Making the most of my "Dash"

Posts tagged ‘Kids’


In my haste to get my post published yesterday, and in an earnest attempt at keeping it short, I completely forgot about one of the highlights of 2012!


Not only is October my favorite month of the year (Hello, Halloween!!), but it’s Mister’s birthday month.  So for his birthday in 2012 we planned a trip to Oregon to bring the kids there to meet his family.  We had such a wonderful time!

The kids were able to meet his mother.  We spent time  with his sister, Jan and her husband, Mike.  The kids loved visiting with them, and they really enjoyed getting to explore their beautiful back yard… Koi pond, garden, and sweet doggies too! I’d like to say that the kids were well-behaved and using their best manners at Jan and Mike’s house, but…

Josh decided to interrupt just about every conversation by popping in with,  “Just a random thought…” and then go on with some odd thought.  Mike and Jan also served lunch and set out a veggie tray around 11:30 am.  The kids, who had eaten heartily at the Residence Inn breakfast buffet acted like I had not fed them in two weeks.  There they were, three children hovering over the vegetables, shoving them in their mouths like they were marshmallows dipped in the chocolate fountain at the Golden Corral. I gaped at them for a moment before having to shoe them away like flies.  My kids don’t even LIKE vegetables.  I really think it was some bizarre plot to make me look like a bad mother who forgot to teach social graces to her children.

On Mister’s birthday we went to our favorite pizza place in the whole wide world… Padington’s Pizza.  His sister had planned a surprise party for the afternoon, so we let him think we were just going out for pizza and “dessert” at her house afterwards. We met Mister’s other son and a few of his children there, as well as Mike and Jan and Mister’s mom.  We had a delicious lunch (Whippersnapper…Yum!), then headed to Jan & Mike’s house.

Mister is a big Jimmy Buffet fan, but he’s never been to a JB concert.  So, I bought tickets and a room in Vegas for an upcoming concert, and let Jan know what I planned.  So she decorated her house in a tropical theme and had Jimmy Buffet playing in the background when we got there.  Mike made this huge palm tree decoration, it was incredible!  I wished we could have brought it home, but there was no way to take it on the plane.  Funny thing is, Mister didn’t even put together the tropical theme or Jimmy playing in the background until he opened his present from me and saw the tickets.  Frankly, I was a bit puzzled at his initial reaction, because he did not look excited at all… more confused.  Then he admitted that he thought I was buying him tickets to Atlas Shrugged Part II in Vegas (Wha?! Seriously?!), so he was a bit uncertain as to what the tickets were.

Anyway, we had Jan’s delicious cake with a mexican chocolate mousse filling (to. die. for.), and had a pretty fantastic day.  The trip went by far too fast for us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was such a treat for the kids to get to know his side of the family and see how kind and amazing they are!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

The other fantastic part of October was… The Jimmy Buffet Concert!! BOY HOWDY, did we have fun!!  A couple of weeks after our Oregon trip, we drove up to Vegas in the morning and I took Mister to Margaritaville for lunch.  I mean, how could we go there for the concert and NOT go to Margaritaville to eat?!

Hangin' out at the pre-concert pool party.

Hangin’ out at the pre-concert pool party.

After that we headed over to the Flamingo pool for the pre-concert party.  That was so much fun we had to take a little nap before the actual concert!  Then, it was on to the MGM Grand Arena and the concert of a lifetime (to me anyway!).

Proudly sporting our fins!

Proudly sporting our fins!

I wore my styrofoam fin hat with pride, and a whole lot of giggles.  I think Mister and I laughed and smiled and danced (he doesn’t dance normally, but everyone else was too busy dancing to notice him anyway), and laughed some more.  What a fantastic day!

Whew.  Good thing I made a separate blog post.  I am WAY too wordy!  By the way,  I changed the blog appearance.  I thought it needed a fresh look.  I hope you like it!

Have you had favorite birthday or concert experience?

I’d love to hear about it!! 



The other day I was ambushed by two adorable 5th graders.  They had the sweet smiles and the super-politeness down pat. They wanted to ask if Callie (who goes by her given name, Amanda, at school) could have a sleep over with her friend.

I need to stop here for a moment and explain that I have a difficult time with the whole “sleep-over” thing.  When I was growing up, I quickly realized that my parents did not like them at all.  I remember going to four sleepovers at my school friends’ house. Once in intermediate school, and three times in High school.  I do not recall ever having any of my friends over to our house.  I hated asking my parents if I could go, because I already knew the answer would be NO.  I don’t remember why, on those few occasions, they said yes.  Regardless, the general (unspoken) rule was “Don’t even ask, because the answer is no.”

