enjoyed it so I figured it couldn’t be that bad. I did see the Oprah with Brad Pitt about this movie and wanted to see what all the hype was about. I just finished it minutes ago and my initial reaction is “huh”, well, that and “Wow, Brad Pitt is a beautiful man, why did he and Jen ever split up?” I just don’t know how I feel about it. It’s unique, although slow in parts, it really has a neat story. Things I didn’t like about the movie: 3 hours!, Brad Pitt’s gorgeousness covered by wrinkles and makeup for the first 2 hours, the sad parts, and the parts I can’t tell you about because if you haven’t seen it will spoil the movie for you. Let’s just say sometimes women are dumb and stubborn, myself excluded of course. Things I did like about the movie: Brad Pitt from hour 2 until almost the end of the movie, the love story part of it, and the “being born old” plot. That’s not something you see everyday. If you’ve seen it comment and tell me your thoughts, my jury is still out. If you haven’t seen it, watch it and let me know. I’m curious just like Benjamin.
Crown Rating: 3.5 Crowns (I made up a new rating just for this movie)
Grenade Rating-3 Grenades
His comments: Liked the concept of aging backwards and it had a little bit of war in it which is also a plus for me. I recommend splitting it up over 2 nights of viewing.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Her Comments: If my children were rating this they would give it royal accolades. They loved it! But this isn’t their blog. I enjoyed the movie but didn’t think it was as good as the first 2. There were some funny parts (most of which were shown in the movie trailer) and some sweet parts. The 3D animation was also amazing and seeing a theater full of people in dorky 3d glasses…awesome. But I thought it was a tad bit slow moving at times and sometimes they tried too hard to get a laugh.
Crown Rating: 4 Crowns
Grenade Rating-3 Grenades
His Comments: I had a nice 10 minute nap at the theater during this movie so obviously it didn’t keep my attention the entire time. I did love the poisonous gas scene though, must be the inner child in me. Also, I love Scat.


Her Comments: I gotta be honest, when we started seeing the previews for this months ago I thought the story line looked boring. But the kids really, really wanted to see it and it was something to do to fill an evening while GI Joe was away for his 2 weeks.
I went in to the movie skeptical but I have to say I LOVED IT! It was so much deeper than a story about an old man who tied balloons to his house. I laughed, I cried (twice), I was on the edge of my seat. It was a touching, heartwarming story and even a bit heavy at times. It was great to see a Disney movie where the main character was not a handsome prince or princess or a furry lovable critter but an old, wrinkly, grouchy man. I was definitely impressed with this movie and think everyone should see it regardless of their age. There are life lessons to be learned. P.S. I want a bird like Kevin from Up.
Crown Rating: 5 Crowns
Grenade Rating-N/A To be reviewed later as I was slaving away at training while my family ate popcorn and watched movies.

Revolutionary Road

Her Comments: I’d heard so much about this movie and how great it was. Of course it didn’t hurt that Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet were the main characters. I thought maybe Jack didn’t really die in the Titanic and he and Rose wound up living happily ever after on Revolutionary Road. Umm not so much. I managed to watch the entire movie, while GI Joe started snoring after approximately 45 minutes. It was a slow moving movie where you just kept thinking there had to be more to it than that. It’s really a miracle I watched the whole thing given my adult onset ADD. I think Leo kept me watching. When the movie was finally over I felt unsettled, sad and more than a little disappointed. Only watch this movie if you want to feel better about your mental stability or if you just want to see Leonardo. In that case, I would mute it.
Crown Rating: 2 Crowns
Grenade Rating-1 Grenade
His Comments:
Made me want to blow myself up with said grenade.

The Proposal

Her Comments: GI Joe and I had a long overdue date night last week and went to see this movie. Oh how I’ve missed Sandra Bullock in romantic comedies. And oh how I love Ryan Reynolds. This movie was the perfect date movie. It had the ideal blend of humor, sarcasm, and romance. My macho, manly husband really liked it so guys. suck it up and take your girl to go see it. I cannot wait to own this movie and watch it again, pausing at the scene where Ryan Reynolds is showing some skin. Oops did I type that out loud?
Crown Rating: 5 Crowns
Grenade Rating-4 Grenades

His Comments: Anything with Ryan Reynolds always has potential for being very funny and enjoyable (not just cuz my wife thinks he’s hot). Craig T. Nelson is in this movie too and he’s a winner in my book given his current views on the government’s wasteful spendings…..Uh oh time for Prairie Princess to take over again.

