Monday, May 30, 2011

Blade Accolades

In this gig called parenting, it's hard to know if you're succeeding. Sure, Dr. Dobson and Dr. Spock have their thoughts and theories, but when it comes right down to it, it's anybody's game. GI Joe and I call ourselves Worst Parents of the Year (every year) but secretly, or not so secretly actually try to be the best parents WE can be, paying no mind to everyone else's expectations and guidelines. We do things our way and while some might say making our kids run laps around the yard boot camp style until they're crying for mercy and ready to puke as punishment is too harsh, we say it is effective. And while some may say we're being too old fashioned or narrow minded by not allowing our kids to talk on the phone to classmates of the opposite sex in 2ND GRADE, we say who cares (and p.s. keep your overly flirtatious daughters away from my boys). Anyway, with all the pressure on parents these days it's good to get some affirmation from outside sources once in awhile that you are doin' something right.

We had affirmation like that recently and at the risk of sounding boastful, I'm going to blog about it. Hate me if you must. Or ask me for parenting advice, whichever. ;)

Blade just finished up his soccer season last weekend. His team actually had a makeup game on Wednesday night but we'd let the coaches know that Wednesday night was church night and Blade would not be able to be there. I sent a note to both of the coaches thanking them for coaching and here are their replies.

*Brag Alert-Continue reading at your own risk*
Coach #1
I hope it gets rained out also as it won't be the same without Blade there. :)
He was a joy and a "natural". Very kind and listened well--- you raised a good
boy. :)) Janel did all the teaching..... I'm just in charge of "administrative
duties". :) I am glad he enjoyed it and especially thrilled that he had such a
super last game. He should continue on playing---he's very talented.

Coach #2
Blade was great to coach and is a talented and very cute boy! I really liked
him and would love to have him again in the spring if I coach u-10 again. He
was always respectful and willing to do whatever I asked in practice..never
messed around. Credit to the parents!
We really missed him in the game yesterday..sure we would have won with him.

You guys, I can't tell you how happy this makes me or how big the lump in my throat is when I read this (well, once I reread it to make sure it wasn't a mix up and they were in fact, talking about our Blade....I tease). It's one thing for us as his parents to think our kid is great but when other people say it, there's just nothing better.  

Most importantly, maybe he won't turn out to be a serial killer, because after all that is our ultimate goal as parents, right? Not to have our kids grow up to be serial killers? And if they happen to gain a reputation as a respectful, kind, talented, kid along the way, well then, that's just icing on the cake.

I'd love to show you a picture of him smiling while playing soccer but there aren't any. See this face?  This is his game face and not a smile is cracked until the game is over and his team has won.  And if they didn't win?  Fughettaboutit, no smiles.  Intensely competitive might be a slight understatement.  A serial killer?  No.  A fierce competitor who may take his sports a little too seriously?  Guilty as charged.  No idea where he gets it from. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Animal House, I Mean Update

Tap, tap, is this thing still on? 
My apologies for being a haphazard blogger the past few weeks.  I've been very busy celebrating my birthday, week, month.  Also, sometimes life gets in the way of blogging about it and you know what?  That's ok.  If I have a choice between going fishing (remember my definition of fishing) with the family or an intense one on one basketball game with Blade or a friendly game of family kickball in the yard or laundry or blogging, laundry will lose every single time. But unlike laundry, if I neglect my blog nobody has to go commando, so sometimes blogging gets pushed to the back burner and I'm forced to do laundry.   Such is the plight of a working mom/wife/farm girl/wannabe blogger.  I tell you this so hopefully you don't hate me and quit visiting.  Your patience and understanding are appreciated.   
Here's some news from the zoo since it's been awhile. 
Holy has moved on to greener pastures, and no, that doesn't mean he died.  That means that instead of being confined to only the barnyard area, we've let him out to roam the 30+ acres of lush, green grass with the horses, llamas, and mules donkeys.  He rather enjoys this and is eating himself into oblivion. Don't be surprised if you see him in the cattle barn at the Iowa State Fair with a sign above his head that says "Largest Steer."  Except there won't be any gawking at the size of his family jewels because well, little farm lesson for you, because he's a "steer" that means he doesn't have any.  Listen, I'm here to educate and inform you.  Even though Holy can sometimes be far away, all I have to do is call out his name, and he'll come running, cuz I've got a friend.  Oh sorry, enough singing, back to the story.  Really, all I have to do is yell "Holy" in that special voice reserved just for him which is much like the way you would address a chubby cheeked 6 month old baby, and he comes trotting across the pasture to the fence so that I can rub his chin.  I still don't think he realizes he's actually not a dog or better yet a human, and who am I to tell him?

