Mama Diaries

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Window Painting

We have some interesting window paintings on our back French doors.  They were done by our artist in residence:  a German Shepherd named Schultz.

This morning the hairy beast went outside to do his business.  When he came to the door, his nose was covered in mud.  He smeared that dirty thing all over the window.

"Look, Mommy," my son said.  "Schultz drew a picture of himself."

Sure enough, the marks Schultz made looked like a round face with two pointy ears on top.

"Maybe I should take pictures and sell them as fine art," I said.

"Yeah.  Can we put them in a museum?" 

"Sure.  Why not?"

Anybody out there interested in owning a Schultz print?


Friday, December 30, 2011

The End of the Rainbow

Ladies and gentleman, the end of the rainbow is in my backyard.  I kid you not.

We have had some pretty strange weather in Cincinnati.  Today it rained while the sun was shining.  It hailed, too.  My son and I were eating dinner while all of this was going on.

"Mommy, look.  A rainbow!"  my son said.

I looked.  And then I looked again.  The rainbow ended in some bushes by the creek in our back yard.  "Hey.  That's the end of the rainbow.  See?  It goes right into the ground there."

"Does that mean there's a pot of gold and leprechauns?"


"Can we go find the gold?"


So now we're going on a search for gold.  I hope we find it, because after all the holiday expenses, I could really use some!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hauling the Violin

It was not I who was hauling my violin today.  It was my dog.  Yes.  The giant fur ball got in trouble again.

I was washing dishes in the kitchen, when I heard a strange noise coming from the front room.  I dried my hands and went to investigate.  What do you think I saw?

That doggone German Shepherd had the shoulder strap of my violin case in his slobbery jowels and was dragging the case across the floor.  And yes, my violin was inside.

"Schultz!" I bellowed. 

He knew he was in trouble.  He dropped that case and took off like a speeding train.  But I wasn't done with him!

"How dare you mess with my violin!" I hollared at the beast.  "Down!!!!!!!!!!!!"

He knew I was mad.  He ran around in a circle and plopped down on the ground.

Then the daddy came out of the office.  Oh boy!  It's bad when both the mommy and the daddy are mad!

Let's just say that stinkin' varmint probably won't be messing with my violin any time soon! And I'm going to write a letter to Santa telling him that that stupid dog didn't deserve the bone he got in his stocking.  It should've been a dump truck load of coal!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ice Queen

I have notoriously cold hands.  Especially in the winter.  In fact, if you shook my hand, you'd probably think you were shaking an ice cube.  I'm going to be one of those ninety-year-old women who have their apartments cranked up to 102 degrees just to stay comfortable.

Anyway, I had fun with my icy hands.  My husband wanted a back rub.  This was after he told me I needed to do more work (joking, of course). 

"Oh, yeah?" I said.  "How's this?"  I placed my ice-cold mitts on his back.

"Ahhhh!" he hollared.

The kids, who were standing by, thought this was great.  So what did they do?  They went to the sink, turned on the cold water, and made their little hands just like mine.

"Daddy, let me rub your back!" said my son.

"Ahhh!" screamed the Daddy.

"Me, too!" said my daughter.

"Ahhh!" he screamed again.

Poor Daddy!  It's tough living with the Ice Queen and her offspring! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brain Dead Mama

Have you ever had one of those days when your brain just doesn't function?  I had one of those days today.  I think it had something to do with the dog waking us up every hour last night.  I don't know what his problem was.

Anyway, I'll just share one bit of my stupidity of the day.  I was at the grocery store because I needed to get some Motrin for my kids, along with some other miscellaneous things.  I pushed my big old fire engine cart that had my son in it, and parked it near the medicine aisle.  I walked to the aisle and looked for the Motrin.  I found it, put it in my cart, and started wheeling away.  Except it wasn't' my cart.

"Excuse me," a gentleman said. "That's my cart."

"Oops.  Sorry about that.  Here you go."

I handed the cart back to the man, and found my cart that still had my kid in it. How did I not notice that I didn't have a fire engine cart with my son inside? What kind of mom am I?

So then I got home.  I put away my groceries.

"Where's the Motrin?" I asked.

I looked at the receipt.  It wasn't on it.  Then I remembered.  The Motrin was in the man's cart. 

I hope the man has kids!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Roller King

I took my seven-year-old son roller skating at the local skate rink today. It was his first time.  He laced up his skates, got himself in a verticle position, and rolled on to the floor. He did pretty good for his first time.

When he got done, he was all proud of himself.  "Mommy, did you see me?"

"Yep.  You did a great job."

"I was going super fast.  I was the fastest one there."

"Well, I don't know about that," I said.

"And I did a back flip, too!"

"I didn't see any back flips."

"I'm the best roller skater in the family!"

Wow!  This little guy's perception of things certainly exhibits a lot of confidence.

All hail to the king, baby.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Worst Thing for Christmas

Santa left a defective present under the tree last night.  It was one of those cute little pop-up tents with an attachable tunnel.  Santa usually assembles all presents that are left under the tree.  He neglected to assemble this thing.  It was still in the box.  I think it was an omen of what was to come.

"Mommy, can you put my tent together?" my son asked.

"Sure."  I had just woken up, so my brain was a little foggy.  I pulled it out of the box and read the directions.  It seemed easy enough.  Just unfold and insert poles through the loops.  That's what I did.  Except, one set of poles was a little too long.  As I attempted to jam the pole into the holding loop, the loop ripped. Then the fabric on top of the tent began to fray.


"Mommy, you broke my toy from Santa!"

"It wasn't made very well," I said in self-defense.

"That's the worst thing that could ever happen on Christmas - a kid can't play with a toy from Santa!"  He was near tears.

"Look.  I know you're really disappointed.  First thing Monday morning, I'll contact the elf shop and see what we can do about it."

"But that's in the North Pole."

"Mommy has connections."

He looked at me kind of funny.

"Don't worry.  I'll take care of it," I assured him. "Now go play with your other toys."

What can I say? I guess even the elves aren't making quality products these days. 

Merry Christmas everybody!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Village

Today, I had the brilliant idea to have a gingerbread-house-making party.  I got this nice Winton gingerbread village kit and put the pieces in front of the kids. 

"Have fun building!" I said.

They looked at me kind of funny.

"What do we do with this?"

"Uh, put it together and decorate it."


Okay.  So I guess I wasn't dealing with rocket scientists here.

"I'll put them together.  You decorate them.  Fair enough?"

"Yeah!" they said.

"So we have a couple of traditional houses, a church, an A frame, and, um..., an outhouse." (Well, I didn't know what else to call it.) 

The girls took the traditional ones.  And my son?  He took the outhouse, of course.

"Mama, I'm going to open the door, so the guy can breath in there," my son said.

"What guy?" I asked.

"The gingerbread guy.  He's using the potty."

Of course. 

Two seconds later, the wall fell down.

"Oops.  Mommy, can you fix this?"

I fixed it.

He loaded the roof up with icing and gum drops.  Apparently it was too much for the roof, and it collapsed.  Without thinking twice, my son popped the whole thing in his mouth.

Now that's what I call taking care of business. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kiss Prints

This morning, as I was putting on my makeup, my son came and sat next to me.

"I love you, Mommy!"

I  smiled.  "I love you, too!"

Then he walked over to the bathroom mirror.  He kissed it.  "These kisses are for you!"

So now my mirror is covered with kiss prints. Should I wash my mirror?

Nah.  I'll just leave them there for a few days.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dirty Dog

Didn't I just take that varmint German Shepherd to the spa yesterday?

As I write, that beast is sitting in his crate covered in mud.  How does he do it?  His underbelly is black.  His legs are black.  And his feet are black.  They are covered in at least a half inch of mud. (But he's still wearing his red bandana, and somehow that is clean and shiny.)

The question is, why did we even bother?  He couldn't even stay clean for Christmas.  The second question is, how can I let that beast outside without constant supervision.  He's always getting dirty or in trouble.

I've determined it's a hopeless cause.  I better go wash the floors now.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Doggy Spa

It was time to spruce the big old German Shepherd up for the holidays.  The animal was just so revolting that something had to be done.  So we signed him up for the doggy spa.  He was to get a shampoo and haircut, a manicure and pedicure, and an ear cleaning job.

I hooked him to his leash, led him to the car, and threw his furry body inside.  Of course, he had muddy paws.  Those muddy prints covered my back seat in about two seconds flat.  I entered the front seat and started the car.

Then I sniffed the air.  "Dog, you stink!  You smell like dirty socks!  And now you're stinking up my car!"

He made a whiney sound.

"Don't worry, big guy.  We'll get you fixed up."

When we arrived at the spa, Schultz was very excited.  I handed him over to the worker, and he promptly dragged her to the back room.

"Have fun with him," I called, knowing they were in for a real treat.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had to completely disinfect my car.  I vacuumed it, steam cleaned it, and got all the nose prints off the windows. It seemed that no sooner had I done that, I got a phone call from the grooming place.  "We're done with Schultz."

Yeah, I bet they were done.

I picked him up.  "He's a wild man," they said.  "It took a few of us to hold him down to do his nails."

