Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Obedience through bribery and other advice

Mama guilt is a peculiar thing.  It follows us Mamas around and yells at us when we're trying to sleep.  I have discovered that it can be stifled by - at least occasionally - resorting to Things We Said We'd Never Do.

Things We Said We'd Never Do Before We Had Kids Back When We Were The Perfect Parents With No Kids To Ruin Our Perfect Parenting Streak:

1.  Bribe them.  The experts say you cannot do this or chaos will ensue: the world will be consumed in fire, followed by death, maiming, soiling of quilts, and the stepping on of chickens.  But here's the truth (shh!):

If a purse full of candy means your toddler will let you roam the aisles of Ross twice per year, then get a bigger purse.

2.  Count to three.   Back before we had our own little nose pickers we said we'd never do this because "it only gives them three more seconds to be naughty."  Well, I'm here to tell you this:

We have already been programmed to count to three when we're upset.  You can't help it.  You're already doing it in your head, so it may as well come out your mouth.  Plus, it will buy you three seconds to get yourself under control so that you don't do something you will regret later, like snarf a carton of Oreos in despair.  Go ahead and count to ten if it helps.  I won't tell.

3.  Potty train later rather than earlier.  Who ever said potty training = freedom was smoking something, and I'm not talking about salmon.  

Potty training means two years of your life you will never get back, plus an intimate knowledge of every public restroom from here to Topeka.  Every errand you run will take fourteen times the amount of time it would take had your little muffin been wearing a diaper.

4.  Give in when nagged.  I always said/thought/read/heard that if you NEVER give in on a battle with a toddler, then YOU WILL WIN FOREVER.  That is a big, fat lie and whoever told you that is laughing it up.  Saying "no" only makes stubborn little gremlins more stubborn and more gremlin-y.  They really, REALLY like a challenge.  

So, do yourself a favor and just give in next time.

5.  Never let them become a picky eater.  I don't like picky eaters.  I don't like your picky eater and I don't like that picky eater across the street and I don't like my picky eater.  But they didn't become that way because you "let" them.  They just are.  Like spiders and high bridges and wedgie-prone underpants.  So, accept them.  Let them be.  Give them cereal for lunch (instead of steamed quineoa) and Nutella for breakfast (instead of vegetable stir fry).

I won't tell.

6.  If you don't read to them, they won't become readers.  Yeah, well, sometimes you read to them and they still don't become readers.  Set that example all you want and it still might not work.  I read all the time.  I read so much I forget to change my socks or mop the floor or parent my children!  And all I have to show for my stellar example are a bunch of kids who tell me they'll wait for the Xbox version.  

So go ahead and sink into that bubble bath with the latest romantic mystery...but don't expect your sacrifice to rub off into literate children.

7.  Have a strict bedtime.

Yeah.  Good luck with that one.

8.  Don't allow them to have a "sleep crutch."  You know, those things like binkies and babas and blankies and other things that begin with B.  Well, I'm here to tell you, surround that little angel with every sleep crutch you can possibly find.

We used to surround a snoring infant Cora with upteen pacifiers in the hope that when the one in her sweet angel mouth would fall out (which it would the second we hauled our tired bodies into our own bed), she would magically have enough power over her own limbs to grab the nearest one and pop it in herself.  This doesn't work.  But I still recommend the Circle of Binkies.

9.  Purify their water, boil their pacifiers, use non BPA bottles, give them organic food, use cloth diapers, etc.

At least when someone is looking.  This is key.  When you're home alone with Baby, do whatever the heck you want.

10.  Your turn. 

What rule do you break when it comes to parenting?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just photos

Looky!  Crescent rolls!  As far as the eyes can see!  As many as your belly can hold, plus two!

Three strange woodland creatures I met in the woods.  Hence, the woodland in the woods...

Also, one small ninja.

And his mom.

I hope the park ranger doesn't fingerprint the stump we left that may have been slightly, just a little, a tad, a smidge, above 12 inches.  Ahem.

The hunters bringing home their kill tree.

Hold up for the ninja who was wearing last year's snow boots and couldn't walk fast.  Also, he needed a sandwich.

"Look, Mom!  I'm on a car! Don't I look good on a car?  Can I have a car?  Can I drive the car?  Can I borrow the car keys?  See you later, can I have them please?"

Sittin' on top of the world...lookin' down on creation...

Why is everything a song with me?

There is a story about the Christmas tree.  But I have to wait another day or two before I can laugh about it.  I'm still wincing.  Also, I can't walk by without PTSD flashbacks and thinking it's going to fall my head.  So...yeah.  Later.  First I must bask in the glow of 400 mini lights.

