Saturday, January 31, 2009

I love mocking my man

Since Aiden has his other blog, and since it's all about being an OCD house husband, and since we live with three small-ish children who are trying to remember to try to do their best all the time, he is standing in the kitchen with the camera taking pictures for his post that will, I'm sure, be coming. About what? How the kids load their dishes in the dishwasher.

I can only defend them up front by saying that at least they were TRYING to do the right thing.

Actually, it will be really funny. His rants and tirades usually are.

And, as he points out while I mock him over this, I am in love with the cleaner house since he's not working.

Annie tried to kill Alex this morning. Repeatedly

Alex has been reading the Harry Potter books. He's really into them and since he's seen the first 4 movies, he knows how to pronounce a lot of the words he might not have gotten right before. This morning he's giving the girls lessons in Harry Potter as he tries to get them to play it with him.

They came out here armed with wands made of transformer missile launcher parts for the girls and a dagger looking piece of transformer for Alex. The only spell Annie knows is Avada Kedavra which she says repeatedly while firing her missile at Alex. Alex keeps responding with Expecto Patronum but in a voice so bored and lacking in conviction it would never conjure up anything but enough to protect from "eat slugs" let alone the killing spell.

Ashley is just mad she can't push the button on her missile launcher hard enough to make it actually fire.

Just so you know they are Harry Potter, Hermione, and "Ron's little sister". Guess who got no actual name: Ashley. I gotta teach that kid to recognize when she's being used.

I asked Alex if he told Annie what she was saying and he said "I told her it was one of the unforgivable curses". Annie must have gotten somewhat embarrassed by being called out on this so she disappeared. Only to reappear with a NEW wand: A foam finger from a hockey game Alex went to with Brandon.

Alex just looked at her and said,"well that's ridiculous."

At that point I told them to go play in their rooms because I can only listen to my kids utter the same spells over and over so many times.

On the way Ashley announced, "I'm Spirit."

And every one's incorporating that into the Harry Potter fun of the morning.

culture and relief

Since I changed around my major a bit, it turns out I don't need any more math (evidently my calculus was enough). I weighed out the option of dealing with this woman or getting out now. I dropped her class. HOO RAY!!!

Anyone looking to buy the textbook for Math 251/252? It works for 2 semesters...

On another fun classwork note, my music professor and her TA are playing in the Washington Idaho Orchestra which happens to be putting on a symphony this weekend. Actually, they are putting it on twice; once tonight at 8 and once tomorrow in Lewiston during the Superbowl. Now there's something cultural available for aaaalllllllll the people on the Palouse.

Since my teacher and TA are playing in the symphony, it's extra credit if we attend. My friend who braved the other concert (read: LYING LIE FEST) with me is feeling under the weather and is choosing NOT to attend this one. Grrrr....

I would totally take Aiden but then there's this thing about getting a babysitter. And I get in for free but we'd have to buy his ticket (or dupe someone into picking up his ticket and giving it to us, but whatever, It was trumped by the babysitter thing). I was talking to Amy about the kiddos getting to the bus and the play date to be had with one of her kids and Ashley, and how two of her kids were throwing up (not the one that was coming over), and I snuck in how she needed a night out... how would she like to go to the symphony with me?

HA! She is totally excited, got her husband to pick up her ticket so she's going for free, and now I have a date for my boring night at the symphony.

In an effort to draw in more of an audience in Pullman beyond the students who are bribed to go, they are apparently giving out free pie at intermission ("rock my world" Amy said). I bet all this did was bribe for more students to pick up the extra credit concert, but we'll see.

AND it's only 2 hours. Actually it's only an hour and a half. Rock MY world!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

WSU's teachers

There's such a dichotomy of professors at WSU. Some of them are absolutely wonderful, discuss the material clearly, state expectations, welcome questions and comments, and are just generally helpful. They really care about their students and the level of clarity they get across.

Then there are the rest of them. These professors do not care if you understand the material, don't try to teach, don't listen to your questions or answers to their questions, and act as though they are only here to fill the space in the front of the room until the clock moves ahead enough and they can let us go.

When I went to SCC one of my teachers told the entire class about I got into the habit of reading the evaluations by former students of my new teachers. Then I got out of the habit. This semester one of my classmates mentioned what they knew about our teacher-in-common via this website. Yesterday I finally go around to looking up my instructors for this semester. Here's the results:

My math teacher had 19 reviews ALL of which said to avoid her at all costs. The students were from a myriad of classes ranging all levels and ALL of them said she confused them more than taught them. Many times it was mentioned that a) she is learning it as she is teaching it and b) she does examples in class and gets them wrong so the rest of the class period is spent correcting her and watching her try to figure it out in front of them.

My music teacher is generally agreeable but expects a lot (good!). They only thing they caution, repeatedly, about is leaving the class early. Apparently this behavior drives her wild! It would bug me, too, so I can't fault her for that. I have seen a small amount of this in our 9 am class as this one guy ALWAYS falls asleep. She is severely irritated which I think is completely understandable.

My speech teacher (public speaking!) doesn't teach. I knew this already and had it confirmed when I read her reviews. She expects us to give a LOT of speeches, most of them impromptu, and doesn't teach or give much feedback. You have to listen very closely to get anything out of the class that is supposed to be 95 minutes but generally is 30 minutes. We should be using this time to lecture, no?

My HD profs are not listed but I can sum them up for you, in case you're interested: awesome.

My Teaching and Learning teacher is not listed, either. I wish she was because this class is so unpredictable. It's only 1 credit, though, and you don't even get a typical "grade". You get a satisfactory or an F. cool.

Also, met with my advisor yesterday and changed my major again, just a little bit. If I continued to do the P-3 version of Human Development I would not graduate until at least Spring of 2012. Instead I am going to get my general human development degree with an education certificate. this will take me 1 year if everything goes according to plan, allowing me to graduate in May 2010. THEN I can apply to the MIT (Masters In Teaching) program which is another year. Even if I don't get in the MIT program right away (it's really competitive) I will still have a LOT of job opportunities just with my BA. And if I do get in right away, I will finish my schooling a full year ahead of the P-3 program AND I'll have my masters which starts me off $10,000 ahead of those with just their BA in teaching.

So that is the plan. And the synopsis of how awesome my teaching folk are this semester.

The upside is that I only have HD classes from here on out (except 1) so the quality of teaching should go up. The HD department in general has mostly excellent reviews.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another blog

Aiden decided that rather than post all those at home parent blogs here, he's got a new blog. There's nothing posted there yet but when there is, you should go check it out. He'll be at

At least he's getting something written, as is his goal during his at home times.

Cleaning the Microwave

It can be done in under 2 minutes.

Don't believe me? Try this. Take a cup and fill it 1/2 full with water. Add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Use your microwave's "beverage" setting or run the micro for 2-3 minutes on high. The point is to cause steam to build in the micro from the water/lemon juice concoction.

Remove cup. If you have a turny-thingy, take it out and put it in the sink. Wipe your microwave down. 2 minutes tops to clean it out. Even when completely filthy. And now it's lemony fresh instead of smelling of chile or burnt popcorn.

Wipe down the turny-thingy and return it (put it back correctly or your micro will make Exorcist like noises).

Apparently I'm feeling helpful today.

Best Way to Fry Chicken

I'm making fried chicken for dinner, because, umm, YUMMMY!

I was making chicken marsala last Spring and discovered the best way to fry chicken. Not being a selfish cook, I decided to share.

Put a couple of egg whites in a bowl with a couple teaspoons of water and beat it together a bit. This is what you will coat your chicken with before you bread it.

After coating your chicken well, roll it around in your breading of choice. For chicken marsala it's just bread crumbs with some parsley and garlic powder. For my family's favorite chicken I use crushed saltines and some shredded cheese. Tonight I'm going to try French's Onions and some shredded cheese. (This recipe is not on Weight Watchers, but it is on the make your tummy happy meal plan!)

After breading your chicken place it on a plate. Finish breading all of your chicken, cover the plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes before frying. This sets the coating so it doesn't fall off the instant you put in the pan.

I like to use a non-stick pan because the breading is not sacrificed to the bottom of the pan this way.

Make sure your oil is hot before you put your chicken in or your chicken comes out really oily. If you're using a non-stick pan, you don't need to use so much oil either.

