Saturday, July 30, 2011

Monkey Bread is the Devil

Bookworm turns 11 tomorrow.  After a lengthy discussion we decided she would NOT have a slumber party...She would only invite one friend over in order to avoid the "girl drama" that sometimes comes with such things as sleepovers.  Plus, after Popcorn's last slumber party, I had vowed I was never doing another slumber party again.  So I may have tried to manipulate my oldest into believing slumber parties aren't all they're cracked up to be...

Only we had to invite two friends.  Oh, and she hadn't seen Morgan since last summer's party, so we really needed to see if she could come.  Oh, and what about the girl next door, we don't want her to feel left out.

And OF COURSE Popcorn should invite a friend for her to play with, so she wouldn't be hogging the scene from her sister.

So, five invitations later we had a non-slumber party birthday party that somehow did involve seven little girls at my house.

But again, this was not a slumber party. Those are too much stress and work.  I hate stress.  I'm not a big fan of work.  Unless it's making my kids work, and I'm all about that.  They have to learn a work ethic somewhere, right?

I have some great tips on how to have a stress free NONslumber party.  I know you are all just dying to learn them, so here goes.  Complete with picture tutorials.

1.  Go to the store to buy a present from her sister and a yellow cake mix for chocolate/vanilla swirl cupcakes. Run by Braum's for ice and milk for homemade ice cream.  Homemade ice cream may sound hard for those who've never made it.  But it's not.  It is divine.  You will love it.  Your kids will love it.  You will be lauded hero of the day simply for serving it.  I recommend it.  Truly, I do.

2.  While you are at the store have the birthday girl clean the bathroom and dust.  If she happens to finish before you return you can have her dig decorations out from previous parties and decorate.  I would even recommend she plan any activities they are going to do.  After all, it's her party right?  If she wants them to be entertained, she should make sure it happens!  This time the birthday girl drew treasure maps for each girl to find her goodie bag.  She dipped the paper in coffee and let it dry in the sun, then waded it up so it appeared old.  This year's goodie was a $5 gift card to Sonic.  I decided nobody really keeps the junk from goodie bags anyway, so at least this was something useful!  Again, we've removed some stress.  Not making pointless goodie bags, and making the kid clean for her own party!  Woohoo! 

3.  Keep it simple.  Don't stress with cleaning.  The kids will trash the house anyway.  Any cleaning that needs to be done should be done by the children in the house.  It will keep them occupied so they aren't constantly nipping at your heels wondering when everyone is going to show up for the NONslumber party.

4.  Stock up on party supplies with coupons leading up to the party.  Have a designated, "don't touch this, it's for the party that is not a party next week."  Sure, it made the hutch area junky.  To be honest my hutch area is ALWAYS cluttered, and this just gave me an excuse to leave it that way.  It's a good thing.  I'm sure Martha Stewart would agree...

5.  I recommend grilling hot dogs and providing chips.  You can crumble and make homemade Butterfinger ice cream along with the cupcakes.  But only if you are feeling generous.  Resist making fruit salad and cute little watermelon baskets.  Yes, they will look cute and the kids will admire them.  Your daughter will probably even feel extra loved if you do this.  However, if you DON'T do it, will she even realize she missed out?  Nope.  She will be too busy chasing kittens and splashing in the pool and running around yelling for no apparent reason.  So, save yourself the headache and keep it simple.

Plus, if you have hot dogs you have an excuse to use these super cute plastic hot dog holders you got for a hole dollar at Dollar General!  Fun!

6.  Have your husband help out as much as possible.  Mine helped with the ice for the ice cream maker, grilled the hot dogs and carted stuff outside so the kids weren't dripping all over the floor.  But, then again, my husband is the best, so you may not have this step up and take action sort of man.  But I do.  Sorry about your luck.

7.  As I mentioned, carry everything outside.  I love this big red plastic wash tub I got several years ago.  Again, at Dollar General.  Dollar General is also to thank for that cute orange wire picnic organizer.  Too handy!  Throw the two liters in the ice chest along with the ice and carry it all outside in three little trips.  Again, simple, simple, simple.  Notice there is no fancy table cloth that will have to be washed off and put back away.  There aren't even cute little lawn chairs arranged  in convenient circles.  Just let them fill their plates and park where they may.  Simple, simple, simple!!!