*contented sigh*

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What's in my head and on my lips

Coffee tastes best when it's stolen out of the pot before it's done brewing and it makes that little sizzling sound when the liquid hits the warmer. 

Gianni, this is my bath.  You can take your own in twenty minutes after Mommy is raisin-y.  Get your toes out.  Get your fingers out.  Quit stealing my bubbles. Ok, you can take the bubbles with you.  Don't drip. 

Yes, Anna, you can have a dark chocolate ginger truffle for breakfast.  It is the season.  Dark chocolate ginger truffles; they're not just for dessert anymore.

I miss the easy friendships I had when I was in my twenties, but I wouldn't go back because they were too easy and not tried by fire yet.  I love knowing that our little band has been through everything possible that could happen to humankind (well, almost) and one by one, we've helped raised one another out of the pits of it, dusted off our big girl pants, and squeezed our entwined hands.

When Thanksgiving dinner arrives I wonder why we only eat such a fabulous, perfect, flawless meal once a year.  Then, after upteen leftovers, I remember why.  No one will want it again for 360 days.

And it all tastes a little bit better when your Mom makes it.  I can't taste 1988 in my stuffing, or 1992 in my mashed potatoes.  Mine are all 2011 and they are lacking somehow.  My mom's food tastes like memories on a plate.

Yaaah, we're finally out of that all natural, green, eco friendly dishwasher soap and we can go back to the hole-in-the-ozone-layer, harsh, plastic-y packaged, dish tabs that I so very much love.  It was like I had a collection of faux milk glass for a while there.

This is the only time of year I like cookies.

Measure your butter when making shortbread, don't just eyeball it.  

Why is the laundry never done?  I hate seeing the bottom of the hamper only to have my view obscured by someone tossing in their underpants, completely and effectively dampening my warm, fuzzy feelings.

I'm so excited to chop down my Christmas tree tomorrow I can hardly stand it.  I'm a little nervous to be living in such a tree hugging state now though.  Especially if they find out about the Cascade dish tabs.  And that I only recycle when I run out of room in my trash.

I love that my man is obsessed with lights on the house and that I can't let him go into any drugstore or department store or grocery store because he will buy more.  

Why is there a fly in my kitchen?  Shouldn't flies be dead in November? 

Gianni's skin is so soft.  Maybe I should rub almond milk, dirt, tears, mud, twigs, oatmeal, salad dressing, Windex, dog food and car oil, on my face too.  Maybe I should make a Toddler Facial Smoothie and sell it on QVC.  

No, Anna, one truffle is plenty.

Gianni, it's time for your bath now.  What do you mean you don't want one anymore?  Can I at least remove the twig from your pants and rub the oatmeal into your skin a little bit better?  Can you spare some of that mysterious grease for my T-zone?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Grateful for...

...where I was one year ago and where I am today. Last year I hit a deer with my van, which wasn't very holiday-like of me. This year I will stay out of vehicles.

Visiting friends.

Veggie trays while the turkey cooks.  Go, turkey, go!  Brown up, baby, and get in my belly!

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in the background while we fill the crockpot with apple cider, Tawni rolls out a pie crust using a wine bottle, the number of guests keeps tallying up, the crescent rolls rise, the kids rollerblade, the dog enjoys his giblets, and we plan our Christmas tree hunt for this weekend.

Texts from my group home kids...happy thanksgiving to you too, you little gremlins.

Daughters who can take over the Dreaded and Hideous Gravy Whisking Chore that was the bane of my childhood.  Muwahahaha!

Six homemade batches of chocolate truffles ready to be sent off to Idaho.  Don't you wished you lived in Idaho?

Christmas cards in a perfect stack, ready for addressing.  Want one?  Send me your address.  If you are not in my red Wonder Woman address book, you may as well not exist.

A job I totally enjoy.

Writing that people enjoy.

A book that is almost finished.

Mom and Dad.

Boots, jackets, scarves, dresses with leggings. 

Milo and Gianni sitting perched on the floor watching the dog show on television.  Milo is sure to win, in spite of his giblet breath.  Gianni is also in the running in the hound category.  He is a most excellent howler. 

"Four Christmas'" on the dvr to watch with my snugglebunny one night with the extra chocolate truffles (it's not my fault that they all won't fit in the gift boxes).

The turkey induced coma I will shortly fall in to.  I will only be revived by the odor of apple crisp or pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream wafted gently under my snoring nose.  