I nodded.  "Uh huh.  No surprise there.  But he usually likes baths."

"Yeah," the worker said. "He did a lot of jumping around, though."

I thanked the workers and led the beast to the front doors.  "Sit," I commanded.  He sat.

"Wow!" the worker said.  "I didn't know he could do that."

"Yeah.  He's a son of a gun, isn't he?"

The worker laughed.

Well, at least he's clean, and he has a cute red bandana around his neck for Christmas.  Let's see how long that lasts!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Eating the Crate

Apparently our German Shepherd is getting tired of being banished to his crate.  He has come up with a solution:  eat the crate.

A few days ago, I noticed a metal piece on the ground that looked like it came from his crate.  I tried to see where it came from, but couldn't figure it out.  Not giving it further thought, I went about by business.

Today, I heard a funny sound coming from the kitchen.  I decided to investigate.  I found the giant beast gnawing on his crate.

"Schultz!  What are you doing?"

He stopped and cocked his head.

"Bad boy!"

He chomped on the metal bars of the cage and tugged.

So I don't know what his plan here is.  Perhaps he's trying to eat his crate.  Or maybe he's trying to move his house to a new address.  Either way, the dog is an absolute nut case. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Zombie Mama

My husband discovered the zombie app on his android today. 

"Woman," he said.  "Come here."

"What?" I asked as I walked over.

"Say cheese."

He took my picture with the android.  Then he pressed a few buttons.  A minute later, I heard some weird breathing sounds coming from the device.

"What the heck?" I said.  I looked at the screen of the android.  My face had been transformed into a zombie.  I had blood running down my face, a hideous complexion, and evil eyes.  My husband stuck his finger on the screen next to my "mouth" and I started chomping on his finger.

"It looks just like you."

Last week I was depicted as a fire-breathing dragon.  This week a finger-munching zombie.  What next?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Elephant Toothpaste

"Mommy, we made elephant toothpaste in school, and it exploded all the way across the gym!" my daughter said.

"What?"  I said.  "First of all, what is elephant toothpaste?  And second, why was it explosive?"

"I don't know," she said.  "Mad Science came to school today.  They mixed all this stuff up, and then they brushed a poster elephant's teeth with it.  Then it exploded.  And I helped!"

"Great.  What else did you do?"

"We made this huge fire with chemicals."

"Uh, okay.  Was the fire department notified?"

She shrugged.  "Can we make elephant toothpaste at home?"

"What's in it?"

"I know there's yeast and some other chemicals."

"We're not making elephant tooth paste."

Now I'm going to search the cupboards and make sure I don't have any yeast lying around. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tap Dancing Lessons

"Mama, I'm going to give you a tap dancing lesson," my ten-year-old daughter said.

"Yeah.  This should be good," I replied.

"Let's start with a falap."

"A what?"

"Falap.  It goes like this."  She demonstrated.

"Okay," I said.  "Falap.  Falap.  Falap.  Got it."

"Now you have to learn a shuffle ball change."  She showed me how.

Somehow I did it without falling on my face.

"Now you're ready for a Buffalo."

"A what?"

"A buffalo."

"Is this a burger or a giant hairy animal?"

"Neither.  Look." She showed me.  I did it.

"Now you get to do a combo."  She whipped through something really fast.

"Right," I said.  "I'll just take a side of fries and a diet coke with that buffalo burger combo thing."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dressing Like a Tween

Today I decided to get a little funky with my clothes.  I dressed up in a cute tween Christmas shirt that had big-eyed animals on it with sayings like, "All I want for Christmas is the cutest puppy ever, the coolest friends ever, the sweetest candy ever," etc.  I topped it off with borrowed candy cane earings from my daughter.

I actually went to a Christmas cookie exchange dressed like this. 

When my daughter came home from school she said,  "Awww.  I love that shirt!  Can I have it for Christmas?"  Then she noticed my earings.  "Did you take my earings?"

"Borrowed them."

"You look like me!"

Later that evening, a young lady came to the door with some kind of fundraiser.  I answered the door.  She looked at me.  "Hi,"  she said.  "Can I talk to your mother?"

She couldn't believe it when I grinned and said, "I am the mother!"


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wrapping Presents Doggy Style

Tis the season for wrapping Christmas presents.  Usually I do this job in the basement, away from all furry creatures that could reek havock on the operation.  This year, I decided to wrap some presents on the kitchen table.  Let's just say that this went about as well as me not hiding the Christmas cookies from my family.

My giant bundle of trouble, AKA a German Shepherd named Schultz, decided he would like to help.  The beast easily gets his head over the top of table just by standing normally.  He's about as tall as me when he stands on his hind legs.  The point is, it's very easy for him to grab anything he wants that might be sitting on top of that table.

He watched me intently as I wrapped the presents.

"Schultz, don't even think about doing anything stupid."

He thought about doing something stupid.  He jumped up and grabbed a roll of wrapping paper. 

"Drop it!" I ordered.

He complied, but the paper was all slobbery.

"Oh well,"  I thought. "Nobody will mind a little drool with their gift."

Once I wrapped the presents, Schultz had to give them a good sniff.  Then he gave them his seal of approval with his big pink tongue.

So if anyone gets a suspect present from me, you'll know exactly what happened.

Ho Ho Ho.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Milk Dudding the Tooth

Okay, well, I'm not sure that "milk dudding" is a word, but I don't know what else to call it. So I'm using a little artistic license here.

My daughter has had this loose tooth that refuses to come out.  Normally, I'd say, who cares.  It'll come out when it's ready.  But this one is causing some trouble because the adult tooth has already come in, in front of it.

My husband took a look at it.  In his manly style, he said, "Just yank it out and quit being a drama queen!"

"But, Daddy, I tried."

"Try harder."

It didn't work.  My husband threatened to send her to the dentist to get it pulled.

"No!" she cried.  Then she turned to me.  "Mama, can you get me some Milk Duds?  I know those will work."

I made a face at her.  "Seriously?"

"Please, Mom.  I don't want to go to the dentist!"

I sighed.  "Come on.  Let's go find some."

So now she's in the bathroom, chewing on Milk Duds, trying to get that darn tooth out.  So far, no luck.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Portrait of the Mama

My family and I went to IHOP for breakfast this morning.  While we waited for our food, my kids doodled on the back of their paper menus.

"I'm going to draw a picture of Mommy," my son announced.

"This should be good," I said.

It started out all right.  It was a circle for the face.  But then I got worried when he drew the mouth.  It was this big gaping hole. I got really worried when he added pointy teeth.

"Dude, that looks monstrous," I commented.

"I'm not finished," he said.  Next he drew eyeballs that resembled a snake's eyes.  Then he put horns on top of the head.

My husband took a look.  "I think she needs a forked tongue and a tail."

I glared at him.  "Thanks."

My son added the tongue and the tail, along with some red fire coming out of the mouth.  "There, Mommy.  It looks just like you!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookie Monsters

It's that time of year when I bake a lot of cookies.  I give a lot away to family and friends during the holidays.

Today, I was getting ready to make another tray of cookies for a party.  I opened a tupperware container that supposedly had a lot of chocolate chip cookies.  Guess how many cookies were in there?  Three.

I walked into the office where my husband was sitting.  I had the container in my hands.  "Why are there only three cookies in here?"

"I didn't do it." 

"Then who did?"

He shrugged.  "The kids?"

"I thought you guys told me you were going to have a little self discipline this year.  That's why I didn't hide the cookies.  Now I have to bake a whole new batch, on top of all the other cookies I have to bake!"

My husband got up and grabbed the last three cookies from the container.  "Well, in that case, I'll just eat these so you have more room in the container for the new ones." He shoved them into his mouth.

I'm definitely hiding the cookies next year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Inedible Concoction

This evening, when  I walked into the kitchen, I found a paste of yellow bumpy stuff covering a Dora the Explorer plate.  I also found my two kids wielding a kid knife, hard at work slicing fruit.

"What are you doing?' I asked.

"Cooking class," my daughter explained. 

"What's that yellow stuff?"

"Banana puree."

I stood back and watched the two chefs in action.  My son pulled out a bottle of squeezable grape jelly and proceeded to squirt it over the banana puree.  Then my daughter arranged some clemetines in a fancy circle on top of berry yogurt which she scooped onto the jelly.  Chopped apples followed.  The finishing touch was crumbs from a few of my homemade chocolate chip cookies.

"Ta-dah!" said my son.

"Well, that's quite a masterpiece!" I said.  "Who's going to eat it?"  I was really hoping that this time I would not be the guinea pig.

"Me!"  my daughter volunteered.

She took one scoop of that stuff, made a face, and promptly threw it in the garbage.

"You just wasted all that fruit and yogurt!" I complained.

"Sorry, Mom, but experimentation is how we learn."

"Well, I'm giving that experiment a big fat F.  Now let's see if you can get an A in clean-up."

I gave them a B.  I guess they better take a few more classes.        

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Feeling the Music

There have been moments in my teaching career that really stand out. (For anyone who doesn't know, I'm a violin, viola, and piano teacher.)  These are times when I feel that I have made a profound difference in a student's life.  This evening I had such an experience.

