Archives for August 2011


As I mentioned before, my daughter, Evie, started half-day kindergarten last week.  She is the biggest ham at home, but around groups of kids or almost any adult, she is exceptionally shy.

Evie has one amazing friend who lives an hour away and there’s also Princess Davis, her pet rock…but that’s about it.  As you can imagine, I was ecstatic when she told me she made a friend at school this week!

“I made a friend.”
“You did!  What’s her name!?!”
“I can’t remember.”
“What did you talk about!?!”
“We didn’t talk.”

Yesterday morning Evie informed me that she had found yet another friend. He was hiding in our nightstand drawer, all wrapped up.  I strongly encouraged her to dispose of this new friend.

Instead, she made him a swimming pool.

Evie even named him.


 I inquired about the name choice.  She logically responded, “He really looks like seaweed, I think.”

You wouldn’t think Seaweed would be very versatile, but Evie played with him for several hours.  After his swim, she filled her new friend up with water and made him into a baby bottle.  Seaweed was also transformed into a fish hook. 
“There’s just so much he can do Mom!”

It was sweet…sort of.   
Sadly, Seaweed is no longer with us.   He swam away while Evie was at kindergarten.   I’ll be moving all other Seaweeds to a high shelf in the closet.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Just being grateful for my creative children.

The Playdate

Since the commencement of second grade, my daughter, Dani, has made a new bff.   After much pleading and promises of good behavior, we had a playdate with the bff on Friday.

Playdates with my daughter are always…eventful.  She morphs into ENTERTAINMENT mode.  Dani is constantly offering her guests treats, coming up with silly games, messy crafts, and looking for the craziest things to do!

Halfway through the three-hour visit, the bff was giddy when she noticed our trampoline.  My three kids and the bff raced outside to jump.  Perfect!  Trampolines are easy entertainment.

My toddler was sleeping, so I stayed inside and started mopping.  I left the kitchen door open to our gated backyard and listened to their happy jumping squeals.  We have an additional door going to the backyard from a bedroom, and I could also hear kids going in and out of that door several times, maybe to use the bathroom.

The giggles and even screams of laughter just kept increasing.  They were definitely having a fun time.  Maybe too much fun? 

It had been about ten minutes.  I checked on them.  The hose was turned on full blast and white foam had transformed our trampoline into a giant sudsy slip n’ slide.  “It’s soap Mom!  Isn’t this great!” my daughter enthusiastically hollered.

 I was feeling overly generous with the new friend visiting.  I let them play and prayed there would be no sliding injuries.

I then surveyed the damage.  My daughter didn’t just use soap.  She had also confiscated every shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottle in our two upstairs bathrooms.  The empty bottles were strewn all over the yard.  Here is just one of the casualties.
After I sent the soapy bff home, more damages were discovered.  In addition to the sudsy trampoline, somehow our play clothes bin had exploded in the downstairs living room, and an entire full bottle of freezing hair mousse had ended up in Dani’s hair.   It was rock solid.
Dani and I had a loving, but serious chat.

There had also been numerous selective listening incidents during the playdate that I was especially not happy about.  I informed her she would be cleaning up and missing her much anticipated dance party that night.  She didn’t even argue, “OK Mommy.”  She knew.

That night, after taking a soapless shower, my husband questioned Dani about the reasoning behind her great soap caper. 

Her wheels started churning for a response, “Nobody was using the soap.  It was just sitting there.”
“I use that soap everyday, Dani.”

The kids had also confiscated some food coloring at some point during the day.   My young artist got his mitts on it.  He attempted to clean up his mess before I noticed, but wasn’t fast enough.
The purple color on his hands faded to stunning bright pink.  We will be acting out the book Pinkalicious tonight with Dax as the star. 
Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  I will be appreciative of my especially clean trampoline.

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing! Try me!


Have you heard of Cafe Rio???  Their salads are one of my favorite addictions.   And their salad dressings are immensely popular and delicious!  I was going to stop posting recipes due to my cooking defectiveness, but I’m fickle.  Our tomatillos and jalapenos were begging to be picked this morning, so I had to make some Cafe Rio-like dressing for our late lunch today.

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not buttermilk)
1 c. mayonnaise
(I use olive oil mayo.)
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
3 medium-sized tomatillos
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeno
(Seeds are optional, dependent upon hotness capabilities.  I used about half of the seeds.)

Blend everything and enjoy!

This dressing is ultimately spectacular on a copycat Cafe Rio Barbacoa Pork salad.  Here’s my version from a couple of months ago.  The pork is buried.
I based my dressing and my salad off of a recipe found here.  I was too lazy to make the salad today.  We just used it as veggie and chicken dip.  This plate didn’t last long.  Evie abrubtly ended my photo shoot and devoured everything!  

