Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I'm raising someone's future husband. I thought about that a few months ago when I was talking to Owen's teacher and she handed me his backpack and said it was heavy. I giggled and handed it to him. He's use to carrying the baskets of laundry and he would be just fine. She was surprised that I made him carry the laundry but my exact words to her were "I'm raising someone's future husband." I'd never really thought about it until them. I just thought that they should have to do chores too. Why should I be the only one to pick up their underwear off of the floor? (That will be a running theme to my blog, unfortunately.)

You see, I'm a mean mom. I make them do chores. Shane has to unload the dishwasher, run the vacuum cleaner and Owen is responsible for bringing the trash from upstairs downstairs, putting the shoes in the closet (most of which are mine) and bringing the laundry down. I was washing my clothes as soon as I could reach the dials on the washer with a stool so I'm not sure why they can't do chores. Oh....the boys grumble. Just like I'm sure that I did. And, yes, it would definitely be easier to do it myself. But, then they'll never learn. So I suffer. Just as my mom and dad did too I'm sure.

Actually, I'm sure that this payback is all part of my mother's diabolical plot. It began with "I hope that you have one just like you." Yes. Yes I do. I'm terribly sorry, mom. Just lift the curse, okay? :)

Confession time: I hated doing chores growing up too. What kid doesn't? I use to get mad at mom for vacuuming on Saturday morning when we were trying to watch Scooby Doo. How dare she make so much noise? And, on her only day off too. Sheesh. Mom, you'll be glad to know that Shane has now started whining at me when I vacuum while he's watching his toonies. Paybacks are hell.

Susan and I would leave our laundry in the washer and dryer until they molded or were so wrinkled they had to be rewashed. (You'll be glad to know that I'm now as neurotic as my mother. As soon as the clothes come off the body, they're in the washer. I understand that my grandmother (her mother) was like that too. It must be genetic.)

Anywho, I found out later that instead of listening to my mom grumble (read: b*&^h) at us for leaving clothes in the washer or dryer, my dad would just fold them for us. I'm sure that he put them in our rooms folded. And, I'm equally sure that they laid in the same spot that he put them until they 1) got worn again (at which time they would return to their natural place in the universe -- on the floor) or 2) until a friend borrowed them. Thanks dad. I know you did it for your sanity, but thanks for folding our clothes all those years. :)

/end confession

So...back to the point of the post. Chores. The boys do them.

Note Owen's laundry carrying technique. I cringed the first couple of times he carried the basket downstairs but now I just send him up to get it. This was not a posed shot. That is a full load of laundry. :)

Shane in action. He had gotten lazy and was unloading the dishes onto the counter for me to finish. I introduced him to the stool and now he's putting them away. Grumble, grumble, grumble. I figure if he can climb up onto the counter to get to the candy, he can do the same with the dishes. Yeah. I know you do that. Don't think that you're getting away with anything with me, buddy.

They also have to make their beds and do their homework, which is never a struggle with Shane. Nope, not at all. I've also started making them carry the groceries into the house from the car. Except for the stuff that I don't want broken or squished. Like our beer. I'll bring that in myself. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

There was a Person in a Chinese Restaurant...

...who opened the fortune cookie that said, "..."***

If you can finish that joke, you know what I thought when I saw the Peanuts comic strip below.

Even if our loved ones have left us, they are still with us. It's the little things that happen every now and then that bring back good memories of them.

That is all.

***..."Help! I 'm being held captive in the fortune cookie factory."
**** This was Ken's grandpa's joke and it has become somewhat legendary in the family. Grandpa's dry sense of humor seems to be passed down to my kids as Owen told this joke just the other day. Even though he has never met his Great Grandpa, he knows the joke. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Am A Sneaky Chef

Do you fight with your kids to eat healthy? too.

Okay. Be honest here. Do you fight with your husband to eat healthy? Be really honest with me. I won't tell. Yeah....well, me too.

