Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things That Scared Me at the Fair

Call me Little Bo Beep cuz I love sheep but THESE freak me out. 

They look like KKK members and obviously, having once been black ('92-'94) that terrifies me.  My sheep will NEVER wear these unless they are pink and bedazzled.

Don't panic, this calf is not dead.  It was just born..right in front of a huge audience of onlookers, most of which were city folk whom unaccustomed to animal births.  There were whispers of  "oh my goodness is it ok?",  "I don't think it looks very good",  and "why doesn't it get up?  It's gonna die right here in front of all these people and how traumatic will that be for the children!"  And by whispers I mean I was practically yelling this at GI Joe, who kept shaking his head and muttering something about I thought she said she was a farm girl now.  I'll tell you what was scarier than this...the placenta hanging out of the new mom's bottom.  Ewwwww......I spared you the picture of that one.  Trust me it was disturbing.

Letting our 3 oft times adventurous children ride by themselves on the Sky Glider in the car in front of us. This was not easy for me as I don't trust these things (the ride, not the kids) and also, they are really REALLY high up.  I just knew they were going to fall out and plummet to the concrete below while GI Joe and I enjoyed a romantic Sky Glider ride in the car behind them.  No, I'm not a drama queen, why do you ask?  Thankfully, everyone escaped the Sky Glider unharmed and whole.

*Warning:  Skip over this one if you have "snake issues"  I myself am closing my eyes while typing this one. 
This makes me shudder.  I hate snakes.  Which is why I sat out on a bench while the rest of my family went into the Snakes Alive exhibit, where they, get this, looked at and TOUCHED snakes.  I have refused to hold any of their hands or be touched by them since that fateful evening.  Have I ever told you why I hate snakes?  Well, besides being disgusting and creepy and OF THE DEVIL (Hello.... read the Bible), I was traumatized as a child by one.  A boy who shall remain nameless (Brad Black I'm talking to YOU), chased me around a field in Norwalk in 1987 holding a dead snake and while it's a little fuzzy as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, I'm fairly certain he THREW IT ON ME.  OK, that's all I can't talk about it anymore.  But now you know why.  And I'm totally justified in freaking out at the sight of one at the zoo even though it's behind 3 inches of glass.  I'm still plotting my revenge Brad Black, I mean nameless boy. 

OK this doesn't actually scare me BUT what you DON'T see is what they are rocking out to, which is a band called Hairball.  Hairball is an 80's cover band that plays all the classic rock stuff.  They are awesome as long as they are sticking to some good, clean, wholesome Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and AC/DC.  Due to Guitar Hero our children know all of these songs and begged us to stay and watch this band so they could sing along and play a mean air guitar.  Bless Guitar Hero for exposing today's youth to rock n' roll as it was meant to be circa 1980's and early '90's.  All was fine and good until they covered KISS.  Fun fact about Prairie Princess...I hate anything in a mask or full facial makeup.  So you can imagine how I feel about the band KISS.  Not to mention this phobia of them goes way back to when I was a little girl and would hear my dad talking to the teens in the church about this popular band called KISS which stood for Knights in Satan's Service (you knew that right?) and how they should abstain from listening to such devil music because it will turn them into devil worshippers who sacrifice small children and such.   Didn't have to tell me twice, I couldn't even look at their album cover without having nightmares, let alone listen to them.  Also, Gene Simmons was a jerk on Celebrity Apprentice.  So when the guy came out on stage looking like Gene Simmons throwing fire everywhere I was hiding under a park bench while my kids thought it was the coolest thing ever and "Mommy, quit hiding under that park bench you gotta see this.  It's SO COOL!  And remember I got a 98% on this song in Guitar Hero?!"  Thank goodness we left before the Alice Cooper tribute was done complete with A GIANT REAL LIVE SNAKE. I probably wouldn't have survived that one. 

Of all the scary things I saw at the Iowa State Fair this year, I have to say that THIS one scared me the most. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Things My Dog Eats

Meet Moose.

Moose is pretty much the canine king of the house..obviously.  He has a very busy existence doing exactly what you see here with napping/snoring/passing toxic gas thrown in.  Pioneer Woman has Charlie, we have Moose.  Clearly, they share the same enthusiasm for life. 

Moose is a great dog.  We never have to worry about him making a mess in the house or having an accident or biting anyone.  It's just not in him.  Causing welts on someone's leg from his over excited tail?  Yes.  Viciously biting someone?  Never.  He spends his days holding down the couch looking out the window waiting for us to get home.  And when we walk thru the door he's there to greet us with his rope bone so we can throw it for him once, which he'll retrieve and then go take a nap.  Apparently, one throw wears a guy out. 

But Moose isn't perfect.  Moose has his quirks.  One of those quirks being that once in awhile he gets a wild hair, deserts his post on the couch and scours the kitchen for a snack.  Somedays that Iams dog food just doesn't hit the spot. Who could blame him?

Let's review items found in our kitchen that have succumbed to Moose's appetite:

Three fourths of a German Chocolate Cake, frosting and all.  I wasn't all that upset about this one as I'm not a fan of German Chocolate Cake.

An entire Philly Cheesesteak Pizza, a new recipe I tried.  Moose gave it 2 thumbs up.

