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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Good Ol' Summertime

I have a love hate relationship with summer. I love the sunshine, the evenings, the green trees and blooming flowers. I do not , however love hot weather. Well, hot and humid weather. With the current state of my hormonal physiology, I am already finding summer a little more than I am ready for.

Short of turning my air conditioner to freezer, I am trying to think of creative ways to cool off. (turning the air conditioner to freezer is too expensive, and would tick off my cat.) Here are a few of my ideas.

1. The kiddie pool. I could fill it with water and even ice cubes depending on the extent of the influences of biology. I have thought about this one a lot. However, sitting outside looking like a beached whale has made this one far from attractive, in more ways than one.

2. The cold shower. More private than the kiddie pool, always a plus. No neighbors offended by the site of a bloated white mass sitting in a much to small vinyl pool. Down side, sooner or later someone else needs to use the bathroom for other purposes. Why he can't just go across the street to Casey's is beyond me, how selfish.

3. Carrying an electric fan everywhere I go. This would be the perfect solution except for the cord, well that and the water and electricity thing. The cord, though is its greatest limiting factor. It never reaches everywhere I like to go. If I want to go into a different room I have to unplug it and bring it with me. This only works so far though. I try and try to take it on a my walks with Bazinga. I put it in a wagon and pull it along behind me. Then it unplugs, eventually, even with 45 extension cords attached. Plus, there is still that whole neighbors thinking I'm crazy thing.

4. Cold towels on the neck. It works for a little while. Then a hot flash comes a long and thick steam rises from the towel, fogging my glasses and frizzing my hair out. I look like my head is in a bowl of dry ice. Not a pretty site, but would work great for Halloween. I have learned, though, if I need to dry a pair of socks, my neck is the perfect place. As long as they are clean socks. It took five days to get that smell out of my hair and nose when I grabbed the wrong pair of socks one day.

5. The frozen underwear. A slumber party favorite. Could preteen girls be smarter then we give them credit for? Could it be they have discovered the secret to living comfortably in the heat of the summer? Have we ignored this ritual unfairly, just because of its origins? I'm starting to think this may be my best last hope. Think of it, a frozen water bra. What could be better? Now that has the possibility of long term cooling abilities. C-cup ice cubes, strategically  placed for maximum cooling effects. Portable, discrete, the perfect personal air conditioning system. How could it go wrong? Oh, yeah, when they melt and spring leaks everywhere like on Will and Grace. I think water spouts from my bra, while standing in line at Dollar General would likely add to the whole lunatic aura.  Children would run in horror crying, "that's the crazy boob lady! Poison acid shoots out of her boobs!" Not the best way to make acquaintances. I wonder if they make water under pants? On second thought that never seems to keep Kahlen any cooler, of course I have never frozen one of her used diapers, never plan to either. Honest. No, really, I don't.

It seems I have come full circle and am back to the same difficulty. I guess for now I will just have to turn the freezer down stairs on its side and make it into my own one room apartment. It's a little cramped, but at least my 20 pound cat won't want to sleep on me.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

This Memorial Day I have been sitting around the house looking for things to do. Willie is, of course, at work, Bazinga, Mia and I have been left to our own devises. I admit, I have been feeling a little sorry for myself, being alone yet another day. The last episodes of Sex and The City on TV. I couldn't help but compare my life here to Carrie's life in Paris, except she had money, and was in Paris, I'm in Rossville. As she wandered the streets of Paris alone, I knew how she felt. I was definitely feeling very sorry for myself. Feeling like I had left my life behind to be with my husband, and ending up alone all of the time.

Then I looked outside at those flags I talked about the other day. Today standing tall in the sun. Blowing in the wind. I remembered what Memorial Day is all about. It is to remember those who gave all to keep our country free. It is to remember sacrifices made by thousands that came before us. From the Revolutionary Minute Man to the National Guard solider  in  Afghanistan  today, all have fought and sacrificed so that we can have freedom to live, love and laugh. We have the freedom to oppose the wars that they fight in. We can walk down the street holding protest signs against our own government because they protected our freedom of speech. Their lives were given so we could enjoy ours.