When I teach, I try to play with a lot of feeling and emotion, because that's what music is all about.  It's not just notes on a page.  I always hope that a student will feel the music in his or her soul, and that it will evoke some kind of emotion.  Usually that doesn't happen.  A student may play things loud and soft and with correct phrasing, but not always feel it.

Tonight, I was teaching a young piano student a piece that he had been working on for a couple of weeks.  It was a very beautiful piece of music.  When I looked at him, I noticed a few tears rolling down his cheeks. 

"Are you okay?" I asked.

He nodded.  "It's just.. the music is hard on me."

"You're playing it beautifully, though," I said.  Then I paused.  "What you're saying is that the music makes you sad?"

He nodded again.

I thought I was going to cry - out of sheer joy . Why?  This student is autistic.  He has trouble expressing feelings and emotions.  Yet, through music, he is able to feel and express what's inside.  What a tremendous gift!  I feel so blessed that I have been able to share this gift with him.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saint Nicholas

Last night Saint Nicholas was supposed to visit our house and fill shoes with candy.  He screwed up.

"Mama!" my seven-year-old son said.  "Saint Nicholas didn't come."  He was very disappointed.  Especially since he went through a lot of trouble to put the shoes out and tell me about fifty times that he was coming.

"Well, maybe Schultz (our dog) scared him away.  He was sleeping by the fireplace last time I looked."

My son made a face.

"Or maybe Saint Nicholas was worried that Schultz would eat the chocolate and get sick."

My son made another face.  "Mama, are you Saint Nicholas?"

"Of course I am."

"I don't believe you."

I shrugged.  "Okay.  Well then, maybe Saint Nicholas had gum surgery and wasn't feeling up to traveling around the world."

My son just shook his head.

See, even when I tell the truth, nobody believes me.     

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bad Monday

When the alarm clock wakes you up with an ominous "Bum Bum Bum Ba - Dum" from the basses and cellos, you know it's going to be a bad day.  That's exactly what happened this morning.  We always awaken to classical music.  It's usually such a pleasant way to start the day. Not today. 

"Seriously?' my husband said after he heard it.

"You've got to be kidding!"  I exclaimed.

So as I sit here with bloody guazes shoved in my mouth, let me tell you about the bad Monday.

First of all, it is raining.  Our backyard is a flooded mess.

Then I took the dog out and discovered he has a nice case of diarhea.  First thing in the morning he's leaving disgusting piles of feces on our grass.  (That smelled good.)  And of course his feet got all muddy.  Muddy floors are never fun to clean.

Then it was time to take the cat to the vet. He's an outside cat, so first I had to catch him.  In the rain.  Then I had to listen to him cry in his crate.  Then he peed himself.  And I had to clean that up. 

Next project was to wash and put away a new dish set my husband had gotten from Pottery Barn yesterday.  But guess what?  The dinner plates were so big, they didn't fit in the cupboard.  I discovered this after I had washed the soup bowls and mugs, and unpacked the salad plates.  And do you know what else?  My husband lost the receipt.  Hopefully they'll take the whole $200 set back.

And then I discovered a blew a fuse with my great Christmas light display.  It took two hours to discover which outlet had popped.  In the meantime, I had to re-route the seweage pump, or our house would have smelled like something awful.

Finally, I had surgery on my gums.  It was planned, so I knew it was coming.  But it's never fun to have your gums cut up.

So now I'm looking at the clock counting down the minutes to when this fine day will be over.  Oy!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sticky Hair

I don't know what my seven-year-old son was thinking when he put his peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his head this afternoon.

"Uh, dude," I said.  "There's jelly in your hair."

He laughed as he attempted to wipe it out. 

I shook my head.  "I think you'd better wash it out."

"Nah.  I'll just leave it in.."

"You'd better hope there are no bubblebees out there, because bumblebees like jam."

"Mama, it's winter.  Don't be so silly."

A little later, I took my kids to the Cincinnati Museum Center.  As is our normal tradition, we had to stop at Rook's Ice Cream Parlor.  My son ordered a scoop of Superman ice cream -you know, the blue stuff.  The next thing I knew, was he was dabbing it on his nose and cheeks.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Making myself look like a clown."

Then he touched his hair.  And guess what?  He still had ice cream on his fingers. Which meant, he got ice cream in his hair - on top of the jelly.

"Mama, why is my hair so sticky?" he asked as we walked back to the car.  "Is there something in it?"  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Helpful Kitty

I was stringing up more Christmas lights outside when my cat decided to get in on the action.  As I untangled a strand of Martha Stewart snowflake lights, the little kitty pounced - right on top of the lights. 

"Hey, what are you doing, Bootsy?"


"Really?  Well, you just busted one of the snowflakes."


Obviously, the cat didn't care.  The lights just looked like a funny kind of string.

"Well, are you going to make yourself useful, or are you going to be in my way?"


"Is that all you know how to say?"

"Meow."  The cat sat down and watched me work.

I did a little experimenting with the lights.  After I set them up one way, I stood back and took a look.  "What do you think, Bootsy?"

Bootsy scratched the dirt and didn't say anything.

"Hmm.  Not so good?  Okay.  Let me try this."  I rearranged the lights.  "Now what do you think?"

"Meow."  He liked it. 

It's so nice to have a second opinion, even if it's from a cat.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bubba's Milk Shake

"Mama, I'm going to make a milk shake," my seven-year-old son said.

"Okay," I said.  I couldn't wait to see how he'd make one.  I sat back and watched. 

First he got out a can of Reddiwip.  He sprayed a generous amount into a tall glass.  Then he put in a little ice water followed by some ice cubes.

"Ta-da!  Here'e the milk shake!"

"Are you seriously going to drink that?"

"Yeah.  Can you get me a straw?"

I pulled out a nice one with blue stripes.  He stuck it in the concoction and slurped it up. 

"Mmmm.  Yummy."

Nothing like a glass of Reddiwip and ice! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hillbilly Light Job

I'm the one who does all the decorating for the holidays - inside and out. 

Today my husband saw me up on the ladder stringing up lights on our house.  "Woman, what are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?"

"A hillybilly light job."  He pointed to the yarn I used to secure the spiraling lights around the porch columns.  Then he pointed to the blue painter's tape that secured the lights around the door.  "What's all this string and tape here?  Don't you know you can go to Lowes and pick up some hooks?"

"Do you really want me putting hooks in all the pillars?"

"I don't care."

Yeah, right.

Then he looked at the string of lights that I had used as garland across the top of our porch.  "Aren't those supposed to be icicles?"

"Yeah.  But I'm thinking outside of the box.  It's going to be pretty blue garland."

He shook his head.  "Hillybilly woman."

Fast forward to this evening.  Every student who walked into my house commented on how pretty the lights looked.  I even noticed extra cars driving down the street to our cul-de-sac just to see them. 

So there.  I don't care what anybody says.  This hillybilly does a gosh darn good job of stringin' lights!   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Counting Snowflakes

We had our first snowfall of the year this evening.  It was rather pretty.  Of course, my son was very excited about it.  Because... well, I guess because snow is just exciting to a kid.

"Mama!  Come count snowflakes with me!"

"Okay," I said.

We parked ourselves on the floor of his bedroom and looked out the window. 

"Mama, turn off the light so we can see them better."

I obliged.  The sky was dark.  The spotlights on the back of our house were on.  They made the snow look like tiny crystals shining against the night sky.

We sat in silence for a while, admiring their beauty. 

"Mama, I think there's a billion of them."

"You may be right.  And no two are the same."

"But what if they melted, and evaporated, and came back down again?  Would they be the same as the first ones that came down?"

"No.  They'd be different."


Aren't the simplest things in life the most amazing?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rolling in the Mud

It's been raining in Cincinnati quite a bit these last few days.  As a result, the ground has become rather muddy.  This is not good, especially when one has a dog who likes to romp around outside.

This evening I was trying to teach violin lessons.  The dog decided to start barking.  And he wouldn't shut up.  This was unacceptable, so I sent him outside.  Well, that was a mistake, because then he decided to roll in the mud.  I kid you not.  The hundred pound German Shepherd found the muddiest patch of dirt and rolled in it.

Needless to say, we were not pleased.

"Schultz!" my husband yelled at the dirty varmint.  "Crate!"

The dog complied, but as soon as he got in his crate, he gave himself a good shake.  Mud went flying everywhere.  So picture our kitchen walls splattered with mud.  Picture our floor covered in muddy paw prints.

"That dog needs a bath,"  my husband announced.

"Could you wait for him to dry off a bit?"


My husband opened the latch.  "Bathtub!"

Schultz knew just what that meant.  He galloped up the stairs leaving a trail of muddy paw prints on the carpet and splashes of mud all over the walls.

"Woman.  You get to clean that up."


Now here's the kicker.  After that disgusting creature got bathed (the water, by the way, was completely black and dirty dog hair was plastered to the bathroom walls), he had the nerve to pee on the dining room floor.  Can you believe it? That dog for sure is getting a stocking full of coal.  Bad dog!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thirsty Dog

My German Shepherd is a barbarian.

