Sunday, September 25, 2011

Houses and What Lies Therein

This coming week we move into our own home.  We are a little bit excited.  A little thrilled.  A little elated and a little frothing at the mouth.  It's just been too long (two years) since we've lived somewhere with just us five.  That's too long by anyone's standards.  We always have adventures in moving and we already know what one of our adventures will be:

We will find something in our new house after oh, say, six months of living there.  In our old house in Idaho we found a window after living in that house for two years.  A window, you say?  Like a window pane, stuck high in a closet somewhere?  No, I mean an actual window, in an actual wall, in our actual house, with an actual view into our actual backyard.

Not much gets by us.  We're kinda like Nancy Drew married to Frank Hardy.  A Bobbsey Twin who hooked up with 007.  Velma and Freddy's love child.  We are extremely observant human beings.  I don't blame you if you feel a little intimidated.

Hey!  I just noticed a cup holder in my van!  Whoa!  When'd that get there?

So anyway, this particular window was finally ferreted out by my detectively skilled #1 Husband who was out in the backyard one day.  He came back inside with a peculiar look on his face and told me to go to the bathroom and listen.  I did.  He leaves.  I hear knocking on the wall.  I follow the sound.  It appears to be coming from the sink.  Perhaps it's an Englishman banging two coconuts together?  Could it be Eric Idle living under my sink?  I look behind the mirror that is hung up behind the faucet.  Voila!  A view of my husband's baffled face.

We had always kind of wondered why that mirror had a window ledge below it  and more than one frame.

Not a lot gets by us.

What the??!  Have I always had a dog?

We're like Perry Mason meets Trixie Belden.  Shaggy meets Flavia de Luce.  Hercule Poirot meets Agatha Christie.  Which would be logical seeing as she made him up.  Sam Spade meets Cherry Ames.  Kate Beckett meets Father Brown.

Anyway, we fully expect to find a bedroom we didn't know was there...or a refrigerator...or something way spiffy, like a garage.  Possibly within the first year of living there!  I'm very excited.  There could be a full basement!  Or a second story!  Or a hot tub!  The possibilities are endless.

We're also looking forward to doing some home improvement and living up to our reputations in that area as well.  It may be difficult to live up to the ol' cribbage board holding up the window trick, or the infamous "I'll just plug this hole in the wall with my pants" idea, but we'll try.  Don't underestimate us.  Maybe we can plug a newly found window with our pants...

Wait, I have pants?!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mix Tapes

I think everyone loves music.  I can't think of anyone who doesn't. Can you?  I don't get the whole newfangled downloadin' thing though - this is probably because I don't own anything to download on.  In.  Into.  Whatever.    My music player of choice was left bolted into the kitchen I exited so hastily back in that state shaped like a mitten.  My other music player is the c.d. player in my Mommobile.  Anyway, being a mommy for the past dozen years sort of means I heard nothing in the music world from the years 2000-2009, mainly because all I heard was babies fussin' and laughin', the vacuum running, the smoke alarm going off, and daytime talk shows, all peppered with the occasional Veggie Tales song.  Cuz I love my lips!  Sorry, half of you didn't get that.  Anyway, I'm sure there were a lot of great new bands and singers out there, but I didn't, and don't, know they exist.  Songs are like smells, they bring back instant memories.  Some of my favorite songs probably wouldn't be my favorite songs nowadays if I were hearing them for the first time, because the whole reason I love them is because they transport me back to a particular time or person or town.

So if I were to put together a mix tape for you, dear readers, this is what would be on it:

Blaze of Glory by Bon Jovi

Cold November Rain by G and R

Beautiful Wreck by Shawn Mullins

Up All Night by Shawn Mullins

Smooth by Santana and somebodyornother, Maroon 5 maybe?

Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams

One by U2

Some B.B. King

Some Taj Mahal

Some Los Lonely Boys (Drat!  I just remembered I forgot to watch them on PBS the other night)

In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel

Don't Give Up by Peter Gabriel

Good Friends and a Glass of Wine by LeeAnne Rimes

Independence Day by Martina McBride

How Great Thou Art by Carrie Underwood

Down to the River by NeedToBreathe.  Actually, anything by NeedToBreathe.

A Ghost in this House by Alison Krausse

Hallelujah by Jon Bon Jovi

Hurt by Johnny Cash

There are some others I'm sure I'd like if I ever learned to do the downloading thingy.  Like Adele, Joss Stone, Leona Lewis.  I don't own any of their c.ds either, but I think I like them.