What are you thankful for today and everyday?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sibling Rivalry: A Love Story

The following is a piece I wrote for publication.  It was rejected.  I rewrote it.  Again, rejected.  A different publication showed a brief and momentary interest in it.  But again, rejected.  Then I thought to myself, 'Hey, Self!  I have a blog where no one rejects me!  Well, if they do I don't hear about it.'  So, here you go.  Please don't reject me.  

                                                 SIBLING RIVALRY: A LOVE STORY

It snowed last year:  I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.  –Dylan Thomas.

Is there a relationship so exasperating, exhilarating, angst-ridden, hilarious, bonding, mortifying, constant, giggle inducing, and annoying as that of siblings?  If there is, I have yet to see it.  Although we may love our friends, think we’ve told our girlfriends everything there is to know about us, lean on our spouses, have deep talks with our parents, adore our grandmas, and even sometimes befriend our own offspring, only our siblings knew us from the time of the younger’s birth and will be there when the last one breathes their last.  The language between brothers and sisters is even without words at times; a nod, a shrug, a snort, a shake of the head, a wave of the hand, and they instantly know what the other is communicating.  They interject your childhood tale with a well place eye roll, because after all, they were there too and know when you’re exaggerating.   
My sister – homeschooled beside me during the 1980s - is someone who, even when she struggles to understand me, is the type of fiercely loyal sibling who would drive the get-away car for me after I’ve knocked over the Piggly Wiggly.  If someone dared to suggest I should rethink my life of crime, she’d defend me.  This I know.  And I would do the same for her, although me being the elder I would probably smack her upside the head at the same time.  We’ve gone to bat for each other more times than I even remember.  I recently found my old diary and it was sprinkled throughout with all sorts of references to my sister; a few complimentary, some angry and critical, most ridiculous (I was eleven).  All of the mean parts were crossed through as though in remorse I had seen fit to undo what I had done to her by describing her character so unjustly.  Nowadays, she would still drive the get-away car for me, although in these later years it would be a van full of children, sometimes quarreling siblings themselves.  In fact, we’d be sure to be caught by the police as we pulled over to the side of the road to lecture them about the importance of being kind to your brothers and sisters.            
A sister is someone who will be brutally honest, snuggle under the covers during thunder storms, huddle with you during fearful times, loan you her clothes, steal your clothes, bully you herself but stand up for you with anyone else, braid your hair and pop your pimples.  She has heard you cry yourself to sleep, seen you in your birthday suit, was there when your first crush broke your teenage heart, conspired against your mutual parents with you, did your homework for you, solved mysteries and fought crime with you as her sidekick, learned to drive with you, and either did everything first or everything last, depending on birth order.  My sister is the first person to know when something is wrong with me and the last person I would want to hurt, although ironically she’s usually the first despite my good intentions.  She’s the finisher of all my good quotes and the only one who understands why I think they’re so funny.  We have numerous one liners that crack us up even though neither one of us could tell you why anymore; somewhere through thirty years we’ve forgotten the source.  Why would the declaration that the mashed potatoes are creamy be so hilarious, especially when there are no mashed potatoes to be had?  We’re not quite sure anymore…but we will always bring it up and then laugh together as everyone else in the room raise their eyebrows and back away slowly.  She’s the borrower of all my cute shoes, the thief behind most of my lost earrings, and in a way that only makes sense:  as a chubby little black haired babe perched precariously for a Kodak moment in my three year old arms, she stole my heart long ago.
If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.  –Linda Sunshine.

Sibling rivalry began in the garden of Eden and will continue as long as we call our fallen world our home.  Imagine how different the road trips in Heaven will be!  Why, I don’t know about you, but I plan on driving from one galaxy to another with nothing but peace in the backseat!

The lines of distinction are blurred when you have a sibling that is the same gender and close to the same age.  Their lives are conjoined and entirely fluid, even more so when they’re homeschooled.   Four and five year old sisters are almost one whole person.  This was evident one day as I asked my daughters what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Five year old Cora responded, ‘A cowgirl.’  Anna scowled and crossed her little arms over her chest.  ‘Fine,’ she muttered, unhappily, ‘I guess I’ll be the horse.’  Two separate identities and directions would have been unfathomable, unthinkable, and probably unexplainable to them.  If one is a cowgirl, then it only stands to reason that the other has to be the horse.  Poor little whippersnapper had to retire her dreams of being a doctor at an early age and learn instead to gallop properly.  Lucky for her, or unluckily, Cora at the ripe old age of eleven has changed her career path to Marine Biology.  Let us hope Anna swims well and can speak dolphin.