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Appreciating our weed-filled, but productive garden.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Life Lessons: Headaches, Husbands, and Power Rangers

It’s been an educational time for me.  
Here are:
11 Ways I’ve Been Enlightened this Week
-Attempting to lie down when I have a headache will only encourage my toddler to sit on my back, yank my hair, and bounce up and down while giggling.
-No matter how cool and calm I feel before the first big kindergarten drop-off, I will still get teary-eyed as my little girl walks away.  Thankfully, the principal gave all sobbing moms kleenex and a cookie.
-If I’m given a cookie, my three-year-old, Mase, will snatch it from me and eat it.

-I love my newish neighbor.  I stopped by her house this week and it was messy.   I felt right at home.

-My toddler, Dax, discovered he could push around chairs this week and get into anything!  I’ve learned that if I remove all chairs he will just use an upside-down laundry basket instead. 

-This week, even after his tire fiasco, my husband gave me a hard time about splurging so much on my slightly pricey favorite ice cream.  The next day, in a moment of toddler-induced stress, I went to the freezer in search of said ice cream.  But!  It was gone! My husband had a late night ice cream snack!  I’ve learned that, if this happens, all my stress will be channeled into a not-so-sweet phone message for my ice cream-thieving husband.

-My husband and I have both agreed not to apologize, as neither of us is sincerely sorry, and I’ve discovered we can still continue on happily in our marriage.

-Though, I’ve learned to hide my ice cream.

-Even if Mase is the last to bed, he will be the first up in the morning, demanding breakfast and Power Rangers.

-After finally watching an episode, I’ve learned that Power Rangers, while amazing, is not the best choice of entertainment for my three-year-old (already battle happy) boy.

-Most importantly, I realized that I don’t have to be mother or wife of the year.  But, I’m grateful I get to spend each day with my crazy family, and I think they’re grateful for me too…most days. 
Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Trying to be nice and learning to share.

Linking up today:

Toddler Professions

I hate to brag, but my toddler Dax is truly gifted.   His professional future is bright!  Just check some of his current options.
First, he could be an

This may be the only time a live canvas was decorated with chia seeds.  I think it turned out beautifully.

 And I’m not quite sure how he could use this next particularly impressive skill.  Maybe a
 Grocery Bagger
Dax is a top rated stuffer.  He has now stuffed (and broken) our Wii disc slot and our DVD player.  Here’s his latest stuff, my van tape player.
We’re moving on to his most practiced talent,
Toy Tester
He could start this career right now!  My one-year-old has an awe-inspiring knack for finding out how many ways a toy is NOT safe.
Now for an intensely competitive field,
Food Critic
This meal was sent back to the kitchen.
And finally,  of course,
World Famous Dancer
Grooving has been his passion for many months now.  Here’s a blurry, but captivating shot of Dax doing the river dance.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Having gratitude for my gifted little guy.
If you made it through this, you might also endure: The Top 10 Loves of my One-Year-old.


I have a special calling in life.  I am my husband’s personal driving assistant–for free!

“Um, your blinker may still be on.”
“Do you see that person?”  
“Watch out!”

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, he is utterly unappreciative of my assisting and can’t see what an asset I truly am.  If only I had been there this weekend.

My husband decided to take my two girls to a local water park.

A couple of hours after he left, I get THE CALL.  They had been in a bit of a driving mishap. 

This was my husband’s story and he’s sticking with it.

The water park has a parking lot fee, which my husband paid online.  As he arrived at the parking lot, he was glancing up at the slides and somehow didn’t notice the intended fee-paying entrance to the parking lot.  Nor did he notice the “Do Not Enter” sign.  Nor did he notice the spikes jutting out of the ground that were there to stop him from entering.  (He doesn’t drink, I swear!)

Three tires immediately blew.  When he opened the car door all he could hear was, “pshhhhhh”. 

Dani was the one to initially tell me the story on the phone.  As usual, I could tell she was loving this adventure!  Most of their day was spent at Sam’s Club getting new tires.  Goodbye $600.  I will miss you!

Thankfully, my girls filled up on a good $10 worth of free food samples.  Yes, we do hope to make up the entire amount of the tires by taking advantage of samples.   A mere 60 trips to Sam’s Club should do the trick.

They did finally make it to the water park, but Evie was too terrified to go near a slide.  Hopefully eight trips down the lazy river was adequate reflection time for my husband to realize how valuable his driving assistant is.

Though next weekend, we’ll all stay home and let the kids run through the sprinkler.

Grumpy Grateful Wife Goal:  Attempting not to make fun of my sweet husband…too much.

Check Out My New Look!

I was waiting for just the right moment to reveal this, but today’s the day.   My five-year-old Evie was playing Beauty Salon last week.  Sure she’s had some problems earlier this year when she turned my hair into a bird’s nest, but she had earned back my trust.  I volunteered to be the day’s first victim client.

I was even enjoying it.  Relaxing.  Almost asleep.  Then, I heard the most horrific sound!  I have no idea how to spell that sound.  It was the noise scissors make when they cut hair!  I was frozen in shock for a minute.  Then jumped away!

Evie looked surprised.  Why was I stopping her beauty efforts?

She was so proud of her work.

Her sister was hysterical with laughter.

And I have a very hip new style.  (Ignore the gray roots.)

Now a bonus.  Here’s my sassy windblown look.

