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August, 2010:

120 Minutes

Last week was our first full week of me working more days/hours, both kids starting soccer (3 practices a week total), school being back full-time, and Hubby being gone.

I QUICKLY saw my evenings getting out of hand . . . and me staying up WAY too late to try to get my stuff done, whatever it may be.

My solution? I leave my laptop power cord at the office, which means I get about 2 hours of time on my laptop before the battery dies . . . which gets me in bed sleeping before 11:00 . . . which makes everyone happier the next morning :-)

Problem solved.

An Alternate Universe

After finishing editing Hubby’s book, making a trip to the Boy Scout Shop, and dropping a laptop off at the smart people store this morning, I’m pretty sure my car got sucked into an alternate universe! Proof? You want proof?

I went to Target and came home with only ONE additional item that wasn’t on my original list of 3 items.

I consulted Betty Crocker on how to cut up a whole chicken. Why? Because I made fried chicken from scratch.

I made mashed potatoes from scratch.

I made gravy from scratch.

I made banana pudding from scratch.

I turned a pair of Dude’s flood pants into shorts because he just couldn’t bear to part with them. This required the use of the SEWING MACHINE.

I turned a pair of Princess’ flood pants into capris because she just couldn’t bear to part with them. This, too, required the use of the sewing machine.

I sewed patches on a Boy Scout uniform.

I’m pretty sure a beer will suck me right back into my regular universe where I wake up tomorrow and go to work and go out to eat with friends and to a movie and don’t see a single piece of raw food or fabric.

At least it better because I don’t think I can handle another day in the alternate universe!

Daily Medals – Camping Edition

The Bronze Medal goes to the person that invented drain spouts on coolers.
I made the mistake of  taking a smaller cooler camping last weekend since it was just me and Princess. The cooler did not have a spout! I was so annoyed. I vowed to go directly to the store and get a new mid-sized cooler that has a drain spout. Guess what – couldn’t find one! Seriously! Have they stopped putting drain spouts on coolers smaller than a bazillion quarts? I make a plea to the cooler makers to please please please return drain spouts to any cooler that is too large to strap over your shoulder.

The Silver Medal goes to the person that invented Headlamps.

There are many items we take camping, but if we forget our headlamps, ACK! Walking with a dog on a leash in one hand and a flashlight in the other is not so much fun in a dark campground where puppy feels the need to check out everything! Having 2 hands available is awesome! And the bathrooms . . . vault bathrooms are DARK – and if you have to set the flashlight down, well you’ve defeated the purpose of taking a flashlight to the bathroom. Putting the flashlight in your mouth to hold it is no fun either. Headlamps, on the other hand, require  no hands, have multiple brightness settings, and can be angled wherever you need them to be to see best. Kudos to the Headlamp Woman!


And the Gold Medal goes to the person that thought up pocket meals!
Yes it’s a crazy little thing . . . but any food that you can mix up at home, wrap up in foil, freeze, use as ice in the cooler, throw in the fire to cook without preparation at the campsite, and eat without dirtying more than a fork is awesome in my book! And the kiddos like to eat anything called Cowboys and Indians 😉 Dinners, breakfasts . . . we’ve tried it and we love it . . . so yay to the Foil Pocket Dinner Maker Upper Person!


This was my first actual 30-hour work week in 18 months. It was AWESOME! Great meetings to kick of a new HUGE project that I’m way excited about. So much less stress knowing I have some hours to actually work on the projects rather than get going Tuesday and put it all away Wednesday and never really get a chance to complete anything.


I found out I might get two trips to Italy in the next 6 months out of this new gig. I’m hoping I get to go on at least one . . . not holding my breath, but it’s a definite possibility!


Kids had their first full week of school. They did great! Dude is having a little trouble with all the homework – not the actual work, but DOING the homework. He’s got 30-45 minutes each night, which is way more than the 15 he’s had the past few years. He’ll figure out his time issues . . . hopefully sooner rather than later!


