Wednesday, August 30

House of Fairies!

Last night, Sporty excitedly tucked his 6th lost tooth under his pillow. Checking it twice to make sure it was secure and would not accidentally fall out of reach before the Tooth Fairy could retrieve it, he settled in with a smile.

First thing this morning, AnIowaDad and I were talking through the door that separates our bathroom from our bedroom. We were briefly discussing our plans for the day ahead. He emerged from the bathroom wrapped in his favorite fluffy green towel, just as Sporty bounced into the room with 2 dollar bills waving high above his head. "She came!" he exclaimed, "The tooth fairy came!"

"That's funny," AnIowaDad chuckled as he opened an empty top dresser drawer, "The underwear fairy did not!"

An obvious jab at my lacking capability to keep up with the laundry. I would like to retract everything I said yesterday!

Labels: , ,

Great Tip For Your Child's School Art Work - WFMW # 4

School is back in session for most of our kids and it's back to pulling several papers out of our child's backpack on a daily basis.

When Sporty started kindergarten, I was adamant about keeping and storing EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF ARTWORK OR SCHOOL WORK HE DID!!! Yes, call me crazy, I just couldn't bring myself to part with it. He put his whole heart into these masterpieces, how could I hang them on the refrigerator for a week and then throw them in the trash can? I couldn't. So I saved them. Each and every one.

Then 1st grade! No big deal. A new Rubbermaid storage container, or maybe two, and I was set. He'd bring them home, I'd display them proudly and then tuck them away in the bin marked "Sporty - 1st Grade".

Then Peenee started kindergarten. His papers were just as important ... so I started saving his from kindergarten, and Sporty's from 2nd grade. As you can imagine, I found myself with MANY Rubbermaid storage containers filled with papers. There were so many, I could never see anyone wanting to even sift through them those precious memories years from now. Then I had an idea ...

Scheduling a Sunday afternoon with Sporty, I asked to have him all to myself. He agreed, not knowing why. When we sat down that day, I pulled out the 5 bins full of his school work from kindergarten to the then present. We made 3 piles and sorted each piece of work into the pile we both agreed on:

  • # 1 - An absolute treasure - have to keep the original.
  • # 2 - Something We Like - but don't necessarily need to keep the original.
  • # 3 - Paper That He Did - but there is no reason at all to keep.

We take pile #3, as hard as it is, and throw it away into the recycle bin. We take pile #1 and store it back away into the storage container (should not even take up one container). Then, we take pile #2 and take digital pictures of each piece of work. We place the photos on a disk labeled, "Sporty's Kindergarten School Work". We then take pile #2 and place it with pile #3 in the recycle bin.

This system alleviates A LOT of paperwork, however, some of the things that are important to one of you, yet not important enough to have to keep the original, are stored on a disk for easy viewing and/or printing whenever you'd like.

This works for us ... and I hope it works for you all too! For more great tips, head on over to see Rocks In My Dryer!

Have a great WFMW!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 29

Pat Him On The Back and Call Him A Hero!

Wow ... do I ever need to talk up my wonderful husband! The last two days, AnIowaDad's been the BEST there is. I'm not kidding! And it's not very often I'll admit that.

Sunday morning I awoke to a queasy sensation in my belly. After wondering if it could be caused by one too many Miller High Lifes the night before, I ruled it out and came to the conclusion that I was actually ill. I loathe being sick. It is right up there on my list with pickles and uninvited guests. Regardless, I surrendered to it and went back to bed, feeling sorry for myself.

Now, there is something you should know, on one day of the weekend, we set aside a "shopping" day where we all go together, around 9am, as a family (yes, all 6 of us). We browse for things we'd like someday, look for something we need, go out for lunch (even though I'm an FFA) and then we do grocery shopping before returning home. Well, Sunday was that day, and there was no way I was going without vomiting all over the Suburban. I wondered how I would break this to AnIowaDad, as he was already up and getting ready for the outing.

He came in, looked at me, and knew right away that I wouldn't be moving from that spot. HE WENT! He took all the kids AND WENT! Oh, the love I felt for him at that moment is indescribable. An all day outing was not in the cards for them, but 2 or 3 hours of complete and total peace and quiet WAS in the cards for me. It had suddenly become the best gift I was ever given.

The rest of the day AnIowaDad spent tending after all the kiddos. He prepared lunch and dinner. He changed diapers. He gave baths. He kept them all very quiet. I didn't leave my bed ALL DAY LONG, with the exception of once, to come from my room to the couch in an attempt to eat something. Then I fell right back into bed until Monday morning.

Monday - oh another "pat him on the back and call him a hero" kind of day. His first words to me were, "Do you need me to stay home from work today?" Ah, again, THE LOVE! If I weren't sick, I may have showed him just how much! (Okay, too much information, but this behavior from him is just the sweetest). I told him I thought I could manage and he said he'd check in at lunch and if I need to rest then he would work from home.