A small container of Vaseline.  And it wasn't even cherry flavored.

A loaf of French Bread.

These items I can't blame him for getting into as they were left out within his reaching distance.  

However, these more recent items, he actually opened a cupboard door complete with baby lock (yes, I know my baby is 7  now but I've been too lazy to remove it) to get into:

A box of Poptarts, foil wrappers and all.

Half a can of CRISCO.  I repeat CRISCO.  We found only remnants of the can.  Seriously.  His poop just slid on out for days afterward. 

A Costco sized container of NesQuick chocolate powder, again plastic container and all.  The bonus to this one is that he had a nice coating of chocolate powder around his muzzle and smelled delightful!

A box of CheezIts.

A box of instant mashed potatoes.  He didn't seem to care for these as he left most of it after taking one bite.  Probably cuz he couldn't reach the gravy.

You may be wondering about Moose's digestive health.  After all, isn't chocolate poisonous to dogs?   Not Moose.  None of this has ever appeared to even phase him.  

It's hard to be mad at this face for long especially when he barely leaves a mess.  For example, when he ate the German Chocolate Cake.  He somehow got the pan onto the floor without breaking it, ate the cake out of the pan not even leaving a crumb, and then left the empty pan on the floor in front of the dishwasher.  The Crisco was a bit different.  He must've wanted to watch a little TV while enjoying his greasy snack so he took it into the living room.  He left barely any evidence except we noticed our hardwood floors were especially shiny in there.  They had a nice coat of Crisco on them.  Word of advice...want shiny floors?  Use Crisco on them.  Want to be able to WALK on shiny floors?  Maybe NOT use Crisco. 

Anyone else have a dog with a stomach of steel?  Tell me we're not the only ones. I think he needs a support group..Overeaters Anonymous perhaps?  But he says he won't go unless they serve donuts or Crisco. 

Gotta go tighten up the cupboard security, just went to the grocery store and Moose will  be home alone all day tomorrow...I smell trouble.  Or is that Crisco? 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aquatic Center Adventures '10

This post is dedicated to my BFF Heather in Burlington.  She's basically my blog supervisor and will let me know if it's been too long between posts. I think it's because when I lived in Burlington she got to live all these blog worthy type experiences with me and now except for every once in awhile, she has to live them thru the blog.  Poor girl. 
Here's an example of things Heather and I do together.

Get groped inappropriately by a much too jolly Santa. 

Hijack hospitals wearing masks.  Our other sidekick Angie got in on this too. Hi Angie! 
So this post is for you Heather.  LYLAS!

A few weeks ago, the kids and I decided to take one last trip to the aquatic center.  If you'll recall anytime I go to the aquatic center it's an adventure

First you should know,  I collect swimsuits. It's a sickness.  Much like my shoe, purse, clothes, lip gloss, pink sickness.  But who wants to have the same tan lines all summer?  I like to mix it up.  And we do swim A LOT and I try to avoid laundry in the summer so..oh wait this is starting to sound like justification.  On this particular day at the aquatic center I wore a new swimsuit.  One I had picked up on sale earlier in the week.  In the store I thought it was unique, cute, flattering, practical for a hip mom who would be going down water slides and such with her kids.  But as soon as we arrived at the pool and I stripped off my cover-up I sent the following text to my sisters, "At the aquatic center, wearing a SWIMDRESS.  When did I get so old?  I don't even know who I am anymore.  Love, Your Formerly Hip Sister"
Seriously.  A swimdress?  What was I thinking?  I blame it on the pink and black.  Here take a look.

You didn't really think I'd put a picture of ME wearing the swimdress up here did you? Not a chance.
In the swimdress' defense, it is cute , and it did fit great for a DRESS.  Maybe that's what I was thinking when I bought it, "Hey I can wear this to church on Sunday with those pink and black high heels I have and then not even have to waste time changing out of my dress before I go for a swim."  However, I felt like I was going to drown everytime I got in the pool from the weight of the DRESS i was wearing.  Also, I felt 100 years old.  So there's that. Pretty sure all the teeny bopper girls in string bikinis were looking at me like, "Is that lady wearing a DRESS in the pool?  Old people these days." 

Nevertheless, my swimdress and I decided to enjoy the sunny summer day at the pool.  Ryder, my swimdress, and I headed over to the kiddie pool.  While splashing around in the kiddie pool, a mama NOT wearing a swimdress but rather a more traditional suit, was playing under the buckets that drop water on your head.  As she turned towards us, I noticed that she was obviously there to "hang out" as well, but in her case it was quite literal.  You guys, one of her "girls" was on the loose, like completely if you know what I'm sayin'.  So then I was faced with the moral dilemma of what to do.  Do I tell her and save everyone in the kiddie pool from being traumatized or do I try to erase that image from my mind and go about my merry (covered) day because after all I was wearing the ever secure and all covering Snuggie swimdress.  I did what I would've wanted someone to do for me.  I walked up to her, all the while averting my eyes, tapped her on the shoulder and awkwardly said, "Hi.  Umm I'm not sure how to tell you this but..ahem..(cough cough) I think you may want to adjust your swimsuit" and pointed in the vicinity in which she might want to adjust.  I feared her reaction but much to my surprise she non chalantly shrugged and then made the necessary adjustment.  Wow, why can't I have that kind of finesse?