Also, you may want to use a meat hammer (that's my name for the tenderizing thingy) to "even out" your chicken so it cooks evenly. If you are cooking breasts, they tend to be fatter on one side. If you whack the fatter side down a bit the skinny side doesn't get overcooked and the fat side gets cooked all the way through.

Last but not least, avoid the urge to constantly turn your chicken. Use your tongs to lift up one side just a bit to see how the breading is browning, but don't turn it until you absolutely need to.

Holly loves my fried chicken. She doesn't like to fry chicken because it tends to be a pain in the rear-end. But these nifty tricks my mom and one handy recipe taught me has made it easy. And when I'm craving good fried chicken, the colonel doesn't cut it for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Apparently the people who work at Wal-Mart are the parenting police. I did not know they were so entitled, considering many of the ones I've had to deal with out here in Podunk-ville couldn't outsmart my preschooler.

On a quick trip to Wally-world today to buy a new weird-sized lightbulb for our dining room and the much needed Valentine's Cards (that's a story unto itself) I reminded my girls that they needed to stay close.

Cue banjo music so I can introduce some of the weirdos I've seen at Wal-Mart in the past thus making this command so important:
  • The "mountain people" who dress in clothing that reminds me of Amish meets Fundamentalist LDS. Their families are a little too close for my comfort. And all they seem to eat is bread, ramen, and peanut butter.
  • The "I'm a college student in Moscow, ID but I think I'm cool" kids. They walk around in their thug-like clothes, drive their "tricked out" Hondas that get stuck in the snow, and converse in text messaging lingo. A conversation may go something like "TTYL" "OK" "WTFDBN" "RO" I have no idea what that means, but I dive to cover my children's ears when they are in the presence of these people.
  • The "I'm to good for Wal-Mart but I shop here anyway" folks. Because really. You live in Moscow, ID. Goodwill isn't too good for you. Think about it.
  • Last but not least the "I just left my group home to do a little shopping" individuals. I do not have any problems with the mentally challenged, but there are some who need an aide at all times and should not wander around Wal-Mart unattended.

I get that it seems I'm jumping down from a pretty high horse to tell you this story considering I am the person parents shelter their children from. It's the tattoos. But we all know I'm really nice. Right? RIGHT?

Anyway, our Annie has a problem with wandering off. I feel tempted to leash her, but she'd simply enjoy it and pretend to be a puppy or kitty the whole trip. Not kidding. I got a shopping cart and spent 2 minutes to convince Ashley that she really was big enough to walk instead of riding in the cart while her sister walked a few feet away to look at a movie display.

"Head 'em up and move 'em" I cattle-called to my kids (specifically Annie). I followed this with, "Annie, that means you. Let's go!" in case there was any confusion.

No answer. I know she heard me. I could have pulled her stocking cap off her head from where I was standing. I turned the cart in the general direction of the lightbulbs (note: the Wal-Mart here is so small that any direction is in the general direction of lightbulbs).

"Come on Annie," I called again.

Cue the tweet, tweet noises that imply no response.

"Annie," I called in my slightly sterner voice as I was now some 20 feet from her (which practically means the other side of the store here). "If you don't come now you'll get left behind."

Okay. Now every parent in the world has used the 'I'll leave you at the store' or 'I'll leave you home' or 'I'll leave you in the car' threat at least once. We don't actually mean it because the law would be after us. Oh, and because it would be horrible to our children. But, we've all done it in hopes that it will finally get the lead out of our child(ren)'s butts so they can come with us.

A cashier standing around waiting for a customer to finally come down her lane glared at me! She full-out glared at me with this evil scowl that said, "You tattooed abusive jerk of a father. You better not, or I'll call the cops." Because really, I must be an awful parent.

Annie ran after me while I gave the woman a "Bring it on" kind of look back.

"I was juuust looking at the movie. Why'd you have to start walking," Annie whined.

Because if I didn't, the evil (insert foul name for a woman here) cashier wouldn't have anything to tell her husband or goldfish or mountain kin-folk about when she got home.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Snarkiness Ahead

I am taking Music Appreciation, or something like that. As part of the class we are required to attend a minimum of two approved concerts. So Friday night there was a concert being described as "Vocal Chamber Music". That was a lie, just so you know. Instead, my friend Stephanie and I found ourselves sitting through a concert that began with a woman educating the audience on the difference between a modern violin and a Baroque period violin. For 10 minutes. Awesome. That's exactly how I was hoping to start off my waste of a Friday night.

Then there was several songs by several different groups all made up of women in various stages of "fundamentalist". Do you know what I mean? This is close:
Anyway, after an hour of these women and then the addition of a soprano singer (apparently the Vocal part of the Vocal Chamber Music Lie) who thought she was looking gooo-oood except it really just looked like she was wearing a decent dress with a fancy-ish bathrobe over it (I wish I had my camera), we went to intermission.
This is the best part of the evening. We watched a whole lot of very old men and women wander around and rub elbows with each other. I called Aiden looking for moral support over the thing we were being FORCED to attend when all of the sudden Stephanie pointed out "that woman is wearing leather pants". Not well, either.
This woman was wearing leather, but I suspect PLEATHER, jeans... meaning they were not tight. Nor were they patent but they were definitely shining light off of them. You probably assume this goes along with her top half, right?
Well, you'd be wrong. This woman's top half was wearing a cable knit sea green sweater. Not even a tightish one to fit with her "I rode to the "Vocal Chamber LIE" on my man's Harley" pants. It was loose and baggy but obviously came from C J Banks or something.
Her hair was dark gray spotted with white, shoulder length, and half pulled up. She looked like she teaches 2nd grade by day and hangs with the Hell's Angels by night.
We gave up and left at intermission. This week we have the opportunity to attend a Clarinet duet. (say that three times fast). I have nothing against gaining culture but does it have to be 3 hours at a shot?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SOMETHING will go on, anyway

I like Celine Dion music. It’s not my favorite but sometimes it’s just what I need. Aiden didn’t know this about me when we started dating. We were driving somewhere and I popped my Celine Dion CD into the stereo. The first couple songs were alright and then. AND THEN! “Every night in my dreams…”


Turns out Aiden cannot stand that song. Not for any fantastical reason, either. No, he hates it because she made a whole ton of money with a really bad rhyme. And not just any bad rhyme (Shania, anyone? Because don’t get me started on some of her lyrics. And I like her!) but a bad rhyme which he feels would be best sung by Grover.

As in Sesame Street.

Which lyrics are they, you ask?

“Near, Far, Wherever you are…”

That’s it. Those five little words. And really it’s only the first two. It takes all five to make the rhyme exceptionally bad but it is the first two that Grover ought to be crooning.

To fully understand how he feels about these two syllables you must picture him flapping his hands as though to paddle a boat. Now picture him saying “Neeeeaaaaarrrr” while paddling forward (aka towards the camera). Then hear it: “Faaaarrrr” as he paddles upstage and away from the camera. But you have to imagine reaaallly hard and hear it with a SUPER GROVER voice.

Since he’s ruined the song for me anyway, and since we have been renting The Muppet Show seasons on DVD for the kids (and mostly us), I have decided that it’s not just Grover. I think the whole song should have resurrected The Muppet Show. Maybe a little reunion of sorts. They could play on a Titanic set instead of the roof top. There would be misty fog rolling across the stage to hide the puppeteers. Celine’s voice would be dubbed over by Miss Piggy and we would watch her and Kermit dancing in their best Rose and Jack costumes.

Somehow Jim Henson would have found a way to incorporate some version of Grover’s near/far interjection, if he were still alive. Maybe Grover could be one of the guys who falls off the boat later. I don’t know, but I think the whole thing is intriguing and should be looked into.

At the end, I think Aiden would like to watch Celine go down with the ship.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Bid Thee Farewell

Yesterday was my last day as the Star's PM Aide at HeadStart. It was a day just like any other, except I made sure to get at least one hug from every single student at some point during the day. There was no parade or grand-doing of any other sort. That's the way I like it and pretty much what I expected. After all, I will be on the substitute list and will stop in frequently to say hello to my students.

I did receive a card from one student and his mom. It was very sweet. He wrote my name and his name all by himself. The script is fabulously preschool-esque. It choked me up a bit, because I'm a girl like that.

Holly keeps having regret over the quitting thing. I will absolutely miss that job. But I'm really looking forward to finally regaining control of this battlefield we call our home. It is a constant struggle to just stay on top of the cleaning, let alone provide regular home-cooked meals, homework time, chore time, reading time, bath time, etc., etc., etc. My family is my priority and I feel as though they got pushed aside when I started working.