He’s Just Not That Into You

Her Comments: With the all star cast I was sure it would be a killer movie. Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Bradley Moore, Scarlett Johannsen, are you kidding me? I was geared up for a romantic comedy. Instead, I ended up with a sad look at dating life and unhappy marriages. Not at all what I expected. It did reiterate the fact that I am SO glad I’m happily married to GI Joe as I’m fairly certain I would not survive being single these days. I mean really, if Drew Barrymore has trouble getting guys to call her back and getting a date then fuhgettaboutit. The redeeming qualities in this movie were the all star cast, especially Jennifer Aniston (my girlcrush), AND the ending that left you with a glimmer of hope for your single friends.
Crown Rating: 2 Crowns
Grenade Rating-1.5 Grenades

His Comments: Able to watch it without wanting to blow myself up with a grenade and we were out of rope. My wife shallowly suggested that I watched it due to the eye candy but let it be known that I do not think Drew Barrymore OR Scarlett Johannsen are attractive females. And Jennifer Connelly looks like a man. Enough said.

My Sister’s Keeper

Her Comments-On our vacation stopover in Nashville, my sis and I had our own "date night" and went to see this. I just finished the book last week so was curious to see how the movie played out. My recommendation to you is watch the movie THEN read the book. The movie is just okay. The book is fantastic. I'm disappointed with Hollywood that they strayed so far from the book and in doing so lost alot of the impact the book had. I may have to write a letter. All in all, I'm glad we went to see it but that could be because you can't beat watching a tear jerker movie with your sister while the husbands stay home with the wild children. The rather entertaining couple sitting in front of us at the theater only added to the experience. My advise to you is to RedBox or Netflix this movie, but do see it. It will make you think and probably cry. Have Kleenex handy. P.S. I want to look like Cameron Diaz.
Crown Rating: 3 crowns
Grenade Rating-N/A This is not something I would ever go see. There's no war, history, Ryan Reynolds, or Megan Fox. And Alec Baldwin IS one of the stars. No thanks. Thanks Hilary for going to see this with my wife so I wouldn't have to.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
I did not go see this movie but GI Joe wants his review of it to be included on this list. Here goes as told to me by GI Joe:
Growing up and playing with Transformers as a kid, I loved the first movie, not the animated one of ’86, but the one released in 2007. The kids and I were greatly anticipating the sequel battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons and went to see this during opening week. I did appreciate that in this movie they stuck with the original voice of Optimus Prime but overall Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen should’ve just stayed fallen. From the absurdities of the gangsta’ autobots that gave JaJa Bings from Star Wars a run for his money in the race to ridiculous, to the obscene language of the Transformers I was not impressed. Then as if that weren’t enough, to top it all off, a robot dry humping the very hot Megan Fox’s leg. (PP: What? You think Megan Fox is hot? Oh what’s that? I think Jordan Knight is hot? Oh yeah, I suppose you’re entitled, go on….) It was rated PG-13 but should’ve been rated R. Not a kid friendly movie whatsoever and that is disappointing because it’s guys like me who want to share their love of Transformers with their kids, that are going to this movie. I probably will not own this movie and considering that I collect movies like my wife collects shoes, that is saying a lot. And now I’d like to tell you what I think about the state of our nation……Thanks GI Joe, I’ll take it from here. We’ll spare them that sermon.
Grenade Rating: 2 Grenades (one for each dingleberry on Devastator)
Crown Rating: N/A I’ll never be reviewed as I prefer my movies to have actual characters instead of cars and trucks that “transform”, spare me.