Speaking of finesse, or lack thereof, let me tell you about the lazy river.  I heart the lazy river.  Stretched out on a tube floating down a man made fishless, snakeless, mossless, non stinky river with a gentle current to the sounds of hits of the 80's and 90's... what's not to love?  We typically spend a large amount of our water park time in the lazy river.  Sometimes we get the double tubes and float as a family and sometimes we need our space and go on single tubes.  The kids decided that this time they were too cool to go doubles with their mom, (probably cuz she looked 100, what with her swimdress and all) so we were on our own.  I was walking down the "on ramp" to the Lazy River with my tube floating along in front of me when I thought I would go ahead and get in my tube, by just stepping into it feet first.  That would've been a great plan if I had not been born with a lack of  coordination.  As I put one foot in the tube the other one got caught on the tube and I went flying face first into 18 inches of water.  While I did sustain a fairly major injury (my knee got scraped up and was bleeding), at least this time even with all that commotion I was still adequately covered, thanks to the swimdress.  But I think the extra material from the swimdress caused the splash that I made to be that much bigger or maybe it was me flopping around in the water trying to get my feet untangled from the tube, but all I know is that when I finally arose from my precarious face first position in the water, everyone within a 3 block radius was staring.  Nothing to see here people, just an old lady in a swimdress with crazy pool hair and skinned up knees who clearly shouldn't be left unattended without her walker.  She used to be hip and cool but ever since she bought that swimdress she went downhill quick. 

Because I'm a trooper and was bound and determined to make the most of the quickly fading days of summer, I let my kids talk me into going down the slides in the "big pool."  Up until this year everytime we've gone to the aquatic center we set up camp by the kiddie pool, you know maximum depth of 3 ft 8 inches, a climbing ship, things that spray water on you, the usual.  But this year, this year, they outgrew that pool and we are now members of the "big pool".  The big pool has a diving board and 2 small but scary slides that drop you off into 13 feet of water as well as a shallower swimming area.  Being the thrillseeker that I am and on a mission to prove that despite my attire I was a young, energetic 30something mom I accepted the challenge issued to me by my offspring.  The challenge was to go on the diving board and the 2 "scary" slides.  Even in my prime I was never much of a diving board person, too many eyes watching you (in your swimsuit) as you may or may not do a belly flop instead of a graceful dive off of it.  But this was for the kids so I did it (hello Mother of the Year).  I dove off that diving board like Michael Phelps in the Olympics (pre pot smoking scandal) with all the grace I could muster.  As I surfaced I heard, "Mommy you looked like a DOLPHIN!!!!  That was AWESOME!"  I know kids, I know.  That was all the encouragement I needed to face my next challenge...the slides.  I love waterslides but these were a bit ominous as they were very short and abruptly ended about 8 feet above the water leaving you to plummet to the bottomless fathoms below aka 13 ft pool.  I'm not gonna lie, I screamed as I went down them.  I screamed a lot..and loudly.  And then I got water up my nose because I was too busy screaming to prepare for the drop into the water.  And then the lifeguard asked if I was okay.  And then my children laughed at me.  And then I went and sulked on my chaise lounger and read People magazine while eating all of their snacks.  :)   

All while wearing my swimdress. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Lil' More Country Than That

Ryder made the following proclamation recently:

"Mommy, me, Blade, and Dakota are more country than Daddy."


I had to know as that's a pretty bold statement especially considering who his Daddy is.  So I asked why he would say such a thing.

"Because when Daddy was little he lived in town for a little bit (true statement) and then moved back out to the country, so he's not ALL country.  But WE were born in the country and STILL live in the country and always will."

And now it all makes sense.  Maybe, only kids who are ALL country poop in their yards. 

But until I see them on the roof of their houses one day trying to shoot at geese flying overhead when they are supposed to be hanging Christmas lights, I'd say they still have a ways to go to be "countrier" than their Daddy. 

 Just sayin'.....

But it's good to have goals.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Giving a Calf a Bath

That totally sounds like a Dr. Seuss title doesn't it?  Hey, I don't think Dr. Seuss ever wrote about giving a calf a bath, I think I need to call my literary agent and get that going.  Oh wait, I don't have a literary agent.  Huh.

Anyway, giving a calf a bath.  It's glamorous.  It's not messy.  And Holy Cow completely enjoyed his pampering experience. 
And if you believe that I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona.  (Sidenote:  Do you know how long it took me to become suspicious enough of George Strait's claim of oceanfront property in Arizona before I finally looked at a map only to find THERE IS NO OCEANFRONT PROPERTY IN ARIZONA?  Years, many, many years.  Who knew?  Oh, what's that?  Someone who paid attention in Social Studies?  Weird.)