I ended up feeling much better, now I'm just battling the sudden onset of a nasty cold. My head feels as though it must weigh 100 pounds, AT LEAST! AnIowaDad did show up for lunch, with McDonalds. This should not be considered falling off the FFA Wagon, as I wasn't the one to splurge ... it was all him! MY MAN! How did I ever get this lucky!

Labels: ,

Tackle It Tuesday #1 - The Boys Closet!

This is my first Tackle It Tuesday!!

Oh my, the boys closet is so embarrassing (and the girls too for that matter).

We moved into our house about 8 months ago and while we were unpacking (a week before Christmas) a lot of things were just shoved into the kids' closets ... with the thought that I'd get right to it after the New Year. The kid's closets are still packed full of crap and they are completely (or for the most part) unusable.

My goal is to attack each closet one at a time and get all the things residing in there, whether it be in bags, boxes or just thrown admidst, put away where it belongs!! Today ... it will be the boys!

In addition to this, I will be going through a lot of the clothes that no longer fit. It's amazing how fast 5 and 8 year olds grow (not to mention 1 and 2 year olds). There are clothes that have never even been worn. I am thinking of trying my hand at Ebay ... but I'm not sure. Anyone have any advice, tips or comments on Ebay selling?

Here are the before photos ... be sure to make a note to check back later for the "tackled" photos! I plan to get started just as soon as Smilee goes down for a nap later this morning!

The top of the closet:

The bottom of the closet:

Wish me luck ... I'm goin' in!

Visit 5 Minutes For Mom for more Tackle It Tuesday Participants!

Labels: ,

Monday, August 28

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first time participating in Menu Plan Monday. I think it is a great way to get new ideas for dinner! I always have a menu and this is a fun way to share it! If you would like the recipe for any of the meals we'll be having this week, just leave me a comment and I'll post it for you. For other great ideas, visit An Organizing Junkie.

Monday - Marinated Boneless Pork Chops; Cheesey Potatoes; Green Beans (from the garden).

Tuesday - Spaghetti with Homemade Pepperoni Sauce; Lettuce Salad; Garlic Bread

Wednesday - Homestyle Chicken and Noodles with (Reams Egg Noodles ... so yummy!); Corn; Rolls

Thursday - Grilled Hot Dogs; Homemade Mac & Cheese (with white chedder); Broccolli

Friday - Pizza; Breadsteaks with Cheese Sauce

Saturday, Sunday & Monday - Short trip to Chicago, we'll be eating out!


Motivated By Food ...

School has started. I had mixed emotions.

Peenee's 1st grade class has a behavior system, Green, Yellow and Red light. Of course, all children are expected to stay on green light. Yellow light is a warning of sorts. Red light is not good!

I knew it was coming ... Peenee could not stay on "green light". Two days in a row he came home on "yellow light" One for not listening, the other for being silly during a fire drill. *Sigh* ... what is a mother to do? The first day I let it go ... talked to him about it and marked it up to him learning the rules. The next day, I think I did what any other frustrated mom of 4 would do ... I took away the outdoors afterschool, in addition to playtime with his best friend. Oh, the horror, I could imagine for him. He would be devastated and would remember this, that's right, and "green lights" would be in his future for all 1st grade days ahead.

There was horror alright ... plenty of it. Yes, he was stuck indoors, watching all his friends, best friend included, ride their bikes past our house, over and over again. He peered out the front window and whined, cried, pleaded, screamed, ending it with a statement of how I was the "meanest and worst Mom ever". Then it was silent. He was gone. All was quiet. Peenee had ventured off to play with his dinosaurs or read a book or whatever it was he went off and did. Being the "meanest and worst Mom ever" ... I wouldn't know. I had gotten through to him though ... and he knew I meant business. I sat, at my kitchen counter and offered Smilee a small snack, feeling proud, I had conquered the "yellow light" syndrome.

Looking back, it was just the calm before the storm. Peenee returned. He tormented Princess by taking everything she picked up from her small and curious hands, causing her to release a blood curdling scream, followed by a drop to the floor and a continuing cry. When I put a stop to that, he moved to Smilee, snatching away what was left of the snack on her tray and popping it into his own hungry mouth. She too broke out into hysterics and Peenee looked quite pleased with himself. He then made his way to the television and turned on the most annoying show ever. After I had listened to all I could take, I clicked the power switch and asked him to redeem himself and play with his sister nicely. Princess LOVES to play with the normally sweet and loving Peenee. He obliged and offered to give her airplane rides (He lays down on his back and lifts her up by her belly with his feet). Things were going great, and I continue to make dinner, until his airplane made an emergency landing, slamming the head of Princess into the coffee table. More screams. Spaghetti noodles boiled over on the stove as I tended to a "pretending to be hurt" Princess. Sporty arrives inside from a game of baseball with the neighborhood boys and I felt a sense of relief. Sporty and Peenee are always together, and him coming indoors would entertain Peenee enough that I could finish dinner. Without many more obstacles.

Sporty: "Hey Peenee! Wanna make a race track downstairs?"

Peenee: "Hey Peenee! Wanna make a race track downstairs?"

Sporty: "Knock it off! I'm serious, do you want to?"