Families over time have shared their loved ones, sacrificed for the rest of us. Some gave precious time that can never be retrieved. Children who's mother or father, and sometimes both had to go away for a year or more. Time that they will never get back. The wife who now has to raise children alone because her husband is buried at Arlington. The father who weeps at the airport for a daughter who may or may not come home again. All proud of their loved one, all making sacrifices we can never comprehend. Memorial Day is about them too.

My life is easy compared to theirs. I know Willie will be home tonight. I know he will not be shot in a battle. I won't be alone when I go to bed tonight. I'll be sleeping in a comfy bed, not a fox hole. Thank you to those who have given all for our country. Thank you to the families left behind.  I am proud to be an American, and hope that one day, soon, no one will ever have to sacrifice in wars ever again. It is a beautiful dream, is it possible? Here's hoping peace will find a way.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rainy Saturday

Memorial Day Weekend. The first official weekend of the summer season. The promise of a fun filled summer ahead of us. Many BBQs, many camp outs, many picnics are planned for this weekend where we honor the many men and women who have given their lives for our country. Today, those plans are being washed down the street by a rain that just won't quit. Oh, it teases once in a while and looks like it is slowing down. It gives that glimmer of hope that the day will not all be a waste. Then it dumps again, and dashes all hope.

As some of you know, my car is a wimpy piece of cowardly poop that does not like to go in the rain. You try to take it out in the rain and it drops its belt and refuses to turn corners. This happened to Willie the other day. Today he took his car. I am stuck at home, alone, with just the cat and dog to entertain me. The stupid TV isn't working either, dumb rain!

Bazinga, Mia and I have spent much of the day on the porch watching the world go by. We have seen many campers and RV's roll by on their way to weekend adventures that will include soggy campgrounds and wet firewood. I envy them.

Another site in our yard are three flags that the city put there. They are part of the Memorial Day decorations. I was tickled to see them there yesterday afternoon. Today, they are causing conflict in my soul.

I grew up a Girl Scout. One of my favorite scout leaders, Jan Russell, was a very patriotic person. Very proud to be an American, and very proud of our flag. I hear her voice telling me to go get those three flags and bring them in out of the rain. Not just those three flags though, every flag on my street. As a girl scout you are taught the proper way to fold and treat a flag. The proper way to dispose of a worn flag. You should stand up, and men must remove their hats whenever a flag passes you in a parade. Flags are to be treated as a living entity. They are the living symbol of our country. They are not to be left out in the dark with out a proper light shining on them. When worn, they are to be buried or burned ceremoniously with great honor and respect. And they are never, never to be left out in the rain.

Let's face it, no one gives the flag proper respect anymore. The last time I saw such a thing was years ago when I saw a school custodian running out in the rain to take down a flag at an elementary school. Flags are left out in the dark and the rain by every business in America. It just isn't cost efficient to worry about sending someone out in the rain to bring down a flag. Jan, I'm sure, was appalled.

You can see my conundrum. The Girl Scout in me wants to go out and at least bring in the flags in my yard. However, the flags belong to the city. If they were my flags I would bring them in. If I bring them in though, would people think I was being unpatriotic, when in truth, it was the other way around.

I thought about putting umbrellas out over them. I am fairly new to the neighborhood, people would probably think me crazy. While this doesn't bother me, Willie does like to make good impressions.

Here's hoping that the sun comes out soon, and that the weekend will be salvaged for those with plans. A nice streak of sunshine would do well for me and my soggy flags.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mom Tops

 I have recently been able to confirm something that I have suspected for years. I have a disorder. It is one I have lived with for years and years. It has been a burden that I have learned to deal with. I always felt very alone, thinking I was the only one afflicted with it. I suffered in silence, thinking I was somehow at fault, that I did something wrong to be punished with this harrowing shame. Just recently they have put a name to the disorder. Perhaps with much research a cure will be found.

