Saturday, January 30, 2010

Disturbing Images

I'm gonna give you a brief glimpse into my every day world. You've probably thought I've been exaggerating about my daughter, the oddest child I've ever known. I haven't been. In fact, I've spared you. But now, I think you're ready. As ready as you'll ever be.
OK I've told you how she's so NOT a typical girl and how much she enjoys hunting and fishing and just getting dirty in general. This meant that her Christmas list had NONE of the things that graced the lists of other 10 year old girls. No sirree. At the top of this girl's list? A crossbow, an inflatable deer target were among the top 2. Yeah that's right a crossbow and an INFLATABLE DEER TARGET.
Santa came thru w/ the crossbow (pink camo by the way) and Nana and Papa came thru w/ the inflatable deer target.

I don't think she was the least bit happy about that, do you?
We did our Christmas w/ my family in a hotel w/ an indoor water park so when she opened this we were in our hotel room. Of course, we couldn't wait until we got home to test it out. Oh no, we had to inflate it right then and there.

Words just seem so inadequate to describe this.

And then she "stalked" and "hunted" the deer until finally...FINALLY...she got that big buck.

And the she posed for a picture like a real hunter who's just nailed the monster trophy buck. Sadly, I don't think this one will mount very well on the wall. Darn. You just might looking at the future face of the Outdoor Channel.

Maternity tests are pending, I just don't think she can possibly be related to me. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Ye Kind

We tried an often overlooked, yet effective parenting tactic here at the Koons Zoo over the weekend. For those of you who think we live in a perfectly harmonious where it’s smiles and sunshine all the time, you might not want to read the rest of this. Oh wait a minute you’ve read this blog before you know. You see, Dakota is in the full throes of the PRE pre-teen girl stage. For those of you who do NOT have girls or girls that have reached that special age yet in your household I’ll explain. For those of you who DO have girls in your household and are living it or have lived it can I get an amen? So the PRE pre-teen is the lovely age where our precious little girls “experiment” with attitude, whininess, drama, argumentativeness (not sure if that’s a word but it is now. Is not! Is too! Oh sorry I crack myself up!) and eyerolling in preparation for their forthcoming teenage years. Typically, the experimentation isn’t constant as we do still see glimmers of that innocent, naive, little girl who still wants a kiss goodnight or to bake cookies with Mommy which is what gives us hope that we will survive these treacherous times. But when that sweet little girl goes away and we get a glimpse of the sassy teenage girl, it’s not pretty. We’re there right now with Dakota and it’s no DisneyWorld that’s for sure. I remember people telling me when she was 2 or 3, “Oh boys are so much easier.” And I thought to myself, “Oh they just don’t know. How can they be easier than this perfect, precious, witty, genius, beautiful little girl that I just can’t get enough of?” Ummm….now I know, I REALLY know.
So Dakota our pre preteen has been doing quite a bit of “experimenting” lately and for some reason the brunt of her experimentation lands on Ryder, the youngest. He breathes and she’s annoyed. He tells us about a dream he had the night before and SHE ARGUES WITH HIM ABOUT HIS OWN DREAM. He touches something of hers and THE WORLD HAS ENDED. Now don’t be fooled into thinking that Ryder’s the innocent victim in all of this, he’s not entirely. He’s known to do things for the sole purpose of antagonizing her or to overreact when she lashes out at him. Although sometimes I have to admit that deep down inside I want to give him a high five for giving her what she’s got coming. GASP..I can’t believe I just admitted that to the internet. No worries, I do the responsible mom thing and refrain but it’s tempting at times. Judge me if you must. Anyway, the fighting between the two of them reached epic proportions over this past weekend. EPIC. So much in fact that I pulled out all the hair on half of my head, well not really but you should see GI Joe’s hair, he pulled out a lot.
So on Sunday morning as I’m teaching my Sunday School class that my dear daughter happens to be in, imagine my glee when this was our memory verse, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32. I was giddy excited to make the class recite that over and over and OVER and to stress the importance of applying it to their daily lives. And I may have singled out a certain someone and told her that it also applies to her little brother. We smiled, laughed and I was confident that all of our Ryder/Dakota issues were solved. I mean really, how could she not be a changed girl after such a convincing, heartfelt lesson on kindness right straight from the good Book?
HA! I’m so naive. After Sunday School, we went to our morning church service and I’m happy to report that for a full hour Dakota and Ryder did NOT fight. Never mind, that they didn’t even sit in the same pew or that talking, much less fighting during church is a surefire way to get the wrath of Daddy bestowed upon you. Never mind that, let’s just focus on the small victories here. The victory was short lived the minute we got in the car and IT STARTED. And not just minor quibbles this was full on “RYDER HAS LEPROSY AND HE JUST TOUCHED ME AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIIIIIIIIIEEE!” and Ryder responding by giving her a swift kick to the shin. Oh help us all. GI Joe immediately enacted the “No Talking, Touching, Moving or I Will Pull This Car Over” rule for the remainder of the ride home. And wouldn’t you know it as soon as we pulled in the driveway, it started AGAIN. I, in my mom voice, launched into a special edition Sunday School speech about kindness and asked Dakota to tell everyone what her Sunday School lesson was and asked her if she thought she was living up to that verse by her behavior. Her response, “BUT RYDER DID….” to which Ryder mumbled something not so nice about his beloved sister under his breath.
Oh uh uh. Game over. Rather than driving them deep out into the country and dropping them off at a house with a swingset and telling them to call us when they had reached mature adulthood, we marched them inside and plopped them down at the kitchen table, next to each other I might add. And that’s when GI Joe and I pulled out our A game. We handed each of them a pen and a notebook and a piece of paper with the kindness verse(Eph 4:32, see above) learned in Sunday School on it, along with the instructions that they were not leaving the table until they had each written the verse 25 times AND were able to recite it from memory for us AND were ready to act it out instead of continuing in their sinful, EVIL ways. (Amen, preach it! Oh sorry can you tell both of us have pastors for dads?) There was some moans and groans but then they got to writing and writing and writing. And they did it WITHOUT fighting. We let them break for lunch but then as soon as they were done eating it was right back to it. Dakota finished first. We asked her to recite the verse for us. And she did….THRU TIGHTLY CLENCHED TEETH. I don’t think she was feeling it, so we had her recite it again, this time clearly and enthusiastically. Admittedly, we are very mean parents. J Then Ryder finished writing and recited it for us, no clenched teeth. And believe it or not there wasn’t any fighting for the rest of the hour. Just kidding, it seemed to do the trick at least for the day. Since Sunday, every time we hear them slipping back into the fight pattern we bring up “the verse” and ask if they’d like to write it out 25 more times just to make sure they remember it.
Moral of the Story: Spanking them with scripture, it’s the way to go and much less painful
. What do you think of that DHS?
The "Results" Picture