I’m not sure why they were like that.  Whether they just didn’t want the hassle of arranging it, or the worry of something bad happening, or even having their kid being exposed to other people’s lifestyle.  Probably all of the above.  As a result, I have a really hard time with the idea of sleepovers for my kids.  I have all those same worries I just mentioned.  So, I was completely taken off guard when those two very sweet girls came skipping up to me on Thursday and we had the following conversation:

Little Girl: “Um, Amanda’s Mom,  Amanda said you told her she could come to my Halloween party on Saturday night, so, um, could she, like, please have a sleepover at my house tomorrow night? You know, she can, like, um,  stay all day and, like, help us get food and other stuff like that ready before we have the Halloween party….” [insert two brightly smiling faces]

Me [Holy crap did they really just ambush me like that? What the crap do I do?!!]: “Did your Mom say it was okay for her to sleep over?”

Little Girl: “Um, no, I didn’t ask her yet, but I’m going to ask her tonight.”

Me [Huge sigh of relief]: “Well, have your Mom call me if she is okay with it.  I’ll have to think about it first and see if we have any plans or not [we DON’T, darn it!].

Now, I was fairly relieved at that point because I kept thinking that in NO WAY will this be ok with the little girl’s Mom.  She is planning a Halloween party for a bunch of kids, and why on earth would she want to have an extra one underfoot an entire day early?  I was also a little panicked because I’ve never seen this little girl before, and I certainly don’t know her Mom.  I was thinking that on the off-chance the mom says YES, that now I have to go through the entire process of meeting the other parent, figuring out if they’re a psychopath out to harm my child or if they really are sane and my daughter is going to be safe with them.

I asked Mister what he thought about it, and figured he would agree that she shouldn’t go.  I was incredibly surprised to hear him say it sounded like a good idea, and that she could benefit from the socialization.  That was a LIGHT BULB moment for me.  I never even thought about sleepovers that way.  Then I remembered how much I always wanted to go have fun at my friends’ houses, but never could.  I could clearly see that Callie was very excited about this, and I realized that I do not want to take her fun away.  I don’t want her to get hurt either, but I know I have good Mom instincts.  Now I was kind of hoping the Mom would be okay with two giggly little Tweens under feet for 24 hours.

The little girl called later and said her Mom was ok with it.   I told Callie about a bazillion times that if she got really scared or any bad feelings that she should call me and I’d come right over.  I also told her that everyone gets weird-ish kind of feelings when being in a new place and doing something different, and that those will quickly go away.  She reassured me many times that she understood and repeated my cell phone number to me.  Then she gleefully packed her clothes while I did the best I could to put aside whatever outrageous scary thoughts that were trying to creep inside my head.  I had many horrific ones, I’ll tell you that.  I met her Mom after school yesterday, and she was very nice.  I had no heebie-jeebies or worries of closet psychopaths.  Callie merrily skipped off on her weekend adventure, and I went to bed shoving any bad “but this could happen” thoughts out of my head.

I must admit to having a hard time with not knowing for sure if she’s ok.  I wasn’t going to find out until I picked her up after the Halloween party tonight.  I wanted to have an excuse to call her last night, but I didn’t want to embarass her with a “good night” phone call.  I wanted to call her first thing this morning, but I didn’t want to interrupt her current enjoyment of [supervised] freedom from the family.  However, Mister just came by and read some of this.  He had no clue I felt ambushed or that I was so nervous about sleepover type things.  Apparently, I handled myself pretty well yesterday.  He said, “You know, it’s not inappropriate for you to call and make sure Callie is behaving herself and not creating any kind of difficulties by being there today.”

It took me all of two seconds to pick up the phone and call.  All is well.  I’m told she is being super helpful (exactly like Callie), and she and her friend have been decorating and baking since this morning.  Sounds like a perfect sleepover to me.  What a relief.  And I’m going to have an exhausted, but very happy, little girl come home tonight.

Letting my little girl enjoy her dash too,


It’s time for the Pumpkin Massacre!

Nicely done, kiddos!

The Jack-O-Lantern is the quintessential Halloween decoration. It’s a must-do every year at our house, and that usually means, “Mom MUST-DO the yucky part”.  You all know what that means… Mom has to take the guts out.  And, Mom LOVES to do that part.  Ripping out all the squishy, sticky, ooey-gooey insides of the pumpkin is wonderfully gross.  Especially when I squeeze it through my fingers. The kids can’t stand that part. I call them chickens.

This year I decided to buy one of those cheap pumpkin carving booklet/tool-kits they sell for three bucks at the store. Before I could tell the kids I didn’t want them to pick the hardest patterns in the book, that’s exactly what the youngest two did.  *sigh*  I really should have seen that one coming.  At least the kids were helpful as we taped the patterns to the pumpkin.  Each of them patiently waited for me to finish helping with one of the other kids, before moving on to help them.  Since the tool that scores the pattern onto the pumpkin was missing from the package (I didn’t notice that in the store, but that’s my kind of luck), the kids were going to use a punch tool that came with the kit.  I suggested toothpicks would also work, and Josh and Callie worked quietly, diligently marking out their pattern.