What do you think? Do you disagree, agree, think we’re idiots, what? Comment and tell us. We want to know. Actually, I want to know, GI Joe is slightly hard headed and close minded to the opinions of others. I was going to say just kidding but he told me not too, he’s not denying it.

Want us to do more? There’s lots more where that came from. We’re boring old, married people who live in the wilderness with not much to do so we watch a lot of movies.

Now as they say in the movie biz, that’s a wrap…..

Saturday, July 11, 2009

View From the Zoo

Here is a little snapshot of life at the zoo these days, minus the smell of manure, the bleating of sheep and goats, the "help" sounding screech of the peacocks, and the crowing of roosters at 5:15 in the morning. You'll have to use your imagination for those items or not...might be more enjoyable that way.

Elvis the Emu

Fun fact about emus: They dance when GI Joe whistles at them. I use the term dance loosely because they look like they are having some sort of seizure while wiggling their long necks and bodies, moving all over the place. Oh wait, that's how I look when I dance too. Another fun fact about Elvis & Priscilla (our emus), they are terrified of Aladdin the Peacock. Oh yeah they are big, bad, mean emus when new chickens, ducks, or cats enter the barnyard but throw a male peacock in the mix and they no longer rule the roost. Never mind that they are 5 times the size of the peacock. Sissies.

Pretty Kitty

This is one of many kittens running around. We have some trampy mama cats that's all I'm saying. Truth be told I'm not much of a cat person, but who can resist adorable kittens? I try not to get emotionally attached to the outside kittens but the kids name each and every one of them. Depending on the wildness of the kitten determines how inspired the name they give it is. This one for example, is pretty wild so it's name is Tabby Kitty. The tamer ones get names like BlazePaw or TBone or my personal favorite, Raven Kit. Seriously.

And Then There Were Three....

Aladdin & Jasmine the peacock couple recently became first time parents. We have been dreaming of this day since their marriage last spring. We discovered Jasmine sitting on 5 eggs in the hayloft of the old barn a little over a month ago. Since this was our first peacock birthing experience, we climbed up in the loft every couple of days to check on her and see if she needed any assistance. (Someday maybe I'll show you the pictures of me climbing up there, twasn't pretty, twasn't pretty at all.) Turns out she had it covered...literally. My google research showed that it takes about 28 days for the eggs to hatch so we waited patiently. One day 2 weeks ago when the kids went to check on her they found egg shells. Shortly after that, they discovered Mama Jasmine strutting around with 3 chicks following her. We caught them and put the 4 of them in a confined area to protect them from raccoons and other predators. Two of them must've talked back to their mama or misbehaved because they were trampled by her. Natural selection maybe? Disturbing yes? We have one chick remaining (talk about playing favorites) and have high hopes for it. We decided to take Jasmine and her chick out of the confinement as maybe that attributed to her crushing her own children. Aladdin is adjusting well to fatherhood and was camped out next to the pen. Now that they are out wandering about he can always be found nearby. He'll go socialize with the other animals in the barnyard, terrorize the emus, and then go back to be with his wife and baby. It's so sweet. I haven't seen him change any diapers yet though.

In the next installment of the "The View from the Zoo" I'll introduce you to a New Age bunny family, a smiling horse, and more. Try not to be too excited.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'd Like To Check You for Ticks & Other Tidbits

Is it weird that I enjoy the planning and packing for vacations nearly as much as I do taking them? Yeah I thought so. Oh well, that's me, Type A Planner, what can you do? I'm taking time out of my busy packing to bring you a few bits of information.

1) The best way to remove a tick is to flip it over and pull it out the opposite way. This ensures that you get it all. No credit card or matches needed. Which is good because frankly, I don't trust myself with matches that close to my childrens' heads. I just learned this trick this summer and felt it my civic duty to share with you.

And this picture doesn't really have to do with anything other than this is probably where he got the tick that I found on his adorable little head that I exercised this very tick technique on. Tick removal=successful. Getting any of my children to be happy about having their picture taken=unsuccessful.

Now on to items totally unrelated to ticks......