I’m sure the rivalry in our house will only escalate in the teen years, as much as I fight the idea.  There will be arguments over lip gloss and shoes, homework and drivers’ permits, chalk lines drawn down the middle of the bedroom, missing jewelry and clothes, more eye rolls than I care to think about, crossed out diary entries, hung up phone conversations, accusations, competition, drama and tears.  There will also be laughter, giggle fits, toe nail painting, hair braiding, shared jokes and quotes that no one else will understand or remember, late night cups of tea, whispered dreams, a whole lot of secrets, pinky swears, and hugs.  If I’m blessed enough, it will last until they wish the same things for their granddaughters and grandsons:  a rivalry that was really a love story.

This particular post is linked up at

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mein Lieblings

So today's the day the big homeschool blog awards come out and are announced and I draw the line at checking the website 2348798.345 times.  So while I pretend not to care, I will cheerily accept an award from Heather
who was sweet enough to give me this:

I think it's German.

And no one who speaks German could be evil!!!

Sorry.  I was momentarily taken over by Bart Simpson.  That happens sometimes.

Anyway, in the spirit of Bloggy Awards Etiquette, I must follow the rules and nominate blogs that I admire, adore, esteem, read frequently, etc.  Oh, and that are not well known.  No nominating Pioneer Woman or Gluten Girl or any such successful nonsense as that.  Only us slave labor bloggers.  The ones who have less than 100 followers.  Which reminds me:  we here at The Daze Of Us have 99.  Can I offer a prize to Ms. or Mr. 100?  Some homemade dark chocolate truffles?  A sappy card from Hallmark?  My love and adoration?  A pony?

Looking up these new blogs will give you something to do if you too are getting embarrassed at how many times you've tried to find out the winners of the homeschool blog awards.

So here you go...pop over...give them some love...leave them some comments...leave me some comments...leave the world some comments.

mommy sorority



I'm supposed to pick five, but I have to stop now.  Nooo, not because I'm going to check in on the winners again, but because Moose is trying to break my vacuum.  And anyone who hurts my Dyson will have to pay the piper.  Probably with his Halloween candy.  Also, I'm not supposed to be blogging right now; I'm supposed to be cleaning and folding laundry and then running off to teach munchkins how to chasse, and then come home to welcome my good buddy, Tawni, who is coming for Thanksgiving.  And she told me something about wanting her guest room to shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.  Whatevah, Miss Hanigan.  I am NOT letting her make moonshine in the bathtub.  Plus, she's preggers which means I have to forgo the turkey on Thursday and make pickles and ice cream sundaes instead.  So I have a lot to do.  Also, I may or may not have remembered to brush my teeth this morning.


Friday, November 18, 2011

So Are The Daze Of My Life

Today I wrote a thank you note on a Spongebob card and mailed it to my kid's new pediatrician.  Why?  Because I kind of hate the whole medical industry with every fiber of my being (and I am quite fibrous, believe you me) and so when I find an office that is actually nice to me and doesn't make me want to scream and kick my feet and throw myself prostrate on the train table in the waiting room, well, I send them a thank you card.

What I wanted to say (but didn't, mostly because it was a very small Spongebob card after all) was:

Dear Dr Drake and staff,

Thank you for answering your phone.  Promptly.  And for not putting me on hold for eleventy seven minutes, have me push #1 for English, put me through to someone else, force me to speak clearly to a robot who misunderstands me and tells me to repeat myself four times and then disconnects me, and all that jazz.

Thank you for taking new patients and for not sighing at me when I asked if you were taking new patients like the idea of seeing me and my sick child for a grand total of ten minutes per year and then extorting a ridiculous sum for it is just too, too much for you to bear.

Thank you for having a kind receptionist who remembered my Roo's name as we went in and as we went out.

Thank you for not batting an eye when I said I hadn't vaccinated my gremlins.  Thank you for not sighing, preaching, or scribbling down a long sentence in your notes that I would imagine would say things like "Idiotic mother neglecting children... Probably gave birth at home.  Most likely homeschools.  Expect children to die of easily preventable diseases immediately if not sooner.  Call CPS immediately. "

Thank you for having a background in food allergies which is the stuff dreams are made of in my life.  I was not impressed with the local allergist office here who, coincidentally, are rude, unorganized, rude, late, rude, didn't ever call in Moose's prescription, and are rude.

Thanks for telling me Roo's ear was healing nicely on its own thanks to my warm compresses and oils and she did not need any other treatment.

