Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Year in Review

For the last post of 2011, I'm totally cheating and not writing an original post which is fitting considering my blogging incompetence this year, not to be confused with incontinence. :)  Instead, I present to you the 2011 Koons Zoo Christmas letter highlighting the notable events and happenings from the year.  Thanks for sticking with me this year, when I may or may not have blogged more sporadically than ever (hello 2 weeks between posts, I'm so ashamed).  The blog's 3 year anniversary is next month and that BLOWS MY MIND.  We'll have an anniversary party complete with cupcakes when that date rolls around but for now thanks for reading and here's to 2012.  Happy New Year! 

Without further ado..

Dear Friends & Family (and Blog Readers),
It's the most wonderful time of the year, time for the annual Koons Christmas letter! Try to contain your excitement. After a brief hiatus last year due to a depressing, craptastic, death-filled 2010, we're back and better than ever. Subjectively speaking, of course. But hey, no one died in 2011 so we're chalking it up a success!!! Always the optimist, aren't I? Also, yes I did in fact, use the word craptastic in my Christmas letter, I gotta be me.

So 2011? It's going in the "Nothing Monumental but No Tragedies so Overall a Great Year" category of years. Hang on to your seats while we review.

January-I have a massive dislike of January and January '11 was no exception. GI Joe worked approximately eleventy hundred hours every week and the stress level of his job as a Recruiter was at a record high. The three bright spots of January were 1) we survived it ulcer free 2) redneck sledding is so much fun and 3) our Christmas in January celebration at a cabin in NE with my side of the family. Listen, you get that much Arnold goodness in one place for any amount of time, fun is bound to be had.

February-As much as I dislike January, I dislike February 10 times more. Oh yes, I AM a ray of sunshine. Stay with me, I promise it gets better. February 1st marked the 12th anniversary of my mom passing away but on the bright side it was also Blade's 9th birthday, which gave me a reason to not have a full blown pity party. Speaking of Blade, 9 has been good to him. He's one of the coolest kids I've ever met and I'm not saying that just because he's mine. Fine, that might have a little something to do with it. Blade is the quintessential All American boy. Good at everything (grades, football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, you name it), Mr. Popularity, teacher's pet, class clown, and just downright hilarious. It's pretty fun being his parents, especially when he tells us things like, "You might want to take a picture of me in this uniform because you're lookin' at a legend," with a twinkle in his eye. And that sentence? Pretty much sums up Blade. So yeah, February was not a complete bust. Thank goodness for Blade....and our snowwoman.

March-We took our annual National LamKoons Spring Break Vacation to visit Hilary and family in TN. We love Tennessee (oh and Hilary, Micah & Bryan and soon to be baby #3 too. Did you catch that subtle announcement?!?). Toyed with the idea of relocating to TN, didn't, the end...for now. Settle down IA friends/family, it's LONG TERM thinking., as in after the kids graduate. I was born to be a southern belle, ya'll.

April/May-The ground thawed, the sun returned, the grass turned green(ish), the livestock auction reopened, my bovine baby Holy turned a year old, Justin shot a big turkey while turkey hunting, Dakota and I had a girls weekend in St. Louis with my sisters and smom, and my birthday happened. All good things, except me aging. Another item of note for the month of May, Dakota graduated from 5TH GRADE and into the world of middle schooldom. And with that, I died a little. SHE'S JUST A BABY!

June/July/August-My absolute favorite time of the year. I love everything about this time of year, except for the snakes. For the full story on that and much more go here (shameless plug #1). We spent a lot of time fishing, playing outside, hanging out in the pool, and mostly enjoying the schedule free summer. Not sure if you knew this or not but when you have 3 kids involved in all kinds of things, you put more miles on your car seat than you do your couch. So not having to chauffeur kids around to various activities was delightful. Here's hoping they continue to not want to play baseball and put a wrench in my whole schedule free summer. In early July, we also took our annual National LamKoons Summer Vacation to Tampa, Florida for a little beach time. Iowa has great sweet corn and all, but ocean views and salt sea breezes? Not so much and this girl likes to get white sand between my toes at least once a year.

We spent about 5 days in Florida hitting the beaches and Busch Gardens and then a surprise detour in Orlando for a couple days at the Nickelodeon Resort aka BEST 2 DAYS OF OUR KIDS' LIVES THUS FAR. On our way to FL, we made a stop in Kansas to see Heidi, a stop in TN to see Hilary, and a stop in Georgia to see Stone Mountain. On the way home, we made a stop in New Orleans to see..well, A LOT of things, mostly life lessons for the children and an unforgettable stop in Memphis to see some serious police action and to handoff Blade & Ryder to Hilary and Bryan for a week stay with them. They flew home by themselves the following week, another big to do in their book.

At the end of July, Dakota made her 4H debut at the Madison County Fair showing chickens and art work. Highlights include bathing chickens in preparation for showing them (a vinegar rinse makes them super shiny!!!) and bringing home a blue ribbon for her chickens AND her artwork. Now that we know the lay of the 4H/County Fair land you can expect to hear much more about this in future Christmas letters. Blade is also now a 4H'er too so it's safe to say that one week every July will be dedicated to the county fair cause. And that's fine with me because those are my people and I feel right at home there. Not to mention the corndogs and the animals galore. In August, we celebrated Ryder's 8th birthday, for approximately 5 days because that's how he rolls. I have no idea where he gets it. EIGHT? Can you believe it? He'll always be 5 to me so whatever, eight. He's grown a ton this year and is now just millimeters smaller than Blade. In addition to his norms, wrestling and soccer, he got to play his first year of tackle football this year and is currently in his inaugural basketball season. He loves his sports, although in a very different way than his brother. He's in it for the camaraderie, the hanging out with his friends, the having fun part of it. Blade, on the other hand, well, it's serious competitive business to him. Oh the joys of boys. Ryder is a lot like Blade in that he makes friends easily, has the teachers wrapped around his finger, and pretty much breezes through life. He still has the laid back surfer boy look and attitude going on, it's part of his charm. Although don't let that charm fool you because under that blonde exterior is a spitfire just waiting for the right moment to rear it's precious head. He's been keeping us on our toes since the minute we found out we were having him (surprise!) and is still doing that 8 years later. Man, I love him. Wow, would you look at that, I just spent a whole page talking about 3 months. And I didn't even tell you how the kids started back to school and how Dakota is now a MIDDLE SCHOOLER! Or that we had a beautiful, adorable, sweet smelling addition to the extended Koons clan when Miss Lyla Jean was born to GI Joe's brother Brian and his wife Lindsay at the end of August. It's been awhile since we've had a baby in the Koons family so it's been so fun and she really is cutest thing ever. Moving on....only 3.5 months left!

September/October-All I remember about these 2 months was the vast amount of football we watched. Between both boys playing, the Hawkeyes, and the Detroit Lions, every weekend was filled with approximately 70 hours of football. Both boys' teams ended the season with the exact same record of 3-1-1. GI Joe was able to get tickets to a couple of the home Hawkeye games and memories were made at those games. The home opener of the season he took his dad, my dad, and Blade with him and it was pouring rain the entire time. But the Hawks got the win and the boys got some new Hawkeye ponchos. Score! GI Joe also turned 34 in October, and shortly thereafter dislocated a rib while doing a home improvement project that I had requested. Old age isn't for sissies! Oh, one other fun tidbit for these months was the start up of my new venture.."Suck It Up Cupcakes". You know, because I have a ton of free time and all, I thought it would be fun to bake gourmet and delicious cupcakes for people as a little side biz. It's going great and I'm as busy as I want to be with it. The best part about the whole thing, besides the baking of 37 varieties of cupcakes (so far) is the logo.....