2) Go here and make these immediately and then for dessert make this And then save me some of each because they are my new favorite things. I've become famous 'round these parts for the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers (thanks Pioneer Woman), they are SOOO good and fairly easy. Don't let the jalapenos scare you, as long as you get the white vein and all the seeds out they aren't that spicy (usually). Word of advice though, wear gloves when dealing with the jalapenos. I tried every home remedy known to man, from washing my hands in milk to slathering them with butter then honey, to dipping them in ice water, after I made these the last time. My hands were on FIRE and nothing worked. Finally, I just cried myself to sleep and dreamt about how delicious the poppers would be when we ate them the next day, and they were, so it was worth it. No pain no gain. And the peanut butter pie, oh my. Remember my obsession with Reese's eggs? This pie just might fill the void in my life (and pants) til next Easter. Yummy.

3) Make the jalapeno things for an appetizer, the pie for dessert and these for your main dish And then email me and tell me how much you love me for making you a hero to your family and friends. These are simply to die for. I usually leave out the red pepper and the tomatoes (gag me) so feel free to modify to your tastes. I consider myself part Mexican (WHAT...... you've never seen a blonde haired, green eyed chica before?!?) given my love of Mexican cuisine. And these bad boys are better than ANY seafood enchilada I've had in the many Mexican restaurantes I've visited in my day. I wish I had paid attention in my 4 years of Spanish class so I could say I love these enchiladas in Spanish but no habla espanol. Just know that I REALLY REALLY love these.

I'm all about educating and informing you. And with that I'm going to resume my packing. Vacation starts in 2 days, 3 depending on how you count. I promise at least one more post of interest before we leave. Scratch that..I mean I promise to at least post one more time before we leave, whether or not it's interesting...well, no guarantees.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Field Mice & Fireworks: A 4th of July Recap

I've finally simmered down enough about my White Trash Bash experience to begin blogging logically again. Please excuse my random rants and ravings, it's how I roll. Apparently, I revealed a side of the Prairie Princess that frightened some of you and for that I apologize, but it's who I am. Thankfully, the scary, mean PP doesn't come out very often. Consider yourself warned though. :)
I will now resume my regular rant-free blogging. I wish I could say rodent free blogging but unfortunately that's not the case...
We celebrated the 4th of July at our friends', Annette & Jerry's house, along with all of their family and a lot of our other friends. All was well until the demon children, I mean GI Joe's kids discovered a field mouse stuck in a basement window well. Dakota the Explorer decided to help "rescue" it from the window well as it appeared to have fallen in and couldn't get out. But her brother, Bucifer, I mean Blade, thought it would be fun to pick up the mouse by the tail and bring it to the driveway where everyone was sitting around chatting. Fun fact about me...I HATE MICE! I was sitting on the opposite side of the circle from where Blade was and immediately started getting the heebie jeebies as he was showing everyone else. He got the typical, adult like responses from the others there, "yuck where did you find it?" or "how did you catch a mouse?". I was coping okay since he was a safe distance from me UNTIL my ever so loving husband said to Blade, "why don't you show Mommy?", knowing full well that I had already seen the stupid thing and was already considering running for safety. The moment he said that Blade's eyes LIT UP and you could see the mischief forming in his young mind. THEN he came running towards me holding that disgusting, beady eyed varmint by the tail, and I, being the cool, calm, collected farm girl that I am TOOK OFF RUNNING AND SCREAMING DOWN THE CUL DE SAC!!! I was running towards GI Joe's truck so I could lock myself in until my children (oh yeah Dakota and Ryder joined in the fun) grew bored of torturing their mother EXCEPT IT WAS LOCKED! The jury is out on whether or not GI Joe hit the button to lock it as I was running towards it because he's just THAT mean and wrong, or it was locked all along...I have my theories. Let me just say at this point, there were approximately 30 people (some I know well and some I'd just met that day) standing in Annette & Jerry's driveway watching this all go down and laughing hysterically. There might've even been a few of the neighbors that came out to see what all the ruckus was about, I was too worried about saving my own life to notice. But not ONE of the many bystanders offered any support or help, thanks guys, thanks alot, love you too. By the time I reached GI Joe's truck the kids were right behind me, enjoying themselves quite immensely and STILL holding that stupid mouse. I was on one side of the truck, begging and pleading with them to have mercy on their poor mother and to take the mouse far, far away from me. Then by some stroke of luck or an act of God, Blade dropped the mouse, providing me with a window of opportunity to escape. I made a run for it back up towards the house figuring I'd lock myself in the bathroom until the mouse was long gone. The kids caught the mouse AGAIN but when they started back towards the house, their father GI Joe finally decided to act responsibly and tell them to put it down. Wow, great timing there GI Joe and wise move for the sake of your marriage. It was a good thing I was able to stop running because I was near cardiac arrest. Sidenote: I DON'T run. While I was usiing the paddles of life on myself, GI Joe and some other guys were helping the kids release the mouse into the wild and the mouse bit Blade on the hand. I was less than sympathetic and all, "huh too bad, that's what you get for doing that to your mother" while members of Jerry's family were already creating Blade's treatment plan for rabies. They were very concerned about Blade contracting rabies from the field mouse and telling me I needed to call the doctor on Monday to get him in for a rabies shot. Judge me if you want but the whole time I was thinking, "SCORE if he has to get a shot then that will definitely teach him to pick up rodents and scare his mother with them." Before you call DHS, please note that Blade wasn't even complaining about the bite hurting, I think he thought it was cool, and also I did call the doctor's office today and no shot is needed as field mice usually don't carry rabies and we would've known if it there. :)