Lastly, thanks for having a name that totally sounds like a soap opera doctor's name.   It just gives me no end of giggles.  I don't know why.  Probably because anything related to medicine makes my brain cells melt and dribble out my ears onto my shoulders.  

Love, Melyssa.

And just to be clear, I don't REALLY hate medical professionals.  I just hate medical professionals who don't act professionally.  And the insurance companies.  Other than that, I like them fine.  I just don't like going to them because somehow I turn from Nice Sweet Ballerina Shy Bookworm Girl who considers 'fart' a naughty word, to Fire Breathing Dragon Phone Slamming Threat Hissing Tea Cup Throwing Girl.  Ask my husband about this strange medical malady.  He will confirm it.  He now handles every phone call to the insurance companies because I hung up on the last one.  And I don't hang up on people!  Really!  It's rude!  And I don't do rude!  But I don't want to offend all the nice doctors and nurses and staff out there because someday I might get some dreadful disease that I won't be able to treat with garlic or olive oil or Pau d Arco or Enya music or denial or Pinot Grigio or copious amounts of Nyquil.  Just kidding on the Enya.  And I will need those doctors and nurses and staff and I wouldn't want them to be offended or have notes about me.  That'd be bad.  Like, epic bad.

Did you get the title?  Soap opera?  Mixed up with "daze" instead of "days?"  Get it?  HAHAHAHAHA! Laugh with me, my minions, laugh!  It's the best medicine...the doctor told me so.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In The Night Kitchen

I'm a big fan of books.  Yes, you know.  I'm walking on a cloud these days because we unpacked my LAST BOX OF BOOKS in two years, thanks to a home that is ours (so to speak) and not a corporation who would panic and call a meeting if I so much as moved a salt and pepper shaker, much less stack my books the wrong way.  My luvah bought me a huge craigslist bookshelf that was appallingly ugly until we put all the books in it and now, hopefully, the books are all you see.  

I like my books somewhat willy nilly.  I'll never alphabetize them for the following reasons:  1. No one would replace the title correctly  and 2. They look better grouped according to genre  and 3. The ones belonging to itty-bitties go on the bottom where their jam sticky hands can access them better and the grown up ones with questionable love scenes or random acts of violence go up top where my jam sticky hands can access them better.  

About a year or two ago, I made a resolution.  I don't make resolutions so this was nifty for me.  You ready for it?  Here it is: I will never say no to a child who asks me to read to him/her.  Even if I'm doing twenty eleventy things and my  hair is on fire, I will say yes and crack open that book.  I'm hoping this will reverse the rest of the bad mommying I've done over the think?

So...we bring you a favorite around these parts (not as beloved as Socks For Supper, the last book we shared with you here) that was recently rescued from its life of captivity and exile in a brown box:

In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.

Being good ol' Maurice (ha!  Beauty and the Beast! ahem. Sorry.  I digressed into Disney for a minute) it is very similar in style to Where the Wild Things Are.  A boy goes to bed and has a strange adventure, only Mickey's makes Max's look tame and domesticated.

Oh look.  Some of my pictures did a head stand.  How odd.  Well, frankly it'd be much easier for me if you'd just turn your head ever so slightly than it would be to make me actually take these off now and start over.  Believe me.

So, anyway, Mickey falls through some kind of space and time continuum and runs into some fat and happy bakers who end up baking him into cake.

Mostly Moose goes for this book cuz there's a lot of gratuitous nudity.  And anytime there's nekkedness involved, a small manchild is gonna be there.

I love the red nosed bakers.

He escaped a run in with a loaf of bread.

Then he falls in some milk.  And naturally his clothes fall off again.  Cuz that's what happens fourteen times per day when you are a small manchild.

Don't think about a boy being in milk that will later be used to bake something.  We all know what little boys do in the bath water that involves the golden arches and making a homemade jacuzzi.

Eventually, Mickey gets out of that strange dream land, shakes off his bread crumbs and hollers COCK*A*DOODLEDOO!  We don't know why.  Again, boys.

It's a classic.  Read to your poppets and muppets and small menchild.  You'll be glad you did.

P.S.  Can we all sing a rousing verse of Reading Rainbow now?  Puhleeze?  You know you want to...

Butterfly in the sky...
...I can go twice as high...
Are butterflies big readers?  Don't know.  But if PBS and the exuberant man with the funny headband on his eyes says yes, then who I am to disagree?