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Totally Slacking

Unfortunately, I'm being a class act slacker blogger tonight and instead of regaling you with many of the entertaining quips I've got planned for you, I'm just going to give you this. Forgive me.

This is our current answering machine message recorded in Blade's sweet voice.

"Hi you've reached the Koons Zoo Staff, GI Joe, Prairie Princess, Dakota, Blade and Ryder. We're probably out playing with our animals or rescuing Mommy from the barbed wire fence. But if you leavce your name and number we'll get back to you and if this NBC calling to offer us a sitcom we'll DEFINITELY call you back."

Surprisingly enough, NBC hasn't left a message yet. Weird. I'm sure they're just waiting until everything's sorted out with the Jay/Conan fiasco. They can't afford to pay us all so someone had to go, sorry Conan.

P.S. We're definitely on Team Conan round here and while I hate that he got the shaft from NBC, you know to make room for the Hillbilly Hilarity sitcom and all, it's hard to feel too sorry for a guy that got $30+ million TO NOT HAVE TO WORK. Yeah, my heart's not breaking for him.

P.P.S. Reese's Eggs are out already!!! WHHHHAAAT? It's only January. What are they trying to do to me? Sigh....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Facebook Etiquette

I heart Facebook. Actually I’m mildly addicted. I’m not into all the applications or games available on there. Why “pretend” to take care of a Farm when I have actual animals needing my attention? I don’t need that pressure. But I am addicted to seeing people’s statuses and “talking” to people that I otherwise might’ve lost contact with. You know that and seeing which girls who thought they were “all that” from junior high and high school maybe aren't so much "all that" anymore, if you know what I'm saying. Oh sorry is that catty of me? Admit it you do the same thing.
I digress. Back to my original topic at hand…facebook etiquette. Here are a few issues I have with Facebook, suggestions for improvement if you will.

*When someone “defriends” you I think it should be a news feed item “John Doe and Prairie Princess are NO LONGER friends.” Nothing is more disconcerting then realizing you haven’t seen a status update from a friend in awhile and you search your friends only to be told by Facebook “You have no friends named XXXX.” You couldn’t be more right Facebook, thanks for pointing that out.

*Speaking of defriending, I also think a reason should have to be selected when defriending someone so they are aware of why they are being dropped. For example, To defriend this person please select one of the following reasons: 1) their status updates annoy you 2) their inappropriate and/or CONSTANT comments on YOUR status annoy you 3) you’ve had a falling out in real life or 4) You only added them as a friend originally because you didn’t want to look like a loser with only 3 friends but now that you’ve got a decent amount of friends you no longer need them. Brilliant right?

*Facebook stalkers. There is one on every friends list who thinks they know you WAY better than they do and feels the need to weigh in on every status update, every picture, etc. but you know if you drop them they’ll flood your inbox or the inboxes of mutual friends demanding to know why. Awkward. Facebook, please add a Stalkers option so we can flag such people. Maybe that could be the latest, greatest group on FB "Facebook Stalkers Unite" instead of the overused "We Won't Pay for Facebook Groups".

*Limit the amount of status updates a person can put out there that tell what they are having for dinner, lunch, breakfast. I can only handle so many food related status updates. Great, if you’re making a special dinner or just tried a great new recipe but seriously listing your menu for EVERY meal.,,,SNORE. Pretty sure the Food Network doesn’t check for statuses like that in the hopes to find the next Rachael Ray. I do have one friend on my friend's list that I am granting immunity for on this. His food status updates not only make my mouth water because he's an amazing cook but he puts a witty spin on them therefore making his food status updates killer. This doesn't work for everyone.

*Limit the amount of "over the top how much you love your significant other" status updates. Once in awhile is fine, sometimes you just can't help it. I totally understand being so in love you want to scream it from the mountaintops, hello I’m married to GI Joe, I live there. But seriously there are some status updates that MAKE. ME. WANT. TO. GAG. My theory is if you have to broadcast it constantly then you may be overcompensating and things aren’t exactly as “peachy” as you would like the internet to believe. How’s that for some facebook psychology? (No charge this time.) I’m *this close* to defriending someone on facebook for this very reason. The daily updates on “how amazing her amazing man is and she loves him so much” that also include all kinds of symbols and hearts and stuff I can’t figure out what they mean are way too much for me to stomach. Get a room people or some couples therapy perhaps.

*Let’s get that “Dislike” button added ASAP. Thank you.

*More than 5 status updates per day is TOO much, unless there is actual breaking news that does NOT include what you’re wearing, what you’re eating, or how wonderful your life is.