8.  Save old party decorations.  We have had these parasol picks for three parties now.  I bought them in a package of 100, I think they turned out pretty slick with the cute twisty candles.  Oh, and see that tray?  That is also from Dollar General.  I love Dollar General in the summer.  I just can't resist their patriotic summer ware!  Please excuse my over exposed hand.  This was the only picture Studmuffin took that didn't include me bent over lighting candles in my swimsuit and I wasn't even holding in my stomach!  Seriously.  The man should know to prompt me that I'm in a photo, so I can at least attempt to hide my post partum pudge!  Please, no comments about the age of my children.  Thank you.

9.  Be sure to provide plenty of entertainment.  Scratch that.  I planned nothing.  They seemed to find plenty to keep them occupied.  Here they are sumo wrestling.  At 11pm.  I had pointed out that Studmuffin had been up since 3am, and he might like them to play quietly.  "You can stay up, but please no screaming."  I can assure you that I did NOT have to come in at 1:07am with one eye open, staggering down the hall, curls sticking up all over to say, "STOP SCREAMING.  It is after 1am.  I am trying to sleep."  Total silence descended.  I did not hear another peep out of them.  Strangely, my darling husband never uttered one word of complaint.  He was happily sleeping away.  Of course he is never the bad guy.  Hmpf. 

The thing to remember about this step is you just go to bed.  Ignore what they are doing.  Do NOT go check if they are spilling or fighting or sleeping, or whatever.  Go to bed.  I have found that there is less drama and spillage when I'm not around.  Either that, or I just don't know about it.  Either way, I'm less stressed, so I really don't care, so there ya go.  Mission accomplished.

The next morning one girl had to be picked up by 8:30am to get ready for family pictures.  This was the sight that greeted me as I got up.  Apparently, they eventually crashed.  Hard.

10.  So, my final tip to you is this delicious monkey bread.  It's easy to make and super yummy.

Of course, you will find yourself going and snitching a little bite every time you walk by.  Regardless of the dimples in your thighs, or the bloated feeling in your tummy from two big bowls of Butterfinger ice cream the night before.  It's kind of like having the devil sitting on your kitchen counter.  Tempting you to just have one more nibble.

But, it will be a delicious nibble!  And it will have been simple to make!  Ten minutes prep time, I kid you not.  So here you go.  A new recipe for your edification and added dimples.  Everyone loves dimples, right?

Monkey Bread
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks butter
4 cans biscuits (I use the cheap small biscuits over the Grands.)
Mix together: 
2/3 c sugar
1 1/2  tsp cinnamon

Place the first three in a saucepan.  Bring to boil and stir for two minutes. 
Confession:  I always ignore this step and just melt it in the microwave for two minutes.  But, I'm lazy like that.
Cut the biscuits into four pieces each and toss pieces in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. 
Place coated biscuits in a greased bundt pan. Pour butter mixture over top and bake at 350 for thirty minutes.  Let set a few minutes to set up caramelized sauce.  Dump over onto a cute platter that you may have confiscated from a relative's attic and enjoy!

Now how easy was that?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Welcome to My Menagerie

The kittens are getting used to Kelsey.  Read here:  They've given up. 

She is quite certain she knows what is best for them, if they will only listen!

They are somewhat afraid they are looking at the face of death.

If a kitten can have death by dog licks, then they are correct.  Otherwise, she is just intent on keeping them in a particular location, which varies based on her whim.  Unfortunately, we've never presented her with two kittens at once.  While she is dragging one kitten back to where she wants it, the other escapes.  So, she goes after the escapee, and the whole process starts over.  Kelsey is quite overwhelmed, I assure you.

That is why they live in the front yard.  Sometimes the place she decides they need to be, is NOT by water.  So, I put them in the front yard so they can destroy all of my flowers, and have plenty of water to drink.

As you can see, they are NEVER ever EVER in the house. 



This morning I kicked my kids out of bed by 7am to drag them along on a bike ride.  I put the kittens that only live outside, yet were in the garage for some strange reason outside.  Every night I head to bed and they are outside, sleeping on the front porch.  Every morning I wake up and they are in the garage, ready to pounce on my legs.  I scoop them up and carry them to the front porch.  It is a mystery, I'm tellin' ya.

