Archives for October 2011

The Crazy Carving Competition

Here are this year’s jack-o-lanterns.
Prepare to be amazed.

Entry #1  “Bleh”
Entirely Dani’s idea.  I was so proud.

Entry #2 “Ahhh”
Evie made me carve this masterpiece, but she scooped it out and gave me my inspiration.
“Make it look like Dracula.”  She loved it.

Entry #3 “Angry Birds Pig”
I’m not sure that’s what he was going for,  but I can see the resemblance.


Entry #4 “Polka Dots 1”
Mase named his jack-o-lantern after the two polka dots that he carved.  Definitely a budding artist.


Entry #5 “Polka Dots 2”
Dax got his mitts on a carving knife and did some fast (but effective) pumpkin work.  That was definitely much safer than the rest of the time, when he was climbing on the kitchen counters.

Entry #6 “Chomp”
This was my spooky creation.  Obviously a close contender with Polka Dots 1 and 2.

 Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Attempting to stay out of my kid’s Halloween candy.

And, I know it won’t be easy, but please help us decide on a grand carving champion.

Happy Halloween!

I’m So Mean!

I’m a mean mom.  I make my kids do all sorts of dreadful things.  Last week I had the nerve to fix Dani and Evie’s hair for school.

Dani loved it, but my oh-so-shy daughter just couldn’t handle the injustice done to her locks.  If you look closely, you can see the tear drops on her shirt.

“I hate it.  I’m taking it out.”

“You look beautiful.  Keep it in.”

“No.  People will make fun of me.  Why do you do this to me?  You’re so mean.”

“If one person makes fun of you, I’ll take you to Disneyland today.”

Amazingly, we didn’t have to make the 11-hour Disneyland drive.

Then, despite Dani’s declaration that she hates the mountains–I made her go!

She endured, though refused to smile for any photos.

Also, while in the mountains, I made my toddler stay out of the lake.

So mean, I know!

And! I made my kids go to a corn maze.   My husband’s negative corn maze attitude rubbed off on my girls and they didn’t want to go.

The joke was on me though.  Note the missing shoe in the above photo.  Ya, that’s what the true adventure turned out to be.  Looking for the shoe!

There’s more!  While at another Halloween activity, I was mean enough to cause this.

Apparently, I broke eye contact while Mase was trying to tell me something.  My 3-year-old thought that was very mean and let everyone around him know.

Luckily, I redeemed myself with one really nice thing this week.  I took my kids someplace they have been begging to go for months.

The cemetery.

We don’t have loved ones buried close by, so we don’t go very often.  Dax had to be held for most of  the visit after he scaled a tombstone, but my girls and Mase straightened all of the flowers that had fallen over.

A lovely way to end my mean streak.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal:  Trying not to be too mean. 


Birthday Sharing Strategies

Birthdays can be rough.   Especially when you’re not the kid getting all the presents.   Evie was ecstatic to receive tap dance shoes for an early birthday present.  As she started tapping away, you could see the look of pure joy on her face.

Not joyful?  My 7-year-old, Dani.

After Evie danced for approximately three minutes, Dani’s strategies began.

Time Management
Evie, you’ve been playing with those forever.  Give me a turn.

Backup Assistance
Mo-om, Evie isn’t sharing.  She needs to share.

Guilt Trap
If I got tap shoes, I would share with you.

Unthinkable Threats
Fine!  When it’s my birthday, I’m not sharing anything!

And, as a last resort:
The Kill
 Evie, let’s be friends.  You’re my best friend forever, right?

Evie handed over the shoes.

And guess who wanted the shoes the next day?

No one.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Year:  Making sure those tap shoes don’t go to waste.

The Intruder

We are armed at my house.

My husband bought a gun a few months back, against my better judgement.   I’m not certain we’re any safer.   I know my husband wouldn’t have a problem using the gun if our family was in danger, but that’s the problem!  Our suspected intruders are more likely to be our children!

I have my own security mechanism.  Against my husband’s better judgement,  I bought a very lovely pink key chain container of pepper spray and keep it stashed in a secret  location.    Though, I’ve read mixed reviews about pepper spray.  If a perpetrator is able to snatch it, then they are likely to use it on you!   Still, it brings me a little peace of mind.

I’ve also been practicing my karate chop aim to strategic locations.  “Hee–ya!”

But!  I’ve always wondered what I would do in an actual home invasion situation.   My biggest fear was that I would just “freeze.”

Then it happened last week.

My husband left for work early.   I dropped my oldest daughter off at school, and I was home alone with my youngest three.  We were all playing in the upstairs living room, just off the stairs.  That’s when I heard the noise.  Someone was downstairs in our basement and now heading up our stairs!

