Thursday, December 23, 2010

From Our Zoo To You....

In years past this is when I would post our annual Christmas novel letter just in case you weren't on the list of the select 37 that actually received it in the mail.  Not this year.  This year, I started to write the annual Christmas letter and by the end of the first paragraph realized if I sent it out people would need to spike their eggnog with something strong just to read the letter, it was that depressing.  I'm not one to sugar coat things (like you didn't already know that) and the first 2 1/2 months of 2010 were among the worst in our family's history and that just doesn't make for a feel good, warm and fuzzy Christmas letter.  So instead of the Debbie Downer letter I included this shameless plug for this blog. 

Dear Friends and Family,
Seasons Greetings!  You're probably expecting a lengthy, detailed, witty (a girl can dream) recap of our year.  After much deliberation, angst, and even a facebook poll, I've decided not to write the annual Koons Christmas letter. 
Dry your eyes because instead I offer you this...........  My blog where I, self proclaimed Prairie Princess, record the major and not so major happenings, mishaps, events, that take place here at the Koons Zoo throughout the year.  Like the time I accidentally bought donkeys because I thought they were mules or Blade's first season of tackle football or Ryder's Homecoming Court appearance or Dakota's dabblings into girlhood or the kids' new bovine brother or the National LamKoons Summer Vacation, and many more tales, it's ALL right there and will continue to be.  So really it's the gift that keeps on giving!  You're welcome. 
Now with all the extra time you have from not having to read the novel that typically is our Christmas letter, go have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year! 

The Koons Clan

So if you came to this blog because you got that shameless plug in the mail along with our Christmas card, welcome and I hope you'll stick around.  And to those of you faithful, longtime readers, thank you for reading, thank you for laughing with us, and thank you for encouraging me to keep writing.  Being the attention seeker that I am, I probably wouldn't keep doing it if I thought no one was reading it even though I love having this record of our lives.  But you guys make me want to record it all.  So thanks and I'm sure someday when my kids go back and can read about the details of their childhoods, they'll thank you too.  Once they get out of therapy, that is.   :)

From Our Zoo to You...Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mary, Did You Know....About Nikon?

About a month ago, while at Silver Dollar City with my family and my sister Heidi and her husband Terry, we had a deep theological discussion.  The discussion was sparked by my incessant need to photodocument our outing to Silver Dollar City and the kids among all the millions of lights there.  I was trying to, you know, capture the memory. 
Let me set the scene for you. 
Me forcing my family to smile nicely and act like they were having a marvelous time and totally in love with each other in front of the gigantic lighted Christmas tree for the perfect family Christmas photo.  My family getting more irritated by the second by the number of retakes I demanded and also because for some reason they rather dislike having their picture taken..all.the.time.  Funhaters.
But then I dropped this bomb on them. 
"You guys should be glad I'm taking pictures, that way you can remember all these fun moments of your childhood.  I bet Mary wishes she could've taken pictures of  baby Jesus as he was growing up.  How sad is that, that she didn't get to take his picture or have a baby book for him?"
I wish you could've seen the incredulous looks on the faces of my husband, my sister, my brother in law, and my children.  It was a look like, "really?  WHERE does she come up with this stuff?"  Welcome to inside my head, the water's fine, but these are the kinds of things that cross my mind.  
GI Joe's response was, "I'm pretty sure they weren't really worried about taking pictures and more concerned with, oh I don't know, RAISING THE SON OF GOD."
Whatever GI Joe.  Every mama wants pictures of her babies and I'll bet Mary was no exception.  So that got me thinking.  Isn't it a shame that Nikon and Canon weren't around when Jesus was born?  I'm sure Mary would've liked to have a few pictures of her baby, I mean who else can say they gave birth to JESUS?  Every new mother thinks their baby is God's gift to the world but Mary's baby?  Mary's baby actually WAS God's gift to the world so she wins..showoff.  Also, don't you ever wonder if baby Jesus was a cute baby?  I do.  Because contrary to popular belief not all babies are cute, like the one who was in the nursery as I was pacing the halls of the maternity ward while in labor with Dakota and may or may not have said, "I hope our baby doesn't look like THAT baby cuz it's kinda ugly," about without knowing his Dad was walking right behind us....oops.  If only Mary had had a Nikon we'd know if baby Jesus belonged in the cute baby camp or the unfortunate "hope he grows into it" camp. That would give a whole new meaning to Picture Bibles, wouldn't it? 
It kinda makes me sad for Mary to tell you the truth.  No pictures, no brag book, no baby book.  She raised the greatest guy ever and doesn't even have an 8x10 glossy on the mantle to show for it.   Wonder if she put a notch on the doorframe to track his growth?  Someone should totally track down that doorframe and put that on ebay, can you imagine the bidding war?
So from now on when my family gives me grief about taking their picture yet again, I'm just gonna ask them this, "What would Mary, mother of Jesus, do?  I'll tell you what she'd do, she'd take the picture and I'll tell you what else, her child, JESUS, would smile and cooperate with his mama, SO GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE!"  
Sacrilegious?  Nah..  Effective?  You be the judge. 
I think their faces say it all. 