Because, after all, my husband did NOT bring the kittens in the house at my mother-in-love's after I had promised they would stay outside.  Not him. He did NOT bring a large box into the bedroom that they could not climb out of, so the girls would view him as a hero, and me as an evil ogre who cares not if kittens die by the jaws of a coyote.


So, I put the kittens out and was fixing my kids a highly nutritious breakfast of frozen blueberry waffles, when I looked outside and saw a horrific sight!  


A sight to never be borne!!

I sent Studmuffin out double quick to rescue the kittens from certain peril...

Guess who wants to join our family?  We opened the front door, and he went from running to our yard to falling to his side and showing us his belly.  We took this to mean he was a nonviolent sort of dog.  I told him "GO HOME!"  He trotted to my front mat and plopped down on it.

I think he's confused at what home I meant.

We took him on a 3 mile bike ride trying to discover who owned him...Nobody recognized him.  On our way home, he spotted a kiddy pool and ran to jump in it.

Popcorn and I looked at each other and said, "Let's ditch him."  And we peddled away as hard as we could.  Because, apparently, Popcorn has some evil ogre in her too.  That, and she was afraid I'd make her ride further, looking for his rightful home.

Guess who met us at the garage door?  He was waiting patiently for us.  He apparently cut through some back yards to beat us home.

Oliver is FURIOUS!!!  First two kittens, now this!  He is NOT a happy camper.  The kittens are none too fond of him either.  And Kelsey is confused as to why she is trapped in the back yard with a fence, yet this mongrel is wandering all over the neighborhood with the kids!

I had planned to load him in the car and go to our nearby vet to see if he had a microchip.  Guess who jumped in the fish pond and became quite malodorous?

Since he has no collar and is so eager to stay with us, I fear he was a dumped off dog.  I hope not, but I'm afraid that's the deal.

This particular neighbor girl is happy to take him home with her.  If only her mom will agree..

She has named him "Copper," and I am sure they will be the best of friends.  I even told her we would dog sit if they had to go out of town.

Cue evil laughter here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Of COURSE We Came Home With Two!

Last summer my girls spent time with my parents.  My dad decided that he did not have a special "something" that was just for him and Popcorn.  He rides horses with Bookworm, but Popcorn has no patience for anything that requires a calm demeanor.  He fishes with my nephews.  Again, Popcorn is short on patience, so while they fish she tends to flit away and get into mischief while they angle for the big one.

Well, while the girls were at my folks, Dad had to go the local sale barn to either buy or sell cattle, I can't remember which.  He took care of his livestock business, but he also did an unthinkable thing.

He came home with a kitten.  A kitten that belonged to him, (another unthinkable thing) but knowing how much Popcorn adored cats, she could play with "his" kitten all she wanted while she was at his house.  He even let her keep it in the house!  Shock shock!!!

Anyway, this adorable little kitten grew up.  She grew up and had a litter of her own this spring.  Well, my parents have been hounding me about "how many kittens" we were taking ever since Mitten dropped a litter of five about the same time one of their many barn cats had a litter of kittens.  The barn cats are all wild and impossible to catch, so my parent's odds of finding the new kittens and getting them tamed down to give away are not great...I have told them over and over that the cat is "Dad's cat" not my problem...

Remember we went to see my grandma last weekend?  Well, my parents were in Yellow Stone and my mom had asked me to go by and put some water on her flowers.  We have had a ridiculously hot summer.  It was 110 at my parents the day we were there.  I spent about an hour or so in the ridiculous heat watering flowers.  Of course during that time my precious girls found the perfect two female kittens to bring home with us!

Yes, two.  Yes, female.  I am hoping Oliver will be less likely to kill/lead off female kittens.  Hoping, hoping, hoping.  Especially since the girls have held the little sweeties nearly nonstop since we left my folks.

Kelsey is absolutely in love with them.  They are NOT in love with her.  They only want to spit at her and scratch her nose.  This makes her all worked up, and she ends up yipping and nipping them on the behind.  I hope they work out their differences soon.  Kelsey was never a concern, as she has always adored baby kittens.  However, these kittens are a few weeks older than the others I've brought to her, so they are a little more leery.

Please remind me of their cute factor when I'm griping at my destroyed caladiums in a week.

Thankfully Oliver has no use for them.  He walked into the garage where they were.  They hissed and spit at him, arching their little backs and running away.  He ran under our car to hide, realized they were tiny little threats, plopped down on his belly, narrowed his eyes at them and went to sleep.