All in all I feel grand about the decision to leave full-time work at HeadStart. I am so thankful I got the opportunity and that my teaching style and interaction style with the children was so well received. It has made me re-think teaching at the college level and consider elementary education instead. We'll see, I suppose. The opportunity to substitute in varying classes with a variety of children and teachers will probably help me make that decision more soundly.

A Grand Sense of Injustice

I have re-discovered what I can get my kids to do for a book to be read. Thus, we have been reading more books. Rather, we have been reading books more often; today we read the same one 3 times already.

Annie chose "The Sneetches" for her book. In case you are unfamiliar, The Sneetches are a group where some of them have stars on their bellies and some don't. The star bellied have long established the stars on thier bellies make them better.

I love reading Dr. Seuss out loud so I don't tend to spend a lot of time lingering over the pictures of the pages. So here I sit trucking along through the "stars upon thars" when up drives Sylvester McMonkey McBean with his peculiar machine. ON go the stars!

Now, the racial profiling is harder to dish out when you can't determine who it should be served to. So the solution is easy (and lucrative) for the Fix-it-up Chappie (McBean again, in case you missed it). He invites the Sneetches who had stars at the first to go through his star OFF machine.

They do and the whole thing leads to the Sneetches spending all of their collective money, becoming so interracial you can't even call them Cafe Au Lait, and a picture of Sylvester McMonkey McBean driving away from the Sneetches' beaches with bags and bags of money.

At this point Annie has had a few concerns about the treatment of the plain belly Sneetches. They started with the plain unfairness and went on to question the slide being on the star OFF machine but the star ON machine just booting them out to land on their bums. When we read that Sylvester McMonkey McBean is driving off with their money and we view the picture of the spent Sneetches and the money loaded car, she is full of indignation. "He just wanted to take all their money!" she asserted.
I think she might try to take up a collection for fair treatment of Sneetches.

For all the Moms-Of-Boys I know

You have a boy? Meh. I have one, too.

You have two boys? Getting closer to a purple heart, I think.

You have three boys? You deserve some kind of award.

Regardless of if you have no boys or 20 boys you should READ THIS BLOG POST. This woman has three boys like another woman I know.

Friday, January 23, 2009

When are we allowed to be excited?!

I have 16 credits this semester. They take the form of 6 different classes. One of those classes is Teaching and Learning 300 which is only 1 credit and takes place once a week for an hour and a half. I think the official title of the class is "Introduction to Teaching" but what they probably meant is "In Which We Try to Scare The Teaching Out Of You".

The requirements for being certified in the Teaching and Learning program are what we talked about yesterday. They don't present this in a fostering way. They teach it like they are things you learn as you fall down a deep, dark hole to land in HELL. Not even Wonderland comes in at the bottom of the hole. Which would be incredibly fitting, I think.

Basically they tell you how the first year of teaching is just physical training on how to be happy and the best you all the time. How you'll put in more volunteer hours than you can count once you become a teacher. How the 5 days of observation you have to do for this class have to be consecutive days because otherwise it's not as painful (oh, and you don't see the resolution from a crappy day to the next day).

The first meeting of this class included the teacher saying "if I don't think you are cut out for teaching by the end of this semester, you might as well not apply". AWESOME

She's actually really nice, and I get they just want us to be realistic about what teaching is. But I know what it's like to be around kids all. the. time. Maybe if you're a parent you should not have to take this class. Or maybe we need it more. Who knows?

But they are not going to break me!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

but the apartment is still in one piece.

We went to Bellingham this weekend while the kids were at Brandon's house. Everything was fine and all of us had fun in our respective locations. On the way back to Everett we came upon a four mile back up on I5. We got to sit still, get out and walk, etc for about fifteen minutes. Apparently it had been blocking traffic for a couple of hours before we got there. At least we got the end of it. In the middle of the sitting there I said that at least we were getting the one thing that always goes wrong with a trip out of the way. Aiden said he was glad the kids weren't there for it.

We got the kids and went to Issaquah. We decided that feeding them lunch before we got in the pass was a better idea than waiting for Ellensburg. After lunch, the car would not start. It wouldn't do anything. That's okay, we were parked right next to a Schucks. We walked around the front and saw it was temporarily closed. Awesome. Aiden found a guy who was willing to jump start the car. But it wouldn't cooperate. After quite a few minutes the van finally started and the guy left. We sat there letting it idle for 15 or 20 minutes.

I called Brandon in the mean time to see if he would be able to come help us. He said to see if the car died again and then let him know.

After letting it idle for a while we decided to try it out. It backed out just fine but died when I put it in drive. NOW we were stuck in the middle of the KFC parking lot. AND we were blocking the drive up window. People in Issaquah want their KFC, let me tell you. The van has one of those transmissions that won't let you put it in neutral without the car running. Which is reaaaalllly helpful. I found the part in the book that tells you how to do it (clearly written in Japanese and then translated badly). We FINALLY got it into neutral and pushed it to a different place.

I started calling places to see where I could go to get a battery but I thought our van was a 2003. So I'm on the phone with Costco holding and holding and then the guy picks up and tells me they carry the battery for 1999-2002 and 2004-2009 but NOT 2003. I just started laughing.

Aiden finally tipped me off it was a 2004 and things went much smoother from there. Brandon and Morgan came down, the kids and Aiden walked over to Target, a lot of phone calls went on, we pulled the battery and went TWO BLOCKS to the Firestone where I paid $107 for a new battery and was warned that it might be my alternator. But they checked the battery and it was less than 2 volts. Apparently that is not good in a car battery. hmmm

Brandon loaded the new battery in the van, we checked the dash for the telltale sign the Firestone guy warned us about for alternator, and finally we got on the road.

A four hour lunch stop in Issaquah is by far more than I ever wanted to have.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Death according to Annie and Ashley

I got in the van after class today to a barrage of questions. Annie wanted to know how old Grandpa Smiff is. I told her. Then we had to know how old Gramma Smiff is. I told her. Apparently Aiden's guesses on the way to pick me up were fairly accurate.

How old is Gramma Laura? I told her. Okay. I waited to see if they could remember the name of any of the grandpa's on Brandon's side. But no. So "how old is Dad's dad"? I don't know. I think he's in his sixties. Older than the other three.

What happened to Dad's stepdad?

He died.

Annie: Oh yeah

Ashley: who killed him?

Mom: No one killed him, he was really old and sick.

Ashley: Why did he die?

Mom: He was really old and his body gave up

Annie: What did he die on? ( I think she meant "of")

Ashley: A bed!! DUH

Thursday, January 15, 2009


We got these two cats in October. I would post pictures of them but they are black from nose to tail and it's hard to get a picture that looks like anything besides a black sweatshirt sitting there.

Crook and Jack are 6 months old which I am assuming is like adolescence in humans. They have the weirdest mannerisms I have ever seen in cats. Someone forgot to give them the handbook in which they learn to be snooty and only allow petting when they want it.

These cats will follow you around waiting for you to just talk to them. If you sit down, it must mean you want to pet them and they are instantly in your lap.

One of them sounds like George Jetson's car. He can make regular meowy noises, trust me, but he makes those fun little space travel noises anytime he:
Targets his eyes on something
Wakes Up
Enters a Room
Leaves a Room
Uses the cat box
Sees one of the many random wild life creatures out our back door (bunnies, birds, etc)
You get the point?

If this cat was wild and had to hunt something other than Meow Mix for a living he would be dead. He tries so hard to sneak up on his brother but can't hold in his little Cherble of excitement. I don't know what a Cherble is or if I spelled it right but it's the only word we can use to someone describe this noise.

The other cat is currently hunting down a rogue piece of kitty litter that fell off one of the boxes we bought last night (clean!). He's stalking it from 10 different directions under the kitchen table. Unfortunately he's going to sit there until the kids get up and he runs for cover.
Jack also enjoys hunting down Kleenex after it's used, any kind of wadded up paper, hair ties, and anything he can bat and cause movement with. The cat-nip mouse was a hit for about fifteen minutes. And never again. But the paper game, that can last up to twenty or thirty minutes and then I can use the same piece of paper an hour later and he'll eat it into submission all over again.

Both of the cats enjoy the toilet flushing show. They will stare you down while you go potty and then rush the "stage" with their front paws up to watch the water go down and then fill up. They will stay there until you SHOO them or the water stops moving. At all. In case they have to beat it into submission, I guess.