So, what am I going to do? Live the next 15 years fighting with the boys to eat healthy? Um, no thanks. I vividly remember my sister sitting for hours in front of a plate of green beans refusing to eat them. Yum. Nothing better than cold green beans. And, she sat there. And sat there. And sat there. Someone finally gave in because she lives in Virginia now. LOL.

Oh man. I don't want to do that. Meaning, having my kids sit there for hours watching their veggies petrify and turn into a science project right in front of them.

So...time to figure out something else. After all...I am at war. At least that's what it feels like at night when they eat dinner. I have broken them down about as far as possible without having a complete revolt on my hands. Let's review:

  • They only eat wheat bread. They eat only apple sauce (and anything else that I can find) without sugar added.

  • I give them bran cereal with vanilla soy milk. It takes like frosted flakes. Sure it does. Trust me. (It's actually very good.)

  • I changed their peanut butter to natural p-nut butter without sugar added. Oh...they resisted. But, since they don't make their lunches, they don't have a choice. They've accepted that.

  • I use whole wheat flour when I bake cookies for them.

  • I rarely use red meat. They haven't had tacos with red meat in 4-evar.
I'm so mean. And, I'm about to get meaner. But, in a nice way. :)

They beg to eat at Goolricks because they know that they'll get real cheese (not the veggie cheese that I've started using*) on white bread. White bread. Live it up, boys.

So...I'm in the trenches. I found the book a "Sneaky Chef" that has opened my options. She is brilliant. She purees healthy food (veggies, fruits and whole grains) and incorporates them into recipes. She is a warrior. She won the battle. And shared her war plan. It's freaking brilliant.

I made the chocolate chip cookies last night. My kids loved the dough. Hurdle #1 - check.

Shane licked the beater clean. That should tell you something. :)

Here's the cookies after they were baked. They are a cross between an oatmeal cookie and a chocolate chip cookie. My kids loved them. If your kids aren't used to whole wheat flour, they may not like them so easily.

And, just what the heck are in them, you ask? So glad that you asked. You're not seeing wrong. Navy beans, wheat germ and whole wheat flour are the basic sneaky ingredients. :)

Both boys gave the cookies a thumbs up.

And for dinner tomorrow night? Pasta and meatballs. I made the meatballs tonight and the boys tried one, loved it and asked for more. They are yummy. And, the best part? They have peas, carrots and wheat germ in them. :)

Yay me!

Lastly, can I say that my friend Emily has been at war with her family's eating too. Her husband asks her the same question that Ken does to me when she asks if he liked a new recipe. "Why? What did you put in it?" LOL. It's nice to have someone to share the fight with. Thanks, Em for the field trips to the stores!

*Oh and if you're wondering, they have no idea that I make their grilled cheese sandwiches with veggie cheese. They eat it and say thank you. And I say "you're welcome" with a smile on my face.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

Okay. I know it's one day after Valentines Day. But, it's the thought that counts, right?! (I already told you that I sux.)

Valentines Day. Sweet Hearts Day. It's all about having a Valentine. Shane, as he has for the last 500 years, was sweethearts with his "girlfriend" Josie. He went to great pains to pick out just the perfect present for his sweetie.

He wanted to get her roses until I told him how much they cost.

He wanted to get her chocolate.

There was a flower on the chocolate box (sweet - he was excited that he saved $). Aw...he's learning the value of a dollar. Well...his dollar anyway. My dollar would have been just fine to spend on real roses. For an 8 year old. But, being the mean mommy that I am, I refused to give him the money. Score one for me.

He wanted to get her a stuffed animal. When you squeeze it, it says "I'm bananas for you." He made her promise that she would wait until she got home to squeeze it.

Evidentially he did good because Josie's mom called him (not me but him) to tell him congratulations on the selection and that he must stop outdoing Mr. G* because Josie got a better present that she did. LOL.

 was Owen's first Valentines Day that he cared about having a sweet heart. He hemmed and hawed about who was going to be his Valentine. He finally decided that he was going to ask Katelyn. A fifth grader. I said okay if that's who he wanted to be his sweetie.

He came home from school a few days ago and announced that he had asked her and she said yes. I asked him to tell me about it.