Hopefully this status quo doesn't change.

The story we've told the girls is the kittens will NOT be in the house.  They may not survive.  It's called the circle of life.  They will be sad, but they will have to deal with it.

And now let the comments begin about spaying/neutering pets and that indoor pets live longer safer lives...

I can take it.  But you gotta admit:  They are pretty stinkin' cute!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Rat in My Daughter's Bed

Last Thursday night was anything but restful.  First my oldest could not go to sleep.  She had creepy things on her mind, and she was upset that her American Girl doll desk had been broken in a moment of children running and screaming through the house that ended with two little girls hiding in her closet.

It matters not how or who broke the desk.  It mattered to her that she had put it in a safe place because she is super careful with all of her stuff.  It mattered to me that much to my consternation, I have somehow became the Koolaid house, and although I am the self proclaimed crankiest mom in the neighborhood, children continue to congregate at my house.  It mattered to Studmuffin because he wanted to just sleep.

She knew I got the desk at a garage sale, and would never buy her anything of that genre otherwise as I find them ridiculously over priced, if extremely well made. So, she was laying in bed, mourning the loss of her desk and realized she had forgotten to share her despair with me.  This realization resulted in her climbing in my bed to weep with me at 10:30 pm. 

Studmuffin was not the picture of sympathy. 

I ended up going and lying down with her for a few minutes in the hopes that she would calm down and sleep.  My neighbor Rebel's teenage daughter was out in her yard with friends and someone let out a typical teenage shriek.  Bookworm was certain someone was being murdered outside her window.


I was unable to sleep.  She was wide awake.  Eventually we both ended up parting ways and snuggling up in our own beds with a good book.  I think I finally fell asleep around 1am. 

At 4:30 I woke up to the realization that Studmuffin was still in bed with me, and he should have already left for work.  I sat bold upright and turned to wake him up, only to discover that Studmuffin was a pillow that he had pushed against my back so that I would not miss him in bed.  How sweet.  But now I was wide awake.  Again.

It was a while before I could doze back off.  I felt as if I had barely drifted off when a blood curdling scream echoed through the house and Popcorn came thundering around the corner from her room to mine.  She burst through the door.


Gentle Reader, you may find this hard to comprehend, but my heart that was already pounding from the rude awakening nearly burst out of my chest at her frantic announcement.

"Is it alive?" I asked her as I jumped out of bed and headed to her room.

"I don't know.  I think so."

Oh Gentle Reader, my brain was in over drive.  I was thinking there was no way a rat was in the house, much less in her bed, but if it was I was going to totally freak out, and obviously Kelsey is completely useless keeping vermin out of the house.

I stepped in her room, and I saw this:

Understand, Gentle Reader that this little ball of fur was in her face at 5:30 in the morning when the sun is just starting to kiss the world good morning.

I stepped closer for a better look.  I bravely snatched the rat out of the bed and carried to my room for Popcorn's perusal.

"Was this the rat you saw?"

She sheepishly affirmed that it was entirely possible that the ugliest Webkinz cat in the world may have resembled a rat in the early dawn light.  Yes.  The very cat I tried to discourage her from purchasing due to it's absolute ugliness, she happily purchased, declared a gorgeous himalayan and dubbed her "Duchess."

And of course there are no piles of "stuff" in her room in which a real rat could hide.

Nope.  Not a single one.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Going to Grandma's

There are certain things in life that should never change.

Grandma's house is one of them.

This past weekend we spent Saturday with her.  It was so fun.  She had fried up some chicken and decided it was too dry, so she threw it in her slow cooker hoping to salvage it with a little water added in.  It was actually delicious.  She had peeled potatoes and quartered them and placed them in a pot of water for mashing later on.  This was all by 9:30 am.  She wanted to be able to relax and spend time with us, not work in the kitchen.  I had informed her I was bringing lunch in the form of hot dogs with the fixings so she wouldn't tire herself out before I came.
Apparently I get my "I can do it myself attitude" honestly.

Anyhoo, I still was able to throw together dessert and make a pasta salad.  We sliced some tomatoes and she had some fresh cantaloupe in her fridge, so we decided we had a feast!  I begged her to not let my mother know I was considering a meal complete without a green vegetable,and she readily agreed.  Since my mom reads this blog, my secret's out.  However since Grandma Irene is the same woman who let me eat tomato soup, Totino's pizzas or chocolate cake for every meal, I think she was unconcerned with what my mom would serve.