Monday, November 14, 2011

salad cake, hold the Ranch

My mommy-in-law has an enviable figure that she keeps svelte, you see, due to a mad, crazy, frenzied love affair with salad.  She loves salad the way some people love their gambling habits, spouses, or Tim McGraw.
Aw, Tim. Why don't you love me back? Why?
Anyway, she isn't a big fan of sugar or fat, or fatty sugars, so we baked her a birthday cake and disguised it as salad.

Sorry about the fuzzy photo...setting was wrong.  Either that or I should have licked the frosting off the lens better.

Here.  This one is shinier.

Like the croutons?  They're cake.  I dazzle myself with my creativity sometimes.

Okay, I saw the idea somewhere else.

The veggies are marzipan, which taste better than fondant.  Plus, I couldn't find fondant and the lady at Fred Meyer kept trying to tell me how to make fondue.

So, there you go:  diet cake, light on the sugar and heavy on the veg.
Not really.  But it goes better with coffee and fuzzy socks than cuddling up with a tossed salad.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

My grandpa Rodney Oens.  My mom's dad.  He served in Korea during World War II.  I have his photo album from that time.  Tiny black and white photos of landscapes, people, little nekked Korean kids, and dead bodies.

He was a bit of a gypsy.  A real man of all work, master of none.  He was jovial and kind but he was also a stinker because he always got his own way.  He made excellent muffins.  He and my gramma fought.  A lot.  But sometimes they held hands.  They got married when she was only 16.  Did I mention he was a stinker?  When he had his first stroke, he went from being a real go-getter to being glum.  He could have gotten better, but he didn't because he was angry.  When I would take my little girls to see him in the VA nursing home he would pretend he couldn't talk.  Then if I left the room, he would ask Mike what the score of the baseball game was.

He died a few years ago.  Mike and the girls never knew the fast moving blur that he used to be and that I remember him as.

This is my grandad on my other side.  My dad's dad.  He served in the navy during World War II in the Pacific.  He was a tough nut.

When I think of Neal Landrum I think of sweet iced tea, a southern accent, and cigarette smoke.  He and Gramma (above) smoked all the time.  They had a house in Califonia that I can still smell to this day, twenty years since I've been there.  There was a guest bedroom that had a yellow chenille bedspread and they always had fudge pops for the grandkids.  He called me Lisa.  Then my cousin named Lisa was born and that got confusing.  He wasn't always a saint to everyone, but he was good to me.  Lung cancer took him a few years ago.

My gramma up there is my only surviving grandparent.

This one is my father in law, Keith, giving my husband-to-be a bottle.  How weird is that??  He was in the Navy and had a lot of crazy adventures.  He was on the USS Oriskany.  If you'd like a history lesson, look that up.  This is a video link to a fire that took place in '66.    He's there somewhere, in the smoke.  It's not the only fire on board a ship that he was on...he was something of a black widow.

Here's a video of it sinking:

Now it's one of the top ten diving spots in the world.  A huge coral reef.
My father in law is kind, funny, likes dumb jokes (like me), makes a killer pie, is unassuming, gentle, a morning person who always beats me to the coffee.  He likes to say that he dodged the draft.  By enlisting, that is.

This is Ian.  He's married to my sister and they have three rugrats (baby Buck wasn't born here during this shot.  I had a great shot of Ian demonstrating the difference between a soldier and a park ranger by the way you tip your hat, but for the life of me, I can't find it).  He's in the Army.  He's being deployed for a year on January 1.  I don't really like to think about it too hard.  He eats weird things like seaweed and wasabi everything and kelp popcorn, or some such thing.  He is also a cop.  He also cuts his toenails and leaves the clippings laying around.  He won't admit to it, but he totally watched every minute of the BBC miniseries, I think it was The Forsyte Saga, with me way back when when Cora was a baby, before he met and married my sister.

Thanks, men, for all you did and do.  We love you and appreciate you very much.

beautiful girl

I was going in the large grocery store doors yesterday and a beautiful young woman was coming out.  we passed each other through the door.  as most gals do i couldn't help noticing her, weighing myself by her standard and found wanting.  she had perfectly highlighted and flat ironed hair.  she was wearing great clothes that i doubt came from her local friendly goodwill.  she had a killer bag that made mine shrink under my arm in shame due to something sticky being spilled in the bottom and the fact that i had a two day old string cheese in there somewhere.  she had a rocking shape that boasted of either daily grueling workouts at the gym or an envious metabolism.  i suddenly remembered that the last time i set foot in a gym was to pick up my daughter from swim practice and i had a mocha with whipped cream in hand at the time.  like most (insecure) women do, i took all this in in the three seconds it took for us to pass one another.  my eyes glanced down at her feet without seeming to do so as i confiscated control of the door and she took it from me.