*If we wouldn’t chat if we ran into each other in the mall, why on earth would I add you as a friend on facebook? Just sayin’. Also, if you won’t reveal your real name so that I know who you are when responding to your friend request then there is NO WAY IN GOD’S GREEN EARTH that I am going to allow you to view my personal information and pictures. Duh. Oh wait isn't that kinda what this blog is? But that's different.

*There needs to be a Facebook Addicts Anonymous support group. I would be willing to sponsor, as a recovering addict myself. Call me.

Facebook will be receiving an email with these suggestions so I’m sure they’ll be implemented soon, just like the pink Carhartts. Now let the defriending begin, at least I'll know why I'm being defriended. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Day

You are cordially invited to join my pity party. Come on in the water’s fine.
I’ve told you how much I detest Iowa winters right? Right, let me reiterate that, I AM NOT A FAN OF WINTER, ESPECIALLY IN IOWA . Mother Nature added one more reason to my mile long list of reasons we are not friends, this week when she sent us the Ice Storm of 2010. Oh it’s all fun and games and pretty UNTIL SOMEONE LOSES ELECTRICITY! Yeah that’s right. Let’s recap my day yesterday shall we?

*Had to RUSH from work to pick up the kids from school on time because buses were running on hard surfaces only and apparently gravel is NOT a hard surface. WHATEVER. Felt pretty darn hard when my bike and I wiped out on it last summer.

*Because I am so unaccustomed to picking the kids up from school I was honked at, cussed at, and given many a dirty look for cutting thru the pickup line. How was I to know there was a LINE? I was just trying to park. Geesh people.

*After enduring the parking lot trauma, went into the school to find my darling angels, only to be greeted with immediate FIGHTING, WHINING, AND COMPLAINING. Ummm remind me why I picked them up again?

*Aforementioned behavior continued all the way home, no matter how loud I turned up my happy music, they just got louder, and my blood pressure got higher. The first of many times I would sing “Jesus, Take the Wheel” over the course of the night.

*Played slip and slide from the driveway to our front door, nearly bit it numerous times.

*Walked in the house and noticed it felt remarkably chilly. Did a brief walkaround and discovered WE HAD NO ELECTRICITY. Went to that breaker box thing and flipped some breakers. Felt very independent womanish. Yay me! Except it didn’t work, still no power.

*Went back outside to take pictures of the pretty culprit of our current dismal situation..the ice. The same ice that robbed us of electricity also took out half of our giant tree in the front yard and parts of the trees lining the ditch. But it really did look pretty. Slid back inside to upload said pictures only to be reminded that WE HAD NO ELECTRICITY.

*Channeled my inner frontier woman and tried to start a fire in the fireplace and play board games with the kids by the light of the fire and the fading daylight. How quaint huh? Yeah not so much. Mission Firestarter: FAIL. Mission Play w/ Board Games Harmoniously: FAIL. Mission Kids Play with Fire While Mama Downs Some Advil and Lays on the Couch: ACCOMPLISHED. Loudly and sternly repeating to the kids ‘STAY AWAY FROM THE FIREPLACE” and “QUIT PLAYING WITH THE FIRE” does ZERO for one’s headache, in case you were wondering. Jesus, take the wheel…again.

*As the daylight started to fade, stomachs started growling, and moods declined even more. I made the executive decision to feed and distract by a little trip to town. Thinking that maybe by the time we eat a nice dinner in town and come home our electricity would be back on. Riiiight cuz that’s how my luck goes. Got the kids in the car and went to start it only to discover I didn’t have the keys. Odd. I went back in the house, searched, came up empty handed. Keep in mind I’d driven home using those same keys not 2 hours earlier, and had only been in my front yard and in the house. Twenty minutes of retracing my steps turned up nothing. Seriously. All of the sudden the Princess Mobile began honking wildly with lights flashing. Awesome, one of the kids found the keys!!! Except they didn’t. Nice, so now in addition to Mother Nature being evil, the kids being crabby, the universe was toying with me. We resumed our search and just as I was about to call 911 to come take me to the psych ward, I spotted them hanging on the coat closet door. Don’t ask me how they got there, I have no idea. And as for hitting the Alarm button I blame Moose.

*You may be wondering where GI Joe was during all of this? That makes 2 of us. I tease, he was at work doing recruiter stuff in his WARM, electricity filled office. So the kids and I made the trek into town during which I had a major bad mom meltdown and demanded that everyone be silent and not move a muscle for duration of the 20 minute drive, I was fed up. I’m so glad I already forfeited my Mother of the Year award because after last night it’s LONG gone. Judge me if you must, I’m just keeping it real here. We had a fairly uneventful dinner, minus the 1764 times that EACH. CHILD. HAD. TO. USE. THE. BATHROOM, which put me in a bit of a quandary. Do I stay with the kids who did not have to go? Make them all go every time one had to go? Or do I escort the one that did have to go? Single parenthood is not for me. We survived dinner somehow and I decided that we needed to kill a little bit more time just to ensure our power would be back when we got home, so we went to the Depot, you know the orange one (I don’t think I’m supposed to say their name), as I’m in the market for some new bathroom fixtures and a living room rug. As I was perusing the rugs, I turned around and discovered my children taking turns RIDING THE ROLLS OF CARPET on display. You have got to be kidding me. Right about then the recording came over the loud speaker saying “Parents, children should be attended at all times to avoid injuries.” Hmmmm coincidence? I think not. Thanks Depot for that oh so subtle reminder. After a firm..ahem..discussion with the kids about the rules of behavior for public places we continued perusing until the potty game started again. I’m not kidding you when I say by the time we left there I had written a very catchy “3 children Free to Good Home” ad to be posted on Craig’s List. JESUS, TAKE THE WHEEL….HURRY!

