Thursday, February 24, 2011

Runs in the Family

Last year, my sisters, Smom (a nicer sounding word for stepmom), Dakota, and I started a new tradition called "Arnold Girls Weekend".  A weekend where we all met up in a central location aka St. Louis, shared a big hotel suite, shopped, went sight seeing, ate, took pictures and  basked in the excess estrogen and family togetherness.  It was glorious.  After that fun filled, laugh a minute, million memories weekend we quickly decided to make it an annual tradition. We've recently set the date and location for this year's AGW.

I opened the mail tonight and this is what I found.......

A closer look

A 2 page itinerary and what to bring list!  Please note the St. Louis cityscape background.


Typically, I'm the Type A, agenda planning girl in our family.  So imagine my surprise and delight when I opened this and wasn't responsible for it.

Apparently, I'm rubbing off on my sisters.  According to the note on the itinerary, my sister Brandy has been hard at work being me, researching and planning our 2011 AGW.

My favorite part?  This...

The "Things to Bring" portion.  This made me giggle because it reads just like the "What to Bring" list I got for summer camp in 1993. Brandy did a thorough job of making sure none of us would be stinky (see: deodorant), unkept (see:  Hair clips/Makeup, Hairdryer/Flatiron, Gel/Hairspray) or bored (Laptops/Charger, MP3/Nintendo DS/Charger, Camera/Chargers, Book/Magazine/Playing Cards).  As if.  Oh and I didn't get it in the picture but the last item on the Things to Bring list was "Smile and Love".  All together now....AWWWWW. 

As the girl who puts together spreadsheets and detailed folders full of itineraries when planning the annual National LamKoons Vacations, I have to say that I've never been prouder of my sister.

And if the Arnold Girls Weekend is even half as fun as getting this in the mail was...I'm in. 

Nice work Brandy. 

Last year's AGW

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Truant Parents

A few things before I delve into my tale of our exemplary parenting. 
*My phone made a full recovery from the lemonade incident.  Thank you brown rice.
*Just finished the book "Water for Elephants" and am now counting down the days until April 22nd when the movie comes out.  Although it's highly probable that the movie will be nothing like the book and will only serve to anger me.  Edward from the Twilight movies is the main character in the movie along with Reese Witherspoon.  I'm more of a Team Jacob kinda girl myself but I think Edward, I mean Robert Pattinson, will be great in that role.  Anyone read "Water for Elephants"?  I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now intrigued by the history of circus trains and have added the Circus Museum to our 2011 Vacation Plans. 
*I have not heard a word from Carhartt in regards to my pink Carhartt plea.  They have no idea what they're up against.
*Elvis our Emu died and we are now emu-less and that makes me sad.  Such is life on the farm I suppose.  No worries, a new pair of emus will be joining the zoo later this spring. 

Now on to the main event....

I think we’ve proven ourselves time and time again as Worst Parents of the Year. I mean really, remember this this? or this? or this? Or well, just read the blog you'll find plenty of examples.  But once again, we’ve gone above and beyond and cinched that title once and for all. We're overachievers like that.

Early Saturday afternoon, we met my Dad and Smom to give them the kids to them for the weekend. They live about an hour and a half from us so we met halfway. And can I just say that by the time they pulled into the parking lot of our meeting place, we loaded the kids in their vehicle, threw in their suitcase, and then LITERALLY ran back to our vehicle, LOCKED THE DOORS AND SPED OFF BEFORE NANA AND PAPA COULD CHANGE THEIR MINDS, because the kids were being that AWFUL ahem..spirited? Seriously. We love them but a parental separation was in order. Thanks kids for the extra dose of whining, fighting, and arguing you bestowed on us on Saturday morning to make the separation easier. IT WORKED. The whole reason for the shipping off of the children, besides the much needed parental hiatus, was so that GI Joe and I could enjoy a long overdue date night with my BFF since 1989 and her husband in Iowa City , which happens to halfway between our two homesteads. The date night will get a post of its own because let me tell you, you give 2 couples who don’t get out much a night away from their beloved children, busy households, and everyday stress, it’s bound to get Cray Cray…C-R-A-Z-Y. ;) 