I went to Back To School Night on Wednesday. That’s where you get to go listen to the kids’ teachers talk about how they run their classroom and what they plan to do for the year. You also get to sign up to volunteer to help in the classroom. I didn’t write my name down for 5th grade. I did volunteer to help with 2nd grade. We’ll see how that all shakes out. I did, however, sign Hubby up to present to the 5th grade – that’s what he gets for not being here this week 😉


Dude has the BEST desk in the entire school. I’m convinced of it. His classroom was actually intended to be the science room, so it’s a corner room with lots of large windows. His desks faces a window – a giant window that frames Pikes Peak perfectly. I’m quite jealous. He’s quite happy.


I think Dude’s teacher will be perfect for him . . . she loves the outdoors, hiking, climbing, rafting, biking, camping . . . all the stuff Dude likes.


Dude had to create a culture wheel . . . they had to take a round piece of paper and cut pie shapes out. Then they wrote the part of their life that consumed that pie shapes amount of the whole circle. Anyhoo . . . Dude’s huge more than half shape said “Outside”. The other shapes were all pretty even, and said baseball, hiking, camping, bike riding, soccer, and family. Ummmmmm . . . if I’m not mistaken, all of those are outside 😉


Princess has the same 2nd grade teacher that Dude had. I’m way excited that she has Mr. Krich! I love his male perspective to teaching – and he’s got a loud boisterous voice, he’s got RULES that the kids must follow, he’s got lots of fun incentives for them to learn match facts, he loves recess as much as the kids. He is the ONLY person on this planet who has ever said of my two children “It’s amazing how much alike they are!” Seriously? He ammended that statement with he doesn’t know how alike they are academically, but he made that remark because Dude and Princess apparently both like to talk (who knew!) and are the only two kids he’s had that felt the need to yell “He’s looking at his watch!” rather than give the loud SHHHHHHH that most of the kids give. I think Mr. Krich is in for a big surprise in a week or so when he sees Princess’s real personality come out 😉


I took a look at Princess’s math and spelling books that were sitting on her desk. She spelled her own name wrong . . . in her spelling book.


In addition to work and school, Dude started soccer this week. Practices Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00-6:00. He’s so excited and had a blast Wednesday . . . we’ll see how it goes tonight.


Princess starts soccer next week – practices on Thursdays from 6:00-7:00. Thankfully she didn’t start this week since Dude had a pack meeting on Thursday at 7:00.


The principal called me yesterday after school. She started with “I just wanted to let you know that we had an incident on the playground with Princess today.” She must’ve heard my sigh and realized I was thinking “Are you kidding me! ALREADY??!!!” The next words out of her mouth were “I guess I should have started with she didn’t do anything wrong and isn’t in trouble at all. But we did have to call the other little girls parents to come into school and talk.”

Turns out 3 little girls had emotional issues – gasp! Girl 1 promised Girl 2 she’d play with her. Girl 1 decided she wanted to play with Princess and asked Girl 2 to play what they were playing. Girl 2 got mad at Princess for “stealing her friend” and started chasing Princess. She pushed Princess down on the concrete sidewalk and started kicking dirt at her. Princess told the playground monitor. So all 3 girls had to go to the office for a chat . . . Girl 1 and Princess got apologies from Girl 2, who had to stay and wait for her parents to come to chat about all of it.

OMG – girls. I can’t WAIT until she’s a teenager and their hormones start working their magic . . . ugh!

Princess is fine . . . didn’t even mention it, so she must not have been too traumatized. We did chat about it and about how SHE would have felt if she were girl 2 and how she could handle the situation . . . she simply said “There are lots of kids on the playground – I’d be sad, but only for a minute because I’d just find someone else to play with that day.”


We had a busy week . . . needless to say, the kiddos were a bit GRUMPY this morning. They complained that they didn’t get to just watch a movie any night this week. And OMG they didn’t get to watch America’s Got Talent!

I politely reminded them that NOTHING we did this week was for me and that we can stop doing any of their stuff any time . . . outside of school and work, we went to SOCCER practice because they wanted to play soccer. I went to Back To School Night because they started school. We went to a Pack meeting because Dude wants to be in Boy Scouts. I met with my Brownie co-leader because Princess wants to be in Brownies.