As she and Studmuffin sat in her lovely living room with the immaculate white couches and red arm chairs, I whipped up dessert.  I listened to her tell Studmuffin and the girls of a particular picture frame that my sister gave her.  Apparently, my cousin took my sister's family picture out and put her kids in it.  Well, when my mom came over, she would change the picture back.  And it would stay until my cousin showed up again, and the cycle began all over.  Grandma decided to put a stop to it.  She stuck a picture of her and Granddad in it.  And it has not been touched since.  You've got to love the wisdom of Grandma.

As I was making dessert and listening to her and my hubby chat, I started thinking about all of the unchanging things at Grandma's house.  I looked around her kitchen and noted the cheery yellow curtains.  They used to be white eyelet, but now that she has painted every surface except her Formica counter tops and back splash yellow, she has changed them out.  I noticed the china tea cups in the corner with the fussy silk flowers arranged around them.  I gazed out at her stately elms flanking her driveway.  They are monstrous and the limbs hang entirely too low to avoid scraping your car roof on them.  But I would be heartbroken if they weren't there.  

I decided to snap some pictures of various things that are as timeless as my Grandma.

There is this lovely wax rose candle, surrounded by more fussy silk flowers on the cabinet above the toilet.

Do you notice the theme in the above picture?  It's pink.  Several years ago, my grandma made my brother paint her bathroom.  She had already painted her entire kitchen yellow (this is after her 85th birthday, mind you) and she decided her bathroom needed sprucing up.  However, before she decided to redo her bathroom she had painted the wood paneling in her front living room yellow, decided she didn't like it and painted over it with white.  She just didn't feel up to whipping out her paint brush again, so she put David to work.  She made him paint every wall, the cabinets, the ceiling and even the doors and trim pink.  He said he was glad he didn't have to paint the door knobs or he may not have found his way out!

Her bathroom is pink now, but if I remember correctly, it was white with pink accents when I was a child.  I just can't picture pink walls when I remember watching my Granddad lather his soap for his morning shave.  I do know this very mirror has always sat on her window sill, along with these very same immaculate white, starched curtains.

See the tweezers?  This window gives the perfect light for plucking one's eyebrows.  I know this for a fact as I began my eyebrow plucking at this very window in this very room with this very mirror.  Not to mention this window provides a lovely view of the elm trees where my cousin and I played endless cowboys and Indians and slew countless dragons, and even discovered our first robin's eggs.

Someday I will have to tell you about the special soup Jason & I concocted out of the lovely stream that runs behind here.  But that is a tale for another day.

Does your grandma have perfect little "Grandma" nick knacks stashed here and there, that you can one day visualize sitting on the shelf at your own home?  My grandma had an adorable Peter Pan figurine.  He sat on top of a green candle on a green pedestal.  I loved to play with Peter.  I thought he was somehow magical because every time I picked him up I had to break him loose of the wax on the candle.  Now I realize that it sat in the sunlight of her picture window, so the wax would warm and hold him firmly in place.  Still, I loved Peter.  Unfortunately, my dad's cousin loved Peter too.  And Grandma gave him to her.  I know of at least 3 other grand daughters who were heart broken to not have Peter at their home some day.

I remember sitting on her lap as a child, sucking my thumb and rubbing the cool skin of her upper arm as she read The Little Engine That Could and Scuffy the Tugboat and even Home for a Bunny five million times.  Sometimes she would try to skip a page.  But I wouldn't let her.  Poor woman, I was grandchild number six, and I am quite sure she was ready for new Little Golden Books by the time I came along.

As we were hugging and kissing and saying our goodbyes she astounded me with an invitation.  She said my girls should come stay with her for a few days.  Because "they are no trouble."  I almost cried.  Oh, for my girls to have memories of building card table houses with blankets.  For them to be able to drag ALL of the cushions off of the couch and stack them with every single pillow in the house to make a fort.  I wonder if she still gets the JCPenney magazine so they could cut out jewelry and tape it on, pretending it's real.  Perhaps she would let them eat nothing but junk food if they wanted as long as they slept in sponge rollers so she could fuss with little girl hair.  I can only imagine their reaction if she labored over their hair, then insisted they wear a head scarf before  going outside so they wouldn't mess up all of her hard work.  I hated that, but I figured chocolate sheet cake for breakfast and pizza for supper every night was a fair trade for wearing a silly old scarf a mile from the nearest neighbor.

