Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deer hunting season: 2008.

The straw that broke the camel's back.

The year the words deer hunting made me cringe.

I believe this is the year my in-laws coined the term "Saint Sandy" in regards to my patience level with our living situation in The Love Shack.

Let me preface this by saying that it's been TWO YEARS, and I'm now living to tell the tale with a sort-of-smile on my face.
Ok:  Deer Hunting 2008

After putting the boys to bed, I was working at my computer.

I had heard a critter (scratching, chewing and fluffing fur) in the ceiling over my computer desk in the kitchen.

And, while it was mildly disconcerting, I comforted myself by saying, "Well, at least its contained to the ceiling."

Shortly before bed, the scratching ceased.

So, I went down tot he basement (directly under the kitchen) to go to bed.

Got my jammies on, climbed into my cozy flannel sheeted bed, and closed my eyes for slumber.

Then, I heard a THUD.

Like a thud of something about a pound in weight thunking down on our HVAC ductwork.

Then, nothing.

Closed my eyes to sleep. (again)

Opened them to look at the baby monitor.

I saw a bushy tail silhouette cross in front of the indicator light on the monitor.

This is the point that I tell you that the monitor was on my dresser...which was positioned right next to my side of the bed.

Right next to my head.

Well, crap...

I pulled the sheet over my head (which is my assume-the-position when there's a bat in the house)

And started whispering to myself,
"this is not ok.  this is not ok.  this is not ok."
That's when IT happened:

I felt four paws THUNK right onto my head. (my face, actually)

And, as I'm screaming, the animal (I didn't know what it was yet), scurried down my body between the sheet and the comforter.

Yes, scurried.  Paws, running, bed, sheet, my body.  Scurried.

So, I did what every calm person would do:
I screamed as loud as I could, threw the sheets (with animal somewhere inside) as far and as hard against the brick wall as I could and took the stairs up by 3's- screaming THIS IS NOT OK!!! the whole time.

Figuring that it was contained to the basement, I called my husband and left him a voice mail that when something like this:

So, I laid down on the couch in the living room and tried to catch up on some sleep.

Then I heard it....  chewing.

In the corner of the living room.

Behind my head.

Crap, here we go again.

Then, by the light of the LED of the VCR player, I saw it scurry across the living room floor.  Right past my sleeping 85 pound lab. 

She stayed sleeping.  (Thanks, Molly)

So, I woke the dog, and told her to "Go get it!"

Which resulted in her mohawk getting raised, a lot of barking, and a lot of hiding....

...behind me.

Again, thanks, Molly.

So, I put on my "gotta be a big girl hat" and formulated a plan. 

I opened the front door, opened the screen door, baited the animal with a grape in the middle of the floor.
I grabbed my "extraction equipment" (which consisted of a couch pillow and a fuzzy Elmo Chair).  One in each hand.

Sure enough, that bushy tailed demon emerged from under my couch and took the bait.

At this point, I did what any good hunter would do:  I fanned and flailed that Elmo Chair and that pillow for all it was worth.  With "guard dog" safely BEHIND me.

I showed that animal the EXIT.

It quickly fled out the door.  Apparently, Elmo Chairs are quite scary to a little bushy tailed demon.

By this point in the night, I was so jacked up on adrenaline, I decided to call my husband again.  This voice mail went something like this:

"Hello DEAR.  Yes, I'm calling at TWO FIFTEEN in the morning.  I hope your crazy ringer woke everyone up.  THERE WAS A BUSHY TAILED ANIMAL IN THE HOUSE.  I think it was a squirrel.  I think its gone now.  You're welcome.  Molly was of NO help.  The boys slept through it.  I, on the other hand, YOUR WIFE, will probably never sleep again.  THIS IS NOT OK!  I hope you're having a GREAT time.  GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!!  Love you."

He had our bedroom finished in the addition less than 3 months later.  :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

What I learned in the last month:

Ummm, apparently, I'm a slow learner.  Or a glutton for punishment...or both. 