My personal favorite with the potty fun (I got out of having toddlers just to lose my privacy to the cats) is when I get toilet paper out. They will watch with increasing excitement as I get it and then get disappointed when I don't throw it for them. Never fear, the flushing show is about to start and will lead them back to the throws of excitement for at least another 30 seconds.

They also compete for attention. Both of them jumped on the bed this morning to lay on me. Well, one did and I gave in and petted him. This caused the other one to run from the living room to partake in the attention being meted out. Rather than jump onto AIDEN he walks up my whole body past Jack to sit closer to my face.

I treat this like I would with the kids and ignore that one just a little longer for being so rude. I'm probably not teaching them anything but I feel better.

As I pulled my hand from Jack to pet Crook (who I swear had a smug look on his face. His black face. In the dark), Jack reached out with one paw to claw my hand back into petting him. Lest you think him abusive, when I went back to petting Jack (I know why God didn't give me twins now!) Crook thought he'd win my love back by biting my hand with slowly increasing pressure. And a Cherble.


Okay, so we got to the 100th post. I guess it's tradition to post 100 things about yourself.

I don't know 100 things about myself, even if I add Aiden and the kids in I would have a hard time. AND I just did this very similar thing for my birthday. That was hard enough. So I am abstaining. I may change my mind later when I have something to say. Probably not.

My (Lack Of) Health

So, here's the skinny.

At the hospital they did a stress test. They made the cripple-boy run on the treadmill for 10 minutes at increasing speeds and elevations. They injected some creepy nuclear stuff into my IV (the stuff comes in this weird metal tube) and took pictures of my heart before the 1/2 mile jog and after. Apparently my heart is perfect.

They also took x-rays of my lungs. Again, perfect.

They ran several EKGs. Right on the money.

They took A LOT of my blood and ran various tests. Everything was a-okay.

They ran a urine sample. Peachy.

They ran a stool sample. Dandy.

Apparenlty there is nothing wrong with me. Except the weird muscle twitches, weird pain twinges, heart/not heart pain, diahrrea, dizziness and fatigue. I spent 24 hours in the ICU and learned all the things that aren't wrong with me!

The latest theories are:
-I had gastroenteritis. As far as I know, that's basically some bacteria wreaking havoc on your tummy. Like, food poisening. Only, I never had naseau or a fever or any other symptoms of gastroenteritis.

-Something (??) is putting pressure on my heart.

-I'm crazy! That's my own theory, not supported by any medical evidence or an actual doctor's opinion. It's just how I feel right now!

So, back to square one. I will probably not be seeing the same doctor I was prior to my ER visit. I'm hoping to have better luck at a different clinic. Does anyone know the number for Dr. House?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quick Update

Aiden's home. He's fine, or his heart is, anyway. The other issues will continue to be ignored, I'm sure, but that's not my concern right now. No, I am just glad my wonderfully awesome husband is living and breathing and home again. Maybe I will get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight.

Amy gets the biggest thanks for watching the girls and then also Alex basically all day while we sat at the hospital waiting for not not-docs to get back to us.

Matt, I was totally kidding. I think it was funny, too. Sorry to single you out.

Shaila, let him off the hook. lol. we still have the best upstairs neighbors ever!!


I don't even want to say it.

Aiden went to the ER tonight.

When you're quite finished laughing (MATT!), we'll proceed....

Okay, it requires, as all my stories (aka tirades) do, some back story.

On my birthday we got to go to the ER because Aiden's face was swelling up and the doctor's office couldn't get him in and they sent us there. (not our fault). He had an infection in a saliva gland and was put on some antibiotics. Apparently these antibiotics can cause naturally occurring bacteria in your body to secrete toxins. You'll know this is happening if you get diarrhea. FUN!

Before that all happened there was the passing out for no good reason.

Before that happened his heart started racing at random moments. Like while he's asleep. This is not from stress!!! No one has ever really thought much of it and it's an ongoing part of this mess.

Two weeks ago his leg muscles and butt muscles started twitching. After 10 days of random and frequent leg twitching and cramping I made him go to the doctor. The official reason was the muscle issues but then all this other stuff came out and she did an EKG, a bunch of labs, and some poking and prodding. She listed off like 4 reasons he could be basically dying in the next 24 hours but then decided it was this one prescription that is causing the issue. She has written him off before and basically did that with this. Until we hear back from a specialist in Spokane she's unwilling to do anything else.

Except this drug has known side effects NONE OF WHICH ARE ANY OF HIS SYMPTOMS.

After waiting all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, having to leave work to do more lab blood draws ("right now!!" but the lab still had his blood left from the day before so we just wasted a drive across town.), the stool sample, and feeling progressively worse each day, he announced tonight that his heart (which randomly races) was sore. Not painful like a heart attack would be, just... sore.

Sure, let's just go to bed now and I'll wake up with a dead husband. AWESOME.

I sent him to the ER so I could feel better. They're just going to send him home with orders to wait for JoAnn (the not-doc) to decide to do something but then we can sleep well. I couldn't find anyone to come watch the kids so he drove himself. An hour later he texted to say they were going to keep him overnight.

Then they weren't.

I got Priscilla to come over (yay!!! for Priscilla bailing us out again!) and I took her car to the hospital. When I got there, there was an answer:

My husband has not had a heart attack in the last week but he is going to the ICU and will have a stress test in the morning.

When I was in the hospital for 2 weeks, Aiden spent every moment he could there with me. I'm not as good as him. I've admitted this before. I have my own strengths but they do not involve sleeping in a hospital room on the sad little couch they provide. I was going to wake up in 2 hours anyway when they did his vitals so I got his approval that I am not a bad person and I came home to sleep.

Priscilla is asleep in my bed and I am blogging and I have class in the morning, no babysitter as of yet for that time, and no car. He drove ours to the hospital and there it sits. I can ride the bus to class and probably get a ride to the van tomorrow but I am just stressed right now.

The up side is they are checking him out and the ER doc knew right off the problem is not his prescription JoAnn (the not-doc) was blaming. He's one we've seen a few times (I know, I know!) and was frustrated with the need to go to the ER for Aiden to get any decent care.

Me, too, if anyone's taking votes.

The other up side is his lead teacher was telling him it was just anxiety (I have a whole tirade on that but I'll skip it) today and basically poo-pooed the fact that his body is broken all the time so when something ELSE is wrong, he's aware of it. And he's had anxiety attacks so he knows how those go. So I got to leave a message that he's been checked in the ICU and will prrrooobbably not be at work today.

I shall keep you posted.

Don't you feel mean for laughing, now?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Somewhat Serious Question

Y'know how when 2 people start talking to each other at the same time one of them yields and one of them keeps going?

I have a sister who is NEVER the one to yield thus causing this to be a major point of contention in my own head. Sometimes what I have to say might be more important than what you have to say, even if it is just to me.

But I want to know if it means something about your personality if you are the yielder or the keeper goinger.

What are you? What do you think it says about people (you or the other side)?

I wipe butts over the phone

Annie has this friend Addie who she has been hounding me for a playdate with. I finally remembered to send a note to her mom with our phone number. Whenever I get notes like that I mean to call. I just set the note down... somewhere!... and I will call the next day.

Two months later I find it and feel too dumb to call. The last time this happened I finally called and had to leave a message (my nemesis!). She called me back and I never called back again. Then they moved. Oops!

So Annie gave Addie the note and Friday evening my phone rang. A little voice asked for Annie. Then these 2 kindergartners proceeded to plan a play date.

I did nothing to stop it because I thought Addie's mom had suggested something and was letting Addie run it by Annie to run by me. Not the most economic way but hey, let's have them grow a little, right?

Then Alex got on the phone with Addie's brother and FINALLY I got handed the phone with the mom on the other end. she does exist!

She asked me what the going plan was.

Okay, I don't know because the kids have been planning this with your guidance on that end. Right? No.

Now that I have been listening to these kids talk I am on the phone with another mom. Must be time to prove I'm a true mother; Ashley came out of the bathroom and showed me her butt crack had stuff crusted on and then told me there's a poop emergency in the bathroom. Great.

I tried to have her go stand in the bathroom for a minute while I talked to this mom. No, she'd rather start to sit her poop crusted bum on the living room carpet.