Other highlights of our 4th of July that did not involve rodents:

*Jerry explaining to his elderly mother a hand sign that kids do these days that means something very vulgar and bad. She asked. Truth be told, I had to google it on my phone because I didn't know either. SO WRONG and no, I'm not telling you what it is.

*My children telling Annette to turn down the music because we were playing the New Kids CD and having a dance party in the driveway with our fellow NKOTB fans (heeey Lexi, Brooke, & Molly!). And then in an act of utter defiance, Blade looked right at her and told her "Donnie sucks." And with that I relinquished my parental rights. How can I be a mother to children who would say such things about New Kids?

*The full on fireworks war that we WON against the other houses in the neighborhood. The house behind them started shooting off a few fireworks which prompted Jerry & his brother in law to start their display, and they are nearly pyrotechnic professionals so clearly our display was SOOOO much better than the other houses. Every time another house in the development would shoot off a firework, the crowd at our party would "boo" or yell things like "is that all you got?" and then Jerry would launch an even bigger and better firework and we'd carry on like he'd just cured cancer. We are a very mature group, obviously. But seriously, our fireworks were so much prettier than everyone else's. I think the small town near them might've cancelled their display after they saw Jerry's work and realized theirs would be an embarrassment compared to it.

*Jerry's mom. I want to be just like her when I grow up and am in my 60's and 70's. Her children cringe when she meets new people because no one ever knows what she's going to say. Personally, I LOVED it. Within 5 minutes of meeting GI Joe & I for the first time she told us she'd heard we were "good Baptist people" and "why don't we take Doug (our single friend) to church with us to meet a nice Baptist girl?" Awesome. Later in the evening, she basically told Doug & I that Annette & Jerry's friends (US) were fat, lazy slobs. She was telling us that Jerry's sister and husband are really into working out and even have a group of friends that get together and work out with them, and Jerry & Annette just eat wings with their friends. PRICELESS. In her defense, she had just seen me attempt to run, she may have a point. Man, I love that woman.

*McDreamy getting schooled in basketball by the Koons kids. He'd probably have a different story but I just call it like I see it. At one point while they were playing, Blade looked at him and said, "Can I just call you McDreamy?" If that's not trash talking, I don't know what is.

*Was subjected to Jerry playing some old school country music, including Roger Miller? and singing every word to us until 1950 called and asked for their music back.