I mean, have you EVER?!? There's a facebook page dedicated to it if you're in the market for cupcakes (shameless plug #2).

That brings us to November, the end is in sight!!!!

November-November the month of big dates at the Koons Zoo. The first being Dakota's birthday. She turned TWELVE you guys, TWELVE!!! You know what that means right? She's officially a tween and a mere 11 months from being a TEENAGER. WAAAAAAAA! The great thing about Dakota is though, she remains unchanged by the fact that her peers are starting to get into boys and setting up facebook accounts and other such adolescent nonsense. She openly admits that she does not really enjoy being around lots of people or big cities and dating, especially in 6th grade is overrated and silly. Umm yeah, I'm thinking farmgirl forever and if we can just keep her thinking that dating is overrated until, oh I don't know, say 42, we'll be just fine. Dakota is still Dakota in that she likes her peace and quiet in the country, her ability to roam freely while hunting birds and rabbits and whatnot, her kitties, and her chickens. Her artistic and creative abilities continue to blossom as evidenced by her blue ribbon showing at the county fair and her academic excellence is only dampened by her ability to organize and her natural dizzy blondeness. She couldn't be more opposite than me (except for the dizzy blonde thing) which has been a good exercise in patience and humility for me. I've never met another kid like her and probably never will. Her potential in life knows no bounds and I cannot wait to see where it takes her. Probably not New York City, I can tell you that. :) Also, in November, GI Joe and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. How do you like us now haters of 1997?!? I tease. It's flown by but on the other hand it seems like we've been a part of each other since birth. Of course I still love him but I still really really like him too AND think he's even better looking now than he was when I first laid eyes on him in the fall of 1994, and believe me, high school junior me would have never believed that could happen. I know, gag me, but it's true. Throw in Thanksgiving and Black Friday and you've got a month for the record books.

Are your eyes tired yet? I should've included bookmarks. I promise, we're almost done. What Koons Christmas letter would be complete without the annual Koons Zoo count is so here goes: 3 horses, 1 mini horse, 2 mules "stupid" donkeys, 3 llamas, 1 cow (love of my life), 1 pot bellied pig, 1 "real" pig for eating...seriously!),

1 fainting goat, 1 peacock, 2 bunnies, 1 turkey, 1 ewe (not me, EWE), 5 dogs (I forgot to tell you that we are a foster home for the Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue and yes, I HAVE been able to give them up after fostering them), a whole lot of chickens, and a few kitties. We've lost some animals this past year and have slowed down on our animal acquisitions as of late. But don't worry there are some exciting acquisitions planned for spring of 2012, so stay tuned!

Congrats! It's now 2012 and you deserve an award for making it to the end of this letter. I apologize for the length but we had some major catching up to do. Life is good, God is great, and people, namely us, are crazy. From our zoo to you, Merry Christmas (belated)  and a happy New Year!

The Koons Zoo

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Santa Situation

In our house we go all out to make Christmas magical for our kids, and let's be honest, for us too. Because the only thing better than being a kid on Christmas is seeing your kid experience Christmas. We spend a lot of time talking about and living out the real meaning of Christmas so that it doesn't get lost in all the Santa Claus reindeer stuff but that doesn't mean we leave jolly Old St. Nick out in the cold. Out in the cold? Tee hee I crack myself up.

For example, every Christmas morning the kids wake up (in their coordinating Christmas PJ's of course) to find bootprints in ashes leading from the fireplace to the Christmas tree (thank goodness for hardwood floors), reindeer tracks in the yard and the reindeer food sprinkled outside on Christmas Eve gone, and a note from Santa next to the empty plate of cookies. They might also hear the occasional jingle of bells late on Christmas Eve accompanied by their mother yelling out the front door, "NOT YET SANTA, THEY AREN'T ASLEEP, HIT THE HOUSE DOWN THE ROAD AND THEN STOP BACK BY!" Whaaaat? Doesn't everyone yell out their front door at Santa? Pffffft.

GI Joe and I have so much fun filling Christmas with little traditions and nuances that they'll remember forever and likely pass on to their kids (you know, my named from "the list" grandkids). This year though? Blade is putting a little damper on the magic. Never before have any of them ever even questioned the whole Santa thing, I mean, how could they when they had the bootprints to prove he was real? At some point in the past month or so, Blade is having his Santa doubts. I blame the rebellious kids at school. Now some parents say they won't "lie" to their kids and tell them that Santa isn't real but let it be known, we are NOT those parents. In fact, we are the parents trying wholeheartedly to convince him that he is in fact real because, ummm, after all, ISN'T HE?!? That's one of the best parts of childhood and we kinda want to make it last as long as possible, like say, oh I don't know, THE REST OF HIS LIFE?!? My parents were not as extreme as we are, but they did go to certain extents to keep the magic alive for my sisters and I even well past the age of truth. I distinctly remember my first Christmas as a married woman, there were still presents under my parents' tree in never before seen wrapping paper that said From Santa along with the ones that said From Mom and Dad, so see...HE IS REAL! :)

So Blade rattled off about 10 different arguments as to how the whole Santa thing was a hoax, such as "Why would you have to yell out the door to Santa to tell him we're still awake when he supposedly sees us while we're sleeping and sees when we're awake?" (Because he's very busy on Christmas Eve and doesn't always have time to check his KidVision so I was just helping him out) Or, "You know that song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus?" Why would a mommy be kissing Santa Claus if Santa Claus wasn't the Daddy?" (Because she was just really happy to see him and that's how people in Europe greet each other and don't you know St Nick originated in Europe?) or "Why would there be reindeer tracks in the yard when they allegedly land on the roof?" (Well duh, they came down to get the reindeer food we put out for them!) These are basically exact quotes, you guys. As you can see, I did my best to answer them convincingly and I think I might have made some headway and while I don't think he completely believes, I think he wants to still believe and if that's the best we can get, then I'll take it.

Of course, while he was questioning all of this, Dakota, age 12, piped in and said, "Why wouldn't you believe in Santa Claus? That's just dumb."

To which he responded, "DAKOTA, you're TWELVE YEARS OLD, why WOULD you still be believe in Santa?!? You're way too old."

She just rolled her eyes at him because she KNOWS and she's seen Polar Express so she doesn't question the magic. Gotta love her and her vast imagination and naiveness.

But the other night, was the icing on the figurative Claus cake. We were watching movies and it was time to put in a new movie. Blade wanted to watch The Santa Clause. Ryder wanted to watch something else.

Ryder: "Why would you want to watch The Santa Clause when you don't even believe in Santa?"
Blade: "Because I believe in Tim Allen."

And there you have it, the magic of Christmas...and Tim Allen.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Catch Up

As I was writing the annual Koons Christmas letter and got to the 4th page, it dawned on me that this was a clear indication that I'm not blogging enough if I have all this pent up writing in me.  I mean, seriously, who has a FOUR PAGE Christmas letter?  Embarrassing.  So in an effort to release this pent up writing inside of me here I am.  The following are presented in no kind of order, just as they pop in my head. 

*I got bangs a few weeks ago and the following week, Taylor Swift also got bangs.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But Taylor, I'm WATCHING YOU.  Never mind that Carrie Underwood got bangs a couple weeks before I did and was actually the inspiration behind my current cut, Taylor totally copied me.  I would post a picture but the bangs and I are still getting to know each other.  Some days I love them, some days I curse the day I ever saw that picture of Carrie Underwood with bangs in the magazine, and all days I feel like I'm riding a fine line between frumpy house wife in mom jeans, 9 year old girl, and cutting edge fashionista.  I do have to say that weeks 3 & 4 post bang hair cut seem to be the optimal bang performance time.  The first few weeks I felt like they were way too short and now in week 5 I feel like they are getting too long.  But long's ok because I think I'm growing them out.  Now you see why my Christmas letter was 4 pages long?  I can make a mountain out of a molehill. 