Peenee: "Knock it off! I'm serious, do you want to?"

Sporty: "Quit!!!"

Peenee: "Quit!!!"

Sporty: "I'm not kidding, stop it!!"

Peenee: "I'm not kidding, stop it!!"

Sporty: "MOM!"

Peenee: MOM!"

AnIowaMom: Peenee, please stop!

Peenee: "Okay, Mom."

Sporty: "So, do you want to make a race track or not?"

Peenee: "So, do you want to make a race track or not?"

My head was going to explode. I was in my own personal hell. It was horror alright ... MINE! ALL MY HORROR! What was I thinking taking away the outdoors? I needed them outside to accomplish dinner. All I had now was 2 crying little girls, 1 angry son, a burnt dinner, a headache and another son who had learned nothing from my punishment.

That night, as Peenee was getting tucked in for bed, AnIowaDad leans in towards him and whispers, "If you stay on green light all day tomorrow at school ... I will make you the biggest chocolate sundae EVER! For dinner!"

Peenee's eyes lit up as he looked over at me, "What's for dinner tomorrow night?" I explained it would be Pork Chops, Cheesey Potatoes and Green Beans. Not a favorite of his, he squealed with excitement.

The following day as Peenee was leaving for the bus, a quick reminder was given about staying on "green light".

Wouldn't you know it? A promise of an ice cream sundae would do the trick ... a note from his teacher came home in his backpack that Peenee had a "FABULOUS" day!

Motivated by food! That's my Peenee! If only I'd realized the day before how easy it could be!

Wednesday, August 23

Video Game Solution

I don't know about you all, but my boys LOVE video games. It seems whenever they receive a gift certificate for their birthday's or other occasions, they call out the video game they've been just dying to get. Therefore, we have a lot of video games and two little boys who don't quite understand the concept of taking care of them.

It was not a surprise when I'd walk downstairs to the "video game room" and see 6 or 7 disks laying on the floor, with cases in another part of the room, and instruction booklets MIA (usually found in the hands of Princess or Smilee). It got ridiculous and I started getting very angry at their disrespect for the games. Spouting off how if I see the games laying on the floor again, I'll take the game cube away for a week. Yeah ... how did that work out for me? Kids didn't play many video games in their down time ... and quite frankly I feel I am the one who suffered. :)

I then gathered all the games up and cleared a shelf in our kitchen pantry making space for the games. Since the kitchen is where I tend to spend most of my time cooking, cleaning, giving snacks, checking email, folding laundry, etc ... I thought this would be a good place. Now, they are allowed ONE game downstairs at a time. If they would like another game, they need to bring me the game they were playing, the case AND the instruction booklet must be tucked neatly inside. Once they bring this to me, I will open the locked pantry and they can choose another game.

Since starting this procedure, our games are in mint condition without even a crinkle in any instruction booklets ... WORKS FOR ME! I hope it works for you too!

For more great tips ... head on over to Rocks In My Dryer for more great ideas!

Tuesday, August 22

Life With Princess

Princess and the Potty!

As princess prances around the yard in her "pretty skirt", because she refuses to take it off ... she runs frantically to the grass and goes potty. Mind you, not only was she going in our front yard, she didn't even bother to pull her underwear down. In total shock over the whole situation I scream, "Princess, you pottied in your underwear!!". To which she replies calmly, "No Mommy, I pottied in the grass."

Now, this actually happened yesterday, not today. As I wrote this, I read it to my husband as Princess sat at the counter coloring and Sporty doing his homework. Sporty says, "Did that really happen?" Again, Princess replies in a VERY calm tone, "Yes [Sporty], I did it on a purpose." Keep in mind, she is two years old. What am I in for? I grabbed the camera to take a picture to add to this post!

Friday, August 18

My Own FFA Intervention

I need help and I'm not afraid to admit it. I am utterly and completely addicted to fast food and eating out ... but only for lunch (and sometimes breakfast), as if that makes it okay. It does in my mind. That is why I need help.

It all began on our vacation to Indianapolis. We spent many hours swimming in their pool and watching our children frolic about happily. Now, we own a fairly good sized pool ... however, it is not a permanent structure. It is one of those round blue pools that has the blow up ring on top. We put it up on Memorial Day weekend and pull it down on Labor Day, tucking it safely into the storage garage until next year. My kids like to play in it, but jumping into it is against our rules, as if water begins pouring over the edge, the whole thing goes and we are not sporting the water bill to fill up a 5,000 gallon pool several times a year so the kids can JUMP. Little did we know, once children reach the great age of 5 and 6, all they want to do in a pool is JUMP, so our pool rapidly became uncool ... and all the maintence, chemicals, etc ... was all in vein for AnIowaDad.