But I figured I had better post these lessons learned so you can learn from my mistakes:

1.  Twizzlers are NOT gluten free.  And even if they haven't bothered the digestive tract in the past, they are still NOT gluten free, and therefore need to be avoided.  They will wreck havoc.

2.  When you have written the last check in the register, kindly go get the next book and insert it into the folder RIGHT AWAY.  There's nothing more embarrasing than waiting to write the tithe check until you're sitting in the pew (cause, you know, I'm incapable of filling it out ahead of time), and having no checks to write.

3.  Just because the entree you ordered for your husband's birthday dinner was gluten free, doesn't mean that the seasoning they put on your steamed broccoli wasn't.  Ugh.

4.  Painting walls with two little boys while trying to surprise their dad who is away at deer camp is only an adventure for the first 5 minutes.  This project is likely to take 2-4 hours.

5.  Rehydration after the stomach flu (when you have adrenal insuffieicncy) takes longer than others.  Take it easy and don't overdo it.  Pushing yourself will likely cause relapse in adrenal issues.

6.  Be thankful for friends who are willing and able to hook you up with a cocktail during a meeting at their house- especially after a long hard day and weekend.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Random Friday List (and some 5QF!)

1.  I did not step foot in a store today.

2.  It felt great!

3.  I did shop, however.

4.  D. did end up getting sick....ish.

5.  He had a whonky stomach for about 8 hours.

6.  Today, my dad is sick.

7.  Again friends....sorry for sharing.

8.  Our Christmas decorations have been up for a week.

9.  My house feels cozy.

10.  D. as making furniture for me today.  Yahoo!

Ok, Five Question Friday!!!

1. What is your favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal?

I love the smells and the feeling of cozy family time that accompanies a meal like Thanksgiving.  Food that's been made over and over again seems to envoke some awesome memories of holidays past and the wonderful people who made them:  My Aunt Corrine used to make the BEST cranberry sauce, my grandma R. used to make lefse' that I LOVED, and my grandma B. used to make pickled peaches.  It's amazing how certain sensations can bring you right back.

2. Are you a host or a guest for Thanksgiving this year?
I'm a guest.  I've actually always been a guest.  I've, fortunately, never had to tackle the bird.  However, this year, I started contributing toward the dinner.  I'm assuming it will only be a matter of time before I'm mastering the art of the Thanksgiving dinner as hostess.

3. When you think of one Thanksgiving tradition, what comes to mind?
Church, family, Macy's Thankgiving day parade...

4. You have two pieces of pie in front of you and you HAVE to eat one...do you choose pumpkin or pecan?
Pumpkin....all the way.

5. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?

I used to be, but not anymore.  Not only do the boys put a damper on getting out, but by the time BF rolls around, I'm pretty much done with my shopping.  Plus, I tend to get a tad sickened by all the people RUNNING and SHOVING each other for a stupid piece of merchandise.  Really, people?  Willing to compromise integrity for a little out of control stuffitis?

I really used to love the hunt of bargins.  I think the last time I went out on BF, I was 38 weeks pregnant with A.  My sister-in-law was visiting and came with us.  She made it through one store before she was puking outside of Target.  Early mornings apparently aren't for the faint of heart.  :) 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


- D is still healthy and now 34 - thanks for your thoughts and emails.  Knock on wood.

- I have tackled 12 loads of laundry today.  No joking.

- I have 1 laundry basket filled with probably no less than 1000 socks.  Perhaps a slight overexaggeration.

- I had one awesome delivery today, and one 13 days ago.  Same things, but different.  Can't wait to share them with you.

- I went the library today to get books and videos.  There was "something wrong with my account."  My lack of counting my due dates ended up in $20 of late fees.  (sigh)

- I'm getting a full foil low light on Saturday for $40.  Can't wait.

- Jon Bon Jovi looks SO much better with 6 inches less of hair.