Owen: "Well, mom. I just walked right up to her and said "will you be my Valentine" and she said yes. Her friend was standing there. And, her friend is a safety patrol too, mom. Do you understand that? A safety patrol."

I asked him if he was scared or if he was worried about the other girl making fun of him. He said no and he didn't know why he should be scared. I'm in trouble, aren't I?

Anyway, he really took his time picking out her present. He ended up getting her some marshmellows in the shape of hearts. I picked up the bear for him. Because I couldn't resist.

He also made her a card.

The front of it. Note that he indicates it's the front by writing "front".

The back of the card. Note again that he indicates that it's the back by writing "back." You can also see the picture that he drew of him and Katelyn (although she is faint). He told me "see....there's me and Katelyn. She's bigger than me." LOLOLOLOL

He had a Valentines Day Party at school where the adults were acting more like kids by giving the kids whipped cream shots. It was kind of funny because the kids were chatting for certain parents to do the whipped cream shots. I was peer pressured. It was just a little peak into Owen's future at the fraternity house. But don't worry...I'm onto him. Not that I ever did funnels or keg stands or slammed beer at a fraternity house. I don't know what you're talking about.

Everyone else's classes were calm but ours was just out of control. LOL.

And, here's a picture of him and his sweetie. Isn't she cute? He says that she's just his friend. "Mom. I don't have a girlfriend. She's just my friend. Friend mom. It's just so simple. Don't you get it?" Yes, son. I get it.

And, lastly, Shane made a card for Mrs. King. Inside it, he put that she was beautiful. Spelled beutfl. :) He had second thoughts about giving it to her because she may take it the wrong way. I was doing book cart and told him that I would give her the card for him. Before he agreed, he made me promise that I would tell her that he thought she was beautiful like a friend - not like a boyfriend/girlfriend. ROTFLMAO. Of course, she said that she was heartbroken but she understood. :)

Ken got me an awesome disk for my camera that uploads pictures automatically from my camera to the computer (wild) and I got him a book of art on the 1980's video games. Thanks for the idea, Josh! It's a great book.

Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

That's Not the Appropriate Way to Handle Things

Reading the title, you'd think that would be something that I'd say to the kids (read..Owen) when he gets angry and turns into Donald Duck. You know. All crazy and flapping his wings out of control. If you haven't seen Donald Duck in a cartoon. You must. Then, you'd know what I was dealing with with Owen. I made the mistake of calling him that and now Shane has picked up on it and is relentlessly teasing his brother. Jabbing at him. Calling him Donald whenever Owen gets mad. Until I told him to stop. Now he just does it when we're out of earshot or when he can mouth it out of our sight. Big brothers. Sheesh.

Anyway, these are my words usually. Except the other day it was Owens. To me when I lost my temper (ie - did an Oscar winning performance of Donald Duck.) Yes. I'm ashamed. I should have better control over my temper. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

And, thank you, Owen. I will try to control my temper. You taught me a good lesson.

What Do I Do All Day? most stay-at-home moms who also works-at-home (but that's another post) I do any array of things that one might expect. Cook (careful, Ken), clean (ditto), do laundry (ditto), help at the kids schools, grocery shop, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on. And, nap. Definitely. Whenever I can. Which isn't nearly enough these days.

Anyway, day today starts out like any other day. Except they've delayed the kids school two hours because of the ice. And, like any other day, and regardless of the fact that we now have two extra hours to get out the door, the kids piddle around and attempt to play their video games, play Webkinz and watch TV. And, like any other day, I end up getting mad at them and we're almost late to school. (Kids pics thrown in because if you've read it this far, you deserve it!)

Okay. So. Let's see...scratch everything else on my lengthy to-do list. Get the kids off to school and decide to swing by the grocery store. In the pouring rain. Because I rock. Or, I don't want to hear them whine about what I make for dinner so I am going to make them something that they will eat. With minimal protest.

I pull into the driveway and I notice that there's a truck parked outside of our house with the trunk open. Then I see this guy walking off of our porch. With a bunch of manly looking equipment (no...that's not code for something else, pervert. He really had a bunch of tools. Nevermind.)