I digress.  I do that alot, don't I?  Welcome to my world.  Back to the bath.  We've had Holy a little over 2 months now.  He's off the bottle..boo hoo.  I was tempted to keep bottle feeding him just because I want him to get nice and fat and also because I loved doing it so much but GI Joe assures me he's doing just fine and it's not natural for a 6 month old calf to still be on the bottle or in nature still nursing.  And I just mentioned nursing on my blog.  Wow.  I know no bounds do I?  Because Holy is a Jersey he won't ever get fat that's just not how Jerseys roll.  They always look skinny and bony.  You'd better believe that when we're at the fair shopping looking thru the livestock barns I will be doing comparisons and if I determine he's skinnier than his fair counterparts drastic measures will be taken.  And by drastic I mean, I'll bring him in the house every night for a bowl of ice cream. 

Here's our giving a calf a bath experience in pictures.


A heart to heart with Toothless the Turkey

Letting him know how this is all gonna go down.

Someone needs a pedi!

The hose came on and he was a rodeo ready bucking bronc.

THOROUGHLY enjoying his bath..obviously

Using a shampoo that promises to make him look like he just stepped out of a salon

Lathered up

My assistant giving him the comb down..barefoot, what a country bumpkin

Looking like a million bucks..ahahaha get it?  Bucks?  Cuz that's what he did the entire time.  OK no more coffee for me this morning.

Ready to impress the ladies w/ his soft, shiny, mango scented 'do.  Oh wait, there are no ladies.  Guess the emus and turkeys will have to do.

Someone at work asked me if "real" farmers bathe their cattle because they couldn't remember ever seeing a farmer out in the field scrubbing down his cattle.  The answer is no, no they don't.  Exhibit 423 why we are not "real farmers"...yet.  But even if we were "real" farmers I'd still give my calf a bath. 

While shopping for his calf bath supplies at the farm store mecca, I came across a livestock paint marker...IN FLUORESCENT PINK.  I think we all know what had to be done.

Doesn't everyone "mark" their turkeys..in pink?

Then there's Pigxie the Pork Princess.  I think it really brings out the pink in her complexion. 

Blade and I thought it was crucial that we give each of our animals a distinguishing mark, a pink "K".  You know for when they go roaming the countryside and someone doesn't know who the stray emu belongs to.  Never mind that the only place our animals roam is to the feed troughs or to their comfy spot in the shade or OR that everyone w/in a 10 mile radius knows that if there's an emu, peacock, fainting goat, or llama on the loose it definitely came from the Koons Zoo.

It looks pretty and really when you're dealing with farm animals, isn't that all that matters? 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Dear Ryder,

It’s here. The day I’ve been dreading for the past 364 days…your 7th birthday. You think it’s funny when I tell you you’re going to be 5….again….for the 3rd time. If only it were that easy. But NO, you keep insisting on growing and changing and getting older. And while I enjoy this sweet age you’re at and am cherishing every minute most of it, I know 7 is kind of the turning point. The turning point in boyhood where you’ll need us less and your independence more. Which really means that you’ll be getting dirtier (if that’s even humanly possible) and wander further out from under my wings.

Very early in the morning 7 years ago today, two weeks before your due date, Daddy and I walked into the hospital only to be told you weren’t ready to be born yet and that I should go home and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. As you well know, Mama is not a morning person so for me to get out of bed, get dressed, get pretty and make Daddy drive me to the hospital at the crack of dawn should tell you that I KNEW it was your day. Since you were my 3rd baby I was kind of an expert and was not the least bit happy at being told otherwise. Your Mama got a little bit sassy w/ the entire early morning nursing staff and as I waddled sashayed out of there after being discharged I yelled back over my shoulder, “This isn’t my first rodeo I’ll be back TODAY, mark my words!” and guess what? We were and those nurses cowered when they saw me walk through those doors a few hours later in HARD CORE LABOR. Serves them right. That was your first dose of “Mama is always right”. Don’t ever forget that, little man.

The minute you were born, I was smitten. And it wasn’t because of your good looks, because let’s be honest you kind of looked like a little old man. You were so tiny and wrinkly from being early, with hair and eyelashes so blonde you looked bald. Not to mention those huge blue eyes that took you a good 3 months to grow into. But holding you for the first time I just felt complete, like a deep sigh of contentment in my soul that said, “this is it, he’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for, our family is whole now.” Or maybe that was the epidural talking, either way life was good, really, REALLY good at that moment, and still is actually.

That seems like a lifetime ago and 5 minutes ago all at the same time. You’ll understand that sort of parental nonsense someday. The older you get the more I realize that the days of you automatically reaching for my hand to hold or the way every time you talk to me you begin and end each sentence with “Mommy” are numbered. Soon enough you’ll be too cool to hold your mama’s hand and Mommy will evolve into just Mom. Ouch, dagger to my heart.