The name of this horror is... ECODD, aka Electric Can Opener Deficiency Disorder. Now, for those of you that may wonder if you, too, may have this affliction, here are the signs and symptoms. First, when you want to open a can, and the only thing around is an electric can opener, your palms start to sweat. Then your hands develop a slight but disabling tremor. You know, you just know, that it isn't going to end well. You try to put the can on the can opener, it falls off. You try again and some how succeed only to have the can opener tease you by dropping your can before it is even 1/8th open. You try again but the can opener refuses to start where it left off. You restart it at a different place and again the can opener drops it. You repeat this pattern until, 3 hours later, you have finally opened the can, just enough, that with some creative prying,  you can almost get its contents out.

Does this sound like you? Have you experienced this pain and embarrassment? Then you, too, may have ECODD. If you want to know for sure, this is the gold standard symptom... Imagine, if God, Himself were to come down from Heaven. He put a can in front of you and said, "This can is full of what you need to make all of your hopes and dreams come true. All you have to do is open it." He only offers you an electric can opener or your teeth to open said can. If you choose your teeth, you definitely have ECODD.

Yeah, so basically I can't open a can with an electric can opener to save my life. I can open a can better with a hand held can opener while holding a screaming 6 month old baby, (which I think should be an Olympic event, by the way) better than I can with the most high end electric one. We haven't owned an electric can opener for years. There was one model, once, that worked for me, but it broke quickly, and they don't make them any more. I have, bravely, adapted though. We have found a great brand of hand held can opener. We own two. I love my hand held openers.

I have also become very adept at finding cans with "mom tops" as they have come to be known in our household. I know most call them pop tops, but I get so delighted when my cans have them, we call them mom tops. I know I'm probably paying 30 cents a can more for them, but I can open them! That alone makes it worth the extra money. I'm thinking it was someone else who suffers from ECODD that decided that putting them on cans larger than snack packs was a good idea. He's my hero!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alyssa and Shane's Visit Continued

Saturday brought an adventure to Indianapolis. I forgot again to take pictures, so pictures of Kahlen will be used instead, oh darn.

We started out with the idea of going to the Indianapolis Zoo, but as with Josh and Caitlin the zoo was not to be visited. Alyssa's phone was on the fritz. With that in mind, I googled Apple Store on my phone and we found one in Indianapolis. The goal was set, and address entered into the GPS. We were on our way.

The grown ups were hungry for breakfast. Kahlen had hers before we left. We all decided to find a Mc Donalds on the way. We had thoughtlessly forgotten the time change as we entered Indiana. Soon after we realized the lost hour meant that breakfast was over and our taste buds would have to readjust to the idea of lunch. The new choice, Steak N Shake.
We found one outside of Indy and stopped. We were seated promptly and waited for our waitress. One of the many things I like about Steak N Shake is that, although it is fast food, they still wait on you, and your food is always fresh. However, this day, fast food was not the correct way to describe things. They were short handed due to a wedding and it took forever. I had never remembered it taking so long. Our food finally came, it was fresh and tasty as always. Apologies were made to us, and milk shakes comped. Despite the wait we had a good time. Shane said he actually liked Steak N Shake better than Penn Station. Alyssa and I were aghast! (We love Steak N Shake, but not more than Penn Station.) He must go back to Penn Station, we decided, he just has not found "his" sandwich yet.

Next stop the Apple Store. We called ahead and made an appointment to try to speed things along. We got there and it, of course, was crazy busy. We were glad we had thought to call ahead. Kahlen and I played with computers for a little while and soon she grew restless. I had the movie Planet 51 on my phone so I took her out to a little table in the mall and we sat down to watch. A lady from the mall came by with crayons and coloring sheets and we were set.

Alyssa and Shane emerged from the store and found us coloring away. Alyssa was given a new phone, but that meant she lost all of her contacts and other info. She was not happy. Her mood quickly changed though when Kahlen ran up to her. We walked around the mall. It was a fairly large mall. It filled our day. Kahlen enjoyed running through the hallways and riding the escalator. Shane let Kahlen stand on the escalator herself, which had Alyssa and I cringing with thoughts of toes caught in escalator teeth. He popped her up off the steps with perfect timing every time. He was amused by our silly fears.

We headed home and waited for Willie to get off work. The rest of the evening was spent with all of us together. We laughed and joked and enjoyed the time that was slipping away from us.