I grabbed her up and carried her to the bathroom where I found poo smeared all over the toilet seat. Ewww!!!! Okay, grab a wipe for her bum. That's easier if there's wipes in the container. Go look in their room, those wipes are empty, too. Head to the living room, stepping over and around the older kids who are tailing me, and the laundry pile I'm working on, find the wipes, carry them back to the bathroom and start cleaning off the poop.

The entire time this woman is trying to set up a play date. I know my track record at calling back and I love Annie and want her to have this so I'm not asking for a 5 minute break from the call. I'm trying to schedule things and answer questions. She's interested in becoming friends, which I normally would appreciate but now I'm huffing and puffing and scatter brained more than normal.

I finally had to admit: I'm not usually so disorganized and I CAN carry on a conversation. You're not sending your daughter to a crazy woman's house, I just have a 4 year old running around with poop on her butt.

I don't know why I said that. But I'm glad I did. She started laughing and said we're more alike than we knew: They have a 3rd grade boy, a K girl, and a 3 year old to our 3rd grade boy, K girl, and 4 year old. She knew exactly what I was going through.

She didn't even know Addie was making phone calls and was handed the phone with expectations but no explanations.

This woman may become my best friend.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not to Brag

Actually, maybe to brag a little bit.

I gave my 2 weeks notice at the preschool. I spoke with the Education Director first who is also the personnel manager. Her response was, "But Aiden, you're our favorite aide."

I jokingly responded that it's only because I show up when I'm supposed to. That's a hard thing to come by with the aides at Head Start it seems. She said, "Well, yes, and you're always so enthusiastic when you come to work, you're so happy, you're so great with the kids and the parents love you. Plus, Kelly (the lead teacher in my classroom) is going to kill you."

She was right, of course. Kelly did want to kill me. Everyone, including Kelly, was understanding about why I needed to quit. Unfortunately it is hard to find reliable employees, especially for a minimum wage position.

I'm not saying I'm perfect, but my parents did teach me work ethic. I take my job seriously, as I have with all of my other jobs. I believe it is important to show up to work and do your very best every day. And I feel like I've done that. I've never been one to shy away from "volunteering" a few hours here and there to get extra (but necessary) things taken care of.

A few of the comments I've received at the news of my leaving that make me feel good about myself:

Kelly: I told my daughters you were quitting. They are very worried about me now.
Me: Why's that?
Kelly: They said, "But mom, he's the only one you can count on there!"

Teacher Dana: We're going to miss you around here.
Me: You'll be okay without me.
Teacher Dana: Yes, we'll be okay, but it certainly won't be the same. Who's going to notice all the little things that need to be taken care of?

Education Director: The office will miss having you bounce in here everyday making all of us smile.

Dana's comment is very true. I am fairly OCD which is a challenge in a preschool where mess is a necessary evil. However, it also comes in handy because things stay organized, tidy, and easy to find. And I do tend to be chipper. I prefer to show up to work with a very bright disposition because I think it sets the tone for my entire work day. And if I get to help others have a better day, well, that's just an added bonus.

I'm having the Education Director add me to the substitute list. There's only a couple of days a week that I'd be available, but I figure at least they'll have someone they call who knows the ins and outs.

I've also reassured Kelly that while I'll spending some time in Ashley's classroom during the week, I will also pop in and volunteer in our classroom. The biggest reason is because I don't think I could just walk away from my students. I've grown to love each and every one of them, even the ones that drive me crazy.

I'm a little worried I'm going to cry on my last day!

Pink Party Corn

A long long time ago I was in charge of Homemaking in our ward. As part of it I decided we should have a ward cookbook. This involved people donating whatever recipes they used the most. We also had some of the recipes made demo-style on Homemaking night so people could try them and be familiar with them.

I ended up typing up the whole thing and, as I was 21 and had a 1 year old boy, it was not organized in ANY fashion.

The Relief Society president donated many recipes which I was hoping for. She is one of those campy women with a million fun recipes to share. There was about 12 different recipes she shared just about popcorn. One of them is a favorite around here: Pink Party Corn

2 quarts popped popcorn
3 T butter
1 1/2 cups marshmallows
4 T Jello powder (any flavor you like but we do strawberry or black cherry most)

Melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows to the melting butter and let them soften but they don't need to melt all the way. Add the Jello powder to the mixture and stir until colored evenly. The granules don't have to melt all the way.

Pour mixture over popcorn and mix well

Friday, January 09, 2009

why I'm laughing (another reason)

Ashley dropped her chicken nuggets on the floor of the van. They were still in the box and she was on the verge of a melt-down over the whole thing. At least they didn't touch the floor which is covered in about 90 different pairs of boots' prints and all the bacteria/dirt/snow GUNK they bring in and out every. damn. day.

Anyway, Aiden unbuckles and says "I'll get them, give me two shakes" as he climbs into the back to retrieve the nuggets. Annie takes this opportunity to embrace her inner smart ass and in perfect flat tone says "Shake. Shake."

I almost had to pull over we all started laughing so hard.

Later today Ashley and I were at the house. I was reading something and told her we'd go to the bus stop to pick up some of the 8 kids we ferry each day in 20 minutes. She had options and suggestions of what to do while she waited. She chose to stomp around the house pouting that she can't play with the cat toy today since she wrapped it around one of their necks.

Pouting got old quick (especially when Mom doesn't respond!) so she came marching up and yelled "I CALL 20 MINUTES!"

I almost couldn't answer her that it had, in fact, only been 10 minutes but I managed to get that information to her through my laughter. She indignantly said "well, it FEELS like 20 minutes. Let's GO"

I decided that if she would be buckled in her car seat and unable to stomp anymore and she wanted to wait at the bus stop longer, FINE. I walked out and told her to get her boots on so we could go.

She refused. She didn't want to go. She thinks all those kindergartners should just walk their own selves home. There was a fight cooking up which I didn't particularly want to have. I asked if I could carry her to the car thus avoiding the boots altogether. This pleased her highness and life was quiet and calm again.

Also, this morning Diva Annie dug out some of her money to go to Rite Aid and buy some BRATZ (ugh!) fake nails. We (AIDEN) managed to talk her out of those and into a cheaper set with just as many ugly nails AND cool nail stickers. That is, stickers for your nails not stickers of nails.

She informed me she would like to request to not put it in a bag because "I don't want no bag".

"Any bag" I said and had her repeat it back to me right before I realized that was wrong, too. Gosh, and I want to teach these people.

Alex got on the phone with a friend of his tonight. He needed to get the friend's phone number and couldn't find any paper. I pointed him to the white board and said to write it there. Suddenly Alex was saying "hol, hol, hold on, run that by me once more..... I said you're going to have to run that by me one more time."

When did my kid become a 40 year old contractor?

The sample

I don't know if I am allowed to blog about the poo kit. I do know that this is one of those circumstances that is hilarious. If you are not the one having to live it.

After Aiden got handed his poop hat full of all the amenities he'd need the fun began. Everyone stared him down in the waiting room. Mostly this was because we were laughing so hard on our way out. The sample has to be delivered to the destination (I feel like I'm in the Secret Service speaking in all this code to avoid being too icky) within 30 minutes of... um... the event. Clearly it couldn't be done while he was at work.

Could you imagine? "Ms. K___, I have to go to the bathroom. First I have to go get my special hat out of my car. Then I'll need to leave so I can run this up to the lab while it's still... fresh."

No, definitely not during business hours.

It finally happened. All the poo kit stars aligned: the urge and opportunity during the right hours for getting things to a lab all came together.

This is where the funniness becomes subjective. I think it's hilarious and have NO PROBLEM cracking jokes about the situation (If you want to hear them, you'll have to call me. I'm pretty sure they would not be well recieved by ALL who visit this page)(it's worth the call). Meanwhile, Aiden has the willies and is NOT laughing anymore.

The kit and the man disappeared down the hall accompanied by a garbage bag. He had an exit strategy for not carrying the special hat to the dumpster in plain view.

The man and the bag re-appeared. There was tears running and vomit dripping from his chin. I don't tell you this to embarrass him, just to point out the awfulness of what I did next.

He went back down the hall to "clean the vomit out of the sink".

I laughed. Not loud, just giggles. Lots of them.

I had to bring him a Sharpie to write on his Play-Doh can of poo and then I had to find a bag. Before his nerves had set in he wished we had a Starbucks bag to take it to the lab in. But we don't.

We did, however, have a lovely yellow gift bag with a little sign on the top that says "celebrate".


When I transferred to WSU I got assigned to a general advisor. He had NO idea what I needed and ended up signing my form and letting me tell him what I needed. He didn't care. He didn't KNOW.