The kids really surprised me, because I did not hear the usual complaints. “When is it MY turn?” “She/he is taking too long!”  “This is boring!”  “Mine’s not working!”  “When can I be done?”  They were calm, they waited their turn, they helped each other, they even said words like “please” and “thank you”.  Mister had his HAM radio set up outside and was listening & talking while we were all out there.  The kids were actually quiet enough for us not to be bother to him while he was focused on that.  Plus, the kids and I were greatly entertained by some of the conversations that were going on over the airwaves (like the guy who was openly talking about the diarrhea he got from a Walmart chicken… The kids and I about died laughing).  Anyway, I’d like to thank the person who stole my kids and replaced them with these well-behaved, kinder, politer children.  Actually, that only lasted for the pumpkin-carving, but I’ll take what I can get.

As far as carving kits go, why have I not done this before?!!  I thought having a sturdy metal spoon was fine for scraping out the pumpkin innards.  I was so wrong!! That cheapo piece of plastic scraper was a MACHINE at getting that stringy stuff out.  And those flimsy little saw-like tools? WAY better than the normal humongous steak-knife we use. When the kids started out working away with their little saw-knives, I figured they were still going to do the usual hatchet-job on the pumpkins (just using smaller, more annoying tools).  Ohhhh nooooo… Those things were fantastic! I started wishing I had got my own pumpkin to carve.  Until I had to help the youngest two with their patterns, and then I quickly got that out of my system.

We all had a great morning, and the kids really did a fantastic job on their Jack-O-Lantern’s.  They turned out so much better than I thought.  Next year I’m buying more of those nifty little tools.  Those things are BOMB!

Josh took some pictures of all of us while we were working, so I just put them all in the slide-show below.

Making my dash great by spending time with the kids and creating actual Jack-O-Lantern’s,


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The kids get a new sibling!!

The kids meet their new sibling!

NO, I am NOT pregnant. (God FORBID!)

I wrote this post about Brian, Mister’s oldest son, stopping by for a visit.  We had a great time spending a day with him, and we even were able to take him and get a Sno 2 Go (he LOVED it).  The one thing missing was… JILL!!  I suffered through the visit without her, but I’ll get to see her soon… (yay!) But… I think the best part of the weekend was that Brian got to meet my kids.

It has been really difficult to arrange something like this, because when the kids have any breaks they are with their Dad in California.  However, this weekend a very rare situation presented itself.  Brian happened to be in the area for the weekend, and he needed to drive our exact route on the day we picked up the kids from their Dad.  So, we drove the four hours, picked up the kids and once we were on the road I told them they were going to meet their Step-Brother in half an hour.  They about flipped out from the excitement (I am NOT kidding!).  They had been wanting to meet Brian and Jill and their girls for quite some time.

Brad and the "kids"

We didn’t have a lot of time, but we briefly met at a rest stop.  I figured Josh would run and hug Brian (he had said he was going to do just that in the car).  When Brian introduced himself and held his hand out for a shake, Josh’s shyness got the better of him and he just shook it.  Callie is usually pretty shy herself, and will hold back for a bit until she’s more comfortable, which she did.  The big surprise was Megan, who looked at her siblings and then at Brian and said, “Well, I’M giving him a HUG!” and she promptly did.  Josh laughed and said, “Awww, man… ME TOO!”  Of course, Callie followed right after with her own hug.

Me with the "kids" (LOL!!)

Brian told the kids they could get up in his truck and check it out.  Josh hopped up there, but didn’t go further than the driver’s seat (still feeling a bit shy).  Callie got up there too and poked her head in the back, but that was it for her. We all took some pictures, looking dorky there at the rest stop, but I  didn’t care!  After we got back in the car and continued our trip back home Megan said, “I’m not the oldest child anymore….YAY!”  Callie immediately responded with, “I’m still the youngest child, THANK GOODNESS!”  I totally agree with you, Cal.

I can not adequately express how happy I am that Brian really wanted to meet the kids, and how excited they were to meet him.  That really makes me happy, because I know that not always does blending families turn out nicely.  I couldn’t have asked for better people in my life than the Slaughters.  Now I can’t wait for the kids to meet Jill and the girls!!

I really love this family!!

Josh is SO busted!