Sunday came and it was time for Alyssa, Shane and Kahlen to head home. It was good for them, but very sad for me. I tried hard to keep the tears in. Alyssa and Shane fought with the DVD player in his mom's car. I played with Kahlen and kept her busy while they fussed with it. They tried to get the audio to come through the car speakers with no luck. They finally gave up and it was time for them to leave. I hated saying good bye.

I had so enjoyed having them all here. Almost felt like normal again.

A Visit From Alyssa and Shane

After a month of back and forth to Des Moines for several different reasons, it all culminated in a visit from Alyssa and Shane. Friday we waited with excitement for Alyssa and Shane to come. Kahlen was the most excited. Mommy and Daddy were coming and she would get to show them Gramma and Grandpa's new home. Of all of the family she has spent the most time here. She has the most experience and knowledge of Rossville. She was excited to share it. She and Bazinga watched out the door most of the morning, waiting to see Mommy and Daddy turn into the drive way.

When the moment came, a smile beamed across Kahlen's face. She ran happily to the back door to greet her most favorite people in the world. Some how I forgot to take pictures. Caught up in the moment of a happy reunion the thought of taking pictures escaped me. Mommy, Daddy and Kahlen together again.  All were ecstatic! 

Next to come was a tour of the house. Kahlen proudly marched ahead of us. She strutted through the house as if she owned it. She was proud to show Mommy and Daddy every nook and cranny. She grabbed them by the hand and took them upstairs. She knew this house like her own and was excited to share it with them. Her favorite place, the porch was the last on the list. We sat out on the porch while she finished up lunch and then headed out to get lunch for ourselves.

Penn Station. Sandwiches from Heaven! A favorite of the Berry family. Every time a family member comes from Des Moines, Penn Station must be visited. Alyssa has had to bear it as we jokingly would send her pictures of Kahlen or Joshua or Valerie thoroughly enjoying a Penn Station sandwich. Today was her turn. Picture taken and sent to Joshua, Alyssa was vengefully satisfied. Joshua has been here twice now and sent pictures to Alyssa both times. You can see by the look on her face she enjoyed her revenge. Will this be the end of the Penn Station feud? I doubt it. Perhaps Josh is already plotting his revenge photo. If this is the worst of their sibling rivalry, I'll take it. 

Happy Thoughts from Abroad

One of my favorite blogs that I follow is "the world according to pia" at Reading her blog usually makes me smile. She has a happily strange obsession to little stuffed critters she calls bobbaloos. She is a strict vegetarian and loves animals dearly. She has a cat and a "loaf" dog, who quite often show up in her blogs. She is creative and has shops with her creations for sale. She sometimes is frustrated and disheartened by the people in the world and how we all treat each other.  I enjoy reading her blog!

She recently had a "contest" on her blog. Readers were encouraged to send her a comment describing how they found her blog and what keeps them coming back. The prize? One of her hand made psychedelic mushrooms. As you can see I was one of the lucky three to get one. She asked what colors we prefer and, yes, you guessed it I told her purple.  I know from her blog that purple is not one of her favorite colors, so the fact that she made it for me just so, was very kind of her. She also sent along some cards with different things in her life and scenes from her home in Stockholm, Sweden. I enjoyed those as well.
If I actually knew Pia, I think I would find her to be a great friend to have on my side. Although, I know we would have strong discussions about the vegetarian thing. I do love pepperoni!

This got me to thinking, is blogging the new form of having pen pals. Julia Child is well known, now, for having a sustained pen pal friend for years and years. They were fast friends that hadn't even met. Have blogs become a new form of pen pal writing. People don't write long letters to dear friends anymore. The process of putting pen to paper has been replaced with emails and text messaging. The waiting in earnest, checking the mail every day with anticipation replaced with instant gratification.

When I knew that my happy little mushroom was on the way, I got a little reminder of what it was like to have a pen pal. To wait anxiously for my little glimpse into a "friend's" life who I have never met. Is it strange to think of her as a friend? Maybe so, but I do.