- I have 8 Christmas presents to make this weekend.

- I will be doing ZERO shopping this weekend.

- I lost 4 pounds with the stomach flu.  I knew it was good for something.

- I have not been on my treadmill in over 7 days.

- Ok....8 days.

-  Well, more like 10 days.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mount Va-SPEW-vious

Apparently, 'tis the season for stomach flu.

And apparently, C. started it.

And it dominoed from there.

And, apparently, we inadvertantly exposed a rediculous amount of people on Saturday.

If you're reading this from the rim of your bowl, I deeply apologize.

Three out of four dominoes in this house have fallen.

Wondering when the other one will drop..

Today?  (on his birthday, no less)



And I have now dubbed the ever growing pile of sheets, pajamas and towels in my basement:

Mount Va- SPEW-vious.

Apparently, I need to put "go mountain climbing" on my 101 list.  :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Random Friday List (and some 5QF!)

1.  I'm living in a pressure cooker.

2.  And I've lost my blogging mojo.

3.  I have a date with A. this weekend.

4.  I'm hoping it will help ease his "behaviors" as of late.

5.  I have paint in my hair.

6.  I got D's birthday present for FREE.

7.  His birthday is on Monday.

8.  He's hot.

9.  I need to clean out my car.

10.  Christmas decorations come out this weekend!

Ok, some 5QF...head on over to Mama M's if you want to play along.

1. What Christmas song do you loathe?

Hands down, Feliz Navidad.  You hear it once, and it sticks in your head forever and ever.

Not to mention one loooonnnng trip to Wisconsin with my grandma in the back seat with me singing it over and over.  I think this was the beginning of her senility.  I sang along...trying to join in on the insanity before it overthrew me.  No luck.

2. Do you and your significant other cuddle at night or sleep on opposite sides of the bed?

Oh....there's no touching.  Unless, of course... (well, TMI).  No, D cocoons himself in, and I have pillows on all sides of me - thanks to pregnancy for getting me used to them, and now I can't sleep without them.

3. Have you ever had surgery?

Yes, I had a tonsilectomy and adnoidectomy 2 days after Christmas in 4th grade.

And I had a DNC in 2001.

4. When do you typically have your holiday shopping done?

I start the day after Christmas.  I don't like crowds, and I'm really a stickler on the holiday budget.  So, I like to be mostly done by now.  Which, I am.  Except for the kid name excahnge on D's side of the family and a few little things for my mom and dad.  Otherwise, I'm going to sit back and enjoy this holiday season.

5. If money were not an issue (and you HAD to pick something), what would your ultimate luxury item be?

The best camera equipment money could buy - and it would be a package deal with a studio and editing software...oh, and printing capabilities too.  :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random Friday List (and some 5QF!)

1.  I'm hoping for a visit with my bestest bestie today.

2.  More deets. to come on that.

3.  It's family pizza/ movie night tonight.

4.  We're going to watch "Furry Vengence."

5.  I hope its as good as I think it is.

6.  I made apple crisp last night.

7.  There wasn't enough ice cream for all 4 of us to have it with our crisp.

8.  I "fell on the sword" for my family and ate my crisp dry.

9.  Don't ever say I don't do anything for my family.

10.  It's 10 am and I'm now craving Bryers Chocolate Crackle ice cream.

Five Question Friday:  Here we go!

1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

When I was 8, I was bit by a dog right over my right eye.  Yeah, that hurt.

When I was 11, I had plantar warts on the bottom of my foot.  That was when co-pays were really low, so my mom took me weekly to the Dr. office to get them scraped with a scalpal and burned with acid.  Once, there must have been acid on the Dr's glove, because half way home, the TOP of my big toe started to feel as if acid were burning straight through to my bone.  That 4 minute drive has never been so long.  The top of my toe was black.  I still have scars on the top of my toe from the acid.  Oye.