Today, I heard a strange sound coming from the bathroom.  Puzzled, I went over to investigate.  What do you think I saw?  A hairy creature with a big bushy tail .  I didn't see his head, because his head was in the toilet. The strange sound was the sound of water being slurped. 

"Schultz!  Get your head out of the toilet right now!" I bellowed.

He turned around.  Toilet water was dripping from his jowels.

"You disgusting varmint!  You should be ashamed of yourself!"

He licked his chops and looked at me.  He wasn't ashamed of himself at all. He just trotted off to find more trouble. 

What am I ever going to do with him? 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Eating the Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree has been up less than 24 hours, and already the dog is trying to eat it.

We usually don't let our big old German Shepherd (who's only 14 months old) run around the house.  He's either in his crate or tied up to the back door.  My husband thought it would be a good idea to start letting him have a little freedom.  I have to tell you, I'm really questioning the timing on this one.  All of the Christmas stuff is up.  You know, as well as I, that for a dog, it's all just too much of a temptation.

Anyway, I just happened to glance in the family room, and there he was, mouthing an ornament.


He looked at me with his big brown eyes.

"Don't even think about it."

He looked back at the tree.  He looked at me.  Then he grabbed an ornament and ran.


Bad dog!  I guarantee Santa will be giving that varmint a big lump of coal!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Silly Students

I usually don't write about the antics of my students, but today, I just felt I had too. 

I was teaching piano lessons, and the sisters I was teaching must've drank some silly juice. They couldn't stop laughing.  One was sitting on the sofa giggling while the other attempted to play.

"Hey, what is up with you today?" I asked the sister on the sofa.

"I don't know," she said.

"Well, try to settle down.  You're distracting your sister."

No sooner had I finished saying that, then the other sister who was at the piano started cracking her knuckles during the rests in her music - right on the beat.

"What's going on, here?" I asked.

Both girls started laughing out of control.  I think they must've eaten too much turkey yesterday, or something.  What a couple of nuts!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Smokin' Turkey

What's a holiday without a little excitement?  Pretty boring, I'd say.  Thanksgiving at my house this year was definitely exciting.  We smoked everybody out.  Yep.  We were roasting the big bird in the oven at about 500 degrees.  There must've been some grime in the oven, because suddenly, there was an awful lot of smoke pouring out of that thing.

All of the fire alarms in the house went off.  It was mass pandemonium. The house filled with smoke. The dog was freaking out.  Everyone was covering their ears.  I was trying to open the windows and stop the alarms.  Do you know what it's like trying to disconnect smoke alarms when they're shrieking in that high-pitched beep?  Oy!

My ears are still ringing from that. (I let the dog out, but I think his ears are ringing, too.)

The good news is that the house didn't burn down, and the turkey tasted pretty good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bacon and Pickles

I took my kids to Subway for lunch today.  I like that place because we can usually create something healthy.  Usually.  Today was the exception.

"Mama, I want to tell them what I want," my seven-year-old son said.

"Okay."  I didn't think he'd come up with anything too outrageous.

"I'll take a six-inch Italian with bacon and American cheese, toasted," my big guy said to the worker behind the counter.

I made a face.  "Bacon and American cheese?"

"Yeah.  It'll be good!"

"What would you like on that?" the worker asked.

"Cucumbers, lettuce, and pickles."

"Pickles?"  I asked.  "Are you sure?  That doesn't sound very appetizing."


I sighed. 

The lady sitting at the table next to us laughed.  "Yeah, my son ordered a ketchup, mustard, and salami sandwich.  He thought it was great!"

I shook my head as I watched my son gobble his concoction.  And the funny thing is, if I would have made that at home, he would have spit it out and thrown it in the garbage.  Maybe.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Snow White and the Wicked Witch

"Mama, come help us make a movie," my ten-year-old daughter said.

"Huh?" I said.  "What are you talking about?"

"Come on, and we'll show you."

I went downstairs into the kitchen and saw my son with some kind of white scarf tied around his head.  I also saw a bike helmet loaded with fruit, topped by an apple that had a bite taken out of it.

"We're filming Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Only we don't have seven dwarfs so we're just doing the part where Snow White eats the poison apple."

I looked at my son.

I looked at my daughter.

"Okay.  Which one of you is Snow White?"

"I am," said my daughter.  "Can't you tell?"

So they attempted to enact the play, but inevitably my son would bust out laughing.

"Mama, you be the witch," my daughter said exasperated.

Just then my husband walked in the room.  He overheard the conversation.  "Yeah," he said.  "Mama would be a good witch, and she wouldn't even have to act!"

So I played the part of the witch, and I did it perfectly.  He's right - I am a good witch! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comfy Sneakers

"Bubba, you really need to toss those sneakers and wear your new ones," I said to my seven-year-old son.  His old tennis shoes were a mess.  There were holes in the bottom, the material on the top had peeled off, and the rubber tip was hanging by a thread.

"No!  I love these shoes!" 

"Dude, what are you going to do when you have to walk through puddles and snow?"

"Get wet."

"Yeah," I said.  "That wouldn't be much fun."

"I don't care.  These are the best shoes I have."

"Bubba, you have a brand-spankin' new pair of shoes right here.  Why don't you wear them?"

"Because I like these."

Ugh!  I'll never win.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I have tried to instill a love of reading with both of my children.  Since they were teeny-tiny babies, I've been reading to them. 

I wasn't exactly aware of how much my daughter likes reading until just today.  I took her to Barnes and Noble because there was a book she said she wanted to read.  And I can never say no to books (unless there's inappropriate content in them).  When we got there, she showed me all of these books she's been reading.  I couldn't believe it.  She has literally read just about every book that was on the shelves for middle grade readers.  She was telling me all about them.

"You've read all of these?"

"Yeah.  I get them from the library at school."


"Yeah. Reading rocks!  And Rick Raordian is my favorite author.  Lightening Thief is the best!"

I was totally impressed.  I think that made my day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Escape Artist

This morning I was walking our big German Shepherd.  At over 100 pounds, he's quite a beast.  (And he's only 14 months old!)

A construction worker saw us and said, "I hope that leash doesn't break!"  Apparently, he was concerned about having an extremely large German Shepherd jumping on him.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  The dog was staring at a reflection on the grass.  (Remember the psycho dog story?  Well, he's still doing it.)  I figured I didn't have to babysit him.  The gates were closed and he was busy.  Wrong.

A short while later the phone rang.

My husband answered the phone. "Hello?"

"Yeah.  Are you missing a big German Shepherd?"

Uh oh.  Yep.  He did it again.  That gosh darn dog figured out how to unlatch the gate.  He had escaped into another neighborhood.

Now here's the funny part of the story.  Remember the construction worker?  Well, guess what?  He was the guy who had our dog by the collar.  Can you believe it?  What are the chances of that?

So we dragged the beast home, and bannished him to his crate.

Bad dog!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fashion Designer

"Mom," my ten-year-old daughter said.  "I'm going to be part of a fashion designing company with  my friend.  We're going to make dresses."

"That's nice," I said.  "Does one of you know how to sew?"

"Yeah, remember, you took me to that pillow case sewing class at JoAnn Fabric."

"That's a lot different than creating patterns and sewing."

"I have a sewing machine.  I'll figure it out.  Do you want to see my designs?"

I nodded.  She showed me her notebook.

"This is a cloud dress.  And this is a snake dress.  And this one here is a fish dress."

"Hmmm.  Interesting," I said.

"They're modeled after Lady Gaga."

That explained it. (Actually, they were pretty good.)

So I have a tween who wants to be a rock star and who likes Lady Gaga fashion.

I think I'm in trouble!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Typing Class

"Mom, I have to use the computer for homework," my ten-year-old daughter announced.

"Okay," I said.  "But make sure you're not fooling around doing other things on there."

I got her set up on the computer and went off to do whatever I do.  A few minutes later, I heard some funny noises coming from the office.  I went in to check it out.  On the computer screen were these cartoon characters.  It looked like she was playing a game.

"I thought you were doing homework," I said.

"I am.  It's typing homework.  See, the big fat hippo tells me when I type the sentence correctly."

"You've got to be kidding."

"No.  I'm learning how to use proper fingering for typing on the keyboard."

Now why couldn't I have had a big fat hippo helping me learn how to type?  Oh.  Because I learned to type on a typewriter, before computers were invented.  That just makes me feel ancient...prehistoric even. ( Maybe my kids are right when they say I was around during the time of the dinosaurs.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hungry Fish

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who participated in the Indie Book Collective Blog Tour de Force.  It was a huge success!  My post alone generated over one hundred books for our troops.  Awesome job, everyone!

Today, I'm going to tell you about my fish.  You know all about my bad dog.  And you've read a thing or two about my bird and the cat.  But you don't know about my fish.

We have a tank full of them:  guppies, swordfish, angelfish, neons, etc.  It's a colorful menagerie.  The thing about the fish, is that they can be a little impatient when it comes to their meals.  This evening, I was sitting at the computer, plinking away on the keyboard, when I heard a lot of splashing behind me (the tank is in the office).