And now that I've verbally vomited about my bangs for an entire paragraph, I'm not sure that I have anything else to say.

*Alright, if I must.  A few years ago, we started doing the whole Elf on a Shelf thing.  We named our elf Oogey and a new tradition was born.  It's so much fun to see where Oogey ends up every morning (when he remembers to move) and use him as leverage when the kids are misbehaving. Ex:  "What kind of report do you think Oogey will give to Santa when he goes to the North Pole tonight?"  What?!?  HE DOES!   Here's where he was today after he returned from his nightly North Pole trip....

Yes, that's a deer head hanging on the wall.  You know who I'm married to right?  This is in the family room and it was an exercise in (painful) compromise that I allowed this deer head to be hung and his brother (the deer's brother not GI Joe's, just to clarify) on a different wall.  I suppose it does work with the room as it's a very outdoorsy, masculine room.  The kicker is that this deer is looking directly into my pink accented, girly kitchen. That darn compromise, it works both ways.  

*Speaking of pink and will never believe what Carhartt did to me.  They have now produced a line of bubble gum pink Carhartts.  They "claim" it is for "Breast Cancer Awareness" but I think we all know what's going on here.  They completely stole my idea without even so much as a RETURN LETTER OR CALL.  If you're new to the blog and my obsession with pink Carhartts please go here and somewhere else on the blog that I can't find right now to read up.   I'm crafting my very fiery letter to Carhartt now.  I may have to lawyer up for such blatant plagerism of my original idea.  Sure hope they aren't paying a design team for the grand PINK idea because hello, 2009 I suggested it AND sent a picture...twice...thankyouverymuch.  My demands for retribution will be as follows:  a free set of the Prairie Princess original PINK Carhartts valued at $150 and a letter of apology, oh and that they rename them to "Prairie Princess Pink."  I think I'm being completely reasonable here.  You'll be hearing more about this on the news shortly I'm sure. 

*Let's talk about Michael Buble and how much I've grown to love him.  GI Joe, believe it or not, got me hooked on him a couple of years ago when he asked for his Christmas CD for Christmas and has been raving about him ever since.  That was the short play CD with just 6 or so songs on it and it was fabulous.  Now this year, he released a full length Christmas album which is SOLID GOLD.  It is so good and has solidified me firmly in the Michael Buble Fan Camp.  Last Tuesday night was his TV special and he's just so darn entertaining and that voice?!?  I could listen to him sing for a week and not get sick of it.  And then THIS came out and that's it, I'm a goner and have now added a Michael Buble concert to my lifelong bucket list.  The guy is flat out amazing.  Also, he could be my brother in law Bryan's twin...seriously.  Exhibit A: 
NOT Michael Buble.  Feel free to ooh and aah over how cute Micah is, I KNOW!
The real Michael Buble.  The resemblance, it's uncanny. 

*In closing, (wow, can't tell my dad's a pastor can you?) I'd like to share with you in photos my Monday evening.  I was tired, I didn't feel good, I had 4 dozen cupcakes to make and one son to get to and from wrestling practice, oh and Moose the Lab rolled in something dead so that was a nice, unexpected treat.  Here is the night in pictures:

One dozen cupcakes...ruined, destroyed, finito.  1 new oven....a smoky, cupcake remains covered mess. The last pan of cupcakes of the night as I was taking it out of the oven.  I wanted to cry.  Just in case you thought it was all sprinkles and sunshine 'round here.   
My fuzzy pink slippers complete with a splat of cupcake batter and chocolate ganache.  Monday was one of those days that these went on the minute I got home from work and I had no intentions of taking them off.  Which is why I wore them when I took Ryder to wrestling practice and also why I gave him STRICT instructions to be out and waiting for me after practice was over so I didn't have to come in the building to get him while wearing my fuzzy pink slippers.  I pulled up a few minutes after practice was over just to be sure to allow him enough time to change his shoes and come outside but do you think he did?  NOOOOOOO.  Do you think it was on purpose?  YESSSSSSSS.  After about 8 minutes of waiting, I figured that most of the other parents had already come and gone so I'd be safe in entering the building in my FPS.  I tossed my pride aside and walked, FPS and all, into the building.  And walked right into one of our neighbors!  And then Ryder magically appeared, which gives me further cause to believe that he waited to come out on purpose.  Not pictured, my messy hair going 14 different directions with frosting in it, my old yoga pants with cupcake batter all over them, my baggy, shabby sweatshirt and the flour on my face.  I was a sight.  It's fine, I didn't use my dignity much anyway. 

Wow, I feel so much lighter, my burden lifted.  I'd forgotten how much fun this blogging stuff is.  I'm gonna have to do it more often!  Here's hoping.     

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I've been neglect in blogging about Dakota's 12th birthday.  12?!?  It's probably because I'm in denial.  Twelve means we're *this* close to the teen years and I'll be honest, I can't even go there. 
As I've mentioned before, Dakota is my dad's grandchild, my sisters Heidi, Hilary, and Brandy's niece.  When it comes to social behavior, she is nothing like me and every bit like the 4 of them, in varying degrees.  Life of the party?  Not a chance.  Center of attention?  Oh NO thank you.  Thrives in big crowds of people?  Never.  Being a homebody and socializing with only your family and your couch?  Oh YES please.  This has been a bit of a struggle for me to "get" because it's just not how I operate.  I have to remind myself on a regular basis that she's NOT me and just because she prefers her solitude to socializing doesn't mean there's something wrong with her and that she's an outcast who will grow up to be the weird cat lady living alone.  Although, I have a feeling regardless of her social status the cat lady part of that won't be far from the mark. 
When planning her 12th birthday celebration she grudgingly decided to invite 6 of her friends out because "they've been wanting to come out and see the animals and stuff for awhile so i GUESS we can invite them for my birthday."  So we did.  Let it be known that this is only the SECOND time in her scholastic career that she's invited friends over.  GI Joe says that's pretty typical for country kids or at least that's the way it was for he and his brother growing up but to me, Miss I Got Mail @ My BFF's House in 6th Grade, it seems a travesty.  She was moderately excited but that had to do more with the kind of cupcakes I was making for the party than it did the actual party.  Milky Way Cupcakes, who could blame her?!?
The day finally came for the party and I picked the girls up from school.  I'd met most all of them before and already liked them. We had a very LOUD ride home, as you may or may not know that 6 6th grade girls + 2 elementary aged boys talk, sing, and shriek at ear piercing volume when they are in Friday afternoon PAAAAAARTY mode.  I was relieved to see that Dakota was participating as well.  
The girls were in hog heaven (pun totally intended) when we got to the Koons Zoo, they dumped their stuff and immediately headed to the barnyard for some farm fun.  This is where Dakota was in her element.  These were her animals, her pride and joy, so showing them off to her friends, was no big deal to her.    They stepped in poo, got muddy, gathered eggs, and had a grand old time.  They came in for a snack and then it was time for the Scavenger Hunt.  I wasn't exactly sure what was appropriate party planning for a bunch of 12 year old girls that didn't involve manis, pedis, or Justin Bieber so I decided on a fun, no-matter-how-old-you-are scavenger hunt in the yard and barnyard.  The clues were Class A corny and led them to such locations as the chicken coop, the rabbit hutch, the Hillbilly Hotel (a lean to shelter for the animals in the barnyard), on the four wheeler, and in a rotted jack o' lantern, just to name a few.  This scavenger hunt was a direct hit as the girls thought it was the coolest thing ever.  (Chalk one up for Mother of the Year!) After finding their treasure (a King Sized candy bar for each of them hidden in the fireplace) they went back out to ride the 4 wheeler, play in the hay fort in the barn, and sled down the hill on the miniscule amount of snow that was there.  Dakota was thoroughly engaged during all of this, except for the brief time that she wondered off to check on her kitties (without mentioning to her friends where she was going or inviting them to go along with her) and eventually, her friends realized she was missing and Blade led them to her.  The great part is that while I was apalled at the rudeness, her friends didn't think any thing of it. 