Then there's our super cool, one of a kind lawn ornament/weather vane. 
You can't get THAT at Lowe's. 

So it's peacock mating season at the Koons Zoo. Or at least it appears that way given that Aladdin (the boy peacock) is constantly strutting his stuff and calling for Penelope (the girl peacock). Take a look.

Is it me or does she look unimpressed?  Kinda reminds me of myself in high school when the boys would wear too much bathroom Polo and show of for us girls by seeing who could burp the loudest.
You may not know this but male peacocks are rather noisy when they are ahem...looking for love. They have this loud call that sounds like they are saying "HELP! HELP!" Seriously, you have no idea how many times I've run outside expecting to find a bleeding child
only to find Aladding perched on his fencepost yelling for his lady. It's really LOUD. We enjoy us some hillbilly entertainment so we'll either yell "help" or honk the car horn to tease him and get him to talk back to us. It's all fun and games until we're at the zoo and come across a caged peacock and the kids (ok and me too) start yelling "Help!" at it in an attempt to get him to talk too.  No dice, apparently the zoo's peacock is not near as friendly or outgoing as ours.  

 Not to be outdone by some silly peacocks, the happy turkey couple have been "twitterpating" and Tatiana is currently sitting on 8 turkey eggs....accompanied by a chicken. Only at the Koons Zoo would we have a chicken hen "helping" the turkey hen sit on her eggs. Imagine a picture here, I would take one but Tatiana can be a bit moody (I blame the hormones) and I'd hate to have my eye pecked out for the sake of a picture.  It's not weird at all to look into the little shelter where Tatiana laid the eggs and see her and Alice cozied up, laying on the eggs, reading Parents magazine. Not at all.

And then there's this guy..

Regardless of how it looks, I assure you this is real and NOT a cartoon character.
About a month ago, I was home sick with a migraine when GI Joe came home early from a work with a little box that was making noise. Inside the box were 3 of these crested ducks. I love this kind of duck,they make me laugh just by looking at them. First a llama and now ducklings, that guy sure knows how to romance a girl.
Unfortunately, only this one has survived. Such is life on the farm. And actually, I'm pretty impressed that out of 15 chicks and 3 ducklings, we've only lost 2.  That's a huge improvement over previous years. You know what's also a huge improvement?  That I've become farm girl enough not to wail and cry and gnash my teeth over the 2 we lost.  Yay me!  I didn't name him for the longest time just in case he too perished, because everyone knows that when you name them it makes it that much more awful when they die.  (Except for Hormel, who's name serves as a daily reminder of her greater purpose in lifedeath...mmmm bacon.)  But finally, last week, I decided he's gonna make it and  definitely needed a name. Not just any name though, a name that would represent him and pay homage to his adorable afro. I took to the facebook to solicit suggestions and it paid off. Meet Kramer the Duck. Need I say more?

And finally, the biggest news of birthday present and the newest resident at the Koons Zoo....

Gotcha!!!!  OK isn't actually the newest resident at the Koons Zoo, but a girl can dream right?  This photo taken at the Blank Park Zoo today, right after we tried to get the peacock to talk to us and right before Dakota started making "cat calling" noises to get the lion to roar at her.  I can't take these people anywhere.  

Have a rip roaring long weekend!   Check back next week, it just may be a multiple post week!   