Gender Confusion

Attention, your attention please.  I have an important announcement to make.

*clears throat*

Here at the Koons Zoo, we've been living a lie. 

Remember our little, ahem, issue with our llamas?  The brokeback llamas?  Aren't you glad you clicked that link so you could see that picture again?  You're welcome. 

And remember our solution to the aforementioned issue? 

Well, plan failed.  The candles, the wine, the music was all for nothing. 

Now instead of a happy llama family with a gay llama uncle, we have....wait for it.... THREE GAY MALE LLAMAS. 

Yeah, that's right, our supposed llama mama?  Not so much a mama. 

This shocking discovery was made over the weekend when he/she formerly known as Dolly came up to give GI Joe a nuzzle because that's what she does, and as she was running away, the wind blew her fur just right, and lo and behold, get the treasure chest because there were JEWELS there.  And I'm not talking emeralds here, people. 

This explains why we there's no baby llama even though the appropriate gestation period has passed.  Nothing's gestating in there if you know what I'm saying. 

Once again I was improperly misled by the livestock auction.  Remember the mules?  This time I had paperwork that said he was a SHE. 

So Dolly Llama is now Wally Llama. 

The bad news is that it has become increasingly obvious that we are not certified in gender specification.  Between Herky the Turkey who we were sure was a boy until HE started laying eggs, to a kitten who for MONTHS went by the name Jasmine until we saw Jasmine in a precarious position with another cat that caused us to change the name from Jasmine to Jazz, and now this.  Come to think of it, do I really have ONE DAUGHTER AND 2 SONS?!?  Uh oh. 

The other bad news is that we really thought Wally was a Dolly because of all the chasing and..ahem...dominating that the other 2 male llamas were doing to her/him.  So not only did Dolly/Wally NOT cure our brokeback issue HE made it worse.  And now we have a regular Blazing Saddles brothel up in here. 

The good news (?)....Gay marriage in's not just for people anymore.   

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Tale of Two Earrings

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I was taking out my earrings and found, much to my dismay that one ear was earring-less (that’s absolutely a real word). I rather liked the earrings I had been wearing so was a little bummed that I had apparently lost it. I reached over to the other ear to take out the remaining earring and thought it felt a little bulky. I laid the earring down on the sink and looked in the mirror. And what did I find? THE OTHER EARRING…IN MY EAR. The same ear that the other earring had been in, in the same hole! So basically, I had been walking around all day with 2 earrings in the same hole in the same ear. Nice.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank my coworkers who let me walk around all day, head tilted at a weird angle from all the excess weight on one side and 2 earrings dangling out of one ear hole, without saying a word.  Thanks guys, thanks a lot. 

At least now I know why my ear hurt all day.

So when you see celebrities with 2 hoop earrings dangling out of one hole in one ear on the cover of US Weekly very soon, you’ll know who started the trend.

THIS girl, that’s who.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A REAL Prairie Princess

As if there was ever any doubt that I am a true Prairie Princess, here are a list of things I've done in the past week  that pretty much put me in the category of former prairie greats such as Laura Ingalls Wilder and Ma Walton.  I mean, we knew this already but I amazed even myself this week with my pioneer like ways.