I get out of the car. With my cell phone in hand. Because I'm paranoid. Because I watch too much Court TV. I ask him what's up. Did I mention that it's pouring down rain? is. He says that he's a contractor with Columbia Gas and he is surveying the houses and says that there's a huge gas leak on the outside of our house that extends to Ray's house.

I have two thoughts.

1. Right. This guy is full of it and he's trying to take me.
2. Oh man. This guy is for real and how much is it going to cost me.

So he says that he has to call CG right away because the leak is at a very high level. I can tell that he's serious and I tell him that I'll be upstairs if he needs me. He says he can't ring the door bell because it may blow the house up. Then proceeds to tell me that if it's a leak underground, our house could explode. Then tells me that normal procedure if for an evacuation.

Oh f'ing great.

So, what do I do? Well...of course. Put away the groceries, load the dishwasher and clean up the house quickly (ie - pick the kids undies off of the floor because they didn't do it (not any of the 5 times that I asked). And why? Because if it blows up, I would be mortified if people saw it. Whatever. I need therapy.

So, whatelse do I do? Grab my camera of course and start taking pictures of the multitude of trucks that pulled up. I'm not sure why Cox Cable was here. That was kinda weird but whatever. It's their procedures not mine.

Then someone from CG comes up and I ask what's it going to cost me? He started laughing and said nothing because the whatchamacallit just needs to be tightened.

Whew. So, now I can get on with the rest of my day. It's 12:45 and the kids don't get home until 3:45. I can get a lot done between now and then. Or, I may just bag it and take a nap. I deserve it.

Oh...what did I have planned today, you ask? Well. I was going to go to meet my friend Kristy for breakfast. We've been trying to get together since my birthday. My birthday was in October. :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Brothers. If you have a brother, you understand these pictures without any commentary at all. Owen is clueless that he's being messed with. Such a little brother.

But, I'm sorry, Shane. Daddy's on to you. He was a big brother too. You're not fooling anyone.

And, what's the deal with the bunny ears? Every kid loves to do them.

The only other thing that I should point out is Owen's hands. Boys.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Some Cute Kids

Just for the grandparents. :)

Mary Mayken being oh so cute.

Shane being the kewl 8 year old that he is.

Owen, Shane and Sheldon at Kings Dominion this summer. They all moved up a wrist band (if you have kids, you'll know what that means!). Unfortunately for me...they aren't all the same color.

Owen being Owen. Fifth Birthday Party. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Just Doing the Best I Can

Sometimes I see a comic strip that I can totally relate to. This is one of them. I can relate to every frame in this strip. Moms aren't perfect. We're just trying to do the best we can. There's more than one time that I've thought those same exact words. "Well. I could have handled that a little better." I've got to remember that they're just young once and time is going by so quickly. Let the small things roll off my shoulders. Yeah. Tomorrow I'll give that a try. Sigh.

Monday, February 4, 2008

One Little Two Little Three Little Indians

Or, Happy Thanksgiving.

Yeah...yeah. I know. Thanksgiving was 2 1/2 months ago. It doesn't really need repeating but I'll say it again. I suck. (Wait until I post pictures from two years ago that you've never seen but have been bugging me about.)

Anywho. I'll make a long Thanksgiving story short. Or, I'll try to. Mom and dad get here at 9:30 at night. Mom falls on the sidewalk before they even get in the door and breaks her ankle. She passes out. I take a look at her golfball sized ankle and call 911. Every available ambulance comes to her rescue with lights and sirens going full blast. Her first ER trip. Her first ambulance ride. Oh boy. We're off to a good Thanksgiving.

Here's the players and their reactions/responses:

Ken and dad: Just standing there looking at her.

Me: Good grief. Someone help her up. As I push through the kids and Ken and help her up myself.

Owen: Is Nanny going to die? (To her directly as we cart her in the door.)

Shane: Where's our present? (To her directly as we cart her in the door.)