Finally, the sun was setting and it was getting cold so they came in to eat.  GI Joe smoked some pizzas (because that's how we do frozen pizzas in this house and OMGoodness they are so delicious that they have now been requested for every kid's birthday.)  I also put out a spread of Dakota's favorite snack foods which included but was not limited to: apples with caramel, chips and dip, giant dill pickles, olives, black olives, pickled peppers, and crackers and GOAT cheese.  Yes, you read that right, GOAT cheese.  Dakota while a hillbilly at heart has some very sophisticated tastebuds.  Homegirl can put away half a log of goat cheese as an after school snack.  I put it out mainly for her, figuring that her friends would stick to the more normal items like chips and dip.  Imagine my surprise when they were eating the crackers with goat cheese at a faster rate than I could put them out.  They were amazed to discover that they were eating goat cheese.  The food highlights of the party were definitely:  Cupcakes (duh), Goat Cheese & Crackers, and the Giant Pickles.  In that order.  Barnyard scavenger hunt, gathering eggs, goat cheese and cupcakes.  Do I know how to throw a party OR WHAT?!?
I wasn't sure how I would entertain the girls for the rest of the evening, but as it turned out I needn't worry.  They entertained themselves by making a goofy movie on their Macs and sliding and spinning across our hardwood floors. 
Who needs bounce houses or jugglers when you've got slick floors?!?

 A couple times during the festivities, we'd look around and I'd see Blade and Ryder in the heart of the action and Dakota sitting on the couch in the living room or in her room with her sketch pad, off in her own little world.  GI Joe had to gently remind her that she did have friends over and that perhaps she should, oh i don't know, hang out with them?!?  GI Joe & I were sitting in the kitchen when one of the girls came in to get another helping of, you guessed it, goat cheese.  She proceeded to educate us on the social hierachy of 6th grade.  Completely unprompted by us, she told us all about how the "populars" were already "dating" but of course they were dating other "populars".  She then told me about the other groups in 6th grade and who was in them.  There are the populars, the smartacles (the very very smart, dare i say, nerdy kids), the weirdos, and the just normal kids.  You know what I had to do right?  I said, "Is Dakota considered a "weirdo"?  You can tell me."  Her answer cracked me up because let's be honest, anyone that knows Dakota knows she leans to the weird side and is proud of it.  Her friend sweetly answered, "Oh no, she's not a weirdo.  So what if she's told people it's ok to call her DragonGirl?!?  Everyone knows that's just Dakota."  Love it.  She then let me know that she and Dakota and their other friends were the "just normals" who were friends with people in all the "groups".  That was a relief.  Nobody wants their kid to be in the weirdos or outcast group.  When I discussed the populars group and the whole "dating" thing with Dakota later she said and I quote, "Isn't that so stupid?  I mean, we're in 6TH GRADE, we're way too young to be dating.  Besides dating is sooo overrated."  I'm documenting those words here so when she's 17 I can remind her of this.  Oh YES I AM, so take that 17 year old Dakota. 
Anyway, the party was a smash success and 9pm (party end time) rolled around.  The girls were not excited to go home and were saying how they wished they were spending the night. But of course, Dakota had drawn her line in the sand from the git go and put a party end time on the invite of 9pm.   Listen, we were stretching her social boundaries by asking her to entertain or at least be present for 5 1/2 hours, overnight might have pushed her right over the edge into hermitdom forever.  So it was time to go and I told the girls to get their things so I could take them home.  Dakota being the ever graceful hostess got them each a peacock feather to take with them and then they each wanted to take the egg they had gathered.  So yeah, party favors were a peacock feather and a farm fresh egg.  Redneck much?  We were getting ready to load up into the car for the trek to return every one to their rightful owners when I noticed Dakota was still sitting on the couch drawing. 
 "Dakota, come on you have to go with me to take your friends home." 
"Oh man, I do?!?  Why can't I just stay home? I'll see them at school on Monday."  followed by a deep sigh. 
Meanwhile, Ryder and Blade were already in the car chatting up the ladies. 
She did go with us and once we were in the car with her friends she was fine.  And they explained to me how they were all friends "Well see, Dakota is my complete opposite so that's why it works" and "Dakota and I are soooo much alike that's why we're friends," and so on.  It was kind of sweet especially since I didn't fish for this feedback and we all know Dakota certainly didn't, it just came up.   
On the way back home we were recapping the party and she told me, "That wasn't so bad, we might have to do that again sometime. Maybe next YEAR."  :)
Baby steps, we wouldn't want to rush things you know. 
And by the time I got home, 3 of her friends had friended me on Facebook.  Which is so odd to me, but I put my feelings about 12 year olds on facebook aside and accepted because you know what they say, "Keep your friends close and your tween daughter's friends closer". 
I cannot wait to see what the next 12 years holds for this one in a million girl.  I'm sure at least ONE or TWO more parties, and that's probably a pretty accurate number.  But you know what?  I wouldn't want her any other way. What a girl. 

And because it was her magic, once in a lifetime birthday, 11-11-11, (too bad she was 12 and not 11) I got her out of bed @ 11:11 p.m. to do this..

She'll thank me someday.  Probably in a champagne toast at a big, fancy, black tie party she's hosting.

Or not.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The town we call our hometown is small, like really small.  As in you know those country songs about small town USA?  SMALLER than those.  We don't have a stoplight, we don't have any restaurants unless you count the bar, which has great tenderloins by the way, and we don't have choices in gas station because there's only one, a Casey's of course.  Our school is K-12 and last I heard total enrollment was around 600 13 grades.  I think there were about that many in my (would've been) graduating class in Burlington, Iowa where I moved from before my junior year, you know when I was black.  Total population of our town?  Less than 1000, I'm guessing that doesn't count us rural folks who are outside of city limits but I could be wrong.  The point here is that it's SMALL. 

The view to your right as you come into town, on the left used to be cornfield but is now a metropolis pictured below.  Fun fact:  I used to work at this very Casey's in high school.  BEST. JOB. EVER. for reasons I shall not disclose.  ;)

Well, according to my kids that's ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE. 

You see, we went from a town of ONE bank that looked exactly like it probably did 50 years ago to a town of TWO BANKS and the new bank?  It has a FANCY sign that shows the time and temperature and your mother's maiden name! 

This new bank moved to town awhile back but until recently occupied the building that used to be the old laundrymat.  Sidenote:  The laundrymat was named The Wet Spot...seriously.  Do you know how many inappropriate jokes that opened the doors for?  Hey, there's not much else to do here.  The sign is still there although faded with time but I still giggle every time I go past it.  I mean really, THE WET SPOT?!? 
Photographic Proof..look close at the faded white sign on the right side of the picture and you might be able to make it out. 