Oh Josh... We found your MESS

As I was typing up the “Company’s Coming” blog, Mister went to check Josh’s room for me to make sure it was “Company Ready”.  I had JUST told Mister how good the kids have been lately about keeping their rooms straightened up.  See, every night before bedtime we do room inspections.  Every morning before school, we do room inspections.  They usually have scraps of paper on the floor (I have no idea WHY, since they have a trash can in their room, for crying out loud!).  There are the usual stray socks, pencils, erasers, shoes, etc.

However, I haven’t had to get on them so much about that stuff anymore, and I was feeling PROUD of them for being more responsible.  Apparently, I wasn’t “inspecting” the right part of Josh’s room.  That kid had a nasty pile of trash, toys, pencils, pens, erasers, you-name-it-and-it-was-there on the other side of his bed.  Oh, and STUFFED ANIMALS. Did I mention Josh was 11?!  (Yes, Josh, I put that out there to annoy/humiliate you as is my Motherly Right when you try to be sneaky!!) He also blamed his 15 year old sister, Megan, when he ran out of socks saying she didn’t do the laundry. Nope. Not true.  He had stashed them along with the trash beside his bed.

Momma was NOT pleased!

Now, I made a nice pile of it on his floor specifically to take a picture for this blog.  Normally, I would have left it there for him to clean up when he gets back home.  However, company saved his little butt from cleaning it, because I just did it.  AND ALMOST BURNED THE COOKIES BECAUSE OF IT.  So. not. okay.

Being the oh-so-nice mom that I am, Josh may now find that he is missing some tiny Lego pieces (thank the Lord because I hate stepping on those stupid things).  He also may find other stuff missing too.  Like, oh…say…. 39 clues cards, Pokemon cards, Bakugan cards as well as a few Bakugans, and Bey BLade peices, just to name a few.  You really should keep your stuff put up where they belong kiddos, because when Momma has a chance to get rid of those annoying toys… She. Is. Gonna. Take. It.

Period. Full Stop. End of Story.

Not all days in the dash are unicorns and rainbows… (especially for Josh)


Monday Funny


It’s time to bring this video back… My son, Josh, would be so mad, but he doesn’t even know about this blog… So I’ll get a pass for now.  I can’t WAIT until he gets a girlfriend, because this will be the FIRST thing I show her!!

A little backstory:

We were housesitting for a friend about 2 years ago.  I heard Josh whining in another room, but Josh always whined.  So, I tuned him out.  Then my oldest daughter ran in and said Josh was stuck and needed help.  THAT is never a good thing, and especially at someone else’s house!  I ran into the dining room… and there was Josh:

He survived, and thankfully SO DID THE CHAIR!  Every time I need a good laugh, or would like to annoy Josh, I watch this video!

Living my dash (as an ornery Mom)


It’s Honor Roll time!

We went to Joshua and Callie’s awards assembly today.  Joshua and several other students played their instruments while the all the other students sang an opening song.  He did well, and I’m proud of him for spending his lunch hours practicing for this as it was a voluntary performance.

Both Josh and Callie were awarded for making the Honor Roll. Callie had 1 B, otherwise she would have had her Straight-A’s again.  They were also rewarded for “exceeding” in several subjects on their state AIMS tests last year.   I’m very proud of them!

Unfortunately, Megan got two C’s on her report card.  And that means no “Dinner out on Mom” for the kids.  They usually choose Chili’s or Red Robin, so I’m kinda disappointed too!  However, it’s probably for the best, since God and every one else knows I’m trying to lose this darned weight!!

Miss Callie

I’m not so proud of those who conducted the assembly.  The principal (who does a fantastic job with these assemblies) wasn’t there, so some admin woman did the awards.  She’s gives off the “I’m not a nice person, but I’m going to pretend that I am to all of you parents” vibe.  She didn’t seem to know what she was doing, and she had the teachers tripping all over themselves trying to pass out awards.  They have a new staff member there, and he was running around with some paparazzi type video camera taking video of the kids AND the adults sitting in the audience.  We were sitting in the front row, and he did one of those “Price is Right” runs down our row with the video camera.  This guy was videoing from the hip position (with the camera pointed up at the kids’ faces), then would quickly kneel and get video from that view (pretty much the same as the hip level).  He kept walking in front of the teachers passing out awards as the kids were called to the front.  He was right in the kids’ faces and he generally looking like a complete idiot and nerd.  Of course we also had the one mom who has to get out of her seat, walk up their little “red carpet” (it’s purple) and call her kid BACK to get a picture of them.  DURING the ceremony.  People like that are so obnoxious to me.  I know, I know… the world is ALL about them getting just the right picture at the expense of all the other parents and students. What was I thinking to actually complain about it?! But, I digress…

Way to go, Josh & Callie!  You worked hard and I’m so proud of you (but I’m NOT sticking that obnoxious Honor Roll bumper sticker on my car)!!

Great job, kiddos!

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