Mary (my neighbor and a nurse): Um...I'm sorry to say this but you're going to have to go to the ER. (The funny part is she knew one of the paramedics and was socializing with her. LOL.)

Every other neighbor: Is everything okay? I saw neighbors that I forgot I had. It's good to be in a smaller town at times like this. But, the ambulances (plural) really didn't have to roar in with their lights and sirens on. People from the other side of the neighborhood were still coming by the next day to find out what was going on.

Susan: Oh man. I'm going to have to cook dinner by myself? Oh, and can you bring your silver, your ladles and your gravy boats with you? How's mom? Tell her to stop complaining. ROTFLMAO. (Susan's a nurse by the way.) to the ER we go. Until 2:30 in the morning. The doctor thinks that she slightly broke her ankle and gave her crutches, pain meds and sent us on our way.

Okay....I promised a short story. It's not what you got. I'm sorry.

Yeah...before you ask. Did I take any pictures of the ambulance or paramedics? Well, no. I wanted to grab my camera and even said I was but mom said that she'd get me good if I did. I figured she trumped me at that point so I relented. So...this is the only one that I got.

So where's the Thanksgiving story and pictures you were promised? Right here. We spent T'giving at Susan's and I made the hats for the kids. Happy Thanksgiving!

Owen's face cracks me up. It's the best one I got of all four of them. LOL.

Hey...thanks for staying with me on this one. God bless you if you've made it this far.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Made With Love

The running joke in my house is that the special ingredient in everything that I make for the boys, especially their lunches of PB&J, is love. It's what they eat every day for lunch. I try to pack other things but they just want pb&j.

So, when I was making their lunch a few weeks ago, I squirted the jelly out and it came out in the shape of a heart. So what's a good mom to do? Well...of course. Grab my camera and start taking pictures. Their lunch will just have to wait. This is a sign from above that it's okay to make them pb&j every day for lunch and it must be captured on film.

Plus, it makes me smile.

Webkinz - The New "It" Toy

Webkinz. Have you heard of them?

If you have a child around the age of 7, chances are pretty good that you have. If not, let me enlighten you. Webkinz are cute little stuffed animals that you can buy in a store. They have a code on them for a website that you can go to sign you kids new pet up. Once signed up, it is the kids responsiblity to take care of their pet. They can earn "money" to buy things for their pet, can go into rooms where other pets are (I'm not sure if they can chat or not though), can play games and can add "friends". A few observations:

1. It's a good way to teach kids about earning vs. spending and spending wisely.

2. It can become addictive with the games and such. My 5 year old wants to be on Webkinz all the time. This isn't necessarily a good thing and it usually turns into a struggle to get them to turn off the computer.

3. When a kid gets an invitation from another pet owner to be a friend, they accept it because "the kid wants to be their friend." When they get an invitation from a friend, I see it like some sicko is trying to mess with them. And then I have the conversation with them about accepting only friends that they know. It's the same "don't open the door to a stranger" conversation that I've had with them a million times. Half the time, they open the door. groan.

4. It's a great money maker for the company because their webkinz expires after a certain period of time.

5. There is no reason that my niece should have 15 webkinzs. But she does because she keeps getting them for presents. And she wants more. My kids want more than the one that they have but I'm a mean mommy.

6. Um...this is the beginning of the end, isn't it? Next thing, they'll want a Facebook page and will be chatting online with their friends.

Oops. Gotta go. Owen just came in here asking if he can make his Christmas list of new Webkinz that he wants. :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Yeah, yeah. I know. It's a month and a half since Christmas. But I've already told you that I suck. It was either lose my sanity or send out Christmas cards. Sanity 1, Christmas cards 0. Here's a few pictures from our trip to Disney at Christmas. I hope that makes up for it. (Yeah!!!! I'm finally sharing our Disney pictures from Christmas. I rock!)

We were chosen to be the Grand Marshals of the Family Fun Parade. Was it because of our dorky matching shirts that I made? Maybe. Maybe it was my winning personality. I'm not sure. But it was fun! We had arranged to meet our friends (who were at Disney too) at the Magic Kingdom as a surprise for Shane. They had just gotten dinner so they didn't want to go. But, their daughter wanted to so we ran to the parade and got in the fire truck to lead the parade. Very kewl!