*Went for FIVE days without a dishwasher!  That means I washed dishes dirtied by five people BY HAND.  Gasp!  At about day 3, I realized paper plates were made for just such occasions (I'm quick like that) and that lightened the load but still...dislike.  Alright, I gotta be honest I didn't actually wash all the dishes by myself for 5 days, I LET the kids help.  It was a fun novelty to them so I let them indulge their life long dreams of washing dishes.  I'm a good mom like that.  The needed part came on Friday and by Friday night I was back in dishwasher business.  Thank goodness that dark time in our life is over.

*Started a fire BY MYSELF.... THREE TIMES.  The fireplace in our house is old school.  No switch here, you actually have to use logs and stuff.  We've had some really cold evenings and nothing makes me happier than Christmas music on the stereo, candles lit, something yummy in the oven and a warm fire roaring in the fireplace.  GI Joe has  been once again working marathon hours so if I've wanted something done I've had to do it myself.  So I did.  I started a fire.  And I'm happy to report that it stayed solely in the fireplace, there were no injuries AND it stayed burning as a fire should.  Also, I didn't even cheat and use lighter fluid.  I did it the old fashioned way with logs, twigs, newspaper and a lighter.  Because I'm quite certain that Caroline Ingalls had newspapers and a lighter and then blogged about it using her laptop.  So between this life accomplishment and washing dishes by hand for 5 days, basically we ARE the little house on the prairie. 

*I drove a really big boy truck to the feed store to get straw and feed for the animals.  You should've seen the look on the guy's face when I stepped out of the truck in my pink coat, fuzzy scarf, and high heeled boots and asked him to load up some straw bales.  Priceless.  I'm quite certain he thought I was using them for Christmas play props.  But then I started talking farm stuff with him so he'd know I'm legit and his mouth dropped to the floor.  He couldn't thank me enough for stopping, I think he's just not used to seeing anyone not wearing overalls and a feed cap.  What wasn't priceless was when I had to take that all home and then spend hours outside in the elements in my NON PINK Carhartts (I'm working on ANOTHER letter) insulating all of the buildings that the animals use for myself with a fever and nausea.  Good times, IF your idea of a good time is manure, continuous sneezing and watery eyes from the straw, frostbite and too much time to repeatedly ask yourself "Why do we have all these animals again?"   I still firmly believe if my Carhartts had been a nice shade of raspberry the task would've been all rainbows and kittens. 

While my pink Carhartts are in production I'll stick with my norm.....

Good night John Boy. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Motherhood Moments

This past weekend was one of those weekends where nothing went as it should and I couldn’t wait for Monday, which turned out wasn’t any better, but that's  another story for another day. 

Back to the weekend....
GI Joe has been working incredibly long hours and the weekend was no exception, he got to spend all day Saturday and Sunday training new recruits, leaving me to single motherhood. It just so happens that single motherhood is not my fortitude, I’m definitely more of a team parent. But figured I would make the best of it as I try to do since this happens quite often with GI Joe’s chosen career. I had a whole day planned of fun for the kids and I to keep us occupied. And by fun I mean, sleeping in, shopping, out for lunch, followed by some baking and Christmas movie watching. Sounds great right? Right, that’s what I thought. But apparently, fun to the kids means fighting, whining, being possessed by retarded aliens, and driving their mother crazy. I can see how the two would be easily confused…or not. I will spare you all the sordid details of their ridiculous behavior because frankly I don’t want to relive it. It was that bad. It was so bad that I was mentally writing the Craig’s List ad that went a little something like this: “Free to good home, 3 very cute kids, ages 11, 8, and 7. Housebroken (mostly). Have been well trained but may need some refreshers as they seem to have temporary amnesia.” Now some might say I should’ve just taken them home if they were behaving that bad. Which would’ve maybe worked except that I would’ve been trapped in the house alone with them. Also, when you live in the boondocks and work full time during the week and spend every evening of the week being a chauffeur to the aforementioned children, there are things that have to get done and weekends are really the only time to do so. Going home was really not an option unfortunately. Besides I think if I would've taken them home they would've considered that a win since they were not digging the shopping part of the day's agenda.  I get that somehow my shopping gene skipped them and they don't find the joy in it that I do, however, grocery shopping is a necessary evil and Christmas shopping for their Daddy should be a fun thing for them.  Also, it's not like I was dragging them shopping for 17 hours or anything it was just a few hours so basically, suck it up cupcakes.   
What I'm about to tell you may shock you, especially if you're one to read any of the Mommy Blogs where they talk about how wonderful and well behaved their children are and do nothing but dote on them, mysteriously leaving out the real life parts about how their kids drive them crazy sometimes, how they may or may not have lost their cool with them, and how they fed them Green Apple Tic Tacs as a snack to tide them over until dinner. Not that I've done ANY of those things but I am just not one of those Mommy Bloggers.  Yes, for the most part our kids are very well behaved and I love them with every fiber of my being but let's be realistic, it's not all puppy dogs and rainbows. 
Over the course of the weekend I heard myself saying things that I remember my mother saying to us (aka me my sisters were SOOO innocent) and realized I am my mother...with a twist.  A twist that makes me NOT quite as sweet or gracious or even tempered with my children as she was with hers.  And that's how I find myself saying (not yelling, I'm not a yeller just a "tone" kind of mom) the following things to my children on Saturday:
"I'm never taking you anywhere with me again!" (that's a classic straight from my Mom's arsenal.)