They are not willing to give up soccer, Boy Scouts, or Brownies – they are, however, willing to give up school. I told them that was not an option. They said OK and asked for a snack. I said we didn’t have any because we hadn’t gotten to the grocery store with our crazy week. Their world just about ended.

Until I reminded them we have about 50 gallons of ice cream in the freezer . . . then they were good.


After being home for almost a month, Hubby went to work Monday . . . I guess this was good practice for me doing it all this week! So glad for him to come home today.


This weekend we will DECOMPRESS and get ready for next week and do it all over again, minus the back to school night and Pack meeting . . . but we will add Thursdays to our soccer practice schedule.


On a side note, can I just tell you how happy I am that I am completely stupid about soccer . . . never played it and really don’t know much about it, especially at the level Dude is playing at. It’s SOOOOO nice to be able to go to a practice or game and just watch without feeling obligated to help (I so would not be helpful with soccer) or really even know what’s going on, so I don’t have to be stressed about whether my kids know what they’re doing :-)


I am off to finish my Friday at work, then head home to beer and Bloody Marys while Hubby takes Dude to soccer practice :-)

Too Picky?

I’m a regular donator to Goodwill. I’d much rather donate my stuff to them than have a garage sale and try to make a few bucks. I’m also pretty particular about what I donate . . . I don’t donate broken things or clothes that have been too worn by my kiddos. Of course the items aren’t new, but we take care of our stuff and they’re still in really good condition.

So yesterday I went to Goodwill with just a few items . . . 2 fishing poles, a Princess bicycle, and 4 large wooden saw horses from Home Depot.

They refused the saw horses “because they were stained.” Um . . . they were stained because we put a door across them and, well, STAINED IT! So some stain and some white paint were dropped on the top of these nice solid saw horses . . . which rendered them completely useless to Goodwill.

I understand the dude was probably told not to accept stained items in general . . . but these are saw horses! And I must admit I was a bit annoyed.

I was annoyed enough that I drove an extra 10 miles to The ARC . . . who accepted the saw horses with big smiles and big thanks.

The experience at Goodwill reminded me of my last experience with the Salvation Army, which is why I don’t donate to them anymore . . . they were having a winter coat drive. I was a college student with no money, but I did have 2 winter coats: one warm practical one for the cold MN winters and one fun one I bought on clearance as a treat for myself a couple months previous. I went to donate the fun treat coat . . . they refused it because it wasn’t new. They told me thanks, but no thanks, they could only accept new coats with tags on them. Um, seriously?

So in short – the Salvation Army really made me mad, and Goodwill kinda made me mad – and I’m kind of starting to wonder if places asking for donations aren’t getting too picky about some things?

Let The Games Begin


Last week I suddenly started working 4 days a week instead of 2 . . . and by suddenly I mean my boss called on Tuesday and said “how many hours are you available to work for us?” I said “All I can give you is 30 . . . Tues-Fri 8:00-3:30. I have to keep Mondays clear for volunteer stuff I’m already committed to.” He said “OK. Done. Can you start this week?”

Um . . . sure. So I did.

This week, the kids have their first full week of school AND they both start soccer. Dude practices on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:00-6:00 and Princess practices on Thursdays from 6:00-7:00.

Add to that the Back to School Night on Wednesday that the kids are not welcome at, the last-minute Boy Scout Pack meeting on Thursday evening, and a Hubby who left for work for a week and you have a pretty full week staring back atchya!

I guess if we’re all going to start our new stuff, it might as well all start at once :-)

*For the record . . . I’m not complaining. I’m way excited about my increased hours at work . . . last week was so much less stressful knowing I had 4 days to get all my bazillion hours worth of stuff done instead of just 2. And I’m excited for the kids to get going with soccer . . . they both are needing an outlet for their extra energy and a way to decompress after school.