Anyway, I decided a "real" pool would be just the thing for us and our family. I priced in-ground pools and decided $30,0000 would not be very responsible to spend that on a pool, when if I could spend that much money, it should be into college funds. SO, I started looking at above ground pools and had AnIowaDad somewhat talked into it ... and then the lightbulb went off in his head, regarding my spending habits eating fast food daily ... for me and my 4 kids. All of a sudden, getting a pool didn't seem like an award winning idea by AnIowaMom since she spends between $15-25 daily on lunch. That money could be put to better use, AnIowaDad suggests, like going towards a pool for the children ... so they can JUMP! Does he know how to make me feel guilty or what?

So, that's where I'm at. I would like to spoil my children with the wonderful childhood memory making pool, but AnIowaDad has put me up to the challenge of knocking out my nasty, unhealthy habit of McDonalds ... and Wendy's ... and Pizza Hut ... and Arby's ... and KFC (ooohh, my belly is growling and it's lunchtime) , before we even discuss it further. I'm panicking as it's the end of summer and I bet we could get some really good deals on a pool this time of year.

He doesn't think I can do it. Is it sad to admit that even though I love my children and want to give them this gift of being able to JUMP ... I want even more to prove AnIowaDad wrong?

I'm off to clean up the breakfast containers (McDonalds Big Breakfast Platter) and make myself a yummy peanut butter sandwich ... here goes nothing. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 16

13 Emotions I Know I'll Feel Today ...

(I am posting this the night before, because contrary to what I write in this post, I'm really putting the boys on the bus, dropping the girls at a sitter, and meeting all my friends for vermosa's to celebrate FREEDOM and I won't be here to submit my post to TT :) )

Today is the first day of school for my boys. Not their "first" first ... but they are going back. One entering 3rd grade the other 1st. I know my emotions will be all over the map ... so I decided to list them. It's no wonder I hate roller coasters, eh?

1. When I wake, I know I'll be very anxious. The first day of school is not only crazy and choatic for the kids ... mothers have to get back into packing lunches, making sure the children have underwear on (and they're clean), assuring themselves backpacks are packed with everything their child may need over the course of the day. It just goes on and on ... a mother's work is never done, is it?

2. A tremendous sense of sadness will come over me as we walk out the door and take "First Day Of School Photos" on the front porch. I will remain in this state the entire time the children stand (or run around like wild animals ... that would be PeeNee. Some embarrassment at my child's behavior may creep into things, but it won't last long) We always arrive at the bus stop several minutes too early, we are either afraid of being late, or the bus driver is running behind due to all the parents like me wanting to snap photos of our children stepping onto the school bus. Either way, the bus will eventually show up and I will be forced to say goodbye. The sadness continues as the boys push me away from hugs and kisses. Heaven forbid I "touch", let along speak to, them in front of their friends. (Yes, it starts this early).

3. Both kids will climb the stairs of the bus with backpacks almost bigger than they are. There will be no tears. They won't even look back. They are confident little boys. I will take pride in knowing I've raised them to be that way, and that I wouldn't want it any other. I will miss them, but I know they'll be okay without me for the next 8 hours.

4. The bus will disappear from my sight, with my children sitting inside ... not strapped in seat belts. In the hands of a driver I've never met, but have to trust, because the school district says so. Fear is what I'll feel ... but only for a brief moment. I do trust our district and their decisions on who will take care of my children ... they've never given me a reason not to.

5. As I walk with my husband and girls down the sidewalk back to our home, a bit of resentment will wash over me as AnIowaDad hops right in the car and leaves me to deal with the girls and ALL MY EMOTIONS all by myself. What is he thinking? I'm not this strong. Going from 4 kids (and all their friends) to just 2 is a big shift in life for me. Should I be left to do it alone, just so he can ... go to work? Earn a living? Support us? Whatever!

6. In the front window I'll stand ... watching him too ... leave ... drive away ... and leave me here. My face may turn a slight shade of green with envy as I think about him having a life outside this house, with other people besides me. The jerk ... how dare he?

7. The girl's and I will come in, get settled ... probably color or play dolls. They'll get bored with me and Princess will want to watch "her shows" (Sprout), then I'll sign on to to Internet and read my favorite blogs feeling so appreciative that I am able to stay home and raise my kids ... signing on to the Internet when I wish. There are pro's and con's to being a SAHM ... this is one of the pro's. :)

8. Lunch is served and cleaned up. The girl's (or should I say GIRL) will go down for naptime. Princess no longer naps. I guess she feels she is too good for napping. Regardless, sleep or no sleep, AnIowaMom insists on "QUIET TIME" so she has an hour or so to herself. Completely to herself. This will be the first day this has happened in 2 1/2 months. Oh the joy ... the love ... the lonliness. What is AnIowaMom supposed to do with no boys asking to swim, for a snack, to play ball, to have a friend over, to play Monopoly Jr or Checkers? What is a Mom to do? I miss my boys! Princess ... did you fall asleep? Wake up!

9. Quiet time is over and there is only a few minutes left until the school bus pulls back around and deposits my children where it picked them up. The roar of the engine can be heard a half mile away as it stops and starts releasing kids into their parents waiting arms. As the big yellow bus comes to a hault at our stop, happiness overwhelmes me as both the kids allow me to hug them. (Can you believe it, I am actually allowed to TOUCH them in public!) They must have missed me too, though I'm sure they'll never admit it.