"See how well behaved those kids are being in that cart over there?  That's how you should be acting. OH MY GOODNESS, WHY ARE YOU NOT ACTING LIKE THAT WELL BEHAVED KID?!?

"I think I'm going to drop you off at Camp Dodge with Daddy and he can get you ready for boot camp cuz you're about 2 seconds away from being sent there FOREVER." 

"Everyone please shake the stupid off before we go into Target."  Stupid is typically not allowed but extreme circumstances call for drastic measures and technically I wasn't calling THEM stupid, I was simply implying that stupid how somehow gotten stuck to them causing them to act out of character.  But really, "shake the stupid off?" I'm so ashamed. 

"Raise your hand if you think it's a good idea to make Mommy, buyer of your presents, close personal friend of Santa, mad 3 weeks before Christmas?  *Crickets*  That's what I thought."

"Everyone get in your rooms and get them clean.  As much as I love you, I really don't want to see your faces or hear your voices for a few minutes. Mama needs some ME time. It's for the best."  You'll be relieved to know that I did not use my Mama time to drink any medicinal brandy, although believe me the thought crossed my mind.

"We're playing the quiet game.  The first person to talk, whine, or touch their brother or sister gets dropped off on the side of the road. And you think I'm kidding....."

And the list goes on but I don't want to lay all my cards out on the table for DHS to see.

Admittedly, it was not one of my finer days of motherhood but that's what it's all about.  Surviving the days like Saturday to get to the days like yesterday where we watched Rudolph, listened to Christmas music, cooked supper together, laughed, cuddled, and wrapped presents.  The worst thing I said to them yesterday was, "Quit running thru the house with that sword, you're going to fall and get BLOOD ON THE PRESENTS!!"  Seriously.

And there goes my Mother of the Year award....again. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

More About My Ass(es)

It's been 2 months since I brought home the mother/son mules/donkeys.  I still call them mules/donkeys because I hold to the fact that I THOUGHT I was buying mules.  For 2 long months, I've been deliberating over names, trying to figure out the perfect names for them. 
Meanwhile, GI Joe can only refer to them if he puts "stupid" in front of them.  For example, "Did you hear your stupid donkeys hee hawing this morning?"  or "I let your stupid donkeys out into the other pasture."
They really aren't stupid, but he just really REALLY loves donkeys.  Which is why I would NEVER knowingly buy a donkey.  A mule?  Yes.  A donkey?  No.  That's what he gets for sending me to an animal auction unchaperoned.  How was I to know that my first clue that I was purchasing donkeys instead of mules was that it was a mother and baby.  Who knew mules don't have babies?  I do!!!!! (now). 
Anyway, my mules/donkeys have adjusted well to the Koons Zoo.  Although, to hear GI Joe tell it, Holy Cow's reaction when we unloaded them into the same barnyard was, "Nooooooooooo".  But all this time I've been searching, thinking, googling for the perfect donkey names.  In the meantime, I've just been calling them sweetie and honey.  Not that they answer, they are still quite skittish and aren't the petting type...yet.  Give us a few months (warm ones) and they will be. 
But finally, FINALLY I've decided on names and I couldn't be happier.  They are perfect.