I digress. So by 12:30 on Saturday afternoon we were footloose and fancy free and I’m not gonna lie, it was invigorating. Made even better by the fact that it was only beginning as the kids wouldn’t be returning home until Monday morning. MONDAY MORNING?!? Normally when they go to Nana and Papa’s in Council Bluffs we meet on Sunday afternoon to retrieve them. But since it was President’s Day and according to the writing on my kitchen calendar it was also Teacher Development Day so NO SCHOOL, they were riding back with my Smom when she came over for work on Monday morning. So not only did we get a date night we got a date DAY. A half day, a night, and another day, actually 44 HOURS, but who’s counting?!?

Umm I'll tell you who's counting....the school.  They were counting our kids as ABSENT on Monday morning.

I got a call at work from GI Joe at 7:30 asking me if I was sure there was no school because THE BUS JUST STOPPED AT OUR HOUSE TO PICK UP THE KIDS.  You know, the kids that were still in Council Bluffs at that moment because someone didn't think they had school?  I went immediately to the school website bound and determined to find the announcement that said, "Teacher Development scheduled for Feb 21 has been cancelled and there will now be school to make up for the abundance of snow days we've had already this year."  That is the only explanation I could think of for because as you may have heard, I NEVER make mistakes.  (Please back away from the computer because lightning may strike.)  Strangely enough, there was no announcement and when I pulled up the calendar there was no mention of a Teacher Development Day.  Obviously, they had quickly deleted it off of there and sent the busdriver out to play a joke on us.  Except that when I pulled up the lunch menu, there was a menu for Monday 2/21.  Is there no end to the lengths that the school will go to to mess with me? 
Apparently not, because not only did they get the website, the busdriver, and the lunch calendar in on it, they got the entire student body to play along and all of them showed up for school on Monday.  Even though it was very clearly written on the calendar hanging in our kitchen.  Weird.
Ready to cry uncle to put an end to this conspiracy madness, I called the school to report that the kids would be in late, around 11.  GI Joe picked them up from my Smom and took them to school.  Or tried to take them to school.......
They were less than thrilled about going and all the way there Blade and Dakota were complaining of not feeling well.  He brushed it off as them just trying to get out of going.  As they were walking into the school, Blade looked at GI Joe and said, "Daddy, I REALLY don't feel good," and then he promptly threw up all over the sidewalk.  And then Dakota threw up a little because she's one of those weak stomached people who get sick at the sight/sound of other people getting sick.  Awesome. 
Even more awesome is that GI Joe took Dakota (after all she only got sick because she saw Blade do it) and Ryder the rest of the way in, signed them in and wished them a happy day.  Then he took Blade home to dope him up on Sprite and Spongebob. 
He'd been home about 20 minutes when the school called to tell him that Dakota had just thrown up and could he please come get her. 
And here's what I have to say about that
I was RIGHT!
I really do have mother's intuition. 
Mother's intuition that makes my kids truant, but intuition nonetheless.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Meet and Greet

To the three of you that read this blog on a daily basis, I apologize for the lack of postings this week.  I just really wanted my Pink Carhartt Plea to have time to marinate out there in cyberspace for awhile, you know just in case the CEO of Carhartt spends his spare time reading random blogs.  Strangely enough, I haven't heard from them yet...weird.  It's also been one of those weeks, actually if I'm being honest one of those months, make that month and a half.  Hopefully, someday very soon when we're on the "other side" of things, I'll write a riveting, detailed blog that will rival the movie "A Few Good Men", except instead of Jack Nicholson, my version stars a villain named Jiminy Crickett, you're intrigued now aren't you?  Be patient, my dears, soon. 

But for now you'll have to settle for the recent highlight of my blogging life....

No, NBC didn't call to offer me a sitcom and no, I haven't been offered a book deal...yet. 