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

33 I Be, I Be

Today I am 33. Yesterday I was 32, thereby making today my birthday. Typically, I am all about the birthday as adding another year to my "Lived" column has never been something that's bothered me and I certainly welcome any excuse to wear a tiara. Until....33, that is. Although, my fondness for tiaras remains unchanged.

33 was kinda freaking me out. Maybe it was because I am now PAST the halfway point between 30 and 35, and 35 is halfway to 40 and I CAN'TIMAGINE MYSELF A 40 YEAR OLD! Or maybe it's because my Mom died when she was 45 so I could only have 12 years left to live, or maybe it's just because I'm crazy. I'll take all of the above for $1000, Alex.

But so far 33 hasn't been too bad. It started out by me not being able to find my earring, only to discover it IN MY EAR, followed by being served coffee topped with whipped cream by a cute guy in his underwear (hey it's a scorcher in IA today! Also to clarify the whipped cream was on the coffee NOT the cute guy), followed by reaching for my coffee and accidentally sticking my whole hand in my coffee cup. Then I drove all the way to work with my LOW FUEL light on because I was feeling lucky, it was my birthday after all, and didn't run out! It's a birthday miracle!

Even God got in on the celebration and gave us my idea of a perfect day, 90+ degrees, sunny, slightly breezy, for my birthday. I love the hot, so it was the perfect present, in addition to, oh I don't know, another year of life.

When I got to work, I was greeted by the sight of my office decked out in farm animal plastic toys and pink balloons, a zebra headband with ears and zebra tail to wear, a pink flower to plant, and a couple of pins to wear with my title as "Princess" for the day (and every day, really). They know me well. Not to mention there was a fabulous spread of food in honor of the day, which I ate with reckless abandon because that's what birthdays are for, and I'm not the least bit sorry. Although ask me tomorrow if that was a good idea when I can't find a thing to wear because everything is too small and the metabolism of a 33 year old just ain't what it used to be.

Nothing says happy birthday like farm animals, am I right?

My Facebook wall was bombarded with sweet happy birthday messages that made me smile. I'm terrible at wishing Facebook friends a happy birthday so I was surprised and delighted when no grudges were held and birthday wishes were generously bestowed upon me. Something about people taking time out of their busy day to write a little something for lil' ol' me just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Underneath my rough and tough farm girl exterior, I really am the biggest sap who completely digs mushy stuff like that. That's why no matter how great the present is from GI Joe or anyone else, it's the cards that get me the most. I just realized what a shock that must be for my 14 year old self to hear. Note to GI Joe: Please don't misinterpret that sentence to mean that presents are optional. Thank you. ;)

Just when I didn't think I could feel any more loved or special, the Guard's Desk at work called me to tell me I had a delivery. This....

Is there a happier sight in the world than pink Gerber daisies? I think not. They were from my friend Annette and they completely made my good day greater. Thank you Nette!

Thirty three hasn't come without it's trials and tribulations though. Over my lunch hour, I spent a good 5 minutes frantically searching for my phone. I was starting to really panic when in a rush of genius, I realized...I WAS TALKING ON IT.

Blonde and 33? Maybe not such a good combination.

This evening, GI Joe had planned to prepare a delectable seafood feast on his smoker but due to my gift from God of 90+ degrees, it was a little steamy to be preparing a gourmet feast so instead we went out for dinner. To one of our favorites, Texas Roadhouse, where I made a big spectacle of myself by sitting on the saddle and acting like a cowgirl while the entire restaurant sang Happy Birthday to me and I did the Princess Di wave to the singing patrons. Just reminding my kids that while I won't embarrass them by being the old, boring mom wearing mom jeans and a too tight perm, I will be the one to embarrass them because I'm just so wild and fun. Speaking of kids, Dakota informed us of the following, "It's so weird that you guys (meaning GI Joe and I) still act like kids but are parents." I asked her how we acted like kids and she replied with, "the way you talk, the way you dress, your music, everything, you're like a kid". I think what she was trying to say is "my parents are hip and awesome," and I'll take it. It was just what I needed to hear since I'm halfway to 35 and all.

