Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This is the pile of tee shirts I have no hangers for.

This is a picture of little boys watching their 4:30 movie

This is our 3/4th's complete play structure (thanks everyone for your help!)

This is our half completed deck.

This is our garage door that now goes up and down properly.

This is the phone from where I have been calling for pizza.

This is the counter that I finally cleared off.

This is my slightly haggard and slightly stressed husband

This is the one diaper left in the house and a pack of L. Mcqueen pullups that, for reasons unknown, Lincoln refuses to wear.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Controversial Monday: "Please take your shoes off before you enter"

Now, I know that my past controversial Monday topics have not been really that controversial. But this one today, well this brings up lots of emotions, anger and could get a little dicey.

Apparently lots of people really love their carpet.

I don't like it when people insist I take my shoes off at their house.

There. I said it.

I have a disclaimer before I go on. I have some very dear friends that do insist I (and others) take shoes off at their house. And they don't have to insist with me, because I just do it. I know it is important to them and I value their friendship and emotional health more than I value the comfort of my feet.

But that doesn't mean I like it.

I am not a feet person. It makes me very nervous to go to someones house in sandals and than have to take them off and walk around at a party with 20 other barefoot people. EWWWW! (and no, I don't have warts or athletes foot. But who knows if 'they' do). And I like to wear my shoes. My feet feel better and are more supported. And I like to be ready to run outside quick, or down to the cold basement without having to deal with changes in footwear. As a mom of 3 little boys, I have to be ready to chase down escapees at a second's notice.

So I try to remember, if I am going to one of 'those houses', to take along a pair of socks.

When people come to MY house they will say, "shoes on or off?" and I always reply, "whatever you are most comfortable with. I myself would leave them on, because you never know what you may step on around here."

And most people graciously won't comment if someone enters their house with a, horror of all horrors, SHOE on. They just let it go. But some people can't let it go and ask or insist or remind the person to take their shoes off.

But how do they know that the shod person doesn't have a medical condition that requires the use of shoes? I, of course, am more sensitive to this because both my parents have trouble walking without supportive footwear.

So at my house we wear our shoes. And I try to respect others at their houses. And I try not to grimace when I see a sweet/funny little sign in an entryway that has a very clear underlying threat regarding the presence of shoes. And I try not to offend people on my blog.

But, all that being said, let the Conrtoversial Monday debate begin! Shoes or not? What is your opinion? Do you have a little basket of those shoe store half sock things for people because you can't stand barefeet or shoes? Do you make all your guests stay outside? Did you strategically buy a house with a bathroom right by the front door so people don't have to take their dirty selves too far in? Did you refloor everything in your house to wood or tile so you don't have to worry about it so much? Do you live and let live? Do you spend most of your life putting little shoes on and off because their sweet baby shoes are definitely too dirty to cross your threshold?

I want to know! That way I can add you to my spreadsheet. You know, the spreadsheet I have that I can refer to in order to see which houses I can wear my shoes at, which ones I need to bring socks to and which ones I should proactively sterilize my feet before I approach.

I am kidding. I have no spreadsheet, and I couldn't find it if I did. But still. I want to know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Potty Training

Lincoln has been interested and motivated in potty training, so I have tried a "2 year old guided" approach. Basically I let him tell me when he needs to go and he decides if he wants to wear underwear, a diaper or pull up. This could also be referred to as "the lazy mom's potty training approach." But whatev. He is just 2 and well, I am kind of being a lazy mom.

So he does not like to be wet or dirty and actually has been pooping on the toilet about 75% of the time. When he doesn't make it to the toilet in time to start he usually makes it in time to finish.

I am sure all of you but the moms have stopped reading.


Anywho, I have decided that it is now time to transition from the "two year old guided approach to potty training" to a slightly more aggressive "mom guided approach to potty training".
How do I know it is time? Well, here are the top 3 reasons:

1. While sleeping this morning (I know, I know...lazy mom) I started getting wafts of something unpleasant. I opened my eyes to see a chunk of poop right in front of my face and a smiling 2 year old waiting to be applauded. Apparently if you don't make it to the toilet, the second best option is to deliever the poop to your mommy for proper disposal.

2. Peeing on the potty was "the next big thing"...but now it is turning into old news and peeing in the back yard is turning into "the next big thing"

3. He always wants to wear diapers but insists on them coming off if they are even the slightest bit wet. I am spending a lot of money on diapers.

So for the sake of my carpet (and my nose)
And for the sake of the neighbors
And my checking account.

This lazy mama is becoming motivated.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Controversial Monday: Pick Me!

Noah and I went to Cirque Du Soleil last week for our anniversary.