Last Sunday, I had the privilege of meeting in person, face to face, one of my long time blog readers aka fan, Adrienne.  In her husband's words, "You are a celebrity in our household!"   Me?  A celebrity?!?  Ok, ok if you insist.  ;)  Many days I wonder if anyone is even reading this blog but now I know.  Adrienne is!!  (And Trisha and Heather too, I know this because they send me harassing emails if I go too long without posting.  Feel free to let me know if you're also reading, I live for comments.)  
So I did what any high profile blogger would do, put on some lip gloss and insisted on having our picture taken. 

Hey PP, the nursing home called Grandma wants her shirt back. 

I hope my "blouse" looked better in person because it seriously looks like I highjacked the nursing home. 

I have to admit it was a little nerve wracking, meeting and talking to someone who reads the blog and probably has a preconceived notion of who I, the Prairie Princess, am.   I mean I keep it real here on Hillbilly Hilarity and what you read is who I am, at the least the part I want you to know.  But what if she found me boring or blase?  What if I didn't live up to who she thought I was from reading the blog?  Oh the stress. Then you throw in the fact that she knew so much more about me than I knew about her.  It was all a little strange.  But Adrienne was so sweet and by the end of our time together we were real life friends.  And now I want to go immediately to Kansas City where Adrienne lives and meet her for lunch at Mi Ranchitos.  Have I mentioned I LOVE Mi Ranchitos?  Oh the espinaca.....

It was great to meet you (in person) Adrienne and I'm not kidding about lunch.  If you want to get take out and come here that works too.  :)

Also, sorry I forgot my Sharpie so I couldn't autograph your forehead like you wanted.  Oh what?  That was a figment of my imagination?  Huh.  The fame must be going to my head.  Next thing you know I'll be "borrowing" jewelry from upscale jewelry stores and appearing on the front cover of the National Enquirer.  Maybe then I'll get my pink Carhartts!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Plea for Pink Carhartts Part 2

Since my earnest plea to Carhartt that I wrote TWO YEARS ago has gone rudely unanswered, even after 2 phone calls and a follow up email, it's time.

Time to get serious.  Especially since we've recently gotten hit by a blizzard which means I've been sporting my boring navy blue Carhartts an awful lot.  And everytime I slip them on, I'm overcome by bitterness, disgust, and anger towards Carhartt because WHY AM I NOT WEARING RASPBERRY COVERALLS RIGHT NOW?

Here goes my last attempt before I go public with this scandal.  I'm talking Dateline Special here folks. 

Not So Dear Carhartt,
We're about to have words, you and I.  Brace yourself.  Why you may ask?  Well, remember THIS?  Of course you do and I have no doubt that this picture is prominently displayed in your design team's cubicle for inspiration.  However, I wouldn't know that since YOU NEVER RESPONDED TO MY INQUIRY.  Listen Carhartt, I do not take kindly to being ignored.  I gave you 2 years to 1) respond to my inquiry and 2) get some raspberry Carhartt products on the racks of my local farm store.  You have done neither of those things and I don't like that.  I did some research and discovered that instead of my suggested (and lovely) raspberry shade of Carhartts, you are currently marketing a line of women's outerwear in "vintage rose".  Oh now you've done it Carhartt, you've done ticked me off.  Vintage rose?  Are you kidding me?  I'm gonna be brutally honest with you right now and tell you this, vintage rose is UGLY.  Vintage rose looks like you took a nice light pink jacket and washed it in mud.  Is that what you were going for?  Because frankly it feels like an insult to the fashion sense of female Carhartt wearers everywhere.  Also, is this your way of stealing my idea of pink Carhartts but modifying them in such a way (aka ruining it) that you would not have to pay me royalties or at the very least give me free Carhartts?  Don't worry I don't want anything from you in VINTAGE ROSE.  I want raspberry, as in HOT PINK, people, and so do the thousands of other women I've mentioned my suggestion to who would line up to buy them. I can completely understand why you wouldn't want to dominate this previously untapped demographic and not increase your profit margin.  Actually, no I can't, what are you thinking CARHARTT?  There is money to be made on raspberry pink Carhartts! Just in case you've forgotten here's a picture of exactly what farm girls and even city girls of America want. 
You're welcome.