I’m so proud of the little boy you’ve become. You’re one cool kid. I mean, even if you weren’t mine I’d still want to be around you. I see a lot of myself in you which is probably what makes you so cool. J You can turn on the charm when you want to and just as fast you can turn on the attitude, majorly (all me). This attitude multiplies times 10 when you’re hungry…WOW. You’re quiet and shy in new or uncomfortable situations (your Daddy) but once you’re comfortable, you have no problem talking, laughing and making new friends (me). You’re smart (me, and ok maybe a little from your Daddy), even though being the baby I spent way more time cuddling you than I did working with you on your ABC’s so I gotta tell ya, I was worried for a bit. Your teachers assure us you’re one of the brightest kids in the class and are reading way beyond your years. You can thank your big brother and sister for that. You’re an athlete in the making (me, I mean your Daddy) who plays sports more for the pure enjoyment of them than the competition, much unlike your brother. You two balance each other out nicely, he’s always pushing you to make you want to win and you’re pushing him right back telling him to chill out, it’s just for fun. Should make for some interesting high school years when you’re playing on the same teams. Speaking of your siblings, let’s talk for a second about your relationship with them shall we? It can be best summed up by saying, when it’s on it’s on and when it’s not well then OH MY GOODNESS THE WORLD IS ENDING AND YOUR LIFE IS TERRIBLE. Did I mention you can be a bit of a drama queen at times? I live for the times you and Blade are playing catch in the yard and giggling about “boy stuff” or when you and Dakota are squished together in the computer chair working on a Pokemon Power Point presentation or some such craziness. I however, do not so much enjoy the times when you are being picked on by them and then retaliate by ear piercing screams or constant tattling. And before you go feeling sorry for yourself let’s be clear on something, you KNOW their buttons and you push them…A LOT. Dakota humming a song under her breath? Gives you a headache. Blade beating you at checkers? He’s cheating. And heaven forbid, they chew with their mouths open at the dinner table, because that my son, sparks a rage deep inside of you. It’s odd that you are such a stickler for table manners and etiquette considering you have been guilty of POOPING IN THE YARD. Yeah, you’re never living that one down. In the long run, I hope you will one day realize that your brother and sister are your built in best friends and that you will always be close.

Thanks for filling our home with your energy, spunk, and sweet smiles.

Happy Birthday buddy. I hope you know that no matter how old you get you’ll always be my baby. Love you to infinity and beyond.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Ode to My Seester (Sister)

August 11th is a very important day in our family.  Because it is the day that BOTH my seester Hilary AND my youngest born Ryder came into this world...a few years apart obviously.
Tomorrow shall be dedicated solely to my ocean eyes boy but today, I thought I would talk a little bit about my youngest sister.  Mainly, because I just got off the phone with her to find out how she was celebrating her "birthday week" and to make sure she was wearing her crown proudly and she said they don't really celebrate birthday weeks and she tries to just keep her birthday under the radar.  It's so apparent that we're sisters, am I right?  I mean, I'm totally like that too. 
Or not.

Since I can't be in Tennessee with her to force her to celebrate and wear the crown and embarrass her to the ends of the earth, I shall do it with you here on the internets. 
You're invited to the Hilary party and you don't even have to buy a present.  Although, if you MUST I'm sure she could find it in her heart to accept it.  But you should probably send it to me first, you know for safety reasons.  I'm always looking out for her you know. ;)

In celebration of my seester let me tell you a little bit about her.  She's the youngest in our family, I'm her senior by 6 years, Heidi is right smack between us, 3 years younger than me and 3 years older than Hil.  When Heidi was born, I made my dad, mom, grandma, and everyone in the surrounding counties CRY due to my unruly behavior when they brought home a baby that immediately took the spotlight off of me and onto her.  Oh the stories she could tell you and that I would deny.  :)  But when Hilary came along, I was a sassy, independent 6 year old and I immediately took to her as "my baby".  Our mom had it made in the shade with that one because I did everything for Hilary and spent every waking minute taking care of  her or at least making sure Mom was doing it right.  Seriously, I've always been this way.  She walked at a later age that most babies, because who needed to walk when you had a big sister that carried you everywhere?  At one point in Hilary's life, Mom was told by a doctor that I, her big sister,  may have hindered Hilary's learning abilities because I always did everything for her.  Whatever Doc, she turned out just fine.  P.S.  The need to do everything for her has never gone away.  For example, when I went to visit in January, I cleaned her house, did her laundry and cooked for her because she didn't feel well.  And you know what?  I didn't mind at all. 

I have a million stories I could tell you about my little sister that would make you understand why she's the light of our family or I could list out some of the many reasons I adore her but I'll just tell you this little story, which is among my favorite Hilary stories.
Read it and weep, friends.

When Hilary was in high school, she had an interview for a job at a daycare facility.  She was interviewing with the director of the daycare who happened to be a male and his wife as I believe she worked there as well.  The interview was going well until the director started talking about dress code.  He said to Hilary, "We don't allow you to wear thongs here."  Hilary was AGHAST and offended that he would say such a thing to her.  According to Hilary, and I can totally picture this in my head, she looked at him in disgust and said, "Why does it matter what kind of UNDERWEAR I wear?!?"
The man just looked at her AGHAST and turned 14 shades of red, fumbling for the right words to say.  His wife came to his rescue and kindly said, "Honey, they call those FLIP FLOPS these days."  
She got the job.  

And that pretty much sums her up.  A little naive, a little sassy, and whole lotta likeable. 