Here are a few other pictures to enjoy. :)

It was really cold a few days that we were there. I was glad that I had packed gloves, hats and scarves for the kids. Instead of hearing Owen whine about how hot it was, we had to listen to him complain that it was too cold. LOL.

This is the Tower of Terror. Owen and Shane were terrified of it from our trip in June. Owen refused to go onto it in December stating that now he knows where they got the name from. "Terror mom. Get it? Tower of Terror."

I didn't buy the picture but I did snap a photo. This was from June. You can see the boys on the right. Shane and I are on the bottom row (which is not the ride that I would have preferred to have the front seat on!) and Owen and Ken are behind us. :)

Shane does love his ice cream. Especially if it's for breakfast. He wolfed it down in about two minutes flat. I wish he's eat his dinner like that.

One thing that the boys absolutely insisted on doing was the Star Wars Jedi Training at MGM Studios. I'm so glad that they did. The Jedi Master put them up front and together so I was able to get pictures of both of them. Check out Owen's face. He was totally into it. They both got to fight Darth Vader. Shane was first and really went at him. I was surprised. Then it was Owen's turn. The Jedi Master stated that Owen was "25 pounds of prime time padawan". LOL. Then, two of the storm troopers came after Owen and he had to back them off of him too. After a liitle coaching from the Jedi Master, he really put them in their place. LOLOLOLOL.

Shane vs. Darth

Owen vs. the Storm Troopers. Owen - 1 Storm Troopers - 0

I think that Owen was still a little traumatized from Star Wars Weekend in June when he came across'm not sure what she was. But she scared the beezus out of him. Shane saw her and took off running down the road and refused to go back up it. Owen got stuck and of course what is a good mom to do? Um...grab my camera and snap some pictures of course!

Shane and Owen really got into pin trading. You buy (imagine that!) pins from just about anywhere in Disney and the employees (Cast Members) have tons of pins on their laynards. They make trades with people. I'm sure that Shane and Owen got bamboozled but they had fun. Here's Owen showing Cinderella and Prince Charming his pins.

Here's Owen's favorite pin from June. His fat Mickey.

And here's a pic of Shane doing the trading just so you can get a true idea of what the heck it is. Cause I know that you just can't go on without knowing exactly what this is all about!!!

Now...Owen was a real trooper. But as we all know, when Owen's done with something, he's done with it. And he doesn't mix words. Shane and Ken wanted to go onto Space Mountain again and I had read about a small movie theater in Town Hall at the front of the Magic Kingdom that shows old movies. Supposeably no one knows about it and it's a great place to take a break. So I figured why not? We go into the building and keep walking towards the back. I'm wondering if I'm wrong but I trust my source that it's good and we turn the corner and it was awesome! A small movie theater and no one was there. It was packed up front but the one or two people that wandered back there turned around and left.

Owen's goofing off with Steam Boat Willie's cut out and having fun pretending that he's driving the ship. I had noticed Mary Poppins go by. Then Jiminy Cricket went by. I hear this voice behind me ask me if I liked the movie and I turned around and it was Jasmine (the princess). She graciously agreed to take a picture with Owen. Then it hit me...this is where the characters change places.

This is possibly my favorite picture of the whole trip. Owen totally went along with the scene set up. He's such a ham.

Because it was cooler, the animals at Animal Kingdom were pretty active and we got some great pictures. Here are two of my favorites.

Shane seemed to always get picked to help or assist the cast members. I guess his talking does come in handy every now and then. ;) Here's at the Moroccan area at Epcot helping the story teller.

There is a woman at the Japanese pavillion in Epcot that makes animal shapes out of candy. There are only 15 people in the world who can do it and she's the only woman. She selected Owen and Shane to make animals for. Owen got a unicorn and I can't remember what Shane got. I'm having a moment of CRS or senioritis.

And,'s a couple of my favorite pics just because.