I know this may sound harsh but you should know that even though you've devalued me as a customer and ignored my cries for help pink Carhartts, I still adore your brand and continue to wear it.  My boring navy blue Carhartts are now over 15 years old and I have yet to replace them and I still love them, boring blue and all.  They've had a good run and I will wait til they are falling apart at the seams or you send me the prototype sample for your new line of raspberry coveralls.  In the event that I have to replace them before I receive your prototype, it pains me to tell you that I will likely have to look outside the Carhartt brand.  Perhaps Dickies, because would you look at THAT, they already have some items in RASPBERRY so maybe they'll be more open to my suggestion of expanding that to their outerwear.  They probably value their customers enough to at least respond to such inquiries, I'm just sayin'.   I continue to wear my 15 year old navy blue Carhartts because they continue to offer me warmth and protection from our frigid Midwest winters.  But every time I put them on I am reminded of my unanswered raspberry Carhartt prayers and that stings almost as much as the hypothermia I would suffer w/out my beloved coveralls.  So I'm asking you again Carhartt, won't you please make my raspberry coverall dreams come true?  Farm girls want to feel beautiful too.  I look forward to and am eagerly EXPECTING your response. 

Conflicted & Cold in Navy Blue Carhartts,
Prairie Princess

And this is the letter I sent to Carhartt today, oh YES I DID.  Stay tuned I have a feeling they won't dare ignore me this time. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Pros of Bros

Dakota is at that age, you know the one where you begin to wonder how you will ever survive the next 7 years?  Yeah, that one.  While she is anything but typical girl in her interests, etc she's 100% girl in the attitude, the drama and the moodiness. 

Her brothers, Ryder in particular, drive her crazy.  Not one particular thing that he does or says, just him in general.  So yeah, he's got a fighting chance....not.  She is constantly egging him on and antagonizing him.  And while he's not innocent she tends to read him the riot act over even the tiniest of infractions.  It's such a joy. 

The other night after Ryder had especially gotten under her skin, by oh I don't know...BREATHING...and I told her to take a chill pill and just ignore him, she fired back at me.

"You were lucky and only had sisters.  You have NO IDEA what it's like to have annoying brothers."

"You're right I don't know what it's like.  But I can tell you that it wasn't all kittens, cupcakes, and rainbows growing up with 2 younger sisters."

"It was probably a lot better than having BROTHERS!  My best friends are girls, girls are so much easier to get along with than annoying boys."

"Oh honey, you have no idea.  Girls are so dramatic and emotional and moody, kinda like you're being right now, so it's total drama island when you have sisters who are exactly the same way.  At least with boys, they fight then in the next minute they're playing catch in the yard.  Girls don't roll like that.  Girls fight...and fight...and fight...then make up because they were forced to...and then bring it up 6 months later and start another fight.  Did you know that your Aunt Heidi and I didn't really like each other or get along until I moved out of the house?  It's true. You know why?  Because we were both moody, sassy GIRLS.  Girls are much harder to deal with.  You wouldn't last a minute having 2 sisters instead of 2 brothers." 

"Yes, I would.  I either want to be an only child or I want only sisters.  Boys are just way too.....AGGRESSIVE."

"Well sweetie, neither of those are going to happen so you might as well get comfortable having 2 brothers.  And all we can hope is that when you get married and have babies that they are ALL GIRLS." 

And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  And I hope and pray that they are JUST LIKE HER.  ;)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today is Blade's ninth birthday.  It's also the 12th anniversary of the worst day of my life, the day my Mom was tragically killed in a car accident.  You'll be happy to know that since Blade's birth 9 years ago, I no longer spend February 1st wallowing in self pity and moping around.  Nope, now it's all about Blade. And I think that's exactly how my Mom would've wanted it.  Thank goodness for Blade. 

Besides who could be blue with this guy around?