Anyway, the bank has been occupying the former Wet Spot while their new building across the street from Casey's right as you enter town, was being built.  One day before the building was done we drove past and the fancy new sign was on and lit up announcing the temperature for the day.  My hillbilly children FUH-REAKED OUT.
Blade:  What is THAT?!?
Me:  It's the new bank's cool new sign.  Look we can see what the temperature and time is now!  Look how fancy our town is getting!
Me:  WHAT?!?  Did I run over something (again)? 
Dakota:  No, they're taking over!
Me:  Who's taking over?
Dakota:  The city people.  They're ruining our little town. 
Me:  It's just a bank.
Blade:  It starts with a bank and then next thing you know there's a skyscraper.
Dakota:  Yeah, see that cornfield back there?  It'll be filled with skyscrapers in a few years.
Me:  Uhh guys, I've been coming to or lived in this town all my life and it's taken them 30+ years to get a SECOND bank, I don't think we have to worry about a metropolis sprouting up here.  I mean, we don't even have a stoplight yet.
Dakota:  They'll add the stoplights when they start building the skyscrapers.
Blade:  Great, now all kinds of new kids are going to move to our school and I won't know everyone anymore.
Me:  I think you might be overreacting JUST a tad. 
Dakota:  I can't believe it.  They're going to take over our town and before we know it it'll be a city!
Ryder, finally piping in after being strangely silent throughout this entire exchange:  We're learning about this in school.  Right now we're a RURAL community but pretty soon we'll be an URBAN area.  Look at that new bank, that looks like an URBAN bank. 
Blade:  And then there will be gangs and shootings and...
Me:  Well if that happens we'll be fine because I used to be black and hang out with gangsters and we have guns too so see, it's all good!

All because of one bank with a fancy new sign. 

Bunch of backwoods kids, I blame their father.

But I gotta be honest, I'm gonna be ticked too if they start building skyscrapers in the cornfields.  On the bright side, maybe if skyscrapers start going up then they'll put in a Taco Bell. And I just might be able to adapt if there's a Taco Bell to sweeten the deal.   

I think it's safe to say, I probably won't be visiting my adult children in their studio apartments in New York City. 

Let's hope they don't notice the brand new brick "Welcome to VM" sign welcoming people to our town.  I personally don't understand what was wrong with the handpainted piece of plywood that used to do that job.  The darn suits occupying those skyscrapers in the cornfield probably insisted on it. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Update

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, we definitely did.  I'm still recovering from my 20 hour shopping tour with the Discount Divas on Black Friday. No, that's NOT a typo, it was TWENTY HOURS OF SHOPPING aka best day ever.  When I 'm fully caught up on sleep (39 hours of being awake + 20 hours of shopping really messes with one's system) and my severe case of shopper's elbow subsides, I'll tell you all about it. Just wanted to check in and let you know I'm still alive and kicking and NO, I was NOT the woman arrested for using pepper spray in Wal Mart to help her control the crowd.  Although, I'm not gonna lie I kinda think it's GENIUS.  Next year, I think I'll just carry around my pepper spray and freak people out. I won't even have to use it! 

In other news, this guy is really relieved Thanksgiving is over. 

Tyson's just happy to STILL be here.  :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forever and Fourteen Years...Amen

Fourteen years ago today, on a cold, drizzly, gray day, GI Joe and I got hitched.  Many people said we were too young, which only served to tick us off and make us even more determined to prove them wrong (I'm talking to you salesguy @ Joseph's Jeweler circa 1997).  And I think 14 years later, we have officially done so.  Also?  Because we got married so young and had kids so young, we'll be the cool, hip parents at our kids' graduation while all our kids' friends' parents will be hobbling around with arthritis and stuff, so we WIN.  :)

To celebrate fourteen glorious years, we are...wait for it, it's SUPER exciting and romantic....going to Ryder's school concert!!!  I KNOW!!!!  Wasn't it so nice of the school to schedule his concert on our anniversary so our entertainment for the evening would be provided for?!? 

Since we had the exclusive school concert on our actual anniversary evening, we decided to celebrate on Monday night by a dinner out at a really nice restaurant downtown.  I even made a RESERVATION!!!  I can't remember the last time (if ever) that I made a dinner reservation, because I don't think call ahead seating at Chili's or Outback countsWe got our fancy on, which means GI Joe didn't wear his uniform OR a hoodie.  You guys, he really loves me if he gave up his hoodie for the night.  The restaurant we went to was a French restaurant "without the attitude" according to the website.  I'd read about it somewhere months ago and marked it on my calendar to make a reservation there when it came time for our anniversary dinner.  Type A Planner much?  I still don't really even know how to pronounce the name of the restaurant, Django, and when we ordered our food we just pointed to what we wanted on the menu instead of embarrassing ourselves and trying to say it.  Listen, I took Spanish in high school so if you want to order at a Mexican restaurant or Taco Bell, I'm your girl.  (Enchilada con queso or taco bravo.  See? Ms. McPherren really did teach us something!)  But at a French restaurant?  Not so much.  I just kept wanting to say "Oui oui" which I'm pretty sure just means "yes, yes" and not every question our waitress asked us was appropriately answered with a "oui oui".  The food was A-MAZING.  I had some seared sea scallops over lobster sweet corn mashed potatoes that were LIFECHANGING.  I promise those mashed potatoes will live on in my dreams.  We had planned to go all out and order creme brulee for dessert but sadly, just didn't have room for it.  Lucky for us, it was a 30 minute drive home with a Cheesecake Factory smack in the middle, so by the time we hit the halfway point, we powered thru and stopped for a to-go piece of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake to share.  We stopped and picked up the kids @ the inlaws and were home eating cheesecake on the couch while watching "Mike and Molly" by 9pm.   Oh yeah, we know how to keep the romance alive and live it up.  I mean, cheesecake+"Mike & Molly"?  Fughettaboutit.  

In addition to fancy French restaurants, cheesecake, and primetime television here are some other tips  that have worked for us that I'll share with you...FOR FREE!  I'm basically an expert considering that we've been married 70 times longer than Kim Kardashian and we're 3 years past the average lifespan of a marriage in the U.S of 11 years.  

*Never talk bad about your spouse.  I hear wives complaining about their husbands annoying habits, their shortfalls, etc, all the time.  Ever heard the saying "negativity breeds negativity?"  It's true, if you're always talking trash about your spouse, you feed that negativity and it magnifies what's wrong and diminishes what's right. And imagine how you would feel if your spouse was talking about you like that to other people?  Personally, I'd be devastated.  If something GI Joe does annoys me, I tell HIM about it NOT 15 of my coworkers at the lunch table.  The opposite is true too, positivity breeds positivity, so if you're always building up your spouse even when they're not around, it helps you focus on the good and why you love them.  I've had people tell me, "GI Joe must be perfect, I never hear you say anything bad about him."  Of course he's not perfect, but neither am I (I realize this may come as a shock to you but I'm not..haha). But I love him and I'm proud to be married to him so it only seems logical to me to paint him in only the most positive of lights and highlight the reasons I love him.  It's just common sense.  Try it. 

And you thought this was just a blog about farm animals and hillbilly kids?!?  You just never know what you're gonna get when you come to this blog.

*We'll be a couple long after the kids are grown and gone so our relationship and each other comes before the kids, and we're not sorry.  The kids know it too.  They know that I'm their Daddy's #1, so if they're not treating me right he's not going to be happy and there will be consequences.  It's normal to them.  Too often, people give everything they've got to their kids and leave nothing for each other.  While I love our kids with all that is in me, I didn't marry them, I married GI Joe and I'll still be married to him when they grow up and find a husband/wives of their own.  I think we're doing our kids a bigger favor by not putting them first and instead setting an example of a solid, blissful marriage.  The world needs less "the world revolves around me" people and more happily married parents.  Oh it's getting deep up in here now, I'm stepping off soapbox now, let the tomato throwing begin. 