beautiful high heels of course.  why don't i grocery shop in high heels?


one was black, the other brown.

the same style.  exactly. 

she must have bought two pairs.  maybe a sale?  maybe just insanely comfortable shoes?

but two distinctly different colors.

and i smiled, but not in a mean-girl way, just in a maybe-we're-all-put-together-with-elmer's-glue-like-our-preschooler's-cut-out-paper-dolls.

and i realized maybe my mom, and your mom, and you when you say it to your kids, are right.  nobody's perfect, child.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Home made Cheezits

Well, these are so good I've pretty much decided that in order to have them everyday of my life, I will beg, borrow, steal, kill, pillage, destroy, maim, etc.   They're that good.  And because I think the world needs more cheesy crackers I am sharing them with you.

Not the actual crackers.  That would involve me sharing.

But the recipe.

Normally, I'd give credit where credit is due, but pretty much every recipe that came up on my midnight google search of "give me homemade Cheezits and no one gets hurt" are all the same.  So I don't know who originally came up with the whole thing, but I would kiss his boots if ever he came to call.

Here you go.  Make em.  You won't be sorry.  You may be fatter, but oh well.  Such is the price we pay for fatty, crisp, bite sized wonderfulness.

Homemade Cheezits Worth Dying For

Pulse in a food processor:
1 cup flour
4 tablespoon cold cut up butter
8 oz grated cheese (sharp is best.  However, I used Colby and have no regrets.  Except for the inhaling and forgetting to chew part.)
3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

If you don't have a food processor, like yours truly, just use a mixer. Works fine.  Drizzle in cold water until it forms a ball.  Wrap ball in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
Roll out between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap as thin as you can.  They're good pudgy and soft in the middle (like me) but they're even better super crispy, so thin is the goal (isn't it always? Sigh).  Cut out using one of your four zombie avenger pizza cutters.  Squares are classic but it's really the season for wreaths and trees and snowmen.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Let em finish crisping for a few minutes before you take them off the sheet and snarf them with abandon. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


We'd been together a few months here.  Fourteen years ago.

She was shy, insecure, stubborn, probably passively aggressive.
He was blunt, comedic, stubborn, probably aggressively aggressive.

She was short and skinny, broke, artistic.  She was still dancing, but had lost some of the love for it.  She wouldn't order anything to eat, ever, when out with friends causing them to confront her about eating disorders.  She just didn't like the ugly business of choosing something and then chewing and swallowing it in front of anyone.  She drove a two toned beat up car.  She wasn't getting along with her sister.

He was zealous about religion, loud, stressed out about work.  He was performance driven, romantic, funny, but sometimes rude.  He drove a pick up where a lot of kissing took place, especially at red lights.  He didn't like to be alone.

He talked all the time.  She didn't.

He wanted a blonde career woman.

She wanted a boot wearing cowboy.

She wasn't interested in careers.

He wasn't interested in boots.

Sometimes they argued but it was only about big things, not the little things that everyone always says you'll argue about when you get married, like toothbrushes and how to make the coffee and whether or not to have decorative hand towels.

She can't focus in clutter or chaos; it makes her depressed and tumultuous inside.

He will always put dirty spoons on the counter after she's washed it down.

He loves football.

She will always have a martyred look on her face when he watches it.

He likes sugar.

She likes salt.

They learn eventually that looks and expressions say more than words in a marriage.

Once she got so angry at him she threw her set of car keys at his face.
Luckily, she throws like a girl or he'd be wearing an eye patch now.

He likes to talk about his feelings.

She would rather write about them.

He is her biggest fan even when she makes him crazy.

She is his best friend even when he does the wrong thing.

Now they don't argue about the big things anymore because they have all that worked out.  Birth control and vaccinating and home schooling and budgets and travels and moves - all the kinks have been beautifully ironed so that there are never any wrinkles to unfold and discover that inside is a nasty difference of opinion.  Instead they argue now about the dumb little things, like toothbrushes and how to make the coffee and whether or not to have decorative hand towels.

They don't say the wrong things anymore, but since they know what one another is thinking they might as well sometimes.  She mentally curses his eyesight when she picks up his dirty socks from the bedroom floor.  He mentally rolls his eyes when he asks how he can help around the house and the offer only makes her mad.

Their flaws are more evident the older their children grow because it's like being followed around by three miniature looking glasses with milk mustaches and footy pajamas.

He can be insensitive and she can be manipulative, but they are both forgiving.