To my Seester,
Twenty six years (or maybe 25 I'll have to get out a calculator to see how old I am) ago you came into my life.  We bonded when you were just hours old and that bond has only gotten stronger the older we've gotten.  
I love how you bring out the funniest in me and how I can make you laugh til you spit pop all over the place.  And truth be told you do the same for me, sometimes intentionally and sometimes because you're just so darn blonde.  As if I'm one to talk.  But seriously, I think that's one of the things that makes our family so great, our ability to laugh with (and sometimes AT) each other.  As many heartaches as we've been through if we hadn't laughed our way through them we would've never stopped crying. 
I love your humble, caring and gracious spirit.  This is where you are so much like Mom and where I could stand to take a few lessons.  You are way more focused on everyone else around you than you are on yourself.  Good thing you have a nosy, overbearing older sister to look out for you. 
I love the aunt you are to my kids.  Second coolest aunt on the planet.  I won't mention who the first coolest is, it goes without saying.  ;)  But I love that you ASK for your niece and nephews to come visit you and then are a mess when they have to go home.  Way to work your way up to the favorite spot. 
You are an inspiration to all who have heard your story or watched you thru this last year.  Your strength, your faithfulness in God, and your ability to still smile thru it all have made us so proud.  I know you don't like all the attention but take it for once.  You deserve it.  You are one of the most amazing women I know and I'm proud to call you my seester. It also doesn't hurt that you are always willing to go along with my harebrained ideas and/or pose for my crazy pictures.   
Lylas (love ya like a sister).  Oh wait you ARE my sister.  Lucky me!

P.S.  Does this count as your card?  :) Yes, I'll still send a present. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Shoe Story

A True Shoe Story by Prairie Princesss

Last week I scored some super cute cowgirl boots, you know cuz I'm a wannabe cowgirl and all, on major sale.  Friday morning I went to wear them and was baffled as to why they looked and felt funny.  After rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and getting another cup of coffee, I determined that I had two right feet.  I'm pretty much a rocket scientist, I know.  And then I cried, because they were THAT cute and I had the perfect new shirt to wear them with and I'd been waiting all week to wear my cowgirlish ensemble.

I took them back to the store Friday after work hoping that either the person who took home 2 left feet had returned them OR that there was another pair in my size.  It was tax free day in Iowa AND the shoe department of the store had some wonderful yellow dot (additional 70% off lowest ticketed price) sales going on.  Sidenote:  I adore the yellow dot sales.  Everything I buy there is always yellow dot.  Anyway, it was a complete madhouse in the shoe department.  I waited patiently in line as the frazzled lady at the shoe department counter helped those in line in front of me.  At one point, she yelled out to another sales associate asking for some backup to which the other associate said, "I can't, I'm helping a customer," to which the frazzled associated snapped back, "WELL I'M HELPING THREE!"  Booyah except not really because the other sales associate still didn't come help her out.  Finally, it was my turn at the counter w/ Frazzled.  I sat the box w/ my cowgirl boots down and explained the situation.  She took them out and confirmed that they were both right boots.  Enter Prairie Princess' mind voice: Umm duh do you think I'd be here asking for a left boot if I had a right and a left?  She told me I should go check the clearance tables and racks and see if there were anymore.  PP's mind voice: "Wow, I would've never thought of that."  I left my boots with her and went off on my wild left boot search.  I went back to the counter 10 minutes later and informed her that I could not find it.  And then I kid you not she said, "Well, I think I figured out what happened."  PP's mind voice:  Oh really, please enlighten me, because it is a huge mystery.  She continued, "I think what happened is someone bought a pair and ended up with 2 left boots."  PP's mind voice:  NO WAY!  I never would've guessed.  She then demonstrated for me how boots may have been flailed around while people were rummaging thru the sale table and may have ended up in the wrong box.  PP's mind voice:   I am so glad she's reenacting this for me because I would've lived the rest of my life wondering.  Once she finished demonstrating, she said, "The only way to prevent such things from happening is to always check to make sure you have a LEFT and RIGHT."  PP's mind voice:  Of course!  Why didn't I think of that?  Oh wait, isn't that YOUR job?  She continued with her lecture on the importance of checking both shoes before you buy and then finally said, "No one has brought back 2 left boots and they probably never will so I think you're just going to have to return them, unless you want 2 right boots."  PP's mind voice:  So what she's telling me here is that I'm an idiot for not making sure I had one of each but also that there is a person walking around central Iowa with 2 actual LEFT feet.  Amazing.  Now apparently I need to give some deep consideration to whether I'm going to return them or get some foot plastic surgery so that I can have 2 right feet to accommodate these boots?  Wouldn't 2 LEFTIES and I be quite the pair?!?  

In the end, I figured that foot plastic surgery was too costly since it was just ONE pair of shoes.  Now if I had a whole closet full of right footed pairs, I'd be all over that.  
I was heartbroken to part with the cute boots.  But it was nothing 2 pairs of shoes on yellow dot clearance couldn't heal.  And don't worry, I learned my lesson and this time before I bought them I CHECKED to make sure I had a right and a left.    If you only ever learn one thing from this blog I hope it's this, "When buying shoes, do this or you're sanity you'll lose.  Left, Right, make sure they're both in sight."