So, to my friend in Stockholm, I'd like to say, thank you for my mushroom and the glimpses into your life. You are a very interesting and joyful person that I am glad I found on this community called the world wide web.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Still Here

 I got on to blogger just now and realized how long it had been since I last posted. Life got very busy for a while. We had Kahlen here, and I went back to Des Moines for a busy weekend. Last week I was really sick and slept for about two days straight.  And the best of all was that my daughter Alyssa and her fiance Shane got to come for a short visit. It is the first time they had been here. They took Kahlen home with them.  In the wake of it all my blog got left behind for a while.

Things here are back to their quiet normalness. I plan many blogs to detail all that went on the past two weeks. I still don't feel completely up to par, so this blog will be short and sweet.
 My thoughts are still a little fuzzy and words aren't rushing their way to my finger tips.

I thought I'd just post a few pictures of the flowers that are blooming in my yard now and let everyone know I am still here.

I will be back to babbling on and on again soon, probably tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ZaAa.\\\ (Kahlen typed the title for this post)

As Kahlen snoozes away on the couch next to me, my thoughts are allowed to roam in their own fashion. This can be good and it can be bad. For instance, thinking about how happy Alyssa and Shane will be tomorrow to see their little bug in a rug is good.

Thinking about how sick I am of the political picture in this country is bad. It just makes me mad. I could go on and on about it, but for the most part I try not to talk about politics on my blog. I want it to be a mostly pleasant thing to read. Politics is just never pleasant. Let's face it, it is not about what we can do for our country anymore. It is about how can we make the other guy look bad. Aggravating! That is just never going to get our country back on the right track again. But enough of that!

Good thoughts are better and don't tend to raise my blood pressure so much. Right now I am thinking of Kahlen's excellent fashion sense. I think all of us should be so free spirited as to think that pink rain boots go with everything. If we like something we should wear it. Why must we all conform to someone else's idea of what is fashionable.

I was watching CNN's American Morning this morning, (up much too early thanks to Bazinga.) They were talking about a exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was of a fashion designers work. Someone named McQueen. They showed what they were putting on display as examples of this man's fashion genius. They were hideous. Like a nightmare in fabric. But some idiot somewhere decided they were high fashion and what we should all be spending insane amounts of money to have the privilege to wear. I don't get it. Hmmm, I think I feel the blood pressure rising again, I guess I'm back to bad thoughts. But really, who decides these things and why do we have to listen to them? I have to say, I've seen fashion shows on TV of "high fashion" and I've seen some of the people who decide these things, they don't inspire confidence.

I know, I know, I'm no fashionista. I am not in anyway a master of the craft. I hate buying clothes for myself. I hate wasting money on what other people think I should wear. I hate that show where the hosts make fun of the way a person dresses, makes them feel like a failure and a misfit. Brings them to tears and then makes them conform to what the hosts think is more proper. The guy on the show, wears paisley for goodness sake. Paisley looks good on no one. Oh, and heaven forbid if you should question him on his wardrobe choices. He gets offended and starts spurting the designers names of everything he is wearing.  I'd just want to say "so...." Bleck! So if I go spend $1000 on a horrible paisley shirt, I can wear that as long as it is from the proper designer, but wearing a t-shirt and jeans is a fashion disaster! Give me a break!

Rant over. The dog has woke Kahlen from her nap. Time for rambling thoughts is over. Busy time is back.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bazinga Gets a New Haircut

After a week spent in Des Moines, while my Dad was in the hospital, I was a little worried about what I would come home to as far as Bazinga and his long locks. Willie had to leave him in his kennel most of the day while he was at work. Bazinga and Willie have a, lets call it, working relationship. They get along, they respect each others' space, but they aren't the best of buds. Taking time to comb Bazinga every day after work was not on Willie's list of things to do. Just something that he doesn't think of, much like I might forget to feed his fish when he is gone. (No fish have ever died on my watch, honest.)

 Willie did give Bazinga a bath one day while I was gone though. We had a lot of rain that week and Bazinga got very muddy that day. He combed him out as best he could. By that time though, I think it was a lost cause. His under coat had matted down and was in utter tangles.