I love my Grandma.  I always thought I had the two most beautiful grandmas in the world.  As I've aged, nothing has occurred to change that assessment.  When I was a senior in high school, it was one of Grandma Irene's homecoming years.  A little old lady came up and asked if I was Irene W's granddaughter.  I was confused for a moment as my grandma was Irene J, but I realized that of course this ancient gray haired lady knew her by her maiden name.  I said yes, and she said, "I knew it.  You look just like her."

I can only hope to age with the beauty, wisdom and grace she has shown.  She has loved each of her  family members unconditionally, when there are times I would certainly have washed my hands of some of them.  She has displayed unshakable faith in God and his plan for each of our lives.  Saturday at dinner she said that every year she prays that God will let her air conditioner last one more summer, because she hates to buy a new one that she won't need.  Then the next year, she's still here, and she starts praying all over again.  She is tired of being old.  I told her that I would hate for the alternative.  She looked me dead in the eye and said she has hope in heaven.  I know she does.  I know she will go to a better place.

I just want her here with me.

My grandma.

 I love her.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I May Be in for a Rude Awakening

I only have about 5 weeks of summer left.

Where did it go?  We haven't gone to the zoo or the museum, and we've only been to the lake once!  The wind has kept our little boat off the lake, and when it wasn't ridiculously windy, the girls had either swam all day while I was at work and got terrible sunburns, or had bizarre skin rashes.  I haven't even been to see my grandma.  Good grief.

The good news is that my girls have made the most of their summer.  Well, if one is referencing housework they have.  I work Monday through Wednesday now, and I don't like the thought of them just sitting around doing nothing all day, so I make sure they have chores every day.  Would you like to see an example of daily assignments for them?

Well, if not, I suggest you move on.  Otherwise, here ya go.  Mind you, these chores are given in list form each morning, along with a silly comment or note, and possibly individual goals I have for each child daily.  I usually close the list with a comment about having a great day, and Love, Mom.  The awesome thing is that Bookworm actually writes a little note back to me!  She will say something like, "Hope your day was great too!"  It's sweet. I love it.   Anyhoo, here's the deal:

Feed & Water animals
Sweep and mop all hard floors.  Shake out the rugs!
Popcorn:  Be sure to work on your multiplication facts today.
Bookworm:  Your sister is not allowed to go outside due to her sunburn.  Scoop dog poop this morning while it's still sort of cool.

Feed & Water animals
Run vacuum
Popcorn:  Make flash cards for your 4s and 2s.  It will help you memorize them.
Bookworm:  You can clip my coupons from Sunday's paper if you want to earn more money to your iTouch.

Feed Water animals
Popcorn:  multiplication
Bookworm:  help your sister with multiplication.  It helps you too!

And then here's the real beauty, Gentle Reader.  I am off work on Thursday and Friday.  Since my kids have been working to keep the house in order all week, all I have to do is clean the bathrooms and do laundry!  Yes, they can do laundry if I made them, but I prefer to do it myself all at once with our stuff.  So, on Thursday I am free to have friends over to swim and have a casual lunch.  And I don't have to clean so company can come!

Is this a beautiful thing, or what?

I have gotten so spoiled that yesterday when I walked in and saw that there were lunch dishes in the sink, I was baffled.  How could this be?  How dare they leave dishes for me to do!  I decided that as many dishes as they have done this summer I could do a few pots and pans.

So, what do you think will happen when school starts back?  I fear that I will have a messy house.

Either that or I will have to start cleaning it myself.

But I'm not sure the situation will be as desperate as all that!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kelsey's New Best Friend

Every night Kelsey has a friend come and visit her.  Unfortunately for her, I do not approve of this new friend.  Every night I scold her and take her friend away from her.  I lecture her on poor relationship choices and finding friends that have the same values and standards as she.

I then pick up her friend and carry him to the front yard and give him a lecture on how unhealthy their relationship is.  I don't understand the draw Kelsey has for him, but I am certain that she is just no good for him.

He doesn't listen.  Instead, by the following night he has made his way back to the back yard.  He is very stealthy, and I would probably never realize he has returned except Kelsey just can't contain herself.  Every time he comes over to play she greets him with a gleeful yip.  This event has become so routine that I roll my eyes and go separate them all over again, issuing the same lecture night after night with slight variance in dialogue if for no other reason than to keep myself entertained. 