The End.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

National LampKoons Vacation '10: Continued

We happened to be in San Diego for the 4th of July and had a prime fireworks viewing spot on North Island Naval Base at Coronado Island. Sometimes it pays to have military connections. From our vantage point, we got to watch 4 sets of synchronized fireworks that were strategically placed all around San Diego Bay so no matter where you looked you saw fireworks. It was A.Mazing. Dear California, I'm gonna go ahead and let the fact that you had no welcome sign for us as we entered your state and also your whole harebrained fish ladder project go because your fireworks were just so darn amazing.

Also while at North Island Naval Base, I was hanging out the sunroof taking pictures of the ships docked there because one of them happened to be the one McDreamy was stationed on several years ago. He had drawn us a very specific "McD Map" identifying it, so it was imperative that I photodocument it for him. Apparently, taking pictures on an active military base is frowned upon, or so said the signs posted everywhere. I'm sure they were just teasing so it was totally fine. I mean, it's not like I was breaching national security or anything.

The next day we ventured up to Point Loma Lighthouse. It was very cool, no literally, it was FREEZING. The lighthouse was really something though and I decided I kinda want to live in a lighthouse, but only if I can replace the light in the tower with a hot pink party bulb.

After the lighthouse, we went to Belmont Park, a beachside amusement park. It was an adorable place. It was here that GI Joe and I embarrassed our children greatly by riding a kiddie ride with them and making scared faces and screaming, "WE'RE GONNA DIE!" for the duration of the ride. At one point, one little girl in the front of the ride turned around and calmly said to us, "Calm down, we're NOT going to die." It was a proud moment for our children.

Another sight that we had to see according to the vacation spreadsheet was "Seal Beach" aka La Jolla aka the Children's Pool. This is an area of beach that seals hang out on. It was so neat to see hundreds of seals beached on the sand. It was also really neat to see the "activists" manning the Save the Seals table at the beach FREAK OUT when people walked too close to the seals. I mean we're talking full on megaphone assault. As badly as I wanted to pet the seals I didn't think my Koons Zoo zookeeper credentials would get me very far w/ the activists so in a rare display of restraint I only admired them from afar. Well, that and the seals smelled really, REALLY bad.

Another Christmas card fail, thanks for the enthusiasm kids. 

Speaking of the smell of sea life, we went to Sea World. We love Sea World and can now proudly say that we've been to every Sea World in the U.S. which equals 3. A few funnies from Sea World:

*I tried to get a cute picture mid ride while the 5 of us were crammed into a teacup type ride only to be yelled at over the intercom by the ride operator to PUT MY CAMERA AWAY WHILE THE RIDE WAS IN MOTION. And then as if on cue my camera flew out of the spinning teacup and landed squarely on the concrete. Then for the rest of the ride everyone kept pointing at the forlorn camera laying on the ground. Lesson learned, I will obey ride rules from now on. My camera made a full recovery.

Just seconds before the camera took a flying leap.

*As we were getting ready to watch the Shamu show one of the kids whispered loudly, "I hope the trainers remembered NOT to put their hair in a ponytail, remember what happened to that one killer whale trainer?!? That would be horrible if we saw a trainer killed by Shamu tonight." Nice kids, and not the least bit traumatizing to the young, sheltered kids around us. FYI, since that tragic incident at Sea World Orlando the trainers no longer get in the water with the killer whales.  It's kind of a bummer and the show isn't nearly as amazing now but who could blame them? 

*I tried to put these penguins in my pocket.  That is all. 

*It is very difficult for me to go to any zoo or animal exhibit and not be able to pet the animals.  I don't really understand why every zoo and Sea World can't be like the Koons Zoo where everything is pettable.  Since no matter how I tried I couldn't pet Shamu, I tried a different approach.  This approach was to inform my marine loving brainiac daughter of her future career path.   She is to become a marine biologist and then work as a killer whale trainer so that I could have a backstage pass to Shamu and finally get to pet him (or her).  She, having a mind of her own and all (no idea where she got that from), adamantly disagreed with my request and informed me that when she is a marine biologist she will train dolphins and the occasional sea lion but NOT killer whales.  Fine, I'll settle for petting dolphins. 
This is as close as we got. 

To be continued....again.....

Christmas Card Fail #27

Or is it? 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Rear! 

Classy, no? 

Sometimes I crack myself up. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming….

Now back to our National LampKoons Vacation Highlights series. I know, you’ve lived for this moment. Read on. I promise it’s almost over.  OK not really.  It was a long trip. 

Where did we leave off? Oh that’s right, leavin’ Las Vegas . That reminds me of a song…..Long live the King.


We left Las Vegas after a long, hot, fun-filled, day of realizing life long dreams aka the Pawn Shop and the Las Vegas sign. We were going west young man. (Also a song.) California bound, a relatively short drive, short as in 6 hours. Fun fact…the area between Las Vegas and San Diego , Death Valley I believe, very closely resembles Radiator Springs from the Disney movie “Cars.” We stopped for gas and I half expected to see Lightning McQueen buzz down the street. Ever felt like you’re in a cartoon movie? It’s a little unsettling.