*That was enough for me. I figured I’d rather endure a cold, dark house than go one more place with the 3 hoodlums. So homeward bound we went. By this time GI Joe was done “working” and was on his way home too. Finally backup! I was confident our power would be back on too, after all I’d given MidAmerican Energy 4 hours to rectify the situation. Plenty of time. We arrived home and found our house still cold and dark. We decided rather than packing up and going to a hotel we’d just suck it up and pray that the power came back on during the night so we wouldn’t die as popsicles. Everyone bundled up by the light of candlelight and a work light powered by GI Joe’s drill battery, utilized every blanket in the place and off to bed we went. At about 11:30 we were awakened by the sights and sounds of EVERYTHING including every light in the house coming back on. Yay!!! Restored.
All was well until about 3 hours later at 2 in the morning (FYI: that’s a NKOTB song and if Annette and I were reading this out loud to you right now we’d break into song.."2 in the morning, girl whatcha you wanna you wanna fight..."), the phone rang. I don’t know about you but when the phone rings at odd hours of the night I always assume the worst. Nothing good happens between 10pm and 5am. I glanced at the # and decided it wasn’t a familiar area code or number so it couldn’t be anything bad regarding any member of my family so I let it go to voicemail. Which would’ve been a fine idea except that my phone kept making the alert sound every 5 minutes reminding me I had a voicemail. I finally checked the voicemail and guess who it was from? MID AMERICAN ENERGY! They called to let me know our power had been restored. Nice timing there MAE, we figured that out 3 hours earlier.

*After a short night, I stumbled to the kitchen this morning to start the coffee, thinking that today certainly had to be better than yesterday and congratulating myself on having power again. I hit the brew button on the coffee pot…nothing, hit it again…nothing. Unplugged it and plugged it back in…still nothing. (FYI: Really NOT a morning person and coffee made and delivered to me by GI Joe is the only thing that gets me out of bed most mornings.) Teetered on the brink of insanity while murmuring this prayer “Dear God, I realize I should be thankful for having electricity and I am, but right now I really really need this coffeepot to work. Remember my horrible, no good, very bad day that you gave me yesterday? I know there’s something about you won’t give me more than I can handle so can I catch a break here cuz I’m pretty sure this is borderline more than I can handle. Pretty please?” Still nothing. Cried out for GI Joe to come fix it, which he did in about 2 minutes flat. Apparently when I was playing Electrician and messing around in that breaker box thing I didn’t flip one of the switches back, ironically the one to the coffeemaker. He made me a cup of coffee, 3 sweeteners, lots of Cinnamon Bun creamer, delivered it to me in a pretty mug and all was well in the world again.

Thus concludes my horrible, no good, very bad day. The moral of the story here is electricity and coffee...they make the world go 'round. The end.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Our kids have reached that age. The age where we, the parents, go from being young and cool to being old and gross. PUHLEASE.

Exhibit A: Our kids have never thought much of GI Joe and I flirting, sharing compliments, or affection in front of them...until recently. I was getting ready for work and I walked out into the living room where GI Joe and the kids were and asked, "Does this outfit make me look bad?" to which he responded, "No, I think you look HOT!" Awww how sweet right? According to our kids..WRONG. Blade and Dakota got these looks on their faces and Dakota burst out and said, "Ummm did he just say you looked HOT? That was soooooo INAPPROPRIATE!" Oh no she didn't. While I'll admit he was being very generous as I was most definitely NOT having a "hot day", but still how dare she try to take my hotness away from me!!! I asked her why she thought that was "inappropriate" to which she responded, "He called you HOT, that's just inappropriate especially when there are kids around. Blade and Ryder are too young to hear such things.You guys shouldn't say things like that too each other."

Wait just one minute...this is the same girl who thought it APPROPRIATE to pass gas (loudly) in front of Miss Hoity Toity at horseback riding lessons but it's INAPPROPRIATE for her dad to pay her mom a compliment in the comfort of their own home? Wow, where did we go wrong? :)

So yeah in just a few short years we've gone from young, hip, HOT parents to parents who are not to be viewed in such a manner and are strictly on this earth to take care of their needs. Ouch, wasn't ready for that..I'm ONLY 31!!!

Exhibit B that apparently we are strictly parents: GI Joe was working late and I was talking to him on the phone when I said to him, "I think we should have a date night soon, we haven't had one in awhile." Blade just happened to overhear and you would've thought that I said, "I think I'm going to grow a 3rd eye and dye my hair green." He gave me this look of utter disgust and contempt and went running off to tell his brother and sister the disturbing news, about my 3rd eye, I mean date night. Pretty soon I had a jury of 3 putting me on trial about this "date night" thing. Here's an excerpt of the trial, er, conversation:

Blade: "Why would you say you were going to go on a date with Daddy?"
Me: "Because I want to."
Ryder: "OK that's just weird."
Me: "Why is that weird?"
Dakota: "Because you guys shouldn't go on dates YOU'RE MARRIED..duh"
Me: "Umm excuse me married people still go on dates."
Blade: "I think that's unnecessary. You had plenty of time to date before you got married."
Dakota: "Yeah, that's gross."
Me (bewildered): "We can go on a date if we want to, you're not the boss of us." (wait, who's the parent here?)
Blade: "But you already went on a date, like 15 years ago, before we were born, that's enough." (Editor's note: While it was AGES ago it wasn't quite 15 years..but thanks Blade..really.)
Me: "You're allowed more than one date in a lifetime and now I REALLY need to go on that date with Daddy."
Dakota: "Can you just NOT call it a date, that's totally weird."