So if I were to make you a tape right now this is what would be on it.

The polite thing to do when someone makes you a mix tape is to make one right back.  So, tell me, what would be on your mix tape?  And will you share it?

The winner of the best mix tape list gets ... a c.d. which I will lovingly purchase at a music store dig out of my music collection.  Really!  I'm not joshing you this time.  It's no KitchenAid, but heck, you know you want it...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Interview with Mariah

Sometimes...I get a little tired of talking about me.  We all know my love affair with Sharpies and paper towels, how many gremlins I have, where I pass my time, and what I like in my coffee.  So, to keep this blog fresh as a daisy, I personally thought it'd be fun to pepper it with some interviews.  So, I'll be Lois Lane today and I bring you an interview with Mariah - a bff, Chicago dweller, ex-social worker, ex-cheerleader, lover of football and the SeaChickens, mother of two, wife of one (because Jon Bon Jovi doesn't count).  Enjoy!  If you have been alive longer than two years, you too are interesting!  So shoot me a comment if you'd like to prattle on about yourself on my blog.

1.  Why did you pick social work as a career?  I was originally going to study accounting and become a CPA (cause THAT'S super related to social work).  However, half way through my AA degree I decided to switch gears.  I am assuming at the time (I was 19 years old) I wanted to change the world and actually thought I could single-handedly.  I had a not so phenomenal childhood and entered the social work field initially to work with other youth who had endured similar challenges as I had.  I learned in school that this is the reason most social workers become social workers.  :0)

2.  You were scared to have a boy after having a daughter.  What's your favorite thing now about your man child?  Wow.  It is extremely hard to pick one thing.  I would say his insanely gentle spirit.  He is so soft-hearted towards other people.  He loves to snuggle still at age 7 and is the goofiest creature I know.  Physically, his eyeballs make my heart melt.  I consistently want to just suck them right off his face.*

3.  What about your husband inspires you?  Again, hard to pick one thing.  I would say the same soft heart that my son has.  Though many mistakes occur in marriages he, at his core, loves me and my children more than life itself and would give up his own life, at any moment, for us.  He is a dedicated, hard worker regardless of what job he is doing (teaching, TGIFridays, etc!).  One of the other things I love about him so much is that he is a man that actually craves and really enjoys other male friendships.  Hard to find them as this is apparently not too common amongst men but I love that he is a social butterfly who can handle himself well in any situation.  And he has a nice toosh......

4.  People say they couldn't cope with their child having the "C" word.  What FORCED you to cope? (Daughter, Sadie, was diagnosed with cancer at age 8).  The mere existence of a diagnosis forces you to cope. It's as though your mind takes over with "get this kid well" and you go on auto pilot.  Of course, having God to lean on the whole time was the real life saver and I'm not just saying that.  A couple of things I remember we did, specifically, during our cancer shabang were:  1.  Tried to focus on miracles that were occurring through the entire ordeal.  This was so good for us.  It reminded us that though we were facing tough times, we were insanely blessed at the same time. I remember describing to Kelly Lopeman once that I felt as though we were floating in a cloud of grace.  Sounds cheesy but was most definitely the truth.  2.  We also put most of life on the back burner and hit survival mode.  This definitely had it's disadvantages later on but I don't think we knew what else to do.  Try to continue running as a "normal, happy family" so as to assist Sadie in staying positive and getting through it.  All in all, we realized that though we were facing cancer with our child, we were the lucky ones.  We had a very curable form that followed all good protocols and our child was rarely really sick throughout it.  We saw so many other worse situations that while we were dealing with something many others feel is impossible to deal with (and we did too before it happened!) we were watching others, and admiring others, who we felt were dealing with TRULY difficult situations with their children (longer treatment, terminal cancer, etc).
5.  Is there anything you would do differently now that it's in the past?  Like I said, putting all of life on a backburner had it's disadvantages.  Our marriage suffered.  Some of my closest friendships suffered.  Isaac suffered.  Even Sadie suffered from that.  If I had to face it again, I would hope I could change some of this.  I would hope to go on more dates with my husband so we could process through it all, laugh and have fun.  I would hope to do more special things with Isaac to make HIM the center of attention once in awhile.  The poor guy took a huge backseat unintentionally.  I would hope to carry on with life more as "normal" than we thought we were doing for Sadie.  Her illness became life and, therefore, she became the center of it all.  Not good for any kid.  They then don't know how to NOT be the center of life and we have been dealing with those challenges ever since.  I would spend more time with friends caring about what was going on in THEIR lives rather than focusing on just what was going on in my life.