After that semester of proving myself, I guess, I got transferred to the pre-health science advising office. This is a group of 5 science advisers who only deal with pre-med/dent/pharm/vet. They are coordinated by an advisor who has a chip on her shoulder. The main guy I saw in there was funny and easy to get along with. But he withheld information from me. Big information like needing to get letters together from people and strategy to applying to schools.

I found this out because he decided to not see any students this semester so I met with another advisor, a woman who was incredibly helpful and kind and filled me in on all the things that other advisor had left out. So this October I was basically informed that I am already six months to a year behind schedule for getting in dental school when I wanted to.


Couple that with my lack of enthusiasm and you end up with the end of semester I lived through. So Aiden and I had many discussions about it and I changed majors.

If you've read the other posts you know I met with my new advisor this week. I had to do a couple of things before I could meet with her. So I got Aiden to work, got the kindergartners off and on the noon bus (I deal with 3 or 4 extra ones depending on the day), the pre-schooler on the bus and realized it was noon but I was SO going to get this done by 1.

I had to go find the office where I change my major (by signing a little slip that I carried around with me the rest of the day), get over to my current advising office to get my student file, and then meet Deb at 1.

I got to my old advising office 5 minutes after they closed for lunch. AWESOME.

Luckily the advisor I saw this October was in there and let me in, found my file, and was figuring out what stays and what goes when the secretary (MS Chip-On-The-Shoulder) showed back up. AND SHE WAS NICE!

Anyway, having interrupted their lunch hour I was grateful and apologetic and booked it out of there to meet with Deb. I was right, I was wrong. She is NOT a mean person, she's a fantastically nice gramma lady who was full of laughter and giggles. She wanted to know why I want to be a teacher. So I told her. We just had a lot of fun in the 10 minutes I was there.

My file comes up under that major REALLY strangely so she was having a hard time figuring it out. She grabbed another advisor (who I emailed over the break... I think she's the dept. head or something big), Brenda.

Brenda said "Oh, you need to do.... Do you have an AA? Okay, have you taken... OH, JUST GIVE ME THE FILE AND THE GIRL, LET'S GO DOWN TO MY OFFICE"

So we tromped over to her office and sat down. Her computer wouldn't work but she did everything she could, explained things to me and was just generally fan. tas. tic.

I ended up leaving there feeling like I was the most important student in their program. (What a big change from those SCIENCE people!)

Aiden says this is what you get when you are now learning from women who used to teach pre-school/elementary school and are now advising people on how to get there for WSU.

I don't know if that's accurate but it feels true.

I love my change of major.

Favorite parts of my meeting with Brenda:

1. Do you have an AA?
Yes, I have two. Because I collect them, apparently.

2. Oh, to take Math 251 you have to have placed into an appropriate level of math... what's your math level like?
Um, I took calculus last spring.
Oh! Then you'll be fine!!

3. I'm assuming since you were a science major you're sciences classes are okay? [you are required to take 3 hard science classes with at least 1 lab science to graduate WSU]

Just for fun, here's the classes I'm taking as of Monday:

Human Development: pre-natal to 8
Human Development: Understanding Family Communications
Public Speaking
Music: how to read notes and music theory
a Teaching and Learning course
AND Math 251: (course description: Logical and historical development of present-day number systems and associated algorithms; methods of problem solving.) Math for elementary teachers.

I actually will be in a class where the answers are "12". Not a bunch of symbols and numbers with qualifiers and then "that basically = 12"

I love it!!!

PS- thanks for loaning me book money to avoid the line, MOM!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oh Poop!

Warning: The following blog discusses poop. If you are uncomfortable with reading about poop, stop reading or get over it because EVERYBODY POOPS!

I've had some health issues lately, which shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me. A few weeks ago I ended up in the ER because the left side of my face started swelling up. It was determined that I had an infected salivary gland and was put on antibiotics. I received several warnings that should I start having diarrhea on said antibiotics that I should let my doctor know immediately because it is some bad ju-ju.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and a few small incidents of diarrhea later and I suddenly begin experiencing muscle spasms. Muscle twitches? I don't know the difference. Regardless, various muscles in my legs, mostly my butt muscles, have randomly been spasming. Sometimes painful, mostly annoying, and progressively more frequently.

Holly finally gave into the fact that I suck at taking care of my own health and made an appointment for me at the doctor. The list of things that could be wrong with me considering my list of symptoms is kind of long. However, one of the things that could be wrong has to do with this antibiotic. Apparently it affects some bacteria that then begins producing a TOXIN that causes really bad (pardon the pun) crap to happen.

So, the doctor would like a stool sample.

I do not embarrass easily and needing to give a stool sample is not the end of world. As I was checking out I reminded the nurses that I needed said stool sample equipment. The nurse or NA comes back with this:

Just this. Not this in a brown paper bag. Not this in a somewhat see-through grocery bag. Just this. I walked out of the back area of the doctor's office with my head held high and my hands full of this (again, pardon the pun) crap.

As normally happens when a door opens or closes, all persons within earshot of the door quickly look towards the door to see what is going on. Suddenly 15 sets of eyes glance my way and immediately focus on what I have now deemed my sh#$ kit.

Now here's an interesting little look into the sociological affect of serving in the military. The woman who gave me my sh*% kit was an NA in the military for several years. In the military the health techs and other medical personnel have no interest in appropriateness, embarrassment or that funny thing you civilians love so much called HIPPA. It isn't unheard of for a health tech to yell something across the clinic that sounds like this: "Hey, John you forgot that cream for your jock itch." Somehow it doesn't surprise me that this nice young NA forgot or didn't bother to bag up my fun stool sample supplies.

I managed out the door of the doctor's office with my sh$@ kit and my sense of humor still intact. In fact, Holly and I were laughing so hard about the situation I barely remembered that I was going to have to be the guy delivering the cup of poop in the brown paper bag (yes, I'm putting it in a bag) to the lab the next day.

And then it hit me: at least I'm not the poor schmuck who looks at stool samples for a living.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Okey Dokey Dukey

Go here. Then come back.

If you want to get me a post-Christmas present, go here.

I want them.

That is all.

PS if you can tell me why it won't let me post youtube stuff here instead of just a link to it, that'd be great!


I left 4 voice mails and 2 emails over Christmas Break. Not total but to the powers that apparently be in the Human Development department. I kept checking my DARS (the wonderfully hard to understand degree audit system that tells you where you are in any given degree) to see what I might need to take.

I dropped my chem class for Spring semester and was sitting under a full time student status for financial aid which they process later this week. I HAD to get something done. Multiple phone calls (with only 1 voicemail lest they think I'm a horrid person and refuse to let me in) this week have turned up nothing.

This morning I broke down, figured out what I need to take, which classes still have openings, and I scheduled myself for 13 credits. I am now full time again. Hopefully I beat financial aid's timeline for sending out money to my bank.

Then I called, just one more time, and got a hold of this woman I had rather unfairly judged as a bad/mean/unkind woman. She sounds totally nice and I am meeting with her this afternoon. I will be officially changing my paperwork so the school knows I am switched over and I will be on my way. I hope.

Maybe she'll refuse to let me in anyway. But then I'll be justified in calling her those adjectives.

But I doubt it. Think good advising thoughts!!!!

I Quit!

Ok, not in a bad way. But I do get to give notice at the preschool. Honestly, I'm not that sad about it. Perhaps I should explain all this.

Holly's changing majors, an idea that excites me because she'll be teaching and I'll be teaching and we'll all be one big happy family with summers and breaks off together. My parents both taught, and I loved that they were around when other kids' parents still had to work. With that said change of majors she's had to change classes and has wound up with a schedule completely not condusive to my work schedule.

Maybe I should be sad about this. But, really, the amount of work I do at my job for the minimal pay and appreciation makes it hard to be motivated some days. I love the kids and the actual work I do, don't get me wrong. However, getting up in the snow at 6am to ride the bus for 1 hour and then returning home for a couple hours so I can go BACK to work - - well, that kind of sucks. I'm the only aide that gets pulled out their regular class to ride a bus during the day as well. So there's another hour of bus fun where I'm not even working with my classroom. See where I'm getting at? All this for minimum wage. Yup, minimum wage for maximum responsibility.

Also, I'm stoked about the idea of being able to take care of my house and my family again. The hours that I got stuck with at the preschool have made me feel like an absentee parent.