They finally gave up and walked away but not without lots of eyerolling, exasperated sighs, and murmurings of inappropriateness from parents. I'm expecting a call from the school counselor any day now.

Think I should tell them that if it weren't for "date nights" they wouldn't be here? :)

Oh won't they be so thrilled when our date nights involve chaperoning them on their dates? Ha ha..joke's on them! Ahhh sweet paybacks.......
This picture doesn't really have to do with anything, except that it was taken before one of our controversial dates, before it was controversial. Also, I would just like to point out that I think GI Joe looks HOT. Who wouldn't want to date him? Kids just don't understand. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good Directions

On the way home from the unfortunate flatulence filled horseback riding lesson, I must've gotten distracted (I know shocking, stay with me) by my hyped up kids. I think they'd dipped into the horse steroids or something or maybe it was the fumes. Because before I knew it I was in unfamiliar territory. Keep in mind that the stables are on a highway just a few gravel roads and a couple country miles from our house, and that I drive this route EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT, and have always taken this back way to get to the interstate when heading south, but I was LOST. Like, really lost. Of course Maggie the GPS was in GI Joe's truck so she was of no help, not that any of the roads I was on would've shown up on her radar, but I could've used her moral support. Also, it was really dark and there was a lot of snow, meaning I could not identify any familiar landmarks, such as the swinging bridge park where we used to go parki...I mean sightseeing. ;) Moral of the story, I thought we were going to die. OK, so maybe i exaggerate, but I certainly didn't know how we were going to find our way back home. Fun fact about the boondocks, you can drive for miles on a road before you see a street sign telling you what road you're on. MILES I tell you. I drove on and on and ON thinking I would eventually come to a road I recognized. Instead, I came to roads with twists and turns and no street signs. A lovely trip it was.
Finally, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and call 1-800-GII-JOE. Pride prevented me from doing it early on, as what kind of country girl am I if I can't navigate my way through the countryside that I've lived in for the past 10 years?!? But it beat the alternative of running out of gas (oh yeah did I mention that stupid light was on..again?) in the middle of nowhere and freezing to death. So I called him. He laughed...really hard. Then asked me where I was. Ummmm duh, don't you think if I knew that I wouldn' t be lost. Wait, probably not. About that time I came upon an intersection that had a street sign of all things. I read the street sign to him. He then asked me what direction my rearview mirror said I was going. He knows my sense of direction which is why he referred me to my rearview. It said west. Yay we live WEST! Oh wait I suppose that depends on where I was huh? Without a second thought he told me exactly where I was and how to get home. I just had to turn right on the road I was on and it would eventually lead to our road. I was in awe by his country boy sense of direction and ability to know exactly where I was and how to get home. That moment quickly passed when he then added, "Oh by the way, you're coming from the other direction that you normally would so our house will be on your LEFT instead of your right...just didn't want you to miss it...tee hee...ha ha.." Oh isn't he hilarious? So what if one time we drove up on our house from the opposite direction than we normally go and I exclaimed in all sincerity, "Look!! Their house looks just like ours!!"

In the end, we made it home safe and sound. Thank God for good directions....and turnip greens (name that tune)....and Christmas lights in January.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mortification of a Mom

Nothing humbles you like being a Mom.

Take for example, the scenario that played out while taking Dakota to horseback riding lessons the other night.

We arrived at the stables early (for once) and were waiting in the small waiting room with a window looking out into the riding arena. There's a couch in this sitting room and one the couch was a very hoity toity uppity mom watching her daughter's lesson in the arena. No big deal. We waited patiently for the instructor to finish the lesson so Dakota could start hers. The boys and Dakota were huddled in a corner watching the horses thru the window and I was in an uncomfortable chair (because hoity toity was HOGGING the couch) reading my book (For One More Day by Mitch Albom in case you were wondering...highly recommended). My 3 were whispering and playing quietly much to my delight, when all of the sudden the silence was disrupted by THE LOUDEST, LONGEST, umm how do I put this delicately...TOOT ever. (The word "fart" is probably more fitting but we don't say that word...seriously the word alone grosses me out.) I immediately looked at my kids with that look of shock and horror on my face when Dakota looked at me, smiled and said, "Oops, 'scuse me." Dakota!! Not one of my male offspring who are known for that sort of thing but MY DAUGHTER. As if that weren't enough to make me run into a horse stall and hide for the rest of my life, as soon as she got done saying excuse me, SHE LET ANOTHER ONE!
Yep, I was done. I couldn't even look at Miss Hoity Toity, instead I looked at Dakota with "the look", you know the one that says "might be time to look at adoption", to which she responded, "Oops, 'scuse me again. MUST'VE BEEN THOSE BEANS WE HAD ON SUNDAY!"
Are you kidding me? Sadly, no these are actual events.
The worst part? Well, besides Dakota not being the least bit embarrassed and truth be told, slightly proud? Which is odd because GI Joe and I are not the type to find amusement and entertainment in burping and tooting and have never encouraged public displays of either, but the worst part? Ummm yeah...THE SMELL. Small room + no ventilation + not 1 but 2 deadly tooting assaults=EXTREME NOSE BURNING, EYE WATERING, UNCOMFORTABLE AWKWARDNESS WITH HOITY TOITY. Can you imagine what she went home and told her doctor husband? I bet it went a little something like this:
HT: "Apparently, our stables are lowering the standards on who they will instruct"
DR: "Oh really? Why is that dear?"
HT: "There were these backwoods hillbillies there and one of them....THE GIRL....had a terrible case of flatulence and wasn't the least bit embarrassed by it."
DR: "How disgusting. What is wrong with people these days? Does no one teach their children manners anymore?"
HT: "Maybe they don't use manners out in the sticks."