6.  What would you tell a mom who is facing what you and your family faced?  Oh gosh.  I would suggest to her that she accept more help from others than I ever accepted.  In the beginning you think you can conquer the illness and the world and about a quarter of the way through you collapse from emotional and physical exhaustion.  It's hard to let someone else care for your baby when they are sick but, at times, it is vital for your own sanity so you can continue to do the same.  I would perhaps also encourage a mom, or family, to get through the illness in whatever way they need to.  I don't know if there is a right or wrong way to handle something like that.  You have to do what you're family does to get through it.  You will look back and see things you wish you would have done differently but when you are going through it that doesn't matter.  Getting your family through the ordeal is what naturally matters most at that time.  

7.  You come home after a terrible day and the most wonderful thing in the world is in your living room.  Describe it.  It is about 5 foot 8.  Has a great head of hair, straight teeth and this insane musical talent......Okay, seriously. This is a difficult question.  I would have to say it would be lovely to come home to a massage table in my living room and a happy hubby who didn't have a hard day that day.  It would also be great to have my kiddos there to snuggle with.  Kind of like Mothers Day.  A night where I could relax with the people I love the most and not have any expectations placed on me.  Is that shallow after a terrible day? 

 8.  What was your favorite school subject and what are your kid's? My favorite school subject was Math.  Sadie's favorite subject is generally science though I have learned this year that she loves to research ANYTHING.  Isaac's favorite subject is Math.  Weird.

9.  What do you love about homeschooling and what do you loathe about it?  I love the freedom!  I love that while others are inside on a beautiful day I can take my kids to an apple orchard field trip and see dozens of other children with the same freedom.  I love that I can pick up and go out West for 2 weeks at a time to visit family and no one will be there to breathe down my neck for my kids missing school.  I love watching them decide what is most exciting to learn about and how they learn best.  It is liberating.  What I loathe about it are the days where I am apparently the dumbest person on the planet who can't possibly teach them anything AND the days where we stay inside for way too long.  I am an obnoxiously busy person so staying at home, in home for extended periods of time drives me bananas.  

10.  You love to travel.  What's next on your destination?  Well we are going back to Seattle for my sister's wedding in October but what's next on our "just because" destination is a Spring break in Pennsylvania.  It is beautiful there that time of year.  We plan to visit some old friends, do a historical stop in Philadelphia and then go experience Hershey, PA which we studied the beginning of this school year.  I gotta go see a city where the tops of the streetlights are silver foil Hershey kisses.

11.  If you could build a time machine, what era would you visit or whom would you visit?  I would visit the Civil Rights Era/Martin Luther King Jr.  I would like to see if I had any guts back then like I pretend now that I would have had.  I'd like to know who I would have been during that time.  Would I have been brave and stood up for what is right or would I have caved to the fear and pressure from around me?

12.  If that same machine took you back to meet yourself, what you say to your 10 year old self?  Your 15 year old self? And your 20 year old self?  What I would say to my 10 year old self is "this too will pass".  To my 15 year old self I would say "life is so much bigger than highschool. Don't get caught up here.  Be the person you hope to see yourself as in your 30's and leave the rest behind."  To my 20 year old self I would say "don't rush adulthood for fear that it will pass you by.  There is plenty of time to get married, have babies, etc.  Trust God with your future and enjoy your present life."

13.  If the movie of your life had a soundtrack, what would it be?  And what would the movie be called?  The soundtrack would definitely be Footloose (which I REFUSE to go see the remake of) and I suppose the movie could be called "Trauma, Redemption and the Life Lived In-Between."

Mariah and Gianni, a scant three or four hours after he was born.  When Mariah isn't sucking out small children's eyeballs, she's licking the New Baby Scent off newbie humans.

* Views of this post are not necessarily the views of this blog owner.  Thedazeofus does not recommend the sucking out of anyone's eyeballs.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pillow talk with a three year old

The past two nights, Gianni has had trouble sleeping. Since I've had trouble sleeping for three months now, and I feel terrible about The Bee Episode of three days ago, I let him snuggle me.  Hence the ridiculous conversation we whispered at the wee hours of the morning.