10. Sporty is my "Tell All" and he will inform me that PeeNee has misbehaved on the bus and has been assigned an special seat in front for the next 2 weeks. Nothing new, as he was in an assigned seat the ENTIRE year last year, however, anger rises within me. The hope that he had grown up just a bit to withstand the urge to act out or just be a rebellious 1st grader, will slowly diminish as I realize he'll always be my PeeNee ... the sweet, caring, LOUD, OBNOXIOUS, child I love so much.

11. The family will all sit together for dinner, as we do every night. I'll have to display patience as the children try to yell and scream over each other, wanting to tell us about their day. Hate to say it, but most of the conversations will be zoned out and beautiful pictures of the beaches in Riveria Maya, Mexico will be replaced in AnIowaMom's head. What's a Mom to do?

12. Homework is done. Books have been read. It's time to snuggle up after a nice warm shower and get into bed. Hugs are given and prayers are said. Love is the only thing felt as I tuck my children in, whispering to them how much they mean to me. They are my life.

13. Quite falls upon our house. This in itself is a rarity, except for after 9pm. I will fall onto the couch to watch the latest Primetime, 48 Hours Mystery ... or whatever is on Court TV. Really, if it's on ... I'll finish up the Cubs game, just because I like to watch them lose. NOT. I really don't ... but after 9 years as a Cubs fan, I'm getting used to it. EXHAUSTION! That's the only word I have for you at this point. Good night, I say, as my eyelids begin to fall.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monthly Menu

My WFMW tip this week is making a monthly menu. I don't know about you all but I was notorious for putting off dinner and feeding my family sandwiches or cereal because by the time I'd figured out what we should have, it was too late to defrost and prepare. That is when I decided to make a monthly menu.

Start off by listing all the meals you and your family like to eat. I have a list of about 50 things and when I try a new recipe and we enjoy it, I just add it to the list.

At the beginning of the month, I pull out our calendar. We have a large calendar hanging in the pantry of our kitchen where we keep track of EVERYONE's doctor appointments, sporting events, meetings, etc ... so it's a general place we can find the "going on's" of everyone in the family. Using my list of meals we eat, I write down what we will be having for dinner for every given day in the month. It makes it nice and easy to plan meals, knowing what was going on that particular day. For example: If Sporty has soccer on Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30, I plan an easy hamburgers on the grill, mac and cheese, and corn for dinner, which allows dinner to be on the table by 7:15 and prevents us from eating at 9pm. I also know when I wake up on Tuesday, to take the hamburgers out of the freezer so they will be ready for grilling. On the days we don't have anything going on, are the days I plan for more time consuming meals.

This not only helps me KNOW what I'm having for dinner each night, taking the guess work out of it for everyone (do you have kids who ask constantly, "What's for dinner?" Now they have a place to look on their own), it also allows my shopping trips to be much quicker, more organized, and MUCH cheaper. Every week when preparing my list, I can run right through the calendar and know what I need to purchase in order to feed my family for a full week. I used to be infamous for buying whatever "looked good" while I was shopping and I would spend a lot of money on things that spoiled and we'd never end up eating.

Keeping a menu on the calendar has been a win win for our family. It works for us ... I hope it works for you too!

Please Tell Me I'm Not Alone ...

Just another day ... a trip to the local Super Mart!

It started out great. I hired a baby-sitter! HA! I'm not kidding. Having someone come watch 3 out of the 4 kids, or even 2 of them, would make my cart pushing hours so much easier. So that is the route I took. My teenage neighbor agreed to come over and sit the 3 oldest, leaving me only with Smilee. Never any trouble due to being securely strapped into the cart, she just rides along, and smiles!

We arrive at Super Target and I feel a slight feeling of having to use the restroom. Not one who EVER goes in public bathrooms, I pushed the thought from my mind and figure because I only have one child, I can fly through the store and be home again before the urge strikes again.

A few minutes later while standing at the dairy case, looking for Pillsbury breadsticks, which no one seems to carry anymore (except WalMart and I stear clear of that place unless absolutely necessary), my body pleads with me to find a restroom ... and fast!

No one knew any different, though I feel as though all eyes are on me, as I struggle with this fact that I am going to be using a public restroom for something other than just a quick squat and run. I whip the cart around and head to the front of the store. All the time, pushing the squeaky wheeled buggy, faster and faster, I'm cussing myself out for not being able to control this sudden dilemma I've found myself in.

As I'm trying to fit a large cart through a small door, a friendly Target employee informs me that no shopping carts are allowed in the restrooms. Great! What am I going to do with Smilee (who had kicked off her shoes in the car on the way there plus there was NO WAY she was going to be on the floor of a public restroom)? This was not happening. A sense of panic waved over me as I realized waiting until I returned home at this point, was definately NOT an option.

In conclusion ... I'll keep it brief and generally detail free. I experienced a "first" yesterday! I went to the bathroom with my child sitting on my lap. It was the one of the most humiliating and embarrassing moments of my life that no one would have even known about ... but I shared it with all of you.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this! Someone please tell me I'm not the only one!