And, of course, child birth.  A's delivery was particularly more (a lot more) painful.  14 inch head, posterior delivery, inadequate epidural.  Every contraction I could feel his skull bone grinding on my pelvic bone.  Need I say more?

2. How much sleep do you get at night?

I try to be in bed between 10:30 and 11 pm every night.  Then, the boys wake me at 6...and C. and I cuddle until 7.

No less than 6 1/2 hours, no more than 7 1/2.

My wellness coach would be so proud of the previous statement.

Bring on the Melatonin!

3. How long did you believe in Santa Claus? How did you find out that he does not exist?

****M, avert your eyes!!!*****
I was about 8.  My brother came into our family room, and just blurted out, "you know there's really no santa, right?  Mom and dad...they do it all."  Just like that.  Casual conversation for him...life changing for me.  In the long run, he was doing me a favor.  Most of my friends at school already knew the truth - he helped me avoid some pretty embarassing moments within the next few weeks.

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?

Um....something animated. 
And before that, something animated,
and before that...something animated.

Hmmmm, is there a pattern here?

5. What do you wear to bed?


I'll just leave it at that.

Happy Weekend!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's happening at the Love Shack...

Remember the post the other day?

You know, the one in which I left you hanging?

Well, wait no more.

Because I just know that you guys have been on the edges of you seats just wondering...

Nah, I'm just fun with mystery like that.

Anyway, we live in the woods.

Many of these trees are old.

Some of them grow diagonally.

Diagonally through and leaning on other trees.

Diagonally toward the house.

Diagonally into the power lines.

And since we now have (part of) a house that we actually care about,

Well, it was just time to get them taken care of.

So we marked the offending trees with caution tape, got some estimates, and hired a crew.

A crew that kept me waiting all morning and then showed up 10 minutes into nap time,

but hey...they showed up, right?

That crane was high up.  I took this pic from the boys' second story window,
and he had about 35 feet on me.

I thought it funny that one of the crew members looked like a lumberjack.

And then the carnage....

And the lack of driveway...

And the family night hauling logs and sticks...

Even better (!) that the tree closest to the house was a box elder tree.

Which means more more of these babies all over the back of my house.

 And today, the carnage gets removed.  At least, the messy parts.  The stumps may be there a while.

Hooray for one step closer to the addition on the addition!!

Hooray for one less worry this winter!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deer hunting season FREAKS me out.

Ah, yes, my friends.

That time of year is upon us again.

Bow hunting season, rifle season...

Deer hunting.

As a child, deer hunting season was always celebrated by the men-folk in our family.

I understand that the men need to go kill it and bring it home.

I get it.

I actually encouage my husband to go on these hunts for a few reasons:

1.  No dishes for 3 days - paper products only.

Oh, the freedom.

2.  I usually get a bug up my butt and do something fun with the house that I normally don't do when he's here.

I go under the guise that its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission on this one.

I have big plans this year.

Big plans.

3.  My husband doesn't take vacations.  He does nothing for himself.  Really, nothing.  He's got a servant's heart, and sees no practical use for sport and golf leagues in his life.  This is the only time he takes to recharge his batteries.  I totally encourage recharging.

And I take this time he's away to recharge my laundry batteries.  :)

But his time away be it one or two nights...always ends up in some sort of issue for me.

And by issue...I mean
something not nice happens.

Let me explain

Four years ago, a bat decided to get into the house.

I felt something ssswwwwooooooopppp over my head when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.


Flat sheets make great bat catchers.

Betcha you're glad to know this, right?

Not half as pissed as I am to know this to tell it to you.

Three years ago, I sprained my foot. 
C. was 3 months old.

I ended up on crutches.

With a baby

still in a baby carrier.

Then...2 years ago...

Ohhh, 2 years ago...

...to be continued.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can you guess...

what happened (or is happening)

at my house today?

Monday, November 8, 2010

T Minus 48 days

No pressure or anything, but Christmas is quickly approaching.

48 days to be exact.
Me?  I'm -----1  1------ this close to being done.