G:  Hey, Mom?
M: ZZzz.
G:  Hey, Mom, do you know? The sun is up!
M:  That's the moon.
G:  Oh.  Hey, Mom, do you know?
M: Whaa?
G:  You have stinky nose breath.
M:  Then roll over.
G:  Hey, Mom, can we get up yet?
M:  YOU can.
G:  Hey, Mom, do you know? Do you know that blackberries are like squishy potatoes?
M:  Huh?
G:  Yeah!  Yeah, they're like if you left your blackberry in the street and a car came and ran over it.  Yeah!
M:  Whatever, Grover.
G:  Hey, Mom, you ever left your blackberry in the street?
M:  Sure.
G:  And hey, Mom?
M:  Grr.
G:  My legs won't stay still.
M: I noticed.
G: Hey, Mom? Hey, Mom?  HEY,MOM?
G:  Is that still the moon up?
M:  YES.  Go to sleep. Do you need to go potty?
G:  No.
M: Cause you're really wiggly and if you don't stop elbowing me I'm gonna kick you out.
G:  K.  K, sorry, Mom.  Hey, Mom?
M:  What?
G:  Can you move over so I can get out and go potty?
*Four minutes later*
G:  Hey, Mom.  Hey, Mom, did you know?
M:  Zzz.
G: I love you, Mom. But don't breathe anymore on me, k?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Risking Life and Limb

I've had two near death experiences this week and I think that's plenty.

Okay, the first one didn't happen to me per se, but it happened to my Pooky Head, and since I gave birth to Pooky Head and he is in fact, the fruit of my looms, it's almost like it happened to me.

Plus, I'll remember it and he won't.

The story:

And by the way, if you're on Facebook a lot you've already heard both, so don't feel obligated to read this.  It's not like I'll know if you leave here and play Mind Sweeper instead.  This applies to people who SAY they aren't on Facebook but actually ARE on Facebook because they know my password and like to lurk and make fun of my friends.  I'm not petty enough to name names but it rhymes with Smichael K. Smilliams.

But back to The Story:

Packed a lovely picnic lunch for myself and the kiddos and hit the park.  Said park has a wonderful wooden castle structure.  Had barely set down the food when a friendly gramma type hollered over the swings to me,
'Hey, tell your kids to watch out, there're alot of bees out today!'

You guessed.  I haven't even opened my mouth when I hear Gianni shrieking and Cora shouting,
'Run, Gianni!  RUN!'


The flashbacks I was getting of poor little Macauley Culkin in My Girl were not helping me.
No one has heard or seen anything of Macauley in years.
I think the bees really did kill him.

The bees were under his shirt and in his underwear.

It was awful.  He had about 20 welts by the time I wrestled him down and stripped him.  I cuddled my little nekked guy for as long as I could and then we hightailed it to Walgreens where I force fed him Benedryl. 

He kept crying out "I don't wanna play hide and seek!" and "I wanna go to a DIFFERENT park next time!" in between sobs.

Cool as the castle park is, I doubt we'll ever go back...

Anyway, it's nutty that as allergic as Gianni-Be-Good is to things, bee stings aren't one of them.  He's fine now.  'Cept for the nightmare last night that the bees were back and in his bed.
I let him sleep with me.  I'm heartless at 4 a.m. but no one is that heartless.

Story #2 simply involves me following up on a dresser for sale on craigslist.

Dresser man and I were texting.  He couldn't get a photo to come through on my phone.  Evidently my phone is programmed to receive photos of my nephew Buck and Buck only.  Anyhoo, me being the genius that I am, I hop in my car without telling a soul where I am going or that I am even craigslist shopping or anything. 

The house, when I find it, is ... in need of some TLC.

Craigslist would call it a "handy man's dream!" or "a real fixer upper opportunity!"

I debated not stopping.

But the idea of the world's best dresser pulls me in like Mafia ties.  I have to risk it!

Odd man meets me in looooooong drive way.  Informs me that the dresser is out yonder.  Past the cars and trucks and by the barn.


Let me just speed dial 911 inconspicuously here while searching in my purse for the pepper spray I do not own.

Needless to say, as I am here and blogging, Odd Fellow didn't chop me up and bury me under the floorboards in his barn.  Or stuff me in the dresser.