It was amazing. I swear some of the people did not actually have spines or pelvis structures.

Others were just strong.

Very, very strong.

With very good balance.

And above average depth perception, courage and accurate timing.

Did I mention strong?

I was getting a little stressed out because I didn't want to see anyone die a traumatic, bloody death in front of me.

But I was more stressed out when the clowns would pick "volunteers" (were they actually random volunteers? That is a question for another time...)

You see, I don't volunteer for things unless I have a job description.

Preferably the job description would be typed.

And Laminated.

Spontaneous "I need a volunteer" kind of announcements don't usually bode well for the voluntee.

Sometimes they get a candy bar or a mouth full of marshmallows.

But sometimes they don't.

Some people, though, thrive on getting picked. They want to be picked- even if they are going to be laughed at, scorned or teased.

Do they not get it? Do they really need to take that 1 in 1 millionth chance that it will be good for them?

So...tell me...Do you like to "be picked"? Do you raise your hand and jump up and down yelling "me, pick me"? Why, Why? Why do you do that?

Or do you try to look as neutral as possible and thank your lucky stars that your husband picked seats in the middle - not in the front, back or on the aisle...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Experimental food and the pictures that weren't

I had some pictures to post, but the other computer is having issues. I'm thinking maybe either the main board or the graphics cards is over-heating.

We were going to do an experiment electronic existentialism meeting the real world. We still can I guess, but it's not going to be as cool.

Julie posted a while back, I think on a controversial Monday, about potlucks.

Today I have been experimenting. I was going to give you all a blow-by-blow, with pictures, and then, this is where it gets existential, anyone game could swing by the church picnic tomorrow and give it a try.

But this whole thing is sorta boring without pics.

Step 1. I let Deacon and Roman pick out the Jello. They decided to go with "warm colors," so we ended up with Lemon, Orange and Wild Strawberry. I shot down the Wild Strawberry, opting instead for Black Cherry. Deep Red for Light Red. Nearly living by the Duck-Billed Dinosaur Principle. In hind sight, I should have rejected the Lemon. After tasting the powder, that stuff is not cool. Oh well.

Step 2. I let Deacon choose the order for the Jello. Lemon on the bottom, then Orange with Black Cherry on top. (Maybe he's been studying physics...)

Step 3. Make Lemon Jello and put in large bowl. Begin setting.

Step 4. After a break to give the Lemon a head start, make Orange Jello in separate container and begin setting.

Step 5. Add layer of marshmallow cream on top of Lemon Jello. I know what you're thinking, "Marshmallow cream? This guy is off his rocker." Don't judge. Let us recall that one of the greatest add-ins to Jello ever are marshmallows.

Julie: "But marshmallow cream is not marshmallows!"

On the surface, perhaps not, but deep down, in their heart-of-hearts, they share the same quintessence. Disparate in form, but united in jet-puffed sugary awesomeness!

(Side note: Did you know that only Americans and possibly Canadians are the only people sophisticated enough to eat marshmallows? My grad-school friends from other countries didn't know about marshmallows. Conversely, most of them had very limited exposure to other culinary masterpieces such as Rice Krispie bars. But that's another story for another time.)

Anyway, the marshmallow cream was kinda hard to spread on semi-soft Lemon Jello. Oh well.

Step 6. Poor in the semi-soft Orange Jello layer. Herein, we hit a snag. The semi-soft Orange Jello was actually still pretty-liquid Orange Jello, and my marshmallow cream layer promptly floated to the top of the Orange Jello layer. Hmm. Didn't see that coming.

Step 7. Let the whole thing set really well. Raise your hand if you honestly expected there to be time to set the whole thing really well. Yeah, that's right, I actually started before 11pm.

Step 8. Warm up the rest of the marshmallow cream so it spreads easier. Add the rest of the marshmallow cream to the layer already on top of the Orange Jello layer.

Step 9. Make Black Cherry Jello and partially set.

Step 10. Add Black Cherry Jello to bowl on top of Marshmallow cream.

Step 11. Slice in two bananas to make it a fruit salad.

Oh yeah! It'll be at church tomorrow if anyone wants to try it at the picnic.


My second experiment of the day worked out. I made a marinade from scratch using the four rules of marinade from Weber. They are

1. Add an oil/fat
2. Add an acid
3. Add something salty
4. Add something sweet
5. Add something spicy

Or something like that. Doesn't matter right?

Here is the recipe.

1/3 C olive oil (oil)
2/3 C Cider vinegar (acid)
1 tea Kosher salt (salty)
1/3 C Maple syrup (sweet)
1-2 tea Crushed red pepper flakes (spicy)

It was pretty good on Chicken. The spicy part didn't punch much, so if I did it again, which I will soon, I'm going to put in more pepper flakes.