All in all, with the exception of the Mouse Madness it was a fantastic 4th of July. Thanks Jer & Annette for being the hostesses with the mostest. I'll go ahead and RSVP for next year now..wouldn't miss it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

White Trash Bash

If you are someone who likes to do any of the following at a supposed family event: a) wear little to no clothing regardless of your size b) get drunk and act like an idiot c) get in a knock down brawl over FREE t-shirts d) get drunk and act like an idiot, oh did I mention that already? My bad. This post will probably offend you and I'm okay with that.

For the past 3 summers our local country radio stations have put on what's called the Big Country Bash where they bring in 7-10 country artists, some up and coming and some big names, to a huge park for an all day outdoor event. We went 2 years ago and it was an enjoyable day just sitting outside, soaking up the sun, and enjoying some good music. This year one of Blade's favorites, Bucky Covington of American Idol fame, was one of the names in the lineup. The rest of the lineup really didn't interest me but I told him I would take him to see Bucky. Tickets were cheap and kids got in free so why not? It was the least I could do since I had abandoned my family for a 2 day NKOTB road trip adventure, ahhh New Kids, oh sorry, I'm easily distracted. Anyway, Bucky was one of the last 3 to perform so we didn't have to go til late in the day.

I should've seen the writing on the wall when Blade and I walked right up to the gate and went right in while the Security Guard chatted with his girlfriend. So glad I paid $21 for the ticket when I could've just walked right in. Neat.
Because Blade is my son he wanted to be as close to the stage as possible, that's how we roll. There were thousands of people there, many of whom had lawnchairs set up and had claimed their space early in the day. We finally made it thru the maze of barely dressed crazies and wound up standing right in front to the side of the stage. It was prime real estate. Picture with me if you will, people and their lawnchairs, who have been sitting out in the sun all day drinking way too much beer since it was more easily accessible than water. Seriously, ONE water vendor for 15,000 people while beer vendors aplenty. Something is definitely wrong with that picture. Now imagine those dehydrated, drunk people acting stupid. I'm not stretching you am I? I knew it. Now keep that picture in your mind you'll need it for the rest of the story.
As soon as we found our spot we stayed put and waited for Bucky to take the stage. In the meantime I was able to teach Blade some valuable life lessons. First, the radio deejays took the stage and threw some free t-shirts out into the crowd. About 4 feet to our right side was a woman and her family sitting in a chair and in front of her were 2 other woman. The shirt came their direction and the ones in front went for it but the one sitting down, stood up and got in on the action and got it away from the ones standing up. While most thought it was JUST a t-shirt these mamas thought it contained the sweat of Elvis because a full on brawl ensued over a T-SHIRT. Seriously! Words were exchanged which required me to cover Blade's ears because they weren't pleasant, and then before I knew it, the one sat back down and grabbed the one standing up yelling by the tank top and yanked her down so they could be face to face where she screamed some more unpleasantries at her. Sidenote: These were some big mamas so let's just say when the tank top was grabbed and pulled down, "stuff" came flying out. Real class acts I tell ya. So as you can imagine that just fueled the fire and chairs started flying, until FINALLY Security managed to walk the eight feet from where they were "guarding" the entrance to the buses and break up the fight. Do you see a theme here? Security was not exactly top notch. They escorted the females (I refuse to call them ladies) away for questioning and eventually when they came back the one that ended up with the t-shirt had been asked to leave. I kid you not, as she and her family were packing up their chairs she got the last word in when she yelled at the females she'd been fighting with earlier, "At least I got the t-shirt !#%*@." Really? REALLY? It probably didn't even FIT any of them.

Blade's Life Lesson #1: Pick your battles and never marry a woman that would behave like that or your Mama will kill you.