And most importantly,


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wine Pairings for Cheezits

Here you go, Steph:

Wine pairings for Cheezits:

Regular yellow Cheezits: a nice hardy Merlot.

Spicy Cheezits: a lovely sweet Late Harvest Riesling to combat the spice.

White Chedder Cheezits: how about a Malbec?

Reduced fat Cheezits: don't be silly.  Bud Light, I 'spect.  Ick.

Baby Swiss Cheezits: cabernet.  Actually, I don't know because if there are Baby Swiss Cheezits in the house, Cora will be snarfing them under her bed.

Italian 4 Cheese Cheezits: a nice Italian Chianti of course.  Just don't think of Hannibal Lector.  Nothing ruins a snack like Hannibal.

Asiago Cheezits:  I don't know cuz I haven't bought them yet, but I know they exist! 

Well, I'd write more but I'm pretty certain Food and Wine magazine will knocking on my door in a minute, begging me to write for them. 

your very own sommelier...somolier...sommolir...Blogging Wine Expert.

Friday, September 9, 2011


My first column for Home Educating Family Magazine came out this month and here's the link if you want to see what it looks like:  here.

This is the link for the correct issue.  You can peek inside and see me in the table of contents.

Eeek! I'm in a table of contents!

I need to get out more, yes, I realize this.

You can sign up for a free trial digital subscription and actually read the whole magazine if you like (it's good for 7 days.)

Or you can subscribe and see my future pieces as well.  This supports their magazine, and also supports their hiring of me, and therefore supports my cute lil' family in a way.  So....thanks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I don't get out much

So yesterday I was at the pool with my sweet trolls.  I was reading (of course...not like I go there to swim if I can help it) and the only other people there was a dad with a daughter.  He was teaching her to swim.  I kept getting distracted by him practically shouting,
at me.  At which point, I'd look up politely and smile or wave, but he would hardly ever be looking my way, which I found odd.
Was he trying to get my attention?  Flirt?  What was up with this guy?
Finally after the fourth time or so, I started really eavesdropping on him.
Turns out he wasn't speaking English.
Maybe Russian.
Not English.
And when I thought he was yelling greetings at me and I so politely and dorkily responded, he was actually - I believe - saying something like "go!" to his daughter.

It was a tad bit embarrassing.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mooshy Mooshy Wuv Stuff

This weekend my brother, Bri-Bro, got married.
Thus, there was a wedding.
A good time was had by all!
Everyone should get married, I highly recommend it.
And when you do, please invite me.
I do so love a good wedding.

Moose even let me style his hair.

This is my new sister, Rachelle!  Oh, and some bum she married.  HAHAHA!

This are two of the most ridiculously photogenic people I know:  Roosky and Aly-Gator.

Only slightly more ridiculous, and slightly less photogenic, my other brother and my other daughter. Don't you wanna pinch their cheeks? 

Brian is actually extremely short but he doesn't like people to notice so for the sake of the blog and the photos he knew I would publish, he stood on a stool so he looked taller.

Halfway through the reception, Moose got a call from Jack Bauer at CTU on his shoe phone(s) and he had to rush out and save mankind.  But he was back in time for the dancing.

"Mother dear, I fear something's come between us..."
"That's just Cora, Brian."
"Ah, right."

Evidently, I left my eyeballs somewhere back at the table or something.  I'm sure they'll turn up.  Only to disappear at the next Kodak moment.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs Downum!  I hope you have many, many happy years ahead of you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Giveaway...but not for you...

I'm upping my chances of winning a giveaway by blogging about a certain website.  I know, sounds so selfish, but bare with me! (Bear with me? Bare with me? Grizzly nudists anyone?)

It's for the good of my Pooky!  He'll get the prize if I win!

What is it, you ask? 

A shiny red bike?

A new teddy bear?

A college scholarship?

A pony?

No, even better!  FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL!

I know, you want to cry with your admiration of me and my mothering.  It really is a beautiful thing.  Not everyone would force their little Pooky to swallow fish oil in the hopes that it will reverse his cavities.  But I will!  By gum, I will!

So, here's the link that allows me to get more entry into their contest:

And it seems like a pretty cool website!  My pal, Amy, wouldn't steer me wrong; she's cool like that.  Why, she even raises nude Grizzlies.  Not everyone can say that.  Actually, she's the only one who can say that.  In the history of nude Grizzlies.

So, get over there and check it out!  Just don't enter the contest.  I don't want the competition.