*It's cliche but we've always lived by the "never go to bed angry" thing.  I've read some psychologists and marriage counselors disagree but they're crazy and probably not happily married.  The longer you stew on something the worse you make it in your mind and the more riled up you get, so get it out of your system, say what you need to say RESPECTFULLY, , resolve it and move on.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that GI Joe & I rarely fight and when we do, it has never lasted more than an hour.  And the time it lasted an hour was because I just wanted to be mad for awhile so I went for a walk.  By the time I got back, tempers had cooled, perspectives gained, apologies made, forgiveness (and hugs) given.  Then refrain from bringing it up again, LET IT GO.  There's no argument worth winning if it ends up damaging or ruining the best thing in your life. 

I'm pretty much Dr. Phil without the accent and with a lot more hair. *Laugh, have fun, and communicate.  Those seem obvious but sometimes it's easy to lose sight of those basic things in the stress and chaos of life.  We get a big ol' kick out making our kids roll their eyes because we're belting out hits of the 80's and 90's while doing some mundane task or laughing at stupid things that happen like when he has to come pull me out of the ditch...again, or when I have to go rescue him because he locked his keys in his car...again.  I also found out early on that being subtle in your communication is for the birds... and lesbians.  Guys minds just don't work like ours do, so if you want something you have to just come out and say it, instead of this beating around the bush bit. You're just setting him up for failure and setting yourself up for disappointment,  if you just expect him to read your mind or decipher your "subtle hints".  If he gave you a really crappy birthday present last year because he didn't get the hints, then here's a thought, tell him no more vacuums for birthdays and instead you'd really like to get something more thoughtful and sentimental like jewelry or whatever it is that you want, even if it's a card.  JUST TELL HIM.....NICELY.  Hint: Do NOT say, "the last present you got me sucked and if you get me another horrible one like that I'm cutting you off and you're sleeping on the couch for a week."  You get more flies with sugar than with vinegar, I'm just sayin'.  ;)

I can only imagine the number of new readers Google will send my way from the paragraph above.  Welcome! 

Don't get me wrong, it's not all roses and peppermint mochas all the time, (although it was today because he delivered both of those to me at work today, altogether now..AWWWWW!), but I couldn't be happier and more in love with this guy, and it's been FOURTEEN YEARS.  That's HUGE.  And I'm 100% sure he feels the same way and that's even HUGER, because I am not the easiest person in the world to live with, with my sarcasm, sassiness, moodiness, bossiness and all. The real kicker is that I can't wait for the next 14, 20, 35, 50, 60 years either, even though I refuse to get any older than 34, which may make it weird when we're celebrating our 50th anniversary and I'm still 34, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and we WILL come to it, as long as we don't die first.  I'm such a ray of sunshine aren't I?

Fourteen and a lifetime to go, we've come a LONG way, baby! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things Vol. 398593

I should really be writing Dakota's birthday post because tomorrow is her magic birthday...11-11-11, except she's 12,  but it's been one of those nights.  You know, the kind where the kids are driving you crazy, you think you "lost" your kid at basketball practice, panic big time, nearly puke, drive around town thinking he may be walking around in the freezing cold or lying in a ditch somewhere suffering from hypothermia,  only to discover he was right where you briefly looked the first time 20 minutes after practice ended waiting for you with his coach who undoubtedly thinks you are a totally irresponsible parent, and the kind where your husband hits a deer on his way home from already working late only to delay him further?  Oh and the kind of night where you write world's longest run on sentence and you don't even care?  Yep, it's been THAT kind of night.  I'm not winning any mother of the year awards tonight that's for sure.  No big deal though, I have a reputation (Worst Mother of the Year) to uphold. 

Anyway, I wrote this post the other day because when they aren't driving me crazy, our kids can be downright hilarious.  I'm posting this to remind me of their awesomeness because tonight?  Tonight?  Not one of their better nights but I guess we're all entitled sometimes huh?  How's that for real life mommy blogging?  Just telling it like it is, folks.  :)

*Previously recorded*

A few things I want to record, so that when the kids are grown and calling me with funny quips my grandchildren are saying, I'll pull up this post and remind them that the apple doesn't fall from the tree.

Speaking of grandchildren, have I told you that I actually have a list of potential baby names for my grandchildren? Oh yes, indeed I do. I figure I'll present it to their betrothed prior to the wedding with simple instructions that say, "My grandchildren(s) name(s) MUST be chosen from this list and if you can't commit to that then I'm sorry this isn't going to work." That's fine, right? :) But seriously, I do have a lengthy baby name list that I most certainly will be hanging on to until my babies are having babies. There are just so many great names out there and I'm certainly not going to have more children just for the naming of it (I'm no Michelle Duggar, 20?!? Seriously?!?), so this was the next best thing. And no, I'm not going to tell you the names on that list because HELLO, I'm saving them for my grandkids!

Sidenote: I'm really struggling with the fact that I'll be turning 35 in 19 months but thinking about grandkids? EXCITES me. I'm a walking contradiction.

BACK to my kids who are NOT having babies but instead are still just mere babies themselves. Big, wearing my shoes or have bigger feet than me babies, but babies nonetheless.

Last night, GI Joe was looking through Ryder's take home folder from school as we're supposed to do every night but rarely remember to do until 5 minutes before the bus arrives (admit it, we're not the only ones!),when he saw a note on Ryder's Success Chart. Their success charts are stamped each day based on their behavior, assignments completed, etc. When there is a mishap or misbehaving they lose a stamp for the day. On Ryder's success chart yesterday he lost a stamp for the following reason, "For doing pushups in the hallway." What could we do but laugh? I mean, who are we to deny him his physical fitness aspirations? Sometimes when the Spirit moves you to do pushups, you just gotta do 'em, no matter where you are. When asked about this Ryder just smiled and said, "I just felt like doing pushups since we didn't get to do any in PE." And Blade chimed in also to Ryder's defense with, "PE stinks lately, all they do is test us we don't even get to do stuff like pushups anymore." GET TO DO PUSHUPS?!? Oh yeah, they are definitely MY kids, because I'm the exact same way, POWER TO THE PUSHUPS! Or not. Of course GI Joe couldn't say it out loud but he was one proud pushup lovin' papa.

Dakota turns...gulp....swallow...gulp....12!!!! on Friday. We were planning her birthday festivities and this is that conversation.

Me: "So what do you want to do for your birthday?"
Dakota: "Oh I don't know. My friends have been wanting to come over to see the animals and eat cupcakes so I GUESS we could invite them over."
Me: "OK, that would be fun. Do you want them to spend the night?"
Dakota, horrified, looking at me as if I two heads and blue hair: "WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?!"
And scene. Again, a chip off the ol' block...or not.

Blade and Dakota have been begging GI Joe to watch a scary movie and Friday night was that night. The movie of choice was Paranormal Activity. I KNOW, judge HIM not me!! Ryder and I opted for watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in my bedroom, which is equally frightening but slightly less demonic. The other 2 made it all the way thru the movie, although Dakota watched the last 10 minutes with her hands over her face peeking thru her fingers. GI Joe said the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies that he watched at their ages were WAY scarier so he wasn't concerned that we'd be up all night warding kids out of our bed. Dakota's review of the movie was "Disturbing but I'm not scared." Immediately following the movie was bedtime. GI Joe was helping the boys get ready for bed when Blade said to him (all while motioning with his hands because that boy is nothing if not expressive), "So here's my DILEMMA. If I leave the light on in my room I won't be able to sleep but if I turn it off I won't be able to sleep either." Dilemma?!? Are you kidding me? Ultimately, the "dilemma" was solved by leaving the light on until he fell asleep. And surprisingly enough, we didn't hear another peep from any of them until morning. Apparently, they CAN handle their scary movies or Real Housewives as the case may be.