I am on the verge of giving up.  He apparently wants to be in the back yard.  Kelsey apparently wants to play with him.  The relationship is doomed to failure, and yet they are drawn to each other.

Tonight as I was carrying him to the front yard for the ten thousandth time, I realized "This is a blog moment."

I stopped and pondered for a moment.  I knew in my heart of hearts that this blog needed a photograph to grasp the Romeo and Juliet quality of their relationship.  I recalled my camera was on my great great grandmother's dining room table, which is situated between our couches.  Kind of like an over sized end table.  I also recalled that I had ended my blogging hiatus a few days ago, and my memory card was still in my lap top.  There was nothing for it.  I had to do what I had to do.

I carried Kelsey's new friend into the house.  I called for someone to help me take my memory card out of the computer and put it back into my camera so I wouldn't have to put my burden down.  No answer.  I called again as I carefully carried my bundle to the living room and used my left hand to remove the memory card as my right continued to gently, yet firmly grasp Kelsey's friend.  I reached for the camera, wondering how I was going to get the camera out of the case and insert the memory card all with my left hand.  I continued to call for assistance from any one who cared to respond.

Apparently he was overjoyed to be in a brand new environment where lights flip off and on suddenly, and the temperature is a cool 78 degrees.  He was so overjoyed that he rewarded me with a nice little shower.  Gentle Reader, I was somewhat startled by this action although I had marveled that in our long history of my carrying him to a new location nightly, he had never deigned to respond in such a way.  I let out my own little yip of excitement, which may or may not have sounded like a scream.

Studmuffin was nowhere to be seen.

The girls came running.  They were somewhat startled to see who I had carried INTO the house, however they were also happy to make his acquaintance.  They excitedly greeted our friend and agreed to take care of my camera issues while I carried him to the front porch.  On the way to the front door he decided to reward me with another little shower at the front entry.  I was prepared and not quite as startled, but I was also not feeling particularly thrilled with his little outbursts of "joy."

I don't think he understands all I'm doing for him. 

But perhaps my expectations of toads are just too high.

*And yes, those wet spots on my shorts are indeed from him.  Am I the only one who wonders how toads can produce such vast amounts of urine out of what anatomically has to be such a small bladder?  The mind simply boggles.*

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kind of Like Martha Stewart

Today is July 9, 2011.  My last post was June 15.  I have not even looked at my blog or anyone else's for that matter since then.

Attention:  This post will be scattered with random pictures that I feel compelled to share.  They may or may not apply to the topic at hand as you scroll through this all important and fascinating post. I will even include my thoughts on these photos as a caption.  Aren't you excited?

I had a dear friend tell me her life was incomplete without my ramblings...Okay, maybe she didn't really say that, as she is not nearly as dramatic as me, but she did say she missed my pointless ramblings.  It's good to know I've been missed.  By the way, for you reserved folk, you might want to try being a dramatic over reactor occasionally.  It really does add an extra flair to your day....Anyway, I have just been busy.

Busy doing everything and nothing.

Why yes, my daughter is beautiful.  But thanks for saying so.  Here she's sitting in the lawn watching fireworks several miles away.
I have been trying my darnedest to live my summer with the girls to the fullest.

Do any of you have strange summer rituals?  Mine involves toe polish.  My toes must have polish on them.  All. Summer. Long.  Of course, I do not have time to truly keep my feet properly groomed, so I tend to pick a bright, summery color and stick with it.  Every time I reapply, I tell myself, "It's a good thing."  Kind of like Martha Stewart.  In a hillbilly redneck sort of way.  Because I just don't see good ole Martha running around her yard at 6am with no shoes or socks on.  I'm sure she has some lovely gardening shoes.  I have some ratty old flip flops, but when the grass is cool and the sun is coming up, I just can't resist bare feet.