Lessons learned from this experience:
*Time to find a new night for Dakota's horseback riding lesson so as to avoid future contact with Hoity Toity. I can't face her.
*No more beans and cornbread for Dakota. Even though it was delicious. Thanks Pioneer Woman, thanks a lot.
*Being a mom is such a GAS.

I'll be here all week...hiding in a horse stall.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Letters for the New Year

First things first, do you know what today is? One hint circa one of the worst songs of the ‘90’s….”it’s our anniversary”. Oh wait, that wasn’t really a very good hint huh? But seriously that song? I would put a link here so you could hear for yourself but I like you too much for that. I just wonder what exactly Tony Toni Tone were thinking when they wrote that song? Did they think that if they wrote that song that it would forever excuse them from getting their significant other a card on their anniversary or what? Also fun fact, while the name of the group was Tony Toni Tone NOT ONE OF THEM WERE NAMED TONY. Makes about as much sense as that dumb song wouldn’t you agree?

OK enough with my rant here are my letters for the new year:

Dear Blog Readers-Happy ONE YEAR anniversary to us! I was going to do some kind of giveaway but thought that seemed a bit presumptious of me, considering this is just a small time blog made to record events in this crazy life of mine. I mean it’s not like I’m Pioneer Woman or anything….yet. So instead I propose a Reeses toast….to you. Thank you for reading and laughing, crying, and rolling your eyes along with me as I record the adventures of our life out here on the prairie and for not reporting me to HR for the things written here. Oh wait…scratch that last part. ;) It’s been so much fun especially when people that I haven’t physically forced (if I knew how to do the strikethrough thing on blogger there would totally be a line thru physically forced..please use your imagination) told about my blog say things to me like “Tell us that story you wrote on the blog the other day” or “That peacock story cracked me up”. Hey I figure if I can make someone laugh from one of my many misfortunes then it’s worth it. One of my resolutions for 2010, that I’m resolving NOT to break, is to blog more eat less Reeses. I like to aim high but don’t get your hopes up, we’ll see how that turns out. Do me a favor, help motivate me and post a comment telling me what your favorite Hillbilly Hilarity post to date has been. Was it the brokeback llamas? One of my many Mother of the Year moments? One of my sappy posts? Or do you think they all suck but it’s like a train wreck that you just can’t help but look at? tell. Inquiring minds want to know.

Dear Starbucks Peppermint Mocha-The sign at Starbucks says it’s almost time for you to go. I’ll miss you, my sweet. Counting the days til we meet again in 11 months……xoxoxoxox

Dear Iowa Winters-BITE ME. Oh wait you already did that with your NEGATIVE 35 windchill. The snow was pretty for Christmas and all, but Christmas has come and gone. I think I can speak for many of us when I say that I’m SOOOO over you. So help me if I’m stranded in town without my GI Joe and my backwoods babies another night due to your insistence upon 30mph winds, 6 inches of snow and below zero temps. Hey Antarctica ? Can you send some of that global warming stuff our way please? Feel free to send some of your ice caps too, we can freeze them right back up for ya. Mmmkay..thanks.

Dear Cell Phone-So sorry about dropping you on the ground under my truck and leaving you there in the snow, and -3 temperatures for approximately 8 hours yesterday. Thanks for still working for me. Oh and also so sorry about your sister that I ran over 3 times a few weeks ago. But just think if I hadn’t run her over you and I would’ve never met. It’s better this way. Now keep up the good work or I’ll run over you too.

Dear Biggest Loser Boot Camp Bob-Hi it’s me again, you know the girl with zero willpower and even less desire to what's that word...exercise (ewww shudder). I know we haven’t “talked” for awhile now but it’s time we got back together. I can’t say that I’ve missed you, but I have missed being able to fit in my skinny pants. I’ll try to do better this time. If you could tone down the chipper when you’re making me do painful squats and stuff we’d get along a lot better.

Dear Santa-Thanks for bestowing the Christmas magic on the Koons Zoo once again and your welcome for the delicious cookies we left out for you. I know you’re probably on vacation right now in Hawaii or someplace warm but I’m sure your elves need something to keep them busy during their downtime. Here’s a suggestion for you to consider. How about sending an elf back to my house to take down all the crap that we put up in anticipation of the big day and leaving a nice clean, clutter free house in its wake? I haven’t had a chance to do it yet and between you and me it’s putting me over the edge. I’m THIS close to boycotting decorating for Christmas next year if it doesn’t come down by this weekend. Not that making demands or anything, just sayin’. Your cooperation is appreciated. There will be extra cookies in it for you. P.S. It’s the least you could do since you didn’t bring me ANY of the items from my very low maintenance Christmas list.

Dear CNN-Thanks SOOO much for reporting on the ever enlightening poll taken to determine the most annoying words of 2009 which are: whatever, anyway, you know, and it is what it is. And to you I say “Whatever CNN. And anyway, don’t you have some, you know, REAL news to cover?” It is what it is I guess. Oh how I make myself laugh. P.S. to Readers: If the use of the word “whatever” is annoying to you, go ahead and delete this blog from your favorites immediately because I find it a hilarious word, except of course when my 10 year old daughter is saying it to me whilst rolling her eyes.

Dear GI Joe-Remember last year when you had that remote start put on the Princess Mobile? Umm yeah about that, have I told you lately that it was the best Christmas present EVER?!? Every cold winter day I love it (and you) more and more. Oh yeah and sorry that instead of reciprocating the favor and buying you one for your truck for Christmas this year that you got a lousy hoodie instead. But I know how you heart hoodies, especially one that says “American Farm Boy” so on second thought, we’re pretty close to even.