I'm joining in my dear sweet, totally pythony friend, Mama M's new Christmas Meme.

I thought it was a great way to get new ideas,

and help some of my bloggy friends out in finding good ideas of their own.

The first week is Children's Books.

This is an awesome idea.

I love giving books over toys to kids.

I love getting books over toys for my kids!

Of course, my boys....love the toys.

I'm going to highlight three of our favorites.

#1.  Not a Box by Antionette Portis

This was a gift from the boys' Aunt Erin last year.
She's an elementary school teacher.
She gives the BEST kids gifts.

The bunny has a box.

And uses his (her?) imagination to turn the box into other things.

There's also some great positioning* words in there.
*(in, behind, on top of)
And some great language usage with questions and answers.
It's also easy enough for A. to read to C.
They love this book.

#2.  Hedgie's Surprise by Jan Brett

First off, Jan Brett books are a favorite of mine.
Illustrations galore.
Fun words.

The boys pick this book almost every night.
I could recite it by heart.

It's about a Tomten who always takes Henny's egg for his breakfast.

Henny wants babies, so Hedgie (the hedgehog) comes up with a plan to trick the Tomten.

When reading this book, you must make funny voices for the characters. 
The kids will laugh and laugh.
I promise.

***SPOILER ALERT: Conclusion below****

So, in the end, Henny lays her eggs, and Hedgie hides them so she has a chirping brood at the end of the book.

And the piece de resistance (said with french accent):
#3.  Dear Polar Bear by Barry Albett

I cannot tell you enough about how much we love this book.
Love it.

It's got geography, social studies, animal awareness, and tons of fun flaps.

It's about Polar Bear who is sad about his boring cold igloo.
He decides to write letters to his other bear friends around the world to be delivered by postman penguin.

Each bear receives a letter from Polar Bear that you get to pull up and read.

Then you get to read the return correspondence, and see what they sent Polar Bear to cheer him up.

It's fun to watch the igloo become a fun little abode.

****SPOILER ALERT: Conclusion Below*******

In the end, Polar Bear was sad that he hadn't heard anything from his Thank you notes, and then postman penguin delivers one last package.  Full of friends.

There you have it.  Our favorite books.

A few ideas with books:

1.  Book buddies.  My mom is a kindergarten teacher.  She does book buddies with the kids.  The idea is to sit down with a book and a stuffed animal that corresponds with the book.  For example, my nephew, Jaden, LOVES penguins at the zoo.  So, I got him a penguin book and a stuffed penguin for his birthday last year.  Going to the zoo is one of my favorite things to do with my nieces and nephews.  It was a great way to remember something neat about him.

2.  A. is getting to the age where he's looking for something more in his books.  He's looking at chapter books, and asking me to read them to him.  So, we're going to venture into the world of Flat Stanley this Christmas.  For those of you who don't know, Flat Stanley is a flat paper thin guy who travels all around the world via the postal service.  The idea is to mail Flat Stanley out and ask your friends and family to write a little thingy about his adventures and take a few pictures of him during his visit.  I'm going to make A. a bulletin board out of acoustic ceiling tile and wood with a map over top.  We'll mark where Stanley has been and keep a little scrapbook of all his adventures.  It will be a fun ongoing lesson in letter writing, geography and (most of all) patience.  I can't wait!

Today is "F" day

Every week, C's preschool has a letter that they work on.

Every Monday, C's color group gets to bring a show-and-tell that begins with that letter.

Last week was E.

There were about 6 elephants on her counter last Monday.

This morning, we were looking about the house trying to find something that begins with "fffffff."

A. found a Front end loader.

C. called it a "ball-cap" (translated: bobcat)

But, into the bag it went.

Then, C. found a phone.

He was adamant about bringing it to school.

You know, since it began with the "ffffffff" sound and all.

I tried to explain to my three year old about "ph."

He wouldn't listen.