Secret message:
Walter Matthau (had to look it up)
Mojo Chicken (just came to me)

Friday, July 17, 2009

This week I was...

going to tell you some power auger stories...

and about carpenter ants...

maybe a little about play structures...

and self potty training two year olds...

describe the 1st full dozen roses I have ever received...

and tell you my impression of Cirque Du Soleil...

But all that will have to wait.

I am too busy...

monitoring the potty training...

getting ready for a full weekend of work...

watching the deck progress...

and taking naps in this cool fall weather.

Have a good weekend everybody!

(by the way, in Noah's defense - he usually buys me different kinds of flowers and he knows that I would be pretty annoyed if he spent OUR money on something so frivolous as a dozen roses - which is why he never does. But he did for our 9th anniversary. Apparently it was cheaper to buy them by the dozen instead of just 9.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Crabby Playground Mom (that would be me)

I am not an overly anxious mom. My kid is hanging from the monkey bars screaming and I will go over to assess the situation, but I usually at least try to talk him down on his own before activating a preschool boy rescue mission. "Dude, your feet are like 12 inches off the ground. Well, maybe 18. Just drop"- that is a pretty common park statement for me.

Quite frankly, I have too many boys too close together to always be the rescuer.

Sometimes, at least, they need to assist each other or do it on their own.

Today my sister and I loaded the boys up to drive 40 minutes to the "spiderman" park. It is a huge tangle of nets, webbing, slides and tunnels. And it is pretty awesome. Of course it is geared toward kids 5 and up and they provide a "preschool play area" as well. But honestly, what 2 or 3 year old is going to want to climb across the 3 foot bridge and down the 2 foot slide when they could instead be a couple hundred feet up clutching to spiderman webs. Maybe some, but not mine.

So Karla and I took turns going up with the little ones and protecting them.

Yes, we picked the day to go when there were no less than 4 elementary aged groups there as well. The blue shirts, the purple shirts, the orange shirts and the turquoise shirts.

Lincoln was able to climb almost everything, but I was a little afraid of him getting trampled or his head stomped on by some under-observant, over-zealous tag playing 10 year old. So I followed him up there. There were a couple staff members from the other groups up there at times, but no other moms.

It is a different world up in the webs with a gaggle of elementary/preschool aged kids.

For the most part the kids were actually really pretty respectful of each other and watched out for younger kids. But some were just obnoxious.

I ran into this punk 6 year old a couple of times. He would get onto the slide, put his feet on the slide in front of him, scooting an inch at a time. He would tell the people behind him in line (with a huge grin on his face) "I am slow and you need to wait until I am at the bottom and I tell you to go". And I said, "No, you need to go fast because there is a pile up on the web behind you of people waiting to get on this slide and no one is going to wait for you to inch down." Why did I say that? because I am the crabby playground mom, that's why.

Or the elementary aged girls sitting in a tube who didn't want to get out when we came along and told Deacon, Roman and I to "just crawl over us". And I said, "No. You are going to get out. I am not going to crawl over you and my boys should not have to crawl over some 11 year old girl either." Why? Because I am the crabby playground mom.

And I am ok with that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Controversial Monday: Tom Sawyering It

When we moved to Indiana, the first person we met was an interesting and delightful woman named Brenda.

She was also the queen of parties.

(work) parties, that is. That would be emphasis on the party with a silent work included.

Brenda wanted all the dead bugs in her scary basement removed?

She would host a "Survivor Premeier" party. Watching Survivor together complete with challenges during the commercials. Challenges like how many dead bugs can your team scoop up in 3 minutes.

Brenda wanted her piano that no longer worked broken into manageable pieces?

Introducing "Piano smashing Party" - complete with ebony and ivory deserts and a sledge hammer.

We do not have her creativity, perhaps, but we are learning her tactics.

A few years ago we got a few energetic college kids to rake our whole yard after telling them "we'd love to play Settlers, but the yard has to be raked first". I think we also gave them food.

So tonight we called some friends to help us move all the decking materials into the back yard. We offered icecream and a chance to use a (caulk) gun. Emphasis on the gun with a silent caulk included.

And they came.

And we got it done.

(thanks, guys! I also love them because they read my blog)

Are you for creating (work) parties? or against them?

What is the most horrendous job you convinced your friends to help you with?

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Little Friday Rant

I signed Deacon up for YMCA soccer class this summer.

1 hour on Thursday evenings for 7 weeks.

We wanted to avoid the U5 soccer club because we were not interested in 1 practice and 2 games a week for a 5 year old.

Last night was week 3.

He loves the class, likes his coach.