I did an immediate count of my children.  All here!  There was no time to retrieve my pink pepper spray or get all my kids out the back door.  But I didn’t freeze.  I stood up,  holding my ground.

As my husband emerged from the staircase!

“Ahhh!!!  What are you doing!?!  You scared me to death!  You’re not suppose to be here!”

“I forgot something.  I thought you saw me  go downstairs.”


My husband just laughed.

Lucky for him, I wasn’t holding my pepper spray.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Taking suggestions on home security. 

What helps you feel safe at home?

Spooky Happenings!

There have been a slew of haunted happenings at my house this month.  If you are easily creeped out, please read no further.

An Eerie Fog

Someone mysteriously cranked the toaster to the highest setting and tried to smoke us out of our house!   No one confessed.   Obviously a ghost.

Horse Mutilation

Princess Jasmine’s horse suddenly leaped in front of my vacuum!  I didn’t have time to change course.  Luckily, my 5-year-old, Evie, didn’t see the gory incident or it would have been much uglier.

Disappearing Children

 My 3-year-old vanished today.   When I asked my 7-year-old if she has seen him, I hear this casual response,  “Oh he walked out the front door a few minutes ago.  Said he was going to the neighbor’s house.”   And that’s where we found him.  Scary, but true.

Dum Dum Graveyard

This gruesome site was discovered only a few days ago.   A goblin perhaps.

My Kiddos Playing–Nicely!

Strange–I know!

And finally, a little

Déjà Vu

(the second case of it this year)

Dani: I don’t want to go to the mountains.  I hate the mountains and hiking.  It’s so boring.  All you do is walk.  I’m not going.

Husband: (exactly one week later):  I don’t want to go to a corn maze.  I don’t like corn mazes.  They’re not fun. You just walk through corn.  I’m not going.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal:  It will be mountain and corn maze appreciation week. 🙂 

Memorable Motherhood Mayhem

One of my favorite things about blogging is that I’m finally recording my family experiences.  I’ve already forgotten so many!

I started blogging this past January, but a few years ago, someone asked me to write down everything I did in one day.   He was teaching a Sunday School lesson on the importance of mothers or something like that.  Here is an excerpt:

Dani (age 4)  Evie (age 3)  Mase (8 months)

8:41 3-year-old tells me to “go away” for no apparent reason.

8:42 Baby is crying–2nd messy diaper of the morning.

8:47  I quickly get showered and ready for the day while watching the baby in the bathroom.   As I look for things, I bump the baby’s head in the doorway-twice!  Not too hard of course, but he’s not happy.

Several minutes later he gets a chance to pull himself up on the toilet a few times and he’s happy again, as that is his favorite new discovery.

While I’m brushing my teeth, the baby puts something off the bathroom floor in his mouth—hmmm.  Tried for a minute to get it out….and…he swallowed it.  Gave him some water to wash it down.  Then, washed his hands.

Meanwhile, 3- and 4-year-old are watching another TV show–it’s somewhat educational, but I’m still not proud.

9:07 Dance party!  Kids are grumpy.  3-year-old tells me she’s super duper sick–I’m not really sure about that one. Baby cries every time I put him down.  Maybe he’s sick.  Finally, I give him a spoon to chew on and he’s OK for a few minutes.

9:23 Still dancing–mostly just me performing for the kids–I’m amazing!  They are not impressed.

9:28 4-year-old is begging for snacks.  I hold my ground.

9:37 4-year-old is mad because we are scratching our library plan because of the snow.

9:41 Offer 4-year-old a quarter to watch the baby while I grab some bleach and a new vacuum bag from the basement…admittedly not the best idea.

Come up from the basement 60 seconds later.  The baby has survived!  But 4-year-old is not watching baby.  She was in the bathroom and now mysteriously has shorts on.   She has decided to be happy and is soon dancing spiritedly to “Enchanted” music.

9:43 Baby is grumpy…almost nap time!

3-year-old is unraveling a large roll of multi-colored Christmas ribbon.  She’s having so much fun I let her play with it for a minute.  Then 4-year-old joins in and ribbon is strewn all over the living room.  I stop their fun and clean up the ribbon mess.

9:46 Time for baby’s nap.  Feed baby, then he just lets me hold him for a couple minutes—precious!  4-year-old comes in and shows me her new dance move–also precious.

9:54 Now 4-year-old has made up a game called Henry—it involves our thumbs attacking each other.  3-year-old explains rules also, in great detail.  “It is like a thumb war without holding hands and thumbs can shoot each other”…very violent for two little girls.  Now my 4-year-old makes up another version of the game…Shooty.  Shooty is pretty much the same game as Henry, but turns into wrestling and tickles.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal: Appreciating my eventful days.