I probably don't need to explain why I chose Beyonce for the girl.  It probably goes without saying, it's a pretty common name for a donkey.  Or not.  Beyonce's black, the donkey/mule is white.  Beyonce is not a mother, donkey/mule is.  Beyonce can sing, the donkey/mule can't exactly sing but she does make some interesting noises.  Beyonce is bootylicious, and the donkey's technical name refers to that same anatomical area.  Oh and donkey/mule IS A SINGLE LADY!   So as you can see the choice was clear.  Really, it came down to I just love the thought of saying I have a donkey named Beyonce and also yelling that out across the pasture.  Good times. 
Then there's the baby boy...Kanye.  That's pretty self explanatory.  I mean, did you see the real Kanye West and his little escapade taking the microphone away from poor, innocent Taylor Swift last year?  He made such an A%#, I mean donkey of himself, so it's only fitting that an actual ass share his name.  Not to mention we were staying with the people of color theme, you know since they're white donkeys and all.  And naming them after white supremacists was clearly not an option.  Hello, '92-'94. 
So there you have it, the story of how my ass(es) was named.  And now I"m going to go wash my mouth out with soap.  Right after I go say goodnight to Beyonce and Kanye.  "See Me Now" ya'll, I have donkeys named Beyonce and Kanye. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Water Tower Wishes

Tonight as we drove by our small town's water tower lit up with a Christmas tree spanning the entire length of it, as it has every year since I can remember, I made the following announcement to my three children:

"Guys, I'm gonna climb that water tower one day, " said in the same matter of fact tone that I imagine Christopher Columbus did when he announced he was going to sail the ocean blue.

"But Mommy why?  It's so high."

"Well, because every good country song about living in a small town talks about climbing the water tower and for as long as I've lived here I"ve never done it.  It's time."  (And now that I say that I can't really think of a single one but I know they're out there, I've heard them!)

"What if you fall and break your arm?" (As if, don't they realize I'm as graceful as a ballet dancer?)

"Isn't that illegal?" (Obviously, they don't know I've been on that side of the law before.)

"Oh it will be fine.  It'll be fun!"

"I don't think it's such a good idea." (Who taught them to be so conscientious, such rule followers?  Geesh.)

"It's a great idea.  I can't wait to say I've climbed the water tower.  Maybe I'll even paint our name on it!"

"That's really NOT a good idea because then they'll know who did it and WE don't want to get in trouble."

"You guys really need to loosen up."

"We're gonna tell Daddy, he won't let you do it."


So who's up for a little water tower climbing?!?  Anyone?  Anyone? 

And now time for a side tangent that just happened, real time:

And right here I was going to post a picture of our town's sweet water tower lit up as a Christmas tree.  Bet that's never been done before huh?  Not the posting of a water tower picture but the lights hanging from the tower to form a Christmas tree.  However, when I googled it instead the first thing that came up was a picture of one of the boys' wrestling coaches, which is odd because I had no idea that he was responsible for the water tower, but that wasn't it.  Then I thought maybe he too had dreamed of scaling the utmost heights and getting a view from the top and he was featured in the county news right next to the tidbit about Bertha going to town for a pedicure on Thursday, but nope that wasn't it either..  I was completely optimistic until I looked a little closer at the picture and thought it looked a lot like a mug shot.  Not that I'm familiar with mug shots, after all when I had my run in with the law they refused to take my mug shot even though I asked...repeatedly.  A few more clicks and I had my answer and it wasn't pretty, friends.  He is on the sex offender registry.  *giving you a moment to gain your composure while that sinks in* And now I'm freaking out.  Here's the good news:  a)  he's considered very low risk and has no restrictions such as where he can live, work, etc b) it was 10 years ago and it was with a woman over the age of 18 (maybe his wife?) and c) he's always been a great coach to the boys and very polite, nice and helpful with us along with his wife who is basically running the wrestling program.  The bad news?  Well, you know me, I don't know if I can just pretend to be blissfully oblivious. How can I not pose the question to the head coach about his judgement in allowing a registered sex offender be an assistant coach to our kids?  And also, shouldn't we have been made aware?  What if he doesn't even know?  Oh dear, what have kind of can of worms have I opened here?  Am I overreacting?  Should we let bygones be bygones?  All I was trying to do is find a picture of the water tower for crying out loud.  What would you do?  Talk to me.  It's all fun and google until someone shows up on the sex offender registry.  Ugggh.
And while you're at it, tell me if you'd climb the water tower?