So, that's where we're at now. Either Brandon's child support will have to get in order or I'll be finding a job that fits with our new schedule.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Read Aiden's post first!

As previously mentioned we had to go to Penney's last week while in Spokane. I got to stand in the never ending return line (because I couldn't find the short line for people with things to return from Wal-mart *gasp!*)

While I stood in line Aiden took the kiddos to find a potty. "You're taking three kids," I said,"make sure you bring the same three back!"

Mostly this was for the entertainment of the elderly women standing around with their mouths agape that the man was taking the kids potty. Alone.

While the boys waited for the girls to finish up they were looking at the "as seen on TV" crap for sale right by the bathroom (at least they market appropriately). Alex is, as every kid his age is, convinced we need everything available on tv. We've had countless discussions about how they actually CAN lie on tv and things are not as cool as they look.

(small rant but does anyone else remember the commercial in the 90s in which the announcer guy actually said "Barbie does not actually talk"? It was for the Barbie dream pool or something. The girls in my house laughed for a long time. Almost as long as the Barbizon commercials)

Anyway, Alex started telling Aiden if he had $20 with him he'd buy that super cool talking "pee-doe-mee-ter". Aiden explained what a pedometer is. "Now why would you spend $20 for some piece of junk to tell you how far you've walked? You can just keep track yourself or buy one of the cheaper non-verbal ones."

Alex conceded this was a good point and then saw - ! - a jump rope that counts how many times you've jumped. He quickly realized it would only count how many times you swung the rope around but failed to see that you could count for yourself. Aiden led him to it; "at the Dollar Store you can buy a jump rope that doesn't count. In fact, I think you can get 2 for a buck. Is it worth it to pay $28 more just so it will count how much you swing the rope around?"


But then, Holy Cow!! Some stupid exercise thing!

It can't be crap because it has pictures on it that show what it does for your body, right? Again they talked about how you can just do the exercise yourself for free and buy Pokemon cards instead (we're tackling one crappy purchase at a time).

So Alex leans way in to the box to see that lady's muscle groups outlined on the box. He points to a random muscle group and asks what the colored shapes are (target areas, in case I'm explaining it wrong).

Aiden tells him "that's her butt! Dude, you're checking out her butt!"

hence, Alex is butt man.

In reality we know him to like boobs and red heads. Boobs for reasons I'll spare him from my explaining here and red heads for two major reasons:

1. I used to take the kids to Applebee's once a week. The one we went to had this greeter who had lovely red hair. Not that awful Ginger kids red but dark auburn red. Alex, who can eat more than anyone I know, would get sidetracked if we sat anywhere near the door. I had to remind him to eat because he just couldn't stop staring at this girl.

It could have been that she had large... tracks of land (ha!) but then we get to...

2. We had this friend who refers to herself as the little red haired girl. The kids met her once and then a few months later she was coming over for dinner. I was trying to jog their memories with where they had met her and what they had talked about (futile, for the most part) and then Alex gets it with "Annie, it's the girl with the red hair!" It was almost reverent how he uttered it.

He likes them fiery, I guess.

Just like our parents did!

I have a new hobby: torturing my children in ways I learned from my own parents. This hobby includes, but is not limited to, the following fun and exciting elements:

-Playing every "oldie" in my record collection. I can actually and honestly say record collection, because I have a collection of these "big, black CDs". I am also a huge music freak who married a huge music freak so our CD collection borders on disturbing.

-Singing along loudly to every aforementioned "oldie", preferably in front of my children's friends, my children's school, and at every stoplight. And most preferably with the windows rolled down.

-Informing my children that I do not own stock in Avista (for your own local enjoyment, insert your own utility company name). Not only do children grow weary of hearing this over and over again, by age 10 they really hope you would finally just ask them to turn their lights off.

-Asking my children if they are paying the electric bill this month. See previous bullet as to why this becomes fun.

-Implying that my children have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Or that they find a particular boy/girl attractive. If you can get the other children involved, it makes it more fun. Child psychologists probably would tell me this is detrimental in their development, but again, doesn't that simply make it more fun?

-Convincing my children to do something embarrassing. For instance, Alex got a voice changer for Christmas and we convinced him to go to several neighbor's houses and yell at their doors in different voices. We giggled uncontrollably. He turned a little red and pretended to find it as amusing as we did.

-Telling my children we're having monkey guts or poop or something else completely inappropriate for dinner because I'm tired of them asking what's for dinner. Usually they start asking at 7 am and don't stop until I tell them we're having something totally grotesque. Of course, Ashley told me today it was "weally, weally mean to say we're having poop fowr dinner". Another fun one along the same lines is telling my kids that we've decided to let them go hungry for the day.

Feel free to employ any of these enjoyable child-torturing devices in your own home. If you have any that I am not aware of, please let me know. I am always looking for new and completely legal ways to torment my children. All I truly hope is that they're learning from me so they may torture their own children someday.

I am a pizza

A long time ago Brandon worked in a preschool and the let him borrow one of the tapes of songs they would listen to for playtime. Two of them in particular caught my attention but then he had to give the tape back and I kept forgetting to find the song again.

I found the song on Youtube. The second verse is in French which I remembered. I've been trying to sing it in my sad little mimicking French so it sounds like (this is phonetic):

jen se la pizza, avec de frommage

The kids have been singing the echo part as

Jim says a pizza


Jim sell the pizza

It's been funny to me and now it's funnier.

Ashley watched the video with me and towards the end there's a picture of a delivery boy holding the pizza that's "ready to go". She pointed at the boy and said, "Look Mom! That's Jim!!!"

no school

In the song "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" there's a line which I totally identify with:

And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again.


I told you the weather fairy is out to get me. I have another week of break with no kids (hear the angels singing?).

Today is the first day the kids are back to school, officially.

We got 7 inches of snow last night (or something... can't find an official number).

School's cancelled.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Last night of Break

Aiden was up with Annie again. I was blissfully sleeping all night. I woke up off and on through the morning and eventually registered that I had been sleeping for a long time. It was 8:45 which is unheard of in my universe, usually.

Last night Aiden said he wanted to get the house clean and then spend the last day of break doing nothing at all. The first movie up was Tortilla Soup. It's a little known movie but it's pretty good. The best part is the food. I have never been able to watch it without craving reeeaaaallly good Mexican grub. Last time I tried to get Aiden to watch it he fell asleep (I guess I have a knack for choosing it when he's sleepy). This time he stayed awake and both of us salivated over the yummy food they show being cooked.

Eventually Aiden got over it, I thought, and decided we should have fried chicken for dinner. He had to run to the store and came back with stuff for dinner. We worked together and ended up making the best food we've made all break (Christmas dinner was kind of boring and almost GROSS compared to this stuff!). We had:

Mexican fried chicken. He cut it into chicken fingers and battered it with a mixture of stuff that would make the Colonel drool. And there was cheese in it. Yum!

Mashed Potatoes with bacon, green onion, and cheese in it. The potatoes from Christmas were unusually bland so I added butter and milk and then added some leftover garlic butter sauce from Papa John's before the extra stuff went in. These were NOT bland.

Mexican green beans. Garlic, diced onion, diced (drained) tomatoes, and the green beans. And some other stuff but Aiden made them and I don't know what else went in there. YUM!

Guacamole from scratch. Until I was with Aiden I thought guac had to be made with those packages you can buy. WRONG! All you need is some garlic powder and salt. And, of course, avocados. No "let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours" here. mix and EAT.

Fresh baked bread (from pre-made packaged dough).

The kids are stuffed, the grown ups are stuffed, Ashley is STILL eating, and it was good.

Since it was the last night of break we not only did "best part of your day" but then "best thing about break". Or at least something that you liked. Aiden and I liked seeing the family so much more (it's nice when the parents get the break, too!). Alex liked having Brandon over for Christmas and playing outside, Annie liked opening presents (duh!), and Ashley? She liked "having all that peace and quiet".

I asked if it's hard to come by at her age and she missed the patronizing tone altogether and solemnly nodded, "yes" complete with a sigh.

She cracks me up.

Aiden's mom used to sing "I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck. In my arms, I will keep you from all harms". We sing it to our kids now. It's even a library book we have checked out. Ashley started singing today "I love you, a bushel and a freck, a fushel and a freck and a hug around the neck OOOOOOOH, What do ya know? A fushel and a freck!"