Monday, August 14

I Don't Care ...

Geez, am I a bitch? Or just tired and worn out? Or an unappreciated MOM, and I know it? Whatever it is ... I'm pissy and I don't care.

We just returned from our 3rd vacation this summer and I have the energy to do absolutely NOTHING of what needs to be done around here. Okay, back up, maybe it's not your typical "vacation" ... we only did ONE of those this summer. To Montana in June/July for 2 weeks, full of site-seeing, hotel pools, and postcards. This was a 5 day trip to Indianapolis to visit family. AnIowaDad's family. 7 hours there ... one quick Pizza Hut Buffet stop for lunch in the middle (McDonald's in a hurry on the way home). I was in a great mood going, while we were there, and coming home ... but now that my ass is planted back in my favorite chair, I'm just plain old TIRED!

I see laundry in my laundry room, spilling into my kitchen and I don't care. I see suitcases semi-full of clothes begging to be returned to their homes, placed nicely into drawers ... I don't care. I see a fridge full of Tupperware containers filled with fuzzy leftovers from before we left needing to be cleaned out. Not to mention only 1 gallon of milk perched on a shelf screaming out for more ... I just don't care. I really don't. I honestly don't care.

As I type, Sporty is roaming the neighborhood, God knows where. He has his watch and was told to be home by 5:45. It's 5:40 ... think he'll make it? I don't really care. PeeNee is whining and crying in the basement (and I can actually hear him, which makes it worse) because I won't let him go back outside. He's been out since 10am and I just don't want to sit outside and watch him go back and forth on the sidewalk anymore, fighting with his best friend over which PowerWheels which one drives. I just don't. If I hear, "Fine, then I'm not your best friend anymore!" ONE MORE TIME, I'll literally come unglued. And I do mean it, though I don't really care! Princess is being wonderful, for once, and is laying in the middle of the living room watching Sesame Street quietly. Yeah, let me think she is the only one not causing me craziness ... I'm sure she's peeing in her underwear, leaving me a nice mess to clean up. At this point, I don't care. Smilee is, well let's say, not so "smiley" ... she has a death grip on my leg, screaming her head off, for what, I just can't imagine. She's been changed, fed, has a cup of milk on the table ... so let her cry, I don't care. AnIowaDad is mowing ... completely unaware of anything going on in this house. Once he's done ... he'll come in and dinner will be made and on the table. He'll think I'm "Wonder Mom" and he couldn't be luckier to have me. HA! I don't care.

Why do some days turn out like this? I wish knew. But I don't. And I don't care. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Sporty managed to make it home (on time) and Princess has dry underwear. Things may actually be looking up! Hmmph!

Thursday, August 3

Thirteen Reasons I Wish I'd Stayed In Bed This Morning!

This is the first Thursday Thirteen I've participated in ... and mine is THIRTEEN REASONS I WISH I'D STAYED IN BED THIS MORNING!!!!

1. I woke up on the couch, slightly queasy from having 1 (or 2 or 3) more cocktails last night than I probably should have while visiting with the Iowa Neighbors. Oh well ... a little dry toast and a cold shower and I'll be feeling better in no time. I'd feel best if I was still in bed.

2. The girls are up and happy. That will help. I pull out a BRAND NEW shorts outfit for Princess, thinking she'll be thrilled. The hugs and kisses and "Oh Thank You Mommy's!!" never came. Instead, they were replaced with "I don't like those!", "I want to be pretty in a dress!" and "Go Away Mommy!" as she was sprawled across her bedroom floor as if I had laid out a black garbage sack for her to wear. Aaagghh ... wish I was still in bed.

3. After the Princess episode, we make our way downstairs for breakfast, waking the boys on the way. Couldn't have been better, all 4 wanted cereal ... can't get any easier than that!! Whooo Hooooo!!!!!! Oh crap, NO SPOONS! I forgot to start the dishwasher last night before I settled into the couch ... to sleep ... Not a huge deal ... but I HATE washing dishes by hand. Sigh - Wish I was still in bed.

4. Princess, taking PeeNee's lead, decides to pour her own milk into her cereal bowl (while I was WASHING SPOONS BY HAND) and overflowed her bowl leaving a pool (a 5-foot above ground) of milk under her darling Dora dish. Not to worry, with 4 little kids I try to live by the "No use crying over spilt milk." rule ... and just wipe it up with a smile and "It's alright, good try!" attitude. I spin to toss the milk drenched towel into the trash can and as I look back, Princess has the milk turned upside down managing to pour the remaining milk from the jug into her already overflowing bowl. Growl - I wish I was still in bed.

5. As I shooed the kiddos out of the kitchen and on their happy ways ... I catch a wiff of a nasty smell, however, I don't know where it is coming from. I've scrubbed my kitchen, every stinkin' surface, crack and crevice ... well, obviously not, because I can't find it! It's a mystery smell. I can't idenify it. It's still here ... and I wish I was still in bed.