After our stop in Radiator Springs, we trekked on, excited to get our first glimpse of California , as this was uncharted territory for all 5 of us. We drove and drove and thought to ourselves, “It’s so weird that we haven’t seen a Welcome to California sign, we’ve got to be in California by now or at least getting close.” Imagine our surprise when we saw a sign that said “Click it or ticket it’s the California Law”. Oh wait, what, we’re IN California?!? When did that happen? Where’s the welcome sign, Arnold ? Geesh show a little hospitality. I may have to write a letter.

California is beautiful. Purple mountain’s majesty? Got it. Amber waves of grain? Not so much. And then we saw the sign for Los Angeles and I immediately started checking out every shiny, black Escalade, Suburban, and Range Rover we passed looking for the Kardashians or well, that was basically it. I love the Kardashians. Much to my dismay, the exit for San Diego came before we actually got close to LA. Maybe next time Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe.

Our first night in CA we stayed at a hotel on Miramar Marine Base. For you movie fans, this is where the movie Top Gun was based and filmed, it was Miramar Naval Station then. Oddly enough, I didn’t see Tom Cruise even once. I’m sure he’s much too busy these days being a couch jumping, controlling, freakazoid to hang around his old movie sets. Too bad, those were the good years for Tom, back before the crazy set in.

I just realized that before I can tell you about my dear husband’s epic blonde moment, I have to tell you about his first blonde moment of our trip. The one where on Day ONE of our vacation, he accidentally threw away his debit card. You know the debit card linked to the account with our entire vacation fund in it? That one. Thankfully, my card for that account was safely tucked away in my wallet so it wasn’t as detrimental as it could’ve been. He realized it was missing later that same day and was able to determine that he had thrown it away when getting gas and cleaning out the car. We called the bank first thing the next morning to cancel the card and were relieved to find out that it must’ve been in the garbage as no one had treated themselves to a week in Tahiti at our expense.

There you have blonde moment #1. 

The second one occurred our 2nd day in California.  Given that we stayed at hotels on military bases there was a whole rigamor that we went thru every time we left base and got back on, which involved stopping at the gate and GI Joe would have to show his license, military ID, and sometimes vehicle registration.  After being away from our hotel all day, we were heading back late at night and GI Joe asked me for his military ID.  He thought he'd handed it to me to put in my wallet for some reason, except that he hadn't.  He stopped the car along the side of a 4 lane highway at about 11:00 at night to search the car for it.  He found it stuck between the center console and the passenger seat.  Crisis averted..for now.  The next morning we were getting ready to check out of the hotel and move on to a different base and he was doing the pre checkout room inspection to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything and realized he didn't have his license.  We tore the room apart, dug thru the bag full of dirty clothes (eww), and searched the car looking for it...to no avail.  He was near panic mode.  After all, how would he ever prove to border patrol that he was legal now?   After an exhaustive search we determined it was lost before we got to the hotel the night before.  As a last resort, we retraced our route from the night before back to the place along the highway where he had pulled over to search for his military ID.  And would you believe..there was his license laying in the passing lane of the 4 lane highway?  He was able to retrieve it without getting run over so that was a plus.  We were then able to resume our relaxing and wonderful vacation in sunny San Diego.

Except it wasn't sunny...or warm...at all.  I'm adding false advertisement to my list of grievances in my letter to Arnold.  Here's basically what the forecast was for our entire stay in San Diego:  cloudy and 63 degrees.  FYI...cloudy and 63 is not tank top and flip flop weather.  Throw in a cool ocean temp of 62 degrees and you're basically looking at near hypothermia.  Of course that didn't stop us, after all we'd drive thousands of miles to get to the beach so darnit we were going to get in some beach time if it was the death of us!  We went to the beach  couple different times, mostly just to walk along it because we're wimps.  Then we had our "beach day" on the one day that the sun KIND OF peaked thru the clouds and the temp topped out at 65, and not only was the beach packed with people but they were in the water!  Californians may or may not be delusional.   The kids swam and played for hours while GI Joe and I sat holding down the towels on the beach fully dressed.  When they finally emerged they had blue lips and were shivering.  And then we had ice cream from a shop on the boardwalk because oddly enough they weren't selling hot chocolate, and all was right (and cold) with the world. 

After our beach day and nearly losing appendages due to frostbite, we started on our quest to find sweatshirts.  Obviously, that was exactly the souvenir we expected to bring home from SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.  But seriously, it was so cold and do you think there was a sweatshirt or long sleeved shirt to be found?  No, not at all.  Delusional I tell you. 

To be continued......

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Christmas Card Fail #1

I'm still working on an exclusive recap of the rest of our vacation.  I'm sure you're just on the edge of your seats waiting for it.  Be patient it's coming.  So this week, amidst the real blog posts w/ the rest of the vacation recap AND maybe even some other ones, I bring you the Christmas Card Fail series. 
As I shared with you before it was my mission to capture the perfect Christmas Card photo while on our vacation this year.  Many of you came to my rescue and photoshopped  Pedro right on out of our picture, therefore saving Christmas.  Thank you for turning that fail into a possibility.  But this one will be a challenge for you Christmas angels out there.  

Fix this.

Please make them look happy and enthusiastic.  Mmkay thanks?  Heck, I don't even care if Pedro makes an appearance.     

Stay tuned, we're just getting started.  One down 997 more Christmas card fails to go.