The angelfish were going nuts.  They saw me sitting in front of them, and it was way past their dinner time. They were attempting to jump out of the water.  I could just imagine the little thoughts going on inside their heads:

"Hey, lady, get over here.  What's the matter with you?  Can't you see we're hungry?"

The mollys and swordfish joined in the commotion.  It was a total feeding frenzy -without the food.

"Okay, boys and girls.  Here's some chow."  I dumped some food in, and watched them swarm.

What a bunch of characters!     

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog Tour De Troops: Kid's View - What it Means to be a Soldier

Hi everybody!  Welcome to Blog Tour de Troops sponsored by Indie Book Collective.  You should have joined me from Rachelle Reese and  John E. Miller's blog.  Next stop will be Valerie Douglas' blog.  I hope you have been enjoying the tour!

Today's post is special.  Why?  Because anyone who comments on it will receive a free e-book of That Mama is a Grouch (it's a picture book - great for sharing with kids).  Mama Diaries is part of the Blog Tour De Force in which fifty authors are giving free ebooks to troops (and other assorted characters).  It's our way of saying, "Thank you for all you do."  If you're interested in receiving my ebook, be sure to include your email address with your comment.

One more thing - Indie Book Collective is giving away Kindles to some very lucky troops.  If you'd like to donate money toward those Kindles, simply use Paypal and as the address to send money to.  Please note in your payment that it's a troops donation.

Now, without further ado, let's talk about soldiers.

"What are soldiers?" I asked my seven-year-old son.  I wanted to get his take on the subject.

"They're big brave guys who fight bad guys."

"That's right," I said.  "Do you think only men are soldiers?"


"Nope.  Women are soldiers, too."

He looked at me kind of funny.  "You mean women dress up in camo clothes and put war paint on their faces?"

I nodded.  "Some do."

He couldn't believe it.  "But don't they have kids?  What if they're mommies?"

"Some soldiers are mommies.  Some are daddies," I said.  "It's a big sacrifice to leave their families.  But to them, keeping us safe and protecting our freedom is worth the sacrifice." 

My son got all quiet thinking about that.

Then my ten-year-old daughter entered the room.  I thought I'd get her view on the matter.  "Tell me about soldiers," I said.  "What do they do that's so important?"

Without missing a beat she said, "They make sure we never lose our freedom."

Right on!

So, to all the troops who are reading this, my family and I send our heartfelt thanks.  Each and every one of you has made sacrifices to protect us.  We recognize this and appreciate all you do.

If you'd like to share any experiences, or send a message to my kids, please feel free to do so in the comments. 

Also, if you'd like to continue following this blog, I'd invite you to join this site, follow me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

Be sure to visit Valerie's Blog next.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Growing Crystals

"Mom, can we grow those crystals from our kit?" my son asked. 

It had only been a year since we got the crystal-growing thing.  He's been wanting to do it for a very long time.  I've been putting it off because I had a funny feeling it was going to turn out to be a catastrophic mess.

I sighed.  "Okay," I said.  I guess I couldn't put it off anymore.

I reluctantly pulled out an old pot, and opened the box with all of the crystal growing powders.  I read the directions.  There were a lot of warnings about not getting anything on your skin.  The directions said that no kid under 12 should attempt to use the kit.  (Personally, I think nobody at all should attempt to use it.)

I mixed and weighed the powders (yes, I actually had to get out a kitchen scale).  I measured the water and boiled it.  I scrounged around the backyard and found a flat rock that met the specified proportions in the directions.  Then I went into the basement and set up the crystal growing lab. I was ready.

After I boiled the water and mixed the powder, I transported the concoction to the basement.  I poured the mixture into the crystal-growing molds.

Do you know what happened?

The darn mold leaked!  There was a crack, or something, in it. Shocking pink liquid started oozing all over the floor.  I had a plastic cover, in case of spillage, but even that couldn't contain it.  I frantically searched for paper towels to clean the mess.

So now, ladies and gentlemen, my basement floor has a lovely pink stain on it.  The good news, is that we were growing rubies.  Maybe we'll have a ruby-covered floor.  Oh, and did I mention I got some on my fingers?  Maybe I'll sprout some rubies, too.  


Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Scientist and the Drama Queen

I took my kids to the Cincinnati Children's Museum today.  There's a really nice feature called, Water Works.  Kids get to splash around and operate wheels, and locks, and pulleys. 

My son loves all of the mechanical gizmos.  "Mama, check this out!" he said as he flooded a lock, and let the boats inside rise.  Then he opened the lock gates and let the boats woosh out.  "Cool!"  He continued around the exhibit doing all sorts of scientific things. 

Then there was my daughter.  The drama queen.  She was grabbing plastic homes from the exhibit's mountainside and throwing them into the water.

"What are you doing?' I asked, completely bewildered.

"There was an earthquake.  The houses toppled into the river."


Then she took a cup and started splashing water onto the hill.

"Now what?' I asked.

"It's a tsunami."

Of course.

Then she toppled more houses into the water.  "Mud slide," she explained.

"Can't you give that little town a break?' I asked.

"No."  She operated the raincloud.  "Flash flood!"



Friday, November 11, 2011

Eating the Telephone Line

You wouldn't believe what that darn German Shepherd did today.  The phone man was here putting in a new phone line.  He had to bury the line outside. 

Well, the nice guy left the phone line on the ground just outside of the fence where our big old dog was prowling.  The big old dog saw it, and decided it would be a good snack.

He stuck his big black snoot under the fence and grabbed that thing. 


Needless to say, the phone man was not happy.

Neither was I.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Psycho Dog

I'm beginning to think our 14 month old German Shepherd has some mental problems.

He spent over an hour staring at a reflection on the grass caused by a plastic bird feeder.  And it wasn't like he was just lying on the ground looking at it.  He was in full pounce mode.  Whenever a breeze came, the reflection moved.  He was right on it.

"Dog, what are you doing?" I didn't expect and answer, but I thought I might break his hypnotic train of thought. 

He didn't even look at me.

My daughter tried.  "Schultzey Wultzey...Come to sissy!"

His eyeballs stayed glued to the reflection.

What a goofball!  Finally, after about an hour and twenty minutes, he let out a very long mournful howl. (I didn't know German Shepherds did that, either.)   The reflection was just too much for his little brain to handle.

(Anybody know a good dog shrink?  I may need to find him some professional help.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Carpet Cursive

Today I found my seven-year-old son writing with his finger on our carpet.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Carpet cursive."

I looked down and tried to follow his scribble.

"See...M...O...M."  Then he wrote above it, "N...O."

"No, Mom?"  I asked.

"Yep.  No, Mom."

I shook my head and went about my business.  A little while later my husband found the carpet cursive.

"Why were you writing on the carpet?" he asked me.

"I didn't..."

"First you mess up the walls with that Halloween stuff you put on them.  Now you're messing up the carpet..."

My son came out of his room with a big grin on his face.  "No, Mom!"


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Magic Spell

I took my kids out for lunch today, since it was their day off.

My son seemed to have some trouble acting like a civilized human being.  First, he poured salt on his head.  Then he dabbed ketchup on his nose.  Then he got up and did a little dance.

"What are you doing?" I asked, completely shocked that he would behave in such a manner.

"Having fun," he said.

"That is just barbaric.  Sit down, wipe the ketchup off of your face, and behave like a gentleman."

"Okay, but first you have to say the magic spell."

"What magic spell?"

"The one that makes me sit down and behave."

"Okay.  Hokus Pokus Dominokus.  Please sit down.  Don't be a Blokus."

Apparently I got the right one.  He sat down and behaved for the rest of the meal. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Belly Buttons

My son has always had a fascination with belly buttons.  I don't know why.  He just seems to think they're cute.

"Mommy, does the dog have a belly button?"

"Yes.  Somewhere under all that fur is a belly button."

"Can I look?"

"Have at it, kid.  But don't blame me if he nips your fingers."

He searched and searched, but could not find the belly button on our German Shepherd.  Maybe he's a mutant.  That would explain a lot of things.

"Mommy, what are belly buttons for?"

"What do you think they're for?"

He thought about that.  "Well, I know what mine is for."


"It's for pressing.  And when I press it, I go 'beep.'"

Blog Tour De Troops

This Veteran's Day weekend, Indie Book Collective's Blog Tour de Troops is giving back to the men and women who safeguard our freedom.

50 Indie Authors will be giving away their book to every person who comments and a book to the soldier of their choice. many troops as possible will also be receiving free Kindles!

Remember to visit this blog on Monday, November 14th and leave a comment to receive a free ebook of That Mama is a Grouch for you and a soldier.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Osage Orange Ball

My son had a cub scout hike today at a local park.  When we arrived at the location, we found some mighty strange round things on the ground.

My son picked up one of the yellowish-greenish brain ball-looking things and asked what it was.

"An osage orange," said the troop leader. "They're from the thorny osage tree.  And did you know the Indians who used to live here, used the thorns as needles for sewing mocassins?"

Pretty cool info.

I'm not sure the cub scouts cared about what tree it came from, but they did think that it looked like a rather nice soccer ball, so they started kicking it around.  Unfortunately, the boys got a little rowdy, and ended up knocking over my son.