The day I got home, I tried for an hour to detangle just one small area. It was a lost cause. In frustration, I got out the scissors and started cutting away the long silky hair. Part of me was disappointed, I had taken great care of his coat since getting him. The other part of me was kind of glad. I had been going back and forth on whether or not to get him trimmed for the summer months. Now, the decision had been made.

Unfortunately, that evening I was also very exhausted. I only did half the job and stopped. My pour puppy now looked like an unkempt vagrant just coming in from the cold. Having Kahlen here and Willie working until ten every night poor Bazinga had to keep his half done do for a week. Going for walks was a complete embarrassment for him. Other dogs laughed and pointed. He was humiliated.

Yesterday I got the scissors out again. Bazinga, not looking forward to the torture about to be inflicted upon him, decided to be brave. He sat patiently as I did my dastardly deed. He would not whimper, he would not cry. He hoped for the best and waited for me to finish.  After two hours of snipping and cutting a newer happier dog was revealed. His dignity restored, and donning his new Iowa Hawkeyes collar, Bazinga proudly strutted on his afternoon walk.

You had to know I would put  Kahlen in here somewhere didn't you? 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to All Mothers!

This was a year of changes, adaptations and learning experiences for me, my husband and my children. For the first time ever, Willie and I are separated from our kids by over 400 miles. Though it has been six months since we moved, this is still very hard on me, especially on Mother's Day. I love and miss them all very much, especially today.

My daughter Alyssa is going through the same thing. Due to circumstances beyond her control Kahlen is here with me and Willie today instead of at home with her Mommy on Mother's Day.

Kahlen's babysitter had a baby of her own two weeks ago. The new baby and mommy are healthy and happy, but delivery was by C-section, therefore a longer recovery time was needed. This is very bitter sweet for me, I love having Kahlen here, but I know how much her Mommy and Daddy miss her. Especially, today, Mother's Day.

As a little Mother's Day present for her Mommy, Kahlen decided that we should post pictures to show how much she has grown since her last Mother's Day. Kahlen misses her Mommy and Daddy, and wants them to know just how very, very much she loves them. She hopes that it makes her Mommy and Daddy smile. She can't wait to see them!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Search

Those of you who read my ramblings on a regular basis have probably noticed that Kahlen's hair is quite often in her face. It is that length where it just doesn't want to stay back. It is curly enough that it just doesn't behave. I hate having my hair in my face. Willie is constantly trying to keep Kahlen's hair out of her face. So, yesterday, Kahlen and I went on an extensive search for the perfect hair doodad.

After having lunch with Grandpa, we headed to WalMart to conduct our research.
 First try was a headband with tiger lilies attached. I put it on her head and grabbed a mirror on a hook next to it. She admired herself. She liked the way she looked, she left it on. I thought I had a winner. I looked at more of the hair accessories and decided to just go ahead and buy some little ponytail holders as well.

The tiger lilies still adorning the perfect little head, I looked at other headbands as well. There were yellow flowers and plain plastic ones.  So many to choose from.
 Then I saw a pink fluffy one and thought, now that's Kahlen. I tried it on her, and let her look at herself in the mirror. She smiled and grabbed the mirror. She turned her head, and looked at it from different angles. She approved with a giggle and we decided to get both.

We went and paid for our little hair stash and headed home. She chose to wear the tiger lilies for the drive home. The orange flowers bobbed around in my rear view mirror. She left it on the whole drive, and I was very proud of myself for finding something she would wear. We got home, and she played with the fake butterfly in a jar that Grandpa got her. Headband still happily in place. Until it wasn't. I turned around to find the happy tiger lilies being chewed on by the dog.

Realizing I wasn't as clever as I had convinced myself I was, I tried putting the pink one back on her. Five minutes later.... Headband... Dog's mouth. Hmmmmm.

Ok, try number three. I got out the ponytail holders. I swiped her hair to the side and placed the doodad. It seemed to stay. As a matter of fact, it stayed in until bath time. It looks a little silly, but on a toddler it is cute. I put it in again today, and so far it is still there. It hasn't been in the dog's mouth anyway.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Counting Blessings

 The life of a toddler is a busy one. They quickly move from one activity to another. They find interesting activities at every turn and keep us constantly on our toes. All flowers are in danger, anything delicate is sure to be destroyed.