Another example of Blade and his stellar vocabulary, was last night at the dinner table and the case of the missing $5. Blade was sure he had a $8 stashed somewhere but when he went to get it last night there was only $3 and his $5 was missing. He suspected Dakota had taken it and was pleading his case, "Last night, I had $8 in my bank. Today only $3 and my $5 is missing. But COINCIDENTALLY, Dakota has $9 that she doesn't "remember" (and he did the air quotes, I assure you) where it came from. It's very suspicious." He's 9 and he's not even the writer/wordsmith of the family. That's Dakota. Dakota who in response to his accusations told him, "quit being so EMO." Emo? Just when I thought I was versed on pop culture and slang terms she throws "emo" at me. It's short for emotional but also encompasses melodramatic, all black wearing, sullen, kinda what we used to call Goth back in my day, in case you're wondering. As I've said before, I'm here to educate and inform you.
Happy Friday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stuff Happens

Stuff like this...
ALWAYS, happens to me. Getting my necklace hopelessly tangled in my cupcake tree.  It took the Jaws of Life to save me from certain death by necklace & cupcake tree.  I may be smiling but I was just trying to mask the fear and panic. 

Like the time my the belt of my sweater got caught in the paper shredder at work and I nearly suffered decapitation until I yelled for a coworker to save me and she walked over and SHUT OFF THE SHREDDER. 

Or the time, I fractured my leg after graduating from the bunny slope to a real hill...ON THE FIRST TIME DOWN. 

Or the time I was pulled over for Drunk Driving and FAILED the sobriety test after only drinking Diet Coke. 

Or the time I was screaming for GI Joe to roll down my window because my hair was stuck in it.  Never mind that my hands were fully capable of hitting the down button for MY window, I was too distracted with my hair whipping in the wind outside of the car window that was completely rolled up. 

Or going into the ditch right in front of our house, while trying to back out of OUR OWN driveway. 

Or the time I noticed a smoky smell coming from the oven while baking something and upon opening it discovered an OVEN MITT. 

Or the time I sat in the passenger seat of the PMobile in the church parking lot for about 20 minutes waiting on GI Joe, only to get a call from him to remind me that he had driven separately to church and I'd have to drive myself home. 

Or the time we took a different way home from church and came upon our house from the opposite direction that we normally do and I unknowingly exclaimed, "LOOK GI Joe, their house looks JUST LIKE OURS!" 

Stuff happens.  Yes, this is my natural(ish) hair color, why do you ask?  :)

Happy Tuesday! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I have started no less than 5 blog posts in the past 2 weeks and have completed, ummm, well, none of them (as you may or may not have noticed).  I don't know what is wrong with me but I either sit down to blog and immediately get writer's block OR I type and type and type and when I stop I realize I've just spent 5 paragraphs talking about Kim Kardashian's break up and haven't even gotten to the real point of the blog yet so then I get frustrated and call it quits for the night.  It's a vicious cycle of blog angst.
This is not one of the 5 posts I've started, this one will be strictly random bullet points because there are things that I want to record but in my current condition cannot seem to make an entire post out of it.  So this will have to do for now. 

*GI Joe thinks bacon is the smell of love. I made this tonight and when he walked in the house as I was frying the bacon he took a deep whiff, came over to me slaving away at the stove, gave me a kiss, and said "Awwwww BACON!  You're making BACON?!?  That is the best smell in the world.  I LOVE YOU!"  Ummm, ok.  I like to think that he loves me even when I'm not frying bacon for him and the fact that he proclaimed his love for me in the same breath as proclaiming his love for bacon is strictly coincidence.    Yankee Candle?  Scentsy?  Single women?  How 'bout a Bacon scent?  Guaranteed bestseller (or matchmaker).  Sidenote:  That bacon parmesan pasta?  DELICIOUS.  All 5 of us gave it two thumbs up which never EVER happens.  To quote GI Joe, "this stuff is DANGEROUS."  Don't worry I used whole wheat pasta and half and half instead of the cream so it was TOTALLY healthy. 

*The older Dakota gets the more I realize she is nothing like me.  She was telling me tonight that she had been invited to a bonfire at a friend's house on Friday night.  I asked her if she wanted to go and she said, "No, I don't really like to be around people."   Seriously, a 6th grade girl turning down a party with her friends because she doesn't like to be around people?  I immediately called my Smom because this is a chip off of the old Papa block.  My dad (the pastor) is so much the same way.  Get him in a group of people, even if they're people he's known for years, people he likes even, he'll last MAYBE 30 minutes before there's something more pressing that he has to do, somewhere he has to go, to get him out of there.  Even when his own daughters, son in laws, and grandkids descend on their house for holidays he inevitably disappears for a few hours always to work at the church or as we like to joke plan someone's funeral.  Gotta love him.  He and Dakota are twin souls which is probably why they enjoy each other's company so much.  No need to talk, they can just sit there with their antisocial selves and have a grand ol' time.  :)

*Imagine a witty transition here*

*Today, my son, age 9, surpassed me in shoe size.  When we did back to school shopping (a mere 2 months ago), I was shocked to learn that Blade needed a size 6 in MENS.  I could wear his shoes!  Imagine my surprise today when he got his basketball shoes and they were SIZE 7 in MENS.  What the what?!?  How is this happening?  Let's not hope this is going to be his growth rate from here on out.  He's NINE?!?

*We haven't really talked TV since the new fall season started, so let's do that now, shall we?  My absolute favorite new show is "Up All Night".  I LOVE this show.  It reminds me of our early days of parenting and just cracks me up.  This show motivates me to get out of bed on Wednesday mornings.  Good stuff.  Also, if you've ever wondered what GI Joe is really like, Tim Allen's character on this show will give you a pretty good idea.  Our whole family gets a kick out of this show, probably because some of the things Tim Allen's character says we can totally hear or have heard GI Joe say.  Pretty stinkin' funny if you ask us.  And now I've probably just sentenced my 2 favorite new shows to immediate cancellation so hurry and check them out before they're gone. 

*In case you've been wondering why I've been so sporadic in my blogging, which you probably aren't because if you've been reading for any amount of time you know blogging inconsistently and sometimes infrequently is just how I roll, but this time I have a good reason.  I've been very busy....making cupcakes...and launching this...

Suck It Up Cupcakes
You know, in my abundance of free time and all.  I figured I'm making cupcakes all the time anyway because it makes me happy so I might as well share the love and maybe make a little fun money in the process.  Really, I just love the logo that Miss Emily Phipps  of Styled  fame designed for me.  So even if this little side biz doesn't work out I'll always have this adorable logo hanging on my kitchen wall and that's good enough for me. 