And with that we're off to celebrate the one year anniversary of this blog by going to see Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel (sp?). You should all be so lucky to celebrate in such a manner. Full movie review coming soon. Hold on to your seats.

And don't forget to indulge my need for attention and affirmation and post a comment with your favorite HH post to date.

Peace Out,

The Prairie Princess

Monday, January 4, 2010


the newest member of the Koons Zoo. It's not a zebra (sadly), or a reindeer (still working on that), or a bird or's a PUG.

Dexter Allen Koons the Pug to be exact. Not like Dexter the serial killer from FOX. More like Dexter from the pug names website on our friend the internet. Because YES, someone actually searched the internet looking for pug names (and it wasn't me.) He also answers to THE PUG, Puppy, Pugster, Dex, Pugsley, and a myriad of other things as long as you use that special "puppy voice". You know the one, high pitched, goochie goochie goo talk that you'd be mortified if the world heard you. Yeah that one.

But he's SO pug-a-licious you just can't help yourself. Check him out.

He has wrinkles, snores, breathes thru his nose, has bug eyes, short legs, sounds like a Gremlin when barks, and yet we find him absolutely adorable. Can you imagine a profile reading like that and being successful? Oh if only we were all pugs.

Santa brought him for a certain short one in our house that has been campaigning, researching, PLEADING for a pug for the past 2 years. Any guesses who? Again, NOT me. Although I have I'm a sucker for puppies...and emus....and pot bellied pigs.....and well you get the point. Needless to say, Santa didn't really have to sweet talk this Mama too much.

But he's ALL Blade's as I often remind him when it's time to take puppy outside or feed him or clean up a mess. ;)

Definitely a Christmas morning he won't forget. The look on his face when the suspicious looking package under the tree WHINED? Priceless.

Dexter is fitting right in with the other 2 dogs.

Or not......

He may be little but he is the only one with a snuggie to match his master's. That's gotta count for something.

Now if you'll excuse me I've got to go hug a pug. Good night all!

There's No FUN in Funeral

Ok I know what you're thinking, "She's REALLY going to blog about the funeral of her niece? Has she no boundaries? No class? No tact?" And the answer is, "Yes." But wait, this is my blog and part of the reason for my blog is to journal our lives and like it or not this is a part of our life. And believe me I don't like it, not one bit.
While it was among the most heartbreaking, emotional weeks of my life, because I was in the company of my awesome family we still had our moments of laughter, our reminder that life will still go on and even though our hearts are broken we can still find the sunshine in the rain (cliche anyone?).
Where to begin? How about on our journey there last Tuesday? Heidi and I had decided to head down there, me leaving Iowa to pick her and her 2 babies up outside of Kansas City and then continuing on to TN. The husbands and the rest of the kids would follow once we knew more. It was about 30 minutes after I left my house as I was passing Osceola, IA that I got the call from Hilary. The one telling me we hadn't come soon enough, that Kaydence was gone. It's still kind of a blur, I just remember feeling numb, like surely it wasn't real, like I still needed to get there and see for myself. I pulled over at a rest area to get my bearings and to call GI Joe. I decided to continue on as no doubt, Hilary needed us now more than ever. I arrived at Heidi's house, south of Kansas City, helped her finish packing, loaded up her kids (my adorable, niece Savannah and nephew Jonah) and off we went. We drove and drove and drove. Between Maggie the GPS stressing me out with her constant nagging and Heidi not being a very reliable navigator, we somehow missed our exit in St Louis and ended up driving right thru the hood of STL. We were surrounded by bars on windows, homeless people, and people of color participating in what looked like illegal activities. Luckily, having been black myself ('92-'94) I cranked up the Snoop Dogg, threw up a few gang signs and we made it on our way without incident. We stopped for a drive thru dinner somewhere after we went thru St Louis. With bellies full, caffeine injected, we felt confident about the rest of our journey. About an hour after we ate Savannah started whining, crying and being really unhappy, mumbling something about her tummy hurting. We stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere Missouri so that Heidi could feed Jonah and then we could switch drivers. We parked and I went in the gas station. When I came out Heidi was in the passenger seat feeding Jonah and Savannah was standing in front of her, when all of a sudden she looked right at me then at Heidi and then PROJECTILE VOMITED ALL OVER Heidi, Jonah and my Princess Mobile. Awesome. It was disgusting. Apparently in the few years my kids have outgrown the baby/toddler stages I've lost all tolerance for bodily function mishaps as I thought i was next. I ran inside to rob the bathroom of as many paper towels as I could get my hands on then handed them to Heidi, all while covering my mouth and nose. She wiped up what she could and then got out to survey the damage done to her, Savannah, and Jonah. It wasn't pretty my friends. I went to the trunk and got out fresh clothes for the kids and took Jonah in to change him. Of course being a gas station/Burger King combo store in the middle of podunk, MO the restrooms had no changing tables so I had to squat on the floor, and balance Jonah on my lap to change him. And that's when I realized I'm way too old for this baby stuff. He's pretty sweet though and it wasn't his fault he was covered in his sister's vomit so I got him changed. Finally, about 45 minutes later everyone was clean enough (including the PMobile) to continue on our way. And we had something to laugh about.
We arrived at Hilary's at 2:30 Wednesday morning, I had left my house at 10:00 am Tuesday morning, do the math that's 16.5 hours, I must really love my sister. Yes, yes I do. She had told us that our agenda Wednesday involved a trip to the cemetery to pick out Kaydence's plot. The only highlight of that trip was the rate of speed at which the groundskeeper drove his truck thru the cemetery expecting us to follow him to the open plots. We're talking Mario Andretti here. His need for speed lightened up the situation just a little bit. He took us to one area called Baby Land. The 4 of us agreed it was a horrible, horrible place and asked for the other option. He led us to a nice, newer section of the cemetery where she could have an upright tombstone and a tree shading her spot. Perfect.