Then, as if Blade hadn't already seen more than his innocent eyes should have, there was more. A group of ahem...interesting people had set up a circle of chairs right to the right of the stage. In this circle were several shirtless men who did NOT sport the Jordan Knight chiseled abs and chest, but instead looked like they were carrying a pony keg around their belly. Blech. They were extremely inebriated and were doing all kinds of dirty dancing moves in the center of their circle of chairs that made me vomit in my mouth. One of the guys, kept holding his LIT cigarette in his BELLY BUTTON while he drank his beer. I am not making this stuff up. Also, in the "circle" was a woman who we'll call the Drunk Desperate Housewife (DDH for short), who looked about 45 trying to be 20, with her frosted hair, French manicure, miniskirt, and halter top. She was the one policing the circle and yelling at anyone outside of their circle that tried to cross thru it or got to close to their chairs while trying to go around. The problem was that they were set up in such a bad spot that it was impossible for people not to have to get close or cut thru. She was annoying me from the time we got to our spot. She didn't say anything to me because we were behind their chairs and over a little bit, and also because I look so tough and mean, obviously. But then a kid of about 19 and his girlfriend, came up and were standing in front of me. I was holding Blade as the concert had just started and with all the pushy, half nekkid, drunk people he couldn't see just by standing on the ground. Apparently, the kid was crowding DDH's chair so she got up, turned around and got in his face, screaming at him. The kid was just standing there looking at her like "Dude, what's your problem." She must not have liked something he said or the way he looked at her because before I knew it she threw her entire glass of beer on him. Except not just on him because Blade and I were standing right behind him so guess what? We were showered as well. Oh uh uh. I am about the most laid back, fun person you'll ever meet at a concert but that's crossing the line, especially when I'm holding my 7 year old son. After she threw the beer she stomped off to refill her beer. But she'd ticked off my inner Mama Bear so I put Blade down, told him to stay put, and I went after her. I caught up to her, tapped her on the shoulder and when she turned around, she saw the fury and we had this conversation:
DDH: "Uh...uh....uh....I didn't mean to get it on you I was talking to that kid."
Me: "I don't care who you meant to get it on, that was uncalled for."
DDH: "He was too close to my chair and that's our area."
Me: "I don't care if he was sitting on your chair that's ridiculous. You need to tone it down lady. You don't OWN that piece of land, and can't tell people where they can and cannot stand. I think you either need to sit down and shut up** or you need to leave before you tick me off anymore. Some of us are here to enjoy the concert and you're so drunk you don't even know what you're doing."
**shut up is a naughty word in our house and I never say it, that I used it in this scenario is an indication of my anger level
DDH: (deer in headlights look) "Uh...uh...uh....I'm sorry about getting beer on you."
Me: "As you should be, now get out of here."

And I went on my merry way back to my son, who was looking at me with a whole new appreciation like, "Whoa you don't want to mess with my Mama." I don't get that way very often but when I do look out. DDH took my advice and was packing up to leave but not before she told her belly button smokin' friend and another guy that the kid had gotten smart with her. So here we are again, the kid is standing in front of me and these 2 drunk guys come up and start getting in his face for making DDH upset. I felt sorry for the kid and by this point these drunk people were REALLY REALLY getting on my nerves and I was on a roll so I figured why stop now? I went ahead and got right in the middle of their conversation and told them that the kid hadn't done anything but stand there and that they needed to take their drunk girl home before she got hurt. And believe it or not they did exactly what I told them to do. I think they heard that I'm a tough farm girl and wrestle goats for fun.

Blade's Life Lesson #2-Don't drink and dirty dance.
Blade's Life Lesson #3-Don't drink and smoke with your belly button.
Blade's Life Lesson #4-How 'bout just don't drink?
Blade's Life Lesson #5-My Mama is one tough chic.

By this time I had had about enough of the White Trash Bash and was relieved when Blade looked at me and said, "OK Mommy we can go now," even though Bucky wasn't completely done with his set. But we didn't leave before Bucky sang his song titled, "I'll Walk" and I looked over in the crowd and saw this....

The irony of it wasn't lost on me but ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Now don't get me wrong I'm totally not making fun of the fact that there was an amputee in the crowd. But I am making fun of the fact that this person would actually remove their prosthetic and hold it up during the "I'll Walk" song. I'm sure Bucky was thinking, "Dude? I'll give you an autograph but please put your leg back on."

And that was our cue that we were totally out of our league and it was time for us to go. And somehow when we pulled in the driveway next to the Peacock Crossing sign with the sounds of roosters crowing and sheep baaing in the background, I felt at peace with our redneckness. Because I know there are some things even us rednecks won't do.