Dear Blade,
    You're not so much into the gushing and overly sentimental rantings of your mother so I'll try to keep the gag factor low to medium.....or not.  I'm the mom I can do what I want. 
    So you're nine today and think you're kind of a big deal.  Just last night you asked your Daddy to please get up and get the remote for you even though you were a good 6 feet closer to it, because after all "it's your BIRTHDAY WEEK!"  Oh dear, you know what they say, "like mother father like son."  ;)  And you said that serious as could be with eyes twinkling and trying to supress  a smile, so of course all we could do was laugh and get you the remote.  You know how to work us and everyone else, my child.  Those big brown eyes?  WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.  You will use those bad boys to manipulate, charm, and finagle to get your way or way out of anything. 
    Your 8th year of life was a big one for you.  You expanded your sports horizons and started wrestling and also played your first season of TACKLE football.  You are so competitive and intense and take it so hard when you lose, which isn't that often.  But when you do and your eyes get misty and you're biting your lip trying not to cry because you are so mad about losing, my heart breaks into a million tiny pieces.  This whole being a sports mom may be the death of me.  But I so love it and will always be your biggest (and loudest) fan.  Like it or not.  And yes, lesson learned about sending you to football camp wearing your "My Mom Rocks" shirt.   
    Besides playing football, soccer and wearing leotards wrestling, you love to be outside doing farm boy stuff, like raking hay or climbing trees or your latest accomplishment, climbing through a raccoon infested culvert that runs from our pond, under the road, to the field across the road.  Please note that you did not do that last one with the expressed permission of your parents and you'd better never do it again.  But that's the kind of kid you are, not afraid of anything and always looking for adventure.  After all, you were the one who rode your bike down a 10 ft tall twisty slide at the park when you were 3.  You are also passionate about sports and will spend entire Saturdays and Sunday afternoons in the fall watching one football game after another and discussing rankings, players, and stats with your Daddy.  When you're not watching it, you're outside (even if it's 5 degrees and snowing) throwing a football around with your brother and Daddy or shooting hoops.  There is no doubt that you are 110% boy. 
     You also love your dog, Dexter the pug boundlessly.  When Santa brought him to you last Christmas, I wondered how long it would take for the novelty to wear off and for you to tire of him.  But here we are 14 months later and you love that dog more every second.  He follows you everywhere and looks longingly out the window and whines when you get on the bus for school every morning.  There should probably be a Disney movie made about you two. 
     You are one in a million and I often times forget that you're only 8 9.  Since you were a baby you've seemed wise beyond your years.  You're quick witted and funny, always catching us off guard with your one liners or retorts.  You are straight up ornery and just by looking at those sparkling brown eyes I can see the mischief brewing behind them.  And you're particular...about everything from music to cleaning your room to which shirt (but apparently NOT what underwear) you wear to school.  You have opinions on them all.  Which is odd considering neither your father or I are very opinionated about anything. Ha!  When you're mad you're MAD and you will inevitably cross your arms in front of your chest and glare at the world defiantly, daring anyone to make you crack a smile because that is so NOT happening.  Those are fun times, and by fun times I mean they make me want to scream and put up an ad on Craig's List to find you a new home. :)  Luckily, those times are rare and it's more common to find you happy and when you're happy LIFE IS GRAND.  You laugh, you hug, you joke, you hold our hands, you say sweet things, and tighten the already impenetrable grip you have on our hearts.
         I could list a million more things that I love about you but someone...ahem has demanded that I make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake for his birthday so I'd better quit writing and get to baking.  Just know this, my boy, that I love you more than life itself, and that you helped heal a broken part of my heart when you came to us exactly 3 years to the day after your Grandma Leslie died.  I can't imagine life without you.  I would prefer if you'd live with me forever but you've got big dreams little boy, and I know that with your tenacity and fervor for life you'll accomplish whatever you set your mind to do.  I also know that you have a special place in your heart for your Mommy (and Daddy) and assure me that you'll never outgrow that. You also promised me your first Superbowl ring.  I'm holding you to both of those promises.  And I promise you that we'll always love you and be on your side.  I'm so proud to call you my son. 
Happy Birthday Buddy! 
P.S.  Could you be any cuter?!?  Seriously.