Here are some other points of interest from this week:

*When crisis strikes, us Arnold girls do what comes natural...GO SHOPPING. It's called retail therapy. Don't judge, we all deal different ways. Sidenote: Evie (our wonderful stepmom) loathes shopping but even she went with us. We had to find something to wear for the visitation and funeral. You know because nothing in any of our closets seemed appropriate, and mostly because we needed the distraction. We shopped the afternoon away and Evie hung in there with us, not complaining at all. The only time she complained is when I ran a red light, oh and when I lost my cell phone in a dressing room. Oops. :)

*While we were out shopping, my Dad hung out with Micah and Savannah at the house. He had talked to Evie at one point and told her that the church had dropped off a bunch of chicken for us to eat. Naturally, after 4 hours of shopping we were all famished so hurried back to the house to have some chicken. Dad had taken the kids somewhere to play so he wasn't there and the chicken was nowhere to be found. We were gnawing on our arms we were so hungry, while looking everywhere for the chicken. Finally, Evie got Dad on the phone and asked where all this chicken was that he said was there. His response? "I put it on outside on the deck, on the grill," in a tone that suggested we were imbeciles for not having looked there. Seriously.

*On Wednesday night, after Heidi had reached her wit's end being a single parent and still a day until her husband Terry came to relieve her we had the toilet incident of 2009. Savannah and Micah are just 3 months apart and typical 2 almost 3 year olds. They are so much fun, when they aren't wetting their pants or projectile vomiting all over my PMobile. :) Anyway, on Wednesday night 46 Memory game cards mysteriously turned up missing. We had played it earlier in the day but Savannah and Micah had decided to play again apparently. Heidi asked Savannah a couple of times where they were and Savannah turned around and very sassily exclaimed, "I. DON'T. KNOW." And then Hilary and I laughed with a pillow covering our faces until our sides hurt. Oh the attitude. Love it, when it's not Dakota giving it to me. Upon further investigation we discovered that both toilets in the house were backed up. didn't take long until the idea formed in our heads, 46 MEMORY CARDS+FLUSHED INTO THE TOILET=CLOGGED SEPTIC SYSTEM. Heidi briefly interrogated Savannah and she very guiltily admitted that yes, she had flushed the memory cards down the toilet and something about Micah having a part in it too. Being a typical girl, she couldn't go down without taking Micah with her. We got the toilets working again and began hoping for the best, that the cards would disintegrate quickly and not cause any more problems. A little while later, Hilary was picking up Micah's room and found the 46 Memory cards!!! So now the question remains, WHAT did they flush down the toilets, cuz you know it was SOMETHING! Aww toddlers, gotta love 'em.

*Hilary and Bryan are awesome and even before I got there to offer my input they had told their church they did NOT want ham sandwiches for the funeral dinner but instead a TACO DINNER. And tacos it was. And I reminded everyone this was how it was to be for my passing as well. Ole!

*They also picked out the prettiest casket I've ever seen in the most beautiful shade of bubble gum pink. I want a matching one when I go. It was gorgeous. It helped that it was such a pretty color of pink because it distracted from the unnaturally small size of it. Ever seen a baby casket? Awful, just awful. That image will forever be burned in my memory, so at least it's pink.

*The service was amazing. Bryan had written a song a few months back about Kaydence and their journey that he recorded and had played at the service. As if that weren't enough to help the Kleenex consumption, both grandpas spoke, a video of Kaydence's life was played, and their pastor, who was himself very attached to Kaydence gave a very uplifting message. Also, I drew the short straw among the family and was asked by Hilary to read Kaydence's verse at the service. Have I mentioned I'm horribly ugly when I cry? I am. But somehow I managed to get thru it, even though at times I couldn't see the words on the page from the tears blurring my eyes, but I did and it felt good to have a part in giving Kaydence a proper send off. Here's that verse, it's so powerful and so very Kaydence, "As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man that had been blind from birth. "Rabbi," his disciples asked him, "why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents' sins?" "It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins," Jesus answered. "THIS HAPPENED SO THE POWER OF GOD COULD BE SEEN IN HIM." John 9:1-3. See what I mean? Gives me goosebumps.

While it was a very sad time, it was also a very special time of being together. We haven't all (sisters, husbands, kids, parents) been in the same place together since before Kaydence was born, until this weekend. Sometimes just being together is just what the doctor ordered. OK and again don't judge but since we were all there we had family pictures taken by a friend of Hilary's in their backyard, puffy eyes and all. Hey, when opportunity knocks we answer. I think the pictures really capture who we are as a family at this very moment in time sadness, smiles, love, chubby faces (me) and all. I wouldn't change a thing, well except for the 10 pounds I need to lose.

On a serious note, thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words. They mean so much and have really been felt by our entire family. Please continue to keep HIlary, Bryan, and Micah in your thoughts and prayers as this is the really hard part, after everyone's left, getting used to the new normal without Kaydence. Lucky for them (and mostly me) I will be making a return visit in 2 weeks. Just last Monday, what seems like a lifetime ago, I had booked a flight down to see them because I was having withdrawals from my sweet niece and nephew, oh and sister too. That was BEFORE we got the news from hospice that Kaydence was on limited time. Alot changes in a week.

Moral of the story here is count your blessings, love them, hold them tight, and keep the faith. Because in the sorrow is where faith is found, to quote Bryan's aka Michael Buble's song.

Now excuse me while I go drown my sorrows in leftover Reese's Christmas trees. WHAT New Year's resolution?!?