*My sister Hilary (Micah & Kaydence's mom) in TN, is PREGNANT!  AND as if that wasn't enough, the baby could very well be born on MY BIRTHDAY!  It would only be right considering I had Ryder on her birthday 8 years ago.  This will make me an aunt of EIGHT!  Move over Kate there's a new eight in town.  Oh and did I mention I *accidentally* announced it to the facebook world the very day she told me, which happened to be the day before she finished telling everyone she needed to tell, some of which happen to also be my facebook friends?  Oops.  In my defense, she didn't say NOT to and also they told us by her husband sending us a picture of pee in a toilet followed by an oops.  And it wasn't even the pee that had made the pregnancy test pink it was HIS staged to make us think it was hers!  GROSS, either way really, but even worse since it was pee without meaning!   As you can imagine, I was traumatized and cannot be held responsible for my actions from there on out. 

And now if you'll excuse me it's time to go watch "Last Man Standing" and then head to bed because the crud that's been going around is trying to take me prisoner and I'm fresh out of brandy medicine so all signs point to this not ending well for me.  Wish me luck or drunk, whichever. 

PEEce out. ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys...and the Death of Me

I've always heard boys are so much easier to raise than girls. I can see that in some respects. I mean, you don't have the mood swings, the drama, OH THE DRAMA!, and the shopping for bras and other delightful, coming of age, girl specific experiences. Hello, puberty talk of 5th grade, I'm looking at you. But easier? Well, that depends on your definition of easier is. If by easier you mean, less drama and mood swings, more dirt and roughhousing, then yes, I would say easier. BUT, what all those wise scholars forgot to mention is that raising boys has its own set of joys. Joys that include but are not limited to, a constant bathroom battle (if you have boys you understand) to not knowing what you may find in the washing machine after you wash their jeans, ex: fishing lure, a once living frog, fruit rollups, worms, etc. Also, in the Raising Boys manual there should be a warning sign similar to those in front of the scary roller coasters at amusement parks that says, "Warning: For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure."

It's becoming increasingly apparent this week especially that raising boys is not for the faint of heart. And mine is getting weaker by the second.

It all started with a nail biter football game on Saturday morning, in which Blade's team pulled out the win in the final 50 SECONDS of the game. 50 WHOLE SECONDS wherein I couldn't breathe and thought my head was going to explode. Now I fully understand why my father in law had 2 heart attacks shortly after his sons graduated high school. Clearly, it was from watching his boys' football game all those years (and other sports contributed too I'm sure) because my word, at the intensity. My sister Heidi, sat next to me during the game and said at one point, "Wow, this is so STRESSFUL and INTENSE and it's only 4th grade!!!" Preaching to the choir sister, and to think we have at least 9 more years of this. Better step up the cardio workout in preparation. (As if.)

Then there was Monday. Monday, the first day of our "Free Week." It was our free week because football ended on Saturday and basketball and wrestling haven't started yet so that meant that Mama could take the taxi meter out of the Princess Mobile for the week because the only place I had to chauffeur anyone to was Dakota to piano lessons on Wednesday. Which sure beats running someone somewhere 4 nights a week as I've been doing for the past 2 months. I was so looking forward to staying home once I got home from work on Monday night. I had high hopes of pajamas, quality time with the Tivo, and perhaps some cupcakes thrown in for good measure. Because I'm borderline OCD, I can't fully relax until the house is tidied up so I sent the kids to their room with the simple task of straightening them up. I gave them 30 minutes to do so because they weren't that bad just needed some minor cosmetic work aka picking up the underwear off the floor. I kept hearing loud pounding, yelling, and such from that area of the house but ignored it because I was cleaning the kitchen. I even gave them an extra 15 minutes to get their rooms presentable just to make sure they had plenty of time.

Oh they had plenty of time alright. Plenty of time to LOCK THEIR SISTER IN THE CLOSET.

Finally, the pounding and slamming got so incessant that I went to the boys' room to investigate. There I discovered Dakota was locked in the closet and the boys were pretending to clean their room while conversing with their sister.

"THE BOYS LOCKED ME IN THE CLOSET!" a muffled Dakota said thru the door.

"She walked in there! We just shut the door behind her!" the boys retorted with *innocent* smirks on their faces.

We don't actually have locks on our closet doors so I figured it couldn't be that hard to open it. But it was. Somehow it was jammed and the doorknob acted like it was stripped because no matter how many times I turned it nothing happened. I found a screwdriver and thought maybe I could jimmy it open but no such luck. I got out the drill thinking I would take the door of the hinges, which would've been a great plan except that the hinges were on the inside of the door so plan failed. I was getting exasperated and irritated. Not because I was concerned for my daughter's safety but moreso because all I wanted to do was lay on the couch in my cozy pajamas and watch CSI, dang it!

It didn't help matters that Dakota was in the closet saying things like, "Blade, when I die, tell Vicki she gets all my Pokemon stuff. And Ryder, when I die, you STILL can't play with my Pokemon DS game. I may not make it out of here alive!"

Remember what I said about girls and drama? Case and point.

I called GI Joe who was working late to gave him the lowdown and also to see if he had any helpful tips for getting the door open. He LAUGHED. I was not in the laughing mood but I'm glad he was entertained by it. He told me a few things to do, which I did, to no avail, and then said he'd leave his office and be home in 30 minutes. The only comfort to Dakota that she would remain imprisoned for another 30 minutes was Ryder slipping her DS under the door for her to play. See? He really does care!

You know how when you tell your kids to do something and they don't and then something bad happens and then it's really hard for you to feel sorry for them? Umm, yeah that's how I felt. No sympathy here. If she'd been in her own room cleaning it like she was supposed to she wouldn't have gotten locked in her brothers' closet. And as for the boys? They stuck to their "she walked in" story but don't think I bought it for a second. They got the "if you would've been doing cleaning your room like you were supposed to, you would've been done by now and wouldn't be going to bed early tonight for LOCKING YOUR SISTER IN THE CLOSET!" talk. To be honest, I was actually trying to figure out which closet to lock THEM in!!! I tease...maybe.

Finally, GI Joe got home and rescued her. It took a sawzall to get her out. A SAWZALL?!? Our boys don't do anything halfway. Well, EXCEPT for cleaning their room.

So last night when I came home to find a cute, little gift wrapped package that said "To: Mommy, Love: The Koons Kids", taped to the front door, I figured they were trying to make up for their prior infractions. They had gotten into the Christmas wrapping paper, ribbons and all, so it was one good looking package. My heart swelled with love as I gushed, "Oh you guys are so sweet! I can't believe you got me a present!" Blade watched me like a Hawk with this small, sweet grin on his face. He seemed so excited and proud of himself. I began opening it, slowly, because I was savoring the moment, this outpouring of love from my children.

I peeled away the paper and saw something, something that did NOT look sparkly or shiny or handpainted in art class. At first, I saw packing tape and then I slowly peeled back more paper. And then I threw that sucker up 10 feet in the air and ran away screaming. Why? I'll tell you why. Because *they* had gift wrapped a DEAD MOUSE and given it to me! A DEAD MOUSE! A REAL LIVE DEAD MOUSE! Blade and Ryder thought it was the funniest thing they'd ever seen and were laying on the floor laughing hysterically. Finally, Dakota made an appearance and said, "Didn't you hear me telling you not to open it?" Obviously, I didn't. But I appreciate that she at least made an attempt to save me. We girls have to stick together at our house.

When Blade was finally able to breathe again after laughing so hard, he said to me with a big, mischievous grin on his face, "That's your payback for making us go to bed early last night. You don't want to mess with us."


Never mind that they went to bed early because they LOCKED THEIR SISTER IN A CLOSET!!!!!

I'm not even safe in my own home with these 2 boys around. And I have a feeling it's just the beginning.

They're so much like their father it's frightening. Seriously, it's ALL him. I'm as straight laced as they come. Or will be just as soon as I figure out how to get them back for the gift wrapped dead mouse stunt. Ideas?!? ;)