"Ow!" he said.  "I have a contusion.  Please get a gurney!"

Huh?  Where did my seven-year-old pick up language like that?

Anyway, I patched him up with my first aid kit and he was good to go for the hike.

Afterwards we had to bring home some of those osage orange things.  I hear they're good for keeping spiders out of the garage.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Teaching the Dog to Dance

My ten-year-old daughter likes to dance.  A lot. In fact she likes it so much, that she decided to teach our 100 pound German Shepherd some dance moves.

I found her in the kitchen with the hairy beast.  "Okay," she said. "Here's how you do a passe."  She demonstrated the move. 

The beast cocked his head.

"Your turn."

The beast drooled. He wanted a treat.  He moved his big paws. It didn't look like a passe to me, but apparently my daughter thought it was good enough.

"Good boy, Schultz!  Here's a treat!"

He gobbled it up.

Next move was a tandeux. Don't ask me to explain it.  The dog didn't get it either.

On to the last move which was a pirouette.    I don't know how she did it, but my daughter got our dog to stand on his hind legs and spin in a circle.  Sort of.  It was more like jumping in a circle.  Regardless, it was an impressive move.

I think I'll go buy the dog a tutu. He has a future as a ballerina. Or something.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rotten Tomatoes

First of all, I thought German Shepherds had good noses.  Second of all, I thought German Shepherds were supposed to be smart.

I don't know, but I think our German Shepherd is on the short end of the stick when it comes to those two things.

Today, I found him scrounging in my garden.  I hadn't cleaned up the old tomato plants yet, and there was a plethora of rotten tomatoes on the ground.  My dumb dog found a few and started chowing down.

"Beast!" I hollared.  "Get those out of your mouth.  Yuck!"

He didn't listen.  And I sure as heck wasn't going to stick my hand in his mouth to pull out a rotten tomato.

I few minutes later, I found him heaving in the corner of the yard.  He was puking up rotten tomatoes.

"See, you stupid dog.  You should've listened."

I guess I should go clean up the rotten apples.  Those will be next.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bug Murderer

My kids have the terrible habit of leaving the door open when they are chatting with friends on the porch.  Bugs seem to take advantage of this.  They fly right in and make themselves at home.

One such bug made its way into my daughter's room.  She completely freaked.  I found her jumping on her bed, attempting to swat the thing with her Pixie magazine.

"Hey, chill," I said.  "It's just a bug."

"Can you kill it?"

"No.  It's up too high."

That didn't stop my daughter.  She hurled her magazine at the hapless creature, knocking it to the ground.  Then she jumped off her bed, picked up the magazine, and proceeded to beat the living daylights out of it.

"You're murdering it," I said.

She didn't care.  She beat it until it stopped moving.  Then she scraped it up with a crochet needle and magazine and deposited it in the garbage.

"There," she said, all pleased with herself.

"Let me see that magazine," I said.

I looked at the back cover.  Bug guts were smeared all over Justin Bieber's face.

I shrugged my shoulders.  Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Tooth Fairy is Fired

The tooth fairy has not exactly done a stellar job at our house.  She seems to be a little absent-minded.  I really don't know what her problem is.  But my kids are sick of her shoddy work habits.

Last night, my daughter was chomping on a piece of halloween candy.  Out popped a tooth.

"Oh look," she said.  "Another job for the tooth fairy!"

She put it in the special tooth fairy pouch and hung it on her door.  (She likes to make things easy for the tooth fairy.)  "Now remember, mom, the tooth fairy is supposed to come tonight."

"Yeah, okay," I said. 

Fast forward to today.

"Mom!" my daughter said.  "The tooth fairy didn't come!"


"Well, maybe the tooth fairy got scared because of all the monsters and ghosts running around last night."

My daughter gave me a funny look.

"Or maybe she was just super busy because lots of kids lost teeth chewing on caramels," I reasoned.

"Mom," my daughter said.  "The tooth fairy is fired."

Uh, oh.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Carving Pumpkins

It's that time of year again, when big orange guords get carved into all kinds of twisted things.

"All right, kids," I said.  "Design your pumpkins."

They went to work.  When they were done, one had hearts and spirals all over it.  The other had...well, I'm not quite sure what it had.  It was mostly illegible.

"Mommy, are you going to carve these?"

I wrinkled my brow.  "Uh, maybe."

"Okay," my daughter said.  "So this spiral has to go like this.  And this line has to go like that.  And this circle has to be cut just like this.  Got it?"

"Hey, these babies are getting carved however I carve them.  And that's that."

Then I went to work.

Did I mention that I had a fever, and was coughing like crazy?  Yeah.  I just found out that I have a nice case of bronchitis.

Anyway,  when I was done, I showed them the masterpieces. 

My son thought his was great.  ( I just ignored the illegible markings and did my own thing.)

My daughter looked at hers.  "Wait.  What's that?" She pointed at some fancy lines around the pumpkin's face.

"Flaming hair, of course," I said.


"Hey, listen." I said. "If you're going to make me carve spirals and hearts when I feel this awful, I cetainly can take the liberty of carving flaming hair."

Happy Halloween  (cough, cough).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bobbing for Apples

Last night, I had a big halloween party at my house.  It was  a great time. 

One of the activities the kids did, was bobbing for apples.  After the event, I was too tired to clean up.  (I cleaned up the food and dirty dishes, but that was about it.)

This morning, I let the dog out.  I didn't think much about the bobbing for apples barrel that was still sitting on the picnic table.

Apparently Schultz decided that bobbing for apples looked like fun.  He jumped up so that his big paws were on the table.  Then he stuck his big black snoot in the ice-cold water and pulled out not one, but two apples.   

That dang dog is the best apple bobber I've ever seen.  He should get a prize!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Slaving Away in the Kitchen

I've been preparing for a big Halloween party at my house.  I decided to go all Martha Stewart, and create elaborate desserts and appetizers.  I don't know why I do this.  I guess it looks pretty cool when it's all out.

Anway, after slaving in the kitchen all day, I decided to do something stupid, like prepare a fancy dinner of salmon tetrazini from scratch.  I was doing okay until the noodle water boiled over, creating a huge mess on the stove.

I quickly turned off the heat and carried the pot to the sink to drain the noodles.  Apparently my arms were like noodles, and I ended up dropping the hot pot.  Boiling water and noodles went all over the floor and counter.  Somehow, I escaped getting scalded.

I cleaned up the mess, and resumed cooking.

When I was done, I was fairly proud of myself.  I had created a meal that looked and smelled rather good.

"How do you like it?" I asked my kids.

"It's edible."

Sigh.  Why do I bother? 

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Collector

If you've been following these blog posts, you know that my seven-year-old son is quite a creative little guy.  He frequently raids the recycle bin in search of materials for his next building project.

Well, today I went into his bedroom to do a little cleaning.  I opened his closet.  You would not believe the piles of stuff he had in there.  I'm not talking clothes and stuffed animals.  I'm talking things like pizza boxes, empty milk containers, styrofoam cups, and rubberbands.  Lots of rubberbands.

"Dude," I said.  "What is this?  We're going to have a major bug infestation!"

"Sorry, Mama.  I'm collecting materials for a spaceship."


"Dude, how about you keep your spaceship materials in the garage, or I'll be sending you to another galaxy."


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sqwak Box

Usually, you don't get to hear about our pet parakeet.  She's what I call, the "good pet."  (The dog is what I call, the "bad pet.")

Today, Miss Sunshine must've needed some attention.  She wouldn't stop sqwaking.

I was sitting at the kitchen table trying to rewrite a manuscript I've been working on.


"Hey, bird.  Can't you see I'm trying to write here?"

"SQWAK!  Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, SQWAK!"

"What do you want?"


Meanwhile, the dog was trying to take a nap.


"Awrooooo," complained the dog.

"Yeah, I agree."


Some days I think I live in a zoo!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brushing the Dog's Teeth

Have you ever tried to brush a German Shepherd's teeth?  Well, let me just say, it's not an easy trick!

Our dog's breath stunk.  I mean, it was disgusting.  Not even those greenie things were fixing him.  (Greenies, for those of you who aren't dog owners, are dental treats that clean a dog's teeth and freshen its breath.)

"All right, Stinky Face," I said.  "Time to brush your pearly whites."

I pulled out the red tooth brush.  I pulled out the poultry-flavored tooth paste.

"Here we go!"

I tried to make him open his mouth.  He wouldn't. 

"Come on, dog.  This tastes like chicken!"

He cocked his head.  Apparently he was thinking about it.

The second attempt, he opened his mouth. 

I brushed.

He drooled.

It was a slobbery mess.

We finally finished.

"Okay, Chicken Breath.  Clean and shiny."

I could tell he was thrilled.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Water Spout

I was playing a game of tug with my German Shepherd today.  Normally I go outside in the backyard for such a rambunctious activity. Not this time.  I decided to play in the kitchen.

He was really pulling on his toy, exerting a lot of energy.  You should've seen him thrashing his head back and forth.  Unfortunately, in the middle of this thrashing, he stepped, or should I say, jumped into his water bowl.  The bowl catapaulted into the air, sending water everywhere.  It looked like a miniature geyser. 