Also, we went to Aiden's work Christmas party at one of the teacher's houses a couple weeks ago. The kids all ended up going upstairs and playing Rock Band (or something). I didn't know what they did up there, just that there were a lot of older kids playing and babysitting the younger ones and we got to have adult time without all the interruptions. Today Ashley and Annie have been running around singing "You are my dirty little secret". I couldn't figure out where they had learned that but they told me.

I sang the 3 lines that I know of the song and now Annie is convinced I know EVERYTHING. I am so the coolest mom.

Midnight Puking

The last time I stayed up this late for an ailing child was with Ashley last year. She got the flu shot (you know, the one with the claim attached to it that it doesn't actually make your child ill). She was sick for 4 days after. Now it's Annie's turn, although I do not have a flu shot to blame. Apparently she simply gets nauseous in the middle of the night because it seems like a good time.

Last night this happened, as well. Then she ran around like a crazy person all day and consumed whatever food her little paws found. She went to bed feeling fine. And now she's not.

After having her spend a few minutes in the bathroom to make sure she wasn't going to actually throw-up, I sent her back to bed. I gave her my now infamous, "the best thing for you is sleep" speech. I heard the *click* of her door shutting and got comfortable on the couch knowing full well that sick children never sleep through the night. I may only be a stepdad, but I have learned a lot in my tenure.

Not 10 minutes later I hear, "AIDEN" from the girls' room. "AAAIIIDEN" she screams again, with all the urgency her voice could muster. As I leaped off the couch a thousand scenarios raced through my mind, most of them including me attempting to get a large and bulky steam cleaner up to the top bunk of the girls' bunk bed. I was certain she had just puked everywhere. For those of you who don't know, leaping off the couch and running down the hall are two things my broken body don't particularly care for. But, my children always win out and when they need me, my body can do pretty amazing things. In this case, it got me to her room in under 3 minutes.

I opened her door, panic-stricken that she was either throwing up, about to throw up or something equally awful. "Can you bring me a barf bowl now?" her very sad voice asked from somewhere in the dark shadows of her bed. I was much relieved that no vomiting had occurred at this point.

Now she's laying on the couch next to me. She still hasn't thrown up and she doesn't have a fever. The barf bowl is stationed next to her head. I'd love to give her something to make her feel better, but there's really nothing to do. Plus, she'd rather lose an arm than have to take medicine anyway. I hate it when my kids are sick. Yes, the cleaning and whining and stressing and all that sucks. But what really sucks is seeing your normally bouncy, bright six year-old completely miserable.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


It happened. They ate early so it had to happen. I wanted to make sugar cookies but it turns out there's little pieces of cellophane noodles broken off ALL OVER THE KITCHEN.

And I have no patience for cut out cookies more than once a year. Gingerbread cookies knocked out the need until next year.

Instead, they got ice cream.


Alex had a smudge on the side of his face, we told him to get a wipe and clean it off. Then I looked at Ashley who was then sparked on to get crazier.

She was licking it already, not in the clean way you might have figured out as a child (I did!) but like a cartoon. This is how she ended up:
Speaking of licking, I have a freakishly long tongue. I got to spend part of this afternoon with Ashley holding her hands over my eyes while I tried to lick her (ewww, I know, get over it) forearms and hands. I don't know why, just because. But while this happened we were laughing and having a great time, all the while she tried to wiggle her hands out of my reach. Thus letting me know what it feels like to have your eyelids slowly peeled from your eyeballs and face by a four year old.

Mr. Mom

Remember that scene in Mr. Mom when Micheal Keaton makes noodles?
We made them tonight. They are known as rice noodles or cellophane noodles. If you've never cooked them, they really do cook in 2 seconds flat. They go BOOM and then are huge-mongous, as Ashley would say.
Aiden bought them a few months ago and they have been sitting on the shelf in the pantry. Then he came home with a clearance Hillshire Farms sausage a couple of days ago. I love that stuff. But this was Italian sausage. So I put it in the freezer so I could think about what to do with it. Today I decided to make the both of them together.
Turns out the Italian sausage is not all that Italian sausage-y which is good. Just to make sure my plans were at least palatable in theory I googled stir-fry and Italian Sausage. Lots of hits came up so I figured it must be do-able.
The kids and I made the noodles (in a total of 10 seconds for 4 batches... just did the whole bag) and then I made my typical stir-fry recipe just using the sausage instead of chicken or shrimp. Yum-o!
I was thinking about it all. day. long. So I ended up making dinner at 3:30. We ate at 4 so I'm sure I'll have to make some kind of dessert later but the point is that it was a HUGE success, the kids enjoyed it, and you better believe these are now a staple in our house.


I started this blog a long time ago. I couldn't find a url that would work for me that was not yet taken by someone else. So I ended up using the dr addition to my name figuring it would be true eventually so why not jump the gun?

This may be the reason I am not on that particular path anymore. Sooo... In the endeavor to be honest and truthful, I considered changing the url. I'm pretty sure this would just make everyone have to update their links and serve no actual purpose.

It would, however, make it so I don't have to type drho to get to my blog. And is that worth it? Not everyone gets to their blog as DR Ho.

So I'm not changing it. You're able to continue your regular path to get here and I can keep my reputation. ha ha!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Of course!

The getting along with Brandon is coming to a close. Not because I am trying to end it, he's back together with Morgan (still, not again) and therefore doesn't "need" anything from me.

Last night he called and left a voicemail. He's got the kids on the weekend of the 16th for January. He informed me he wants them in Everett and he'd like to get them as early as possible because there's something he'd like to do with them over there.

He called back an hour later and wanted to know what my answer was to that.

Okay, first of all, you left the message an hour ago. Never mind that we were putting the kids to bed during that hour and I have not had time to think about it.

I asked what it was that he wanted to do with them in Everett. Initially he didn't want to tell me but eventually I got him to admit it was "something that happens at 7:35" that night.


A Hockey Game. But he doesn't want the kids to know. But he does want them to miss the entire day of school for a frickin' hockey game that night.

I said it's not really a good reason to pull them out of class. Know what he brought up? That I had Alex miss a day of school last year to go with us to Spokane for a doctor's appointment for Aiden. Not even a day, 3 hours. And that was because we didn't have any other option. Aiden had to go the the doctor, Alex didn't ride the bus so we knew NOTHING about how else to get him home.

I told him, again, that he's going to have to let. it. go.

He decided his answer to the 'valid reason for missing school' issue was to tell me why he's not going to have them in Spokane. Ready?

the passes are awful.

Yes, yes they are. So you'd rather drive them 4 times in 3 days than 2 times in 3 days? That makes the very most sense there is.

Meanwhile I'm totally excited to spend all this time driving through Eastern Washington on snowy roads back and forth to Ellensburg twice in 3 days. It really makes me feel like I've had a break from the kids when I spend 16 hours driving. Yeeeeeee haw!

How do I get him to just sign away his rights? I'd still let them see each other but I want to be able to put my foot down as to what's sensible and what's asinine. Even with all my own craziness I'm more level than he is!

There should be a listing in the yellow pages for judges who will help a girl out.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Eve

The kids have been staying up later than usual for most of their Christmas Break. Yesterday Aiden took them to run some errands. During part of their trip they bought a 6 pack of IBC root beer "since it's a holiday". We did Papa Murphy's for dinner with special root beer from the bottle which was entertaining to watch as they can't figure out how to hold their mouths on the bottles and still get any root beer to come out.

They got to watch a video of PICTURE PAGES (remember that?!?) from the library, a Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Christmas (have you seen it? the villain is a pipe organ. for reals). There was some root beer floats, 3 hands of UNO Spin (thanks gramma!) and then Mom announced it was time for bed.

"Aiden said we could stay up!" "WHYYYYYY?" "But...________(fill in your own excuse here)!!"

Great, bedtime is at 7 normally (which generally means 7:30 or 7:45 by the time all's done) and it's now 8:30!!! This is staying up late. Just not midnight.

I have learned the way to avoid the fighting about it from now on (check the comments, too!) but that didn't help me last night.

They finally went to bed and actually fell asleep.

Aiden and I share our opinion of New Year's Eve: It's dumb/pointless/not worth the fuss.

Before you tell me how wrong I am consider this: the date changes every single night at midnight. We don't stay up for February first, or July first, etc. What makes the change of the year so much cooler? NUFFIN'.

How do we decide to ring in the new year? We watched an episode of Monk, then played Monopoly.

Happy New Year, especially if you care.