Mama Diaries

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.