After dinner, we came home and I was properly pampered for the evening, which basically means I didn't have to do ANY laundry and I repeatedly made the kids address me as Princess Mommy.

It's still too early to call it for sure, but I have to say that after a day of 33, I think I'll be ok.

Relatively speaking, of course.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Scaaaaary Story by the Prairie Princess

Tonight, a warm, muggy, Iowa evening that felt more like August than May, the boys and I decided to go hunt for some mushrooms.  I was sure that after the recent heat wave there'd be plenty in the woods just below our barnyard.  So we got our weapons aka a plastic grocery sack and headed out.  I always go into those woods with great trepidation, because that is near the area where the great snake incident of 2011 occurred.  Also, they are kind of scary woods, very secluded, treey (that's a new word I just made up, it means there are a lot of trees), kinda dark (because of all the trees..obviously) and just the kind of place monsters would hang out.  If monsters were real of course.  Or homeless people...if they didn't have to hike 5 miles on a gravel road without drawing suspicion to get there.  Anyway, it's a neat place to go but it is a little scary, I'm not gonna lie. But I was feeling brave, mostly because I had my 2 fearless boys with me to protect me from any snakes, monsters, or homeless people I may encounter. 

We were minding our own, looking for mushrooms when I felt the earth move and heard the thunder of footsteps, but they were too heavy and loud to be HUMAN footsteps.  What could they be?  I was sure Bigfoot  was alive and was right there in our woods ready to eat us.  That would explain all the mysterious chicken/geese abductions we've had over the years.  I shushed the boys and told them to listen as something was coming.   I picked up a big rock that I was going to take down Bigfoot with (if you've ever seen me throw you'd know Bigfoot had nothing to worry about.) The noise kept getting closer as we waited with bated breaths, not daring to breathe so maybe we could go unnoticed by whatever beast was roaming the woods.  A cool breeze whispered through the trees, sending shivers down our spine as we listened...and waited....

And THEN...

THIS, popped through the trees.....
You'd scream too. 

And then the 4 of us, a mom, her boys, and their bovine brother trotted happily  through the woods, not finding a single mushroom.  I think Bigfoot beat us to them. 

The end.  :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Aww Moments

In honor of Mother's Day today, you'll have to excuse me while I indulge my inner mommy blogger and record some quips from my kids that have made me laugh or saw "awww"  lately.

Things that when I look back on this blog in 10 years from now, I want to remember things like this, not so much things like the fighting or the laundry or the "MOOOOOMMMMMMY HE POOPED IN THE YARD AGAIN!". Although the pooping in the yard? Yeah, they are NEVER living that one down.

One such "aww" moment came as I was helping Blade button the collar of his dress shirt. As I am wont to do, I got a little sappy on him, hey I'm a mom it's my perogative, and said, with misty eyes, "Just think someday I'll be helping you do this on your wedding day."
"Nope, not gonna happen," he replied matter of factly.
"What the wedding or me helping you?" worried I was already being written off as the annoying mother.
"There won't be a wedding because I'll be too busy in the NFL, winning SuperBowl rings and stuff."
Gotta love a kid with goals.

Then there was Ryder who bounded out of the kitchen post Easter with a handful of jellybeans saying, "Jellybeans make me so happy."  Me too son, me too.
Speaking of Ryder, he recently helped GI Joe put up a fence in our yard.  He was a dedicated helper, holding the work light when it got dark and they just had a little bit more to do and carrying tools and other such important tasks.  He was so proud when they finished it that he said to me, "When I grow up and move I away, when I come home and see that fence, I'll look at it and 'member how me and Daddy worked so hard on it."  That brought a little tear to this mama's eye.  Not just the thought of him moving away from us but that just a simple thing like helping build a fence is something that meant so much to us.  Note to self:  It's the little things.  Although, it really wasn't a little thing to him, I mean check out this graffiti. 