I was soaked. The french doors were soaked.  And of course the floor was soaked.

I couldn't get mad at the beast, though.. It was my fault I didn't move the bowl.  And it was my fault that I didn't go outside to play. 

On the bright side, the floor needed a wash anyway.  I guess there's a silver lining in every cloud.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bag Holder

As a mom, I've had to do some pretty disgusting things.  Some of which included changing poopy diapers and cleaning vomit off of the sofa.  I never thought the job of "bag holder" would in any way come close to changing putrid diapers.  But it did.

My first job as a "bag holder" was to hold a garbage bag open so that my husband could dump old gravel from the fish tank into it.  It was a wee bit smelly, since he hadn't cleaned the tank in a while (fish and dog are supposed to be his department).  But I managed.  It's not like I've never smelled anything that stunk like a swamp before.

My second job was the killer.  I held a garbage bag open while my daughter scooped our German Shepherd's business into it.  Now, that wouldn't have been so bad, if my daughter was good at her aim.
But she wasn't. I ended up having dog poop all over the sleeve of my jacket.

"Oops," she said.


So now ladies and gentleman, I can say that in my lifetime, I have been covered with spit-up, pee, vomit, and dog poop.  Life is good.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


"Mommy, let's play hide-and-go-cheat," my seven-year-old son said.

"What's that?' I asked, not sure that it was something I really wanted to get involved with.

"You take these binoculars," he explained.  "And you watch the other person hide."

"Well, that's not fair," I said.

"That's why it's called 'hide-and-go-cheat.'"

So I played the game.  I hid first.  Of course he found me, because he was watching the whole time.

I said I wanted a second chance.  He obliged.  This time I ran around the house, circling back.   I watched him adjust his binoculars.  He had no idea I was spying on him.   Eventually, he gave up. 

"That's cheating!" he said, when he found out what I had done.

"I thought that's what we were supposed to do," I fired back.

Next round he hid.  I let him get a good head start, and did not follow him with the binoculars.

Then I searched.

And searched.

And searched. 

I could not find him.

"I give up," I called.

I finally saw a rustling in the bushes by the utility box in the neighbor's front yard.  Out he popped with a big grin on his face.

"Hey, you're supposed to stay in our yard!"

He laughed.  "Hide-and-go-cheat!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Flying Schools

"Mama,"  my seven-year-old son said.  "Wouldn't it be cool if they made flying schools?"

Huh?  Now, I can't say I was expecting that one.

"I guess," I said.  "Where would you want to go if you could be in a flying school?"

He thought about it.  "Target."

I wasn't expecting that one either.


"Because then you would have school upstairs and a toy shop downstairs.  That would be awesome!"  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mr. Manners

No, I'm not talking about my German Shepherd.  He has no manners whatsoever.  I'm talking about my seven-year-old son.

The poor kid came home from school with a sore throat and fever.  He didn't look too good, so I thought it would be best to take him in to see the doctor.  I suspected strep throat.

We went to the doctor's office, and the little guy struck up a conversation.

"Hello.  How has your morning been going?"

The receptionist looked over the counter to see just who was asking about her morning. 

"Well, how do you like that," she said.  "We very rarely get little people asking about our mornings.  My morning has gone well.  Thank you for asking."

Then we were escorted into another room to await the doctor.  When he came in, the doctor introduced himself.

"Nice to meet you , sir," my son said.

The doctor was impressed.

My little man did indeed have strep throat. 

As we left with our prescription, Mr. Manners called over his shoulder, "Have a nice day, everyone."

Wow.  If only I could be so pleasant when I'm feeling so awful!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Floor Cleaner, Please

My ten-year-old daughter has a few chores to do around the house.  One of those chores is to sweep and mop the floor every other day.

Today, she was cleaning up a particularly muddy mess the dog had left.  (It has been raining outside, and when the dog comes in, there is inevitably a rather noticable trail of mud.)

"Mommy, this stinks!' she complained.

"You're the one who wanted a German Shepherd," I said.

"No, I didn't," she corrected.  "Daddy wanted a German Shepherd.  I wanted a Yorkie-poo."

"Yeah, but you still wanted a dog."

She made a face.  "You know what we need?"


"One of those floor cleaners they have at school.  You just sit on it and drive it around.  It cleans up everything."

"Okay.  How much is that going to cost, and where are we going to put it?"

"I don't know.  But we can put it in the garage next to Daddy's motorcycle."

All right, then.  I'm sure Daddy will be thrilled.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bad Fortune

My husband had gone to the Chinese restaurant and ordered some take out food.  When he got home, he put it on the counter and walked away. 

Bad move.

Our big German Shepherd got a whiff of that stuff.  He decided he wanted some.

He jumped up and grabbed a fortune cookie.

"Daddy!" my daughter said.  "Schultz ate your fortune cookie!"

Daddy was not happy.

"Bad dog!" he bellowed.  "How am I supposed to read my fortune?"

"Well," I said.  "I think you may have to go outside in a day or two and see if can find a little paper sticking out of some doggy business."

Right on cue, the dog passed some gas.  Loudly. 

Way to go, Schultz.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stinkin' Butterflies

My son used to love chasing butterflies.  They were the best little critters in the world.  It seems that things have changed.

He was doing his math homework after school, and he had an issue making a number nine.  He made the circle go the wrong way.

"Dude, check out the nine.  It's backwards," I said.

He grimaced as he erased and corrected it.  You could still see the lines from his mistake.

"It looks like a stinkin' butterfly," he complained.

Can you believe it?  Picking on butterflies.  What ever happened to my sweet little boy?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Ukelele

I went out in the garage and found my son rummaging through the recycle bin.

"What are you doing?"

"A project."

I looked at him quizzically.  "What kind of project?"

"You'll see."

Ten minutes later, he was taping a paper towel roll to a milk jug.  Then he attached a rubberband.


"What is it?" I asked.

"A ukelele, of course."

"Of course."  I looked at the concoction.  "Does it play?"

"Yeah, listen."  He strummed a tune.

I was impressed.  The boy is a musical genious, or something. Do you think he got it from me?

Sunday, October 16, 2011


My seven-year-old son came in from playing outside in the woods.  He had a look on his face that said, "I was definitely up to something."  I decided to find out what.

"You look a little guilty.  What did you do?"


I guess that was the answer I expected.

Then he turned around.  His bottom was a muddy mess.

"Um, if you did nothing, why are your pants all muddy?"

"I don't know."

"Okay, let me take a look at you."  I went to check out his pants, and noticed that he winced when I touched his back.  I lifted up the back of his shirt.  His entire back was dirty and scraped.

"How did you do this?"

"I don't remember."

"You can't remember falling down and scraping yourself?"


Then I gave him one of my mean mommy looks.


The truth came out.  He was doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing, someplace where he wasn't supposed to be.

I knew his case of amnesia was one of those fake jobs. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bad Dogs

Yep.  It's time for another dog story.  This time, you get a bonus, because there are two bad dogs in this one.  The first is of course, my wonderful German Shepherd.  The second is our notorious neighboring Husky.  You know,  the one who sliced my dog's ear when he was a puppy, and the one who recently came into our yard and killed a cat. 

Apparently the Husky dog really wanted to play with my dog.  After the cat incident, our neighbor "secured" the boundry by adding huge boulders along the fenceline.  You'd think that would stop the varmint from crossing the border.  Nope.

My daughter came running into the house.  "Mommy, the Husky is in our yard.  He jumped over the fence!"

"Are you kidding?  That thing is like five feet high!"

She wasn't kidding.  The Husky was in our yard "playing" with our German Shepherd. 

Those boys were a little on the wild side.  It looked like they were killing each other, but their tails were wagging, so I guess it was okay.

We notified the neighbor, and he came and got his beast.

End of that story.

Next story:  I put dinner out on the kitchen table.  I turned my back, and the next thing I knew, was that my big old German Shepherd had his paws up on the table.  He had wolfed down an entire piece of fish, and was slurping up milk from my daughter's glass.


He licked his chops an gave me one of his soulful looks.


Banished again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cooking School

Apparently my daughter saw the sandwich concoction my son made yesterday.  She decided he needed a little help. 

"We're going to have cooking classes," she announced.  "They will be held every Thursday at 6:00 PM."


The first recipe in the class was frozen yogurt - with pears.  It's still in my freezer.

Here's the next recipe:

Cabbage roll:
Ingredients:  long pieces of cabbage, skinny carrots, onions, poppy seed dressing.
Steps:  1. Get a long piece of cabbage and slather it in the dressing.
2. Chop up onions, and carrots, and put them in the cabbage. (In an orderly fashion).
3.  Roll up cabbage
4.  Eat your snack

This was taken directly from her handbook (or cookbook, or whatever you want to call it.)

I think we'll all be top chefs by the time she's done with us.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top Chef

"Mom, I want to make my own lunch for school tomorrow," my seven-year-old son announced.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because I want to see what it's like to be a grown-up.  Someday I'm going to have to make lunches for my kids."

"Oh.  Okay.  Have at it."