Sleeping Beauty

I walked in the camper last weekend and started chatting to Princess. She was laying in bed reading with her headlamp. After a couple minutes of getting no response, I walked over to their bed and saw this . . .


How do they do it? I am 100% certain there is no way I could fall asleep with my glasses on, my headlight illuminated, and s’more on my mouth :-) And if I were to actually fall alseep that way, there is no way I WOULDN’T wake up when someone took the glasses off my face and the headlamp off my head.

First Day of School – 2010

Hubby and I took the kiddos to the bus stop this a.m. to send them off to their first day of school. Princess is starting 2nd grade and is SO excited to have Mr. Krich, the same teacher Dude had when he was in 2nd grade. Dude is starting “his last year of elementary school” as he puts it . . . and he better stop saying that or I’m going to hold him back a year! Anyhoo – he’s way excited about his teacher and the kids that are in his class as well.

Princess of course thought it completely necessary to get a new outfit for the first day of school. She gently reminded me last Thursday as we were leaving for camping that “Mommy! Oh no! We forgot to get a first day of school outfit for me!” I reminded her that she has tons of clothes and that I hadn’t forgotten . . . I just didn’t suggest it. She was OK with it. But of course I planned on getting her a new outfit . . . so when we got back from camping I said “We’ll need to get showered and ready so you and I can go pick out a new outfit for the first day of school.”

You would have thought I’d just told her she could buy every stuffed animal ever made!

So here they are . . . Princess in her new duds and Dude in an “outfit” he’s had for 3 years now :-)


No, they’re not waving and giving a peace sign . . . they are indicating the grade they are in . . . much easier for me to figure it all out many years down the road if I have them flash cryptic messages in the photos.

Here they are last year on the first day of school. They haven’t changed a lot in pictures, but they sure have grown up a lot in person!

A Duck And A Goose

My lucky duck got to meet THE Goose! Dude had the opportunity to attend a pitching clinic at Sky Sox stadium with 2 Sky Sox players and THE Rich “Goose” Gossage – 22 years in the majors for quite a few teams, including the Yankees and Cubs – one of the original closers! Ya – THAT Goose Gossage.

He talked to the kids about committment and what it takes to be a good pitcher and player, then they all went to the bullpen and he did a one-on-one mini pitching session with each of the kids . . . giving them individual feedback and advice on how to pitch better and what to work on.







Goose is a great guy. Very opinionated about baseball and the good ol’ days versus how the game is today (those pitchers are so babied and those pitch counts are just messing it all up!) . . . but a great guy all around. He hung out for photos afterward and autographs . . . signed Dude’s Cubs hat and also Princess’ Cubs hat that Jason was nice enough to take. The Sky Sox players were great and hung around for photos and autographs as well. You never pass up an autograph from a AAA player – you never know when they might be the next “one” :-)

I will admit that while Jason had fun and enjoyed it, I may have been a bit more excited FOR him to be on a pitching mound with Goose 😉 I was so bummed we weren’t allowed on the field with them!

One Million points to the first person who knows why he’s nicknamed “Goose” :-)

To The Point

On our hike to Pancake Rocks, or any hike for that matter, Dude and Princess always look for walking sticks. Conversation with Dude on the way down . . .

Dude: These really are some cool walking sticks I found this time.
Me: Yes, they are. They worked well today.
D: Yup. And this one – it’s got like little things on the top so if I broke my leg or something I could use it like a crutch.
M: Ya – that is pretty cool.
D: And this one, it has that cool pokey end on it, so if a mountain lion or a bear came to attack us I could just stab it with my sharp stick and it would run away and we could run down the mountain.
M: Yup. That sounds like a good plan, too.
D: Man, it sure would be nice to have sticks like this every time I go hiking.

Pause . . . pause . . . pause . . .

D: Yup. These walking sticks sure are really cool. It would be a bummer to have to drop them on the trail somewhere.

Pause . . . pause . . . pause . . .

D: Um, Mommy? I was trying to get you to say that I could bring them home. So can I?


Of course I said Yes after he went through all that trouble 😉