The hair’s a little too far back to be bangs.  I think that makes me a trend setter.
It could have been even more beautiful.
If only I had fallen asleep.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day:  Locking up all scissors.
Oh and while you’re here, check out my awesome new blog look.  Thanks to April and Laura from April Showers!  Unlike my hair, this style is still a bit under construction, but I think it fits.
April Showers Design Studio

What I Want My Kids to Know

A few years ago I watched a talk show that had a great impact on my life.  There was a mother and daughter on the show. The mom was extremely self-conscious about her appearance and her weight.

The mom constantly berated herself;  although, she was just the opposite with her daughter.  The woman would tell her daughter how beautiful she was.  The mom would go on and on about how she would love to have her daughter’s figure.  She really heaped on the praise. 

The well-meaning Mom was then surprised that her daughter didn’t believe a word of that praise.  Instead, she took on her mother’s insecurities, even developing an eating disorder.

 I think about that show a lot.  I have plenty of insecurities.  I believe there are certain times to share some of those struggles with my kids.  Still, I want my children to know me as someone who focuses on my strengths, not my weaknesses.

I want my kids to know I am:
Completely addicted to ice cream.  Attempting to eat more fruit.
Craft impaired.  Able to make the cutest origami paper cranes.
Always fearful about shaking when I speak in public.  Still making myself speak in public and even enjoying it…occasionally
Intimidated by certain people. Loving the new friendships I’m making.
Often struggling to remember things.  Able to recite all 50 states in alphabetical order.
Thinking I look several years beyond my age. Looking ravishing with my new haircut.
Frustrated by my cleaning inadequacies. Impressed that I can see glimpses of the laundry room floor.
Very guilty about not being the best Mom.  So sincerely grateful for my life as their mother.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of a Lifetime:  Remember to focus on my children’s strengths, and my own.

The Sock Puppet Difference

It’s been so fun to see the unique personalities of my children develop.   Sometimes it’s the simple things that make those differences stand out.

I attempted to play sock puppets with my daughter Evie (age 5) and my son Mase (age 3) yesterday.  Real sock puppets.  No eyes, just socks. 
My sock starts talking to Evie’s sock.  Evie’s sock bites my sock, but gently.  Evie’s sock then gives my sock a hug and they play together.  Nice sock puppets. 
Then, I give Mase a sock.
My sock tries talking to Mase’s sock, then leans in to give his sock a hug.  But!  My sock is attacked! Then, his sock is no longer just attacking my sock.  His sock’s attacking me!  

I laugh and play along for a couple minutes, but finally try to reestablish sock puppet civility.  It was not meant to be.  Mase’s sock puppet starts tooting and saying random potty related words.   My sock is not impressed.  My sock even tries to leave.

There’s no escape!  Mase’s sock and Mase jump on top of me with endless giggles.  Truly endless.  My happy three-year-old (and his sock) attack again and again and again…and again.  We wrestle for at least twenty minutes!  That’s about twenty years in sock time.
And there you have the sock puppet difference. 
Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: Appreciating the differences in my children.

Precarious Pious Predicaments

Our church starts at 11 a.m.  You’d assume that would give us plenty of time to get ready.  Wrong!  Yesterday, it was still a wacky race out the door! 

The minute we arrived at church, I left my family to drop off a bag in a closet, down the hall.   When I met up with my husband in the chapel, the meeting was starting and my two older girls were missing!  They had gone searching for me.  Then I went searching for them.  After we all got back, as usual, I was chasing and unsuccessfully attempting to entertain my one-year-old, Dax. 

About fifteen minutes into the meeting–that’s when I remembered!  I immediately felt the back of my dress.  Oh no!  I had forgotten to zip my dress.  A quick plea to my husband solved my problem, though he chuckled as he zipped and made a “witty” comment.

To my relief, I had randomly decided to put a shirt on under my dress.  Here’s my unzipped look.  It could have been MUCH worse.

My biggest grumble about this?  Couldn’t anyone have said something before I showed off my unzipped self to half of the congregation!?!

Still, this is minor compared to last year’s church predicament.  My then two-year-old, Mase, kept messing with my swishing skirt as I was talking to someone in the hall.  Afterward, I walked Mase to his nursery class and happily dropped him off.   I spoke to one of his male nursery teachers before I left, then passed a couple men in the hall and said, “Hi.”

 That’s when I felt something was off.  Whoa!  Mase had somehow hooked the front bottom edge of my skirt to the top elastic of my skirt.  I was wearing tights underneath, but my tights had a hole in a very precarious position!  No photo reenactment for this story.  I can feel myself cringing as I write.

On a positive church humiliation note: You may remember that large spoon my husband accidentally stole from a Christmas church potluck in 2009.  I am guilt free!  I returned it!  Yesterday, I boldly announced my husband’s spoon theft in a church women’s meeting.  Sadly, no one spoke up for that beauty of a spoon.

I ended up leaving it in the church kitchen among a hundred other serving spoons, where it will be so unappreciated.  I may steal in back if it’s still there in a few months.  

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Next Sunday: Attempting to be predicament-free.