A few minutes later, he called me into the kitchen.  "Check out my sandwich."

This thing had no less than five pieces of bread.  In between each slice was a piece of ham, roast beef, and cheese.

"Seriously?  Do you really think you can fit that in your mouth?"

He opened his mouth.  Apparently he would have no trouble chomping it to bits.

"Dude, if you ever have kids, there's no way they're going to be able to take a bite out of something like that."

"Oh, I'm not worried.  They're going to be just like me."    

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Branch Head

I was doing a little fall cleaning around the yard today.  That meant pulling out the old clippers and cutting down the honeysuckle vines that were crawling up the side of the house.  I also pulled out dead plants and tidied up the vegetable garden.

When it was all done, I went inside and washed my hands.

All clean.  Or so I thought.

I little while later, I was outside talking to a friend.  She looked at me and gave me a funny look.  "What's in your hair?"   

I ran my fingers through it and discovered a strange object.  It was a honeysuckle vine with leaves still hanging on it.

"Oh yeah,"  I said.  "It's my laurel wreath.  I'm looking like a goddess today."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Love in the Air

I don't know what it is with the single guys in my family.  Yesterday my son was going gaga over a cashier.  Today it's my dog.

I was taking the beast for a walk, when a lovely young female golden retriever trotted by on the other side of the street.  My German Shepherd looked.  Then he looked again.  He couldn't take his eyes of the pretty little girl.

"Goofball, watch where you're going," I said.

Next thing I knew, he had walked right into a prickly holly bush.

Boy, did he yipe.

The golden retriever looked, stuck her little nose in the air, and pranced away.

"Nice going, Buster." 

He looked at me with sad brown eyes. 

"Next time, keep your eyes on the road.  You'll make a better first impression."   

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hot Chic

My seven-year-old son and I took a little trip to Kohls.  As we checked out, my little guy decided to strike up a conversation with the cashier about how to tie shoes.  She listened very patiently and giggled at his funny antics.

When we left the store, he said, "She's a hot chic."

I looked at him.  "Okay."

"Can I date her?"

"No.  You're too young to date."

"How old do I have to be?"


"How old will she be?"

"Probably about forty."

"Then she better start using that cream that prevents wrinkles so she doesn't look too old when I'm ready to ask her out."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Man in the Moon

Last night we got out the telescope to do a little stargazing.  The moon was nearly full, so we decided to focus on that.

"Mom, check out those craters!" my son said.

I did.  It was pretty cool how along the outer edges of the moon, you could get a sense of the depth of the craters.  It was like looking at the moon in 3-D.

My son looked again.  "I thought there was a man in the moon.  I don't see him."

"Maybe he's on the other side."

"Why would he be on the other side?"

"Maybe he needs a nap.  It's kind of hard to sleep when the sun is shining on your face."

He thought about that.

"Yeah, I guess even the moon needs to sleep."  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dumb Cat

I thought cats were supposed to be curious.  Not ours.  We got one of those laser toys that shine a beam of light on the ground.  Cats are supposed to want to chase the light.

I shined the light on the ground in front of the cat.  He didn't look.

I shined it on the porch railing.  He didn't look.

I shined it on his paws.  He didn't look.

"What's the matter with you?" I asked.  "You're supposed to think this is fun."

He meowed and slunk off to do whatever cats do.  Which is probably sleep.

Then I brought the toy in, and shined it on the floor in front of my German Shepherd.  He went nuts. He chased the beam around the room.  He pounced on it.  He even tried to eat it.

Now, the question is, "Is my cat dumb for not wanted to play with a tiny beam of light, or is my dog dumb for thinking it was something he could grab?"

Maybe the cat isn't as dumb as he seems.   

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Burnin' the Place Down

So, I was trying to light some candles on my daughter's birthday cake.  Usually that doesn't pose too much of a problem.  Usually.  Today was not the usual.  Maybe it has something to do with the big bump on my head that I got a few days ago.  I don't know.

First, I tried to light a candle with an old book of matches.  I tried, and I tried, and I tried.  But it didn't work.  The darn things wouldn't light.  So I threw them away.

Then I tried a lighter.  That didn't work.  So I threw it away.

Then I tried another lighter.  And I burned my fingers.

Then, I said, "Heck with the lighter, I'll get another book a matches."

These matches were the wooden kind.  Usually those work pretty well.  Usually.

Well, as I lit the thing, the match snapped in half, landing on our kitchen table, which is made of wood.

"Fire!" my son yelled.

I quickly extinguished it.

"Okay.  I give up," I said.  "Daddy, you do it."

Of course he got it on the first try.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pass it On

It's been a while since I've eaten lunch in an elementary school cafeteria.  My daughter asked me to come in and have lunch with her since it was her birthday.  What an adventure that was!

We're talking lunch with a bunch of fourth graders.  The boys at the table behind me were doing typical boy things, like mixing the strangest combinatons of food to freak the girls out who were sitting at my table.  We even had some boys impressing us with their acrobatic abilities - doing backbends from their chairs to the floor.

Of course, there was food that somehow managed to find its way onto the floor.  What a mess!

But the real fun began when my daughter decided to start a game of  "pass it on."  One person says something and it circulates around the table until it gets back to the person who started it.  Well, in my version of the game, that's how it goes.  Not in this version.  In this version, one person says something, but before it can get all the way back to the originator, someone else says something from the other direction and passes it on.  It's like a total collision.

"Wait a minute," I said.  "What's going on here?  This isn't how we play the game."

"Yeah it is,"  a perky young lady said.  "It goes on forever like this."

Around and around it went, for twenty minutes, until it was time for the lunch to be over.

Meanwhile, at the boy table, a particularly slobbish young man was painting his face with mashed potatoes and BBQ sauce.   

Oy gewalt.  Right now I'm thanking my lucky stars that I don't have to eat with these people on a daily basis! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creatures in the Night

I have no idea what goes on outside when the sun goes down, but it sure ain't pretty.  I went outside this morning to feed my cat, and saw that the porch rail had a slat knocked out of it.  This was the second in two weeks.

I suspect a cat fight or a collision involving the fat racoon that steals our cat's food. 

"Mom, should we get out our spy equipment and set it up?"  My son loves a good spy game.

"Hmmm.  That might not be a bad idea."

So we have a spy camera with night vision,  binoculars with night vision,  a funky spy listening device, and a few rigged mirrors.

We're on a mission, and we're going to catch the culprit! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween Costumes

It's that time  of year when I have to hunt for Halloween costumes for my kids.  They have been bugging me.

"Mom, I want to look for a costume," my daughter said. 

"Okay.  What do you want to be?"

"I don't know."

"That helps.  All right.  Let's go on a search."

My son, daughter, and I hopped into the car and made our way to the mall where Halloween Express set up shop.

"Look at all these cool costumes!" my son said.  "Can I be all of these?"

"Uh, no.  One is enough."

He settled on a soldier costume.  Of course he had to get the big old gun to go with it.

It was  a little more challenging to find my daughter's costume.  She finally found a tween Alice in Wonderland costume.

We drove home.  My son immediatly put on his costume and went outside.

"Dude, it's not Halloween yet.  Trick or treating is in another couple of weeks."

"But I'm in my costume.  I'm going to trick everyone into giving me candy."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cup Rocket

Let me just begin where I left off.  I was attempting to fix the streamers, balloons, and doorway decorations for my daughter's birthday party that my lovely dog tore down.

In my haste, I accidently whacked the side of my head into a door.  That hurt big time!  I think my brain rattled around in my skull from that one.  So now I have a lovely bump.  Not having time to ice it, I carried on repairing the damages.

Then it was time for the chocolate fountain.  This was a special request.  I melted the chocolate on the stove.  When it was done, I attempted to pour it into the fountain.  But the darn pot was really heavy.  I ended up spilling quite a bit on the counter, which ended up dripping on the floor.  What a mess!  More work for the Mommy.

While I was in the middle of cleaning up, my seven-year-old son decided to create an engineering project.

He had gathered quite a collection of plastic cups.  In addition he had a pair of scissors and masking tape. 

"Mama, can you hold this?" he asked, balancing a bunch of cups to form a tower.

"Buddy, do you have to do this now?  Mommy is really busy!"

I quickly cleaned up the mess, aware that the egg on my head was growing bigger.

"Mommy, please!"

I sighed and held his cup tower while he taped it together.

"Thanks.   Now can you hold it here?"

I did , and he taped some more.

When he was done, he had a nice replica of a rocket.

"Am I a good rocket engineer?"

"Yes, but your timing has a lot to be desired! "

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Party Wrecker

I just had to pause a moment and tell you about the dog.  Yep.  The big old German Shepherd.

It's my daughter's big 10th birthday party with her friends, and I've spent the entire day decorating and preparing for the big event.  I was very careful to keep the dog away from all of the balloons and streamers.

Well, my husband wasn't so careful.  Ten minutes ago he let the dog in, and the dog went nuts.  He tore around the house, knocking over the doorway streamers, balloons, and everything else I worked so hard to put up.

I couldn't believe it.  So now I have to go repair a few things.

Forty minutes to party time.