6. Smilee, who doesn't venture too far away from AnIowaMom (at AnIowaMom's request) wants to watch Teletubbies. 'Nuf Said ... I need to be still in bed.

7. Frantic calls are coming from the "powder room." I go running ... finding PeeNee in yet another pool (this time an 11-foot in-ground) of toilet water. A quick lesson and explanation of why you don't keep flushing and flushing and flushing a CLOGGED toilet and then a quick plunge and not so speedy clean up. My powder room, and my stinky kitchen, are now spotless ... but I still wish I was in bed!

8. Finally a break from our 100 degree weather, it's only in the 80's and the boys want to go out and play. Since this was the first opportunity in a week to do so before 7pm at night, I was all for it. My lawn chair that I need to set up in my driveway so I can watch the kiddos is in the back of my "NO CHOICE WITH 4 KIDS" Suburban. As I reach in to press unlock button releasing all the doors so I can open the hatch, the diaper bag catches my eye and a light bulb starts flashing in my head. I grab it and find a sippy cup FROM YESTERDAY sitting snuggly inside. Yesterday was 96 degrees ... no telling how hot it got in the car ... though if a sippy cup could talk, I'm sure it would inform me that it was QUITE HOT! No details needed ... as I cleaned out the cup, I was sure as heck wishing I was still in bed!

9. As we are sitting outdoors, the boys playing baseball in all their glory, I hear a back hoe or something similar. I don't really know, as I'm not an expert in construction type vehicles. Anyway, being the nosey neighbor that I am, I stroll out back to investigate. Yup, there is a big yellow SOMETHING digging up the neighbors yard ... it suddenly occurs to me that with all the "pool" issues we've been having IN our house ... our neighbors were getting a REAL inground pool outside of our house. Jealous is the only word that comes to mind, making me wish ... I were still in bed!

10. A great friend (and neighbor) must have sensed my crazy, minor-issue-filled morning and called to invite Sporty and Peenee to the city pool. YES, a couple hours with just the two girls (and one would be napping), sounded like a little slice of heaven. Maybe the day was looking up. I grabbed the boy's swim trunks, and found 1 beach towel ... the other was in the washer patiently waiting to be tossed into the dryer ... no big deal ... they were only going to get wet anyway and would probably dry in the sun before he needed it. Sunscreen ... "Please step out onto the deck while I spray you." (I LOVE THE EASY CONTINUOUS SPRAY, I think to myself!!) "Wait outside as you dry, they will be here to pick you up any minute!" I run to gather the money they'll need for admission, snacks, etc ... come back to check on them, and there is a puddle on the deck that wasn't there before. "What is that?" I ask. Sporty looks up in the sky and says, "It was the wierdest thing." Like an idiot, I look up, actually pondering the thought of something falling out of the sky causing this big puddle on my deck. Making a long story (only long because of all my yelling and shouting) short ... Sporty urinated on the deck IN HIS SWIMMING TRUNKS only minutes before he was being picked up to swim. This is the kid that has NEVER had an accident. I think he even only had one accident during potty training. He's 8 YEARS OLD ... WTF? Nothing was going to ruin this for me. He was GOING TO THE POOL! I searched in a frenzy for another pair of trunks, found them, tossed them his way ... off they went ... I'm supposed to be enjoying my so called free time with only 2 kids and all along ... I'm wishing I were still in bed.

11. AnIowaDad arrives home 2 hours early from work with a disk. He informs me to sign off the computer and close all programs. It's a Windows One Click Cleaner that he thinks is going to solve all my computer problems. (My laptop, which I can't live without, is a piece of crap. It's hot all the time, the fan runs constantly, I get a blue screen on a regular basis telling me something about a hard disk error ... and I will never buy another DELL again.) He loads the disk and it runs for 2 freakin' hours ... keeping me from all the things I could be accomplishing while the girls are napping and the boys are swimming. Instead, I find myself sitting in a chair watching Dr. Phil ... wishing I was still in bed.

12. Tacos are on the menu for dinner. I love tacos, but I hate the smell they leave behind that lingers in my house for days. Hhhmmmm ... maybe since the temps are down, we can open the windows later ... either way, the odor adheres to everything and can't escape my house for days and I'll be the only one who notices or even cares! I really wish I were still in bed!

13. Smilee wants Teletubbies ... again 'nuf said ... I WANT MY BED!!!!

I'm off to sniff out my kitchen for the Mystery Smell, though I'm sure the taco fumes will disguise it.

Hey, ONE reason I'm glad I DID get up this morning ... I've gotten smiles, hugs, kisses and "I Love You's" from each and every single one of my kids (and AnIowaDad) today ... and that makes it all worth it!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 2

A Chore Chart Idea ...

My WFMW idea is a chore chart that works wonders for enabling children to take responsibility for their own chores. This chore chart leaves them no excuse for not doing what is expected of them on a daily basis. :) Sounds good, eh? It is! Tested and Approved By AnIowaMom ... this is a must for any household that is in desperate need of some help from their kids.