Then there's Dakota.  A few weeks ago it was the throes of turkey season, a season she looks forward to all year.  She and GI Joe spent HOURS sitting in a cold blind, making turkey like noises (also known as "calls" apparently) hoping to get a big one.  Finally, in the last 30 minutes of the last day of the season, they got one.  A really REALLY big one and she couldn't have been more excited.  Neither could GI Joe if truth be told but she was much more vocal about it, as in she talked 100 miles a minute, nonstop from the time they got home with their kill til her head hit the pillow to dream turkey dreams.  But before she drifted off she said to GI Joe, "Daddy, wasn't that the BEST DAY EVER?!?" 
"Well, the BEST DAY EVER was the day I married your mama, followed by the day you were born, and then the days your brothers were born.."
Heavy sigh, exaggerated eyeroll and with a big huff, she responded, "DADDY!  I meant the best day ever of turkey hunting...duh."
"Yes munchkin, it was the best day ever of turkey hunting."
And then she drifted contentedly off to sleep.  And I called Maury Povich to get on his show to have a maternity test, because how can I really be her mom when her best day ever involves KILLING AN ANIMAL???  IN THE COLD?????  SITTING STILL?????   NO ELECTRICITY????  I'll let you know the results. 
Look away if you're squeamish or are not a fan of seeing dead animals as prizes. 

I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day and hunted turkey or had jellybeans, or whatever makes you happy.  Or in my case, ate margarita cupcakes (I'll never tell whether they were virgin or not), watched a soccer game wherein my son told me beforehand, "I'll score goals for you today Mommy since it's Mother's Day but I can't point to you or anything after I score it, so you'll just have to know."  And I knew. 
I also knew that I can't imagine not having these 3 to call me Mommy. 
Life is good. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Signs Signs Everywhere Signs

We have kind of a serious problem in our house.  Especially for a girl who was raised with only sisters and had limited understanding of the male anatomy and exposure to their bathroom habits.  Even after being married to GI Joe, I still didn't get the full picture because his Mama raised him right and he knows to leave the seat down and aim well. 

But in the past 5 years, with not one but 2 boys and a rather sloppy girl thrown in for good measure, I'm getting quite an education.

I now understand why that one friend I had growing up who had 2 brothers had a bathroom in her house that no matter how clean it looked always smelled like pee.  Gross.  No wonder she would always go upstairs to use the other bathroom even though it required a trip up the stairs. 

I've had to take DRASTIC measures or otherwise risk my sanity being lost to a stinky, messy, dirty bathroom.  I refuse to have THAT bathroom that we avoid. 

Is it really so hard?  I would think this would be ingrained knowledge but apparently not.  Don't worry I'll ingrain it.

And there's this.  THIS is one of my greatest pet peeves in life.  The kids have their own bathroom and have assigned chores which include using a disinfectant wipe to wipe down around the bottom of the toilet where the boys may or may not have missed.  Dakota is exempt from this chore for obvious reasons.  Even after having to clean up their ahem..misfires...they still haven't straightened out (oh dear, I could go all kinds of directions with this post and the endless play on words).  This should help.  And it's directly in their line of sight so they don't have to look up or down, therefore messing up their aim. I didn't come up with this little gem, that was all GI Joe.  I heard him tell Ryder this in a moment of parenting wisdom.  NIce one GI Joe. 

Last but not least, my favorite. 
Posted on the wall above the toilet. 
Wish me luck.  If these don't work, they may be banished from our indoor bathrooms and have to do all of their business outside in the woods.  Not that they don't already do that but sometimes it may be chilly. 

Because I don't want this post to be all potty talk here are a few other signs around our house that only serve to make me happy, NOT to remind me of proper bathroom habits.  I've got that covered thankyouverymuch. 
Have truer words ever been spoken?  I think not.

Well, except maybe for these.  This is on the wall above my stove.  You know, just to remind my family, in case they forget.  :)

It's like they read my mind.  This hangs in my beautiful PINK laundry room.  Who doesn't want to feel like a diva while doing laundry?

That's all for today folks.  PEEce out!  I couldn't resist...really.