All good, right?


I can barely stand to watch.

There are 2 kids in his class (their families know each other) that are so out of control, it is appalling.

The first week they pretended to be airplanes during drills

Knocked over the goals during the game.

Paid no attention to instructions at all.

And simply did their own thing during the entire hour.

Very little intervention from the parents.

The second week one of them was gone, and it wasn't quite as bad.

But last night.


The poor coach is trying to coach 12-14 5 year olds in soccer and is having to deal with these two.

The parents tried to intervene, but obviously had no control at all.

I was really irritated.

All the other kids are doing their drills and trying to play soccer.

And having to deal with 2 tornados causing havoc.

And at the end their mothers told them, "you guys are doing much better, you just need to keep listening".

WHAT? Much better. Not so much.

No, don't get me wrong. I have children that have their own problems and strange, disruptive behaviors.

But I hope that if it ever comes to that, I would have the guts as a parent to pick my kid up, put them in the car and take them home. And maybe try again next week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Do you ever get tired?

Do you ever get tired...

of calling your husband at work to ask him if he knows where the brontosaurous who has transformed into a Hamster Wonder Pet has gone?

Do you love him a little more...

when he does have a clue that leads you to the recovery of "Lenny"?

Do you ever get tired...

of having multiple projects in process but not one of them actually finished?

Do you love him a little more...

when you come home to find a new lock on the dooor?

Do you ever get tired...

of brushing 3 sets of teeth?

Do you love him a little more...

when he offers to do all 3 instead of just 1.5?

Do you ever get tired...

of him going to bed first when you are still working

Do you love him a little more...

when you go upstairs to find him still awake and reading his Bible?

Do you ever get tired...

of kids climbing all over you?

Do you love him a litle more...

when he invites them all to climb on him instead?

Trying to be a little less tired,
and love a little bit more.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Home Depot Peeps

*When we first moved into our house we spent every Friday night at Home Depot.

Looking at paint samples.

Buying yet another brush.

And still another mailbox.

New locks for the doors.


*Last fall we spent Saturday mornings there, this time loaded down with 3 kids.

Looking at outlet covers for our new room.

Hauling cabinets and cupboards for the laundry room.

Getting electrical advice.

More paint.

*this spring we were back again

trying unsucessfully to find countertops

even more unsucessfully to find new bathroom cabinets

and only partially successfully to find a new mirror

and more paint

*Once again we are back on an every other day basis

Kurt and Matt (the service desk guys) know Noah by name and are very familiar with our current projects

We have spent more time with Paul, Mark and Tim (the decking guys) this month than with most of our friends

Doug from tool rental officially thinks I am crazy and my husband must be one lazy dude to sent me to pick up the power auger by myself

Oh, and Pat (I think that is his name) challenged me to bring back the rigid shovel if I managed to break it, but cautioned me that it was not to be used as a "lever". What else is one supposed to use as a lever?

Maybe in August we will see the inside of a movie theater instead of The Depot.

But I doubt it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Controversial Monday: Potlucks and Picnics

I don't like it when I have to bring a food item somewhere. Basically, I don't like to cook and I am not good at advance prep.

At our house the night before the potluck:

J- are we going to the potluck tomorrow?

N- I don't know. Maybe we should. Maybe not. Potlucks are so sketchy (Noah doesn't like "mixed together" food. He likes his steak. His mushrooms. His onions. His potato. All separate and all from the grill.

J- well, if we went then we wouldn't have to cook tomorrow.

N- no, we would just have to keep the kids from dumping lemonade on each other's heads.

J- remind me to bring L a sippy cup

J- What should I make?

N- don't know. Do we have anything?

conversation ends.


J- I suppose I should throw something together for the potluck. Do you think anyone would eat orange/lime/blue rasberry jello mixed together some canned apricots cut in? Oooo...score! I have a brownie mix....but no eggs...

I guess we could just pick up some chips and potato salad.

N- if we are going to do that, we may as well just pick up some steaks and eat at home.

My potluck philosophy is that I bring whatever I have that I can throw together quickly. And yes, I wouldn't advise you to attend potlucks with me.

My mom likes to bring things that my dad doesn't like but she does.

Some people always bring the same thing.

Others like to test out new recipes.

What is your potluck standard? Do you always bring the same thing? Do you even go? Or are you the awesome one who brings the fried chicken from the deli?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm back

No internet and phone or 24 hours stinks.

What we do have:

6- 4 foot holes in the backyard

A half removed ledger board

6 railroad ties that need a home

a frayed comcast line

lots of stories about:

good neighbors

power augers

Doug at Home Depot

Strawberry picking

oh, and how all this is affecting our marriage