This photo is a little small and hard to see, click on it for a better view. Instructions to make the chart are below:

We use this chore chart with the following rules and expectations:

- We place the chart outside their bedroom door, in plan site as a reminder each morning to start their chores!

- The kids can go step by step through their "row", moving their photo under each chore as they accomplish it. Because the expected chores are laid out for them in an organized manner, they should not have to be told to do each one. They just follow the chart.

- Once the row of chores is completed their photo should be under the star. Mom and/or Dad check each night to see if they made it to their star. If so, stars are marked on the fridge dry erase board. The children's pictures are then placed back at the beginning of the row so they are ready to start over in the morning.

- At the end of the week, on Saturday mornings (which is when we do our shopping), if the child has accumulated at least 5 stars, they earn their allowance (in our case it is $2.50, we encourage them to place at least 50% in their banks, but it is their choice, afterall, they earned the money.) If they don't earn 5 stars, they don't have to start over, their stars carry over, but they can't earn their allowance until the next Saturday. (This is a hard lesson to learn when one child earns theirs stars and they other one doesn't ... it really gives them incentive to do their chores.)

- Some of the chores we have are rotated each week. For example, one week child #1 may set the dinner table, while child #2 clears it. The next week, the chores are switched having child #2 set the dinner table and #1 clear it.

Instructions for making the board ... refer to the photo as a guide.

1. Starting with a large piece of foam poster board, which you can find at any arts and crafts store, as well as Target, Walmart, etc ...

2. Draw out the graph leaving a space for each of the chores you need to include PLUS your star at the end.

3. Attach a velcro dot to each of the squares in all rows. Saving the match to each one for later.

4. Create your "chore" squares and laminate them. TIP: If you don't have a laminater, you can use clear shelving contact paper found at Walmart, Target, etc ...

5. Create your squares with your child's (children) photo on it and laminate.

6. Attach the "match" to the velcro dots you used above and adhere to the back of each chore square and photo square.

7. Decorate board as you desire.

8. Place your chore and photo squares onto the board as you see fit. Having the velcro backs allows you to change and rearrange the chores as you deem necessary.

9. Watch your kids beam with pride as they complete their chores without having to be told over and over again, teaching them responsibility and providing them with a very important role in your family.

Tuesday, August 1

The Diaper Digger Strikes

Why is there always price to pay? There can never just be a "GREAT" day for Moms. Don't get me wrong, we all have "GREAT" days ... but we pay the price for them ... and they don't come easy.

Yesterday afternoon was going better than normal for AnIowaMom, as she was actually accomplishing something other than dishes, laundry, cleaning toilets or mopping floors. When she heard Smilee talking happiliy upstairs in her room, waking from her 2 hour nap. Finishing up a few things that would take 5 minutes with Smilee in her crib, rather than 3 hours with her out, she opted to leave her. From the sounds of her jabbering, she was content playing without the company of AnIowaMom anyway.

Normally, AnIowaMom doesn't gingerly climb the stairs to the bedrooms with a carefree stride ... it usually consists of stomping in anger, jogging in the need to get back downstairs in a hurry, or sprinting up in sheer panic of what she'll find judging from the noises coming from the children's rooms.

This time was different. Excited to see Smilee, AnIowaMom pushed the door open, ignoring (or just not wanting to believe) the horendous stench that was seeping from the room. As always, the baby greeted her with a huge smile. Around that beautiful little mouth of hers, was something more disgusting that anyone could imagine. Stopping dead in her tracks staring in disbelief, AnIowaMom realizes that Smilee had been diaper digging ... again!!! POOP was all in her hair, under her fingernails, all over her bed sheets ... and yes, around her mouth ... Smilee was eating her own feces. EEEEWWWWWW? What would possess ANYBODY to have a desire to place crap in their own mouth??? Nevermind that she is only 14 months old ... IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT! What kind of a child is being raised here?

Totally grossed out by the entire situation, AnIowaMom, "sprints" into the bathroom to start the bath water and grabbed a warm wet cloth to wipe her up the best she could before the bath could be taken. Then, what does a good mom do? That's right, run for her camera to "somewhat" capture the moment ... to always remember what Smilee put AnIowaMom through even at such a young age ... the pictures are clean and don't show much ... except to help tell the story of my July 31, 2006 .. A Day In The Life ... of a MOM!

I did wipe her mouth and hands before this photo! You can see she is smiling ...

In the bath ... still smiling ...

Ignoring the 100 degree heat outdoors, Smilee will sleep from now on completely zipped up in feetie PJ's ... unable to find her diaper to DIG.

That's that! All cleaned up, smelling like a little one should. Keep in mind the rest of us are freezing our rears off because we had to turn the air down to 70 so Smilee doesn't get too warm ... and keeps smiling.

So much for a Mom having a good day, accomplishing more than imaginable and feeling good about it. Yeah, there's always a price to pay ...


As an American citizen I thank you, Eric M. Steffeney, for your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your family for all they have given for the cause of freedom. I will remember you, and I will teach my children to remember you. We are forever in your debt.