This post will doubtless be pointless and rambling and jump from point to point.
Popcorn has no fear on the tube.  We bought a new ski trainer board, and she was the guinea pig.  "Why do I have to go first," she asked.  "Because you are the brave one, and we exceed the weight limit." It was a disaster with design problems.  The darn thing dove under water when we took off.  Her sister refused to try it, for some strange reason.
We had the end of season softball swimming party here.  We were expecting around 50 people at most, and I think we had about 35 stay.  I had cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, and worked my girls like a drill sergeant.  None of those parents had seen my house, and as I told my kids, "It better be spotless, even if that is nowhere near our reality."  Guess what?  Only two women came in the house, and they didn't go past the kitchen!  However, lots of little kids dripped through the house to visit the potty!  Anyway, after cleaning the house frantically, and making sure the pool was sparkling clean, I realized my polish was chipped.  I had no time to remove my old polish, so I just slapped on another layer.   It was a good thing, freshly painted toes, a clean house, and a sparkling pool.  All was right with the world.

Dang, he's handsome.
I learned that  tea, Koolaid, and water, will be found lacking in the refreshment department.  Some parents will feel compelled to leave the party and purchase large quantities of soda to supplement the drinks.


Nonetheless, we all had fun, and I got to know some of the parents better.

Following our end of season party, we had my family down here for the Fourth.  My parents area has been so dry, that there was a ban on fireworks in there area.  We were under burn ban too, with the allowance of fireworks with proper precaution.  I'm not sure they know my family, and our history of excitement, or they may have questioned that addendum.

We really tried to throw my nephew Kris off of the tube.  The kid just refused to budge.

This year was fun, even without watermelon canons, the purchase of nonthreatening fireworks, or even any near death experiences with fireworks.  Truly, you really WANT to follow the three links above if you are not acquainted with my family's annual firework throw down.  Sadly, we only had a total of 13 for our shindig (which may explain the lack of drama) instead of 30 or more, like my parents seem to have.

Popcorn shows her personality in everything she does.  Especially in red cowboy boots with a swimsuit.  Those red boots proved very handy for stomping out  fires caused by sparklers.  So we weren't completely drama free.
 My family started arriving on Saturday (not counting my parents who had been here since Tuesday. They were staying at a nearby lake.)  We met my brother and his son at the lake first thing Saturday morning for some tubing and skiing.  We were there by 9:30am, and left by around 1:30 pm when all of the crazy people started showing up.

My nephew is getting too handsome.  It is ridiculous.  Seriously.  Ridiculous.

My sister's son.  He and my Popcorn are such great friends.  I love it.

The last of our company left Monday evening.  I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, had friends over to swim and have lunch on Thursday, then worked Friday.  My friend Roni and her girls came over for about four hours on Thursday.  My husband wanted to know what we talked about all that time.  I said, "It's Roni & I.  We talked.  Nonstop.  It's what we do."  It's a beautiful relationship, Gentle Reader.

Does anyone remember that my husband used to be shy?  I have completely broken him of that!

Studmuffin decided our little Dakota had about breathed it's last, and the poor thing could barely pull the boat anymore.  He had been shopping for pickups for quite a while, and finally purchased one today.  I had to go with him to a few dealer ships, and be there to sign paperwork.  Of course, my polish was chipped.  I just slapped another coat on and called it good.  I also made sure to bring a book along.  The girls and I plopped ourselves down on the massive uncomfortable leather sectionals and opened our books.  And pretended that no wheeling or dealing was going on around us.

Studmuffin built this lovely launcher for our fireworks.  It was nice to not have any artillery shells explode in the audience this year.

I went couponing tonight.  I was utterly unsuccessful.  I had missed a Sunday paper, and last weeks coupons stunk.  I think I only saved like $8 in coupons, but I made sure to buy what was on sale and stock up so I won't have to worry about what my sitter's are finding to eat while I'm at work.  My sister Paula called me while I was in the store.  I said it's uncanny how often she calls me while I'm couponing.  She said, "I find it uncanny how often you go couponing."  Well.  There ya go.

Bookworm.  At a safe distance from the fireworks.  Nursing a "twisted ankle."

So.  I think I fairly well caught you up on our going's on.  Hope you all had a great month without me...

My brother.  It is so great to see him happy and smiling.  This smile was gone for way too many years. 

And, now I'm off to bed.  Tomorrow I shall color my hair and possibly slap another coat of polish on my toes.  Who knows, maybe I will find time to remove the previous 12 coats I've applied this summer.
My sister.  I was so glad she stopped in with us for a few days before heading on to home.
But I'm not going to put any  money down on that.

*I did not post this until Sunday.  I was too tired to proof read before publishing last night.*