One moment they may be quietly coloring at a table. The next minute they may be quietly painting the dog. After all, if it is pretty on paper it is sure to be pretty on the dog. Whoever invented washable paints and markers is a genius and should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. What else in this world has created more peace in a family then knowing the grand artwork on Grandpa's favorite tee-shirt will wash out.

 Toddlers enjoy helping the adults around them. This is sometimes a good thing, this quite often is not. Helping to clean Grandpa's fish tank by using the magnetic cleaner thingy, a good thing. Helping Grandpa by watering his plant with a can of Pepsi, not so much. Getting Grandpa the TV remote, helpful. Changing the TV to Spanish on the way, could be a little less helpful.

The toddlers' enthusiasm for cleaning can also be good and bad. Cleaning the table with a paper towel after super, good. Cleaning Grandpa's shoes with the same sticky paper towel, not good.

 The constant movement, the volatile mood swings, and the general stickiness of the toddler can exhaust, exasperate, and befuddle even the most patient person. The habit of the young to stop and drop when they suddenly decide they don't want to hold hands while walking anymore can make you want to tear your hair out.

 All of these little things that make you crazy are little blessings. Yes, I said blessings. Kahlen and I went to WalMart today, and at the door were the Shriners. They were collecting for their charities, which of course benefit children with disabilities. The fact that my granddaughter can run from me, can stop and drop on a walk, and even throw a temper tantrum, means she is healthy and active and able to do all these things.
I have been very blessed in my life. My kids were all happy, healthy, and grew up to be great adults. They all drove me crazy at one point or another, but again, it just meant they were healthy enough to be able to. Now, my first grandchild is able to drive me a little nutty, and I wouldn't change a second of it! Thank God, she can!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gardening With Toddlers

Gardening with a 20 month old sounds like a fun idea. The toddler gets to play in the dirt with no one telling them to stop. They get to get as filthy as they want, and no one gets angry. It is encouraged to get the hands in and smoosh the earth between the fingers. Should be every child's dream right?

Kahlen is not that kind of a toddler. While she loved wandering all over the yard with her watering can, getting dirty had very little appeal to her. She watered a few rocks and loved watching me fill the watering cans, but beyond that had no interest in getting dirty and planting herbs or tomatoes.
I tried repeatedly to get her into the garden to dig and get dirty. She even had her rain boots on, to keep her feet good and clean. She would have none of it. She kept trying to wander off and go into the garage. I went outside with the intent of planting a couple of herbs, a tomato, a flat of flowers and a columbine plant. I got the tomato in and had to chase after Kahlen. Then I got one of the herbs in and had to chase after Kahlen. I got the second herb in, and decided to get things watered and be done. Willie wanted me to put the veggie garden clear at the back of the yard. Guess where the hose doesn't reach. Back and forth with two watering cans we went. Kahlen quickly got bored with that, not that I blame her. It was aggravating me as well.
I'm beginning to think that Kahlen may be a bit of an indoor girl. She enjoys sitting out on the porch watching the cars and trucks go by. When a big semi roars past she gets all excited and says "WHOA!" We play a game where we guess what will come next a car or a truck. She excitedly waits until the next vehicle comes and claps and giggles when we have guessed correctly.

While, Kahlen does love the park, and going for walks, it might be a little tough getting her to embrace the outdoors completely. She just doesn't seem to care for getting dirty. I hope she grows out of this stage, I want to take her camping someday. When we camp it is in a tent. Kind of hard to stay clean in a tent.

For now, lunching on the porch watching the world go by is a wonderful alternative. Chilling out with an ice cream sandwich and lounging on lawn furniture is a perfect way to spend the morning.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kahlen and Bazinga

Kahlen coming to visit is both exciting and distressing to Bazinga. From the moment she walks through the door, he is by her side. Partly because he is hoping she is transporting some yummy morsel of toddle food that she will either drop or he will find a chance to steal. Mostly, because he loves playing with her. She is always willing to throw a ball or snuggle up with him, or lavish some sort of attention on him.  Sometimes the attention is not to his liking, but for the most part they are best buds.