What about all of you?  What has marriage taught you?

This post is linked up at:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homeschool Blog Awards

Hey, guys, don't know how it happened but thedazeofus is nominated in several categories for the big time Homeschool Blog Awards!  Yaaa, you and me!  Cuz this thing is a group effort, you know.  You are the almondy butter to my honey...the sugar cubes to my English Breakfast...the Bert to my Ernie...the Kumbaya to my campfire.

Without that being said, will you hop over and vote for me?  I'm in a few categories:  example:  Favorite Mom Homeschool Blog, Funniest Blog, Nitty-Gritty Blog, etc.   You can only vote once per category, but I promise it only takes a minute...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Family Bonding is Distressing

They're so cute... baby piranhas...

They're so dang lovable.

How can I possibly want to hide from them in the bathroom and eat pasta until I melt into a puddle of Melyssa and Gorgonzola?

That one at the top?  He is a puppy in striped pajamas.  He is wearing a leash.  He is eating cereal out of a bowl on the floor.  He just told me he's "Mindy from the network."  (Bolt).  He has all fifty states memorized.  This is not due to my spectacular parenting as I had to stop and think if there were indeed, fifty states.

The one in the middle photo keeps getting disqualified from her heats at swim meets.  She is rebellious and won't follow the rules.  I blame her dad.  She wouldn't sit still and listen to our family reading of The Hobbit.  She made dinner so we forgive her lack of family spirit.

The last one up there gives me anxiety attacks for the teenage years to come.  Her future husband must enjoy  being the steak to her mushrooms, for he will be smothered until he surrenders.  She insisted on unbuttered popcorn...yet will not learn to pop she sits, a wounded small elf...on the corner of the couch while we read The Hobbit...until she melts down the side of the couch like so much unwanted butter...and she pouts some more on the floor.

Excerpts of The Hobbit were peppered with the neurotic dog pacing...back and forth...back and forth...doggy toenails on a hardwood floor under vaulted ceilings...Mommy interrupting to say things like

Move that glass, it's going to get spilled.

Don't sit on the couch like that, it's not good for it.

Get your face out of the popcorn bowl.  Yes, I know you're a puppy but you can't put your face in the popcorn bowl.

I know he put his face in, I'm sitting right here!

Be careful of Daddy's stomach, he just had surgery.

Let go.

Be nice.


Starving kids in China would LOVE to have Daddy read to them!!

The dishes are piling up...the laundry is too...we lost the car keys for Mike's car...I will have to drive him to work at zero-dark-thirty...bedtime can't come soon enough...

I am blessed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Father Time Drinks CoffeeMate

I thought I was the only one with a peculiar habit.  Turns out when I mentioned it on Facebook, lots of people confessed they do the same.

What?  Well, I'm glad you asked (pretend you asked).

We judge the time and space continuum by the expiration dates on our dairy products.  What does this mean, for those of you who don't know this sneaky little trick for telling time?

Well, say, for instance that you are with child.  These tiny humans take ten months to cook.  Not nine.  Don't argue with me on the math; I almost committed spousalcide when Hubby corrected me when I was preggers with Cora.  That's like saying the first month didn't even count.  Whaaaa?  Huh?  I had the tossed cookies to prove it.  Anyway, back to how dairy fits into the biological clock.  You can count off the days using cream cheese.  For instance:

By the time this Land O' Lakes expires, I will be fatter than Shamu and just as shiny.


When this French Vanilla coffeemate has run its course, I will be stuffing cabbage leaves in my nursing bra.


When this cheddar starts evolving into blue cheese I will have a small child and an extra spare tire, both of which will need names.

I'm not sure when I started doing this but it is an interesting measure of time.  I pulled out the milk yesterday and it doesn't expire until December 18!  This was so helpful to me because I had no idea it was time to turn on the holiday music, but, YES!  The milk tells me so!  And Horizon Organic 1% never lies.  They're like the Mother Theresa of milks.

Naturally, things expire at different rates, but this works out well because you can divide your fridge into sections according to your calender.  For instance:

The pickles don't expire for three more years.  By the time I eat this last pickle I will be meeting Cora's boyfriends,  dropping Roo off on Broadway for summer camps, and Moose will be finishing up #2 in the bathroom without hollering for me and my talent with the toilet paper.


This half and half expires tomorrow.  By the time this half and half expires I will have showered!  My feet smell like pickles.


This can of whipped cream expires in one month.  I shall start that diet in one month and one day.

It really is a handy dandy way of telling time and planning out your life.  Try it.  You'll never go back to clocks.