Mase 2008


I always knew my kids would be best friends: playing, laughing, hugging, sweet children.  Hmmm?  Not sure what happened.

They do have many wonderful moments, but behavior this year has reached an all time pinnacle of naughtiness.

Though there is hope!

Usually this hope comes just after Thanksgiving, but I’m wanting to break him out early this year.

We named him Pip.

He truly does have magical powers.  Pip switches locations every night.   In the morning, my kiddos all race to see who can find the little red guy first.   Now, the best part–he watches, then reports EVERYTHING to Santa.

And my children become angels!  Or at least cut back on their minion ways.

Dani (7) and Evie (now 6) are old enough to know that Pip is a mere doll, but they are what I like to call–true believers.  They want to believe so badly that they do believe.

Yet!  There was an incident this week that even a true believer couldn’t refute.   As my girls were supposedly cleaning their room, but actually reading a toy catalogue, they discovered this.

“We knew it.  You and Dad just bought Pip!  He’s not real!” Dani proclaimed.

This took me off guard.  I stared at the toy catalogue for a minute, debating over my next crucial move.

“Who do you think put Pip in there?  Santa, of course.  He wants all children to have their own elf.”

Dani mulled over what I was saying and did exactly what a true believer does, “Oh yeah.  Santa would do that.”

Evie agreed.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal:  Trying to resist breaking Pip out of his box in October.

Compulsive Climbing Condition

Today I thought I’d reveal the reason behind my newly forming forehead wrinkles.


His prime daily goal: kitchen counter access.   Apparently, my counters are irresistible.   We’ve removed all chairs in an attempt to thwart his ways, but it didn’t even phase him.   There are so many alternative methods to climb.

For instance:

Climbing by Car,

By Dishwasher,


Learning Table,

And, of course,

By Garbage Can. 

Then, for those days when the kitchen is not quite so intriguing, there are several other important endeavors to keep my toddler occupied:

First we have,

Bunk Bed Safety Inspections

Dax has also taken on the grueling task of,

Swing Set Supervisor

Finally, I wouldn’t want to leave out my toddler’s creative climbing side.  Just last week he scaled the bathroom counter and decorated.

“I love being a Mom.”

Now breath and repeat 3 times.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of Every Day:  Continued prayers for my childrens’ safety.

You might also like:  The Top 10 Loves of my One-Year-Old

The Parent Teacher Conference

Parent teacher conferences were last night.

Dani (age 7) was up first.  Her teacher (who has been teaching for many years) raved, “She is so smart, creative, impossible not to adore, and did something I’ve NEVER seen any other child do.”

There had been a wasp in the classroom and Dani tried to catch it.   I’ve mentioned before that she loves bees and wasps.  But that wasn’t the mystifying part to her teacher.  Apparently, Dani had a conversation with the wasp and pretended the wasp was her mom.

I really have nothing else to say about that.

At the conference, we received a stack of Dani’s school papers.  She had written a lovely note.

Here’s the entire message:

I love you.  you are grate parints.  I like you.  You gise are the best peple in the wrld your nice I love you.

The note was almost enough to melt my heart, were it not for this sloppy, but sincere paper.

Things That Bug Me: Mi brasis, my sistr, mom, my brudr, scool, homwrk, and soop

I inquired about the soop.

“What did you mean by soop.”

“You know that cheesy soup you make?”

“With the vegetables?  I thought you loved that.”

“No.  It bugs me.”

I know what I’ll be making for dinner next week.  Mooah-ha-ha.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Appreciating my unique kiddos.

The Magnificent Money Experiment

I made a quick trip to Walmart yesterday.  I needed to grab only a few things for dinner.  Halfway through our shopping trip my three-year-old says to me, “Mommy, yo cawt is full!”   Whoops.

But in my defense, we absolutely needed those hair barrettes, water color paints, Halloween hand soaps,  pumpkin carving kit, Batman underwear, and Breath Right nose strips for kids (you have to try those).   Also, I didn’t even buy the $24 fog making machine that I REALLY wanted.  So, we actually saved money.

Today, I’m guest posting for one of my favorite blog friends, Amanda from Gratefully Growing in Grace.   She’s fairly new to blogging, so I hope you’ll follow and get to know her.  She’s  immensely creative with her kids and she lives in my home state of Iowa.  

I’m talking about my extreme money saving experiment.  Head over there and check it out. 

Gratefully Growing in Grace


Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  I will refrain from driving back to the store to buy the fog machine.