Having Kahlen and Bazinga in the house at the same time is probably a lot like having a set of twin toddlers scurrying around.

If one isn't getting into something, the other certainly is. For instance,  yesterday, after cleaning up Kahlen's creative use of her lunch, I walked out to the kitchen to find her foam rubber ball torn to shreds. It was everywhere. Bazinga has been unusually calm today though. Probably has a stomach ache. Since Kahlen has gotten here he has consumed one rubber ball, six crayons, one plastic cup and one chicken nugget stolen off of Kahlen's table. And that's only what I know of. His poo has been multi-colored and strangely textured, (I know this because I clean it up when he goes, I don't examine it closely.)
 Kahlen loves Bazinga, but she is not above making sure he knows who is boss. She spends much time scolding him when he barks. She pulls at him and pokes at him. He is amazingly calm with her. He may chew on her in a puppy playful manner, (which I make sure he knows is unacceptable,) but he has never nipped or even come close to biting her. It is quite the balancing act, keeping her from hurting him and making sure he knows he is never ever to bite her. I feel like I spend most of my day saying "be nice," to Kahlen, and "no biting!" to Bazinga.
 Mia, being a cat, is a little more clever than Bazinga. The fact that I am saying that Mia is clever, is quite a surprise to me. Almost to the point that I expect the sky to fall in at any moment. Mia and clever just don't belong in the same sentence. When it comes to Kahlen, though, she is. She knows we have a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs. Mia stays upstairs. She gets a little lonely, but Kahlen LOVES Mia. Mia does not appreciate Kahlen's brand of "love." The poking and squeezing, is just not Mia's cup of tea. Mia does love attention, but she is a little more discriminating about the type of attention she pursues. She does not believe that any attention is good attention. I believe this does make her smarter than Lindsey Lohan, and certainly smarter than Charlie Sheen.
Bazinga gets the brunt of Kahlen's love and affection. I think it is good for both of them, though it has made me want to lock myself in the freezer in the basement to scream on occasion. She is slowly learning to be nice to a creature smaller than her, and he is learning patience with a person that pinches a little to hard. They both run the other to a point of exhaustion, and neither seems to understand when to stop.

When Kahlen is napping Bazinga gets very impatient waiting for her to wake up. I think he may even bark at things "outside" on purpose to try to wake her. He will bark, looking at the back door as if there is something out there, then come over and peak at Kahlen to see if she is still asleep. The little brat! Luckily, for me, and maybe for him, it didn't work today and Kahlen is still blissfully asleep. Ok, yeah, it's my bliss, I love her dearly, but even a Gramma needs a break now and then.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Google Maps and Oreo Cookies

Ah, the oreo cookie. It seems even twenty month old human beings know instinctively that pulling the cookies apart and licking away the creamy insides is the proper and best way to eat an oreo. I like the inside out oreos the best myself. The chocolate cream better and it blends so well with the vanilla cookie. Kahlen seems to agree. When given a snack of cookie, she quickly pulled it apart and devoured the chocolate filling. Or at least that which was not smeared all over her face. The other well known fact of the oreo cookie is that more of it ends up on the outside of the child then ends up on the inside. That is part of the magic of the cookie. One cookie can be spread all over the house in less then 30 seconds flat.

I put the address in my google maps. It looked like it would be easy to find, just three miles from where we were and just one left turn off the road we were already on. We made the appropriate left turn. We found where google maps said it was. We did not find HuHot. We drove around in the parking lot, several times, still no HuHot. We went and checked the area on the other side of the street. Nothing there either. Had my ever faithful google maps failed me? We circled the parking lots once again, disappointed we had submitted to giving up. Willie turned the car around, and there as big as life was a sign! HuHot next left, it told us. Back across the street we went, low and behold there was a little niche that we hadn't seen before. HuHot!

Willie and I happily devoured our separate concoctions of HuHot yumminess. Kahlen, was not so impressed. She happily ate some mandarin oranges, and crunchy noodles, but not too sure about anything else. Some of which may have been that we poked the bear a little before she was ready to wake up.