He was too busy talking to his Father on his Fone.

So, yes...the phone (Fone) is at school with him today.

Along with the Front End Ball-Cap.

Cause, you know...when mommy fails to explain something,

I can just pawn it off on the teachers.

I will be accepting Mother-of- the- Year Nominations soon.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Random Friday List (and some 5QF!)

1.  My stomach is not my friend this week.

2.  Or this year.

3.  Or this decade.

4.  I don't know what its deal is, but I want a new gut.

5.  I'm getting a crap load of work done this week.

6.  My house is showing wear because of it, though.

7.  I need to find balance.

8.  Our house has been without milk since Monday.

9.  You know you need to go grocery shopping when:

10.  Your six year old wakes you up at 6:30am with a shopping list placed on your nightstand.

1. If you could have any talent and turn it into an occupation, what would it be?

Hands down- photography.  I love it.  Love it.  Landscape, portrait, all of it.  Love it. 

Except I don't think it will ever happen.  Here's the thing, everyone is purchasing the great super expensive cameras and snapping away.  Professional photographers are becoming a thing of the past.  Nowadays (with the overwhelming purchasing of uber expensive cameras), everyone considers themselves a photographer.  So, there's no demand for someone with limited means (i.e. me, who can't afford all that equipment) to join in.


Bummer girl, she delivers....

Moving on.

2. Would you rather have a house at the beach or a cabin in the woods?

Cabin in the woods.  Oh, heaven. 

I grew up on Lake Michigan, so I am kind of a water girl.  The waves, the boat motors in the background, listening to a storm roll in off the lake in the middle of the night...those are very addictive sounds.

How about- a cabin in the woods on a secluded lake. 

Yep, that's my final answer.
3. Is there any meaning or reasoning for the names you chose for your child/children?

Their middle names are family names.

A's middle name exists in both families.  It is my father-in-law's first name, my husband's middle name, my father's middle name, my brother's middle name, and my nephew's middle name.  So, we took that name and just beat it to the ground.  :)
C's middle name is my husband's first name, and my oldest brother's first name.

Their first names?  No meaning behind them.  They were just the only ones we could agree* on.

*This really is a story for a whole 'nother post.

4. What is your guilty pleasure? (I know we've done this one before, but I'm guessing people's "guilty pleasures" change frequently. At least, mine do!)

Reading.   I really enjoy reading.  Magazines, books, paper, Internet.  I love it all.  Wish I had time to do more.
5. Do you live in a house that is deep cleaned or straightened?

See #6 in my Random Friday list- above. 

It's straightened....for the most part.  We each have our "piles" that need to be gone through.
Then, about once a quarter, my husband's OCD gets the best of him, and he starts rocking...and cleaning everything in sight.  Then we all join in and help until the house is spotless. 

I once saw a sign for a wall that said, "A spotless house is a sign of a wasted life."

I love that.  Not that maintaining your house is a waste, but the whole spotless thing just kills me.  I really want my boys to remember a mom who spends time having fun with them...not cleaning everything in sight.

But that could just me my not-at-all-a-type-A personality coming through.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Every morning

Every morning, this guy wakes up at 5:45 AM:
Every morning he cuddles with his daddy.

Every morning, he eats a king's breakfast (2 bowls of cereal, 2-3 eggs, and 2 strips of bacon).

Every morning, this little guy wakes with his brother because he's a light sleeper:

Every morning, he makes a bee-line down to his mommy who is still sleeping warm in her bed.

Every morning, he climbs in and cuddles up with a soft whisper, " I love you so much mommy."

Every morning I whisper back, "Good morning, I love you so much too."

Every morning we slumber for an extra hour.

Every morning we wake around 7am and start our morning routine that ends in hugs and kisses.

Every morning, the house falls silent around 9am.

Every morning, I say a prayer of thankgiving for my little miracles that, technically, I should not have been able to carry full term.

Every morning starts the day anew.

Every morning is another reason to give thanks.